Friday, April 29, 2011

Radical: Intermission Report

For more check the table of contents here.

While this ends Regina Winterfield's report of the Ulric Invasion, it is not, by any means, the end of the war.  Official reports have the end of major conflicts at the time of Inquisitor Argus Fane's death, but sporadic contact with pockets of heretic resistance remained for years, and the planet was not cleansed of chaos taint for another decade when it was consecrated as holy ground by the Ecclesiarch Donald Horbradis as a shrine world.  Even so the Selenium 472 Imperial Guard regiment has been stationed there ever since in lieu of a PDF.

It is unknown when or how the Chaos Space Marines arrived on Ulric, but reports from the battles indicate that at least 200 traitor marines were present on the world at the time of the conflict.  Units from the Word Bearers and Night Lord legions are confirmed to have participated in the fighting.  After the defeat of the daemon Daethlugh, which reports from the surviving Grey Knights indicate was a bloodthirster, the Chaos Marines disappeared from the planet.  The corrupted techpriests apparently were wiped out by Inquisitor Fane and his retinue as no trace of them was ever found after that encounter.

The Cleansing Fire Commandery, originally consisting of over 200 Adepta Sororitas was all but wiped out by the conflict on Ulric.  Less than thirty sisters survived, in total, the vast majority of which were undergoing medical care during the assault on the servitor manufactorum and were unable to join the Inquisitor on the mission.  The survivors of the mission included Palatine Analyn LaFollet, who survived her injures and had much of her body replaced with bionics; Sister Superior Kora Halquin, whose injuries at the hands of the daemon were minimal except for a shattered vertebrae which required a ceramite replacement; Seraphim Angelica Cross, who escaped the conflict without injury and recorded a dozen kills of which half, she claims, were traitor marines; and Sister Regina Winterfield, who was treated for a compound fracture in her leg which apparently went unnoticed for most of the battle due to her power armor acting as a splint.

It took nearly a decade for the commandery to return to full strength, during which time the survivors of Ulric were seconded to Inquisitor Gibbius Vecht of the Ordo Hereticus as his personal bodyguard.  The Cleansing Fire Commandery, even after being reestablished by The Order of Our Martyred Lady, it's parent order, remained stationed on Vecht's ship, Nolo Contende, as his own personal army.

Isimbard Kane, after the events on Ulric, was promoted from simple acolyte to Interrogator in my own service.  Argus Fane had been a personal friend, and I suppressed much of his actions on Ulric until now, believing that while his methods were reprehensible, his goal was pure and guided by The Emperor's light.  I took on his only surviving student willingly, and rapidly recommended him for promotion to full Inquisitor after being thoroughly impressed by his prodigious abilities.  It is only now, with the sins of the son so apparent, that I have begun to see the sins of the father.  Whatever taint led Argus Fane to his destruction was passed down to his student, Isimbard Kane, radical, heretic and traitor.

-Inquisitor Seren Null, Ordo Xenos.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Radical: Hero

This is Radical part V.  For more check the table of contents here.

I remember praying. As the denizens of the warp bore down upon us, teeth flashing and blades gleaming, I dropped to my knees and prayed. The words are lost in my memory. In fact, I'm not even sure if there were any words. I cast my faith into the heavens, full of desperation, and listened for an answer. Around me my sisters, defiant to the end, fired upon the daemon horde, refusing to fall until their duty was done. Amidst them all I was there, a tiny young thing, covered in the blood of my friends, armor dented and weapon empty, my eyes full of tears, begging for salvation. I believe that it is during our darkest moments, when the shadows of our enemies fall over us, that our light burns brightest. The sound that finally drowned out my sobs was like nothing I had ever heard before.

It was a staccato beat, a wordless prayer to The Emperor in the form He loves best. Dozens of stormbolters had raised their voices in response to the roar of the daemon and silenced it. I felt the flying shells whip past me, pulling my hair back from my face, and I looked up at my salvation. They stood well over two meters high, clad in plain, unpainted ceramite power armor. Each of them had their left hand raised, spitting fire into the daemons from stormbolters mounted on their wrists, and in their right hands they held burning swords. I don't know how long I watched them, dazed and staring as more and more of they grey figures appeared before that cogwheel door, appearing in flashes of light that left an ozone smell in the air. It was Sister Superior Halquin who snapped me out of my reverie, shouting, “Grey Knights! Fall back behind them!”

A hand grabbed me by the shoulder and hauled me to my feet, drawing me into the midst of the figures as they moved forward in perfect unison, their boots shaking the ground with every step. The daemons fell back before them, shrieking in pain as the sanctified bolts hit them. In droves they exploded, only to disappear in a howling mass as they were driven back into the warp, one at a time. When the Knights reached them, their swords clove through the daemons. I could see more of the Knights now, appearing on walkways above us, firing down from above into the daemon, securing their flanks and setting up firing lanes. One of the Knights turned back to us, “Where is the Inquisitor?”

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Radical: Hymn

This is Radical part IV.  For more check the table of contents here.

The Manufactorum of the Adeptus Mechanicus reminded me of our cathedrals. Great vaulted ceilings rose above us so high that the guttering luminators interspersed around the hallways couldn't reach, and their peaks were shrouded in darkness. Sometimes skittering movement could be heard above us, up in the deep shadows, but there was nothing we could do about it, so we moved on. Moving through the facility took much longer than we had expected, with its twisting corridors and blind turns we had to move slowly, ever on the watch for an ambush.

At what seemed to be regular intervals we'd see signs of battle in the hallways, impacts of bolter shells in the masonry, gashes from chain weapons on the walls, splashes of blood on a luminator giving the entire area an eerie glow. We never found any bodies though, a fact which gave me some kind of odd hope, but which seemed to make Halquin even more nervous and dour. When I asked her about it she said, “Reclamation.” After that she refused to talk about it.

Once, we heard the distinct sound of battle ahead, and we charged forward to meet it, hoping to find our remaining sisters, but the echoes in the maze-like structure proved deceiving. While the battle sounded just around the next corner, we did not find its evidence for quite some time. Once again, there were no bodies, but here the blood still dripped, and warm chunks of ceramite lay scattered in the hallway, warm chunks of power armor blown apart by bolt shells. We were getting close. Halquin called out, “Regina, come here. What does this look like to you?”

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Straight Dope

So, since I'm home now and don't have to type on my phone I can give you guys a proper story on exactly where I've been for the past week.  So, here's how it happened.

I was at the local university doing some paperwork, and was just on my way back to my car to go pick up some lunch when I started getting some really bad chest pains.  I thought it was just some heartburn or maybe an anxiety attack or something, but I was sure it would pass.  As I rode up the elevator to the top floor of the parking garage, which was where I had parked, the pain got steadily worse.  Outside, on the roof of the garage I fell down and decided I should probably rest for a second until this whole thing passed.  It did not, in fact, get better.  A nice lady and a nice man found me leaned against a parking barrier trying to catch my breath and managed to convince me to go see a doctor, but not until I'd gotten back up and fallen over again in a grim defiance that is so typical of me.

The nice man took me to the university clinic, where I was thrown into a room, put on an EKG, poked prodded and told, under no uncertain terms, they had no idea what was wrong with me and wanted me the hell out of there since I was a liability and they weren't equipped to deal with emergencies.  They called an ambulance for me, I waved goodbye to the nice man and I was transported VERY SLOWLY to the hospital by a pair of very nice EMTs who told me it sounded like I had some really bad chest cramps.

In the emergency room I was again poked prodded and hooked up to an EKG machine, then eventually I was x-rayed (they had to call the guys twice).  by then my fabulous roommates were there holding my hand and telling me everything way okay and taking bets on what was wrong with me.  One had "Anxiety Attack" the other had "Chest cramps".  Then the doctor came in and said, "Well, you've got a collapsed lung."  Oh the laughs that were had.

I had gotten a spontaneous pneumothorax, which apparently happens when you get a tiny hole in your lung, and your chest cavity fills with air, which forces your lung to collapse due to the pressure.  If you ever saw Three Kings then you'll remember the guy who got shot and had to keep venting his chest, or he'd die.  Well it was basically the same thing, except I didn't get shot, it happened for literally no discernible reason whatsoever.  They kicked my roommates out of the room, and then a very terse surgeon rolled me onto my side, cut an incision between my ribs and rammed 12 inches of rubber tubing into my chest.  He didn't even buy me dinner first.

I have since spent the last week in the hospital draining goop and air from my chest cavity and watching a weeklong NCIS marathon (I wanna be Ziva when I grow up!) while slowly recuperating.  My roommates took shifts staying with me, and then my mom flew 1500 miles to come see me and stayed with me all week.  I have recuperated fine and finally managed to make it home Monday evening, a bit sore, but very glad to be home.

In the week I was in the hospital my pageviews doubled, I got 5 new followers and I received tons of support from the gaming community when I managed to post on my phone in my horribly misspelled and uncapitalized posts uploaded from my phone.  I want to especially thank Porky for pimping my Radical story on his blog and Mike (Who I don't have a link for because I am a terrible person) and my very good friend Camsy Wamsy for all the worry and concern she's been throwing at me for this week.

The Radical story will continue shortly (For anyone who wants to know how I got the last one up while sick, I borrowed a laptop and was up till 3:40 am that night writing it up) and I hope that everyone enjoys it.  Thank you all again for being super awesome, and if there's any word of advice that I can give after my experiences this past week, it's this.

HEAVY FLAMER!  It solves all problems.

PS (Just for C'nor): Radical actually takes place several decades before The Defense of Kornaria City and is something of a background piece on the Cleansing Fire Commandery and Inquisitor Isimbard Kane.  This is before Kora Halquin developed her allergy and was just a Sister Superior in the commandery rather than one of its commanding officers.  You'll notice that in the latest update everyone's favorite Cannoness (or at least mine) Angelica is still a Seraphim, though that doesn't seem to have improved her mood overly much.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Healthiest Update

my lung is reinflated, the tube in my chest is gone and i will be home soon.  everyone congratulate me and wish me well.  i will be back home and making the world of grimdarkness a little brighter.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Radical: Heretics

This is Radical part III.  For more check the table of contents here..

My power armor had not been completely repaired by the time we were on our way, and I spent most of the trip shifting uncomfortably in the suit.  The dents from the heavy bolter rounds that had hit me couldn’t be removed without a more extensive repair facility, so the warped ceramite dug into my ribs with every bump our transport hit.  To go along with this, the knee joints that had been cut through were fixed in a rush job, leaving the articulating musculature inside the armor’s legs twitchy and unreliable.  I walked with a limp, sometimes having to drag my left leg along behind me.  Still, it was better to have malfunctioning armor than none at all, and though I would have gone into battle nude if I’d had to, the Adepta Sororitas are as much a symbol as a fighting force, and the power armor I wore served more purpose than simply bullet stopper and strength enhancer.

The Imperial Guard began shelling the enemy’s flank while we were on route, mostly to keep their heads down as we approached.  From there Dominion squads would serve as spotters for the guard’s guns, lining up more accurate shots on the Mechanicus Facility’s defenses.  Celestians were to get to the manufacotrium themselves and set the melta charges that would bring down the servitor production facility while the rest of the Commandery set up a defensive perimeter inside the facility to cover the Celestians.  From there it was a simple evacuation plan of loading back up into the transports and heading home.  Some of the Harbingers’ thunderhawks were to provide air cover and emergency extraction if necessary.  This mission was expected to have very high casualties, but we were Sisters of Battle.  If anyone was prepared for martyrdom, it was us.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ytet another health update

the medicae really needs to leanr some bedside manner, or to at least come to my bedside at somepoint.  xrays show that i am getting worse, not better, and that is all i know sineno one will freaking talk to me.  more news later.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Even more health update.

my current duty to the emperor has me performing breathing excercises specifically designed to shoot blood pud and who knows what out of my chest cavity and into a bucket.  luckily the omnissiah in his great wisdom saw fit to connect a tube from my torso to the bucket or there would be a frightful mess.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Health Update

to those who are wondering where i am right now, sorry cam, i had a spontaneous pneumothorax, which is doctor talk for my lung collapsed for no reason and left me collapsed in a parking garage.  im currently in the hospital with a tube soved between my ribs draining the air from my chest cavity so my lung can reinflate.  ill be out for a few days to a week, and am updating this from my phone, thus no capital letters.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Radical: Healing

Radical, part II.  For more check the table of contents here.

It was three days before I could return to the front line. The Sisters Hospitaler had reattached the tendons in my legs so that I could walk again, and I was returned to my squad as quickly as they could make me able. Our front line had been secured a few hours after I was pulled from the field by Inquisitor Fane's acolytes when the Harbingers arrived. Never in my life have I seen a sight as magnificent as the rain of steel that fell from the heavens that day. Space Marine drop pods are a marvel of technology whose secret resides rightfully only with the Astartes. Should radicals ever get their hands on them our forces would be hard pressed indeed to repel their attacks. The Harbingers emerged from their fallen pods, bolters screaming, tearing down the foul machines that had torn the Imperial guard to pieces. I believe that we owed our lives to the Astartes that day. Without their fearless presence holding the line we would have surely fallen.

Sister Superior Halquin welcomed me back to the squad with open arms and a warm smile. She was a pretty woman, with light red hair, and when not in combat she wore a pair of pince nez glasses. She'd told me once that she'd never intended to join the Order Militant of the Adpeta Sororitas, but wished instead to be a simple librarian of holy texts in one of our convents. I feel that while a library may have missed a fine tender in Kora Halquin, the Cleansing Fire commandery gained an irreplaceable warrior. Our squad had lost two sisters during the fighting, Sister Candice and Sister Delilah, two faces whom I still miss.

We were held off of the front lines for now while our rhino was being repaired and our armor tended to. My armor in particular needed great care from the enginseers, damaged as it was from the heavy bolter fire I had taken. While we rested and waited in the landing zone where the resupply ships touched down and unloaded with regularity, bringing new arms and equipment into the fight, we were asked by several of the reserve Guard units to give blessings over their platoons, a service we were happy to provide.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Radical: Hell

It's the screaming that I'll never forget.  The Imperial Guard were not prepared for this kind of mission, and The Hammer of the Emperor, blessed be their mission, failed in their duty before we had even landed on that cursed rock the Cult Mechanicus had named Ulric.  The guardsmen in the drop-ship were shouting blasphemies the second we breached the atmosphere, and despite the shaking and sudden lurches in all directions that the ship was taking, the platoon's priest and commissar were making the rounds with prayers and laspistol, attending to the lost.

This was my very first mission.  I was still a novice in the order and had never fired my bolter in anger before.  I can imagine how I must have looked then, too thin neck sticking out of my power armor, trembling as I watched each gibbering soldier cut down, reciting my prayers with a stammering voice as Sister Superior Halquin led us in benediction against the foul creatures we were about to face.  I think I might have pissed myself, I'm not completely sure.

We'd been briefed by Inquisitor Argus Fane, may the Emperor keep his soul, on what we faced upon this blighted world.  Apparently the Mechanicus had been running a research facility here and performed some heresy or other in one of their experiments.  Within a week the facility had gone rogue, corrupted by the warp energies they had released, and within a month there was a full blown daemon incursion on the world.  To this day I don't know why Fane didn't simply call exterminatus on the world and whatever reasons he had for mounting this assault died with him on Ulric.  He'd called upon every resource he could muster to attack Ulric, and they were considerable.  Three companies of Imperial Guard, the fourth and first companies of the Harbingers Astartes chapter and our own Cleansing Fire commandery landed on Ulric, and directly into hell.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cleansing Fire Commandery: Force Organization

Commander: Canoness Angelica Cross

Executive Officer: Palatine Kora Halquin

Inquisition Liasons: Inquisitor Lord Gibbius Vecht, Ordo Hereticus; Inquisitor Seren Null, Ordo Xenos

Elite Units:
20 Sisters Celestian led by Celestian Superior Andromeda Gray

2 Callidus Assassins

1 Eversor Assassin

80 Battle Sisters

20 Inquisition Stormtroopers

Fast Attack Units:
15 Seraphim led by Seraphim Superior Gina White

15 Sisters Dominion led by Sister Superior Loraine Teal

Heavy Support Units:
7 Sisters Retributor led by Sister Superior Vera Brown

3 Immolator Flame Tanks (Twin Heavy Flamers Variant)

2 Excorcist Artillery Tanks

Ship: Inquisitorial Cruiser Nolo Contende.

Important Note: The Cleansing Fire Commandery includes no support staff of any kind due to Canoness Cross's insistence that she never wants to see or hear anyone who hasn't personally killed a heretic with their bare hands.  As such all Enginseers, Sisters Hospitaler and other necessary but non-combat personnel are under the direct command of Inquisitor Null and are not technically part of the Cleansing Fire Commandery.  This has kept friendly fire losses in the vicinity of the Canoness at a minimum.