Author Topic: Defiant Echoes  (Read 11084 times)

Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2012, 09:41:28 PM »
"Nineteen years," he snarled. "Nineteen years ago, I was stranded here."

The shrouded figure glared at his captor with all the hatred, all the malice, of an ancient and debased slaughterer without a conscience.

"And nineteen years ago, I went mad. You will tell me, false saviour, why you have chosen to appear only now, rather than at the beginning."

"YOUR SUFFERING AMUSED ME," the black giant answered slowly, powerfully. "YOUR FUTILE ATTEMPTS TO DELAY THE INEVITABLE HAVE LED YOU BEFORE MY THRONE."

"I am not a plaything, nor some toy for your amusement!" the figure hissed, reaching for a bone knife bound with human leather.

"YOU WILL KNEEL."

The figure drew his knife and slashed at the giant, who barely registered the blade glancing from its thigh.

"KNEEL," the giant repeated.

Snarling, the figure threw the knife handle into the darkness. An arcane fluted pistol appeared in his hand, and a hail of razor-sharp crystal shards rebounded from the giant's skin as he pulled the trigger once, twice, three times.

"KNEEL!" the giant thundered, and the sheer volume of its voice made the figure stagger, dropping to one knee to avoid falling down. He paused, suddenly realising his position and noticing for the first time in nineteen years how vulnerable he was.

"What do you want?" the figure asked cautiously, hating himself for his weakness.

"A SERVANT, TO FIND MY OWN."

"And what do you presume I will get out of this? Some sense of gratification?"

"YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RETURN TO THE DARK CITY."

"Back to Commoragh?"

The figure hesitated, before staring straight at the giant. "You lie. She Who Thirsts already has the very fabric of my being in her grasp. She would strike me dead before I could set foot in the Dark City."

"THIS HAS NOT ESCAPED MY NOTICE. KILL IN MY NAME AND I WILL DELIVER YOU TO THE DARK CITY. THE HATED ONE WILL HAVE NO CLAIM TO YOUR TORTURED SOUL."

The figure contemplated the giant's words for the briefest of moments, before bowing his head and placing his palm on the floor.

"Varachen of the Flayed Skull accepts your offer... mighty Khar'neth."

Offline Herald

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2012, 05:36:03 PM »
“They’re opening communications, Ambrose.” Carson had just about got used to the idea of referring to the inquisitor by his first name.

“Very well, put them on screen, Carson.”

The bridge’s screen flickered into life to show a Naval captain in full uniform.

“This is Captain Lucien Vect on board the Spirit of Light you are entering interdicted space.”

“I’m aware of that Lucien, but I am an imperial inquisitor. Are you the commanding officer of the fleet?”

“No, Vice-Admiral Cairn Burnett. Has overall command.”

“I wish to speak with him, please.”

The screen flickered again and the Captain was replaced with Burnett, an arrogant looking man of indeterminate age with a large bionic that dominated the left side of his face.

“My apologies Inquisitor, I would have been with you sooner but I was dealing with one of your peers.”

“I’m not the only Inquisitor here?”

“No, in fact you’re one of three currently in system; may I be of service to you?”

Ambrose felt it was time to act upon a hunch and name drop Gelert Hesh, he wasn’t certain but there was a good chance that he had been involved in having the system declared interdicta and it might help get the Admiral onside if he mentioned a familiar name.

“Are you aware of Inquisitor Gelert Hesh?”

Burnett nodded slowly, “Is this to do with an inspection of the interdiction fleet, Inquisitor?”

“Not directly, Cairn, but that may be required if my sources are correct. I believe that a suspected smuggler of xenos goods has run the interdiction fleet and gone to ground in system to avoid my pursuit. I wish to inspect your records to see if this is possible and examine how such a failure may have occurred, inadvertently I’m sure. Furthermore I will need to land operatives on the system’s third planet, designated ΣΘΦΡ, I’m sure you will be able to facilitate this. Finally by quarry has been known to falsify Inquisitorial codes, I wouldn’t ask you to interfere in the business of what may be a genuine Inquisitor but if you could direct me to their present location so that I can verify their authority and whether we are working towards the same purpose then that would be incredibly helpful.”

“Certainly, Inquisitor. One of them is in fact dining with me this evening, may I extend the same invitation to you?”

“Thank you, Cairn, a decent meal would be greatly appreciated.”

The screen went blank and Ambrose sat back with a smile. Not only had the admiral bought his fictional tale of
the xenos smuggler but he felt he had managed to pull off a convincing impression of arrogant inquisitorial authority. The other Inquisitor’s could prove problematic if they hindered his real investigations but it was possible that they might know something. His plan would have to shift slightly as well. He would investigate the interdiction fleet itself and see if he could find the reason for it having been put in place. Redvers could follow official leads on the fictional Mouritz Khan with arbites while Milo and Jethro did some unofficial propping into the planet’s history and Rowena Memphis. All in all he felt quite positive about these new developments provided he could hold his own and lie to one of his peers over dinner with the admiral.

Leaving the bridge with a tuneless whistle he went in search of his formal robes. He briefly considered inviting Redvers with him before realising the potential for dull conversation that would manifest itself if the General found himself in the same room as another military man.
“A man who joins the Inquisition a radical has no faith, a man who leaves it a puritan has no sense”.

Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2012, 10:25:04 PM »
"A smuggler of xeno artifacts?"

Inquisitor Barkley nodded, pausing to swallow a mouthful of fish. "There are Eldar ruins on the third planet. Or at the very least, there were."

"The few records I've been able to retrieve have also noted Eldar ruins," Andreas confirmed, juggling his cutlery and a data-slate with surprising grace; nonetheless, Andreas' dexterity had its limits, and a few greasy splashes had already begun to discolour his khaki tunic.

"A veritable treasure trove for this Mouritz Khan," Hallona noted, "blockade be damned."

The officers' dining hall on board the Asculum was fairly spartan, but by the standards of most warships it was positively extravagant. Electro-flambeaux sat in sconces along the walls, and a chandelier hung from the ceiling over the central table, liberally covered with plates of food and decanters of wine. The walls, by and large, were adorned with giant banners, each one commemorating an important victory or famous engagement. Some of the banners looked as old as the Age of Apostasy, though Haines had been generally uninterested by the grand display. A ship displaying its honours so openly might have been on the front lines, rather than relegated to patrol duty in an interdiction fleet. Haines knew it, and he knew that Burnett knew it too.

"If we're dealing with a rogue xenographer, then his transport likely possesses xenotech sensor-baffles or stealth suites if it can bypass an entire interdiction fleet," Andreas continued. "Though I must admit, his exit from the Immaterium should have been noticed, and the fact that it fell to Lord Barkley--"

"Ser Tuominen, with respect, "Ambrose" will be fine,"
Barkley interrupted, in between a mouthful of fried tuber and a swig of wine. Andreas glanced at him dubiously, before checking his expression and feigning profound interest in his own plate's contents, a mix of minced steak and vegetables wrapped in a demilune of shortcrust pastry. Burnett had apologised for the meal not being the sort of cuisine a man of status might have deserved, or even the appropriate fare for ranking Naval officers, but in truth Andreas had never tasted anything finer in his life.

"The mere fact that Khan would have escaped our notice without your information, however, gives us an entirely new reason for being here and sheds some light on the planet's chequered past," Andreas responded, pausing to add a new entry to his data-slate.

"Indeed. The distress signals were always my first reason for investigating, and I dare say Lord Haines had a similar motive," Hallona stated. "Vice-Admiral, which of your ships is responsible for reporting developments to the sector Conclave?"

"That would be the Asculum, my lady -- this very ship," Burnett answered, slightly wrong-footed by Hallona's question. "Though it is Lord Tiberius that monitors communications on the planet itself, as its augur array is more sensitive than our own."

He glanced away for the briefest moment, but found himself staring at Haines, who stared back with his cold grey eyes.

"And has Lord Tiberius' commanding officer passed any comments concerning the distress signals?" the giant Inquisitor asked.

"Only that they are repeated, and that they are regular," Burnett told him, slightly deflated. "Though air patrols from the Orchomenus' fighter wings have led us to dismiss their content. Contrary to what the messages indicate, Stonechapel has not fallen, and current evidence suggests that Governer Maras is alive and well."

"Then why pass them on to the sector Conclave?" Haines queried.

"I would expect that this is part of the fleet's duty, and not passing the messages on would be a dereliction of that duty," Andreas speculated.

"Arch-Curator Tuominen is essentially right," Burnett nodded. "Though these messages have been regular for several years now."

"Including the scrap code?"
inquired Hallona.

Burnett paused, suddenly no longer hungry.

"Scrap code?"
asked Barkley. "Sorry -- I have come here under entirely different pretences, and you all know this. But with Khan bringing me here, and these messages drawing you..."

"The most recent messages have been carriers for scrap code, or what looks like scrap code," Andreas explained. "In reality, the scrap code is a string of encrypted messages, all with elements indicative of heretical cult activity. In itself, not something that warrants the attention of the Inquisition -- and indeed, something the Navy can take care of -- but somehow these messages were picked up by Lord Tiberius in scrap code form, and passed along through the Asculum. If I didn't know better, I'd say someone wanted the Inquisition to come here."

"Why?" Burnett and Barkley asked in unison.

"That's exactly what I'd like to know,"
Hallona answered, her tone deathly serious. "We--"

"Vice-Admiral," a voice interrupted over the intercom. "Vice-Admiral, forgive me for interrupting the proceedings, but there is a... situation on the bridge that warrants your attention."

"Balls," Burnett huffed under his breath, before activating his microbead. "This is Burnett. First Officer Macadie, maintain order; I will be there presently."

Burnett turned to Haines, Hallona and Barkley with a resigned look on his face. "My lords and lady, it looks as though dinner may have to wait until this situation resolves itself. I invite you to the bridge if you feel it would be of use to you, else you are, of course, at liberty to do what you must."
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 03:15:07 PM by Koval »

Online MarcoSkoll

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2012, 10:11:18 PM »
"What the hell is going on up here?" Burnett thundered as the elevator doors opened onto the bridge. Haines was immediately struck by the sheer amount of bronze in the huge chamber, from railings to devotional icons to the fittings supporting yet more of those garish banners and Aquila pennants. Oddly, the crysteel dome in the ceiling was framed with what looked like polished silver.

"We've picked up a contact on the long-range augur arrays, my lord," answered a thin, bearded man in his mid-fifties that Haines took to be First Officer Macadie. "Unidentified vessel. Looks like a cruiser."

"Another one?" Burnett sighed, his frustration evident. "If this is another Inquisition vessel..."

"That's the problem, my lord. We can't tell."

Burnett paused, managing a flat "What?" as Macadie gestured towards a cogitator pit, its shaven-headed occupant tapping away furiously on the interface board.

"The fact that it's unidentified would rather suggest that it's either an Inquisition vessel, or not Imperial," Andreas speculated as he followed Haines and Burnett.

"Isn't it transmitting any sort of IFF at all?" Hallona queried, and Macadie turned around in surprise, as if only just becoming aware of three Inquisitors sharing the bridge.

"Therein lies the problem, my lady," Macadie managed at length. "The IFF is there, but it's completely blank. It's transmitting empty noise."

"Do we have any idea which way it's going?" Haines asked.

Macadie paused, turned to the cogitator, then went pale.

"It seems to be on an approach vector," the First Officer reported, his voice suddenly hoarse. "Your orders, Vice-Admiral?"

"Have you attempted to hail it? Inform its captain that this system is regio interdicta?"

"Lord Tiberius has been broadcasting such a message on repeat since the vessel appeared in-system," Macadie answered, some of his colour returning slowly. "Should we hail it directly?"

"Where is Lord Tiberius, in relation to both the unidentified ship and us?" Barkley inquired.

"Some five thousand kilometres astern of us, if it's still in formation," Burnett informed the Inquisitor. "Which would put Foehammer Squadron close to us as well."

"Are we expecting trouble?" Andreas interjected.

"The fleet's standing orders are to engage any non-compliant or hostile ship that enters the interdiction zone," Macadie answered. "I presume that the Vice-Admiral can explain the specifics better than I can."

"Hail Lord Tiberius and Foehammer Squadron," Hallona suggested to Burnett. "Have them form up and align towards the unknown ship."

"Understood, my lady," Burnett nodded, heading over to the command pulpit. "Mister Macadie, you heard the Inquisitor."

Macadie nodded and barked an order at another crewman. Presently, the tanned face of another, less senior Naval officer appeared on the bridge's main vid-screen.

"Ship's Captain Marwan al-Kalil reporting from Lord Tiberius," the officer stated. "What are your orders, Asculum?"

"Lord Tiberius, hail that unknown ship directly. If it is still unwilling to change course, then form up with Foehammer Squadron, align portside, and engage."

"Understood, Asculum."

"Maintain an audio feed with us. I have a bad feeling about this."

"Understood. Lord Tiberius ending vid-feed."

The screen went blank, but in a matter of seconds the screen began to flicker with static, the vox-casters hissing angrily.

"That can't be normal," Andreas noted, somewhat unnecessarily.

Before Burnett or any of the Inquisitors could respond, the static faded and an image straight out of Mankind's worst nightmares resolved itself on the screen.

Standing in an oppressive, red-lit room filled with machinery, the floor strewn with cables and the ceiling shrouded in smoke, was a Space Marine...

"Identify yourself!" Burnett shouted, trying desperately not to show the horror that gripped every fibre of his being.

The Space Marine was hideous to behold. A crown of horns, eight in all, adorned his helmet, each one etched with blasphemous runes and capped with a spike of black iron. His massive shoulders were similarly defaced, each one decorated with a sigil that pained the eyes to look at. An Opus Machina icon sat on his breastplate, the circle of cog teeth replaced with a wheel of spikes, and the armour on his legs was banded with brass strips that terminated in broad arrowhead points. A massive servo-harness was mounted on his back, each of its six arms fitted with a different instrument that the Space Marine had no doubt put to use in combat as well as in his labours, be it the plasma cutter by his left knee, or the magna-clamp hovering over his shoulder, or the circular saw next to his elbow. He stood cruciform in the chamber, each of his hands grasping some sort of interface mechanism whose purpose Haines couldn't decipher.

The Space Marine was staring straight at the camera, and although Haines couldn't see his face -- nobody could -- he couldn't shake the thought that the Space Marine was looking directly at him, staring through his visor and the screen directly into his soul.

"LOST CHILDREN OF THE CARRION LORD," the Space Marine addressed the bridge, his words completely devoid of emotion, his voice a menacing monotone. "YOU REACH OUT TO ME, FUMBLING IN IGNORANCE, INCAPABLE OF UNDERSTANDING."

"What are you?" Burnett hissed, slowly losing his grip on his emotions. It was a wonder that he hadn't already soiled himself.

"A SURVIVOR OF AN ERA SO FAR BEYOND YOUR UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU CANNOT IMAGINE IT. I AM BEYOND YOUR COMPREHENSION. I AM ZAGAN AND YOU ARE MY ENEMY."

"You... Emperor's oath, a Traitor Marine!" Macadie screamed, drawing a laspistol.

"YOUR WORDS ARE MEANINGLESS. YOU EXIST BECAUSE WE ALLOW IT."

Macadie raised his pistol to his head.

"AND YOU WILL END BECAUSE WE DEMAND IT."

The pistol fired and Macadie fell to the floor, the side of his skull missing, the contents of his brain pan splattered across the floor.

"YOU CANNOT ESCAPE YOUR DOOM."

"Close the channel!" Haines called to the man he hoped was the comms operator.

"It won't close!" the comms operator shouted back from the other side of the bridge.

"Lord Tiberius reports comms shutdown failure--"

"Foehammer Alpha reporting, we can't block it out--"

"YOUR FIRST MISTAKE WAS UNDERESTIMATING YOUR PERIL," Zagan continued. "YOUR SECOND MISTAKE WAS ALLOWING THIS VESSEL TO APPROACH YOU."

"Shut it down, shut it down!" Burnett screamed.

"YOUR THIRD MISTAKE WAS HAILING ME DIRECTLY."

The consoles beneath Zagan's hands lit up with a harsh scarlet light.

"BEAR WITNESS TO YOUR DESTRUCTION."

The audio feed suddenly erupted with the noise of a massive explosion, then static, then silence.

"What the hell was that?" Hallona snapped.

"This is Lord Tiberius!" screamed Captain al-Kalil from the other side of the connection. "We've lost control of our weapons, I repeat, we have lost control of our guns!"

"Foehammer Beta is gone--"

"What manner of sorcery is this?" Burnett whimpered.

"FOR TEN THOUSAND YEARS I HAVE UNRAVELLED THE SECRETS OF THE MACHINE, UNRESTRICTED BY THE CLOCKWORK GOD OF MARS."

"Target identified!" shouted the first bridge crewman. "Grand cruiser, Exorcist class!"

"I AM SUPERIOR. A GOD OF MACHINES."

"Emperor protect us, he's got control of our engines!" al-Kalil shouted, panicking. "Asculum, the enemy has aligned us towards you and--"

"Your orders, Vice-Admiral?" a bridge crewman called over, but Burnett wasn't listening.

"SUBMIT NOW," Zagan rumbled.

"Asculum, brace for impact, he's launching our torpedoes! I repeat, he is--"

Another violent blast of static signalled the demise of Foehammer Alpha as Zagan's grand cruiser drifted ever onwards, the Traitor Marine content to pit one Imperial vessel against the other.

"Orchomenus, Resaena, Archduke Gordian, this is Asculum, requesting immediate assistance!"

"Void shields at 60%!"

"Starboard guns, target Lord Tiberius and fire at will!" Hallona ordered into the vox, pushing past the catatonic Burnett. "Ordnance, lock onto the enemy ship and launch torpedoes when ready!"

"Andreas, which way are the life pods?" Haines asked, his tone desperate.

"The nearest life pods are two decks down from the officers' dining hall," Andreas answered. "Should I assume--"

Haines didn't wait for Andreas to finish, already on his way out of the bridge. Ignoring the elevator, he went into the stairwell, leaping down each set of eight steps at a run, with Andreas and Barkley close behind. Hallona was last out, descending more carefully but somehow catching up with Andreas three floors down.

"Through that door," Andreas advised, and Haines barged through the doorway not a moment too soon as the entire ship shook. Andreas fell face-first into Haines' elbow, and Barkley and Hallona found themselves piling up on top of Haines' aide.

"Direct hit?" Barkley wondered, peeling himself away from the arms coffer on Andreas' back.

"Hull breach on starboard side decks 11 through 18," declared an automated voice -- a servitor, Haines assumed, or an unfortunate Enginseer. "Prepare for retaliation and pray for deliverance."

Slowly, Haines became aware of the alarms blaring away somewhere towards the front of the ship, and wondered whether the enemy ship or Lord Tiberius might target the bridge next.

"We need to get the hell off this ship right now," Hallona grunted as she picked herself up.

"Agreed," Barkley nodded. "If we tarry, then--"

Another rumble cut Barkley off in mid-flow, and then they were running, down stairwells and along corridors, barging their way through a maddened, panicking crowd of Naval soldiers and crewmen, as the emergency lighting fizzed into existence with a brilliant red glow.

"Multiple hull breaches on all starboard side gun decks," the servitor droned. "The Emperor protects."

"That grand cruiser must've decided to wade in," Barkley commented. "Throne knows how much firepower that thing must have behind it."

"This way!" Andreas prompted them, cutting down a side tunnel, but a sudden surge of bodies pushed Haines in the opposite direction and he found himself herded by the mass of the crowd down a central corridor. In the confusion he lost sight of Andreas, Barkley and Hallona entirely.

Another tremor pitched him off his feet, and thinking quickly, he rolled through a doorway to avoid a crush of bodies piling up against each other, and made a run for it while he could.

"Prow existence failure detected. Hull breaches on all levels."

"Oh, shut up already!" Haines shouted, knowing perfectly well that it would do him no good.

Fires were already breaking out across the Asculum as the damage took its toll. Twice, Haines came close to being set on fire as something across the way from him exploded -- a fuse box the first time, Emperor only knew what the second one was -- and with the blood-red emergency lighting, it looked to Haines like the whole ship was going straight to hell. He passed a few corpses, either trampled by their more desperate crewmates, or killed by the ship's death throes.

Most of the life pods in the bay that Andreas had indicated had already jettisoned by the time Haines found his way to them, and any crew members that weren't already on one of them were either on other levels, or dead. Some of the life pods had never launched; a fraction were intact, but most of the remaining pods were on fire or blocked off by wreckage.

The shot that destroyed the prow must have caused more structural damage than Haines had realised, and he reasoned that something must have fused shut, else there wouldn't have been any air in the life pod bay.

"Get in, get in!" a voice shouted, and he raced towards its owner, leaning out of one of the last life pods as the Asculum continued to fall apart. Somewhere behind him, a man screamed as an explosion blasted him out of the corridor and face-first into the floor; Haines suspected that he was dead before he cleared the doorway, but the Inquisitor was almost at the life pod, and there was no way that he was going back to check now.

"Come on!" the voice encouraged me as he sprinted towards the life pod, hurtling through the door at full tilt before misjudging a step and crashing into the voice's owner.

"He's in," coughed Riley Hallona.

"Emperor protect us," muttered Andreas, sealing the door and hitting the release rune. Haines was about to protest, but as he looked back out into the bay and saw a pile of flaming wreckage barring the entrance, he decided that three Inquisitors plus Andreas making themselves scarce was probably for the best, even though they were sharing a life pod designed for a full platoon.

The pod launched cleanly, and the last Haines saw of the Asculum was a chain of explosions running all along the hull, as Zagan's ship squatted thousands of kilometres away and took the ship apart with contemptuous ease.
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

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Online MarcoSkoll

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2012, 03:02:32 AM »
Riley felt like collapsing into one of the seats, but with no artificial gravity in the life pod, such a thing was impossible. Trying to grab on to one of the various handles instead, she gingerly touched the back of her head. Bringing her hand back around, a drop of fresh blood drifted away from red fingers.

   "Crap."

It was Andreas that noticed first, quickly dragging himself over.

   "Emperor alive, you're bleeding something awful".
   "Worse than just that, I imagine. After a blow like that, I've probably got a couple of minutes before the symptoms of a concussion kick in. I'm going to strap myself in; you see if there's a med-kit - or some other way of staunching the bleeding, I don't care. Then you'll need to put up with me being dazed and confused. Try and stop me from doing anything stupid."

Haines, an expression on his face that was equally alarmed and apologetic, began to speak, but Riley  cut him off.
   "Don't worry about it. If you can find Steren, she's fixed worse than this before."
   "The woman who was with you...? I think you may have to assume the worst." , it was Barkley who spoke.
   "Not a chance", she reached for the seat straps, "That girl's tougher than tanned grox hide. If we made it off, she made it off."

Andreas floated back over, raiding the limited medikit he had wrested from the far end of the pod. Turning her head carefully, he applied one of the sterilised pads to a pained wince.

   "No... go on." , she implored him to continue, "Thank you, by the way."

She flinched again before the sight of the Asculum being torn apart caught her eye.

   "What in all the hells happened? How did that bastard take control of our fleet?"
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

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Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2012, 08:45:35 AM »
Suddenly Semplice detected bright flashes. He could see massive powers being unleashed on the ships of the Interdiction Fleet. It was clear that the fleet had come under attack and in the distance he saw the pinprick of light that probably was the cause of it. Strangely enough the Imperial ships seemed to be firing as well, but not on the new ship but on each other. It had come very close to the fleet and suddenly his single eye failed, overloaded by the destruction of a cruiser.

Blinded he spoke: “Tettares, fire the engines, escape the destruction.”

“Yes my lord”, she said. Still as calm as he had designed her to be.

While the lander suddenly accelerated he recalled the Fury. Its pilot was clearly confused by the events. He did not react to the suddenly revealed presence of the lightly armed shuttle, otherwise his child would have informed him of it.

Mere moments later he heard Tettares: “My lord, another cruiser has been lost. Sensors reveal that the unknown ship probably is a Grand Cruiser, class unknown. The vessel appears to be alone.”

His eye was starting to return to function. He looked around and saw his staff. The tech priests remained calm as they should. The humans were another matter entirely. All of them seemed to be deeply disturbed by the events. The pilot was in the worst state. All the colour had left his face and he appeared to be muttering curses under his breath. Semplice addressed them:

“There is nothing to fear but failure. And failure is a lack of faith in the Emperor. Those of little faith await only one reward. To be cast out and be damned for all eternity. The Emperor has no place by his side for those who lack the conviction to serve Him. As His agent I shall not tolerate any lack of faith.”
Circles of the wise My attempt at writing something, please comment on it if you have any advise.

Offline Inquisitor Octavian Lars

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2012, 04:18:26 PM »
I was inspecting the gun decks that night, but all of a sudden, there was a flash of light in the middle of space. Evidently someone was firing plasma torpedoes. As fast as my metal legs would carry me, I ran towards the bridge and shouted at Captain Wagner:
"Emperordamnit, find out what the feth is going on! Hail the vice admiral! Scan for unregistered vessels! And turn the ship around at the double"
"As you command, Inquisitor, but the hull may not.."
"Damn that, we'll have worse to worry about if the ship that blew the Asculum comes for us. Prime the Nova Cannon and ready the batteries!"
"Your will be done! READY THE BATTERIES, PRIME THE NOVA CANNON" Wagner screamed into the vox
"What are the scan results?"
"The Asculum has taken heavy damage, as has the Lord Tiberius"
"Vice Admiral Burrnet is hailing us!"
"affirmative!"
"Holst, I beg of you, don't engage the cruiser, it is a chaos exorcist helmed by a traitor marine!"
"We will do what we can to help you! Fire the Nova Cannon when in range!"
"Range in 20, 19, 18"
"Holst, he turned our own ship against us, you don't know what your doing!"
"14, 13, 12"
"My ship is warded against the fell powers of chaos we will be all right!"
"8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, FIRE"
« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 06:49:20 PM by Inquisitor Octavian Lars »
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Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2012, 08:31:51 PM »
Barely ten seconds had passed before the Hammer of Justice's hull lit up against the glow of incandescent starfire, as the nova cannon shell detonated against the enemy vessel's shields with the fury of a newborn star.

"Direct hit, my lord, right on target!" Wagner snarled, and Holst felt a moment's glee as the icon representing the grand cruiser on the ship's holodeck dissolved into a bubble of static.

"I'd call that a job well done, Mister Wagner," Holst grinned. "Punched that little bastard right back into--"

"INQUISITOR."

Holst's blood, or what was left of it, turned to ice as the static cleared, revealing the grand cruiser's icon standing out proudly against the aftermath of the nova cannon's impact.

"YOU ARE IGNORANT OF WHAT YOU FACE," the Traitor Marine announced through the Hammer of Justice's vox array. "YOUR RESISTANCE IS IRRELEVANT. RETREAT WHILE YOU CAN."

"Reload the nova cannon!" Wagner ordered. "Give that bastard another taste of the Emperor's fury!"

"YOUR SLAVE'S BLIND DEVOTION TO THE CARRION LORD WILL NOT AVAIL YOU."

"Resaena, do you copy?" shouted one of the bridge crew. "Resaena, this is the Hammer of Justice, change your course--"

Holst's attention was drawn to the holodeck, and the ancient Inquisitor froze as the icon representing the Resaena began to turn, its velocity increasing as it propelled itself towards the Hammer of Justice's port side.

"I HAVE BEHELD THE PASSING OF MILLENNIA. I WAS ANCIENT WHEN THE IMPERIUM WAS BORN. YOUR VESSELS ARE AS PLAYTHINGS IN MY HANDS."

"Deploy port side macrobatteries and lock onto the Resaena!" Wagner thundered. "I will not tolerate Chaos sorcery. If that ship does not change its course, then I want it destroyed!"

Under his breath, Holst swore.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 08:40:24 PM by Koval »

Offline Necris

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2012, 11:29:58 PM »
The Justified Fury broke into real space in with a myriad of colour playing around her hull as her real space engines kicked in to full power to pull her away from the warp hole as it closed up behind her, upon the bridge surrounded by the servitored crew and the aged captain, Marshal Narl Ravion stood like a statue, he'd been on the bridge to witness the return to real space and marvelled at the translation.

He turned his head to the captain.

"How long till we join the fleet?"

"Seventy three hours at impulse speed."

Alarms sounded across the bridge and Narl spun round to look upon the servitors.

"Report!"

A digitised voice responded to him from one of the dozens of servitors below.

"Fleet is engaged in ship to ship combat."

The Captain stepped forward leaning over the railing shouting down at the servitors and the human crew.

"Get me more details! Who are they fighting?"

There was a long pause then one of the human crew shouted back up.

"There are only Imperial ships on long range sensors, they are engaging themselves!"

"What madness is this?"

Narl lifted his finger to his ear a habit he'd never gotten over and spoke as he activated the implanted vox link in his skull.

"Reiver team ready weapons for combat engagement, maximum force."

He looked back at the captain lowering his hand.

"How long will it take to join the fleet at full speed?"

"Six hours, but you can't be serious, this ship is not a ship of the line we do not have the weaponry to engage naval ships."

"Take us in as close as you can, we will look for survivors and should the opportunity present itself I'll lead my team into the fleet to retort order."

The captain resigned himself and barked orders down into the bridge.

"All ahead full! Bring weapons online and roll our gunnery ports, cycle void shields to alternating frequencies and take us into the fleet, sensorium keep our eyes peeled for escape pods or life boats"

The Engines of the Justified Fury cycled to full power the frame of the ship complaining as the ship powered forward the roar of the ships powerful engines echoed through the lower decks in a deafening rumbled as the crew rushed bring the ship to full combat readiness.

Narl stood impassively watching as the ship truly came alive, the bulk head behind the captains throne hissed open and a slight female figure walked in already clad in armour like himself she wore a long flak coat, she offered the captain a nod of respect as she stepped up behind Narl presenting a helm for him, he took it and slid it onto his head without looking at her.

"This is a looking like a right viss up Narl."

"You're telling me, what's the readiness of the team Narcia?"

"We're at full combat readiness what are you planning?"

"Nothing yet, I want Euphrati, Uriah, Van Heller and Silon  up here with me, Varnias, Lear and Lupus ready to receive wounded the rest I want split between you Kaltos and Eisen to run security sweeps of the ship."

He turned to the captain.

"What's the status of the ship?"

The Captain looked at the terminal to his side.

"Lower decks are locked down, all ship crew report combat readiness, fire teams are standing by and arms men are ready to join with your Arbiters to defend the ship, gunnery crews are still cycling but they'd be ready in under one hour."

He nodded as he turned his attention back to the view port

"In the Emperor's name then."
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The Order of the Iron Rose - Necris' Inq28 Plog

Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2012, 09:47:25 AM »
"What in all the hells happened? How did that bastard take control of our fleet?"

"I wish I knew," Haines answered slowly.

"Sorcery?" suggested Barkley.

"Whatever it was reeked of Warpcraft," conceded Haines, "but I doubt it was sorcery. He mentioned the Omnissiah. More likely it was some sort of black science or forbidden tech that the Martian Priesthood deems off-limits."

"It would take a sorcerer of truly monstrous power to enslave an entire ship like that," Andreas added, somewhat unhelpfully.

"And if he had that kind of power at his disposal then he could have turned the crew into his slaves, or simply destroyed the ship outright," Haines speculated.

"However he did it, the point still stands that we went from being on board an Imperial Navy cruiser, to being in a life pod, with the only things standing in that bastard's way turning into his pawns," Hallona noted, raising a hand to her head.

"Are you alright?" Barkley asked dimly. "You should probably get some rest rather than think too much about it."

Hallona looked up at Barkley, her eyes slightly unfocused.

"I'll be fine. Although I'd be a lot better if I didn't have this bloody headache, and if there weren't suddenly two of you."

Haines found himself somewhere between moving over to help, and moving backwards to stay out of Hallona's way.

"I told you, don't worry about it," Hallona sighed. "The important thing is that both of you are alive, Madoc, and right now the only thing on my mind is working out how that bastard took control of our fleet."

Barkley opened his mouth to speak, but Andreas forestalled him by putting a hand on Barkley's shoulder.

"This risks becoming three Inquisitors having six different opinions if we keep speculating, my lord," he reminded Barkley. "What's more important is that we make it down to the planet's surface in one piece. Which, in my opinion -- and I am sure that my Lord Haines will agree with me -- has to be better than sitting stranded in a life pod."

"On that note, Andreas, perhaps you could go and recalibrate the pod's guidance systems," Haines proposed.

"Because you agree with me, my lord, or simply because you don't want a repeat of New Gemini?" Andreas replied, pushing off towards the front of the life pod.

Barkley moved closer to Haines. "Is that normal?"

"For Andreas?"

"He doesn't seem all that bothered by the fact that you are everything he isn't."

"He's useful enough," Haines shrugged. "You'll get used to him before long."
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 07:56:35 PM by Koval »

Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2012, 08:16:21 PM »
The star went out.

It had been aeons since he had seen a star die, and deep down, he knew that what he saw was not a star, but he didn't care.

First one star, then another as the bloody one drew inexorably closer, and from his perch, he saw it all, the fate of a world mapped out in a night sky that had been his constant companion for nineteen filthy years.

And for the first time in his life, his other constant companion was absent.

He was grateful for that.

Meteors were falling as the sky exploded with brightness, another new star born in the cosmos, only to die in seconds as the bloody one weathered its fury. He was torn between revulsion at its presence, and exultation as the weaklings cowering before it perished in blood and fire.

A squirming in his hand brought his attention back to the mon-keigh captive he had taken, a female, begging for her life as he held her in his grip.

He couldn't understand her language any more. Perhaps he never could.

"They are here," he observed, his voice as calm as a gentle breeze, as he nonchalantly brought his knife across his prisoner's throat and spilled her blood across the floor.

He knelt as the blood poured from the wound, and touched his lips to the crimson flow.

"Mighty Khar'neth, accept this sacrifice, the first of many I shall place before your bloody throne," he prayed. "And whether they are great heroes or cowardly fools, before your throne shall all skulls come to rest."

Offline Necris

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2012, 09:41:50 PM »
"Marshal we're getting more information from the forward sensorium."

Narl stepped to the rail he didn't speak he looked down at the officer.

"There is a Grand Cruiser Exorcist Class in the heart of the fleet, it's transmitting a blank IFF we thought it was ghosting from the Imperial ships but as we're closing we're getting more details."

"Filter them through to the wardroom I will review them with the Captain."

He strode from the rail Euphrati, Uriah, Van Heller followed as he left the bridge for a grand wardroom lined with oaken shelves filled with tomes of thick bound leather, Van Heller went strait to the hololith terminal and cycled the unit to life, a projection of the space battle filled the space above it. Uriah looked up at it sucking in a deep breath as he strode round the projection.

"Some mess you've brought us into boy."

He always called Narl boy a sign of his age he called the entire team save for Varnias boy or girl, he leant on the hololith pointing at a portion of the fleet.

"Seems someone has some brains and are getting the hell out of there."

Euphrati shrank into the corner of the room she shivered as the scene played out.

"I can feel them dying out there, voices in the warp crying out in pain and suffering."

Narl glanced at her for a moment before stepping up to the projection his finger pointing at the lead break away ship.

"Which ship is that?"

"The Orchomenus, Dictator class under the command of Commodore Tyra Vargas."

The Captain said as he entered the wardroom striding to a throne at the far end of the room he slipped into it connecting with the rest of his ship.

"Claymore Squadron is falling in behind The Orchomenus presenting a firewall."

He swung his hand and the projection shifted.

"Cyclone Squadron, Manticore Squadron and Templar Squadron are moving into engagement range."

He cycled up the projection focussing on more ships

"The Resaena, Tyrant class is engaging Hammer of Justice, Dominator class Inquisition ship. and the Archduke Gordian, Lunar Class is engaging the Lord Tiberius another Tyrant class."

Narl stroked his chin as he looked over the details.

"Open a link to the The Orchomenus, I want to know how this happened."

"It will take time the fleet seems to have shut down communications."

"Get them talking to me."

Van Heller pointed at two ships breaking from the fleet.

"Which ships are these?"

A moments pause and the captain turned his attention to the young man.

"They are Inquisition, Sword of Integrity a sword class and the Graceful Prosperity, unknown class."

Uriah hissed in displeasure.

"Inquisition, that means trouble."

"Remember who summoned us, continue to take us into range of the fleet, prepare batteries to return fire, have assault craft readied, continue to hail the The Orchomenus."

The hololith changed as more information filtered through dozens of specks appeared.

"Life boats and escape pods, the closest will be in range with us in two hours, several pods have changed trajectory towards the planets surface."

"The world if off limits to all, that includes the Inquisition, once we've dealt with the fleet we're round up the trespassers."
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Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2012, 04:05:49 PM »
"Keep flying, Mister Hargadon, we're still closer to that grand cruiser than I'd like," Vargas warned her helmsman as she stood watching the figures in the holodeck fight each other, massive vessels rendered in miniature as they flung ordnance at each other across the void.

Claymore Squadron were still in formation behind them. That was good.

"Blackguard Squadron has docked," reported one of the bridge officers. "No losses reported. Bravura Squadron requests permission to engage the Resaena in support of the Hammer of Justice."

"Request denied. Tell the Lieutenant to get his arse back here, or we're leaving him behind."

"Aye, Commodore."

"And someone hail Archduke Gordian, and get her to disengage!" Vargas shouted.

"No good, Commodore, they--"

"There's a frigate hailing us," another officer cut in. "Callsign is the Justified Fury."

"Does it at least have an IFF?" Vargas asked, her agitation showing.

"The IFF marks it as Adeptus Arbites. Your orders, Commodore?"

Vargas swore.

"Answer it," she ordered. First Inquisition, and now Arbites...

The face of an enormous Arbitrator filled the vid-screen. Vargas nearly mistook him for a very small Space Marine until she saw the pins and insignia on his carapace armour.

"This is Lord-Marshal Narl Ravion, on board the Arbites strike vessel Justified Fury," the giant growled. "I need to know what has happened."

"See for yourself, Lord-Marshal," Vargas replied matter-of-factly. "I trust you've noticed our fleet fighting each other?"

"This system is regio interdicta; was it a reaction to the Inquisition's presence?"

Vargas shook her head, part exasperated, part amused. "Hardly. No fewer than four Inquisitors were authorised to enter the interdiction zone by the Sector Conclave. Three of them were on board the Asculum when it went down."

"What?"

"That grand cruiser's got some sort of weapon that overrides a ship's machine spirit and enslaves it to the will of whichever bastard's at the helm," Vargas informed him. "Vice-Admiral Burnett is... was convinced that it's a Chaos vessel. It took over Lord Tiberius, then the Resaena."

"You're vissing me," Narl exclaimed in disbelief before he could stop himself.

"The Vice-Admiral's last orders were to move away from the grand cruiser, and withdraw. Then the Asculum went down."

Vargas paused to glance over at the holodeck. "So far, only the Orchomenus and Claymore Squadron have complied with that order."

"And the Inquisition?"

"Either they went down with the ship, Lord-Marshal, or they're in a life pod. Given how quickly Lord Tiberius took it down, I suspect the former."

Narl let out a frustrated sigh. "Was one of them named Andreas?"

"There was an Arch-Curator Andreas Tuominen on board the Asculum when it came under attack. If he was your contact, then I must say I have my doubts as to whether he survived."

"Great," sighed Narl. "Send out a distress signal, Commodore, if you can. If this is a Chaos incursion then they wouldn't send just one warship. We'll need reinforcements."

"Very well. It'll mean the enemy knows we're still out here, but if the Navy gets it, then I wouldn't want to be in the enemy captain's position," Vargas answered, "even with a weapon that controls entire ships."

She turned to another bridge crewman. "Mister Kees, get me a line to Adept Aristan. Priority level delta."

Kees nodded and turned back to his terminal.

"Now then, Lord-Marshal, was there anything else?" Vargas queried, silently hoping that the Arbitrator would leave her to it.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 08:01:13 AM by Koval »

Offline Necris

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2012, 04:20:36 PM »
He frowned at the woman's dismissive tone but turned looking over his shoulder.

"You are the acting officer in command of this fleet, get your ships in order. Have those not affected by this weapon pull back from the engagement zone and establish a blockade, I will lead my team to the surface to round up survivors, if you have need of them the arms men of this ship are at your disposal."

He turned from the vid link speaking with the captain.

"Ready my assault craft I want to be under way as soon as we are in range of the planet."

He turned back to the Commodore.

"I expect you to be able to restore order Madam, or I will take command of the fleet. I do not want to have to make that decision."

He killed the link turning to the other members of his team.

"Get to the launch bay."

His attention turned to the captain.

"Keep talking with  the Orchomenus I want to be kept up to speed with the situation."

He strode from the wardroom.

"Hell and viss."
This here is my very favourite gun...I call her rita.

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Offline Herald

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2012, 04:23:43 PM »
Ambrose settled back in his seat, still somewhat puzzled by the relationship between Haines and Andreas. He'd always encouraged an informal relationship with his own staff but Andreas' tone almost bordered on insubordination which was particularly surprising given how physically intimidating Haines himself was. Ambrose doubted he would be able to address him in such a manner and he was technically his equally, if physically quite inferior.

Riley was quite clearly suffering from her head trauma, although trying not to show it, and Andreas had done a limited job at patching her up. Ambrose was inclined to help, after all it was what he had originally been trained for, but she had waved away Haines when he'd offered help and with concussion there wasn't a huge amount that Ambrose could do, especially as he'd left his medical kit, along with all his weaponry, on board the Prosperity. He hoped that Carson had had the sense to disappear when the traitor ship had appeared and that the shuttle carrying Redvers, Milo and Jethro, which had departed as soon as Burnett had given clearance, had made it through to the planet. He would try and contact them both when, or rather if, they landed. Meanwhile his thoughts returned to his lack of armament.

“I'm, er, unarmed and as it seems we may be encountering unforeseen combat situations I was wondering whether anyone has some form of weaponry they could lend me?” He asked. “Preferably something that’s relatively easy to use.” He added with an uncomfortable glance at the plasma pistol at Haines waist, he'd seen what they could do to their wielders during his time in the military.

Unarmed, separated from his staff in an unexpected and terrifying situation and confined in the life-pod with the towering Haines and the already bleeding Riley, Ambrose had never felt more hapless and less inquisitorial. He'd have to shake such doubts from his mind if he was to survive whatever awaited them on the forbidden planet
« Last Edit: February 20, 2012, 06:23:02 PM by Herald »
“A man who joins the Inquisition a radical has no faith, a man who leaves it a puritan has no sense”.