Only War – RPG/TRPG Session
Run by Will
Baine Bravith – Jason (jymmijamz)
Father Deimos – Chris (alcoholandaphorisms)
Hans ‘Loki’ Lokisson – Me
Odetta – Tanja
(Write-up by Chris)
The smoke over the warzone rises, mile after mile of burnt land and body. The recon squad of Hadeon 13 can see now why the Imperial Guard forces, the hundreds of troops and thousands of warm bodies, have pulled to a halt. Through the smoke rises the metallic belly of a machine that towers into the sky. The peaks reaching so high that the naked eye cannot see it. Orks swarm all over its body, affixing yet more guns to the hundreds that already bristle upon it. A machine in the image of an ork, a heresy and insult to the Omnissiah.
“This is a blasphemy against the emperor” Father Deimos spits “A false idol. We all know what to do with false idols”
“Befriend it? We could use something like that” Odetta suggest
There is a cold silence. Father Deimos places his hand very carefully on the trigger of the flamer “I’m sorry. I didn’t catch that. Would you like to repeat it?”
Odetta shakes her head. “Good” Deimos smiles. “We need targeting markers, to call down the wrath of our artillery upon it”
Loki nods, moving up through the clouds of smoke. Marking points of reference in the landscape to try and narrow down the co-ordinates for confirmation of its position. Any additional information will help for requisitioning the necessary supplies. Muttering the rotes of map marking he pauses over the map, looking again. He nearly made a mistake. With a curse he repeats the ritual, confirming twice and etches a skull marked cross over the correct location. “Got it”
The squad’s return to field base is slowed by the depth of smoke. Several times they find themselves looping back on their own path, nigh walking back to the orks. Eventually though they break from cover, sprinting over open ground back to the comparative safety of their own lines.
Amongst the tents and trenches they spy what they are looking for, a massive tent, marked with the aquila of the Imperium. The tent covers a wide area, rising up to contain several floors within. Through the gates flap they can see welded steel and prepared structures making up a sturdy command infrastructure inside. The guard at the door shoulders his las carbine, eyeing them with suspicion.
Throwing a salute Deimos greets “Hadeon 13th Recon. We encountered substantial materia in our searches that will require bombardment to destroy.”
The guard looks for a long moment “Wait here”
A second guard takes over the post as the squad waits, to be greeted by a Captain who looks them over.
“You. Father Deimos? You say you need a bombardment of all things?”
“Sir yes sir. We encountered a metal idol of immense size, armed with battle turning armaments. We intend to infiltrate the construction zone and mark for air, basilisk and if needed orbital bombardment. Our normal weapons would not have stood a chance at marking it. The chances are low of our survival but in the name of the emperor we are willing to burn the abomination.”
The Captains condescending expressions lightens slightly at this outburst “Really, and you say you have co-ordinates?”
“Yes sir” Deimos says, waving towards Lokison who steps from the shadows, map in hand. Taking the document the Captain looks down, his face clouding, going from disdain too worry in the pace of seconds “Really. Well, you had best come in then”
As they step into the tent they are confronted with reminders of their home world,. Solid lumps of granite rock etched through with veins of quartz. Items, welding torches and the las burners hooked against girders. Memories of their penal world coming to the fore.
“This mark is only a couple of miles away” the captain says” are you sure this is correct?”
Loki nods “Entirely sir. Saw it with my own two eyes”
At that a man steps from the gangplanks above, dressed in lavish uniform, strips of rank emblazoned in gold. As one the squad straighten up, coming to attention.
“Right” The man says “My name is Field Commander Trollkarl. You, I understand, are Weapons Specialist Hans Lokison.”
“Sir” Loki replies
“Can you describe this thing that is so important to our situation here?”
“I can sir.” and with that Lokison goes into a detailed explanation of the terrain, the ork hordes surrounding the idol, the construction structures, weaponry and the behemoth itself. “It is vile sir. A disgrace to the emperor and a threat against all of us”
Trollkarl nods “Tell me, how well was this artefact guarded?”
“Well. We met a lot of insurgents. It appears they have been looting the sacred tombs prior to this. There also seems to be a mass of strange wildlife here that spawns even more of these xenos”
Trollkarl looks Loki up and down, a pensive frown on his face. After a moment he smiles slightly “Very interesting. You seem to have learned a lot, but I will not hold it against you. So you suggest direct assault? You consider it a weakness that can be exploited and destroyed?”
“Yes sir. It is a moral boost to the enemy and possibly weaponised. Destroying it will break their moral and give us a tactical advantage”
“Excellent” purrs Trollkarl “Lokison, Is this your first battlefield duty soldier?”
“Well your part seem to have done excellent work. We will need to corroborate this evidence of course. It will take time to arrange the specialist equipment as well. Meanwhile we can find a use for you elsewhere on the battlefront. Report to sergeant Eidos in equipment tent immediately”
Throwing a tidier salute than normal, Lokison snaps to attention then turns and leads the others back outside. Once in the smoke dimmed light of the outside world Deimos turns, impressed ”Good work Loki, You spoke with the conviction of the sacred battle saints today.”
Again the packed tents of the quartermaster is their next call. Inside smoke fills the crate packed tent as a grey fleshed cybernetic filled body on caterpillar tracks moves from one stack to the next. The servitor ignores Loki’s attempt to get its attention, instead just repeating the rites of maintenance, static crackling from the vox speaker in its jaw.
Stepping directly in front of the servitors path Loki coughs. In reply red line shines out from the servitors crystal eye, flicking across the soldier’s face.
“State your business here” A cracking voice emits from the vox.
“I would like to requisition a pic recorder”
“Processing” A bust of static “wait here”
The servitor is heard returning before seen, pealing out of the smog clouds with a large wooden crate on its platform. As it lowers the crate to the ground, a second, smaller box is visible on top.”Process complete” The servitor says in a crackle.
“Right” Lokison says as he pulls open the crates “Let’s go then” The smaller box open to reveal the requested pic recorder. Intrigued Loki turns to the larger box, opening it to reveal two large sets of Imperial Guard Stormtrooper Armour.
“Very nice” Loki says as he slips the armour on, “Deimos, the other’s yours”
Deimos shakes his head “Thank you Lokison but I have the armour of the emperor protecting me. Odetta did the final blow to the xenos to fell it. If it is fine by you I believe she should take it”
At Loki’s consent, Odetta changes into the armour, a slight look of suspicion at the unusually kind act from Deimos
The equipment gathered the squad moves towards Sergeant Eido’s tent. The tent is marked by both the double eagle aquilla of the imperium and the strange skull on cog insignia of the omnisiah. Coated in beige canvas the tent is just one of the city of tents that has sprung up overnight. Patrols of walkers and fortified hellhound tanks guard it against the potential depredations of the xenos.
Inside, under the light of glowing screens and icon sigils the red cloaked tech priests move, spraying the sacred unguents from implanted dispensers. The smell of oil and a feel of static fill the air. Spying the entrants, a priest marked by his garb as a low ranking tech acolyte turns to greet them.
Holding back his distaste for the Tech fetishist Deimos greets the acolyte “I am Father Deimos, we have been assigned by field commander Trollkarl to come here for our next mission?”
“By the field commander?” The acolyte says with disbelief.
“Yes, I am Father Deimos of the Eclisiarchy and we were informed to come here and rendezvous with Sargent Eidos”
“Ok. Yes certainly. Not a problem” The acolyte shows them up a steel ramp that leads through a mess of scaffolding that takes them over banks and banks of cognitor engines. The clicking rising with the smell of hot oiled and burned plastic. Binary prayers merging with the noise to become a mess of white noise.
Raised above this all, Eidos sits behind a desk full of parchment. Looking up at the approaching men he grunts “Huh I expected you earlier”
“Father Deimos reporting for assignment”
Eidos frowns and looks back to the parchment, searching for something “I was expecting a Lokison”
The darkness at the back of the platform parts as Lokison steps forwards to salute “Present sir”
“Now from what I see here you are trained with maps. Is that correct?”
“Well, you did a good job out there. Your next mission is to deal with a similar problem. We have been having reports of scattered ambush tactics used to the south of here. We need to find out what has been attacking our troops and the civilians. Then we need identify where their base is and put and en to it. Do you understand?”
“We will do our best sir” Loki replies.
Sargent Eidos folds the parchment carefully, sealing it with wax and marking with a skull imprint before passing it to Loki “You will be using a similar craft to the one you trained on and will be flying overnight to the location. After that you will be deployed where the attacks have taken place. Is there any special requirements you will need for this mission?”
“Hmm, a voxcaster would be useful. Something that would let us communicate at longer range”Loki suggests
“Do you have anyone on your squad trained in the use of such equipment?”
“Then that is not an option” Eidos replies, slightly coldly. “Very well, report to the launchpad at twenty one hundred hours”
In the time before the start of the mission Father Deimos tries to rally the troops for an inspiring sermon. Eyes bloodshot and mouth spitting with hate as he screams hatred of the xenos he leads those who will join him in self flagellation and scarification, to purify them ready for their holy cause. Odetta quietly slips away before the sermon starts, Lokison fades back into the shadows, leaving his team-mate to press ganged in. Of all the squad only the Ogyrn Baine voluntarily joins. Through the pain and blood mask from a dozen cuts Deimos smiles with hard earned respect. The mutant knows its degenerate state and seeks to purge it.
Twenty one hundred hours, the night settling in. The fires in the distance casting long shadows across the jungle. The sound of gunfire and death still echoes ceaselessly in the distance. An unknown craft sits upon the raised launch pad, above the jungles fronds and branches. A small crew working through the last maintenance and initiation rites to the final moments. Unusually they are not garbed in the uniform of the Imperial Guard. The pilot throws a loose smile as the squad approaches “You’re here then. Good”
“We are here for the mission yes” Deimos replies “We are ready to go with the emperors grace and his….mercy” A flicker of joy crosses Deimos eyes at the last word.
“The mission information is on the ship. Board when ready”
The squad boards in silence, Baine hesitating at the entrance, his lower lip sticking out and quivering. Finally he halts at the base of the ramp. Walking up past him Odetta lays a reassuring hand on his back, then plunges a pneumatic needle into his rump, injecting him with enough tranquillisers to kill a horse.
Baine looks at Odetta, the pain of betrayal in his eyes. The adrenaline from the shock keeps him moving for a moment, hands extended towards the medic, but before he can do anything the drugs kick in, dropping him to a deep sleep filled with nightmares of the evil attacks of Odetta.
Fifteen minutes later Odetta’s head can be seen poking through the entrance to the craft. Panting and exhausted as she drags the Ogyrns massive weight up the ramp “Thanks for the help. Thanks for nothing “She mutters. The others just shrug, already slung into their compartments. The pilot looks back over his shoulder “If we are finally ready?”
Loaded and fuelled the craft rises into the air on a pillar of fire hurtling across the jungle. The compartments are cramped and rattles as the craft heads on through the night. Hours pass in silence and the checking and rechecking of weapons. Finally the voice of the pilot comes through.
“Everything ok back there? We are approaching the drop point. You ready?”
A snore rises from the Ogryn, Deimos smashes the butt of his las carbine down on the brute’s head “We are ready”
As the squad ready Grav packs and double check the glyphs of activation Baine rolls upon the ground, a pain slowly registering in his skull as his brain starts to wakefulness. Everything feels close. Too close. Too small. A metal coffin sealing in around him. His skin breaks out in cold clammy sweat and adrenaline shocks through him. His large hands grasp the iron grid floor before him and he bellows in fear. “Bad Place! Dark place. Need to get out. Need to get to light!” Like a charging bull he throws himself towards the back of the craft, trying to pull open the exit door to the air. Again and again Baine hammers on the exit hatch which buckles before the punishment.
Realising that if the door gives they will be thrown out to the air before the drop point Odetta looks to Loki “Hans, can you help me calm down the Ogryn. I’d rather not give him another trank if I can avoid it”
In response Loki lashes out with a kick at Baine’s leg. As his knee gives way the Ogryn tumbles to the ground. Odetta stands ready, preparing an injection slot just in case as the Ogryn howls.
“Shut up” Deimos says without leaving his seat “Stop moving. Stop shouting. You are disturbing my dedications”
The ogryn looks up at the cold intensity that radiates from the priest and collapses back huddled in a ball, blubbing in terror. His small comrade runs up, trying to comfort Baine, patting him soothingly on the arm while giving a dirty sideways glance in Deimos’ direction.
“That’s better “Deimos says. Spying a a large crumpled envelope on the ground where the Ogryn had been lying before Deimos leans forwards to retrieve it. The envelope is brown with jagged edges and rattles slightly as it is picked up. Cutting it open Deimos sees a letter inside, unreadable High Gothic makes up most of the text, but a small message below gives an overview in low gothic. Instructions on how to maintain some piece of equipment. Empting the envelope out, twisted mechanical pieces drop out. Elements that were once a transponder. Elements that were not meant to be in so many pieces, nor meant for use via an Ogryn’s arse. Cursing the Ogryn’s name, Deimos looks at the last item within. A detailed map of craggy cliffs and marked with the location of their drop point.
Before they can look further a red light fills the cabin and the pilots voice comes over the vox grills
“Ok everyone, we are approaching the drop point”
Respirators are locked down and servitors shamble out to perform the final tech rites. The bay doors drop open, the air sucked out. The ground below zooming past at incredible speeds.
The drop point. The mission is go.