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Okay.. I decided not to break this up. But don't get put off by the length of the whole thing.. It's got 3 or 4 little scenes, and I'd love to recieve some input even if it's just on one of them.
To clarify, this is actually a prelude to my existing piece of Tau fluff (http://www.librarium-online.com/foru...ad.php?t=84718 (Elâ€™Shiyonâ€™s Hunt)). It's really fiction, I guess, but since I'm not really writing a coherent story or anything (just little snapshots) and it's about my army commander, I figured I'd put it here to start with.
Basically, to summarize the other story.. It's about a Tau commander developing battlesuit neurosis who is mysteriously sent on a mission to kill commander farsight, though as said, this is a bit of a prelude.
Anyway, I hope you like it.. Sorry it's so long.
Oh.. and following my theme of ripping ideas from war movies, rep to anyone who can guess which film I ripped in this one..
“Unit interface complete, pilot’s vital signs are stable and regular, synchronization has reached optimal levels..”
As the Earth caste technician read from the small monitoring device, El’Shiyon mentally flexed his left arm, feeling the servos and motors of his battlesuit move as though they were his own muscle and bone. He remembered how strange the sensation had been in the early days after his first trial by fire, but now the lurching feeling of disconnection caused by the mind unit interface was familiar and he welcomed it as an old friend. Within the protective womb of his battlesuit, the Shas’el felt he had undergone a miraculous transformation, his fears and weaknesses had all but melted away, to be replaced by supreme confidence in his new body.
“Hmm.. Weapon status readout seems fine.. All systems within acceptable parameters. Plasma containment is holding.” The stocky technician looked up towards the monocular lens through which Shiyon now perceived the world, speaking in the reserved and guarded tones most Tau used when addressing other caste members directly. “I’m going to calibrate your targeting control systems now, commander..”
Shiyon’s field of vision flickered for a moment, before the familiar interface superimposed itself. Readings flickered wildly for a moment, and then stabilized. The voice of the Fio spoke once more.
“We’re all done commander.. Good luck.”
The Shas’el heaved his suit upright, taking a moment to activate the external speakers and thank the Fio for his diligence. In truth, though he was loathe to admit it, he felt impatient. The hanger of the Manta was like a cage. Beyond it lay death and destruction, cocooned but within his suit, the commander could see them only as distant abstracts. He just wanted to get out there.
Sighing internally, Shiyon resigned himself to waiting. There was no sense in impatience, the time for action would be here soon enough, it always was..
Dropping gracefully through a layer of low lying cloud, Shiyon suddenly saw the ground open out beneath him. Around him, other battlesuits were descending like snowflakes, scattered across the sky by the flight of the Manta which had deposited them. A regular bleeping sound alerted him to the positional beacon, lost somewhere in the melee down below, but which was guiding their trajectory. Suddenly, his commanding officer, O’Tam’la’s voice cut through the com channel, even through the static, she sounded urgent.
“Shas’el, can you hear? I’m patching through your team’s objective status now.. Our left flank is in danger of being overrun. After landing, proceed there at once and organize the defence until devilfish can be deployed to evacuate our men, understood?
Shi’yon looked towards the area which was now highlighted on his display. He could see the white uniforms of fire warriors nestled amongst a set of ruins. Blue pulse discharges flickered between them and an oncoming horde of orks.
“I see them commander, but by the time we reach them it will be too late. I’m going to alter trajectory now, we’ll land on top of them.”
“Shas’el, that’s too dangerous..”
“Yes, but they won’t expect it..”
“Shi’yon.. I’m not going to authorize..”
He cut the channel, switching over to his crisis team. They were good pilots, he knew, but not good enough for what he was about to ask them. For a moment, he hesitated, then, it dawned on him that he wasn’t going to ask them.
“When you reach the ground, proceed immediately to my position, is that understood?”
“Yes, Shas’el,” came the confused voice, “But where..”
Again, he cut the channel. There was no more time. Mentally, he cut the flow of power to the vertical thrusters, pushing the suit forwards even as, with a sickening lurch, it began to drop faster and faster. He could see the orks more clearly now, and aiming for the largest, stuck his foot out to brace the impact..
The sound as Shiyon’s battlesuit struck the ork’s chest was like a tree being split in half, and the jolt from the impact threatened to dislodge the interface anchored in Shiyon’s neck, bringing spots to his vision for a second as feedback passed into his nervous system. Regaining his balance and fighting to clear his mind, he suddenly remembered that he was surrounded by orks. One of the nearer creatures was already lunging forwards, swinging a large and crude looking axe.
Struggling to regain his senses.. Shi’yon fired his thrusters again, inelegantly lurching over the heads of the enraged aliens. They turned to follow, but a burst of pulse discharges carved into their forward ranks in a cascade of flowering blue plasma fire. Turning, the commander saw that the fire warriors in the ruin, obviously distracted by their commander’s suicidal action, had resumed their fire.
The surviving orks, however, seemed blissfully unperturbed. Touching down rather crudely on his strained leg servos, the Tau commander surveyed the horde approaching him. Suddenly, the shock of his own audacity hit home, as well as the very real possibility that he was about to die, and a sudden panic rose in his gut. Why had he done this? He wasn’t invincible. He was known, if anything, for being excessively cautious and reserved.. Something about him, something about his suit, something about the false sense of vitality he felt whenever the mind unit interface was plugged in. Was he losing it, was he going crazy?
Gritting his teeth, the commander snapped himself out of such thoughts, and focused himself on how he was going to survive the next few minutes until help arrived..
The Ethereals mouth curled upwards in a smile as he flicked through the holographic display detailing the last engagement. Standing before him, feeling strangely uncomfortable in their dress uniforms, Tam’la and Shiyon awaited the Aun’s judgement.
“So, you killed an ork leader in close combat?”
Shiyon grimaced at the question; it was one of the one’s he’d been wrestling with himself.
“It wasn't really in close combat, your ethereal majesty. It was an accident, I think. I misjudged the landing and..”
The ethereal held up one elegant hand to demand silence, numbly, Shiyon complied.
“There is no need for false modesty, Shiyon. Your actions will, I believe, not be judged barbaric. The orks and everything they stand for are anathema to the greater good, and, while your actions were certainly.. unconventional, they showed considerable bravery. Tell me..” the Ethereal’s gentle smile bored into Shiyon’s guilty soul, “..Were you really willing to sacrifice yourself for the greater good?”
Shiyon swallowed dryly, but under the piercing stare of the Aun, he resigned himself to confessing the truth.
“I didn’t really think about it, ethereal majesty. I just didn’t see any other way of getting there in time..”
There was an awkward pause, and then the Aun laughed, “Good, good..” he said, his voice so carefree and soothing that, after the tension, Shiyon felt as if he was suddenly enveloped in a wave of warmth and softness, “..I’ve decided, Shas’el, to allow a report to be screened on your actions. You’re going to be quite a hero within the Empire,” the Ethereals tone darkened slightly, “And, by the Greater Good, the Empire has a need of heroes now. Enjoy the rewards of your success, commander.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, Shiyon turned to leave the audience chamber,
His heart nearly stopped.
“I understand your battlesuit was badly damaged. Quite beyond repair according to the earth caste technicians. Therefore, you are to be issued a new suit.” the Ethereal smiled benevolently, it seemed to Shiyon that, at that moment, he would have done anything, even died, just to gaze upon that smile. The Aun continued, “..In fact, you will be field testing one of the new XV89s. I believe I can trust a Tau like you to make full use of its performance.”
“Thank you, your ethereal majesty. It is a great honour..”
The Ethereal waved again, silencing Shiyon’s courtesies,
“Please, do not be so modest, Shas’el. You may return to your cadre, and do so as a hero of the Tau Empire. We will be watching you very carefully.” The ethereal turned to Tam’la, “Shas’o, I will speak to you in private now. There is something we must discuss..”
Shi’yon left the palace with his heart hammering in his chest. He had behaved recklessly, and shown an unforgivable lack of trust in his team, yet he was being commended, rewarded even? Maybe the Aun was right.. Maybe the Empire really did need heroes. Shiyon just wasn’t sure he was one..
Years later, as he drifted off to sleep in his bunk aboard a starship headed for the Damocles gulf to kill a man most knew only as a legend, Shiyon’s mind would revisit these memories, and wonder at their significance. Was he really being rewarded with this assignment, or had they seen something darker in him, something which had led them to send him out here to the edge of the Empire, this place of darkness and chaos.. In particular, he remembered the look on O’Tam’la’s face as they stood together in the audience chamber. Not angry, not disappointed that he had disobeyed her orders. All through the meeting, she had stared silently at the floor, almost as if she was afraid to look at him. He wondered, for a moment, what she might have seen in him that made her so frightened..
The gentle hum of the ships engines, however, gradually lulled him away from his unpleasant memories, and into the soft embrace of sleep.
Ah, very nice. Though it's not 'really, really long'. It's actually pretty short (by my standards anyway), and that's good.
So the ethereals dispatch a few cadres to kill The Commander, O'Shovah himself. Personally, I see that particular mission as being doomed to failure. Not because of O'Shovah himself, but considering he's the most guarded Tau in the Enclaves (if he's still alive at all), and even more than that... There are more than one Enclave. That have been doing nothing but fighting orks and everything else that the Gue'la pay them for.
Mercenary Tau > Normal Tau
Perhaps they'd hit A'ava first? That would be 'my' Enclave. Give it some thought, could be interesting to have some Tau VS Tau.
The story in general: I liked it. Landing on an Ork is always a great way to make an entrance. Farsight himself has probably had to do that several times. And if The Commander does it, it's ok by me.
I give it: 9.5 out of 10!
For our lives, honor, and Commander!
Ah.. there's a healthy dose of good old conspiracy though, it could be a suicide misison. What better way to get rid of a commander who is too famous or high profile to be disgraced but who is blatantly starting to lose it.. Not to mention the possibility, however remote, that he might succeed..
Anyway, the whole narrative point is that it sets up this whole 'Heart of Darkness'/'Apocalypse Now' dynamic, as Shiyon is forced increasingly to understand Farsights actions. I wanted to involve the Enclaves somehow, but I also wanted to use pretty forgeworld models, which fluffwise wouldn't really work in an enclave army (unless they'd been captured after the schism.)
I don't think I'll ever write the one where Shiyon finally finds Farsight, or the enclaves, as that would break the mystery.. I think that one is better in the imagination.
Or who knows, maybe they are trying to -create- another Farsight, literally. What better way to get everything back on track than to have the legend himself 'come back' to the Empire? A Battle-suit neurosis loony with an unnatural understanding of Farsight's tactics would fit the bill of a 300 year old Tau Marine. Especially if they hook him up all 'dreadnaught' style to keep him alive somehow.
But hey, it's all for the 'Greater Good' right? Or in my case, for the Commander.