Into the Maelstrom (Anthology)
Into The Maelstrom is an anthology of short stories set in the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. Various authors contribute, and the anthology is edited by Andy Jones and Marc Gascoigne. It was first published in 1999, and is currently out of print, although several of the short stories were re-published in Let the Galaxy Burn (Anthology).
A force of Ultramarines Terminators are battling a Tyranid invasion on the Feral world of Jaroth, fourth planet of the Dakor star system, Ultima Segmentum, and only recently rediscovered by the Imperium.
Brother Rius is a member of this force and once the Battle barge Gauntlet of Macragge destroys the Tyranid Hive Ship in orbit, he and his squad proceed with clean-up operations. During one of these clean-up operations he and his squad encounter a downed Thunderhawk. Entering to search for survivors they are ambushed by Genestealers, with the ensuing conflict causing an explosion which kills Rius's squad and throws him clear.
Four days later, he regains consciousness in a farmhouse, having been taken in by some of the native locals. The explosion has given him temporary amnesia, and he remembers neither his name nor anything of his past. He integrates with the community, using his prodigious physique to help them with the harvest and the further construction of their village until news comes of an attack on a farmer in the local area. Going to the site of the attack he sees a Carnifex across the valley. This restores his memory and he requests his armour and weapons which have been stored for him. Before leaving to face the Carnifex, he asks his hosts for one last favour: that they remember him.
In a ferocious battle with the Carnifex, Rius is gravely wounded, while the Carnifex begins to regenerate its wounds from Rius's storm bolter. Seeing no other way to win, he forces both of them over a cliff, killing them both on impact. But before he dies, he is at peace, reflecting that he is doing what he was meant to do, and saving the locals who showed him such kindness.
Into the Maelstrom
by Chris Pramas
The Red Corsair Codicier Sartak is held prisoner by the White Scar Arghun after being found unconscious upon a White Scar vessel after a Red Corsair raid. He claims that he wishes to repent from his raider ways, that he is a noble Astral Claw and that he wants to kill Huron Blackheart. Sartak tells the White Scars that he would gladly tell them where the Red Corsairs are striking next but that he must find out from his friend aboard the Blood Reaver's ship. Arghun and Sartak make their way into the Maelstrom and are picked up by Blackheart's fleet. Blackheart queries Arghun on his reasons for rebelling from the Imperium, for which he says he shot a superior for retreating. In answer to this, Blackheart orders Sartak to execute Arghun to prove his loyalty to the Corsairs. After executing Arghun, Sartak goes to find his friend and contact Lothar, whom he finds in a duel to the death with a rebel Khornate Ultramarine. Lotharis fatally wounded and Sartak only just manages to get the name of the planet out of him: Razzia. Sartak retreats to his quarters and reaches out into the warp, finding a White Scar astropath and telling him that Razzia is the planet that the Corsairs will target. Immediately after this, Blackheart and his chief psyker Garlon Souleater confront Sartak in his quarters telling him that they knew he and Lothar were traitors and that they used them to misdirect the White Scars to Razzia when their real target was Santiago. Sartak then battles Blackheart losing his hands in the process and being pyschicly knocked out. When he awakes he finds himself in pitch black darkness, his limbs restrained and tubes down his throat. His perception of time is distorted and he has no human contact. He surmises that he has perhaps been sealed into an escape pod and jettisoned into space or more horrifyingly into a dreadnought sarcophagus, never to be installed into a dreadnought, only to be left to rot for eternity. At this realisation Sartak loses his sanity without even the dignity to scream.
by Alex Hammond
Commissar Streck is in charge of a band of guardsmen from the Valis Fifth who are under attack from an Eldar raiding force in the jungles of Olstar Prime, on a planet doomed to succumb to the xenos. Meanwhile Lieutenant Lownes and his Catachan squad have been sent to help break the Eldar who lie in wait in the jungle. With both Imperial groups suffering losses, Lownes orders a retreat to the main town centre, disobeying Streck's orders. Later Streck finds that Lownes is trying to arrange his squads escape with a merchant flier, whereupon a confrontation occurs. However an Eldar attack occurs, killing the merchant, eliminating any chance of escape and thus leaving them with one choice, to fight the xenos.
The Raven's Claw
Astropath Rosarius is tending to his master, Governor Torlin, an Imperial Governor whose city is under siege from rebel human forces. Rosarius complains that he cannot sense any threats moving against them, that the warp is disturbed and clouding his visions. All his scryings can sense is a falling star. Torlin then surveys the battle for his cities walls, noticing a flash of light and a downward moving contrail on the horizon.
Cutting to the drop ship, a figure is riding a rough descent towards the surface along with a 100 others, casualties incurred. Suffering from amnesia his only clue to his identity is the word tattooed on his forearm: Vero. Upon landing, a Whelan helps Vero, who is groggy, out of the dropship explaining that the sedatives given to him for the trip have caused his amnesia as well. A Commander Bartok takes command of the troop, informing them that they are the Fourteenth Esine Penal Battalion, otherwise known by their members as The Holy Fourteenth. Vero having already met Whelan is introduced to his friends Oban and Creid. Lasweapons and knives are handed out to the penal troopers, whereupon Vero has a short vision of marble hallways and a raven. At about this same time, Rosarius in the Palace has one exactly the same, lasting only a short split second, much to Torlin's displeasure. Bartok then leads the four of them personally to the front line walls to repel an enemy assault currently occurring. After a brief fight with the walls being overrun Vero, Whelan and Oban retreat, losing track of Bartok and Creid in the process, with Oban being wounded. Holed up in the shell of a building they discover that Oban is critically injured and as good as dead. Vero suffers a strange realisation with a few more puzzle pieces falling into place, for example how did he know how to use a lasgun or knife or take command in the absence of a superior.
Torlin and Rosarius discuss their retreat from the city, claiming that it was foolish to watch the city burn, revealing that they are renegades, sided with the rebels. They retreat to their personnel Leman Russ APC and proceed to move through the city under Rhino escort towards a hidden bunker. Before they can arrive, an artillery blast collapses a building upon their escorts and upends their vehicle. Vero, sees this and runs to their aid, prying open the door. Upon gazing upon the Governors face he has an immense vision, with his memory flooding back to him. He is Averius of the Callidus Temple and has had his memory temporarily blanked for Operation Vero in order to escape Rosarius' scryings. Grabbing Torlin and escaping the Leman Russ before it explodes, he drags the governor back to the ruined building. Knocking out Whelan, Averius uses polymorphine to transform back to his true form and utilises his hand held weapon of a series of poisonous needles laid under his skin; the Raven's Claw. Grasping the Governor he commands him to repent for his actions leading to rebelion, to which Torlin complies before Averius proceeds to assassinate the governor of Tadema's World. Standing, Averius' Vero tattoo morphs into a symbol which he presses to send a signal to the reconquest fleet inbound for the planet, signalling that his mission is complete. Turning back to the body of Torlin, he presses his thumb against the forehead, branding a Raven into the skin.
Children of the Emperor
Guardsman Floscan Hartoum of the Aurelian 9th Regiment is aboard the troopship Emperor's Vengenace when it breaks through a warp gate and is ambushed along with its escort the Glorious Redeemer by an Ork fleet. Hartoum is able to launch a escape pod, after escaping the wrath of a Commissar Leminkanen before the ship is destroyed and guides the rudimentary pod down to an unknown planet's surface. Surviving the entry into orbit and the landing, hartoum finds himself on a bizarre planet with a relatively high gravity, barely able to stand without tedious effort. He then encounters a pack of strange alien centaurs who attack a large scorpion like creature and kill it. They then pick him up and take him back to their camp with no explanation whatsoever where he meets Ochtar, the Elder and Remembering One. He tells Hartoum that they are the descendants of an explorator fleet which crashlanded on the planet in ancient times. Their descendants found that they needed to bio-engineer their people to give them the extra legs to stand and the strength to fight the bizzare monsters on the planet. Ochtar then explains that he learnt Imperial Gothic from a free trader who came and collected gemstones before leaving behind a heavy gravity suit which Ochtar then gives to Hartoum. Ochtar then takes Hartoum to a sacred site to prove their stories and descent, however they must pass through the territory of those who follow the Blood God. Once at the sacred site, Hartoum witnesses ancient cogitators of the Cult Mechanicus, possibly from the time of the Dark Age of Technology. This proves that Ochtar is descended from humans, not of some alien race> Hartoum is excited by the fact that some Standard Template Construct data may be present within the machinery. However the warriors of the Blood God discover their presence, destroying the machinery and slaughtering Ochtar whilst taking Hartoum back to their camp. Thrown into a hut, Hartoum discovers that Commissar Leminkanen has survived and is being held prisoner by the Blood God centaurs. Hartoum tries to explain to Leminkanen that the centaurs are descended from humans, which he firmly disbelieves. Hartoum dismays and rubs through his bindings, making an escape from the camp, whereupon he is discovered in the morning by Ochtar's warriors. Hartoum directs them to the Blood God centaurs camp where a messenger of the Emperor is prisoner (Leminkanen). Whilst the two forces battle, Hartoum releases Leminkanen and asks him to witness the good work of Ochtar's centaurs. however all that he sees is a giant millipede creature which has surrounded the village and is consuming the warriors. The Commissar states that this is all an afront to the Emperor and starts to detail a report for exterminatus, however mid report he is devoured by the millipede creature. The two forces of the centaurs kill the creature by stting it alight and escape, drawing up across from each other, ready to battle once more. However a Imperial shuttle craft descends and interupts them.
Back aboard the Imperial battleship Ravenger, the Commissar's report is being filed with the Captain, stating that the planet is worthless and inhabited by ferocious creatures and a primitive semi-intelligent alien species unlikely to progress any further. The report then drops off midsentence on explaining that no further action should be taken. The Captain accepts this and forwards it to the Adeptus Terra. Hartoum, sitting in his cell reflects on his actions, altering the Commissar's already open report to protect the centaurs from exterminatus, as well as philosphizing on whether the Emperor would abhor or agree with his actions.
- On an unnamed planet in Cluster FR
- Floscan Hartoum, Aurelian Ninth Regiment
- Leminkanen, Commissar
- Ochtar, Remembering One
- Gurtlieder, Captain, Ravenger
The Black Pearl
by Chris Pramas
According to the Fallen, he found the Sword during a raid on an Eldar colony world. Uzziel leads a strike force there, where they encounter fierce resistance from the Eldar. Uzziel loses several of his brothers, including Codicier Ahiezar. When he reaches the Eldar Temple, he is halted by the ghosts of the Eldar slaughtered by the Fallen's men during their raid. Though momentarily shaken, he breaks through to the inner sanctum, where a Warlock warns him not to take the sword. Uzziel duels and kills the Warlock, before lifting the sword from its case.
The sword is a wondrously beautiful object, and Uzziel is assailed with heady visions of claiming the mastery of the Dark Angels Chaplaincy, then the whole Chapter, then the whole Imperium... but a nagging voice in the back of his mind prompts him to look closer at the blade, and he sees, to his horror, an inscription by Lion El'Jonson to his friend and brother, Luther – the sword he is holding belonged to Luther, not the Lion, and represents nothing but betrayal and the false promises of Chaos.
Uzziel looks out at the battlefield, where the noble Eldar lie dead and many of his brothers along with them. He is tempted to leave the sword behind, but decides that it is still a relic of the Chapter, and must be returned to The Rock. He gives the order to withdraw, but first extracts the black pearl from his Rosarius - a badge of honour given to any Interrogator-Chaplain who breaks one of the Fallen - and crushes it to powder beneath his boot.
- Dark Angels
by Gav Thorpe
Aboard the Divine Justice Captain Kaurl introduces Flight Commander Jaeger to his new posting as leader of Raptor Squadron, a Marauder wing and one with a reputation for bad discipline as well as general unworthiness. Jaeger decides that it will be up to him to train the men hard and bring them up to standards, which over time he does. After two months of space patrol for the Divine Justice and hard intensive training for Raptor, the vessel encounters the Imperial Retribution, a cruiser that has been obliterated by a nearby Ork space hulk of some considerable size. Having studied the details and made their judgements Admiral Veniston, commanding officer of the Divine Justice and Kaurl decide that the only way to defeat the hulk would be to attack it quickly from the rear by sending Raptor Squadron to attack, taking out an unidentified target. Raptor is launched and along the way they encounter Ork fighters as well as an Ork rok which they must kill or be killed. After finally reaching the target they discover it is a huge gun emplacement, protecting the engines of the ship. Raptor destroy it with their torpedoes and are told to return to the Divine Justice. Wondering how the destruction of a gun turret would help destroy the hulk they discover that Devil squadron has been sent in to take care of the hulks engines. Angry that Devil should get all the glory, the remainder of Raptor join them.
Later back aboard the Divine Justice Jaeger enters the briefing room to hear Veniston declare that the mission was a success with acceptable losses, which upon witnessing Jaeger loses his cool and confronts Veniston and Kaurl over the fact that he lost 15 men whilst Devil sat back in the second attack wave, letting his squad take all the punishment before flying in to take all the glory. He then goes on to say that Veniston favours Devil because his nephew is her flight commander. Veniston leaves without a word, whilst Kaurl orders Jaeger to the brig. During the journey he takes him into a side alcove and shows him the 21 coffins of those lost during the assault, 6 from Devil squadron including Veniston's nephew. Upon realising this Jaeger is remorseful for his actions earlier. Kaurl goes on to explain that without the destruction of the gun turret then any attack on the engines was futile and if all of Raptor and Devil had been sent against the turret then there may not have been enough ships to attack the engines. Once in the brig, Jaeger meets Veniston who asks him to always trust in his superiors as no mission he'd flown or commanded had even been wasted in the Emperors name. After he leaves, Jaeger realises that he wears the same gloves he does, with the same symbol of Raptor squadron on them.
by Mark Brendan
An ex-Imperial Guard Commander who has taken retirement, in the form of the position of Governorship of the planet of Tenebrae, faces an invasion by the forces of Chaos. The story goes onto debate the reasons for the invasion, focussing mainly on how Cortez, the governor, did not pay heed to the Arbites reports of heretical cults being found more and more often and consequentially did not take further action or call in the Inquisition. As a result the planet has come under attack from a force of Chaos Undivided with elements of Word Bearers in tow. The story ends with Cortez raging at how his death will mean nothing for the Chaos or the Emperor, which results in his anger opening a warp portal for Khornate daemons to emerge in his office. However before they can kill him he takes his own life, stating that his life is not for Chaos to take or for martyrdom to the Emperor but for himself.
by Alex Hammond
Hell in a Bottle
by Simon Jowett
In the Belly of the Beast
by William King
Aboard the Rogue Trader vessel, the Spiritus Sancti, Karl Hauptman, the ship commander requests the presence of the Space Wolves squad aboard his ship. Sergeant Hakon reports to the bridge where he receives orders to deploy to a strange ship that seems to be alive with his squad of Initiates. Astropath Chandara is reluctant, believing that the ship should be destroyed immediately, without investigation, which Hauptman rebukes by claiming that the Imperium may benefit from something found within the mysterious vessel.
The Space Wolves are launched by Boarding Torpedo into the living ship whereupon they find themselves within a body, with blood vessels, sphincter doors and other things similar to the inside of a living body. Exploring the ship they are unnerved by how strange it appears, until eventually they are attacked by some form of creature, with bladed limbs and organic weapons. Retreating through the ship, Egil, the bloodthirsty member of the group detours down a side passage and finds himself in a birthing chamber, where a beast is co-incidently erupting from its egg sack. It is now that Egil realises that they are on a Tyranid Bio-ship and that this is a Tyranid Warrior. He voxes his squad mates, who come to his rescue as more Tyranids hatch and attack them, with Gunnar's Heavy Bolter taking a fearsome toll on the enemy.
The Space Wolves make for the boarding torpedo with extra haste, losing Njal (a nascent psyker) to a sphincter trapdoor in the floor where he is digested. Hakon falls next, a Genestealer killing him as it falls from the ceiling. When the three remaining scouts are finally near the boarding torpedo, they find themselves being surrounded. Egil stays behind to hold them off whilst Sven and Gunnar escape to the torpedo and jettison into space.
Sven and Gunnar watch from the bridge of the Spiritus as it destroys the Bio-ship with its weaponry. Hauptman attempts to reason that it must be a leftover from the last hive fleet to invade the Imperium, but Chandara warns that, just before its destruction, the ship sent out a massive astropathic signal. Sven grimly vows that, if there is another Hive Fleet heading towards the Imperium, he will be ready to face it.
Characters and Elements
- The Spiritus Sancti - Rogue Trader vessel
- Space Wolves
- Sergeant Hakon - Gruff and typically robust Space Wolf
- Sven Pederson - The main character of the story. Smart, practical soldier who takes command once Hakon dies.
- Njal Bergstrom - A nervous soldier, picked out to be a future Librarian. Picks up psychic messages from the Tyranid ship which unnerve and distract him.
- Egil - Headstrong soldier looking for glory and blood above all else.
- Gunnar - Heavy Weapons trooper armed with a Heavy Bolter. Covers his fearful demeanor with a joking and teasing attitude.