Love and Krieg Spinoffs
Inspired by the first stories in Love and Krieg other writers took it upon themselves to create side stories about Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's sisters and their own romantic adventures. Notable is Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 who gets involved with another nameless civilian in a similar manner to the original stories and Krieger Female model 68c #6345 who ends up with a Commissar in the regiment.
And now back to romantic comedy.
- 1 The Krieger and I
- 2 Meanwhile, in the Warp
- 3 The Logs of 68th Krieg Field Artillery Regimental Commissar's Communications with the Commissariat
- 4 A Bar Girl and the Krieger
- 5 IMPERIAL CODEX
- 6 Meanwhile, on a Craftworld
- 7 The Crisis
- 8 The Siege of Terranis
- 9 Interrogator and the Krieger
- 9.1 Discovery
- 9.2 "They're Legit"
- 9.3 City Tour
- 9.4 A Simple Loan
- 9.5 Engagement Party
- 9.6 The Warp Hath No Fury...
- 9.7 Bad News
- 9.8 Departure
- 9.9 Parting Words
- 9.10 The SS Krieg
- 9.11 Needs More Rum
- 9.12 Pimp My Ship
- 9.13 Business Trip
- 9.14 Love Boat
- 9.15 New Arrivals
- 9.16 It's Up To You
- 9.17 Shopping Spree
- 9.18 The Name's Bond...
- 9.19 Party Loot
- 9.20 Terranis Holds
- 10 Terranis' End
- 11 Legacy
- 12 The Rescue
- 13 The Reconstruction of Terranis
- 14 See Also
- 15 External Links
The Krieger and I
So these Kriegers landed here some months ago and set up their main camp outside town, nobody really knows why, but the news say it is an ongoing progress to reinforce the planet in perilous times and to promote intra-world relations. At the beginning we were all a bit worried of how this would change our society and so, but it turned out that the Kriegers were more than happy to mainly keep to themselves and fortify their camp, so we didn’t have much problem. After a while though they popped up in town, often moving in small groups, or squads, of five or so in full trenchcoat, combat gear and always the gas mask, but this we got used to as well, I mean, we have a pretty diverse ethnicity here in town, what was some more? Only thing that was a bit unnerving was that they pretty much never spoke, but they managed to communicate with body language and notes, so it all worked out. In fact one of my friends happened to get into a relationship with one of them, and although I’ve understood there have been some cultural barriers it seems to work out fine.
Sometimes me and the guys would see some of the Kriegers try to pick up girls at the bar, but I guess a combination of the ever-present gas mask and the non-verbal communication made them look like creeps and pretty much always got the cold shoulder. I guess that I could put in a joke here about getting women isn’t the kind of prolonged siege the Kriegers are used to, but I’ll refrain, I’m past that stage by now.
See the cause of that is because among the Krieger-guys there were also a couple of Krieger-girls. At the beginning it was hard to pick them out because of their similar clothing, but after a couple of months many Kriegers started removing the masks inside bars and similar. I had already seen one when I had dinner at my friend’s, he mentioned something about “facial recognition”, so I suppose it has something to do with that. Anyway, this was the first time I had seen others, other than the one my friend is living with, and Emperor was I surprised to see that these ones were so similar. I could hardly tell them apart, even from my friend’s Krieger.
So there I sat, staring at the Krieger-girls like some kind of weirdo when I suddenly made eye-contact with one of them. I get that funny feeling that happens and try to look away, but somehow something inside me tells me to go for it. In an attempt to salvage the situation I keep eye-contact and walk up to her and ask her if the place beside her is taken, to which she only nods and I sit down. I offer her a drink (now that I think about it I never saw her drink from it, but the level constantly sank, so I guess she did when I looked away) and all that normal pick-up-a-girl stuff, start talking with her, and while I can’t remember exactly what I said I soon noticed that she never talked, but simply nodded, or shook her head when she disagreed, with what I said.
Most people would have found it creepy and odd, and I have to admit, so did I, but I found that it was oddly relaxing. No matter what I said she always had her attention focused on me and it really felt like she was listening to everything I said. In fact I kept talking through the night about everything possible, about my life, about the planet, about what I thought of the Kriegers and wondered about them (this lead to a lot of nodding and shaking as she answered my questions). I think I got her to smile a bit, so it seemed like it worked out pretty ok.
So we sat there until closing time before we had to leave, and while I turned around to get my jacket she donned her combat gear, mask and shouldered her lasgun (which had to be stored with the coat after an incident in a nearby bar my friend might or might not have been involved in). I don’t know how she managed, because I only turned away for a split sec and didn’t hear more than a quiet shuffle, but nonetheless she was all dressed up when I turned around. I have to admit that I wondered if it really was my Krieger for a second, because there were a number of them moving out at the same time, but I could feel her blue eyes fixed on me through the lenses of the mask, so I assumed it was her.
The walk home was pretty uneventful, I told her where I lived (which was on the way to the encampment) and she gestured that she lived in the encampment and some sign that told me to wait. She went up to one Krieger that was currently boarding a Chimera and I assume they communicated somehow, because he nodded and the two saluted before she returned to my side. I kept on talking as we walked; it was a pretty nice night, not too chilly, so I noted that she could remove the mask. I dunno if she was shy about something, but she just shook her head when I asked her, so I let it go.
We arrived at my door after a while, and I was contemplating if I should ask her up (I was also trying to come up with a good way to do it, I didn’t know her interests and I hardly had any earthworks or bayonet collection for “inspection”), when she saluted me. I was stunned for a second before I followed in suit, upon which she handed over a note to me, then returned to attention and started marching down the street. I watched her until she turned around the corner, and then looked at the paper. It said the following:
XXXX Private Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 68th Krieg Regiment, Company XXII, Platoon Gamma Vox Channel: 445X6 XXXX
I guess this was the Krieger equivalent of getting a girl’s phone number. All in all a pretty good evening I guess.
I’ve always had this problem with calling girls, how long should one wait? What should one say? When on the day should I call? Now, when I was going to call a Krieger-girl this anxiety became doubled. I called my previously mentioned friend about it and I guess he congratulated me and gave me some tips, although he admitted that his situation had been a bit different. Anyway, I decided to follow the word of the old and wise and waited three days before I picked up the phone and asked the operator to hook me up to the vox-net. The receiver was picked up barely after the first signal had rung through and I heard heavy breathing through what I presumed was a gas mask, it sounded like a guy, but I couldn’t be sure since the receiver was silent. It felt like minutes passed, but it was probably only a couple of seconds, before I decided to speak.
“Ahem, is this Platoon Gamma? I would like to speak with… Krieger Female Model 68b #6346. Is she there?”
It was silent for a couple of seconds before I heard some mumble. I couldn’t hear what he said, but since he left it on and the breathing disappeared I presume he went to get her. After a while someone new picked up the receiver, a lighter breathing, so I guessed it was Krieg Female Model 68b #6346. As with the one who picked up the phone I assumed it was best that I took the initiative.
“Uhm, it’s me from the bar the other day, I was… uh thinking perhaps you want to go out again?”
I’m not sure, but I think I heard a happy squeal from her side and a lot of shuffling around, as if the whole platoon was standing behind her and listening in.
“I uh, take that as a yes? So should we meet tomorrow and watch a movie? There’s one starting at seven in town tomorrow.”
The breathing got faster and somehow I could see her in front of me nodding. Then everything happened so fast I barely remember in what order. I heard a large boom and some shouting in the background, then a lot of shuffling before the phone hung up. I think I heard a mumble similar to “sorry” but I’m not sure.
I was a bit worried, since we didn’t set up a time to meet, but when I tried to call back I didn’t get a reply. Tomorrow came anyway, and I decided to prepare myself to wait outside the theater at seven. I didn’t need to though, because at six the doorbell rang and my Krieger was waiting outside in a freshly cleaned and pressed trenchcoat and full combat gear. I did spot some dried dirt on her boots and the shovel on her back, so I assumed she had been on drill since the call.
I finished my preparations and we walked downtown to the theater. On the way I heeded my friend’s advice and told her that the movie was about how the insidious Xenos and Heretics together worked to try and restrict the development of humans. I also pointed out that the movie is just a work of fiction, and nothing to get overly riled up over. I think she understood most of what I said, and I wonder what would’ve happened if I hadn’t, because I could see her glaring at the blue faces on the posters through her mask already when we were approaching the cinema.
Anyway, I paid for the tickets, bought some popcorn and soda and we got two seats. The movie had run for a while, but was still pretty popular, so it was perhaps half-full. As it begun I wondered if I should have chosen a romantic movie instead to increase my chances, but it seemed to work out anyway. I have to admit that I did feel a bit of sympathy for the blue aliens in the movie, but Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 was all on the humans, she even cried a tear when the colonel died towards the end, so I tried to keep my face as much as possible. When we were walking out I could feel her glaring at the others who had more openly shown their feelings for the Xenos, but I think she tried her hardest to behave.
When we were walking away from the theater and were pretty alone from the street I suddenly felt her grip my arm and press it against her, I looked at her and she met my gaze through the polished lenses on her gas mask. She didn’t speak, but it felt like she was trying to convey her fears for similar things happening right now in the Imperium and that she wanted us to stay true to the Emperor forever. Or I dunno, perhaps I’m just imagining things, I smiled at her anyway, and it seemed to calm her down, although she kept the grip on my arm. Not that I minded, though.
I waited until we were sitting down at a nearby fast-food restaurant (not so flashy I know, but I was in a bit of money trouble and considering the speed the burger disappeared in front of her I don’t think she disagreed with my choice) before I started talking about the movie. I was pretty careful with what I said, not to seem like a Xenos-lover, and I praised the humans for their work in the movie. We (I) slipped into religion after that and I happened to mention I hadn’t been that religious before, just praying to the Emperor from time to time to help me out. I totally forgot how fanatical Kriegers could be and was afraid I would scare her away. First a borderline heretical movie, and now this.
I swallowed and had focused on my dwindling soda as I had spoken to get away for a bit, but when I looked up I could only see mercy in her eyes, she took it better than I had expected. She gripped my hand and I felt in her gaze how she wanted to restore my faith in the Emperor and in that moment I felt that for her I would do just that. Despite the recovery I decided to stay silent for the rest of the meal, which now for once felt a bit awkward.
We stayed silent on the way back home to my place as well, although she took my hand as we walked, so I thought my chances weren’t all blown. This time she kept her mask off however, and after a while the silence didn’t feel so awkward after all. In the end I actually felt that it would just be nice if we could continue to walk like this forever. Alas, that could not be, so we soon found ourselves in front of my door. I decided to take my chances and inhaled as I was about to ask her up.
Before I had time to say anything, however, she shook her head and indicated at her shovel, so assumed she had exercises early tomorrow. She then smiled and made her hand into a phone, as to tell me to call her. I was so relieved that I didn’t notice me snapping to attention in reaction to her saluting (I worked at a convenience store at the time, and the Kriegers often saluted when they were checking out their things, so it had become a reflex) and before I had time to react she had given me a kiss on the cheek. I found myself again watching after her as she disappeared down the road. At that point I think I realized I was in love.
While the last incident went smoothly I decided to call my friend again for a couple of tips the next day. We talked for a while and he revealed to me that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend that very day and that he was in the middle of preparations, so we had to cut it short, but he suggested a couple of places for me to go with my own Krieger-girl that had worked for him. I could swear I heard fighting in the background and when I asked about it he just dismissed it as a “distraction” before he told me he had to hang up.
After waiting a while I called back to Gamma Platoon to see if I could get a hold of Krieg Female Model 68b #6346. Again it was the same silent heavy gas mask breathing that answered, but this time I took the initiative faster and asked pretty much as soon as he had picked up. I could hear him shuffle away and then come back again before I got a dismissive mumble which I interpreted as “She’s out” as he hung up on me.
I wasn’t worried though, as she had indicated she had things to do that day, so I decided I’d take an easy night and watched television. Around nine PM I heard my doorbell ring, I hadn’t expected anyone so I was quite surprised to discover Krieg Female Model 68b #6346 to stand on the other side. She saluted me in greeting and handed over a piece of paper. I saluted back and took the paper and was about to offer her to go in as she pointed at the paper, wanting me to read it.
It was hand written, probably in haste, and notably not very official (first time I’ve ever seen such a thing with a Krieger). It had her as the ‘from’ and me as the ‘to’ and one single line of text after that.
“Requesting permission to speak.”
I looked up at her, puzzled, wondering if this really was regulations, and if I was one to grant her (I didn’t hold any military rank, the closest was my brother who is a corporal in the PDF fighting insurgents in the desert regions), but I could hardly deny her.
“Permission granted,” I said in the most military-wise tone I could muster.
She snapped into a new salute in response, grinning broadly as she spoke. Her voice was light, fitting her fair skin, blue eyes and light hair perfectly, with a touch of off-worlder accent.
“Requesting permission to express feelings!” She practically shouted at me.
“Granted,” I replied quickly, partly because I wanted it, but also to speed up the progress of getting her inside, as I was sure my neighbors would soon show up and wonder what was happening.
Before I had time to usher her in though, she leaped at me, tackling me down on the floor and planting her lips on mine. It felt like an eternity that we just laid there, pressing our bodies against each other and kissing. I think I heard one of my neighbors opening and quickly closing their door again as we were sprawled on my doormat. After a while (during which I had managed to sneak my hands in under her greatcoat, but not yet penetrated her clothing under it) we separated our faces and she looked into my eyes with that same old solid stare.
“I love you.” We both said at the same time, I guess it sounds cliché but it actually was that way. Ok, I did see her move her lips to speak and I guess what she was going to say, so I took the chance. We kissed again, before we got up and I closed the door as she got her pack off. I cooked up some recaf and we sat down in front of the television. I have to admit that we didn’t do much drinking or watching, but a lot of cuddling and talking instead. While I had enjoyed talking to her earlier it was nothing against having a real conversation with her. I wondered about the seemingly sudden change and she told me that she had been inspired by seeing her sister’s boyfriend propose to her (it was now I remembered that the Krieger-girl my friend was with was 68b #6345 and that she was 68b #6346) and that she didn’t want to go through the long process her sister had (including a visit to their father, 68, one that I guessed would show up for me too sooner or later) but wanted to be with me now.
We continued the night in the same manner, talking, cuddling and eventually sleeping together. The next day she was gone by the time I woke up (although I faintly remember a bayonet-poke in my half-sleep), but a note in the kitchen said she would be back. I considered calling my friend to say I was dating his fiancée’s sister, but I decided not to, leaving them to enjoy the day for themselves. Nonetheless Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 (she asked me to call her Sibylle when were just us two together from that day forward) showed up a couple of hours later with a permission to take up residence with the civilian populace, namely me, and we have lived together since.
Meanwhile, in the Warp
Somewhere beyond the veil of reality, in a realm far outside of the bounds of human ability to comprehend it, four beings of phenomenal power watched the scene unfold in silence.
Finally, after what could have been an eternity, or a nanosecond, or quite possibly both at once, one of the beings spoke.
"WELL, THIS WAS BORING. GUESS I'D BETTER CALL KHARN, TELL HIM HE'S GOT A WEDDING TO CRASH-"
Without so much as turning their heads, Slaanesh and Tzeentch simultaneously punched Khorne in the dick.
As the Blood God opened his mouth to scream an eldritch wail of indescribable suffering, a vaguely hand-shaped mass extruded itself from Nurgle's bloated form and securely fastened itself over the mouth and nose of Khorne.
While of course the sound of the festering pustules all over the body of Nurgle rhythmically oozing and contracting would be completely impossible to render accurately for mortal ears (not without destroying the unfortunate listener's soul down to the last fragment of their broken psyche), the noise it made while its hideous appendage muffled Khorne's fading cries of agony was remarkably similar to the words "Ssshhh, you're ruining the moment."
The three entities still conscious returned to watching in contented silence.
The Logs of 68th Krieg Field Artillery Regimental Commissar's Communications with the Commissariat
Administratum Note: The following transmissions were received from a Commissar attached to the 68th Krieg Regiment on a prior deployment, the desert world Saghalain.
Throne willing, this reaches you in the best of health. You were absolutely right sir. My tenure in the Segmentum’s Propaganda Ministry was too long. I find myself disgracefully out of practice for my duties as a Regimental Commissar. I believe I understand your reasons for assigning me here to the 68th Krieger field artillery. The regiment is impeccably well disciplined. I took to heart your advice, that a good commissar should announce himself with a field execution within four hours of his arrival on post, but sir, in spite of my most rigorous scrutiny, I could find no breach of regulation anywhere.
Sir, I understand how unusual this may sound, but I’m not sure the 68th Krieger require a Commissar. I’m not sure what I am expected to do here. My duties seem vestigial, ceremonial, and Sir, there’s something else. They’re watching me, always watching. I know the sight of a guardsman at attention should fill any Imperial citizen with the warmth of the Emperor's confidence, but by the saints these people make me shiver; the glint on their lenses, the hiss of their respirators. Sir, I want my old assignment back. Please Sir, I’m sorry that your assistant and I… Sir it will never happen again. If you’d put me behind a desk again––Oh saints I can't send this. Delete that last part. Stop scribing. Oh, what was the command? Cease. Terminate. Desist. End. Hey, you there, Ensign, find the Enginseer. I’m having trouble with my servitor.
Recorded 4105988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe Servitor #303440288
Meanwhile, at the Commissariat
"Commissar, the reason you were assigned to the 68th Krieg Field Artillery Regiment... was primarily to deal with any issues that may arise between your charges and the local civilians. And to give them something resembling a normal human being to practice their social skills on."
"...you do realize that hysterical laughter followed by uncontrollable sobbing puts enough demerits on your record to lose Commissariat Ice Cream Privileges for a period of no less than one month?"
"No, I'm not...no, I'm not going to- WOULD YOU LET ME FINISH?!"
- throat-clearing noise, followed by exasperated sigh*
"No, I'm not going to take Mr. Buttons away. Teddy Bear Deployment Rights don't come under review unless you've done something like, say, suffer the Xenos to live."
"...What do you mean "the head of the PTA is a Lictor?"
"No, I don't care that it makes cookies."
"...wait, did you just say "Inverted Key Lime Double Fudge Chunk? That can't be possible, nobody's seen that STC in-"
"...I'll call you back."
"Do you think I'm drinking too much amasec, or not enough?"
"...I'll pour each of us a double."
I’ve just completed the inspection of today’s muster. There isn’t really anything to log, as usual. The 68th continue to adhere to every directive in the primer, to the letter. Morale in the regiment is hard to gauge. I haven’t heard them saying anything seditious or heretical. I haven’t heard them saying anything. No executions yet. No reprimands to give, formal or informal.
The Astropath handed me the strangest communiqué from the Lord-Commissar. There was a lot of warp interference, but it sounded like––It’s better not to think of things at the old office. It doesn’t sound like he’ll take me back anyway that son of a––When did you get here? What are you doing in my tent? Well, say something. Who are you? Let me see your dogtags. Come on, I’ll take your number even if I have to read them myself.
Oh my throne, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize you were a––I didn’t realize this was a mixed gender regiment. I didn’t know Kriegers were ever, you know, girls. There button that back up, that’s better. I can read it just fine from here. Six Eight C Six Three Four Five. Yes, um, that will be all, dismissed. Go. There’s no reason for you to be in my sleeping quarters. Just, fine, I’ll go.
Recorded 4106988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
"Speaking of poetry. While I was in the middle rubbing sacred unguents on my autoscribe to get it working again I found this note.
Rosen sind Rot, Mohne sind zu, Ich werde gehen nach Lebensborn und Schlafen mit Du
I think 68c left it. But I don't speak Kriegermanish. Anybody got a clue what she's trying to tell me?"
"Ah yes, I recognize the beginning. It appears to be an archaic Terran verse, one known for its many variations. Pre-Unification certainly, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it dates even further back than that. Let's see.
"Roses are red, Violets are blue. I will go to Lebensborn and-"
Oh. Oh my. Well then, I'll just take that from you and send you on your way. No lad, do not question your superiors. Back to work with you."
I hope the Astropath doesn’t have any trouble understanding my penmanship. Forgive me if it causes any problems. I was wrong to assume these guardsmen had nothing to hide behind their respirators. They’re up to something, I’m sure of it. I used to think they didn’t speak at all, but I suspect they’re only playing dumb. It’s a ruse! I swear, sir, I’ve heard them mumbling to each other when they think I’m not listening. They’re coordinating something behind my back.
They’ve left someone to keep tabs on me every moment of the day. She’s there when I wake up. She follows me on my morning inspection. When the troop is on parade, their eyes are on her not me; at least I think they are. It’s hard to tell. I’m not sure how to proceed sir, she never leaves my side. I can’t even use my autoscribe for letters anymore. She’ll hear every word. She’s behind me now. I hardly ever see her move when she’s in my tent, but I swear she seems a step closer to me every time I turn around. Every day, she watches me until I sleep. She’s there when I wake up. I think it’s the same one every day, Six Eight C. I haven’t changed out of my uniform in three days. If I don’t think of something soon I’ll have to file a formal reprimand against my self for failing to pass inspection, Article 4733/67y.
4108988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain
It is the same one, watching me every day. I’m certain of it. I had my eye on her last night, and an idea came to me. As I was pacing my tent, writing my last letter, I bumped into her intentionally. I knew instantly that it was at the very least another female because of the soft, yielding feel of her chest, but that wasn’t the point of my plan. My pen left a stain on her right breast, just between the second and third buttons of her greatcoat. When I woke up this morning, the stain was still there.
I’m not sure what to make of it. I was certain my minder would leave when I slept, to report change shifts with a replacement for the next day. Something else must be going on. When does she find a moment to tell them everything I’m doing? When does she sleep? If she isn’t spying on me, then why, for the sake of everything that’s holy in the Imperium is she still in my tent. What on Terra could she want?
4109988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain
Commence. Begin. Initiate. Oh, it’s started already. Delete. Erase. Never mind. I might have been a bit hasty to jump to the conclusion that Six Eight C was informing on my actions. As certain I may be that I have never left her sight, I’m nearly as sure that she hasn’t been more than a pace or two away from me this whole week. As such, I have resumed the use of my autoscribe. Also, I am out of ink.
It’s awkward, I’ll admit, to talk about her in the third person. She’s right over there. She always is. I presume she knows whom the pronoun I keep dropping refers to. Or to whom it refers, or whatever. Why can’t my autoscribe have an editing cogitator? Anyway I suppose I’m beginning to get used to having her around. Yes, to having you around, Six Eight C Six Three Four Four. Or was it Six Eight C Six Three Four Seven? No. No, you don’t need to show me again it really doesn’t––Oh, Six Three Four Five, that’s uh, a very pretty, uh, number.
Recorded 4110988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
This afternoon I finally changed into a new uniform. It feels wonderful. I can’t believe it took me so long to think of a way to get rid of Six Eight C. It was so simple, I could have done it days ago. This morning I was inspecting the troops, as I always do. I was thinking of what a waste of time it always is, nothing to report, when I noticed my chance. The ink stain was still there where I’d made it, on her chest.
I prodded it roughly with my finger and said, “Guardswoman, are you aware of Article 4733/67y? That’s Ill-Treatment or Neglect of Accoutrements. Take her away” And that was all it took. I heard her make a sharp gasp in her respirator and then the sergeant was dragging her away. She kept staring at me, what a look.
Now I’m alone. What a feeling. It’s wonderful I can lounge in here in my shirtsleeves. I can say anything I want to my autoscribe, and tonight, oh tonight I can sleep alone. Tomorrow I can roll out of my cot and take my time slipping into a nice fresh uniform. All I have to do in the morning is heft my bolt pistol to the parade ground and––Throne on Terra She’s going to be shot! Sweet Sanguinius what do I do?
Recorded 4111988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
Administratum Note: The following transmissions were received independently with distinct identification markers, all apparently following the events of the previous transmission. For the sake of completeness, all three have been archived here and an investigation of their authenticity is ongoing.
Entry Seven A
She died in front of me.
I don't know how it happened, but somehow, one of the enemies of the Imperium managed to get an artillery strike on the parade grounds. They must have managed to raid a supply dump for the shells; they were standard Krieg toxic gas. Apparently they found a makeshift launcher near the Hive covered in Chaos runes. I don't, I don't…
I was going to pardon her. Let her off with a lecture and restricted rations. But the shells hit before I had got to her, and, and, and
I don't know what - whoever it was who launched the attack - was thinking. All the Kriegers were wearing their masks. The only one at risk was me, of course, I didn't have mine on me. It was a parade, dammit! It was supposed to be safe territory!
She saved my life. It...it was the first time I saw her eyes when she wrestled her mask onto my face. It was the same look that my sister gave to me back before the days at the Schola, just a concerned look of someone not wanting to see someone they cared for hurt. Someone that they lo- they lo-
They're shelling the Hive. I don't have the heart to stop them. End. Stop. Get out. Get-
Recorded 4112988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
Entry Seven B
How did it come to this? I wasn’t a bad student in the Schola. Those posters I wrote in the Ministry ended up on walls all through the Segmentum. I’m sure I could have had my old, safe job back if I’d just kept my head down a little longer. That face, though, that haunting face would never leave my head. Those eyes, imploring me through the lenses were just––what could I have done.
I could spend the rest of my life, however short that may be, pondering about how I could have played it differently, if I hadn’t acted like a fool, or if I hadn’t had to be the hero. Funny that the bravest thing I’ve ever done is the blackest mark I’ll ever have on my career. I had to make a choice, a stand.
Throne, imagine the look on my old instructor's face when he heard I’d ended up with a Penal Legion. What a waste, a good name, with a good record. But, you know, I think I made the right choice. There’s only one face I care if I’ll see or not for the rest of my life, and the funny thing is I didn’t even see it for the first time until yesterday. Now at least I’ll get to see it until the very end. I told Six Eight C that the explosive collar brought out her eyes, and you know, I meant it. That’s when I knew it was all worth it. That’s when I saw her smile.
Recorded 4112988.M41 4th Penal Legion – Saghalain
Entry Seven C
Start scribing or whatever your activation code is, blasted Enginseer said he can't come have a look at you for another week, they're re-sanctifying all the Russes this week.
I did it, I saved her. It was awkward, it was unprofessional, and it's going to be even worse, but I used her as an example of wasting the Emperor's resources. They bought it. Every last one of them gave a solemn nod as I finished explaining that executing her would waste vital resources that the Imperium needs to continue fighting the Heretic, the Xenos and the Traitor.
However, after pouring over my dataslates, the only way I could commute the sentence was to assign her to myself personally, to ensure no more infractions are committed. When this was announced, I could have sworn I saw them all smile, or whatever passes as a smile under those masks.
By time I made it back to my quarters, she had already set up a spare bunk, had brewed a pot of recaf, and was tidying my desk.
It was then that it occurred to me: I had a Krieger for a maid.
Recorded 4112988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
A Bar Girl and the Krieger
So, Terranis used to be a nice place, now we're up to our eyeballs in these Emperor-damned Krieg soldiers. At first it wasn't so bad, they'd stay in their camp, or you'd see them digging trenches or fortifying some building, and they'd ignore you. It was even great for business at the bar; they drink a lot, pay up front, and don't make trouble. However, it turns out that apparently there were some girl Kriegers among them and for some reason the boys can't get enough of them.
For example, there was this really cute guy who used to come into the bar after work, always made eyes at me. I was playing him along a little, but then one day he walks in with one of those gas mask wearing bitches. I decided to make a move, and that little freak jumps the bar, assaults me, and breaks my nose by smashing it with her pistol.
The really infuriating thing is that they don't react the way they should. I mean, after that incident, I put up a policy sign that said all weapons had to be checked at the door. No one complained or anything. They just did it.
Also, I swear there's this one Krieg who just comes in every night that creeps the hell out of me. I know it's impossible to tell them apart, but I swear. It's the same guy. He just comes in, sits down at a table near the back, orders one bottle of amasec and just stares out into space the whole time. I swear I think he's watching me, he's here right now actually...you know what? I'm gonna go ask what his deal is....
Argh, I hate these people! He didn't say anything, just nodded at my questions and insults. The only response I got when I asked him his name, was to take out his dog tag and show it to me. Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713...dammit, he's STILL staring at me. What does he want?
68a #1713 playing the piano
Ugh, today is just one of those pain in the ass days. That guy and the Krieg girl who broke my nose came in today. Apparently they're getting married and are on a pub crawl to celebrate. Maybe, I don't know. Either way, rounds for the whole bar, lots of quietly clinking glasses, and whatever passes for mirth for these people. Everyone's asking for refills, and I don't know whose tab it's going on at this point. At least some of them took off their gas masks. Although, the bride-to-be gave me such a vicious look when she did.
Wait, is that piano music? Is someone playing that busted piano in the corner? Hold on.
Well...that was interesting. There was someone playing the piano. It was Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713. I asked him if he was the one who fixed it. He nodded. Also he had taken off his gas mask. I thought he would be just another blonde and blue eyed copy of all the others. He actually has very dark brown hair and these pale grey eyes.
He's really good at playing the piano. People were giving him requests, either calling them out or in the Krieger's case writing them out, and he knew nearly all of them.
I...invited him to come back if he wanted. I mean...a little piano music here wouldn't hurt. He nodded, and I think I saw a slight twitch around those grey eyes of his.
Okay, weird day. Nice...but weird. #1713 came back again today, he didn't order a bottle like he always does, but instead sat down at the piano and looked at me. He did that for five minutes before I went over and asked him what he was doing. He just gestured towards the piano with a tilted head. Finally, I realized he was asking what he was supposed to play. I told him to play anything and he shook his head. Then I just mentioned the first song that came to mind and then I went back to work. Ten minutes later, I noticed that I was hearing the same song. He had been playing that tune over and over again. I went over to him and told him to stop. He instantly got up from the piano, and I swear, closed his eyes, and got on his knees as if he was about to be executed. I pulled him back up and explained to him that he needed to play more than one song. I asked him to write down all the songs he knew...he's sitting at the bar right now, still writing.
Alright, he's finished, and there's three pages of this stuff. I haven't even heard of half of these. He's even sorted them by origin. Well, some Valhallan some drinking songs would be fun. That's odd. There's just three songs from Krieg. There's the national anthem, a marching song, and this last one... Regentropfen. Well, I'll make him play it at closing, when there's just the Kriegers here.
Oh...oh my. That was...when he started to play that song. That very pretty song. All the other Kriegers got up from their seats and stood at attention. There was another one of those Krieger girls with her boyfriend (not the one who broke my face) and she didn't have her mask on like the others. She was crying. He finished, and then the Kriegers all left. I grabbed the boyfriend and asked him what that was all about. He said that apparently, that's the last song that had been written on Krieg. After they bombed the place to the ground, it rained radioactive sludge for months. That song was written by one of the sons of the Loyalists. Apparently it reminds them of their home before it went to hell. Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 is still here, he's tuning the piano. I have to thank him.
I think I did something stupid. I went to thank him for the evening of music (seriously, I made a ton more tonight than I have in a week.) He had his mask off, and there were tear stains on his face. His grey eyes...they were so sad. I kissed him on the cheek and asked if he would play here regularly. He nodded and left. I continued to close the bar, and I'm just finishing up when I see Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713, he has a duffle bag and a mattress roll with him, and then he goes into my back storage room and sets up camp! Apparently, he feels that his new assignment is here, in MY bar! Still...well, if he's here I don't have to worry about theft...so I guess it's okay.
Ugh, just when I think I have some control over this situation something like this happens. I put out a tip jar for Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 when he plays the piano. First, I have to explain to him that it's not his amasec glass. Then I have to say that he doesn't have to return the tip to the person who gave it to him. After that, one of those 'Cute Krieg Couples' (By the Emperor, I loathe them) explains what a tip is. Apparently, the guy didn't do it well enough, because the girls are then putting in money for every song that they like, and then removing money for every song that they don't like. Two of them even got into a fight, as they both wanted to dance (if you can call it dancing) with their partners and they each wanted 'their' song to be played. I think I may need another sign. I have this horrible vision of the future...my bar plastered with instructions on every surface, detailing how to do every little thing. All from ordering a drink, to having a quickie in the bathroom. Ugh...more trouble than it's worth.
Oh, Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 is playing Regentropfen again. Is it closing time already? That's such a pretty song...
Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 has turned...my bar...into...a bunker. I told him I would be gone for the day to visit my parents, and he needed to watch over the place while I was gone. He nodded. Apparently, baby brother has also found himself a girlfriend...no guesses as to what accessories she likes to wear over her face. I swear, if I ever find that dick who started that dating website...
Anyway, I get back, and my bar? Well, there's a trench around the entire place, and not just one of those little things you see around houses of people dating Kriegs, I mean a trench that looks like the one around the PDF base. The outside of the bar is now reinforced steel plating and concrete, and there's a basilisk on my roof. There is a FRAKKING CANNON on the roof of my BAR. Also, because there is now a basilisk on my roof, the inside of my bar is now revamped. There's eight times the support pillars, all the wood has been replaced with steel, and apparently my tables can now convert into cover shields, at the press of a button. The low lighting is gone, replaced with utility lamps and flood lights. The only positive, if you can call it that, is that there are now many more mirrors in my bar. Mirrors that allow anyone sitting in any seat, or table, to see everyone else. It's a nightmare...and the biggest joke? I'm getting more Krieg and Krieg-Daters than ever. I asked one of the guys why the influx.
"Well, they feel really comfortable here; it's a nice place to relax."
I'd consider starting to serve food, but knowing them, all I would have to do is put some MRE'S on some nice plates and I could charge triple...you know...that's not a bad idea...
68a #1713 and money
If Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 wasn't so damn useful in making me money, I swear I would kill him with my bare hands. Alright, the bar...well...I should say restaurant now shouldn't I? My place is now getting a steady stream of customers, and well...it was getting awkward. The Krieg Daters always end up dressing like their partners. (I've seen XX and YY couples but I don't know if they're 'couples' I honestly don't WANT to know) So, here's me, walking around the place, serving up 'food' and pouring drinks among a sea of black coats and gas masks. I stuck out so much it went past being awkward, past weird, past being so-weird-its-fine, past heretical, and then back to just awkward. So I made the mistake of asking Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 for some help. The next day he has a full uniform laid out on the bar for me. It's not a Krieg uniform, the fabric's too soft and there's not much 'coverage' but it fit perfectly. When and how did he get my measurements? All that time he spent, staring at me with those grey eyes...I swear. If it didn't feel so nice, I'd smash his tip jar over his head.
It's closing time, and as always he plays Regentropfen. I'm going to ask him how to play that song.
Playing the Regentropfen
Apparently, Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 had the sheet music for Regentropfen. I sat down and played the piece. It had been a while, but those years of torture at the schola still came back to me. Turns out he wasn't playing it right, there were several different movements he skips. It's no surprise, they're very complicated parts, but I managed to work my way through them. I still butchered the song pretty badly though, my teacher would be ashamed of me.
When I was done I looked at him. Tears were running down his face and his shoulders were shaking. I...I looked at his grey eyes, and I hugged him. He actually returned it. His shoulders heaving, and his breath stuttered. We just held it there for a while, and then he started to go to the back room. I stopped him, and told him to get his things and to get into the car with me. He's sleeping on my couch now. I'm...I'm not sure what's going to happen next. I think...I think I need to practice the piano some more.
It's been really quiet the last two days. I mean more so than normal for here. The Kriegers never talk and the Krieg Daters, the longer they get into their relationship, get quieter as well. Either way, all the Kriegers got called back to the base. Apparently there's some more fortification that needs to be done, like either on top of a mountain, or at one of the poles, I don't know. The only thing I do know is that there's going to be some blessed, blessed days without the sight of any gas masks.
The only irksome thing is that Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 got the relocation order when he was in the middle of digging a trench around my house. So there's a half-trench in front of my house, and it honestly looks a little embarrassing compared to the others. I don't want to just fill it in. I think I could even get shot for that...but I don't want to just leave it...it bothered me all day yesterday. I'll call my little brother and ask him what to do.
I really should never ask my little brother what to do. I called him, told him of the situation, and the next thing I know he's called some of his friends and today they're here trying to complete Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713's trench. They're not doing a good job, a far cry from the style the girls that they date have. Problem is that they don't really have any structure...hmmm.
Alright, that was...different. I just wanted the damn trench to be finished and those idiots off my lawn. I put on my 'uniform' and marched out there and started to bark out orders to those idiots. As soon as I started, those boys snapped to attention and followed my commands to the letter. Just how whipped do their girlfriends have them anyway? Either way, they finished, and it looked pretty good. I got out of the trench and Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 is just standing there. I was still into it, so I shouted, "Attention! Superior present, prepare for inspection!" All the boys snapped to attention and saluted Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713. He then took a while to inspect the new addition to his trench. He was less than thrilled, shaking his head and pointing at several places, but he nodded a few times as well. Then he went inside the house, and came back out with sheets of paper, which he distributed, the boys all smiled at the paper, and then nodded and left. Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 then got to work fixing the rest of the trench to his specifications. He's still out there now. It's late though. I'm still in my uniform though...maybe I should order him back inside to sleep so we can be able to work tomorrow.
I can't help but think that someone is playing an elaborate joke on us all. Every day it seems that either the Kriegers get more accustomed to us, or we get more accustomed to the Krieg. I drove to work, Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 sitting in the back seat like always (I've invited him from to the front, but he shook his head and gestured that this was a more defensible position...ugh I'm even able to read their hand signals). Nearly every other house has a trench and every building now has a little fortification. I head into town, and there are pillboxes and sniper towers on every block, and I swear they are building a hellcannon on top of the library. Thing is...there are these little touches that make me think that the Kriegers aren't...well...soulless cloned automatons. One of the new Civil Defense Bunkers has a mural painted on the side. It's of a baneblade, and I swear I saw one of the Krieg put finishing touches on it. The sniper tower on the same block as my bar...has a flower box planter along the side at the top. I swear, I looked at it through some binoculars Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 handed me when I asked what that thing sticking off the tower's railing was. There were actual buds!
Normal day, with two little hiccups. Now, whenever a Krieger walks into my bar, and I'm in 'uniform' they give me a salute. A formal one, not the usual one they seem to give the civilians. I know there doesn't seem to be a difference, but there is. Secondly...well...I played Regentropfen at closing, that's getting to be a tradition apparently. There was just me, Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713, and the couple that started this mess. They were slow dancing to the song. I finished, and the Krieg girl comes up to me. I flinch away, thinking she might want to break my face again, and she salutes me.
"Thank you, Ma'am. You play it well."
She spoke! She actually talked. I didn't know they COULD talk. The girl had to use the facilities then, so I asked the guy what the deal was. Apparently, all they need is permission to speak. Huh. Makes sense...in a Krieg kind of way. So the couple left, and I'm here cleaning up with Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713, and I look at him. He just looked at me and nods. His face was neutral as always, but those grey eyes...you can see the difference in them between the Krieg that have just left the base, and the ones that have been out here for a while. There's something soft inside them...anyway I asked him something that had been bothering me.
"What were those papers you gave to the boys who helped with the trench? Permission to speak, granted."
"Commendations of duty." He said. His voice is not as deep as I thought it would be.
"Why were they so happy to get those? Permission to speak granted."
"When their...associates...see that a 2nd and 1st lieutenant have give them commendation. They tend to...reciprocate with...umm...fraternization." He said, and I swear, he was blushing.
That's when I realized something. His officer bar was gold. The little bar that was on my 'uniform' is silver. I'm the 1st lieutenant...he made me HIS superior.
I never really considered myself a violent person. Passionate perhaps, but not violent. All I know is that if I ever find the dick that made that dating website, I will make sure that they suffer. I was running the Basilisk like normal (I changed the name, I mean, the cannon on my roof is rather distinctive.) and #1713 is playing some light Vostroyan songs. In comes this woman, and she walks up to #1713 and give him a paper. She claimed that she had gone to that dating website, and had been 'assigned' to him. He nodded, and took the woman's hand. I...umm...well I may have lost my temper and called her some rather unflattering (but true) names, and then...I might have grabbed the lasrifle #1713 put under the bar, leapt over the counter and tried to assault her. Thankfully, I didn't get far as #1713 grabbed me, disarmed me, and sat me down at the piano. He had his mask off, and they always look like that but...I think he was frowning for real. He left with the woman. I guess that's good in the long run. No more waking up to see rations laid out for breakfast, no more trenching or fortification of my home, no more seeing his grey eyes...or hearing Regentropfen the way he plays it.
I miss him. I...I want him around. I...I...oh...dammit!
It was stupid but...I didn't know what else to do. I went onto that dating website and I put my profile up there. It asked me for preferences...dark brown hair, knows the piano is a plus, hard worker...grey eyes. I didn't realize it until after it showed me my completed profile...#1713. Oh, man...I have to apologize to baby brother, now don't I? Anyway, I completed that stupid form and the site thanked me for my help and said that they'd be in touch. The next day...#1713 is there in the bar like nothing happened. He hands me a piece of paper. It's from the website, it's an apology to #1713, for pairing him with a 'less that optimal' partner, and a 'new, more fitting position' has opened up and he was to be immediately re-assigned. It also said that if he was still unsatisfied with his new position, a new assignment could be made at anytime, as 'We feel that these assignments should be the best possible, and no person should ever have to settle for anything less. Shouldn't YOU be with your PERFECT assignment?' The dick that designed this website better never show their smug-ass face here or I will shove it down my basilisk and then fire.
Regardless, my #1713 is back, and I'm happy. Also, I keep finding new things about the Regentropfen...it can also be played as a duet.
It's such a pretty song.
Krieg is not a place known for art or music. The national anthem is a relic from the beginning of the planet and rarely played, as the Heretic Traitors took it for their own. Their marching song is a rather dismal plodding tune; it speaks of how they are all to die and how that is the only way to cleanse them of their shame.
There is one more song however, and it is a large exception. Regentropfen has been certified by no less than eight approved scholars to qualify as a 'masterpiece.' It's a layered song. That is, there are many ways to play it, from a simple piano piece, to a full orchestra.
A fact that few non-Krieg know is that Regentropfen isn't the song's proper name. The proper name of the song is 'Es wird kommen sanfte Regentropfen, wegzuwaschen unser Versagen, Scham und Trauer.' Translated into Gothic it is 'There Shall Come Soft Raindrops to Wash Away Our Failure, Shame, and Sorrow.'
It was written by Johan Gast, the son of Wilhelm Gast, one of the few noble families that remained loyal to the Emperor during the rebellion. The story goes that after the initial bombing, caustic rain fell from the sky for months. Brigette Gast was a sculptor of great talent, and the Gast estate was covered with her statues and art works. Johan watched as the water erased everything his mother had created away. The quiet rain eroded his ancestral home, and caused the grounds to die.
The composer then locked himself in his room, and stayed there for two weeks. Drinking little, and eating less. The only thing he did was write, and stare out the window at the falling water.
When he emerged, it was with Regentropfen. The original copy is still on Krieg. All thirty-four pages of composition. (Usually only part of the piece is played.)
It is assumed that Gast had intended to turn his work into a full opera. There have been notes discovered that have ideas for lyrics, and half written pieces of other songs. Sadly, the Gast estate was sacked by traitors two days after Gast finished Regentropfen, and the entire family was killed. Mercifully, the music had already been mailed to a family friend of the Gasts, a piano virtuoso, who was also loyal and thankfully survived the war.
Every Krieg is exposed to Regentropfen during their training. It is used as a symbol. To remind them of what they lost, of how they must bear their disgrace, and finally...how they can redeem themselves. Although it does not affect their behavior, whenever a Krieg hears Regentropfen, they will begin to weep tears.
Meanwhile, on a Craftworld
This was going to be complicated. Probably the most complicated thing ever. Oh, there had been manipulations before, and originally this was just for a quick laugh. Now, however...now there was a new option for an old problem.
The Chaos Gods interfering was a complete shock. He would never admit it, but it took him totally by surprise. Not that he didn't welcome getting three more years to fiddle with Terranis. However, there was no way that it would happen again, and She Who Thirsts wouldn't just be satisfied with the slow sweet subversion of the soldiers.
The only problem was that there were so many thin little threads holding this whole thing together. He supposed that this is what happens when he actually focused on something that was originally just a little something he put together to keep him amused one night. Also, this was one of the first times in his life he wasn't being a complete and total...oh! That was it! He smiled, perfect. Yes, that would work nicely. First however, he had to do probably the most important step.
"So, you're to be on your best behavior. Also, you're not to talk about Mommy or Daddy. You got a bump on your head, and lost your memory. Okay?"
"Also, don't pick at your ears. I know it stings a little, but they have to look right. Now, the people who are going to look after you are nice people...but you will listen to them until Mommy or myself come to get you. Okay?"
"Alright, now. Give Grandpa a hug, and then I'll send you down. You remember the story you're supposed to tell?"
Of course she would remember it. He hated messing around her mind, shuffling away memories and making new ones, but he couldn't risk anyone finding out what she was. She had fallen asleep when they arrived on the planet. He decided to leave her on the doorstep of the very first pair. The oversized basket he had left her sleeping in was a little much, but the picture was just too funny and too cute for him to pass up.
He would make sure that things went fine for another ten years or so. But for now, he was content that he had actually found a decent set of babysitters for his Granddaughter for a few years. Honestly, things were getting a little crazy and it would be nice to just have some peace and quiet for a while.
Krieg Commander 68 and Cloning
Krieg Commander 68 stared at the piece of paper on his desk. It was the nightmare missive that every Krieg commander feared to receive. The Vitae Womb wasn't functioning right. He just vaguely listened to the Enginseer as he droned on about how the machine spirit was weak, how this was the Emperor's will, that the Krieg had gone so long using this borderline blasphemous technology was a blessing given by the Omnissiah, and just as easily taken away. All he saw in his mind was the front line of Krieg soldiers, slowly dwindling away, until the great and honored Death Korps of Krieg were just a memory...and soon that would fade, and then the only thing people world remember Krieg for was the betrayal to the Emperor.
No. He would not allow that to happen. He looked again at the papers. Trying to see if there was something he could do, some problem that didn't involve banging on a console and praying. He noticed one line coming up again and again. 'Loss of Genetic Cohesion.' It seemed to be the main issue, which in turn caused all these other issues. He looked at his Enginseer and pointed at the phrase, wanting to know the meaning.
The Enginseer explained that after all the years of replication, and reuse, the genetic material of the Krieg models wasn't working anymore. Not totally. The Machine Spirits just weren't able to take hold of the spirit of the Krieg flesh and create new life from it. They had tried other methods, feeding newly made models and older models into the system to try and regain it. However, it just wasn't working. The great line of Krieg was fading, and there seemed to be no way to fix it.
68 walked into town to clear his head. It made him feel better to walk down a street and see a properly fortified city. Every day it improved a little, and the citizenry had been more than helpful. He was glad for that. He remembered serving on planets where they were viewed with mistrust, or even hostility by the 'common rabble' here, the citizens were actually welcoming, and helpful. Not to mention that a few of his 'daughters' found suitable individuals to...fraternize with.
Krieg Commander Model 68 entered a restaurant called the Basilisk. Named after the fully working, and well maintained cannon on the roof. He approved of that. Functionality and a pleasing aesthetic.
He walked in and sat down at a table. The woman in charge, a 'First Lieutenant' saluted him and showed him to a table and gave him an option of MREs. He felt the need to torture himself further, due to the bad news, so he asked for a Tallarn and a bottle of Amasec. She nodded and went into the back to bring him his food.
As he ate and drank, mostly drank. He just sat and watched the people come and go. There was 68b #6345, her husband, and the foundling they had discovered. Quietly eating, and sharing notes with each other, smiling. 68b #6346 was dancing with her 'associate.' 68a #1713 was playing the piano, some Cadian song. There were others here too, his people and civilians, although as the bottle slowly emptied, he found himself almost unable to instantly tell the difference between the two.
The night went on, Krieg Commander found himself lost in his thoughts, and his bottle. He knew that soon his 'daughters' would vanish, followed by one set of sons, then another, and soon...Krieg itself.
That's when he heard it. The first soft stanza of the song he knew from the moment he first had emerged from the Vitae Womb. Regentropfen. There Shall Come Soft Rains...he stood up and looked around.
The place was nearly empty; people were heading towards the door. #1713 and the '1st Lieutenant' were sitting at a piano, playing the song together. He was glad he was still wearing the gas mask. It hid his tears. They played it so wonderfully. The woman especially, doing the complicated trills that spoke of how those quiet waters slowly washed away the beautiful buildings that once covered Krieg. He had only heard it played that well, and as a duet, once before. When he was at home and 'Mother' had played it the night before his battalion was to go off and face the Emperor's enemies. This girl played Regentropfen just like a true Krieger. It was so painful to think of home, and how his people would...slowly...disappear...
The idea came to him in a flash. The entire night played out before him. Walking a city filled with proper fortifications and weaponry. Sitting in a place filled with people who looked just like his soldiers...and now...someone who had never seen his homeworld was playing the song that spoke of its soul.
He had a solution. It was wild, near heretical, and he would have to do many things to get it right...but if he could do this. He would save Krieg.
Krieg Commander 68 ran back to the camp...he needed some medical staff, and enginseer, and a WHOLE lot of paperwork.
Commander 68's solution
They were not happy about it. No, that's not accurate. NO ONE was happy about it. Not the Enginseers, not the Commissar (even though he kept looking at his 'personal aide' with concern each time the subject of the Krieg ending came up), not his superiors, and the Techpriest from the Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis nearly ordered him executed for heresy on the spot the moment the vox reached him.
However, no one could argue with the obvious evidence. It was try this, or sound the death knell of the Krieg. The Enginseer and the Tech Priest argued with the Commissar, with each other, his superiors made remarks, and around and around it went. Krieg Commander 68 rolled his eyes; he had seen Administratum meetings that had been less productive than this...but not many. The key argument was determining what exactly was the Emperor's will. Was it His Will that the Krieg slowly die off, or was it His Will that the Krieg had come to Terranis and discovered its people?
68 sighed and stared at his collection of war trophies and other junk. He knew that when the splinter fleet of xenos arrived Terranis would fall. Not all at once, but there was too much biomass unprotected; the oceans themselves were a buffet for the Tyranids. The cities would hold for a while, he was proud of that fact that he, his brethren, and the people of Terranis had done such a fine job in preparation. However, it would be a losing battle. Too much open ground, too much biomass for the 'nids to consume and repurpose, too many fronts. An evacuation was possible, but it would have to be started soon...and even then it would be a tight race. This place was doomed, the Krieg were doomed...unless...
He would need to call in some favors, and give some out as well. May the Emperor forgive him. He was going to do this anyway.
Collecting the material was easy enough. Mandatory health inspections that included blood, hair, saliva, bone marrow and...other fluids were a snap to set up, and the Terranis citizenry rose to the occasion. Anyway, if anyone refused...well...then they chose their own fate. It took time though, precious time that Krieg Commander 68 knew that he didn't truly have.
Not if he wanted to complete his mad mission. No, that he would be able to complete.
It was just that...even if his timetable was early...he would not be able to say goodbye.
The Vitae Wombs were on Krieg. The Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis would not allow it to be anywhere else. He would need to take the materials with him. He would not leave it out of his sight for an instant. He would be the one who would supervise the...augmentation of the Vitae Wombs, and he would be the one to deal with the consequences.
But, unless the Warp showed him a kindness that wasn't even comprehensible, by the time he arrived at Krieg, sent a message to Terranis, and received one back, at least ten years would have passed.
He would have to leave them here. All of them. The people, his 'sons' and 'daughters,' the Commissar and his maid, all of them. Maybe a few of them would get off on their own, but if he did this then there would be no chance for evacuation, no effort made to divert Astartes to help, nothing. It was take this gamble...or stay here and try to hold back the Unstoppable.
Krieg soldiers are only allowed to cry when they hear Regentropfen, as part of their training. 68 did not cry now. However, he found he had difficulty breathing, even with his gas mask on.
Emperor forgive him, he would miss this place. But he was a decorated Krieg soldier, a Commander, a man who was supposed to make these hard decisions, and really there was no decision, just a fact.
However, it made his heart ache when he informed his 'children' that he would be leaving...and they would not be following.
And this cold fact kept him up at night, if this didn't work...then he would have ended the existence of the Krieg 68th Siege Regiment, for nothing.
68's solution part II
Krieg Commander 68 didn't ask for any news about Terranis. He forbade anyone to tell him anything about that...that...brief paradise. He spent all his time with the Tech Priests in the Vitae Womb chambers. They were a little awed by his dedication. Those long nights staring at countless Gs, As, Ts, and Cs on a screen, praying to the Emperor when he could, and just being an actual help, was impressive.
Also they appreciated the fact that he was the only one who was trying to FIX the problem, rather than just argue in circles about it. Apparently, the policy of the Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis had become 'If it works we'll claim credit, but we're going to keep arguing anyway so that if it doesn't we'll execute 68 and claim he was working alone...possibly tainted if need be.'
It was the longest two years of 68's life. This included the four years he spent in an extended siege in a hive that had lost all forms of plumbing and waste removal. Two years of work, prayer, and watching Krieg companies grow quietly desperate.
The only odd thing was that one day he noticed that his personal account had a large amount of credits added to it, and a private message. It didn't have a date on it. 'For your outstanding babysitting service! Thanks!'
Some dick was obviously playing a joke on him. 68 ignored it and went back to work.
It was raining on the day of judgement. Krieg Commander 68 stood outside the facility, in full protective gear, looking up at the grey sky and seeing the quiet, burning, water drip from the sky. An old song played through his head. He took a deep breath through his filters and walked inside the cloning facility...he was considering whether it would be better to be executed or to do it himself.
The enginseers and Tech Priests used complicated words and terms as they busied about. Talking part in gothic, part in those clicks and buzzes. Krieg Commander 68 had a better idea of what was going on using more simple terms.
Basically, the Machine Spirit of the Vitae Wombs, and possibly the Emperor himself, were looking upon the genetic coup of the people of Terranis. Gazing deep into its essence and even their soul. Holding it up to comparison against the glorious spirit of the Krieg. Measuring it, testing it, and seeing if the soul of Terranis could be used to strengthen the soul of Krieg. That Terranis was worthy enough to infuse Krieg with enough spirit to enable these old relics to create new life.
68 closed his eyes, not that anyone could tell with his mask on, and placed his hand on the egg-like bulge on the machine. He believed in Terranis. He knew that they were worthy. They had never faulted in their faith in the Emperor; they built up their cities as fortresses, equal to the ones here. He had stared into the eyes of his 'son-in-law' and saw a quiet determination, a strength that said that here was a man that would stand and hold...if not for the Emperor, if not for his home, if not for his life, not even for the girl he loved with his entire being...but that he would hold...because that was what a human did.
He wished he could tell the Machine Spirit of the battle they must have faced. How every man and woman on Terranis did face the Tyranid horde and not a one of them shirked in fear. How they made those bastard xenos pay for every inch, and for the years...yes years...they held their cities while around them the xeno horde shrieked for their souls.
He begged the machine to accept Terranis. That is was worthy. That being on that planet hadn't made him and his soldier soft, or made the Terranis hard, but had made them both greater. This was the Emperor's will. Krieg had stood on its own for so long, and now its strength was faltering...but the Emperor had shown them Terranis, shown them the strength there, and Krieg Commander 68 had sacrificed everything, and would even sacrifice more, just to ensure that in some way...in some form...both Krieg and Terranis would still stand.
There was a rumble, and the machine let out that familiar acidic smell, and horrible whine it did whenever it was brought to function. Krieg Commander 68 took several steps back as Apothecaries stepped forward.
He unclipped his laspistol from his side. He would do it himself, do it quickly, and then no one would say that the 68th had in its ranks any cowards or heretics. He took a deep breath and put his fingers around the handle. His thumb inside the trigger guard.
The Apothecaries were still working on the machine; the usual tide of rust colored water pooled on the floor and went down the drain.
68 set his pistol on half charge, that way it would just be enough for him and not hurt or damage anything else. He quietly said his prayer to the Emperor. Begging forgiveness for his folly. He had only been trying to help...he only wanted to keep Krieg alive...keep Terranis alive. He was so sor-
The wail of the newborn child caused his eyes to snap open. He ripped off his gas mask and pushed through the crowd of Apothecaries. He had to see...he had to see...
He stared open mouthed.
Twins...the Vitae Womb had never produced twins before. A boy and a girl. The girl had grey eyes, and the boy had hazel eyes...like his son-in-law. He stepped forward and held out his arms. One of the Apothecaries wrapped the children in sheets and handed them to Krieg Commander 68.
He told himself that someone was playing Regentropfen...somewhere. That was why he was crying as he held his grandchildren.
He gave them back to the Apothecary and the woman took the children away to begin their teachings and training. The Tech Priests and Enginseers were hailing the Emperor and the Omnissiah as they busied over the machine. Green lights turning on. Hailing the birth of the Krieg twins was a sign of the Emperor's Grace.
Krieg Commander 68 received many accolades, trophies, letters of recommendation galore. There was talk of promotion but it didn't get far. The Commander passed away in his sleep two days after the birth of the twins.
All in all...he thought it was more than a fair bargain.
Lord Commissar, Not special as to report yet, sir. We've been engaging the Orks for a while. The Astartes have been taking the lead, leaving us to hold what they've cleared out. It's been going well, only 4 executions for cowardice, and we haven't lost any ground to the filthy xenos.
An interesting little side note. We have a battalion of Kriegers here, along with the rest of the rabble, and I noticed something new about them. I have no complaints, they've been exemplary troops, this is just something that struck my curiosity.
They've added some new Iconography. A colony symbol that I never saw before. It stood out because usually all you ever see is the emblem for Krieg. I asked one of them what it was. They said it was the symbol for Terranis, and he (she? I can never tell) made the sign of the Aquila. Apparently the Krieg have made up this colony to be a form of afterlife for loyal, dutiful, Kriegers. It is the Emperor's reward for those who have redeemed themselves in His name.
I looked into this, out of curiosity, and saw that there was a colony named Terranis once, but it's...well...disappeared. Either it was lost to the Astronomicon or the Adminstratum lost track of it, or something. Either way, all I can find is the record of a planet that had a Krieg garrison and was under immanent attack by a Tyranid fleet. Contact was lost before the invasion began, and nearly everyone assumes that the place was lost when the xenos hit it. I mean, one planet against an entire splinter fleet. I asked the next Krieg soldier I saw about this, why they believed that a planet that was by all reasoning most likely a dead rock, was their place of salvation and reward. The Krieger soldier just saluted and said the first words I've ever heard a Krieger speak.
The Siege of Terranis
I watched the line of refugees pass through the city gates. Each one calmly came up to me, or one of the others, and told me how many family they had, and what supplies they had brought with them. Things were going well, no family had arrived without either building supplies, weapons, or food.
Also, we have heard that some people, the old, the sick, the ones who were brave...were staying in the evacuated cities. To serve as bait, and to draw the approaching Tyranids away from here. They also were filling the cities with enough spare promethium and homemade explosives that when it goes off, it will be as if the sun had appeared on the horizon for a brief moment.
There have been a few people who are...less than confident at our chances. They're mostly garrisons from other worlds. The Valhallans are excited. However, I am proud to say that Terranians are holding fast. We fear...but we will hold. Our loved ones would not care for us, unless we did.
Speaking of loved ones, she taps me on the shoulder. I smile and look at her questioningly. Is it time for shift change? She shakes her head and hands me a note.
'New biomass detected.'
I frown and look at her with a serious face. What is it now? Another forest to clear cut and then burn? More animal herds to put down and feed into processors? Another lake to drain dry, harvest, and then refill with poisoned water?
She shakes her head, takes my hand, and puts it against her stomach.
I'm sorry to say it took me more than ten seconds to realize what she meant. I leap up from my chair and kiss her, hugging her tightly. A bunch of other men are shaking my hand and the women are hugging my beloved.
Before I knew we would hold because it is what we would do.
Now, I will hold Terranis, even on my own, for as long as it takes.
Her water broke during the second week of the initial attack. Of course, we were still trying to force the xenos that had landed inside the city out of the city, and the reclaimed area did NOT include the hospital.
The only place that had safe water, and the closest equivalent of hospital tools was the Basilisk.
There have probably been more crowded delivery rooms in the history of the Imperium, but I will be anything that on that night, we got put high on the list.
68b #2984 was screaming as she pushed and crushed my hand in her grip. I was screaming, encouraging her to keep going...as well as from the pain in my hand. The 1st and 2nd Lieutenants were screaming at each other to get more water, more towels, disinfect more things. The rest of the bar was shouting encouragement, or standing outside the entrance, firing the guns, and of course the Tyranids were screaming as well. It seemed like the entire galaxy was shrieking as my child was born.
Thank the Emperor for that Apothecary though. He hadn't slept since the first night, and he was about to collapse, but he was there, helping my wife and barking out orders.
Then...for me and her at least, the screaming stopped and the Apothecary called for a sheet, a large glass of Amasec, and a corner to collapse in. Then he put her in my arms. My daughter...she was beautiful. Green eyes, like my mother had, but that smooth skin and beautiful face like her mothers.
68b#2984 held her, and she was crying as if she was hearing Regentropfen from a full orchestra. There were cheers for a moment, and my wife and daughter were moved to the back where they would be secure. Someone patted me on the back, then put a lasrifle in my hand and positioned me at my post while they got some rest.
I don't think I blinked my entire shift, and I must have shot nearly every xeno I saw. I was not going to let them get through. I had a wife. I had a daughter. I had a home. I would not fail them.
Finally, someone tapped me on the shoulder again and took my place. I ran back to my wife and our little derivative...someone made that joke while I was on post and it's stuck apparently.
We spent the night asleep in each other's arms. All three of us.
Cutting out an Infection
Today wasn't a good day. Apothecaries, like I, rarely HAVE good days, but this was especially bad. We finally managed to secure the perimeter around the city, and we were giving medical examinations to the little pockets of survivors that were stuck inside the once infested areas. Thanks to the Emperor that I was there...but sometimes I'm not happy to be right.
"I...I don't remember much." The woman said. She was holding onto her Krieg lover's hand tightly. "We were all in the bunker, holding as tightly as we could, and they came in from above. The entire roof caved in and they were swarming around us...shooting, screaming. I don't remember much after that. I remember fighting and running, and then I collapsed and the next thing I knew you had found me." She held the Krieg close.
I stepped forward a frown on my face. I did not want to be right...but..."What weapon did you use to fight?"
"Did you grab a laspistol? A lasrifle? A piece of debris?"
"Did you kill any of the Xenos, or did you just run? You were found three blocks away from your initial location, did you run through buildings? Around side streets? Down an alley?"
"I told you, I don't remember! Why are you asking me these questions?"
I sighed. "Because...those who the xenos implant with genestealer implants commonly have their memories replaced with vague recollections of fighting and escape."
Her eyes went wide, and I braced myself for the trouble that came with the initial denial. She looked into the gas masked eyes of her beloved Krieg, and then started to strip off her clothes.
"Find it! Please...look for it, and tell me if it's there! I have to know!"
That was surprising. Carefully I examined her body, as the rest of the people in the room held their breath. Sadly, I did find what I was looking for, a small line of paler flesh on her body, indicative of where the incision had been to place the genestealer gland inside her body.
She let out a wail of sorrow that will haunt me for years...should I live that long, and she embraced her Krieg, weeping. Shaking her head and saying that she was sorry, over and over again.
I fought back a smile when the Krieg took off HER mask and kissed the woman that she loved. Huh, little surprise for the xenos. It was tempting to just do nothing. To make sure that she knew what she couldn't do anymore...but these Terranians...honestly they humble me.
After kissing her Krieg soldier, the woman resuited up into her armor, asked for a spare laspistol, as many grenades as they could spare, and a sword.
She walked out past the barricade, into the fields where the xenos waited. She did not look back. I watched as that woman, whose name I never got, slaughtered at least eight of those monsters that she would have eventually birthed...and then...she charged straight at the Hive Leader that was overseeing this side of the assault. By the time she reached it, there was little of her left. Lacerations all over her body, one arm had been bitten clear off, and a good chunk of her leg was missing...but that woman got close enough...and then pulled the pins on her grenades.
I know that we cannot last forever. I know that I will die on this planet. But I do know that we will hold. Maybe a miracle will happen and someone will arrive with a ship...and when it does I will order the children aboard it. But I will stay. I am needed here. The Emperor placed me here, and I thank him for it. Very few people have the privilege of knowing that they will die when they are at their greatest. I will hold Terranis.
Heal Thy Self
I don't know what it is about this place. I have served as an Apothecary on many worlds. I have been alive for a long time. This is the first time, however, that I have fallen in love.
I can't tell you when she first came. All I knew is that one day I realized that the gas masked person who had been assisting me for the past weeks has been the same person. I asked her to remove her mask, so I could check it, and make sure that the filter was working properly. She handed it to me and I saw her face.
Soft smooth skin, pale blue eyes, and she has a small birthmark on her cheek. I just stared for a moment. I have looked at many 'pretty' women, but I could see that behind their faces there wasn't much more than emptiness or concern for the world that ended at the tip of their nose.
In her face, I saw concern, duty, and a longing to help. To heal. She wanted to live, and make sure that every moment she was still alive she was helping. I also noticed that she was holding my hand.
We kissed. A quick thing. Then I prepared her mask and returned to work. She handed me a requisition form for my own gas mask a few minutes later.
The others call her Gail, not sure if that's a nickname or her real name. But it is what I call her. It has been so long since I have slept with actual warmth in my arms. There is a never ending list of things to do, people to cure, but I do not mind. The weariness in my arms has faded.
The only thing I must say...I'm not sure if Gail is a Krieg or a Terranian. I don't think there's much of a difference anymore.
It was into week three when the people manning the East Wall got a surprise. The assault against the wall ceased, and out from the horde of chitin and howls emerged two humans! Well...human was a relative term. It was obvious that they had been corrupted by the Xeno. They had chitinous plates on their body, extra appendages, and...other assorted additions. However, their heads and faces were human, and when one of them spoke, the voice sounded normal.
"Terranis! Hear me Terranis for we speak for the Hive!" The man gestured to himself. "I am Pindao VIII...this is Jacobi II." He gestured to the woman at his side. One of the wall defenders frowned in confusion. Those were the names of planets that had fallen to the Tyranids.
"We were as you are. Stones that tried to hold against the tide of the inevitable. We fought and tried to hold, but we fell. However, the glorious Hive saw our strength, and wished to add it to itself. Now, we are more, we are glorious. Inside each of us is the collective of all that our planets were. We rejoice in each other, and in the glory of the Hive."
Jacobi II spoke. "The Hive has deemed that you are suitable. That your strength will be added to itself, and we shall all grow greater. End your foolishness, we will make the process swift and painless. Do not let yourselves be consumed for no reason...you have the chance to be greater! Imagine, all of eternity will be yours, dwelling within and among each other. Terranis will be Forever. What do you say?"
There was no reply from the wall.
Pindao VIII looked at Jacobi II. "What do you say Terranis? Do you accept the truth and your salvation?"
Still no answer from the wall.
"Are you afraid then? Are you cowering behind our measly fortifications, knowing that there is no hope?"
Still, no answer.
"Hey! You can't just IGNORE us!"
A soldier popped up over the top of the wall. He had his mask off and was smoking a cigarette. He finished it and dropped it over the side.
Piando and Jacobi just stared. "What are you doing?!" They shrieked.
The soldier shrugged. "Well, we didn't want to interrupt you, so we decided to take a reload and smoke break. You going to keep going, or are you two done?"
The gestalt of the two planets just stared open mouthed. Their faces turning red with indignant rage. They WERE being ignored!
"How DARE YOU!" Pindao said. "You do not know the force you face! Why only in the past few-"
The soldier ducked his head back down and looked at his comrades. "Yeah they're going to be doing this for a while, might as well use this time to calibrate and aim the basilisks...anyone got another smoke?"
Interrogator and the Krieger
As per your request, we have sent scout ships into the Tyranid held sectors you specified in preparation for the upcoming crusade. The mission has gone as planned, but there is one development that I feel deserves your attention.
One of our scout ships was making a stealth run over the old colony world of Terranis, when they started picking up odd sensor readings on the surface. Further analysis and visual data confirmed there was one city still operational, even after all this time. Of course, direct communication was impossible due to the heavy Tyranid presence, but we sent in a Deathwatch kill team to investigate.
Sir, are you aware of any Krieg regiments operating in this sector? The Deathwatch team reports that there's an entire damn city of them still on Terranis, diligently manning the defenses and going about their everyday duties as if the Tyranids were just a daily nuisance than any credible threat. As far as I know, the city is populated and defended by most of the original inhabitants.... and their children.
They claim they're descended from the Krieg 68th, but all files I can find on them are classified. Please advise.
I took your advice and investigated the matter further. Naturally, I was highly suspicious on how Imperial holdouts could have survived this long without support. I suspected they might have made a deal with the Ruinous Powers or the Eldar and would have called for Exterminatus if Librarian Finch (an Ultramarine) didn't convince me otherwise. Of course, I thought of arguing against him, but the Librarian caught on and gave me that "I've been fighting Tyranids longer than you've been alive." look so I shut up and listened.
Anyways, we in the Ordo Xenos know that the Tyranids are far more intelligent than the propaganda says they are. They are cold, calculating, and have a sense of purpose. Apparently, it's not uncommon for Tyranids to completely bypass pockets of resistance if they feel the effort will sacrifice too much biomass. Usually, this happens during the heat of battle, and only lasts from anywhere from hours to weeks. Lasting for YEARS is much rarer, and we all agreed it would be worth it to study what exactly made this little city so special.
I was quite surprised at the reaction the Kriegers gave us when we landed. Normally, when I land with a Deathwatch team and I flash my Inquisitorial badge, people act like it's the apocalypse. Here, the Kriegers treated us like royalty (or whatever passes for Krieg royalty). In honor of our esteemed positions, they put us in the most exclusive lodgings they had, a repurposed hotel that was literally sitting on the frontlines. Apparently, to Kriegers, being as close to the frontlines as possible is considered a symbol of status.
The local garrison commander promised to give us a tour of the city itself tomorrow morning. I still have my doubts, but Librarian Finch assures me that "they're legit".
I have to say, the city itself is unlike anything I've ever seen. Every single sector, every block, down to individual habs has been repurposed and refitted into fortifications. However, unlike the types seen on Cadia, these fortifications are oddly, I don't know how to describe this, "functional". Foxholes and trenches in the lawns seem to flow naturally with the landscape. Bunkers and pillboxes are lined with planters and flowers. Throne, even the streets were repainted and widened to accommodate Chimera and Leman Russ traffic, which is pretty much what everybody around here drives these days. The Kriegers seem to have integrated with the local population that defies description. I see locals dressed in Krieg uniforms and showing signs of Krieg discipline, while the natural Kriegers show little bits of humanity and emotion I never thought they were capable of.
Of course, they weren't the only ones here. There were a number of refugees and Guard remnants that had retreated here when their respective defensive zones faltered. The largest by far had to be a regiment of Valhallans who were stationed in a neighboring city. Apparently they had fought so hard in the initial invasion that they were pretty much considered blood brothers and honorary Kriegers.
Their masks hide it, but I'm pretty sure the Astartes are just as amazed and awed by what they're seeing as well. And we almost completely pass over all of the detailed scenarios and battle plans the Kriegers have cooked up to repel Tyranid raids. The Tyranids as a whole have essentially given up trying to assault the city, and just send token forces of a few hundred thousand lifeforms to probe the lines, which the Kriegers repel fairly easily.
They promised that they have a real good show for us tomorrow. I should try getting some sleep, but the goddamn shrieking from the Tyranid hordes just over the horizon keeps me up all the time.
A Simple Loan
I... I don't know how to say this, as the very idea of it is patently ridiculous, but I don’t know how to put in any other way...
I think I just got engaged to a Krieger girl.
Now, before you start dialing the Assassinorium, let me explain.
So remember that show the Kriegers were talking about? Part of their defensive line contains a river that's very good at bogging down Tyranid advances. However, every few weeks, so many carcasses start piling up that they pretty much dam the river. The Kriegers send engineer teams out to clear the obstructions before they get too troublesome.
Now, as the Kriegers are prepping, I see one of the engineers, she couldn't have been older than twenty Terran years, with a bit of panic on her face. I can tell since she's the only one without a gas mask. I ask her what's wrong and she starts frantically pointing to her squadmates and I realize she's lost her gas mask. So, being the gentleman I am, I loan her my mask. The upside to this is that I have an excuse to stay behind and "observe from a distance" without offending the Kriegers.
So anyways, the whole mission goes smoothly. They blow the bio dam, and get ambushed by a brood of gaunts. Fortunately, the Kriegers and Astartes were only outnumbered by a margin of six to one, so they managed to get back with minimal casualties.
Anyways, later that night, I return to my room and I see two Kriegers standing there. One's the girl I helped out before, and the other is the garrison commander. The commander hands me a written note, which was an "Official Notice of Unit Transfer". He just basically assigned the girl to my personal retinue!
Now, I learned later on that in Krieg culture, trading or loaning gas masks was a real big deal to them. Not surprising, since they treat those things like a second heart. Anyways, it's a sign of extreme respect for a Krieger to give or receive a gas mask from someone else. I should've caught on to this earlier. I noticed that some of the Valhallans were carrying around Krieger issue masks instead of their own. So I may as well have just asked this girl to marry me. Oh, and before I forget, her name is Private Krieg Female Model 68-Derivative #0153. They just call her "Sam" for short.
I can hear the Astartes, especially the Space Wolf one, laughing and joking about it in the other room.
Oh Throne, what have I gotten myself into?
Well, I have to admit, the situation has not turned out as badly as I thought. Every morning at 0700, Sam wakes me, and she already has breakfast made and my kit cleaned. I swear, she's part servitor or something. However, she's disciplined, quiet, and extremely polite, unlike a number of other Guardsmen I had the misfortune of including in my retinue in the past. The odd thing I notice though, is that unlike most of the other Kriegers, she takes off her mask whenever we're in the hotel room or alone, and she doesn't need permission to speak, though she rarely does anyways.
So, we go through this routine for the first few days. I'm still in panic mode, so I try not to notice her. Whenever I go out, she follows me exactly five paces behind me and matches my speed perfectly with military precision.
Things started to change one day when I decided to root out any possible genestealer cults. I start checking all the regular places: bars, restaurants, clubs, the works. The last place on my list is this place called Basilisk, which by far seems to be the most popular hang out, for the Kriegers at least.
So me and Sam are sitting in our own booth. She's got her mask off so she can eat her order of waffles (apparently it's one of their favorite non-ration dishes), and she decides to finally ask what I'm doing. I tell her I'm checking for genestealer infiltrators and she asks me how they infiltrate. I decide to break policy and tell her they spread by taking advantage of human sexual activity. Then she asks me what THAT is. Apparently, her parents thought it best she learn that particular subject on her own.
You can imagine the look on my face when she popped this question on me.
So... what else can I do? I explain the whole process to her in the most polite and restrained way I can and she just starts nodding furiously as she takes it all in. So then I decide to shift the conversation to something a little less awkward and ask her what the "68-Derivative" part of her full name meant.
She scarfs down her last waffle and orders a second round. While we're waiting, she explains. Apparently, the original Kriegers who were stationed here, the 68As, were born and bred in the Vitae Womb back on Krieg. The 68-Derivatives were the result of Krieg/Terranian crossbreeding, which would explain all of the little behavioral differences she had compared to pure Kriegers. It's at that moment that I finally notice her eyes.
Before that moment, every Krieger I had seen, on and off Terranis had uniform grey eyes, as if all the life and vitality had been sucked out of them when they were born. Sam, on the other hand, had vivid, emerald green eyes that enhanced her image in a subtle but acute way when I finally noticed it...
Then the moment was entirely ruined when my Deathwatch Astartes arrived.
Okay, here's to anybody besides the Inquisitor who may be reading this. I have a 5 man Deathwatch team under my command. There's Librarian Finch, an Ultramarine, who's a bit more "unconventional" than his brethren. Brothers Culles and Zareal are from the Blood and Dark Angels respectively. They're both moody and unnecessarily mean. Brother Logar is a Space Wolf and the squad idiot/drunkard. Finally, Brother Angrius is an Imperial Fist, and pretty much the bedrock that keeps the other Marines from killing each other.
So, Culles and Zareal do their usual thing and sulk in the darkest corner they can find, glaring at anybody who dares look at them. Finch and Angrius get into an arm wrestling match, which is said to have lasted for two days straight, but that's another story. The highlight of the evening was when Logar started teaching the Kriegers and locals a bunch of popular Space Wolf drinking games. I can tell you now, it's hard to get a Krieger drunk, but within a few hours, we had a building full of buzzed Kriegers having a good time.
Then, as expected, Logar stands on a table (don't even ask me how the table was able to support his weight) and challenges people to try drinking a shot of that poisonous swill Space Wolves love to chug so much. The stuff's powerful enough to knock a Carnifex on its ass.
Though I have to say, despite her age, Sam can hold her liquor amazingly well. She managed to stay conscious for about four seconds. To put things in perspective, the current bar record is six. Then I realize I'm going to have to carry her back to the hotel, which is going to be a pain because like every good Krieger, Sam's got all of her combat gear on. Fortunately, I manage to hitch a ride in a Chimera that seemed to be repurposed into a public transit vehicle. I could have sworn the Kriegers in the vehicle with me were grinning stupidly behind those masks when they saw me let Sam rest her head in my lap.
She's sleeping in my bed right now. Didn't seem right to dump her on that little cot she set up for herself when she moved in. I should consider asking the commander to transfer us to a larger room.
Want to sleep, but I have to make sure the Astartes are behaving.
The Warp Hath No Fury...
I know this is highly unprofessional, but lately I've found that I've been shirking my routine duties and spending more time with Sam. It was just small things at first, like taking short detours to the armory or the gas mask supplier for little errands she had to carry out. It soon escalated to having meals together and now we spend almost every night in Basilisk. Apparently her main draw is the piano player who works there, who always plays this song called Regentropfen at closing time. She'd wrap her arms around mine and tear up whenever that haunting melody played. I swear, every time she does that, my augmetic heart briefly shorts out. I have to remember to obtain a recording of that song, whenever possible. She seems to really love it.
We spent the remainder of my stay on Terranis doing seemingly random, but fulfilling tasks. Replacing damaged Chimera engines, ranging artillery, fortifying fixed positions, assembling weapons, the works. And every time I'd get bored or frustrated, Sam would come help me with a reassuring smile. I mean, I can't stay made whenever I look at that face and those beautiful green eyes.
Well, this hasn't gone unnoticed. Zarael, while passing by us, muttered something about me "being so weak as to be corrupted by that heretical bitch". Sam heard it too and HEADBUTTED him in the face!
Now there's no way for me to properly describe how a regular human girl can properly headbutt an Astartes who is easily at least 2-3 feet taller than her, but she somehow pulled it off. Fortunately for her, and unfortunately for Zarael, she was wearing her helmet and he wasn't. She actually managed to draw blood from that attack!
Now, I think Zarael was caught off guard by that as much as I was, and he just staggered backward and froze for several seconds. Thank the Emperor Angrius was nearby, and he pulled Zarael aside before he could fully comprehend what had happened and tear Sam's arms out of their sockets.
Then she takes off her gas mask, and I see there are tears all over her face. At first, I thought she hurt herself, but then she pointed to the mask itself. The thing got trashed when she smashed her head into Zarael's skull. The lenses were cracked and the breather unit was crushed in. I ask her what's wrong and she tells me she broke my mask.
Then I realize that the mask actually IS mine. She had been wearing it as her own this entire time! I offer to get her a replacement, but she shakes her head and says, "But this is the one you gave me!"
And... that settled it. We spent the rest of the day going from armory to armory trying to find a mask repair specialist. It was a rather high end Inquisitorial-issue mask, so I had to pay a small fortune in thrones to have it fixed, but the look on Sam's face when she got it back made it all worthwhile.
Meanwhile, other Astartes found out about Zarael's little run in with Sam. To this day, they have still not let him live that down.
I know this sounds extremely unprofessional and borderline heretical, but I honestly wanted to stay in a little city on Terranis forever. Unlike the vast towers of Holy Terra, the idyllic fields on Hagia, or anywhere on any planet in this Emperor blessed Imperium, staying on Terranis was... satisfying.
Unfortunately, my astropaths have informed me that a massive warp storm is coming and threatens to trap us in this system for who knows how long. If it were up to me, I would have told them to stuff it and leave without me. But... I have my duty to the Emperor and the Inquisition. We only had three days to leave before the storm arrived. I know Sam would accompany me, but what about the other people trapped here?
As you know, Inquisitorial policy strictly forbids us from taking in refugees, but I found a way around it by instead recruiting them as part of my retinue. Our ship can fit an extra two hundred people on board. I will draft an official announcement. I've called down the Astartes and a company of Stormtroopers to prepare for the inevitable chaos that will follow.
The city's reaction is not quite what I thought. Instead of the mass hysteria and panic that usually accompanied hasty evacuations, this one was oddly quiet and orderly. It was such a surreal sight that me, the Stormtroopers, and even the Astartes were a little unnerved.
Finding volunteers to leave with us was far more difficult than I imagined. Nobody felt like leaving. Even the refugees decided to stay, as they were tired of running and if they were going to die, there was no better place than on Terranis. Only a handful of our slots were taken by refugees, roughly forty. About sixty passengers were from the various shattered non-Krieg Guard units, though there were absolutely zero Valhallans among them. The Kriegers that came with us were literally badgered into doing so by their parents. They're all Derivatives like Sam, and a bit unhappy at having to leave, but didn't have much choice.
As our ship left orbit, me and Sam stood together on the observation deck, neither of us speaking a word. In my head, I knew on paper that Terranis had no chance of surviving. Eventually, they would run out of supplies, or attrition would wear down their numbers to the point where the Tyranids could easily overrun them. Then again, on paper, I thought it was humanly impossible for Kriegers to get along with anybody else, and here I am, engaged to one.
"Do you think they'll be okay?" Sam finally asks me as we prepare for the Warp jump.
++VOX TRANSMISSION EXCERPT++ ++COMMUNICATION BETWEEN [CLASSIFIED] AND KRIEG 68TH REGIMENT CENTRAL COMMAND++
COMMANDER: Have a safe trip, sir. Good luck on your mission.
[CLASSIFIED]: You too, Commander. I'm sorry we didn't get the chance to talk before we left. What are you going to do now?
COMMANDER: What we've been ordered to do and what we've been doing all this time, sir. Hold position and await relief.
[CLASSIFIED]: By the way, you hotel was magnificent. Better than some resort worlds I've been to. It's a pity I never had a chance to repay you for your hospitality.
COMMANDER: No need, sir. Just take good care of my daughter.
[CLASSIFIED]: Wait wha-
++CONTACT BROKEN DUE TO WARP JUMP++
The SS Krieg
It's been two weeks since our departure from Terranis. Our Navigator says that the warp storms around the planet are still strong, and any attempts to contact the planet via astropath have failed. Communication with Terranis has effectively been severed, possibly forever.
As you know, our starship, the Galactic Frontier, and its captain, Captain Glovel present themselves as a high class passenger transport and occasionally moonlight for the Ordo Xenos. This has served as a number of useful functions, such as being able to scout and insert agents into high security systems. I've received your report about increased Tau activity near the frontier world of Odessa, which is of great concern since it is a resort world frequented by many high ranking Imperial officials. Captain Glovel is confident he can get us to Odessa without attracting suspicion from the Tau, but that requires us to stop at Tarson, the Adminstratum hub for the sector. The passengers we ferry to Odessa will be a sufficient cover.
However, I'm more concerned with our new passengers. The refugees and Guardsmen have adjusted well enough, and the majority have opted to step off on Tarson and make new lives there. The Derivatives, though, are another problem. I don't feel confident that they can properly integrate into society on their own, and from how their transfer orders were written, they consider me their superior officer.
I have command of a hundred Kriegers and have no clue what to do with them.
Needs More Rum
Taking the detour to Tarson would add another four weeks to our travel time, with an additional three to drum up and load passengers. This means the Derivatives have... quite a bit of free time.
I decided to give Sam a personal tour of the ship, and she was utterly fascinated by the entire thing. Being an engineer, she has quite a knack for mechanical and technological devices. However, the closest thing she's ever had to spaceflight were a few rides in Valkyries, so I felt this would be an educational opportunity.
So I give her the full tour, through the bridge, the passenger compartments, engineering decks, hangar, the works. As I'm doing this, she's taking notes and drawing sketches of the ship with the speed and precision of an autoscribe servitor. No doubt to share this information with her cousins (since all the original 68s were basically siblings).
Oh, I forgot to mention. I used my Inquisitorial authority to promote Sam to First Lieutenant of the 1st Terranian Platoon. I've delegated all command matters concerning the derivatives to her. Of course, I get zero complaints from the other Derivatives. At least, I assume that's what their silence meant.
For the last part of the tour, I decided to show her the "spider holes", the secret tunnels and accessways every ship had. I have a few acquaintances among some of the crew, who are fifth generation, so they know every nook and cranny like the back of their hand. I show her a secret compartment the crew likes to use to stash liquor. Unfortunately, somebody forgets to tell me that the machine spirit for the interior door control is fried, so me and Sam are effectively trapped in there.
We were on the engineering decks, close the engine, where the temperatures are as low as 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit on a good day, and that's if the cooling systems are at optimum performance. The crew usually wears cooling suits and rehydration units when they work down here, but we didn't intend to stay there for any longer than five minutes. I'm wearing my carapace armor (as an Inquisitorial agent, you can never be too careful), and Sam is in her regular Krieg attire.
Then, she starts stripping her clothes, right in front of me! The helmet and mask are the first to go, then her trenchcoat, her shirt, and then starts unbuckling her belt [ERROR]
Sorry, about that. I was trying to delete that last paragraph but the damn replacement servitor we picked up from Terranis never seems to work quite right. Now, in my head, I know it's just Sam's pragmatic nature to strip off unnecessary clothing in order to keep her body temperature stable. But the rest of my physical and cognitive functions are getting mixed signals, if you know what I mean.
Then, Sam looks at me and just says, "You'll get hyperthermia if you stay dressed like that."
Now, I won't get into specifics for fear of this servitor malfunctioning again, but I can say there was a bit of a physical scuffle and Sam won [ERROR]
Dammit, I screwed up again. So we were stuck there for about half an hour, drinking illicit alcohol and bemoaning our fate. Or at least, I was. Sam kept trying to snatch the bottle from me, complaining that I'd just dehydrate faster. Fortunately, it seemed that the Derivatives had been busy as well. When they noticed we were missing, they organized search teams among themselves and combed the ship. A pair of them, Wedge and Biggs, found us. I ordered them to never speak of what they saw in that room, but the way they bobbed their heads in agreement told me that was the one order they didn't intend to follow.
Now every Derivative knows about what happened between me and Sam, and they'd give us the little, appreciative nods whenever they pass by. Thank the Emperor they're tight lipped enough that the rest of the crew hasn’t found out.
Scratch that, the look on Finch's face tells me that might change very soon.
Pimp My Ship
The Derivatives have been incredibly productive since they've come onto the ship. I've managed to sneak some peeks at Sam's notebook, and I realize that they're not just notes on the ship itself, but an entire list of structural defects and security flaws. The Derivatives have been incredibly busy, and are literally reworking the ship from the bottom up. I have no idea where they're getting the tools and materials from, but they're reinforcing bulkheads, rerouting power lines, and overhauling old machinery. They even managed to badger or persuade the crew into helping them, though I suspect a couple are going along as an excuse to spend more time with them.
Sam of course, has been leading the effort. I asked her why she's doing this, and she just gives me this weird look. It's like this odd mix of anticipation and concern that I can't quite place. Either way, she's already completely redone the Inquisition controlled decks in that typical Krieg "functional fortification" style and is working their way through engineering. The chief Techpriest on board is delighted at the massive jump in performance and efficiency the ship is showing. I don't have the heart to tell him the truth, because I think he'd try and throw Sam out the airlock for tech heresy if I do.
The Astartes aren't complaining. They actually feel more at home, with the Derivatives reworking their quarters to accommodate their larger size and weight, and they're very appreciative of the chapel they added in. Glovel has complained to me that somebody had stolen gold ingots from the cargo holds, but I just attribute it some greedy crewmen.
Despite this, me and Sam have managed to pick up a new hobby, exploring more of the secret compartments and crawlspaces of the ship. Take that as you will.
We've finally arrived on Tarson, but the new orders I've picked up from the local Inquisition base have told me to go the Administratum center here and erase all pertinent files referring to Terranis, and they have apparently been signed off by your hand. Is that true?
Obviously, I decided to keep the Derivatives on a tight leash. None of them were to leave the ship or the orbital dock without my personal approval. I don't want to risk losing any of them in the chaos of Tarson's hive cities.
So while Glovel is rounding up passengers for the voyage to Odessa, I'm choosing my retinue for the data scrubbing mission. I have Gottwald, one of the ship's techpriests and a specialist in logic engines and data management, which I need for the specific objective at hand. I also thought that bringing the Astartes as security was overkill, so I opted to bring Sam and four Derivatives instead: Wedge, Biggs, and the Twins.
Now, the Twins are just that, identical twins. They both look and act pretty much the same, and are so in sync that not even Kriegers can tell the difference between them. I hate to say this, but their only defining traits are their breast sizes. Chastel is the "bigger one", while Hista is the "smaller one". Just don't use those terms when they're around, though.
So, the scrubbing goes smoothly. We go in, I flash my signet, and I'm basically the goddamn Emperor for the day. Meanwhile, the Derivatives are standing guard over Gottwald as he does his thing, keeping eagle eyes on the Administratum clerks.
Of course, I don't tell any of them the true nature of what we're doing, not even Sam. I don't know how they'd react if I told them we were actively trying to bury any knowledge of their homeworld. Sam trusts that whatever I'm doing, it's following the Emperor's will.
I hope I am, too.
Then, I make the biggest mistake of the day. Once Gottwald is done, I decide to take a bathroom break and before I know it, the Derivatives somehow scatter to the four winds. Wedge and Biggs are the ones I find first, since they're the most predictable. Wedge is a mischievous little rascal and runs this small black market for his cousins. Biggs is a straight arrow who always tries to rein in Wedge's roguish behavior, but they're essentially blood brothers. I never see either of them apart. I'm not surprised when I see Wedge hijacking a truck filled with crates of waffles "liberated" from one of the building's cafeterias. Biggs is riding shotgun, and they pull out of the building and head straight for the spaceport before I can stop them.
The Twins tried to tail Wedge and Biggs when they broke off, but got lost in that dreadfully designed labyrinth of a building. I run into them on the way back from Wedge and Biggs' little heist. They're trying to decide which direction to go, and I notice this small army of Administratum clerks tailing them like Lictors, like these are the only girls they've seen within 20 feet of them. The Twins are completely oblivious to this and I come and order them to accompany me back to the ship. I'm in a particularly foul mood in this point so I cheer myself up by giving a smug grin at the clerks as I lead the twins away. They were so green with envy that they could have used it to transform Tarson into an agri-world!
The moment I start thinking about finding Sam, she's already behind me as if she had always been there the entire time. I notice she's carrying a few dataslates she didn't have before. I don't manage to catch what data was on them, but it must have been important to her to go through such lengths to obtain it.
Anyways, I'm tired. I'll investigate later.
Inquisitor, We’ve finally left Tarson and are well on our way to Odessa with six hundred passengers. I’ve forbidden the Derivatives or any Inquisitorial staff enter the passenger compartments, but I let slip the fact that we’re carrying high ranking officials, civil servants, as well as their typical entourages. They literally began fortifying the outer edges of the passenger compartments. Bunkers and strongpoints have been constructed at critical chokepoints, the bulkheads are reinforcement with another three inches of adamantite plating, and they even have an Earthshaker cannon mounted on the approach that connects to the cargo bays and service hangar.
None of this is going unnoticed, however. The passengers are convinced that the ship is haunted or possessed or something, and I can’t blame them. What else would you think when you hear random clanking and grinding noises in the night?
And that’s not even the half of it. In some freak coincidence, I run into Interrogator Modo, from the Ordo Hereticus. You should remember him, or more likely his boss, Inquisitor Frollo. Apparently, he’s on some undercover mission, tailing a PDF general who might be taking bribes from several cultist cells. So yeah, he invites me to his stateroom so we can catch up on old times.
I bring Sam with me because there’s really no way for me to convince her not to tag along. We step inside, and then I see a trio of Sisters of Battle in his room. Well, this catches me off guard, until I realize that this is some sort of veiled boast directed at me. He gets to hang out with the hot nuns while I’m stuck with those starchy Astartes. And because they’re supposed to be undercover, they’re not even wearing their power armor, just civilian garb that’s conveniently form fitting enough to show off their curves and physique.
Damn! I forgot my trip and forgot to properly format it, too!
Well I’m not about to let myself get one upped by the Hereticus, and Sam gets the same idea. She casually pulls off her gas mask and as she takes off her helmet, she does that weird, oddly alluring hair swish that girls are wont to do, especially in the movies. What I didn’t exactly expect to happen was to have her kiss me on the cheek afterwards. Boy did she get some venomous glares from the SoBs.
Modo concedes that we’re at a draw, and in return from him telling me which of the passengers most likely have connections to the Tau, I tell him about how I picked up the Derivatives from Terranis, and even took him down to the lower decks to introduce some of them. I can tell you right now, sparks flew between two the Sisters and Wedge and Biggs, and they weren’t the angry kind. They both scribbled something down on a note and handed it them. I never found out what it said, but whatever those words were, they the two SoBs light up as red as Blood Angel armor.
Wedge and Biggs then fist bump at their latest victory. Both of them have gotten very close to Logar, since they all have so much in common in the field of wreaking havoc on the ship. Logar taught them the fist bump, which he says is a traditional custom in Space Wolf society. He calls it a “brofist”, and Wedge and Biggs do it at practically every opportunity they can once they learned it. Logar himself can’t do it much since he’s break a normal person’s arm, and none of his Deathwatch squaddies are into that sort of stuff.
Sam sees this and then holds her fist out in front of me, with this expecting look in her eyes. It’s at this point I realize the Derivatives have learned another “important life lesson” today.
We've finally reached Odessa and are in orbit around the planet. Not surprisingly, our sensors picked up Tau ships lurking at the edge of the system. While Odessa is still an Imperial world, the Tau are still allowed access in a limited fashion for "diplomatic" purposes. The Munitorium and Administratum aren't fooled, however, so Odessa has a significantly higher ratio of off planet Guardsmen and Arbites garrisoning the world. Because multiple shuttle flights would seem suspicious, I decide to set up our base of operations in the Arbites headquarters. I only take a small force, just myself, Sam, the Deathwatch team, and twenty Derivatives. I keep the rest on the Galactic Frontier, to keep the ship secure against any possible Tau incursions. I'm confident they'll behave, since I made sure to take the troublemakers with me. Me and the Astartes have spent the last two weeks teaching the Derivatives everything we knew about Tau behavior, tactics, technology, and anatomy.
The larger problem is actually getting my force to the planet unnoticed. The Tau have numerous agents and infiltrators among the Odessan populace, including much of the planetary government. That means I absolutely cannot be seen trying to pass five Astartes and twenty geared and highly trained soldiers through customs at the spaceport, and my signet will just draw more attention than I need.
So, I order the Derivatives to take off their combat gear, stow it in the cargo crates, and change into civilian garb. I also have the Astartes sealed into the crates to both protect the gear and conceal them. Now is the tricky part, convincing the customs officers that these "tourists", in Finch's words, "were legit". So I come up with a plan.
I deliberately set down the shuttle near the custom officer's shift change, so he's more likely to get things done in a hurry. Disguised as the shuttle pilot, I plant the seed of doubt when I tell him that carrying a shuttle full of 20 of those idiots is unbearable. Now, their cover is that they're tourists from the nearby agri-world Redwood VI, who have a particularly nasty reputation in Odessa as being universally stupid and annoying. Then I get Wedge and Biggs to come up first, carrying the ID cards for all the passengers. They did exactly what I told them to do, be very annoying and ask a lot of unnecessary questions, as well as blow seemingly mundane things out of proportion. The biggest highlight was when Wedge literally grabbed the customs officer by the collar and pointed at a passing Tau Water Caste diplomat, exclaiming she was barely wearing any clothes, much less a Xenos.
Now, I'm pretty sure that was completely genuine on Wedge's part. Up to that point, the only visual reference of a Tau any of the Derivatives had was fuzzy pictures and artist interpretations. Plus, this particular Tau was wearing a very loose, very revealing white robe that exposed a lot of chest and leg skin.
Then a little punch to my kidneys from Sam snaps me back to the situation at hand. The poor customs officer finally loses his nerve and just swipes all the customs cards through the reader in one go and lets us pass.
We reached the Arbites headquarters with no issue. The Astartes were a little cramped and grumpy, but nothing a few promises of knocking around some Tau couldn't handle. Anyways, Odessa days are long and nights are incredibly short. Better get some sleep while I still can.
It's Up To You
I have to say that the Odessan Arbites are an amazingly polite and hardy bunch. They'd have to be, to survive on a planet where a quarter to a third of the population has been corrupted by Tau influence.
Yes, the situation is far worse than we initially thought. The Tau have been violating their treaty terms for the past twenty years by handling direct trade agreements with the planetary government, as well as setting up special "public diplomatic" districts within the capital city. The Guard and Arbites try their best to curb their influence, but the Tau have the majority of the PDF, or at least their leadership, in their thrall so they lack the manpower and resources to face them head on. Fortunately, there is a way we can liberate this planet.
Apparently, every few years, the Tau host a sort of diplomatic party on one of the orbital stations. They use the event to strengthen existing ties as well as try and curry favor with the officials that are still undecided. Every single public official, politician, and business tycoon will be there, as well as the highest ranking Tau leaders. The Arbites are confident that if some unfortunate incident were to wipe out Odessa's primary leadership, they would easily be able to take control of the planet in the ensuing chaos.
Unfortunately, this requires at least two agents to infiltrate the event, and the identities of almost all of the Arbites are already known to the Tau. The logic engines also calculated the type of attendees that would attract the least attention would be a seemingly engaged or married couple.
You can guess where all the heads turned.
This means it's time to go shopping.
It was a rather interesting day, spending time among the rich socialites that lived in the upper levels of the capital hive. It's been ages since I've even considered touching my personal expense account, but the Inquisition handles most of my expenses anyway, and if showing Sam a good time isn't worth splurging a little, what is?
Well, first things first, we have to get the proper clothes. I decide we should get my outfit first, but Sam is literally pulling me along like a dog on a leash. She of course is not wearing her standard Krieg issue kit, but more casual fare. When we reach the tuxedo shop, I don't even get the chance to pick out my own suit. Sam just walks up to the clerk, lists my measurements to the millimeter, and tells him exactly what he should make and out of what material.
It's actually a very nice suit, designed for comfort and maximum user protection. It's climate controlled, and the synthetic materials weaved into it are strong enough to withstand blades, hard and laspistol rounds, and even the occasional bolter shell.
However, things take a turn for the awkward when it's Sam's turn to get an outfit. I've never been in a women's fashion store before, much less buy women's clothing, and Sam has no idea what to wear either, having always been most comfortable in her combat uniform. So, we pretty much spend the entire day burning through dress after dress, but none seem quite right to either of us.
But finally, as if the Emperor Himself were watching us, it was like he just snapped his fingers and everything seemed right. We settled on a very simple, yet sexy black gown that seemed to complement her uniformly pale skin. We also added on a little red scarf to add some more contrast and color. If we didn't attract attention, we sure did now.
So, we spent the rest of the day getting Sam some nice jewelry. Emeralds, in fact, since they matched her eyes so nicely. Sam was smiling ear to ear the entire time. Then, we thought "what the hell", and went and bought ourselves waffles that cost over 3000 thrones before we returned to our safehouse. We both agreed they were pretty good, but the Twins could make better ones out of scratch any day.
Oh yeah, we also passed by several Tau that day as well. The male ones really didn't pay me any mind, but I swear, I must have been giving something off, because the female Tau just wouldn't leave me alone. See, I'm no Xenophile or anything, but these Tau are just humanoid enough that the attractive ones can really start confusing your senses, among other things. Fortunately, Sam would shoo them away with a glare that could melt a Baneblade, and I'd have to convince her I wasn't interested in them at all, lest she turn that glare on me.
We were still high on some sort of euphoria the events of the day put us on (or maybe it was all that sugar stuffed in those waffles), but we didn't feel much like sleeping that night. We "played" some rounds of "Prisoner of War". Despite her innocent looking outer appearance, she can be pretty naughty, especially when she steals my restraints- [ERROR]
The Name's Bond...
So now's the dreaded day of the operation. The Arbites have managed to sneak my and Sam's gear into one of the station's cargo holds, since we can't carry any of it ourselves. With some help from the Administratum back on Tarson, we have foolproof papers identifying me and Sam as visiting dignitaries from Tarson. While it was good for getting us in with no questions asked, I think it backfired because everybody kept trying to curry favor with us due to our "positions". I could tell Sam was really nervous. Her hands were trembling and had my arm in an iron grip, as if she were afraid of getting separated from me in the crowd. I couldn't blame her, though. Spending all that time in that stuffy uniform and mask, she's probably not used to being among so many strangers at once in such close proximity.
Plus, I'd never leave her alone anyways. Some of the looks the male guests are throwing her way give me the creeps. However, the problem wasn't getting past the partygoers; that was easy. The main challenge was fooling the Tau, who were sure to put us under a bit more scrutiny.
We manage to slink away from the main party and slip into a maintenance hall. Now, I don't know what Sam's childhood was like, but apparently her parents taught her how to make a weapon out of ANYTHING. She managed to silently dispatch six PDF guards with a combination of a mop and cleaning rag. I don't really want to get into details. Afterward, we get close to the supply drop, when we run into a female Fire Warrior.
Now, fortunately, this particular Fire Warrior was not wearing her carapace armor, just a lighter ballistic vest and armed with a simple pulse pistol. Without hesitating, Sam tackles the Fire Warrior to the ground and they start punching, clawing, and rolling on the ground as they try and wrestle for the pulse pistol. I move in to help, but the pulse pistol gets knocked into a vent and out of our reach. Sam risks a brief second to rapidly point down the hall. I get the point and run for our gear stash.
I sprint and grab the bag containing our armor and weapons, and dash back. It's quite a pity, since I had had this entire dramatic entrance sequence and witty one liner cooked up when I rescue Sam from the Tau. But once I get there, I see Sam's already handled the situation. Apparently, during the catfight -I mean- brawl, Sam managed to use her scarf to strangle the Fire Warrior into submission.
So here's Sam, sitting on top of a female Tau, with both their clothes torn and ripped from the fight. I have to admit, heretical images floated through my head, but I banished them quickly. That was the sort of stuff that makes those guys in the Ordo Malleus such nutcases. After Sam gets back into her Krieg gear, we set about interrogating our new Tau prisoner, and were surprised at what she had to say.
Apparently, the Tau are not nearly as united as we initially thought they were. The prisoner identifies herself as Shas El' Vior'la Mont'yr, though I just decided to call her "Monty" for short. She claims to be part of the Farsight Enclaves, a Tau splinter faction and she has the same objective we do.
Apparently, the Tau expansion onto this planet is threatening the Farsight Enclaves, since the factions don't quite see eye to eye with each other. So, we make a deal. We don't execute her on the spot, and she uses her position as security chief to give us access to the bridge. She gets us in with no complications, though we had to work together to get some pesky PDF and Fire Warriors out of the way. However, what weirded me out was how Monty would always steal a quick, lustful glance at Sam at every opportunity she got. I know that the Fire Caste have some deep rooted warrior culture, but there's something about that glint in her eyes that seems to extend far beyond simple warrior respect.
I couldn't tell if Sam noticed this or not. We were busy dodging lasbolts and pulse rounds, and her mask made it impossible for me to judge her mood at a glance. Finally, we get to the bridge and shut down the station's external defenses. The Astartes, Derivatives, and several Arbites riot squads storm the station and create enough havoc for us to send the station's reactors into meltdown.
Now, since I don't have any intention of dragging her along, and because I'm a man of my word, I decide to let Monty go at that point. But before she leaves, she tackles Sam, rips off her mask, and presses her lips against Sam's for what seems like an eternity.
Uh... getting back on track, Monty manages to back off before Sam can stick her with her trench knife. She gives this playful wink at Sam before running off. I get the distinct feeling this isn't the last time we'll see her.
So, in short, the plan goes off flawlessly, Odessa changes hands to a more Imperial-friendly government, and the Tau leave. Unfortunately, Sam was in a pretty foul mood for letting herself get... err... "violated" by a Xeno so easily. It took a lot of waffles and a lot time in the chapel before she finally got over it.
It did give me some devious ideas for our next round of POW, but I'll hold onto them for now.
Modo wasn't exactly happy with me blowing up his only lead, as well as not informing him of what I was doing. I explained that the bright side was that he had a convenient excuse to install a more strong-willed candidate in the recently vacated position. Though it's not like he'd be able to back up his threats anyway. Wedge and Biggs are seriously working their magic on those SoBs. They're telling them all their stories of fighting the Tau and traitor PDF through just hand motions and gestures. I'm not sure whether the SoBs actually understand what they're saying or not, but they do seem highly entertained by the whole act.
What does bother me is how the Twins seem to be getting mighty close to Logar. Now, I'm pretty sure it's just platonic friendship, but it is rather unexpected. I'm guessing that they impressed each other during the firefight aboard the station. Finch and Angrius seem totally cool with it, as long as it doesn't affect his fighting ability. Zarael and Culles are being dicks as usual, Zarael a little more so. I think he's still really miffed about getting headbutted by Sam. Finch regales me about this story of a rather grouchy Dreadnought he knew and how it claimed it used to date twin SoBs. I'm not sure if that's true are not. Do Astartes even feel love? It's one of those things you never think about until someone brings the subject up.
Unfortunately, we didn't get out without casualties. Jeremiah took a nasty hit from a fusion blaster and lost his right arm and part of his face. The apothecary managed to stabilize him and replace his arm and the damaged parts of his face with augmetics. Now he's deathly loyal to Sam, who was the one who dragged him back to the shuttle for evac.
And yes, Sam is still grumpy about the whole getting kissed by a Xenos thing. I'm still keeping my distance till it blows over.
So now I'm left to decide what to do next. There are a few more missions lined up, but they're quite a ways away, and it's not fun when the Derivatives start getting bored.
Hmmmm, one of our courses seem to take us near Krieg...
We've finally made planetfall on Krieg, and I have to say, the response was... overwhelming. I told the Kriegers that we were coming on a secret visit and wanted to keep things small, private, and as quiet as possible. Apparently, the head Kriegers felt otherwise and organized a huge welcoming party.
And by huge, I mean HUGE. I think they literally drummed up every Krieger they could find on the planet. There were gas masks as far as the eye could see. The Derivatives were basically instant celebrities. It was no secret among the Kriegers that Terranis saved their hides when their Vitae Womb started failing. Interestingly, Kriegers do have an odd way of greeting each other. Two different units of Kriegers would face each other and stand at attention for Emperor knows how long before saluting each other.
Anyways, while the Kriegers are mingling, I get pulled aside by another Krieger. I take a look at his rank pins and realize he's a Lord General. I didn't even know Kriegers could live long enough to get that high up in the ranks. He tells me that all of Krieg knows about Terranis' gift, but little idea of what the planet was like. The only clues they have are from what the Colonel of the 68th Krieg left behind before he passed away. He then tells me he'll show me and the Derivatives something they've never let outsiders see ever, not even the Inquisition. I'm not sure if it's right to tell you this, but here's what happened.
So he leads us into one of their many, many underground bunkers (there's not many places to live in a nuclear wasteland). We're led through serious security measures and fortifications, measures that are even stricter than the security around the Vitae Womb! We're led into a chamber that's absolutely massive. So big, that you could easily fit a Warlord Titan in there, maybe even two! But the real amazing thing is when they hit the lights.
The sight is just... beyond words. Plastered on every square inch of the walls (and even the ceiling) are picts of Kriegers. Not just any picts, though. They're all picts of every planet, campaign, crusade, and battle a Krieger has ever fought in, everywhere from Terra to Cadia. There’s even a pict of pre-wasteland Krieg, that dates back even before their civil war.
But the Lord General leads us to one particular pict that stands out among all the others. One that's the most special. It's a picture of a Krieger Colonel and about a dozen other Kriegers standing at attention in front of the Basilisk, and I realize it's from Terranis.
The Lord General tells us that their first batches of Krieg/Terranis hybrids are just beginning to supplant the original Krieg units, but they know nothing of the planet that helped birth them. Their only clue is that one little pict that the Colonel left behind. He asks us to tell us everything we know about Terranis.
And we do.
The Kriegers are in awe with the collective stories me, Sam, and the other Derivatives tell them about Terranis. I get the feeling that the reason the Kriegers keep this "shrine" here is because deep down, they're looking for something. Something they've always wanted, but never quite realized until recently.
They wanted a place to belong.
Well, that's just my dumb, uninformed interpretation of it, but Sam just laughs at me and tells me that it's "a good guess".
The Kriegers are satisfied with what we tell them, and promise to spread the word to every Krieger in the galaxy and incorporate it into their training regimen. I think it's a bit of overkill, but then again, that's typical Krieg behavior.
As part of the event, the Lord General organizes a full orchestra, all Kriegers. I never even knew Kriegers had a concept of what musical instruments are, and I'm caught off guard when they start carting out violins, woodwind instruments, horns, and drums. Then, as a going away gift, the Lord General personally leads the full orchestrated version of Regentropfen.
I don't even know how long the song is, since I lose track of the time. If you thought the song sounded wonderful with just a piano, you should hear it with a full ensemble. It was just... marvelous. By the time they were finished, it was said that there wasn't a dry eye on the planet.
But, we're on a timer. The Inquisition calls, and those filthy Xenos aren't going to exterminate themselves. We have to leave for our next mission. I give the option for the Derivatives to stay on Krieg, but every single one opts to stay with me. It's very touching, really.
Before we leave, the Lord General asks, "What's become of Terranis?"
Sam beats me to it and answers without hesitation or doubt.
To Segmentum Command;
(Attached: A full outlined Terranis status and battles fought in defense of Terranis)
Praises to the Emperor...
After Commander 68's arrival to Krieg, two companies of Astartes from the Salamanders chapter were dispatched to reconnoiter and possibly reinforce the Terranis system before the warp storms make travel impossible. Apparently they heard of the Chaos interference on the Tyranid swarm. Upon our arrival the Tyranid already been flinging themselves against the human defenders surrounding them; however, one city was already infested by a wayward landing. Fearing that there might be pockets of civilians trapped within the 4th Salamander Company and I landed within the city via drop pods only to find this section of the city in ruins. All life within emptied with an exception…a single human life-sign.
It is here we found a recreational center called 'Basilisk,' its interior a shrine...
Mementos…many mementos…is what made it a shrine mostly picts and dataslates featuring various Krieg and Terranis couples stating name, marital status if any, and finally time of death spotlighting how they died...There are exceptional examples of Humanity’s finest here...words originating from both the locals and the Krieg unit dispatched to Terranis filling every corner of the commons room, incense candles providing the somber lighting...and two deceased members of the 68th Siege Regiment. The first was the remains of a male enlisted man in standard Krieg uniform and a depleted lasrifle in his bloodied hands.
The Second, a female wearing a uniform that didn't fit the typical mold of a Krieger, possibly a local, leaning on an overturned table at her feet was a dead xeno its head properly ventilated, a laspistol in her right hand, and the previously mentioned Krieg helmet-less head in her lap. Apparently she had died just moments before holding on long enough to seat herself next to her...beloved? Captain Ty’roh managed to pry a small picture from the dead woman’s left hand and was silent for many moments. Asking for the piece of paper I saw the two holding each other; the female looked absolutely radiant and the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on a Krieg donned on the male. They weren’t alone. Patrons filled the space behind them from the multitude of joyous smiles of the locals to the small content ones from the Kriegers.
Flipping it over was the words, “This is where we all found each,” the rest unfortunately was covered in smeared blood and would be sent to a techpriest for restoration.
With all honesty I was stunned…this was an image of human defiance I will never forget. Captain Ty’roh agreed and saw it fit to pict record the room using a stolen –Correction: Borrowed- PictRecorder found somewhere then have his company gather all the mementos they could carry to a waiting Thunderhawk. The Salamander Thunderhawk pilot volunteered to carry the company’s precious cargo and run the gauntlet of fire back to the ‘War’s Anvil’…it would take him two trips. May these Defenders of Terranis actions be forever remembered. Both Ty’roh and I wish to send said mementos to Krieg along with the bodies of the two. If not Captain Ty'roh promises to give them a proper funeral on Nocturne and the mementos placed within their Monastery. We will find the means for either after the fighting for this city is done. We’re now using the Basilisk as the center for our counter attack we shall save this city before assisting 7th company fighting alongside the IG.
From; Inquisitor Harlan Speaking for: Captain Ty'roh Captain Sen’ru Salamander Chapter 4th & 7th Company respectively
May the Emperor guide your steps in life and in death.
(Astronomicon Alert: Warp Storms have increased around Terranis and further attempts at reaching or exiting the system is ill advised.)
The battle is going well. The wretched xenos are being pushed back slowly, but surely. We retook one of the larger cities today and freed a large group of slaves. The Astartes continue their march, and victory looks inevitable.
I know I am coming back to this seeming boring point, but again the Kriegers confound me. One of their members fell during the last push, and I heard them speaking about that soldier's 'reward' on Terranis.
I honestly expected something more...grand. A golden city, sitting at the feet of the emperor, surrounded by all matters of creature comforts. Instead Terranis sounds like one of the most mundane paradises I've ever heard. Simple houses, living with civilians, a restaurant, days filled with trench digging and 'living quietly.' Thinking on it again, I shouldn't be surprised. A Krieg paradise seems just as disciplined as the rest of their lives.
However, it still galls me a little. They speak of a lost planet that has to be dead. Devoured by an entire fleet of Tyranids. Kriegs are good, but still...to see them put their faith in something so...irrational irritates me for some reason. Perhaps it would be easier for me to take if Terranis was some grand utopian paradise, but the idea of a quiet, almost boring world...it just doesn't match up.
One of the other guardsmen apparently shared my opinion and was familiar with the fate of Terranis. (He has served with Kriegs before.) He voiced the facts. Terranis was dead. Devoured. A tragedy, yes, but not some place that any sensible soldier should dwell on.
The Kriegers just paused in their fortifications, look at the guardsman and, again surprising me, spoke.
They say it with so much conviction. It almost sounds believable.
I'm not exactly sure of all of the events of today. My head is still spinning and the Apothecaries say I'll need a few more treatments before I'm fully healed.
I'll start with the bad news. It seems that some of those slaves that we freed were of weak wills and in their cowardice, gave themselves over to the Great Enemy. I can offer no excuse. I should have paid attention to them, instead of the Ork hordes which we had well in hand. If you deem my failure an executable offense, then I accept your judgement.
We had no idea that we had the enemy within our camp...until they summoned the Demons. Three of them. They tore through us, most of the squads were obliterated, and our line broke. Ironically, the Orc horde rushing in to fight the demons was a blessing as it caused two of them to become occupied with the xenos long enough for the Astartes to arrive and dispatch them. I had ordered the troops to fall back, so we could effectively regain our defensive position, but the third Demon cut us off. A horrible parody of the human form grafted onto what looked like the body of a scorpion. A horde of heretic cultists behind it. The men fought, but we were obviously overpowered, the demon's powers giving the heretics strength and power. I was hit on the head, and I fell to the ground unconscious. It was only by the Will of the Emperor that I survived.
When I returned to awareness, I was on the ground. The cultists must have thought I was dead. I saw that they were gathered around in a circle, with the Demon at its apex. In the middle of the circle were the still surviving Krieg soldiers. Eight or nine of them, it was hard to tell. I frowned in surprise. They weren't being executed ritually, or fed to the demon. Also, why had they only spared the Kriegs? For an instant I thought that they were traitors to the Emperor as well...and then the Demon spoke. A horrible voice, smooth and silky, subversion and seduction itself.
"You would be fools to refuse this bargain, my bargain. I can see into your souls, my little boys and girls. You ache for that place. Terranis. I can send you there...but why should I send you to an empty barren rock? You know, you all know that there is nothing left of that paradise. Your Corpse-God let the Hungry Shadow gobble it up. What kind of loving God would do that? However...if you give into my master. Praise yourself unto him. Then she will reward you with the ultimate prize. The warp will bend to my master, and you will find yourselves, not on the empty, devoured rock...but back when it was fresh and whole. Can you not see it? I will show you."
I must have been in range of the Demon's power, because for a moment I saw visions. Visions of this place that the Krieg spoke of with reverence and hope. Of people, places, stories, a song played on a piano that caused Krieg eyes to fill with tears. I understood. I have heard the librarians and chaplains speak of paradise, of how the Emperor rewards the faithful with all of world delights and more, how spending eternity among his reverence is bliss itself. To a Krieg, one day on Terranis was enough. I found myself hard to argue with it.
The vision ended and the Demon looked at the Krieg soldiers. "You don't even have to pledge yourself to my master...all I ask...all my master asks...is that you say 'Please' and I will send you to Terranis in its prime."
One of the Krieg slowly removed his gas mask and looked the Demon directly in the eyes. He spat on the ground.
The Demon snarled. Motioned with one of its appendages, and the cultists fell upon them. Their deaths were not quick.
I am sure they would have noticed that I was still alive, had not the Astartes arrived. (Too late in my opinion, but I will not deny that ending two other demons takes time.) The Demon and the cultists were, of course, no match for the Emperor's greatest. They also discovered that I was still among the living, and evacuated me along with their chapter, back to the battle barge, where the inquisitor presiding over the reclamation of the planet called for Exterminatus. With the Ork presence and the Ruinous Powers so prevalent, I did not argue.
I think of those Krieg soldiers. I had only heard the faintest whisper of the power that Demon had used, the level of corruption forced into their minds would have broken battalions. I look out into the stars, and I think of that one little planet out there...lost to the Imperium and set to be devoured by an innumerable swarm that almost nothing can stop...and I believe this to be true in my deepest soul,
Lord Commissar, I think something needs to be done here. I feel that there is something wrong about this...but I have examined every facet of this situation and everywhere I look I only find things that are not only allowed, but championed. I am currently serving on a planet that has been subverted by the Tau and the presence of the Great Enemy has been seen as well. The situation is not beyond reclamation...we are gaining ground and purging both elements from the planet but... Well it's the Krieg soldiers. I have no issues with their performance or behavior. It's been exemplary but...well...here's a record of an interrogation of the mayor of a town that had been subverted by the Xenos. Present are myself, the mayor, and Lieutenant Krieg Female Model 83i #2598. "You will tell us where the Tau are hiding, make no mistake. The only issue is how swiftly your death will come, and how much pain will come before it."
"Do what you will, I'll never speak. I serve a force greater than myself, greater than that worthless piece of meat you bow to."
"You will not speak of the Emperor in such a way heretic! Your soul is already doomed, do not cause yourself more grief."
"Pah, I know what will happen to me after I expire. Go ahead and kill me, send me into the void. There is nothing there. I have been shown the wisdom of the Greater Good. Renewal and redemption await me...I only pity you for what awaits you."
"I will sit by the Emperor's side. She will sit by His side. YOU will suffer in the warp for eternity."
"She's shaking her head. Perhaps the lady thinks different?"
"Explain yourself Lieutenant!"
"When I die, and I have served the Emperor to His satisfaction, he will send me to Terranis."
"Oh, yes. I remember the Krieg soldiers that visited us spoke of this place. It's a fairy tale! A made up planet, and even if it did exist, the Tyranids destroyed it ages ago."
"Yes, they said that too...so tell me Krieg. What happens if that Corpse you bow to doesn't deem you worthy enough to send you to Holy Terranis."
"Terranis is not holy. It is just Terranis."
"Fine, then tell me what happens. I'm curious."
"I will be reborn on Krieg and must serve His will until I am worthy."
The mayor shook his head. "And what will happen to you when you finally arrive? Comforted and coddled?"
"I will have a home, I will live peacefully, and I will protect Terranis, until the Emperor calls me to duty and I am brought back to Krieg."
The mayor looked confused at that statement. "That's it? You serve until you die, and then you receive no reward and at any moment you could be returned to this hell of a life?"
"It is all I need. Why should anyone ask for more? That is how people like you give in to the Great Enemy and the Xenos. I am a Krieg. My soul is the Emperor's, Terranis is my reward for duty, and I must always be worthy of that reward, so I must always be willing to serve and fight. For if I do not, then Terranis will fall, and Terranis will always hold."
The mayor just stared at the woman for a long time. She just look back at him with that same blank expression that all Krieg have but...without the mask I saw her eyes. I have seen soldier's eyes of all types. Cowardice, rage, courage, defiance, strength, weakness.
This was the first time I have ever seen an Imperial Guardsman, a Krieger no less, who was at peace.
I don't know why that caused the Mayor to break. Perhaps it was seeing a true example of the Will of the Emperor, and having it break his little worthless fantasy. He spilled the location of the Tau and as I speak the Krieg battalion is mopping them up from our surprise attack.
Again, I have to ask my superiors if this whole Terranis bit is something to be concerned about. I mean...its perfect on every front but...it galls me at some level. I can't help but wonder, what is happening to the Krieg?
The Dark Angel marine stared at the Krieg soldiers who were in the middle of digging and fortifying another trench. Brother Elias usually had no patience for Imperial Guard. Unmodified humans were weak, cowardly, and more often than not, more of a hindrance on the battlefield than anything else. Not so with the Krieg. They had always been efficient, but he had seen over the many years he had been alive the Krieg turn from a mildly decent and disciplined force to a force he was actually proud to fight along side. The fact that many of them were clones didn't even bother him. They knew their duty, and in that they served.
He stepped in to assist the gas masked soldiers with a large steel beam, when he heard it. Soft and muffled...was...were the Krieg...singing?
"Guardsman, are you singing?" He asked.
The Krieg nodded.
That was unusual. For a Krieg. The other Guardsmen would never stop singing it seemed. Always one chant or another, it was annoying and it distracted them from their work.
"What is it? Your anthem? Marching song? That rain song you're so proud of?" Brother Elias had to know.
The Krieg took off his mask to answer. "It is 'Wenn der Morgen kommt wird der Regen enden'. We just call it 'Sonnenlicht' for short."
"What is...Sonnenlicht," Brother Elias slowly worked the strange word in his mouth. "What does that mean?"
"You sing about sunlight?"
"We sing about the sunlight we will see when we awake on Terranis. All things will pass, and if we are dutiful to our duty and the Emperor, then we will see the Sun of Terranis, and not the Rain of Krieg."
Brother Elias looked at the Krieg soldiers, working diligently. He knew about the Krieg legend of Terranis. It confused many people, but Brother Elias had lived for a long time. The idea of a place where you did not fear, where you just lived a life of peace among friends and supporters...a gift from the Emperor.
"Send me a copy of that song soldier. As you were."
The Krieger replaced his mask and nodded, returning to his work. Brother Elias soon received the song and listened to it over and over again. He was a space marine, and his place after death was assured...but he wondered if he could serve the Emperor well enough to warrant a brief stay on that quiet world.
All Good Things...
It was a matter of principle. That was what the Inquisitor told herself as she looked at the reports. A rather simple principle, really. It came down to one simple factor: morale.
Not Krieg morale of course. That had never been higher. Krieg victories had skyrocketed. There were requests for Krieg guardsmen, and pushes for similar training and even the idea of setting up new Vitae Wombs in one or two places were actually being discussed with seriousness.
Krieg wasn't the problem. The problem was everyone else. Guardsmen from other planets were becoming...discontent. They saw Krieg battalions with peace in their eyes. How Commissars wouldn't even look twice at a Krieg, but hold everyone else up to their standards. How Kriegs were actually getting fire support from Astartes...one company even went so far as to rescue a battalion of Krieg soldiers. Other guardsmen counted themselves lucky if the Astartes paid them no mind at all.
Then there was the crowing jewel. The Emperor-damned source of this mess, Terranis. The other guardsmen HATED that place. EVERYONE got a sacred seat at the side of the Emperor but only a KRIEG got to live on Terranis. The fact that the Kriegs had never claimed that, or that by comparison, Terranis was a pale shadow of having your soul shielded forever more in the Grace of the Emperor, didn't matter. Terranis' promised paradise was...familiar. Understandable. People couldn't imagine an eternity of peace and contentment...but they could think of a world where they didn't have people shooting at them every day. Plus, the whole 'civilians welcoming and caring for us' factor was a pain as well. Krieg were treating civilians kindly and well, and were beginning to be well received in turn. This also angered other Guardsmen. They were just as much as heroes as the Krieg, but were they welcomed into restaurants and taverns? No. Did pretty girls and men always smile at them? No. They were lucky if they didn't get pelted with stones in some places that they went.
Now...now the crowning moment of this whole problem was staring the Inquisitor in the face. They had not only found Terranis, but all those times that the Krieg had said 'Terranis holds' turned out to be exactly right!
The Warp had caused the arrivals to be a few years apart from each other, before the Warp Storm closed the area for good. So there were actual Terranis survivors, as well as this picture of a world that held back the Tyranids for so long that even the Astartes were impressed.
She massaged her temples as she thought about what to do about this. It was all a matter of principle...morale was the ONLY principle. Krieg was only one planet...one legion...if they were bringing everyone else down with their excellence...then there was really only one option...
Never truly end.
Brother Elias smiled as he looked at the huge display in the middle of the city. Terranis Holds. Holocasts from children who had grown up there, and from refugee survivors. And then there were the names and recognition of valor...so many of them.
It was a rather brilliant move on the part of the Inquisition. Terranis was a problem because it was so REAL to so many people. Weaklings who felt that they deserved the same kind of reward that the Krieg had earned. Now however, it was something more, a legend, a myth, a wonder of the age.
It had been decreed that Terranis had never 'Fallen' to the Tyranids. The Emperor had merely saw fit to remove it, and all the souls upon it, and take it to his side. An entire planet had become worthy of His Grace. A goal all citizens of the Imperium should strive for.
Now when the Krieg spoke of Terranis in that quiet way of theirs, it was in parable. Krieg had their place, but it was just as mythic as the fate waiting the rest of humanity. The only difference was that they had a specific name. When they said 'Terranis Holds' it was the truth...but a past truth. Not some show of defiance, but a reaffirmation of their own personal faith.
The Imperial Guard, and the Inquisition relaxed as morale returned to normal levels. The Krieg though...well...the great chapels on that city of death have been changed a little.
All Krieg serve the Emperor, all Krieg live to redeem their names and souls for that long ago betrayal. All Krieg cry when they hear Regentropfen, and they almost never remove their masks.
But on holy days, and at funerals, the churches are filled with the sounds of Sonnenlicht. For every Krieg knows where they will go, when they arrive Home.
A Krieger's Duty
I had to stand up to wring out the kinks in my back... It has been many years since I've been here. The peace and quiet under a clear blue sky I've worked so hard just to be here. But as I stretched my neck I spotted Him standing in front of me mouthing the words I knew so very well.
Looking over my shoulder I spied the back porch where my beloved stood and said, "I'll be back soon." I turn to face my visitor and extend a hand, "Would you mind assisting me out of my trench, sir?"
The ethereal being shook His head in amusement, His golden crown reflecting the light off the sun, before clasping my hand and pulling me up...
Onto the firing step as I and ten thousand other defenders of Krieg immediately aim our weapons down range at a wall of maddened cultists charging with wild abandon. Dark litanies spewing forth from their accursed mouths. A Commissar sent to us from another Regiment stalks up and down the trench bellowing out orders to us. Most likely expecting us to break like the PDF that came before us but we won't... Because we are the Children of Krieg, and like those on Terranis who held off an assaulting force of untold millions, so shall we.
After all, I want to return to those loving eyes in that place of quiet rest...
A Psyker's Question
From the records of Inquisitor Amberly Vail:
So far this has been a rather routine set of events. A world has been subverted by the Tau and they sent me in to identify the key figureheads motivating the conversion so that the Vindicare know who to take out, and then we can sweep the planet back under the watchful gaze of the Emperor, blah blah blah. Done this so many times it's boring.
The only interesting thing that happened was when we were staying at one of the few remaining loyalist Imperial Guard garrisons. It was a mix of different origins, but Rakel seemed to be interested in one of them in particular.
I know Rakel isn't the most casual, or subtle, of people. Psykers tend to be a little on the odd side. However, she walked over to this Krieg soldier and stared at him (her? Who can tell?) for a good hour with a questioning look on her face. Finally, when I went to collect her, she pointed at the Guardsman and spoke.
"She went in his place. He's back where it's quiet...resting. I didn't know that they often went in their place." I looked at the Krieg, to see if that made any sense to them. The gas masked soldier just shrugged. I grabbed Rakel and went to move her away. As I did, she called back.
"If I do enough good...can I visit? Am I allowed to go there? Just for a little while?"
I swear, it may have been nothing, but the Krieger might have slightly nodded. Either way Rakel looked happy and kept quiet the rest of the operation.
Okay yas gits! Lissen up cuz dis is important! Wese gonna gets dese 'umies today but...oy! I saidz dis important n dats means you too!
Anyways, wez gonna gets dem all, buts deres dees 'umies dats gotz these toobs from dere mouts and weird masks. Youse see dese guys youse gotta gets dem from behind, or make sure dat they don't know youse the ones that gots them.
Cause dese 'umies donts go down like the udders, oh no, dey cheats and comes back later. 'Nd if dey seen youse face n knows dat it was you dat gots dem last time?
Dey's gonna REMEMBER you.
The Warp Works Both Ways
The Sorcerer lay on the floor of the empty building, gasping for breath. Pain...there was so much pain. He saw his body slowly turn grey and flake away. He needed to move, needed to escape, but he was too weak. He had seen one of the World Eaters just collapse onto the ground, and nothing but grey dust spilled out from the already rusting suit of power armor.
The Tyranids were still around...what was left of them. He looked at one of them that was near by, gagging and twitching on the ground. The biomass they had eaten suddenly turning on them. It was a massive Carnifex, now pale and weak. Twitching in pain, incapable of moving, making pathetic little noises. Normally there was just violence and hunger in its eyes, but now there was just a question. Why? Why has the very being of this world turned against us?
The Changer of Ways had sent him here. This was where the ones who ceased to stop were hiding. The sorcerer would end it, take this world, and receive great favor in the eyes of his God. It had all gone wrong the moment they had landed on the planet. His troops and creatures dropping dead. His war machines breaking down and rusting before his eyes, and his glorious battle barge. His massive ship...he had only heard a report that something was firing at them...and then they were lost to the Warp Storm, torn apart to the barest atoms.
It made no sense. This world was empty, apart from the dying Tyranids, the only form of life on this place were the small signs of plant, insect, and animal life slowly returning to this place. There was nothing here that could possibly be a threat!
The Sorcerer looked around with bleary eyes, for an instant he saw them with the furthest reaches of his augmented senses. A group of people, dressed in dark colors and wearing gas masks, all around him. Waiting. What was this place? Who were these people? Why would they never stop? What was happening here?
"Please," He asked the empty air, "I must know...why?"
The answer came to him as a memory surfaced. He had been on one of the glorious demon worlds once, and had seen how his enemies gasped for breath. How they collapsed and either burned or were corrupted. How the very act of being on the planet, being in its presence, was ripping their souls apart. A world that was just as much a part of the glorious Chaos Gods as he was. Now...on this world...the very opposite thing seemed to be happening. The Sorcerer, conqueror of a thousand worlds, realized exactly what his mistake was...and that was when he saw them...all of them...surrounding him...his body...his soul...his everything. He tried to scream...but it only came out as a whimper.
I remember...I remember hearing jeers from others about this place. They insult my knowledge, and cast down upon my second home. They think it is a place of idleness, where we go to become weak, or when we are too weary from the battlefield.
That is nothing like the truth.
Here it is quiet, and I am with those whom I love...but it is no idyllic paradise. We guard this place just a vigilantly as we guard any other world the Emperor calls us to. If not more so.
We see them. We sense them. We know that they are out there, and they watch us. They watch our Second Home, and wait for the moment we drop our guard, that is when they plan to descend upon it. They wish to devour it, devour us, and destroy everything that we have earned.
So, we remain vigilant. We walk the perimeters, we fortify our cities, and we guard our home. There are more of us, and our loved ones are now skilled enough to walk the perimeter as well as we can.
We will do this forever. This is our Second Home. This is our Sunlight. This is our Rest. Thus it is ours to guard and protect. We ask of the Emperor nothing, for this is our duty...and we take it with no regret or hesitation.
Terranis will hold. Always.
The Mandrake known as Iral grinned as he looked at the mon-keigh, he had stripped them of all of their clothes, save for their gas mask. It was a pleasing esthetic to him. Normally he would have worked on the face, but keeping the mask on was important. Anyway, it wasn't as if the Dark Eldar had a lack of options without the face.
"So, tell me...are you originally from the Rain, or the Sunlight? I suppose it doesn't matter much any more does it? You all going back and forth between the two, I bet you lost track." He smiled and picked up a branding iron. "Now...what is that mon-keigh phrase you always like to say?"
"Terranis holds." The Krieg said quietly.
"Ah, yes...well, let me make sure that everyone knows that great truth." He slowly carved those words into the soldier's flesh...first in Gothic, then in both Eldar tongues, then in Tau, Kroot, and at least a dozen more languages. The Krieg spasms and made grunts of pain, but did not scream.
"You know how this ends, don't you? I will take your precious little soul, and you will be removed from your cycle. Never again will you see your precious Terranis or Krieg. You will not serve your Corpse-God anymore...and you will cease to plague us."
The soldier's fist curled into a ball.
"That is what we will do to all of you, you know. And you know that in the Warp the Ruinous Powers are gathering strength...soon your precious Terranis will be assaulted, and well...say 'Terranis Holds' all you want...it won’t change what will happen."
The Krieg soldier just shook his head. "Terranis Holds. Always."
The Mandrake scowled. This wasn't fun. It never was any fun with the Krieg now. He didn't even get the enjoyment of devouring their souls as there was too much of a risk of them slipping back to that...that problem. It had happened before, and had been a shock to many. So they were stored. Trapped in a prison, and kept out of the way until a solution could be found. However, they didn't scream or wail in their cells, grunts of pain and agony yes...but nothing satisfying.
Also...the Mandrake was becoming unnerved in his duty. The Krieg were starting to recognize him, and his table. He had told one his name a long time ago, and now they knew it...before they saw him. Also...he couldn't help but shake the feeling that they were always watching...observing...trying to discover where he was, and where the prison was.
It was near frightening the thought that a Dark Eldar was the one being hunted this time.
The Canoness did not like the Krieg. Well, she didn't exactly care for any of the cowardly, often heretical, and weak soldiers of the Imperial Guard...but the Krieg in general rubbed her the wrong way. She had served with them, and nothing about them...fit. How they almost never broke, that strange peace in their eyes, and of course, their beloved Terranis. The idea that the Emperor had set aside a world just for them...and that they chose to go there rather than swell by His side...it offended her sensibilities. The idea of having to share the glorious victory they would receive when they purged that heretical place was...galling.
Still...what was the most likely scenario? These Kriegers go along, get cut to ribbons by the Dark Eldar, and provide a decent distraction for the Sisters. All in all a win.
Both women stamped their seals of approval onto the form.
Battle Sister Sara Estonia frowned as she sat down at the mess hall on the ship 'Gloriana' that was currently heading to Weyan VI. Her armor had needed some personal repair and prayers, so that meant she had to miss having the meal with her sisters. Which resulted in her having to share the mess with the Imperial Guardsmen. It was a less than satisfactory situation, but her stomach insisted, so In the Emperor's Name, she would prevail.
She entered the mess, got her food, and looked for a seat. She wished there was a Tallarn battalion here. They at least knew how to treat one of the Emperor's Brides with reverence. Instead she had to deal with rowdy Valhallans, uncouth Cadians, as well as this battalion from the world of Girabi, who looked like Commissar fodder. She finally spied an empty seat by a table that was being occupied by some Kriegers. Well, they weren't too bad. At least she'd be able to dine in quiet.
She sat down. A few of the gas mask wearing soldiers briefly looked at her, and then back to the table. Apparently she had sat down, close to the same time they had arrived. One of the soldiers was returning with a stack of rations, which were quickly passed out among them.
Once they were passed out, the Krieg closest to Sara looked at her and passed her a piece of paper. She took it and looked at it.
Would you like to lead us in prayer?
She nodded and bowed her head. The usual Litany of Devotion to the Emperor, how He may guide them through the warp, thanking Him for the food, and ensuring a victory in His name. She finished and started into her food for a second, when she noticed that the Kriegers still had their heads bowed for a moment longer, and then they removed their masks, ate swiftly, then replaced their masks. They then took out what looked like city blueprints and poured over them.
Sister Sara then recalled that the Kriegers were not ordered to come here, like the others, but requested it. They had even brought some extra equipment with them.
"What are you doing?" She asked.
One of the Krieger's passed her a note. 'Plans for our entry point. Sewer system we need to tunnel into before we can reach the prison."
Another note, 'Yes, they are holding our people captive. We come so we may free them."
"What, you think they're still alive?"
The Kriegers shook their heads.
"But you're going to rescue them?"
They all nodded.
"How?" A cold feeling slightly formed in her stomach as she thought of a thousand horrible scenarios, all of them heretical.
One of the Kriegers took off her gas mask. "We only need free them from their prison. Once free, they will be taken by the Emperor back to Terranis. However, first He expects us to free them, and prove we are still worthy of our Second Home."
Sister Sara frowned, that wasn't expected. She had heard about this 'Terranis' thing that the Krieger's believed in, the Sisterhood said it was nothing to concern themselves with but...
"Tell me about Terranis." She asked.
All the Kriegers looked at her, and she swore than under the gas masks they all had a happy smile. The Krieger who had her mask off moved closer to Sister Sara. She cleared her throat.
"First, you must know the one Truth. Terranis holds, forever."
A few hours later, Sister Sara returned to her quarters, an odd feeling in her stomach. She lied down on her cot, thoughts bouncing through her head. It was just a silly little legend that these Guardsmen told themselves...but there was that look in that woman's eyes. Peace, conviction, certainty, and...well...faith.
She tried to remember the last time she saw that gaze of faith and belief in one of her sister's eyes.
Iral frowned as he tapped his finger on the table. The high-up muckymucks were blabbing about how the stupid mon-keigh were coming for them. How they needed to prepare. There was a lot of laughter and joking about what they were going to do to them when they arrived.
However, Iral felt...uneasy. The feeling had been following the mandrake for a while now, and Iral did not know why. That angered him. He was a master of all feeling and sensation. He could control anything and anyone, and he could certainly control himself.
He looked up. The rest of the war council was looking at him.
"Have you gotten any new information out of our new prisoners?"
"Oh," He tried to remember, an act that took far longer than it should have. "No, I discovered who it was that slipped through the net and sent out the distress call to the mon-keigh. He has been found, tortured, and his soul is now being shredded as we speak. Nothing really interesting, just a little mon-keigh slave that had more foolishness than sense who got a little lucky."
"Mmh...thank you. You can return to your duties, we still have much to discuss.
Iral happily left that stuffy room and proceeded back to his 'office.' Apparently, he worked in what used to be a mon-keigh place of law and judgement. A fact that amused him. He returned to the tortures of a young female slave, enjoying the agony of her soul, when one of his assistants came in. He silently waited for Iral to finish his current technique upon the girl, and enjoyed her screams as he did.
When Iral was finished and put the old apple corer away, he looked at his associate.
"Command gave me this to give to you. Our seers have divined what kinds of mon-keigh forces coming."
"Thank you, you may finish her off if you wish. Start with the lower nerve cluster in her legs, I haven't touched those yet." Iral said as he walked back to his quarters, flipping through the report.
So...some Inquisitors, meh boring. Guardsmen, bleh...Ooooh! Some of those Sisters! They were FUN. He smiled and started to plan exactly what he would do to them.
That was when that strange feeling returned. He looked back at the sheet. There was a Krieg unit in the Imperial Guard.
Almost instinctually he looked towards his shelf where a group of glass spheres sat. They were still glowing with that quiet light. No change...he was sure that there was no change.
Still...he now knew this feeling for what it was...fear. The prey had suddenly just heard the cries of those who hunted them...and they were getting closer.
Iral tore the report in his hands and turned to look at the shelf of glass spheres.
"Don't get your hopes up! Or do...that way it'll be all the sweeter when they join you. You'll never return to that delusion of yours...you hear me? NEVER!" He panted and looked around the room as if something was waiting to strike at him. He spun on his heel and left for the armory...he had to get ready.
Sin and Sisters
The Commissar walked down the trench, looking around. What in the warp was going on? How could half of an entire battalion of soldiers vanish? There were 30 Kriegs here this morning on the front lines, exemplarily examples for the rest of the troops. He hadn't had to execute a single one of them...and now, after casualties, there were only eight manning the defenses. Had they all deserted? Did the Dark Eldar kill them? The battle was at a standstill so far, and any soldier on the field was necessary!
He grabbed one of the few remaining Kriegers. "Where are your fellows, soldier?" He shouted.
The Krieger handed the Commissar a piece of paper. He snatched it away and pushed the soldier back into his position.
It was signed by the Inquisitor and the Canoness; the other Kriegers had been called away on a special request. The Commissar relaxed, and then noticed that one of the Girabians was cowering in his bunker...cowering! Well...he knew the solution to THAT problem.
The commander of the unit knew that what they did would ensure that he would be reborn on Krieg many many times...but he would not let this atrocity remain for one day more. So he had copied the Inquisitor and Canoness' signatures onto that form. The others didn't know, so they would return, but he was willing to accept the responsibility.
What he hadn't planned on was one of the Sisters to actually follow them. He looked back at Sister Sara as the group quietly made their way through the sewer maze. She believed that they were under orders, and she was assisting by her own will. This was bad. They had a perfect attack prepared to cripple the Dark Eldar, and free their imprisoned brethren...but the Sister complicated things.
Still...right now he had to focus. The sounds of battle raged above them, and soon they would be inside the center of the city. The heart of enemy territory. If they were discovered...no...they had been preparing for this moment. They would not fail.
At least they would not be lost in this maze of tunnels and foul smelling odor. The commander only had to close his eyes, clear his mind, and he could hear his comrades whispering. Fighting through the pain of their tortures...telling him where to go. He followed. Trying to send a message back to them.
'Hold. For we will be there soon.'
He knew it was unnecessary to say though.
They always Held.
Iral paced in the courtroom. He looked up at the statue that was still there. Some mon-keigh woman wearing a sheet. Her eyes were blindfolded and in one hand she carried a sword and in the other a set of scales. He had no idea what mon-keigh Goddess it was...interestingly, neither did any of the smelly apes he questioned. Apparently it was a long lost relic of the by gone age. He appreciated good art though and, even by Eldar standards, it was a classy piece, and it had aged spectacularly well. Probably because this room had been sealed tight long ago. It always made him smile to see his...visitors...reach out to this long forgotten deity for salvation only to slowly realize that she was blind to their suffering. He always thought it was a Goddess of Punishment, his new 'patron' if you will.
However, right now his Goddess gave him no solace. The front lines were far away, and apparently it looked as if the mon-keigh would slowly lose...but he felt uneasy. He felt them...his pursuers...closing in. But that was impossible...that made no sense. There were no mon-keigh here. They'd have to break through the front line, fight through and entire city of his brethren and indoctrinated slaves, and then reach him...and he was no push over.
He drew his rapier. A custom weapon of his, light, thin, coated with such wonderful poisons...another item he had taken from the mon-keigh...true he added his own little touches, but he liked taking things from the mon-keigh and making them his.
The Punishment Goddess. This poisoned rapier. The souls of those Krieg...he didn't feel right calling them mon-keigh. They were just Krieg when they were nothing but soul.
He knew they were close. He had spent so much time with the Krieg that he could tell when another one of them was close. He was probably sensing them out on the battlefield...he had nothing to worry about...why should he worry? They were not the marines, or their sages, or their men of tin and glass. They were just simple little husks that wore masks. The only thing that made them different was that their souls coul-
The floor behind him erupted, and the fox knew that the hounds had caught up to him
The Kriegers scrambled to pull themselves up out of the hole, affixing bayonets to face the Mandrake...but the xeno was just too damn fast. He skewered one of them through the throat instantly, and then leaped back into the shadows, the Krieg and Sister Sara instantly took defensive positions. Standing in a tight circle, guns and flamer ready, watching for the first twitch, the first sign of the sick monster.
All of the Krieg could feel them now. They were holding fast, but still...they cried out for assistance, for aide. The commander heard it the clearest, and spoke to the sister in a whisper.
"The target is down that corridor, fourth door on the right. We will hold the xeno, you get there and then destroy everything in that room."
Sister Sara shook her head. "I will not flee from a Xeno. I will stay. You and your men go."
"I have to stay...I have a perfect attack against these monsters that will swing the battle in our favor. However, I cannot secure the target and do my attack at the same time."
The other Krieg soldiers just nodded. They knew what they had to do. As one they all ran towards the hall, they didn't stop to open the door. They just charge through.
From the shadows, Iral laughed. "I've put enough wards on my quarters and on your comrade's precious little souls that there's no chance you fools will reach them. You'll all be new additions to my collection, except for the sister...no...she and I will be closely acquainted very very soon."
"Stop hiding like a coward and face me Xeno!" Sara cried out. "You will pay for the suffering you have caused. This I swear in the Emperor's name!"
"Ugh," A voice directly behind her said. "I'll have to cut your tongue out first; you girls are SUCH a bore!"
Sara spun around with her flamer up, just in time to receive a kick to the face that sent her flying back, crashing into the base of the statue of the Punishment Goddess.
"Now that's out of the way...onto the important business." Iral grinned as he stepped towards the Krieg Commander.
The Commander raised his lasrifle and fired, but Iral was again, far too fast. With an 'oh please' look he batted the gun away, causing the shot to go wide, and strike the sword arm of the Goddess' statue, causing part of it to crumble to the ground.
The Dark Eldar Mandrake sneered and grabbed the Krieg by the throat and held him up with one hand, ripping off the gas mask with the other. "I...LIKED...that statue! Ohhh, I am going to make you PAY for that. You know...I finally realized what I'm going to do." He grinned. "I'm going to take all your little friends, and place their souls in empty Eldar husk bodies...then I'm going to make sure that each and every one of you believes with every part of your being that you are one of us...and then I'll send you back to your precious Terranis, and you will clear it out for us...show us how to get there...and then we will dine upon that world for AGES...and it will be all thanks to you. How does that sound?"
"Ugh...I am so SICK of hearing that!"
"Then how about this old gem? FOR THE EMPEROR!" Sara screamed as she slammed the sword of the punishment Goddess into Iral's side. It was blunt, too big, and too heavy to wield properly, but there was a satisfying crack of shattered ribs, and the Mandrake dropped the Krieg as it was his turn to fly across the floor.
"You...bitch!" He snarled. "I'll make you pay for..."
There was the sound of an explosion from down the hall. Iral turned, aghast at the feeling of all those precious souls escaping. "No! How! I sealed the door, and there was no way you could have opened that shelf!"
"You sealed the door and the shelves..." The commander gasped. "But you didn't do anything to the walls around them...and Kriegers are GOOD at breaching."
"No...No! I WILL have ALL of your souls for this!" Irai shrieked. "Do you know how many of us are coming to rip you apart? I will make your pain last for AGES!"
"I'm planning on it." The Commander said. He looked at Sister Sara with sorrow. "Forgive me, I didn't mean to involve you in this. You...you could run..."
Sara frowned as she looked at the Krieg. "What are you talking about?"
"The only attack," the commander started to unbutton his greatcoat. "That will never fail," he opened it to reveal that his chest was covered with wiring, and what looked like small grey canisters in clear vacuum bags. "Is a suicide attack." He smiled. "Kriegs also are very good at using nuclear bombs as well."
Iral's eyes widened and he shook his head. "No, no nonononono! YOU CAN'T DO THIS!!!"
Sister Sara...smiled. "Blowing up the center of the Dark Eldar base will seal our victory...I am proud to see this moment. I am ready to go to the Emperor."
The doors burst open that moment, with Iral's back up arriving just in time to see the Krieg press the detonator button.
Sister Sara slowly opened her eyes. The sky was so...blue. She was on her back, she raised her head, a quiet grassy field stretched before her, and a city beyond that. There were people walking along the field in lines...walking along trenches.
She laid back down her head and closed her eyes again. Tears on her face. Soon she would go into town. She would walk the perimeter, and soon His Gloriousness would call her back to service...but for now...peace.
The Reconstruction of Terranis
Incoming Message: Decoding, Inquisition classification Omega, Terra, Zeta
Inputting keycode, Vox print verified, retinal print verified, genetic print verified
Plain text message follows:
To my esteemed colleague, Inquisitor Vail, Ordo Xenos Firstly, I would like to pass on my thanks to Captain Ty'roh and his men for their aid in keeping the survival of the planet a secret. The collective belief that Terranis fell has been the greatest protection to the world from the forces of Chaos, Heretics, and the psychos of the Ordo Hereticus. Secondly, I am sending a new administrative overseer with the next troop shipments, following the consumption of the last one. Shame too, I really thought Frau Lazgun had potential.
Acolyte Varric has less, but he may be a better fit for your requirements. I have found, in my time observing him, that he is generally useless in battle, but too useful with the paperwork to dispose of by more conventional means. Hopefully this will curb your tendency for sending the new administraria to assault fixed positions while I continue my never ending search for a worthy successor to take over our little project. I understand your reluctance in this matter but having a valid member of the Inquisition present will alleviate any questions should our little project come to light.
Despite your claims to the contrary, I have carefully vetted each candidate, and you were more than capable of handling that one Heretic who somehow slipped through the cracks. In the meantime, I have arranged for another understrength regiment to disappear into the endless records of the Munitorium, hopefully this will deter any casual examination until I can dispatch the appropriate officers.
As Saint Tombecon always said "Dead men tell no tales" (Litany of the Guarded Mind; Chapter VI, Verse VII), to which I always prefer to add Apostal Casey's addendum "So long as you erase the records" (Litany of the Guarded Mind: Apocrypha; Chapter I, Verse I).
As your husband requested, I have made sure the cargo contains Ferrian Amasec vine and Tanna seeds, as well as the usual troops, hellguns, grox, and assorted wildlife. I ought to warn you however, that Inquisitor Palin of the Ordo Hereticus has started poking around these disappearances. I think he's still bitter that my grandfather didn't follow the letter of his orders regarding Terranis, and possibly more so because he chose to my marry my grandmother. In any case, rest assured if he gets too close I will take the appropriate measures.
On a side note, I am pleased to hear that the front has expanded once again, and the reclamation is going well. Who knows, in a few centuries we might have succeeded in restoring the world. I find it a source of constant inspiration that one city has held for over a century against the Xenos hords.
As always, Terranis Holds Inquisitor Zechs-Noin, Ordo Xenos
P.S. Thank you for the new Gas Mask, it fits perfectly.
Chapter 1: Out of the Frying Pan
-Recording- I have lived a long and storied life, seen great acts of valor and heroism as well as the most dreadful abominations and heresies. Thankfully most from behind the safety of a desk. In those years, I also have borne witness to what I could call the greatest miracle in living memory. I have seen the tide turn, and our world not only survive but prosper even in the face of the Tyranid threat. Not only have we prospered but slowly and surely we have rebuilt and retaken our world. -Error Data overflow-
But, I suppose it is bad form to start at the beginning, pardon, I mean the ending. The beginning is the proper place to start. -Buffering- Scribe, erase the previous sentence. No, erase the sentence before that. Argh, why do I bother. Sigh. This servitor has been with the governor's mansion for ages, and is showing signs of age. Lets start this again. -Recording-
I have been in many strange situations in my years as a member of the inquisition. Most no more dangerous than staring down a bound heretic over a cup of recaff while I signed off the order for a firing squad. However, sitting in the hold of a ship bound for what I presumed to be my summary interrogation and execution is not an experience I ever have any wish to repeat. I prefer to be on the other end of the firing squad, thank you very much. However, I suppose I ought to explain how I arrived here. It was my fault, really it was.
Though the most common image people have of Inquisitors is one of vigilant warriors with hearts of stone, there are far more like me, who take care of the necessary duties that accompanies the slaying of Xenos, heretics and the like.
I was always good a keeping my head down when the shooting started, and lifting it up afterwards, which was a rarity thank the Emperor. Most of the time I was dodging nothing more dangerous than paperwork and the occasional spitball lobbed by a disgruntled drone. For the most part I liaised with various members of the Administratum, providing them with inquisitorial oversight, and rooting out the heresy of clerical error, which as we all know is generally the product of Xenos infiltration.
I was good at my job, rooting it out with no less zeal than than some of the more storied members of our Ordo used when rooting out Xenos. Which is what ultimately led to my undoing. You see, on one of my routine assignments, one of my servitors encountered an error. It had come across a world that according to the other records didn't exist.
It was as if someone had tried to remove all trace of the planet and erase it from the Imperium. I should have ignored it, I really should have. But something kept pushing me onwards. Perhaps it was the will of the Emperor, though my less generous colleagues would have called my it anal retentiveness. In any case, when the servitor initially pointed it out, I initially thought it was an error, and almost ordered the entry deleted.
However the name caught my eye. I had only the vaguest clue as to what it was, but I'd occasionally heard the Inquisitor Zechs-Noin muttering the term when I should have been doing paperwork. I wasn't listening in. Of course not, that would be rude. In any case, I turned to the servitor and ordered it to begin cross referencing the data.
That was the last I heard of it for a good week, until one morning, over my fresh cup of recaff, servitor JV-33461z152 ambled in stood in front of my desk, it's cogitators making a strange whirring noise, which indicated that it had finished computing a task. Well, that or it needed to be re blessed by an enginseer with holy oil.
"Acolyte Varric, I have finished the computation you requested" "Computation?" I was puzzled at first "Yes, the computation you requested on 5111108.M42" "Ah, that computation. Well spit it out" I responded, before instinctively ducking a glob of lubricant. I really should know better than to use the phrase. I poked my head out from behind my desk and grabbed the slate the servitor was holding.
"The results show a .367 percent discrepancy in the data" "Point 367? Egad, that much!" I replied, "We had better investigate this."
"Yes sir" JV-33451z152 responded and dutifully left the room. However, pressing matters regarding the inconcistancies in Guard numbers and munitorium supply levels occupied my attention for another month. Apparently the 592nd Vallhallan was getting twice the number of reinforcements that it ought to.
Not knowing if this was the result of Xenos infiltration trying to slowly rearrange our supply lines, I spent another two weeks investigating it before concluding that it was typical munitoria bureacracy at its finest. It was during this investigation that some odd numbers caught my eye. Periodic spikes in ship, troop and supply losses for the last 70+ years.
Typically, an under strength regiment would be be lost while heading along the old I-5 trade route. While this in and of itself was not unusual, the regularity of this was. Further examination of the data pointed out to a commonality in the cargo, generally a mix of military equipment, raw supplies and terraforming gear. Most strangely though was the large quantities of Tanna leaf tea that began to included in the manifests of missing vessels approximately two decades after the disappearances began. Fearing the worst, I failed to notify my superior, and continued my investigations in secret. Which was my first mistake.
The second being the somewhat indiscreet nature of my dalliances with the local aribites daughter. However, I am pretty sure that the latter had nothing to do with my eventual predicament, though it did hasten my return to headquarters. At the time I didn't regret my hasty departure, as it helped me get out of an uncomfortable mess with my appropriate pieces intact. There are some things that can't be replaced with augmatics. Only later, as I sped towards what I assumed would be a long and painful interrogation did I have time to truly to regret it. Of course my location didn't make difference when I was awoken in the middle of the night by armed guardsmen and promptly arrested for treason on the order of Inquisitor Zechs-Noin. Which leads me back to my starting point, aboard a ship bound for Emperor knows where, surrounded by Death Korps, and praying to the Emperor for deliverance and better bowl control. Why oh why couldn't I have let matter go?
- Third thread, where it spins off with focus on the sisters
- Fourth thread, where the stories are revived... and go nuts
- Fifth thread, where the legacy of Terranis starts (Listed as 'Return of Krieg Writefaggotry part deuce' on suptg).
- Krieg Writefaggotry, Gas masks forever (Part 3 on Easymodo)
- Krieg Writefaggotry, part 4
- Krieg Writefaggotry, part 5
- Current thread. Recently resumed
Terranis Holds. Forever.