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Perfect Warriors

Discussion in 'Role Playing' started by Colapse, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. Colapse Colapse Forum Beta Tester

    Jendon could see the looks thrown his way after uttering something that would be considered completely blasphemous just couple of weeks ago. Now however, the situation has changed so much that it was impossible to tell where the line was.

    This of course, didn’t mean that every legionary of the Third Millennial made his peace with these terms. Couple of them shouted angrily, speaking about honor and the fact they would tarnish it even further if they would stoop down to these methods, but it was Nykar Kul who silenced them first.

    “As far as we are concerned, if you wish to paint your armor black and make the corvidae as your new symbol, do it,” the High Reclusiarch stated evenly, nodding in agreement with the Chief Apothecary. “It is of no importance. As long as it helps you don’t get shot at first glance, its fine by us. Hell, we can even help you attach it to your power armor.”

    This statement didn’t help much of course, but thankfully before an argument could break out Sidon spoke again, this time more resolute than before.

    “Forgemaster Sokolovsky has plenty on his plate now to have to deal with this as well, however if he should find time, I would allow it. Sound tactical choice or not, we are still Emperor’s Children and I want the traitors to look at us and know who killed them but on the other hand, this will cause other survivors, especially Iron Hands, to shoot first and ask questions later. So I leave this decision to each company’s Captain.”

    “Speaking of Iron Hands, once the repairs are complete, we will attempt to meet up with their command, or what’s left of it. Admiral de Beaumont managed to receive the message sent across the void, Gorgon’s sons are gathering in a nearby system and they were summoning everyone still loyal to get there as well, so we will take this chance and see if we could do something right for once. It’s a risk of course, but one that I’m willing to take.”

    An hour later, the council was finished and the troops dispersed. There were talks about man different things, from logistics to oaths of vengeance, pretty normal concerning the situation they found themselves in. Whatever each warrior brought with him after the meeting was his own but one thing was certain. Great Crusade ended in failure and a new time of uncertainty began.​

    <Voices in the dark, "Sovereign's" Librarium>

    "As you wish, Lord Librarian," the Sergeant saluted, sharply ordering his men to leave the Librarium to its stewards. With three younger psykers going about their tasks, Elymas had the time to move after the familiar echo, the psychic trace of his old master growing stronger with each step he took.

    Symphonist found the center of it, lying on the ground behind one of the bookshelves far into the back of the chamber. He knew that he didn't put it there as the book was far too valuable to be discarded in such way, but still, the Hephaestus' journal was open right in front of him, the pages burning with blue lightning as the psyker approached it. Letters began appearing soon after, the late Chief Librarian's energy still held within the book.

    "Ever since my childhood, I always knew that I was meant for something greater. They came to my family's house late in the winter, given the fact we already bent the knee before the march across the Dinarites, it was expected that I was to be taken. So it was written, so it came to be."

    "Youthful spirit combined with raging spirit made unlocking my abilities easy for the old ones. They broke me of course, as was fitting, but in the fire I was remade anew, burning spear about to be unleashed on the enemies of the Master of Mankind."

    "Eerie wind blew across the high mountains as I watched the forests unfolding beneath us. The tower was built away from the main settlement, although the underground cave system spread far and wide all around us. I knew its was below, or at least that was what he made me think. It didn't matter. I understood the gravity of the situation, the task that was set before us was a great one indeed, but I was the warrior of the Third Legion, we knew nothing but perfection and he accepted nothing less."

    "I felt the smell of the burning flesh, this time it was my own. Hardly anything moved past the blockade and my thoughts immediately ran to the center of it. Prefect was there, thankfully, still alive. So were others of the Ten Thousand, but severely injured. Of my brothers, there was no trace. That's not entirely true, there were traces of them, all around me and I wept for the first time since I was reborn, my tears falling on ashen ground."

    "Something dark was in his gaze, something that made me flinch. He spoke the words so clearly, yet I couldn't find the meaning behind them. He grew wary, but so did I, our earlier talks now completely forgotten. I was given new orders, for there was no one else alive from my old masters, it fell to me to carry the task. Once again I heard the music and he made me remember that he heard it too. In time, I would understand the risk he took and the faith he put in all of us, but at that moment, I felt that I deserved it as much as I deserved the golden Aquila shining on my new breastplate."

    "Onward we went, into the stars, just two hundred of us. Brother Leonis led us into battle time and time again, but never were we given clearance to act alone. Always with someone else, but mostly with the wolves. Named after our birth-place, they were a force to be reckoned with and they loved competing with us, but where they had numbers we had the resolve to elevate ourselves. This changed when we found the First."

    "None could've prepared me for meeting our Father. He was everything I wanted to be and more. I wanted to tell him so much, to share the knowledge gathered, to learn from his deeds and soak in his radiance. I was given none of it. Task remained and protecting it meant for me that I had to stay away, no matter how much I wanted to fall in with the rest. I spoke with Soter again, before he left for the cradle. He told me many things, of His work and our place within it, but he also told me that the task now requires more of us than just me. So I obeyed, as always."

    "Three of them, I found that many. It wasn't enough, but it would have to do. There were couple of others as well, gathered from different stocks, but these three I knew would be strong enough to succeed and continue where I left off. Claudius. Alleo. Elymas. Three psykers for the Third Legion, built to hold the Third Gate and the Eye within."

    "Explosion rocked the ground as the aliens surged all around us, but we clung on. We would make our Father proud, I was so sure of it, no matter the cost. We were shun, pushed aside, Leonis offered sanctuary for us but not because he wanted to, but because these were the highest orders. He knew something of the task, but not everything, which was more than enough for me to see the treads move and hear the discord again. It was always there, hounding my every step, but ultimately it was unable to do anything else but lay in wait and bid its time. This time, would never come if I can help it."

    "Recruits progressed nicely, the aloof Eldar and their wicked devices were shattered once again as we destroyed the last remnants of their power. We were to go move onward, to a great gathering in Ullanor and the real test would begin. Greenskins held a certain degree of connection and while their art was crude, it was effective. Those of us that survive will become the stewards of the Librarium."

    "Ruin came, or so the messengers claimed. We were to be disbanded. I knew where my orders came from and as much as I tried, I couldn't reach the one person who could turn the tides. I was alone now, just like when I started, with nothing more than raw potential and minds not ready to receive the knowledge. We must press on."

    "After all this, I decided this will be my last entry. I hear it now, I can feel it in my bones. It is waiting for me down there, waiting for all of us, in the deepest pit of our minds. It is clear as a day and I curse myself for not being stronger to deny it. There is no more time, the boarding crafts are leaving in less than an hour. Therefore, I leave this book as a set of clues to those that survive. Your skill and experience will open seals one by one, but the final ward can only be broken in the place where we - you, will finally find purpose. Task remains, but with chaos looming over my shoulder, the only salvation all of us will find is when the clock reaches zero and the Eye opens."

    This was the last entry of his late master, Elymas couldn't find anything else written in the book by Hephaestus, although like the old psyker mentioned, there still was plenty of trace of his power within it, seals so advanced Elymas could do nothing about it. They were weaved by a master and the more Elymas probed them, the more he saw another psychic trace besides Hephaestus, this one immensely powerful but also the one he couldn't pinpoint to any psyker he knew.

    <Patient zero - "Battleborn's" Medbay>
    @Vulpas @Grall_Stonefist

    "Not only these wretches, but every single one of the traitors we could find," Minteril replied to Denatus' remark, his smile growing wider. "We made the Iron Warriors and Word Bearers bleed, but both of them came from a weak stock. Ones are crude foot-sloggers, most likely Perturabo wished for a grander future when he sided with the Warmaster, but once a cur, always a cur. As for the Word Bearers, the Aurelian's lot are the worst of the worst, I don't think there was a single warrior that I respected in that foolish Legion filled with demagogues and liars."

    "I like what I hear from you," he continued, tapping Jendon on the shoulder, "I like that we share the same sentiment. But making a poisonous concoction is only one part of the plan I wanted to present to you."

    Minteril's tone grew more silent now, his fingers tracing a line of chemicals arrayed on one of the tables nearby. "You both have certain set of skills that is hard to find these days. I know that our Chief Apothecary was once trained by the Alpha Legion while Denatus, you spent some time with Raven Guard, was it not?"

    "This made me think...what if, you two join forces together but not just in creating a virulent solution, but a warrior archetype to wield it. Legionary instructed in the ways of subterfuge and stealth, able to reach the places unseen and attack the enemy from within, carrying knowledge about plague and how to best unleash it? He, or they, would be the asset created by ourselves, a soldier made for this new war that we have found ourselves in?"

    "What do you think? Is this possible, or am I simply being too optimistic?"

    <Triumvirate - "Sovereign's" command deck>
    @Jorimel @matt23 + @DeranVendar

    "It is for the best. We have seen what one man can do with so much power and we have also seen the length at which our enemies will go to in order to destroy us," Sidon gave Arnock an honest reply, the old warrior looking slightly more at ease after hearing what his brothers thought of his idea.

    "Me, you, Arnock, Vitaly, it doesn't matter," Extrovious grinned a bit after nodding towards Aleph, shifting his big frame, "In the end, they will all die and we will be there to see it through."

    Short silence fell on the group before Sidon spoke once again, his gaze turning towards the standard Arnock carried all these years. "This banner was given to you by our Brother...Rylanor," there was a pause and a heavy sigh. "A brother that is most likely dead given the fact I don't think he would ever side with Fulgrim against his own kin."

    "It reminds me too much of our own failings but at the same time, it represents what we should strive for," Praetor grunted, making a sign of the Aquila across his chest. "You are its honorable holder, the Soul Exemplar. It is yours to keep or destroy. Whatever you decide, I will agree with it."

    "This brings me to the second thing I wanted to ask you. Never once, not even in my wildest dreams, have I thought about our Father betraying all of us, not to mention the force Horus had arrayed against us. What do you think happened there?"

    "Both of you knew Fulgrim better than other legionaries, Arnock you even went to the Sons of Horus during your secondment and I know you trained some of their warriors. What could possibly transpire there that brought this entire hell to us all?"

    <Blood and Iron, "Battleborn's" Forge Precincts>
    @Draconion @dx144

    "We have so much to do Pholax, so much ground to cross. Throneworld can wait, it stood long before we were born and it will remain standing after this heresy is over, that I'm sure of. The only difference that we can make is making sure our enemies don't live to see the end of it," Minteril growled, the scars on his face painting an ugly picture where once a proud Child of the Emperor stood. While time was kind to many legionaries of the Third, Minteril definitely wasn't one of them.

    "Yes, there is something I need, Forgemaster. I want this ship operational and ready to receive eight hundred warriors in the next couple of days, alongside the supporting armor and legion serfs."

    "I've spoken to Sidon," Minteril barely said the name out loud without a certain amount of bile in his tone, "And our Praetor and me have come to a conclusion that it would be best to split our forces. There is around two thousand and five hundred legionaries still under our banner and while being of a serious size, our force can easily be destroyed in one blow. So we will have to compartmentalize."

    "Do you think you can assist my officers in this task Vitaly?" Lord Commander asked, standing next to both Vitaly and Pholax and outside of his armor he looked quite smaller, although he carried himself with a certain cold fury that was hard to ignore. Betrayed man left for dead with nothing to lose were dangerous, especially if one was a gene-enhanced super soldier.

    "I would offer both of you place at my side, however I don't think Praetor would be happy if you left him. Especially you Pholax. Our last living Ancient - that's a moral booster if I ever seen one and you know how our Praetor loves clinging to the old ways. For all good they ever did us," he finished and spat in one of the open forges, the heat quickly neutralizing the acid.

    "But on the other hand, if you ask it, I would not deny the request. Nor thoughts on the matter at hand."

    <Bird is the word, somewhere on "Sovereign">

    Like Aleph expected, it didn't take long for the Ravens to find him. During one such trek amid the maze of the corridors in the central part of the Battle Barge Aleph felt the familiar sense that someone was watching him. After all, he was trained in the ways of stealth by the masters of the Eight, so it wasn't that easy to sneak upon the Blade Exemplar, no matter how one may be proficient. Still, he couldn't pinpoint the exact location of the other person until he heard dry voice answering his own call.


    On they went, following the familiar path of service corridors until they arrived at the destination. In truth, the place wasn't really hidden, but it was far away from all main and secondary tunnels that it offered some peace and secrecy. After all, the chambers Aleph found himself in were pretty much the same like all other Astartes barracks, although there were no Emperor's Children there. Its previous occupants died during the initial betrayal and this, like many other rooms across the "Sovereign", was deserted, a testament to how many brothers were lost in this conflict.

    Aleph's guide left him at the entrance before rejoining his brothers. Three of them were sitting opposite to armor racks, patiently tending to their gear and paying Blade Exemplar no mind. Dark-haired and pale with black orbs instead of eyes, they looked almost the same although that could also be one of the tricks they used which Jendon mentioned during the council. Aleph's guide on the other hand, had his hair tied into braids and he set near a heavily augmented warrior with half of his face covered in bionics, who offered him a sip from an Army-grade canteen without saying any words.

    "Greetings," the voice, now familiar to Alephoros, beckoned him to turn towards the last Raven Guard, who stood besides a small altar further inside the room. Number of feathers spread across white cloth, on top of which stood a golden Aquila, the candles burning around it amplifying its color.

    "I found it here, discarded like some toy, so I figured it would only be proper to return it on its rightful spot," the Chaplain smiled as he faced Aleph, revealing a set of sharpened teeth.

    "I don't think we met before," he turned and offered Aleph his hand in greeting, "I'm Nykar, once of Kul, now of the Nineteenth." Terminator armor and the silver raven-skull helmet lay on the rack nearby, but even outside of it, Nykar was a beast of a man. Same size as Aleph (OOC I take it Aleph is in his power armor, hence the comparison), he moved with a fluid grace of a born killer, not unlike Alephoros himself, which the Chaplain commented on as well.

    "I have met several Palatine Blades in my life, few of them knew how to hide their prowess like you, or cared to do it. But I see something else, something that begs me to ask the question," Nykar continued, turning his attention to the dark sword on Aleph's hip.

    "I take it this was not collected as a trophy?"
  2. dx144 dx144 Well-Known Member

    Pholax never knew what to really make of Minteril, his words always seemed like they were just flattery to try and butter someone up. Today his words were sounding like that of a man wanting more than he currently had, did Sidon tell him no to having something or that troop and he decide to spite to him by taking one or more of his squad from the early days of the Legion? Whatever it was, Pholax was getting an odd vibe from him.

    "I would say the Throneworld is the priority. The crumbs are not the prize, but the loaf. The rats may also be after the crumbs, but they also see the loaf and their greedy eyes grow wide. Kill the rats before they get their hands on the loaf or all is lost." Pholax wondered why he was making such a strange analogy but it seemed to make sense to him. Then again, he was the living dead, who would really care if he made sense or not. Then coming out of his musing to himself to explain his feelings.

    "Unless you know where a nest of these vermin are, I care little, Minteril. If you do not have traitors for me to kill, then leave me to my thoughts." Pholax remained upright and seemingly distant from Minteril but did turn to him for the last of his words, "If you do happen to be in need of support, just ask and I will head there as soon as I am able. The traitors deserve nothing more than a quick death, they are worse than the Xeno, worse than the witch or the mutant. Oathbreakers... Traitors... Heretics... All deserve nothing more than to be put down."

    Pholax waited a few seconds before realising that Minteril was talking about how the old ways weren't that great to the Emperor's Children. "I would caution you not to speak ill of our past. The old ways guided us, it is the shaking off of them that's caused all of ... This to happen. I'd rather kill myself right now rather than allow myself to forget I'm a Chemosian and an Astarte of the Third Legion, birthed from the genes of the Phoenician." It took a few seconds before Pholax realised what he'd said, even with all the horror, nothing was ever going to change who he was, he was a son of Fulgrim and what his father did would follow them like any other monster of Chemos before he "brought the waters". "Do not forget where we come from, Minteril. No matter what roads we've walked. I would still like to see the perpetual grey of Chemos at least one more time, once this madness if over and I can finally be put to rest."
  3. Brother_Draconion Draconion Well-Known Member

    Shadows, Whispers, and Webs

    Vitaly listens to Minteril's request, maintaining a statuesque stillness throughout that betrays not an iota of his innermost thought. Within the infosphere*, on the other hand, he might as well have glanced askance at Pholax with a raised eyebrow.


    +++Analysis, verbal communication markers: Insinuative, indirect communication, ostensibly mentioning one subject but suggesting another. 84.73% certainty of hidden agendas that may be at odds with Millennial Command. Vague, oblique phrasing indicates testing of addressee boundaries and responses. 92.56% certainty of attempt at recruiting addressees - plural - to personal cause.+++

    +++Analysis, nonverbal communication markers: Generalised irritability and latent hostility, long-standing, commonly referred to in lay terms as 'bitterness'. Nuanced focal points surround mention of the Praetor, the Traitors, and the old Legion traditions. Cross-referencing earlier analysis - 89.43% certainty of personal differences with Millennial Command in the person of the Praetor, 100% certainty of personal agendas involving elevated levels of demonstrative hostility towards Traitors, 87.89% certainty of personal agendas pushing for radical changes to Legion operating culture.+++

    +++Conclusion: Minteril is angling towards 1.) a schism, or 2.) a power grab.+++

    "The transfer of personnel and stores is fine, Lord Commander. As soon as the proper invoices are submitted to my docket, signed and countersigned, I will approve the movement and billetting accordingly, along with the requisite logistical support. All as per routine," replies Vitaly to Minteril, choosing his deadpan voxsynth-modulated speech to maintain inscrutability.

    After a finely judged pause to indicate just a sliver of inquisitiveness, he adds, "As for your offer of a place at your side, that is up to the Praetor to decide. Any of my senior Techmarines would serve you just as well. That is, unless you have something specific in mind?"

    Even as he speaks, another silent, heavily-encrypted data pulse flashes between himself and Pholax.


    +++Clarification: We keep Minteril talking to uncover his agendas and the motivations behind them.+++
    +++Observation: Treachery begets treachery, and not necessarily in any specific direction. The betrayed, wounded and embittered lash out at the most convenient target, often an irrational choice save to emotional logic.+++
    +++Personal Addendum: I express great regret at this state of affairs, while understanding and accepting that my feelings on this or any matter have absolutely no bearing on reality whatsoever. I will continue do what must be done to keep the Legion whole and loyal to the Throne, as I have always done.+++

    * The noosphere, at this point, is a new innovation that will only be unveiled at the outbreak of the Martian civil war. I am assuming tech adepts and their enabled constructs would use its ostensibly inferior predecessor, which I imagine would have significantly less bandwidth, fidelity, and, most importantly, security, which was the main advantage of the noosphere when it first appeared.]
  4. Uriel1339 Uriel1339 Lord of Posts

    <Voices in the Dark - "Sovereign's" Librarium>
    Elymas' hairs would stand up a little as if electrified while his skin showered in goosebumps. To read the passages of such personal journal embedded with his mentors power, but also lingering voice. It was more unnatural than even a scholar of the immaterium might be used to. But it was not the fabrication of such work but the words, the meanings behind them that got to Elymas. At least three times over he read the, in his opinion, most critical passage.

    With both Claudius and Alleo gone, would Hephaestus plan still succeed? Or did in reality he see other three younglings? Elymas considered the three he had chosen and their role in this chaotic campaign they were fighting. These powers they were gifted were a fickle thing. And Hephaestus out of all that Elymas ever met was in particularly curious about foresight. After all, he acted always so certain as if he knew the outcome before anyone else. The old librarian shook his head.

    "Whichever you refer as the Third Gate, I shall do my best to hold it shut, Hephaestus." The Chief Librarian spoke and closed the book. He was not willing to consider the secondary signature he felt. Not without more evidence, not without more passages unlocked. Time was racing against him, the Emperor's Children and the grand Imperium. But it was a race he was not willing to lose.

    The other three librarians were off to get some rest and interact with crew members as they saw fit. A break they desperately needed but Elymas in hindsight wondered if they could afford. To not linger any further in the nearly cursed halls of the Librarium, he marched off into the depth of the Sovereign. Even without a task, in the least he was patrolling and could carry the illusion of being useful. Then again, he always thought the best while on his feet. The mystery of the Eye and the Third Gate would be solved with more resources at hand. The grand libraries of Terra or even the Library of Ptolemy of Macragge might have some insight.

    Alas he might have to ask Sidon or Minteril about such information considering that there are not many scholar-types left amidst the legion with some of the bookworms as Fabius Bile belonging to the wrong side of the battlefield.
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  5. Colapse Colapse Forum Beta Tester

    <Blood and Iron, "Battleborn's" Forge Precincts>
    @Draconion @dx144

    "I would also love to see the grey skies of Chemos for one last time...right before I turn them into ash and bomb the planet into oblivion."

    Bitterness was now mixed with anger as Minteril slammed his fist against one of the machine racks nearby, breaking the cogitator's screen apart. "Caution me, for what Pholax?! You say you would rather die than forget that you are Fulgrim's son, but I would like to remind you that if it was up to him, your wish would've been granted."

    Dozen small glass shards were embedded into Commander's hand, but he didn't seem to mind the bleeding as he turned around to wave off two Emperor's Children guards who remained standing at the doorway after receiving the order. "The old Legion is dead Pholax, those that now represent the Emperor's Children all fight under Phoenician's banner. Have you seen the list of the ships above Isstvan? Kaesorn, Fabius, Eidolon, every lord of renown and companies under them were present and all were holding formation around Pride of the Emperor. This is the current reality and the sooner you accept it the better."

    "On the other side, if we count the original commanders, who does our Millennial have among its senior cadre? Leonis assassinated, Hephaestus killed by our current Chief Librarian, Thales and Apox executed for treachery, Cautorious fled, Reedian most likely in tow with that snake Kenjiro. The only ones who are left are Sidon and me. Praetor, while a righteous man on his own, is a relic of the past and as much as I respect him, there are sacrifices he is not willing to make in order for us to be reborn anew."

    Minteril sighed now, his rage leaving him for a moment as opened his palm to watch how the wounds he suffered were quickly repaired by the regenerative effect of his metabolism. "Praetor has decided and I have agreed with it. I will take this ship alongside eight full companies and set out to do a specific task. You were right Pholax, Terra is the key and we will get to it, but now the lairs of the traitors must be found and dealt with."

    "As you probably know, Chemos and Terra aren't the only worlds from where we have gathered our stock in the recent couple of years. These worlds will be first on my list. I will go there and see for myself - if those brothers are pure and remained true to the Throne, then I will carry the word and bring them to our fold. If not and the Phoenician's influence seeped into their hearts, then they will burn like the rest of the traitors."

    "So don't worry Forgemaster, you will get those invoices signed and countersigned. I expect the personnel and supplies transfer to be completed in the next five days, with your help of course," Minteril finished, turning around and walking out of the precinct, leaving Vitaly and Pholax to their own thoughts.
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  6. Fox Vulpas Well-Known Member

    <Patient zero - "Battleborn's" Medbay> @Grall_Stonefist @Colapse

    Jendon looked at Minetrial as he heard his question, The Chief apothecary spending a minute thinking before answering. "With our skills time and supplies I think that can be arranged." Jendon said as he did He pulled up a data slate. "I have been thinking for a while about something similar in my free time with some other brothers were forming a similar idea but simply making various concoctions of poisons to take out individual legionaries and various threats," One of Jendon's hands went into his pocket and pulled out several vials To show Minetrail as he pulled up information on the concoctions. Onto the data slate,

    "With the breaking of three loyal legions and the revelation of there being more traitors then estimated, We are going to need something bigger then these simple poison's Me and the Brother apothecaries have been brewing up. A new class of astartes likely can be made, Though with us on a tight schedule and rumors of us being broken up into two fleets, I can likely form up a type of training guide with Denatus possibly as well as Begin training several before our split happens, A good study in the chemicals and how to make them should aid in this endeavor, But I might have something that may improve it as long if we can manage to hit several targets and gain samples from the other traitor legions." Jendon then pulled up additional data he had on the traitor legions gene seed.

    "During the reclamation of the battle born, I made a discovery in the apothecary, The Iron warrior's posse a abnormally large store of gene seed on the battle born, This supply, While has proven pure, and useful for the war to come may provide us if our own stocks of our own run out, Or it proves useful in case of bio war situation to make use of this other stock of geneseed, I have found another use for the Iron warriors gene seed. Samples for testing on ways to poison or even find more covert ways for infecting the Iron warriors stock of gene seed." Jendon said as he did he began reviewing findings hes brought on various genetic weakness hes found unique to the Iron warriors.

    "I know we are splitting up soon, Minetrial but have to ask you out of a bit of curiosity what targets you planning to hit against the traitors, I have recently been thinking over several missions that may aid us in the war effort, and with these new type of troopers you have come up, I might have a plan that might help, Put the hurt on the traitors supplies if we can get Samples of there Geneseed and warriors," Jendon said looking to Minetrail as he did for once his stance he held was readable as if the Apothecary was in thought about the plan he was going to suggest to Minetraial.
  7. Brother_Draconion Draconion Well-Known Member

    Blood, Iron and Paperwork


    First, contaminating my burner, now this. This is getting to be a bit much.

    Vitaly's synthesised voice rings out to follow Minteril's departure, its buzzing rasp a touch harsher than usual.

    "So be it, Lord Commander. On another note, kindly refrain from mistreating machinery again - either here, or anywhere else. All the materiel of the loyal Legion is held on trust from the Emperor, and given to my charge. Use it as an outlet for juvenile tantrums again, and I will write you up on charges as is my right and duty, Lord Commander or no. As for the transfer of men and materiel, consider it done the moment the paperwork is submitted. I return now to my duties."
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  8. Brother_Draconion Draconion Well-Known Member

    Echoes of Lost Brotherhood

    Date: Sometime in the present

    Location: The Sovereign, Subsection #34, Section #12, Deck #69

    The deceptively neglected, corroded old bulkhead slides open with nary a whisper. In the cavernous space within, warm lights blink to life, illuminating a cluster of structures that haven't seen human use in a significant length of time. A lone figure in heavily-reinforced armour stalks towards the three-storey building that dominates the scene, pausing at the entrance to glance up the sign over the main doors that reads, in old scriptorial font:

    Four To Nine - A Pleasant Refuge For Weary Brothers

    Inside, comfortable seats, gaming tables, drinking bars and sundry other furniture of leisure lay as vague outlines beneath white dust sheets. Maintenance servitors lay dormant in their charging niches, running lights blinking. The armoured figure runs a finger along the main bar counter, leaving a trail through a thin layer of dust. Its faceless helm tilts in a manner that suggests an unfocused gaze that stares into the distant past, listening as much as watching for scenes of days gone by.

    A brief informatic pulse brings the lights to full brightness. Servitors awaken from their niches and begin to go about the routine chores of housekeeping. With a click of atmospheric seals, the armoured figure disengages its gauntlets and helm, which it places upon the bar counter. Vitaly Sokolovsky's face gazes out across the room that, in another life, had once been his domain outside of duty, which he had run to exacting standards for the pleasure and edification of his closest brothers. It has been months since he had last been in here - indeed, since any of the old Squad 4 has been in here. Too much has transpired for there to be merriment of any kind, and far too much has changed between all of them for their brotherhood - such as remains - to ever be the same again. Indeed, to come here causes him a dull, distant ache in the hollow places in his psyche that his past self might have found unbearable, but which he now simply notes with a detached apathy, the way a stoic man might regard phantom limb sensations. For all that, he still feels a duty to this place as its creator, and makes a point to come as often as duty permits to personally oversee the maintenance cycles, not trusting unsupervised servitor automation with artisanal furnishings that he so painstakingly restored by hand from sundry castoffs.

    Another informatic pulse turns on the ultra high-definition sound system, causing strains of pensive improvisational polyphonic music to waft throughout the structure. As he fills a bucket with water and detergent and begins to wipe the counter with a cloth, his gaze drifts over to a long wall covered with a single, long cork-backed noticeboard. The noticeboard is hung with all manner of items, from signs and gaming scores to artwork contributed by various members of the brethren. One large section is dedicated to vintage-looking picts - in full colour as well as sepia and graduated black-and-white. Each pict comes with a backer including date, time, location and a brief description of the scene. Taken together, the entire wall is a photographic journal of Squad 4's journey with the Legion.

    There, at the upper left-hand corner of the pict section, is their very first squad portrait, taken right after the near-disastrous interview with Lord Commander Leonis, on that nameless planet where they had fought the Commorrite Eldar tooth and nail. Needless to say, they all looked like they had seen better days - blasted, burned, perforated, poisoned and boiled alive, to say nothing of having just endured a proper bollocking from a high commander. Even so, nothing could keep them from looking battered, defiant, and proud after their first successful campaign. The caption summed it all up.

    "We came. We saw. We killed xenos."

    His gaze continues to drift at random across the wall as he finishes cleaning the bar and moves on to wiping glasses. It lights upon one pict in particular, this being one of his later ones, when his technique and equipment had evolved. This one had been taken by drone, with built-in image processing, and was a sepia portrait of the entire squad engaging in horseplay in the three days of R&R following the Cairo Nova compliance of XXX.XXX.M30. He finds himself remembering this scene well.

    The squad had stumbled upon a local museum - the main museum, according to natives - which had taken a few hits during the final battle, but remained mostly intact. As young (by Legion standards) men will, they had all breezed past the cordon to potter about and gawk at the curiosities on display. Coming upon a crude but perfectly recognisable rock carving of male genitalia - allegedly taken from Terra and dated to M00 - had prompted the entire squad to degenerate at once into scholam antics. The end result had been Extrovious, Pholax and Martyn standing to the immediate right of the offending display, doubled over in hilarity and slapping one another on the back. Jendon, meanwhile, was balancing precariously on a borrowed stool far too small for him, trying to get close enough to take the measure of the satirically-oversized male organ. Aleph, artistic as ever, was off to the right of the jesters three, apparently trying to get the best light to take a quick pencil sketch. Elymas, to the left of Jendon, was casting a scornful sneer that seemed to cover everyone he could see. As for the photographer himself, Vitaly was stage left, dressed in the khakis and sun helmet of a stereotypical explorator-gentleman (they had all been in mufti that day), wielding an archaeologist's brush, giving the camera a wry face and gesturing expansively towards the others as though to sigh, "Ladies and gentlemen - my brothers."

    In fact, that was exactly what the caption read.

    Unbidden, Vitaly's mind finds itself drifting back in time, past the bitterness, paranoia and bloodshed of recent months to happier, simpler days...

    [OOC: Everyone feel free to join in the flashback at this point.]

    Live music fills the main room, courtesy of someone - he couldn't see whom - pounding the ivories of the grand piano to some jaunty refrain. Vitaly was too busy to look right now - the entirety of his being was focused on the task at hand with all the intensity of a master swordsman looking to make the most perfect cut of a lifetime, of an artist about to make the brushstroke that would define an entire career. With deft hands, he draws a fifth of amasec and tips the shotglass into a tumbler. Giving it an expert swirl, he adds a quarter and an eighth respectively of aniseed spirit and bitter citrus. The measures are all precise and true - no cheating cones in the bottoms of his tumblers. An honest dram for battle-brothers, mixed by hand and eye - that was the iron rule in this house, *his* house, which he had built for his brothers.

    A house which he now presides over from behind the expansive bar, dressed to the nines in an elegant bartender's uniform, complete with trousers on suspenders, a natty waistcoat, and a bowtie.

    His hands moving in blurs, he proceeds to fill no less than seven more tumblers - all neatly lined up on the bar before him - with different mixes, drawing from the dispenser bottles strategically arranged around his workstation accordingly to mathematically exacting patterns meant to maximise the bartender's efficiency and minimise workflow obstruction. Having practiced the victualler's trade for some time now, Vitaly had found it equal parts mathematically precise logistics and inspired, improvisational art. The math, while something he was already excellent at, was far from fixed or a given, being as it was a support structure and safety valve for the riot of purposeful chaos that was the art - the attempted mastery of which he relished with a fierce passion. Today was yet another day he had chosen to push the boundaries - mixing a record number of different shots simultaneously and aiming to fill all the glasses in one fell swoop before all the tumblers touched the bar.

    And then there was the chemistry and biology of it all. Normal spirits, however strong, would never even tickle an Astartes. He had had to research into the vintnery of other Legions - particularly the VIth - to develop tipples that would be worthy of a Legion revel.

    Capping the first tumbler with a barely-seen swoop of the hand, like unto the sword-draw of a master, he bounces it off the counter and into the air. Time seems to slow for him, the vessel seeming to crawl at a leisurely pace through the air as he proceeds down the line to cap and launch every single one of the eight tumblers in the same manner. The combat trance draws out split-seconds into leisurely minutes as he grabs each tumbler and proceeds to swirl, shake and juggle them in eye-dizzying patterns, shaking them in figure-eights in front of himself before re-launching them in round-the-back tosses over his shoulder, never letting them touch the bar for more than a split second. To his audience, he would appear to have eight or more arms, somehow managing to always keep the tumblers aloft and in chaotic, yet aesthetically spectacular motion.

    ~And now, the finish.~

    Grabbing each tumbler out of the air in sequence by their marked numbers, he pours them out swiftly into a row of shot glasses upon the bar - all without grounding a single tumbler before it is emptied.

    "Brother, I give you your Death Row: Deadly Eight Edition - Breaching Charge, Snakebite, Proxima Vortex Bomb, Choking Death, Phosphex Mine, Life Eater, Kamikaze, and Soundstrike Misfire. You know the rules - all down the hatch in ninety seconds to complete the challenge and get your name on the board. Signal when ready."

    Watching the brother before him intently, he raises a stopwatch, ready to hit the button the moment the signal is given.

    [OOC: First to post gets dibs on being the drinker.]
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