Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kanban 2015 Status is Level: Sleepy Puppy



So, going into 2015, the ol' Kanban board is looking rather amusing. Thought I'd share.  This post is what constitutes my hobby commitments for 2015. Wish me luck, because all of this needs to be done in addition to trying to lose weight, working, doing the podcast, and having a life!

Paint Work




The main drive right now is to finish the two projects I have for Frontline Gaming. One is of 55 scouts and the other is a Space Marines project with some Legion of the Damned and some vehicles.  I hope to have them finished soon.

Titans



Also on the docket are the John's Titans.  I want these done by January.  I really, really do.  I think it's possible, but I just need to keep my greedy mitts off the Orks in order to accomplish it! I have several stages to complete:

Prototyping
Cut body base
Re-position legs
Chassis
Missile podsArms
Neck
Head
Guns
Trim - in progress
Fill gapsSand
Details
Fill gaps
Sand
Secure to a base for balance purposes
Basecoat
Photos
Ship

Mephirit Dynasty Formation



My reward, as it has always been, for completing the Titans is to build and paint my Necron army. Some new rules have come out which will take this huge, Warrior-Heavy army I'm building and make it a bit more competitive to play. The new Detachment allows you to take up to 8 Troops and allows you to re-roll your Reanimation rolls of a 1. The idea is to build all 155 Warriors and their Overlord over the course of a week, then paint them in one long weekend.

Orks!



I have so so so many Orks to work on, including models for the Tuska Project.  I need to do a Combat Patrol for Adepticon, otherwise, the Orks will be an on-again off-again project for a few months.  In addition to the Tuska project, I have some Nobz, Meganobz, Mek Gunz, Deffkoptas, a Runtbot, some Looted vehicles (for a future Diggaz project), several ICs, and much, much more.

Daughters of the Final Autumn




This was to be the great project of 2014 before I got very, very busy.  Between Adepticon prep and working on the Titans all before starting to work for Frontline, this just didn't happen.  The level of detail required to make these ladies the way I want them means I think this will be last on my priorities list for the time being.


Scheduling

I want to be done with the paint work and Titans by the end of January, but I think realistically, I can expect to be done by early February.  I really need to work on a dinner party game of Dark Heresy which I'll be running at Adepticon as well as the Star Trek Attack Wing tournament I'm running at that convention. This will slow me down considerably and I think it's best to focus on those tasks as well as the Orks I need for that tournament.

January:  

  • Paint Commissions
  • Promote STAW Tournament
  • Plan Dark Heresy game
  • Work on Titans

February:  

  • Finish Titans
  • Necron Project
  • Playtest Dark Heresy game

March:  

  • Paint Orky Daemons for Tuska project (30x Bloodletters, a Bloodreaper, and a Herald of Khorne).  
  • Adepticon!
April:  
  • Orks!


That's as far as I can plan ahead.  I'll see y'all on the other side!



Friday, December 26, 2014

KRistmas





I have been a retail supporter of Battlefoam for years and I love their foam and cases. I honestly do not understand the complaints about their foam because my models suffer no ill effects from it regardless of my rough handling of said miniatures. The only way I can imagine folks having a problem with wear is if they don't clear coat their models and I just can't understand how one wouldn't do that. I also don't take at face value the rumor mill regarding the management at the company. Certainly, there are legitimate criticisms to be made regarding how the company interacts with the world from time to time, but I've had nothing but good experiences with them.


Having said that, none of the media I ingest these days is supported by Battlefoam.  Indeed, there is very little which Battlefoam supports from which I benefit.  Everything I do (aside from Adepticon) is supported by KR Multicase. I have seen their cases before and they seem a fairly ingenious and serviceable design.

For these reasons, when my brother-in-law asked for a foam case for Christmas, I decided that it was high time I started supporting the sponsors who support all the great podcasts that I listen to.




I had a little trouble loading pages on their website (Friends don't let friends code in .net, folks!), so I started an email conversation with Kath from their US offices.  I was hoping to handle everything over the phone, but they don't offer that service, so I had to muck about in email.  I was a little disconcerted by this, but I can imagine the cost for having someone man a phone to hold the hands of their customers would be a terrible expense, so I managed with email.

After a really helpful back-and-forth with Kath, I finally decided on a KR3 case with a core foam load-out for both his Christmas present and upcoming birthday.  It would be a good way to start Brandon off on the right track with his models and if he wanted to get more fancy on his own later, at least he already had the bag and it would be a nominal cost to buy boxes and foam to swap out later.

I was very concerned about getting the package by Christmas because Brandon had waited a bit to tell us what he wanted and I'd dragged my feet a bit what with how busy I've been this month. Kath was very understanding and patient with me as I manically changed my order several times. She was kind, referring to it as "enthusiasm" rather than the other adjectives I'd ascribed to myself.

I placed the order on Monday  the and it arrived that Wednesday with plenty of time to spare.  Wendy and I didn't notice it had arrived because the FedEx delivery person had placed it in our garage to keep it out of the rain. Sensible decision.

My wife promptly ran it over with her 4500-lb Honda Pilot.


As you can see, the box everything came in was DESTROYED!

What's this?  Boxes all stacked nicely?

Pluck foam un-plucked?  Only minor creases in the boxes?

I decided to send Kath an email to thank her for her prompt and courteous service and to boast the durability of KR's bags.

Hey, Kath.  I am VERY pleased with the service you provided and the speed with which the bag arrived.  Thank you very much for helping me out.    On a related note, the FedEx delivery person put the box in the garage and my wife ran over the box with her Honda Pilot.  Aside from a few creases on two of the card cases and the destruction of the box it came in, everything is perfectly fine!  I just thought you'd think that's a funny story.... the bags are very good indeed!  Ha!  Have a joyous holiday season! =Adam=

Four days later, on December 22, I got a call from my wife saying there was a package from Michigan. I told her to open it and she found two card cases full of foam!

Kath!  Did you send me more foam????? Hi Adam, We sent you two card cases to replace the damaged ones. Because sending empty cases is problematic we put some second quality foam trays in the cases. Not the best trays perhaps: but you might find a use for them for larger models? Merry Christmas!


Wow! Amazing customer service!  I really appreciate the fine treatment I experienced from the folks over at KR. I hope this story doesn't spark any scams by people looking to get something for nothing, but I do hope that it will convince anyone who's on the fence about taking the plunge that it's well worth it..

There is clearly value in paying a premium to support a great, high-quality product which is run by a company that both supports the community and its customers!




Thursday, December 25, 2014

Orksvent Day 25 - Combined Supplement



For Christmas, I have combined all of the WAAGH! Drillteef Supplement-related materials into one document, including as many fluff pieces I could find.  It needs a lot of streamlining, but this should be good for now.  I hope that you all enjoy it.

I was pleased to have done this calendar even though I probably should have been more diligent about my other things, but it's Christmas and this was my gift to myself.

A big thanks goes out to all those who followed this project and encouraged it.  Happy Holidays!

Note that the file is really, really big. I will try to get it smaller as soon as I can.

Download the Combined WAAGH! Drillteef Supplement PDF!

Check out the rest of the Orksvent days!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Orksvent Day 24 - WAAGH! Drillteef Supplement Part 7 - Mad Doc Drillteef, Implacable Conqueror of Worlds

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WS
BS
S
T
W
I
A
Ld
Sv
Drillteef
5
2
5
5
3
4
4
9
4+


Normally, Mad Doc Drillteef is represented on the tabletop by either a Painboss or by Mad Dok Grotsnik.  The stats presented here reflect Doc Drillteef at the crescendo of a major operation when all bets are off and his crazed desire for victory is all but unstoppable.

Battlefield Role: Lord of War

Points: 285

Unit type: Infantry (Character)

Wargear:

  • Slugga
  • Dok’s tools
  • ‘Urty syringe
  • Larfin Gas Tank
  • Deff Drill (Power Klaw)
  • 3 Grot Orderlies

Larfin Gas Tank:  Mad Doc Drillteef never takes to the field of battle with his tank of Larfin Gas which gives him the “kurrij” to face down the mightiest of foes.  The Larfin Gas Tank may be equipped on the back of a Mad Doc, Painboss, or Painboy. When they do, the character provides a 4+ Feel No Pain instead of 5+.

Special Rules:  

  • ‘Ere We Go!
  • Fearless
  • Furious Charge
  • Independent Character
  • Mob Rule
  • WAAGH!
  • Squigdrenaline
  • Press the Attack

Squigdrenaline:  When Mad Doc is killed, if he still has at least one remaining Grot Orderly, do not immediately remove Mad Doc’s model.  He may continue to fight at 0 wounds until the end of the Assault Phase when one Grot Orderly is removed.  If Mad Doc still has a Grot Orderly remaining, leave him in play, add 1 wound, and remove another Grot Orderly, otherwise remove Mad Doc as a casualty as normal.

Press the Attack:  No matter how bad things get, Mad Doc doesn’t give up until he’s won the day. If you are using the Random Game Length rule for your game and the roll forces the game to end, you may choose to re-roll the dice to continue.



Note:   These rules are experimental. Please report any possible issues including abusive applications to adam.fasoldt@gmail.com.  This is a work for the purpose of fan enjoyment and is not intended to make money or to infringe on Games Workshop’s copyrights.  All symbology and terminology is Copyright Games Workshop LLC.  This has been created with Games Workshop’s fair use policy (available on their website) in mind.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Orksvent Day 23 - Da Grim Foe of Xorn IV

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Da Grim Foe of Xorn IV


Battlefield Role: Lord of War

Points: 5000

Unit type: Vehicle (Superheavy Walker)

Strength D, Weapon Skill 4, Ballistic Skill 2, Initiative 2, Attacks 2

AV: 14/13/12    

HP: 50

Transport Capacity: 300.  When Da Grim Foe is destroyed, all units riding inside are completely annihilated by the explosion.  Any rules which would allow these units to return to play are ignored.

Special Rules:


Way Too Red: Da Grim Foe moves an additional 1". Before you move, roll a die. On a 1, the Grim Foe lurches forward 24", crushing friend and foe alike.

Terrain: Da Grim Foe counts as terrain for the purposes of model placement. Any models placed on the arms can be instantly destroyed by Da Grim Foe if the controlling player chooses to forego shooting either of the Hurricane Battle Cannons.  When Da Grim Foe is destroyed, all units riding aboard are completely annihilated by the explosion.  Any rules which would allow these units to return to play are ignored.

Wrecking Ball: Da Grim Foe destroys any terrain it trods upon, replacing it with craters. Da Grim Foe does not make difficult or dangerous terrain tests.

Unhindered by Sympathy: Da Grim Foe may move over friendly or enemy models. Each unit moved over takes 2d6 str 10 ap 1 hits allocated by the controlling player. Any surviving models are displaced around Da Grim Foe's feet.

Giga Force Field: Da Grim Foe boasts 10 Void Shields. Whenever one of these Void Shields is damaged, roll a die; on a 4+, it cannot be recharged. When a Void shield recharges, roll a die; on a 4+ a random nearby unit is automatically hit with a Zzapgun shot as the Giga Force Field dissipates excess energy.

Vehicle Transport: May carry vehicles at a rate of 1 Battlewagon per 30 Boyz, 1 Looted Wagon or Deff Dread per 20 Boyz, 1 Trukk per 15 boyz, 1 killa kan per 5 boyz, and 1 Buggy per 5 boyz. Of course, troops may also be loaded on vehicles with transport capacity. Da Grim Foe may also transport Bikes and Jetbikes. Only 1 vehicle or vehicle skwadron may disembark from each of the front boarding ramps per turn. Otherwise, infantry squads may disembark from any point on Da Grim Foe's hull, even on the top or the head.

Flight Deck: Da Grim Foe has a flight deck and may hold up to four regular Ork flyers. Only one flyer may be launched per turn from the front door of the flight deck. Alternatively, Da Grim Foe's flight deck may be home to 5 jetbikes per flyer and may launch only one skwadron per turn. Whenever you launch a flyer, roll a dice. On a 1, the pilot of the flyer gets overeager and launches too soon; it clips the hangar door taking d3 hull points of damage. If it is destroyed, it scatters 10d6" and explodes as if it suffered a Crash and Burn result.

Burns Ammo Fast: Some weapons on Da Grim Foe eat ammo very quickly and have a limited use on the battlefield.

Da Unflinchin Gaze of Mork:  When Da Grim Foe is destroyed, the head detaches and becomes a Superheavy Flyer with 6 Hull Points, the same stats and Armor Value as Da Grim Foe, and the Gaze of Mork.   It enters play Zooming above the remains of Da Grim Foe.

Weapons:


2x Supa Kannon: Imperial Armor 8.

2x Kustom Mega Kannons: Codex: Orks

The Gaze of Mork: Codex: Orks

Twin-Linked Deffshootas: These huge and quite numerous rapid-fire weapons are mounted in the arms of Da Grim Foe and take up the majority of those limbs.  They have the following profile: Str 8 AP 4 Heavy 20 Twin-linked, or the following profile Str 5 AP 4 Heavy 5 Large Blast Twin Linked.  Every time the Twin-Linked Deffshootas fire, put an ammo token on Da Grim Foe.  For each Ammo Token Da Grim Foe has on it, this weapon fires 1 less shot (to a minimum of 5).

Cloud of Dakka: Da Grim Foe is festooned with an array of rokkits and shootaz of all variety. Instead of attempting to sort out what this means, specifically, this is represented by a general burst of firepower. Each facing of Da Grim Foe is considered to have a weapon with the following profile: Range 36", Str 6, AP 5, Heavy 30+5d6. After rolling the number of shots, you are free to split the shots across as many targets as you desire.  Every time the Cloud of Dakka fires, put an ammo token on Da Grim Foe.   For each Ammo Token Da Grim Foe has on it, this weapon fires 1 less shot (to a minimum of 5d6).

Aporkalypse Kannon: The lower-front of Da Grim Foe mounts a colossal pair of cannon with the following profile: Range 120", Str D, AP 1, Apocalyptic Blast 1, Ordnance, Barrage, Twin-Linked, Ignores Cover. When the Aporkalypse Kannon is fired, move the Grim Foe back 6", destroying any terrain or other unit it comes in contact with. Any unit riding on top of Da Grim Foe when the Aporkalypse Kannon fires acts as if Shaken on their next shooting phase even if the unit is immune to shaken results or can negate them. Every time the Aporkalypse Kannon fires, put an ammo token on Da Grim Foe.   After the Aporkalypse Kannon fires, roll 2 dice.  If the sum of both dice is equal to or less than the number of Ammo Tokens on Da Grim Foe, then the Aporkalypse Kannon is out of ammo and cannot fired for the rest of the game. This cannot be repaired.



Note:   These rules are experimental. Please report any possible issues including abusive applications to adam.fasoldt@gmail.com.  This is a work for the purpose of fan enjoyment and is not intended to make money or to infringe on Games Workshop’s copyrights.  All symbology and terminology is Copyright Games Workshop LLC.  This has been created with Games Workshop’s fair use policy (available on their website) in mind.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Orksvent Day 22 - Campaign Prep Game

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I've never played a game using Maelific Daemonology before and since I'm going to be using it extensively in the upcoming campaign with James, I decided to get a game in today.  I had a weird smattering of models available, but was able to put together a fine semblance of a 1500pt Ork Warband on foot.  I figured that a test game with Jason would help me get an idea of the tone to set for our narrative games to come.



1500 Pts - Codex: Orks Roster - Campaign Prep Daemonology

Combined Arms Detachment (52#, 1017 pts)

  • 1 Big Mek Skar 'Ead, 155 pts (Killsaw; Kustom Force Field; Grot Oiler x1; Attack Squig; Bosspole; Da Fixer Upperz; Warlord)
  • 1 Weirdboy, 70 pts
  • 1 Mek, 20 pts (Kustom Mega-Blasta)
  • 1 Mek, 20 pts (Kustom Mega-Blasta)
  • 11 Boyz, 107 pts (Slugga)
    • 1 Boss Nob (Power Klaw)
  • 10 Gretchin, 40 pts
    • 1 Runtherd (Squig Hound x1)
  • 1 Boss Snikrot, 60 pts
  • 11 Kommandos, 140 pts (Burna x2)
  • 5 Kommandos, 80 pts (Burna x2)
  • 2 Deffkoptas, 60 pts (Twin-linked Rokkit Launcha x2)
  • 2 Deffkoptas, 85 pts (Twin-linked Rokkit Launcha x2; Buzzsaw x1)
  • 2 Deffkoptas, 60 pts (Twin-linked Rokkit Launcha x2)
  • 1 Deff Dread, 120 pts (Power Klaw x2; Extra Armour; Grot Riggers)

Combined Arms Detachment (42#, 483 pts)

  • 1 Mad Doc Drillteef D.D.S., 160 pts
  • 1 Old Greg, 70 pts
  • 27 Boyz, 213 pts (Slugga; Big Shoota x1)
    • 1 Boss Nob (Bosspole; Power Klaw; Shoota)
  • 10 Gretchin, 40 pts
    • 1 Runtherd (Squig Hound x1)


Jason brought a list which included ubiquitous invincible Chapter Master on Bike with a command squad and Librarian.  He also had a couple of Tactical Squads in Rhinos, an Ironclad Dreadnought, and a Legion of the Damned Melta squad.  His list also sported a Vindicator.  This list, of course, wasn't kitted out to fight Orks and he'll have every opportunity to prepare for an Ork threat in our Campaign games if he so desires.


In the spirit of the season, we set up on some of the store's snow terrain including a FAT Mat. We rolled Maelstrom Mission 5: Cloak and Shadows (the mission with the 3 secret TacOs per player) and also decided to randomly determine a deployment type and got Vanguard Strike.  I placed one objective deep into my deployment zone and the other two objectives shallowly in no-man's land in order to score them after my first move if necessary.
Jason had me deploy first and I stacked most of my units forward.  I set up my Deffkoptas for Scout moves, put the 5-Ork Kommando squad in Infiltrate and Reserved Snikrot's squad.

Jason covered all of his Objectives.

The Vindicator is eager to blow large holes in the Ork lines.


I make my scout moves.

And jump into terrain.

The Orks ooze forward.  I attempt to summon forth some Daemons and I fail to do so rather spectacularly.  I am able to stun the Vindicator with a squad of Deffkoptas, however.

Jason drops his Dreadnought behind my lines and evaporates a few Grots.

The Bike squad begins its work on the nearest Deffkopta squad.

A few pot shots from the left flank Tactical Squad threatens to break a squad of Deffkoptas.

The center squad of Koptas is also hanging on by a thread.

Both Deffkoptas show unshakable morale, but the Yellow Kopta is, of course, no match for a bolstered Space Marine Command Squad.

The Orks crawl forward, but are within an 8" charge of the Chapter Master while the Deff Dread is 9" away.  I successfully summon a unit of Bloodletters, but they mishap.

Responding to a drawn TacO, Mad Doc's squad turns on its heels to assault the Dreadnought.

The Dreadnought makes an amazing 11 on the dice and slams into combat followed by Big Mek Skar'ead's Boyz unit.

The combat between Mad Doc and the Dreadnought lasts for several rounds with Mad Doc unable to reliably penetrate the monster's 13 Armor with his Strength 8 Power Klaw.

The Deff Dread's Strength 10 Klaws make short work of most of the bikes, but the enemy holds on. Unfortunately for them, they roll a 6 on their Hit and Run attempt and remain stuck in combat.

Snikrot arrives after a brief Blood Raven turn.

The Chapter Master and Librarian finally break away 13".  The Boyz and Deff Dread consolidate 6" in the opposite direction.  Clearly, both parties have grown tired of one-another.

Poor Fred is Stunned while the Kommandos make short work of the Right Flank Tactical Squad.

Big Mek Skar'ead dashes towards a Rhino who's crew threatens to take an important Objective.

Big Mek Skar'ead's Klaw manages to cause a spectacular ammo explosion!

After four full rounds of combat, Mad Doc finally breaks away. The Legion of the Damned, meanwhile, have made quick work of the Gretchin.

The left flank Tactical Squad move into position.

The heavy weight of so many Boyz sends several Legion back whence they came.

Snikrot caps an Objective in the enemy's back field.

Mad Doc gets stuck in.  He is lost, however, thanks to a Hallucination cast by the enemy psyker.

The nearly-forgotten Tactical Squad on the left flank draws a bead on Fred.

And he is snuffed out.

After a roll on the Mob Rule table holds the Boyz in combat, we compare TacOs and come to the conclusion it would be unlikely Jason will bounce back from his defecit.  


Orks have such great board presence that, when they can hang on and be durable, they are excellent at Maelstrom missions.  I thought it was incredible that both walkers held on and gave their all in this game.  It was really nice to see.

Obviously, I need to work on using the summoning to my advantage, but I think 2 Weirdboyz is necessary for this.  This is especially true because I won't be summoning any Pink Horrors in order to boost my dice pool.

I had great fun tonight with Jason, as usual. I look forward to running Ork Psykers in Curtis' Combat Patrol League and also in my campaign with Jason.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Orksvent Day 21 - Tellyporta Mob Formation

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Tellyporta Mob Formation

Some Warbosses have daring and kunning that borders on stupidity.  Instead of plodding along in space (which can be quite a hassle, some Ork leaders have taken to using Tellyporta teknology to invade planets.  It’s not always the best tactical decision and it is never safe, but it certainly gets a lot of boyz across the galaxy pretty fast.

Formation:


  • 1 Warboss
  • 1 Big Mek
  • 3 Units of either Boyz or Warbikerz. 


Restrictions:


  • The Warboss and Mek must, together, join one of the other units from this Formation at the start of the game.  
  • The Boyz and Warbikerz must be filled to the maximum number of models allowed by their unit description.
  • Models which are not a part of this Formation may not join units in this Formation before units in this Formation have arrived from Deepstrike.
  • Units in this Formation may not select a Dedicated Transport.


Special Rules:


Tellyporta Attack:  All units in this Formation must arrive via Deepstrike.  If a unit from this Formation suffers a Deepstrike Mishap because it would be touching an enemy unit, then when you roll for the mishap and roll a “1” on the chart, instead of destroying the Deepstriking unit, place it in close combat with the enemy unit which is closest to the initial Deepstriking model.  Resolve the placement of models as you would normally in close combat:  engage with as many enemy models in the unit as possible while maintaining unit coherency.  Neither unit counts as having charged that turn and neither unit is allowed to benefit from Furious Charge, Counter-Attack, Hammer of Wrath, or any other special ability which is triggered when either unit charges.

Not All There Yet:  On the game turn a unit from this Formation arrives from Deepstrike, it has a 4+ invulnerable save.  Additionally, any wounds a unit from this Formation causes on the game turn it arrives from Deepstrike can be ignored with a 4+ invulnerable save as well.   



Note:  These rules are experimental. Please report any possible issues including abusive applications to adam.fasoldt@gmail.com.  This is a work for the purpose of fan enjoyment and is not intended to make money or to infringe on Games Workshop’s copyrights.  All symbology and terminology is Copyright Games Workshop LLC.  This has been created with Games Workshop’s fair use policy (available on their website) in mind.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Orksvent Day 20 - Zogwort's Choice

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For Orksvent Day 20, I wrote a short story about how Ghazghkull convinced Zogwort to join his WAAGH!  I hope you enjoy it.  I had a million other things I should have done instead, but I was feeling very selfish today and I've had this idea knocking around for a while.  Thanks to Snorre and Jason for proof-reading and suggestions.


Zogwort’s Choice
A short story by Adam Fasoldt


Sister Superior Jamie Herzog wore an expressionless mask before the oversized, glowering Space Marine in the bridge’s pict screen.  She was alive, but she still bore painful bruises and, she was certain, at least one cracked rib.  The pain was good, though, and the chair she occupied beside the command throne was blissfully uncomfortable.


The command throne was far too big for its occupant.  Inquisitor Bovar bore no injury, though his artificer armour’s cloth tabard had more holes in it now than it had before their operation began.  “Captain Artemis,” he began.  Jamie braced herself for the pleasantries she’d become accustomed to from the man.  “What are your orders?”


Jamie’s countenance broke slightly and she shot him a look.  Well done, she thought.  If only she could learn to control her own idiosyncrasies so well.


The Astartes also wasted no time, “I’m ordering you and the Emperor’s Lance to come about and intercept an incoming Xenos vessel. It is a single, small Ork vessel with a complement of four thousand.  You must destroy it as quickly as possible at all costs.”  


The Captain was succinct and the Inquisitor should have simply accepted the orders and carried them out, but one trait which was impossible for Inquisitor Bovar to squash, it seemed, was curiosity. As he replied, Jamie’s expression hardened.  “Curiosity is the most dangerous of all emotions,” she mumbled.  He either didn’t hear it or didn’t care.


“What threat can one Ork vessel be to the might of the Imperial Navy at Terra?  This last mission has left my men exhausted and our resources depleted.  I have three Astartes, one Battle Sister, and a handful of Acolytes remaining.  How can we stop this vessel?”


“Every moment you spend mewling,” the Space Marine Captain replied, “brings that vessel closer to Holy Terra.  Obey. Succeed.”  The pict-feed went dark, replaced by the distant sun in a field of stars and Neptune growing bigger as they cruised past it.


The three Deathwatch Astartes leaning on the port side of the bridge shifted.  They watched the Inquisitor intently as if they had already grown impatient of the seconds he’d taken to come to a decision.  Jamie was surprised; these three had shown great, calculating restraint in the operation this morning.  The Ultramarine, Cyrus, was cool under pressure. The Storm Warden, Tomys, and the Hawk Lord, Petyr,  seemed quite at home in the bowels of that ancient, Ork-infested base, darting from corridor to corridor and taking out key threats with precision.  


It was the two dead Astartes who had shown true bravery, who had shown the enemy the Emperor’s wrath incarnate.  She’d almost been afraid to watch them at work.  She felt like a child watching a caged beast violently dispatching its prey.  The Blood Angel Assault Marine, Galvus, had carved into the enemy with his whirring Chainsword with glorious ease while their commander, the Crimson Fist named Corovado had dared fate with a pair of white-hot Plasma Pistols before engaging the Orks with bone-crunching kicks and elbows.  The Ultramarine had taken charge after the Seargent’s death and he was well-suited for such a command, but lacked Corovado’s daring.


“Very well,” the Inquisitor growled, then bellowed, “Tap into Deathwatch data feed. Plot a course to that Ork vessel.  Full burn.”


The Emperor’s Lance was no ponderous barge or galley.  It was an Interceptor.  Fully three quarters of the ship was devoted to propulsion.  The stars blurred as the ship came about. Bronze bells rang throughout the bridge to warn of their impending acceleration.  The deck shuddered and the sound of roaring plasma drives filled the room regardless of the hundred meters of sound-dampening material between them and the engine room.  Jamie surmised most of the 500 or so crew of the Emperor’s Lance were likely all deaf.  The acceleration crushed her against the chair.  One Gravity. Two Gravities.  Three Gravities.  Four Gravities.  The ship’s life support network tried to compensate for it, but the ship was no pleasure liner.  It’s entire purpose was speed, not comfort.


The Astartes simply continued to lean against the bulkhead, arms crossed.  She scowled again.  Or had she never stopped scowling?


“So,” she said with some difficulty, “Another suicide mission?”


The Inquisitor was pressed firmly against the back of the command throne.  He looked almost comical in the giant chair designed for an Astartes, “So it seems,” he grunted, “Are you afraid?”


“My Hate will protect me.  It always has.”


“Don’t let it blind you as it did Gallus and Corovado.  The mission must…”  he struggled for a breath, “...come before vengeance.”


“Nineteen Sisters I lost on that Space Hulk, Inquisitor.  Cut down by Greenskin filth.  Three thousand I lost on Gondwana III.  Three thousand Sisters.  One thousand children who would be Sisters one day.”  She sucked in a breath and swallowed hard.   She would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her lose her composure.  “I will have my revenge and we will win the day.  I will have no other result this day.”


She heard the Ultramarine snort.


“Something amuses you, Ultramarine,” she grunted.


He spoke with ease, as if there were no imaginary bricks pressing against him, “No, I am just impressed at your pontificating, little Sororitas.  You sound like a proper Ultramarine.”


The other two Astartes laughed.  The Hawk Lord said, “No, Brother Cyrus. Your declarations before battle are far less melodramatic.”


“Thank you, Tomys.  I would hate for my declarations of delivering the Emperor’s righteous justice through my Terra-forged Gladius to fall on deaf ears.”


The Astartes laughed again, booming even in the din of the accelerating starship.


She didn’t understand their humor.  In honesty, she didn’t understand humor very much in general.  It seemed like a waste of breath.  Not for the first time, she felt the Heresy of jealousy towards the Space Marines.  She hated that they squandered their highly-ordered minds on such trifles as humor.  If she’d somehow been given that gift, she would spend all of her empty hours deep in thought on how to face the Imperium’s foes in battle rather than doting about on pointless tasks she was forced to endure as a Human, such as sleeping and bathing.


A fat, bright dot began to emerge on the pict screen.  A golden reticle appeared around it with High Gothic text spelling out the sensor data.  Ork vessel.  Likely a former Sword class escort.  Accelerating towards Terra as fast as the Emperor’s Lance was accelerating towards it.  


“Come about,” the Inquisitor ordered.  “Shields full aft.  Full deceleration.  The ship wheeled itself around again and began decelerating towards the enemy.


~ * ~


Ghazghkull’s fleet hung over the Galactic plane and was bathed in its ancient light.  The vista which spread out before them was lost on his companions, he knew.  They just saw stars.  The Galaxy looked so small from up here.  Here, the Galaxy seemed small and conquest felt attainable.  He didn’t need the Grots painting on the viewport to see the lines of battle marching towards his goals.  In his mind’s eye, he felt their dominion growing day by day.  In his mind, star after star below them turned green.  


The Grots, all slaved together with bionik implants and connected by wires to the Weirdboy chorus deep within the ship, corrected the lines of conquest, but with a significant delay to his own perception.


There were many doors to conquest.  Doors which, he knew, were locked.  He needed key codes for these doors.  He thought about saying so, but he figured the analogy… or any analogy, really, would fall on deaf ears.


“So, Zogwort.  Are you impressed?”


The Ork Freebooter grunted.  “Marks on windows.  Don’t show me much.”


“But you can feel it.  You can feel it as well as I do.”


The Weirdboy pulsed with the power of the WAAGH! even at rest.  Ghazghkull knew this creature beside him could probably destroy his Space Hulk with a thought, given the right circumstances.  He knew he ought to tread carefully, but he must maintain his position of dominance.  Ghazghkull was enormous and he used that to his advantage.


Balancing fear and respect in his allies was a constant struggle.  Granted, it was a struggle he was very, very good at.  Just the same, Zogwort was an unsettling creature.  His ragged clothes sometimes moved and bulged, likely due to the serpents Zogwort was reputed to keep on his person at all times.  Or was he so suffused with the power of the WAAGH! that it was constantly mutating him?


Ghazghkull also knew that the Weirdboy trusted him about as much as he trusted Zogwort.  He knew that he talked strangely compared to other Orks, and had strange mannerisms thanks to the bionik implants in his head.  He understood many things that other Orks did not and that made him a successful Warlord.  None could dispute his successes.  This, coupled with his massive size and convincing demeanor, meant he commanded respect. And besides, what successful, long-lived Ork didn’t have a few odd behaviors? All that mattered was that, under Ghazghkull, Orks fought and they won.


“Yar. I feel it, Ghazghkull.  Dese Boyz are many. So many.  Da power would be great,” he croaked.  


“Too much?”


The Weirdboy growled, “No. Not too much. Dere is no too much.  I meant to burn out my eyes dat one time.  I see better now.  I see better wivout my eyes, Ghazghkull.”


“What do you see now?”


The Weirdboy frowned, “One ship.  You send a little ship to the bright light down there.”  He pointed down at the fat bulge of the outer spiral arm, just in view at the bottom of the big window.  Many of the arrows the Grots had drawn pointed in that direction, but there were very few marks showing actual forces in that region.  One single arrow with a dot at the end of it had been painted there in red.  A Grot was in the process of correcting its position with a wet towel and fresh paint. That region of space was no more bright than any other, however.  Indeed, it was quite dark compared to the brilliant Galactic center.


“That bright light. Do you feel it?”


“I always feels it.”


“Can you… make out its intent?”


“It wants ter kills us.  It looks fer me sometimes.  Itz too far fer me to really feel what it finks.  It hunts me, tho.  It haunts me.  It can’t finds me.  I’m too trig fer it.”


Somehow, Ghazghkull highly doubted that last arrogant statement was true.  Something else protected the Weirdboy from the deadly bright light which he and Ghazghkull could sense emanating from that region of space. It didn’t matter what that was, though.  That was peripheral to the task at hand.  “Lots of Umies there, Zogwort. Perhaps it is they you sense.”


“Lotsa Umies everywhere. Never dull, that.  No. It ain’t ‘umies. It’s somfink else.  Somefink strong.”


Ghazghkull picked up one of the many devices which littered the bridge.  It was much like those installed in the Gretchin working with the window.  “Reach out, Zogwort.  Reach out to them and see.”


The Weirdboy accepted the device and placed it on his head.  Cables snaked from it and ran down through a hole in the deck.  Zogwort’s gaze did stray there for a moment.  He knew the cables led deep down through the command tower and into the bowels of the ship where a coterie of Weirdboyz were slaved together by thought and deed. “Reach out to Da Umies?”


“No, the Boyz on the ship I sent. See through them. See the light for what it is.”


“Dey got da power of da WAAGH! in em?”


“Oh yes. Every one of them.”


~ * ~


Slaughter was the Sister’s name today and she still lived.  The Acolytes died first, of course.  Then the Inquisitor.  All who remained were the Astartes and Jamie herself.  Every group of filthy, stinking Greenskins they’d faced in their boarding action had been a chorus of psykers the likes of which she’d never experienced.  Ribbons of green energy had whipped out at the men and women of Bovar’s Inquisitorial retinue, cutting and slicing.  Screams of pain and terror filled the sodden, rusted corridors as they trudged towards their goal: the engine room.


Now, she was their bulwark.  To their credit, the Space Marines knew this.  Of course, she was a tool to them and they a tool of her own.  And they were all instruments of the Emperor’s justice.  Her hate was a shield against the weird energies which tried, in vain to assail her.  This, unfortunately, hadn’t been enough to save Bovar.  


They had been pushing back a throng of these monsters when Bovar fell.  He was slicing swathes of Orks with his blade, cutting with unimaginable ease and snuffing out their lives with the power of the Emperor even with the slightest nick of the blade.  That push had been a blind rage for Sister Jamie.  Her power sword hummed with satisfaction at each decapitation, stab to the heart, or dismemberment and she screamed the names of her fallen Sisters with each blow.  They had tried to assail her with the power of the Warp, but it simply could not touch her.  Her Hatred was a bulwark.


But Bovar was gone when she’d cut down the penultimate Ork and the Space Marines had gunned down the last of them.  A single, small, red creature with rows of teeth and two black, beady eyes had wriggled out of the Inquisitor’s armour.  It was barely able to growl the word “No!” before she’d put a bolt round into its face.  The creature that had been Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Bovar had exploded with a satisfying, meaty sound.


Now, she stood as the group’s vanguard.  Corridor after corridor they marched through.  The Storm Warden kept a close eye on his Auspex while the Ultramarine kept them apprised of their position.  They worked with a laudable efficiency.  Jamie felt like one of them in the bowels of that ship.  She felt the sense of duty and brotherhood even if they would laugh at her for saying so.  She didn’t say so, though.  She simply focused her mind on this, her last mission.  Her final sacrifice for the Imperium.  


She prayed that her sacrifice was not in vain; not some regional governor of Neptune’s idea of a worthy sacrifice to avoid a ship full of Orks passing within spitting distance of his world.  Captain Artemis wouldn’t allow that, would he?  He wouldn’t sacrifice the lives of Astartes on some administrator’s whim, would he?  Jamie decided, after nearly an hour of fighting alongside these three Astartes that Artemis would do no such thing.  This was a solace.  She wasn’t sure why their deaths were necessary when an entire flotilla of warships protected Terra proper and could gun down this little ship in seconds.  She trusted the Emperor and, by extension, the Deathwatch Captain who had given them their orders.  Even if this was a delusion, her years in the Adepta Sororitas had honed her mind to acceptance of such delusions.  To do otherwise was to invite madness and doubt.  And doubt was almost as dangerous as curiosity.


They paused at an intersection.  


“One more corridor, Sister.”


“Thank you, Cyrus.  It has been an honour to fight with you.”


His response came after a pause, “It will be an honour to die with you today, Jamie.”  There was a twinge of doubt in his voice.


“This mission is critical.  We don’t know what this ship’s intentions are, but it is no random assault by some splinter faction of Greenskins.  This ship has a purpose.”


The Storm Warden sounded almost amused, “To ascribe such tactics to Orks is borderline Heresy, Sister Jamie.”


“No, Tomys, it is actual Heresy.  But in my final hour, I will risk a little Heresy. My only regret is that we cannot communicate any of this to the Imperium.”


Indeed, after the Emperor’s Lance’s melta cannon had burned a hole in the hull of the Ork vessel and the task force had disembarked into the it, their ship had been ripped to pieces by unseen forces.  There was no communications link to the Deathwatch, nor anyone else for that matter.


“Then, Jamie,” said the Ultramarine, “It will be for us to make certain the work is done.  Talk wastes time. Let’s finish this.”


“Agreed. I’ll take point.  Is your Terra-forged Gladius prepared to deliver the Emperor’s righteous justice?”


The tinny sound of three Astartes laughing through their helmets rang in the hallway.  “Very well, Jamie. Take the lead,” Cyrus relented, “Die well, Sister.”


“Die well, Ultramarine.”


Jamie took a long breath.  She allowed herself one more moment to bring to the front of her mind an image of the sweetest and angriest girl she’d ever met.  She’d sworn Anna would be a Canoness one day.  Instead, her head had been crushed before Jamie’s very eyes that cold day on Gondwana III, those bright brains still hanging from the Ork’s barbed weapon in chunks when it had raised up to take a swing at Jamie.  She’d killed that Ork. She’d killed it too late, but she had killed it and it had felt good and she hadn’t stopped killing them since that day.


She would not be late this time.  She filled herself with rage and her Hate and she roared.  


The small Kill team ran down the dark corridor.  Sparks flared and lamps flickered.  The enemy choked the end of the hall, and lashed out with the power of the warp.  Each lance, ribbon, and wave of power fizzled when it hit her impenetrable field of Hatred.  Staccatto retorts of bolter shells reverberated in the closeness of the corridor.  It was the sound of victory.


~ * ~


One of the Grots waddled over to the red mark in the region that was bright but not bright and erased it with his damp cloth.


“Did you see, Zogwort?”


Zogwort lifted the finkin kap off his head.  “I saw. I dunno… wot was…?”


“Did you feel the light?”


“It waz strong dere.  But still hard to see.  So bright.”


Ghazghkull was a bit crestfallen.  He needed this Ork.  He needed him and his Boyz… the thousands upon thousands of followers with unshakable loyalty so rare in Ork society.  “But you saw…”


“Yar.  It was hard to see da light.  I felt somefin, tho.  I saw it and felt it.  It warz strange.  So many Orks wiv da power dere… dey could feel it too when dey were fightin.  More dan if it waz just me fightin if you ken wot I’z sayin. They felt dis power.”


“Go on.”


“An it warz in ‘em all.  All of em.  An I did feel it in da light.  A little. Wot I could see wivout burnin meself up.”


He checked his normally booming voice.  He whispered to the Weirdboy, allowing him his own thoughts.  “What was it, Zogwort. What power did you feel?”


“Dis ting wot’s from Umies.  Iz like… anger.  An fear. But somefink else.”


Good. Very good.


“That, Zogwort, is Hate.”


“Ate?”


“Hate.  Hatred.”


“I don’t unnerstand.”


“I didn’t either, at first. It is not something a proper Ork should understand. Umies don’t fight for glory.  They don’t fight for conquest.  They don’t fight for domination.  They fight us because they Hate us.”


“Umies… dey’z weak…. but this Hate, it makes ‘em strong. Stronger dan us sometimes.  Just a few Umies krumped a ship full of Weirdboyz.”


“That’s right. Just a few Umies.  Imagine armies of them. Legions marching across the stars.  One thought is on their minds… kill the Orks.  Kill all of them.  Wipe them out.  And us… you and me fighting each other when they come and weak because of it.”


He paused to add gravitas to his next statement, the one he hoped would seal this pact for good.


“They don’t care about fighting us, Zogwort.  All they care about is destroying us.  All of us.”


Zogwort didn’t reply and Ghazghkull stood back and let the Ork stare out into the vista before him.  Let him ponder the vastness of the Umie threat.  Let him, on his own, come to the same conclusion Ghazghkull had.  Conquest of the Umies was a given; something that came naturally to an Ork warlord.  But, it wasn’t Conquest alone that was in their interest in their fight against the Umies.


“My Boyz will join yourz.  We fight wiv you. Join your WAAGH! Until da Umies are done. Dey will fight to fight an’ win. Fight to die and da zoggin great feelin of da battles.  I will fight too.  I wish it waz fer da same reasons, tho.  I wish you didn’t show me dis, Ghazzy.  You’s…. invadin me brain wiv yer own thinkin.  Yer weird, high-thinkin dat ovver Orks talk about.  It ain’t right.”


“All that matters is that you fight with me.”


“Yar, I fight wiv you. Till da end.”