21 October 2008

++ S19 - New Conflict ++

"Scoop" Yurik, Freelance News-agent

Please note, dear readers, that our pict-link is experiencing interference. We will supply picts when possible. - "Scoop"

As we trudged along a catwalk several meters above the grasping hands of several carriers, we were surprised to find the air becoming dark with small flakes of sooty ash. A quick glance towards the dome roof revealed an old forge-waste duct that had long ago ruptured in catastrophic fashion. The hole in this waste duct now deposited forge-waste directly into an air supply, distributing a thick layer of gray-black ash across the floor of the dome and further impeding the clumsy pursuit of the carriers. Fortunately the path ahead of our caravan had been kept clear thanks to the stronger air currents through the various gantries and structures.

Suddenly my pictographist, who had been snapping picts of the phenomenon, called out that he had seen movement far below in the drifting ash. Almost as one, our group dropped to the deck and I edged forward, spying the distinctive violet fatigues of the 7th Ash Waste Rifles gang. Seamus nudged my shoulder and pointed out another group, clad in long white coats, struggling through the waist-deep soot - KFC's Voodoo Posse.

Lending credence to the rumors of their past as ash wastes reconnaissance soldiers, the Rifles seemed less affected by the ash. Several members managed to find a way through the black drifts and onto the cleared platforms above the floor. This attracted the attention of nine carriers that had followed us to the dome, and they moaned hungrily as they traipsed towards the bright purple figures.

The distinctive sound of bolt weapons ripped through the air as Rifles members Laertes and Lazarus attempted to remove a carrier from their path. Perhaps unnerved by the sight of the shambling creature, Lazarus' aim was off, and the bolt round scythed through the ash and blew up a plume of black dust. Laertes carefully braced his arms in a firing stance and his pistol bucked in his grip. Heedless of the smoking ruin that had been its ribcage, the corpse continued to advance with a disturbing groan of hunger. Spotting another shuffling form in the midst of a black drift, Rifles heavy Zeke unslung his autogun from his back, preferring mobility to firepower as he made his way through the shifting ash and scrambled up a ladder to the platform above. Shots rang out and the carrier's moan cut off midway, the diseased form dropping in a cloud of swirling black.

Several meters across the dome, KFC's Voodoo Posse struggled to make headway against the thick layer of soot, the pockets and pouches of their long coats filling with ash and greatly hindering their progress. Despite their handicap, Posse gangers Bad Mojo and Prince both managed a shot at a pair of carriers, but to no avail. Their shots ricocheted harmlessly away into the ash and their intended targets lurched forward.

Suddenly a bright burst of blue-white fire lit the dome's ceiling and the stink of ozone was heavy in the air, as Orion, the leader of the Rifles, let fly with a fully-charged shot from his plasma pistol. The shot ripped savagely across the torso of a nearby carrier, tumbling the foul creature into the dust with its left arm missing below the shoulder. Seeing this, Laertes attempted once again to put down his target, this time deciding that quantity superseded quality when it came to the undead. This time the carrier fell, and despite the distance between us, this reporter could clearly hear the CLICK of a dry chamber. Laertes was out of ammo and now had only his blade to defend himself from the teeth of the relentless carriers. Nearby, Zeke swapped his autogun for his trusty stubber as he spotted the flash of a Posse member's bright coat near a tower. The Rifles heavy let fly with an impressive burst of fire, forcing the Delaque to scramble for cover, but suddenly the barrage was cut short with an extensive outpouring of profanity from Zeke - it would seem some inner mechanism of the weapon had failed, rendering it useless for at least this fight.

Burning promethium flared near the base of a refinery tower - a sign of KFC's entry into the fracas. The spear of flame reached up to a catwalk, engulfing a carrier plodding towards several Posse members. The uniform of a former Necromundan PDF sergeant caught alight, but the carrier showed no sign that it was aware of the flames, as it continued relentlessly across the catwalk. Fortunately for the Voodoo Posse, heavy Replay braced himself against the recoil and opened fire with his heavy stubber, messily punching the undead PDF man into several burning bits.
Despite his ruthless domination of the ghoul, the heavy’s mood was sour – his heavy stubber had overheated during the long burst and fouled the action of the massive weapon.

In cover atop an adjacent tower, Visili, one of the Van Saar lasgunners neatly obliterated the knee of a plague carrier, toppling it comically onto its face. A path thus cleared, his fellow lasgunner Vincent sprinted out across a catwalk to scoop up a glittering hunk of metal. It seemed this was indeed another battle over forgotten archeotech, as multi-colored wires and myriad buttons could be seen protruding from the object as it was tucked into a pocket on the ganger's tunic. Meanwhile at the base of a distant filtration structure, juve Tex let loose with a short burst from an autopistol, erasing the face from another carrier's skull and dropping the creature in an instant. A fierce grin flashed across the young man's face as he continued forward through the soot in search of other targets.

A brief instance of quiet settled over the field as the Delaque struggled through ash drifts towards the open ground of the gantries and catwalks overhead. A few of the goggled fighters had already made it to high ground, and now warily advanced across catwalks with eyes peeled for carriers or members of the Rifles amongst the rusting buildings and equipment. Taking advantage of the quiet, Rifles autogunner Judd seated his weapon against his shoulder - readying himself for a quick shot should any of the Delaques be foolish enough to cross his path. Similarly, Zeke cycled the action of his backup autogun and pushed his senses to their limit, waiting for the opportune moment to cut down an unsuspecting trench-coated figure.

The lull in combat did not last long, however; Orion once more unleashed a full charge from his pistol and cursed as the targeted zombie continued towards him, its dead nerves impervious to the otherwise searing pain of plasma burns in its flesh.
Nearby, Tex’s grin grew even wider as the juve’s autopistol blasted a line of bloody craters across yet another carrier’s torso and head. Smoke curled up from the barrel of the pistol as the Rifles juve worked the action to clear a jammed shell casing, eventually sending the brass spinning into the ash.

Nearby, Prince's gray trenchcoat appeared at the top of a platform, as the Delaque ganger made a run for what appeared to be an old collection of dataslates. As soon as the man was visible atop the platform, Judd and Zeke opened fire, liberally hosing the area with autogun rounds. Despite standing amidst a literal rain of gunfire, Prince was unharmed and held tight to his loot, although he was quick to dive for cover.

Further from our position, another of the Voodoo Posse was in motion. Get Right ran across a gantry towards a pile of ancient knick-knacks and scraps of paper; the white square shapes brilliant amongst the small piles of ash. While he ran, his fellow gangers opened fire to cover the movement. Little Caesar took aim at Rifles member Judd, but the shot went wild, sparking harmlessly off the structure above the purple-clad man. Nearby, Bad Mojo fantastically lived up to his name by firing a blistering fusillade of shots, none of which found their way to the shambling plague carriers that were the intended targets. Fortunately for the Voodoo Posse, Grease Job's aim proved true and the cold body of one carrier slumped below the ash drifts with a series of large-caliber holes in its rotting frame.

Voodoo Posse leader KFC made a move out from the relative shelter of the tower, searching either for new targets or for the precious loot sought on both sides of the conflict. The fluttering of the leader's coat did not go unnoticed, however. Determined to make up for his previously poor marksmanship, Rifles heavy Zeke tucked the battered stock of his autogun into his shoulder and carefully loosed a tight burst of shots that connected solidly with KFC's arm and torso. With a defiant growl, the Delaque slumped to the ground, then rolled onto his back as the pain of his wounds overtook his consciousness.

From a raised vantage point not far from his comrade, Van Saar ganger Judas had carefully tracked the Voodoo Posse's shots, watching the muzzle flashes. His patience paid off with a clean shot at Little Caesar, which took the Delaque in the leg and flung him against a bulkhead. The trench-coated man shouted a curse at his assailant, but fell on his face as his wounded leg gave out. Taken completely by surprise as his fellow ganger was hit, Bad Mojo's unfortunate moniker came true once more; the second ganger's nerve fled and he bolted for cover. Less fortunate still for Bad Mojo, his hasty retreat was taken up by the rest of his gang. Flurries of soot marked the paths of the retiring Delaque gang. The field of battle and the victory belonged to the 7th Ash Wastes Rifles, along with perhaps a couple of plague zombies.

As we left the blackened field behind us, this reporter could not help but wonder what this new rivalry between the 7th AWR and KFC's Voodoo Posse might mean. Between this new battle and those fought against their common enemy of the Cawdor gang Nex Manus Imperator, perhaps new alliances might soon take shape. More likely, no such allegiances might take form and the spoils of Subsector 19 would only be claimed by the last gang standing.

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