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Be careful what you wish for.
The phrase came to mind as the Space Marine tended to his battle gear, hands working in an unconscious routine as they checked over sections of armour plate, cleaned and manually worked mechanisms, opened and closed catches and checked connections.
It was a well used and oft-quoted phrase amongst the warriors of the 5th Company. It had started off as a favoured saying of one of their squad Sergeants, Patrobus, but had spread to the other members of the Company over time. Patrobus' powerful personality and easy camaraderie was lost to them now, killed by the vile daemon-machines of Votheer Tark, but his motto had lived on through the survivors.
He tapped a connector linked to the fibre bundles in his armour's right greave. It moved - albeit minutely, but he began to disconnect it nonetheless.
"Survivors" was an accurate word; recent events had conspired to leave the 5th well under strength. Although 'events' was too blameless a term - the battles in which three-hundred and forty-seven of his Chapter had given their lives in such a staggeringly short time were against an enemy known all to well, the traitors Astartes of the Iron Warriors and their legions of corrupted allies.
There was a particle of some gritty substance lodged in the connector linkage; he removed it and picked over the links to check that there was no more. Satisfied, he began to reconnect the cabling.
It would take time to rebuild their strength at arms, though their Chapter had always been blessed with recruits, and in the months since their victory over the Iron Warriors, the recruiters had been busy. It would be several years before they were back to full strength, but it was nothing that the Chapter hadn't faced before.
More dirt had gathered in the joints around the armoured boot sections. He took out a pick and removed it with great care.
Still, for him it was a new and unwelcome period in his life as an Astartes, and the 5th had been the most gravely affected by the losses of all the companies, losing almost half their number before the invasion of their realm had even begun in earnest, their lives lost in defence of the stronghold they garrisoned far from the rest of their Chapter, the manner of their last stand unrecorded and inscrutable.
He began to replace the pieces of armour onto their stand, one at a time, turning each piece over in his hands as he did so, a final double-check of his own work.
Lost in the void and lost in his presence; he mourned them all - and venerated them also, for they had died warriors one and all - but could not help feel their loss, for he had fought alongside most of them and had learned from many of them; he had been in the 5th since the implantation of the black carapace and becoming a full Battle-Brother, joining a Devastator Squad, then moving to one of the Assault Squads, before finally taking his place in the Tactical Squad he served in now.
He found nothing he had missed when repairing and cleaning the armour - in truth, he never did - but it was a necessary ritual for him.
All through his time as a Battle-Brother, his desire had always been for more combat experience, more enemies to fight, more battles fought in The Emperor's name – more objectives, more targets, more xenos to put to the sword, more traitors eradicate from His domain. It was a wish he had been granted by the Iron Warriors, and it was this that caused him to remember Patrobus' words with an ill feeling. His wish had been granted, but not in the way he would have desired.
The entire suit of armour was now replaced on the stand, and he grunted quietly with satisfaction. Chapter serfs would attend to the armour of any Astartes who required it, but it had always helped him to clear his mind and think.
His train of thought led him to remember all those now dead he had served with since he had joined the Chapter, from his time as a Scout through to his current place as a squad leader. They had all given their lives freely and without hesitation, as was expected of any Astartes, and he felt his sadness at their loss replaced by the pride at what they had given; each was a hero and he swore, as he often did, that he would remember them all until the time he found himself amongst them at the Primarch's side.
His maintenance complete, the Marine began to remove the armour once more, this time donning the pieces as he did so. The weight of the armour was considerable when unpowered but he was more than used to armouring himself and constructed the suit quickly, locking each piece together over his matt-black body glove with practised ease.
He made a further oath, to those who had gone and those who remained, that he would continue to fight for them with the same determination he had always displayed. He would remain true to the legacy of the Chapter and would fight the enemies of the Imperium until his dying breath, and that last breath he would expel only in the prosecution of his duty.
As he closed his cuirass and then locked the power plant into place at his back, he felt the surge of power flood through the armour and lend familiar strength to his armoured limbs, allowing him his freedom of movement once more.
In moments of such introspection he always rediscovered his resolve; the desire to live up to the gift he had been given and the sacred duty he had taken up. He was a warrior of the Adeptus Astartes. He was a deliverer of the innocent. He was a brother-in-arms to the just. He was a judgement on the heretic. He was an executioner of the traitor. He was an exterminator of the xenos.
His armour complete, the Space Marine turned, facing the small window in his quarters, as the first of the new dawn filled the room he was reborn in the light.
Ebonite trim on his shoulder guards marked him as a member of the 5th Company, the arrow device on his right shoulder denoted him as a member of a tactical squad. The Iron Halo on his left kneepad identified him as a combat squad leader.
The strong cobalt blue of his armour and the inverted omega symbol rendered in pure white on his right shoulder guard honoured him as an Ultramarine.
A knock at the door shook him from his reverie and he turned as the door opened to face the visitor. He was another Ultramarine, and one well known to him, speaking his name. "Cristus..." Battle-Brother Cristus Achellion bowed his head to Sergeant Bachius, his immediate superior and leader of the 5h Company's second squad, of which Cristus was a proud member. "Greetings, my Sergeant." He removed his helm once more and set it back on his armour stand. "How may I be of service?"
Bachius regarded his second in command. Cristus was still relatively young, for a frontline Tactical Marine, and had thus far avoided any of the scars or bionics that featured regularly amongst longer serving marines. He wore his blond hair cropped short, and his strongly coloured blue eyes were set into patrician features the like of which graced so many Ultramarines, an inheritance of their Primarch as much as of Cristus' human lineage.
"It is exactly that of which I have come to speak, Cristus. Your Chapter would have your service once more, though in a way you have not yet experienced."
"Which ever duty you would have me do, I will accept it gladly." Cristus was somewhat surprised, though he had to admit he had seen this coming. He had served dutifully as a combat squad leader and had been lauded for his understanding of strategy, aptitude for command and cool head. With the losses the 5th had taken, many of his fellow Battle-Brothers had predicted he would be promoted to the rank of full sergeant, and given command of a squad of his own. Now it appeared that was to come to pass. Cristus resolved to accept the duty with humility.
Bachius raised a hand to forestall any further comments. "This is probably not what you are expecting, Cristus." The Sergeant held up the hinged wooden box he had been holding in the crook of his right arm, and gestured for Cristus to open it. He reached forward and pulled the lid back. Within the simple wooden box was an icon carved from obsidian, a stylised letter “I” surmounted by a pearlescent rendering of a skull. Cristus reached in and retrieved the icon.
Bachius closed the box with a click of wood on wood and nodded to Cristus. "The Ordo Xenos has need of your skills, Brother Achellion."
As you may have guessed this is written as a fluff intro for my soon to be created Deathwatch RPG character! Didn't want to give too much away up front as it would have spoiled the reveal though!
Any thoughts or comments?
A very nice piece - and you're right, keeping the big reveal right to the end really works.
I was going to say I got a little confused when the second marine came in, but I just went back and read that bit again and, if I actually pay attention, it's fine
Cheers to both of you nice to have feedback and even better when it's positive
I do plan to convert up the model but I'll have to flesh out his character sheet and kit first so I can decide what to with the model.
There are a lot of other marines in the group that are anti-Ultra so that's why I even kept the chapter as a reveal, he's gonna attract some flak for sure!
Superb fluff- I like your clean, efficient style, and to then apply such a style to the clean and efficient Ultramarines is particularly fitting IMO.
A good soldier obeys without question. A good officer commands without doubt. -The Tactica Imperium
Thanks very much more will come as I write it, but the frequency will depend on how often I play. I do have some bits to do to explain around some of Cristus' wargear so that will be put up once I have written it.
I'll look forward to it. It is good to see people taking care over their character's backgrounds, for me its this that makes the universe exciting, what with the scope for character development.
I've posted up some stuff of my own recently in the form of ch1 and the start of ch2 in my latest story, if you are interested.
You are advised to wear a mask, a cape and to carry a rapier at all times. - 1742 Safety Advisory, Middle England
Last edited by Captain Corrigan; May 9th, 2011 at 17:20.
I'll check that out when I have some time
I've continued Cristus' story, but I'm doing it in a proper thread for him so that all the story can flow on.
Deathwatch: Battle Brother Cristus Achellion.