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/tg/ - Traditional Games

File: 1357409280602.jpg-(105 KB, 806x1200, venus_WIP2.jpg)
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All right, folks, this is it. I've been writing in the WHH-PD 'verse since september of last year, and I'm finally done. Since early December, I've been working on a new project on the back burner, named Eternity, which I want to act as an Epilogue for the series I've been writing in the Warhammer High and Primarchs' Daughters 'canon.' After this, I'm moving on to greener pastures.

On that note, Eversor, I missed your threads last week. I'd love if you posted your pics from those threads here.

The format of Eternity is completely unlike my previous stories. This one takes the shape of a series of flashbacks from eight or nine character's perspectives or a narrator's perspective, including one from one of the actual Daughters' perspectives in the first person, which I'm fairly sure has never been done before. Each story is spaced some time apart, from a few days to a few years, and I'm told Ahriman and DarkMage are around, too, with fresh material.

Here's the chronology of stories that precede this one.








This first story takes place around a day or two after the end of ROAD TRIP!. It's told as a flashback by Jake.

Jake sat beside the others in his program in the Kouthry field house. The Institute President was talking about how the man next to you could be your best friend at graduation, and how nothing was more important to a successful career than blah blah blah. As hard as Jake was trying to listen, the occasional outbreaks of excited whispering from his classmates or applause from the audience of adoring parents was drowning him out.
“It’s like they’re the students,” the kid next to him muttered.
“I know,” Jake said under his breath. “Your parents out there somewhere?” he asked.
“Somewhere, yeah,” the other boy said back. He scanned the crowd. “Can’t find ‘em.”
Jake eyed the bleachers. Vulkan wasn’t there in person, naturally, and he couldn’t spot Alpharius or Corax either. Then, that was often the case. Misja was there, he could see, and though he had never met Cora’s or Alpharia’s mothers, the clouds of Treasury agents near them (and more covert plainclothesmen around them) helped him pick them out.
The convocation address drew to a close, and all the students rose and cheered in unison, while the bleachers erupted in flashes from cameras. Jake waved to his parents as the students started filing out by row, and try as he might, he couldn’t find any of the three girls he knew in the crowd. Of course, they were all different programs. Cora was in one of the civil engineering programs, he knew, and Alpharia had mentioned Education. Venus was in Inorganic Chemistry, while he was in Consumer Design and Practices.
As his own row was called out, and he walked out of the room with the others from the convocation address. He flinched as he entered the open air of the Kouthry campus, shying from the light and sliding his sunglasses on. Even after an entire summer out of doors, it seemed, his mild myopia wasn’t going away.
“You got bad eyes or something, man?” the other kid asked.
“Eyesight’s fine, I’m just light-sensitive,” Jake said. “My parents got me these sunglasses as a going-away present before I went on a road trip this summer.”
The other kid nodded. “Cool. What’s your name?”
Jake held out his hand. “Jacob Seager. Call me Jake.”
“Aaron Wabash, call me Aaron,” the other kid said, shaking his hand with a grin. “If you were in my block, you’ve gotta be in the design program too.”
“Well, sort of,” Jake said. “Technically, I’m staff here, not a full-time student. I work in the bio labs. I just take classes too.”
“Cool,” Aaron replied. “Do you live in the city?”
“Student housing,” Jake said. Aaron had a look he was quite familiar with about him: old money. From his watch to his clothes to his hairstyle, he looked like a male Lyra.
“Mmm.” Aaron shrugged. “They make everyone live in the student dorms for freshman year. So annoying.”
“Annoying how?” Jake asked.
“It’s so…cramped,” Aaron said. “My closet back home was bigger than my dorm. I don’t mind my roommate, though,” he added as they walked over to the dorm buildings, down the nearly third of a mile road to the residential end. “He’s a cool dude. Smart as hell.”
“That’s always good,” Jake said. “I’m rooming with my girlfriend from high school.”
Aaron glanced over at him. “You got a job at the same place your high school girlfriend went to college? How much did THAT take?”
“Not much. Her dad and I get along really well, and he’s a school sponsor and alumnus,” Jake said. It happened to be true. “Besides, I REALLY wanted to work here. It’s perfect. And staff get a huge discount.”
Aaron nodded. “If you say so. What do you do?”
“I work in the bio labs, like I said, mostly just cleaning up. No research. I start Wednesday. Mostly midday classes for now,” Jake said.
“Huh.” As they wandered down the road to the dorms, the thousands of students in the campus buzzed all around them, partaking in Orientation activities, exploring the campus, and otherwise taking in the gorgeous day. “Lovely campus, isn’t it?” Aaron asked.
“Fantastic. Reminds me a bit of my high school, though, internally. The buildings and shit,” Jake said.
“What city are you from?” Aaron asked.
“Hive Tetra, actually,” Jake said. “I went to school at Imperator, in Startseite.”
Aaron looked over at him, surprised. “You’re a hiver?”
Jake glanced back, a bit coolly. “That a problem?”
“No, just surprised, is all,” Aaron said quickly. “You don’t act like any of the hivers I’ve ever met.”
Jake let the moment drag on before dropping it. It certainly wasn’t any different from anything he had had at Imperator.

As they reached the dorms, both stepped aside as a row of about ninety men in camouflage shirts trooped past. “Reservist guys, I guess,” Aaron commented.
“Or Officer trainees,” Jake said. “Though with the daughters of three Primarchs on campus, there’s some Treasury around too. You see all of them in the crowds at the convocation?”
“Yeah,” Aaron said. He watched the soldiers go with a somewhat disgruntled look, but didn’t elaborate. “Which ones are here again?”
“Venus, Cora, Alpharia,” Jake said immediately. They had been playing cards the previous night, after all.
“Right. Shame Victoria’s not here, too,” Aaron said wistfully.
Jake smiled. “She’s taking the year off,” he said.
“Ah well,” Aaron chuckled. “Any of them in our program?”
“Nope,” Jake said. “You know, they went to Imperator too,” he said. “I was in their class.”
“Oh? Cool,” Aaron said. “Out of how many people?” he asked as they reached the dorm buildings.
“Around a thousand,” Jake said.
“I can’t imagine going to school with the same people so long,” Aaron said. He held the door open for Jake. “This’ll be a learning experience.”
“That’s college, all right,” Jake laughed.
A Treasury agent walked past them as they left, carrying several empty plastic bags. Jake nodded to him as he passed him, but got no response. As they reached the stairs, Jake peeled off. “What floor are you on?” he asked.
“Fourteen,” Aaron said. He chuckled. “Room with a view.”
Jake blinked. “Me too! What’s your number?”
“Zero seven one four eight eight,” Aaron supplied.
“Oh, that’s on one end, isn’t it?” Jake asked. “You get a corner dorm, at least.”
“Yeah.” Aaron tapped for the lift.
“Bah, take the stairs! Commemorate your first day with a workout,” Jake said.
Aaron looked up the massive stairwell. “No thanks.”
Jake sighed. “Fine.” The two of them walked into the lift, making room for a group of departing parents, their arms filled with suitcases.
As the doors started to close, however, the ambient noise in the lobby dropped off a bit. Cora emerged from the throng of people around the door and started walking towards the elevator. Jake held his hand over the door and she sped up, sliding in with a grateful nod.
“Thanks,” she said.
“What’s your floor?” Jake asked as Aaron stared, eyes wide.
“Uh, fifteen,” Cora said. “I’d take the stairs, but I have to get this message off before they lock up the package delivery room for the weekend,” she explained. She tapped her pocket. “Damn post office taking weekends off on move-in day.”
“What floor is Alpharia on?” Jake asked. Aaron’s wide eyes turned to him, shocked that he would have the effrontery to ask a Lady Primarch where her relatives lived.
To his manifest surprise, Cora answered. “Top floor, twenty, I think.”
“Heh. There’s a funny coincidence,” Jake chuckled.
“Yeah,” Cora said with a grin. She glanced over at Aaron. “Who might you be?”
“Uhh…A-Aaron Wabash,” the tanned teenager answered shakily. “Your Highness,” he added hastily.
“Mmm. Corvus Cora.” The liftcar fell silent as they arrived on the fourteenth floor and both boys got off.
Aaron heaved a sigh as she vanished behind closing doors. “Well. That was…interesting,” he said.
Jake shrugged. Aaron stared at him in reproach. “You shouldn’t have been so frank,” he said.
“What?” Jake asked.
“You asked her where Princess Alpharia is staying! That’s none of your business!” Aaron said, clearly perturbed by his brush with royalty.
“Whoa, man, cool off,” Jake said, putting a hand up. “I told you, we went to school together. She knows me.”
Aaron shook his head. “Right. Sorry, that was just…and she lives above us?”
“Yeah. Room over mine, actually, I think,” Jake said. “You want to just hang for a while? You look spooked.”
“Sure…why not,” Aaron said, shaking himself loose. “Sure. I should make sure nothing got damaged on the flight, too,” he said. “I flew in from Arcadus, over on the Farwest hives.”
Jake followed his new friend to his dorm and glanced over it. Pure stock, all of it: two elevated beds with computer desks underneath and a holoscreen set against the wall on a table, with a wide window at the end of the room. “I’ve stayed in hotels worse than this,” Jake said. “It’ll be home in no time.”
“No offense, dude, but you live in a hive,” Aaron said.
“Not for the last three months,” Jake said. “I went on a road trip with my girlfriend and a few of her cousins. We were all over the place, none of it hives.”
Aaron picked up one bag and unzipped it. “Still.” He looked over his bed and sighed. “I don’t get why we’re not allowed to bring our own furniture.”
“Besides the fact that they provide you with plenty?” Jake asked drily. “Well, think about the logistics. How would Moving Day look with every student bringing their own shit?”
“True,” Aaron conceded. Jake followed him in and looked out the window.
“Your room has a better view than mine, all I can see is the wall around the school and the buildings past that,” Jake said. “At least you can see the campus.”
“Your room faced east, right? You get the sunrise,” Aaron said.
“Ugh, not with my schedule,” Jake groused. “Up at five, work from six to nine, classes ten to noon and one to five, work from six to seven, in bed by ten.”
“That sucks, all right,” Aaron said. “No time to do your own shit except late at night?”
“Well, yeah, but I get weekends off,” Jake admitted. “That will be homework time, I fear.”
“Hah. Probably.” Aaron glanced back at him and his eyes went wide. “Oh man…don’t look now, but Primarch number two is en route,” he said.
Jake glanced back. “Oh, yeah. Hey, Venus!” he called.
Venus looked up from their door. “Oh, there you are,” she said, walking up to him as every other person on the floor stared. “What are you doing over here?”
“Just meeting the neighbors,” Jake explained. He gestured at Aaron. “This is Aaron. Aaron, Venus,” he said.
Venus stuck her hand out. Aaron went stock-still until Venus shook her hand in midair a bit for emphasis. Aaron snapped free and gingerly took her hand, flinching at the heat. “Nice…nice to meet you, Princess,” he managed.
She sighed slightly. “Yeah, nice to meet you. You in Jake’s program too?” she asked.
“Y-yes, your Highness,” Aaron said.
“Venus, please.”
“Uh…Venus,” Aaron said, shaking his head. “Sorry. Uh, yes, we’re both in Consumer Design and Practices.”
“That’s cool.” Venus leaned back against the doorframe. Her illuminating red eyes flooded the room with light.
Aaron straightened up as his confidence returned a bit. “What are you here for?”
“Inorganic Chemistry,” Venus supplied. “Maybe stay for a Masters, too, I dunno. I’m only on this floor because my roommate is too.”
“Oh. Well…” Aaron said, his seventeen-year-old chemistry and upbringing driving him towards a single converging destination. “I’m looking forward to living with you, Venus,” he said, sliding easily into the effortless schmooze-mode of a born socialite.
Venus shook her head. “No, my room’s down the hall.”
“Right, but I mean on the same floor. Will you be at the floor meeting tonight?” he asked.
“It’s mandatory, so yes. Then I’m heading out to a little get-together in the city,” Venus said.
“Ah, cool. Do you need someone to go with?” Aaron asked.
Venus allowed the faintest hint of a smile to reach her lips as she divined Aaron’s ultimate desire. “No, my boyfriend already said he’d go,” she said.
Aaron deflated, his momentary lifelong dream wilting away. “Ah.”
“Why, did you have nothing better to do tonight?” she asked jokingly. Jake rolled his eyes.
Aaron shrugged, somewhat bashfully. “Can’t blame a man for trying,” he said.
The night-black young Salamander laughed. “Nope.” She turned to Jake. “Can you help with the computer desk? I swear one of the legs is broken,” she said.
“Oh, sure,” Jake said, following her down the hall to their room. Aaron tagged along to see the room looking rather disassembled.
Jake lay down on his back under the computer desk and clucked his tongue. “Ah. Yeah. Gimme a knife or something? The screw’s loose.”
Venus crouched down next to him and slid a pocket knife into his hand. Jake reached up and tightened the screw, then tapped his hand on the leg. It didn’t budge. “Problem solved.”
“Awesome.” Venus grabbed his hand and hauled him up. “Thanks.”
“No problem,” Jake said. “I unpacked quicker last night. Then, I had less to bring. The thing I had to fix was the bedframe,” he joked.
Venus looked back at where their single beds had been pushed together under the window to form a double bed, and the two mattresses laid side by side with a single sheet over both. “Inventive.” It was certainly preferable to the twin beds they had had before.
“Wait, this is your room?” Aaron blurted.
Both of the others looked over at him. “Yeah, it is,” Jake said.
“Then…how did you know his computer desk was broken?” Aaron asked Venus.
“That one’s mine,” Venus said. She gestured at the identical desk next to it. “That one’s his.”
Aaron stared at them both. “…So when you said you came here with your girlfriend from high school,” he said slowly.
Jake nodded, holding in a laugh at the look of stupefaction on the other man’s face. “Yeah.” Refraining from his impulse to do something as cliché as smack her ass, he simply winked at Venus and left her to unpack, closing the door behind himself. “I’ve had kind of an interesting four years.”
Aaron shot the other boy a look of absolute disbelief. “Don’t take this the wrong way, man, but…what the hell hive did you live in that you got a Lady Primarch?”
Jake raised one eyebrow. “‘Got?’ Hey, Venus, can you still hear us?” he asked, his voice at no more than conversational levels.
“Loud and clear,” Venus’ voice said from the other side of the door.

>manus fenrpo
oh my~
Aaron blushed bright red and scampered back to his room. Jake chuckled and pushed the door open. Venus was sitting on the bed, glaring at him. “Jake, that was mean.”
“‘Got’ you, come on,” Jake said. “Sorry if that was over the line, though.”
She shrugged it away. “I’ll go be nice to him later or something.” She laughed. “I bet you got asked that by half the boys at Imperator, too.”
Jake shook his head. “Not once, actually.”
“Really?” Venus asked.
“Nope.” Jake crossed the distance between them and stood in front of the bed as the door swung shut behind them. “Hmm. That’s a good sign,” he said, looking at the bed where Venus was sitting.
“The bed.” Jake gestured. “It’s at the perfect height for me.”
Venus looked down to where she was sitting, then up at him with a look of strained patience that he needed no psychic power to see was completely forced. “Subtle,” she said flatly.
“What? I know how we both like it,” he said playfully. He stood in front of her and grabbed her by the hips, scooting her across the bedspread until her legs fell on either side of him. His hands travelled up to her shoulders and pulled her into a hug. “So…Kouthry,” he said under his breath, leaning his head on her shoulder. “I’m fucking stoked.”
“Yeah.” Venus hugged him back. “Your schedule is nasty, though.”
“I’ll deal,” Jake said. “We had a worse one on Fenris.”
“You weren’t getting paid to work on Fenris,” Venus pointed out.
Jake squeezed her shoulders. “I’ll make it work. Trust me, I’m not letting your Dad down.”
“Or me,” Venus said. Her voice was confident and even eager. “I’m looking forward to this too.”
Jake knelt before her at the bed. “Say, this is a good height for you too,” he said playfully. “Think they design the beds at the perfect level for sex on purpose? It is a college dorm.”
“They’re supposed to be bunk beds,” she giggled, “but they are modular, so who knows?”
“Good thing I gave you that step-by-step lesson about silence back before the road trip,” Jake said solemnly. He rose to his feet. “I’m sure you remember it well.”
Venus rolled her glowing eyes. “Quite. Eidetic memory, gotta love it.”
“You bet. We’ll need all the help we can get to survive in this den of dangerous and well-moneyed social predators,” Jake said. “I mean, that guy didn’t even check to see if you had a last name and he was already fantasizing about spending…gasp…TIME with you!” he said, all fear and worries.
Venus stared at him with all the emotion of a block of rock salt. “Jake, I know you’re excited, but try to restrain yourself,” she said flatly.
“So sorry, dearest, but I extract such a joy from alarming the Terran rich with my tawdry and low-born origin stories,” he sighed. She snorted. “Oh, all right, fine, no more games,” he grumped. He smiled suddenly, stepping back from the bed a bit. “The floor meeting isn’t for four hours,” he said. “What did YOU want to do until then?”
Venus looked away, as if conceding the point was a major effort. “Well, I suppose your idea isn’t ENTIRELY without merit,” she said under her breath.
That evening, both teens were sitting in the chairs in the floor lounge when the last of the residents wandered in. The RA clapped her hands to get everyone’s attention. “All right, folks, welcome aboard. Before we get started, I want to thank your Orientation Assistants for getting us this far,” she said, waving to the group of upperclassman volunteers who had shepherded the freshmen about. As they acknowledged the hearty applause directed at them, the RA gestured in turn to the two older people standing near the doors. “And I’d also like you to thank the two tireless Facilities staffers who keep our floor clean. So, thanks to Ally and Keiko!” she said, waving to them.
The two custodians waved to acknowledge the good-natured clapping of the assembled students. As it died down, the RA turned to Venus to introduce her to the other students, only to see her shake her head and draw a horizontal line in midair. The RA blinked, but didn’t miss a beat. “Well, now that we’re all here, I think it would be a perfect time to lay down the two campus rules, then do some icebreakers. So first, I’ll start us off: does anyone remember Nicholas? He moved in yesterday,” she said.
A few people nodded. “Great. Well, forget him: I’ve already had him expelled for coming in stone drunk,” the RA reported. Several people made noises of surprise or disgust. “Yeah. So there’s rule one: no drinking on campus. Rule two, and I suspect this one will be bigger: violators of the quiet hours rule will be penalized with academic demerits,” she said. “I mean it, folks, silence is golden. That said, outside of quiet time, doors should be open! We’re living together, we should all get along. My door is always open, too, if anyone needs to talk,” she concluded.
“Now, let’s get the icebreakers underway,” she said. “I’ll start us off. I’m Angela,” she said, eliciting a grin from Jake and Venus. “I’m from New Arks, so I’m a townie. I’m a fourth-year Composite Design major. My favorite color is green, and my favorite song is ‘Cascade,’” she said. “Who’s next? And remember that this is no-décor. We’re all friends all here.”
A few other students introduced themselves in turn, until Jake piped up. “I’m Jake. I’m from Hive Tetra, went to school in Startseite. I’m a freshman in the Consumer program. My favorite color is blue, my favorite song is ‘Underneath the Citadel.’”
Venus spoke next. “I’m Venus. I’m from Startseite too, and I’m a freshman in Inorganic. Favorite color…never thought about it, guess it’s green. Favorite song would be ‘Black Sands,’” she said.
“Wait, if you’re Inorganic, how come you’re on this floor?” someone asked.
“I made a roommate request,” Venus said with a shrug.
After the other students made their own introductions, the RA clapped for attention. “All right, my friends, that’s that. I’m sure you all have things to do before quiet hours, so I’ll see you all tomorrow,” she said.
The group broke up slowly, as people wandered off chatting. Venus stood and stretched, idly flipping open her vox. “All right…Jake, you wanna go track down the others?” she asked. “Looks like a message from Cora here.”
“I ran into her in the elevator, too. I think I do,” Jake said. He checked his own vox. “Oh, hey…message from Alex.”
“Alex? What’s up with him?” Venus asked.
“He shot me a notice that he’s sending me a package,” Jake said. “Huh. Well, we’ll see what it is when it gets here.”
Above, Alpharia settled on her bed. The dorm was a bit stifled, to her tastes, but only because of its other occupant. Her roommate, it seemed, was incapable of parting with her mountains of furniture. Her name was Maria, it seemed, from somewhere in one of the satellite cities of the Iberos hives, and she smelled like a hoarder to Alpharia.
But maybe that was just because she had only ever had one roommate herself before. Her sister Omegan was off at another school entirely, now, and Alpharia was alone. There were a few moments when the idea of being cut off from her twin felt like a punishment, almost, especially since her sister’s emotional troubles were only eased by a familiar environment. Still, what was done was done, and now they were starting new lives apart.
Maria bounced back into the room with yet another armful of crap. “Do you mind if I just put this in the closet?” she asked.
“Yes,” Alpharia said. “I do mind. That’s my closet.”
“But…you haven’t put anything in it,” Maria pointed out.
“Not yet. I will,” Alpharia said. She looked at the teetering piles of things on Maria’s half of the room. “Isn’t the point of college starting afresh, without the burdens of mementos weighing you down?”
“I know I’ll use all of it!” Maria exclaimed.
Alpharia stared at the piles of suitcases and carry-alls. “Sure.”
The door knocked. Maria turned to the eyehole. “Uh, it’s some guy I don’t know,” she said.
Alpharia stepped past her to open the door. The non-descript man beyond immediately smiled. “Alpharia.”
“Hi, Graham,” Alpharia said happily. “Seeing me off?”
“Yes,” the plainclothes Treasury agent who had been Alpharia’s shadow for thirteen years said. “I’m flying out to see your sister tonight, but I wanted to make sure you were comfortable.”
“I will be, if we can get the territorial disputes settled,” Alpharia said cheerfully. “Same thing that’s happened at every college since the dawn of time.”
“Grand.” The Treasury agent shook Alpharia’s hand once. “Goodbye, Alpharia. You take care now.”
“I will,” Alpharia promised. The guard bowed briefly and walked away.
Alpharia let the door shut and sighed. “My ex-bodyguard.”
“Wow.” Maria stared. “What was it like growing up with one of those?”
“I don’t know. Not like I have anything to compare it to,” Alpharia pointed out. “But we all got to know our guys pretty well. Trusting someone with your life like that tends to make an impression.”
The door knocked again. Alpharia peeked through the keyhole to see the hallway empty. She opened the door, curious, to see Cora standing there in plain view, smiling innocently. “Hey, Alpharia,” she said happily. “All moved in?”
“Did you duck below the eyehole or something?” Alpharia asked.
“Perhaps. Come! Dinner! Schmoozing!” Cora proclaimed. “Just you, me, Jake, and Venus, dinner in the Furnace.”
The white-haired girl blinked. “What the hell is the Furnace?” Alpharia asked.
“I’m told it’s the nickname for the dining hall in the basement,” Cora said. “Because of the split-level windows that face east.”
“Charming.” Alpharia shrugged. “Sure…I guess.”
“Awesome, grab your shit.” She peered past Alpharia to where Maria was arranging her computer things. “Are you her roommate?”
“Yeah, I am,” Maria said. “Who are you?”
“Cora,” she answered. Visually, she couldn’t have been more of a contrast with Alpharia, either: hair darker than Venus’, skin paler than Jake’s, while Alpharia had her mother’s white hair and her father’s eternal deep tan. “Want to come along?” she asked.
“No thanks,” Maria sighed. “I have so much unpacking to do.”
Have to go to work, so incase I don't get to say it later: I love your stories SE, please make moar!
“Sure. Later,” Cora said, steering her cousin out into the hall. “By the by,” Cora said, lowering her voice to a conspiratorial level, “have you seen the others on your floor making the same mistake as they are on mine?”
“What mistake?” Alpharia asked.
Cora affected surprise. “Why, addictions, of course,” Cora said. “Now, I may have a cogitator in my arm, but these kids have them in their eyes. Look at that,” she said, pointing into one open room, where two boys were already clicking away on their computers. “First day in college and they’re not doing shit with each other, they’re just type-type-typing! Shameful,” she said with a shake of her tightly-cropped black hair.
Alpharia managed a tiny grin. “Gad you’re having fun, at least,” she said as they entered the stairs.
“Oh yes, Alpharia, lots of fun,” Cora said. “So many new things to do.”
“That’s good,” Alpharia said. “I’m still a bit nervous.”
“You? Nervous? What for?” Cora asked.
“Just…I dunno. I like new things too, I just have a lot of trouble making friends in new places,” Alpharia confessed.
“You’ll be fine,” Cora said confidently. She smiled wistfully as Angela’s words from nearly four months before returned to her. “Angela was right. This is exactly what I needed.”
“Yeah? What did she say?” Alpharia asked.
Cora grinned coyly. “Oh, nothing,” she said.
Jake dropped into a seat at his table with a tired sigh. The others looked askance at the pile of food on his tray. “Getting a headstart on the Freshman Fifteen?” Venus asked.
Jake glanced down at the food. “Uh…now that you mention it, this is a bit much,” he said. He shrugged. “Well, I just won’t have dessert.” He chuckled self-effacingly. “I’m still not used to the idea of a place where you can have literally infinite food.”
“That will wear off quickly,” Alpharia said. She sipped at her soda and discreetly glanced down the long table. Groups of other students were throwing glances their way, but none had worked up the stones to talk to them.
Venus made a choking sound from across the table, and her eyes widened. “Oh my…look. Slowly. Turn around and look carefully at the guy at the pasta bar.”
The others turned to see a man in a ragged-looking shirt and no shoes at all waiting in line at the pasta counter for his food. He seemed oblivious to his state, which was disheveled at best.
“Oh, exquisite, we’re sharing our food with a caveman,” Alpharia said. “That’s always good to know.”
“Pay seventy five thousand credits every four months to come to this place and he can’t even justify shoes,” Cora said. She turned back to her own food with a shake of the head. “His parents must be so proud.”
Jake shivered. “Fuck, is that what you people are paying? Remind me to send another thank-you to Vulkan.”
Cora chuckled. “I’m on a scholarship, too, it’s just token. Something to put on a resume. No actual money.”
“Then…what’s the context?” Jake asked, confused.
“The Ralner Memorial Forensic Scholarship,” Cora explained, shoveling mashed potatoes into her mouth as she did. “I was a forensic science nut in junior year.”
“Surprise, surprise,” Venus said drily. “Still, that’s pretty cool. Does this school have a forensic science program?”
Cora shook her head with a smirk. “Know what my department head said when I asked him that?”
“‘No, dammit, and that stupid holo program about forensics means that someone asks me that every year,’” she said in a forced, somewhat whining voice. “I mean, he’s ex-Mechanicus, I can’t blame him, but still,” she added.
Jake smirked. “Perceptions from holos probably throw a lot of things when it comes to criminal justice,” he said.
Venus’ eyebrows rose as Aaron appeared at the end of the table and hesitated. He started to sit down, far from the Royal trio, when, to his astonishment, Venus beckoned him over. Disbelief etched on his face, he picked his tray back up and gingerly sat down beside her. Jake kept a grin at the poor kid’s expression carefully hidden.
“Aaron, right?” Venus asked.
“Yes, Your…Venus,” he said. “Sorry about my presumptuousness before,” he said contritely.
Venus’ eyes flicked over to where Jake was determinately not listening. “You were baited. Forget it. We still have to floor together.” She turned to smile at him. “Might as well be friends, right?”
Aaron stared at her for a moment before hesitantly smiling. “Thank you, Venus, that’s very kind.”
Venus shrugged, digging into her food. “So, where you from?” she asked.
“Arcadus,” Aaron said. “A city built over the Farwest hives.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s the one with the gigantic museum in it, right?” Cora asked brightly.
“Yes, it is,” Aaron said. “Have you been?”
“Nope. Always wanted to.” She downed her drink and stared over the rim of the cup at the others in the room. “Quite a mix in here. That’s good.”
“Mix of what? Majors?” Venus asked.
“Planetary origins,” Cora said. “It’s all in the accents.”
“You can pick them out at this range?” Jake asked.
“Some more than others.” Cora shrugged. “Still. I was afraid it would all be locals.”
“Why?” Alpharia asked.
“Nothing wrong with locals, but part of the idea of college is to be exposed to new stuff, right?” Cora asked.
“True enough,” Alpharia said. She rose from her seat. “Well, I’ll see you guys around the campus, I guess.”
“You’re leaving?” Cora said. “Stay for dessert!”
“No thanks,” Alpharia said, pushing her hair behind her shoulders. “I should go make sure Maria didn’t occupy my closet or something.”
She walked off with her tray as Jake looked pensive. “‘Occupy My Closet’ would be a great name for a band,” he observed.
“It would,” Venus agreed. “Do you keep a list of these things?”
“Nah, I just forget them after a while anyway,” Jake said. “I’m a shit musician anyway.” He glanced over at Aaron, who was still avoiding eye contact with the girls. “You play anything?” he asked.
Aaron blinked. “Er, no. Never had the patience for it.”
“I played bit of guitar when I was a kid, but I hated practicing,” Cora said idly. She bit into her popsicle dessert as the number of people in the room started rising. Some Orientation activity must have just let out. “Venus is more into percussion,” she quipped.
“If you can play it with hammers, I’ve mastered it,” Venus said, straight-faced.
“Man, we’re on a roll tonight,” Jake said. “‘Playing with Hammers’ is also excellent.” Venus choked on her water.
“I will end you,” she said, glaring daggers at her boyfriend. Jake sniggered.
This thread got me reading some of the 1d4chan stuff, and this shit is great, if this is the quality of the writing here, I should've come to /tg/ a long time ago.
Christine Donnelly coughed as the nurse adjusted her IV drip. “Good morning, Thomas,” she said to the nurse.
“Good morning, Doctor Donnelly,” the nurse replied. “How’s your throat today?”
“Sore,” Christine said ruefully. “Very much so.”
“I can get you a bit of painkiller if you think it would help,” the nurse commented.
“No, I want to have breakfast first,” Christina said from her chair in the room that constituted her world now.
A quiet knock on the door drew the nurse’s attention. He peeked out the eyehole, then looked back at Christine. “Ma’am, there’s a guest here for you. Your husband, I believe?”
“Let him in,” Christine said, straightening up happily.
A man in a somewhat faded-looking Imperial Army jacket appeared at the door, grinning faintly. “Hello, Chris,” he said softly. The orderly made his discreet exit.
“Honey! Come here,” Christine said, rising to her feet. She hugged her husband around the shoulders, showing surprising strength in her failing arms. “Thanks for coming in. How did it go?” she asked.
“The procedure was a success, Wally’s fine,” Eric said. “And look,” he said, digging a packet of holos out of his pocket. “I brought some ultrasounds of Mizuki,” he said. “She’s coming well on her way,” he said.
“Aww, she’s only three months from due, isn’t she?” Christine said, looking over one of the holos. “Hard to believe. I feel like Hajime and Alice only met a few days ago, you know?”
“Yeah, it’s been longer, though, I’m pretty sure.” Eric shook his head as he took back the holos. “Have you had breakfast yet?”
“No, I haven’t,” Christine said. “Have you?”
Eric smiled. “Actually, I invited Jake and his girlfriend to join us, if you’re all right with that, and she wanted to cook.”
“Jake, and…Lady Primarch Venus?” Christine’s eyes widened, and she stole a look at the hallway outside. “Oh, you didn’t.”
Eric’s grin grew wider. “You could say no, but Jake’s only in town another day before he has to go back to school, and he wanted to introduce her to you.”
“And it’s not a bother to her?” Christine asked.
“No, she wants to meet you too,” Eric said. He snorted at his wife’s expression. “I know, I know, but she’s a really nice girl. She wouldn’t be put out.”
“Well…I guess I’d like to meet her too,” Christine said.
“Good, because she’s on her way with Jake,” Eric said brightly. Christine sighed, well used to her husband’s antics.
A few minutes later, Jake arrived at the little apartment where Christine lived in the hospital of his hab, a bag of food under his arm. Venus tagged along behind him, being stared at by everyone in the halls and ignoring them, by and large. “So just so I don’t trigger any awkward pauses,” Venus said under her breath, “what exactly is she in for?”
“Gerbin’s Disease, degenerative ligament disorder. She’ll have trouble standing and talking, but not much else,” Jake said in the same tone. In a more normal voice, he continued. “She’s a doctor, by the way, in Architecture. So it’s Doctor Donnelly.”
“All right.” Venus lifted her own bag of goodies and squared her shoulders. As they approached the room, Jake knocked once and waited.
“Come in,” his grandmother said.
Jake pushed the door open and grinned. “Hi, Grandma,” Jake said, dropping his food on the table by the door and walking over to her.
Christine rose to her feet and hugged him despite the visible strain it caused. “Hello, Jake,” she said back. “How’s Kouthry working out?”
“They’re really working us in the labs, but it’s fun,” Jake said. He retrieved the bag of food and delivered it to the counter in the tiny kitchenette of the two-room long-term-residence apartment. Venus appeared at the door with her own bag, and Eric had to place a restraining hand on his wife’s shoulder to keep her in place.
“Doctor Donnelly? Hi, I’m Venus,” she said, walking up to where Christine was sitting and inclining her head. “Nice to meet you in person.”
“I’m honored, your Highness,” Christine said, averting her eyes from Venus’ fiery gaze.
“The honor’s mine,” Venus said, setting her food down on the same table where Jake was busily preparing the meal. The food they had brought was no banquet, but compared to the reprocessed protein blocks that constituted food in the hives, it was gourmet cuisine. “Jake and I are having a lot of fun at Kouthry,” she continued. “Where did you earn your doctorate?”
“Here, your Highness, 19889 Polytechnic,” Christine said.
“Cool. And call me Venus, please,” she said, dragging up a chair.
Jake spoke up from the kitchenette. “Hope you guys are hungry, I think we may have brought too much,” he said, bringing the tray over to where his grandparents were sitting.
As they ate, Jake was practically bursting with anecdotes and stories to share. “I never thought the Mechanicus would allow a private school to have such broad-capacity gene sequencing equipment, but they do. And the labs are so generalized, you can do any sort of research in them if you have a bit of preptime,” he said eagerly.
“That’s nice to hear,” Christine said as Eric munched on his toast. “Do you like the classes too?”
“So far…well.” Jake looked aside for a moment. “Kind of. Some of my teachers are clearly just there to do research. But the ones who really like teaching? Sure, I like their classes.”
“That’s good.” Christine finished her toast with some difficulty. Jake tried not to look like he was staring. Eric barely noticed. “What about you, Lady Venus?”
“Just Venus. And I love my classes, but I think I picked the wrong minor,” Venus said. “I had this crazy idea that Criminal Justice was a good minor for me.”
“You don’t like it?” Christine asked.
“It’s kind of samey, that’s all. It’s just the teachers, the subject is fascinating,” Venus said. “I think I’ll switch over to Sculpting instead. I prefer working with my hands.” She held up her palms to reveal the tracery of tiny scars, burns, and other marks of hard work that she had earned with nearly fifteen years of forging.
Christine stared. “Goodness. Your hands look like a map of Terra.”
Venus smiled. “Well, I’ve been working in a forge or welding since I was four. It shows.” She lifted a tiny golden bauble from her pocket and placed it on the table between them. “Here. Look.”
Christine lifted the little golden object and looked it over. It was a pendant, she realized, embossed with two golden letters: E and C.
“Oh, it’s beautiful,” Christine said. “You made this yourself?”
“I did. With some assistance from Jake,” Venus said. “He provided the holo.”
“Holo?” Christine looked askance at the seemingly solid piece of metal, until Jake gently took it from her hands and pressed the clasp that held the chain.
The pendant swung open, becoming a locket. Inside was a tiny holo of Eric and Christine standing together at their anniversary party just before Christine had been hospitalized.
Christine looked up at Venus, as did Eric, both stunned. Venus smiled. “Call it a gift,” the pretty young Salamander said.
“Oh…oh, your Highness, I couldn’t even…begin to…” Christine managed. Eric felt his eyes tearing up.
“Hush. I make these things because I love doing it. And what good is making them if you don’t share them?” Venus asked. She decided not to mention that it had been the work of perhaps an hour in her forge, the first place she had visited upon coming home the previous day from the distant college where she lived.
Eric covered his mouth with his hand, stifling his tears, as Christine clutched the golden chain with her shaking hand. “Venus, I’m…overwhelmed,” Christine said, starting to tear up herself.
“Good. I hope you like it,” she said happily, and returned to making herself a bagel as if she didn’t have a care in the world.
Jake and Venus didn’t stay much longer. Both had work to do before they went back to school, and Jake had promised Vulkan a full report on the lab Vulkan had ordered built with his money on the Kouthry campus. As they stood up to leave, though, Jake hesitated. “Venus, baby, I’ll see you in the car, all right?” he asked.
“Sure. Goodbye, Sergeant Donnelly. Nice meeting you, Doctor,” she said to the Donnelly couple at the table.
“Thank you so much for this, Venus,” Christine called after her.
“You’re very welcome,” Venus said, as she vanished out the door.
Jake turned to his ailing grandmother. “How are you doing, Grandma?” he asked quietly.
“Jake, sweetheart, did you tell Her Highness I would have liked this?” Christine asked, staring at the little pendant.
“Nope. She’s just a sweetheart like that,” Jake said honestly. “You know jewelling is her hobby, right?”
“But I met her today,” Christine said, clearly having as much trouble coming to terms with the fact that she had been given a gift by a Lady Primarch as any hiver would.
“And she’s a sweetheart like that,” Jake repeated, grinning. He stood. “I watched her make it, you know. That’s twenty-two karat solid. She has entire drawers of jewelry she makes every time she comes home.”
Christine stared. “You’re in good hands, Jake,” she said at length, a smile appearing on her face at last.
Jake grinned. “You’re fine too, then? Good,” he said. He leaned down to hug her. “I’ll see you at the end of the next break, all right?”
“Absolutely, Jake, and tell her not to bring me anything next time, I’d feel terrible if she made a habit of this,” Christine said.
Jake snorted. “Okay.” He turned to his grandfather. “All right, Grandpa, I have to run. Goodbye,” he said, shaking his hand.
“Goodbye, Jake,” Eric said. “See you in a few months.”
As Jake walked out the door, Christine sagged back into her seat. “Wow.”
“Yeah, she’s quite something,” Eric said. “This was as much a surprise to me as it was to you,” he added. “It’s gorgeous.
Christine held it up the light over the table. “Isn’t it?” she asked. “What a fine gift.” She pressed the button on the top of the locket again, and it popped open along an invisible seam, to reveal the picture of the two of them in their finest at the dinner. “Do you want to keep it at home? I’m afraid I’ll lose it here.”
Eric shook his head. “No, no, keep it here. I’ll be back tomorrow,” he said.
The two of them sat in silence for a while, looking at the locket. The image of the two of them didn’t fade at all, and reflected the love they shared as brightly as the gold of which it was made.
This next part is a bit in the future. Jake and Venus are out of the dorms and into an apartment, and in their second or third year at college.


One evening, as Jake and Venus were just sitting down for dinner in their apartment, there was a loud banging on the door. "I'll get it!" Jake called out, wondering who it could be. He pushed the door of the tiny apartment he shared with Venus open and looked at his guest.
Before him stood a man in an armored bodyglove of studded leather and armor links, with a waist-length cape of mustard yellow hanging from his shoulders. It took him a moment for Jake to recognize him. “Julius?” he asked.
“Hetman Pius.” Julius smiled. “Good to see you, Jake, it’s been a while.”
Jake leaned back in his chair and gauged the board in front of him. He was getting reamed.
Julius slid a piece across one of his and captured it. “So, it’s been a rough start, but it’s getting smoother. This is luck, really,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to get leave on Terra this soon.”
“We’re glad you did,” Venus remarked from the couch in the apartment.
“Yeah, it’s been too long,” Jake said, sliding a piece out of danger. “When do you find time to practice at checkers?”
“It’s the fastest board game to set up,” Julius explained.
“I guess.” Jake watched as Julius moved a piece into position to bait out one of his kings. “So…you’re already a Hetman?”
“Technically. I’m kinda new, though, so I’m hardly high up on anyone’s priority lists,” Julius said.
Jake moved a piece, refusing to take the bait. “Not what I hear.”
“I hear the Uxors make a ‘priority’ out of every Hetman they hire,” Jake said mildly.
Julius rolled his eyes. “Give it a break.”
“Gotta say, you’re the envy of rather a lot of Terran men right now,” Jake continued. “Armfuls and armfuls of fresh, lascivious young psychic women around every corner.”
Julius glared at him. “Shut up.”
“Never a chilly bed, never a restless night,” Jake said dreamily as Venus chuckled.
“Shut your damn fool mouth,” Julius muttered. “They’re all bloody crazy.”
Jake sighed wistfully. “And no ovaries! You can boink all day, and never hear a baby’s squeal.”
Julius grimaced. “They’re all nymphomaniacal psychic killing machines. Trust me. The risks outweigh the rewards.”
“You really do make a habit of looking gift horses in the mouth, don’t you,” Jake laughed.
Julius glared at him again, but he couldn’t hide a smile. “You’re not an easy man to distract, are you, Jake?”
Please, dont feed the trolls Anon. Just ignore them.
Jake lurched backward, his eyes flying open. “What?! Who are you?!”
Venus buried her face in her hands. Julius rolled his eyes. “Funny, mate.”
“I know, right?” Jake looked back down to the board. “So what brings you by, anyway?”
Julius sighed. “To be honest, my deployment orders are looking harsh. I may not get a chance to drop by Terra for a long time. Eighty Geno companies are off to some hole called 63-30, to polish off a mutant enclave that escaped the Sixtieth Expeditionary Fleet in the First Great Crusade.” He moved a piece and kinged it. “It’s really a chance to say goodbye to everyone, since I have no idea when I can come home again.”
Jake stared. “Wow. Which Astartes unit is attached?”
“Why would we get one?” Julius asked, a trace of bitterness in his voice. “We’re on our own, Army and Navy. No Astartes.”
“Harsh sounds like the right word.” Jake looked up at him. Julius seemed more resigned than angry. “Well, then we’re glad you could stop by.”
Julius nodded. “I am too, my friend.”
It was funny, really, how the question hadn’t felt sudden at all.
They were sitting at the counter of the apartment they shared at Kouthry. Jake had had the first shift rotation at the labs in the biomedical sciences building, so for once they had risen together. The smell of the tea Venus was drinking drifted into the air, filling the room with a fragrant steam.
Jake looked up from the slate he had been reading, a thought drifting into his mind. “Venus…I just thought of a question,” he said.
“A dangerous pastime,” she remarked.
“Why haven’t we gotten married yet?” he asked.
Venus looked up at him, her eyes widening. “I…we’ve been busy, you know.”
“Yeah. Yeah, we have…but the school year ends in one week,” Jake reminded her. “This summer, we could just pick a date.”
“I guess…we did talk about it, didn’t we?” Venus asked. She set her teacup down and cradled it in her hands. “Wow.”
“I know.” Jake leaned over the tiny breakfast table and squeezed one of her hands. “So…will you marry me?” he asked.
Venus looked up at him and smiled. “Of course.”
Jake brought her hand to his lips and kissed it, resting it against his lips. “Then…let’s,” he said.
Venus stood, letting her hand fall away. “So…do you want to be Prince of Nocturne?” she asked formally.
“I do,” Jake said, feeling a thrill of excitement race through him. It was finally happening. He stood too. “What next?”
His new fiancé wrapped her arms around him and hugged him close. “Now, baby, we go make some very complex vox calls home,” she said happily. “And then we go see how long we can go before we tell everyone in your lab,” she added with a smirk.
“Do I get to learn Nocturnean?” Jake asked.
Venus grinned. “Dad will insist.”
Jake shook his head. “I bet.” He grinned broadly, the tension his stomach fading to a thrill. “Thank you, my love,” he said quietly.
Venus rested her head on his shoulder and squeezed him around the middle. “Thank you, too,” she said in the same tone. She let her eyes slip shut. “You were right. This was the right time.”
And now, the wedding itself. I want to point out that this and the proposal take place near the end of their fourth of five years of college.
Jake Seager bowed his head before the robed Judge, his heart hammering. “By the authority vested in me by the Imperium of man, I pronounce you husband and wife,” the Judge intoned.
Jake turned and embraced Venus, as the room filled with muted applause. The conference hall of a hotel was hardly an auspicious place for a wedding, but then, this was just where the ceremony was being held. The actual wedding and reception were being held at far more appropriate locales: Nocturne and Vulkan’s home, respectively.
The newly wedded husband felt Venus’ tear on his cheek, and he squeezed his eyes shut, overwhelmed. As he gently pulled back, and the Judge bowed out, the radiant grin on his wife’s lips lit the room almost as much as her eyes. “We did it, baby,” she whispered softly.
Jake leaned forward until his forehead rested against hers, overwhelmed completely. “We did it,” he said. “I love you, now and forever.”
Jake’s mother brushed a tear from her own eye as she watched her son growing up. George, his father, squeezed her shoulder, biting back a sob too. Vulkan and Misja didn’t even bother, as they watched unobtrusively from the back of the room.
The room was filled with chairs and small conversation tables, by Venus’ specific request, instead of the usual large conference tables. Even as Venus and Jake slowly made their way over to the seats, and Venus dropped into one, dazed and happy, Freya Russ leaned over the back of her chair and gave her a gleeful hug. “Congratulations, Venus!” she said eagerly. “Oh, I’m so happy for you!”
Venus closed her eyes and squeezed her cousin’s hand. “Thanks, Freya.”
Farah Manus offered Jake a quick hug as he moved to sit beside her. “You looked great up there, Jake,” she said cheerfully. “Congratulations.”
Jake beamed. “It seemed awfully short for all that planning, but there it is! Thanks so much for coming,” he said.
“My pleasure,” Farah said. She had selected what Jake assumed was a Medusan formal outfit for the occasion, and it matched Venus’ Royal uniform well. Jake felt almost paltry in his tuxedo, but Venus had informed him that he’d receive a uniform like hers upon their move to Nocturne, which pleased him immensely. Now that he was married, that is.
Jake felt the unfamiliar weight of the rings on his hands. On Terra, it was customary for a husband and wife to wear their marriage rings on the fourth finger of the weaker hand, and the wife to wear an engagement ring on her left hand. On Nocturne, however, the tradition was different: both partners wore wedding rings on their left hand, and the wife wore her engagement ring on the same finger, while the husband wore his on the right. Jake actually liked the tradition, and had acceded to her request to uphold it. It was a fair price to pay for having the ceremony on Terra instead of the world he’d be co-ruling.
CO-RULING! He nearly laughed, giddy. From hive scum to Bond Prince. What a life.
His father walked up to him, grinning from ear to ear. Jake extended a hand from the couch and shook it wordlessly. Both men shared a grin of amazement and pride that needed no narration. Sandra brushed past George to wrap Jake up in a hug, nearly lifting him from the couch. “I love you so much, baby,” Sandra whispered.
“Thanks, Mom,” Jake said, rising to his feet. “I couldn’t have done it without you two.”
“Not so stylishly, anyway,” George quipped. Jake rolled his eyes.
Venus paused in her tour of the room to offer her father a formal bow. He had dressed in an undecorated formal uniform of the Legion, not feeling Power Armor appropriate for a wedding. His eyes glinted as she approached him. “I am very proud of you, Venus,” he said in Nocturnean.
“Thank you, Father,” she replied in the same language. “It’s going to be an adventure, even if it doesn’t feel it yet,” she said, switching back to Gothic. “I mean, we’ve been living together for four years already,” she added drily.
“Right, but it’s legal now,” Misja said with a laugh. She drew her daughter into a hug, wrapping her arms around Venus’ armored torso. “We’re both so pleased by this…you picked very well,” she said happily.
“I did indeed,” Venus said softly. “Lucky me.” She drew back and glanced over to where Jake was shaking his new sisters-in-law’s hands, one by one. “Dad…do you think he’ll be a good son?” she asked.
“I have no doubt at all, now,” Vulkan said.
Venus smiled happily. “Good. Let’s head home and get the real party started, hmm?”
As the procession of cars appeared over the horizon of Startseite – that being, the nearby hive walls – a Treasury guard raised his wrist to his mouth. “Sire, the convoy is here.”
The Emperor, who had decided not to attend the wedding so as not to overwhelm the guests any more than a few Primarchs being there would have already, nodded from his seat in the greatroom, where he had been sitting alone for several minutes. “Very well.”
“How late will you be staying, Sire?” the guard asked.
“Not long. Long enough to offer congratulations, then depart quietly.” The Emperor rose from his seat and, with a thought, donned his sorcerous guise. He had chosen the same one he had used at Morticia’s trial for the occasion. “This isn’t my day,” he said. “This is theirs.”
The guard nodded and lowered his vox. The cars settled outside the manor, and jubilant guests filtered in. Venus and Jake were first in by their own design, since Venus wanted to change into something less ornate than her uniform. As they entered, both spotted the man with the black ponytail and gilded uniform shirt standing in the far side of the room, and Venus beamed a grin. “Grandfather, I’m glad you could make it!”
“I would have been remiss not to offer my congratulations,” the Emperor said, making his way over. “In that spirit…congratulations, both of you.”
Jake bowed his head, a little overwhelmed. The Emperor found himself glad that he had chosen an appearance even as unassuming as he had. “My thanks, Sire,” Jake said quietly.
“And Venus, does this mean that you will be returning to Nocturne to begin ruling formally?” the Emperor asked as other guests started streaming in.
“Oh, no, Grandfather, not for over a year,” Venus said. “I have obligations here I won’t abandon.”
The Emperor nodded. “Very well. You know that when you return to Terra, for whatever reason, I may well have some responsibility for you as well, yes?” he asked.
“I sort of suspected,” Venus admitted. “What would they entail?”
“Nothing too strenuous, at first, but as your father and uncles divest themselves of the workings of the Administratum, I will find roles for you and your sisters. Assuming, of course, that you do not simply enter the military, as your sister Hana has chosen to do,” the Emperor said.
“Well, that needn’t concern you,” Venus said. “I love my brothers in the Legion, but I’ll never be one of them.”
The Emperor smiled slightly. “So your father assures me.”
Venus rolled her eyes, probably. “I bet.”
A few other guests walked up to where the three of them were standing, and the Emperor stepped back, sensing his presence becoming a distraction. “I’ll see you soon, I’m sure,” the Emperor said.
George Seager walked up to Jake as Venus made a discreet exit for her room to change. “Jake, I can’t say it enough, congratulations,” George said, clasping his son’s shoulder again.
“Thanks, Dad,” Jake said. He turned to face the Emperor again, reaching out a hand. “Have you met Venus’ grandfather?”
George turned, absolute awe forming on his face. The Emperor hid a sigh and nodded politely. “Sieur Seager.”
“Dad,” Jake said under his breath.
George shook himself, nodding back. “Your Royal Highness, I’m honored,” he managed.
“The honor is Jacob’s and Venus’, today,” the Emperor deflected neatly. “Now…Jacob, if you’ll pardon me, I must return to the Lunar Conference. Again, my congratulations.”
“Certainly, your Highness, I’m glad you could make it at all. And thank you for the token,” Jake said, patting his pocket.
“Of course. Farewell,” the Emperor said, walking back towards the door.
George watched his liege disappear, stunned. “What token is this?” he asked, finally.
“The Emperor grants all of his new grandsons-in-law one of these,” Jake said, lifting a tiny silver chain from his pocket. A small metal token in the shape of the Aquila was attached, and its surface was mottled with inbuilt circuitry. “They grant access to the Palace hangars from a distance,” Jake explained, putting it away. “Anyway.” He broke into an ecstatic grin as the moment returned. “Fuck, I’m actually married!”
“I know, how did that happen?” a new voice asked. Remilia appeared at his side, smiling smugly. “I mean, nobody saw it coming.”
“Hey, Remilia,” Jake said, offering his new sister a hug. “Thanks for being there,” he said.
“Are you kidding? Wouldn’t miss it!” Remilia was decked out in a gold-lined dress tunic and a beautiful layered dress shirt below it, her loathing of traditional ‘girly’ clothes extending even to wedding wear. She was joined by Angela, who was beaming as widely as her cousin.
“Jake, congratulations,” Angela said happily. “You’re in for a beautiful future.”
“Is that a prophecy?” Jake asked, half-grinning.
“Nope, common sense,” Angela said cheekily.
Jake chuckled, then looked down and clasped his hands over the warm, dark arms that had appeared around his chest. Venus pecked him on the cheek as she hugged him. “Hey, sweetheart, are you ready to go?” she asked quietly.
“As soon as you’re ready,” Jake said under his breath. They had decided to postpone a formal honeymoon until after their education had concluded, and were going to spend the summer on Nocturne, instead, allowing them both to begin the process of acclimating themselves to the world’s climate and politics. They were going to leave as soon as the party was in full swing, in traditional Terran style, since they were planning on having a formal ceremony on Nocturne as soon as they arrived.
>I'd love if you posted your pics from those threads here.
I'm not Eversor, but I can post the pics of his that I touched up if you want!
And now, for the arc that named this collection. This takes place after graduation and a few years after they get married.
>not in high school
Shit, thats a worse idea than Rugrats as teenagers.
File: 1357426129372.png-(54 KB, 262x260, Sad pork.png)
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Oh. Alright then...
I guess that's what I get for trying to contribute...
Eternity. It was a bloody long time.

Jake leaned back against the black leather of his chair. The ice in his cup creaked as it melted into his drink. He set it down on the table beside him, slowly rubbing his moist fingers together. He wondered. Would he still feel the cold?
Venus sat across from him. The interlocked gold and silver rings on her finger bespoke the three years they had been married. The tiny trail of Nocturnean diamonds around the single blood-red ruby on the silver ring chased the blank gold in a beautiful contrast.
Jake and his wife were a visual contrast as well. His pale, almost ill-looking skin and curly light brown hair were as different as could be from her coal-black skin and long hair, and glowing, uniform red eyes. To the wrong viewer, she looked daemonic, terrifying. To her friends and family, she was an easily likeable young woman.
Jake, however, had other things on his mind. His wife and her appearance were among them, certainly, and so was he. But the main thought in his head was eternity. Life everlasting, youth unending, healthiness forever. It was his, if he wanted it.
Did he want it?
He had no idea.
His wife’s eyes were dimmed and narrow. For once, the lack of a glow in her eyes was borne of something other than contentment or exhaustion. She was angry, she was apprehensive, she was frustrated, and she was confused. For her, Jake’s choice was an obvious one. However, she was a bright girl, and knew that his perspective was radically different from hers. Normally, Venus had the patience she had been gifted by her father. Today, that patience was drawing thin.
Jake’s jaw tightened as trains of thought chased themselves through his head. His choice should have been so simple. Life with the woman he loved, and the chance to start a family with her…or ignominious death, in the knowledge that he had broken her heart.
His stomach roiled. He grimaced and ran his hand over it. Venus’ eyes dimmed a bit more.
“Why is it a difficult choice?” she quietly asked.
“Because…because, baby, I’ll give up the body I was born to. My appearance, part of my identity.” He met his wife’s eyes, flinching away from the light from them as he did. “My mother gave me these eyes. My father gave me this hair, my skin, my voice. I might lose them.”
She stayed quiet. He leaned forward, pleading. “Never think that I DON’T want to spend forever with you,” he said. His voice was a rasp. “If ‘Til Death Do Us Part didn’t have to come to pass…I’d be on it like a shot. But it’s not a guarantee,” he said.
“The odds of failure are tiny, but grow bigger the longer we wait,” Venus said. She sighed as his jaw tightened again. “Sorry. I just don’t understand why this is hard for you. Michael and Nathaniel accepted in an instant.”
“I’m not Michael, and I’m not Nathaniel,” Jake said coldly. “I’m not willing to abandon my body without thinking all of the act’s implications through to their end.”
“They were?”
“Michael was. Nathaniel…he was smarter, but he still did it.” Jake sat back, tired and angry. “Venus. Please…just…let me think.”
She stared at him, her eyes flaring a bit. Slowly, she rose from her seat. “I don’t understand…but I can respect that you need time. The Emperor doesn’t want an answer right away.”
“Thanks, Venus.” Jake sipped from his drink, feeling the frigid alcohol slide down his throat. “I love you.”
“I know you do, Jacob, and I love you too,” Venus said. Now, she sounded just confused instead of angry. It wasn’t an improvement.
She walked out of the living room into the hall, closing the door behind her. Her hand lingered on the knob for a moment, before tightening in frustration.
The vox rang. She snatched it up from its cradle by the door, answering it before the first ring had ended. “Hello?”
“Hello, Venus,” Angela’s voice answered.
Venus walked briskly down the hallway towards the entry. “Hey. What’s up?”
“I wanted to know if you and Remilia were back in town. That confirms that,” her cousin drily observed.
“You couldn’t tell?” Venus asked.
“Yes, the emotional groundswell from Jake is pretty much blotting out that whole area. What’s got him so scared?” Angela asked.
Venus sighed. “The Emperor made him the offer.”
“Oh.” Angela went quiet. “I hope he accepts,” she finally said.
“Me too.” Venus sank into a chair in the open kitchen. “Did you say scared?”
“Yes. You can’t tell? He’s terrified. It feels like when Morticia was hurt. His soul is screaming in fear,” Angela said gravely.
Angela was many things. Prone to hyperbole? Not amongst them.
Venus swallowed a thread of guilt. “I don’t understand why he’s having a hard time. It’s everything we’ve ever wanted.”
“Interesting choice of words,” Angela observed. “Is it everything he’s always wanted, for himself?”
Venus sighed. “I don’t know. I thought so.”
Angela nodded. “May I come over?”
“I want to help. Do you want me to help? I think a quick trip through his fears will expedite this.”
“Angela, you’re a sweetheart, but I can’t decide that for him,” Venus said. Her stomach tightened. “I’ll ask.”
“Please do.” Angela muted the vox and looked down the road from her home to Venus’ (relatively) modest manor. “Quickly,” she added under her breath.
Jake listened to Venus approach and closed his eyes. He wondered which of her cousins wanted to weigh in now.
“May I come in?” Venus asked from behind the door.
“Of course,” Jake said. She walked in, gesturing with the vox.
“Angela wants to come over. Is that okay?” she asked.
Jake smiled inwardly. He had hoped one of the psykers would call. “Sure.”
Venus lifted the vox. “Come on over,” she said.
Angela breathed a sigh of relief. She unmuted the vox. “Great. I’ll be right there.”
She and her husband Michael were only a minute away. Their regal cousin and brother-in-law arrived and made themselves at home in the living room as Jake explained his conundrum.
Michael, who had undergone the surgery himself years before, listened intently to his friend’s tale. “Well…I suppose, really, you’re to be congratulated. It’s a rare offer,” he said. The surgery certainly hadn’t had any negative impacts on him, Jake noted. The tall, handsome nobleman had accepted his grandfather’s offer in under an hour, and the procedure had gone flawlessly. He had always been easy on the eyes, but now he projected a totally confident air that had lined the pages of many tabloids aimed at hormonal girls. His eyes were a brilliant, piercing blue, now. They had been green before.
“It is. I have to know, Mike…just how bad does it hurt?”
“It’s horrific. But…only for a day or two. After that, it feels amazing.” He held his bare arm out to his old friend. “Jake, the sensations are better, I’m stronger…I swear I’m smarter. There’s not a single drawback to a successful operation.”
“Not unless a changed appearance is a drawback,” Jake noted. “Man, you always looked like Sanguinius. I don’t look a THING like Vulkan, and he’ll be the donor. My hair, my eyes, my skin, my voice…they’ll all probably change.”
“Well…that’s fair. But if it’s the pain you’re worried about, don’t. I actually feel better now.” He leaned forward with an easy grin on his lips. “Jake, my friend, it’s something to look forward to.”
Jake nodded. “I see.”
Angela slowly inclined her head to him. “If you’d like, Jake…I can help a bit.” Her implication was clear.
“I’d like that, I think,” Jake said. Michael nodded and rose, trusting his wife to her word. Venus lingered in her seat.
“What do you want to do?” she asked.
“I want to help Jake see what it looks like,” Angela said. She turned her smile to her cousin. “I promise I won’t raid his memory, or anything personal. I just want to impart a bit of understanding. I swear it.”
Venus nodded. “All right…Jake?”
Jake had already made up his mind. “Do it,” he said. He paused to squeeze Venus’ hand as she rose from her seat. “I’ll be here, don’t worry,” he said.
“I know.” She pulled her hand loose. “I’ll be in the family room if you want to find me,” she said.
The door closed behind her as she and Michael walked down the hall. Jake looked back to his sister-in-law, his heart picking up. She rose and crossed the room, sitting down next to him. Her wings fluttered a bit as she made herself comfortable next to him. “Jake…I promise, I won’t give you a reason not to trust me,” she said. Her voice was quiet, respectful. She understood that he was asking her to invade his privacy.
“You’re like a sister to me, Angela,” Jake replied. “I trust you. What do I do?”
“Thanks.” She grabbed a pillow from the end of the couch and slid it behind his head. “Here, just relax. You might actually fall asleep.”
“Okay…” Jake lay down a bit, staring up at his deific guest. “What now?”
“Now you hush up and relax,” she said warmly. She rose and knelt at his side next to the couch, looking down at him. “Let me know, and I’ll stop.”
“I will,” Jake said. Her eyes flared bright, unnatural blue as she slid her mental projection across his mind, easing herself in. He gasped through his teeth. “I’ll never get used to that,” he whispered.
You do realise that there is absolutly nothing you can do to stop it right? You aren't achieving anything except being a pretentious little wannabe moralfag troll.
I would rather just watch him sit and spin in self-importance. Thank fuck he is done shitting up the board with his waifus, though I do like how he is even going through the effort to marry one of them off to his self-insert and solidify the 'canon' before anyone else has a chance to write for the premise.
Angela let her own eyes slide shut. The roiling, twisting ball of fear at the center of his mind was glowing like a raging fire. She could have found it if she were unconscious. She slid her hands together over her belt buckle and relaxed, trying to find a way into his memories.
“All right…that doesn’t hurt,” Jake reported.
“Good, it’s supposed to be relaxing,” she said. He cracked one of his own eyes open. She was sitting still, her eyes glowing purple through the lids. “There…I’ve found it. Does that feel bad?”
“No…” Jake felt sudden knowledge flow into him, like a breath of hot air. Her own understanding of the process the Emperor could bestow, and the ways her life had changed since Michael had undertaken it, blossomed in his mind. More than that, he felt the emotional mess in his head fade a bit.
She opened her eyes and stood. “And done. Not so bad, was it?” she asked.
“Didn’t feel a thing after the first few seconds,” Jake said, sitting up as well. He reviewed the burst of knowledge with a nod. She had imparted her sense of relief at Michael’s own apotheosis, and the sense of certainty she felt when they thought of the future together. “So you think it’s a no-brainer, huh.”
“I think it’s something you should have talked about before,” Angela gently chided.
“Probably.” Jake sighed. He patted the seat next to him. As she sat, he looked at her sidelong. “Angela…I think, to an extent, it’s the implications of success that get to me. My parents think it’s an abomination. My cousins think it’s the coolest thing ever. My wife thinks I’m an idiot if I refuse, and my mother-in-law thinks I should say no and move on with my life.”
Michael downed a shot of bourbon as Jake tried to explain what Angela had given him. “Well…I can tell you now that our circumstances are a bit different,” he started. “Jake, Angela and I have been sharing minds since we were fourteen. We had literally no reason not to do it. It sounds like you might.”
“Really, dude?” Jake looked pained. “Man, I can’t even THINK about living forever! How did you do it?”
“I can do it now,” Michael pointed out. “One of the things the Emperor changed was my ability to comprehend my own lifespan. How do you think men like Lord Luther or Lord Phaeron can handle being four thousand years old without getting made into Astartes?”
“Why didn’t Malcador do it?” Jake shot back.
“Never asked.” Michael set his glass down. “Believe me when I say, Jake, that it’s only scary beforehand. I’m looking forward to it now.”
Jake grimaced. “Well…that helps. It does.” He looked back up at his friend. “What else changes?”
“Well, my senses are sharper, like I said. I feel like it takes me less time to solve problems, too. And…well.” He coughed into his hand. “I understand that it makes me genetically compatible with Angela. We’re in no hurry to test that.”
“Wait, really?” Jake asked. “I knew it would make me compatible with Venus, but I thought Angela was close enough to baseline…”
“She’s just out of range.” Michael shook his head. “Not important.”
“What about your personality?” Jake asked. “Did that change? Or your memories?”
“My memory’s actually much better now. As for my personality…” Michael hesitated. “I don’t know. I asked Angela to mention any changes, and she hasn’t, so I assume all’s well.”
“So…as far as you know, in your case at least…no drawbacks,” Jake said, just to be sure.
Michael nodded. “No drawbacks. Everything feels fine. Better, even.” He paused. “If you want another perspective…I suggest you speak to Nathaniel.”
Jake huffed. “That’s part of why I’m nervous.”
“Magnus’ donation went…oddly. Nate didn’t, you know, mutate, or anything…no extra eye,” Michael joked. “But he has a lot of trouble sleeping now. I think that’s worth it. And you wouldn’t have that problem anyway,” he added.
“Yeah.” Jake thought back to what the Emperor had told him. “Still…what odds did he quote for you?”
“The Emperor? Ninety seven,” Michael said.
Jake shot upright. “What? He told me I had an eighty five percent chance of success!” Jake said, astonished.
“Different DNA, different donor, different age…that stuff matters,” Michael awkwardly said. “If it makes you feel better, Nate had a seventy nine percent chance and it went pretty well.”
Jake stared at his friend, before sinking back into his chair, grinding his hands into his eyes. “Ugh…”
“Man, I’ve said my piece.” Michael stood. “I think you need to talk to Nate.”
“No, the one I need to talk to is my father,” Jake groused. “He thinks it’s a crime.”
“Whoa. Why?”
“He’s a baseliner. Always was.” Jake thought back to when his father explained why he had chosen to raise his family in the hives instead of Mars. “He refused to enter the Mechanicum seminary, even though he had a guaranteed seat, because he hates augmetics.”
“Oh.” Michael thought that over. “I think…huh. I think I’m beginning to sense the root of your problem, here,” he weakly joked.
Jake managed a snort. “Maybe a little. Angela knows, too. She’d probably say I should go talk to Dad.”
“Wise words.”
Jake grabbed his friend’s hand and levered up out of the seat. He paused as he did; glancing uncomfortably into the eyes Michael hadn’t had a month before. Michael grinned wistfully, instantly realizing what Jake was doing. Jake searched his face for a moment in silence, before nodding.
“All right. Thanks, Mike.”
“My pleasure, Jake.”
George Seager opened the door of his new apartment and breathed the filtered air. The ambient noises of the hive were so much fainter here. He had an actual, dedicated landing pad for his aircar. Sandra could walk to her job; it was so close to the apartment.
It was Jake’s gift. After the wedding ceremony, Vulkan’s family had given Venus a generous dowry of sorts, to make a home on Terra. Choosing to build in the new surface city of Cordoma, six hundred miles from Startseite, she had selected to construct a relatively small summer home, to complement her permanent home on Nocturne. She and several of her cousins had chosen to do that to retain some connection with their homeworlds and Terra, where most of their families lived. Jake had obtained Venus’ permission to send some of that money to his parents, both in payment for his years of residence there, and because he felt guilty about living like a king – or Prince, specifically – while his parents stayed in the hive.
George and Sandra had chosen to buy a much nicer apartment, five cubes up from where they had lived before, and used the money to buy it in full. The rest of the Seager family was just a few button presses on the autopilot away, after all. Now they had a separate kitchen and sitting room, bedrooms larger than prison cells. It felt like opulence.
“Hey, Uncle George!” an eager young voice piped up. George looked down and beamed at his niece, Mizuki. Her mother Alice was Sandra’s younger sister. Alice and her husband, along with Sandra’s youngest sibling (of two), Walter, who was really only a few years older than Jake, had come over for a housewarming.
“Hey, Zuki, great to see you!” he said, scooping the bubbly toddler into his arms. “How’s life treatin’ ya?”
“Good! I start first grade in two weeks!” Mizuki proudly declared.
“Well, that’s exciting!” George said. He smiled over her head as Hajime, Alice’s husband, emerged from the parking area down the street. “Is your Mom around?”
“She’s in the car,” Mizuki said, pointing back to the lot. Alice and Walter were emerging too, and so was-
George tightened his grip on his niece, quite unconsciously. Jake was with them, and Venus was also. He looked down at the little girl and tried to keep smiling. “Hey, when did your cousin Jake get here?” he asked.
“He got here when we did!” Mizuki eagerly said. “And Venus too!”
“Good,” George said, letting Mizuki down. She scampered over to her father and walked behind him to the apartment.
Hajime smiled at his brother-in-law, shaking his hand. “Hello, George.”
“Hi, Hajime, glad you could make it,” George said.
Hajime glanced over his shoulder to where Venus was porting a bag of something up from the cars. “Princess Venus is here…I’ll never get used to thinking of her as family.”
“It takes a while,” George said. He managed to keep all the bitterness out of his voice.
You seem upset. Let people have their fun, how is it impacting on you?

Sorry to hear your ending things Someone else, I've always enjoyed these stories.
Sandra welcomed her family in unreservedly, even Jake and Venus. When Jake paused to shake his father’s hand, he caught the flash of suppressed anger in his father’s eyes, but chose to ignore it. Venus dismissed her guard detail, and they vanished into the crowds of people outside the apartment like ghosts.
While Walter and Jake chatted about the end of the summer and Walter’s new job, Sandra and Venus unpacked the food Venus had brought. “Hope you don’t mind, but I felt like bringing something,” Venus said, pulling a bag of homemade rolls out of the larger canvas sack.
“Of course not, honey, it’ll get eaten,” Sandra pointed out. “How was your trip?”
“Awesome. You should SEE the things we have under construction in the Expansion Zone,” Venus said. “The new colony habs are amazing. Makes me wonder if the older colonies will demand them from the Mechanicum.”
“Probably.” Sandra watched as Venus’ red gaze darted away from where George and Hajime were standing. “Something wrong, Venus?”
“I’m sensing some hostility from George, and I don’t think I need to guess why,” Venus confessed.
Sandra tutted. “Don’t talk about it. If George wants to be truculent in the apartment you paid for, let him. He can talk about it like an adult.”
“Sandra, Jake paid for your apartment. It was his money to do with as he saw fit.” Venus nodded as she unpacked some more food. “All I did was give it to him. And even then, it was a present from Dad.”
“Well, thank Vulkan for us, then, because it’s much better than our old place.” Sandra’s head turned as the front door opened. “Grandpa! Come on in!”
>You writers are phenomenally huge fags. Get over yourselves. I can't picture someone like you doing anything that isn't self-promoting or at the least about promoting your own prattling, half-wit stories and views. Learn to shut the fuck up and deal with it. For that matter, if you don't want people to know what kind of ass you are, don't post on public websites to display.
This from a guy who says he's on a CRUSADE to purge /tg/ of stuff he dosn't like, simply because he dosn't like it. These people are writing for fun and posting for the enjoyment of others, but because it dosn't meet with your approval it must be purged with fire? And you really think THEY are the stuck up fags here??? Well never let it be said that selfdelusion is dead on 4chan.
Venus tilted her head up. Sandra’s recently widowed father, a long-since-retired Crusade veteran from the Imperial Fists Army Group, was walking in. He started to salute by habit as he saw his Royal granddaughter, but Jake’s abrupt bear hug and Mizuki’s joyful squeeze of the leg interrupted him.
“Hey, kiddo! What are your parents putting in the soylens they feed you? You’re as tall as I am!” he said, ruffling his granddaughter’s straight black hair.
“No, Grandpa Eric, I’m not yet!” she pouted.
“Well, you will be soon,” he promised.
With the family assembled, they sat around the new table in the middle of the greatroom. Mizuki scrambled into Venus’ lap as she did, as Venus discreetly slid a few napkins under her to block the heat. Eric smiled indulgently at his granddaughter. “Mizuki, you must be ready to start elementary school by now.”
“Two weeks!” Mizuki announced.
“Well, that should be fun.” He glanced up at Jake. “How about you, Jacob? How was your trip?”
“Surprisingly productive.” Jake leaned back in his chair and smiled as his mother passed him a roll. “The work they’re doing with the new construction teams in the Expansion Zone is breathtaking. So much new design. It’s pretty encouraging.”
“I always thought that’s what you would wind up doing,” Walter said. “You loved that stuff.”
“I still do. The new setup we have on Nocturne has a nice design suite. You are all invited, by the by,” Jake said, sweeping his hands over the room’s occupants.
Mizuki’s eyes bugged. “REALLY?!”
Jake shrugged. “If your parents are okay with you traveling through the Warp, sure.”
“Bah, I’ve been through the Warp more often than you have, Jacob, it’s a walk in the rec zone,” Eric said dismissively.
“That’s Hajime and Alice’s call,” Venus said firmly.
>serious setting


Polite sage for not contributing.
Well regardless of what some people might think, I'd like to say thank you to SE and others, I've very much enjoyed WHH, and Im sorry its ending.
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Get over yourself dude, lighten up. You'll be happier in the long run.
Oh noes is someone killing your grimdark. Seriously dude go eat a buiscuit or something.
After dinner, Mizuki curled up on the couch with Sandra as George showed the others around the new apartment. Jake sank down next to his little cousin and grinned. “Hey, Mizuki, how was your summer?”
“It was okay, I guess,” she said sleepily. “I met a few new neighbors.”
“Yeah? Any your age?”
“No, they’re all little kids,” the six-year-old grumped.
“For now,” Jake counseled. “But you can be like a big sister to them in a few years.”
“I don’t wanna be a big sister,” Mizuki complained.
Jake nodded, offering up a knowing grin. “Not yet. You will.”
“If you say so,” the little girl said. Jake smiled fondly.
“She’s growing up quick,” he said as Mizuki wandered off to the bathroom.
“It’s uncanny,” his mother said. She looked over at Jake as the tour group returned. “How about you, Jake? Do you have any plans?”
“Yeah, when do I get to be a great grandfather?” Eric quipped.
“Hmm.” Jake looked up at Venus, as if in contemplative appraisal. Discs of red light arced across the ceiling as Venus rolled her eyes. “Might be worth a try. Of course…there’s that other issue,” he said.
“So…the Emperor really did make an offer?” Sandra asked, a tone of awe creeping into her voice.
Venus nodded. “Yes. He offered Jake the same thing he offered Nathaniel and Michael.”
Silence met her proclamation. “So…you gonna do it?” Walter hesitantly asked.
“Not sure,” Jake admitted. “I want your opinions.”
“The hell for?” Hajime asked. “It’s your decision.”
“Of course it is, but you guys will always be my family.” Jake’s voice hardened. “And if I do this, I may watch all of you die. So I want to know. What do you think I should do?”
“Go for it,” Walter opined. “How often do you get an offer like that?”
Sandra shook her head. “Not very…”
George shook his head. “You know my opinion,” he said coldly.
“I don’t understand it, though, not really, Dad,” Jake said. “What about it makes you so angry? You barely looked me in the eye when I walked in.”
George did now. “It makes me angry because there’s nothing wrong with the body you’ve got! You’re in perfect health. Yes, you’ll die someday…but so does nearly every other person in the universe! It’s natural!”
“And I’m not?” Venus ground out.
George flinched. “Sorry, Venus, I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Maybe not consciously, but it’s an easy conclusion to reach. I don’t remember you complaining about my biology when we met, though, or for the next eight years. Yet, now that Jake has a chance to live life eternal, suddenly it’s an issue,” Venus pressed. Her eyes flashed red. “Care to share, George?”
“Venus.” Jake’s quiet word was a request. She was instantly silent, but seething. “Dad. I want to live my life with Venus…and if that means extending it, I can live with it. No pun intended. And it will mean we can have a family. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”
“It means more to me than I’ve probably implied,” George admitted. “But I made a conscious choice not to twist myself with augmetics when I left the Mechanicum. I was practically thrown out of the seminary for that. And Dad…Carmine never fully forgave me for it.”
“Do you really want to end things between us on the same note?” Jake asked softly. George glared at him, but didn’t say anything.
“I was ready to commit to a relationship I knew I would outlive,” Venus said. “The Emperor thinks it shouldn’t end like that.”
I'm aware of what oblivion means, I'm taking the piss. As it is hard to take you seriously.
“As well he should!” Eric suddenly said. Every eye turned to him. “Damn it, George…when Christine died, I thought I was going to…” Eric’s eyes were watering. His voice caught. “I thought I would go mad. I was married to her for fifty one years. When I was off on tour, she was always there for me. She never lost her faith, her trust…we built a family together. And when she died of some…some stupid virus…” He paused to wipe his handkerchief across his face. Alice and Sandra were both tearing up themselves. Walter’s eyes were screwed shut. “I lost half my life when I lost her. Don’t you even THINK of trying to make Venus go through that too,” he said. Venus looked away.
“Eric…” George tried to snap something back, but couldn’t do it. “It’s not like Christine ever got the chance Jake has.”
“What difference does that make?” Jake asked.
“Jacob, I can’t change your mind. If you want to do this, then do it. But you wanted my opinion. You have it,” George said. He didn’t cross his arms, but he did look like he was sulking.
Jake shut his eyes, trying to reconcile the patient, ferociously clever father he loved with the bitter old man in front of him. He couldn’t. “What do I not know, Dad? Please tell me,” Jake said. “Why did you decide not to get augmetics?”
George sighed. “They’re unnecessary,” he said tightly. “More than that, they’re dangerous. And even if bio-modding isn’t the same, it’s still turning something that works into something that works differently. Besides, it’s unfair. Someone with augmetics or gene-mods can out-compete someone without them. And the MANIA the Mechanicum and…” he trailed off as he tried to choke out the word. “And even the Astartes have for them; it’s repulsive. It smells like religion.”
“With whom, precisely, is Jake going to be competing?” Venus asked coldly. “No, really, I’d like to know.”
“Fine, he won’t be.” George huffed.
“Aunt Alice, you’ve been quiet. What do you think?” Jake asked.
“Me? I think you should do it.” Alice said. “What are the side effects?”
“Well…no way to know until you try, but my brother-in-law, Mike, he has it. He had no negative side effects at all. His eyes changed color a bit, but other than that…he says he feels like a new man,” Jake said.
“Then why would you have no way to know until you try?” Hajime asked.
Jake shrugged. “No two people have identical DNA. Well, Alpharia and Omegan, maybe,” he joked. “But I’d be getting my upgrade, basically, from a donor, and he has very different DNA. It might change mine a bit.”
“How much is a bit?” Sandra asked.
“What are you guys talking about?” Mizuki asked from the hallway.
Everyone looked over. “We’re just wondering if Jake and I should have a kid, and how it could change things,” Venus said.
Mizuki sank back onto the couch. “Would it change stuff that matters?” she asked reasonably.
“Maybe a lot,” Jake said.
Mizuki shrugged. “Like what?”
Alice squeezed her daughter’s hand. “Mizuki, come on, that’s private,” she shushed.
“How much is a bit?” Sandra pressed. Clearly, she wanted to keep talking in front of her niece.
“Potentially, my hair, voice, face, eyes, and skin will all change a little. Darken, deepen,” Jake said.
George shook his head. “You won’t even be the same person anymore!”
“Will I still be your son?” Jake demanded point blank. George glared at him, leaning forward to deliver a hot retort. “Careful, Dad. I may spend the rest of time with your answer,” Jake cautioned.
George froze, his teeth clamped together. Eric stared at his grandson, white as a sheet. “Jake…how could you even ask that?” Eric managed.
“You…Jacob, you will always be my son. But I may not know you any more,” George finally said.
“According to Mike and Nate, the surgery has no impact on personality. None. Even psychics can’t tell the difference; believe me, I’ve asked.” Jake leaned back. “All right. Hajime?”
“I think you deserve it, Jake.” His uncle met his eyes. “I think…if anyone deserved to enjoy that life, it’s you.”
“Mom?” Jake asked.
Sandra shook her head. “I think…Jake, I think Dad is right. My Dad. I think you should take the chance.”
“All genemodding has a chance of failure,” Walter pointed out. “What are your odds?”
Jake sighed. “Eighty five percent chance of perfect success. Two percent chance of partial success; that is, I live forever, but don’t stop aging. Three percent chance that I die on the table. Ten percent chance of perfect success, but physical changes occur.”
His mother paled. “Five percent chance of a fate worse than dying normally,” Sandra said.
“I came here because I genuinely wanted to know what you all thought,” Jake asked. “I guess now I know.”
“Are you leaving?” Mizuki asked.
Jake smiled down at her. “Nope. I wouldn’t miss a housewarming party…that I paid for,” he continued so quietly only Venus could hear it. She sniggered.
“Can we go outside?” Mizuki asked.
“Have you been to this cube before?” Jake asked.
“No, I mean to the surface,” Mizuki pressed.
Jake paused. “…I think that would have to happen some other time,” he said.
“Yeah, honey, let’s go later,” Hajime said.
The little girl yawned. “What’s it like?”
“Bright,” Jake said. “Very bright. I had to wear dark glasses the whole time, first few years I was up there. You get used to it, though.”
“How come you went to school up there?” she asked.
Jake grinned. “I won an award at middle school and got to go to any place I wanted for high school.”
“I hope I can go to school on the surface,” Mizuki tiredly said.
The conversation was turning to something that was actually more uncomfortable than surgery. Jake grimaced at the irony. Alice noticed. “Honey, are you tired? Do you want to go home?”
“I’m all right,” she said, stifling another yawn. “Can we stay a little longer?”
“Of course, Zuki,” Sandra soothed, shooting her son and husband a glance. “You can stay as late as you want.
A few hours later, Mizuki was out cold, the food was all eaten, Sandra’s siblings were gone, and Eric, Jake, Venus, Sandra, and George were the only ones left. Jake and George were in the kitchen, having decided that their conversation had upset the others quite enough.
“Dad, let me make something clear: do not disrespect Venus’ origins like that again,” Jake quietly said.
“I didn’t mean to offend her before, no,” George said. “But I meant what I said about you getting this surgery. You won’t thank yourself.”
“How else can I not break her heart, Dad? How else can I get her pregnant? For that matter, how else can I fulfill my new responsibilities?” Jake asked. “I’m a Prince now. The Nocturneans have lived under immortals for over thirty six centuries.”
“Fine, I can’t speak to that,” George said. “But you know my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.” He stared at his taller son. “Jake, why do you even want to know what I think? You’re a grown man now.”
“I will ALWAYS care about your opinion, Dad, don’t think I won’t. I just wish it made more sense sometimes.” Jake ran his hand back through his hair. His fathers’, he noted, had a streak of grey in it. “Look…Venus and I have asked family that had the procedure, and aside from one guy who had mild insomnia, they all report that it went well. I’ll still be Jake. I’ll just last a bit longer. If I go through with it. I want Vulkan and the Emperor’s personal opinions.”
“And what will they say?”
“They both think it will be a good idea. I want to know why,” Jake said.
Back in the living room, Eric was asking Venus a few questions about the process. “Venus, do you know what this actually involves? The procedure?”
“It’s a bog-standard genemodding, really, they just use a Primarch’s DNA as a base instead of a blood relative,” Venus said. “The reason it’s so rare is that if you’re not a member of the Royal family, or absurdly well-connected to the Astartes legion, it’s technically illegal.”
“Why? Do they just not want a bunch of random strangers living forever?” Sandra asked.
“Well, that may be a part of it, but I suspect that it’s just a precaution. They don’t want to have the DNA of Royal Family members floating around in public,” Venus replied with a shrug. “Also, it’s not the safest possible source of genemods. There’s also some psychoconditioning and a few small cybernetic implantations, just to ensure the body doesn’t reject the modified genes.”
Sandra shifted uncomfortably. The idea of her son becoming someone else was obviously disconcerting. For once, Venus didn’t have a placatory remark to make. “Sandra, I’m not going to say this is safe. It’s…it’s no more dangerous than Warp travel, certainly, but it’s not safe. But I want this, for his sake and for mine. And frankly, the Emperor wouldn’t have offered if he didn’t think Jake should take it. The fact that he sees it as something to look forward to should say a lot.”
Sandra nodded, her stomach tightening. “Well…he’d know, I suppose. Do you know what Vulkan thinks about this?”
Venus managed a smile. “Dad thinks it’s a brilliant idea, and he’s already offered to help.”
“Has Lady Misja received this treatment, do you know?” Sandra asked.
Venus’ smile froze. “No. It’s…it only works on men. Mom’s mortal, still.”
“Oh.” Sandra looked away. “I’m sorry.”
Heey, new thread! This is gonna take a while to read...
“Mom and I have talked about it. We’ve talked about it many times.” Venus sighed. “I’ve come to terms with it, and I think she has too. But I don’t have Dad’s resilience, really. I couldn’t lose Mom and Jake.”
Jake and George returned to the room and sat back down as Venus finished her statement. “Well…even if it didn’t extent my life, it would still be the only way to have a biological family,” Jake said gravely. “That lends it weight, too.”
“Jake, it sounds like your mind’s made up,” Eric noted.
“No, Grandpa, it isn’t. Not this fast.” Jake leaned back in his chair, clearly drained. Sandra and George both noted their son’s new appearance. He had gotten much stronger since he had left Earth. The tight cords of muscle in his arms and upper back bespoke Nocturne’s gravity.
“Look…thanks, all of you, for your opinions.” He offered up a weak grin. “I think we’ve all had enough. What else should we talk about?”
As the night wore on, the group slowly broke up, and Jake and Venus departed for their own home. As Jake sat, silent and stern behind the controls, Venus looked over at him. “Did that help?” she asked.
“Yes. I think so.” Jake sighed. “I’m sorry Dad called you unnatural.”
“Yeah, that stung.” Venus slowly shook her head. “Where did it even come from? I’ve never seen George act that way before.”
Jake thought back to the conversation. “I think he feels that the sort of genetic alchemy the Emperor uses is more danger than benefit.”
“Well, he’s wrong. We won the Crusade with it, I was made from it, and Grandpa’s offering it to you to make your life better.” Venus’ fraying patience was evident in her blunt statement.
Jake looked over at her, pained. “Venus…it’s the fact that it might not work that gets to me.”
“True.” Venus felt the conversation about to loop back to old ground, and decided to cut it off preemptively. “Listen. Go talk to Dad again. He needs to weigh in on this.”
Jake nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, you’re right.” He let out a tense breath. “You know, Angela put a little knowledge in here.” He tapped his head. “She thinks it’s the best thing that’s happened to Mike since they got married. That means a lot.”
“Well, it means a lot to her that Michael and she can spend their lives together,” Venus said, maybe a bit shortly. The fact that her psychic cousin had had apparently no difficulty in convincing Michael of the procedure’s benefits was distantly annoying. Venus wondered if perhaps she just hadn’t hit upon the right argument.
“For what it’s worth, I think you’re right.” Jake looked back out the window at the taillights of the Treasury car ahead of them. “I’m going to talk to Vulkan tomorrow.”
Ah yes, Sage the Crusader, if you would, I'd like to have a short discussion with you in another thread.
The pseudoweather outside was growing cooler as summer ended. The rooftop patio of Vulkan’s manor was still covered in the carefully-tended flowers that Misja planted, in pots and ceramic urns here and there, and the wrought-iron railing (which Vulkan had made with his bare hands, as Jake had learned) was overgrown with creeping, flowering vines.
Jake breathed in the familiar smell with a grin. “Smells like an arboretum here.”
“It does,” his father-in-law said. Vulkan reclined against the entry to the open patio, hands folded over his waist. “We didn’t have these back home.”
“Still don’t, sadly, last I checked.” Jake smiled. “The new house on Nocturne is absolutely magnificent. The design work we did…it’s beautiful.”
“I’m glad to hear it,” Vulkan said with a distinct note of pride. The two men had co-designed the structure, at Jake’s suggestion. The manor was situated on one of the massive rooftops of Themis Castle, cunningly built to look like nothing more than another addition to the ever-expanding citadel. It was more than half again the size of the house Vulkan and Misja shared on Terra, and five times the size of the house Venus had bought for them on Terra, after the wedding.
“I suppose you know why I’m here,” Jake said, cutting to the point.
“You want my advice,” Vulkan said.
“I do.” Jake sighed, burying his simmering tensions. He looked up at Vulkan and tried to meet his eyes. “Vulkan, I’m scared. I shouldn’t be…and if I was one of your Astartes, you’d tan my hide for it,” he said.
Vulkan snorted. It was true.
“But I am. And…I want to know what you think.”
Man, the madfags sure are amusing. It is rare to see such self-importance and melodrama on this board.

Anyways, fun story thus far!
The obsidian warrior clasped his hands on his son-in-law’s shoulders, mindful of his temperature. “Jake, I think it would be the wisest decision you could make to get the procedure. More than eternal life, it’s a chance to start a dynasty.” He stepped back and spoke earnestly, eyes raised to the sky. “I fought for my father’s empire for three thousand six hundred years. I built bases, power plants, schools, shipyards. I burned churches and temples, I crossed oceans of stars, I built a Legion of a half a million men from ten thousand over-eager Terrans…and I have never been happier than I am watching Venus grow into a Crown Princess.” He looked down at Jake and smiled. “I want to see her stay happy, confident, and deeply in love, Jake. You can do that for her.”
Jake was silent, surprised and moved by the unexpected depth of Vulkan’s plea. “I…understand. My own father said it was an abomination, not in those words, you understand, but he did. He thinks I shouldn’t throw away a body that works the way nature built it to.”
Vulkan nodded. “My own father, N’bel, was surprised and unnerved by my appearance when I was growing up. He thought it unnatural, deviant. It was a sign of his character that he overcame it, and treated me like an honored son even when he learned my true heritage.” He sat down in a metal chair by the door and thought back. “When the Emperor came to Nocturne to take me away…I spoke to N’bel. I told him who I was. Who I was born to be. What I was to become. He was sad…confused. But he was also proud. And when I offered him the same thing the Emperor has offered you…he refused, because he wanted to go to the mountain one day. I respected his choice.”
Someone Else.

Might I inquire as to when more Emperasque will be posted? I'm missing it.


A day one fan.
Never. I'm completely out of ideas for it.

Vulkan looked back up at Jake, his eyes narrowed. “I still do. I know that it was the way of his people, my people, to respect death, even if they also held some fear of it because of the depredations of the Dark Eldar. Nocturne was death itself, to them, a birthplace and a grave. So please, Jake, understand, that when I say I want you to live, and give my daughter the children she so desperately wants to have, it means more than just the words themselves can convey.”
Jake felt his eyes water a bit at the pain and weariness behind Vulkan’s voice. He suspected that he and Misja had had some tense discussions of late. “I see.” Jake sat too, running his hands over his narrow beard. “Well…that’s pretty convincing.” He slowly looked to Vulkan, resolve crystalizing in his heart. “Then there’s really only one person left to ask, isn’t there?”
Misja pressed the envelope on her daughter, frowning. “I mean it, Venus. This was part of the deal.”
“I suppose it was,” Venus said. She hesitantly took the envelope and pocketed it. “Thanks, Mom.”
A hesitant knock on the door drew their attention. Jake was standing at the door to the little library on the third floor, eyes wide. “Should I come back later?” he asked.
“Please, Jake,” Misja said.
“Sorry.” He stepped back and retreated into an adjacent study to wait.
Misja looked back to her daughter. “Baby, you and Jake both want to keep working, which is great, but Nocturnean nobility generally make politicking their full-time job. You’ll need money.”
“But…I mean, math isn’t exactly my strong suit, but isn’t this above critical mass, so to speak?” Venus said.
“Well above. Don’t worry about it,” her mother counseled. She leaned over and hugged her daughter. “Believe me, the last thing I would want to have happen to you two is money problems, and goodness knows we’re never going to run out.”
Venus closed her eyes and sighed, accepting her mother’s wisdom. “This is a huge deal, Mom. Thanks.”
“Don’t worry about it, Venus,” Misja said. She leaned back and smiled. “So…I asked Jake to wait because I want to ask you first. What’s his decision?”
“He’s waffling,” Venus groused. “Eternity scares him.”
“It scares me,” Misja admitted. “But…well, we’ve talked it over, before. I’m at peace with my choice. And I think Jake could be, too. But I know you want him to take the plunge.”
“If it had been viable for you, Mom, would you have done it?” Venus asked.

...That actually makes me sad. In a way I've not had since Paramount killed Stargate. A part of me feels dead.
>implying more than one
Sure, I think its a damn shame that WHH became what it became, but I aint gonna sage my day away over it.
You now realize that Sagefag is someone who really loves the idea of WHH, but hates the writefags involved with it. Basically, he is a Star Wars fan
“Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t think it matters.” Misja fidgeted, crossing her arms. “Listen, I know you think it’s what Jake should want…but it might not be what he does. Please, don’t resent him if he decides to live with the lifespan his parents gave him.”
“I wouldn’t,” Venus said.
Misja cocked an eyebrow. “Really?”
Venus glared at her. “I wouldn’t!”
Her mother was obviously not convinced. Expedience won out over persistence, however, and she let the matter drop. She rose and beckoned Jake in from the other room. He walked in and sat next to his wife, squeezing her hand with a smile as he sat. “Hey. Sorry if I intruded before, I apologize.”
Misja smiled. “Not a problem, Jake. I was just giving Venus the account details for her gift.”
“Yes…such generosity. It makes my head spin,” Jake admitted. “You can take the hiver out of the hive, as they say.”
“Well, you only get half,” Misja joked.
Venus rolled her eyes. “Mom, we merged accounts years ago.”
“Oh, did you? I didn’t know.” The former Administratum Adept turned her own eyes to Jake. “May I ask what you’ve decided?”
“I want to hear your piece first,” Jake said.
Misja nodded. “Well, I think it’s ultimately your call, but I want you to give it fair pause.”
“I have, trust me,” Jake said. “I sat in the chair in the greatroom for nine hours yesterday, starting at about four in the morning, thinking until my eyes were tearing.”
Misja smiled in sympathy. “It happened to me, too. To all of us. Some of the Royal Mothers turned to experimental surgeries, juvenat treatments…even psychic therapies. Me…I might use juvenats myself, if it comes to that. But I’ve come to live with my lifespan, Jake. I will love Vulkan and you and Venus as long as I can, then I’ll die. I can still be happy with the time I have.”
Jake grimaced in discomfort. “But…that’s the problem. You’ll live on in Venus, of course…but if I don’t do this, we can never have children.”
“Can’t you? Venus wasn’t born from my womb, but she’s still my daughter. You could adopt,” Misja pointed out.
“That’s fair,” Jake allowed.
Misja tilted her head. “But you don’t want to.”
“I don’t know. I haven’t considered it.” Jake leaned forward. “Look…I haven’t made up my mind, because I honestly don’t know if I’ve learned everything I need to. We’re talking about a literal change in the physical and mental structure of my brain, here. The introduction of new conceptual capabilities. Michael, Angela’s husband, swears he’s smarter. He can comprehend more topics. That scares me a bit.”
“What do you want me to tell you, Jake? I can’t experience that.” Misja smiled faintly. “I have an immortal husband too, you know. Have you asked him what he thinks?”
“Naturally. He basically said he was looking forward to me going through with it so Venus could start popping out kids,” Jake said drily.
“Oh, really? Really, Dad? For fucks’ sake,” Venus groaned.
“Well he coached it in a story about his father, N’bel, but yes.” Jake smiled. “He was very convincing, though. I admit I had never thought of it as matter of spiritual preference.”
Misja nodded. “Nocturneans think of the Circle of Fire, the cycle of birth, accomplishment, death, and returning to the soil. You’re not Nocturnean, really, I know, but I think you see the point. And if you go through with this, become more than human, you’ll have the chance to escape it. I think if you were a lesser man, Jake, Vulkan would have opposed this even if he still offered his genome to make it possible. It’s a sign of his respect for you that he actually wants you to survive outside of the spiritual creed by which he’s lived for all these years.”
She leaned forward, transfixing him with her piercing brown eyes. “There is no shame in death on Nocturne. Everyone dies there, sometimes without warning. The Astartes that are the pinnacle of the Nocturnean way of life live forever, like you could, until they come to an abrupt end in war, and then they have a chance to return to the flames of Deathfire where they belong. They reconcile the fact that, on the surface, they don’t seem to be a part of the Circle of Fire by rationalizing their purpose: they are soldiers, and soldiers can die. If the worst should happen, you wouldn’t really be escaping your spiritual burden, you’d just be accepting it long after you would have otherwise.”
Venus glanced sideways at Jake, and noted the distant look in his eyes. “I see.”
“By the same token, there’s nothing wrong with accepting the life that you have and living it to the fullest, making yourself and other happy. That’s what the whole universe does, save the Eldar. And you can’t be held to a fault for it, even if it means that you can’t start a family from your own loins,” Misja continued. “Meeting Vulkan and starting a family with him is a blessing to me, even if I know I’ll leave him some day. Can you say the same for meeting Venus?”
“Unconditionally,” Jake affirmed.
“Then make the choice that satisfies your own conscience and desire, Jake, not the one that your parents want, or I want. Or even what Venus wants,” she added.
Jake sighed. “Except that I know that I can’t make everyone happy with this, and making my family and friends happy with my actions is…maybe more important to me than it should be,” he said. “Sorry, that was a dumb thing to say. Let me start over. I don’t want my relationship with you or my father to worsen if I go ahead with this, any more than I want to make Venus live alone, or disappoint the Emperor.”
“Well, Jake, it sounds like you HAVE made up your mind, you just aren’t sure how to handle the consequences,” Misja said.
Jake went silent. His hands gripped the armrests of his chair. “Is that it?” he finally asked.
“You know my opinion. You know the opinions of everyone who has a place sharing them.” Misja stood. “So if you can’t please everyone, no matter how much you want to…what will you do?” she asked. Her voice was firm, even harsh.
Jake slowly stood too. He looked down at Venus, then up at her mother, eyes weary, but determined. “Thanks, Misja.” He wrapped his arms around her shoulders. “I needed a kick in the ass.”
“So many people do, and I can only provide them one at a time,” Misja sighed.
He snorted. “Gee, what a martyr.” He stood back and smiled at her. “So…if I do go ahead with this, you won’t think less of me?”
“It’s not what I would do if I were you, Jake, but if you can give yourself, my daughter, and the Salamanders a dynasty…I could only be even prouder of you,” Misja admitted with a smile.
Jake let out a breath. “Then my mind’s made up.” He took Venus’ hand and gently lifted it. She stood to look up into his eyes, and she dared to hope.
“I’ll accept the Emperor’s offer.”
Yknow, TvTropes is a shitty enough place to hold this nonsense, though I'm surprised that it hasnt been shut down for pedo content yet.
Jake knelt before the Emperor’s desk, hands on his knee. “My Liege.” The radiant light from hidden fixtures on the walls bathed the white marble flooring in a suffuse glow. The Emperor’s own light added to the effect.
The Emperor bade him stand. “Rise, my grandson. You have reached a conclusion regarding my offer?”
“I have, my Liege,” Jake said. He stood, quelling his nerves. “My testament is written…Vulkan has provided his blood sample. I am as ready as I can be. All relevant parties have weighed in, and I am prepared,” he intoned.
The Master of Mankind rose from his chair, hands planted on the surface of his desk. “Jacob. Your name is a significant one, even if you didn’t know it. Do you know your name’s roots?”
“If I recall, it means something like ‘A man who wrestles,’” Jake replied, somewhat confused.
“Close.” The Emperor slowly walked around the table, eyeing his grandson. “In the mythology of Ancient Earth, back when people took religion as a way of illuminating themselves instead of blinding others, your namesake was a man of great and storied conflict. He was a patriarch, so the books said, a leader who founded great families, overcame great hardships, and eventually gave his name, or a version of it, to a nation which lasted for thousands of years.” The Emperor chose to conceal that fact that it remained a warzone for nearly its entire history. “The name itself means both ‘A Wrestler of Angels’ and ‘A Prince of Harsh God.’”
The Emperor paused at the edge of the table. “You will never be a Space Marine, Jacob, nor should you be. You will overcome great struggles in your life, be sure of it, though not all of them will involve fighting. Precious few, I imagine. But your second name seems fitting. Nocturne is a harsh, terrible place, where the most violent of cataclysms are used to set calendars and watches, and horrible beasts devour people alive…but within you will lie the same flame that lights Vulkan’s heart and scours weakness from his people.”
The Emperor stood before his grandson and stared into his dark green eyes. “Tell me, Jacob. Would you take his fire into yourself? Become more than human…even if it means you will not be your old self anymore?”
“To what extent would my mind change, my Liege?” Jake asked.
“Your memories will remain. So too your outlook on things, and your views and politics. You will think faster. Your reflexes will improve. Strength, stamina, mental perception. They will all become more than they are.” The Emperor tilted his head back, looking down at the slightly shorter man. “You will be able to comprehend numbers and ideas that humans can not.”
“But my personality will be the same? Really, that’s my only reason for pause at this point, my Liege,” Jake asked.
“Unchanged. I would not offer it if it made you someone other than the man whom my granddaughter loves,” the Emperor said.
Jake bowed low. “Then I accept your offer, my Liege, and the responsibility it confers.”
“Good.” The Emperor clasped Jake’s hand as the shorter man rose. “Eternity is not something to fear, Jacob. It is a wonderful thing, should one find a passion. For some, it is war, others art, others foretelling. I have a love of artifice and invention. Your father-in-law loves honest, hard work, and leadership. Your uncle Roboute enjoys the intrigue and trickery of interstellar economics.” He smiled faintly. “I suspect you will find Nocturne and Terra alike are places of great wonder, once you have infinite time to explore them.”
“I sincerely hope so, Sire,” Jake said. He returned the handshake. “Then…what do I do?”
“First, I wish for you to go to those who disagreed with your decision and speak to them frankly. Tell them what you can. And give me Vulkan’s blood sample,” the Emperor said.
“No need, Sire, Vulkan said he would send it over by secure courier,” Jake said. He grimaced. “And there’s only one man who objected in more than passing vehemence.”
“May I assume it is your father?” the Emperor asked. Jake nodded. “I see.” The Emperor quirked a grin. “I’d ask that he come and speak to me in person, but I’d rather not drown out his own opinion.”
Jake ruefully shook his head. “Yes, Sire, I suspect he’d think I was trying to bully him into submission by intimidating him. Remember how he nearly locked up at the wedding reception?”
“I do, and I find that sort of behavior distantly tiring,” the Emperor said. He held his hand over to the door. “Please. Do what you would to alleviate the concerns of those who would fear for the outcome of the process. The nearest time my chirurgeon can perform the operation is twelve hours out, the actual procedure is quite fast.”
“I shall, my Liege,” Jake said, stilling another bout of nerves. “Venus herself would want to be present, I imagine.”
“She should not be, if you wish to retain some privacy. The operation is fast, but invasive. I would recommend she wait in the Guest Wing,” the Emperor said.
“I’ll let her know,” Jake promised. “She and my parents, and Miranda and Nathaniel, are waiting outside.”
“I know. I’m glad Nathaniel found his own procedure successful,” the Emperor said, walking his grandson to the door. “Do greet them for me, would you, Jacob?”
Jake bowed again. “I will. Thank you, your Majesty.”
Venus quickly stood as she saw Jake returning from the Emperor’s personal offices. “Hey! How did it go?” she asked.
“Well. They’ll be ready to go in twelve hours. The Emperor’s personal chirurgeon is going to perform it,” Jake said as he walked up.
Miranda smiled serenely from her seat. “I think you’ll be fine, Jake. I’m not sensing any sudden upwells of mourning in your future,” she said.
“Good to know. Now, just to be sure,” he said, turning to Nate.
Nate chuckled, his blue eyes flaring briefly as he checked his wife’s work. “Nope, you’re good as far as I know. Then again, I couldn’t levitate a pencil a foot off the ground.” He stood up and grinned at his friend and brother-in-law. “Believe me, you’ll pull through if any of us do.”
Sandra clutched her hands together, staring at the carpet. Beyond discomfort at the sight of such psychic abilities being used, she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of her son going into surgery. George sighed. “Jake…are you sure you want to do this?”
“As sure as I can be, Dad,” Jake said. “The Emperor said to say Hi to all of you, by the way,” he added. “Busy guy, you know.”
“Subtle,” George muttered.
Miranda rose from her own seat. “And how are you feeling, Jake?” she asked. She could tell, of course, but she knew it would make him feel better to verbalize it.
“A little nervous, but who wouldn’t be?” Jake asked rhetorically. “Really, though, I just want it to be over.”
Nate nodded in sympathy. “Here,” he said, running his hand over his lower neck, just above his trapezius. “There’s a full suite of biomonitors in there now. Feel them?” he asked. Jake blinked, running his own finger over the spot.
“Uh, no.”
“Exactly. The cybernetics are completely non-invasive. Would you have even known where to look?” Nate asked.
“No.” Jake pulled his hand back, wondering how to ask his question. “Man, I appreciate your trying to make me less nervous, but I think I just want to go get some rest for now. Maybe grab a bite to eat.”
“Nope. No food before surgery,” Sandra pointed out.
“Damn. I forgot.” Jake shrugged. “Oh well. You guys want to tour the Palace a bit? The Emperor offered to set you all up in the Guest Wing while we’re waiting.”
“That’s very kind of him, but I think I should be going,” Miranda said. “We’ll be back,” she added. “Don’t worry about it, Jake. I have trust in my grandfather’s medical experts.”
Jake offered her a quick hug. “Thanks, Miranda.” He turned to her husband. “Nate, man, good to see you. If I pull through this, we still on for poker on Saturday?”
“Count on it.” Nate rolled his eyes with a smirk. “You’re the only man I know who can beat a mind-reader at cards.”
“It’s gotta be the shoes,” Jake finished their joke. “See you around, my friend.”
“Bye.” The two psychics walked down the hall to the tramway that would take them to the parking lots.
George slowly rose to his feet, his face pinched. Sandra and Venus started off to the trams as well, as Venus gave directions to the VIP suite. George caught Jake’s hand as he passed. “Jake.”
His son paused, raising his eyebrow. “Look…I’m sorry. I don’t want you to think that I don’t care what you and Venus want.”
Jake nodded, relieved. “Thanks, Dad.” He smiled faintly. “Look at it this way. If this works, the Seagers will be half the bloodline of the Nocturnean Royal Family. Your grandkids could be warrior-kings.”
George snorted. “Well, that’s something.” He looked pained for a moment. “Jake, you know you’ll be my son forever, right?”
“Yeah, I do, Dad,” Jake said. He squeezed his father’s shoulder. “Now…go get Mom and settle in in the Guest Wing. I need to go do one last errand.”
“What do you have left to do?” George asked as the two men walked down the hall.
“I want to ask someone a quick question, and I have to find her first,” Jake answered. “It’s very difficult.”
Alpharia set her vox down, looking up at her unexpected guest. “Jake! Hi, how are you?” she asked, standing up from her luxurious desk.
“I’m fine, thanks,” Jake said, shaking her hand. “How’s the business?”
“Quiet. Very much so. The problems that were cropping up in Croft have subsided by a lot, which might be good or bad,” the White Queen of Espionage replied. “You understand.”
“Sometimes, but that’s why they keep a smart thing like you running the show, so you can grasp it when we mere mortals can’t,” Jake said. He smiled nervously. “Not that I’ll be mortal much longer.”
“Oh, you’re taking the plunge, are you?” Alpharia asked. She smiled coyly. “Can’t say I’m surprised.”
“That’s true most times, I’d wager. But yeah. Tonight.” Jake sighed, his nerves returning. “Actually, that’s why I’m here.”
“Oh?” Alpharia sat back down. “What’s the issue?”
“Well…to be honest, it scares the shit out of me. Now that I’m committed, it’s not so bad, really, but I still want to know. What’s your opinion on the process?”
Alpharia thought carefully. She and Jake had been pretty frosty to each other when they had gone off to Kouthry, but five years together had thawed them out, and now she was one of the few Royal daughters that Jake thought he could rely on to act as a confidant. “Well, I’d say it’s in your best interest. What could I tell you that the Emperor couldn’t?”
“I want to know its success rate. I don’t think I’d get a straight answer out of His Majesty,” Jake admitted. “I asked him back when he first proposed it and he quoted a different answer than the ones that Nate and Mike got.”
“Oh, really? Hmm.” Alpharia considered the question. “If I recall, it’s about eighty nine percent.”
Jake nodded. “Okay…that’s higher than what he gave me. So…is he just hedging his bets?”
“Dunno.” The gray-eyed, white-haired young woman looked at him contemplatively, rubbing her chin in thought. “I think he just has more experience with its procedure than I do. Honestly, I bet you’ll be fine.”
“All right.” Jake stood back up. “Thanks, Alpharia. We still on for poker on Saturday?”
“You bet.” She stood back up and offered him a quick hug. “You’ll be fine, Jake. Trust my grandfather. He wants you and Venus to be happy.”
“I know he does.” He smiled at the shorter woman. “Thanks a lot. I’ll see you after it’s all done.
The Emperor’s private chirurgeon, a stocky little man with the look of a sanctionite about him, eased Jake down on the table in the operating room, several hours later. “All right, Prince Seager, any questions before we get started?” the man asked.
“Well, the usual. The time it takes, side effects, et cetera,” Jake said nervously, staring at the variety of dark fluids in their glass ampoules on the side table with trepidation.
“Oh, we’ll be done in three hours,” the doctor soothed. “As for side effects…depends on the donor. Your skin, hair, eyes might darken a bit since your donor is from Nocturne, but you won’t grow extra eyes or anything. Certainly, you’ll become a bit physically stronger. As for the actual surgery, you won’t notice the effects for several days. They’ll come gradually. Within a month, we’ll know how well it worked, and your apotheosis will conclude.”
“Have you had it done on yourself?” Jake asked.
“Oh goodness no, I have a horrible fear of needles,” the doctor said. Jake stared at him. “What? I can use them on other people, just not myself.”
Jake let out a breath. “Okay…well, tell me you’re ready to start.”
“Sure thing, your Highness,” the doctor said distantly, sorting through a small pile of metallic beads and selecting the one he wanted to use. The tiny cybernetic devices controlled the donor geneseed, to prevent the recipient’s system from being overwhelmed. “In fact…we’re ready to begin,” he said.
“All right,” Jake said, trying to suppress his shakes. “All right. Then…let’s not waste time.”
“Time, sir? Time isn’t an issue for you anymore,” the doctor noted, gently tapping an IV into Jake’s arm. “Now. Relax and start counting.”
Venus wrung her hands in the waiting room. Her eyes were dimmed, and if anyone had tried to touch her, her skin would have felt as cool as a human’s. Miranda was half-asleep in a chair in the corner. Nate had his arm around her shoulders, asleep himself in the love seat. The Seagers were sitting across from each other, both pretending to read magazines.
“Venus,” Miranda whispered from her seat. Venus started and looked over to her cousin as her hair whipped around her like a black rope. “He’s just fine. Fast asleep and doing great,” Miranda said. Her eyes flared a bit, lighting her peaceful smile. “Trust me. No problems at all.”
Her black-skinned cousin nodded. “Right. Right.” She gave a tight, uncomfortable sigh. “Did I push this on him?”
“Yes,” Miranda said. Venus winced. “That said, I would have if you didn’t. Vulkan would have if you didn’t. The Emperor would have if you didn’t, and he wouldn’t have asked Nate and Mike if he didn’t want to be well-informed,” Miranda continued. She gingerly disengaged herself from her husband and walked over to Venus’ seat on the couch. “Please stop, okay?” she quietly asked.
Venus’ pained gaze lit Miranda’s Scholastica Psykana robe of office, turning the rich purple fabric a deep red. “I’m just worried.”
“You’re right to be worried. It’s dangerous. But I have an insight you don’t, and I’m telling you to relax.” Miranda smiled again, invisibly opening her third eye and allowing the faintest hint of blue light to leak through the bandana on her forehead. “Jake wants this to work, very much. So did Vulkan. Trust me.”
Finally, the Salamander Lady Primarch managed to relax, letting her cousin’s words register. “Yeah. All right.” She weakly smiled at Miranda. “Thanks.”
Miranda slid her arm around Venus’ shoulders for a reassuring hug. “He’s just fine. Not even dreaming.”
“Don’t tell him you peeked into his mind while he was out cold, though, okay?” Venus asked.
Miranda drew her fingers across her lips in the classic zipping motion. Venus laughed under her breath. “You know he went to Alpharia to ask her opinion too?”
“I did. She told him something that took a load off his mind, whatever it was. I won’t ask.” Miranda straightened up. “Oh…good. The implants are finished. Just the injection, then he’s all done.”
George looked up from his magazine. “How does he look?”
“At the moment, undignified, but completely fine. He’s under anesthesia,” Miranda informed him.
“Actually, Miranda, can we skip the details?” Sandra asked. “It’s intensely creepy, and he asked us not to watch in person from the gantry. This feels like we’re doing that.”
Miranda shrugged, casting her red braids over her luxurious robe. “As you wish.”
After the last few hours passed, the doctor emerged from the operating suite and stood expectantly in the waiting room. “Ladies and gentlemen, he’ll be just fine,” he assured the waiting family. “The operation went perfectly. He’ll be up and around by next week with no problems,” he said.
George sighed, a feeling of relief mingling with the last of his lingering resentment. “And did it take?” he asked.
“We have no way of knowing,” the doctor hedged. “Give it a week. And I’m warning you now, Princess, he’s going to be weak as a baby for a day or two. Water only, no food, no sex, no exercise, no direct sunlight, no loud noises, no chemical exposure. I’ve essentially reset his cardiovascular system to default. No Warp travel, no trips to Nocturne for a bit.” He delivered the warning in the stern voice of a career doctor.
Venus nodded. “We’ll be careful.”
Sandra spoke up. “When can we see him?”
“Well, that depends on how much he needs to rest, but I’d say sometime in the morning two days from now,” the doctor said. “Within a week, he’ll be feeling his old self, more or less.”
“Good.” Sandra sighed. “Then…I think we should go.”
“Sandra, you’re welcome to stay in the Guest Wing for as long as you like,” Venus pointed out.
“But you’re taking him home, right? So I think we’ll just head out,” Sandra said.
Venus rose and hugged her, muffling a sigh. “He’ll be okay, Sandra, I promise.”
“I think he will,” Sandra said. A tear gathered in her eye as she moved back. “You take care of him now, all right?”
“Bet on it,” Venus said.
“Jake’s gonna be so disappointed,” Nate said sadly.
Venus looked over at him. “Why?”
“You heard what the doctor said. No chemical exposure? He loves that,” Nate sighed.
Venus erupted in giggles as Sandra clamped her hand over her lips. “Nate, shut up,” Venus managed.
“Just making it easier,” Nate said cheerfully. “I had the same speech, after all. Or so Miranda tells me. I was out like a broken bulb for two days straight.”
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Fuck it, posting my WHH arts. Fuck you if you don't want to see it.
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This made me laugh more than it should have done.
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Oh hey, neat a thread!

Let me post my work up, enjoyed the readings btw!
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The non-shooped version
Hi, Eversor! I was hoping you'd see this.
You mean the non-fixed version.
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>in the grim darkness of the far future
>there is only heterosexuals
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I mean the non-dog-dick version. ;P
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Original Hana, Sans-stache
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Thats what I said. The wrong version.
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I am still going to down the line on the tales you wrote btw buddy. I should have one down for most.
Interesting. Who's the one in the distance?
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Go back to bed Cora, you are drunk.


Right, sorry, didn't mean to cause confusion buddy.
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Cora, the Raven Guard Daughter
R63 Blood Angels.
Wheres the version of that picture with the dick?

It was just the fabric, I fixed it for yah.
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Thats not how you spell broken. First you deny us lesbians and now we cant even have a trap primarch. This is bullshit.
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Now THIS girl I remember. Rather fond of blueberries, I hear.
Because the Big 3 have explicitly said none of the Daughters are lesbo. One is bi in theory but only craves dicks and thats it.
Now, now, this setting is much too serious for blueberries to exist. We take our R63 primarchs seriously around here.
Hey can I send message to you guys on 1d4chan?
Jake stirred. The breeze across his face brought him about. He licked dry lips and tried to rise, until a lancing pain from his shoulders brought him down. He groaned through his teeth. “Oh…not moving for a while,” he muttered.
He glanced to the side, noting the small fan that was providing the breeze. A shifting weight on his other side pulled his attention away from the oscillating fan to the familiar sight of his wife, dressed in a thick tank top, fast asleep. “Venus?” he asked.
Her eyes snapped open. He winced at the light. “Jake…you’re awake!” she said. She leaned over to him, eyes sparkling. “How do you feel?”
“Everywhere hurts, baby,” Jake admitted. “How long was I out?”
“Well over a day,” Venus whispered. “It’s 0200 Tuesday.”
“Did I wake you?” Jake asked.
Venus smiled, her shoulders shifting as if she was letting something go. “See, you’re the best. You just had life-altering surgery and you want to make sure I’m okay.”
Jake returned the smile, feeling her warmth brush his lips as she slid her eyes shut and kissed him. “I don’t feel different.” He sank into the pillow. “In a few days, we’ll find out how it worked.”
“Until then, relax.” Venus slid her hand down his chest, leaving a trail of her heat down his bare skin. “The Royal Estate can wait a while until you heal properly.”
“All right.”
“You should have heard the laundry list of restrictions the doctor had,” Venus said. “You’re basically confined to bed for a few days.”
“Yeah? What did he say?” Jake tiredly asked.
“‘Water only, no food, no sex, no exercise, no direct sunlight, no loud noises, no chemical exposure. No Warp travel, no trips to Nocturne for a bit,’” Venus quoted from her eidetic memory.
“Whaaaat? Vastly increased stamina and I can’t have sex with you for a week?” Jake groused.
Venus slapped a hand over her face in frustration. “Listen, stud, you’ve got enough on your plate. We’ve got infinite time to get back to the grind, you get some sleep.”
“Hmph. I suppose it’s doctor’s orders.” Jake tried to move his arm, and he couldn’t. He whimpered through his teeth as his nerves flared with pain. “Can you help? My arm is asleep.”
Venus obligingly lifted his arm and set it down at a more natural angle, gently massaging the aching muscle with her hands. He sighed as the heat from her flesh melted into his, and she coaxed circulation into his arm after a day of disuse. “Thanks, baby.”
She leaned over and rested her finger on his lips. “Now…rest. I’ll be here when you wake up, don’t you fear,” she whispered. Her eyes dimmed as she relaxed back into the bed, letting go of his arm.
“Good night, baby.” Jake settled back into the soft sheets. “Now, just to confirm…no chemical exposure?”
“Go to sleep, Jake,” Venus said flatly, concealing her relieved grin in the darkness.
Sandra sat in the chair at Jake’s bedside a few days later, feeling some of her worries melt away. “Are you sure you’re all right, Jake?” she asked again.
Jake grinned, sitting up in the bed. “Mom, I’ll be fine by this time tomorrow. I don’t even feel different yet.”
“So did it not work?” George asked.
“I dunno. Give it a few more weeks. According to the doctor, if it did work perfectly, the only thing that will change visibly is that the atrophied muscles in my arms and legs will start healing on their own,” Jake explained. “And if it didn’t, then my eyes will start changing color, then the thing with my arms.”
“And…if it failed, and the thing we talked about at the party happens?” Sandra pressed.
“That would have been obvious to the doctor when I talked to him yesterday, he had a blood screener with him,” Jake said. “I’ll be fine.”
George shook his head. “Well…all right. You come see us when you can, all right?”
“Absolutely,” Jake assured them. He grinned up at his parents. “Thanks for swinging by. You two want to stay for dinner? It’s my first solid meal since the operation.”
Sandra hesitated before answering, looking up at George. “Sure, that’d be nice.”
“Great.” Jake gingerly edged out of the bed, glad he had bothered to put on running shorts. His back audibly popped as he stood. “You guys ever had Venus’ cooking? I don’t know where she found time to learn at school, we were always so busy,” he said, steering them out of the bedroom.
That Thursday morning, Jake stared at his reflection in the mirror. His eyes were changing. The rippled dark greens were fading into a uniform red. His hair and skin were the same, but there was no mistaking it: his eyes were transforming.
He slowly reached a finger up to the mirror, brushing some drops of condensate aside. He brought his face up to the glass, staring straight into his own gaze. The red was bleeding out from the retina into the iris. The cornea and iris weren’t changing, yet, but the whorls of green pigment were vanishing into a bright, brilliant red.
“’Morning, Jake,” Venus said cheerfully, walking in front of the entrance to the bathroom. She had had to leave early for a meeting with the Chancellor. As she crossed the door, she paused, taking in his pose. “You all right, baby?”
Jake silently beckoned her over. She stood by his side, looking in confusion as he held his nose to the glass. “Venus, go get your mirror glasses, all right?” he asked. His voice was cut with urgency.
Venus blinked in surprise, but did as she was told. She brought the glasses to him and slid them onto her face.
Jake straightened up and gently squeezed her shoulders, holding her still. He brought his eyes up to her own, and he could see the little ovals of fire widen behind the mirrored lenses.
“Oh! Your eyes…they’re shifting!” she said in surprise. “Wow…well, how do you feel?”
“I can’t feel a thing,” Jake admitted. His voice was hollow. “But…well.”
“You wanted to keep your mother’s eyes,” Venus said in sympathy. “Well, we took those pictures before the operation, you can have your eyes surgically altered to look like your old ones again.”
Jake turned back to the mirror, staring at his reflection. “Let’s see what else changes,” he whispered.
Like, all the fucking time. Apparently lesbians fuck with the lore or some shit. I mean, /I/ thought lesbians just fucked with other chicks, but whatever. Its your little setting, not mine.
Doesn't matter, since my input is not appreciated due to my lack of a name.
Alpharia set the bowl of chips down on the table in her modest house, looking at the well-worn leather case on the table. “Hey, more money for me!”
“Dream on,” Freya snorted. She ran her hands over the case, remembering when she had bought it. “Man, we broke that thing in fast,” she muttered. “Several nights a week for the rest of the summer.”
Jake sat down next to her, grinning up at her from behind his sunglasses. “I hope you’ve been practicing.”
“Bah, I don’t need practice,” she scoffed. She smiled happily at the pile of clay chips Jake was pulling out of the box. “I’m glad you were up to this.”
Jake nodded emphatically. “Me too!” He saw Nate and Remilia wander in, completing the assembly.
Nate immediately dropped a large bag of something tasty-smelling on the table. “Hey, all, hope everyone’s hungry.”
“Always,” Remilia said. She looked over at where Jake and Venus were sitting. “So…don’t keep us in suspense, you two. How did it go?” she asked.
Jake looked sideways at Venus, arcing an eyebrow over his sunglasses, which he had retained only to heighten the mood. “Well…” he drawled laconically, pulling them off. “You know how these things go.”
Freya actually gasped. The others made similar, more muted sounds of surprise. Jake’s irises were now constantly-moving circles of red. They both looked like currents of glowing paint, swirling around his pupils. They weren’t glowing with actual light, but the effect was still profound.
“Holy shit,” Nate murmured. “All mine did were change color.”
“Yeah, this was something of a surprise,” Jake admitted. He smiled. “Looks rad, though. This happened in less than two days,” he said, gesturing at his face.
“So does this mean more will happen?”
“If it continues, you bet,” Jake said. He grabbed a steaming sandwich from the bag. “At this rate, I’ll look like Vulkan in under a month.”
Alpharia gaped. “Are you serious?” she demanded.
“No, all I’m due for is a slight change in skin tone, now,” Jake said. “I was just poking fun.”
Freya let out a breath. “Well…that’s going to take some getting used to.” She leaned over him, staring intently. “Did it hurt?”
“Not at all.” Jake shrugged. “Do I look different any other way?”
“…No, but you do have a different…sense, I guess,” Freya said.
“Do I smell or sound different yet?” he asked.
“Yeah, just a little.” She narrowed her eyes, staring into his. “It’s actually kinda fun to watch,” she said.
“Well, the only other thing I’ve noticed is increased heat resistance,” Jake said. “I accidentally set my hand on a handle for a cast-iron skillet that had been over an element for fifteen minutes and it barely felt uncomfortable.” He opened his hand. It was unmarked. “I mean, I still can’t handle heat like Venus can, but I seriously felt almost nothing.”
“Are the rest of your senses dulling?” Remilia asked.
“Not at all.” Jake sat back in his seat and grabbed a pack of cards from the chip set. “Honestly, I feel great.”
“Good,” Nate said. His eyes flashed for a moment. “You mind?” At Jake’s shrug, he ran his own mind over the contours of Jake’s. “Huh. Basically the same.”
“Well, if it’s gonna change, it’ll be over the next few weeks.” Jake cut the cards. “I sort of prepared for this. It’s a small price to pay.”
“What do your parents think? I know they were both dreading this,” Nate said.
“I haven’t seen them since it started.” Jake anted up. “Who’s in?”
Wow angry much Anon? The guy is going out of his way to be nice and all you can do is baww, about him and 2 other writefags deciding to coordinate their stories. If you dislike it make your own stories, it isnt like this shit is copyrighted, and even if it was this is 4chan copyright dosnt count for much here.
Nearly one full month after the operation, Jake sat at the dinner table in his parents’ new apartment, talking to his family, and trying not to weird them out overmuch. Mizuki was balanced in his lap, staring up at her cousin in amazement that stood in stark contrast to her parents’ mixture of disgust and shock. “Did it hurt at all?” she asked.
“The surgery? A lot. The changes? Not at all,” Jake said. He smiled down at the little girl in his lap. “Want to see?”
“Yes!” she said, scooting up to look into his eyes. Jake relaxed and opened his eyes as wide as he could, and Mizuki stared into them, entranced. “THAT’S SO COOL!” she squealed.
Jake grinned broadly. “Sure is.” He looked up at Alice and Hajime, who were looked far less enthused. “Right, guys?” he asked pointedly.
“It’s certainly different,” Hajime murmured. He looked at the tan Jake was sporting as his skin darkened. “Do you know how much more you’ll change?”
“Yep, this is about it, physically,” Jake said. He hefted his free hand and held it open. His cuticles, tongue, eyelids, all of his skin had darkened. Where before he had been so pale that one could follow the veins under his skin, now he looked like a Tallarn. “Mentally, the changes will be so slow and subtle that I won’t even notice. So…this is the new me.” He grinned down at his cousin in his lap. “So, what do you think? Am I still Jake?”
“I think so,” Mizuki decided.
“You do? That’s a relief,” Jake confessed. “I wouldn’t want to creep you out.”
“I think your skin’s too dark, though, you look like you fell asleep in a tanning bed like that one time,” Mizuki said.
“Hey, that wasn’t even me!” Jake protested. “That was totally in a movie.” He gestured over to where Venus was sitting, chatting with Sandra about something. “You don’t think Venus is too dark,” he pointed out.
“Yeah, but she always looks like that,” Mizuki pointed out. “I’m not used to you looking like this.”
Jake gently let her down to the floor. “Well, it’s permanent. I suspect you’ll get used to it,” he said.
Mizuki’s hand lingered on his. “Are you sure you’re all right? Your hand is really warm. It’s like you have a fever.”
“Thanks, but I’m fine.” Jake pulled his hand back, smiling to reassure her. “This is just how my skin feels now.”
“It’s hot.”
“Not as much as Venus’. Is it too hot? Does it hurt to touch?” he asked.
“No, it’s just hot,” she said. She looked up at him again. “So do you feel different?”
Jake shrugged. “Actually…not really. I mean, I’m a little bit stronger and faster, but I can’t even notice it. Seriously, I forget it happened if I’m just sitting around doing something that needs focus. Then I pass by a mirror and ‘Oh yeah, that thing that happened.’”
George finally spoke up. “At least your facial structure didn’t change, right?”
“Nope, still mine,” Jake said, rubbing his chin. His facial hair was a little bit darker, but not as much as his scalp hair. Where his tight curls had been light brown, now they were a deep brown. “So…what’s the verdict?” he asked of the room.
His parents had spoken of it before, of course, and even seen it in person, but the others hadn’t. Walter shrugged. “Man, George is right. This is going to take some getting used to. Still, it looks natural. I don’t know if I prefer it,” he said.
“Hmm.” Jake sighed. “Well. We’ll have time. Now, I talked it over with your parents, Mizuki, and we’ve decided that this is as good a time as any to visit the surface.”
“REALLY?!” she gasped, overjoyed.
“Sure. Do you still want to go?” he asked.
“Yes! Where are we going?” she eagerly asked, as her parents stood.
“You get to pick!” Venus announced.
Mizuki’s little face screwed up in sudden concentration. “But I don’t know any places up there! What do I get to pick from?”
“Well, do you want to go to someplace public, or private?” Venus asked.
“Public! I want to meet people,” Mizuki declared.
“Okay…do you want to go outside or see the buildings?” Venus continued.
“I want to see what the place you and Jake went to school at looks like,” Mizuki said as a thought occurred to her.
“Sure,” Venus said. “It’s called ‘Imperator High.’ It’s called that because it was founded on the last day of the Crusade,” she added. The group slowly made their way out to the cars, handling the questions that Mizuki was eagerly posing, until they fell into formation in the skylanes and took off.
En route, Jake noted Venus discreetly tapping a few commands in her vox. “What are you up to?” he asked.
“Making sure of something,” she enigmatically replied. Jake cocked a brow, but kept his questions stowed. Let her be mysterious.
Mizuki tucked Venus’ sunglasses over her eyes and stared up at the sky with her mouth wide open. “WOW! It’s so BRIGHT!”
“It’s actually pretty cloudy today, if you can believe that,” Jake said. He smiled down at the girl who was having her mind so thoroughly blown, remembering when he had had the same experience. “It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?”
“It’s HUGE! It feels like I’m falling!” Mizuki said. “And it’s so quiet up here too!”
“It feels that way, but people can hear just fine up here,” Jake said. Walter, who had likewise never been out of the hives, was trying not to look impressed, and failing completely, if somewhat less overtly than his niece. Hajime and Alice were looking around in wonder, too, though they had both been topside before. George and Sandra, of course, had seen it many times, and Eric had seen more than his fair share of jungle combat, and found the display entirely unremarkable.
The old soldier had been quiet the entire time, however, only fielding the rarest of questions that Venus and Jake couldn’t answer. At length, however, he spoke up as the group approached the school. “Jake, do you ever think about living in the hives again?”
“All the time,” Jake said, surprising his parents. “Nobody knows their neighbors up here. It’s so expensive. There’s stuff I miss a lot.” He turned to smile at Venus. “But we built a house up here. I wouldn’t walk away from that.”
“Hmm.” Eric looked up at the huge school building, which was an eclectic mix of gothic and pragmatic design that towered over the surrounding manors. “Hell of a building,” he muttered. “Looks like the Munitorum office I worked in back on Maractane.”
“I bet Rogal Dorn designed both,” Venus piped up.
“No, this place was built when he was still stationed on the same planet as me, at the end of the Crusade, before he moved back to Inwit.” Eric shook his head. “It’s still amazing.”
“It is.” Venus walked up to the door and acknowledged the guard’s salute with a nod. “Afternoon, Private.”
“My Lady Venus, Lord Jacob, welcome back,” the aging guard said. “What can we do for you?”
“Is she in?” Venus asked.
“She is indeed, my Lady. Shall I page her? She may be in a conference.”
“Oh, I just won’t bother her,” Venus said. “Thanks.
Jake led the group into the building, pointing out a few details that had changed since he left. “Those doors there are where guests had to go to sign in. It was a zoo. So many students had mercenary guard details or something, and they were never allowed inside, so they had to just wait.” Jake chuckled. “So stupid. There was never any violence here. Well, armed violence.”
“That was the entrance to the assembly hall,” Venus said. She propped the door open an inch and saw a small group of students doing something on the stage. “Looks like we can’t go in, though.”
“My stars! Venus! Is that you?” a voice from ahead of them asked. The group turned to see a graying man in a rumpled-looking tweed vest gaping at her.
“Wow, Professor Blenkach! Been a hell of a long time!” she said, happily shaking his hand.
“It has! Look at you!” he said, holding her at arm’s length. Even in her modest denim jacket, she cut a beautiful figure. “You look amazing, Venus. It’s great to see you after all this time!”
“It’s good to see you, too, Professor, but what are you doing here after school let out?” Venus asked as Jake walked up behind them.
“Oh, just paperwork,” he scoffed. “I swear, I did less in the Munitorum.”
“Hey, Professor,” Jake said.
Blenkach turned. “Uh, hello,” he said. His mind raced as he tried to put a name to the face. “Oh! Jacob! Wow, I almost didn’t recognize you. How are you?”
“Just fine, Adam, thanks.” Jake gestured at the group. “My parents, grandfather, cousin, aunt, and uncles. We’re just here to see the old stomping grounds.”
“I see. Well, that…oh,” Blenkach started as he saw the matching Nocturnean rings on their hands. “So you two stayed an item, then?” he asked slyly. “Good on you both.”
“We did.” Venus smiled. “He’s the Bond Prince of Nocturne now, in fact.”
Blenkach stared at them both for a moment. “Well…quite a promotion,” he said at last. “Congratulations to you both.”
“Thanks, Professor,” Venus said for the two of them.
“I’d love to talk, but I need to hand these in to Headmaster Sebastian,” Blenkach sighed, straightening the papers in his hands. “Do drop by again.”
Jake grinned. “We just might. So long, Professor.”
As Blenkach walked off, Jake and Venus shared a wry grin. “Hmm. Seems he got the anti-aging procedure too, because I swear he hasn’t aged a day,” Jake noted.
“Hee hee, feisty old coot.” Venus looked back at the others. “My old history professor. Former political officer from the 194th Army Group.”
“He always thought I was going to join the Army for some reason,” Jake noted. “Can’t imagine why.”
“Is it true you’ve got former Astartes on staff here?” Mizuki asked, wide-eyed.
Faith looked up from the student she was speaking to and started as she saw her cousin walk in. Venus saw that she was busy and backed out with a wink. “She’s busy, we can come back,” Venus said.
“No, no, come in!” Faith called. She turned to smile at the nervous-looking boy in front of her. “You let me know when you’re finished, all right? Your group needs that.”
“I will, Miss Aurelian,” the boy said, picking up his bag. “Thanks for your help.”
“No problem. See you next class,” Faith said, watching him go. “Venus, come on in. How are you?”
“I’m doing well, Faith, how about you?” Venus asked.
Faith walked over to the group. “I’m great. This job is incredibly rewarding. Who knew I was good with kids?” she asked.
Jake extended a hand to her. “Hey, Faith.”
Faith paused, looking at him with naked astonishment. “…Jake?”
Jake nodded. “It’s me. I got a paint job, but…”
“Jake! Wow, look at you!” Faith said. “Congratulations!”
“Thanks,” he said, finally shaking her hand. “Oh, my parents, George and Sandra Seager, and grandfather Eric Donnelly. My Uncle Hajime and Aunt Alice, and their daughter Mizuki, and my Uncle Wallace.” He gestured to them all in turn as Faith shook hands and smiled. “And this is my sister-in-law, Professor and Lady Primarch Faith Aurelian.”
“Well, not yet, until I finish my thesis and get the actual piece of paper,” Faith admitted with a warm grin. “So, for now at least, it’s just Faith, please.”
Mizuki boggled. “Wow. You’re a teacher here?” she asked.
Hajime grabbed her shoulder to silence her, but Faith was nodding. “Yep. Ninth grade biology.” She saw the gesture and waved it away. “Believe me, it’s nothing I didn’t get from the students here. Or the faculty! They were so confused. ‘You…want to…teach?’” she mimed the headmaster’s shock.
“Don’t let us interrupt, Faith,” Venus said. Faith shook her concerns off.
“No, I’m pretty much done for the day. What are you all doing here, anyway?” she asked.
“Well, we wanted to bring Mizuki up to see the surface for the first time,” Jake said, smiling fondly at his cousin.
Faith smiled and stepped back slightly. “And how do you think it is, Mizuki?”
“Big. Really big. And everything’s so bright,” she said, clearly a little overwhelmed by everything.
Faith noticed. “Well, you have fun up here. I need to go get back to work on the papers,” Faith sighed. “Grading. It never ends.”
“How’s your own paper coming along?” Jake asked.
Faith snorted. “Slowly. I should have picked something with fewer interviews.”
“Hmm. Well, good luck.” Venus and company filed out as Faith grabbed her jacket from the back of her chair. She caught Jake’s eye as he moved to follow.
“Hey, Jake. How did it go?” she asked.
“Well enough that the pain is long gone, but the doctor says I’ll look like this for the rest of time,” Jake said quietly. He held his hand before his face. “I don’t quite know how to feel.”
Faith watched as he ran his hands together. “I think you’ll adapt. Give it a few decades and you won’t even remember being a different color.”
“I hope I do. I wouldn’t want to forget.” He turned his alien eyes on her, wondering what to say. “I’m still me, though.”
“I can tell.” Faith slid her jacket on and gave him a quick hug. “Hang in there. It’ll be alright.”
Outside, Venus was showing them another of the trophies in the hall. When Jake and Faith emerged, she paused. “Hey. I was thinking we show them our terrible secret,” Venus said.
“We have a terrible secret?” Jake asked.
“Yes. You know, the study hall.”
Jake rolled his eyes. “Sure, why not.” As Venus took off down the hall, Jake turned to explain. “You guys will love this.”
“What are you two even talking about?” Eric asked.
Jake smiled. “The room where we met. Originally, it served a much darker function in my mind.”
George winced. “Oh, I remember that. You were just…ugh.”
“Yeah, that was bad.” Jake paused outside the study hall on the first floor, looking into the rows of students serving detentions, waiting for late busses, or just hanging out. “Right…there, at that table. That was where Farah introduced us,” Jake said, pointing.
“It was,” Venus said. She walked up next to him, leaning her head on his shoulder for a moment. “A good call on her part, I think,” she said quietly.
Walter let them have their moment before asking the obvious question. “So…what was its darker function?”
“Oh, yeah,” Jake said, stepping back from the door. “I got dumped by her cousin at that same table.”
“You came home a complete mess,” George said in sympathy.
Jake sighed. “How Hana and I stayed friends after that, I’ll never know.”
“You stayed friends because she wanted someone to boss around, and lead about by the…hand,” Venus said, mindful of the presence of little Mizuki.
“So true. She grew out of it, though.” Jake let his eyes travel the familiar rows of seats and benches, remembering. “How does it feel like so long ago when it wasn’t even a decade?”
“It was a very busy decade,” Venus chuckled.
Someone in the room recognized her and gasped. Before anyone could do anything, she took a long step back out of the doorframe and into the hall. “Welp, that’s our cue. Mizuki, do you want to stay here or go somewhere else?” she asked.
“I want to see the pool,” Mizuki said.
Venus nodded. “Ah, my old lair. That was my lair,” she said. “My room, my cave, my haunt.” She led the group through the empty halls to the gym area, pausing at the door. “Oh…it’s Friday. Blast. Races today,” she said. She thought for a moment. “Eh. It’s public,” she said. She pushed the door open and walked in.
The smell of chlorine assaulted the group’s senses, bringing a wistful grin to Venus’ face. “Wow. What a time trip,” she said. She looked out over the pool from the spectator area in which they found themselves. She retrieved her sunglasses and slid them on so she didn’t distract the racers. “Hey, Jake, remember the time I was in a Sectionals race and I could barely walk from that leg cramp?” she chuckled.
“Oh, that was a disaster. You came in second place instead of first,” Jake joked.
“Hey, I was sad,” Venus huffed.
“Now, this, more than anything, takes me back,” Sandra said. “I remember the ONE time Vulkan showed up to watch a race and nobody got anything done until he left because his security guards were scaring everyone.”
Venus groaned. “Oh man, we were both so embarrassed…”
“Can we go in?” Mizuki asked.
Hajime squeezed her hand. “No, honey, they’re having races today,” he said. “Venus, is the pool open other days?”
“All the time, they let anyone come in,” she said.
“Maybe we can come back on a weekend,” Hajime said to his daughter.
>If you dislike it make your own stories
People did that in the past, only to have their work dubbed ”noncanon”. They /want/ it to be closed loop. They only pretend to reach out a hand to others, only to pull it away again if their promises become inconvenient for them. I'm no stranger to the way these guys operate and it disgusts me as much as their stories do.
“Not here, Hajime, trust me,” Jake said. “You’ll want to go to one of the public pools in the city proper. They don’t like hivers much around here,” he added, his voice frosting over.
“Ooh, the thing in the…yeah,” Venus said, halting before she could get too personal. “Well, that’s it…unless you want to show something, Jake?” she asked.
“No, I want to go to the overlook now,” Jake said. He tapped his pocket with a loaded look.
Venus took the hint. “One last stop then, you guys,” she said. She turned to Mizuki and grinned behind her shades. “Trust me, we saved the best for last.”
Cora lifted her vox and smiled when she saw the caller ID. “Hello?”
“Cora! It’s Venus. How are you?” Venus asked.
“Great! I got the contract,” Cora proclaimed.
“Oh, awesome. Did you get both distributors?” Venus asked, inquiring of the construction project Cora’s company was undertaking.
“Both, but one of them wanted an ear, an eye, an arm, and a leg, so they might have to suck it up,” Cora said. “What’s up?”
“Well, Jake’s bringing his cousins on a tour of the surface, and he wanted to know if he could let his six-year-old cousin take pictures from the roof of the Spire,” Venus asked. The group were in their cars, slowly folding into the general Startseite traffic. They were far enough away from the Spire that they could divert to another building if they needed to.
“Of course! Should I make an appearance?” Cora asked.
“If you want, then of course, it’s your home. We saw Faith at Imperator,” Venus said.
“Yeah, how is she settling in?” Cora asked.
“She seems great,” Venus said, nodding to Jake, who sent a confirmation message to the other cars in the convoy. “We’ll be by in ten. Thanks, Cora.”
“Hey, no problem, I haven’t had a chance to say hi to you since you got back anyway.” She thought for a moment. “Hey, uh, so there’s no surprises…how did it go?”
Venus glanced over at Jake, still busy at the controls. “Jake’s just fine. He’ll be with us.”
“Great! See you soon.”
Ten minutes later, the group was standing on top of the Spire, Corvus Corax’s opulent home, and Mizuki was busily snapping pictures with the vox her father provided. “This is amazing,” Walter said, looking out over the drop to the city below. The structure loomed over the city like the hive spire against which it backed. Venus was sitting by the edge of the structure, pointing out significant structures for Mizuki to capture. “It’s like a different planet,” he continued, overawed.
“I know. I felt the same way,” Jake said. He looked over at his uncle, who was standing stock-still. “You get vertigo, man?”
“No, but…this is amazing, it’s like I’m on an ornithopter over the Gap,” Walter said. He was talking about the cleft between two hive spires atop his cube, so far apart that a smaller hive could have been built between them with room to spare.
“It is pretty amazing.” George gingerly stepped up to the edge, glancing down the endless-seeming drop. “The hives on Mars were this big, but they weren’t open to the air.”
“I should go see them sometime,” Jake said. “What was the Seminary’s hive like?”
“A vault. So cramped…even compared to Tetra. It was basically a gigantic cathedral,” George said.
“Venus, who did you say this place belonged to?” Hajime asked, holding tight to Mizuki’s hand.
Venus saw a shadow move on the ground behind them and smirked at the timing. “My cousin Cora, who’s staying here until her own house is built.” The shadow was moving opposite the direction of the clouds, and was very clearly defined. Venus raised her voice. “It’s a real shame she can’t stay in her own place like a grown-up,” she said loudly.
“Hark who speaks, you can’t even pick a planet!” Cora’s voice replied.
The group turned to see a pretty, dark-haired young woman sitting cross-legged on top of one of the air conditioners on the Spire’s top surface. She smiled down at the group. “How’re you doing, Venus?”
“I’m great, thanks for the invite,” Venus called back. Cora nodded from her perch. “We appreciate it.”
Cora uncrossed her legs and dropped the fifteen feet from her seat to the level that the others were on, landing with her arms already out for a hug. “After two months, you can sit on my rooftop all you want,” Cora cheerfully replied, grabbing the shorter woman in a playful squeeze. “How was the trip?”
“Fantastic. I brought home something like five volumes to give you.” Venus patted her pocket, pulling out a small data disk and handing it over to her cousin. “Enjoy.”
“Yeeesssss, a sacred exchange,” Cora said, rubbing her hands together. “Who knows you have them?”
“They’re not proprietary, wiseass,” Venus snorted. Cora’s face fell.
“Aww, and I thought we were being clandestine!” she said, disappointed. She glanced over at her guests. “And who might you be?”
George shook himself loose from his surprise at her entrance. “Uh, I think we’ve met,” he said.
“Right, the wedding,” Cora said, remembering. “Nice to see you, Sieur Seager. And you, ma’am,” she said, waving to Sandra.
“It’s been too long, Lady Cora,” Sandra said, dismissing her own shock at the superhuman display.
“Are you okay? You fell like two stories!” Mizuki asked, deeply concerned.
Cora smiled. “I’m just fine. We’re built for that. What’s your name?”
“Oh, I’m Mizuki,” the girl said, a little nervously.
“Corvus Cora, welcome to the Spire,” Cora said, gently shaking the girl’s hand. She straightened up, smiling at the rather shell-shocked hivers behind her. “The name’s a little pretentious, I know, but some habits die hard. Who might you be?”
“First Sergeant Eric Donnelly, Imperial Fists Ninth Army Group,” Eric said formally, though he was wise enough not to salute.
Cora nodded politely. “Sergeant.”
The others introduced themselves piecemeal. Cora shook each proffered hand in turn. “So what brings you topside?” she asked of the group, though of course Venus had already told her.
“We wanted Zuki to see what the surface looks like,” Venus said, smiling down at her cousin.
Cora nodded again, sagely. “And what do you think so far?” she asked.
“It’s so big! There’s so much air I feel like I’m going to stop breathing!” Mizuki said nervously.
“Well, you won’t. It’s supposed to be like this,” Cora chuckled.
Venus piped up. “So, Cora, how’s the development going?”
“Surprisingly slowly, given how much the Guild was nagging me,” Cora said, glancing back at her cousin. Baffled looks on the hivers’ faces urged her continue. “I’m in the macroconstruction business. Theme parks, Prometheum refineries, office complexes, colony sewage treatment plants, what have you,” she explained. “Anything so big that normal manufacturing and construction businesses can’t get it done economically.”
“Really? That seems to be a pattern with the Royal Family,” Sandra said.
“What do you mean?” Cora asked.
“Well…I mean that most of Venus’ generation seem to be more interesting in working in the private sector rather than the government,” Sandra said.
Cora shrugged. “Some. Not all. Hana’s in the Rough Riders. Well, the White Scars elite auxiliaries, anyway, which means Rough Riders to me. And a bunch of the rest of us are in the political sector. I just prefer working in the private sector since there’s more of a challenge. You know? If you fail, you fail on your own merits.”
Hajime’s lips compressed a little as she said that. Certainly what she said wasn’t true in a lot of industries. Sometimes it felt like the aircar industry was so far into the pockets of the boards that ran them, it was impossible for anything to change for the better.
Cora noticed his anger, of course; her senses rivaled Freya’s. She decided it was best left unaddressed, for now.

Is anyone still on that Rizon IRC?
That's it for the biggest arc of the story. Now for the next, smaller one, Jake and Venus have been married a while, and they're preparing to move back to Nocturne now that's Jake operation was successful.
Jake swung the door of his home open and stared. The man on his stoop was a stranger.
He was dressed in a layered yellow and grey tunic that looked recently-pressed. He had a silver Power Sword clasped at his flank, with a compact Hellpistol in a holster on the other side. The grips on both showed ample wear. Despite being Jake’s own age, the man looked about twenty years older.
“Holy shit,” Julius Pius said. “What happened to your eyes?”

Jake sipped at his tequila in the kitchen as Julius recounted a few stories from his time with the Geno. “My assistants are a bit slow on the uptake, but they’re both excellent soldiers, no question of that,” Julius said. He fingered his left elbow, staring into the past. “Nearly lost an arm in one fight, but my batman, Baldgin, he saved me.”
“Wow,” Venus said. “Did you have to get an augmetic?”
“No,” Julius sighed, rolling up his sleeve. Jake winced at the red loop around his arm. The angle of the cut showed it had gone straight through to the bone. “But I did get a tiny, temporary implant just to monitor the wound. Make sure the bone grafts and synthflesh we had to put on there so it didn’t go septic didn’t give me leukemia or something.”
Jake shivered. “I’m glad you’re okay, though.”
“Thanks, Jake,” Julius said, leaning back with a sigh. “Let’s not make this all about me, though. How have you two been?”
“Well, you can see I took a trip to the body shop,” Jake quipped, waving a hand in the air. “I’m banking on the fact that I was completely obscure and unimportant before marrying into the Royal Family to hide that I’m looking so different,” he said brightly.
Julius shook his head. As much as the cynical part of him wanted to feel scorn at the flippantness of Jake’s approach to something so life-altering, he could also hear the faintest trace of relief in his friend’s voice. Jake was masking a buried concern with levity. He could hardly be hypocritical enough to call the young Prince on that. Goodness knows he had seen some terrible things in the interim, too. Briefly, he hazarded a guess as to what could have gone wrong with Jake’s ‘trip to the body shop,’ and pushed them back. The man deserved some privacy.
Either Jake noticed his friend’s buried reaction and ignored it, or he missed it. “Really, you’re lucky you caught us,” Jake said. “We’re moving back home to Nocturne for a few years soon, so that we can really start getting involved in the leadership there.”
“Hmm. ‘Back’ home,” Julius noted. “You spend more time on Nocturne than Terra now, I take it?”
Venus shrugged. “That was always the plan,” she said. “You know, if your company gets shipped by, feel free to drop in. Our door’s always open to you. Both of them,” she added with a grin.
Julius shifted his shoulders in relief. That, at least, was something for which his war-hardened soul had hoped. “And I’m happy and grateful to hear it, Venus,” he said.
Jake sighed dramatically, lifting an oven mitt from the table. “I’m gonna plod back into the kitchen now,” he said heavily.
Julius watched as Jake rose from his chair to glance over the cooking meal in the kitchen. “You two look good married,” he said.
Venus beamed. “Thanks. I think so too.”
Julius nearly added ‘But then, everything looks good after three and a half years of non-stop trench fighting,’ and caught himself with the words on his lips. Best not to sound ungrateful.
“But then, I bet everything looks good after time in the trenches, doesn’t it?” Venus asked. She caught his sudden sharp glance and smiled gently.
Julius stared, feeling a slight grin return to his lips. “It certainly does. Thanks.” He looked over to where Jake was working in the other room. “May I ask you a personal question?” he inquired politely.
“Sure,” Venus said.
“What did your father think of a mortal marrying into the family?” he asked.
“He was all for it,” Venus said. “Dad always said that he would support us if we decided to tie the knot. And just between you, me, and the walls,” she added, leaning forward conspiratorially, “we’re going to try for a child soon.”
Julius stared over at Jake. “Er. Is that…possible?” he asked gingerly.
“One of the perks of my new frame and chassis,” Jake said from the other room. “Along with enhanced senses and a few other bonuses,” he added, returning with the tequila bottle in his hand.
“I see.” Julius was glad he had halted his earlier inquiries. “Well…good on you both,” he said. “I confess that I’ve entertained the notion of leaving the service after a few more tours to formally settle with Isis, but I think it won’t be necessary,” he said.
“How do you mean?” Jake asked.
“Well…I haven’t told anyone yet, but what the devil, there’s a Primarch in the room,” Julius grunted, accepting a fresh cup of tequila with a nod. “I asked Isis to marry me, and she’s accepted. Jake, I want you to be my best man, if you’d be willing. And to cap it off, once the war is over I’m being reassigned to one of the Geno offices here on Terra. Away from the frontlines. It’s a long tour, too. Eleven years. More than enough time for…well, personal life,” he said broadly.
Jake leaned over and grabbed his hand. “I’d be happy to! Congrats, my friend,” he said.
Venus clapped her hands together. “Fantastic! Oh, that’s a hell of a thing, Julius, congratulations.”
“Thanks, Venus,” Julius said, his tension fading a bit more. He swirled the drink in the glass a few times before downing half in a gulp. “Good God damn, I missed Terran liquor,” he said flatly, setting the cup down. “Geno troops are too well-disciplined to set up stills in the trenches, unfortunately,” he sighed.
“Damn shame, that,” Jake deadpanned.
“Yes, it’s a crying shame indeed,” Julius said. “Bloody things glow like a road flare, in a thermo scope at night.”
The oven in the corner beeped. Venus rose and swung it open, flooding the spacious kitchen with the scent of daisy ham. “Want to stay for dinner?” she asked.
Julius looked up and smiled. “I’d love to, thanks.” He stood too, and rolled his neck to work out the kinks. “Can’t say much for military food, really,” he said drily.
“Is it disgusting, or something?”
“No, it’s just…nutrients. Not bad, not good,” Julius said. “And then you get dropped in a trench for a while, and suddenly it’s haute cuisine.”
“Ouch,” Jake said. “They don’t just not feed you guys in the trenches, do they?”
“Oh, they do,” Julius admitted, “just not with what you’d call ‘edible’ substances. Hell, we had to catch rats for meat once because the supply truck got shelled out in the open, and it took two full weeks to clear out the snipers well enough to get close enough to salvage anything. My batman fancies himself a cook, but if you ever have a chance to try his ‘Rat-Au-Van,’ just don’t. You can guess what it is.”
Venus winced. “Fuck, that’s disgusting. I’ve half a mind to send a Legionary ship with actual food out to you guys.”
“If ever I were to ask you or Isis to abuse your power, that would be how I do it,” Julius groused. He tapped the bare patch of leather at his left hip as Jake grabbed plates. “I want to thank you, Venus, as long as I’m here.”
“For…oh, for the sword,” Venus said.
“Very much so. You, Farah, and Hana did one hell of a job.” Julius held out his empty had to accept a glass of water. “It’s perfect. The balance is flawless.”
“It was fun to make.” Venus set out plastic cutlery for the three of them. “Do you ever actually use it? Or is it just ceremonial?”
“I’ve worn the grip smooth in one place, and it’s partway there in another,” Julius said. “Trust me, that thing has saved my life.”
“Well, that’s very good to hear,” Venus said. She sighed to herself as the men sat down. “You know, though, I feel bad. I wish I could make your job easier, Julius. Or, you know, safer.”
Julius shook his head. His cropped deep brown hair was cut to a military crew, but he looked to be growing it out a bit for his leave. “Venus, coming back to Terra to see my family, friends, classmates, and fiancé is making my job easier in ways I couldn’t have even appreciated before signing up. Please believe that.”
“Well…if you say so,” Venus said. She grinned as Julius reached for a loaf of bread with an almost childlike eagerness. “Are you allowed to bring leftovers home in a napkin, Julius?” she asked.
“You’re an angel, Venus, but I’m going to go back to Isis’ apartment after this, and I came from there, too,” Julius chuckled. “Plenty of time to filch real food.”
“So glad,” Venus said, slicing the ham. “Well, dig in.”
Julius smiled to himself as his friends laughed and carried on. It did feel good indeed, he decided, to come home every so often. He made a mental note to check in with the rest of his high school confederates that had enlisted, just to make sure they were all right. It never hurt to stay in touch.
Several months later...

Crown Princess Venus settled down on the edge of the bed and went still. Her husband, Jacob Seager, rested his ear on her stomach and listened. The sound of her blood pulsing through her mingled with another, fainter sound…then a faint sense of pressure against his cheek made him grin from ear to ear.
He lifted his head up and beamed at her, overjoyed. “I felt him.”
“Oof. You should feel him on this end,” Venus said. She ran a hand over her distended tummy and smiled as Jake stood. “He’s kicking up a storm. Hard to sleep, some nights.”
“Really? Wow. Anything I can do?” Jake asked.
“No, nothing, thanks,” Venus said wearily. He sat down next to her and ran his hand over her bulge. “The doctor said a glass of milk before bed and nothing else.”
Jake stared down at the lump over his wife’s usually trim stomach. He squeezed his fingers slightly, a silly little smile on his face. “…Baby.”
Venus slid her hand over his. “Yep.”
“I think I like our idea, by the way,” Jake said, apropos of nothing.
“His name?” Venus asked.
Jake nodded. “Yeah. If he were growing up on Terra…I’d say no, too weird. But on Nocturne? It’s perfect. And you know Vulkan will start tearing up.”
Venus chuckled. “Sentimental old fart. Yeah, he totally would.”
“N’bel…” Jake said.
“Grandpa’s name,” Venus said softly. She gingerly stood. “Ow. Hard to believe he’s still seventy days off, he feels ready to go.”
“I bet he does,” Jake said. “Stairs giving you trouble?”
“No, but I miss being able to swim, with a sack full of ground pork under my stomach,” Venus grumbled.
Jake frowned. “Honey, it’s not nice to refer to our larva as a ‘sack,’” he scolded.
Venus snorted back a laugh.
Jake helped her out into the hallway and out to the balcony. Venus leaned against the stone and stared out at the world below. The mixing streets of Themis vanished into the tangle of buildings beyond, until they reached the massive walls of the city. “I love that view,” Jake said. He ran his hand over her shoulders and squeezed her gently, following her gaze out to the city. “He will too, I’m sure.”
“I hope so,” Venus said. She smiled into the blazing sun. “You know…it’s the sensations I’m curious about.”
“How so?” Jake asked.
“Like…what does it feel like to hold a baby? I’ve never done it. Mizuki was born before we got married, and none of the others have kids. And what does it feel like to have someone drink out of you? That just blows my mind. As a concept, you know. And teaching someone two languages at once. How will that work?” she asked.
“I expect you’ll manage,” Jake said. “We, I mean. I was wondering, though…do you think we’ll send him to Imperator?”
“I think we should,” Venus said. “It’s such a good school.”
“Then we will.” He squeezed her shoulder as she leaned against him. “Personally, I’m looking forward to going back to Terra. I want to show my parents their grandson.”


George Seager sat in a chair in the middle of his apartment and stared at the warm bundle of fabric in his arms. A baby boy was curled up inside, fast asleep, with a look of absolute concentration etched on his tiny face. The little guy looked like him. Quite a lot, actually.
“N’bel…” George managed. He was tearing up, too.
“Yep,” Venus said happily, sitting beside her father-in-law and letting him examine his first grandchild. “Two point seven zero kilos at birth, normal delivery, healthy as a horse.”
Jake smiled from across the little room. “Go ahead and get weepy, Dad, there’s good precedent for it. You should have seen Vulkan,” he chuckled.
His mother managed a laugh as she looked down at the tiny infant beside her in her husband’s arms. “He’s adorable…” she said.
“For now, sure. Then we’ll try to go to sleep and then BAM, he’s a banshee,” Jake said. “You just watch.”
“You were hardly innocent in that regard,” his mother noted.
“True.” Jake reached over and ran his fingers over his son’s tiny hand. The sleeping baby instinctively squeezed one finger, and Jake shook his head ruefully. “Strong for his age. Or so the doctor says, anyway, I hardly have anything to compare it to.”
“Oh, trust me, Jake, he’s strong,” Venus said with a groan.
“Got a bit of a kick, does he?” Jake asked drily.
George set the baby down in Venus’ arms and leaned back, overwhelmed. “He’s beautiful,” he said, aglow with paternal pride. “Does he have your…er, appearances?” he asked, gesturing at his face.
“Well, when he wakes up, you can see,” Venus said. “Assuming he doesn’t deafen you,” she added. “But yes, his eyes are like mine. Aside from that, though, he’s basically in line with Jake. Same internal temperature, same anti-aging, same hair and cuticle color, everything.”
Jake nodded solemnly. “I know you’re disappointed, Mom, you always wanted a girl to spoil,” he said.
Sandra snorted. “I’ll let you wait a while and decide that he needs a playmate. I’ll take my chances with round two.”
“Oh my hell, don’t even joke about that, Sandra,” Venus said. “Yeah, the feeling when they hand him to you is incredible, but the whole ‘nine months before it’ really doesn’t seem so trivial when you have an eidetic memory.”
“Hey, at least they didn’t give you a C-section, like they did me,” Sandra said. “I was conscious too, and sedated. Why do you think I stopped at one?” she asked teasingly. Jake rolled his eyes.
“Ew.” Venus rocked her baby and beamed down at him. “The first biological offspring of the Emperor, too…” she said quietly. “He’s thrilled. We’re seeing him next.”
“You’re the first of your generation to have children, Venus?” George asked.
“Yeah. Miranda and Angela are both married, but they wanted to wait a while,” Venus supplied. She ran a fingertip over her son’s lips and smiled contentedly. “Not me. There’s nothing in the whole world more important to Nocturneans than having a family. Nothing. If I had lived my entire life on Nocturne, I may have had kids as young as eighteen.”
Sandra shuddered. “Luckily, I live on Terra, where the nicer boys live,” Venus finished, shooting her husband a wink. Jake preened at the compliment.
“Well, he’s amazing, Venus,” George said, looking down at the tiny boy. N’bel’s eyelids glowed slightly. It was a constant glow, too, like holding an LED flashlight up to the skin of your hand and letting the light shine through. He glanced sidelong at Venus and didn’t see the same light when she blinked. “His eyes are so bright I can see them with his lids closed,” he said.
“Oh, really? Damn, he’s about to wake up then,” Venus said, snugging him closer to her chest and rocking him again. “I can’t notice it with these contacts in. Our eyes are keyed to our emotions and wakefulness,” she explained. “I’m just completely exhausted, too.”
“I bet,” Sandra said knowingly.
The door sounded with a knock. George rose and opened it, and grinned at the sight of his guest. “Eric, come in,” he said, stepping back. His wife’s father nearly rushed in, searching the room with his eyes after a cursory ‘hello, George.’ As soon as the old veteran found where his new great-grandson was sleeping, though, he came to a complete halt. He stared at the tableau of Venus gently rocking the little bundle in her arms, agape.
“Grandpa Eric, meet N’bel,” Jake said from his seat. “N’bel, meet Great-grandpa Eric.”
Eric sank down on the couch next to Venus, reaching out to gently stroke the infant’s cheek. “He’s gorgeous,” Eric said softly. “Venus, congratulations.”
Venus smiled happily at the odd tableau. “He is. Thanks.”
Are there any lesbians hidden in here? Is it worth reading, I mean.
No. Its all about SEs self-insert and WHH after high school still managing to angst against the machines.
Several hours of pure indulgence later, Venus was sitting in a chair in the Emperor’s private chambers, rocking her son on her shoulder as her husband hovered protectively behind her. The Emperor sat across from her, a grin playing about his lips. “So…it seems I’m a great-grandfather now, after all,” he said, watching N’bel fidget. He glanced up at where Venus was gently shifting her baby to her lap. “May I confide something in you, Venus?”
“What is it?” Venus asked.
“In my…copious free time,” the Emperor joked, “I had taken to wondering which of my granddaughters would give birth first.” He glanced down at N’bel, who had calmed a bit, and was busily staring into space. “I admit I had staked a wager on it being Angela, given how early her relationship with Michael Grecco matured.”
“Well, I wouldn’t have faulted you,” Venus chuckled. She smiled down at her infant son. “Want to hold him?”
The Emperor silently extended his arms, and Venus lowered N’bel into his grasp. The Emperor shook his head as he listened to the sound of N’bel’s sleepy breathing. “You know…it’s odd. I have had twenty one sons, and I’ve never held a relative of mine in my arms like this.”
“It’s pretty wild,” Jake said. “He doesn’t look a thing like Vulkan, though, does he?”
“It’s uncanny,” the Emperor admitted. “He looks more like your father than you do, Jacob.”
Jake snorted. “Oh, sure, pick on me, Sire,” he said.
“Did you know about the little tradition the Startseite hospital has, Grandfather?” Venus asked.
“What tradition is this?” the Emperor asked.
“The hospital takes the ultrasound picture of the baby, and then uses facial recognition software to figure out which celebrity it most resembles,” Venus said. The Emperor shook his head with a wry grin as Jake laughed. “According to them, he most resembles the old Senator, Cornelius Algunn. Remember, the former Arbites representative on the Senate?”
“Of course, I appointed him,” the Emperor said. He scanned the baby’s face. “I don’t see it, though.”
“Yeah, it’s a bit of a stretch,” Venus giggled, accepting N’bel back. “Well. I don’t wish to impose. We should bet getting the little guy home for dinner now anyway.”
“Oh, you may stay as long as you like,” the Emperor said. “The VIP Suite in the Guest Wing is available for the next week or so.”
“I mean home to the house,” Venus said. “We have so much to do! Assembling the baby shower furniture and such.”
“Ah, yes,” the Emperor said, rising to his feet and watching as Jake helped his wife stand as well. “Tell me…do you intend to return to Nocturne?”
“Of course! Probably within a month or so,” Venus said.
“I would prefer if you waited,” the Emperor said gently. “The Warp routes between here and Nocturne are quite tumultuous of late. It wouldn’t be safe for your little one,” he added, smiling fondly at N’bel, who was deep in contemplation of his fingernails.
“Entire generations of starfarers on Rogue Trader crews have been born in the Warp,” Venus pointed out.
“And there’s a risk there, which their parents accept, Venus. I won’t stop you…but please reconsider,” the Emperor said.
Venus looked at him quizzically, before shrugging. “I guess we can wait a while.”
“Thank you,” the Emperor said.
Jake grinned. “Not just eager to see more of your great-grandson, though, right, Sire?”
“That is important to me, of course,” the Emperor said, “but I can already feel his ancestral traits manifesting. He’s eternal, as you and your wife are, now,” he said to Jake. “I’ll have all the time in the world.”
I feel obligated to point out that I don't want to post this next part. It's not really in the thematic sense that I've worked to cultivate in my stories. But Ahriman absolutely insists that it's fine as it is, and demands that I post it. So, here, I guess. It takes place about a year after the previous story. And if you're wondering where N'bel is, he's just at his maternal grandmother's house.

Jake looked down at the neat plot of grass in front of him. The rain on his head could have been absent for all the notice he paid it. Beside him, Venus and a few of her cousins had gathered, all of them dressed for a funeral. Then, that’s exactly what it was. Just one without a body.
Julius’ old priest had braved the journey to say a few words of farewell, and though Jake couldn’t see the appeal in them, he respected Julius’ father’s wishes and kept silent as they were read.
Farah, on his other side, sighed heavily as the priest finished. “What a waste,” she muttered.
“Yeah.” Jake squeezed her shoulder as the priest finished his words and stepped away. Jake took his place, looking down at the acid-proofed metal headstone. The rain today was from the polar weather machines, not condensate mist off of the hive walls, so instead of being acidic enough to scour bad paint, it was just cold enough to draw shivers from the mortals in the crowd.
“I don’t know myself for being eloquent, so I’ll just say this one thing before we commend Julius to rest,” Jake said. “Julius was a man who believed deeply in the concept of merit over all. Whether that was his comrades in the Army, his classmates at school, or his friends, he was always fair, respectful, and polite. I know I’m not the only one who will miss him, for that, and for his unflinching courage.”
Isis screwed her eyes shut, feeling every word like a punch in the stomach. Four months before they were due to be married, and Julius had stepped under a missile barrage. A random firing from the abhuman artillery force that had already lost had killed the only man she had ever felt attraction towards beyond the base and physical…the only man she had ever loved. Taken away from her by hate. He had comforted her after Morticia’s near-death experience, he had promised her a future…and now he was dead, too savaged by thousands of kilograms of bombs to even be brought to home. He was fertilizing the grass on some meaningless mutant world while she would live on forever, like a goddess from some ancient story, alone and pining for-
Angela’s fingers laced with Isis’. Her cousin looked sadly into Isis’ inhuman orange eyes, trying to impart some small reassurance.
Isis looked over at her bleakly, before managing a ruined smile. Angela didn’t need her psychic power to see how much pain she was in, it seemed. Venus had her eyes closed behind her opaque lenses, too.
Jake finished his words and bowed his head before Ollanius Pius, Julius’ father, stepped forth. Ollanius looked as old as the moon at that moment; he was so tired and lined that Isis would have guessed him a thousand years old.
When he spoke, his voice was hollow, but steady. “I can’t bury my son,” he said softly. “He deserves it, but I can’t. Like the thousands of thousands of thousands of humans who have died in the Imperium’s wars before him, he made a sacrifice…one that I respect more than anything else I’ve ever seen in my life.” His gloved hands gripped at his back until the leather creaked. “My son…wasn’t a media icon, and that made him all the more remarkable. Not once in the years that he spent crawling in the muck of the trenches did he ever, even once, use his name or mine to buy favor. Every single time he came home, we would spend...spend hours…” his voice finally failed as the memories returned. “Damn it…” He clenched his jaw and forced the words out. “…Talking about what we had done since last I had seen him. His stories of old friends of his who enlisted, their careers. How I used to keep a list of the people who had referenced me on the holos to advance some meaningless goal I had never heard of. It seems shameful now…because he was doing so much more himself.”
He turned tortured eyes to Isis, who met his gaze, her regret welling up like water in a well. “Isis…my dear girl, trust me when I say that you were, beyond question, the best thing that ever happened to my son. If he had time for last thoughts…they were of you. I have absolutely no doubt of it.”
Isis nodded, not trusting herself to speak. She mouthed ‘thank you’ and covered her lips with her hand to hide the shaking.
Ollanius looked down at the metal cairn at his feet. “Julius…you were the beacon of my existence, the greatest achievement I’ve ever made, and I loved you more than life itself,” he whispered. “Sleep well in God’s aegis, my son.”
Isis sobbed silently as Angela’s fingers tightened around her own. She felt compelled to walk to the cairn and speak…but she couldn’t. Her legs wouldn’t obey her. Ollanius looked at her for a moment before a fresh grimace appeared on his face. How could he expect her to talk?
He crouched, pushing a bit of artificially-manicured moss aside to press two little silver baubles into the soil. One was a necklace with the Catheric icon on it, which his mother had left him. The other was a scrap of adamantium from the hilt of his Power Sword, the largest piece they had been able to spare from the re-forging. Farah and Venus had been working with Hana to re-forge it for Andrew Hanover, their only friend from high school in the military who was still alive.
Ollanius straightened up, walking straight away from the grave towards his waiting vehicle. He heard Farah start to speak as he left, and he could feel the priest’s surprised glare at his disrespect, but he couldn’t stay. He had to go, he had to move on now, while the wound was still fresh, before he did something stupid.
A cough from behind him caught his ear as he fumbled for his keys in the parking lot. He spun around, suddenly enraged to the point of violence. Who the hell was intruding on his grief?
Isis was standing there, her face drenched as much as his. Ollanius felt his rancor fade instantly. “Isis.”
She bit her lip, stumbling over her words. “I…I’m sorry, Ollanius,” she said feebly. “I should have said something.”
Ollanius felt his gut twist in sympathy. “Don’t be silly, Lady Isis,” he said, vainly trying to deflect her statement. “I…I would never have…”
Isis stepped closer, hugging him with limp arms, burying her face on his shoulder. “I miss him, Oll,” she managed, her back heaving. “I want him back…”
“Of course,” Ollanius said brokenly. “Of course.”
She finally stepped back, wiping tears away with a wet hand. “Can…can I do anything for you? Have you decided where you’re going?”
His heart ached. “You’re a kind soul, Isis,” Ollanius said. “I think…I need to just leave. I’ve already sold everything I have…save a few mementos and the car.”
Isis’ eyes clouded. “But…why? Why are you leaving?”
“My son was the only thing keeping me anchored to Terra,” Ollanius said, digging his keys out. “I’m done.”
“Ollanius…” Isis trailed off. She had nothing to say. “Thanks.”
“Julius was…” Again, words failed her. “Thanks.”
Ollanius sank into the driver’s seat of his car as the rain slowed. “Isis, my son thought the world of you, even when his world was ending all around him, not once, but twice,” he said with a trace of old bitterness. “I should be thanking you. So…thank you, for making my son so happy.” He looked up at her, her head silhouetted against the gray clouds like a profile painting. “Goodbye, Isis.”
He shut the door and pulled out into the streets, driving off into the distance. Isis never spoke to him again.
>Five years later

Freya Russ nodded to the somewhat overwhelmed-looking Governor before her. “Well, I should hope so, Governor, but of course it isn’t my decision.”
The pasty little man sighed dramatically. “Of course, Lady Russ, I wouldn’t wish to impose.” He sipped at his wine as he scrambled to find a safer topic than Army tithing. “Really, though,” he said, finally finding one, “I should thank you for being able to make it tonight at all. The Warp in this region of space is tumultuous, some Overlords are left quite to themselves. That a Lady Primarch herself would make it all the way out here is an exceptional honor.”
“I felt the need,” Freya said. “Besides…I’m the active type,” she said cheerfully. “I can’t stay still too long.”
“Freya?” a voice asked from behind her. Freya turned from the Governor to see her husband Thangir standing behind her, a wine-filled goblet in hand. “Here,” he said, passing it to her and setting her empty one aside.
“Thanks,” she said, turning back to the politician. “So, Governor, if you don’t mind, I think I’d like to do some catching up do with the other guests.” She smirked as a few familiar faces in the crowd drifted by. “I haven’t seen some of these guys since high school.”
“Of course, your Highness, my home is yours,” the Governor said, bowing graciously.
Freya nodded and turned, to see her husband of five years making a beeline for the food. She rolled her eyes and sipped at her drink, ambling over to a cluster of Army officers she remembered meeting on the Fang once, when a statement stopped her.
“You could still burn the dark from a blind man’s eyes, Freya.” She raised her eyebrows in surprise as the voice registered.
She slowly turned to see a man in a rather opulent black and grey military uniform with purple trim staring at her with a knowing grin. His broad shoulders had a narrow purple cape draped over one and a gold epaulet over the other, with a small circle of seven platinum stars on his exposed sleeve. She wasn’t looking at his arms, much, though, because she was staring in shock at his eyes. Eyes that she had watched from inches away for many years.
“Alex! Alex Carlin! I don’t believe it!” she exclaimed, smiling from ear to ear. “I haven’t seen you in twelve years!”
“It’s been that long, hasn’t it?” Alex asked, spreading his arms wide and drawing Freya into a hug. A few people nearby made noises of surprise. “It’s great to see you again, Freya,” he murmured.
She moved to kiss him, but caught herself. From the sound of his breath, so did he. They both stepped back, smiling ruefully. She took the opportunity to look him up and down, taking in his uniform and physique. “Wow…you landed on your feet,” she said approvingly. “I’m glad.”
“Me too. And I stand by my earlier comment,” Alex said slyly. “And…I understand you’ve since been married?”
“I have,” Freya said, showing off the sparkling diamond on her finger. “In fact…Thangir is around somewhere,” she said, looking around.
“What is it, Freya?” he asked, stepping from the crowd.
Freya grabbed his hand and brought him over to Alex. “Thangir, this is Lord Trader Alex Carlin.”
Thangir’s light green eyes narrowed a hair, but he shook Alex’s hand anyway. The superhuman cords of muscle through his arms and shoulders told a tale about his augmentation by the Emperor, only a few months before. Despite that, his grip was direct and un-gauging. “Lord Carlin,” he said, nodding politely. He had to have recognized the name.
“Alex, this is my husband, Prince Thangir,” Freya said, finishing the introduction.
To Freya’s surprise, Alex immediately smiled warmly. “Your Highness,” he said, bowing low as he retrieved his hand.
Thangir blinked, surprised as well. “Rise,” he said immediately. “To what do we owe the pleasure?” he said, just to cover his reaction at the unexpected courtesy.
“I wouldn’t miss a chance to attend a gathering such as this,” Alex said, sweeping the room with one hand. “Besides…I was close. And I wouldn’t miss a chance to say hello to Freya again, either,” he added, grinning at his former lover. “You look radiant.”
Freya beamed. “Thanks. How long will you be here?”
“All night,” Alex said. “And the next few days. The station’s got a few small amenity traders, and they just can’t be very efficient this far from a major forge. Think I might linger.”
“So…you got out of the crypt and coffin business?” Freya asked meaningfully.
Alex’s reply was a solemn nod. “And good riddance,” he said coldly. “The dead should lie.”
Freya winced at the frigid tone in his voice. It vanished instantly, however, as Alex smiled again. “At least the crisis we faced…dissolved,” he said. “I was a real mess, you recall.”
“Yeah,” Freya said wistfully. “You were falling apart. I felt awful that it ended the way it did. I kept wondering if there was anything I could do, but…you know.”
Eternity is a fitting name because this story goes on forever and yet manages to say nothing at all.
God damn it, what is the point of inserting yourself into the persona of a little girl if you aren't going to have sex with women?
Alex nodded. “I’m sure you did. I didn’t doubt for a moment. And pulling through on my own was…not fun. But at least we managed to get Mom back on her feet.”
“Did you?” Freya asked. She nodded happily. “Good. She was in a bad way. I’m really glad you’re happy again,” she said. She ran a hand over the thick, layered Fenrisian dress shirt she was wearing. “And…I suspect you’ve not heard the good news?”
“What new…” Alex trailed off. Her posture, the movement of her hand over her stomach... “Freya…are you pregnant?” he asked quietly.
Freya nodded.
Alex let his eyes slide shut for a long moment, and when they opened, a tear was gathering in each. “Congratulations,” he said, smiling at her stomach with reverence. “You…congratulations. Boy or girl?”
“Too early to tell,” Freya said. She lowered her voice. “Nobody knows outside the Family and a few obstetricians, so keep a lid on it until we do the announcement, all right?” she asked.
He nodded once, wiping his eyes. “Good on you, Freya,” he subvocalized, so quiet even she had to strain to hear it. Thangir couldn’t have, at that range. “You’ll do fine.”
Her senses caught the presence of a woman approaching them, from behind Alex…who smelled a lot like he did. Freya’s eyes widened as that train of thought reached its end. “Alex, are you here with someone too?” she asked.
Her old flame grinned broadly. He held his arm out to the woman as she halted at his side. “I really can’t keep anything from you, can I?” He gestured to the woman, who was glancing at the others with a clear question in her eyes. “Freya, Thangir…please, meet my wife, Lady Trader Vanessa Arralim Carlin. Vanessa,” he said, gesturing to the others. “Lady Primarch and Blood Princess of Fenris, Freya Russ, and Prince Thangir.”
The young woman’s eyes widened at the heady title, but she bowed slightly. “A profound honor, your Highnesses,” she said.
Thangir nodded politely, but Freya caught her sudden sense of fear and had none of it. As Vanessa straightened up, Freya stepped forward and gripped both Carlins in a hug. “I’m really proud of you,” she whispered in Alex’s ear as she did, offering him a wink his wife missed in her surprise. As she stepped back, leaving her own husband astonished, the watching party-goers frozen in surprise at the breach of decorum, Alex chuckling in nostalgia, and Vanessa breathless, she grabbed both of Vanessa’s hands and pumped, smiling cheerfully. “It’s wonderful to meet you, Lady Vanessa,” she said.
Vanessa’s eyes darted to Alex, as if looking for a grounding of reality, but all he did was roll his eyes and pat her shoulder. “Freya, you just met her,” he said, adopting a tone of indulgence.
Most authors write a story before an epilogue, and the epilogue typically gives you quick summation of the way things turned out rather than painfully drawing out every last mundane, boring detail
Freya sighed and stepped back, bowing in return at last. “Sorry.”
“N-no problem…your Highness,” Vanessa said.
Thangir overcame his own surprise and bowed slightly as well. The thick, deep scars on his shoulders, visible under his formal tunic and sleeveless duster, shifted as his muscles tightened. His mess of dirty blond hair and dark blue eyes were very Fenrisian indeed, as was the elaborate tattoo over his left wrist.
Freya straightened up and skewered Alex with an inquisitive glance. “So who do I talk to, to get details?” she asked suspiciously.
Alex chuckled. “Either of us, I’m sure.”
Freya’s eyes lit upon Vanessa’s own, and she blinked under the Primarch’s scrutiny. “Have a few minutes, Lady Trader?” Freya asked innocently.
Vanessa nodded slowly, following Freya over to the buffet with a look of trepidation. Alex glanced over at Thangir with a weary smile, and for a moment both men shared the same mental wavelength.
Because instead of being the little girl he decided to be a stuttering awkward high schooler again, except this time he gets a genetically engineered waifu who is rich and loves him unconditionally.
Freya stood next to Vanessa at the end of the buffet, wondering how to phrase her question, then settling on the direct. “Vanessa…if you don’t mind me asking,” she said coyly. “Would you humor me with telling how you and Alex met?”
Vanessa nodded, her nerves returning a bit under the Royal gaze. “Well, his father was an employer of mine for a while. When Alex took over his father’s business, he shut down several branches. My branch liquidated,” she said, putting a few pieces of fruit on her plate. “Alex opened a new branch on Cordeline’s Wake, and I requested a transfer to his office there. He basically rehired the whole group and transported us over there. We met at the party to reopen the place, since he felt he had to go in person. It was…” she smiled to herself. “It was pretty quick.”
“He’s a passionate man,” Freya said knowingly. “There’s a lot to love.” She offered up a smile of her own. “I’m really happy for you both,” she said quietly. “Alex was falling apart at the seams when we broke up. He needed someone to love.”
“He told me that that was one of the darkest parts of his life…but…” Vanessa trailed off, glancing back at where her husband was effortlessly schmoozing up some local nobility. “He never told me the woman he left behind was a Lady Primarch.”
“I specifically asked him not to, at least at first,” Freya said, surprising Vanessa. “He was afraid that if he did, he would wind up turning every relationship he ever entered into a competition, whether it was fair to do so or not.” She flashed a fang-filled grin at Vanessa. The shorter woman blinked, somewhat unnerved. “Alex was surprised, but he went along with it. Ask him about ‘The Road Trip’ now that the metaphorical cat is out of the bag.”
“The…road trip?” Vanessa asked, confused.
“He’ll know what it means,” Freya giggled.
“Very well…” Vanessa said. The two of them wended their way over to where the drinks were arrayed, and Freya passed up a third wine for a glass of ice water. “May I ask you something as well?”
Freya shrugged. “Of course.”
“How…how long, exactly, were you two together? And how close were you?”
Freya looked her over, and now there actually was a sense of judgment in her gaze that did Vanessa’s courage no favors. “We met at fourteen. We were dating by fifteen, and shared a bed from then until twenty two.” Her frankness was a piece of bait, placed before Vanessa as much to see how she reacted as to answer her question.
Vanessa looked away. “I see.”
“You sound as if you expected a different answer,” Freya said.
“I did. I wasn’t expecting such…detail.” Vanessa looked down into her wine, trying not to say anything else.
The Space Wolf princess sensed her bait being taken. She softened her tone as the sense she had been searching for appeared. “I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable, Vanessa, but do take it in perspective,” Freya said quietly. “Alex was utterly demolished when we parted ways, thanks to his father’s death and mother’s illness. I can see how much he matters to you,” she said. “And you clearly matter to him. I can sense that kind of thing.” She glanced at Alex again. “Ask him about that, too.”
>I like this scene because Alex is so much older than Thangir at this point

lex himself was leaning back against the wall by now, chatting with a few low-tier local politicos. The deliberately casual air he projected was something he had learned to cultivate; very few things helped slice through a politician’s fragile ego like the sense that he was being outmaneuvered, and he wanted to avoid that.
As he spoke, he saw his wife being gently interrogated by Freya, and he had to grin to himself. Time, it seemed, changes little.
Thangir walked up behind the politicians to whom he had been speaking, and waited behind them like a thundercloud until Alex met his eyes. “May we speak for a moment, Lord Trader?” he asked.
Alex levered off of the wall and nodded. “Certainly.”
The politicians evaporated under Thangir’s presence, until the two men were alone. “Lord Carlin, I do not know exactly what transpired between you and Freya. Would you be willing to tell me?” he asked.
Alex shook his head. “No. There’s no need, anyway,” he added. “Freya’s telling Vanessa right now.”
Thangir looked over to where Freya and Vanessa were still in discussion. “You can hear at that distance?” Thangir asked.
“No, but you can,” Alex pointed out. Thangir’s eyes shot back to where Alex was standing, calm and unassuming. An entire volume of conversation occurred between them before Thangir finally relented, his posture easing somewhat.
“Forgive my rudeness, then,” he murmured. “I suppose that answers my question…if she was willing to share that much.”
“We kept no secrets, your Highness,” Alex said. “She was all that kept me sane during my darkest day.” He took a step forward, into the gene-modded warrior’s reach, but not assuming even the vaguest stance of attack. “Do not interrogate me, Prince Thangir,” he said softly.
Thangir looked down at him, completely expressionless. After nearly ten full seconds of silence, Thangir nodded, stepping back. “Very well.”

As the party wound down, Freya paused at the threshold of the ballroom on the space station, her hand held up for a moment’s pause. Alex, standing nearby in anticipation, walked up to her and immediately adopted a waiting pose. Freya smiled to herself, her planned speech melting away. “Alex…it really has been too long. Send me a message the next time you’re near Terra. I mean it.”
Alex smiled back, and even under Thangir’s and Vanessa’s eyes, he looked for a moment like he was going to go in for another hug. He restrained himself, however, and simply bowed slightly. “I agree. And…if you see the others…”
“I will, count on it.” Freya suddenly pawed at one pocket. “Oooh, wait, hang on,” she said. She produced a small holo card reader and flipped through some images until she arrived at one specific picture. “Have you seen this?” she asked, showing it to Alex.
Alex took the card reader, and his clean-shaven face split in a grin. “Wow…”
“I know!” Freya leaned over the picture of N’bel, Jake’s and Venus’ five-year-old son, sitting on his father’s knee and beaming at the camera.
“Guess I don’t need to ask how they’re doing,” Alex said. He shook his head as he handed the reader back to Freya. “You’re right. I should drop in on them. See how the old crowd is doing.”
Freya nodded eagerly, her face flush with the same vigorous optimism that had drawn them together so many years before. “We’d all love that.”
Vanessa stepped up to Alex’s side, oblivious to the exchange. “It was a true honor meeting you both, your Highnesses,” she said.
Alex retrieved the reader from Freya and passed it to his wife. “Here, look at this.”
Vanessa looked over the picture. “Lady Primarch Venus?” she asked.
“Yeah, and Jake and their son.” Alex shook his head. “Man. I’ll never remember to add the Prince in front, you know? All I can think of when I think of him is the thing on Nocturne.”
Freya sighed. “Really?”
“No, I remember you and him kicking my shit in at poker and darts every night all summer, too,” Alex admitted. “But that’s not as heroic as what I did in the bar,” he sniffed.
Freya laughed. “Never change, Alex.”
“Don’t plan on it.” Alex passed the card back and bowed to Thangir. “Nice meeting you, Prince Thangir. An honor indeed.”
To his mild surprise, Thangir smiled and extended a hand. Alex took it and shook. “You as well, Lord Trader Carlin.”

As they parted ways, Thangir and Freya retired to their vessel, docked on the void platform. As Freya prepared for sleep, Thangir reclined in the lavish bed, which was by far the most opulent thing in the room, decorated with mammoth furs and padding so thick it could have served as a crash cushion. Then, on a ship, that could be a wise investment. As Thangir did so, he thought over the evening’s revelation. What did Alex mean to her, even after all this time?
Freya slid into bed beside him, and as had become a custom with him, he immediately rolled onto one side to run a broad hand over her flat stomach. Their son – he would accept no other outcome, in his mind – was still only the size of a blueberry, but it was the thought that counted. “An interesting evening,” he said quietly, admiring the way her ample curves folded seamlessly into the rock-solid muscle of her stomach and arms. Even her coming pregnancy hadn’t diminished her pure, animal beauty.
She lay on her side and faced him, though the obstetricians had told her that wouldn’t make a difference for several months. “It was.” Her shining green eyes met his and she smiled, content. “I missed Alex. He was a great friend.”
“I understand he was far more than that,” Thangir said, somewhat harshly. But then, his loyalty to Freya had been absolute from the moment she had revealed her true lineage to him, and to learn of her past intimacy felt almost like a declaration of rivalry.
Freya sensed his concern and headed it off. “He was. But you know me well, my warrior…would I settle for a man I couldn’t like as a person, as well as being a man?”
“No,” Thangir admitted. “You would never do that.”
She settled down on the thick pillows and pulled the sheets up to her chin. “Ask me about him. I don’t want you to dislike him, or think of him as a foe.”
Thangir went quiet as he thought. “…Did he ever make you cry?” he asked.
Freya hesitated. “Only when he left me to care for his dying mother and crippled family business.”
“Did he ever make you wish you didn’t know him?”
“Never. Not once,” she insisted.
“Did he honor you and remain trustworthy to your hand?” Thangir asked.
Then he could at least make it interesting.
Freya nodded, remembering the extent of their confidentiality. “Always.”
Thangir propped himself up on one elbow. “Did he look down on your friends of lesser station, and treat them as inferior humans?”
Freya shook her head from the pillow. “Not that I remember.”
Thangir’s eyes narrowed. “Did he have a sense of honor?”
The red-haired princess thought back to the maiming Jake had received in the bar on Nocturne. Alex’s first act had been to sprint to Jake’s side and staunch the bleeding. Later, he had dismantled his father’s empire of graverobbers even though it cost him billions of credits. “Unquestionably.”
“Did he respect Father Russ and All Father?” Thangir asked pointedly.
“Deeply. They didn’t always get along, but he was always respectful,” Freya said.
“Did he make you laugh?”
“All the time,” Freya said. “Half the Gothic jokes you’ve learned from me came from him,” she added happily.
Thangir nodded. “Did he please you, satisfy your needs?”
Freya hid a smile. Before her husband had been upgraded, Alex had been her finest partner in that sense. “Consistently,” she said instead.
“And did he ever, even once, tell you that he preferred another lass?” Thangir asked bluntly, coming to his point.
“No.” Freya was adamant. “He always kept his trust, and I loved him for it.”
“Did he love you back?” Thangir asked.
“He did.”
Freya felt the faintest sense of something warm brush her lips as he leaned over for a kiss. “Then he is a friend, not a foe. For…he would do only what I would do,” Thangir said. He settled back down on the bed and hugged Freya to his chest for a moment, imparting the sense of reassurance that he knew she loved. She had always been a tactile woman. “I love you, Freya. If he did too…I can hardly blame him.”
“My thanks, Thangir,” Freya said softly, feeling her tension fade. “The happiness in his eyes when he figured out I bear your child…he could not fake that. When he left me…all he wanted was for both of us to find happiness again. He found it in Vanessa. I found it in you, and I am grateful for that.”
Thangir ran his lips over her neck, baring his fangs at the end. The first time she had felt that, it had startled her, but she had realized it was his new lupine instincts coming to the fore after his upgrade: to place one’s fangs on another’s body and resist the urge to bite was to demonstrate profound trust, and ask for the same. She returned the gesture with a loving nuzzle of his shoulder, and snuggled down under her furs to sleep. “Good night, Thangir,” she whispered. One of the criterion to which she had held him during his abbreviated courtship in the Fang’s many camps had been that she had to feel as safe as she could when she was with him. As he draped one thick arm over her and held her close, letting her smell and hear him with such unbridled intimacy, she reflected that in that way, Thangir and Alex truly were akin to one another.
Aboard the Corundum Star, docked elsewhere on the station, Alex Carlin went through a similar motion with his own wife. As he sat on the chair at the bedside, reading a slate, Vanessa perched on the bed and brought up the elephant in the room. “Lady Freya was pretty…direct,” she said.
“Sure was.” Alex chuckled. “Some things never change.”
Vanessa shook her head. “You met her as a child?”
“Fourteen, fifteen. Something like that,” Alex said. He looked up at her. “She was on the wrestling team at school. Undefeated, as you can imagine.”
She met his gaze. “She was pretty open about how intimate you two were. It surprised me,” she admitted.
“Yeah. Well, she’s like that,” Alex said. “Are you surprised by the fact we got intimate, or the fact she told you?” he asked.
“I guess both. I don’t know, we were always presented with the idea that the Royal Daughters were supposed to be ideals, incorruptible, beyond basic needs. You know?” Vanessa hedged.
Alex shrugged. “They weren’t. Did it make you uncomfortable?
“I guess it did,” Vanessa said. She sighed. “I just didn’t expect a Lady Primarch to be using such brusque language, or to hug us like that.”
“She’s an emotional girl,” Alex said. “I’m sorry she made you uncomfortable, though.”
Vanessa fidgeted. “You know, she told me that she told you not to reveal to me that she was your ex. She said she didn’t want it turn it into a competition.”
“Yeah, that happened. Do you think she was wrong?”
“No, and I would have asked you if it was true either way,” Vanessa said. She pushed her hair back over her shoulder and lay down, looking sideways at him from the bed. “Do you miss her?”
Alex looked up at her from his slate. “As a friend?”
“In any aspect,” Vanessa said.
“Sure. All the time. She and her cousins were very close friends of mine,” Alex said unapologetically. “As a partner? Not really. By the end of our relationship, we could both tell how it was going to end.”
Vanessa looked up at the overhead lights. “All right.”
“Baby, I’m not gonna lie to you. But this isn’t going to be a turning point between me and her,” Alex said. “I’m not about to go running back to her. She loves Thangir, deeply. Couldn’t you see she was pregnant?” he asked.
Vanessa jerked her head back to stare at her husband. “Pregnant? Her? She was?”
“Yeah. Bun in the oven,” Alex said with a half-smile. “She’s content with what she has, and so am I. We shouldn’t have completely failed to keep in touch, but all we’re ever going to be from here on out is friends.”
“Oh.” Vanessa thought over that for a moment. “You know…I think she was right.”
“How’s that?” Alex asked.
“I think I would interpret this as a competition, if I had known,” Vanessa said.
Alex switched his slate off and set it down on the chair, rising to sit next to Vanessa on the bed. He slid his fingers through hers and gently squeezed, looking down into her eyes. “Well…don’t. Okay? If it were a race, she would have lost twelve years ago, when we were only staying together so I could have a place to live for long enough to finish my degree, before I could go bury my father. I don’t regret you at all. You shouldn’t either.”
Vanessa smiled at last. “All right.” Alex flicked the lights off and slid down next to her in the bed.
“You know what you need?” Alex asked softly.
“You need a vacation. Somewhere tropical.”
Vanessa shrugged. “Sounds fun. Have a place in mind?” she asked.
Alex grinned in the darkness. “I might.”
Jake Seager, Lord and Bond Prince of Nocturne, crossed his legs on the manicured sands of Carshim and watched his son play in the surf. N’bel, it seemed, was deciphering the myriad nuances of fluid dynamics, deliberately building a little sand castle at the top of the waves’ reach and intently studying the way it crumbled when the waves tore it down.
His wife, Crown Princess Venus, was sitting beside him, relaxing on the blanket. The beach was nearly deserted at that moment, fortunately enough. Then, it was the crack of dawn. In a few hours, the place would be swamped with tourists. Until then, they had a modicum of privacy.
N’bel giggled happily as the waters collapsed his creation again. Venus glanced over at him and smiled to herself. “Glad he’s having fun.”
“It was a good call.” Jake yawned and stretched his arms, popping them behind his back. “Me, I’m glad they rebuilt that weak gym here. No pool or cyclic lifters here last time.”
“Mmm.” She glanced up at him, curious. “You okay? You look tired.”
“Little bit,” Jake admitted. “It was damn loud last night.”
“Eh. Someone celebrating a wedding,” Venus said.
“Probably.” Jake fell silent as N’bel rebuilt his little fort. “Persistent, isn’t he?”
Venus chuckled. “Takes after his grandfather.”
Jake rose to his feet and brushed off the sand. “I think I’ll show him the correct means of skipping rocks,” he said.
Venus set her head back down and closed her eyes behind her sunglasses. The sound of her husband’s voice and that of her son mingled with the sound of the gentle waves, and the distant rumble of passing boats. Carshim’s massive in-land seas weren’t very saline, and were kept clean with almost obsessive vigilance by the world’s casino-boss owners. It felt a bit manufactured to her, but N’bel was having the time of his six years of life, and that was good enough for her.
It had been thirty-four years since the end of the Great Crusade. Jake and Venus had been married for thirteen years now. Twelve years of rulership over Nocturne, ceded to them by Venus’ father Vulkan while he retook leadership of the Salamanders to lead them on the Solar Expansion. It had been six years since she and Jake had brought little N’bel into the world, to the overwhelming support of the entire Royal Family and the populations of Terra and Nocturne alike. He had been the first of the great grandchildren of the Emperor, and though his eyes matched his mother’s endless, radiant red, the rest of his physical appearance was so close to his father’s that Jake had joked it was only a matter of time before they were mistaken for each other over the vox.
He was growing up. No latent psychic talent, Magnus had discreetly informed her, but he had a quick mind and strong, healthy physical development that nobody needed psychic power to see. He was a voracious reader, and so far his favorite hobby was sitting in his father’s lap, listening spellbound as Jake paged through the colossal archive of holos he had taken of Terra before moving to Nocturne.
Venus smiled up into the cloudy sky. She had been a bit hesitant to accept motherhood into her life, despite her words to the contrary to her own mother, Misja. Since N’bel’s birth, however, she had been enjoying nearly every day of it. It wasn’t a series of momentous occasions, like the holos had had her believe. The little things – the joy on N’bel’s face when they took him out for a night of fun in Clymene, the pride she felt when he eagerly displayed his newest alchemic concoction – were nearly as memorable.
The sound of shuffling feet from up the shore caught her ear. A pair of tourists were making their way down to the water. Carshim graciously allowed the members of the Royal family unlimited stay in their luxurious hotels and casinos, thinking that the presence of such classy and important people would increase their draw more than any advertising campaign ever could. They were probably right, too.
The tourists froze dead solid when they spotted Venus’ distinctive appearances. She was idly wondering whether they were going to do something she’d have to make them regret when their hurried conversation reached her ears.
“It’s her! Princess Venus herself!” a man whispered. “I…I can’t, I don’t want to bother her,” he said.
“Just go ask! The worst she can say is no,” the woman said back.
“The worst she can do is sic that Treasury sniper over there on me!” the man said back.
Venus rolled her eyes. He just wanted an autograph. Whatever. If he got close enough to ask, she’d give him one, if not, his own fault for being spineless. She’d certainly signed a ton of shit since she arrived. She was toying with the idea of just flat-out refusing to sign things after a few more days, just to mess with the prices of autographed merchandise on the black market.
She sat up and rolled her shoulders as the two squabbling tourists moved farther down the beach and spread their own blanket. The clouds were growing deeper, she noticed. She didn’t smell rain, but it wasn’t out of the question, either.
Jake knelt at his son’s side and showed him the rock in his palm. “Do you know why this is the best kind of rock for skipping?” he asked.
N’bel thought for a moment. “Because it’s small? So it’s easy to throw?”
“Good answer.” Jake lifted the flat stone and pressed it into his son’s hands. “Now…throw it juuuust above the water’s surface, nice and level.
N’bel chucked the stone. It landed in the water with a *splash*. Jake grinned at his son’s disappointment. “Here. This time,” he said, lifting another. “Watch.” N’bel stared as his father skipped the stone off the waves.
“How did you do that?” N’bel demanded.
Jake picked up a third rock. “The way you throw. Don’t toss it out…” he mimed his son’s throw. “Skip it away.” He drew his arm back and flexed it like he was cracking a whip sideways. The stone skipped twice before slamming into a wave and sinking.
Jake reached down and hefted a spherical stone. “How well do you think this one will skip?” he asked.
“Uh…it’s round, so it would probably skip…” N’bel said. His glimmering red eyes widened as realization struck. “But all of yours were flat!” he said.
I doubt anyone ever would after the shitstorm you made of it, but I think its interesting how OP has made it impossible for anyone else to ever really write about WHH with his little story.
“Smart kid,” Jake said fondly. He drew his arm back and skipped the little pebble, and it sank on the first impact. “See? Flat is more important than small.”
“Let me try!” N’bel said, grabbing another flat rock and hurling it out. It skipped once before falling into the waves. “Aw. Why didn’t it work?” N’bel asked.
“Practice!” Jake said. “Here.” Jake grabbed another little rock from the sand. “Try this one.”
N’bel accepted it and threw it, aping his father’s movements. The rock skipped once before an unlucky wave swallowed it whole. N’bel turned a sad face to his father. “It didn’t work!”
“The waves worked against you. Just keep trying. No rocks to skip on Terra!” Jake reminded him. “I learned here.”
“You’ve been here before?” N’bel asked.
“Sure have. Mom and I came here for our honeymoon,” Jake explained.
“What’s a honeymoon?” N’bel asked.
Jake smiled. “It’s what people do after a wedding,” Jake said. “They go have fun for a while before they go live together. We waited a while, though, since I wanted to finish university.”
“I thought you lived with Mom before you got married!” N’bel said.
“I did. But we weren’t Prince and Princess until after that,” Jake said.
N’bel turned back to the water. “So you came here after you got married?”
“Is that when I happened?” N’bel asked, all innocence.
Jake raised his eyebrows a bit. His own brilliant red eyes didn’t glow anywhere near as much as his wife’s or son’s, but they were still utterly inhuman. He had grown to like them, though he toyed with the idea of having them altered to look like they had before the surgery had made him more than he had been. “No, N’bel, you happened many years later,” he said truthfully. “But hey. You hungry? I’m hungry,” he said, dodging that verbal bullet. “Let’s go see if your mom is up for a snack, huh?”
Venus heard the entire exchange and sighed, though she couldn’t suppress a smirk at her husband’s verbal redirection. She sat up as her family approached. “I could go for a snack, sure,” she said, knowing full well that the other two could hear them at that range. N’bel scampered up to her and eagerly showed off the collection of beach glass he had found.
His mother looked down at him with a curious grin. “What do you have there?”
“I found these on the shore! Is it crystal?” N’bel demanded to know, the light from his eyes scattering on the glass.
“Nope.” Venus cocked her head. “Well, technically. It’s just ordinary glass. See how it’s all smooth? That’s because it gets worn down against the rocks and sand.”
“Where’s it from?” N’bel asked.
“People throw garbage over the sides of their boats. This was probably a drink bottle once,” Jake said, walking up behind his son.
“TOO COOL!” N’bel squealed, holding the little glass pieces up to his glowing eyes. They scattered red over the sand. “Can I keep them?”
“Sure, if you find a place for them back home,” Venus said.
“I will!” N’bel promised.
The trio rose to their feet and donned their sandals. Jake packed up the towel and they headed off to the little concession stand at the far end of the sandy beach. As they passed the pair of tourists, the man scrambled to his feet.
The uniformed guard at the end of the long strip of shady sand raised one finger, but a glance from Venus halted him. The man hesitantly approached her as she waved the boys along. “Let me hazard a guess,” Venus said as the tourist approached.
“Get asked to sign things a lot here, do you, your Highness?” the man sheepishly asked. “I don’t mean to intrude.”
“Eh. You get used to it.” Venus took the proffered pen and scribbled her name on the little paper stub the man offered her. “Here you go.”
“Thanks so much, your Highness,” the man said. He probably wasn’t even twenty five years old. The ring on his finger said ‘engagement getaway’ to Venus.
“Having a pre-wedding getaway, pal?” she asked.
The man blinked. “Er…yes! How did you know?”
“Just a guess. We had our honeymoon here ourselves,” Venus said idly, hiking up her bag. “Right. Goodbye.”
“Yes, goodbye, and thanks!” the man said, before scurrying back to his companion with the paper stub thrust forward like a trophy.
Venus caught up to the others. “Autograph hunter?” Jake asked.
“Yep.” Venus grabbed some coins from her bag to buy a cup of lemon ice for N’bel.
You're missing the point. This latest one pretty much sets in stone what happens to all of them for the next 10 or so years. Nobody else can write anything interesting happening to any of the primarch daughters unless it expands on something you already wrote about.
That evening, as N’bel fell asleep in his room, his parents retired to their own. Jake started up the hot tub and climbed in. “Is this the same suite we had before?” Jake asked.
“Sure is,” Venus said. She pulled her bathing suit back on and clambered in with him. She tugged her hair free of its simple tail and sank into the bubbly water up to her neck. “Mmm…that’s nice,” she said contentedly. Jake switched the water off and let the jets swirl the water about.
“So…day one!” Jake said, squeezing her knee under the water. “N’bel’s having fun.”
Venus slid sideways until she was resting against her husband’s side. “We should show him the islands, that was the best part of the honeymoon,” she pointed out.
He slung his arm behind her shoulder and she squeezed his hand. “Maybe we should,” Jake said quietly. Beyond Venus being only inches from his ear, N’bel’s hearing was nearly as sharp as his mother’s. “Do you want to try tomorrow?”
“Well, I promised to make a quick appearance with Overlord Lysander tomorrow evening, but after that, sure, we’re here for four months.” Venus closed her eyes and slid her hand over the one Jake was resting on her shoulder. “I forgot how nice the beaches are here.”
Jake leaned his head on hers and closed his eyes two. The Prince and Princess sat in the tub for a while, just letting the faint sound of the water jets fill the room. At length, Venus let the light from her eyes flood the water with red again. “So…what do you want to do with him tomorrow?” she asked.
“We can decide tomorrow,” Jake said softly. Venus glanced to the side to see his lips curled in a faint grin.
When they feel they have been brushed to the side and anything they try to contribute has already been preemptively invalidated, /tg/ tends not to bother, save for out of spite.
Venus smiled back. “Do you have something else in mind for tonight?” she asked innocently.
Jake opened his eyes and grinned broadly. “You bet.” He flicked the fingers on the hand he had draped over his wife’s back and her bikini top fell away. She tilted her head to the side and accepted Jake’s hungry kiss, as his other hand slid up her leg to her crotch and pulled the rest of her suit away. “Fuck, you feel good,” Jake growled, palming her warm, firm breasts.
Venus pulled his swim trunks away and ran an approving hand over his shaft. “You know…somehow, I don’t think I ever really appreciated how hung you are as a girl,” she murmured.
Jake grinned proudly as he reached out of the tub to grab a condom from his pants pocket. “Not like you had others to compare it to.”
“True, but a few minutes on the net proved illuminating,” Venus giggled. She rose from her seat on the tub bottom as Jake let out a bit of water. She took the rubber ring from his hands and slid it down over him. “There…” she let her hands fall away and leaned up, biting her lip with a sultry grin. “Ready for me?”
As his wave crested, he slumped back against the marble wall of the tub, smiling happily at her from millimeters away. “…Outstanding, baby,” he murmured, pecking her on the lips.
She followed him back, resting her head on his shoulder. She leaned her forehead on the stone side and whispered softly in his ear. “Any time, Jake, trust me.”
After the glow faded, Jake awkwardly extracted himself, tossed the condom, and dried up a bit. Venus, her clean-up simpler, was already curled up in bed when Jake wobbled out of the bathroom. He flopped down next to her on the massive mattress and immediately started raining playful little kisses on her shoulder.
Venus giggled tiredly. “What’re you up to?”
“Nothing.” Jake lingered on her neck, tracing his tongue along her ear line. “Just feeling great.”
“Mmm.” Venus watched his dark brown hair bob over her head as he moved up her face to her lips, and planted a slow, satisfied kiss. “Remember when we tried that technique first?” she asked with a faint laugh.
Jake groaned as the memory returned. “Fuck, I nearly broke my arm on the stone. You were laughing so hard we had to stop.”
“Well, I’m happy to report that you did much, much better this time,” she said happily, sliding a warm hand over his stomach.
He grinned and sank down on his side next to her. “I didn’t feel you come.”
“I didn’t. It’s always good when you’re really taking the initiative, though,” she said. His hand moved down to the neat little arrow of black fuzz over her clit, but she paused him with a request.
“No, thanks, baby, I’m not there. It’s okay…we have a while,” she reminded him coyly. His eyes slipped shut as he leaned in for one last kiss.
“All right. Night, baby.” He settled down on the mattress. “Remember when your body temperature was so high we couldn’t do this?” he asked, indicating the few inches between them with a wave of his hand.
Venus snorted. “It still is high, you’re just warmer too.”
“True.” Jake yawned. “…Hope N’bel didn’t hear us.”
“He did, I’m sure, but with any luck he has no idea what we were doing,” Venus laughed.
“…He did ask if he ‘happened’ while we were here the first time…” Jake recalled with trepidation.
Venus’ eyebrows rose. “Oh. Right.” She paused. “Eh. We’ll see.”
Jake rose from the bed and silently moved to N’bel’s door. He pressed his ear to the wood panel and listened.
His son was sound asleep, his breaths slow and shallow, his heartbeat steady.
Jake sighed in relief and made the classic ‘sleeping like a baby’ gesture to his wife. She nodded and closed her eyes as Jake padded back to the bed. “All’s well,” he reported.
“Good.” Venus said sleepily. Jake slipped on next to her and closed his eyes, and she idly listened as his biorhythm slowed into the quiet of sleep.
The following morning, Jake was sitting on a small rise of sand overlooking the endless blue of the sea. His son was down in the surf, continuing his hydrodynamics experiment. Venus was out in the placid water, swimming back and forth between two rubber buoys the casino put out. Jake himself was watching the little waves lap at the sand and rock, just enjoying the sun on his skin.
A faint shuffling noise behind him drew his ear, and he looked over to see a woman in her early thirties walking up to him with a bag in her hand. The thick shirt she had stretched over her ample belly was decorated in a motif that said ‘hormonal purchase’ to Jake’s eyes. A pregnancy shirt, perhaps?
Yelling from the beach drew his attention. Venus was splashing up to the shore where N’bel was building his sandcastle, and N’bel was furiously blocking his mother’s waves, protecting his fortress with his body. Venus crouched down behind him and menacingly filled a bucket with water, as N’bel watched with terrified eyes. Odd how he had gotten so much better at reading emotions in those glowing red eyes after his had started to resemble them; it’s not like he could see his own face.
The pregnant woman, meanwhile, had spread out a blanket on the sands above them, and was gingerly sitting down. She was well on her way, Jake realized, with probably only four months left on her timer.
He realized he was staring and looked away, to where Venus and N’bel had apparently agreed to a non-aggression pact, and were busily building a moat. Venus was explaining how making the edges of the moat deeper than the middle helped with draining, which struck Jake as perhaps a bit advanced for the beginner’s course, but his son was loving it.
They don't NEED it, but you've kinda implicitly set the ”canon” as it were, and I would much rather not write fanfiction of fanfiction.
A shadow fell over the sands near him. He looked around to see a man he didn’t recognize standing beside the pregnant woman, lowering a cup of something down to her. She took it gratefully, sipping at it through a straw. As the man turned, he made eye contact with Jake. Most people, when they did that, recoiled at the alien sight. Others watched for a moment, distracted or mesmerized by the hypnotic movement of light and darkness around the tiny retina. Even more ignored them in favor of watching his wife’s or son’s utterly startling eyes instead.
This man, however, hesitated, and slowly removed his own sunglasses in surprise. He took a few steps closer, as a few of the Treasury guards at the edge of the beach tensed up. The man muttered something under his breath. “No…fucking way.”
Jake’s memory kicked into motion, spurred on by the man’s voice. The pregnant woman was looking back and forth between him and the man, not seeing what was going on. As Jake looked up at the tourist, his mind finally placed the voice.
“Alex Carlin? What are you doing here?” Jake asked, rising to his feet.
“It…Jake? Is that you?” Alex asked, astonished. The two men crossed the distance and stared at each other. “You…you look like you fell asleep in a tanning bed set to ‘pulsar,’” Alex said, flabbergasted.
“Hah! Alex! It is you!” Jake said, drawing the slightly shorter, but much broader man into a hug. “How the fuck are you?”
“Awesome, actually, yourself?” Alex asked, pulling free. Jake stepped away and looked over his friend from arm’s length.
“I’m good, I’m good…you look like a million credits, compared to the wedding,” Jake said.
“Hah! More, actually,” Alex said with blatant false modesty. “Hell, it’s great to see you again. You here on vacation?”
“Sure am!” Jake said. He glanced over at the woman on the towel.
Alex shook himself. “Right. Vanessa, this is a high school friend of mine, Jacob Seager,” Alex said. Jake walked a few steps closer and held his hand low for her to shake, rather than force her to climb up.
She took and it and shook, then gingerly levered onto her feet anyway. “Nice to meet you,” she said. “You said you went to Imperator?”
“I did,” Jake confirmed. “My family is here on vacation. We’re here for four months, then back home so my son can start grade school. He just turned six.”
“Wow, he’s that old already? Man, all I have is holos,” Alex said, shaking his head.
“Well, shit, if you want to say hi, they’re right over there,” Jake said, jerking a thumb over the rise of sand obscuring his sight of the others.
“Yeah? Think I will. Wonder if she even recognizes me,” Alex chuckled, walking over.
Jake sat down next to the blanket as Vanessa eased back to join him. “So, Vanessa, where are you from?” Jake asked.
“I was born on Shardenus, but I grew up all over. Traders, you know,” she said. She fanned herself with a broad paper fan, adjusting her hat. “Alex and I worked together on Cordeline’s Wake.”
“Cool.” Jake nodded. “My wife and I went to high school with Alex, together.”
“That’s cute.” Vanessa looked over to where her husband was disappearing behind the sand drift, already cupping his hand around his mouth to holler down to Jake’s family. “If you went to high school in the same class, you must have been in the same class as the Royal Daughters.”
“Yep.” Jake felt the opportunity for a prank arising and quashed it. If he was lucky, Venus had already thought of it.
“We ran into Lady Primarch Freya at a dinner last year on a void platform over Dorrmammu,” Vanessa said. “That was quite a reunion.”
Jake chuckled. “I imagine. Did she do the thing where she picks you up?”
“What? No…though she did hug me so hard I bruised,” Vanessa said. “That was a shock.”
Jake laughed. “She didn’t mean anything by it.” He looked over at the sand rise, from behind which Venus’ delighted voice was echoing. “Sounds like Alex found them.”

“Alex! Hahah, come here!” Venus squealed, wrapping her arms tight around the taller man.
Alex did so, fondly hugging her back. “Venus, you look fantastic. How have you been?”
“I’m great…but what are you doing here? Just taking a break?” Venus asked.
“Well…sort of,” Alex said. “Business isn’t as good as it was back when we had low standards, but it’s tolerable. Frankly, I found it hard to work while Vanessa’s expecting,” he said. “I keep dropping what I’m doing to go check on her.”
“You’re married? Wow, good for you!” Venus said. “And you have a baby on the way?”
“Yep. Well, my wife does,” Alex chuckled. He looked down to where N’bel was trying not to be seen behind his mother’s leg. “So…are you Prince N’bel?” he asked, smiling.
“Yes,” N’bel said, somewhat cautiously.
Alex squatted down next to him and stuck out a hand. “My name’s Alex. I went to school with both of your parents,” he said.
N’bel gamely took his hand and shook. Alex grinned. “Wow. You know, I bet you don’t think so yet, but you are just gonna be identical to your dad in a few more years.”
“Everyone says that!” N’bel grumbled. His radiant eyes painted Alex’s face red as the much older man smiled knowingly.
“Well, sorry, kid. How old are you now?”
“Six Standard, four Nocturnean,” N’bel said proudly.
“Wow. Time flies,” Alex said. He stood up and gestured over his shoulder. “Want to meet Vanessa?”
“Sure,” Venus said. She paused to slip her sandals back on and followed him over the rise.

Vanessa was applying sunscreen to her arms when Alex came back with Venus and N’bel in tow. Jake watched with a hidden grin as she slowed, a few puzzle pieces falling into place. She looked over at him.
Jake shrugged. “We’re just civilians here. And N’bel and I both dislike formalities among friends. Strongly.” He winked.
She shook her head and set down the squeeze bottle. “Alex sure has had interesting friends.”
“He’s lucky that way,” Jake said drily. Venus walked right up to Vanessa and crouched down.
“Hello…Vanessa, yes? Pleasure to meet you,” she said, casting a knowing glance at Vanessa’s stomach as she did. “I’m Venus.”
“Hello, Princess…Venus. Sorry.” Vanessa shook the proffered hand, though she didn’t manage to conceal her flinch at the warmth of it. “And…you must be N’bel,” she said, stumbling a bit on the very non-Gothic name.
“Yes, hi,” N’bel said. He looked at the two Rogue Traders and cocked his head, but didn’t ask anything.
Venus sensed her son’s entirely reasonable desire. “N’bel, if you want to go rebuilt the fort, do so,” she said in Nocturnean.
N’bel took off for his crumbling sandcastle, leaving Vanessa stunned at his speed. With his genehanced muscle, he was easily as fast as a career track and field athlete, at six years old. Alex nodded at the display. “That takes me back.”
“I know, right?” Jake clapped his friend on the back. “How’s the business?”
“Eh. We’re not robbing graves any longer, so that’s something, but our profit factor is…unenthusiastic now,” Alex said. “I mean, shit, who am I to complain, but still.” He sat down on the towel as the Nocturneans settled down on the sand beside it. “Things are improving now that the new Solar worlds are calming down. Lots of call for haulers. We’ve taken to buying cheap freighters, hiring Navigators from the Rogue houses, and sending them to haul along the new colony routes for pennies. Not making any money now, but give it ten years and we’re the only ones already working the new lines when they open for general trade,” Alex said.
“Crafty,” Venus said.
“Yep. And it doesn’t smell like tombs. The older Navigators hate that we’re willing to hire exiles, but screw ‘em. They’re not the ones getting their hands dirty.” Alex chuckled. “How about you two? What have you been up to?”
“Well, getting settled on Terra and Nocturne, of course, but I’ve been getting my way into the Nocturnean leadership roles I’m expected to fulfill, too,” Venus said. “I didn’t realize just how much No’dan was actually doing.”
“Did he retire from active duty when you claimed your throne?” Alex asked.
Venus shook her head. “No, he simply rejoined the Fire Drakes as a field commander. We built a home in Themis.”
“Cool.” Alex nodded. “We technically have a home on Hernreith, but I don’t think we get back there more than once every other year.”
“We also have a house on Terra that we stay in when we’re home, but I think when N’bel is old enough to go to high school, we’ll send him to Imperator,” Jake said. “Nothing against Nocturnean high schools, but it’s the best school in the galaxy for political families.”
“Yeah, it was pretty great.” Alex leaned forward over crossed legs. “So, N’bel, that’s a Nocturnean name. Is it a family name?”
“My father’s adoptive father,” Venus supplied. “A tribal blacksmith.”
“Hmm. Think N’bel will want to learn smithing when he’s older?” Alex asked.
“‘When he’s older?’” Jake chuckled.
Alex blinked. “He’s six.”
“He’s a Primarch’s blood. He can already handle simple welding tools,” Venus said. “He insisted. I was so proud,” she said with a smile.
Vanessa shook her head. “That sounds really dangerous.”
“It is. But he’s careful, and smithing is the oldest and most sacred art on Nocturne,” Venus said. “And I’m always in the room with him.”
Vanessa shrugged, unwilling to argue the point. “If you say so, ma’am.”
Venus uncrossed her legs and lay down on her back, letting the sun soak into her night-black skin through her rust-colored swimsuit. “Mmm…you two been here long?”
“Yesterday,” Alex supplied. “We’re here for about a month and a half.”
“Nice, isn’t it? You know, we went on our honeymoon out here,” Venus said. “It’s a great place to unwind.”
“Is it? Never been before,” Alex said.
“We’re here the next four months,” Jake said. “Then we go home to send N’bel off to first level school. Then I go back to getting the way at the Castle,” he grumbled.
“Oh, hush, you’re not that bad,” Venus scolded.
“What do you mean?” Alex asked.
“I always feel like I’m getting in the way of the professionals when I’m in the Castle in Themis. Like the PDF guys are worse off for my being there,” Jake said with a sigh. “I mostly just stick in the Royal Quarters now.”
“Well, that’s silly. Trust me, the military on Nocturne has no problem telling people when they’re in the way,” Venus said.
“I guess.” Jake glanced over at the Rogue Traders. “How do you two handle security on your ships and such? Mercenaries?”
“Lifer mercs and crew offspring,” Vanessa said. “Mostly. Some ex-Navy, too. The background screening on most group hires is pretty heavy, but we have to prevent problems from within.”
“So I imagine,” Venus said. “The issue being attempted infiltrations?”
“Yeah. It happens. Gotta keep sharp,” Alex said.
“Who’s running your organization while you’re here?” Jake asked.
“We have a group of adjutants. And they can always contact us by the Astropath on the ship if they need to,” Alex said.
For what its worth I have enjoyed your stories.
For what its worth I haven't.
Funny how everything died after SE made that snide comment he regretted.
Just gotta say, i've always dug your writing and hope to see the next stuff you whip up
SE has left us, so I will be taking over for the night, with a new story, Riders of the Storm.

It covers Hana Khan and her service with the Chogoran Rough Riders from the point of view of her Bloodsworn Guard, Tevguul.

As always, comments and feedback are welcomed. What do you think of Julius's ultimate end?
From the personal remembrances of Tevguul, Boyan of the Kheshig, Bloodsworn guard of the Khan.

An ancient scholar of Terra once wrote ‘war never changes’, a saying which has remained true in the millennia after he penned those words and likely will remain true as long as man lives. I have always been a bit of a scholar; I like to know things, about the enemy we fight against, the allies we fight with, the worlds we fight on. I was once told that only poets could be true warriors, for only they could appreciate what we do on the field of battle. I do admit I have a poetic bend, and the Khan appreciates that, asking me to compose poems to commemorate particular battles or events, or simply to cheer the Khan up after a particularly harrowing day. The Khan is the one who asked me to compile this record of my experiences so that they will not be lost.

“You must do this for me.” The Khan told me. “You have served me since I was born, but your service won’t last forever. Your story needs to be told, so those that come after you can learn.”

The Khan is right of course. Though I have been blessed with a longer life than most, it will not last forever. But my story, my poems will long outlast me, and like the old saying of Terra, remain for future generations to learn from.

I find that reassuring.
If it doesn't involve a scene of her fussing over her mustache and beard and teasing it to perfection, then I will be fucking pissed.
What they have now started calling ‘The Segmentum Conquests’, but which had no name back then save the ‘Solar Expansion’ - a name which I find has no poetic bend to it - began out of the massed pirate assaults which began around the year 347 and continued on and off for the next ten years. Hain, Human and Corsair Eldar Pirates hammered the warp routes the Imperium needed to survive, sometimes invading entire worlds. Eventually after years of this torment the Emperor decided to send his iron fist, his Legions outwards from Terra to explore the gulfs of space the Crusade missed, places that could potentially have habitable worlds in them, to expand the domain of man, rediscover lost human civilisations the Crusade may have missed and purge the pirates so they could never again threaten the Imperium’s lanes of trade. The Warmaster chose several of his brothers to lead the Legions and the rest of the Imperial military outwards from selected strongpoints across the Imperium to fulfil this new objective, and the ordu of Chogoris, the Brotherhoods of the Khagan became part of it.

We didn’t know any of this at the time, of course. All we knew was that the Khagan had called for his warriors both mortal and not to ride with him for this new wave of conquest and we answered the call. So we of the Auxilia rode for him far from home, far across the stars from Chogoris. We were only flesh and blood, not the storm tempered iron of our Scar brothers, but the Khagan needed all his warriors

We fought many battles during the conquests, alongside many of the Legions. The harrowing of Quartye, where the Black Knight of the Fists Sigismund led us to victory, and the ride against the automatons on Muste 17 both spring to mind, but the one which most lingers with me happened four years into the expansion, after we had destroyed the empire of Mordag and were hounding the last gritty remnants of that empire to extinction.
You shame The Doors and Jim Morrison with your reference, AA. There is not even one crazy acid trip in this whole little waifufest story, is there?
What I remember most about that particular war was the wind. The wind whipping across the open plains, its hollow whistle ever mournful - like it was lamenting the invaders who were despoiling that world or the bloodshed which was happening between those invaders and us.

As I felt it stinging my face I was reminded of home, Chogoris. It had been a long time since I rode under its open skies, and I feared I would never again ride under its twin moons. But I was bloodsworn, and my fate was and still is tied to that of someone else by chains which will never be broken. I rose from failure, the greatest failure a man can face, to continue to serve the Khagan despite my weaknesses which denied me the chance to serve him as one of his Gene Sons.

“You know that by accepting this, your life no longer becomes your own. It will belong to the Khan, from birth to death, every hour awake and asleep the Khan’s life will be your life, the Khan’s pain and blood your pain and blood.”
I knew what was asked of me then, and I still know now. I accepted, and stood impassively as the khan’s name was carved into my forehead, so that all would know who I was Bloodsworn to, who my life belonged to. I have never and will never regret that day. In fact, that day is one of the proudest of my entire life.

The planet we fought over had no name before we arrived upon it. It had big, high pink skies dusted with cloud and dark green grass which seemed to swallow up the blood shed upon it. It had escaped the notice of the Great Crusade, but the second wave of expansion had brought us to it, hounding the survivors of yet another war on yet another planet. There is always one more planet, one more war. We rode across this nameless world in waves, up from the southern landing sites where our scar brothers had landed before us and out into the equatorial zone and beyond into the northern mountains where the foe was falling back to regroup from the ferocious assaults of the Khagan.
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>Who are The Doors and Jim Morrison?
Oh get the fuck out right now.
>Does war count as an Acidtrip?
Not unless they were on acid during the war.
>Well, some Vietnam Vets might think so.
Because they were all on acid and listening to The Doors, you fuck.
>Who are The Doors and Jim Morrison?
Fuck you again because it bears repeating.
A full Tumen of the Vth Legion Auxilia was landed on that world to ride for the Khagan, to support his warriors and the Imperial Army in their prosecution of the war. The lively horses and shining bright steel of the Chogoran Rough Riders lifted down from orbit in bulk landers. Seeing the row upon row of horses and men, The colours of the V Legion, the livery of white, gold and red proudly born on our uniforms and on our horses for the enemy to see was a stirring sight for all who witnessed it, and I wish the Khan had been there for that.

Many have said horses are obsolete in war, and have been for millennia. But we can roam far on them, for they do not need fuel to run them, only grass and fodder. We have proven that the horse still has a part to play in the Emperor’s wars.

I am of the Kheshig, which in Chogoran means favoured or blessed. They are the guards of the Khans, his faithful retainers unto death. The Scars have their own Kheshig, a mighty phalanx of giants in bone-white Terminator plate who guard the Khagan. They are not my Kheshig. Mine are the Human Kheshig, the riders of the dead, our lamellar armour lacquered dark grey and black, the only colour the flash of the V Legion on our arms. The dour killers.

We fought the eternal foe of man on that world, what we of Chogoris call the hain, others the ork or the kine or the krork or a hundred other names. The name matters not. They are everywhere, a foe which we have fought and will forever fight. The hain can never be eradicated, they appear from nowhere to ravage our worlds and though we purge them time and again, they always return.

Wow, you learn something on 4chan every day. Thank you anon.
So did SE ragequit or something?

Yes, the hate got to him. It's got to all of us, to be honest. I have two stories, Days of Judgement and this, and then I'm done with the setting as well, and I shall retire and act as Loremarine for any other prospective WHH writers who shall follow us.
The haters have ground us down. It's hard, writing shit for you all to have it thrown back in our faces. Hopefully some of them will take over WHH and 'fix' the setting as they see fit.
The Ork Empire of Warlord Mudd Mordag had raided our frontier worlds bordering the warp storm we named Inferno Reach. That storm had prevented the Imperium from properly responding during the crusade and immediately afterwards, but it had calmed and shrunk as the Segmentum Conquests began and an opportunity was seen to destroy this threat for good. Three Legions drove into Mordrag’s realm and burned it to the ground, purging his worlds and freeing his human slaves. Now we came to this world to polish off what was left.

We had destroyed the last of their crude space-vessels months earlier, stranding them on the surface and then the Khagan had lead a great charge which split the horde apart, and now hundreds of fragments of that horde were tearing north, trying to reunite and respond to our sudden arrival. It was the job of the Chogoran Rough Riders to seek and destroy these fragments before they could unite and pose a threat to the Khagan. We had been on that world for nearly two months, and had destroyed eight enemy fragments and were hunting a ninth.

It was the seventh day of the chase when we decided to deliver the killing blow to that ninth fragment. We had been following the column, harassing and harrying it for day after day, weakening it, wearing it down. We had driven it to a place of our choosing where we would finish it off in one great charge as our fathers had once done on Chogoris.
I stood on the low ridge behind which the bulk of the Tumen were concealed, watching the hain column grinding past parallel to the ridge. They were heading north like all the many pockets split off by the Khan, driving in long columns of battered, clumsy armoured vehicles that sent black gouts of soot into the air and gave away their position. This column had very few vehicles left – we had picked most of them off in the days previously - but thousands upon thousands of the hain were there, marching to rejoin the fight against the Khagan.
I'm sure that Crusader guy is pissing his pants in joy from behind his ban right. Oh well.
well I hope SE cools down and finishes posting Eternity cause I enjoyed reading it, fuck the haters, they don't want to read it, then don't, no need for them to ruin everyone else's fun.
Excellent stuff, both of you. Real sad you're ending your arcs.
>other prospective WHH writers
Hah! You guys are welding the entrances shut in your desire to go down with the ship. Theres not really any entryway for anyone else to write in.

They've done nothing of the sort. For a start, most of the other daughters have very little material on them, and there's nothing stopping you from simply overruling anything that's been written here. They aren't authorities. Nut up and write, if you want. Nothing's canon here.

There's a very simple way for other writers to get in: disregard everything we've done, ignore it all, pretend we never wrote it and write an entirely new story which has no links to our stories.

And even if they do want to write within the Bleeding Out 'verse, there is almost nothing before the story Bleeding Out. Nothing about how, say Julius ended up with Isis when he started out dating Faith, or the many other stories which happened before the unfortunate incident with a sniper and a bullet.

I don't want the setting to fade away just because we've finished with it, we need new blood to inject new vitality to this setting. I will gladly offer information from my vast Horus Heresy collection to any prospective WHH writer to tie it in with the 'offical' GW canon, but aside from that i'll be done.
>there's nothing stopping you from simply overruling anything that's been written here. They aren't authorities.
>I shall act as Loremarine
Contradictions are fine, too.

And if I didn't like what they wrote, why would I be writing for WHH? Any massive changes like that would make me writing for something else entirely.
Dust clouds on the fringes of the horde showed where my Rifle Cavalry brothers were stinging them, riding in, shooting at the hain and riding off before the greenskins could retaliate. They had thinned the ranks of the enemy nicely over the last few days, though many had been shot out of their saddles by the enemy. Their deaths would not be in vain.

On the ridge further down from where I observed the horde, the Horse Artillery barked, throwing shells into the horde. Flashes of fire amidst the sea of green showed where their shells landed. Whenever the hain threatened them, they limbered up and rode off to a new position and continued to send fire and death to the greenskins. I resolved that once the battle was done, I would have the Horse Artillery commended for their conduct in this chase.

In the early days of the war just after we had landed the hain would have fought us. They would have surged at us in vast mobs, bellowing and roaring with gobs of spittle flying from their tusked mouths as they tried to drag us from our saddles. But no longer. The Scar Brothers had broken their spirit. Together with them and the Army we had chased them across the face of the world, rooting them out, beating them back, cutting them down. We knew from the Orbital augers that they were mustering somewhere, trying to summon up some kind of defence in numbers, but even they must have sensed that the end was coming. After two months, the war was fast approaching its climax.

From the ridge, I could see the ripples running through the green horde. They were close to breaking. I felt my fingers itch for the feel of my guan dao glaive, my chosen weapon made for me by the Khan. The blessed weapon – a two-metre metal shaft with a single curved blade, a work of close combat genius - had not sipped of the blood of the foe in many days; its spirit longed for the taste again, and I would not disappoint it.
see >>22427623
You guys have incontrovertibly made WHH /your/ thing, at least own up to that much.

They've written a bunch of stuff. That's the extent of what they've done. They're writefags writefagging. If they have dominated it, it's simply because nobody else bothered writing anything.

To be honest, I feel intimidated by the sheer amount of STUFF they've done.
In part because they edged everyone else out. Shit, there used to be a time where AA told practically everyone to go get skullfucked by a parrot or some shit, so you cant say they didn't call some of this on themselves.
I turn back and rode down the ridge to face my brothers. Before me, hidden from the sight of the hain was rank after rank of neatly ordered riders, already in diamond formation ready for the charge.

The Chogoran Rough Riders are organised along the lines of the old decimal system of Chogoris. Ten men make an Arav, Ten Aravs makes a Zuut, ten Zuuts makes a Minghan and ten Minghans makes a Tumen, the largest formation we have. The Tumen of the Auxilia which fought on that world comprised five Minghans of Rough Riders, four of Rifle Cavalry and one of the Kheshig with the Tachanka and Horse Artillery attached. All that might was under my command that day.

Several Zuuts of the Kheshig were facing me, each formed up into a separate diamond. Cavalry formed into diamond formations react slightly faster to orders and changes direction much quicker, which for us is essential. The lead diamond had a space at the front, a space for me to occupy, to lead them from. Like the Scars we lead by example. Behind their full faced helmets, the Kheshig smiled at me hungrily. We all knew the time is almost upon us, the time to hunt and to charge. We were all the blood of Chogoris, brown skin, oil-black hair worn long, wiry frames bunched with muscle.

Between the two main diamond formations was an arav of the Fire Riders, those who have foregone flesh and blood steeds in order to drive the flame belching Hellhounds. The Hellhounds and their sister tanks the Banewolves and Devil Dogs were the only tanks in the Chogoran rough riders, the others being too slow for our fast-paced style of warfare. The three strong Hellhound aravs had proven themselves time and time again, and I was glad they would ride with us that day.

“My Boyan, the Tumen is ready for your orders. The men are all formed up and we await your command to charge.” One of my noyans nodded to me. Everything was in place, weeks of hunting and riding had lead to this.
I'm gonna be honest, while I never really felt the desire to write anything for WHH, all their talk about collaborating off site and the prospect of having to deal with all that Rizon shit that I currently don't bother with would have kept me right the fuck out.

So they're very productive writefags. Good kind of writefag to have.

Edged out my ass. It's the usual with /tg/. You get a couple of writers that actually produce, and everyone else is content to sit there and read. They haven't edged anyone out, they just actually sat down and dared to write.

It's a big setting. There's going to be writefags touching base to talk about stuff. Hell, they might just have quickly blew each others stories past the other to make sure they didn't have one guy in two places, or killing off characters the other wanted to write for.

Alternatively, as has been pointed out, you could have written about any of the billions of things that aren't covered by either of their works. There's heaps of daughters that hardly have a paragraph between them, and huge stretches of time where nothing's been done.
I think it has more to do with that /tg/ tends to violently turn on anything that exists for too long or too often. For a while, there were daily WHH threads, which annoyed some fa/tg/uys who before then were content to ignore things. And then when these fa/tg/uys actually poke their heads in the threads and AA & Co. acted like fucktards, a good chunk of /tg/ mentally shitlisted WHH.

And now here we are, with two simultaneous WHH threads a day and the hate flows strongly once more.
Suddenly there was silence in the ranks, and as I turned my horse about I could see why. A new figure had joined us. Unlike my brothers the newcomer was clad in a bright red coat with gold trim which caught the light, not the grey lamellar of my Kheshig brothers. The Newcomer’s horse was a cyber-steed, a fusion of flesh and metal which could ride harder and endure more than our steeds of flesh and blood. The figure wore no helmet, revealing a high tail of hair.

We all knew who it was. We all bowed low in our saddles.

“Stand easy.” The Khan commanded. The Khan, the leader of all the Auxilia, my commander, my bloodsworn ward. The Khan rode up to me, and once again I bowed.

“The men are in place, my Cherbi. We await your command.”

Cherbi, the honourific given to the commander of the Kheshig, the most important person in all the Auxilia, the representative of the Khagan Himself. But our Khan was far more than that, far more.

The Khan glanced over at the neat diamonds of the Kheshig and the Rough Riders all poised ready to charge, and looked back to me. “You make it seem so easy Tevguul. You remind me that I still have much to learn.”

“My Khan, I only do what you command. This was all your plan, your idea; all I did was execute it. Will you lead us in the hunt my Khan, my Cherbi?”

Hana Khan, daughter of the Khagan and Lady of the Auxilia smiled that smile it seemed she saved only for me.

“Tevguul, my warrior poet, I would be honoured.”

I always felt the honour was all mine. It was an honour beyond honours to be lead by the lady Khan, daughter of the Khagan. Unlike her ilk, the other Primarch-Children, she had joined her native sons in the tempering crucible of war, and we all adore her for it. She has been commanding the Auxilia for five years by that point, and we had grown with her in the wars, growing used to her style of command, moulding ourselves to her ways of war.
Its hilarious how you guys made a setting to get away from the bleary depression of 40K, only to not-so-gradually jam it all back in there, complete with orks as faceless punching bags.
>but it's over now
Thats what I'm saying. Its unlikely anyone else will pick it up simply because the whole affair leaves a sour taste in their mouth. Sort of like how you cant even make a BroQuest CYOA thread without drudging up all the drama and shattered hopes the videogame produced.

You could still ease off the whole multiple threads at the same time thing, though.
>The multiple threads is nothing to do with us though
SE was actively posting in the other one.

That is entirely my fault. I am the grimdark writer of the three, I am the one who reintroduced the grimdark in all my stories. As Darkmage told me, 'we all put our amount of grimdark, you dont put a healthy dose. you smother your stories with it, instead of a tablespoon you emptied the jar of salt on your dish.'

>>2242804 >>22428146
I hate the idea that no-one else will pick it up because of our conduct. If we killed it, then I will blame myself and rightly so. The multiple threads is nothing to do with us though, we didn't start them, even if SE took advantage of them after they began. I for one was hoping not to do any more before april at the earliest, but SE wanted out.
With a ripple the Kheshig Diamond reformed, and I flowed into it, leaving the tip of the diamond open for her. She turned her steed and trotted over; taking her rightful place at the point of the spear, a blood red tip to the point that will destroy the hain horde.

“Tevguul, the hain are fracturing. Some are chasing after the rifle cavalry, and the horde has lost cohesion. Now?”

I only nod. She does not need to ask me, but she still does. While she was growing up on the throneworld I fought with the Auxilia on numerous backwater worlds, and when she joined the Auxilia, naturally it was to me that she turned to advice. I taught her all I knew, and she still sees me as her principle advisor, though her skills have long since outstripped my own.
She raised her voice and spoke into the Comm Link for all the brothers to hear.

“Riders of Chogoris, today we destroy another of the hain blights. Ride hard and cut them down, be the storm that sweeps away the enemy.” Her Khorchin was almost perfect, but there was still a tiny hint in her voice which betrayed that she had not grown up on the steppes of the Altak like I had.

The drums began to beat and the signal flags were raised and waved in the breeze, telling the riders to begin their charge. Slowly we trotted forwards, still in perfect formation. Onto the ridge we went, and there I could see the hain horde. Like the khan had said it was falling apart at the seams, some individual bands trying to chase after their rifle cavalry tormentors, others still powering forward, trekking to whatever destination they were aiming for. One they would never reach.

“We ride for the Khagan!”

The Orks could now see the hitherto concealed riders of the Auxilia powering towards them, a wave of horses and steel. And at our head, riding harder than any of us, her Tulwar out and slicing into the winds, was the Khan. We call her the Wind Rider, for when her blood is up she rides like the western winds, full of sound and fury.
The hain tried to rally at our now thunderous charge, but they were scattered and vulnerable to the killing blow we were about to deal. The Horse artillery continued to fire, the shells adding to the confusion in the enemies ranks.

We drove for the weak links, the places in their fracturing horde we would smash into.

I saw their tusked mouths open - they were shouting something at us. Anger or defiance? I did not know or care.

Behind the Khan I closed on the hain, standing in the saddle, guiding my galloping mount with my knees and pulling my glaive from its back strapping, aiming it like a lance.

The hain were not stupid, nor were they slow. A storm of bullets streaked out at us, burning past our ears and ploughing up the earth beneath. Behind me a rider was downed in a careening, plummeting orgy of butchered horseflesh and shattered bone.

The moment of impact was marked by a careening crash as flesh met steel. My guan dao sliced a hain in two and bringing it back up and around in a bloody arc I took another hain apart. The disruptor blazed, leaving streaks of shimmering silver in the air as the blade whipped across.

I gloried in the use of my glaive. It danced in my fists, spinning and punching, slicing ork bodies apart. I ploughed through them, breaking bone and shattering armour, my horse drawing ever onwards through the horde. Orks reeled away from me, staggering and howling at the fury of my assault.
The Hellhounds drove forward, belching fire like the dragons of Terran myth. What wasn’t burned was crushed under their treads as they powered forwards. The Rough Riders slew with sabre and pistol, the Rifle Cavalry with short ranged volleys of Lasgun fire and the Kheshig with their power lances and bolt pistols.

>a good chunk of /tg/

Bullshit. And AA and the like never acted like anything much. And we've never been that heavy on the WHH threads. The last few days things have picked up a bit, but for the last few weeks/months there's been not a peep.

I think I prefer the happy ending. I'm still a bit bitter about Alex and Freya ending the way it did, although it's not at all implausible.
And at the head of us all was the Khan. I kept close to her, as was my eternal duty, but truth be told she did not need me, not then at least. She has such balance, such contained savagery, such unrelenting, remorseless artistry. As she whirled her blade around, sunlight caught on the blood slicked blade. She handled her blade as though it were a living thing, a spirit she had tamed and now forced to dance. She was so like her father in the heat of battle.

I kept up with her, sought to equal her body count. The greenskins died under the savagery of our charge, they tried to flee but were run down and slaughtered.

“For the Khan and the Great Khan!” I thundered, breaking back into movement, shaking the blood from my weapon and searching for more hain to kill. “For the Khagan!”

And all around me, my brothers, my beloved brothers of the kheshig, of the Auxilia, echoed the call, lost in the pristinely savage world of rage and joy and speed we shared with our Scar brothers.


We did not move on until all of them were dead. When the last of the fighting was over, we stalked through the wreckage with short blades and pistols in our hands, finishing off any hain who still breathed. When that was done, we doused the vehicles in their own fuel and set them alight. I estimated it at twelve thousand plus of the hain we had slain, for merely a handful of our own.

We laid our dead out, their bare skin open to the suns and the wind, and we took their horses and equipment with us. On Chogoris we observed such customs so that the beasts of the Altak, the great grass sea would have something to feed on when the moons were up. We have never been a wasteful people.

The Khan rode up to me, her sword out and drenched with blood. Her cheeks were flushed; her hair mussed but there was a raging inferno in her eyes. She is never more beautiful then after she has killed. Lines of a poem rose unbidden in my mind.
>AA and the like never acted like anything much
AA himself admits it, bro.
>for the last few weeks/months there's been not a peep.
And no one has really hated on it. People really seemed to take issue with it when those Road Trip mega threads kept showing up, now they have just latched onto their hate thanks to the way the writefags reacted to them.
“Boyan Tevguul, our casualties?”

“Minimal my Cherbi. About two hundred or so, but I will not know until the corpse takers have finished tallying the dead.”

I noticed that she was favouring her sword arm, her pistol arm she was holding limp.

“Are you injured, my Cherbi?”

“Only a scratch, none of your concern.” She knows what I am about to do. I trotted over and gently moved her arm, seeing the deep cut on it. Immediately I pulled a field dressing from my saddle bag and after spraying some counterseptic on the wound, began to bandage it up. Once that was done, I reached for my belt knife. I knew that look of distaste.

“Why do you do this?” She asked, again.

“I am bloodsworn. Your blood is my blood. Your wounds are my wounds.” And with that, I slashed the blade across my arm, mirroring the wound on her own body. I let the blood flow, gritting my teeth in pain before I bandaged my arm to match hers. I know she detests my practice, that her wounds and her blood is mine as well as hers. I remember that one of her blood-cousins was shot once, and how she knew that if she had been shot, I would have shot myself in the same place to share in her pain. She thinks it a barbarous practise, but it is of Chogoris, and I will not be denied.
That is what it means to be bloodsworn. I was sworn to the Khan even before she was born. From the moment of her first breath to the moment of my last, I will serve her mind, body and soul. I will fight for her, bleed for her and if needs be die for her.

It is at times like these that I am reminded that she was not brought up on the plains, riding and fighting. That is her strength, and also her weakness.

Exaggerations. AA as far as I remembered, SE for that matter, never said anything much in most of the threads. Occasional mentions that they'd wish more people would post, one way or another, but mostly just story.

I will say that this mostly seems more like conventional 40k stuff for the most part, but it's decently written.
It was two days later when we reached our resupply coordinates, a place to rest after weeks on the hunt. Even though we don’t need fuel to continue the hunt, the men do need rest at times.
The first thing we saw as we rode up were the army bulk lifters, descending and ascending in ragged columns. Each one was a huge, blocky box of wings and engines: each one carried hundreds of tonnes of rations, ammunition, machine parts, medicae supplies; everything needed to sustain an army in the hunt. In the years that the campaign against Mordrag’s empire had been prosecuted the transporters had been in ceaseless demand, plying their routes between the carriers and troopships hanging in orbit and the forward stations on the ground.

We trotted past the landing sites and passed columns of Trojans towing the supplies from the transporters to the base. The main body of our troops fragmented and set off for individual resting places dotted amidst the landing zones, leaving only the Kheshig, Horse Artillery and the Hellhound Aravs. By the time we all reached the main garrison complex the sun was descending beneath the sky, staining the sky with crimson eerily reminiscent of the blood shed on this world. Shadows barred our path, warm against the pale earth.

The supply station, like all the others dotting the planet were temporary, built from prefabricated components that would be lifted back up to the fleet when the fighting was done. Only its defence towers, looming up from the outer walls and bristling with weaponry, looked like they would take any time at all to dismantle when the time came to move on.

Once the Horses were in their stables and the Hellhounds and Artillery in the hangers, the Khan gave the order for my brothers to go to the garrison's hab units and make the most of their short rest period. They looked happy enough to do so; we had been on the hunt for a long time and human endurance can only go so far. Even the Scar Brothers need to rest at times.
Together the Khan and I headed off to find the garrison commander and learn of our new orders. Even as the shroud of night fell the roads of the temporary settlement were thronged with activity - loaders moving between warehouses stacked with munitions and supply crates, servitors scuttling from workshops over to armoury bays,

Together we found the commander in a rockcrete command bunker at the heart of the garrison complex. He was not of the Auxilia; he was Imperial Army, Necromunda Spiders by the cut of his uniform and the insignia on his shoulders, not to mention the spider tattoo on his face.

“Commander,” the Khan said as we entered the room.

“My Lady Khan,” he replied. “It is a pleasure to see you again.”

“Again?” she asked. I found I couldn’t recognise him either.

The commander nodded. “I was there when you addressed the regimental commanders at the beginning of the campaign. I must confess I didn’t expect to meet you up close.”

“Well now you have. Are there new orders for the Auxilia?” she truly was the blood of Chogoris; she cut straight to the point.

“Yes my lady,” he said, reaching for a data-slate and handing it to me. “Assault plans have been accelerated. The final drive to exterminate the Ork has begun.”

She scanned the orders and then handed the plans over to me. I glanced at the data-slate she gave me. Text glowed on the screen, laid over a map of the warzone. The symbols indicating enemy formations had shrunk together, falling back toward a single point in the north-eastern mountains. Locator symbols of V Legion brotherhoods and Army formations followed them, coming from all directions. I was pleased to see that the Rough Riders was at the forefront of the encirclement, nearly equal with the brotherhoods of the White Scars and ahead of much of the Imperial Army.

“Will he participate?” she abruptly asked.

“My Lady?”

I gave the commander a hard look. Sometimes I must do these things for her.
“Ah,” he said, realising to whom she was referring. “I don't know. I have no data on his whereabouts. The Kheshig of the Legion keep it to themselves.”

“They won’t keep it from me.” She said defiantly. “I will find out where the Khagan is, so that I may join him for the final effort. I will fight by his side at the end, when the ork...hain threat is finally ended and the world is freed for the Imperium.” Some things she still trips over, and our name for the ork, the hain is still something that slips from her mind from time to time. She tries so hard to be one of us, another reason why we all love her.

“You have full orders waiting for you, security-sealed,” said the commander. “Many Imperial Army formations are being combined for the final assaults.”

“So will we be combined with the Imperial Army?” I asked.

“I do not have that information. All I have are location coordinates for your next rendezvous position. Forgive me my Lady; we have much to process and some data from command has been...lacking in detail.”

I could well believe that, the Scars have a habit of doing that as well. We were not a careful people. We were always bad with the details.

As she left for the communications bunker to speak with the Legion, I took a good, hard look at her. I knew what she was thinking, what she wanted. She desired to prove herself before her father, to fight by his side at the end of it all. This was the first time they were fighting together on the same planet and the chance to stand by her father’s side, blade drawn and enemies before her was as intoxicating as any drug.

I do not know if my caution is a relic of my failure, or a legacy of the wars I have fought, but I had grave doubts about her wish. She is not a white scar, is not as enduring and unyielding as the brotherhoods of storm and iron. Her wish would only get her killed, and I would never let that happen. I resolved to speak with her on the matter.

>We've hit Sage
Good material anyway. Shame about everything else.
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And we are done. The thread has hit sage, and will fade away to nothing. Given that it lasted only a day, it shows how determined SE is to finally end this, as he put out posts like a broken gumball machine. Hopefully he will wait before he polishes off Eternity with another thread, as I’d like the next thread to linger longer so more people can see it and comment.

Even if Someone Else is finished with the setting for good, Darkmage and I are not (yet). When I have more material and he is out of hospital, we shall return to finish off our stories, Ghosts of Rage and Days of Judgement respectively.

I thank everyone who was willing to engage in constructive criticism and feedback, and hope you will comment more on our stories before the thread dies. I’d also like to thank the drawfags for their contributions, and hope they don’t stop just because he has. Whoever did this one, I really hope to see you continue as I love your artworks, and want to see a Trip into Hell one done by you at some point.

As for Sage the Crusader, you may have almost killed this thing off, but DM and I will not give in to your bullying. We will finish our stories, and you will not stop us.

Damn straight. You do good work, and I've enjoyed your stories. I wish something else'd do a bit more, but that's his preogative.

One question though: why Days of Judgement? Where's the connection between WHH and it? Not that it's not decent fiction, that just surprised me.

That connection will become more apparant as the story progresses. We already have a sinister conspiracy which involves the Daughters, and an Arbite with no past who has strange dreams. It will all add up in the end...

Saal Huulta is an interesting character to write for, as he is nothing like Julius. He is the Judge Dredd of WHH, who cares only for the law and hates the daughters with a passion.

I have to ask though, why did you kill julius?

Yeah, I really had my fingers crossed that him and Isis would mend their bridges.
Honestly, while it might not be grimdark, on the whole I liked the slightly less life or death stories.
yea, everything was pointing to a good end, and then suddenly bad end, seemed really out of place in the setting, considering WHH and PD's is very light hearted compared to the grimderp stupidity that is official 40k

I've quite liked the Furia stuff so far, I'm curious as to how that comes out, and that's had an element of pathos to it.

They did. They were engaged when he died.

As for his death, one it is an important plot point in Judgement, and two I felt one of the couples had to have a sad ending. Not all stories have happy endings, and all the others lived happily ever after.
Plus there's now an opening for a writefag to give Isis a happier ending. She is immortal, she won't mourn her fiancé forever. There will be someone else for her.

Or you could ignore my canon and have him survive, marry Isis, have a baby girl named Summer...

I hate myself sometimes.
I didn't ragequit, I went to bed. It was late in my timezone.

Anyway! I'll make a new thread this afternoon to finish Eternity.

And fear not. Freya and Alex both find happiness again. Ahriman may be convinced that anything with the name Warhammer in it needs to have sad endings, but I'm not.

I know they found/find happy endings, but the sappy fuck inside me was hoping it'd be with each other, despite everything.
Thanks guys. I am glad that one loud cunt has not dissuaded you from continuing.
Yeah...me too. That's not where characters took me, though.

I don't expound on it in Eternity, but Freya and Alex stayed together for four or five years through college, but it slowly became apparent that good sex and Freya's need for a place to belong were more or less all that was keeping them together. Arguments started. When Veronica got throat cancer and Joseph got killed by dark eldar pirates, Alex broke up with Freya after his degree and took over the Fleet. He payed for his mother's augs and immersed himself in the Kimball-Carlin trade fleet.

After that, Freya returned to Fenris to administrate one of the training camps there. She met Thangir there. After he washed out of Space Wolf training, he became a Huscaerl in the Fang, and they fell in love there. It was pretty quick, Freya's a good judge of character. Leman Russ was just happy Thangir was Fenrisian. By the time you see him for the first time, Thangir's received the immortality treatment Jake got. Which is kind of funny, since Freya's five or six years older than him. So when Thangir came to Terra for the upgrade, fourth in line after Mike, Nate, and Jake, he was basically a fish out of water.

Also wanted to say, as these guys are laying there torches down fro writings.

Others will certainly pick it up, its a fun premise. I am working on a comic right now, based around the setting!

Yeah, he had a very ferensian vibe coming from him.

I hope so.
what do we have to do to make this stop?

Don't you have a quest thread somewhere to be bitching about?
Holy hell, I've spent four or six hours reading through all your material SE. I am not fluent enough in English or intelligent enough to spot good storytelling or not, but I have enjoyed what you've written (why else would I spend so many hours reading it?). It's too bad that Freya and Alex didn't stick together, but even one high school couple staying and living together happily ever after is improbable as it is. So yeah, nice little piece of reality there that wasn't grimderp.
Me too. Somewhere along the lines, the Big 3 seemed to have forgotten that Warhammer High was supposed to be about high school shenanigans, not orks murdering love interests and Jason Bourne the Arbite.

That's true, but I for one was never writing Warhammer High (we don't even have high schools down here, the NZ equivilant is College), I was writing Primarch's Daughters.
And in doing so plunged everything into grimderp. Even the original premise of Primarch's Daughters NEEDS to be less grimderp than what you wrote.

After all, if the galaxy is still nothing but war all the time, then Emps would NEVER distract his primarchs with a bunch of whiny teenagers. The world you painted has no reason for the primarch daughters to exist.

How is it nothing but war? The wars are few and scattered, and the Imperial Army can handle most of them without the Primarchs or the Legions.
And yet, everyone around the primarchs keeps dying to war and violent crime. You've just replaced one dystopian future with another, not to mention that what few scattered wars there are would be even fewer if the primarchs weren't back on Terra playing House for whatever reason.

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