+ inload: Space Marine Destroyers +

+ Officio Monstrosa: Destroyers WIP +


+ With a little less than a week until my troops invade the Deathworld of Akkar [+nooosphericinloadlink embedded+], I'm scrambling to get a few extra figures finished for the Iron Warriors. I had intended to take the Ultramarines (life imitating art here, as the poor Ultramarines get sidelined from all my Horus Heresy gaming!) but there was an imbalance of Loyalists to Traitors, so I offered to bring some baddies to solve it. +

+ With just 2,000pts to bring, I'm not under huge pressure. It's meant that some very patient models have been bumped up the queue, so I'm working on the Destroyers, an Apothecary and a Palatarch (sergeant) for my Basilikoi (Tactical Support Marines). +

+ Here's a few WIPs:

+ After the first few stages, the metal is coming along nicely. Note the marine second from left is complete. +

+ A little further along, the metals are all but complete, while the black gun casings and pauldrons are just blocked in. +
+ And the reason the Destroyers didn't get finished last night is that I was working on a couple of other Marines at the same time. A veteran for the Basilikoi:

+ And a much-needed Apothecary:



+++


'The best parasite remains undetected.'
+ Olympian aphorism + 

As I look over the new intake, I keep my face a blank mask. It is not difficult. Not compared with Olympia. Akkar will test these hurriedly-trained neophytes. Some will live; others die. The thought fills me with as much emotion and concern as might the expenditure of ammunition. It is all part of the mathematics of warfare; their addition or subtraction is relevant only to the correct result: victory.

The jungle. however. That concerns me. It concerns Cjarn, too; though our increasingly mercurial leader grows less and less patient with every battle; every swing of that scavenged axe. It is fortunate that we have been assigned an Episcopi. As Cjarn's patience degenerates, we will have need of a cool hand; and a lifetime of uncompromising discipline has refined Artabas' thoughts to a hard, mirror-like sheen; much like those of his robotic companions.

This Muster was drawn hurriedly from a nameless swamp of a planet. Its children lacks discipline. I lash out with my maul, striking one of the aspirant Phalangites on the hip. Unpowered, it causes no harm – but he adjusts his posture, straightening. If I catch a curse, it is wisely curtailed.

I do not break stride. Nor does my mind pause. There is little enough time before deployment, and the jungle is an abstract and complicating factor. It alters the equation; changes the probabilities. Reaching the end of the hall, I nod curtly to the duty-Palatarch. He returns a crisp salute. As I duck beneath the exodus-bulkhead, I hear the sound of the recruits closing in on their errant Mustermate.

+++

Thick and cloying and aromatic. Akkar is alive. Alive in a way I had forgotten; abundant to the point of choking itself. Branches bend under the weight of wildlife. Fruits hang so heavy they strain the vines; insects form deafening clouds around gaudy, pulpy inflorescences. Such vitality feels sickly and corrupt; an over-ripe fruit bloated with syrupy, over-developed flesh. The hoot-swingers and cacklebirds are swivel-eyed; frantic.

Even the new Iron Warriors are affected. I am pleased the Muster's Palatarch has instilled more discipline in them. Their observable reactions are subtle. Nevertheless, the signs are there, for those that know to look. A flushed look to the skin. Wide eyes. A microsecond delay in response.

The glut of sensation Akkar presses upon you is hard to take in. Doubly so for the intake. Knowing only their homeworld's foetid brown wastes under slate-grey skies, and the spartan lines of our vessel, it is a wonder that they do not behave as though inebriated. Their new, post-human senses hinder as much as help here.

Still. Discipline. Those momentary pauses will kill them as surely as a blade. They have scant hours to adapt. Imperial shipping is inbound. This will be Legion war.

+++

Vox heavy with distortion, words mangled, my orders are necessarily simple. Our new Mustermate, Aftrokratori, gives vox-click assent – assiduous boy, I murmur to myself through blood-pinked teeth. The click is – predictably – all but lost in a haze of static. The others simply tap their pauldrons. I can sense their reactions: disapproval, amusement, mockery.

A moment later, supplementing our battle-sign with a hesitant, embarrassed nod, Aftrokratori taps his pauldron too. Hm. At least he learns. Turning away, I place my pistol on the ground for a moment, flex my heavy gauntlet; test the malfunctioning rotator cuff again. All of a sudden, I feel tired. I feel every one of my eighty-seven years.

My fingers feel thick and clumsy and numb as I retrieve my bolt pistol. My blood fizzes with sickness. Running my tongue over tinny-tasting teeth, I am aware of the gradual, insidious, siege my terrible atomic weaponry places on me.

Aftrokratori will feel its bite soon. Heh.

Perhaps he will regret his elevation to our coterie. Perhaps he will embrace the firesong. I care not.

I ignite my jump pack, feeling the harness tighten and press on my armour. Before the apex of the jump, I jink; already firing down at the defenders, already feeling the sense of weight fall away, already my blood singing.



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