Abaddon at the Therapist
The small woman glanced down at her clipboard, then looked back up at the hulking figure that had finally finished adjusting itself on her poor couch. She pushed a strand of hair out of her eyes, tucking it back behind her glasses, and sighed inwardly. Being the best counselor in the galaxy had its drawbacks sometimes. Still, the pay was good. Tapping her pen on the clipboard, she began.
“So tell me, Mr… uhm… Despoiler; where do you think your stress comes from?”
Abaddon shifted on her couch again, his terminator-armored bulk threatening to flatten the valiant furniture. “Where doesn’t it come from,” he sighed, his voice surprisingly soft for the most feared champion of the dark gods. “I mean, there’s the gods themselves at the top of the pile: Khorne’s always teasing me that Kharn’s got more kills than I have – up-close-and-personal ones, mind, Khorne doesn’t like all this newfangled stuff like the Planet Killer – and Tzeentch never shuts up about me being so predictable. And then there’s Nurgle. Warp dammit that guy could give a daemonette weight issues. Doom this and despair that and decay the other.”
The counselor nodded understandingly. “I can sympathize with that,” she said. She could – her ex had gotten involved with Nurgle back in the 960’s. He had said it helped him deal with his depression, but she hadn’t believed him. Proving him wrong was one of the reasons she had taken up psychotherapy. “Is there anything… closer to home… than that, though?”
He hummed a bit. “Like the other champions?”
“If you like,” she said patiently. The trouble with megalomaniacs was that they could never really accept that someone else knew more than them. They had to be led along oh-so-carefully. Especially Tzeentchian ones – her hardest client yet had been one of Ahriman’s Cabal claiming to be bipolar (it turned out he was just suffering a mild bout of warp-induced madness and paranoia, but the sorceror would have none of it).
“Well, Ahriman’s always been a bit of a pretentious git.” (Speak of the devil, thought the counselor.) Abaddon flexed the Talon of Horus, and she winced imperceptibly as it took another inch of cushioning off the arm of her couch. “He never knows when to shut up, that one doesn’t. Even Magnus doesn’t want to talk to him when he’s around, and that old cyclops could talk the pustules off Nurgle.”
“Is there anything in particular that Mr Ahriman says that has a major effect on you?” she asked, marking ‘JEALOUSY - FEELS INADEQUATE?’ on her clipboard.
Abaddon frowned. “Not really, I suppose. He’s always going on about how he would have done the Black Crusades so much better than I did, but then everyone does that these days – not that I see any of them stepping up for a go.”
“And any of the other champions of Chaos?”
“Not really. Typhus is usually off doing his own thing with the Terminus Est, which is a relief really, the guy stinks worse than Mortarion these days. Lucius is busy doing whatever it is that Lucius does down on some daemon world or another – sure, the guy heads out for a quick raid every now and then, but it’s pretty easy to distract him, all things considered.”
She nodded. “And Kharn?”
“Kharn? Kharn’s actually a pretty cool guy, once you get to know him. Gets a bit carried away every now and then, but its all part of his charm. It’s not like he doesn’t give people ample warning – he is called the betrayer, after all. No, Kharn’s never bothered me much. He comes along on most of my Crusades, and we usually end up having a good laugh.”
He leaned back. “Reminds me of this one time we were assaulting Cadia – I think it was back in M34, actually – and it ended up with just the two of us and some traitor company, the Red Rivers, I think they called them. Something to do with a river of blood or something like that, but Kharn had taken quite a shine to them. Anyway, we were stuck outside on of the Kasrs, and Kharn gets the brilliant idea to take one of the Rivers’ landers and do some aerial reconnaissance. So up we go, along with a few dozen of the Rivers to pilot the damned thing, and we see the Kasrkin all there in the main square doing some parade or other.”
Abaddon grinned. “Out of nowhere, Kharn grabs up one of the Rivers and just throws him right out of the hatch! He fell so fast he nearly exploded when he hit the ground! Turns out he hit one of the Kasrkin right on the head, got blood everywhere, and the guy’s powerpack detonates! Before I could even congratulate him or tell him we’ve got a heavy bolter strapped to the wing, Kharn’s throwing more traitors down at record speed. The Kasrkin are all scattering, and Kharn keeps hitting them.”
He chuckled. “Of course, he had to stop eventually. There was only one of the Rivers left, and we needed him to fly us back to camp, but before we turned back around, Kharn grabs my arm and tells me to look down at the Kasr. Lo and behold, all the Kasrkin Kharn had hit had left big blood and scorch marks on the ground, and he’d managed to spell out a message! Want to know what it was?”
“It was a haiku:
Inside your Kasr Is where we’ll be tomorrow So clean up would you?
“Let me tell you,” Abaddon said, “I about laughed my topknot off. When I managed to turn around, I saw Kharn high-fiving the pilot – afterwards I found out it put the guy in traction for two solid weeks – but when he turns to me he whispers:
“I was trying to draw a boat.”
Abaddon chuckled. “Kharn’s one swell guy. Always sees the best in things.”
The counselor was, for the first time in her life, speechless. She just didn’t know what to say to that tale. She leaned forwards, adjusting her glasses.
“So yeah,” said Abaddon, “the stress. What was it you were asking me about ag...ain…” he trailed off as he noticed a glint in her eyes. Abruptly, he realized – the belching smoke, the grimy tracks, the slowly rotating turret-
His psychotherapist was a Leman Russ Demolisher.
Roaring, he leapt off the couch as a flurry of heavy bolter rounds tore it to shreds. Lightning wreathed the Talon of Horus, and he dropped into a crouch, cursing himself for not realizing it sooner. He dodged to the side as the turret fired, sending a demolisher shell straight through the window of the office.
Abaddon lashed out with Drach’nyen. The daemonsword tore a burning gash out of the side of the tank, but it gunned its engine and accelerated away through the wall, trying to get enough range to use its weapons against him.
To replace his counselor with a Leman Russ without him knowing could only have been pulled off by some kind of tactical genius-
“CREEEEEEED!” bellowed Abaddon as he charged after the tank. “I’ll have your head spitted on my talon! I’ll hang your guts from my armor spikes! I’ll-” He was cut short as a lascannon beam forced him to lurch awkwardly sideways.
“I’ll rip out your toenails and use them to eat your eyes!” he shouted, finding his rhythm again. “I’ll tear you out of your metal box and feed you to the thousand terrors of the warp! I’ll... do very nasty things to your mother!”
At this, the tank rumbled forwards, its sponsons roaring to life. Bolts thundered out at Abaddon, most going wide, but many still hammered into his armor. He forced his way through the storm and met the oncoming tank head-on, ramming Drach’nyen through the driver’s slit and feeling it bite deep into something behind it. Even as the tank’s dozer blade smashed into his shins he shouted in triumph and ripped the daemonsword upwards.
With the power of the gods of Chaos coursing through him, the tank came up with the sword, rising in an immense arc until it tore free of the blade and went crashing over his head and through three walls.
Startled heads peeked around the edges of the newly opened hole as Abaddon stalked towards the smoking remains of the tank. It had landed upside down, and had crumpled under its own weight. No man could have survived it, but Abaddon wanted to make sure.
Using the Talon as a shovel, he dug his way through the tank until he came to the crew compartment. Instead of finding the smashed and ruined body of his nemesis, though... there was a note. Frowning, he picked it up.
Dear Abaddon the Despoiler, If you thought this was good, wait until you see what I did to your flagship.
Ursakar E. Creed