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Fear the Alien (Anthology)

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Fear the Alien
Fear-the-Alien.jpg
Cover art by Clint Langley
Editor Christian Dunn
Publisher Black Library
Series Anthologies
Authors Dan Abnett, Braden Campbell, Mark Clapham, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Matthew Farrer, James Gilmer, Andy Hoare, Nick Kyme, Juliet E. McKenna, C.L. Werner
Released September 2010
Pages 416
Editions ISBN 9781844168941

Fear the Alien is an Anthology of short stories edited by Christian Dunn and published in 2010

Gardens of Tycho

by Dan Abnett

Synopsis

Magos Drusher is teaching in the Natural History in the town of Kaloster on the Bone Coast for a small salary. One night he arrives home from moonlighting as a watercolour painting tutor to find the Magistratum officer Falken inside his small hab-unit. Falken informs Drusher that he must accompany him back to the capital Tycho. Drusher is worried that his moonlighting is the cause and joins Falken inside his transporter for the two hour journey, only to arrive in Tycho to be greeted by an old comrade, Germaine Macks, who informs him that Falken was playing a trick and that she had requested his presence. Having previously worked with Drusher on a previous case, Macks had him brought to her in order to give her an expert opinion. Showing him the bodies of a recent spree of killings she asks whether the wounds, specifically those where the face appears to sheared away cleanly and completely, are inflicted by an animal, to which Drusher replies most likely, all though having the appearance of a chainblade wound.

Macks takes Drusher to the Gardens of Tycho, an exotic zoo of the city where they piece together the possible predatory survivors of the civil war, where Drusher narrows it down from four, to one, a Carnodon from the planet of Gudrun. Once this is deduced, the two of them report to the site of the discovery of another body in a Hab-block. Climbing the staris, Drusher notices a mark on the wall where the Carnodon has scent marked, a noted example of felid behavior, confirming their theory. Entering the hab-unit they find an old womans corpse, devoured from the legs up with several bones broken open and the marrow sucked out. Studying the injuries to the body, Drusher confirms that this was caused by an animal, assuming the Carnodon. Macks and Drusher return to Magistratum Headquarters to sleep, with Drusher rising in the early hours and studying the dossiers of all the previous victims, waking Mackls in the process. Some hours later there is a call out in the dawn to the Commission of Works ruin where Falken and two fellow magistrates, Edvin and Rimbaud, who have found the corpse of a local volunteer watchman with his face sheered off. Rimbaud states that he believes he glimpsed the killer in the ruins, so the 5 of them go in to search with Drusher and Edvin taking the lower floor whilst the other three take the upper. There is a commotion and shots fired whereupon a body falls through the collapsing ceiling, burying Drusher and Edvin, followed by the killer, glimpsed only by Drusher briefly. Recovering their wits, they realise that Rimbaud has been killed, face sheared off almost surgically once again.

Returning to the Magistratum Headqaurters, Drusher starts analyzing the locations of the attacks, where he finally makes a discovery which he tries to show Macks who interupts him and takes him down to the morgue where Falken and a crowd are gathered around a Carnodon, killed by Falken with little resistance. The beast is old and emaciated, in terrible condition. Macks tells Drusher that she will have someone take him home now and pay him for a weeks work. He counters this by telling her that the killings weren't all perpetrated by the Carnodon, referring to a map he recently plotted of all the recent killings. By removing the nine bodies with signs of feeding from the Carnodon, there is left a crescent distribution pattern east of the Commission of Works ruins. When mirrored over the abandoned area west of the Works building, a circular pattern forms, centred on the area behind the Commission of Works building, which turns out to be the old Administratum headquarters, now leveled to rubble during the civil war. Macks and Drusher rush out to the Commission building, meeting with Falken, Edvin, Roderin, Mantagne and Levy. Pushing into the rubble behind the Commission building they encounter the killer, with Mantagne and Roderin dying before Drusher baits the killer into appearing in the open and charging him, whereupon he sticks a full pistol clip into the beast which gets back up and charges him again before Macks blows its head off with her riot-gun. The killer is revealed to be reminiscent of a combat servitor or arco-flagellant, with chainswords mounted to its forearms, with wires and sensory feeds plugged in to all over its body. Macks leaves with Drusher offering him a permanent job at the Magistratum, which he takes, partially because he is dissatisfied with his teaching job back in Kaloster and partially because he can be closer to Macks.

Setting

The city of Tycho on the planet of Gershome, recovering from a recent civil war.

Characters

  • Magos Biologis Valentin Drusher - Brought to the planet Gershome 14 years previous by the Lord Governor in order to produce a full taxonomy of the planet only to become embroiled as a witness in some legal proceedings keeping him planetside for 2 years and depleting him of his payment, leaving him stranded.
  • Germaine Macks - Head Magistratum of Tycho city. Previously worked with Drusher on another case in Outer Udar some years previous.
  • Falken - Right hand man of Macks.
  • Rimbaud - Magistrate who is killed in the Commission of Works building first time round with his face sheared off.
  • Edvin - Magistrate.
  • Roderin - Magistrate killed in the Commission of Works building second time round in the same manner as the others, face sheared off.
  • Mantagne - Magistrate killed in the Commission of Works building second time round from a blow splitting him from the scalp to the sternum.
  • Levy - Magistrate with an auspex in the final search of the Commission of Works building.

Fear Itself

by Juliet E. McKenna

Synopsis

Facing many assaults from the Tyranids on the agri-world of Shertore, the 19th Alba Marnorea of Alvanik hold a fort at a river crossing against the hordes of the hive fleet. Faced with draining morale, debilitating casualties and the incessant attacks, Catmos, the field surgeon, must patch together his men’s bodies and minds. After several attacks led by the higher hive mind creatures such as the Lictor, Ravener and Warrior, the final situation looks dire, with Catmos ready to commit suicide after giving his patients peace. However before options dwindle to this, the Praetors of Orpheus Space Marines arrive by drop pod assault and cut down the Tyranid horde.

Setting

The planet Shertore, under assault by an unknown Tyranid hive fleet.

Characters

  • Catmos - Head Field Surgeon
  • Commissar Thirzat - Regimental Commissar
  • Mathein - Catmos' orderly
  • Etrick - Junior Surgeon
  • Trind - Junior Surgeon
  • Haux - Etrick's orderly
  • Nyal - Young Guardsman whose mind is stretched to the limit until Catmos counsels him.
  • Captain Kelloe - Leads one company of Guardsmen
  • Captain Slaithe - Led one company of Guardsmen. Dead from Borer beetles
  • Vox-Sergeant Biniam - Catmos' robust and trustworthy friend.
  • Lieutenant Jepthad - Young newly field-promoted officer

Prometheus Requiem

by Nick Kyme

Synopsis

Deployed onto a hanger bay of the Glorion, a part of Space Hulk of which Sergeant Nu'mean's old ship the Protean is melded into, the Firedrakes of the Salamanders are pushing towards the cryo-chamber of the Protean in order to extract someone from stasis after a century of waiting. Apothecary Emek has a vial of serum with which to inject the patient. However, the ship is afflicted by the warp, with each Firedrake being afflicted by the ghosts of their past, Tsu'gan, the Dragon Warriors, Hrydor, a large kraken-like creature, and Praetor, his fallen brothers from decades past.

The Salamaders face small pockets of Genestealers; however, with the power fluctuations that have been occuring and upon investigation, it is deduced that there are more than Genstealers aboard the ship. After many hours, the Salamanders finally reach the cryo chamber to find their patient is a Farseer, and that the vial Emek carries is to cause brain death. They dare not simply destroy the stasis pod, as if it is breached, then the Eldar's psychic powers will wreak havoc upon the Astartes. It is then revealed that this Farseer has been affecting the warp aboard the ship, causing the hallucinations.

The power is cut once again when Emek moves to inject the vial and is struck by a bolt of lightning, becoming greivously wounded, and forcing the Astartes to retreat from the chamber. Praetor decides to take his squad to the power room to sort out the issues with the supply. Nu'mean stays to hold the position. Whilst on the way to the power room, Hrydor is afflicted by another vision and stomps off down a side corridor. The others follow, but become blocked off by bulkheads slamming shut between them. By the time they break through, they find Hrydor's body butchered. Tsu'gan then sites a Raptor of the Night Lords Legion. He charges towards it, only to fall into an ambush where he is sealed off by bulkheads, similar to Hrydor. However, Praetor breaks through immediately and, along with Vo'kar and Invictese, he slaughters the Raptors, with the leader escaping with the use of a melta through the ceiling.

Nu'mean, back outside the cryo-chamber, is then assualted by a Genestealer swarm. Mercurion and Gun'dar fall to their talons. Kohlogh holds them back with his Flamer as Nu'mean sends Ve'kyt to the nearby saviour pods to launch Emek to safety and return to hold against the Genestealers. Nu'mean himself during this time enters the chamber and confronts his ghosts and crippling psychic damage, not before administering the vial and destroying the Farseer, and thereupon dying himself from the trauma. Ve'kyt and Kohlogh have by this time fallen to the Genestealers as well.

Meanwhile, the Raptors have blocked Praetor's squad's path back, forcing them to find an alternative route back to the Glorion's hanger bay, where they embark upon the Implacable and leave. Volkane, the pilot, then finds Emek's saviour pod after 2 hours searching, with life signs present. The story ends with six Astartes dead and the Salamander's claiming vengeance upon the Night Lords

Setting

The Glorion and then The Protean, a ship of the Salamanders, now a member of a Space Hulk

Characters

Mistress Baeda's Gift

by Braden Campbell

Synopsis

Among the ancient and jaded denizens of the dark city of Commorragh, emotion is a rare treasure, love most of all. When Archon Malwrack sees the beautiful and mysterious Mistress Baeda, he knows he must possess her. Taking inspiration from the primitive race of man, he gives Baeda a series of ever more outlandish gifts in the hopes of winning her hand.

Setting

Characters

Iron Inferno

by C.L. Werner

Synopsis

A meteor is falling on Izanagi, jewel of the Yamato system, and there is only one outcome: extinction for every man, woman and child on the world. But it is not the impact that will cause this untold destruction… it is the meteor’s cargo: a horde of vicious orks, ready to rampage across the planet. A cunning general lays a trap for the monstrous greenskins, but can any plan survive contact with the orks?

Setting

Characters

Sanctified

by Mark Clapham

Synopsis

Tech-priest Kaspel is repairing the Battle cruiser “Divine Sanctity” after a clash with a Necron ship. Leaving the servitors to work on the damaged engine core he proceeds back through the ship noticing several things wrong such as vox interference and power outages. He stumbles across a damaged servitor and eventually a Dark Eldar torturing another servitor whom he flukes a kill against the xenos by freezing it with coolant and decapitating the frozen head with a wrench. He proceeds on, coming across two more Dark Eldar torturing Lieutenant Whallon to try and gain information on the reason for the power faults to which he genuinely has no clue. Kaspel distracts and lures the Eldar into a fan duct which he starts and thus chops up the Eldar and ejects them to the void. Finding out from Whallon that the Eldar are at the damaged engine core he proceeds there and releases the engine unit’s clamps, rolling it out through the rent in the hull, breaking the protective energy shield holding the atmosphere in place. This ejects the Dark Eldar and the engine unit with Kaspel attached. Looking back, Kaspel see’s the engines of the “Divine Sanctity” test firing now the damaged component is removed. Riding the engine core down into re-entry of the planet below, Kaspel finally appreciates the beauty of an alien world.

Setting

The Imperial Battle cruiser "Divine Sanctity"

Characters

  • Techpriest Kaspel
  • Lieutenant Whallon

Faces

by Matthew Farrer

Synopsis

The harlequins of the eldar are mysterious and enigmatic, even by the standards of that aloof race. When one of their number begins to experience memories that are not her own, and another life begins to bleed into their reality, the entire troupe is threatened. Can they find the source of the disturbance and stop it before it is too late?

Setting

Characters

Unity

by James Gilmer

Synopsis

On the planet of Coruna, the 3rd Tantulas Regiment has been brought in to defend the planet from the Tau along with elements of the Raven Guard Space Marines. The Tau however break the Imperial forces in a battle around a communications post, forcing a retreat. Tam, a Tantula sniper retreats and links up with Gesar of the Raven Guard. The two of them retreat through a forest finding blood stained battle sites but no Imperial bodies, which makes them uneasy. The two of them eventually come to a field where they must cross in the open to reach a collection of farm outbuildings. Upon entering one they find it to be a refrigerated slaughter house hung with Tantula bodies. Tam and Gesar soon discover that the Coruna Imperial Guard have defected to the Tau and have given the Kroot Mercenaries the bodies of the Tantula as they have good eyesight and an adaption to high gravity due to their homeworld. The Kroot plan to harvest their flesh, upgrading their bodies through “Unity”. Tam and Gesar fight out an ambush set for them, however Gesar is struck in the neck and knocked unconscious, leaving Tam to try and destroy their bodies with a frag grenade, at which he fails and is thus consumed by the Kroot.

Setting

The planet of Coruna, under siege be the Tau.

Characters

  • Tam - Tanutala sniper.
  • Gesar - Raven Guard Space Marine

The Core

by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Synopsis

Talos of the Night Lords and First Claw escort Deltrian and Septimus aboard a massive Space Hulk in order to reach a Mechanicus Explorator vessel containing the secrets of a Titan Legion. The story starts with the navigator Octavia breaking the Echo of Damnation from the warp fifteen minutes travel from their target, an impressive feat for a navigator not directed by the light of the astronomican. The target is a space hulk, now discovered to be the size of a small moon due to the amount of vessels conglomerated into it. Upon entering the Hulk, First Claw and their charges discover dead crew suffering Genestealer wounds, frozen in the vacuum of the outer vessels. First Claw is forced to cut their way through numerous bulkheads on their way to the core of the hulk where their objective, the Mechanicus vessel, is located. Their journey reaches into the region of a dozen hours, with vox contact being lost at the 3 hour mark. Along the way Deltrian bleeds several data banks of various vessels of their information, lengthening the time taken.

Meanwhile, Lucoryphus of the Bleeding Eyes Raptor Squad, now designated Ninth Claw, leads his 19 soldiers ahead of First Claw in scouting actions, looking for enemies and further potential salvage. They are able to move faster as they are able to burn through bulkheads with melta weapons, (instead of cutting through which First Claw must make do with Deltrian's servitors) as well as crawl through vents. Ninth Claw finds themselves on board a strike cruiser of the Astartes. Reaching the power core they discover that it is of the XVIII Legion, the Salamanders, named the Protean. Vorasha, Lucoryphus' second-in-command shuts down the power to redundant areas when they hear bolter fire, coming not from First Claw but presumably from Salamanders else where on the ship. Lucoryphus takes half the team to hunt the Salamanders whilst Vorasha stays behind to control the power flow and the ships systems.

Deltrian and Septimus have reached the centre of the Mechanicus ship where the techpriest is hacking through the protection of the main cogitator archive. First Claw is divided up into 3 teams of Xarl and Uzas, Cyrion and Mercutian and Talos and Variel and all have come under attack from waves of genestealers, recently woken by their Patriarch, who are weak and sluggish due to their long phase of hibernation. Of note is that the patriarch makes a move on Cyrion and Mercutian who are guarding one of the flanks. Mercutian's heavy bolter wounds and drives off the patriarch who comes back later to a vent leading to the chamber where Deltrian and Septimus are. Deltrian senses its presence and sends an unconcerned message to Talos without telling and worrying Septimus.

Lucoryphus and his squad are tracking a Salamander in Terminator armour who appears to be acting strangely, firing at shadows whilst chasing Shar Gan down the corridor. Lucoryphus voxes Vorasha and tells him to seal two bulkheads either side of the Salamander whilst Lucoryphus' squad hangs above and drops, ten chainswords churning into the Terminator.

Talos and Variel return to the techpriest and artificier to stand guard and protect them from the patriarch should it attack. Septimus, who has been wondering about his role in this mission, questions Talos on his purpose, whether it is to be bait for the attraction of the genestealers. Talos explains that there is a possibilty that they could be present on the hulk for days and that their armour may need repairing and tending to. Talos is then interrupted by Lucoryphus on the vox. His squad has been killed in a failed ambush of a Salamander. Lucoryphus barely managed to escape himself, having been forced to use a melta to blast a whole through the roof and soar through enemy fire to escape, becoming wounded in the process. Talos orders him to stand down, to regroup with Vorasha and return to the Echo of Damnation staying clear of the Salamanders. Lucoryphus confirms this to be his intentions before cutting the link and ordering Vorasha to take his squad and awaken more genestealers and lead them into the Salamanders, attaining vengeance for the Bleeding Eyes against both enemies.

The Genestealer patriarch having sat in the darkness, silently calling its kin to assault First Claw, starts to approach the Mechanicus chamber once more, with its wounds clotted and its strength returned. Talos spots it and along with Variel he waits for optimum bolter range before engaging. Talos finds that the rest of First Claw is engaged by lesser genestealers, meaning he has no access to reinforcements except that of Septimus las-pistols. Deltrian is irritated by the firefight that has erupted 50 metres from him, finding it a slight distraction whilst he tries to by the Mechanicus firewalls and cyphers. He manages to break these and extract 16 hand sized data tablets from the machine, each containing a century of data dating back to the ships forging. He turns, impatiently waiting for the patriarch to be defeated. The patriarch severs one of Variel's legs off at the knee with a bladed limb before Talos wades in with Aurum, ramming it into the beasts spine and severing the head. With this done, Deltrain impatiently asks whether they can leave now.

Back on the Echo of Damnation Talos asks of the Salamander's vessel that brought those that the Bleeding Eyes faced to the system. A bridge officer informs him that they left 2 hours beforehand without even trying to hunt down the Night Lords vessel. Talos orders that they shall follow them and rend them from the warp with all their Claws and salvage all value from their vessel.

Inside the Hall of Reflection is Deltrian's quarters on the ship, his workshop and the residence of those Night Lords inside sarcophagi awaiting emplacement inside Dreadnoughts. He waits for a detachment of Astartes who spent a further six hours on board the space hulk fending off genestealers to acquire more salvage. Twelve Night Lords enter, each carrying the body of a Salamander clad in Terminator armour. Deltrian is pleased at this haul, knowing that the damage done to these suits is grievous but not irreparable, meaning that their spirits shall be turned bitter and serve the Night Lords of the Echo of Damnation well.

Setting

The Echo of Damnation and a space hulk containing a Mechanicus titan vessel and the Protean, a Salamander strike cruiser.

Characters

Night Lords First Claw

  • Talos - Leader of First Claw and commander of the Echo of Damnation
  • Cyrion
  • Xarl
  • Uzas
  • Mercution
  • Variel - A recruit to the Night Lords from their participation in the Fall of Vilamus

Night Lords Raptors/The Bleeding Eyes

  • Lucoryphus - Leader of the Bleeding Eyes Raptor squad.
  • Vorasha - Lucoryphus effective second-in- command.
  • Shar Gan - Deceased, killed in the failed ambush against the Salamanders
  • Zon La - Part of the Bleeding Eyes. Fate unknown

Night Lords Personnel

  • Deltrian - Techpriest of the Echo of Damnation
  • Septimus - Male Artificier, retainer and seventh slave of Talos.
  • Octavia - Female Navigator of the Echo of Damnation and the eight slave of of Talos. Only featured early in the novel after breaking from the warp and in a brief conversation to Septimus through the vox.

Ambition Knows No Bounds

by Andy Hoare

Synopsis

Rogue Trader Brielle Gerrit, of the Arcadius, ventures into a xenos construction on a desert world in search of alien technology to sell to the highest bidder. Unbeknownst to her is that she will in fact awaken the sleeping Necrons within, barely escaping with her life.

Setting

Unknown Desert World, Necron Tomb and the Fairlight

Characters

  • Brielle Gerrit - Rogue Trader looking for technology to on sell.
  • Joachim Hep - Advisor of Brielle Gerrit
  • Santos Quin - Born of a feral world, body guard to Brielle Gerrit. Dies in the heart of the tomb.
  • Adept Seth - Astropath of the Fairlight, dies in the heart of the tomb. Was sensing the Necrons before they awoke, however could only give vague, nonsense descriptions of his visions.

Sources

Fear the Alien edited by Christian Dunn Black Library