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Chapter 1 Vanguard Cometh
From the file of Lieutenant Marvin Angelo Lancaster /=
‘And so it begins’
On the large mining world of Lazarus 7, an Imperial colony known for its rich amount of iron ores, home to mere millions, all in closely guarded settlements under constant threat from the planets own vegetation and feral beasts, life went on as usual.
Lieutenant Lancaster wiped his brow of the sweat flowing down from his shaven head. Surveying the trees rebelling against his wall. His wall. The wall he was in charge of. The wall he would do everything in his power to keep stalwart against the invading flora. His remaining uncharred eyebrow shifted to a scowl.
“Send in the Cutting Cans.” He barked over his vox to anyone that cared. “Wall D’s perimeter is overgrown.”
“Yes Sir they are on their way as we speak” The vox crackled back. As soon as the words escaped the grubby green voice box the whirring of mechanical legs and chainsaws could be heard.
One by one the protesting trees were slain by the chainsaws of the persisting Sentinels, fallen lesser trees crushed underfoot by the armoured Contraptions. Lancaster’s scowl did not dissipate even after a small clearing was formed, his mind was elsewhere, on the battlefields where he had earned his stripes, the place he felt most comfortable, now all they had him doing was keeping a mining city free of trees. A sudden movement in the trees caused him to raise his bolt pistol.
“Huh, just a rabbit” he grumbled to himself. He looked to his left along the walls battlement to a nearby Heavy bolter turret manned by a slumbering guardsmen. A smile now appeared along his face. Lancaster sauntered towards his newfound prey cautious not to wake him before the kill.
“Private Hawthorn!” He shouted at the top of his lungs down the man’s ear. Startled by the sudden sound he began to fire indiscriminately into the plant life, until he received a clout around the head. ”Sleeping on the job and wasting Imperial bullets, are we now Hawthorn?”
“I, uh, it won’t happen again lieutenant, uh, Sir!” The private’s stuttered apology barely escaping his lips, before being followed by a quiet whimper.
Happy with asserting his authority, Lancaster decided, there was nothing more to do on his ‘patch,’ as he called it, he walked towards the ladder that lead down into the city. No sooner had he disappeared, did Private Hawthorn heave a sigh of relief, and loosen his grip on his gun that he had glued himself to moments before. The lieutenant walked to his chimera, preferring not to walk among the scum in the outermost reaches of the city. The ride to the inner city was smooth with only a minor annoyance, an outer-city civilian preaching about the coming of change or some other garbled nonsense. Lancaster thought he’d have dealt with the idiot there and then but thought better of it preferring to just reach home.
“Sir, I believe you should see this,” the familiar voice of his driver crackled through his vox as the vehicle growled to a stop. Opening the top hatch, Lancaster heaved himself up to a sitting position on top of the chimera, his legs dangling through the hatch. From his position he saw the massed crowd of people, if you could call them that, banging on the gate to the inner city. The shambling mass of dirty, shouting civilians turned to stare at Lancaster and his chimera, their faces looked deformed almost reptilian, and their hands were by Lancaster’s own description, bloody awful. The Forefinger and index finger were fused, as were the ring and little finger, both pairs of finger topped by one diamond like claw.
“What in blazes! Driver turn this thing round and head to the walls!” Lancaster shouted, diving back down the hatch to retrieve his pistol before reappearing to fire pot shots at the horde. The chimera reversed before u-turning and bolted back the way it came towards the perimeter. “Hawthorn, you had better be awake by the Emperor!” he screamed down his vox.
“Uh, yes Sir, what is it Sir?” the panicked voice of Hawthorn replied.
“Turn those turrets round towards the city and fire on my mark.”
“Just do it!”
The heavy Bolter turrets turned as one towards the city they were there to protect. In the distance, the lone chimera hurtled its way towards them, the man the gunners all feared, looking towards them from the hatch with a face that could curdle milk. The chimera screeched to a halt mere centimetres from the wall.
“Hawthorn, are you ready?”
“Uh, ready Sir,” although unsure what for, Hawthorn thought to himself. He was soon shown however, as the mutated mass scrambled towards them. “By the Emperor, What on Terra is that?”
“That is what you should be shooting!” Lancaster balled at him as he appeared at the ladder, the Chimera Driver right behind him. Hawthorn and his turreted squad didn’t need telling twice, the bolts, flew through the air, showering the mutants in holy fire, cutting swathes through their ranks.
Somehow, one, presumably the leader as it was the biggest and most mutated, had survived. It heaved itself up the ladder three rungs at a time with its muscular arms, before finally leaping over the top of the final rung, landing squarely on the Chimera driver, knocking him to the floor. With one swipe of its clawed hand, it sliced the neck leaving the head to roll away, the same look of terror still clearly etched on his face. It looked up to see its next victim, until a cold metal bolt entered the back of its head, and distastefully exiting between the mutants reptilian eyes.
“That’s for killing the only driver I ever liked.” Lancaster said coolly as the mutant collapsed in a messy heap.
Several hours later.
“Prepare yourself for war,” Inquisitor Rickman, over the vid screen, announced to the small party that had gathered in the Lazarus 7s Governor’s office. “The pictures you sent reveal the mutants to be hybrids with a particular creature you have probably heard off. Genestealer.” Rickman waited for the gasps to subside before continuing, “A vanguard organism of the race known as Tyranids.” The vid screen fizzled out leaving the pale frowning face of the inquisitor in their minds.
“I don’t understand why the inquisition would tell us this type of information; wouldn’t this info usually cause a ‘purge’?” Lancaster asked, a mix of confusion and fear clear in his voice.
“I’m afraid once they get a majority of important resources off the planet they’ll ‘purge’ us any way to keep the remaining resources out of Tyranid hands” The deep grim voice of the Governor replied.
“Uh, but why would they send a Chapter of the Emperors finest to help us if they thought that? Uh, Sir.” Hawthorn chipped in, who was there as Lancaster had taken a shine to the boy for some reason he was unsure of, perhaps saving from mutants? Lancaster couldn’t help himself from thinking about the Space Marine Cruisers that even now were hovering above the planet.
“To stall I imagine, until all the available resources are transported off world and then Lazarus 7 will cease to be, as it were.” The Governor replied once more, sorrow grasping his throat to the point that the he had to cough violently.
“If I may” a fourth man in the room chirped up from the shadowy corner he was standing in. Lancaster recognised him to be General Vance Voorman, the man in charge of the military of Lazarus 7 stationed in Alpha sector, home of the Governor, he was a shifty character, rising through the ranks under suspicious circumstances and then had requested to be reassigned to this backwater planet. A planet known to be scarce of danger. Lancaster thought it odd a general would stand in the shadows, it then occurred to him, he didn’t want the Inquisitor to see him, he decided he would have to keep an eye on the general, if he survived. “Before all the resources are vacuumed elsewhere I would suggest we evacuate the governor and his family, along with his esteemed bodyguard of course, off planet.” The Governor pondered for a moment, before finally making up his mind and nodding.
“And who would this esteemed bodyguard be, General?”
“Please Governor Brentoss, just Vance is fine, and the bodyguard in question would be the men in this room.” Lancaster looked around noting each man in question, they were mostly high ranking officers except Hawthorn who Lancaster had insisted had been there, maybe he saw some of himself in the private but shrugged it off and began checking off the officers. From Alpha sector there were himself, Vance, Zacharias; a tall lanky officer who enjoyed drink a bit too much and wore a non regulation hat reminiscent of the Cow wranglers of Texan, and Dmitri, a rotund man who often told tall tales in the mess about the time he killed a bear singled handed or other such nonsense. “Hmm, very well Vance, Lancaster, Zacharias, Dmitri, prepare a squad and report to the garage in two hours. After all I’ll need my bodyguard.” At this the men grinned simultaneously. Except Lancaster whose thoughts were with the officers of the other sectors who would be doomed.
As Lancaster entered the garage, he noticed the others were already here. Each had brought some men with them. Lancaster himself had brought his best men as well. Hawthorn, lasgun and Heavy Bolter in tow, Domino, Sergeant and second in command to Lancaster, whose skills with a power sword were unmatched. Pyromaniac ‘Flaming’ Wayne, who people(and Lancaster) thought was a bit mad but could be relied on to do what he did in a pinch. Ratling Sniper Merk, who had saved Lancaster’s life many a time, and Ogryn Hawk, the big muscle of the squad. He had picked them for their ability and, he thought, they are the best at killing things.
“Why are you bringing these rejects, Lancaster?” Dmitri asked amused, A growl from Hawk making him jump.
“I would brought them as these are the best people at their job on the planet,” Lancaster replied before looking at each member of the squad, before continuing, “And I trust each one of them with my life.” Dmitri shook his head and walked to away to join the others.
“Thank you Lieutenant,” Domino said, a smile on her face.
“Aww, Lancaster like us!” Hawk shouted, giving him a hug that almost broke his ribs.
“Right, let’s get this over with,” Lancaster said, regaining his breath.
The Chimera convoy trundled along the quiet road, each of the tree vehicles spluttering dust as they went. Inside the third convoy sat Lancaster and his squad and sat opposite was Zacharias and his men. Lancaster studied Zacharias who he would have thought was asleep if he didn’t know his eyes were closed as it made his hangover feel better.
“So,” Merk said, his voice breaking the ice, “I’ve heard there is a Space Marine Chapter in orbit.”
“Uh, yeah, uh, there is.” Hawthorn replied, his nervous tick annoying the members of Zacharias’ squad.
“Well, I don’t reckon they’ll let us leave, y’know? They’ll want us to loyally stay and fight.” This even made Zacharias open his eyes, fear clearly etched in the pupils.
“Hah! We’ll jus’ have to burn ‘em!” Wayne cackled.
“I’m sure the Governor has thought of that,” Lancaster said, confidence in his voice from years of service. In his mind though was only doubt.
As they approached the Space Port, the convoy stopped. Lancaster heaved himself up out of the hatch to see what was happening. He saw that Vance and Dmitri had done the same, only for his eyes to widen in horror as surrounding the Port were Mutants. Their clawed hands and reptilian faces still clear in his mind, it made him freeze in fright. His voice on the other hand was already shouting orders.
“Squads, Up top, into firing positions!” As he shouted, so did Vance and Dmitri, and fifteen Guardsmen scurried out of their transports, Lasguns and Special or Heavy weapon primed in an orderly fashion. Unfortunately Lancaster’s squad didn’t seem as organised, with Hawk and Flaming Wayne running into the fray cackling, Domino and Hawthorn setting up the Heavy Bolter and Merk had ran into a better position to fire his Sniper rifle. Lancaster himself decided it best if he manned the chimera’s own Heavy stubber and began firing indiscriminately into the Genestealer hybrids. As he did so, it seemed everyone else took this as a que to fire and opened up.
Lancaster watched as Hawk and Wayne cut swathes through the horde, Hawk firing his Ripper gun and using it as a club at the same time, he seemed to fight harder than any Ork taking three at a time. While Wayne’s cleansed five at a time with holy Flame. A mutant was about to hit Wayne from behind but fell to the floor, Lancaster was certain this was Merk’s handiwork as Mutants seemed to fall when they were about to strike. Eventually only the largest was left, it had reached Dmitri’s Chimera and before he could turn his Heavy Stubber, the beast had grabbed Zacharias who had gone over to reinforce them and torn off his right arm. Zacharias shrieked and fainted from the pain instantly. Before the beast could cause anymore damage it had been bull rushed by Hawk, they rolled along the ground, each fighting for the advantage before Hawk managed to head butt it and roll away. The stunned Mutant was then filled with fire from every man before Flaming Wayne decided to cook its corpse, cackling laughter as fierce as the flame.
As the ship carrying the Governor, his family and Bodyguard left orbit to dock with the last leaving cruiser, three strike ships of the Iron Mongers Chapter had already engaged a fleet of organic ships which Lancaster could only assume was home to millions of the accursed Xeno. It is good that it keeps the Marines out of hair, he thought thinking how they could of escaped otherwise but the Tyranids are a menace. Sighing, he signed his report, uttering the final words before his name;
“And so it begins.”
Last edited by Herald of Huanchi; January 24th, 2010 at 13:07.
Not dead, just sleeping
Not bad Pretty good even! You established the main character's personality, put a lot of action in the story and left us with a sense of anticipation. I admit, I read through rather hurridly as I am working on models while we speak. There is a fiction board here, that you might like to use for future installments?
Emperor bless and cherish you!
Nice work, got any plans for more? Or was this just a onne off short story?
The Emperor Protects
IG Best Gen 1st overall of 10 DE 4th overall of 6
Eldar 3rd Overall/Best General of 26--2nd Overall/Best General of 7--1st Overall/Best General of 11
I'd like to do more but I have to be into the mindset of the army so to speak. For example, my story Tomb it may concern in fantasy fiction was fun to write when I was into them but then got frustrated when I couldn't win or even have fun with them anymore. (Although I don't collect IG so this was more to do with being into 40k in general)
Any other fluff writers like me? Need to be in the mindset I mean.
Although I do want to extend the story so watch out.
Thanks for all the comments. (this is my first story that got comments from more than one person, I must be improving!)
Not dead, just sleeping
iiiii liked it ^^
I totally understand what you mean about needing to be in the mood and have that creative energy fueling your work. I used to write bad fanfiction for Ranma 1/2 and twice for WizKids 'MechWarrior' game. I want to write for 40K, but it'll have to be 40K(Alternate Universe) as there is simply too much fluff for me to buy all the books and try to remember, ha ha!
One trick that used to work for me is making a soundtrack for the story. When you are excited about writing, play music that inspires you to write. Then, you will associate the music with your 'Muse', and when you're not so ready to write, you can play the music again and let it put you back in the mood! At least, it sometimes works for me.
For Imperial Guard I like this piece from "Glory"!
YouTube - Glory Soundtrack- Charging Fort Wagner
Anyway, enjoy your writing, we'll be watching for more 'Vanguard'!