Story:The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k section11

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Section 11: The Last Solar Bastion: TitanEdit

When Terra fell, spewing warp stuff and corrupted fleets of pilgrims out from it in all directions, many worlds were unprepared. Luna was suddenly struck by millions upon millions of wild-eyed maniacs, who crashed their very captured transports into the Luna fortress, which was unprepared for an attack from Terra itself.

Many of the other Imperial emplacements, built upon asteroids and various other celestial bodies within the solar system, were overwhelmed by the insane screaming daemons, which invaded the vox traffic of the entire Solar system. These facilities collapsed, as their now-insane human workers and rulers opened airlocks, ruptured plasma drives, and generally fought each other with broken, bloodied nails, and improvised cudgels.

Hevan Forris, the Ramillies class star fort orbiting Sedna, plunged into the icy planetoid, killing everyone on the planet and the fortress. 

Desperate fleets of evacuated officials and dignitaries escaped on requisitioned transports and embattled troop transports and grain-ships. The Ecclesiarch, flanked by an entire Lesser Order of Sisters of Battle, captured the Cruiser Lestat, for himself and his nearest clergy, before his new vessel led the retreat out of Terra, leading over a hundred thousand rag tag ships from the cradle of mankind. A single Imperial Fists Thunderhawk was said to have escaped too, docking with a fleeing bulk freighter. The Astartes aboard had been given a simple order by their Captain, which they were to told to reiterate to any and all Imperial fists and fists successors then could find. The message was simple: dig in.

While all Solar turned to insanity, the Grey Knights took a different path. They instantly, as soon as Terra fell, shut off all vox transmissions, and refused to respond to any hails, believing that the daemons could infest Titan even through electrical signals. The vast wave of psychic madness, that pulsed from Terra in sickening waves, rebounded from Titan, like water breaking around an ocean bulwark. This precious sanity allowed the vast number of human personnel living upon Titan, to organise defence against the marauding, insane former pilgrims, who threw themselves upon any worlds they could find. Their ships were blasted from the sky systematically, by the vast automatic guns of Titan. Ancient weapons, deep beneath the surface, bubbled upwards from the methane lakes of titan, shooting down anything that the psychic Grey Knights believed was corrupted.

When the vast ship bearing the Custodes entered Titan's orbit, it too was nearly shot down by Titan's deadly defences, even the ancient Cassini device, the vast spidery construct that it was, powered up its utterly lethal plasma lance, and trained it upon the wayward vessel.

The Grey Knights of course ordered them to all stand down, when the two Grand masters present upon the moon detected the golden, perfect light of the Adeptus Custodes aboard the vessel. Once the Custodes were safely landed upon the freezing planetoid, the chief Custodian marched directly to the central fortress of Titan, and demanded to speak with the Grand Masters in private. The meeting lasted for several days. Nobody knows what was said between the two forces. Secrets were exchanged between the two ancient organisations, secrets accumulated by both institutions over the course of many millennia of service, and plans were drawn up. Eventually, they emerged, and the defence could begin in earnest.

Fortunately for Titan, the Inquisitorial forces around the rest of Saturn and Jupiter's moons, had also managed to somehow avoid annihilation, and they flocked to the most defensible world; Titan itself. The Inquisitors met with the Custodes and Astartes leadership, and they agreed on methods of defence. Vast galleries beneath Titan, were cleared of ancient relics, devotional artefacts and tapestries, and the Inquisitors brought all the fusion powered lamps and artificial lighting they could muster from their own bases, and installed them as quickly as possible. The Ordo Xenos brought with them cultures for rapid plant and microbial growth, and special species of flora, which could survive on heat and light alone, and under the heavy lights, they were implanted into these vast, multiple mile long halls, which soon began to seethe with succulent, life-sustaining material.

The Ordo Hereticus that remained around the Solar system, brought with them all their psychopathic cyborgs, from chrono gladiators to Arco flagellants, from penitent engines, to the colossal excruciating machines, tower-sized machines of gears and chains, which constantly tortured heretical psykers within their workings, sending out waves of warding protection and powerful anti-psyker energies.

Malus brought all the various forbidden tomes it could salvage from the ruins of the data repositories, along with all the null rods and various anti-daemon weapons and devices they could pull from the besieged ruins. The entire first edition of the Grimoire of true names was brought to Titan, bound in heavy chains, and carried by a veritable army of loyal cultists, such was its vast size. There, it was safely stored within the central bastion, under heavy guard. Every name of every daemon thus far encountered by the Imperium, was stored within that most mighty of tomes.

The devotional and holy relics, cleared from the underground areas, were placed into the upper halls. It was said one could not turn their head, without seeing a beautiful image of the Emperor, or great gilded statues, which glimmered with psychic resonance. 

Battlefield engineers, and the scant few Techpriests upon Titan, began to plan and devise the extra fortification of Titan. Bunker construction instructions, cultivated from Cadia and other such heavily fortified worlds, were taken out and implemented. Overlapping avenues of fire and perfectly positioned bunkers and trench works, were bored into the surface of Titan, by the countless millions of toiling humans and Astartes upon the world. Several Imperial Fist Deathwatch, under the instructions of the Ordo Xenos Inquisitors, advised and helped with the fortifications, ensuring they were impregnable and immortal. 

Soon, these defences were put to the test. A vast greater daemon, Valchocht the Maker, led a vast surge of daemons from the daemon world of Terra. Huge daemon engines and vessels were built from the mutated and semi-sentient ruins of Terra. Ships made from masonry and fallen fragments of Old Terra, were fused together by daemonflesh, which formed unnatural ribs, tentacles and snouts, which pulsed and writhed throughout the daemonic structures. These ruin-ships were alive with demonic hatred, and crawled with billions of demonic beasts, which scuttled through the orifice-like passages of the vessels like lice.

The fleet spread across the Solar System, killing all those humans who evaded initial extermination up until then. Eventually, only Titan remained. The aura of psychic defence around Titan was immense, and it shone, as if in imitation of the now-extinct Astronomicon itself. Daemon vessels howled as they entered the halo of unseen magical wards and psychic barriers. Some of the ruin-ships came apart at that moment, as the daemon princes powering their central cores were weakened so much, they were banished from reality almost instantly. Of course, the majority were far too powerful to simply die, and they barreled through regardless. Many more of the weakened daemon ships were destroyed by the ancient Cassini device and the other defence satellites, that blasted heir ruins to ash, under the barrage of lasers and blinding flashes of the deadly plasma lance of the Cassini, which shimmered from the device's vast hyperbolic mirror projector.

Yet still, many of the demonically possessed structures managed to evade destruction, and entered the dense orange atmosphere of Titan. The defence lasers and atomic rail guns of Titan, spewed death into the hateful beasts. Nevertheless, the beasts were not of mortal matter, and the ruined vessels crashed, allowing their demonic cargo to drag themselves from the wreckage, and flood towards the stout defenders. The holy ground of Titan burned the daemons, as they swarmed across the hallowed lands. The human defenders were embattled, and many of them died, torn apart or burned by the abhorrent monstrosities, which howled and screamed in delight and agony. However, ever single defender of Titan wielded blessed weapons, anointed and thrice blessed with holy oils and wards glinting with brilliant holy sheen. Lasguns spat death, the physical light of the beams merging with the spiritual light, which poured from the defenders themselves. The blazing furnace of insane piety produced by the defenders filled the daemons with agony and vaporising pain. The humans of titan believed they were the last humans in all the universe. They would NOT die, they cursed with their upraised voices, until their lungs were raw and bloody. They did not fear, but instead promised themselves to their own God. They must survive, and they would not be destroyed by this filth.

The Grey Knights, their blades blazing with white angel-light, waded amongst the daemons, hacking down the corrupt horrors with every swing of their blessed glaives. The Golden Custodian joined in battle with their silver counterparts. The custodians fought with the fury of madmen, tears streaming in their eyes, as they screamed in grief-turned-to-hatred. The chief custodian himself, engaged in battle with Valchocht itself. The titanic daemon was as large as a titan, formed from the fused hulks of a hundred dreadnoughts, a thousand tanks, and many thousands of cadavers, all animated by the beast's dreadful will. In place of its face, a terrible blasphemy was perpetrated. The husk of the Emperor, the dried out, dead husk, was fused with the daemon King. Of course, nothing of the Emperor resided within the corpse now, but the heresy was beyond comprehension.

The chief Custodian lost his mind, his righteous hatred overriding his conscious mind. He surged forwards, hacking aside everything in his way, and engaged in epic conflict with the abhorrence that wore the Emperor's face. The Custodian, mounting the countless bodies of the battle, scaled the daemon, battling every tendril, every talon, which it swung at him. He was a blur of golden light, hacking and slashing with furious abandon. 

The battle lasted three full days, as more and more Custodes and Grey Knights drew themselves towards the conflict. Silver armoured Grey Knights pumped gallons of blessed promethium onto the horrific colossus, as others charged its giant legs, hacking chunks from the monster with furious, frenzied hacks with their glaives, before pumping bolter rounds into the wounds.

The custodians joined them, stabbing and shooting at everything they could see of the horror. And, from deep beneath Titan's surface, ten dark figures joined the conflict, unseen by their colleagues.

At the height of the battle, the Chief Custodian was devoured whole, the vast jaws of the Greater Daemon opening to engulf him, even as he roared defiance. The battle drew on for another day, as every spare defender turned their weapons upon the abomination. Brother Captain Stern, wielding his force sword in two hands, managed to hack the Emperor's shriveled corpse free of the daemon, and it was borne away by sobbing priests and hissing, angry Inquisitors.

On the seventh day, the daemon shuddered, and then collapsed, dead and banished. The defenders were baffled by this, until, a few hours later, the Chief Custodian cut his way free. Drenched in black daemon blood, and with his armour buckled and broken, he raised his left hand, from which dangled the putrid heart of the daemon King.

The daemons wailed in misery and fury, but still they came, the warp stuff spilling over itself, so eager was it to harm, maim and slaughter their ancient foes. The daemons were just as driven as the defenders. If they could destroy Titan, they need never fear banishment by them ever again.

The war drew on, and many died, as the air was alive with fire, blood and endless, deafening screams. On one corner of titan, a group of Terminators began to sing their litanies of hate, their holy battle hymn, which would unleash their faith in one grand torrent. However, the mundane humans, and the Custodes, and even the inquisitors, began to join in, even as the battle dragged on. They did not, however, unleash their furious wrath upon completing the hymn, but instead merely began to chant and repeat it, over and over. Through word of mouth and overhearing, the hymn passed across all of Titan, until it was as if the whole world was chanting the litanies as one. Though the words were gotten wrong by many of the distant humans, the feeling was the same all over: Titan was theirs, and no other's. The whole world seemed incandescent, glowing with brilliant white light, until, after a full day of chanting, the psychic holocaust of Titan was unleashed. It pulsed once, a single wave of psychic magnificence, which rippled across all Titan, and out into the space beyond Titan's orbit. For a brief instance, it was as if Solar had gained a smaller twin of itself, as all Titan flickered once, with this brilliant light, before it eventually faded to nothing once more.

Thus ended the first siege of Titan.

The defenders dug in again, and for another hundred years, they fought off further daemonic attacks, until they stopped entirely, on the dawn of the forty third millennium. This was because of the great beast, which has arisen on the red planet. The Void Dragon's Necron Fleets, and corrupted Mechanicum Vessels, surged from Mars, securing all of the solar system, bar Terra and, inevitably, Titan.

Over the years, Titan had become almost intolerable to live upon. The nutrient rich gruel, formed from the cultures of mulch supplied by the Ordo Xenos, centuries past, was often stagnant, or otherwise tightly rationed. The human forces upon Titan, though loyal and zealous as they had ever been, began to succumb to their own mortal frailties. Diseases were common, and the only defenders that seemed immune to this rot and degradation were the Custodes and the Grey Knights. They gave the defenders hope. No matter the horrors of existence, humanity would survive, under the benevolent watch of the immortals. The Custodes wasted no time, and bound the Emperor's ruined corpse in scented bandages and silks and other fabrics. Upon his face, a perfect likeness of the Emperor's original visage, realised in gold, was placed over his rotten mess of a real face, and the remaining fragments of his old armour were placed upon him. A perfect golden throne was built for the corpse, and placed in plain sight, upon the very highest ramparts of the central bastion, as a symbol of humanity's will to survive, and will to remake their god, for as long as they lived, the Emperor could never die.

It was in 666.M43, that the Void Dragon's armies of Necrons and deluded Dragon Cultists assaulted Titan for the first time. The advanced fleets of the Machine God ascendant, battled the extensive orbital defences of Titan for a full three weeks, eventually smashing and destroying each of the starships, orbital gun platforms, and star forts, which orbited the freezing moon. Even the great Cassini, a device said to have been wrought by the first-era humans, long before even the golden age, fell, blown apart by the lethal energies of the Dracolyr-Class tomb ships, the largest kind of tomb ship ever made by the Dragon. The heavily armoured defence guns, however, could not be overcome by mere naval war. They were too well defended, even for the tomb ships.

The corrupted Mechanicus vessels, eager to curry favour with their God, unleashed the most dread weapon the Imperium could ever deploy: exterminatus. Thus, the vast bombs, filled with the black clouds of the life eater virus, fell upon the planetoid. However, the Mechanicus, in their naïve arrogance, forgot who had designed Titan's defences. The Emperor's Inquisitors had been employing exterminatus upon countless worlds for well over ten thousand years. In that time, of course they had devised a means to defeat it, in the event of viral assault upon Inquisitorial worlds. As soon as the billowing clouds of death began to roll across the endless trench systems of Titan, great vents ground open, across the entire surface of Titan. These devices sucked the heinous fog of un-life down massive underground vents, drawing the vile substance, like pus from a gangrenous wound, deep down, dumping the mixture into the blazing core of Titan itself, burning the virus into damnation.

Titan refused to be poisoned, like a petty political rival to a High Lord. This was a warrior world, and it would fight.

The Necrons had to land. Myriad were the technological marvels the Dragon unleashed upon Titan, from molten Necrons that could not be harmed by any heat weapons, to the primarch-sized 'Thunder God' Necron constructs, which pulsed with great arcs of lethal electrical power permanently, to vast mechanical swarms of faceless beings, that could drag the souls from the body, and annihilate them utterly. Yet, the Necrons could never teleport within the psychically defended central fortifications, and thus, the Titanians could not be dislodged so easily. The cold steel cage of faith and military determination, managed to prevail, just, against the wonders of the Necron horde.

The Dragon determined that, since he should not have Titan, none would ever leave it. Every ship upon Titan was destroyed, and every space port or even runway, was blasted with azure energies, until they were naught but molten slag.

The Dragon prepared to unleash apocalypse upon the trapped Titan. However, fortune came from a strange place. Abaddon, by chance, had plunged into the Solar System, and had encountered the void dragon. Thus, the war which ensued, saved Titan from a cowardly murder by the Dragon. Of course, the wars against the Necrons never stopped, but never again did the Dragon contemplate blowing titan to pieces. He had greater concerns.

While they had survived, Titan's valiant and unbreakable defenders still suffered. The toxic fumes of war, combined with the increasingly less nourishing floral matter beneath the surface, and the punishing wars against abominations, took their toll upon the human defenders. Almost all of the mundane defenders of Titan were dead within a year, leaving only the Grey Knights and Custodes, alone and lonely, upon their small adamantine sphere of unbreakable strength. They carefully buried each and every mundane human, making their tombs each as grand as possible. The Chaplains of the Grey Knights, canonised every single fallen human, from infant to old woman, from frail ill boy, to vibrant, pious girls, each life miserably short. The Grey Knights memorised every face, every name, carving them into their flesh with the morbid determination they always did everything. They would avenge every death, one day. They promised that.


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Continued in Warhammer 60K: Age of Dusk