Only War – RPG/TRPG Session
Run by Will
Baine Bravith – Jason (jymmijamz)
Jools (NPC) – Chris (alcoholandaphorisms)
Hans ‘Loki’ Lokisson – Me
Odetta – Tanja
(Write-up by Chris)
The streets are barren and empty, a forgotten city lost to the xenos in the never ending war of the 41st millennium. The buildings reach up to the sky on either side of the street, creating human made gulleys in-between their gaze. It is here on one of the many cities of the necropolis planet that the scout squadron of the Hadeon 13 are stranded after having completing their primary objective. They now need to enfiltrate and meet up with the main force, a task that is proving to be more challenging than expected.
Loki stands outside, following wires, thick wires wrapped around each other. Marked with adeptus mechanicus symbols, marks of their holy and hidden trade. It is Loki’s hope that by following them he can find a long distance vox communicator, a way of contacting Hadeon Actual for further orders. Touching his micro bead he reports back to the rest of the squad, to inform them of where he is, but reaches no reply.
Back in the centre of town, the rest of the squad hunker down in a looted building, the markings outside marking it as a possible source of further communication equipment. Baine, the Ogryn, and squad member Jools ignore the sound of incoming micro bead message as they look at the sight of what they have just found. A figure, gender indistinct, bones shattered, flesh maimed and softened for easy consumption by the toothy balls that follow around the greenskin.
Kneeling Jools offers a hand “Right lad, it’s ok. The Imperial Guard are here now. Can you speak lad?”
The, maybe a boy, gags, his throat too dry to speak, just pained semi retching noises rising.
“Ok lad, take it easy, just nod or shake your head” Jools pauses then asks with a slight grin “You wouldn’t happen to know high gothic would you?”
The shaking of the boy’s body that responds if far from conclusive. Touching the micro bead Jools says “Odetta, lass, we need you here now. Lad here needs a medic”
While they wait for Odetta to arrive Jools opens a channel to Loki “Sorry lad, you rang at a bit of a bad time. What’s up”
“Just letting you know I’m heading out of town. The Ad mech wires are going for quite a distance” Loki replies.
“Right lad. Well we just found a survivor here, Odetta’s treating him so we will be here for a while. You keep heading out and we’ll sort the situation here. Take care, we don’t want to get out of here and find you being gang fucked by 26 greenskin. Don’t want you hogging all the action”
Settling back to hold the perimeter while Odetta treats the wounded man, Jools realises Baine has vanished while they were talking. Just as he is wondering what the hell has happened the giant beast returns, poking his head through the doorway.
“Where were you lad?”
“Exploring” Baine replies “Looking for machinery. This some sort factory. Went to street. Like street outside but not. Bodies there. No speak tech things”
“Right. Nowt ‘ere. Loki’s looking for a vox caster, we just need to hold perimeter until he gets back. Odetta, ya got the lad there well enough to talk?”
“As long as you are gentle you can talk to him” Odetta says
Jools laughs and waves towards the dead greenskin around “I’m always gentle lass”
Odetta just growls in reply, Jools returning to the injured boy
“Right lad, you feeling ok now?”
“Are you here to save the city” the lad says, choking
“Well we are here, that much is true. If we run into any xenos we will kill them as well”
“Where are the rest of you” The boy says “Is there a convoy coming. A convoy to kill them all”
“Listen lad, we’re just the reconnaissance squad. We need to contact our main group to do any more. We need someone who can read high gothic, if you’re that man then you are the hero of the guard today”
“High gothic? Of course we can all read it”
“Lad, today you are our hero” Jools says with a grin, pressing his micro bead “Loki. Good news, we got a lad here who can read t’note. He can read high gothic. Only problem is you’re the bastard with the note. Any chance you could tab back here and we can get our orders and get out of here.
“Damnit” Loki mutters, irritated “It will take me at least an hour to get back. Wait there”. Cutting the link Loki starts deliberately slowly back, kicking dust up from his heels on the way. Eventually he arrives twenty minutes later to find the squad guarding a young man hopped up on painkillers.
Loki pressed the note into the boys hand and Jools starts speaking to the boy “Right lad, this is the ticket out of here for all of us. What does it say?”
The boy takes one glance then looks away “This is military. It could be military secrets. I can’t read this”
“Lad, what is your name”
“Right then Private Hendricks, what does it say?”
The boy looks confused, suddenly press ganged into the guard. “Please, tell me, the xenos. They aren’t coming back?”
“Lad, trust me, they aren’t coming back. Killing Xenos and fucking women is what we are best at” Jools says, adding “No offence Odetta. Right Private, what does it say?”
“It, it says it is for the Hadeon 13”.
“It says you are to investigate attacks on this area, and to find out the source”
“Done that, slotted them”
“It says to call in for help on the vox if you need further assistance”
“Ah, we had a minor incident with that lad”
“It says 56 hours after the start of the mission you should assemble at the landing site for pick-up”
“Fifty six hours?” Jools does some mental calculations and his face goes white “BAINE PICK THE LAD UP WE ARE FUCKING MOVING. TRIPLE TIME. FUCKING MOVE IT”
By the time he has finished shouting he is alone, the others sprinting in the distance “Fuck. OK LOKI YOU’RE ON FUCKING POINT THEN”
Loki is damn near vanishing in the distance, Odetta and Baine just behind, Baine carrying the injured lad on his back. Trying desperately to catch up Jools sprints after them half tumbling in his haste. With the others barely in line of sight he runs like the warp is on his heels. The pick up ship is less than an hour away.
For over an hour they run, exhausted, their packs weighing heavy on them, Loki and even Baine is slowing now, the sight of the settlements they landed at a promise on the horizon. Over hills and through forests they run on, a cross country marathon that burns their muscles. In reward they hear a rumbling in the distance,a lander craft, but they are still too far away.
On wild hope of connection Loki broadcasts a message “Hadeon 13 to Hadeon Actual, we are incoming for pickup” For minutes all that replies is static and high pitch whines, slowly converging to an inhuman voice chanting in electronic monotone a set of tech rituals, their purpose meaningless to Loki. Next the voice shifts in-between binary bursts, an inflectionless High Gothic, recognised but not understood. Finally it shifts again “Hadeon 13, recon 3294A, is that Hadeon 13 249B?”
Unsure of the terms Loki just replies “Correct”
“Are you at the landing zone? Over”
“We are approaching, half an hour out east, over”
“What is your status, over?”
“Success in primary objective. Will give full report when back. We have one extra, a survivor. Over”
“A human native? over”
“Very good, we are on our way. Out”
Minutes later the tops of the trees flatten around the squad, immense forces pushing down from above. Low over the tree line a bulky military craft circles, throwing up masses of dust and debris that masks the squad from sight.
Holding his flamer to the sky Loki lets burst a marking flare of fire from its barrel, helping to mark their position. The craft above circles once more before settling down in the distance. Sprinting with their remaining energy through the trees the squad spies the lander, doors down and a squad of Albion Guardsmen establishing a loose perimeter.
“This is the most welcoming open hole I’ve seen all week” Jools comments as he pulls himself up into the craft
“You can talk” Baine says “You couldn’t run minute ago”
Jools grits his teeth before answering “Yeah, well not all of us are unnatural mutated things that can run forever. I’m talking about you by the way in case you didn’t get it”
As the squad buckles into the restraints on the crafts side the Albion Sargent approaches “So, have you set up everything for us to roll through there?”
“You may not need to sir” Jools replies “Reporting over a hundred xenos kills sir”
The sergeant rolls his eyes, Hadeon 13 have a reputation for lies, but this private obviously can’t be bothered to keep them believable
Captain looks at you and smiles. “I reply. You set up everything for us to roll through there?”
“Sir, this is the truth sir. Ask Loki he can give co-ordinates. Deimos sacrificed himself to wake a protective warrior saint sir. Killed the xenos and the rebels. This is Hadeon 13 reporting in sir, first in first blood”
The sergeant just shakes his head disbelieving “So, what happened to the ogryn” he asks, commenting on the burn marks all over the soldier “Did the orks do this?”
“No sir. That was us sir, to purge the taint. He is now fifty percent better at killing xenos sir”
The sage’s expression now adds the fact that Hadeon 13 are obviously mad as well as liars.
“So private, did your squad see the lights while you were in the field”
“Aye sir” Jools answers “Baine saw more than the rest, but he is a bit of a moron sir. He may have problems communicating it”
Baine glances up at the sound of his name “Pretty lights. Watched last night”
“You were there?” The Sargent asks
“Aye, we were sir” Jools replies for Baine “Right in the middle of it. We were there when Deimos immolated himself and caused the warrior saint to return, that’s when the lights started. I’m no good on spiritual matters but I know what I saw, that was the emperor’s fury”
“You say Deimos did this?”
“Aye, may he fight by the emperor’s side forever”
“Well, well, this will have to go up the chain. I need you to..”
Whatever the Sargent was going to say is suddenly cut off by hysterical laughter from the ogryn.
“Did I say something funny?”
Baine does not answer, his eyes boggling out. Everything feels close and tight. It is only now when the adrenaline leaves his system he realises how small the craft is, how close it is. He huddles small, laughing pitifully with his fear. Soon a needle punctures his thick skin, drugs joining his bloodstream, taking away his fear. Not like the ones Odetta uses, these leave him serene, peaceful. Somewhere inside Baine decides he will have to annoy rich regiments more if they give him drugs like this.
Eventually the craft lands back at base camp, or at least the squad of Hadeon 13 assumes it must be base camp. It looks very different now. The tanks have had holes torn in them, wounds from serious firepower. Smoke conceals the dead but barely. Bodies are being dragged across the ground to the tents that will hold them for now. Tech priests scurry muttering electronic rites as they seek to repair ravaged tanks. Looking around for a moment the Sarge takes it all in, then leads the squad through it to a giant canvas tent, the size of a big top tent but marked by cameo and concealing the Command Centre for this area, indicating in he says “You need to come in here for debriefing. If you were in the centre of it all you will need to speak to the Captain”
Inside the vast swaths of canvas logicians and Tech Priests administer to glowing sigils and squirt sacred oils upon pumping pistons, working the cogitator engines to calculate the most sacred patterns of attack to reach the appropriate percentage chance of success. In the centre of this all, sat upon a large steel desk, a familiar face greets them, Sargent Vorgin. He gives them a long hard look and says
“Captain wants to speak to you. What happened out there?”
“Sir, afraid we cannot tell anything to anyone not the Captain sir” Jools answers, back ram rod straight.
“Bull. You haven’t been told any such thing have you private?”
“Sir I cannot confirm or deny sir”
Vorgin looks Jools up and down slowly “You don’t have to tell me anything do you….Baine?”
Baine grins widely at the sound of his name.
“What, do you not salute superiors any more private Bravith?”
Delayed, Baine’s wrist snaps up in sloppy salute
“Ohh, I see” Vorgin says “ We’ve got a tough one here. Maybe we should have you stay here a while. We wouldn’t want to insult the Commander by confronting him with an inhuman beast like you”
“Sir, we have been instructed to meet with the commander sir. All of us sir” Jools says
“Strange, cos you haven’t met anyone but a Sarge of another regiment from what I hear, isn’t that right?
“Sir, I cannot confirm or deny sir”
Vorgin grins an evil grin “That right? You going to play funny business are you?”
“Sir. if you order so. sir”
The conversation is broken by a crackle over the microbead instructing them to go in. As the human squad members start forwards through to an enclosed partition Baine goes to follow, only to find his way blocked by Sergeant Vorgin. Baine just grasps Vorgin in his giant muscled arms, lifts him and places him to one side before walking on.
He gets two steps before a bionic arm grabs his shoulder from behind “You’re coming with me son” Vorgin says marching him off away from the others. Even Baine isn’t dim enough to escalate by striking a superior officer and follows with barest sullen resistance
Through the enclosed partition the human members of the squad find themselves climbing stairs up to a raised platform, a shimmering wall of light by one side, sigils dancing upon it. A man in Hadeon uniform, smarter than any they have ever seen before, stands facing the wall of light. The commander.
Loki shuffles into the darkness on one side of the room as Jools throws a salute, attempting to ignore a sudden urge to itch his ballsack. The commander ignores them until he has finished whatever task he had in mind on the wall of light, then turns to the others “ At ease. Jools and Hans is it not”
“Sir” Jools says, Loki just nods.
“Is that a yes Hans?
“Yes Sir” Hans Lokison finally replies
“Good, so tell me, what precisely occurred?”
Jools recounts once more the tale of all that has happened over the past few days, stopped only by the Commander when he mentions Loki tracking the orks back to the Monolith.
“Loki, you are familiar with ork footsteps are you?” The commander asks
“We didn’t know them before, but we’ve encountered enough greenskins here and learned from the encounters sir”
“I see, and why, when you found the xenos, did you not vox for backup on your given communicator?”
Jools pauses “Sir, requesting permission to speak freely”
“Sir, the Ogryn attempted to maintain the vox communicator via a ritual involving inserting it up his buttocks sir”
The captain pauses for a long time before speaking in a dry tone “I see, and the item you call the Monolith, you are aware of its nature are you not?”
“No I am proud to say I do not sir”
Confused the Captain says “But surely it was listed in your order’s document?”
“Sir, that was high gothic sir, I only speak low gothic and the language of good loving as is appropriate for a Hadeon soldier sir”
“Very well. The monolith as you call it has become very active since you encountered it, however it appears that your squad’s actions were not the only cause”
At this Loki steps forwards “It appears that higher up in the monolith orks were killed we found their bodies on higher floors. I took pic evidence in case it was needed, we couldn’t make heads nor tails of it”
“This is very good new private Lokison” The captain says, taking the pic corder and handing it to a tech priest “This will be very useful. Since you have done so marvellously on this mission there is one final pivotal aspect of this campaign that I believe you should not be left out of. It involves a xeno construct built for what the xeno could scavenge from the imperial shrines. I believe you have already encountered this construct?”
“Sir I have sir, it right put the willies up me sir” Jools says
“That is the correct attitude for an imperial citizen on encountering such an item. I believe it would be best if you travel with the Albion Scout regiment in one of their hellhound tanks to investigate and destroy this construct before the xenos put it to use. Would this be agreeable?”
Jools pauses, unsure of the polite tone and lack of direct order “Sir?”
“Would that be a Yes Sir?”
“Sir..Sir we will achieve any orders you put to us sir”
“Good, and the abhuman Baine, did he survive the mission?”
“He did sir, slightly burned sir. Flamer sir”
The captain ruminates on this for a moment then says “The orks are better equipped than we thought if they have flamers”
“Sir, it was our priest sir. When the Ogryn was acting in a non Imperial fashion sir”
“Hmm, I presume that was all well?”
“A business and a pleasure sir” Jools says with cheer.
“Very well, you shall most likely all receive a commendation for this mission. Those of you who need medical attention do so, then report to the captain of 18th recon Albion Hellhound tank”
Leaving the tent, with time to kill before the next mission, Jools scratches his nuts “Hmm, right, do you recon I’ve go enough time to get me end away? Should be able to find the prossies that follow these things around.”
Stoo looks over “What? there are prossies here?”
“Lad, this is a war zone. There are a lot of hungry people with legs that open in the vicinity of food. I think we should be able to find something”
Meanwhile, elsewhere, Baine is still being dragged by the Drill Sargent who bawls him out “I had problems with you before didn’t I private? Isn’t that right Baine?” Baine just shrugs “Oh I see, I think Baine is sulking. All right then Baine, stand to attention here, outside the mess tent
Baine snaps his legs together, back straight as the Drill Sargent marches into the mess, soon his shouting can be heard booming out “All right you fuckers, you did all right back there. You got orders, you did them. Let’s see how you deal with a more chaotic situation.” Soon twenty off men pile out of the tent, the Sarge still shouting all the while. “Here we have an abhuman mutant. What do we do with abhuman mutants? We give them a kicking don’t we?”
The men, dressed in loose army fatigues, their lunch interrupted, look at each other with less than happy expressions on their face. “What’s this here?” Sarge continues, pointing at Baines back “Little war trophy is it? A Xenos chopper?
“Good toy” Baine says
“Oh a good toy you say?” Sarge says with fake joviality “A good toy? Use this with your mutant strength to chop up good honest folk do you?”
“Xenos eh? Look at the Ogryn with his big words. Thinks he’s smart enough to be a sergeant does he? Right lads pick up your weapons and lets see what we can do with them”
The men gingerly pick up some unusual staffs from the floor, reluctant to move further forwards than they have to.
“These are toys we got from the posh boys. Thy work proper on those smaller greenskin, stuns thee fuck out of the big uns as well. You seen them before Baine? No? Time you learned about them then. Lads?”
After a long period of starting at each other, finally one man sprints forwards, four men suddenly on his heals, swinging and prodding with the batons in their hands. Sparks fly across the Ogryn as the poles prod into his flesh, painful but barely slowing Baine as he swings out in revenge, grabbing a man and tossing him one handed back out of the way. The batons swing again and again, but nearly nothing slows the Ogryn, a cheer goes up from a crowd gathering as Baine tosses another assailant to one side. The crowd builds and builds, pushing the men forwards so they couldn’t move back from the enraged Baine even if they tried.
The ruck threatens to get out of control, a voice rising at the back of the crowd, barely heard over the sounds of scuffling. As the voice comes closer it becomes more distinct, more commanding and with eyes widening in fear the soldiers try to move back, weapons held down. Baine just ignores the noise, slamming his fist into the nearest attacker. The solider flies back, sternum buckling under the force and collapsing, doubled over in pain. The moment of violence silences the crowd and a man in full Captains uniform steps into the centre of the circle, taking advantage of this moment where the collective breath is caught
“Attention!” He shouts, the men around him snapping to attention, heads held high “Who is in command here? You, Sargent,are you the ranking soldier in this mess?”
“I.i..i., This mutant was…”
“Is this the abhuman that was on reconnaissance today? Do you know where they have been? This thing has vital information in the war against the greenskins. They say their will be medals, or even a show put out for this squad and you are attacking him with sticks!”
The Sarge quivers back as the Captain turns to Baine “What is your name soldier?”
“Baine from Hadeon?”
“Have you been debriefed yet?”
“No sir. Sarge wanted to give me a present “ Baine says with a toothy grin.
He…certainly did that didn’t he” The Captain says “Well, let’s see to it that you are looked after properly, and…Sargent, is that some sort of war trophy you have on your back” he says pointing at the xenos chopper sarge took from Baine “Let’ see you explain this to the commissar!”
As the Sarge is marched off Baine smiles at the remaining soldiers who drop their prods and run back into the tent. Today has been a good day to be an abhuman.