Citizens of the Imperium

Citizens of the Imperium (
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The Pakkrat November 16th, 2019 08:16 AM

“I can’t see shit.”

“Stick to the plan, Jones.”

Darkseer on point. Don’t bunch up. See a glowing growler, don’t ask him for an ID.”

“Torches, everybody.”

“Anzhelika, take position inside and above the hangar doors.”

“Back out, back out, back out! That’s riot foam. Get it on you when it hardens, and you’re stuck tight.”

“It’s filling up the corridors.”

“Let it. We’ll cut through after it’s hardened.”

“They’re howling again, Jak!”

“Everybody stay calm. It means that they’ve begun their Hunt. It’s when they’re quiet that they’re about to attack.”

“Jak, I kin veel Vargr minds, many ov dem coming. Vitout veer.”

“Form up and ready a killing field! Get in position. Move it!”

“Psi-squealer is chirping. Watch for that witch and cap your PsiShields!”

“You’re just reading our psyker.”

“Whoa-whoa-WHOA! The starship elevator is moving! It’s rising up from below us.”

“Back off, back off!”

“No ship, but what is that? And where are the growlers? Angelmaker?

“Dey stop, but now moving back. Retreating deep.”

“Looks like somebody’s passenger luggage.”

“Geiger counter. Now. Oh shit. Run!”


“Go go go!”

“Ejected! High up in micrograv-! Coming back down. Momma....”

“This is Rook. Anyone alive? Sound off.”


“Jak, Jones, Anzhelika, anybody?”

“It’s the EMP, Rook. It’s fried everything in that blast that wasn’t Cage=45 or better. Saw it on one of my earlier field report missions. But it means the Cwn Annwn are just as fried.”

“Pulling into what’s left of the surface bunker. Melt damage. I’m activating the Nuclear Damper to push back the radiation.”

“I see Jak, Rook. Stop the G-Carrier. We’re lucky the backup, portable Fusion+ was able to restart the Vehicle.”

“The mechanical, emergency containment doors have dropped. There’s air outside. Not nice air, but we can open suits and save some of ours.”

“This is Rook on loudspeaker. We’re coming. Don’t panic and don’t fire weapons.”

“Anzhelika! You’re alive.”

“Da. Bareness. Vas behind heavy bulkhead. Gauss rifle now spare parts.”

“Here. This is an AntiRad.”

“Jak? Jak can you hear me?”

“B-barely. My ears are ringing like a three-ring circus.”

“Anzhelika, take command until I can hear properly.”

“Da! Yes, sir. You heer Jak. Who iz left?”

The Pakkrat November 16th, 2019 08:17 AM

“Tachibana, Leslie, Rook, you, Jak Franco was the one I saw got popped out the top. Ejected. Miracle if he survived both the nuke and the fall.”


“I don’t see him.”

“Jones?! Can you read me?”

“Comms are fried, Jak. The EMP.”

“Why can’t I move my Dress? That too?”

“We only have Armors that don’t run on power, Jak. We lost all electronics.”

“Jak, this mission has gone sour, especially with our Patron missing.”

“I read your lips, Rook. But this-....this is personal now.”

“Da. Dey don’ vight vair. We kill dem vor da vallen.”

“Ev’rone, grab up rivles. Blades too. Dis vill be mess-vork.”

“Ready up in whatever armors are left, HEV, Dress not imped, Mesh-7. The growlers must have known about the EMP and already dressed accordingly. Make any glow you see glow brighter. Get me?”

“Vhat about Aerrzh?”

“To hell with him. He took off. He’s likely licking Matilda’s boots right now. The EMP likely fried his Oversize Dress too. He’s got only what he brought with him. How long do you think he will last against that Bear?”

The Pakkrat November 16th, 2019 08:18 AM

* * *
Came up behind you, dog. Stupid sentry. How’d that feel? With my Darksight, I only needed to stay up wind of the ventilation. Now to drag your carcass back into the vent tunnels and skin your glowing hide like I’ll skin that psycho Bear.

What was that?! No. No-no-no. Don’t tell me that nuke woke the xeno hive. I bet they’re in some grotto or cave under the Corsair Base.

Stay calm, Jones. Work methodical and efficiently. Pick your battles. ‘Stick to the plan, Jones’, they always tell me. Well, I’ve got a plan now...

<cough cough>

Just keeps getting better. I bet I’ve got too many rads. I’ll skin me some more growlers before I’m done for.

The Pakkrat November 16th, 2019 08:21 AM

* * *


(Sagamaal) “Wait. You’re not a Cwn Annwn??”

(Gvegh) “Where is she, Pwyll? Tell me and you may live, Swordie.”

I’ll keep punching and biting, just like what happened to me until you’ve had enough. I may be glowing again after finding the barracks and the strontium aluminate, but you die no matter what.

“GrrRR! Tell me where Mallt-y-Nos is!”

“<cough cough> So. The prodigal Hound has returned. Oof!”


“Ugh. You...want back in huh, boy?”

You’re still talking. No! Make him talk. That’s it.

“You bite your own tail, Cwn Annwn Returned. <cough cough> Know your nature, Hound. You can’t deny it.”

He’s stalling. Bite him harder!

“AAAArrrg! <huff huff huff> Okay, boy. You’ve done enough. Matilda is in the Cathedral. But she’ll know you’re coming- <cough cough> Now be a good boy...”

Like in the Hunt. I tear and bite and rip apart Pwyll Dyfed. His blood lights me afire. I spit out his flesh though. What was that Human poem quote? “Seven times never, never hunt Man”.

The Pakkrat November 16th, 2019 08:21 AM

* * *

“I heard it too. Not Howls of the growlers. I think it’s xenos.”

“Ve use Squad Two rounts iv dey come, yes?”

“Stay loose. The xenos on the derelict were no friends of the Cwn Annwn. Let the two fight each other as much as we can allow. Then we pick off any survivors.”

“Guerrilla warfare feels better anyway. Let keep moving.”

“Leslie. Leslie. Your safety is on. We’re way past safe, hun.”

The Pakkrat November 16th, 2019 08:22 AM

* * *

”You’re another jack-booted, genocidal Solomani! I hate Solomani!! RrawWWRR!”

(Sagamaal). “Beat him, but let me make the final sacrifice, Curnunos. You’ve won. The StarMercs are in shambles. You win.”

”Make it painful, Mallt-y-Nos. I want to hear the Terran scream and beg!”

“The hive has woken, Curnunos. They need another beating. This is our Island of the Afterlife.”

”They’re crabmeat.”

The Pakkrat November 16th, 2019 08:24 AM

* * *

“I just scouted up ahead. They’ve some pretty sicko pleasure dens in this Arawn Base of Afterlife. Carnal house and house of carnal knowledge. I can’t begin to describe-.”

“I see it too now. They’ve got synthetics serving their every whim except food. Ugh. What is that growler doing to her?”

“Shut it and concentrate.”

“How come nobody is talking or whispering?”

“It’s like Cray-Cray says: don’t speak. They communicate non-verbally. Animals.”

“We take them by surprise when they’re the most sated. Precise pops. Spare the synthetics if you can. They aren’t part of the Cwn Annwn.”

I know you are nearby, Aerrzh. I can feel your thoughts. Are you watching us put down your ex-Pack?

From the rafters draped with the captured silks, I watch the team stealthily distribute their targets. They want to synchronize their shots in this den. Smart to wait for the Cwn Annwn to spend themselves on their vices. But one whiff of your Human scents and the Hunt is back on.

“Shhh! It’s okay. They’re dead. I know. I know: don’t speak. I know what index finger to the lips means. We’ve taken off all the um- leather and unchained you. Tachibana-san. Tachibana-san is going to lead you all back to the G-Carrier so we can get you out of Arawn. Shh. This is over. Do as he says.”

“Tachibana-san, once you get these synths into the G-Carrier, have Rook tend to their wounds. He’s a synthetic and will know how to um- repair them?”

“Leslie, I don’t think the network needs to see this...this atrocity. It’s bad enough already.”

“Don’t tell me, Jak what to record or omit. This abuse of synthetics is not just an atrocity here. I’m the reporter. Not you. Put on your Big Boy boxers for us.”

The Pakkrat November 16th, 2019 08:25 AM

* * *

Hello,...Jones, is it? Oh, you can see me? In the dark no less. Do you like my body? Welcome. No, the chains are too strong. Don’t speak, Solomani. I can already hear your thoughts. I can see you too. So muscular. Almost a Sword Worlder with that frame, yes?

I spit in your face, witch! There! Fraggin’ Swordie pagan!

Now now, Jones. Let’s not be disgusting in your final hour. Let’s begin, shall we? This may sting somewhat...

(Sagamaal) “In the beginning, there was nothing, a void of darkness, a cold country of silence. When the perfect void was corrupted by Light and by Sound, the brethren cringed in pain of that incursion....”

The Pakkrat November 16th, 2019 08:26 AM

* * *

You’re talking your sermon, Mallt-y-Nos. The Ritual. But by talking, you can’t hear me thinking. I can see it by the green glow of our collected pelts. Here on the front row, I can see you cutting into Jones. He can see you too. That’s right. Summon him. Summon that Bear. I brought a surprise to the Cathedral. But I mustn’t speak.

Oh, there is a prodigal Hound among us. He thinks I cannot hear his anger, his hatred, his thirst. Come to me, pet. Come close and watch Jones suffer. Yessss. Good boy. Mentation can override your body. No. No talking. Here. Here is a healing hand, my gift for returning to your Mistress. Now sit. Good boy. Watch Jones die in the Ritual. Here comes Curnunos the Master of the Hunt. He too wants to hear the screams.

“Aerrzh? Is that you? Are you still you?”

(Sagamaal) “No talking. Mustn’t speak.”

The Pakkrat November 16th, 2019 08:34 AM

* * *
Grendades to the Vargr

Kill Bear first

Good. The Battlesigns are understood. Now we take our positions around the Cathedral. The woman is still chanting in her Sword Worlds tongue.

”Grrrrr. Kill him. Kill the Solomani!”

The Howls of delight are deafening about us. She’s raising the wavy knife... Do it quick, bitch!

Gunfire! Curnunos is hit many times! And-....there is another Psion here. Come, child-....ah! One of the Angelmakers. A survivor? Let us match minds, girl. Explosions are not feared by the Cwn Annwn. Let us embrace!

“Pour it on him!”

“Damn, he can really take it!”

“Leslie! Empty that GL! There!”

“Anzhelika’s froze! She and the chick at the altar are in a staring contest.”

“Get to Jones! Move move!”

You can’t use more than one power at a time, Matilda. You’ve let your guard down and your control over me lapse. I am collared no more!


“Pet?! No! Down!”

Sweet Human woman, flow over my fangs. Feel my pain! Taste the suffering. You and the others did this to me! You should have known my nature to let me get this close!


I penetrate your PsiShield and sense of Self. From the Lobby of your mind, I am witness to Aerrzh delivering the vengeful pain. Suffer, witch! I shatter your will and show you fear, show you regret, show you pain. You’ve had it coming for a long time for what you did to the Vargr, my unit, the others. Just suffer.

“Oh shit. The ground’s trembling! Guys!”

“The Bear swatted me, but I’m still here. Kill him!”

“And now the news update: Reporter Shoots a Bear!”

“Ground Zero Bug Central!”

“Fire fire!”

I can’t feel my leg. That’s how hard he swatted me with his claw. I may be down but I ain’t out. Take that, xeno bug!

“Do not zhoot him! Iz Aerrzh! He vights vit us!”

“Leslie, behind you!”

You’re free, Jones. No. Don’t speak. Do. Here’s my firearm.

“Back in action, mutha- Suck my Accelerator!”

“Matilda’s down! Anzhelika! Focus fire with me on the big bug!”

“I’m out. Cut, slash and move!”

“Watch the supports! The entire Cathedral is gonna come down if more of them are hit.”




“Have some Special K, asshole!”

“Tachibana-san! You came back for us.”

“Of course, Jak-san.”

“Look! Rook too! He armed the synths. They’re shooting the bugs! Pour it on, gang!”

“That’s enough, Jones! It’s dead. We’re okay. It’s okay.”

Aerrzh. I’m here. Your Angelmaker is here. See my Battlesign in the torchlight?

Don’t speak. Sign. That is good.

“That’s Aerrzh. You got him, Anzhelika?”

Affirmative. Don’t speak. Retreat.

“Up you go, Jak. Lean on me. I’ll help you back to the G-Carrier.”

“I’m such a casualty.”

“You did good, Jak, even from the floor.”

“Thanks, Leslie.”

“Thanks for coming back, Rook.”

“Not bad for a Human.”

“Look behind us. The Cathedral’s about to collapse.”

“Don’t look back. Don’t speak about it.”

Yes. Words fail.

Back aboard the Ishiimigur and typing out this report in the Infirmary for Whomever The Frak Cares. In comes Anzhelika and Aerrzh. She’s got her hand in his left claw. I remain quiet. In his other claw is his tablet from his cabin. On it are apologies and confirmation that we’ve been paid. He wants to join our StarMerc company, especially if Anzhelika stays on. Later, Leslie came to visit me. Interview on record and a kiss from her. I was the one who warned her of the bug from behind. We all saved each other’s lives, I tell her. Jones is in the Counsellor session next.

The StarMercs have committed to learning Marine Battlesign from Anzhelika and Aerrzh. It’s the only way we can get through his trauma other than his stupid tablet. It feels genuine, to convey with committed signs without speaking. In a month, I’m sure I can whip this unit back into shape without a word. There’s no need to speak. So don’t.



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