Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Incoming Palladians

The Governor’s Retribution was not a new ship.  It was not even a Navy ship, being a charter vessel.  Other adjectives not attributable to her might include; spacious, comfortable, well maintained and/or sanitary.  However, a working Geller Field and a lick of speed that some fleet escorts would struggle to match kept her in business.  And would hopefully shorten the excruciating journeys of her passengers.  

These were the thoughts of First Sergeant[1] Maxwell as Private Wharee (apparently a qualified medic) fussed over the latest round of inoculations.  The young, skinny and above all, pedantic soldier fussed and clucked like a mother hen; but without the useful egg producing capability, mused 1Sgt Maxwell.  Since the void hardening around the liquid recycling apparatus failed on the second day, the medic had been stabbing them full of needles.  Which he was quite sure was unnecessary following the regulation embarkation procedure.   But it kept Wharee from bothering Captain Aelius, which was a blessing.

He took a Lho stick out of the cardboard packet, tapped it against the side and then put the filter end in his mouth, sighed and reversed the procedure, replacing the packet in his pocket.  Seventeen days without a Lho stick, seventeen days pissing and crapping in a bucket.  Whoever the apocryphal Governor was, his retribution was pretty good, as retributions went.   The ship was pushing the concept of serviceability to its limit.  

Capt Aelius had asked 1Sgt Maxwell to keep their tiny detachment busy whilst he worked his way through the pile of data slates provided by the Departmento.  Every eight hours 1Sgt Maxwell would check on the Captain, red eyed, surrounded by half cups of cold recaf and discarded data slates.   He was obviously sleeping in fits as he ploughed his way through the material.  1Sgt Maxwell did not let Guardsman Wharee visit Capt Aelius unattended, instead listening to the lectures about health and wellbeing himself until he could take no more and sent Wharee to monitor the rest of the detachment. 

The crew had informed him that they would be dropping out of warp and back into the materium in five days.  The auguries were favourable and they should be fairly close to Devos XII, which was the edge of system way station.  They would then have another week of travel before making planetfall.  1Sgt Maxwell had put the men to work uncrating the Salamander and prepping it for use.  It wasn’t too often that brand new equipment was issued from a Forge World to a Palladian unit; they were normally supplied from munitions store worlds where used, refurbished and new (but been in storage for perhaps a century or more) items were issued from. 

Cornelius Maxwell favoured the command model Salamander over any other vehicle he had ever used in his forty seven year career[2].  For a start, being part of a command squad was preferable to being in charge of a rifle squad.  And now, after years of waiting, he had a rear echelon job, after three tours in the firing line as a Platoon Sergeant[3], he would be in a Salamander where he wanted to be; the open top meant that one could leap over the edge if the vehicle took a critical hit and the lack of weight made the chimera chassis truly fast.  And the heavy flamer was a Praetorian’s weapon of choice for self defence. 

Guardsman Hur was also a talented driver mechanic, whilst 1Sgt Maxwell had no say in who joined Capt Aelius’ liaison team, it was nonetheless reassuring to have a couple of men that he at least knew of, men who were good at their job.   Guardsman Hur slouched into view, looking glum.  1Sgt Maxwell arched an eyebrow.  Guardsman Hur snapped to attention.  The conversation that followed was not the high point of anybodies military career.  But it was no fault of anyone on board, it was a proper Departmento error. 

For the third time, 1Sgt Maxwell looked at the docket.  He looked at their embarkation orders from the Regiment.  He looked at the entry in the ships manifest.  He looked at the labels on the outside of the crate.  Salamander, Salamander, Salamander and Salamander.  He looked at the Centaur artillery tractor sat truculently in the remains of the crate.  He left Guardsman Hur to make the best of it.  It could not be the end of the world (any world), but if the Vostroyans were as concerned with proper form as the Palladians were, it would reflect badly on the Palladians when their first liaison team turned up in a cart, rather than a chariot.  He breathed deeply of the recycled air and went in search of Capt Aelius.  Which would not he hard, he would be in his cabin, not smoking a Lho stick because the damn ship’s systems couldn’t handle it.  

So, he had a Commanding Officer who had been given too great a workload and was unable to smoke his way through it.  He had a squad medic whose neuroses were beginning to become a liability, rather than a joke.  Their dedicated transport vehicle, whilst functionally up to the job, was not what protocol required, especially important when their superiors were going to be Vostroyans.  And their ship always felt as if it was in constant danger of not working the next day.   You’re not in the firing line now, Cornelius Maxwell thought to himself, but things in the guard weren’t getting any better. 

He took a Lho stick out of the cardboard packet, tapped it against the side and then put the filter end in his mouth, sighed and reversed the procedure, replacing the packet in his pocket.  The sooner they made planetfall, the better.  There being no point in prevaricating, he knocked on the door of Capt Aelius’ cabin and then thumbed the access rune on the door control panel.

[1] First Sergeant is the rank title of the Battalion Sergeant at Arms in a Palladian regiment.  1Sgt Maxwell is entirely likely to be offered a commission if his tour in this staff appointment is successful.  But not in a Palladian regiment.
[2] The Departmento will supply juveants to career soldiers within reach of its facilities in order to preserve the collective professional memory of units and formations.  This device is more routine in staff organisations, such as the General Staff of 72 Army Group that Capt Aelius’ detachment is due to join.
[3] The Platoon Sergeant in a Palladian format is usually known as an Over Sergeant.  The more common form is used here for the benefit of the reader.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

There are no wolves on Fenris

The strike cruiser Skallagrim’s Hammer hung in low orbit around the gas giant.  Smaller heavily armed strike craft were arranged in High Guard around the Great Hunt’s modest seeming fleet.  Heavier mass conveyance craft carrying the Hunt’s heavy armour, workshops, foundries and other support functions queued ready to begin skimming as the astropaths on the strike cruiser prepared to choreograph the delicate ballet of fuel skimming at the sweet spots where local conditions contrived, gravity, weather and so on, making temporary places where the atmosphere was dense enough to make it worth skimming but with a minimum of contaminants. 

The Hunt’s passage from Hydraphur towards the Cadian Gate had so far been uneventful, but had now suffered unaccustomed delay, ever since they dropped out of the warp to refuel. 
It had been a slow process; for three standard weeks the Hunt’s Rune Priest, his acolytes and the fleet’s astropaths had all been ‘busy’.  Wolf Scouts and sky claws chafed at the inactivity whilst the grey hunters and long fangs seemed to accept the delay with nonchalance unbefitting a true Son of Russ.  But as Wolf Guard Harok had pointed out; they were going nowhere until the Rune Priests were satisfied.  

Rune priest Harnvgr jabbed a stubby finger at the Long Range Auspex.  “There.  That one, what does it say ?  ‘Meuven 185’ ?”  He stood up and looked around the crowded bridge at the assembled pack leaders.

“An abomination,”  He began, “A creature out of the warp, held in the materium by dark sorceries, we need to find the deamon and the apostate keeping it here.  Whilst the pack assembles, know this, if we not stop this thing here,” he paused for dramatic effect, meeting the gaze of each of the lords and pack leaders in turn. “The runes have foretold that they will move from here to an agri world in the Devos System and plunge it into a time of darkness, denying it the light of the All Father.”

Keen eyes, bright at the prospect of adding to their sagas, kept their rapt attention on the Rune priest.  “Warn off the wolf scouts, set them on The Spear of Canis and have them find out what they can, the rest of us will follow on in the rest of the fleet as soon as practicable.”

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Deny the Witch

The man in the plain grey uniform walked through the Necromundan guard piquet, showing his electoo on his palm.  The mirror visored guard let him pass with barely any acknowledgement.  The main walked to the reinforced ex trade guild building and passed inside, squeezing past two more grey clad men guarding the doorway.

Around the building, Sasannian combat engineers poured ready mix into flak board shuttering.  Reinforcing bar was being made into cages for the next level of reinforcement.  Military cranes lifted prefabricated window sills with heavy bars into place.  Stakes were being driven into the roads, paths and even the walls of buildings on the approach.  Cameras and motion sensors would be positioned before the angle iron stakes were festooned with razorwire.  The various trades in the engineer detachment would be kept busy for a few more days yet. 

Interagatrix Di Marco looked up as he came in flashed her trademark winning smile at him.  Four hirsute men manhandled a large item into the room; Ordo HereticusTactical Dreadnaught armour, he noted.  He knew that the Inquisitrix had a suit, but had never seen it brought out before.  That it was apparently being prepared for Interagatorix Di Marco was not what he expected, but you wouldn’t have known from his unchanging expression.

“How are things ?”  She asked.   The man stood perfectly at ease. 

“General Tolstoy might be a capable field commander, but he’s still Vostroyan.   The Orders group took place at General Welbhann’s headquarters, accompanied by field rations served in mess tins.  The General took his and ate it with good grace, but his ADC slipped out and tried to pick a fight with the duty officer.”

“Anything serious ?”

For the briefest moment, a smile cracked the grey clothed man’s face.  “No, the duty officer was a Valhallan and explained to the ADC how wonderful it was to not only get rations, but that they were served hot and cutlery was supplied.  In the end the ADC gave up and came back into the briefing.”

He shifted his weight slightly, his carapace armour creaking.  “I delivered the briefing about the witches and all seemed to take note of the warnings and the instructions for apprehending them.   We should get some material for you soon.”

“Good, I’ll let the Lady know.  Following the manifestations at Freeman’s Square, we need to be sure that heretic witches are everyone’s primary target.”

That was as good as a dismissal for the man.  With a curt nod to the interagatorix, he turned and left the room. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Objective Marker

She's from Hasslefree.  And had been lounging around for four or five years.

It doesn't show too well here, but the 'stone slab' has a pentacle on it and she has little horns poking out of her barnet.  Possibly one for the Emperor's Children, then.

Paint by Golem.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Gangs on Devos IV

There are any number of gangs on Devos IV, largely centred around the larger cities.  These follow patterns fimilar to the Adeptus Arbites from the models found Necromunda.  Being an important Agri trade world relatively close to Hydraphur, there have been many off world influences imported to Devos IV, gang culture amongst them.

The long build up to the current state of war on the continent of Benq has been preceeded by over a century of disorder and insurrection.  On the continent of Acer, this has largely been reactionary, with vigilante gangs and private armies of the noble houses taking action where the legitimate government either could not or would not.

The most fervent are of course the Redemptionists.  The popular press, with a flipancy that belies the gravity of the situation, of course refers to them as orangedemptionists.   Perhaps the smallest faction, they are amongst the most active and most violent.  They are a fervant manifestation of the imperial cult and rejection of the standing government based in the capitol (Xyphonica).  Unfortunately, they have been kept separate by the ocean.  However, it would not be beyond the Ordo Hereticus to harness their devotion by having some potential martyrs from Devos IV involved in the liberation.

Only slightly less fervent are the Cawdor-esque workers of the food processing plants and textile works of central Acre.  Keen to demonstrate their loyalty to the emperor (to these very workers, as well as potentially any official body who may be interested), some wealthy patrons have been clandestinely supplying their workers with black market military items.

There will likely be another briefing on local gangs before you are deployed.

Paint by Mr Lee, Cawmeria by Karitas