Dark Fields


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Dark Fields

Postby Commissar-General at 12 Jul 2006, 22:41

Since I just finished the Hive Hargon tale to what I pleasantly found to be positive reviews (thanks guys! ;D ) I thought I would start working on a short (ish) tale that has been rolling around in my head for a while. In any event, this is the first part of said tale:


The old truck rumbled and grumbled like a petulant old man as it made its way up the dirt road, into the small town. On both sides, seemingly endless fields of yellow grain stretched off into the distances under a pale purple-pink sky. Two moons hung to the northeast, one to the south. A single, yellow, sun, burned in the sky above. The small town was Santiago de los Cabaleros. The world was the (fairly) newly colonized imperial agri-world of Salarnos Epzilon.

The truck was old, painted a dull olive drab. A heavy stubber was mounted in the bed and a vox-horn on the roof, through which the driver could make himself well heard. Sarlarnos Epzilon Planetary Defense Forces was printed on the side in black, block letters. The driver was Major James de la Bautista. Commander of the local detachment of planetary defense forces, he was as much a police officer as a soldier. His grandfather had seen action in the Kappa Gulf Crusade, which had recaptured this world from Ork control a good eighty years ago now. His father had been a rancher, a business that had been inherited by James’ older brother. The Major had decided to enter the PDF with a commission instead of playing second fiddle to his brother’s ranching business his entire life.

In retrospect, not a wise move. He spent his time rounding up drunk kids and bringing them home, helping old ladies with their groceries, and investigating lost dog cases. Nothing ever happened that could be considered remotely exciting. Orks were almost never fully removed from a world once they had inhabited it, due to their spore method of child-berth. But on Salarnos Epzilon, they had. But something exciting had happened, finally. There was an Inquisitor coming. More accurately, an Inquisitor had come. Bautista was to meet him at the local adeptus arbites precinct in Cabaleros. He wanted to speak to the Major.

Bautista yawned as he rolled through the town’s dirt roads. A few little kids crossed the street, hitting each other with wooden swords. Playing Emperor and Horus, probably.

Bautista pulled up to the precinct and got out, running his hands through his close cropped blonde hair. Starting to gray, now. Premature graying ran in his family. He was clad in black combat boots, a green BDU, and a belt on his waist held a las-pistol, loaded, and with an extra power cell, and a long, sleek knife in a black scabbard. His eyes were a pale blue, and his features were fairly normal. A light scar ran along the right side of his jaw from when he had been cut accidentally by a harvesting servitor as a child, out on the ranch. He waved to old Ms. Perkins and smiled, wishing her well before ascending the black stone steps to the arbites precinct.

The Inquisitor was waiting in the lobby. Clad in long, black robes, an inquisitorial rosette and an aquila pendant hung around his neck. He was clearly old and rather decrepit, and a long, polished, cane of Blackwood rested in his right hand. He was flanked by two men in black carapace armor. One held a flamer rifle, the other a combat shotgun. The man with the shotgun, the bald one, had had his left eye replaced by an augmetic. It glowed a sharp red. He was bald, and his neck, thick as a tree trunk, was laced in veins. The other was tall and slender, with close cropped red hair, pale skin, and emerald eyes. His appearance was somewhat disconcerting.

“Inquisitor Ricci?” Bautista asked, tentatively.

The old man pulled back his robes, revealing a long face, with a hooked nose and clean shaved chin. He was rapidly balding, only a few tufts of gray hair left. His eyes were gray, and when he opened his mouth to speak, he rasped;

“Hello, Major de la Bautista. I am Inquisitor Ferdinand Ricci of the Ordo Hereticus Kappa. These are my associates, Master Rostislav, and Master Rafferty.”

The bald one with the augmetic eye was Rostislav, the red haired one was Rafferty.

Bautista tossed a quick salute their way;

“Pleasure to make your acquaintance, gentlemen.”

They nodded. Neither spoke.

“To what do we owe the honor of a Inquisitorial visit, Master Ricci?” Bautista asked.

“Are you familiar with the hive world Hargon, Major?” The Inquisitor asked, his voice rasping and straw-like.

“Of course. Biggest economic production center in the sub-sector.”

“You are, I imagine, familiar with its Ork problems.”

“I am.”

"What you, unless you have access to classified information level Beta, are not familiar with, is the problem is has with plague zombies.”

“Plague zombies?” The Major asked, his eyebrows raised in concern.

“Indeed. Have you brought transport? It may be more prudent to speak there.”

“Of course.”

Bautista showed the way to the car, the Inquisitor hobbling after him. The two silent men in carapace armor leaped up into the bed. There was no cab. The Major opened the door for the Inquisitor and then went around to the driver’s side. He offered the man a smoke, and was turned down.

“Three hundred years ago, a Chaos cult devoted to the foul god Nurgle popped up in the under hive of the Hargon city of New Gurgenstein. Underhive 44, specifically. An outbreak of plague zombies, walking dead who feast on the flesh of the living, powered by a chaos plague known as the Creeping Death plagued the Underhive for five years, until my master and I--at the time I was an Interrogator, arrived in the hive and took care of the problem. The cult masters were killed, the plague zombies were limited to quarantine zone 44. For a long time, that ended the problem, more or less. One hundred and four years ago, this month, the world of Hargon came under attack from the Ork force known as Waaagh! Drazgar. In the course of the fighting, Quarantined Zone 44 was breached. The plague zombies have since become a problem again, though they are once more largely limited, thanks to my own more recent efforts. The Orks have become a more immediate concern on that world.”

“Pardon me, Inquisitor, but Hargon is a sub-sector away. Why are you here?”

“I like a man who is to the point, Major. Commendable. I am about to tell you why, in fact. Are you familiar with the ranching family the Bees?”

“Yea, I know the Bee family. Nice people. See them in Church on Sunday mornings, talk to Mrs. Bee in the grocery store from time to time.”

“It would appear that three months about the Bee family ordered a set of lasguns from Hargon.”

“Yea, they have been having some problem with cow-tipping kids. Wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Bee fancied to take a few pot shots. Hardly Inquisitorial business though, yes?”

“We have reason to believe that, in the shipment in question, quarantine protocol was broken. We have reason to believe that one or more plague zombies may have been aboard the freighter when it left Hargon. Major, the Creeping Death may very well be loose on your world.”


Madeline Bee sighed contentedly, sipping on a cool glass of lemonade, looking out over her ranch. The servitors were branding the cattle, and then herding them out to feed. Quickly, quietly, efficiently. Her husband, Jonathan, had ordered the servitors from Hargon almost four years ago now. It had made their lives immensely easier, and they could now contentedly enjoy a semi-retirement, the servitors doing nearly all their work for them. That reminder her, another shipment from Hargon was due in today. Jonathan had ordered a shipment of lasguns. He planned to fit them onto some of the servitors to keep kids from coming in and tipping the cattle, or throwing rocks at the servitors. It really was an irritant, and Madeline, usually a very peaceful and forgiving person, could hardly blame him. Though she did insist that he keep the rifles on a low setting so as only to deliver an uncomfortable sting to those who it struck.

A rumbling on the road caused her to turn, and look out her kitchen window. A large, blue, truck was rumbling down the long, dirt, driveway. That would be the delivery now, she thought to herself, wiping her hands with a towel and walking out onto the porch as the truck pulled up.

“Hey there, Mr. Miller!” She called out, smiling to the delivery man.

“How ya doin’ Ms. Bee. I got those lasguns that your husband ordered. He in?”

“He went into town. Probably will be back in a few hours.”

Miller nodded, walking to the back of the truck and opening it, pulling out a large, cardboard box, and bringing to the deck. Handing her a form, she signed and returned it to him.

“You want any lemonade?”

“Don’t mind if I do, Mrs. Miller.”

That was when she noticed the tourniquet wrapped around his lest forearm, a red stain indicating blood seeping through.

“Oh, Throne, what happened to your arm.”

He looked down at it, as if just noticing it himself;

“Oh, you wouldn’t believe. When we opened the freighter, the crew had gone mad! Started biting people! Anyways, one of them tore some skin out of my arm before they managed to restrain them. They are down in the infirmary at the starport now, the local officio medicae is trying to figure out what’s wrong with them. Anyways, they bandaged it up and administered something that has numbed it up real good. Doesn’t hurt, anyways. They said it should heal up within the next few days.”

“Oh, that’s awful!” Mrs. Bee said, genuinely sympathetic, as Miller placed the box on the table and she turned to make some lemonade;

“So, any iother interesting news from town lately?”

“Well not really, just the usual stuff. Though a car was stolen a week or so ago.”

Mrs. Bee tut-tutted;

“Oh, some people. Kids these days don’t get enough church, that’s what I say. We need more good preachers around this place, wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Miller?”

No response.

“Mr. Miller?” She asked again, as she finished mixing him a glass of lemonade and turned to look at him.

And screamed.


Night had fallen over Salarnos Epzilon by the time they pulled up to the Bee ranch, which was several hours out of time. Bautista decided to try one more time;

“Inquisitor, I assure you, I saw the Bees in church just the other day, they are fine.” The church in Santiago de los Cabaleros was the only one for miles around.

“None the less, Major, it is best that we check.”

Bautista nodded silently, pulling up the long driveway presently. As they reached the ranch house, Bautista could see flashing lights and large, matt black trucks. Arbites.

The truck pulled up, kicking up dust as Bautista got out, Inquisitor Ricci slowly climbing out behind him. Rostislav and Rafferty came after them.

“Sergeant Stephenson?” Bautista called out, recognizing one of the arbites with their helmet off.

Sergeant Maria Stephenson, as with the rest of the arbites, was clad in black riot gear, with a bean bag shotgun slung over her shoulder and an auto pistol and nightstick hanging on her belt. However, her riot helmet, with its black face plate, was cradled in her left arm, not over her head. She was a women in her mid-thirties, with black hair tied tightly in a ponytail behind her, and brown eyes. Her skin was unusually pale for an inhabitant of Salarnos.

Turning, she nodded to the Major.

“Major Bautista, hello. I’m going to have to ask you to leave, this is a crime scene, and while you are an officer in the PDF, this is arbites business and-” She was cut off.

“Sergeant, I am Inquisitor Ferdinand Ricci of the Ordo Hereticus Kappa. The major is here at my behest, and I assure you that I have the authority to be here.”

Maria balked, her jaw nearly dropping in awe as the old man hobbled towards her, flanked by the two huge warriors in black carapace.

“Masters Rostislav and Rafferty, my associates. Now, Sergeant, if you please, the Major and I would like to investigate the crime scene.

Inquisitor Ricci brushed past her bodily, his men following. Bautista raised his eyebrows at Maria before following them. She was quick to tail the company.

Ricci was moving fast now. Much faster than he had been before, and he was carrying his cane, not leaning on it. That weak old man act was a ruse, Bautista realized.

The Inquisitor entered the house before anyone else, and only moments after he did, a roar of rage emanated from it. The team of arbites agents that had been milling around stopped immediately, turning as one towards the ranch house. Bautista stopped in his tracks,

“What the hell is that!?!” he thought to himself, shocked.

The door slammed open and the Inquisitor emerged, his eyes fixed on Sergeant Stephenson;

“Where are the bodies?” He asked, his voice cold and low.

“W-What?” She asked, heavily taken aback.

“The bodies. Of the victims? I assume there are bodies, this is a crime scene, and there are chalk markings on the floor. Where have you taken them?”

“They were loaded onto a truck, its en route back to town.

“Oh, that’s just farkin’ great, babe.” Rafferty had finally spoken. His voice was thick with a rough accent, and slurred.

The Inquisitor shut his eyes and began to chant a prayer of some kind or another to himself, silently. When he finished, he opened them again.

“I can only pray, and hope, that the men driving that truck were killed before returning to an inhabited area, Ms. Stephenson. If they were not, your entire township may already be dead.”

“Excuse me?”

“No time to explain. Major Bautista, return me to town. Sergeant Stephenson, by the power invested in me by the Imperial Inquisition, and I am taking command of your group. Follow us to town immediatey.”

“Inquisitor, the crime scene we-”

“Irrelevant. Follow me.”

The Inquisitor hurried past Bautista, knocking shoulders with him as he climbed in the car. Rostislav racked the slide on his shotgun, loudly, before he and Rafferty turned and hurried back to the car, leaping in the bed.

“What exactly is going on, James?” Maria asked him.

“I have no idea. Well, close to no idea. But you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. I’m not sure I believe it.”

Maria Stephenson raised an inquisitive eyebrow.

“Just..just do as the Inquisitor says, Maria.” James said, not knowing how to explain what the Inquisitor had told him without sounding insane.

At first he had dismissed the idea that some kind of chaos plague had broken loose and there were zombies wandering around as insanity. Some crazy old Inquisitor reading a few too many forbidden texts. But now, Major James de la Bautista thought to himself, he was starting to become worried.

Very worried. He pulled the truck door shut hard next to him and turned the key in its ignition.

The pale green truck started off into the night. Major James de la Bautista would never see the Bee family ranch again.


Bautista slammed the morgue door hard with his right shoulder. Finally, the lock snapped and the door swung open with a creak. It was late now, everything in town was closed. The streets were empty. But Inquisitor Ricci had insisted to inspect the morgue.

Raising his flashlight in one hand and his las-pistol in the other, Bautista nodded to Stephenson, as Rostislav and Rafferty raised their weapons, the small igniter-flame on Rostislav’s weapon going live, and Rafferty racking the slide on his shotgun loudly.

Stephenson racked her own as Inquisitor Ricci produced a small, stub-nosed revolver and cocked back the hammer, following his men up the steps. The rest of the arbites had been dismissed by Stephenson, with the Inquisitor’s consent, and gone home for the night.

“Major Bautista, if you will…” Ricci rasped, gesturing to the door.

Bautista nodded, raising his head to look out over the fields one last time. Two pale, silver, moons hung over them, casting a grim white light over the yellow wheat, black in the Salarnos night. The fields were dark. A sense of foreboding wormed its way through the back of Bautista’s mind.

Bautista’s flashlight cast a harsh white light over the Morgue as he stepped in, his black combat boots clicking against the white tiles of the floor. The steps of the others clicked behind him. Pushing through door past the reception desk, Bautista’s flashlight passed over grim instruments of autopsy, resting in bright silver tins of metal. On the far end of the short corridor, a secondary door sat ajar. Moving his flashlight down towards the floor, Bautista’s beam of light revealed a smear of dark, almost black, blood, along the floor.

Ricci saw it to, stepping forward and bending over and picking up a bit in his fingers, examining it;

“It’s coagulated. Rostislav.”

The big man stepped forward, firing a tiny jet of flame onto the blood, burning it. Ricci opened the door more fully. The stream of blood continued into the darkness;


The major nodded silently, moving forward and panning with his flashlight. As he revealed a longer and longer stream of blood, Rostislav would light it aflame.

Then, almost imperceptibly, a low groaning.

Bautista shook it off;

“The wind. Its just the wind.” he thought to himself. But who was he trying to convince?

Then, again. Longer. A groan. Longer, and too close to be the wind, which was outside. Bautista looked to Stephenson, she swallowed silently.

“James?” She whispered.


“What exactly does the Inquisitor believe is to be found here?”


Around the corner, came a tall woman, clad in the white coat that was the tell tale sign of an officio medicae doctor. Her skin was gray and covered in sweat. Her raven hair hung in clumps around her. One of her eyes was gone, clearly ripped out of her skull. Coagulated blood hung around the wound like some dark window dressing.

“Say good night, babe.” Rafferty spoke again. That thick slur.

The shotgun blast tore into the creature’s face, knocking her over in a storm of brains and bits of skull. Wordlessly, as always, Rostislav lit the corpse up, covering it in flaming kerosene.

“By the power vested in me by the Holy Inquisition, I declare thee extremis diabolus, and so carry out your due sentence. I commend thy soul unto the hands of His Most Holy Majesty, the Immortal God-Emperor of Mankind, King of Terra, and One True Lord of the Imperium, for judgment. May He have mercy on thy soul.” Ricci’s words broke the silence of the flames. Bautista and Stephenson just watched, horrified.

“Oh, Throne! Mister Bee!?” Stephenson asked, reeling, her lips curling in horror.

The old man shambled forwards, what was left of his plaid shirt hanging in tatters around him. A series of deep bite marks covered his chest and abdomen, and long strings of abdomen hung out of his waist. He was staring directly as Bautista, a look of unholy starving in his eyes.

It was at that moment that Major James de la Bautista’s mood changed from horror to rage. He wouldn’t let whatever horror Chaos had sent to his world take it from him. He wouldn’t let the Emperor’s light be snuffed out.

Raising his las-pistol, Bautista punched a single round through what was once Mr. Bee’s throat. Blowing chunks of his spinal cord against the far all and sending the creature reeling back, before it was engulfed in a cloud of flame from Rostislav.

“How many more can we expect them to be?” Bautista asked the Inquisitor.

“There were marking for three corpses at the scene. That leaves two more, in addition to any staff that may be here.”

Maria Stephenson screamed, as James whirled.

A plague zombie in the uniform of a delivery officer from the local starport had ripped a chunk out of her neck.

“Oh God-Emperor!” Bautista cried, raising his las-pistol.

Ricci beat him to it, pumping two slugs into the creature’s exposed right temple, sending it careening to the floor.

Maria followed it, shrieking and clutching at the wound in her neck. Bautista rushed to her;

“Oh lord, you’re bitten badly. There has to be some gauze and bandages around her, I’ll wrap you up, we can get you to a hospital. The medicae will know what to do.”

Grimacing, Maria’s breathing evened out, as she nodded, clearly in pain.

A foot stepped down behind Bautista. He turned his face upwards. Rafferty, Rostislav, and Ricci stood over him. Their weapons were aimed at Maria Stephenson. The hammer of Ricci’s revolver clicked loudly.

“Step aside, Major.”


Step aside, Major. Or you’ll die as well.”

“What? Inquisitor, what are you doing?”

“Miss Stephenson is already dead. She has been bitten. She will die within the hour, and rise again as one of those creatures. Step aside.”

“What!?!” Maria shrieked. Tears ran down her face as she stared at the Inquisitor’s old, weathered, face. A look of tremendous sadness was engraved upon it.

“I recommend you step aside, guy.” Rafferty said.

Bautista looked at Maria for a moment. Her eyes were filled with fear. He got up, and stepped back.

“No! No! No! James, I’ve known you all our lives, what are you doing? You can’t believe them! You can’t!”

Rostislav bent down and relieved her of her shotgun.

“By the power vested in me by the Holy Inquisition, I declare thee extremis diabolus, and so carry out your due sentence. I commend thy soul unto the hands of His Most Holy Majesty, the Immortal God-Emperor of Mankind, King of Terra, and One True Lord of the Imperium, for judgment. May He have mercy on thy soul.”

“No! No! Nooo!

A gunshot rang out in the dark night. The screaming of Sergeant Maria Stephenson was abruptly ended. Then, the whoosh of a flamer. The stink of burning flesh. James de la Bautista would never forget that part. The stink of her burning flesh. The last, accusing stare in her eyes. The stink of burning flesh.


“Where is the last corpse?” Inquisitor Ricci asked.

“Hmm?” Bautista replied.

“There is supposed to be one more cadaver. One couple, the delivery man, and the officio medicae official on duty at the morgue. That leaves an additional plague zombie.”

Ricci nodded curtly. In a flash, Rafferty and Rostislav were moving, sweeping the morgue.

“Major, to me.”

The Inquisitor turned to follow his men, green robes billowing out behind him.

Bautista sighed, looking back at Stephenson’s corpse, and shuddering. Almost every part of her was a burned husk. But not those eyes. Not those damned, accusing eyes, that seemed to still stare directly at him, no matter where he moved.

With one last shudder down his spine, Bautista left the room, following Inquisitor Ricci.


Rafferty sighed, finally lowering his shotgun;

“It isn’t in the morgue, wherever it is. I reckon we ought to start sweeping the town.”

Inquisitor Ferdinand Ricci was covered up in the folds of his green robe now, green hood pulled low to obscure his face, his arms crossed in front of him, hands within his sleeves. The golden pendants of the aquila and inquisitorial insignia around his neck were clearly visible.

“Indeed. Let us go.”

The small team turned, heading back for the main door to the morgue. When they arrived however, the door was hanging open. A hunched form stood in the doorway.

Rafferty raised his shotgun, Bautista his las-pistol. The igniter on Rostislav’s flamer switched on.

Moaning, the creature lurched forward, obscured by the shadows of the doorway momentarily.

When it passed into the light, it became clear that whoever it had been in life, it had not been the rancher wife Ms. Bee. It was huge, and male, large muscles rippling along its body, its flesh gray and rotting. A long tear mark was clear along its throat.

“By the throne…” Bautista muttered to himself, raising his weapon.

“Emperor be damned, the infection has spread! Major, dispatch this beast, we have no time!”

A single beam of red light from Bautista’s las-pistol tore through the creature’s chest. Another in its throat, and the third hitting home, just between the eyes.

Quickly, the corpse was consumed by Rostislav’s flamer. But by now, a many-thronged chorus could be heard in the night air. A requiem of low, long, groans. The groans of the hungry dead. Hungry for the sweet, warm, flesh of the still living. Hungry for the flesh of Major James de la Bautista.

Hurrying to the double doors, Ricci flung them open. What he saw was a seemingly endless army of shambling, groaning, corpses. Bautista’s truck was sitting amongst them, at the bottom of the flight of stairs leading up to the morgue. It was only a few feet. It seemed a world away, now.

Ricci slammed the door against one of the creatures as it shambled towards him and turned back.

“Major, we will have to get to your truck. That is going to require quite a firefight. How long do you think it will take you to get into the truck and get it started?”

“A few seconds, five or ten, tops.”

“Seems like a short amount of time in here. Out there, it will not.”

“Very well then. Let’s go.”


The double doors burst open and Rafferty’s shotgun rang out in the clear night, blasting two of the monsters away. Gouts of flame poured forth from Rostislav’s weapon, as the two troopers cleared the way, Bautista coming up behind with the Inquisitor, snapping off shots from his las-pistol. The reanimated corpses that had been James de la Bautista’s friends and neighbors swarmed in, maws open and snapping, hungry for the flesh of the living.

Kicking a creature in its abdomen, Rafferty shot it in the chest as it bowled down the stairs, taking a number of the plague zombies with it.

They were halfway down the stairs, now. Rostislav’s flamer and Rafferty’s shotgun taking out swathes of the infernal creatures of chaos, filling the night air with the stink of burning flesh and coagulated blood.

Rafferty slammed six more shells into his weapon, pumping buckshot into the creatures. Suddenly, a man Bautista recognized as the owner of the local general store lunged forward, jaws open to tear out the pale man’s throat.

“Rafferty! Look out!” Bautista cried, raising his las-pistol.

He managed to send a las-bolt through the monster’s left temple, but when it tumbled to the ground, it hit the trooper in the shoulder, knocking him over. The hungry dead were on him in seconds. Bautista nearly wanted to vomit, watching them tear apart his carapace armor, ripping out intestines and inner organs. He felt bile fill his throat as he saw one of them biting down into Rafferty’s eyeball.

“There is no time! Get to the truck!” Ricci cried out, pulling Bautista forward as he hurried down the steps, making use of the zombie’s momentary distraction.

Getting to the truck, Bautista fumbled with the keys while Rostislav continued to create a wall of fire between them and the handful of zombies which had followed them. Finally getting the key in the lock, Bautista jumped into the truck.

“Get in!” He cried out to the other two, as Inquisitor Ricci leaped into the passenger’s seat and Rostislav clambered up into the bed, dropping his flamer in favor of the heavy stubber pintle-mounted in the back.

Turning on the ignition, Bautista slammed on the pedals, screeching over the bodies of multiple plague zombies and off into the night. Leaving behind the tiny hamlet in favor of the dark fields of the night. It wouldn’t be long before they were followed. Followed by the hungry dead.


Rostislav was dead. They had got him twenty minutes ago. Bautista had seen him through the rear view mirror. When he had bent over to pick up a new box of ammo, they had hit a rut in the road, and he had stumbled. One of the creatures had grabbed him by the waist and dragged him, screaming, down into the road. It was the only sound Bautista ever did hear Rostislav make.

They were approaching the starport now. It loomed in the darkness, though not much could be seen but the silhouette. The creatures were everywhere, stumbling much slower than the truck, but they came out of the fields. It was like even the crops had risen up to devour their flesh.

“Almost there…almost there…” Bautista muttered to himself.

“Remain calm, Major. We will arrive safely, I am sure.” The Inquisitor spoke. His rasp was entirely gone now, his voice was strong and confident.

The Inquisitor set about sliding more bullets into his heavy revolver and Bautista drove, smashing over bumps and ruts in the road.

One of the creatures leaped in front of the truck. The Major smashed right into it, sending it flying into the air. It was far from the first. Bautista had learned Around the third or fourth one to just hit them. The front of the truck was covered in coagulated blood and bits of already rotting flesh. Throne, but did they rot fast!

The starport loomed now. Bautista gasped. It was a complete wreck. Flames overtook much of the huge complex, windows were smashed in, cars overturned. Some corpses littered the ground, dressed in adeptus arbites uniforms. Others were beginning to crawl…

“I suggest we move, Major.” Said the Inquisitor, producing his revolver.

“We can still get to my starship, we will just have to fight to get there.”

Bautista nodded, swallowing;

“Right. Right then, let’s go.”

The truck doors flung open and the two men stepped out, firing. Bullets and las-bolts flung through the air, sending reanimated corpses, finally, to their graves.

“Go! Inside!” The major yelled, blasting one of the plague zombies in the throat, and then the forehead.

The Inquisitor and the Major rushed to the doors, a round from Ricci’s revolver taking out a arbites official who had risen from his grave.

Slamming the double doors, Bautista broke them open, forcing his way into the small spaceport. What looked like an Administratum official was crawling towards him, moaning, and baring its rotting teeth. Bautista shot it in the mouth.

“This way, Major.” The Inquisitor said from behind him, walking forward with the utmost confidence towards one of the gates.

“I have a ship waiting just on the edge of the system, once we are in orbit I will call it in and we will…revise our current plans. The large majority of your world is most likely perfectly in tact. I do not think the Creeping Death could have spread far beyond a single town in this short amount of time.”

Bautista was relieved at that news. He had been thinking of these monsters getting to his family, devouring them in that savage way he had seen Rostislav and Rafferty be killed.

Crossing across the floor, Bautista could hear panes of glass crashing behind him. Turning, he saw that the creatures had caught up to them, and smashed their way into the port. Sending a quick burst across the lobby, the Major saw four of the abominations go down.

“We have little time to dally, Major Bautista!” Ricci said harshly.

Bautista nodded, sweating and followed him through the port, down the long tunnel to where Inquisitor Ricci’s shuttle waited.

The ship was long and sleek, jet black. It was small, clearly intended only to hold a handful of people. Dual plasma drives sat on the back, and there were two long, forward-curved winds emanating from the side. The view-glass was low hanging and curved, giving the whole shuttle the image of some kind of bird of prey.

It’s ramp was extended down to the floor for passengers to clime into it.

Bautista stepped forward, about the climb onto the shuttle, when suddenly there was a hiss of steam, and the ramp retracted up, closing off the shuttle.

“I think not, Major Bautista.”

“Excuse me?” The Major asked, turning.

Inquisitor Ricci was standing, quite still, staring at him. Bautista could hear the zombies outside, groaning and stumbling.

Ricci brought his hands to his face and pulled his hood back. His entire body went through a sort of strange shimmer. Something sorcerous, and somehow wrong, opposed to nature. It cause Bautista’s head to spin for a moment, and he stumbled backwards.

Returning to his senses, he leveled his eyes. Inquisitor Ricci did not look the same man at all. His robes, before a deep, rich, emerald, were a pale white-green, torn, and rotted. The imperial eagle and inquisitorial rosette that hung around his neck were tarnished and scarred. Someone had carved runes into them that make the Major want to vomit. His flesh was pockmarked and rotting. Bautista thought he saw a maggot crawling near Ricci’s lower lip for a moment. His eyes…his eyes were the worst. Pale, yellow, and staring directly into Bautista’s soul.

“I will be using this shuttle, to spread the Creeping Death all across your world. This small hamlet of yours was just the first. A test, if you will, of my beloved plague zombies. They performed brilliantly.”

The creatures were entering now, congregating around the Inquisitor. They made no sign of attacking him, they just waited, docile, staring from him back to Bautista.

“Inquisitor I…what?” Bautista asked, confused. The reek of the creatures threatened to activate his gag reflexes.

“I am afraid, Major, that I have not been much of an Inquisitor for quite some time. I was declared extremis diabolus sixty years ago, for my devotion to Grandfather Nurgle. A much more powerful and caring deity than your corpse god.” He spit these last two words out, as if they disgusted him.

“T..traitor!” Bautista croaked, leaning against the hull of the black shuttle for support.

“Yes, I suppose so. That’s what those weaklings that used to be my fellow Inquisitors believe, anyways. I’m sure Master Rostislav and Master Rafferty would have agreed, if they had known who I was when I requisitioned their services from the Inquisitorial Guard. But regardless, I am a busy man, and I must be going. My former brothers are after me, and they will be hot on the trail by now. If I am going to have spread Nurgle’s gift across this miserable world by the time they get here, I will need to be quick about it. Goodbye, Major Bautista.”

Ricci lifted one of his rotting, dead hands, and pointed at the Major. All around him, the plague zombies began to groan, stumbling towards Bautista.

The Major turned to back off, drawing his las-pistol, but he stumbled and fell. He looked up now, as the creatures surrounded him. Their eyes, oh Throne, their eyes!

All around him the horrified, accusing eyes of Maria Stephenson stared at him. Those eyes, those throne-damned eyes, accusing and angry, betrayed, looming down on him. They were devouring him now. Ripping pieces of flesh from his arms and abdomen. One tore out a good chunk of his throat. He hardly noticed the pain. All he could see was those eyes surrounding him. The singular glare of Maria Stephenson, damning him to the abyss as he died.

All he could hear was the long, cold, laugh of Inquisitor Ferdinand Ricci.


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RE: Dark Fields

Postby IBBoard at 23 Jul 2006, 18:19

Again, a great piece (although at first glance I thought it was shorter than it is!) The description is great and the langauge is good and generally fitting, especially the more gothic words you slip in. I noticed early on that the Inquisitor seems a little informal at first, and not quite in the character I'd imagine (e.g. when he mentions how the Orks "popped up"), but otherwise it's good with a great twist at the end.

At one point in chapter 2 you say:

Night had fallen over Salarnos Epzilon by the time they pulled up to the Bee ranch, which was several hours out of time.

Did you mean "out of town"? because "out of time" sounds strange, unless you meant "too late".

A few gramatical comments on the piece:

Be careful of putting too many commas in a sentence. Commas should separate a list of items (and follow the penultimate item if you're using the 'Oxford Comma', which is more commoon in America than the UK) or separate a list of adjectives. If you're listing adjectives, though, you don't need one between the final adjective and the noun the adjectives are describing. e.g. "A large, blue truck" not "A large, blue, truck".

Make sure you capitalise proper nouns (names of things). You had lower case spellings of things like Imperial, Adeptus Arbites, Inquisitor, Officio Medicae and others. Chaos is also usually capitalised, unless you just mean general uncontrolled rabel 'chaos'. I'm not sure about Aquilla, but GW might also captialise that. I'd have to check later, though, because all of my novels are packed away at the moment in preparation for moving house.

The story is now on HWT as Dark Fields :)

[edit] Just to add, you managed to get a good 'zombie movie' feel going in there without being cheesy/tacky/crap :)
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RE: Dark Fields

Postby Hulls Raven at 29 Jul 2006, 13:10

Good story. I have to say i do like that Inquisitor

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