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Hellric's Nightmare miniatures

Blog over my passion of collecting, constructing and painting miniatures and figures, for wargames, roleplay or showcase, including Warhammer 40K Tyranids, Chaos, Daemons, Cthulhu Mythos, various Gundams & super robots, etc...

Ascent of a hive queen - tyranid fiction - Part 2

Publié le 3 Septembre 2006 par Hellric in Tyranids

Ascent of the Hive Queen

(also known as “The Hellric Project”) 

 by Entomologist

Chapter Two

The ground seemed to rise up to meet the pod as it fell.  She felt the pain of the thing as it died, felt its armored body crack and its vital fluids bleed out into the dirt.  But she and her guards were safe, cushioned by the thick fluid that surrounded them.  She felt them awakening, as her own limbs quickly regained their strength.

Effortlessly, they clawed their way free of the ruined pod, shaking the fluid loose as they crawled up out of the crater.  All around, her mind could see the landscape, and her other senses laid the world before her.  Her tendrils brushed against the plant life, tasting the spores inside it, feeling the stems and leaves twisting and writhing in an orgy of growth.  She could smell the spores on the air, hear the distant thunder of the storms.  It was a wonderful place, so comfortable to her.

All around, the scattered lights of her kindred could be seen.  She felt their minds, linked with her own, all of them smaller, subservient to her will, should she exert it.  Here and there, massive creatures stalked the land in the distance, but even their lights were fainter than hers.  Great towers of light rose high above the land in the distance.  These would grow until they pierced the atmosphere, and provide conduits for the ships to draw biomass from the planet surface.

Inside, she felt a new, strange sensation.  Organs were beginning to mature, making themselves known to her brain.  The genetic knowledge of the Great Mind began to flow into hers, and she understood what these feelings meant.  Soon, she would be able to reproduce.  Like the norn queen that had spawned her, she would be able to weave the patterns of life, and make those patterns take shape in flesh.

But first, her orders.  Reaching with her mind, she drew the guards to her, binding their weak wills to her own, making them mere appendages to herself.  It was time to seek out the prey that resisted the will of the Great Mind, and destroy them.  Her wings unfolded, and with a couple of massive wing beats, she was aloft.  The guards followed her into the air, and together the four of them flew through the spore-laden skies, moving as one mind, towards the prey fortress on the horizon.

 ***

The drop pod had tracked the movements of the anomalous Tyranid pod, and had landed within a few miles of where the thing had crashed.  The Deathwatch stood silent, arrayed in black power armor, with an array of devastating weapons held close.  Only the faint hum of a couple of servo skulls hovering nearby pierced the silence of the pod.  The heavy, reinforced doors opened, revealing the hell beyond.  Koehler could already smell the fetid, fungal odor that polluted the planet’s atmosphere. 

The captain and a handful of others stepped out first to secure the area, and Koehler followed, clad in armor of his own.  At his side, a grizzled librarian stood, so augmented with bionics he was almost more mechanical than human.  The inquisitor could feel the power radiating off of the librarian’s force sword, and knew that the combination of its psychic imprint and the clamor of the Tyranids would hide the telltale echoes of his own mind from the powerful psyker.

He took in the surroundings for a moment.  The sky was a cataclysm of red and black, violated by the countless spores released by these monsters.  Massive capillary towers jutted unnaturally from the ground in the distance.  All around, the vegetation writhed unnaturally, colored with sickly shades of green.  The once fruitful world had been transformed into a green nightmare, but moving among the plants were even more nightmarish things.  And they had sensed the newcomers.

Bounding out of the vegetation, a swarm of small, writhing creatures emerged.  Their faces were little more than fanged mouths, gaping for the fresh meat that they could smell inside the power armor.  They leaped forward, the needle-like teeth gnashing eagerly.

 

 “Rippers” Koehler muttered under his breath.

As one, the marines raised their weapons and unleashed a storm of fire and ammunition at them, cutting them to pieces in midair.  As they exploded, the ground was spattered with the thick, black foulness that passed for blood in these things.  Yet a few of the things were fast enough to reach the marines, in spite of their deadly accuracy.  Their fangs would clamp onto the marines’ arms or legs, and break against the heavy armor they wore.  Some were shot as they lay stunned on the ground.  Others were simply stomped on.  Koehler watched as one of the largest, fastest rippers got past the marines’ fire and lunged towards the captain’s helmet.  He caught it in midair and crushed its head in his fist, shaking his hand a couple of times as the pulped remains fell from the gauntlet.

In moments it was over, and all that was left of the attackers was a black, sticky ring around the marines.  Koehler turned to the librarian, sensing something unusual in the distance.  The old man’s face, or what was left of it after centuries of bionic enhancement, was motionless, its one remaining eye wide open.

“What is it?” Koehler asked, although he already knew something of the answer.

“That way.” He pointed in a seemingly random direction, though Koehler knew it was anything but that. “Something strong, a great mind.” His face was ashen. “It...” He gasped. “She...” His face became a mask of pain, as he doubled over and clutched his head in his hands.

For several tense moments, they watched as the librarian fought against the mind that he had encountered.  Sweat poured from his skin, and his breathing was shallow and rapid, then he grew calm.  A weary sigh escaped him, and he slowly rose to his feet and turned to Koehler.

“I have had to close my mind off as far as possible.” He winced. “Even then, it’s painful.”

Koehler nodded. “We have a direction to go.” He turned to the others. “We must find this new threat and eliminate it if we can.”

“You heard him!” the captain shouted, his voice strangely modulated by the helmet he wore. “Move out!”

 ***

 

 

Below her, the kindred felt her approach.  Many of the fastest ones had tried to follow, whether in the air or on the ground.  They were drawn to her, above all others.  She had felt something strange just now, another mind, but not like her kindred.  Its taste, its color, was different somehow.  It was the prey, a bright light for its kind, but prey nonetheless.  It was behind her a short flight, and she was intrigued, but first the fortress that was ahead.

Then she saw it, more prey, their lights dimmer, but nearer.  Reaching into the minds of her kindred, she saw that the prey were traveling in a metallic structure, rolling, an armored thing transporting them.  The Great Mind knew all about these, the weapons they carried, the thickness of the armor.  This one had come from the fortress, the last of a group that had swept the land clean around them.  The others had fallen to her kin.  It was time to finish this one as well.

Banking and pulling her wings in, she dove from the sky.  Her guards followed her, almost falling from the air towards the prey.  In moments, she had landed, her talons tearing open gashes in the armored vehicle.  Its weapons tried to fire, but her mind instinctively flared in response to them, drawing energy from the warp, condensing it into a shield around her almost instantly.  The metal and flame was deflected by this shield, the energy dissipating harmlessly into the air around her.

She sensed the vehicle speeding up, turning and trying to return to the fortress.  That would be unacceptable.  The guards moved with her thoughts, surrounding the vehicle, their claws digging into it as its treads ground helplessly against the dirt.

Again, her talons scythed into the metal, tearing through it, peeling it aside, until she could see the prey within.  Their bodies were encased in metal, but she could smell the flesh within.  They lifted their weapons and again she was assaulted by metal and flame.  Again, it was harmless against her shield.

She brought up her two other arms, the small holes in their broad plates gaping wide for a moment.  Then, with a sudden spasm, a volley of lethal spines flew out of them, piercing some of the prey armor.  A few of them collapsed, twitching as the poisons took effect.  But others continued firing their weapons.  In return, she fired another weapon of her own.  She felt the spasm in her chest as the deathspitter below her head activated, covering half of the survivors in corrosive slime.  She heard their agonized cries as the caustic fluid ate through their armor, and then ate through them.

Among the few survivors, one was more decorated than the others, larger, with a larger weapon.  A leader, or what passed for one among these prey.  Suddenly, she felt hungry.  Tendrils exploded out of her chest, their barbed tips reaching for the prey.  They writhed around him, lifting him up towards her as the barbs quested for any hole in the armor.

It didn’t take them long to find one.  She unfurled her wings and rose into the air, carrying her prey with her.  He began to scream as the barbs pierced his skin.  She could taste his blood now, and it only drove her hunger as she dug the tendrils deep into his flesh.  Tiny mouths opened along the tendril surfaces, drawing his essence up into her body.  Her mind was almost aflame with the information as his genetic code was made plain to her.

She almost didn’t notice the new weapon that was being pointed at her.  One of the last remaining prey was holding a large metal tube aloft, aiming right for her head.  Angered, she turned her mind towards the tank, moving her guards away from it.  Like a lens, she focused the energies of the warp, drawing them in around herself, then unleashed them just as the missile was fired.  It streaked up towards her, and met the wave of energy.  It exploded almost instantly, its flames being blown back, tracing the shock wave of the warp blast until it reached the tank.  A brief flash of energy, an almost deafening sound, and the lights of the prey had all gone out.  The armored vehicle that had carried them was little more than a pile of charred metal now.

With that threat eliminated, she focused once again on the prey clutched in her tendrils.  It was lifeless now, and drained of most of its useful matter.  She withdrew the barbed tentacles, pulling them back into herself, and the withered corpse fell to the ground, its paltry remains awaiting digestion and absorption by the lesser kin.

Already, she could feel the nature of the prey here.  They were strong, augmented, armored.  Their weapons were dangerous.  She would need to create special offspring to fight them, in addition to the numerous kin already assaulting the fortress.  She felt a strange, warm sensation as the information flowed from her brain into her womb, as the material from the prey combined with her own, the beginnings of new life now forming inside of her.  Her offspring.

 ***

They had been moving in the direction first indicated by the librarian for some time now.  A number of times, they had been attacked by broods of gaunts and even a swarm of gargoyles.  But each time, the deathwatch had dispensed quick death to their enemies with scarcely so much as a scratch on their armor.  These were the best from their chapters, selected for their skill in battle, and their knowledge of the Tyranid threat.  The captain walked with a calm, almost upbeat gait.  He was clearly proud to be serving with them, even if the Emperor’s will was for them to serve in this hell.

Koehler had watched the librarian closely, and although he seemed well enough to function, it was clear that his mind was becoming steadily more strained as time passed.  Perhaps they were getting nearer to the nameless horror ahead.  The inquisitor had an idea of where it was probably going.  He had seen the distant shape of the main settlement, a heavily fortified city.  The Imperium had placed a considerable number of troops there, including nearly half a chapter of space marines, to guard this world.  This was even before the Tyranids had come.  He wondered how many of those troops were still alive now.  Even from this distance, he could see the faint flashes of weapons fire.  They were still putting up a fight.

 ***

The fortress was near now, and she could sense the prey moving all throughout the reinforced walls.  Many of them manipulated large weapons, large enough to pierce even her shield and armor.  So far, they had picked off a number of leading creatures, and many of her kindred were disorganized, dying by the thousands.  She was still far enough to be out of the range of the prey weapons, and she could feel her abdomen growing larger as the creatures within her took shape.

She needed to feed again.  Nearby, she sensed a pool of digesting biomass.  She could sense the hordes of tiny kin rushing towards it, feel their small deaths as they were dissolved away, along with the material they had consumed.  She turned and flew towards it, her guards following, surrounding her, protecting her from any harm.  As her young had developed, she had kept her guards steadily closer, instinctively determined to keep her offspring safe.

As she landed, hundreds of smaller kin surrounded her, the fastest of their kind that had been able to follow her flight.  Small winged kin alighted on the ground, and at the edges of the raised pool.  She considered its surface for a moment, smelling the rich blend of nutrients contained in the fluid, then slowly extended her tendrils into the acidic slime.

 

Most of her kin’s flesh would have dissolved immediately, but she was special.  The mouths on her tendrils opened again, this time pulling great quantities of fluid up into her stomach.  Almost immediately, the digested nutrients began to circulate through her body, flowing into the growing offspring within her abdomen.  She drank until there was no room left within her, then withdrew her tendrils.

Heavy now, with the meal and with the rapidly growing young, she lumbered towards the fortress.  Slowly, she drew nearer until she was just beyond the range of their weapons.  A few sweeps of her clawed feet and she had excavated a shallow crater.  There her body came to rest, lying still as the creatures finished their development within her.

But though she was still, her mind was active.  She sensed a few of her kin, specialized to weave and manipulate the warp as she was.  They were slender creatures with atrophied limbs and huge heads, their minds glowing brightly among the other kindred.  Reaching out, she seized their minds with her own, and began to command them.  They moved through the living tide of the kindred, their minds glowing steadily brighter and brighter, taking up positions outside one wall of the fortress.

Soon they were in place.  Within her mind, she formed a sound, a simple, almost musical tone.  It was soft at first as she felt its resonance, changing and shifting the harmony.  She could sense the prey minds, and knew them from the essence she had taken from the leader she had killed.  Subtly, she adjusted the sound, weaving in more and more complexity, until she felt the harmonics fall into place.  The sound built inside her, now tuned to the minds of the prey.

It grew, becoming a cry, then a scream.  As the sound reached a crescendo, she sent it out to the scattered kin minds that she had moved and manipulated.  They held it for a moment, drawing in its form and energy, then adding their own voices, amplifying the scream until it became an almost physical force.  Then, all at once, they hurled it at the one wall of the fortress.  She felt the countless prey minds in the wall as they cried out in agony, flashing brightly with pain, and then fell dark and silent.  Immediately, the weapons in that wall ceased firing.  It was time for her army to attack.

 ***

Koehler felt it, something horrible in the distance, a cry of mind-shredding intensity.  He turned just in time to see the librarian start shrieking, then collapse to the ground, convulsing uncontrollably.  The inquisitor and the deathwatch stopped, shocked as the librarian’s face flushed bright red.  Veins stood out from the flesh and blood began to hemorrhage from his ear.  Then, all at once, his flesh burned as the psychic energies destroyed him from the inside out.  The scattered bionics sparked and died, smoldering among the charred flesh.

Only the sheer spectacle kept the deathwatch from noticing the pained expression on Koehler’s face.  His mind strained to keep the horrible sound away, and even when it died down, he could still feel the echoes reverberating through his body.  Quickly, he composed himself and turned to the captain.

“My bet is it came from over there.” He pointed at the distant walls of the settlement, then looked at the remains of the librarian for a moment. “There’s nothing more we can do for him now.”

The captain nodded, pausing only long enough for an apothecary to collect the librarian’s genetic material. “Haste!” he shouted, as he and the others broke into a run. “We are needed!”

 ***

The prey were beginning to infest the wall again, but not fast enough.  She watched as three titanic shapes closed on the fortress.  The largest of her kindred, summoned by her and sent to that wall.  Their minds were small compared to hers, but their physical strength was far, far greater.

A few large weapons were fired, but most of the weapons in this wall were silent.  The prey that had used them were either dead or brain-dead.  What few weapons remained were no match for the titans that now assaulted the wall.  Monstrous claws and talons dug into the fortifications, ripping and tearing the structure away.  Before long, the wall had been breached, and the hierophant ant two hierodules entered the fortress, wreaking havoc from within.  They were swiftly followed by their smaller kin.

Even with the outer wall shattered, the prey were still fighting off her kindred.  She could sense that too many were still dying, but that would soon change.  She raised her heavy, swollen tail, and felt the muscular contractions convulsing along its length.  Several large, leathery eggs fell into the crater.  The young inside were almost fully developed, but their armor would still need time to harden.

Her attention was drawn from her brood by the approach of new prey minds.  These were similar to the ones in the tank, but different as well.  They were tougher, larger, more intelligent.  One of the minds was especially interesting.  She would take it alive, if she could.  They had seen her, and were moving towards her, determined to kill her and her brood.  She would not allow this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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