Hawk's Gallery

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Sitprep 20:10

As a planning meeting it had been a fiasco as a response to the military situation. The Governor of Bubo IX had rebelled folowing a raid on the systems' Administratum by the Ordo Hereticus. The rebellion had been a preplanned tripwire response as the only surviving Imperial forces loyal to the Emperor that had not been destroyed during the coup were the Sisters of Short Mercy and their indentured Imperial Guard Regiments beseiged in their planetary fortress. The embattled Ordo Hereticus forces that had triggered the rebellion and the recuperating Penal Legions were all that was left on Bubo IX. Inquisitor Lord Beisenhorn who had also been covertly investigating the administratum on behalf of the Ordo Malleus had assumed command of all Loyal Imperial forces as the surving representative of the Inquisition. He had used his personal astropath to summons help from the Imperium from the Penal Legion's base in the vast equitorial desert crater at the equator of Bubo IX. Help was unlikely to arrive within the year unless fortuitously a Space Marine battle force was transiting nearby. Only the Penal Legion had been left unmolested by the rebels, possibly because they assumed that sooner rather than later the legion would go over to them.

The meeting had started with recriminations and had ended with recriminations and improbablyimpossible orders.  

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Sitprep 20:01

While Hells Owns small pool of officers listened to Beisenhorn's hologram image reiterating an abridged version of the mission objectives he had given Colonel Sven at the briefing earlier that day Hammerhand's mind drifted back to the actual briefing he had attended with the Colonel. As usual Inquisitor Hawk seemed to have dropped Hammerhand up to his neck in the proverbial. Hells own had been relocated to Pressoul for two reasons. The rank and file of the penal legion had been markedly depleted after recent combat and Pressoul had jails replete with scum that could be absorbed into the legion.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Sitprep 20:00h

After Colonel Sven and Hammerhand has arrived back from HQ the Colonel called his officers to a briefing once the techpriests had informed him that they were ready to show Inquisitor Lord Beisenhorn's sitprep holo. Hammerhand sat at the Colonel's side at the planning table. As sharply animated image of the Inquisitor Lord appeared at the head of the table to address the gathered officers as if he was present in the room with them it struck Hammerhand that suprisingly the cogboys had excelled themselves this time. He had sat through many a sitprep holo previously that was blurry, jumped disconcertingly and audibly only just above a mouse squeak.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Explosive Torcs

Few of Hell's Own's recruits had flinched when the Colonel had the explosive torcs, locally known as the blesser, demonstrated. The muddy floor of the shack was now bloodily strewn with the remains of the various demonstrations the Colonel had sanctioned for the education of his new officers, amongst them Hammerhand, and to reinforce obedience amongst the recruits and the existing penal legion troopers. A fatigue squad of abhumans from Hammerhand's company had been assigned to remove the headless corpses, explosively detached limbs, heads without torsos, slippery guts, livers, hearts and lungs that were the product of the close discipliner's art. Hammerhand suspected that the rat-form abhumans assigned to the task might be dining well tonight. He had 13 squads of these Emperor Cursed creatures amongst the 25 assigned to his company. Hammerhand had buried his liking for these abhumans. In the Imperial creed they were an abomination, a corruption of mankind due to the warp. Any explict liking could be expected to create a taint of heresy. That would make his job here harder. As far as Hammerhand could discern they were extremely obedient, indifferent to hardships and casualties, capable of living off the land on any scraps of nourishment to be found, and coping with extreme conditions better than any human. No resentment was expressed for their race's enslavement in the Imperial Penal Legion system or for the orders they were given. In short they were ideal soldiers.  Their one weakness was their matter of factly literal interpretation of any orders. To get the best out of them a commander must be extremely precise in constructing all his orders. Hammerhand made a mental note to ensure that his servant prepared his evening meal from Hammerhand's own supplies.

That this latest consignment of criminals had appeared unimpressed by the torcs was a worring sign thought Hammerhand. That the Colonel made such profligate use of the torc was also a concern. If the troopers had no hope whatsoever of survival beyond the moment then the fear of the torc was completely devalued. Instead of acting as an immediate and unrecindable extension of military discipline and custom it became degraded to a way of ensuring that a few of the officers might survive a revolt.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Penal Legion Troopers

Hell's Own, Hammerhand's briefing had described it as a classic hardcore penal legion. The criminals conscripted were described as typically deserving of their fate. They were recidivistly violent criminals, psychopathic murderers, revolutionaries, traitors, corrupt officials, psychotics, weak but controllable psykers, Imperial Guard troopers convicted of the crimes of cowardice, dereliction of duty, and other transgressions of regular military law. In addition chaos adherents that had been caught before the corruption of chaos had insinuated too deeply were often also recruited and used as cannon fodder. These latter and the psykers were often a concern for the Inquisition. Infrequently but, given the chronic Imperial manpower and logistics problems, all too often the taints of chaos had corrupted squads, platoons, companies and even complete penal regiments causing revolts or setbacks and even defeats during Imperial campaigns. Hence Hammerhand's allocation to Hell's Own. He hoped that the name was not intended to insinuate inevitable corruption,  was simply ill omened but more likely simply ill considered.

The actual criminal composition of the Imperial penal legions varied from system to system, governor to governor and year to year. Due to the endless demands for manpower  to underwrite the Imperial Guard's incessant casualty lists the level of criminality required for recruitment was often markely reduced. Endemically in some systems and in any and every system if the conditions were correct expressions of  blasphemy , defeatism,  and fear were enough. In other desperate or corrupt Imperial systems failure to deliver production targets, spitting, wealth, property, or having sons or daughters desired by powerful Imperial Officials were usually sufficient.

As a consequence every officer in a Penal Legion had to watch their back every waking hour and minute. They also needed to find someone they could trust to watch their back when they were asleep.

Friday, 27 November 2009

An Artist

"The blesser is an art form. I have worked to imbue it with a spiritual form. Even in disciplinary death the scum must show reverence. Just now when the Colonel demonstrated to our new vollies the consequences of disobedience he used the "Emperors Majesty", did you not observe how the volly's knees bent and his body bowed while his head fell forward in a bow when the torc detonated."
" Indeed, I did. It struck me as pure chance," Hammerhand intrigued, decided to stimulate the Close Discipliner to expand.
"Absolutely not."
"You mean that you could arm the torc intentionally to create that?"
"Absolutely, yes."
"Are there any other forms that you create?" asked Hammerhand.
"There is the Holy Flame, Prostrate Worship, Dance for the Emperor, and In Awe amongst others."
"You are undoubtably a reverentially imaginative individual. Tell me what do should I aspire to address you besides artist or Close Discipliner?" teased Hammerhand.
"I am told I was named Lic Aban when I awoke, here in Hells Own, CD is how most officers address me."

Thursday, 26 November 2009

An Art Form

Armed Storm troopers of the Witch Hunters stood outside facing every exit of the windowless building. Grey rain sodden clouds slid overhead. An orange watery sun flickered hazily through the thinner parts of the low scudding cloud belt. The blustering wind attempted to force moisture into every chink in Hammerhand's uniform. Tightening up the belt of his greatcoat before leaving the lee of the reception hut, Hammerhand was joined by the Hell's Own Close Discipliner.  The criminals Colonel Sven had just addressed were being inducted as Penal Legion Troopers. As soon as all had their explosive torc fitted they would be released to the orders of their new officers and the Stormtroopers would be gone.
"You get to meet all sorts in this line of work."
"You find them interesting?", commented Hammerhand while adjusting his greatcoat.
"No, its not the scum sent from Emperors frakked courts, although I grant you now and again some of them survive long enough to become interesting. What I mean is the officers, your lot. Take the Colonel for instance. He has been around for a while now, survived a fair few missions despite the odds. Has become a bit of a showman he has. Quite nicely he allows me to develop my artistic side."
"What do you mean?" asked Hammerhand, gently gazing around while wondering if the drab parade grounds were bugged or if this was a test. If so by whom as it was unlikely to be Hawk, and for what purpose.

Saturday, 22 August 2009


Colonel Sven studied the shabby and broken replacements ranked before him on the muddy floor of the wooden shack. A mixed lot he thought. Male, female, child, abhuman, broken officials, and officers, scum from the ranks. As a matter of fact and of the record here, and also in the ministorium they were all equal in their degredation. All were Emperor cursing scum who had been dealt with far too leniently by legal tribunals as far as Colonel Sven was concerned. About the only sort he had not seen pass through this regiment were space marines. It would be pleasant, he thought, to get his hands as it were, on one of those goody too shoes superheroes just to see if they were as tough as they claimed without their power armour. It did not seem likely. The other sort he got only occassionally were true heretics. These were usually winnowed out by the Inquisition long before they got to a penal legion. Sometimes they got here but he and his officers knew how to deal with them. With a shrug he turned his attention back to this lot of criminals to be inducted into the 666th Penal Legion, known to its officers and especially to the scum who served in it as Hell's Own.

"This is the end of the line for all of you." The colonel snarled. "You have been given this final chance to redeem yourselves in the name of the Emperor. Some, a few, of you will take this opportunity and die in pain and contrition fighting heroically for the Emperor's blessing."

He paused to see if his words were having any effect with this lot. No matter he thought.

"Most of you will just die uselessly, blown to bits in an obscure skirmish on a useless and unknown planet, if you are lucky. The unlucky bastards amongst you will survive and make a home here in Hell's Own the 666th Penal legion."

"You have not been mind wiped despite your crimes just in case some of you have useful skills. Any infraction of discipline will be punished by use of the blessers."

"Sergeant demonstrate the blesser."

Saturday, 28 March 2009

What Happened

Time jumped. Emperors belly, that hurt thought Hammerhand. He felt ravenous. What was he doing here? Where is here actually? I am in deep shit he thought. Looking around he changed the thought. We are in deep shit is more correct.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Space Hulk

The deep scanning naval auspexes on the orbiting “Emperors Will”, the “Imperial Holocaust and the “Xenos Extermination” suggested that the Hulk contained as many as two hundred ships. Many were clearly of alien origin and bizarrely shaped. A dozen of the more recently attached around the periphery of the Hulk were clearly Ork in origin with their aggressively crude and makeshift but functional construction and appearance. The drives in these ships were burnt out. Across the Hulk as a whole energy sources indicated a least thirty warp plasma drives with the same number of alien drives using different principals from the Imperium to develop Warp power. Some ships were vacuum welded to each other but many showed evidence of sentient actions in their location and attachment to the Hulk. Deep scans showed corridors running in a regular grid in some parts of the Hulk, directly through separate ships that had been welded together while in other areas the there seemed to be no pattern to the corridors and in others thay ran in curves and spirals. The central agglomeration of the Hulk contained the oldest ships. The density of Xenos ships was highest in the center suggesting that one or more Xenos species had been responsible for initiating the creation of the Hulk. The oldest Imperial ships were of ancient patterns both civilian and naval. These were clustered around the core with the age of the incorporated ships decreasing the closer to the outer surface they were located although this was not an absolute rule as some old Imperial ships could be identified vacuum welded to the outer parts of the Hulk’s pack of ships.

The outer surface of the Hulk was scarred. There were blast craters including the one recently created by the Ork infestation. There were lasers scars and evidence of torpedo and other projectile weapon hits. There were weapons bulges and warped organic looking towers of unknown function dotted across the surface. Simple crude Ork style cabling and piping ran alongside advanced Xenos and sophisticated Imperial ducting and piping linking point to point on the skin of the Hulk. There were orifices for engine exhausts and given its age there were craters that could only have been form meteor impacts. There was evidence of patching some of the damaged areas indicating that some of the previous inhabitants had existed in the Hulk for some time,

“There in the outer shell of the core is our target,” stated Hawk. “The design of the ships indicates that these Imperial Naval Cruisers are at least three thousand years old. There is a strong possibility that we will be able to salvage archeotechnology that wil be invaluable to the Imperium.”
“How will we get there, Lord?” asked Captain Meddigo of the Red Hunters.