Sons of Mars, fluff thread

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Sons of Mars, fluff thread

Postby afeinman » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:46 pm

The Sons of Mars are based out of Accatran. To the Galactic south-east of Schindelgheist and on the outskirts of the Ork empire of Charadon, this forge world sees nearly continuous invasions from one side or the other. As a result, and as a result of plentiful raw materials and appropriate STCs, the system is home to the largest single collection of Titans in the known universe.

Legio Destructor ("Steel Beasts") is the section of the Collegia Titanica based on Accatran. These doughty combatants, and their catchy war chant "big death, Big Death, BIG DEATH!" make for a stark contrast to the relatively fun-loving tinkerers of the Sons Of Mars. The uneasy alliance between the two has led some to believe that the Sons Of Mars represent an attempt by Chapter Master Rojas to subvert and eventually overthrow the rule of Magos Syntakos over Accatran, and perhaps the empire itself.

Obsessed with the practice of body modification, Master Mav Thorn is more machine now than man, his remaining flesh encased in a dozen layers of symbiotic cybernetics. He primarily concerns himself with the question for knowledge and power, rarely seen on the battlefield, but when he does arrive he is usually accompanied by an honor guard of highly modified veterans and servitors. As a result of his continuous machinations, the Sons of Mars sport some of the best-armored and best-equipped squads in the segment.

Second in command is the order's Chaplain, Honored Father Kenton Corghan. His is the faith of the technopriests, the deep belief in the sentient machine spirit that inhabits all constructs.

Following the bent of their leaders, even the rank and file of the Sons Of Mars are eligible for bionic enhancement limb replacements, and upgrades. Still, some veterans persist in using the older and more durable Mark III 'Iron' armor, while others choose to proudly display their differently-abled bodies and minds. The most blessed, those who suffer the most grievous of wounds in combat, are entombed in one of the chatper's many Dreadnoughts, to push forward into the killzone once more.

edit: Apparently the Steel Confessors stole most of my fluff:
which is fine; in fact, the Sons Of Mars may be a successor chapter of the Steel Confessors, focused on self-improvement rather than on heavy tanks.
Last edited by afeinman on Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby afeinman » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:35 pm

Servitor Deadbolt was dead tired. Tired, like the soles of his boots, long since worn through by the New Martian dust. The ancient circuitry of his motorized legs whined and kicked out a spark as he struggled to rise from his one-point-five minutes of allotted break time.

"Deadbolt! Get your damn worn-out ass over here and hold this!" shouted his master, the all-knowing and amazingly sophisticated Assistant Aspirant Ayrick. At least, that's what Ayrick told Deadbolt to call him, and Deadbolt did what he was told.

He knew better than to respond, instead shambling as fast as his failing limbs could carry him, before extending one mammoth gripper-arm. The mechanical attachment at the front could crush tank armor, but today it was being called upon merely to hold a large cylinder of metal while All-Knowing And Amazingly Sophisticated Assistant Aspirant Ayrick soldered it in place.

"Hold still! I'll never get the reception if you keep yanking it around like that. This aerial has to reach all the way into the warp."

Deadbolt considered nodding in response, then decided this would violate the clear 'hold still' order still in effect.

"That's better," Ayrick said, rising slowly. Deadbolt noted with some grim satisfaction that Ayrick's own bionics were also fighting with the grinding sand. "Thought it'd never clear up. But look at that--clear as day!"

Deadbolt remained fastened to the makeshift antenna.

"Well, get it in gear! Detach, and go do whatever it was you're supposed to be doing." Ayrick glared at the immobile servitor. "Now! You're blocking my light."

With a grind and a whir, Deadbolt shuffled off to the motorpool. There he stopped, because he had come within thirty feet of Techmarine Rula. One did not interrupt Techmarine Rula, unless one wanted to become a brain-impaired servitor with rusting limbs. Deadbolt had discovered this fact in the usual way. And so he waited.

But his superior had spotted him. "Deadbot! Doorknob! whatever your name is."

Deadbolt chose to interpret this as a request. "Deadbolt," he said, his pneumocyclers pumping massive volumes of air through his cavernous lungs. The syllables reverberated off the upright husks of half-built Rhinos.

"By the emperor!" Rula swore. "Reduce your volume immediately to match conversational levels. Accompany me, and do not speak unless spoekn to. Or," he said, with a shake of his hand, "in cases of emergency or other exigent circumstances. Understood?"

Deadbolt chose to nod.

"We're retooling the Rhino chassis line. Needs to support Razorback turrets. Got that?"

Deadbolt again chose to nod in response.

"Okay, then. You're in charge of taking out the top hatches and replacing them with the weapons mounts. Weapons mounts are on the right. Stack the hatches over there. Carefully, this time! Brother Ivan is still recovering from that wound you gave him. Put them on the pallets so you can retrieve them one at a time. Confirm verbally."

Deadbolt saw no way to avoid a verbal response. He attenuated his pneumocyclers to match Rula's barking tone. "Orders confirmed. Request permission for query."

"Permission granted," Rula said.

"How many Rhinos should I convert?"

"Dunno," Rula said. "All of 'em. At least these six. Shut down's at sundown--there's a dust storm coming in and I don't want you getting caught out in it."

Deadbolt turned sharply and started a slow slog toward the nearest Rhino. Today was going to be a good day.
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Postby afeinman » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:59 pm

"Deadbolt!" Rula's voice rang out across the otherwise empty duty pool.

Deadbolt considered whether this vocalization required immediate response, but decided, no, his superior could damn well find the servitor himself.

"Deadbolt! Answer me! Where did all the lascannons go?"

Deadbolt stirred from within the Rhino chassis he was modifying, putting away his arc-welding attachment with a touch of reticence. "The lascannons have not gone anywhere. They are affixed to the Rhinos, as requested."

Rula's boots rang on the Rhino's ramp. "All of them? What have you been up to?"

"You specified at least six vehicles needed to be modified. I calculated that by sundown I could modify eighteen. I have modified sixteen."

Rula sighed exasperatedly. "Emperor's turgid gonads. Six! I asked you convert six. Now change these six back! No--strike that. Convert these to heavy bolter mounts, and get it done before dawn. And no mistakes!"

The ponderous servitor nodded. "To accomplish this task I require additional resources."

"Oh, you do, do you?"

Deadbolt decided that his first statement had already adequately explained the Techmarine's query.

"Care to explain what resources?"

"I am unable to convert the Razorbacks without Heavy Bolter equipment."

"Ah. Ayrick!" Rula shouted once more. "Get your sorry ass out of whichever titty's bunk it's in, and report on the double!"

There was a rustling at the far end of the compound, and then a loud thunk as, presumably, Ayrick found his trousers and boots. Deadbolt chose not to find this amusing; nor did he opt to smile as the assistant hauled bare ass across the dusty plain to stand, panting and sweating, before the techmarine.

"Yes--sir! Yes? what?"

"Find this servitor what he needs. He's done more work in one night than you got done all week."

Ayrick stared, open-mouthed, at Deadbolt, who returned the favor. The match might have gone on for some time, but Rula spun on his heel, shouting over his shoulder as he went. "Now!"

"This is all your fault," Ayrick said.

Deadbolt had to agree, but he didn't see how that was going to achieve the goal of retrofitting six razorbacks before the onrushing dawn.
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Postby afeinman » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:32 pm

As dawn sent lines of bright orange light across the duty pool, Deadbolt straightened and checked his servos. Everything was full of grit and grime, but the job was done: six Razorbacks, all with Heavy Bolters on the roof. Some of the heavy bolters had been removed, forcibly, from some unusual sources, but they were there. And there was heavy armor plate protecting the otherwise exposed Rhino hatches. The turrets even swiveled left and right.

So why did he have the feeling he was going to get yelled at again?

No matter. Creaking with strain, the massive servitor headed toward the mess hall for food and a recharge. There was the usual morning line, eager for a hot meal and a new energy pack. Almost everyone here had once been a man--but those days were long gone. He sat down at his usual table, in quiet silence with his peers.

Grimtalk had had his larynx replaced, along with most of one shoulder and parts of his rib cage, after throwing himself on an Eldar warp grenade. His actions had saved half a squad of Arbites. For this he'd gotten 'blessed' with last year's upgrades and sent to work in armor repair. Hodge had had both legs and one arm blown off in a freak traffic accident. Arborite had voluntarily had his right arm replaced with a servo-clamp, the better to be connected to the machines. Failed techmarines, all of them.

Deadbolt stared longingly at the next table, where a squad of five tightly-muscled Marines laughed and wrestled. He longed to be one of the cool kids. But he'd made his peace with the world. To be a Marine was go out and fight for the Omnissiah, spreading the holy word. And, he supposed, to fight for the Emperor, though the Golden One seemed an unreal and distant fiction out here on the borderline.

"Alright, you mooks, listen up!" came the shout from the head table. Ahren Gold Blade, a sergeant from First Battalion, had jumped up on the table. It protested under his mighty weight, the moreso as he'd already put on his deep red armor. "We're heading out in sixty minutes, and I don't want to hear any bellyaching. Talion, Nearvus, get your men ready. Ayrick, get those tanks lined up for us--two Razors and a squad of bikes, too."

Deadbolt grumbled. Ayrick was sure to drag him into this, too.

Ahren continued. "Everyone else, grab your gear and meet me at the drop pods. First Company will strike in and meet us there." There was a brief pause, while everyone held their breath, except for the auto-ventilated Grimtalk.


The room became a bustle of activity. The three servitors stood in a triangle, the better to resist the buffeting as enthusiastic Marines lept over and around them on their way to the battlefield. Deadbolt wondered idly how many of them would return, and in what condition. He remembered back when he'd been on the battlefield, and wondered if those days would ever return.
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Postby NobleSavage » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:30 pm

Every time Ayrick yells at the servitor I hear Krang (from TMNT) in my head:

"Shredder! You MORON!!!"
"Either way, if you do touch their junk, don't treat it like you want your own treated. Treat it WAY Better."

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Postby afeinman » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:39 am

Makon Alphex stared admiringly at the gleaming rod that had long since replaced his left tibia and fibula. Strong titanial alloy centered a complex arrangement of hoses and wires; in combination, they gave him the same mobility as his brother Marines. He barely noticed the difference, not even when a pair of rounds from a Big Shoota had skittered along his armoured shin and lodged themselves in the knee joint. Only when it shut down did he really notice the weight of the metal; times like now, when he'd pushed it a bit too far between recharges, and the line for the battery packs was getting long.

The able-bodied Marines--no. Makon mentally corrected himself. The pitiful, aug-less Marines had piled into the lead Razorbacks and headed for battle. They were the vanguard; barely trained, little experience. How much experience could a soldier have and still have all his limbs? Here in seventh company, everyone was a true veteran.

"This line move any slower?" came a grumble from behind him.

"Hey, Karl."

"I'm sure glad Ahren told us to drop out 'now'. I was thinking maybe next Tuesday," Karl continued. "Cause as we all know, war waits for you to stand in a bleeding line all day. Move it up, or I'll rip your ears off!" he bellowed to the fumble-fingered servitor doling out the equipment. Karl had had a loudcaster built into his private chair. The servitor jumped, and started handing out packs with both hands, nearly throwing them at people.

The two of them went up the ramp, Makon instinctively quickening his pace to let Karl 'stretch his legs'; apparently the velocichair worked best at a fast pace. Or maybe Karl just liked showing off. There were benches on either side full of Marines, the rest of Second Squad Two--Pup, Aaron, and Tyron. The other half of the squad was catching a ride in one of the trailing Rhinos; in some ways Second Squad One felt almost like its own unit.

Makon strapped himself in and grinned at the others. War was a good time right before it started, at least, if you were built to excrete endorphins for following orders. Everyone sat back in a stew of brain chemicals meant to keep them relaxed and happy until drop.

Pup, across the way, hefted his plasma rifle and eyed it with suspicion. "One day," he said. "One day this damn thing's just going to blow up in my face."

"And then we'll get you a bionic head," grinned Karl.

"I heard that," came a voice from the front compartment--their sergeant, Ryan, whose scalp had long since been replaced with solid alloy after a grenade incident.

"Sorry, sir. Didn't mean to cause bad luck." It was considered a bit of a curse to be jealous of another man's augmentations: as if asking the Omnimessiah for a gift, when the only Gods that gave them worked for the other side. "Any idea where we're going?"

Ryan put one hand on his massive armored hips, elbow braced against the door jamb as the Razorback pitched and teetered over the soft New Martian sand. "First, a gather in deep space. Then, we've been asked to back up Genesis Chapter."

"Never heard of it," Aaron said. The squad's heavy weapons officer was also its resident sage.

"They're about as secretive as we are," Ryan said. "You've probably never heard of Schindelgeist either, have you?" Aaron shook his head. "But that's where we're going. The drop's going to take a while, so once we get to space port we'll disembark onto the Pride Of Messana and you'll have run of the ship. Be polite; we're sharing the space with the Adeptus Mechanicus forces.

Everyone nodded. A few days of warp travel--never fun at the best of times--but at least enough space to unwind and relax.

"There going to be girls there?" Pup asked. "Life's short."

Ryan glared at the junior Marine. "Careful what you wish for. Some of us don't have more."
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Postby Lucyth » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:01 pm

First of all, I am enjoying reading this. Second, I laughed out loud at the dick joke casually thrown in at the end there.
ryltar wrote:I would hate to disappoint your cock Ian.
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Postby afeinman » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:36 am

Thanks, guys. We aim to please all audience levels here.


The station was enormous, as long as a country road, and still managed to feel cramped. Pup elbowed his way to walk alongside Makon and Aaron as the squad trooped toward tight barracks. "You know anything about where we're going?"

"Didn't you ask that eight times already?" Makon said.

"Thought you might have heard something."

"Yeah, I heard there might be girls there. You could do them."

"'Twas ever your intent, o nymph of the starry depths," Aaron said. He fancied himself a poet in the downtimes, though Makon found the results beyond execreable.

"What's a nymph?" Pup asked.

Servitors were waiting for them in the barracks to help them out of armor and into casual-fit station robes. Freed of so many kilos of weight the Marines bounced down the hall like children, before carefully restoring their stern miens as they approached the mess hall.

"Aliens, eh?" Aaron said, pointing to the motto engraved over the high vaulted door. It read: 'The alien mechanism is a perversion of the True Path. A soul can be bestowed only by the Omnissiah.'

"If they're hot, would you do them?" Makon asked. "I hear some of those Eldar..."

Pup elbowed him a hard one, then flung open the doors. The hall was full of a blur of lesser servitors, moderati, and menials, serving and clearing at great rate. Above, a cathedral ceiling called to mind the chapel on New Mars, with vast high panes of stained glass showing the great battles of the warriors of Accatran.

At the great tables sat row after row of Skitarii, their enhanced bodies gleaming in the golden light. The marines chose the end of one table--in their haste to get grub, they seemed to have arrived during the end of the previous duty shift, and were surrounded the Mechanicus infantry.

"Hey, guys," Makon said quietly. "Mind if we share your food?"

"Not a problem, Marine," said one of the taller Skitarii, straightening and pulling himself up to a bit over six feet. He stared straight and determinedly at Makon's chin.

The marine, trying to avoid conflict, instinctively hunched a foot or so, and slowly held out a hand. "Makon Alphex. Second Squad Two, Fifth Division."

"Unit XA-2, nicknamed Tycho, 1A6 8B7," the skitarius said. "Pleased to meet you.

"Tycho, eh?" Aaron said. "Like the ancient astronavigator?"

"No, like the Blood Angel," the skitarius said, a confused look on his face. "Who gets named for mutants?"

"Those mutants steer this ship, skitterer," Aaron said, and things looked touchy for a while, but Makon put a hand on Aaron's shoulder, and Karl showed up in his non-combat chair with Tyron and five trays of food. Hunger superceded ceremonial pect flexing, and the group fell to eating.

In a break between courses, Aaron chimed in again. "Know anything about where we're going, uh, Tycho?"

The skitarius shrugged. "I don't ask too many questions. It's still in Segmentum Ultima, that's all I know. Oh, and something about dark spires and chaos. Probably best not to think about it too much. I heard one of the planets is nice, though."


The scouts, as usual, had colonized the rec room first. They knew they had to get in their time before the Marines finished eating; conflicts between the two groups rarely ended well. And so it was Scout Sergeant Antioch who greeted Deadbolt and his compatriots at the door.

"State your business, servitors?"

Deadbolt chose to answer, despite the officer phrasing the order as a question. "We were told to report to this room," he said.

"By whom?"

"Techmarine Rula. He has ordered us to stop working and relax." Deadbolt had continued to modify Razorbacks once they were safely stowed in the ship's hold, but Rula had caught him at it and ordered him to stop.

Antioch looked the trio up and down. "Well. Sure. C'mon in. There's a drinks machine in the corner--maybe you can get it up and running."

"Yes," Deadbolt said slowly. "That sounds relaxing."

And in a way it was. The scouts moved fast, and confusingly, and hit each other but apparently not in a way intended to be effective or crippling. It seemed a waste of valuable energy packs and nutrition to Deadbolt. He did understand the need to relax, to shut down and retract all sensory appendages, but there was no need for all this extra physical exertion. The required exertion was sufficient.

Grimtalk tipped the drinks machine forward while Hodge climbed behind. "This hose is detached," Hodge reported. "The flow of synthehol has been reduced to zero percent."

"That would match the description 'busted' that we received," Deadbolt agreed. "Recommendations?"

"Tip machine back in place and reattach hose."

Deadbolt thought about that. "If we upright the machine, the hose will not be accessible."

"If the machine is not upright, the hose does not have sufficient length," Hodge countered.

The three mulled for a moment.

"Recommendations?" Deadbolt asked once more.

"Acquire longer hose," Hodge said.

"Replace entire unit," Deadbolt said.

"Cut a hole in the bulkhead to acquire access," Grimtalk said.

The three thought. Of the options given, Grimtalk's seemed the most relaxing, and so Deadbolt swapped in his plasma cutter.

The sound and light of melting metal brought Scouts over at the run. "What the hell are you doing?!" the sergeant yelled.

"We are fixing your drinks machine and relaxing," Deadbolt said. He was happy because he had found a way to satisfy both conditions simultaneously.

"That's the inner hull, you idiot! If you cut through that we'll all get sucked into the bilge space."

Deadbolt paused in his cutting. "This would be something you would not survive," he surmised.

"The hell I wouldn't! And I sure wouldn't find it...relaxing! Why don't you all just have a seat and we'll get a menial to fix the drinks machine."

Deadbolt sat, and considered that the Scout Sergeant had learned an important lesson about interacting with servitors.

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Chapter Two: Attack and Consequences

Postby afeinman » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:42 am

The strike came while the ship was still in Warp--a tendril of Chaos, ripping and pulling at the mind of the innocent Navigator. Magos Liturgos later would surmise in his official report that the infestation had its roots in an unauthorized and bloody game the Navigator had come to cherish, a nasty little simulation of ship-to-ship combat. However the idea had entered the psyker's mind, it grew, and blossomed into a hook that the Twisted One could latch onto.

The first warning for crew and passengers was an alarm to General Quarters. Most of the Marines on board, not having had experience with an attack while under weigh, milled about in some confusion; but squad leaders and veterans dispersed among the troops and restored order, getting squads together and into areas for deployment.

The Pride of Messana dropped out of warp like a stone through a wet paper bag, finding itself in orbit around a small gray world: Varre, a useless rock ball only recently captured by the Schindelgheist system. Two iron-hulled ships circled the planet slowly, a pair of cruisers stamped with unfamiliar runes.

Assistant Navigator Bentis--no, Navigator now, he reminded himself, stared out the bridge porthole and swore quietly. The death screams of his predecessor still rang in his ears; the blood was still fresh on the deck of the bridge. "They've got some sort of interdiction field?" he asked.

Magos Liturgos, from his throne at the helm of the ship, nodded slowly. "You are correct. We need two teams, one to get on that ship and disable the field, and one to provide a distraction." He swiveled his skull of finely polished adamantite to consider Chapter Master Thorne, also standing at attention on the bridge. "Guess which operation your men are responsible for."

Thorne, from within his shell of enhancements and twining cybertendrils, nodded slowly. "Anything of strategic importance on Minos? Why stop us here?"

"Excellent question. Our sensors are showing an energy surge in an ancient ruins. Perhaps our answer can be found there. However, the area is large, and will be hard to cover on foot."

"I will ready a mobile team at once," Thorne said.


"This is a boondoggle and you know it," Makon said.

"What's a boondoggle?" Aaron asked.

"This. Riding Razorbacks around the wilderness, looking for a fight. We're sitting ducks if we come upon any real resistance."

"No, I mean, what's a 'boondoggle'? That some sort of weird skitarius slang you picked up?"

"Screw you," Makon said, carefully reattaching his left leg. "And all these buildings give me the creeps. See that? That's battle damage--big shells, too. Imperial guns, or Vindicators, or something."

"Don't say Vindicators," Aaron said, and shivered.

A voice came from up in the driver's compartment. "Did someone say Vindicators?"

"No," Aaron shouted back.

"Cause sensors are reading a trio of them, hard ahead." The driver swung hard right as a massive shell exploded just shy of the Razorback. "Smeg! Hostiles, too!"

The squad sprang into action, which in this case simply meant ensuring everyone's helmets were on and weapon safeties were off. Makon got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach as the Razorback veered across the ruined streets of an abandoned Imperial settlement.

A smokestack in the distance exploded into shards, falling rubble crushing the remnants of a ruined tenament; over the team comm, Makon heard the reassuring voice of the Master of the Forge, Master Caedes. "Good shot, orbitals; now, Third Battalion, take that ruin. You should find plenty of cover behind those bricks, but watch out; you're in the teeth of those Vindicators soon enough."

Elsewhere the field was a blur of action. A scout squad flew up the right, calling in Terminators from First Company to reinforce the flank. But they were met in kind; silvery-grey armor appeared, warped and twisted mockeries of Tactical Dreadnought Armor of ancient vintage. A fierce firefight erupted, and Makon's Razorback surged forward to assist. The squad bailed, charging the remnants of the enemy Terminators in support of First Company, but a countering surge by enemy Marines dropped half the squad to the field of battle.

A surprise left from a silvery form, his fists like iron, felled Makon; he lay on the ground, eyes watering and ears ringing, as nimble scouts sprinted around him to lay beacons for the incoming orbital strike. He barely made it back to the Razorback, watching in horror as Aaron's body was left for the jackals to find.

Across the city, the battle enjoined in earnest. Caedes, from his tactical vantage at the rear of the battle, squeezed another salvo from his Conversion Beamer and backpedaled his bike once more. This delaying action was costing him men and materiel, but there was nothing to be done for it; the Chapter Master needed fifteen minutes, and he was going to get fifteen minutes.

He ordered the Dreadnoughts forward--only two, now, with a surprise blow felling the newest veteran to pilot the massive walking sarcophagus. The smoking remains didn't look to be salvageable, reducing the Chapter's store somewhat; but reinforcements would already be on their way from Accatran, where no fewer than six assembly lines worked in parallel to churn out the massive machines. Finding the STC for efficient Dreadnought assembly had been Stavos' doing, and earned him the title of Magos Mechanicos.

But the dreadnoughts and the scant troops deployed to the left flank were not intended to be a match for the Chaos onslaught. He sounded the retreat, but Second Squad decided to buy another minute with a futile charge. Sadly this led them straight into the plasma and vicious weaponry of a squad of Khorne-possessed Marines, and though the squad itself was able to fall back, the Razorback exploded in a shower of sparks.

Caedes had seen enough. "Sounding the general withdrawal," he shouted over the comms. "All troops, meet at rally point B. Take your wounded. First Company, to me. Thunderhawks, retrieve what you can, but watch for those cannon; they have a maximum firing elevation of twenty-two degrees, but one has perched itself atop wreckage and controls to an elevation of eighty-five feet. Caedes out."


Makon grumbled as the medic clamped his jaw shut. That was all he could do, grumble; chewing, shouting, or spitting were all off the table for at least a few days. But Aaron had gotten the worst of it; only his geneseed had returned from the field of battle.

He'd lost track of his squad mates, but now the tally came in. Makon had gotten off light. Karl was unscathed--with his squad disabled, somehow the suave talker had found a way to circle his chair around the enemy and detonate an enemy Rhino. Aaron was dead. And Pup--

"Try not to move so fast," Makon shouted, as the squad watched from a safe distance.

The voice that responded boomed so loudly it shook the walls of the massive training room. "What?"

"And turn down your amplifier, for the love of the Imperium!"

"Sorry," said the enormous mechanical beast, at much reduced volume. Makon watched with some amusement as Pup, or what was left of him, moved each joint in sequence. First was the waist, the massive durasteel pinion that joined the halves of the twelve-foot-tall Dreadnought armor. Swiveling around and around, the machine and its crippled driver looked a bit like a carousel. A carousel of deadly force, to be sure.

The trainer, clad in full Terminator armor and armed with a storm shield to deflect any sudden movements, spoke up. "Pup--the first hour is the worst. Just give it time."

"Time, bullshit. I can see--I can see everything!"

"Great," said Makon. "Can you see any girls?"

Makon felt a sense of unease, and realized that the Dreadnought's targeting arrays had singled him out. The missile launcher that made up Pup's right arm tracked the Marine, missile covers retracted. "That's not funny," Pup said.

Makon drew a big circle on his chest, bravado increased once he could see the flame-orange of the missiles inside: dummies, training rounds. "Target's right here. And you know that was funny."

"Hell," Pup said. "Alright. Time to figure out how these arms work." He fired a salvo; the missiles leapt through the air, compressed-air munitions spewing steam as they shot across the room. Duds or no, the effect was terrifying, and only decades of training let Makon stand there and take the shot.

After he'd picked himself back up off the floor, Makon stared at the tiny dents in his armor. "Those were the duds?"

"Yeah," Pup shouted. "I'm on top now. And don't forget it!" He raised both arms in victory.

The instructor winced as the twin barrels of Pup's lascannon arm slammed into the ceiling, sending tiles crashing to the ground. It was going to be a long training session.

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Postby afeinman » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:13 am

"I want that lance!" Caedes bellowed. "Onward!"

The ragtag remnants of the Fourth Advance company bunched along a thick tree line, looking down across a snowy valley at their implacable metallic opponents. The lance in question had just vaporized Brother Tellin; not even his gene seed would be returning to the vaults of New Mars.

Makon gulped. Somehow he was once again on the forefront of this fool's errand--and foolish it was. After rest and recuperation, the Sons Of Mars had pressed on to the system capital to inform the ruling body of Schindelgeist that the Chaos incursion in their outer system had been despatched. The ship had briefly become a hive of activity as inspections swept through the barracks, but no trace of contamination was found outside of the erstwhile Navigator, and the ship was allowed to remain intact.

Meanwhile, Pup had made progress, showing an affinity for the big Dreadnought. His training was slow but thorough; in peacetime, it would be another decade before he would join the squad as an active participant. But peace was hard to come by in the Imperium, and instead he practiced with the most brutal and easy weapons in the Dreadnought arsenal: the rapid-fire assault cannon, and the all-encompassing heavy flamer. Makon had opted out of being a target for either.

As the Razorback lurched toward the battle lines, Makon could see smoke ahead. The forward squads had found cover in the treeline, and were raining fiery death down on the robot opposition. No one knew where they'd come from, but the ship had made a bee-line for Minos, and the Imperial Governor had 'requested' that the Sons of Mars investigate. It was a sorry-ass ice ball, a large moon caught in the gravity well of the fiery planet Aemon, and for once Makon was glad of the Razorback's turret and its massive heat exchangers.

On the right flank, unsupported, stomped Pup, his new armor still in primer. The bulk of the force was elsewhere, dealing with a trio of enormous floating buildings that the Magos had called 'monoliths'; only the Fourth Expeditionary was available on this, the southern-most continent. Makon could wish for backup, but the reality was, they were it.

The firing intensified, more of the metal humanoids pushing into the trees. The sound of heavier weapons sprang up from the right flank, massive rods shooting green energy into Pup's armored flanks. The firing intensified, but the big guy was undaunted and advanced into fire, even as the beams disabled his cannon and turned his sprint into a stuttering shamble. Finally the big armor ground to a halt, lifeless and frozen in position.

But there was no time for remembrance. Master Caedes had sounded the advance, and the Razorback careened forward, joined quickly by its brother from Third Squad. The squads disembarked with a shout, surging forward into a forest filled with metal monsters. Behind, Caedes nodded grimly, and revved his bike, pushing forward carefully behind the advancing tanks. At the center, their target--a tall, willowy figure brandished the eldritch lance that Caedes sought--its alien technology, he hypothesized, could be exorcised of Xenos influence and put to good use. If only they could capture it!

Behind, the target of the robots' surge became apparent--a vast bulkhead in the snow, a sleek black metal door leading deep into the heart of the frozen wasteland. What lay behind, Caedes could not surmise, but he made a note of the location to relay to the Governor.

Ahead, scouts threw themselves out of their cozy Storm Speeder. Tasked with taking and advancing, the Scouts had swapped their usual boltguns for chainswords, the better to come to grips with the opposition. Their onslaught was redirected as a pack of chitinous metal scarabs scuttled over the ground, their voracious maws chewing through wood and stone as their antennae scented metal. Scout Sergeant Alain made the snap decision, and his squad made a brave stand to protect Marine tanks from the scarabs. Outmatched, the scouts died in ignominy as the scarabs swarmed over and devoured their armor and weapons, flesh, and finally bone.

And yet, the delay was enough, allowing Makon and his fellow marines to surge forward and fell the willowy alien--a puzzle, the Magos had deemed it, a Cryptic Technology. In Caedes' mind the words ran together into a simpler moniker--a Cryptek.

The losses were significant--two Marines dead, eight more wounded, and a full squad of Scouts lost, not to mention a heavily damaged Dreadnought. And there was the matter of the mountain of nibbled metal that had once been a Razorback; that would have to be replaced wholesale. But Caedes achieved his objective, and as the squad withdrew, he spun the lance around and around in his hand.


"I believe, sir," Caedes said carefully, "that we can incorporate some of these patterns into our standard templates."

The Magos wrinkled his brow, none too kindly, at the suggestion. "Incorporate Xenos corruption into the purity of our Machines?"

"Not incorporate--that's the wrong word. It's just--" He stopped. "In dissecting this lance, I have been inspired to find a number of inefficiencies in the way our vehicles operate. I believe that, in times of distress, I might be able to enhance the power output from their motivators. It would cause damage in the long run, but it should allow the vehicles at least a brief spurt of motion. Assuming the drive train is still present at all."

The Magos ran three of his cybertendrils over the plans Caedes had laid out. "Hmm. I see. Yes, routing the power couplings through this--this box? What did you call it?"

"An eldritch enhancer," Caedes said quietly.

"That's a crap name. You should call it something better. The Emperor's Energizer, perhaps, to allow our tanks to keep going despite damage."

"As you wish," Caedes said.

The Magos crossed and uncrossed his limbs, a nervous habit. Caedes liked to presume that Liturgos thought with his very body, and that what he was seeing was the idea percolating through his limbs. "Yes," the Magos said at length. "Perform the upgrade. To all vehicles. Even the Dreadnoughts. Emperor knows, after Pup's sorry performance yesterday, they'll need all the help they can get."

Caedes nodded. He knew just the techmarine to put on the job.

"You've done well, Caedes," the Magos said, and Caedes resisted the urge to smile. "Now don't let it make you complacent."

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Postby afeinman » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:19 pm

"Thorium? We're stuck all the way out here for a crapton of Thorium?"

All-knowing and amazingly sophisticated Assistant Aspirant Ayrick was, Deadbolt thought, in a fine mood today.

The young aspirant continued. "It would be one thing if it were Plutonium. I hear there's a megaload up near the poles. But that's not where we're going. Oh, no. It has to be sand, sand, everywhere. Look at this!"

Deadbolt wasn't sure if this was, despite its phrasing, a command, but he was curious, so he looked anyway. Ayrick appeared to be holding a thrust bearing, but the requisite layer of grease over the cylinders had been drained away, and the metal had fused. What he had now was a conical shape of solid uselessness. Ayrick waved at the line of Razorbacks awaiting tread upgrades and general maintenance. "No way are we getting these all up and running in time for the Magos to go 'exploring'. Not a chance in hell."

A voice shouted from across the duty pool. "Ayrick! Get your skinny ass over here."

The aspirant straightened, then wagged a finger at Deadbolt. "I'll be right back. Get as many of these working as you can, okay?"

The servitor nodded. There was work to be done. If he had retained the ability to smile, he would have done.


A brief break in the endless red curtain of dust revealed the massive grey walls of what Chapter Master Mav Thorne surmised was the target. The faceted obelisk rose only a few feet above the blowing sand on one side, but it was all drifts--on the lee side, the pockmarked surface stretched downward a dozen stories or more. It reminded Thorne of the time he had visited the holy Throne of the Emperor.

Red-suited scouts appeared at his left elbow in loose formation, Sergeant Major Ednis at their head. Thorne's sensor stalks had barely perceived the tremors from their motion. "Report," he said slowly.

Ednis caught his breath; he'd just finished the arduous climb to the bottom of the visible part of the structure. "It keeps going down there, sir. Size of the Magistorum main building, or larger."

"Entrances. Did you find any entrances?" Thorne struggled to contain his excitement. The Xenos, ones that the Ordo usually called 'Necrons', usually rigged their constructs to self-destruct upon capture; finding a site of this size and importance could prove most fruitful.

"None that we could access, sir. There were depressions in the hull that resembled doorways, but if there was a door, it was made of the same shit as the rest of the thing. It even resists the melta-torches."

"We'll see about that," Thorne said, idly flicking the ignition on his plasmacutter. "Alright. Get back into the dunes and watch for any sign of more of the Necrons. We don't want any surprises."

The scouts evaporated--that was the only word Thorne had come up with in his long stint as Master of the the Chapter. With their innate abilities enhanced by the best technology his Magoi could lay their hands on, the scouts were among the best in the Imperium. Some combats, only their effects could be felt.

This skirmish was to be no different. A slight whirring noise was all Thorne detected; then, through the sand, a hint of blackness. But on his scanner, the scouts were already calling in airstrikes and enemy positions. He tongued a stud on his helmet to switch channels.

<<<Scout Squad Baker, in position. Two large enemy targets, hovering above sand. Negative on Necron identification. Units appear to be biological machines. Estimate four meters in height. Over.>>>

<<<Scout Squad Romeo, two clicks north of you. Roger on two bogeys. Add additional--flying vehicle, hiding behind large sand dune forward of your position. Recommend armor engagement. Appears to be spearheading forward force of infantry. Forms are reminiscent of Eldar, but the markings are hard to identify. Over.>>>

The Chapter Master had Thorne had heard enough. <<<This is Thorne,>>> he interjected. <<<Gareth, Tokan, Lousa, forward on right flank. Whoever's in the area, mount up and meet at this position. Hold the obelisk and establish a landing zone for additional troops.>>>

He picked up a pair of macrobinocs and scanned northward through the swirling sand. Only faintly could he see the shapes, but from the scout reports, they were nearly surrounded. Lucky for them, the natural camoflage afforded by their Mechrite armor meant the enemy hadn't spotted them yet. Two on the left; two ahead; more infantry behind. The pincer formation became clear--this was no idle patrol, whatever it was. This was a surgical attack operation, intent on bringing down his force. His only chance was to strike first, hard, and fast.
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Postby afeinman » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:43 pm

<<<Dreadnoughts: fire at will, as soon as targets are acquired. Infantry, fill in behind as possible. I want to see fire downrange before they know we're here. Caedes, you have command.>>> Thorne strode back into his Prometheus, flipping on the view screens. He had a larger invasion to coordinate; let the Master of the Forge handle this incursion.

Tokan opened up with both big autocannons, .50 cal shells falling in a steady stream around the massive Dreadnought. With his two battle brothers he climbed a five-meter dune, affording the armor a commanding view of the battlefield. Behind, the heavy weapons squads set up in infilade, firing lanes opening up between a pair of ornamented stone edifices. Missiles flew through the air as Gareth blazed away, and downrange, craters opened up around a large pack of spiked alien forms.

"Scout Squads, stay hidden!" Caedes said. "We need your eyes more than we need your guns. Those are the Eldar evil twins, unless I miss my guess, and they're nothing we want you captured by." The Forgemaster shuddered; he'd heard tales of the neural flaying machines found on the outskirts of the Imperium. A fully converted Space Marine could withstand enormous punishment before dying--and with it, nearly unfathomable amounts of pain. And that was what the enemy fed on: pain, and the fear that came with it. Caedes vowed to give them neither.

The dreadnoughts--Caedes hadn't seen which--had managed to down the distant flying craft. Dark eldar soldiers poured out and sought cover behind the dune. Meanwhile, Caedes ordered his transports to focus fire on the obvious targets--the two massive floating behemoths that the Scouts had reported. Oblivious to the danger, the black-armored monstrosities glided silently forward. Far behind them, Caedes caught a glimpse of another flier--a black, sleek ship, moving fast along the horizon. He tuned his conversion beam for maximum range, but it was still too far off.

The beast on the right glared into the distance, its intentions seemingly unknowable behind an implacable mask of glossy black; but the cruel fleshooks, dangling from its lips and still stained from the pain inflicted in past conquests, left no doubt that this was a creation of pure evil. The massive hooks, each long enough to gut a man, rattled and snapped on silver chains as greenish vials steadily pumped noxious and powerful concoctions into the doomed soul. Caedes tuned his conversion beamer to maximum ferocity and, lining up the bike's handlebars carefully, plastered a solid shot into and through its left flank. The beast's head reared back, leaving an opening, into which the twin Razorbacks unloaded heavy bolter fire. Wounded, the creature redoubled its advance, and Caedes called for men to rush to the front to stop it.

Meanwhile, the second great beast circled warily around the enormous obelisk. Possessed of no long-range weaponry that Caedes could discern, he warranted it a lesser threat--for now. He had no intentions of consigning his men to its fierce and whipping tentacles.

The close-combat squads surged forward, Marines leaping out of their Razorbacks to come to short range with the beasts and the infantry they steadily shepherded forward. Return fire was light--the Eldar were set up for a surprise ambush, and Thorne's decision to seize the initiative had left them confused and out of position. Far away, the men could see a large pack of nasty-looking Dark Eldar running across the battlefield, their fleet legs carrying them swiftly, but not swiftly enough.

"Master!" a voice came--Tokan's, the great dreadnought sounding alarmed. "They came over the hill, on wings. My circuits have seized!"

"Well, get them unseized!" Thorne gunned his bike, spinning round the dune to see--a flock of winged creatures, perhaps once humanoid like their bretheren, but now twisted and torn into a vicious mockery. Two of the beasts were armed with bizarre blasters, their tips clearly built to focus electro-magnetic energies. The dreadnoughts reluctantly left their punishing downrange target zone to meet the new threat. Lousa, flames licking from her heavy flamer, closed with the squad. Facing down the fluttering beasts, she advaned as they retreated, the terrain making them unable to withdraw a safe distance. The blowing sands became a furnace, and then the vast machine was upon the winged

And then it was over, and Lousa stood alone, a pile of hollow-boned wings broken and crunched under the Walker's armored feet. The giant machine strode forward, into the thick of combat, where blasts from the flier had left enormous craters in the sandy landscape. First Squad Two had taken shelter in the center-most crater, and Brother Pugh, the meltagunner, was lighting up the lead monstrosity. Bolt after bolt of searing, volcanic heat lanced into the creature, until it succumbed in a flaming heap.

Cheering could be heard from behind, where Second Squad Two had spilled out of their broken-down Razorback to set up a warp beacon. Steady fire from Tiernan's heavy bolter, behind them on the hill, sent dark eldar scrambling for cover. Caedes smiled grimly; what could have been calamity was turning into triumph, due to a combination of quick thinking and advantageous terrain. The enemy was forced to come across the valley to them, or circle around the ancient monoliths, and either path would see them arrive too late to prevent the arrival of reinforcements.

In the midst of the field, newly arrived Terminators flickered into existence, firing missiles from shoulder-mount into the milling enemy. But then the sleek ship fired back, an enormous gout of black flame. Out of the mass of fire, a half-dozen missiles found their mark, and two brave Terminators fell, one mortally wounded. Caedes swore, then squeezed off a beamer shot at the flier--but to no avail. The vehicle seemed to have some sort of energy field that absorbed the shot.

"What in the Emperor's Name was that?" Caedes shouted. "Get me that ship! Concentrate fire on it."

The dreadnoughts, freed of attackers and running low on priority targets, complied; autocannon fire joined lascannon and krak missile, the multi-front assault finally finding a hole in the frustrating black field. The ship sputtered, then soared wildly, one wing careening off a monolith before coming to rest directly in front of Lousa's massive hull. The dreadnought stepped up and over and around, and joined the rest of the squads in mopping up.

In the end, the Dark Eldar ran, scattering into the wind. Second Squad Two survived a last-minute onslaught to plant a second beacon in the sand, and Imperial surveyors began landing equipment to take measure of the Necron edifice. Losses were light--Brother Pugh would recover from his wounds, but two new squadsman were needed need in First Squad Two. And Brother Aediles would fight no more, the enemy bombs leaving his vaunted Tactical Dreadnought Armor filled with nothing more than red paste and bone.
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Postby afeinman » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:44 pm

Double update for you waiting waiters!


In Laboratory 333 aboard the Pride of Messana, Caedes swore softly. The energy field generator that he'd salvaged from the Dark Eldar ship was even more impenetrable than he'd envisioned. He'd already friend two test stands, shorted out a plasma torch, and given himself a nasty burn on the back of one hand. Merely studying it was causing his mind to warp. He began to fear daemonic influence, and went for a walk amidships to clear his mind. Tiny specters danced in the corner of his vision, flashes of pain and of pleasure, sinuous white-skinned figures in revealing black silks.

The canteen was empty; the better part of a Company was planet-side, helping secure the Necron site, and the rest were on Schindelgeist Prime training and recovering. He sat for a while, nursing a local stout they'd picked up from Rhylex and lost in thought.

"Mind if I join you?" said a voice from behind him; a deep voice, one he'd not heard since the Necron assault on Cypra Segentus.

"Captain Ellis!" Caedes said happily. "When you'd get to this part of the galaxy?"

The big-shouldered Marine smiled, then shrugged. "Heard you boys were having a little trouble. Oh--but it's not Captain, not anymore."

Caedes looked him up and down for insignia, but Ellis was in civilian clothes, trousers, a big belt of tools, and a shoulder harness. "Surely not...Master?"

Ellis barked, a quick laugh. "Ah, no. Wouldn't that be something? No, Thorne passed me over for promotion after Abbadon's forces swept through Sevathol. Claimed I should have held the line rather than exterminate the whole system. But he hadn't...seen what I had." Caedes realized his friend's eyes were guarded, a look of fear and weakness that hadn't been there in years past. "But
you're doing well--Master of the Forge, I hear?"

"The same, fat lot of good it's doing these days." Caedes squeezed one hand slowly, where the burns were still pink and healing.

"Eh, I hear it's going fine. Saw those motivators you've got on the Dreadnoughts--nice design. Sleek. Probably work great for stealth units, too, with the low emissions signature."

Caedes shrugged. "Kid's stuff. What I saw out there last week--" he shook his head. "Astonishing stuff. If we could find the right gospel of the Omnissiah, if the hymns were right, I could make you a Stormraven that was indetectible until it fired. I could build you a Rhino that could withstand a lascannon half the time. It's all right there; I just can't seem to get my mind around it."

Ellis eyed him warily. "You're studying Xenos tech?"

"Just for--for inspiration. You know. It has a corrupted spirit; it's not like I'm going to let it infect our gear."

"Well. Hmm." The big Marine thought for a moment, pulling a cigarillo out of his breast pocket and sniffing it carefully. "I suppose I could lend a hand."

"You?" Caedes was less than tactful.

"I have been known to twist a wrench from time to time," Ellis said, chewing on the cigarillo gently before lighting it. "If you recall."

"Sure," the forgemaster said, relenting. "Worst you can do is burn your arm off. It'll be hilarious."
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Postby afeinman » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:06 pm

Last edited by afeinman on Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby afeinman » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:25 am

<<<TO: Lord-General Narnd, 265th Cadian Reactionary Force>>>
<<<FROM: Chapter Master Mav Thorne, Commander, Legio Imperati Fili Martii 'Sons of Mars'.
Scribe Adona Newfoot, communicatrix.>>>

<<<SUBJECT: Intel request regarding recent clashes with Traitorous Guard Legions in Schindelgeist System>>>

Lord-General: We hope this missive finds you well. Our sources indicate that you scored a major victory over a legion of traitorous guard in these past weeks. Congratulations on your faithful service to the Emperor.

We have been tasked by the System Governor with exterminating this Chaos incursion and seek to effect this protocol with utmost sanction and prejudice. To accomplish this we seek information from you.

Your written report contains superficial details, but as we seek to rout the traitors, we request additional detail as to the number, kind, and disposition of the traitor forces. Any additional information you may have about the materiel available to them, common tactics, and the purposes or intentions of their incursion in to the Schidelgeist system will likewise be valued.

In consideration for this free exchange of information, we are willing to assign a junior servitor and Aspirant to your motor pool, to assist in keeping your many vehicles running smoothly. If this arrangement is acceptable please reply by fast courier and we will arrange the transfer.


Master Mav Thorne.
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