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by NoPoet

[20K] The Man from Nowhere (2015 re-write)

10/09/2015 in 20K, Warhammer 40K

1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (95% score)

This is the tale of the XMS Southern Cross, a pioneer ship of the Terran Navy. Captain Jacob Darnall and his crew had guided their Canyon-class cruiser through the perils of Solar Segment, besting pirates and alien raiders in fraught combat, exploring unknown anomalies in space and ensuring the survival of the fledgling Terran Empire.

The Southern Cross was nearing the end of a two-year tour of duty. Its crew were already looking forward to their return to Sol for refit, resupply and well-earned shore leave, when Master of Vox Lieutenant Lim detected a distress call. The communications specialist alerted her captain, and the Southern Cross moved to investigate.

The incident is provided in spoken form, reconstructed from recordings in the ship’s log and certain on-board sensor footage. What conclusions you draw from this information is your business; though you will surely experience some of the trepidation our brave Navy crews must feel as they venture out into the haunted darkness of space.

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1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (95% score)
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by NoPoet

[HH] The Light of Ultramar

04/09/2015 in Horus Heresy, Warhammer 40K

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A Horus Heresy story by NoPoet

They gathered on the hill, looking to the sky as the sun tried to burn its way through dust-clouds. The last Death Guard on the planet was dead; and with them, they had taken the ecosystem.

Derius tried to say something. He realised that he lacked the words. The Ultramarine disguised it as a gruff clearing of his throat.

His brothers of the XIIIth looked to him, hoping for words of leadership. Yet Derius was just a sergeant, used to commanding a squad of nine other warriors. He avoided meeting the eyes of those Legion brothers standing on the turf in ordered, under-strength squads. Instead he watched the sky.

The dust clouds were blowing west. He couldn’t feel the breeze through his armour. It registered only as part of the environmental read-out in his tactical heads-up display. He could also see it tugging gently but insistently at the clothing of his human followers.

Over eight hundred of the Ultramar 2nd Infantry Cohort, mortal soldiers belonging to the Imperial Army, variously stood, sat or lay on the scrubland around the Astartes. Some people spoke quietly among themselves, or conversed with the more amenable Space Marines. Most of the humans had as much to say as sergeant Derius, which was nothing at all.

Derius looked down into the crater before him. The hill they stood upon overlooked a four-kilometre bowl of dust and fused, glassy ground. He’d finally ordered his rag-tag fleet to launch torpedoes at the Death Guard position, destroying it utterly, reducing traitor Astartes warriors, human rebels and six god-machines to oblivion. It had been a costly victory. Scarcely a warrior among the victorious Imperials was uninjured or untired by the six-week campaign. The Death Guard had fought furiously and victory over them had never been certain.
The Imperial fleet – what remained of it, after months of disaster and retreat – had sustained further damage in its torpedo attack, which Derius had ordered in a kind of defeated desperation. It had cost the Imperials an important listening outpost which might have made a staging-post for punitive attacks against the traitors.

Guilliman would be displeased. In fact, he would probably be furious. Capturing the Death Guard position, no matter the cost in lives, would have changed the theoretical – guesses about enemy movements and the location of friendly forces – into the practical – hard knowledge and the ability to communicate.
Derius had abandoned any semblance of tactics in an effort to save human lives. That gambit had worked. Many hundreds of men, women and Astartes were alive today who would certainly have been killed by an attack on the Death Guard listening post. Still, they had lost the objective rather than losing lives.

I could not order anyone else to their deaths, he thought, bitterly. There are too few of us. What good is a victory when no-one remains to see it?

“Sergeant,” a gruff voice said from behind him.

Derius turned from the crater to regard the green-armoured warrior who stood, helm under one arm, looking for all the world as if he were on a parade ground presenting himself for inspection.

The Nocturnan’s face was a patchwork of scars. His eyes were pure red, the contrast against his black skin creating a sinister effect which Derius was still adapting to. The man’s armour was a blasted and torn mess. Dust was draped over his Legion colour.

He was brave. He’d taken the loss of his Primarch with an almost shocking lack of emotion. Vulkis, whose name translated as adopted son of Vulkan, had held the remnants of his Legion together. Nobody had actually seen their Primarch die. Nobody knew how many of their Legion had escaped the slaughter.
Derius couldn’t begin to imagine the sense of betrayal. It was still a distant thing to him, a new feeling, weaker than a cry on the wind. He’d fought Astartes before: he’d faced a number of ravening World Eaters in their fighting-pits, he’d trained against Imperial Fists, but those had not been fights to the death and the warriors in question had not been his enemies. How could the Legions turn against one another? Worst, most disgustingly of all, how could they turn against the humans they were created to protect?
How much courage did it take to gun down screaming, terrified soldiers and civilians who were unenhanced, carrying weapons that couldn’t penetrate power armour?
How much honour was involved in shooting your brothers in the back, while they still regarded you an ally?
It was painful beyond belief to imagine losing Guilliman. He was everything Horus was not: a ruler who wasn’t a tyrant, a demigod who was still a man, a strategist who could win unequal battles without having to wait for overwhelming superiority. Anyone could win a campaign with overwhelming force – unless they were a fool. Horus was lauded as the greatest. He didn’t deserve that accolade. Guilliman. Sanguinius. Dorn. Even the Lion. They could all lay claim to being the best of the best.
The Ultramarine Primarch was often regarded as dispassionate, lacking in character or even humanity. This was so wrong. Guilliman was an innocent. He sometimes seemed to lack compassion, or warmth, because he did not know how to show them. That supreme being, that shining beacon of human achievement, the Master of Ultramar, relied on an old woman and his closest warriors to connect him to the people around him.
Guilliman missed his dead step-father every day. Derius regarded Vulkis anew, admiring the man’s courage. Vulkis also knew what it meant to lose a father.

Eight other Salamanders stood together some distance away near the rows of waiting Ultramarines. Their stance was alert. None of them betrayed their grief or shock.
Few Imperials who had survived this far would ever lose the anxious tension they felt now, that sense of enemy snipers hiding behind very rock, every wall, every window. It didn’t matter that this planet was dead and deserted. None of them, not a man, woman or slave, would feel safe anywhere in the galaxy, not even for a moment.

Worse, most demoralising of all, were the black-armoured Astartes of the X Legion. The Iron Hands were largely disconsolate, standing apart from each other. They were aware that their Primarch was dead. Some sat, some stood on guard, others looked at the sky or the ground. They would react to danger within a millisecond and they had fought like bastards, but now that there were no enemies in sight, melancholy drowned most of them.

Derius couldn’t begin to imagine their grief. His sense of isolation from his own Primarch was a shock of dislocation. A strange, Segmentum-wide warp storm had blown up. Derius had been part of the 122nd Expedition Fleet, returning to Ultramar from Segmentum Pacificus for rearming and reinforcement, when the storm erupted. They’d lost twelve ships – twelve – of the thirty-six in their flotilla. Six Dreadnoughts, a hundred tanks, two thousand Astartes, more than ten thousand human soldiers and starship crew, all torn apart by the things that Derius knew for a fact lived within the warp.
The 122nd, still suffering and sensor-blind, had encountered a fleeing gaggle of Imperial ships bearing the idents of Imperial Army regiments, Iron Hands and Salamanders, being pursued by a combined force of Death Guard, World Eaters, Word Bearers and Sons of Horus.

There had been a terrible but brief period of indecision. Both sides had called the other traitor. Surely the Sons of Horus, the Warmaster’s own Legion, an honourable and proud Legion, would not lie. Yet the desperation of the fleeing starship captains and the Astartes officers on board had been compelling.
The pursuing warriors had shown little of their expected nobility. They were arrogant, vicious, spiteful, a parody of themselves. The Death Guard and Sons of Horus ships had almost begun shooting at one another in an argument over who was in charge of their fleet: the overbearing, assured Sons of Horus, whose Primarch was lauded as the greatest of the eighteen, and the numerically superior Death Guard whose ire was slow to build but inextinguishable once roused.

Recalling the moment Captain Dour of the Iron Hands had told them of the great betrayal was… difficult. Just the thought of it made the Ultramarine want to put his head in his hands. He didn’t know if an Astartes could cry. What purpose would it serve? They weren’t truly human any more. Let the normal humans, the men and women who made up the Imperium, release their emotions, cope with their grief, in that way. Let the Astartes remain strong so that they might protect those humans while they were vulnerable.

The fleet action had been atrocious. Vicious. The 122nd had barely brought its surveyors on-line before the Death Guard attacked them. The traitor Legions – for this was proof the betrayal had occurred – showed no regard for the humans of either side. They seemed to take a special delight in chasing down and boarding ships crewed entirely by mortals.

Derius had taken command in the eighth day of the fleet action when all those senior to him, whatever their Legion, were dead. His vessel, the Light of Ultramar, was a scarred battle barge bleeding plasma fire, atmosphere and a glittering silver trail of human bodies. He’d led several Iron Hands escorts right between the Death Guard and Sons of Horus capital ships Barbaran Poetry and Finishing Touch, blasting them into scrap with some genuinely good and extremely fortunate shooting, ending the manoeuvre by ramming the World Eaters vessel Terra’s Bloody Claw, destroying the smaller traitor cruiser. It had seemed to Derius’ fleet that he had been seized by violent inspiration. They’d surged against their enemies, destroying or disabling one ship after another with heroism bordering on insanity until the surviving traitors disengaged.

In reality, Derius had found his position hopeless and he’d been trying to go out in glory.

That was something he’d never told anyone else.

“Sergeant,” the Salamander said, dragging his thoughts from the gloomy past to their uncertain present. “We need to go.”

“I agree, Vulkis,” Derius said. They were his first words in hours. “But where?”

Vulkis pursed his lips. He wasn’t given to long speeches. Yet at this moment, he couldn’t even put together a sentence.

“We are still cut off from the Imperium,” Derius added. “We have been unable to find a navigable route to Macragge. Throne, Vulkite, we can’t even tell where it is in that… that mess.”

He indicated the violet light in the sky. It distorted the amber sunlight, struggling as that sunlight was to breach the dun-coloured wall of dust blowing away from the Imperials.

“Agreed,” the Salamander said in his deep, calm voice. “But the Death Guard will have reported our presence here. We cannot assume we blocked all their communications. Theirs is one of the largest and strongest Legions. We cannot stand against all of them. Especially if they bring Mortarion.”

“That wretched traitor,” Derius said without meaning to. It felt good to unleash his spite. That in itself was a warning sign. He’d always considered himself noble, thoughtful, not given to outbursts. Was this how the traitors had started on their road to infamy? By something as simple as letting their guard down?
He unlocked and removed his helm with a hiss of escaping oxygen. The smell of burning reached him as the two Astartes looked at one another.
“I’ll kill him myself if he comes,” said Derius, unable to contain the emotions he’d let out. “He’s a weakling among Primarchs.”

“He did not look weak, scything his way through my brothers while bolter fire bounced off him. Mortarion is a son of the Emperor. It requires a Primarch to kill a Primarch, and we are already three Primarchs down.”

There was silence except for the wind in their ears, which their genhanced senses tuned down to a murmur.

“Forgive me,” the Ultramarine said. “I should have been more tactful. “

“I am not troubled by your lack of tact; rather, your underestimation of our enemies. Their destructive potential is unrelated to the number of remembrancers writing poems about them. If it was, Mortarion, Perturabo and Kurze would have been created as nursemaids, rather than warlords and bringers of merciless death.”

Derius was shamed and made no reply.

They heard approaching footfalls, lighter than the clumping of an Astartes, and turned to see two humans heading their way. One was male, the other female. Their faces and clothes were dirty. Both of them wore black flak armour, with helmets, over blue fatigues. She carried a lasgun, he a bulky melta. His knuckles were white.
Derius thought the man looked distraught, though he hid it well. He seemed slightly younger than the woman, who by her lapels was ranked major. They moved with a semblance of the arrogant swagger mortals wore when they’d personally killed Astartes. Derius had only ever seen that recently, among crew members and soldiers of the Light of Ultramar who’d managed to repel a small contingent of World Eater boarders with Ultramarine assistance.

“There you are,” the woman said to Derius. “We’ve been looking for you.”

“I have been standing on this hilltop, skylined and unmoving, for nearly an hour.”

“We thought you were a tree,” the man said, attempting humour. It fell flat. The betrayal of the Legions had broken his spirit.

“How can I help you?” Derius asked the major.

“Magos Blumnit sent us. One of the Mechanicum vessels in orbit has reported something.”

“Why did they tell you and not me?”

“They didn’t. One of my vox operators got wind of it. He’s been monitoring fleet communications. I ordered him to break all cyphers being used among our ships, just in case anyone was up to no good.”

“Wise,” Derius said, drawing a nod of agreement from Vulkite. “What have you discovered?”

“Nothing much,” the major said, breaking into a smile. “Just a way back to Macragge.”

“What?” the two Astartes said at almost the same moment.

“It looks like Lord Guilliman’s found a way to call us home. They say Macragge just ‘lit up’ – their words. They can plot a course and take us there.”

Derius looked from Vulkite back to the woman.

“Are you sure this is genuine, Major? We must base our actions on practical knowledge, not theory.”

“The Mechanicum verified it a few minutes ago. They were confused about what happened.”

“Apparently,” the man said, reluctantly meeting Derius’s eyes, “Lord Guilliman is using some kind of xenos tech.”

“He’s using what?” Derius asked, aghast.

“Er… yeah,” the man replied. He took a step back.

“Xenos tech? Lord Guilliman’s using it?”

Vulkite also took a step back. He made to reach for his bolter, but stopped himself.

“Whatever madness this is,” the Salamander said, “it bears investigation. I do not believe Lord Guilliman could turn renegade any more than my own Primarch might.”

“Thank you,” Derius said distantly. He hoped the Salamander was right. The Ultramarines Primarch was an innocent man. His character was unsullied. He was a good man who believed in the Imperium.
Could the Primarch have been seduced by some kind of xenos power, as his colder, crueller brothers must have been? Or was he merely obeying his own rule of the practical over the theoretical? Macragge was cut off from the Imperium: the status of the wider Imperium was purely theoretical. It looked like Guilliman had found a way to convert theory into pract, by giving everyone a way to meet him, tell their stories, add their might to his.

The decision was made. In a galaxy of disloyalty, the Ultramarines would remain loyal; in an age of doubt, they must trust their Primarch. Perhaps this was how the traitor Legions had fallen. Derius doubted that. They had been cruel, calculating. Their betrayal had clearly been planned in advance. The Ultramarines were using whatever means they could to save the Imperium; the traitors used whatever means to tear it down.
Weren’t the Astartes supposed to sacrifice something so that Mankind might survive? In this case, they were sacrificing their dignity, some of their honour, by using xenos technology for the greater good.

Derius thought of his flagship and smiled at the irony of its name.

“Signal the Light of Macragge. Tell them to ask our Mechanicum friends if they’ve anything to tell us.”

The Ultramarine replaced his helm, locking it back into place.

“Derius to all loyalist forces,” he said into the vox. “Prepare to return to orbit. We’re going home.”

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by NoPoet

[40K] Another Day to Die

30/06/2015 in Warhammer 40K

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The grav-tank shattered as though made of crystal and sank to the ground, graceful even in ruinous death.

“Tempest down, I repeat, Tempest is down,” the stormtrooper reported, already dropping his magnoculars and unslinging his long-las.

The Land Raiders rumbled from the cover of ruins and surrounding woodland, ten black-painted tanks heading toward the Alaitoc lines, nine Land Raiders bearing the heraldry of a distinct Chapter of Astartes along with the scars of battle-damage, a single tank bearing the stylised I of the Imperial Inquisition. This tank was the oldest of them all. Its twin-barrelled lascannon sponsons still glowed with the heat of discharge from its kill shot.

Human soldiers advanced between them; two hundred mechanised Guard infantry marching beside their Chimeras, the fighter-transports dwarfed by the Astartes battle tanks.

Inquisitor Drayke leaned forward to peer into the servitor’s driving compartment of his personal Land Raider, Bulwark of Scorn. His power armour hissed and whirred as it adapted to the Bulwark’s rolling motion. The holo-viewers in the driving compartment revealed a shimmering, bucking image of the Imperial city ahead: the tithe buildings were occupied by Eldar snipers, grav-tanks and weapons platforms rose from behind the buildings in so-called pop-up attacks, each of which killed Imperial vehicles and drove human troopers into cover.

“Gonna kick xenos ass,” trooper Dornis muttered from his seat in the troop compartment. The Bulwark‘s engine roared as if in agreement. Drayke grinned to himself. He was leading a contingent of battle-hardened Imperial Guard, every man and woman among them full of hatred for the fickle Eldar, sick of the xenos’ relentless attacks across this system.

The Alaitoc. The betrayers, allies of convenience, murderers of human beings and defilers of the Emperor’s domain when it suited them. What did those fragile, mincing bastards even want? To think, only two years ago Drayke had even fought alongside the treacherous scum – reluctantly, and purely at the request of the misguided Chapter Master Blenthis of the Firedogs Chapter – to repulse those strange metallic beings who had almost wiped out the colony of Nova III.

Now the Alaitoc were here on this civilised world, disrupting the collection of tithes and killing civilians.

More than this, Drayke was leading the Deathwatch, one hundred Space Marines from across the Imperium

“Save some for the rest of us, Dornis,” the Inquisitor said. His voice was startlingly deep. It was a voice that carried, that made people listen.

“It’s a good day to die,” a deeper voice rumbled.

Dornis turned. Brother Svenjar was a towering presence, his black Terminator plate decorated with feral-looking runes. One of the Space Wolf’s immense shoulder pauldrons displayed his Chapter heritage – a black wolf against a yellow background – while the other displayed his Terminator honours, in this case fashioned into the ornate emblem of the Deathwatch.

“Predicting a negative future again, my friend?” Drayke said with a smirk.

“I’ll be right one of these days.” The Wolf Priest chuckled. Drayke had never met another Astartes with a self-deprecating sense of humour. It shouldn’t have instilled confidence but Svenjar radiated assurance. All Space Wolves seemed to. The Inquisitor would never admit this, even to himself, but the Wolves were his preferred battle companions. Even the men, who were somewhat intimidated by the Wolves’ brutal charisma, exchanged pleased looks when they knew they’d be fighting alongside warriors of that Chapter. The Wolves seemed to remember what it meant to be human. Few other Astartes did.

“Any activity from their witches?”

“The Eldar have a powerful coven of psykers directing their formations from somewhere behind the city. There are other psykers spread thinly among their lines, directing ghost warriors and Titans.”

“Have they attempted contact?”

“No,” Svenjar said, stroking his beard. His massive bulk seemed immune to the Bulwark’s rolling motion. “They know I’m here, they just haven’t bothered to show me love.”

“Remind me to send them a stern missive,” said Drayke. “Ignoring Brother Svenjar, eh? One more thing to add to their list of crimes.”

The Land Raider column rumbled into the open space between the Imperial position and the Eldar-occupied city. Grey rockrete buildings towered. The Eldar invasion had done minimal damage to the planet’s infrastructure; most of the shell holes and battle damage in the unattractive hab-buildings had been inflicted by the Imperial Guard.

Guard troopers boarded their Chimeras while the transports were still moving at walking pace. They’d been drilled to perfection. Not a single soldier tripped, broke an ankle or found themselves left behind. The Chimeras fanned out, dropping slightly back from the more survivable Land Raiders. Bulwark remained in the lead, the irascible tank practically daring the Eldar to waste more shots against it.

A detachment of Deathwatch Rhinos emerged from the forests far to Drayke’s west, appearing as if from nowhere and gunning at full speed towards a distant building. Eldar las-fire flashed, either narrowly missing the speeding vehicles or impacting worthlessly against reinforced armour. Five Land Speeders raced past the Rhinos, circling and strafing one of the Eldar-held buildings.

Drayke and Svenjar watched in silence as the Bulwark’s holo-displays showed the tactical overlays. The Alaitoc had deployed atypically, hiding themselves within and between the buildings ahead of the human advance and waiting for the Imperials to come to them. Swarms of jetbike riders swept forth to attack specific Imperial detachments before suddenly changing direction and fleeing; they were like shoals of predatory fish, charging, swarming, then exploding into retreat.
The Bulwark lurched and gears whined in protest as incoming fire began to pelt the Land Raider company.

“Come on, old friend,” Drayke said, rapping a sidewall as encouragement, “we’ll avenge your wounds a hundredfold. Just please get us there.”

“Emergency!” one of the servitors shouted, something close to emotion in its voice. “Enemy Titan unscrambling ahead. Phantom-class. Primary armaments: thermal cannon, power fist. Secondary armaments unknown. Detecting buildup in thermal cannon.”

“Where the hell did that come from?” trooper Yann yelled.

“Open fire!” Drayke ordered the servitor crew.

The Titan was majestic, a living sculpture of bone and gemstones, the embodiment of the Eldar form escalated to colossal scale. It seemed to coalesce into existence before them, where previously there had been little more than motes of light dancing in the morning air.

It opened fire moments before the Land Raiders. The beam of focused heat punched straight through the frontal armour of a Raider wearing heraldry of the Crimson Fists. The tank exploded from the inside out. A devastating loss, for a Chapter accustomed to devastating losses.

“Unable to hit target,” one of the Bulwark’s gunnery servitors said. It showed no feelings at all. It might have been reporting from a training ground, rather than under live fire from a hostile Titan.

The Phantom danced around the lattice of laser beams sent against it. The Chimeras joined in: multilasers, autocannon, heavy bolters, even a heavy flamer from one over-enthusiastic gunner. Hunter-killer missiles flared against the Titan but were unable to lock on, their simplistic machine spirits foxed by some daemonry. Those few shots which found a mark against the Titan’s legs did no damage.

“Incoming firepower,” intoned the driver.

The Phantom Titan’s most distinctive feature were its arching wing-flues. These flues contained secondary weapon systems. Missiles, little golden stars, streaked down to burst among the approaching Imperial armour. Two Chimeras swerved, melting and in flames, and two of the Land Raider company were wreathed in plasma fire.

“Left lascannon sponson overheating. Increasing coolant flow. Right lascannon sponson overheating. Increasing coolant flow. Coolant flow unable to compensate. Reducing firing rate. Blessed in the Emperor and steady is our aim.”

A second shot from the Titan blew the left-side tracks from a Headhunters Land Raider. Six Stormtroopers emerged, coughing and shouting, leaving four men dead and burning inside. The wounded Land Raider continued firing with its single remaining lascannon, barrels glowing as they overheated, until a second wave of plasma missiles consuming it and its fleeing passengers.

“Primary armament offline: weapon temperature critical in both sponsons. Advancing to combat speed, collision course plotted. Brace for impact.”

“What the hell’s it think it’s doing?” trooper Folk said. “Inquisitor –”

“Hold your place, whelp,” Svenjar said, somehow sounding reassuring rather than insulting, another little trick that kept Guard-Wolf relations healthy.

“This bloody tank,” Drayke murmured, wondering what the Land Raider had planned. Had its ancient spirit finally succumbed to senility, preferring death rather than servitude-in-madness?

“Trust it, Inquisitor,” Svenjar rumbled. “We old-timers know what we’re doing, especially when it seems like we don’t.”

“We are attracting enemy fire,” a servitor said. “Brace.”

The Phantom Titan looked down at the Bulwark of Scorn, its Eldar crew – if crew there were, you never knew with these alien scum – paying scant attention to its own movements as it evaded Imperial firepower with an ease that bordered on ridiculous. It levelled its heat lance, the weapon locked rigidly on target despite the war machine’s capering dance, and discharged, the shot tearing the Bulwark’s dormant assault cannon free.

Drayke and the Wolf Priest remained on their feet but the stormtroopers were bucked in their seats, saved from further injury only by their restraints, though Sergeant Polens managed to knock himself unconscious.

Smoke filled the passenger compartments and the low lighting was replaced by red emergency lumens. A siren wailed.

“Armour penetrated: secondary weapon destroyed. Flashback to engine reactor… stabilising… beyond my ability to stabilise. Invoking blessed machine-spirit to self-repair. Oh Bulwark of Scorn, long-serving hero of the Imperium, survive that you may fight for the Emperor and Omnissiah, live so that your precious human cargo may live, endure that the Imperial Truth may endure…”

Drayke murmured prayers himself. The Bulwark was an old bastard, but it was brave and, so far as Drayke knew, the Land Raider had never allowed one of its passengers or crew to die in transit, no matter what hit them. It was thrice-blessed by the Saint of Agamemnon, it survived the barrage of no less than two Mega-Gargants when almost an entire Imperial army had been lain waste in the Valley of Carnage and rumours persisted that it had fought in defence of Terra during the forgotten horrors of the Great Heresy.

Its insane charge distracted the hostile Titan just enough for the Imperial Fists Land Raider, Meet Dorn’s Gaze, to land a penetrating shot that blew the Titan’s left knee joint out. Caught in a manoeuvre impossible for an Imperial Titan to emulate, the Phantom fell sideways, landing on its power fist. Wraithbone shards flew as the Titan’s weight forced it into the dirt.

Lascannon fire carved chunks from the fallen Titan’s body even as a shockwave rippled out from its point of impact. This time Inquisitor Drayke was thrown backwards by the unbelievable force and even the Wolf Priest shot an arm out to brace himself.

The Phantom Titan managed one final shot, evaporating Meet Dorn’s Gaze and bringing eight thousand years of heroism to an end. The Titan’s head loomed large before the Bulwark of Scorn; the Land Raider crunched, then jolted sharply, as its tracks bit into the Titan’s featureless face.

“Grind the bastard into the dirt,” Drayke ordered as he tried to clamber to his feet.

Today was a good day to die, but only for the Eldar.

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by NoPoet

[NEWS] Working for The Man

28/06/2015 in Imp Lit News

1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (95% score)

Greetings Imp Litters. Following our previous update many moons ago, I have been hammering away at my fiction. I’ve been recruited, along with nine other writers considered to be “top guns” over at, to write a story for an unofficial Horus Heresy anthology called Age of Horror. (What an awesome name!)

My entry features the Death Guard while they are still loyal to the Emperor, battling against a highly militarised species called the Klenikk, a xenos race who believe humanity is a pawn of the Primordial Annihilator and have declared war against the fledgling Imperium. This should appeal to anyone who’s sick of Heresy novels always being Space Marines versus human rebels, and anyone who, like myself, are wondering why the Death Guard are all but absent from the Heresy literature (although, in fairness, they were the first Legion to get their own novel after the opening Sons of Horus trilogy).

In the meantime I have also submitted samples of my writing to the Games Workshop in response to their open submission policy, so I should be getting my rejection notice from them in about three weeks or so! They have been dropping hints that some rejected writers haven’t been entirely dismissed, so for the next few weeks I’ll be engaged in reading and writing Heresy fiction to study the masters.

Hopefully I’ll find time to squeeze in more fiction on Imperial Literature over the coming days.

Peace out and count the seven,


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by NoPoet

[NEWS] The future of Imp Lit

07/06/2015 in Imp Lit News

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Greetings all.

Currently updates to Imp Lit are still on hold. As I mentioned in my last update, I have finally commenced treatment for a rather severe case of ADHD, though this has been hampered and delayed by medical incompetence. Instead of beginning treatment in February I ended up starting it late April/early May.

I don’t know anyone else who’s ever had a diagnosis of ADHD, let alone commenced treatment for it, so I’ve been operating in the dark; nobody in the medical profession knew what dose of medication would help or how long it would take to start working, if it did anything at all. I was also diagnosed with asperger syndrome. The ADHD and asperger traits pull against each other quite often, which makes it difficult to know whether I’m coming or going, and it has rendered me unable to fulfill long-term or important responsibilities, such as running a once-popular website.

Well the good news is I’ve been taking a medication called strattera (atomoxetine) which has had a profound impact on me. Being an aspie, I can only tolerate a low dose, too low to completely break the hold autism and ADHD have over my behaviour, but more than enough to boost me into building a new life. I haven’t been taking my current dose for long enough to see maximum benefit. Consequently, I have days where I am fearless and inspired, and others where I just can’t seem to get anything done.

The benefits of strattera have been unexpected. I haven’t suddenly developed laser focus, or become mega-popular (although I definitely get on better with people now), or churned out three novels in a month. It’s gradually helping me to take control over my thoughts and feelings in a way that I simply couldn’t conceive of before. I am developing an intense drive to get out into the world and experience what I’ve been missing. This new sensation has actually taken me further away from my writing as I now want to experience life first hand, rather than sit at home writing about it.

So I still intend to work on Imp Lit and get new stories up, and as Gideon helpfully pointed out the story section needs work so that people can actually view things by category. This will happen – but I have got a long way to go in my personal life, there are still a few things that need fixing there before I can return to Imp Lit and fix that too.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and thanks for your continued patronage of Imp Lit.


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[NEWS] February 2015 update – user registration

05/02/2015 in Imp Lit News

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Greetings all. It has been many moons since I promised new stories. Unfortunately, real life has had plans for me and I have barely got anything done since the beginning of January. I also haven’t been able to do anything to try to restore Imp Lit to its former glory.

I’m concerned that some members are being blocked from registering or re-registering, or even just posting on the forums, by Imp Lit’s spam software. There is plenty of legitimate traffic to the site, just no posts, so there’s obviously something going wrong.

I had to install heavy-duty anti-spam software due to relentless spam attacks throughout 2013 and early 2014. If any members are reading this and are having problems, PLEASE EMAIL ME on and I will investigate.

I have caught several attempted registrations from long-standing members who have been barred, without my intention to do so, by the spam filters. These should have all been corrected but I simply do not know if it’s worked.

From mid-February 2015 onwards, and for the first time in my life, I will be receiving support for ADHD which I was diagnosed with at the end of 2013. I have been told that the personal benefits of this treatment could be significant and I should hopefully be more productive, better able to focus on bringing Imp Lit back to life. It may be a gradual process though, I’m venturing into the unknown here.

An email will be going out to all members soon asking you all to confirm whether or not you are able to post and/or re-register (if required) on the forums.

I’ll also be investigating new options for spam blocking that won’t prevent members from returning or signing up.


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[40K] Marneus Calgar’s Barmy Army: Calgar’s Kidney Stone (part 2)

25/12/2014 in Warhammer 40K

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“Where’s that bloody tech marine?”

Dick had had to enlist three other Ultramarines to help him give a chair-lift to Marneus Calgar. The fat, complaining Chapter Master had point-blank refused to strip out of his armour for the journey. He was paranoid about “That new girl seeing my nipples”.

They’d worked up a fine sweat by the time they reached the transport bay. Unfortunately the bay, which was more of a circular, open-air arena which perpetually stank of promethium, was almost empty. The floor of the bay was streaked with black stains. Above them, the winter sky was a brooding presence.

“He’s uninstalling Firefox from all our computer systems, sir, and loading Opera in their place.”

“Why in the name of Bob Hoskins did I ask him to do that?”

“You need to work harder on those memory tests, sir. The Inquisition declared Firefox to be more bloated than Nurgle’s colon and you were sick of having your computer freeze for five minutes every time you started Firefox up. Said the waiting made your bollocks retract into your hips.”

“Tech-Priest Nerdingham is the laziest, most unmotivated slob in the region,” said Calgar without irony. “The first time he ever does anything I ask him to is the day my kidney goes kamikaze. He was supposed to be working on the Rhinos today!”

“You put the fear of Guilliman into him, my Lord, by threatening him thus: ‘I don’t give a flying feth about the tanks, mate, you either install Opera or spend five minutes in the nerve glove, pain level ‘watching the European intro to Gran Turismo 5.'”

“That’s quite a good impression of me,” Calgar said, not sure whether to be impressed or go into one of his tantrums. “You even pronounced our Primarch’s name correctly. Hardly anybody does that.”

(Unfortunately, dear reader, even I don’t know how to pronounce that name, and I’ve been taking it in vein for more than a decade!)

There was a familiar buzzing crack; not of the lord Calgar’s flatulence for a delightful change, but an incoming lasgun shot.

“Look out, sir!” Dick yelled, almost flipping the Chapter Master out of their grasp as he tumbled the group of Ultramarines sideways.

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[40K] Marneus Calgar’s Barmy Army: Calgar’s Kidney Stone (part 1)

23/12/2014 in Warhammer 40K

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Marneus Calgar’s Barmy Army: Calgar’s Kidney Stone

A Warhammer 40,000 parody by NoPoet

Synopsis: Gasp and vomit your way through this insulting, lavatory-humour farce in which the Lord Calgar, whom my Windows Surface tablet thinks should be called “Marines Calgary”, is menaced by a nasty kidney stone… oh, and an invasion of Nurgle. All Calgar wanted to do was use the toilet…

The Marneus Calgar’s Barmy Army Official Anthem

With special thanks to the track author, Dummy, and OC ReMix


Calgar’s Kidney Stone


Calgar’s Discomfitting Kidney Mishap


Marneus Calgar: A Profane, Blasphemous and Intelligence-Insulting Anecdote of One Man’s Unfortunate Circumstance



Welcome to Macragge, home to the most pious Imperial servants: an entire Chapter of devout warrior-monks, heroic noblemen whose lives are constantly on the line so trillions of robe-wearing minions can scribe things that someone else chucks in the bin. Macragge is a rocky and cold world, a place where dwell men of legend… and their glorious leader, Marneus Calgar.

“OW!” roared Lord Calgar from his uncompromising squat on the Crapper of Macragge. “My fething piles are playing up. They’re throbbing like alien brains in a B-movie.”

“Then stop sitting down with a thump, sir!” Dick called from outside the door. “Remember what the apothecary said: don’t provoke the piles!

“I’ll provoke the little bastards when I pop them with a power sword and cauterise them with a hand flamer! Even if it itches like a fething bitch, it will be a blessed relief compared to this! I feel like I stuck my arse in a nerve glove set to ‘exterminatus’. Or maybe ‘exterminanus’.”

“My Lord?”

“It was bawdy lavatory humour, Bannerman. You can feel free to laugh.”

“Oh,” Dick said. “Ha. Ha.”

“Nobody ever gets my jokes,” said Marneus Calgar as the toilet strained beneath his podgy rolls. “You know something, Number Two? These aren’t just piles. They’re rancid visitations. Every time I try to push, I get a stabbing pain in my lower back.”

“You might be wiping too hard, sir,” Dick offered. “We can hear bog roll tearing and shuffling in there for twenty minutes every time you have a crap. It’s bound to play havoc with your ring region.”

“You may be right, Number Two,” Calgar conceded. “Oh, speaking of bog roll, some silly tosser used the last of my Andrex. Fetch us a couple of rolls, will you?”

“Which kind, my Lord?”

“Er… natural pebble, because their marketing executives called it that with a straight face. Fair play to them, their will is clearly stronger than mine. And tell the lads to stop pinching it, I’m supposed to be the only person who comes in here at stopping-off time.”

“You are the only person who goes in there, you big fat bog-roll wasting bell end,” Dick muttered as he headed for the pantry, where Calgar hid his Andrex.

“Oh, and Number Two?” Calgar said.

“You shouldn’t really use that nickname when you’re in there, sir,” Bannerman said, coming back. “I never actually know if it’s me you’re talking to.”

“I do apologise, Dick. I’m only the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, who am I to address my underlings in the manner of my choosing?”

“What is it, sir?” said Dick, wisely changing tack.

“Can you explain to me the function of Lyman’s ear?”

“Er, no, to be honest. Do you still want that toilet roll? Only, Milo and I are organising a Forza tournament -”

“The Lyman’s Ear, you great blasphemous tit, allows me to hear everything you say within a football field’s radius, even above the constant, squeaking, gaseous emanation of my ablutions. So the next time you accuse me of wasting toilet roll, get ready for the nerve glove, pain level ‘Listening to the theme tune of classic British sitcom Dear John through headphones, on constant repeat, for five hours, without alcohol or other anaesthetic’.”

“Anything but that!” Dick cried. “My apologies, Lord Calgar. I’ll attend to your toilet roll emergency at once.”

TOOT! replied the Lord Calgar’s arsehole. It echoed for some seconds, trapped between a clogged u-bend and Calgar’s fat, spotty backside.

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[40K] Rise of the Tau (parts 2, 3 and 4)

10/11/2014 in Warhammer 40K

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A Warhammer 40,000 epic by Revenant

Reposted from



‘This is distasteful.’ Berolinus snarled.
Codian had to agree. He glanced at the others and he could tell they were of the same mind.
‘We sully ourselves while ever we remain in the alien’s presence.’ Berolinus continued. ‘I say we kill it and take the ship as our own.’
‘And can you pilot such a ship?’
‘Perhaps Laenar could.’
All eyes turned to the Techmarine. The warrior shook his head slowly.
‘As far as I am able to tell, this is a Demiurg Stronghold ship. We may be the first humans ever to set foot on such a vessel. Demiurg technology has always been a mystery to the Adeptus Mechanicus. I am not even sure how he manages to pilot this vessel alone.’

Codian turned his attention away from the stars beyond the viewport and moved to join the others, sensing their collective discomfort.
‘Brothers, this is a necessary evil. It is our duty to return to the Imperium in its hour of need, and the only way we can do that is to allow this creature to carry us to the Imperial borders. We are Astartes and it is our duty to aid the Imperium we all swore an oath to serve. Duty must take precedence above all else.’
The others agreed bitterly.

‘Hmm. I’m not deaf.’
Grungi turned away from the vast control banks of the bridge, his augmetic eye twinkling. His mouth was curled into lopsided grin.
‘Your engineer is correct about the Grudgebearer. She’s a Stronghold class, the best in the galaxy. The ships of the Mont’ka Kor’vattra have hunted her for years without success. As for taking her as your own, there are quicker and more effective ways of committing suicide.’

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[40K] Rise of the Tau (part 1)

20/10/2014 in Warhammer 40K

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A Warhammer 40,000 epic by Revenant


Time most distant, future’s zenith.
In tears, the star-sea mourns.
Isha’s children lament. All is lost to arrogance, grand designs soured by success, dreams are dust.
Shattered and done, the progeny set sail for the forever-beyond, flight borne on the tides of shame.
To dwindle and expire, forever denied.
The New Star burns too intense to douse, unchecked, untamed. Gods despair.
Tide surges, the end time is come.

Future’s path runs red as Khaine-blood, Hate-Winter rages, the portents scream their siren song. The song of Ulthanash is silent, Isha’s eye closed in slumber. Asuryan’s Shrine-light flickers and dies. The Cosmic Serpent reveals the truth and sheds his final skin. The Rebirth is denied. The Doom of Eldanesh comes to pass, the Red Moon rises.
The Rhana Dandra is come, let young and old cower before the chaos of the end.

The New Star will rise unprecedented, all the dread despoilers of the old kingdom quail beneath its fire.
Dead-King shivers on his maggot-throne as the Tide assails his walls, his kingdom lost.
Locust flees, no longer to plague creation-fields, feast denied.
Slave-puppets, once free, now lie in chains, conquered anew, rebellion’s essence bound in blood.
Long-Dead are exhumed, tombs razed. There shall be no flight, no peace in death. Their gods shall tremble.
Damned Shores become bastion as Dark Souls return. Exodus-flight before the rising swell. Denizens of Under-Kingdom cower behind its gates as the Tide surges.
Shame-Kin be damned in the bowels of the Webway, vermin scuttling in filth and terror, afraid of the ragescream storm above. Let them gather souls in shame and desperate haste, past sins quail as the All-Thirst is quenched. The brightest hope may lie amongst the darkest of shadow, the Learned Mongrel-Soul exhumed to see a destiny fulfilled.
Many Mighty Kings shall offer their swords to the Tide. None shall escape. None shall escape.

Skeins divided, hope defiant. Light and darkness heed, else collide and be damned. Fractured is as death, no other path leads to hope.
Existence-Tree be razed to its roots, bitter leaves cleansed. Then can hope’s light flicker. All forgotten to the core of creation. Then can hope’s flame catch the breeze.
Let the Lost Princes of the Young gather, shoulder to shoulder they alone may weather the Hate-Winter’s wrath.
Bright Hope’s flame still burns deep in the shadows of the Dead Land, too powerful to extinguish forever. Soul Beacon, the Horn of Kurnous will sound the call to war. They shall gather, let but some of their names be known.
The Revenant. The First-And-Ever Lords of War. The Lost Princes. The Wrathful Masters. The Reapers of Light. The Stolen Giant. The Prophet. The Last Avenger. The Entombed Ancient. The Oracle. The Blazing Rebel.
All these names and more shall stand ready as the Rhana Dandra dawns and the light of the Final Day casts her glow upon armour and weapon.

Maelstrom, life and death gather for war, old and young collide beneath the Red Moon. Origin revealed, too sour a taste to accept.
It matters not, what is, is.
Gods splintered reform in deed to counter the twilight. The children rise, menagerie gather in bitter winds of division’s death. Choice is murdered for all time, no longer sustainable in revealed irrelevance.
Diversity is power, the only power left unconsumed. Youth’s vigour an appetite insatiable above all else, desperation will rule the firmament. There can be no more old-thought. Every shadow will shift, writhe with hidden stirring. Life’s last breath must be deep.

Let them stand on the Final Shore as one, faces turned to the Tide. I have seen future’s zenith. I have seen crux and apex. Past, present and future united. Enmity is not survival. History rewritten at its very core, primeval puzzle complete.
One must tell the tale. Paths cannot be altered, only destinations revealed.
Unity. When the ash-wake clears, no more division, only Unity.
The Great Unity will prevail.

–Translation of ancient eldar tablet found on Cadia. Artefact thought to be the oldest example of eldar archaeology yet discovered.–

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