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I'm toying with a concept for a piece of fanfiction I'm trying to write. Very roughly, it's going to be about a space marine that becomes the sole survivor of a space battle between Imperials and Chaos. The Marines' ship (unsure of the most appropriate class) was attempting to reinforce the IG's on the planet while fighting a losing battle above orbit. The original plan was to be discarded when their ship was boarded, and they were forced to repel the invaders. Despite their best efforts, and weakened by having sent many of their battle brothers to the planet, their ship is gradually overran by the boarders.
The Imperial Navy's vessels begin to shrink the enemy's advantage in a last ditch effort, taking unsustainable damage in the process. Ultimately, the Chaos fleet's flagship is forced to evacuate before the Imperial's vengeful retaliation damages its propulsion engines. In the end, both fleets are wiped out, and the Marines' ship suffers extensive damage, rendering it unserviceable. The last of the marauders are finished off by a severely injured Marine, that manages to hook himself up to life support mechanisms and judges the best course of action is to activate the Sus-an membrane and hope his Chapter will appear at some point to retrieve him.
His plan does not go as he intended, as his ship is found by a nearby rogue trader in charge of carrying out an exterminatus on the planet, as the Imperial forces were overrun. Despite this overt goal, the captain decides it wouldn't hurt to get himself a few pieces of Astartes gear for himself. While looting the Marines' ship, his crew runs into the Space Marine. After some events, the Marine awakens, and the captain exchanges his return to the Chapter with his service aboard the ship. While part of the crew, the Marine would face aspects of the Imperium he was ultimately sheltered from by virtue of his monastic lifestyle, and gradually realize the opportunistic piracy performed by the Rogue Trader captain.
Now, I tend to overlook fallacies in my ideas, so I'd appreciate it if you found something in this prototype of a plot that's excessively hard to sell, so to speak. Honestly, I don't really like making the Marine the sole survivor of a ship boarding, but I needed a plot device to make him join the Rogue Trader crew. And, stranger things happen in 40K fiction. :p
The two hardest bits of this as far I can see are going to be;
- isolating the marine from the rest of his battlegroup, and,
- Convincing him not to rejoin his chapter once he wakes up again.
While I think your concept could work, it might not convince some people. Maybe you just need to modify the story a little to get around these two points, though. Are you really set on having the Marines fighting with Imperial Guard? How about a Marine Battleship returning to their home world only to find it besieged by someone? (Chaos, perhaps, but any enemy of the Imperium would do, I suppose)
So, planet has already been bombed to oblivion, and the massive enemy fleet then turns on this single vessel, easily crippling it. As massive explosions tear the ship apart, this marine happens to the the only one close enough to the hibernation chambers (if they use something like that?) to get in and activate it.
Or perhaps the ship is boarded and he's just rendered unconscious during the fighting, only to wake up to find everyone else dead. It's then he chooses to go in to hibernation and hope for rescue.
The Rogue Traders can come in after, while scavenging the wreckage they find the Marine. I expect he'd demand to be returned to his Chapter, but if they've all been destroyed that wouldn't be possible and he might be convinced to stay on with the trader crew and do whatever it is they do, provided he gets to kill things every once in a while.
Maybe those ideas will give you something to work with
Very good suggestions, thank you.
I'm not really set on the IG connection, it was merely toying around with scenarios. The main point would be a credible scenario that separates the Marine from his Chapter, and his retrieval by the Trader ship. I'm leaning towards Chaos for the possibility of a revenge sub-plot at some point, as I think they're the best choice for an enemy of the Imperium capable of overpowering a Chapter homeworld and become the nº1 target of the Marine henceforth. Orks and tyranids are already done in Dawn of War 2. :p I just feel they'd be ideal revenge targets.
I'll play around with writing on these ideas a bit, see if they work. If things go smoothly, I'll post a draft for your reading pleasure (or pain xD).
Cheers, I look forward to it!
Chaos is a pretty solid choice as an enemy - like you said, a good revenge possibility later on. Back on the idea, though... I was thinking a little about the chances of catching an entire Marine chapter on their homeworld, all at once, in order to destroy them piecemeal. Even a really significant anniversary of an event in the chapter's history might not bring every single marine home, but I don't know have any ideas as how you'd get around that just yet.
You could probably say the chapter commited its entire force to fight against Abbadons 13th Black Crusade.
It would be a conveniant story device, (a) it would be a big enough threat that the chapter would commit its entire force.
(b) A black crusade is the sort of thing that always wipes out whole chapters.
(c) It provides an obvious premis for future revenge against chaos.
Maybe their chapter planet was in the path of the chaos fleet, every battle brother would have been called in to defend there world. Maybe one of the chapters ships got ripped a new ass-hole and as explosions tore through the ship one spacemarine was slammed against a bulk head and knocked cold, when he woke up he found himself trapped behind some emergency doors in an isolated section of the ship, the rest of the ship had been torn apart and everything inside vented into space. Trapped in his floating tomb with a limited air supply he had no choice slip into staisus and wait for somone to find him or for the end to come.
A few years later your rogue trader comes along trying to loot the ship and finds the sleeping marine.....
On the topic of the Black Crusade: the listing of Imperial forces here mentions very specific Space Marine chapters involved. I wanted to work with an original chapter to avoid conflicts with existing and established lore. It's something I'm pretty anal about. :p
And which brings us to the Eye of Terror and the original chapter's lack of accomplishments in that particular location. Would it be a huge blow to the current fluff to include them in the Black Crusade, or is it something I'll have to work around; say, have them be attacked by a stray Warband seeking easier prey?
I'd say a stray warband would be easier - you don't have the headache of working around such pivotal existing background, so you have a fair bit more flexibility.
That list isn't a list of everyone involved, it's just a list of those involved in official canon. All of the fiction written about the black crusades (all 40k fiction for that matter) includes phrases like "a vast and powerful war fleet waging war on countless fronts" and "the chaos forces reigned death on a thousand worlds" and blah blah blah....
The whole point of this stuff is to express that the storys we know about are only a part of a much bigger story, there are events taking place on thousands of worlds that we will never hear about.
So... Short ansewer. Go for it, write your chapter into the crusade. They intentionally left space for us to use, you might as well take advantage of it.
I foresee a problem. What would stop the marine from demanding that the rogue trader take him to the nearest marine force (even if it is not his chapter) who would then give him aid. Or even what would stop him killing the Rogue Trader, stealing his ship and doing the above.
The only reason I can think of, is to put him in a chapter that values honour above all else. Then the rogue trader takes the lone marine onto his ship as prisoner to "do something". The trader then saves the marines life (or something that the marine would really appreciate), and in return the marine goes renegade to fight with the rogue trader. (Now I'm picturing the marine as CHewbakka and the rogue trader as Han Solo...)
Well, if the Marine (current name is Felix :p) did try to kill the Rogue Trader, he'd have a pissed off crew to deal with. Not to mention it would be the height of ingratitude to just kill off his rescuer for not ditching his own plans to help the Marine ASAP. That being said, Rogue Traders aren't exactly pushovers as far as Imperial influence goes.
I'll do my best to present a credible story as I go. It's being a slow start, but I'm not idle.