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A collection of Short stories for Necromunda

 Post subject: A collection of Short stories for Necromunda
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:06 am 
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Last summer I was asked if I would be interested in writing a few short stories for some upcoming articles for the Ash Wastes. This is not a paying type of job and thus the reason I was asked :P but I do enjoy writting so I took up the challange. Bellow are a series of six stories. For the most part they are unrelated and they are not all that fleshed out. The intention was for a few fluff type pieces to accompany the article(s).

If you take the time to read them - thank you. Reading is an investment of your time and I hope that you feel the time not wasted.

Please, if you feel so led, post feedback - good, bad, neither. I just ask it to be constructive as my overall goal is to become a better writter.

And now for the stories...

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"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:07 am 
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Nomad Scout

The rushing wind raised a howl and caused the ash dust to rain against the rock hard industrial waste throughout the canyon. As the light filtered down through the chemical cloud cover above a purple hue was cast on everything. As the inevitable ash storm prepared to whip through, a lone figure nestled into a crevice high upon the canyon wall. Pulling a telescope from his hooded long coat the man peered down at the shanty town on the canyon floor below.

About four dozen shacks, with no apparent forethought, huddled within a seven meter tall make shift wall. Everything within the settlement was a patchwork of salvaged industrial wastes. Girders, sheet metal, old vehicle parts, or whatever the particular occupants could manage to find and thrown together for shelter. It didn’t matter if the hovel was used for as a personal residence or a gambling den it all looked the same.

The man lowered the telescope then glanced up at the wall of the massive hive. It continued up well beyond his field of view. It was not the wall that he was interested in. From somewhere within the toxic clouds lights began to flicker on causing not only a slight increase in the light level, but a shift in the shadows below. Beneath his respirator a grin formed. It was only a matter of time, and he had survived his entire life out here.

At twenty three he was a seasoned veteran. Since childhood he had known how to change the filter and adjust his respirator. From adolescence he could read the shifting ash dunes and blowing toxins in the winds. Once he was allowed to join the band of nomads he quickly learned how to navigate between the hives. Even so he was better than most. He was a scout for his band. Entrusted to recon routes, gather information, and to report back anything of interest. It was the later that brought him to edge of this cliff on the eve of the biggest ash storm he had seen in many seasons.

A bolt of electricity cracked the sky between the hive and cavern wall having been grounded from somewhere in the eighteen kilometer skyline above. Raising the telescope back to his eye the nomad noticed that the activity level had increased dramatically within the shanty town. Some tried to board up their flimsy shelters while others sought entry into under ground bunkers, handing a few coins in barter to the owners. People were running everywhere. But there was a group of men walking around a rather large shack right against the hive wall. They neither looked scared nor rushed. This is what he was watching for.

Ten men had formed a semi-circle perimeter in front of the building, small arms at the ready. As the wind picked up the nomad barely detected the roar of a very large engine coming to life. He watched the makeshift building behind the men as it imploded. Out of the newly formed pile of scrap a large vehicle began to move. In pairs the men moved from their perimeter and climbed aboard a slowly moving crawler as it emerged from its self inflicted shroud.

It didn’t move all that fast, but it was mammoth. It was twice the height of the shanty town’s defenses and weapon stations covered its armored shell. As it lumbered towards the gate it became obvious that unless someone opened up the gates it was going to just plow on through them. Faint alarms could now be heard and several figures changed their course to move to the gates. As the behemoth reached the gateway the pair of doors began to swing outwards barely keeping pace. Without any noticeable hesitation the crawler squeezed through the gates. When it cleared the gates the gatekeepers did not waste any time and closed the gates behind it.

The sheer mass of the vehicle caused the ground to tremor slightly as it rolled beneath the nomad. He no longer needed his telescope and tucked it back into its pocket inside his long coat. Shifting his weight he turned to watch the crawler slowly disappear. Once out of sight the lone figure climbed back up over the edge of canyon wall. Jumping into a waiting buggy he quickly gunned the engine and raced out into the wastes. His fellow nomads would be very interested to learn about this.

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"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:07 am 
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Shanty Elder
Elder Khanst emerged from the bunker with little fanfare. But that was to be expected. The Ash storm had lasted for 3 days and his town was just beginning to dig itself out from under the carnage. Behind him Telila, the town’s doc, kicked at a partially submerged piece of plasteel.

“Doesn’t look too bad,” was all she said.

Khanst just nodded without looking over his shoulder. He looked around at what was left. The walls had held up well, although he was sure there would be digging involved to remove any natural ramps that formed from the shifting wastes outside. The nomads would quickly realize the strategic importance of being able to get over the walls so easily thus making the removal of wastes from around the walls his town’s first priority.

“Thank you for the Shelter ‘Tel’,” Khanst said as he turned to face the doc.

“It was my pleasure Khanst,” she said as she winked.

There wouldn’t be much time. Nomads and scavvy bands were quick to immerge from the dust and debris. With the storm lasting so long hunger would be a powerful motivator, and his town was now vulnerable.

Walking down the main street through town Khanst noticed the merchants were quickly setting up shop. ‘They’re always the fastest to get back to normal’ he chuckled to himself. Taking advantage of the empty paths through the market Khanst eyed the wares. In the last three years he had served as town Elder he gotten to know the usual guilders, or their representatives, that braved the wastes. On the surface they all paid homage to Lord Helmawr and their wares were perfectly legal. But outside the hive walls Lord Helmawr’s strong arm was not quite so firm. Many traders also dealt with black market items. After all ‘slaught’, ‘spook’ and the various other drugs of choice were so much more profitable.

“Glad to see that you weathered the storm Gaul. Looks like you got some new hardware I see,” Khanst said picking up a rectangular device with tubes and wires protruding out at odd angles.

“You have an eye for quality Elder Khanst,” the slightly rotund merchant said with a smile. “But, I am sure this is out of reach of even your deep pockets.” And with that the guilder reached out and relieved the elder of the device.

“Perhaps, but has my shipment arrived?”

The guilder looked around, slightly nervous.

“Relax Gaul. The Enforcers won’t learn of your little side business, just so long as you keep Talila supplied with the Stinger patches – unofficially of course.” The Elder let the words hang in the air momentarily before moving on his way.

Khanst left the guilder’s quarter and headed towards the gates – his little town’s ‘red light’ district. Emira and Jinty were a pair of Delaque who had left the hive for reasons all their own. Not only did they run some highly profitable businesses catering to various pleasures, but they were an invaluable source of information of what was happening. Not just within the walls of ‘Hive’s End’, but also the occasional tidbits of information from out in the waste. And at times – even within the hive itself. As he drew near to the gates the above ground portions of the buildings were in ruin – but not to worry. Peeling apart some smaller sections of what used to be a wall he found what he was looking for, a tube extending four meters into the air. As he climbed the ladder he pulled at the stock of his nomad long rifle – a specialized weapon afforded to him by his position – bringing it over his right shoulder. As he reached the top of the ladder he was able to rap the bulkhead door with one hand.

After a few moments a distant metallic clang resounded. He was sure the two had sheltered a large portion of the population, for a slight fee of course. Still this is where the bulk of his work force would come from.

“There you are boss.”

The Elder turned around to face his second, the town’s former leader. “Do you have the rest of the boys Zatar?”

“Everyone except Gurst and his juves, apparently they threw some kind of ‘ash storm’ party and paid the price.”

“It doesn’t matter. There will be other to replace them.”

Khanst sighed. Not many of the buildings above ground had survived. Who knows how many perished because they had tried to brave the elements. But one thing was for sure, “Hive’s End” would rebuild. He would see to that.

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"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:08 am 
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Mechanic

It was the center of his entire world and he hated it. A vein of some strange metallic ore twisted into a mockery of a long extinct tree. The “Killer Angels” had first been attracted to it because they thought it was something to be salvaged, but even back then it mocked him. There was nothing that could cut it, and he had tried. Saw blades, cutting torches, even demo charges. Not even a scratch. Then it became a symbol of their band’s strength and resistance to the elements of Necromunda.

Once Halleck had discovered the ruins of that crash landed drop ship his fate was forever sealed to that thing. Within the hulk they discovered scores of vehicles and spare parts. There was no way Halleck would walk away from such a find and he established what he called a way-station. You got it, right at the base of that… thing. Since then he had barely traveled more than a half a kilometer from that visage of metal. Buggies, trucks, and even a walker all hung from that “tree” like marionettes – all of them in some state of disrepair.

His latest challenge was a two-seater buggy, and of course the owners just had to have it yesterday. The rear axle had been knocked at such an angle as to cause it to continually pull to the left. Its roll cage had been caved in just above a pile of bloody goop in the “gunner” seat (he had know it was a gunner’s station by the pintle mount now smashed). And to top it off the engine had seized. They couldn’t have discovered a batch of electrical motors – no! But like a craftsman he had put it back together and now it only needed one last piece.

Picking up a mesh of respirator’s that had been jury rigged into some sort of air filter he set to the task of mounting it to the engine. Once the last bolt was in place he stood up and reached into the crew area. Hitting the starter button the engine roared to life spewing a cloud of black smoke. That’s when the urge hit him. Jump in and take it for a test run out on the dunes, no body would miss him for a few hours.

As he lifted his leg to slip into the driver’s seat a small truck raced in and slid to a stop only a meter from his boots.

“Gunder! She’s took a round to right rear axle. Think you could have it fixed in a day or so?”

He could almost hear the “tree” laugh at him as the winds blew through its boughs.

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"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:09 am 
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Caravan Recruit

Harten watched his new boss pace back and forth before him and the rest of the “recruits”. He had been itching to get out of that rats nest of a shanty since his thirteenth birthday, and when the guilders came recruiting he jumped at the chance.

“Anyone here that does not own their own weapons take one step forward!”

The scrappy kid to his left stepped up and was immediately escorted out the back door, and Harten’s was very grateful that his respirator hid the smirk now plastered all over his face. Reaching down with his left hand he patted the hefty stub gun in its holster. Good thing that scavvy didn’t need it anymore – served him right for wandering into town all alone like that.

“Right… anyone else? Good!” The man stopped his pacing and turned to face the rest of the men. “You all will be riding with the outgoing caravan tonight. We didn’t have time to be picky so y’all will just have to do.” He paused to let that sink in. “We leave in fifteen minutes. Report to the caravan and get your assignments.”

Harten walked from the warehouse. The wind was howling and whipping up the wastes around him. He would finally shake off this shanty town and get out and see what Necromunda was really about. ‘Fortune favors those who seek her,’ he thought to himself. And that is exactly what he was setting out to do.

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"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:09 am 
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Shopping for Rides

Elder Khanst wandered through the market. His little shanty had recovered nicely since the last storm. The barricades where rebuilt and the gates repaired. Even the local businesses had been restored to their previous glory. As a matter of fact the recovery had been getting along so well he was now in the market for some new rides for his newly recruited defenses. Having to recruit almost an entirely new gang afforded him the opportunity to be more aggressive in his tactics. No longer would they sit and wait for the Nomads to attack, they would go out on patrol. Maybe even venture in-hive to forage from time to time.

“Ah, Gaul! How are we doing this fine day?” Khanst’s voice reverberated nicely through his respirator.

“Elder Khanst! So good to see you well this morning. What can my humble little trading post offer you today?”

Khanst despised the rotund little man. He was always scarce when the town needed work done, but impossible to get rid off when things needed to be acquired. Still, the man was resourceful in getting those hard to find items – either sanctioned by the ruling house or otherwise.

“Mobility Gaul, mobility. What can you do for me in the way of transportation for me and my boys?”

“Ah, yes, right this way my friend.” The Guilder led his client to the back of the little shack where he bartered goods and then out through a little door. Once out back Khanst looked upon a sizable stable, fully enclosed of course. Roaming among several vehicles was a wide variety of animals. “Let us start with a wonderful truck. Right over here.”

It was a truck in name only. There were no doors, no windows, the cargo area was the only thing with a complete floor, but it was sizable. With eight wheels, and such a large cargo area it was not really what the Elder had in mind.

“Gaul, I said I need mobility. Does it look like I’m going to be running caravans back and forth across the wastes to you?”

“Ha ha ha, perhaps I misunderstood you,” the man said with a smile. “Perhaps a buggy, or a few cycles then? Right this way.”

Walking around the back of the truck the guilder had to shoo away several dog sized reptiles. “They are not much now, but once they reach their full size they will tower over these bikes,” the guilder said as he waved his hand to direct Khanst’s attention. As the elder followed the guilder’s hand he saw some very nice specimens. Three hefty looking bikes with good dust gripping tires, and one sported a small side car with a pintle mount. This was more of what he was looking for. Slightly behind the bikes was a buggy. A two-seater with a pintle welded to the roll bar above the riders seat. And in the back, just behind the engine, was small cargo area.

“Much better Gaul, much better. But what about something that does not require as much maintenance?”

The guilder seemed to hesitate for a moment. Almost as if he was distressed – like he had lost a sale. “Perhaps these animals would suit you better Elder Khanst?” The little man pointed just over Khanst’s shoulder to a small herd of reptilian-like animals.

No two were identical. Several were bipedal, most had four legs. There was even one with eight. They ranged in size from about the size of the cycles he had just seen to one larger than the truck. The range of colors was also widely varied, but all of them were suited for their harsh environment.

“Wonderful Gaul. Let’s get down to business…”

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"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:10 am 
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Flight

“Come on you Emperor damned beast!”

No matter how much Bahlaam spurred or whipped the beast it just would not move. For several hours the man had been trying to rejoin his gang. He had joined the Shanty Towne militia in hopes of earning some respect, and maybe even some guilders for his trouble.

“A little raid is all says he. Be home by supper. My Emperor forsaken rump says I!” He said shaking his fist at the toxin filled sky. “Them Nomads mighty pissed, I tell you what… Come on you stubborn lizard!”

The two legged beast just turned its head and looked bored, and no amount of prodding seemed to get the interest of the animal.

“Fine, have it your way.” And with that he got down off the animal and fetched a pair of binoculars out of his saddle bag. Tracking his mount’s trail back the way they had come he wanted to see if the Nomads had followed them in search of vengeance. More than once he could have sworn that he heard the roar of an engine over the unceasing winds, only to see nothing beyond the dunes.

Returning to the saddle bags he drew a handful of feed for his mount.

“Come now Dokey. We best be getting back to ‘Hell’s Gate’ before sun down or else them Nomads are gonna make a meal out of ya.”

The beast gobbled up the food, but would not let the man remount him until it had had another six handfuls. Finally remounting the beast the both of them where once more racing over the dunes towards home.

As the pair neared ‘Dead Man’s pass’ Bahlaam noticed several overturned vehicles, smoke winding its way up to join the clouds above. The closer they approached the carnage the more it became obvious that his fellow militia had been ambushed, and by the amount of dead (both man and beast) it would appear that not many, if any, had survived. Pulling his beast up short on top of an ash dune some hundred meters distant, he surveyed the killing ground. As he peered through the binoculars his attention was more on the bluffs overlooking the pass then upon the dead below.

His options were limited. The pass was the only safe passage back to ‘Hell’s gate’. A sludge sea filled the area to the south, and an acid geyser field to his north. It would take him days to go around either one, and his food was all but out.

“Necromunda you have lived up to your name this day, haven’t ya.” Bahlaam thought to himself. After several minutes of surveying the area he could not detect a single living thing. Leaning over he talked gently into his mount’s ear.

“Dokey, you must fly and you mustn’t stop for nothin’. You hear me! There is no where else for us to go. Come on now, get on home! H’ya!”

Digging in both heals into the beast’s ribs Bahlaam urged the lizard-beast into a headlong flight down the dunes, straight for the mouth of the pass.

His mount seemed to sense the danger and picked up speed. Without hesitation or further instruction from his rider the beast vaulted clear of dead and debris, never turning from their goal and the relative safety ahead.

Bahlaam let the animal dictate the path and speed. They two had been together since he was old enough to ride and his mount had always brought him home. Instead he continued to scan the bluffs now looming above his head, searching for anything that might reveal imminent danger.

“CRACK!” The unmistakable report of a rifle played off the rock formations, but the beast never skipped a step and both mount and rider raced into the pass through the other side of the Nomad killzone.

-=-=-=O=-=-=-

“Open the gates! The Militia is returning, open the gates!”

Slowly the massive metal doors swung wide. But there was no militia to greet the townspeople, just a lone beast. Its rider being dragged still connected to the stirrup.

Several people ran out to help the man, but it was too late. The man was dead – a single, large caliber, bullet hole. It entered through the rider’s forehead and exited via a small cavern in the back.

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"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:12 am 
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If you are still reading at this point thank you very much.

I proof read all of the stories, some more than others. I actually have one more story that I have been working on for this series but it is porving difficult, and it is much larger (about twice the size of any piece above).

I hope you all enjoyed the read and than you once again.

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"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:09 am 
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Good stories. I liked all of them.

There are a couple of small spelling errors, ones which a spell-checker wouldn't catch (like "heals" instead of "heels" in the last story). But, other than that, excellent.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 2:43 am 
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excellent as ever, i like the last story most.

did any of your work get used?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 5:10 am 
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Thank you both for the encouraging feedback.

I am not 100% positive if they will be used or not. I have been told thata they were all used - and I am encouraged to continue to produce them and send them in. But the articles have not been posted yet.

They are supposed to be for the Ash Waste rules that have been tweeked - and yes, my version of them will be yanked in favor of the new ones. :-) LOL

Cykotech - thanks for the feedback - especially on the misspellings. My first draft relies pretty heavily upon the Word processing software (usually MS Word). But as you can see, even my 2d and 3d drafts have errors. :-o LOL

I also have chapter eight for my continuing charecter (Ian Hauk), but I need to proof it at least once more.

TTFN - and thanks again

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"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:45 pm 
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In Shanty Elder there's a couple of different spellings of Telila.

I enjoyed the stories, that's some pretty fine work.

May I suggest a Chase story? Maybe a buggy trying to avoid a Nomad Bike Gang or something?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:51 pm 
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Like the stories.

if you're writing Ash Wastes stuff you need to have a car chase at some point. Even better if the description of the chase mirrors the way the rules work.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:25 pm 
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Wow, thank you for the catch on the mis-spelling of one of the charecter's name... sheesh. I will have to re-edit...

Thank you both for the idea... a chase scene... using the rules for 'mirroring'... hmmm....

Off to refresh my memory....

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"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:26 am 
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I only got a chance to read the first one - wow, that was great!
I really want to read more of the story - that's an indication of good writing - a great plot hook.

My only unfavourable criticism would be regarding grammar/punctuation.
"From somewhere within the toxic clouds lights began to flicker, causing not only a slight increase in the light level, but also a shift in the shadows below."

This first two sentences should be strung together to make sense, and the last needs some punctuation:
"Everything within the settlement was a patchwork of salvaged industrial wastes - girders, sheet metal, old vehicle parts, or whatever the particular occupants could manage to find and throw together for shelter. It didn’t matter if the hovel was used for as a personal residence or a gambling den, it all looked the same. "



Just get a grammar nazi like me to proofread for you, and you're golden.

Keep it coming!


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