Into the Unknown: The Recovery (Part 2)

This entry is part 10 of 14 in the series Disciples of Twilight

Billowing black smoke filled part of the western horizon where the Ork ship had crashed. Warforce and his strike force were moving with all speed towards the crash site. The ship struck down five miles from where he was stationed and the terrain was difficult to traverse. Forlorn was in a constant state of winter, the ground perpetually frozen, with the sun never able to warm the densely packed surface to thaw it. Snow was far more prevalent than grass, never melting away entirely. Patches of snow always dotted the ground, if the ground wasn’t completely covered with it already. Snow that did melt would only freeze again in a few hours once the sun set.

“Combat speed,” commanded Warforce and the strike force slowed its pace as it approached the downed Ork ship.

The ship was large and crudely built. It appeared as though the Orks haphazardly welded and bolted random plates of metal all over the hull. At random intervals along the hull guns protruded, sticking out at various lengths. Most of them looked to be solid munition weapons, typical of Ork weaponry.

Smoke still poured from the ship. The impacts from the flakk missiles were clearly visible, holes torn through the metal plating and small fires blazed through those breaches in the hull. A stream of holes ran the length of the ship from the quad-guns barrage as well.

A constant crunching sound could be heard from the Rhino’s tracks over the frozen ground they approached the crash. A Marine in each Rhino manned the combi-bolter from the cupola of the Rhino, scanning the area for targets. Warforce was on foot leading the Gorgons, the veterans of the Disciples of Twilight in Terminator armor.

As the Marines closed the distance to the ship, Warforce felt a familiar psychic presence, the same he had felt aboard the space hulk. His head rang softly with the psychic energy, building slowly as they continued to get closer. Warforce knew there were Orks alive aboard the ship. The communal psychic energy they emanated was unmistakable.

“There are Orks on that ship still alive. Stand ready brothers,” Warforce informed his strike force.

Screaming around from the front of the ship Orks on bikes approached the Disciples of Twilight. A moment later a large clumsy ramshackle vehicle drove into view from the other side. The vehicle had a huge pipe-like plow on the front with spikes, spinning on the ground as the vehicle drove around from the back, where the Marines approached. The hoots and hollers of the Orks from the bed of the large vehicle carried over the distance to the strike force.

Speaking into his vox, Warforce said, “Disembark and engage.”

The Rhinos came to a halt and the transport bay doors slammed to the ground. The Marines from Vengeance and Redemption Squad disembarked, bolters raised and aimed at the oncoming Orks as they formed up. Between the two Rhinos the Gorgons and Warforce closed the gap, creating a wall of Marines. Further behind the strike force Cultists were marching up to reinforce the Marines’ position.

“Exterminate,” ordered Warforce, the malice of his voice carrying through the order.

Bolters spat a steady current of explosive rounds at the bike mounted Orks. Despite the rounds finding their mark, the Orks continued to approach. Ork physiology was not so different from a Space Marines with its ability to heal life threatening wounds. Combining Ork physiology with their crude bionics gave these large Orks the ability to shrug off all but the most vital of wounds.

Slowing their approach, the large Orks on bikes opened fire upon the Marines of Redemption Squad. Most of the shots went wide of their mark but those that did find targets were unable to penetrate the Marines’ power armor.

Warforce opened his mind to the warp and let the dark embrace of the empyrean momentarily consume him. Holding out his left hand, which swirled with flickering energy, he directed his attack towards the Ork warbikers. With a sudden flash the energy faded out from his hand. The Orks immediately stopped their attack on Redemption Squad and began to fight one another. Two Orks were smashed to the ground by their comrades. The fighting stopped almost as soon as it began but in that short time two of the Orks lay dead on the ground.

Meanwhile the large Ork vehicle had also slowed its break-neck pace as the screaming Orks leapt from the back of the vehicle. No sooner had their feet met the ground then they ran wildly at Vengeance Squad, firing their primitive pistols into the air with excitement. Each Ork was covered in random pieces of metal plating held in place by leather straps and chains. They all carried large axes and clubs that they waved around on their charge at the Marines.

A scream of, “Waaagh!” went up, resounding over the noise of combat. The psychic energy Warforce could feel from the Orks was magnified, nearly overwhelming his warp senses. All of the Orks became frenzied at the war cry. Any attempt at strategy the Orks were employing was lost to the scream.  Orks on bikes lurched forward faster and those on foot leapt forward to close the distance to the Marines’ gun line.

Bolters were mag-locked as each Marine quickly pulled out their combat weapons to meet the charging Orks. Vengeance Squad was buried under a wave of greenskins. Close quarters combat was cumbersome among so many bodies. There was very little room to swing a weapon with enough force to strike killing blows. Vengeance Squad needed to dispatch the Orks quickly. A protracted melee would favor the brutes, giving them more time to bring in reinforcements.

Cultists ran to aid in the combat of Vengeance Squad. They swung their autoguns at the Orks, trying to bludgeon them, but the Cultists were outmatched. The xenos were twice their size and far stronger or arm and build. Offering little protection, the thin armor of the Cultists could not withstand the punishment being delivered by the beasts while the Orks laughed off each feeble swing of the Cultists.

Redemption Squad had also engaged in close combat with the larger Orks on warbikes. Redemption Squad proved the faster combatants as they struck at the enhanced Orks. These Orks were easily the size of the Marines, larger should the Orks stand up straight instead of assuming their constant slouched posture. Nearly every blow landed by the Marines was shrugged off.

Crackling energy enveloped the large claw-like weapons that each of the large Orks was wielding. Every blow they struck sundered power armor. The Ork attacks were slow as they swung the huge claws but the effectiveness more than made up for their unwieldy nature.

Leading the charge, Warforce and his Terminator retinue shouldered their way into the larger Orks. Little remained of Redemption Squad, most of the Marines were either dead or seriously wounded. Warforce expertly wielded his force weapon, delivering repeated strikes upon the Orks before they could lash out with their powerful claws. The clumsy attacks that were directed towards him were easily dodged and his ripostes spilling green lifeblood from the attackers.

Slowly members of the Gorgons began to fall. Their Terminator armor, while offering superb protection, also slowed them down. Every blow landed by the Orks that was not turned aside by the protective energy field of the Terminator armor proved fatal. Over half of the squad had succumbed to their wounds, yet the Orks were not faring any better.

At the back of the melee, Warforce spotted an enormous Ork. The Ork was twice again the size of the others, towering over the Gorgons. As Warforce was pulling his force sword from the chest of an Ork he saw the Gorgon’s Champion fall. The Champion’s armor was rent wide open in numerous spots and a crater blown through his chest from the enormous Ork’s powerful claw.

Stamping his boot down on the head of his most recent victim, Warforce walked calmly towards the Ork leader. The huge Ork threw back his head and let out a roar of challenge as it noticed the approach of Warforce. With a few feet between them, Warforce dove forward, leading with his sword. Stepping to the side, the Ork leader avoided the attack but Warforce had expected that. With his back to the Ork, Warforce reversed his grip on the force sword and stabbed behind himself. He could feel the resistance of armor and flesh as the weapon drove itself into the Ork’s abdomen. For a brief moment the eye lenses in Warforce’s helmet lit up with a spectral glow and the force sword came to life, hungrily devouring the life from the huge Ork. A smell of burnt flesh filled the air as Warforce withdrew his weapon.

Once the Ork leader was dispatched the Gorgons were able to finish off the remaining bikers. Checking his helmet’s display of life signs from his strike force, Warforce saw that Vengeance squad was still with them and the flashing icon next to their squad told him they were in desperate need of aid.

With the help of Warforce and the remaining Gorgons, the armored Orks were slain entirely and the few Marines of Vengeance Squad still standing nodded their heads in thanks.

The Marines loaded the Rhinos with the wounded as well as the deceased Marines.

The inability to carry off the dead from the failed mission aboard the space hulk had been the thorn that had most dug into Warforce’s side. To leave his brothers upon enemy ground was unthinkable and yet he had had no choice but to do just that.

“Ghostwrath here. We are five minutes out from your location. Report,” said a voice in Warforce’s helmet earpiece.

In response Warforce said, “The area surrounding the ship is now secure. We will need to burn these Ork bastards once you arrive and then secure the ship.”


Series Navigation

<< Into the Unknown: The Recovery (Part 1)Into the Unknown: Salvation (Part 1) >>
  • Christian Hazzard

    excellent! waiting for your next report/story. on a side note have you tried listening to the Turn 8 podcast? they have a segment called “the battle report” which i feel would interest you. they basically take a turn by turn recounting of a game but do it in a story like you’ve done here, basically creating an audio drama of it.

    • Thanks. I should have week three up some time next week. I’m running a week behind on these while I flesh them out in story form.

      I have not listened to 40K podcasts in years. I’ll be getting a new phone in a few days that actually has good storage so I plan to check some out soon and listen on my drive to/from work. I’ll check it out.

  • At the rate you’re losing marines the Disciples are thinning pretty fast! Maybe you should mix in the occasional “so and so was knocked unconscious by the blow” or “what’s his name was incapacitated when his the motor control on his armor was damaged, causing it to lock up completely. Another option would be to show Warforce’s relief when after the battle he finds that many of his men pulled through thanks to their superhuman physique and the skills of the apothecaries.

    Anyway, another fun story to flesh out your fluff! It sounds like it was an excellent battle as well. Nicely done!

    • Thanks.

      I tried to rarely say outright killed. Most of the time I just left it vague, like, “Most of the Marines had fallen,” or “Few remained in the squad.” That way I’m not having to specifically state the condition of everyone, it’s vague enough and it gets the point across.

      Good point on the relief element. I could certainly work that into the beginning of the next story.

  • I’m fishing for ideas for the next part of the story. In the campaign itself the object that’s recovered has information regarding a Marine of a long lost chapter being entombed. The third game is recovering that entombed Marine to extract his gene-seed. The problem is this doesn’t exactly work with Chaos Marines. I can’t really come up with a good reason the Disciples of Twilight would care about a dead loyalist Marine.

    Anyone have thoughts on what the information that was found leads to? I could go easy and do some artifact or something but it almost seems a cop-out. I’m just drawing a blank.

    • Chaos and renegade marines still need gene-seed to create new recruits. Because exposure to the warp has tainted most of the gene seed they have access to, stable gene seed is highly prized by traitor marines. They sometimes raid loyalist marine strongholds to get their hands on it.

      If this lost chapter or marine had some renown the Disciples may be looking to create a corrupted hero from the salvaged gene seed, or they may be hoping to stabilize their own stock with it.

      • I thought about that and actually starting writing it that way but I’m trying to think about it some more. See, right now the Disciples of Twilight are only fallen Fate’s Angels. My decision is do I choose to keep it that way, keep them exclusive and at the same time small, or do I use this as the chance to propel forward their story and they do like you said? There’s no wrong answer of course, either works, I just need to make a decision on the direction of the warband.

        • Maybe the lost chapter has some affiliation with the Fate’s Angels. Like you said it’s time to make some key decisions about the warband.

          Are they trying to absolve themselves in the hope of an eventual return? In that case the gene seed could be a lost relic, one of many they hope to return to the Fate’s Angels in order to complete their collective vision quest. Or they could hope to find a way to purge themselves of the gene seed flaw that caused them to fall.

          If they’re not creating more, only allowing their ranks to swell through the mechanisms that got them there in the first place, they may still want to preserve the fallen marine or his gene seed as a relic of their own.

          If they’re looking to embrace their renegade status it could just be a way to strengthen their reserves with stable gene seed.

          Maybe you should write the decision into the story. This could represent the warband at a crossroads. This discovery could be a trigger for the council to decide whether to embrace the hope of salvation or abandon it to pursue their own autonomy.

          • Good advice and suggestions. Working it out in the story itself would be pretty cool.

          • JD Brink

            All cool ideas and great plot ideas. I like the council coming together to decide, “Okay folks, are we renegades or trying to get back into the fold. cuz now is the time to decide.” They might have to raid to get geneseed or set up on some planet to recruit. I could also see them doing some kind of Dr. Mindbender experiment to create a Serpentor champion, like a new chapter master. (Am I dating myself here…?)

  • JD Brink

    That was a good one! Very nicely done. Cool combat desciptions — especially the use of the force weapon. I like how you managed the events of the game into cool paragraphs of action. I also like that your termies (an elite honor, essentially the equivilent of a 1st company) are called The Gorgons. Very cool.
    I do, however, have one suggestion: Vengeance squad, Redenption squad, etc, I lose track quickly of what kind of units they are. Thinking back, I’m not sure I ever really knew.

    Reading your exciting adventures makes me want to do more with my Space Wolf vs Night Lords story “Hunted” on my blog. I originally wrote it to submit to Black Library, which I did, but it’s very hard to break in there. Right now it’s a very bulky webpage on my site, but i’d like to put it in easy to read format, like an ebook or something. but i’m not sure if GW would put out a contract on my life or what, even if I charged no money for it and clearly designated it as “fan fiction,” claiming no rights to it. Hmmm…

    • Thanks.

      You’re right on Redemption and Vengeance Squad. I’m so used to using them in every game I play that I give them little thought in writing. The Terminators, however, I rarely use and really just busted out for the campaign. In turn I thought of them specifically when writing; they’re outside my norm.

      Hard to say what that fickle beast known as GW would do. They let us write our fluff on our blogs (never heard of anyone getting shut down for that), so what’s so different with a free eBook? That may take issue but it’s anyone’s guess. Once upon a time you could find their legal info on their site, as much fun as that was to read. You might be able to dig that up and check.

      • JD Brink

        Good thinking. I’ll see if i can find any outright objection and if not might explore how to make the story more accessible. What’s the point of writing it if no one can read it?

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