I Am Astartes ( short )

Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim, dark future there is only war.

I Am Astartes ( short )

Postby LIRR » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:17 pm

0345 Awakening

The lights stir my slumber and as I slowly come to, the loud-vox spreads the first commands of the day, as spoken by the Nightwatchman on duty.

“Lie not idle and dream of battle, when thou canst rise and seek out thy foe. The day begins my brethren; another day nearer the battle, so wake up Astartes and look brave, because every day nearer the battle, is another day nearer the grave.”

I sit up in my simple bed, quickly returning to a wakened state and leave my rest behind me; as do all my brethren joining me in the barracks. There are nine of us, myself, my Battle Brothers and our Sergeant; the barracks the home and sanctuary of Squad 3-2-Beta.

“Get dressed, brothers” Sergeant Fearus says as he places his naked feet on the cold floor and gets out of his bed, “Another day in the Emperors glorious service has begun.”

The sergeant is old, a veteran of many a conflict; a master of war after having served the Imperium for close to eighteen decades. His body covered with scars of all and every kind.

We do as ordered, leaving our beds and retrieving the carapace-uniforms waiting in our lockers; dressing in the garbs befit a Marine in times of wait. Wait I say, for the best way to preserve peace is to prepare for war, but what is peace but the silence between two conflicts.

0400 Morning Prayer

Chaplain Laverium, Reclusiarch and assigned chaplain of the company, stands as always up there; on the podium, overlooking the great Company Hall. The banners and relics and ancient artifacts and icons of the Third Company on display along the walls. Statues of pure stone twenty feet in height surrounds us, depictions of heroes of the past; the men who set the standards of our duty.

I, like the rest of the men of the third company, kneel before our revered Chaplain; left knee touching cobbled floor. Each piece of stone having a sacred emblem of the Imperium carved upon it; the winged skull, the mighty =I=, the Aquila, the skull with crossed Bolters, the winged =I=, the mark of the Chapter, them all represented on the various stones of the floor. Right arm resting on the right thigh and left arm held over the chest, left hand touching right shoulder. Head lowered, eyes shut; this is how we all remain in silence, the company honoring ancient traditions passed on over millennia. I breath slowly, my mind focused; to lack discipline at a time such as this would mean excommunication, and I for one do not intend to dishonor my company, my chapter or the Emperor I serve.

The chaplain rises; dressed in the black robes of the Citadel, his chest protected beneath a bronze shimmering carapace chest-plate in the shape of the winged skull. In one hand holding the sign of his office, the Crozius Arcanum, around his waist the Rosarius hangs from adamantium beads over the large crimson piece of loincloth that is given those brethren of exceptional valor and bravery. Even though I do not behold him, I know this is true; for eight decades have I carried my title as Battle Brother, I know full well the rites of my chapter.

“The warrior who acts out of honor can not fail.”

I have always been in awe of the chaplain; his voice so commanding and assured of his faith it all but intimidates me.

“His duty is honor itself. Even his death, if it should be honorable, is a reward and can be no failure, for it has come through duty. Seek honor as you act therefor, and you will know no fear.”

I believe him, that voice can bear no lie or seductive promise. I feel warm as I listen, my duty is my life and my life is my duty. I know this.

“Pain and death are illusions of the weak” the sermon continues, Reclusiarch Laverium’s faith never faltering; his commanding presence like a weight upon my shoulders, upon my consciousness. His words reaching into the very core of my soul. “While his gene-seed returns to the Chapter, a Brethren can not die. Without death, pain loses its relevance. He that may fight, heal him. He that may fight no more, give him peace. He that is dead, take from him the Chapters’ due.”

We all contemplate and understand the truth of his words, the wisdom of ten millennia passed on through his voice upon us; to ignore this would be a heresy to rival the fall of the Traitor Legions. We all, the entire company, brother as captain, recruit and veteran; we all accept the truth of the chaplains words without hesitation or question. Duty and loyalty is our sacred bond.

“Look to your battle-gear and it will protect you.”

We all answer as one the Chaplain, our combined voice a mighty drum “We guard it with our lives.”

“Your armor is your Soul and your Souls dedication its armor in turn.”

Again, the company answers as a single body, “The soul of a Brethren is the shield of humanity.”

Once more Reclusiarch Laverium is heard, “Honor the craft of death”.

“Only the Emperor is higher in our devotion” as I finish the phrase, shivers run through my body. Yet even though I remain calm and focused, but my pledge towards the Emperor overwhelms me; the need to do my duty in His sacred service goes beyond explaining. All I can say is that I crave and lust to do battle in the name of the Imperium Dominatus; the enemies of mankind, the reason for my very existence, sickens me even here and now.

The Chaplain speaks anew, “Honor the battle-gear of the dead.”

“We ask only to serve.”

There is a pause, I know that the Reclusiarch is kneeling now; Crozius Arcanum held over his chest, his Rosarius held in one hand, his head lowered like ours, his eyes shut like ours.

When he finally speaks once more, his words are now even more alive with the might befit of a hero in the service of the Emperor; such stern conviction is beyond anyone but us, the chosen few. “Through the destruction of our enemies do we earn our salvation.”

As always, we reply with one voice as one body, the company coming alive like a leviathan risen from the depths of space, “Only in death does duty end.”

0500 Morning Firing Rites

The repeated blasts hit my eardrums without remorse; Boltguns firing continuously all around me. The company has gathered in the bowels of the Company Abbey; we conduct our live fire-drills in the weapon-ranges by our armory, located in our Fortress Monastery, the home of our Chapter. Me and the brethren of my squad stand in a straight line, four feet between each one of us, our weapons held ready; we are all still ever clad in our carapace-uniforms. My Boltgun is heavier in my arms now with no Power Armor to enhance my strength, but I prefer this; I prefer to feel the violent kick of my weapon as I fire it down the range. I, like my brethren, have a holoscreen placed over my eyes that mimics the Heads-Up Display of our Power Armor Helms and the vital Auto-Targeting Processor linked with our weapons. In war, every bullet counts; for every bullet that hits the enemy means one more bullet to hit the next, such are our rules of engagement.

A target appears out of nowhere before me, halfway down the range, a massive xenos of the orkoid species; he is only an image on my HUD, but I react to it as if the abomination had made actual entry to the sacred chapel of my Chapter. In less than a second have I raised my Boltgun to the level of my chest, my Auto-Targeting Processor telling me that my aim is true and that my divine Boltgun is directed at the foe.

Fifty yards.

Automatically my Auto-Targeting Processor adjusts my Boltgun, setting it to Burst Fire-rate; after only a second from the moment I first noted the enemy have I pressed the trigger, the Boltgun kicks in my grip, trying to wrestle its way from my hands. I hold it firm and force it to release the burst of four rounds down towards the target; three out of the four rounds hits the head of the beast.

A kill.

Instantly a new target appears before me; short range, twenty yards, I aim and fire. Auto-Targeting Processor adjusting my Boltgun to full auto; twelve rounds strike the human heretic in the torso, three rounds miss.

A kill.

Such is combat; the rounds that would have killed a human would not have killed an ork, so I aimed for the orkoids head even though standard practice would have me aim for the torso as it is the larger target. I aimed for the head to ensure the beasts demise. Against a human, all that is required from a Boltgun is to hit and the human would fall, alas, such is not the case with the orkoids. That is why I exist, why all of us Brethren exist; without the strength of the Astartes to shield mankind, humanity would be lost.

A new target; Eldar Guardian, forty yards. A single burst of four rounds are unleashed by my doing as my Boltgun roars out its howl of war; three rounds hits the torso.

A kill.

Another target; Xenoid known as Genestealer, eighty yards. I raise my Boltgun to my shoulder and allow rough aim down the barrel without using the iron sights of the weapon; two shots in quick succession is fired, torso, four inches apart.

A kill.

The rules of war; if the enemy is at a distance, use aimed fire. If the enemy is upon you; use the devastation of automatic fire. It is how war has been waged since the first assault rifle was ever made by human hands. This is how the morning will continue for one and a half hours; we shoot from stances of standing and kneeling. From hip, chest and shoulder; firing single rounds as well as short and long bursts, advanced cogitators keeping track of our scores and ammo spent. I have been issued twelve magazines of thirty training-rounds each for this mornings exercise; I intend to empty them all, for I know that in the heat of battle if my aim is true, the enemies of mankind will fall before me and I will walk over them to engage their comrades. Thus shielding mankind with every step I take further.

0700 Battle Practice

Clad in my full suit of Mark VII Codex Power Armor I stand ready, Brother Laenith before me, both of us armed with our standard issue Combat Knives.

“Begin!” the Drill Sergeant calls out with his commanding voice over the vox.

The company is situated in the Close Combat Facility of the Fortress Monastery, and we now test our reflexes to the fullest in combat without the trusted Boltgun. The company divided into pairs, each pair assigned its own circle of exercise, each circle sixteen feet in width. In this space are we allowed to move, in this space are we allowed to act; two men in full suit of armor poised to deal punishment on a brethren in order to further each mans own skill for the time when a real foe would present itself in a warzone on some distant world. As we move and strike, we do so with lethal precision, aiming for the weak-spots of any armor; the links between the upper and lower arm, between thigh and chins, between shoulder and neck, torso and hip, the ever open gap of the armpit. These spots are always the weakest no matter the armor; be it orkoid, Eldar, Tau, or even Tyranid.

As trained, I parry using my free arm; relying on my Power Armor to deflect the incoming blow as I myself direct my own blade at my brother. Experienced as he is, Laenith blocks my attack and pushes me away to allow him another strike. Using my free arm I move his incoming blow to the side and lash out with my own blade; my Combat Knife strikes armor and Laenith places his elbow across my face. Had it now been for my helmet, I would have required surgery, with such force is the elbow thrust at me. As I stagger, my Battle Brother comes at me, his blade aimed at my weak link that is the neck; I react and grab his arm, using his momentum as I twist my own torso and propel him to the hard concrete floor. Laenith rolls expertly and ends up on his knees; lashing with his blade in a wide arch to force me, as the enemy, to keep distance and allow him the second he needs to regain his footing.

I attack, three strikes with my blade in the classic Guilliman pattern opens up Laenith’s defenses as it was designed to do; allowing me to place a strike with my free fist, hitting my Brother across the face of his helm. As Laenith takes the step back to keep him from falling, I place a straight kick to his gut; sending my Brother acting enemy to the ground. Laenith reacts out of instinct, knowing full well how to move in the fall to allow him to roll off his Model 37 Backpack Power Unit to come around on his knees and regain his posture once more. As I go at him again, Laenith deflects my attack, my blade passing by him, his elbow once more connecting with the front of my helmet. As I step back from the hit, his blade swings right to left, slicing the exposed black and rubbery Gavlar Skin that seals the breaches of my armors links and joints; drawing blood from my throat as his Combat Knife hits the small gap between my helm and the piece of armor protecting my chest.

I fall, landing on my power-pack; rolling I come up on my knees. Quickly I stand, parry his next attack with my arm, kick him over the knee; he goes down. I lash out with my Combat Knife, drawing blood in the joint between bicep and forearm; Laenith responds in turn with taking a quick step towards me as he stands once more, placing his left shoulder-plate into my chest. The force of impact sends me to the ground, the tackle itself would have been enough to have crushed the ribcage of any ordinary human; indeed, it would have bruised my own, maybe even broken a rib or two, had I not worn my sacred Power Armor.

Thus the morning will continue for five hours; never ending practices using deadly force. How else will we be prepared for the hardships of battle if not properly exploring the dire nature of war itself. Medical aid is only allowed if once life is in danger, or when the exercise is over. The Apothecaries can not treat us as we please on the battlefield; on the battlefield we must endure our wounds and keep on fighting no matter the cost. Such is our creed, such is our duty. We will go on where mankind can not, without relent keep up the charge or stand our ground; or should it be required of us, die in the attempt.

Where men fail, we triumph. Where men dare not walk, there we conduct our campaigns. Where men will perish, there we will prevail.

This is how we prepare, this is how we fight; Our exercises are battles without victory, our battles are exercises without defeat. My service is such, my duty and my life combined in the one word…


1200 Midday Prayer

At this time, the once seriously injured during our violent studies of the art of war are taken to the Apothecarion for treatment. Seven Brethren in total; I understand that Brother Augusts of third platoon may not survive his wounds gathered.

Once more has the company gathered in the great Company Hall, all brethren ever clad in their divine Power Armor, handed down to our predecessors over millennia to finally honor us with its care and protection. We all kneel, left knee against cobbled floor, right arm leaning across right knee, left hand resting upon right arm. Our helms hanging from our Ypsilon Pattern Combat Utility-belts, our sharp eyes fixed upon the robed man by the podium; his garbs black as space itself. Around his waist a crimson loincloth. Chest hidden beneath carapace in the shape of the winged skull. The Rosarius hanging from his hip, the Crozius Arcanum held in his right hand. Reclusiarch Laverium, Chaplain of the company, moves his stern eyes over the gathered; I swear he looks straight at me, if only for the briefest of moments. His presence is astounding, not even our captain, positioned at the fore of our great assembly, could match the persona that is the Chaplain.

“Brother Augustus may join the Emperor this day” the Chaplain began, we all listen well, one of our own may die soon.

Laverium moves his gaze across the gathered company, his eyes piercing our very armor to strike awe into our souls. “A tragedy, aye. But who here can deny his zeal. His devotion. His service. His duty. Who here can deny the records of our honored company, stating his glorious achievements on the fields of battle. Who here can deny this man his glory. Consider this, and always remember, only in death does duty end.”

We all are filled with pride, a pride from the knowledge that we all have served next to such a flawless example of what our life should be. Our chests swell with pride and our minds fill with hope. A hope that we might one day be remembered as following the example of Brother Augustus; To die having lived a life of honor and unquestioned loyalty to the company, the Chapter, to mankind and to the Emperor.

“Consider this my Brethren of the Everlasting Holy War.” The Chaplain is our icon, our guiding light, the very essence of what we all strive to become. “As our bodies are armored in adamantium, our souls are protected with loyalty. As our Boltguns are charged with death for the Emperors’ enemies, our thoughts are charged with wisdom. As our ranks advance, so does our devotion, for are we not Astartes? Are we not the chosen of the Emperor, His loyal servants unto death?”

None of us move, we simply listen, our eyes fixed on the holy warrior and blessed figure standing by the podium, banners centuries old displayed behind him.

“Consider the Predator. Let your soul be armored with Faith, driven on the tracks of obedience which overcomes all obstacles, and armed with the three great guns of zeal, duty and purity.”

We listen, we contemplate, we understand. In war and only in war can we prove out worth. All else is time wasted, every breath our enemies take is an affront to mankind itself. This I believe with the entire spirit of my being.

“Be fierce, yet sombre. Be courageous, yet wise. Be dutiful, pious and stern.”

Who could deny such truth?

“Carry the Emperors’ will as a torch and always keep in mind that for a warrior, the only crime is cowardice. Life is a prison and death is a release. Contemplate on this as you consider these words; Faith without deeds is worthless, and deeds without sacrifice a waste.”

I know that my death awaits in battle; Oh how glorious an end I will meet, to die in the purpose of the Emperor. Upholding the good name of my Chapter, the honor of my Company; Proving my worth as I surrender my own life in the name of the Emperor Himself.

As it is said; The lot of courage is to be sacrificed on the altar of battle.

“The enemies of the Emperor fear many things” the Reclusiarch continues, his voice echoing through the cavernous expansion of the Company Hall.

In contrast, a company of close to a hundred men kneel in total silence; Not a cough, not a single breath heard. With reverence we respect the sermon and with pious dignity behold our spiritual guide.

“They fear discovery, defeat, despair and death” Laverium announces with absolute conviction. “Yet there is one thing they fear above all others… They Fear the Wrath of the Adeptus Astartes!”

1300 Midday Meal

On our way to begin the daily Tactical Indoctrination, the company – platoon after platoon, squad after squad, brethren after brethren – in two columns and in strict fashion, pass the serfs of our Chapter at the Sustenance Depot to receive our first meal of the day. The human servants hands out a small package to each and every one of us, we all receive the same kind, no matter it be our captain or our youngest brother. The package contains the synthetic nutrients that is our standard Field Ration, a single piece of rectangular piece of bread and a small bottle of fluid; the bread no larger than a mans palm, the bottle holding no more than a third of a liter. In the field, we survive on one such package a day, in times of need on one such package a week, in times hardship on one such package a month. In times when put to the test, we survive without it.

As far as our duty concerns, we more often than not operate in times of need and hardship, and do so without complaint. And we are gladly put to the test, embracing this challenge as a test of our devotion to do the Emperors service. Who can stand before us and not tremble at this knowledge?

As we move on towards the auditorium we eat and drink; the meal would have upset any ordinary humans stomach and digestive system, causing vomiting and permanent damage to the innards. The chemicals I and my brethren need to survive lethal to ordinary men. A reflection of our life; to survive where others can not.

1315 Tactical Indoctrination

We all sit in a chair each, tubes connected to our bodies, sensors to our chests. Over our heads we wear a metallic ring, electron-spikes securing it in place, pressing against the skull all around; cords and cables connecting the device to cogitators. I am put in a state of hibernation through chemical dosage, I fall into slumber, yet my mind is ever sharp and ready. Hypnotherapy and psycho-conditioning is used to make each Battle Brother rapidly assimilate the Chapters tactical doctrines; forcing knowledge upon my mind that I will depend and rely upon once back on the field of battle. We all receive the same conditioning, we all have to operate in the same fashion, understand the same commands.

The doctrines of my Chapter; A Brethren Squad shall always strive to act in its two Battle Squads, one Battle Squad firing while the other moves, allowing movement and firepower to merge in a fluent advance upon the enemy. As the platoon advances, it does so in V formation, two squads in front with one trailing. When enemy contact is established, the two front squads can pin the enemy down with suppressive fire while the third trailing squad can move around and flank the enemy, going in for the kill. Or, should the enemy try and swarm the first two squads, the third can move up to reinforce or to catch the enemy flanking move. As the company advances, never do so without the support of orbital bombardment or planet-side artillery; always pound the enemy before engaging them, after all, a shell-shocked foe is an easy kill. Strike swift and strike hard, we do not allow ourselves to be bogged down, our Predators secures our relentless advance.

Tactics must be simple.

In the confusion of battle, complexity will spell certain doom. A simple command will be easily obeyed and carried out. A simple plan will be easily understood and seen through. One unit pounds the enemy, one units moves; it is how we fight. It is how we win. The Predators and Whirlwinds shakes the very foundations of our foes moral, while the Rhino, the Razorback and the Landspeeder rush in from the flank to deliver the killing blow. Who in their right mind can not see the truth in such simple, yet deadly, ways?

It is how wars have been fought for millennia.

We learn of the various xenos and their filthy weaponry and their devious tactics; the onslaught of the orkoid, the sinister ambushes of the Tau, the devastating shock-attacks of the Eldar, the silent approach of the Necron. Strength and weakness, pride and sin; all aspects of our foe is forced upon our consciousness to prepare us for the day we confront them once more on the field of battle. As much as I and my brethren hate them, we never underestimate them, never take them for fools, never view them with a mocking smile. We despise them, disgusted by them, we frown at their very existence. But lessons learned in the past keeps memory alive. How many untold thousands of Brethren have not died in the struggle against the xenos of the galaxy?

No. We never underestimate our foe. That is not our purpose. We only live to destroy them. We were born to end their lives.

And so our Tactical Indoctrination continues in silence, the only sound heard is the hum of cogitators and electrical apparatus at work; feeding our minds with the knowledge required to perform our duty towards Emperor and mankind.

1500 Battle Practice

The Razorback rocks as we advance at a speed of seventy kilometers per hour over the rough terrain; the echoes of battle are clearly heard through the thick armor and over the sound of engines rumbling. Our own turret roars as both its Heavy Boltguns continue to lay down suppressive fire as we advance with the platoon.

“Thirty Seconds!” the crew-chief announces over the squads own vox-span.

Thirty seconds until we are to dismount. The turret fires without end, howling like a mad god of war; the gunner moving the twin-linked weapons to keep them aimed at our objective. The squad prepares; there are six of us, our sergeant and five brethren. Four Boltguns, one Heavy Bolter and a Meltagun is what we bring into battle.

“Enemy Eleven O’Clock, Cover Left!” the crew-chief reports as the the Razorback brakes, the tracks stopping dead, the war-machine sliding to a halt, skidding across the surface.

“Go Go Go!!” our sergeant roars and he kicks open the rear access-point.

We dismount, sergeant first, Corporal Terik second, Laenith and his Meltagun third, I’m forth, Brother Gustor fifth with his Heavy Bolter and Brother Doorien last. As we leave, the crew-chief of the Razorback closes the access-point by remote with the use of his controls. Tracer-rounds fill the air, detonating Bolter-rounds rips the forest apart, plasma-fire scorches the landscape; First and Third Platoon pounding the enemy position with as much fire as possible while making a slow advance.

We head for the cover promised by the crew-chief; a minor ridge in the the landscape offering not only protection for us, but also allowing our Razorback to remain hull down, its turret firing over our heads as we advance slightly crouched. The ground shakes and leaves are ripped from the crowns of trees as the blasts of the Whirlwinds delivered cargo strike the objective in quick succession. The sergeant reaches the ridge first and kneels, we spread out on either side of him as our doctrine demands. The rest of our platoon moves in for deployment at One O’Clock and deploys in turn; Second Platoon of the Third Company form up before my eyes, and in ten seconds we are in battle ready positions.

All sergeants report to the crew-chief of Second Squad, the acting Lieutenant and Platoon Commander. The short order is transmitted over the platoon frequency. “Attack!”

As we move, the lieutenant reports to the captain; the flanking assault is under way. We crest the ridge, advancing with great strides through the sparse undergrowth of the woods; Squad One and Three rush forth as we of Squad Two, along with our vehicles, settle and cover the charge. After twenty feet does Squad One and Three halter, they kneel and open fire with thier own weapons; a cacophony of war indescribable to those who has not experienced the mighty roar of the Boltgun. As they open fire, we of Second Squad – along with the Razorbacks that brought us – move up to link with them, and for a short second the entire platoon mass its firepower against the enemy before First and Third Squad advance once more.

A squadron of Landspeeders swoosh down from above, leveling out just above the treetops, unleashing in their dive the devastation of their Assault Cannons. In the blink of an eye obscuring the enemy-held bunker and trenches behind rapidly expanding plumes of dirt; like a thousand geysers of mud and dust and flame and smoke erupting within the space of a second, muffled explosions flashing in the midst of the fog of dirt.

We throw our fragmentation grenades as we close in on the trenches, nine in total thrown by the platoon; as they detonate, great cascades of mud and soil is tossed several feet into the air, well above the highest branches of the forest. Squad One and Three mass a tremendous volley of fire towards the enemy position. Backed up by our Razorbacks, Squad Two rushes forward; I and Doorien leap down into the trenches first, Boltguns firing on Full Auto as we dive in, landing squatted. Behind us the rest of the squad follows. Me and Doorien throw a Frag each down either pathway of the trench to clear it of possible threats; the squad quickly takes up a defensive position and our sergeant is quick to report that an Entry Point has been established. We move on as Squad One rushes forth to dive into the trenches with us.

In this manner is war waged, in this manner do we Astartes strike fear into the hearts of our enemies. Without warning we launch our attacks, without rest we keep up the charge, without remorse do we slay our foes, without regret do we march on.

2000 Evening Prayer

The company is gathered out on the muddy fields beyond our sacred Fortress Monastery. Behind us, smoke slowly rises from where we have conducted our drills and exercises; in the distance the rumbling engines of another company can be heard as they prepare for their own sermon. The vehicles of our company are arranged in crescent formation; Razorbacks, Predators, Attackbikes, Landspeeders and Whirlwinds. The brethren gathered within its curved shape. We all stand as we face a small elevation, no more than ten feet in height; upon it stands our captain, his command squad standing halfway up the slope.

I am inspired by the sight of him; so regal, so stern, so flawless. A slight wind barely able to tug at his crimson cloak bearing the Chapter heraldry in gold, his Artificer Armor more like a piece of art rather than the extremely efficient piece of protective gear it in truth is. He rests with one gauntlet against his Tyr Pattern Power Sword, the other leaning against his Storm Bolter hanging from his belt in its strap. He eyes us, each platoon, each squad and then he slowly nods, his face like stone. To think he once began as I, a mere human once. Now look upon him; five centuries of age, five centuries of enduring constant warfare, five centuries of service and duty. Could I one day stand on that mound and look upon my own company of brethren one day? They say that glory is only found by those who do not seek it, so I ignore my impure thoughts of greed and instead turn my full attention to my commander as he addresses us, his fighting men.

“Brothers!” The voice of a warlord. “The day is almost over and we have performed well; the company as a whole has scored above average.”

We cheer, releasing a single sharp howl of success, raising our fists into the air above our heads; we are warriors and great prowess in our arts is our aim.

The captains stone face never changes, his cold eyes locked upon us as we settle once more. As we fall silent, he speaks yet again. “Tonight, during Free Time, I suggest you all treasure the four days we have spent here on our homeworld, for tomorrow at dawn we depart to engage the hated Tyranids.”

We answer as one, fists raised anew. “For The Emperor!!”

So tomorrow we ship out again, after only having spent four days on our homeworld. Thank the Emperor Eternal for sending us against His enemies so quickly; I long to kill an actual foe rather than the imaginary images displayed by cogitators and holographic projectors.

At last… Back to war.

Chaplain Levarium steppes up on the hill and our captain withdraws to his retinue. The Reclusiarch is no longer dressed in his robes; now he is clad in his pitch black Power Armor and skull-like helm, that gruesome badge of his office. As he holds out his free hand, we all kneel and await his words of spiritual guidance.

“What can be said?” he began with his heroes voice, the man an icon of the very essence of the Adeptus Astartes. “On the morrow we depart yet again for war. Yet again we set our course for conflict. Yet again we seek out bloodshed. But do we fear, brethren? How could we fear, brothers in arms? How could we fear when We are Fear Incarnate!”

Yes. I fear no foe, I fear no fate, I fear not death.

The chaplain speaks through his skull-helm again, his voice reaching into our hearts and souls like a beam of light cutting through the void of space. “Remember the words of our founding Grand Master as he led the charge against the orkoid horde at Trafalgior; I would rather Die this Day than Live Tomorrow! Follow his example in this coming campaign and we shall overcome the vile xeno-threat that plagues the citizens of this here Empire, and prove yourselves yet again as you face our enemies, that you are indeed worthy of your name and rank, Battle Brothers. Truly, only in war does a man earn his right to live.”

We all would gladly die in our service, because for every one of us that falls, a hundred enemies will have perished. No-one can stand against us. I know this. Our victory is as unavoidable as the Emperors Wrath upon those that would oppose Him.

“Consider the Boltgun and its use.” The sermon continues, words of wisdom handed down over generations now bestowed upon us. The knowledge of heroes and warriors passed, now given to us humble clerics of the Devine Cause and the Sacred Conflict. “Is not the Boltgun to be viewed as a Cruiser?” the chaplain continues. “As it fires, we embark on our planetary assault. Its howl of war the roar of our Thunderhawks. The Armor Piercing tip of the Bolt ensures that we Astartes penetrate deep behind enemy defenses and gets to vital and strategical objectives. The explosive detonation that follows is the assault and onslaught itself, committed in full by our Brethren, bursting organs and ripping flesh, the Brothers devastating any target and eradicating all resistance. As the Bolt is the messenger of our wrath, we are the deliverers of the Emperors Will. Find solace then in knowing that the Emperor is guiding our hands, guiding our aim, guiding the Bolt, guiding the Chapter. With the Emperor to guide us, the enemies of mankind know full well that they are but hours away from fear, moments of terror and instant death.”

We are the Bolt unleashed by the Emperors Boltgun, it is His purpose and His aim that guides our actions. Oh the glory of this knowledge; to act without hesitation or fear. To act without sin. To act without remorse. To wage war and know in my heart that it is for a righteous and divine cause, and knowing that no shadow shall fall upon my honor as I engage any and all enemies to stand in my way.

“Brothers, let us pray.”

Like a drum of war the Company recites the ancient scriptures; heads lowered, all kneeling, speaking with strong voices. The voices of warriors and holy men; the voice of war itself.

“Suffer not the Xeno. Suffer not the Mutant. Suffer not the Traitor. Suffer not the Heretic. Suffer not the Coward. Suffer not the Enemies of The Emperor. Let the galaxy be purged of the blood of the unworthy. Let it be cleansed by the wrath of our righteous cause. Let it be purified by the litanies of the Emperor. Let it prosper at the mercy of Mankind.”

Shiver. I shiver as I finish the litany. As we all open our eyes to once more behold the chaplain on the mound, I am filled with a pride that can not be described by poet or minstrel.

It is a pride born out of knowledge. A knowledge of what I am. What I can do. What I have done. What I will do. A knowledge that I am not alone. I belong to a squad. To a platoon. To a company. To a Chapter. I belong to the Adetus Astartes.

How could anyone possibly imagine such a pride? It is beyond human comprehension, for I am human no longer. I am its sentinel, its custodian, its guardian, its keeper. Me and my brethren; Defenders and Champions of Mankind.

The chaplain continues anew, his words now filled with pride and zeal; filled with a power only a true hero of the Imperium could muster as he recites the Warriors Creed of our Chapter, and we lower our heads in reverence.

“We are not the Aloof Ultramarines, nor the Deviant Blood Angels or the Heretic Space Wolves. We are not the ever crusading Black Templars or the entrenched Imperial Fists. We rely not only on swift swords like the Raven Guard or the pure devastation of the Salamanders. The Codex Astartes mires us nought with hours of decisions on how to best solve a battle. We wage war in its rawest form, relying on the glorious charge of our righteous Battle Brothers – and their chariots of divine destruction and holy retribution – to bring unforgiving death upon our hated foes before the enemy has time to react to our presence. By our Sacred Pledge we stand unwavering, to defend the Immortal Emperor Almighty and His Empire-Eternal; for we are The Emperors Loyals and We Never Falter in Battle!”

Our heads ever lowered, we reply as one; like a drum of war our voices sound, fueled by the spirit of our ancestors we commit ourselves fully to our righteous cause. “Ave Imperator!”

Reclusiarch Levarium reaches out towards us with his Crozius Arcanum, displaying it like a holy icon to ward us from all ill fates that may await our company. Filled with an eagerness to join battle he finally speaks. “In Hoc Signo Vinces!”

On the morrow we depart on our crusade.

2100 Evening Meal

In the field we sit, squad by squad, dusk slowly settling over the landscape. The company eats, a fine meal of two medium done steaks and a large portion of protein rich porridge, full of mushy lumps containing vitamins. We are served and treated by the serfs of the Chapter. We are awarded beverage, strong alcohol that burns the throat as I swallow; the brew a traditional one ever since the third ever Grand Master of our Chapter was offered it by an Imperial Fist Captain in a toast to our Chapters heroism and unwavering duty. We all sit and talk idly, about the days events, about how to improve our craft, about the coming campaign against the Tyranid Swarm. We sit as brothers and talk like brothers, listening with respect to the words of our sergeant the way a child would listen to his father. All of us are eager to once more depart for war and bloodshed, all of us eager to join battle with our hated foes once more; to end the light in their eyes, to end the beating of their hearts hidden within their chests, to end their very existence in this Universe. We all aim to offer them but one fate; utter and total extermination.

All in all it is a trivial event, Evening Meal, but one I hold dear non the less, for in this short moment of respite from combat and endurance, I get a sense of belonging. I am no longer Death Incarnate; I am a humble pious brother of the bloodstained cloth enjoying the company of my devout brethren of the holy war. We toast, giving prayers that we all may serve the Empire without flaw and put to death the enemies of Mankind’s righteous cause. This simple toast is what unites us, the men of our squad, my brothers in arms; we few, we precious few. We who stand between mankind and its destruction, we band of brothers who gladly go into the fray, we who gladly charge into the breach once more; we who would call ourselves Adeptus Astartes.

We who will Conquer or Die at our Station. We, the pinnacle of mankind, who shields her frail form from the terrors of an unforgiving Universe. We who know but one word; War.

Some say this to be the dire and tragic truth of the Adeptus Astartes. That we have no life of our own, our sole purpose to fight and die for the Emperor, the Empire and for mankind. But they do not understand. How could they? Those to utter such words are only human after all.

War is our Life and Death is our Craft, Loyalty our Love and Faith our Desire. There is no middle-ground, no gray area. We live to kill.

2130 Night Fighting Exercise

We once more practice our combat and battle skills as a company; brother working with brother, squad working with squad, platoon with platoon. The shades of the evening casting long shadows over the terrain, a fog of smoke covering the land; an added effect put in use by our Drill Sergeant, the Master of the Exercise, to bring us more of a challenge. The more difficult the training, the easier actual operations will be. The shadows are chased away with each detonation, ground lit up as lascannons and plasmaguns fire. Flashing orange light vanquishes dusk as Heavy Bolters roar with deafening fury. It is an incredible sight; the myriad of racing lights, thousands of tracer-rounds, hundreds of plasmabolts, the instant and brief beams of concentrated laser energy, the pulsing muzzle-flashes of our Boltguns and their heavier cousins, the blinding detonations of Frag missiles and grenades. Come day or night, it matters not, we will conduct our craft as expected of us with no force of nature to bar our way.

2315 Maintenance Rituals

Damaged wargear is offered to the transports of the Forge, so they may be repaired by the Machine Cult and their kind. Minor damage is repaired by ourselves. We are joined in the field during this time by Tech-Marines overlooking our efforts as we honor and seek understanding of the Machine Spirit of our Armor and Power Pack; keeping watch so that we pay heed to the sacred workings of our Boltguns and anoint the various parts of our weaponry with the utmost care with the holy oils of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

As we kill our enemies by understanding them, we also kill our enemies by understanding our own wargear and equipment. It is all part of the Knowledge of War and Conflict; knowledge is power, information a weapon, intelligence a shield. To master this is to master yourself, master the ground and the field, master the enemy. By being one with the wargear I use and understand the workings of the Machine Spirit, I can merge it with the necessities of battle, with the reality of combat and thus forging both disciplines into the flesh that I am.

This is what the mysterious Tech-Marines brings to our Chapter from the legendary tombs of Mars. Understanding. Knowledge. Respect. Death. Destruction. Glory.

We all honor our battle-gear as much as we treasure our duty and in our minds they are the same; a perfect union that promises the demise of the Emperors enemies.

2345 Free Time

We all now kneel by our beds, the squad once more returned to our appointed barracks within the confines of the Chapters Fortress Monastery. Having abandoned all attire of war we now only wear the dark green underwear of standard issue of the Adeptus Astartes; our muscular bodies and the numerous scars upon them naked to the light of the illuminators. I rest my elbows against the sheets, hands interlinked with fingers woven, my brow resting against them, my mind in contemplation. My brothers join me by their own beds, following the ancient words of Roboute Guilliman himself; Consider the magnitude of your duty at your leisure, but act without hesitation when action is required. So we now honor his ancient wisdom by considering our duty, our creed, our efforts and our devotion. Come morning we will depart for war yet again and once more face the enemies of mankind; demanding of us to act in a way to honor our Chapter, honor our brethren killed, to honor the Emperor that spawned us and gave us life.

A life beyond what any human could ever become. A life without weakness, without flaw, greed, frailty. Without sin, lust, deception. Without heresy or betrayal. A life without the characteristic signs of humanity. A life protecting mankind from herself, upholding the law of the Empire, enforcing the rule of the Emperor.

To think I was once like them, weak and unworthy; human. Now look at me; Strong, proud and devout. Loyal and true. Fearless and unwavering. Brave and righteous. A life of honor rather than a life of misery.

I barely remember the boy I once was or the man I used to be, but I remember my oath, the bond of my sacred pledge and the creed by which I live.

In Aeternum Semper Fideles.

I am… Astartes.

0000 Rest Period Begins

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Re: I Am Astartes ( short )

Postby exitus_10 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:07 am

That was a good read, but I hate to say this, seems pretty standard spess mehreen, very eventfully uneventful. You have good writing skill man, dont waste it on another SM flick, I reckon you should try bounty hunter or ex-guard because you like action hero tough guys plus you can write politics pretty well, like in Adeptus, and inquisitors like in the Scour, I say join them together, make a brand new adventure instead of just another SM!
I have not returned! Be afraid or something.
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Re: I Am Astartes ( short )

Postby LIRR » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:14 pm

This was standard Marine???? haha people usually say this is far from your standard marine plot :lol: :D

But that aside, cheers and thanks for the praise! :)
I actually have a wide range of stories, such as Chronicles of an Ork, Adeptus as you pointed out, Fringe World, Arcane Dominion ( waaaay back on the old old BL forum ). Fringe World is around here somewhere if you feel interested in having a look.

I'll see what I can dig up out of the old archives ;)

Once again, cheers for reading and takin time to comment :mrgreen:

I almost forgot, Where Laurels Grow might interest you aswell
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