Praise to the Emperor!

Voyage of the Damned

Arriving on the observation deck of Emperor’s Pilum, the lights of the small fleet are swallowed by the void and the newly blacked carapace you are encased in. In the distance, something surrounded by what look like stars pulses with baelful energy.

As you get closer, a crescent shaped arch is revealed in the violet pulses of light, and the stars that surround it are revealed to be powerful lumination on hundreds of gun platforms bristling with capitol class lance, nova and plasma batteries – enough to destroy even the most powerful imperial naval vessel.

The cresent they guard is huge, especially given that a capitol class lance could comfortably hold a squad of battle brothers. The bottom, for lack of a better word, of the arc is bristling with antennae emenating from housing around crystals that also flicker with the same baelful light. The light pulsing at it’s centre appears to come from nowhere, but it feels like it is awaiting something, almost like a sentient being. If one word were to describe the whole array, it would be “alien”.

The metallic voice erupts from the vox once more “Decelerate to approach speed. Prepare for Jericoh Maw Warp Gate transition. Assume approach distribution.” The fleet fire manuvering thusters, slow at different rates and move into an almost orderly line approaching the giant crescent. A Destroyer leads the queue, followed by the Herald of the Omnissiah, several transport ships and your own Battle Barge assumes position in the rear. The hum of the Barge’s Gellar field fills your ears, and you see indications that the other ships and the weapons platforms have activated their Gellar fields too. You steel youself for another warp jump.

You can see the light from the crystals in the arc intensify, and the antennae act like gigantic Jacob’s Ladders and Tesla Coils with energy surrounding and jumping between them. The energy begins to mount and travel up the cresent, illuminating it to show it’s dark alien panels covered in script of an unreadable origin. As the power reaches the tips of the arc, the baelful energy pulses it’s unnatural amethyst colour once more, 7 kilometres in the void at it’s centre, and expands – drawn to the energy around the cresent, and at it’s centre rips a hole in realspace.

As the fleet enters the rend and slips into the throat of what must be the Jericho Maw, you do not feel the wrongness of a normal warp apperature – there is no warp energy eminating from this tear, and there is a sort of calmness to the unknown beyond as your Barge approaches. The last transport ship spagettifies before you and feel the sickening lurch as the warp-space beyond grabs your vessel too before plunging into darkness that is anything but sill.

Something is different, as you plunge through nothingness. There is the rush of the warp, but this time it is far more intense – you get the sense that this channel is somehow faster or pressurized, accelerating you through at speeds unknown for warp travel. Then you realise that while the vibration of the Gellar feilds is there, it is regular, and wonder where all the unseen warp entities and creatures that constantly test a Gellar field in warp travel are.

The only interruption to the intense nothingness is a light that looked like the end of the tunnel, but rapidly moves to your starboard. The Librarians and Chaplains amoung you cry out, and fall to their knees as it gets closer, tears start streaming down their faces, yet they are smiling with joy as it’s light fills the observation deck, blinding you, and moments later they regain their footing as the light passes to the stern and becomes fainter. The serenity on their faces quickly passes as they arrive at the same realisation.

There is silence amoung you for considerable time, the only sound is the shuffle of re-adjusted steps to the unspoken thought shared by all of your battle brothers – where in the God-emperor’s galaxy are you being taken? You see none of the other ships in the convoy, but after many minutes there looks to be a dull exubrance of heliotrope ahead, which happens again and again, gaining intensity and size as you get closer. Then the deck is filled with the same lavender colour and suddenly all hell breaks loose as you enter realspace.

Vox transmissions fill your ears as your vision is filled with the sight of a massive frigate broken and drifting, the Destroyer that lead your advance impaled in it’s side. The other vessels are scatered chaotically as they attempt full-burn manuvering to avoid collision and get out of the way – and you realise why as your skin darkens to almost ebony immediately with your Melanochromic Organ reacting to the radition as the reactor on the frigate approaches critical. Your vision is filled with fire as the frigate explodes, taking the Destroyer and several transport ships with it, and as it does, the sheer impulse of it rends realspace and Herald of the Omnissiah is swallowed by the warp.

Yourselves and only two transport vessels remain. Only your distance, the fortified bulkheads and hull of the Astartes pattern Battle Barge, and the fact that your Gellar fields were still active protected you from being sucked in or disabled like the other ships. In the absence of the Vox transmissions, you know how alone you are, on the apposite side of the galaxy they said, God-emperor only knows what awaits you.

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