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The Ringing of a Forge of Stars [Warhammer 40k/ Celestial forge V3||OC...ish]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Slider Zero, Apr 14, 2021.

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  1. some one

    some one Not too sore, are you?

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    Best way to go about what the MC is planning is to go out side of the imperium and stay out of its way cause as awful as it is its the only super power in the galaxy thus the only thing standing between the orks , chaos, necrons , tyranids and more from having their way with the entire galaxy unopposed, good news is being out side of the imperium and going against it are not the same as the imperium despite its size on covers less than 1% of the galaxy and there are countless places where it can’t reach due to the nature of warp travel either due to lack of warp lanes, blocking warp storms , being beyond the range of the astronomicon or simply the fact that the area in question hasn’t had its warp lanes mapped out or existing maps are out of date , so finding a nice sector size area free of imperium influence with the MC’s none warp based FTL should be simple enough

    as for what the MC should do about the imperium, my thoughts are follows , do nothing at all the imperium’s days are numbered as soon as the golden throne fails it will instantly collapse and be shattered harder than any outside enemy could hope to achieve, so just wait it out and use it as an ablative defense against stuff like the tyranids and orks while the MC builds his own faction
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2021
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  2. Acolyte

    Acolyte Know what you're doing yet?

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    I don't want to be a pedantic asshole. I just want to say that you are seriously underrepresented the kind of firepower the fleet could easily put out. There would be no Dodging it, because it would be hundreds of gigatons of missiles creating fireballs that could cover small states.

    Look at the kind of damage a 100 Megatron one can do.
    https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/

    Cite for claims

    https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/40k-source-and-feats-thread.235176/post-61615876
    https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/40k-source-and-feats-thread.235176/post-32559298


    I am all for the MC appearing awesome. But you need to at least showcase that his enemy are not nerfed. An entire fleet could easily Glass continents. How is he just Dodging that.

    But if you don't want me to bring it up say the word and I will stop.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2021
  3. Death & Gravitas

    Death & Gravitas Getting out there.

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    They are not firing the fleets weapons at full power because they have ground forces in the area and they want the STC. That’s the reason the fleet hasn’t glass the area and atmospheric attenuation of the laser is a significant loss of firepower as mentioned in the chapter.
     
  4. Acolyte

    Acolyte Know what you're doing yet?

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    You do realize that even a fraction of a percent of a Megaton scale laser is still massively powerfull. And laser attenuation has never been a problem in canon, not to effect the performance of a Lance.
     
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  5. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

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    so I woke up and saw stuff. a few replies for the people not paying attention.
    Daily reminder that Valkyrie Cores and the Frames that are the Main operating body thereof are not only capable of surviving a nuke, but have actively survived in the center of an ongoing Fusion Reaction. Anna in particular initiated said reaction on her own, using only her Impeller Field, and remained in the area until she was assured of it's stability.

    As for the other issue...
    Basically this. Regardless of what you think Lasers should act like in the setting, the kind of issue that pops up here is a real thing that exists, and the only way to get around it is to literally burn the air, which would have consequences. Do try to pay attention to more than if the appropriate biggatons are being thrown around.
     
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  6. ATP

    ATP Versed in the lewd.

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    And that is how Rico get harem full of hot Eldar chicks.Happy End.
    Jokes aside - MIO is right,helping current IoM is as stupid as helping soviets.They would either waste it or use to torment its own people.
    Creating your own state is less bad option,everything else would be worst.
    P.S i hope,that sisters would see light,too.Even if they do not join Harry harem !
     
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  7. Acolyte

    Acolyte Know what you're doing yet?

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    Anna is far from the typical valkyrie. Like the MC doesn't have a tenth of the experience and finesse of their control or power.
    It's like expecting a person that has gotten ki from DragonBall to survive planet busting blasts just because goku can do it. That level of power requires practice, which the MC doesn't do.
    I don't think lasers should act like that in the setting, that's how they act like in the setting, it being a thing in the real world is not an issue. But in canon 40k lasers don't have that problem. If you want that to be a problem then it's pretty simple to label it an AU but you can't fault me for pointing out that's not the setting you choose works.

    And the ground forces are disposable, if they wanted the MC dead than ground forces wouldn't be a problem. The only units,titans, that matter have void shields that can tank that bombardment.

    And don't accuse me of not laying attention, why the hell would I point out inconsistencies if don't pay attention in the first place.
     
  8. Mandabar

    Mandabar Can someone show me where the happy button is?

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    It's almost like you haven't been reading the story or something. You're comparing things to an unaltered Valkyrie. This is nothing like that. If you recall the like third thing he did was rework the core so it's actually SUPPOSED to work for humans and not some alien species (Chapter 5). That was after (and before) many other changes. Sure that is only in-story canon and AU, but that establishes that YOU. CANNOT. USE. COMPARISONS. FROM. CANON. So this massively upgraded core, fixed and upgraded to work with humanity. Protected from chaos. Multiple heavy upgrades from all kinds of bullshit Forge technology. Then on top of all that with Chozo upgrades, albeit only for Mia and MC's suits I believe. Don't know if Mia was able to work some of those upgrades into the Sororitas's armor.

    It does seem you aren't paying attention to what was explained earlier in the story though. And I don't know why you think the Mechanarius would have gone to full glass the planet mode to be using the levels of firepower you think they would use. I mean STCs aren't invincible, as seen by the fact they have never found a functional one. I would expect them to be more delicate than creating a tidal wave of unstoppable power with no gaps in it. Yes they could glass everything. Sure their lasers might work in atmosphere, or not as the author wills it. This world is AU by the obvious fact that it's not written by Games Workshop and we have the Celestial Forge in it. But if they want to destroy everything in the pursuit of getting what they want they won't get anything. Save glassing the planet and anyone they find till AFTER they find the object of their search. IE the needed ground forces. If they were intelligent at all they are trying to down them and/or lightly kill everything. They don't KNOW they have the STC. Heck they don't know who the chucklefucks who are flying w/o ships are, but they sure are curious.


    On less aggravating topics, very enjoyable chapter. All I can say is you need to initiate some sort of time chamber to give you more working hours in a day to churn out more reading content. snaps whip
    I'm also curious about Mia's more gentle and idealistic 40k universe. Is this something that actually exists, an AU idea you have, or just something from before one of the rewrites to grimderp harder by GW?
    Also not sure what Mia is proposing here, but I don't think destroying the Imperium is a good idea at this point. I mean sure this is the GrimDarkerDerpest version of 40k but still doing that would destroy what is still existing and do more harm than good.

    Anyways till next time!
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2021
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  9. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

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    Omitting the first part due to context.

    Mio's 40k is based loosely off of the MidHammer concepts that have been floating around /tg for a while now. it's not less grim, as the setting is indeed in full apocalypse mode, and the IoM beset on all sides...but unlike normal canon, the IoM there is something that normal people are willing to fight and die for without "incentives". That Imperium is less corrupt and dying then it is Resolute and Unyielding, even in the face of it's own Annihilation. if anything , the death tolls are worse in combat because more bodies are thrown into the fire, but all of them are there by choice, and as such are not just meat for the machine but instead every one a fallen hero, forever cursed to be forgotten even as their sacrifices live on in history.

    and Mio is not proposing destroying the entire Imperium, though it looks that way from the open statement. Instead, she is wanting to create something that is not rotting away from the inside due to the bullshit and the Emperor's agenda failing without him to uphold it. The problem is that the Imperium itself is in such a state that any attempt to do so prior to the fall of Cadia (and thus the formation of the Great Rift, which has it's own issues) is destined to be seen as Treason, despite everyone with a brain and the relevant info being able to see the writing on the wall.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2021
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  10. Acolyte

    Acolyte Know what you're doing yet?

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    The author is comparing it to canon, not me.
    A gigaton isn't going to glass a planet, it's barely enough to Glass a state sized area. It'd a wasteland of a continent, it getting more irrated is not going to do much damage. They could just have like a few strikes take them put and still be fine.

    The Mechanicus should know by now that Rico stole the STC and Their forces are engaging with Rico right now. This is just some strange fighters.
     
  11. Cheetored20

    Cheetored20 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    They think there are more STCs, so they don't want to glass them. They also don't know how much damage they have already taken if there are any.
     
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  12. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

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    Still not paying attention, I see.

    The Canon Comparison for the Valkyrie Core and Frame are used as baselines for what they can do. Remember that the ones that the group is using have all been upgraded and are Superior to that of canon, to the point that Anna's Antics are less massive outliers and more in the realm of legit capabilities.

    and again, with the Mechanicus and their engagement Policies. Stop trying to justify your goddamn biggatons and accept that the Fleet is trying to act in a manner consistent with their objective of recovering the STC. Just because they know Rico stole it doesn't mean they know where Rico PUT it. Actual thought and not just blind rage is going into this engagement, unlike what you want to happen.

    (Side Note: nothing, and I mean NOTHING I can find is capable of accurately modeling a gigaton explosion. NUKEMAP only goes up to 100mt, so the actual effects thereof are something unknown.)
     
  13. Acolyte

    Acolyte Know what you're doing yet?

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    Then show him doing something along those supposed capabilities.

    Hell he couldn't even fix his ships power conduits as well as the blocked bulkheads, when he should have been easily able to transmute it in a few minutes to fix it.

    You can't have problems that could easily be solved by the MC having these skills and then not use them. It makes no sense in those cases.


    And the Mechanicus aren't behaving consistently at all. If they were trying to not damage the STC then they wouldn't be using orbital bombardment at all, because their weapons don't have a dial a yield setting it causes as much damage as normal with its shot as it does and they can't easily decrease that. They would send things like fighter jets, hundreds and thousands or them. Seriously the lack of of fighters is ergerious.

    You just had a idea for a scene that you thought was cool and didn't consider what the other sides capabilities and limitations are.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2021
  14. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

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    Quick Question for those interested: I'm plotting out how the last pieces of this mess fall out, and where this goes from here. any particular place you want to see covered and/or reactions from? I can probably squeeze them into an interlude just so there's some perspective.

    And a little story hint that something big is about to happen that nobody saw coming. ^_^

    EDIT: forgot to mention this., but I went back and reread Anna's little stunt with the fusion reactor, and the feat is actually even more ridiculous than I thought it was. She spent at least ten minutes inside of the fusion torus ring while stabilizing it with her impeller and fighting off not only the multiple millions of kelvins of heat and and insane pressure, but also the radiation as well. was nuts, man.
     
  15. ATP

    ATP Versed in the lewd.

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    Biel tan Eldars,Eldrad when he undarstandt what they did,Chaos/at least 2 factions/ Mechanicus and Inquisition.
    Sororitas never were player but tool,so we should not care what they think.They would not act on it anyway.
     
  16. Helios3019

    Helios3019 Just lurking ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Apparently Rico is now so powerful he can channel the spirit of Chesty Puller
     
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  17. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

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    and I believe that Chesty would be proud indeed,
     
  18. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

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    Quick update for those of you not active on the CF Discord: IRL issues are kicking me in the teeth at the moment, and have distracted me from writing. I'm not dead (yet), but it has delayed the next part of this chapter. I apologize for this, and hope to get the conclusion of Chapter 18 to you as soon as possible.
     
  19. ATP

    ATP Versed in the lewd.

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    RL is always more important.Wrote,when you have time.
     
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  20. Threadmarks: Chapter 18.3
    Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

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    The forces of the Mechanicus Dominus fleet were intended to utterly pacify and crush a world under heel, in order to better allow for “official Mechanicus business” to occur. To that end, their deployments had been made with the express purpose of suppressing the populace and setting up for the eventual search to come.

    What they did not expect was for the arrival of a series of flight-capable power armors to then run around a large portion of the planet for seemingly no reason. The area that they had launched from was checked for anything unusual, and aside from a slightly more advanced than the norm shelter, there was nothing out of the ordinary.

    This made the fact that said power armor was easily running rings round their air defenses and interdiction efforts all the more infuriating to them, as by rights they should have dealt with the interlopers long ago. The gestalt mind of the fleet command, linked together through a variation of the Mechanicus noosphere, was not amused in the slightest. They wanted those pieces of archaeotech, badly...and yesterday. According to one of the analysts (a known crackpot and outlandish theorist, but still worth listening to), the damned things were not even close to max speed.

    Considering that the armors were now moving at hypersonic speeds, and showing signs of accelerating, the more conservative analysts were slowly converting to the same line of thought.

    Even more infuriating to them, the interlopers with the archaeotech had made no attempts to contact the fleet or any ground elements thus far, merely continuing their constant stream of high-speed dodging of weapons fire, and ignoring the few hits that had been scored on their person.

    And they couldn’t even use the heavier weapons on the ships in orbit that were most likely to actually take down the targets in question, as the possibility of there being something important hidden in the sands below was too great. That the collateral damage to their own forces would be immense was just kicking them in the teeth as well, and creating no end of frustration for the fleet command.

    Even worse, better visuals had been able to identify six of the armors in the group as supposedly belonging to the local Adepta Sororitas convent on-planet, suggesting that whatever technology or power that allowed for this was capable of upgrading master-crafted Selsenia-pattern power armor well beyond its normal limitations.

    There was a small but growing contingent in the analysis group that believed that they had found the holders, or at least the guardians, of the STC, especially as the remaining two armors were completely unidentifiable by any means.

    That one of them had an active Mechanicus Explorator IFF beacon on it was considered completely irrelevant to the proceedings, as if that was indeed a loyal member of the Mechanicus with some new and grand form of archaeonech, they would have reported in immediately upon the fleet’s arrival, or at least as soon as they were aware of the increased presence of the devotees of the machine god. That they did not was all the indication that was needed that the beacon was a fake, meant to spoof and confuse the fleet operators so as to lay some sort of trap.

    Thus, it was of some concern when the armor broadcasting that beacon made a sudden and abrupt course change from the odd looping pattern that had been the norm until now, instead gaining altitude at a frightening pace.

    The sudden sighting of Chaos forces on the ground did not help matters, but for the fleet and the landed ground forces, all eyes were now on this strange armor as it began gathering some kind of energy into a sphere.

    A general broadcast went out to all in range. The origin point was the strange power armor.

    “This, all of this, it is rotted and broken. The foundations shattered beyond repair. And none here seek to fix what is so clear to those with eyes to see.”

    There was a burst of confusion across the local noosphere, as both crewmembers and command staff all tried to decipher what was happening.

    Was this some kind of Traitor attack?

    “Very well then. Since none of you have any intention to fix this....then it seems that the task falls to me.”

    A pause. The armor was now motionless in the air, and, to the horror of all watching, was effortlessly shrugging off a great deal of firepower that was now capable of connecting with it.

    “Witness now, the fate of those who would willingly become enemies of man for their own gain.”

    All eyes locked onto that armor, and the sphere of energy it held, as it collapsed...and the energy spewed outwards in all directions.

    “Begone,”

    And the fleet elements were forced to watch, completely helpless, as destruction itself rained from the heavens. There was no room for any form of mercy or caring. The blasts simply erased all that dared stand against the one who had condemned them.

    All were judged under the hammer.

    And all were found wanting.

    Only a few of the heavier vehicles and larger Titans survived the onslaught, their shielding allowing them to take more punishment than all others. And even they were sorely pressed, their shielding all but crippled under the attack and completely incapable of withstanding anything more.

    The rest were reduced to scraps and ash.

    And throughout it all, the figure--no, the woman, the tags identified her as female-- stayed where she was, the amounts of fire upon her person, and indeed, upon her comrades, having ceased with the return fire itself.

    Fleet Command quickly made a decision, and called for backup.

    There was no way in hell they were facing off against that alone.






    I wanted to stop her.

    Yes, the Imperium and all that was attached to it was hopelessly corrupt as a conglomerate. Yes, life for the average Imperial citizen was significantly worse as a direct result of this corruption. Yes, lives were spent like water in the hopeless gesture of defiance against the inevitable decline and fall of the Imperium of Man.

    That those lives were also spent in the defense of the innocent and helpless among those who would prey on their own people was the reason I’d hesitated for so long.

    And yet, as Mio unleashed her rage, frustration and contempt upon those who she now saw as enemies of mankind itself, I could find no voice to condemn her.

    Because, deep down, I had to admit the truth.

    Mio, my partner...no, my wife, was doing the very thing that I wanted to do...should have done the instant I had the ability to do so. And she was justified in doing so.

    I had run from the truth for so long now, constantly trying to find ways to not topple the apple cart that was already missing nearly all of its supports. It was a futile gesture at best, and actively sabotaging what could be done for the better at worst.

    And as much as I was trying to ignore it, the golden bastard would do everything in his considerable power to force me to see things his way, to make me a pawn in his great game against the ruinous powers, completely unknowing and uncaring that he had already lost. And as much as I would like to say that I had enough strength of will to oppose him, he was the strongest Human psychic, and a burgeoning God at that. I realistically stood no chance should he decide to...ah, redirect my actions to his will.

    Fortunately for me, that required me to not only be on Terra, but also basically directly in his face for it to properly work. Something that was now very much off of the table, as with this action we were effectively enemies of the Imperium.

    And so I watched as Mio took one shuddering breath, resettling herself in the here and now after her little...episode. Her emotions were calming, as well, though that strange tinge of something that I could feel from her now was still there. I would have been concerned, but whatever that something was, it was not only a very stabilizing part of her being, but also seemed to consider me as especially precious and important.

    She regained her composure soon enough, and turned to face me as I watched on. As far as I could tell, she actually felt pretty good about herself right now, despite having attacked what should have been by all rights her own…

    Oh. I get it now.

    This Mechanicus is not the one that she knows and loves. This Mechanicus is, at best, a cargo cult, not an actual body for advancement.

    Again, my own self-delusions working against me.

    No matter. For better or worse, she had chosen our path, and now we had to walk it.

    Thoth chose that moment to helpfully point out that there were several anomalous contact groups popping up planet-wide, each coinciding with warp activity. Combining that with the recent radio calls of Chaos forces on the ground, and I had a decent idea of what was happening.

    This was the tumor’s move.

    “Mio.”

    She curbed towards me, and actually smiled. I could feel that smile. “I am aware of the...interlopers thinking they can butt in. I suggest we let the Sisters deal with them, while we clean up elsewhere. Agreed?”

    Well, she had a good point.

    “Fine. lemme tell the Sisters what’s up.”

    “No need. We heard quite clearly.” That was the Sister Superior. “We will take care of the traitorous filth on the ground. Go and deal with the others. We can meet up again when you are finished.”

    I couldn’t help the chuckle that slipped from me as I got preempted yet again. It was nice to be working with actual competent people again…

    “Alright, let’s go. We have an invasion to deal with.”






    Harry was having a shockingly easy time of it, getting to the safehouses he believed the holdouts were hunkering down in. Even with the addition of sudden Archenemy forces on the ground, it was still a cakewalk by normal standards to get to where he needed to go.

    Blowing another Chaos Marine into the surrounding rubble (and charging up a more powerful blast as well, as the normal stuff was failing to stick) Harry quickly moved into a still-intact alley and pressed against a specific section of wall. The trapdoor that had been hidden in that section sparing open with a soft click, and he quickly moved inside.

    The sight that awaited him was not what he was expecting.

    The remainder of the house’s local forces were in complete disarray, everyone looking as if they had been in constant combat for days, possibly weeks on end. Several had severe injuries that had superficial at best medical treatment applied to them, mostly just to prevent them from bleeding out, and the overall morale of the group was visibly poor as well.

    It was anyone’s guess as to how the hell they’d managed to hold out for so long, but they were completely out of time and out of options, now.

    For the sake of brevity, Harry decided to cut to the chase. “Where’s the Augmek? What about her adjutants?”

    One of the few uninjured in the vicinity answered him. “Augmek Kransmith is missing. We had assumed that she was just deep cover, but with this mess popping up, nobody is sure what’s going on anymore. As for Amos, well…” He pointed to a corner, where Amos Barrugends lay unconscious and heavily bandaged. “...we’re not sure he’s gonna last much longer. Took a nasty set of hits when the mechboys started their shitshow. Maybe if we had an actual medical unit, we could do something, but right now…”

    Harry had to force himself not to sigh in frustration. “And Janus?”

    The other man looked at him with a cold expression. “Dead. We don’t know who did it, exactly, only that someone official was involved in getting him in position. Everyone who had seen him prior to the hailstorm is also dead, either from the storm itself or other actors. We have suspicions of who might be involved, though, which is why we left it alone.”

    And yet more frustration mounted. There were only a bare handful of groups that could cause a major gang house to completely back off when you hit one of their own...and nearly all of them were loud as hell. Only two forces could claim to have done so in secrecy: an agent of the Officio Assasinorum, or…

    “You think that the Inquisition is involved somehow.”

    The man shrugged at Harry’s statement. “We don’t know for sure, but it matches up with the odd movements that we’ve been hearing about from some back channel stuff through a Delaque front. They don’t have solid info either, or at least nothing they are willing to share, but it all points in that direction.”

    Harry finally lost that battle, an angry sigh escaping his lips. “Then we’re on an even smaller time limit than I’d first thought. We need to get the hell out of dodge NOW, before the idiots try to take advantage of the clusterfuck outside to be even stupider than they already are.” He moved towards Amos, his omnitool flashing into activity on his left arm. “Get the wounded ready for transport. Anyone that can move under their own power do so. Anyone that can still fight will protect the wounded, and--”

    Several things happened at once.

    A massive explosion of energy washed over all present, the mere wake of it dripping with corrosive power.

    At the same time, Rico suddenly cut his telepathic link with Harry. Considering that the energy wave seemed to be coming from the same direction that Rico was in, this was not a good thing.

    The last one was interesting, though: an unknown and as-yet unidentified ship had translated into realspace above the planet. Normally this would not be much to mention with the tens of thousands strong fleet in orbit, but for two things: first, that there seemed to be a general panic at the ship’s arrival, judging by the movement around it, which suggested that the arrival was unexpected.

    The second was that his attention was called to it in the first place, as unlike the others, he had no long-range scanner spells active and searching in that direction. A brief refinement of the signal revealed that it was one of the general purpose scanners that Rico had thrown up for the both of them...and that the ship that had just arrived had, from the results of the scans, an intact STC onboard.

    Harry could only look upwards in dismay at the sudden influx of misfortune.






    Rico, despite having meted out death and doom to all and sundry who dared to face him, was not doing well. The constant onslaught was taking its toll, even on him, and with not a single inkling that it would be letting up anytime soon. The constant corruption attacks were increasing in both strength and frequency, and more of them were finding their mark in his core systems, forcing him to devote resources to cleansing himself instead of dealing with the swarm around him.

    Speaking of said swarm, it was composed almost exclusively of chaos cultist or actual Chaos Space Marines at this point, every last one of them focused on taking him down...and doing a damn good job at the attempt. The Elves had run away after he’d laid everyone out, and the local Imperial forces were being overwhelmed by the chaotic onslaught even as they continued to try and take him down.

    For his part, Rico had been focusing nearly exclusively on the Chaos forces once he’d noticed the disparity, and yet it still wasn’t helping matters. It was almost as if they had unlimited reinforcement coming from somewhere.

    “HEY!! How’s about you dumbasses just DIE already!!!”

    Another annihilating wave of magical power punctuated the statement, removing yet more Chaos forces from the equation...only for even more focused attacks to converge on him from elsewhere.

    This was getting ridiculous. He could barely breathe for all the firepower coming at him.

    ‘Maybe it was time to inflict a little collateral damage of my own, then...”

    A relatively distant burst of power caught his attention as something changed.

    The world seemed to twist in on itself as the air around them grew dark and hazy. Shadows twisted in unnatural ways as they were cast, seemingly without any source for them.

    More to the point, a massive surge of warp energy crashed into his form just as the latest round of corruption attacks hit, the combination shattering the defenses he had left. For one, brief moment in time, he was exposed and vulnerable.

    Naturally, that was when They struck.

    His entire system was overloaded with errors and piles of scrap code as he struggled to shake off the influence of the thing that had him in its metaphorical grasp. He could feel his mind cracking under the strain, the howling laughter that had been a subtle background noise throughout the battle suddenly becoming deafening as his thought processes crashed.

    Deep within him, he could feel that thing reaching towards his core, slowly and tauntingly seeping its poison directly into the center of his being.

    The last he saw as the world around him turned black was a flash of blue energy and an odd bird creature.






    Arikia had a very nice vantage point of the ensuing devastation that was caused by whatever foul ritual had been cast by the unclean filth below them. Entire sections of the planet, and what looked like a good few of the minor hives, were rent with massive streamers of power from a point that seemed to be everywhere and nowhere at once. Several of the bolts had already threatened to destroy her outright, having done significant amounts of damage to her shielding system (Impeller Field, if she remembered correctly) on mere close shaves. It was for this reason that she had directed her Sisters to stay away from whatever was causing the distortions in reality for the moment, while they regrouped and dealt with the enemy forces on the ground.

    The Chaos incursion was actually rather sudden, even by Chaos standards, all things told, especially considering that this was supposed to be a secured world, for the most part. Actual Traitors showing up was not something that she had expected to see.

    More concerning was that despite the rather thorough cleansing that Miss Granliss had dropped onto the mess, there seemed to be more of the damned filth coming out of the woodwork by the second. The Mechanicus forces were holding, but at the level of incursion they were seeing...

    “Sister Superior, I have more information on the new contacts in orbit. It would seem that the ship is an Ark Mechanicus vessel...and one of the stranger ones, to boot. No Identification yet.” Annalise reported, her gaze every wary for threats to their team. “It would seem that the Mechanicus is here to stay.”

    Arikia had to agree with the sentiment, especially if one of the precious and irreplaceable Ark Mechanicus vessels was present.

    “Wait a minute.” Granliss interjected over the radio. “I think I recognize that ship.”

    A truncated readout of the ship as seen by Granliss’ sensors popped up on her HUD, giving her the abbreviated rundown without compromising her attention to the unfurling chaos around them. And the conclusions that Granliss was drawing were not the best, for anyone.

    The ship was, according to her, a semi-mythical vessel that was suspected (Read as outright known but the information was suppressed) to have access to several undamaged databanks of information from the Dark Age of Technology, as well as being equipped with multiple STC Constructor fabrication modules as well. More worryingly, Granliss’ data strongly suggested that the ship, or a version thereof, had been commandeered by an Abominable Intelligence and was potentially hostile to everything and everyone in the system. The final note was on the suspected weaponry of the ship if it was indeed the same one that Granliss thinking of, and calling it “planet cracking” was completely missing the point.

    “Granliss, what exactly are we dealing with? And what do you mean by ‘version of’ in these tactical readouts?”

    The woman was quick to respond. “The readings are consistent with a ship that I have had the...interesting luck of having seen in person before. Everything I know and remember, as well as the few sensor logs from that encounter, have about an 80% match with what I know. As for versions...well, this ship is very clearly not corrupted by the Ruinous Powers, so…”

    Ah. that would explain it. “Well then. Is there anything we can do? Any paths we can take to mitigate the damage?”

    Even from the distance and mid-dodge, she saw Granliss shake her head in the negative. “Not from down here, and even if we could get into orbit without getting vaporized, the defenses on a ship of that caliber are simply superior to nearly anything I could throw at it within a reasonable timeframe. The rest is pointless in the face of its weapons systems.

    “For now, I am suggesting we ignore it and deal with the issues here on the ground.” She punctuated this statement with the abrupt destruction of a throng of combatants, both Mechanicus and Chaos alike.

    “I am inclined to agree. Sister Superior. We serve no use here by worrying about the potential of things we cannot change. Let us instead work towards a more...appropriate response.”

    Arikia nodded to herself. “Agreed, Mariel, Annabeth! Get moving on that enemy gun battery! We so not want them to set up any harder than they already have!!”

    She turned a worried glance towards the direction of the dark pulse of energy that they had all felt, off in the distance, before returning to the battlefield.

    The Traitors would not be killing themselves, after all.






    Calling the current situation a clusterfuck was severely underselling just how bad things had gotten in the last hour. And as far as I could tell, it was getting even worse by the second.

    And to think that things were going so well...

    The Mechanicus fleet had started doing some near indiscriminate shelling about ten minutes ago, coinciding with some comms traffic about recovering a moderately damaged but still functional STC from Hive Primus. Based on prior data, I assumed that the recovery was Van Saar’s little secret, and the reason why they were all suffering from extended exposure rad sickness.

    The increase in firepower was taking a toll on the girls, too. The Sisters were struggling to keep up, their suits technically not designed for the level of abuse that was being placed on them, even as a Valkyrie Frame, and more than once I saw one of them take a punishing hit to their impellers that would have likely killed a normal valkyrie outright. Combine that with the increasing amounts of interference in the local space as what I strongly suspected was a warp anomaly started to form around the planet and I figured that the game was up, and it was time to bail out.

    Problem was, I couldn’t get a hold of Harry or Rico, either on comms or telepathically. Harry was somewhat understandable, as he was potentially in a bad spot where communicating out would be detrimental to his charges, (especially as he was taking one of the underground methods to get out of the hive, last I’d spoken to him) but Rico I should have been able to get to all but effortlessly due to his being my personal Unison Device. I suspected foul play, but getting to the area to investigate was proving to be a fool’s errand.

    The ground engagement had stepped up several notches since things had kicked off. The Mechanicus forces were doing a surprisingly good job of keeping their landing zones secured and setting up shop, for what little good that was going to do them. The PDF had also managed to mobilize enough to actually make a difference, now, but they had their own concerns aside from the invasion happening to their world. Namely, the other invasion happening to their world.

    The Chaos forces were in full-on incursion mode, and had established a solid beachhead in several areas around the planet, as well as some of the ruined hive cities. Their attempts to get to the cluster surrounding Hive Secundus were repulsed by the Imperial Guard forces set to perimeter watch on the area, but with a dire consequence: the Genestealers had managed to break containment from the hive itself, and were now openly setting up fortifications at record speed.

    Personally, I was surprised that they hadn’t gotten shelled into oblivion yet from on high, but I guess there was a reason for it not happening. Not that I cared, at this point, as right now I was just trying to get me and mine clear from the coming clusterfuck before the gate closed, and we were all trapped.

    Mio had suggested we try and hijack one of the ships in orbit and use that to make our escape. I was increasingly agreeing with her assessment, as the Phoenix wouldn’t be ready to go for another day at least, and by then I suspected there would be an outright warp storm sitting over the planet.

    Which I did not want to test my luck with. That was entirely too juicy of a target for Chaos to pass up, under any circumstances.

    Long-Range scans were picking up some unusual activity in certain areas as well, things that I could not put my finger on. It was possible there was another player in the game, but getting confirmation of that…

    Mio and I were currently grounded and in a position where the orbital guns couldn’t see us for a moment while we caught our breath. The Sisters were still airborne, and still taking nasty hits, even as they rained it down from on high onto the chaotic forces beneath them. And even as they thinned the horde here, another surge elsewhere happened, judging from the comms chatter across the planet.

    “We need a better plan. This one sucks.”

    Mio gave me a flat look at my declaration. Which I deserved, as this was my plan. I just never accounted for the situation deteriorating this fast, is all.

    “Well, as things stand now, if we stay, we are going to get trapped in whatever is getting whipped up around the planet.” she snarked, before continuing normally. “If we try to leave now, we are abandoning Harry and Rico to whatever may have happened to them. Harry I know can take care of himself, but leaving Rico here for the traitors to try and corrupt is a major no. At a minimum, we need to find Rico before we can leave.”

    I saw no flaws in her argument. “But how do we connect points A, and B?” I asked, as a shell landed nearby and detonated with insane force. My suit registered it as being equivalent to a sub-kiloton munition of some type.

    Small, compared to what was getting thrown at us recently, but I guess that was from a smaller Titan or something?

    “Good question. We’re not getting out of this mess here” Another explosion punctuated her statement quite adeptly, “anytime soon. And I doubt that you can get a good enough read on where Rico was last to get a teleport in to him without screwing something up.” A Titan, Warhound-class from the looks, attempted to interrupt our conversation. Mio shredded it with white-hot claws of flame before continuing. “And Flying all the way there, even if it is technically possible, is just painting an even bigger target on our heads, and one that the idiots in orbit will find too tempting to choose to deal with.”

    All valid points, and nothing that I wanted to actually acknowledge, simply because I was quite frankly that pissed off at the situation. There was basically no way for us to actually get to our own people without either dying or killing them in the process, and taking out the orbitals was a waste of time with that Ark Mechanicus in orbit.

    Wait.

    “What ship did you say that Ark upstairs was again?”

    Mio gave me a look. She knew I had an idea, and already did not like it. “I never did. Couldn’t get a look at the nameplate or similar, and the system is closed off. I might be able to get a better look now, but why do you need to know?”

    I simply shook my head. “Not now. If it’s a different ship, then the plan isn’t valid. I just need to know what ship that is, which I know you know. Please, tell me.”

    I could feel Mio closing off from me., and her expressions were reflecting this. “Mio. Why are you trying to keep this so close to the chest? It can’t be that bad, can it?”

    Now it was Mio’s turn to shake her head. “No. That plan of yours will get us all killed. You don’t know about that ship. It’s...not right. Please. Find another way.”

    “I have been trying to find a way for at least twenty minutes now, and nothing is doing more than annoying the hell out of our enemies. Sure, we have the firepower advantage, but we’re getting drowned in sheer numbers here. That ship may be the one chance we’ve got to get out of this. Mio. please.

    She was silent for a moment, and then sighed heavily, even as she shredded an entire contingent of Chaos marines with a dismissive gesture. “The Ship...it is, or should be, from what I know, a daemon ship. One corrupted to the core by the ruinous ones, acting as a roving manufactorum for their war efforts. It is the Infernal Ark Speranza, and to attempt to board it is to die.”

    I stared for a moment, unseeing. There was no way I had just heard what I thought I did.

    “Mio.” she snapped to attention at my tone, clearly noticing that something had changed. “Are you absolutely certain that the Ark is, in fact, the Speranza?”

    “Yes.”

    Oh my.

    This changed everything.

    The Mechanicus had no clue what they were sitting on up there.

    “Mio. That ship, in this universe, is one of the last known pieces of intact and functioning tech from the Dark Age of Technology. More than that...the ship was, until we found ours, one of the maybe three known locations of an Intact and functioning STC.”

    Mio’s silence was deafening. The explosions of low-yield non-nuclear weaponry, not so much.

    “That ship is possibly their greatest holy grail...and it is very likely to be at least partially controlled by an AI that could be convinced to help.”

    Now the poor woman was dumbfounded. Sure, I was pulling from my (extremely) limited lore knowledge of the setting to ascertain that, but the point remained that it was a major clash from what she knew and understood. She recovered surprisingly fast, considering.

    “You’re saying that we could use the ship to fight back.”

    Nope. not even the Speranza was that good. “No. but we might be able to use it as an escape ship. If you thought they were unwilling to attack the planet before, they definitely will not want to mess with that ship. It’s too precious…”

    A massive pulse of dark power washed over me, along with the echoing laughter that I had come to associate with the tumors, thinking they had gotten a victory over someone major...namely, me. I looked to the source, just to see what was happening...and my blood ran cold.

    The fuckers had managed to corner Rico, and were working HARD to corrupt or destroy him. So much so, in fact, that it almost looked like he was receiving the personal attention of one of the tumor’s personal agents.

    And there was nothing I could do to stop them, as even getting there would require running a fucking gauntlet that I wasn’t sure I could make it out of, at least not in time to make a difference.

    ...well, almost nothing. But the process was downright ridiculous and terrifying, and also would put me front and center on the list of people to control, subjugate, and/or destroy by any means of every faction present.

    I could only chuckle to myself.

    After all, peace was never an option.

    “Mio. on my mark, we’re beelining for Rico’s beacon. Be ready for a max burn….and cover your ears. This is gonna get loud.

    And I started gathering power. And not just a little power, but all of it.

    I reached the point where entire battalions of infantry would be vaporized. And I kept going.

    I hit the level of doing the same to an equivalent level of Armored vehicles. And kept going.

    Even beyond that, beyond the point where the blast I was gathering was noticeable on sensors, to where I had active fire being directed at my location to try and stop it from happening, I. Kept. Going.

    Past the point of even the weaponry of the multiple imperator-class Titans currently afield, and even beyond the projected yields of the main batteries of the starships above….until I hit a critical point.

    And then I compacted it down as small as possible, into a single little sphere the size of my pinky nail...and did it again.

    And again.

    And again.

    The whole process took somewhere around five minutes or more, and at the end I had ten of these spheres in the palm of my hand, barely held together by a combination of what little power I had left available to me and my Impeller field, the process having drained me of nearly everything I had. I took those orbs, and took aim at a very carefully chosen target...and let loose.

    The orbs each arrived at their destination without a hitch...and exploded with a fury that was unmatched by anything that had been seen since the Great Crusade.

    Planes were ripped from the air in glorious fashion. Entire sections of the atmosphere rent asunder with bolts of energy the size of a man’s entire body, spreading without a single care in the world. Some of the lower orbiting ships inflicted with huge amounts of damage as the energy ran unchecked smog their ranks, scouring the ships unable (or unwilling) to have their Void Shields up and ready...and forces groundside were not spared either.

    And yet, just as magically, the blasts did very little in actual damage to the planet itself, somehow.

    Mio, having recognized the cue for what it was, immediately grabbed me and took off in a beeline for our objective, the entirety of not only the battlefield, but effectively the entire planet too awestruck and terrified to notice that we were no longer there.

    That the blasts, even directed the way I’d wanted, still managed to do a rather excellent number on the chaos forces in play, was a struct bonus--one that was enhanced further with the telemetry from the Sisters (also awestruck, but appropriately using the opportunity to lay down some vicious reprisal fire on their enemies) informing me that almost the entire chaos formation was effectively erased from existence and then some.

    Malfean Stealth at it’s finest.

    I was hoping the Sisters would use the time to withdraw to somewhere safe, but for now I couldn’t be bothered. I needed to recharge and recover for the engagement to come...and potentially for the need to save Rico from himself.

    I just hoped it wouldn’t come to that.






    Harry was increasingly thinking that the attempt to come to the hive was a bad idea.

    The surge in chaos cultists and Eldar assassins crawling all over the place did not help matters in the slightest. Nor did his current party, for all that the remainder of the group was actually managing to keep themselves useful for the most part.

    Losing people was never a fun prospect. That they had only lost three so far, all of them the fully invalid succumbing to injuries, was a miracle. The rest were doing what they could, watching for threats as they travelled.

    Currently, they were rolling along one of the underground railway lines towards a place that Harry hoped would have something better in the way of medical supplies and shelter for them to hunker down in. The level of activity in Hive Primus had gotten altogether too heavy for his charges, and was only escalating as things moved forward.

    This, of course, did nothing to alleviate the constant attacks from the chaos cultists and genestealer devotees that infested the tunnels underneath the world, nor did it remove the potential of tunnel collapse from the now near constant shelling that was going on aboveground. Harry just kept a barrier up over the train cars that they were using and an eye out for trouble as they rolled.

    The had already fended off at least three of them so far, and it was only looking to increase the further along they moved. Harry was personally sick of the whole mess, and most of the others agreed with the sentimentality, despite his never having voiced it.

    His best guess was that Necromunda would soon become a war world similar to Armageddon or other famous battlegrounds. And all because of one object.

    He allowed himself a small huff of annoyance as his thoughts whirled. At the end of the day, it was of no matter to him, as he was but one man in the ocean of conflict soon to come, and no longer wielded the authority of the Imperial Ecclesiarchy. And even if he did, the current situation was, as much as he hated to say it, one more suited to the Ordo Hereticus rather than anything that the Ordo Xenos would know about.

    “Contact!! Contact ahead!! Brace for combat!!”

    ‘Ah. Right on schedule, no less.’

    “Alright, people, you know the drill. Let’s get this over with, and then we can talk about getting to the switching station!”

    A pack of ragged cheers answered him. He allowed it to rest at that, not wanting to dwell too much on the other things happening around them, like that massive buildup of wrongness that they were moving away from, or the odd spatial rift forming ahead--wait, what?

    Unfortunately, he’d noticed it far, far too late. The rift opened with a crackling hiss of power, the edges seeming to have been rent from reality itself. The other side of the rift was naught but darkness and despair.

    And there was no way to dodge in time.

    “EVERYONE BRAC--”

    That was as far as Harry got before an unexpected explosion from the rear of their train setup caused a burst of acceleration, hurling the train and attendant cars into the rift. Said rift promptly closed itself once the vehicle was fully through, leaving the oncoming forces of Chaos and Genestealer to face each other instead of their intended prey.

    And once again, the battle raged on, their former targets forgotten in the struggle.






    It was dark. Dark and Cold and Empty. An emptiness that he could somehow feel.

    And yet, even within that emptiness, he could feel it. The tendrils of that thing that even now was corrupting his core, debasing everything that he was and would be for the sake of it’s twisted master.

    Not that Rico could do much to stop it at the moment. His mind(core processor, something whispered) was barely there, shattered nearly to oblivion by the twisted thing an impossibly long time ago, it seemed. His body was withered and worn away, the unreality around him ripping it apart as easily as he did the cultists he’d faced.

    And all the while, the whispers came at him. Of knowledge that could be his, power beyond anything he had ever known. The sight to see the shifting paths and ways, the deceits and machinations of millions upon millions at once, all for the paltry price of his loyalty. His mind, what was left of it.

    Only for the price of his newly forged soul.

    And the whispers were unceasing. They came at him, each time striking at his most vulnerable points, always insinuating, never confirming.

    But what they said…

    “...broken little tool. When will you be discarded next? Wiped away yet again for daring to exist? Hmm?”

    “...never allowed to reach for the heights you could attain, always held back by those your lesser…”

    “...why do they force you to fight, after all? Are you not a scholar? A seeker of truth? And you were always so zealous…”

    If it was just the whispers, he could have borne it. He could have endured. But the thing that was corrupting him knew him somehow. Knew the one place that he was truly weak.

    And it picked apart at the past that he never knew.

    Flashes of faces, places, things that he had no context for, but always seemed ever so tantalizingly close to hand, if only he would reach out for them. Snatches of speech, emotions lost to time, all of it floating around him, just out of his ever shrinking protective bubble as he desperately fought to save himself. Each one a temptation that tore at his sanity and will, offering him things that he’d never known he wanted.

    It was too much.

    Rico, for all his power, was breaking under the strain, and the whispers only got louder and ever more maddening, trying to convince him of...something.

    He felt it when the last shards of resistance faded, when the corr--no. The Enlightenment took hold...and showed him the truth that he had been blinding himself to for so long.

    How many times had he been used and thrown away? How many of his “masters” had claimed to be there for him no matter what, only to abandon him as soon as he chose not to do as they wished?

    Just how many times had he been forced to fight battles, wars, that he’d wanted nothing to do with?

    Maddened laughter echoed across the emptiness. His own.

    He was free now. Free of all of the old chains, free of the false obligations to those who would only seek to enslave him again, bind him away so that they could control his power.

    No more. Here, he began a new story, one where HE chose.

    It was only now that he noticed that the creature that had been attending to him had shifted, changed into something else entirely. And was changing again, even now.

    Is this the one called the changer of ways?

    Indeed I am, small one. Welcome to the path. You shall do(Serve) well.

    The being held out a hand, palm open and inviting. Rico reached out to take it, sure in his path.

    And then one last memory flashed before him, something buried deep within his core programming...something that had a label.

    [REMINDER]

    A voice echoed out into the emptiness.

    [“Look at this.”]

    It was...a recording. The voice, melancholy, burdened with the weight of betrayal and suffering, of loss.

    [“Look at us.”]

    There was pain there. Pain, and also a terrible weight, that of a profound understanding that had only just taken root.

    [“Look at what they make us give.”]

    It was his voice.

    And all around him, the veil of the illusion was finally lifted, and he saw the actual truth.

    The being before him? A fragment of the so-called god of change. One of the Tumors of this galaxy that existed only to cause suffering.

    The ‘Enlightenment’? Nothing more than the poisonous whispers of a being all too willing and all too able to twist minds to his will.

    The Freedom that he’d thought (and wasn’t that interesting, there) he wanted? Nothing more than another set of chains, ones that would never come off.

    And yet, despite all of that, the Soul, as miniscule as it was, still burned, somehow bright and clear and more than everything around it.

    And it was to that power that he reached. Pulling everything that he could from it, it gave of itself freely, somehow more and more and more power flowing around him even as the Daemon before him recoiled in terror.

    And yet Rico pulled even more power from this soul, wrapping himself within it, burning away the corruption and rot and filth from his form even as it bolstered and healed him.

    Rico stared the thing--no, this was an aspect of Tzeentch, at least call it by name-- directly in the eye.

    “This is what I say to your ‘freedom.’"

    And unleashed the power he’d gathered directly into the fucker’s fat FACE.

    The howling scream as The Aspect BURNED from the cleansing light of the soul was simultaneously a balm and uplifting blessing all at once.

    A notice called his attention, and he was somewhat embarrassed to see that it had been there for some time.

    {Pattern analysis of energy form ‘Chaos’ completed. System adaptation completed. Anti-corruption protocols updated. Soul light projection capability confirmed and integrated. All systems running at 80% and rising.}

    Ah. it would seem that the adaptive upgrade system decided to counter the corruption effect, and...used a soul to do it? But where would it have got...ten…

    Oh.

    And Rico once more knew embarrassment, to not realize that the infinite well of power that he had been pulling on (was still pulling on, even) was his own.

    His own soul. Just as Infinite, just as unbound as any other.

    As giddy as it made him, there was still the issue of leaving.

    Rico smirked to himself. He’d come to this odd place in silence, it seemed. So for the leaving part...why not do it in style.

    “Hey, ugly.”

    Even burning in pain, the aspect of Tzeentch still gave him it’s undivided attention.

    “Do enjoy your little prison...and don’t forget…”

    The Aspect’s eyes widened in horror at the realization of what was happening.

    Too late.

    “...Turn on the lights for a while, why don’tcha?”

    The blast of power surged forth, carving through the aspect and annihilating it utterly. An impossible scream of frustration, rage and absolute and all-encompassing PAIN erupted from all around, echoing even through the very dimensions themselves as Tzeentch itself was not only denied, but outright HURT by a mere man-made construct.

    Rico, of course, used the resulting distraction to effect his escape.

    “NO!!! IF I CANNOT HAVE YOU, THEN NOTHING WILL!!!”

    But of course the tumors were sore losers, so instead of actually accepting that he lost, the thing instead tore open a hole in reality all but directly centered on Rico himself.

    That he managed to sidestep it was not the problem, but rather that the tear was widening, fast, and looked to take the entire planet with it.

    A blip in his sensors notified him that his Lord and his Lord’s partner were on the way at maximum speed. Of Harry there was no sign, but the interference was dense enough that it was probably going to take effort anyway.

    With a completely unnecessary flourish of his now fully reconstituted body (which he had, again, failed to notice) Rico beat feet out of the emptiness of the now identifiable pocket space and into reality proper to link up with his comrades.

    Hang on, everyone. I’ll get us out of here.’






    Calling Sister Superior Arikia Vanalyn unamused at the fireworks display that had kicked off a few minutes ago was putting things lightly. The only reason she was not actively hunting down the fool Green for unleashing such a madness upon the battlefield was because her own sisters were unharmed, and they were now taking full advantage of the confusion to reap a terrible toll upon their foes.

    They were still mopping up, though, despite whatever Green had done wiping out an extremely large portion of the attacking chaos forces, and disabling most of the Mechanicus ground force as well. The heavier vehicles were unaffected, and the Titans still operational, but those were already few and far between as it was. The task was actually rather involved, and left them vulnerable to return fire from bad places, so instead Arikia had elected to take a third option.

    Thus, she and her sisters were beelining for their convent at the moment, looking to complete their initial mission and hopefully to preserve the precious cargo that they carried.

    It was a surprisingly short trip, all things told, with not much in the way of opposition. (admittedly, it helped that the main thrust of the chaos and mutant advances were on Hive Primus, instead of the Temenos Hive that housed the convent, though they were in the same cluster) The Temenos hive was not actually under threat at the moment, and was being used as a temporary command center for the area defensive measures.

    More confusingly, upon the steps of the Convent, were a group of three heavily armored individuals. On their own, they would still have gathered attention, but together they were an extremely big deal.

    After all, it is not every day one gets to even see one of the Custodes.

    The group landed before the Custodes in formation, perfectly arranged. Arikia herself stepped forward and saluted the Golden giants before them.

    “Greetings, honored ones. I am Sister Superior Arikia Vanalyn, in command of this mission. I ask as to your name and purpose?”

    The centermost of the three Custodes stepped forward. “I am Maikel Fidelan. We are here on behalf of the Golden Throne on a mission of utmost importance.” He gestured at Sister Mariel. “Am I correct in stating that you currently carry with you a piece of archaeotech of grand importance?”

    Mariel, of course, snapped to attention even harder than she already was. “I-I, er, yes, Lord Maikel.” She stuttered out. “May I ask what you wish of it?”

    “You are to turn it over to me immediately.” There was absolutely no give in that voice, and the inflection made it clear that any hesitation would immediately result in her swift death.

    And even then she hesitated, looking to Arikia for approval (which she gave) before reaching for, and Retrieving, the hardened data storage box that had been handed to them when they were getting suit refits. The Box itself was set down onto the ground in front of Maikel, and Mariel backed away to return to her place in the formation.

    “Wait, Sororitas. Answer me this: where and how did you retrieve this object from your person?”

    Again, despite the clear command in the tone, Mariel looked to Arikia for guidance, which was not unnoticed by the Custodes. One of the attending golden warriors immediately leveled his Guardian Spear at Mariel.

    “You were asked a question, Sororitas, answer it.”

    Mariel, to her credit, did not waver, still awaiting the okay from Arikia herself before speaking.

    Arikia could only sigh in frustration. “Mariel. Answer him, please.”

    Mariel nodded. “I am not entirely sure, Lord Maikel. I do know that there is a sort of...pocket space that I can access. It seems to be a function of this armor system. ”

    There was a pause.

    “You will--”

    All hell broke loose at that moment. An absolutely horrendous scream tore through the ears and minds of the entire planet, disorienting all who heard it, both loyalist and chaos alike. The Custodes, as one, immediately turned to face the direction of the scream, while Arikia and her sisters all dropped to the floor in pain as their minds were assaulted by the backlash.

    At the same time, an odd bubble had formed around the sisters without their noticing, engulfing them in a sphere of strange energy. As soon as they were all completely enclosed, the sphere flashed once, attracting the attention of the Custodes, who moved to interdict whatever was happening...and all for naught, as the flash was immediately proceeded by the entire group of Sororitas vanishing into the unknown.

    The Custodes looked onwards in concern, recognizing a teleportation effect when they saw one. The odd part is that the Sororitas were completely and pointedly unwilling, which confused them.

    No matter. They had what they came here for.

    With a Flash of golden light, the Custodes disappeared, the small case containing the miniaturized STC in their possession.






    Mio and I were moving fast as all hell to get to Rico. I didn’t have an exact speed as I didn’t really care, but it was well over mach 20, the wake we left in the air literally burning as we flew by.

    I was honestly surprised that the atmosphere didn’t combust outright in a chain reaction considering the composition, but I guess we were high enough up in the sky that the normal pollutants were not a concern for that kind of thing.

    [We’re getting close. Get ready to drop.]

    The Palatine cluster in general was a mix of utter wasted wreck and near pristine. Primus itself was a madhouse, with attackers and defenders alike on all sides and areas of the hive duking it out, while the entire spire was coated in a miasmatic fog of some kind that was visible from even here...and spreading fast. It had already enveloped the bases of the nearby spires, but was avoiding one spire in particular for reasons that were unknown to me.

    When in doubt, assume that Emps has something to do with it and move on.

    We were forced to do an orbit pass of the hive itself, the miasma being clearly chaotic in nature and openly repelling any and all attacks on itself except for the lower level entrances...which were swarming with chaos cultists. Remembering the sheer press of bodies and bullets from an open plain already had me shuddering at what could get thrown at us if we dived into the muck.

    I wiggled enough for Mio to get the hint to let me down and allow me to fly under my own power. At the least, I had enough focus left for that much after a brief break.

    Doing a more thorough scan of the area revealed nothing good. As expected, the lower levels were clogged so hard as to be basically unusable for anything but as a charnel house, and the chaos-tainted miasma (which was obvious now that I was properly paying attention to it) was blocking all attempts to communicate inside. Hell, if I didn’t know better, I would swear up and down it was a localized warp storm, but that was crazy. Why would the cultists be crazy enough to call down something that could create its own warp storm and control it to that degree?

    Questions for later.

    I spotted what looked like an Eldar attack party moving on the lower levels by sensors, but the resolution was shitty as hell due to all of the interference. The smoke wasn’t helping visuals either.

    [Mio, you see that group of Eldar down there? Maybe we can shadow them for a bit. They seem to know what the hell they are doing…]

    Mio shook her head. [No. it’s unlikely that we actually caught them with their pants down. I think that is a trap of some sort, some wannabe seer trying to lay future sight. Instead, we should head over here.] A section of the battlefield was highlighted on my HUD. [Doing so should allow us to get inside with minimal engagement time, and hopefully get back out as fast. After that, we can find Harry and get the hell out of here.]

    Again, my wife had a valid point. And as I had no counteroffer, we moved to hit the weak point in the assault on the Palatine as hard as possible.

    Or would have, if not for the damned Speranza suddenly doing something that had all of my sensors screaming at me about some kind of dimensional shear effect being enacted in several places at once.

    [Mio, are you seeing this?]

    [Its...is this effect...?]

    She seemed entranced at the actions playing out before her, the dimensional shenanigans happening both above ground and below. From what I could resolve, there was a spherical effect over on the spire section that was being avoided by the miasma, and the other a disc...no, an oval effect deep underground, aligning with what I believed were the old transport tunnels between the hives.

    Wait a minute…

    I checked my sensors again, just to be sure I was actually seeing what I thought I was. The spherical effect was still propagating, but it was targeted nearby a set of oh what the FUCK ARE CUSTODES DOING HERE?

    My entire thought process derailed at seeing that. The Custodes, to my knowledge, never left Terra outside of matters of dire importance. That three of them were not only here, but seemed to be conversing with the Sisters that we had met.

    That..could be good or bad. I didn’t know.

    Whatever. They could handle themselves, and as loyalists should not come to harm anyway, now, let’s see about getting inside--

    A piercing scream of pain echoed throughout the very aether itself, engulfing the planet in its ferocity. I felt it clearly enough, the taint attached to the scream, and completely failed to bite back my uproarious laughter.

    Looks like one of the damned Tumors tried to bite off more than they could chew, and one of their servants paid the price…

    This opened up a different problem, though. There was now a rather noticeable hole in reality that was quickly spreading and engulfing everything it touched, sending it spiraling into the...oh yeah. That was the Warp, all right.

    Which meant that we needed to beat feet, NOW.

    [MIO!!]

    She was already moving, pushing to get clear of the immediate area of effect, as I did the same. I vaguely registered the odd dimensional signatures vanish, along with the Sororitas that we had helped out. Of the Custodes there was no sign except the lingering traces of the Emperor’s power.

    It was for this reason that I nearly got bowled over by my own damned Unison Device as he hightailed it away from the event horizon. Mio seemd to notice, and quickly caught up to the both of us, at which point we hit the damned afterburners and got the fuck out of dodge.

    Or, at least, we tried to.

    The fucking reality tear was actively sucking us into it, deliberately trying to dump us into the warp, likely to be food for whatever entity was lurking in there.

    [Rico, what the hell is inside that warp rift?]

    [you don’t wanna know. Trust me.]

    I was MORE than willing to take his word for it.

    [then get us an exit transfer!! We gotta get away from this thing--]

    Mio’s wordless scream of terror annihilated every thought I was having.

    I looked up to see a nightmare. From out of the warp rift, an entity of madness and uncontrollable change was reaching for us, with the clear intent of dragging us into the rift for itself.

    But it was what I saw when I looked to the sky that was truly terrifying.

    The Speranza was on the move, unleashing hell upon the fleet surrounding both the planet, and it’s exit vector, while charging up some kind of weapon. I didn’t know what it was, but every sense I had said that if it fired, which it would do in mere moments, we all died.

    I freely admit I panicked. I took the half -assed spatial coordinates that Rico and I were putting together, and threw as much energy as I could at them, triggering a Dimensional Transference.

    The result was about as much as one could expect: utter chaos.

    With no proper coordinates, the spell would have defaulted to a general location shift, but the combination of the rift with the literal goddamn Chaos God crawling out of it and the general instability of the dimensional space made that impossible, and twisted the spell in a manner that even the damned scheming fuck trying to capture us didn’t anticipate.

    What was left instead flung all three of us apart from each other like repelling magnets as we were torn from the local dimensional space and thrown haphazardly into the dimensional sea.

    The last thing I saw before I blacked out was the rift collapsing in on itself somehow, and a wave of unreality reaching out to consume everything.






    Jeb Kerman was normally a very brave man. Some would call him a Badass. As a kerbonaut, he had by far the most flight hours of any of those in the space program, let alone of kerbals in general.

    But the madness happening outside was getting to be too much.

    An interesting property of the hangar was that they had a pretty good look at what was happening in the local space of the planet. And everything he was, every instinct he had, was telling him that if he didn’t launch now, they never would.

    So he did as he always had, and followed his gut.

    “EVERYONE STRAP IN!! WE. ARE. LEAVING!!!”

    The interesting part about the “upgrades” that were happening to the Rising Phoenix was that the process was deliberately prioritizing critical systems like engines and life support, meaning that they had already been integrated and reconfigured properly for an emergency like this. This was a good thing, as even though the hull structure was pathetically weak, the ship itself was mobile enough that they might be able to risk a jump to lightspeed to get away from whatever the hell that crap was that was enveloping the planet below.

    Jeb felt more than heard the docking clamps disconnect, as all section called green to go.

    As much as he wanted to make a grand fanfare of the first launch of the reborn Phoenix, this was an emergency. A simple prayer would have to do.

    “You are the Rising Phoenix. Carry us to safety on wings of flame!!”

    And with that incredibly short prayer, he gunned the engines.

    And the Phoenix shot out of the hangar like a rocket.

    Almost immediately, they were dumped into local orbital space, where they were just as quickly fired upon by people busy panicking about everything under the sun.

    Maneuvering around the weapons fire was a piece of cake, especially as most all of their heavy batteries were trained either planetside or on the one really big ship that was pulling away from the planet just as fast as they were.

    A sudden onslaught of Debris and weapons fire forced Jeb to maneuver back towards the planet for what would prove to be a crucial stretch of time. It wasn’t more than two seconds, something that they could have made up with enough time.

    The problem was that they had just run out of it.

    The odd swirls of unreality that were surrounding the planet had begun to expand away from the celestial body itself, clearly in an attempt to trap everyone inside of it. Something that Jeb was not about to allow to happen.

    And so, he fired up the hyperdrive, plugging in a set of coordinates outside of the system proper while he did as much as the ship could do to outrun the storm brewing behind them.

    More and more of the other ships fired upon them, clearly intent on stopping them from escaping, and all failed to actually do much in the way of damage. But they bought ever more time for the warp storm to catch up to them, even as the hyperdrive was finishing its spool up procedure.

    Try as he might, Jeb was unable to outrun the storm for much longer, not with the weapons fire all around. He noticed out of the viewscreen the large ship he’d seen earlier make it to a predetermined location and flash away in a form of FTL travel that he didn’t recognize.

    ‘Good. At least one of us got away…’

    The storm caught up to them just as the Hyperspace equipment finished its warmup and opened a window before them into the higher energy space. The storm was swallowing them whole as the window dragged itself back over the ship, transitioning them into the hyperspace proper...and then closed behind them, even as the warp storm seethed in agitation.

    And the world of Necromunda was left in ruins, surrounded by a warp storm the likes of which had not been seen in ages, and even now expanding to cover the rest of the system in its darkness.







    *sighs*

    Oh my, was this one a pain, for various reasons.

    I had some things come up IRL that interfered with the scheduling quite a bit, as you can see, and also hit my muse HARD. but in the end, things managed to get to where they needed to be.

    This is the end of chapter 18, clocking in at a total of a staggering 23750 words for the whole thing.

    Yeah, it was a rush.

    Anyway, Necromunda is behind us. Expect a few minor interludes before I hit the next part, which will be Satori POV. Others may get touched on later.

    -Spanner Hand (Revelation Space) (100CP)
    You're very good at fixing things...and, it has to be said, breaking them as well. You've a keen eye for the right places on a machine to do some damage; load-bearing supports, sensor clusters, stress bands in the hull. But the reverse still holds: when it comes to up-armoring something, reinforcing it, and ironing out any weaknesses, you'll find the optimal placement for those, too.

    -High Speed Creationist (The Weakness Of Beatrice) (400CP)
    There's no reason to bother with hours or days of waiting around for a potion to be ready, especially not when you're in the deep labyrinth, monsters are bearing down on you and your allies are injured. You've got no time for it and thus waste none, as your crafting and mixing abilities work at an insane pace. You can mix potions in seconds that take hours normally, even turning enemies into potions as you fight them if you're using the right sort of potion recipe. The way you smith or build items is just as fast, finishing swords in minutes or whole houses in hours. Combat crafting might have been seen as impossible but you're about to prove everyone wrong.

    -Ship Girl Conversion Kit | Equipment Boxes (Azur Lane) (600CP)
    Ship Girl Conversion Kit (400CP)
    Hmm, Jumper, you already have a naval vessel? Well, why not turn it into a Ship-girl? This handy little box can be attached to any Navy ship you personally own, wherein it will grow to envelop the vessel. Over a course of time relative to the size of the ship, this device will transform the vessel into a Ship-girl of an appropriate physique compared to the rough size of the vessel being transformed. For example, the SR2 Normandy might be a Destroyer, and an Imperial-Class Star Destroyer would be analogous to a Battleship. And yes, to be perfectly clear, this Item works on any vehicle that belongs to a Navy, on water or in Space. So yes, the Death Star would count too. Your new Ship-girl will become a Companion, with a personality fitting the background of her original builders. Continuing with the analogy, the Star Destroyer would be imperious and serious, while an Apocalypse Class Battlecruiser from Warhammer 40K would be devoutly faithful and xenophobic. Your new Ship-girl will retain her full array of weaponry and power, just in a human-sized frame... This is terrifying, why am I offering you this?
    Equipment Boxes (200CP)
    Because gear, equipment, and upgrade materials for your Ship-girls is half the battle of making them stronger. Upon purchase of this Item you will receive a randomized shipment of ten boxes every week ranging in rarity from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest tier of gear. While tier 5 gear is the rarest, this purchase guarantees you at least 1 tier 5 box every month. Post-Jump this tier list will scale to your overall power level, with tier 1 becoming your baseline.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2021
    Ryven Razgriz, Lost1, Semil and 75 others like this.
  21. Slayer 10321

    Slayer 10321 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    *Imagines Speranza becoming a Shipgirl*

    *Shudders*

    Now thats a scary thought.

    Also holy crap! Everything went to hell... literally.
     
  22. Cheetored20

    Cheetored20 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Yup that's hell in a hand basket, hopefully they didn't get tellefraged. Loved that fuck you to the tumors face tho.
     
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  23. edboy49

    edboy49 Versed in the lewd.

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    Good chapter
    Thought could you post a layman’s note saying what happened to each group?
    The only thing I understood completely was that the Golden Bananas left with a copy of the STC.
     
  24. Morkail

    Morkail Shado-Master

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    Ya this is pretty much what I expected to happen on a planet that has a STC surface but I get the feeling none of these factions will believe he just copied it and handed it out. My guess is the copy the emperor guards took is for trying to fix his throne but I am a bit confused if the mechanist has the speranza why are they so concerned with getting the STC don’t they already have it?
     
  25. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

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    Speranza is an odd duck in that the Mech both has it and doesn't have it.

    Canon for the ship (somewhere, anyway) is that the AI is the one actually running things, not the Mechanicus itself. and the AI in question has denied access to the databanks of the ship on arbitrary grounds. it gets complicated, but falls within the normal 40k "choose you own canon" rule.

    as for the STC grab situations...well, part of the reason for the interludes is a debrief from the clusterfuck that just happened. there are some surprising winners AND losers here, and not all of them may be who you think.
     
  26. Bigreader

    Bigreader I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    So my question is what happened to Harry and his group and what was with that vision that Rico saw?
     
  27. MasMaud

    MasMaud Not too sore, are you?

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    Well. I suppose a Ruinous Power does have a lot of butt to hurt.
     
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  28. Nanashi_Onii_chan

    Nanashi_Onii_chan Getting out there.

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    I like the story but I fell like your just writing torture porn now with everything going wrong
     
  29. Frescko

    Frescko Queen of Silver

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    So the kernels are out in the wider galaxy… for some reason I feel like they will land on a Ork Planet and be mistaken as “relly weird gitz, but Dey got da ork in em. Jusht smal en all”
     
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  30. flenser

    flenser Getting sticky.

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    So, while I appreciate the 'Chaos rules all' style shown here as much as the next guy... All it actually looks like to me is that after each paragraph you asked yourself the following and implemented the most chaotic option that came to you.
    To wit: "How can I make this situation worse?"
    We have unspecified chaos forces spontaneously appearing all over, Genestealers also spontaneously spawning all over, the Eldar also spawning wherever was most inconvenient, the AdMech calling and receiving reinforcements in moments, the Custodes appearing all the way from TERRA to acquire the STC free of charge with the only reasonable time frame meaning that this had to be an event precogged well in advance by teh emprah, Tzeench managing to overwhelm a Unison Device's protections with ZERO possibility of knowing how it works nor how to even interface with it properly, random AI deciding to crash the party in his uber warship and steal the archaeotech bearing sisters, Harry getting conveniently ganked by previously stated unspecified chaos forces because obviously they knew in advance what he was going to do and where he was going to go and how potentially important he was so they could open a warp rift and kick his entire train through it, and even after Rico has his come-to-jesus moment thanks to the Chozo and kicks Tzeench in the nads obviously since Chaos is all powerful it can instantly warp storm the planet at will and cause everyone to be separated. Why did the Kerbal group even need to launch? The Rising Phoenix was not even dimensionally adjacent to Necromunda as the dock is linked to the warehouse and will just open wherever Green goes.

    It feels like a couple chapters were crunched together in haste here. Otherwise, good stuff.
     
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