The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

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SniperTau
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The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#1 » Oct 27 2016 04:24

Part 1:
- The Gorgon's Mouth -

- 0400 -
above Mortus Delta refinery


Drake was jolted into reality when his Tempestor's voice came over the vox.
'All respmasks on, ready for disembark in 5'
'4'
'3'
'2'
'1'
'Disembark'

The valkyrie touched down.
Twenty boots hit the ground seconds later, spreading out as the valkyrie's door gunners provided covering fire. Drake readied his hot-shot lasgun, sweeping the area with a beam of light from his omniscope as the valkyrie's heavy bolters lit up the promethium pipes through which genestealers weaved.

volley after volley of hot-shot beams lanced into the tyranids, sending them sprawling into the dust. Drake vaulted over a pipe, slate monitron warning him to take cover. Seconds later, a blast of acid splattered the pipe, eating through the steel and sending waves of volatile promethium spurting out towards the warrior that leapt towards him, talons slicing the air.

before it got close, a burst of plasma smashed through the head, exploding the beast in a spray of gore and yellow blood. Drake nodded his thanks to his tempestor, and moved of again in search of the next target.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#2 » Oct 27 2016 04:26

That was my first part of a series of short stories telling the tale of a group of scions and their escapades in the damocles gulf

Enjoy


SniperTau out.

tau'va

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#3 » Nov 10 2016 12:25

Drake stalked through the maze of crates, unaware of the six malevolent eyes that followed him through the darkness.
Something moved in the shadows behind him, and he turned, but there was only shadow. He kept moving, keeping to shadows wherever he could, alone but for the distant scream of some unfortunate scion and the spectre haunting his tracks. He stepped into a clearing in the forest of crates and barrels, and paused as something tickled his memory from when he first faced the Tyranid swarms on Glycia. Lictor.

Drake turned slowly, eyes scanning for anything, anything, that would give up the camouflaged lictor. behind him, the moons came out from behind the clouds, and a shadow fell cool across the back of Drake's neck. He twisted, but not fast enough, and the lictor struck. Two chitinous spears, each ending in barbed points, penetrated his arm, forcing him to drop the 'Hellgun', as the common guardsman calls it. His right hand came round, holding the needle-tip combat knife issued in the Schola Tempestus to each recruit, and stabbed at the lictor's many-eyed head.

it struck an eye, and the lictor, spouting ichor from it's ruined orb, turned to run. It never got the chance. Quick as the animal for which his regiment was named, he threw the knife, embedding it in the back of the hunter-beast's head. it fell to the ground, ornate hilt set in the back of it's head like some metallic horn.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#4 » Nov 10 2016 07:47

the spectre haunting his tracks.

Liked this line. :)

Also, watch your capitalisations - can throw a sentence sometimes.

Tough trooper this one! Reminds me of my IG banner bearer years ago who won such an encounter solo.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#5 » Nov 10 2016 08:00

Thanks. Yes, he is one very tough trooper, one of the best in his tempestus scion regiment. As the story progresses possibly soon there may be tau? :D. Anyways, thanks for the advice on capitalisation.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#6 » Nov 10 2016 08:06

No troubles, look forward to the progression. I'll remove my graphic now that you have seen it :)

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#7 » Nov 10 2016 08:49

Oh, and, whilst we are on the subject of impressive victories, in my first game, my ethereal went up against the only one of my friend's units left, his mawloc. 12 rounds of combat later, my ethereal emerged victorious despite having only one wound left at the start of combat, courtesy of an airbursting frag projector shot that scattered onto him.
He only had recon armour. :D

By the way, this story is actually based on a narrative campaign me and the forementioned friend are running.
so far, we are up to mission two, have not played it yet though.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#8 » Nov 10 2016 09:00

Part 2:
- The cost of survival -

- 1200 -
in the refinery complex


He sailed through the gap, arms pumping as the blinding sunlight beamed down upon the drop point. His sprint was greeted with terse nod from his tempestor prime, as he slowed to a jog and moved up the ramp of the valkyrie.
All but a few scions had been lost, the task force depleted by the genestealers and lictors in the refinery battle.
The tempestor of Drake's squad was missing. The tempestor prime, Kalten, handed him the deceased sergeant's weapons, and announced to the occupants of the aircraft "Drake is now the tempestor for the specialist squad Krayt's Talon. Kant, Gray and Teren will be the replacement members".

- 1250 -

The power lance firmly on his back, the bolt pistol on his belt, and, as always, his hot-shot weapon in his hands, Drake stood next to the door, eyes peering out of the firing slit and towards the harpies that swooped after the Krayt's Wings. A screech hammered his eardrums as seams of light opened in the roof of the aircraft, screeching metal accompanying the harpy as it raked the engines. A sputtering whine followed, and Drake yanked open the door throwing himself out without bothering to look down. five seconds freefall, and he activated his grav-chute, spiralling towards the desolate wastes below. A number of human shapes followed him, each activating their chutes like he had and spiralling to the ground.

- 2000 -

Drake and his squad trekked over the forbidding landscape, wind whistling through petrified trees and across stony plains. Alien growths and the occasional shrub sparsely littered the wastes, clinging to hollows and huddling in depressions. The two red moons were obscured by dark, forbidding clouds, and the only light came from the omnispexes on their shoulders.

They set up camp in a deep hollow, with bushes on one side and an undercut bank on the other, clods of clay protruding from the dry earth underneath the cracked, rock-hard surface. Drake went to sleep to the sound of his squad around him, and to the dry whistling of the wind.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#9 » Nov 17 2016 02:32

Drake was woken by the sound of gaunts dying. Cyan flashes lit the pre-dawn fog as shadows moved over the hollow. Strange armoured figures, not any that he recognised immediately, leapt through the grey mist, appearing as dark apparitions that darted out for a moment before disappearing once more, their positions only shown by the whispering hiss of their energy weapons and the cyan flashes that followed each hiss closely.

Gray stared at him, eyes wide as a gaunt limb flashed past her shoulder, still smoking from the shot that had cut it loose.
"Who are these soldiers, Drake?" she asked, las-pistol desperately trying to track the gaunts as they roiled through the mist. "Why are they on Mortus?". Drake closed his eyes, recalling the xenos who tainted the eastern reaches. Tau.

"They, as you call them, are tau, although not wearing armour I am at all familiar with," he replied, placing an adroitly aimed bolt into a termagaunt's skull as it soared over the squad, "but definitely tau. You can tell because of the cyan pulse rounds."

"As to what they are doing this far past the Damocles warzone, I have absolutely no idea at all. Perhaps they are interested in Mortus for some reason, but since I have been lead to believe they do not have any use for promethium, I have no idea at all what they might find valuable about this planet."

Soon after Drake finished speaking, both Kant and Teren were 'burrowed' as the scions of Drake's regiment termed it, by wide-flying flesh-borer maggots and screamed and writhed and begged for mercy whilst Gray, white with terror, turned to a pack and started to rummage through for the medkit, which seconds later she withdrew a scalpel from.

Gray being a veteran of the war on Glycia, she knew that Teren and Kant were as good as dead, so she slit the throats and watched as two of her comrades from her days in the Schola Progenium collapsed into the dust, throats leaking red as the cyan glows still lit up around them.

Drake turned, alerted by the scuff of a boot on the rock behind him, but too late. A red-armoured figure, clad in a metallic frame, plunged a needle into his exposed neck and pressed a button. Drakes head lolled forwards, and he saw another needle in Gray's neck as his world blossomed black. Before he lost consciousness, he had time to think, of all things, my lasgun!

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#10 » Nov 17 2016 04:51

Part III:
- Enclaves Crimson -


-[unknown time]-
[location unknown]


Drake stirred, eyes slowly blinking as he raised his head. Blue faces stared down at him, chattering in a xenos language as they observed his waking. Slowly, he accosted his surroundings with a drowsy glare. Grey material gleamed back, crisp panel lines and clean arches detailing some sort of medical room. The heads parted, letting through a pair of xenos, one clad in crimson robes and the other in red armour, a metal frame clinging to his legs and torso. A helmet dangled from the warriors hip, faceplate swooping back to form an elegant point.

The robed alien swept forwards, bowing smoothly. " I am Por'vre Kunas of the Farsight Enclaves. You are?" she said, her Gothic perfect, no trace of an accent. "I am Drake Corosyn, of the 22nd Kappic Krayts. Why am I here?" he said,"I have no idea at all why you xenos have taken me, or where you have taken me even."

The diplomat, for that was what she seemed to be, smiled. "All will be explained soon, Drake, all will be explained soon."
"This is Shas'nel Dvoss, head of the Du'eoro project testing. His specialist cadre has been hunting the Y'he for many a tau'cyr."

"And you both are of the Enclaves." Drake stated.

"Yes"

"Why are we here?"

"You have seen the suits in action. You have seen too much. However, If you agree to the proposal I have already given to your comrade, as she has, your life will be spared."

"Proposal?"

"If you agree to serve O'Shovah and the Enclaves in spirit, body, and mind, and become part of the Du'eoro mobility rig project, you will be spared."

"And if I do not?"

"You will be executed"

"When do I start?"

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#11 » Nov 21 2016 05:50

-1000-
-Farsight Enclaves facility-

Clad in his militarum tempestus fatigues, Drake strode through the corridors, following the guide drone ahead.
Gleaming white corridors flashed past, walls punctured at regular intervals by door panels and access hatches.
At last he reached his destination, a large space with padded columns and bars randomly spaced on the walls and a series of hovering platforms, all gray.

To the side, Grey, and a stocky tau, called him over, and as he trotted towards them he noticed the wall behind him. On stands, metal frames like the ones on the tau from earlier stood, helmets attached. The tau pointed to two suits, larger than the others, and explained in heavily accented gothic that those were theirs, specially modified for their larger frames and different heads.

A helmet hung on each, crimson red with a series of grey stripes down the side. A central lens glared out from the faceplates. Drake stepped into the first, feeling mildly nervous as straps closed around his limbs. Someone had gone to the trouble of engraving their names, in gothic, onto the shoulders, and as the helmet descended onto his head he realised all the safety warnings and instructions were in gothic. Someone, maybe that diplomat he saw, put a lot of effort into this.

As soon as the helmet locked into place, a blue HUD sprang to life, and a female voice spoke in gothic "state your name".
"Drake Corosyn."

"Welcome to the Du'eoro Mobility Rig."

Drake stepped down from the plate, and, ignoring the frantic warnings of the mechanic, flexed his legs and jumped. He shot into the air, shooting past the startled mechanics to land on a column. He grinned. "I could get used to this".

-1200-
After a few hours of practice, Drake, with the help of a virtual lifetime of combat experience and conditioning, was leaping from wall to wall, sailing through the air as the tau practiced combat manoeuvres aorund him. A red-robed tau came through the entrance, and Drake, seeing it was the diplomat, leaped down to land before the Por.

"As I see you are accustoming yourself to the suit," the tau said, "I thought, with the guidance of Shas-nel Dvoss, you may want to start using our weaponry. Shas-nel...." the red-suited warrior walked forwards, cradling in his arms a sleek carbine, double barrels slung over some sort of grenade launcher. The weapon was a light grey, red stripes denoting something, possibly squad or kill markings.

Many lessons followed, on safety, marksmanship, and fire doctrines, the veteran tau in turns impressing and being impressed, both soldiers lost in the technicalities of warfare. Drake practiced shooting, from kneeling, in the air, and diving to either side, cyan flaring whenever his gloved finger touched the trigger-pad. at the end of that day, Drake retired to his quarters, limbs aching and mind buzzing as he took in the wonders of the tau technology he had been shown. he wondered where his old weapons had gone, and longed for the familiar feeling of his pistol on his hip.
His thoughts drifted ever slower, eventually giving way to a fitful sleep.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#12 » Dec 10 2016 07:42

Part IV:
- Scarlet Shadows -

- 1000, five years after the events on Mortus -
[lowlands on Kalen, a moon of Mortus.]

Four shadowy figures watched the column of chimeras pursue the piranhas, markerlights trained on the rear of the transports. seconds later, the crump of seeker missiles and the harsh grating of treads slipping off sprockets could be heard as the gue'la now spilling from the transports milled in confusion. The specters stood, crimson armor a stark contrast against the whitish chalk and dry scrub that they now tossed the markerlights into. Red bodies silhouetted against the trees behind them, Drake and the squad opened fire with their rail rifles, selecting and executing their targets with clinical efficiency. A volley of whip-crack sounds closely followed the projectiles as they made holes in the heads of sergeants and any who raised a weapon towards their position. The click of an empty magazine was followed by the whoosh of the cartridges ejecting.

The empty rail rifles were also tossed aside, and as the squad jumped away, they unslung their pulse carbines from their backs, and with a quick flick of the eye, Drake slaved the scope to a corner of his HUD A shot echoed through the forest, and many more followed, a squad of veteran guardsmen opening fire with shotgun and bolt-pistol. they jumped. Soaring through the canopy, Drake twisted in the air to rain fire down on the gue'la, many shots soaking into the thick amour they wore, but as many finding a neck or scorching a hole through the carapace armour. the last of the soldiers collapsed as Gray redirected herself, using a tree to get behind the sergeant. A pulse shot went through his heart, and before it stopped beating, he was looking for all the world like he was sleeping, save the blackened armour round his chest.
Last edited by SniperTau on Dec 12 2016 06:58, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#13 » Dec 12 2016 06:57

They flew through the trees, twisting through branches and soaring over rocks as the sounds of piranhas strafing the enemy column, burst cannons hissing fainter, ever fainter as the ground fell away beneath their augmented steps.

A voice came through drake's wide-band comms. 'Reaching drop zone in a quarter Dec'
'Copy that, Gray. Well done. Drake out'

As the team approached the drop zone, an orca slid through the sky, hovering just above the canopy.
Before the team could enter, the side of the transport exploded under a fusillade of autocannon fire, spraying dead tau and debris out over the forest. The transport listed to one side, smashing into a cliffside with a harsh grating sound, and fell to the forest floor, a few lone tau spilling, disorientated, from the exposed carrier bay. The majority of the tau inside, those that Drake could see, stayed ominously still. A few breachers, having regained their bearing, began walking up the steep incline towards his team.

Drake greeted the survivors with a cool facade, shoving away his own panic to present an inspiring image to the breacher team. As he asked the five survivors their names, they replied in small, quiet voices. 'Shas'la Kyol'
'Shas'la Tien'
'Shas'la Myel'
'Shas'la Ksyen'
'Shas'ui Tal'
He nodded, storing away each as he slowly gathered materials for a sling, for Kyol's arm.
They slept in a small cave, an overhang really, with their weapons beside them and a sentry, Gray, on watch for imperials. As Drake's eyes started to close, he found himself wishing for his dagger, from his days in the Militarum Tepestus.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#14 » Jul 10 2017 11:09

The nine red-clad figures wound their way up the steep incline, weapons resting on shoulders and helmets off as they chattered amongst themselves. Shas'la Tien was talking about his experiences in urban combat zones. "It really came as a surprise when they transferred me to here. From when I first joined a unit, I have been posted to urban warzones. My unit was a combat engineer squad. I looked after the spotter drones and the proximity alarms." he nattered on about the different warzones he had been in and the things he did. "Drake," Gray interjected."We seem to have a problem."
Drake realised everything had gone quiet. "Yeah?"
"Oh."
They had come across a Gue'la encampment.

Rows of pre-fab barracks lined a cleared space some four klics square. Squadrons of tanks and taurox sat around a central tower. Sentries patrolled a low wall, which was interrupted at intervals by guard towers and sentry turrets.
"Tien. do you still have some tinkering skills?"
"Why... T'ahhh! I have even better than that. I still have a spotter drone!"

The small band of survivors gathered just inside the treeline.
"Right," Drake said, "me and Gray will move through the middle of the camp and make a distraction. The rest of you should head around the east wall. Tien, you and the rest of my La'rua will guide us two and then swing out to the west."
Heads shook in understanding.
"Move!"

A low whine followed the spotter powering up. small turbines whirred as the insectile form rose into the air. At a hand gesture from Tien, Drake started running. The frame of his rig empowered his movements, and in one jump he cleared the perimeter wall. tarantula sentry turrets sent heavy bolts barking on their way towards them, but the simple logic programs could not track the rapid movement. "Left!" Tien barked over the comms.

Drake came to a t-junction in the camp layout, and jumped to the left, skating along the wall as his low-power thrusters kicked in. he jumped, and hit the ground firing, spraying suppressing fire over a unit of guardsmen as they emerged, half-asleep, from their barracks. Tien cut in again. "Two carapace-armoured squads moving in on your escape route."
Drake skidded around a corner, right into an ambush. his underslung photon launcher fired, flashing a brilliant, retina-scorching white. he sprinted through a cloud of gunsmoke, leaving a proximity mine in the dust behind him.

He slid underneath a low overhang, passing through a ditch and out of the barracks area. A maze of crumbling walls, left over from a tau bombing run, greeted his eyes, some three stories tall. "Gray, remember that time on Tyrsis? now is the time."
He hoped she understood. He leapt along a wall, contacting it with the whole side of his body before pushing off with both feet, landing on a ruined balcony. He sprinted along, and leapt for the next wall, sliding again along the rough ferrocrete, and leaping for the other side. His thrusters kicked in again, boosting him a tiny bit to keep up his speed as a corner was turned and row upon row of guardsmen fired their lasguns.

He leapt above the fire, those beams passing mere inches below him. A small explosion knocked him off course, and he adjusted, going low on the dusty ground, those las-beams passing above his head. He exploded through their midst, using his body as a weapon. he grabbed the pin off a frag grenade, tossing it behind him as the grenade exploded in a cloud of dust and screaming.

Drake left the remnants of the squad behind, passing over the heads of reinforcements as alarms screamed into the air. The other side of the camp loomed, and another volley of bolts came his way from the automated turrets as he sped into the treeline.
Safe.
Last edited by SniperTau on Jul 19 2017 05:04, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#15 » Jul 18 2017 04:11

"Tien. Where are you?"
Static


"Tien?"
Weak, pained breathing.
"Tien!"
"Go."
Sound of chain sword revving
"Go..."
"Ave Atque Vale...
Shas'la'vior'los'tien."
Drake's voice has an almost resigned tone to it.
The chainsword sound is replaced by sickening splats and metallic screeches as fio'tak is sheared.

He stopped atop a rise just past the tree line.
"Drake?"
That was Gray.
"Drake!"
He switched the comms off.

He turned to face the camp.
Anger boiled in his veins, grief turning white-hot and limiting his sight to a single, narrow tunnel.
Why is everything always taken from me?
First my family, next my squadmates, now the ones I wanted to protect. There is no mercy in this galaxy.

So I will give no mercy.


A hand fell on his shoulder.
"Hey, what's wrong? I..."
He removed his helmet.
Her voice, not over the comms but through the air, trailed away. He turned to face her. She paled. His anger must have shown on his face.
"Drake?"
Some part of him recognised her voice.
"No matter what happens, stay here."
"Hey!"
"Stay here."
She backed up, actually stepped back a few steps under the intensity of his gaze. She was pale. She was scared of him.
I may fall, but she is the last thing I have left.

He drew his lance.
Ran, through the night, her cries drifting after him, flowing through the trees. He did not stop. He reached the camp. Moved through it. He made no attempt to hide. For the second time, alarms split the twilight.

Something burned inside. He stood in the middle of the road, oblivious to everything except his simmering anger at the universe, lance held loosely at an angle to the ground.
He was oblivious to the guardsmen lining the road, lasguns held at the ready. A solitary figure, draped in the black cloak and red sash of the commissiarat, walked down the centre of the road. In her right hand, was a sword, blade curved and crackling with cobalt energy.
The female commissar stopped a good fifteen feet from Drake.
A cold, clear voice rang out. It was his own.

"Die."
He pointed his lance at the commissar.
"Die."
The rage boiled over.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#16 » Jul 18 2017 04:57

The commissar raised her sword to her brow in a salute. She settled into a balanced stance, one hand out behind and down low, sword hilt at mid-chest, the tip of the blade at eye level.
Her hair fell around her. Drake raised his head.
He charged, the melee bringing his anger to bear on something tangible.

As the two power weapons clashed and he was consumed by his anger, he gave voice to the rage and grief with a shout, the deaths that plagued his life seeming to lend a dozen voices to his primal cry.

They paraded in front of his eyes, all those lost to an uncaring galaxy, his parents taken by a bio-monstrosity on the desert planet of his birth, the death of his sister as she pushed his young firm to safety on an evacuation shuttle, the death of his friend in the schola progenium. The dead filed past, all the squadmates killed over the years, their eyes boring into him accusingly, calling him a traitor, a heretic. His tau friends silently questioned him, asking him why he didn't do more, why he didn't save them. Finally came Tien, that oval face, chattering speech.
All ones who had died because of him. All asking, searching for a reason why.


He came back to the present. He abandoned the questioning dead for now.
Sabre clashed on lance, neither gaining the upper hand. Dimly, he was aware of the commissar shouting rhetoric from holy scriptures, calling down the emperor to help her. He faked a low thrust, turning it into a jab at her upper torso. The sabre was not fast enough to stop it. The lance came to a stop in her chest, her face paling and silently screaming as she died.

He turned to the guardsmen lining the road. They were the next to die. The squads sent to kill him after that were next. The scouts sent to hunt him after he fled a leman russ column were next. His rage still was not finished. He slashed at the trees surrounding him, his senseless anger throwing phantom enemies all around him.


Dawn broke.
A deep red armoured figure walked into the clearing, stepping over broken and charred trunks and branches as she went. Another red figure knelt in the centre of the destruction, soaked with bright blood, helmetless head streaked red.
"Hey."
The standing figure touched his shoulder.
He flinched away.
"Not one thing was left alive on that road."
His voice was broken, and when he looked up his cheeks were stained with tears.
"Everywhere I go, death follows."
He looked away.
"My-"
His voice broke.
"My family died. My squads died. My la'rua is dead. All because of an uncaring galaxy. If the emperor really saved mankind, why is there so much death?"
"Drake-"
He interrupted her.
"You are the only thing I have left. The only person who survived. And I don't deserve you. All the things I did in the name of the emperor were done in the name of a corpse on a throne."
He was half-shouting now. He quieted.
"I am a broken man, Alyss. Nothing can fix me."

"Nothing in the whole frakking galaxy."

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#17 » Jul 19 2017 05:00

Shaken by his response, I backed away.
He used my given name. He never uses my given name.

"Shas'vior'los'ar'tol. Medivac needed. Sent to my coordinates. Possible mental breakdown. This is Gue'vesa'ui Gray. Authorisation code 6845."
I kept my voice low so as to not alert Drake.
"Copy that. Just hold on till sunset."
I frowned.
"What?"
"AA facilities need to be neutralised to enable Medivac craft to enter the area. Assault will be concluded by sunset."
"Permission to disable subject until medivac arrives?"
The tau on the other end of the line seems puzzled by this.
"Disable?"
"Prevent from running off. He may refuse to be evacuated."
I had a heavy heart. Whether Drake would forgive me I did not know.
"Proceed."
I slowly took my medkit off my belt.
Opened it.
I retrieved an auto-injector full of anaesthetic.
I hope he forgives me.
I approached him.

"Go away."
I was almost there. He did not turn around.
Please forgive me.

I plunged the needle into his neck, and watched as the greenish liquid inside vanished as it was pneumatically injected, watched as he slumped to the ground, face slack.

I'm sorry.

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Re: The Siege of Mortus - Short Story

Post#18 » Jul 21 2017 05:06

-Drake-

Drake sat on the bed, brown hair hiding his angular face. The room was bright, cheery almost, and clinical in its cleanliness. Curved white walls tapered to a rounded point, from which a clean glow seemed to emnate. The bed was backed up against a wall, which was flat for about 5 feet, then arched up to meet the other two. The fourth and final wall was completely flat and had an almost translucent colour to it. The furniture was rounded, in traditional tau style. A desk crouched next to the bed, a low stool sitting before it.

On the other side of the bed, a partition and door closed off somewhere. Drake assumed it was a latrine of some sort. There were no sharp implements save for a pen of some sort, and a tau data-pad. The floor seemed soft, almost rubbery under his bare feet.

'These things itch something awful,' thought Drake as he pulled at the loose cream tunic and pants that had been waiting for him when he woke up. A bowl sat on the desk, a reddish sauce and a few pieces of rice all that was left of the meal he had just eaten. In the corner, his blood-stained fatigues were crumpled into a ball.
He put his head back down, not daring to think about the events of the last day.


-----Opening Interface-----
-----Message Received-----
-----Opening-----

To: Por’Vre’Tau’n’Kovas

Kovas, I know relations are tense between the Empire and the Enclaves right now, but I need your help. You are the only Por I know with experience with Gue’vesa psychology. I have a problem with a Gue’vesa suffering from some sort of mental breakdown caused, from what I can gather, by severe mental trauma at an early age and throughout his life. See attached files for more information on the patient and on what I could gather about his life.

Nuni

Por’Vre’Lub’grahl’Ts’yen

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-Alyss-

-1200-
Next Day


I looked through the one-way glass at Drake.
He was pacing again. He had fallen into a kind of pattern, in the isolation room. He would sleep for a half hour, tossing and turning and muttering, and then wake up, blue eyes scared and unfocused. He would get up, pace for an hour, a haunted expression on his fine-boned face, and then try to sleep again. "T'ahh... Gue'vesa'ui?"

A nervous question pulled her attention away from Drake and fixed it upon the Por standing behind her.
"Yes?"
'What is it now?'
"you have been standing here for almost a tau'cyr. Isn't it time you had a rest?"
'if this was anyone else, yes, but this is Drake.'
"No."
A heavyset Shas walked into the room, just in time to hear the exchange.
He strode over, a deep frown on his face.
"Gue'vesa'ui."

I heaved a sigh. It was Shas'nel Dvoss.
"I hereby order you to retire to your quarters until further notice."
"No."
"No? I am your direct superior! Retire to your quarters!"
"No."
His nasal slit flared as his expression turned thunderous.
"Go!"
I didn't bother answering. I stared straight past him, hands resting on my belt, in a relaxed stance.

He whispered some rapid tau'sia into a headset. I still ignored him.
Two other Shas, marked with the specific pattern all security teams wore, jogged up beside him.
He addressed me again.
"Final chance to go peaceably."
'Really?' using force now?
Aw, frakk this."


in a quicksilver movement, I drew my pulse pistol from its holster. My arm was pointing forwards, the twin barrels of my weapon trained on the Shas'nel. The two security tau instantly tensed, hands going to their belts and their own pulse pistols.
"I would advise against threatening me, Shas'nel. I will stay, regardless of the consequences."
One of the security Shas chattered into his headset.
I kept still, finger on the activation stud.
I waited. A rai'kor later, a team of heavier armed security stormed into the room. These took up position in the entrance arch, sinistral shoulder pads pointed into the room and stun rifles pointing towards me.
I ignored them.

Dvoss' cheeks turned a deep violet colour. He was shouting now.
"Stand down Gue'vesa'ui!"
I brought my other hand around from behind my back. It clutched my power mace, skull glowering at the stark white of the observation room. I pressed the activation. The mace crackled to life, a corona of blue lightning playing across the bleached cream of the skull.

"No. He is broken." My voice was edged with steel.
"I will not leave him. He would expect me to be here, just as I would expect him to be here for me."
I took a breath, suddenly realising everything was quiet.
"I will not betray his trust more than I have already."
My arm ached from holding the pulse pistol steady.

It was a moment before I noticed him moving back slowly, taking small steps so as to avoid my notice. I fired a shot, aiming it near his head, but not too near. He froze.
"I will stay here, no matter what. Go."
"Go!"

The security Shas looked at Dvoss for direction.
"Stand down, Shas."
The security team dispersed.
He glowered at me but didn't say anything.
He turned his back, walked out.
I turned back to the room, where Drake was still pacing.
A low couch sat in front of the one-way glass, clean lines beckoning to my tired body. I sat and immediately my eyes felt heavier.
Under the stark illumination, I drifted off to sleep.

-Drake-

Dust billowed around me, almost obscuring the figures of Ma and Da as they moved through the mist to the shuttle. My sister, Katiana, pulled me along, consoling me as inhuman shrieks rang out, and the screams of the dying filled the air. I tripped, and she pulled me up and carried me, her arms around me as we made the final mad dash to the launch bay.

Ma and Da stopped ahead, pistols at their sides.
They beckoned for us to go past them, and stopped at the arched entrance, facing back the way we came. Those animalistic cries rang out again, and out of the mist came insectile forms, blood-soaked skin shining in the weak sunlight. They tore Ma and Da apart, blood spraying from the mutilated corpses.

My sister told me to cover my eyes as she raced the last few steps to the last shuttle. She shoved me on board, and I crawled a few feet inside, the press of nobles making way for the scion of House Corosyn. She made to get on the lifting transport, even got an elbow over the edge, but those creatures caught up to her, pulled her down. The last thing I saw before the doors closed was her being dismembered.


I woke up, gasping for breath and drenched in sweat, heart racing.
Those accusing faces confronted me. I pushed them away.
'Oh, throne. Katiana. Ma. Da.' Those faces came back. They never really went away.

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