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Fighting Tiger Black Ops
Chapter 1 <> Chapter 2 <> Chapter 3 <> Chapter 4 <> Chapter 5 <> Chapter 6
Black Ops: Chapter 2
by James Arnold
The bodies of her people, the ones she had carried to be laid to rest, were not unlike the ones belonging to her enemies, or her previous enemies, or the ones before that. Following the raging hell of combat, Janhavi was always left with these same things, these lifeless husks, to attend to. Perhaps, she thought, it was the lack of a reaction that upset her so. Regardless, there were more pressing matters. Janhavi grabbed her travelers satchel, which was now overflowing with materials, and set off into the temple.
Janhavi turned a sharp corner, entering a massive hallway dotted every few paces with an alcove; the Hall of Honor. Moonlight played through the open ceiling, casting slowly dancing shadows of vines on the floors. In each alcove, the armor, weapons, or other tokens of a Space Marine statue stood watchful over the corridor, a tribute to a hero of the past.
Janhavi stopped at the double doors of the Reclusiam as two Space Marines in massive Terminator plate stepped out of the shadows. “Veteran Sergeant Janhavi Vera, Tigers of Indra. I have orders from Talwar Chakram that I should immediately meet with her.” Stepping back into the shadows of the alcoves, the Terminators spoke no words.
The tinkling of wind chimes was the first thing to strike Janhavi as she entered the inner sanctum. She had never known much interaction with the mighty Chaplain, as her duty had more been to serve as a functionary to the two Rajas that commanded her chapter. To her, Chakram was more an icon than a person.
Before her, stretching for a hundred feet in every direction, was a half-circle room. The outer circumference of the half-circle was open to the night air at regular intervals, marked every so often by a sturdy pillar which stretched up some fifty feet to the ceiling. The floor was tiled with dark blue marble, polished to a sheen, that reflected the stars and moon. The walls behind her were covered in beautiful tapestries depicting battles fought thousands of years ago, and of the heroes who won those days.
Very little actually occupied the room. Set against the pillars where they fell were various functional items: a chair or two, a small bookshelf containing parchments, a desk, various cases containing personal war gear, and a jade statue of the many-armed god Varuna.
In the middle of the room was a pedestal of unworked marble. On top of the stone base sat a tome, bound in steel, covered with seals of purity, etchings of holy liturgies, and symbols of faith and devotion. The mighty Chaplain sat, facing up into the night, in front of this book. Janhavi bowed down on one knee and waited in silence as the mighty doors closed behind her, leaving her alone with Talwar Chakram.
“I send you out in search of your home, and all you find is war.”
Janhavi was silent as the woman before her rose and began padding over to where she knelt. The Chaplain wore a floor-length white robe, made from a light material that swayed and danced in the breeze. Talwar held out her hand. Janhavi rose, head still bowed, and lifted the traveler’s satchel.
“What have you bought me, Sergeant Vera?”
Her eyes turned upward for the first time, Janhavi spoke softly. “I bring you evidence of treason.”
Janhavi set the satchel down gently and tugged the drawstring. The satchel spilled open and seven bolters clattered to the floor.
Talwar breathed deep and tilted her head from side to side as she searched. For all intents and purposes, the weapon seemed to be standard issue. The casing was matte black, with the etchings of the Tigers’ devotion on the side. The rest of the components, though heavily used, were in working order. Yet Talwar’s eyes narrowed as she handed the weapon back to Janhavi.
“Chaos,” Talwar Chakram said.
From where he stood at the top of the ridge, the man looked down. “Yes, Captain. You would not believe how far the taint has spread since our beloved Emperor was betrayed. Even on this far flung planet, the stain of the Ruinous Powers has fallen.”
The man was of average human height. Though he obviously had spent a good amount of time maintaining his physical being, he was dwarfed by the hulking Space Marines who flanked him. His tan face was wind beaten, his head shaved, and his eyes of darkest brown. A dark and gritty stubble covered his face. He had removed most of his clothes and folded them neatly into his pack, but he was still covered in sweat. All he wore now were dark blue pants and an azure crystal that hung lightly from his neck. It caught the midday sun, casting an intricate pattern of blues and whites on his muscular chest.
“Holy Throne,” he breathed, “it is hot today.”
“Will you be requiring your enviro-suit my lord?” the Marine Captain asked.
The man shook his head. “I spent the last six months cooped up in one of those wretched things on a frozen death world. Humid though it may be, this air will do me good.”
“As you wish.”
They continued on foot through the steaming jungle. In the lead was the man, followed by the Captain of the Space Marines. Behind him were five others, bearing the same insignia, all armed with various weapons. Where the man dodged under and around tree branches, shrubs, and other vegetation, the Marines simply walked through, slapping them aside or crushing them underfoot.
“Not much further until we reach the town of the first incursion,” the man said. “When we get there, I want to emphasize that there be absolutely no violence between you and the natives.”
“Understood: no violent contact,” the Captain replied. “Only one thing: how do you know that it’s already happened? I thought you said we were to try and prevent the incursion if we could. Perhaps there is still time.”
“No, Captain, it is already too late. You see the smoke there, just up ahead? It comes from a funeral pyre.”
Halting at the top of a large hill, the band looked down on the tiny hamlet nestled in the clearing, next to a lake.
“Captain Hieronimus, honored Marines:
welcome to Genja.”
Once again, Janhavi was on a Speeder bound for Genja. Once again, she was looking for answers to questions she didn't have.
Of course, there were differences.
Hanging onto the side hatch of the Speeder, Janhavi was clad in full power armor. Her emerald plate glinted with golden yellows of the sun overhead and the fiery blue of the thruster engines behind her. Her ivory tiger blades were firmly holstered to the side of each leg, her trusted bolt pistol in its rightful place in her right hand. Her helmet gave her a detailed readout of the jungle canopy as it rushed past, no more than five feet below her.
On the other side of the Speeder was Ajay. His giant fist clung with ease to the side of the speeder, keeping him upright and balanced. Though she could not see his face under the visor of his helmet, she knew he was smiling. His free hand extended far out into the blue sky. The other four Marines of her squad were behind the lead Speeder, each clinging to the side of the crafts.
The intercom on Janhavi’s helmet buzzed. “Touchdown in forty seconds.”
Janhavi shifted her weight slightly to get ready for the descent. As they approached the landing zone, she felt the hull shaking slightly with the wind resistance. At the last moment, in perfect formation, the Speeders banked 90 degrees, shooting straight up. Over the roar of the engines and the thunder of her dual hearts, Janhavi heard Ajay scream with the adrenaline rush.
Letting go, Janhavi was suspended for a moment in mid-air as the Speeder rushed past. The floating sensation only lasted a heartbeat before she was suddenly falling. Fighting the urge to push the button on her grav-chute early, she kept her attention on the countdown timer on her heads-up display, not the ground rushing up to meet her.
Just as the timer reached zero, she activated the grav-chute, which had been mounted to her power pack. Twisting and turning gracefully as she descended, Janhavi glided among the branches and tree tops. Wafting to the ground, Janhavi landed in complete silence. Beside her, just as quiet and graceful, were her two specialists, Ajay and Dahana. From the bushes emerged three additional Marines, all carrying special issue bolt pistols and mono-molecular blades: Hadin, Maya, and Kamal.
The warm jungle air greeted her as Janhavi removed her helmet. The others removed their as well, taking a moment to adjust their surroundings. Janhavi spoke quietly as she walked amongst her comrades.
“Brothers, sisters, we are under direct orders from Talwar Chakram. We are to investigate the source of the Chaos aggression, and to suppress it with whatever means we deem necessary. Meanwhile, the Rajas will meet to decide how to best approach the problem of having our armory used for Chaotic purposes.”
The others nodded while Janhavi spoke,
their eyes wild and deep, taking in everything. “Before I had left, I located
tracks leading directly northeast of Genja. They start roughly one hundred
feet from this location.” Janhavi paused, looking at each Marine in turn,
her eyes burning silently as she drew her blades. “We will find who did
this,” she growled. “We will make them bleed.”
Fighting Tiger Black Ops: Introduction
Fighting Tiger Black Ops: List of Articles
Posted: May 2006. Used
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers