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The first task [2012-02-10 21:05:04]
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The first task
  Posted on Fri 10 Feb 2012 by IronMaiden (2993 reads)
The first task

The name is Ephialthees, and there is none second, although there are several others I have been given. The traitor, The Nightmare, all to remember me for choosing my sides, choosing my destiny, for my destiny forever lies with Him. The Legion provided me with everything I ever wanted and dreamed of, and as far, I have never asked for more, for the time being off course.
In all these long years, I have been the servant, always following, always listening. I have fought … everywhere. Sieges so long and so vast, that entire planets shackled in their cores as they were obliterated. Skirmishes so small and insignificant they were barely worth remembering. All that time invested, hoping and looking, for one moment of opportunity.
It was here. After all those long years of servitude and sacrifice, it has finally arrived. The Grand Warsmith finally recognized me, granted me the title of Warsmith, and provided me with the first warriors and leaving me with the veterans that I fought all these last years. Well, at least what remained of them. Only one brother remains from the original brotherhood that I started with, now my 2ic, Anachromakos. The only one that I can trust, and the only one I can`t trust either. All the others, Spartakos, Seleukos, Deleithon, they were all away, following their own paths to glory.
The only thing standing in front of my accession was the first task. IWILL succeed. There is nothing short of my death that will stop me. I trained, (so, so long ago) I practiced; I am the living embodiment of destruction. I am a tool and I posses the tool of command. I WILL succeed.
The door to the Spithos Apovathros command room opened. All the heads of assembled Warsmiths, including our lord`s sarcophagus, turned to me.
,,Ah,, the newest acquisition to our ranks. You finally showed up. Enter at once,, came the words throughout the vocalizer in Lords Achilles Ancient Dreadnought armor. I made the firsts steps into the room, not anymore as the servant, but first time as equal. Or that’s what I thought, most of the warsmiths expressions weren`t of acknowledgement or respect, but of mockery and threat. Understandingly, I was the newest between them, replacing venerable lord Agrippas, who suffered demise in a hand of Grozbug, a rather robust orkish warlord who felled him with a lucky strike. Considering that my ultimate goal was to slay Grozbug, none of the present flock expected me to survive. I was just bait, everyone in the room knew it, and they only suspected my failure. ,,You were given command, young one, now prove your brothers that my choice was a good one. Head to the Sicilios system, and retake what is rightfully ours, recover our relics. If not, if you fail in this first task, do not go back. As always, for the first failure, the reward is only death. Honor to the Legion, Honor to the mechanicus. Now go, leave us, your task force is waiting for your command.,,

As the shuttle approached Megalos Antochi, my command vessel, I started to feel confident. What can possibly go wrong? I have all the power I can summon, I have warriors, the best Olympia and Terra could train. But nothing prepared me for this moment. The ship was enormous, magnificent, pure perfection in my eyes. Lances, weapon batteries, turrets, all aligned in perfect unison, everything waiting for one movement of my hand to unleash destruction that could flatten continents, destroy nations, and exterminate all the xenos could muster against it. I have always seen her class, Erimos, fighting and killing, and it has always impressed me with the destruction potential it possessed. But to actually command this behemoth, that was something I could never imagine. And now, she was mine.
The shuttle docked, landed, and as the door started opening I knew that this so far would be greatest day. Of course except the day I have seen Him. But that is another story. As my mind fled away to remember past times, the ceremony actually started, Anachromakos, presenting me with the flag of my command, and escorting me through the ship which was bustling with activity, to prepare her for her first duty of my command.
The bridge was enormous, servitors everywhere, and my personal guard arranged in their seats around my command throne. The heavily converted mechanicus magos approached me, with his personal heraldry showing he is the operatus mundi of the vessel. Of MY vessel, of course. He stopped before me, bowing, and started with mechanical voice typical for someone that doesn’t harbor much of the flesh he was born with. ,, My lord Ephialthees, I am Rotialkus, operates mundi, and I welcome you on the Megalos Antochi, you personal vessel for her crew. We are happy to await your command. May our cooperation is always effective. ,, With that, he just simply departed to attend to some task, the usual efficiency most important for him of course. ,, What a warm welcome. I expected more. Tens of thousands subjects await you here, and he can wrap it up in two sentences. Excellent.,,
,,Anachromakos, this is what is expected from him. His duty`s are to operate the ship for our Legion, and I would him rather operate the damn systems I don’t understand then wasting our precious time with hours of greeting speeches typical to governors or diplomats. ,,Let’s depart, shall we? ,, As you wish, my lord Ephialthees.,, his usual response.

The moment was here, and I wanted to savor it for a long time. I stood before the command throne for several seconds, until Rotialkus hastily approached me, probably worried that something is not right in the first day of my command, as I sensed nervous tone in his words. (The wordsflowed out of him twice as faster as usual, and this being one of his few ,,flaws,, he retained for the long time he was part of my bridge command crew. I actually learned to listen to this ,,alarm,, because when he started to babble like this, I knew that something is really wrong, or we are facing a danger of catastrophic proportions. ) ,, My lord, is everything to your expectations ? There is an unusual delay in your sitting process, is your armor not working properly? I can check immediately, if you allow me, or send for your personal armor servitor. ,, No, Rotialkus, everything is perfect.,, And with those words, I sat down on the command throne, two minor mechanicus priests immediately plugging me into operational map, which has showed in front of me after several seconds. With a thought, I opened the operation channel of the whole ship, looking how her blood (energy) and muscle (crew) operated. Suddenly, I had feeling as something huge approached me from behind, and with my reflexes kicking in, I turned backwards with my combat blade drawn in my hand. My brethren reacted in similar fashion, and the two priests standing behind and taking care about the machine spirit of the throne suddenly looked very pale. ,,Is something not to your expectations ? ,, Well I have to admit, having three bolters pointed at your face and not fleeing is showing you have some guts. ,, My lord, it is just her adjusting to your thinking processes and to your thoughts. ,, Her ?,, I responded, looking at them questionably. ,, Well of course, its Megalos Antochi`s spirit connecting to you.,, I have to admit, it wasn’t the first time some machine spirit was attaching to my thought patterns, but compared to the usual predators or even a raider`s spirit, this was a huge difference. It couldn’t be measured, I just had a feeling something of great magnitude is standing beside me, and I could never seen it. While I was sitting down, I saw Anachromakos smiling at me. ,, At least you are on standby if something happens.,, I said through our personal commlink. ,,Yes, Yes , my lord, being in the middle of a huge battleship, you are indeed in a great peril, not like on a battlefield of in a besieged stronghold.,, I ended the conversation with a long look, and had given the acknowledgment to start the exit port procedures.

The jump to warp has been successful, and for the given week my brothers and I have been familiarizing with the ships systems, facilities and modules. The training grounds it possessed had been remarkable, vast fields that could be reconstructed to our every need, able to train every possible battle techniques. I have given order that the steel brotherhood should spend extra training with heavy bolters, obviously as we will be facing the orks, if we are to recover the relics the Grand warsmith asked for. In the mean time, I was trying under the guidance of Rotialkus to master all the techniques, capabilities and possibilities of Megalos Antochi, which sounded as an easy task when I heard it for the first time. The problem is when the tutor is a mechanicus magos, and a extremely wise one as Rotialkus, then thelist of what you should all know is a long one. He tried to show me every possible technique and action that the ship is capable of in as shortest time as we had available, which is of course impossible task. Actually, the third day was the first time we all went to explore her insides, and after long hours of walking around in the endless corridors, we decided that next time we should take a guide.

After the week journey we have exited the warp near a little system we called Gorachs, where mine battle group would be assembled. Pyrosvestis, second biggest ship that would be in my command, of the Apokrostikos class, was already avaiting us. I hailed the captain of the ship, and a heavily augmented figure showed on our holodisplay. ,, Captain Pyrios of the Pyrosvestis reporting for duty, admiral Ephialthees. ,, Captain, stand down, we will approach you in 15 minutes so we could meet in person. ,,

The Planed Gorachs 4 had 6 moons, and all of them were extensively rebuilded as naval ports, and were now the hub of the shipping in the Gorachs sector, promptly named after its most important system. All the shipping coming and outgoing were mainly nonmilitary vessels, but as in our case, we had the privilege to dock at any time where we wanted. We docked the station nr.1, and after the initial checks and stabilization procedures, we acquired the necessity supplies and docked immediately, as we received sub warp message that mine second battle squadron was entering the system. After joining with Pyrosvestis, we gathered around the border of the system, and after several minutes , the hulk of three cruisers materialized before us. ,, All three Svagi class ? They could like us a little more in the council.,, Well, Anachromakos, at least we were given something. Now let’s meet them and we will see what could be done with them. ,,
,,Captain Adreikos of the Tacheia, reporting for duty, admiral.,, The first one to introduce, as I was later informed according to some ship naval tradition, was the youngest of the fellows, not even in the middle ages, short fellow with a smile. Of course the only thing that I was interested in was his performance, which as I later know, was tested to the limit. Second captain in front of me at the deck of Megalos Antochi was a middle aged, tall fellow, in a uniform that was somehow recognizable to me. ,, Captain Ereia of the Skotonos , reporting for duty, ,, His voice was strong, he was practically shouting even when I was standing in front of him, probably used to shout all the time. ,,Captain Ereia, where does your uniform comes from ? ,,
,, It is and old family relic, passed down for generations from father to son, I am actually the 4th in line to proudly wear it, My ancestors were with the Emperor since the pacifications war.,, That is excellent to have at least one fellow terran around me in command.,, I nodded to him, which somehow made him even more happy. Last one was looking really frail, my imposing figure of almost three meters in height dwarfing his meter and half, and of course he was very thin and old, very old. I instinctively knew that this one will be the senior captain of the whole squadron despite the age difference, as he still possessed unnerving spark in his eye that was like a wolf spirit that wanted to hunt without remorse. ,,Half admiral Detrius Gestos Valakhos , at your disposal, Admiral Ephialthees.,, I noded too to him, without any expressions, with him doing the same. I have met Pyrios of the Pyrosvestis earlier at the docks, so as I had everyone on the bridge, we started the briefing with the servitor providing the overall informations with his mechanical voice.
,, 24 standard days ago, Warsmith Agrippas was killed on the planet Sicilios 5, with his fleet departing due to council command. We have lost several settlements and cities and this activity of this xeno unit is demanded terminated. We are within 2 standard days worth of journey.,,
,,Captains,, We will exit warp at this coordinate at the edge of the system. The first three planets are only gas giants, with their moons being hauled for minerals. They are important, but the main Inhabited planed, Sicilios 5 is our primary target. We have encountered several orkish warships before; therefore close contact is to be maintained for fire cooperation and standard firing patterns. Standard reporting intervals maintained at all time. For terra, and for emperor we will prevail. Little less enthusiastic, they shouted the same, then he captains exchanged looks, and although at that time I still didn’t understand the magnitude of our overall situation I was to be greatly shocked, but that’s a memory for some other time.
The hulls of our five ships left the warp at 9:04 terra time, and immediately assumed standard phalanx 5 formation; with Tacheia leading her sister ships Skotonos and Dasimos, the youngest Adreikos taking the lead In velos squadron formation, protecting his senior captains. As soon as we passed the first of the planets, Sicilios 8, a small, frozen ball of mud and poisonous gas, several other ships blipped on the sector map, approaching the same planet Sicilios 5, as we did. ,,Rotialkus, full scan report, now! ,, I have already taken the precaution to scan them as we detected them, they are several ships of unknown design cruiser class, my lord, and they are hailing us since we entered sector. ,, Contact them. ,,

Soon, we were watching a hideous blue skinned xenos with several other looking alike creatures behind him. ,, This is Aiuor` vash Satra, of the tau empire. We come to bring greater good, and do not want any hostile actions against you. This sector is now under our protection, and I would like to meet you in person, commander.,, I was enraged, Who is this thing blue thing, why it is in our territory demanding anything. ,, Xenos, This is admiral-commander Ephialthees of the Iron Maiden company, Iron Warriors Legion, you are in our territory, In the way of Emperor most trusted servants, and standing in the way of the Great Crusade, prepare to be annihilated, there is no time for diplomacy, we bring your doom. Cut the channels! All hands to battle stations, Full attack speed, power to shields and weapons! Today, we deliver our wrath to them. No Xenos will be foiling our soil here! Pyrios, Ereia, Adreikos, Detrius, you have your orders, proceed accordingly, remain in visual contact.

( takze prekvapivo nazvy su pogrectene z anglictiny, lebo je to iron warriors legia) Jeho lod je despoiler class battleship, pyrios commanduje repulsive class cruiser, a su ktomu tri slaughtere  )
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