A New Chapter

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A New Chapter

Post by Skits on Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:57 pm

Siamak stood alone in the viewing deck overlooking the Aten’s primary starboard hangar bay, watching the activity below through the thick glass. He was clad in his crimson battleplate and fully armed, his helmet mag-locked to his belt. A dark grey duffel bag holding his kit and non-combat gear rested on the floor by his feet.

Down in the hangar bay, a battered-looking Thunderhawk in the blues of the Knights Tempest had recently landed - the front landing strut giving way in the process and dropping the craft’s nose to the deck with an undignified clang - and the hangar crew were busy checking for further damage and starting the refueling process while the Thunderhawk’s crew went through post-flight checks.

To Siamak’s eye, which was more accustomed to the sight of the mighty Stormbird currently resting in the port hangar, the Thunderhawk - he had to squint slightly to make out the weathered “Governor” down the side of the nose - looked almost flimsy in comparison. A sudden gout of dirty steam that belched out from one of the Governor’s engines didn’t do much to bolster his confidence in the vehicle.

In less than an hour, Siamak would be aboard that battered blue transport, leaving the Aten and everything he knew behind, to join the Knights Tempest as an allied attachment. He was looking forward to the experience, the chance to broaden his horizons and learn about the galaxy beyond the confines of the vanguard cruiser he called home. At the same time, he couldn’t help but feel at least somewhat apprehensive; he would be representing his entire chapter - what little there was of it - and if he somehow slipped up, made a mistake, the consequences could potentially be dire. Not just for him, but for the rest of the Shadowed Suns, and the crew of the Aten under their care.

Siamak took a deep breath and let it out slowly, steadying his nerves. He was no Corvidae to see into the future, so there was no point inviting trouble by worrying too much about what may or may not happen.

He returned his attention to the activity in the hangar below, watching one of the Knights Tempest from the Thunderhawk laconically examine the vehicle’s fuselage. Soon Siamak would have to head down there himself, but he’d received a message asking him to wait in the viewing deck, so he waited. And if that request to wait just so happened to give him some extra time in the comforting familiarity of the ship he’d grown up in, well, he wasn’t going to complain.

Eventually, approaching footsteps behind him, measured and steady, drew his attention away from the hangar deck. Siamak turned to see who it was, then gave a respectful bow. Akil Amari, the leader of the Shadowed Suns and one of Siamak’s earliest mentors, approached with his usual calm dignity. The dim lights of the viewing deck gleamed dully off the gold trim of Akil’s crimson armour, and highlighted where his black hair was going silver-grey at the temples.

“Capt-- er, Chapter Master.” Siamak winced slightly at his mistake as he straightened back up.

Akil’s mouth quirked in a lopsided smile as he came to a halt beside Siamak. “Don’t worry, I’m still getting used to the change myself. It is something of a mouthful.” He looked down through the glass to the Thunderhawk resting below, and tilted his head slightly at it. “Nervous?”

Siamak hesitated for a moment, then nodded. “A little,” he admitted quietly. “I have read everything we have on hand about the Knights Tempest and the current Imperium in general, and gone over the briefings many times. I have also talked a lot with Atash about his own experiences, so I am not going in completely blind, but…” He shrugged, the movement exaggerated by his battle plate. “There is so much we don’t have information on, and this will be a different situation to Ash’s. I still do not know exactly what to expect - or what is expected of me.”

“And we are not ones who appreciate uncertainty,” Akil commented with wry understanding. “But try not to worry too much. The Knights Tempest have been briefed as well. They know that you are young, and that there will be… cultural differences, so they will not judge you too harshly, as long as you make the effort to learn.” He gave Siamak an encouraging smile. “And that is something I have no doubt you will excel at. Keep your calm, remember your training, and I am sure you will do just fine.”

Siamak straightened slightly, his spirits bolstered by his chapter master’s confidence. “Thank you. I shall do my best.”

“That is all I can ask,” Akil replied, then paused for a beat. “Well, almost all, anyway. I have one more request to add that was not in your previous briefings.” He turned his gaze to the Thunderhawk below for a moment, then looked back at the younger Astartes beside him. “I say request and not order because it is not a normal military or combat objective, and may be the most difficult - or most simple, or simultaneously both - to achieve.”

Siamak tried to figure out just what his Chapter Master was about to ask of him. When the answer came though, he couldn’t quite hide his surprise.

“Make friends.” Akil watched him levelly, taking in the younger Astartes’ reaction. “This is a request I have also made of Jahi and Atash, as well as Chigaru and the rest of the scouts with him, before they all deployed on their own missions. Make as many friends as you can, Siamak. While this is not an official objective, it may be the most important goal of this entire endeavour.”

Siamak considered for a moment, then nodded. “I understand. In these times, we need as many friends - and allies - as we can get.”

“Exactly,” Akil replied approvingly. He clapped one hand on Siamak’s pauldron and gestured through the viewing bay window. Down in the hangar below, the deck crew were finishing up the refueling process for the Thunderhawk, while one of the vessel’s pilots discussed something with the hangar boss. “Now come - I have taken up enough of your time here. Let’s get you on your way.”

Siamak retrieved his bag from the floor and slung the carry-strap over his shoulder, then paused for a moment to take one final look around the viewing deck. If all went well, he would be back here again someday - perhaps in a few months, perhaps in a few years.

If all went wrong, he might never return to the ship he called home.

Siamak gave his head a sharp shake, calmed himself with a breath and a thought, then followed his Chapter Master to the hangar bay - and the new chapter of his life that awaited him.
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Skits
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