Tau Fiction: A Double-Edged Sword - Warhammer 40K Fantasy
 

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  1. #1
    Member Fox3's Avatar
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    Tau Fiction: A Double-Edged Sword

    This was originally posted as fluff for my army, but it will be longer than 2 pages and will have character development, so I'll post it here instead.

    This is also my first attempt at writing, so any constructive comments would be very much appreciated. Here it is:


    A Double-Edged Sword

    Commander Kau’al felt a surge of guilt as he looked down at the primitive moon that was to be his new home. His recent promotion to Shas’el still came as a shock, even after three Kai’rotaa of training and one of travel to get to his new command. He stood on the bridge of the starship, as was customary for commanders arriving at a new unit. Though he had no official duties at the moment, he tried to focus on the actions of the crew.

    “O’Raja,” a Kor’vre technician began, addressing the starship commander in the lyrical accent of the Air Caste, “we are approaching geostatic orbit. We will be ready to deploy the shuttles in about 10 minutes.”

    “Excellent,” O’Raja replied, studying the viewscreen intently. “Initiate a complete scan of the surrounding space. We can never be too certain this far out into the frontier.”

    “Initiating scan, O’.” a nearby Kor’la said, tapping his console rapidly.

    No one was really expecting trouble at the moment, and this was all very routine. Stationary satellites would give advanced warning if there were any hostiles in the area, and there were also Kroot allies who had already set up the forward base. He let the reports and orders of the Air Caste crew wash over him. Having no official task except to wait, He thought about the confused events leading up to his promotion. He knew that he didn’t really belong here, and bitter memories of his most recent Trial by Fire came unbidden to his mind:

    “All Crisis teams, report.” The voice of his commander, El’Ver’te, sounded grim, as it usually did when they were expecting combat.

    “Vre’Tann reporting for Crisis one,” the voice of his brother broke over the comm., excited in anticipation of the battle. He had never faced the Eldar before. “We’re almost in position. No enemy contact yet.”

    “Vre’Kau’al reporting for Crisis two,” He whispered, instinct telling him to be as quiet as possible, “I’m in position, enemy sighted. Looks like a full squad of the blue rifle warriors.” He knew from experience that the deadly warriors would flay anything within 100 meters. He marked the position on the HUD map for everyone to see. “They’re moving toward our encampment.” From his position off to the side, he could see that they were moving cautiously. Something must be nearby.

    “Crisis two, hold your position. Hunter one, divert course to intercept.” The commander’s position shifted to a forest to Kau’al’s left. “Enemy sniper team sighted, along with a large walker.” Two more positions appeared on the map.

    Suddenly, everything happened at once. Vre’Tann’s excited voice broke over the channel. “Commander, I see the walker! It –“ His voice cut off as a blinding flash crossed Kau’al’s field of vision. At the same time, a skimmer flew around the forest near the eldar squad, impossibly fast, and both squad and the vehicle opened fire on the forest the aspect warriors were heading toward. So. That must be where the Kindred are. Suppressing worries about his brother, he targeted the skimmer. There was something strange showing up on the targeting array, a doubling effect that created two skimmers where there should only be one. Luckily, he had experience with this. Quickly, he plotted a trajectory for his missiles that would pass through the center of “both” the vehicles. A crude improvisation, but sometimes it worked. He felt a slight pressure as the missiles raced out of the pods on his arms, and mentally ordered the suit to reload more missiles as he watched the projectiles speed toward the enemy craft.

    Just as the skimmer passed between him and the Dire avengers, the missiles struck, destroying the main engine. Immediately the craft flipped and crashed, leaving a trail of thick smoke and debris. The rear door of the ruined vehicle was jammed against a rock, and would only open partway. He watched as four female forms crawled out of the wreckage, holding onto their long swords and pistols.

    Before they had a chance to regroup, however, forms emerged from the thick smoke behind them. Ah yes, the Kroot. With several quick flashes of steel, the remaining women succumbed to the Greater Good.

    “Vre’Kau’al,” his commander called over the comm. “Enemy tank incoming. I need support. I’ll meet you on the other side of the forest.”

    “On my way, El’” Kau’al replied, angling his thrusters toward his commander’s position. The HUD gave him a perfect view of the surrounding terrain, and he could see the large open area between forests where El’Ver’te had to cross. The enemy tank appeared on his HUD, heading straight for his commander. Kau’al could see that there was nothing he could do, but he had to try. Angling the thrusters up and throttling to full power, he shot up over the forest that stood between him and his commander.

    The next few moments passed as if time itself had stopped. As the enemy tank flew around a rock outcropping, it was already targeting the commander. As Kau’al frantically tried to target the vehicle and get a missile off, a large crystal on top of the tank started to glow, and a concentrated beam of pure energy shot out to engulf El’Ver’te and the surrounding area. As the glow subsided, he could see the heap of molten slag that remained fall in on itself onto the ground burned black with the heat.

    “NOO!” Kau’al cried, still trying to get within range. At this speed, the momentary distraction was all that was needed to throw his suit off-balance. His stomach lurched as he was angled down toward the trees. Frantically, he worked the stabilizing thrusters as the forest rushed up to crush him. His descent slowed, then stopped with his feet brushing the canopy at high speed. Just as he was about to angle the jetpack up, his foot caught on a stray branch and he was catapulted into the forest floor.


    The escape from the battlefield away from his ruined suit was a bitter lesson in humility. To go from hunter to hunted in the blink of an eye was always a shock, but the shame of having ruined his suit, and possibly single-handedly losing the battle, had made the run especially terrible.

    When he was finally rescued, however, there came another shock: despite his shame, he was to be promoted to El, commander of his own mounted Hunter Cadre. The Aun that notified him was vague about the reasons, something about the stress readout at the time of the crash, but Kau’al was beyond caring at the time. He was to be a commander! It was only later, when he learned that news of his failure would be hidden, that he started to wonder what was actually going on.

    “El’Kau’al,” O’Raja said, breaking into his reverie, “it is time to meet your new command.”

    “Thank you for allowing my voyage, O’.” Kau’al gave the traditional reply automatically, preoccupied with his worries and doubts. The planet was on all the viewscreens now, and he could see the dense jungle of the planet even from here. Putting all other thoughts aside, he focused on the task at hand: meeting his new Hunter Cadre.

    The short trip to the moon’s surface was made in silence, and when the vessel landed, El’Kau’al paused before ordering the rear hatch open. This was the moment he had dreamed about since he was a saal, a trainee with everything to learn. Every moment since then had been in preparation for this. He was ready.

    “Open it.”

    "To follow any path other than the Tau'va is to doom us all. Only together and with courage and discipline shall we stand victorious. Fight with fire and courage and nothing can stand against us."

    - Commander Shadowsun

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  3. #2
    Son of Dorn Sanctus's Avatar
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    I am going to assume that your fluff is good since I am no expert on Tau. However I liked how you mentioned how the pilot manipulated his suit. I always picture Tau as having a bit less emotion than they show in this story but that may just be me.


    Suddenly, everything happened at once. Vre’Tann’s excited voice broke over the channel. “Commander, I see the walker! It –“ His voice cut off as a blinding flash crossed Kau’al’s field of vision. At the same time, a skimmer flew around the forest near the eldar squad, impossibly fast, and both squad and the vehicle opened fire on the forest the aspect warriors were heading toward. So. That must be where the Kindred are. Suppressing worries about his brother, he targeted the skimmer. There was something strange showing up on the targeting array, a doubling effect that created two skimmers where there should only be one. Luckily, he had experience with this. Quickly, he plotted a trajectory for his missiles that would pass through the center of “both” the vehicles. A crude improvisation, but sometimes it worked. He felt a slight pressure as the missiles raced out of the pods on his arms, and mentally ordered the suit to reload more missiles as he watched the projectiles speed toward the enemy craft.


    This may be caused by the format but I had trouble telling where an account of what was going on and the thoughts of the pilot started and ended.

    All in all a excellent first write.
    <(^^)> <(^^<) (>^^)> ^(^^)^ Dance Kirby! Dance!

  4. #3
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    More commentary than criticism, constructive or otherwise...I really enjoyed this piece of fiction.
    I never considered the Tau to be an emotionally-charged race, even among family, but I don't know enough about the Tau to speak with any authority on that matter.
    I would like to see you expand on the nature of the conflict between the Eldar and the Tau in the flashback scenario, which would offer you an opportunity to flesh out this fluff piece into something even more substantial than you have done here. Then you could use the flashback as a chapter itself, with the introduction paragraph grown into an overview of the conflict at hand. It sounds like the two are intertwined somehow, and when you deal with Eldar, you never know how far their scheming has reached.
    Great read! I hope you keep it up.
    I especially liked "With several quick flashes of steel, the remaining women succumbed to the Greater Good." What a great euphamism for killin'!

  5. #4
    Member Nickdreadskull's Avatar
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    wow just wow thats ace

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