Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

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

Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Thu May 26, 2011 9:25 pm

I have it on reliable information (i.e. Gaius told me) that there's a part in the works from our resident Roman-Zombie-Cowboy-Dreadnought. Worry not, good Steffan.
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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby Gaius Marius » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:03 pm

Chapter 14: Left for Dead

‘What do we do?’ asked Phineas, turning to face the Captain.


‘Give me a moment,’ said Douglas, stress in his voice.


The alien contraption squawked again, unleashing a barrage of xenos gibberish. It was small, no larger than a human’s hand with a small microphone attached to it, and fixed to a console in the bridge of the Tau destroyer. Yet it had the dozen Astartes in the room petrified of it.


‘They’re going to get suspicious,’ stated Mehmet, ‘we have to answer them now.’


‘Can’t you read their minds or something so we can get the answer they want?’ asked the Captain.


‘Having Psyker powers doesn’t work that way,’ declared the Librarian, ‘I’d need a direct connection to be able to do anything and the seizures in the prey would tip them off.’


‘Phineas, can we run?’ Douglas asked.


‘Not very far,’ replied the Tech-Priest, ‘they out ton and out gun us enormously. A single shot from that warp sphere could scuttle us. And our fleet is scattered to the winds, we’ll receive no help from them, even if we could contact them.’


‘Well then we’ll have to make it up as we go along,’ sighed Douglas, taking the speaker of the alien communication’s device. His throat gagged with bile as he heard the xenos gibberish come out of it, made worse by the fact that he could understand it due to the effects of the Omophagea organ.


‘Come in Verdant Righteousness, this is Shaper’s Will’ demanded the alien on the other end of the signal, ‘Report now or be fired upon.’


‘This is Verdant Righteousness, Shaper’s Will,’ answered Douglas, as evenly as he could, his deep voice giving a passable version of a Tau’s ‘We are eager to serve the path of the Greater Good and await orders.’


‘Why have you refused to answer radio broadcasts for the last three hours Verdant?’ inquired the xenos, suspicion dripping from the question.


‘What the warp is a radio?’ asked Douglas, his gauntleted hand carefully off the broadcast switch.


‘Primitive name for Vox,’ answered Phineas, ‘go for a mechanical failure. That usually works.’


‘We suffered damage in our escape from the Discoverer,’ lied the Captain, his voice dropping seamlessly back into Tau, ‘our earth caste detachment just managed to fix it now.’


‘Your story is possible, Verdant,’ admitted the alien controller, ‘but will require inspection to ensure its truth.’


Grimaces of distaste and alarm swept through the assemblage of Astartes.


‘Unfortunately that is not possible,’ said the Xenos.


‘Why?’ asked Douglas immediately.


‘Surely you know the identity of the Gue’la that assaulted the Explorer,’ explained the alien, ‘this unit of super soldiers was witnessed to use biological weapons during battles in the 2nd Sphere Expansion. We cannot risk cross infection to the rest of the fleet. You are reassigned to picket duty and quarantined for the duration of the campaign until a sterilized shuttle bay can be arranged. Report any sicknesses at once. This is Shaper’s Will, out.’


‘The Emperor was looking over us on that,’ said Mehmet, visibly relaxing.


‘Remind me to have MacCallister to sacrifice something when we get back,’ agreed Douglas, turning from the other officers to address the Squad commanders ‘Sergeants, back to your squads. I want an ammunition and readiness check within the hour. Mehmet, get your Beasts sedated and see if you can talk to Ollias. I want answers onto why the fleet was gone, beyond the general withdrawal order Phineas caught.’


‘What task would you have me perform Heart-Bearer?’ asked Phineas, still plugged into the Tau control center.


‘As much as it pains me, follow the Xenos orders and bring us into their picket lines. We’ll come up with a plan from there.’
…..


‘Across the company we have enough bolter shells for maybe five minutes of sustained firing if we pick our targets well and depend mostly on the beasts for suppression,’ said Douglas, having calculated the data gathered by the Sergeants, ‘the Devastators have maybe thirty missiles and enough plasma charges to take out a few squads of Firewarriors. Our food supply is moderate. We have little enough of our own fare, yet a good amount of Tau corpses, captives and foods. Mehmet, how fares your packs?’


‘Not well,’ sighed the Librarian, ‘many were injured during the fight and escape and I was forced to euthanize two of them. They will feed the others for a few days maybe, but I will soon have to force the others into hibernation. I have enough drugs to put them under, but can only bring a few out of it with the supplies I have.’


‘Phineas, you heard the Beast Lord, we will not be at full strength for long. How much time until we can break this charade and return to Imperial lines?’


‘I am not sure Douglas,’ admitted the Tech-Priest, ‘from my calculations we are two days from Tharamark’s current orbit, but the Tau fleet is moving slowly and cautiously. This abomination of a vessel has many of its functions automated and thus I’ve been able to give some attention to the position of the Imperial fleet. I hypothesize that they’re near Tharamark, but I am not certain of that. Vox communication is currently impossible, due to the lack of suitable equipment. As far as I can ascertain, the other Imperial forces do not know we are alive.’


‘Mehmet, you have powers outside of technosorcery. What messages have you heard from Ollias?’


‘Nothing Douglas,’ replied the Beast Lord, ‘I have received no answer from Ollias. It may be that I am too far away to catch his notice, but there was no contacting me during the battle. Either they are dead, or they have forgotten us.’


‘We are abandoned,’ muttered the Captain, ‘left for dead on the battlefield without so much as a notice. Brother-Captain Almorris and I will have words about this.’


‘It is a grave sin indeed to leave a brother on the field of battle,’ mused Mehmet, his mediating nature overwhelmed, ‘something that can never be forgiven. Not even the traitor legions leave their own behind with such callousness.’


‘Penance must be paid for this, grave and deep,’ agreed Phineas, ‘not even the rarest technological relics can make up for it. Not even geneseed can make up for it. Only blood can resolve this sin.’


‘Then let us plan our return to Imperial lines,’ said Douglas, ‘we have the gravest wrong of all to right.’


‘Mehmet, fetch me the Tau prisoners,’ he decided, ‘Phineas, find me information on diseases that affect the Tau, particularly weaponized ones. If the Tau want to believe we’ve infected their task force, it’s time for them to see evidence.’
….

‘Shaper’s Will, come in. This is Verdant Righteousness with an emergency communiqué,’ lied Douglas into the alien vox.


‘This is Shaper’s Will’ came the reply from the Warp Sphere, ‘what troubles your ship?’


‘We regret to report an outbreak of Jilhassa virus aboard ship Shaper’s Will,’ the Astartes lied, ‘contamination is total and all of the crew has entered the early stages.’


‘Confirm Verdant,’ asked the alien with alarm ‘you have Jilhassa on board?’


‘A weaponized strain,’ Douglas answered, ‘the Gue’la who boarded the Discoverer must have released it as a failsafe. Even in death they seek to destroy us, but we are aware of the needs of the Greater Good.’


Douglas nodded at Phineas, signaling the Tech-Marine to fire a burst of video at the alien command ship. It showed one of the Tau captives, given a blend of the small amount of toxins possessed by the Fire Beasts to replicate the visual effects of the Jilhassa virus used by the Imperium against the Tau in previous Crusades. The alien’s blue skin was sloughing off and its eyes had swollen up like balloons and burst, weeping oozing pus down its face.


‘Understood Verdant,’ agreed the Xenos as it watched the video, ‘move into firing range and drop your shields. We will make this quick.’


‘But we are also aware that our death’s may yet serve the Tau,’ objected the Space Marine, ‘our Fire Warriors can still fight somewhat and our weapons will still function. Allow us to take part in the next assault, that we may repay the foes who have damned us.’


‘We understand your request Verdant. Senior Cadre leaders will determine the final decision. Stand by for their orders. In Tau we are strong.’

….



Surprise was total, complete, crushing.


The Orca came in fast, banking around the streams of anti-air fire sent up by the Imperial Hydra batteries that encrusted the armored surface of Hive Decanus. Human and alien artillery pieces dueled, arcing shells and plasma beams at each other from tens of kilometers away. Beneath the huge fusillade, armies of PDF conscripts and Tau Firewarriors clashed amidst the ruined urban sprawl. The hive’s defense lasers and missile batteries traded city cracking shots with the orbiting alien fleet, the great void shield over the hive clashing loudly as it blocked the alien munitions. Clouds of poisonous gas drifted randomly across the moonscape, scalding the flesh from any unprotected organism and melting the paint from the hordes of armored fighting vehicles that clashed in the death lands.


‘We have two options Captain for an LZ,’ offered Phineas, observing the chaotic battle through the alien ship’s auspex scans and vox channels, ‘there’s an airdropped unit of Kroot and battle suits that landed inside Decanus’ main gate. They’re overwhelming the PDF infantry there and are working to blow the gates from the inside and take out the wall’s defense guns. The Sons and Thylacines are moving in to support but they will not get there in time.’


‘What’s the other?’ asked Douglas, clasping his black helm into place in the troop bay.


‘A heavy concentration of armor and artillery out in the death lands,’ replied the Tech-Marine, ‘there’s scores of heavy landers offloading battalions worth of tanks and artillery pieces into a heavily fortified fire base. If we hit them first we can do a lot of damage before they get their weapons up.’


‘Its too far out for support,’ decided Douglas, viewing the hololiths sent to him by Phineas, ‘we’d be cut off and destroyed once the initial shock wore off and our missiles ran out. Put us down into the main gate. Kroot we can kill with blade and fist and beast.’


‘I concur Heart Bearer,’ said the Tech-Priest, guiding the destroyer in towards the hive.


Bullets pattered off the Manta’s armored bottom as it swung in over the edifice of the main gate, the structure’s heavy guns and missile batteries offline as their crews were being slaughtered by the air dropped Kroot. Shattered shield projectors hung limply over the walls, resting atop scores of corpses.


‘3rd, 4th and 7th Tactical drop into the gatehouse,’ ordered the Captain as the destroyer hovered over the fortification, ‘clear the foe from the spires to the basements. Fire priority goes towards any demo teams trying to crack open the gates. Take their hearts for the Emperor and give their souls to hell.’


‘Understood Captain Douglas,’ Sergeant Ankara of 3rd Tactical confirmed, leading the thirty Astartes into a jump from the Destroyer’s bays to the sloped roof of the gate house. The Fire Beasts tumbled down the slope before punching hand holds with blade and spike and clambering towards the entry ports located amidst the abandoned gun positions.


‘Phineas, you have a small starship’s worth of weaponry at your disposal,’ explained Douglas, ‘take us into their biggest concentration and then utilize it as you see fit.’


‘Happy to obey Captain,’ said the Tech-Priest, ‘I’ll try not to hit anything important.’


The antigravity engines on the Manta roared as it dived to the immense mustering square behind the gatehouse. A horde of Kroot accompanied by supporting teams of Battle Suits were overrunning hastily thrown together barricades manned by the PDF. The alien war suits blasted any concentrations of Imperial armor, while the bestial Kroot massacred the human infantry at close range. A hissing cheer arose from the alien ranks as the Manta swung over the battle field, its heavy rail cannons thrumming with power.


It turned to dying screams of pain as Phineas opened fire, the heavy shells blasting into the largest concentrations of Kroot. Dog like hounds and monstrous Knarlocks alike were rendered into red, ragged meat by the explosions. A barrage of rockets tore into the central hunting packs, throwing the kroot warriors into the air amidst a storm of blood and shrapnel. The craft hung in low, shaking from side to side like an enormous predator eyeing its wounded prey.
A ragged cheer arose from the remaining PDF troopers as the hulking forms of the Fire Beasts dropped from the alien ship into the carnage below.


‘WRATH!’ screamed Douglas, crushing the skull of a kroot warrior with his elbow as the stunned alien emerged from the dust of the rocket barrage. His great sword flicked left and right, its power field screeching as it cut another alien in half and parried a blow from a spiked rifle. One of the lanky aliens fired at him, the heavy bullet cracking his left pauldron as it impacted. The Captain staggered back, then rolled forwards to cut the foe’s legs out from under him.


Mehmet’s beasts smashed into the ranks of Tau auxiliaries, who matched the huge monsters blow for blow. Lumbering Krootox’s clashed with the geneforged monsters, fangs and claws battling against pile driver fists. One of the Librarian’s prize bulls gored a Krootox, ripping out its entrails even as the alien monstrosity seized the beast’s horns and snapped its neck.


‘Devastators, focus on downing those battle suits,’ ordered the Captain, barely dodging a burst of plasma fire from the flying war machines. The other Astartes opened up with missile launchers and heavy bolters, knocking several of the suits from the sky to crash against the grey brick of the mustering square.


Over all of it, the Manta still hovered, its guns blasting repeatedly at any concentrated grouping of aliens, leaving the square a moonscape of melted brick and impact craters. In space it was a mere annoyance, but ground side it was nearly the equivalent of a titan in power.


Douglas and his remaining command squad cut their way through the Kroot, chain blades and mauls clashing against claws and scythe rifles. The aliens were far more slender than the hulking sons of Vulkan, but their long limbs, wiry muscles and numbers made them nearly a match hand to hand. The Captain’s claymore broke one of the alien’s rifles in twain and then impaled the wielder, the power field setting the Kroot’s scant clothing and skin aflame. The lunge left him open to another blow, leaving a massive scratch across his torso and penetrating the plate near his waist. Astartes blood stained the grey bricks red as he turned to face this new opponent. A heavily scarred Kroot, its head tendrils graying faced him, spinning a two bladed staff.


‘Your skull will look nice afixed to my helm,’ said Douglas


It hissed at him in response and lunged. He parried with the claymore and slammed his shoulder into its chest, knocking the Shaper backwards. Douglas slashed low, but it jumped and slashed at his throat. The Captain managed to lean out of the way, leaving him with a massive scar across his gorget. He feinted low and then swung at the creature’s waist to draw its staff downwards. The energized greatsword severed one of the blades from the staff and the right quillon tore out the alien’s eyes. It screamed then and Douglas slammed his helmet into its face, shattering its teeth and jaws. A single stab through the heart killed the prone leader and Douglas seized it by the throat, holding it high for his enemy to see.


‘Fire burns you and Darkness takes you!,’ the Fire Beast roared at the aliens, ‘break you bastards, show me your backs that I may speed your way to hell!’


In response, a monumental roar ripped through the Kroot ranks. Warriors were shoved aside and Kroot hounds were stomped to death as the massive form of a greater Gnarloc stomped through the press of bodies. Its mouth snapped open, revealing teeth the size of combat blades and releasing thick ropes of drool. Its two massive legs crushed bodies living and dead to jelly, whilst its great thrashing tale crushed a tactical Marine. Another Astartes darted forwards to cut its tendons with a chainsword, only for the monster to seize him in its great jaws and bite him in half. It swallowed the Space Marine’s armored legs, leaving the torso to clatter against the ground.


Douglas tossed the Shaper’s corpse to the ground and readied his sword when the Gnarloc exploded in a flash of gore and bone. Cannon fire smashed into the alien ranks, while heavy bolters tore through Kroot like wild fire through a dry field. White and gold tanks flanked by olive APCs slammed into the alien invaders, massacring them by the score. Hundreds of Thylacine infantry disgorged from the Chimeras, reinforcing the PDF barricades and sending red beams of light into the invaders. Douglas spied Almorris’ great bane blade, the Bringer of Sanctity as its enormous main gun downed a whole squadron of battle suits in one shot.


Attacked from both sides, the aliens splintered, loosing cohesion and support. Their battle suits were plucked from the air by missiles and snipers, while the kroot ground forces were chewed to pieces by the Fire Beast’s blades and the Sons of Thunder’s tanks. Thousands were killed in the ensuing rout, as the shattered alien host was run to ground.


His armor battered and stained in the blood of himself and his foes, Douglas approached the Bringer of Sanctity. He had found the discarded corpse of the Shaper and its head hung from his fist by its quills. His other hand itched near the grip of his bolt pistol as Almorris climbed from his cupola, his white armor pure as fresh snow.


‘By Vulkan’s Forge Douglas,’ exclaimed Almorris, ‘we thought you dead in the void.’


The other captain extended a hand in congratulations.


Douglas punched him in the face.
Last edited by Gaius Marius on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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'I see the fear you have inside.'
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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:23 pm

(Psst, Gaius, you forgot to get rid of the PM stuff...)
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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:07 am

Chapter 15: Landing

The Imperial forces fell to the surface of Tharamark like a flock of birds landing in fright of some airborne predator. It was a rapid deployment, shuttles dropping the Thylacine boarding parties that had fought in the void to position without giving the soldiers chance to rest, while other drop-craft ferried soldiers to critical deployment zone in preparation for enemy planetfall. In the workshops and forges of the Angelum, scaffolding was hastily removed from the predators and vindicators in need of repair, the vehicles swiftly moving to dropships with the Sons forced to ignore the ire of the vehicle’s machine spirits, Forge Priest Telchin and his apprentices chattering canticles of appeasement as they rumbled into hangars and holding cradles.

Through the doors of the Angelum’s hangars they rumbled, tanks carried out into the vacuum and then through the atmosphere of Tharamark. Mag-clamps held the heavy vehicles firm against the buffeting winds, accompanied by thunderhawks that would drop the infantry straight to the surface.

“General Krenas,” Almorris said into the vox, in the hold of the drop-thunderhawk for the Bringer as it coasted downwards. “This is Almorris. Come in, general.”

“I hear you, brother-captain. I’ve been appraised of the situation, and I’m moving troops to defensive positions,” Krenas replied.

“Where do you want the Sons?” Almorris asked. It was somewhat demeaning to take orders from a mortal, but he had no maps to appraise the situation on and no time to get to one before the Tau would arrive. He would have to trust Krenas’ judgement.

“Your tanks would be best suited to our western flank, where the Anchorage hit,” Krenas said. “The terrain is smooth enough there, and we lack the fortifications otherwise present in the rest of the city.”

“Understood,” Almorris said, and he had to agree that it was a wise plan. “We’ll need anti-air defences, but we’ll hold the line, you can count on that.”

“I’ll send a division of hydras your way, brother-captain.”

“My thanks, General.”

The landers arrived, setting the tanks down before magnetic pincers released the tanks from their grip and the aircraft lifted off once more, heading back towards the Angelum which was already moving off, placing Tharamark between itself and the approaching Tau fleet. Almorris stepped free of his craft before it lifted off, leaving the Bringer behind, Gunnery Brother Paxis and the rest of the crew already climbing in.

“Epistolary,” Almorris called over to Ollias. “Any portents for the battle to come?”

“I saw a great storm falling from the sky and dashing an army beneath them,” the Epistolary replied. “And I saw you struck by a fist of flame and bone, brother captain. I’m not sure exactly what it means for the battle to come, but have a care; it would be unfortunate if this fight was to be your last.”

Almorris shrugged.

“Then I’ll die in the Emperor’s service,” he replied. “Have you had any luck contacting Mehmet?”

“No, I’ve not,” Ollias said. “I can keep trying, as I have since our retreat, but either he is too far away for me to reach him or he may be dead, and if I’m honest I’d rather conserve my energies for the battle ahead.”

Were he alive, Almorris hoped that Douglas would have enough sense to see the reasoning behind the silent retreat; there was no way that they could hold against the Tau fleet in open engagement, and hopefully he knew of the pernicious xenos’ skill at long range vox transmission interception. Ollias had been their only hope at contacting the Beasts, but it seemed even that had failed.

“A pity you could not; just provide us with enough fireballs against these xenos and we should be fine,” he replied, to which Ollias shook his head.

“Epistolary Lockheim is the better pyrokine than I,” he said. “I’m more accomplished in auguries. Still, I’ll do my best.”

There was a growl of engines behind them, lighter in pitch than the deep, throaty roars of the predators and vindicators of the Sons, and Almorris glanced over to see the hull of a Hydra flak tank crest a hill, swiftly followed by several more of its fellows. It drew to a halt next to him, before a hatch mounted on the hull opened and a Thylacine with a major’s stars and Aquila stood from within.

“Major Jainam, Thylacine Dragoons,” he said. “Where do you want us, sir?”

“Over on that hill,” Almorris said, pointing to a knoll of earth with the ruined shell of a few buildings perched precariously atop it. “There’s a commanding field of fire from there, and enough cover to keep you relatively safe from ground fire.”

“Understood, sir, we’ll get dug in,”

“Do so quickly,” Almorris replied. “We’ve not much time.”

Under Jainam’s orders, the tanks rumbled away to the fire positions, and Almorris hoped they would do their work properly as he clambered into the cupola of the Bringer. Under his orders, the tanks and infantry of the Sons moved to position, preparing to dig in to cover or manoeuvre into position.

The first of the Tau dropships burned through the atmosphere a few minutes later, bulky Orcas whose hulls burned orange as they broke through the air resistance. The Hydras roared into life, shells slamming against the armour of the dropships, others attempting to pick off the Barracuda escort craft flocking around them. Almorris’ lip curled in a sneer at the display of force; the crews were inaccurate, thousands of shells being expended just to bring down one Barracuda. If the whirlwinds of the Eighth Company were with them, a single volley of anti-air missiles would have downed the Tau escort craft, with a second sending the dropships crashing down to Tharamark’s surface. As it was, he would have to make do with the woeful inefficiency of the mortal Thylacines’ shooting.

A shell broke past the armour protecting the engines of one of the Orcas, blasting it apart in a spray of flame and shrapnel, and there was a wail as it pitched towards the ground, before smashing into it, throwing up a great pile of earth in its front, before coming to a halt as a twisted wreck of metal and flame, smoke rising from its ruin.

The others came to a halt a few hundred metres from the Sons’ line, dropping down just out of range of the Sons’ big guns. Knowing that the Tau’s railguns would have greater range than the Sons’ own lascannons, Almorris barked order into the vox, commanding the battery of Hydras with them to open fire on the barracudas circling overhead; while it may not hit the aircraft, it would prove too dangerous for them to strafe their tanks. Then, with a roar from its great engine, the Bringer lurched forwards.

Behind it the rest of the Fourth Company surged into life, a great wedge of armour powering ahead, rhino APCs sheltered behind the cordon of tanks as they thundered ahead. The immense cannon of the Bringer opened up on a squad of Crisis suits that had leapt free from one of the Orca’s, a blast of flame tearing past their armour and smashing them to the ground as shattered ruins.

Autocannon shells blasted among ranks of fire warriors as they disembarked, while lascannons sent beams of pure energy into the hulls of Sky Rays and Hammerheads. Around the flank of the Tau, the rhinos sped, slewing to a halt and the Astartes within disembarking, bolters and heavy weapons opening up on the Tau as they tried to disembark.

One of the engines of the Orcas exploded as a lascannon beam slammed into it, while the last of the Tau craft began to lift off, Hydra fire pattering against its hull before Almorris was on the vox ordering them to turn their attention back to the barracudas above, cursing the Thylacines for their lack of discipline.

The Tau forces on the ground, those not swift enough to re-embark, were cut down by tank fire and bolters, the return pulse fire sporadic and weak, the Tau forces disorientated without their command, with explosions and rounds raining in their midst. The Orca exploded, chunks of twisted metal bouncing away from its wreckage, while a shell from the Bringer detonated in the midst of the xenos force, sending Fire Warriors flying.

“Thylacines, keep a watch on the skies,” Almorris said. “The rest of you, form up, expect a ground assault. They won’t be trying an airborne offensive again, unless they’re complete and utter fools.”

Swiftly, the tanks of the Sons got into formation, reconsolidating at the hill of rubble and debris thrown up by the impact of the Anchorage in a defensive cordon. Servitor drones, dropped from the belly of the Angelum, scanned the landscape for any foe, before Tobias’ voice crackled; “We’ve got enemy forces moving in due west. Large numbers of APCs and some heavier armour. Suits as well.”

“Then we move,” Almorris said. “Molgrin, have your infantry stay behind, hold this position. No knowing if the Tau will use this force as a diversion.”

“We’ll keep it from their hands, brother captain,” Molgrin replied, but there was an edge of aggrievement to his voice; Tobias would be boasting of the glory he had won later, if Almorris knew his Division commander, and no doubt the infantry commander would wish for some of his own, but Molgrin’s ego was of little importance.

Led by the Bringer, the armour of the Sons struck out west, rolling across the blastscape that was the result of the Anchorage’s fall, guns primed and ready for combat. Swiftly they moved, treads carrying them over piles of rubble and debris, past ruined land cars and shattered buildings.

The Tau met them with a volley of rail-fire and plasma.

A railgun round slammed against the front armour of the Bringer, clanging against the metal before the thick, reinforced adamantium stopped it, leaving a dent in the proud Aquila that fronted the superheavy tank. Another slammed into the join between the turret and the hull of one of Almorris’ predators, the ammunition for the tank’s autocannon cooking off and blasting the weapon away from the rest of the vehicle, flames already roaring through its gutted hull.

In the reply, the immense cannon of the Bringer roared, sending the shell the size of a mortal man into the side of the offending Hammerhead tank. It exploded, blasting debris, the power of the shell enough to roast its xenos crew alive and slay a nearby squad of fire warriors.

Around the left flank of the xenos, three predators rumbled, the blocky tanks sending fire into the devilfish transports that were in turn trying to get round the Sons. Lascannon beams melted armour and engines and sent the graceful, swift hover-tanks crashing to the ground in twisted piles of ruined scrap, while shells from autocannons and heavy bolters slammed into the Tau ranks, shredding blue flesh and body armour.

Pulse fire zipped back, but against the thick hulls it was useless, and Almorris could not help but feel more than a little pride at the fire discipline of the Astartes under his command, the tanks ignoring the fire warriors that posed little threat to them, instead targeting the much more dangerous battlesuits, Sky Rays and Hammerheads. Disciplined fire patterns punched through weak points on Tau vehicles, while autocannon shells hammered into the blasphemous parodies of power armour that the Tau veterans wore, tearing apart their pilots.

The Bringer’s cannon boomed, the three hundred ton vehicle rocking beneath the staggering recoil of the massive cannon, the speeding shell blasting apart a white armoured battlesuit commander who was directing the Tau forces, and the bodyguards that accompanied him. The heavy bolters mounted on the sponsons and hull chattered as they targeted another group of Crisis suits leaping towards them, while azure plasma fire zipped against the armoured hull of the super heavy in return. They landed, fusion blasters primed to melt through the thick metal that protected the Bringer, before a demolisher shell landed in their midst. Across the vox, Almorris overheard Gunnery Brother Paxis cackle; “With the compliments of the Emperor, xenos!”

“The destruction of the xenos is a fine thing to see, Gunnery Brother, but show a little vox discipline, if you will,” Almorris admonished. “A day’s fasting, once battle is done.”

“Apologies, brother captain. I will atone.”

“Good,” Almorris said. “Golden Saint, push forwards against their flank, target their infantry. I want them on the run, do you understand?”

“Understood,” Golden Saint replied. “Bravo Squadron, advance!”

The three tanks roared forwards, ploughing towards the Tau ranks as their weapons blazed. With no commander, even nerve of the Fire Warriors broke, and they began to fall back. It did them no good, Golden Saint and her fellow tanks moving up on them and scything them down regardless.

“Command, this is Brother Captain Almorris,” the Astartes called into the vox. “We’ve dealt with a Tau assault force; where are we needed next?”

“We’ve got a breach at the hive’s main gate,” Krenas’ voice came across the vox. “Large numbers of Kroot and battlesuits dropped right on top of it. The PDF are holding, but they can’t last much longer; I have Thylacine infantry moving up but armour support from the Sons would be enough to break the back of the Tau’s main assault, for now at least.”

“Understood, general,” Almorris said. “We’ll get there as soon as possible.”

He flicked the vox to his armour’s channel and gave the order; “Sons of Thunder, we move to the main gate!”

The tanks roared forwards, the Bringer at their head, pulping the dead of the Tau assault force beneath their treads. Across the hive city’s perimeter they went, jolting over rubble, moving up onto the highways that would allow them swift access to the gate. Over their heads, the artillery batteries of the Thylacines clapped, sending shells whistling over several miles to explode amongst the foe hidden several miles away.

They rumbled downed a ramp of a highway, and over the vox Golden Saint warned; “Brother Captain, we’ve got a Manta gunship in sight. We’re out of range at the moment, we’ll need the Bringer’s cannon to engage.”

Almorris frowned slightly; the heavy rail cannons would be a significant threat, even for the armour of the Bringer, while its heavy firepower would be enough to decimate the rest of Fourth Division. As the Bringer rounded a corner, behind Golden Saint, Almorris saw the broad, delta-winged shape of the Manta, fire streaking from its guns even from this distance. From the cupola, Almorris took a pair of magnoculars, zooming in on the great craft, reading off the distance measure that it gave so he might line up a shot. Below it, Kroot swarmed, the avian xenos throwing themselves against the PDF-gaurded fortifications of the gate, while behind them battlesuits strafed.

Except the Manta was not firing upon the PDF.

From drone-controlled fire points across its hull, burst cannons, fusion blasters and plasma rifles fired down into the mass of Kroot. Wiry alien forms were shredded, the armour of Crisis suits ruptured by the fire, the xenos trying to fire back at the Manta’s armoured underside.

Ropes dropped from its troop holds, and from it dark-armoured forms slid, massive and forbidding, gripping falchions and chainblades, the distinctive forms of bolters held in armoured fists, adorned with fang-like bayonets.

“The Beasts?” Almorris murmured. “Douglas, how in the Emperor’s name did you manage that?”

The tanks thundered forwards, Almorris giving the order to go full speed so they might support their brothers of geneseed. Down the road they roared, treads clanking against tarmac, engines snarling and guttering as they advanced. Soon they were able to pick out individual Fire Beasts battling Kroot in melee combat, and Almorris could not help but feel a little impressed at the audaciousness the Beasts were showing; the Kroot were strong, vicious creatures, and he knew from melee battles he had fought with the creatures before that they were dangerous opponents, even for a Space Marine.

As they neared, the horde of xenos parted, and from the gap came a great beast, a massive razor-edged beak snapping at the foes before it, quills a metre long twitching as it fought. It grabbed a Beast in its jaws, slicing through power armour, throwing the unfortunate marine up into the air before crunching down.

Almorris pointed, lasering immense war-beast, before Gunnery Brother Loming swivelled the Bringer of Sanctity’s great cannon to face the great beast, experience granting him the judgement needed to work out trajectory in an instance. It fired, and the self-propelled tank shell sliced past its thick hide. It exploded within its guts, throwing viscera and flame across the field, the Greater Gnarloc staggering while heavy bolter rounds tore chunks out it. The beast fell with a thud, torn apart by the fire, while the ranks of lightly armour Kroot were no match for the high-caliber rounds that sliced through their numbers. Lascannon beams targeted the crisis suits darting around the flanks of the xenos, spearing through their armour and sending them crashing to the ground even as they attempted to close on the tanks. The Bringer’s own cannon added to the tally of the Sons, blasting apart another knot of battlesuits, while a salvo of demolisher shells, from both it and the vindicators, detonated in the Kroot lines, rending xenos to pieces.

Thylacine chimeras roared onto the field, disgorging hundreds of soldiers onto the battle scene. Serried ranks of las rifles filled the air with crimson, slicing through Kroot bodies, while multilasers crumped as they fired.

“Forward, ye Sons of Thunder!” Almorris ordered. “We are the oncoming storm!”

Engines roared, deep and throaty, before the tanks powered ahead, into the few remaining Kroot. The xenos scattered, hissing and shrieking in fright as the tanks ran them down, the weapons of the great vehicles continuing to fire with scant regard for mercy. The Kroot fled, but they did not flee far.

The Bringer drew to a halt next to Douglas. One hand held the severed head of one of the Kroot’s shapers, the other his claymore, coated in a visceral paint of dried xenoform blood, the Beast looking like some barbaric king of some backwards feudal world; probably where he was born, Almorris couldn’t help but think. Still, to have somehow slipped the net of an entire enemy fleet…that deserved respect. Perhaps he had underestimated Douglas.

He clambered out of the turret of the Bringer, Douglas’ jet armour a stark contrast to the shining white and gold of his own, extending a hand.

“By Vulkan’s forge, Douglas, we thought you dead in the void!” he said, smiling a greeting.

The only reply was the Fire Beast’s fist slamming into his jaw.
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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:42 am

What an ass, why would he punch him like that?

Oh wait.


Yeah, my turn to explain that :lol:
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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby steffen19k » Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:54 am

CLIFF HUNG!!!! FOR OVER A MONTH????!!!!

Where's my bolt pistol, it looks like I've got some commissarin' ta tend to... *grumble and fume*

On a more serious note... what have I done to deserve this horrific cliff hanging??
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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby Razhbad » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:40 pm

Sorry its been late, but after talking with the colonel today i've finally started reading this again so i'll let you both know what i think
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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby Razhbad » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:11 pm

Ok gents I have read over everything I missed since I last read your yarn and once more I find myself impressed with this collaboration. There is not enough joint workings going on in the bolthole with talented authors and whats marks you 2 out is that you are both so very imaginative which gives an impressive view of the world that you jointly shape in your tale.

I found the character developments of the 2 Captains to be the pinacle of your writing in these sections beginning from the court and duel which shows the growing rivalry, all the way to the last moments where potentially these 2 Chapters could find themselves enemies with how they treat each other.

Your void battles were descriptive and well written which ran nicely from piece to piece. I was able to get a perfect picture of the battle that you both created and the titanic struggle for survival. Towards the end though as you jump from the void battle to the Tau landings it felt a little rushed, I would have thought that you both could have easily put in another chapter each with both forces having a calm before the next storm.

Of course you both excel in the thick of things and from the words of my older reviews from the old site, you do both hit the ground running and it is the reader who eagerly keeps up the chase. The landings were nicely done with a good war scene which seemed very realistic. You both seem to have thought of the tactics used in this war to the smallest of details and rather then most fan fiction which is simply Space Marines in combat winning. You 2 have at least thought of these forces not just a super human warriors, but experienced soldier who think about how to win the war rather then how cool their chainsword is.

Overall it is still a pleasant read an I plan to keep on delving into this as you both keep on thrusting out more and more chapters.
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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby Gaius Marius » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:04 am

I've been having trouble finishing my chapter on this admittedly, but I'm trying to work on it when I get the chance.
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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby Gaius Marius » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:04 pm

Chapter 16

‘You left us to die,’ snarled Douglas, his voice choking with rage as Almorris stumbled backwards against the Bringer. The Son of Thunder’s white armor thumped against the chassis of the super heavy tank, red streaks of hyper-oxygenated Astartes blood running down his breast plate from his ruined nose. Shock showed on Almorris’ face as he stared at his ‘ally’ from his ruined face.


‘Are you mad Douglas?’ yelled Almorris, ‘what the hell do you think you are doing?’


‘We were left out in the void to die Almorris,’ hissed the Astartes, ‘left out there alone by you. Ninety Beasts of the Fire left behind like so much garbage, did we truly matter so little to you that you did not even broad cast a signal to us?’


‘You did not signal you were free of the battle ship when it exploded Douglas and you were not answering hails, vox or psychic. We had no way to know you had made it out or if you were even alive,’ explained Almorris, his voice full of anger and caution. He longed to strike back at the Fire Beast, but knew that if he did the violence could escalate into fullscale war.


‘Tell me why Almorris,’ said Douglas, his claymore activating in flash of power and rising to his shoulder, ‘tell me why I shouldn’t slide this blade across your throat and leave you dying as you left us?’


‘Because if you do then this war is lost,’ said the other Captain, his own axe drawn and humming in his hand, ‘and I do not think you would gladly go into the final abyss knowing that you had damned an Imperial world.’


Indecision and rage appeared on Douglas’ face and his hand gripped the hilt of his sword so hard it seemed the plassteel would shatter.


‘So be it,’ snapped the Fire Beast, deactivating the sword’s power field and sheathing the long blade, ‘Our cooperation in this war is ended Almorris. I leave you and your company to its own devices. The Beasts will win this war in their own way.’


…..

‘Krenas does not know whether he is angry or terrified,’ said Mehmet, approaching Douglas atop the main gateway. The psyker’s armor had been scrubbed of gore, more for the sake of the ceramite’s condition than any squeamishness. Below the two, Thunderhawks were busy ferrying loads of munitions and explosives from their Strike Cruiser, replenishing the companies stocks and hauling away the hallowed corpses and precious gene seed of the fallen.


‘In truth it does not matter,’ answered the Captain, placing his helm atop his head. The armor had been fresh decorated with the flensed jawbone and skull of the Kroot Shaper Douglas had decapitated. His red eye slits stared out through its vacant ocular cavities and its quills had been enameled to the top of his helmet, giving him a fierce avian appearance.


‘As long as he has given us the supplies of explosives required that is all that matters. Although she is well stocked with bolt shells, demo charges and spare armor, Shattered Heart had no tank shells in her armory and I dare say I would never ask the Sons of Thunder for aide now.’


‘I have to say that it was perhaps not the most diplomatic of tactics Captain,’ said Mehmet, ‘you could have easily ended this campaign right there and still might. The Chapter Master may be cross with you.’

‘Jacquefre would have killed him over who got the joy of killing the Governor,’ countered Douglas, ‘restraint was never in his lexicon. For abandoning a company, it would have meant inter-chapter war to the extermination of one or the other. But killing him would have felt right. Leaving other Astartes to die is not something I am capable of contemplating.’


‘True,’ admitted Mehmet.


For a moment the psyker stared out over the parapet at the urban wasteland outside the wall. Irradiated ash still clung thickly to the ground, a carcinogenic welcome mat to the Tau invaders. A miles long maze of urban rubble punctuated with clearings where parks and roadways had once stood.


‘Its going to be a blood bath in those ruins,’ said the psyker, ‘a blind, close range running fight of ambuscade and guerilla warfare.’


‘Leave the plains and armor battles to Almorris,’ answered Douglas, a son of Ors who had been a veteran of the millennia long war the Fire Beasts had stoked into being on that blighted world, ‘I was raised killing men in ambushes and knife fights in rotted alleys. Its home.’


‘I was in some of those alleys,’ said Mehmet, son of a slightly different and bitterly opposed tribe, ‘your kind always cheated.’


‘That is why we won,’ said Douglas, ‘or would have if the Chapter hadn’t destroyed our capital when we got to close to winning.’


‘And that is why the Fire Beasts always win,’ said Mehmet, ‘for any force willing to keep a war running for two thousand years just to harvest the best child soldiers it produces cannot be stopped by conventional means.’


Soon after that the Fire Beasts departed into the ash wastes, slipping out side gates and sewers in squad sized groups. Douglas’ orders were simple in most regards: stay to the shadowbound ruins, take targets of opportunity, kill officers at any costs and sow the path of the invading Tau with bombardment shell IEDs.

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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:52 am

“The stupid, proud fool,” Almorris said with a shake of his head. “What in the Emperor’s name does he think he is doing?”

Tobias shook his head.

“He is angry,” he croaked. “And that makes him disinclined to see sense.”

“He is a savage,” Molgrin replied, the sneer in his voice audible to all. “All of him and his chapter. They fight like animals and collect trophies from the dead like some horde of barbarians, and it shames me to think that we share geneseed.”

The Astartes were gathered outside the Bringer of Sanctity, overlooking the plains of Tharamark. It was large, open terrain, perfect for the Tanks of the Sons. The Beasts were digging in the ruins of the Hive, preparing to set ambushes and murder holes for the Tau if they broke through the Sons. Almorris was going to make sure that that did not happen; it would be the Sons who would win this battle, and the Sons alone.

“Their chapter master is supposed to be even worse,” Tobias said. “And their Reclusiarch is said to be a rabid madman.”

“What purpose, brothers, does growling and grizzling about a fellow chapter serve?” Ollias suddenly asked.

“Douglas assaulted our Captain,” Molgrin said. “Not to mention he was a stubborn, asinine fool over the issue of Hesphalt.”

“And both times for reasons that are understandable,” Ollias replied. “Brother Captain, I must say now that I cannot advise we continue this feud with the Beasts.”

“And why not?” Almorris asked. “We committed no crime by falling back; we could not allow the war to be lost over a few individuals, even Astartes. Douglas should be able to understand that, unless the Beasts promote idiots to command.”

“In his eyes he was abandoned in the field,” Ollias said. “He is angry about it.”

“I can understand that to a degree,” Almorris said. “But he refuses to think about such a thing, and I will not kowtow to him being too childish to see sense.”

“Brother Captain, the Sons of Thunder have alienated more than their fair share of chapters in the past,” Ollias said. “I do not wish for this campaign to end with us making another rival due to simple pride.”

“Are you suggesting that we apologise to the Beasts?” Molgrin asked. “That is a preposterous concept.”

“Perhaps I am,” Ollias said. “We do not need the enmity of another chapter. Our disdain for the Codex Astartes has lead to us being distanced from the Ultramarines and their successors, and there is already bad blood between us and several chapters.”

“They are in the wrong, then,” Almorris said. “The Sons of Thunder are not privy to the decrees of Guilleman and if they expect us to swallow our pride simply because they demand it to be so then they are wrong. And I am not going to concede to Douglas simply because he refuses to see sense. Is that clear, Epistolary?”

Ollias nodded, before saying; “Very well, Brother Captain. I will need to meditate and prepare for battle.”

“Good,” Almorris said. “Molgrin, Tobias, we shall move our troops to formation. Epistolary, where shall you be?”

“In the cupola of the Tempestus,” Ollias replied.

Almorris nodded, before saying; “I shall inform you when you are needed.”

As the Epistolary walked away from the Bringer, he cast his mind about him, mentally scanning over the landscape around him. He closed his eyes, a faint glow behind the shut lids, blocking out all distractions as he homed in on the mind of Epistolary Mehmet of the Fire Beasts. His mind stopped short of the other Librarian’s own, and instead he psychically broadcast the words he wished to say.

Mehmet, he said. May we talk?

Ollias came the reply, the words laced with a wary anger. That is somewhat of a bold request, considering the circumstances.

I am aware you may be angry, but I wish to explain Ollias said. This threatens the balance of the war as a whole, and I do not want to condemn an Imperial world because of the pride of two men.

There was a silence.

A fair point Mehmet admitted. What vox frequency are you using; psychic conversation will tire us unnecessarily before battle.

Two three three seven eight point four one Ollias replied.

“Ollias,” Mehmet’s voice crackled in his ear a moment later. “Do you read me?”

“I hear you, Epistolary,” Ollias replied.

“So, you wish to try and make amends between our chapters?” Mehmet asked. “That is certainly no easy task.”

“Aye,” Ollias said, nodding slightly despite the fact that Mehmet would be unable to see. “I have no reason for you to have any sympathy with the Sons after what we did-”

“You abandoned an entire company in the field,” Mehmet interrupted. “I would be interested to see how you justify such a thing, Ollias.”

“It is a clash of philosophies,” Ollias replied. “All I shall say is that you have never lived on Polyphemus, but if you did, you might understand. A man who is left behind in the mines is a man who stays behind in them; risking more lives for just one is foolishness.”

“That is somewhat of a harsh philosophy,” Mehmet said. “And one might say one not entirely befitting of a Space Marine.”

“It is entirely necessary for survival,” Ollias said. “But, I can understand why you were angered.”

“So you would abandon your own in the field?”

“If it lead to our eventual victory, then yes,” Ollias replied. “And those brothers that we left behind would understand that it would be for the greater good.”

“That is cold, Ollias,” Mehmet said. “Callous.”

“I did not say that it was a doctrine that you would necessarily agree with,” Ollias said. “But Almorris saw that going after the Beasts would be tantamount to suicide, for the entire fleet. We could not hail you by vox, not without giving your position away, and I could not find you psychically.”

“I do not think that Douglas is going to accept that,” Mehmet said.

“I was not expecting him to,” Ollias replied.

“Then what do you want from this conversation?”

“I wish to make amends, for the future,” Ollias said. “I do not think that there is any way to heal the wounded pride between our captains, not now, but the Sons have alienated more than a few chapters in the past. It seems to me that the Imperium’s enemies multiply by the day, and you know the saying; a house divided is a house that cannot stand. We do not need enmity between ours.”

“The Fire Beasts are perfectly capable of holding our own,” Mehmet said. “After what you did, I begin to find myself doubting whether we would want your aid in the future.”

“Mehmet, I know that you are still raw about what happened in the engagement in the void,” Ollias said. “I can understand that, but I do not see how making enemies over a misunderstanding in worldviews benefits either of our chapters. Almorris is too proud to admit he may be at fault, and Douglas is angry for reasons that are obvious to both of us, but I do not want us becoming rivals for no good reason.”

There was a pause, before Mehmet said; “Perhaps you see sense. What do you propose? I imagine that if we attempted the commonly used method of simply locking them in a room to try and work out their differences would result in the death of one of them.”

“I am thinking more about after this campaign,” Ollias said. “The fact is, as the Librarians for our company, we hold the power to record just how it went.”

Realisation dawned, and Mehmet said; “And I suppose you suggest that we record that the other’s chapter fought admirably and they parted on good terms, meaning that should we find ourselves alongside each other once more then they do so with no enmity.”

“Aye,” Ollias said. “Provided that Almorris or Douglas are not interred within a Dreadnought Sarcophagus, the feud should die with them.”

“And that they do not care to check the records of the Librarium,” Mehmet added. “If they do then it shall not end well.”

“It is not a perfect plan,” Ollias said. “But our chapters both stand to gain if we supposedly part under the banner of friendship. Besides, Almorris is not wont to check the records.”

“Very well,” Mehmet said. “I shall try to do what I can.”

A bitter chuckle came across the vox.

“That is on the provision, of course,” the Fire Beast added. “That this rivalry does not end up dooming this entire war.”
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Re: Sons of the Fire [SM, collab]

Postby kurisawa » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:10 am

Hello Colonel! As newest member of the WtR, I had a look at the first chapter. First, overall impressions are it is interesting and pretty well written. I can see that you avoided infodumping by using dialogue, which was good. I wanted to know more about the characters and their motivations though.

So, let's have a closer look.



‘Battling humans shall be a relief for once,’ Mehmet commented from behind him, ‘after a decade of facing Tyranids.’

Nice opening line. Could you put "Douglas" instead of "him" as I got confused for a moment.

Douglas turned with a faint hiss of servos to view his friend, the other Astarte’s armor the powder blue of a Beast Lord instead of the normal dark crimson and deep emerald of a Fire Beast. Mehmet held the fang studded helm in his powerful grip, showing his dark face and the crackling psychic hood that cradled his skull. His force-axe was at his side, resting in its holding ring opposite from the beast skin holster that housed the psyker’s plasma pistol.

Nice quick description.

‘It pains me to slay those who should be loyal servants of the Emperor, but for once I would rather gun down the rebellious and perfidious than face an endless swarm of chitin,’ the Captain agreed, turning back to face the launch bay of the Shattered Hart.

Mehmet being a psyker, I assume Douglas is the "Captain". Could you call him Captain Douglas in the first sentence of this paragraph? The dialogue is a good smart piece of infodumping.

Mehmet walked to his side, his Ceramite boots softly thudding on the strike cruiser’s decking. Before them Tech-Marine Phineas along with a pack of his lobotomized servitors labored upon the pair of Thunderhawk gunships that were to carry Douglas and his command squad to the War Council.

Again, nice building in of their surroundings to the story. Not sure ceramite needs to have a capital letter, nor why they thud "softly". For me, you could have cut the entire next part about the gunship names.

‘You have come from the training cages I suppose Mehmet?’ asked the Black, tilting his armored head to see his second, ‘Are our newest Brothers eager to fight their first battle with war plate on their back?’

Ah. Who's the Black? Is there a third speaker? Aside from this confusion, nice little detail about fresh battle-brothers joining the ranks.

‘Very eager Lord, as eager as each of us was when we first donned power armor and picked up our bolters,’ answered the Beast Lord, ‘although they leave us with a weakened reconnaissance contingent. I do not like walking into battle with Phineas’ servo-skulls and my limited foresight to guide us.’

I'm sorry. You've lost me. Who's the Beast Lord calling "Lord"?

‘Having a full six combat squads for once will be a greater benefit,’ stated Douglas, ‘we will draw more scouts when we return to the Loyal Fiend after this last campaign, one last campaign after so many.’

Great.

It had been a terrible war, one of the most horrifying in the long annals of the Fire Beasts. Douglas had lead four companies against Leviathan, one small part of the great Astartes contingent that had rallied to fight the extragalactic menace. On a hundred worlds the battle against the Tyranids had raged, the Beasts fighting alongside the Imperial Guard, the Inquisition and Astartes from a hundred other Chapters. So many battle brothers had died that Douglas and his captain’s had decided to recruit from the world’s they fought over, snatching up promising youths as their worlds were devoured. In the void and on the soil of countless doomed worlds, the Beasts had killed so many of the scuttling horrors that they had stopped counting.

I really think you could cut this entire paragraph. We have an idea of them fighting an arduous campaign from earlier dialogue. Also, "captain's" and "world's" are plurals, so you don't need those apostrophes.

But now it was over.

‘It will be good to gaze upon the halls of Loyal Fiend once again,’ agreed Mehmet, ‘even if Jacquefre is still its master.’

‘What occurred between the First Bull and myself is my business,’ commanded the Black, his voice as hard as his crimson eyes, ‘but still… it will be good to return to the Stonian Sector. We have tarried in the east too long. Had it not been the Inquisition requesting this task, we would even now be joining the other companies in their return.’

Yeah! give us information like that, as dialogue. The comment about some conflict with Jacquefre is enticing, too.

War against the devourer had seen the Imperium’s Eastern flank greatly weakened. Greedy eyes had seen this weakness; tiny, insignificant empires like the Tau were gaining new worlds via conquest and assimilation. But worst of all were those planets that merely went over to the Xenos, meekly submitting or even seeking the embrace of the alien.

Again, I would cut this completely.

Such treason had to be halted before it spread and the Inquisition had already designated the next world that was planning to go over the so called ‘Greater Good.’

This you could have put in as dialogue.

‘This world, this pitiful little globe we draw towards,’ said Douglas, ‘it keeps us from our return. Were my mind capable of allowing it, I would pity them.’

Yeah! Like that.

Dagon’s ramped lowered with a pneumatic sigh, the interior lighting of the Navy cruiser falling upon 2nd Company’s Command squad. Captain Douglas led the way out, his artificer armor as pitch black as the two handed blade magna-locked to his back.

Umm. I may have missed a break, but weren't they in a strike cruiser looking at the thunderhawks? And Captain Douglas I thought wore the emerald and crimson armour you descried in the first paragraph? EDIT: yes, I see there is something that might be a break that the forum has not formatted very well. I guess my question now is: Why not start the entire scene, and conversation, from within the thunderhawk on its way to the Navy ship?

Around his neck hung the Heart of Vulkan, the adamantine casket heavy on its chain. Mehmet was behind him, the taller Beast’s psychic hood ablaze with warp energy. At their backs was Phineas, the Tech-Marine’s enormous power ax held in both his hands. A half dozen servo arms hissed and snapped at his back, the artificial limbs moving like they had a mind of their own. Each of the officers had doffed their helms, Douglas and Mehmet’s eyes glowed red against their jet skin, while the fleshy portions Phineas showed snowy white.

Nice description, though sort of duplicating things you said earlier.

Douglas took in the launch bay of the Navy ship with a glance. There in the center was the greeting company of the mortals, two dozen officers of the Guard and Navy. The Admiral was easy to discern, a thin man with a grey mustache in a white uniform heavy with gold braid. His knowledge of the many and varied uniforms of the different Guard regiments was not absolute, but he assumed the short, red faced man with the most medals on his green uniform was General Krenas.

And there on the left stood tall figures clad in power armor of White and Gold. They were his brothers in Vulkan, the Sons of Thunder.

Ok. I think I caught up now.

Aside from the good infodumping with dialogue, I think you could have showed more about how Douglas and Mehmet are as people. What are their characters like? I also wanted to see more conflict between... someone. They seemed to agree on everything, which didn't really add any tension to this opening scene.

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