View Full Version : Another Judgement Day

06-06-2011, 05:08
Hi all,
Here's another story which came to me, I hope you like.
I've always been intrigued by the 'Film Noir' / 1930's / 'L.A. Confidential' vibe, so I wondered what it might translate in the 40K universe
Just like the Chapters from "Viasperon's Story", this is intended to be part of a larger storyline.
As usual, comments, criticisms and suggestions/support are always welcome; the only way I'll improve my writing is by getting feedback, so please let me know what you think.
Many thanks in advance, Andyg2006.

"Another Judgement Day"

Just another day at the office with my feet up on the desk as I shared a drink with fallen comrades. If I had dared to look at it, the half-empty bottle would have testified to more than several drinks and the rain continued to lash down against the armoured plasteel windows of The Old Station House that I worked in.
In thirty years of service, I’d never found out why they called it that: as far as I could tell, it was too small to take any large passenger transports and I’d never turned up any evidence of it being a ‘house’, whatever that was.
‘Damnit, it was always raining here, you’d think it might let up for just one night..?’
Several weeks after filing a request for information, I’d finally received a comm-call from some wheezy-voiced AdMech replying that it was because we’d polluted the skies back in the last few centuries. Thinking that this was sufficient response, before he terminated the call on seeing my wry smile, I’d manged to remind him that -of course- he’d ‘forgotten’ to mention that it was their tech that had scoured the creatures and colours from the skies and poisoned our very air. It wasn’t much more than a ‘parting shot’ at those wizened old savants but, hell, I take what I can get these days.

The anxious series of knocks at my door shook me out of my reverie and I swore as I spilt some of the precious liqueur as I quickly put it back into the deep desk drawer.
Taking my feet off the desk, I tried to regain some semblance of professionalism as I bade the caller enter. Private Johannsen, naive and new to the force, was stood in the dooorway nervously looking back over his shoulder. “I got someone to see you Sarge, looks like a special case.” Leaning conspiratorially forwards to me, he added softly “It doesn’t look like the usual victim from around here, so I thought you might want to check her out.” If it had been made by anyone else round here, it could have been a lecherous comment given my visitor, but Johannsen was still ’wet behind the ears’, eager to take his first big ‘collar’, tripping himself up with protocol and regs. Another couple of years here would mean that he’d soon get rid of those habits, perhaps even get a little jaded. Hopefully, the job and the people wouldn’t make him a burnout...not like me...

Usually when people come to Precinct 37 it’s all about the poorest members of society: drugs, prostitution, homeless people, lost canids, felines falling into the air-vents, that sort of thing. But, when she breezed into the cramped office, the rest of the day seemed to fade into the background: she was tall, clad in a long cream trenchcoat and most of her face hidden behind huge dark glasses, even though it was nearly dusk by now. As she took off her headscarf, her long blonde tresses had clearly never been touched by the acid rain, never had to go near the unclean tower-blocks that littered the zone.


“Substation 9, Sector 4 Zeta, 17Xerxes. Come alone.”
Looking down at my desk where the thin sheet of acrylic still lay, I read and re-read it’s message, trying to discern who could have sent it. It had obviously been sent for my eyes only, as ‘Xerxes’ was a time-reference used by my old unit, the Trenchant Bodyguard.
Now passed into history and merged with other units, 'Trenchant' used to be a definition for discipline and careful planning amongst the local Arbites and PDF for more than 2 centuries, but allegations of corruption and a few words in the wrong (yet very influential) ears six years ago had brought it crashing down in just under 2 weeks; their generations of unflinchingly loyal service to the Imperium rendered inconsequential in a mere thirteen days.
I should know...
I was the cause of it all...

I could have sent the message to the trace-lab to try to determine what materials and inks had been used, but the deadline was tight; only 3 hours to go.
Picking up the sheet, my fingers traced the back of the message and hit slight ridges on the plastic; just by feel, I knew they were a code of dots -intended to be translated into numbers- which the local Judges use to describe the Hive’s countless offences...this was the number for kidnappers.
There was another number as well -dots once more- but this time longer: 575521884793.
If it was supposed to represent co-ordinates, there was no need for it, as I already had a location.
If it was a citizen’s id number, they were surely long-dead...population booms and influxes of additional workers over the ages meant that the Governors had had to stop using the ‘57’ prefix generations ago.

Even though I’m off-duty, my eyes light up in interest as the aged comm-net I always keep tuned to the dayshift crackles into life: “Dist...nce at Hangar 18...es on site, no need for backup.” I let out a small laugh at the gruff voice on the comms: no doubt another set of criminals will soon be going to the cells or the morgue courtesy of the much-feared Lieutenant Cloke.

The bottle of amasec calls out to me from the cabinet marked “Old cases” and I don’t resist; it never hurts to have a little ‘help’ along the way...not in this job...

25-06-2011, 05:06
Hi all,
No feedback about this yet? <sad face>
Anyway, here's "Chapter 2"; I'm not sure if it is long enough, but there you go.
I'd still very much appreciate it (if people have the time) to spend a minute or two letting me know their feelings about these.

“Another Judgement Day”(Chapter 2):
Harsh sodium-yellow glare from old streetlights flashing along it’s flanks, my vehicle speeds through the night. There’s not much ‘traffic’ at this hour, so the streets are free and the criminal gangs haven’t yet come out to play.
I’d jury-rigged the high-tech scanner to catch different radio frequencies years ago...I give a rare smile as I think how it’s surprising that the high-tech authorities think poor criminals don’t use low-tech solutions...so now the soft warble of some old forgotten songstress wafts through the cramped cabin and the oppressive dark of the sleeping city is banished for a few minutes. I know it’s only going to be a brief interlude, but you have to catch what respite you can whether it’s between shifts, beneath someone else’s sheets or just on the road to the next inevitable crisis.

Although fast, the car is well-armoured and weighed down by the huge amount of electronics and the ‘duty-junk’ us Judges have to carry nowadays, all of which affect it’s handling. Sure, it can pile through debris and a makeshift roadblock (or three), but I wonder what it might be like to strip out all the extra’s and take it out on the open road; get away from it all and let fly, even just for half an hour. Recalling that the only thing within six clicks of here that might even resemble an ‘open road’ is the local PDF parade ground or the agglomeration of helipads in the next sector, reality comes back to me with a crash:
Daydreaming, I’d taken my eyes off the road just for a second or two and the car gives only a vague shudder as it crashes through a pile of boxes, pipes and metal sheeting, squashing them flat before they disappear in the rearview mirrors just as quickly as they came. Once upon a time, I’d have stopped to see what it was and check if anyone was hurt...maybe even to look for clues to see if there was any crime-related evidence just for fits and giggles...but I lost ‘the enthusiasm’ about 6 partners ago and the local homeless sprung up like weeds around here.
Trying not to imagine what would have been left of any poor souls if they had been inside the hut and hope that it was painless. I console myself with the knowledge that this part of town is crawling with gangers and miscreants trying to make the loyal citizen’s lives even more of a misery. ’It would only have been used by some gang as a hideout anyway, so it’s better off flattened’ I tell my conscience: it’s enough for now, as I have other things to occupy my mind tonight, but I know I won’t quite believe it in the end.

Sometimes I wonder if there might be a time when we can get away from all of this frippery and just return to ‘investigating’: none of this ‘shoot first, then shoot-again-until-it-drops’ policy...just a few questions, dilligent forensics, some perpetrator hanging himself with his own anxiety and incaution and another scumbag taken off the streets. Had security and ‘policing’ ever been that way? I find such a concept incredibly hard to believe on any world, let alone this one.

Substation 9 was one of the first to be built around here, old tech that had performed it’s yeoman service to the community, but now forgotten and alone, superseded by newer models. The similarity hits me and I have to give a lho-tinged laugh at it, but the humour suddenly gets caught short in my mouth: ‘Xerxes’; the code on the sheeting; the fact that I’ve always been a sucker for a tall blonde with a ‘sob-story’; the coincidence that a run-down Judge like me gets lured to an equally run-down place like this.
With my senses sharpening, I know there’s been no vehicle movement nearby, so it doesn’t feel like an ambush and the life-scanners haven’t picked up anything major. Just a few individuals stood around trying to make their deals of flesh, guns, or ‘Emperor-knows-what’ inconspicuously, but no large groups of people or gangs lying in wait nearby, or packs of ferals...well, not yet,anyway.
Like I said, it’s too early for that kind of crowd but, who knows, maybe one of these guys fancies trying their luck with their ‘nearly-new official Necromundan pattern’ Las-whatever at a lone Arbites in the neighbourhood? Ever-cautious, I flick on the crimson lights for a couple of seconds, bathing the area in a widening circle of old blood red (must get those lenses changed) which floods up the walls like a tide-stain, letting the loners see the faded dark blue precinct badges on the vehicle’s side and roof. It’s enough to send most of them scurrying deeper into the corners of the parking lot but, turning on the low light mag vision display, I can see that it’s not going to worry three of them who are engaged in some sort of licentious congress by the base of a pylon, no doubt too drug-addled to care whether anyone sees or hears.

Opening one of the cabin’s many cubbyholes, I pull out a few more lho-sticks and lighter, a first aid kit, some spare cash and a couple of extra ammo loads for my backup laspistol and the heavy ‘naval’ revolver which never fails to get people’s attention (and which often gets their respect a whole lot quicker than the battered shield-stars-and-hammer precinct badge). This gear is my ‘go-to kit’ and -like the car- they’ve served me faithfully in a whole host of situations for the six years I’ve been serving here.

26-06-2011, 09:23
Well you caught my attention, Im liking everything so far. I kinda like the burnt-out arbites vibe and the whole first person film noir is somehow comforting. I would like to read more!

08-03-2013, 17:16
Hi all,
I hope people might be reading and enjoying these.
I'm always trying to improve as a writer, so I'd be grateful for any positive and negative comments and these are always welcome, because I think they can only help me develop (and hopefully write better stuff for you guys).
Anyway, here's Chapter 3:

“Another Judgement Day”(Chapter 3):

Exiting the vehicle, my eyes are everywhere aloft, scanning the nearby pylons and oxygen towers for snipers.

The scanner’s good for detecting ground-level approaches, but it’s a spherical array, so it only reaches so far up, plus there’s always the chance for additional ‘interesting times’ -as the Precinct now calls it- when a glitch hits the system.

Lost in memory, I try to recall the guy who’d first said that phrase; Laszkowitz, that’s the guy...really tall and always hungry. Funny guy, too.
Got shot in the face by some kid ganger whilst he was stuffing himself on yet another food-break.
Nothing left of the kid, of course.

Taking a swig from my emergency supply of amasec, I think about leaving it in the car, but decide against it.

I try to assuage my conscience by telling myself that it could be useful as an opening line to get people talking...sometimes it even works.
But I also know it’s occasionally the only thing keeping me through the end of a shift; just like tonight.
Looking slightly forlornly at the half empty bottle, perhaps it’s more ‘occasionally’ than I’d like to admit...

Closing the door, I check both of the alarms and each of the three security devices...electric charge in the doorhandle, knockout gas under the roofline for persistent would-be offenders and a demo-charge under the seats if things get terminal.

Catching a reflection in the window, I spin around and scan the nearby cabling and gantries; could have been the slight wind, making them sway, or maybe it’s something else.
I think about calling out but, if it is someone up there, they’ve already seen me and I’d just be showing them I’m anxious, so I keep silent, but my hands go to my guns just in case.

Checking out the walkways, however, I disarm security device #3...a bomb here could bring down half of the overpass.

With the vehicle as secure as it can be, I make my way over to the substation’s doors, left mysteriously ajar unlike nearly every portal around here:
No one here has much that’s actually worth stealing, but what they do have, they hang onto like a starving wolf-rat.
There are signs all over -some written, others amateurishly hidden- inviting intruders of the various hovels to ‘imminent death’ and other, more gruesome, fates.

Using the flashlight on my laspistol, I scan it across the entranceway.
Maybe the cells need recharging, but the light only goes so far into the lobby, then it stops abruptly.

Passing the columns framing the door, they show signs of recent weapons discharge from low-powered las-weapons. Involuntarily, I let out a curse as a few stub gun shell-casings crunch beneath my boots whilst I advance amongst the dilapidated machinery.

Cobwebs and dust are everywhere...this place hasn’t been used in an age...yet there are fresh tracks from a boot and also drag-marks alongside: sure signs of a limping adult, one leg dragging behind them.

My experienced eyes show up the tell-tale circular mark of something being used as a crutch, too. That'll make things easier if I need to get out of here in a hurry.

Ahead, I can hear a soft voice, urging another: “Grandpa...why do you still live here? Mummy and me can get you to a safe place.”
Closer now, I can hear a soft wheeze in a reply and stumbling, then a light splashing sound, probably tripping on the stacks of pipes and pools of rank fluids that lie in wait everywhere in this building.

One of these menaces snags my trousers and I stagger, hitting a broken off air-vent. They obviously hear me, as an older voice replies: “That will be my visitor now, child, they come to save...and must be told...”

“Save who? Told about what, Grandpa? I don't understand! Why do you never speak of the things you see?”

“You are too young to understand and must be protected from them, child Aris.
I cannot keep you safe anymore...neither can my daughter; your mother.
The only defence against them is to not know of them at all and to live in ignorance of them.”

“But I don’t even know what ‘ignorance’ means, Grandpa!” Aris’ exasperated young voice rang out.

“I know..”, I say slowly, stepping out into the pale light cast through the broken skylights.
My weapon is held down so as not to cause alarm, but kept in hand if needed.

The child staggers back, falling over a section of girder whilst the old man brings his heavy-bore gun to bear upon me, even though it must weigh a ton in his frail arms.

“You were the one who answered my call.” he says, gun never shifting from my midriff.
“The ‘Xerxes’ time-code definitely got my attention...just as certainly as that gun does...just like you knew it would.” I reply.

The old man sighs in relief as he lowers the rifle. "I’ve not used that in decades, so it was the one thing I knew they wouldn’t be able to duplicate.”

His weathered frame seems too frail to even allow him to stand. However, Aris is still too shocked to let me anywhere near, so we both wait for the boy to come closer and sit with his ancestor.

His voice cracking like old wood, the old man begins cautiously:
“You and I are human, but we know that there are things in this world that are superhuman.
There are also things in life which are odd to us, ‘alien’ even.
Then there are things which are different to all of those things.”

Inquisitor Kallus
09-03-2013, 14:40
Awesome stuff Andy, cant wait to read more

09-03-2013, 15:21
Many thanks, Inquisitor Kallus!

“Another Judgement Day (Chapter 4)”:

I think I’m getting the gist of what the old guy is talking about but, bearing in mind that the boy is present, I try to be as tactful as possible.

Sure, some people say you can’t hide from the truth, but Aris is a kid...he at least deserves something of a childhood before he gets worn down by this planet like the rest of us.

Sitting on a nearby packing crate, I put my gun away: I’m close enough now to grapple the old man if needs be and guns always make people nervous (especially when you don’t know who they are) so having it waving around will serve no purpose.

“I think I know what you’re meaning, but I can’t go calling you ‘old man’ all the time” I laugh, trying to break up any tension and ease the mood.

Wincing as he gives a painfully slow salute, the elderly man replies: “Lieutenant-Colonel Yuri Sardich...former PDF Sub-Commander Sardich...at your service.”

I try to introduce myself but he reels off my rank, name, precinct number and sector before I can finish them.
Seeing the somewhat stupefied look on my face, he smiles and pats the gun: “Well, I had to make sure the message got to the right person, didn’t I?

"If you had smiled back at me like nothing was wrong, I would have known you for an impostor...because it would mean you had learnt this as a ‘cover story’, just one more fake identity.

“If so, I would have shot you in the chest: I may be old and slow, but this thing will stop anything short of an in-season Grox.”

The humour lifts the mood in this dark, decrepit place, but there are still too many questions: ‘Why here?’ ‘Why now?’ ‘Why me for Throne’s sake?’ and I ask him as much.

As he turns more towards me, a warning yet forlorn look briefly crosses his face and I catch his meaning...watch what you say, don't react in alarm; don’t show the boy that something might be wrong.

“I believe that all people have gifts. Most of them use them to better ourselves and make life a bit happier.”

Running a slightly shaky hand through Aris’ dirty blonde hair, he adds: “It’s why we strive for our families and struggle to keep them safe, isn’t it?”

Despite having no family of my own, I came pretty close a couple of times and nod in agreement. Unlike most of my unit, I’m trying to be a ‘people person’ instead of still ‘playing Astartes’ like we used to do back when we were children.

He continues: “Not everyone uses their gifts for good, however. Malingerers, criminals, thugs, killers...and worse...exist. I was always taught and trained that it is everyone’s duty to watch out for them and deal with them. These things we can handle, but what happens when the enemy could be anyone?”

“Intruders and spies are really hard to spot, especially in a place like this, Lieutenant-Colonel. Many of them could hide here forever, spreading their lies and treason.”

His croaking voice concurs: “Indeed, but not all threats are of our own kind. ‘Others’ walk the night, searching for something.
"I have only caught glimpses of them, chittering whispers and garbled reports.

“I have tried to gather together what I can, but you will need to be the one to hunt it in the quiet places...my time for running around being ‘the brave hero’ is done.”

Seeing my enquiring stare of ‘Why me?’, he replies “Although you do not know me, you still came; an act that shows faith. Also, it must be you because there is no-one else I would trust with this.

"Had you not replied, my duty -and us two- would have simply died away and been forgotten.”

Yuri turns to pat Aris’ head and the child looks up at him with soft green eyes. He’s oblivious to the unsaid dark details underpinning our conversation, his mind full of hope and blind optimism.

Part of me wants to try to protect the child and tell him what he will need to know to survive. The other half of me -the half that wins- is the part that admires him for his trust and innocence and wants to shelter it.

Despite the water dripping in through the shattered roof, surrounded by decaying machinery and arcane tech that nobody needs, I find myself intrigued and I ask –perhaps almost beg- for more of this story.