The Lord Militant stared at the hololith with a sick feeling in his stomach. The chatter of crew and servitors around him seemed to die away, leaving only the sound of the blood in his ears. He spoke; later, he would swear that he was sure he spoke so quietly that no-one could have heard him. But his soft words brought the bridge of the warship to silence.
"Signal the Fleet. We are leaving."
"My Lord Militant?" The adjutant broke the silence, his tone as queasy as the Lord Militant felt.
"We have insurrections on the two inner planets, an infestation at the outer rim and now..." he gestured at the multiple red runes, spreading as more and more ships of the Enemy dropped out of the Warp, "...this. We are leaving."
"My Lord," the Adminsitratum drone yelped, "the Inquisition is in system. Surely if--"
"And I wish them the very best of luck. But only a fool fights a war on two fronts and only an idiot fights one on three. Fool I may be, but I am no-one's idiot. Prepare the Fleet to transition to Warp."
The Lord Militant took a deep breath. "And before we go... target the main spaceport and astrotelepathic station. Launch a high yield device; I want there to be no chance of this infection spreading."
"My Lord, that will cut off all outside--"
"I am well aware of the likely outcome of my orders, thank you. Maybe the Emperor will have mercy on their souls."
The Lord Militant turned and swept from the room. Only later did the adjutant admit the last three words that no-one else heard.
"And on mine."
"My Lord Governor, I don't think you quite understand the chagne in your circumstances. Whatever authority you had left with Battle Fleet Elysium and whatever hope you had of rescue died when the spaceport was vapourised along with half the Primaris Hive. Whatever hope of survival you had withered with the crops when the fallout from that strike turned most of your world into Ash Dunes drifting over everything. I am an Inquisitor and I am - basically - all the Imperial Authority there is left. Perhaps more importantly, you fail to grasp that this is no longer a matter of treating a disease. That is over. Your planet has a cancer and it is inoperable. You world is dying and the only thing left to us is to ensure that the tumor does not outlive the host. Understand this: there is no hope of rescue, there will be no happy ending. Now I am certain that you are recording this, or more likely broadcasting it live to the Noble Houses that cluster round this palace like parasites on a mangy dog. So I speak to you all: you. Are. Going. To. Die. The only choice left open to you is how you go to meet your Emperor; on your knees, begging, or on your feet with a weapon in your hand. This is The Drift. This is where we draw a line."
The Old Man cackled. It had no humour in it.
"This was all fields once. You can't blame them for leaving, up there in their ships. Cultists down here; 'Nids on the Outer Colonies and then a load of horrors boiling out of the warp. But hitting the port? All the.." he groped for the right word, gave up, shrugged. "Stuff in the ships. Poison in the air. Turned the fields into this."
Their eyes turned to the grey waste flecked with burning embers outside.
"But do we give up? We do not. That's what people do, see? They keep walking when their feet are bloodied. They keep breathing when their lungs are filled with ash. They fight when they've forgotten what they're fighting for."
The Old Man looked out at the wastes and smiled a thin smile; they thought that maybe he was seeing the old verdant world that had been. Surely he could not value the hellhole their world had become?
"This is The Drift. This is where we make our stand."
After the major job of the Carnosaur, I needed a change of pace. Something small and intricate. Thankfully, Inq28 is just the ticket.
For those people who aren't in the loop, the idea of Inq28 is to play small games in the Warhammer 40k universe. But perhaps more appealingly for me, it's all about mood and narrative expressed through individual figures. So I sat down with some old historical sprues, my bits box, some greenstuff, Radio 3 and just went where the muse took me.
The joy of this is that what you are doing is emergent; the character and setting are revealed by the choices you make in the construction of the figure. The world you see above was created by these characters.
The first one is an old soldier. An ash waste wanderer, veteran of a thousand battlefields, now trying to bring order to the forgotten areas of The Drift; fighting because he's forgotten how to do anything else. Obviously kept alive by multiple augmentations and transplants.
He was constructed from the torso of a British Line Infantryman from the Zulu Wars, the legs and coattails from an ECW Parliamentarian and then some Space Marine bits. The addition of plasticard bracers helped disguise some of the scale issues, and the floral wire tubes helped sell the slightly too large head.
The second is based on the old WFRP ratcatcher. The basic chassis was a Black Scorpion resin cowboy who arrived with a miscast rifle.
"Powerful big rats, gentlemen," the stranger rasped as the monstrosity quivered and twitched on the ground before them. He holstered his bolt pistol and drew a chainsword. "The pelt will fetch a pretty penny at Rorke's, though." The glass orbs of his mask turned towards them. "Are you peckish?"
I'm quite happy with these two and now just need to think of a slightly different painting style. I want them to be very grungey, very muted and muddy.
I started with zenithal highlighting as that gives quite a hard contrast to work from and will let you know what transpires.