Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fiat Lux

A considerable alteration of my entry to the Win A Titan contest.  (No, I did not win anything. After seeing the entries that did, I understand why.  Every one of the winning entries was far superior to what I'd entered.) Plus I've been reading the Beast Arises series, and feel the story is more appropriate there.  Additionally, I'm not limited to just four hundred words!

The Mechanicus' forge worlds; those titans of industry that included Mars and Ryza, should not be overwhelmed by anything short of a full legion of Astartes.  And the time of such awe-inspiring forces were two millennia past.  With the god-engines of the Collegio Titanicus, the might of the Ordo Reductor, the zealotry of the Cult Mechanicus, and the manpower of the Skitarii Legions all at their disposal, to assault a forge world was to invite a murderous war of attrition that the Mechanicus would likely win.

It was with awe and terror then, that the Princeps-Alpha of the Emperor-class Titan Fiat Lux found himself contemplating the endless waves of greenskins and their war-machines.  Like so much of the Imperium in the past months, Lucius found itself besieged by an endless tide of the eternally belligerent orks.  The Legio Astorum responded quickly to the battle call, teleporting in and wreaking havoc upon the orks, but there were such numbers that it seemed to be a rising tide of green.  The Fiat Lux' carapace-mounted volcano cannons unleashed molten contempt over countless lesser vehicles.  Still, they kept coming.

A great ramshackle collection of parts that vaguely resembled one of its greenskin builders stormed its way out of the haze of smoke and fire at the Fiat Lux, belching thick black smoke from a multitude of exhausts protruding from its head like some obscene head-dress.  The jagged iron jaw gaped open to unleash an inferno across the armor of the Fiat Lux, blistering what remained of the proud blue and yellow colors of the titan legion and warping no small amount of heavy plates.  Thunder boomed and lightning played as the strained void shields finally gave in.  What sounded like torrential rain began to roar throughout the titan as countless projectiles from the orks struck the armor.

The ork titan slammed into the Fiat Lux with a chainblade the size of a Reaver titan.  The machine spirit howled with rage and anger as the massive teeth chewed through the still glowing armor plates and through the mechanisms shielded by them.  In slow motion, an entire arm and shoulder of the god-engine fell away to the ground, crushing ally and enemy alike.  The loss of the hellstorm cannon and nearly half its complement of volcano cannons was a severe blow,

Like a miracle from the Emperor, other elements of the Legio Astorum detachment managed to find their marks and put telling blows in the enemy mega-gargant, giving the Fiat Lux just enough time to slam the muzzle of its plasma annihilator into the heart of the metal beast and fire.  Something vital was clearly struck, as the machine shuddered and exploded, enveloping the Emperor titan with a mixture of plasma and fire as it rained death for half a kilometer in all directions.

The damage report wasn't promising; the crew was starting to be overrun by the orks in the legs, half a dozen critical system had been compromised by the cleaving of the arm, the void shields were flickering.  The teleporter mechanisms were damaged and threatening to pull the towering war machine into the Immaterium.  Compartments were aflame from the gargant's death throes, and it was likely that the proud Imperator was going to die here on this battlefield.

The Princeps-Alpha looked at the other Princeps, using a few precious moments to bring up what the Mechanicus had gleamed about the leering artificial moon that the orks had disembarked from.

"We must stem the tide."  The other two princeps gleaned the man's meaning and nodded solemnly.  It might work.  It may not.  In any case, a machine of this size teleporting into the attack moon and overloading would inflict a catastrophic blow to the thing.  Perhaps enough to give the greenskins pause and the Mechanicus of Lucius enough breathing room to push back.

 With his focus on moderating and controlling the Fiat Lux' weapons and systems, the Princeps-Prime allowed his subordinate Princeps to make the preparations.  Fresh klaxons blared and emergency lighting bathed the titan's interior with washes of red as the Princeps-Tercio broadcast a warning to all the remaining crew.  "All hands, prepare for imminent warp translation."  A litany of calls came in over the vox and readouts; Gellar fields flickered to life despite being unsteady.  Power was rerouted.

The Princeps-Secundus voxed the adepts in the teleporter mechanisms. "Prepare to teleport to the following coordinates..."  Hymns to the Omnissiah began, prayers for death and vengeance to his enemies murmured low.  With the blessings of the Emperor and the Machine God, this may work.

The Fiat Lux winked out of existence, taking with it a horde of greenskin hitchhikers.  Moments later it flickered unsteadily back into the material universe, off-target.  But still on the surface of the ork attack moon.  The Imperator-class titan lived up to its name as it exploded, setting off a chain reaction in the ork base and stitching a rippling line of explosions across its surface.