Game of the Week – 23/01/2016

I may or may not have missed the past two weeks due to some personal issues. However, we’re back on track now and ready to write up another Game of the Week! So, what is the game of the week this time?

Our Game of the Week this week is Tom Clancy’s The Division.

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Level 30, full 256. This is actually my 2nd character after I didn’t like the appearance of my last one.

This is a game that I have a strange relationship with. I enjoyed the game at launch and played a lot with one of my best friends. However, patches 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 pushed me well away from the game. I didn’t touch it for months as the enjoyment was sucked out of it. I honestly hated the game. However, patch 1.4 came out and fixed a lot of things wrong with the game, then 1.5 came out and breathed new life into the game with Survival. Now, with patch 1.6 on the horizon, I have been revisiting it and farming up my builds for the impending Last Stand DLC.

I’ve been farming up gear, killing named bosses for named weapons, and putting together builds with what we know is coming in 1.6. I have decided to have an Alphabridge dps build, a Frontline tank build and, my personal favourite, a Reclaimer/Tactician’s support build with the Caduceus and Historian. It took me about 10 runs total, but I finally got the Caduceus. I still need to buy the Historian from the vendor.

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This is what my 1.5 build looks like at the moment. I mostly do group content as a support

I’ve been enjoying the game over the past week, having played a lot of it and watching some Twitch streamers in between the CS:GO ELeague Majors. It’s a compelling game, though it can be a bit repetitive. I think I will probably take a break from the game over the next week, avoid burning myself out on it before 1.6 comes out, whenever it drops.

Game of the Week – 26/12/2016

It’s the last week of 2016. What game will take the last Game of the Week spot for 2016?

At the start of the week I thought that my game of the week for this week would be another MMO, following the falling out I had with Star Wars: The Old Republic and my ideas for new horizons. I am honestly surprised to be saying that my game of the week this week is Fallout 4. I have taken to Fallout 4 once more as I wanted to not be a terrible human being and side with anyone who isn’t the Institute. I have a decent number of mods installed, because Bethesda games are best experienced with mods!

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I don’t even have that many mods installed, compared to some.

To that end I have decided to take up the Minuteman cause, joining Preston in making the Minutemen great again. I am running a whole bunch of mods, but the one that makes the Minutemen bearable is the We Are The Minutemen mod, which makes radiant quests pop up less often and buffs the Minutemen NPCs so they aren’t completely useless level 1s with terrible gear; they actually turn up with heavy weapons and power armour if you’re high level as they level with you.

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Elizabeth is a fully decked out General for the Minutemen. Dressing the part!

I have definitely enjoyed myself in Fallout 4 this week. I think I’ve played almost 2 days (48 hours!) over the past week, which tells you just how much I have been playing this game since Christmas celebrations finished. I’m mostly using projectile weapons, because I’ve never really understood what’s so great about energy weapons, combined with ludicrous stealth capabilities. I carry enough guns so that if I get discovered then it’s not too much of a problem, but honestly my problems are better solved from the shadows than in a straight up firefight. I think I will probably end up siding with the Railroad in the end, with the Minutemen as a side thing, because I just prefer the way the Railroad operates. However, I am curious to see how a Minutemen ending would turn out, so maybe I will leave a save game before fully committing to either.

With two essay deadlines coming up in the next two weeks, we’ll see which games steal the Game of the Week spot next. I will never have a Game of the Week twice in a row, so if I end up playing Fallout 4 a whole bunch next week too, then I will name the 2nd most played game as Game of the Week with a brief mention of Fallout 4. I think that’s how I’d like to do this.

Running Away

I was asked by the GM of the Cyberpunk 2020 game I’m a part of to write a “what has Alessandra done since last session,” thing for some closure. Essentially, Alessandra Moretti was my Netrunner that I’ve been playing, but she’s decided that being a low life scum isn’t for her and has (re)joined the glorious corporate master race. I thought I’d put it up here.

My next character is also a member of the glorious corporate master race, but she’s better suited to working with criminal scum. She’s the driver/pilot for a very professional corporate security team 😉


Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Fuck. Shit.

Expletives are all that seem to rush through my mind as I leave the hospital. Seeing Vibora in the hospital, all hooked up and totally incapacitated was just too much; I thought he was joking, trying to raise my spirits as he always tried. I thought I’d turn up to see him fine, maybe with just a scratch. He always seemed to shrug off the worst the Combat Zone threw at us.

Then there was me. Always hiding. Always with my tail between my legs. I tried so hard to help. I tried so hard to be useful, to not be a burden. Maybe I’m right. Maybe I am not cut out for this world. This world, this line of work, will eat me up and spit me out. I don’t want to die in a ditch, bleeding because some punk decides that they feel like attacking me. Then there’s Calm Boi. Now there is a person who isn’t likely to win any awards for being a good employer. The pay for the jobs was trash, I was expected to do jobs way, way out of my area of expertise; I mean, come on, professional make up and hair? Managing a spoiled little brat and her spoiled little brat friends? How many netrunners have to deal with that shit? My sister said I was free, but she’s wrong. I am just bound by different shackles. Shackles made of some shitty, jagged metal. Calm Boi promises the world, but ends up trying to kill us.

Fuck. That. I want my shackles to be comfortable, maybe with fur lining. All these “free” people, preaching their anti-corporate bullshit are just immature. This is the way the world works, the way the game is played. You play by the rules, you play well; trying to bend or break the rules will just get you disqualified, fatally, but playing well nets you vast gains.

I reach my apartment building and make my way upstairs. It’s late, I’m tired, I’ll think more tomorrow. I get undressed, glancing over at the clothing that I was going to throw in the trash. I had almost forgotten about that whole episode. Having to dive into a pile of garbage to get away from a seriously fucked up situation, and Douma didn’t even give a shit to see if I was okay. Asshole. I eventually fall asleep, windows open, in nothing but my underwear. Night City is perpetually hot at this time of year.

The following morning, I catch up on the news and get dressed. I call the number that my sister provided and somehow manage to get an interview; maybe the tech team was already recruiting, or maybe my family name carries more weight than it perhaps should. I don’t really give a crap about the reasoning, I just want in to the corporate world. I was a complete fool to try and run from it, my life has been nothing but misery and fucked up situations since I left the comfortable life. Anyway, I have things to do today. I head to the mall. It’s time to go suit shopping.

I spend most of the morning walking around the shops, eventually picking out a smart, black suit, some shirts, blouses, smart shoes, the whole ensemble. Running around as a low life, I never really needed such clothing, but in the corporate world, the real world, I understand the importance of appearances better than anyone. It fits snug, keeping my curves noticeable but definitely rocking the “smart, businesslike” appearance. I grab lunch and my mind wanders. I wonder how the guys are doing. I wonder if I’m even missed. Not likely, with how useless I was. I don’t know, I’d hope to be missed by Vibora, but I don’t reckon Douma will give a shit. From this point on, Null_Point goes back to how she always used to be: a ghost who exists solely in the matrix.

A few days later, the interview goes well. They want to know of my skills and I show them what I’ve done. The cityscape I programmed seems to interest them, so perhaps a future in VR production is going to find me. I spend what feels like hours gliding through cyberspace, showing off a little bit here and there, a grim determination driving me to some of the best acts of computer manipulation I’ve ever done. In meatspace, I maintain a professional appearance, bringing back memories of my mother and father; how they raised me and my siblings to be the perfect corporate workers.

Such lessons prove incredibly useful as it takes a monumental effort to not baulk at how shitty a human being I’ve been. We were a happy family, strict but happy. My parents forged us into individuals with all the skills needed to not only survive, but excel in the corporate world and I ran away like a spoiled child. I gave such a bad example to my younger siblings, an irresponsible child squandering her future on notions of freedom. Yeah, if that’s freedom, I don’t want any part of it. I’d rather be comfortable and shackled in the corporate world than… well, uncomfortable, at risk of being mugged when I step out of my door and still shackled, but “free.”

A few days later I get a call to say that I got the job. Cybersecurity and programming are going to be my life from here on out. Null_Point becomes a ghost, Alessandra Moretti starts her journey up the corporate ladder. Not only that, but I burned a lot of bridges in my immaturity; bridges that are going to need to be rebuilt between myself and my family. I hope Vibora’s doing okay. I hope he doesn’t hate me for running away what seems like again, but it’s time to stop running; I’m just not built for that world.

Yeah, I’m going to wipe the floor with the competition with the variety of skills I’ve been expected to have as part of my previous job. I start next week, but in the meantime I have another move to organise. At least I don’t have that much stuff…

Asuka Tries To Do What Is Right

A quick note on this. Yes, it is highly biased because it’s from a certain character’s point of view. A certain character who is directly opposed to the rest of the party on a particular matter. It was from a Stars Without Number session in a campaign that I am a part of that I decided to turn into a brief piece of narrative. Essentially, we have a rat-man who is worth a lot of money welded to the ground. I play a doctor who thinks that his treatment is really inhumane and has been trying to hatch a plan to make it right. Then we get attacked by a guy who wants the rat-man and Asuka, my character, has to improvise with a far from perfect situation. Both plans were basically a betrayal of the party, but not in the sense that she’d kill everyone, but more in the sense that everyone else wants to sell him for large amounts of money and Asuka just wants to do what’s right in her eyes. This does not tide over well with the rest of the group when they find out about plan B. (They never found out about plan A).


Boom! Boom!

I struggle to keep my balance as the ship is hit by two more missiles. I can see on the holographic screen that the turret is a flaming wreck by this point. I hope Kiril got out okay; he may be a psychopath, but he is also a member of this crew. I make a mental note to sit down with him and get a proper diagnostic on his mental state at a later time, but time is not something that we currently have. The Ige-gumi helicopter starts to hover above the ship, armed men rappelling down along with the same man who came for Timmy before, a new cyberninja in tow.

There is no way I can prep these engines for take off in time. These armed men will be inside way before I can do anything useful here.

“I’m heading to the computer room. No way I can prep these engines in time,” I yell in English through the intercom as I pack up my tools and bolt down the corridor. I can see the movement outside the ship. They are getting into position. I can’t believe these idiots brought arguably the largest yakuza clan to our doorstep with an attack chopper. Why? Why couldn’t they have waited twenty four hours? I would’ve had Timmy out of here and in the care that he needs after what the crew has done to him. His mind is damaged beyond my counselling skills. He needs specialist help that I could’ve got him to. I had even planned on taking out a loan to cover the costs. It’s the least I could do now. I should’ve spoken up earlier.

But that plan has gone to hell. I will have to cancel the pick-up tonight. Why can’t these muscle-heads do anything right besides commit murder and inhumane atrocities? I get to the computer room and immediately try to hack into their comms. The security is there, but I easily overcome the obstacles and tap into their network. I hear them going over the plan. My God, they plan on blowing up the radiators once they’ve grabbed Timmy. That would cause the ship to explode and take the entire hangar with it. They want to kill us all, but it seems like they especially want John dead. Also, I get a name.

Reuben Jacobs.

I almost wish I hadn’t. Jacobs is big time in the Jewish mob, which explains why a yakuza clan would be working with a gaijin; he is obviously offering them something in return. Perhaps a share of the profits they’ll get from selling Timmy?

“Reuben Jacobs. We don’t have to do this,” I say into their comms network in English. I just hope that he is still amenable to reason after everything the crew have done.

“Oh?” he replies.

“That’s right. I am the ship’s doctor and I believe that we can come to an arrangement that doesn’t involve violence.”

“The rat-man. Give him to me and I’ll let you live. Hell, I’ll even give you the eight thousand that I promised your captain last time.”

“Done,” I say as I tap furiously at the computer keyboard, exploiting holes in the ship’s security to wrestle control of the doors.

“Nice job getting into our comms, by the way. I wasn’t expecting that,” Jacobs says as I open the ship airlock’s outer door.

“What can I say. I’m a woman of many talents,” I respond with a smile. “I want one of you to step into the airlock. Not you, Jacobs, and not the cyberninja. One of the others. I’ll release the rat-man into his custody and we can both go our separate ways.” I hear the thud of footsteps as John pokes his head into the computer room and asks me what I’m doing. I tell him what I am doing and instantly wish I had lied when he runs into the cargo bay.

“All right,” Jacobs says as he motions one of the yakuza into the airlock. I close the airlock door behind him and transfer comms to my compad, telling the man in the airlock how it’s going to go in Japanese to ensure he understands what I’m doing. I take my monokatana from my belt and leave it in the computer room before I run to the cargo bay and head over to where the rat man is welded to the floor. I fish around in my first aid kit and take out a tranquilliser, which I administer to the rat-man; I can’t risk him biting me while I work. Once he is sedated, I take out my toolkit and start cutting the rat-man loose. The whole scene makes my stomach turn every time I see it. Anything would be an improvement on this. We’re miles south of best case scenario right now, but at least I can save the lives of the crew in doing this.

As I work, John seems to have his own heated conversation with Jacobs as he points the humvee’s turret at the airlock doors.

“Change of plans. I’m going to bring the rat-man out myself. Tell your man to leave the airlock,” I say as I continue to release the rat man, re-opening the outer airlock door and re-iterating the change in plans in Japanese to the yakuza. Once he walks out, I shut the airlock door behind him.

“Hey, we’ve just been locked out here,” Jacobs says, suspicion prevalent in his voice.

“I have to ensure the safety of everyone. I will be out with the rat-man, don’t worry.”

That’s when I hear a click behind me.

“Asuka, if you don’t stop what you’re doing, I will shoot you. You’re getting between me and a pay day” John threatens as he points his spike thrower at my back. If I keep working, I have no doubt that he will pull the trigger. All over a pay day, of all things; he would shoot me over a sum of money, after all I’ve done on this ship, the hours I work. Morality and human decency on this ship are basically dead concepts.

Defeated, I stop what I am doing and pack up my things, leaving the job half done. I turn to John. “Then the deaths of the crew are on your hands, Mr. Mayhew,” I reply, though my tone is low. I make my way out of the cargo bay and transfer control of the doors back to the ship and the rest of the crew.

“Then I guess we do this the old fashioned way,” Jacobs says as he and the yakuza start to make their way around the front of the ship.

“I’m really sorry we couldn’t work this out, but the crew threatened to kill me if I continued. Can’t fulfil my side if I’m dead,” I say into their comms. I keep my link into their comm as I may need it should the crew fail to defeat these people. I slump down into the corner of the computer room and just let it all go. The stress, the emotional trauma, I let it all go, curling up and crying into my knees.

All this because I tried to do what was right. Well, at least I didn’t tell Summer of my plans, so she’s safe from John’s trigger finger should the crew make it out alive.

Character Genning Mood

So, I’m in a Cyberpunk 2020 game every week and, whilst the slightly over-the-top 80s style of it isn’t my exact cup of tea, I’m enjoying it thoroughly and I love my flirty Italian Netrunner so much (she got her first kill -ever- last session. It was a learning experience).

But in case she is hospitalised or killed (hopefully not!), I will need a back up character. So I thought to myself, what sort of character am I going to play…

Inspired from one of my own characters in my own cyberpunk setting, though with modifications to fit the Cyberpunk 2020 setting and rules, I decided that a possibility is that I may go for a burned corporate operative.

Note: I haven’t proof read this. It’s coming up 3am. I need to go to bed. Badly. It’s going to get light soon and I’m a light sleeper. This is bad on so many levels, but I had to at least finish!


Nobody is safe. A message comes through to my mobile phone, a contract. Corporate worker, supposedly leaked company secrets to a rival. I don’t fucking care, they tell me to ice this guy, I ice this guy. There are no questions, no arguments; this is just how the corporate world works.

Nobody is safe.

I pocket my phone inside my jacket pocket, I wear business attire, though my clothing is threaded with kevlar. My line of work is dangerous, though I must also keep a professional appearance in the office. Corporate security is no different in that regard. We all abide by the same dress code. Inside my jacket I feel the grooves of my heavy pistol. Colt. AMT Model 2000 with armour piercing bullets. There’s enough firepower tucked under my arm to dent even the heaviest personal armour; whoever this guy is, I could probably ice this guy through a solid wall.

I trawl through our databases and find this poor bastard’s address. He lives in an apartment in the corporate zone, the building is owned by us so getting into the block shouldn’t be a problem. There will be a maglock on his door, though it’s nothing I can’t crack. This is all routine by now; if all fails, I can probably blast my way in with this hand cannon I’m sporting.

I grab my motorcycle keys and make my way to the parking garage. It’s night by now, but my work often comes in after hours, so I am no stranger to it. I put on my helmet, start her up and drive towards the block where the target lives. I park up, take off my helmet and walk through the front door. The building security are expecting me and let me in. If this keeps up, I should get home in time to see my fiancé. With a grin on my face I make my way up to the target’s apartment and get to work on the keypad.

It doesn’t take long for me to crack it and I’m in. I open the door…

WHAM!

Something hits me in the face. Felt like a rifle butt. My training kicks in and I pull my pistol, firing two shots directly in front of me. Apparently whoever ambushed me wasn’t expecting that. I see the figure, heavily armoured, stagger backwards, one hole in his stomach and one in the middle of his chest. He looks at me through his helmet’s visor and collapses to the floor, blood staining the carpet. There’s a rather effeminate scream that emanates from the target, a wiry man in a business suit. He runs into the bathroom and a second armoured figure raises a sub-machine gun and fires on full auto. I manage to avoid most of the bullets, but a sharp pain digs into my side as one wings me. Fuckers are using armour piercing ammo too.

I place a hand over the wound, blood seeping into my suit and staining my white shirt. I swing around the corner as his shooting ceases; full auto fire isn’t sustainable and I catch him reloading. I raise my pistol and fire. One bullet, straight through the visor and out the back of his head, the contents of his skull spraying against the far wall. I’m about to finish the job when I hear footsteps behind me.

“Security! Drop your weapon!” I hear from behind me. I calmly turn, hold my hands out with a friendly smile.

“I’m with the corp. They want this guy iced.”

The bastards don’t ask again. I see fingers moving for the triggers so I dart to the side, running down the corridor.

“Don’t let her escape!” I hear from behind me, a hail of gunshots forcing me to turn another corner. Fortunately, the stairs are not far and I start a rapid descent. Fortunately, these security are a different wing to our own. These guys are the amateur league by comparison.

I shoot my way through the lobby and get back to my bike. It doesn’t take long to start her up and get out of there. Someone’s after my position, or doesn’t want me taking theirs. The whole thing stinks of set-up. I need to get home. I need to tell my fiancé. We need to get the fuck out of here.

I get home and bust through the door, gun out and ready. I walk into the living room to a scene of horror. My fiancé. His corpse lies face down in a pool of blood, a gaping whole in the side of his head. I am transfixed by the scene, horror etched into my features. I notice a hand in the corner of my eye. I swing around, gun towards this new threat. Too late. My gun flies from my grip and a powerful blow connects with my arm as I block the attack. Crude. Clubs. I grab my attacker’s leading arm and pull him in closer, my knee slamming into his nose with a squelching sound. I flip him over and turn to the next threat. This one has a sword, a freakin’ monokatana. I dodge out of the way of the woman’s swings. She’s fast, but not fast enough. I am about to counter attack when my left arm is grabbed. I swing my fist into the man’s face, sending him reeling backwards, but it’s too late.

The monokatana slices clean through my left arm, severing it just below the shoulder. I scream in pain and stagger backwards. A signal goes out over the net. Trauma Team. Like it will make a difference. I feel another sharp pain as the woman shoves the monokatana through my abdomen. Everything seems to fade. The pain of the solid impacts from the clubs fade to nothing. The woman removes her monokatana from my stomach and I fall to the floor.

Nobody is safe.

I wake up to a faint beeping. My vision is blurry, but I’m in a white room. There is no pain. Am I dead? No. Hospital. The smell of medical drugs is thick in the air. I try to move. I feel groggy. A nurse walks in.

“What happened?” I manage to ask her.

“We pulled you from your house. The left arm is a replacement job; woman around your size came in for cybernetics about a week ago and sold us her original arm to help cover the costs. You’ll have to train it a little, but we think your body should adapt and accept it within a few days.

She pauses. “We managed to save you, but we couldn’t save the other.”

“My fiancé?”

She shook her head. “He was dead long before we got there. No, I mean…”

She looks me in the eyes. The situation doesn’t need words. Not any more. I had a feeling, but… Fuck it. Fuck it all…

I need to get out of here.

I wait for the nurse to leave before I stumble from my hospital bed and manage to sneak my way to the elevator. I almost fall on top of an older man in the elevator as I slam the garage button. He looks at me, though his features are all a blur to me. He gets out at the ground floor. I descend further. The parking garage is largely empty, but I look around for a cheap looking car. With my current condition I don’t think I could break into or hotwire a more expensive model. I settle on a slightly rusting sedan. I get in. I start to drive as the blurriness subsides, albeit only partially. I drive back to my house to find it taped off. Corporate investigation. I avoid driving too close. My bike is parked around the corner. I crack the locking mechanism, a subtle trick I installed for situations like this. I grab my belongings, my phone, a couple thousand in cash, some basic cosmetics, a small holdout pistol. An emergency stash I kept under my bike seat.

I hop back in the car and make my way towards a small medical clinic on the outskirts of the city. Outside of major corporate influence. I walk in and go to the receptionist.

“I need you to set me up with some cyberware and I want it off the record. I’ve got the money. Cash.”

“Please, take a seat and someone will be with you,” the receptionist replies. I nod and take a seat.

A few days of living in the shadows, surviving in the streets of the outskirts of Paris later and I’m on a smuggler ship. I’m headed to America. My former employers do not have as much pull over there as they do in Europe. Then again…

Nobody is safe.

Keep Your Enemies Closer – Part 2

We set about town once we had gathered our forces, if they can be called that. We decide to investigate the eight-foot tall armoured figure. We do not get very far before we hear gunfire down the road. I brace myself against the wall and peer around the corner to see a bunch of our troops engaging some of the locals. I mutter a curse under my breath as Sigmar steps out with his hand raised, his other placed on his laspistol holstered on the back of his belt. One of the thugs mirrors Sigmar, though his attempts to hide a full size sword is rather entertaining, whilst leaving their intentions wide open. Useful. I take aim with my lasgun from around the corner, ready to put a lasbolt between the primitive’s eyes.

“What is the meaning of this? Why are you attacking our men?” Sigmar inquires peacefully.

“They attacked us. We’re just defending ourselves,” the primitive man spits back, quite obviously in a foul mood.

“Look, we’re sorry,” Sigmar waves placatingly, still trying to appear the good guy, “We’ll punish the one who did it, will that satisfy you?” he asks. The primitive merely shakes his head. “Well, fuck you then,” Sigmar curses, pulling his laspistol around and squeezing the trigger and sending a bolt of las energy into the man’s chest. His armour seems to absorb most of the bolt. The man then roars and charges at Sigmar. One of the mad man’s friends unloads a burst of autogun fire into the ensuing melee, catching his friend in the back though he does not seem to notice. Mott’s combat servitor charges in, chainswords whirring, to help Sigmar with the melee fight as another primitive also charges into the fray. I adjust my aim towards the one with the gun and squeeze off a couple of las shots, though before much can happen, he turns and flees, not comfortable with seeing his friends carved up by two chainsword wielding adversaries who literally tore the two primitives that they fought against into bloody ribbons. I prepare to squeeze the trigger once more on my lasgun, though there is a loud bang and his head turns into a fine mist. I hit the dirt, as is standard practice when faced with an unknown sharpshooter. I start to look in the obvious places for a sniper. The alleyway seems clear, I casually glance at the rooftops in case we are just facing an amateur with good aim but I see no one. Mott seems to be trying to talk the mayor down, both sides suspicious of one another, until the mention of the Imperium.

“Did someone say Imperial Majesty?” comes a booming voice. I look over to the source, one of the windows, to see a large, armoured figure literally walking through the wall to find Mott and the mayor. I heart skips a beat and I duck behind the corner to the alleyway. A Traitor Legionnaire? Here? His armour does not look like that of any loyalist that I have seen, a dull metallic colour with iconography that I have never seen before. He strides up to Mott and starts to speak, though I do not listen, now in a mild panic. Emperor, what do I do? I am no match for a Traitor Legionnaire. My lasgun would just bounce off his armour, whereas one shot from his behemoth of a weapon would do to me what it did to the fleeing local. I consider my options, though my train of thought is interrupted as I feel a tugging on my arm. I turn to look around and notice a young girl, no older than eight years old, sobbing and crying. I glance back to the conversation to see Mott get slapped by the Traitor Legionnaire, sending him crashing against a wall to which I recoil slightly. That certainly looked painful. I turn my attention back to the little girl.

“There, there,” I say quietly, trying to comfort the girl and stop her from crying, turning around to embrace her gently. I am no mother figure, but this is too much and is certainly no place for a child. I begin to usher her down the alleyway, away from the Chaos Space Marine. “Where are your parents? How about I take you back to them, away from this place,” I ask, stroking the girl’s hair. My blood freezes in my veins as I hear the heavy thud of footsteps getting closer to my position. The crying girl had attracted the attention of the Chaos Space Marine. I hold her tightly, keeping her curious eyes away from the sight of the Chaos Space Marine. I shut my own as I hear the sound of him unsheathing his combat knife. The girl has stopped crying by now at least, though I fear it may be short lived. I feel an inhumanly strong force taking hold of my helmeted head, tilting my gaze backwards. I open my eyes to see, the looming figure of the Chaos Space Marine standing above me with his large knife drawn. The blade gets closer and I close my eyes again. Hopefully it will be quick.

With a swift movement, he slices off the Imperial Aquila from my helmet and simply turns away, walking back towards the others. I briefly consider standing, aiming and firing as many las rounds into his back as possible for defacing my armour in such a way, but sense gets the better of me and I keep still, waiting for the steps to get a bit quieter. The girl seems to be lightly sobbing as I hear more footsteps, this time human in origin. I slowly look around to see the figure of the mayor, with a smile on his face. I take the girl’s hand and stand up.

“Excuse me, but would you know who this child’s parents are?” I inquire, barely able to get a sentence out through the feeling of fear that I had just experienced. The mayor explains that it is his daughter. Of all people, the mayor’s own daughter happened to be wandering near the battlefield. She walks over to him and a brief conversation ensues. I am not listening that much, however, much more curious as to what I am doing to do. I am stranded on this planet from where I will not be escaping alone. I deduce that my only option is to tag along with the Chaos warband. I catch up to them as they are leaving, catching the momentary gaze of the Chaos Space Marine. Emperor give me strength.

Throughout the rest of the day I do my best to keep to myself. I get to work making up some medicinal drugs in the room next door to Mott as he gets to work on weaponry. I need to keep a strong illusion that I am no more than a renegade Imperial Guard medic from a light infantry unit. I maintain concentration through my work, sustaining a psychic effort keeping a metaphorical eye on the near future and my surroundings. I do not want anyone sneaking up on me. Myself and Mott occasionally converse and exchange exasperated looks as we hear that Sigmar managed to lose one and a half thousand troops due to poisonous algae. How that man was an officer in the Imperial Guard, I will never know. The armour is scavenged and I am ordered to sterilise it. Unlike the incompetents who died, I wear gloves when handling it and sterilise them all to the best of my abilities. I am on a feral planet, so I hope they are not expecting any miracles. During the evening, I head out for a breath of fresh air and notice a horrifying spectacle. The neighbouring city, where the planetary space port was located, was raining blood. I immediately go back inside. There is a powerful, albeit irresponsible, psyker at work. I shudder at the mere thought.

Later that night, the Chaos Space Marine decides to summon us to a meeting and talk about his plan. He tells us that we are to take a hovercraft over to the city to assess the situation, gather some supplies and see how possible it is going to be for us to leave the planet. I sleep as well as I can, but I constantly wake in a sweat, my dreams plagued by nightmares of the Warp. The effects of whatever is going on over there is evident, though I remain silent the following morning as everyone prepares to leave. As I step onto the hovercraft, I aim for the controls, but turn away as a voice penetrates my mind.

“I see you,” the voice echoes, causing me to falter in my step. I turn from the controls and sit in the corner. I feel physically drained and this voice persists, but I am able to ignore it. I am not ignorant to the potential of psykers. It is obvious to me that there is another psyker at play on the island, so I will need to be at my best. I am in no condition to pilot this vehicle in this state and Mott makes the best he can of it, though he seems to falter and takes another backhand from the Chaos Space Marine, who takes over the controls. As we arrive, the Chaos Space Marine orders myself and Mott to set up a perimeter, taking Sigmar and a squad of men on some sort of reconnaissance mission. neither of us used to this, myself and Mott set about deploying the rest of the men who were left with us. We spy some bunkers which I check out and make sure are clear. This irresponsible psyker continues to try and contact me, though I do not listen. I could have saved the Chaos Space Marine a lot of time by just telling him about the psychic presence, but I would rather not tell a Traitor Legionnaire of this. Also, if he happens to die on his mission, I would consider it a boon. As we search through some buildings, we chance upon a crate of weaponry. It looks entirely normal, but I see a black aura surrounding it. I tell the men to leave it alone, but five decide to take weapons from it anyway, each pulling out a lasgun from the box. For about five seconds, they seem completely unchanged and I start to wonder if I was correct to tell people to leave it alone; however, after those five seconds, the men collapse to the floor, completely out cold. When Mott asks me to check the bodies, I go over and take a look, not touching them or even examining them. I already know what this is.

“Medically, there is nothing wrong with them. In the Guard, this situation would call for summary execution; a las round through the head,” I gesture at the unconscious men and pull out my laspistol. Mott contacts the Chaos Space Marine, not trusting my analysis as I am no expert on matters of the Warp to him. The fool. The Chaos Space Marine tells me that I am no longer in the Guard, but that I am also correct. Mott orders his servo skull to execute some of the men, unable to bring himself to do it and I dispatch the rest. I turn to the others, who seem to be eyeing the second box which, to my knowledge, has no such aura around it, but a believable lie must be consistent. I tell them to not touch the second box and this time, most of them oblige. A few, however, go up to the box and take out some weapons. I turn to face them, appearing as if I were inspecting them. Mott asks them how they feel, to which they respond that they feel just fine. “If the same happens to you as happened to these five, do not think I will hesitate to render you the same judgement,” I tell them, walking back to the coastline and back to the hovercraft. We wait for a while until the Chaos Space Marine, Sigmar and the men who went with them come rushing back. They tell us that there is a Sorceror named Balthazar who was in control of a lot more troops than we had available and, whilst they had been diverted after a small firefight, this would only buy us time. We needed to retreat for now and think of a battle plan. Again, a wave of terror swept through us. Balthazar was pulling off more psychic abilities to which I steel myself against. I do not care how powerful he is, I will not yield to such a childish practitioner. Mott seems to scurry onto the hovercraft much faster than everyone else, starting up the engines. The event proves rather taxing for me, the reverberations through the Warp constant and brutish, like an Ork pounding at the armour of a Sentinel over and over; unsophisticated and barbaric, but tiring to deal with. Some of balthazar’s men try to board our hovercraft, though they are gunned down by our own and Mott, now more comfortable with the controls either through fear, experience or both, guns the engines and we speed away. I take my position in the corner once more, slumping against the walls and cradling my head in my hands. Balthazar continues to send out messages, but by now I have no energy to expend on his constant bugging. Are we dealing with a Sorceror, or are we dealing with an amateur? The question rolls around my mind, well into our landing as the men unload the hovercraft, until there is another reverberation through the Warp. I stand up from my position and cast my gaze towards the horizon. Balthazar himself is following us on his own boat and appears to be trying to manipulate someone in our group.

“There’s a boat out there!” I call out, pointing towards Balthazar’s ship, barely visible to the human eye and surrounded by lights, which I deduce are of Warp origin. I do not, however, share this information with the others. Mott stands up.

“Corporal?” he asks curiously.

“I can see it, over there on the horizon.” Mott peers over to where I point.

“Good eyes,” he remarks.

“Light infantry. It’s one of the things we do,” I reply, shrugging as if it were nothing of note.

“Perhaps it’s my ally,” Sigmar interjects, causing Mott to draw his las carbine and aim it at Sigmar’s head.

“Corporal, arrest him. Soman, your ally?” he says warily, glancing briefly at me.

“Yes, ah… My ally. The one who spoke to me in my head,” Sigmar responded, blissfully ignorant of the mind games going on inside his head.

“Las-round to the head in the Guard, is it not, Corporal?” Mott rhetorically asks, “disarm him.” I do not know who made him the boss of me, but if he was being mind-controlled by an enemy psyker, it was in everyone’s best interests if we co-operated in this. Before I can do anything, the Chaos Space Marine strides forward.

“Stand down. We are going to negotiate,” he boomed.

“With the Sorceror?” someone asked, gaining a nod from the Chaos Space Marine. “Soman, with me. We will handle the negotiations.” He turns to us, “you may listen on the vox.” With that, our men stand down; Mott and myself retreat to a safe distance and watch as the ship docks. Another large, blue power armoured man disembarks, bearing a force sword, a daemon cage and a bolt pistol, quite obviously a Chaos Sorceror. He was greeted by the Chaos Space Marine in our group and was directed onto the hovercraft. Myself and Mott huddle around the vox unit, which we set to only receive. What we hear of the negotiations are equally amusing as they are horrifying. Balthazar’s antics had been merely to get our attention, his antics including firing at our men and causing it to rain blood from the sky. His psychic presence when he casts anything is powerful, but his usage of power is like that of a five year old. We truly are dealing with one of the most incomprehensibly childish and irresponsible psykers I have ever seen. I smile to myself under my helmet as he states that he tried to contact us through a psyker, leaving everyone clueless. For one so powerful, he is easy to defeat. Eventually, the vox link is cut and Mott and myself are left with nothing but each other’s company.

“You know,” he turns to me, “ganger activity has been rife. It would be best if we stood the men to, ready to repel them.” I chuckle and nod, and so we order the men to be ready to defend themselves. After another short while, he shares the story of why he fights the Imperium, a freedom fighter after a change of government, a tale that I can sympathise with. I in turn share my story as to why my regiment had been declared renegades, though I omit many details, such as our loyalty to the Emperor. We both look over at the daemon cage that Balthazar had left behind. Mott turns to me once again, after we both take a while to gaze uneasily at the cage. “You know,” he starts, “I have a demo charge.” I smile and tap my helmet.

“Keep your cards close to your chest,” I reply with a smirk, though my helmet fully obscures my facial expression. What I do not tell him is that using a demolition charge on a daemon cage would likely just set it free, which is bad for everyone. All we can do then is sit and wait. I fall asleep much easier this time, a combination of physical and mental exhaustion, as well as the lack of Warp entities entering my dreams.

The following morning, we pack up and board a ship that appears to belong to Balthazar. I hesitate in going along with this plan, but it is my only way off this planet and this all-powerful Sorceror seems very easy to out maneuver. I will stay with them as long as it serves my purpose, but I need to get back to Imperial space. The longer I am here, the more corrupting powers of Chaos I will be exposed to and the less likely I will be able to return. As we take off, I feel an overwhelming wave in the Warp. I do not need to look out of any windows to know what just happened. All the people that we left behind were ritually sacrificed by Balthazar to aid our transit into the Warp. Being from a fleet based regiment, I know that this was entirely unnecessary and honestly horrifying. I feel the bile rise in my throat and I rush to the women’s toilets. I spend a while throwing up with a pounding headache, the screams of thousands of souls being sacrificed to the Warp overwhelms my senses and my constitution. I have never felt this terrible in my life.

Just as I finish, I make sure to clean the latrines to the standards that I had found them in. I do not want to raise suspicions and go to exploring the ship. I eventually find the workshop where Mott appears to set up and decide to set up in the corner. I would much rather sleep in the knowledge that there is a chainsword wielding combat servitor watching over me on this ship. I would prefer to not wake up with a Chaos Sorceror probing my mind, although if he did I would probably notice. That man is about as subtle as an Ork Deff Dread or squad of Shootas.

Then I learn that we are heading to a planet with a huge Ork problem. Emperor… Why me?

Through the Eyes of a Low-life – Part 1

What’s this? An actual post? What’s going on? Is this the end of the world? In short, no, this is not the apocalypse. I have been inactive for a while and I apologise for that. I just lost all motivation to do any writing and the Let’s Plays were being a bit of an effort, considering that they’re not really what I’m about / were just an experiment. Well, here is the first part of a fan-fiction that I’m writing. To explain where this came from, it’s a 1st person view from my Scum that I played in a Dark Heresy game recently. Thanks go to the DM for putting on one of my favourite tabletop RPGs I’ve ever been a part of. Thank you!

Note, this is my first attempt at writing prose in a 1st person style so leave comments below on where you think that I can improve, or just your general thoughts and feelings. Be honest!

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I stir under my make-shift blanket, groaning in discomfort as my cheek presses against the metallic wall of the shack where I have taken up residence. It’s by no means a comfortable place to spend the night, but at least there are no others inside. The interior of the shack is corroded, a brownish rust colour predominantly contributing towards the rather unattractive interior, though it doesn’t show much in the darkness. With no natural light, day and night means very little in the Underhive where I live. There is no time of peace or quiet, the people generally sleep when they felt tired in the best scenario. Many live in fear of the various gangs who patrol the Underhive, some just can’t sleep through the noises of life in the Underhive. Unfortunately for me, I am one of the latter. However, this inconvenience is one of the reasons that I’m still alive, especially considering the fact that I don’t exactly keep my distance from the criminal gangs in my line of work.

The rattling of autopistol fire wakes me up with a jolt. I roll over and grab at my stub revolver which rests in a ragged holster on my thigh, discarding my blanket to the side and peering through one of the gaps in the wall, using my free hand to clear a few rogue strands of red hair from my face. I hear the voices of two men, though I can’t make out the exact words. Another man lies still in the street with the other two men walking over to him. He is bleeding a lot and does not appear to move when one of the armed men kicks him hard in the ribs, beyond the immediate result of the kick. I just shrug and re-holster my pistol, grabbing my blanket once more and resting back against the wall.

“Idiot must’ve pissed off the wrong people,” I murmur to myself, trying to get back to sleep. I sit there for a while, trying to get back to sleep, though in the end I just give up, folding my blanket up and placing it into my backpack. I need to finalise some deals which won’t happen if I spend all my time curled up here trying to sleep. With another groan, I get to my feet, checking my surroundings. Nothing appears to be wrong, but you can never be too careful here in the Underhive. I move outside, always careful, always wary. There’s nobody in the run down street and I sigh again. I need to speak to Garth, but he’s in the settlement by the exit to the Hive. “Great,” I sarcastically curse to myself. I’m not too happy about trekking across half of the Underhive to get there, but I really need the payday. Business has been down since the Arbites cracked down on some of our smuggling routes to and from the Hive and Upper Spires, and of course I get hit hard by it, being lower in the chain of importance. Well, important enough to not be disposed of at least, so I guess it’s not all bad.

I make the trek to the Blood Fist camp and make my way to the bar where Garth based himself. We worked some good jobs in the past, so I’d like to think we’re on good terms. The guards at the gates just wave me through no problem. I guess it’s not hard to forget one of the few females in this game who isn’t some cheap whore. I’m a businesswoman, a good one, and I’m proud of it. I walk into the bar and place my hands on my hips with a smile.

“Hey, Red. Good to see you,” Garth calls over to me from behind the counter, motioning for me to come over. I keep smiling, walking over and taking a seat. “Can I get you anything?” he asks me. I shake my head and raise my hand in mild protest.

“Sorry Garth, here on business,” I reply, lowering my hand and looking at him. He’s not too bad looking for a ganger, I’ll give him that; short brown hair, brown eyes, a good smile and, most importantly, better manners than about ninety percent of the population down here.

“Oh?” he asks curiously, continuing to wipe down a dirty, glass mug, leaning on the counter.

“I know some people who are getting shipments down from the Hive,” I reply with a coy tone. I want him to verbally chase me for the information; after all, it’s his loss if he does not.

“What kind of shipments?” he asks me, only mildly interested though it’s sufficient. After all, shipments are not exactly uncommon. I grin.

“Heavy stuff, straight from a corrupt Imperial Captain. Military grade goods,” I tease, leaning back slightly on the stool. “We’re getting more than we’ll ever keep, so we wanted to give you guys here the first opportunity to get some orders in.”

“Not Dell and his boys?” he inquires, a hint of surprise in his voice. It’s true that Dell is often the first person that people go to for this, so I can understand his mild shock. My grin widens.

“Hey, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t influence some sort of favouritism in the dealings, huh? What kind of person do you take me for, Garth? Come on,” I joke with him, throwing my arms out to the side with a faked, emotionally hurt expression. He laughs, shaking his head.

“Well, regardless, I appreciate it. Thanks for the assist on that one, Red,” he responds, still mildly chuckling at my mock impression of being offended. I smile and get to my feet with a nod.

“Yeah, I got you covered there. Take care, Garth,” I call over across the empty bar with a brief point of my finger, before I make my way to the door.

“You too, Red,” he replies dryly, going back to his work as I leave. Another successful deal, I’m sure. Now we just wait for his people to reply with their order and we all benefit. It’s a win-win situation for us. Perhaps I’ll get a drink with him when it’s all done and dusted.

I walk out of the settlement again, making my way back towards my own. Sure, it’s dangerous to walk, but walking certain routes was far less perilous than driving; especially considering that most motors down here will barely run and probably break down and leave you as a prime ambush target. I’ve survived this long being the way I am, so if it isn’t broken, then why the hell should I fix it? I continue walking with a headache that seems to just come out of nowhere. I probably ate something bad, which wouldn’t surprise me; I live in the lowest levels of the Hive city after all. I keep walking through the pain, though it only seems to increase. I reach up subconsciously to my nose. Warm, and damp. I’m bleeding. There’s blood coming out of my nose!

Before I can try to discern what is going on, I black out.