Just a little disclaimer thingywosit first.

This piece is something I started for the Summer Competition, but fate conspired against me and I didn't get it finished, at least not to my satisfaction.

When I started this I knew absolutely nothing about Battlefleet Gothic or indeed anything about space combat in the 40K universe, apart from a few peices in White Dwarf and Codeces. So I apologise in advance if the size of the hangar bay is wrong, or the Cruiser class is wrong, or the payloads are wrong.

A lho-stick is a cigarette.
Amasec is very alcoholic drink made from wine.
A Savlar is slang for a battlefield theif or looter.
Obscura is an illegal narcotic.



Lezak took the card Yugary offered and dealt him another one. Kinja, the squadron leader from B-Section, declined to swap any cards. The last man, a dorsal gunner from one of the Marauder squadrons on board wanted to trade three cards. Lezak dealt him three and then swapped two of his own.

They were the only four men in the hanger bay. Their Dictator class cruiser was on low alert having just completed a rather tame patrol of the local sector; most of the crew were down on Hesselvan on planet leave. However, a few unlucky souls had drawn guard duty and so they sat in the hangar bay, smoking and playing cards. Lezak insisted there wasn’t anything much better on Hesselvan anyway.

They sat on various improvised chairs around an ad hoc table that had “Lascannon Battery Packs: Handle With Care? stencilled on in great white letters. The atmosphere was tense; the men’s faces betrayed no emotion. They sat in silence, studied their cards and smoked Lho-sticks even though smoking in the hangar bays was strictly forbidden. Not that they cared, most of the officers were planet-side and the chances of them being caught and punished were miniscule.

“Well, time to show your hands.? Said Lezak. Yugary, his wingman, went first. Two pair. The flight-mechanic threw his hands on the table and sighed heavily. A pair of fours.

“Still on the losing streak, eh Kinja?? jibbed Lezak.

“Stuff it flyboy.? Replied Kinja. He looked to the young dorsal gunner, “Come on lad, your turn.? The fresh-faced crewmen laid his cards out on the table. He was young but he knew how to play a good game of cards.

“Straight.? He smiled at Lezak and made a move for the winnings in the middle of the table. Lezak’s hand grabbed his arm and stopped him before he could scoop the money into his bag.

“Patience lad, you’ll see that Uncle Lezak has a surprise in store for you.?

Lezak threw his cards down on the ammo box and jumped in the air with a shout. His wingman Yugary and the two crewmen looked on dumbfounded. The cards were undeniable. A royal flush.

“Haha! Looks like you grox-herders lost to old Lezak again!?

He sat back down on his stool and, while grinning from ear to ear, shovelled all his winnings into a flight helmet. He couldn’t remember if it was his fifteenth or twentieth win in a row, but what did it matter? He was winning all the same. He placed the helmet on the floor between his feet, gathered up the cards on the improvised table and started shuffling the pack. He was half way through dealing another hand when Captain Timohey and his batman silently entered the hangar bay.

“Officer on deck!? shouted the batman. His voice echoed around the vast hangar bay taking the men completely by surprise. Lezak, Yugary and Kinja were instantly at attention but the young gunner had some trouble and stumbled over the heavy-bolter ammo box he had been sitting on. The lho-sticks had been dropped to the floor and were hidden under their boots. The barrel-shaped Captain walked over to the card table and looked the four gamblers up and down.

All the men on the station disliked Captain Timohey intensely. He was the quartermaster of the flight group and it was well known among the ranks that he was trading off their supplies for his own benefit. Despite the best efforts of the administration nothing had been found regarding his activities. No one knew how he did it but there were rumours. Everything from bribery to rewiring the servitors in the station’s stores, but the truth was anyone’s guess. He was one of those parade ground officers; he was only a Captain because of bureaucracy. He had the eyes of a hawk when it came to spotting a discrepancy in official dress regulations, but when anything involving actual work came his way he ignored it like a Grox ignores the flies buzzing around it’s ears. The man even had a batman, two in fact, even though regulations only allowed officers above Colonel batmen and even then only one. Timohey’s eagle eyes instantly spotted the tip of a lho-stick peeking out from under Kinja’s foot.

“You, please lift up your left foot.? Kinja did so while the Captain ordered his batman to pick up the smouldering lho-stick. He ordered the other three to take a step backwards, revealing three more lho-sticks. Lezak also noted that Timohey had spotted the bulging flight helmet under the table.

“Smoking in the hangar bay, eh? Very dangerous you know, what with all this aero-fuel around.? He raised his voice a little; he was now acting the part of the respectable officer disciplining a few insignificant flyboys. “I should have you all thrown in the brig right now for endangering the ship and it’s crew!? By now his batman had retrieved Lezak’s flight helmet. “I say Flight-Sergeant Lezak, what on earth are all these pieces of paper in your flight helmet. They look suspiciously like paper currency to me.?

“Padding, sir.?

“Padding.? The Captain replied. He was becoming irritated already. It showed in his face; it was getting redder.

“Yes, sir. You see, once during an exercise I hit some turbulence and bumped my head rather hard on the ****pit frame. Since then I’ve been padding my helmet because it would be most dreadful if the best pilot on the ship were lay low by a little bump to the head. It would be…? The Captain cut him short.

“Padding?!? he screamed. “Emperor above! It looks more like sodding money here Flight Sergeant! And lots of it too! Stealing such large amounts of money from your comrades, you should be ashamed!? He calmed slightly and shifted his weight. “This money will be confiscated, such gambling is not allowed in this Flight Group. At ease.? He handed the flight helmet to his batman and they left the hangar bay.

“That fat bastard!? Lezak shouted, his curse echoing around the hangar. “I hope the Divine Emperor gives that crook his just desserts!? He stomped around the hangar bay waving his arms in the air and cursing against quartermasters, captains, batmen and flight helmets, sometimes using a combination in the same sentence. Kinja and the young gunner disappeared into the next hanger back to their wings, leaving Lezak and Yugary alone in a hangar bay full of Imperial Thunderbolts.

“I can’t believe it! That lazy Grox of an officer will probably spend the whole lot on amasec and obscura! The man’s a complete Savlar! If we were in a combat zone I’d frag his ass tonight!? Yugary simply ignored the shouts, put his feet up on the card-table and lit another lho-stick. Lezak sat on the edge of his ****pit with his head in his hands, looking extremely bored.

An explosion shook the hangar bay. Lezak fell backwards into his ****pit leaving just his arms and legs showing above the hull.

“Sweet merciful Emperor, what the frag was that?!? he shouted from his awkward position. The klaxon started wailing, red lights started flashing. A woman’s voice sounded in the hanger bay,

“Alert! Alert! All flight crews to their ships! Immediate launch!? Servitors came out of their mechanical sleep, rolled out from their alcoves and began to arm and fuel the Thunderbolts. Another explosion rocked the cruiser. An ammunition servitor fell on its side and the ammo drums clattered on the floor. One drum opened with the impact and the forearm-sized autocannon shells rolled across the steel deck.

“Here we go again Yugy!? Lezak slammed the ****pit shut and flicked switches and punched buttons while the servitors detached the fuel hose. His control panel was green across the board. He glanced across at Yugary’s ship and gave his wingman a thumb up. Yugary did likewise.

“Flight control, depressurise Hanger 3!?

“Roger that.?

“Radio test, one, two three, can you here me Yugy??

“Affirmative squadron leader. Let’s go and take a peek shall we??

The hanger doors opened to reveal the planet of Hesselvan. Blue oceans, green land masses, big white clouds. It would have been idyllic if not for the tracers streaking across the opening. A Thunderbolt with a number four painted on the tail crossed the hangar doors with flames pouring out of its port engine.

“Let’s get out there Lezak, looks like those amateurs in Fourth Squadron could use a hand!?

“Roger that, let’s go get ‘em!?

Lezak flicked the release switch and felt the Thunderbolt float upwards slightly. The engines ignited with a mighty roar, he punched the throttle and the two Thunderbolts entered the field of battle. The sight that greeted them was hellish.

A massive battleship, painted red with an eight-pointed star adorning the front section. At least half a dozen cruisers and innumerable smaller ships surrounded the leviathan. All that stood against them was Hesselvan’s orbital defences, the four cruisers that made up the Imperial patrol group and their fighter squadrons. Lezak’s lock-on warning alarm went off and he banked to the left sharply and looked over his shoulder. Chaos Hell Blade fighters!

“Yugy I got one on my tail!?

“Roger, I see him! I’m on his tail!?

Lezak kept weaving from left to right and up and down, dodging bursts of fire every few seconds. The tracer rounds stopped flying past his ****pit, Yugary shouted with joy.

“I got the bastard! You owe me one now Lezak!?

“Roger that, give me a hand with these Talons!?

Lezak was on the tail of a flight Hell Talon fighter-bombers heading straight for the first Imperial cruiser. He lined one up in his crosshairs and vaporised it with a salvo from his dual lascannons. Yugary did the same to a second Hell Talon, and the enemy flight split up. Lezak lined up the flight-leader in his gun sight and fired a burst from his autocannons. The armoured piercing shells holed the fighter-bomber from end-to-end and it exploded a second later. Four left.

He swung the Thunderbolt around and spotted another Hell Talon heading right for him! Lezak jinked his ship to the right and narrowly avoided the red laser blast. A hail of armour piercing autocannon shells punished the Chaos pilot’s inaccuracy. The ship screamed past the Thunderbolt and Lezak glimpsed the blood soaked ****pit where his shots had hit flesh instead of machine. His ****pit was filled with an orange glow as the dead ship exploded behind him. Three more left. Yugary was on the tail of one but the last two had escaped and resumed their attack run on the Cruiser.

Lezak gunned the engines; he had very little time to destroy the remaining Talons before they bombed the cruiser. His lascannons were just within range, but they had only just locked on when the ships launched their deadly cargoes. Sixteen anti-ship missiles now streaked their way toward the Cruiser.

The ships turned on Lezak now that their payloads were expended but one took the full force of a lascannon blast before it could complete its turn. Lezak lined up the last Talon and let fly with his autocannons. The Chaos ship jinked to one side and fired its lascannons in return, only missing the Thunderbolt’s starboard wing by the narrowest of narrow margins. There was a perfectly straight burn mark across the wing; the lascannon beam must only have been inches away. Lezak delivered the coup de grace, his autocannons blasting great chunks out of the Talon’s wing, rupturing the fuel tank. The ship exploded right in front of Lezak but his stocky Thunderbolt flew right through without a stratch.

Yugary pulled up alongside, they weren’t done yet.


Indeed they aren't. Hope you enjoyed it.

C&C would be welcome.

[Edit] Turn off the bloody word filter for "c-o-c-kpit". Jesus Christ, I hate it when word filters do stupid things like that. Much bloody good that thing does. Jeez.