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Subject: Short stories of Siege of Citadel rss

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During the KS campaign, Cabinet & Modiphius are posting few stories that I think are great and could help people to get excited about the game and to understand how deep is the story.

The stories are made by Swedish novelist and long time Siege of Citadel fan Anders Fager covering the first wave.

First Story: WAKE UP VENUS!!!!

This is Capitol Radio One from Volksburg on wicked Venus. Freddie Strürm I here to say good morning to you all and do we have news for you. The battle is on! Yes, it is true! At four o’clock this morning Cardinal Durnad gave the order!

“Tear down the citadel of Alakahi! The liberation of Venus starts now!”

The Cardinal then spoke to the assembled cooperation leaders on Venus, a speech we will be back to soon.

But first: some music while you wake up and smell the cordite.

“My baby left on a dark crusade” with Baaaad Kitty!!!

-- .. --

Yes, this is Capitol Radio One. War is declared and the battle is coming. Brace yourself Alakahi, because mankind is coming for you! And as the Cardinal said this morning:

“We will prevail!”

And now that you are all awake have our own Sean D’Armatto, out among the troops to give you listeners an up close and personal view of the battle to end all other battles. Now that it has begun Sean, how do the millions of troops feel?

Can you hear me? Freddie? Am on the air? Thank you, Freddie. This is Sean D’Armatto for Capitol Radio One. Live from the batteries that started firing at Alakahi’s citadel at four o’clock this morning. And believe me, ten thousand guns do make some noise!

I cannot hear what you say, Freddie. As a matter of fact I cannot hear myself think. Can you hear the firing in Volksburg? Yes, before we were on the air I got out of the bunker and yes, one can hear the barrage as an ominous thunder from the south. And the sky looked as if it was on fire. It was magnificent. I wish my wife could see it. She would love this one.

Eh. Sean? You’re still there? Sean? Sean? Sean D’Armatto will be back as soon as he finds a more quiet spot. Anyhow. We sure have a mother of a battle to talk about today and Capital Radio will be right there to tell you all about it. Hear more after this message.

-- .. --

Those shells where built by Bauhaus! You know that because things built by Bauhaus last longer, go that extra mile and cause that truly fatal wound. Built by Bauhaus. Killed by Bauhaus.

-- .. --

This is Capitol Radio One with Freddie Strürm. The attack is on! This morning the Cardinal was grim as he spoke to the assembled leadership of the corporations.

“The war to rid our solar system of the Dark Soul will be a long struggle”, he said. “And the first step towards total victory was taken this morning. It will be a long and hard struggle. There will be losses and setbacks. But nothing can stop us. Mankind will go forward because that is the only way left to go. Forward to victory! We will prevail.”

-- .. --
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Second part...

Hello Freddie! Hello Venus! This is Sean D’Armatto for Capitol Radio One and I am at an encampment some ten kilometers south of Volksburg. Here we have thousands and thousands of Bauhaus tanks waiting for their turn to attack. Let me tell you, people, that have no idea how big a tank army group is until you see it roll past. For a couple of days, that is. There is so much hardware here that it staggers the mind. And all the support infantry. And all the lorries. And all the ammunition. Freddie, do you know how many tons of shells that hit Alakahi’s citadel every minute?

We’ll get back to that later, Sean. But now, before we go for a short break, what is the prevailing feeling among the troops out there?

If anything, I sense grim determination, Freddie. The troops want to get on with this.

That is great to hear. I sure don’t wish I was in Alakahi’s shoes or cloves or whatever right now. Here is Capitol Radio One and we will be back with more bloodshed. Right after this.

-- .. --

Did you know that most health insurance don’t cover illness caused by the dark soul? Yes, that is true! Succumb to the symmetry and your kids don’t get a penny. Unless you had signed up for White & Anderssen Insurance! Because White & Anderssen Insurance has real survivor benefits. No matter what you do, your kids will get their share of the good you.

-- .. --

Sean D’Armatto for Capitol Radio One. On day ten of the attack. And the guns keep on firing. It is funny how you get used to the noise. From where I stand it has been impossible to see the citadel for a couple of days now. The air is so thick with dust. A wall of grey and black lit up by flashes. I honestly have no idea of how our gunners know where to aim. I talked to a Mishima bomber pilot the other day and I asked her how she kept from getting lost in those clouds. Freddie?

Still here. Mishima bomber gal you say?

I asked her how she could make out her targets. Or even find her way to it. You know what she said? Very stoic. Very Mishima.

No? Tell me.

“I don’t have to see a thing. I know the say. I have been there before. A lot of times.”

That is Mishima for you. Samurai to the core. To all of you Mishima troopers out there, to all you others. Even you, hairy Imperials! You are all listening to Capitol Radio One. Tune in to us after a hard day of combat! We’ll give you the news and the big, huge, picture. Who won and who lost? What do the commanders think lay ahead? And we have the sweetest music. Like this one! “Venus Wild Man”! With Mundburg’s own Sabina Stark!

-- .. --

White & Anderssen Insurance – keeping your family safe from chaos!

Our broadcast continues later...
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GOOD AFTERNOON VIOLENT VENUS!!!

This is Capitol Radio One from Volksburg. And I am Freddie Strürm with the latest news from the battle your future depends on. This is day twenty one and our attacks on the citadel’s outworks continues.

A bit later Lisette will be here for the children with todays episode of “I was a young demonslayer”. What else is there today? We’ll soon talk to Brother Zum Gali of the Brotherhood. Today’s topic is “Corruption And How To Avoid It”.

The celebration of the one hundred millionth shell fired at the citadel we talked about yesterday has been delayed as there seem to be an argument over which shell is the right one. Bauhaus and Capitol artillery batteries are both claiming it's theirs! Who would have guessed? Anyhow. We will have some more news. After this message.

-- .. --

Do you want to know how hot things really are on Mercury? Chrysanthemum Canned has five new exiting ready-to-eat treats for all you lovers of hot-hot-hot. Try one today. Chrysanthemum Canned by Akirenko. The taste that remain for days.

-- .. --

Sean D’Armatto, from the frontline. I just saw four Imperial brigades go over the top and charge part of the outworks. It was magnificent! Such spirit! The best of mankind surely came together for this one.

Those Imperials. Did they play bagpipes as they attacked?

Of course they did, Freddie. They wouldn't be Imperials if they did not. The heretics hate the sound.

-- .. --

Thanks for today’s show Lisette. And again, congratulations to Olga Simonova of Port MacArthur for winning today’s Demonslayer Daddy Award. If I was a heretic I’d stay away from your dad, Olga. And corporal Michael Simonov, if you hear this, we are glad that you are on our side. Keep those heads rolling.

-- .. --

This is Capitol Radio One, the war radio, and I am Sean D’Armatto live from the trenches. And to be honest I do not know what to say. It is insane here. I’m in what must be hell. There are dead and wounded covering the ground all they way to an outwork of the citadel known as “Bald Hill”. It fell to six Bauhaus divisions this morning after a night of furious hand-to-hand combat. Not a single heretic is reported to have escaped from the outwork. We’ll see if we can get forward to the hill later today. I will go forward into hell, actually.

-- .. --

Good news this morning from Capitol Radio One. The six regiments of Imperial troops we talked about yesterday, the ones that got lost assaulting Hell’s Patio. At least two of them have been found! A Bauhaus airship spotted them near the mouth of River Serpentine this morning. Yes. On the other side of the planet. The dark symmetry does things to geography, doesn’t it? Better get Archie of the Aircav.

Here is The Barsoom Babies with, this year’s number one song with a bullet: “Archie of the Aircav”.

-- .. --

And Sean, one of out listeners asked if the troops you out there do recognize you? Or are you wearing a mask or something?

No mask for me Freddie. I’m wearing just a helmet and flak jacket. I had more protection when I played mid field for the Dorado Eagles. I was young then. And afraid to die. On a sports field. How silly.

So you are recognized?

It happens. At least when I am among Capitol troops.

Have you gotten to sign any autographs?

I signed a San Dorado girl’s rifle yesterday. She promised to buy me a drink when the citadel had fallen. We laughed about that. Then she turned to her squad mates and said something like “lets get on with this, I have a date with Sean D’Armatto” and a high-velocity shell took away her upper body. Just like that. I still have her blood on my clothes.

-- .. --

Look who is coming home today

Archie of the air cav

After he made Illian cry

Archie of the air cav

-- .. --

This is Capitol Radio One with Freddie Strürm. It has been some night, hasn’t it? Things are still confused, but there have been a night with massive counterattacks by the hordes of Alakahi. Reports mention countless legionaries attacking Bald Hill and other outworks with insane feriocity. Imperial troops at a trench called “Third Knee” reports that attacks only petered out when the legionaries no longer managed to climb their own dead to close with our troops. The list goes on. Seems we have prevailed. Again.

We will try to give you the big and official picture as soon as one is given to us. Meanwhile. Sean D’Armatto? Are you still alive? How has your night been?

Hello, Freddie. Are you hearing me? Hello!

Hello Sean! Glad to hear you are ok. Where are you?

I’m with a combined assault brigade that is defending what is called “stupid rock”. Lost my transmitter last night. It was a mess. I’m using gear some Bauhaus tankers salvaged from a wreck of theirs. Every thing here is covered in blood and mud.

Yes? Yes! I am on the air. We are live.

Sean? You are on the air. Do you hear me? You are live.

Yes, Freddie, I know. There are a lot of people here. Give me a few minutes to find some one who is more than just still alive.

--.. –-

Today’s topic is “spotting corruption among your neighbours”.

Welcome, Brother Zum Gali...

OUR BROADCAST CONTINUES LATER... STAY TUNED!
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Through The Wall !

Sean D’Armatto for Capitol Radio One, the war radio, coming to you live! The inner walls have been breached! Yes it is true! The inner wall is down! In three places here on the west side and as I speak I see Bauhaus tanks pouring through, and there I can see Mishima meka-walkers.

That is great news, Sean! Here we just have been told that the Cardinal will speak in a few hours. Yes, everybody, you heard it first at Capitol Radio One. We have a breach! Mankind is victorious! We are entering the keep of Alakahi’s citadel. Sean, what are the feelings like among the troops?

Feelings? No one here has any feelings left. Last time I asked about feelings it was an Imperial captain coming back from Third Knee. He said he had left his feelings dead on the outworks. Along with his company. “But they were victorious.”

Thank you Sean D’Armatto, reporting live for Capitol Radio One. Live from the breach. HOW ARE YOU TODAY, WONDERFUL VENUS? As said before the Cardinal will make an announcement later today. Already praise for the breaching is coming in from all mankind. Her Imperial Serenity calls it “a feat of arms unequalled throughout the history of our race” and Lord Heir Markio has declared this a day of prayer and thanksgiving in all Mishima territories. As make no mistake, when they pray at Mishima, they also put in a 20-hour work day for good measure. Anyhow. Weather report coming up. After this.

-- .. --

Is your neighbour acting funny? Does he have new strange friends? Do they chant and dance all night at his place? Does he smile in twisted ecstatic way. Don’t call the Brotherhood. Don’t panic. Your neighbour may just have discovered the wild magic of Samson After Shave.

-- .. --

Stay tuned for more from the Volksburg, Venus!
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And now we return to walls of the Citadel here at Volksburg, Venus...

Sean D’Armatto here at the breach now known as “Easy Dead”. The wall is huge and so thick it is hard to believe. And the moat before it was at least thirty meters deep before we started filling it with wrecks and bodies and debris from the collapsing wall. There are huge bulldozers improving the crossing points while shells still fall on them. The walls are fifty meters high in some places. They dwarf the wrecks of the Bauhaus supertanks and the pieces that has fallen down in the moat has broken rebar that seem to be moving and thick, broken pipes stick out and sewage drops from them like blood. Oh, my god. What if the wall were somehow a living thing? What if, what if. ..

Sean? I cannot hear you. You are breaking up.

No, I’m not.

Yes, you are. We’ll give the listeners some music while we sort out the technical stuff.

-- .. --

~~~Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-Archie!

~Back from fighting – gave them no chance

~~~Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-Archie!

~Makes a girl dream – dream of romance

-- .. --

Sean? Are you losing it?

Of course I’m not. This place just gets to you.

You cannot go fult tilt mental on the air. The commission will have our heads.

I would just love to see commission come out here to get my head. Will you please give Mrs Hussein the directions? Go south from Volksburg, take left at the second multimillion-man army and proceed towards the huge, mind-bending alien structure on the ashen plain. She cannot miss it. I’m at a breach called Easy Dead, sheltering under a huge slab of concrete. Just ask for Sean.

Stop it. Just stop it.

Sure. Just had to let of steam. Ok?

No problems.

I’ll have a smoke and then I’ll find someone who can tell us some war stories. Must be someone around here who has a human experience to share.

Fine. Be careful. And? Wait. Is this going out? Ah. You inbred excuse for an engineer. We were supposed to go to commercials!!! You ape!!!

-- .. --

Samson. Because you deserve to be strong and wild!

-- .. --

This is Capitol Radio One with Freddie Strürm. And my what a speech the cardinal just gave. If I where Alakahi, I’d be very scared right now.

“Judgement is coming. The End is coming.” But more of that later.

Sean D’Armatto has found someone to talk to. Sean. Come in.

Yes, this is Sean D’Armatto just inside of Easy Dead. I am talking to Sandra Tang, a former Major of the AFC, but now a pathfinder for the Doomtroopers.

Nice of you to take time talking to us, Major. Care tell me about your mission here today.

Right now I’m waiting for the regular troops to finish off these counterattacks. Then I will evaluate if this breach is suitable for the insertion of Doomtroopers.

That’s why they call you a pathfinder, right? Right. Right. So, Major. What do you think…

-- .. --

Sean? Sean? Seems that we lost contact with Sean D’Armatto. Sean? Sean? We’ll be back with more of the war after this.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE REPORTS FROM THE FRONT!
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Christian Jorgensen
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I'm enjoying this, you have captured the feeling of the universe quite nicely. Please say there is more.
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Banichi wrote:
I'm enjoying this, you have captured the feeling of the universe quite nicely. Please say there is more.


I'm glad you are enjoying them but I did not wrote them, I am just post them here from the KS campaign.
The stories are made by Swedish novelist, Anders Fager.

I'm just recompiling them here to show the people how deep is the lore of this game and how great stories can come from it.
Aaaaaand yes, there is more!
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THE EASY AND THE DEAD
This is Capitol Radio One with Freddie Strürm an the latest news. Inside Alakahi’s Citadel our troops are in command of most of the outer walls and several breaches have been made into the actual citadel. Reports are coming in of countless legionaries, alien machinery and halls big enough to drive whole companies of tanks in, which seem to be what we are doing at the moment. Driving tanks into the actual citadel.

In other news: superstar actress Saphhire Suzi is coming to Venus to work as a volunteer at one of the many hospitals here in Volksburg. Some shot up troopers will thank their lucky stars.

-- .. --

This is Sean D’Armatto for Capital Radio One. And I’m inside the citadel. It huge. It staggers the imagination. And yes, Bauhaus tank roll past me. Inside the citadel.

Glad to hear from you again, Sean. Have you recovered from you date with the Ezoghoul?

We decided to part as friends. Then some Mishima walkers tore it to shreds. Hand to hand or rather claw to mechanical grappling thing. It was. There is so much I’ve seen these last week that I need to. Well. Forget about. But never mind.

You had someone to interview?

I have IDF general Fergan here with me. Thanks for giving us time General, what can you tell me about those Dark Legion attacks on your sector?

We have slaughtered thousands of them in just the last hours. Unfortunately we will soon be out of ammunition. But Alakahi doesn't seem to run out of legionaries. I suggest that you civilians get out of here while you still can.

That is great advice, General. But I have gone full immersive on this trip. I even have my own rifle now.

-- .. --

This is Capitol Radio One with Freddie Strürm. It is official. The Doomtroopers are going in. Hello Alakhai, you have visitors! The Doomtroopers are going in and Capital Combat Radio One told you first. Sean?...

-- .. --
When my baby put his boots and his uniform on this morning
--- My baby left

He had that sad, sad look on his face

---- On a dark crusade

I know there was no point in asking “when will you be back?”

--- My baby left

Because I, I already knew the answer

--- On a dark crusade

He said you know, honey, honey, honey, fighting the forces the dark legion is no 9 to 5 gig and you knew that when we met

--- My baby left

They say dating a Doomtrooper is a short sweet thing. We don’t last long. But we love like forever

--- On a dark crusade

---- My baby left

---- On a dark crusade

STAY TUNED FOR THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE FRONT ON VENUS!
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The easy and the dead

GOOD AFTERNOON, WASTED VENUS!!! This is Freddie Stürm and Capitol Radio One! Coming to you to help you fight your way through the day. And we have the latest from the Citadel. The Doomtroopers are marching through the breaches. Thousands and thousands of them! The end is near for Alakhai and you heard it first here. Yes, demon prince, payback is a bitch. But to prove that we at Capitol Radio One have room for everybody, here it is for you, Alakhai. Join the dance on your grave.

“My baby left on a dark crusade” with Baaaad Kitty!!!

-- .. --

This is Sean D’Armatto from darkness. Live. And alive, I think. I have no idea where I am. Or how long I have been out.

Sean! Sean! You are alive! And live on the air! Boy, we did you obituary yesterday evening. You would have liked it. Mentioned your five-time MVP and all that. And.

Shut up Freddie. I will not last long. Next time you do the obituary mention that I fell in battle. Together with the 9th Eire Infantry. Great guys. Very hairy Imperials. Funny, I never thought my last meal would be canned “colcannon”. Mashed potatoes with cabbage in it. Ever even heard of it?

No, Sean. Never. But well try it together. Ok? We’ll get someone to find you, Sean. You just hang in there.

There's no point. My transmitter is in better shape than me. It is dark and there is rain falling and there is so much pain that I can not feel it anymore. It feels like my whole body has been torn apart. I'm just numb.

How about the rest of the unit?

Don’t be an idiot. There is no unit left. That is how things are done here. We lost.

Or your buddy? Major Tang? The doomtrooper?

Forget about her. She is busy killing things somewhere. This is war. Not some action movie. It is getting even darker. I can see huge shadows. They are moving. Or is it? No? Oh, no!!! GET AWAY FROM ME!!!

Sean? Sean?

Sean cannot come to the microphone right now. Sean is busy transforming. He would very much like you all to join him. Come here and transform.

Sean?

Sean is joining the Dark Legion. It does hurt a bit first, but then. The glory of the Dark Symmetry!

GET THAT THING OF THE AIR!!!

You will soon scream just like Sean.

This is Frankie Stürm for Capitol Radio One. To any one hearing this, please help me help an old friend. Fire anything and everything you got at the station I am talking to. Triangulate it or whatever it is called and just waste it. Fire everything.

Everything.

-- .. --

...IS THIS ON? OH YES! STAY TUNED FOR MORE FROM THE FRONT ON VENUS!
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Alexandre Dupuis
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Poor Sean...
The Siege of a Dark Legion Citadel is a costly thing.

Glad to read that Modiphius would do a fig of him.
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Hehe, yes poor Sean...

If you liked the short stories, this is going to be great news for everybody.
Backing the game, every backer will receive a pdf with a novella from Anders Fager following the story of Sean D'Armatto!!!

Deep in to the bowels of the Citadel where he'll encounter Major Tang and the rest of the heroes of the Siege of the Citadel!
 
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A new story from Anders Fager; this time following Major Tang (yes both stories will converge) and we're going to find out a bit more about her

MAJOR TANG DIARIES

Tang Diaries “WAKE UP VENUS!!!!” the AM radio screamed.

“Been up all night”, someone yelled back at it. Was it Satu? “

This is Capitol Radio One! With Freddie Strürm!!”

“Good morning, Sturm. Slept well?” It was Satu. ”Over here we have had eight attacks or was it nine? I kind of forget when I have this much fun. This is like my best vacation ever!”

“Cut it, Satu.” Tang snapped. ”We are trying to sleep here!”

“Sorry, mam. I thought since we have this noisy apocalyptic war all around us you would not mind.”

“I do mind. Your yelling is irritating.”

“And the shooting is not irritating?”

“No one is shooting at me at the moment. Then it is not my concern.”

“Shut it, both of you”, Maxine growled. Satu went back to staring into the trench periscope. Tang rolled over. The ground was just as hard. She had been dreaming something. Hadn’t she? About her mother. Of all things you dream about in a trench. Evangeline Tang of San Dorado.

It had fallen on her to go through her mother’s things after she died. Her father was long dead and her twin brothers were both away. Mark was in Mundsburg on Venus. Leon was just away. Sandra Tang was in between wars and recovering from almost being blown to bits. There had been this clandestine raid on Phobos and Tang had gotten real close and personal with a Preetorian Stalker and when the thing died it blew up. Half a meter away from Tang, showering her in acid blood and shards of metal skin. She remembered walking back to the medical craft more or less under her own power. Satu and Watts were there, and some other Doomtroopers. They where all falling back. Mission accomplished and Sandra Tang was on almost on fire and had spiky metal bits sticking out of her armour and her face. The Stalker’s first blow had shattered her helmet exposing her head.

She was somehow glad that mom did not get to see her before she died. Sandra had written her a letter that she had been hurt but was recovering. She did not mention that she was recovering in San Dorado. Van Giles Veteran Hospital was perhaps five klicks from the old neighbourhood. But Sandra Tang did not want her mother to see her wrapped up in bandages. Or worse, see her after the bandages came off. Sandra had never been pretty. Getting most of her hair burnt away for good along with three hundred and twenty-five stitches in just her face did not improve things. She quickly got good at joking when people stared. “You should see the other guy.” Stuff like that. Evangeline Tang would not have approved. She never had much humour. And she did not approve of jokes about serious things. But now she was dead. In her sleep. She went to bed after a nice evening with some friends and never awoke again. It sounded like a pretty nice way to go.

Back on Venus. In real life someone is going all in Deathlockdrum on somebody closer to the citadel. Someone nearby is snoring. Sandra Tang moves a bit again. Away from a rock or something that was working its way though her armour. Sleeping on the ground had certainly lost its charm.

Mother’s stuff. Tang had called in some movers to get the furniture and the saleable, stuff. She just had to sort it through the private things first. Make sure there were no scandals hidden away. Or signs of corruption. Did she even think that? That mom hade been tempted by the dark symmetry? Ridiculous. She was more looking for love letters, medical records, private stuff like that, things you don’t want the movers to go through.

More shooting nearby. They were not even committed to battle yet. But they were still attacked. It was as if the Dark Legion could smell them out. And they came at the Doomtroopers for no other reason than to wear them down. Alakahi’s willingness to sacrifice thousands of legionaries just to keep people like Sandra Tang busy and awake was a measure of how much he feared them.

Mom had her bills in order. Her bank, insurance and pension papers where all in one binder. She kept a shoebox for each one of her kids. One for Mark and one for Leon and one for little Sandra. Tang left the twins boxes for them to go through and browsed through old school reports, an essay from third grade about how much she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. Because she liked to help people. There was nothing there about her dreaming of becoming even a regular soldier. The Tangs kept out of wars. Got educated and kept their middle class jobs without making much fuss.

The letter she had written about her being wounded was of course there. Together with the other short and non-committal letters she had written through the years. “I am there doing that.” “Commissioned to.” “Asked by the Brotherhood to join the Doomtroopers.” The greatest honour for any soldier of humankind. And Sandra Tang made it sound as exciting as if she been asked to try a new diet for a couple of weeks.

Evangeline Tang thought it was stupid of her to sign up in the fist place. Never mind that Sandra said that the mustering out bonus would take her through medical school and that she did not apply for a combat assignment.

“And if you get hurt on some stupid rock out in space”, mom said. “Don’t call for me. Even if you are dying. No one should ever hear Evangeline Tang’s daughter call out for mommy.”

The Deathlockdrum went silent. Someone laughed. There were someone screaming his head of out in no mans land. Further away the battle went on, a constant thunderclap.

Sandra Tang rolled over again. Another rock found another gap between two armour plates in her back. She had to get one of those portable camping beds they had used back at the TOC. Before she got picked for this. Damn dignity. She was old. She wanted a camping bed. And she knew none of the youngsters would dare challenge her on it. Because the joke was true. She knew that newcomers where told that. Major Tang looks scary, pulling a Preatorian Stalker apart by hand does stuff to your complexion.

“You should see the other guy.”

The youngsters would not mind her getting one of those beds. Sandra Tang drifted. Almost asleep. She was there again. On Phobos with her face in shreds. The heat of the explosion still in the air.

“Tang!”, someone had called out. “Are you ok?”

She had turned against the voice. Still in shock from being alive, from surviving the blast, from ripping the Praetorian open. She still held its gut in her hands.

“Do I look anything like ok?”

“No. But you are alive.”

“So I’ve noticed.”

She did not scream for help. She did not plea to be rescued. She stood there riding with the pain. She dropped the intestine.

“Someone help Major Tang”, it was Watts. “Ali! Help her to the med craft.”

She would not die. Tang knew that after a few steps. If she held on to Ali’s arm she would be ok. All she had to worry about was to keep herself together. She would not cry for her mother. She did not say much at all.

On Venus the Deathlockdrum opened up again. Tang fell asleep again.
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Tang Diaries II

“This I stupid”, Satu said as they moved down another corridor.

“Stupid?”

“Yes. Stupid, mam.”

Major Sandra Tang stopped. In front of her the narrow corridor went on, as far as the eye could see. When she looked back over Satu it went on forever as well. Didn’t they turn a corner a while back? Like fifty or sixty steps back? There was nothing living or dead in sight. No doors or intersections.

“We have walked into a trap”, she said. There was no fear in the statement. Just a matter of fact. Satu looked just as concerned.

“Just you and I, mam?”

“Seems like that.”

“Even more stupid.”

Tang nodded. She and Satu where to experienced, to old at this to just walk into a trap. And lose the rest of the platoon. There had been forty troopers following her. Forty armed to the teeth doomtroopers just don’t disappear like that. She looked forward again. The corridor was to long. Too straight.

“If you say anything about “the best vacation ever” I’m killing you”, she said.

“What about freedom of speech?”

“An outdated romantic notion”, Tang said looking back over Satu’s shoulder. There was pipes running along the ceiling. Lightbulbs in little steel mesh baskets every five meters. If she stretched out her arms she could reach both the corridor’s walls. The place looked remarkably not evil. Tang was about to say that to Satu when the first enemies appeared. Twenty steps away and straight out of thin air. They where big ones. Centurions. The ones behind Satu had big meat-cleaver like swords. The ones behind her got shot by Satu firing single shots from the hip. She sidestepped him and went for the first centurion, sword, revving up. It smiled one of those idiot smiles she had seen a lot over the years. Seconds ago it thought it was the scariest, most bad ass thing in the solar system. Now it saw death coming and smiled at how wrong it had been. If Tang hade not slammed its sword aside and gutted it, it would probably been a bit embarrassed. There was a lot of scary things in the solar system. And one of them was Sandra Tang. She rammed the sword through the centurion’s chest and straight into the chest of the centurion behind it. And the one behind that one. They screamed a lot as they staggered backwards. Tang thought of that Mishima dish with the little pieces of meat on a stick. She liked that one, she thought while twisting hard to get the dying monsters of the sword. The closest one clawed at her arm. Then they all slid of the sword, chests ripped open and staggering and falling at the feet of the centurions behind. They where four or five more. Behind her Satu was firing very short bursts. The second or so between each burst was the time it took for the just dead target to topple and expose the next target. There was no one firing at them.

The next centurion in line stopped a few steps away. Sizing her up. She was as big as him. And she had the longer sword. He hesitated. Tang pulled out her pistol and shot it in the face. And the next one and the next. The last centurion actually took a step backwards before she shot him. Or her. It was hard to tell on a lot of them. Tang smiled at it. Then it died all the same in a spray of black blood.

She powered her sword down. The corridor went silent. Nothing and nobody moved.

“That was strange”, Satu said after a while.

“Where did they come from, mam?”

“Thin air?”

“Considering how long the corridor is, why did they not snipe at us from the end of it?”

“Because they want us alive?”

“Flattering, mam.”

“The things some guys do to get a date.”

Satu changed cassette. Tang could tell from the little metal sounds exactly what he was doing.

“You date a lot, major?”

“What kind of question is that?”

“Just trying to get the person I’m stuck with in an seemingly endless alley a bit better.”

“I have not dated in years.”

“Any hobbies?”

“Shut up.”

Tang looked down both ends of the corridor. Piping. Little steel mesh baskets. On and on and on they went. She stepped over the bodies. Put her boot down hard on a hand that twitched. The walls looked the same. Piping. No secret doors. No hatch in the ceiling. She walked back to Satu who had been looking the other way all the time. Stood with her back to his.

“Alley?” she asked.

“Alley.”

“What kind of alley?”

“What kind of question is that?”

“Answer me”, Tang said with that little extra edge in her voice.

“It reminds me of a place on Luna. When I was a kid. I took a shortcut on my way home from school though these alleys. They were dark and like a ravine and I could see the sky high up.”

“Do you see the pipes?”

“What kind of question?” Tang fell silent for a second. She could feel him moving his head. Looking for pipes. “What pipes?”

“There are pipes in the ceiling. And along the walls.”

Tang thought she stretch out her hand and touch the pipes. But decided not.

“I can not even see the ceiling. There are a few small lights high up. Can’t really tell how high up. It is those lights that remind me of Luna.”

“I see a corridor that looks a lot like the sub-basement on Happy Monday Street. Apartment block B.” Tang lowered her voice. ”In San Dorado. Where my family lived until I was five or six.”

“It had pipes in the ceiling?”

“A lot of pipes.”

They stood silent for little while. Breathing slowly and trying to remember if they had ever heard of something similar. The collective doomtrooper experience did not include childhood basements.

“We are already captured”, Satu whispered.

“Alive.”

“Yes, mam. Some dark symmetry mind game.”

Tang took some deep breaths. Forced herself to sharpen up. She would not be captured. Never. She had the complimentary cyanide capsule in one of her molars. But not yet. Not for a long while.

“Lets figure out how this works”, she said. “And make whomever responsible regret this for the rest of its unnatural life.”

“I’m with you. Mam.”
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