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/tg/ - Traditional Games

File: 1380692162415.jpg-(74 KB, 600x600, 600px-Pyrut.jpg)
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(What do we like? Freebooterz!)

The whispering, sibilant hisses of uncountable deamons – each one eager to scrabble their way through the protective embrace of the Geller Field and feast on the bodies, minds and souls of the crew of the Pax Imperialis – filled the bridge as Commander Vyn took her first recaff of the morning. The steaming cup of boiled stimulants smelled and tasted like it had been broiled up in the sump-reprocessing centers of a particularly maleficent hive world. Vyn drank it down by the bucketful either way. As per every night at warp, she slept badly, dreaming of past horrors…

She shook her head and blew on the recaff, banishing the steam that wafted from it almost as well as she shook off the memories of the past. Her first officer, Lt. Commander Janus, looked even worse than she.

“Another ten floggings. Three pressmen didn’t salute a superior deck-hand, one was caught with contraband-“

“Hmm?” Vyn cocked a blond eyebrow. She didn’t hear about contraband that often, and anything that broke the routine of a voidships operation was either deadly dangerous, extremely interesting, or in the best of combinations, both. Janus tapped at his data-slate, then preformed some percussive maintenance while mixing pleas to the Ommnisiah and some general cursing that any seasoned voidman throws around with a wild abandon. Finally, he got the recalcitrant machine spirit to show what he wanted to show and read from the slate.

“Pressman Gordi Venti smuggled aboard ship a cache of the drug Blush which, according to chief medicade officer Balthazar, is a dermally applied lotion that causes intense euphoria and…get this…” Janus grinned at Vyn. “The patches of skin it’s applied to begin to glow.”
“Ah, and here, Pressman Venti has gone on record as saying it is, in fact, not a drug!” Janus laughed. “He claims it is an emergency luminator replacement.”

“A clever one!” Vyn nodded, setting down her cup.

“Should I half the whipping?” Janus asked.

“Oh, no, double it. We don’t want a clever one getting away.” Vyn grinned from over her recaff. Janus made a note with the slate, then handed it to one of the milling sub-ensigns that littered the command deck, waiting to pass messages throughout the ship. The sub-ensign took the data-slate and jogged across the bridge, heading towards the master of etherics and his bank of vox-casters.

A high bell rang out once, twice, three times and Lt. Desna stood up from her position at the scrying trench where her various wards were busily doing their arithmancy and orbital mechanics calculations. While in the Warp, the Pax didn’t and couldn’t use the fearsome array of auspexes, scrying wands and other sensoria that dotted the forward prow of the ship, so the midshipmen – mostly twelve to fourteen year olds, all of them born aboard ship or taken on from the last Schola Progenium the ship had visited – could keep up with their schooling.

Desna turned towards the command throne, her voice pitched to carry across the hubbub of the bridge – and the whispering, sibilant hisses of the daemons outside the ship: “Mark warp sounding! Astronomicon reported as waning.”
“Comforting,” Vyn muttered, her voice sour. Here in the Segmentum Obscura, the Astronomicon’s reach was thready and weak, easily obscured by warp storms, psychic reefs and other hazards of traveling faster than the speed of light. Losing sight of it entirely could cast a ship entirely off course, no matter how talented their navigator was.

Desna turned back to her wards, and whacked one who had forgotten to account for the gravitational constant of the universe while calculating orbital insertions.

“How long till we reach the Umbral system?” Janus asked Vyn. She sighed.

“Last time I talked to…him…” She suppressed a shudder. Whenever she was on the bridge or in her quarters, she tried to forget about the sickly, cloying sweetness of the Navis Nobilite chambers. Bedecked in gold and studded with precious gemstones, filled with scented braziers sending out plumes of almost intoxicating smokes…all of that did nothing to hide the harsh stink of unwashed flesh and the slow decay of the mutant that guided the Pax through the Warp. Vyn soldiered on through her disgust: “He claimed that the Umbral system was six weeks off, maybe seven.”

A sudden, fierce headache exploded in Vyn’s head as the entire world seemed to jerk to the left. The bridge rocked under her feet and officers screamed in fear as they were thrown from their seats – none of them had their combat crash webbing on, save the more paranoid. Those who landed wrong screamed in more than just fear as bones were broken and one or two lecturns – the machine spirits within furious at being so disturbed – exploded with a shower of sparks and flickering flames. Luminators overhead winked on and off as the power flow through the ship became entirely unstable for a moment and Vyn tried to keep her stomach from crawling up her throat.

She coughed, then stood. “What in blue blazes was that!? “
“Transition!” Desna sounded remarkably calm as she stood up, brushing her black hair back into place. “We’ve returned to normal space. Beginning auspex scan.” She started to speak in coded, clipped cant – the kind of language that grows up around an old position on a starship. Even if the Pax was a young and untested four centuries old, the ship’s dialect had already started to diverge from standard Low Gothic. A moment later, she turned back to Vyn’s command throne as Vyn finished mopping up her spilled recaff.

“Ma’am, we’ve reached the Umbral system.”

“Seven weeks, huh?” Janus asked, frowning.

“Well, then, the Warp works in mysterious ways.” Vyn adjusted her jacket to hang more properly around her shoulders, then spoke in authoritative tones. “Ready the forward gun crews and load the prow torpedo tubes. We’re here to hunt down a greenskin freebooter, not just look pretty.”

The bridge crew bustled into motion. But before Vyn could start plotting a course out to the mining worlds in the Umbral system – the same mining worlds who had sent the demand for Naval assistance – the master of etherics waved at her. She stepped off her throne, grabbed onto the ladder that led to the floor of the bridge, then hurried over to his station, officers stepping aside for her and saluting the whole way.

“Ma’am, there’s an urgent message from the astropathic choir chamber…” He said, offering her a bulky set of ear-muffling speakers, the kind that etheric operators tended to use both on and off duty - usually for music then. She settled it around her ears.

A blood curdling screech filled the set and she ripped them off, swearing loudly.

“What on Terra was that?” She asked.

The master of etherics looked somber. “I think it was the astropath, ma’am.”

“What the hell…” Vyn muttered. “She was stable enough for the past few years.”
The master of etherics simply looked grim. The Pax depended as utterly on the astropathic choir that sang their messages through the daemon infested miasma of the Warp as they depended on the red-robed Tech-Priests of Mars or the decadent Navigator. If any of their protected sub-classes died or were incapacitated, they were lessened. In this case, sending communications to the Admiralty in Cypra Mundi became…


“Ma’am!” Desna again, sounding a great deal more urgent than before. “Ma’am, you need to see this!”

Vyn frowned and hustled towards the auspex pits. When she arrived, she found Desna pursing her lips and operating a console herself. She lit some incense and said the right benedictions to project a shimmering, flickering hololith above the console. The image was of the Umbral system: The searing blue-white dwarf that made up the center of the system, the near pass-capture gas giant that sat in a close orbit, the gasses boiling off the massive planet like a cloud of pollution around any world humanity had settled for any length of time what-so-ever. Then, three planets, all caught within a single orbit: An unstable string of worlds cast into disarray by the passage of the gas giant, kept in-line only by the titanic gravitonic generators of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

The three blue worlds of Umbral, each one wracked by gravity storms that opened up fissures to rival those of the famous Nocturne, and each one flowed with gemstones, gold, platinum, and other, more esoteric elements. Half the heavy radioactives used by the Tritum Forge World two sectors over came from Umbral. That was why the three planets also had a fairly sturdy System Defense screen: Orbitals studded with lance weapons and a small flotilla of monitors: Heavily armored hulks that lacked warp drive but could do a hefty job seeing off raiders.
Raiders who came to the planets themselves, at least. Beyond the gravitational shields, the monitors were deadly slow and would be smashed to pieces in the asteroidal reefs that surrounded the edge of the system. That self-same asteroid field kept life on the Umbral worlds a necessarily subterranean affair.

That same field of asteroid had kept the orkish freebooter that had been plaguing shipping here safe from retribution for months.

But that asteroid field wasn’t what drew Vyn’s eye. Rather, it was the splotch at the edge of the system, a wide swath of heat signatures approaching at a sedate pace – none of them had plasma flares behind them, and they didn’t have the harsh outlines of any ship of human or xenos manufacture. Manufacture being the telling word. When the more powerful optical telescope mounted on the aft of the Pax completed its zoom and scan, Vyn’s suspicions were confirmed.

“Tyranids.” She muttered, bleakly.

“By my measure…” Desna murmured. “There are four hive-ships, a Devourer, two Razorfiends and a Dark Prowler. Combined, they would create the drag in the Warp that accounts for our early arrival.”

“Would they silence an astropath?”

Desna nodded. She, like Janus, had served in The Tyrannic Wars. Janus himself was an Ultramarian. Vyn glanced his way, sure he’d take the news as grimly as he took everything else.

“Now, these vessels,” Desna continued. “Would each be a match for the Pax, though I doubt we’d have a hard time triumphing over them.”

That made Vyn stand up straighter, her chest swelling with pride. She laid an affectionate hand on the pitted stone and moss of the bridge-wall. This Pax was ‘merely’ a torpedo frigate, while those hiveships were each the size of a human cruiser: Kilometers of chitin and bone and muscle, all grown to a single purpose, that of destruction and death.
“But together, we would be destroyed in a matter of hours.” Desna spoke with her normal dispassion.

Vyn nodded. “But we could damage them. And the system defense boats?”

Desna shrugged. That was as close as she would come to expressing disapproval to anyone not directly under her in command – but she, like most navy officers, looked down her nose at the System Defense Forces, just as the Imperial Guard looked down at the Planetary Defense Forces. Or, as Vyn thought of them: The planetary speedbump.

“How many warforms are on each of those ships?”

“I honestly cannot tell, ma’am.” Desna said. “But, if I were to make an educated guess, I would put it at fifteen billion.”



Vyn scowled at the hololithic display.

From all indicators, the Umbral system and its six billion inhabitants were doomed.

Then, much to the shock of Lt. Desna…

Vyn started to laugh.


“This is the worst idea that you’ve ever had.”

“Worse than boarding a ship five times our size?” Vyn asked as she rooted through her closet, shutting it and then heading to the growing pile of clothes collected by the various midshipmen she had sent running through the ship.

“Yes.” Janus scowled, leaning against the door of her chambers. On hearing news of the Tyranid fleet in the system, he had immediately gotten a rather fearsome looking mono-cutlass and strapped it to his hip, his other hip being graced by a bolt-pistol that was wrapped almost entirely in Purity seals, each one stamped not by the cog-wheel design of the Machine Cult, but rather by the curved U of the Ultramarines.

“Worse than shoving an atomic weapon into a space kraken’s mouth single handed?” Vyn asked.

“Well, it wasn’t single handed, but yes.”
“Worse than-“

“Yes!” Janus snapped. “The Commisar is going to throw a fit when he hears about this. Hell, the ship’s Commisar is the least of our concerns, wait until the Inquisition gets wind of this.”

“Assuming he stops drinking.” Vyn picked up a large, three cornered hat with a ridiculous, color shifting plume stuck out of the side of it. She smiled and set it on her head, before starting to unbutton her jacket. As she did so, Janus rubbed his face with one hand, the other hand gripping the top of the bolt-pistol like a charm. Which, considering how rare Ultramarian bolt pistols were on the other side of the galaxy, it practically was.

“Did you ever assume he drinks for a reason?” He asked.

“Yes, he’s a drunk.” Vyn rolled her shoulders, her jacket falling onto the bed, revealing her broad, muscular shoulders and the frankly obscene number of tattoos that covered her from the neck down. She started picking up other jackets, trying to find one with more flair. “And this is not a bad idea. I’ve read the briefing from Balthezar…”

“That man knows entirely too much about xenos, if you ask me. Which you never do.”

“Exactly, number one.” Vyn grinned at him, sliding on a bottle green jacket, ringed with blue stripes around the sleeves. “How is this?”

“You look like an idiot.” He said, his passions ruining military decorum for the moment.

She grinned, then slid on large, thick, red boots that clashed with her pants so fiercely that it might as well be a war-crime.


When she walked out of her chambers, she found the Pax’s chief medicade, naturalist and part time diplomat Balthezar, flipping through a massive tome titled: The Savage Enigma: The Orkish Mind and Society, Volume IV of XIII. He finished flipping, then nodded, walking alongside his skipper as he spoke – using the book mostly as a reference.
“Here is what we know. The Orkish raid…sorry, Kaptain is named Bluetusk. This is because blue is a lucky color for the orks. Next, his starship is called Da Gitstompa. Roughly translated, Da is the orkish word for ‘the’. Git is a fool or cowardly person. And stompa means to crush underfoot.”

Vyn blinked, standing at the door to her bridge. She looked at Balthezar.

“You know, I rather like it.”

He shook his head, flipping through the tome some more as the door opened, revealing the bridge and – through the vista-plates at the end of it – Da Gitstompa. The orkish vessel was titanic, a massive stump of metal and spikes, with towering spires that looked like nothing more than tripods for telescopes – which were large enough to be seen even with minimal magnification using the vista-plates. Guns the size of small city blocks thrust out of ramshackle turrets, while the prow of the ship was fashioned into a crude figurehead a full kilometer tall: It was of a tall, broad shouldered ork wielding a bizarre stringed instrument with wild abandon. Four huge plasma-vents gouted drive plasma into space around the statue in such a way that seemed wildly irresponsible, even for greenskins.

“Ah!” Balthezar flipped through the tome some more. “I believe that is an idol of one of their heathen gods…Gork, I believe. He is their aspect of brutal cunning.”

Vyn reached up to adjust her hat. “All right. Wait, two gods?” She shook her head and could practically hear her Confessor, complaining about the blasphemy of recognizing any god other than the Emperor. She mentally made a note to attend confession with a few bank rolls, to hasten her absolution.

“Yes, the other is Mork.” Balthezar said after a few more moments of searching through his tome.

“And what’s his aspect?” Vyn asked as sub-ensigns started to file onto the bridge, each one of them lugging a massive oaken chest.

Balthezar looked up from his tome.
“Cunning brutality.”

“Very well.” The sub-ensigns knelt beside the various chests, getting ready for their signals. It had taken almost a week to find the Da Gitstompa, and it had taken all that time to fully ransack the ship for everything. She had had to make promises that this would work to everyone from the ship’s chaplain – who was furious – to the enginseers – who were even more furious – to the local system defense boat commanders – who were terrified…and furious.

But it had all come together.

And now, the moment of truth.

“Open the vox channel.”

The vista-plates crackled and shimmered and an image appeared on it. The image was of an obscenely huge nostril, connected to an obscenely huge nose and an ugly face to match, distorted by a fish-eye lens and a close perspective. The nose shifted left and right, two beady black eyes looking down around the nose.

“Oi wotz this ‘ere?”

“Uh, hello?” Vyn asked. “Is this-“

The huge nose jerked backwards, the figure resolving into a stunty, scrawny looking figure wearing a ratty pair of coveralls and a floppy cap.

Balthezar whispered in Vyn’s ear: “A gretchin.”

She nodded as the gretchin called out to someone on their bridge.

“Looki ‘ere boss, da speaky-box is makin-“

The Gretchen exploded from the inside out with the harsh, flat crack of a bolt shell going off. Vyn didn’t see many bolters in action, but seeing one once was enough to sear the mental image into her brain, and she recognized it here. The screen was obscured by guts and viscera and she heard a loud, deep voice booming out.

A massive something blotted out the pict-caster. When it pulled back, Vyn tried to stifle a gasp.

The orkish freebooter captain was huge. Even standing what had to be a few meters away from their pict-caster, he filled the vista-plate with his raw size. Muscle slabs that put a Catchean’s to shame covered his body, save for his right arm, which had been replaced with a titanic, hissing augmetic that looked to be powered by a small steam boiler – fed by a gretchin sitting on his back, shoving coal in at a desperate, frantic pace – which ended with a gargantuan set of claws, which themselves crackled and sparked with red lightning. The ork’s had six bolt pistols – each one a crude, single shot model that Vyn was positive weren’t sanctified by any tech-priest – all of them slung across his chest, and his tusks had both been painted – or were just naturally colored – blue. Atop his head sat a huge, bicorn hat that was as brilliant a red as Vyn had ever seen.

And, lastly, he had what looked like a snarling ball of teeth and muscle sitting on his shoulder, the stumpy wings giving it an even more ungainly, unreasonable look. It hissed and dribbled spittle on the ork’s shoulder, which he didn’t seem to notice at all, though it made his gretchin look quite nervous.

“Dis here’s da Kaptain of Da Gitstompa, Bluetusk da Three Armed! Whotcho want, humie? Gimmi one good reason why we shouldn’t smash ya over da head? It’d be a pretty good scrap…fer a few minutes, at least!” He laughed, spraying the pict-caster with spittle.

Vyn gestured.

The sub-ensigns opened up the chests, revealing every single bit of gold, silver, diamond and platinum that the ship carried, all of it gently pried off of statues and taken out of walls and put into chests in huge piles. They would be put back. Hopefully.

Bluetusk slowly grinned, showing his tusks even more.
“Now…dat ‘ere’s got me innerest…” He sounded entirely too pleased with himself. “Now, try’n tell me why I shouldn’t jus’ smash yer head in and take yer shinies fer meself! YARRRR!” He thrust his claw into the air, and a moment later, the vox-casters filled with the guttural, savage bellows of what sounded like a hundred orkish throats.


Vyn risked a glance at Balthezar, who laughed, looking at his tome.

“Why, old Gloria Hilderstine was right! Freebooter orkish dialect DOES have a distinct worship word!”

Vyn didn’t have the time to ask what that meant. Instead, she focused on trying to keep her ship from getting looted, smashed up, and generally blown to bits.

“Simple, Bloodfang.”

“Bluetusk!” He barked.

“Whatever, you zoggin git!” Vyn snapped, reaching into her holster, pulling out the bulky length of her hellpistol, and aiming it at one of the chests. “If ya try and take my shinies, then I’ll melt them all to bubbling slag with my shoota before you can spit. So, if yer as lucky as you think you are, then try and push me. But if you want an actual brawl and some real good loot, you’ll listen ta me! “

Bluetusk’s brow furrowed. Orks, Vyn had read, were not exactly the brightest, but this one seemed to be a bit more mentally able than his fellows. Maybe that was why he led his ship rather than some other ork. Maybe it was because Imperial reports were better served as propaganda than as actual intelligence.

“All roight humie, you’s had me innerest…now, yer got me attention…TALK!” He slammed his augmetic claw fist onto the side of his command throne – which he had resumed sitting on a moment earlier. The command throne’s arm-rest bent out of shape with a squeal of tortured metal.

“I got one word ta say to you, git.” Vyn snarled, stepping closer to her pict-caster, glaring into the lens, putting her eye right up close to it. “Teef.”
“Eh? You humies ain’t got no teef worf takin, thaz why we freebooterz go after tha shinies! Ain’t that right, boyz!” He bellowed that last bit, and another resounding chorus broke over the speakers.

Vyn hid her wince with practice gained from three years serving on a plasma reactor vent. She had heard worse there. Not that she particularly liked the Orkish worship word.

“The bug-gits got loads of teef. And there’s a looooot of bug-gitz…” Vyn grinned. “There’s…”

She paused. Her crash course in Orkish linguistics and culture had drawn up a tad short before going into their numeral system. In fact, she was almost positive they didn’t have a number beyond ten, twenty if they took the time to take their shoes off and count the toes.

“…a big lots!” She said, hitting inspiration. “More n’ a scrap than anywhere in the system, there is. And, we’ll give ya every single tooth, uh, toof that you find out there.”

Bluetusk stroked his chin, looking oddly contemplative. Then, slowly, a smile spread across his face, his blue painted tusks gleaming in the light of the pict-caster that captured his image and threw it to the vista plates.

“I like tha way ya think, humie…” Bluetusk nodded. “Ets a deal, by Gork and Mork. Ets a deal!”

The pict-cast shut down and Vyn breathed out a long, slow sigh. She pulled the stupid hat off her head, then looked at Balthezar. He gave her a large thumbs up. She shoved the hat into his chest, then shrugged off the ugly, ugly jacket. As Balthezar took the jacket, Vyn bawled.


A streamer of bio-plasma the size of a small hab-block streaked through the void, outshining the stars themselves and searing Vyn’s eyes even through the baffling of the vista-plates. She gripped the arm-rests of her command throne, readied for the impact, but the Pax – once again – proved that she was a maneuverable little ship. The helm crew fired the zenith thrusters at just the right time and the globule of plasma struck an asteroid rather than the elegant prow of the Pax. The asteroid crumpled and exploded, fragments zipping out even faster than the plasma – superheated by the explosion into red streaks. Some of them struck the void shields of the Pax, creating ripples that were absorbed by the shields with ease.

“Enginseers are reporting shield integrity remaining strong,” Janus called from his post in the torpedo control lecturns – he had been promoted from there and tended to keep closer eyes on them than the rest of the ship during battles. That didn’t mean he wasn’t fully hooked into the vox-network of the ship, for he then called out: “Dorsal macrocannons report that they’re loaded and readied!”

“Hold fire! Helm, bring us to mark zero three…”

Vyn frowned as an ear splitting roar of YARRRRRRRRRRR! And WAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! Burst from the speakers throughout the bridge. She had asked the master of etherics to stop piping the orkish vox-casts through the public laud-hailers, but he hadn’t managed to stop their heathen techno-sorcery from overriding any command prayers he used. And, a beat after the feral bellows stopped echoing in Vyn’s ears, a flight of crude, red painted Fighta-Bommas shot past the bridge, swooping and spinning and doing pointless circles around the spite that held the Pax’s command and control center.
A few dove and looked as if they were about to strafe the ship’s broad prow and dorsal sections – stopping short and pulling up before either they or the terrified turret crews manning the Vulcan-Bolter point defense guns opened up.

“By the Emperor, I wish they’d stop doing that.” Vyn glared, sullenly, after the Fighta-Bomma wing, which had joined several others as they darted towards one of the Tyrannic hive-ships. Flashes and winks of exploding ordinance said that they were starting to land weapons on the biological nightmares. Whether any of it did any good, Vyn wasn’t sure.

Then she saw the asteroids shadowing the primary threat – the Dark Prowler – had shifted out of the way. The vast, five kilometer wide swath of the Prowler made it look impossibly graceful in the Void, a harsh counter-example to Da Gitstompa, whose captain had piloted into the middle of the enemy formation and was firing as many rounds as possible in every direction as fast as possible. Needless to say, Vyn was sure that her instructors at the Naval Academy would have tried to brain her with every single volume of the ten thousand tomes of the Tactica Imperialis if she had ever tried to do something so stupid

And yet

And yet, damage showed more plainly on the Tyranid ships than on the orkish raider. His void shields seemed to flare unpredictably, shifting between so thick that they could be seen even when impacts didn’t illuminate their presence to so thin that every shell landed home. The weapons Da Gitstompa mounted were mostly high caliber macrocannons, firing at extremely inconsistent rates. But when the macrocannons grew slack, other weapons spoke: Gouts of greenish lightning, huge missiles that appeared to be piloted by whole crews of Gretchins – Vyn wondered if they knew that they were flying plasma warheads before said warheads exploded - , and other, stranger weapons that seemed to simply disregard the theological notions of physics as she had been taught.
She shook her head, focusing on her own command for the moment. “Fire torpedoes, wide spread! I want to hem this bastard in…”

The Pax shuddered and almost seemed to stop, the pressure of the plasma engines momentarily counteracted by the bulk of two torpedoes launching. The sixty meter self-guided projectiles flung themselves into space, their vicious, brutal machine-spirits glaring about for anything to find and ram into. They found it, curving and angling towards the Prowler. But before both of them struck home, a flight of Fighta-Bommas flew towards the Prowler.

For just an instant, Vyn felt a rush of excitement. If the orkish fighter craft took the brunt of the bioship’s point defense, then-


One ork. One stupid, bloody, kill-crazy, explosion obsessed frakhead of an ork diverted course and – with a bellow of “WAAAAAAGH!” shot the engines up on one of the torpedoes. The torpedo went up with a searing blue-white explosion. The orkish pilot had enough time to say, “NOW DAT HERE WAS-“ before a flying piece of shrapnel turned his fighter inside out.

The second torpedo crashed into the Prowler, plunging into chitinous flesh for twenty meters before bursting with the same fury as the destroyed torpedo. That didn’t matter. The wound was only superficial, not the staggering blow that Vyn had hoped for, and the Prowler swooped towards them, ignoring the orkish fighters that continued to swarm around it.

Vyn grabbed her vox, switching to the broad-band channels. “YOU FOOLS!”

But then the vista-plates filled with of images of grotesque, bulbous, beak-tipped polyps that flew through space the way screamer-squids had swum through the oceans of Vyn’s homeworld. She saw that they lacked the acid vomiting mouths and the gull like shapes of the fighter polyps used by the other hive-ships. These were larger, bulkier, almost like…

She switched to the inter-ship channel. “WARE BOARDERS!”
And then, looming out of the void, a polyp slammed beak first into the bridge vista-plates. The beak punched through the diamond-plast as if it was so much cheap plastimold. It was larger up close, almost big enough to cover the whole ten meter square of vista-plate that made up the fore of the bridge. Then the beak opened wide, the folds of the hard, boney surface pushing up and down like the ramps of a drop-pod. A gout of fetid, moist air blew into the bridge, noxious and gagging, even from the distance of Vyn’s command throne.

Vyn’s eyes jerked from the glistening forms that filled the pod to the auspex pit, which sat at the very fore of the bridge. She saw Lt. Desna, and she saw the twelve, thirteen and fourteen year old midshipmen, gaping up at the forms.

“PULL BACK!” Vyn shouted, pulling her hellpistol and leaping off her throne, her ankle complaining as she struck deck-plate. The other bridge-officers scrambled for cover, for firearms, or for exits. Vyn snarled and knew she’d be arranging some airlock squads for the cowards. Assuming she lived. Then she turned to the fore of the bridge and saw Lt. Desna…not following her orders.

It was so shocking a sight – a sight so completely unexpected, that any protest died in Vyn’s throat. But then, it was too late.

The glistening forms within the boarding-polyp moved. The first dozen or so came out, skittering and fast. They were as long as a human was tall, but where the sacred and perfect human form stood straight and proud, these creatures were slung forward, with lizardlike heads and armor-like plates on their chests, shoulders and backs. Their arms were slung forward, but rather than having curved scythe-claws like the Genestealers that Vyn was familiar with, they cradled glistening bundles of muscle and bone that looked disturbingly like…
“DEATHSPITTERS!” Janus shouted. “GET-“


Desna’s voice carried remarkably far despite her complete lack of excitement or tension. She was, in fact, as calm as she ever was. And her wards seemed to take after her, as they all knelt down and pulled out blunt, boxy looking weapons out from under their lecturns. They were not lasguns. They were not shotcannons. They were not stubbers.

They were flamers.

Six near simultaneous gouts of jellied promethium shot into and around the polyp. The flames replaced the stink in the air with a smell as delicious as any sweet perfume to Vyn: The smell of burning xenos. The only thing better would be flambéed heretics, but this would do for now. Screaming, howling monsters flailed in the flames, their discipline broken by the sheer pain that they were dumped into.

“I suggest falling back in good order. Miss Hellia, if you’d be so kind as to take point.” Desna said, sticking to naval discipline and decorum despite the wall of intense flames no more than a meter away from her face.

Her wards started to scramble out of the trench and sprint across the deck, Desna taking up the rear. But the flames started to part, more tyranid warforms swarming out of the pod – they had been packed into there with no regard to personal space – their bodies thumping into the flames, trampling it down with their own flesh. Other warforms scrambled over those that came out, using them as stepping stones to leap into the trench.

They all fired as they went. Their weapons made grotesque spitting noises and Vyn saw a glittering green projectile slam into Miss Hellia’s back. The twelve year old shrieked like a damned soul, reaching towards her back, before she crumpled bonelessly, three wriggling beetles burrowing into her spine, their teeth making her dead body jerk and twitch as they chewed on her nerves.
Desna’s face became hard as she continued to back up, firing her laspistol without quite taking time to aim, clearly seeking to suppress the Tyranids. To her credit, she waited until all of her wards were behind cover – save the other three who were downed by the deathspitters and their ferocious ammunition.

One such ward – a young boy – threw himself behind the command throne as Vyn lined up a shot with a warform and fired. Her hellpistol’s ammo-pack was supercharged, and the lasbolt was nearly invisible as opposed to the searing red of the rest of the bridge crew. She still saw the bloody crater punched in the warform’s chest and grinned as she saw it collapse. But one of its comrades fired back.

The beetle shot past Vyn’s head and slammed into the midshipman’s shoulder. He screamed. Vyn reacted with speed born of her deadly homeworld, not from any training: She grabbed him, unsheathed her knife, then slammed it into his shoulder. He screamed even louder, but she didn’t listen to him: Instead, she wriggled her blade, felt something catch, and jerked it to the side. There was a wet pop and the beetle went flying up into the air. It landed on the deck, hissed, then skittered towards them with bloodthirsty intent. The sobbing midshipman staggered backwards, but Vyn simply leveled her hellpistol and pulled the trigger.

The lasbolt caught the beetle in the center of mass and, with a spray of green gore, it ceased to exist.


As she looked back at the exit, she saw the door open and a brace of flak-jacketed armsmen sprinted in, holding proper las-carbines with dual charge packs and bayonets.
“FOR THE EMPEROR!” One of them bellowed, he and his allies opening up with a flurry of lasbolts, fired at full automatic. Several more warforms went down, but it seemed like the pod – despite the flames, despite the choke point, despite everything – held an infinite number of warriors. And the Tyranid soldiers moved to cover, suppressed with wide angle fire – their damned beetles were dangerous a few seconds after they landed, even if they didn’t hit you – and kept pressing closer.

“Grenades?” Janus called to Vyn.

“No!” Vyn snapped. Grenades were the last thing her poor bridge needed. She leaned around her cover and fired off another few shots, catching another xenos warrior, this time in the head. But their firepower and defensive position were taking a toll: Most of the Tyranids seemed to be either dead or dying. But something…else…was inside the polyp. Something huge and glistening and…

Intelligent. Vyn saw a pair of eyes – gold and hateful – and they met hers and she just felt the intellect in the things mind. Then it stepped out of the pod and she had to suppress a gasp of terror. If the main warriors were the size of man, this was the size of an Astartes, if not larger. It towered overhead, with curved spurs of bony chiten thrusting from its back, with four arms, two tipped with long, drooling muzzles. One muzzle belched and a searing green-beam of plasma reached out and turned three armsmen into nothing more than shrieking silhouettes. In an instant, the plasma was gone, leaving nothing but smoldering bone. Lasgun fire slammed into the hulking beast, pattering against the armor with as much effect as rain on a tin roof, while that bio-plasma gun swung to bear on another knot of Vyn’s crew.

This thing…was smart.
Shhh, some of us like writefaggotry. So far so good, namefag.
Continue OP. This is good.
Wheres the rest?
did vyn died
You should continue this some time, op.

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