Grey Talon (Audio Drama)
|Performer||John Banks, Ian Brooker, Steve Conlin, Toby Longworth, Luis Soto|
|Series||Horus Heresy Series|
|Collected in||Meduson, Shattered Legions|
Grey Talon is an audio drama in the Horus Heresy series by Chris Wraight. It was originally released in May 2015 prose as part of the Games Workshop Headquarters exclusive anthology, Meduson and re-released as an MP3 on 20 January 2016. The run time is 60 minutes, and it is performed by John Banks, Ian Brooker, Steve Conlin, Toby Longworth, and Luis Soto.
After the horrors of Isstvan, the XVIth Legion destroyer-class Grey Talon now flies under a loyalist crew on a campaign of retribution and vengeance, using her original colours to strike covertly at isolated traitor forces. Commanded by Bion Henricos of the Iron Hands, the ship is also home to many disgraced White Scars who have taken death-oaths to seek atonement – among them the peerless warrior Hibou Khan. But tensions run higher with each new engagement and, without a wider strategy to guide them, the crew of the Grey Talon will surely come to a grim and sudden end.
The Grey Talon was a heavily armed destroyer of the Sons of Horus made on Forgeworld Aphret during the 130th year of the crusade. It was said that it was given special treatment due to agreements made between Horus and the Mechanicum, and it included a forward lance rare to ships of its class. During the Drop Site Massacre, it was seized by a group of Salamanders aboard a captured drop ship and made it out of system. The Salamanders renamed it Hesiod after the Nocturne City, but its name and colors were restored to serve as an infiltrator ship. Bion Henricos, of the Iron Hands, stayed with the ship when the White Scars replaced the Salamander crew. He was joined by Hibou Khan and 8 other White Scars following an incident where Hibou and other White Scars backed Horus before learning the extent of the Horus Heresy. As penance, their primarch Jaghatai Khan ordered those who backed Horus on missions to fight the traitors.
Hibou believed that even though he and others were in error, that they would be able to find a way to redeem themselves, and he believed that the Grey Talon was a lucky ship. He spent most of his time reflecting on his previous actions, including that it was natural for the members of the lodge to back the Warmaster due to their distrust of the Imperial command structure. However, they were wrong when they thought the Khan would join Horus. Sometimes, he regretted not taking the tsusan garag (blood oath/death oath) and dying at the Khan's hands, but he was now a sagyar mazan ("the Penitents" or "bringers of vengeance"). While on the Grey Talon, he desired to take the fight to the traitors but he knew that he was hated by his allies. Breaking his reflection, Hibou traveled to the bridge to speak to Henricos.
Henricos was consumed by his work on the ship's cogitators as normal and did not notice Hibou's approach. Hibou believed that if they were to fight together, that they would have to speak, but Henricos was cold to him and pushed back when Hibou sought to know their destination and plans for battle. The meeting ended abruptly, and Hibou left to train while Henricos reflected on the destruction of the Iron Hands legion at the hand of the traitors. In the practice chambers, Hibou sparred with Tegi, another White Scar but one he did not know; the Khan made sure to separate allies and friends among the Horus sympathizers when he sent them off on their mission. Tegi questioned the meeting with Henricos, and Hibou said that it would be up to Henricos to continue the conversation.
Lost in reflection, Henricos was back on Medusa as a youth. He remembered his journey as a child to the fortress of the Iron Hands, walking for 11 days with little to eat or drink. Eventually, he made it to the gate of the Clan Sorrgol Citadel, collapsing before a legionary standing guard who opened the gate and allowed him entrance. At that moment, Henricos woke up. He lost 7 minutes to the dream, and he was self-conscious as to how the staff would think less of him for succumbing to the weakness of fatigue. The Iron Hands were weak by forgetting their teachings when they charged into Isstvan blind, and it cost them. He returned to his work, an algorithm taught to him by his mentor, Iron Father Jebis Orth. Seeing the patterns, he called Hibou to the bridge.
Hibou was not an Iron Hand and did not understand what Henricos was trying to show him. It was a series of trajectories in the warp based on complex equations. Henricos pointed out that there was a ship marker that could be a ghost image of their own ship or another, but then also pointed out a warp wake in another location. The wake could be another ship that they could track and jump out of the warp with it, catching it off guard and destroy it. By its image in the warp, it was most like a Sons of Horus ship, which encouraged Hibou. The plan would be to follow the ship through the Sorgol Pattern of the warp until it left. Then they would board the ship by their Thunder Hawk Golden Dagger before the enemy had time to raise the shields. They would have to use a drop ship because boarding torpedoes would be too inaccurate at the speed they would travel.
12 hours later, the traitor ship appeared to be making ready to leave the warp. The ship was larger than they realized a line frigate, the Inexorable Conquest, but they continued the mission and used the battle cannon to blow open a sealed landing bay. The Thunder Hawk blasted the ships and human troops as the Scars and Henricos charged out into the ship and carving a path to the command deck. Eventually, they met the Sons of Horus legionary, provoking a strong battle. Many Sons of Horus were torn apart by the Scars, but 4 Scars were killed in the conflict as Henricos was shot 3 times by bolter rounds. Before a traitor could finish Henricos, Hibou saved his life, but they would soon be overwhelmed. Suddenly, many Iron Hands teleported onto the deck and slaughtered the traitors. It was Shadrak Meduson, who ordered Henricos to stay alive, and 7 leviathans in Gorgon and Caterphractii patterned Terminator plate.
Meduson and the other Iron Hands arrived in the Strike Cruiser Iron Heart, which outclassed the Sons of Horus ship, and they Iron Hands made short work of the traitors and captured the ship for their own uses. By the time Meduson's men finished and returned to their own ship, Henricos was able to stand on his feet again, and he was brought into a meeting with Meduson, Hibou, 2 Iron Hands, a Salamander, and a Raven Guard. In the meeting, Meduson explained that the many legions were forged into one force and continue the fight. Meduson then asked if the Khan was loyal, and Henricos said yes, vouching for them and those like Hibou who were atoning. Meduson then explained that they marked an unnamed individual for death and that it would do restore their lost honor, which bothered Henricos but he refused to voice his concern.
It turned out that it was not fortune that brought Meduson, but it was Henricos's mentor Orth, alive and on Meduson's ship, who recognized the algorithm that Henricos was using. At first, Meduson mistook the Grey Talon for a true Sons of Horus ship, but they stalked the ship until they were sure. With the battle over, they had another ship to strike back with. Meduson said he was now the Warleader, no longer a Captain, and Henricos worried that Warleader was too close to Warmaster, and that the actions of uniting the different groups was similar. However, the unity provided something more than a suicide mission that would do only petty damage. Henricos agreed to work with Meduson but on the condition that he would receive a Medusan bi-handed sword in return.
Henricos thought of his journey within the gates of Iron Hands fortress. He didn't know the way, but he proceeded forward without being able to see. Eventually, he came to a steep mountain and he began to climb, even though he was fatigued and bleeding. He thought of the many children who left their clan land engines and died on the way, and how it was part of the test. By the time his senses fully returned, he found himself at the top with Iron Hands legionaries around him. One took his chin and scanned him, then proceeded to state the Iron Hands code, that they will never share secrets, take no allies, fight alone, and they are alone. That outside the place is weakness, and they alone are strong. That they will never trust, never dilute, not fight alongside those not of Medusa. The boy Henricos agreed to the principals and would learn the way of the Iron Hands.
Returning to the present, Henricos fought Hibou in the practice cages. Hibou believed that faults in the tactics led to failure, and that there neither a victory nor an honorable death. Hibou admitted that he believed that Henricos would leave for the Iron Heart, but Henricos said that the ship was lucky and he didn't want to leave it with the Scars. Henricos believed that there was virtue in the Scar's speed in battle, but they needed to work on each others strengths. He drew the bi-hander sword, the length of a mortal man, with power feed ad disruptor field generators. It was heavy in construction, the opposite of Hibou's technique, but Henricos said that he wanted to learn how to move a blade as fast as the Scars while offering to teach his own ways of fighting. The two then spar to test their techniques.