N18 The Necromundan 23rd - Part 1 - A Star Is Born

Jul 15, 2020
172
420
83
The Necromundan 23rd

A collection of the most wretched mutants, backstabbers, traitors and freaks in the sector. No matter how many commanders flee or are slain, they always seem to be able to coordinate and regroup and strike again. No normal human worker's revolt could have such steady strategy and coordination under fire. But few know what a strange and terrifying creature controls their minds, or how.

Mission success can have strange and tragic consequences.

It all started with a Blood Angels mission on a derelict infested Space Hulk. Their primary objective was to incinerate a control room, to block off access to allow other squads to carry out their orders. The heavy flamer blast caused secondary explosions that killed the Terminator squad and dislodged several large pieces of the Hulk.

This included a largely intact cargo tug carrying purestrain Genestealers and a Zoat explorer from a splinter of Hive Fleet Leviathan. This ship was cast adrift eventually sucked into the gravity well of a small planet: BQX-456, simply called Field by the locals, a verdant AgWorld. It fed Necromunda as its Imperial tithe, but also in exchange for more modern equipment. Best yim-yam beans and Grox meat in the sector!

While the explosive crash killed most of the aliens on board and destroyed the cargo, a handful of Genestealers survived and began hunting the nearby farm animals. While still wounded, consuming prey biomass restored the hideous creatures to fighting strength.

A scout squad of well-equipped PDF troopers and some combat engineers were dispatched, on foot, to investigate the crash landing and subsequent carnage amongst the livestock. Movement in the tall grain, mistakenly thought to be panicked Grox, turned into bloody carnage as the Genestealers claws and teeth tore apart the frontlines of the slower, weaker humans.

Although surprised by the inhuman speed and ferocity of the genestealer ambush, specialty grenades and hellfire shotgun ammo distributed by the Combat Engineers was able to make a difference and slow down the charge. Frag, Krak, Melta, Tanglefoot, Rad, Plasma, Photon, Gas, Web, Anti-plant, even a vivid Electric! By a strange quirk of fate each man threw a different grenade. The overlapping results were spectacular, grotesquely beautiful, horrifying, but the troops could only see a flash of white and hear the ringing of new deafness. The photon grenade made the brightest light they would ever see. The explosions were devastating to the alien swarm and some of the troops as well. While not fatal to all the frenzied monstrosities, the grenade barrage left them confused and open for counterattack.


Disciplined point blank lasgun and shotgun fire at the flailing things finished off the invaders... and one swinging chainsword. But not without the PDF and Engineers taking further bloody losses. The half dead, melted monstrosities were covered in shrapnel and acid both of human manufacture and their own toxic blood. They could fight on for random moments more, on instinct and momentum alone, even missing half their heads. Close up, the less ruined opened their skulls, ovipositor tentacle tongues lashing out of their gaping fanged mouths, to deposit eggs in throats at near the speed of a bullet. Were these creatures war itself? Birthed purely through violence, meant only to kill, and infect more to make more killers.

In the stratosphere above, a matte black transport screeched at its maximum velocity towards the crash site, terrifying the locals as it approached the surface. It slowed just enough not to vibrate apart from the G-Forces. Some engine power was then diverted to enhance the scanner sweep, in a radius around the crashed cargo ship.

In the superheated cockpit, green monitors and flashing lights reflected off the cybernetic chrome and sweaty white skin of the Servitor pilot team, and also the ceramic faceplate of the no-longer-human Captain. It glanced at the scanner readout, when it blipped excitedly:

[[[ - ( 8 ) HUMAN LIFESIGNS DETECTED - ]]]

Back at the bizarre battle site, the wretched smells, poisonous gas of strange colors, wilting and thrashing plant life, corpses and flames and dying men, and acid everywhere… and the huge shuddering mounds of murder incarnate, clawing, dead but moving, shot through or in pieces… they won’t stop… still trying to kill from beyond the grave, still spraying corrosive blood…

Despite top of the line visors, the photon grenade and other explosions had left the squad bewildered and stumbling around half blind.

It was difficult to regroup.

When the last twitching ceased, and the survivors moved further away uphill from the mess of the grenades and their fumes, a sudden breeze born in the sky above from the roaring craft, whisked away the fumes. The white sun showed it all clearly. The horror of what just happened was revealed to the rest of the mind as the shock of adrenaline wore off and reality set in. The plain brutal nature of life and death was felt to the core.

A moment of madness was allowed amongst the victorious squad, not that it could be stopped. The one sane man left, highest in command by virtue of his superiors being corpses, allowed them to process their ordeals in whatever way was needed. But not every frenzied, insane prayer was to the Holy Emperor. One trooper just started yelling and never stopped.

Seven men were left standing. The remaining three Engineers began to take stock of the situation and prepared to treat the wounded amongst the carnage. But there was no time. Literally, no time.

[[[ - WARNING – SYSYTEM MALFUNCTION - ]]]

The Miracle happened. Time and space split open, for less than a moment. In haste and panic during the battle, the lead engineer had mistakenly thrown a Vortex grenade! Due to not being armed properly, there was a delay, but the reaction had already started.

Made as a weapon of war, the reaction of a Vortex device was really a portal to the Warp itself. A pinpoint of absence-of-light, even darker than the approaching stealth ship, seared itself into each nearby mind and commanded full attention. A swirling blue and purple storm shot lightning sparks but somehow in reverse. Then the energy mass was every color that never existed. And each survivor’s prayer was answered. But not honored. Not listened to except as an interdimensional ping, of “come get me, my mind is food.”

Each standing, gaping, entranced, blood-drenched man saw visions of the Emperor. But it was never the same face. And it wasn’t a human face. It was a noble face, crowned in brass, the face of conquest and bloodshed and victory.

Things… things came calling.

One of them spoke to a man left in a daze on the ground, thrown far by grenade blasts. Forgotten completely by the other troops. His name and former life unimportant now, compared to what it became.

Would he have survived that day, had he not called back to the screams from the living darkness?

A choice was offered. Not everything in the boundary between Warp and Real can be forced without permission.

Oblivion, non-existence, every being’s right to stop being?

Eternal existence… but in torment.

Or… GLORY…

A foul calculation took root: {Bloodshed = Survival = Victory= Life}

He called back. His soul died and became a home.

“I AM YOUR VESSEL, LIEGE.” The words were spiritual, not spoken.

In his ruined throat, an egg squirmed.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The dreams and fantasies and madness of the men faded into numbness.

The Vortex dissipated in a moan, leaving behind a bizarre, pulsating crater.

Another kind of vessel landed, as swiftly as it had traveled. A sleek black craft, built for speed and to not be seen. But nothing could drown out the roar of its engines. Not even the constant hoarse yelling of the PDF heavy.

[[[ - - ( 7 ) HUMAN LIFESIGNS DETECTED :: ( 1 ) ANAMOLY DETECTED- - ]]]

It was the highest technology this world ‘Field’ would ever see. Plasteel pistons telescoped out and rammed into the fields beneath, spraying soil and crops and rodents in the air with the impact. A large cylindrical loading chamber descended from the bowels of the craft with a hiss, and a 2 meter wide hatch opened.

At maximum volume, yet barely heard by damaged ears, on both loudspeaker and headsets: “YOU MEN ARE HEROES. PRAISE THE EMPORER. ENTER THE LOADING CHAMBER FOR IMMEDIATE EVAC, MEDICAE AND PROMOTIONS.”

With as much speed as they could muster, and without another glance back at the carnage and ruin, the survivors marched on in. Relieved for any order at all, any sense of reality and purpose whatsoever. The few that could feel at all felt triumphant joy, for the first and last time.

They filed inside, a smooth metal can. No harnesses or seats or straps. Curious.

The doors slid shut behind them and locked, void-proof.

In the cockpit, after a few button pushes from the Captain:

[[[ - - EMPORER’S MERCY PROTOCOL ENABLED - - ]]]

No one could really hear the recorded chants and pipe organ music that played, or the sound of vents opening and fans whirring.

The odorless, invisible gas proved just as deadly as alien claws.

[[[ - - ( 0 ) HUMAN LIFESIGNS DETECTED :: ( 1 ) ANAMOLY DETECTED- - ]]]

The Captain reported its recovery a success, on the way back to the starbase. Then it ordered a diagnostic on the scanner.

[[[ - - OUT OF RANGE - - ]]]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Back in the ruined pastures, mangled body parts and exploded grain… what used to be a man opened its eyes. It tried to proudly rise, but slumped down again. A battle just as stange and chaotic as every grenade at once was happening within.

The alien parasite egg, already shooting curious tendrils throughout the body, reached out psychically to the Tyranid Shadow in the Warp. The embodiment of HUNGER and CONSUMPTION. The Shadow was too distant and disrupted here to take real synapse control, against so powerful a rival.

A rival that was PURE RAGE. A rival that was beyond dimensions.

Some human part of the brain, yet still struggled to think and feel and move the limbs.

The body, the warzone, began dragging itself in the direction of Field’s only starport. There it would find a mate.