Officers Weep: A Short Story


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If they had not questioned his leadership before, Vykus thought, he was sure that the other four Marines with him now probably would. He looked to Navaer Taadunn, who was sat on a crate opposite him. Navaer was a veteran within the Weeping Skulls. As his combat boots did not have any mag-locks, Navaer, like the three other Scouts in the Kill Team were harnessed to the cargo hold walls by the load straps.

Given the angle of ship, Navaer had to put his boot against the adjacent wall to hold himself static. He too had been watching their pilot. He moved his jet black eyes round to Vykus and shrugged. Vykus shrugged back; both silently agreeing that they did not know what was going on, but hoped that the pilot did. Unaware of the concern he was causing to those sat behind him or simply not bothered, was their pilot, Edmun Billett.


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Vykus was yet to discover the reason for this but currently wondered if it was because the loud mouthed and big-headed flyer was a bit of an ass. Either way, most of the marines dealing with him refused to acknowledge him by his nickname, referring to him by his surname, which was a more standard practice for them.

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Vykus, on the other hand, did not mind using the bizarre title. He believed that it made the unusual situation they were all in slightly more normal for their new human allies which, in turn, he hoped would improve their reactions when forced to follow his orders to the letter. Anti-Craft Missile Launcher turrets whirred to life, locked onto the spiralling craft in seconds and opened fire.

It suddenly became clear what their pilot was doing. Knowing that once the missiles were launched, they were designed to lock onto the heat signature of a crafts engines. Edmun was now able to evade the projectiles more easily. Riding the upward drafts as far as they could carry the falling metallic transporter, Edmun saw the missiles over shoot his position and waited for every red blip on his grubby auspex screen to disappear as they slammed into the rocky surface with a huge explosion, the reverberations of which could be felt by all those onboard. They had been told that Edmun had some Naval experience, but in what capacity and given his attitude, for how long they did not know.

Thankfully, it seemed that he had picked up a few tricks before he was, presumably, dishonourably discharged. As soon as the second wave of missiles past the craft, Edmun slammed the throttle on again. With an literal explosion of jet propulsion that blew part of the engine casing away, the craft was shot out of the fireball it created and was almost instantly at top speed, flying inches from the surface of the fortress wall. The Kill Team had to use all their trans-human strength to fight against the immense g-force that was trying to slam them into the back of the craft.

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Two of them avoided this fate and began accelerating after the craft. With no portholes in the cargo hold, the Weeping Skulls Kill Team could not see what was transpiring around them. Vykus glanced at each one of his Battle Brothers. All were holding themselves steady, whilst keeping a tight grip on their wargear. The sounds of proximity alarms and system failure sirens were emanating from the crammed cockpit. However the lights which should have been blinking rapidly in accompaniment to the cacophony were either just throbbing slowly or the bulbs were not even there.

Seemingly oblivious, Edmun was, once again, watching through his greasy-fingerprint-laden Auspex screen at the two red blips that represented the heat-seeking missiles closing in on their craft. Outside the ship, metal panels that had peeled back during the initial decent were now flickering like parchment in the wind and flying off. Vykus and the others could hear them rattle across the hull as they did.

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Then the craft began to gently rock as if it was going over invisible humps. The rocking slowly increased in frequency and strength. Vykus felt the doubts creep in again and found himself staring back at Edmun. Seconds later, the craft had cleared the top of the fortress wall, sharply banking towards the centre of the complex as it did.

During this manoeuvre, the bottom of the ship clipped one of the anti-craft missile launchers, ripping the front landing gear off but totalling the weapon placement. After a controlled spiral, the craft was level and banked and rolled clear of the continued assault from the outpost defences.

Ha, Ha! The Kill Team did not react. Timing was critical now, as soon as the artillery ceased fire, the Lightning Strike Fighters would be scrambled and the battered craft would not be outrunning them. There was a clunk and the rear bay door opened to the screams of dry hydraulics. Cool air whipped in, sending loose strapping flaying like a panicked beast. Vykus was joined by Navaer at the edge of open loading bay. They looked at the vastness of the Dubium III outpost that stretched out beneath them. The look that the young Intercessor had was one that Navaer recognised all too well, not just on the faces of his Neophytes, but also on many a commanding officer who were suddenly thrust out of their comfort zone.

The result of which could be devastating. It was a sign of respect to their fallen which was repeated by all the survivors of the war with Hive Fleet Saul. As a show of unity and respect, the two natives of Baal and the Fenris Sergeant, voluntarily adopted the pauldrons of fallen Weeping Skull marines which they had fought along side with. Finally, the decision was made to swap the pauldrons so that the insignia, normally worn on the left to face the enemy whilst firing, was on the right. This was to remind their Brothers behind them of what they were fighting for.

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This was now worn on the left shoulder to show that they fought as one, with no distinction. Only one of them did not have the blood of a fallen Battle Brother on his pauldron. Vykus had the blood of Ordias Torvac as his tear. In order to protect the gene-seed of their Primarch, The Shadowed Lord, Corvus Corax, from being absorbed into the Hive Mind and used against them, Ordias commandeered an attack bike and made seemingly suicidal runs across the length and breadth on the battlefield to either heal his Brothers or save the Chapter by extracting their Progenoid organ.

When he finally fell himself, it was Vykus who led the charge to retrieve him. When the Chapter was declared renegade, Ordias was laying, mortally wounded, on an operating slab as medical sevitors fought to save him. With no other means of creating Neophytes and thus rebuilding their Chapter, the apothecary suddenly became the Chapter's only hope of survival.

The order was given to place him in stasis on board Weeping Skulls Destroyer, The Beast of Lament, where it is now kept hidden within a Crusier amongst Falany's fleet. Vykus would spend many hours taking vigil of Ordias and lighting one of the many candles adorning the stasis chamber. Vykus look round at his smaller Battle Brother. They had already been wiped from history and unless they could restore themselves by clearing their names, they would be lost forever. This hung over every decision Vykus made. Then we can take the vengeance that is rightfully ours.

With that, Navaer threw himself out of the bay door and dropped the death-defying distance to the communication spire, his camo cloak spread out fully behind him. Once landed he took up his position. As Vykus heard the three Scouts behind him making their final weapon checks, he realised the war for their very existence was about to begin. Warhammer 40k. Sign In Don't have an account? British novelist and spy. Alison Sharp m. Valerie Eustace m. Retrieved 28 May The Independent. Archived from the original on 10 September Retrieved 2 February Retrieved 4 March The Daily Telegraph.

Retrieved 5 April The Observer.


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Eden, Richard ed. The Guardian. University of Bath. Retrieved 18 February University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 26 April Retrieved 26 July The Times. London: Times Newspapers. Retrieved 24 July London Review of Books. Forward to The Looking Glass War. British Council. Archived from the original on 4 June Introduction to Smiley's People.

Penguin Books Reprint edition. Archived from the original on 18 July Channel 4 News. The Pigeon Tunnel. Stories from My Life. The Economist. Retrieved 30 October The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 4 December Retrieved 8 February The Library of Congress. The Future of the NHS. Retrieved 13 October Retrieved 8 September The Guardian — via www.

Retrieved 25 March BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 23 May BBC News. Retrieved 13 May Crime Writers Association. Archived from the original on 14 January Retrieved 8 January The Society of Authors. Archived from the original on 26 June Retrieved 6 March Mystery Writers of America. Retrieved 10 March Archived from the original on 3 December Retrieved 7 January University of Exeter.

Helmerich Distinguished Author Award". Tulsa Library Trust. St Andrews University. University of Southampton.

Officers Weep: A Short Story Officers Weep: A Short Story
Officers Weep: A Short Story Officers Weep: A Short Story
Officers Weep: A Short Story Officers Weep: A Short Story
Officers Weep: A Short Story Officers Weep: A Short Story
Officers Weep: A Short Story Officers Weep: A Short Story
Officers Weep: A Short Story Officers Weep: A Short Story
Officers Weep: A Short Story Officers Weep: A Short Story
Officers Weep: A Short Story Officers Weep: A Short Story

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