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by NoPoet

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

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

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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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by NoPoet

[20K] Flight of the Fireblade

06/09/2013 in 20K

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A 20K story by NoPoet

In a universe so big no megaship could ever cross it, there was at least one galaxy where everyone needed to find the smallest place to hide.

Yuri Aksakov was squeezed into the cockpit of a fighter in a tunnel inside an asteroid. The tunnel had been bored by some unimaginable space-worm in aeons past. Luckily, it hadn’t left any spawn.

“I know you’re there,” the alien said across the vox. It was male, though with eldar, there wasn’t much to choose between the genders. “I can smell your soul, little rabbit.”

Yuri didn’t answer. He missed the cultural reference because he wasn’t from Earth.

The auspex showed nothing outside his hidey-hole but a chain of floating rocks. No sign of the eldar, or Yuri’s wingmen, if any had survived. No sign of the XMS Destiny.

“You can’t hide, human. I will claim you.”

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by NoPoet

[20K] Vile History

07/04/2013 in 20K

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A 20K story by NoPoet

Data Author: Albert Lamm
Location: ++ Location denied ++
Transmission Time: 023987/M21
Received: Saturn, Relay point 5


I reluctantly bring another unsettling report from an Earth expedition. The DMS Barclay, a decommissioned Canyon-class cruiser currently owned by the Pan-Pacific Treaty organisation and renamed the ICA Horizon, has sent a report back to Earth regarding an abandoned planet which seems to have been an outpost of the Chinasian Alliance.

The report was intercepted by one of our intelligence operatives working for Solar Command.

Clarification follows:

1. The Pan-Pacific Treaty is a newly-formed organisation representing a coalition of businesses and nation-states who have expressed resistance to assimilation by the Terran Empire, much as the former Chinsian Alliance did. The Treaty views itself as a collective working towards a greater whole, a whole which benefits only the members of the Treaty.

2. The Treaty was only formally recognised by the Terran Empire six weeks ago, although many of its members have been working together for about two years.

3. So far, the Treaty has been conducting their own research and exploration using a small fleet of ships they have recently purchased – a fleet which contains at least two decommissioned vessels of the Terran Navy.

4. We do not currently know the extent of the Treaty’s manpower, military strength or influence, as despite its name, it also extends off-world and is suspected to have bases throughout Solar Segment.

5. The Treaty is specifically searching for Chinasian technology and possibly Chinasian cultural artefacts. They claim to be doing this for culture heritage and financial reasons.

6. The Chinasian Bloc controlled and influenced the Pacific region of Earth following the Merican-Chindoasian Collision. The Chinasians rebuilt the civilisations destroyed by the tectonic disaster. As Earth became overcrowded once again and food was impossible to grow in sufficient quantities using the technology of the time, the Chinasian Bloc eventually began to colonise the stars. We know this period by its phlegmatic title, “The Emigration”.

7. It is suspected that Chinasian technology is generally inferior to what we possess today. However, they probably possessed more advanced warp technology, which would be a tremendous asset were it to be located and reverse-engineered by ourselves. It is strongly recommended that we acquire this technology before Pan-Pacific. (Perhaps we could use this as an objective for the Fearless programme?)

8. While the Euro-Federation and Dominion of Ursh gradually developed technology and a combined culture, which finally evolved into today’s Terran Empire, it is thought that the for many decades, the Chinasians were several hundred years ahead of the Euro-Federation culturally and technologically. It has long been believed that the Chinasians colonised and fortified many more worlds than the known 100. These worlds elected to remain out of contact with Earth and its colonies. Trader vessels were turned away from Chinasian space at gunpoint. Nobody knows if the Chinasians simply decided to chart their own course among the stars, or if they fell under the influence of aliens.

9. Given the state of Terran warp technology until recently, and the extraordinary violence within the hyper-realm which has only recently started to abate, it has been impossible for the Terran Empire to send vessels to make contact with the Chinasians until now. Unfortunately, the Pan-Pacific Treaty seems to have beaten us to it, and their findings are very disturbing.

The report follows.


Albert Lamm

Detachment 44

Head of Extrasolar R&D, Titan



“This is Emma Brentwood, skipper of the Pan-Pacific vessel Horizon. We’ve discovered a world which once belonged to humans. Surveyors report no vessels or satellites in orbit and no power sources on the planet’s surface. Star charts dating from the seventh millennium, the most recent we’ve got of this region, indicate there may once have been a Chinasian outpost here. We’ve included co-ordinates. The Terran Empire dubbed this region the Pacific Segment, although we still know it as the Taurus Stars. It’s lucky our hyper-jump was blown off-course by a reality storm, otherwise we might never have come here.

“Our science teams are really keen to make planetfall, but we’re still one day out from the planet and we’re experiencing problems with the starboard launch bay. The Navy made sure whoever bought this vessel would need to go to them for help with maintenance and repairs, but we don’t need them; we’re managing with help from former members of the Martian Science Council. We’ve got two Triton-class landers waiting to go. Let’s hope our repair teams get the bay doors working by the time we reach orbit. I need to get to what we laughingly call the astrometrics bay as our surveyor system is reporting problems.”


“Our space-field surveyors have detected several satellites in a decaying orbit around the planet. There are fourteen of them, all dormant and in decaying orbits. It looks like a graveyard for technology out there. Unusual readings from our surveyors indicate the Chinasians built these satellites from stealth materials. We’re not sure why they would do this, unless they were under some kind of threat from beyond their solar system, but it’s an exciting development – it could explain why discoveries of Chinasian worlds and technology are rare.

“We decided to call the world Xiangsu in honour of the father of Chinasian philosophy – the rationale being that this world represents a new beginning for the members of Pan-Pacific, a future free of oppression and threat of assimilation by the Terran Empire.

“We’re launching the Tritons in thirty minutes. The atmosphere on board the Horizon is incredible – I wish I was going down there myself.”


“There’s been a terrible accident in the launch bay. The bay door malfunctioned. Three members of our Martian team were sucked out into space and one of the landing craft was dragged across the bay, causing damage which has rendered it non-spaceworthy. The landing team aboard that Triton survived by a miracle. The vessel’s rudimentary AI managed to sustain atmosphere within the lander while the passengers were able to seal fractures in its hull. There’s already talk of this expedition being cursed, which is, frankly, repulsive and offensive to the memory of those who just died. I might have to go on this expedition after all, to keep the teams focused.”


“We held a memorial for the Martian staff yesterday. I was practically born in space but it’s still my worst way of dying. I tell myself whenever I think of it that I must remember the basics: breathe out fully and immediately to prevent oxygen from rupturing the lungs and getting into my circulation. Adopt a foetal position, protect your head from solar radiation, don’t panic when the pain and disorientation hit, wait for a retrieval team to target you with a tractor beam or an atmosphere bubble. Ninety seconds before irretrievable injury, so better pray they find you quickly, and your locator implant will automatically trigger when it knows your body is exposed to vacuum. Remember the human body is designed to survive and the medics can repair damage from vacuum exposure.

That’s what they teach people who are going into space, but the reality isn’t always so simple. The people from Mars didn’t stand a chance. We’re running a skeleton crew as it is and we couldn’t get the sole remaining tractor beam on-line inside ninety seconds. Adannaya was distraught. The doctor had to sedate her, so she won’t be going on the mission. I’m taking her place.

“At the wake, I delivered a speech to try to raise morale, but I was drunk on that expensive wine they import from Tau Ceti – the stuff that costs more than a land-car. I probably ended up making people feel more awkward than reassured. I’m the skipper of a D-registered junker exploring the unknown darkness of space, not a soothsayer from the Ministry of Happiness.

“We’re going to try to deploy the undamaged lander tomorrow. I’ve had to reassign personnel due to the limited carrying capacity of our Triton. I’ve got a repair team working on the damaged lander, but as you can imagine, they weren’t pleased about having to go into that bay again.”


“Right, here we go. The landing team is waiting for me in the Triton. I’m just finishing up here – the Horizon is still having issues with its planetary surveyors. It keeps detecting a power source on the planet, but it disappears when we try to lock on to it. It’s like when you sometimes see things in the corner of your eye, but when you focus on them they disappear. I can’t think of a natural explanation for this, though. Ravi Singh, our surveyor chief, says it’s as if there is some kind of stealth field in operation. Trouble is, we’ve also made visual sweeps of the planet using Horizon’s long-range scopes and there is nothing moving down there, just fields, valleys – and a city that’s slowly being reclaimed by the planet. It just shows how strong mother nature really is. The building materials used in those days should last for thousands of years without maintenance.

“I’m heading to the Triton bay now. I’ll continue to report on my private vox-log.”


“Our descent to the planet was bumpier than expected. We’ve amassed a collection of bruises and bitten tongues, but nobody is seriously hurt. We had fighter cover from the two Saracens we managed to restore to working order. Now we’re alone down here – the Saracens are old and their engine-batteries won’t allow them to fly top cover for long in an atmosphere.

“The air is really fresh, way more so than the Nova colony or Earth. It makes you feel good to be alive. We haven’t detected any kind of toxins or pollution in the atmosphere but the water doesn’t appear to be drinkable here. There are birds singing, we’ve seen small mammals running through the grass. It’s helped to purge some of the negative feelings caused by the landing bay accident.

“We touched down in a meadow where white and purple flowers grow. There are two xeno-botanists with us, McClintoc and Fayed, and they’re going mad about this place. It already looks suitable for re-colonisation if we can purify the water. The clouds are leaden but it’s reasonably warm. Looks like we arrived in the middle of spring.

“We’re making our way across the meadow and over a few hills. Gravity is slightly heavier than Earth normal, perhaps 1.1G. We didn’t want to risk tripping any automated defences by using the city’s landing site, which is a small spaceport towards the city’s eastern perimeter.

“We can see the city ahead of us. The buildings look mottled and there are climbing plants growing on them. Large avians are flocking around the taller buildings. The city seems deserted – there are no signs of human residents. Just animals, wandering through the structures left behind by our Chinasian forbears. I wonder why they left this place?”


“We’ve reached the city. Our good mood has evaporated as there’s a lonely, oppressive feel coming from the buildings. I can’t describe it. It’s a brooding sense that something’s wrong with my life, that I’m somehow disconnected or too distant from someone I love or need. My life so far has been very busy and there’s no time to make connections with other people. There is no-one I want and no-one I miss, so this is really strange. Pining. I’m pining for something.

Anyway, the Triton can only carry twenty people, but our equipment took up the space of four, so we’ve got sixteen pairs of boots on the ground and it doesn’t feel like enough. I keep getting the urge to call the Horizon so I know it’s still there. Quince, our field medic, says it’s like the city is broadcasting its isolation, like it soaked up the death-energies of its former inhabitants and misses them keenly. Sounds like a load of old crap to me, but Quince always tended towards the emotional side. I had to ask him to stop as I could tell it was affecting some of the others. There is no evidence anyone died here, they seem to have just left.”


“We’re entering the first building. It’s seventeen storeys tall. Looks like it used to be some kind of admin building. The lobby is fouled with animal mess and foliage that’s blown in through broken windows. There may have been a corporate logo above the reception desk but it’s faded with time. The lifts are not powered and would be really dangerous, so we’re trying the stairs – damn it, Letty’s just put her foot through a step.”

(Recording garbled for 31 seconds)

“Right, she’s okay, Quince is staying with her. We could do with some of that environment armour the Empire Guard wear. The rest of us are carrying on.”


“I split us into four teams. My team travelled to the top floor – I’m glad I made exercise mandatory on the Horizon‘s gym.

“The view from up here is exceptional. We can see beyond the city limits to a natural ravine. The grass and leaves on this world are green like back on Nova, but there’s kind of a bluish sheen to them when they catch the sun, which is struggling to get out from behind the clouds that have blown over. It’s melancholy, yet achingly beautiful. Judging from the size of the city and the height of some of its structures, I’d estimate between thirty to fifty thousand people lived and worked here.

“I’m hoping they didn’t die here.

“Obviously, any paperwork has long since degraded. We managed to power up one of the work consoles that we found. Most are ruined, and we haven’t been able to find any workable data-slates either. The console was password-locked but we broke it inside a minute. The text is written in an archaic version of Chinasian without the English corruption that came after the Merican-Chindoasian event; looks like the colonists were hard-line Chinasian purists.

“We’ve interpreted most of it as invoices for supplies and equipment. There are foodstuffs listed, as well as a few old-school weapons and aircraft. I don’t see any indication that they needed anything urgently, it all looks like common-sense stuff to me. So there is no indication that the colony was at war, or under any kind of attack, or if it was then it ended quickly.

“The other teams are reporting similar finds. We’re cataloguing whatever we come across, but there’s little of use here. The colony’s technology level lags far behind our own.”


“One of my teams found a load of bones on a lower floor. It caused quite some excitement and a bit of panic until Quince turned up and determined that the bones weren’t human. However, they are humanoid, and their resemblance to human bones is remarkable. They can’t be eldar because their bones are longer, thinner and more fragile than ours, whereas these seem quite thick and sturdy. The humans who grew up in this higher-gravity world must have adapted biologically, but Quince feels these bones are more simian. They’re too big, too heavy and too strong to be human.”

(Note: there seem to be two or three entries missing at this point, due to encryption errors at the point of origin. The missing data is irretrievable.)


“We’ve come to what looks like a hospital. I split us into two groups. My group will investigate the hospital, while the second group is heading to the spaceport nearby. It’s not much of a port, just a few large landing pads, but if there is any technology to recover, it’ll be there.

“The hospital is decaying inside. The damage to this structure is a lot worse than the office building or any of the hab-units we just passed. There are still no human bodies, but there are more simian bones in here. Wait, what’s this? It looks like bullet holes.”


“There was some kind of a fight in here. We missed the party by a few centuries at least. We can’t determine exact dates because our technology is starting to malfunction. Maybe it’s the effects of the stealth technology we detected from the Horizon. Maybe it’s the weather. It’s dark with rain outside. The rain tastes foul and aches on the skin.

“We’ve encountered a few predators in the hospital corridors, feral canine creatures rooting through the rubble, but they ran off when they saw how many of us there were. The Chinasians didn’t leave much evidence of what happened here and their computer technology is junk, so we can rule out discoveries of cultural significance. Ow! Bloody thing – sorry, I just tripped over a fallen pallet.”

(unidentified male voice) “You all right?”

“Yes, I’m fine, thank you. Pause recording.”


“I’ve broken us up into more, smaller groups. Quince and his team are looking for medicines, medical tech, anything we can learn from that might have survived this long. My team are purely searching for human bodies. We can’t find any although there is more evidence of battle damage. Even the morgue is empty, although it’s dark and scary as hell inside.

“The hospital corridors echo as the wind comes down them. It’s quite disconcerting. Some of the walls have collapsed and it allows daylight in, but the day is almost done. It gets dark quickly on this world.”


“Quince found evidence of unusual medical experiments and he’s collected as much data as the Chinasians’ failing technology allowed. It looks like they were working on genetic experiements to genhance human soldiers. Their people were shorter but stronger than those of Earth-normal colonies due to the planet’s heavy gravity, and they wanted to enhance their speed and reaction time. They were under occasional attack by a species they called Croatalids, some kind of crystalline predators with poisonous body chemistry, along with sporadic raids by some kind of green-skinned warrior race.

“This is where things get strange. The Chinasians were making some headway with their genetic research but it doesn’t seem to have been a priority at first. Then, according to records Quince’s assistant was able to access, the colony received a visit from two strange humans.

“These strangers were both male and they spoke in a language that was almost impossible to understand until the Chinasians adapted their translator technology. The men were apprently of fearsome aspect, much taller and broader than the colonists and capable of amazing feats of strength. They claimed their bodies had been genhanced to fight some incredible war and they were willing to share their secrets with the colonists. The documentation is pretty garbled due to bad memory sectors and we couldn’t retrieve any vid-logs or medical scans of the strangers, which is frustrating to say the least.

“These genhanced humans, who are named Azakiel and Destrius in the documents, claimed that their former master had altered their dna using some kind of enhanced re-sequencing technology. From the looks of it, the Chinasian doctors couldn’t make heads or tails of genetic samples the men gave them. They estimated that the knowledge required to alter dna in this way was not just years, but centuries ahead of their technology – one reference even said millennia. What kind of technology needs millennia to reverse-engineer? I can only think the colonists’ technology deficit was greater than expected, or their medics simply weren’t that skilled.

“What they did discover was something that would have been worth trillions to Pan-Pacific – supposedly anyone enhanced with the re-sequenced dna would have special physical properties, including resistance to radiation, prodigious healing capacity and – get this – their cells would repair themselves so effectively that they would be functionally immortal!

“The genetic samples are also missing so we can’t really prove or disprove anything at this point. The level of medical expertise supposedly shown in the samples was described by the leading Chinasian geneticist as, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘Some kind of super-science beyond our keenest minds’.

“They were evidently able to make some changes to their dna and they were planning to introduce them to the general population if they proved stable during trials. We haven’t found anything conclusive, but the doctors seemed happy with the results once they began to trial them on volunteers from the military.

“We’re looking again at some of the supposedly simian bones.”


“I’d like to conduct this research from the comforting surrounds of the Horizon, but unfortunately we need to overcome our reluctance to stay down here – we can’t keep running back to the ship just because the worlds we investigate are creepy.

“We’ve managed to find a few working pieces of Chinasian tech and when we combine it with what we’ve brought, Quince feels he can make some progress in his study of the bones. I’ve also got science teams evaluating what little useful hardware we’ve found. There are some interesting artefacts including a few old handguns which look like EM-900s – if I know my weapons, the manufacturing process for this technology was lost by Earth about a thousand years ago and never recovered. Unfortunately for us, today’s weapons are effective and cheap, so we’ll struggle to find a market for complicated and expensive EM guns. Not much money to be made so far, I’m afraid.

“The rain is coming down, it’s not too heavy, but night here is pitch black. I’ve been in touch with the Horizon – I admit this was more to reassure myself than anything else. Our friends from Mars have effected full repairs to the second Triton and they say we won’t be having any more trouble with the launch bay door. I wish we had more landing craft and more than a handful of second-hand Saracens. I think we’ll probably return to Earth after this is over, see if we can get ourselves some better equipment. Will they give us anything when we return with nothing more than a handful of mysteries? I’d say no, but we have found them a habitable planet, so…”


“Some of my team report hearing noises echoing along the corridor – the sounds of metal spars hitting the ground, or tables and metal pallets being overturned. When they investigate, there’s nothing there. Nobody has been able to locate the source of the sounds. I also thought I heard something about five minutes ago, but I was looking over Quince’s shoulder and he was talking into a vox-recorder at the time, so I couldn’t make the sound out.

(Garbled for 4 minutes and 1 second)

“Our team from the spaceport just reported in. They’ve found a handful of wrecked shuttles, as in, deliberately sabotaged. They’re rusting hulks anyway, no way we’d be able to use them even if they hadn’t been smashed up inside, but it looks like someone didn’t want anyone to leave the colony.

“Our agent on Saturn indicates that the Terran Empire’s secret intelligence agency are referring to this new era as “the dawn of the Malusic Eon”, and we know Solar Command have privately accepted this strange designation. What happened to this Chinasian colony during the transition from the Phanaerozoic Eon to the Malusic? And will anyone ever be able to say that three times fast?”


“I’ve given the order to pack our stuff up and get out of here. I’ve also sent that order to our team at the spaceport. We can always come back later with a military force.

“Quince has confirmed that the supposedly simian bones actually belong to genhanced humans. It looked like they were the victims of uncontrolled genetic mutation caused by experiments we don’t understand. This might explain why we haven’t encountered any human skeletons yet: we’ve been seeing them all over, we just didn’t recognise them.

“We’re guessing the genhancement process was extended to the general population. Once the majority of colonists had been genhanced, problems started to become apparent. Quince theorises that the genhancements somehow caused mutations, probably due to errors by the Chinasian researchers.

“The enhanced humans became extremely violent and aggressive. They grew in size and muscle mass and their behaviour changed until they weren’t able to function in normal society.

“We did more research into Azakiel and Destrius. They sound like mad apostles or something. They claimed to be from the future and they said the Chinasians would need to be ready for a coming apocalypse. This apocalypse has several names – it was referred to by Destrius as Old Night or the Strife, while Azakiel talked more pragmatically about a Great Schism. The Chinasians were confused and felt that the Great Schism was a seperate event to Old Night, occurring some time afterwards.

“The two supermen claimed to have been sent back in time by a rift created between the hyper-realm and realspace when their homeworld was nuked.

“They must have produced some kind of evidence because the Chinasians believed them wholesale. The surviving records indicate they were venerated for their prodigious ability as warriors, to begin with at least. We don’t know what happened to them – it seems that as the mutation began to develop dangerous side effects, the Chinasians may have attacked and killed them, probably believing the situation to be their fault.

“It’s looking likely that those colonists unaffected by the mutation destroyed their only means of escape from the colony. They must have been trying to prevent the mutants from escaping to inflict damage on other worlds. That was brave.

“Meanwhile, our team at the spaceport have also been hearing weird noises, including metallic howls, similar to what we’ve been hearing. I’m packed, so I’ll stop recording.”


“It’s night-time. We’re scattered across the city. At least three or four of us are dead.

“I can’t see or hear anything through the rain and the things don’t show up on hand-scanners. We can’t contact the Horizon, so the Triton is our only hope.

“They attacked just before our groups met up outside a police station. I counted at least two of them attacking our team, while reports from the others indicate the presence of at least three more, probably four.

“They un-scramble like eldar starships right before they attack. They’re bigger than us and completely hairless. Their flesh is whitish-pink as if they’re undergoing transformation from clean Chinasian yellow to freakish albino. They don’t have faces, their bodies are just knotted masses of muscle with sharp-edged bone jutting out. They’re fast, so fast, and don’t feel much pain. We didn’t kill any of them but I managed to fight one off by emptying the magazine from my sub in its direction.

“The noise they make… I’m hoping they’re doing it to frighten us. No living thing should sound like that… like they’re in agony or distress, and that attacking us provides some kind of release from their pain.”


“I’m with Tobin and De Salle. Quince is dead. They held him up and sliced his belly and everything fell out. It was sickening. They put their faces close to his and mocked his screams. They ripped his manhood off and showed it to him, then they shoved it in his mouth. Quince was a good man, he saved my life when that alneran stuck its combat blade in my chest, but there was nothing I could do. Four of the mutant things kept scrambling and un-scrambling at they stalked around, jeering and crying out.

“I think they got Dancer and Nogumi as well – oh God, the things they did to Dancer. She screamed for five minutes before they bashed her face in. Nogumi went back to put a bullet in her brain and end her suffering, but she was caught and they pulled her throat out and did some surgery on her.”


“It’s been quiet for half an hour or so. Our chrons aren’t working. I can’t feel the cold any more. The rain is letting up.

“Our surveyors still get confused, so I think some of the creatures must be nearby. Their cloaking abilties clearly interfere with our stuff. God only knows how long they’ve been shadowing us as we explored the city. I get sick when I think about the Horizon detecting a dense area of blankness – there must be loads of these things still alive out there. The colonists, or what’s become of them, crazed by thousands of years of isolation as monsters. Functional immortality, I think I said.

“I’m praying that the Horizon sends another team to check on us but I’m also praying they don’t – nobody else should have to die like this. God, please help us. Let us get to the Triton.”


“There was an explosion outside the city. The Triton has an old plasma gun fitted to a self-defence turret. Its AI wouldn’t fire on one of us, so I think the creatures found it and attacked it. There’s no way to know if the Triton survived. There’s been no further activity. De Salle just puked – he saw what the monsters did to Dancer and I think he’s losing it. He’s going to get us all killed.”


“Oh God, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. Please, if De Salle’s family hear this, I had to do it. He was going to give our position away. I made it quick, I know where to put a knife. I put my hand over his mouth so he couldn’t cry out, but it was quick.”


“We’re moving out. I just tried my visor. The night vision is working again and I’ve got eight confirmed bio-readings from my team. The rain is still coming, it never stopped. Soren slipped and ripped his leg on some debris, but he’s limping along. I hope those things don’t smell his blood.”


“We’re outside the city limits! We’re slipping and crawling in the grass. Lightning just flared, freezing us all in place, and when the thunder cracked I heard roaring from the city. We’re getting up and running for it now. Damn, the gravity -”


“Oh thank God! The Triton is all right. There’s a smoking mess in front of it, it’d be funny if – Dane! Get the drokking door open, now!”


“We’re on board. Dane sprayed the Triton’s interior with automatic fire in case one of those things got on board, but we’re clear. We’re raising the ramp – oh God! Triton, target that thing, it’s heading in at one o’clock! Shoot! Shoot!”


“We’re heading back to the Horizon. The Triton managed to blast another of those creatures but four of them got on the roof. We managed to take off despite their weight. Oh God, they were hammering on the roof, the monomantium hull was starting to buckle. They survived in space for about five minutes – whatever they are, they’re tough, but they’ve gone quiet now. We still can’t communicate with the Horizon, so the monsters’ stealth technology is still working.”


“We’re on board the Horizon. The creatures are dead. There’s some kind of wax-like substance all over their skin, plastering them to the Triton’s hull. As soon as we clear the bay, I’m opening it to space and letting the Triton get sucked into the void. We’re not bringing any of those things back with us, even if they are dead.”


(Fragmentary audio, human screams, gunfire, unidentified animalistic cries)

“…not dead, hibernating — killing us all — God help –”


Addendum by Albert Lamm:

Garbled distress calls were sent by the Horizon on general frequencies after that final recording was made. We surmise that the mutated life-forms were not killed upon exposure to the vacuum but went into some kind of suspended animation, reviving when they were aboard the Horizon.

The Horizon was subsequently destroyed, apparently by Saim-Hann eldar. Weapon signatures detected by our investigative team fit the profile of distortion beams used by eldar starships. The Pan-Pacific Treaty have already sent envoys to Saim-Hann Craftworlds in the Corona and Dentus systems, hoping to be referred up the chain to whoever is in charge of the eldar military, seeking an explanation why they destroyed the ship rather than rescuing the survivors, if any.

Our further report is pending. We’ll be in touch soon.


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by NoPoet

[20K] Revised 20K Timeline (updated April 2013)

17/03/2013 in 20K, Imp Lit News

5.00 avg. rating (97% score) - 3 votes

20K is the unofficial Warhammer 40,000 prequel series which I have been working on for a number of years. There are two “phases” to 20K and three “series” of stories.

The early stages of 20K, where humanity is emerging from its safe bases in Solar Segment and beginning to explore the galaxy, hoping to make contact with the fabled One Hundred Worlds. Human technology is limited and humanity begins to learn that alien races are generally hostile and untrustworthy.

A more confident and technically proficient

The following is a rough timeline including every 20K story that I am writing or plan to write. I have tried to remove as many spoilers as possible. Note that the timeline is subject to change and is undergoing constant revision.
This is “phase one” of 20K, a desperate time of derring-do. Phase 2, if I ever get that far, has a more mature and more adventurous tone with less of the grimness and grittiness of some of the earlier stories. Look for the crossovers and in-jokes as they appear. Fans of 40K as well as fans of general science fiction should find lots to be happy about.
Please ignore any repetitions or minor mistakes, this is the beta version and I already have the events right in my mind.
40K’s mysterious and exciting history finally comes to life in tales of terror and adventure. Join the brave human pioneers of the Terran Empire as they begin their expansion into a galaxy where anything is possible.
FRL = Fearless series
EW = Earthwatch series
SOL = Solstice series
Stories which do not have a series designation are independent stories (in TV parlance they would be “bottle shows”)
NOTE: Significant information is (deliberately) missing from the following timeline! Dates and events are subject to change.
20K Date Timeline
Date Unknown – The Eldar race has become factionalised by hedonism and decadence. Illegal fighting contests and worship of the proscribed god Khaine slowly overtake the fabled city-state of Commoranth, the City of Souls.
Date Unknown – A Chinasian colony receives human visitors who claim to be from the future. These visitors, mighty warriors who say their home planet was destroyed in a cataclysmic war, lend their efforts to the colony’s Human Genhancement Project – with horrific results. (“Faithless”)-[NOTE: This story is currently in progress as of August 2013]
975.M21 – Starships of the Alneran Republic, a hostile alien species whose territory lies within Solar Segment, encounter a mysterious alien being and take him prisoner. The strange hostage escapes when a Terran Navy ship attacks the Alnerans; the being will later turn up in Terran space, where his strange behaviour confounds his human rescuers. (“The Man Without A Past”)-[NOTE: This story is currently in progress as of March 2013]
978.M21 – XMS Southern Cross encounters R’Shan, a member of an unidentified alien species who has been conducting unknown warp experiments within Terran space. (“The Man From Nowhere”)
978.M21 – The Fireblade prototype fighter begins its initial tests, intended to replace the Saxon class fighter. While on combat manoeuvres, a squadron of Fireblades falls foul of a renegade Eldar space fighter. (“Flight of the Fireblade”)
985.M21 – The Centaur class light cruiser is commissioned, intended as a gradual replacement for the legendary Canyon class.
985.M21 – The Terran Empire discovers the first known Warp Gate within Solar Segment.
986.M21 – XMS Ontario and XMS Lexington are sent to investigate the Warp Gate. During the mission, a previously unknown problem with the Ontario’s Gellar Shield hurls the ship into a time-travelling, galaxy-spanning adventure, during which humanity makes first contact with followers of the daemon god Nurgle. (“Ghostwalkers”) [NOTE: This story is currently being revised as of March 2013]
986.M21 – An expedition team of the Pan-Pacific Treaty, a coalition of coporations and nation-states who wish to remain independent of the Terran Empire, discovers a world belonging to the long-vanished Chinasian Bloc. The world has long been abandoned, but the expedition discovers disturbing evidence that the colonists had been conducting genetic experiments influenced by men who claimed to have travelled from the distant future – a time of terrible civil war. (“Legacy of the Future”)
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by NoPoet

[20K] Ghostwalkers

16/11/2009 in 20K

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“Mission log, XMS Ontario, triple-zero-double-oh-six, M20. We are approaching the hyper-gate and are preparing for translation. While our Mechanica contingent are excited about the upcoming journey, I can’t help but wonder whether the Ontario will make the translation intact. This is the first time a manned Navy ship will travel through the hyper-gate and there is no way to know for sure what will happen while we are under way.”

Captain Thorpe sat back in her chair, looking around the familiar space of her command cabin. These new cruisers were so cramped. She’d been pushing for her own ship and now she had finally received one – now the shipbuilding project was able to supply vessels for all Navy captains – she wished she’d been assigned one of the older types, perhaps the legendary Canyon class.

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[20K] The Man From Nowhere

21/09/2009 in 20K

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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 narrative 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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