Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

For Warhammer fiction not strictly from either universe.

Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:17 pm

Chapter 14-God of War

Yamzarat Machotoro was the first upon the beaches of Hong Kong. From the massive delta of the Zhujiang River he rose, some ancient metallic behemoth that roared with deafening fury as he strode. Dirty, scum-topped water sloughed off his great form, veiling his white painted his form before he stepped forwards once more, great footsteps bringing him forwards, out of the water. Sand exploded from beneath his footfalls as he stomped upwards towards the city.

Enemy fire streaked towards him from the ruined city as the Reapers within opened up, and he cackled through his immense speakers as he returned fire with cannon and railgun, blasting buildings to rubble with former and simply smashing great craters into the ground with the latter.

Behind him, Geth rose from the water, standard soldier platforms, Primes, anti-tank troopers, colossi, agile hoppers and stealthy hunters, throwing up sand with the speed of their advance. Their weapons blazed as they opened up on the Reaper troops that managed to survive Yamzarat Machtoro’s opening fullisade, picking off the enemy machines with deadly accuracy, weapons blazing. Behind them, yet more Geth rose out of the waters of the Zhujiang River Delta, a veritable tide of synthetics that rushed forwards with deadly speed. The plan had worked; no casualties due to anti-air or anti-orbital fire, and the enemy was taken by surprise by the assault from the sea. Landing on the islands outside the delta and advancing underwater had been surprisingly effective.

In seconds, they had reached the edge of the beach, or climbed up through harbours and docks, the tidal defences reduced to slopes of rubble by the Geth’s colossi to allow their smaller brethren easier progress, scrambling upwards as they advanced.

The Reaper’s soldiers were waiting for them.

Heavy weapons blazed from buildings and synthetics were cut down as they came into sight, hastily erected Reaper defenses tearing apart Geth down in moments. The Geth formed up, taking shelter from the danger and returning fire, while heavy weapons arced forwards to destroy cover and enemy footsoldiers.

“This will be too slow,” Yamzarat Machtoro rumbled, as enemy fire rippled off his great shields. “Let’s speed things up a little!”

His cannon roared into life, stitching a line of great craters across the shorefront, enemy strongpoints reduced to rubble and splinters as soon as the hyper-velocity shells hit home. His railgun screamed into life, and a city block was reduced to a crater as it impacted, the slide on the weapon clanking as it racked another round in.

He spotted a squadron of enemy walkers advancing down the streets towards him and the Geth, their weapons raised, and he turned his cannon upon them. Two of them were blasted apart in moments, but the others managed to send off beam fire, only to have them glance harmlessly off his shields; the Askriit had made them resistant to beam weaponry before they had been destroyed, using technology taken from the Reapers. A shot from his railgun was his reply to that, annihilating the rest of them in a swathe of flame and debris.

“Do you remember me, Almarach Ikmrin?” he boomed as he stomped forwards, nearly two million Geth in his wake. “I have returned! And this time I shall destroy you all!”

Ahead of him, Hong Kong’s financial district lay, a collection of great skyscrapers; too much cover. Yamzarat Machtoro chuckled as he readied his railgun and fired.

Buildings toppled as the round detonated, shredding glass and steel, I-beams and concrete crumpling in on themselves as the skyscrapers toppled. Those Reaper soldiers that lurked in the streets were crushed in an avalanche of rubble or stripped to nothing by a storm of glass. Binaric alerts came in from the Geth forces, protesting about preserving infrastructure and survivors, but Yamzarat Machtoro simply chuckled.

“I am here to make war upon the Almarach Ikmrin,” he said. “What worry have I for these people’s buildings?”

He stomped forwards, a tide of Geth in his wake, the smaller houses of Hong Kong’s suburbs and docks being crushed by his great tread, great guns blazing as he was provided with targeting data from the linked combat network that the Geth fought with. Fire control orders were sent at lightspeed, and Geth moved with perfect coordination. They fought with consensus, data considered and processed in picoseconds and reactions across the entire battlefront coordinated perfectly; in everything the Geth did, they were a democratic people, and battle was no exception.

The only rogue element was Yamzarat Machtoro, the great machine of the Askriit storming ahead of the main advance, thirsty for vengeance. He roared warcries in his native tongue, smashing forwards in his eagerness to engage. Behind him, the Geth were struggling to keep up, his great strides outpacing the machines, their most agile scout platforms and their gunships the only things able to keep up.

Beam-fire arced up from behind him as Reaper assault walkers opened up, slamming into his shields, steadily wearing them down. Yamzarat Machtoro turned ponderously, ground shaking with every footfall, and his cannon roared into life, annihilating the foe as it blasted them apart is blasts of fire. Yet more fire impacted his shields from behind him, while by the walkers Reaper footsoldiers opened up with lighter heavier weapons, still wearing his defences down.

He turned once more and annihilated them with his railgun, while fire from his left flank was silenced by a salvo from his cannon. More sprang up from around him, near his foot, and he stamped down upon its source, a giant crushing ants.

Warnings came in that he was too far ahead, and that the advance was beginning to stall without his presence, but Yamzarat Machtoro’s only reply was; “Then fight harder, cowards!”

He stomped forwards, still tracking for movement, and had he a mouth he would have been slavering for vengeance. His railgun smashed apart another squadron of enemy walkers, while his cannon annihilated platoon after platoon of the Reapers’ footsoldiers. Oh, how he wished some of the master machines were here, that his railgun might smash them from the skies and he could blast apart their helpless forms with his cannon. Soon enough, he thought, soon enough.

He reached the ruins of the financial district, striding atop the great mound of rubble, still blazing away with his weapons. Enemy fire was all around him, smashing into his shields, and he roared with fury as he returned it, annihilating enemy machines with each shot.

Yet more requests for fire support for the main advance came in, he growled a begrudging assent, turning to face the shore. The furious momentum of his charge had carried him nearly half a mile inland, while the Geth were struggling to move forwards at any real pace, despite their immense numbers. He opened up with cannon and railgun on the targeting data that was provided, annihilating strongpoints and heavy concentrations of enemy troops.

The geth began to advance as holes were blasted into the enemy battle line, sweeping forwards through the streets while snipers covered them, colossi lumbering with them, hunting in great packs to bring down the heavily shielded Reaper walkers. The enemy line began to dissolve as more and more Geth flooded around them, overwhelming them with sheer numbers and precise, disciplined fire patterns. Several more were simply blasted apart by Yamzarat Machtoro, and he waited with as much patience he could muster as the Geth hurried to catch up with him.

He turned away as they began to catch up, tracking the Reaper fire that arced up towards him and annihilating its sources, booming and roaring in his boundless anger as he did so. The Reaper forces were beginning to marshal against the God Machine, more and more enemy walkers forming up to try and destroy him. The barrel of his cannon began to glow red hot as he kept firing, gunning down more and more foes as they began to gather around him, while his railgun roared, demolishing city blocks and columns of enemy armour.

But the fire coming in was heavy, hundreds of armour pieces scrambling to his position in an attempt to overwhelm him. Lances of crimson speared up into his shields, which were beginning to crackle as they fought to stay active against the pressure piling against it. Even as the Geth ground their way forwards, up close and personal, stealing enemy weapons to grant them an edge, their synthetic muscles granting them the strength to wield the heavier firearms, Yamzarat Machtoro was in danger of being overcome. No support, fire coming in from all angles. He could not win this.

He gave a screaming roar of frustration, weapons still blazing as he fell back, determined to fell as much of the enemy as he could. Fire still lanced towards him, and he snarled as he tracked it, before his targeters found a lock. The missile racks built into his shoulders opened, and a swarm of torpedoes swept from them, exploding amongst the enemy armour. He had not seen these machines before, the technology they were created from no doubt stolen from one of the Reapers’ old victims, but he hoped the missiles would be enough, perhaps weaken them for the Geth’s colossi to finish them off.

His weapons roared as he annihilated enemy positions, granting the Geth the room move forwards, enough to distract the armour that still threatened him. It rankled Yamzarat Machtoro that he was forced into the rear, but he had none of his kin-warriors with him. Had Loggat Branzmarin and his great guns been with him, or brave little Pagris Logazon, they would have strode together into fore and slaughtered all before them.

Yamzarat Machtoro opened up once more, cursing the names of his enemies and roaring oaths. Promises of vengeance were made in the tongue of the Askriit as he fired, beginning to step forwards, covering the Geth’s advance. He snarled in fury whenever crimson light tore up towards him, annihilating it with cannon and railgun, the armour fire towards him much more sparodic as the Geth pushed forwards. The three million platforms that were assaulting Hong Kong were taking heavy casualties, but they were doing what they were supposed to do; tie up the enemy so that Yamzarat Machtoro could kill.

And kill he did, raining destruction upon the foe with railgun and cannon, blasting apart buildings and enemy alike, great columns of smoke joining those that already snaked their way up into Hong Kong’s skyline, products of the Reapers’ initial assault. Enemy fire sprang against his shields, which crackled madly as they dispersed it.

“Push forwards!” he ordered. “Forwards, you dogs!”

From the rear of Hong Kong, dark shapes began to rise into the skies, wings unfolding and mass-effect engines whining as they powered up. Like a flock of ravens, they powered forwards, spearing towards Yamzarat Machtoro. His cannon raised, a command sent to switch to airburst shells, and he opened up, explosions blossoming in the midst of the flyers.

From the Geth’s own lines, their own aircraft rose to face them, a swarm of fighters and interceptors that tore forwards to guard Yamzarat Machtoro. The two airforces met overhead, trading missiles, mass driver shots and tracer as they fought, weaving and ducking around each other. It was a beautiful, vicious aerial dance, Geth ships weaving around Reaper ones, machine battling machine in a brutal aerial melee.

Aircraft from both sides began to spiral down, smashing into the ruined cityscape, one even glancing off Yamzarat Machtoro’s shields. He roared in fury and turned his attention skywards, targeters finding yet more locks and fixes, before another swarm of missiles roared upwards. Some missed their mark completely, even hitting friendly gunships and prompting a blurt of fire control warnings, but many more slammed home, blasting into shields and engines, plucking Reaper ships from the skies.

“Enough space has been cleared,” Yamzarat Machtoro rumbled onto the Geth’s comm. net. “Bring forwards the long-ranged support.”

From the sea, dirty water and flotsam washing from their curved flanks, the Geth support platforms emerged. Upon their backs were great missile racks, while equine heads tracked the airborne battle and acquired targets. Yet more missiles fired skywards, exploding into the sky, smashing Reaper aircraft downwards. Using targeting data fed to them by ground troops, other artillery hit the ground forces, blasting apart footsoldiers and armour alike. Yamzarat Machtoro’s own weapons joined them, a wave of overwhelming firepower that toppled city blocks, sent buildings crashing down, annihilated battalions of troops and brigades of armour. Alerts came in of enemies beginning to retreat, and Yamzarat Machtoro gave a roar of triumph.

“Forwards!” he blared through his speakers, stepping ahead over the main battle line. “Push them back! Kill them! Kill them all!”

Their numbers thinned by the anti-air fire coming from the ground below, the Reaper planes were surrounded and swarmed by the much more numerous Geth, while on the ground they were encircled and overwhelmed by combat platforms. Reaper tanks would obliterate phalanxes of colossi, only to be brought down by Geth walkers, while entire companies of synthetics fought through with overwhelming, perfectly coordinated fire.

The Reapers fought to the last machine, never falling back, never retreating, even as the Geth and Yamzarat Machtoro tore them apart. They ranged across the city, a veritable wave of synthetics systematically combing each building for enemy forces, their sheer numbers allowing them to move across the city as speed. Soon enough they had reached the borders of the city, now a ruin from the combined efforts of the Reaper’s initial assault and battle that had raged in its streets.

Beyond them stretched the hilly countryside north of Hong Kong, and beyond that, Asia. Had he lips, Yamzarat Machtoro would have smiled as he saw the tactical data relayed across from the Geth forces; the three billion platforms assaulting the Eastern seaboard of Asia overwhelming resistance in Japan and Shanghai, and moving up through the Korean Peninsula into the rest of China, Mongolia and Russia. Movement coordinates were given to him, and he cackled as he realised that he was to be at the tip of the Geth’s spear.

The battle for Asia had begun.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Gaius Marius » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:34 am

Awesome chapter Colonel, really bringing 40K scale to Mass Effect. :twisted:
Space Cowboy, Spartan II, Specter, Reclusiarch

'I see the fear you have inside.'
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:46 am

"This Galaxy has grown fat, weak and indolent upon a diet of peace. I intend to wean it, and wean it swiftly."-Attributed to Malleus Scandarum, during the 2185 Reaper War


That's the plan. Thanks, Gaius.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:45 am

And more. Yay!



Chapter 15-Trafalgar

Like some ancient god of war come to Earth to wreak his vengeance upon a heathen, unbelieving people, accompanied by his chosen warriors and champions, Malleus charged.

Behind him, almost a thousand soldiers charged with him, rifles raised. At their fore were the angels, six of them, clad in power armour, one with a shotgun and banner, one with plasma cutter and flamer, one with an immense chaingun, one with narthecium, one with a staff, wreathed in lightning and flame, and Malleus Scandarum, the leader of the angels, with hammer and blade in hand. He roared a prayer to the Emperor as he thundered down the street, weapons raised above his head, wreathed in lightning by the power fields around them.

They thundered down the street, past wrecked air cars, a column of angry young men and women, rifles raised, bayonets fixed, ready to avenge their collective home. The noise they made was less a warcry and more a scream of collective rage and hate, some of them firing their rifles into the air in their sheer enthusiasm in getting to the fight.

They rounded a corner, into the teeth of the enemy’s guns, and that was when people died.

Heavy machine guns opened up as they entered the square, cutting through shields and body armour, sending soldiers toppling to ground. The charge scattered as soldiers realised the danger they were in and dived into cover, behind grounded air-cars, inside buildings or behind a toppled stone column topped by a bronze statue of a man in a tricorn hat and eyepatch.

Only the Astartes continued the charge, rounds thudding from their power armour, Malleus at their front. They charged forwards into the barricades that had been erected by the Reapers, things of slick, onyx metal just like everything else made by the abominable machines, and Hullen’s melta screamed as it melted away a hole in them. Metal ran molten as he leapt through the wound in the barrier, assault cannon whining as it opened up, gunning down an enemy warrior at point blank range before turning on its comrades. Behind him came Okeen, slicing and slashing with the chainblade on his narthecium with a silent fury, cutting through armour and into the mechanisms underneath.

Malleus’ thunder hammer toppled another section of the barricade, and he stormed through, knocking down a Reaper soldier before him and crushing its head beneath his boot. He slashed forwards with his blade, slicing through another two of the foe, before a swipe from his thunder hammer smashed an enemy to atoms. Behind him, Titus entered the breach, shotgun roaring as he emptied its magazine in to the foe, targeting those manning the heavy machine guns dominating the square. One of them fell, and he was about to push forwards to the next before golden light rose up into the square. For a moment, the furious battle that raged fell still as the combatant looked up in awe.

An Aquila, constructed of golden light, rose upwards. Great, shining pinions spread outwards, and two beaks shrieked a challenge. At its base, luminous power glowing across his hands, was Cyralius, lightning crackling around his psychic hood, eyes blazing with unearthly power. The eagle rose above his head, wings spread wider, glowing like a second sun, before it raised its pinions and dived.

Great talons of burning luminescence opened as it swept towards the Reaper’s barricades, before it hit, ripping the fortification up from its hinges and slamming it into the buildings behind. Claws of flame tore apart Reaper soldiers, melting armour and circuits without care for their shields, ripping apart the force in moments.

Cyralius panted as he lowered his hands, the light around him fading, clenching his fists slightly. The soldiers around the square stood up, awe on their faces, and Jack grinned in pride as she approached Cyralius.

“Atta boy, Cyril!” she said, clapping him on the small of his power armoured back. Cyralius simply nodded his thanks, before saying; “Dig in. I saw more on the way. A lot more.”

Nobody bothered to question him, simply getting to position. The Epistolary stepped away from the centre of the square, half crouching and half sitting behind the wreckage of an air-car.

“You alright, Cyril?” Jack asked, stepping next to him.

“I don’t know,” Cyralius said. “I don’t quite feel right.”

“How so? Use too much juice or something?”

“No, not like that,” he said. “Like there was something wrong with what I did just then. Come to think of it, it’s been there every time I used my powers since I got to Earth. I only just noticed it because I used so much at once.”

“I don’t see what’s wrong,” Jack shrugged. “You chuck fire and lightning around, as usual. That eagle thing was new, yeah, but it was still just killing stuff.”

“No, no, there’s an, an edge to it all, like I’m scraping my teeth on metal,” Cyralius said. “Something that doesn’t feel right. I can’t describe it, but it’s definitely there.”

“You’ll be fine, Cyril,” Jack replied, smiling slightly. “C’mon, we’ve got things to kill.”

Around the square, soldiers were hastily setting up defences, dragging the wreckage of the barricade across street openings with the aid of biotics, and salvaging what weapons they could use from it, grabbing the heavy machine guns and anti-tank beam weapon the Reapers used just minutes ago to slaughter their comrades. Ammunition was taken from the dead, while men were ordered to fire positions under Malleus’ command. More soldiers were moving into the square by the minute, a steady stream of reinforcements that were directed by commanders into defensive points.

“What’s the plan, Malleus?” Titus asked from next to his brother captain, slamming another magazine of coolant clips into his shotgun.

“Simple,” Malleus said. “We hold them, break their assault, and launch a counterattack on their AA positions, and land reinforcements. We’ve still got them under pressure from our forces in the north of the city, so this shouldn’t be too hard.”

“I hope not,” Titus said, cocking the weapon, banner fluttering in the ashy breeze.

Malleus nodded, before the vox flicked on.

“Enemy coming at us from the south! Opening up!”

The stolen machine guns mounted on the barricade, made of rubble, air cars and other debris hastily dragged together, opened up, along with the rifles of the soldiers alongside them. The enemy footsoldiers that had appeared at the end of the street were cut down as they entered the street, before they even had a chance to return fire, such was the volume of firepower coming towards them. The noise was deafening, dozens of weapons firing down the street, slicing through shields and armour, while an anti-tank beam weapon opened up with a scream as it was played across their front, melting through the foe.

“We’re under attack from the west! Large number of enemy, need support!”

“Hullen, get over there,” Malleus ordered, and Hullen nodded before hefting his weapon and sprinting to the western barricade.

“Enemies from the north!” another voice alerted, and fire pinged into the centre of the square. Malleus turned to face its source, a grand, half-ruined colonnaded building, a flickering holo-banner claiming it to be ‘The National Portrait Gallery.’ From within, more visored Reaper soldiers were emerging, exploiting the gap in their defences that it offered.

“Time to hold the breach, Titus,” Malleus said, activating both weapons. “Ave Imperator!”

Together, they charged.

#

“Anti-tank trooper, to the west, end of the street, by that downed air-car,” Garrus said, marking the target through the holo-visor over his left eye. “Marked.”

Legion didn’t reply, simply aiming its rifle at the target and squeezing the trigger. The anti-shielding round the Geth had used crossed the four hundred metre gap between rifle and target in an instant, and slammed into the skull of the foe, punching through it in an instant and having it topple to the ground.

“Good, clean kill,” the Turian said. “Let’s see if there’s anyone else whose day we can ruin.”

From their perch atop a church on the north-western corner of the square, Legion and Garrus had overview of the entire battle. The balcony that they were currently on was half-collapsed, but was stable enough to provide a platform for their fire.

Garrus turned to face the northwest street, searching for more targets. He flicked a switch on the edge of his visor, and the zoomed in image of the combat below him became a furious melee of black and white outlines, while beyond, through the stone of the buildings, more Reaper soldiers could be seen moving towards the square.

“Malleus, we’ve got armour moving in from the northwest,” Garrus radioed. “If you’re not too busy killing things down by that art gallery you might want to use that big hammer of yours.”

Malleus clicked the vox in understanding, and barked orders to Titus and the others who were fighting at the entrance of the building. Garrus saw the Astartes sprint to the northwestern barricade, weapons crackling, vaulting over it into the enemies beyond. Garrus watched the supersoldier through the scope as he gracefully slaughtered his enemies, annihilating them with hammer and blade. There was something about the way he moved, the raw power, skill and fury behind each blow, that was frightening to behold. In moments, he had torn through the enemy, and reached the tank. Three swings with his weapons were all he needed to destroy it, ripping open its hull.

“You’ve got more enemies closing on you, Malleus,” Garrus warned, flicking his radio on. “Might want to get out of there.”

“Understood. Ave Imperator.”

There was a crack from next to Garrus, and the Turian glanced over to Legion as it racked the bolt back on its rifle.

“We noted a target,” it said. “We dealt with it. We understand that viewing combat, real or simulated, is a common form of entertainment amongst organics, but ask that you do not let yourself get distracted at this time.”

“Alright,” Garrus said. “My bad.”

“Apology accepted,” Legion buzzed back.

Garrus surveyed the combat, visor zooming in and out on targets, the advanced VI he had had programmed into it picking out potential targets.

“Another anti-tank weapon,” Garrus said. “Down the southern street. You see it?”

“Affirmative.”

“You see that round thing underneath the barrel? You think you can hit it?”

“Affirmative.”

“You know, ‘yes’ usually works just as well.”

“We know,” Legion replied, pulling the trigger. The round hit Garrus’ target, slamming into the weapon’s ammunition store, and it detonated in a blast that took out not only that enemy, but tore another two standing next to it to pieces.

There was a thudding in the distance, and Garrus glanced up to see small puffs of white smoke rising from across the river bank. He zoomed in on the sleek black, bullet-like objects swiftly rising skywards from the source, and flicked the radio onto a general signal.

“Mortars incoming! Take cover!”

His warning came only a moment before the self propelled mortar rounds screamed downwards at supersonic speed and detonated in the square. Men were sent flying by the blasts of flame and shrapnel, screams of pain audible across the square. Garrus winced as a blast annihilated a soldier, leaving only a pair of smoking boots as his remains; he remembered seeing such a thing on cartoons when he was a child, laughing at it, but seeing it for real was enough to make him feel nauseous.

Another salvo of mortars screamed downwards, forcing those on the barricades to abandon their defences for stronger cover, the power of the explosion enough to knock even Kullas from his feet when one landed near him, only for the Forge Priest to pull himself from his feet.

“Damn it, we need to do something,” Garrus muttered, as Reaper soldiers pressed forwards into the gaps that were rapidly being punched into the Alliance defences. “If we can get a sight on those mortars then we can blow up their ammo, stop the bombardment.”

He stood, gesturing to Legion to follow, before scrambling onto the roof of the church, Legion stowing its sniper rifle on its back before doing the same. Quickly, they headed across the roof, Garrus unhooking a grappling hook from his belt, a souvenir from his vigilante days on Omega, and hurling it across to the next building. It caught on a window pane a few storeys up, and desperately hoping that none of the Reaper soldiers below him noticed, swung downwards. He winced as he hit the wall, even with his body armour absorbing the impact, keeping his grip on the rope all the same. He scrambled across, swinging into a shattered window pane, before hurling the rope back up to Legion. The Geth came across with a great deal more grace, before unhooking the rope from its anchor a few windows above and reeling it in as it fell with a rotation of its wrist. Legion handed the coil back to Garrus, who nodded his thanks.

“Come on,” he said, feeling the ground rumble threateningly underneath his feet as another salvo of mortars slammed home. “Let’s move.”

Swiftly, they made their way across the rooftops of London, heading south, towards the river. Sometimes they took the bridges that connected the buildings together, other times swinging across streets through skyscrapers and high-rises, some smooth sided metallic structures, nearly a kilometre high, others ancient, squat glass and concrete things dating all the way back to the late twentieth Century. They stopped in the burned out shell of an old office block, where a toppled skyscraper afforded them a view of the south bank of the Thames.

“There,” Garrus said, pointing to the heavy onyx artillery guns that sat atop a small, concrete building by a bridge. There was a boom as they fired once more, hurling shells upwards into the sky, and the visored warriors that manned them immediately left to fetch another hefty shell. “You see their ammo?”

He pointed to the heavy crates that sat by each weapon.

“We see it,” Legion said.

“Alright,” Garrus said. “Let me pick one out; if we’re clever, we can set off a chain reaction.”

Quickly, he scanned over them, the VI in his eyepiece calculating the blast from each shell, based on those observed in the square, before saying; “Legion, get the central one. Use an anti-armour round, that should punch through it.”

Legion nodded, before taking from a compartment at its waist a small round of hardened titanium, only a centimetre in diameter, and sliding it into its rifle’s chamber. The Geth lay down, taking aim, before squeezing the trigger.

There was a scream as the air around the round was split by its sheer velocity, before it punched through the metal of one of the crates and the ammunition within detonated. A blast tore across the building, sending one of the great guns flying and toppling into the artillery piece next to it, while the floor it was on collapsed, a small avalanche of rubble slamming down onto the gun below it, crushing it almost entirely, the twisted metal poking from the debris the only evidence it existed. Legion swiftly placed a second anti-armour round into its rifle and fired again, detonating the second crate of ammunition in a blast of flame that tore the last of the mortars, and its crew, to shreds.

Garrus grinned, before saying; “Nice one, Legion.”

“Yeah,” another voice said behind them, a deep, gruff one. “Good shot. Now what the hell are Geth and a Turian doing here?”

Garrus turned carefully, and came face to face with the barrel of one of the Reaper’s rifles. The man holding it, however, wasn’t one of the Reaper’s footsoldiers, that was for certain; he wore a battered set of Alliance-issue body armour, patched with scraps of the onyx metal that the Reaper’s warriors wore.

Legion turned with mechanical speed, bringing its rifle up, kinetic barriers shimmering around its form as it overclocked them. The weapon was pointed unwaveringly at the man’s head, and the Geth said; “This is currently loaded with an anti-armour round. It will most likely overcome your shields and, upon impact with your cranium, kill you. Please stand down.”

The man lowered his rifle after a moment, and Garrus asked; “Alright, who are you?”

“John Palmers, SAS,” he said, causing Garrus to blink in surprise; of all the many military organisations of the galaxy, the SAS were infamous, one of the few to survive the collectivisation of Earth’s military after the Systems Alliance was formed, an old name clinging onto national ties, along with a few other held in such regard, such as Spetsnaz, Mossad or the USMC. Hell, the SAS were up there with the Salarian Special Task Group or the Asari Commandoes. “We guessed the Alliance had finally arrived after they arrived in Regent’s park and started killing stuff, but that still doesn’t explain why a Turian and Geth are here.”

“We are with the Alliance forces,” Legion said.

“Yeah, pull the other one,” Palmers said. “Turians don’t care about humanity, and the Geth bloody hate organics. So what are you doing here?”

“Killing those Reapers,” Garrus said. “Those things down there are after everyone in the galaxy, Geth and Turians included. Hell, we’ve got the Heirarchy leading the counter invasion over in America at the moment.”

Palmers lowered his rifle after a moment, before saying; “Alright, I won’t shoot you, for the moment at least.”

“What are you doing here, anyway?” Garrus asked.

“We were called in to try help defend this place,” Palmers said. “Didn’t go as well as we hoped, but with you lot here, we might have a chance. Command told me to go and check you two out; we saw you on the way to their AA guns.”

“You’re taking them out?” Garrus asked, to which Palmers nodded. The SAS operative gestured for the two of them to follow leading them down the scorched corridor to an empty window. Beyond it, the rapid firing beam cannons that had been the bane of the landing force were visible, pulsing mass-driver rounds up into the sky. From the side of the square they were on, rifle fire erupted, targeting the visored crews that manned the weapons, and from nowhere, it seemed, a small force of ragtag figures emerged from the buildings around them, hefting stolen weapons. With professional skill and discipline, they fought through the square, taking cover against fire, before satchel charges were clamped to the sides of the vehicles, hurled by the soldiers. They cooked off with a blast of flame, the cannons torn to pieces, and Garrus whistled quietly. Quickly, he flicked his radio on.

“Malleus, it’s Garrus here.”

“Malleus here. Where are you?”

“Down by the river. We’ve dealt with the mortars, and we’ve hooked up with some survivors.”

“Indoctrinated?”

“Doesn’t look like it,” Garrus replied. “Unless they’re trying real hard to fool us. How’s the defense going.”

“Should be easier now the mortars are gone,” Malleus said. “Can you get eyes on the AA guns?”

“No need,” Garrus said. “You know those survivors I mentioned? They took them out for us.”

“Excellent. I’ll begin the landings at once. We get the armour in and we might just win this.”

“What about Legion and I?”

“Get back here, you could come in useful. And bring your friends along too; they should come in handy. Malleus out.”

Garrus turned to Legion and Palmers.

“You hear that?” he asked, to which they both nodded. “Right. On to a walk through a hostile, war-torn city into the heart of a battle we go, then. This is going to be fun.”
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:13 pm

Cool one Colonel, nice sniping action.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Thu May 05, 2011 9:23 pm

God damn, this took a while. Sorry for the delay, folks.



Chapter 16-Rolling Thunder

The skies above London screamed as they burned.

The anti-air cannons that had dominated the skies allowed the transport ships to release swarms of much larger, slower drop shuttles, immense engines roaring as they vented sheer heat outwards, surrounded by flocks of interceptors guarding them against any transgressors. In London’s parks they landed, armour rumbling off ramps, heavy treads churning up grass; heavy armour, the lumbering H24 Somme MBTs, and alongside them the much faster, more manoeuvrable six wheeled M35 Makos.

Hundreds of smaller shuttles landed with them, disgorging thousands of troops and hundreds of armoured pieces. Some went to waiting Armour Personnel carriers, pulling up the ramps as they entered, while tanks rumbled into formation, moving off to assigned positions. Some went north, pressing against the Reaper forces engaged against Alliance forces there, while others went Southwest along the cleared routes, yet more landing in the Southern parks, closer to the river.

They arrived at Trafalgar Square in a blaze of explosions and firepower, heavy duty mass-drivers blasting shells into Reaper soldiers, machine guns blazing as they wore down shields and punched through armour. In less than a minute, five tanks had rumbled onto the square, blasting away at the enemy, detonations ripping across the pavement, blasting Reaper soldiers apart.

One of the onyx-armoured warriors brought a beam weapon to bear on one of the vehicles, and it fired. For a moment, its shielding held firm, before it was overwhelmed and the weapon tore through its armoured hull. The soldiers surrounding it on the buildings at the perimeter of the square, forced back by the mortars that had rained down atop them not long ago, gunned it down before it could turn its weapon upon another vehicle, and quickly they flooded out of the buildings, charging forwards and overwhelming the foe with sheer numbers as more reinforcements came in from the east, mounted in the much lighter, faster Mako tanks that disgorged more troops, forming a cordon of armour around the square.

“Get details together, collect the wounded,” Malleus ordered as he stepped free from cover. “Load them on the Makos, let’s medevac them as quickly as we can!”

Hurriedly, men gathered up the injured and loaded them onto the waiting vehicles, while crates of coolant clips were dispensed for the soldiers to use, while medigel was administered to the walking wounded. Several of the warriors defending the square had already taken Reaper weapons, improvising slings out of whatever was to hand in order to compensate for their hefty weight.

Malleus flicked the vox on and said into it; “Thunder One, this is Angel, how soon can you move?”

“Soon as you give the word, sir,” the commander of Thunder One squadron replied, the lead tank revving its engine in affirmation. “You want us to lead the way?”

“Aye,” Malleus said. “You know your routes. Get moving when I give the word. No mercy.”

“Mount up!” he called to the rest of the soldiers around him. “We’re moving on the South Bank of the Thames, as quickly as possible.”

Swiftly, soldiers bundled into Makos or simply prepared to move on foot, hurrying to the entrance to Whitehall that would allow them access to the Thames and London’s bridges. Thunder One’s tanks moved into position, the sixty ton vehicles forming a cordon of heavy armour, while infantry followed up behind, ready to give fire support. With an agility that belied his bulk, Malleus swiftly stepped atop the great plinth, one knee part raised as it rested upon the broken base of the column, and he raised his blade, pointed towards Whitehall and the Thames.

“Advance!” Malleus roared, and on his order, soldier and armour alike moved.

The six Somme tanks were the front, driving three abreast along Whitehall, cannons tracking left and right while the soldiers around them combed buildings for potential contacts. Past venerable stone and brick buildings they went, still watching for danger.

A beam of crimson light screamed down from a blasted out window, scything into the side of one of the tanks that made up Thunder One. The vehicle barely managed to swivel its turret to face the threat before its shields were overwhelmed and the beam melted through its armour, impacting engines and cooking them off in a blast of flame and shrapnel.

The enemy’s fire position was obliterated by the rest of Thunder One, but more enemy troopers appeared at the end of the road, rifles blazing as they advanced. The mako tanks behind Thunder One powered forwards, troops disembarking as they slid to a halt, the mass driver cannons and machine guns of the Infantry Fighting Vehicles blazing as they provided support for their cargo. The first wave of the enemy assault was gunned down, but more appeared out of side streets and the end of the road. The tanks fanned out, rolling to a halt as they added their fire to the infantry and lighter vehicles they were fighting with, sending heavy duty shells exploding amongst the ranks of Reaper soldiers.

Malleus activated his weapons, and flicked to his brothers; “To the front. Kill them.”

Hammer and blade raised, Malleus charged, hitting the Reaper lines like a lightning bolt. His weapons swept left and right, shattering machinery and ripping through circuitry, armour melting away against the lethal touch of his weapons. He roared in fury as he slaughtered, moving with deadly speed in great arcs that tore the enemy to pieces.

“Weep, oh ye sinful ones!” he bellowed over the furious din of the melee. “For your doom is at hand! Repent, and pray for absolution in the Emperor’s holy fire!”

He broke through the melee, weapons still crackling with power, before a beam of light scored the pavement by his foot. He dodged out of the way, the weapons of the Reaper walker tracking his movements before they cut out, glowing with excess heat.

“Yet rejoice,” Malleus roared as he thundered towards the enemy vehicle. “For your redemption is at hand!”

His hammer slammed down, smashing past its shields and rupturing its hull.

“Throw yourselves upon our blades, lay down before our guns!”

The blade stabbed forwards into its frontal hull.

“Let yourselves be saved by the servants of righteous annihilation!”

The machine stumbled back, blinded and circuitry scrambled.

“For we are the manifestation of the Emperor’s Will, Angels forged by Him to rain death upon the unclean!”

Up swung the hammer, flipping the machine upon its back, legs struggling to raise it.

“Nothing shall halt us, none shall be spared!”

Malleus stepped up upon its vulnerable belly, flipping his blade and raising it in the air to deliver the killing blow.

“For we are the Sons of Thunder, the Armoured Angels of Polyphemus!”

Down it stabbed, right into the creature’s black heart.

“And none may stand before us.”

More of the foe were rushing towards him, and Malleus held his ground as they advanced, weapons blazing. The rounds were useless against his power armour, pinging off even the seals around his joints, and he grinned beneath his helmet, roaring a taunt to the creatures in Gothic before leaping off the downed walker and into their midst. He was unstoppable, invulnerable, a roaring god of slaughter and battle that smashed and sundered all that was foolish enough to get in his way, shredding the foe with his two great weapons.

There was a booming next to him, and Titus shouldered his way out of the melee, banner still held high. The bearer nodded to him, before raising his shotgun and blasting away the helmeted head of an enemy before him. By his foot, Urz was savaging a Reaper soldier that was trying to knock the pit-Varren away, tusks slicing at its neck as he bit and clawed.

“Angel, this is Thunder One; you did a real number of the enemy, and we’re moving up,” the armour voxed in.

“Good,” Malleus said. “Don’t stop moving, understand? Maintain the momentum, and get the infantry into the gaps between the vehicles, have them keep the enemy off you. We’re moving up to support you.”

“The Meatgrinder, Brother Captain?” Titus asked as Malleus approached, shotgun still blazing at the foe. “Bastard tactic, that.”

“It works,” Malleus replied. “Come on, we’ll have to fight our way back to their lines.”

They ran through the street, dodging enemy fire or simply letting it ricochet off their power armour, with the tanks covering them as they formed up. The great armoured vehicles opened up, explosive shells sending gouts of shattered pavement and rubble upwards as they tore the foe apart, debris clattering off the warplate of the two Astartes.

They reached the relative safety of the tanks, covered by the machine gun fire of two of the lighter Mako IFVs, and Malleus flicked the vox on, ordering infantry to plug the gaps between the armoured vehicles.

“Thunder One, go at a walking pace,” Malleus said. “Don’t stop, no matter what.”

“Understood,” Thunder One replied, and as one the tanks gunned their engines and rumbled forwards.

The Reaper fire coming towards them sparked off their hulls uselessly, the rounds of even the dread machines not enough to penetrate the shields and armour surrounding the sixty ton vehicles, and their cannons returned fire with lethal precision, targeting procedures sending hypersonic rounds into their targets to blast them apart. Those heavy weapon troopers that managed to avoid their lethal barrage were torn apart by small arms fire from the infantry accompanying the vehicles, and even though soldiers began to fall, victims of both the lack of cover and heavy enemy fire, Malleus barked orders into the vox; those who took cover or fell back were to be shot for cowardice. Nobody seemed willing to question him on such an issue.

Warnings came in of heavy fire from the left flank, and swiftly Malleus had Hullen move up to support them with his assault cannon. His enhanced hearing picked up the weapon screaming into life, and the sound of masonry collapsing as it wore whatever venerable building the enemy were using as cover.

From a side road, one of the Reapers’ walkers stalked, some strange weapon raised, ignoring the cannon fire glancing off its shields from the Mako tanks. It pointed it at the right vehicle of Thunder One, and opened fire. There was a whining noise, and then nothing, and for a moment Malleus thought that the weapon had been a dud, even as the rest of Thunder One blasted the vehicle apart, before he saw the men around him collapse helplessly. A helmet rolled off the head of one, a vacant, grinning skull beneath, and he realised that the weapon the machine had used was some sort of neutron radiation blaster, not dissimilar to the weapon they had used to cleanse the Collector base; only the anti-radiation compounds in his armour had saved him.

The rest of Thunder One continued to roll forwards, their rightmost tank left behind, and the vox crackled into life; “Angel, this is Thunder One; what’s happened to our vehicle?”

“Radiation weapon,” Malleus replied, stepping onto the hull of the tank. “Killed the crew. I’ll take her over.”

“Understood,” Thunder One’s commander said. “Kick some ass.”

“Oh, I will. Titus, Okeen, can you hear me?” Malleus asked.

“Loud and clear, Malleus,” Titus answered.

“Yes.”

“I want you on my position now,” Malleus said. “We’ve got a vacant tank and I need a crew. Titus, you’re driving, Okeen, you’re gunning and loading.”

“A tank?” Titus asked, his delight clear across the vox. “Ha! It’ll be good to get into something with treads.”

His brothers were with him in moments, Titus onto the hull and handing Malleus the Sixth’s banner, before climbing into the driver’s cockpit and removing the skeleton of its former pilot, while Okeen pulled the hatch open, reached in and fished the dead out. He nodded to Malleus before climbing in.

“How are the controls? Malleus asked Titus through the vox as he took his place in the vehicle’s cupola, swinging the machine gun mounted upon it into his grip.

“Not too different from a Predator’s,” Titus replied as the tank rumbled forwards to catch up with its fellows. “Should be easy.”

“Good. Okeen, how’s the turret?” Malleus said.

“Fine. Bit cramped.”

Malleus decided not to bother pressing for more information; with Okeen, there was no point; and instead checked the small holographic screen below him. It would be nice if he could simply use a command gauntlet linked into his Black Carapace like he had back in the Imperium, but the controls for marking targets and ordering movement seemed fairly simple.

He rapped his fist on the cupola beneath him and gave the order; “Titus! Bring us to the fight!”

The banner fluttered as Titus revved the engines and powered the Somme forwards, held firm against the breeze in Malleus’ grip, other hand maintaining a hold upon the pistol grip of the tank’s machine gun.

“Got quite a turn of speed,” Titus voxed in as they rapidly caught up with the rest of the battlegroup, jolting over rubble. “I like it.”

“Good,” Malleus said. “Slow us down, keep us even with the rest of the group.”

“Understood, brother captain,” Titus said, as the vehicle pulled up next to the other tanks. “I’ll keep her steady.”

Target markers from the rest of Thunder One appeared on the screen before him, showing where they were shooting, and quickly Malleus tapped out his targets to Okeen. Beneath him, the turret swivelled and roared, smashing apart the façade of a building that the enemy were hiding behind, sending rubble sloughing down into the street.

“We’re coming up on Parliament Square,” Thunder One’s commander voxed in. “Orders?”

“Keep you pace, spread out once we get there,” Malleus said. He flicked up the map on his omni-tool, and grinned. “We’ve got Thunder Two coming in from the west, down Victoria Street. We RV at the square, and move across Westminster Bridge.”

The cannon fired once more on Malleus’ target, ripping up a great chunk of the street and smashing a small squad of Reaper soldiers from their feet. More of the foe were gathering, and Malleus opened up with the machine gun on their position, the heavy calibre rounds enough to force their heads down. Behind him, more infantry gathered as the tanks drew up around some stone monument, a wreath of ash-coated, grimy red flowers placed at its base, adding their fire to Malleus’, wearing down the enemy shields.

“On their heavy weapons,” Malleus ordered. “Don’t let them get the tanks!”

From the sky, a beam of blinding crimson tore across the street, transforming the road into shing glass, and Malleus glanced up to see the thunderhawk scream overhead. The road before them was blasted by a series of explosions as a wing of Alliance fighter jets followed in its wake, unleashing guided explosives onto the road, and Kurias’ voice crackled into the vox; “Figured you’d need some close air support, brother captain.”

“Could’ve come earlier,” Malleus retorted. “Would have appreciated some aerial firepower.”

“Oh, your lot had you and the others on their side, you were doing fine,” Kurias replied. “Spare a thought for Thunder Two; they didn’t.”

Malleus smiled, and simply said; “Just keep us covered, Kurias,” before flicking onto the rest of Thunder One’s vox signal. “In Nomine Imperator, forwards!”

The tanks rolled forwards along the final stretch of Whitehall, blasting away with their great cannons while their air support annihilated anything that came close, turbo-laser and guided bombs making short work of any enemy infantry or vehicles that they missed. Thousands of rounds roared from the rifles of the soldiers battling their way along the street, along with the dozens of explosive shells every minute by the Makos and Sommes.

They pounded forwards, pulverising rubble and the corpses of the dead beneath them, crushing machinery beneath tracks and heavy duty tyres, cannons, rifles and machine guns blazing as they opened up on the foe around them, blasting away. Even as enemy fire ripped into their position from buildings around them, scything down Alliance soldiers by the score, they pushed forwards, Malleus roaring orders into the vox for the men to stand firm, directing his brothers or other members of the team to where they were needed. Despite the forces arrayed against they, they were advancing.

They reached the square, and spread out as they advanced into it, opening fire on the Reapers there. Some sort of fortification had been erected there, a miniature keep of deep black metal, and Malleus ordered the tanks to fan out and keep moving as he saw the Reaper soldiers on the walls moving to heavy weapons positions. The soldiers with him began to fall as the machine guns mounted on the bastion blazed into life, cutting through shields with consummate ease, while the shells from the Makos and the Sommes simply glanced off the shields of the fortification.

“On my target, Kurias,” Malleus ordered, pointing out the enemy strongpoint, and the crimson beam of the turbolaser screamed from the skies onto the point. The shields stood no chance against the power of the weapon, and the bombs dropped by the two fighters crashed against its walls in twin blasts of flame. The Sommes opened fire, while more Alliance tanks roared into the Square from the west, joining their fire to that of the force that had assaulted along Whitehall immediately. The impacts shivered chunks of metal free, crashing them onto once well kept lawn that small fortress stood over, one of them toppling a statue of a bald, elderly man in a greatcoat and holding a cane.

A shell from Malleus’ vehicle toppled the wall entirely, toppling the Reaper soldiers upon its side, and in the shadow of a great clock tower, its white glass front cracked and shattered, he stood in the cupola of his tank, and ordered his soldiers to charge.

Down he went with them, leaping from the hull of the Somme he had used as his mount, drawing hammer and blade, even as the tanks pounded the outer walls of the Reaper bunker.

He reached the great blast doors to the complex and smashed them down with a single blow from his hammer, the ruined portal flying away and crushing those footsoldiers on the other side of it. He stormed forwards, ignoring the fire that hammered in to him from the enemy troopers, closing with them as swiftly as he could. Plasma fire screamed overhead as Kullas joined him, the Forge Priest firing a jet of burning fuel into more enemies ahead.

Air wailed as it was rent asunder, and blinding light illuminated corridor behind the two Astartes as Hullen fired his melta. He nodded to Malleus before hefting his assault cannon and stomping into the breach he had made, the weapon already whining as it powered up to gun down whatever was beyond, Alliance soldiers following the lead of the hulking Astartes.

Kullas and Malleus forged ahead together, brother-captain and Forge priest untouchable in ceramite plate and Mars-forged artificer armour, Malleus smashing apart anything that evaded the lethal reach of Kullas’ snapping power claws, Kullas gunning down any threats that tried to reach them with plasma cutter and flamer before they even came close. The pair were utterly lethal, untouchable, unstoppable, and in less than a minute they had forged ahead into the heart of the fortress.

“This must be the heart of this place,” Kullas said as they drew to a halt at a pair of heavy onyx blast doors beyond.

“Good,” Malleus said, hefting his hammer in preparation to smash them down, before Kullas raised a hand to stop him.

“No, we should take this place intact,” he said. “We might be able to get enemy intelligence. Smashing that door down will most likely just damage things.”

The Forge Priest reached to a panel in the wall, all but invisible in one transition from smooth onyx to another, chattering a binary cant as he forced his way past the security measures that otherwise barred his entry.

“Omnissah vult!” he cried as they slid open, raising his arms in exaltation even as enemy fire tore free from the room into his armour.

Malleus waded forwards, stabbing and swinging at the foes that stood before him; they stood no chance against the armoured might of the Emperor’s deadliest weapon, and lasted but moments. All Malleus felt for the Reaper soldiers was contempt as he cut down the few that manned the control room, and he nodded to the Forge Priest.

“We are clear,” he said. “Take what information you can from their systems.”

“Understood, Brother-Captain,” Kullas said, holding out his palms into the hologram of a nearby console. The Forge Priest began to chitter in binaric as he hacked into the Reaper systems, his bionic glowing a deep red as he did so. A moment later, he drew them away.

“Brother captain, we have a problem.”

“What, Forge Priest?”

“Admiral Anderson has the main body of their fleet still engaged,” Kullas said. “But not all of them. We have a detachment of Reaper dreadnoughts coming our way, brother captain. And they’re nearly here.”
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Gaius Marius » Fri May 06, 2011 3:31 am

Dreadnaughts!

Great update Colonel, awesome battle scenes.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Maugan Ra » Fri May 06, 2011 11:06 am

*is reading now*

"Professionally impassive. We'll make them pay, sir."

Damn. And now I want to salute a xenos.

*looks around for any lurking Commissars*
Maugan, your slow descent into madness is starting to look more like a BASE jump...
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Fri May 06, 2011 6:09 pm

Maugan, worry not, your secret is safe with me.

Hey, commissar, this guy over here said he wants to salute a xenos. I know, it's abominable, right. Yeah. No, no problem.

What? What?


Thanks for reading, Maugan and Gaius.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Fri May 13, 2011 4:48 pm

Here's some more for y'all.



Chapter 17-Reapers

Yamzarat Machtoro strode across the ruins of Zhaoquing and laughed.

The immense engine of the Askriit fired constantly with cannon and railgun, sending up great gouts of rubble and flame with each earth-shattering impact, scattering the foe before him with every shot. Enemy fire lanced up against his shields, but the gargantuan machine cared not, his aegis enough to ignore such impacts; his reply was thunderous and destructive, shattering skyscrapers and toppling buildings, crushing the foe or blasting them to smithereens, sending the small city into ruin.

From a skyscraper that towered nearly a kilometre into the sky, enemy fired arced into his cyclopean form, sending his shields crackling. In reply, he levelled his railgun and fired, the hypersonic round screaming into the target. Acres of glass shattered upon impact, but the building’s base wide base remained intact, even with a smoking hole blasted into it. Alerts came in from the Geth around his feet. The building needed removal, the enemy were using it as a strongpoint, and the detachment accompanying him were too few to storm it.

“Easy,” Yamzarat Machtoro replied. “Step away, Geth. This is going to cause a little damage.”

He backpedalled down the street, before he braced himself and selected a high explosive shell for his railgun. He took aim, targeting matrices calculating blast radius, material strengths and weights, wind speed, the path of the building’s collapse, and he fired.

The shell screamed down the street, smashing into the base of the target, blasting upwards in a great ball of flame and debris. The supports holding the superstructure up gave way, and the immense building fell like an avalanche.

It was, in a sense, graceful, a slow, stately collapse that saw the top half of the building serenely sliding along a growing landslide of rubble. It began to gently topple as it crashed into the other pieces of Zhaoqing’s superarchitecture next to it, concrete, steel and glass grinding against each other with a deafening scream of tortured metal and shattering windows. The skyscraper twisted as it scraped against the edge of its fellow, before its immense momentum carried its collapsing mass away, crashing into the street below in a great pile of rubble; nothing, not even the abominable machines made by the Reapers, could survive that.

“The way has been cleared,” Yamzarat Machtoro rumbled, stepping forwards. “Come, their centre is open. Glory shall be hours!”

He strode up the great slope of rubble, one piled higher than he, miniature avalanches tumbling away with each fall of his three-toed feet. Fire screamed into him as soon as he crested the ridge, a phalanx of the Reapers’ walkers awaiting the titan in an open square, as well as one of the great anti-orbital guns that had forced the Geth to land off the continent’s eastern coast.

Yamzarat Machtoro ignored the lesser walkers that poured their fire into his shields, instead opening the missile racks within his shoulders. He picked the gun that was ponderously swivelling towards him, its barrel already crackling with enough energy to annihilate a starship, and opened fire. A swarm of torpedoes screamed from his shoulders, contrails leaving a great cloud of white smoke behind, and crashed into the great weapon.

Its shields held firm against the assault, but Yamzarat Machtoro bought his railgun to bear and opened fire. They winked out just as his cannon roared into life, explosions blossoming across its dark flank, scoring smoking craters its side.

His railgun smashed into the joint upon which the immense weapon swivelled, and there was a crackling as the anti-orbital tried to pour energy into firing at Yamzarat Machtoro. Blue lightning arced around it, and there was a whine as it powered up. Yamzarat Machtoro barked a curse in his language, and stepped away, hoping to get the rubble between him and the enemy, pouring power into his shields in a bid to survive.

It fired upon the great war machine, but Yamzarat Machtoro’s shots had already wreaked enough devastation upon it; instead of the energy it had stored arcing forward to smash against the God Machine’s shields, it blasted outwards from the gun itself, a great wave that annihilated the squadron of Reaper walkers with it, melting the glass and metal sidings of the buildings around it. Yamzarat Machtoro rocked back as it roared against his shields, pouring yet more power into them as they fought against the immense power of the explosion, readings warning that their failure was imminent, that it would boil away his armour and reduce the mechanisms beneath to smoking ruin.

The explosion dissipated, and Yamzarat Machtoro stepped forwards once more to do battle, heedless of the low power warnings his shields were sending him. Yet, for the moment at least, there was nothing to fight; the square had been reduced to a glass smooth plane of blackened stone and pavement, while the buildings around it had had their outsides stripped and innards gutted, fires now burning within.

Yamzarat Machtoro chuckled as he stepped forwards, part of him revelling in the devastation, stepping victorious over the wreckage of the anti-orbital gun as he scanned for more targets. Behind him the Geth followed, scrambling over the rubble before taking up fire positions in the ruined buildings around them.

Suddenly, the Geth’s radio network, one that Yamzarat Machtoro had linked himself into, chattered into life, a warning coming from their forces of incoming orbital threats.

“Tell me of this foe,” Yamzarat Machtoro ordered. “Immediately!”

“The enemy appear to be several dreadnought class vessels,” one of the Geth’s command intelligences warned. “We speculate they will target our transports and ground forces with orbital bombardment.”

Had he a mouth, Yamzarat Machtoro would have grinned.

“So the master machines come to face me once more,” he chuckled. “Oh, how I look forward to this. Worry not, Geth. I’ll deal with this problem.”

#

“Get more troops to move up in on that park,” Deniel Suvat barked into the radio as he surveyed the tactical map-hologram before him. “Keep them moving quickly, we can put more pressure on their western flank if they’re not intercepted.”

“Understood, sir,” Radio Operative Prallin replied. “Delta Company, this is command; move through coordinates two four eight seven seven Lima…”

Suvat left Prallin to relaying his orders, and instead returned his attention to the map of New York that lay before him, surveying the situation as a whole. And it was grim.

He was taking casualties, a lot of them, and even if the reports coming in from his more junior officers that the enemy were suffering losses as well were to be believed, he didn’t like the situation before him. The Turian Hierarchy’s forces were haemorrhaging soldiers at a frightening rate, the enemy refusing to retreat in the face of even overwhelming numbers, and even though they were gaining ground, slowly but surely, street by street, he didn’t like the losses he was taking.

“General, this is Colonel Aidis,” the radio next to him crackled. “Come in, General.”

“This is General Suvat,” Deniel said in his hoarse buzz of a voice. “What do you need, Colonel?”

“I need forces diverted to my position,” Aidis said. “We’ve encountered enemy armour and we can’t advance.”

“I’m sending Alpha Company of the Heavy Cavaliers your way,” Suvat said. “They just landed, so they’ll be fresh for the fight. Sit tight, Colonel.”

“Understood. Thanks, General.”

“No problem.”

Suvat placed the radio down on the table beside him.

“Prallin, I want the lot that just landed to be sent to Colonel Aidis’ position, ASAP,” he ordered. “Got that?”

“Understood, General. I’m on it.”

Suvat nodded before turning back to the map. The hologram of the New York’s gridlike layout, a smooth blue of orderly lines, was marred by crimson rashes of contact markers all around his position as the forces of the Turian Hierarchy pressed against the Reapers’ soldiers. He zoomed out, surveying the front he was fighting along, a great sprawl of red along the centre of the continent’s eastern coast. Surprisingly, most of the forces outside of New York, in more rural aread, had reported fairly minor resistance; indeed, some small town had been untouched by the Reapers, civilian survivors found frightened and cowering in their homes. Some soldiers had met them, assigned with defending these towns or trying to evacuate civilians to points that had never been given; many of those men had simply dug in and prepared to sell their lives dearly. Already, though numbering only a few thousand in comparison to the millions of soldiers that the Hierarchy commanded, they were moving forwards.

A similar picture, he noticed, had been reported across the globe; in Africa where the Drell and Elcor forces had landed, enemy resistance had been almost non-existent in the countryside, but they were present in the cities, many of which had been devastated by orbital bombardment. All of their forces, he noticed, had been snarled up in cities, caught in bitter, slow urban fights that sucked up men and resources; only the Geth and that massive robot with them, Yamzarat Machtoro, had made tangible progress, probably due to the fact that the synthetics outnumbered the combined forces of the Council by at least ten to one, not to mention that that machine was unstoppable; it was small wonder they’d covered so many miles. There was something about Yamzarat Machtoro that put Deniel on edge, though, an air of instability beneath that veneer of some highly destructive geriatric that it seemed to maintain, and he was unsure if he could actually trust it.

There was a screaming noise from overhead as a squadron of supersonic bombers swept in to drop their payload onto the city below them, and Suvat couldn’t help but splay his quills in pride at them. They dropped their payload, unstable Eezo bombs that detonated in shining blue mushroom clouds within the city and he smiled as he heard kill confirmations blurt out across the radio. Sure, they were taking casualties like it was back in Earth’s Trench War, but they were pushing outwards. Maybe they could win this.

Then the sky fell.

The hulls of one of the massive transport ships that had carried the Turians to war ruptured as crimson light skewered it from the atmosphere above. Explosions rippled along its flank as it ripped through the craft’s weak shielding, designed more to protect it from the inevitable collisions with space-borne debris than enemy weapons. For a moment, it hung in the sky, engines struggling to keep it aloft even as its captain ordered it away and sent a final flight of shuttles to earth, before a second beam tore into its side.

Deniel had seen VTOL craft die before, the gunships used by the Hierarchy shot down by pirates or rogue mercenaries, but never before had he seen it on such a scale. The ship swung away, a slow, arcing flight that saw it swing over the city as if attached to some pendulum, engines screaming in futile defiance of gravity’s relentless might.

It crashed down in the New Jersey suburbs in a great mushroom cloud of flame and debris, a pall of dust thrown up by the starship’s impact. The ground shook beneath Deniel’s feet as it smashed down, and he heard Prallin curse as he was thrown against the table.

The radio-op pulled himself to his feet, while the handheld by Deniel’s map blurted into life with requests for orders.

“What do we do, sir?” Prallin asked.

“Order all our transports away from the city, have them land everything as quickly as they can in friendly territory,” he said. “Tell them to treat this like an emergency drill, and as soon as the last shuttle is gone I want them out of orbit and away from here. Tell our units on the ground to get to cover and to dig in for orbital bombardment, and scramble our bombers and artillery; ships need to lower their shields to get into the atmosphere, so we might just be able to blast through them with enough ordnance. And contact Anderson, tell him he needs to send ships over here, right now.”

“Understood, sir,” Prallin said. “I’ll send them on at once.”

“Good,” Deniel said. “Let’s just hope we can survive this.”

#

Gods descended upon London.

Malleus watched their immense hulls slide from the sky even as he roared orders into the vox, directing troops and vehicles to new positions as the Reapers majestically came to ground. With glacial slowness, they drew to a halt over the city, clad in onyx, immensity and dread.

“Kullas,” Malleus barked into the vox bead. “How soon can you get airborne? I want you on those things now. Kill them, quickly.”

“I’m on it,” Kullas said. “Don’t worry, I’ll bring these bastards down.”

The Thunderhawk rose into the air, engines whining as they powered it towards the two colossal dreadnoughts that hung in the air before it. As it sped forwards, turbolaser already preparing to fire, small hatches along the flank of massive ships opened and, from them came the foe.

They were like Reapers in miniature, craft that coasted through the air before meeting the Thunderhawk with a tide of their own laser fire. Kurias pulled away as the beams screamed towards him, and the vox crackled in Malleus ear.

“There are too many of them, brother-captain, there’s no way I’m going to get close.”

Malleus bit back a curse.

“Alliance Air Command, this is Angel, I need all bombers and interceptors on my position immediately,” he ordered. “Every craft you have, I need them on me.”

“That’s a negative, Angel, those birds are needed elsewhere as well,” Air Command replied. “We have several squadrons at the ready, though.”

“This is high priority, Air Command,” Malleus said. “We have two Reapers on my position here; whatever these planes are doing, killing these is more important, understood?”

“Understood. Our planes are on the way. Air Command out.”

“Ave Imperator.”

The swarm of gunships that the Reapers had unleashed began to move, some heading groundwards, others peeling off to pursue the Thunderhawk. Those that did so were picked off by the lascannons, but any attempts at an attack that he made on either of the great Reapers that now overshadowed the sky were repelled by the aircraft that flocked around their motherships.

Flak and missile fire came in from the forces that had camped out in the Alliance’s landing zones, tracer blazing through the sky towards the foe. Some hit home, either slamming to shields or, if the gunners were fortunate, punching through the kinetics and into the hulls themselves, sending enemy craft crashing to the ground.

But the foe was many, and for every craft shot down three more came to ground next to the Alliance forces that had fought their way through London. Malleus cursed as contact warnings crackled through the vox, ordering troops into position. More enemy craft swooped overhead, crimson fire lancing from them as they strafed their position. The tanks had their engines roar into life as they tried to avoid them, scattering across the square. The turret of the tank that Malleus had commandeered swivelled under Okeen’s guidance, before firing a shell into one of the craft and knocking it from the sky, but next to him another member of Thunder One was blasted apart.

There was a scream of plasma engines as the Thunderhawk swooped overhead, lascannons plucking foes from the skies before pulling away once more as enemy fire tore towards him.

“Alliance Air Command, this is Angel, what’s the ETA on those aircraft?” Malleus roared into the vox over the din of battle. He could hear small arms fire chattering nearby as Alliance soldiers engaged with the Reaper reinforcments, the sound nearly drowned out by the volume of gunship engines. He drew his submachine gun and fired up at one of the enemy aircraft, a largely futile effort, but a cathartic one nonetheless.

“Two minutes, Angel, they’re on their way.”

He cursed as a beam slammed into the ground to his left in reply, and began to run, sprinting to cover along with the others as the aerial bombardment increased in its intensity; as much as he trusted his power armour, there was no point testing fate.

“They’d better be,” Malleus replied as he ducked behind a wall.

A Reaper gunship crashed down into the square in front of him as a tangled mess of metal and mechanisms, victim of the AA fire still coming in from the park. But, it seemed, the Reapers had had enough of the Alliance’s display of defiance, and like a god passing judgement, one of the immense craft raised a finger.

It fired.

Crimson light, blinding in its intensity, roared overhead, blasting into the battery of anti-air guns, annihilating them all in an instant. Immense tongues of flame roared up from the impact site, and Malleus cursed. This was not good.

“Angel, this is Alliance Air Command. The cavalry’s arrived.”

Malleus smiled as the sound of hundreds of engines came to his ears.

That, however, was much, much better.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Mon May 16, 2011 9:58 pm

Fun fact: whilst looking at all the words of the Askriit language that I've made up so far, I've discovered that not one of them has an 'e' in it. I don't know why, but they don't. Why not? Frak e, that's why. So damn smug all the time...


Chapter 18-Godslayers

The Alliance Air Force hit the Reaper craft with a volley of missile, cannon and chaingun fire.

Mk17 Spitfires, F31s, Mitsubishi F-18s, MIG 780VTs and Harrier GR13B Jump Gunships screamed towards the foe in a single immense swarm, firepower roaring from their weapons as they met the foe with a fullisade of munitions. Beam fire screamed back in return, and the two air forces met like two flocks of rival birds. Enemy gunships began to fall, outmanoeuvred by the much faster jet aircraft they were fighting even as they plucked Alliance planes from the sky.

“Kurias, push forwards,” Malleus barked into the vox. “Now, while they’re distracted!”

“Moving, Brother Captain,” Kurias’ reply crackled in his ear. “I’ll show them what it means to pick a fight with the Sons!”

The thunderhawk swept over Malleus’ position, spearing towards the Reapers that hung overhead. As it approached, turbolaser coming into range, dark, angular shapes dropped from the belly of one of the creatures and speared towards the craft, beam fire tearing towards the Imperial Craft.

Malleus heard a curse from Kurias’ end of the vox as the thunderhawk pulled away to avoid the worst of the fire, dodging through the aerial brawl that surrounded it as Kurias tried to shake his pursuers.

“Use the heavy bolters,” Malleus called into the vox. “Get them down with some flak.”

“That’s not possible, brother captain,” Kurias replied. “I used up my last shells on Tuchanka. I’m going to need to get round facing them and use the lascannons.”

Malleus cursed as he saw Kurias struggle to turn the thunderhawk within the chaotic confines of the airborne battle that raged around him whilst still avoiding the craft that were pursuing him relentlessly. Beam fire glanced off one of the wings of the thunderhawk, scoring a tract against the armour even as the offending craft was blasted apart by a pair of Alliance interceptors, while Kurias banked the gunship around in an effort to face his pursuers. One of them came within his sights and immediately the lascannons opened up, punching through its shields and armour and tearing it to pieces, sending it howling down to earth.

The thunderhawk crested over the top of the airborne battle that raged throughout the sky, other craft still in pursuit, speeding towards one of the Reapers that towered over proceedings. Kurias dodged and rolled away from the beam fire coursing towards him, determined to find the perfect spot to hit. Ships had to lower their shields to fly in atmospheres, that much he knew, otherwise they’d be torn apart by internal lightning storms thanks to atmospheric disturbance, and one hit with the turbolaser would overwhelm them and punch through armour with ease.

He came into range, and opened fire.

A lance of crimson skewered the monstrous spacecraft, slamming right into its heart, and a deep, sonorous rumble of mechanical pain lowed across the battlefield. It struggled to lift off, even as explosions rippled across its two kilometre length, before something gave and it began to collapse towards the ground. It fell in a manner that almost be called stately, its colossal mass lending it a dread majesty even in its death throes, slowly smashing into to the ground with an almost stately look to it, crushing buildings beneath its cyclopean dimensions, earth shaking beneath the impact.

Kurias did not relent, sending the lascannons spearing into the shields of the other enemy dreadnought. Seeing they were weakened, Malleus barked orders into the vox; that Reaper was a high priority target, all craft were to engage immediately, regardless of whatever they were doing. Many would die, but the others would survive, and with luck they would kill that thing.

Planes peeled disengaged from combat with the Reaper craft, pulling towards the immense dreadnought that had become open as an easy target. They pulled overhead, and the craft opened up.

Bunker buster missiles cracked open the armoured plates of metal that protected the Reaper, allowing the munitions of the other planes to reach the insides of the Reaper, while other craft ducked underneath, targeting the hangars that had disgorged the enemy aircraft with smaller, lighter arms. Guided bombs were dropped straight onto targets, while VI controlled smart munitions located weak points and detonated atop them with lethal force. Point-defence batteries mounted emerged from beneath its armoured hid to fire upon the attackers, knocking planes out of the air only to be blasted apart by the aircraft around them. Explosions began to bloom from beneath in great gouts of flame that licked hungrily through the cracks in its armour, and the Reaper fell.

A great pall of dust was sent skyward by the impact of the massive spacecraft, one that crushed buildings beneath its two kilometre bulk, while rubble rained down from weakened structures of the war-torn city for miles around. Immediately, the Alliance aircraft wheeled about to face the Reaper planes biting at their rear, and even though many more were shot down in moments as they reengaged, Malleus smiled. The day was theirs.

Unfortunately, that was no guarantee for tomorrow.

#

The arena upon which Yamzarat Machtoro met his enemy was a plain of rubble and blackened, glassy stone. Atop the twisted wreckage of the anti orbital gun he waited, sensors trained upon the sky, railgun ready to fire, shifting upon his immense metal feet in his impatience to engage.

The Reaper slid from the sky in a corona of crimson lightning, and Yamzarat Machtoro roared in bloodthirsty joy as he saw it arrive.

“A worthy foe, at last!” he boomed. “I look forward to slaying you.”

The Reaper remained silent, instead raising its fingers in preparation to fire upon Yamzarat Machtoro. The god machine did so first, a round tipped with depleted Porgramat, or Element Zero as the people of the Citadel so melodramatically called it, loaded into the railgun and magnetically accelerated to hypersonic speeds. It screamed forwards, bypassing the Reaper’s shields and knocking directly against its hull, a shockwave blossoming from the impact with a great boom. Minimal damage, but Yamzarat Machtoro had a weak point. One that could be exploited and, ultimately, used to kill this accursed machine.

With stately slowness, the fingers of the Reaper pointed at Yamzarat Machtoro, and fired.

The god machine of the Askriit was already moving, great feet cracking the pavement beneath them as he stepped away from the beam fire scything towards him. He raised his railgun once more, even as the Reaper fired, targeters picking the joint which connected the finger to the rest of the machine, and the railgun screamed into life.

It stabbed into the vulnerable point, punching through the much thinner armour around it, and the fire stopped as the Reaper sought to avoid a fatal overload of power to the weapon.

A worthy effort, Yamzarat Machtoro, it rumbled suddenly. It will not aid you, however.

“Lies, Almarach Ikmrin,” Yamzarat Machtoro replied. “I shall end you, and all of your kind. You may as well deactivate your systems and shut yourselves down permanently; it will save you a great deal of pain.”

Have you already forgotten what happened to your masters, little machine? the Reaper asked. You have fallen before, and I have been given the honour of felling you again.

“I would like to see you try,” Yamzarat Machtoro retorted. “I am Yamzarat Machtoro, and I will see your wreckage spread across this city before the sun sets, that I swear!”

I was told your confidence bordered upon arrogance, but it appears that such accounts underexaggerated your hubris, the Reaper replied. I was told how mighty you were, and I dreamed of finding a foe as worthy as you to test myself against. Can you imagine my delight when I discovered you were still alive?

“Hah, I knew I had scared you and your craven kin, Almarach Ikmrin,” Yamzarat Machtoro replied. “The legacy of the Askriit lives on within me, and in your terror of me, and my people would rejoice to see you destroyed along with all your other kin.”

You are not the only legacy of the Askriit, the Reaper replied. Do you know why I asked for the honour of slaying you myself? I am your master, as much as any of the Askriit were. Bow down to me, Yamzarat Machtoro, for I am your rightful controller; I wish you dead. Comply.

“You may be some genetic spawn of my people, but I owe you no fealty,” Yamzarat Machtoro growled. “You stain their memory with your existence, and I shall cleanse you myself!”

You will not listen to reason, little machine? the Reaper rumbled. As I had predicted. No matter; you will die upon this planet as you died upon Yorzoch.

It raised a finger to open fire, and Yamzarat Machtoro did the same; the shield piercing round hit the joint, impacting the armour on the other side, and that god machine was moving once more, stepping over rubble with his great double jointed legs. He loaded his railgun and fired as he went, slamming into the same joint once more, cackling in satisfaction as it hit home.

“Die, spawn of the Almarach Ikmrin!” he roared as he loaded a high explosive round into his railgun. “Die!”

He moved even as the Reaper opened up on his position, a crimson beam scything after him even as the high explosive round slammed into its fingers. For a moment, the impact and the shrapnel it threw up was enough to scramble the Reaper’s sensors, the beam cutting short, and another shield round screamed into the damaged weapon arm.

Beam fire screamed from another of the weapon arms, and Yamzarat Machtoro cursed as it glanced off his shields. The power readings they gave off were critical, and he knew his armour would not be capable of standing up to such punishment. He needed to end this quickly, he knew.

He pressed forwards, stomping past buildings as the Reaper’s weapons tried to follow him, turning as he walked in order to face the foe. He needed a weak point, he knew, and if this damnable Reaper’s underbelly was not it then he had no idea what would be.

He halted when his rear mounted sensors warned he was going to smash into a building, and aimed skywards, towards the Reaper’s metallic underside. The Porgramat tipped rounds were loaded again, and he didn’t bother to let his targeters take aim for him; the target was too huge to miss.

It sped upwards, ripping past the shields of the Reaper, slamming into it with enough force to crumple the armour. Quickly, he racked another round into the weapon’s chamber and fired again at the same spot, even as the Reaper turned, punching through this time. Smoke poured from the wound the god machine had inflicted, and he pressed forwards as the Reaper turned to face him, roaring in bravado.

Another anti-shielding round slammed into its weapon arm, and with a screech of tortured metal it broke free, toppling down into the city below, and Yamzarat Machtoro bellowed in triumph as it landed. He powered forwards, determine now more than ever to get a killing shot in on the wounded machine, even as crimson beam fire speared towards him. It glanced against his shields once more, and then again, overwhelming them, but he ignored them as they winked out, and paid equally as small a heed to the bubbling rent that it tore against his left shoulder. He could still fire his railgun, that was what mattered.

He was not fast, but he was hard to stop, crashing through buildings in his haste, moment, raw strength and his boundless fury carrying him through glass, metal and concrete. He drew to a halt, tearing apart streets as his massive feet tried to stop him, hastily turning and taking aim up at the Reaper before him. He fired, the round ignoring its shields once more, and instead impacting on the delicate innards of the great machine. Flame blossomed from within, and there was a great groaning sound as the Reaper began to topple from the sky.

Yamzarat Machtoro moved, calculating that its trajectory would bring it crashing down atop him, powering through the city in order to escape, roaring orders across the radio for any Geth in the area to do the same. He could see its shadow bearing down above him, and a moment he feared that he would be crushed beneath it, before he broke free of its shadow as it crashed into the ground.

The thing would not die, one of fingers of the massive machine reaching forward to try and grab him. In reply, his cannon roared, blasting against it, and it fell, Yamzarat Machtoro stamping on the offending joint, leaving it a ruin of machinery. He placed the barrel of his railgun against the front of the Reaper’s hull, angling it to where it would hit its heart, and loaded a tungsten round. It tore through the machine’s armour as if it were paper, and Yamzarat Machtoro chuckled as he stepped away.

“There is only one legacy of the Askriit alive today,” he said. “And that is I.”

Yamzarat Machtoro turned away from the colossal corpse of his slain foe, and searched for something else to kill.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Fri May 20, 2011 5:23 pm

Chapter 19-Tunnels

The Alliance forces had reached the Thames and that was, for the moment at least, as far as they were going to go. The Reapers had dug in, using the bridges as chokes points, and with machine guns and anti tank weapons covering every one of them, there was no way the Alliance would simply slaughter their way through. Both forces had resorted to consolidating on their respective side of the river, trading shots and artillery from a distance, neither willing to risk an advance yet; even with reinforcements moving in from the north of the city, the Alliance was unsure they would be able to risk an assault across the river.

Their efforts to consolidate had led them to survivors, frightened individuals huddling in underground train stations, herded there by some of the soldiers who had been sent to aid the city. Garrus and Legion, along with another soldier named Palmers, had led them there once they had joined up with the Alliance forces, and Malleus had been greeted by exhausted, fearful eyes when he had come down the steps into the station.

He had set it up as a base of operations, using its supplies of power and running water, and comparative safety from the surface, as a bunker from which to coordinate the attack; a field hospital had been set up for the wounded, storage rooms were used to hold ammunition and rations. Even from the side room he was currently in, Malleus could hear the groans, screams and whimpers from the wounded, while the civvies talked amongst themselves quietly.

On the console before him, once used to coordinate the mag-lev trains used to enter and leave the station before Kullas had modified it at Malleus’ request, the faces of Yamzarat Machtoro, Admiral Anderson and Deniel Suvat were displayed, along with a map of the planet.

“We’ve taken much of Eastern Asia over the past few hours,” Yamzarat Machtoro said. “And we’re not stopping there; as I speak, our forces are already moving on the greatest concentration of the enemy. I shall lead the charge and we shall break their backs upon the ruins of Beijing.”

“What are your casualties like?” Deniel asked over the link.

“What matter?” Yamzarat Machtoro replied. “The Geth have enough to storm the city and kill all within. That is what’s important.”

Deniel shook his head.

“General, how are the Hierarchy’s forces doing?” Malleus asked.

“We’re gaining ground, but it’s a slaughterhouse out there,” the general replied. “I can’t say I’m too happy about the amount of people I’m losing.”

“Concern for your men is a fine trait in any senior officer, general,” Malleus said. “But only in moderation. If you become too concerned with losses then we’ll lose the momentum of the assault, and frankly this is all that’s keeping us going.”

“If you’re sure,” Deniel said, though Malleus could detect a hint of uncertainty in the Turian’s voice. No matter, so long as he stuck to the plan. “How have you managed in the assault so far, Malleus.”

“We’ve reached the Thames, but they’re dug in heavily,” Malleus replied. “Not even airstrikes and artillery are able to shift them. Anderson, if you can get your ships down here we can probably level the area with orbital bombardment and advance across; we could use those anti-orbitals they’ve got in Europe.”

“Or perhaps those ones they had in China,” Deniel added, looking pointedly at Yamzarat Machtoro. The immense machine simply growled in reply.

“I can try break off some forces from our engagement overhead,” Anderson said. “But we’re tied up trying to keep them off the Mass Relay; we’d do better once Aria’s forces arrive to reinforce us, seeing as we’d have to make a break for Earth anyway.”

“How long until they do arrive?” Malleus asked.

“She says she’s nearly got all her forces assembled,” Anderson said. “I reckon she should be here within the next twenty four hours. And with the Krogan, as well.”

“Good,” Malleus said. “We need reinforcements. I take it the Council reserves are coming in as well, soon.”

“They’re still gathering their numbers, apparently, and the politicians back on the colonies and the other worlds are worried about local security now all their soldiers are going,” Deniel said.

“The politicians can rot in the dankest pits of the Warp for all I care,” Malleus said. “Their worlds can burn; what matters is that the Reapers are defeated, and if I have to call in every soldier and conscript every man and woman of fighting age in the galaxy to make sure that happens, I will.”

There was a look of surprise on the faces of all except for Yamzarat Machtoro, who simply chuckled before saying; “Yes! Death to the Almarach Ikmrin, that’s what matters.”

“Alright,” Deniel said slowly. “I suppose if that’s what it takes to win this.”

“That it is,” Malleus said. “Now we need to plan our next moves.”

“We’re still stuck in New York for the moment, though I’ve got our forces in the area around it pushing in from their sides,” Deniel said. “We might be able to force them out of the city within a few days, especially if we manage to get reinforcements.”

“Good,” Malleus said. “We’ll make our push on the Thames once we have orbital support. General, out of interest, what of local forces there?”

“Out in the smaller towns, they’re pretty much untouched,” Deniel said. “We’ve got the help of soldiers sent out to defend them; where we are, New York seems to have been their major target.”

“Interesting,” Malleus remarked. “Our forces in the countryside north of London were pretty much unopposed until they reached the city, while we’ve got reinforcements coming in from the North; apparently, the cities up there haven’t even been touched yet.”

“They always go for the biggest cities,” Yamzarat Machtoro said. “Ones that hold cultural significance or are of tactical value; ports, capital cities, perhaps ones with large amounts of manufacturing. They cut the head off a world, shatter its armies and the move out to pick the rest of the planet clean. The Almarach Ikmrin are methodical; they eradicate and exterminate city by city, world by world. It is how they killed my people, and no doubt it is how they will try to kill yours.”

“So you think they’ll stay in the Sol System?” Malleus asked.

“As long as our army and fleet are here, they shall stay,” Yamzarat Machtoro replied. “Of that I am certain.”

“Well, at least that keeps them tied up,” Deniel said. “I think if we can push through Asia and Russia, the Geth and Yamzarat might be-”

“It is Yamzarat Machtoro, mortal!” the god machine snapped. “You will address me with my full title.”

Deniel twitched his quills, a sign of exasperation, before saying; “Fine. As I was saying, if the Geth and Yamzarat Machtoro can push through Asia, your forces can meet for a combined attack on India or the Middle East. If the Asari and the Drell are able to push through Washington, and the North, we can do the same and strike out at the rest of the forces in the Americas.”

“A wise plan, general, but ground superiority will only get us so far,” Malleus said. “If we can capture those guns, we can reverse engineer them and arm our fleet; we have the numbers, and if we combine that with the firepower to back them up, the Reapers won’t stand a chance.”

“Reverse engineer them? Won’t that take a while?” Suvat asked.

“Kullas is extremely good at what he does,” Malleus replied. “We subcontract out to various arms dealers and build those weapons quickly once we get them, and once we have those the war is ours.”

“A wise plan,” Yamzarat Machtoro said. “I approve.”

“Good,” Malleus said. “Anything else that you wish to discuss?”

“Nay. Bloodshed and death call, and I have ignored its summons for this meet long enough,” Yamzarat Machtoro rumbled.

“Nothing else from me, no,” Deniel said.

“Nor me,” Anderson added.

“Very well then,” Malleus said. “Until we meet again. Ave Imperator.”

He stepped into away from the console on which he had talked, and into the rest of the station.

It was a dismal sight, the stench of frightened humanity acidic as that of urine to his enhanced smell, while the overhead lights of the tiled tunnels flickered occasionally. He was told this place was hundreds of years old, built in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and it felt it; there was the feel of hundreds of millions of people having been here in the past, hurrying up and down its moving stairs, going back and forth again and again along well trod corridors and tunnels. It reminded him of home.

He knew that he should probably go up to the surface, see the situation first hand, but part of him, nostalgic for a planet he could never return to, bid him to go deeper. The soldiers that he passed saluted, and he returned the gesture as he headed downwards, to the platform of the station.

A refugee camp had been set up on the platform, in the storage rooms and on the rails, home to nearly a thousand people, so far the largest body of survivors found. The Reapers killed with monstrous efficiency, he thought, to have managed to leave only a few thousand survivors from a city of twelve million. Not that the Alliance had found them all yet, but even so it was a sobering thought.

The people within, tired and frightened men, women and children, looked up as he stepped onto the platform, and hope entered their eyes as they saw him. He knew what they were already calling him, in quiet whispers behind his back, Malleus the Angel. It was strange thing, he reflected, that people who had bought up well away from the propaganda of the Imperium saw Astartes as a symbol of hope. But whatever raised their spirits and salved their fears, that was what mattered.

He nodded to them in greeting, smiling softly, before walking along the rest of the platform. There were a few soldiers down here, who saluted him as he walked past, and he stopped as he noticed Samara. She had a child cradled in her arms, a young girl, perhaps five, asleep on her shoulder.

“Who is that?” Malleus asked as he approached.

“Her name is Sarah,” the Justicar replied, voice soft as it always was. She had been cut, Malleus noted, a few scratches born in combat, and a deeper gash along her forehead, purple against her blue skin. “She lost her parents.”

“It is always the case, with wars,” Malleus said.

“And this is one like no other,” Samara remarked.

“Hah!” Malleus barked. “Try telling me that. Believe me, a war on one planet in one system is nothing compared to the battle I’ve fought in. Did I ever tell you of the Thirteenth Black Crusade? That was a war waged across a dozen systems upon more worlds than I care to count. Billions of soldiers, hundreds of ships, even a few thousand Astartes; that was a war like no other.”

“Our ships number in the thousands,” Samara pointed out, smiling softly.

“And not one of them is larger than one of our smallest frigates; one small battlefleet could tear them to shreds, and the Reapers to boot,” Malleus replied. “This galaxy is soft. It’s grown fat and indolent upon a diet of peace, and the Reapers are punishing it for that. I intend to wean it, and swiftly.”

“You sound like you’d like your Imperium to come here, you know,” Samara said.

“You wouldn’t be far wrong,” Malleus said. “I miss it. I miss Polyphemus, I miss my battle company, I miss my chapter.”

“It sounds like a some sort of dystopian Hell to me,” Samara said. She set the child, Sarah, down on a bench with gentle care, stroking her brown hair back so it did not cover her face.

“That dystopian Hell, as you so eloquently put it, is also my home,” Malleus replied. “I feel lost here.”

“The Goddess has a place for all,” Samara replied. “I’m sure you just need to find yours.”

“I wander if the one she plans for me is the same as the one the Emperor intends,” Malleus replied.

“Who knows?” Samara said.

Malleus shook his head, before saying; “It was good talking to you, Justicar. There are other things I must see to.”

“Farewell, Malleus.”

The Brother Captain found Kullas at the northern end of one of the train tunnels. It had been collapsed by explosives when the soldiers of the SAS and their quarry had first come in, to allow only one point of entry for the station, and Kullas was staring at the rubble with contemplative expression on the organic side of his face.

“A credit for your thoughts, brother?” Malleus asked as he approached.

“I am cogitating, Brother Captain, whether it would be possible for us to clear this rubble and use this tunnel to advance underneath the river and into enemy territory,” Kullas replied. “Perhaps, if I could get the trains running once more, we could use them to ferry supplies and troops across the city.”

“A wise plan,” Malleus replied. “Though we’d have to guard every station.”

“And what of it?” Kullas asked. “These places are built like bunkers, though I know not whether the architects ever intended that; even if one were lost they could be collapsed atop the enemy’s heads and still allow trains to pass through.”

“That would work rather well,” Malleus said.

“This place is reminiscent of Polyphemus, do you not think?” Kullas asked suddenly. “I hypothesise this is because of is subterranean nature, but it is true, do you not think?”

“Aye,” Malleus said. “Could use some of our Imperial tech here as well. Do you think you might ever be able to make some?”

Kullas shook his head.

“I am a Forge Priest of the Sons of Thunder, not a worker of techno-miracles,” he replied. “I can work this mass effect technology well enough, but until I have a plasma forge and adamantium I am restricted.”

“It wasn’t as if I were asking for a production line of lasrifles,” Malleus replied. “Just, I don’t know, auspices or servo-skulls instead of the VIs these people are so fond of.”

“A production line of lasrifles,” Kullas murmured, frowning. “Why in the Omnissah’s name did I not think of such a thing before now?”

“What?”

“We are talking of las technology, Brother Captain,” Kullas replied. “It is remarkably easy to replicate; I suppose I could create a power source from the mass effect technology that should work well enough. It would be an affront to the Divine Template, but considering the state of this galaxy that would be just one more to place atop the pile.”

“Do you think you can do that, then?” Malleus asked.

“Given time and the right materials, yes,” Kullas said. “Of course, all we would then need to do is scale it up for turbolasers and lance batteries. Depends whether we win Europe or not first.”

“Who told you of that plan?”

“I was listening in. Should I not have?”

Malleus shrugged.

“I trust you, Kullas,” he said. “We are both sons of Vulkan, after all.”

Kullas nodded.

“Gold may flow thick when molten, but blood is thicker still,” he said. “I will stand by you to the end, Brother Captain.”

Malleus smiled.

“I needed no assurance of that, my friend.”

One of the pincers on Kullas’ servo harness twitched as its visual sensor picked something up behind them, and Forge Priest and Brother Captain turned as one. The tunnels behind them were fairly busy, but a young woman with a portable pict recorder over one shoulder was looking at them, one eye to the lense of her device.

“May we help you?” Kullas asked, but Malleus strode forwards before asking; “Would you care to tell me, Emily Wong, exactly what you are doing here?”

Malleus towered over her, yet to her credit Emily held her ground, before saying; “Getting the story.”

“I thought I instructed you remembrancers to say behind and await official reports,” Malleus replied.

“You don’t win Pulitzers repeating what the official reports already say,” Emily answered, and Malleus smiled at this.

“Well, you have a spine, I’ll give you that,” he said. “I still have my concerns about you being here, though.”

“Why’s that? I helped report on the Skyllian Blitz, and the Batarians were taking pot shots at anyone who came near, civvy, soldier or journalist,” she replied. “I can look after myself, if that’s what worries you.”

“It is that device you carry upon your shoulder, actually,” Malleus said. “What have you sent back to the rest of the galaxy?”

“Nothing yet,” Emily said, slightly suspicious.

“Good,” Malleus said. “Keep your footage for your prize for after this war, if you would be so good, Miss Wong, we don’t need morale back home more undermined than it already is. Though I suppose I could have a use for you.”

“And what would that be?”

“Your camera,” Malleus said. “I realise that I’ve got a unique opportunity with you here, Miss Wong.”

“Ahuh?”

“Indeed. You will broadcast what I ask to you from Earth to the rest of the galaxy,” Malleus said. “You’re going to be my main propaganda tool, Miss Wong, someone who reports our victories and successes in the fields and keeps the resolve of the galaxy strong.”

“So I’m going to be a propaganda tool?” Emily asked. “No way.”

“Miss Wong, the alternative is that I smash that camera and shoot you for undermining the war effort,” Malleus said. “The morale of a people is as much a weapon as any rifle or tank, Emily, and I intend to keep the edge of this weapon as sharp as I possibly can.”

“Still sounds like propaganda to me.”

“Call it propaganda if you will. Do you know what I call it?”

“What?”

“The weaponisation of the free press.”
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Gaius Marius » Fri May 20, 2011 11:18 pm

Lol, weaponized press. Good one colonel, some good lines and comparisons between the two galaxies.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sat May 21, 2011 7:27 pm

Thanks Gaius, I was trying to emphasis the contrast between the two universes a bit in these parts (this has been a real opportunity for them to shine through) and I'm glad I managed it. Cheers for reading.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sun May 22, 2011 8:20 pm

Chapter 20-Vox Scandarum

The news was always running in Eternity Bar now.

It killed the atmosphere there, filled it with a sombre and morose air, but it was all Athyta’s customers were asking for now. And the war was all it covered. It was near-constant now, other items given some snippet for a few minutes, but soon enough it rolled back to the war.

Spacer crews came in, ordered some drinks, sat down and they watched. They watched as reports came in from the Alliance or the Asari or the Turians, watched as experts came in to talk on the subject, watched as battered and traumatised young men and women, casualties from the war on the surface, were interviewed, watched as religious fanatics proclaimed that this was judgement from one god or another for their sinful ways. Eternity had never been busier in her two hundred years of business, and while the drinks were flowing to ease the worry, Aethyta had a feeling that all the alcohol on Ilium wasn’t going to drown the sorrows birthed from an ensuing apocalypse; she had realised not long into all of this that the best business had ever had was also leaving her feeling depressed.

She’d lived through wars before, when half of the media seemed to be convinced that the Krogan were going to roll over the entire galaxy during the Rebellions, and during the First Contact war, when it seemed that the Turians were all that were keeping an army of aggressive savages from assaulting the galaxy as a whole. She’d been sceptical about the threat they had actually posed; her father was a Krogan and, brash, aggressive and loud as he’d been, she never found Krogan imposing, and the humans seemed to be only one small civilisation during the First Contact War before their Second Fleet had arrived to attack the Turians over Shanxi; but this was different. These things, these Reapers, they seemed something else entirely, something monstrous and unstoppable. She had lost sleep worrying about them already.

“We lost hundreds of ships in just a couple of hours,” a young Turian on the holo-screen, arm in a sling, was saying. “A lot of my friends killed by dreads you wouldn’t believe the size of. They cut through shields and armour in a second and sliced ships in half like the armour wasn’t even there; we needed a dozen ships just to take one of them down.”

“Yet you would still go back there?” the interviewer asked.

“Hell yeah, I would,” the Turian replied.

“Why?”

“Because I’m needed down there, that’s why. Those Reaper bastards killed a lot of people, and I want to make them pay. I’m hurt, yeah, but it’s like what Malleus said to us before we went into our first battle; ‘Only in death does duty end. And I’m still alive.’”

“Ah yes, Malleus Scandarum. I’ve talked to a lot of soldiers, and a lot of them seem to believe that he will win this war. Why do you think that?”

“You haven’t seen him,” the Turian replied. There was something in his eyes when he said that, Aethyta noticed. Belief. “That’s all I’ll say. If you ever see him fight, you’d know he’s what’ll win this for us.”

“Of course. Thank you.”

“No problem.”

“We’re going back to the studio now for…what? Apparently we’re not going back to the studio after all. We’re receiving a live broadcast from Earth, from non other than Malleus Scandarum, commander of Alliance forces on the ground.”

Aethyta had seen the Astartes on the holo-vision before, when he had come to the Council meeting, and there had been something awe-inspiring about the immense man when she had seen him then. Conversation suddenly hushed as every eye in the bar turned to watch the screen, Asari, Turians, humans, Krogran, even a Drell all watching. Against a background of cracked tiles, his armour shining in white and gold, shoulders broadened yet further by a blood-crimson cloak trimmed in grey fur, he looked even more impressive than before. He looked like a warrior, a leader. He looked like a king.

After a moment, he began to speak.

#

The image of the angel in white and gold appeared on every news channel at once, while many others interrupted their programming to show it. Across the entire galaxy, holo-visions showed the picture of a giant in armour, his scarred, craggy face. Billions of screens, watched by billions of eyes, showed Malleus Scandarum in all his glory as an Astartes. Even on Earth, comm. links went quiet to hear the words that were to be spoken by the great warrior in their midst, soldiers all over the planet of every species listening in.

“Greetings, citizens of the galaxy.”

#

One camera, Malleus realised, held on the shoulder of a young woman with ambition, was as deadly a weapon as any bolter. As he faced the lense, reflected light shining a corona around its edge, he reflected that there may well be a power in such a thing that had not realised before.

“I speak to you now in a grim hour. In the last forty eight hours, many of you will have, no doubt, heard of the Reapers descending upon Earth in the intent of slaying all who live upon it. Already, millions lie dead upon its surface, while upon its surface and in orbit our warriors do battle with the foe,” he said.

Behind him, on the communications screen, he could see his image being beamed away from Earth to the galaxy as a whole. He liked the cloak, he would admit; scavenged from some theatre that the Alliance had captured, it added a heroic, feudal look to his power armour.

“But fear not,” he continued. “For on our side we have the greatest army and fleet gathered in our collective history. Thousands of ships, billions of soldiers, all united in the express purpose of defending our homes and driving these Reapers back whence they came.

“We are peoples with a varied and patchworked history, and we are no strangers to war, but this is not one for profit, power, or ideology. No, this war is for our very survival. The rules of engagement have changed; we will fight to the last, and only when our last breath is expelled, only when we die plunging a knife into the throat of our foe shall we be defeated.

“But this shall not be so,” Malleus said. “Because you have the Astartes with you. Some have called us abominations, murderers, monsters even, and do you know what I say? I say this is true. But we are your monsters. We are monsters who will give everything to defeat these machines, who will stop at nothing to ensure victory. We will hurl ourselves into their jaws to tear out their throats; we will slit our own throats if it means we choke them with our blood. We are Astartes, and this is what we were made for. Nothing shall sway us from our cause, nothing will stop us, nothing will end us. We are the vessels of their annihilation, the bringers of their end, angels of righteous wrath that shall reduce them to ashes with the lightning of our fury. We will stand alongside you in the days ahead, and will fight and die for you. All that we know and all that we are will be dedicated to your survival. We are the Emperor’s chosen, his greatest, most glorious, deadliest warriors, the most dangerous things in all existence. The soldiers with us are the bravest men and women I have ever fought alongside, and I swear to you that we will drive these Reapers back and slay them all, even if we must bleed ourselves dry to do so.”

He dropped his head slightly, before saying.

“But we cannot do this alone.”

Once again, his piercing hazel eyes looked into the camera, before he spoke.

“Out on the field, our soldiers die, slain by a foe who would see all that they love, all that you love, perish. They believe us fearful, so bound in arrogance that they are blinded to the truth; the truth that there is courage in our hearts and fury in our veins. Should you have but a scrap of bravery, then I ask this; will you not fight? Will you not stand in your place upon the battlefield and defy this foe that would see us all destroyed? Will you not aid your brothers and sisters in arms in defying this abomination that crawls from its pit beyond the stars? If you will, then I tell you, now is your time. Go to your nearest recruiting station, sign up and fight for all that is good and true within this galaxy. Stand shoulder to shoulder against the darkness, and by the Emperor, we shall drive it back.

“I shall be honest with you all when I say that the following days shall not be easy. We fight a total war against a foe that will not give up until every one of their number has been destroyed, and their own intent is for our very extinction. We fight to survive, and believe me when I say that we will not fight fairly; we will show no mercy and we shall take no prisoners, and this shall be the case both off the battlefield as well as on it. I will not lie to you, my friends; should this war go on then conscription and rationing could become vey real possibilities, and for some, the cure for the blight these Reapers have become on the galaxy shall be a bitter medicine to swallow, but all this shall be done in the name of victory. All this shall be done in order to ensure our survival, and by the Emperor, I promise you we will emerge victorious.

“All I ask in return is that you stand firm in your opposition of the Reapers, that you cooperate with our soldiers and that you understand that whatever hardships or discomforts you must bear, you bear in the name of survival.

“Imperator Vult, my friends. May the Emperor watch over us all in the days to come.”

#

The holo screen in Eternity bar went blank, save for the image of a double headed eagle upon a black background, and the entire room was silent. It was a long, intensely thoughtful quiet, and for a moment Aethyta swore that she could have heard a pin drop in the silence.

Then a few of her customers, two humans and a Turian, got up and left, slamming a few credits down on the surface of their tables to pay for their drinks before hurrying out as one. There was a purposeful edge to their stride, a look of determination, anger, on their faces. A few moments later, a Krogan mercenary followed, broad, calloused fingers straying to battered shotgun folded at his belt. Then an Asari. One by one, Aethyta’s customers left, and swiftly it was empty except for her and her bouncer.

“Well, looks like he’s successfully cleaned me out of business,” she said, nodding towards the screen. “C’mon John, help me get up the chairs up on the table, will you? Don’t think anyone else is going to be coming in today.”

John nodded, before picking up a couple of chairs and sliding them across the table. Quickly, the bar was cleared, locked up and she sent out a message to the rest of her stuff telling them they could have a day off. Somehow, she didn’t feel like serving drinks.

She pulled the shutters over the door down, switched the holos off and then noticed John was standing with a slightly restless edge to his stance.

“You alright, John?”

“Yeah, I’m cool.”

There was a silence, before she said; “You want to go fight, don’t you?”

“Well…yeah. I don’t know, you put me up with a job and all, and you need security. I don’t just wanna head off like that.”

Aethyta sighed, before shaking her head slightly and saying; “Go on John. Go sign up. By the sounds of it, we’re all going to be doing it anyway.”

John smiled slightly awkwardly, before saying; “Thanks.”

He hurried away down the street, towards one of the recruiting stations that had been set up within the last day.

Aethyta shook her head and set off towards her own home. Her father’s old rifle, antiquated as it was, was still in a box tucked away, given to her after his death. She had kept it clean, though it was probably dusty, and had been meaning to give it to John once he decided he’d had enough experience working as a bouncer to join one of the private security companies or the Alliance military. But he’d already gone to join up. It seemed that the only person who would find a use for the old thing would be her.

She’d just have to remember the pay the rent forwards before she left.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Gaius Marius » Wed May 25, 2011 1:18 am

Great Chapter Colonel, at some point MacCallister is going to make a speech like that. :lol:
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Wed May 25, 2011 8:50 am

Will this be before or after he quite literally eats the Archdaemon for breakfast? :P
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Tue May 31, 2011 5:01 pm

Chapter 21-Duty

Open fist. Burst of flame. Observe. Close fist. Crackle of lightning, observe.

There was something wrong with him, that much Cyralius knew. Something scraping against his nerves whenever he used his power, like something breaking through. The idea concerned him more than a little, but there was something strange about it. He knew the feelings of attempted daemonic possession or psychic probing, having battled chaotic and xenos psykers on many occasions in his time in the Imperium, and this was different. That was external, something trying to break down his mental barriers, but this was something else entirely; it wasn’t trying to break in, it was trying to break out. And he had no idea what it could be.

A faint, barely visible sheen of blue lingered on his hand a moment after a burst of telekinetic force caused the dust at his feet to circle in a miniature squall before settling once more, and he peered at it intensely before it faded.

“What’re you doing, Cyril?”

“Hello Jack,” Cyralius replied without looking up, as the biotic sat down next to him on the ruined wall the Epistolary was using as a seat. “Just looking at something, that’s all.”

“You still got something wrong with your powers, then?” Jack asked.

Cyralius nodded.

“I don’t know what,” he said. Absently mindedly, he picked up a brick and tossed it away, watching his hands once more. The blue glow was so faint as to almost be invisible in the dust and smoke-filtered sunlight shining on London, but it was quite definitely there. “But there is definitely something amiss.”

“Should I be worried, then?”

“Leave that to me. And besides, right now I’m more intrigued.”

Jack snorted with sudden laughter.

“What?”

“Cyril, your head could explode or something, and all you can say is that you’re curious about it. I really don’t get you.”

Cyralius shrugged.

“I was a codicier once. It was my job to archive and record information that came to the Sons. Spending nearly a century doing that gives you some habits that are really hard to break.”

“So wait, you’re saying that there are other Astartes like you in the Sons?”

“Indeed there are.”

“Goddamn.”

Cyralius shook his head.

“Oh what now?”

“Just trying to picture a whole bunch of Astartes like you,” Jack replied, smiling slightly. “Just can’t. All I can think of is them being all dour like Malleus or something.”

“Well I suppose the brothers of the Librarium can hardly be said to fit the usual template of a marine,” Cyralius said, shrugging slightly. “I’m surprised you haven’t guessed that by now.”

Jack laughed quietly, before placing her hand on Cyralius’ gauntlet. The Epistolary glanced down at it in surprise at the slender tattooed wrist and hand, pocked with a few old needle scars, as it rested atop his own.

“I’m glad you’re different, Cyril,” she said quietly.

She leant on his power armoured shoulder, Cyralius placing his hand on her own shoulder in as gentle an embrace as his superhuman strength would allow him. There was a long, quiet moment, biotic and psyker simply sitting in each other’s company, and it was then that Cyralius made himself a silent oath that, however this war turned out, whatever happened, he would allow no harm to come to Jack.

#

Okeen’s fingers moved with skilful deftness as he stitched the wound shut, needle and thread drawing the gash in the skin closed. A compress and bandage were tied over the deep slash in the arm in order to stem any later bleeding, and Okeen nodded to the nurse with him to wheel the young woman he was operating on out.

He pressed a button on the desk next to him to call in the next patient, pulling on a fresh pair of rubber gloves as an unconscious young man was wheeled in on a gurney, a bloodied bandage pressed against his neck.

“Status?”

“A wound in the neck, and difficulty breathing,” the orderly pushing the cart replied. “His squad medic managed to stabilise him with medigel, but there’s still bleeding.”

“Understood.”

He set to work, removing the bandage, spraying a clotting agent on the wound, using an artificial cartilage to rebuild the damaged windpipe; he would talk again, but never sing, but that was good enough for Okeen. What mattered was that he was alive. Within a few minutes of swift, dextrous surgery, he was sent away, and the next casualty was called in. A young woman who’d lost her arm, a boy who’s guts had been ripped open by some high calibre round and who was bleeding internally, another young man who’d had a lung punctured, a shattered arm and punctured vein. Some were wheeled out of the rudimentary surgery the Alliance medics had set up underground, unconscious but alive, and a few of the lucky, resilient ones even walked or limped away, but there were many who did neither, Okeen unable to save them and instead administering the Emperor’s Mercy with a short prayer. The wounded came to Okeen in a seemingly endless succession of injuries and pain, and he treated them all as best he could, an air of unflappable calm about him as he did so. The work dragged on, minutes stretching into hours, and still the succession of the injured and dying continued to pour in. Okeen worked as fast as he could, always thorough as possible and never hasty in his work; any who could be saved he would save, however difficult the task. He knew the oath of the Apothecarium, to sustain the life of the faithful and innocent under his care as long as he possibly could, and while these people were heretics, the point remained; lives could be preserved, and it was his duty as an Apothecary to do so. He would not flinch from it.

They poured in from the fighting at the banks of the Thames, victims to the machine guns, artillery and snipers the Reapers had at their disposal, even as Alliance forces tried to dig in. Word had filtered down that the grand assault was beginning tomorrow with the arrival of reinforcements, and while Okeen had heard nothing from Malleus yet, the brother captain still occupied with trying to organise the retaking of the city, but if that was the case then he was going to have a lot more work to do.

It was of little matter. He was an Apothecary of the Sons of Thunder, and it was his duty to treat the wounded. He would not shirk it.

#

“Will you turn that crap down?” Tali grumbled as she slid from underneath the Mako. “I’m trying to work here, you know.”

“Crap? Crap?” Andrew replied from his place by the radio. “This is Miracle of Sound. They’re great.”

There was a quiet as Tali glared at him beneath her mask, before she replied; “No, no they’re not. Put something good on, why don’t you?”

“Oh, piss off,” Andrew replied, picking up a soldering tool and walking back to the Somme he was in the middle of repairing.

“Grease monkey!” Tali shot at him, to which Andrew cheerfully gave her the finger.

The Quarian chuckled and shook her head, before the sound of Miracle’s latest hit suddenly dimmed and faded away. Andy stuck his head out from next to the damaged track unit he was playing and called; “C’mon Tali, you might not be their biggest fan, but you don’t need to be a bitch about it.”

“I wasn’t,” Tali replied from underneath the tank.

“I found the dirge that you designated as music offensive to my primary audio receptors,” Kullas called from the rear of their workshop. “I deemed it necessary to silence it.”

Andrew looked at the Forge Priest, the Astartes holding a sixty-ton tank tipped back near vertical with his servo harness in order to fix a rent scored into its hull by a landmine, and decided not to complain. Tali just laughed quietly and went back to fixing the suspension on the Mako.

The Alliance had set up a motor pool a few miles away from the frontline in an old fire station that happened to be, by some stroke of luck, next to a garage. They had enough space to store most of their damaged vehicles within, while a kinetic barrier provided adequate protection from the artillery fire that was sporadically thumping against it. It was busy, a few hundred technicians working within the two buildings trying to repair the constant stream of damaged vehicles that flowed into the workshop. Tali had made herself useful there, her skill with tech letting her fit in with the other engineers present, but Kullas was a different matter.

So far, those in the Alliance’s motor pool had accepted the Forge Priest’s presence with a mixture of fear and outright awe; anyone who could lift a tank up using only their raw strength and fix it in a matter of minutes was immediately entitled to some respect, but he had spent only a few hours there and had already convinced the engineers working in it that he was quite mad.

“Alright, I’m taking a break,” Andy announced, having finally closed the rent in the hull of his charge close. “You coming, Tali?”

“Just a minute,” the Quarian replied as she hooked a feed of pneumatic fluid into the pistons beneath her own vehicle’s hull. She wheeled herself out from under it, and sat up, stretching her arms slightly.

She followed Andrew outside, where he already had a cup of coffee in his hand, stirring some of the Alliance’s standard issues hyper-pasteurised dehydrated milk into it. Tali just took a shot of purified, sanitised caffeine paste that had natural ingredients promised on the label and injected it into the solid foods port of her enviro-suit. It was bitter and gritty, but she chewed and swallowed nonetheless.

“‘Offensive to my primary audio receptors,’” Andy said as she sat down, shaking his head. “I still can’t believe your friend just said that.”

“Kullas can be a little strange, yeah,” Tali agreed.

“A little?” Andrew asked. “It’s like he’s got Aspergers or something, the way he acts. He’s an absolute mentalist, he is.”

“No he’s not,” Tali said. “He’s just not used to people, that’s all.”

“Yeah, maybe, but I still don’t get this machine spirit thing he was talking about earlier,” Andrew said. “That’s a load of crap, definitely.”

“No it’s not,” Tali said, flexing her augmetic. “I’ve seen them.”

“What?” Andrew said. “You’re involved in his weird little religion thing? Seriously?”

“Yes, and don’t give me that look,” Tali said. “If I was going to haul off and hit you with a spanner for technoheresy I would’ve done so already.”

There was a slightly awkward, wary silence, before Tali shook her head and sighed.

“Fine, be like that,” she said. “He’s not crazy, though. Nor is the Mechanicum. Believe me, Andrew, I’ve seen the machine spirits he talks about. Not just in some vague religious nutjob way, either. I’ve linked in with machines, using my augmetic, I’ve seen the machine spirits first hand. Nearly killed me at one point, but I saw them alright. I don’t know if they’re proper souls or, I don’t know, quantum interactions on circuit boards or something like that, but I definitely saw something there.”

“So what’s sticking yourself full of robot parts got to do with machine spirits then?” Andrew asked after a moment.

“I…I don’t honestly know,” Tali said. “They’re still a bit strange in some respects, yeah.”

“A bit,” Andrew muttered. “I still don’t get it, but whatever. Just keep spanners away from me, alright?”

Tali chuckled quietly, before glancing over to the Mako. The feeding machine was finished, a blinking green light confirming that its suspension had been filled with the hydraulic fluid.

“I’ve got to go,” she said. “More work to do, it seems.”

“Yeah, I should probably get on,” Andrew said.

“Omnissah protects, Andrew,” Tali replied as she headed to the vehicle.

Beneath her mask, she couldn’t help but smile at the look on his face.

#

There were about two hundred of them in total, Mallues guessed, mainly young men and a few women, packed into one of the station’s larger rooms. They parted before him respectfully as he stepped to the front of the room, before he turned to face them all. He recognised one of the faces he’d seen on the battlefield, Michael Hunter, the young man from Bekenstein he’d saved from the Reaper tank what was, on reflection, just earlier today.

“I suppose you’re wondering why you’re all here,” he said. “And the answer is a simple one. All of you are, currently officers without men to lead, whose soldiers were killed in combat or assigned to other units due to losses. Most of you are probably curious as to why the same hasn’t happened to you. The answer is simple; I need you.”

He folded his arms behind his back, before continuing.

“There’s no doubt about the fact that this war is going to be an extremely bloody one,” he said. “And the state of morale amongst our troops will not fare well if it is not treated with care. And that is where you come in.”

“We’re maintaining morale?” a young woman asked. “That’s part of an officer’s duty anyway.”

“That it is,” Malleus said. “But instead of command being your primary role, keeping the fighting spirit of our soldiers up will be the most prevalent part of your duties. You’re to serve as political officers, and it will your job to inspire our soldiers to fight through whatever means necessary. You won’t be well loved, of that I can assure you, but it will be your job to punish those who flee the field of battle or desert their posts, with death if necessary.”

There was a sudden uncomfortable edge to the group before him, looks flitting between the officers before him, a quiet murmuring of discontent rising. Malleus had expected this; the Alliance’s military universities would never instil the sort of ruthlessness bred into Commissar cadets at the Schola Progenium, but without the stony hearted killers and ruthless leaders of men that the Schola produced, they would have to do.

“I know a lot of you will be doubtful about whether you will be up to such a duty, or how effective role it will really be, and many of you will be unwilling to execute a person in what you deem cold blood, but believe me when I say that when a soldier fears retreat more than they fear an enemy then they become very effective warriors indeed.”

“Your role will be a simple one; you will inspire,” Malleus said. “You will inspire through fear and through heroism; you shall be first into the enemy’s guns, last out from evacuations zones, ask no quarter and allow no retreat. You will not be loved, but you will be respected, and revered as some of the greatest heroes that the Alliance shall know. If you have any issues with doing this, then you are free to leave now and resume your normal duties, and there will be no stigma attached to your name for doing so, but I firmly believe that it will be the courage of the Commissariat and the bravery it passes to our soldiers that will win us this war.”

A few people filed out, but as Malleus hoped, many more remained. Those who knew the meaning of duty. He smiled at them as they stood there, slightly apprehensive.

“I’m pleased that you choose to remain,” he said. “Very pleased indeed. Believe me, my friends, in the years to come, history shall sing your praises.”

He clapped his gauntlets together, ceramite thunking against ceramite, before he said; “Now, let’s see how Alliance issue body armour looks in black and gold, shall we?”
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:28 pm

It's official; Angels of the Storm has its very own concept art! Just scroll down to see with your own two eyes the very first* piece of proper, Colonel Mustard Approved artistic endevour for Angels of the Storm. Be amazed, be wowed, and be sure to remember to remark snidely to others that you were seeing my art before I became the next Leonardo De Vinci!

...a man can dream, can't he?

*Well, technically the second, but the one I did of Cyralius was crap


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