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Origins. Chapter 1: Raid

 Post subject: Origins. Chapter 1: Raid
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:37 am 
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*
Although told from a narrative viewpoint, the battles detailed here did actually happen and are so being told as a stylised battle report. In much the same way, the primary character will (hopefully) be improving over time as he earns experience and new skills: marking his progression from your ordinary teenage hiver to (once again, hopefully) something special.

For the purposes of telling a better story, depending on the scenario there will be a number of 'narrative' points, the basic premise of which is to allow dice scores to be adjusted or re-rolled. However, considering the extremely limited number, expect such fiddled events to be few and far between. In addition to this, the battles reported may use slightly different rules to make things more realistic from a fluffy pointed of view. (stuff like picking up weapons mid-fight).

That's all I have to say for the time being. Hopefully you'll enjoy!

*

Kaicha just wouldn't take a hint.

For the last hour now, Cham had been dropping subtle clues into the conversation that he would really rather Kaicha left him alone and allowed him to continue his guard duty, but the kid persisted in asking the watchman question after annoying question. It was an unnecessary and potentially dangerous distraction. If Cham couldn't devote his entire attention to maintaining a lookout, their settlement could become easy prey to any who decided it was a soft target. Truth be told, it was. 'Home' as those that lived there termed it, had only five people capable of wielding a gun with any degree of competence, and even that, Cham knew, would be vastly inferior to the shooting skills of the gangs which roamed the Underhive.

Well, Cham considered, that wasn't entirely the case. Kaicha's father, who everybody just called 'Chief' had, once upon a time, ran with the gangs. By all accounts it hadn't exactly been a distinguished run, but it counted for something that the Chief sported not a single injury from his time battling it out in the Underhive. The other man who was a reasonable shooter was the settlement's mechanic. The Chief knew his real name, and admonished people for not using it, but everybody continued to call the mechanic by his nickname of Gearhead. Unfortunately, the tech-loving man couldn't be compelled to leave his workshop for more than five minutes at a time, so sentry duty was out of the question. Not that Gearhead didn't contribute to the well-being of Home. Far from it. The mechanic was also a decent medic, and could patch up most injuries with ease, and there were a few creds to be earned in selling off Gearhead's completed experiments.

Mercifully, Kaicha had fallen quiet for the time-being, his reserves of innane questions seemingly exhausted. The other man on sentry duty: Brennan, caught Cham's eye and offered him a wry smile. For some reason, Cham was Kaicha's victim of choice; according to the other watchmen, Kaicha only ever dropped by when he was at his post, and the Chief's son never bothered anybody except for him. Perhaps Kaicha looked up to him or something, Cham really couldn't care less. All he knew was that he found the kid incredibly annoying, moreso because he couldn't reprimand him in case the Chief took exception to somebody snapping at his son. On the other hand... Cham had never seen the Chief tick somebody off for telling his son to go away, so perhaps the reason Kaicha bothered him so much was that he was the only watchman polite enough not to just tell the kid to buzz off.

Cham chuckled under his breath as he finally managed to puzzle out the reason why Kaicha only ever decided to bug him with incessant questions. For one, the kid's father: The Chief was on the worse side of fifty years old: Kaicha was but sixteen. That put idolising his father out of the question: Kaicha only saw him as an old man, rather than the tough, decisive and charismatic leader that The Chief really was. Once again falling on the age spectrum, Cham was barely nineteen years old himself, effectively meaning that he was the only guy in Home around the same age as Kaicha. Hell, out of the entire population of Home (admittedly this was only around fifteen people) there were only three people shy of twenty. However, the third teen was seventeen year-old Ketrice, and she was decisively off-limits to everyone but Cham: Even the most lewd of the settlers knew that their relationship was a no-go area. You don't interfere with the kind of romance the pair enjoyed. Cham was really one of only a couple of people that Kaicha could conceivably idolize, and adding to the other factors how Cham would never tell him to get lost (and Kaicha had heard less polite orders than that) it left Cham as some kind of hero. Rather than being annoyed, Cham considered, he should probably be flattered. Perhaps Kaicha wasn't so bad after a-

"Cham! Look! Out there! Those guys don't look friendly!" at Kaicha's warning, Cham wheeled around and gaped, open-mouthed as he spotted several wraith-like figures moving menacingly towards their position at the gate of Home. Although visibility was poor due to dust being blown around by the wind and creating an effect almost like fog, Cham could distinctly make out that at least two of the mysterious people were carrying lasguns. This wasn't looking good. Cham's eyes met Brennan's, seeking an opinion, and the older man nodded, fear showing in his eyes. Although Cham seemed to defer to the more experienced fighters living in home, he was the de facto second in command, behind the Chief of course, and everybody knew it. He wasn't necessarily the best fighter of the bunch, but he most certainly had the ability to make decisions: and good ones at that, on the spot.

His mind made up: the spectral gunmen moving ever closer, Cham swung around and dashed across the narrow gateway to the opposite side: where the alarm bell made its home. As he moved, he barked out orders.

"Brennan! Get that gate closed right now! Kaicha, I want you to rouse the rest of the village. Hurry, otherwise we're toa-" something heavy seemed to smash into Cham's back and he staggered, crashing into the bell and setting it to ringing as he fell to the ground face-first. Cham rolled over and tried to stand, berating himself for his own clumsiness, but suddenly slumped, his legs refusing to obey him as he collapsed against the stockade wall. Cham suddenly felt a strange sense of detachment: he could see Brennan yelling, but he couldn't hear any words. A las round seared the ground next to Brennan's feet and he leapt away in surprise, falling flat on his rear, before raising his stubgun and returning fire. Cham looked down slowly, feeling somehow wet, and was stunned to see dark blood soaking through his shirt at an alarming rate.
"D-damn..." Cham about managed to murmur before blacking out.

*

For whatever reason, Brennan was just shooting back at the attackers, rather than, as Cham had told him, closing the gate. Never mind that they were being shot at, Kaicha thought angrily, if they didn't get the gate closed the attackers would literally flood into the settlement and it would be all over in a matter of minutes. Kaicha felt sick; despite his anger. His hero had just been hit, and by the looks of his wound, he might have been down for good: or he would be before too long. Cham's chest was rising and falling almost indiscernably, he was alive. For now.

"Brennan!" Kaicha said sharply. "If you don't close that gate right now I swear to the Emperor I'll shoot you myself!" Kaicha backed up his point by running over to Cham and retrieving his stubgun. As Brennan hastened to carry out the command Kaicha aimed the gun carefully, holding it with both hands, then thumbing the hammer. With the weapon primed, Kaicha sighted an attacker and squeezed off a shot. Kaicha had practiced his shooting with Cham on ocassion: sometimes, he had just not been able to put up with all of his questions, and Cham had offered to take him on a target practice. Kaicha wasn't the greatest shooter in the world, but he was competent, and he was surprised to see one of the indistinct figures advancing on Home to stumble and fall. The remaining ghostlike assailants - Kaicha counted five, faltered momentarily, but then continued: returning fire in moments. Fortunately, the lasbolts only scored hits on the settlement's gate, the heavy wooden structure, leaving the two defenders and their wounded friend unharmed.

Kaicha moved back over to Cham and called Brennan again, and together, the pair of them dragged the unconscious man back from the gate and further into the centre of the village. With two men, the job became much easier, and their progress was swift. However, they were far from safety, as was demonstrated when a las round from their pursuers clipped Brennan's shoulder, searing the skin but leaving him mostly unhurt. If anything, it compelled him to move faster. The closest piece of cover from the gate was Gearhead's workshop, although, mercifully, the amount of clutter which had accumulated around it would provide sufficient protection for the time being. Kaicha hoped that would be the case anyway, he could conceal himself behind something only to have a hole blasted straight through it: and himself. A last moment burst of speed allowed the pair of them to haul Cham to safety, and not a second too soon as the area around the mechanical scrap they were using for cover exploded with a volley of las bolts from those pursuing them.

The ringing of the bell and the subsequent gunfire had been enough to alert the other inhabitants of Home that they had a serious situation taking place. Gearhead emerged from his workshop, clutching some strange contraption of a gun, which looked as though it may have been a laspistol in earlier life, in one meaty hand, and an oversized wrench in the other. Gearhead's eyes were obscured by goggles, and the majority of his face by an iron grey beard. He was bald, Kaicha knew, but always wore a floppy cap to conceal his dome. Gearhead was also rather short, but very beefy, only in his old age were his muscles running to fat. Behind Gearhead lurked Sparky, a servitor made from a truly mind-boggling hotchpotch of random mechanical parts. Sparky was humanoid, but definitely not human in appearance. The gaze of his lone eye, which was previously the scope of a rifle, was exceptionally unnerving: especially when the body it was home to boasted a rather large claw: obstentatiously for mechanical work, but Kaicha knew full well it could double as a weapon. Something that vicious looking couldn't possibly be a mere tool.

Gearhead didn't waste any time in rushing over to Cham and pulling out an injector full of stims, which he immediately thrust into Cham's leg and let him have the full dose, snapping the wounded fighter out of his stupor in a matter of seconds. Cham shook his head a couple of times as Brennan helped him to his feet, blinking rapidly.
"H-holy frak Gearsy! That's some s-seriously strong stuff!" Gearhead merely shrugged dismissively and peeked around the edge of the scrap. The raiders were at the gate now, and seemed to be trying to get through the locks on it. Now that the dust wasn't obscuring them, they were identifiable. They appeared to be nothing more than nomads, which was strange. The nomads didn't usually attack settlements just out of the blue...

"We need to spread out," said Kaicha. "If we're all bunched together we'll make an easy target," Cham was in no condition to lead in his drugged up state, hives fell faster than Brennan made decisions and Gearhead had no tactical ability whatsoever. In this situation, command seemed to fall squarely on Kaicha's shoulders. Brennan and Cham quickly headed across to the opposite side of the street, where a number of crates formed a large enough obstacle to conceal themselves behind with relative ease. Gearhead stuck with Kaicha, but waited, trying to find an opportunity to score a good hit. Sparky, meanwhile moved around the back of the workshop after an unspoken order from his creator. Cham pulled out a backup pistol after he realised the kid had taken his first one and started to return fire, albeit groggily. Kaicha tried to shoot down one of the raiders with another shot from his stubgun, but failed to hit anything. Moments later, the nomads succeeded in forcing the gate open and the five men poured into Home, snapping off shots from their lasguns. One shot passed close enough to Cham to singe his hair, causing him to duck for cover once again.

A welcome sight indeed came bursting from the largest house in the settlement: Kaicha's father, the Chief, brandishing an autopistol and a vicious looking mace. Alongside him was Dai, a long-time friend of the Chief and packing an autogun to boot. Preceding that pair was Gave, the Chief's pet hound, yapping like a mad thing and making a beeline towards the nomads at blistering speed. Encouraged by the oncoming reinforcements, the others fought even harder to secure their position. Noticing one of the nomads was armed with a pistol and a sword: a massive contrast to his companions, Kaicha stepped out of cover in order to get the best shot possible and pulled the trigger of his stubgun. The lead nomad was hit in the chest and spun off of his feet, causing two of the men attacking alongside him to go fleeing for cover. The other pair with him merely gritted their teeth and continued firing, Brennan broke from cover to in order to continue supressing the enemy. The two nomads simply moved away from the open and into cover of their own, but their replying volley of las bolts failed to hit anything.

Just as the tide seemed to be turning though, another area erupted in shooting: a group of nomads, four strong all told, had managed to circle the main gate and break in through a different part of the stockade wall. This group now laid down a heavy fire on Gearhead's position, the aged mechanic being forced to hug his cover more tightly than he would have thought possible. Nevertheless four times las bolts slammed into Gearhead, two merely grazing him, but the second pair hitting him badly enough to knock him to the ground, gasping in pain: the fact that one of the lasguns then stuttered and failed on its user was but a small mercy for the injured man. Meanwhile, the nomad leader crawled desperately for cover whilst one of his cowardly comrades finally regained his nerve and began shooting once again.

Cham saw that Gearhead was in trouble and braved the street and a brace of lasbolts a second time in order to get back to his position and aid him. Spotting the flanking nomads, Kaicha dropped back to remain protected from them whilst still firing on the nomads attacking through Home's front gate. Catching a glimpse of one nomad crouched by the wreckage of the gate, Kaicha carefully aimed and fired, letting out a whoop as he spotted the nomad being flung back. Unfortunately, Kaicha's stubgun ran out of ammo at that point: with only six rounds per load, it happened faster than with most guns, and though Kaicha only recalled firing five shots, there was no guarantee Cham had had the weapon fully loaded prior to the beginning of the battle. Cham probably had more ammo on him, but he was too far away for Kaicha to call out to for more ammunition... Kaicha steeled himself, the sprinted out into the open once again.

At the same time, Brennan was also making a charge on the gate. Firing his stubber, he caught one of the nomads - who was taking cover behind the alarm bell, with a shot to the arm. However, judging by the only momentary cease in gunfire, Brennan guessed he had inflicted little more than a flesh wound. Still running, Brennan was astonished to see Gave outstrip him totally, baying and growling like a creature gone mad. The Chief was also moving fast, quickly dashing forward, he made it to the crates which Cham and Brennan had used as cover earlier and stopped there a moment to catch his breath. He was too old for this...

Dai, meanwhile, had been moving forward at a slower pace. He owned the best gun in Home: his autogun was much better than the numerous pistols the others possessed. He fired off a burst at the flanking group as he headed towards them, but the shots failed to find their mark. Dai frowned, readjusted his aim and kept on firing. In between Dai and his targets was Cham, who was grateful of the extra support. He and the injured Gearhead were being thoroughly suppressed by the nomads, even if one was reduced to using a pistol now. Desperately trying to relieve the pressure on him, Cham leant out of cover and emptied all six chambers of his stubber at the attackers in rapid succession, prompting a brief pause in return fire, though pretty much only long enough for Cham to get himself back into cover before they decided his head made a fine target. As the return fire smashed into the machinary around the pair of them, Gearhead came to his senses with a groan of pain and picked himself, one paw clenched to a bleeding wound on his shoulder. This was far from over.

The nomad flanking group split apart, the four of them running in various directions to find good hard cover of their own and tip the tide of the fight back into their favour. However, a volley of gunfire turned up not a single hit, although it encouraged Cham to hit the dirt. More adverse to the nomads was the failure of a second lasgun, this one exploding altogether - though the user remained unharmed. The battle was rapidly evening out where it came to guns, with several nomads now reduced to wielding only their pistols against the inhabitants of Home. Unnerved by Gave tearing towards him, a nomad shot at the dog, missing it altogether due to the speed at which it was moving. With only two shooters still standing at the entrance to Home things were going to get ugly in a hurry for the nomads.

Indeed, so intent were the flanking group on the gunfight that they didn't notice a figure emerge from the shadows behind them, solitary red eye glinting in the darkness... the rearmost nomad heard the tell-tale clank of machinery, turned around and was just opening his mouth to scream when Sparky's claw drove its way through his ribcage with an explosion of blood. The nomad died without a sound, flopping to the floor lifelessly, a great bloody rent smashed into his chest. The three remaining nomads each detected this sound and turned as one man to confront this new adversary. One let out a wordless cry of horror, and all three opened fire immediately, their shots going wild in their fear or merely glancing off Sparky's body and failing to hit anything important. Elsewhere, Gave and Brennan reached the nomad beside the bell together, the two of them being more than enough to put him down hard: especially when Brennan next to blew the nomad's head off by jamming his stubber into his opponent's mouth as they fought. At the same time, Kaicha braved gunfire to attack the last man who wasn't either down or fleeing, an errant lasbolt passing within inches of Kaicha's head. Armed with nothing more than his empty stubber, Kaicha laid into the nomad, utilising the gun itself to drive him back with hard shots. At that point, the nomad decided enough was enough and fled for all he was worth, just managing to duck a last attack from Kaicha. The advance of Sparky unnerved the fighters left in the flanking group that they made a break for it too, evidently deciding that whatever they came for wasn't worth going through the servitor to get. Whilst Kaicha was still raging incoherently after the fleeing man, the downed leader and nomad who had fallen just inside Home's gate managed to pick themselves up and run straight past the young man: it wasn't as if he could shoot after them.

The Chief made his way into the centre of Home and looked around the place, noting the bullet casings, the las burns on walls, the bloodstains, and the two dead bodies of the enemy nomads sprawled out on the ground.

"I thought I left all of this behind," Chief murmured to himself, the slightest hint of a tear pricking one eye.

*

Well, that's the first chapter: I hope you enjoyed reading this, a sort of narrative battle report, but with some liberties taken in certain areas. (such as fighting the close combat with Sparky before I did the rest of my turn, that made it read better in my opinion)

Things I utilised 'narrative' points on:
Kaicha's first shot and subsequent ammo roll.
Once again when Kaicha took down the leader, with rolls to hit and wound.

Things which might seem that way but weren't.
Bearing in mind Kaicha had the stats of a juve: he shot at long range with his stubgun at a target in hard cover (making it an 8+ to hit) Kaicha hit with that one without any 'artistic licience' though he did fail the ammo roll resulting from it.
Cham recovering from his flesh wound right at that point: Gearhead used a medipack, represented by that injector full of meds.

Since I didn't want Kaicha of any house, I determined skills tables randomly: he turned up as Agility, Combat, and Shooting. Since he earned 18 exp (I counted 'narrative' wounds as 1/2 exp) and was started off as a base juve, this gave him 3 advances, gaining him the Parry skill, and I and WS +1. Brennan (the only other guy, apart from Sparky, to wound somebody) picked up two advances (he started as a juve too) earning WS+1 and the True Grit skill (I rolled his tables seperately from Kaicha's)

Comment on the story if you like and don't be shy of offering constructive criticism: I'm always looking for ways to improve. Sorry this is so lengthy, by the way, I might make the next chapter a little more manageable in size.

_________________
You see Reilly in the Underhive, and you're lookin' at me.


Last edited by Katana on Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:06 am 
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I liked it. I thought you worked out the mechanics within the writing very well.

Good job, and I am looking forward to more.

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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: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:27 pm 
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That was a really good read. Well written and with good structure. My only gripes would be that it felt a little long - obviously you were being faithful to the actual battle, but maybe a few less details of single shots might have made it flow a little better? Also, having a wooden gate in the underhive struck me as odd.

But yeah, really good.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:08 pm 
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Thank you both for your feedback, I'll try take your suggestions on-board Meeshka: and the gate... well, that just sort of came out of nowhere, I have to concede, it does seem a bit strange, now that you point it out.

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