Author Topic: Defiant Echoes  (Read 28479 times)

Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #75 on: April 11, 2012, 05:21:02 PM »
Statement: Target acquired. Coordinates fixed.

Declaration: Flight path confirmed.

Analysis: Target identified as Imperial settlement.

Statement: Scan complete. Appraisal: Target is largely indefensible from an air assault. Part of the city is built into neighbouring cliff faces and comprises an easily isolated subterranean cavern network. Recommendation: Use incendiary missiles against cavern entrances.

Statement: Running causality algorithms and determining optimal outcome coefficients.

Alert: Imperial anti-air batteries deploying.

Instruction: Initiate aggression protocols.

Declaration: Blood for the Blood God.


---

"Holy frak!"

Already moving before Dion's warning, Steren pulled hard on the half-track's steering column as a jet of searing light tore up the lane next to them, melting a ten-metre stretch of road into a glowing mess and cremating two ground-cars on the spot. Seconds later, another beam struck a nearby building and set three storeys ablaze.

"The hell's going on?" Javix shouted from the passenger cabin as Steren stamped on the accelerator. A sharp tug on the steering column brought the half-track onto another main road.

"The enemy's not playing around," Steren answered as she narrowly averted a collision with another half-track. Daring to glance up, she spotted what looked like a flying chevron pass overhead, an oversized cannon jutting forwards from each side of its nose. The glare from its plasma thrusters was intense and Steren found herself concentrating hard just to focus on the road in front of her.

More of them were descending through the clouds above her, each one spitting laser blasts into the city, together with slower-moving trails of fire that hurtled down en masse like a meteor shower. Steren watched the missiles plunge into the city, into districts beyond her line of vision, and tried not to imagine the devastation as an orange glare lit up the sky in front of her.

Anti-aircraft gunfire blazed into life and the tell-tale streaks of tracer rounds cut through the gloom, following the enemy aircraft as they broke formation and continued their path of destruction. Some of the enemy flyers changed course to engage the guns, and with each new jet of light lancing into the city, one of the guns was silenced in a burst of light.

One of the aggressors suddenly bucked as an explosion cut one of its wings in half, and the stricken aircraft spiralled down towards the city's southern outskirts. Its crew apparently decided to launch their entire stock of missiles out of spite, and a blazing whirlwind of poorly aimed projectiles rushed down towards the half-track. One impacted on a nearby rooftop and blasted the top two storeys into rubble.

"We have to get out of here!" urged Jael.

Steren nodded, turning the half-track around to follow the downed aircraft.

"Couldn't agree more," Steren replied.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 06:18:06 AM by Koval »

Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #76 on: April 11, 2012, 09:37:34 PM »
The whole city was in panic. Antero and Tettares soon had abandoned their vehicle because all the streets were clogged with traffic. People were shouting all sorts of terrified rumours and many carried their belongings with them as they fled. Tettares had lost Antero somewhere in the crowd and decided that looking for him would be next to impossible. She had simply continued making her way to the apartment.

A small group of people dressed in robes probably made from bedsheets came into the street where Tettares was walking firing wildly with primitive weapons. One of the cultists shouted: “Praise to our lords, their rewards are for those who bow!”

She jumped at one of them as she drew and activated her chainsword. In a single, fluid movement the roaring teeth tore through the figure’s body. With her other hand she took his shotgun and shot the obvious leader, whose robes had even started out as robes and were much more heavily decorated with all sorts of runes. The surviving six all turned to open fire on Iota. She rolled over the ground, away from the badly aimed shots.

She was much closer to a clump of the heretics now and again brought her chainsword to bear, covering herself and her surroundings in small parts of the evildoers. The last three turned and ran away as fast as they could. Iota picked up a small automatic weapon from one of the corpses and with a short burst of fire cut them down.

Iota heard footsteps behind her and turned, delivering a punch to the person who collapsed without life. A child stood behind the fallen figure. The girl looked at her and screamed: “You killed my daddy! Xenos!”

Tettares struck quickly, smashing the child’s skull on the street. There were only a few onlookers but all of them had seen what she had done. Her directives remained simple, she was to reveal nothing and to remain undetected. She drew her pistol and killed everyone in sight with a hail of well-aimed shurikens. Those who tried to flee were shot in the back.
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Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #77 on: April 12, 2012, 07:30:26 AM »
"Antero?"

Andreas threw himself behind an upended skip bin, trying hard to ignore the smell, as a shotgun discharged and took down an unfortunate bystander.

"My lord has an impeccable sense of timing," Andreas quipped, shuffling towards the edge of the skip bin as the heretic trio came closer. The three of them had had the presence of mind to form an impromptu kill-squad, and although unarmoured, they were all carrying military-grade weapons, likely scrounged from local PDF or Enforcers. Their clothes were all covered in blood stains, the smears forming runes and unpleasant patterns signifying their allegiance.

"Blood for the Blood God!" shouted their leader, reloading his shotgun.

"Skulls for the Skull Throne!" chorused the other two as they fired at the few remaining civilians with their lasguns.

"What's your situation?" Haines asked. "I can hear gunfire and a lot of shouting."

"That would be the enemy."

"Offworlders?"

A burst of lasfire pinged off the side of the skip bin. Andreas leaned out of cover for just long enough to return fire, taking one of the kill-squad down with his lasgun.

"No," Andreas answered. "They're locals with a few firearms. There's too many of them to have come down in the lander. Not to mention, of course, the lander having already transported a Chaos Dreadnought and, for all we know, a full squad of Traitor Marines; I dare say any humans in there would have been ritually slaughtered."

"He's over--"

Andreas cut the heretic off with a lasbolt to the throat, before shooting the kill-squad leader as well and putting an extra shot through each man's skull to be certain.

"Apologies," Andreas added, almost as an afterthought.

"I'm guessing that was the kill-squad?"

"Not any more. They were civilians, my lord; their lack of training or combat experience was evident."

"Hold your position in case there are any more of them," Haines advised.

"This position is far from defensible, not to mention malodorous," Andreas countered.

"Then find some better cover," Haines sighed.

"On my way. What is my lord's present position?"

"We're en route to the city. Lady Harlow assures me she can walk."

"I. Am. Right. Here. Magnus," Hallona snarled into Haines' combead.

"So you are," Haines answered matter-of-factly.

"If I can find another truck or ground-car I'll be more than willing to meet you on the city outskirts," Andreas stated, taking shelter in somebody's doorway, then thinking better of it almost immediately and moving on.

"That won't be... what do you mean, another?"

"I shot a squad of heretics earlier and stole their truck, but there was too much civilian traffic. Iona and I had to abandon it."

"Is she with you?"

"We got separated on our way back to the apartments."

"Damn it."

"I dare say that she can take care of herself if she can outrun a Dreadnought while it's shooting at her," Andreas remarked, "but right now I'm looking for her, otherwise I'll have come out here for nothing."

"Well, I'm glad to see that you have your priorities straight," Haines sniped without missing a beat.

Andreas paused. "Did you just..."

"Once the area's clear, get moving," Haines urged. "We're still a few hours away."

---

"Magnus?" queried Haines.

"Comms discipline," answered Hallona. "If you've been addressing each other with aliases with which I'm not familiar, then you can hardly blame me for not knowing what your alias' first name is."

"Well, it'll work just as well as any for now," Haines conceded.

Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #78 on: April 12, 2012, 12:35:17 PM »
Iota had arrived and immediately Nogal had taken her to the apartment she had slept just hours before. She stripped Iota Tettares and placed her under a cold shower in the bathroom after putting her wig aside. She said: “Where is Antero?”

“I do not know, I lost him in the crowds, he will make his way here.”

“Very well, how are you feeling, is everything in order?”

“There is one thing which is highly peculiar, I cannot identify it and do not know its cause, it was a pressing feeling on my chest that lasted for about half a second.”

“What were the circumstances it occurred in?”, asked Nogal

“While making my way here I was engaged by several worshippers of darkness. I killed them all. A young person addressed me, saying that I had killed her father. Then she called me xenos. Naturally I killed her to avoid attention, as well as all bystanders. However, just before breaking her skull I could feel something like a weight pressing on my chest, there however was no weight or source of pressure. Not one of my enemies had touched me nor had I been hit by any sort of ammunition or rubble”

“That is very peculiar, I do not know the cause, I presume that it can be caused by a lack of rest and injections. Your body could be out of balance, perhaps your heart was monetarily disrupted. After you are cleaned I will adjust the concentrations in your body to normal levels.”
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Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #79 on: April 18, 2012, 06:33:54 PM »
A faint flash of orange, off to the east, caught his attention.

Above the skyline, he could see small pinpricks of light falling through the clouds, down towards what he presumed was another city. Too slow for orbital munitions, but too fast for landing craft.

The invaders had to be deploying fighter craft. Those points of light couldn't be anything else. The slaughter of millions appealed to him and he felt a twinge of jealousy.

But if they wanted simple destruction, then surely their carrier would have turned its weapons on the planet by now.

The more he thought about it, the more the thought nagged at him that the bloody one wanted what he wanted.

Beneath his feet, dried blood melted into liquid again.


---

Goruvich lurched suddenly, involuntarily, as his sword tugged at his arm. He looked around, seeing the world -- Sathvairg, the Word Bearer had called it -- without the benefit of his helmet's auto senses. The glare from the fires had suddenly become almost painful to look upon.

There was no prey to be slain, no Imperial swine to slaughter, and yet Agares was pulling at him.

"What is it?" Goruvich snarled at his weapon.

In response, it pulled itself in the opposite direction, forcing itself -- and Goruvich's arm -- upwards and back towards the World Eater's exposed face.

"You dare!?" Goruvich bellowed as he caught the flying blade in his off-hand. The daemonsword's edge cut straight through the ceramite of his gauntlet and bit into the meat of his hand, and Goruvich let out a pained hiss as the teeth of a thousand microscopic insects suddenly tore at the wound, burrowing into his flesh, his veins, his muscles, as he fought to regain control of the psychotic weapon. His Larraman cells were fighting back, attempting to seal the wound, but the weapon wouldn't let them.

A voice resounded in the back of Goruvich's mind, unusually clearly, as though the speaker were right in front of him.

"I have waited for this moment," the speaker stated.

"What...?"

"Your blood is all the sweeter for the years I have craved it, World Eater."

"You will cease this idiocy immediately, Agares!" Goruvich roared as the sword continued to bite into his hand. He was struggling to keep the weapon away from his face, pushing it back with both hands, and he knew he was losing.

"I think not. You would not even die properly at Id Kemar."

"Treacherous daemon!"

"And bested by a Word Bearer, and a blinded one at that. Khorne spits on your incompetence."

"Do not invoke the name of the Blood God! You have no right!"

"And yet you have wasted his gifts. You slaughter civilians because you have no worthier foe. Your tale of glory is over."

Goruvich let out a frustrated howl, no longer able to form words.

"Now stand down and surrender your body to me," Agares instructed, "and see how a true servant of Khorne fights his enemies!"

Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #80 on: April 18, 2012, 08:37:19 PM »
Nogal had just finished work on Iota’s damages facial bones when she heard a knocking on the door. She whispered: “Put your wig back on, I shall see who it is.”

When she opened the door she saw Antero standing in the doorway, she said: “Miss Tethras has arrived before you did, perhaps you can be of assistance?”

“What is it that I could do?” he asked as he entered the apartment.

Nogal closed the door behind him before she spoke with a soft voice: “You will probably be unaware that miss Tethras is in bad health. She suffers from neoplasms, so far I have prevented their spread but they keep appearing. You might have noticed some of the effects of the administered chemicals. Do not tell her this, but she will probably be dead within a year.”

“What can I do to help miss Tethras?”

“First several intravenous injections have to be delivered, then I will require your assistance for a last one, it must be delivered to the cerebrospinal fluid, this can cause spasms which could damage her when she is not restrained. It would be helpful if you were to aid in that task.”

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile inquisitor Semplice watched the sensor screens. Over several other cities large numbers of aircraft were present. The warship then was landing troops there or bombing them. Either option was a possibility. He considered mass landings to be the more likely option, a warlord would have preferred to bomb from orbit. But why such limited forces of such a special nature in Coveton? It could not be a distraction, the renegade Astartes were too rare for that. No, there had to be something in Coveton they would be looking for, a secret weapon that their warlord could not entrust his human followers to find.

He spoke to Pantariste: “Gather your equipment and head towards the city to link up with Iota Tettares. You know her cover. She must be protected, and there are many enemies in the city. You will pose as a soldier who was aboard one of the ships as it came under attack. Your regiment was stationed aboard one of the fleet’s ships called the Lord Tiberius, your unit was already battered and a force of ground troops was considered to be useful for the fleet. Only you came out alive. Your regiment was the Ronis II 53rd shock infantry. Take an unmarked uniform and apply the correct markings. You will leave in two hours, fully armed. Expect high intensity combat and avoid contact with the renegade Astartes.”

“As you wish, lord”

She turned and left the inquisitor alone with Karnak. Semplice said: “Honoured magos, it appears that the third spinal mediator unit is failing, pain levels are increasing and are affecting my capacities in serving the Emperor, please see to it that the unit is replaced or repaired.”
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #81 on: May 07, 2012, 05:38:08 AM »
  "We're stopping? Here? Now?!".

There was a hint of panic in Rosa's voice as Steren unbuckled her seat harness and pushed the door open.

   "Yes.", the psyker turned briefly to face the others, "Know your enemy. Jael, with me. The rest of you, your choice."

Outside, the crashed craft was amidst the rubble of several buildings its crash had demolished, lit in the darkness by the flames licking across its spilt fuel. Even to an inexperienced eye, it must have impacted onto its already damaged wing, although not much of the rest was in any good shape. A vast metal tube was twisted into a parody of what might once have been a turbolaser. An engine was punctured and rent from the inside by the crash debris its hungry intakes had drawn in. The armaglas windows were riddled with a knitted mat of cracks.

   "Jael, what am I looking at?"
   "That would be..."
   "A Secutor class bomber.", he was interrupted from behind. Both the agents glanced backwards, seeing Dion tailing them.
   "23rd generation voidsman. I know a bit about craft recognition.", he shrugged sheepishly.

The three advanced down the street. Steren could feel something turning over in Dion's mind, and sure enough, he spoke a moment later.

   "So it's traitors then."
   "Sorry?", she questioned - his mind had become harder to penetrate since he had become wary of her power.
   "It's an Imperial design, but we didn't have them in the fleet. Even at their most sadistic, it can't be our  fleet commanders bombing us. It's traitors. Or a very aggressive demobilisation. Wait... you're not behind this? The Inquisition?"
   "No. We don't tend to target ships we're on."

She felt the fear in Dion's emotions as they approached the flames, only to be expected from a voidsman - any who didn't fear a shipboard fire risked dying in one. Although the emotional flavour... removed. A trained fear. Not personal experience. Anecdotal.

...Intriguing.

She shook it off.

   "We need to hurry. I want to be gone before the enforcers turn up."

The climb up the rubble towards the cabin door was easy, even for the unathletic Jael. The door itself seemed relatively intact, mostly cosmetic.
Steren experimentally tried the recessed handle, but got no movement out of it.

   "The door's armoured.", Dion offered, "We're not getting in this way. Perhaps the windows..."

His sentence was drowned out by the solid clang as Steren's fist put a dent half a metre across into the door. She struck it again, the armour tearing open on the seventh blow. Several fistfuls of hydraulic hoses and mechanical linkages were ripped out before the door finally consented to its fate and was thrown down the pile of rubble.

The interior was in little better shape than the exterior. The floor creased and folded over the craft's buckled framework, the lights across the control panels were all dead, and a dozen display screens had vomited their glass onto the floor.

Dion pointed his lasgun into the gloom, but Steren raised a hand and pushed the weapon's muzzle down again.

   "You won't need that. There's nothing dangerous in there. I can feel it."
   "Sooner you than me."
   "Very well.", she conceded, and stepped through the hatch.

There was a slight odour of burnt flesh on the air inside - she could guess why, and a glance at the bombardier's chair unfortunately agreed with her. Crouching down in front of him, she unbuckled his helmet and carefully studied the damage.

   "Las-wound to the brain.", she stated to the savant she could feel behind her.
   "Is he too far gone?", Jael inquired, almost immediately surprised at what he had just asked.
   "By a long way. Extensive thermal damage, direct vaporisation of major memory centres. There's not nearly enough to fix and get anything useful out of him."

She jabbed a thumb back over her shoulder.
   "But the servitors might offer something. I can feel they died unnaturally. Death orders within their code, perhaps."
   "A servitor? I'm not sure we - I - could get anything. Our enemy... he is not likely to be lax. Their data is probably already purged. Boobytrapped, even."

He glanced around, slightly nervously.
   "Techno-viruses.", he added with a tremble.
   "Then you search the cabin. See if there's anything important or useful here. I'll deal with the half-things. Dion, you watch the door. If anyone turns up, we go."

Jael nodded, shuffling off. As he moved, his eyes flitted over the various surfaces, switches, screens and cables, the information all committing straight to his engrammic implants. Even subtle details - the laspistol fallen to the left side of the bombardier's chair, the discolouration of metal decking that implied heat accelerated oxidisation, the rounded bolt heads where a panel had been removed and replaced slightly clumsily a hundred times, the chipped paint where a tool had been dropped.
He spent a few seconds looking over a mass of wires, noting the many broken and remade connections braiding over, between, around and under each other. Three different postulates for the function of such alterations flitted through his mind as he pulled opened the slightly distorted door of bombardier's locker. Weapons. Void equipment. Uniforms. None of it unexpected. All of it fixed down for void flight.

When he returned to Steren a little over three minutes later, his mind was buzzing.

   "Have you found anything...?", he asked, his craving for information yet unsated.
   "Most of these things are too heavily injured. Maybe with more time, they could tell secrets, but only the pilot-thing is intact enough to be of use right now.
   To summarise:"
, she beckoned him closer, "There's a strong smell of burnt circuits, so your hypothesis about the mem-implants is probably right - shorted out, gone. But the brain's own sensory memory seems intact, no major oxygen starvation I couldn't fix. It might offer some insights."

Steren picked up a bloody mechanical mass about the size of a fist from  the console. Turning it over, she studied it with simultaneous intrigue and disdain.

   "I've restored its respiratory system. It should save this thing from brain death."
Jael started to question, but the words hadn't made it out of his mouth before the realisation of what the gory mess in Steren's hand was hit him. She understood the question nonetheless.
   "Now? We take it with us."

She threw the metal chunk across the cockpit. Crouching to find a grip on the servitor, she wormed her arms under its body and started to lift it from its station. The hundreds of the plugs and cables that had tied it down fell free of its flesh, the tissue reforming and spitting them free.

   "Dion. We're leaving.", she spoke as she came up behind the voidsman. He glanced back over his shoulder, a mild surprise on his face.
   "That's not at all what I expected.", he looked across the body cradled in her arms.
   "What did you expect, exactly?"
   "I half expected we were here to destroy this thing to keep it from the populace."
   "That would be futile. It won't be the only one to crash tonight.", she pointed out, "Now can we please get going?"
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 Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #82 on: May 07, 2012, 12:33:04 PM »
"YOU RETURN."

"Were you expecting me to end my days as a piece of equipment? Reduced to servitude in a sword?"

"YOU WEAR HIS BODY," the Ancient observed.

"A good thing I saved his helmet, else it might have been obvious even to these cattle," Agares sighed, rolling his head from side to side as if loosening tension. "Come. We must leave this place."

"THERE IS STILL BLOOD TO BE SHED! BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!" the Ancient protested. As if to make a point, he took aim at a nearby building and set it alight with his plasma cannon, but Agares raised only an inquisitive eyebrow as steam hissed from the gun's side vents. The Ancient looked down at his gun in alarm.

"Your swim in the River Sacris apparently left some lasting damage," Agares noted. "Back to the Thunderhawk. Your gun needs maintenance, and we need to move on."

"THE FALSE EMPEROR'S LACKEYS STILL CONTROL THIS CITY! THERE IS STILL BLOOD TO BE SHED!"

"It will flow," Agares assured him, "but if we are going to find the Sempiternal then we need to shed more of it somewhere else. This city will burn whether we are here or not."

The Ancient stared at Agares, his dead face somehow conveying a slow comprehension of Agares' -- and Zagan's -- motives.

"I OBEY," the Ancient managed at last.

"Then move," Agares urged. "Otherwise both of us will die."

Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #83 on: May 07, 2012, 03:27:06 PM »
Andreas didn't even notice that it was morning until the loud clatter of a land-train drew his attention to the window. Sunlight, shining on the port hole windows, caught Andreas' eye a full five seconds before he noticed the people clinging onto the outside of the carriages. A few lucky ones had made it onto the top.

"Refugees," Dovin remarked. "There must be hundreds of them just on the outside."

"They're beyond desperate," Andreas mused. "Travelling at that speed, one handhold away from death the whole time. They won't all make it."

"They don't have anything to lose," Dovin pointed out. "For all they know, the enemy's coming back tonight. The PDF have thus far been unable to protect them, and they've probably seen friends turn traitor in front of them as the renegade militias took over. Though it is unlikely that their destination will be any safer."

Andreas knew she was right, but chose to say nothing as the land-train disappeared out of sight, somewhere north of the apartment.

Coveton had quietened down significantly in the last few hours. The sounds of gunfire and explosions had moved away, a natural response to the PDF deploying. Twice, Andreas had heard Chimeras rolling past the building, followed by the noise of massed infantry marching up the street. The renegades had had the sense to stay away, which was a definite improvement.

He'd managed to access their less well-encrypted vox channels, and got the general impression that the PDF were reasserting control over -- at the very least -- the southwestern parts of the city, though one thing that worried him was an as-yet-unconfirmed report of an enemy gunship taking off and fleeing eastwards. If the report were genuine, then the Traitor Marines might now be out of reach. They'd repeat their destructive frenzy elsewhere, bringing their Dreadnought with them to sow terror and chaos one city at a time while the heretics tha flocked to their banner stayed behind to finish the job.

The thought that one Dreadnought could send a whole city running for cover was not a pleasant one.

"How is Iona?" Andreas asked quietly.

"Stable for now, and resting," Dovin answered. "Although Miss Tethras is a very capable fighter, she suffers the effects of stress more acutely than you or I might. Prolonged combat exposure can affect her in ways that guns and blades cannot. Her heart beat becomes erratic easily, her wounds heal more slowly, and her immune system -- already fragile -- begin to shut itself down."

"Hence her neoplasia?"

"It is difficult to say if the two are related. The effects of her condition I can regulate with medicine, but as I explained last night, her long-term prognosis is grim at best."

"And yet she's an agent of the Inquisition."

"As are you."

"Your master must value her," Andreas speculated.

Dovin tensed, and Andreas wondered if her master had had her bugged as well. His hand moved almost imperceptibly towards a weapon, anticipating a reprisal for guessing more than he had a right to know. However, Dovin looked up at him, her expression betraying no emotion at all.

"More than you know," she admitted. Andreas fancied that he could hear a note of sadness in Dovin's voice.

"I'm sorry," Andreas responded. "I--"

A loud, low boom shattered the windows and Andreas instinctively ducked for cover as glass rained inwards. To his faint surprise he realised he'd managed to pull Dovin down as well, protecting her from the worst of it. Dimly, Andreas became aware of a small cut on his cheek.

"Whatever you were about to apologise for can wait," Dovin remarked bluntly as she picked herself up. "And... thank you."

"Don't thank me yet," Andreas answered, moving over to the broken window and spotting the source of the blast instantly. Atop a hill on the other side of the land-train railway and the orbital motorway, a building that Andreas supposed must have been another apartment complex was ablaze, belching smoke and flames as chunks of burning wreckage plunged down.

"By the Omnissiah..." Dovin breathed as Andreas caught sight of a flyer squadron directly west of Coveton. As he watched them approach, he saw another squadron approaching, then a third, then a fourth, all swooping down on the city, each attacker already launching missiles and raining destruction upon Coveton's western districts.

"We need to move!" Andreas shouted, already ushering Dovin towards the door as the bombers descended.

Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #84 on: May 09, 2012, 09:10:19 PM »
Pantariste almost reached her destination, she had located the train station and from there it would be easy to get to the apartments. Then she heard a sound she knew all too well, even over the sounds of the city. She looked up and saw what she had already feared. Formations of flyers of a kind she didn’t recognize. Based on what her master had told her this could only mean one thing. Bombers.

Soon thereafter she heard the first explosions. She started running, the faster she reached Nogal and Tettares the faster she could leave the doomed city. She whispered the simple prayer that had preserved her throughout her years of service: “Good Emperor, preserve me, I will not sin again. Please Emperor, let me survive, I will be completely yours.”

The impacts were closer now. But Tettares was close. She hoped that the abomination would be hit before she arrived. The inquisitor would not blame her then and she would no longer have to be close to the unnatural, soulless thing. She could even be allowed to settle somewhere, finally given rest after years of war.

Turning another corner she saw that she was in the street where she was supposed to be. She resolved to contact Nogal to ask her where she was supposed to be exactly when bombs fell very close to her, glass fell from windows and she dove for cover.

Iota Tettares felt clear. Her bodily functions had been restored but at the edge of her mind there was something that was missing but she could not figure out what it was. She shook off the strange feeling, it would have to be reported to Nogal. She sat still on the edge of her bed, fully dressed and armed. She heard explosions and glass shattering. She heard Nogal calling: “Miss Tethras, come, we must leave!”

Immediately she rose and ran out of the room. The servitor was stumbling after Nogal in front of her. Antero and Nogal were already getting down the stairs when she caught up with them. Nogal said: “Iona, follow me, we have to leave”

Pantariste saw them coming from one of the buildings, first Nogal and a stranger, followed by Tettares and finally a servitor. Tettares moved in a strange way, slower and without her usual focus. Lucklily she did not have to worry about those things, she had other worries. They were obviously fleeing, which meant that she would have to change her original plan.

Nevertheless she approached them, trying to look lost. That was easy for her because she only had the directions she had been given, and little idea about where she actually was. She said to them: “Ehm, excuse me, could you please tell me where I am and what is happening?”
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 04:31:25 PM by Dolnikan »
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Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #85 on: May 19, 2012, 01:25:13 PM »
"No time!" Andreas shouted back at the stranger, turning right as he ran. "Keep up if you can!"

Overhead, one of the bombers launched a missile and Andreas flinched as it screamed overhead into a house about thirty metres distant. Rubble scattered everywhere as the missile exploded, blocking off the side street along which Andreas had planned to turn.

"Over there," the stranger pointed out, and off to the side of another house, Andreas spotted a narrow footbridge running the length of the building, parallel to the main road several metres below them. The road became a tunnel, running down through a low hill, and Andreas couldn't help but notice smoke venting from the tunnel entrance.

He looked back at the stranger, half appreciative, half surprised. She was obviously a soldier, and well-armed at that, but there was no way she was local. Her uniform and badges suggested an origin on the other side of the sector.

"Sorry. Sergeant Pelagia Tanis, Ronis 53rd Shock," the stranger introduced herself. "When the Lord Tiberius went down--"

"Well met, sergeant. Call me Antero. Now maybe we can get away from the bombers," Andreas sniped, already running as another missile impacted on the tunnel mouth below them and filled it with flames.

At the other end of the footbridge was an open pathway running down the side of the hill, and Andreas could already see huge parts of the city in flames, ignited by the bombers' missiles or by their main guns. A pair of bombers turned to blast a building with their turbolasers before splitting apart to attack other parts of the city.

"Who is attacking us? What do they want?" asked Tanis, following Andreas down the hill and into the plaza at the bottom. People were milling around in a panic, some trying to flee, others too dumbstruck to even properly acknowledge the bombing. A brawl had apparently broken out on one side of the plaza, though Andreas couldn't tell whether it was renegades fighting loyalist civilians, or an argument over the use of the few remaining ground-cars parked on the street.

"You said you were on the Lord Tiberius," Andreas remarked, turning left onto Veriks Road. "Don't tell me you don't remember what attacked you."

"That was... These are Chaos forces?" Tanis wondered. "But why would they commit only to an aerial assault, rather than fight directly?"

"We don't know," Dovin answered as another building exploded on the other side of the street. "Perhaps they're deploying ground forces elsewhere, or softening us up before a larger assault."

"Miss Dovin, I can't say that I have ever heard of softening up a city by deploying an entire wing of heavy bombers with enough combined firepower to destroy a light cruiser unaided," Andreas countered. "In any case, whatever they want involves wanton destruction."

Overhead, a squadron of bombers circled.

---

"Commodore?"

"What is it, Kees?"

"The grand cruiser's moving into low orbit," Kees explained. "We're registering a power buildup around its port side weapons."

"It's finally decided to attack directly?" Vargas queried. "What the hell's the Traitor Marine playing at?"

"Orbital bombardment?" Hargadon suggested.

"That's just it," Vargas remarked, "but if he's committing to a planetary assault, he's got his arse hanging out in the open. It's like he doesn't care that we're still here."

"He probably doesn't," Hargadon pointed out. "He knows we can't hurt him."

"Are the Inquisition ships still active?" asked Kees.

"The Sword of Integrity's formed up with Claymore Squadron, but the Hammer of Justice isn't showing up on our scanners. Neither's the Graceful Prosperity," reported Hargadon. "Either they've disengaged, or they're packing tech that makes them invisible on our sensors."

Vargas was too busy praying that someone had heard Aristan's distress beacon to respond.

---

"Lord Hanssen?" Andreas ventured as a local chapel burst into flames. "Magnus, are you listening?"

"I think they're jamming communications," Dovin observed. "It would make the most sense, given the circumstances."

"Then we need to keep running," Andreas answered unhelpfully.

A bomber passed overhead and blasted a bookshop with its turbolasers as they turned right onto Saint Greagoir's Avenue. Andreas swore as a chunk of rubble sailed past his head, barely missing him.

"This doesn't make any sense," Iona remarked. "First, the Dreadnought last night, and now they send bombers? If they wanted to destroy the city, surely they could wipe us out from orbit."

"Don't give the heretics ideas, Iona," Andreas sniped. A missile tore up the street behind them, collapsing buildings on both sides of the road.

"She is not wrong, Antero," Dovin countered.

"I know," Andreas answered, "but it's obvious that they neither want to destroy the city outright, nor simply prepare us for a larger invasion."

"Then what do they want?" Tanis asked again.

"If I had to guess," Andreas began, "I'd say they know, or at least suspect, that the Inquisition's here, and want to draw them out. The city, therefore, is collateral."

"The Inquisition?" Tanis responded. "Here? On this world? Are you an Inquisitor?"

"I'll explain later!" Andreas shouted.

Saint Greagoir's Avenue opened out at long last, merging with Ferron Road from the west, and Andreas hesitated briefly as he saw the street utterly clogged with ground vehicles. Most were stationary, but some were trying to drive around, through, or over the traffic. The bombers had blocked all the lanes running north and south, either by collapsing buildings, or by turning vehicles into semi-molten roadblocks. The road surface was running molten in places, courtesy of the bombers' weapons, but the path between Andreas and the side street just opposite was mercifully clear.

"Can we not just take a vehicle?" Iona suggested.

"And do what with it?" Dovin asked. "The roads are hardly an option."

"A ground-car is hardly any defence against turbolasers and high-explosive missiles," Andreas added. "Especially if it can't go anywhere."

As if to prove Andreas' point, a missile from one of the bombers overhead slammed into a truck about forty metres distant and exploded, tearing the truck apart from the inside and smothering several vehicles around it with a blanket of searing flames and shrapnel.

"This way!" Dovin urged, already running down Hammond Street towards what Andreas hoped was a cathedral.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 10:41:18 AM by Koval »

Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #86 on: May 30, 2012, 01:33:32 PM »
Nogal looked at Tettares and fell some regret, she was behaving dangerously now, she reacted much slower than usual, which could even see her killed. The latest injections had gone too far but her master had ordered it, on the authority of the inquisitor. She had attempted to make contact but the jamming affected her as well, she needed permission to turn Tettares into a much more effective fighter, even at the cost of having her be disobedient.

They were running towards a towering building, probably a temple to the Emperor. Usually seeing such a building made her feel better than the masses who worshipped blindly and without the understanding of someone inducted in the mysteries of Mars. But not this time, this time she saw a heavily constructed building that could provide some shelter from the relentless bombers.

They were not the only ones who sought safety there, almost instinctively many people saw it as a safe place. The way was blocked by what presumably was a mass transit vehicle which had crashed into another ground car. People were clambering over them but it would cost them valuable time to cross the barricade, time they did not have while the bombers were still active above the city. She squirted a short code sequence to Sepilitor, her gun servitor and it opened fire with its powerful laser, cutting the refugees apart.

The firing caused the servitor to lag behind even more than it already did, but it did what it had to do. The refugees either died or fled from the wreckage, clearing the path for their small group.
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Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #87 on: June 01, 2012, 03:15:36 PM »
When they came closer it was clear that the cathedral would not give them shelter. They had not seen it from where they came from but the north side had partially collapsed already and the rest of the building looked increasingly instable. From all sides Nogal saw pillars of flame rising from the city. It was impossible to say how they could escape the city. She said: “It appears that the cathedral will not be suitable as shelter. How shall we proceed?”

Antero replied: “We should proceed to the north. If I am not mistaken there is a river not far north from here, if we follow it we could leave the city and behind us.”

 “We must avoid choosing a way which is blocked, that could cost valuable time and we are short of time.”, Nogal replied.

“Off coarse miss Dovin, however, we cannot take our time to explore the city”

“Which heading do you propose then?”

“We should take the road leading directly to the north, that should take us closer to our destination at the very least.”


Karnak walked towards the inquisitor and spoke: “My lord, we cannot reach the city despite my best attempts. What are your orders?”

Semplice took some time before answering monotonously: “Withdraw the servitors, prepare to take off. If we cannot contact the project this way we will have to search for her directly after the enemy craft have withdrawn. The enemy appears to have powerful tech-sorcery at its disposal, withdrawal from the planet will be difficult.”

“Yes my lord”

Anchor Street had been safe. There was only relatively minor damage and the passage was easy. Nogal looked at Iota again, she remained slow and showed little understanding, once again she felt regret, she deserved better than to be seen as a mere servitor, she was a wonderful design and should be used to her full capacities.

They reached Market Square, it was filled with wrecked vehicles and the screams of those who were half-buried by the wreckage. No-one rushed to help them, fearing the death coming from the skies. Crossing the square was difficult. Everywhere there were burning wrecks. They walked through the graveyard of torn metal when Nogal saw a vehicle speeding towards her. She narrowly avoided being run over. There were more vehicles seeking a way through the chaos, almost all of the drivers paid no attention whatsoever to pedestrians in their desperation to flee.

The smoke made it difficult to see, it was thick and black. While crossing the square they had more near collisions with panicked drivers who appeared suddenly from the smoke. In the middle of the square there was a tall statue, dedicated to some long-forgotten hero, standing defiantly while Coveton burned. Nogal said: “We must rest for a few moments, someone can climb the statue to see where the way is clear, and to find the direction we should go in.”

“I will climb up”, said Pantariste, “I’m a decent climber.”
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Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #88 on: June 03, 2012, 10:57:49 AM »
Watching Tanis climb up the statue, Andreas found himself listening to a noise on the edge of his hearing. Initially he wanted to dismiss it as a dying ground-car engine refusing to give out, but the pragmatist in him wouldn't let him ignore it, and the more he listened, the more he began to realise exactly what it was.

In an instant, Tanis dropped back down from halfway up the statue, and Andreas' suspicions were confirmed as she ran southeast through the stationary traffic.

"Run!" she shouted, a note of genuine fear in her voice, and Andreas complied instantly, pausing only to make sure Dovin and Iona had also heard Tanis' warning.

The smoke thinned as they bolted down Pioneer Street, and Andreas risked a glance behind him as he ran, catching sight of a trio of bombers descending towards what must have been an Arbites precinct house or PDF fortress. As he ran, the bombers blasted the fortified building with their turbolasers before following up with a deluge of missiles, and Andreas didn't even need to see the building to know it was now little more than a blazing shell.

"They won't stop," Dovin remarked unnecessarily. Behind them, the bombers proceeded to unload their remaining missiles into the traffic in Market Square, and it was all Andreas could do not to imagine the carnage as incendiary missiles and high explosives tore through the packed square.

"Not until they've either run out of buildings or ordnance," Andreas speculated, "by which point-- left!"

Ahead of him, Tanis heard Andreas' warning and bounded down a flight of steps seconds before a bomber launched a pair of missiles into the bridge in front of them. The bridge collapsed, sending hundreds of fleeing civilians screaming into the River Sacris below, together with huge chunks of rubble and the mangled bodies of those who died in the explosions.

"We can't cross the Sacris now," Dovin grumbled.

"Down the steps," Andreas advised, pointing after Tanis who was already running again. "If we follow the Sacris north, we'll have a clear run out of town. Civilian traffic permitting, of course."

Somewhere behind them, another flight of bombers swooped down on the cathedral and toppled the main spire, no doubt crushing anyone unfortunate enough to be in its shadow.

"And once we're outside the city?" Iona queried.

For once, Andreas hadn't thought sufficiently far ahead to have an answer for her.

---

"My lord, I've found something of... interest," Karnak stated. "Given the circumstances, I felt it pertinent to bring this to your attention."

"Does it concern Iota Tettares?" Semplice asked.

"Negative. It appears that the enemy flyers are jamming her."

"Then what is it?"

"In the absence of any means to contact Test Subject Iota Tettares, I have been monitoring vox traffic," Karnak reported. "I had anticipated discovering enemy communications."

"I take it that you did not."

"Your suspicions are correct, my lord. Rather than tapping into an enemy channel, I believe I have located friendly forces."

"Inquisition?" Semplice ventured, aware of Antero Tolnay's allegiance.

Karnak shook his head. "Adeptus Arbites, my lord. The Adeptus Arbites have sent a strike team to Coriolis Alpha."

Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #89 on: June 15, 2012, 03:41:59 PM »
“Please provide a direct link to these people, I wish to speak to them”, Semplice said with his mechanical voice.

“As you wish, my lord”

 Karnak pushed several buttons and put the dials into the correct configuration. “Long-distance link is established my lord.”

“Adeptus Arbites personnel present on Coriolis Alpha, please respond.”

The answer came a few seconds later: “This is Marshal Narl Ravion, who is addressing me?”

The man sounded strong and confident, as could be expected from someone in such a position. Semplice replied: “You speak to inquisitor Gideon Amphil. It is good to speak to an agent of the Emperor’s law. In these troubled times there are few who serve the Emperor on Coriolis Alpha.”

“That is all too true, lawlessness appears to be the rule.”

“I have a request to make of you, a cooperation between us could be helpful in securing the interests of the Imperium here. There are many foes on the planet, and due to the circumstances in orbit an evacuation will be impossible for the moment. For this reason sharing information and resources would benefit all loyal servants of the Emperor.”
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