Prologue: Chaos Found
(2669 A.D., Sol Standard Calendar)
I'd visited Paradies once a few years back. Nice place really. 2 large cities, about a dozen smaller towns and stuff like that, great temperate weather that was ideal for year round crop growing...best of all, the genetic makeup of the terrestrial life was actually close enough to Earths that we could live off the land straightaway.
Small wonder the original German settlers had named the planet, 'Paradise'.
Hell, I'd even gotten laid there, despite my extensive prosthetics and enhancements.
Which is why the fact that all that remains of said world is a massive black hole really bums me out.
That, and the reality that a couple dozen million people went along with it. All because some idiots on the surface thought incarnating Leere of all deities was a good idea.
Then again, those very same idiots are probably the ones on the ships we're currently pursuing. Who cares about the consequences if you don't have to deal with them?
"Ensign McDowel, are we prepared to jump?"
"Yes Captain, on your go."
Captain Davies leans back in his command chair and seemingly asks empty air, "Chesty, you have firing solutions for when we exit the jump?"
A disembodied voice sounds throughout the bridge, our trusty A.I. responding, "Of course Captain, the HELGA will be ready to fire on your command."
"Good. Don't wait for my command, fire when ready."
A brief moment of silence as Captain Davies interfaces with his command station and then a holographic display appears in the corner of my vision, perfectly superimposed on whatever it is my eyes happen to be focused on at the moment.
1 minute to go before we start avenging Paradies.
I slowly flex my arm, marveling at the play of diamond infused titanium 'bones' and nanomachine enhanced carbon tube 'muscles', all overlayed by neutronium laced armorplast.
I may not be able to pull off sneaky, never mind that touching un-augmented Humans, even with my minimum force settings, is a big no-no...but it's a worthwhile tradeoff when I can rip apart even an A.R.E.S equipped soldier with a single hand, and use my height of 2.2 meters to scare the Hell out of most people.
All so that I can do my duty as a member of Kadingir (Gateway of the Gods). And, you know...keep an eye on my oldest friend.
The doors to the bridge slide open and speak of the devil…
Or in this case, speak of the Devil King.
Standing just shy of 2 meters tall, with dark skin that's packed with muscle and walking with a warrior's grace, shaven head and startlingly bright blue eyes, Adeyemi strikes quite the imposing figure.
And that's before you notice the crest on his shoulder, a curled dragon surrounded by Angel Wings, denoting him as a member of the Xul Etlu (Demon Warrior).
Denoting him as a Campione.
And the grin he shoots me is the kind of grin most reserve for a friend that just got caught masturbating to a hologram of their crush.
"What's with the stare Kenny? Reminiscing?"
His voice is a surprisingly pleasant baritone, a stark contrast to his intimidating presence.
I glance out the forward view screens at where Paradies used to be and quietly sigh.
I don't have to turn around to see Adeyemi's face contort into one of bloodthirstiness and vengefullness.
It's a face I'm used to seeing.
"Well in a few seconds we'll be adding one final memory to this whole saga. Let's make it a good one, shall we?"
A grim smile appears on my face.
"Couldn't have said it better myself, King."
With that Adeyemi floats over to his throne, a centuries old Chaise style sofa with a high back and crimson embroidering that oversees the lower decks where Captain Davies and the rest are seated, preparing for our upcoming fight.
There's a pecking order that has to be maintained after all, even if all of us on this ship might as well be Brothers and Sisters.
My thoughts are interrupted by 2 melodic shouts of "Master!" as 2 equally stunning beauties rapidly float over to Adeyemi's throne and promptly hug him with enormous smiles on their faces, enthusiasm practically leaking from their bodies.
At first glance one might be forgiven for thinking them concubines of the Godslayer...but a closer look would show the sigil of a Xul Etlu tattooed onto their bare shoulders.
Much like Adeyemi, they also bear the authority and powers granted by a defeated God.
As the old saying goes, 'don't judge a book by it's cover'.
Adeyemi merely smiles indulgently and amusedly says, "You cut that a little close, you almost missed the opening act..."
The 2 of them then identically pout, causing me to chuckle quietly in amusement at their antics.
Much like how most people would never guess that they were Godslayers, their upbeat and mercurial attitudes would never imply that they were once some of the most deadly and emotionless survivalists this side of the Milky Way.
Sometimes they still are.
Angelique and Cassandra. Identical twins except for a few key differences. While Angelique has a mane of golden hair that flows down to the small of her back Cassandra's is silver and of equal length. The only other identifying factor is Angelique's strangely colored pink eyes while Cassandra has bright crimson ones.
Other than that, they might as well be perfect clones of the same body type.
1.6 meters tall, youthful appearances that suggest maybe 15-16 years of age, slim legs and arms and a French-Quebecan ancestry evident in their soft and angular faces.
...Oh, and they're only clad in ancient Earther belly-dancer outfits, Angelique's stark white with gold trimming and Cassandra's pitch black with red trimming.
For whatever reason those 2 are only ever comfortable when on display...not that any of us are really bothered by it.
Casual nudity has been widely accepted among most Human cultures for centuries now.
"Initiating Alcubierre Drive, jump commencing in 3...2...1."
No sooner does McDowel complete his sentence than Right to Rule almost imperceptibly shudders and the starfield that had been displayed on the monitors minutely shifts position, our millions of kilometers distance crossed in the blink of an eye.
Humanity had long been stumped by the puzzle of achieving FTL travel and journeying amongst the stars in a timely manner that didn't mean entire generations could die of old age before the destination was even reached. Not that anyone really wanted to travel around the universe at c velocities anyway, since the slightest collision with any form of debris would rather definitively fuck up the ship pretty badly.
Around 2197 a working engine based off of, and named after, the 19th century physicist was built and successfully tested, revolutionizing space travel and allowing Humanity to traverse the galaxy exponentially more efficiently. Trips that would have taken decades merely took months, potentially weeks.
While the actual mathematical and technical workings of an Alcubierre Drive are way beyond my ken, the short and simple version of it's function is that it 'compresses' space time in front of the ship, allowing said ship to 'ride' on it's wake and achieve FTL speeds without actually having to work within inconvenient limits such as 'velocity'.
I like to think of it as the prow of a ship breaking the waves and making the journey smoother for all.
Regardless, one additional advantage an Alcubierre Drive has over it's more standard counterparts is that since it's essentially inertialess, extremely short and precise jumps can be made from a complete standstill.
Which is how Right to Rule is now 14,000 kilometers away from the 3 escaped ships, rather than the massive distance it was a split-second ago.
At Chesty's announcement another more noticeable shudder travels throughout the ship as it's HELGA (High Energy Laser Gun Array) mounted along the ships spine fires, 150 thousand megajoules of energy streaking towards the lead ship, a modified passenger liner from the initial scans.
The invisible beam of energy gets to within 500 kilometers of its target-
-and is promptly swallowed by a black hole that materializes directly in front of it, the blast completely nullified by the impromptu shield.
I can practically taste the scowl in Adeyemi's voice as he asks, "Chesty, am I correct in assuming that gravity well was caused by Leere?"
"That appears to be a safe assumption Slayer Adeyemi. Energy readings consistent with Heretical beings reality altering powers were detected before the gravity phenomenon was created. It seems unlikely that HELGA strikes or more conventional munitions will be effective given the combination of a divine beings extrasensory perceptions and the opposing ships sensors."
A wicked smile appears on my friend's lips.
"Chesty, prepare the Arc Cannon."
"Understood Slayer Adeyemi."
I nod in satisfaction as an additional viewing window appears on the main screens, Right to Rule's forward prow slightly splitting apart to reveal a glowing set of railgun-like devices, installed with Adeyemi's Authorities strictly in mind.
Right to Rule is one of the newest Emperor-class ships added to the Xul Etlu's growing fleet of vessels, it's maiden voyage occurring almost 14 years ago during the final stages of the Pantheon Wars, one of the worst cases of Heretic God and cult activity since the 25th century that had ended in the almost complete annihilation of 7 inhabited worlds and required several different Xul Etlu and Kadingir battle groups to keep it contained until the Godslaughterer himself joined the fight and ended it within 2 weeks.
Appearing to be a combination of the old 21st century seaborne battleships and a more modern spacefaring vessel, an extended needle design, the Right to Rule is almost 12 kilometers long and capable of subjugating an entire system by itself, carrying a full complement of ground assault and battlespace superiority Kadingir teams.
The personal vessel of Adeyemi himself.
"Arc Cannon is ready to fire on your command Slayer Adeyemi. Awaiting neural link for final targeting solutions."
Without further ado Adeyemi reaches for the arm of his throne and unhooks the small corded jack attached to it before plugging it into the small socket at the base of his skull.
Neural implants are tricky to install on a Campione's bodies, their naturally tenacious healing factor constantly trying to reject the hardware, but the Godslaughterer, Adeyemi's mentor and the founder of both the Xul Etlu and Kadingir, had created a set of spells and enchantments that allowed such implants to be installed safely.
An act that is now about to be fully unleashed upon Adeyemi and Chesty's hapless targets.
Even if said target is a God.
"Slay the Dragon, slay the Serpent. Shatter the sky and bring forth a raging storm! Ternion Thunderlord!"
As Adeyemi's chant dies down a surge of power can be physically felt by all of us, the Authority usurped from Teshub being brought forth and directed at Right to Rule's Arc Cannon, the lines of electricity suddenly behaving far more frantically than they were a few seconds before.
"Ok Chesty, all set here..." Adeyemi mutters, "Go ahead and give me a target lock."
"Acquiring fire solution. Solution acquired, ready to fire on your command."
No sooner do the words leave the massive Devil King's lips than a mirror bright storm of lightning leaps forward from Right to Rule and streaks towards the distant motes of light that represent our targets.
Ternion Thunderlord affords Adeyemi control over all types of electricity and it's myriad forms, when given the power of an Emperor-class ship's weapons like the ones onboard Right to Rule, the results can be truly devastating.
When Leere manifests a singularity in the path of the encroaching beam of energy, Adeyemi simply wills the storm to go around it.
While a few arcs are caught in the inescapable trap that is a black hole, the majority avoid the obstruction and hit their targets with lethal efficiency.
2 ships aren't so lucky, the corkscrewing waves of man-made lightning striking their engines and superheating the metal composites into a fast moving wave of heat and pressure that breaches the onboard reactors and detonates their hulls in a brief but violent explosion. The 3rd vessel fares slightly better, it's engines largely destroyed and hull breached in several glowing spots where errant strikes hit home, but still largely intact.
Adeyemi grunts while Angelique suddenly pipes up with, "You missed the most important one Master!"
Cassandra nods thoughtfully and concludes, "The God is still alive on that ship..."
"Slayers Angelique and Cassandra are correct Slayer Adeyemi. Energy readings and intuitive sensing from our shared perceptions conclude that there is a 99.13% chance that the Heretic being is still alive."
A feral smirk adorns his features as he softly growls, "Well let's fix that then, shall we? Chesty, ready a nuke and 5 decoy missiles, time it so that the next shot from the Arc Cannon all hit at the same time."
"Understood, preparing firing sol-warning, energy and gravitic readings increasing rapidly!"
The spoken alert is more for my sake along with the rest of the bridge crew's, since the 3 Campione had simultaneously tensed as soon as Chesty began his warning, no doubt tipped off by their extrasensory perceptions.
Adeyemi recovers first and barks, "Chesty! Can we use the Alcubierre Drive?"
"Negative. The local gravity metric has become both unstable and far more powerful, Alcubierre travel is impossible. I hypothesize that the Heretic being has undertaken a last ditch effort to kill us alongside itself by enlarging the singularity that consumed Paradies to massive proportions."
I inwardly curse, a notion seconded by Adeyemi except he's way more vocal about it.
One drawback to Alcubierre Drives is that they need to be largely free of gravity wells before they can be engaged, 1/20th of Earth standard gravity is the accepted safe-limit and self-evidently we're way beyond that.
Right to Rule suddenly lurches violently, even the state-of-the-art inertial dampeners unable to block off the motion, and McDowel shouts, "We're being drawn in towards the center of the singularity Milord! Our physical state engines don't have the power to tear us free!"
All of our faces turn grim and Captain Davies carefully asks, "Chesty, what are the odds of anyone surviving if they abandon ship right now?"
"Unfortunately zero Captain, and while I regret being the bearer of bad news, the singularity is only increasing in strength as time goes by. I estimate we have about 1 minute before we are fully entombed by it."
We're all quiet for a second, shocked by the sudden turn in our fortunes, when Adeyemi quickly orders, "Have all crewmembers brace themselves for evasive maneuvers and lock down anything that might be loose! Chesty, McDowel, give me your best guess at a straight shot through the event horizon of that Son of a Bitch! We'll get out by going through."
"Such an action has never been attempted before Slayer Adeyemi and while theoretically possible it is extremely unli-"
"If you've got a better idea I would love to hear it! Otherwise shut up and do as I said!"
I hop up next to my oldest pals throne and mutter, "Survive the black hole by diving into it? Your mentor would be proud of how crazy you are..."
He chuckles before motioning to the 2 sisters who wordlessly glide to his side and they all join hands before closing their eyes.
On some of the cams displaying the outside of the ship a Golden force-field suddenly snaps into place, a pulsating shield covered in hieroglyphics provided by the 3 resident Xul Etlu.
For the longest time, all the way up to the 21st century in fact, it had been thought that only Heretic beings could manifest the golden defenses provided by Divine power, a thought that had been resoundingly proven false when the Godslaughterer had manifested one. All these centuries later those shields have become a staple, if somewhat last-ditch due to their energy requirements, tactic of the various Xul Etlu.
And ideally it will keep us alive despite the rather sizable odds stacked against us.
I take another look at some of the outside cams and can't help but be shocked at just how fast we're approaching the black hole. Either that or the thing has been getting alarmingly bigger these past few seconds and we didn't even notice…
The general alarm suddenly sounds throughout the ship and Captain Davies' calm voice warns everyone to brace themselves while Chesty relaxedly announces, "Course plotted, the rest is up to you Slayers."
Not that Adeyemi or the Sisters respond, they're too deep in concentration trying to keep the barrier up around the ship as best they can.
...Wish there was something I could do to help. I'm fairly useless in situations like these…
"Coming up on accretion disk. Arriving at Event Horizon in 7 seconds."
Perhaps the most shocking thing about this whole venture is how fast it's happening. Hell, there hasn't even really been time for a proper accretion disk to form, it's mostly just comprised of some stray dust and melted hull pieces, hardly anything impressive…
"Event Horizon breached."
Chesty's maddeningly calm tone announces our likely death as if he was merely asking for a lunch menu and by now the 3 Campione are visibly sweating from the effort of maintaining the field and keeping the insane gravitational forces from disintegrating the ship.
And then Chesty announces the final step of our journey in what feels like no time at all with, "Breaching singularity in 3...2...1-"
I blink again.
Well I'm pretty sure I'm not dead, if the 2 painful grips on my arms are any indication of my status of being.
Thankfully my link with Chesty doesn't seem to be damaged.
"Chesty, what happened? How much time has passed?"
"We appear to have successfully navigated through the singularity Slayer Adeyemi, despite the...unnaturalness of such an action. Additionally no more than 8 seconds has passed since we entered the singularity, you merely assumed time had passed likely because the Human mind is un-equipped to comprehend the act of traveling through a black hole."
I snort in amusement.
"I know, right? It's almost like that's something that doesn't happen all that often."
Chesty remains quiet and I instead take stock of everyone else around me.
Angelique and Cassandra quickly let go of my arms once Chesty had confirmed we weren't dead and are now merely staring at me with curiosity in their eyes, patiently waiting for any instructions I may have.
Heh, like I have a clue of what's going on yet…
"Ensign McDowel, Chesty, any ideas on where we are?"
They're both silent for a moment, Captain Davies communicating and taking stock of the condition of the rest of Right to Rule's contingent, when McDowel hesitantly replies, "Milord...I think we're in the Quantum Sea."
Chesty intervenes with, "Ensign McDowel appears to be correct Slayer Adeyemi. Energy readings are consistent with what little records we have of the base state of reality, not to mention that certain physics based phenomena, such as momentum and distance, appear to have no discernible affect in this location. Although I would refer to this location as 'Paraspace', as some of our physicists have taken to calling it."
Kenny snorts and adds, "I always got the Quantum Sea and the Dirac Sea mixed up..."
My brow furrows and I confusedly ask, "Wait, aren't they the same thing?"
Angelique interrupts with, "No Master, I think the term your looking for is, 'The Primordial Soup'."
We all look at her strangely until Cassandra lightly shakes her head before gathering her sister in a hug, one hand gently cupping a breast and causing Angelique to pleasantly hum as she chides, "No silly, that's something different you're thinking of."
With an utterly serious expression on her face she concludes, "The right term is 'The Primordial Stew'."
That drags a snort from all present and 2 smiles appear on the sister's faces.
They certainly know how to ease the tension in the room.
I clap my hands and announce, "Ok people let's get busy finding out where, if that's even a thing, we are and how we might get out of it. Kenny, Captain Davies. You 2 start prepping the rest of the Kadingir for combat situations, there's no telling what we might run into out here...wherever 'here' is."
I receive a round of affirmatives and Kenny briefly stops by the Captain to work out responsibilities while I turn to my 2 pets.
"Ready to explore the unknown girls?"
2 beaming smiles and a chorus of, "Yes Master!", are my responses and I fondly smile.
Heavens know what I would do without these 2's ability to make any situation seem less terrifying than it actually is.
I sit back on my throne, my 2 darlings taking up seats on either side, also plugging in interface jacks to the back of their skulls, and tell our A.I., "Get ready to record and potentially translate whatever we sense Chesty, it might be weird out there."
"Understood Slayers, begin at your discretion."
I take a deep breath and pause for a moment to synchronize with the Sister's minds, before the 3 of us reach out with our Magical senses and-
What the Fu-
A wave of power unlike any I've ever sensed before slams into my head, a pained grunt escaping my throat and while the sisters are silent, far more used to pain in all it's myriad forms than even I am, the terrified expressions on their faces tell the whole story.
Shit, I'm probably not looking any better myself.
"..-emi...Hey, Adeyemi! Snap out of it dumbass!"
Only a few people in the universe dare talk to me that way and I'm willing to bet it's my cyborg buddy doing the yelling right now.
I refocus and sure enough I see that tinted visor of his focused intently on me, arms held loose and ready to combat any potential threat.
I glance at Angelique and Cassandra and breathe a bit easier once I see them rapidly gaining control over their emotions and again awaiting further orders, pink and crimson eyes staring into my own blue ones.
"We're fine...although I get the unpleasant feeling that Leere might have sent us here as a form of trap..."
"What? What makes you say that?"
My mouth settles in a grim line and I dully reply, "Because I felt tens of thousands of Magic signatures with power equivalent to a Subordinate God, or potentially even a Heretic God."
Kenny takes this rather awful news without so much as a sound or flinch before he carefully asks, "That's not the worst of it though, is it? Your expression is giving it away."
I humorlessly chuckle.
"The worst of it is the 4 presences we felt aside from those other beings...Kenny, I've never felt power like that before, and I was there when the Godslaughterer finally took to the field during the last days of the Pantheon Wars. Shit, that didn't even come close to what these things felt like...Like raw emotion and power given conscious thought..."
My oldest buddy is silent for a few seconds longer before he carefully asks, "You don't think we somehow ended up in the Domain of Immortality...do you?"
I give that a moment of real thought before I shake my head.
"I don't think so...most of the smaller thousands I sensed seem pretty identical to the big 4 in some way or another, not the melting pot of different deities and ideas we've always assumed the Domain would actually be. I think we've ended up in some bizarre alter-world or parallel universe, to be quite honest with you."
Kenny shakes his head and mutters, "Gotta love Mondays...alright so what's our next move gonna be?"
...Yah, what indeed?
I glance around the bridge and find everyone now staring at me, patiently awaiting my decision, no doubt alongside everyone else onboard Right to Rule.
"Chesty, any luck finding out where we are or if we can leave at all?"
"Unfortunately I haven't yet reached a conclusion regarding either one of those subjects Slayer Adeyemi. For the moment I would advise your instructions to be made on the assumption that we will be unable to return to our original reality."
I lean back on my throne and lock my hands behind my head, momentarily overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation.
At times like this I try to remember my mentor's words.
'Oh, so you don't have all the information? And by extension that means you don't have the answers? Welcome to the Human fucking race. Seriously, if there's no clear answer, don't be afraid to just act on whim. The Kadingir exist to serve the Xul Etlu, and nothing is more terrifying to them than a Campione that can't make up their mind. And if you end up making a wrong decision? Well tough beans, you should have thought of that before you killed a God dumbass. Do what any responsible person would and clean up your own damn mess. That's the only sort of apology the Kadingir will accept.'
...And he's right. We're stuck in a completely unknown plane of existence, surrounded on all sides by potentially unfriendly Heretic beings with no readily available method to get home.
Any direction is as good as the next.
With that in mind I suddenly sit upright and ask my adorable little slaves, "Well girls? Thoughts on whether those things out there are actual Heretic Gods or not?"
As usual they give a lot more thought to the matter than they probably need to, before they unanimously reply, "Yes Master, they are the enemy."
...Even after all these years spent together it creeps me out slightly when they speak in perfect unison like that.
It means they're preparing themselves to fight and kill.
Putting that aside I glance at Kenny and he gives me a simple, resolute nod.
Well that's it then.
Abruptly I stand up and activate the ships intercom.
"All hands this is Adeyemi. As you've no doubt heard the rumors by now, allow me to confirm! We are indeed in some sort of parallel state of being, although initial scans have revealed that there are thousands, potentially tens of thousands of Heretic-class beings around our immediate area. Our mission has not changed! We'll set course for the nearest of these beings and do what the Xul Etlu and Kadingir do best! Lock and load people, we've got some more deicide on the schedule for today!"
I close the channel and let a feral grin paste itself across my face.
Nothing puts me in a better mood than the opportunity to put those arrogant Gods in their rightful place…
"Great speech pal. I hope you have a plan of action to back it up with, or you're just going to look silly."
I snort at Kenny's words and relax backwards onto my throne with a contented sigh.
"Of course I have a plan. Angelique, Cassandra?"
They do their eerie perfectly symmetrical nod thing and move to sit on either side of me, the 3 of us once again joining our minds as we begin searching, far more carefully this time, for our first quarry. Within seconds we have it.
A titanic, fluctuating mass of power that feels like fury and death combined, distilled into a corporeal form with just a dash of madness to top it all off.
"Chesty, can you give us a general orientation towards that signature we're sensing?"
"Yes Slayer Adeyemi, although I wish to reiterate that distance seems to be an arbitrary concept in this dimension, our trip may take no time, or quite a bit of time."
"And we won't know for sure until we actually start moving, now will we?"
"Understood. Initiating Alcubierre Drive according to extrasensory guidance."
Right to Rule shudders ever so slightly-
-and in the blink of an eye a supremely massive range of active volcanoes appears on the forward view screens, extending for hundreds upon hundreds of kilometers in either direction. What's especially weird is that there doesn't seem to be a planetary surface or anything like that below them, it's just the range of mountains seemingly floating around in whatever this dimension is.
Looks like we've reached the gates.
Now how to knock…
"Chesty, anything special about that giant mountain range of fire and death? Aside from the fact that it looks freaking huge?"
"Nothing too far out of the ordinary Slayer Adeyemi, although there does appear to be several curious life forms appearing out of the mountains surface."
"Put them on screen."
A few displays blink on across the main viewfinder and I give a low whistle. I'm passingly familiar with most of the religions Humanity has come up with over the millenia and I'm pretty sure freaky shit like this was never part of any culture's Hell.
Strange, bipedal creatures made of rock and magma rise out of the ranges like bizarre lava zombies and stare balefully at where we're drifting a couple dozen 'kilometers' away, their hate almost a manifest thing.
I'm honestly tempted to tell Chesty to nuke them, just to see what happens, but reign in my destructive impulses, reminding myself that we really don't have any idea what we're dealing with.
With that in mind I turn to the sisters, about to ask them if they sense anything when I notice they're both standing unnaturally stiffly, almost as if in a trance.
...They must be receiving Spirit Visions of some kind, a lucky break for us that they can still be received in this plane of existence. Holding my silence I watch them for a few more seconds, idly wishing that I had a bit of Witch blood coursing through my veins like they do, when they suddenly snap to attention and look at the ring of rock and fire with equal parts trepidation and curiosity, or at least as much of those emotions as they can currently display, which isn't much.
They're starting to shut down the closer and closer we get to actual combat.
I furrow my brow and pose an open question.
"Chesty, got anything on a deity named Khorne?"
There's actually a second or 2 of silence, something rather unusual since Chesty can typically pull an answer out within fractions of a second.
We must have really stumped him…
"Negative, Slayer Adeyemi. I searched for the name 'Khorne' and even cross-referenced it with volcanic activity sources but found nothing. It is entirely possible this is a new God we're dealing with, one not before encountered."
I once more eye the sisters but they're still blankly staring out at the ring of volcanoes, hardly moving a muscle and quite frankly it's making everyone nervous.
Something that freaks out a Campione is something to be feared for sure.
I gently put my hands on their hips and slowly pull them back to sit on either side of me, shifting my grip so that I'm hugging them to my side.
"Angelique, Cassandra, try to relax a bit...we're in this together, and you need to put up a strong front for everyone else who doesn't have our kind of power, remember?"
They're both silent for a few seconds before taking shuddering breaths and quietly intoning, "Yes Master."
As soon as those words leave their lips they relax slightly, still cold and calculating in their demeanor but no longer acting like they're machines.
...I'm not in any position to complain though. I'm not the one who survived the Holy Purges on Alighan for years on end, only to be captured and made the playthings of Moloch itself for almost 2 straight months before I finally tracked that sick fucker down with an army at my back.
I should just be glad they can display any kind of emotion…
I shake those depressing thoughts out of my mind and instead focus on the more enticing ones of tracking down this 'Khorne' and slaughtering it just out of principal.
I have some emotional baggage of my own when it comes to Heretic Gods...
I steal one more glance at the massive mountains of rock and fire, manned by unknown demonic creatures, that bar our way forward and smirk at the challenge they represent.
"Chesty, how do you like the odds of split second Alcubierre jump in this mess of a dimension?"
"As long as a set destination can be located I foresee no problems. My initial hypothesis is that in this terrain knowing where you want to go is less important than the how."
I shake my head in bemusement before settling further into my throne.
"Kenny, get suited up and have the Amelatu (Gatekeeper)ready to go. Also prep the Isten Baba (First gate)for taking a 'beachhead', have the Sana baba (Second Gate)and Dugnamtars (Fate Speakers)alongside the Gibils (Ones of Fire)stay on board. I dunno how this place works but if anything boards Right to Rule I want forces on hand to shut them down. Get to it buddy."
A grin of his own on his face, or at least as complete a grin he can manage with a prosthetic lower jaw, he gives a lazy salute, 2 fingers bouncing off his forehead as he replies, "Already on it. We'll be tearing down the front door before you know it."
As he leaves the bridge I hear Chesty announce, "Alcubierre Drive prepped for jump Slayer Adeyemi, awaiting coordinates."
I nod and quietly say, "Alright girls, here we go..."
I mentally receive acknowledgments, along with a brief sharing of gratefulness, before we again meld our minds and start searching for a way through our current roadblock.
Anything for you, my lovelies…
"Chesty, we've got something for you."
It'd taken almost an hour of intensive and more than a little nerve-wracking searching to finally find a way through the massive wall of volcanoes, the ginormous constructs seemingly made out of malice and bloodlust incarnate.
Trying to find a 'path' through those emotions without being overwhelmed by the raw fury they emitted would have been damn near impossible if Angelique and Cassandra hadn't been by my side, each of us relying on and communing with the other's thoughts to help keep us focused and sane.
But we did it.
"Coordinates received Slayer Adeyemi, initiating jump."
The front screen blinks-
-And suddenly the unnatural barricade that was those volcanoes is gone, replaced by a vast plain of...well, I'm fairly certain it would fit some primitive civilizations idea of Hell.
A tortured sky that alternates between crimson red, smoky black and burning yellow, with the occasional lightning burst thrown in for good measure. Oh, and I can't forget the tornadoes of what looks like flames, ash and blood of all things.
The ground isn't much better, being an uneven and constantly shifting slurry of steaming rock, glowing crevices and roaming...things.
What the fuck is this place?
I glance over at Cassandra and almost flinch at the murderous look on her face before her bright crimson eyes lock on mine and she says in a quavering voice, "Look below us...it's just like on...on Alighan."
That gets my attention and I focus my mind on the airspace below where Right to Rule is hovering on it's anti-grav engine-
-and feel my lips pull away from my teeth in a snarl.
"Chesty, cam the area below us."
The A.I. wordlessly complies and the main monitor displays an overhead image of a building that looks to be styled after some insane artist's idea of what a Gothic Industrial Revolution factory would be, all sharp edges, buttresses and thick columns of smoke pouring from crude smokestacks, the whole nightmare almost 10 kilometers across.
It's what's inside that causes me to feel a rush of burning rage. While I may not be as skilled in sensing raw emotions as the sisters are, in this case I don't need to. Whatever is happening in that factory look-alike is something I wish I would never have to sense again in my life.
Pure, unrelenting torture.
What sounded like tens of thousands of souls endlessly screaming themselves insane as they were branded, whipped, beaten or crushed had pounded through my head and it's only with a monumental effort that I tear myself away from the stream of agonized consciousness, teeth bared and fist clenched hard enough to crush steel.
Cassandra's icy glare at the image convinces me that she'd be only too happy to see it go up in flames and my wordless question to Angelique is answered with a freezing whisper of, "There's nothing we can do, they're too far gone. All we can do is put them out of their misery Master...just like Sister and I had to on Alighan..."
I give her a brief squeeze around the shoulders, the only comfort I can offer at the moment since my own mind is rapidly getting over it's fear of this place in favor of fantasies of tearing it apart and order, "Chesty, bring the HELGA to bear on the factory below us. Destroy it."
"Understood Slayer Adeyemi, bringing the HELGA to bear now."
While I don't feel it, the artificial gravity generators on Right to Rule being state of the art, my ship flips itself nose-down so that the spinal mounted laser array is aimed directly at the center of the factory, a brief thrum noise sounding out as the gun charges itself.
"HELGA firing in 3...2...1."
For the briefest of moments the building below us shimmers as if caught in a heat haze...before a detonation powerful enough to cause a massive mushroom cloud appears, the construct scattered to the four winds as the energy released is equivalent to 750 twenty megaton nukes all being set off at the same time, creating our own little slice of Hell in this maddened place.
With a contented grin I sit back and once again reach out with my senses, sensing that while they haven't necessarily been 'freed' the many different personalities are no longer bound to that prison.
My grin is wiped out a split second later as something's attention is abruptly focused on me, a feeling not too dissimilar to what an insect might feel like as it's pinned beneath the observation table. The presence transmits a mix of emotions that could only be classified as amused rage, before just like that it leaves and I release a shaky breath.
Looks like our little destruction of the local scenery attracted this 'Khorne's' attention.
I hate waiting.
"Slayer Adeyemi, I'm detecting a strange energy phenomenon about 20 kilometers away from Right to Rule. Energy patterns are reminiscent of gravitic and teleportation anomalies. I suggest we prepare for an assault."
My voice is but a purr as I quietly reply, "Yes...yes we should."
I contact Kenny and ask, "How's the Isten Baba looking? You all ready to deploy?"
"Just give the word, Captain Davies and Chesty have been keeping everyone updated as things go along, not to mention our boys and girls are all keyed to the 9's after your little speech, even if they're all scared shitless by our more-or-less universe hopping trip."
A smirk adorns my face and I retort, "Well I've got something that should keep them occupied then. Chesty says that this 'Khorne' person just opened up some kind of portal bout 20 kilometers off our bow, why don't you take the Isten and go say hello?"
Anticipation is thick in his voice as he replies, "Oh I'd be happy to. We'll scout around and kill some stuff, see what we're up against. Be sure to get all of us when this inevitably goes sideways, would yah?"
"But of course, what would I do without my best meat shields?"
"This is an open channel by the way."
My eye twitches as I hear several snickers and laughs over the comms and Captain Blackstone's amused voice as he says, "We love you too King."
...We're a professional military outfit, I promise.
"Get to work you clowns, you're not being paid to be funny."
I sign off and turn around to find Angelique and Cassandra looking slightly amused, even through their cold indifference.
"He got you that time Master."
I give a mock glare towards them and playfully squeeze their asses in admonishment before dryly retorting, "Laugh it up while you can, I'll get him back yet."
"Isten Baba, drop!"
The side hatches of Right to Rule suddenly slide open and without even a trace of hesitation all 152 members of the Isten Baba, myself included, throw ourselves out into the nightmarish hellscape that is...wherever it is we ended up, I dunno.
The organizational structure of the Isten Baba is simple, hearkening back to the oldest days of organized military and still using quite a few of it's ideas on hierarchy, with a few modern improvements.
120 standard assault troopers, 40 of whom are automated Hercules-class combat droids,equipped with A.R.E.S. Mark IV's (Armored Reaction Enhancing Suits) and organized into 4 platoons of 30 troopers each, 10 droids per platoon with 20 biologicals.
Each platoon is under the command of a Sergeant and Lieutenant apiece, all of whom answer to Captain Blackstone, who is guarded by 6 of the toughest troopers available so that he can command from the battlefield without having to worry about inconvenient things like enemy forces.
The last, but certainly not least, element of our drop force are the 16 S.S. (Second Skin) suits, 17 if you include me, who typically split into groups of 4 and move around to provide fire support as needed by Captain Blackstone.
Maybe not the most streamlined of command chains, but it's worked for our particular Kadingir 30 years and counting.
In the blink of an eye our 2 kilometer drop to the surface is practically finished, the A.R.E.S. equipped soldiers flaring steel-silk parachutes to halt their descent enough so that their armor can absorb the heavy impact while us S.S. operators take a more direct approach and let our suits artificial musculature and servos absorb the incredible shock.
While your more 'typical' A.R.E.S. suit only stands about 2 meters tall, looking like a combination of cybernetic gorilla and the centuries old 'Terminators' from the film of the very same name, S.S. suits are a cut above the rest in both power and size.
Standing almost 6 meters tall, S.S. suits tend to resemble bipedal humans clad in the centuries old 'Conqueror' armor design, just with the steel and leather replaced with the highest grade diamond-infused titanium, the weapon propelled by a state-of-the-art system of hydraulics and servos that do an excellent job of replicating Human movement.
Additionally, S.S. suits are personalized.
A.R.E.S. suits tend to be light on decorations, the environmental camouflage tech that let's them blend in seamlessly with their surroundings not handling extensive decals all that well, the only personal touch usually being their platoon's symbol emblazoned over their shoulders.
S.S. suits are too big to effectively use the camouflage systems that the smaller A.R.E.S. employ, so the operators tend to get a little crazy with the colors and paintings
Heck, Barry, or 'Ironside 9' as his callsign, has his decked out in a nauseatingly bright neon green with white highlights, several decals of puppies and kittens plastered over the main body.
Then again, Barry has always been a little strange…
"Estocs, get over that rise and give me eyes on that portal I keep hearing about. Halberds, Claymores and Tomahawks advance in a 3-point formation. Ironsides 1-4, keep pace with the Estocs and the rest of you attach yourselves to each platoon, keep your eyes open for any potential hostiles, we don't know how things work in here."
Captain Blackstone's calm orders spur everyone into motion and the advance party speeds off, clocking in at speed upwards of 150 kmh simply on the suits natural speed alone.
The rest of us quickly organize ourselves and I glance upwards through the 'eyes' of my personal S.S., the Amelatu, just in time to see Right to Rule shotgun hundreds of pebble sized battlespace drones ahead of us, the minuscule cameras and sensors providing us a rapidly growing tactical overlay of the environment.
"Captain, we've got visual."
Lieutenant Rico's voice sounds out and I immediately tune into the feed he's providing, feeling my mouth tighten into a thin line as I see the bizarre scene the Estocs are currently watching.
A massive crater almost a kilometer across, filled with wildly frothing red liquid and crazily twisting skeins of energy, and out of it come pouring a collection of creatures that are more than a little freaky, even by our standards.
Hoofed, reverse jointed legs, gnashing jaws full of shark-like teeth, red fur and muscle the color of blood, horns like a particularly violent goat, taloned hands holding a variety of weapons that glow eerily with some arcane energy...and that's just one type, although they seem to make up the majority.
There's some armored looking creepos that are dripping molten lava, beasts that look like a freight train and rhino hate-fucked each other...it's a mix that would no doubt leave most people in need of extensive therapy.
For us it's just another day in the office...I still remember the time we had the misfortune to track down Xochiquetzal, who had incarnated on the planet La Fortaleza. Originally meant to serve as a checkpoint planet for those wishing to enter the República Española, it had been overrun by the Aztecian God of fertility and love after she had been summoned and turned the place into a veritable Hell of peace and love and rampant growth.
I'm never going to forget the sight of 2 intertwined kids, both who couldn't have been older than 11, with plant roots growing out of their reproductive organs and butterflies resting on their stitched-shut eyelids and mouths.
I shake away that particular set of memories and focus on the moment as Captain Blackstone orders, "Open fire and keep them pinned down from whatever that spawning point is, we'll be at your position in 2 minutes."
"Copy that Captain. Ok Estocs, let's show these Dante's Inferno rejects how we say hello!"
As the rest of us charge forward I keep an eye on the displays that are showing from our allies helmet cams, hoping to get an idea of what we're in for.
The first bit of good news? These things aren't resistant to conventional weaponry.
Most of the Deities back in our universe could either shield themselves from our weaponry for insane amounts of time, outlasting us until we ran out of ammo or power and in some cases they could confer that same durability to their minions, meaning it was the Dugnamtar or even the Campione who had to deal with them, our weaponry and tactics being only mildly effective, if at all.
These targets aren't nearly as tough.
The first gauss round fired from almost 2 kilometers away by Estoc 2 drills a hole right through one of the creatures' heads, vaporizing it in a spray of blood and a transference of kinetic force that sends the corpse wildly spinning away.
Another catches a burst from a laser carbine in the center of it's chest, the 100-megawatts of power blowing it's torso apart in the equivalent of a 2-kilogram of conventional explosives detonation.
Scenes like this repeat themselves up and down the lip of the crater, the creatures apparently caught completely off guard as they howl and immediately charge forward, obviously baying for blood.
Thankfully none of them seem to have much in the way of ranged weaponry, meaning they have quite a distance to cover before they can get into melee, but unfortunately they're very quick on their feet and seem to have insane levels of reaction time, a fair number of the creatures actually blocking hyper-velocity rounds and other munitions with their weapons.
Sure, the rounds knock them on their ass for a few seconds, but then they're back up and sprinting full bore ahead.
...They're still dropping at a pretty significant rate though. The 30 members of Estoc are a well oiled machine and are quick to switch up their tactics mere seconds after it becomes clear that their targets can block their shots on a fairly consistent basis.
Instead of individually picking out their targets they slave their targeting software over to Chesty who rapidly assigns 2 Estocs to a single target, ensuring a clean kill since despite their supernatural speed, the things obviously can't block 2 sources of fire from 2 different directions.
The new tactic works and the beast's charge falters, the augmented reactions provided by an A.R.E.S. and the lighting fast targeting of the Hercules combat droids ensuring that every second there's 15 confirmed kills. With only a quarter of a kilometer covered and their initial numbers of a few thousand rapidly dropping, things look pretty well for our opening act, even accounting for the constant stream of additional Demon-things climbing out of that weird portal.
Hell, the 4 S.S. suits that went with Estoc haven't even started shooting, waiting until additional firepower is legitimately needed.
And then Murphy's Law decides to throw a multi-tool in the proceedings.
The small hill Esotc was using as a vantage point suddenly rumbles and Lieutenant Rico, correctly assuming that this realm has a nasty trick or 10 up it's sleeve, yells, "Estocs, fall back and watch your footing!"
Not a second too soon as the entire area cracks in half, a massive gorge forming below the trooper's feet and a surge of boiling magma pouring out and covering the cracked ground with it's burning contents.
Most of Estoc gets away just fine, their armor protecting them against the few cinders that do impact on their armor but it reveals a new wrinkle that we'll have to keep in mind.
This realm is just one giant enemy that we're going to be fighting every step of the way.
It's not the biggest of obstacles, we've had experience in fighting Heretic Gods that could reshape the landscape around them on a staggering scale, but still an annoying one.
"Alright boys and girls form up and prepare staggered columns, we'll put these things through the meat grinder treatment."
There's a chorus of 'yes sir!'s from the gathered troopers and they quickly take their positions across the fields, each trooper at least 10 meters away from their nearest battle-buddy, allowing them some leeway in evasive maneuvers as well as room to let loose with the heavy stuff if need be.
As quickly as it came the crevasse disappears, the lava it left behind still hissing and spitting on the ground, creating maybe a kilometers worth of distance between Isten Baba and the now gathered host of demonic beings.
I think I'm just going to start calling them Demons for simplicities sake.
With a warbling, insane cry that would no doubt leave lesser men and woman pissing and shitting themselves the Demons charge forward, the bipedal ones Estoc has been shooting up bounding across the plains in massive strides while the bizarre metallic ones slowly shuffle across the field in leaking masses.
The rhino/freight train variant are a good deal more intimidating though, loping heavily and occasionally even being ridden by one of the smaller Demons, their nasty looking teeth appearing powerful enough to tear through heavy armor plating.
"Wait till they cross half-a-kilometer mark, then hit them all at once. S.S. squads, focus fire on those bestial ones, we'll handle the rest."
There's several acknowledgements and all of us ready our weapons, firing lines already showing up on our visor displays so that there's no risk of overlap.
Our extended line just explodes as a bewildering variety of munitions streaks towards the onrushing hoard with lethal results.
Covalent assault rifles quite literally unravel Demons at the molecular level, the kaleidoscope of colors that result from said unravelling unsettlingly out of place on this Hellscape.
Pulse rifles fling sun-bright packets of condensed plasma at the enemy lines, slagging whatever's unfortunate enough to get in the way and flash-blinding anything dumb enough to stare directly at the approaching shots.
Kinetic weaponry, now configured for fast, sustained shooting instead of the long distance kill-rounds that the Estocs were using earlier, pours streams of shatterslugs into the Demons, the rounds splintering on impact with flesh and metal, making a bloody hash out of whatever soft tissue they hit and knocking armored targets around without mercy.
Laser rifles, now switched to rapid-fire mode that can deliver bursts with the energy equivalent of 200 grams of conventional explosives every tenth of a second, as opposed to the 2 kilograms of a single, stronger burst do their invisible work with lovely efficiency, parts of Demons suddenly bursting into ash and blood with no visible cause.
And that's just the A.R.E.S. and Hercules combat droids, the S.S. suits are unleashing a pounding that the 135 smaller armed troops can only dream of.
Massive arm-mounted chainguns fire depleted uranium bb's that are superheated before being launched through magnetic rails that accelerate them to insane velocities, the weapon looking as if it's spitting a constant stream of white fire. The armored rhino beast's armor protects them for all of maybe a split second before the released heat and kinetic energy tears them apart in an explosion of disintegrating flesh and ceramics.
Heavy shoulder-mounted laser cannons, big brothers to the smaller weapons wielded by the infantry, fire 1 gigawatt beams every twentieth of a second in a constant stream of devastation, the invisible lines of released energy causing a near continues chain of explosions as whatever they touch is superheated beyond it's ability to cope.
And each and every one of these shots goes exactly where it's meant to, not a single weapon is left idling and we're slaughtering these Demons by the hundreds every few seconds.
But there's just so damn many. In the blink of an eye their numbers seem to have swelled to tens of thousands, the entire legion of snarling and screaming creatures never breaking or running, absorbing our volleys and charging on regardless.
While they're gaining ground extremely slowly, the realities of war dictate that they only need to keep charging for as long as we have ammo, at which point they'll overwhelm us as power packs run dry and solid state ammunition is expended.
And while we're no slouches when it comes to hand-to-hand, those blades of theirs don't look like something we want to experience firsthand.
And sure enough after maybe 2 minutes of unceasing weaponfire calls start to sound out along the battlelines.
"Estoc 17, down to my last mag!"
"Claynore 19, my pulse rifle's overheating!"
"Ironside 7, chaingun ammo depleted!"
The thing about holdout missions like this is that it only works if the enemy can be taught to fear...or if you kill all of them.
These Demons only seem to be more excited the more of them we kill, and since they're apparently infinite in umber, or at least close to it, we can't really go with the 'kill em all' option.
"Maintain positions, Waterboy drones have been dispatched."
Chesty's calm voice sounds out across our comms and sure enough a few seconds later the 'Waterboy' drones, spiderlike robots ladened with a variety of supplies and munitions, scuttle back and forth across our positions replacing magazine slots and cooling cell holders with an unerring precision, guided by Chesty and each individual suits data readout for maximum efficiency.
This isn't the first time we've been in situations like these.
With everyone topped off again and the Demonic advance only moving at a crawl I do some quick mental math and deduce that within 8 minutes I'll need to step in with the Amelatu if we want to beat back this never ending stream of freaks before they close the distance.
Although...it might not hurt to let them get up close and personal, if only so that we can properly ascertain what they're capable of at ranges they're at home with.
After all, that's our job as Kadingir. Support our King through whatever means and costs necessary, even our lives.
A small smile crosses my lips as I gaze up through my suit's optics at the gently hovering hulk that is Right to Rule, wondering when Adeyemi is going to get bored and join the fight himself.
World Eaters Traitor Legion
They could smell the prospect of battle even without the aid of their God, without the psychic emanations traveling throughout the realm of Khorne and the unceasing call to go here and slaughter them all.
Combat and death was it's own reward.
Once proud Astartes, now warped into the terrifying and near-unstoppable juggernauts known as Khornate Berserkers, moved as one as they prepared to engage in their own form of worship.
One of their number let out a guttural chant of, "Skulls for the Blood God! Skulls for his Skull Throne!"
The litany was rapidly picked up by the other hulking Chaos Space Marines as Chainswords and Power axes were revved to life and unlimbered, Power Fists were flexed and the few Bolters amongst them were checked for full functionality, until it was a repeated shout that echoed through the blasted plains for kilometers around.
50 disciples of Khorne, traitors to the Emperor and the Imperium, moved as one towards the scent of blood and death, anticipating the opportunity to spill blood and harvest bones for their Lord of Battle.
...I can't believe that I'm saying this, seeing as how I'm watching people I consider Brothers and Sisters fight a desperate battle against a strange and implacable foe, in another dimension that is very different from our own, that is seemingly ruled over by some variant of a Heretic God that is insanely powerful, far more powerful than the sisters and myself combined, but...I'm bored.
Sitting on high and observing things has never really been my style.
I heave a sigh and ask, "Chesty, any new information on this dimension? Or on anything really?"
"Unfortunately not Slayer Adeyemi. Initial scans and observation of Kadingir mental states and mood fluctuations hint at the possibility of the environment affecting their minds in some subtle way, but there is no concrete evidence as of yet."
I lean my head back against the throne and heave a defeated sigh before I once more glare at the giant rift that's spawning a seemingly infinite number of those creatures.
...Screw it. Let's see if we can plug that thing, shall we?
"We'll go with you Master."
I do a double take at Angelique's sudden words and I confusedly ask, "Did I-"
"-Say that out loud? No Master, but we're-"
"-Familiar with how you think, and besides, we-"
"-Want to kill those things too."
As they simultaneously finish their declaration I feel a violent smirk cross my face and playfully give their nipples a tweak, earning pleased looks from the 2 of them and I growl out, "Then let's show those Gods out there why they should fear us, shall we girls?"
The pleasure they were displaying a split-second ago disappears as quickly as it came and their voices are cold enough to freeze interstellar space.
"With pleasure Master."
...It's good to be among like-minded people, even if they still sometimes scare me a bit.
I abruptly stand and make for the bridges exit, ordering over my shoulder, "Captain Davies, you have command of Right to Rule in my absence."
He briefly nods and replies, "Yes Milord, and good hunting." before going back to his station to continue coordinating and observing things as they appear.
The sisters rapidly gliding along in my wake we quickly make our way to my ship's armory and head towards 3 imposing storage containers, the things almost 3 meters tall and made of matte-black metal. I place my palm on the scanner located on the main 'door' of one of the container and it slowly opens with a hiss of depressing hydraulics as it confirms my identity, Angelique and Cassandra repeating the action on either side of me.
As the main door moves aside the room's lighting catches the object ensconced inside and I can't help but mutter, "Well hello beautiful...".
Inside is my own personal armor, painstakingly handcrafted by both my Mentor and the Xul Etlu member known only as the 'Forge Master', his real name never offered to anyone as far as I'm aware.
The Forge Master, as his name implies, is in the unique position of having not one, but 3 different Authorities related to blacksmithing and is capable of creating and combining metals in ridiculous ways.
Take Kenny's body for example. It has fucking neutronium, collapsed star matter, integrated seamlessly into his limbs without any adverse effects, something that even modern tech wouldn't have a prayer of recreating.
While my Mentor has an Authority that allows him to freely alter and create Magic on the fly, and the Forge Master has ones that allow him to create stupidly powerful materials, the 2 of them combined can build terrifyingly effective constructs.
Such as my armor.
A few centuries back they began the tradition of outfitting a new Xul Etlu member with their own personal piece of equipment and, as they proved themselves worthy of the Xul Etlu crest, they could commission additional works.
Both Kenny's body and his personal S.S. suit, the Amelatu, were my additional orders and I haven't once regretted asking for them.
Breaking open the seal on the back of my armor I step inside and as it gently flows around me, feeling about as heavy as a light breeze, I take a moment to marvel in the rush of power it brings as my neural implants connect with the suits onboard computer and suddenly it no longer feels like I'm inside a suit of protective metal and ceramics.
Instead I am the suit of metal and ceramics.
Magnitudes more powerful and durable than the standard A.R.E.S., outfitted with almost every conceivable Magical protection that my mentor could think of (Which is a lot) I take a step forward and grin like a schoolboy at the metal thud that resounds throughout the deck.
I gently brush my fingers over both the Xul Etlu crest on my right shoulder pauldron and the symbol for 'performing the unusual/impossible' on my left, a slanted N bracketed top and bottom by parallel lines, a throwback to my Afrikaner heritage.
Heaving a deep breath I glance to either side and see the Sisters suited up in their own armors, although theirs are completely devoid of any color or decoration aside from the Xul Etlu symbol, being a jet-black in coloration.
They prefer it that way, since whenever they wear this armor it usually entails them having to kill something.
2 wordless nods.
"Then let's head to where the fun is!"
And that cues the end of the prologue for Chaos Sundered! I was surprised as all heck to see that one of my favorite sci-fi series (Warhammer) and one of my favorite anime/LN's (Campione) didn't have a single crossover! Which strikes me as bizarre, considering that there's a number of interesting parallels between the 2 in content, if not tone (Then again, the only other franchises that are as Grimdark as Warhammer could be labeled as depression porn...)
For any Campione vets you've no doubt noticed that this is far into the future of the canon version of Campione, but the basic structure still exists. Humanity did indeed start traveling the stars and colonizing other worlds but Heretic Gods came with them, religion being a rather important part of our cultural mindset. And, just like in canon, Campione are the preferred method of dealing with them, although there's a great deal more structure and support offered to them, courtesy of this 'Godslaughterer' that has regimentalized them to a degree. There might be some allusions to characters from that universe but I doubt I'll directly include them into the story, since the act of universe hopping is rather difficult...
My upload schedule for this story is likely gonna be pretty slow, as I'm currently have a set schedule for one that I'm writing and another that I like to update at least semi-regularly but the opportunity to elaborate on all the interactions between the Imperium and the Campione universe is too damn fun to overlook.
...Also the showdown between Tuska and the Godslayers is gonna be amazing. These guys have never had to face something so Orky before.