Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Lost

This is a story that I'm still writing for my Knights of Orion Space Marine Chapter. Basically it goes through their fluff from a story point of view rather than the traditional "here are the facts" way. Now I'm not a great writer, so go easy on me! This is what I have so far (and if you guys like it, I'll keep posting updates to it as I go).

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In preparation for a potential Chaos assault in the Bakka system, a large contingent of Grey Knights, including myself, were dispatched to the sector. Shortly after docking, I began to gather reports from men and women who claim to have seen scouting ships of some sort. After obtaining further descriptions of these sightings, I came to the conclusion that this sector had indeed been scouted by Chaos marines and an assault was imminent.

Quickly refueling and resupplying, I ordered our Captain to maintain a high orbit above Bakka in hope that any assault could be thwarted, or at least severely hampered, before making landfall. It was only fourteen hours and twelve minutes later that our auspex picked up a very large signal coming from the Galactic North. Scanning over the logs, it seemed that this ship, as we later found out it was, appeared out of empty space: a warp portal, undoubtedly.

Our heading was immediately set to intersect this threat, but something out of the ordinary occurred. In the same place that this Chaos ship appeared, another soon followed. This one, however, seemed to be Imperial; an old design, maybe M32, with minor perversions to the hull. As the captain maneuvered the ship into a more defensive position – in order to deal with the duel threat – the second ship appeared to begin an attack run on the first. Not wanting to interfere until I could fully understand the situation, I ordered our Captain to hold fire and await further instruction. In a matter of merely a few hours, internal detonations began to tear the first ship into oblivion.

We are currently on an intercepting path with this perverted Imperial ship and I will report back in the next few days. May the Emperor Protect!
==Inquisitor Callius==
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++++Begin Transmission++++

I have spoken to the leader of the mysterious warp fleet and they claim to be a Chapter of Space Marines known as the Knights of Orion. I have found no record of this chapter and am wary of their validity as members of the Imperium, but have yet to find any evidence of treachery.

According to their Chapter Master, Arkaedin, they traveled into the warp shortly after being founded in M32, possibly M33, and have only now found their way out. I have four adepts scouring the ship for more information, and it seems as if ten-thousand years passed by as a mere one thousand; the ship – forged on Mars in M32 as I speculated – shows very little signs of aging. The perversions I mentioned in my last message are heavy modifications to the hull in order to protect themselves from the brutality of the Immaterium. The engineering behind these designs is remarkable and their Techmarines are among the most intelligent I have ever seen. The traits are very close to those of the Salamanders and Iron Hands, though this may be attributed simply to necessity during their travels in the Warp.

In trying to discover more information, both verbally and psychically, I stumbled across both an amazing piece of technology and a frustrating piece of history. For the former, their Librarians managed to create a psychic device, called the Praetus, which blocks out any form of psychic signature the Knights of Orion would give off in the warp and, more importantly, mimics the Grey Knight Aegis armor: blocking out any, and all, psychic intrusions. However it seems that in implementing this device the Knights were forced to purge nearly all emotional memory which could potentially disable the device (as it is fused with the cerebral cortex). While this has the benefit of maintaining sanity within the depths of the Warp, it caused all memory of their founding to be lost, which is why it is so difficult for me to confirm them as true Astartes.

I will be attempting to pry at the memories of the eldest Knights with high hope that not all of their memory was lost, but the Praetus is proving to be a difficult thing to penetrate. I will record any progress I have and forward it immediately.
May the Emperor protect.

==Inquisitor Callius==

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It was shortly after an attack raid on an Imperial Cruiser that the Knights of Orion entered warp space. We were in pursuit of an Iron Warrior ship, but things quickly went awry. It ended up being a well laid out trap, shouldn’t have expected any less from the bastards of Perturabo. After that, my memory gets hazy. I remember discussing potential routes from there: attacking warp planets, attempting to jump out of the warp or going into stasis until the Omnissiah guided our ship safely out of the Immaterium. Due to the humiliation of being fooled by Chaos scum, we settled on the first option. It was a bold endeavor but we truly had no choice. With the development of the Praetus. . .

“Ah yes, the Praetus, can you tell me more of that Master Arkaedin?”

I’ll tell you as much as I know. It is a very complex device, and I believe you have already discovered the basic workings of it. The device is part machine, part psychic energy that connects directly to the cerebral cortex, accounting for the loss of most of our memory. The basics principle behind it is that the machine part, the Reprium, performs a series of algorithms based upon the emotional input of the marine. This input is decoded using psychic energy - something which, admittedly, I know little about - before the Reprium can calculate the quantity of emotional power being emitted. The Reprium then produces a binary output which activates another psychic device known as the Contiguum. The Contiguum produces a psychic barrier, protecting the marine’s mind from psychic intrusion, but the intensity and type of barrier depends on the Reprium’s output. Of course, this is just a simplified explanation; however the inner workings of the machine are better understood, and explained, by Venerari, our Epistolary, and Kuron, our Master of the Forge. Their knowledge of the device is far greater than mine. And to answer your next question: yes, this device does give us psychic powers, albeit very dim. It was a feature to help us combat the vile creatures of the warp; it is a necessary curse, you see?

“Very well, Arkaedin. I can sense your memory growing weaker as you access more recent thoughts, so I will continue this interview another time. Thank you for your cooperation and may the Emperor protect.”

“May the Emperor protect, Inquisitor,” said Arkaedin, sitting back up and making the sign of the Aquila as he left Callius’ quarters.

++++Begin Transmission++++

After psychically interviewing the Knights of Orion’s Chapter Master, Arkaedin, I have discovered a few minor, but important facts. Namely, each marine has minor psychic powers. The way their Master described it seemed as if his Chapter was ashamed of these powers and they did not view them as an advantage at all. This is good, I truly believe their motives can be trusted. However, they will need some manipulation if we want to use them properly. If we keep this Chapter quiet enough, no one will ask questions if everything does not go as planned.

I will report back after further interviews, but things look bright. May the Emperor protect.

==Inquisitor Callius==

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"I don't trust him" said Apollo, Chapter Champion of the Knights of Orion, "he's scheming, you can see and feel it when he talks."

"I'm with you on that Apollo as I was able to listen to one of the Inquisitor's telepathic transmissions. Now I didn't get much but I got enough to make me a bit weary" said Epistolary Venerari as he picked up a piece of parchment with a random assortment of scribbles and began reading: Discovered a few minor...facts...ashamed...motives...need some manipulation...use them properly...keep...Chapter quiet...no...ask questions...does not go as planned.
"Yeah, not exactly the most coherent intercept, but I firmly believe this Inquisitor Callius is not to be trusted."

"Venerari, did you make sure Callius could not trace back the intercept?" asked Master Arkaedin.

"I may be old but I'm not stupid!" everyone let out a laugh, breaking the tension in the room, "With all due respect sir, I have intercepted thousands upon thousands of telepathic transmissions, most being from within the Warp. If I cannot intercept a simple message like this then you best find a new Epistolary, eh?" Arkaedin smiled. Venerari always seemed to have a sense of humor which was refreshing.

"Point taken. Though I think it's too early to begin speculating as to what the Inquisitor's motives may be. Perhaps Apollo's interview will help shed some light onto the situation? We'll have to wait and see." Arkaedin turned to Apollo "Make sure you psychically probe him as much as you can without alarming him. We need to find out what the hell is going on."

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“Watch your head” came the deafening scream over Apollo’s comm-link. Without thinking he immediately ducked, just in time to see the glowing orange blade of the Khornate Demon narrowly miss his head.

“Whoopsie-daisy!” mocked Apollo as he thrust his sword upwards towards the chest of the demon. The bloodletter reeled back in pain, clawing at its grotesque innards and lifting them to the air as if it was a sacrifice. “Frak, I hate this place” said Apollo as he stepped back to view the rest of the battlefield. Everything was covered in blood: the ground, his armor, his squads’ armor, the demons even the lakes and rivers were flowing with blood. And skulls. Frak were there a lot of skulls. Apollo has heard the cries of the followers of Khorne many times, Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne, but this was just excessive. In any case, this demonic world had to be crippled in some way as it was sending wave after wave of demon into the material realm and they needed to protect their former home, and possibly use this warp rift as an escape route but that was secondary to their mission.

“Champion Apollo, your armor looks a little blood stained” quipped Captain Helo.

“Heh, go figure. What’s the word on Master Arkaedin’s side of things Captain?”

“Rough, but their getting through it. I believe he said he has killed already slain a Greater Khronate Demon, so we really must be ticking this Bloodthirster off if it’s sending that kind of stuff out already!”

“Frak, a Greater Demon? We’ve just been getting bloodletters and the like over here. I mean it is a challenge, furious critters, but after awhile we’ve been killing them like clockwork. You sure all this man power is worth it?”

“I know Apollo, both you and I should be in the thick of it, but Master Arkaedin specifically requested that his retinue, your squad, accompany me. He and Epistolary Venerari were certain the gate was in this general area and he wanted his best warriors to aid me.” Apollo let out a sigh as both he and Helo walked over to the nearby river of blood.

“Perhaps,” Apollo though out loud as he dipped his sword into the river, "Perhaps we’re just not looking in the right place.”

“What are you getting at?” asked a bewildered Helo.

“The gate to the Bloodthirster’s palace, perhaps we’re not looking in the right place. A gate is, in essence, just a doorway or an entrance. Maybe the way to get into the palace is by entering the mindset of the demons.”

“I’m not following you at all Apollo. Stop being so cryptic, what are you talking about?”

“Maybe the entrance is in the blood itself: underneath the river of blood!”

“Ok, but how to you propose getting in?” Helo asked, still uncertain about the Champion’s train of thought.

“Let’s go for a swim.”
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“I’m sorry Inquisitor, that’s as far as my memory goes” said an apologetic Apollo as he lifted an ancient looking contraption off of his head. “If you’d please excuse me, I would like to return to my quarters?”

“Yes, of course Apollo. I thank you for your wonderful cooperation” responded Inquisitor Callius as he hastily jotted something down on his parchment.

Apollo began to calmly walk down the twisting corridors of his Battle Barge, desperately trying to keep hold of all the information he gleaned from the Inquisitor. He came upon a gold-inscribed door and opened it; it was Chapter Master Arkaedin’s personal quarters.

“Master, I think I just learned something very troubling about the Inquisitor.”

“Yes Apollo, what is it? Is it what we had all assumed?”

“No, worse. I believe all his messages are unintentionally being transmitted to The Ghost.” Arkaedin sat down, bewildered. His eyes darted across the room as his mind frantically tried to process this information.

“Are you sure Apollo? You do know what the implications are of what you’re saying, correct?”

“Yes, Arkaedin, the messages are being picked up by The Ghost. We’re not safe. The Inquisitor is not safe. The Imperial ships in deep orbit around Bakka are not safe. The Ghost is on his way.”

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff.

Schnitzel said...

Not bad. An interesting take on things. I like the bit about being lost in the warp. You hear about such things hinted at in fluff, but no one ever seems to really solidify it ya know.
One criticism I have for you though is that you seem to "tell" whats happening rather than "describing" it. Take for example, 'person such and such calmly walked out of the room'. You could easily flesh that out into a more descriptive scene for the reader, 'I could barely hear the soft footfalls of person such and such as he sauntered out of the room.'
Overall though, good work. Don't take my criticism to heart please! I often allow the same things with my writings as well.