Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)   Posted by Archives (Terradyne).Group: 0
Archives (Terradyne)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:19
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
Maya Adderson:
"I do"  Maya nodded.  "I'm not sure how aware you are of the situation at hand, but the Enemy is here, in force.  Roughly five hundred ships of varying tonnage.  It likely would have swept us aside if we didn't know they were coming, and heavily mine their most likely Translation point."  She smirked.  "Roughly half of their fleet was eradicated there, and we've subsequently hurt them further with our mobile forces, but we're not going to be able to prevent them from making any landings, there's just too many of them, and that means it'll be a ground fight."

She gestured to her shuttle, which was still being loaded for the trip, while also checking to ensure there were no unwarranted ears present.

"The chief problem is that we have confirmed the almost certain presence of high ranking Daemons within their force.  Indeed, we recently had a scare with one being identified attempting to spy and sabotage our defenses.  We were able to catch it and overcame it before it could do any serious harm, but if there's one, there's likely more.  I'd like to request your expertise and assistance to attempt to split their focus.  We can almost certainly overcome a single one per theatre before they can do any serious damage, but to convince them to break ranks, we need to present them a sufficiently tempting bait.  In this case, myself, but for obvious reasons, the number of people who can be trusted to keep their head and protect their heart and mind against this level of threat are limited.  You were one of the first on my shortlist, and you were present anyway.  Are you in, or out?"


"I can do nothing else." he says, staring grimly forwards. "To battle against the Daemon is my duty, and to abandon you to it would only strengthen the eternal foe of Man."

He shakes his head. "I do not have the foremost tools to combat daemons, but if one is here then I will face it nonetheless. To do otherwise would be unthinkable. A traitorous, heretical act."
Archives (Maya)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:20
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)

"Thank you"  Maya agrees.  "The good news is that we haven't gone unprepared for this."

She leads the Inquisitor onto the shuttle, and punches a command in--the cargo hold snapping open, revealing the armory she was bringing along--the airlock sealing as the pilot began bringing it out.  There was time though.

"The Lunar Forts have been supplemented with specialized combat Automata."  She explained.  "Shielded against Chaotic interference and implanted with specific battle logic to limit points of error and minimize the possibility of memetic attacks.  We've tested the defenses in several raids against their worlds, and found them sufficient enough to at least buy time to destroy a damaged unit before it can propagate.  Our role will be to draw the attention of--and subsequently destroy--any high ranking Daemonic entities among the landing forces."

She leads him inside, gesturing to the side.  "I wasn't sure what the best weapons to use against them are, so I brought examples of just about everything we could manufacture--and we'll be using a fully equipped and upgraded Fullblade as our transport.  And beyond all of that, we have two trump cards."

One of the lockers opens up, revealing the second prototype Arcanist armour, the bright-golden warplate catching the light of the hold.

"The first of which are these.  I've been going with the codename of Arcanist for this pattern of personal armour. The original designs were mostly thought exercises of how to protect yourself against psychics, but I dusted them off and perfected it over the past few decades.  In layman's terms, the armour exists simultaniously in the physical universe, yet also projects upwards into the immaterial.  It should provide excellent protection against daemonic attacks, psychic powers, and even the presence of a breach. The response should also be intuitive enough to be used without training"  She winced at that.  "I should certainly hope so, the bloody things cost as much as a corvette."

She taps the staff lashed to her back.  "As for offense, this is the Staff of Forgotten Stars, a Force Weapon and Psychic Focus, originally derived from a High Eldar artefact, but subequently modified and bound to serve me.  Under the correct circumstances, it can be used to break even a Greater Daemon, and shatter it beyond recovery.  It has been successfully deployed to this end within the last year.  I'm not in the habit of leaving a monster to run away and lick it's wounds, if possible, I hope to repeat that feat if this plan works out and we draw one of their greater servants to battle.  It's only fair that if they're willing to turn their fangs against humanity, that we prove that they can die like anything else, isn't it?"
Archives (Terradyne)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:20
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
He raises an eyebrow at the equipment, clearly still unused to your technological sophistication - or the fact that they were not constructed under the auspices of the Mechanicus. Still, its golden surface at least seems to appeal to his sense of aesthetics.

"I am uncertain about this endeavour." he admits, eventually. "You use many of the tools of those that might fall, or that are anathema to mankind." he shakes his head. "And too often those that do so fall to heresy and degradation without even realising that they have crossed that line."

"But it seems that I will have little choice but to serve as your accomplice upon this task, to destroy one of the servants of foul Chaos, and deny them their prize."

He reaches out an arm, hand circling your own with a firm grip that borders on the painful. "Beware the temptations that come with such powers and tools, however. The higher you think you may fly, the more of a target you make yourself."

***

And hour passes as you arrive upon the surface of the moon, and complete your preparations. The Inquisitor stands next to you, though in many regards it it hard to tell the two of you apart, clad in the same form of plate.

You stand next to your transport, a three hundred ton behemoth of a craft, built to fly or drive over any surface known to man. Constructed of the strongest alloys that can be made naturally, and protected by a shield generator, the Fullblade tank is the culmination of forty thousand years of design iteration.

The huge turret that sits atop the mountain of metal houses a miniaturised plasma-lance, an experimental - and somewhat temperamental - weapon, but one of great power and damage potential. It can tear through lesser tanks with short bursts, and larger ones in moments. Even titans are not safe from its firepower, and thus it is probably the best weapon to use against whatever abomination you may be facing.

And as you sense the ever-moving presence of the Daemons within the fleet - moving ever closer, you move out from the base. The forts are useful defences, but in their own way they are too much of a target, and the foe that you wish to bait out is unlikely to strike while you dwell within.

So you set out, the quiet whirring of the gravitic turbines propelling you across the silent, dusty surface. Above is a battle, vessels being destroyed, plasma-beams flickering from the lunar fortifications, and missile warheads blooming as they burst upon their targets, bathing them in star-hot plasma, strong enough to burn through metres of reinforced hull.

But you know the enemy has sensed you, probed out your location. If not exactly, then at least the general direction. A pair of battleships and a number of smaller craft come in overhead. Some are picked off by fire from the fort, before it is levelled by enemy fire - two remain active, but how long they will continue to exist is difficult to say.

But it is the forces dropping to the ground now that you must concern yourself with. Vacuum-suited cultists, odd vehicles. Daemons, walking about as if it were a clement day upon the world above.

And finally, the dread creature itself. A dozen kilometres away, yet visible as if it were far closer drops a giant creature. A hundred-metre long beast, and one that you recognise...mostly.

The creature you fought, that your crystal created, then reformed to a far greater state. And so you know what it is that you face, for it is larger still than it was, and a sickly purple taint lies upon it. It is a more dangerous beast now than it was before, for a malevolent intelligence guides it, now

The daemon that plagued you before now inhabits its form, having taken it for her own.

It rears up, roaring out purple warp-fire. You have seen what it did to daemons, and what it would likely do to you as well. And despite the lack of air, you hear that roar reverberate through the tank around you.
Archives (Maya)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:21
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
"Believe me, I know that all too well"  Maya agreed.  "Far too many people have gotten themselves too caught up in the moment to consider the future, I can only hope to study where they went wrong and avoid the same pitfalls--but enough woolgathering, let me know what you need and I'll ensure you get it".

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

"Hrm"  Maya bit her lip as she saw the descending beast, and she knew what it was.  'I'll come for you' indeed.

But it was better to engage here, where it could do no harm to Marienne III.

"Convienent though"  She commented as it began it's final descent.  "If it's coming within a physical host, that gives us options to pin it down."  She polarizes the faceplate with a mental tick, and draws the Staff.  "Be ready for anything, we'll probably have to repel boarders at some point, and I'm liable to have my hands full countering any warpcraft it tries to hit us with."

She knew about the breath attack at least, and had prepared a suitable defense.  The Primium Circuit glowing white-hot in tune with the Staff's head as she deploys her defensive constructs.  Looking an instant into the future to correct for aim, and an advancing, rotating propeller of telekinetic force to shred the atomic flame and cast it harmlessly aside--while leaving an avenue for the Fullblade to shoot back with relative impunity.

OOC:
Precog Roll is 11 + 10.  21, +2 on my response roll.
Shielding Roll is 18 + 10 + 2, 30 total.

Archives (Terradyne)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:21
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
"Very well..."

***

"Noted." he says, checking the plasma rifle he selected. Not as advanced as the main gun on the tank, it is nevertheless considerably more reliable than anything the Imperium uses as standard. Along with a small number of grenades - and the null-shock weapon that he came to inspect in the first place - he is as well-equipped as he can be, under the circumstances.

He raises the weapon, activating it. "Prepare your witchery. I will engage anything that seeks to attack us physically."

You ready your shield as the blast sears across the airless void. Beneath it, the lunar surface melts and boils, the sheer unnatural heat burning everything it passes. You brace against it, physically and mentally. Knowing where and when it will hit helps considerably, your telekinetic construct placed as well as it could be, to deflect an attack of such power.

It hits, threatening to scorch its way through. The strain is immense, even with your staff to focus your powers. It reacts, the warpfire trying to burn away your defences. But with one final surge, you push it aside, scattering the boiling flames across miles of lunar surface. The tank's shields have dropped a little from sheer proximity to that source of heat, but they recharge in a fraction of a second, and are back to capacity almost before you have even noticed they had dropped.

The daemon slithers forth, hundreds of legs driving into the ground as it pushes itself towards you. The plasma-lance turns on command, tracking the enemy before firing a pulse at the creature.

A powerful weapon, but ultimately, compared to warpfire, a lesser one. Still blinding and star-hot, but purely physical. It glances off of the curved plate of the daemon-possessed monster, doing little more than scorching its surface.

There is a searching, a calling across the aether. She seeks to contact you, to try and crush your mind; to taint you, to bring you around to her way of thinking. But the defences you built work as well as they could. The information is transmitted, but whatever compulsions are layered into it are lost.

Maya...I promised I'd find you, didn't I. Do you like what I've done to your present? It's almost like our child, now, isn't it?'

It is headed towards you at quite some speed. More enemies close in, dropped all around you, but they will not reach you for the moment. How are you going to approach this?
Archives (Maya)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:22
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
It could talk as much as it pleased, but the wards on the Arcanist seemed like they were working as intended--filtering any hostile warpcraft from the telepathic message.  That was good though, since the energy it was using to try and twist her was energy not being spent using that horrific breath attack.

"Please, I just grabbed a bug and jammed the 'Dangerous' button down.  All you did was put yourself in the splash zone for when I put it back down"  She quipped back, hopefully a response that would put it off balance for a moment.  If its carapace was capable of resisting the Fullblade Cannon, then she needed to disrupt that carapace.

Dozens of spikes were formed just over her head, and directed to fire at hypersonic velocities into the monster, impacting and detonating when they could.  Less of a genuine attack and more of an annoyance--but fragments of the beast's carapace would be blownoff, leaving it more vulnerable to the Cannon in turn.
Archives (Terradyne)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:22
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
A series of glimpses into the future are an advantage that you have over her, it seems, and they continue to provide you with guidance. Your planned attack will fail, as she will twist to the side at the last moment, avoiding them - but slowing her own pursuit. Simply dragging this out is not an option, however, for she is likely far more tireless than you.

And so you reject that future, and try to carve another from the stone of fate.

You draw on the warp through your focus, clear and clean compared to the tainted power of the others. Shards form above you, and sharp, stabbing spikes of telekinetic force shoot out. A dozen strong, they pierce the upper layers of the armour-plate hide of the daemonic beast. As they penetrate the surface and dig in, each explodes, blasting parts of the shell loose, and carving a crater deeper and deeper with each blast.

Soon, there is a weak spot there, and a target. The Fullblade cannon speaks, hurling a plasma-blast of its own. Long, thin and burning with the heat of a star's core, it pierces the weakened hide, smashing its way through. Boiling plasma spills into whatever innards it may have, and while the warpfire glands may be shielded, it seems that the rest of it is not.

The beast screams in anger and pain, rearing up instinctively, slowing as it reconsiders its strategy. The wound scabs over, armour plate flowing like water over the damage. But it seems thinner, more fragile.

"You've grown, Maya. But you could go further still, if you'd just let yourself reach your full potential..."

The creature's head dips, and she hurls it towards the ground, breathing a beam of warp-fire. Vapourised rock boils forth as it disappears underground with surprising speed and skill, and you feel warp-power being applied to assist its passage through the ground towards you.
Archives (Maya)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:23
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
"That's the thing, the big difference between the likes of you and me."  Maya chides back, while calculating the next move.  With the attack breathing downwards into the moon itself...

Beneath line of sight then, an attack from below--not a bad plan actually, but it was one that could be subverted.

"Brace for evasion"  She warns, while sending the estimated attack data to the Fullblade, the tank beginning to jink with agility that should be beyond such a behemoth.  This alone would turn it from a hit to a near miss--but Maya subsequently deployed multiple sloped telekinetic fields to deflect what still came through.

"The difference is that I'm satisfied with who I am, and not interested in losing that to the first creature that waves a shiny in front of me."
Archives (Terradyne)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:23
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
"Satisfied? If you were, then why come to my world? Why do what you do? I sense a curious mind, ever pushing forwards. You aren't satisfied, it's just a lie your conscience tells you to hold you back."

You know where the creature will emerge, but it does not know that you know, and so you have an advantage. You slide out of the way moments before the stream of fire burns through the lunar surface, and the creature emerges behind it. Deflected partly back into itself, it recoils, twisting and turning, screeching once more as it is scorched by its own weapon.

And that moment of weakness is one that can be taken advantage of, the Fullblade cannon speaking once more, smashing out at the creature, higher on its body and with less preparation, but scoring it still, the blue-white beam leaving a mark almost deep enough to penetrate.

The Inquisitor snaps off a few shots with his rifle, largely ineffectually but perhaps every scrap of damage you can do to this creature will be worth it.

It is not the only threat, however, and as you skim past a crater rim a dozen cultists and daemons hurl themselves aboard. Not stopped by the void shields, and with your own telekinetic constructs busy disrupting the daemon-beast, they land upon the surface of the tank.

They start to climb, but find themselves without cover, against a marksman with a plasma-rifle and the training and equipment to overcome whatever blandishments the daemons might try to influence him with. They are hit by plasma-orbs, and either die, or fall backwards and tumble off of the tank, to hit the ground below at speed.

Whether or not this kills them, it at least takes them out of the battle for now.

The cultists are both more difficult and easier, for they are armed with ranged weapons. Las-fire spatters your position, some glancing off of your armour, but nothing can pierce the plate, nor the defences you have around it. Even melta-blasts do nothing, glancing blows merely reflected from the aberrant material.

And dealing with them is easier still than the daemons, their vacuum-suits weak and poorly armoured, and simple breaches often enough to kill them then and there. In an airless environment, they cannot fight for long.

"We are doing well." shouts the Inquisitor, sounding surprisingly enthusiastic. "Better than I thought we might. Keep wearing it down, and I will defend our position!"

The daemon rolls its form loose from the hole that it dug, once more lying across the surface in full. Score-marks and patches can be seen where it has not regenerated the damaged flesh and plate fully, and you can sense that it has weakened somewhat. But it still poses a colossal threat, and should not be taken lightly.

It rears up once more, and you sense condensing warp-energy, a gathering for some attack, or other purpose, as it darts forwards towards you, almost seeming to wish to slam its body onto the tank, to crush it underneath with sheer mass.
Archives (Maya)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:23
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
"Because we wouldn't be allowed to live in peace, so it was only prudent to prepare for war"  Maya retorted, before lashing out with a biomantic lightning bolt against a Daemonette that tried to lunge over the side.  "Life doesn't exist in a vacuum, all things are action and reaction.  I worked to prepare for a storm, not to seize power for the sake of it"

She had an idea.

The Null-Shock grenades strapped to her belt detached as one, encased in telekinetic globes as the Fullblade accelerated to avoid the descending Daemon.  Its maw opened to bay it's triumph, in defiance of the airless void.

All according to plan--as Maya hurled the munitions into the opened maw, activating them simultaniously.

A single one was disorienting when it just detonated nearby, how debilitating would it be in numbers, from within the body of the target?
Archives (Terradyne)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:24
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
"And yet the power you have is as nothing compared to what you could be. If you wished to prepare, then you should have taken our offer. The things you could do, the power you could wield. There would be nothing that would trouble your world again..."

You hurl the grenades into its mouth, and for a moment it almost seems that she will destroy them before they detonate. Yet with the damage you have inflicted, and the ongoing conversation, she has made a critical error. The grenades land in the maw of the beast, but instead of breathing fire upon them, melting the constructs and destroying them before they initiated, that the sensation of something within its mouth has triggered long-dormant instincts, and and she swallows them instead.

As they activate, you feel the null-fields expand, overlapping, interacting with each other. The warp is dulled, its connections severed, and something slips within the beast. It stares at you, slowed, thoughts running like treacle, deprived of its power to bend reality. It moves more like a creature that size should, slower and more ponderously, while your tank still skits about with ease.

No more words come from this creature, for now. Perhaps her mind barely even functions. But even without speed or warp-fire, this is still a dangerous beast.

It lashes out at the tank with a swipe from its claws, skittering through the void-shields as you skim past it. A scored line is left in the surface from claws able to rend through daemonflesh with ease, yet no true damage is done.

You pull back, away from the creature for now, and the Fellblade cannon strikes once more, impacting the weakened armour plate with another pulse. It damages it, cracking the surface, but does little more than that for now. The creature rolls to present an undamaged surface, but you note that it did not regenerate in the process, and seems robbed of that ability for now.

It turns towards your tank once more, seemingly fixated on reaching you. Yet it cannot quite catch you now, with its movement speed reduced.
Archives (Maya)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:24
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
"Hah!  Worked like a charm!"  Maya smirked, leveraging the staff.  "Here's the tricky part now!  I need total concentration here while it's vulnerable!"

She accessed the Staff's database and called up the original form of the insect that the Prince was using as her host.  It wouldn't survive long in that state, but with the disorientation and mental damage it had already sustaind, it would be easier to pin down.

The Staff glowed, a pure white light shining as a beacon as she released it's normal limiters--it was too big for any reshaping to occur otherwise, even including residual taint from the Daemon wearing it as a puppet.

When it had reached it's height--she lashed outwards, the beam connecting the Staff of Forgotten Stars with the Daemonhost, and beginning it's work at undoing the mutations and forced evolutions that had been imposed upon it.
Archives (Terradyne)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:25
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
You focus, drawing power, and you feel the staff respond quickly, eagerly. It recalls the template that you used before, and the modifications it made on a moment's notice. And it knows how to undo each and every one of them.

You sense something almost like disapproval at the warped changes to the body that the daemon has made, the twisted strands of genetics, bent out of shape in a most displeasing manner. Nevertheless, it disentangles them, bending the colossal power within towards undoing them, and restoring the original template.

As the creature starts to twist and warp, it shrinks. Armour plate thins once more, damage undone by power, but the repairs are hardly a liability, here. From a hundred metres long it drops to half that, its pace slowing as its legs shrink.

Soon it is the size of a human, and the null-fields, already damaged by your actions, collapse as the generators are crushed. But by this point there is little that the daemon can do to stop you.

"By the Emperor..." you hear from beside you, distantly, as you focus on controlling the great flow of power. A few snap-shots accompany it, the Inquisitor not allowing the shock to compromise his task.

Within moments it is almost too small to see, a small bug, choking on the airless rock, dust clogging its spiracles. With her faculties restored, the daemon seems less than impressed.

"You fool! This prison of false-flesh will not hold me for long." she says, turning to stare at you. "Before I had planned to turn you with pleasure...now I shall indulge you with nothing but pain!"

Despite her words, they do not carry quite the same level of threat that they might have before. Indeed, you can almost hear a hint of a squeak to them.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:25, Sat 17 Oct 2015.

Archives (Maya)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:25
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
"I said this thing was scary"  Maya admitted, picking up the harmless insect and dangling it distastefully before her as it made it's threats.  "There's a very good reason I normally avoid using it, but against the Daemon and their wiles, it's just fair play."

It lashes out harmlessly at her gauntlet, and she flicks it in the forehead, stunning the host.  "Quit bugging me"  She quips, hurling it upwards--as the Staff energized once again.

"Incidentally, I'm working at devising a more reliable version of this process, your Ordo will be among the first to know when I've gotten it to the point that it can be deployed without using any dangerous artefacts.  For now though..."

The only way to kill a Daemon was to either subsume it into a greater being, or to flay its mind and essence down--physically, mentally, and spiritually--to a nondifferentiated particle form.  In other words, ignite it and burn it to ashes.  Pyromancy was particularly adept at this, but it was taxing--and for that matter, a little bit wasteful to use in that fashion.

Lightning, after all, burned much hotter than any fire--and with the Staff in hand, she didn't need the intial spark to spread.

Sparks flew from her free hand to the staff, echoing back and forth as they built up power--and as the Daemonhost reached the apex of her toss, it was completed.

And a pillar of golden lightning filled the airless void.
Archives (Terradyne)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:26
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
She twists and turns, but trapped in the form of a small bug, struggling to escape the bindings that kept her within when it was a great beast, she is no match for you.

First, her body evaporates under the beam, torn to atoms, then further as the crackling golden beam shreds all coherency. In but a fraction of a second, all that is left is a cloud of dissociate plasma.

But that is only half the task, and within that cloud you see the half-formed shape of the daemon. Slender, almost Eldar in shape, she has a shocked expression, almost begging you not to finish it.

But even if you were inclined to listen, it is already too late. The crackling beam draws power from a high-level psyker, and a far greater source in the form of the crystal that you carry. Even if you wished to stop it, you likely could not.

And so you watch her come apart. It takes only a moment, but it stretches into an infinity, as her warp-presence comes unbound, disintegrating much as her physical body had moments before.

Slowly, surely, she returns to simple warp-energy. All that was her, obliterated. The taint gone, only a slowly-expanding cloud of neutral warp-energy left. The crystal pulses inquisitively, almost asking if you wish to try and do anything with what is left.

The Inquisitor turns towards you, apparently at a loss for words himself.

This message was last updated by the GM at 15:26, Sat 17 Oct 2015.

Archives (Maya)
Sat 17 Oct 2015
at 15:26
Walk Without Rhythm (The Midnight Tide Side Story)
"Bound, broken, and shattered"  Maya concluded, lowering the staff.  "To slay a Daemon beyond the ability to recover, you need to complete these three steps.  Failing to accomplish one leads to a speck of its essence escaping, and reforming over time.  It bound itself to a physical host, which I was able to reduce to a harmless form.  After that, the key step is attacking it with such overwhelming force--physically and spiritually--that the mind shatters and is sublimated by the background of the Warp.  I suspect an object carrying the God-Emperor's essence and will could perform the same feat, given his hatred of the Warp's denizens.  Making the hardest job to be preventing them from fleeing."

Her faceplate depolarized, and she turned to face the Inquisitor.

"We come from different times, and our enemies were different.  But what we all share, as sons and daughters of Terra--is a burning desire to survive and thrive in a galaxy that largely seeks to destroy us, with few exceptions.  Chaos is as much an enemy to us as it is you, and for their crimes--tainting Mankind's attempt to recover from the Age of Strife, they have gained nothing but our scorn.  Though we lack the resources and experience that the Imperium has gained in this war, we are learning as quickly as we can, and putting the knowledge we retain to use to forge weapons against them.  And with our location discovered, we no longer have need to hide, not anymore."