|The Shadow Hunters
Author: Master of The Blood Wolves PM
An Inquisition-backed mercenary outfit pursuing a heretic find themselves in an alternate reality that appears to be almost exactly opposite of what they're used to. Their hunt brings them into contact with one Commander Shephard and his own hunt for a wanted fugitive. But something bigger is at stake and the Shadow Hunters are willing to risk almost anything to see it stopped.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 6 - Words: 24,339 - Reviews: 55 - Favs: 48 - Follows: 70 - Updated: 02-18-13 - Published: 07-21-12 - id: 8345012
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: See Chapter One.
The Relentless Pursuit appeared among the stars like a giant barbed dagger, ominous and threatening.
'Status report.' Nayl said. 'Did it work?'
'Yep, it worked, take a look yourself Nayl, the warp has slacked right off; the astronomican is still visible, but it's more like a light bulb than a lighthouse now.' Marik reported. With a tone that suggested he was enjoying himself, he added; 'I could get used to this.'
'I have confirmation that we are at the very least, back in time,' Romulus reported. 'The stars in the area correspond to those near the northern edge of Ultramar, though approximately thirty-eight thousand years prior to our own native time. Also, several late-life stars correspond to stars that had died in our own time.' He added.
+'I can confirm we're in an alternate reality.'+ Haekeer said. +'I'm monitoring communications presently, and I'm hearing languages I've never heard, and looking over the ship's scanners, I can identify at least five star systems not present in our own map. Two would be nebulae, but the remaining three simply do not exist.'+
'So, the Necron wasn't feeding us groxshit.' Nayl said. 'Alright, start data-mining, I want to know everything there is to know about where we've found ourselves. Consult the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, if you have to, perform an augury, scry the future, whatever, we need intel.'
Marik, Romulus and Haekeer chorused affirmatives, then Nayl quit the bridge.
Just a few minutes later, came first contact.
Tiras'Ranma vas Aleia was terrified, and with good reason.
Having bartered passage on an Alliance freighter as a mechanic to the human colony of Shanxi, the most trouble she'd expected was suspicion from the crew, and mechanical issues. She'd definitely not planned on batarian slavers attacking the ship, murdering most of the crew, and taking her, and a few others prisoner to sell in the Terminus Systems.
The only thing she was thankful for was they hadn't confiscated her enviro-suit. Apparently ill slaves didn't sell, so she'd been discreetly scanning all channels trying to find help. A risky move with a guard watching, but what else could she do?
She hadn't been expecting anything like this though.
Now, she was at gun point in front of a terminal.
'Well? Is it broken, or did you cry for help?' Demanded the lead slaver.
'I didn't cry for help!' Tiras shouted back. 'But this thing isn't broken, that…whatever it is, is definitely there.'
'I don't believe you!' The slaver shouted, and backhanded her to the ground, then pulled a Carnifex heavy pistol from it's holster. His tone turned chill and dead. 'Now, tell me what you did, and maybe I won't shoot you.'
Taris could feel herself shaking, but then the terminal lit up. The slaver motioned for one of his underlings to investigate. The underling tapped a command in, then looked up.
'That big thing is hailing us.' He reported.
'Play it.' Ordered the leader.
The underling hit the play button:
'Unidentified vessel, this is the Relentless Pursuit,' said a voice Tiras identified as human. 'Power down and prepare to receive a boarding party. Failure to comply will result in the use of deadly force, I repeat, stand down and prepare to receive boarders.'
The leader roughly shoved his underling away and activated the comm.
'Listen here, human, you have no right to board this vessel, unless you want a diplomatic incident with the Hegemony-'
'My lance batteries and dropship say otherwise, Xenos,' said the human. 'Romulus, fire starboard lance battery two hundred kilometres off their port bow.' Ordered the human.
'Retek, detecting a massive energy spike from that thing!' Shouted one of the bridge crew.
The next instant, out the forward viewing ports, Tiras saw a blast of blinding ruby light rip through the void.
The batarians went deathly still.
'Impressive.' Retek said into the comm. 'But unless you want to kill our hostages, I suggest you hold your fire.'
As if to show how very little care the human had for the batarian's threats, the ship shuddered violently, knocking the batarians off balance.
'Our engines were just destroyed, but our kinetic barriers are still at full power!' Reported a tech.
'How is that possible?' Demanded Retek.
'Who cares!' We've been boarded!' Shouted another tech.
'Bring me that bastard's head!' Roared Retek, then stormed to a locker and withdrew a Vindicator battle rifle. 'Go to it!' He shouted, and the bridge crew automatically began marshalling the rest of the slavers on the ship.
Nayl stood in the hold of the Valkyrie drop ship, Swift Justice, and drummed his fingers on his Ryza pattern lasgun.
He caught Cole's glance from behind his sunglasses, and nodded, catching Cole's grin as he continued to survey the rest of the boarding party.
Wilkes, who stood next to him was as grim as ever, with his pale skin and violet eyes and the make of his laspitol and powersword, his Cadian origin was evident. On the opposite side of the hold, Freya tossed a hand axe end over end, and flashed Nayl a feral grin. At the look, Nayl felt a twinge of pity for the Xenos that were about to be introduced to the business end of the Fenrisian Shieldmaiden's combat prowess. With an axe in one hand, and a laspistol in the other, she was a nightmare on the offensive.
K'toia snapped his fang-lined beak in anticipation, chambering a round into a Tau rail rifle, his trusty kroot gun across his bony shoulders, and a bolt pistol in a thigh holster, he was going to cover their advance, though if needs be, he'd move to support the sixth member of the team up the front.
That sixth team-member was Cereta. The Sslyth was ideally suited to the vanguard roll, thanks to his constitution, and his four arms, two of which held powered scimitars, and the other two of which once again cradled a storm bolter.
'Hit 'em hard, hit 'em fast.' Said Rafael Brekken, Nayl's resident pilot.
Nayl banged twice on the bulkhead in response.
'Just be ready to pick us up quick, these guys might decide to selfdestruct to get rid of us.' Nayl replied, then addressed the boarding team. 'Alright, our priority is to capture someone to get some information, if someone shoots at us, assume they're hostile. Anyone hiding behind someone, threatening them and telling us to back off is to be considered hostile, even if the someone they're hiding behind is another Xenos, clear?' He asked.
'Clear.' Replied the others, though Wilkes looked uncomfortable.
Like Sasha and Maria, he was uncomfortable with the notion of not killing every alien he saw.
'We're docked.' Reported Brekken. 'Opening airlock now.' The rear hatch opened, and Brekken overrided the ship's docking hatch.
The moment it hissed open, Cereta lunged through, storm bolter at the ready to be met with an empty corridor. He motioned, and everyone piled in behind him.
Nayl reached out with his mind and surveyed the opposing forces.
'Let's split up.' He said. 'Cereta, you, Wilkes and Cole are heading down this corridor to the left, and assaulting the brig where the prisoners are being kept. Kill anything with more than two eyes; K'toia, Freya, you're with me, we're going to hit the control room, which is on the level above us.' He got nods from them all,-none of them questioning his odd instruction regarding four-eyed things,-and the Sslyth, the ex-Commissar and the pyromaniacal inquisitional operative departed to the left.
Cereta slithered down the middle of the hall, scimitars held at an angle from his sides, and the storm bolter pressed to his shoulder. Wilkes strode at his left with his longcoat snapping behind him and his laspistol in his left hand, with a powersword ready in his opposite hand. On his right, Cole had his combi-flamer at the ready, and was ready to fire and duck in that order if a target should appear.
That target popped up from behind a crate with an assault rifle not thirty seconds after leaving Nayl's group: It was an ugly bastard, even by Cereta's standards: Four eyes, six nostrils, and with reptile-like markings on it's face. It shouted something unintelligible, then Cole put a bolt through it's head-
-Only for some sort of personal shield to flare, and the bolt to detonate a foot from the thing's face. It screamed as shrapnel and the heat from the explosion hit it, before a shot from Wilkes silenced it.
Another two popped up, only for Wilkes to headshot another one, and Cereta to tear the third one apart with his storm bolter: the first couple of bolts hit the mysterious barrier, before it failed in a flare of blue, allowing the remaining bolts from the burst to rip through the thing's armour like tissue paper, and nearly tear the thing in half from hydrostatic shock.
Cole and Wilkes ducked for cover as more boiled out of a stairwell dead ahead, snapping off the occasional shot.
Cereta on the other hand, launched himself forward, scimitars extended impaling one of the things through the chest, before it was bisected by Cereta whipping the blades out of it's sides. It's companions fired on him with rifles that had the approximate stopping power of high-power autoguns, which against a Sslyth were woefully inadequate. A few with more courage than sense attempted to engage him in close-quarters, only to be cut apart with contemptuous ease.
In the brief and vicious struggle that followed, the remaining beings were either gunned down or slashed apart.
'Clear.' Hissed Cereta as the final one stopped writhing.
Cole and Wilkes vaulted out of cover with makeshift bandages over flesh wounds, before they followed the Sslyth as he slithered into the brig, paying no heed to the collection of bullet wounds and bruises from shots that hadn't made it through his scaly hide.
Ktoi'a ducked back into cover as the headless corpse toppled backwards. It was roughly three minutes since they'd separated from Cereta, and they'd only met light resistance up until this point. Now, they were pinned on a landing by roughly ten four-eyed, humanoid, xenos.
That was down from roughly twenty, mainly thanks to a combination of K'toia's rail rifle, Nayl's lasgun, and Freya burying something sharp into anything or anyone stupid enough to get into range for her to throw something.
So far, four of the strange xenos, and four creatures that looked like deformed kroot hounds lay dead out in the open from various blades that had been thrown with precision at something that looked vital.
Nayl snapped a shot off at a xenos that was attempting to reposition itself to a position with a better line of fire, ducking back behind the crate he was using as cover as the xenos howled in pain, dragging itself towards cover.
'Nayl, let's not tarry here, as good as this is for target practice, we need to move; stop toying with them, and get serious.' K'toia said, switching his rail rifle for his kroot gun.
'Aye, this is not how Russ meant for his people to fight.' Freya said, drawing a hand axe and giving him a bloody grin.
Nayl fired a few more short bursts of lasfire at the xenos, then ducked down and reloaded.
'Alright, get ready.' He said, and drew his force sword.
Unlike the master-crafted weapons wielded by his mother's people, his sword was neither semi-sentient, nor had a name. However, it was still a potent weapon, commissioned by Inquisitor Burgman when he was sixteen; it had seen him through many hellish fights, and had even claimed the life a corrupt cardinal of the ecclesiarchy and his bodyguards.
He drew a deep, shuddering breath, and touched the warp.
The familiar feeling of incandescent power touched him and the air about him began to steam cold, and stink of ozone.
Reaching out with his mind, Nayl found the firing mechanisms of the xenos weapons.
They were unlike any he'd ever encountered: instead of using heat, heat was an unwanted by-product of their function, though they were solid shot weapons instead of plasma-based. All that he needed to do to jam them was fiddle with the nanocogitators the weapons used to fire, or feed a little warp energy into the heat sinks as fire. Nayl did both to ensure the weapons malfunctioned. He came back to himself and was greeted by the unmusical clacks of jamming guns.
It was all the signal Freya and K'toia needed.
They leapt from cover and pelted towards the xenos desperately trying to un-frak their guns, K'toia's physiology meaning he made contact first, swinging his bladed kroot gun like a fighting staff, and catching his opponents completely flat footed. He'd killed or grievously injured three foes by the time Nayl and Freya caught up. Freya crash-tackled one of the xenos and hacked at it in a frenzy, before engaging two more with her axe flashing.
Nayl, on the other hand relied on swift, clinical strikes charged with psychic power to extinguish the life-force of his enemies on a spiritual level. Lightning crackled down his rime-encrusted blade as he swung it, and dread-energies filled his eyes, while his armour conducted the lightning in a frightening display of lambent power. What shots came his way, he sidestepped before they were fired, any clumsy blows with rifle-butts were met with the dangerous end of a force-sword, which usually cleaved through gun and wielder alike.
When he found himself and his companions the only things alive on the landing, he came back to himself, sealed his mind and muttered the Litany Against the Warp quietly to himself. The warp was calmer and less inhabited, but that didn't mean he was going to throw caution to the winds.
Freya looked up from consulting her auspex.
'The bridge should be right through that door.' She said, indicating the door at the far end of the corridor, before exchanging her axe for a pair of laspistols.
Nayl exchanged his sword for his lasgun again.
'Right, then let's teach whoever told us to desist what happens when you defy Inquisition operatives.' Nayl said, reaching out with his mind and filching the information on how to operate the holographic interface he was presented with from the mind of one of the xenos.
Entering the appropriate sequence, the door hissed open, revealing another of the four-eyed xenos with a rifle-like weapon aimed at the back of a female-bodied xenos wearing some form of full-body suit. On either side of it, three others were in cover.
'Now, you can either surrender, or I can kill the prisoner.' The xenos said, in oddly accented low gothic, probably due to the translator it was using.
'Do it. See if I give a frak. I only need one of you alive for information, and I'm not terribly picky about which one of you it is, or how I get that information.' Nayl responded.
Having already sabotaged their guns using the objurgation mechanicum, Nayl decided he could get away with threats.
The xenos fired-
-and it's gun exploded. It yowled in pain at the explosion, before Nayl shot it square between the eyes.
The others went to do the same, only for their weapons to malfunction, and to be fired on by Freya and K'toia, the latter charging the three on the left when it became obvious his shots were being stopped by some form of shielding the aliens had. The mop-up lasted all of ten seconds, the last of the four-eyed xenos dying screaming as K'toia picked it up, sniffed it, then tore it's throat out with a solid bite. He instantly spat the bloody mess out and took a swig from a canteen at his waist, then spat again.
'I'm not tainting my genes with their paltry DNA.' He said at Nayl's arched eyebrow. 'Their weapons however…'
'Take 'em, let's see if Tu'shak or Romulus can't see what makes 'em tick.' Nayl said, then motioned to the still-kneeling xeno-woman.
'Get up.' He said.
The xenos silently obeyed keeping both hands in view.
'Can you operate the surveillance system?' He asked.
'Yes, sir.' The xenos answered hesitantly, again in oddly accented low gothic, though this one was digitised by it's helmet's speakers.
It crossed to a holo-terminal, and tapped in a few commands.
'How many hostiles are left?' Questioned Nayl when the xeno turned to look at him.
'There're two humans and an unknown in the brig, along with the other captives from the Tin Trader-'
'I'm aware of them. They work for me; any more of those four-eyed frakkers?' Nayl asked patiently.
'Yes, one squad has barricaded themselves in the cargo hold, and another is holed-up in engineering, they've jammed the doors, so you'd have to cut-'
'Seal those chambers and depressurise them, vent atmosphere from those rooms if needs be.' Nayl said.
The xeno looked at him for a long moment.
'You got a problem with that?' He asked.
The xenos was silent for a long moment, then tapped in the necessary commands.
Nayl nudged her aside and watched grimly as the xenos in the engineering and cargo bays asphyxiated.
When the last xenos lay still, he touched his vox-bead.
'Talk to me Wilkes.' He said.
+'Cargo bay secure Nayl, we've got 'bout ten human prisoners, all resistance has been neutralised, any we should be worried about?'+
'The bridge is secure and we've depressurised and vented atmosphere to the other rooms where hostiles had bunkered down.' Nayl replied. 'What do you think, do we blow this thing to the Golden Throne, or do we put it in the auxilliary bay and let Romulus and Tu'shak take it apart?' He asked.
+'This ship is too small to use a warp drive, and we're in the middle of interstellar space. I think we should give this tub a closer look.'+ Wilkes replied.
'Copy.' Nayl said, then switched channels. 'Romulus, I'm opening a line between this ship's network and the Pursuit, bring us in.' Nayl gave the xenos a look.
'Open the ship's mainframe to radio channel six-delta-sixty-six.' He said.
The xenos hesitated, then complied.
+'I have control.'+ Declared Romulus over the ship's PA system.
'Our work here is done.' Nayl said, then motioned with his rifle. 'Come on.' He said to the xenos.
It complied without argument.
I'm doing some of these quick so there's some content to read, but it should start slowing up soon.
It's getting to that time of year when you're too tired to really be bothered doing much, so writing is becoming a bit of a grind, and then there's homework, and yr. 12 homework load, etc…
Pretty much this is a notice that I'm having a low for writing at the moment and school is rearing it's butt-ugly head.
Anyhow, thanks again to ColonelMustard1990 for Betaing, and also to the following persons:
For Reviewing: Ursakar, Guest, Eipok, MetalKing1417 and Hideout Writer.
For the Favourite Author add: CaughtinalandSlide and Yoshtar.
For the Author Alert: CaughtinalandSlide and Yoshtar.
For Favouriting: Vandar82, CaughtinalandSlide, Oplindfep and.
For Following: Ursakar, CaughtinalandSlide, MetalKing1417, Hideout Writer, Eipok and EclipsePhoenix.
That, right there, is probably the most interest a story I've started has ever produced. Not even 'Brothers in Arms' got this kind of response.
Oh, and for fans of the Fantasy genre, I highly recommend Rachel Hartman's debut novel 'Seraphina,' which so far is just an awesome, awesome book and the only romance (of any description) that I've ever willingly picked up, read and liked, which is saying something.
'til next time, this A\N slash micro-blog is done.
No One-liner Reviews, Thank you kindly.