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 Post subject: Contest pieces
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 10:48 am 
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For posterity (and to stoke my own ego!) I'll file the short pieces I write for the monthly contests here.

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Cheers,
Teatime, Hivefleet Heretic

Their eyes were cold and harsh,
Which made them tough to chew...


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 Post subject: Art of the Swarm I: Tyranid
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 10:50 am 
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The foe is consumed, the planet lies bare, the fleet moves on. In the depths of space the progenitors and gene-weavers set about their work: re-making the all-who-are-one in a new image. An image that learns from the battles that have gone before and draws its own individual essence from the innumerable combinations from the DNA codex.

This fleet will be different from all others, yet it is part of the One. The distinctions will allow their foes to spread tales of their impossible, teeming terror - should they somehow live through the holocaust. Yet they care not at all whether the foe deems them noteworthy. They adapt for one reason only.

To feed.

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Cheers,
Teatime, Hivefleet Heretic

Their eyes were cold and harsh,
Which made them tough to chew...


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 Post subject: Art of the Swarm II: Reclamation
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 10:51 am 
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Like a dying star's final throes before ultimate collapse and extinction, the planet has reached the apogee of its abruptly accelerated life-cycle. The bloated yet ever hungry hive ships draw close, ready to draw vital lifeblood from the shattered world below.

No trace of the native fauna remains. Nor does any hint of civilisation, the hope and ambition of ancient space-traveller's descendants made real with spires of metal and stone. Vegetation there is, but not in any form that the inhabitants would recognise were they there to see it. Instead gigantic parodies of the world's plant species drag precious resources from the crust and throw themselves, already rotting, in the path of the devourer with febrile abandon.

The ripper swarms move like tides across the surface: consuming, collecting, reclaiming. Broods of combat creatures bring themselves to gathering points with an obedience and conviction that could only be dreamed of by the most charismatic demagogue. Some, a select few whose value warrants, will preserve their form and return to the ships. Many more prepare to return whence they came. Their purpose is complete, their biomass shall be subsumed into the Hive until it is needed again.

Watch now as they go, the siren song of the Hive Mind calling them to the Reclamation Pool. Look closer at them and see many whole-bodied, others dragging themselves on broken limbs, others lying and waiting for the Rippers to take them piecemeal.

Look closer yet. Watch the eyes as the digestive maelstrom does its work on fragile flesh, and imagine for a moment what emotion might fleet in those glassy orbs.

Imagine it is hope.

For a revelation lies within the Pool for these creatures, an epiphany of resurrection and continuum unknown to weak individual creatures such as you or I. Their cycle of rebirth shall know no end, growing only stronger with each passing phase, and each cycle shall hasten the end of this trembling galaxy.

_________________
Cheers,
Teatime, Hivefleet Heretic

Their eyes were cold and harsh,
Which made them tough to chew...


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 Post subject: Tale of the Swarm I: Spook
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:07 am 
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+++Mechanicus Arbites log excerpt DZ41.998.338.461703
Servitor designations 449GV923-beta-gamma-delta
Subject: CIV Recon Squad Beta
Location: Relmata Secundus, Grid 44.05.232:-12.47.598
Status: Undetected, indicators normal
Report: Insertion successful. Proceed with mission.


Fall from the Mother
Seek prey from below
Drink well from their essence
That the others may know

Log excerpt AV41.998.342.011243
Location: Relmata Secundus, Grid 44.04.458:-12.47.552
Status: Undetected, indicators normal.
Report: Remnants of minor skirmish activity encountered. Ork remains catalogued to archive, secondary combatant unknown. Proceed with mission.


Dissolve into shadow
Move without sound
Track by their rumour
On wind or from ground

Log excerpt AV41.998.344.102421
Location: Relmata Secundus, Grid 44.04.328:-12.51.002
Status: Undetected, indicators normal.
Report: Observation point reached. Initial surveillance of Orkoid target begins. Observation point devoid of Ork and native lifeforms. Proceed with mission.


Make use of complacence
Allay their fright
Lowest ebb of attention
Signals strike from the night

Log excerpt AV41.998.345.034128
Location: Relmata Secundus, Grid 44.04.328:-12.51.002
Status: Potential compromise, indicators elevated.
Report: Squad reports ambush, assaliant unknown. Auspex scan inconclusive. Weapons discharge reported, estimated efficiency 22.88%. Squad to adopt defensive formation about post. Mission suspended.


Strike quickly with talon
Find softness with claw
Drag helpless to lair
Return patient for more

Log excerpt AV41.998.345.034903
Location: Relmata Secundus, Grid 44.04.328:-12.51.002
Status: Compromised, indicators elevated.
Report: Squad members alpha and delta signal inoperative, location uncertain. Sweep and scan initiated. Assailant unknown. Revise weapons discharge estimated efficiency 0.00%. Squad to investigate with caution. Mission suspended.


Learn from their movements
Lay traps in the dark
Crush without mercy
Hope’s waning spark

Log excerpt AV41.998.345.040533
Location: Relmata Secundus, Grid 44.04.325:-12.50.598
Status: Compromised, indicators elevated.
Report: Squad members alpha and delta located, condition terminus. Geneseed recovered. Battle damage analysis flag Omicron; cross. ref. Tyranicus Chameleo pattern match 87.71%. Initiate tactical withdrawal priority alpha. Mission suspended.


Herd them with fear
Alone with the Beast
Kill without mercy
Conclude with the feast

Log excerpt AV41.998.345.042548
Location: Relmata Secundus, Grid 44.04.315:-12.51.003
Status: Terminal, indicators null.
Report: All squad signals inoperative. Report weapons discharge at record markers 041733, 041752, 042016, 042421, 042535. Estimated efficiency 3.02%. Last known grid reference marked for investigation and recovery. Planetary bioprofile revised. Mission cancelled.


Commune with the Other
Strengthen the whole
Await the arrival
Return to the fold.

_________________
Cheers,
Teatime, Hivefleet Heretic

Their eyes were cold and harsh,
Which made them tough to chew...


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 Post subject: Art of the Swarm III: Broodlord
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 4:26 am 
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Impressed as he was with his Lord’s nonchalant callousness, Boorgul was beginning to think that the latest affectations evident in the torture chamber were verging on the comical. The last reverberant cries from the quivering, dripping remains of the last subject had barely died away when Manicus was calling for another whilst favouring his accomplices with an expression of mock exasperation.
“Next!” he cried, the lesser cultists scrambling to clear the victim’s remains whilst studiously avoiding their master’s fevered attention. The Slaaneshi lord appeared in high spirits however, favouring one of the scuttling devotees with a slap on the buttocks that sent him whimpering from the chamber in fear.

As the gore streaked floor was cleared away a fresh prisoner was brought to the chair. The man’s already bulging eyes widened further at the sight of the garishly resplendent tormentor and his fiendish devices, and he began to fight his escort with renewed fervour. The five cultists carrying him bodily into the chamber were joined by a sixth, but it was not without considerable trouble that they eventually secured him in place. Whatever their own depraved desires the servants knew better than to test their luck by remaining, and the last closed the door with an echoing clang.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!” Manicus’ macabre and deafening pronouncement stilled the struggling prisoner a moment. “I present to you contestant number… twelve? Twelve, Boorgul?”

“Yes my Lord, twelve exactly” affirmed the lone spectator as he bowed deep before Manicus and his fifteenth victim that day.

“Is it possible, do you think, that this one will show a little more promise?” In the chair the muscular man was venting a series of grunting sounds as he tried to heave his way free of the bonds that clamped him.

“My Lord, I have no doubt your kind ministrations shall unveil this one’s fullest potential before the gaze of the Dark prince.”

“Quite so,” noted Manicus with evident pleasure. He suddenly whirled and drove his serrated heel into the seated prisoner’s knee joint, rewarded immediately by the crunching of cartilage and a choked gasp as a shockwave of pain ran through the man’s body. Leaning forward brought a cascade of shrieking and allowed him to study the subject closer.

“What I’ve asked your compatriots, and what they have been so incapable of answering,” began the torturer urbanely, as he absently rocked his foot back and forth, “is how it is possible that you people don’t already worship the dark powers. Why you resisted us at all. You have overthrown the oppressive minions of the false emperor on this planet before we even arrived, establishing your own rulers in its place. You bear none of the hated Imperium’s livery nor suffer their incompetent judicators to live among you – though the lapdog Astartes have yet to spare you their attentions.

“Most tellingly, yet puzzlingly, many of you bear the marks of the Dark Power’s favour.” Manicus paused to run a wickedly barbed poker along the prisoner’s most striking feature, a dusky blue third arm on the right side of his body. The surplus appendage ended in a set of three powerful talons, bound firmly to the chair now. The poker’s route ended with an expertly aimed stab into the inner joint, eliciting fresh cries of torment.

“Really, we should be brothers. Brothers Boorgul, ha-ha!”

“Ha-ha, my Lord, most amusing!” replied the sycophant, who knew better than not to indulge his master’s every whim. The instruments he had been heating were nearly ready, it was time to coat others in the nerve amplifying hallucinogens that would intensify the entertainment.

“You seem to have formed some sort of iconic worship, but not one that I can place” continued the chaos warleader. “Never mind. We shall get to the root of this in time. For now we shall explore the vistas of sensation available to us…”

The soliloquy trailed off unexpectedly as silence descended on the chamber. Boorgul turned to find the prisoner had stopped screaming and was staring into space. As he watched, Manicus prodded the subject’s flesh experimentally, leaving gruesome wounds that should have resulted in uncontrolled convulsions of agony. Instead the man simply continued to pant heavily, staring with that intense, bug-eyed expression… not into space, as he’d thought, but at the wall. The wall behind Boorgul. Turning to see what was so enchanting he found only a large floor grate, into which the blood of previous victims slowly dripped. Was… was something
moving down there?

Although initially exploring this new phenomenon with rapt delight, Manicus was becoming rapidly frustrated with the lack of response. What could cause such spontaneous physical withdrawal in the face of overwhelming sensation? A muffled clank from behind reminded him that there were sterner options available.

“This one could challenge for the title, Boor-” The sight that greeted him was not, to say the least, expected. A diagonally bisected Boorgul was now strewn twitching across the floor, the startled facial expression testament to the suddenness of the event. The cause of the underling’s evisceration towered over him, gore dripping from the scythe appendages that terminated its lower arms. A gigantic taloned hand from the creature’s upper limbs dropped the twisted, rent scraps of the sewer grate as it stared down at Manicus. Incalculable alien malice radiated from its deep-set glassy eyes and a low hiss sounded from the needle-fanged maw.

Clearly, thought the doomed champion of Slaanesh as he and the massive Broodlord studied each other in the pregnant moment, this was not going to be a good day. His sword was back in his quarters, power armour was being tended by those accursed servants and he hadn’t even thought to bring anything so crude as a plasma pistol to today’s entertainment. From his reflected image, as seen in the creature’s deadly unblinking stare, he could even see that his lapel didn’t now match the stains on his-

Lost in hypnotic contemplation, Manicus never saw the lightning spring as death flew across the chamber for him.

_________________
Cheers,
Teatime, Hivefleet Heretic

Their eyes were cold and harsh,
Which made them tough to chew...


Last edited by Teatime on Sat Feb 04, 2006 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 8:36 am 
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Thread sticked for simplicity in finding it after every compo. :)

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Cant sleep...Gaunts'll eat me...Cant sleep...Gaunts'll eat me...

We don't need no stinking sniperfexes... Tyranid lover.


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 Post subject: Art of the Swarm IV: Monster
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 12:19 am 
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Competition fiction courtesy of RampagingRavener

Howling in fury, the Carnifex smashed into the flank of the Land Raider, buckling the metal and almost flipping the tank onto its side. Marines were desperately evacuating out of the front hatch, only to be cut down by the tides of hormagaunts swarming over the beleaguered Imperial Forces.

With a final groan of tortured adamantium, the Land Raider burst apart, wreathing the Carnifex in a halo of flame as the hormagaunts around its ankles burned. No longer desperately fighting for survival and now simply fighting to die with honour, the remaining squads of Marines poured fire into the beast as it smashed aside the ruined machine and began pounding towards them. Bolter fire rattled harmlessly from its thick carapace; a volley of missiles launched from the Devastator squad detonated harmlessly without so much as slowing the charging monster; even a volley of plasma fire had no more effect than blackening its chitinous hide.

With a scream filled with an ancient, alien malice, the Carnifex bowled into the first squad within reach, breaking apart five of the marines before it with a swipe of its massive claws, and gored another on its tusks. Desperately trying to at least wound the beast, the remaining Marine swung a glittering power sword towards his foe, burying it up to the hilt in the monsters leg. Thrashing its tail around, the scythe-like bony club sliced forwards, neatly beheading the Veteran Sergeant.

As he fell, thrashing randomly as his armour expended the last of its energy reserves, the Carnifex slowly turned. The blade was still lodged in its upper thigh, though it felt no pain-it was untroubled by the sensitive nerve endings that rendered other species vulnerable to such wounds. Again, it was aware of the hail of fire directed towards it. Even when a luck shot put out one of its eyes, it gave the wound no heed. It existed only to kill, something it did spectacularly well, as its claws and talons rose and fell among the few remaining marines, splitting them apart in welters of blood and trampling the bodies underfoot as they fell.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A few hundred yards away, the Hive Tyrant watched as the Carnifex finished off the rest of the prey. The little emotions is had left allowed it to feel a slight pang of regret that it was unable to join the Carnifex in the slaughter, but it had played its part in the defeat of those who stood before the hive. The blood dripping from its Scything Talons and Bonesword were a silent testimony to this.

And, it had more important tasks to undertake.

Turning from the scene, it strode forwards, its massive legs carrying it several meters a stride. It stopped before a pair of Lictors, who dragged a prone creature towards him. The Tyrant remembered this one; it had played a key part in the defences of the Marines, tearing apart gaunts with blasts of psychic energy and killing even the largest Tyranid with a single blow of his weapon. Now, though, he lay at the Tyrants feet, without his wretched axe, and unable to use his powers due to the clogging psychic shadow that preceded the Tyrant.

Delicately, it reached down with the lashwhip, coiling it round the Librarian and hoisting him up to eye level. Slowly opening his eyes, the Marine looked at the Tyrant. Mustering up what little energy he had left, he spat at it.

“You xenos abominations will never escape the light of the Emperor. You may kill me, but it is only a matter of time until you are purged from His relm.”

Slowly reaching out with psychic tendrils, the Tyrant began to force its way into the mind of the Librarian, pushing aside his weakening mental barriers as easily as the Carnifex had pushed over the Land Raider. Gently, it probed his brain, looking for what it required.

Struggling against the foul abuse of his mind, the Librarian tried to hide the knowledge the Tyrant was looking for. The thoughts of the Tyrant echoed through him, and he wept blood as it began to strip away his memories.

Where is prey-hive? Great mind wishes to know, and you will tell.

For a second, he remembered growing up on his home world as a child, his wonder at the legends of the God-Warriors, and his pride at being taken away by them. For a second, he saw them as clear as he had when he had been their. Then, in the most horrifying way possible, they were ripped from him, discarded as the monstrous psyche of the Tyrant bored deeper.

Where? You will share knowledge and join the Great mind, and be reborn in its service.

His training in the Fortress-monastery. The tales of his chapter told by the Oldest Librarians and Dreadnoughts, the trauma he had experienced as he learned of his psychic powers and had been taught to control them. He could smell the meat and taste the wine of the grand feasts held there. Then they were gone. What was wine? He couldn’t remember.

The Great mind will know, little prey-morsel, and you will join with it, like all others that stood before the swarm. Where are the prey-hives? Where?

Memories of a thousand wars across a thousand battlefields were found, examined, and eliminated one by one as the Tyrant continued searching through his mind. One by one, his memories were deleted as easily as he deleted the corrupted data in the chapter’s archives. Then, when the last memory was gone, when he forgot his chapter, his rank, forgot even his own name, the Tyrant finally found what he was looking for.

The towering citadels and spires of the planet’s hive cities stood out in his mind. The locations of them, the amount of civilians, the few PDF the guarded them. Five million defenceless civilians ready to be absorbed by the Tyranids.

Then, like it had done with his mind, the Tyrant discarded him as if he was nothing, dropping him and turning away to gather the swarm again. The last thing it did was reach out with its mind, pushing an impulse into the minds of the rippers that were gathering.

The Librarian was still alive when they cracked open his armour and began to feed.


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