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Hello all, my name is Sergi. Thank you all for reading my story, as I am posting a prologue chapter of a novelette on this web site, and was hoping to get some feed back or constructive criticism. being only 14 years old, i don't have much experience and would like an opinion. would you be kind enough to readit and then e-mail me back with a comment? Sergi xox
Trooper Harris stared at the concrete floor face down as he bled to death, all his energy draining from him. The crackle of vox-comm static and the inquisitive recipient on the other end chattered away in his ear. The heavy mass of Josef’s foot landed down on the back of his head, caving it flat and crushing his helmet and comm’s link in the process. Josef cocked his head sideways contemplating the legless corpse beneath his boot, examining his handy-work. Deeming the cut clean enough, he realised that he would experiment aiming beneath the knees of his next victim for a much smoother exit and a similar result.
Josef had deserted 21 years ago, not very long, and yet he and his peers were already being man-hunted by the guardsmen of the Imperium. Although his squad could decimate platoons of these men, it was tedious work, and Josef hated the risk of any of his comrades falling to the terrible luck of war. Travelling a chosen exile would be so much worse without companions. This was a shared view of his comrades, which was why he was so much more surprised when Sergeant Dev suggested a raid on a convoy in the Eastern fringes of the Sector. It was proposal circulated amongst his company for weeks, each of his superiors lending their insight and opinion on the matter. It was decided that after reconnaissance was required before further input could be made. Here, it was buried in the back of everyone’s minds for the next seven years until covert members of the fleet gave enough detailed information and more pressing matters were executed.
Like Birmingham Hive. He recalled that assault with relish, thumbing the hilt of his sabre. He recalled the short brief and deployment, and before he knew it, descended into the heart of the Hive in a drop-pod assault, launching a co-ordinated assault on the Ministorium vault. It had come up with some interesting rewards, not least this new blade, which he had taken to using at any opportunity. This raid was the perfect chance for them to familiarize with each other. It wasn’t until he had returned that they were sent with the new intention of abducting all useful materials discovered on the convoy, after a crippling ordnance barrage and assaults on key points along the caravan. Squad Herod was one of five such units assaulting.
Josef was snapped out of his reverie by the crack of a vox-link opening.
“Finished playing with those guardsmen lap dogs yet?” came the gravelly voice of Ingo Bellac. Josef could never quite understand the reason for the contempt Bellac had for the Guardsmen. Ingo himself had served along side them and shared ideals, but had always held some sort of loathing for them, magnified somewhat since he left the Imperium’s service. One thing that he could understand about his friend was that the strongest appeal of the desertion was the independence and freedom he felt, a liberation that Josef himself could relate to.
“Where am I needed next?” Josef spoke aloud in a monotone, almost as if he had receeded in his thoughts and a machine was talking in his place.
A dark chuckle was his reply, and Josef thought that would be his only answer as it went on, before Ingo finally answered.
“We’re raiding, Herman, so you’re to make the push into the munitions vault with Karsh. I’m guessing Sergeant Dev doesn’t trust you breaking into anything of more value since your liking to taking whatever you break into.” Josef appreciated the joke before Bellac’s voice hardened again. “It’s on the lower decks, so if you get lost down in that maze, check blueprints our operatives supplied. See you at the extraction if you don’t get killed by guardsmen”. As the vox cracked again to show the line closed, Josef realised how much fun Ingo must be having, a conclusion gathered from the repeated jokes from his usually stern demeanour.
Josef set off, smashing through the door ahead of him, and the subsequent wall in between him and the stairwell on the other side. It took him twenty-three minutes slog through the zigzagging and narrowing corridors that would have taken a lesser man two hours to navigate before he met up with Jason Karsh. He caught his companion on one knee behind cover firing down the corridor, three Guardsmen littered at his feet. Jason ceased, his head swivelling fluently to target Joseph in the centre of his vision.
“Nice to see you’re so prompt, brother” Was his only greeting Josef imagined a head-splitting grin beneath the Khemri helmet before setting after him, sheathing his blade and bolt pistol and exchanging them for the bolter slung beneath his arm. He knew form the breath observation that they were about to encounter long and narrow corridors, and that this was a far more appropriate way of combating in this environment.
Rounding the corner, they faced the predicted ten-man squad waiting them, having heard their fearful breathing before they had seen them. Jason dived and rolled, keeping at a kneel before bringing up his bolter, Josef, already firing over his shoulder. It took only a couple of seconds of the deathening burst from the bolters before they silenced, leaving nothing but limbs at the other end of the corridor. They paused for a second, whether it was taking in the scene, or letting their barrels clear of discharge before marching onwards in single file.
The corridor was enough for five men to stand in line with each other, which was barely enough for the pair to stand abreast clad in their armour.
They continued through the labyrinth of corridors like this systematically killing off the defenders methodically until they had obviously reached the vault, guarded by the last vestige of resistance. It was a Commissar, an officer and chaplain as Josef had come to understand them in his service, posted alongside the last squad of the 121st regiment left alive alongside this vessel. He ignored these and focussed on the primed auto-cannons spanning across the cavernous corridor, which had expanded after the upcoming bend, according to his floor prints. He knew his armour could resist the worse of the high-calibre slugs, but still didn’t like the auto-cannons having a panorama of the corridor, along with its overly pathetic obstructions. Both Josef and Jason froze to statues at the corner and exchanged glances and gestures on what to do. Explosions had to be restricted, lest they punch a grating through the ship’s hull, and vacuum the occupants, and the supplies into space. The auto-cannons shells didn’t hols as much of a risk in doing the same, but neither of them wanted to take the risk. They elected to incapacitate the firer’s whilst the Commissar would be executed to cause panic amongst the dug in regiment. They moved, and could here the whine of the cannons start up, alongside the harsh instructions of the Commissar. A lone marine sprinted down the corridor, eating up three- hundred metres of it within seconds, crossing only half the distance before the first shots ricocheted off him. He vaulted the barbed wire and barricade, cushioning his landing on the chest of an Imperial in the process, his bolter crushing half of another’s face as he slammed the butt of his gun through the upturned las-gun and into his cheekbone. A deathening roar opened and he was knocked off his feet. Auto round after round slammed into his chest plate and upper torso, ripping chunks of plas-crete from his hulking form. He lost grip on his bolter as he hit the floor and rolled to a crouch unceremoniously behind the previously overcome barricade, offering much appreciated cover. He knew he only had seconds before the gun-entrenchments ate through the flimsy obstacle. Rubble showered over him as he estimated the distance from the guardsmen. Drawing his bolt pistol and clearing the barricade in one motion he squeezed off three shots, silencing one of the cannons before he continued his ground-eating lope. He shoulder barged the first of the guardsmen, ignoring the volleys of fire directed at him, and was rewarded with the sound of a shattered ribcage. He followed through twisting in mid-air and landed a kick that shattered another’s neck. Bring his pistol up from the roll, he squeezed off a burst of rounds that punched straight through two guardsmen and detonated in the men behind them. A cackling laugh echoed throughout the corridor behind him as Karsh mowed down the remnants of the platoon. It left only the ghost-crewed guns and the Commissar.
They could smell the fear exuding from him, and Joseph pictured the hungry look on Jason’s face, the relish plastered on it as the Commissar gave him, however briefly, enjoyment before his life was snuffed out.
Josef retreated to the side and observed as Jason advanced to confront and humour the man as he received his charge, weaving between his comparatively clumsy slashes and cuts. Josef admired the way he flicked the blade away with his fingers as he allowed a hit to be made. He looked on greedily as Jason danced in and out of the sword’s reach, turning majestically, adding only to the human’s frustration. The Commissar cried out as he made a desperate lunge, the blade smashed aside as the marine grew quickly tired of this distraction. He swiped the blade to the side with his pistol before darting in with drawn bolt pistol and ceremoniously blowing off his hand and kneecaps. The man’s screams resounded throughout the chamber before slowly dying away to a whimper. The man had landed to form a sick parody of submission, with the guardsmen kneeling before his assailant clamping his wrist stump as if pleading.
Josef realised there was a delicious irony in this posture, an act that would never have been performed consciously by the victim, as he would never submit to a “traitor”. It was coupled with the sickness he felt, which far exceeded this brief and twisted elation.
He pitied the human, but more over he pitied his companions. He had long realised that the freedom they had been granted was worth little, as his routines and actions were identical. All he had ever known, or would ever know, was war. Freedom to practice this upon any victim in the universe was a small consolation to being told to do so. But then there was no excuse for the sins he had committed, as there is no excuse to throw away virtue when it is no longer convenient.
This was the choice, and the price he taken when he had committed himself to becoming a marine. He had exchanged his virtue and his humanity to become something far more, yet far, far less. This was the clarity and the path of his decision to the road of perfection…
He decided to put the wailing husk out of his misery, and nodded to Karsh before advancing towards the vault. The Commissars howls were silenced as a bolt round slammed into his chest, releasing him from the agony inflicted upon him.
He had made sure not to have abandoned his compassion, if only as a consolation for fear of what he would become without it.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++End of Prologue+++++++++++++++++++++
Thanks for reading!! I hope I haven’t bored you, and please don’t blame me for wasting twenty minutes of your life. Comments and criticism are always welcome.
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