Today I'd like to offer you this great fiction, inspired by my hive queen III, written by a very talented author, known as Entomologist on Warpshadow Boards. Thanks to him once again !!! Enjoy !
Ascent of the Hive Queen
(also known as “The Hellric Project”)
"The Tyranids are singular among the xenos, more virulent and dangerous than anything else we have encountered. The most dangerous thing about them is their plasticity, their ability to evolve and adapt. Since their conflicts with the orks, we have seen larger and more dangerous beasts among the hive fleets than ever before. It is imperative that we discover these new species as quickly as possible, that we may be ready when the fleets come for us.” - Inquisitor Aram Koehler
The call of the Great Mind resonated through her, drawing her into alertness. Moving slowly at first, she unfolded her great, chitinous body, stretching her vast, leathery wings as her tendrils began to weave and twitch. She would have opened her eyes, if she had any. Instead, she opened her mind, and her other senses. Small creatures scattered away from her, that up until a few seconds ago had been cleaning and tending to her sleeping body. They scuttled and leaped around, each a being woven from light, as seen in her mind through the link she shared with all her kin. She could see right through the ship, past it, out into the gulf of space, out onto the other ships, down onto the world that they were orbiting.
The call came to her from far off in the ship. Not a call to come, but a call to listen. She saw a large creature, brighter than all the others, save only the norn queen that blazed in the heart of the ship. This creature was like her, and yet unlike her. It had thoughts far more complex than nearly every other creature on the ship, except for her, the norn queen and the ship itself.
“Hear,” the voice seemed to say, in abstract impressions and sensory memories, “you are new, created so we may spread further, faster, consume and devour. You are a defense against prey that fights.”
The mind seemed to gesture towards the planet. Reaching through the ship’s senses, she gazed down to where it was pointing. A structure, artificial, very large. Her kindred swarmed all around it, but were being held back, slaughtered, by prey that were resisting. The mind spoke to her again, and the Great Mind spoke with it.
“You will go there, where the prey still fight us. You will lead your kin on this world, and you will destroy these prey.” The voice seemed to become more grim for a moment. “If you fail, and your body survives, it will be reabsorbed, used to generate new bodies that will be tested again. If you succeed, you shall keep your present form until you fail.”
She understood clearly. It had been only a short time since she had crawled from the gelatinous embrace of the spawning vats. She was a unique creation, shaped by the will of the Great Mind through the norn queen and this other mind, her predecessor. This world was to be her test. Failure, and she would cease to exist, returned by the Great Mind to a state of nothingness. Her mind flooded with images from the planet surface, sent by her kindred. Commands flowed into her, and she knew what had to be done.
A new chamber was being grown by the ship, a large, heavily armored chamber in which she would descend with three guards. Like her, they would be unique. She could already sense their minds as they began to awaken, unfurling wings of their own. They were made somewhat as she was, but smaller and more compactly built. They would crawl on four limbs while she walked on two. Their minds were small compared to hers, and they would work as extensions of her will. Most significant, unlike her, they could not lay eggs and produce new fighting creatures.
Launching herself from the bone-ridged wall, she flew out into the open space of the ship. Instinctively, her wings spread to keep her aloft, but it didn’t matter here. There was no pull of gravity on the ship. Even so, the wings were useful, as she used them to almost swim through the thick, humid atmosphere. In this way, half flying, half floating, she made her way towards the pod.
Inquisitor Koehler gazed out the small, reinforced window, scratching his chin absently for a moment. The world that stretched out before his view had once been a quiet place, a world of blue oceans and greenish gold expanses of grass. It had been a center of food production for the Imperium since its colonization, a century before. So the world was a relatively new one, and the verdant swamps that bordered the oceans had scarcely been explored. Now, perhaps, they never would be. This planet had become a very different place.
It was as though a cancer had spread across it. The surface was a blotchy patchwork of colors, where bright, livid greens clashed with shades of red the color of dried blood. Mountains of bare, grey rock jutted out here and there, completely stripped of biomass now. If he looked closely, Koehler was sure he could see the beginnings of capillary towers sprouting amid the red patches. The space around the world swarmed with ships, some made of metal, piloted by humans, others made of bone and chitin, piloted by abominations.
This world had been lush and verdant, and in some ways it was probably even more so, but that wouldn’t last. It was being eaten alive, stripped bare, like so many worlds he had seen. No matter what they looked like before the Tyranids found them, they all looked very similar by the time they were finished with them.
He turned to the Deathwatch captain beside him. The space marine was a towering human clad in black power armor. His expression was dour, and he had a face that seemed almost carved from rock. A red bionic device gazed out unblinking in the place of his right eye. He spoke in a deep, rumbling voice that sounded like two stones being grated together.
“Your orders sir?”
Koehler thought a moment. His intuition had seldom failed him in the past. “We wait for now, captain.”
“Sir?” The voice sounded incredulous, even angry.
“So far, this is a typical invasion.” He turned to the captain, his eyes locking with the space marine’s. “This vessel is well-armed and heavily armored, but it is small, and no match for what’s out there. Not head on, at least.” He returned his gaze to the horrors that floated in the space above the planet. “Our job is to observe, to learn, and find ways of defeating these abominations. So far, I have seen nothing to warrant going in closer. But each invasion is a little bit different.” He let out a soft laugh. “Yes, each one has its new developments. When we see something new, that is when we go in closer.”
The captain nodded, gazing out at the battle laid out before them. He didn’t much like the inquisitor’s attitude at times, but he was right. This wasn’t the first invasion he had seen as one of the Deathwatch, and the little man’s judgment had proven sound in the past. Yet he found himself wondering about the strange inquisitor. He always seemed to be hiding something, and every instinct the marine had seemed to scream out that this man could not be trusted. But unless the man proved himself a heretic, there was little the captain could do. So they would wait.
Ahead she could see the chamber. It was far larger than all of the others growing nearby. Every now and then, a group of her kindred would enter one of the smaller pods and it would close around them, then sink into the soft inner wall of the ship, to be expelled by a contraction that would shake the entire wall. Though she could not see with her own eyes, she saw through the countless eyes of her kin, saw the wet, veiny surfaces of the pods, felt the thick ichor that her kin slept in as they fell to the planet below.
Her own pod was ready, as were her guards. The three creatures had been sleeping nearer to the pod than she had, and had arrived first, waiting outside for their leader. With a couple of wingbeats, she adjusted her course one last time, then folded her wings and floated down into the pod. The guards clambored inside after her, their wings folded tightly against their backs. She felt the pod close around her, and then the fluid began to ooze from the walls. Her body slowed as the guards around her descended into a complete stupor. It wasn’t long before all of the air had been absorbed by the pod, and they were suspended in the thick bile, in complete darkness.
But her mind and her senses stayed awake, guiding the pod as it sank through the ship wall. She felt the shock of acceleration, in spite of the thick fluid cushioning her, as the pod was thrown from the vast craft that had spawned it. Her mind gazed down at the world below, and quickly found the place she had been commanded to go. A moment’s concentration, a moment of will, and the pod reacted, firing organic thrusters on its sides, changing its trajectory. It would be a long descent to reach the destination, but the pod would impact near enough.
Koehler turned back towards the planet, his gaze focusing on one of the largest of the Tyranid hive ships. With a sudden tremor, a pod was expelled from the vast creature, and began falling towards the ravaged world. But this one was different. He could tell by its size, by the way it moved.
“There.” He pointed at the slowly descending pod. “Have you seen anything quite like that?”
The captain followed his gaze, considering the object a moment. He had fought the Tyranids before, in places like Maccrage and Ichar IV. He had learned much about this enemy, and this was the main reason he was still alive. He knew how the cursed pods looked, how they moved, how they split open to disgorge the chitinous horrors they carried. This was like no pod he had ever seen before. He shook his head.
A moment’s concentration, and Koehler felt his mind opening. The static of the Tyranids clouded the warp, threatening to overwhelm his thoughts, but he had long since trained his mind to screen itself from the worst of it. He could feel the faint echoes of the astropath’s mind aboard the ship. She was near, only a deck below the bridge. With a quick thought, he summoned her, and felt her response as she turned and made her way towards him. Closing his mind again, he turned to the captain.
“This is what we have been waiting for. Ready your men, we’re going after that pod.”
The towering man nodded tersely and stiffly walked off. Koehler looked at him a moment as he was turned away. Space marines could be an intimidating bunch, but this one had to be one of the worst. But he got the job done, and that was what Koehler needed. Even so, the inquisitor often wondered which was more grim, the skull and crossbones that adorned the captain’s shoulder, or the face of the man himself.
As the captain exited the bridge, the astropath entered through a nearby door. She wore loose, simple robes adorned with multiple seals and relics. Her hair was cut short and pulled back. Beneath her pale blue eyes, dark circles showed the tiredness of her mind, a mind harrowed from the constant psychic assault of the Tyranids. But she was strong, and he had every confidence in her. She had been with him almost from the beginning of his career, and had kept the secret of his psychic abilities. She looked at him, pale and wan from too much time in space, and walked up to stand beside him at the window. They spoke in quiet whispers.
“What is it?” She asked in a voice like a cloud of dust.
“There.” Koehler pointed at the pod, which was now beginning to enter the planet’s atmosphere. “What do you sense?”
A panicked look flitted across her face for a moment, she didn’t like it when she had to gaze at these minds, even for a moment. Taking his hand, drawing strength from his mind, she reached out the narrowest tendril of her thoughts toward the pod, but withdrew immediately, letting out a short, startled cry.
“It’s not asleep.” Her voice was quavering. “It’s awake.”
Koehler looked at her, feeling the shock, the wound of even the brief psychic assault the creature inside the pod had mounted. The Tyranids before had nearly always been asleep inside the pods. Their minds were savage, razor-spiked things even in that state, but it was safe enough to briefly look at them. But this thing hadn’t been asleep. He looked out the window for a moment again, perhaps it was guiding the pod somehow. That was why it moved so differently from the others.
Turning back to the astropath, he put an arm on her shoulder. “Lydia,” he whispered, “are you okay?”
After a moment, she nodded, forcing a smile. “I don’t think it sensed me, if it had...” She shuddered. “It was powerful, definitely a leader, and terrible, a destroyer.”
“An abomination among abominations.” Koehler nodded. “I won’t ask you to accompany us to the planet.”
Lydia looked at him, wide-eyed. “Don’t go sir, you can’t survive against that thing face to face.”
“Maybe not, but it is my duty to go.” He took her hand in his. “For the sake of the Imperium, to serve my Emperor and yours. If these creatures from the void have created something that dangerous, we must know what it is.” His voice filled with tense urgency. “We must be ready for it.”
The astropath nodded sadly, then turned and walked slowly away. Koehler’s eyes followed her a moment, then he turned back to the window. As he gazed out at the planet, he steeled himself for the mission. “We must be ready.”