If you’ll scan your eyes briefly to the right of this very sentence, then they will encounter the Underlings blog list. Yes, these guy are all other Overlords forumites of various degrees of personhood who have taken it upon themselves to spew their own brand of gibberish onto the increasing corrupted noospheric tubes of teh Interwebz. Enjoy or not at your peril.
Speaking of your own peril, below is an excerpt from my short story that I’m writing for the Black Library submissions window (closing in but a few short days!). I’ll be culling the best 1,000 words from it to send in, but until then, why not enjoy these raw, unculled 1,000 words straight from the story itself.
In other words; this is a fanfic. It is mine. I hope you enjoy it. I plan on posting it up in a number of sections every Friday. Hopefully it’ll keep me writing, as I am very much the type of person who needs a deadline to do anything!
Any comments or criticism, please let rip. I’m all ears.
Here we go!
Space isn’t cold.
Temperature is a property of matter. Space, by definition, is its absence.
Cast adrift in the harsh void, Xandrei burned. He burned with rage, consumed by hate and indignation.
The attack had occurred an indeterminate amount of time ago. Xandrei hadn’t been able to get an accurate reading. His chronometric systems had been knocked out by the explosion. He had been maglocked to the hull of the Eisensperre overseeing void shield repair when the splinter fleet rent its way into the materium with a fractal burst of non-colour and a pulse of screams. The ships were jagged, twisted things. Foul grotesqueries that offended the eye with their mocking imitation of Imperial design. Tendrils of warp-stuff trailed after them, slowly dissipating into the vacuum of space. The raiders opened fire immediately, their tainted weapons sparking against the reserve shielding before overloading them in a blinding flash.
Forge-brother Xandrei Kimmel canted furious orders to his servitor work team to bring the main shields back up, but was interrupted. A red-black beam tore a mighty gash in the hull mere metres from Xandrei’s position and the resultant explosion of a hull-imbedded fuel line widened the gap quicker than he could react. The sudden conflagration overwhelmed the maglock system in his armour and he was thrown voidward, shards of the Eisensperre’s black hull cascading after him. In a desperate attempt to slow his flight he triggered his harness’s void-guidance thrusters and vented precious internal atmosphere and pneumatic gasses from his suit to add to the arresting force and turn him round.
The free-flying fragments of the Eisensperre’s hull bombarded him, the sound of the impacts reverberating inside his armour at a deafening volume. He curled into a ball to reduce the debris collision, but too late. A sheet of ceramite hull plate several metres across smashed into him head on. He felt his chest crack and splinter, he felt his servos dislocate and he felt the air tear its way out of his lungs. Pain lanced into his brain from every area of his stricken form. Unconsciousness claimed him.
He woke to a world of rage and pain. The sudden attack, the clear evidence of warp-taint in the ambushers, his failing to anticipate the assault, his inability to provide more than a token resistance. All these fed into a maelstrom of anger and loathing, directed both at the enemy and at himself. Such feelings were natural, inevitable and understandable; even for a Space Marine. But Xandrei Kimmel was an Iron Hand, and such base, instinctive, emotional responses to stimuli were not to be tolerated. Not in this state.
Within a moment, through a combination of hormonal regulators, Astartes conditioning and sheer force of will, the swirling morass of emotion was contained, harnessed and focussed; changed from a blazing fire to fine blue flame of purpose. He took stock of the situation. He could feel the abrasive grind of shards of his fused ribcage rubbing against each other as he breathed. His right arm refused to rotate properly, sending a jagged spike of pain through his brain whenever he attempted it. Internal diagnostics reported fourteen minor breaches in inner atmosphere containment. He could feel warm liquid pooling in the left boot of his power armour, although whether it was blood or lubricant, he could not say. He did not register any internal haemorrhaging, but the damage to his form was significant.
The collision with the hull fragment had spun him, but thankfully had not propelled him much further from his starting point and his velocity had mostly arrested, the automated gyroscopic systems of his suit having managed to stabilise him even during unconsciousness. He turned his gaze to the Eisensperre. It was adrift. The thermal imaging systems in his right eye registered patches of radiated thermal activity, indicative of multiple on-board fires. The vessels of the Archenemy were clustered round the majestic barge like scavengers, boarding tubes penetrating to the various rents and gashes in the Eisensperre’s hull. Individually they seemed tiny and insignificant, but Xandrei knew that that many simultaneous boarding contacts were often a death knell for any voidfaring ship, the defenders having to respond to too many invaders to maintain control.
The command ship of the enemy splinter fleet loomed large over the stricken Eisensperre, closing in as if for a killing strike, but without charging its weapons. This was not a mission of annihilation for them, he surmised, but for resources. They were planning to use the ship, his ship, in whole or in part to serve their unholy ends. Whether they planned to strip out all the useful systems and supplies or retask the vessel wholesale, Xandrei did not know. Nor did he care. It would not happen. He would not allow it. He triggered his suit’s void thrusters and set his course. The Eisensperre could not be taken.
He didn’t know how it had started, really. What had driven him to this point? Fear? Possibly. Conversion instead of death was a common choice. Anger? The lies of his old life, futile untruths used to justify the cold unwarranted cruelty of an innately unjust system, were surely a cause for retribution. Curiosity? After the truth of the False Emperor was revealed to him, what other revelations lay ahead for him to explore? The temptation of forbidden knowledge was undeniably powerful. No. It wasn’t any of those. Not primarily.
It was gratitude. The lies had been stripped clean, the Emperor’s shackles had been torn asunder and the experience was exhilarating. He was free. It was bliss. He would do anything to feel that way again, but knew that it couldn’t happen. Nevertheless, he treasured those moments and not a day went past when he did not thank the man who gave them to him, although he could not be considered a man any longer.
Gideon Lock gave thanks when the airlock opened and the cool oil-scented atmosphere of the enemy ship flooded into the boarding tube. He gave thanks as his men stormed through the spartan plasteel corridors, weapons ready. He gave thanks as he pounced on the terrified black-clad deckhand, the warped scorpion’s claw that was once his right hand sinking deep into the man’s neck, severing both jugular veins and spraying him in the crimson backwash. He gave thanks as he savoured the sticky warmth across his face and knew that he had freed one more soul for his lord. He could hear the clatter of boots on the metal floor as enemy reinforcements approached. With spittle dribbling from his distended jaws, Gideon gave thanks once more and broke into a run.