Read in a Rush: Savage

The Bolthole's monthly 1,000 word story competition.

Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby J D Dunsany » Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:11 am

Good afternoon, good people. This is the thread for posting stories for the December 'Read In a Rush' Competition.

To enter the competition, you must write a short story of between 850 and 1150 words in length addressing in some way the prompt word or phrase announced at the start of the competition. In this case, it's Savage.

You should post your entries on or before the deadline of 2100GMT on Wednesday 21st December. There is no limit to the amount of entries you can post, but, in a break from the previous board's practice (and in acknowledgement of longsuffering readers who have been faced with a veritable mountain of stories to get through), only one may be submitted for voting. If you've only posted one entry in the posting period, then you don't need to do anything. Your entry will be automatically submitted for voting. If you've written more than one entry, you will need to PM me with the title of your chosen entry. You will be given a full week to make your decision about which story to put forward. If you do not manage to PM me before that time, then I will put your first story into the voting thread.

Any questions, please feel free to PM me.

Regards,

JDD
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Ballistichimp » Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:33 pm

[1024 Words with title! Huzzah! I don't think I've ever been first poster! :D ]

Liberty

The silence of the forest was broken by a ululating howl that scattered wildlife in all directions. The cry was echoed by a dozen voices, the unmistakable hunting call of the Hjul. Teku did not hesitate, did not bother to warn his companions or even think to draw a weapon, he simply ran. He knew from experience that stealth and guile would not save him, that the hunters had his scent and that his life now depended on speed. Thick loam, moss and dead wood flew beneath his feet as he fled and vast, flat leaves slapped at his bare flesh. The jungle could kill the careless just as surely as any spear or arrow, but it was one enemy Teku had grown accustomed to.

Ambla ran beside him, his bone necklaces rattling. He had a club clasped in his hand and a look of fierce determination etched on his tattooed features. If the animals took him they would get a bloody nose before their feast. The first of the screams rent the air as one of their companions fell to the Hjul, the awful sound trailing away into a bubbling cough. His muscles were already beginning to burn from the sudden exertion, but Teku forced himself to push on, leaping a small, clear stream and narrowly avoiding the entangling roots on the opposite bank.

He saw shafts of sunlight ahead, golden crepuscular rays that penetrated the canopy and warmed the forest floor. Hundreds of insects thrummed lazily in the humid air, attracted by the light. Teku glanced at Ambla and gave him a feral grin. The thinning of the trees could only mean they were approaching the border of the jungle and the certainty of escape. He turned just in time to see his companion fall.

A bone spear thrown by an unseen hand punctured Ambla's back just beneath the shoulder, its barbed tip splitting his ribs and pinning him to the ground. He managed to get a whisper of a scream out before choking on his own blood. Teku turned away, his expression twisted with rage, and abandoned his friend to his fate.

He managed three more strides before an arrow caught him in the back of the knee.

Teku fell, smashing his face on a rotting log, and tumbled into one of the pools of sunlight. The pain was excruciating and he looked down to see the shaft jutting from his leg with horror. The whoops and howls of the Hjul emerged from the forest around him as the hunters closed in on their fallen prey. Teku reached for his wounded knee with blood-slick fingers and tried to snap the impaling shaft, but a wave of nausea gripped him and the world lost focus for a few precious seconds.

A face filled his vision, a terrible visage of ritual scarification and bone piercings. The Hjul smiled, revealing a mouthful of black teeth that had been filed to points, and pulling his scars into a lattice of curious patterns. He said something in his ugly, guttural tongue and dipped a finger into the blood streaming from Teku's shattered nose.

There was the sickening sound of ripping flesh from nearby as the Hjul began their butchery of Ambla. From the choking, retching noises it was evident that their victim was far from dead as they went about their grisly work. Teku tried not to listen, tried not to hear the audible crack of bone and wet slap of organs as they tumbled from an open body, but he knew this was what awaited him. The hunter standing over him pulled a serrated dagger into view and lifted it above his head.

The killing stroke did not fall however.

The earth began to tremble and the forest shook with the snort of some unknown beast. The Hjul began shouting at each other, the urgency of their words obvious to Teku even though their meaning escaped him. Whatever the vast creature was, it was drawing closer. The ground shook and the sound of splintering wood filled the air along with an acrid stink that reminded the tribesmen of the pools of sticky mud in the hills. The Hjul lifted his blade again, obviously intent on finishing his work before the monster arrived and for the second time Teku waited for the hot bloom of agony.

A beam of red light struck the hunter in the face and the top half of his head vanished in a plume of pink mist. The knife tumbled harmlessly to the ground and the twitching corpse of the Hjul toppled over. Teku manage to roll himself onto his side and gaped in incomprehension at the smoking ruin that remained of the tribesman's skull. There was no blood, just a fused mass of burned meat and bone. He had never seen anything like it.

The rest of the Hjul were rising from their kills and attempting to flee, but more of the deadly rays sliced through the woods and cut them down. Teku saw one struck three times, his body jerking and twitching as puffs of vaporised flesh burst from his back. The slaughter was swift, ruthless and efficient and in a matter of moments not a single hunter remained alive. Teku saw figures moving through the foliage, men clad in strange clothing and bearing weapons that spewed the deadly light. They moved ahead of a line of beasts that crushed the forest beneath their titanic treads. The monsters huffed and snorted and their dirty breath filled the air with the reek of hill mud.

One of the strangers stopped beside him and spoke as if addressing the air.

'The village is three clicks to the south, your orders are to sweep and clear and then advance to way-point primus. The cogs want the hill site ready for first stage development before the second rotation and I don't intend to disappoint them. Jheffron out.'

The outlander gave Teku a dispassionate glance and pointed a small device at him. The tribesman found himself staring down the hollow tube that projected from the body of the object. The darkness inside winked red.
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Mauthos » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:18 am

Wow!

Really great visceral piece, has made me reconsider my entry when comparing it to that standard!. Really, really well done! :D
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Jelboy » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:08 am

Wow... Ballistchimp constantly impresses me with his tales. How exactly does that differ from anything a professional would publish? You've set the bar high... dauntingly high...

ps: is the ululating cry - a Ballistchimp cameo?
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Ballistichimp » Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:34 pm

It is, that's me making monkey sounds in the background ;)

And ... thanks guys! :oops: :)
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Jelboy » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:58 pm

Black Ork Down! Black Ork Down!

Clouds of dark smoke chugged from the rattling exhaust pipe of a Deth Koppta as it shuddered through the air in a way that only a machine five hundred years past its warranty, and maintained by a creature with mechanics encoded in its DNA, could. That is to say, not very well.

Hanging from the side of the Deth Koppta, upon a large unfolded tarpaulin were garish letters painted with slightly less skill than the average 5 year old kindergarten class could muster, and with half the colour co-ordination: 'ARIEL VEEWS OF THE HIVE – Orks 1 peny, Imperial Guards 10 penies, Space Marines 100 gold coins – No REEFUNDS".

The Deth Koppta spluttered ever closer to a leviathan that 3000 years ago probably began as a wacky nobleman's castle-like folly but over the centuries grew, with deliberate avoidance of planning permission, into a mile high monstrosity of towers, flying buttresses, lurid illuminations and second-hand cannons. The latter of which rained down projectiles upon a surging mass of green far far below in a display that was faintly reminiscent of a St Patrick ticker tape parade on 20th century Earth.

Whether it was the shuddering of the Deth Koppta, a Chaos guided gust of wind, or merely the Ork Kommando pilot lifting the release lever out of mischief – the tarpaulin fluttered away like a twirling leaf to reveal four gretchins desperately gripping the end of a rope made from a multitude of bedsheets that hung from the Deth Koppta.

"Snotlings teeth!" Exclaimed one of the gretchins, the one wearing the 'Vote Grutchkarn for Warlord' tee-shirt. "If that ain't our cover blown."

"Shall we go back, MadWortz?" said another gretchin, whose bulbous nose would have been regarded as horrifically malformed on any other race but was only considered freakin pug ugly amongst his own kind.

MadWurtz nodded to a large window in a tower near the crest of the Hive, a window they were approaching rapidly and which had been hastily boarded up with 4 by 2s and plastered with a poster which had the words 'Closing Down Sale. 50% off all Emperor Figurines. Hard Cash only. PayPal not accepted.'

"We carries on, Spurtz. After all is we almost dere."

The other gretchin looked at the tower, painted with Badab Black and dry dusted with Calthan Brown, and too its boarded window, and snorted.

"True, dear MadWortz, to go bak would see our heads used as..." Spurtz paused, his bulbous nose suddenly twitching and eyes watering.
"Okay, so whose dropped one?" He asked, as MadWortz too smelt the pungent odour wafting around the four gretchins like a rotten daemon of death. "Gork's airy armpit, a Greater Knarloc couldn't lay a fruitier one than that. Own up, has someone eaten a gorn off squig curry?"

"He dealt it!" volunteered one of the other gretchins loudly, taking one hand off the rope to point up at the Ork Kommando. "He's been firing them off ever since we started the mission."

"Whose complainin?" Shouted the Ork, from above.

"No one complainin ere," replied Madwortz, drawing a rusty knife from a scabbard on his back and slashing at the gretchin's hand that held the rope. The rival gretchin screamed once, and fell, hitting the dome of the building some distance below, before bouncing down successive roofs of the vast imperial hive like a green rubber ball.

The other two gretchins drew their own knives and regarded MadWortz warily.

"Ittsa ard luck life," said MadWortz nodding sorrowfully downwards."Ee weren't a bad sort, but he was bein too loud."

"A savage ecosystem we exist in," agreed Spurtz philosophically, "Ee brought it on imself."

"What if we Orkoids attempted democracy?" Suggested the third gretchin.

"Nope, there's still the job ta finish," said MadWortz patting the box strapped to his chest.

"… and warbosses to serve," said Spurtz patting his box too.

A pause followed as each gretchin mentally calculated whether he could survive a three way blade fight, the complex math involved bringing a sweat to their foreheads. Then something snotling-like, passed in a screaming blur. The boarded up window exploded inward with an enormous crash, and left an open window frame edged with blood coloured plank fragments.

"A way in, as we was promised," said MadWortz breaking the tension,"Start swinging on da rope to get us closer ta the window. On the tenth swing let go of da rope and go. Got it?"

The other two gretchins nodded, sliding rusting knives back into scabbards. Together with MadWortz they began swaying back and forth, singing an 'ere we go ere we go ere we go' ditty as they did so, and soon all three found themselves soaring back and forth through the air.

On the ninth swing MadWortz let go of the rope, flew through the open window, pushed himself up from the ground, jumped over the snotling mess, and started running, momentarily cursing the fact there were no window shutters available to him which he could have first slammed into the faces of those that followed.

He ran as fast as his knobbly legs would let him, wondering all the time exactly what his war-boss Grutchkarn had put in the box, and whether it was the same as what the rival war-bosses had put in the boxes the other gretchins carried. He also wondered why is was that the Emperor had ordered the attack on Magnus the Red even though a psychic message had earlier confirmed the Thousand Sons Primarchs warning about Horus to be correct.

A large apartment door with the words 'Planetary Governor' written on a small brass plaque situated just above a security fish eye peep hole interrupted any Graham Mcneill misgivings. MadWortz banged furiously on the door, acutely aware of his slightly peeved fellow gretchins swinging their knives ever nearer.

The door opened and MadWortz staggered in, running straight to the corpulent human on a throne, upon whose head a golden crown sat at a skewed angle, ignoring the screams and cries of 'monster' and 'savage!' that came from the women of the court. MadWortz ripped the box from the straps that held it to his chest and setting it on the floor before the Planetary Governor twirled the handle ten times as he'd been told too, then pressed the button on the front.

A small clown sprang up through the top of the box, on the end of a spring, and a mechanical voice said, 'Special gift for doomed Planetary Governor. One lucky Black Sovereign – Guaranteed Daemon Free'.

And yes, there in the hands of the toy clown MadWortz saw a tiny coin.
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Rusk » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:52 pm

Just trying to ease myself back into writing. Uni essays have been doing my head in, time for a change.

First Contact

Hadrien's bleary eyes cracked open. The concrete, half-submerged bunker had been busted open by the enemy missile, allowing shockingly gold sunlight and rich, ochre sand to pour in through the breaches in the rusted plating. Hadrien could see the twin suns of XCV-103 through a cloud of dust and concrete chips, their shapes distorted by the sheer heat of the planet surface. The sounds of gunfire had petered off outside, leaving only the crackle of open fires and the hissing of the wind.

Hadrien could feel the warmth of the planet on his face. He could feel the light wind tickling at his jaw, and the fine grains of sand being sprinkled across his nose and cheeks. The orb of his bulky protection suit's helmet was shattered, smearing his skull and neck with gleaming slivers of glass and plastek. A few shards of the helmet remained affixed to his sealed collar, jagging up past his chin.

He was dead, he knew that. The toxic waste the hulk had brought down with it still permeated the planet's atmosphere, contaminating and irradiating any who came into contact with the surface air. Hadrien had seen it before. It was just one of the deaths that awaited the humans on this unforgiving world.

There was a scuttling, shuffling sound echoing to Hadrien's right. He rolled his head round, wincing from the splitting pains shooting across the back of his skull. He could feel a warm wetness seeping over his buzz-cut hair and trickling down his neck. He really didn't want to know how bad it was.

Corporal Isaak was watching him. The younger man was scrunched down behind a slumped bulwark, trying to make himself as small a target as possible. His clunky orange radiation suit seemed remarkably intact, not one rip or tear in the thick fabric. Isaak might just live – if the monsters from the desert didn't find him.

The monsters had struck quickly, Hadrien knew that much. The first thing the 514th Regiment had seen was a plume of smoke racing towards their outpost from the south, and then they were under attack. Hadrien had barely fired a dozen rounds when the enemy rocket had collided with the concrete plating of his bunker.

He hadn't even seen what they looked like.

“Stay still, sarge,” Isaak whispered. The poor boy's face was ashen and white with pain. Hadrien noticed the funny set to his elbow. Something about the way it stuck out away from his chest just seemed wrong. Maybe he wasn't so unharmed after all.

Hadrien didn't feel like he could have moved even if he wanted to. The rockets of pain splitting across his skull were rendering him almost senseless, his vision flecked by coppery oblongs and firecrackers.

The sergeant's vision wandered past Isaak to survey the remains of the rest of the bunker. The other members of his squad were sprayed viscerally across the rusting grey walls in various degrees of solidity. Elgan was propped up against the far bulwark of the chamber, a chunk of concrete as thick as Hadrien's thigh embedded in his chest and pinning him to the wall. Keller was spread-eagled on the floor near one of the breaches, a pool of ruby red blood puddling around his corpse. His head seemed to have been snapped by the blast, judging by the angle his head sat at compared to his body. Lars was slumped on his face, having taken a bullet to the brow moments before the rocket had impacted. There wasn't even anything left of Gregor, who had been standing at the firing slit closest to the missile.

Hadrien tried to rise. The pain in his head almost made him black out. He settled for trying to talk instead.

“Isaak, how...” he whispered, his throat burning red raw. The radiation poisoning was beginning to kick in. “Did we... win?”

Isaak shook his head. “Not quite,” he told the sergeant. “They plundered and left. Luckily they didn't stick round to check every bunker, or you wouldn't have woken up.”

Hadrien sighed. “Since when did the mutants have... rockets?” he wheezed.

Isaak shook his head again. “They aren't mutants, Hade.”

“Then what-” Hadrien began, but broke down into a spate of coughing.

There was a grunt of surprise from the surface. The two soldiers froze. Hadrien could hear heavy footsteps sinking into the sand outside, growing louder as they closed in on him. Isaak let out a whimper of fear as one of the monsters appeared in the mouth of the breach.

The creature was massive. It snorted and growled as it stomped into the emplacement, its huge, muscled body covered in furs, cloaks and ragged scars. Two red, piggish eyes glared out from underneath a jutting brow, set above a sloping jaw and wide mouth filled with peg-like, dirty yellow teeth. It held a chunky pistol and a jagged, metre-long blade in its meaty paws.

It's skin was a dark, mottled green.

The greenskin caught sight of Isaak, whimpering in the corner. A vicious grin crept across its crude features. It stalked towards the young corporal, bringing its brutal firearm to bear. One's of the thing's heavy leather boots stamped on Keller as it marched past. Keller's chest caved in like wet cardboard, accompanied by a sharp crack as ribs snapped and organs burst. The greenskin didn't even seem to notice.

Isaak tried to draw his own sidearm and bring it up to fire. The greenskin slapped it out of his hand and lifted the man up, wrapping one of its paws around his neck. Isaak screamed, thrashing vainly in its grasp. The greenskin snorted in disgust and fired its pistol point blank into his chest. Scarlet gore and ruptured organs sprayed across the bulwark behind him. Isaak fell silent.

Hadrien coughed again, unable to keep it within any longer. The greenskin's head whipped round, crimson eyes staring into his own. It stomped over to him, discarding Isaak's corpse, which hit the ground with a dull thud. It aimed its weapon at him, the barrel of his pistol scant inches away from his head. The greenskin smiled.

Hadrien closed his eyes.

#

An Imperial patrol arrive at Outpost Angelis eighteen hours after the initial enemy assault. The patrol commander managed to extract a last few words from a dying comrade - “greenskin.”

They said after that to know the greenskin was to know fear. They would come to that conclusion.


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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Jelboy » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:06 pm

This was a well written tale of first encounter with the Orks. A lot of the tales I read assume prior knowledge of many of the enemy races, especially the Orks. I think its entirely feasible that elements of the Imperium, and certain planets and PDF are ignorant of the great threats that face man, and this was a pleasant short story on the subject.
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby LordLucan » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:12 pm

You should edit the bit mentioning the Imperium. Humanity and the orks have been at war since long before the Imperium ever existed.

It was a good piece, but I didn't like the Ork's singular line. I think it would have worked better without it.
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Rusk » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:41 pm

Thanks for the feedback guyz. :D Erm, quick question, are you allowed to edit pieces you've submitted for RiaR? Thought I should check before I go switching things around, the Imperium bit was an oversight. :P
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Ballistichimp » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:47 pm

Indeed you can, they can be tweaked right up until the closing date.

Unless I'm wrong, in which case JJD can chase me back up my tree.

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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby J D Dunsany » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:57 am

Yup. Tweaking is certainly allowed - just be mindful of the word count.

All the best!

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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby J D Dunsany » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:10 pm

Not done ship to ship combat before. (Perhaps the reasons for that will be clearer on reading!) I enjoyed this - this week's been tough, but it feels good to get something written. There you go - another use for RiaR - therapy! (Which probably ought to be a prompt word at some point.)

I waffle.

Apologies.

Here it is...


Spear (1,149 words)

“Hard about! Port manoeuvring thrusters to maximum!”

Ivelian registered the efficient motions of the chapter serfs as the barest of flickers in his peripheral vision. His attention was fixed on the auspex tank below him, where red-robed acolytes of the Adeptus Mechanicum tended to arcane devices with whispered prayers. The tank was millennia old and its representation of the thousands of cubic kilometres of space within which the Javelin of Purity sailed and fought was often grainy or incomplete. For a moment, Ivelian felt like the Brother-Augurs of his chapter, trying to define the truth in the remains of ritual sacrifices.

And then, with a stuttering flickering pulse, the image cleared.

“Fire!” roared Ivelian. “Forward lances and the batteries of decks six, eight and thirteen, fire!”

For a moment, the deck shuddered, as the Javelin disgorged roiling beams of energy across the void towards its target.

“Enemy shields down,” intoned a nearby auspex operator. “Lance strikes amidships and to the stern. Enemy engine capacity falling.”

Ivelian did not cheer or smile. He was already activating the vox link, directing his words to his brothers on the armament deck many hundreds of metres below him.

“Brother-Sergeant Akillos, prepare to launch torpedoes.”

*****

Thirteen months. That’s how long it had taken. Thirteen months of chasing shadows, of emergency warp jumps, of fleeting glimpses on the Javelin’s long range auspex. Thirteen months of ghosts and whispers.

In the Irylium Cluster whose star systems the Scarlet Storm chapter of the Adeptus Astartes was sworn to protect, the Enemy’s name had become a dark legend, whispered by loyal citizen and corrupted heretic alike – the former in trembling terror, the latter in a perverse and feverous hope.

The Malevolent is coming, they murmured.

The Malevolent.

On Pandar IX, it had bombed the primary continent of Fair Venture into ruin. On Solace, it had disgorged a score of drop ships, each containing a squad of corrupted Astartes, who held the top sixty levels of the capital hive for five days. During that time, black clad reavers with feral masks and rusted blades abducted every boy between the ages of nine and thirteen, returning them to the orbiting behemoth in aged transports. The wailing could apparently be heard all the way down to the underhive. On Deneros Prime, the harvests across the planet’s northern hemisphere withered and died as the terrible ship entered orbit.

Ivelian had visited these worlds. Always too late – on Pandar IX by two months, but on Deneros Prime and Solace only by weeks. The Scarlet Storm’s forces were spread thinly, but the chapter took the slight to its honour seriously. Three of its strike cruisers, of which the Javelin was one, scoured the Irylium Cluster with vengeful intent.

The Malevolent had to be stopped. No, more than that. It had to be utterly destroyed.

*****

Akillos’ voice was a vox-distorted growl.

“Torpedoes ready.”

Ivelian stared at the visual auspex intently, as, moving at half-standard speed, the Javelin glided past the enemy ship. The Malevolent had not always been named so. In the early centuries of the post-Heresy Imperium’s reconstruction, it had gone by a different name, a name that Ivelian now recalled with bitter appreciation of its irony: Unerring Spear. Whatever sleek lines or notions of faithfulness that had inspired its naming, there was little evidence of them now.

The Malevolent was a monstrous ship. Corruption and the slow accretion of repairs and augmentations undertaken in Emperor-forsaken shipyards the galaxy over had swollen its superstructure with unholy growth. Foul bio-weapons protruded from vast gunnery bays that pulsed with unnatural life. They looked, thought Ivelian in a rare moment of poetry, like coarse hairs sprouting from a malignant wart. Other examples of disfigurement could be seen – swathes of blackened metal scarred the ship’s once noble prow; human corpses, freeze-dried from exposure to the void, trailed from brass chains beneath its belly.

And everywhere the sigils of dark gods squirmed and writhed on the ship’s glossy hull.

The Unerring Spear had once been the flagship of an Imperial Navy taskforce. The ship belonged to the Enemy now.

“Incoming fire!” cried a nearby serf.

“Brace!”

Lights flickered and died as the first shots hit the Javelin. Damage reports flooded the vox, as the wounded ship bucked and reared.

“Gunnery officer, report!”

“Starboard batteries at seventeen percent, my lord. That was a precision strike.”

Ivelian scowled. “So noted. Lances?”

“Forward lances down, my lord.”

“Helmsman, bring us around.”

“My lord?”

Ivelian’s scowl deepened. “I shall not repeat the order, helmsman.”

Ivelian’s enhanced hearing picked up the helmsman’s swallow clearly. “Turning, my lord.”

The Malevolent fired again. And again, the Javelin shook. This time, the vid-feed to the command deck turned blindingly bright and then died. Below Ivelian, the auspex tank crackled and spat, showering its red-robed attendants with angry sparks.

From his control lectern, a junior officer turned to him, one side of his face glistening wetly in the emergency lighting.

“Multiple contacts inbound.”

“Torpedoes?” snapped Ivelian.

“Possibly, my lord. Or boarding pods.”

Like a swarm of flies erupting from the corrupted carcass of a once-noble beast, thought Ivelian. And then smiled grimly. Poetry again.

He flicked the vox channel again, half-expecting to meet with harsh static. Instead, Akillos’ voice greeted him.

“My lord?”

“Do you remember Narel, brother?”

“I do, my lord.”

“Brother, Akillos. Not lord. Not now.”

“As you say.”

Ivelian was aware of the voices of his officers echoing around him. He had no way of knowing when the Javelin would be in the correct position. Only his instinct guided him now.

“It was a brutal war.”

“It was… brother.”

“The orks were savage, their leader monstrous and most puissant.” He paused. “We pride ourselves on our culture, our tradition, but there are times…”

“You are thinking of Brother-Captain Peleus.”

“I am.”

“And his slaying of the ork lord on the plains of Narel.”

“Yes.”

“It was a spear then.”

From somewhere above Ivelian, dull metallic clangs sounded; alarms began to wail.

“It was.”

“A spear fashioned of metal and rubber. A spear whose war spirit growled and roared its courage, as it bore Peleus on its back and led him to glory.”

“Yes.”

There was a sound like the rattling of distant chains.

“It is a good story.”

Screams, hoarse and shrill, drifted through the air towards him. Somewhere on the ship his crew were dying.

Ivelian smiled. “It is worth repeating.” The Javelin of Purity glittered in his mind, a weapon, for all its sophisticated armaments and arcane systems, of the most brutal and savage simplicity. His smile widened.

He turned to his helmsman and gave one last command.
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Mossy Toes » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:40 am

Oooh, JDD, very nice. Excellent and poignant. Space-based combat is an under-exploited favorite aspect of the 40k universe of mine. I do like the little flashes of history and exposition going into this--remind me of the Eternal Zealot, they do. :P

One lingering catch, though. What is the ending? Is it an order to ram? That seems most likely, but...why, then, put so much emphasis on Akillos and his boarding torpedoes? If anything, it's more set up that his last order is to fire the torpedoes than to ram the enemy ship...though that wouldn't make sense, story-wise. The coming about and story of a spear of steel and rubber will have to carry the ramming notion for me, then.
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby J D Dunsany » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:48 am

Mossy Toes wrote:Oooh, JDD, very nice. Excellent and poignant. Space-based combat is an under-exploited favorite aspect of the 40k universe of mine. I do like the little flashes of history and exposition going into this--remind me of the Eternal Zealot, they do. :P

One lingering catch, though. What is the ending? Is it an order to ram? That seems most likely, but...why, then, put so much emphasis on Akillos and his boarding torpedoes? If anything, it's more set up that his last order is to fire the torpedoes than to ram the enemy ship...though that wouldn't make sense, story-wise. The coming about and story of a spear of steel and rubber will have to carry the ramming notion for me, then.


Hmmm... I knew that something didn't quite sit right. I'll have a look at that and do a bit of tweaking of my own.

Thanks for the comment, Mossy - useful and incisive as always! :)

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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:07 am

Here's mine, set in LL's 60K.

Necessary (1,090 words).

‘Now stay with Sergeant Horner, Jassien,’ father commanded. Father always seemed so tall in his stormcoat and carapace, each the cold matte gray of the Federation of Justice, today he squatted down to his son’s height.

‘I will,’ the six year old said, casting a longing look at the enormous bronze gate behind his father.

‘Promise?’ father asked with a raised eye brow.

‘Fine I promise,’ the boy replied.

‘That’s a good lad, stay close to Horner and I’ll take you to see He’Stan’s monument before we leave,’ and with that General Braiva of the Federation of Justice turned and entered the High Counsel Hall of Armageddon, where the Imperium’s best generals and politicians discussed a matter of great import.

Sergeant Horner only had his commander’s son with him for a moment when he turned to ask directions from one of the Salamander praetorians standing impassively in the capital’s great hallways. When he turned back, Jassien was gone.

....

‘I found a child Weyne-King,’ reported Decimus, the huge Chaplain stomping into the Fire Beasts’ observatory booth, the comparatively miniscule boy hanging from his gauntlet.

The Commander of the Fire Beasts, Ravager of the Chaos Marches and King of Terror did not look up from his work but instead kept his concentration upon the helmet in his lap.

‘Fascinating Chaplain,’ observed Weyne, his hands continuing to make wet scraping sounds as they worked. Black armored and terrible, he sat in a chair of reinforced rockrete before a window that viewed the High Counsel room far below.

‘This one has the stink of the Skyborne upon him,’ said Captain Kaa, huge and cloaked in snake skin, endlessly sharpening an immense chainaxe with a file.

‘But no fear,’ declared Captain Tavi, perched like a gargoyle upon the railing, ‘no fear at all. That makes him Bravia’s issue. Has to be.’

‘I know you!’ exclaimed Jassien, with the ease of attention change only a child can possess.

‘Do you really?’ asked Weyne, ‘then who are we?’

‘You’re the 13th,’ answered Jassien, ‘the ones father doesn’t like.’

Kaa laughed at that and kept working his file.

‘Correct,’ said Weyne, ‘but incomplete. We are Vulkan’s 13th Commandery, but we are properly the Ahi Balrog, Fire Beasts in a tongue long dead. Tell me little one, why does your father dislike us so?’

‘He says you kill people and that Vulkan hates you for it,’ Jassien answered.

‘We do,’ replied Weyne, ‘we do indeed. A great many people and other things beside. But so does your father in fact. Tell me what makes you us so different from your noble father, who is the dream of every woman in this Empire and the hero of every man?’

Jassien thought long and hard before answering, ‘He said you are butchers.’

‘Yes,’ said Weyne, his dry voice laughing like a rasp, ‘yes indeed we are. Listen carefully little man-cub, your father kills and fights and destroys because he has to. Because your culture teaches that he must do what is necessary to defend the defenseless. That is why Vulkan thinks so highly of him and his warriors.’

‘And you don’t?’

‘No,’ said the huge Chaplain holding Jassien, ‘no we do not.’

‘I don’t give a shit about the defenseless,’ said Kaa.

‘We kill little man-cub, because we enjoy it,’ explained Weyne, ‘because we run wild under the command of a God-King. Because he made us for war and we glory in fulfilling that purpose.’

‘But if Vulkan made you to do that, why does he hate you when you do it?’ asked Jassien

‘Because Vulkan is a good man, ’replied Weyne, ‘and although he is the greatest warrior who has ever lived there are things he cannot bring himself to do, but we can.’

‘Like what?’

‘Twenty years ago,’ said Chaplain Decimus, ‘Two Krork Warspheres attacked worlds on our southern rim. The Federation was sent to save one, we the other. They failed, overrun by the spore-born who sacked the world and departed. We disabled the other planet’s defenses, let the Greenskin down by the million and unleashed the life-eater. Their ship was easy meat.’

‘Eighteen years ago,’ said Kaa, ‘the Transgovians were ordered to take a world from a petty empire. We went with them for overwatch, the Dark Eldar cults were already there and the attack failed. I ate their Emperor’s head alive before his subordinates. The next world fell.’

‘This morning,’ said Tavi, ‘the four of us attacked a gang that had been preying on the mutant folk amongst Hades’ depths. We disarmed them literally and let the horde feast upon their quivering flesh, for they are Vulkan’s children too and deserve his protection.’

‘Six thousand years ago,’ said Weyne, ‘before this Imperium was founded we carried out a desperate mission. We sacrificed almost everything, ships, brothers, gene-fathers and heritage. We worked with powers most foul and that shall stain our souls forever. But we succeeded.’

‘Vulkan is a good man,’ explained Weyne, ‘but …’

‘A good man needs bad men to do the things he cannot,’ finished Jassien.

‘And that is why he hates us, for the galaxy still requires our use,’ said Weyne, ‘and that is why we love him, for he does not destroy us in his hate and lets us be ourselves. After we let the Krork destroy that world, Vulkan took my flesh eyes as punishment. He wanted to kill me, but instead I thanked him and asked for new orders in brail.’

‘You’re a king, a general, why are you not at the council?’

‘Because we are hammers and we do not care where we are wielded,’ said Weyne, ‘only that Vulkan’s hand is on the handle. Besides everything was decided by Vulkan before the war-council was called, this is just a show, to let his general’s think they think by finding the same eventual conclusion.’

‘It doesn’t seem very important now,’ observed Jassien.

‘No, no it does not,’ said Weyne, donning his helm with the gang leader face stretched tight across it, ‘Shall I send you back to your minders little boy?’

‘No…I want to stay, to stay and do the bad things,’ said Jassien, ‘the things Vulkan needs doing but can’t.’

‘Good,’ said Weyne, ‘Chaplain Decimus, find this boy’s minder and give him a message. Tell General Temestor Bravia that his son is now my son and his new name is Tyme. The boy begins his training on the morrow, if his father can find me and kill me by then he can have him back.’
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:06 am

My reviews:

Ballistichimp 'Liberty': Brilliantly grim, the Imperial Guard masscaring both sides out of hand was chillingly well done.

Jelboy 'Black Ork Down': That was... wow. That may have been the funniest story I have ever read. Love all the nods in there too.

Rusk 'First Contact': Good show Rusk. I love the way the humans are just smashed in this, like they have no chance what so ever. They're these delicate little meat bags that will die if they don't leave their suits, but the Orks just walk out of the radiation and murder them.

JDD 'Spear': Is a fusion powered, city sized warship a melee weapon? Yes, but you can only use it once. 8-)
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby J D Dunsany » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:51 am

We're in the final day for this, good people!

Last call for entries!

:)

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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Tyrant » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:04 am

Ballistichimp (Liberty): great little piece, I liked the portrayal of the IG/tech guard through the eyes of someone who had never seen anything like them before.

Jelboy (Black Ork Down): random, very random. And funny as the warp.

Rusk (First Contact): I agree with LL that the story would have worked better without the ork's line. Apart from that, very good.

JD (Spear): Not sure what you were worried about! The description of the Malevolent and its actions were especially good.

Gaius Marius (Necessary): The FBs are real bastards these days :P Nice job of explaining their philosophy and why they do the horrible things they do.
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Re: Read in a Rush: Savage

Postby Rusk » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:18 pm

Ok, edited the ork's line. It didn't seem quite right to me either. It feels like cheating being able to edit, but what the hell.

Ballistichimp - very nice piece. The guardsmen seem suitably grim and distant, much better than any who might attempt to befriend Teku. Very 40k.

Jelboy - I feel like I'm missing an injoke. Or maybe 20 injokes. Still amusing, mind.

Rusk - sublime piece. ;)

JDD - not read much space combat, but it seems to work well. I like the flashbacks to the Malevolent's past actions, adds more character to the piece.

GM - Evil evil spehss marines. I'm not too familiar with the 60k setting, but I'm guessing a lot of its a lot more grim than 40k (if that's possible?). Does give the impression that Marines aren't all good samaritans, something I think should be more emphasised.

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