A Man and His Warp Presence

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

A Man and His Warp Presence

Postby fallen inquistor » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:38 am

This is gonna be a good long one...

Hellfire in Paradise Pt. 1

It was at the ambush at Sunlit Gorge that my life would be shattered forever; but looking back now I realize that it was the Blinding Plains skirmish two weeks before that my troubles really began. That was when my best buddy, Crenshaw, got disemboweled by a psychotic cultist wielding an ax.

It was our first real engagement after making it planetside on Alscitor II. Now that’s what you call bad luck. We were green then, but not conscript green, rushed out to the frontlines as cannon fodder after barely being taught how to fire a lasgun. We’d been through basic training. Basic training doesn’t really prepare you for the real carnage of battle though, ya know? I mean, we were confident; thought we were pretty tough, for a bunch of farm boys from an agri-world anyway. Everyone was bragging about how many traitors they were going to bag, how many notches they were going to get on their lasgun. It was an old game back home, and now we were just moving the game to a new planet, shooting cultists instead of varmints. I have to laugh at how cocky everyone was back then. Having seen what I’ve seen now… well I’ll get to that.

I can’t speak for the others, but Alscitor wasn’t at all like what I thought it would be. I guess I should’ve seen it coming really, I mean it was a pleasure world before the war broke out. It’s just that, when you think of war torn battle fronts, you don’t really think of dazzling blue oceans and lush tropics with palm trees and white sands stretching as far as the eye can see. Sure, there were some big ol’ craters blasted in the landscape here and there, and most of the cities had been demolished, but the rest of the planet was still downright pleasant. The atmosphere was just thick enough to keep things at that nice, tropical temperature across the entire world while not so thick as to block out the bright, golden sunlight.

“Whoa, toasty,” I said, as we stepped off the troop transport. The sunlight was blinding after so much time in a dimly lit carrier, and the ocean along the coastline several miles away was clearly visible, glinting and gleaming like a thousand precious gems.

“I’ll say,” Crenshaw said, stepping out next to me. He grinned that big, goofy, lopsided grin of his. “If I’d known the Guard was gonna be like this, I’d have signed up a long time ago. It’s like a ritzy, high class vacation!”

“I could really go for a swim,” I said, gazing longingly at the distant beach. I’d always loved swimming, and this looked way more inviting than any water hole back home.

“Well I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna lighten up a little,” said Crenshaw, opening up his flak jacket and stripping down to his undershirt.

I understood the sentiment. In that heat, I was already starting to sweat in that heavy uniform. But I have a lot more sense than Crenshaw, so I quickly smacked him upside the head.

“Put your uniform back on!” I hissed, “If Delgado sees…”

Crenshaw smacked me back, a good deal harder. He was a full had taller than me, as well as being bigger and bulkier. I’m pretty sure he could’ve taken me easily in a fight. Back home, he was kind of a local hero, the small town boy who was going to make good someday and come back to share his fortune with everyone. Meanwhile, I could charitably be described as a nobody; a quiet, awkward, average looking boy who was lucky to have such a talented and accomplished friend. It’s funny how life turns out.

“Knock it off and grow a pair, Tesch!” Crenshaw snapped, irritably. “Why would Delgado even care? Baking alive in our combat gear won’t help us fight any better, heheheh…”

“By all means Private, continue to enlighten us on military strategy and what I do and do not care about,” A sharp, harsh voice rang out from behind us, causing Crenshaw’s laugh to die in his throat.

Bracing myself, I slowly turned around. The gnarled, scarred face of Commissar Delgado stared back at us, munching on the nub of a cigar, a small smirk on his lips. I’m still not sure how he got behind us like that. You’d think the long greatcoat and peaked commissar cap would make him hard to miss, but somehow he always seemed to appear out of nowhere. Delgado’s movements were fast, but strangely casual as he drew his shock maul and smashed Crenshaw across the face with it. I guess he’d done that a lot in his career. Fortunately for Crenshaw, the maul was on a low, nonlethal setting. After the first blow smashed his nose and caused him to double over, Delgado struck him again in the stomach, and again on the back of the head. Poor Crenshaw collapsed in a heap.

“Get up, put your jacket on, and stand at attention like a proper soldier, Private,” Delgado said, spitting contemptuously on Crenshaw afterwards. Crenshaw stumbled to his feet, and struggled to obey, still dazed and bleeding heavily from his mouth and nose. Delgado turned to the rest of the soldiers who had been milling around and filling out of the transport. The ones who weren’t still in the process of disembarking snapped to attention.

“Now,” said Delgado, plucking the cigar stub out of his mouth and folding his arms in front of him, “Some of you seem to think that we’re on holiday here. Consider this a rude awakening. You’re going to find out just how bad the fighting is real quick. Discipline will be maintained. Regulations will be followed. And the next time someone thinks of acting out of line…,” he pointed at Crenshaw, who was halfway through buttoning his uniform. Crenshaw snapped to attention, blood streaming down his face.

“…you’ll only wish I’ll do to you what I just did to that moron,” Delgado finished. “Colonel Burns will brief you on our deployment at seven hundred hours. We deploy at eight hundred hours. Be ready. PRAISE TO THE EMPEROR!”

“PRAISE TO THE EMPEROR! PRAISE TO THE EMPEROR! PRAISE TO THE EMPEROR!” the guardsmen roared, raising their fists in unison.

“FALL OUT!” shouted Delgado, and the other guardsman immediately began scrambling around, checking to make sure everything was organized in the brief amount of time they’d been given. “You two!” Delgado said, turning to Crenshaw and me again. We both snapped to attention once more. “What are your names?”

“Private Joshua Crenshaw, Sir!” Crenshaw gasped.

“Private Mosiah Tesch, Sir!” I stammered. To be perfectly honest, Commissar Delgado had always scared the frak out of me.

“In the same platoon?” he asked, eyeing our platoon markings.

“That’s right Sir!” I said uneasily.

Delgado nodded and smirked once more, putting the cigarette stub back in his mouth. “Your platoon will be running vanguard. Wherever we go, you’ll be the first ones in. Maybe some real combat experience will teach you a bit of respect.”

What did I do?, I wondered as Delgado walked away. I could feel the glares of our other platoon members on my back. First in meant taking the most casualties, casualties that our other platoon mates would now consider Crenshaw and me personally responsible for.

“Oh yeah, now I remember why I didn’t sign up sooner,” Crenshaw muttered angrily, trying to wipe some of the blood off his face with his hand.

I should have told him to shut up. I should have told him that he was an idiot and this was all his fault. Instead I just muttered back, “Well, I tried to warn you...”

I’m just not that good with confrontation. Great quality to have, huh? Then again, I’m still alive, more or less, so make of that what you will.
Last edited by fallen inquistor on Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Man and His Warp Presence

Postby fallen inquistor » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:59 am

Hellfire in Paradise Pt. 2

The Blinding Plains were pretty accurately named. Pure white sand dunes stretched for several miles, reflecting the brilliant sunlight and making it frak near impossible to see. We had to sweep a thirty mile area that was filled with enemy guerrillas. We weren’t expecting an attack until we got past the plains. Where would the enemy even strike from? There was nowhere to hide. So we said our prayers to the God Emperor and moved out, our platoon in the lead, just as Delgado had said we’d be. The weather was as balmy as ever, and we were all starting to sweat as we began to hoof it across the plains. The sand constantly shifted beneath our feet, walking an effort. Many guardsmen stumbled as they waded through.

We’d made it about halfway across the plains, when the sand at our feet came alive. Our reaction time would’ve been better if it hadn’t been for the frakking sun in our eyes. As it was, we wasted precious moments blinking and trying to focus on what was happening around us. One of the guys in the platoon actually shot another in the knee with his lasgun as he started firing blindly. Crenshaw pulled back his fist and decked him before he could hit anyone else. Half the guys dived to the ground thinking we were under fire. What had actually happened was much worse. The cultists had buried themselves in the sand and waited until we walked right into the middle of ‘em to attack. Of course we didn’t see it coming. Who would bury themselves in the burning sand for what must’ve been several hours just waiting for us to come up to them? Who would even be able to fight after that? No one normal, for sure, but we weren’t fighting anyone normal. We were fighting a bunch of freaks.

Take the one guy I managed to focus on during those first few moments of chaos. He was a big, burly brute, covered in tattoos that I didn’t understand at the time and almost completely naked. Also, he had three arms. Each arm held a heavy piece of chain that he was whipping furiously against the bloodied, downed form of a guardsman. I lined up my lasgun and took a shot. I’m not a sharpshooter, by any means, but at that range it wasn’t too tricky to hit. The lasbolt pierced the back of the cultist’s skull. He collapsed like a sack of bricks.

It was hard to focus after that. Guns were blazing left and right, everyone was screaming, and the bright light still dazzled my eyes. Something zipped passed me with a loud cracking noise and I felt blood trickling down the side of my head. I realized that a bullet had taken a piece out of my ear.

It was at that moment that I turned to Crenshaw and saw the axe bury itself in his gut. A filthy cultist with long, matted hair and sunken, bloodshot eyes wrenched the axe free and raised it high to cut off Crenshaw’s head. I charged in and jammed my bayonet into the cultist’s neck. He moved to swing the axe around in an arc at me, but I twisted my gun muzzle up and pulled the trigger. Smoke and the smell of burnt flesh washed over me. I pulled my bayonet loose and the cultist fell. Crenshaw had dropped his weapon and fallen to his knees. He was trying in vain to keep his guts in his torso. I knelt down and grabbed him by the shoulders as he started to slump over.

“Hang in there, buddy! You’re gonna be okay!” I knew it was a complete lie even before the words left my mouth. It was such a lie it’s kind of comical, looking back. I don’t even know why I said it; maybe just cause it was what you’re supposed to say in that situation. Speaking of things ripped from a cheesy war movie, this would be the moment where Crenshaw would deliver some dramatic last words about how proud he was to die in the Emperor’s service and tell me to go kill every last heretical scum on the planet. It didn’t happen. Instead, he coughed up a whole lot of blood, his eyes rolled back in his head, and he went limp. That’s the difference between a holovid and reality.

It was at that moment that the first migraine hit me. There was this unbelievable, painful pounding in my skull. The sounds of combat around me grew faint for a moment, then came back into focus. Then they grew faint again. My vision started to swim. I lost my grip and fell backwards, felling something wet and heavy fall on top of me. I vaguely realized I was being slapped in the face and torso by various bits of Crenshaw, but my body felt too weak to do anything about it. A moment later, I didn’t even care. All I cared about was that horrible, throbbing pain inside my head. I just wanted it to stop. Then I heard the voice.

Embrace it, the voice said, in a low hiss that echoed through my mind.

Embrace WHAT?, I thought, too weak to speak out loud. Will it make the pain stop?

Embrace what you really are, the voice hissed back.

The Frak does that mean?, I thought. And then I slipped into merciful unconsciousness.
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Re: A Man and His Warp Presence

Postby fallen inquistor » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:27 am

Hellfire in Paradise Pt. 3

It’s a bit hazy now, but I still remember what I dreamed about. There was a long hallway that seemed to be made of multicolored fire. Standing in front of me, beckoning me forward was the ghostly figure of the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. She wore a long gown that seemed to be made entirely of different precious gems, and her pale, wavy hair fell in cascades down past her waste. She kept saying something to me, but I can’t remember for the life of me what it was. She kept urging me to go down that flaming hallway and I kept shaking my head. I felt comfortable there, more comfortable than I’ve ever felt in my life, but I wouldn’t go further down the hallway. Something was still holding me back. Then the woman shifted and changed form. Now it was Crenshaw, still bearing that massive wound I’d last seen him with, still covered in blood and trying to hold his guts in. He was begging, pleading with me to go down the hallway. Again, I refused. The ghostly figure shifted again. Now it was my father, who had died in an accident when I was little. He’d fallen from some farming equipment while working overtime at the demand of the local governor and broken his neck. Now he stood before me, his head hanging, his neck twisted at an unnatural angle. Again, he urged me to go down the hallway. Again I refused. In spite of the gruesome appearance of these phantoms, I still felt completely at ease. Finally, the figure changed back into the form of the woman. At this point, I can actually remember what she said to me.

Why go back?,” she whispered, looking incredibly sad, almost as though she were about to cry. “There’s nothing for you there. Only pain and suffering. You owe them nothing. Embrace it. Embrace what you are.

I don’t know why, but at that moment I laughed. It wasn’t a happy life. It was a bitter, cynical laugh of someone who has had a cruel joke played on them, but can still see the humor in it. I laughed so loudly that I woke myself up.

I woke up with my mouth feeling like it was full of sandpaper and a terrible stench hanging in the air around me, but at least my head felt slightly better. I still felt a weight on my chest and, remembering the unpleasantness of what had happened with Crenshaw, I pushed his mangled corps off of me and stood up before I even opened my eyes. I opened my eyes and caught my balance as the wave of dizziness from my blood rushing from my head washed over me. Several dozen mangled corpses, both friend and foe, surrounded me. They were starting to rot, which explained the horrible smell, although I’m sure I didn’t smell much better with most of my front stained with blood.

There were a mass of tracks leading away from the bodies, out across the plains to our original destination. It looked like the company had killed off the cultist attackers and moved on. At least I hoped the tracks belonged to the company, but I was pretty confident they did, since there weren’t nearly enough dead guardsmen here for the entire company to have gone down, and I was having trouble imaging our enemies marching in neat, rigid columns.

I reached towards my hip for my canteen to take a much needed drink, only to find that it was missing. I searched around the ground for my lasgun and found that missing too. Apparently, some soldiers had been doing a little looting. Fortunately they must have been in a rush, and hadn’t done a very thorough job. I found another lasgun that had been hidden out of sight under a dead guardsman. It was even mostly clean of blood, although the bayonet was snapped off. The penalty for a guardsman losing his gun was summary execution, and I wouldn’t have put it past Delgado to follow that rule to the letter, but I doubted he would bother to check each gun for a serial number. I couldn’t find an intact canteen. You win some, you lose some. That just left me with the worry that I would either die of thirst, or the commissar would shoot me for going AWOL as soon as I rejoined our troops. I figured my chances were a bit better with the rest of the Guard, so I slung the lasgun over my shoulder and started following the tracks left by our company.
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Re: A Man and His Warp Presence

Postby fallen inquistor » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:16 am

Awakening Pt. 1

It took all day and halfway through the night before I caught up with our company again. By then, I was pretty much spent. My lips were cracked and bleeding, my tongue was swollen and dry, and, joy of joys, that pounding ache had come back inside my head.

“Halt in the name of the Emperor!” one of the soldiers on watch bellowed, “Identify yourself!”

I made sure to raise my hands high above my head where they could be clearly seen. The last thing I wanted was for some jittery punk to blow my head off because he mistook a movement for me reaching for my lasgun. A pair of spotlights swiveled on me, blinding me for a moment and I heard about half a dozen men move forward, guns raised.

“Private Mosiah Tesch, reporting!” I shouted in reply, “It looks like in all the excitement I got knocked out and left behind, heheheh...”. The chuckle wasn’t really because I thought the situation was funny; it was meant to put the soldiers at ease. I’m not entirely sure if it worked or not. Either way, they sent to guys up to search me, temporarily confiscate my lasgun, and bring me to the commissar. I was hoping that I’d be brought to Colonel Burns or another officer instead, but apparently the colonel didn’t want anyone disturbing his beauty sleep, and since commissar’s were in charge of discipline, the guardsmen figured this fell under Delgado’s area of authority.

Commissar Delgado didn’t look particularly happy as he was roused from his tent. I guess the colonel wasn’t the only one who wanted his beauty sleep, or maybe he was just mad that his normally crisp greatcoat was starting wrinkled and dirty. Either way, he greeted us with an even-worse-than-usual scowl and snapped, “What’s all this about? Out with it, and make it quick!”

The sergeant in charge shifted nervously under Delgado’s intense glare. “Er… sorry to disturb you sir, but a guardsman wandered into camp. He said he was knocked out in the fight yesterday and is rejoining us. We figured you’d better confirm that he is who he says he is and not a spy or anything… We were hoping you’d run through the procedures…”

Delgado stepped forward until his nose was nearly touching the sergeant’s own. The sergeant gulped nervously.
“Deserters are shot. That is standard procedure. Of course, you’d know that if you read the Imperial Infantryman’s Uplifting Primer, wouldn’t you?” Delgado said coldly.

The sergeant shifted uncomfortably. “I… I know the procedure for deserters, Sir, but this situation is a bit different…”

Delgado raised his hand, cutting the sergeant off. He turned to me as if to speak, then brought up his elbow, breaking the sergeant’s nose. He didn’t so much as glance at the sergeant, continuing to glare at me.

“I don’t like being contradicted,” he said, then, addressing me, “So you’re not a deserter, is that right, soldier?”

“That’s right, Sir!” I said. Sweat was dripping down my face and my stomach was in knots. “I seem to have been knocked unconscious and got left behind, Sir! But I’m ready to rejoin the company and purge these traitors, Sir!”

Delgado’s face suddenly lit up with a smirk. “I remember you. You’re that private from the other day. The one who has poor taste in friends and trouble keeping his mouth shut. I see you’re still as much of an incompetent moron as ever.”

He turned back to the sergeant, who was still nursing his bloody nose. “This one isn’t an enemy spy. He was with us when we first landed. Strip search him and make sure he’s free on any signs of mutation or corruption. Then send him back to his platoon.”

The sergeant nodded, then grabbed me by the arm and led me away. After a rather awkward session of stripping out of my uniform, getting a full body inspection, the soldiers having a hushed discussion about what counted as a ‘sign of mutation or corruption’, and then being told to put my uniform back on, I finally felt it was time to ask the question.

“Sir?” I said. The sergeant looked at me irritably. Oh great, he was mad about what Delgado had done to his nose, and since taking out any anger on Delgado was obviously out of the question, that left me to blame things on.
“What do you want, Private,” he said flatly. It wasn’t really a question, so much as a warning to shut up and leave him alone. I would’ve loved to, but my mouth was parched, my knees were weak, and my head was pounding. I needed water.

“You see, when I was knocked out, my canteen and bedroll got looted. I was hoping to get some replacements; especially some water.”

The sergeant’s expression darkened. He nodded. “So is that the real reason you came back? Realized you couldn’t make it out there without water?”

“No!” I replied, frustrated, “I was unconscious, like I said. I came back because I’m here to serve The Emperor.”

“Of course.” The sergeant gave me a wide grin, pulled out his canteen and made as thought to hand it to me, before pulling it back and taking a big swig. Then he screwed the cap back on and put it back at his side. I can’t say I was exactly surprised.

“Sorry Pal,” he said, “We don’t have the supplies to replace the equipment of everyone who’s too incompetent to hang onto it. You’ll just have to make do.” Then he grabbed my lasgun from the other guardsman who was holding it and shoved it at me so that the butt hit me hard in the stomach. I doubled over and caught the gun as he let it drop.

“Your platoon is over there,” he pointed to a spot amidst the mass of sleeping guardsmen that wasn’t too far away. “You’re a big boy, so you should be able to handle sleeping in the sand. Be thankful you’ve still got your gun, otherwise you’d be useless and we’d just shoot you.” Then he and couple of the other guardsmen laughed as they all turned and walked away.

At that moment, the pounding got worse and the voice came back into my head. Kill him, it said, Kill all of them.

Despite what it was saying, the voice was actually quite soft and pleasant. It still weirded me out. Hearing a voice while I was slipping into unconsciousness was one thing; this was something else. I did my best to ignore it and went over to the spot the sergeant had pointed out. The pounding in my head was worse than ever. I found a bare, fairly flat patch of sound to lie down on and tried desperately to get a few hours of sleep before we moved out in the morning, when I could hopefully beg some water from a fellow guardsman. I couldn’t fall asleep. My throat was raw and painful, and the voice kept coming back.

Embrace what you are.

Kill all of them.

Drink their water. Drink their blood too.

It’ll be easy.

It’ll be fun.

I’ll show you how.

Let me show you how.

Then you can rest.

It WILL happen.

Soon.
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Re: A Man and His Warp Presence

Postby fallen inquistor » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:05 pm

Awakening Pt. 2

I got up with the rest of the company early the next day, not having gotten any sleep the night before due to the voice in my head. I managed to beg a couple gulps of water and a stale corpstarch biscuit from a couple of the guys who had enough heart to take pity on me. Not everyone was so friendly. I even got spat on a couple of times. Some of the other soldiers still blamed me for the casualties taken by our platoon the day before. Overall though, I felt much better after that little bit of food and water.

We spent all day sweeping rocks, sand, and various tropical plant life for any trace of the enemy. We found nothing. We spent the next two weeks doing more of the same. The whole time I grew steadily hungrier, more dehydrated, and more exhausted. Before long, the few guys who had shown me sympathy were getting tired of giving me water or food. I tried to ask as little as possible, but even the limited amount of water and food I got was a drain on their own supplies. About half way through that time, some of the guardsmen in our platoon managed to shoot one of the bald, dog-like animals that would prowl around the more plant filled areas, so at least I got to eat a bit of that, but it went pretty quick between all of us. Soon I wasn’t eating anything at all, and living off of a sip or two of water a day. And of course, I hardly slept the entire time between the migraines and that damned voice. It came to me every night, and more and more often during the day.

Everything you have been taught about life is a lie.

Do you want to fly? You can you know. All you need is the proper frame of mind.

You act weak, but you’re not really weak. You are the most powerful being on this planet.

Embrace it. You’ll only know misery until you embrace what you are.

Kill them. You won’t hunger or thirst anymore. You’ll have blood to drink and flesh to eat. You’ll never hunger or thirst again.

I can show you the way.

I can show you a universe you never knew existed.


And on and on. I told it to shut up, but it didn’t seem to listen. With that, on top of everything else I went through, I was decidedly worse for wear on the day we were told we were going through the gorge. Just how cracked and bloodied my lips were, or how raw and dry my throat was goes without mentioning. The dried blood all down the front of my uniform had given me a rather foul odor. I couldn’t smell it anymore, but it was attracting flies. A sharp throbbing pain pounded in my skull and my vision was slightly blurred. It took a great deal of focus just to put one foot in front of the other in time with the other soldiers. I stumbled a couple of times, but managed to keep pace. I didn’t want to trip and fall, because I was pretty sure that no one was going to stop and help me. I can’t say I entirely blame them. On top of being a burden, the day’s fighting hadn’t even started yet and I already looked like a corpse. The other guardsmen probably found it unnerving.

The Colonel hadn’t looked too happy when he’d told us that morning that we were going through Sunlit Gorge. He told us to be on guard and ready for anything, as he fully expected an ambush, since it was the perfect place for the enemy to do so. Looking back, I realize that he must not have really wanted to go through that gorge, but he had to follow orders from his superiors, just like the rest of us. I guess in the end, no man is really free.

Sunlit Gorge is a narrow canyon roughly ten miles long. The cultists waited until we were about halfway in, too far to pull out, before they attacked from above. They didn’t have any tanks or really heavy ordinance, just lots and lots of heavy stubbers, autocannons, heavy bolters, and missile launchers. That was enough. Perched on the edge of both sides of the canyon, they were in the perfect position to rain a ridiculous amount of death on the company. Soldiers were blowing up and being ripped to pieces left and right. There was nowhere to hide. The guardsmen did their best to return fire, but standard lasguns couldn’t reach, and with them lying along the edge like that, they were nearly impossible to hit. I felt a massive rush of wind as a bolt flew past my shoulder and exploded.

Here’s where things started getting really weird. For a moment, the pain in my head became much, much worse. I dropped my gun and fell to knees, feebly grasping fistfuls of my hair. Then the pain subsided to a more manageable level, and suddenly, I could see and hear clearly. Not just clearly, ridiculously clearly. Everything was in perfect focus and seemed to be happening in slow motion. Every shot, every drop of blood within my line of sight, I could take in every detail. A rain of shells came towards me and I… pushed them aside.

I still can’t explain how I did it, or how I do any of the things I do. The shots were heading toward me and then they all veered off to one side or another. A frag missile hit the ground next to me and exploded. The fire and shrapnel from the explosion wrapped around me, leaving a circle air between me and it. I was unharmed. The pain was completely gone now. I felt wonderful. I felt so, so wonderful. I’m trying to think of how to explain how I felt to someone who hasn’t been through the same thing. ‘Orgasmic’ is the closest word I can think of, but that’s really not right either. Just take my word for it; it felt better than anything I’d experienced before in my short, miserable life.

Let me show you the way.

Oh, hello little voice. You’ve been quite a pain, you know, I replied in this conversation that was only in my head.
I only want to help. Let me show you the way.

I’ll find “the way” for myself from now on, thanks. I wasn’t disturbed by the voice anymore. It was more annoying than anything else.

You need me!

I don’t think so. If you want to help, whatever. That’s up to you, but I owe you nothing. It felt so nice, telling that stupid voice who was boss.

Alright then. It’s only a matter of time, after all.

I didn’t know what it was “only a matter of time” until, but at that moment my field of vision started rising and expanding considerably. I was no longer seeing just what the eyeballs in my head were looking at. Soon, I could see the whole battlefield. Every single guardsman and cultist was in full view. I could quite literally see everything at once. It might sound like it was a lot to take in at once, and it was, but everyone was moving so slowly that it wasn’t so bad. Cultists were attacking the company at the front and back now. The heavy weapons at the top of the cliff were still fire, mostly hitting guardsman, but occasionally hitting their own forces. They didn’t really seem to care. Our own forces were dwindling fast. It was a massacre.

End it.

And then I started turning everyone inside out. It’s not exactly what I meant to do, but that’s how it worked out. I started with the enemies on top, exploding their missiles, and then reaching out and giving each of them a little “magic touch”. There was a whole lot of ripping and rending of flesh as they all started getting twisted and contorted in ways no living body was meant to be moved. That’s when, get this, the frothing, mutated, blood crazed madmen started to get scared. Whole bunches of them were leaping up, dropping their weapons and running back and forth, in aimless panic. Too bad there was nowhere to run to. They kept right on dying; more and more, faster and faster.

The voice in my head was laughing now. It was a beautiful, delicate sound like water flowing in a brook. I realized that I was also laughing, a weird, raspy, high pitched giggle that sounded like a teenage girl with a throat cold.

I guess it IS funny, isn’t it, I thought to the voice in my head.

You’re a natural, it replied. The tone was one of genuine pride.

Once the forces up top were finished off, my attentions moved to the ones down below. Some of the fighters were just barely noticing that the death that had been raining from above till moments ago had ceased. Then they all started to come apart in a spectacularly gory fashion. Everyone went, cultists and guardsman alike. Oh, I tried to aim it, but I couldn’t stop it or control it. Remember earlier when I called this power “orgasmic”? That doesn’t really do it justice. Hoo boy, once it starts running it is not easy to put the brakes on.

Most of both forces had been finished off when someone finally noticed me. I was kneeling all on my lonesome at that point, and from my superhuman viewpoint I could see my own body from outside. I was kneeling there in the sand, emaciated, skin ashen, with blood all over me, and the biggest, most contented smile anyone ever saw on my face. Aside from the smile, I looked like death, which was pretty appropriate for the circumstances. Still, there was nothing inherently supernatural about my appearance, which is why I’d been impossible to notice in the chaos of combat earlier. However, sitting all by myself, with mangled corpses and battle damage all around, and the little circle of ground around me completely untouched; I guess the scene looked a little suspicious. I imagine that’s why Commissar Delgado made a run at me. He was a good two hundred meters away, but he was making record time. His face was clenched in anger, determination, and, for the first time I had ever seen it on the commissar, fear. When he’d closed about a two-thirds of the distance, he pulled out his bolt pistol and took aim…, and then the pistol flew apart in his hand.

Sorry Commissar, no sneaking up on me this time, I thought, You’re good at moving quietly, but it’s impossible to miss that uniform from my vintage point.

Then the commissar pulled out his power sword..., and then he turned into a spray of blood and organs. Goodbye Commissar Delgado. I hope you find peace with the Emperor. I can’t say I’ll miss you.

Moments later, it was over. Everyone was dead. The company of guardsmen, the cultists, not one was so much as twitching. There must have been over a thousand corpses, most of them mutilated to the point of being unrecognizable. I was kneeling alone in a field of dead meat. With nothing left to target, my viewpoint returned to my body, and the feeling of euphoria faded. Then the pain in my head came back with a vengeance.

Surrender to me. Your suffering will cease. You will never know pain again.

Frak off.

With that, I collapsed to the ground, completely spent. I lay there amidst the dead until my exhaustion overpowered my pain, and then I passed out.
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Re: A Man and His Warp Presence

Postby VictorK » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:01 pm

It takes me a while but I do try and deliver. My critique:

Some trouble with semi-colon use. Remember, if you can’t make a sentence with what comes after the semi-colon, it shouldn’t be there.

Don’t write ‘ehehehe’. It looks really weird. It’s enough to say that they chuckled or something along those lines.

The writing here is pretty competent otherwise. It could use an edit, but then again pretty much everything around here does. We get a lot of rough drafts. I also like the concept, the awakening of what I can only assume is some alphabet soup psyker from a normal joe.

It’s really the tone that makes me unable to get into the story. This doesn’t feel like a 40k story to me, or really even a war story. Everything is very casual, it happens very fast, and I can’t make any inferences for myself because most everything is told to me. That’s a danger of the first perspective, I’m afraid. But really, when you’re doing first person, it’s a fantastic opportunity to show. Part of the problem is that this story is told in a retrospective, so the narrator always knows everything that’s going to happen. That also takes some of the tension out of it. We know that Tesch turns out ok. After all, if he hadn’t, how can he be telling us the story?

Good first person is like looking at a story through a pinhole. You’re stuck with Tesch, a reluctant, quite Guardsman thrown into a war on a world that doesn’t look like it should be at war. What does he know? Not much, I’d imagine. And strange things are happening. But as you tell it, Tesch is pretty indistinguishable from any modern kid. There’s not much in the tone of the story that really conveys the gravity of what’s going on. Some of the details are cartoonish; I found the commissar completely unbelievable. Sure, commissars are stern, they’re by the book, but just casually breaking a guy’s nose? I don’t read much of the official 40k fiction, but that doesn’t seem to be any way to lead. Arbitrary acts of violence don’t convincingly demonstrate authority, that seems a cheap, lazy way to establish that the commissar is a rigid, arrogant hardass.

I think it’s all too casual, and too rooted in our times. War is bad stuff, I would encourage you to read some first hand accounts of war because most of us will be fortunate enough to never see a battlefield in our lifetimes. This poses a special problem for those of us writing about war. We risk faking it too badly and the reader can’t suspend their disbelief. Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves comes to mind, any of the WWI stuff is good. And it doesn’t have to all be gloomy, there’s a memoir by a German stormtrooper during WWI that I admittedly haven’t read but that I know presents war as a glorious adventure, so it doesn’t have to all be grimdark. I think there must be some appreciation for how difficult things are, and I think writers like us need to really try to put oursleves in the shoes of someone confronted with not only a horrific insurrection but also a personal insurrection. Tesch discovers that his innermost self is tainted. That’s great fodder for a story, and an insurrection is a grand foil for it. So I would recommend really knuckling down and thinking about the setting and your characters. How do they reinforce each other? How do I convey to the reader that this place is real, and that while these people might look familiar, this world is alien? Take this quote for example:

I guess in the end, no man is really free.


Does anyone in 40k really think that they’re free? Is that a presumption that they have? This is a modern sensibility, and it feels out of place here. At least as it’s presented. The story as written feels like a 21st century person was plopped down in a jolly bit of war. We’re writing science fiction/fantasy here. We get to build worlds and imagine new ways for people to be. That’s awesome! I would keep experimenting with different character types in different scenarios. Trying to tell a big story like this is really hard; I’ve certainly never been able to do it. Take the elements of the story you want to tell here, and really develop them.

I’ve rambled on enough and I’m certainly willing to keep chatting, and I’m willing to be told off because I’m just hot air. I certainly don’t advise scrapping this idea or this story, I’d just think about it a little more.
"The gods are not all powerful, they cannot erase the past." -Agathon
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