Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

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Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Sat May 07, 2011 12:12 am

The Eclipse


A single illumination globe swung gently in a rotating motion as the sword class frigate ‘Piriam’ was buffeted by yet another psychic wave. Its humble un-intrusive light shifted across the wall, casting parts of the spartan chamber in momentary light. The various surfaces it shone across were unadorned outside of any functional requirement. Against one wall, a wide gunmetal shelf served as a cot & at its base was a battered, but serviceable footlocker, painted black but for two sigils decorating its surface. Crossed Scyhes rendered in yellow sat beside a sacred emblem showing a red rimmed capital ‘I’ in silver, upon its surface was an ever watchful skull backed by crossed bones.

The sigil of the Deathwatch.

Sat atop the foot locker were various items of dubious value & heritage. Brass coins of forgotten denomination, a tattered book of broken red leather binding, faint gold lettering that could only be made out under intense scrutiny; ‘The histories of the Kassilari – Kings of Sotha’ other trinkets included what appeared to be sharp animal-like teeth & an enlarged claw, a small bronze statue of an armoured warrior, a faint picto-graph of a mountainous landscape & a belt buckle showing the crossed scythe sigil once again.

All were meaningless items to any but the sole occupant of the room.

The robed figure, huge by the standard of a normal man was kneeling to the side of the cot, facing an image of the God Emperor that had been worked into a small alcove on the far wall. Over sized muscles framed shoulders & stretched the fabric of the robes across the individual’s back. Even without the armour worn by his kind, the man’s heritage was clear. He was Astartes, One of the Emperor’s Angels of death, a Deathwatch Marine.

Battle brother Artemis Memnon of the Emperor’s Scythes continued his prayers, his head bowed in mediation as he muttered passages of holy text under his breath. Seemingly oblivious to the buffering that interrupted the solemn scene every now & again.

A knock at the heavy metal door behind him pulled the Astartes from his worship.

‘Master Astartes’ said a voice, quiet & respectful.

Memnon raised his head, pulling back the cowl of his robes to show a shaven & scared cranium that sported a number of augmetic enhancements upon its left-hand side.

The glowing red of a mechanical eye sat within a bed of un-aesthetic metal plates, where the natural appendage should’ve been. It whirred & clicked as it found focus, the sounds now a constant reminder of the augmetics presence. The mechanical construct of Memnon’s skull ran along the side of the marine’s head & also incorporated a bulky metallic hearing piece that resembled more a cogitator’s speaker rather then a human ear.

Livid scars surrounded the gun metal augmetics framing his skull in a criss-cross of battle damage. Truly it was a testament to his gene enhanced physicality & to the skills of his Chapter’s Techmarines & Apothecaries that he was alive at all.

The right side of Memnon’s face was free of the augmetics that encompassed his left, yet it unmistakably belonged to the same warrior. Three scars ran down this side of the marine’s face, starting above his right eye, running down his cheek, to finally end under his chin, a gift from a Tyranid Lictor, many moons before. Memnon still wore the creature’s claw upon his armour in tribute to his first Tyranid close combat kill. The scars had healed without much medical care & the rough edges now framed his remaining natural eye, which was pale grey & piercing.

‘Master Astartes’ said the nervous voice again after another knock.

Memnon knew that it was Kal Liptol, bumbling apprentice to the Magos Biologis that had been assigned to the Piriam.

The serf could wait.

The dour marine rose slowly, moving over to his locker, taking each of the trinkets upon its lid & placing them within, his huge hands turning them gently as if their very touch was sacred. Closing the lid, Memnon turned to look at his battle plate as it stood silent sentinel in one corner of the small room. He crossed over & ran his hand gently across the painted yellow scythe sported upon the right pauldron, a common habit that he always played out whenever he left without his armour.

Outside the door the serf shifted nervously from one foot to the next, unsure how to proceed, he raised his hand to knock once again. However, this time the door opened staying his sweating hand in mid air. The shadow of a giant stood opposite. An annoyed look from the Marine told the serf that a third knock would’ve been unwise.

Liptol took a reluctant step backwards, the movement all the more noticeable for the click & clatter of the servos powering his artificial leg.

Memnon acknowledged the man with a nod:

‘I take it the Magos is ready for another sitting?’

Liptol muttered a reply, which Memnon took as affirmation. He had neither the time nor inclination to ask for clarification & instead beckoned the serf to lead him on. Menials & crew men went about their business, bowing their heads as the Marine passed by, but paying no further heed to Memnon’s presence. Dim red lighting cast long shadows down the hallways & walkways as they walked in silence, the clunk of Liptol’s mechanical leg the only real sound outside that of the vessel’s constant hum.

Another wave buffeted the ship, knocking the serf off balance & Liptol’s arms came out to cushion his fall. He closed his eyes, but was met by firm grip to his shoulder rather then the cold touch of the metal walkway. The Astartes’ grip was the only thing preventing the man for tumbling to the ground. Liptol regained his balance & nodded his thanks to the marine, who said nothing in reply as he removed his hand. It was an unexpected kindness from the giant warrior.

Taking the Astartes’ assistance as an act of comradeship, the serf started to mumble his way into one-sided conversation as they walked. Memnon let him ramble on, paying little heed to the serf’s words. Despite Memnon’s silence, the apprentice’s confidence began to rise steadily. His words fuelled by the lack of a reprimand from the warrior.

Liptol began to speak about the Piriam in the manner of a museum tour guide. The serf explained, puffing out his chest proudly with barely contained excitement, that the Piriam was by far the quickest sturdiest ship in service to the Deathwatch.

Memnon was unsure how many vessels such a young serf could have served upon in his short life & had the conversation interested him, the marine may have questioned the man’s qualification to compare the Priam with any other vessel, Deathwatch or not. As it was Memnon simply didn’t care.

‘You get used to the bumps’ he continued ‘this ship skips across the waves of the never-sea, like a… a… like a knife through hot butter. Yes, she’s a fast old thing. I talk to the navigator’s serfs in the mess hall from time to time. They say the old girl cuts across the currents of the warp for a faster route, rather then staying in them & going the long way round.’

Memnon mused at the unsophisticated explanation coming from a supposedly technical apprentice & wondered whether the serf was simplifying the details for his own benefit, when another bump & shudder appeared emphasise Liptol’s last point. The serf nodded happily to himself at the well timed example.

Memnon digested the information without conscious effort, outwardly showing little interest in the man’s ramblings. He knew that the Piriam was indeed a fast ship, one of the fastest in the sector according to its schematics, he also knew that the vessel secretly sported stealth technology, that was either of forgotten or Xenos design & that in a fire-fight, she could hold her own against much larger ships. Indeed the small frigate was a marvel of imperial design, but he also knew that the most lethal weapon was contained within.

All of the Piriam’s additional weaponary & modifications had been requisitioned by the Ordos Xenos to ensure one thing; that its gene enhanced cargo of Deathwatch Astartes could be deployed exactly when & where they were required. Normally this devastating weapon consisted of a squad of Deathwatch Marines, their skills & vocations as different to one another as the various chapter markings adorning their right shoulder pauldron. In this instance that weapon was Memnon alone.

That thought however, did not trouble the dour marine in the slightest. Memnon knew he was equal to the mission he had been set.

*****

Magos Biologis Zhenon, was waiting for the marine with an impatient look etched upon his ever frowning face. Not that the Magos frowned in the human sense, his multiple augmetics made biological matter almost non existent above the tech priest’s mouth. The aesthetic cast by the heavy metallic forehead, however, cast a sullen look over the Zhenon’s visage, in a manner that matched his foul humour perfectly.

The apprentice led the towering warrior into the tech chamber, announcing the Astartes’ arrival with an uncomfortable air of pomp & ceremony.

Zhenon gave an involuntary tut, to indicate his annoyance at being kept waiting. Memnon allowed it to pass without comment & moved towards the mechanical-throne in the centre of the room. Taking his seat with rehearsed familiarity & ignoring the Magos Biologis as he continued litanies of sanctification. The ritual was little more then an annoyance to Memnon as it preceded the system programme initiation of each session. The Emperor’s Scythe ignored Zhenon’s mutterings as he reached for the hooded cranium casing that housed the devices’ intrusive hypno-injector plugs.

Memnon closed his eyes as Zhenon finished his sacred litany & the hypno-conditioning began again in earnest with a flash of painful light, crack of static & scent of ozone.

The last three ‘sittings’ as Zhenon called them, had lasted a combined total of 103.24 hours & encompassed detailed files on the Tau language, both written & spoken, including chapters on local dialects from the planet Kan’Sha. Memnon knew that this particular ‘sitting’ covered known aspects of Tau history, traditions & custom. Ahead lay sessions consisting of Tau technology & military doctrine.

The ‘sittings’ themselves, made Memnon sick. Not sick in the way a human would feel following such a scale of information being unceremoniously dumped into their brain. The enhanced psyche of the Astartes mind rendered this after-effect mute. More that he was sickened in the sense that his thoughts had been sullied by the contamination of so much Xenos knowledge. Following the intrusive ‘sittings’ Memnon always returned to his personal chamber to meditate & clear his mind of the foul aftertaste the process left him with.

The dour marine knew that this mission required his mind to be as prepared as his body & so Memnon faced the hypno-conditioning & Zhenon’s foul mood with the grim stoicism that characterised much of his life.
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  z4carlo on Sat May 07, 2011 8:14 am

shaping up as the best yet imo! cant wait for more.
good job mate
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Mon May 09, 2011 7:36 pm

Thanks Carlo,

next part as requested.

Squeezing the trigger of his blessed weapon, Memnon felt the customary kick of his bolter as a suppressed ‘woossh’ resonated from the silenced barrel.

0.32 seconds later he registered the tell-tale ‘Thud…. Boom!’ of a bolt round hitting its target further down the empty cargo hold.

Memnon lowered his Bolter as yet another of the target drones exploded into flaming pieces & his bolt clip clicked to empty. The Astartes flicked the magazine lock with his trigger finger. The empty clip fell to be caught in his left hand, he placed it onto the table before him next to the others. Without taking his eyes from the makeshift firing range, Memnon’s hand moved right to take up a fresh clip & he slammed it home, cocking a round into the chamber in one fluid motion.

The bolter drill continued in that way for many hours. The Scythe’s marksmanship had been honed to a fine art even before his secondment to the Deathwatch. Muscle memory had long since replaced his thought process & his aim now automatically adjusted to environmental factors, atmospheric density, planet curvature, even wind & rain. The drill itself was less to do with practice, then with clearing his mind with a familiar regimen.

Since the hypno-conditioning course had concluded, Memnon couldn’t help but feel somewhat tainted by the amount of Xenos knowledge he now held. As a distraction he filled his time with weapons drill & training exercises, attuning them to fit specific mission details. As the journey wore on, there was no limit to the ways in which Memnon sought to acclimatise himself for the mission.

The temperature of the ship’s training cages had been increased to mirror that of the desert planet that was his ultimate destination.

A cargo hold had been commandeered & crudely converted to resemble to schematics of the target area, using crates & supplies to represent specific buildings & features.

Combat servitors had been re-programmed with Tau battle doctrine, giving an extra edge to live fire exercises & close combat sparing.

Multiple deployment & evacuation drills had been carried out with the bridge crew & drop-pod hanger personnel to ensure their readiness & all round sharpness.

The shipmaster Pax Kruschin, had proven himself more than accommodating to the Memnon’s various demands. A refreshing attitude when compared to the grim Magos Biologis whom surrounded himself with Mechanicum dogma & ritual & appeared to make every effort to come into direct confrontation with the Emperor’s Scythe.

The fact that Zhenon was of significant value to the mission & the Ordos Xenos as a whole, had played a great part in keeping Memnon from using the Magos as a live duelling partner.

Despite all his efforts the dour marine had caught himself thinking & even speaking in tau dialect. Although the instances were few & far between, the fact that the phenomena occurred at all had started to unnerve the stoic Scythe. Zhenon had simply remarked on the limitations of the post human brain & its reliance on biological nodes & synapses, when Memnon had raised the matter with him. Ignoring out-of-hand any possible psychological after affects the hypno-conditioning might have.

Memnon frowned, closing his eyes in an effort to expel the unwelcome thoughts & found his mind returning to his meeting with Watch-Captain Helikaon, prior to his hasty departure onboard the frigate Piriam?

The kill team had just returned from a mission to re-supply a surrounded Imperial Fist Company with much needed munitions, medical stores, replacement vehicle parts & equipment. They had run a gauntlet of Ork, wartrucks, tanks & air power to ensure the over laden mag-train made its destination in one piece. Needless to say each member of the team sported several scars of battle.

Following the subsequent debriefing from Helikaon the marines had returned to their respective quarters onboard the battle barge Agamemnon.

The Emperor’s Scythe looked to his armour, busying himself to fix cracked ceramite plates & dented pauldrons, the left elbow joint would not flex without catching & grit had found its way into the firing mechanism of his Blessed bolter.

The work was slow & menial, yet Memnon looked to it himself rather then burden one the battle barge’s many artificers with the work. This was not intended as a slight at their skills however, rather the work allowed the dour Scythe the peace of his own counsel.

It was here that the Watch Captain found the Emperor’s Scythe as he sat in deep concentration, painting fresh marksman laurels onto the left knee plate of his armour. The honour had been presented by Captain Lysander of the Imperial Fists first company & Memnon took pride in displaying the recognition upon his sacred Armour.

‘It is quite apt, that I find you painting that’ said Helikaon as he entered the marine’s chamber. Memnon made to rise from his makeshift seat upon the metal cot, but the watch captain motioned him not to & instead pulled a metal stool from the corner. Helikaon lowered himself into the seat, the armoured bulk of the veteran captain, caused the stool to creak in protest.

Memnon’s brow furrowed. ‘What is it you require of me sir?’

‘Ha! Straight to the point, as usual. Well… I have another mission for you, Scythe of the Emperor. This one comes right from the top, even had vermillion ciphers that took over two hours to decode.’

Memnon lowered the half painted knee plate & placed it onto the oil, grease & paint stained towel beside him. The Watch Captain had his attention.

‘What would you have us do sir?’ The dour marine asked levelly.

The Captain smiled again at the Scythe’s manner & passed Memnon the data slate he’d been holding. Memnon took it & began to scan the particulars.

‘Not ‘us’ Bother Memnon, you’

The Emperor’s Scythe looked up & caught his commander’s eye.

‘With all due respect sir, this is an assassination mission. I’m a Space Marine & not exactly noted for my subtlety. Wouldn’t it be more prudent to assign this task to an agent of the Officio Assassinorum?’

Helikaon nodded & took a deep breath in through his nose. A trait Memnon knew well, The Captain was digesting the marine’s words & thinking carefully about his own before replying.

‘The target’ he said finally ‘is one Aun’Tan, known by the Tau as ‘the Eclipse’. He is a Tau Ethereal no less & one that has been preaching across the length & breadth of their empire, with inflammatory rhetoric. Stirring up anti-Imperial fervour whether-ever he treads, gathering whole worlds behind his design. Aun’Tan has been calling for a holy crusade against us. Do you understand what that means?’

‘Yes Brother Captain.’ replied Memnon gravely, ‘I fought the Tau, back when I was a Neophyte. They consider the Ethereal as living gods. They even worship them as such. If this Aun’Tan has been advocating a crusade, then I would suspect that one is imminent.’

‘Exactly!’ replied Helikaon with a grim smile. The glint in his eye told of a lifetime of warfare & recognition of a future that offered more of the same. Memnon cut him off before he spoke again.

‘My question still stands unanswered Sir.’ The Scythe did not speak out of disrespect, but rather stated the fact as it was ‘Why not dispatch imperial agents better suited to the task?’

‘Indeed’ The Captain said unsurprised at the direct nature of Memnon’s words.

‘The inquisition didn’t elaborate on that. You were requested for this by name & I have every confidence that you are equal to it. However, if you want my personal opinion? I believe that the powers that be desire more than just having this threat to be removed.

A Vindicare, for example would be like a needle through the heart of the matter. A single shot, clean, silent, subtle, there & then gone, a ghost.

You Brother Memnon, are a sledge hammer, a weapon of blunt clarity.

The execution of the mission remains the same, Aun’Tan needs to die, quickly. Hence choosing a marksmen over a whole kill team. However, I believe in choosing you for this task, the Ordos Xenos want turmoil to be left in the wake of the deed & A clear message telling the Tau that; a crusade against the heart of the Imperium will only end one way…’

‘…with their destruction’ Memnon smiled, accepting the officer’s answer.

Helikaon nodded.

‘Very well, when do I leave?’


******

The vox bead chimed once in the Marine’s ear & Memnon shifted his weight left leaving an apparent opening in his guard. The combat servitor capitalised upon it, following its combat programming perfectly, just as he knew it would. The strike came in a quick thrusting motion only made possible by the extra joints that made up its mechanical mandible. Memnon finished his sparing exercise quickly, spinning outside of his opponent’s strike & into a counter, cleaving the servitor’s head from its bionic shoulders with an upper reverse sweep of his blade.

The servitor powered down & the Emperor’s scythe opened his vox channel, reaching for a towel hanging behind him on the sparing cage wall.

‘Go ahead’ He said, wiping the sweat from his brow.

‘Master Astartes’ the Ship Masters voice came through clearly ‘we have reached the Tau Khan Sha system & will reach orbit around the second planet within the hour.’

‘Very well. Have our long range scanners identified any naval threat in the area?’

‘Only at the edge of the system sir, it seems that the holo-shield masked our approach. The Tau vessels remain dispersed.’

‘Excellent Captain, notify me again once we reach orbit above the target area. I will make my descent then’

Memnon cut the vox link before hearing the Ship Master’s confirmation, he was confident in the man’s ability & did not need to hear the affirmation he knew was coming. For all his decades of combat experience, the dour Scythe still lacked the subtleties of interacting with mortal personnel.

He looked down the length of his re-forged combat bade, checking its edge for any imperfection. There was none & he rotated the heavy blade with a twist of his wrist.

‘Next!’ he called & a combat servitor to his right lifted its head with a hiss of hydraulics, the red lights of its ocular units flashed as the unit registered a target lock. The blades attached to each of its for-arms started to spin & weave as two pairs of mechanical legs powered the agile unit forward.
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Rob on Mon May 09, 2011 10:09 pm

Truley awsome. Cant you write anyfaster?!

Im looking forwards to see how this panns out and i know what happnes!

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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Tue May 10, 2011 12:17 am

Cheers rob,

Done absolutely nowt at work today, but have another installement to show for it... enjoy.

An ever moving wasteland surrounded the striking hub of Tau civilisation that reached eagerly into the night sky. ‘Providence city’, governed the planet of Khan’Sha & was truly a thing of alien beauty. The tranquil population centre was unlike any found upon the surface of an Imperial world. Despite being home to a population in the tens of millions, the city boasted large expanses of greenery, parkland & recreational spaces. That balanced the surrounding buildings rather then competing with them.

The towering structures were un-intrusive, owning the space they had been built on, but fitting precisely into the larger plan of the settlement. Providence exuded an air of calm that mirrored the temperament of a civilisation geared towards the principle of the greater good.

It was a dark night, one that was typical of the desert planet. The stillness remained unbroken by those that wondered the wide boulevards going about the business in peace.

Cor’Shian walked slowly across the lawns of the Solace Park, as he had done many evenings following the day training as a Fire-warrior. The drilling had been stepped up in preparation for the coming rally & the Tau’s armour weighed heavily upon his aching shoulders. Ahead loomed the towering residential block that was his home & he was eager to spend a relaxed night with his beloved life-mate Cor’Tamina.

The Tau fire warrior gazed at the stars as he walked, tracking distant systems he would probably never have seen. In all likelihood the Fire warrior would’ve played out his entire life upon Khan’Sha, raised a family in the suburbs of Providence, grown old amongst the tree lined streets with the warmth of the Khan’Sha sun forever upon his face.

All that was changing, however for the Eclipse was coming to Providence. With the Ethereal came the inspiration to spread the message of the greater good throughout the stars. Bringing light to the darkest reaches of space & uniting them under the word of the Tau Empire. This crusade would start with the brutal human Imperium & spread beyond until the whole galaxy lived together in harmony.

This was the future his kind deserved, his sacrifice would mean his children’s children could be raised in peace. Cor’Shian would see the stars. He would give his life to the greater good & Aun’Tan’s grand crusade.

The stars shone & for the first time they were within his reach, Cor’Shain smiled as a streak of light crossed the sky above. A falling star, a gift from the Ethereal home in the heavens, a good omen.

******

Memnon’s drop pod crashed heavily into the ground, throwing up a cloud of sand as it impacted into the dune sea. The Scythe rocked against his harness & gave a grunt of annoyance. Zhenon, had played with the pods break-thrust trigger system. The idea being that the pod would break at the last possible second, below the cover of any tau scanners in the area. To land unnoticed in the wasteland.

The drop pod would appear as a meteor or falling space debris & hopefully raise no alarm. The thrusters had fired late, too late by the veteran’s estimation. Memnon thanked his armour’s machine spirit for its protection & with his next breath he cursed Zhenon’s tinkering. Memnon thumbed the harness release & stood, collecting his bolter from its stowage & securing the rest of his equipment in his webbing & pack.

As the drop-pod opened, Memnon sent his companion, a scout mark servo-skull, on a wide sweep of the area. The skull’s anti-grav motor fired & launched into a buzzing flight. The Marine blink clicked open the real time feed from the unit. A small screen opening in the corner of one of his eye lenses, the reception was clear, which in Memnon’s experience was a blessing. He’d always found servo skulls temperamental at the best of times.

The Astartes, ran though his mission protocol securing a drop-pod site. Pulling a camouflage tarpaulin across the vessel & programming a sentry sweep of the pod’s mounted storm bolter to target anything within ten feet. Finally Memnon confirmed, that despite the heaving landing, the modified pod could still re-launch itself for his extraction, being of unique design provided to the Ordos Xenos by the Mechanicum only a few centuries before. The Astartes sent a coded vox burst confirming his status to the Piriam in its cloaked orbit of the planet, to ensure the vessel would be in position to collect the pod once it escaped the planet’s orbit.

Cresting the dune to his north Memnon could see the lights of civilian transports & drones in the dark as they flittered amongst the towering buildings in the distance. The marine pulled his camo-cloak from his pack & secured it around his shoulders. With a final look back towards his drop pod, Memnon moved off at a steady pace, blink clicking new instructions to the Servo-skull, which now circled the marine in a mile wide radius as he advanced.

The going was tough & explained the lack of any Tau settlements beyond the city boundaries. Every step resulted in Memnon’s heavily armoured feet disappearing into the fine sand. Not that this bothered the Astartes, his physiology more then a match for inhospitable the terrain.

Three hours had passed & the tall towers of the Tau city had finally started to come into a clearer view though the night sights in Memnon’s helmet. Lights still fluttered around the building, but their concentration had diminished significantly. The Scythe checked the chrono reading displayed to the left hand side of his lens & was able to confirm details of his hypno-conditioning session on Tau culture. The early hours corresponded directly to the Tau rest period. This was an odd phenomena, most Imperial cities of similar size were in constant flux. One shift was replaced by the next in a continuous pattern of work & production.

The Tau seemed so… balanced.

Less then a hour later, Memnon crouched with his bolter raised. The servo-skull had stopped dead in its tracks. The Marine opened up the visual display provided by the skull’s optic link, so that it dominated a full side of his display. The route ahead was clear. Yet the scroll of technical readings showed that the path way ahead was blocked.

‘Obstruction’ the rune flashed across his sight.

‘Typical’ mumbled the dour scythe, presuming a servo-skull malfunction.

He sent a command burst urging the skull to resume its course. It refused, the rune indicating an obstruction flashed onto his screen again.

The optic feed remained clear.

Memnon frowned & half considered leaving the useless thing where it was, when the slightest shimmer of something showed on the optic feed out. There, then gone, a faint mirror of the skulls reflection. Was the optic feed failing along with the unit’s sensor?

Something nagged at Memnon’s senses & he decided to alter his course north-north west towards the Servo skulls location. He kept low now, as he advanced, his combat training taking over.

It took less then four minutes to close the mile between himself the scout unit. Memnon’s bolter constantly scanned the horizon as he moved. The scythe crested another dune, lowering himself on to his stomach as he did so.

The skull hovered alone in the depression before him. Apart from the shifting sea of sand, the marine was the only other feature in the vicinity. Memnon issued another vox burst:

‘Resume course’

‘…. Negative… Obstruction!’ The icons flashed again across his screen.

‘bloody thing.’ He muttered, rising from his crouch. ‘I’ll have to call you Haakon! You seem to listen about as much as that damned Fenrisian!’

Indeed, this was exactly the type of stubborn disobedience his Spacewolf battle brother had shown in the missions to date. Memnon closed the distance, his bolter still ready in his grip, but the muzzle was lowered. Reaching the temperamental unit the Marine wafted his hand in front of the skull’s mechanical eye lens & saw it clearly through the live optic feed linked to his helmet.

‘Resume course!’

‘…. Negative… Obstruction!’

Annoyed now, Memnon grabbed the skull & threw it forward.

‘Resu…’

The words died in the marine’s mouth as the skull disappeared only a metre from his grasp, vanishing into thin air. A metallic clunk indicated the unit had hit something that his own vision said wasn’t there.

Static interference filled the optic feed from the skull.

The bolter was upright now & the Scythe had crouched into a ready stance. Nothing happened for several seconds before the Astartes stepped forward & the tip of his bolter disappeared, Memnon froze again looking around him. He was alone still.

Slowly Memnon’s left hand came away from the stock of his bolter & the marine slowly reached forward. His fingers followed suit disappearing into nothingness. He withdrew them, they felt no different. Memnon had experienced witchcraft many times before & knew that this wasn’t an example. No scent of ozone, no frosting of his fingers. This was something else.

Memnon found himself thinking of the Piriam in orbit protected from unwelcome eyes by its holo-shields.

This made his mind up & the Scythe gritted his teeth moving forwards. Stepping though the invisible shield Memnon came face to face with an object not dissimilar to his own drop pod. At his feet lay the servo-skull a hair-line crack running from its crown to its mechanical lenses. The Marine ignored it for the moment leading onwards with his weapon.

A quick sweep of the perimeter confirmed that it was an orbital insertion & recovery pod, designed for deployment & fitted with its own set of thrusters for extraction. The make up was very similar to the Drop pod Memnon had just deployed from. Already the implications of this find played within Memnon’s head.

The drop pod was open, its hatches deployed like the petals of a metallic flower. It was an unadorned black & contained but a single harness, yet the size was much smaller than Memnon’s.

The pod was apparently empty, its occupant long gone.

Returning to the servo-skull Memnon lifted it & scanned the damage, it seemed superficial, so he ran through a system re-cycle, offering a prayer of thanks to Zhenon’s machine god that the foul tempered Tech priest had made a decent effort when selecting a suitable scout unit. The skull powered up successfully.

‘well done, Haakon’ said Memnon dryly as the anti-grav motor kicked in again.

‘Perimeter patrol. 200 meter arch.’

‘Confirmed’ the rune flashed up & the skull began its programmed duty once again, seemingly oblivious to the damage the dour marine had just done to it.

Turning back to the pod, he entered the interior, scanning for the tell tale signs of origin. Checking for a manufacture code, normally located under the main cogitator, under the harness or inside the medi-care locker, he found that all had been scrapped clear. The storage bays were also empty, the cogitator was locked down with some kind of complex Imperial cipher. A single glance told the marine it was beyond his ability to break. That was telling in itself.

Combined with the extremely rare cloaking technology that masked the pod, Memnon was sure of further Inquisitional involvement. Helikaon’s briefing played through his head again. His own question in particular;

‘Wouldn’t it be more prudent to assign this task to an agent of the Officio Assassinorum?’

Beneath his helmet, a knowing smile spread across the Marine’s battle-scared face. The inquisition was far from being a homogeneous organisation. Different Ordos often pulled in opposite directions, even Inquisitor’s of the same stripe hid their work from each other. It wouldn’t be the first time two Inquisitors had decided upon different methods to achieve the same result, oblivious to the actions of the other.

Memnon pulled a stick of chalk from his survival pack & scrolled a short note upon the ceramite plating beside the cogitator. His hand reached up & pulled something small from a chain on his shoulder pauldron & left it hanging beside his message.

Without any further delay, the Marine secured his equipment & left the area heading towards the Tau settlement & his objective.
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  chrispcarter on Tue May 10, 2011 10:00 pm

"To Assassin,
O HAI! Memnon hear. Good luck and junk!
BAI!"

Razz

Good writing though mate, get the next bit done, the Emperor of Catkind demands it.
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  z4carlo on Tue May 10, 2011 10:39 pm

Yeah this is brilliant, who needs to work? keep going, we want more! Smile
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  R.I.K on Tue May 10, 2011 10:41 pm

chrispcarter wrote:the Emperor of Catkind demands it.

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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Wed May 11, 2011 4:57 am

chrispcarter wrote:"To Assassin,
O HAI! Memnon hear. Good luck and junk!
BAI!"

not a million miles from the truth ;-)
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Wed May 11, 2011 9:57 pm

Guess I'm on a roll. Enjoy.

A gathering of Tau youths sat illuminated by street lighting, congregated around a small transport shelter, jovial voices raised in laughter. One of the group, stood before his peers, his voice elevated above the others, his arms waving to further emphasize part of a tale that held the others captivated. The alien’s words were somewhat unclear, distorted from the written & recorded dialect by a kind of colloquial slang.

Memnon pulled his eye from his bolter scope. The scene triggered memories of his own past as a child upon the streets of forgotten Sotha. The thought left a foul taste in his mouth, these were xenos & were not to be humanised. The Emperor’s Scythe offered another curse to Zhenon, convinced that the hypno-conditioning had done this to him. The long sessions with the magos had made him overly understanding of the Tau & this was bordering dangerously close to being accepting of the Alien. The Marine started to repeat the mantra of the Ordos-Xenos emblazoned upon his left shoulder pauldron.

‘Suffer not the Alien to live’ the words contained within the confines of his helmet, gave him focus.

Checking that his camo cloak still covered his huge bulk, the Marine advanced further through the Suburbs of Providence, heading for his target location around Solace Park. He stuck to the opposite side of the road to the group, allowing the darkness of the desert night to hide him. As he passed opposite the transport hub, one of the group lifted its head as if sensing something through the gloom. Memnon paused raising his silenced Boltgun in practiced readiness.

‘What is it?’ asked one of the others, seeing its companion’s distraction.

‘Can you hear that?’

Memnon was suddenly conscious of the dull hum of his power armour & was concerned that it had betrayed him. He made ready, about to engage the youths. ‘No chances’ he mouthed within his helmet.

At that moment, a wide based skimmer turned a corner further down the street, & headed towards him. It appeared to be some kind a public transporter, its open top showing about forty seats. Most were empty, but a number of figures could be made out; A couple embracing each other, an older Tau reading some kind of text screen, another apparently asleep.

Civilian’s just going about their business. The marine crouched lower, ensuring that the lights from the transport would not reveal him.

Memnon let the scene play out from his prone position & the skimmer came closer. Just then the same Tau youth suddenly jumped up from his seat & had the Scythe been an untested Neophyte he might have fired in reaction to it. As it was the scythe watched on motionless, confirming the priority of his targets should his hand be forced into violence.

‘I told you I heard something, here it is!’ called the youth to the others, making ready to board the transport as it closed.

‘About time’ another replied following suit.

Memnon allowed the group to board & leave, waiting for a few moments for the coast to clear. According to his chronometer he had about two hours until the planets sunrise reached this part of Khan’Sha.

He set off again, swiftly, silently towards his objective approximately ten kilometres away. The marine’s detour to investigate the second drop-pod had cost him a little time, perhaps too much. Yet, he was confident, that barring another close call, he would be able the find himself a hideout somewhere on the outskirts of Solace Park, before the sun came up.

******

An uneventful advance brought Memnon to Solace Park as the sun began to rise. A line of light now framed the horizon in all directions, broken only by the tall slender buildings of Providence, which sent long shadows across the surrounding streets. Memnon used these dark spaces to hide his movement as he searched for just the right spot. Though it had been sometime since he’d seen an actual Tau, Memnon was conscious not to draw any unwanted attention to his activity.

Drones flittered around the open expanse of flush greenery before him, following their pre-programmed courses. Drawing from his extensive conditioning Memnon recognised most of them as civilian units & knew they lacked any sort of scanning apparatus with which to identify him as an intruder.

His gaze passed across the park to the buildings opposite & there in the distance he spied what he believe to be a military unit. This drone moved around the perimeter of an installation to the north, oblivious to the Marine’s unwelcome presence beyond the range of its scanners. Memnon blink-clicked this information into his mission log for future reference & made towards a high residential building at the south western corner of the park.

Forcing a service door to the rear of a building, Memnon used the apartment block access staircase for his ascent. He heard muffled voices from around the building as he moved, but was confident that the staircase was an under-used facility, having already peered in through the lobby windows & seeing several rows of what appeared to be elevators.

Encountering nothing, Memnon decided to exit onto the level a few floors below the very top of the building. A fly by of his servo-skull had already confirmed his suspicion that the roof was not an option. It followed standard Tau design in the region & was blocked off from the rest of the building. Maintenance drones located upon the roof would be expected to service the area, rendering Tau access void.

Although his hypno-conditioning had failed to specify the implications that Tau social standings upon their place of habitation within a given construct, Memnon worked on the human premise that those living in the very top levels would be of a higher social standing & therefore their disappearance would be noted sooner. His other concern was that his hideout needed to be of sufficient height that he had an un-obstructed view of the target area. This floor was a happy medium between to two, high enough to see his target, but not so high that it would require neutralising a high standing Tau citizen to do so.

The Marine emerged onto an immaculate landing space, typical of the clean, sparse aesthetic of Tau construction & illuminated by unobtrusive complementary lighting. He moved cautiously as he advanced around the curving hallway, his bolter raised & ready as always. When Memnon was confident he had reached the rooms facing northwards across Solace park, he moved closer to the doors, listening intently at each in turn. He heard what he assumed was a Tau snoring in the first, some kind of music in the second, voices in a number of others, before finally coming to a room with no clear signs of life within.

The Scythe took hold of the delicate handle, which appeared to have been forged from some unknown compound & began to turn it slowly. It clicked after only a small turn. He tried again confirming the portal to be locked. Memnon glanced back down the hall & confirmed he was still alone. The towering Marine turned it again, this time in a sharp, firm motion.

The door lock gave way with a small crack.

He paused, but nothing stirred. Exhaling slightly in relief, Memnon disappeared silently within, his bolter raised before him. A smaller passage way met his gaze, another door a few feet to his front, a second to his immediate left. He closed the door behind him sealing him within.

A tired sigh came from the door to his left & Memnon pivoted in the next moment, his enhanced bulk only just missing the sides of the small hallway as he turned. He thumbed the single shot selector on his bolter & readied the silence weapon. Three seconds passed, though they felt more like thirty.

Another yawn, then the sound of running water.

Some kind of bathroom he surmised. Memnon decided to leave the occupant to his business advancing silently into the room beyond. A large open-space met him, windows stretching the length of the far wall, covered by an alien looking blind of multiple pastel coloured fabrics.

To the left of the wide room was what he assumed to be some kind of kitchen unit, the centre was a living space of cushions & low tables & what he assumed was Xenos artwork: pictographs, paintings & statues. To the right was a wide bed, with ruffled bedding strewn across it in a heap. Memnon moved to the right & saw another doorway facing the windows, it was open.

Clothing littered the space beyond; exotic & alien, small & far too thin. His eyes moving in practiced fashion as he looked across shoes, dresses, combat fatigues, scarf’s… Memnon looked back to the Tau combat fatigues & realised that they covered a large xeno-crafted box.

The Deathwatch Marine listened intently for a moment, but the sound of running water could still be heard from the first room. He crept into the clothing room & lifted the fatigues with the barrel of his bolter, before flicking them aside.

He knelt & lifted the lid of the stylised box. The armour of a Tau fire warrior met his gaze, beside it a pulse rifle. Checking the weapon, Memnon realised it was missing its power supply, rendering it useless. The Space Marine closed the lid softly & backed out of the room, content that it was secure.

In that moment the sound of running water stopped & Memnon turned sharply. He heard the Tau clearly for the first time, a male. He was humming a melody.

Memnon moved back across the open room to stand on the other-side of the entrance way, beside the kitchen. Surmising that the Tau would head to the dressing area following what he assumed was a morning shower. Memnon allowed his bolter to fall away on its strap & mag-locked it to his armour.

The Tau emerged moments later, his silent foot falls padding upon the crisp carpet, naked except for the lone cloth that saved the creatures’ modesty. It yawned closing its eyes & heading for the bed with all the confidence of habit.

Memnon moved in a flash to grapple with the male, while he was distracted.

His left arm clamped across the Tau’s torso in a vicelike grip that rendered any struggle impossible, the enhanced Astartes strength too much for the slight alien male. The Towering Marines right hand had moved in synchrony with the left & now held the Tau’s throat. Memnon felt the Tau waver on the edge of consciousness. His grip finding the blood vessels & windpipe in an instant, Memnon mused that perhaps Zhenon’s hypno-conditioning had been of some value after all.

‘Who are you?’ Memnon spoke in the Tau dialect for the fist time, the words coming across metallic when emitted from the speakers in his helmet. They left a bitter in his mouth. He loosened his fingers ever so slightly, allowing the male to respond.

‘… who… w… what… are you?’ it rasped back, struggling for breath.

Memnon clamped his fingers again in response, constricting its breath, making it falter & weaken for a moment.

‘You will answer my question’s Tau’ Memnon replied ‘Who are you?’

He was about to loosen his grip again, when movement within the strewn bed clothes caught his eye. The bedding fell away slowly to reveal a Tau female rising into a sitting position. She yawned stretching her neck in a rotating motion, her eyes where closed.

Memnon clamped his hand down on the male’s neck & felt the creature fall slackly into unconsciousness. He was already moving as the female’s eye opened. They widened instantly in shock, seeing her mate slumped in one corner & a towering alien monstrosity bounding across the room towards her. It was an image borne of her deepest fears, massive & wrong, armoured head to toe in sharp metal plates, painted crudely in black.

Had hell come for her?

Her eyes closed again as she drew in a breath to scream, her mouth widening, but no sound came out. Memnon swung a fist at her, rather harder then he had wished or needed too. The Tau female clattered to the floor a bloody ruin.

‘Tau whore’ muttered Memnon within his helmet, ‘don’t you things make a noise while you sleep?’

The Emperor’s Scythe cursed himself for his lax reconnaissance & allowing the female to surprise him. He’d thought the crumpled bed clothes, too shallow to contain even a tau child, while her breathing hadn’t even registered in his enhanced hearing. Now he knew better, he would not make such a mistake again.

With the room now secured Memnon, tied his unconscious captives up, checking them for vital signs as he did so. Both were alive, yet the female was in a worse state then the male. The Marine toyed with simply ending them there & then, but decided against it. They might have useful information, plus the male was a soldier, his absence might well be noticed. The Astartes sent a vox burst calling back the Servo-skull, which entered the room though an open window.

Slinging his survival pack & webbing into one corner Memnon settled into position behind the blinds. He would remain there unmoving throughout the following day, like a metal statue, set to watch over Solace park intently.

For all the Marine’s apparent inaction his mind never stopped, blink clicking anything considered relevant into his mission log. Patrol patterns of Tau civil enforcement officers, The drilling of Fire-warriors around the complex he had spotted the military drone patrolling earlier that morning, The construction of what appeared to be a podium in the centre of the park, The patterns of drones & vehicles as they move to & through. After several hours of just watching Memnon decided that the following night would see his first recon of the target area.

He checked his mission chronometer within his optic readout as it continued its descent closer to zero hour. According to the Helikaon’s intelligence, the Marine had just over five days Khan’Sha time, until the Eclipse arrived in providence. This was equivalent to just less than three & a half days standard.

Memnon smiled, the hunter was confident that he would be ready to strike his prey down & end the Xenos crusade before it even started.
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Thu May 12, 2011 9:05 pm

Part 5



That Evening the darkness came quickly to Providence City invading as it always did from the east. With it came the expected lull in Tau activity around Solace Park. Memnon continued to watch for several hours, before making his move.

His captives had awoken during the day, the male first. Its alien eyes betraying barely controlled rage when it saw the condition of its mate. The female came too a few hours later, whimpering through its gag. Memnon paid them no heed, statuesque within his armour.

Finally The Astartes turned his head to regard the Tau. They both flinched at the sudden movement that had come unexpectedly after many hours of inactivity. Memnon waited several moments before he spoke to them, the Tau language coming again in synthetic tones when emitted from his helmet resulted in a second flinch.

‘I will be gone for a short while Tau’

He noticed an emotion play over the males face & recognised it as hope. The Marine gestured to the servo-skull that hovered facing the two captives.

‘This is my pet’ two sets of alien eyes turned to regard the skull. ‘I see everything that it sees. It would be unwise to consider escape. For I will return suddenly & you will both die… painfully’

Memnon did not know how well the threat translated into Tau, this was the most he had ever uttered in one sentence. However the look in their alien eyes told the Marine that the gist of his message had been understood.

Collecting his silenced Bolter & a number of demo charges, the marine exited without further word. He watched the live feed from the servo skull intently as he descended the staircase. After some moment of inaction the Tau male moved closer to its mate. Gesturing back to the clothing room, it was clearly suggesting something in relation to its weaponry, which made the female shake its head in fear. Memnon sent a vox burst ordering the servo skull to advance one metre towards the pair, then opened up a direct channel.

‘I am still watching you’

The male sat bolt upright, voiding himself through fear in the process, The female collapsed into a defeated heap sobbing uncontrollably. From what Memnon now knew of the Tau psyche, he was confident he would have now further problems.

The black clad marine reached the sliding service doorway he’d used to gain access to the building & found it has been repaired, as new. He considered breaking the lock again, however that was an idea he wasn’t fond of , too many break ins would likely draw unwanted attention at some stage.

It was then that Memnon noticed what appeared to be a key rack within a clear cabinet to his left. He translated an instruction engraved into the glass.

** Maintenance access key-card –Block 772 – Solace Gardens – Providence **

How very alien, thought Memnon to have spare key cards with no security to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands. He thought for a moment & wondered whether the Tau knew of such things as theft or whether that concept was as alien to them as they were to him. The Scythe grunted such thoughts away.

‘Attempt not to understand the Alien
That path leads only to damnation’

Memnon opened the cabinet; it seemed so delicate in his iron hand & he made an assured effort not to break it. He took a key turning it over in his hand before scanning it across a Tau icon upon the door. It opened with a hiss, its damaged motor apparently replaced in full.

‘Efficient little creatures’ Memnon mused as he exited into the gloom of the desert night.

The next few hours passed quickly as the marine circumnavigated the park. His reconnaissance of the area took in the various approaches, surrounding buildings, military presence & the podium construction that had continued at significant pace all that day. Memnon calculated the crowd capacity of the area & his conclusion reached to the hundreds of thousands & his knowledge of Tau culture told him that a speech from an Ethereal would certainly draw a capacity audience.

Content that he now had a significant knowledge of his target area Memnon continued with the next part of his mission. He move to a position to the southwest of the park, approximately half way between the podium & his building. The Astartes then moved in a west to east circumference that mirrored the curved edge of the park. Every hundred or so paces he stopped to dig a hole in the turf. He was careful not to ruin the aesthetic of the park by leaving telltale patches of earth where he had dug. The turf was peeled back first & put to one side as he dug down about three feet. Once he reached the desired depth a small device was paced into each hole before it was refilled.

In total around six such holes had been dug in a semi-circle, three on each side of the main procession way that led to the podium. Memnon now found him self directly south of the military building that sat within the north eastern quarter of the park. From his new vantage point, Memnon could make out a heavy railgun turret mounted upon the roof of the building. Its silhouette had only become apparent from the ground level & the Astartes was glad he had had enough time to scout the area properly. Looking back to his sniper nest in the apartment building, the marine confirmed his suspicion that this weapon provided a significant threat to his position. He turned back & lying prone watched the patrolling drone for some time learning its route to the letter.

The drone was second perfect, passing Memnon’s focal point every 32.6 seconds. Taking into account the range of any scanning equipment upon such a device the marine knew he had a window of perhaps 9 seconds to get in, perform his task & get out.

The drone passed by again & Memnon was in motion as soon as it had gone, his power armour lending extra strength to the pounding of his preternatural legs. He crossed the open ground within 3.6 seconds & without slowing bounded over a sloping wall in one step & onto a low roof with his next, before jumping with all his might to grasp the ledge of the turret turntable.

His outstretched fingers, secured a grip & his biceps contacted in the next moment lifting the hulking space marine onto the roof. Still crouching he scanned the area, confirming that his dash had gone un-noticed & drew a device from his pouch, placing beneath a padded seat to the side of the railgun.

5.9 seconds had passed as Memnon turned & launched himself from the roof, clearing the lower part of the construction & wall altogether to land of the turf beyond. He rolled with the landing & came up directly into his run, his legs powering him back to a safe distance.

He slid to a halt under a low tree & turned just in time to see the drone turn the corner of the construct, its scanners now in range or where the marine had just stood. It continued its route & closed to the focal point precisely on 32.6 seconds, carrying on for the next few seconds as before.

Memnon cursed under his breath as the drone stopped.

This was the first time he had seen it do so since the mission had begun. The thing rotated slowly 360 degrees & the marine scanned his route back to the gun emplacement. His silenced bolter was already in his hands.

Had the thing detected the foreign body he had placed under the seat?

Completing its slow rotation, the drone set off again to follow the same pre-programmed route of its patrol. Just then, two further drones came into view from the east. For a second Memnon thought that they were more military units called into track him down.

Had his cover been blown?

The shapes resolved themselves into focus & Memnon sighed, his enhanced knowledge of tau technology told him they were nothing more than maintenance droids, of some ground-keeping specification. They moved to where the marine had landed & for the first time he saw the gauged up turf, where his tumbling armour had broken the surface. The first drone cleared the marked turf swiftly replacing the broken piece with a fresh patch that the second produced from an internal hold. It was all completed by the time the security droid passed by again.

Memnon smiled reflecting upon what had come to pass, it appeared that Tau efficiency & droid protocol would end up costing them one of their gods.

‘Xenos’ he spat before disappearing back into the gloom.
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  chrispcarter on Fri May 13, 2011 10:03 pm

Suffer not the alien to garden.

Good work again mate, be good to see Memnon's work come to fruition... but of course as we know, no plan survives contact with the enemy...
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  z4carlo on Sat May 14, 2011 6:24 am

This story is epic mate, allways looking forward to the next instalment
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Wed May 18, 2011 1:35 am


Darkness, always Darkness.

The smell was like that of rotten meat mixed with disease & excrement. It was everywhere, the foulest thing he’d ever smelt. It was the smell of an entire world being digested in the bowls of the massive beast.

The marine tapped the front of his mark IIV helmet in frustration with an armoured finger. The filter systems of his battered armour had needed replacing months ago. He continued his inglorious struggle in silence, his futile attempts to keep the all consuming stench out of his suits internal air supply was a mirror of his Chapters failure to save their home world. The young Astartes coughed up a globule of phlegm. Even his enhanced physic was starting to struggle with the intensity of his surroundings. Having nowhere to spit, he gulped the foulness back down.

Memnon panned left & right with his bolt gun, knowing he had but half a clip of ammunition remaining.

Nothing.

The Xenos had disappeared as suddenly as they had arrived.

‘Tactical spacing’ Captain Cassios’ reassuring & self confident voice came over the vox, as the marines advanced through the cavernous space. The unit responded immediately by adjusting their cohesion in the gloom. ‘keep your eyes open & weapons ready. Mark your targets, conserve your ammunition’

‘What ammunition… sir?’ Hector’s harsh voice came across the squad frequency, bathed in static. Memnon looked to his right, & could see the veteran no more than twenty metres away. The bio matter of the damned ship played merry hell with their electronics at the best of times. The vox network had always appeared most susceptible, but for some unknown reason the effects had increased significantly over the last few weeks.

‘I’ve been out of ammunition for three weeks now!’ Hector concluded, to no one in particular. Most of the survivors had less then a clip worth of ammunition for their primary weapons. Hector now sported a Tyranid Talon fused to the end of a metal pole he’d salvage from the assault boat wreckage. The makeshift weapon a crude mirror of the power Scythe the Heroic captain carried.

Memnon’s attention had been drawn from the veteran’s words by something in the distance. A glint in the darkness had caught his eye for the slightest of moments. The instant was so brief that his helmets sensors had shown nothing on the target lock display. Months of survival had taught the marine not to dismiss even fleeting signs Tyranid presence. He battle signed to the Captain & the squad adjusted the angle of its advance with practiced precision.

‘Save your bellyaching old man & keep your focus. They’re still in here… somewhere’

Memnon continued onwards, ever watchful, moving slightly ahead of the other Astartes as they made to cover him with supporting fields of fire.

That morning the Xenos had come upon the makeshift Astartes camp with little warning. Three Sothan born had died in the assault & only twelve warriors now remained of Captain Cassios’ original forty. A year within the bowls of a Tyranid Bio ship had taken its toll on the Emperor’s Scythes, claiming almost thirty of them.

Their initial deployment had of course accounted for the most losses, with more Astartes falling as the days turned into weeks & weeks turned into months. Yet as the months rolled ever onwards the ever decreasing number of marines had eventually stagnated. The Scythes having grown more acclimatised to the living ship & its numerous threats. They were increasingly able to read the signs of approaching broods, to use the pheromones of larger creatures to ensure lesser ones kept their distance. Their reactions balanced forever on a knife edge became slowly attuned to survival & all that that entailed.

The recent losses however had caused morale to crash suddenly. Cassios hadn’t lost a soul in over three months, but something had seemed to change within the ship. The Tyranids had become suddenly more active, more aggressive. The marines couldn’t help but notice that there were more of them roaming the once empty depths of the ship. The groups were ever larger, more aggravated & their very stench had grown.


The squad converged upon the point Memnon had motioned to. A large expanse of liquid met the vanguard of Marines, yellow vapour lifting from the surface.

Alcibiades, an assault marine, who’d lost his helmet many months before, bent forwards as he closed in. He began to retch, his body desperate to clear his empty stomach of what little remained within. This was the source of that incessant stench. He backed away rubbing the stink from his watering eyes.

Cassios knelt at the edge of the pool, protected from the worst of his fumes by his sealed armour. His fingers lightly touched the surface & he was instantly rewarded with a sizzle & hiss as the ceramite of his gauntlet came into contact with an acidic liquid. He withdrew it, holding his hand before him is if inspecting the reaction of the acid against his armour. Black armour paint came away as he rubbed his fingers together.

‘A digestion pool?’ Commented Memnon.

He was answered by a solemn nod from the commander.

‘Indeed, young brother Memnon, I think that this is where the Tyranid bring raw bio matter to be digested by the hive.’

‘Sir’ Hector approached the commander from his right, ‘Myself, Priam & Alcibiades performed a sweep of this area only two weeks ago. There were no such pools at that time. This is a new feature’

‘Yes… it would appear that the Tyranid have found another world to plunder. I fear that this ship is gearing up to receive that bounty.’

‘That would explain why, they’ve become so much more aggressive in recent days’ added Hector over the vox following the Captains reasoning to its logical conclusion.

The captain was about to rely with his confirmation, when a shrill pain-wracked scream burst over the vox. Brother Lysandt, a plasma gunner before his weapon had become spent, pitch forward into the digestion pool. A writhing alien form latched across him, too many arms grappled with him, talons slicing downwards teeth clamping into his helm. Acid hissed & bubbled intensely as the combat continued in the melting acid waters.

‘Contact!’ the call from Brother Priam further down the line. The unmistakeable bark of a bolter framed his words, as his more gunfire exploded in the distance.

Memnon turned to cover the Captain as he bounded knee deep into the pool, his power scythe sparking to life as the digestive acids ate into the hero’s legs.

A target rune flashed momentarily onto Memnon’s lens & he snapped off a bolter round in reaction. The Tyranids didn’t resolve clearly when they emerged from their surroundings. The bio ship shared the same genetic markings as its brood & this played havoc with a target lock. The young marine however, had grown used to trusting his instincts & was met with an alien wail as the bolt round found its mark, bursting a Tyranid torso from within.

Other alien forms advanced from the edge of his vision.

More gunfire & sounds of battle ushered forth as a wave of Hormagaunts concentrated to crash into the broken line of marines. Memnon fired three more bolts from his blessed bolter each finding its mark & exploding great holes amongst the Alien brood. He glanced into the acid pool to see Captain Cassios slay the Hormagaunt latched to brother Lysandt & drag the trashing screaming body of his battle brother to the shore.

The Captain lay the marine down, calling Alcibiades over to protect the tactical marine who’s armour had already melted away in great chunks, leaving raw flesh exposed to the Bio-acid. Lysandt battled to hold on to his agonising existence as the Brother Captain leapt into the mass Hormagaunts swarming towards him. The Power Scythe swept left & right, claiming the lives of numerous Xenos with every strike. Memnon’s bolter fire supported Cassios in his furious advance.

Something dropped from the cavern ceiling to land beside the Memnon as he fired into the Hormagaunt brood & he pivoted on his heel, swinging round & leading with an elbow that caught the alien in its fanged maw as it made to strike. The young scythe followed up by clubbing the Alien with the stock of his bolter & laying into it with kicks of his heavy boot.

Something gave way with a wet crunch & the alien went rigid, before flailing wildly. Memnon rolled clear coming up into a kneeling position & firing a bolt-round point blank into the face of an oncoming Tyranid. It howled as the mass reactive bolt tore though its huge head & the beast crumpled past Memnon’s shoulder & into the acid pool.

Panning left Memnon fired again, hitting a Tyranid as it crouched to launch itself against Alcibiades’ exposed back. Firing again as yet another Hormagaunt bounded towards him. The shot arrested the beast in full fight so that it hung for a moment as if in still frame, before crashing back into its brood. He fired again as another beast pinned brother Priam under its bulk, taking the back of its head clean away as the explosive round hit home.

Memnon’s bolter clicked empty just as another Hormagaunt emerged from the throng & charged him. All talons & fangs the beast crashed into the marine before he could draw his combat blade & they tumbled across the bio-floor in a fatal embrace. Memnon left lens cracked & his full vision went black as fangs bit into his head, his last sight that of warning runes indicating multiple armour breaches.

The Scythe’s helmet creaked in protest. He lashed out with his fist, & was answered with an alien shriek just as a scything talon found a weak spot between his shoulder & neck. Memnon flinched as it tore through ceramite, muscle & bone. Something snapped. The metallic taste of blood was in his mouth. Screeching filled his senses. A crushing weight on his chest prevented his next breath. His mind swam as he choked on his own blood.

He punched again, but his arm was too heavy.

Darkness

Screeching

Pain


Memnon awoke with a start & he let out a breath he’d evidently been holding for some time. The last rays of the Khan’Sha sun filtered through the gaps between the window blinds casting the alien room in a yellow hue. Memnon found that he was grateful to be back in the Tau room. He looked left towards the bed seeing the two captives staring back, their dead eyes locked with him in hate filled defiance.

‘What?’ he said to the empty room ‘you think I will tremble at this scene Tau? I have enough ghosts already, your accusing glares mean nothing to me.’

Memnon turned back to the window & surveyed the park below as the Tau followed their familiar routine & headed home to their habitations. He had killed the Tau captives earlier that day, just as their usefulness reached its end. He played the scene over in his head, trying his best to dispel thoughts of the Tyranid.

A knock at the apartment door had signalled that the Firewarrior’s presence had finally been missed. Memnon Crossed the room, the dull hum of his armour the only sound. He reached down lifting the warriors mate to one side. The female struggled in vain against his monstrous grip, as Memnon drew his wickedly broad blade & held it to its neck. The female stopped writhing, but the Marine’s armour registered the tell tale signs of an uncontrolled tremble.

The Firewarrior stared at him intently. Memnon stared back & finally broke the silence, as he whispered to the male in Tau.

‘Tell them to go away, or your mate will die’

The Tau male held stares with the faceless giant, murder playing in its eyes. Then just as Memnon thought it would refuse, he saw its will break & it nodded its accent’.

Memnon lent forward to remove the gag & the Tau had done as was asked. Sending its visitors away by telling them its mate was gravely ill. The marine had killed them both in the next moment. He took no enjoyment from the deed, but he felt no remorse either. They were just Xenos after-all.

As Memnon prepared for his next forage into the Tau city he was met with further flash back images of his struggle with the Tyranid over five years before. He knew prior to his deployment that the long days of inaction would do little to dull any unwanted thoughts. He was correct, there were only so many times he could strip his boltguns & rebuild them before any distraction was replaced by muscle memory & his mind began wonder to unwanted places.

The marine banged the side of his helmet with an open palm. He shook his head, in a vain attempt to finally vanish the foul memories that haunted him. His history, his three year exile trapped onboard the Tyranid Bioship, it was always there waiting for him every time he was alone. The sounds & smells & sights would assail him should his guard falter for but a second. The dour Scythe was forever a man without peace.

Maybe that was why he’d kept the Tau captives alive so long? As long as they lived his mind was always active watching them for any signs of resistance or telltale signs of an impending escape attempt. At night his sorties into Solace park kept him busy, but now during the day he was alone.

‘No matter’, he thought solemnly. ‘It grows dark & I have one last matter to attend to.’

The marine crossed the room to his wargear & prepared for his next task. Retrieving his silenced bolter & combat knife, Memnon placed spare ammunition clips into his combat webbing, before securing the camocloak about his shoulders.

His thoughts went to the second drop pod, & his suspicions that another Imperial agent was on world with a similar objective to himself. This needed investigating, he couldn’t risk the other agent fluffing their shot & ruining his small window of opportunity in the process. The implications & consequences were too severe to even consider.

Worse, was another thought that nagged at the Scythe’s reasoning; perhaps the other agent had an opposed objective. Perhaps a section of the Inquisition desired an open conflict with the Tau? What better way than a botched assassination attempt to fuel the rhetoric of Aun’Tan & add weight to his cause? The dour marine, would not pretend to know the reasoning behind this angle, but personal gain was always a good motivator for mortal men, even those sporting the Inquisitional rosette.

Memnon drew a round into the chamber of his Bolter as he left the room behind him.

He’d been conscious to scan the two buildings facing the podium during his forays into the park, for any sign of an untoward presence. Combined with servo-skull sweeps of the area, Memnon had indentified a potential target in the building to the right of the marine’s position. The two buildings were joined by a number of service walkways & Memnon headed for this route now.

Over the last three nights a number of rooms had shown absolutely no activity. Most were illuminated for at least a few hours close to dawn or dusk. Blinds were drawn one night & closed the next. Any sign of life would remove a particular room from Memnon’s analysis. The night before he’d reduced the list of potentials to four & had sent the servo skull to scan these rooms.

The first two, had registered no life signs, or heat signatures to indicate a live occupant, the heating had been set to the Tau constant of 22 degrees & the lumen globes registered as being on a standby system. The fourth room held similar readings. The third room however had shown nothing. No life signs, no light, nothing. As if the servo-skull was taking its reading from a vacuum.

Memnon had smiled under his helmet as the live feed filtered through. His target had been too careful, blocking out all readings with some kind of dampening field. It was ironic that this blank reading had been the very thing that set the room apart & gave the agents position away.

Keeping low, the marine advanced through the service way & up the opposite buildings staircase, his cloaked bulk ever ready his bolter forever before him.

Memnon reached the target room & found the door open. He entered slowly with practiced stealth & registered that the layout matched his own room. His eyes caught sight of the prone form instantly as lay before a curtained window, under a camocloak that mirrored his own & a heavy imperial sniper rifle of restricted design held tight in its grip.

Memnon could hear its breath as he approached.

The silenced barrel of a Godwin bolter came to rest levelled next to the head of the prone form. The figure was oblivious & did not move. Memnon smiled & tapped the figure on the shoulder. He felt it flinch, just as he registered the tell tale fizz of a powerblade activating. A dark form emerged silently from above the crouching marine & before he knew it, a power-knife was held at his throat. Memnon froze, realising the slightest wrong move would cost him his head. Laughter came first, followed by voice from behind which spoke in a mocking play full tone.

‘Silly Marine’ it said

Memnon turned his head slightly to the left, but his adversary remained outside of his vision.

Memnon scowled within the confines of his helmet, this had been the second time he’d been caught by surprise & once was more then enough.

‘Shit’ he said ominously.
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  z4carlo on Wed May 18, 2011 6:36 pm

Oh, shit! Silly marine Evil or Very Mad
Didnt all go exactly to plan then?
I love that you killed the fire warrior and his girl as soon as you had diverted the people who were looking for him!

I also imagine Memnon goin a bit crazy and and talking to the dead bodies...
'who you looking at tau? want me to beat you death again?'

PS. memnon definately beats tau women for fun!
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Thu May 19, 2011 1:53 am

The pitch & inflection of the High Gothic language had always struck Memnon as overly cocksure & patronising. It was the language of ambassadors & bureaucrats & had never sat well with the marine who’d hailed from the slums of Sotha.

‘Put your weapon down Marine.’ It repeated.

Memnon contemplated turning the tables on his attacker & was confident that he could simply break the man’s arm & render the threat of the power blade null. His preternatural speed & strength meant that he could neutralise a normal man before he’d time to register attack. Yet was it worth the risk? Could this opponent even be considered a normal man? He’d managed to catch an Astartes off guard, a significant feat by anyone’s reckoning. Indeed if his assailant had wanted him dead, he knew that he’d likely be a corpse already.

‘Now marine, I will not tell you again.’

The crouching bulk of the Emperor’s Scythe shifted his weight ever so slightly & lowered the bolter, placing it on the floor.

‘Nah-mon-ta’ the Tau words came in halting fashion from behind the marine, each word was heavily laced in the high Gothic accent. Memnon unconsciously translated the words as an ‘all clear’

The prone form withdrew cautiously, pulling the camocloak away as it rose. Memnon had to fight his hand from moving back to his bolter as a Tau Ethereal stood opposite. He growled within the confines of his helmet as the Alien paced around him moving lightly to stand behind the blade wielder.

The power knife deactivated & withdrew. Memnon waited several seconds before rising. He turned to see what he recognised as a Vindicare assassin clad in a black body glove & metallic face mask. The Vindicare backed away, playing with the deactivated power knife, rotating it around his hand like it was a child’s toy. His face mask was locked with the marine’s & he paid no obvious attention as his hand & blade continued their delicate dance.

This was a veiled threat & show of skill, reminiscent of the Knife-masters in old Sotha’s ganglands, though the level of skill was infinitely more impressive here. Memnon feigned disinterest by facing the Tau.

‘What treachery is this’ the marines words projected from his helmets speakers in a metallic low gothic. He addressed the assassin, but faced the Xenos as he spoke, his hand already finding the handle of his combat blade.

‘How very dramatic’ replied the assassin, refusing to lower himself to speak the common tongue & instead keeping to his arrogant high-gothic. The knife now span by its point upon the killer’s index finger. The snide words came across as a vocalised musing rather then an answer to the marine’s question. Clearly the assassin thought the eloquent words above the understanding of such a brute. Memnon remained locked in his aggressive posture, but his helmet turned to regard the Vindicare.

‘You flirt with danger assassin, don’t think to mock me again’

The assassin nodded, sheathing his blade before bowing in an exaggerated show of submission ‘Of course master Astartes, my apologies’

Memnon ignored the provoking actions. ‘What are you, doing here, with that?’ the Marines gauntlet came up & an armour finger pointer towards the Tau, as he spoke & emphasised the meaning of each word.

‘Well’ he answered ‘that is more two questions than just one. In regards to the first; I ask you, why would a Vindicare assassin find himself upon an alien planet?’

‘The Eclipse’ Memnon said the words with a growl.

‘Just so’

‘And that?’ said Memnon indicating the Ethereal that stood with its head bowed within its robes & apparently oblivious to the meaning of the whole exchange. The Assassin looked towards the Tau then back to the marine.

‘You’re quite taken with him aren’t you?’ He mocked, before realising it would be best to get on with it & answer the marine.

‘That is Aun T’San Ariko, Ethereal, a valuable source of intelligence specific to the target & the individual that requested the services of the Vindicare temple.’

‘You openly collaborate with the Xenos?’ Memnon felt his ire rising again.

‘In a way… yes, though only by proxy. It was your very own Ordos Xenos that submitted the request for aid to my temple, master Astartes of the Deathwatch. So do not think to judge my motives, when it appears our orders have originated from the same point.’

‘My orders came from the Watch Captain. Not at the whim of a Xenos.’

The Assassin sighed, was the Space Marine being deliberately obtuse? He was coming across as such & little more than a stubborn blinkered fool. Despite his growing reservations, it had to be considered fortunate that the Emperor’s will had brought the impressive warrior to Khan’sha at this time.

Another voice broke in, its words as alien as its accent.

‘I will take my leave humans, you have much to discuss.’

Memnon straightened his back & crouched slightly as the Tau spoke, like a wild animal ready to pounce upon its prey.

‘Indeed’ said the Vindicare, his tone serious for the first time. ‘Come master Astartes, collect your bolter, we have much to discuss.’

The Ethereal had left them alone & the two Imperial killers began to speak at length. Each keeping their distance from the other as they did so. Though whether it was mutual respect or caution that caused this, was unclear. The Marine stood impassively at one side of the alien room, the Vindicare sat propped on a table opposite.

The Assassin spoke candidly as he laid out what he had learned from his source. It had explained that Aun’Tan, whom the Vindicare only ever referred to as the ‘Target’, was a rogue element within the Tau leadership caste. The source had explained that open war with the Imperium to be detrimental to their idea of the ‘greater good’.

‘If this Aun’Tan is such a threat to their way of life, why not deal with the threat directly?’

The Vindicare sighed, a trait that had already begun to annoy Memnon.

‘Politics, Marine, politics’ said the Vindicare condescendingly, as if that explained everything. An impassive stare from the marine’s helmet told him it didn’t.

Another sigh:

‘The ‘Target’ carries great weight with the common Tau, its Rhetoric is… inspiring, to say the least. The Ethereal cannot outwardly appear to be as fractious as they actually are. An external party was therefore required.’

‘Hmn, so did this Source tell you anything of operational value?’ asked Memnon changing track.

‘Yes, apparently the ‘Target’ has recently taken steps to improve its personal security, though whether this is in response to a specific threat remains unclear. Two shield drones, now provide the ‘Target’ with protection whenever it speaks in public, surrounding the ‘Target’ in a high density force field.’

The implications had evidently concerned the Vindicare.

‘A single drone, I can deal with. A direct hit above the main shield projection array, then a single adjustment to claim the kill, would all be straight forward enough. But, two adjustments, with three precise shots, each perfect to the millimetre. I’m not sure. The length of time that it would take allows for a number of other factors to come into play. The ‘Targets’ own reaction? The response of its personal guards? the audience? All of which could introduce an unknown dynamic to the equation.’

As the Vindicare continued to speak Memnon realised just how well the Assassin knew his trade.

‘I’m good Marine, one does not become a son of the Vindicare temple without been proficient in one’s art…. But… even I… may not be good enough, to pull this off. In light of which & because of our shared objective, I would like to propose an alliance?

‘An eloquent way of saying you need my help.’

The Vindicare, tilted his head ever so slightly. ‘I need your help’ he said honestly.

In the short time he had known the Vindicare he’d come across as an arrogant, egotistical, cocksure fop, yet when he spoke of his work, his ‘art’, the Assassin’s very manner changed. He became serious, considered & even humble. Memnon was somewhat surprised to find himself actually warming to the Assassin.

‘Very well, I will neutralise the other drone.’

‘It’s agreed then. One drone each, we fire on my mark’ the Vindicare said standing.

‘Agreed’ confirmed the Marine. Memnon smiled behind his helmet.

‘And the winner takes the prize.’



Last edited by Dan on Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:03 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  chrispcarter on Thu May 19, 2011 7:09 pm

Very well written again, and I'm intrigued as well - what are the Tau's motives? Does he believe The Eclipse's death will serve the greater good, or is it good old-fashioned personal gain he's after?

Also be good to find out who takes the kill...
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Rob on Thu May 19, 2011 9:22 pm

That was ace, memnons mental.
Dan was so sure that he had him, had that planned for ages.
Silly marine

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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  chrispcarter on Thu May 19, 2011 10:23 pm

You can tell Memnon is best suited to sniper, since he keeps missing things that are right in front of him!
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  z4carlo on Thu May 19, 2011 11:59 pm

This was an awsome twist Rob!

Memnon sure does love a challenge!
Keep going Dan i wana find out what happened!
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Fri May 20, 2011 12:36 am

Cheers, gents. Aye you could tell Rob loved catching Memnon out with that. Should've known... it was too easy.

Part 8


The cold metal of the bolter stock rested against the scar laced skin of his face, his eye never more then an inch from the scope. Any closer would risk a smack in the face from its recoil, any further away would render the scope useless. His human eye watched the target area through it intently & without blinking. The park had filled steadily from first light & it felt like the entire city had now descended to hear Aun’Tan address them. Memnon found his initial calculations had underestimated the size of the crowd. Over a million aliens now crowded the park, several thousand more choking each of the many street level approaches.

Such a gathering was impressive.

The Scythe’s augmetic eye had already adjusted its focus to the optimum setting, ensuring he had the correct depth perception for his shot. On his orders, the servo skull had relocated to watch the approaches to Memnon’s position. It wouldn’t do for a routine patrol to interrupt him now.

Military presence had increased significantly. The horizon showing a number of patrol vehicles circling the city skies in the distance. Civilian vessels were kept well away from the target airspace, a standard security protocol according to Memnon’s knowledge of Tau customs.

Yet Memnon noticed that the Tau military presence within the park appeared to be rather sporadic. Tau Devilfish APCs could be spotted at seemingly random points throughout the crowd. Their purpose little more than to provide the thronging crowds with better vantage points, with which to view the grand stage. Fire warriors ambled through their civilians in small groups joining in with the carnival atmosphere, seemingly oblivious to the imminent peril that would befall one of their ruling caste.

They were too lax & it rankled the Emperor’s Scythe that they were arrogant enough to think themselves immune to the perils of a malicious galaxy. Reality would soon come to Providence City on wings of flame & death.

An icon flashed within Memnon’s augmetic eye, indicating that the Vindicare was in position.

Not long now.

The engines of a Tau Orca transport could be heard even before the Space Marine saw the giant craft. It came in from the east & out of the sun. The symbolic gesture wasn’t lost on Memnon as the craft actually appeared to eclipse the Khan’Sha sun for a moment as it entered the Park.

The Crowd gasped as one, cheers followed.

It circled, once then twice, all the time the crowd grew more celebratory. Memnon noticed that a number of Tau Piranha followed in the ships wake, the speeders straining to keep up with the larger craft. That triggered an uncomfortable memory within the Scythe’s mind as he thought of the way Tyranid spores flittered around the bio-ships of a their fleet. He grimaced at the memory, but dismissed it focusing again at the task in hand.

The Orca completed it third lap of the park perimeter before slowing to a stop. It hovered above the temporary landing platform that had been constructed behind the podium for a few moments as the crowd’s cheers built into a rapture of applause. It descended slowly as Memnon’s vox chimed.

‘They do like their theatrics, don’t they’ the Vindicare’s voice was a smooth & refined as normal.

Memnon sent back an acknowledgement rune in response.

A release of pressure indicated that the Orca had landed, & the Emperor’s Scythe began the process of slowing his breath & steadying his core.

Moments passed before a door on the Orca’s flank slid open. Two drones emerged from out of sight & came to hover above the revealed entrance. Two crisis suits followed in there wake & the Scythe noticed instantly that something was different about these ones.

They sported power blades from one arm rather then the augmented firepower typical of a Crisis suit & Tau military in general. Range warfare was the forte of these Xenos, not the messy business of close combat. He searched for answers within his hypno conditioning & was answered with vague reference to an O’Shovah, translated as ‘Commander Farsight’ & a breakaway faction of the Tau Empire.

The marine sent a vox burst to the assassin advising him of what he knew.

In the next moment the ecstatic cheering increased to a tumultuous level as the Ethereal emerged from the Orca. ‘The Eclipse’ appeared to float forward, its long robes cascading around it as though caught by a divine wind. Reaching the podium it raised one of its blue tinted hands & the crowd began to quieten at the gentle gesture.

Silence ruled for the briefest of moments

***NOW***

Memnon’s finger squeezed the trigger of his blessed bolter in a split second response. Four mass reactive rounds span silently from the silence barrel & powered across the park towards their target. A thud, thud, thud, thud indicated that all four had found their mark less then a second later. The first exploding round appeared to trigger the next & so on, as the shield drone was ripped apart from within.

The crowd flinched, gasping as one as the left hand shield drone exploded. Almost un-noticed, its counter part fell to the floor in the same instant, a single silent round clipping the shield projector feed & penetrating deeper to destroy the hover motor.

Neither marksmen appeared to notice however, as both adjusted their aim in the next instant. Memnon flicked his selector to single shot & fired just as a round from the Vindicare impacted into the target & sent a spray of blood in a wide arc. The Ethereal span from the force of the shot sending Memnon’s first round wide. He grunted unhappily at the miss.

The crowd wailed, the sound all consuming in its grief, shaking up through the buildings themselves.

Memnon ignored it & refocused his aim. The Ethereal was on it knees now blood soaking its robes. Using his hypno ingrained knowledge of Tau anatomy to analyse the wound in an instant, the Scythe realised it was not a killing blow. Though quite obviously grievous, it had very likely claimed the Ethereal’s arm, rendering it stunned.

‘No kill!’ an aggravated message came over the vox, its high Gothic tones sounding somewhat surprised. Evidently the Assassin had drawn the same conclusion. No kill, they’d failed. Both snipers adjusted again for the killing blow, but ‘The Eclipse’ had fallen awkwardly behind the podium & out of view of it’s would be assassins.

‘No shot’ advised a second burst.

Memnon processed all this in a fraction of a second, flicking his fire selector back to full auto, & selecting kraken rounds, primarily for their increased armour penetration & explosive capability. He fired & the Podium came apart in splinters of metal, the first two shots ripping the cover apart in microseconds, the third round punctured the Ethereal’s torso, the fourth its head. Aun’Tan disappeared as its alien body came apart in an explosion of fire & blood, painting a grotesque smear across the once pristine stage of marble white.

‘Kill confirmed’ Memnon voxed.

‘No shit’ came the reply, for the first time in the crude tones of low gothic.

Chaos reigned below as the massed Tau processed the weight of what they’d just witnessed. Many tried to run, but were blocked my others that fell to their knees as they wept. Screams mixed with wails & alien shrieks of grief fuelled anguish. One of the crisis suit pilots even tumbled from his pilot interface, landing on the stage & weeping openly.

The Tau had lost a god.

Memnon stood, collecting his bolter & looping its Sothan leather strap over his pauldron. He placed the Mk III helm over his head & the natural vision of his human eye was replaced with the red tinted lens display. Just as he turned to make his exit Memnon noticed the first signs of a Tau military response. The railgun turrets mounted upon the Ethereal’s Orca & military installation to the north west, begun to track & whir. They were triangulating for a target, their weapons program processing sniper round flight paths & calculating their source.

It took less then a second.

Memnon blink clicked a rune to the side of his display as he turned & bounded to the doorway. It was the first in a list of runes simply numbered 1 to 4. An explosion from within the park indicated that the railgun mounted upon the military installation had blown apart. The explosion sent splinters crashing through the throng of civilians crowded around it. Seconds later the magazine within ignited also. Killing thousands & sending another million strong scream into the air.

The Space Marine made the exit just as the Orca turrets opened up, filling the side of the two apartment blocks with thousands of destructive rounds. The room simply disappeared as Memnon dived through the metallic compound door only to tumble bodily into the hallway. Contents within the room shattered & blasted apart as if in slow motion.

He kept low as huge chunks were blown out of the corridor wall above his head.

‘Status?’ he voxed the Assassin. His voice was only just audible over the sounds of multiple railguns firing on full auto.

‘Extracting!’ came the reply, its reception only just loud enough to be recognised even within the confines of his sound dampened helmet. Apparently the Vindicare was experiencing similar difficulties. Memnon began to crawl towards his pre-prepared extraction point, a vacant room facing south west & away from the park. More holes were punched through both sides of the hallway as he crawled, ricochets pinging from the Scythes armour far too often for his liking.

He made the room after about twenty seconds & closed the metallic door behind him as the building shook from multiple high calibre hits. Memnon ignored the fact that the north facing part of the building was quickly being turned into rubble & secured a small package behind the doorway. The last information to come in from the servo-skull live feed, had shown multiple heat signals advancing in standard Tau formation up the service staircase. They would reach Memnon’s floor, or what was left of it, very soon. The Scythe moved over to repel & harness he’d secured earlier & tested the strength with a yank before taking a short run up & diving through the window. Memnon sent another command via his view screen as he did so, selecting rune’s 2, 3 & 4 in quick succession.

The chaos of over a million terrified civilians surging for an escape was ripped asunder in a furious barrage of exploding fire & earth. What appeared to be some kind of café situated to the south west of Solace park, went up first. The hundreds of Tau within & perched on top died instantly as a plume of debris reached into the sky, only to land amongst the thronging masses killing thousands more.

This horrendous display of death was followed in quick succession by six more explosions that ran from west to east in a curving line. Each claimed hundreds more lives as the surging cramped civilians had nowhere to run. Tau were blown apart indiscriminately & without remorse.

The devastation was total & an eerie silence seemed to replace the cacophony of noise that had just preceded it. Even the automated rail guns faltering momentarily as the devastation before them rendered their targeting arrays useless.


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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  chrispcarter on Fri May 20, 2011 2:49 am

The Vindicare fluffed the shot?!?!?

Just goes to show you can only rely on the Astartes to get the difficult jobs done. Assuming the job is done on full auto.

Getting out of the city is going to be an impressive feat, that's for sure.
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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Fri May 20, 2011 7:18 pm

He did indeed, Rob didn't call a shot with the Vindicare. it was a hit, but only in the arm.

Memnon missed.... rolled a 92, then fated it & rolled a 89 :-(

Got him with the full auto though.

Oh i've also amended the post at the top of the page. explained the other Ethereal's involvement & motives a little better.

let me know what you guys think.

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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  Dan on Sat May 21, 2011 2:19 am

Part 9


Glass exploded above a Tau thoroughfare as the giant warrior emerged unceremoniously out of the building almost two hundred levels above. The glittering shards rained down towards the hundred Tau drones passing below. Smaller maintenance & communication drones flittered around the slower moving & much larger cargo & transport skimmers. All followed their pre programmed route plans & continued onwards, unaffected by the chaos currently engulfing the rest of Providence city.

Memnon allowed gravity to take hold of him in his decent, only tightening his grip on the rappel after falling several floors, arresting the arc of his descent smoothly & pulling him back towards the building. The marine’s armour shod feet crunched against face of the glass building as the marine broke into a running descent of the tower block.

Re-enforced glass cracked under Memnon’s weight, but each foot was retracted again in an instant as he continued onwards. The zip of his rappel burned sparks & smoke from his palm of his gauntlet as the marine ran. Readouts within his visor showed the friction to be well within his armour’s tolerance levels.

At a height of perhaps thirty levels another black figure smashed through a window several floors below to Memnon’s right. The Vindicare somersaulted in mid air, & span round with a pistol held in his right hand, the rifle slung across his back. Pulse rifle fire followed him from the window, the shots wild & desperate, fuelled more by furious vengeance then skill. The Assassin fired three times in his descent, before landing upon a drone transport with all the acrobatic skill of a circus gymnast.

A Tau fire warrior tumbled from the window in silence a round puncturing the front of its helmet. A second slumped over the shattered window, the third fell back into the Tau warriors behind it, blocking their shots as the Vindicare stood.

An explosion directly above Memnon indicated that his own pursuers had triggered the marine’s remaining demo charge & the rappel suddenly went slack. The Astartes pushed himself clear of the building as he began to fall.

Drones flittered below him at high speed & Memnon braced himself for the worst, only to land heavily upon one of the larger cargo haulers as it passed below. The larger drone bucked under the sudden impact of weight, sparks scraping from the bottom of its fuselage as the skimmer grazed along the metal road. Recovery programming struggled to correct the cargo hauler & compensate for the sudden extra load. Memnon’s servo enhanced fingers dug in, scoring gauges from the top of the craft as it shuddered again before finally righting itself.

Memnon climbed to his knees as the tower block vanished into the distance behind him. His extraction hadn’t gone exactly to plan, but he was happy enough to be heading in generally the right direction. A light clank upon the hauler indicated that the Vindicare had joined him. Memnon looked up & nodded his greeting as he rose.

‘You claimed the Kill’ said a high gothic voice.

‘I only confirmed it Assassin, the wound you delivered was grievous enough’ replied Memnon humbly in his dour low gothic tones.

‘You do me too much honour marine, to a Vindicare it is a clean kill, or no kill.’

The period of apparent calm was broken as a high energy beam flashed past Memnon’s right shoulder only to burn a mark in the flooring between the two warriors. The Astartes & Vindicare responded in an instant. One turned the other crouched, bolter & rifle coming up together.

In the distant, around a dozen vague shapes resolved into view, approaching at high speed.

Attack drones!

Memnon keyed full auto on his bolter & let rip with the mass reactive rounds, scoring two direct hits with his opening barrage. The first attack drone simply disintegrated in mid air as the bolt-round ignited, the second spinning of at an angle & crashing into an oblivious transport drone. The collision resulted in a multiple drone pile up as trailing cargo hauler swerved to avoid the wreckage & crashed into a number of smaller craft.

The Assassin picked of the leading attack drone as it rose above the explosions, with a precise round that sent it tumbling to the maelstrom below. The rest of the attack drones punched through the smoke & secondary explosions, firing constantly as they found safe routes through the carnage.

Alien projectiles zipped & whirred all around the two imperials as they continued to fire, but the Tau barrage only increased as more of the drones advanced into optimum range. A number of Pulse rounds punched into Memnon’s shoulder pauldron & greaves as he took the brunt of incoming fire. The focused plasma core of the ammunition burnt through his ceramite armour with ease & caused the Astartes to flinch in pain. His armour responded immediately & pumped his body with stimulants & pain killers as his enhanced physiology worked to heal the burning wounds.

Memnon continued to fire throughout, refusing to submit & claiming another kill as he did so.

Although his position behind the marine had sheltered him from the worst of the Tau gunfire, the Assassin was caught in the same barrage. A burning round hit him directly in the chest & dropped the Vindicare for a moment winded & gasping. Stimulants fought to recover the Assassin, but the wound appeared serious.

A strained ‘Hmpf…..’ came across the vox as the smaller marksmen collapsed, the pain given sound through gritted teeth.

The hauler tilted unexpectedly, more sparks scraping from its undercarriage. Memnon held his balance, but understood immediately that the drone had been damaged in the exchange. The Vindicare slid across the surface in his semiconscious state, his blade arresting his fall at the last moment as he dug it into the fuselage. Black smoke rose through numerous impact craters upon the machine’s surface.

The Assassin grunted as he rose & Memnon turned towards him, firing into the approaching attack drones singe handed as he did so.

‘Still with me?’ asked Memnon.

‘Just a scratch’ lied the Vindicare though gritted blood speckled teeth.

Memnon smiled within his helmet at the display of courage as he lifted the smaller man one handed & launched him to his right & onto to roof of a passing maintenance drone. Though wounded, the Vindicare landed lightly like a cat & grunted, shouldering his heavy rife & drawing his executor pistol. He fired into the two attack drones that had split from the main pack to engage him.

Another attack drone was clipped by one of Memnon’s mass reactive bolts & span into a transporter beside it & exploding, buying the marine enough time to jump clear of the hauler as it too finally crashed. Turning tail over end & bursting explosively into flames.

Memnon was showered with shrapnel & several alert runes flashed up to indicate armour breaches as he landed upon a smaller craft. The civilian drone gave way instantly, the sudden weight beyond its capacity to cope with. Memnon jumped again, using the failing craft as a stepping stone as it tumbled to across the metal base of the thoroughfare. Another explosion joined the symphony of high-speed destruction as the Marine disappeared through black smoke & fire.

The Vindicare looked across as he dropped the two pursuing drones with precise shots. The Marine had disappeared. Flame, black smoke & destruction was left in his wake. The assassin mused at what he considered as something of a calling card for the towering Astartes.

Only three attack drones remained in sight & all seemed to alter their course abruptly to engage the remaining marksmen. This action triggered genuine concern from the Vindicare. Had the Astartes perished? The thought only occurred to the Vindicare as the remaining drones had changed course to engage him.

He fired again, claiming the first attack drone with two shots, the second followed suit with a single smoking breach the origin of its demise, but his pistol clicked empty as the remaining drone panned round to his right. It closed as the Assassin span his pistol back into its holster, like some gangland gunslinger. He crouched ready, drawing his power knife & activating the blade.

Gritting his teeth against the pain of his torso wound, the Assassin made to pounce at the closing attack drone. It fired a continuous stream of pulse rounds which landed all around the black clad killer as he waited for his opportunity.

The pulse rounds ate into the transport drone & it rocked violently as it sustained more damage. It shuddered & slowed; coming in line was another slow moving cargo hauler, as the attack drone closed to point blank range above him. The maintenance drone shuddered again this time violently & the Vindicare had to drop an arm to prevent himself falling. The opening allowed the final drone a chance to draw level & the assassin found that he was looking down the barrel of a drone mounted pulse rifle.

‘Shit’ he said, mimicking the Marine’s words from the night before as he realised he was doomed.

Black clouds of smoke suddenly parted behind the attack drone as the massive form to the Emperor’s Scythe jumped through the air, his massive re-forged combat blade held above him in both hands. It came down swiftly as the marine landed upon the cargo hauler.

The drone parted in mid air as the monomolecular edge sliced though its core.

‘Took your sweet time about it’, voxed the assassin light heartedly & in low gothic, as he took Memnon’s proffered hand.

‘Do you always do that’ replied Memnon.

‘Do what’

‘Revert to low-gothic, when you’re not working so had at being a pretentious git’

The Assassin landed upon the hauler & shrugged as if the was answer enough, before turning to dust himself down & re-load his pistol. Memnon was about to speak again when everything suddenly went dark, a shadow blocking the sun, descended upon wings of flame.

Incoming! Shouted Memnon as he jumped back tumbling into a roll, something heavy, alien & mechanical crunched into the hauler just where the Marine had stood & fuselage crumpled under the three pronged feet of a Tau Crisis suit. The cargo hauler shook violently as the assassin rolled backwards over his shoulder. He came up into a fighting stance, executor pistol in one hand power blade in the other, pinching off shots as he did so.

The Astartes stood in a more considered manner as the Tau crisis suit swung its savage blade in a wide arc, the blow sweeping the air directly above his armoured head as he rose. The torso of the Tau suit rotated almost two-hundred degrees as it attempted to kill both Imperials with the same blow.

Memnon had detached his bolter from the mag-lock on his leg, thumbed the fire-selector to kraken rounds & opened up on full auto. The savage bolts biting deep into the exposed flank shield of the crisis suit. Blue ripples fluttered across the glowing shield as it strained under the relentless point-blank fire. The effect was like rainwater hitting a puddle only on a more violent & altogether more desperate scale. The Xenos responded by adjusting the angle of its next blow & bringing the blade round in a savage downward slice.

The blow, fuelled by alien hatred & vengeance caught the Astartes fully & scored a deep grove down his torso, biting deep from Memnon’s left shoulder pauldron to right hip. The metallic tang of blood was in his mouth now & his strength started to fail him as he dropped to one knee under the force. The Godwin pattern bolter continued to spit fire however, blowing great chunks from the round shield generator as its force-field finally failed.

The Vindicare dived forwards into the Crisis suits now vulnerable flank, his Power blade scoring a number of deep channels across the back armour as his executor pistol fire point blank & bit deep. The crisis suit spun back again crashing into the assassin with a twisting shoulder & knocking him clear off the transport only to land cat like upon another passing maintenance drone.

Memnon continued to fire, his suit registering the massive heat levels from his bolter as it spat more kraken rounds into the Tau battle suit. Memnon stood groggily, aiming directly at the pilot compartment as he fired, the last three kraken rounds exploding chunks of armour from the suit. Blood ran freely from the massive gouge in Memnon’s chest, his Astartes physiology struggling to clot the grievous wound. Ignoring that which would have killed a normal man, Memnon held his bolter out before him, his trigger finger still tight against the trigger, not realising that the clip was now empty.

A desperate, dying swing of a mechanical arm smacked the bolter from Memnon’s grip. The marine dropped to his knees again, his eyes locked with his foe, blood pouring from his mouth & over his chin, he coughed. Smoke rose & sparks spat violently from the Crisis suit as it sagged heavily upon its feet. The two massive combatants were totally spent & Memnon could just about make out the pilot through several holes & impact craters that painted the surface of its armour. A spider’s web of cracks connected each of the major fissures.

The Tau pilot scowled at him & spat numerous insults through bloodied lips is it struggled the retain control of the failing machine. Memnon could see that it was severely wounded itself. Memnon removed his helmet letting the hot air wash over him. He locked gazes with the Tau as his vox chimed.

‘Clear the target marine, I have a shot’

‘…no’ the deep reply came through the vox tired & weak, as the Astartes stumbled drunkenly to his feet. Drawing his re-forged blade as he moved forwards, Memnon closed in for the kill & past the Crisis suit’s twitching, deadly power blade. A desperate defeated look crossed a bloodied alien face as it comprehended its own doom. With all the might he could muster, Memnon drove the heavy blade through the eggshell armour & plunged it into Tau’s chest.

It gargled something about the vengeance of the Ethereal’s & the end of humankind as its life finally gave out. Memnon smiled, knowing that no such thing would occur. He finally collapsed over the handle of his blade exhausted, as his free hand rose weakly to pull a glittering chain from the alien’s neck. Sothan warrior custom demanded that such a kill was rewarded with a trophy. Memnon claimed his as his body finally gave into his massive wounds & he passed out.
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Dan

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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

Post  chrispcarter on Tue May 24, 2011 2:40 am

Epic, fight on top of flying traffic, I like it.

This is turning into a buddy movie now though you know Razz

Also, good work on the Tau motivation angle. Would be interesting to see what Memnon thinks of acting in the Tau's best interests though.
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chrispcarter

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Re: Solo Mission write up - 'The Eclipse'

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