Blessed...

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Blessed...

Post  chrispcarter on Tue May 17, 2011 5:13 am

"Advance full and fire at will." At those words, Cristus was up and moving, his servo-augmented legs springing him from his crouched position in the lee of a ruined wall in less than a heartbeat, his Godwyn-pattern boltgun held ready by unconscious reflex. He normally preferred to fire from a stationary position or to pause and fire bursts as he moved, but recent experiences had shown him the wisdom of staying mobile at all times. His auto-sense link bracketed targets in the ruins, half-hidden in the acrid smelling smoke and dusk light, and he fired off rounds as they appeared, but keeping moving as he did so, his armoured soles crunching against the broken glass and rubble beneath his feet as he moved, constantly on the watch for targets.

Seemingly too quickly, he registered no targets ahead of him; he vaulted a low wall and turned as he crouched behind it, aiming his bolter back at the area he had just crossed, his helmet flicking left and right as it followed the movements of his head, checking for any sign of movement. "Run complete." The disembodied voice issued from above him, and as it did so the low light was suddenly replaced by the glare of flickering lume-strips as the simulation ended. Cristus rose from his crouch and turned to face the slit window of an observation room in wall above and behind him. "Put me out of my misery, then - how did I fare that time?"

The disembodied voice returned again. "Your accuracy has increased again, Brother Achellion. Now registering hits with forty-two percent of rounds expended. Also, hits scored more highly on the targets in that run, with a greater average level of damage calculated per-" "My thanks," Cristus cut the acolyte off, "but I am concentrating on hitting them first. Once I can do that reliably then I will work on placing my shots." The voice was silent again for a moment, as if perturbed, but returned quickly enough. "Very well, Brother Achellion. Would you like me to reset the course?" Cristus nodded and started walking. "If you would, thank you. Add more targets this time. I don't want to know how many. Keep everything else random as before."

As the Ultramarine strode to the side of the chamber - to a different start point from which he had just performed the run - time seemed to rewind in the chamber in a manner which would have been disconcerting to those not experienced with its function. Walls which had fallen seemed to pull themselves back up, doors which had been flung open slowly swung closed without outside intervention; the smoke which hung in the air was pulled away by powerful extraction units, ready to be pumped in again. Most disturbing of all were the "targets" - servitors covered in modular ablative armour - which appeared to jerk to life in a bizarre reversal of their "deaths" moments before and returning to one of the entry points hidden throughout the course, ready to reappear elsewhere on the next run, the plates of armour Cristus' bolt shells had blasted apart minutes ago automatically replaced behind the scenes.

Whilst he picked up his pace to resume his position as quickly as possible, Cristus still found that the welcome distraction of the simulation faded once as soon as he was not firing, and yet again his head was filled with the doubts he had been feeling since the completion of his last mission. As a proud Ultramarine, an upholder of all that was supposed to be good about humanity and the Space Marines, he found that his patience and his morality had been sorely tested since he had taken reluctant command of the Kill-Team.

He could tell that Watch-Captain Helikaon had been testing him by granting him the decision of what to do with the traitor Novus. His death had been inevitable; the Storm Wardens had disowned him, and he had betrayed his Oaths to the Imperium and to the Deathwatch. However, he had betrayed his team as well, and the trust of a Space Marine was not something idly discarded. Cristus had known the turncoat would die - he had been sorely tempted to draw his pistol and execute him on sight - but he had known that to simply end him would lose him the support of the team before he had even entered combat with them. Allowing them to take the time to expose the depths of his corruption and giving the overly-eager Scythe leave to take his head had been a necessary compromise, but it had hammered home to Cristus that he was no longer amongst those of his Chapter.

This had however paled into insignificance with what had taken place following the sudden appearance of the Necron construct which had begun to leech the sun, and the mission that Helikaon had charged them with had not sat well with Cristus from the off, but he had endeavoured to try to get the nano-virus that they had been sent to retrieve as quickly as possible through negotiation, but that had been rendered impossible by the arrival of the Rogue Trader Maximillian Roth. The man had tried to bluster his way past the Deathwatch team and had more or less ordered them to fire on the Jokaero forces, which had been nonaggressive up until that point. Even after their leader's attack in response to Cristus' command to stand down, the Ultramarine had felt that the situation may have been salvageable, until the Librarian had attacked Roth. It spoke of an appalling lack of restraint and Cristus had been caught completely off guard by the Blood Angel's attack, finding himself in the unenviable position of staring down a Baneblade which had very suddenly become his enemy.

In truth, he had believed that they had been very lucky - firstly, that they had managed to take out the take without losing the entire team, and secondly and more importantly that the Rogue Trader's second in command in orbit had decided to cut his losses (more likely viewed as gains to the inheritor, knowing their ilk) and leave the system rather than take revenge for the death of their leader. It was also a matter of great fortune that the exchange with the Jokaero forces had been mercifully brief, Cristus not having to conceal his ill feelings at the whole affair for too long. It had not been the first time Cristus had found humans between his sights or before his blade - traitors to the Imperium were all too common in the galaxy - but the Rogue Trader's sins had been arrogance and greed rather than treason or heresy, and siding with the Xenos, no matter how... tolerated, was something he had had much trouble resolving in his mind.

Worryingly, the mission to deliver the nano virus to the Necron construct had been an almost welcome change of pace, back into what some people may call their "comfort zone" - a suicide mission with nigh on impossible odds was far preferable to playing diplomat between a bully merchant and a Xenos! Cristus had managed to assert more control over the team in the engagement, setting up cover and engagement patterns that could have almost come from the Codex, adapting rapidly to the situation as it unfolded and pulling the team together (after a fashion); even managing to extract the psyker, though his barely controlled power had once again left the rest of the Kill-Team having to adapt to his... unpredictability.

Cristus' autosenses reacted as the lights in the simulator dimmed and changed colour, brighter now than they had been for the last run and casting everything in purple hues. The smoke was also gone, replaced instead by a battering wind - the environmental variables being as randomised as the target distributions. The simulator would be ready to run within moments. He checked his bolter, almost unconsciously running through the routine, but he did not reload. He knew he would not always have a full clip when the shooting began - especially given those he now called Brother - so it paid to always be ready for a reload under fire.

As the countdown to the commencement of the run began, signalled by coloured lights on each wall which would flick red to green and then go out, Cristus' train of thought inevitably turned to the effects of the nano virus on the Necron star-killer and the repercussions it had brought about. He had been resolute in his recommendation to attempt to ignite the matter surrounding the Necron abomination; it had to be destroyed at all costs, lest it survive to threaten more Imperial systems; but the resulting explosion and the death of billions of Imperial subjects - albeit a much more merciful one than the drawn out agonies the slow death of their star would have afforded them - was like a leaden weight on Cristus' heart. He had the agreement of Brother Memnon to back him up, but he could not shake the feeling that their adoptive Captain had been toying with him, and wondered if the Minotaur have taken another course of action, had he recommended it. Had he simply wanted to see what Cristus was made of?

The light went red, and Cristus felt his training take over. The melancholy was dispersed; only the objective and the targets remained, and the words of the Codex came to him, ready to guide his actions and inspire his resolve. However as the light went green, a quotation not of the Codex came unbidden and unwelcome, banished quickly but still there as Cristus vaulted the barricade and snapped off a shot at the first target, a reflexive shot hitting it in the head.

"Blessed is the mind too small for doubt."
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chrispcarter

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Re: Blessed...

Post  Dan on Tue May 17, 2011 8:59 pm

Really nice addition to the fluff like mate. It's good to see the new commander is facing similar difficulties as Memnon.

Now the Scythe can focus on expanding his Skull collection.

I also really like how you showed Cristus utalising his 'hip shooting' & considering the aplication of his 'mighty shot' seeing as you've just added those talents to him.

Keep it up bud
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Re: Blessed...

Post  Rob on Tue May 24, 2011 10:20 pm

sweet!!

Rob

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Re: Blessed...

Post  chrispcarter on Tue May 24, 2011 10:37 pm

Cheers Smile I actually should have left this until after I'd done the next bit of fluff I am going to post, since I've ended up repeating myself a bit, but nevermind, lesson learnt for next time... if we can ever get everyone to agree when that is...
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Re: Blessed...

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