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..and would like some opinions on how its progressing. (For those that dont know, Forged World was a story concept I did a short piece on earlier this year.)
++Asteroid cluster on course…. Computing firing coordinates for maximum shatter…++
The battle had been over in a matter of hours, the majority of its combatants reduced to so much floating debris that now slowly falls into a degenerate orbit around the lone inhabited planet of the system.
++Target acquired… Composition iron 56%, selenium 34%, 9% adamntium, 1% other trace minerals…Computing optimal firing sequence…Transmitting firing sequence codes to frigates Corvus and Corax and destroyers Trident, Tapere and Turbulent…++
One massive asteroid heading for a world with a population of millions, said world having no means to stop it. One frantic astropathic message to the nearest Imperial Navy base, only to have their requests denied, or patchy at best. No guarantees of saving a world, unable to spare so much as an ammunition lighter, such was the burden of the Gothic Sector war. Another message, another answer, most favourable from the non-altruistic members of the Adeptus Mechanicus; who would agree to save the world in return for a gross tithe on the system.
++Trident, Tapere and Turbulent have locked onto target, and are commencing fire pattern alpha… torpedoes away…torpedoes running true…all destroyers report they are reloading tubes one to four…time to target two minutes eight seconds…++
Six ships had been despatched to the system with all due haste; as much to destroy a twenty-mile wide harbinger of doom as to claim a new world for the Machine God. Two of the six would be totally destroyed, their atoms adding themselves to the solar wind that flowed throughout the system.
++Weapons batteries of frigate and destroyer squadrons locked on target, coordinates X-two-zero-three-Y-four-one-nine-Z-zero-zero-five… Surveyors report new contact coming around the zenith of the asteroid…identified as Murder class cruiser Judas…++
The attack was swift, as might be expected from the servants of the Great Enemy; revealing themselves in an instant as the perpetrators of the crime. As soon as the Judas broke from the cover of the asteroid, weapons batteries along the flanks of the cruiser rippled in a sheen of orange as the macro cannon contained within fired the first of many broadsides at the plethora of escort craft that flocked together, creating a target too good to ignore.
Macro shells tore through the shields and armour of the Turbulent and Tapere, striking the vulnerable torpedoes as they were being loaded by a crew of hundreds of servitor and skittari crew, the vessels bursting apart from the monumental fireball that even an adamantium hull had no hope of trying to contain.
++Hard astarboard…torpedoes shifting target to Judas… target reacquired, weapons batteries ready…bombardment cannon ready…torpedo tubes ready…escort torpedo wave in contact with asteroid and Judas… Locking on… torpedoes detonating… asteroid fractured into three bodies…evasive manoeuvres… Judas sustained damage to portside weapons batteries…firing bombardment cannon and broadside…++
As the torpedoes struck the asteroid, all the ships fired their retros, jostling and jockeying for position to both get out of the path of the huge masses of stellar matter and to achieve the best firing solutions to incapacitate the enemy. The Judas took advantage of the distraction to fire another broadside at the pair of Gladius escorts, the macro rounds either embedding themselves deep in fragments of rock as they hurtled headlong for the planet below, or superficially scarring the metres-thick adamantium armour of the frigates without further damage.
Unable to move fast enough, the Trident took a glancing hit from a chunk of asteroid, ripping a vast swathe of metal from its flank and sending it into a dive toward the planet below, the outer adamantine shell beginning to glow as it entered the upper atmosphere; the asteroid following it like a dog on leash.
++Corvus and Corax beginning torpedo run on Judas…torpedoes launched, Corvus and Corax peeling off…Judas returning fire…hits scored on Corvus aft starboard quarter, surveyor efficiency affected -32%…macro cannon batteries bearing gun crews request permission to fire…granted….torpedoes inflicting damage on Judas…enemy lance power reduced -50%…Corvus reporting plasma coolant leaks reducing speed to effect repairs… Corax moving out of target area to reload ordnance…target coming to new heading… target coming alongside range twenty two thousand…++
The void between the two vessels swam with energy born of weapons from ages past; a vast fusillade of fire poured between the two ships; the superior armour of the adeptus mechanicus cruiser, the Phaeton, offset by the sheer weight of fire the Judas could put out.
As the initial pass finished, both vessels began to swing ponderously around in space, all thoughts of saving the planet below gone from the master of the Phaeton's mind as vast chunks of rock floated almost serenely into decaying orbits around the vulnerable planet; the two combatants pirouetting, thrusting and parrying all the while.
The battle had been going on for sometime, now. The engineers and techpriests looked grimly at a bewildering array of dials and runes stained with the corrosion of time itself, before occasionally hurrying off into a sweating metal jungle amongst the vast plasma reactors and hydraulic rams wielding vast wrenches. Constantly, it seemed, the floor shook from the impact of yet another macro-cannon hit.
The ringing of iron on iron rang around the small compartment, condensate from the working men's breath beading and running down the walls as they fought to control the damage from a goring lance strike. In the higher recesses of the chamber, a solitary tech-priest cast an ice-blue eye over the proceedings down below as men toiled knee-deep in incense-oil to fight the fires that were sweeping the compartment beyond the bulkhead hatch; too engrossed in the human drama below to notice the mechanical one on the rune-panel behind him. Not the first time this had happened today. Rubies now began to shine amongst amber, emeralds and sapphires, as damage inflicted onto systems centuries old took their cumulative toll.
Deep in the mechanical bowels of the ship, the second of only a few small events was now set in motion that would assure the destruction of the Phaeton, turning it from mighty warship to a drifting hulk in a little under an hour. The first had been the failure of a careless techpriest to properly sanctify the seals on an emergency hatchway several hours previously. One with blue eyes.
Heuss flung himself into the acceleration chair as quickly as he dared, muttering quickly and repeatedly under his breath the litany against fear that had been drummed into him as a schola progenium student. He scrabbled for the arrester straps, and after making sure that they were secure, yanked the release lever. Immense acceleration dragged at his body as the saviour raft was propelled away from the now plummeting Phaeton, which was now heading for Benbecula's upper atmosphere. Harsh green lighting from a rudimentary navigation and control panel illuminated the interior of the pod, reflected in the blue eyes of its lone occupant. As he got further away, Heuss spoke the litany much more quietly.
The Judas had gone the way of the escorts it had dispatched, broken, defiant, it had drifted into the gravity well of Benbecula and broken up, vast chunks of wreckage accelerating towards the surface below. The pod's simple augurs had divined that the three escorts that had not been destroyed by the broadsides of the Judas had crash-landed on the surface of the planet no doubt their crews were already being lynched by the populace for failing to help their world, or waiting for the locals to come with improvised explosives to try and break through the weakened hull.
A deafening clang echoed around the small shell of adamantium, and the green glow changed to red. On the lectern, a revolving image of the pod expanded out of the middle of the screen, before a crosshair centered in on the rear of the schematic. The thruster assembly had been ripped off, and his trajectory altered, to make planetfall in around two hours. Heuss restarted frantically whispering the litany under his breath, and made the mistake of looking out of the porthole, and immediately wished he hadn't.
Several star-bright points of light were tearing through the atmosphere of the planet below, and augmetic eyes and cerebral modules were already tracking them as they fell towards some of the most densely populated areas of Benbecula. Heuss' mind ran like quicksilver as he realised just what the effects of a moment of laxity had caused. And immediately began to weep, for hundreds more rafts were automatically powering into the atmosphere, in time to be wiped out by the meteor shower. Slowly edging into his field of view was the Phaeton itself, now a burning wreck as it began a terrible plunge to its final demise. Heuss tried not to think of the souls trapped aboard, unable to escape the hulk. His view never wavered from the terrible beauty of the destruction of the majority of civilisation on Benbecula. The multiple mushroom clouds as asteroids impacted and the bright orange flashes were never to be forgotten, seemingly engrained on Heuss' retinas for the rest of his days.
In the two hours before his final descent, Heuss realised exactly what he had to do, with white-hot tears of rage and frustration rolling down his cheek. He would need to atone for his sins. He would need to build a forged world, one born of lies and deceit to cover up the fatal mistake that he had made that would spawn an era of terrifying horrors.
"It fits like clothes made out of wasps!"
I like the way that you switch in between different places and use time transferring thingy words (Damnit, forgot the name). One little problem:
"The ringing of iron on iron rang"
That repetition is a bit strange there. I suggest changing rang to something like echoed. Other than that, interesting story. ^_^
Excellent - One of the most interesting IÂ´ve seen on this site. I want to read MORE!!!
There have been too few stories concentrating on the Adeptus Mechanicus, IMO they are a far more influential force in the Imperium than most of the GW books make them out to be, they are truly neglected.
I like this story very much. Very good descriptions on what is happening in the ships, outside of them, and on the planet. Your writing style is very good, and makes the story interesting. It was quite enjoyable.
It is nice to see another side to 40k, being as i don't play the space version. Isn't it called battlefleet galactica or something?
Anyways very enjoyable. I give it a 10. Keep it up, i hope to see more of this coming my way