Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

For Warhammer fiction not strictly from either universe.

Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:59 am

Inspired in part by The Confederate, which has a bunch of SC characters ending up in the darkgrimness of the far future, I decided to write a strange little story of someone (or something - dun dun DUN!) going the other way. Comments and criticism appreciated!

-Chapter 1-

Primary flight deck, battleship Armageddon
High orbit, Trieste II, Ultima Segmentum
May 21, 998.M41


Parade duty. We live through Trieste, and they give us parade duty.

"Officers..." newly-promoted Sergeant Mathias sighed to himself, as if it explained everything. Perhaps it did. Mathias and the rest of the '1st Trieste Regiment' (although everyone just kept their old unit insignia) was assembled in the Armageddon's cavernous main landing bay, lasguns at their sides and wearing whatever kit they'd held onto during the fight. Mathias wasn't sure, but scuttlebutt held that the other survivors had been 'regimented' and were, like him, held on the other ships of the fleet. The ribbed ceiling of the bay echoed from the pounding of thousands of boots, and Mathias spared a glance at the activity.

Another regiment was pouring into the room from recessed hallways, and Mathias could see the newly-promoted command staff of the Trieste Guard moving towards the raised dais at the front of the room. Mathias sighed…speech time. Despite the ever-vigilant priests and commissars prowling at the edges of the formation, Mathias felt his eyelids drooping.

The figure who ascended the dais, however, instantly woke Mathias up. A Space Marine, high-ranking by the looks of his armor, was going to make a speech. Having been rescued from the 'nids by the Imperial Hawks back on Trieste, Mathias had a healthy respect (and fear, too) of the Marines. He'd seen them slaughter Gaunts faster than orbital support could, beat an ambushing Lictor to the attack, and take on 'fexes – and win. But seeing a Marine speak? This was new.

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Captain Nicodemus, 4th Company, Mentor Legion, hated speeches. When given the choice between leading an incursion into the Eye of Terror or giving lectures to the Cadian command staff, Nicodemus had foisted the lectures onto one of his lieutenants and spent several weeks happily hunting Bloodthirsters.

If the Chapter Master himself hadn't ordered it, Nicodemus would have point-blank refused the request from Ultima Segmentum Command, and damn the consequences, too. Turn a rabble of broken, disunified survivors into working Guard regiments? Take the remnants of an entire Sector Fleet and its inexperienced crew, and make a working fleet? By the Emperor, most of them don't even speak the same language!

But he'd been ordered, so Nicodemus and the 4th Company had come to the 157th Fleet to turn broken, hollow men into functioning soldiers again. And to add to the Captain's agony, Mentors lore recommended a rousing speech to inspire the scattered Guardsmen. The Captain gazed across the suddenly-quiet ranks of Guardsmen, frowning at their lack of discipline; nearly all the soldiers stood in the characteristic "veteran's slouch." Still, he privately had to admit that they'd earned it. How many of them were left? One out of a hundred? A thousand?

A massive bio-enhanced giant, resplendent in gold filigree and his green-white armor, Nicodemus was (deliberately) imposing for normal humans. He knew he'd need whatever respect he could get from the Guardsmen for what came next. Removing his helm, the Mentor presented his bone-white face to the Guardsmen and holo-'corders broadcasting across the fleet.

1. Name previous victories.

"I am Captain Nicodemus," his vox-enhanced voice boomed. "I have fought the Emperor's enemies for over 500 years, across three Segmentums. I have triumphed against the Orks, Tyranids, Eldar, and the Great Enemy." and the other missions I can't talk about.

2. Name previous defeats.

"I have been defeated in combat numerous times." Muttering from the assembled soldiers; this already-unexpected speech had taken another strange turn. "I have lost to Eldar xenos in sword combat, been swarmed by Tyranids, and lost my bearings from Chaos treachery." The room erupted in an outbreak of whispering, despite the Commissars' best efforts to silence it.

3. Explain.

"None of these enemies who bested me yet live today, while I stand before you untouched. I live today because of my comrades, my discipline, and my faith." A massive armored hand swept over the assembled Marines: "These warriors provided a bulwark and strength and ." Another dramatic sweep: "My reliance on the proven tactics of our ancestors, handed down through millennia of experience, kept let me triumph against all foes." Chew on that, Reinholdt! "My faith in the Emperor and the Imperium has kept me clear of doubt, despite the foes that I faced."

4. Conclude.

"Guardsmen of the Imperium, you have faced the Great Devourer and triumphed through the actions of your comrades, your use of true Imperial ideals, and your faith. My Mentors will continue to lead and inspire you through your next campaign, and teach you to better destroy the Imperium's foes." And now for the kicker... "The regiment which performs best in the upcoming campaign shall be rewarded with retirement. Its members will be sent to their home planets or given land and work on Trieste, along with a lifelong pension."

There weren't too many cheers; it wasn't that sort of speech. As officers and noncoms ushered their men back to their quarters, the soldiers of the Trieste Guard considered the possibility of actually escaping the Imperial Guard. Little more than a pipe dream on most planets, ("Once you're in the Guard, you're in to stay" was the saying) the specter of freedom now hung above the dispirited men. Many Guardsmen did not believe the Marine's promise, while others were still too shell-shocked to notice. Slowly but surely, however, the dream of 'retirement' began to take root.

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Exiting the swarming hall, Nicodemus approached a door guarded by a silent, bolter-armed Marine. Although his face-concealing helm hid his expression, the Captain could tell by his stance that he was grinning.

"Another rousing speech, my lord."

Nicodemus responded with a grin of his own. "Cut the groxshit, Sergeant."

"Of course, my lord. I exist merely to facilitate the elucidative exchange of relevant information."

Closing and dogging the hatch as they continued towards the bridge, Nicodemus let out a laugh. "By the Emperor, I will never make another speech!" His grin fading, the Mentors Legionnaire glanced at the dataslate he held. "The Lady-Commissar is unhappy with our efforts again?"

"The Lady-Commissar exists in a state of perpetual rage. We've merely been the target for this latest outburst."

"Still, she does have a way with words: '…the seditious leanings of the Mentors Legion, particularly when compared with the virtuous efforts of the Imperial Hawks…' how are they faring, anyway?"

The sergeant cocked his head slightly. "They report near-total cleansing of the infestation, and they're due back in two weeks or less."

"So, planet cleared but friendly forces still broken?"

"More or less, my lord. Morale reached rock-bottom a month ago and started digging. Discipline's a mess, resupply efforts are an awful joke, and less than a fourth of the equipment is combat-ready." Sergeant Cato, a child Guardsman prior to being recruited into the Mentors Legion, always kept a keen eye on his allies' supplies and morale.

Nicodemus sighed. "Very well. Aside from our little relations-building efforts, is there any further help incoming from Segmentum Command?"

The sergeant consulted his HUD. "Resupply is promised, along with additional equipment to make up for vehicle and aircraft losses. A Deep-Range Explorator Fleet will rendezvous with the fleet tomorrow. They've promised to repair, refit, and overhaul anything with more than one moving part."

"Good news for a change. How goes the training?"

"It goeth, it goeth but slowly, my lord. Your little speech will probably help, but we've been forced to integrate twenty different sets of tactics and strategy. Progress has been slow at best."

"Teach our more experimental tactics, but claim that they're traditional. This mission may be far beyond our usual efforts, but let's make the most of it and use the whole battlegroup as a testing ground."

"Understood, my lord."

----------------------------------------------------------------

Leaving Cato behind, Nicodemus entered the muted bridge.

Clap. Clap. Clap. Clap.

"Congratulations, Captain. You've managed to single-handedly wreck the fearsome reputation that the Imperial Hawks spent so long instilling in the Trieste Guard." The shadow of Lady-Commissar Reinholdt detached itself from the wall as the short, stocky woman strode towards the hulking Space Marine. "Now we can happily motivate our Guardsmen with stories of how a near-legendary Marine officer was defeated by the same foes they face!"

Nicodemus grunted. "Good to see you too."

Looking away from the furiously glaring Lord-Commissar, the Captain glanced around the bridge. Servitors, menials, and officers worked at various consoles, the hum and scattered whispers of a ship at rest filling the room. The Marine's enhanced vision picked out two red glimmers near the shadowed captain's chair: the Admiral was watching.

"Good morning, captain. I trust your little…talk was successful?" the reedy voice echoed from above. Although it might sound weak, Nicodemus had seen that same voice raised in battle in the holo-recordings, and recognized the steel that lay under the Admiral's light tone.

"Likely, Admiral. Unit camaraderie is still weak, however. The Mentors will require at least one month to train the men effectively."

A flutter in the shadows as the Admiral waved his hand. "Take your time, Captain. The fleet will remain for at least two months as the Mechanicus restores and restocks."

"Leaving the Imperium without our help!" the commissar exploded. "Planets are under siege, good Imperial citizens in danger, while we twiddle our thumbs and wait!"

"Enough!" The Marine didn't glance at the newcomer. Striding into the bridge, cloak flapping and armored boots echoing on the deck, newly-promoted Governor-General Kalj glared at the Lady-Commissar. "Right now, I wouldn't trust my men to win against Ratlings! We need training, we need weapons, and we need time most of all!"

Glancing around the suddenly-still bridge, Nicodemus idly wondered what the lower-decks rumor mill would make of this. "Sirs, perhaps we should adjourn to a briefing room to continue this conversation."

Glaring at the Marine and the General, Reinholdt realized that she was outnumbered. "This isn't over," she shot over her shoulder as she stomped from the bridge.

"Indeed it isn't," he murmured quietly, before glancing back up at the shadow-shrouded Admiral. "Full fleet meeting, your quarters, 1700 tomorrow, all relevant parties." Pivoting on one heel, he strode out from another hatch.

"He does realize that he lacks power over me?" the Admiral commented to the Marine.

"More likely that he simply doesn't care," Nicodemus responded. "Besides, with his armed veterans berthed in all of your ships, he does hold a fairly important bargaining chip over you."

"And without my communications gear, he can't incite those men to revolt."

"Perhaps then, Admiral, you should consult with the Guard's astropaths and psyker teams before making such a claim."

The Admiral remained hidden, but the Marine knew he was scowling. "Bastard."

"True," the Marine responded. "Still, it would behoove you to host that meeting."

Admiral's quarters, Armageddon
High orbit, Trieste II, Ultima Segmentum
May 25, 998.M41


The Admiral's stately public rooms were filled nearly to capacity with the flood of dignitaries. Fleet Captains rubbed shoulders with the officer corps of the newly-created Trieste Guard Regiments. Several red-robed, high-ranking Mechanicus Techpriests stood out among the crowd, while white-robed Navy and Guard chaplains jostled for attention.

Nicodemus held his own personal space by virtue of his large bulk and human-sized weapons. While every human in the room carried sidearms, as required by Imperial law, most were purely ceremonial. Interestingly enough, the Captain noted that many of the lower-ranking Fleet officers and virtually all of the Guardsmen present possessed weapons with battle damage on it. The Marine nodded his head slowly, surprising the skittish adjutant in front of him: the Fleet had taken severe damage from Tyranid mycetic spores, and the Guard command posts had frequently come under heavy attack.

The entire room, in fact, was distinctly uneasy. Generally, an integrated fleet like this would have spent months or years in transit before reaching combat, giving time for the feudal factions in the Imperial system to make a lasting peace and establish a semi-stable hierarchy. This fleet, formed from the remnants of the Navy and Guard units sent into the meatgrinder at Trieste, was on edge as the various elements of Imperial power jockeyed for power.

Nicodemus, once trained by an astropath to recognize Warp signs, suddenly recognized the ozone stink of it on his right. Casually dropping his gauntleted hands to rest near his weapons, the Marine turned to face the psyker addressing him.

"So, Captain, are you enjoying yourself yet?"

The Captain's mouth twisted. Psyker: estimate Primaris-level. "Today is a perfectly good day to kill more xenos, and yet I wait hand and foot on a puffed-up noble. Tell me, should I be enjoying myself?"

The psyker smirked. "You Marines and your work. Tell me, then, did you enjoying admitting your faults to the men of the fleet today? Did that little soul-clearing help that duty of yours?"

The Marine's features softened. Use chainsword, cut before target can counter with Warp-shielding. Chance of success high. "My duty here, psyker, is to train the humans of this fleet to better serve the Emperor. If I can do so by admitting my faults and making myself appear 'human,' I will do so." Nicodemus's face hardened again. "And if half of the men must die to make the others fight like daemons, I will carry out the executions with my bare hands."

The Warp-signs rose again. Post-operation evacuation routes: left 15m, rear 12m, above 8m. "Well, Captain, I'll leave you to your homicidal thoughts. And do you really think that I'm without chainsword-proof shielding right now?"

…Well, s_t.

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Listening to the muted chatter through the closed door, the Admiral savored the moment for a second before nodding to his herald. With flying cherubs blaring trumpet music from implanted voice-casters and blowing miniature cornets above his head, the still-shrouded Admiral entered the main hall and sat on his tertiary command throne.

"Attention! The Admiral speaks!" the herald bellowed, pounding the floor once with his shock-staff. Surveying the crowd, the Admiral began to speak quietly, forcing the assembled dignitaries to lean in to hear him.

"Lords and ladies of the Ultima Segmentum's 157th Fleet, we stand at a crossroads. Our fleet is battered, our Guardsmen divided. Although the Imperium's many enemies continue to press on, we must rest and gather our strength before facing them in open-"

"Cowardice! Rank cowardice, from the very leaders who must inspire the lower ranks!" A priest burst from the milling crowds, shaking his fist at the dais. Nicodemus could see naval security troopers closing in, although slowed by the crowds. "The true Imperials here shall not stand for this treas-" WHUMP.

The priest dropped like a rock, the flat of Nicodemus's chainsword impacting in his gut. As he crumpled slowly, wheezing for air, the crowds shifted. None of them missed the shift; by striking the dissenter, Nicodemus had just cast himself (and his Marines) alongside the Admiral.

"Continue, please."

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Unknown location
High orbit, Trieste II, Ultima Segmentum
22.4.998.M41


The room was pitch black, lit only by several pin-pricks of red light. It would seem barren to un-augmented eyes; only those with the right blessings could see the Presence that lurked there. The twin lights approached the Presence, tilting downwards as the first figure bowed.

News?

-Objective reached. Commencing primary objective.-

Continue without delay. Avoid discovery at all costs.

-What shall we do if it occurs?-

The project must take priority.

-And if they resist?-

Execute plan Omega.
Nutstoyoutoo
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:52 pm


Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:00 am

Chapter 2

Training room, Armageddon
High orbit, Trieste II, Ultima Segmentum
May 25, 998.M41

Sergeant Mathias was exhausted. This was unusual.

To better understand this situation, one must first picture the good Sergeant. At nearly two meters tall, heavily muscled and well-conditioned, Mathias had been trained since childhood on Cadia to serve as a Guardsman, and had the peak physical stamina to show for it. "Stronger than an ox" was, considering most oxen, not a misnomer.

"Fuggit, fuggit, can't keep going!" Mathias panted after yet another lap around the Armageddon's landing bay.

"You dishonor the Emperor by your refusal to sacrifice!" the Bitch yelled. Damnit, she wasn't even breathing hard yet!

"Yes, Lady-Commissar!" Mathias yelled back, in unison with the rest of his squad. As Reinholdt slowed, the Sergeant and his men slowed to a walk. They were all short of breath, fatigues stained through with sweat and grime. Several men dashed to the side, emptying their breakfasts into the wastebins.

"You WILL be cleaning those later!" Lady-Commissar Reinholdt bellowed, gesturing with her chainsword to order the squad into a semblance of order. "Now that your warmup is done, we will commence with close-order drill!"

Mathias's eyes widened as the Devil stepped out from the corridor in front of his team. His green-white power armor and full helmet gave him some anonymity, but Sergeant Mathias recognized this particular Mentor through the extra sensors attached to the left side of his helmet.

Sergeant Cato, bane of the 1st Trieste Regiment's life for the past month.

The Devil faced the squad, drawing a mock chainsword as the exhausted soldiers slowly fixed wooden bayonets and stacked themselves two men deep.

"Begin!"


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Admiral's quarters, Armageddon
High orbit, Trieste II, Ultima Segmentum
May 25, 998.M41


"Ammunition stocks?"

"Omnissiah willing, we will have replenished fleet ammunition to 74.2% of full capacity within three days. Small arms capacity is fully replenished, and Guard artillery stocks are projected to be completed by tomorrow."

The representative from the Explorator Fleet, in a rare show of humanity from the Adeptus Mechanicus, spoke in High Imperial instead of binary. The Admiral responded in kind: "Status on small-craft reconstruction and repair?"

"Unknown. The Explorator Fleet's workshops are already at capacity in order to replenish ammunition, and the Fleet possesses only one Forge Ship. We require more time."

The Admiral sighed. "We don't have the time. An astropath message from Segmentum Command just ordered us to a deserted system several parsecs away to rendezvous with a new Crusade fleet. We'll continue repairs along the way, but we must move immediately."

Captain Nicodemus sighed. "With due respect, Admiral, our training is far from completed. The Mentors will not leave while our task remains unfinished. In addition, the Imperial Hawks will be left vulnerable if we withdraw our fleet presence while they continue ground operations."

"It can't be helped. I shall warn the Hawks and their auxiliaries. Jung!" An astropath, cheeks sunken and eyes burned out, stepped towards the Admiral. "Let them know."


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Appx. 150 meters underground
Trieste II, Ultima Segmentum
May 25, 998.M41


The staccato boom of a bolter rolled and echoed throughout the caves. Corporal Thorosis of the Imperial Hawks stepped over the rapidly-cooling corpse of a Tyranid Hormagaunt, muzzle tracking through the larger cave.

"Nightsight," he whispered, his suit's autosenses lighting up the pitch-black cave like day. "All clear."

The three Marines of his kill-team quickly stacked up behind the Corporal before they entered the cave, spreading out once they'd passed the small opening. "Sound, 10 o'clock," Three muttered over the squad vox, his external speakers disabled for the mission.

Craning his Larriman's Ear, Thorosis could hear the faint but distinct sound of claws on rock. "Make a hole!"

Four, unshipping a satchel charge, placed it on the approximate area of wall the scratching seemed to be originating from. The "detonate" rune flashed in the Corporal's helmet as Four armed the charge and stepped back.

"Set."

"Squad, 5-meter spread. Prepare to breach."

Each Marine dropped to a knee, boltguns – and Two's plasmagun – facing towards the explosives placed on the wall.

"Fire in the hole."

BOOM.

Even as the explosives detonated, the Marines were firing their weapons at the newly-made hole in the cave wall. The rocket-propelled shells shot themselves into the next cave, detonating and sending red-hot shrapnel through the massed Tyranids inside.

"Weapons free." Let's see how they like grenades.

"Frag out!" Four yelled, throwing a cocked frag grenade into the next room. Bouncing off the far cave wall with an innocuous tink-tink-tink, the grenade came to rest underneath a clump of Genestealers packed too tightly to move, before detonating and painting the walls with purple blood.

Several seconds later, the firing slackened off as the Marines lost sight of further targets. The dust kicked up by the explosions slowly settled, revealing a mess of xenos bodies sprinkled with shell fragments and wreathed with spent cordite. Still nothing.

"Rolling reload," the Corporal ordered, swapping the clip out on his bolter. As he finished, Two vented his plasmagun, sending up a cloud of steam. While Three and Four finished their staggered reloading, Thorosis considered his available options.

Clapping his hands together once, he listened for the resulting echoes. The cave bounced the echo in random directions, but the Marine's enhanced hearing let him approximate the size of the next chamber.

Fairly large…"Call the support in," he ordered. Four inclined his head slightly as he sent the request. "ETA, one minute."

Their eight hearts slowly beating in near-unison, the four Imperial Hawks knelt and waited.


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Training room
High orbit, Trieste II, Ultima Segmentum
May 25, 998.M41


"Mercy," Mathias pleaded.

The green-white giant remained impassive. "Mercy? Will your enemies show you mercy?"

Mathias grunted, unwilling to give up the argument. The Devil stepped closer. "Again. Form your team up and try again."

The Cadian snapped. "We don't have power armor, you bastard! We're regular little humans, with bones that snap if you shoot them and guns that might as well be las-sights for all the damage they do!" Ignoring the Lady-Commissar, who was already reaching for her bolt pistol, Mathias shook his finger at the Marine. "We're weak, we're slow, we don't stand a chance!"

The Devil shook his helmeted head. "You're stronger than you think." He gestured to his own armor. "Weak points at the joints. Eyepieces vulnerable to las-shots or bayonet stabs. Reactor will shut down if it takes enough damage." He gestured at Mathias's squad. "Alone? You don't stand a chance. Ten of you, against one of me? Possible."

Slowly nodding his head, Mathias suddenly felt a cold circle press against his temple. Talk about an ironic death… "Sergeant, for insubordination against a member of the Adeptus Astartes, I hereby sentence you-"

"HOLD!" Expecting death, Mathias cracked his eyes open to see the Mentor's chainsword knocking the Lady-Commissar's bolt pistol down.

Holstering her pistol with a sour look, the Lady-Commissar strode out of the room with a sour look.

The Mentor faced the exhausted Guardsmen. "Again. This time, use your numbers to flank me and aim for weak points."


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"I thank you for your help, Lady-Commissar."

Reinholdt scowled. "A direct 'request' from your gracious Captain didn't leave me much choice, did it?"

Sergeant Cato smiled under his helm. "Indeed not, Lady-Commissar. However, our little show, once the lower decks seize on the gossip, will cement the soldiers' conceptions of friends and enemies."

"By setting my Commissars and I as the ineffectual threat at their backs, and your power armored clowns as their 'dear friends?' Forgive me if I fail to follow your logic."

Cato scowled. "The soldiers who fought on Trieste are broken, Reinholdt! They've faced hell itself and lived – you saw that man you threatened today, yes?"

"I saw a weakling, who would rather shame himself than sacrifice everything necessary for victory!" Reinholdt thundered.

Cato, assisted by his suit's vox-caster, bellowed back louder: "FRAK THAT!" He dropped his voice slightly: "Look at them. Didn't you see their eyes? They respected Mathias, probably liked him, too, but they didn't do shit-all about it when he was threatened. Even Kriegans - hell, even Mordians wouldn't let you get away with executing a good non-com on bad pretenses like what we cooked up back there."

Reinholdt nodded slightly. "I know. I was assigned to a Catachan battlegroup as my first posting out of the scholam; the other commissar graduates were too damn weak to keep up with the mudsuckers. The first day, I caught an LT with his pants around his ankles outside the command bunker." Cato said nothing, already knowing how the story would end. Reinholdt continued: "I was about to shoot him, when I looked around and saw one of his squads nearby. They didn't have to say anything - I knew I'd be carved up the moment I pulled the trigger." The commissar faced the Marine again. "That? That worked. Those men were crazy frakkers, but they were loyal to their own, and it took me two years of slogging through the same shit they fought in before they'd trust me. I understand that loyalty."

The commissar gestured towards the deserted training room. "Those idiots? They're a mongrel pack of Masalians, Harakoni, Rhandans, even some natives as well. The only thing they have in common is enough luck to live through Trieste. You can't give them that same fire. Without loyalty to motivate those soldiers, we need to put something frightening behind them to keep them in line. Face it, Marine - you need me."

Cato nodded. "No. These new regiments will never be like Catachan Dogs or Vostroyan Firstborn. Motivating them on fear alone, though? That would work for penal regiments, but what happens when we arm them? When we take those same frightened men and give them Leman Russes to kill us with, what do we rely on then?"

"So what's your solution?"

The Marine never paused. "Move them forward. Focus their eyes on the future, instead of their Warp-damned past. We give them hope."


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Appx. 150 meters underground
Trieste II, Ultima Segmentum
May 25, 998.M41


The cave's stillness was broken by the muted sounds of stomping. Forty-two boots pounded through areas cleared by the Imperial Hawks, as two squads of the Mordian 56th Regiment and their attached Commissar arrived at Corporal Thorosis's position.

The Marine didn't bother glancing up at the marching Mordians. He already knew that every decoration of theirs would be polished and gleaming, every coat set in place, without any of the bloodstains they'd suffered after the events the day before. Thorosis actually felt a slight respect for them and their discipline, although they were still far below Marine standards. With his eyes fixed on the blasted cave entrance, Thorosis addressed the newly-arrived Guardsmen.

"Sergeant, Commissar, expect a large cave inside. Provide support at your discretion; we will assault directly."

The two men didn't salute, instead muttering to their own men. They formed up behind the four kneeling Marines, lasguns pointed forward in perfect synchronicity.

"Execute."

With no sound louder than a slight scrape on the floor, the four Imperial Hawks went to a full sprint. Behind them, the twenty-one Mordians rushed forward, lasguns at port arms and safeties off.

The Marines burst through the entrance one at a time, the Corporal's armor turning aside rippers and needler spines as he continued forward. Two dashed left, racing for cover as he readied the ever-unstable plasmagun. Three jumped right, his red-armored frame flying two meters as he threw an already-primed frag grenade deep into the cavern before him.

Now that he'd cleared the doorway, Corporal Thorosis could afford a glance at the cave he'd just entered. With a high, vaulted ceiling, it could have been a tourist attraction prior to the Tyranids arriving. Now, it looked like a scene out a horror-holo that Thorosis had seen once during a hive infiltration. Mucus-covered webbing was haphazardly strung across the ceiling, with dark, quivering nodes dotted around like ghoulish stars. A pulsing mass of flesh rose from the approximate middle of the cave, with claws and spines unevenly jutting from its sides. The Genestealer Patriarch: sire of the local Genestealer brood and a dangerous future threat for the Imperium on Trieste.

Another spine clanging against his armor drew the Marine back to more immediate threats. Genestealers, 'stealer hybrids, and various Gaunt species were rushing towards the new arrivals, and Thorosis's bolter was already tracking and firing as they closed.

His Larriman's Ear detected boots on stone, and Thorosis dived for a stone outcropping as Four followed suit. As soon as they'd cleared the firing lane, lasbolts sped downrange as the Mordian 56th added their firepower. Bolts of brilliant blue plasma were already speeding towards the closing Tyranids, as Two's plasmagun decided to cooperate.

Bolter rounds impacted and detonated on Tyranid Gaunts and Genestealers, as the plasma bolts struck the Genestealer Patriarch. The bloated monstrosity shrieked and the Genestealer hybrids responded in kind, waving clubs and basic weapons as they charged the Imperials. Lasbolts struck them and the hard chitin of the basic Tyranid forms as the Mordians continued firing, but the Tyranid's momentum was too high to be quickly stopped.

Several Gaunt forms charged the Corporal and Four, who drew their combat knives in near-perfect unison. Two crescendos of sound accompanied the two grenades that Three had just thrown in front of the two leading Marines, the twin explosions shredding several Tyranids and breaking the charge of the others.

A Hormagaunt threw itself at Thorosis, who plunged his knife directly into its nearest eye, before swinging his knife hand to club a Genestealer on the side of the head. The 'stealer, disoriented by the blow, wandered into the Mordians' firing lane and was immediately shredded. Staggering slightly from another Genestealer which had caught him off-balance, the Corporal leaned back and fired his bolter one-handed into the snarling beast. The armor-piercing shell, still within its minimum detonation distance, continued onward as the Marine slammed his backwards-held knife into the 'stealer's head.

The Genestealer collapsed, as the Corporal dared a look up to realize that the fire was slackening off. The Tyranid forms had been wiped out by the Imperial's assault, and Two's plasmagun had shredded the Patriarch. Nodding his head at the results – enemy presence destroyed, no friendly casualties – Corporal Thorosis allowed himself a rare smile.

"Move. Assemble at extraction point Beta."


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Admiral's quarters, Armageddon
High orbit, Trieste II, Ultima Segmentum
May 26, 998.M41


The Admiral straightened up, abandoning his usual light-show theatrics as the Omnissiah representative entered his receiving room. Light-shows only worked on people who didn't see cosmic radiation on a constant basis.

"Status on fleet repairs?"

The Omnissiah representative blinked his augmented eyes. "Nearly complete. We have assigned highest priority to repairing the engines and Gellar field generators, and have reached 99.4% completion today." Exhale. Say it just like you've practiced. "We have also upgraded the Gellar generators with newer Ryza-developed models."

The Admiral frowned slightly. "Ryza-developed? How long have those crazies been testing this 'new field generator?'"

"Only during the past millennia, my Lord, but they have achieved 99.7-percent success in all 1,483,921 recorded flights. In addition, they predict a fleet-wide increase of approximately 21-percent maximum speed."

The Admiral considered the situation for a second. "Very well. If it works, send my compliments to Ryza."

Thank Him… "I shall, my Lord. Any further questions?"

"None. You may leave."

Exiting the echoing chamber, the emissary fought the urge to wipe his brow. A minor bio-enhancement had removed his need to perspire, but the urge always showed up when he was stressed. Still, mission accomplished - they still don't know.


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Bridge, battleship Armageddon
Trieste system, Ultima Segmentum
May 29, 998.M41


"Fleet reports readiness, my Lord."

Seated on his primary command throne, the Admiral smiled. "Very well. Navigator, are you prepared?"

"Ready, my Lord."

"Very well. Captain?"

Captain Nicodemus jumped slightly, catching himself at the last moment. No human eye could pick up the movement, but a slight chuckling over the squad-channel let him know that his reaction hadn't gone unnoticed. "My Lord?"

"Any reports from the Imperial Hawks?"

"They are leaving now aboard several Thunderhawks."

"Good. Fleet, stand by for Warp jump."

Deep within the massive Armageddon, gears and levers shifted under the watchful ministrations of several Techpriests. The ship's Gellar field generator, already primed several hours earlier, finally spun to full life.

…Nicodemus shifted slightly as the entire bridge shook, crewman jumping to avoid shifting equipment…

…Deep within the Armageddon, Sergeant Mathias and the men of the 1st Trieste Regiment watched uneasily as groans echoed throughout the mighty adamantium hull…

…crewmen and Techpriests ran from the sparking Gellar generator, furious shouts and binary-chatters accompanying their retreat as arcing electricity flash-fried several ratings…

…a bulk freighter, pressed into service and unable to handle the stresses of the growing singularity, broke apart with a silent scream of tortured metal…

…daemons and beasts of Chaos, returning after fleeing from the Shadow in the Warp, ripped and tore at the edges of reality…

…Corporal Thorosis's Thunderhawk shuddered under the strain, the sturdy airframe fighting stresses it was never designed to handle…

…within the Thunderhawk, the Mordian Guardsmen continued staring at their counterparts across the Marine-sized aisle as reality broke apart around them…

…'normal' laws of physics ceased to apply as a new series of laws imposed themselves…

And with a massive explosion of radiation in all observable spectra, the 157th Fleet disappeared completely from the universe.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"Sir? Sir? You should see this."

"Is it more important than the Zerg about to overrun my convoy?"

"Umm…yessir."

"Private, if you drag me out here for nothing then you're getting reassigned to Reaper school…oh."
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:03 am

Appx. 5 km above ground
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


An Imperial Thunderhawk is an unbelievably tough craft, more of a flying tank than a lander. Flown by pilots with somewhat unethical enhancements 'gifted' by the Chapter's Apothecaries, and with armor much thicker than a Leman Russ tank, a Thunderhawk can take a Basilisk shell without crashing.

Against the fury of the Warp rifts generated by the 'upgraded' Gellar fields, the Thunderhawk's defenses were slightly more effective than wet paper.

Careening through the pristine sky, the out-of-control craft plunged down as the pilots desperately tried to turn their nosedive into a more controlled fall. The four Marines in the ship's belly strapped themselves in and waited, praying quietly, while the Mordian Guardsmen joined in. One panicking Guardsman yanked himself out of his seat and, shrieking, ran towards the cockpit. The Commissar's bolt round hit him before he'd taken two steps.

"Good shot!" Corporal Thorosis boomed over the noises of destruction around them. Corporal and Commissar glanced at each other, sharing a moment of connection, before turning to their respective groups and beginning a prayer.

"What is your life?" Thorosis yelled.

A dull ka-boom announced the port engine's destruction, and the Thunderhawk tilted as the pilots struggled to right it.

"My honor is my life!"

"What is your fate?"

With a sudden shreek, a chunk of metal plating tore loose from the cabin hull, the air cyclers whirring as they struggled to compensate. The rupture in the hull quickly began sucking air from the cabin, and the Guardsmen's heads drooped as oxygen deprivation began to take hold.

"My duty is my fate!" the Marines boomed back.

A Guardsman shoved his body over the hole in the Thunderhawk's hull, plugging it with his torso. His respect for the Mordians rising slightly, Thorosis turned to the doomed man.

"What is your fear?"

The still-stoic Mordian hoarsely yelled back, "My fear is to fail!"

"What is your reward?"

"Salvation is my reward!" the Guardsmen and Marines shouted in unison.

"What is your craft?"

"My craft is death!"

The Thunderhawk shuddered and dropped again, slowly losing speed and altitude as the pilots searched for a crash-site.

The Guardsman's breath began to weaken as the pressure difference caused his ribs to crack.

"What is your pledge?"

"My pledge is eternal service!"

Seeing a field, the pilots steered for the open space. The airframe, stressed by centuries of service and pounded by an inter-universal jump, finally gave way as it approached the landing site. Weapons, servitors, Guardsmen, and Marines were thrown around like bowling pins as the craft shuddered and broke under the strain.

With a short crunch, the Imperial Hawks Thunderhawk hit the surface of the Fringe World of Agria.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bridge, Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


The bridge of the Armageddon lived up to its namesake. Fitfully illuminated by flickering lumens and shrouded in red emergency lighting, the partially-wrecked room had been a battlefield in the war between two different realities. Quickly drifting back to consciousness, Captain Nicodemus tried to mentally re-evaluate the situation. Primary objective remains unchanged: ensure fleet training and readiness.

His orders buzzing in his mind, the Marine looked at the nearest tactical display. The sputtering machine painted a bleak picture: the 157th Fleet was scattered across several million kilometers, various damage runes indicating trouble in other ships. The Captain noted the damage aboard the well-built and heavily-shielded battleship, and grimly compared that to the projected damage aboard the fleet's lighter vessels.

Current objective: ensure survival of important persons in the Armageddon's bridge. Ignoring cries for help from menials and low-ranking crewmen, the Mentor strode across the deck to the gold-armored bulk of Governor-General Kalj. The hulking former Guardsman had chosen to attend the Fleet's first post-combat Warp jump in full regalia, which had likely saved his life. His armored body lay in a corner, crushing a crewman and weighed down by a heavy console. Likely minor injuries, but preserve his life at all costs. The Governor-General was already regaining consciousness as Nicodemus dragged him into the open.

"Security! Medicae to the Governor-General!" Nicodemus bellowed, seeing several naval troopers slowly pull themselves up from the warped deck. As the reawakened men dashed to Kalj, Nicodemus was already striding to the shadowed command throne.

The wizened figure in the ornate chair was weakly struggling; the Captain hesitated for a moment before helping. "Why?" the Admiral asked quietly.

"You're needed," the Marine responded. "No matter your crimes." The Admiral didn't respond, instead looking over the readouts being delivered to his retinas. "Situation critical," the Admiral murmured almost silently. He paused, before barking orders in an adamantium-clad voice:

"Lieutenant! Give repair priority to life support, sensors, shields, and sublight engines, in that order! You! Seal port-side bulkheads A-3 through S-1! Naval security to lower decks immediately, seal all bulkheads leading to unsecured decks and prepare to vent air if necessary!"

The Admiral's voice resembled his old scout sergeant's so closely that Nicodemus unconsciously stiffened, catching himself with a sudden start. Last VIP on the bridge- but Lady-Commissar Reinholdt was already on her feet, dashing towards an exit and barking orders into a handheld vox-unit. That woman should have been a Black Templar…next objective: tend to my men.

Nicodemus strode from the Armageddon's bridge, stepping past crippled bodies and rushing crewmen as he headed for the massive battleship's main landing bay. "All Mentors, check in," Nicodemus called out over the Legion's command channel. His two lieutenants responded half a minute later, causing the Captain to grimace once again.

Fifteen missing? Emperor, what a catastrophe! Decades of self-control slammed down within the Marine's mind, bringing him back to his mission. Ensure fleet readiness! Sighing, Nicodemus brought up the tactical display in his helmet, ignoring his visual display's newly-acquired fuzziness. Unknown location, unknown threats, unknown capabilities.

"If only I knew what to be ready for…"

Crash site
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


"Report."

"Two, ready."

"Three, ready."

"Four, ready."

"Squad 1, four casualties." The figure paused. "Squad 2, all casualties. Squad 3…"

Corporal Thorosis of the Imperial Hawks frowned behind his helm. Regular humans were simply too fragile! His headache clearing after the crash, the Marine looked around the field that the now-dead pilots had steered them into.

Scattered clouds blew over a wooded landscape, the trees recognizably from Terran genetic stock. Some form of crop was being grown in the cleared space, with an unfamiliar-looking vehicle parked near a human-sized farmhouse one hundred meters away. The pastoral scene was marred by the sprawling wreck of the downed Thunderhawk, the massive heavy fighter strewn haphazardly across a kilometer of landscape. Surprisingly, however, the main cabin section remained mostly intact, although the same couldn't be said for its occupants.

The remaining Mordian Guardsmen (most of them "walking wounded") busied themselves with caring for the badly injured and securing the crash site, while the Marines stood still. The four members of 1st Fire-team, 3rd Squad, 5th Company, Imperial Hawks Chapter faced an unusual feeling: aimlessness.

Literally built for war, the Marines were never at rest. Even aboard ship, there were maintenance rituals, prayer, and drills to keep them occupied. A Space Marine was too valuable a tool to remain unused, and their leaders kept them constantly busy to keep their minds free from the subtle grip of Chaos.

Thorosis and his team had orders to clear the Tyranid infestation and return to orbit, but something had clearly gone wrong. Their primary mission was completed, and they were unable to return or communicate for further orders. "What now?" Three asked softly.

"Secure the crash site, assist in recovery efforts," the Corporal ordered automatically. As lost as any of his men, the Marine only knew that idleness was a Bad Thing. His thoughts whirled in a spiral of confusion as Thorosis clipped his bolter to mag-locks and turned to the wrecked craft and toiling Mordians.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mid-ship, battleship Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


"They're coming!"

Sgt. Mathias, 1st Trieste Guard Regiment, woke up very quickly at that yell. Expecting to see the usual signs of Warp-infestation – walls weeping blood, fellow humans sprouting new eyes and arms – he was almost disappointed to be faced with a blank, gunmetal-gray bulkhead.

"The hell's going on?" he barked. Everyone's too shaken up; time to break out the Sergeant Voice again.

A panicked naval rating, blue-uniformed and far too pale, shouted hoarsely, "The menials! They're coming!"

Feeling strangely let down by the mundane enemy, Mathias bellowed, "Shut up! All Guardsmen on me! You, blue-belly, show me expected attack routes, communication nodes, and defense points." The frightened Navy man paused. "NOW!"

As the rating pointed out the necessary information with trembling fingers, the Sergeant glanced at the nearby men. He mentally counted off most of his own squads, along with several faces that he didn't recognize. Good enough.

"Heads up! We're moving to a comm. node. Shoot anyone without a uniform!"

The Sergeant's men poured through the hatch and into a main corridor, lasguns up and bayonets fixed, while unshod feet pounded one deck below them. With most electrical systems out and confusion rampant, the slaves of the Armageddon's lower decks had seized their opportunity. Most of the lower-decks naval security officers were dead or pinned down, letting the more opportunistic slaves run for higher ground. Some looked to jump a social class by infiltrating the higher decks. Others simply sought revenge.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Crash site
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


"Contact."

"Identify." Corporal Thorosis had to fight to keep his voice steady as he heard Three's report. A new mission!

"Three hostiles. Armored, large-scale weapons."

"Hold position. Team, assemble and prep for ambush."

The red-armored giants dashed from the Thunderhawk's corpse, performing final weapons rites and whispering quiet prayers. Although quiet and focused on the mission, each one was inwardly exulting. Their previous listlessness was replaced with new purpose: the newcomers would be either Imperials or enemies. Either one would give them another mission to complete.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Umm…sar? Sar?"

Newly-recruited Sergeant Waters resisted the urge to wince. "Yeah, Private?"

Private Walker, uncomfortable in the CMC armor, shuffled his neosteel-clad feet. "Well, thermals are showing some flutters over on your right. I helped shut down Johnson's reactor two weeks ago, and the house should've been cold as a rock by now." Fred, a local farmer and the third member of Waters's small 'command,' affirmed him quietly.

"Private, remember why the L.T. wanted us to check out this place again?"

"Umm…because of the ship that re-entered atmo and…oh. I mean, sar."

Waters again heroically resisted the urge to wince. "Yeah. Alright, you two, Impalers up, 10-meter spread. Stay frosty, but don't get too trigger-happy. Probably a bunch of civvies in that lander anyway. We'll toss them in with the others, evac them to the Starport and get the hell away." He glanced around the pastoral landscape, which temporarily remained unmarked by the Zerg invasion. Damn.

Seeing more flutters on his infrared, Waters brought up his Impaler rifle - his suit scanners were good, but the militiaman was used to fighting without CMC armor, and relied on his gun optics. Panning his scope across the nearby treeline, Waters was surprised to see a red-armored shape in his sights.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Report."

"Two, ready. Weapon warm."

"Three, ready."

"Four, ready."

"Pick targets. Aim for headshots." Inwardly, Thorosis weighed his options. He had three armed, armored and un-recognized contacts approaching his crash site. Unlike his more bloodthirsty subordinates, the Corporal had been promoted for his level-headedness. The stars overhead didn't match the constellations of Trieste, and Thorosis needed information - preferably from an Imperial - about this new planet. Besides that, his depleted ammo stocks left him unwilling to waste ammunition without extreme need. He paused, trying to decide.

One of the figures slowed, raising a long-barreled weapon to point directly at the Marine. With a gun pointed at his head, the Marine's training and instinct took over.

"Fire."

...

Bolters are cumbersome weapons. Their slow travel speed relative to laser-based weapons makes them considerably less effective in hitting moving targets, and changing atmospheric conditions makes pinpoint targeting difficult. Their red-hot rocket motors make them easy to track for anyone with thermal vision, and the massive noise they produce make them audible to anyone within half a mile.

Then again, when one has achieved godlike accuracy with the weapon, the bolter's problems pale before its awesome destructive potential.

Fred was the first to fall, two bolter shells detonating near his head. One hit his shoulder armor and gouged out a divot, while the other penetrated the unlucky Private's visor and detonated. His corpse flopped bonelessly to the ground.

Two's over-warm plasmagun spat out a tiny stream of superheated matter before the abused triggering mechanism fused shut under the heat. The nano-sized, rapidly-decaying blob of plasma hit Private Walker's chest armor, where the neosteel conducted the heat inward. His back arching as instinct pushed him away from the sudden small-scale inferno, Walker's old-model CMC armor shut down automatically under the strain. The mechanic and local eccentric tumbled to the ground, imprisoned in his dysfunctional armor.

Hit in the helmet by Thorosis's bolt round, Sergeant Waters struggled to cope under the sudden attack. His HUD tracked the flight paths of the weapons, which was laughably easy, considering the thermal signature of the superheated plasma. Waters brought up his Impaler rifle, his suit's computer compensating for his shaky aim. Squeezing the trigger, Waters was happy to see a long string of spikes fly from his weapon before a better-aimed bolt hit his visor and turned his head into 'chunky salsa.'

Uncaring of their owner's demise, the spikes from Waters's Impaler traveled the hundred meters separating the two forces, slamming into Space Marine powered armor. Several bolts hit Two's chest-plate, denting it slightly but leaving the Marine otherwise unharmed.

Two's luck then hit snake eyes, as the next two bolts flew wide to hit the weak side of Two's left knee-joint. The light armor held for a microsecond before failing, the ceramite-reinforced bone breaking under the impact of the spikes. With his knee shattered into fragments and red-hot lances of pain shooting up his leg, Two silently shifted his weight to compensate. The Terran Marines hit the dirt, either dead or knocked out, while the Imperial Hawks remained still as statues.

"Clear."

"Move."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

**The good Captain's job is to test new weapons and strategies…so yes, he's a complete gun nut. Show him a baby and he'll think about giving the Emperor's Peace with his chainsword, but give him a Ryza-pattern double-cell short-barrel plasma pistol and he'll turn into a 10-year-old. :)
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Xisor » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:07 am

Nutstoyoutoo, I've only read the first few paragraphs (I'm not a huge fan of reading prose from my laptop, too heavy to adjust/lounge comfortably for longer periods), I'm almost certain I shall be printing this in the next few days to read fully. Nicodemus' opening speech is a conceptual joy.

Oh yes, I shall to read more. :)
"When my housemate puts his bike in the middle of the living room floor, I find that inordinately jarring, annoying and rude, but for me to refer to it as "genocide" would be incorrect." -Ath
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:29 pm

Xisor wrote:Nutstoyoutoo, I've only read the first few paragraphs (I'm not a huge fan of reading prose from my laptop, too heavy to adjust/lounge comfortably for longer periods), I'm almost certain I shall be printing this in the next few days to read fully. Nicodemus' opening speech is a conceptual joy.

Oh yes, I shall to read more. :)


Thanks! I've swung back and forth on that opening speech - too long, too short, too wordy, too uninspiring, etc. As for the next chapter:

Crash site
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M98.41


"…and they shall have no fear."

Such were the words of the God-Emperor Himself: Space Marines, the Emperor's Finest, had no fear. This was not exactly true.

Fear was an incredibly useful emotion, when properly contained and channeled towards constructive ends. The genetic designers of Space Marines, when making superhuman creatures, kept the intuition and "sixth sense" that fear provided in a Marine's gene-enhancements. Through diligent training and discipline, many a Marine had saved himself from an ambush by listening to his near-supernatural sense of apprehension.

Four was feeling awfully apprehensive as he approached the downed creatures.

Three armored figures, obviously not Marines and likely not Imperial – Four prayed fervently that his squad hadn't just shredded an Inquisitor and his retinue. Bolter rock-steady and eyes locked on his targets, Four approached the creatures. Perhaps the targets were the heretical Iron Men, returned to make war against humanity once again?

No shells flew, no shouts went up as Four reached the creatures after half an eternity of walking. Seeing the gore around the two other figures, Four slowly reached down to flip the creature downed by Two's plasmabolt.

The creature stirred.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Walker's first thought on waking was I still owe Fred 150 credits after last night. Good thing he's dead.

Nearly blinded by the wake-up drugs his suit was pouring into his system, it took a moment for Walker to realize how crazy his last thought was. It took another moment for him to notice that, much to his surprise, he was still alive.

Lessee…no spikes, horns, or tentacles. Hey, I haven't even been Zerg-ified yet! Opening his eyes, Walker's vision was dominated by a massive blank screen. "Oh, right. Suit, safe mode reboot."

The CMC-300 armor, having shut down earlier to avoid cooking its wearer, slowly rebooted, letting Walker stir as he reflexively clenched his muscles. "Alright, chest armor's crap but internals are good. Lessee-" A recluse by nature, Walker had always annoyed squadmates in the recently-created Agria Militia by muttering with his mike set to open broadcast.

If anyone's still alive…Walker thought gloomily, slowly pushing himself over onto his back. His HUD cleared up, revealing a…oh.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Four quickly stepped back several paces, kicking away a nearby weapon, as the armor began moving. "Surrender, enemy of the Emperor!" he boomed, thinking of Three as he did. His squadmate was always good at melodrama – focus.

The armor's visor hissed open, revealing a human face. The figure uttered something, arms moving up defensively in front of its head. "HOLD!" Four yelled. The figure stopped moving, the human obviously confused and fearful. The enemy armor's loud-hailers spit out a stream of noise, and Four steeled himself against a Harlequin-style audio assault, before realizing that the 'attack' was some form of language.

Four was unsure. A mere fifty-five years old, Four had only recently graduated into a powered-armor Tactical Squad. He was decades away from receiving his Chapter's peculiar Rite of Acceptance and taking a name once again. "Corporal?" he asked quietly over the vox.

Corporal Thorosis, viewing the situation, was also unsure. New mission? Find our location…I hope. "Take the xenos…to the Thunderhawk."

"Sir, it's human."

Thorosis felt a new stab of doubt. "Understood. Orders remain the same."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When the red giant had started yelling, Walker panicked. He was a mechanic, not a soldier, damnit! The giant made a rumbling noise that sounded a helluva lot like a rockslide; had Walker been a cosmopolitan of the Ultima Segmentum, he would have recognized Macragge-style Low Gothic.

"Say, ummm, sar, what's that weapon there? It kinda looks like one of them SR-8s, but – shutting up now!"

The figure gestured with its free hand, making more rocks-rumbling noises; Walker figured that it probably wanted him to move. "Sure beats sitting here with – oh, damn." Fred and the Sarge were down, permanently from the looks of it.

"Look, sar, I dunno who you're workin' with, but we kinda got ourselves a Zerg pr-" A sudden impact to his helmet staggered him slightly. "HEY! My people're gonna be bug bait if they don't get help, you bastards!"

Not seeing any way to communicate without a language in common, Walker slumped his armored shoulders and slumped away from his friends' corpses.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Four was curious. The Marine kept his weapon fixed firmly on the human's back, but inwardly his mind was whirling. The human sounded agitated, although Four suspected that a funeral dirge might sound 'agitated' in that fast-paced chittering that passed for a language. He was fearful about something, more than his own survival. Another enemy?

Any further musings were cut short by a flying target –XENOS!; Four tracked and fired automatically. One bolt struck a wing on the organism, and the xenos let out a piercing screech, turned, and dove towards the human and the Marine.

The prisoner jumped to the side as Four's weapon snapped up and fired at the creature's head. Bolts from Three and the Corporal slammed into the side of the creature, destroying much of its internal structure. The dying creature spit out a green object as it died – Tyranid bio-plasma! Move!

Dodging to the side, Four watched as the green blob hit dirt and…melted? Accustomed to Tyranid bio-plasma and fleshborers, Four was surprised as the green stuff melted the dirt and grass into an unrecognizable goop.

"Sir, target has an acid attack," Four dutifully reported. "Orders?"

Thorosis was still unsure; if he acted to save the local humans, he might spare heretics from their rightful judgment! "Bring the human to me."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Surprised by the sudden Mutalisk attack, Walker was too confused to protest when the strange Marine kept pointing him towards the woods.

"Alright, alright, I'm going," he muttered sullenly; the shock of the last several minutes was just starting to set in.

Approaching the border of the woods, Walker wasn't surprised to see more red-armored types. They looked human, almost, but that armor definitely wasn't CMC-standard. "Suit, scan 'em."

As his suit's scanners went to work, Walker looked over the one who'd just approached him. The armored giant looked at him through green-colored eyepieces, before turning away. Weird…

That funny-looking gun still pointed at his back, Walker continued walking as his suit chimed. "Analysis complete. Armor type: unknown. Armor composition: unknown. Weapon type: unknown. Weapon projectiles appear to be rocket-propelled, armor-piercing. Armor occupant: nonhuman."

"Great," Walker muttered, as the woods cleared and he saw where Johnson's farm should've been. Now, it was a blackened wasteland, with bits and pieces of warped metal scattered across it. Bastards.

His suit picked that moment to chime in: "Attention. Unarmored humans detected in combat situation. Repeat: unarmored humans de-" Walker killed the alert with a sharp jerk.

"Holy…the hell's going on?" he then asked as he caught sight of the "unarmored humans." Funky-looking uniforms, gold braid and shiny this-and-that – was this an honor guard? "What happened here?"

The two red-armored figures ignored him again, instead speaking to the honor guard types in their strange language. Several yells later, and the decorated-looking humans had assembled in blocks of ten, strange-looking weapons held at attention.

"What is with you crazies?" Walker muttered. Shit was getting weirder and weirder here…

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Move out!" Two ordered, watching as Four led the remaining Mordian Guardsmen away. As the thump of boots faded into the distance, Two allowed himself to relax fractionally. His plasmagun's spirit had ceased to cooperate and his knee was a pulpy mess, so the Corporal had ordered him to guard the prisoner.

The prisoner in question was preoccupied with looking over the remains of the Thunderhawk, talking to himself in his strange language. Two's bolt pistol remained constantly locked on a weak area on the back of the strange armor, but the likely-PDF trooper now ignored it.

Grass rustled behind Two's back. Any normal human, even with CMC armor help, would have missed the signs.

Two was no normal human. He'd already turned on his good leg, firing bolt pistol rounds into the leaping Tyranid at point-blank range. The creature fell over as the bolts bounced through its internals, too close for the bolts to detonate. Several similar creatures – a Gaunt supspecies, perhaps? – approached from the same direction, as Two corrected his aim and fired again.

Three more shots, two more dead xenos. Caught between needing to guard the prisoner and the attacking xenos, Two frantically whispered a wordless prayer and focused on the approaching creatures: more Gaunt-species and several larger bio-forms.

"In His Name!"

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

whish-BLAM! whish-BLAM! whish-BLAM! whish-BLAM! whish-BLAM!

Two's sidearm sang in anger, its spirit spitting rage at the vile xenos assaulting its owner. The Marine dodged slightly as a xenos leapt at his face, the Gaunt species receiving a ceramite-clad fist for its troubles. Bolt pistol rounds detonated inside one of the larger serpent-creatures, sending the hissing monster to the ground, while the other one arched a clawed limb.

WHOOSH! Gene-enhanced senses allowed Two to – barely – dodge the flying spikes, although one of the organic projectiles lodged in Two's right pauldron like the neosteel spikes in his breastplate.

His near-perfect aim thrown off by his injuries and the incoming fire, the last two rounds from Two's bolt pistol went slightly wide. One round missed entirely, while another detonated on the serpent-creature's right limb. ka-click and Two's sickle-clip hit empty.

Although he cocked back his empty pistol to throw it at the xenos, Two saw that he was too late to dodge the creature's next atta-

BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

The serpent-creature jerked as fist-sized craters appeared across its body. A lucky round hit its unarmored eye, penetrating and detonating inside its brainpan; the luckless creature slumped, dead, to the ground.

Although busy with two more Gaunt-species, Two's mind was whirling. The prisoner? Armed? Helping me?

BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

Three more rounds from the unfamiliar weapon struck one of the Gaunt creatures in front of Two, causing the creature to slump to the ground. Two immediately seized the opportunity, striking the other with a mailed fist to send it flopping over.

The Space Marine turned to find the former prisoner facing him, an panel open on the side of unfamiliar armor (so that's where the weapon came from) and a snub-nosed pistol in his hand. Too far away to strike and his sidearm expended, Two couldn't see any further options. At least the human let me face him before I die. Bowing his head slightly, Two began his last Litany of Devotion.

"Where there is uncertainty, I shall bring light.

Where there is doubt, I shall sow faith.

Where there is-"

The human put the gun down.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Easy there, big fella. Ain't gonna hurt-"

Private Walker had just started to step away from his sidearm when the red-armored giant moved. The monster, in a blur of movement, had Walker's gun turned on his owner in less than a second.

Walker gulped suddenly. His pistol was linked to his armor, so Walker knew the other guy couldn't kill him with it. Wouldn't stop him from wringing my neck, though. Punching Zerglings – crazy bastard!

Marine and Marine faced each other, the only noise coming from Walker's exhaust vents as his suit struggled to rid itself of excess heat. Walker gazed almost calmly at the black barrel pointed directly at his face: he'd gone through so much crazy in the past few days, what with the Zerg invasion and all, that a strange-armored human pointing Walker's own gun at him seemed almost normal.

"Alright, man, we've got a real bug problem and we could use your help, and I know you can't understand a word of this, but please we've still got people on the ground here and at Lark's Crossing and we could use you and your fancy-dress people and ah hell just shoot me or let me go al-" BLAM! BLAM!

A Zergling crumpling behind him, Walker fainted.

Battlecruiser Hyperion
Low orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M98.41


Jim Raynor was, by and large, a quiet man. He was not given to sudden outbursts or hysteria, and the crew of the Hyperion counted on him to keep his cool in any situation, no matter how crazy.

Therefore, the only reason that no one later commented on his near-pants-shitting yell of "holyJesuswhatthellsthat!" was that the entire bridge crew was busy doing it as well.

"-multiple hostiles spotted, size uncertain but off the char-"

"-don't care, get all Swords in the tubes two days ago, you h-"

"-to full combat status, get all batteries manned-"

"-n't do that sir, we're still charging after the last j-"

Quieting again, Raynor glanced around the suddenly-crazed bridge with a guilty look. Oops. Around him, the crew of the Hyperion's Combat Information Center (CIC) continued to ready the massive Battlecruiser for fight or flight, everyone too distracted to notice. Right, then – CIC and Matt will have options ready, so it's time to decide.

"Matt, status."

Matt Horner, captain of the Hyperion and second-in-command of Raynor's Raiders, stayed as calm as ever. "Unidentified fleet, sir. Scans are picking up ten different kinds of crazy from them at every ping, and visual isn't much better. The fleet's apparently drifting and scattered, but they're definitely not normal ships of any group we know. Whoever built them, though, had plenty of resources to throw around."

"Resources?"

"Sir, the smallest ship over there is over a klick from stem to stern. There's also one monster over there that looks to be over five kilometers long."

Raynor whistled appreciatively. His own Hyperion was just over one klick long, and was among the largest capital ships ever produced by Terrans. I wonder what's in the water over there to make them build so much?

"Alright, let's see it."

Following some quick fiddling with the CIC's main holographic projector, the table-sized machine showed something that looked like a flying cathedral. "These people have a pretty impressive gargoyle fetish," Raynor observed dryly. Inwardly, he was worried. Whoever these people were, they weren't screwing around.

"Alright, sir, they're not ours or anyone we know, but they look to be humans."

Raynor simply grunted, letting Horner continue. "The eagle on the monster ship, the gargoyles and spikes – those people do love their spikes, by the way – all likely come from a human culture."

A repeating broadcast from the planet interrupted them: "…any ship receiving this transmission…the Zerg are invading Agria. The Dominion-"

"Damnit! They're still down there!" Raynor's fists clenched as he considered his options. "Alright, here's the plan. Launch the Swords, have 'em cloak and scout towards the new fleet. Matt, take us close enough to launch droppers, but keep the ship at alert and ready to run once the other fleet wakes up."

Horner nodded. "What should we do if we're attacked, sir?"

"Get the Hyperion out of here. We can run if they're busy chasing you, so don't worry about anyone dirtside. Oh, and Matt?"

"Yes, sir?"

Raynor glanced at the 5-kilometer-long ship again. "Try to stay on their good side."

"Understood."

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Flight deck, Hyperion
Low orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M98.41


"Well, this should be different."

"Launching!"

Physics had its wicked way with 1st Lieutenant Imai, G-forces shoving her deep into her grav-seat as her Wraith fighter was flung from the Hyperion's flank. Behind her, Sword 2 was already loaded in the same flight tube, with 3 and 4 behind him.

Imai turned and burned, her nimble craft 'going hot' to re-orient along the planned departure path. At several million kilometers and heat-hidden by the local star, the Lieutenant wasn't too worried about being detected by the new fleet – whoever they were, anyway. The reports from the CIC were sketchy, and some of the knuckle-draggers were saying the fleet was Protoss, another calling them Dominion, and their resident conspiracy theorist calling them the Naga-whatsits who made those strange things that Raynor kept getting paid for.

Mmmm…the mushroom diet again. Kept in the dark, fed on shit. A former Dominion Wraith jockey, Lt Imai had grown used to the camaraderie and intel-sharing in Raynor's Raiders. C'mon, mission-focus. This is gonna be hairy enough already.

"Swords, check in."

As the eight members of Sword Flight answered over the radio and sent telemetry data to Imai and the CIC, the Lieutenant got her first look at the fleet they were supposed to be shadowing.

"Holy…"
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:55 pm

Holy ghosts of Arcturus Mengsk man, this is awesome :)

Loved every bit of it. The way you handled the transition from one universe to the other, the characters involved pre-transition, Jim Raynor and his people (I'm a big Jim Raynor fan by the way), and everything is just superb.

Well done mate.

Just a few odd word choices and tense problems and stuff but nothing to be worried about. I eagerly await your next!
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:57 pm

Bridge, Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


"Contact! Unknown ship, bearing 245 deg-"

The Armageddon's well-drilled bridge quickly exploded into noise and movement, naval ratings calling for updates while low-ranking officers tried to arrange the fleet into a semblance of order. Naval security remained absent, busy with the riots in the lower decks, while Techpriests frantically worked to kitbash damaged logic engines.

A stranger would have seen chaos. Gazing out from his shadowed throne, the Admiral saw order: here a menial manhandled a dead console into a corner, there a holographic display sparked to life. Although hardly fully combat-ready, the Armageddon's bridge was functional enough to command the ship, if not the fleet. They've gotten the bridge under control. Time to secure the fleet's perimeter.

"Full-power scan, 10 million-kilometer spread. Get me Psyker Tactica."

Building-sized scanner arrays blossomed to life, one exploding in a silent pyrotechnics display as a leaking plasma conduit ruptured. The remaining arrays spit out a massive pulse in all available spectra, and a mélange of X-rays, UV light, infrared, and more esoteric radiation shot out in all directions.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

"SHIT!" Lieutenant Imai cursed as a wave of energy smacked her Wraith, buffeting the single-seat fighter like a cork in the ocean. Her head ringing from the pulse, Imai checked her instruments.

And that was a scan. Those people are fucking nuts. "Swords, report in."

As the nervous updates trickled back, Imai checked her instruments. The telemetry data on her HUD let her know that all eight Sword fighters were fine, but with thousands of kilometers separating them, the periodic check-ins were the best 'group hug' that she could manage.

Imai momentarily considered a "tactical withdrawal" – every Wraith pilot's favorite tactic, along with "Gemini missile tag" – but ultimately rejected it. "Alright, people, we need to keep the crazies busy. Cloak and spread, five-k minimum spacing. Remember, we're not trying to start a war here. We just need to keep them busy until Raynor's done on the surface."

Engines momentarily flaring, the eight Wraith fighters of Sword Flight split away, fading from visual sight as their cloak fields spun up. Shielded from solar radiation by the planet's magnetosphere and cooled until their exteriors were almost as cold as the vacuum outside, each Wraith was now "black-on-black" and nearly impossible to spot with conventional sensors.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The shrouded figure on the Armageddon's bridge lowered his head, leaning on his eagle-studded staff for support. Thin frame shaking, the figure suddenly stood and faced the shadowed Admiral. Even though the psyker's ridiculously-long cowl reached far over his eyes, the wizened human saw the Admiral clearly.

"We see eight stars in the farm's sky, ready to cut yet withholding the blow…target bearing 242, 13."

Well versed in psyker-babble, the Admiral drew the key words from Erik's speech. "We" – all of the Tactica saw this. "Stars" – ships, likely strike-craft. Farm, cut – not important for now. "Portside Lance 1, one quarter-power shot along named bearings. Ready flight decks for launch."

The mostly-automated lance batteries onboard the Apocalypse-class battleship had been devastated by the strange machine-spirit plague, which had rendered the fleet combat ineffective. However, a particularly meticulous Techpriest leading the maintenance of Portside Lance 1 had kept his charge in near-pristine condition, and the mighty weapon stayed functional despite the universe change. Its red-robed guardian had been crushed by debris during the Event, but the gargantuan machine turned and fired as smoothly as the first day it had been used.

Projectors fired beams of light into heavily-reinforced mirrors, which focused the radiation into a single coherent beam. Containment fields held the light back for a microsecond before deliberately failing, the wave of energy shooting out from the lance at the speed of light.

The lance-shot sped along bearing 242, missing Sword Four by a mere two hundred kilometers. As the literally scared-shitless pilot broke stealth and fired his main engine, the Admiral narrowed his eyes at the dot that had suddenly appeared on his tactical display. Apparently, our enemy has stealth capabilities. Perhaps they've had an alliance with the damned Eldar?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Imai cursed yet again as the big freaking ship fired, the laser-like weapon getting uncomfortably close to Sword Four. The Lieutenant was already yelling at Four as he broke stealth: "Damnit, Tim, stay in formation! Get – ah hell, too late. Alright, Four, you're compromised. Go quiet and contain it."

Another beam from one of the 3-kilometer ships punctuated her point, shooting by Four's position at lightspeed. The spotted Wraith turned and burned, launching on a parabolic course that would eventually lead it to the Hyperion.

Lt. Imai sighed, looking at her tac display again. Her Gemini missiles against those monsters? I should probably hop out and throw pebbles at 'em, they might do more damage.

Mid-ship, Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


By most people's standards, Sergeant Mathias was not having a good day. After being drop-kicked through the Warp, stranded on a nearly-crippled battleship, and ordered to fight crazed slaves, one would expect the good Sergeant to be somewhat unhappy at his current situation.

"No Tyranids!" the Sergeant sang as he ran through the Armageddon's passageways.

"NO DAMNED TYRANIDS!" his men echoed, several of them literally skipping behind Mathias.

The squad approached a key passageway that a naval rating had pointed out to Mathias earlier. The Sergeant slowed, hearing a revving chainsword nearby. "Just like dealing with Gaunts, men. Good fire discipline, don't let them close the gap."

His men grunted in wordless assent, many muttering last-minute prayers. 3rd Squad, 2nd Company, 1st Trieste Regiment rounded the corner to see the Bitch at work in front of them.

….

Lady-Commissar Reinholdt was in her element. The heavyset woman much preferred to face over one hundred slaves with a chainsword and an empty laspistol instead of continuing her usual work in Imperial politics. A slave fell on her right, clutching a pistol-whipped head, while the bisected halves of another slave flopped apart as the Commissar swept her chainsword at chest-height.

"Cowards! Face the Emperor's wrath!" Ducking to avoid a swinging crowbar, the Commissar answered with another sweep of her chainsword. The slave ducked back, catching the chainsword's whirring teeth with his improvised weapon. Reinholdt grimaced and swept her pistol to her right, smacking another slave trying to blindside her.

A chunk of rockcrete flew at the Lady-Commissar's head, opening a gash over her left eye. She barely managed to avoid the swinging crowbar, the orange-suited slave pressing his assault. Reinholdt cleared her nearby space with a chest-high sword sweep, disemboweling two more slaves as they inched closer. The Lady-Commissar snarled as more slaves threw themselves at her. Stepping back yet again, Reinholdt winced at the traitorous thoughts of retreat dancing in her mind.



Shit shit shit why her? Sgt. Mathias groaned inwardly as his men spilled out behind him. He couldn't make a firing line to kill the slaves with the Bitch in his men's sights; that would just be begging for an "oops sorry ma'am" moment. The Lady-Commissar's odds of surviving were low as it stood, but they were about nil if Mathias ordered his men to fire without hitting her 'by accident.'

"Close and engage!" Sergeant Mathias ordered, his men answering with war-cries. Bayonets fixed and knives drawn, the Guard veterans threw themselves at the rebelling lower-deck slaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lark's Crossing
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


"Buh…"

Had they not been wearing CMC armor, Captain Robertson would have leaned over to close his subordinate's slack-jawed mouth.

"Weapons up and check that IFF, people! Don't shoot 'till I tell you to!" Inwardly, Robertson was very nervous. Strange, funny-armored…humans?, showing up, right as the Zerg were prepping for another attack? Along with the unarmored and crazy-dressed ones behind? He'd seen the Zerg pull some pretty scary tricks before, and only the ridiculous getup kept him holding fire. Even the Zerg didn't dress up their infiltrators that crazy.

The three red-armored figures paused, weapons not quite pointed at the Agrian Militia forces. "Cover me," Robertson ordered, before jogging forward. His armored boots digging holes in the wet ground, the Captain met the unfamiliar creature face-to-face.

"Howdy. I don't know who y'all are, but I could sure use some help here."

The red-armored creature responded with a rumbling noise: is he speaking? Sounds awful slow…

"Hey, I can't quite understand y-" whish-BLAM! whish-BLAM! whish-BLAM!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Corporal Thorosis of the Imperial Hawks wasn't sure of what to expect. The strange humans, who apparently belonged to neither the Imperium nor Chaos, had been broadcasting some type of transmission from this location.

The Marine was unsure of how to proceed; his previous training in the concept of 'diplomacy' had largely been "let the officers handle it." However, the Corporal reasoned that the local humans appeared to be free of Warp-symbols or Tau technology, and that Tyranids were worse than any human except a traitor.

Weapons ready and Mordian Guardsmen following, the three remaining Imperial Hawks cautiously approached the broadcast station. Rockcrete structures and unfamiliar adamantium-clad buildings loomed out of the fog as they approached, autosenses showing many humans in the clearing.

The Imperials slowed, weapons ready but not aimed. "Remain vigilant," Thorosis ordered unnecessarily. Quelling his own insecurities, the Marine stepped forward to face an approaching human, this one also armored in the unfamiliar gear that the previous humans had worn.

The strange human uttered some incomprehensible fast-paced gibberish; the Corporal frowned, unsure of how to proceed. Before he could answer, sudden movement at the edge of the clearing drew his gaze, and the suddenly-elated Space Marine quickly opened fire on the approaching xenos. New targets!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Captain Robertson, despite being out of position during the sudden Zerg attack, had planned well for the defense of Lark's Crossing. Therefore, when the wave of Zerglings reached the chain link fence on the town's north entrance, emplaced auto-turrets opened up on the dog-like creatures. The turrets, assigned overlapping fields of fire and constantly supplied by the town's still-functioning fabricators, quickly chewed through the oncoming wave with little trouble.

Of course, the explosive armor-piercing bolts and laser beams didn't hurt either.

Robertson watched, dumbfounded, as the crazies with the gold braid formed up in ten-man blocks. Hell, us Terrans haven't been fighting like this since Earth! Who are these people?

The transport's revving engine drew the Captain out of his reverie. Damn, it's go-time. "Alright, Alpha, you're up!" The four would-be Marines acknowledged over the radio, moving to guard the transport. The former harvesting machine had been given a quick "guns'n'armor" upgrade, which turned it from "deathtrap on wheels" to merely "completely suicidal."

Heads bowed in prayer, the thirty colonists of the first wave waited to board. Jeffries, the local priest, offered a prayer for the group. Robertson spotted people waiting for a blessing that he knew were Buddhists, Jews, atheists – small potatoes at this point. He hated to give the bad news, but the Captain knew that responsibility came along with the shiny suit. Even if it's obsolete. "First wave, get yer asses in! We'll see y'all on the other side!"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Calling the Imperials "thunderstruck" by the revelations of Lark's Crossing would have been a massive understatement. Corporal Thorosis had seen backwoods farmers using and understanding advanced technology, without proper supplications or prayers! He hadn't even seen a single votive candle or Omnisssiah shrine yet!

Worse still, these farmers held new technology. A veteran of literally too many hive campaigns to count, the Marine could date most structures to the decade with a cursory scan of the wear-and-tear and of the building's surroundings. These structures had barely started to degrade; they'd been standing for less than a single decade.

The farmers' strange powered armor was similarly fresh. By comparison, Three's armor was the newest of Thorosis's squad, and his was over a century old. The farmers' suits had seen some wear and tear, and were definitely newly-issued, but were still impressively new.

His head spinning, the Corporal searched for familiar ground. Seeing a low rumble from yet another strange groundcar, Thorosis watched as a huddled group of civilians clustered around a…priest?

...

Father Jeffries, priest of Lark's Crossing, watched in disbelief as the head newcomer strode over to him. The already-short man felt like a complete midget next to the red-armored monster, who moved far too smoothly for a normal man in CMC armor – perhaps a UED limited-issue, maybe a Kel-Morian prototype?

"May I help you, my son?" Jeffries asked. Although he seemed apprehensive, internally the priest was relaxing into his pre-combat calm. Protect the asset, no matter what. Reach inside grip, get close enough that friendly-fire protocols limit his movement, use-

Faster than Jeffries's eyes could track, the monster reached down, armored fingers grasping the priest's crucifix with surprising dexterity.

...

"Not Chaos. Good." Already fearing trouble after witnessing the techno-heresy surrounding him, and desperately searching for a return to normalcy, Corporal Thorosis felt much more reassured after seeing the priest's holy symbol. Some primitive religion – as long as the Ruinous Powers haven't taken them, they can be turned to the Emperor's Light.

Left without purpose after completing his mission on Trieste, the Marine made up his mind. "Squad, new primary objective. Keep the humans alive." The primitives wouldn't be able to govern themselves without proper Imperial justice, so his Hawks would keep them safe long enough for the Imperium to arrive and save the barbarians from anarchy.

As Four communicated the new objectives with the Mordian Guardsmen, the Corporal strode around the groundcar that the local humans would be transported in. It will do.

Four militiamen and three Space Marines walking alongside, the first convoy from Lark's Crossing left its base. Twenty Mordian Guardsmen marched behind in formation, lasguns held at the ready, while the colonists inside the repurposed vehicle huddled together for safety.

Captain Robertson watched the strange newcomers leave, shaking his head as they departed. "You know, I really thought I'd seen it all. Shee-yit."

"…this is Marshal Jim Raynor, to anyone left planetside on Agria. We're inbound with heavies to pick y'all up. We've got people on the ground already, so give us coordinates and we'll steer 'em to you."

Robertson shook his head again before triggering the long-range comm. "Jim Raynor, you crazy bastard. This is Lark's Crossing, and we gotta thank you for your people down here. I don't know why you sent down twenty men with gold braid and no armor, but you're helpin' us all the same."

Static from Raynor's comm. "…wait, say again?"

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Unknown location
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


The room was still pitch-black to a regular human. To those with the proper blessings or genetic background, it either shone in noospheric light or was bathed in showers of gold.

The shrouded figure, standing rigidly before the Presence, noticed none of this.

You still live. Intriguing.

"Once he takes stock of the disaster, my life is forfeit."

Indeed, young one. Sell it dearly.

"Indeed. I shall do my duty."

Very well. I will aid you if I can, but the project must take priority.

"Understood." They were both professionals, after all; duty came first.
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:08 pm

Man, you do this so well!

Another brilliant chapter.
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My current fiction projects - Veergati: The Scarlet Records, an Indian space opera inspired by Star Trek.
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:59 am

The Cerebrate's name was Yreth, and it liked poker.

A veteran of Terran infiltration, it had successfully sent controlled Terrans into many settlements, seeding long-term agents to prepare for the Queen's invasion. It learned to tell Terrans apart, could understand human logic, and knew Dominion weapons inside and out.

It had also learned the human's games. From that point on, Yreth was a changed Cerebrate. Seeing the unit-loss outside Lark's Crossing, the alien's first thought was "he's upped the ante."

Yreth decided to call the human's bid. Willing a group of infestors to new action, the Cerebrate sent the hulking monsters towards the tiny human settlement and the convoys fleeing from it. The infestors, along with their deadly cargos, would definitely force the other side to fold. In fact, if he snatched them quickly enough, he'd have a better hand for the next game over at Planetfall Point! Rubbing his non-existent hands in anticipation, Yreth was almost giddy at the thought.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Crash site
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


Two Marines sat uneasily next to the broken remains of a Thunderhawk. Private Walker, after convincing his hindbrain that he wasn't going to die just now, was settling down into his usual routine – fixing things and making small talk. Although Red (as the Agrian had taken to calling the 'man') had waved him away from the crashed ship, Walker had found plenty of broken machines around him to keep himself busy.

Two, by contrast, remained rock-still in meditation. No stranger to calming his thoughts through prayer, the Marine found himself troubled by the events of the day. His squad losing their bearings, the attack, his injury, and the human's surprising act of mercy were all whirling through the Imperial Hawk's mind. Foremost, however, were his own actions: why did I wait? My duty was to attack, no matter whether the cause was hopeless. I saw a weapon, and I flinched!

More chatter from the human drew Two's attention. The prisoner seemed to be pointing at Two's plasmagun, whose spirit was angered and had refused to fire properly that day. If my weapon's spirit had cooperated, that man would already have been judged by the Emperor, the Imperial Hawk thought sourly.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Hmmm…simple, but pretty damn effective." No stranger to the "if it works" philosophy and a proud improviser, Walker was impressed by the deliberate simplicity of Red's weapon. His suit didn't have much of a scanner suite, but Walker had come prepared.

His time as a Confederate SCV pilot had eventually gotten him a full set of large-scale tools. Reaching slowly towards his side-pack, Walker pulled out his 'pocket' scanner, the basketball-sized device fitting snugly in his armor's hand.

Slowly running the scanner over the strange weapon, Walker ignored Red's pistol, which was fixed on his head again. The device was unfamiliar, but the mechanic quickly grasped the idea: battery pack feeds the copper coil, coil turns this whatsit-goop into plasma, nozzle at this end directs plasma towards target.

Experienced with the now-defunct Confederate Alpha Squadron plasma weapons, Walker appreciated the simple design of the gun, even as he shuddered while handling it. If this thing had worked right, I'd be a crispy critter right now, he thought, his off-hand unconsciously dropping to his armor's chestplate. CMC armor was designed to resist the kinetic force and corrosive acid of Zerg bio-forms instead of extreme heat, and the Private knew it was a miracle that he'd survived at all.

A miracle, maybe…or a screw-up. Looking at the plasmagun's nozzle, Walker saw his salvation: the opening had fused shut. Withdrawing a welding torch, the Private quickly set up the objects in his suit's computer. Relaxing and letting the armor's arms move independently, Walker watched as his suit lined up the welder and the plasmagun's nozzle with a precision he could never hope to match.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Relaxing slightly to allow his body to begin healing itself, Two was an eighth of a second slow in reacting. Silently cursing his inattention, the Marine watched wordlessly as the strange human reached for the Imperial Hawk's plasmagun.

The Marine remained passive as the prisoner examined the plasmagun. The weapon was useless without its battery pack, and although Two feared profaning the mighty weapon's machine spirit, he hesitated calling the prisoner off.

As the human lined up a glowing tool with the plasmagun, Two raised his bolt pistol to execute the prisoner. Heresy such as this would not stand! As he prepared to fire, however, something held him back. Well-versed in mental defenses, the Marine nevertheless felt his powerful psychic walls swept aside by an invading Presence.

No, youngling. Let the wanderer help you.

Silently struggling against an unseen foe, the Marine was helpless to interfere as the human began cutting into Two's plasmagun with near-micrometric precision.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ignoring his erstwhile companion's strange actions, Private Walker focused intently on the plasmagun in his armor's hands. "Come on, baby…" he whispered as the plasma-cutter in his suit's hands approached the fused-shut gun muzzle. He'd already plotted out the cutter's position using his suit's 3D sensors, so at this point all he could do was relax and pray.

Slowing as it reached the plasmagun muzzle, the cutter began to fractionally burn through the boiled-together metal. Across from Walker, Red seemed to be going into a fit, pistol swaying as he rocked from side to side.

Utterly focused in his work, Private Walker noticed none of this. Every bit of his mind was concentrated on the sizzling plasma cutter, which had almost finished its delicate work. With a muted ping!, the cutter finished slicing the plasmagun's nozzle, the muzzle blocks retracting back into the weapon and leaving the gun's short barrel clear.

"Here you go, buddy," Walker remarked, handing the newly-repaired gun back to its owner. "It'll need another good fix eventually, but that should hold you for a bit."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Calling Two stunned would have been the understatement of the millennium. Strange new Tyranid bio-forms, farmers with advanced Dark Age technology, and inexplicable Warp jumps were mere sidelines this day.

Two had seen a prisoner arm himself, only to use his weapon to kill Tyranids, before surrendering it to the Marine and passing up the chance to kill another enemy. This prisoner had committed sacrilege against Two's sacred weapon, which had apparently fixed it!

Released from the psychic hold that had gripped him, Two grabbed his mighty plasmagun and shoved a battery into the weapon's pistol grip. The fresh battery quickly charged the liquid inside into a volatile plasma, the nozzle holding under the strain.

Pointing his weapon away from the camp and muttering the Litany of Accuracy, Two pulled the trigger. The nozzle opened on cue, allowing a large glob of plasma to exit the gun and travel fifty yards downrange, where it struck a tree and created a colorful pyrotechnics display. The prisoner yelped, bringing his massive armored hands up to shield his face.

Two was, again, at a loss for words. What is this place?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sword 1
Low orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


Lt. Imai cursed as telemetry data from the faraway Hyperion showed 60-meter targets detaching from the unknown fleet. "Zulu, zulu, zulu! Hold stealth, launch your jammers, wait for them and for God's sake hold your damn fire!"



The ten Fury Interceptors streaked from the Armageddon's left flight bay, the massive fighters arcing as they formed up into an orderly formation. Aleph Squadron carried themselves as fitting the fleet's best, and each three-man crew vied to prove themselves over the others. They'd faced Chaos, they'd beaten Tyranids, and no invisible flea-fighters would stop them! Why, according to the battleship's scanners, the silly things were less than ten meters long!

When the massive fighters were within extreme Gemini missile range, Sword Flight's jammers began broadcasting. Each jammer, little more than an oversized broadcast unit fixed to a single-burn rocket, sent out sensor ghosts to spooch enemy trackers. Each Wraith of Sword Flight was habitually loaded with six of the drones, making forty-two jammers active in the space between Aleph and Sword.

Electronic counter-measures (ECM) was the cornerstone of Terran-Terran combat in the Koprulu Sector. Lacking both the Protoss's shields and psychic talents or the Zerg's numbers and ferocity, the Terrans used tricks and outright bastardry to beat each other. Expecting their opponents to ignore the drones in favor of burning through the jamming, Sword Flight was stunned as the massive enemy fighters broke formation.



The thirty members of Aleph Squadron were shocked. Each navigator's display had lit up in a colorful display of confusion, each gunner's targeting screen turning from blank to pea-soup in an instant. The squadron's members had fought the ECM-less Tyranids for their entire lives, and had never seen artificial sensor ghosts before. Only one navigator in the squadron had dueled with the agile Eldar before, and he immediately cut into the pilot's channel to advise the others.

He was too late. Aleph Squadron's aggressiveness worked against them, as each pilot burned to chase the nearest sensor ghost. Combat servitors, unable to distinguish true targets from fake ones, misread targets or went into mindlock from the strain. "Formation! FORMATION, damn you!" Aleph 1 yelled. His shouts eventually reached the wayward Furies, but by then the formation had been ripped to shreds.



"The hell is up with these people?" Matt Horner asked rhetorically, secure aboard the Hyperion's bridge.

"Sir, their ECM is shit," came the reply from Sword Lead. Horner frowned; Imai, as usual, was being enlightening and also no help whatsoever. How could these people spot a cloaked Wraith several million klicks away and then get spooched by fighter-level jamming? He hadn't even spun up the Hyperion's countermeasures yet!

"Orders remain the same. Keep them busy chasing ghosts while we help the colonists," Horner ordered. Even as the Lieutenant responded, the Captain began pacing. Six steps forward, turn, six steps back. Six steps forward… Raynor and the CIC's crew might make fun of his strange habits, but Horner found them useful when trying to collect his thoughts.

Stopping mid-stride, the Captain turned and faced the holographic display of the strange fleet.

Who – what – are you?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bridge, Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


"Captain, what is happening out there?" The question was innocent, but the Admiral's tone was not. Captain Maroun, the Armaggeddon's Strikecraft Leader, knew that the Admiral would somehow find a way to keelhaul him if Aleph Squadron's antics kept up.

"Sir, our tactical display is served by holier logic engines than the humble spirits of Fury strikecraft. Our sensor picture is much clearer than theirs."

The shrouded Admiral glanced at the display. The once-orderly fighter group had become snarled in a massive tangle of sensor ghosts and attacking fighters, the Furies chasing shadows. I should've ordered Gamma out, the Admiral thought ruefully. Aleph Squadron's reputation as the Armageddon's hotshots was battle-proven, but Gamma was less likely to spook and chase a sensor contact as soon as it appeared.

"Very well. Recall Aleph Squadron to standby and ready an attack pattern alpha" – a full launch of every combat-ready strikecraft aboard the Armageddon. "Comms, have Escort One move to engage the enemy ship." On the display, the five Cobra destroyers of Escort One turned and fired their main drives, sending them arcing towards the nearby planet.

Beads of sweat rolling freely down his face, Captain Maroun weakly responded, "Sir, Aleph is beyond standard vox range, and has no astropath due to current difficulties." Maroun vainly tried to not think about Aleph Squadron's former astropath, Rajko slamming his head into the bulkhead again and again and again-

"Frak!" Slamming his withered fist on the arm of his command throne, the Admiral considered his options. "Recall Aleph by vox somehow, and deal with whatever delays result. I want the escorts to have full support when they reach weapons range, understood?" A pause. "Security, get me that damn Marine Captain. I want Nicodemus's pet psykers out mind-scrying that ship."

Captain Maroun could only nod silently as the destroyers left the fleet's shattered perimeter and burned onwards towards the unknown ship.

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Convoy
Near Lark's Crossing, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


The first Zerglings bounded towards the Agrian convoy. Armed with little more than claws and basic instinct, the dog-like creatures were easily ordered into action by a nearby Overlord.

The Zerglings were armored to resist spikes from Terran weapons, which provided limited protection against Marine spikes and bolter shells. Armor-piercing spikes became stuck in rock-hard chitin, while bolter shells hobbled Zerglings with red-hot metal fragments, turning others into bloody chunks. Although badly bloodied, the advance continued.

At exactly 100 meters, the twenty Mordian Guardsmen opened fire. At that range, the Agrian-strain Zerglings discovered an unfortunate truth – namely, that they had almost no resistance to extreme heat. The much-derided "flashlights" of the Imperial Guard proved their worth against the dog-like creatures, as the 500-degree lasbolts boiled brain and muscle to topple otherwise unharmed Zerglings.

Bolters sang and Impalers roared, lasguns cracked and by fifty meters every Zergling lay dead or crippled, a rapidly-diminishing carpet of brown chitin serving as a rough 'arrow' towards the human convoy.

"Form up," Thorosis ordered, the other Imperials immediately complying. The four militiamen were still gawking at the slaughter, and the Corporal sneered silently at their inattention, his old Chaplain's lectures on non-Imperials immediately coming to mind. Truly, these primitives needed proper Imperial discipline!

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Yreth wished for a mouth to frown with. At an offhand impulse from the Cerebrate, an infested Terran stopped its shuffling advance and frowned in the general direction of Lark's Crossing.

'Itch' scratched, the Cerebrate once again turned its attention to destroying the remaining Terrans on Agria. Assuming that the Terrans would rely on their standard kinetic weapons, Yreth had grown its local Zerg forms without any restrictive thermal-resisting chitin layers. A new player, with several wild cards, the Cerebrate idly thought to itself. Altering the still-growing Zerg strains to include better heat resistance, the Zerg form pondered its current hand and the card that it would play next.
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:00 am

Convoy
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


Stella Waters was a good girl. Mommy had always told her that she should be respectful of her elders, and although Stella didn't know who the "respectful" or the "elders" were, she knew that Mommy wanted her to be nice to people.

The strange people with the shiny things were probably respectfuls, Stella decided. She felt a little scared, but Stella walked underneath the people standing in the back of the big Three-Oh-Niner, where they normally put the grain, and asked the shiny respectful, "Excuse me, sir, but what's your name?"

The man was really shiny on the inside, and he had a white shirt with red bits on his tummy. He held that shirt really tight when he turned over to look at her and he said something, but it sounded real slow and Stella couldn't get it. He kept holding that shirt, and Stella wasn't sure why he liked to hold the red bits on his shirt so much, but she figured that it was probably because it was all he had from his home.

Stella felt her eyes watering as she thought about home, and Mommy and Daddy and big Uncle Richardson in their metal suits. "Don't cry don't cry," she whispered to herself, ashamed at being so bad in front of this respectful.

The man's face softened, and he took his hands away from his shirt, and pulled her over to him. The feeling of being hugged reminded Stella of Mommy and Daddy all over again, and she cried into one of the gold things on his shirt. She could feel him crying, too, and so she figured that crying was OK if one of the respectfuls was doing it too.

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"Status."

"Three: quarter stocks."

"Four: emergency rounds."

Not for the first time, Corporal Thorosis of the Imperial Hawks cursed Two's malfunctioning plasma weapon. I need a weapon that requires no ammunition – but after a fearful glance at the Mordian Guardsmen, the Marine decided that he would simply meet the enemy in melee if his bolt stock ran dry. Anything beat a lasgun!

No ammunition – so substitute with local stocks. The Corporal had seen the techno-magic at the human encampment, of groundcar-sized armories that made the bullets which the turrets had shot! The local humans had weapons, certainly, and could make the bullets for those guns. Considering the situation, the Marine made up his mind.

"Squad, acquire locally-produced weapons," the Corporal ordered. His team would likely be forced to swear many oaths of penance for handling such heretical machines, but Thorosis decided that he would willingly undergo such punishments to spare his men and complete his mission.

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Near Thunderhawk crash site
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M98.41


Originally ordered west, Thing was now crawling its way eastward. Had it enough brainpower for emotions or logic, it would have bemoaned the sudden shift in orders, or bitched about the living conditions.

Since Thing was a Zerg infestor, Thing thought none of that. Instead, Thing's attention was captured by the two new Things in front of it. They looked to be dead, but Thing never let a little problem like death get in the way of new Things.

With a quick carapace-shuffle, Thing poised itself above the two bloody, CMC-armored corpses on the ground. Extending its main claws forward, Thing grabbed and jabbed with the experience of a consummate professional.

After only a few moments of work, the new Things were safely inside Thing's third stomach. Piping nutrients in to feed the growing new Things, Thing resumed its slow advance towards Lark's Crossing.

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Yreth decided that it needed proper shades to hide its plays. The local humans had seen through the Cerebrate's latest bluff, massacring the diversionary Zergling rush to the convoy's left while shredding the Hydralisk-stuffed Overlords assaulting from over the treetops. The humans' strange exploding shells were death incarnate to the slow air carriers, the red-hot fragments bursting air sacs and sending the Overlords to a pointy death as they were speared by the trees.

Still, the Cerebrate remained unruffled. It might have lost the latest trick, but there hadn't been too many chips in that last pot. Besides, it had several trump cards ready, and Yreth knew that its winning hand hadn't been played yet.

With the slowly-crawling infestors finally in position, Yreth willed the slow beasts into action. In conjunction with ground and air forms, the burrowing monsters would reach the convoy before unleashing their infested Marine cargo. With the reanimated and infested humans causing trouble, Yreth would negate the Terrans' range advantage and let Zerglings reach the convoy unharmed. Pulling newly-hatched Mutalisks from their eggs atop precarious Spires, the Cerebrate sent another air assault to harry the convoy. After all, the other players' wild cards were all together in one trick, and if Yreth could trump their hand, then the Cerebrate would take a very rich pot.

Your move, the Cerebrate casually thought at the clustered humans.

Very well, a mental voice responded.

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Convoy
Near Lark's Crossing, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M98.41


Corporal Thorosis was the happiest that he had been in days. His confusion over the strange Warp jump, the new planet, and the primitive-yet-advanced humans was finally swept away in glorious melee! Space Marines were experienced in ranged combat, but every Marine yearned for the rush of close-quarters fighting, the skree of crossed chainswords offset by the pounding of armored boots and screaming of close-packed men.

The Marine quickly calmed himself, his self-control returning as he remembered his Chaplain's warnings: such thoughts lead to Chaos! Nevertheless, Thorosis found a faint smile on his face as he swung his chainsword down to ground-pound a Zergling. His two remaining battle-brothers fought side-by-side with him, chanting the Litany of Purpose:

"Without the Dark, there can be no Light!"

"We have purpose!"

The cracks of lasbolts echoed over the Marines' heads as the remaining Mordian Guardsmen fired volleys into the masses of rushing Zerglings. Several Guardsmen had already fallen from Hydralisk spines, the mortally wounded ones quickly bandaged and tossed into the back of the harvester to die.

"Without the Lie, there can be no Truth!"

"We have purpose!"

The muted brakata-brakata-brakata of the turret aboard the Model 309 Harvester echoed as the automated weapon swept across the Zerg forms in a simple pattern. Hydralisks twisted and juddered as the fist-sized shells struck them, the volume of fire making up for its inaccuracy.

"Without the War, there can be no Victory!"

"We have purpose!"

The four Terran Marines in the convoy turned to face south as ordered by Captain Robertson, who continued to oversee the evacuation from Lark's Crossing. Impalers opening up, the colonists tried to shoot down a flight of Mutalisks rushing towards the harvester.

"Without the Death, there can be no sacrifice!"

"We have purpose!"

Although the Impaler bullets sent Mutalisks crashing to the ground, the colonists' panicked fire was unable to kill the entire flight. Two Mutalisks survived to attack the convoy, one firing a glaive wurm at a colonist while the other flyer dove towards the harvester.

"Without the Hope there can be no Future!"

"We have purpose!"

The glaive wurm struck the nearest Terran Marine, the colonist too inexperienced to jump aside. His leg shredded by the impact, the armored figure dropped to the ground.

"Without the Loyalty there can be no Chapter!"

"We have purpose!"

The other diving Mutalisk hit the harvester directly, crushing the turret welded on top and stopping the machine cold. Rear doors flying open, the panicking colonists spilled out, running for the Starport that was just in sight. A crippled Mordian Guardsmen, one hand holding a red-stained white bandage over his shredded guts, dragged a small girl from the wrecked machine.

"Without the Emperor, there is nothing!"

"And we would have no purpose!"

The Litany of Purpose was supposed to be quietly chanted in a chapel, but Corporal Thorosis knew that he and his men needed the reassurance those words provided. His chainsword bisecting another leaping Zergling, the Marine spared a look behind him to see the colonists desperately sprinting for the safety of the Starport.

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Stella Waters could hear yelling and screaming again outside the Three-Oh-Niner. The big gun that crazy old Walker had welded onto the top last week fired with a brakata-brakata-brakata, and Stella held on real close to the respectful. She knew that he would probably just call her a big baby like Daddy did, but she was awful scared now. Most people had dark bits on the inside, but this man was really shiny on the outside and on the inside, so Stella trusted him a lot.

There was a big crunch, and the Three-Oh-Niner stopped moving. Stella didn't know what she should do, so she held onto the respectful some more. People opened the doors and started and running, but Stella was too scared to move. The shiny man made some noise, but Stella couldn't understand him.

The respectful suddenly took Stella's hand and starting pulling her outside. Stella was afraid of being alone and she followed, but outside was real scary. There were lots of people shooting big guns, and there were Zerg, too, like she'd seen on the TV. But each Zerg had a little line of black stuck on them, like someone had them on a leash. Stella would've stopped right there, but the shiny man kept tugging her. He was saying something, and Stella couldn't hear him regular-like. But then she could hear him in her head, saying "come on let's go!" like people sometimes did when they got real angry.

Then the ground exploded.

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Thing didn't think or feel very much, but Thing was scared of being underground. When the Voice told Thing to burrow, though, Thing did just that. The new Things were ready, and Thing was told to throw the new Things out.

Purging its stomachs, the Zerg infestor that called itself Thing launched its eggs through the soil, each egg holding a previously-dead infested Marine. Five infestors had burrowed underneath the convoy from Lark's Crossing, and they had swallowed many dead or dying Marines while they crawled across Agria.

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Corporal Thorosis turned as the ground began to rumble. "Distraction!" he yelled to his team – the small Tyranids were a distraction, and the larger creatures must be below!

Spinning in unison, the ammunition-less Space Marines charged while the first infested egg breached the surface of Agria again. Chopping down on the nearest egg in an overhead strike, Thorosis was rewarded with an animalistic howl from inside the foul thing while his chainsword's motor screamed its victory.

The Space Marines chopped and slashed, giving the Emperor's Blessing to many reanimated Marines, but one by one the eggs popped, depositing the infested Marines in shooting distance of the fleeing colonists. The colonist previously crippled by the Mutalisk yelled and fired, attracting the infested Marines' attention, which lasted for mere seconds before his shredded corpse toppled to the ground.

Mordian Guardsmen stopped and fired, their lasguns doing damage to the infested Marines as CMC neosteel conducted the lasbolt-heat inward and killed the zombie-like creatures. The infested corpses fired again, the 8mm spikes turning many of the unarmored Guardsmen into bloody ribbons. The Mordians fell back as the Commissar ordered a retreat to protect the fleeing colonists. The ever-present Zerglings closed again, while another Mutalisk flight appeared over the horizon and the infested Marines turned to kill the colonists.

...

The shiny man kept pulling her, but Stella stopped even as the bullets flew around her. There were lots and lots of strangers all around her, but Stella Waters could feel – DADDY!

...

The egg bursting open, the armored creature that used to be Sergeant Waters turned to fire at a one-legged Terran Marine. As the spikes from the former human's Impaler ripped the shouting colonist open, the infested Marine was already looking for a new target. Seeing an unarmored soldier and a small girl nearby, the creature turned and raised its weapon to fire.

...

Stella could see Daddy, but something was wrong with him. He was dressed in the big suit again, but there was a black line stuck on his back, like all the Zerg had. Stella Waters screamed as Daddy turned towards her and she saw his face. She tried to talk with Daddy, even though Mommy had said that Stella shouldn't do that, but Daddy only growled at her and shot-

I think not.

...

The infested Marine, formerly Sergeant Waters of the Agrian Milita, exploded in a massive ka-boom. Sonic booms echoed across the beleaguered Terran convoy as Raynor's Raiders arrived, Banshee flyers launching rocket salvos at Zerglings while Vikings blotted Mutalisks from the sky.

But when the Bad Thing happened to Daddy, Stella didn't say a word. She didn't say a thing as the shiny man pulled her towards the 'port, or when the other people started laughing or crying. Even when the other people from home came to the 'port, everyone happy on the inside, and they all got in the big ship, Stella stayed real quiet.

Stella just kept shivering and hugged the shiny man. He hugged her back, and the white shirt around his waist got more and more red, and eventually he sort of went to sleep and he stopped being so shiny on the inside. Stella didn't say a word, and when no one hugged her anymore she sat in the corner and hugged herself as best she could.
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:23 pm

Excellent stuff, Nuts. You've got a lot of good ideas going on here, and I'm already enjoying the comparisons between the two different universes, especially the different ways of fighting that the CMC (is that it? I'm not too familiar with Starcraft, aside from the constant 'the Zerg are Tyranids!' jabs I keep hearing from the 40k crowd) and the Imperium employ. Not to mention there's an excellent vein of humour running through the entire piece, which certainly makes it a very fun read.

Looking forward to seeing more of this. :D
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:47 am

Bridge, Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M98.41


Marcellus smelled.

The only other being who knew of the Librarian's particular method was his old teacher, who had predictably laughed himself silly when the young psyker had confessed. Marcellus, feared Librarian of the Mentors Legion, planned to keep it that way.

While most psykers saw and others heard, Librarian Marcellus followed his nose. Right now, he could sense fear/anger/let'sdothisshit from the 'enemy' - for he wasn't convinced that the unknown ship was truly a foe. Chaos?

Another sniff, and he was convinced. No blood-iron stink of the Great Enemy, no whispers and murmurs in the dark. "They do not associate with Chaos," he announced. Yes, it doesn't answer your question directly. Deal with it. Marcellus's old teacher had properly indoctrinated the fledgling psyker with a flair for the theatric, and it was one of the Librarian's favorite tools.

Long-used to dealing with ego-inflated nobles, the Admiral was not amused. "Straight answer or airlock," he shot back.

"They are non-Imperial humans, confused, and focused on a mission involving the planet – I believe they are fleeing from a threat. They fear an unknown form of xenos." Marcellus inwardly sent out a mental pulse to Chaplain Theodorus. "Theo" had far too little power to 'speak' back, but his bare-minimum psychic talent let him pick up on the Librarian's distress call: He's worried. Warn the Captain. We may need to take action. Severing the connection, the Librarian focused again on the threats.

"Tau involvement?" asked the Admiral. Far too many humans served under the T'au cause for the Imperium's liking.

"Possible." Marcellus was unsure; Tau left no Warp presence, making them difficult to spot. He couldn't smell their particular desert-dry odor, but that only meant that the Tau weren't in range of the humans aboard the ship.

The Admiral considered his options. His instincts screamed at him that a non-Imperial was a threat, human or not. Cleanse the heretic, purge the xenos, kill the traitor! Since his career prior to the massacres at Trieste had been at the head of a never-used sector fleet, the Admiral knew the litanies and chants of the Ecclesiarchy by heart, and his faith was strong.

Reason fought back. Ships scattered, shields down and weapons offline, engines questionable and crew rioting. "Estimate fleet battle-readiness," he ordered, his heart sinking as he considered the damage he'd done to his fleet again. "21.4342%," came the chief Techpriest's curt reply, causing the silhouetted man to curse softly.

The most powerful man in the 157th Fleet sat silent and motionless, lost deep in thought. After what seemed an eternity for the bridge crew, he announced, "Recall escort squadrons, send strikecraft to fly CAP. Secure lower decks, find the status of the other capitals and ready the Shark boats for launch."

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Due to the distance and lack of an astropath, Aleph Squadron hadn't yet received the recall order, and wouldn't for another two minutes. Forming back into a tight-spread arrowhead formation, the 70-meter Lightning interceptors fired their main engines and shot towards the enemy ship.

Although their reputation as hotheads was well-deserved, the Aleph crews were still very experienced. The youngest pilot, Aleph 10, had two decades of constant combat against the bugs and greenskins, and frequent mil-standard juvenat treatments kept their reflexes honed. As they approached the Hyperion, communicating in encrypted tight-band comms, Alephs 1 and 3 sketched out a plan.

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Lt. Imai didn't know what to do. The ten bombers (no way those things were made to kill starfighters) had decided to ignore her drones' jamming and burn towards the Hyperion. Her Wraiths were made to kill other strikecraft, but she didn't trust her Gemini missiles to reliably cripple those monsters. "Match velocities and keep stealth," she ordered, wracking her brains for an answer.

The nine remaining Wraith fighters of Sword Flight fired their well-stealthed engines at low power, slowly matching velocities with the massive newcomers. Hiding in the wake of the enemy ships' engines, (an old submariner's trick, adapted for space combat) the Wraiths approached to a mere 20,000 kilometers.

Hmm…Alright, now what? Imai thought.

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Unfortunately for Sword Flight, several small Tyranid forms had favored the same tactic when attacking Imperial Navy bomber groups. The nearly-invisible creatures, scattered out in the millions by parent hive ships, would allow strikecraft to pass and hide their approach in the ships' plasma-wakes. Several Navy strikecraft flights had been crippled by ambushes from the exploding menaces before the Imperial navigators had developed a countermeasure.

On rearguard duty, Aleph 7's copilot carefully pulsed his Fury interceptor's plasma engine, his ship's cogitator 'listening' for any return pulse.

Sword 5, almost directly behind Aleph 7, was buffeted slightly by the increased plasma-wake, the Wraith's cloaking engine struggling to compensate.

It was small, a fractional blip on an obscure readout. Human eyes would have missed it. Servitor 000486-A7, however, barely qualified as human anymore. Chittering in binary into a nearby vox-caster, it broadcast the imminent danger up to the pilots.

"Sir? Target behind us. Requesting evasive."

Aleph 1 managed to resist cheering, but only barely. "Granted."

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The Dominion Wraith pilots would eventually term the maneuver a "Crazy Ivan" for reasons unknown. Armchair strategists saw it as "crude but functional," tacticians saw it as "pilot foibles," and Wraith pilots saw it and remembered why you didn't trail the Imperials too closely.

Sword Flight just saw the sunlight.

Draining their emergency plasma cells and maxing their reactors, the ten Fury interceptors of Aleph Squadron dumped every scrap of available plasma into their drives. The 70-meter craft shuddered under the strain, a massive cloud of unstable, superheated plasma billowing out from behind the unwieldy fighters.

Even 20,000 kilometers away, Sword Flight was surrounded by the white plasma-bubble in mere seconds. The Wraiths desperately tried to maneuver, but only managed to bury themselves further in the cloud.

The Wraiths were built to withstand tremendous amounts of solar radiation – from a distance. Surrounded by superheated plasma, their heat-dissipation held for mere seconds before the ships began to fail.

Lt. Imai and Swords 6 and 8 burst through the far side of the cloud. No one else followed.

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Upper decks, Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M98.41


They met in -relative- secrecy, for nothing was truly secret aboard a Navy ship. Captain Nicodemus and Governor-General Kalj walked slowly together towards the Armageddon's main flight bay, shielded by one of Kalj's psyker staff.

"My Librarian is worried. He might fall apart again."

"Your opinion?" asked the governor.

"Unlikely," Nicodemus responded. "No matter his previous mistakes at Trieste, he's unlikely to repeat them."

"And if he breaks?" Kalj responded.

"Then it's trouble for everyone. The Admiral has the Ecclesiarchy wrapped around his finger; it's how he got his job previously. His armsmen and the priests make a dangerous combination."

"True," the Governor-General responded. "I need a counter. The Guard and Navy may listen to Imperial faith, but they'll always listen to Imperial discipline. Let's get the commissars."

The Marine saw where Kalj's thoughts were headed. Following the "glorious victory" (i.e: near-catastrophe) at the Trieste system, the previously fractious commissars had emerged as a powerful political force, mostly by virtue of surviving the Tyranid assault. Scattered across the fleet, they were a united group that Navy commanders, Administratum officials, and every local political player had tried to court. "No," the Marine responded. "There's been too many 'accidents' in the past week. Support for the commissars is at an extra-low point, especially after the latest disaster."

"Then we need something inspirational."

"And if nothing 'inspirational' happens to come along?"

"The usual. Make one," Governor-General Kalj responded happily. "I don't have a 60-man propaganda department for nothing."

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Mid-ship, Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M98.41

"Run, you bastards!" Mathias had his blood up, and he knew his men did as well. The Armageddon's rebelling slaves had broken less than a minute after the Guardsmen had arrived, a dozen slaves surrendering while the others ran for the lower decks. Cowardly bastards – my grandmother could fight better than them! A sudden flash of memory reminded the Cadian that his grandmother had, in fact, sold her life pretty damn well when the Iron Warriors had sacked Kasr Vigilantum.

Watching as his men beat the dozen surrendering slaves into a line, the Sergeant prepared for the usual post-combat executions. "Ready! Aim! F-"

"HOLD!" No one had ever doubted the Lady-Commissar's lungs. The Guardsmen paused, incredulous, as Lady-Commissar Reinholdt stalked towards the slaves. "You!" a finger pointed at a naval rating who'd just begun to crawl from cover. "Send them to the forward brig!" "You!" the gore-streaked chainsword swung to point at Mathias. "Detail two men to guard the prisoners."

The Sergeant paused for a second, mind-boggled. A Commissar? Letting traitors live?

Reinholdt caught his dumbfounded expression and grimaced. "The ship's taken damage. We'll need new servitor organics to replace the ones lost in the jump. These traitors will serve, one way or another."

Mathias nodded, his universe righting itself again. Delayed executions, after all, were a long-standing commissar tradition. "Simmons! Tarrel! Guard duty."

As the two men rushed to comply, Reinholdt began issuing orders into the vox-bead in her ear. Knowing full well that he'd probably be drafted for whatever fight the Bitch tried to throw herself into next, Mathias gathered his men and administered the Emperor's Peace to the wounded. The crippled slaves had already been bayoneted, but one of the Elysians had been badly gut-shot, too much for anyone to cure. The dying man thanked Mathias as he pulled the trigger, making the Sergeant wince inside.

Reinholdt beckoned, and Mathias safed his lasgun before jogging over. "Sergeant, Command is readying the Shark boarding craft. We'll be clearing ships taken by the Warp. Will your men be able to fight in those conditions?"

A long-time veteran, Mathias's instincts twigged at the question. Say no, she executes us. Say yes...Tired of the games, Mathias decided to let the Bitch have it. "Have you heard the voices?" he asked. "You've fought the Enemy before, traveled the Warp - you've heard them once or twice. Recite the Catechisms, light a votive candle, and they go away." Reinholdt nodded mutely. "Now imagine those voices when you're young, alone, hurt, tired. Imagine hearing the voices when you're a babe in the womb, or too young to talk. Even when you can't speak Standard, you can understand what they say."

"When you're happy, the nice voice tells you to be happier still. If you're angry, the growling voice says to act on it. When you despair, the happy voice says you should enjoy the suffering. And hope? When you hope things'll get better, the quiet voice says you could make it that way – just steal something small, lie to the confessor. It doesn't take much for the Deceiver to get his claws in you, and there's no saving you once he does."

"Leave a man behind in a Whiteshield run, don't cover him properly during the exercises, and you might - might - survive the flogging your own mates'll give you that night. They're doing it for your own good, and you'll learn to thank them for it, when you see what happens to servants of the Enemy. You can't be happy, you can't be angry, you can't despair, and you damn well can't hope."

"Commissar, I'm a Cadian - I have heard the voices. They're more familiar to me than the sound of my own mother. They call to me every day, and every day I tell them to frak off. Doubt my strength, doubt my skill, doubt my sanity. But never, ever doubt my will."

The Lady-Commissar grinned suddenly. "We leave in ten minutes. Prove it then."

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I appreciate good reviews and especially appreciate good criticism: tell me what you like, what you don't, and why or why not! To be a little more specific:

Plot: can you understand it?
Characters: Funny? Well-rounded? Interesting? (or not?)
Writing style: Too disjointed, too long/short, the bad grammar gives you a headache, etc?
Last edited by Nutstoyoutoo on Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:48 am

Grand cruiser Implacable

High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion

June 19, M98.41


The armor was old. It had been scavenged from a wrecked Lunar-class cruiser, bones ripped from a dead giant to adorn a dying one. The Avenger-class grand cruiser Implacable had armor twice as thick as a regular cruiser, of course; any ship designed around short-range gun decks deserved no less. After Trieste, however, the Implacable was the only remaining Avenger-class of the old Entente Sector Fleet, and the breaches in its hull were repaired with scraps from a nearby hulk. The makeshift patches kept out the vacuum, but they were weak points, and the Shark assault boats aimed for it when boarding the old giant.

ka-BOOM fireinthehole tinktinktinkBOOM movemoveclear...jenkinswhatthehell-clearboss OKallclearpeople - the sounds of a successful B&E, along with A&B of a hapless servitor, ** echoed and rolled down the Implacable's cramped passageways. Several makeshift Guardsmen squads and one angry Commissar spilled into the p-way, ready to fight daemons but facing-

"Wait, what?"

...

Steel-toed pressure boots clattered across the Implacable's decks as the Guardsmen mutely continued onward. Corner-checking and shouts of 'clear!' faded as the soldiers pressed onward through the massive ship.

"What in His-"

"Not now," Sergeant Mathias ordered. In truth, he was worried too: the Implacable, aside from its missing crew, was perfectly normal. The walls weren't oozing blood, the bulkheads were made of steel alloys instead of human bones - everything was as it should be. Mathias had cleared a ship taken by the Warp once, and had almost lost his life while fighting the daemons possessing it (he'd nearly been eaten by a hungry table). By contrast, the Implacable was...fine.

"Ma'am?"

Lady-Commissar Reinholdt had fought to close Chaos Gates before, but never while aboard ship. She decided to defer to the local expert. "Your opinion, Sergeant?"

"It's...not right, ma'am. Too normal."

"Normal?"

"Ma'am, the Warp is plenty of things, but it isn't normal." The two soldiers shared a nervous laugh at that. "I've seen one ship look like this after a Warp misjump, but it arrived out near the dead-barren Halo Stars. There wasn't anything but our frigate for several billion klicks around, so that ship looked much like this." Mathias gulped. "I mean, ma'am."

Reinholdt ignored the Sergeant's slip-up. "Either the Warp is unnaturally calm here, or..." "Or something happened to change the Warp itself, ma'am."

**B&E: breaking and entering, A&B: assault and battery

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Bridge, Armageddon

High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion

June 19, M98.41


"Can I trust you?"

An simple question, really. Innocent, innocuous- and as loaded as the naval trooper's shotguns. Not that he'd be killed here, of course. Airlock failure was a much more discreet and deniable form of execution. Lieutenant Maroun, commander of the Armageddon's aerospace wings, still knew that his life could be measured in minutes if he answered the wrong way.

"I serve the Emperor," he answered. Not treason - the priests would get me for that - but that should keep him off my back for a bit.

"As do we all," the Admiral replied. Internally, however, he was seething. He watched on his display as the Aleph Squadron interceptors - my fighters! - continued to fly towards the opposing ship. I need information, and those humans have it - if that wretched Librarian is trustworthy.

"Librarian Marcellus!" the Admiral barked. The Librarian didn't bother with a response. After an uncomfortable silence, the human tersely ordered, "Recall my fighters."

"The distance-"

"Damn the distance! Call them off!" Inwardly annoyed but outwardly calm, Marcellus opened his other senses and smelled the Warp around him. Psychically reaching outward, he 'sniffed' for the thirty men of Aleph Squadron - and much to his surprise, found them. The local Warp currents were so calm that he could have reached out and psychically crushed the pilots from millions of kilometers away - if he'd had the strength. The same currents which normally blocked his reach also gave him psychic strength, and the Beta-level psyker found himself as weak as an average Imperial psychic. What in the Warp - wait, no Warp. Marcellus's twin hearts sped up, adrenaline and synthetic stimulants flooding his metabolism. "Sirs, I have the answer."

Even in the middle of a different universe, Marcellus knew the value of looking mysterious and omnipotent.

...

"Groxshit."

"See it for yourself, my Lord." By a quirk of his psychic power or perhaps simply through years of practice, Marcellus managed to sound both respectful and mocking at the same time.

The Admiral didn't notice. "Broken equipment, calm Warp currents, a scattered fleet - that's not conclusive, psyker."

"Explain what happened to the astropaths, then, My Lord."

"We misjumped through the Warp! Anything could have happened?"

"Yes, my lord. Absolutely anything." ...you dumb shit.

The fleet commander growled, unwilling to concede the argument. "Fine, then. How do we get home if you're right?"

"Ask the Navigators."

...

Navigator Iblis was in heaven - that is, if heaven was very, very quiet. Born and raised for the sole purpose of seeing the Warp, the Navigator was accustomed to the daemons constantly surrounding living creatures. While the rest of humanity lived in blissful ignorance, the Navigator was forced to constantly see the nameless horrors waiting to jump into realspace at any time. Bred to guide ships through Hell, the Navigator was constantly reminded of his fate when his mortal body died. He'd seen damned souls lost to the Warp: he knew what happened when the daemons were let loose on a hapless creature. The daemons were everywhere, at every time...until now.

Safe in his armored command chair, the Navigator opened his third eye and gazed at the calm psychic sea around the fleet. Nothing...thank the Emperor! The Admiral might want to get back to the Imperium and its wars, but Iblis was content simply to sit and be rocked by the gentle waves of this calm Warp.

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Admiral's quarters, Armageddon

High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion

June 19, 998.M41


The briefing happened in the Admiral's public rooms again by default, as even the Mechanicus had not yet restored full communications fleetwide. Officers and dignitaries trickled in slowly; many clutched red-tinged bandages or haphazardly-applied splints. Many failed to arrive at all: some were busy, some with the medicae, some on other ships (the Admiral had banned all shuttle flights for the time being), while many were dead or dying across the Armageddon.

A general atmosphere of shock and confusion reigned. All of them knew of the dangers of a Warp-jump, but none had seen the usual Warp-signs. Instead, much of their equipment had simply ceased to work: logic engines ceased their holy functions, hull patches failed, and many machine spirits had departed the consecrated engines that they inhabited. The problem had crippled all of the fleet's ships to some degree, and only the Mechanicus ships of the fleet still functioned anywhere close to normal.

That…and the astropaths had gone insane. Being soul-bound to the Emperor Himself made astropaths much more stable than other psykers, most of whom regarded "conversations with air molecules" as slightly more normal than "recaf in the morning." However, once the jump had been completed, the minders of the surviving astropaths had each found, judged, and executed their charges. Only prompt action by a Lunar-class Captain had saved an astropath for future study; the luckless individual in question lay in the ships' infirmary, restrained hand and foot to keep himself from clawing his own throat out.

"The Admiral!" the bandaged herald boomed, tapping his shock-staff several times on the deck. The Admiral, already seated on his shadowed tertiary command throne, cleared his throat. The dull murmur of shell-shocked survivors instantly gave way to a torrent of questions and accusations, all aimed at the supposed cause of the Event (as it was already being called).

"ORDER! ORDER, EMPEROR DAMN YOU!" The exhausted herald thumped his shock-staff again and again, knocking nearby dignitaries off their feet. Captain Nicodemus, standing silently in the center of the room, attempted to gauge the situation. Disorderly and getting worse; violent conflict possible. The Mentor was considerably better with normals than most Marines, but he remained unsure of what to do as the near-conflict worsened.

I'm dreadfully sorry, Captain. A sudden mental rush overwhelmed Nicodemus's normally relaxed mental defenses, spinning him before he could react. With a sudden mental assault, the Captain regained control over his mind to feel himself reaching for his bolt pistol, his attention focused on a particularly belligerent priest.

Wait, you must- GET HIM! NOW! The Captain resisted the psychic impulse with difficulty, his form locked and his attention focused inward. As the shouting continued, the priest reached into his voluminous robes and began to pull out- Mars-pattern straight magazine .75-caliber bolt pistol,** target will likely shoot a high-ranking officer – target is not necessary for primary mission – execute.

The Captain's bolt pistol sounded, the whoosh of the fin-stabilized round drowned out by the sudden ka-boom as the massive shell detonated inside the bulky priest. Instinct and training subsiding again, the Captain lowered his pistol as the nearby blood-ridden dignitaries reached for their weapons. Only the presence of the priest's bolt pistol, his severed arm still inside the trigger guard, prevented the nearby Ecclesiarchy members from firing on the Marine. However, they still aggressively drew their weapons, chainswords revving and guns cocking as confusion spread.

"SECURITY!" the Admiral boomed, causing the assembled naval troopers to snap their hot-shot lasguns to firing position at the entire crowd. Nicodemus glanced across the crowd: the situation's critical. Whoever you are, you saved the Admiral at the cost of the command staff.

I know, the now-chagrined foreign mental voice whispered to the Marine. Any ideas?

The Marine lowered his mental defenses and 'thought' as loudly as he could, Embarrass them. Cause extreme heat around the room's ceiling autosensor. Near the extra-ugly chandelier, middle of the ceiling.

The autosensor triggered with a sudden breek-breek-breek, and fire-retardant foam flew into the room from recessed hoses. A sudden mental pulse, too weak to affect the Marine but powerful enough to stagger the regular humans, caused the confused dignitaries to drop their weapons and reach for their heads for a second.

That work? the voice 'spoke' again. Nicodemus glanced across the room: confusion had replaced anger, as the fleet's VIPs attempted to wipe the rapidly-expanding red foam off their robes. Better, the Marine thought grudgingly.

"Now then," the Admiral commented over the quieting crowd. "Let's discuss our current predicament."

...

He broke the news quietly, steadily, and without hesitation. "We are in a different place. The Warp is unnaturally calm, but the Astronomican is nowhere in sight. Our fleet has sustained damage, and we are apparently near to a human-inhabited planet. We are attempting to contact the humans of this new...'universe.'"

The reactions were about as expected: some declared the Admiral a heretic, some hung their heads in worry or grief. Others schemed and calculated the effects of this new change; Marcellus kept his eyes and his 'nose' on them. Even as he watched the Imperial elite jockey for power in an uncertain world, the Librarian's other senses were aimed at the planet and the strange ship orbiting it.

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Rec room, Hyperion

Low orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion

June 19, 998.M41

Tosh did not know what was going on. This was unusual.

An extremely powerful psyker, and further enhanced by his exposure to the unstable terrazine gas, Tosh was both extremely psychically talented and emotionally unstable. Unable to filter others' thoughts, Tosh felt and knew what was happening in a solar system, often before Raynor and Horner did. However, right now no one else knew anything, which left Tosh in the dark.

Ignoring the furtive glances from crewmembers around him, Tosh crushed one of his voodoo dolls and looked out.

...

The two psychic powers met somewhere in the void. Marcellus being a Space Marine and Tosh being Tosh, they each did their level best to kill the other. Tosh was incredibly powerful, a Primaris-level psyker by Imperial standards even before his exposure to terrazine. Marcellus, by contrast, lacked the strength that he would draw from the turbulent Warp but had uncountable years of finesse and discipline. Born and raised in a universe inhabited by uncountable trillions of creatures which fed on psykers, Marcellus knew how to hide from a powerful psychic presence.

He hid, and struck. The battle of wills was fought through hyperspace, as the two powers dueled and grappled. Tosh flailed his power in wide sweeps, while the Librarian dodged the spectre's attacks with the ease born out of literal centuries of experience. One hit from Tosh would cripple the Librarian, but he was careful to avoid that hit. Tosh's power was near-inexhaustable, but his will and concentration were not. The longer they fought, the more uncoordinated Tosh's attacks and defenses became. Finally seeing an opportunity, the Librarian ignored Tosh's psychic sweep and attacked the spectre's mind itself.

...

-bastard's cheating, I'm sure of. Aces and a-

-hell, the port actuator's down AGAIN? Oh my bunk, I'm gonna miss you-

-Raynor says 'shit,' they say 'how much and where do you want it.' How do I-


The psychic backwash of Tosh's mind washed over Marcellus. He staggered slightly as Tosh's fragmented mind spilled its contents over, the Librarian quickly regaining control and looking for information. Marcellus knew that Tosh would quickly rally and shove him away, so the Librarian ruthlessly hunted information down in Tosh's mind.

Marcellus sifted through the stream of other people's thoughts that constantly ran through Tosh's mind, looking for anything useful. He learned that the ship battlecruiser, Behemoth-class was named the Hyperion - damnfool name, if you ask me. It had launched Wraith fighters to scout, which had taken casualties I don't know who you people are, but I swear that I will damn well end you myself! and that the ship's mission in-system was to rescue trapped colonists.

While he searched through the enemy psyker's mind, Marcellus saw the Captain. Compared to the world-ending horrors which the Librarian had seen and fought, this Captain was physically unremarkable. The man - Raynor - lacked psychic talents, commanded a single warship, and had no planets to call home. It didn't matter worth a damn to Marcellus; he'd never trusted his gut instinct anyway. Marcellus's talent for premonition was nearly nonexistent, but his senses were screaming at him that this Captain could make or destroy empires.

As Tosh tried to secure his own mind, Marcellus drifted towards the Hyperion's bridge, bypassing the psyches of crewmen and officers as he went. No servitors...strange. Finally reaching the Captain, Marcellus extended a needle of psychic power and gently poked Raynor in the back of the head.

-Knock, knock.-
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:41 am

Nutstoyoutoo wrote:I appreciate good reviews and especially appreciate good criticism: tell me what you like, what you don't, and why or why not! To be a little more specific:

Plot: can you understand it?
Characters: Funny? Well-rounded? Interesting? (or not?)
Writing style: Too disjointed, too long/short, the bad grammar gives you a headache, etc?


Plot: I like the sense of mystery you are building up, especially the scenes where we learn that the trans-universe jump wasn't an accident. It is really your best hook so far, other than merging 40k with SC of course.

Characters: An extremely wide variety of characters, they all seem to have their own 'voices' so to speak and several of them are quite fun to read as well.

Writing style: the grammar isn't an issue as long as it is improved over time :) Going back to the plot, your short scenes really draw me in so yeah, it works for me.
Shadowhawk's Shade My 40k/writing/review blog. You can check out all my reviews here.

My current fiction projects - Veergati: The Scarlet Records, an Indian space opera inspired by Star Trek.
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:49 am

heck dude. Now that last line has me piqued!
Shadowhawk's Shade My 40k/writing/review blog. You can check out all my reviews here.

My current fiction projects - Veergati: The Scarlet Records, an Indian space opera inspired by Star Trek.
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:22 am

Dropship Me Love You Long Time
Low orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


"Who's there?"

Several Marines nearby snickered at Raynor's outburst. Nonplussed, Raynor glared them into silence before concentrating inward. Hey! You! Yeah, I'm talking to you!

No answer came back. Raynor activated his comm: "Matt, I think whoever's in charge over there just tried to get in touch with me."

The answer was immediate: "Well, tell them to stop shooting us! I've got six Wraiths down and their bombers will be in weapons-range in under a minute!"

'Broadcasting' again, Raynor 'yelled' as loud as he could: Oy! That's MY people you're shooting up there! Either help us kill some Zerg, or piss the hell off!

A dry, amused mental chuckle came back: Oh, really? And should we decide to do neither?

Listen up, dipshit. My name is Jim Raynor, and I'm the Koprulu Sector's #1 wanted man for a reason. The Dominion's doing their damnedest to kill me, the Zerg are trying to eat my ship, and half the time the Protoss want me dead to boot. You want to shoot me too? Get the hell in line!

The voice came back, more cautious this time: Koprulu?

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Starport, near Lark's Crossing
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Imperial Hawks that day.

A carpet of Tyranid forms covered the nearby landscape, new organisms replacing the ones reduced to bloody smears by human guns. Friendly aircraft bombarded the 'nids, tearing some apart with rockets and dueling with flying bioforms above.

Corporal Thorosis had been ecstatic at the thought of a nice, mindless enemy to fight. Leave the politics to the officers: he and his team would hold the line! Their bolters had run dry hours ago, but the technosorcerers had armed the Marines with strange new weapons. Thorosis found that he already missed the whish-BLAM! of his trusty bolter; this new gun fired many smaller, armor-penetrating rounds like an autogun.

Of course, the Corporal and his two remaining Marines had little enough time to shoot; with Tyranids pressing on all sides of the humans' spaceport, the Marines found themselves rushing from place to place to reinforce battered defense positions. The Imperial Hawks didn't mind; any chance to use chainswords was a good one, after all! Nevertheless, even the Imperial Hawk's boundless stores of faith were taxed by the endless numbers of enemies. The armored humans were defending well, a hill of corpses around the entire spaceport showing the impressive range of their infantry weapons. Thorosis spared a (possibly heretical) prayer to the Emperor for their continued morale: he had seen many 'normal' humans break under lesser Tyranid assaults than this.

Armor, air support, artillery, Space Marines - it still wasn't enough. The Imperial Hawk wasn't clairvoyant and had no hint of Warp sorcery in him, but he knew in his bones that they were doomed if the assault kept up. The humans' technosorcery had kept the guns supplied with ammunition, but the Corporal knew that their magic would reach its limit eventually.

We need a miracle, he thought to himself as his team ran to reinforce another flank.

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Dropship Me Love You Long Time
Low orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


"They need a miracle."

"Sir?"

"Sergeant, where would you put the fireworks down there?" Raynor asked. Psychic conversations with crazy humans could wait: he had Zerg to shoot and a colony to evac. "We've got the Hyperion standing by in low orbit, so where should she put the Yamato strike?"

The Marine extended his gauntlet, the fingers pointing towards a nearby mining operation. Despite the brown carpet of Zerg forms covering the nearby landscape, several Vespene refineries stood tall amid the wave of creatures. "Sir, that area's overrun, just like everything else. Thing is, that refinery's automated. It's kept producing more Vespene gas even as the Zerg have come through, and it's been storing the excess."

Raynor's grasp of chemistry hadn't gotten past high school, but he held a doctorate in Blowing Shit Up. "Good idea." He activated his long-range comms with the Hyperion: "Lieutenant!"

"Yessir?"

"Grid-square B-4, target coordinates 43 by 82." He knew it was cheesy, they knew it was cheesy, but fuckitall it was still fun: "Bring the rain."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Power flowed from the two chained novas in the Hyperion's core, the massive Yamato generators spooling up as the old girl's crew began the time-honored 'rain dance' once again. Projectors studded along the ship's bow sparked to life, barely-understood technology blinking ready lights across the board. As the vacuum of space hummed to the titanic energies exerted on it, a single boom extended into the 'eye' created by the magnetic storm.

Right on time, the bomb on the boom went off.

The hydrogen bomb held in the 'eye' detonated on schedule, the generators barely containing the runaway fusion reaction. The newborn star pushed for an escape, and found one as one side of its electromagnetic prison disappeared. The new star followed the path of least resistance, speeding away from the Hyperion and towards the hapless planet of Agria. Dispersed slightly by the atmosphere, the uncontrolled reaction nevertheless continued towards the ground.

Now a wave rather than a sphere, the runaway explosion found resistance in its path, as dirt and an unfortunate Vespene refinery blocked its path. The wave crashed against the resistance, turning the refinery into slag and igniting the volatile gas stored within. The entire area brewed up with an earthshaking roar, a gigantic cloud of dirt rising from the crater carved out of the earth.

Raynor wondered how the Hyperion had beat its last firing time by two seconds. The remaining Mordians and Space Marines were too disciplined to react.

The Agrian colonists shouted thanks to God for bitch-slapping the unbelievers with His Almighty Pimp Hand.

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Outside starport
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 998.M41


It was some type of groundcar; Two couldn't tell any more than that. His knee still pulped and near-useless, the Marine carefully seated himself in the rear of the vehicle as the prisoner - soldier, he reminded himself - started the engine and pointed out the basics of driving it to a Mordian. With the two Marines in the back and three wounded Mordians crammed in the front seat, the last living humans near Lark's Crossing roared off-road to the starport.

"Heh. Clown car," Walker giggled. His body was slipping into shock due to internal bleeding, so the Agrian's suit was giving him a constant stream of powerful opiates. He tried desperately to look navigate with his HUD, but kept getting distracted by all the shiny lights. Walker didn't need to bother; the Mordians simply drove towards the noise of artillery.

...

With the starport visible on a hill less then a klick away, the 'clown car' roared towards safety in a cloud of gravel and Zergling guts. They skidded up the slope, artillery ripping into the Zerg on either side. A Hydralisk slithered itself in front of the groundcar, losing its life in a hail of Impaler spikes but stopping the truck cold. The Mordians piled out from the front seats, firing their lasguns at random. The Marines left the groundcar by the simple expedient of going through it: Two's armored bulk crumpled the front seat, while Walker scrapped the engine under his half-ton weight.

The humans stumbled onward, one Mordian disappearing under a Roach's bulk. His screams were cut short by the creature's scything claws, the Roach's snarls by Two's plasma-fire. Walker's aim was bad even at the best of times, and now was hardly his shining moment. His Impaler jerked at random, the colonist struggling to keep the weapon level with the onrushing Zerg. Two's accuracy was near-perfect, even when firing a plasmagun while running. The Marine's shredded knee and his weapon's inaccurate fire betrayed him, however; the Imperial Hawk was unable to slag a Baneling that rolled steadily closer.

A Mordian Guardsman changed course, firing his lasgun from the hip as he charged the Baneling. His lasgun 'clicked' on empty, but he never needed it. Flinging himself at the rolling bomb, the Mordian was consumed in a ball of Zerg acid.

BOOM.

Even in his drug-addled state, Walker could see the true danger coming. Its footfalls shook the ground, its form blotted out the weak sunlight. Its roar toppled the group's last Mordian Guardsman, the unarmored man flopping over from the assault. Seeing the monster looming over them, Walker jumped for safety.

He almost made it.

The Ultralisk's tusk swept through the air, cutting through Walker's right arm like the neosteel simply wasn't there. Walker staggered under the strain, wincing as the shock blindsided him. His Impaler dropping along with Walker's gun-hand, the Agrian screamed and went down.

Two sidestepped the Ultralisk's other tusk, but his training betrayed him. The Space Marine had practiced close-combat manuevers for decades, but never with a shattered knee. Training made him jump to dodge the whistling death, but Two's left leg crumpled as he tried to land. Ignoring the pain lancing through his body and turning his weapon to face the monster, Two rapidly fired three plasma rounds into the softer flesh under the Ultralisk's armored head.

The monster bellowed in rage and pain, but Two's plasmagun vented its stored plasma from side vents, as its machine spirit responded to the Marine's abuse. Frakkitall, the Marine thought sourly, before dropping his plasmagun and falling back on his combat knife.

The muted roar of Impaler fire made him look up.

...

Their machine spirits spitting death downrange, the three unhurt Marines of Corporal Thorosis's command advanced with measured steps on the Tyranid. Although the .50-caliber shells bounced like rain off the leviathan's armored hide, the monster closed its eyes and turned its attention away from the two downed Marines.

Matching steps, the Space Marines dropped their new weapons and drew their trusted chainswords. Accelerating to a 40kph sprint, the three Marines leapt onto the advancing creature.

The Ultralisk was built to sweep away Terran infantry and Protoss Zealots, and to tear apart armored structures with its claws. The creature was prepared for the little ones to use their metal-fire, while its tusks sliced them into pieces.

It was not prepared for the little ones to leap on its back.

The Space Marines did not aim for the killing blow. Less-experienced Space Marines, when battling massive Tyranids or Daemons, would look for a jugular vein or carotid artery to cut with one stroke. More experienced bug-hunters, like the four Imperial Hawks, aimed to kill such large targets with hundreds of cuts.

Three, landing on the monster's midsection, aimed for the backbone and grimly dug in with his chainsword. The creature shuddered and attempted to buck him off, causing the chainsword to bite deeper. Four landed on the upper thigh of the Ultralisk's front left leg, where he dug into the gaps between its armor plates and drew streams of black ichor from the creature.

Thorosis landed chainsword-first on the Ultralisk's armored neck. His weapon skreed off the monster's organic plate, but the Marine used the opportunity to dig his combat knife into the flesh between its plates. Levering himself up, the Corporal flung himself at the creature's head. The creature's head was too well-armored for a killing blow, but the Marine quickly grabbed the monster's attention.

The Ultralisk roared, bucking and waving its head to dislodge the Imperial Hawk. Thorosis grimly hung on, batting at the creature's eyes when they opened and driving his chainsword at any weakpoint which presented itself. Three, however, did the real damage: his chainsword finally finished sawing through the Ultralisk's main backbone with a murderous snarl. Although the monster had two more spines to support its weight, it found itself sagging under the extra strain, which wasn't helped by Four finding what passed for an Ultralisk's hamstrings and severing them.

Dropping to three legs, the creature bellowed its anger at the little ones. If it had independent thoughts, the Ultralisk would have been thinking little ones breaking the rules! Its confusion was short-lived: even as the Space Marines moved to cripple it, the Ultralisk's life was cut short by a blob of plasma.

...

He was bleeding out internally. His suit wasn't responding properly. Hell, he'd lost an arm. Walker wasn't sure how he'd managed to grab, aim, and fire that crazy's plasmagun into the 'lisk's open mouth. Still, it worked just fine. The plasma-cloud hit the softer skin inside the Ultralisk's mouth, flash-frying its brain almost instantly.

Adrenaline giving him a fresh boost of energy, Walker staggered to his feet. He looked around: the armored crazy was already trying to stand, but only one of the unarmored humans had lived through the fight. Walker reached for the man with his remaining arm, helping him to his feet, before moving his armor's shoulder over to the armored man. The two wounded Marines slowly staggered onward, Two leaning on Walker and hopping clumsily on his right leg, while the Mordian Guardsman tried to hold him up.

...

Two, seeing the wounded soldier fire his plasmagun to kill the looming monster and support the other Imperial Hawks, felt a sudden and fierce surge of pride. Grabbing the soldier's strange weapon and wrenching his severed arm from the trigger guard, the Marine brought the unfamiliar gun up in time to kill more small Tyranids.

The three uninjured Marines, on seeing their target die, quickly leapt off of the monster's back and sprinted back to their dropped weapons. Picking up his new weapon and firing downrange into the Tyranid mob, Thorosis was disturbed by Imperial-encrypted chatter coming in over the vox. "...units, report status. This is 157th Fleet Command. All Imperial units, report status."

Short on time, Thorosis responded with a picture. Looking down at the struggling humans, the Corporal snapped a holopict offhand before returning to the battle.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The holopict is dominated by two Marines, one Terran and one Imperial. The Terran is missing an arm and the Space Marine is dragging one leg behind; they hold each other up while struggling forward. The Space Marine is firing an Impaler rifle one-handed at a nearby Hydralisk, while a bolt of plasma from the Terran Marine's appropriated plasmagun slags a leaping Zergling. A Mordian Guardsman desperately tries to hold up the Space Marine, his face locked in a grimace of pain, while a Viking descends behind the group on twin pillars of flame.

The pict reached the Armageddon's sensoria, the powerful arrays picking up the broadcast and routing it to stations fleetwide. Astonished fleet crewmen spread the holo to friends and officers nearby, who did the same to others. Comms officers watched over communications at every station to keep such seditious pictures from spreading, and would have stopped the holopict - if they hadn't been dead or busy elsewhere.

The crew of the 157th Fleet knew only that something had gone very, very wrong. The Warp misjump had hit them all, and rumors abounded fleetwide in the absence of accurate information. The pict from Agria hit the Imperials like a thunderstorm.

A Terran would see two injured Marines fighting for survival against the Zerg. The Imperials saw a near-mythical Son of the Emperor 'deigning' to give and receive help from two humans. No matter that one of the humans was a noble (judging by his ridiculously-expensive powered armor), a mere Guardsman was supporting a Marine! Obviously, the Emperor had guided the 157th Fleet to an outpost of Imperial humans who were under attack by vile Tyranids, and the situation on the ground was desperate enough that the Marines needed the lowly Guardsmens' help.

When an unsecured broadcast from the Governor-General accidentally revealed that such powered armor was cheap and used universally, that the local humans had never heard of the Emperor, and that the plasmagun-wielding 'noble' was a lowly PDF trooper, the reaction was...impressive, to say the least.
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:23 am

Chapter 11


Starport, near Lark's Crossing
Agria, Terran Dominion,
June 19, 988.M41


The Imperial Hawk called 'Two' watched his way of life end.

As far as endings go, it wasn't particularly impressive. A more ignorant individual might even call it routine - Two knew better.

A Mordian Guardsman was being sealed into Terran CMC armor.

The Guardsman took several clumsy steps, hesitantly reaching his hands outward. His hands lost inside the "arm" of the suit, the Mordian had to translate his own hand movement into the massive gauntlets. Still unsteady, the Imperial slowly took hold of a rifle held out to him. The man-sized Impaler would have been a squad support gun without the armor, but the CMC-assisted Mordian could wield it like a lasgun.

A true-blue Imperial was using non-STC xenotechnology. A Guardsman was holding enough firepower and armor to possibly threaten a Marine. A loyal Mordian was cooperating with possible techno-heretics.

Despite his near-automatic revulsion, Two laughed quietly inside his helm. Well, this should be different.

Tertiary landing bay, battleship Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M988.441


Sergeant Mathias was tired. Sergeant Mathias was worn-out. Sergeant Mathias had been thrown through the Warp, fought slaves, been (barely) pardoned by a Commisssar several times, and had assaulted and cleared a grand cruiser. Sergeant Mathias wanted nothing more than to choke down a ration bar and collapse in his rack for ten hours.

Yet when Sergeant Mathias landed on the Armageddon again after clearing the disturbingly empty Implacable, he mentally kissed his rack goodbye and got back to sergeant-work. Something had gotten the old behemoth stirred up; small knots of crewmen were clustered around the holo-players in the landing bay, arguing and yelling. Checking his flanks, Mathias could already see a fistfight breaking out between two bluebellies on his left, and a Guardsman with his right hand disturbingly held in his pocket - ganger, possibly. Hand in his pocket like that, in a situation like this? He's got a weapon, shiv or laspistol most likely.

The entire crew seemed to be standing around with their asses hanging out, and if there was one thing that Mathias did well - "HEY!" Grabbing a pistol-sized autogun that he'd "borrowed" years ago for emergencies, Mathias emptied an extended clip into the ceiling. Veterans ducked for cover as the sound of ricochets pattered around the room. Several of them drew weapons, before quickly hiding them at the sight of the Lady-Commissar of the fleet exiting the Shark assault boat. Mathias deliberately ignored them, giving his Level One Glare of Doom around the bay while continuing in his best Sergeant Voice:

"You SCUM-SUCKING MAGGOTS! Anyone care to explain why no one's doing the Emperor's work today?"

A naval rating, one hand clutched around an Imperial icon, dared to speak up: "Heresy-"

Mathias rounded on the unfortunate man: "HERESY? That's for the priests to decide!" The sergeant flinched internally, realizing that he was usurping the Commissar's job. Oh well, too late to back out now. "You think that you know better than the priests?"

Withering under the sergeant's gaze, the rating squirmed uncomfortably: "N-no-"

"Good! The Mentors have a Chaplain around here, and if any of you pukes wants to tell him about heresy then I know he'd love to ask you about it!" As Mathias expected, the mere mention of a Space Marine Chaplain shut the crowd up. Whispers and muted conversations broke out, and Mathias knew that he'd only slowed the real problem down slightly, but he gave himself a mental slap on the back. As long as they're working, they're not rioting. Here's hoping it lasts.

If there was one thing that Sergeant Mathias did well, it was administering a good ass-chewing. Right now, the entire crew seemed to need it.

...

"Good work, sergeant."

"Thank you, ma'am." Mathias was sweating inside; he had learned from long experience to never trust praise from a Commissar.

Reinholdt, however, simply gazed around them at the rapidly-emptying landing bay. "Sergeant, can you tell me what in His Name is going on?"

"Wish I knew myself, ma'am. I think you should get to the bridge soon, though."

The Commissar merely cocked an eyebrow, waiting for Mathias to continue.

"Um, Lady-Commissar, if the scuttlebutt is true then there's heresy or treason going on. Fleet, Guard, Mechanicus - then they'll all want to know what position the Commissars will be taking."

Reinholdt grimaced. "And I speak for the Commissars," she muttered, almost to herself. She paused, before grabbing her red Commissar sash and handing it to the sergeant. "Mathias, take your men and deal with the lower-decks problems. Restore order, no matter what. You have my authority in this matter."

Sergeant Mathias handled the Lady-Commissar's symbol of authority with more care than he would give to a leaking plasma cannon. "Ma'am?" The Lady-Commissar in question, however, was already sprinting towards an exit.

"Well, shit."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cobra destroyer Compensating For Something
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M988.41


Nicodemus felt exposed without his armor. He agreed with Governor-General Kalj's suggestion: since the local humans were used to powered armor, an unarmored Space Marine would likely be more intimidating than another human encased in overlarge armor. Still, the Marine hadn't packed for diplomacy (in fact, he hadn't really packed, either), so Captain Nicodemus of the Mentors Legion was somewhat apprehensive about conducting a diplomatic First Contact mission in the Marine equivalent of a bathrobe. He cleared his thoughts and reached for his handheld vox: enough worrying about that - not when there's plenty of other things to worry about.

"Sergeant, tell me the situation aboard the fleet."

The ever-loyal Sergeant Cato responded quickly: "Complicated, sir."

"Complicated?"

"Actually, scratch that. It left 'complicated' behind several hours ago and has reached 'clusterfrak' status. Any more of this and I'm requesting orbital support."

Nicodemus suppressed a grin. "Sergeant, we are the orbital support."

"Well, that's good to hear, my lord. I'd hate for things to go more pear-shaped than they already have." Cato got to business: "My lord, the fleet's as confused as a Khornate berserker in the Land of Peace and Happiness. They've seen a holo of Space Marines working alongside non-Imperial humans, and that's confused the piss out of them."

The Captain frowned. "And how do they know that the humans are non-Imperial? Are communications that bad fleetwide right now?"

"Worse than that, my lord. No comm security, and emissions control is a terrible joke. The fleet captains prioritized battle-readiness above anything else, and fleet security took the short straw. As for why they know, the Governor-General sent out a fleetwide communique in the clear, describing what his pet psykers had found. Nearly everything with a vox picked up the broadcast."

The Marine glared over at Governor-General Kalj, who was looking nearly serene in his ceremonial armor as they waited for these..."Terrans" to show up. He knew what would happen, the bastard! Nicodemus knew that Kalj was a staunch progressive, but hadn't realized how far the man was willing to go. "Sergeant, I'm assuming that suppressing the rumor is impossible by now?"

Cato gave a short laugh. "My lord, the only thing faster than the speed of light is the speed of gossip. By now, the cargo hauler servitors are probably discussing this. If the fleet commanders spin this against the Imperial Hawks and implicate them as sympathizers, though, we could be caught in the feeding frenzy."

Nicodemus understood his veteran sergeant's worries. If the fleet commanders unified and persecuted the Imperial Hawks for cooperating with heretics, the Mentors would be forced to defend their fellow Astartes. It would be the Badab War all over again - loyal Astartes against the Imperium. The Captain snarled as he realized how the Marines been outmaneuvered by Kalj. "These Terrans had damn well better not be heretics, then." For better or worse, we're stuck with the Guard and with these Terrans.

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Cobra destroyer Compensating For Something
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, M988.41


The first formal meeting between Terran and Imperial leaders was a subdued affair, to say the least. One Terran dropship, loaded to the gills with Marines from Raynor's Raiders, met at an unofficial "halfway point" between the Imperial fleet and the sole Terran battlecruiser. A small Imperial Cobra destroyer, 'only' 2km from stem to stern, provided the agreed-upon meeting ground. Following a small craft into an interior landing bay, Raynor had to fight off a sudden stab of apprehension. Feels like I'm on the edge of an awfully steep cliff here.

Exiting the dropper with several Marines following, Raynor kept his visor open and weapons holstered. No need to start a war because he got a case of the jitters, after all. With a fireteam of his Marines standing guard behind him, Raynor watched as a small delegation approached the cooling dropship. The leading man was dressed in obviously ceremonial armor, with a subordinate carrying a massive feathered helm and several lightly-armored soldiers marching behind. Definitely a ground-pounder - a veteran, too. The man's array of scars, his wary behavior, and the state of his weapons (well-used, scratches along the sides, scorch marks near the muzzles) undermined any humor that the Raiders might have felt towards his ridiculous getup.

Stepping forward, Jim Raynor was interested to see the man's reaction to his armor. His eyes showed - fear? - at Raynor's skeleton-painted black armor, but looked almost covetous at the fireteam's CMC gear. Raynor shook off his apprehension, and extended his gauntlet for a handshake. The newcomer extended his unarmored hand without hesitation, even though an attendant held his own gauntlets nearby. Jim's opinion of the man rose again, as his steel-crusher 'hands' delicately shook the veteran's human-normal hands. He's short for a general. Kind of-

The next figure was...oh dear God what is that thing? Raynor's perception was shot down in flames by the next newcomer approaching him. Wearing a simple belted robe, and flanked by two power armored figures behind him, the "man" was over eight feet tall and built like the love child of a Siege Tank and a T-rex. The figures on either side of the 'monster' were similarly strange: one held a staff with electricity arcing over it, while the other had black armor similar to Raynor's own gear.

A now-familiar voice intruded into Raynor's thoughts. Greetings, human. Take us to your leader.

Raynor 'thought' back: I am the leader, bitch.

Manners, manners! Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Librarian Marcellus - with me are Captain Nicodemus and Chaplain Theodorus.

Jim was still annoyed. Well, "us's," what the hell are you doing here?

Funny; I was about to ask you the same thing.

...

The debate was strange for both sides: with only psykers able to take part, the normal humans were reduced to glaring at each other. This lasted until one of the Terran Marines realized that an asshole from 2nd Squad had decided to one-up their long-running team rivalry, and put itching powder in his armor. The sight of a 'nobleman' scratching himself furiously proved too much for some of the Imperial Guardsmen, which set off a round of laughter around the small landing bay.

Although the soldiers came from radically different universes, they were all veterans, and with the approval of their respective commanders they began to mingle. Impalers swapped hands with lasguns, the Guardsmen staggering under the CMC-sized weapons while the Terran marines struggled to not crush the human-scale guns. The itching Terran performed a quick-release on his armor, the pieces clunking to the floor as Guardsmen clustered around. Seeing the Imperials' obvious interest in CMC armor, the formerly-itching Terran began to slowly suit himself back up in CMC armor, with braver Guardsmen daring themselves to handle the blasphemous machinery.

Watching the mingling crowd, Nicodemus felt true fear for the first time in a half-century. What will happen to us? What will happen to Imperials in this universe? The Marine was shaken by the easy camaraderie that the Guardsmen showed with these 'Terrans,' and remembered that he had to support this techno-heresy if he wanted to keep the Astartes intact. The Imperium did not forgive treachery or heresy, even from the Emperor's favored sons: either the Terrans were not heretics, or the Imperial Hawks were. Even though Kalj's personal Guardsmen had obviously picked up his heretical habits and even though other Guardsmen might resist this lure, other Guardsmen would eventually follow their example. What will happen in the fleet, then?

...

Taking a short break from the psychic negotiations, Raynor watched Faoud strip-down to get the itching powder out of his suit. Raynor reminded himself to have a 'chat' with both squads; things had turned out alright today, but if that shit had happened in battle - not good at all. Better fix that rivalry 'fore it gets worse. Turning away from the Imperials and the crowd of soldiers, Raynor opened a private channel with Matt Horner, commander of the Hyperion.

"Matt, make sure the bar's got a handle of the good stuff tonight. I plan to get mighty hammered once this's all sorted out."

"Sir?"

Raynor reconsidered. I've been dry for half a month now, might as well keep it that way. "Nevermind. Listen, these people say they've called off their fighters. Is that true?"

"Yessir. Their bombers - fighters, I mean - turned away before we started shooting."

Raynor let out a breath that he didn't realize he'd been holding. "Damn good. Let's hope it stays that way. Get everyone down to the Lark's Crossing Starport - we'll need the place to land our troops."

"Sir? You mean, we're holding here?"

"Matt, these people have a real hatred for the bugs. They call 'em Tyranids for some reason, but they've got some score to settle with the Zerg and I, for one, don't plan on getting in their way. 'Sides, if they're busy shooting up the bugs, that means one more habitable world that ain't getting munched by Kerrigan."

Matt paused. "Yessir, but this doesn't change the plan too much, right?"

Raynor shook his head slowly. "Matt, this changes everything."

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Admiral's quarters, Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 19, 988.M41


The Admiral watched the holovid mutely, disbelief warring with rage across his face. The chief priests from the old Sector Fleet stood by the commander, each one as incandescent as him. Imperial Hawks? Using heretical weapons, working to save non-Imperials? These people had to be contained. Had to be kept away from anyone who was still loyal. If even Space Marines could be corrupted by these...Terrans, then no normal human was safe.

Watching the holovid, Reinholdt's statement summed up both their thoughts:

"Heresy."

End Part 1
Nutstoyoutoo
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:52 pm


Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:47 pm

157th Fleet, near battleship Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 25, 998.M41

Event + 6 days


"Matt?"

"Sir?"

"About those ships..."

"You're headed to the big one, sir. The 5-klick one. Right?"

"Yeah. Only...I think we got it wrong."

"Sir?"

"That thing ain't five klicks long - looks to be twelve klicks minimum. How in the hell do they steer it anyway?"

The ship was huge. Huger than huger than huger than huge. Terran battlecruisers, the heavy hitters of any Terran fleet, were meant to dodge Protoss plasma and Zerg Scourge attacks. Raynor could see how the 'Imperial' ship would fight: this monster's a meat shield - it takes the enemy fire that would shred the smaller ships. Not that any of these monsters would be 'small,' really - their tiniest ships are the size of a Herky-bird freighter! Raynor shook his head again, still trying to wrap his head around the monster spacecraft.

An infantryman by trade, Raynor knew very little of space combat. Most of his experience in it could be summed up in three words: Don't get shot. Without Zerg numbers or the physics-defying Protoss psychic-whatsit armor, Terran ships dodged in order to live. The Imperials obviously had a different philosophy, and the technology to back it up. Passing under a leering gargoyle with a gun muzzle pointing from its mouth, Jim Raynor felt like he was watching a holovid.

"What have I gotten myself into this time...?"

Lower decks, battleship Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 25, 998.M41

Event + 6 days


It had taken five days, sixteen field executions, and more yelling than he'd cared to remember. His voice had given out on day four, and now the most he could manage was a strangled croak. His legs dragged like lead pipes, his head drooped if he let himself relax for less than a second. The Guardsmen pressed into service looked like brain-dead zombies, shuffling from riot to riot with all the enthusiasm of Whiteshields on latrine duty.

But he'd held them. It was worth it.

With the officers, priests, and commissars busy dealing with the effects of the Event, Sergeant Mathias and the Guardsmen he'd pressed into service had almost single-handedly suppressed the lower-deck riots aboard the Armageddon. Not to say that things were quiet - naval security had to break up fights or near-riots every other day, and Mathias had seen "that damn holo" everywhere he looked. The Guardsmen had put a lid on the violence, but the underlying fear and uncertainty remained. Frakitall - I've done my duty.

Attempting to clear his throat, Mathias barely managed a wheeze, which his subordinates pretended to not hear: "Right, everyone, the worst problem kids are either dead or fled. Get some chow and rack-time, 'cuz we'll be going dirtside once high command gets their panties unsorted." The exhausted men merely slumped off towards the aft barracks decks, hoping for an open place to crash in. Silently wishing he could follow them, Mathias slowly grabbed the millstone around his neck and looked at it once again.

It was a simple, innocuous garmet: a short blood-red sash, with no markings except for re-sewn areas (claws, mostly). It had saved the Sergeant's life twice already, two would-be assassins stopping at the sight of such a fearsome symbol around the Guardsman. It was a commissar's sash, and Sergeant Mathias was scared shitless of it.

Heading morosely for the main launch bay on board the Armageddon, Mathias glumly considered his options. Ditch it? Not possible. Find Reinholdt? Dangerous. (Mathias inwardly frowned at using such a casual name to refer to a damn commissar, of all people) Suicide? Warp with it, he'd end up doing that anyway. Nearing the flight deck, the Sergeant looked around for an open terminal or grease monkey that he could get directions from. Techpriest...servitor...broken servitor...Guardsman...Guardsman...oh shi-

Lady-Commissar Reinholdt (wearing a new commissar's sash) stood at attention with an honor guard of well-dressed Guardsmen behind her. As Mathias collapsed on a nearby bench to watch the spectacle, an unfamiliar lander was towed forward, its front ramp facing the grim Imperial official. One man left the lander, dressed for ground weather and unarmed - a stark contrast to the well-armed and hostile Guardsmen.

The man exchanged a few halting words with the Lady-Commissar, obviously unfamiliar with Low Gothic. The well-armed woman responded curtly, before spinning on her heel and heading towards the Techpriest near Mathias. As she drew near, her eyes widened in surprise at the familiar Guardsman slumped in the corner. "Sergeant!" Keen survival instincts overcoming his exhaustion, Mathias jumped to his feet and responded as loudly as he could. Ignoring his whisper-loud sound-off, Reinholdt quickly asked, "Where's the medbay? We need to see the VIP there."

Oh, Emperor...Mathias knew where the primary medbay was very, very well. He and his men had already fought off three separate armed attacks on the damn place, although he'd heard that the Imperial Hawks had taken over guarding it. The Sergeant also knew very well why an unfamiliar-looking man would be sent to the medbay under armed escort. Mathias soundlessly kissed his rack goodbye for another few hours, cursing that damn holo yet again. "This way."

Primary medical wing, battleship Armageddon
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 25, 998.M41


This is getting too damn familiar.

Private Walker of the Agrian Militia once again regained consciousness after a long blackout. His eyes slowly flickering open, the colonist tried to take in his surroundings: med bay, at least. He tried for a "Hello, is anyone there?" which came out as "mghmmmhl."

A too-familiar red-armored figure in the corner stirred at Walker's voice, the soldier quickly leaving the room as Walker worked his way back into consciousness. While the colonist was busy quietly freaking out over the skull-emblazoned candles on top of the medical equipment and the grptesque painting in the corner, Jim Raynor quietly appeared at the door. "Hey. You busy?"

Walker waved the unfamiliar man over, freaking out again at the sight of the Koprulu Sector's most wanted criminal and that he'd just waved with a stump. "Um. Hi." Raynor, used to the response, merely grabbed a nearby chair and sat down facing the injured Agrian. "This seat taken?" The colonist shook his head mutely, while Raynor took the opportunity to study his surroundings.

Finally coming to a few internal conclusions, Walker asked, "S-sir, I'm not on a regular ship, am I?"

"Heh. What gave it away?"

Walker winced, before responding dryly, "The floating skull poking me with a needle kind of let me in on the secret."

Jim barked a short laugh. "Heh, yup. Private, I'm here to help you out a bit. These people...they don't really know what to do with you right now."

The Agrian felt his long-suppressed military instincts returning almost automatically: "Sir, what'd I do wrong?" Ass-covering and shameless groveling are universal traits, after all.

"Private, you lost an arm to an Ultralisk, then turned around and shot the bug dead with your off hand, with a gun that explodes a lot."

"Wait, it explodes?"

"Yeah, didn't you know? Look - these people see things a little differently than you. Those red-armored types? They're called Space Marines for some reason, live for centuries and spend the whole time fighting. These 'Imperials' look up to each of 'em like Superman."

"So?"

"Private, damn near everyone here's seen a holo of you holding up a Space Marine and using his plasmagun. They say you killed an Ultralisk, and that four Space Marines went to kill you and barely survived. Hell, the Marines themselves are calling you 'Techmarine' Walker, and they've been protecting you for the past few days. I know it's all rumors, but plenty of people believe them - they want to believe it."

"Wait, why? Look, I'm just an old SCV driver who couldn't keep his mouth shut when the militia types came calling."

Raynor sighed. "Yeah, but these 'Imperials' are real scared right now. They came from another universe, we think, and they don't know how to get home. The general here's fighting some battle with the other brass in the fleet, and he wanted a role model to inspire his men. When that damn holo came out, he put you up on a pedestal. Raynor grinned at the Agrian's horrified face: "Tell me, Private - how's the life of fame and fortune treating you?"

Armory, battlecruiser Hyperion
High orbit, Agria, Terran Dominion
June 25, 998.M41

Event + 6 days


Rory Swann, Senior Chief of the Hyperion, watched as a collection of the new 'Imperials' walked cautiously into the main armory, weapons holstered but obviously on their toes. Bet those crazy techies wouldn't let 'em get close to this stuff normally, Swann thought to himself. According to the translators, the Imperial's slang word for their red-robe techs translated roughly as a "cogboy," and Swann kinda liked the name.

"Arright everyone!" Swann yelled to his own people, orange-wearing grease monkeys straightening up all across the Hyperion's armory. "Our guests today are some of the craziest S.O.B.s from a whole universe of batshit-eaters, and they're here to play with our toys. Your 'phones can translate most of that rock-grinding they call a language, so give 'em what they want and we don't get hurt!" His people chuckled, some fairly nervously.

Swann didn't blame them. Having outfitted the few Reapers that Raynor kept aboard the Hyperion, Swann had seen absolute murderous insanity up close and personal. These 'Imperials,' apparently from a nice little deathtrap world called 'Catachan,' made the psychotic Reapers look pretty normal. Hell, if the translator-shit was working right, apparently the only reason people lived on Catachan was to breed more stone-cold badasses! "The hell have you gotten us into this time, cowboy?" Swann muttered quietly to himself.

A tap on his shoulder made the short deck chief jump, quickly spinning around to see a 'Catachan' behind him. Tall, scarred, lean and bristling with wiry ripcord muscle, the man looked like he should belong on a Dominion Marine poster. "Damnit, boy, don't sneak up on a man like that!" Swann ordered gruffly. Inwardly, however, he was fairly impressed: decades spent in pitch-dark mines had given Swann a near-supernatural sense of hearing. Bet he's done some sneaking around of his own, Swann mused.

Swann's headset crackled. "This...thing. What it do?" The techs were a long way from making a good translator, so the two sides made do with single-word speak until then. Rory tapped the comm set the man was holding. "This? It's a Dominion-standard TD-396 comm set. Fifty klick broadcast radius at worst conditions, plenty more when ECM is down. Solar panel here, headset here. We nabbed a bunch from the Dominion a little while back, so there's more around somewhere."

"Fifty...how much?" The man looked shell-shocked. Swann roughly grabbed the comm set with the claw on his left arm, his hydraulic 'hand' quickly clunking around the fist-sized comm set. Swann knew from experience that the set could be held by resocc'ed Marines, and didn't worry about it breaking. "Alright, watch this." Quickly entering the command channel for the Agrian ground teams, Swann handed the device back to the Catachan soldier. "Here. Talk to your people on the ground, if you want. There's another crate of the things in the corner, number..." consulting his datapad, "...A65. Grey one, green stripes, over there in the corner. Take it if you want."

The man looked like a stranded fish. Weirdos, Swann thought sourly, before going back to work on a balky Banshee gunship.

...

Major Detgaryev of the Catachani 421st Regiment was in his personal Heaven. Detgaryev's few personal friends would be surprised by this, considering that the Major was almost completely irreligious. Detgaryev noticed none of this - he held his own Holy Grail. A comm set, small enough to fit in his gear and tough enough to stand up to abuse? Rechargeable, capable of ground-to-orbit communications? Simple, easy to use, and able to monitor multiple channels?

Forget the Emperor - Major Detgaryev had found his new God. He'd already thrown the comm set into a wall, pounded it with his rifle butt, and then picked it up and successfully turned it on (ignoring the shocked stares from nearby 'Terran' techpriests. Eh, cogboys - what'cha gonna do?). It had taken the Major less than a minute to understand most of its switches, and he was already monitoring the Imperial ground command channels, along with his Catachani regimental radio band. He'd easily stuffed it into one of his kit pouches, and simply holding the device under a nearby lumen had recharged it slightly. Cracking open crate A65 had shown Detgaryev the best sight of his life: enough comm sets to equip every man in his entire regiment.

No more backpack-sized sets, rationed out one by one to his company commanders! No more squinting through static, hoping for a single word to make it through the jungle! No more raiding enemies simply for power to recharge his radios!

The Mordian commanders might turn their nose at "heretical technology," but most of the Guard commanders in the 157th Fleet were common soldiers, promoted to their positions after the Trieste disaster. Give them a chance to get miracle radios like these, and the Guardsmen would snap them up in a second, keeping their old sets around just to appease the commissars and techpriests. Major Detgaryev turned his mind to one of the most important tasks of his life: grabbing every single one of these miracle radios before the other Guard commanders could get their paws on them.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Three hours later

Waving the last of his grease monkeys goodbye as the Hyperion's main armory closed for the "night," Rory Swann spotted a new arrival waiting in the corner. Ignoring the shadow-shrouded man, the chief noncom of the "Hype" grabbed a small cooler that had been roughly shoved into the corner, dragging it out onto the deck and popping the top. As the other man came within a few meters of Swann, the short man turned and threw. "Catch."

Raynor grabbed the beer out of the air, seating himself on the cooler as Swann dragged over a nearby stool. The two men knew the ritual by heart, and each one quickly polished through their first beer without a word. Swann waited until they'd opened the second one before asking the question:

"So, cowboy, whadd'ya think?"

"I...I dunno."

"What? So they're crazy. What else is new?"

"Swann, I got a look at their history."

"...oh. That bad?"

"Worse. Worse than you could even imagine. They pull shit that makes Mengsk look like a saint, and I'm dead serious 'bout that, too. Genocide, torture, experiments like you wouldn't even believe. You seen a servitor yet?"

"Yeah, they showed me this ugly-looking robot. Looked like some idiot tried to put vat-grown flesh on a-"

"Swann, that isn't man-made."

"...holy shit! That was a person once?"

"Yeah, that's about what I thought. First time I read through what they call normal, I wanted to kill every last one of 'em."

"But?"

"Swann, I don't know that we can judge 'em, really. We Terrans, we made our own monsters. Mengsk, the Confederacy, the UED, Kerrigan..." Raynor trailed off with a wince. "But the Imperials, they had Chaos."

"Which is?"

"Think voices in your head. Monsters that've lived since damn near the dawn of time that want to eat you for breakfast. Things that're literally from your own nightmares, working alongside your next-door neighbor to slice 'n dice your family into hamburger. The psychic had to show me some of his own memories to get home just how bad it is - said he wouldn't even dare that much in their old 'verse, that the demons might find him. Looked dead serious about it too."

"Damn." The two men finished their beers in unison, Raynor popping the cap of the next one with practiced ease while Swann wrenched the top with his prosthetic arm. They drank silently for another minute, each trying to come to grips with the new arrivals.

Swann scratched his head, breaking the moment. "Look, cowboy, I ain't no fill-so-fur," he began, drawling the words out like a stereotypical Rimworlder hick. "Still, we gotta call it by what we see. These Imperials might be bad, but they're still human, and right now we got ourselves a little bug cleaning to do." Raynor laughed lightly, trying not to think about his role in the Zerg. Swann cut off his boss's self-pity sharply: "Cowboy, out here things are bad enough that even the Dominion beats the alternative. If Mengsk brought his 'cruisers and Marines up here to actually fight the Zerg instead of circling round his core worlds, I'd cheer the bastard on myself."

Raynor nodded. "I don't like it. I don't like compromising, I don't want to work with these murdering bastards. Mengsk is backstabbing scum, but the Imperials could show him plenty about plain meanness. They-" Swann interrupted Raynor with a wave of his claw, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. They're bastards, but they're human bastards. Don't forget that."

The chief armorer chugged his beer, let out a massive belch, and left Raynor with a cooler of booze and Swann's answer to his unasked question.

Starport, near Lark's Crossing
Agria, Terran Dominion
June 25, 998.M41

Event + 6 days


Tychus Findley, badass extraordinaire, was officially im-fucking-pressed by these Imperials.

Sure, their armor was shit and the less said about their piddly laser weapons, the better. Still, Tychus hadn't gotten all tech-heady like Raynor seemed to be - fartin' around with a fancy battlecruiser? THAT same Raynor? Tychus appreciated good morale and discipline when he saw it, and these Imperials had it in spades. Those crazy bastards walked straight into Hell, using their laser guns to make a wall of rounds downrange as they marched towards the Zerg. With language and about twenty other problems keeping them from working together too well, the Imperials and Agrians (and some Raiders) had cautiously deployed together: an armored Terran Marine marched at each side of the Imperial's ten-man blocks of soldiers.

His Impaler scything a bloody harvest of Zerglings, Findley chuckled and chewed his ever-present cigar as his assigned team kept moving forward. "Yup, each and every one of these bastards with armor and a real gun..." The psychotic Marine smiled as they continued to advance, lost in dreams of Zerg-smashing. The anvil is fan-fucking-tastic - now for the hammer.

...

THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!

Fireteam 1, 2nd Squad, Raynor's Raiders hit dirt hard. Launched from a dropship at twenty feet up, the four men smacked down and rolled as one. As the Marines standing up together, John slower than the others because of his Marauder suit, "The Big 1" blinked HUDs into position and entered the fray.

Most Terran Marines were resocialized criminals, sent out more as cannon fodder than as true soldiers. Given rudimentary training and aggression inhibitors, they were swarmed by Zerg forms as they struggled to maintain fire discipline, let alone maneuver together.

Raynor's Raiders were a different story. Drilled constantly by Raynor and well-armed and well-trained by Rory Swann, each Marine operated seamlessly as part of a greater whole. With each squad's Virtual Intelligence (VI) coordinating fire lanes, the men of the Raiders operated together like a psychotic, bloodstained jigsaw puzzle.

Davorin's Impaler bullets bisected a Zergling leaping for Tiep in Fireteam 2, while John's concussive grenades smacked into a faraway Hydra and detonated. Taking point, Davorin handled nearby enemies, while John launched standard Marauder-issue grenades at medium-range targets. Vlad handled anti-air work, while Irving's long-barreled Impaler sniped faraway targets. 2nd Squad's three fireteams operated similarly, the twelve men walking forward in a formation dubbed the "Iron Curtain."

The men advanced silently, broadcasting nothing except telemetry data over the squad band. Visors down and vision consumed by their HUDs, the Raiders advanced like machines, their enemies appearing as red-highlighted outines instead of creatures. There was time enough to talk after the fight. Right now, it was past time to go bug-hunting.

With Imperials advancing from the unconquered Starport and air-dropped Raiders smashing the Zerg from behind, the alien advance was ground to pieces. Although the Imperials were too inexperienced to aim for Overlords, the Raiders took special care to kill the floating controllers and deprive the local Zerg of any real brains. Boots, both groxhide and armored, thudded across the ichor-soaked plain as the hammer finally reached the anvil and destroyed the last Zerg forms in the area. Fire controls kept the Terrans from firing on each other, their shouts and occasional smacks to the head making the Imperials do the same.

Smoke and dirt drifted across the battlefield as the last sounds of combat died out, the inhuman snarls of Zerglings fading under the brakatabraka of Impalers and crack-crack-crack of massed lasgun fire. The smoke slowly cleared under the low wind, revealing armored shapes moving through the gloom. Steam hissed from red-hot Impalers and lasgun clips, the only other sounds the squish of boots on Zerg corpses and the breathing of recently blooded men.

Stepping forward over a small hillock of Hydralisk corpses, Findley chuckled and opened his visor, letting out a cloud of cigar smoke.

"Hell, that was fun. Wanna do it again?"
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:26 pm

Aha, more!

The clash of universes is becoming more apparent than ever, and is actually very enjoyable to watch, especially with things like the vox sets. I'm enjoying the characters a great deal, but there are a couple of things that stand out:

1) Raynor's Raiders were calling the lasguns piddly, but if I remember right in the first fight against the Zerg the marines seemed to think they were better than their Impalers, and only seemed to stop using them once they ran out of ammo. I'm no expert on the Starcraft universe (my experience limited to a few games on a friend's PC and reading some reviews), but I'd be inclined to say that the lasgun would be better, especially if that's what you were saying before.

2) I'm finding the Imperial Hawks a little...informal for marines. There's some interesting stuff going on here, such as having standard battle brothers have only numbers (though I believe that your Corporal (Thoronis?) should probably have the rank of sergeant, seeing as he's a squad leader; I appreciate that this isn't the case in the normal army, but we are talking of marines here), but at the same time they feel less like the sort of warrior monk-knights that they should be and more like regular soldiers. Marines generally talk in a much more formal manner than they do, and while there seems to be a rather light hearted tone to this it seems rather out of place.

Still, these are fairly minor quibbles, and I'm having a great time reading this nonetheless. Looking forward to more.
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Re: Across the Void: a 40k/Starcraft story

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:36 pm

Good points. Part of the problem is that I hadn't truly planned the whole story when I began it. I had ideas, sure, but a monster like this is becoming takes more thought and nose-to-the-grindstone research than I'd originally put in. Certain things, like the good Corporal being a Corporal at all, were just plain screwups on my part. Others, like the Imperial Hawks' internal monologues being too informal, were mostly b/c I hadn't mentally sketched out how a Marine would think differently from a human. In my defense, they barely speak vocally, and do so mostly in as few words as possible. Still, that's one of those problems (especially their cursing, I've already gotten some well-deserved flak for that) which is too late to fix w/out heavy retconning.

Lasguns-wise, I needed to make it more clear. The SC-Marines didn't use lasguns, although the three Imperial Hawks grabbed Impaler rifles when their bolters ran dry. A lot of that's due to simple battlefield chaos: when you're trying to describe a crapload of things going on all at once, stuff gets lost in the shuffle. Oops!
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