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Started working on a story about a miss-fit squad in the Veltorian 22nd Imperial Guard regiment.
It'll be rather long, I hope, in the end so I've decided to go ahead and post it in here. Who knows it might end up bringing some life back into this much underused section.

A quick synopsis of some sort:
It's about a squad of sappers in the Veltorian 22nd mixed regiment, led by an adopted Enginseer that became a sergeant by circumstance and a energetic sniper that has ties to the inquisition.

I've no idea where I'm going to take this story from here, heck it might be more accurate to say that I've no idea where the story is going to take me.
I'm afraid that English isn't my native language and it shows, painfully, at times. Nonetheless I hope you enjoy the read.

Feel free to leave constructive feedback and thank you for reading,

Spike.
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Chapter One: Escape from Manufactorum Sigma


Gunfire rattled over his head, chunks of rockcrete pattered over him as slugs blew holes in the wall behind him, a large explosion somewhere in front of him announced the detonation of his last krak grenade, to his disappointment the assault cannon continued to spray death in his general direction.
He tried using his mechadendrite to fire his lasgun blindly over his makeshift cover but the gun shattered as soon as it left the safety of the wall, a sharp throbbing pain in his head told him his mechadendrite had been damaged as well, though it functioned still.

“This is Enginseer-Sergeant Listig requesting support at Manufactorum Sigma, my patrol is under assault by elements of the chaos cultists, estimating company strength.”
“Alpha Base to Sergeant Listig, all available reinforcements are engaged otherwise, we’ll reroute the Cadian armoured 87[SUP]th[/SUP] ASAP.” A strained voice replied, the young officer clearly pushed to his limits to keep up with the chaos that was the vox net.
Young was about to demand immediate support when another voice interrupted him.
“This is Specialist Shanks in command of team two, engaging.”

A faint whistle shot past Listig’s head and the thundering roar of the Assault Canon died, more faint whispers followed and he could hear the dry thuds of bodies falling lifeless to the ground.
Listig’s augmented hearing noted a faint rustling in to his left and, switching his bionic eye to thermal view, he spotted a few heretics going for a flanking attack on the mysterious team two, using the dust and rubble to conceal themselves. He tapped his combead and whispered in his mic.
“Enemy flanking manoeuvre, 9 O’clock.”
As soon as the words had left his lips the unmistakeable roar of a heavy bolter sprung into life and he saw the bolts pepper the enemy position, clouds of orange spraying from their bodies in his bionic eye as the thermal vision registered their death by the exploding bolts.
Listig sat on the ground and took a deep breath, hanging his battered mechadendrite in front of him to inspect the damage, his augmented eye trained on the two heat signatures now moving stealthily towards him, the echoes of gunfire was audible over the sudden silence as the heavy bolter stopped firing.

A young man with a neatly trimmed beard framing a soft face, a scruffy bit of hair sicking out from under his beret saluted smartly, though Listig’s attention mostly went to the exotic looking rifle slung across the man’s back, It was midnight blue with faint writing in gold visible on the body, the body was made from a black material that seemed to absorb the light shining on it and an advanced long-scope of the same black material made it obvious that this was a sniper rifle of some sort. The standard issue lasgun the man now held in one hand looked out of place.
“Specialist Shanks, Veltorian 22nd, at your service Sir.” The man said.
Listig returned the salute “Enginseer-Sergeant Listig, Derusian 1[SUP]st[/SUP], or what’s left of it. Shouldn’t your team be led by a Corporal?”
Shanks shrugged “Enemy sniper got him while we were scouting ahead, I sort of took over. We were on our way back to base when we heard gunfire, double timed it here to see if we could help.”
“Glad you did, what’s left of my patrol is inside the Manufactorum, trying to keep them out of the main assembly hall.” Listig replied.
Shanks offered Listig his lasgun, a grin on his face. “Lead the way, Sir.”

An enginseer as sergeant, frak I’ve seen it all. Shanks thought as they made their way through the vast halls of the Manufactorum, scorch marks and spend ammo cases marking the trail of the fighting made by the loyalists. So far they haven’t met any stragglers or reinforcements which disturbed him, there was supposed to be a company worth of traitors wreaking havoc, where are they? Suddenly Listig held up his right hand, taking cover as he did, Shanks hadn’t seen or heard anything but the augmented vision of the cogboy sergeant was capable of seeing things he couldn’t.
Listig opened his raised hand, spreading two fingers. Two of them , Shanks raised his sniper.

Before he could fire the wall next to him exploded, showering the entire group in a hail of debris. Heavy weapons fire barked in the distance and he felt a wash of intense heat roar over him. Dazed, Shanks tried to get up but everything was a blur and he kept falling over, unable to keep his balance. Suddenly he felt something tugging the back of his shirt and he was dragged along, his legs flailing uselessly as he tried to push himself up. Somewhere in the distance he heard a voice say his name, repeatedly, but he couldn’t force his mouth to answer. Las shots flew past him, one grazed his cheek and an intense sharp and agonising pain snapped him out of his stupor. Still dizzy he drew his laspistol and started firing back in the general direction of the enemy, which he still couldn’t see, a thick cloud of dust particles and cordite hanging in the air like a blackening mist.
“Keep firing” A voice roared behind him, turning his head Shanks saw Listig using his mechadendrite to drag him along, his robe scorched in places where lasbolts had grazed the sergeant, one shot hit him right in the chest but by good fortune or common sense the cogboy had carapace armour beneath his robe, which absorbed the hit. Focussing on the task at hand, Shanks resumed blazing away with his pistol.
Suddenly Shanks found himself yanked upright, turning around he saw Listig reloading his lasgun while using his mechadendrite to open up a thick blast door behind them.
Still somewhat shaky, he knelt on one knee as he dropped his empty pistol, once again raising his sniper rifle.

It’s a miracle that the boy lives still, surely the Omnissiah watches over him Listig thought, as he finished entering the code on the keypad, a few more seconds and they should be safe, his patrol had fallen back behind this blast door, their last refuge. He wondered how long they would be able to hold out though, that wall was destroyed by a plasma cannon, and nothing in this facility is capable of withstanding that much power. How did those chaos scum even got hold of such weaponry?
He saw Shanks raise his sniper, and the enginseer part of him was excited to see it work from this close, a rare weapon it was!
A barely audible hiss, a slight whisper of displaced air, that was all the sound it made, his augmented hearing was struggling to hear it, to those without would be utterly silent, his bionic eye managed to pick up glimpses of crystallized needles leaving the barrel. Very rare indeed.

As sudden as the attack had started it stopped, it was as if every enemy ran out of ammunition at once. With a sigh of relief Listig led them inside, signalling their arrival over the vox as the door clanked shut behind them.

Now that he wasn’t dodging lasbolts and shooting back for his dear life Shanks was finally survey his surroundings a bit better.
Only now did he notice the sheer size of the hall, it could easily hold his regiment with room to spare, a huge conveyor belt, wide enough to fit a chimera, snaked through the entire hall and metal hulls in various degrees of assembly littered the conveyor. Since the siege had begun the plant had been shut down and a thin film of dust covered everything. Raw material and containers littered the floor, servitors stood still seemingly at random, their biologic parts long dead without sustenance to keep them going. The sharp tang of chemicals battled with the dull scent of dust and stale air and the nauseating scent of decaying meat. All in all there were worse places to be locked in, who knows, they might actually be able to hold the cultists at bay long enough for the reinforcements to arrive.
He saw the enginseer as was welding part of his mechadendrite, it wouldn’t hurt to know him a bit better Shanks reasoned, and made his way to the man.

“Bad luck for you guys eh” Shanks said, a sudden sadness in his eyes, while offering Listig a lho-stick “Finally get yourself a regiment of the Guard to raise in response to the Tyranids, only to find your planet under siege by Khornate lunatics.” He shook his head “Damn shame, how much is left of the 1[SUP]st[/SUP]?”
Listig declined the offered smoke, he preferred to light some incense to calm his nerves. He started burning one, sticking it in a crack in the rockrete floor.
“Barely a company worth, I’d wager a little over two platoons. That was a day ago.” Listig said, absently holding the cogwheel hanging from the chain around his neck with his left hand. A small snort escaped him as he added “I half expect a commissar to show up, take command and get us off planet in a troop ship.”
“And how did you, an enginseer, get command over two squads, let alone the dual rank of Enginseer-Sergeant?” A tone of wonder in Shanks voice as he raised his sniper and sighted on something in the distance before lowering it again and making minute adjustments to the long-scope.
Listig shrugged. “About the same way as you got your squad. We ran out of over eager officers predictably soon, the more able soon followed as massed artillery and bombing runs destroyed pretty much everything. I was seconded to 4[SUP]th[/SUP] platoon during a salvage mission, it turned out to be a trap and in the chaos of it we lost about every officer left, those remained got field promoted higher up and in the end I got command of a squad of scouts.”
Listig paused to ignite another stick of incense. “The brass found my performance good enough to warrant a temporarily promotion. I’ve been training them as sappers now, more use in urban warfare.” Listig slowly got up “Speaking of sappers, I’ll go and see if they planted the charges properly, won’t do us much good if all we manage to do is bring this place down on ourselves.”

Shanks watched the cogboy walk towards a nervous looking soldier, mechadendrite floating lazily behind him and trademark robe flapping in his wake. He hoped that the soldier’s nervousness had nothing to do with the state of the explosives.
He signalled his team to join him as he started to walk through hall.

“A gun emplacement would do well here.” Shanks said as a savage looking man fell in beside him, icy blue eyes looked at him, a frown lined his face and a sloppy beard bounced up and down as the man opened his mouth, a low guttural voice answered.
“Heavy bolter was empty, dented and clogged with cordite. It would only weigh us down.”
“True enough” Shanks conceded.
“Good thing you left it behind, your lard arse is slow enough as it is Bjergsen.” A new voice said, it belonged to a short, slender woman, green eyes partly covered by fiery red hair and her lips locked in a permanent carefree smile. “That scar on your cheek looks mighty brisk on you sir.” She said.
“But of course it does Levi, that’s why I let that cultist hit me.” Shanks replied, humour in his voice.
“Any word from sergeant Toa?” Bjergsen asked, his low rumbling voice bringing them all back to the situation at hand.
Shanks shook a negative. “Nothing since we’ve got split by that Predator tank.”
The following silence said all that could be said.

Looking back to where he had spoken with Listig Shanks saw something that subconsciously troubled him, paying more attention to it he suddenly realised what his instincts had noticed moments before. He activated his comm bead.
“Shanks to Listig, is there air circulation in here?”
“Artificial circulation has ceased after the shutdown, natural airflow has been cut off when we closed the blast door behind us. Oxygen levels should remain adequate for at least twenty four hours, no need to worry.” Listig replied, puzzlement in his voice.
Shanks unslung his sniper rifle, his eyes still on the incense as the smoke trailed faintly to the left.
“We’ve been breached.” He announced over the vox.
 

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Seems interesting thus far, so I'll subscribe and see what happens next! Good luck with the writing :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
You ask, I deliver!
:messed:
Thanks, it gets a bit chaotic (pun unintended) from here, I hope it hasn't affected my writing badly.

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Lasbolts flew past him, one of which took Levi in the shoulder and she went down screaming in pain.
Diving behind a toppled over servitor for cover Shanks began scanning the area, excessive amounts of swearing and low rumbling laughter over the vox informed him that Bjergsen had taken cover as well, unceremoniously dragging the wounded Levi with him.

Looking through his scope he soon spotted the intruders, it was only a single squad. It puzzled Shanks that they were running straight at the others instead of taking cover, but chaos goons weren’t the brightest tacticians at the best of times. He noticed they wore the uniforms of the PDF, their emblems replaced with crude symbols of their corrupted gods, Shanks felt nauseous just looking at them and instead focussed his attention on their heads.
He found his mark and fired, a part of rotten meat began to sizzle and smoke as the laser heated crystal grazed the skin of the dead servitor, bile rose in Shanks throat.

The resistance threw off the projectile, but the needle found its mark still and one of the cultists went down thrashing and screaming as the neurotoxin inside the needle was injected in the man’s bloodstream and agonising pain flooded the man’s nervous system in the last few seconds of his life. This got the other cultists’ attention though and Shanks soon found his morbid cover shredded by sustained lasgun fire. As chunks of rotting servitor washed over him and foul smelling oil and bio fluids slithered down his neck Shanks managed to fire one last shot, the crystal blasting through the skull of one of the cultists, before he was forced to hide entirely behind the much diminished bulk of the servitor.
At this point the Derusians, under command of Listig, were in position to add their firepower to that of Shanks and his team and the cultists where virtually blown apart in a hail of lasbolts and stubber rounds.

“That takes care of them.” Bjergsen said, a certain smugness in his voice.
“I’ll be the one to ask obvious question of where the frak they came from.” Levi said “I’m fine, it was a lucky hit from a lasgun, cauterized.” She added as she noticed the worried frown of Shanks.
Shanks gave a small nod as thanks and turned around to address Listig who was walking towards him, thin trails of smoke trailing from freshly shot holes in his robe.
“She makes a good point. The door is still closed, thank the Emperor, but that means that there’s a hole somewhere in here that you’ve missed.” He said to the enginseer, trying not to sound to reproving.
“I’ve complete faith in the skills and precision of my men” Listig answerer a hint of anger in his voice “I’ll let them perform another sweep, of course, but I’m certain that it will not turn up any error on their part.” He finished, the two squads under his command already fanning out.
“While they sort that out, can we do something about the smell of rotting servitors? We might be stuck here a while.” Shanks asked, unable to supress a small shiver. Listig’s mechadendrite twitched behind him, as if it was probing the air, and it took Shanks a moment to realise that that was exactly what the enginseer was doing.
A puzzled frown appeared on the man’s face as he spoke. “Current circulation should disperse the scent in an hour.”
“And the problem with that is?” Shanks asked, slightly worried that something had fazed the enginseer-sergeant.
“It’s too fast, much too fast.” Listig replied as he made his way over to a wall mounted cogitator console. “Hmm, now what to make of that” he said, more to himself then to the group.
“That” Shanks said as he looked at the screen “was their way in, and is our way out.”

Manufactorum Sigma was dedicated to the production of chemical agents, some of which were highly volatile, and as such the tech priests had deemed it necessary to install air vents which could quickly vent the hall in case of an emergency. With the Manufactorum shut down these vents were naturally closed, thick metal shutters covering both ends but it seemed that the infiltrators had, somehow, managed to open one such man sized ventilation shaft and make their way into the hall.
“Perhaps they used explosives?” Bjergsen offered, scratching the back of his head as he looked up the shaft.
A small snort escaped Levi “Without us hearing it, or debris falling down?”
“Well we are going to find out sooner or later, we’re going up there.” Shanks said, a grin forming on his face as he took in his companions’ stupefied faces. “Unless both of you want to wait it out in here, I’m sure those Khornate lunatics won’t mind.”
A short crackle in his ear piece told Shanks someone activated the comm-link.
“Listig to Shanks, activity on the other side of the blast door.” Listigs said, sounding slightly strained.
“Acknowledged sergeant, lead your men here, it’s time to leave this stinking frakhole.”
Before Shanks was able to hear Listig’s reply a bright flash forced him to close his eyes, tears streaming down his cheeks and an ear shattering roar surged through the hall.

It took him a second before he realized that he was lying on his back, the shattered remains of Private Kolker on top of him. The staccato thump-thack from a heavy stubber was heard over the crackling sound of ionising air made by lasguns, somewhere in the distance a grenade exploded.
Suddenly his mind snapped back to reality, his squad was under attack, the analytical part of his mind had already discerned the nature of the explosion. The heat, the force and raw damage meant it couldn’t be anything else than a plasma cannon. Steadying himself with his mechadendrite he got up, relieved to find his lasgun nearby.
“Fall back to the Veltorians! Fighting retreat, For the Omnissiah!” He ordered over the vox, silently uttering a quick prayer to the Machine God.
Switching his lasgun to full auto Listig took his part in the desperate retreat.

“They are getting destroyed out there.” Bjergsen said, as he unslung his lasgun and got down on one knee.
Shanks couldn’t deny that. Listig and his troops were getting hammered by the traitor forces, hundreds of skull faced cultists were poring through the doorway, some dying as they got crushed or trampled by the blood crazed horde though not nearly enough in Shanks’ opinion.
“Get up that shaft, I’ll follow you as soon as I’ve saved at least one of them” Shanks said “Both of you, that’s an order.” He added as he noticed the hesitation from Bjergsen and Levi.
Shanks didn’t notice if they actually followed his orders or not, concentrating entirely on the horde of dead coming his way.

One of the cultists tried to impale him on a bayonet as he was reloading, Listig stabbed his mechadendrite in his head, spreading the claw to destroy the corrupt brain. As soon as the body dropped another took his place, Listig saw the flame burst from the pistol and felt the impact as the slug slammed against his carapace armour. The cultist wasn’t able to get a second shot off, a crystal needle stuck neatly between the eyes.
Glancing behind him Listig saw it was close to two hundred meters still and while there was enough cover to dive to and from, and the horde getting in its own way like crazed Hronix stampeding through a valley he knew his chances of survival were below one percent.

Shanks saw Listig using his mechadendrite as a close combat weapon, parrying knifes, bayonets and clubs away while stabbing furiously with the claw at the end of the mechanical limb. His squads lacked such upgrades and with a pang of sorrow Shanks saw how the last of them got torn apart in a flurry of knife stabs and clawing hands. The trooper served the emperor even in death, as he had primed a grenade in his dying moments and managed to take out a decent amount with him.
Slamming a fresh magazine in his sniper, his eyes not leaving the scope, Shanks took aim and fired. He barely noticed the bits of ferrocrete pattering him as stray shots managed to reach his cover.

It was a good thing that these Khorn worshippers preferred close combat this much, he would’ve been shot a dozen times over if it wasn’t for their odd fascination with close combat. He was grateful for his mechadendrite, it was an invaluable addition in close combat, allowing him to blaze away with his lasgun and still fend off attacks, at least until the battered limb would finally give it. Which wouldn’t be long now, if his neural link was any judge.
He smacked a cultist in the side of the head, smashing his skull and stabbed a wicked looking woman on the way back, her face covered in a painted on skull. Noticing a grenade sticking out of her webbing he flexed the limb to pull its’ pin and kicked the corpse back, it was quickly swallowed by the horde, where it exploded with a gratifying oomph.
His finger started to cramp from the non-stop pulling of the trigger, the barrel of his lasgun was glowing red-hot and his bionic eye noticed a slight bend forming in the middle. It mattered little, he had expended the last of his energy packs anyway.
He poked the barrel in a cultist’ eye, doing his best to ignore the bullet her pistol fired in his shoulder before she died. Snarling an almost animalistic roar he started to swing his gun as a club, all the while stabbing away with his mechadendrite.
A little over one hundred meter now.

Suddenly one of his feet slipped and, for a heart stopping second, time seemed to stop. Like a giant wave the press of cultists seemed to loom over him, he desperately crawled backwards but he knew it was over. A flurry of needles flew past him and the first rank of cultists fell, screaming, crying and twitching. Guns fired as fingers spasmed on triggers, a flamer ignited dozens of blood hungry traitors and for a split second the wave halted. That was all the time Listig needed to pull himself upright with his mechadendrite, only to look at his imminent death.

Barrel wasn’t meant to take this punishment Shanks thought as he pushed his rifle to its limits.
Slipping a fresh magazine, his last one, in his rifle and making a quick adjustment to his scope to take the battered barrel into account his retook aim, and let out a flurry of swearing and curses even Levi would blush from.

Shaped like a giant daemonic maw, eerie red eyes glowing from heat vents, the plasma canon stood on a makeshift carriage, various symbols of chaotic nature were painted on both carriage and cannon. A dozen or so naked men sat around it on their knees, weeping as they flailed themselves in worship to this monstrous creation.
A faint whine, growing in volume and pitch started to emanate from the cannon as it charged itself to fire, as it did so the flagellants got cries got louder, their flailing intensified.
Suddenly they stopped and threw themselves to the ground, whispering the name of their chaos deity, Khorne. A bright red glow, almost unbearable to look at, was bursting from the cannon as it prepared to fire. So bright was the light that none was able to see the dozen or so needles damaging coils and energy collectors as they struck and shattered, the acidic venom inside burning away key parts of the unstable cannon with an inaudible hiss.

The bright flash burned out his bionic eye immediately, his normal eye was closed shut when it happened and wouldn’t open anymore for some reason. Intense pain flashed through his entire body and he felt his legs go warm and wet as he lost control of his bowels. He lost feeling in his left arm and leg almost instantly, only a nauseating pain in his shoulder and thigh remaining. He felt how his body landed and then slid over the slick floor. He heard screaming, crying and the wet thuds of body parts flying around. Something wet spattered his face, it was hot and started to burn. He wanted to scream, to cry, to pray but somehow he lost control over his voice, a soft oddly pitched wheezing sound was all that came from his throat.
A shadow came over him.
“It’s ok, I got you, you’re safe.” A low rumbling voice said softly as oversized hands gently picked him up.
Tears welled down Listig’s cheek and finally, as an agonised wail left his throat, was he able to cry.

Something wet dripped on his head, for some reason Shank couldn’t move his left leg or his right for that matter. Searing pain filled his abdomen and the air of burned flesh filled his nostrils. He slowly opened his eyes, looking straight at the swollen, red tinted and tear filled eyes of Levi.
“Its ok sir, you did it.” She said, her voice shaking. “You saved one of them.”
Shanks tried to grin, he wasn’t quite sure if he managed to do it.
“Told you I would, didn’t I?” He said, his voice frail and hoarse.
A tender kiss on his forehead, more tears dropped on his head.
“Time to get you out of here sir.”
Shanks was about to reply, but darkness overwhelmed him.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Chapter Two: Sweetcheeks

An almost nauseating sweet, cloying odour hung around him. It was the smell of war, political war that is. Like cordite and the sharp tang of ionised air from lasguns and auto-weapons filled a soldiers’ nostrils in the bloody field of battle so did the sweet perfume of royalty in the ballroom of the Governor’s palace.
Shanks did not just feel out of place, he was out of place, and the others knew it. He sighed as a fresh group of pompous nobility made his way to him, no doubt intend on bothering him with clueless questions and delusional ideas of combat.

“Soldier” A high pitched wheezing voice called. “Yes, you there, is it true?” The fat, old man said as he tapped Shanks’ left shoulder to get his attention.
Count to ten Shanks ”What is true? Sir.” He replied, trying his best not to shiver as the smell of alcohol washed over him. Whoever this inbred good for nothing pig was, he and his hanger-ons were clearly intoxicated beyond any form of reason. Well cuff me and sell me to Horus, just my cuffing luck.
Sir, sir!” Before the nobleman could reply a new voice chimed in over the crowd, the soft and tender tone as always completely at odds with her choice of words. “Looking brisk sir, your secondary is a bit too visible, good to see you’re enjoying yourself though.” Private Levi Menackis said as she dragged Shanks with her towards the balcony.
Blood rushing to his cheeks Shanks awkwardly looked to his crotch, seeing nothing out of the ordinary.
“Not that secondary, cuff! You men are all the same.” Menackis laughed. “Your laspistol, sir. Haven’t seen that other gun yet” she added, throwing a quick wink at the slack jawed Shanks. He just grinned sheepishly as he reholstered his pistol, at a loss for words.

The two pressed through the crowd, Menackis leading the way as she weaved her agile frame through the crowd. Her dress uniform, Shansk noticed, highlighted the better parts of her body and he noted with a pang of jealousy that he wasn’t the only one looking at her swaying hips.
Shaking his head, trying to clear the fogginess of his thoughts he wondered what was going on with him, Levi was a squad mate, a fellow soldier. Yes she was good looking, as long as one wasn’t bothered by her scars, but he never had seen her as anything else but a friends, someone he could trust. Why was he acting like this all of a sudden? Coming to think of it, where was he and how in cuff’s name did he get here?
A refreshing surge of cold fresh air rushed past him as Menackis opened the doors to the balcony.
“Are you ok, sir?” She asked, a worried tone in her voice as she turned around to look at Shanks.
“I... I... I’m not sure” he muttered, confused. “My left arm hurts” He started “What are we doing here? What’s going in?”
“It’s ok Gesler, you just need some fresh air.” Menackis said as she grabbed his right and led him towards a chair. “Here, sit down, is that better?” she asked, smiling reassuringly at Shanks.
“Yes, much… Wait, Levi did you just call me by my first name?” Shanks asked, confused.
“I’m hoping it’s not the only way I get to call you tonight” She answered, leaning over him seductively.
“Clear!” Shanks suddenly shouted, he had no idea why.
He jumped out of his chair, knocking Menackis off her feet. “Clear!” He roared again.
An enormous blow in his chest threw him on the ground next to Menackis, dazed, Shanks looked in her wide, panic filled eyes.
“Clear!” She said.

“He’s back.” A distant voice said.
Something was beeping in the background, it was annoying and made his head hurt.
“Can someone stop that cuffing beeping!” Shanks said, shocked to find out how weak his voice sounded.
“He sure is.” Someone else replied, the voice sounded mildly reproving.
Shanks opened his eyes slowly, the first thing he saw was the broad smile of Menackis, for some reason she had a worried look in her eyes.
“Hey Levi, why the frown? Wrinkles aren’t your thing sweet cheeks.” Shanks said, his eyes going wide as he realised what he just said.
“Obviously the drugs are still having an effect on him, it’ll be another day or so until that’s out of his system. Assuming we don’t have the give him more.” The unknown voice said, something akin to amusement in his voice.
“Drugs?” Shanks said, confused. “What do you mean dru…” He stopped mid-sentence as he looked around and noticed his surroundings for the first time.
“Why am I in sickbay?” He asked, startled.
In way of answer, Levi tapped his left arm, it sounded weird almost as if it was metal. Now that he thought about it, the arm felt different from his right and the skin colour was off as well.
He suddenly remembered again, the chaos horde charging, the plasma cannon.
“So my left arm?” Shanks started.
“I’m sorry sir.” Levi said, her voice trembling.
He looked at his left arm again, synth skin, expensive and certainly not standard for a mere trooper.
“Well, at least I got the V.I.P treatment, how did you manage to get this sorted sweetie?” Shanks asked, uttering a quick apology as he realised he’d made another slip of the tongue.
Levi paid little attention to it, smiling as she noticed his discomfort.
“That would’ve been my doing I’m afraid.” A new voice said. Though it had been two years since he last heard it Shanks instantly recognised that voice, the charismatic and confident tone, the air of natural command accompanying it.
“Inquisitor Dassem, I’d salute if I could but I’m afraid that whatever the medics have shot in my system is making me act a bit wonky.” Shanks said. “Besides, I’d probably end up smashing my skull if I’d try.”
“No doubt.” The inquisitor replied dryly.
A tall, middle aged man. A bald head with a greying goatee. His sharp facial features, pose and air of calm authority gave him a touch of nobility.
Suddenly Shanks realised Listig wasn’t anywhere in the room, his gut turned as he realised what that meant. “Listig?” He asked, his voice betraying his fear.
“Alive, a bit dented but stable, lost a few limbs but being a cogboy he's not bothered with it. The chaos mob absorbed most of the blast for him, the lucky cuffhead.” Levi replied, glad she could finally say something positive. “Bjergsen is with him, playing a game of regicide.”
“I hope it’s not for money or rations. For Listig’s sake.” Shanks replied. Laughing as he noticed Dassem raising an eyebrow in surprise.

The mood of everybody changed rather quickly as Dassem suddenly asked everybody to leave the room. “I’ve got to talk with Shanks for a bit, privately.” He said with a knowing look at Menackis, his voice colder than the void of space.

Shanks eased his back against the raised pillow, trying not to winch as his sore muscles and bones protested.
“Charming, isn’t she?” Dassem said as he watched Menackis close the door behind her as she left.
“Until she opens her mouth.” Shanks joked back, he was rather surprised with the Inquisitors comment.
“While I appreciate all of this” He started, nudging his head to indicate his synthetic skin covered prosthetic. “I’m sure it’ll come at a price, with you being an Inquisitor and all, sir.”
The thin lips of Dassem formed a grin as he made a small bow with his head. “It’s all part of a plan. I made sure you, and that enginseer, received the best medical care this segmentum has to offer, I even arranged for privates Menackis and Bjergsen to be off duty while you were recovering.” He spread his arms out theatrically to indicate the entire room. “This, all of this, so I could ask of you but a small favour.” Dassem finished, the emphasis making clear it was everything but a question.
 

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Sir Proofreader
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Huh, damn inquisitors and their 'favours' :p

I like where this is going, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Huh, damn inquisitors and their 'favours' :p

I like where this is going, though.
Like loan-sharks, those Inquisitors..
"In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war and extremely high interest rates."

I've got a rough idea of where to take it from here (Basically I know point A and point C, but the road in between and point B is still very much a surprise, even for me.)
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Next bit isn't actually finished, I'm just not entirely sure about the 'briefing' bit so I'm posting it up already in the hope I'm get some reassurance ("It's fine Spike!") or pointers ("It sucks, perhaps try this to fix it.")

Read at your own risk.
--------------------------

It had been a week since she last had seen Shanks, after the Inquisitor had his private conversation with him nobody was allowed to see him. Question bothered her, kept her awake at night, what in Thrones name is so important that it requires this amount of secrecy! cuffing Inquisitorial business Levi thought sourly. Listig had been released this morning and together with him and Bjergsen she was to report to Colonel Amarth in ten minutes, she was worried about what might come. Had the inquisitor taken Shanks with him?
“Levi!” The voice of Listig echoed through vast corridor of the troopship.
Levi turned around, Listig, his casual walk a bit awkward as his body still had to get used to his new mechanical leg, a leg which had been left without synth skin at his request. It thumped loudly as he misjudged the distance to the metal floor, Listig smiled apologetic as he came closer, his new Mechanicus robe fluttering around him.
“I’m still having trouble judging my pace I’m afraid.” He said as he stopped in front of Levi. “No problems with my new arm though.” He added as he snapped a crisp parade ground salute.
An arm, Levi noted as she returned the salute, that did that synthetic skin.
“You seem to do fine.” She said as they started walking towards the Colonel’s private quarters. “Any idea why we’re cuffed?” She asked, hoping that Listig knew more.
“Cuffed?” Listig asked, a puzzled frown on his face, he glanced at her hands to check if they were restrained.
“Not like that.” Levi laughed, she held up her hands in apology as she noticed that Listig was offended at her reaction. “I’m sorry, I forgot you’re not familiar with the regimental slang. Cuff is something of a generic way of saying something is… wrong. When someone is being particularly stupid he’s a cuff or cuffhead, similar to one being a grox or groxhead and when you’re on patrol and something lethal flies past your head it’s perfectly normal to shout cuff while diving for cover.”
Listig nodded his understanding. “And with us being ordered to the Colonels’ office...”
“Precisely.” Levi said cheerfully.
“And the one to come up with this cuff would be?” Listig asked.
“Me!” Levi answered, a cheeky grin on her face.

The two of them saw Bjergsen waiting in front of the office, he stood up from his chair as he saw them approach.
“Levi, enginseer.” His low voice grumbled in greeting.
“Bjergsen, savage as ever.” Levi replied, referring to his woodsman beard.
“How’s the leg?” Bjergsen asked Listig, not rising to Levi’s bait.
“Still pounding on it sometimes but I’ve made some modifications to some of the systems, it doesn’t hurt as… cuffing… much anymore.” Listig answered, grinning sheepishly as he looked at Levi.
They all snapped to attention as the door opened.
“Do come in.” Inquisitor Dassem said, his voice cold and grim.

The office was large, the floor was made of some sort of dark wood, the same type of wood which the chairs, cabinets and the huge desk were made of. Two chair stood on one end, in one of which sat Colonel Amarth and three chairs stood ready on the opposite end.
Levi gasped in shock as she saw Shanks weak form sitting in a wheelchair next to one of the three chairs. His eyes were dull and his skin sickly pale, streaks of grey ran through his brown hair.
“I’m alright Menackis, just some lingering effects of my treatment.” His voice rasped weakly.
Levi shot a murderous glare at the inquisitor, she noticed Bjergsen had balled his fists in anger.
“Treatment? What Cuff…”
“Sit down! Both of you.” Amarth’s voice boomed.
All three of them sat down, with Bjergsen and Menackis snapping a crisp “Sorry, sir.”
Lowering himself down on his own chair, next to the Colonel, the Inquisitor held his hands up reassuringly.
“No need, I was expecting, and perhaps even hoping, for that reaction.” He said, his eyes still cold yet a sudden and unexpected kind tone in his voice. “Everything shall be clear in time, for now I’d like to give the word to Colonel Amarth.”
Colonel Amarth cleared his throat, like everything about him his voice seemed to be made for the Imperial Guard, and as he spoke he reminded Levi of the holodramas she used to see as a child, the short trimmed hair, muscular arms and perfectly straight shoulders of pict heroes, everything about her superior just radiated ‘Guard’.
“Right.” Amarth started “Listig, I’ve read your file and to keep it simple, I want you in my regiment.”
“S-Sir…?” Listig replied, confused.
“I’ve lost a few NCO’s and while I got enough candidates to fill up the gaps, it would be a waste to let a man of your talents go.” Amarth finished, pouring himself a glass of amasec.
“Thank you sir.” Listig started, considering his words carefully. “But I’ve got a homeworld to fight for still, I understand that there won’t be a new regiment coming from Derusian for the foreseeable future but I think we’ll need a strong Planetary Defence Force after the war is over.”
Listig was surprised when Amarth placed the glass in front of him before he sat down, grief in his eyes.
“A lot has happened in a week, enginseer. We managed to evacuate forty three percent of the civilian population, what’s left of the Derusian 1st and PDF elements are drafted, like you, in the Imperial Guard or PDF of nearby planets.”
Levi closed her eyes, realising what was to follow.

“High Command has deemed the planet lost, the resources it had have been pillaged or destroyed by the Archenemy, and with the Tyranids right on their heels there is no time to rebuild and mount a defence of any kind, this assuming we were to spend the resources to liberate Derusian. They have ordered the Navy to conduct a thorough viral bombing of the planet. They have declared Exterminatus, to deny the Archenemy a planet, and the Tyranids biomatter.”
Listig downed the entire glass of amasec in one go, he had his eyes closed and a tear fell from his cheek.
“I’ll make sure you find out where your family has been send to.” Amarth said, as he refilled the glass. “Again, I offer you the chance to join the regiment. You’ll keep your rank of Enginseer-Sergeant.” He gave a short nod to indicate the Inquisitor. “Courtesy of the man next to me, pulled some strings I couldn’t.”
“What squad would I lead sir?” Listig trembling voice rasped, the glass empty once again.
A small smile formed on Amarth’s face, he spread his heads “This one.”
“Thank you, sir.” Listig replied, his lips locked in a sad smile.
“As long as I don’t have to save you again.” Shanks joked, his voice weak and soft. “Sir.”
“I see you haven’t lost your sense of humour Corporal ” Amarth said sharply as he got up. “Time for me to take my leave.”

Inquisitor Dassem waited until he heard the door close, after which he placed a small green metal box in front of him, as he pressed the button everyone except Shanks and the Inquisitor himself pulled out the vox beads in their ears.
“To state the obvious, none of what I’m about to say will leave this room.” He placed a bolt pistol, safety off, next to the vox-scrambler to emphasise his point.
“Apart from Colonel Amarth and yourself nobody knows my true nature. To everybody else, including High Command, I’m an advisor to Lord Militant Manask, who had heard about the mortal wounds my once saviour had received and felt obliged to return the favour.”
After a short pause to let that sink in, and pour himself a glass of amasec, Dassem continued. “In truth I’m here send by the Ordo Malleus to make sure no agents of the Ruinous Power infiltrate the crusade forces. A feat in which I fear, they have already succeeded.”
He held up his hands reassuringly as he noticed Bjergsen and Levi making the sign of the aquila, Listig grasped the cogwheel dangling from his chain in his right hand.
“Don’t worry, I don’t mean in this regiment.” A collective sigh of relief followed.
“You all have volunteered” Dassem said, not quite able to hide a grin. “For a mission crucial to the discovery and eventual destruction of the traitor cell. The battlegroup is en route to Lethorian V, details are irrelevant at the moment. Officially, you will be send on a classified infiltration mission, in truth you will be with me on the planet’s second moon. You’ll transfer to my personal ship after we drop out of the warp in a weeks’ time. Dismissed.”
 

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Sir Proofreader
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Hmmm, reassurance and pointers...

I've read through the above section twice, and while parts of it seemed a bit unclear on the first read through I seemed to make more sense of it the second time. I think it's mostly just that it takes me a while to remember the characters and events that have lead up to this point, not necessarily a reflection on the writing.

I guess the fact that you're holding information back from the reader (i.e. not fully explaining what has happened to Shanks and not detailing the mission they're about to go on) makes it a little difficult to fully make sense of the briefing, but on the other hand revealing all that information now would leave you with no sense of mystery, and what's a good story without a bit of mystery here and there? Especially when Inquisitors are involved!

So I guess my conclusion is that it's okay as it stands, if that helps :)
 

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Hmmm, reassurance and pointers...

I've read through the above section twice, and while parts of it seemed a bit unclear on the first read through I seemed to make more sense of it the second time. I think it's mostly just that it takes me a while to remember the characters and events that have lead up to this point, not necessarily a reflection on the writing.

I guess the fact that you're holding information back from the reader (i.e. not fully explaining what has happened to Shanks and not detailing the mission they're about to go on) makes it a little difficult to fully make sense of the briefing, but on the other hand revealing all that information now would leave you with no sense of mystery, and what's a good story without a bit of mystery here and there? Especially when Inquisitors are involved!

So I guess my conclusion is that it's okay as it stands, if that helps :)
Thanks for the pointers, I think it actually is a reflection on my writing, while the pace of the story might not have been that fast, the introductions of the characters have been somewhat sloppy, even I had to check my character sheet a few times to check on names, behavioural stuff and whatnot, not that unusual for me to do but I had to do it more often this time around.
I'm trying to take the speed down a notch in this chapter, less action and more character building. Not my speciality but practice makes perfect.
I've kept a few secrets on purpose, though I'm going to answer a few of them in this chapter so in the long run it should clear up some of the vaguer stuff in the briefing.

Am I the only one who ends up with tons of ideas and short pieces that seem completely random? Like the Star Trek:TNG episode where Picard is trapped on the holodeck playing a Don Corleone-type role?
 

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Sir Proofreader
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Am I the only one who ends up with tons of ideas and short pieces that seem completely random?
Ha, no, no way! I tend to have that problem a little as well, I'm sure lots of others do.
 

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Double Clutching Weasel
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Am I the only one who ends up with tons of ideas and short pieces that seem completely random? Like the Star Trek:TNG episode where Picard is trapped on the holodeck playing a Don Corleone-type role?
I have too many of these. My problem is tying them all together.
 
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