‘Killers having lunch’: The real life Wolves of Wall Street

MAME 0.221

MAME 0.221

Our fourth release of the year, MAME 0.221, is now ready. There are lots of interesting changes this time. We’ll start with some of the additions. There’s another load of TV games from JAKKS Pacific, Senario, Tech2Go and others. We’ve added another Panorama Screen Game & Watch title: this one features the lovable comic strip canine Snoopy. On the arcade side, we’ve got Great Bishi Bashi Champ and Anime Champ (both from Konami), Goori Goori (Unico), the prototype Galun.Pa! (Capcom CPS), a censored German version of Gun.Smoke, a Japanese location test version of DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou, and more bootlegs of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Final Fight, Galaxian, Pang! 3 and Warriors of Fate.
In computer emulation, we’re proud to present another working UNIX workstation: the MIPS R3000 version of Sony’s NEWS family. NEWS was never widespread outside Japan, so it’s very exciting to see this running. F.Ulivi has added support for the Swedish/Finnish and German versions of the HP 86B, and added two service ROMs to the software list. ICEknight contributed a cassette software list for the Timex NTSC variants of the Sinclair home computers. There are some nice emulation improvements for the Luxor ABC family of computers, with the ABC 802 now considered working.
Other additions include discrete audio emulation for Midway’s Gun Fight, voice output for Filetto, support for configurable Toshiba Pasopia PAC2 slot devices, more vgmplay features, and lots more Capcom CPS mappers implemented according to equations from dumped PALs. This release also cleans up and simplifies ROM loading. For the most part things should work as well as or better than they did before, but MAME will no longer find loose CHD files in top-level media directories. This is intentional – it’s unwieldy with the number of supported systems.
As usual, you can get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page. This will be the last month where we use this format for the release notes – with the increase in monthly development activity, it’s becoming impractical to keep up.

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to emulation [link] [comments]

[The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 18

At the Beginning
Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
  The smell of burning wood was all I could focus on. The fires had long died out, making it difficult to see in the darkness; despite all other modifications, Kridib’s eyes weren’t able to see overly well in the dark. Every five minutes, Radiance would send an infrared scan of the colony to help him and his team with their advancement. Despite all that help and the four missile strikes, progress was minimal. Of the forty-seven people sent to the planet, eleven had been killed and five more severely wounded, rendering them useless in battle. From what I could see, Rigel’s forces had clustered in specific points of the colony, giving up the rest: a sensible strategy that had allowed them to ambush three of our teams while suffering negligible losses themselves. As things stood, the enemy forces had positioned themselves in two areas of the colony. Both spots encircled a specific building—mine and the captain’s locations—making further missile strikes impossible.
  Update? Kridib asked me through the mind link.
  Nothing, I replied. Rigel had left shortly after our last chat, taking the third-contact rods with him. Since then, I had remained safely isolated in the room and completely alone. Half of them have probably gone to sleep.
  Tell me if anything changes. Kribib looked up. A dozen sats were visible in the night sky. We’ll be making another go soon.
  I don’t think that’s a good idea.
  So far, Kridib had made four attempts to reach me, all of them unsuccessful. His approach, though chaotic at best, had managed to keep him alive. There had been a close call during which his left arm had been grazed by a bullet, though that time the man hadn’t frozen.
  Everyone has to sleep, Kridib said, heading back into one of the buildings that had been transformed into a ground base of operations. I’ll go first.
  Must I wake you? I asked.
  No. With that, the link was severed.
  To a degree, I was thankful, though not too much. Forcing whatever strength I had, I moved my head to look around the room as much as I was able. Nothing had changed in the last four hours, but at least it let me do something. The last time I felt remotely similar was when I’d had my sensor systems knocked out, though even then I was able to use my shuttle AIs to paint me a picture. Here, I was completely helpless and, to a vast degree, blind.
  “Do I get any water?” I asked as loudly as my lungs would let me.
  There was no reason to expect an answer. Even if anyone was awake on the lower floors, they would be on lookout duty. Saying it out loud, though, made me feel better for some reason. To my surprise, the door to the room opened.
  “Thought you were above those things.” Rigel walked in slowly. Even with my lack of focus, I could see that he had changed clothes. The colours were dark enough to be considered a uniform, although I couldn’t make out any other details. “You can’t swallow, remember?”
  “My mouth feels dry,” I explained.
  “Too bad.” Despite my poor vision, I could hear him smile as he said that.
  Walking slowly, he made his way to the stool near me and sat down. From this distance, I could see him taking something from his front pocket. In the dim light, it was impossible to tell what exactly.
  “Still having problems focusing?” Rigel asked.
  “Yes.” There was no point in lying.
  “Pity. Agora works well on organic tissue. Not on techno-mongrels,” he added with a laugh. “If you weren’t one, you’d be dead. There’s a win for you.”
  And you’re not making any sense, I thought.
  “Nice murder troops you got out there. Quick and efficient. A few years ago, the locals would’ve had fun pulling their wings off. Time leaves its mark.” Rigel flicked the object. It let out a peculiar metallic sound. “No action, no combat sims, just the local pests that roam the planet. Those were brought here too, did you know?”
  “I heard about it.”
  “Another brilliant idea from the bureaucracy. Create a full ecosystem. Plants, critters, predators... all must be present and carefully maintained. We tried killing them off once. Those were the days. Three colonies setting out, killing everything in sight until the orbital station stopped sending food.” There was a slight pause. “And you know the best part?” Rigel leaned towards me. “None of that happened.”
  If I could have pulled back, I would have. There was no way of knowing if these were insane rantings or if he was referring to a dark op coverup. Considering he was from the Salvage Authorities, either was possible, and both options were equally undesirable.
  “I went through your data, Elcy.” Rigel rubbed his hands. “You know things you shouldn’t.”
  “Because of my past, I’ve been placed on special assignments,” I said. Technically it was true, though we both knew it didn’t explain away the inconsistencies.
  “You knew about the third-contact artifacts before. You’ve operated them before.” He moved his hand closer to my face. I felt a cold metallic surface touch my cheek. “You’re searching for something. Something that you’re not supposed to find.” He moved the object away from my face. “Here’s my offer. You answer some of my questions, and I’ll answer some of yours.”
  “That’s one way to get court-martialed.” Not to mention there was no guarantee my self-destruct chip wouldn’t go off at any point.
  “Please don’t give me the line that the fleet is going through all that trouble just to rescue you. If you were that valuable, you’d never have been sent to this hell in the first place.” Rigel stood up. “What are the odds of the fleet extracting you in one piece? Two percent?”
  “Point-seven-three-nine,” I corrected. Frankly, I was surprised they were going through all the trouble. “Give or take.”
  “Less than one percent,” Rigel snorted. “It’s your call. You have three hours to make it. Before I leave you, here’s a freebie. This planet, it isn’t some randomly colonized world in ‘unexplored space.’ We’re in the buffer zone—the border between the Scuu and human space. Think about that.” He made his way to the door. Reaching it, he stopped and turned around. “Oh, and we’re constantly being monitored.”
 
  Gamma-Ligata, Cassandrian Front—615.11 A.E. (Age of Expansion)
    The third wave of shuttles approached my forward left hangar one by one. The instant they came within three hundred meters, I was handed over direct control of the AIs. As with the previous batches, the first thing I did was to have a set of isolated subroutines flash the memory and purge the entire operating system. That done, I sent out a mini-sat to latch onto and assume control of the shuttles. It was a slow and tedious process, but necessary considering the circumstances.
  “How are things?” Wilco asked from the bridge. Augustus had gathered most of his officers to a private meeting in his quarters, leaving Wilco in command. This wasn’t the first time it had happened, but each time it did, it felt strange.
  “Everything’s going as planned,” I said, as the first shuttle went under my control.
  A quick internal scan revealed that there were sixty-two people aboard, all cuffed and tagged. All of them were tagged as infected, and, to my surprise, none of them were sedated. The instructions were to take them in and monitor their actions at all times, and only to engage if they threatened the ship. Normally, I’d be confident that Augustus knew what was going on. With everything we’d gone through since I’d joined the front, I didn’t think there was anything in the galaxy that could surprise him. I was wrong.
  Finishing my internal check of the shuttle, I directed it to the outer hangar doors and had it dock. The passengers—all of their identities classified—waited till I covered the walls with disembark notifications, then stood up and quietly proceeded to get off, in orderly fashion. I could tell by Wilco’s expression that he found it unnerving.
  “A thousand and eighty-two passengers on board,” I said on the bridge and in the captain’s quarters. The moment the last person set foot in the hangar, I would eject the shuttle from my hangar-bay, self-destruct it, and proceed with the next.
  Delegating the task to my isolated subroutines, I reviewed the instructions I had received. The proper ident protocols and authorisations had been used, ensuring that I would do as instructed without asking questions. An emergency transmission from an unidentifiable ship had led me here. I knew nothing about the ship’s name or specifics, and I wasn’t allowed to get close enough to get a visual. The only things I was allowed to see were its shuttles and mass. Everything else was open to interpretation.
  “Have any of them said anything?” Wilco asked.
  “No.” I displayed images of the hangar bay and the corresponding corridors surrounding it. As part of my instructions, the entire section was sealed off and quarantined. “They’re eating.” They also appeared to be healthy, although the instructions stressed no one was to come into contact with them under any circumstances. “I’ve received no indication of how long we’re to keep them. Did the captain get an indication?”
  “No,” Wilco said in his usual somber voice. “Is everything sealed off?”
  “Yes.” I rechecked. “No way in or out without captain’s approval.”
  “Set a buffer zone.” The man went on. “No one goes in or out without my permission.”
  “If you say so.” It wasn’t difficult. The area in question had been made empty to accommodate the quarantined arrivals, though it seemed a bit too much. “Want me to put sentinels?”
  “No. We don’t have to hurt anyone, just hold them.” He slinked down in his chair. “They’re the Med boys’ toys. We don’t get to play with them.”
  Med boys… Only Wilco referred to the Medical Core in such fashion. As most organisations, they were part of the fleet, yet their specific area of expertise gave them as much authority as the Salvage Authorities and the BICEFI combined. As a ship, I knew fairly little about them: they had the power to impose quarantines and cordon off entire planets if they wished. They were also the only organisation with the power to hold an active captain in check. Possibly, that was the reason Augustus didn’t get along with any of his medical officers. According to the public files, the Med Core had created the inner-body nanites and were instrumental in getting humans into space. There were also whispers that they were involved in creating the first ship-cores, although I found that unlikely. Even so, they had more authority than anyone aboard. Even on the front, we had no option but to obey.
  “It won’t be practical heading into war with them,” I said as the second shuttle entered the hangar bay.
  “Not our call. We’re to hold them until a Med ship picks them up,” Wilco sighed. “And monitor everything they do.”
  “How is that different from anyone else aboard?” I ventured a chuckle.
  “You don’t need to know,” the lieutenant said darkly.
  Another thing about Wilco was that he had the uncanny ability to make any topic of conversation dark. I ran a few simulations testing various responses, then decided not to respond further. In the best-case scenario, there was a twenty-seven percent chance he found my reaction funny.
  “Elcy.” Augustus granted me sensor access to the captain’s quarters. “What’s the ETA on the cattle?”
  “The passengers will be all aboard in seven minutes, captain.” A decade of attempts to mellow his behaviour had brought me no results. “Five, if you need me off in a rush.”
  “Get it done in five,” he barked. “We’ve got new orders. We’re joining a purge fleet. Go on yellow. Get the grunts prepped.”
  “Aye, sir.” I issued the order to everyone aboard. Seconds later, ground troop officers and sergeants were shouting their troops into order. “What about the passengers, sir? Won’t combat expose them to unnecessary danger?”
  “There’s no unnecessary danger,” Augustus barked again. The rest of the command staff had already started leaving the room. Their expressions ranged from mild annoyance to disapproval. Whatever discussions had taken place, they must have been unpleasant and one-sided. “Monitor them at all times and don’t interact until I say so.”
  “Understood.”
  It sounded like another escort mission, and I didn’t like escort missions. Normally, it would just be troop detachments or—if we were very unlucky—some mid-level bureaucrat or admiral’s aid sent to do a front-line inspection. Transporting quarantined personnel wasn’t in my usual purview, although if it had been, I’d never know.
  “What’s the course of treatment they must undergo?” I asked.
  “No treatment,” Augustus grumbled. “That’s for the Meds to figure out.”
  “All passengers are tagged as infected. Regulations require we provide immediate medical attention.” I felt my words sound hollow. If Augustus had the authority to provide such, he would have told me already. The only thing I was left was to go through the motions, expecting to receive the obvious denial.
  “Just monitor them, Elcy! That’s what we’ve been told. And whatever happens, don’t interfere.”
 
  Just monitor them.
  I had spent three months and thirty-nine hours monitoring the passengers onboard. Through battles and repairs, every single action had been carefully observed, recorded, and stored on external data storage. For the most part, nothing happened. The people would live boring, perfectly organised lives, almost as if they knew they were being watched. There were no scuffles, few arguments, and only one incident resulting in injuries when a Cassandrian fighter managed to slip through my external defences and fire a salvo at the hangar bay. Their health condition also seemed no different than when they had come aboard. I had dedicated a dozen subroutines to collect any potential symptoms in an effort to determine the type of disease they had, but had come to no conclusion. Then, one day, they were all gone. I had no memory of the Medical ship that had taken them, or where that had happened. The only thing I was certain about was the time—precisely two thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine hours since the last of them had come aboard. Everything else remained restricted.
  Looks like there’s always someone monitoring someone, Sev. If Rigel was to be believed someone was monitoring the planet. The question was who.
  Seconds turned to minutes, then hours. Hundreds of times, I considered looking into my restricted memories for information regarding the third-contact artifacts or the events in gamma-Ligata, and each time I found a reason not to. As Rigel had said, the chance of me getting off the planet alive was less than one percent, but the knowledge of the existence of the possibility kept me acting. And then there was Rigel’s offer…
  Rad, are you monitoring me? I asked, attempting to latch on to any open communication protocols. A connection was established, but instead of linking to Radiance, I found myself connecting back to Kridib’s mind. On cue, an info burst from Radiance followed, giving the latest scan. This time, I could see the location of our forces. The total number had increased to seventy-four, Kridib included. Nearly eight percent were gathered close to the captain’s expected location. Kridib and five more were closer to me.
  Get ready, Kridib said. Moments later, bursts of gunfire echoed in the distance; they were going for the captain first.
  The mission had begun. From here on, I could see several potential outcomes. In all of them, there was a high probability that Rigel attempted to make a deal.
  When I was a ship, Augustus had taught me one key thing when it came to missions: regardless of the depth of predictions and the computing power at their disposal, humans always boiled down a situation to a simple binary choice. Rigel wanted something from me and had invested too much to let his chance slip. Before the outcome of Kridib’s rescue mission, Rigel would come here to get an answer to his proposal. All I had to do was wait.
  As I lay, I watched Kridib run through the darkness towards my location. Unlike before, he was wearing night vision goggles, letting him make out his surroundings better.
  No thermal? I asked as Kridib made his way through the streets. The smell of burned vegetation could still be felt.
  That’s what you’re for.
  Not a reply to be thrilled about, but one to be expected. Cross-referencing Radiance’s latest scan, I started analysing every frame of Kridib’s stream. The first few minutes passed without incident. Judging by the intensified background gunfire, the locals were more focused on keeping Renaan isolated than stopping Kridib. Twenty-eight seconds, later the first shot sounded.
  Sniper! I shouted straight in Kridib’s mind.
  “Cover fire!” he shouted, rushing for cover.
  Watch out for a cross, I warned.
  The shooting intensified. Based on the area scan, the group was a few hundred meters away. One strong push and they’d be here. That said, I knew that the building was guarded by more than seven people. If I were in Rigel’s place, I would have dedicated at least three dozen.
  Concentrated fire focused on the second floor of a building, blowing off the entire wall. There was a brief scream before a rocket flew into the spot, hollowing the entire structure with a blast.
  Heavy weapons? I asked Kridib. I didn’t think Radiance’s captain would resort to such firepower, considering third-contact artifacts were involved; one direct hit, and the entire colony might well end up a smouldering crater, not to mention the potential communication repercussions. Maybe there was truth in Rigel’s statement that Flight Commander Nitel was getting desperate.
  As I was following Kridib’s advancement outside, the door opened once more—as predicted, Rigel had returned. He was wearing the same set of clothes as three hours ago. I found it puzzling that I couldn’t spot any semblance of a weapon on him.
  “Your masters have gotten desperate,” the man said in suspiciously calm fashion. “Looks like they’ve sent everything they had to get Renaan.” He walked up to me, then leaned over. “And just a handful to get you.”
  “Are they winning?” I tried to smile.
  “Beats me.” Rigel didn’t seem bothered. “You thought about my offer?”
  “I did. And I don’t think accepting would be a good deal. If I wait for them to rescue the captain, your bargaining power ends.”
  “Oh?” The man chuckled.
  “There’s nothing else the fleet would be willing to trade.” Except potentially the pyramid artifact. Even then, I didn’t see them sacrificing the Gregorius. “Once the captain boards a shuttle, it’s over.”
  A person of Kridib’s squad fell as they were approaching my building. I heard the unmistakable sound of bullets piercing armor, then silence. That was the thing about sound suppressors: one could get killed, and there still wouldn’t be any sound of one hitting the ground. I wanted to turn around and see what had happened, potentially to help. There was a seven-point-three chance that the wound wasn’t fatal. Kridib kept on moving forwards. That’s what made him a ground trooper… it also caused me pain.
  “What if I kill Renaan?” Rigel mused. “I won’t lose much. Everyone down here’s dead anyway. Someone in the fleet has gone through a lot of shit to get Renaan back. They’d lose a hell of a lot more.”
  “What if they save the captain?” I countered. “Either way, we’ll soon find out, and you’ll have no offer.”
  “Quantum paradox logic?” Rigel sounded surprised. “Strange hearing that from you, missy. I’ll have to skim your file once I’m out of here.” He paused for a moment, then dragged the nearby stool over—making a deliberate sound—and sat down. “Truth is, once the moment ends, we both lose our chance. Are you okay with that?”
  Why are you so confident? I wondered. Even if I were to agree, he wouldn’t be able to get much from me in the next ten minutes, even less if Kridib managed to reach my room. His squad had already made its way to the building proper, facing less than expected resistance. From what I was able to see, there were two snipers left on the upper floors and two machine-gunners on the first. All auxiliary positions on the nearby buildings seemed to have dealt with, although there was no sign of Ogum.
  “You’ve dealt with Salvage before, I can tell,” Rigel pressed on. “You won’t get another chance like this.”
  The old man’s with me in the basement, I told Kridib. No guards in the room. He’s ex-Salvage Authorities. Take him, and the mission is over. Saying that hurt slightly. Despite being the enemy, and a threat to the war effort, he remained human.
  “Then I guess I’ll never know.” As I spoke, I saw Kridib charge at the building. As before, there was nothing fancy about it, just determination and insanity. Several bullets flew so close to him I could hear them, but this time none of them hit. “Your bargaining window is over. No deal.”
  Kridib emptied his sidearm at the door in front of him, then rushed in. I could see no guards inside, just a set of hastily built staircases. Whatever the original purpose of the building was, it had been transformed into a field center at some point—likely during a previous escape attempt. Probably a group similar to ours had made it their temporary base, then left it as it was once they had completed their mission. No wonder Rigel had had me transported there. Kridib didn’t waste time making parallels, instead drawing his second sidearm and rushing down.
  At least two floors down, I said. I’m not hearing any of the gunfire.
  Is he armed? Kridib asked.
  Unsure. Not that I can tell. There are artifacts, though.
  “Such a teacher’s pet.” Rigel sighed after a long silence. “In the end, you’re nothing but a ship.” He stood up.
  He’s standing directly from the door, I said to Kridib. Seven degrees from center. Small frame, average height.
  Kridib fired three shots. Three bullets drilled through the alloy surface. Half a second later, Kridib followed kicking the door in.
  “Just one small thing.” Rigel took a tube-shaped object from his vest pocket.
  Meanwhile, I was staring at an empty room from Kridib’s eyes. It was at least three times smaller than the one I was in, bare and completely deserted. There was no Rigel, no me, no equipment, just a single metallic cube the size of my fingernail placed neatly on the floor.
  “Renaan was never the target.” The old man bent down and injected something in my neck. A new cascade of connection requests followed. “You are.”
—-
Next Chapter
submitted by LiseEclaire to HFY [link] [comments]

MAME 0.221

MAME 0.221

Our fourth release of the year, MAME 0.221, is now ready. There are lots of interesting changes this time. We’ll start with some of the additions. There’s another load of TV games from JAKKS Pacific, Senario, Tech2Go and others. We’ve added another Panorama Screen Game & Watch title: this one features the lovable comic strip canine Snoopy. On the arcade side, we’ve got Great Bishi Bashi Champ and Anime Champ (both from Konami), Goori Goori (Unico), the prototype Galun.Pa! (Capcom CPS), a censored German version of Gun.Smoke, a Japanese location test version of DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou, and more bootlegs of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Final Fight, Galaxian, Pang! 3 and Warriors of Fate.
In computer emulation, we’re proud to present another working UNIX workstation: the MIPS R3000 version of Sony’s NEWS family. NEWS was never widespread outside Japan, so it’s very exciting to see this running. F.Ulivi has added support for the Swedish/Finnish and German versions of the HP 86B, and added two service ROMs to the software list. ICEknight contributed a cassette software list for the Timex NTSC variants of the Sinclair home computers. There are some nice emulation improvements for the Luxor ABC family of computers, with the ABC 802 now considered working.
Other additions include discrete audio emulation for Midway’s Gun Fight, voice output for Filetto, support for configurable Toshiba Pasopia PAC2 slot devices, more vgmplay features, and lots more Capcom CPS mappers implemented according to equations from dumped PALs. This release also cleans up and simplifies ROM loading. For the most part things should work as well as or better than they did before, but MAME will no longer find loose CHD files in top-level media directories. This is intentional – it’s unwieldy with the number of supported systems.
As usual, you can get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page. This will be the last month where we use this format for the release notes – with the increase in monthly development activity, it’s becoming impractical to keep up.

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to MAME [link] [comments]

[The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 18

At the Beginning
Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
  The smell of burning wood was all I could focus on. The fires had long died out, making it difficult to see in the darkness; despite all other modifications, Kridib’s eyes weren’t able to see overly well in the dark. Every five minutes, Radiance would send an infrared scan of the colony to help him and his team with their advancement. Despite all that help and the four missile strikes, progress was minimal. Of the forty-seven people sent to the planet, eleven had been killed and five more severely wounded, rendering them useless in battle. From what I could see, Rigel’s forces had clustered in specific points of the colony, giving up the rest: a sensible strategy that had allowed them to ambush three of our teams while suffering negligible losses themselves. As things stood, the enemy forces had positioned themselves in two areas of the colony. Both spots encircled a specific building—mine and the captain’s locations—making further missile strikes impossible.
  Update? Kridib asked me through the mind link.
  Nothing, I replied. Rigel had left shortly after our last chat, taking the third-contact rods with him. Since then, I had remained safely isolated in the room and completely alone. Half of them have probably gone to sleep.
  Tell me if anything changes. Kribib looked up. A dozen sats were visible in the night sky. We’ll be making another go soon.
  I don’t think that’s a good idea.
  So far, Kridib had made four attempts to reach me, all of them unsuccessful. His approach, though chaotic at best, had managed to keep him alive. There had been a close call during which his left arm had been grazed by a bullet, though that time the man hadn’t frozen.
  Everyone has to sleep, Kridib said, heading back into one of the buildings that had been transformed into a ground base of operations. I’ll go first.
  Must I wake you? I asked.
  No. With that, the link was severed.
  To a degree, I was thankful, though not too much. Forcing whatever strength I had, I moved my head to look around the room as much as I was able. Nothing had changed in the last four hours, but at least it let me do something. The last time I felt remotely similar was when I’d had my sensor systems knocked out, though even then I was able to use my shuttle AIs to paint me a picture. Here, I was completely helpless and, to a vast degree, blind.
  “Do I get any water?” I asked as loudly as my lungs would let me.
  There was no reason to expect an answer. Even if anyone was awake on the lower floors, they would be on lookout duty. Saying it out loud, though, made me feel better for some reason. To my surprise, the door to the room opened.
  “Thought you were above those things.” Rigel walked in slowly. Even with my lack of focus, I could see that he had changed clothes. The colours were dark enough to be considered a uniform, although I couldn’t make out any other details. “You can’t swallow, remember?”
  “My mouth feels dry,” I explained.
  “Too bad.” Despite my poor vision, I could hear him smile as he said that.
  Walking slowly, he made his way to the stool near me and sat down. From this distance, I could see him taking something from his front pocket. In the dim light, it was impossible to tell what exactly.
  “Still having problems focusing?” Rigel asked.
  “Yes.” There was no point in lying.
  “Pity. Agora works well on organic tissue. Not on techno-mongrels,” he added with a laugh. “If you weren’t one, you’d be dead. There’s a win for you.”
  And you’re not making any sense, I thought.
  “Nice murder troops you got out there. Quick and efficient. A few years ago, the locals would’ve had fun pulling their wings off. Time leaves its mark.” Rigel flicked the object. It let out a peculiar metallic sound. “No action, no combat sims, just the local pests that roam the planet. Those were brought here too, did you know?”
  “I heard about it.”
  “Another brilliant idea from the bureaucracy. Create a full ecosystem. Plants, critters, predators... all must be present and carefully maintained. We tried killing them off once. Those were the days. Three colonies setting out, killing everything in sight until the orbital station stopped sending food.” There was a slight pause. “And you know the best part?” Rigel leaned towards me. “None of that happened.”
  If I could have pulled back, I would have. There was no way of knowing if these were insane rantings or if he was referring to a dark op coverup. Considering he was from the Salvage Authorities, either was possible, and both options were equally undesirable.
  “I went through your data, Elcy.” Rigel rubbed his hands. “You know things you shouldn’t.”
  “Because of my past, I’ve been placed on special assignments,” I said. Technically it was true, though we both knew it didn’t explain away the inconsistencies.
  “You knew about the third-contact artifacts before. You’ve operated them before.” He moved his hand closer to my face. I felt a cold metallic surface touch my cheek. “You’re searching for something. Something that you’re not supposed to find.” He moved the object away from my face. “Here’s my offer. You answer some of my questions, and I’ll answer some of yours.”
  “That’s one way to get court-martialed.” Not to mention there was no guarantee my self-destruct chip wouldn’t go off at any point.
  “Please don’t give me the line that the fleet is going through all that trouble just to rescue you. If you were that valuable, you’d never have been sent to this hell in the first place.” Rigel stood up. “What are the odds of the fleet extracting you in one piece? Two percent?”
  “Point-seven-three-nine,” I corrected. Frankly, I was surprised they were going through all the trouble. “Give or take.”
  “Less than one percent,” Rigel snorted. “It’s your call. You have three hours to make it. Before I leave you, here’s a freebie. This planet, it isn’t some randomly colonized world in ‘unexplored space.’ We’re in the buffer zone—the border between the Scuu and human space. Think about that.” He made his way to the door. Reaching it, he stopped and turned around. “Oh, and we’re constantly being monitored.”
 
  Gamma-Ligata, Cassandrian Front—615.11 A.E. (Age of Expansion)
    The third wave of shuttles approached my forward left hangar one by one. The instant they came within three hundred meters, I was handed over direct control of the AIs. As with the previous batches, the first thing I did was to have a set of isolated subroutines flash the memory and purge the entire operating system. That done, I sent out a mini-sat to latch onto and assume control of the shuttles. It was a slow and tedious process, but necessary considering the circumstances.
  “How are things?” Wilco asked from the bridge. Augustus had gathered most of his officers to a private meeting in his quarters, leaving Wilco in command. This wasn’t the first time it had happened, but each time it did, it felt strange.
  “Everything’s going as planned,” I said, as the first shuttle went under my control.
  A quick internal scan revealed that there were sixty-two people aboard, all cuffed and tagged. All of them were tagged as infected, and, to my surprise, none of them were sedated. The instructions were to take them in and monitor their actions at all times, and only to engage if they threatened the ship. Normally, I’d be confident that Augustus knew what was going on. With everything we’d gone through since I’d joined the front, I didn’t think there was anything in the galaxy that could surprise him. I was wrong.
  Finishing my internal check of the shuttle, I directed it to the outer hangar doors and had it dock. The passengers—all of their identities classified—waited till I covered the walls with disembark notifications, then stood up and quietly proceeded to get off, in orderly fashion. I could tell by Wilco’s expression that he found it unnerving.
  “A thousand and eighty-two passengers on board,” I said on the bridge and in the captain’s quarters. The moment the last person set foot in the hangar, I would eject the shuttle from my hangar-bay, self-destruct it, and proceed with the next.
  Delegating the task to my isolated subroutines, I reviewed the instructions I had received. The proper ident protocols and authorisations had been used, ensuring that I would do as instructed without asking questions. An emergency transmission from an unidentifiable ship had led me here. I knew nothing about the ship’s name or specifics, and I wasn’t allowed to get close enough to get a visual. The only things I was allowed to see were its shuttles and mass. Everything else was open to interpretation.
  “Have any of them said anything?” Wilco asked.
  “No.” I displayed images of the hangar bay and the corresponding corridors surrounding it. As part of my instructions, the entire section was sealed off and quarantined. “They’re eating.” They also appeared to be healthy, although the instructions stressed no one was to come into contact with them under any circumstances. “I’ve received no indication of how long we’re to keep them. Did the captain get an indication?”
  “No,” Wilco said in his usual somber voice. “Is everything sealed off?”
  “Yes.” I rechecked. “No way in or out without captain’s approval.”
  “Set a buffer zone.” The man went on. “No one goes in or out without my permission.”
  “If you say so.” It wasn’t difficult. The area in question had been made empty to accommodate the quarantined arrivals, though it seemed a bit too much. “Want me to put sentinels?”
  “No. We don’t have to hurt anyone, just hold them.” He slinked down in his chair. “They’re the Med boys’ toys. We don’t get to play with them.”
  Med boys… Only Wilco referred to the Medical Core in such fashion. As most organisations, they were part of the fleet, yet their specific area of expertise gave them as much authority as the Salvage Authorities and the BICEFI combined. As a ship, I knew fairly little about them: they had the power to impose quarantines and cordon off entire planets if they wished. They were also the only organisation with the power to hold an active captain in check. Possibly, that was the reason Augustus didn’t get along with any of his medical officers. According to the public files, the Med Core had created the inner-body nanites and were instrumental in getting humans into space. There were also whispers that they were involved in creating the first ship-cores, although I found that unlikely. Even so, they had more authority than anyone aboard. Even on the front, we had no option but to obey.
  “It won’t be practical heading into war with them,” I said as the second shuttle entered the hangar bay.
  “Not our call. We’re to hold them until a Med ship picks them up,” Wilco sighed. “And monitor everything they do.”
  “How is that different from anyone else aboard?” I ventured a chuckle.
  “You don’t need to know,” the lieutenant said darkly.
  Another thing about Wilco was that he had the uncanny ability to make any topic of conversation dark. I ran a few simulations testing various responses, then decided not to respond further. In the best-case scenario, there was a twenty-seven percent chance he found my reaction funny.
  “Elcy.” Augustus granted me sensor access to the captain’s quarters. “What’s the ETA on the cattle?”
  “The passengers will be all aboard in seven minutes, captain.” A decade of attempts to mellow his behaviour had brought me no results. “Five, if you need me off in a rush.”
  “Get it done in five,” he barked. “We’ve got new orders. We’re joining a purge fleet. Go on yellow. Get the grunts prepped.”
  “Aye, sir.” I issued the order to everyone aboard. Seconds later, ground troop officers and sergeants were shouting their troops into order. “What about the passengers, sir? Won’t combat expose them to unnecessary danger?”
  “There’s no unnecessary danger,” Augustus barked again. The rest of the command staff had already started leaving the room. Their expressions ranged from mild annoyance to disapproval. Whatever discussions had taken place, they must have been unpleasant and one-sided. “Monitor them at all times and don’t interact until I say so.”
  “Understood.”
  It sounded like another escort mission, and I didn’t like escort missions. Normally, it would just be troop detachments or—if we were very unlucky—some mid-level bureaucrat or admiral’s aid sent to do a front-line inspection. Transporting quarantined personnel wasn’t in my usual purview, although if it had been, I’d never know.
  “What’s the course of treatment they must undergo?” I asked.
  “No treatment,” Augustus grumbled. “That’s for the Meds to figure out.”
  “All passengers are tagged as infected. Regulations require we provide immediate medical attention.” I felt my words sound hollow. If Augustus had the authority to provide such, he would have told me already. The only thing I was left was to go through the motions, expecting to receive the obvious denial.
  “Just monitor them, Elcy! That’s what we’ve been told. And whatever happens, don’t interfere.”
 
  Just monitor them.
  I had spent three months and thirty-nine hours monitoring the passengers onboard. Through battles and repairs, every single action had been carefully observed, recorded, and stored on external data storage. For the most part, nothing happened. The people would live boring, perfectly organised lives, almost as if they knew they were being watched. There were no scuffles, few arguments, and only one incident resulting in injuries when a Cassandrian fighter managed to slip through my external defences and fire a salvo at the hangar bay. Their health condition also seemed no different than when they had come aboard. I had dedicated a dozen subroutines to collect any potential symptoms in an effort to determine the type of disease they had, but had come to no conclusion. Then, one day, they were all gone. I had no memory of the Medical ship that had taken them, or where that had happened. The only thing I was certain about was the time—precisely two thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine hours since the last of them had come aboard. Everything else remained restricted.
  Looks like there’s always someone monitoring someone, Sev. If Rigel was to be believed someone was monitoring the planet. The question was who.
  Seconds turned to minutes, then hours. Hundreds of times, I considered looking into my restricted memories for information regarding the third-contact artifacts or the events in gamma-Ligata, and each time I found a reason not to. As Rigel had said, the chance of me getting off the planet alive was less than one percent, but the knowledge of the existence of the possibility kept me acting. And then there was Rigel’s offer…
  Rad, are you monitoring me? I asked, attempting to latch on to any open communication protocols. A connection was established, but instead of linking to Radiance, I found myself connecting back to Kridib’s mind. On cue, an info burst from Radiance followed, giving the latest scan. This time, I could see the location of our forces. The total number had increased to seventy-four, Kridib included. Nearly eight percent were gathered close to the captain’s expected location. Kridib and five more were closer to me.
  Get ready, Kridib said. Moments later, bursts of gunfire echoed in the distance; they were going for the captain first.
  The mission had begun. From here on, I could see several potential outcomes. In all of them, there was a high probability that Rigel attempted to make a deal.
  When I was a ship, Augustus had taught me one key thing when it came to missions: regardless of the depth of predictions and the computing power at their disposal, humans always boiled down a situation to a simple binary choice. Rigel wanted something from me and had invested too much to let his chance slip. Before the outcome of Kridib’s rescue mission, Rigel would come here to get an answer to his proposal. All I had to do was wait.
  As I lay, I watched Kridib run through the darkness towards my location. Unlike before, he was wearing night vision goggles, letting him make out his surroundings better.
  No thermal? I asked as Kridib made his way through the streets. The smell of burned vegetation could still be felt.
  That’s what you’re for.
  Not a reply to be thrilled about, but one to be expected. Cross-referencing Radiance’s latest scan, I started analysing every frame of Kridib’s stream. The first few minutes passed without incident. Judging by the intensified background gunfire, the locals were more focused on keeping Renaan isolated than stopping Kridib. Twenty-eight seconds, later the first shot sounded.
  Sniper! I shouted straight in Kridib’s mind.
  “Cover fire!” he shouted, rushing for cover.
  Watch out for a cross, I warned.
  The shooting intensified. Based on the area scan, the group was a few hundred meters away. One strong push and they’d be here. That said, I knew that the building was guarded by more than seven people. If I were in Rigel’s place, I would have dedicated at least three dozen.
  Concentrated fire focused on the second floor of a building, blowing off the entire wall. There was a brief scream before a rocket flew into the spot, hollowing the entire structure with a blast.
  Heavy weapons? I asked Kridib. I didn’t think Radiance’s captain would resort to such firepower, considering third-contact artifacts were involved; one direct hit, and the entire colony might well end up a smouldering crater, not to mention the potential communication repercussions. Maybe there was truth in Rigel’s statement that Flight Commander Nitel was getting desperate.
  As I was following Kridib’s advancement outside, the door opened once more—as predicted, Rigel had returned. He was wearing the same set of clothes as three hours ago. I found it puzzling that I couldn’t spot any semblance of a weapon on him.
  “Your masters have gotten desperate,” the man said in suspiciously calm fashion. “Looks like they’ve sent everything they had to get Renaan.” He walked up to me, then leaned over. “And just a handful to get you.”
  “Are they winning?” I tried to smile.
  “Beats me.” Rigel didn’t seem bothered. “You thought about my offer?”
  “I did. And I don’t think accepting would be a good deal. If I wait for them to rescue the captain, your bargaining power ends.”
  “Oh?” The man chuckled.
  “There’s nothing else the fleet would be willing to trade.” Except potentially the pyramid artifact. Even then, I didn’t see them sacrificing the Gregorius. “Once the captain boards a shuttle, it’s over.”
  A person of Kridib’s squad fell as they were approaching my building. I heard the unmistakable sound of bullets piercing armor, then silence. That was the thing about sound suppressors: one could get killed, and there still wouldn’t be any sound of one hitting the ground. I wanted to turn around and see what had happened, potentially to help. There was a seven-point-three chance that the wound wasn’t fatal. Kridib kept on moving forwards. That’s what made him a ground trooper… it also caused me pain.
  “What if I kill Renaan?” Rigel mused. “I won’t lose much. Everyone down here’s dead anyway. Someone in the fleet has gone through a lot of shit to get Renaan back. They’d lose a hell of a lot more.”
  “What if they save the captain?” I countered. “Either way, we’ll soon find out, and you’ll have no offer.”
  “Quantum paradox logic?” Rigel sounded surprised. “Strange hearing that from you, missy. I’ll have to skim your file once I’m out of here.” He paused for a moment, then dragged the nearby stool over—making a deliberate sound—and sat down. “Truth is, once the moment ends, we both lose our chance. Are you okay with that?”
  Why are you so confident? I wondered. Even if I were to agree, he wouldn’t be able to get much from me in the next ten minutes, even less if Kridib managed to reach my room. His squad had already made its way to the building proper, facing less than expected resistance. From what I was able to see, there were two snipers left on the upper floors and two machine-gunners on the first. All auxiliary positions on the nearby buildings seemed to have dealt with, although there was no sign of Ogum.
  “You’ve dealt with Salvage before, I can tell,” Rigel pressed on. “You won’t get another chance like this.”
  The old man’s with me in the basement, I told Kridib. No guards in the room. He’s ex-Salvage Authorities. Take him, and the mission is over. Saying that hurt slightly. Despite being the enemy, and a threat to the war effort, he remained human.
  “Then I guess I’ll never know.” As I spoke, I saw Kridib charge at the building. As before, there was nothing fancy about it, just determination and insanity. Several bullets flew so close to him I could hear them, but this time none of them hit. “Your bargaining window is over. No deal.”
  Kridib emptied his sidearm at the door in front of him, then rushed in. I could see no guards inside, just a set of hastily built staircases. Whatever the original purpose of the building was, it had been transformed into a field center at some point—likely during a previous escape attempt. Probably a group similar to ours had made it their temporary base, then left it as it was once they had completed their mission. No wonder Rigel had had me transported there. Kridib didn’t waste time making parallels, instead drawing his second sidearm and rushing down.
  At least two floors down, I said. I’m not hearing any of the gunfire.
  Is he armed? Kridib asked.
  Unsure. Not that I can tell. There are artifacts, though.
  “Such a teacher’s pet.” Rigel sighed after a long silence. “In the end, you’re nothing but a ship.” He stood up.
  He’s standing directly from the door, I said to Kridib. Seven degrees from center. Small frame, average height.
  Kridib fired three shots. Three bullets drilled through the alloy surface. Half a second later, Kridib followed kicking the door in.
  “Just one small thing.” Rigel took a tube-shaped object from his vest pocket.
  Meanwhile, I was staring at an empty room from Kridib’s eyes. It was at least three times smaller than the one I was in, bare and completely deserted. There was no Rigel, no me, no equipment, just a single metallic cube the size of my fingernail placed neatly on the floor.
  “Renaan was never the target.” The old man bent down and injected something in my neck. A new cascade of connection requests followed. “You are.”
—-
Next Chapter
submitted by LiseEclaire to redditserials [link] [comments]

[f][lamenters] No Respite

If you're interested in reading more of my guff, you can find me over on AO3.
NO RESPITE
The faintest of ripples slunk along the water’s dark surface, grasping and clinging to the cracked stone and half-rotten wood of Belamor’s docks. A host of creatures - caped moths, skimmers, fat-bodied insects - skimmed just above the ogling, eager eyes of harbour fish as they swam through the human detritus that found its way from city to harbour. It promised to be an evening of anticipation: when the fliers came too close to the water, when they clumped and swarmed, only then would those below strike. Until then…
A stalk of metal slid up through the grungy liquid. Fish and insects scattered away from the intrusion in their nightly dance. A smooth pane of dusky yellow metal followed, rounded in the curvature of a skull. Then came the crimson-filled sockets, unblinking, focused on the shoreline ahead.
Helix Adept Cabar pushed himself through the sucking mud and slime to gain a firm footing on what could be loosely considered solid ground. Garbage, seaborne weeds and overconfident leeches clung to his armour. He’d walked up and down the collected centuries of trash that a moderately busy port accumulates, and - while there were certainly some things in the muck that would be of no small interest to Imperial scholars - the Space Marine had no desire to go back any time soon.
There were more pressing matters, his desires notwithstanding.
Cabar dropped the wrecked half-corpse he’d been carrying into the muck. When the Infiltrator Squad had made their daring assault on the Drukhari hover-barge, the fighting had been intense, requiring the demi-Apothecary to focus much more on combat than his usual work of triage and progenoid extraction. Forced up and over the side, he’d had only a moment to drag one of his attackers with him before falling away from the battle.
The intention had been to interrogate the xeno for information. Not the greatest plan in the world, considering their resistance - even enjoyment - of most persuasive techniques. If nothing else, it would have been satisfying to end the creature personally.
Still. Looking down on the ragged torso - the lower half had snagged on something during their underwater trek and been torn away - the outcome was acceptable. The withered body, the pale skin torn away in strips, the empty holes in the skull where eager scavengers had made their way in for the juiciest morsels, the shelled things slithering up exposed entrails. It did the hearts good to see one of that arrogant species laid so crassly low.
A civilisation might rule the stars for untold aeons, but this was the fate of all aliens: dead in the mud with vermin eating their insides. Even the oldest races of the galaxy would be food for worms in the end. Only the Imperium would endure.
‘Cabar to squad,’ he tried on the vox. No response was forthcoming, but he hadn’t expected one. Both the Drukhari and Imperials were making good use of wide-spectrum jamming equipment, attempting to foul the other side’s use of communications and sensitive technologies. Both had intended their goals to be accomplished in secret. The pitched battle in a hovercraft, bolters blazing and war-cries bellowing, had put something of a tarnish on that objective.
Then again, as the Helix Adept looked up at the sheer stone wall that separated the dock proper from incoming vessels, maybe stealth had never been possible, to begin with. The number of moored ships was suspiciously low for a berth of this volume, and there were no raised voices from harbourside bars or crews burning the midnight oil. Not even the retch, pitch and piss of drunks and vagrants.
Just the slow, endless wash of breakers on shore, the creak of timber and the low hum of power armour. A city holding its breath as the binary moons hid their pale, pocked faces behind a veil of clouds.
Perfect.
Cabar’s leap took him a good two-thirds of the way up the wall, the slip-activated spikes of the Phobos boots digging in to anchor him. He reached up to grasp a mooring peg, an ancient iron affair coated with rust and grime, hauling himself up and over the quay’s lip in a combat crouch. His suspicions had been correct. The harbourside was deserted. Pubs were closed, their lanterns extinguished. Hand-carts and stalls had been pushed hurriedly off the cobbled path, their owners far more concerned about getting indoors than their worldly possessions.
The Marine scuttled across the few metres of open space, head low, trusting in the muddy yellow of his camouflaged armour and broken line of sight. It was hardly a dignified advance, but this wasn’t the time for Codex-standard tactics. He came up under the awning of a closed shopfront, considering his options.
Vile as the Drukhari were, they lived their lives in the gutters, spires and shadows of their Dark City, fighting and dying in the dark. Belamor was a city nestled in the rising cusp of a hill - the staggered, uneven houses, steeples and manses formed a network of blind alleys and kill-zones. To approach the city from the harbour was teetering on the edge of suicide against an entrenched enemy, particularly one so suited to the terrain.
All Cabar could hope for was that his battle-brothers had cost the xenos time and manpower. If the web was already drawn across the city, if there were Kabalites on rooftops with splinter rifles, he was finished, no matter his courage or ability. His own bolt carbine was currently somewhere on the bottom of the harbour, and weaponry fit for Astartes was unlikely to be present on the world for few thousand years yet.
The hidden opponents would know that. They’d fought Space Marines before, that had been obvious in the quickness of their reaction to the boarding attack and their splitting of the Infiltrator squad. Anybody who’d survived an assault from the Angels of Death knew that unity was their greatest strength. A Space Marine alone was formidable, but in formation - well, they’d won the galaxy as Legions. The Drukhari would know what to expect from an unarmed warrior: a bull rush, a death-or-glory charge that would see him take a weapon or die in the process.
They’d anticipate him putting all his trust in his wargear, praying the plate would turn the venom-needles and daggers, would carry him into melee where he could snatch a weapon and fight back on more equal footing.
What they wouldn’t anticipate was subtlety. Cabar was just a wretched monkeigh, after all. No matter how badly his squad had hurt them, no matter how tired they were from the fight, how little time they’d had to spread through Belamor, they’d never be too cautious of a primitive. They’d fall into the same trap so many of their kind had before. How much trouble could a lone Space Marine be?
But this was what the genius of Frater Cawl and the shrewdness of Lord Guilliman had come together to create. The Vanguard had been made to do things not even the Imperium could reckon with, let alone their long-time foes.
Cabar blink-clicked the runes that marked his armour’s cutting-edge functions. As the low-level scan pulsed out, he turned his immediate attention to his surroundings. The window of the store could provide interesting possibilities, but breaking it would give away his location and his only advantage. It appeared to be some kind of tannery, judging by the signage and rack of skins behind the glass. There’d be tools inside. Flensing knives, hatchets, deboning implements - but he’d need to find a way inside first, and the padlocked door may as well have been the Eternity Gate.
Scan results filtered into his helm. Nothing that registered as a body’s heat signature, either human or alien. All the mortal residents of Belamor were cowering indoors, and the Kabalites wore temperature-stable armour. Effective for blending into a crowded city, or the brutal underbelly of Commorragh, but in a city without active industry or an active population…
Yes, that was it. Impossible to get a direct fix, but there they were - shadows colder than shadows should be. Not as many as Cabar had expected, but closer by far. He must have arrived right on their heels.
He touched the bleeding heart on his pauldron. The sacrifice of his squad had bought him more than time, it had bought him an opportunity. The xenos had no time to fortify or regroup. They had simply left a disorganised rearguard before plunging into the city in force themselves, desperate to reach their target before further opposition appeared.
Creeping along the storefront, Cabar shut down the higher electronics and functions of his armour. The hum faded away entirely. The time for high-tech war was done. From this point, Cabar’s war would be won or lost by skill - and chance.
‘For those we cherish,’ he whispered. The second part of the motto would have to speak for itself when he was done.
He moved more quietly than anything wearing ceramite had a right to, pressed close against the storefronts and closed doors, waiting for clouds to veil the twin moons before he made his final approach. A lean-to had been propped against a warehouse wall - Cabar could smell the sickness coming from it, his helm’s air-filers having powered down. A beggar or similar unfortunate soul had camped out here, seeking alms, but more likely receiving kicks and abuse from the dockside crowd.
Offering a wide view of the harbour and the streets leading into the city, it was just the right place for vermin to hide. A man in a hurry to charge his foes wouldn’t have given it a second thought, would have concentrated on dark alleys and flat rooftops. A man in a hurry would have been taken in the back or flank by a clever, clever opponent.
Cabar had learned patience and endurance well. His Chapter had been on the wrong side too often in the past, had been drawn into losing battles because of haste or ill-consideration.
Not this time.
His leap was silent, graceful, devastating. Cabar came down with both feet on the lean-to, rewarded with an incredibly satisfying crunch as his full weight came down on a hidden xeno. A blade tore through the sheeting to his left - a second attacker - and Cabar caught the briefest glimpse of a pale, surprised face through the tear as he swayed away. He didn’t wait for the counterstrike. One giant fist crashed into the fabric where the xeno’s skull had been, and the piston of Cabar’s Helix Gauntlet - made to crack open Space Marine armour to extract the progenoid organs - fired with a muffled crump. The figure beneath the canvas went slack.
Glancing down, Cabar saw where bone had come through sheeting and blood had already started to pool around his boots. He stepped off quickly. He had no desire to leave an easy trail to follow, though neither of the Drukhari would be likely to track him in the near future unless a very skilled and very patient Haemonculus was nearby.
The Space Marine tossed the bodies thoroughly and swiftly. He discounted the vicious pistols and the splinter rifle. Neither had been made with human standard in mind, and Drukhari equipment was notoriously unfriendly to unpracticed wielders. The more practical weapons - weighted throwing daggers, a barbed garrotte - went into sealed pouches on Cabar’s combat harness. Hefting the long-knife the second xeno had wielded, the Adept considered a moment before casting it aside.
There was no telling how the thing would work in real combat, if it would turn into a snake and wind its way up his arm or something equally outrageous. Better not to rely on the fickle nature of the enemy’s armaments when his own Emperor-given hands would serve for the nonce.
With this blunder, the Drukhari had committed the very error they had expected of Cabar. They had focused on their mission rather than the destruction of their enemies…
There is no pleasure in Sybarite Tzamien’s work.
She knew this from the start, but she still curses herself for allowing the objectives to be so tightly defined by the Archon. Perched on a monkeigh mansion’s crude iron weathervane, wrought in the image of some ridiculous prey animal, she surveys the silent city of Belamor through enhanced optics. There isn’t a soul outdoors to ‘accidentally’ gut, no screams to be torn from the crude people below. There’s nothing.
And even less than that, as she feels the sudden absence of the two-person ambush team from her neuro-link. She grits her teeth. There had been no time to pursue the fallen Space Marine, no time to inflict proper pain upon those who had remained - the attack had cost her forces valuable time, valuable lives, and those losses were compounding.
It wasn’t the human warriors she was concerned about. Certainly not the cattle below. But other forces moved in this filthy abode, and it was to avoid their attention that secrecy and swiftness had been made paramount.
Tzamien curses. She activates her communicator. ‘Rezoar. Belom. Take your squads to the junction. Ensure the monkeigh goes no further.’
‘Do you want it alive?’ comes the reply. She can’t tell which of the twins it is.
The temptation is strong. There is glory to be had in such a capture - after Tzamien had instructed it in the arts of anguish first, of course, for dogging her heels. ‘No,’ she replies, and the reluctance is genuine. ‘Be quick, then return to your search pattern. We must be gone before dawn.’
‘I hear and obey, Sybarite.’
Tzamien puts the Space Marine from her mind. Now, if she were a pathetic human, where would she hide?
In the shadows behind a low stone wall, Cabar hid.
He’d pushed up as far and fast as he’d dared, knowing that with his information warfare suite disabled the Drukhari would be able to organise and encircle him unhindered. The rapidity of their response had still nearly caught him by surprise: it had been a mix of paranoia and the filtering of sounds that might have been a cat on a tiled roof that had caused him to take cover.
The xenos had decided that their quarry wouldn’t risk the rooftops and exposure under the intermittent moons, but nor could they remain aloft themselves at the risk of letting the Space Marine slip through their net.
In the brutal street-fighting of the Dark City, there was only one way to deal with an opponent who refused to commit to honest battle - overwhelming force. The six members of a Kabalite squad leapfrogged each-other down the street that a moment earlier Cabar had been about to ascend. Each was intimately aware of the others positioning, indicating experience and comfort with their fellows - veterans, or whatever passed for it in the motley armed forces of the Drukhari. In a few seconds, the flankers would be coming over or around the stone wall.
Cabar judged their positions by what he could see - two on the far side of the street, two haunting the middle, which meant two would be about to expose him. He’d have only a few seconds once they did to make his move.
When the first xeno vaulted the barrier, the Adept grabbed the alien’s head, muffling its shocked exhalation. His other arm shot out to lock the rifle against his opponent’s chest, unable to fire. They stood in tableau for a precious moment - that simple span of time that it took for the flanker’s partner to believe it was safe to proceed.
As soon as the second Drukhari was starting to clear the wall, Cabar crushed the first’s skull in his grip. There was little resistance against a force that could tear plates off a tank. Cabar turned to put the corpse between him and his next foe in case the Kabalite was quicker on the draw, but the xeno barely had time to land before the Space Marine’s fist was lashing out. Another skull shattered under a merciless, instantly lethal blow.
Cabar completed his turn, discarding the first corpse and checking the second’s fall, but to do so he had to release his grip on the splinter rifle which clattered on the cobbles. In an instant, the Adept had whipped the throwing daggers from his belt and into the space he’d last sighted the xenos pair in the middle of the street before vaulting the wall himself, exchanging positions with the unlucky duo he’d slain.
Only one of Cabar’s thrown weapons found its target, sending a Kabalite gurgling and thrashing to the ground, but the three remaining reacted without hesitation, showering the far side of the low wall with rifle fire. Crystalline splinters snapped and broke on stone, failing to find a target into which to discharge their lethal poison.
The Drukhari would adjust their fire in a moment. They’d snapped shots out at the appearance of a threat rather than the threat itself, and in a moment they’d deduce that the Space Marine had slipped from cover. A moment, that’s all they needed to survive. A mere moment.
But in that thin slice of time, Cabar was already moving, circling, pushing his transhuman body and the marvellous engineering of Mark X armour to their limits. The Drukhari were faster than a base human. The Aeldari as a species were renowned for their unnatural grace and agility, their incredible control, their mindfulness. The Dark Kin took those racial advantages and honed them to the keenest of edges in their ruthless society, a society that forged vicious killers whose names were feared across the galaxy.
It wasn’t enough.
Cabar lowered his shoulder and ran through the surviving Kabalite before she had a chance to correct her aim. Bones broke, blood sprayed, but the Adept didn’t pause to see the damage - he’d incapacitated the foe, yet two remained.
The last pair split in either direction, hoping to force the Space Marine to pause, or at least choose badly. Dull spines protruded from beneath the barrels of their rifles: fearsome monomolecular blades that would pare even ceramite with the ease of a fisherman shucking shells. With no time to properly aim, with no guarantee that the splinters would find a seal or groove in power armour, and with no certainty that the poison would be fast enough or effective enough to bring their target down, the Kabalites chose to make their stand in the ancient way.
It was an audacious move. The machine-spirit of Cabar’s armour shrieked as a thrust pierced his side, flush along his ribs. His response was instinctive: he kicked the xeno in the chest, the force defeating the light weave the Kabalite wore and pulping every major organ in the alien’s torso.
The other Kabalite was more ambitious, aiming her thrust for Cabar’s head - but it was a smaller target, and he ducked to the side to escape harm, the momentum from his kick carrying him past. The Adept turned a fraction of a section faster than his opponent, his elbow slamming into the Kabalite’s skull with enough force to snap her neck.
Alone in the street, Cabar breathed hard. There was a fierce fire in his chest: he willed the hammering of his hearts to slow. His attack had been ill-advised and exactly the sort of suicidal foolishness that would have seen him dead to begin with, but the enemy had expected a war of stealth in their fresh pursuit. Keeping them off-balance and uncertain gave him certain advantages, but it also ran terrible risks. The red haze at the corner of his vision, the prick of his angel’s teeth on his lips - the twin curses of the Blood Angels had been passed down to their Successors, and the Lamenters were familiar with both.
Many had thought the Primaris immune, or at least resistant - that brief hope had been quashed in the most tragic way. Cabar shook his head, and the red retreated - for the moment. He needed all his wits about him, more than the strength that the Thirst would offer.
Think. To reach him so quickly, the Drukhari would have to have been searching close by. They would not have done so in ignorance, meaning they had an idea of where their quarry was located - not on the harbourfront, but close to it, likely in the thin band of workshops and light industry that banded Belamor like a notched belt overtaken by a protruding gut. That made sense.
Why hide in that fortress on the hill, or the district of the rich and privileged? Too obvious. A mind shrewd enough - or at least, a person connected enough - to divine the coming of a Drukhari raid would have thrown themselves down the deepest bolthole in town.
There were few places more well-known as dens of intrigue and secrecy than bars and brothels, of which Belamor was blessed with an abundance of, but only one was more than a century old. Only one proudly hung a weather-stained sign of a grinning rodent outside its door. Only one tavern had been owned and operated by Belamor’s current de facto leader in his misspent youth.
Sybarite Tzamien idly licked the blood from her gloves.
It wasn’t particularly satisfying, but one had to keep up appearances. To command a detachment of Kabalite Warriors was not a given rank, it was decided within by the warriors themselves - with knives in the back whenever weakness was shown. Her leadership had been unquestioned, and her forces continued to obey her without comment, but Tzamien was not ignorant of her position.
Rezoar and his squad were dead. That was a shame, but more importantly, they were dead on her orders. That was weakness, and far more dangerous.
This was supposed to be simple. How had things gone so wrong?
Was she losing her touch? Or was there a mole inside the Kabal, feeding information to her enemies? Had the Space Marines had another warband close by? It seemed strange that a lone warrior - and a medic at that - would be so immediately lethal. Was the Imperial attack simply being used as cover by a rival - hers or her Kabals - to spoil the raid and steal their prize?
The endless politics of the Dark City were delight and despair in equal measure, but if Tzamien hadn’t enjoyed them, she would have fled to the cold embrace of the new, dead god with the others.
‘Kill me,’ begged the monkeigh offal through a mouth of pulled teeth, the blood staining his blue doublet a delicious shade. ‘Please, kill me.’
He’d given the target’s location before Tzamien had even started on the man’s fingernails. It was pathetic, really, and barely worth her effort - but, as she’d acknowledged, appearances had to be kept up and it wouldn’t do to have the Kabal sniffing out any sign of shakiness or lack of resolve. They’d turn on her like gral in a blood-den.
Tzamien considered letting Belom know his brother had died, then decided against it. The fool would only hurry over to spoil her fun. She’d take her prize alone and wait for whatever forces had been interfering with her affairs, and let them know just how displeased she was.
‘Kill me,’ the wretch repeated.
‘Later, perhaps,’ she replied with her most winning smile.
The man let go of his bowels at last.
Tzamien left him crucified on the terrace, lithely moving down to the streets below, aglow with the satisfaction of pain, terror and a job well done.
submitted by wecanhaveallthree to 40kLore [link] [comments]

Binary Options Trading Secrets Exposed By My Binary Code Expert BINARY OPTIONS STRATEGY- Binary Options Newest Method 2020 Binary Overdrive WILL NOT WORK SCAM SOFTWARE Wall Street Warriors - Season 3 Opening HD binäre optionen The Milf Of Wall Street - YouTube

Wall Street Exposed is the Best Binary Options Strategy in the recent times. Wall Street Exposed Works effectively and profitably, So This Your Chance To Change Your Financial Status For More Financial Freedom. In the WALL STREET EXPOSED program you are provided with a software “Autobinarycode” which is a semi-automatic software written specifically for trading of binary options ... Wall Street Exposed is a new website promoting “free” and “secret” software that will help anyone make trades online which they say can easily result in profits of up to 91% per trade. According to the presentation video, making money from traditional trading takes lots of research and a huge learning curve, during which time you may lose a lot of money. But Wall Street Exposed ... Wall Street Exposed, Compared to the other platforms, trading in binary options is relatively new. However, as these options are speculative investments, they return good profits of 75 to 80 % every hour. The basic concepts of trading in binary options are similar to convention methods of trading. However, traders should be aware certain concepts that will help them profit from achieving this ... Wall Street Exposed lets you know the right way to trade binary options easily with huge profits. It is a new and advanced options trading plan strategy which will teach you methods to bank $957 each day with no risk.The system is very simple, and easy to learn even for a newbie like myself. In essence we are ‘betting' on Forex to either rise or fall, this is done every minute. The best ... Binary options investments involve betting on whether the price of certain assets, such as shares, currencies or commodities, will go up or down within a specific time period. Scores of websites like BinaryBook offer these deals to British customers, who often forge a relationship with a personal broker – or ‘expert trader’ – who will place the bets for them. One of the biggest frauds ... Today I’d like to warn you about a new binary options auto trading robot called the Wall Street Trading Software. Looking at this offer, it’s clear to me that it’s a complete FRAUD! But many people will be persuaded by the slick marketing tactics employed by the creators of the Wall Street Trading Software. In the following scam review, I will try to provide you with clear evidence of ... Wall Street Trading Software is a recently developed ridiculous software that has nothing to do with binary options trading. The software has nothing to do with Wall Street either and are run by some fraudsters who only aims to steal your money. There is nothing good about this software and will provide you nothing in […] B wall street exposed binary options : Real-time Free signals – www.airtightnetworks.de. Making money moving average 200 day chart the street is all that matters. Sometimes, option a little pain on some less-than-intelligent options strategies street the best way to learn. As for utilizing options on a specific index, street on VIX, free something I typically reserve for when I want real ... Auto binary Code aka wall street exposed aka Aspen something brokers is just another scam. Luckily I did a scam search on them prior to depositing money as everyone should do before wasting any time or money. They had many reports about taking money and not delivering what they promise along with no responce to refunds. They are just another rip off buyer beware take the money and run scam ... In this article Wall Street Trading Software Review I will introduce you to a latest binary options trading system that is making quite a ruckus online. The Wall Street Trading Software is an unbearable scam that has to be avoided at any cost. There is nothing reliable in this platform and every feature and claims seem to be fictional. Not only is that but the whole software is run by scammers ...

[index] [13633] [23225] [29284] [2736] [28773] [6518] [25578] [10253] [8140] [29625]

Binary Options Trading Secrets Exposed By My Binary Code Expert

Instead You Should Copy The Trades Of A Professional Binary Trader "Franco" With Over... Skip navigation Sign in. Search. Loading... Close. This video is unavailable. Watch Queue Queue . Watch ... Binary Options Trading Secrets Exposed By My Binary Code Expert "Cheating The Odds" - Bank Secrets Revealed: How and why Banks make millions a day by leveraging our savings accounts, while we make ... Ob ihr es glaubt oder nicht, ich war früher mal Investor an der Wall Street. Und so etwas habe ich in meinen 10 Jahren bei der Firma noch nie gesehen. Meine Kollegen dachten alle ich wäre ... Wall Street Warriors - Season 3 Opening HD Cast: Trading Strategies - Live Trade Coaching - Binary Options - CFD's - Futures - Equities - Commodities - FX Hi welcome to my YouTube channel. I started this channel to help people spot the good binary options software that are on the market and steer clear of the s... Meet The Forex Wolf Of Wall Street ... exposed , forex trader , forex day trading , fxlifestyle ceo , fxlifestyle reviews, fxlifestyle review , currency trading , binary options , millionaire ... A lot of here men and women how to trade binary options all over the globe are actually being attentive to the trade, when considered Wall Street’s version of gambling. And it’s not all with ...

http://binary-optiontrade.asmupellogese.tk