All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 SJ
The Age of Chaos
written by SJ
On the bridge of the General’s command cruiser, Lana, Bull, Gannon, and Alvaro waited to be returned to Cornucopia’s space station. Major Yarrick was there with the General. They were just finishing up an argument as to why Yarrick decided to accompany his troops into the mine instead of being at his command post, where he belonged.
“Wasn’t Shaw’s men part of your ship’s guards? You took those down with you, didn’t you?” The General seemed to know.
“I needed to reinforce my squad for that diversionary attack.” Yarrick explained. “Remember, I lost three wounded. That left me with only two guys. I needed Commissar Shaw and the rest of his team to reinforce. He told me he left two guys back on the ship,” his anger turned logical, “and look at it this way--those two were the only guys I actually lost. If I had left all the guards back on the ship, tell me this: Do you think that would’ve mattered?” Before the General answered, he continued. “If not...then I would’ve lost all of them...right?”
The General didn’t answer right away. No matter how much he and Yarrack argued, in the end, they always seemed to get things done, no matter what differences they had. He then, responded, trying to calm the situation. “You still could’ve just let Commissar Shaw lead your two teams.”
Yarrick sighed. “Your probably right.” He threw up his hands and let them slap down on his sides, turning away, a sign the argument was over. “How the hell was I supposed to know my command ship was going to be attacked.” He pondered. “Someone on my ship must’ve had a WARP gate...”
When the two commanders turned, they both saw Lana, and the three Space Marines sitting calmly at the bridge’s small conference table. They had been given drinks.
Yarrick suddenly pointed at Lana, shouting, almost making her spill her drink. “That was a damn good try...” He looked at the General, “what’s her name?”
The Major turned back to Lana. “Anytime you want to join my Mercenary Guard squad let me know. I’m willing to bet I can pay you twice what your getting now--”
Lana glanced over at a video screen with Colonel Gallardo on it. She saw him roll his eyes just before she returned her attention to the two commanders.
“Yarrick, let’s focus on the task on hand.” The General interrupted. “Chaos now has a spaceship. We’re going to have to deal with that--”
“General, we have an incoming transmission.” One of the bridge crew announced, urgently.
“Who’s it from?”
The crewman looked at the Major, then back at the General before answering, “it’s Yarrick’s command cruiser.”
The Major stood, looking upset.
The General went into action. “Where’s it at? Can you get a lock on it’s location?” On two other video screens were the captains of two destroyer class ships. He pointed at them. “You guys get your ships ready to move.”
“Try to disable my cruiser if you can.” Yarrick looked at the General, who looked back. The Major began explaining, “they might not have had time to gain control of the weapons yet.”
“It’s out there next to Proxima Altar Minor.” Another crewman announced clearly.
Proxima Altar Minor was Proxima Altar’s second sun, a red M5 class, orbiting the orange K3 sun at 14.8 A.U. distance (approximately 1800 million kilometers).
The General pointed at the video screens with the destroyer commanders. “You guys make a quick-jump out to that location as soon as you can. Fire if fired on, otherwise disable the cruiser.” He then pointed at another crewman. “See if you can contact that asteroid mining base out there?”
He then told the first crewman to put the incoming transmission on the main screen.
There, for all to see, was the face of a strange-looking, middle-aged, man. His eyes were just starting to take on a dark, sunken, appearance. Most of his hair had already fallen out. His face and skin were starting to look pale, with a grey, yellowish tint. He seemed to be wearing a shirt, or, maybe the top half of a robe that was grayish-green in appearance with what looked like the image of a light-green, three-headed, hydra on it. But, what horrified the viewers the most, was that one side of his head was covered by what looked like a large, black, slug, like it was physically part of him, the slug itself having several tendrils coming out, which all appeared to be plugged into him, head, neck, and shoulders...possibly more in his back.
The General, Yarrick, and most of the crew fell silent, their eyes fixated.
Lana slowly stood up, her eyes wide. After a second she spoke out loud. “Major Boseman!”
All eyes were on Lana for a second, then they turned back, the General finally recognizing him.
“Thad.” The General pleaded. “Thad...what’s wrong with you? Thad--”
“I do not go by that name any longer.” The face of the man on the screen showed almost no emotion. His eyes narrowed seriously, then he spoke again. “I am Alpharius, Lord of Chaos. I am currently in command of this spacecraft as per my contract with Ahriman, Chaos Lord of Tzeentch. Join us, or be destroyed.”
The General tried reasoning. “Thad...you can’t possibly--”
Alpharius suddenly scowled, looking past the General at someone else in on the bridge. “LAFONG! Bring me LaFong!”
All eyes turned to Lana, who stood surprised, mouth open.
Just as suddenly, Alpharius regained his composure, then spoke, regaining the focus of the bridge personnel. “A new age is coming--The Age of Chaos,” he boasted sharply just before the screen went blank.
Lana remained standing as Yarrick looked at her, his voice half joking. “He really doesn’t like you.”
The General sighed, speaking to Yarrick, half joking himself. “Yeah...what was your first clue.” After another sigh, he got the attention of the crewman who was supposed to contract the asteroid mining base. “Did you contact that base, yet?”
“I can’t get through.” The crewman looked at the General. “It’s being blocked.”
The General sighed, then looked up at the screens that had shown the commanders of the two destroyers. They were blank, showing that they had already jumped.
Even a short jump lost time, a minimum, no matter how short, usually about an hour. However, some ships, those like destroyers, could do it faster, in half the time. That still meant 30 minutes. So the General would have to wait.
Yarrick sat down in one of the reserve command seats.
General Parker started to pace, but then looked at Lana, who was still standing, a worried look on her face.
Lana faced the General, feeling she needed to apologize. “I’m sorry.”
The General looked at her, wondering why.
She tried to explain. “If I just would’ve kept my mouth shut back there at Cliffdale, maybe none of this would’ve happened--”
“No, you’re wrong, sergeant.” The General sharply corrected. “Thad...Major Boseman made his choice long before you had anything to do with it.” He walked over and put his hand on her shoulder as she sat down. “If you hadn’t been there, Colonel Gallardo might’ve lost even more Marines.” He smiled. “But, I understand, Sergeant. Thanks. I’ve known Thad a long time. I’m sorry to lose him like this.”
As the General’s command ship proceeded back to the space station to drop off its four passengers, Yarrick stood up to discuss the encounter in the mine, and the results it might imply, something he’d been thinking about for awhile. The General thought they were going to have another argument, but Yarrick was calm. He started by recounting the battle, starting with the Federal Marines first. “Davis said he never encountered any Tzeentch Chaos Marines.”
General agreed. “He said all they encountered was a bunch of these weird little demons, then some Cultist holding a staff, who shouted something in Latin, then another even stranger demon stepped out.”
“Latin?” Yarrick thought it strange.
“I was told it translated into, ‘Spawn of Chaos, or Chaos Spawn.’ The General explained. “Davis wiped out all of them, but unfortunately lost two Marines.”
“But, no Tzeentch Chaos Marines, right?”
The General tried to guess what Yarrick was trying to say. “At the WARP gate, the mine was blocked by a cave in. Davis’ Marines couldn’t go any further to aid you--”
“Yeah, yeah, I know that.” Yarrick put the General’s possible assumption at ease. “We chased the Khorne Marines all the way back to just before that blockage in the mine. It was like they were trying to go someplace--”
“To the WARP gate.” The General got the gist.
“Yeah. Once they found themselves trapped, that’s when they attacked us.”
Both commanders smiled, agreeing.
The General summed it up. “So it looks like Tzeentch left their Khorne allies hanging.”
“A little last-minute betrayal?” Yarrick smiled, assuming.
“Good job, Yarrick.” The General complemented, making his own final conclusion. “It looks like there’s a good chance we won’t be seeing these two groups fighting together anytime soon. At least we can hope.”
“Davis told me he found evidence of three squads of Chaos Marines in the mine, all heading toward that WARP gate.” Yarrick then, sighed, angrily. “I guess we all know were they went!” Then he grinned. “It would seem to me that Khorne might be looking for a little revenge against Tzeentch.”
“Another possibility.” The General grinned also. Then, after a slight pause, the General thought of something else. “What happened with those two CCS officers?” The General was curious. “Weren’t those two the best the Imperial Guard had?”
“Yes, I know.” Yarrick had an exasperated look on his face. “I’ll send you the report if you want it. To sum it up, they were both killed by this Khorne Marine they called, Khârn.”
“So...What happened?” The General was eager to know.
“One of the dying CCS officers set off his demo charge, and, well...”
“Oh, yeah...Davis said he thought the whole damn mine was going to collapse--”
“Me, too.” Yarrick began explaining. “That one demo charge set off the demo charges the others had. So it was a big boom.” He smiled. “But, we got him. There’s no way Khârn could’ve survived that blast, and the cave in that followed. NO WAY!”
The General folded his arms and smiled. “Well, then maybe we’ve seen the end of Khorne all together.”
Once the General’s command ship had reached the space station, and before Lana, and the three Space Marines had departed, he got a call from his destroyers, as well as news about the asteroid mining base:
Unfortunately, Yarrick’s captured command ship was gone. And, apparently, before it left, it had boarded the mining base, leaving half the miners dead, the other half missing.