Warhammer 40,000 was created and is owned by Games Workshop
The Bolo universe was created by Keith Laumer and is, I believe, owned by Baen Books
All recognised characters are the intellectual property of their respective creators and publishers
This story may not be sold or distributed on a profit-making basis
With thanks to Deadguy2001 and X on for all their help
Blood & Iron
There were days when Luka Hoban regretted joining the Imperial Guard rather than going to prison.
Yes, it had gotten him out of the crime-ridden underhive he had been born into, and he had probably lived far longer than he would have if he'd stayed. But he had also faced the enemies of mankind on more worlds than he could count in his two years of service. He had faced the horrors of the Ork Hordes, the chitinous terrors of the Tyranids and even the foul, traitorous Daemons of Chaos. It was only the enigmatic Eldar that he had yet to face in battle, and he was in no hurry to do so.
But his latest assignment was boring to the point where he almost missed combat.
The Adeptus Mechanicus had located a complex dating back to the Dark Age of Technology and were intent on exploring it to see if anything could be used for the Emperor and Imperium, as quietly as possible, given that they could not space the forces such an undertaking would normally be guarded by. Hoban's regiment had been sent to guard the dig-site and scout around the outlying area for anything the first team had missed. It wouldn't have been such a bad mission, had the planet been inhabited, rather than a lifeless ball of rock with an atmosphere that was only just breathable without the need for cumbersome and uncomfortable gas masks.
"Sector 17; nothing to report." Hoban reported over his radio, slinging his laser rifle, "Praise be the Emperor."
It was scut work, better suited for a raw recruit rather than someone with years of combat experience under his belt. But Hoban had yet again made the mistake of running his mouth off in front of Sergeant Fargo again, and as such had been selected for 'disciplinary duty', one of the gruff, hard-ass NCO's favourite punishments for minor acts of insubordination. The one good thing about it was that he partner was Guardswoman Valerie Drake, his squads new plasma gunner, and if he wasn't very much mistaken, the young blond had taken an interest in him.
The row of ruined buildings seemed to stretch on for ever, still clearly visible even after millennia, a testament to whatever strange materiel had made them. There were signs that indicated other's had already done their best to scavenge what they could from amid the piles of twisted metal and crumbling stone, and Hoban was convinced that the mission would come to nothing. But that was the Adeptus Mechanicus' mistake to make, and he wasn't going to begrudge any mission that got him off the front line and away from the never-ending war that consumed the galaxy. Whatever catastrophe had stuck this would had rendered it uninhabitable and destroyed almost every last trace of its former population. Only a few isolated ruins remained of what had once probably been a thriving world. Hoban wasn't a coward; he had the scars and commendations to prove otherwise, but he was a realist, and he knew that, one day, he would give his life in the service of the Emperor, as was fitting. But anything that put that day off just a little longer, and maybe gave him a chance to know Drake a little better, was something he could agree to.
"All teams stand by." Fargo's voice came over the radio, "Our sensors have picked up something on the Northern perimeter."
Hoban shrugged; they were assigned to the south, far away from anything that might be happening. He turned to say something to Drake, not noticing the oddly coloured parch of dirt beneath his feet until it gave way and he found himself plunging down into the darkness.
"In the Emperor name!" Sergeant Fargo exclaimed as he looked at the feed coming from one of the forward scout units.
The field base he was stationed in had been placed at the mouth of a small river, between two low ridge lines, one of which was capped with the ancient fortifications the Adeptus Mechanicus were so interested in. Unfortunately, it seemed that they weren't the only ones interested in picking over the bones of the long dead. From the north, a ravening mass of semi human abominations bearing the Eight pointed star surged forth, literally whipped into action by a score of fell, ceramite clad monsters. These heretical Astartes laughed gleefully as their barbed lashes ripped errant limbs, tentacles, and strips of flesh from their mutant charges. The Astartes were bad enough, but it was the earth shaking advance of the twin Defilers that set Fargo on edge, a pair of hideous mechanical centaur crabs stomping towards them, snorting fire and belching smoke like the Minotaur bulls of Terran legend. Fargo's men were quickly entrenching themselves in the Mechanicus facility, taking cover behind dilapidated walls and columns or ducking into hastily dug foxholes. What precious few heavy weapons they had were quickly unpacked and deployed, yet the familiar clacking and jangling of ammunition belts being fed into Heavy bolters and autocannons did little to reassure him.
Zooming in his binoculars, Fargo could see the battered and crucified forms of his scouts nailed to the front of the Defilers, some mercifully dead, while others thrashed and screamed in agony as they slowly suffocated. Such theatrics were hardly necessary; it was clear that the attackers had a clear numerical superiority, with more following in their wake. Unless, of cause, it was for their own twisted amusement.
He neither knew nor cared why the Ruinous Powers were so interested in a minor archaeological dig, just that the men and women under his command were about to die.
He glanced across to the corner where the detachments commanding officer sat huddled up, whimpering. Fargo didn't blame him; it was his first posting, supposedly an easy assignment to get him used to commanding men, some of whom had been fighting and killing since before he'd stopped sucking at his mothers teat. He was too young and too green to be faced with imminent death, but Emperor love him, he was an officer of the Imperial Guard, a graduate of one of the Schola Progenum: he should at least be able to face death with dignity. Grumbling a string of oaths under his breath, Fargo grabbed his gun and helmet and ran outside to take his place on the firing line.
Whatever happened, he and his men would hold the line. Ave Imperator.
Hoban rose groggily, a sharp, stabbing pain filling his head as he looked around. He was on some kind of bed or couch, with what looked like medical sensors attached to his bare chest. The room was made of stark, gunmetal grey walls with a few consol's set against the walls. What looked like a reinforced hatch stood imposingly before him, evidently locked. To his left he could see Drake laid out on another couch, her body a mass of bruisers where she had obviously fallen in after him. Her eyes were closed, but the slow, steady rising of her chest indicated that she was alive.
"Hello?" He croaked, his mouth dry, "Is there anybody there?"
A strangely distorted voice answered, Hoban only able to make out a few isolated words amid what sound like gibberish. He waited to see if it would return, but when it didn't, he tried to pull himself up, the left side of his chest protesting with the familiar ache of bruised if not cracked ribs.
"I would not do that if I was you." the voice returned, still distorted but at least understandable, "My apologies for before; I am still assimilating your syntax from intercepted radio traffic and extrapolating a translation matrix."
"Who..." Hoban coughed, "Who are you?"
"I am Unit ARC-953-201 Of The Line, but you may call me 'Archie'." The voice responded proudly, "I gage by your weapons and uniforms that you and your companion are soldiers, but I am so-far unable to identify your unit based on your insignia."
"Corporal Luka Hoban, Kappa Company, 2nd Battalion, 956th Dragoons." The Guardsman nodded, then nodded towards the other bed, "That's Guardswoman Valerie Drake." He rubbed his head, "Where are you, anyway?"
"I am all around you." Archie responded, sounding somewhat surprised, "Have you never encountered a Bolo before?"
"Mister, I've been in the Imperial Guards for two years now, and I ain't ever heard the world 'Bolo' used to describe anything but type of knife." Hoban shook his head, "I need to report in; the last thing I want to do is give Sargent Fargo another reason to chew my ass off."
"I'm am afraid that I am unable to assist you." Archie sounded genuinely saddened, "I am on standby mode; I was only able to assist you because you landed on my upper deck, tripping my proximity alarm."
"Wait a minute." Hoban held up a hand, "Why do you keep describing yourself like some kind of machine? And why won't you talk to me face-to-face?"
"Because I am a machine." Archie was back to sounding confused, "I am a Mk 33 Bolo unit assigned to the 431st Battalion of the Dinochrome Brigade. I served honourable in battle for over four-hundred years before being decommissioned and sent to this facility for long-term storage. I have tried to contact the base commander, to inform them of your accident and request assistance, but I am getting no response. Not even an automated signal from the depot computer."
"You...your a Machine Spirit?" Hoban almost fell off of the couch, "In the name of the Emperor, is this what the Adeptus Mechanicus were looking for?"
"I am sorry, but I am still having trouble translating what you are saying." Archie responded, "Do you represent the Concordiat of Man?"
"No, it's the Imperium of Man now." Hoban explained, "The Concordiat fell thousands of years before the Rise of the Emperor: I've only read about it in books."
"I see." There was a long pause, as if Archie was trying to work something out, "And this 'Imperium of Man' is now the lawful government of human-space?"
"Yes; under the guidance of the High Lords of Terra, and by the will of the God-Emperor Himself, we strive to protect mankind from the the Xenos and the Ruinous Powers." Hoban continued his explanation, "We were sent here to see if anything could be salvaged from the ruins of this base."
"And you found us." Archie sounded resolved, "If mankind is in danger, then we will not stand aside." A deep rumbling shook the room, surprising Hoban who had to grab the edge of the couch to avoid being thrown to the floor, "FOR THE HONOUR OF THE REGIMENT!"
Fargo ducked to avoid a wildly swung axe then emptied his bolt pistol into the mutant that had tried to take his head off. The unfortunate mutant's head came apart in a shower of gore as the mass reactive bolt detonated inside its cranium, drenching the sergeant in blood and bits of gore. Wiping chunks of torso away from his eyes, the Sergeant surveyed the battlefield.
They were holding the line far better than he had dared dream, but they were still slowly loosing ground, forced back step-by-step the the seemingly endless hoard before them. A pall of cloying grey smoke hung over the battlefield, ruptured only by the supersonic passage of bullets or the crimson thermal bloom of lasgun fire. These disruptions gave Fargo the merest glimpse into the brutality of the conflict around him, to the left a mutant ripping out the eyes of one of Fargo's men with a set of garishly oversized fangs encrusted with plaque and gore, to the right a pair of guardsmen pinned a be-tentacled Daemon to the ground whilst a third pumped shell after shell into its face with a shotgun. It was more a melee than a battle; each Guardsmen simply striking out at anything within range that wasn't wearing the same uniform. Footing was becoming treacherous, the ground slick with blood and mud, but Fargo fought to maintain his footing, knowing that if he fell he would never be able to get back up again.
A pair of guardsmen rushing past Fargo to the front were suddenly bowled out of the way by a gore encrusted mass of warped power armor, their bodies landing with a wet crunch several meters away. In an instant, Fargo levelled his bolt pistol at the Marine and fired. The bolt smashed into the Chaos Marines helmet with enough force to gut a man, yet the Marine still clipped the sergeant with a glancing right hook strong enough to send the Sergeant flying.
"Come on, you Traitorous Whoreson!" Fargo spat defiantly as he pulled himself to his feet, losing more than a few teeth and a fair amount of blood, "The Imperium over comes! and We are the Imperium!"
The towering marine tore its helmet free with one hand, and crushed the skull of an unfortunate Guardsman with the other, revealing a serpentine face full of black, rotting fangs. Then he charged, boots crushing the fallen and cratering the mud beneath.
"I will bury you, worm of the false Imperium!"
But before the Marine could attack, the thunderous roar of a revving engine drowned out the sounds of battle, shaking the earth with its power. Guardsmen and cultist alike reeled in confusion and fear
A flash passed before Fargo's eyes, and he looked round to see his opponent falling to the ground, a bloody stump where his head had been. Half a second later there was an ear-splitting crack, followed by more as some unseen force struck down the forces of Chaos with unnerving accuracy. A bellowing horn filled the air as a shadow fell upon the battlefield, and he looked up to see a wall of metal towering overhead, studded with more weapons emplacements than he could count. The smaller once tracked back and forth, picking off the forces of Chaos with consummate ease, never once hitting a Guardsman. The ground shook again, and a second wall of death appeared to its right and side, a third to its left. Now Fargo could make out more detail; each was a massive tracked war machine, with at least two massive turrets poking out over the top.
"By the Emperor..." Fargo fell to his knees, unable to comprehend.
"I'm not sure I should be doing this." Hoban sat somewhat hesitantly in what he had been told was the commanders couch, the heavy shock restraints holding him in place as the screen before him compressed a full 360-degree view into something a little easier for the human mind to deal with. Targeting information appeared, picking out the forces of Chaos that had been on the brink of overwhelming the Field Base. "I'm just a Corporal, and not a very good one at that."
"Never the less, you are a soldiers." Archie reassured him as he picked off the last Defiler with a 30cm Hellbore that ripped it apart, "And studies have shown that a Bolo, even a Mk 33 such as myself, works much better with a human commander than without. I only wish that you were properly trained, so that we could use the neural link; it would make so many things so much easier."
"I am REALLY not happy with that idea." Hoban shook his head, "That sounds like the kind of thing a Princeps spends years studding for at the Collegiate Titanicus."
"Strange; I have known commanders who likened with a Bolo after only rudimentary training." Archie sounded almost relaxed as he linked his field of fire with he other Bolo's he had awoken from their long slumber, finally pushing the remaining Chaos troops back up the ridge line, "It seems like there is much I have yet to learn about this new age."
"There!" Hoban pointed at a hazy image on the edge of the screen, "What's that?"
"Four combat walkers of unknown type or origin." Archie did his best to zoom in and clear up the image, but some unknown force prevented him form succeeding, "Detecting usual high energy readings that I can not identify."
"May the God-Emperor protect and defend us." Hoban felt his blood run cold, "Chaos Titans!"
"Frak me." Fargo looked at the distant shapes growing closer and felt an icy blade stabbing at his chest. He had no idea what kind of weapons the newcomers had, but he know of no Imperial weapon on the planet capable of stopping a single Feral Titan, a Chaos-twisted abomination that had once been a loyal Warhound, let along four of them.
"PLEASE STAND CLEAR!" A voice like mechanical thunder rumbled from high above as the six pairs or titanic treads began to churn again. At first they advanced slowly, but once they were clear of the surviving Imperial Guardsmen and Adeptus Mechanicus technicians, they rapidly accelerated until their tracks were spewing contrails of dirt as they raced across the open ground.
Fargo could now see that tracked leviathan was capped with a trio of massive turrets, and were decorated with a banks of smaller weapons emplacements. They spat fire with their long range guns at the Titans in the distance, which slammed ineffectually against the enemy void shields.
"We are still too close to Imperial ground forces to deploy nuclear ordinance." Archie sounded disappointed, "Still, we are now clear to engage with our main Hellbores."
"A WHAT?" Hoban asked.
"One of these." the Bolo responded as it locked all three of its 200cm main cannons onto the nearest Titan, a move copied by his two companions.
Originally built for use on capital ships, the plasma weapon worked by inducing nuclear fusion a sliver of deuterium, creating a seething mass of plasma barely contained by the intense electromagnetic fields lining the barrel of the great weapon. A fraction of a second prior to deuterium detonation, a laser is used to carve a path for the bolt of star hot fire behind. Then electromagnets in the barrel accelerate the mass of plasma to near light speed until it slams into its target with megatons of nuclear force. The science was lost on Hoban, who simply felt a teeth-rattling jolt, and the blinding flash of nine simultaneous Hellbore discharges. Five bolts gutted the torso of the corrupted Warhound titan. Millennial machinery melted and boiled away while daemonic flesh and parasites thrashed and screamed as the white hot kiss of plasma swept them away. A sixth bolt vaporized the lupine head of the titan, ending its crew in a single, searing moment of agony. The seventh, eighth, and ninth smashed into the reverse jointed legs, sending the mighty war machine careening into the ground as an unrecognizable heap of molten metal.
Uncaring of the loss of their brother, the three surviving Titans loped forward in homicidal glee, vox casters howling hateful and unintelligible curses at the opponent. But their targets were already moving, the Bolo splitting up but maintaining overlapping fields of fire. Plasma annihilator bolts struck Archie head on, smashing into his battle screens with atomic force. Fortunately, his battle screens bled off most of the energy, transferring it to his own weapons systems, the rest turned several of his anti-infantry weapons and secondary sensors to molten slag. He returned fire with a rippling broadside from his port 20cm and 10 cm Hellbores as he swerved violently to one side, avoiding the brunt of a hundred round hail of Vulcan mega-bolter fire that left truck sized craters in the ground where Archie had been. Each Bolo targeted one of the Titans with every weapon at their disposal, unleashing salvos of mortar and howitzer shells in a bid to overwhelm the enemies defenses.
Roaring their defiance over 700 decibel vox casters, the Feral titans responded in kind. The battlefield was momentarily illuminated by the birth of a dozen new stars as questing hell bores and plasma annihilators turned small city blocks into radioactive glass. Hundreds of cultists surging beneath the Titan went deaf as the continuous fire of secondary Hellbores and mega bolters produced a sound akin to the ripping of the fabric of space and time.
"Enough of this." Archie almost snarled as he brought himself around to face the nearest Titan head on, "This ends now!"
Accelerating to his maximum speed, he switched as much of his power as he could into his forward battle-screen, absorbing the brunt of the fire that came his way and shunting it with the battle-screens, yet parts of the hull and weapon batteries still shattered beneath the bombardment. A mere 250 meters away, the titan attempted to twist away and flee, but by then it was already too late. Thirty-two thousand tons of metal, moving at almost two-hundred kilometres and hours, struck the daemon infested war machine with enough force to snap its legs off just below the knee. It toppled backwards, sprawling on the ground even as Archie reared up and landed on top of its chest, crushing it beneath his massive treads.
Gutted and dying, the daemon machine unleashed a shock wave of psychic energy. Ripping open the barriers between real space and the Immaterium, it attempted to drag the psyche of its killer into the dark embrace of the Ruinous powers. Such an attack could have reduced battalion of Imperial Guardsmen to drolling wrecks or driven even an Astartes mad. But against the indomitable will and single minded determination of a Mk 33 Bolo it was like an arrow shattering against plate armour. Wave after wave of corrupting energy hammered against Archie's resolve, pounding against his sense of duty and attempting to drain his reserves of willpower. But try as it might, the daemon could not penetrate the defences, found no purchase or leverage it could use. It found no flame of passion to turn to its cause, only a cold, unyielding dedication to the protection of mankind.
The last two Titans attempted to flee, but were surrounded and cut down by the Bolo's. Tracing their enemies transmissions back to their landing zone, the colossal war-machines fired their long-range missiles, cleansing the area of the taint of Chaos with nuclear fire.
Hoban lay back on his bunk, staring into space.
He wasn't sure how long the survivors of his unit had been held in secluded quartering; every few hours the lights in the windowless barracks dimmed for a period, and food was dispensed by an automated system in one wall. The only contact any of them had with the outside world was when they were taken by a squad of faceless Inquisitorial storm troopers to be interrogated by the interrogators Adeptus Mechanicus or the Ordo Hereticus. He felt sure that they were still on the nameless world they had been sent to investigate, but evidently the battle that had taken place was enough to finally justify the garrison force so lacking before. From time to time, Hoban could even feel the thundering footsteps of the war engines of the Titanicus through the floors of the complex.
Many of the Guardsman had fallen into despair, crushed by the betrayal of the Imperium they had fought and bled for. Only the stern, unwavering, and unbowed presence of Sergeant Fargo prevented their spirits from collapsing. Hoban laughed inside, they couldn't give in now, especially before the old coot, could they?
A weight shifted to his side; bringing him back to reality as a few stray golden hairs fell across his face.
He looked down to see Guardswoman Drake, still asleep at his side. He wasn't sure if it was the attraction he had felt between them back before this had all started, or simply the stress of a shared experience, but the young woman had hardly left his side since they had been relieved and placed in seclusion. Neither of them had made any move to take the physical side of their relationship further, something that would have been somewhat impractical, given the close confines they found themselves in. Even Fargo, for all his faults, seemed content to leave them be, probably figuring that they deserved any comfort they could find while it lasted.
The metal culvert leading out of the jail house slid open with a pneumatic hiss, and a hawk eyed figure swathed in an Inquisitorial great coat walked out..
"Corporal Hoban." she looked at him, her face unreadable behind a mask of detached, clinical professionalism, "Come with me if you want to live."
Moving carefully do as not to wake Drake, Hoban pulled himself out of his bunk and made sure his uniform was as presentable as he could make it before heading across the dimly lit room. Sergeant Fargo nodded slightly to him as he passed. That simple gesture of camaraderie and concern, where there was once only annoyance and contempt, struck a chord inside Hoban. Returning the gesture, Hoban marched solemnly to his impending execution, regretting all the times he had made trouble for the old Sergeant.
Well, all but one of them, he chuckled.
The Inquisitor led him through a number of identical passageways that twisted and turned, no doubt in a bid to disorientate him and dissuade escape, and it was working. By the time they reached their final destination, Hoban had no idea where they were. His guide stood to one side and ushered him through the hatch, remaining outside as it closed. The room was empty besides a simple table and a pair of standard issue folding chairs, the kind that Hoban had used countless times since joining the Imperial Guard.
In one chair there was a tall, slender man dressed in a simple black suit. He wore no rank or other insignia, but carried himself with the dignity of one who was used to being in command, and Hoban found himself coming to attention automatically. The stranger looked ancient, his skin, sickly pale and drawn in a way that made his face look very much like the skull beneath it. One side of his face covered in a massive cybernetic eyepiece, which puckered and pulled on the parched flesh around it.
"Good evening, Corporal. I am Inquisitor Lynch" the man spoke with casual disinterest as he gestured to the other chair, "Please, take a seat."
"Sir." Hoban nodded hesitantly, fully aware that the Inquisitor before him could make him disappear with just a word.
"You have quite the interesting file." Lynch indicated to a hard-copy folder on the table, "Over two dozen commendations for bravery in combat, and almost ten times that number of demerits for insubordination outside of it. Yet you are a survivor; that much is clear." He intoned, folding his hands beneath his chin, "As you have no doubt worked out by now, there is more to this world than we first thought. The Adeptus Mechanicus first became interested in it after retrieving transcripts of a conversation between the God-Emperor himself and the Fabricator General of Mars concerning the Dark Age of Technology. They spoke at length about a series of ancient and powerful war machines, long thought lost, that had protected and defended humanity for thousands of years. Both the Emperor and the Fabricator General regretted the fact that they were unable to recreate these machines, as they would have been an invaluable asset to the Great Crusade."
"Bolo." Hoban muttered before realizing that he had spoken aloud.
The Inquisitor raised his eyebrow quizzically, then continued.
"Yes, the then almost mythical Bolo's of the lost Dinochrome Brigade." Lynch nodded with a thin, reptilian smile, "This world was once known as Santa Cruz, and was home to a large Brigade base at a time of war between humanity and a now extinct Xeno race, even the name of which is lost to us. It was apparently attacked and turned it from a once lush agri-world into what it is now. But the Xenos missed several key installations. Most importantly, they missed the bunker complex you were sent to investigate." He leant back in his chair, "In truth, we did not expect to find much here; maybe a text that would help us rediscover some lost knowledge, or an example of some lost technology. We never expected to find operational Bolo units slumbering, their Machine Spirit still intact." He looked around, as if to make sure that they were truly alone, "Or even an intact Standard Template Construct that will, once returned to Mars, allow us to build more."
"By the God-Emperor..." Hoban almost fell out of his chair, imagining what an army of machines like Archie might be capable of in the service of the Imperium.
"Exactly." Lynch dropped the file onto the table, "Under other circumstances, you and I would have never met. But these are extraordinary times, and if we are to fulfill the Emperors dream of a reborn Dinochrome Brigade, then certain exception will have to be made. It seems that the Bolo unit you first encountered, the one that calls itself 'Archie', has taken quite the liking to you, and has requested that you be assigned as his permanent commander. You'd hardly be my first choice, but who am I to argue with a God Machine?" He slammed his hand down on the desk, "You're a Hero of the Imperium; how many Guardsman, save Knight Commander Pask, can say that they personally took down four Heretic Titans in open combat? The High Lords are very happy with how that will play with the masses when we unveil the new Legio Dinochrome on Terra next year. I hear that the Ecclesiarch himself has agreed to conduct the wedding."
"Wedding?" Hoban asked, latching on to the one part that made any sense to him; unwilling to even try and comprehend the incomprehensible politics of Terra.
"Yes, your wedding." Lynch grinned, looking and sounding genuinely amused, "Your close relationship with Guardswoman Drake has not gone unnoticed, and it has been decided that it'll add a little something extra to the story; help boost morale and recruitment. After all, what's more romantic then two soldiers, from across the galaxy showing that Love Can Bloom on the battlefield? I'm sure that will go over wonderfully with the masses."
"But..." Hoban blinked, "I don't even know if I love her."
"Love? What's love got to do with marriage?" Lynch actually laughed, a terrifying creaking sound that shook Hoban to his very core, "You signed on to serve the Emperor and the Imperium, my boy, in any way we see fit. And surely garrisoning Holy Terra, with an attractive young wife at your side, if far better than some of the... alternatives?"
"Y-yes sir." Hoban slumped in his chair, completely confused and overwhelmed.
"Oh, there's always a choice, Luka." The old man surprised him by using his first name, "You can choose to serve the Emperor and the Imperium, along with all your friends back in the other room. Or you can choose not to."
"I see." Hoban nodded slowly, recognizing a threat when he heard one, "Only in death does duty end, my lord"
"Hmmm, I see that you are familiar with the Scriptorus Munificantus " Lynch stated with something approaching respect "I have a feeling that this is the start of a most rewarding relationship."
Because we needed a decent, in-depth 40k/Bolo story