[HH] Survivor Stories: World Eater

Got some current fan fiction? 40k, WFB, Age of Sigmar and all other fiction is to be found here.

[HH] Survivor Stories: World Eater

Postby NoPoet » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:12 pm

Hi all! I was recommended to come here by a member of DakkaDakka.com, who implied that your fiction section is quite active. It's Nanowrimo, and instead of starting a new novel, I'm finishing a lot of old 40K/Horus Heresy stories and working heavily on 20K, my 40K/HH prequel series. Once these are out of the way I hope to be active on this forum reading and critiquing other people's work. Hopefully the internet will find my take on the 40K universe to be different and deep, but don't be afraid to say if you think my writing is crap :lol:

Enough talk - let the blood flow!

=[XII]=

It's an understatement to say we couldn’t believe the World Eaters' attack: shock, fear, awe, dismay, none of these words convey the sense of betrayal as they invaded our sector. The Emperor’s perfect angels, slaughtering the people they were created to serve.

The 3301st Expedition Fleet, as it had been known, arrived in our neighbouring solar system and laid waste to all three inhabited worlds. We thought the reports were wrong. We thought the worlds had rebelled, or that this was some kind of xenos trick, maybe even a mass hallucination.

It wasn’t a mistake or a hallucination. Part of us knew this all along. The World Eaters has attacked planets that were known to be peaceful and compliant. These planets had always been close trading partners of ours and they’d suffered Ork raids as often as we did. We had all welcomed the Raven Guard fleet that arrived to reunite us with the Imperium, our forgotten family. No-one resisted – not even when the Mechanicum built huge processing stations across our landscapes, and our economy was retooled towards warfare. We benefited from the Imperium's trade and military protection; we sent regiments to join their Crusade.

The World Eaters were brutal angels but they were created by the Emperor. He has never been to our system but we all know of his great genius, his rulership of thousands of worlds. We trusted him and believed in his message of human purity. He must have had some kind of plan for the World Eaters – there must have been some serious horror going off in the galaxy for him to create such a brutal Legion. Maybe he built them to fight the worst, most terrible engagements, and the constant bloodshed had twisted them somehow. Whatever the Emperor's reasons, they were beyond us, but since we were loyal to the Imperium we held no special fear of the Astartes. Not until they came for us.

We received pict-feeds and vox transmissions for the first three days of the attack. The reports started off shocking, distressing, and they rapidly became horrific. We watched our neighbours – our friends, allies, trading partners, who had shared our joy and our peril for centuries – as they died screaming. Visual quality dropped, communications became sporadic, then finally there was silence.

I work in military communications, liaising with our planetary defence force. My direct superior was overweight, unhealthy. He had a weak heart. It gave out several minutes after the disaster began. I was thrown into his position without training. Pandemonium reigned across our planet. Would the World Eaters come here? We didn't know at first, not until their fleet adopted a ragged formation and turned from the destroyed worlds, from the floating carcasses of destroyed ships, to reach across space with technology and telepathy. They were looking for victims and they found us.

The first thing we did, right at the start, was contact the nearest non-World Eaters Astartes. I had to argue for hours for this, and in the end I did it on my own lacklustre authority, as we had no idea how far the madness had spread. The Death Guard failed to respond to emergency hails. Our astropaths recoiled from attempted contact, alternately raving about cold, implacable hatred and malicious humour at our pleas. I’m not sure if this is true but I was told that one Death Guard astropath laughingly wished us luck.

We gave up on the Astartes after that. There was no way to know if any of them remained loyal. Not even the beloved Raven Guard, with their swagger and their easy, likeable manner. Had they become murderers too? Was it something in their genhancement, some terrible, hidden flaw that turned superhumans into maniacs? Or were they simply tired of defending us? They were superior in every way, so why would they want to carry on fighting and dying on our behalf, when they could rule us?

We were on our own.

Then the World Eaters made direct astropathic contact. I was there. They mocked us. We told them we weren’t a threat, that this terrible disaster didn’t have to continue. Emperor help us, our astropaths went mad. Some of them clutched their heads, dying in the throes of screaming brain trauma. Others frothed at the mouth and attacked their fellows with tooth and nail. One, adept Rankinth, suffered some sort of cerebral explosion.

The enemy was at our Mandeville point while our defence fleet was still forming up. Defence fleet? What did we have that could stop the Astartes? Many of our ships were civilian. Brave captains and crew scraped meagre firepower together – it had been sufficient to defend us from alien raids, but it didn't seem much against a rogue Legion.

I became the de facto head of communications when my seniors fled to be with their families. The military was my family. I stayed with them – the ones who didn’t desert. We used the garrison at Mera province as our HQ, co-ordinating army units while citizens in the streets shrieked and fled to nowhere. Can you imagine how we felt? It's hard to describe the fear, although I have already tried. It was numbing. Suffocating. We were crushed under its pressure. I was too busy to break down sobbing, but I saw nearly as many men crying as women. I had no words of comfort for them. Morale had never been my speciality, I had no command training, no experience.

Would it have mattered if I did? The Astartes were faster, smarter and far more battle-hardened than any of us. Rebellious worlds, alien races, they feared all the Astartes Legions, but the World Eaters were dreaded.

They swept into our system, striking at our fleet like sharks attacking fish. Shoals of system defence vessels blasted the incoming Astartes. The enemy attacked without coherence, simply heading for the most powerful of our vessels. They launched boarding craft and in some cases crashed into us, disgorging mobs of warriors directly into the guts of our ships. Boarding actions were furiously fought, but one-sided. The Astartes were created to win wars ordinary humans couldn’t even fight. They carved through our crews in scenes that were rapidly censored by our world government, who eventually cut off all vox and pict contact with those poor doomed people dying for us in space.

Our planetary defences blew two World Eaters ships out of orbit and crippled three renegade Army carriers. That seemed a formidable blow. The World Eaters didn't care. Their much-depleted invasion force, who we’d hoped would be exhausted from killing their way to us, emerged from drop-pods and fighter-transports into a storm of firepower, yet the World Eaters killed and killed until our defence force was broken.

The Astartes were beyond terrifying. A howling, screaming mass of post-human nightmares came charging across the mud at twice the speed of a man’s most desperate pace. They had guns, some carried heavy weapons, but all of them were armed with chainswords and chainaxes which they preferred to their ranged weapons.

The World Eaters revelled in the slaughter. They virtually swam in our blood. It didn't matter that we were weaker than them, vulnerable, lacking their armour or their genhanced physiques; they showed no mercy, except to end the lives of our soldiers as quickly as possible, usually in one hit, such was their strength. Our soldiers simply could not stand up to them. One single, hideous wound was enough: soldiers died, shrieking louder than the Astartes' chainblades, disembowelled or bisected in explosions of gore. They made no demands, other than we stand and face them. The World Eaters didn't need prisoners or intelligence. They never took anyone alive. They only needed us to die.

Our lasguns barely scratched their armour. It took repeated hits from multiple guns to even slow the enemy. I saw warriors roaring with rage as they staggered forwards, one slow bootstep after another, while their armour literally melted from lasfire. The Astartes’ armour might once have looked noble, in a blue and white colour scheme which, when a warrior lay dead, made him look almost like a knight or crusader from some ancient fantasy. Two things spoiled this image: first, every man among them had rents, tears and other battle damage across their armour even before we started shooting; second, they were splashed with blood, very little of it their own.

A small squad of World Eaters broke into our garrison. The guards blasted them with shot and shell. Combat servitors and defence emplacements strove to repel the invaders. A few hardy fools attempted to fight the Astartes one-on-one and lasted seconds at most. The Astartes were just so fast. It was like they'd been designed specifically to kill humans. Was this really what they were for? Had the Emperor intended us to die like this? Were we worthless now that he had his special soldiers? Our fighting retreat was rapid and hopeless.

My heart hammered and I thought I would die of cardiac arrest as the Astartes chased me through the building, washing the rooms and corridors with bolters and flamers as they passed. Men and women died in their dozens, yet there always seemed to be unfortunate workers or servitors between me and the Space Marines. Many corners were chewed by the RAAARK-whoosh of bolter fire as I stayed a few steps ahead. It was like something from a nightmare.

Squads of defence force troopers rushed past me, grey-faced, to die screaming out of sight. Yet one by one, the Astartes fell, explosion after explosion heralding grenade attacks by desperate human soldiers. The building was rocked and I was thrown around as rockrete dust rained and the lights flickered. A final pair of explosions resulted in an unearthly cry of pain. The last World Eater hadn’t been killed. He sounded grievously injured, but he was still alive.

Four defence force troopers barged past me and I followed them back, even though every neuron was screaming for me to get away from there. I was dizzy and my head was pounding: blood made crazed mist-patterns in my vision. The sounds of battle had died away, except for the occasional distant thunder of shelling. Either the World Eaters had routed our military, or we'd destroyed them.

The fallen Astarte lay atop a pile of rubble. One of the corridor walls and part of the roof had collapsed on him. I am ashamed to admit it but I retched, then vomited, at the human mess splashed across the white walls.

The Astarte panted like an exhausted grox. Blood, darker than a normal human’s, had already hardened to cinnabar around great rents in his chest, neck, left shoulder and legs. The warrior stank of death: burning blood, human excrement from the voided bowels of his victims, a musky sweat far stronger and headier than anything a man could produce.

He regarded us through blue eye lenses. His armour had an integrated helmet, so he had to move his torso slightly to track our movements. In the background I heard the insistent drumming of artillery. It was nearly drowned out by my own racing heart.

The soldiers – three men and a woman – were yelling at him, screaming threats and curses and questions, las-carbines millimetres from his head. One of them kicked the World Eater's axe away, swearing with disbelief as the weight of the weapon nearly broke his foot. Another man put the barrel of his gun right against the traitor’s faceplate. The enemy was still quicker than us. He grabbed the soldier’s stomach and wrenched his guts out. As the soldier fell, the Astarte threw his guts at me; I dived aside, Emperor knows how I reacted so fast, and they splashed hard against a wall. The two other male soldiers bundled their dying friend away as I rolled in the blood and dust.

“This is it, you prick,” the woman said, levelling her las-carbine at the traitor’s faceplate. It would be a guaranteed kill-shot at this range despite his armour.

“Wait!” I yelled before she could fire. She glanced at me over her shoulder, uncertain. There was a diagonal, faded scar across her right eye. I found her very attractive. Somehow her anger only increased my feelings. I couldn’t believe I was going through this now, as I clambered to my feet with blood and meat on my clothes.

“We should kill this grox-lover,” she said through gritted teeth.

“Think! If we kill him, we’ll never know why the World Eaters betrayed us. Do you really think we’ll take another one alive?”

For an awful moment I thought she’d kill him anyway. It was hard to imagine anyone else in the galaxy having an opportunity like this, either to kill or interrogate such a powerful warrior. We couldn't throw it away.

“We can learn about how they're organised,” I told her. “Maybe find out why they did this.”

Her knuckles were white as she gripped the lasgun. Then she backed off with a heartfelt curse. The World Eater started laughing. There was a burble to it, as if he were gargling blood.

“Let’s see if he’s still laughing when I castrate him,” the soldier said. I glanced at the name printed on her flak jacket above her left breast: Cartia.

“Calm down, Cartia,” I said with more confidence than I felt. “Fetch more soldiers. Get a medical team here too. We need to find out what he knows, even if we have to cut it out of him.”

“Son of a grox!” Cartia said in frustration. She put up her gun and moved away, speaking into a portable vox unit she unclipped from her belt. I turned to the fallen World Eater.

“Listen to me, you freak,” I said. “You’re going to tell me what I want to know and then Cartia's going to make you a eunuch.”

“Hah!” the Astartes barked. “Your bargaining skills need work.” His voice was deeper and more powerful than any I’ve ever heard, made even more so by vox distortion from his helm. It made my own voice sound thin by comparison.

“I'm not bargaining with you,” I said. “We’re turning you into a woman no matter what you say. Find you a nice husband, someone who’s looking for a big wife.”

“Mock me, human,” he snarled in reply. “I’ll drive the Nails into your head and turn you into a pit slave. Gnhhh!”

“Hurts, does it?” I said, hardly able believe my sudden courage – or my savagery. “What’s the matter, are the World Eaters allergic to grenades?”

“You’re a brave little man while I’m lying here with a severed spine. Come closer, insult me to my face.”

“Too much distortion on the vox,” Cartia said, joining me. She raised her voice to address the World Eater. “Who are you, ork-fondler? Why are you killing us?”

“My apologies,” the Astartes sneered. “I forget social niceties while the Nails are singing. My name is Sergeant Skarr of the fifty-ninth company, XII Legiones Astartes. I am an Eater of Worlds.”

“You’re gonna be an eater of dirt, you son of a grox!” Cartia yelled.

“She’s got some fire in her,” chuckled Skarr. “If only we inducted females.”

“Why are you attacking us?” she all but screamed.

“Because you’re so soft and easy to kill,” Skarr replied. It sounded like he was smiling. “There’s nothing like carving your way through screaming meat.”

I had to physically restrain Cartia from smashing his visor with her gun.

“He’s trying to goad you!” I yell at her. “Remember what he just did. Keep your distance, Cartia.”

I turned to the Astartes. His laughter was a low rumble.

“Yes, Brawn,” he said to Cartia. “Let Brains talk for you.”

“You should follow your own advice,” I told him. “What do you think Terra will do now they know you maniacs slipped the leash? Ten thousand Raven Guard are heading for your home world. They’ll wipe you out and burn your planet to ash.”

“You cannot hide your fear from me,” Skarr said. “I can smell it, just as I can smell her secret female stink.” He leaned slightly to regard Cartia. “What do you think, woman? Shall I give your weak body to our pit slaves to keep them happy for your final hour – and no doubt beyond? Or shall I make you one of them? You’ll be my housecarl. We’ll pretend to be Death Guard, an Astartes warrior attended by a pathetic little whelp not fit to shine his armour.”

“Leave her alone,” I said. I guess it was the protective male instinct, but really it was more than that: like I said, the military were my family. Cartia looked at me like I was grox food. She didn’t appreciate a civilian standing up for her.

Skarr grunted with laughter. I kept hoping my taunts would make him drop his guard. It wasn't happening. It’s not in my nature to be insulting, even to a monster like Skarr.

“We need to kill him,” Cartia told me. “Now. Astartes can heal injuries that would kill us.”

“Not yet,” I said. Skarr regarded me without speaking, intentions hidden behind his visor. “We need more intelligence.”

“And you think he’s going to give it to you? He's a World Eater, you moron! The only thing he knows is how to kill.”

Silence fell between us. She glared at me with righteous anger. There was a quiet whirring as Skarr looked from one of us to the other. Hydraulics and power-servos in his suit strained against the paralysing damage he’d suffered. But if he was paralysed due to a broken spine, how could he move at all?

“Is this the point where mortals make love?” Skarr asked. “Can I watch? I want to see what I'm missing.”

I was too surprised by the question to say anything. The moment was retrieved by Cartia, who responded with a sexual scenario concerning Skarr, his mother and a gretchin referee. Skarr wasn't offended. He just laughed.

“Does something like you even have a mother?” I asked him. “You look like you were grown in a sceptic tank.”

“I hunted her down and slew her,” he replied without emotion. “She was a worthy opponent. Kharn himself couldn’t have beaten her. I should have been promoted to Warmaster.”

“Kharn,” said Cartia. “Is he here?”

We both knew that name. If Kharn was here, that meant the Primarch was here too.

“Is Angron coming?” I asked.

“Ah, the Red Angel,” Skarr said. He laughed. It was a bitter sound. “What wet work he makes of mortals.”

“If Kharn’s here,” I said, thinking aloud, “then his boyfriend Angron must be too. But Angron wouldn’t be a member of some ratty little fleet, attacking minor systems at the arse-end of nowhere.” Something clicked in my mind. “Does he even know you’ve turned?”

Skarr growled, a wet burble, in lieu of reply.

“Lost your voice?” I said.

“Nnngh… uh… the Nails,” he said.

“I’ll show you my nails.” Cartia propped her rifle against a wall and drew both a combat knife and a bayonet. The movement was fluid, swift, startling me. I threw myself at her before she could go for Skarr and we ended up wrestling. I work in communications, I'm a a liaison, not a soldier. She was a lot stronger than me, unexpectedly so given her size. Skarr made it worse because he started laughing. It was a mad sound, insane, chilling.

“You think this is fragging funny?” Cartia spat. She unzipped my arm with the bayonet. It was unintentional, a consequence of our struggle, but the pain was like a burst of fire. It gave me extra strength. We grappled anew and slipped in the blood. She tried to use this to throw me but I held onto her and we both landed in a heap.

The World Eater’s laugh became higher-pitched. He sounded manic.

“Nnngh! Aaah!” he cried between bursts of laughter. Surprisingly – considering he was paralysed – Skarr reached for his faceplate, trying to tear it from his face. Then he stopped and more slowly began to remove his helmet.

Cartia and I both froze, staring at the World Eater as his helmet came free with a hiss of equalising pressure. I forgot my pain even as my own blood mixed with the stuff I'd fallen in. What would a monster like Skarr look like? I imaged he would be a scarified monster, or a pirate, a mutant, a degenerate. He'd have insane desperation in his eyes, an almost tangible bloodlust. His teeth would be sharpened into fangs.

In fact, his face was unblemished, uncorrupted, except for a droplet of dark blood that had run from his nose and dried across his lips. He was simply a man stretched to a greater scale. It was unsettling to see a Space Marine this close. He smiled at us, revealed teeth that were not pointed like fangs but were all artificial. Skarr's smile was silver. He drew back the arm holding the helm.

Some instinct alerted me. I pushed Cartia away but I was too slow. Skarr’s helm cracked against her Army-issue flak helmet. She fell over backwards, unconscious.

It was just me and the monster now.

I was breathing hard, knowing that Skarr was drinking in my fear, but I couldn't control myself. I was shaking. The blood-splashed environment stank and nauseated me.

“This is why you attacked us, isn't it?” I said. “We're weaker than you are.”

The Astarte began to laugh.

“You think it's funny?” I said, anger rising. “You killed millions of innocents and you think it's funny?”

“When my Primarch insisted that we each take the Nails, I was one of the few who resisted,” Skarr said, as if it was supposed to make sense. “My... brothers... held me down while the apothecaries drilled into my skull. The technology was so perfect... so brutal... the Emperor himself couldn't defeat it. So he left his own son to suffer, and in turn, Angron made us suffer too. Nnyaaah!”

Skarr began to claw at his head. He was definitely regaining some mobility, so I stepped back.

“The Nails... the Nails...”

“What are the Nails?” I asked. “What are their function?”

The World Eater tried to lunge for me. I've never moved so fast in my life, practically flying to the end of the corridor. Skarr's laughter turned to cries of pain.

“What are they?” I said again. “Did they drive you to turn on us?”

“They... they control us,” he gasped. “They regulate hormones and chemicals... they hone us into the greatest killers this galaxy has ever known. NNNGH!”

“They're killing you,” I said in a moment of clarity. “They were supposed to make you better fighters but instead they turned you into animals.” Realistation struck with the force of a power-hammer. “That's why the Emperor hasn't fixed them. It isn't that he doesn't know how – he's seen what the Nails did to his son, that Angron would force you to have them too. He knows there's no way back for you. The Emperor is letting your Legion die!”

“NYAAAAGH!” Skarr roared, clambering to his feet. “We're not dead yet!” He lunged towards me, slower than expected due to his wounds. The World Eater lumbered along using the walls for support – his bulk filled the corridor, casting a shadow of death across me. I turned and ran, the Astarte in pursuit, the unconscious Cartia forgotten by us both.

The pursuit was a nightmare. It seemed impossible to lose him. He was always just around the corner, he could hear every sound I made. Every so often he would roar with agony and it was terrifying. However, I knew the layout of this place. I led Skarr along corridors with ceiling-mounted defence weapons intact. They were low-grade plasma guns which stabbed through his armour drawing grunts of pain; I heard him tearing them down. Surely he couldn't take much more of this? They slowed him enough for me to get away, into the darkened maze of the administration centre. Rows of processing stations reared up. Papers were strewn across the floor. I had to watch every step. Skarr would not be hampered by the dark, or risk slipping or making noise to give away his position; I would hear his armour, his grunts of pain.

I almost tiptoed along, seeing parchments attached to the processors, some kind of prayers or entreaties written in binary by the Mechanicum overseers. My heart missed a beat when Skarr bardged his way into the room, sending the door and parts of its frame flying. I crouched behind a terminal and tried to slow my heart rate, but it didn't work.

“I can hear you, little mouse,” he said, as he slowly thunked his way around processor banks. “I can hear the drip-drip-drip of your blood. Your woman killed you without realising.”

I grabbed my wounded arm. My sleeve was soaked with blood. The pain was secondary to my fear. Surely his hearing couldn't be that good?

Skarr went silent, unmoving. Then there was a tremendous crashing which startled me and nearly made me bolt from cover as he ripped a cogitator bank from the wall. Silence fell again. Outside, distantly, I heard the rattle of an autocannon.

“Do you know what we do to cowards?” Skarr said. He started walking again, unhurried, working his way closer. “We disembowel them and leave them to die. I imagine that is very painful, don't you?”

He ripped a second station out of place. It clanged against another. I winced, remembering the countermeasures installed by Mechanicum servitors to make their machines tamper-proof. That made me realise there might be a way to kill Skarr. The World Eaters were tough but they'd proven vulnerable to explosions. We were surrounded by Imperial technology fitted with self-destruct mechanisms. Enough of them triggering at once should do for the Astarte. Unfortunately they would do for me too.

Then I remembered something: I was in command of this facility. The Overseers had re-joined the Imperial Expedition fleet and left with the Raven Guard. They told us that their machinery was being governed by some kind of machine-spirit and no longer needed Mechanicus supervision. This machine-spirit could be talked to by someone in authority. That would now be me. But my promotions were essentially field commissions. No-one had sanctioned them. Would the machine-spirit obey me?

“NNNGH!” Skarr growled. “AAAAH! The Nails sing today, little mouse! They demand blood! I wonder whose?”

Yours, you big bastard, I thought. I crept from cover, using the noise Skarr generated to track his location as I worked my way towards the door. The World Eater took me entirely by surprise: he crashed through several rows of machinery to knock me sprawling. None of the machines exploded. Had the Mechanicum really fitted them with bombs? Or had the Imperium lied to us too?

“Hello little mouse!” he roared. “Now you die as you have lived – a gutless worm crawling in his own filth!”

“Oi, grox brain!” Cartia yelled. Skarr and I both looked to where she stood in the doorway, combat armour tattered and blood-stained. She had a las-carbine under each arm and a lit cheroot clenched between her teeth. “Welcome to Chiros!”

Skarr was already lunging towards her when she opened fire on full auto. Shot after shot speared the World Eater. Not only was the range close, he wasn't wearing his helmet. It took Skarr less than two seconds to reach Cartia. They both fell backwards into the corridor, Cartia crying out in agony as the fifty-stone Astarte landed on top of her. Skarr made no further noise. I'd seen his head evaporate and I was gagging on the cloying stench of boiled brains. Cartia had freed the World Eater from his Nails at last.

=[XII]=

We emerged into the ruins of our world. Buildings were shattered, vomiting smoke. The dead lay everywhere. Sounds of battle had diminished almost entirely. Cartia was severely wounded and had suffered four broken ribs, one of which had punctured a lung. She somehow managed to prevent herself from going into shock, giving me instructions on how to apply first aid. I hoped that she would live until we found a medic. Her vox unit was broken and the building's comms centre had been destroyed by self-sacrificing troopers.

I watched as columns of smoke dozens of miles wide rose to a dust-choked sky, hoping that the World Eaters had been defeated and that the Imperium would never again trouble us with its madness and lies. We set off, Cartia's arm around my shoulders, looking for survivors.
“It won't work, Captain!” Googol said. “It's coming! Oh, God, it's hungry -”
They were rocked by an impact which threw everyone across their consoles.
“What the hell was that?” Whyte yelled.
“Leviathan!” Googol all but screamed. “It hunts among immaterial tides, devouring the souls of great and majestic monsters, but oh, how it yearns for us! Captain, we must translate now or we'll die in ways you can't conceive!”

- 20K: On Eagle's Wings
User avatar
NoPoet
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:32 pm


Re: [HH] Survivor Stories: World Eater

Postby HungryP » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:15 pm

I made no such claim! ;)

This is a nice addition to things though. I especially like the part where the Death Guard are all like “Oh no! Traitors?” :lol:
User avatar
HungryP
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:10 pm


Re: [HH] Survivor Stories: World Eater

Postby Squiggle » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:56 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum.

I enjoyed this - nice to see something a little different.

A general crit. The over-arcing narrative style you chose during the beginning of this piece, whilst informative, took the reader out of the heart of the action. It wasn't until your narrator started getting chased around the bunker by a lunatic Worldeater than I really sat up and took notice. Perhaps a personal view, but often showing rather than telling is more effective at grabbing the readers attention, especially towards the start of the piece.

You could consider starting with some action to hook the reader, and then panning back and out to give more detail on the overall struggle, before focusing back in on the action.

Just my thoughts though. I lay no claim to being an expert. Either way, I found it entertaining and engaging so good job!
If my mind's the weapon, my heart's the extra clip

Forum Moderator

@sqyiggle
User avatar
Squiggle
 
Posts: 1076
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:18 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK


Re: [HH] Survivor Stories: World Eater

Postby NoPoet » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:28 pm

Hooray! Comments!

HungryP: Sorry, I tend to read too much into everything people say! :lol:

Squiggle: Thank you! Your comment highlights a recurring problem I have, which is starting a story in a manner that is gripping and immediate. My stories tend to reward the reader for sticking with them. That's flawed logic, as most people won't get past the first couple of paragraphs. The Nosleep horror stories I'm working on start with exposition too. They'll never be successful without a total rewrite. Learning to break this logic loop seems to be the next challenge. Thank you very much for sticking with this story.
“It won't work, Captain!” Googol said. “It's coming! Oh, God, it's hungry -”
They were rocked by an impact which threw everyone across their consoles.
“What the hell was that?” Whyte yelled.
“Leviathan!” Googol all but screamed. “It hunts among immaterial tides, devouring the souls of great and majestic monsters, but oh, how it yearns for us! Captain, we must translate now or we'll die in ways you can't conceive!”

- 20K: On Eagle's Wings
User avatar
NoPoet
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:32 pm


Re: [HH] Survivor Stories: World Eater

Postby HungryP » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:19 pm

Starting off with exposition isn’t a bad thing in itself, there just needs to be something to keep the reader going. I think the opening paragraph works well, but after that you go quickly from a narrow focus to a wider look at the Imperium’s history on planet and the Marines’ other shenanigans, taking away from the immediacy. It’s a bit of an info dump.

If you feel your openings are a problem area, there’s a couple techniques you could try. You could edit mercilessly, taking out everything that doesn’t move the action forward. But nobody wants to do that. ;) Or you could adapt a scene storyboarding technique, taking each idea you want to present and trying to rearrange them so that the info still gets included, but over the course of the story rather than all at once.

It’s a difficult bit of advice to follow that says a story often starts much later than where we’ve started telling it, but it becomes more important the shorter the piece.
User avatar
HungryP
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:10 pm


Re: [HH] Survivor Stories: World Eater

Postby Squiggle » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:22 pm

HungryP wrote:Starting off with exposition isn’t a bad thing in itself, there just needs to be something to keep the reader going. I think the opening paragraph works well, but after that you go quickly from a narrow focus to a wider look at the Imperium’s history on planet and the Marines’ other shenanigans, taking away from the immediacy. It’s a bit of an info dump.

If you feel your openings are a problem area, there’s a couple techniques you could try. You could edit mercilessly, taking out everything that doesn’t move the action forward. But nobody wants to do that. ;) Or you could adapt a scene storyboarding technique, taking each idea you want to present and trying to rearrange them so that the info still gets included, but over the course of the story rather than all at once.

It’s a difficult bit of advice to follow that says a story often starts much later than where we’ve started telling it, but it becomes more important the shorter the piece.


I just wrote a post which doesn't seem to have posted but that which says very similar things.

For storyboarding - ideas include conversations between characters, or a character travelling through a landscape enabling you to describe it, and throw in bits of backstory without the reader realising it!
If my mind's the weapon, my heart's the extra clip

Forum Moderator

@sqyiggle
User avatar
Squiggle
 
Posts: 1076
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:18 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK


Re: [HH] Survivor Stories: World Eater

Postby NoPoet » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:09 am

A sincere thank you chaps, this is really helpful. Infodumps are something I've struggled with terribly. During the last month I have had to rewrite three different 20K stories so that background data and various other information is presented in broken up parts throughout the story, appearing as speech, mission briefings, memories etc. The original version of each story seemed like a desperate rush to drop the whole universe on the reader and some of it wasn't relevant to the story anyway. So, gripping openings, show don't tell, avoid infodumps: some nice pointers to be getting on with.

Incidentally - would I be ok to post my 20K stories here? It's my own take on humanity during the Age of Technology, before the Age of Strife. I've almost finished the "novella" which launches the series and there are a lot more stories coming. Just don't want the BL to smack me down for it.
“It won't work, Captain!” Googol said. “It's coming! Oh, God, it's hungry -”
They were rocked by an impact which threw everyone across their consoles.
“What the hell was that?” Whyte yelled.
“Leviathan!” Googol all but screamed. “It hunts among immaterial tides, devouring the souls of great and majestic monsters, but oh, how it yearns for us! Captain, we must translate now or we'll die in ways you can't conceive!”

- 20K: On Eagle's Wings
User avatar
NoPoet
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:32 pm


Re: [HH] Survivor Stories: World Eater

Postby Squiggle » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:43 pm

Yes, absolutely. We are pretty open-minded when it comes to what people choose to post up here.
If my mind's the weapon, my heart's the extra clip

Forum Moderator

@sqyiggle
User avatar
Squiggle
 
Posts: 1076
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:18 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK


Re: [HH] Survivor Stories: World Eater

Postby NoPoet » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:27 pm

Ok, thank you. I will start a thread within the next week.

EDIT: It's going to be one of those projects that you see listed as "Book One", Book Two" etc. :lol:

Book One: On Eagle's Wings

Book Two: Lost Millennium

Book Three: Will either be titled Rise of the Eagle or The Forgotten Queen
“It won't work, Captain!” Googol said. “It's coming! Oh, God, it's hungry -”
They were rocked by an impact which threw everyone across their consoles.
“What the hell was that?” Whyte yelled.
“Leviathan!” Googol all but screamed. “It hunts among immaterial tides, devouring the souls of great and majestic monsters, but oh, how it yearns for us! Captain, we must translate now or we'll die in ways you can't conceive!”

- 20K: On Eagle's Wings
User avatar
NoPoet
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:32 pm


Return to Board index

Return to Fan Fiction

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest