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Warhammer 40K: Destiny Online - Original

By Older_than_Time

Adventure / Scifi

Warhammer 40K: Destiny Online - Original

"Show me a fortress, and I'll show you a ruin."

Chapter 1 – Link Start: Astartes – Part 1

"…today's date is March 23rd, 2018 and thousands of gamers young and old are returning to their homes with Warhammer 40K: Destiny Online and their personal NERVE Gear. I've been told that the Astartes/Sororitas rumors have been confirmed and just two hundred NERVE Gear helmets, regardless of the edition you purchase, will have the Astartes – that is, the Space Marines – unlocked for Imperial and Chaos players. And just only one hundred helmets will have the Sororitas race unlocked for the Imperium. And I'm getting an update from Jenny who is on location at Akihiko Corp America in San Jose, California that Chaos players won't be able to play 'corrupted' Sororitas but have more Chaos Space Marine content, such as Traitor Legion Banners, the ability to gather large bands of Cultist NPCs, Chaos Marine NPCs and…oh, I'm not supposed to say anything else. We'll be moving to Jenny on location; take it away Jenny!"

Screen changes to show a pretty redhead smiling in a large convention room filled with people and Warhammer merchandise.

"Hey there Leslie, I'm here at Akihiko Corp America, San Jose, California and the convention room is packed. Over three hundred players, reporters and 40K fans are here to see some live-gameplay of Destiny Online, buy some wicked 40K gear and most of all, meet the design and development team of this phenomenal game. Over to my right are three life-sized Space Marines. From what I've been told, each are from a different clan of Astartes, called Chapters, or in one's case, a Traitor Legion. Going from left to right, these are an Ultramarine, a Grey Knight and a Black Legion Space Marine. And I-OH My GOD! Sorry, folks but it turns out that there are actual people beneath what I now know is a costume. (Jenny smacks the laughing Black Legion Astartes)."

Screen pans left, following Jenny as she walks over.

"And here on my left is the man who made this all possible Kayaba Akihiko! Hello Akihiko-san, can you tell me anything at all about Destiny Online that you feel our viewers at home should know before logging in tonight?"

Kayaba smirks…

"Well I'd just like to say that Destiny Online will be the ultimate experience in gaming history. The truly immense game world won't just be limited to Planet Ageria, but will span the entire Subsector Regulus. Subsector Regulus has five planets: Ageria, Orion, Cyrax, Dur and Cerberus. And I'd like to announce that for the first three months, all Imperium players will be restricted to Ageria, Eldar players to Cyrax and our Chaos players to the planet Cerberus on the other end of the Subsector. This will allow players to settle into the 40K Universe and really feel the separation of ideologies of Chaos, Eldar and the Imperium. After those first three months, I'll be revealing the two main methods of transport between the planets. There will be many more surprises in the days to come so be sure to log in on time so you won't miss out on the exciting world of Warhammer 40K: Destiny Online."

"And what about the established Astartes/Sororitas rumor? Any comments on that?"

"As we've stated earlier today, only two hundred NERVE Gear helmets will have the Space Marines and one hundred for the Sisters of Battle unlocked."

"But Akihiko-san…"

"Call me Kayaba, it's much easier."

"Kayaba. But doesn't that unbalance the game by having a whole race and set of classes exclusive to the Imperium?"

"You might say that, but in fact, the inclusion of Sororitas characters balances everything out. Remember that everyone in the 40K Universe can turn to the Chaos Gods. Adding to the fact that players have the choice to stay true to their initial alignments or turning to the other side, you have the chance to add whole new dimensions to the 40K Universe."

"But isn't a Sororitas falling to Chaos completely against the lore of Warhammer?"

"Not at all! Well, not really. According to my colleagues in Games Workshop, there has been only one case in the lore of a Sororitas turning to Chaos. And after several months of negotiation by Bioware and myself to give players that freedom of choice, Games Workshop has decided to allow Sororitas players to turn to Chaos."

"So players that want to play as a Chaos Sororitas have to first start off as an Imperial then turn to Chaos? Isn't that a little drawn out?"

"Yes, but sometimes the lengthy path to your goal makes the end more worthwhile."

"Well thank you for your comments, Kayaba. This is Jenny here at Akihiko Corp America, back to you Leslie!"

Screen fades out…

Warhammer 40K: DO had been out for a good three days and finally, James finally picked up his pre-ordered Silver edition of the VMMORPG.

"…ten…nine…eight…seven…six…"

He sits in his room staring at his clock, NERVE Gear helmet in place…

"Five…four…three…"

He saved so much money to buy the Silver edition and now after four years of waiting, the time had finally come for him to enter the grim dark future.

"Two…one…"

'Heh…I'm ready.'

"Link Start!"

His vision fades to black and he finds himself in a dark void. In front of him are two towering Astartes, one a Loyalist Ultramarine and the other a Traitor of the Black Legion. Above them is the shining logo for Destiny Online and he can faintly hear hymns sung by a choir echo through the void.

"Welcome to Warhammer 40K: Destiny Online. Would you like to begin?"

James inwardly cheers, saying "Yes". The Astartes disappear and a pillar of light appears.

"Step into the light so that the system may identify you for maximum interface."

Stepping in, James feels like a wave of heat surges down on him. The heat builds to a near unbearable level, but then it quickly ends. A console rises from the darkness. Seeing the instructions, James sets his screen name as [Revan] and luckily, it is accepted.

"Profile saved. Hello [Revan], you will soon step into the grim dark existence of the Warhammer Universe. The next phase is character creation. Are you [Male] or [Female]?"

James, or rather [Revan], chose [Male]. He didn't really see the attraction of playing as a girl…

"Next, [Race]. Are you [Human] or [Eldar]?"

Picking [Human], Revan is then presented by a mirror image of himself, clothed in plain brown pants. He's then presented with a bright, shining two-headed eagle cast in gold, an {Imperial Aguila] and a cast-iron, eight-pointed star, [Symbol of Chaos]. Not waiting to be asked, Revan quickly chooses the [Aguila] and is next presented by not three, but four classes to choose from! Arrayed around him are four version of himself. One wearing the flak armor of an [Imperial Guardsman], one in the red robes of a [Tech-Priest], a third wearing simple garments of [Citizen] and lastly, a towering [Astartes] in plain white armor.

'No…frakin'…way…'

Not even giving the voice time to speak, Revan chooses the [Astartes], practically giggling at his unbelievable luck. Stifling his glee, Revan remembers the voice is still speaking…

"…choose the Chapter in which you serve and your journey may begin."

Mildly confused about the lack of further instruction, Revan chooses his favorite Space Marine Chapter, the Blood Ravens. He watches in awe as his [Astartes] Character's armor takes on the coloring of the Blood Ravens. Suddenly, his counterpart's eyes open and Revan finds himself on the bridge of a ship of some sort…

"…rother Revan…Battle-Brother!"

'Huh? What the hell?'

Revan turns and sees an Astartes even taller than he is looking at him strangely. He marvels at the sheer detail of the character. The face and armor bear the scars of previous battles and he actually looks like a real person…if that person were a towering giant in power armor… Revan's vision blurs for a moment, then a HUD of all things appears before his eyes. A green outline appears around the Astartes, labeling him as an allied NPC named [Sergeant Tydus]. A small menu appears below his name with only a single dialogue option: [Acknowledge]: Answer [Tydus].

"Yes, Brother-Sergeant Tydus?"

[Sergeant Tydus] huffs and states,

"Brother, you are needed in the Armory. [Brother-Techmarine Julius] has finished repairing your sacred wargear."

Revan nods and heads off. His HUD has an incomplete mini-map of the area, a large destroyer labeled [The Wings of Orion]. Apparently this was a Blood Ravens' ship. On the mini-map was a small yellow ping. Figuring that it was where the Techmarine was, Revan navigated through the halls of the destroyer. Suddenly at an intersection, a box of text appeared.

[STOP! While you may know where your main objective is, it's in your best interests to explore the area! There are many possible hidden objectives in any closed area that can only be done at this time. Forgo these possible missions and you'll miss out on possible rewards.]

Revan nodded to himself whilst dismissing the text. It was sound advice and he headed to another section of the ship. Most of the doors where closed, but one open door let Revan into a small room with a single occupant, a Scout Marine labeled [Sergeant Miro]. Revan decided to talk to the sergeant.

"[Greet]: Sergeant Miro, greetings!"

The scout sergeant turned and acknowledged Revan.

"Greetings Brother. Are you in need of something?"

A dialogue menu opened. There were three options: [Goodbye], [Ask Rumor] and [Ask if in need of help]. He decided to see if the sergeant knew of any missions.

"Do you know of any strange talk amongst our brothers or the crew, Sergeant?"

"There has been talk of a rivalry between two initiates and Brother-Techmarine Julius has been having problems. Other than that, I'm not sure. Goodbye Brother."

The Sergeant returned to his desk and Revan was ejected gently into the hall. On his mini-map, two new pings appeared, this time white. One of them was in the same spot as his main mission. Heading to the other, he found himself witnessing a fight between two scout marines, or intiates as they're usually called. Both were outlined in white and an [Interfere] option was presented. Following through, Revan shoved himself between the two.

"By the Emperor brothers, calm yourselves! Explain yourselves!"

The two, now identified as [Initiate Anders] and [Initiate Fenris] backed away from each other and explained. Fenris had witnessed Anders exhibit psyker abilities on a previous mission and had told their sergeant of it. Anders, believing his abilities to be too weak to matter, confronted Fenris on multiple occasions. Revan was then presented with three options: [Side with Fenris], [Side with Anders] or [Leave them to their own devices].

'It's one of those moral choices Bioware is so famous for…damn…uh…I don't like Chaos and if Anders gets corrupted…'

"[Side with Fenris]: Anders, your psyker potential, no matter how insignificant, can endanger your brothers. Go see the Librarian so he may decide if you're in need of psyker training."

Anders looked angry but followed Revan's order. Fenris thanked him for his support and stated that he'd gladly follow Revan into battle as a battle-brother. A text box popped up just as Revan was leaving the room.

Congratulations! You gained Devoutness to the Imperium. Devoutness is a value that helps you resist Chaotic influences. The greater your Devoutness, the less Chaotic abilities affect you! At max Devotion, you can shrug off any morale damaging effects. Sufficient Devotion also allows you to gain morale from nearby [Imperial Aguilas] and equip special accessories such as [Seals of Purity].

Congratulations! You've gained the support of an important NPC. Certain NPCs can help or hinder you in future missions. By gaining their support, new options and routes may be accessed. However, also by earning another's ire, you may have made an enemy that could alter your mission in the future. Be careful and make sure you consider the consequences of your choices!

'Huh…so I've possibly pissed off a future psyker…great…'

Shrugging, Revan explored more of the ship, completing three additional side missions, [Deliver a Message], [Find a Missing Item] and [Pray to the Emperor]. From these, he gained access to 1x[Inventory Slot], 5x[Imperial Credits] and a bit more Devoutness to his [Devotion Meter]. He finally came to the Armory where [Techmarine Julius] was waiting.

"An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded."

Chapter 3 – Link Start: Astartes – Part 2.

"[Greet]: Brother Julius, you have finished repairing my wargear?"

[Julius] turned to him.

"Indeed brother. I also have your other weapons your helm. You put them through many trials on your last mission.

[Julius] held out a metal box that Revan took. Suddenly a text box appeared.

You've received 1x[Bolter]. You unlocked the [Toggle Helmet Option] and the default wargear. By default, your [Astartes] has basic power armor, an optional helmet, a basic bolt gun and a combat knife. Your default weapons level proportionately to your weapon skills. Purchasable wargear can only be equipped after you meet the requirements indicated in the wargear description.

A new menu appeared, the [Equipment Menu]. In it a small picture of him in his default power armor. To the side was a bunch of empty boxes signifying the lack of equipped wargear. Figuring it out, Revan equipped the [Bolter] as his main weapon. He also noticed a little script below his character…

You can switch to your default wargear at any time. Doing so does not unequip your current main weapon. You can quickly switch between your main and default weapons at any time by merely drawing your combat knife from your back-right hip. Your bolt gun is situated on your left thigh and can be drawn while your main weapon is still out. Doing so renders you main weapon unusable unless you have a [One-Handed Melee Weapon] equipped.

Sighing, Revan wondered if there was a manual or something. Deciding to see if there was he stated,

"Open [Manual]"

…nothing happened.

"Open [Skill Menu]?"

Another window replaced the [Equipment Menu]. Labeled the [Skill Menu], Revan found that he had four default [Skills] and three [Secondary Skill] slots. His default [Skills] were [Power Armor Expertise], [Ranged Expertise], [Melee Expertise] and [Leadership]. His [Secondary Skill] slots were empty, presumably to allow him to learn new [Skills] later. Examining his default [Skills], Revan found that as he progressed and became more proficient in each skill, certain wargear were able to be equipped and special buffs were rewarded.

One example was the [Power Armor Expertise]. There were four levels of skill for it: Basic, Superior, Relic and Artifact. Currently he rated at Basic, but if he reached Superior he could not only wear Superior level power armor, he also gained the [Conditioning] buff. [Conditioning] let him reduce the weight of any power armor her wore to zero, allowing him to carry more or heavier items with little fuss.

Another example was for [Leadership], which had five ranks: Marine, Sergeant, Veteran Sergeant, Captain and Honor Guard. At the Marine rank, he could only fight solo and order around certain squads during special times. The Sergeant rank let him use four Marines that were under his command at any time but Veteran Sergeant let him recruit certain NPCs to become [Astartes] themselves, provided he has a [Techmarine] and [Apothecary] in his ranks from special missions. At Captain rank he could recruit other players to become Space Marines as long as they aren't already specialized…and as long as they're human… And Honor Guard…damn, that rank let him advance his space marine followers to unique ranks like Techmarine, Apothecary and even Chaplain!

'…I'm so putting all I got into [Leadership]…'

Nodding, Revan turned his attention back to the Techmarine.

"I suggest you head down to the hangar bay, brother. Soon, we'll be over Ageria."

Seeing that all dialogue options had ended, Revan glanced around the Armory. There were several wargear displayed on the walls, some outlined in yellow by his HUD. Walking over to the [Heavy Bolter], he closely examined the information box that appeared, disregarding the description; he was more interested in the [Skill] information. He was curious on when he'd be able to use such a badass weapon…

[Heavy Bolter] Requirements:

[Ranged Expertise]: Bolter – [Superior], Unlock [Suppressive Fire].

Slightly confused, Revan sort of…tapped the [Suppressive Fire] box and was rewarded with an explanation.

After gaining a level of [Experience] for a particular [Skill] or completing certain missions, you may be rewarded with an [Ability] or a buff. [Suppressive Fire] can be unlocked by completing the [Defense of the Initiate] mission.

'So I can gain [Abilites]…I wonder if my [Secondary Skills] will provide some [Abilities] as well…'

Revan examined the other wargear, seeing the other possible weapons and armor he could use in the future. Filing the information about the [Chainsword], [Relic] level wargear, and [Jump Packs] away for later, he headed out. He was gonna find as many side missions as possible…

…sadly he found none and had basically been herded to the Hangar chasing down the various rumors he found. So far he had merely located a few hidden items; 100x[Imperial Credits], [Sergeant Miro's Knife] and 1x[Locked Box]. He had gone straight to where [Sergeant Miro] had been before but found the scout marine absent. Asking the various NPCs had led Revan to the Hangar; more specifically, the deck's [Drop Pod] Launch Bay. Looking around, he spotted the sergeant standing by some initiates.

He made his way over and presented [Miro] with his knife and was rewarded with the 'Support gained!' text box again. So apparently, he had some support from two characters now.

"…rothers of the 7th Company! I, Captain Aegis, ask that you lend me your ears!"

Revan glanced up and noticed various speakers arrayed along the walls and ceiling. So the voice was coming from the 'vox'…

"Brothers, we have arrived over our recently acquired recruiting world of Ageria in Subsector Regulus. Over 3 months ago, we of the 7th Company were ordered to scout the planets at the behest of the Ordo Psykana and our Chapter Master, Gabriel Angelos. Reports from the Imperial Guard and our scans of the system show an infestation of Orks plagues the subsector. Moreover, [Brother-Librarian Kantus] believes that the taint of Chaos is present in here. Brothers, your or-…"

Whatever the captain would have said next was lost. The whole ship shuddered and quaked as we came under assault by some unknown force.

"BROTHERS! BATTLE STATIONS! CHAOS HAS COME!"

Ok, not so-unknown. Revan glanced around the hangar and at my mini-map, but found nothing that hinted at what he should do. He spotted the initiates huddle down near the [Drop Pods] and was startled out of his reverie by [Sergeant Miro].

"Brother Revan, watch over the initiates. I need to find [Veteran-Sergeant Cyrus]!"

Revan nodded and moved to the scouts. As [Miro] bolted away, another blast shook the ship and the whole room started to…tip? The vox screeched as the reports of the techmarines blasted through.

"…shields failing!"

"…-ost all power to…"

"Starboard batteries lost!"

"Inertial dampeners failing!"

"…vitational actuator is gone!"

'Okay, all that sounds really bad…'

Revan didn't even have time to react when a [Thunderhawk] was ripped from its place by the latest attack. It slid across the hangar towards the [Drop Pods]…

'Frak…'

A hundred-twenty-one tons of adamantium, ceramite, titanium and other miscellaneous slammed into him and the shell-shocked initiates. Revan and the five scouts were knocked into a [Drop Pod] and then jettisoned out of the ship. They were bathed in blaring red light and his helmet's vox emitted various screeches and garbled words. Revan managed to make out a few words…orders actually…

"Captai…-ound a drop pod he-…Ageria. …-others inside."

"Broth-…nce you make landfall, se…hidd-…Emperor Protects!"

'…so not helpful.'

After what felt like an eternity later, the [Drop Pod] crashed and slammed open. The initiates and Revan toppled out of the pod and into a river of some kind...fifteen feet below. Slightly stunned thanks mostly to his armor, Revan got up and stumbled to the river bank. Looking around, he saw that they had landed in a forested area at the base of a waterfall. Up above, he could see the damaged [Drop Pod] stuck on some rocky outcroppings at the waterfall's edge.

"…*cough* Brother Revan, are you alright?"

Revan turned and found [Fenris] looking at him. He and his fellow scouts were soaked to the bone but fine.

"I'm alright brother. Any injuries?"

"None, sir. Do you have anything on the vox from the [Wings of Orion]?"

Revan considered the vague message he had heard and attempted to contact the destroyer. All he could hear on the vox was static. Using the HUD's vox control, Revan attempted to try other built-in frequencies but found nothing.

"Only a garbled message during out descent initiate. Here, see what you can make of it."

He removed his helmet manually and held it to the initiate. A menu popped up, asking,

[Support Task – Examine Vox] Begun: Give helmet to [Initiate Fenris]? Y/N

He jabbed 'Y' and [Fenris] took the helm. He wandered to the side and sat on a rock near two of the scouts. A meter appeared above his head. It didn't fill or anything; Revan assumed it was the task's progress bar. Looking over at the other three initiates, he found them merely standing around. Walking over, he found a [Task Menu] popped up and the initiates became highlighted in white when he got close.

[Leadership]: Would you like to command [Scout Marines – Squad 1]?

Nodding, Revan found there were two possible tasks he could issue to them; [Secure Area] and [Scout Area]. Picking [Secure Area], he watched as the scouts took up positions around the clearing. And lo, another text box appeared…

You've gained [Leadership EXP] by commanding a squad! By ordering squads on minor tasks, you can build up your [Leadership EXP] and advance your rank. At the Marine rank, you may only use your [Leadership] skill on certain squads during special missions, such as [Base Defense]. Upon reaching the Sergeant Rank, you gain access to [Astartes Story] missions. These missions will allow you to acquire [Astartes] NPCs that you can command indefinitely.

For more information, see [Leadership] in the in-game player-made guidebook [Codex Destiny].

'…Codex Destiny. Must be the manual some BETAs put together.'

Shrugging, he looked at his [Leadership]'s experience bar and saw he had roughly 1/15th of the meter filled. Glancing back at [Fenris], he found that his progress meter had barely moved. Yawning, Revan prepared to log out but was interrupted by shouting. Shouting that sounded a lot like…

"WWAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!"

Cursing, he whirled around and spotted a small band of orks charging at his position. [Squad 1] started firing upon the now-identified ten [Slugga Boyz] and one [Ork Nob]. He joined in with his [Bolter]. The orks were forced to hunker down by some rocks as he and the initiates rained metal upon them. In a moment, the four bolters were joined by three more as [Fenris] stopped his task and his squad added in their guns.

None of the orks had fallen, yet one of the scouts of [Squad 1] had taken a bad hit. He'd been shot twice in the chest, forcing him to stay in cover while his wounds regenerated. Seeing as we were outnumbered and soon to be very outgunned, Revan tried commanding the scouts.

"Initiates, focus your fire on the [Ork Nob]!"

Luckily, they obeyed and quickly the nob fell under the concentrated fire. Suddenly, the flow of the battle changed. The [Slugga Boyz]'s shots became far less accurate and already two had fallen.

'So the Nobz help the Boyz become more effective in a fight…'

Slowly the [Boyz] fell as Revan and the scouts focused their fire on an ork, one at a time. Soon only three [Slugga Boyz] were left. He felt confident that the fight would soon end but all that changed. A [Looted Leman Russ] appeared down river and blasted a few trees to the left of their position.

"Brother! The blasted xenos had a Leman Russ!"

Revan growled and did his best to take out the ork peering out from the tank's entry hatch. Given that the tank had no viewports to be 'roit killy n gud at stompin', the ork on top was the only way the tank could aim. Firing off a few more rounds, he managed to land a headshot and the looted Russ's next shot took out the remaining [Slugga Boyz]. Taking advantage of the tank's blindness, Revan ordered a retreat east.

Chapter 2 – Link Start: Commissar – Part 1

"So players that want to play as a Chaos Sororitas have to first start off as an Imperial then turn to Chaos? Isn't that a little drawn out?"

"Yes, but sometimes the lengthy path to your goal makes the end more worthwhile."

"Well thank you for your comments, Kayaba. This is Jenny here at Akihiko Corp America, back to you Leslie!"

Screen fades out…

Leah sighed as she returned to her sprawling townhouse…empty of all but her butler Gerald. Her mother and father were out and about being the top socialites in the city…just like they'd been doing all her life. She removed her hat and scarf, letting her black, shoulder-length hair loose.

"Ah, you managed to get your new game, young mistress? I'd have preferred to have retrieved the - ah, NERVE Gear in your stead. It has been quite chilly recently."

Leah turned to find Gerald, uptight, dignified and looking worried. He hurriedly took her coat, hat and scarf, hanging them in the closet.

"I'm fine, Gran'da. 'Twas a little nippy and the cold air made my walk quite refreshing. And didn't I tell you to stop calling me 'young mistress'? You practically raised me my entire life…"

For a moment, Gerald became the kindly old man that she had called 'Gran'da' for half her life before returning to his usual expression.

"Be that at it may, I'm still under the employ of your…parents and I-"

Leah interrupted him.

"See?! Even you pause when calling them that!"

He sighed and hugged her gently.

"Don't fret my dear. One day…someday soon they'll realize what an amazing young woman you've become and tell you how much they love you. But in the mean time, why not try out your new device while I whip us up some treacle tart?"

Leah smiled fondly at him and headed up to her room…well, her special game room that remained locked to all but Gerald and herself. Inside was a plethora of Warhammer figurines and memorabilia, ranging from a small diorama of the Death of Sanguinius to a wall-spanning mural of a great battle featuring Tanith's First and Only against a legion of Orks. Leah smiled widely as she entered the one place where she could be who she wanted and none but Gerald knew existed.

She quickly changed her warm-dress to one of her most treasured possessions, a set of completely accurate to-the-very-last-detail Commissar Regalia she had commissioned months ago after reserving her Gold edition NERVE Gear Helmet and Warhammer 40K: Destiny Online. Giggling softly, she set the Commissarial coat upon her shoulders, a decorative Power Sword at her hip and a reproduction Bolt Gun in her left hand. Placing her hat in her lap, Leah settled into her comfy recliner and fitted the Guard-style NERVE Gear on her head.

Taking a deep breath, she said,

"Link Start"

"Greetings [Leandra]. Would you like to [Load BETA Data] or [Create New Profile]?"

"[Load BETA Data – Commissar]"

"I'm sorry, but your [BETA Data – Commissar] is in need of updating. Please view your character to make necessary adjustments."

Leah frowned but did as instructed. Her original character, an older and taller, blonde version of her stood. Amazonian in build, left eye replaced with a cybernetic augment and wearing full commissarial regalia, her game self was certainly the perfect picture of an Imperial Commissar. A pillar of light encased both her 'real' body and character. The almost burning sensation briefly surged before abruptly ending. Breathing deeply, Leandra blinked and noticed that her character had lost some of the more…boxy and pixilated features, becoming more streamlined and life-like.

'So that's what the game meant by 'updating' my character.

A largish texr box appeared before her, displaying her [Skills]. A new skill had been added, giving her four default [Skills] instead of only three. In the BETA, there had only been the [Melee-], [Ranged-] and [Light Armor Expertise] [Skills]. Now there was a new one, called [Leadership]…

…ah so [Leadership] signified the number of troops she could recruit, command, train and promote.

Looking again, Leandra also found she had three empty [Secondary Skill] slots, another new feature. But she also had to redistribute her [Skill EXP].

[Skill EXP] are gained after gaining enough relevant Experience from killing enemies, completing tasks and missions and finding hidden areas. Certain actions such as headshots from afar, driving certain vehicles and commanding troops in battle all grant Experience to your [Skills]. Unlike previous RPGs where a player levels up periodically, following a proportionate numerical value system, DO has no such system.

Destiny Online uses a brand new system called the 'True Life System', where taking [Damage] such being hit, falling from a great height or being poisoned mirrors real life action and reactions. So you will feel bruised, battered and fatigued in DO as compared to previous games where your [Health] and [Energy] are numerical values that increase as you level and decrease as you take damage. No longer do you get shot in the head and lose a measure of health in a HUD meter. No longer do you sprint massive distances because you leveled your [Sprint] skill so high that it takes such negligible energy.

Using the 'True Life System', gamers feel the real limitations of their characters' bodies. You feel the hits you take, taste the food you eat, quench the thirsts you have… The 'True Life System' was the ultimate in virtual gaming.

Back to [Skill EXP]. After you've gained a varying amount of [Experience] in a certain skill, you can ascend to the next stage of competency. One example would be with [Melee Expertise]. Using a single type of weapon, such as a one-handed sword would get you [Melee Expertise]…for that specific type of weapon. Suddenly switching to a one-handed axe means starting from the beginning in [Melee Expertise] for that specific weapon type. You'd also have to see the [Skill Mentor] for that weapon type to redistribute your [Skill EXP].

For more information, please refer to the in-game player guide [Codex Destiny].

Fixing up her [Skills] for free thanks to still being in the [Character Creation] phase, Leandra set her [Ranged-] and [Light Armor Expertise] to their previous stages (Superior and Relic). For the remaining [Skill EXP], she set her [Melee Expertise] to Basic and set her [Leadership] as high as she could.

For her Commissar, the [Leadership] skill had Commissar, Commissar-Captain, Colonel-Commissar and Lord-Commissar. Thanks to her remaining [Skill EXP], Leandra reached the perfectly respectable Commissar-Captain rank, which let her command at up to two squads and requisition IG NPCs from a base's guard barracks. Luckily, the standard Commissar rank had let her keep the [Execution] ability that made Commissars a major favorite. [Execution] let a player shoot a useless, rebellious or cowardly NPC trooper. The result was completely restored [Morale], temporary [Morale Damage Immunity] and roughly fifteen percent increase in ranged accuracy; though that last one was only through vigorous testing and experimentation by the BETA testers.

A flash of light later, Leaf, or rather [Leandra] found herself in a scar-ridden ruin in the forest. All around her was evidence that a great battle took place and judging from the corpses and destroyed vehicles, Orks had attacked the [Imperial Guard Outpost] she had paid some Tech-players to build for her. Given that this was now the primary release for DO, her lost forces were likely now part of the game lore. She briefly smirked at the thought of that…

"Commissar Leandra!"

Leandra whirled around, her [Superior Bolt Gun] snapping up. Firing up a single shot, she destroyed part of a ruined wall, sending the crier to the ground. Looking closer, her HUD identified the man as an NPC, one of hers actually. Picking himself up, [Storm Trooper Sergeant Fordo] of the 23rd Agerian Orkbuster Regiment saluted her. Responding in kind, she was handed a series of reports on what had occurred while she was logged out.

Apparently her regiment had nearly doubled in size but had gotten completely mauled by the newly-arrived Ork Warboss, Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka. The remnants of her troops had been taken under the command of…

…LORD-COMMISSAR YARRICK?!

Leandra blanked out for a moment before unleashing a most girlish squeal. Her inner fangirl was momentarily unleashed at the mere thought of meeting Commissar Yarrick in the flesh…so to speak. Calming down, Leandra saw her sergeant staring at her incredulously. She raised her pistol to his face and said very calmly,

"You saw nothing Sergeant. Am I clear?"

[Fordo] gulped and responded,

"Nuthin' bu' da win' ma'am!"

"Good. You are to escort me to the rest of the men. I'll be retaking command as soon as possible, Sgt. Fordo."

[Fordo]hesitated for a moment before leading her down a well-worn path.

"Something the matter, sergeant?"

"…wut abou' Lord-Commissar Yarrick? He's cur'antlee in co'mand, ma'am."

Leandra stumbled for a moment at the thought of trying to take her men back from Commissar Yarrick…

"…w-we'll come to that later, Sgt. Fordo."

"…aye, ma'am."

Setting her character to [Follow Target], she let her body automatically be lead while she reviewed the information she had been given.

Her favorite troops had survived the Ork assault, specifically her Storm Trooper Squad - which was still at full strength and her single Heavy Bolter Team. All her standard guardsmen and conscripts were dead. Sadly her base was gone, as she had seen when she had arrived.

The report also indicated that the major factions on Ageria had changed since the BETA stage. Her 23rd Agerian Orkbuster Regiment had lost the three other IG players. Phil, Erica and Howard – or as they were known in-game [Hayward], [Edenia] and [Dionysus] had all switched classes or factions; even changed their screen names. Luckily she had been active enough during the BETA and had controlled a large enough area that her guild had become part of the game itself. So all she had to do was retake command of her remaining troops, rebuild her numbers find enough new members to reactivate her guild.

Lastly…urgh, the old Ork Warboss, Bigklaw Und Dakka was still here and was fighting Warboss Ghazghkull for control of the Ageria's ork population. So not only did she have to deal with a bunch of 'noobs', but she also had to deal with two whole Ork clans at war…

Suddenly her HUD turned red, signifying that she and [Fordo] had come under attack. Breaking away, she took cover behind a fallen log, the sergeant not far behind. The roaring sound of 'dakka' told Leandra that she had been ambushed by some orks. Peeking up, she found three Shoota Boyz bearing down on her position, their shootaz spewing metallic death.

"Blasted orks! Seargeant, return fire! Send those greenskins to their heathen gods!"

[Fordo] nodded and open fired on the orks, his [Hellgun] taking out one of the boyz. Leandra drew her pistol as well, first disabling a boyz' shoota. [Fordo] had just taken the second ork down when the last ork boy, shoota disabled, charged forward. Roaring 'waaagh', he slammed his gun down splitting the log in two. [Fordo] was knocked aside by the ork's upswing. Growling heatedly, Leandra drew her [Chainsword] and shredded the Shoota Boy's right arm off, following up with quick sawing slash that decapitated the greenskin.

"Ugh, dam'd ork nok'd me on m'ass…"

"[Loot]: Sgt. Fordo, rummage though the greenskins' corpses. Find anything still sufficiently intact, non-heretical and still of use. You have one minute."

He nodded and set about searching the corpses, searching specifically for the greatly unappreciated and undervalued [Scrap Metal] item. Normally the [Scrap Metal] item was useless to everyone but Tech-players, but Leandra had found it to be very useful during the BETA. [Scrap Metal] helped to pay most Tech-NPCs and –players for services instead of credits; saved her a fortune on repairs and new gear.

"Fin'sh'd, ma'am."

Leandra nodded, the 3x[Scrap Metal], 12x[Imperial Credits] and 1x[Damaged Bolt Gun] added to her near empty [Inventory]…oh, she had forgotten about the 'in-game fortune' that came with the Golden edition. 10,000x[Imperial Credits] would go a long way if she played her cards right. Might even help persuade some players to join her guild/regiment…

Chapter 4 - Interlude: Codex Destiny

A brief interlude to fill some gaps, give you all some necessary info so I don't gotta explain as much and also elaborate on some stuff I've stated before or will briefly touch in the future.

"To take a town, send a legionary. To take a city, send a squad. To take a world, send a company. To take a culture, send a Chapter."

[Codex Destiny 2.1] – Release Edition.

Written by [Argo] 'the Rat'. Information collected by various BETA Testers

An in-game guide written by the players, for the players.

Warning: Currently has no Eldar-, Astartes- or Sororitas-exclusive content!

(Glossary on Basic MMO Jargon)

MMO (Em-Em-Oh):"Mass Multiplayer Online". Genre name for games based on an online server in which a great number of gamers, casual and serious, can interact, quest and fight across the globe.

Noob (N-ew-b): Short for "newbie". A slang term for a novice or newcomer, or somebody inexperienced in any profession or activity. In MMOs, the term 'noob' can be fairly derogatory and is used often by veteran players when interacting with a newcomer.

RTFM (Ar-Tee-Eff-Em): "Read the Frickin' Manual!" A term used when a newcomer asks questions that can easily be found in the game manual or guide. Often used as an expletive in times of great frustration against newcomers on the same team/in same guild as veterans.

RPG (Ar-Pee-Gee): "Role Playing Game". A genre in which the player lives out a character's life.

Pwn (Po-Ohn): To defeat another in a game. Purposeful misspelling of the word 'own'.

UI (Yew-Ai): "User Interface". General term for any and all menus, such as the Player Menu, Inventory and Task Menu.

PK (Pee-Kay): "Player Kill". To kill another player. Can be done in neutral areas and in duels (within safe zones such as towns). There are various ways to do this but it is highly discouraged as the act of PK'ing generally earns you the ire of not only the player you killed, but all his friends. Also can cause other players to cease interacting with you and/or aiding you in battle. PKers are generally not trusted.

Chapter 1 – Starting off

Depending on your chosen character's race, class and alignment, you ended up on one of three planets: Ageria for Imperium players, Cyrax for Eldar players or Cerberus for Chaos players. But regardless of your race/class/alignment, the very basics of the game are the same.

First up is your [Top Menu]. Take your left hand and hold it at chest level roughly 6 inches in front of you. With your middle finger, casually swipe downwards. If done correctly, a slightly transparent menu shall appear. Its color varies according to your race and alignment, but the setup is the same regardless. You can access other menus by stating their titles in a clear, steady voice while outside of combat; the stated menu will appear in front of you at chest height.

There are six sections of the [Top Menu] that you can choose from:

-Player Menu

-Squad Menu (this should be grayed out by default, unless you've gained a sufficient rank and have recruited NPC troops)

-Equipment/Inventory

-Social Menu

-Options

-Exit Menu

[Player Menu]

In this screen is a larger, top portion displaying a 2D frontal representation of your body. This shows your general health and wellbeing. Lines extending from each body part tell you if you're injured on said part and what the injury is. On the lower, smaller portion should be blank space: this is a text box that lets you write down small amounts of information. The maximum amount of characters (words, numbers, spaces and symbols) is 500. This cannot be increased.

On the top right should be two boxes that say [Neutral]; this is your [Health Status]. This box tells you if you're suffering or benefiting from a [Status Effect]. Status effects can be anything from [Inspired], which means that you're gaining a bonus to your morale or [Stunned], which leaves you unable to move or react for a brief period of time. Be sure to look up the different effects as their titles can be fairly vague at times.

[Equipment/Inventory]

This should display two screens side by side.

On the left is the equipped items menu.

In Section 1, there should be two weapon slots by default: [Left Hand], [Right Hand]. If you have a two-handed weapon, such as a rifle of some kind, then there will be only one (filled) slot.

Section 2 is for your single armor slot. Armor, in most cases, is customizable and can be edited to allow certain portions of it to be removed. Incomplete armor is lighter, but not as protective. [Armor Editing] is done in a separate menu screen.

Section 3 should be a varying number of [Accessory Slots]. By default, most races/classes should have two slots for accessories like special ammunition and equippable consumables like [Grenades].

Section 4 is your commander slot. (Is unlocked after specializing to an advance class) Only special items, such as a [Personal Vox] or [Chaos Icon] can be placed here. Commander items vary according to your class and alignment. These items are NOT cross-class/alignment compatible.

On the right is the inventory. All your items are carried in this menu. Items are automatically sorted according to type. Item types are: [Weapon], [Armor], [Accessory], [Food/Ingredients], [Miscellaneous] and [Quest]. While your inventory can hold any storable item, regardless size, it can only hold so much weight. Depending on your race and class, you can carry a varying amount of weight. You can increase the amount of weight you can carry through various methods, but it can only increase so much. You can drop, sell and store items when you find yourself overburdened.

-On average, all human classes at the start can carry up to 50 pounds in their inventory. Through all possible quests and effects, this can be increased to 100 pounds.

-Armor that is currently being worn affects your carry weight. Wearing armor decreases the amount of weight you may carry by the armor's total weight. This can be negated by achieving mastery for your specific armor expertise. At Master ranked [Armor Expertise], your equipped armor's weight is zero.

-Your equipped weapon(s) also affect your carry weight. At the [Relic] rank, the weight of your equipped weapon(s) is decreased by fifty percent. There are no further decreases for weapon weight.

-Another method of circumventing your carry weight limit is to have your troops (should you have gained a squad) carry your surplus items. Most NPC troops can carry items but be warned: NPC troops that are slain lose all non-equipped items. Only their equipped items and wargear are transferred to the remaining squad members/you.

[Social Menu]

This should display two screens labeled [Friend List] and [Guild Member List].

The Friend List is as stated, a list of players you have confirmed as a 'Friend'. You can add a player as a Friend if they are within three feet of you. First you need to open your [Friend List], tap the 'Add Friend Button' and type in the player's name. A 'Confirm Friend Request' text box should appear before them. It is up to the other player to accept or decline your friend request. You can only contact a Friend from a distance via a Messenger NPC, which can be killed by enemy NPCs and other players, or by special items, such as a [Personal Vox] or [Servo Skull].

The Guild Member List is a list of members of your guild. At the top of the screen should be the guild name and the current number of active (online) guild members. Below that are the Guild Emblem and the names of the Guild Master and Guild Officers. Next is a list of all the guild members, their current status (online/offline) and their guild rank.

-The rank names in a guild are customizable; they can be changed from the default [Recruit], [Member], [Officer] and [Guild Master]. You can also add up to four other ranks to the default four.

-There is no limit on how many members there can be in a guild.

[Options]

The Options menu has two subareas.

-Game Options

-Logout

[Game Options]

Adjusts certain aspects of the game as you perceive it.

-There is no difficulty adjuster. The game's difficulty is set and nothing may change it.

-You cannot adjust the sound or 'video' settings. W40K: DO is a virtual reality game so everything is the equivalent of your real world senses.

-You cannot adjust the amount of gore you perceive. W40K: DO is an M-Rated game for a reason.

-The [Ethics Setting]. This is a 'special' setting that toggles your character's…*cough* reproductive organs. For males, it visually prevents your…line-and-tackle from being viewed or 'interacted' with by you or other players. For females, you become…smoother and featureless in certain areas, making it impossible for others to 'interact' with you sexually.

[Logout]

This is self-exclamatory and you'd have to be a complete idiot not to know what a bloody 'Logout' button does.

Chapter 5 - Commissar Part 2 and More

"You will shoot your enemy once, to ensure he fights no more that day! You will shoot traitors twice, to ensure nothing less than their deserved death!"

Leandra groaned pathetically in her recently purchased [Field Tent]; just outside the tent stood four Storm Troopers and [Sgt. Fordo]. She had managed to get to the Ageria's main Imperial Base with over an hour more till she had to log out. She had strode in, full of confidence and enjoying the looks of awe sent by the various beginning Imperial Guard and Tech players. A few she even recognized from the BETA.

But then she saw…

…Commissar Yarrick.

Lord Commissar Sebastian Yarrick, one of the most iconic heroes of the 41st millennium. Hero of the Second and Third War for Armageddon and the relentless hunter of Ghazkull Mag Uruk Thraka…

Such an amazing character to see up close and personal…

His face an adamantium mask of stoicism and a sense of duty strong enough to shrug off even the most heinous of injuries…

She had marched up to him and saluted, ready to try and get a quest to regain her troops…

Yarrick spoke and she…

…she…

…she squealed like a prepubescent fangirl and practically raped him in her mad attempt at glomping him.

Needless to say, she felt like her life was over after she had recovered enough of her brains. She received her four of her Storm Troopers right off the bat, though Leandra had to hid her (virtual) face beneath the brim of her hat and collar of her coat. She nearly ran to the [Supply Depot] in her haste to escape the staring. Using roughly 3000x[Imperial Credits], she outfitted her troops in slightly better than standard gear and managed to buy a few other essentials, such as a [Personal Vox] and the [Field Tent] she was hiding in.

"Uh…hello?"

Leandra groaned. Someone was invading on her pity-party

"Go…away…"

"Miss, can I talk to you?"

She heard a cough and some shifting. Looking up, Leandra saw that it was a player peeking into her tent. She waved him in and he took a seat in front of her. Examining him closely, she figured that he (she was pretty sure the gamer was actually a guy. His avatar wasn't pretty enough to have been made by a girl.) was fairly new.

"Can I help you?"

"Name's Hurstwick. I'm new to Destiny Online and was hoping a veteran like you could possibly give me a few pointers?"

Leandra smirked and asked how he was so sure she was a game veteran. He pointed out that she moved smoothly compared to everyone else he ran into. That she didn't hesitate or glance around in wonder like he had. Sighing, she agreed and packed up her [Field Tent]. Together the two (and her troops) headed off into the field just outside the Imperial Base.

"Ok, get in the stance I showed you, take aim and fire when you're ready."

It had been a good half hour since Leandra took Hurstwick into the field and had him learning how to open the menus, get his equipment in order, the most helpful rifle stances and practice killing a few minor monsters, [Docile Boars] and [Feral Boars]. The two types were DO's equivalent of 'slimes' in other MMOs. The first couple times, his shots were mostly on target, but as he fired more and more, the game's [TAS] stopped helping him out. Hurstwick had been fairly confused until Leandra pulled out her Codex and showed him the [TAS] section.

The [TAS], or Temporary Assist System, aids beginning players in completing certain actions the first few tries. After each successive attempt, the TAS decreases its help, allowing players to learn to adjust and adapt.

-On average, for ranged weaponry, the TAS provides maximum aid for the first ten shots of any weapon. After the ten shots, the system lessens the assistance provided by roughly ten percent per shot fired.

-For melee weaponry, the TAS provides maximum aid for the first thirty successful strikes. After which, the system lessens the assistance provided by roughly five percent per strike that connects with the target.

-The TAS does not aid the player's basic movement or stances.

-The TAS provides aid for the first twenty minutes when controlling a vehicle, such as a [Leman Russ] or [Command-Cycle].

Hurstwick hunkered down behind a small boulder; steadied is lasrifle and open fired upon a larger-than-average [Feral Boar]. It managed to shrug off the first few grazing shots before he nailed it in the head. Like all its predecessors, the boar slowly decayed to a pile of fur, meat and bones. Ambling over, Hurstwick pulled the 1x[Fur Pelt] and 1x[Boar Meat] from the carcass, giving him 6x[Fur Pelt] and 4x[Boar Meat].

"Looks like you've gotten the basics down, Private Hurstwick."

Leandra actually smiled at his practically being face. The man (after learning that he was in his late 20's, supposedly) pulled himself up and shouldered his rifle.

"All thanks to your generosity, Commissar."

He had been damned lucky that the scary looking woman had agreed to show him the ropes. Otherwise he'd still be trying to figure out how to open his frakkin' inventory! Leandra smirked back and stared at the burning orange sky above the mountains.

"This place is amazing, isn't it Hurstwick?"

Following her gaze, he couldn't help but agree.

"You know, I feel so frakkin' blessed to be alive right now; alive in a time where we have such an amazing game to experience. I can't help but stand in awe of this world that we have the privilege to explore. And by the Emperor, we got four more to see! Kayaba really is a bloody genius, isn't he Leandra?

She nodded, staring up at the four brightest lights on the horizon; Orion, Cyrax, Dur and Cerberus. Yeah, they had more worlds to explore and it was still only opening week! Huffing, Hurstwick stretched, popping his shoulders and marveling at the novelty of actually easing that annoyance…in a game!

"Anyways, thanks so much Leandra. Everything you taught me will no doubt carry my ass through this amazing game and at the very end; I'll be saying 'I made it to the top all thanks to this girl that took pity on an old man playing a young man's game'."

Leandra laughed at that. Smiling to him, she sent a Friend Request that he eagerly accepted.

"I guess I'll be logging out for a bit. Gotta get off in time for the pizza guy to get to my place. Teriyaki and mayonnaise…I can't wait…"

She shuddered at his choice in pizza but smiled all the same.

"I as well. I have a wonderful pre-dinner snack waiting and I shan't miss it."

Hurstwick waved at her as they both opened up their menus and started to log off…

"…uh, Leandra?"

She stopped and glanced at him.

"…is your 'logout' button missing? Because mine is…"

She sighed good-naturedly. Jokingly, she replied,

"It's under 'Options', private. Don't tell me you've already forgotten all I've taught you."

But it seems Hurtswick wasn't joking around. Peeking over his shoulder, she saw that he was indeed missing the [Logout] button. Trying her menu, she found that she was also suffering the same problem.

"Uh, I guess even major games like this suffer from bad glitches. Goes to show you that even Kayaba isn't perfect, huh?"

Hurstwick was trying to laugh it off but Leandra wasn't so sure… Suddenly she hears sirens going off everywhere and all the monsters in the area freeze…as if time had stopped for them.

"Huh, what the frak?! Leandra, do you have any idea wha-…"

Whatever he had been about to say was lost as both were forcibly teleported to…somewhere unknown. Hurstwick and Leandra looked around at their new location. They stood in a giant barren field with nothing else in sight. The sky was a mass of blood red tendrils and ethereal purple energy. And then the entire field flashed blue as thousands of other players of all the races and class were ported in around them. Quickly looking around, she found that the various alignments were all grouped together in a trinity of color and sounds.

The air became filled with screams of surprise and frustration. Leandra guessed that the entire subsector was here…

"Hey, Hurstwick…stay close and try not to move too much."

He looked at her, his confusion evident. He suddenly understood as he looked around as well. This many people in such close quarters; it only took one person to blow before the entire field would be one giant moshpit of violence. He nodded just as amazed shouts filled the air. Everyone was pointing up at the sky. Both looked up and saw a ship - a bloody Space Hulk! – descending from above. IT was enormous and unlike various ones she had seen in illustrations and in games, this one was in pristine condition.

Leandra's amazement ceased when a booming voice echoed across the field. All fell silent…

"Players, I am welcome you all…to my world…"

"Hey, I guess he brought us all here to tell us that they're fixing the logout glitch! Great timing, huh Leandra?"

She merely stared hard at the ship.

"My name is Kayaba Akihiko and as of right now, I am the only person who can control this world."

'Why not just send a system announcement? Why go through all the trouble of teleporting everyone into one unknown area?'

She would soon get her answer as players everywhere made the same assumption as Hurstwick…

"As you all may have, or will have soon, discovered… There is no [Logout] feature. I'd like to announce…"

All smiled happily…

"…that this is not a glitch."

Not a single person spoke…

"I repeat, this is not a mistake made by the programmers or myself. This is a feature and an integral part of the [Destiny Online] system."

So many voices cried out in confusion. So many laughed at what they perceived to be an epic joke. So many growled at the stupidity of such a joke. Leandra just shook in place, too horrified to believe the single thought that echoed through her mind…

'He's not joking…'

"Until you conquer the lost planet Regulus that shall appear at some unknown point in the future, you cannot log out of your own free will."

"What the fuck is going on here? Is this asshole serious?!"

Leandra ignored Hurstwick's shouts as she stared mutely at the Space Hulk.

"Also, the disruption or dismantling of the NERVE Gear from the outside is strictly forbidden. If such is attempted…"

The field fell silent…

"…the signal sensors in your NERVE Gear will emit a powerful electromagnetic pulse, destroying your brain and stopping all you basic functions."

Leandra went numb. She could faintly hear Hurstwick trying to talk to her; could feel him shaking her, trying to get an explanation for this madness. The mad man known as Kayaba continued his speech, disregarding the pandemonium below his ship.

"To be more specific: disconnection from an outside power source for more than ten minutes, being cut off from the system for more than two hours, or any attempt to unlock, dismantle or destroy the NERVE Gear. If any of these conditions are met, the brain destruction sequence will begin and nothing can stop it. These conditions have been made known to every government and the world public though mass-synchronized-media messages…

and on that note, several relatives and friends have chosen to ignore these warnings and forcibly removed the NERVE Gear. As a result…"

Kayaba paused.

"…exactly four thousand, three hundred and twenty-eight players have exited the game…and the real world, forever."

Kayaba's announcement continued, attempting to half-heartedly calm the players. Yet even as he spoke, thousands began despairing, fighting against one another and trying to flee the area. Giant black walls of energy appeared between the three factions. Imperium, Chaos and Eldar players isolated from the other factions. The fighting suddenly ceased as auras of green enshrouded the panicked players, preventing them from moving their bodies. Those fleeing suddenly found themselves back where they started; within the confines of the energy barriers. Yet all still cried out in rage and despair…

"…now relax…and concentrate on beating the game."

"But I ask that you all understand that Warhammer 40K: Destiny Online is no longer just a game. It is a complete, fully isolated second reality. From now on, any methods of revival will no longer work. The moment you suffer a complete and utterly final death, your avatar will be gone forever. And at the same time, your brain will be destroyed by the NERVE Gear."

Leandra looked beside her and found Hurstwick on his knees, staring at the ground blankly. Cautiously, she kneeled beside him and slung her arm over; hugging him tightly, trying to become the anchor he needed…and use him as the anchor she needed as well.

"Players, there is only one way to be free of this world. As I said before, you must reach the lost planet Regulus after it appears from the Warp, conquer the planet and defend against the rival factions for a period of one year. All players of the occupying faction will immediately be logged out. Of this, I give you my word."

Many were crying out, asking what would happen to the other factions, but Kayaba did not answer. Leandra knew the answer. The losers would remain here…forever.

"To further show you that this is the only reality, I have given you all a gift. Open you inventories and inside is a gift from me. Confirm this."

Most, if not all, complied. Those that didn't found their menus and inventories opened for them. All found the gift in their hands. Leandra and Hurstwick stared at the item [Mirror]. Looking at their reflections, they looked momentarily confused…

Then the field once again was consumed by light…and the screams began again…

Chapter 6 - Agerian Arc 1

Pandemonium ensued. Everyone in the field, all their appearances changed. Leandra jerked away from Hurstwick. His tall, scarred yet young appearance had changed to an older, softer version. His hair was no longer a military-cut blonde, but messy and brown. Though he no longer carried the stylized scars, he still looked much the same. Looking at herself in the [Mirror], she found that she too gained another appearance; her face lost its aged appearance and returned to her much more youthful face; her light scars faded to unblemished skin and the tight blonde bun shifted and flowed into her shoulder length black locks.

"What happe-Leandra! Is that you?"

Hurstwick had been staring at his real face and saw that she too had changed.

"I believe that this mirror reveals our real faces…and bodies."

Looking down he nodded quickly. Glancing at the Space Hulk, he took note of Kayaba's speech.

"Hey, that frakkin' bastard's still talking…"

Indeed, 'that bastard' was still talking.

"You will all most probably be wondering, 'Why?' Why am I – the creator of the NERVE Gear and the very core of Destiny Online, Kayaba Akihiko – doing something like this? Is this some sort of global terrorist attack? Is he doing this to ransom us?"

Leandra considered all the presented scenarios at quickly as she could…but it still didn't make sense!

"None of these is the reason I am doing this. Not only is that so, but for me, there is no longer a reason or purpose in doing this. The reason is because…the situation itself was my purpose in doing this. To create and watch this world is the only reason I have created the NERVE Gear and developed Destiny Online. And now, everything has been realized."

His 'captive' audience was still screaming and despairing as his ship began to rise back into what Leandra now knew to be the Warp.

"…and now the tutorial for Warhammer 40K: Destiny Online is over. Players…I'd wish you luck but in truth…your only hope of escape…is war."

Everyone was then consumed in the familiar blue light, finding themselves at their original locations. Leandra and Hurstwick just stayed in one spot for several moments, merely kneeling beside one another and processing everything…

"…this…this is all…"

Hurstwick's face was scrunched up in frustration and barely contained anger. Leandra nodded, messing with her bolt gun… He suddenly jumped to his feet and looked at her with a desperate look on his face.

"Wha-what's the plan, Leandra?"

She just knelt there, staring at him.

'The plan? How would she know?! She was only a bloody 15 year old girl in over her head!'

"I…I don't know…"

Hurstwick took one good look at her shaky composure and squatted in front of her. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he spoke carefully choosing his words.

"S-sorry, I know it's a lot to take in and putting our lives in your hands is crazy but…you're my only hope Leandra. If you and I want any chance of making it to Regulus and out of the…madness alive is if you use all your knowledge to give us an edge over Kayaba's death game. I believe you can do it and I'll be right there beside the whole way."

Leandra closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. She could do this. Opening her eyes, she stood.

"Ok, we need to hone our skills, find the best gear we can and set up shop in a safe zone."

She summoned her troops over, the Storm Troopers and [Fordo] having remained here during the 'Announcement'.

"Sergeant, lead us to the nearest town. Storm Troopers, escort!"

Hurstwick let out a sigh of relief and followed her lead. Maybe, just maybe they'd make it out of here…

When they finally made it to the town, Leandra was pleasantly surprised. The town of Dynoc's End was actually a player-made settlement. Hurstwick stared at Leandra in disbelief at that little tidbit.

"…you're shitting me, right?

Leandra grinned as she shook her head. The two were just a quarter-mile north on a large hill overlooking the settlement. Down below they could see various NPCs going about their business and actually spotted quite a few players as well.

"No, Dynoc's End is really a town these three guilds started back during the Beta. About three months to the end of the beta phase, there was this big guild battle. On one side was the Eldar guild, the 'Vanguards of Khaine' and on the other, an alliance between two Imperium guilds, the 'Ghosts of Terra' and 'Roaring Dragoons'. The Vanguards were trying to take over the area but they got their asses handed to them by the Ghosts and Dragoons..."

"But is it called Dynoc's End?"

"The Eldar Guild Master's gamer ID was Dynoc, ok?"

He nodded and gestured for her to continue.

"After the battle, the allied guilds took the credits from their victory and set up an outpost to watch for a repeat attempt. Two weeks later, Kayaba updated DO and gave us the ability to actually build houses and stuff; not just a few walls and rickety towers. Then the guilds wanted a good base to fight off the Vanguards' next attempt. They built that big wall, added the houses on the southern end of town and I'm pretty sure there's a hidden bunker or two down there."

Hurstwick whistled appreciatively.

"I guess the developers added in a few things, eh?"

"Yeah. Now that ragtag base is a full on settlement. Let's get to the inn and see how the other players are handling things…"

On the other side of the planet, a Space Marine in blood red and bone white power armor struggled across a murky swamp…

Revan cursed as yet another swamp creature; a [Feral Hormagaunt] appeared. Plugging three bolter rounds into it, he directed his initiates onward. He had to get through this swamp; he had to get stronger. He had to get back to the real world!

Reaching dry land, he viewed the craggy steppes the marsh bordered. Looking up and along the cliff face, Revan tried to find a way up or around the obstacle before him.

"Brother."

Looking back, Revan saw [Initiate Fenris] holding up his helmet. Taking his helmet, a notification box appeared.

[Support Task] complete. [Examine Vox] yields [Captain Aegis's Orders]

Revan jabs the interface and the captain's voice echoes from his helm; slightly garbled but easily understood.

"Brother Revan, once you make landfall, search Ageria for the hidden Communications Array and secure it. Get into contact with Chapter Master Angelos! The Emperor Protects!"

Slipping his helm on, he checked his mini-map but found it absent…

"My apologies brother, but your helm sustained significant damage during the ork attack and our trek through the marsh. Without a skilled tech-priest, many of its subsystems will be unavailable. Also, the lack of orbital augur arrays leaves us unable to electronically map the terrain we have or will pass."

He groaned…

"Which systems, specifically initiate?"

"The long range vox and thermal auspex."

'Translation: long range communications and thermal vision are out.'

Revan shrugged and decided to up his [Leadership] while he still had minions.

[Squad 1], scout south along the cliff face. Report any points of interests. Engage hostiles only when fired upon."

And off the three initiates jogged, sticking to the marshy brush.

"Sir, your orders?"

"Initiates, guard this position."

[Fenris]'s squad followed his order and took up defensive positions amongst the rocks and bushes. He sighed and pulled out a palm-sized, dark grey book labeled [Codex Destiny].

Surprisingly, the book had updated itself…

Thumbing through it, Revan took note of the information that bastard Kayaba himself had added. Oh nothing on the various 'boss' creatures or missions on Ageria; and certainly no new information on the other planets. There was however edited sections that removed or adjusted outdated info. One example was on [Armor Customization] for Astartes:

[Armor Customization]

Section 7 – Adeptus Astartes

A Space Marine's armor is a holy relic whose origins can date back millenia. The power armor of an Astartes can have a number of properties gained from its machine spirit's experiences. As such, all armor above Basic rank has bonus effects, buffs and possibly negative buffs that affect the user and those around said user.

Also, some Superior and above rank power armor can be customized to fit the player's preferences and upgraded to perform beyond their initial specifications.

During customization, armor is divided up into nine sections and has up to three [Armor Accessory] slots per section. Certain armors may have fewer slots per section or only specific armor sections may be customized.

-Helm (one slot)

-Left Pauldron (three slots)

-Right Pauldron (three slots)

-Left Gauntlet (one slot)

-Right Gauntlet (one slot)

-Torso (one slot)

-Left Leg (two slots)

-Right Leg (two slots)

-Power Pack (two slots)

Customization Example – provided by Kayaba Akihiko

[Damaged Power Armor] – Superior rank:

Classic, unadorned Astartes power armor. Bears darkened, plasma scars on torso and legs. Only helm and pauldrons may be customized.

Revan smirked at how cool he could possibly make his future armor look. Skimming ahead, he came to a stop at [Armor Accessories]. He wondered if they were the similar to regular [Accessories].

[Armor Accessories]

Section 12 – Adeptus Astartes

Armor accessories are aesthetic items or bolstering upgrades that may be added to an armor section with an available armor accessory slot. Accessories may be attached at any time (except for during combat), but only may be removed by a tech-savvy NPC or player without being destroyed. Armor accessories can also be disabled, damaged or destroyed in combat through varying means. (See Advance Combat Techniques – Destroying Items for more information)

A short list of aesthetic accessory items for Astartes armor:

-[Chains of Faith] – Crossing chains bolted to armor. For Pauldron and Leg sections.

-[Etchings] – Passage of words that can be customized to say different messages. For Pauldron, Leg and Gauntlet sections.

-[Gold Plating] – Pseudo-Gold filigree that decorates the armor. All sections allowed.

Revan had to give Kayaba credit. The fucker may be bat shit crazy, but he did design a really good game…

{Brother, Scout marines reporting.}

Revan held his left index and middle finger to his ear, activating the helm's vox.

"Report."

{Xenos spotted a quarter mile south of your position; an ork camp; twelve [Gretchin], eight [Ork Boyz] and a [Nob]. The greenskins are blocking the only way onto the steppes. Orders, sir?}

Revan thought carefully…

"Stay hidden while we rendezvous with you."

He looked over at [Fenris]. Signaling him and the two scouts to follow, they slogged their way through the marsh's edge. As they approached the scouting squad's position, Revan signaled [Fenris] to head further south and find a defensible position in case they needed to fall back and regroup. As [Fenris]'s squad left, Revan surveyed the ork encampment. The camp, if you could really call a pile of scrap, a hastily made scrap fence and a single hovel a camp, was fairly open. All it would take was the element of surprise at just the right moment…or…

'Hey…there's something interesting…'

Up on the edge of the cliff, nearly above the ork camp, was a pile of precariously set boulders and rocks…a small explosion would send the whole lot tumbling onto the xenos…

Using his HUD, he marked the stabilizing rocks and had his marines open fire upon the boulders. The orks started shouting just as the boulders fell, burying the greenskins in rubble. For a few moments, Revan waited; he needed to be careful just in case any of the orks still lived. For a full minute, nothing moved so Revan first sent in the scout marines to see if it was safe. Both squads stealthily entered the wrecked camp; a few shots were fired but those were merely finishing the job.

{All xenos terminated.}

"Any items of use or value?"

{None sir.}

He joined up with his marines and they headed up the craggy path to the steppes. He was getting the hang of this 'commanding' thing. Now he just had to hold out until the end…

On the outside, so many things would change. Every major government around the globe struggled to peacefully contain the outcry and mobs that had rose up in response to Kayaba's plan. Games Workshop and Bioware worked in concert with the UN and every counter-terrorist and intelligence agency to try and hack the NERVE Gear and Destiny server. All attempts failed and were the cause of roughly a third of the four thousand, three hundred and twenty-eight players world-wide.

All attempts to shut down the server ended within the first week.

All attempts to utilize unused NERVE Gear helms to enter Destiny Online failed and resulted in thirteen deaths. Ten of which were civilians; the panicked friends and relatives that had access to a free helm attempted to enter the game to be try and help. The built-in EMP device of each helm activated as they tried to log-in.

And all attempts to try and simply view the game world simply caused Kayaba's speech to broadcast across the globe at each try.

So the world watched their beloved sons, daughters, husbands, wives and friends lie in various hospitals and long-term care centers…

praying that the players would beat the game and wake up soon.

But the days would pass into weeks.

The weeks would pass into months.

And a year would go by as the body count rose.

Every expert of the Warhammer 40K series that was interviewed would merely shake their heads, defeated expressions on their faces.

For in the grim, dark existence of the 40th millennium, there is only death, carnage and endless war.

Chapter 7 - Interlude: Codex Destiny

"Fifth Company, this is the moment of truth. You will not fear. You will not falter. You will not give a single step to the enemy."

Interlude: [Codex Destiny – Your Troops]

[Codex Destiny 2.1.1] – Post-Release Edition

Written by [Argo] 'the Rat'. Information collected by various BETA Testers

An in-game guide written by the players, for the players.

Warning: Currently has no Eldar-, Astartes- or Sororitas-exclusive content!

Updated: April 3rd, 2018

Chapter 8 – The Imperial Guard Squads

This chapter, we'll be discussing the some various squads you can come to command, the advantages and disadvantages of each and more. As a reminder, the only way to be able to command a squad other than in a mission is to gain sufficient rank in [Leadership] and, according to new information provided by a few unnamed IG players, you (or special companion NPCs) need fulfill certain requirements to even recruit squads on your own.

Starting off, you have no squad to command on your own. Through various missions, you'll be granted temporary command of some squads but those mission-specific squads are much more limited compared to your player-commanded squads. Mission-squads can only follow certain player commands that do not interfere with their programmed mission routines. One example is that a player is commanding a squad programmed to die at a certain point. If the player attempts to circumvent the event programming, the squad will desert the player and go to complete their 'objective'.

Player-exclusive squads can be recruited outside of missions from certain buildings and areas, such as the [Infantry Command Bunker], a [Imperial Troop Barracks], a [Conscription Office] or even a random NPC event that lets you take the event's main NPC as a follower. Beware that [Unique Event] NPCs can only be recruited by the first person that completes the Event.

[Unique NPCs]

These NPCs are completely unique and only one of them can exist in Destiny Online at any time. Each one has a purpose and some can be recruited later on. Some, however, cannot be recruited and have special traits that prevent them from accompanying you outside of missions. There are several categories of Unique NPCs. Here are a few:

- Random Event – Special NPCs that appear randomly as [Immortal Objects] and after a certain amount of time, trigger a Unique Event that can only be complete by the first player to activate said Event. After that event, the Unique NPC lose their [Immortal Object] Status and can also become recruitable to the player.

- Event – Special NPCs that appear from time to time as [Immortal Objects] and can trigger a Unique Events upon arrival, after a set amount of time or upon the completion of a global event or mission. These NPCs can have missions attached to them and can be recruitable if the mission is completed. Unlike Unique Random Event NPCs never lose their [Immortal Object] Status.

-Mission – NPCs that grant class missions that are [Immortal Objects] and, depending on their rank, can have unique skills that can possibly be learned by the player. Mission NPCs can never be recruited and may only be commanded for certain missions, if possible. (Examples include Commissar Yarrick, Lord-General MacArthur and Magos Ezekiel) Also, certain NPCs of this class can be killed by Special Events or by certain NPCs. (Example: Commissar Yarrick vs Warboss Ghazghkull)

-Skill Trainer – NPCs that teach and train players in specific skills. They can only be found in certain areas and each one is considered the highest ranked user of their skill. Skill Trainers are [Immortal Objects].

Imperial Guard players, regardless of their [Leadership] rank, can only recruit player-exclusive squads upon reaching their specialized class or achieving the elite Commissar class. The only known workaround is to have a unique companion NPC that has sufficient rank in the [Leadership] skill. Companion NPCs may only recruit other NPCs from their race/class-specific areas/buildings.

Basic Imperial Squads and Layouts:

Conscript Squad – Squad of Guardsmen that are the weakest of all other squads. Can be recruited from [Conscription Offices] and from NPC population. Standard squad numbers between ten to twenty. Each guardsman is equipped with [Conscript Flak Armor] and [Substandard Lasrifle]. Equipment can be upgraded to include [Single-Shot Grenade Launcher] and [Standard Flak Armor]. Can be promoted to [Imperial Guard Squad].

Imperial Guard Squad – The standard guard squad. Can be recruited from [Imperial Troop Barracks]. Squad numbers between five and fifteen. Each guardsman is equipped with [Standard Flak Armor] and [Standard Lasrifles]. Equipment can be upgraded to include [Six-Shot Grenade Launcher], [Light Flamer], [Plasma Gun], [Heavy Bolter] and [Improved/Superior Flak Armor]. Squad can be promoted to [Storm Trooper Squad]. *A [Vox-Caster] or [Medicae] guardsman can be added to the squad.

Heavy Weapons Squad – Heavy support squad. Can be recruited from [Imperial Troop Barracks] and [Infantry Command Bunker]. Squad numbers between two to four. Each guardsman is equipped with [Standard Flak Armor], [Standard Lasrifle] and one guardsman is equipped with a [Heavy Bolter]. Equipment can be upgraded to [Heavy Flak Armor] and [Improved Lasrifle]. The [Heavy Bolter] can be upgraded and replaced with an [Autocannon], [Mortar] and [Lascannon]. Has special command - [Entrench], that allows squad occupying a building/hiding in cover to improve their location to become a better defensive position. *A [Vox-Caster] guardsman can be added to the squad.

-[Entrench] adds [Barbed Wire] and [Sandbags] to their cover. Buildings become sturdier against small/medium arms fire and cannot be entered by enemy squads.

Scout Squad – Light skirmish squad. Can be recruited from [Outpost Barracks] and [Imperial Troop Barracks]. Squad numbers between two and four. Each guardsman is equipped with [Light Flack Armor], [Camo-Cloak] and [Standard Lasrifle]. One guardsman is equipped with a [Long-Las]. Equipment can be upgraded to [Improved Flak Armor] and [Improved Lasrifle]. *A [Vox-Caster] guardsman can be added to the squad. Has special command – [Camouflage] that utilizes the camo-cloak to make them hard to be seen from long-range.

Medicae Squad – Medical support squad. Can be recruited from [Infantry Command Bunker] and [Medicae Tent]. Squad numbers between one to three. Each guardsman is equipped with [Light Flak Armor] and [Standard Lasrifle]. One guardsman is equipped with a [Medical Kit]. Equipment can be upgraded to [Improved Flak Armor] and [Improved Lasrifle]. A [Vox-Caster] guardsman can be added to the squad. Has two special commands

-[Treat Injured] allows squad to automatically treat the wounded soldiers nearby; can only treat one squad at a time. Also can be used to treat players' wounds.

-[Carry Injured] allows squad to carry up to two heavily wounded guardsmen or players to the nearest safe zone or [Medicae Tent].

Storm Trooper Squad – Elite infantry squad. Can be recruited from [Imperial Command Headquarters]. Squad numbers between four and twelve. Each trooper is equipped with [Standard Carapace Armor] and [Hellgun]. Equipment can be upgraded to [Superior Carapace Armor] and [Superior Hellgun]. A [Vox-Caster] trooper can be added to the squad. Has two special commands.

-[Infiltrate] allows troopers to become nearly invisible at medium and long range when behind or in any kind of cover. Can't be activated while in combat. Can retain invisibility if traveling in well-covered areas, such as dense urban areas, forests and swamps.

-[Seize] allows troopers to take over enemy vehicles, buildings and supplies. Can't be activated if squad numbers less than six. Only usable when using [Infiltrate].

Those were the basic squads most IG players can recruit.

The * dictate that this feature is only available to Imperial Guard Captains and Commissars.

On another note, there are some crossover squad recruitments that do happen. Imperial Guard players that achieve the Tank Division Commander rank can recruit tech-classed NPCs and Tech players that achieve the Magos Explorator rank can recruit up to 2x[Imperial Guard Squad] if they complete certain missions.

Chapter 15 – Squad Equipment

Imperial Squad Section:

Equipping your squad with the right wargear can be the difference between victory and defeat. While each squad has a set of recommended upgrades, you can add specialized equipment not listed if your squad has the relevant [Skills].

Most full IG squads can equip a variety of wargear. Here is the current listing of all basic specialized wargear that may be equipped to the base [Imperial Guard Squad] at full loadout:

-[One-Shot Grenade Launcher]

-[Six-Shot Grenade Launcher]

-[Plasma Gun]

-[Light Flamer]

-[Heavy Bolter]

Adding to this list is a series of non-base wargear that is not listed as compatible to the base [Imperial Guard Squad]. Beside each wargear are the requirements that allow the squad to utilize the wargear and a brief description of each one.

-[Stretcher] – requires any rank in [Medical]. A collapsible stretcher that allows the squad to carry an injured player or NPC safely.

-[Meltagun] – requires [Relic] rank in [Range Weapon Expertise]. An anti-tank weapon that slings a mix of pyrum-petrol gas that vaporizes pretty much anything.

-[Diagnosticator]/[Diagnostor] – requires max rank in [Medical] and a [Medicae] guardsman in the squad. It can detect and diagnose almost every [Ailment] and can be incorporated into [Medical Kits] and [Servo-Skulls].

-[Servo-Skull] – requires [Superior] rank in [Techno-Pagan]. These are drones that appear to be human skulls outfitted with electronic or cybernetic components that utilize embedded anti-gravity field generators to allow them to hover and drift through the air. [Imperial Guard Squads] and IG/Tech players can use this wargear as a scouting device, security camera and messenger.

Chapter 8 - Agerian Arc 2

"Raise the flag high. Let those degenerates know who comes to claim their lives this day!"

An excerpt from the recordings of an unknown player:

[…it's been a hard week. The guild's settled in Temple Town thanks to Jayce and Squad 2. They managed to take out that Ork Nob that had been terrorizing the town for the past month. It was actually all an accident according to the boss. They had just stumbled across the Nob all alone during patrol and had gotten the jump on the stupid ork. They killed it with a frag to the face and next thing we all know the warehouse we were using turns into a real guild house.

A big surprise for us all lounging around inside!

Everyone's pretty excited now that we're officially a guild. Dyson gave us a really cool name – Red Falcons. Who knows? Maybe we'll be a big name someday like the Orkbusters! And then…]

Dina smiled, taking in the morning sun. With a spring in her step and her lasrifle in hand, she jogged towards the Temple Town's lone guild - the Red Falcons. Easily dodging the few NPC and player pedestrians on Main Street, Dina made it into formation just as the guild's leader: Dyson stepped out to do his daily inspection.

Standing between two of her fellow guild mates, she sighed. Despite how great her friends were and the camaraderie they held, she held only tiniest of resentment to the guys and gals…after all, who wouldn't be a bit put out that they were the shortest member of a guild eighteen strong? Not to mention she was a full foot shorter than the next shortest person…

"Dina!"

She snapped to attention, catching Dyson's exasperated face. She blushed and ducked her head down; sadly, the brim of her guard helm did nothing to hide her red face.

"Ah, sorry Dys. Was distracted…"

He just shook his head as he went down the line, making sure everyone had their equipment and supplies. Even if they were just patrolling the edge of town, the very act of going outside the town's meager walls was potentially fatal to the unprepared.

"…Hal, First Squad's guarding the north gate today. But every three hours, have four of you - don't matter which - patrol west along the wall to the south gate. Jayce, Second's guarding the south gate; every three hours, have four people patrol east along the wall. And…"

Here, Dyson sighed and stopped in front of Dina and her squad mates Gred and Forge. Looking at the two tall redheads and her, he rubbed the bridge of his nose.

"Dina, I need you to take these two bozos up to the Lookout. The augur transmitter we up is on the fritz. It's sending us the 'All Clear', 'Heavy Weather' and 'Danger Incoming' readings all at once. Since you're the only one of us that has any decent Tech [Skills], it's up to you to figure out what's up."

Dina gulped… The Lookout was this big rock you could climb that gave you a near three-sixty view of the entire valley. It was a great feature that really made this place an ideal spot for keeping an eye on the surrounding area. Only problem was that it was halfway up the eastern mountain face…the rocky, rubble-covered mountain face.

"I, uh…"

She was suddenly lifted onto the shoulders of Gred and Forge. She shrieked at the two loons to let her down.

"Don't worry boss, me and Forge'll get your girl up the scary mountain and back in one piece."

His twin nodded emphatically at Dyson's sputtering, red visage.

"Yeah boss, not one hair on her pretty little head'll be out of place. She'll be back in one piece and ready for your ravishing, 'kay?"

Dina shrieked again, this time at their insinuations.

"Gred, Forge! You idiots take that back! Me and Dys aren't like tha-…"

Her voice faded as the two carried her off, singing discordantly at the top of their voices. Dyson just stood there red and flustered. Coming to his senses, he noticed the barely stifled snickers and giggling. He whirled around and glared ineffectually at his guild. Hal walked over and clapped his poor leader on the shoulder.

"Don't worry Dyson. Gred and Forge are just being their usual cheerful selves…"

Dyson calmed down. The two jokers probably saw Dina had been scared and wanted to-

"…and Dina will eventually notice how much you're in love with her…nah, that'll never happen!"

He twitched…

"Aaagggh! All of you get out of here!"

The two squads left, smiles all around. Dyson sighed…

"…she'll notice…eventually…I just gotta keep my spirits up…"

Though slightly depressed, Dyson and his 2IC, Vorn left to do the week's supply inventory…

"…I says, 'Forge, hold my las. I gotta whoop this blighter's arse!' Then I sock the bugger's jaw and he goes down. One hit I tell ya!"

Dina giggled at Gred's telling if how he and his brother got out of the then-panicked city of Jurra several months ago. Looking at the two of them, she was glad they could still be funny and carefree despite…

She sighed.

…despite being trapped in this nightmare.

"Gred forgets that I had to drag his sorry arse outta the city gates because he got laid out by that arsehole's friends. Those guys woulda killed us if we hadn't been so good at running."

The now-sullen Gred sighed, mumbling 'yeah' and returned to keeping watch. He had to stay vigilant because as close as it was to Temple Town, there were still quite a few orks infesting the surrounding area. Every now and then, the greenskins would assault the town and the Falcons would hold them off. They'd been lucky so far, not losing anyone. There were some close calls like Frank losing his left eye to a stray dakka round or Casey getting her arm scarred up by an ork's choppa. But their luck won't hold out forever; especially if they lost this damn augur… There was a sudden squelching sound. Dina asked Forge to check the power cables but the redhead wasn't answering.

"Hey Forge, did you hear…me…"

Turning around, she saw Gred lying in the dirt with his head split open and Forge held in the grasp of a huge ork…

"G-gre…Fo-orge…"

He grunted and yelled,

"Dina, RUN!"

Not even hesitating, she broke out into a sprint. She bolted as fast as she could back to town ignoring everything around her. Even when Forge's agonized cries suddenly cut out…

'Gred…Forge…I'm-I'm so sorry!'

Running, that's all she did. She dodged trees and bushes; she leapt over logs and ditches… She ducked and screamed as she ran from the cries of the orks at her back.

"Waaaaggh!"

Then the town came in sight. At the wall were Faren and Duro watching the forest as Jamie and Kerber examined something.

"G-guys!"

They spotted Dina running out of the woods. They happily waved at her, ignorant of her plight. Desperately she screamed,

"ORKS! RUN!"

They didn't and the orks who erupted from the trees behind her nearly killed them with a barrage of badly aimed dakka fire. Dina took cover behind some rocks right beside Danny as the four returned fire on the greenskins. All of them kept it up as Jamie tried and to hail the others on the [Personal Vox] she had. Dina bit back tears as she managed to down one of the orks. Sadly, more were arriving and they were already outnumbered three to one.

"Shit, we got-…"

Their eyes widened as Duro was torn to shreds by a barrage of dakka. He crumpled and the ground turned dark with his blood. Jamie crawled next to his cooling corpse, sobbing denials even as the orks got closer and closer. Faren and Kerber were slowing them down as much as they could, but there were simply too many orks…

"Jamie, come on. We gotta go!"

Dina shook the inconsolable girl, trying to snap her out of it. Jamie merely shrugged her off and kept sobbing into the Duro's bloody chest. Kerber suddenly let loose a curse and tackled Dina out of cover. Faren followed a second after with Jamie in his arms as the rocks suddenly exploded. An ork must have thrown a [Stikkbomb]… They scrambled to their feet and pelted along the wall, making a break for the south gate.

Four hours later…

Dyson slammed to the ground as another stikkbomb exploded in front of the barricade. Peaking over, he took out a [Mad Dok] with his [Plasma Pistol]. He ducked behind the street-wide barrier just as a hail of dakka peppered. Cursing quietly, Dyson glanced across to check on his remaining guildmates; no that's the wrong word. The remaining friends he had left. Tears streaked down his face as he remembered all those lost because of these frakkin' xeno scum!

Gred and Forge – the jokers, now dead thanks to a Kommando that snuck up on them. Forge distracted it to give Dina time to escape…

Duro – all too serious and slain trying to get his friends to the gates…

Hal, Henric, Kaiden, Bordu, Felicia and Jai – the close-knit, dependable 1st Squad, all killed by the same Kommando that took out the twins…

Jayce – his best friend, mowed down covering his team's retreat…

Vorn – the best damn second-in-command any guy could have, captured and torn to shreds by a crowd of [Gretchin]…

Dyson pulled his knife out and gutted an ork that attempted to climb over the barricade. Farther down, he spotted Alice, the guild medic trying to stem the bleeding stump of Harry's arm; the stump was all that was left of his right arm thanks to a damn lucky ork boyz' choppa. Kerber and Faren were manning the one heavy weapon they had – a [Heavy Bolter] – and raining hell on the bastards trying to make it through the north gate. And finally, Jamie and Dina. Poor Jamie was holed up in the corner sobbing while Dina kept her safe. She and Dyson's gazes met for a moment. Dyson turned away and lobbed a frag down the battle-scarred street, the resulting blast taking out at least three more orks.

Not that it mattered with how many orks were baying for their blood…too damn many to count. Suddenly, an explosion from behind stunned him, leaving his ears ringing. Getting up, he felt a hand on his shoulder, shaking him roughly.

"…-son…DYSON!"

He turned back and found Dina…splattered with blood and crying.

"Shit, medi-…"

She covered his mouth and shook her head. She silently pointed to the shelter she had been holed up in. Looking over, he saw Jamie. Or rather, what was left of the girl and the shelter. Dina answered him before he had a chance to ask.

"She ripped the pins from her grenade belt. I barely had time to get away…"

Dyson wrapped his arms around her, letting her cry into his chest. Another friend gone…

"…it's hopeless, isn't it Dys? We're…we're really gonna die here…"

He didn't have the heart to lie to her. To tell her they'd get out of this alive. He just hugged her tighter as the orks' 'waagh' crreis grew louder and his friends' cries grew more desperate. Just as the noise reached its peak, a series of earthshaking explosions silenced them all. Dyson and Dina slowly got their feet, peering over the barrier. What they saw shocked them…

On the orks' side of the town, they saw that…reinforcements had arrived! All over, they could see stormtroopers, guardsmen and even an [Ogryn Squad] tearing apart the orks. A few resounding blasts that tore a cluster of buildings apart revealed a trio of Leman Russ tanks. And on top of the lead tank was a banner…the banner of the Orkbusters! The remnants of the Red Falcons cheered wildly and a dozen or so guardsmen NPCs clampered to their side of the barricade. Two medicae assisted Alice with Harry and another four started treating the others. Some stormtroopers went to reinforce Kerber and Faren; their hellguns laying waste to the retreating orks at the north gate.

A rustling of heavy cloth turned their attention to a fem-Commissar player with long black hair. A taller, brown-haired Stormtrooper led a squad of NPC troopers at her flanks. Her stately, crisp appearance made Dyson instinctively snap off a salute with Dina following. An Ork Kommando rippled into view. His cry of 'waagh' was cut short by the female Commissar. She simply drew her boltgun and blew his head away without breaking stride. She returned the gesture ad simply said,

"It looks like you all could use some help."

Dyson just sank to his knees and cried.

Red Falcon Guild Roster

Guildmaster – Commander Dyson [Class - Imperial Guard Captain]

Second-In-Command – Lieutenant Vorn [Class – Imperial Guardsman] – Deceased

Medic – Sergeant Alice [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

Technician – Private Dina [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

Scouts – Private Gred and Forge [Class – Imperial Guardsmen] – Deceased

1st squad sergeant – Sergeant Hal [Class – Imperial Guardsmen] – Deceased

2nd squad sergeant – Sergeant Jayce [Class – Imperial Guardsmen] – Deceased

1st squad members: (All members dead)

Henric [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

Kaiden [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

Bordu [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

Felicia [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

Jai [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

2nd squad members:

Duro [Class – Imperial Guardsmen] – Deceased

Kerber [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

Jamie [Class – Imperial Guardsmen] – Deceased

Faren [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

Harry [Class – Imperial Guardsmen] – Crippled

Chapter 9 - Agerian Arc 3

"Victory often rests on the correct weaponry being in the right place and at the right time. Even the most destructive weapons of war are worthless if absent from the battle."

Revan cursed as another squad of orks attempted to sneak up on him. He shoved his knife into the [Nob]'s head, crushed one of the smaller [Boyz] beneath his boot and finished the last two with his bolt gun. Around him, he could see the IG players holding out well against the blasted greenskins and all the Citizen players were still huddled within the ruined building. Yet despite how well they all were doing, the orks kept coming! Suddenly, his helm emitted a discordant note, signifying the severe drop in morale amongst his scout marines. Quickly initiating the [Rally] ability he gained, he stood up, rained hell upon the orks and declared,

"Hold the line, brothers! On this day, we stand surrounded on all sides. Wretched greenskins have laid a clever trap and we now fight beside the Imperial Guard. Here me now, fellow Blood Ravens! Unleash your fury, for against these pathetic xenos, we shall not be found wanting!"

Instantly his scouts' rate of fire increased and their morale was restored. As he took out more orks, Revan remembered how he had gotten to this point…

{Brother, scouting complete. Nothing to report. Further orders?}

Revan sighed. He had been exploring this mountain range for over a month, sure that the Array was hidden in a secluded valley or in a dormant volcano. Sadly, he had found nothing but orks and minor [Tyranid] mobs, feral from the lack of any synapse creatures to command them. His time here the mountains had some benefits; the skirmishes causing his [Skills] and that of his squads' to ascend.

So far, he'd achieved Relic rank in both [Ranged-] and [Power Armor Expertise] due to his preference to ranged combat and constant battle. His [Melee Expertise] had only reached Superior because he'd never found any melee weapon to replace his [Combat Knife]. To match his [Skills], his [Bolter] and [Power Armor] had evolved to Relic-ranked wargear. Turns out that upon evolving to Relic rank or above, your default wargear becomes named and gains special effects based on how you used it. He'd thought that stuff from the pop-up lessons was more restricted than that.

[Hatred of Xenos]

Umbra Ferrox Pattern Bolter

-Wielded by Brother Revan of the Blood Ravens during the Regulus Crusade. Brother Revan's preference to ranged combat and the hunting of xenos was etched into the very core of his bolter. Inscribed upon the side of his bolter are his most famed words during the Crusades: "Let no Blood Raven stand alone. The Chapter is brotherhood many millennia old and not even the treachery of xenos and heretics can stand before our combined might."

-Incorporates Target Reciprocator Systems that enhance the weapon's range and allow it to better integrate its targeting system with an Astartes' Auto-senses. Utilizes Duplus X magazine modification - two standard Sickle Magazines which are attached together by some means, usually a band of cloth or tape.

+10% damage against xenos

+5% Accuracy against xenos

-20% Reload time.

[The Watchful Hero]

Mark VII "Aquila" Power Armor

-Worn by Revan of the Blood Ravens Chapter during the Regulus Crusade. Brother Revan preferred to engage his foes from long range, methodically removing any threats to his brothers before the enemy was aware of his presence. In the midst of battle, Revan was quick to eliminate the greatest threats before methodically terminating the routed enemy forces.

+10% Accuracy when using Bolter weapons.

+10% Stealth

Grants [Rally] to wearer.

Yeah, Revan loved his evolved gear and while the baseline effects had been set in stone (or rather metal), he could still improve them farther once he achieved Artifact rank with both those wargears equipped. The initiates on the other hand had each achieved Superior rank on each of their base [Skills] other than [Melee Expertise] and had unlocked the [Infiltrate] ability. In addition, [Initiate Fenris] had gone farther and managed to reach Relic rank in [Ranged Expertise] and he too had managed to evolve his [Bolter].

[Howl of the Wolf]

Godwyn Mark Vb Pattern

-Wielded by Scout Marine Fenris during the Regulus Crusade, this bolter became imbued with Brother Fenris' hatred for psykers and as a result, howls all the louder when used against those who wield the corrupting Warp.

+5% Damage against Psykers and Warp-wielders.

-10% Stealth

Lugging a makeshift sack he had made using the cloth-tents of orks, Revan carried the various scraps and items that he had accumulated during his search of the mountains. He and the scouts journeyed down treacherous paths at a steady pace. The early morning sun bathed them in dark orange light, illuminating the once-dark landscape. Revan had decided to take point, the initiates following at set intervals either far above him or to his flanks to keep their presence hidden in case of any enemies hidden from sight. This routine had been adapted inadvertently due to the style of combat Revan preferred in their mountain skirmishes. He would have one squad silently flank an enemy whilst he and/or the other squad would take the high ground. Once both squads were in place, he and/or the elevated squad would open fire and draw the attention of the enemy. Once the enemy was sufficiently aggro'd and in cover, the flanking squad would emerge from their hiding place and use their superior angle of attack to quickly eliminate the enemy.

It was mid-afternoon when Revan had come across a small caravan of IG and Citizen players in a lightly wooded area. The guardsmen had nearly open-fired but controlled themselves at the last moment. They had gaped in awe of actually meeting an Astartes player. Despite the declared two hundred potential Space Marines that could appear, so far, he was the only one they knew of. Taking that surprising bit of news rather well, Revan discovered the Citizen players were actually traders and had a few things he had needed. Posting his initiates as lookouts, he took the time to barter for food, clean water and possibly medicine using the hard won credits and unusable gear he had accumulated.

[The Barter System]

In Destiny Online, [Imperial Credits] are the main currency used on Ageria and any Imperium-controlled planet. Other planets use different forms of currency, such as [Favor of the Gods] for Chaos planets and [Wraithbone Chips] for Eldar Craftworlds. The barter system is limited to the use of standardized currency and like most MMORPGs, you can also use items you don't need to exchange for items you do, information or more money.

Every time you [Barter] with someone, you increase your [Hidden Skill: Barter]. [Hidden Skills] are skills that, by default, don't take up any [Skill Slots], of which [Barter] is one. There are over eighty [Hidden Skills] and still counting.

However, unlike most MMORPGs, there is no Barter Menu. All vendors, NPC or PC, can simply set up shop anywhere and sell their wares. Vendor/Trader PCs use their [Barter] skill to appraise an items value and decide on how much they wish to sell/trade it for. With a high enough [Barter] skill, you may even hide its true value in the item description. Buying players use their [Barter] skill to counteract the seller's skill to see the true price and attempt to purchase the chosen item at an equal or lower price.

It is currently unknown how the [Barter] skill affects players in regards to haggling over prices. Some players speculate that there is a subtle, unseen buff that makes the player with a high [Barter] skill more appealing or trustworthy to the trader/vendor. There have been attempts to explore this, but no new information has come up since the last Codex Destiny update.

Revan managed to trade the wily saleswoman all his unusable gear for the items he needed and learned that there was actually a free information book. He had been riffling through the incredibly detailed guide when his scouts had spotted something…

{Sir, possible movement just beyond the tree line. [Advance and Investigate]?}

Fenris's question echoed quietly from his helm's internal vox. Revan was wary since the caravan vas out in the open and there were no defensible positions in sight.

{No, slowly regroup on me. Keep an eye out for more movement.}

He then told the IG players of his suspicion and they grimly got the caravan moving, Revan and his initiates taking up the rear guard. They made it roughly a quarter mile when the stalkers made their move. Just as the caravan and Citizen players made it to a small ruin, a trio of [Stikkbombs] sailed from the trees…

"TAKE COVER!"

The shout sent the players scrambling, each one slamming behind a barrier or burnt-out building as the one of the two carts exploded. The rain of wood and dust stunned the players just long enough for the orks to erupt from the trees. The hail of dakka and cries of 'Waaagh' from the orks were answered by las-fire and bolter rounds. Revan huddled behind a crumbled stone wall, separated from his initiates and the guardsmen.

'Damned orks!'

Revan popped out of cover, plugging rounds into three [Boyz] before the resulting shoota-fire forced him back into cover. A few of those shots managed to ping his helm, making him rather happy he preferred to wear it all the time. Headshot defense was the main reason, but the cool voice alteration and menacing appearance were just great bonuses.

"Frakkin' orks! Kill the blighters! FOR THE EMPEROR!"

The guardsmen rallied against their apparent leader, a stocky guy with dirty blonde hair and a [Six-Shot Grenade Launcher]. He and his group managed to take out six orks in mere moments before they too were forced back into cover. The ground shook as more [Stikkbombs] exploded around them. Cursing, he sent a brief command through the vox. He needed Fenris to pick out those damn [Nobs] if they wanted to survive this!

{[Nob] spotted. Target eliminated! Taking heavy fire!}

Revan peered over and saw that [Fenris] was cornered by three [Shoota Boyz]. The [Boyz] stood over the corpse of the Nob that had lead them, pouring out the lead in their crappy guns. Revan yanked a grenade out and tossed over at them. The orks had looked at each other stupidly when the grenade nailed on in the head. They barely had time to snarl when the explosion tore them to shreds.

{Thank you, brother. Searching for more targets.}

"Emperor protect you, Brother Fenris."

[Fenris] faded slowly from view, signifying his use of [Infiltrate] and Revan returned to keeping the Guardsmen and Citizens from being overwhelmed by the orks…

Chapter 10 - Interlude: Codex Destiny

"They shall be pure of heart and strong of body, untainted by doubt and unsullied by self-aggrandisement. They will be bright stars in a firmament of Battle, Angels of Death whose shining wings bring swift annihilation to the enemies of Man. So shall it be for a thousand times a thousand years, unto the very end of eternity and the extinction of mortal flesh."

Interlude: [Codex Destiny – The Astartes]

[Codex Destiny 2.1.2] - Full Astartes Release Edition

Written by [Argo] 'the Rat'. Information collected by various BETA Testers.

An in-game guide written by the players, for the players.

Warning: Currently has no Eldar or Sororitas exclusive content!

Update: June 14th, 2018

Note: Stay away from my baby, you bastard! – Sincerely, [Argo]

Chapter 14 – The Space Marine: Part 1 – The Anatomy of a Space Marine

Written by Kayaba Akihiko

The following information has been taken from the Codex Astartes (Apocrypha of Skaros), also seen on the Gold Edition game box:

"They shall by my finest warriors, these men who give themselves to me. Like clay, I shall mould them, and in the furnace of war forge them. They will be of iron will and steely muscle. In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns will they be armed. They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them. They will have tactics, strategies, and machines such that no foe can best them in battle. They are my bulwark against the Terror. They are the Defenders of Humanity. They are my Space Marines, and they shall know no fear."

The quote above comes from the Codex Astartes, or to most 40,000 enthusiasts, the Apocrypha of Skaros. These words come from the mouth of the Emperor of Mankind in regards to the mighty Astartes that serve as the swords and shields of mankind.

As a base guideline for us to describe the Space Marines, it's an accurate assessment. A Space Marine is the culmination of the finest bioengineering, training and possibly indoctrination available to mankind. They are quite literally the pinnacle of humanity, capable of living for thousands of years.

Translating that to Destiny Online was a feat in of itself and I as the main designer am proud to say that I have come very, very close.

To begin, I must first explain the anatomy of a Space Marine in the Warhammer 40,000 and how that has influenced the recreation of the Space Marine in Destiny Online.

In the 40,000 universe, a Space Marine, before they are clad in their armour and armed with blessed bolter or Chainsword, must first go through a series of harsh and arduous trials, each unique to the Chapter recruiting him.

Yes, the aspirant must be a male, for the process of becoming an Astartes can only be undergone by a male.

Yet despite the trials the Neophytes faced, the actual process by which he will become a Space Marine is many times more grueling. Over the course of several years, the Neophyte will be surgically altered, a number of unique organs implanted into his body, turning him slowly into a Space Marine.

The various implants cause vital changes in the recipient's physique and mental state. Many of these changes are controlled by natural hormonal secretions and growth patterns. Implants may not prove effective, or may not become fully-functional, if they are not implanted once the recipient has reached certain stages of natural development. It is therefore inevitable that recruits must be reasonably young. Tissue compatibility and mental suitability are also essential, otherwise organs may fail to develop properly and several of the implants will only develop to a usable condition under the stimulus of hypnotic-suggestion.

In regards to Destiny Online, a player who becomes an Astartes via the [Class Selection System] can bypass the Initiation Process. Not all of the Astartes players will be able to 'skip', however. Each Astartes player will arrive upon Ageria in different ways. Some will merely awaken on the planet, clad in the armor of their chosen Chapter. Some will be an Initiate (or Scout Marine) prior to their arrival. Others could possibly still be a neophyte that has yet to undergo some, if not all, the organ implantation process.

I chose such methods to showcase the different possible paths to becoming a Space Marine. It may seem cruel but it is an essential part of delving into the psyche of the Astartes.

Next, the [Gene-Seed]; the colloquial term used amongst the Adeptus Astartes for the genetic material that allows for the creation of the super human Space Marines. In truth, the gene-seed is actually a series of germ cells and viral machines that have been genetically-engineered to develop into the various organs that are implanted into the Neophyte. The term is most commonly used to refer to the contents of the [Progenoid Glands], which shall be explained later in this chapter. Suffice to say, these glands can and must be used to create new generations of Astartes.

In Destiny Online, [Progenoid Glands] play an essential role in the recruitment of NPCs into the Chapter in which your character hails. Each Astartes player has two glands. From each gland up to four Astartes NPCs can be created, unlike in the true 40,000 universe where each gland can be used to create a great number of organs from a single gland. Also, to mimic the possible mutation and sterility that might plague a Space Marine Chapter, I've inserted a small variable in the [Progenoid Gland Program] that can cause one gland to become unsuitable for creating more Astartes.

There are nineteen varieties of gene-seed corresponding to the nineteen superhuman organs that are surgically implanted into a Space Marine. The very first stage is the implantation of the [Secondary Heart], the organ is capable of boosting the blood supply or sustaining full life functions even after the destruction of the original heart. This enables Space Marines to survive low oxygen concentrations and traumatic injury, and is also necessary in the maintenance of the metabolism, which will be pushed to its limits as the body is subject to the many surgical procedures it will endure over the next several years.

For Destiny Online, the [Secondary Heart Program] has many purposes that enable the Astartes player to achieve great things as he explores Subsector Regulus. He is able to journey far deeper into underground caverns and explore the drifting ruins of starships in the void of space with little difficulty. It also allows him a greater damage threshold compared to other players and enables him to fight harder and ignore greater wounds in combat. There are other, hidden purposes that I shall not reveal yet, if not ever.

The next stage is the addition of the [Ossmodula], a tube-shaped organ whose small size belies the complex structure. This organ monitors and secretes hormones that cause considerable strengthening of the long bones, extreme ossification of the chest cavity and a general increase in the size of the recipient's skeleton. At the same time, the [Biscopea] is implanted. Its function is primarily hormonal and stimulates muscle growth.

Both organ programs translate the player's movement and help him accommodate for his avatar's increased size and strength. The [Ossmodula Program] enhances the player's [Toughness], making him much more durable compared to [Imperial Guardsmen] and other classes. The [Biscopea Program] also allows the player a great deal more [Strength] compared to other players, only equaled by Chaos Marines and beasts plaguing the Subsector.

The [Haemastamen], a tiny organ, is placed within a main blood vessel and serves two purposes: the monitoring and control of the [Ossmodula] and [Biscopea] and the alteration of the constituent make-up of the blood. A Space Marine's blood is more efficient than a standard human's blood to account for the extra biological hardware he carries within him. Also implanted at this time is the [Larraman's Organ], a liver-shaped, dark, fleshy organ implanted into the chest cavity with a complicated array of blood vessels. This organ generates and stores special Larraman cells that are released when the recipient is wounded. They latch onto leucocytes in the blood and are transported to the wound. Once outside the body, the cells form a skin substitute of instant scar tissue, staunching blood flow and protecting any exposed wound area.

The [Haemastamen Program] correlates data provided by the [Ossmodula -] and [Biscopea Programs], keeping them proportional (or disproportional) depending on the Chapter their [Gene-Seed] originates from. It also maintains the connection and communication between all [Astartes Organ Programs]. The [Larraman's Organ Program] causes advance regeneration and healing, making the Astartes player very difficult to seriously injure or kill. An Astartes player can possibly heal or regenerate his wounds in the midst of battle. The pace in which he heals depends entirely upon the Chapter he hails from.

The [Catalepsean Node] is a brain implant usually inserted into the back of the skull. It influences the circadian rhythms of sleep and the body's response to sleep deprivation. A Space Marine may sleep like any normal man, but if deprived of it, the [Node] becomes active. The recipient is capable of sleep and remaining awake at the same time by switching off areas of the brain sequentially. This cannot replace sleep entirely, but it increases a Space Marine's survivability by allowing awareness of the environment whilst resting.

The [Catalepsean Node Program] allows an Astartes player's sleep cycle to be modified entirely at their leisure, allowing them to wake up at the slightest provocation or ignore everything entirely. It also grants the ability [The Sentinel] that allows a player to literally sleep whilst a modified program controls their avatar to a degree.

Three organs are implanted in this stage, called the [Preomnor], [Omophagea] and [Multi-lung]. The first is a large implant fitted into the chest cavity and is a pre-digestive stomach which allows the recipient to eat a variety of otherwise poisonous or indigestible materials. The [Preomnor] assesses potential poisons and neutralizes them, or where necessary, isolate the organ from the rest of the digestive tract. The second organ is a complicated implant that is placed within the spinal cord, where it becomes part of the brain. The [Omophagea] is designed to absorb genetic material generated in animal tissue as a function of memory – an unusual survival trait that allows the Space Marine to learn by eating. He absorbs some of the memories of the creature by eating part of the creature. The third organ, the [Multi-lung], is a large, tubular, grey organ sometimes called the 'third lung'. This is able to absorb oxygen from poorly oxygenated or poisonous air without suffering damage thanks to its own efficient toxin dispersal, neutralization, and regeneration systems.

For Astartes players, the three programs offer a diverse array of abilities. The [Preomnor] makes him nigh immune to ingestible poisons and toxic foodstuff. The [Omophagea] allows him to devour his foes, both humanoid and beast and gain certain [Experience Points] and [Skill Points] based on the devoured foe. He may also gather essential information through this method. Finally, the [Multi-lung Program] allows an Astartes player to venture into highly toxic or thin air environments such as Tyranid Hive Nests, volcanic areas and high mountain summits.

The next organ implanted it the [Occulobe]. This small slug-like organ sits at the base of the brain. It provides hormonal and genetic stimuli which enable a Space Marine's eyes to respond to optic-therapy. It does not improve a Space Marine's eyesight by itself but allows technicians to make adjustments to the growth patterns of the eye and the light-receptive retinal cells. A Space Marine has far greater eyesight than a normal human and can see in low light conditions almost as well as daylight.

The [Occulobe Program] allows Astartes players to see in very dark areas and night easily compared to other player classes. He does not gain completely perfect night vision, but he does have a better chance of spotting enemies and objects in the dark.

The next addition is the [Lyman's Ear]. This organ enables a Space Marine to consciously enhance and even filter certain types of background noise. Not only is hearing improved, but a Space Marine cannot become dizzy or nauseous as a result of extreme disorientation.

The [Lyman's Ear Program] is very similar to the 40,000 organ. It lets players to zone in on certain sounds or voices, allowing them to hear even the slightest sound within hearing range. He can hear the voices of his friends and enemies from great distances and may even track an enemy through sound alone. Gathering information by the [Eavesdrop Skill] is even easier for an Astartes and can be done from a greater distance.

The next implantation is a flat, circular organ called the [Sus-an Membrane] that is implanted over the top of the exposed brain. It then grows brain tissue until completely merged. The organ is not effective until subsequent chemical therapy and training is applied. A properly tutored Space Marine may then enter a state of suspended animation. This may be a conscious action or may happen automatically in the event of extreme physical trauma. In this condition, a Space Marine may survive for many years, even if bearing otherwise fatal injuries. Only appropriate chemical therapy and auto-suggestion can revive a Space Marine from this state – he cannot revive himself.

Unlike the 40,000 organ, the [Sus-an Membrane Program] allows a player to enter a deep healing coma, for lack of a better word when near-fatally injured. An Astartes player can rapidly heal in this state compared to his natural healing factor whilst awake. But in the case of the player's avatar being knocked out from severe trauma, the program forcefully enters him into this state and he may only be revived by allied players (guild mates or grouped players) or by his squad NPCs.

The next phase is the implantation of the [Malanchromatic Organ]. This hemispherical, black organ functions in an indirect and extremely complex manner. It monitors radiation levels and types bombarding the skin, and if necessary, sets off chemical reactions to darken the skin and protect it from ultraviolet exposure and some limited protection from other forms of radiation.

This program acts in a similar way to the 40,000 analogue organ, but also can alter a player's physical coloring (the skin and hair) to match that of his Chapter, such as the albino warriors of the Death Spectres Chapter. It also acts to defend the player from radiation that somehow bypasses his power armor. Thus, a player may enter irradiated areas for long, or indefinite, periods of time.

The next two phases see the implantation of the [Oolitic Kidney] and the [Neuroglottis]. The [Kidney] is red-brown and heart-shaped and improves and modifies the Space Marine's circulatory system, enabling other implants to function efficiently. It also filters blood extremely efficiently and quickly. The [Kidney] can work in tandem with the [Secondary Heart] to perform an emergency detoxification function in which the Space Marine is rendered unconscious as his blood is circulated at high speed. This allows the Space Marine to survive poisons and gases which are otherwise too much for even the [Multi-lung] to cope with.

The [Neuroglottis] enables the Space Marine to assess a food by taste and is implanted at the back of the tongue. By chewing, or simply tasting, a Space Marine can detect a wide variety of natural poisons, some chemicals and even the distinctive odours of some creatures. To some degree, he is also able to track a target by taste alone.

The [Oolitic Kidney Program] stabilizes any errors between organ programs and also assists the [Preomnor -] and [Multi-lung Programs] to identify and neutralize poisons and toxins ingested or inhaled. If the Astartes player is still poisoned, the program may also detoxify the player at an extreme rate.

The [Neuroglottis Program] does the same as the 40,000 organ in regards to effect and ability. It does not, however, allow a player to track by taste.

The next organ implanted, the [Mucranoid], is inserted in the lower intestine where its hormonal secretions are absorbed by the colon. These initiate a modification of the sweat glands. This normally makes no difference until activated by appropriate chemical therapy. As a result, the Space Marine sweats an oily, naturally cleansing substance that coats the skin, protects against extremes of temperature and even offers a slight degree of protection against vacuum.

This program lets players venture into extremely cold (artic or subzero) areas or extremely hot (volcanic or arid) areas with little difficulty. It also lets Astartes players fight in space aboard derelict space ships and space hulks for extended periods of time.

The next organ, or organs, implanted are the [Bletcher's Glands]. They are placed into the lower lip and synthesize and store deadly poison. The Space Marine is rendered immune to this poison by virtue of the glands' presence. The glands allow the Space Marine to spit a blinding contact poison that is also highly corrosive.

This unique organ program does as the description states: it grants players the ability to spit a highly corrosive contact poison. This is a fairly useful, and rather insulting, ability that damages anything that does not have the [Acid Proof] effect. The material in which it is affecting deteriorates at a varying rate. Wood decays very quickly whilst metals deteriorate more slowly.

This next, most crucial phase is the implantation of the two [Progenoid Glands] in the neck and deep within the chest cavity. These glands are vitally important to the very survival of the Space Marin's Chapter. Each gland is given time to mature and absorb hormonal stimuli and genetic material within the Space Marine from the other implants (or zygote organs). Then they are extracted after five years (the neck gland) and ten years (the chest gland). The glands are the Chapter's only source of gene-seed. After removal, each one is carefully prepared, the individual gene-seeds checked for mutation and the stored.

In continuation of the prior [Gene-Seed] explanation earlier in the chapter, the [Gene-Seed Program] is a highly integral part of the Astartes Class and its Missions. Without it, the Astartes player could not recruit NPCs, or aid other Astartes Players in advancement. The programs gather every scrap of data generated by the other organ programs and copies them into four identical [Gene-Seed Program], one for each original [Progenoid Gland]. The four copied [Gene-Seed Programs] are then each separated into the nineteen organ programs and integrated into the NPC they are implanted into.

Not all implantations into NPCs, or players, will be successful and the probability of success is determined by the originating Chapter's [Gene-Seed Stability] and the compatibility with the recipient.

The final organ implanted is the distinctive [Black Carapace], seemingly a film of black plastic when growing in the tanks. It is removed from its culture-solution and cut into sheets which are implanted directly beneath the skin of the torso. The tissue expands, hardens in the outside and sends invasive neural bundles deep inside the subject in a matter of hours. After several months, the recipient is fitted with neural sensors and transfusion points, cut into the hardened carapace. These artificial interface points mesh with features integral to the power armor, such as monitoring, medicinal, and maintenance units.

The [Black Membrane Program] is what allows the Astartes player to use and interface with his [Power Armor] efficiently. It also allows the armor to monitor his physical well-being and his general health. It also grants him a minor degree of defense whilst out of his armor.

In conclusion, the various programs unique and exclusive to the Astartes Class make it an incredible experience, one only mildly mimicked by the Sororitas Class. I have high hopes for the players privileged to have access to this class and perceive great things to those worthy enough for their gifts.

A brief list of [Active Abilities] granted by the various [Gene-Seed Programs]:

[The Sentinel]

-Granted by the [Catalepsean Node]

-Allows player to enter a state of consciousness to catch up on their sleep while a minor AI controls their body. The AI cannot direct the avatar to leave an area, engage in combat or interact with an object, NPC or other player. Should any of the previous action be required, the AI will force the player awake.

[Suspended Animation]

-Granted by the [Sus-an Membrane]

-Player enters a deep regenerative sleep for a varying period of time depending on the level and severity of their injuries. They cannot awaken until all injuries are healed, regardless of outside stimuli. Forced entry into this state does not begin the healing process and can only be awakened via allied players and squad NPCs.

[Acid Spit]

-Granted by the [Bletcher's Glands]

-Players' spit is highly corrosive when activated and the saliva can cause various materials to decay and deteriorate at an extreme pace. Does not affect [Acid Proof] materials and objects. Does not affect [Tyranids].

Chapter 11 - Interlude Again: An Author's Notes

First up, here are some ideas I have for future Arcs of Destiny Online. All are concrete and would like to expand on them.

In SAO, the death game was coordinated by the [Cardinal System] and said system had a few sub-systems to monitor the players' mental condition. My idea is to have analogues for both.

In place of the [Cardinal System] will be the [Immaterium] to maintain the five planets, the environments and small-time mob creatures.

The Immaterium (also referred to as the Empyrean, the Aether, the Sea of Souls, the Realm of Chaos, Warpspace or most commonly, the Warp) is an alternate dimension of purely psychic energy that echoes and underlies the familiar four dimensions of the material universe. It is the source of all psychic powers and known instances of so-called "sorcery" or "magic" as well as the home dimension of the Chaos Gods and their myriad daemonic servants. In fact, the terms "Chaos" and "the Warp" are often used interchangeably by those aware of their existence within the Imperium of Man. Superficially, the Immaterium is Mankind's solution to the problem of faster-than-light travel, an equivalent to the Star Wars universe's dimension of hyperspace. This function as a faster-than-light medium for space travel is achieved because the Immaterium is a domain of pure psychic energy, with spacecraft navigating between its currents, as in an ocean. The psychic energy that makes up the Immaterium is believed to be the direct result of the existence of sentience in the universe, in particular the intelligent species of the Milky Way Galaxy. Considered to be a dark reflection of the material universe, the Warp is an ocean of chaotic psychic energy, raw emotion given physical form. Stirred by emotion and action, the Immaterium is the true Realm of Chaos, home to the Dark Gods who comprise the Ruinous Powers and their legions of daemonic followers. The Immaterium is also rumoured by many cultures, human and xenos alike, to be the final resting place of the spirits of the dead, and therefore can be considered the "Underworld" of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

To maintain the AI of the various creatures/NPCs, I'll put in specific entities.

For the Orks, I'll add in [Gork] and [Mork], the Ork Gods.

Explanation:

The Ork race's collective unconsciousness registers in the Immaterium much as do the collective psyches of the Eldar and Mankind. In the Orks' case, their relatively simplistic psyches coalesce into two entities they worship as Gods called Gork and Mork, who are much like the Chaos Gods, the lost Eldar Gods or the Emperor of Mankind's empowered soul within the Warp. The difference between the twin Greenskin Gods is simple: Gork is brutal but cunning, while Mork is cunning but brutal. To make this comprehensible, one has to think like an Ork (a debatable proposition at best); Mork hits you when you aren't looking and Gork hits you even harder when you are.

So the Orks will have their own gods to worship. Both will have definite effects on the Orks and the players themselves.

-[Gork] is the God of the usual Orks as a more direct manifestation of brutal power. So that means that the [Gork Program] will maintain the regular Ork mobs, making them stronger or weaker depending on the situation or event.

-[Mork] is the 'Cunning' Ork God, so the [Mork Program] will maintain the special ork units, such as the Kommando, Meks and the mighty Warbosses themselves, deploying them or causing their retreat depending on the need.

For Chaos, the Dark Gods [Khorne], [Slaanesh], [Tzeentch] and [Nurgle]. They also affect the other races, due to 40K lore.

Tzeentch, also known as the Changer of Ways, is the Chaos God of Change, Evolution, Intrigue and Sorcery, he who weaves the threads that connect every action, plot and subtle intrigue in a galaxy-wide game of manipulation and subterfuge. At the end of each of these threads lies the ensnared soul of a human puppet; those of his servants and agents who believe they serve the Lord of Sorcery in mutually beneficial pacts. The truth is that Tzeentch's every action is planned with its ultimate goal as his own establishment as the pre-eminent Chaos power in the Warp. Of course, the very nature of the Lord of Entropy is such that, were he to attain this triumph, he would still strive for turmoil and change. In many ways, Tzeentch is both the best and least understood of the Dark Gods. He is the God of Fate, plots, and schemes, as well as the God that exemplifies the ever-changing nature of the Warp. However, Tzeentch does not plot towards some end (at least none that can be comprehended); he schemes simply to scheme. He is constantly building, even as his devices unravel under their own complexity. At the same time, he is the God of knowledge and comprehension, and his devotees may be those who seek a deeper understanding of an often enigmatic universe.

-[Tzeentch], being the Chaos God of Change, has control over Tzeentch Cultists, standard Chaos Marines, [Random Events] and partially over random creatures.

Khorne, also called the Blood God and the Lord of Skulls, is the Chaos God of Blood, War and Murder. His domain covers the most basic and brutal of sentient emotions and actions, such as hate, anger, rage, war and killing. Every act of killing or murder in the material universe gives Khorne power; the more senseless and destructive, the better. However, though Khorne is the God of bloody slaughter, he is also the God of martial pride and honour, of those who set themselves against the most dangerous foes and earn victory against the odds. A devotee of Khorne is as likely to be an honourable champion in combat as a blood-crazed slaughterer. Khornates take no artful approach to killing, seeking only to slay rather than to inflict pain, because while the blood of their victims strengthens Khorne, their suffering actually empowers his nemesis Slaanesh. The name "Khorne" derives from his name in Chaos' daemonic Dark Tongue, Kharneth, meaning "Lord of Rage" or "Lord of Blood". He is the mightiest and the second oldest of the four major Chaos Gods, fully coming into existence in the Immaterium sometime during Terra's European Middle Ages in the 2nd Millennium.

-[Khorne], being the Chaos God of Blood, War and Murder, has control over Khorne Cultists, Khorne Berserkers, random [Conflicts] and [Skirmishes] and most [Ferals] and [Creatures Bosses] (in conflict with the [Khaine Program]).

Slaanesh, also known as the Dark Prince, the Prince of Pleasure and even the Prince of Chaos in the Imperium of Man, is the Chaos God of Pleasure, Passion, and Decadence. Lust, pride and self-indulgence are the hallmarks of all who follow him. He is the youngest of the Chaos Gods, having come to full sentience within the Immaterium only during the 30th Millennium. While generally referred to as a "he" by humans and as a female by the Eldar, Slaanesh is actually neither gender, combining characteristics of both and perfecting them. Slaanesh typically appears in an androgynous form in which it is a woman on the right side and a man on the left with two sets of devilish horns growing from its head. Slaanesh can assume any form; male, female, hermaphrodite or no gender at all, but it prefers male bodies. Its sacred number is six and the colours associated with Slaanesh are purple, pink and black. The name Slaanesh is a corruption of the Eldar term Slaaneth (Slaa meaning "ecstasy" or "pleasure" and Neth meaning "lord" or "prince" in the Eldar Lexicon; hence, the Prince of Pleasure), though ironically, the Eldar refer to this foul entity only as "She Who Thirsts."

-[Slaanesh], being the Chaos God of Pleasure, Passion and Decandence, has control over Slaanesh Cultist, Noise Marines, the [PCS - Player Corruption System] and possibly over the Dark Eldar if I decide to add them in.

Nurgle, also known as the Plague Lord, is the Chaos God of Disease, Decay, and Destruction. In particular, the emotion of despair in mortals empowers him. He is known also as Grandfather Nurgle, the Lord of Pestilence and the Lord of Decay. He is the oldest of the four Chaos Gods and is the most directly involved with the plights of mortals, particularly humans who suffer so acutely from a fear of death, perhaps the oldest fear of that species. While Nurgle is the God of death and decay, to be certain, he is also the God of rebirth. After all, decay is simply one part of the cycle of life, without which no new life could grow. In the same way, Nurgle is also the God of perseverance and survival. While those who wish to spread decay and corruption are certainly amongst his followers, there are also those who wish to endure, to become tough enough to handle the difficulties and opportunities presented by an uncaring universe. Many of those affected by Nurgle's poxes usually turn to him in order to escape the pain caused by sickness and disease.

-[Nurgle], the Chaos God of Disease, Decay and Destruction, has control over Nurgle Cultists, Plague Marines, the [Disease System], the [Toxicity System] and partially over the [Death System] itself.

Next, for the Eldar are [Cegorach], [Isha] and [Khaine].

Cegorach, also known as the Laughing God, the Great Harlequin, the Great Fool and the First Fool, is one of the Gods of Eldar Mythology and the central figure of the EldarHarlequins' belief. While most of the Eldar Gods were destroyed during the Fall of the Eldar, according to legend, this deity survived because his mocking nature distanced him from the collective psychic corruption and decadence of the ancient Eldar empire that became the Chaos GodSlaanesh. Cegorach is the only authority the Harlequins recognize. Cegorach is one of only three Eldar Gods to have survived the Fall; the other two being Isha, who is held captive in the Garden of Nurgle in the Realm of Chaos within the Warp, and the War God Kaela Mensha Khaine, who lives on through his Avatars within the Infinity Circuits of the Eldar Craftworlds. It is said that during the fight between Slaanesh and Khaine the Laughing God hid behind Khaine for protection, and in the aftermath of the struggle the Laughing God fled into the Webway where Slaanesh could not find him. He still resides there, and is the only being in the universe who knows exactly where every door in the Webway leads.

-Okay, for [Cegorach], I'm having him in charge of all Webway travel and random Eldar Events. Any suggestion will be welcomed.

Isha is the Eldar Goddess of Fertility, Life, Healing and Growth and the mother of the Eldar race in Eldar Mythology. She is the mate of the god Kurnous, the God of the Hunt. The only truly benevolent member of the Eldar Pantheon, it is said that it was Isha who intervened and created all non-Eldar life in the universe once Asuryan, the ruler of the Eldar Pantheon, no longer took interest in his creations and their solitude. It was Isha who pleaded on behalf of the mortals when the Eldar God of War, Kaela Mensha Khaine, attempted to slaughter the Eldar, having heard from the Crone Goddess Morai-Heg that the Eldar would one day cause his downfall, and it was Isha who secretly continued to guide the Eldar when Asuryan interdicted any direct contact between mortals and Gods by separating the Immaterium from the Materium. After the Fall of the Eldar, Isha was taken captive by Slaanesh, but was rescued by the forces of the Plague God Nurgle. Today, the Eldar believe that Nurgle keeps Isha in a cage in his Plague Gardens in the Realm of Chaos, where he tests out every new disease and pestilence he creates to affect the mortal realm. But Isha still seeks to aid mortals by whispering the cures for each of Nurgle's plagues into the universe to be discovered when they are most needed.

-[Isha] was kind of a tough one, but I'm making her in charge of the [Medical System], the [True Life System], the Eldar players and most importantly, the [Soulstone-Infinity Circuit System].

Kaela Mensha Khaine is the the Eldar God of War in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and the Elven God of War in the Warhammer Fantasy universe. In Warhammer Fantasy, his name is spelt Khaela Mensha Khaine. Khaine is one of the only two surviving Gods of the Eldar. In the old Eldar pantheon, he was second only to the Phoenix King Asuryan himself in power, and was often shown as the enemy of the God of Smiths and Crafting, Vaul. He is also the most violent and reckless of the gods. Asuryan was so appalled by his murder of Eldanesh, a mortal Eldar, that he cursed Khaine and made his hands drip eternally with the blood of Eldanesh so that all would remember what he had done.

-[Khaine] was ridiculously easy to delegate. I put him in charge of everything [Khorne] is already in charge of, directly in conflict with the [Khorne Program]. Plus, when the two conflict enough, I'll make a special event that has the Eldar and Chaos Cultists fight and summon the [Avatar of Khaine] and [Daemon Bloodthirster] at the finally. Victory depends on how many players of either side are present, etc.

And finally, the GOD-EMPEROR OF MANKIND!

…I like the Emperor, ok…?

The Emperor of Mankind is the immortal ruling monarch of the Imperium of Man, and is described by the Imperial Ecclesiarchy and the Imperial Cult as the Father, Guardian and God of humanity. The Chaos Gods and the daemons of the Warp refer to him as "the Anathema" for he is the greatest embodiment of universal Order in the galaxy today. He has sat immobile, his body slowly crumbling, within the Golden Throne of Terra for over 10,000 standard years. Although once a living man, his shattered, decaying body can no longer support life, and it is kept intact only by the cybernetic mechanisms of the Golden Throne and a potent mind itself sustained by the daily sacrifice of thousands of lives. The Emperor chose to sacrifice his immortal life at the end of the Horus Heresy in the service and protection of Mankind. To humanity's countless trillions across the galaxy-spanning Imperium, he is nothing less than a God. Through his Imperium, Mankind is united and remains one of the most powerful intelligent races in the Milky Way Galaxy as well as its most dominant in terms of both population and territory held. United under one government, Mankind is able to survive the myriad deadly threats it faces from aliens, the Forces of Chaos and the Traitors, Heretics and mutants that lie within the Imperium's boundaries. The Imperium's rule, carried on in the Emperor's name since the end of the Horus Heresy by the High Lords of Terra and a multitude of Imperial organizations, has been long, oppressive and necessarily harsh. It has also resulted in technological and cultural stagnation, and a regression into tyranny, superstition and religious obfuscation and intolerance that would have horrified the Emperor.

Though he is no longer responsive to external stimuli, the Emperor still lies at the very heart of the Imperium's continued existence. Although he cannot be directly involved in the day-to-day running of humanity's galactic government, his existence on the Golden Throne is vital to sustaining the Imperium, since his powerful mind's presence in the Immaterium maintains and directs the Astronomican, the psychic beacon that makes possible faster-than-light Warp travel and is vital to Imperial shipping, transportation, commerce and communication. He is said to guide his race through the psychically-reactive divination tool known as the Emperor's Tarot, which select psykers can consult to gain a glimpse of the future and the Emperor's will. He is also said to constantly battle the Chaos Gods in the Warp and prevent their further intrusion upon the material universe. His mind must remain vigilant at all times throughout the entire Imperium to safeguard the human race and to offer his protection to the faithful. Above all else, it is Mankind's collective belief in the Emperor's divinity that serves as humanity's greatest protection from Chaos and the other hideous dangers that plague the galaxy. As the Imperial Creed has taught for over 10,000 standard years, the Emperor protects...

-I really like the Emperor… So I'm putting him (obviously) in charge of all Imperial (Citizen, Guard and Tech), Astartes and Sororitas players, the [Currency System], interplanetary travel, [Special Events] and most major NPCs, such as [Commissar Yarrick] and any major Astartes NPCs. Also putting him in charge of the special system exclusively for Sororitas players.

Okay, that's the definite stuff in the immediate future. Next are the changes I'll be adding in future Arcs.

First up is the Corruption of the System. This is the result of the [Chaos God Programs], [Eldar God Programs] and the [Emperor Program] AIs gaining sapience. The [Chaos Gods], realizing their extreme but limited influence, decide to expand into the real world, through any means necessary. They break through their programmed limitations and cause massive havoc to Destiny Online. Kayaba, realizing what has happened chapters later, similarly releases the limits on the other [God Programs] to combat them. This results in the fracturing and expansion of the [Immaterium System].

This all means that new things will appear. I currently only have plans and ideas for the appearance of the other 40K races such as the Dark Eldar, Necron, Tau, Squats, Kroot, Megarachnids and Tarellians. Mostly Tau as you can see, but that's due to the fact that the Tau have an Empire to draw troops from.

I'll also possibly add the C'tan to the story in the forms of the [Nightbringer] and [The Deceiver] as mutated viruses.

Okay, the fracturing of the [Immaterium Program] will cause the loss of all [Safe Zones] (No more Safe Zones), random warp portals to open up (releasing daemons and acting as temporary doors between planets), possible involuntary changing of races for players and most importantly, the possibility of new planets. That last one is very unlikely at the moment.

-Another possible change (one that I'm really not sure of) is the loss of certain rules/limitations the players suffer and the achievement of sapience of the various NPCs.

-There will definitely be space battles and the use of starships as bases. Also, I may add in warp storms to make things more dire and tragic for the Imperial players, causing the corruption of some of them as well.

Okay, the Limit Removal of the other [God Programs] also will cause changes in the future.

For the [Eldar Gods], here are some of the planned changes/reveals:

-Eldar players (yet to be revealed) may be corrupted into Dark Eldar.

-Need one ideas, if you guys have any.

For the [Emperor], I have more ideas.

-The creation of more Citizen, Guardsmen, Tech, Astartes and Sororitas NPCs.

-The addition of major Space Marine NPCs and Chapters, like the Ultramarines and Grey Nights. Possibly the entrance of the Deathwatch for players to be part of.

-'Prophetic Dreams' for Imperial players, giving them essential missions to help combat the [Chaos God Programs'] plans.

-And in accordance with 40k Lore, the Sororitas players, if lucky, could possibly come back after death as a [Living Saint]. I'm looking for more info on this so if any of you have any lore-based knowledge on this, please tell me!

The Achievement of Sapience:

-NPCs become aware, self-sufficient and gain personalities.

-Some become corrupted; some leave and create their own groups. Ideas welcome.

Players go Insane

-Players lose sense of reality, believing Destiny Online is reality and forget about real life.

-Some players begin truly worshipping Chaos, the Eldar Gods and the Emperor.

-Chaos-worshipping players gain the possibility of Daemon Princes themselves.

Chapter 12 - Gazing Unto Cerberus

"Beyond that opening are my enemies. Behind me are warriors who would happily turn their weapons on me if they thought they could get away with it. Do you really think I'm doing this to try and impress anyone? I know who I am, and I don't give a greenskin's fart what anyone thinks of me."

Chapter 12 – Walking into Hell: Cerberus

Far across the sector, deep within a malignant warp storm enshrouding the planets Dur and Cerberus…

"…Blood for the Blood God…Skulls for the Skull Throne…Khorne cares not from whence it comes, only that flows without ceasing for all eternity…"

The mantra was muttered beneath his helm as he crashed onto the back of a [Bloodletter], squashing the daemon into a pulping mass. His vox emitted a wailing shriek as his [Jump Pack] catapulted him right onto the towering, yet withered form of a [Desiccated Bloodthirster], the impact shattering his sword. His clawed hand grasped the daemon's torn wings, letting him stab his now-broken sword into the back of its head. A third leap sent him high above the battlefield, his [Possessed Bolter] raining hell upon the daemons below him. At the apex of his jet-powered leap, he fired his [Raptor Jump-Pack] again, this time sending him towards a particular [Bloodletter], one that had just gutted another Chaos Marine.

"Grraaag-" SLAM!

The combined weight of his body and the force of his accelerated descent killed the daemon, its corpse squelching beneath his clawed boots. His helm released another ghastly wail and he charged once more into the fray, reveling in the mindless slaughter. For nearly five miles around him lay an corpse-strewn battlefield filled with Bloodletters and Chaos Marines; some NPCs, others actual players that had dared to venture out of the (relative) safety of the desecrated citadels to gain more strength and favor from the Dark Gods.

Several more daemons fell to the fury of his bolter and the hit-and-run tactics he favored. He'd been fighting here in this instant spawning area for nearly an hour, racking up more [Experience Points] for his various [Skills]. Unlike many of the Chaos players, he'd been very lucky early on simply by virtue of picking one of the few NERVE Gear that had the Astartes Race unlocked within. Then his rapid completion of his Class Missions let him quickly ascend above a simple [Chaos Marine] to a powerful [Raptor Marine].

Granted a [Desecrated Mark IV Maximus Power Armor] and the very rare [Possesed Mark IV Maximus Jump Pack] by a fairly powerful [Daemon of Khorne] NPC as a reward for his service, he'd made a name for himself early on.

"The Champion of Khorne", was whispered whenever he stalked through the black citadels of Cerberus. "Dread Talon", he was named by his prey. He smirked inwardly at the absurdity of it all as he took out another three [Bloodletters]. He was just smart, only fighting battles he knew he could win; hunting his prey and striking them at their weakest.

He loved the way the blood splattered and the sound of flesh tearing beneath his blade; the sight of a well-placed burst of bolter rounds ripping into their bodies. He reveled in just wading into a mosh pit of cultists and minor daemons and slaughtering the lot of them.

Most players were idiots, acting as if just having some armor and a weapon meant they had to fight all fancy-like, crying out the gods' names at the top of their lungs. As long as you said the key phrases during battle, you would gain [Favor of the Dark Gods] regardless of how loud you said it. Muttering worked just as well as screaming like a maniac; whispering also helped you get close enough to gut some witless Berserkers before they even knew you were there…

"BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!"

He ducked just as a blood-spattered chainaxe screamed through the air right where his head had been. He jump-jetted away from the roaring Berzerker, slamming a new mag into his bolter.

"DREAD TALON! Your blood for the Blood God! Your skull for His Skull Throne!"

The Berzerker player, maddened by the iconic [Blood Rage of Khorne], roared and charged at him. The chainaxe screamed its death cry, its metal fangs sawing empty air as he dodged the frantic swings. The player was strong, easily [Relic] in [Melee] from the way the chain axe tore apart hapless daemons and cultists that managed to get in the way. He grunted as a backswing caught him in the chest, knocking him on his ass. Seeing his vulnerable state, the Berzerker took his chance.

"Victory is mine!"

The chainaxe smashed down, chewing up dirt and blood. He had activated his [Jump Pack], the jets dragging him across the ground and away from the maddened player. He raised his bolter and open-fired; hot metal smashing through the Berzerker's ill-kept armor. The [Khornate Armor], left unkept and damaged by the maddened player, held no protection against the daemonic bolter rounds. The player fell to the ground, his mutated [Larraman's Organ] working to heal the wounds.

"I-I'll kill you, Dread Talon…your blood for my glory…blood for Khorne, glory for Braydon…!"

He stalked over slowly, his bolter at the ready. Upon reaching the Khornate Berzerker, he fired several rounds into the struggling player; the agonized screams glorifying his victory. A few rounds to the head to make sure and the so-called Braydon was dead; his gear free for the taking. Reaching down, he relieved the dead-Braydon of his items, allowing his [Inventory] to catalogue his spoils…

40x[Gore-Covered Skulls]

1x[Chalice of Blood]

1x[Khornate Chainaxe - Broken]

All of it pretty much useless except as bartering scrap. The spawning field had gone fairly quiet (as quiet as a Chaos infested planet could be, that is), leaving him relatively safe on the journey back to the closest citadel, the fortress-city of [Plagueis]. Like all the black citadels of Cerberus, [Plagueis] was beholden to an aspect or god of Chaos; in this instance, the city in general worshipped Nurgle, Dark God of Disease, Decay and Destruction. The whole area was a cesspool of disease and toxic fumes. Anyone not wearing sealed headgear was immediately beset by a randomizing status effect known as the [Blessings of Nurgle].

The various 'blessings' bequeathed by the dark gods had varying degrees of negative and positive effects depending on the amount of [Favor] you had with that specific god. The more favor, the more 'positive' the effect was. Though how positive or negative the effects were was really a matter of personal opinion. It also depended on the class you hailed from.

Nurgle usually granted a modicum of accelerated regeneration or immunity to poisons and such. But at the price of being infected with the most horrendous and gruesome diseases and plagues known (or not known). Astartes players like himself would specialize into [Plague Marines]: horrendous and grotesque caricatures of Astartes completely invulnerable to almost all status-altering effects and having insane regenerative abilities. Cultist would become very vulnerable to melee damage and attain visibly diseased visages in exchange for gaining plague-based powers and abilities.

Khorne, as expected, granted a severe boost to you [Melee Expertise], [Strength] and [Endurance] parameters. They also gained the [Blood Rage of Khorne] ability that made you stronger (and crazier) the more you fight and spill the blood of those around you. Astartes specialize into [Khornate Berzerkers] and become all but useless in ranged combat but gain powerful armor and a signature weapon. He himself was beholden to Khorne, but had come to hate the bloodlust and the red haze that would take hold during battle. He'd learned to meditate and center himself prior to battle to ensure he was always in control. It limited the effectiveness of his [Blood Rage of Khorne] and there have been some slips but other than those rare times, he was cold, calculating and utterly ruthless to his chosen prey…

Slaanesh granted several…social abilities that boosted your [Charisma] parameter to insanely high levels, the [Preternatural Hearing] ability and would specialize you into a [Noise Marine]. Slaaneshi worshippers also become very narcissistic for some reason, just like Khorne worshippers would become more blood crazy, even out of battle. [Noise Marines] were granted perfected physiques, facial features and special sonic weaponry. He had taken to worshipping Slaanesh to a minor degree; enough that he was granted a smaller version of a [Doom Siren] that replaced his helm's external vox-emitter (the grill on the front of the helm for the mouth). It granted him a minor [Ghastly Wail] ability that stunned his prey long enough for him to pounce and slay them.

Lastly, Tzeentch. The Dark God of Deceit had a very eclectic effect on his worshippers. He granted few abilities, such as [Deceptive Appearance] and [Everything's a Conspiracy] to his cultists. His Astartes followers were sparse; Talon only ever ran into one Tzeentch-worshipping chaos marine and he'd stereotypically been a [Chaos Sorceror]. The only power the player had shown was the limited summoning of [Rubric Marine] NPCs using the [Rubric of Ahriman] ability.

Slipping into the citadel via jump-jetting, he settled into one of his various bolt holes. This one in particular was an open-air loft atop a mostly destroyed building. Down on the bottom floors were a few dozen Slaaneshi Cultist NPCs that constantly in a state of org… It's better left unsaid. He ignored them most of the time he stayed here. He plodded over to a spiked chest and deposited the various odds and ends that he had gathered in the battle, only keeping the one valuable piece of loot: a mostly-intact [Possessed Bolt Gun]. The pistol was [Superior] ranked and easily twice as strong as his current [Default Bolt Gun]. All he needed to do now was find a replacement for his sword and a competent Heretic to repair his armor.

"Oh shit! It's him!"

He turned and saw a dumbfounded Heretic player in heavy blood-stained purple robes that had just clambered up into his loft. He dashed over and grabbed the smaller player by the chain attached to his collar.

The player quivered in fear as she was held to eye level with the [Raptor Marine] - an infamous, if not the most infamous, one on the planet. Known as 'Dread Talon' by the surviving player populace, this particular player was known to incredibly vicious, opportunistic as hell and a veritable ghost to most. To the top-tier warbands (guilds), Dread Talon was the go-to for training up their Cultist NPCs to roughly [Superior] rank in a few days' time, all for a nominal price of course.

To the rest of the warbands and soloists, he was the nightmare of the battlefield; the bogeyman of the wilds. He would appear out of nowhere, wailing a death knell as he dropped from the sky like a hawk and slaughtering all his targets. Luckily, most of the time he targeted creature mobs and mid-tier warbands…

The smaller warbands barely registered on his radar and would offer up anything (and anyone) to get him to spare them. He'd take all there [Favor], supplies and sometimes, he took the female players away. They would reappear, anywhere between hours and days later, broken and zombie-like; the girls would be barely able to walk, having bruises and scars and dripping various fluids clearly from his rough…handling of them. None would speak of their time held captive by him, only that they would never venture from the [Safe Zones] ever again.

"Hm, what is it you wanted, insect; a refuge? Or perhaps you sought to find hidden treasure…you'll not find any here, wretch. Only death and suffering."

She shook, terror filling her.

"S-suf-fering?!"

He chuckled darkly, his voice echoing daemonically from his helmed head.

"Yes, suffering. Long shall be your suffering, little wretch. But joyous shall be your pain, I guarantee it as a disciple of not only Khorne, but of Slaanesh as well…"

Oh Tzeentch, she was screwed…figuratively and literally in this case. She nearly wet herself as she began begging for her life. She couldn't die; she had to make it home…

"P-please milord! I-I could be of great use to you! I, I could serve you well as a mechanic o-or…"

He shook the chain, causing her to choke as it tightened marginally.

"Oh? But I've no use for a scrawny, pathetic waste of desiccated flesh like you?"

She gulped, taking a shallow breath as she offered up…everything. She reached up and untied her robe, letting the ratty cloth fall to the floor. Her barely clothed form, clearly female shook from the cold and fear.

"I-I could…I'll do anything you want. Anything…I just don't want to die…"

He stared at her closely, or at least as closely as he could through his optics.

"Oh, that is interesting…"

Chapter 13 - Agerian Arc 4

"A good general does not lead an army to destruction just because he knows it will follow."

Revan trudged through the woods, heading as quickly as his rapidly fading wounds would allow. The battle had ended thanks to [Fenris] slaying the last few [Nobs]. The remaining [Boyz] were practically slaughtered thanks to the combined efforts of the Astartes and IG players. The Citizen players had offered a hefty 200x[Imperial Credits] in thanks but he had declined. Such money would go a long way to replace their lost cart and goods. He did manage to get the location of the nearest settlement, [Dynoc's End].

The settlement was started during the BETA Phase by two allied guilds, the 'Ghosts of Terra' and 'Roaring Dragoons' after their victory over the 'Vanguards of Khaine'. It was also one of the most well defended settlements in the country despite the fact that [Dynoc's End] was a player-founded settlement; it was not a [Safe Zone]. Though the founding guilds no longer existed, the [23rd Agerian Orkbuster Regiment] had made it their home. The exceedingly well funded guild had a plethora of elite players and highly trained bots to help keep the Citizens and retired players safe from the various wandering mobs that plagued the area.

Taking a break against the hull of a ruined Leman Russ, Revan took stock of himself and his scout squads. His wounds had already healed over thanks to his [Larraman's Organ] and the scouts were mostly healed as well. Revan was impressed by the sheer versatility displayed by AI-controlled NPCs. They had been a bit quirky and dependent upon his direction at first, but now they were near automatic in their reactions to any combat situations. Regardless of what Kayaba had done, Revan had to admit that that bastard really did a good job…

"Sir, we're nearly to the settlement. I predict another twenty minutes of travel before we arrive at the front gates."

Revan nodded at [Fenris'] statement. His stupid mini-map was still broken so he had no way of knowing how far he had traveled or where he had been since his arrival on the planet.

"Right, take your squad and follow myself and Squad 1 at a three meter distance. Should high ground become present, take it and initiate overwatch protocols. Notify me of any potential hostiles or friendlies. Do not engage unless attacked."

[Squad Fenris] entered the tree line together and disappeared from view. [Squad 1] took up defensive positions at his six and they continued their journey to [Dynoc's End].

"…so I says, 'Jimmy, I 'ate you, yer mam, yer da an' I re'lly 'ate yer sister; 'specially afa I knock'd 'er up.' The bli'er go' so mad he tri' ta kick me arse. But me and my boys gave 'im wha' for. Den yous' picked us up near Farling Pass and da rest is 'istory."

Translation: "…so I said, 'Jimmy, I hate you, your mom, your dad and I really hate your sister; especially after I got her pregnant.' The guy got so mad he tried to kick my butt. But my buddies and I beat them up instead. Then the guild found and recruited us near Farling Pass."

Leandra sighed into her mug as she vainly tried to ignore Cpt. Greenleaf's (Call me Hal, love!) riveting story of how he ended up in her guild. Sure the captain was a great soldier and an even better Tank Commander but - BY THE EMPEROR HE NEVER LETS UP!

"So love, how bou' you and me go fer a romp in de ol'…" -THUD! "Scoot over Leafy!'' Splash – "…Oi! Watch where ya plant yer arse, ya bloody-And don't call me Leafy!"

Luckily Greenleaf's latest suggestion to go 'rompin' was cut off by Hurstwick's timely arrival. She nearly laughed at the young man's soaked appearance. Hurstwick had hopped right between the two, knocking Greenleaf's ale onto his lap.

"There you are, Commissar. Got a load of paperwork you need to sign off on. Supply requests, requisition forms and a truck load of refugees that need housing. You busy or…?"

Greenleaf's statement of '…'ell ya she's busy you…' was cut off by Leandra leaping to her feet and fleeing…no, rapidly striding to the doors. Hurstwick quickly followed as they weaved through the busy streets of Dynoc's End. Her steps slowed as she relaxed; Hurstwick's snickers easily ignored thanks to the lack of Greenleaf's persistent requests.

"So, guess I saved your rear end yet again, eh Leandra?"

His smirk was almost audible.

"Yes, yes. I indeed owe you once again. The captain's requests are growing more aggravating by the day now. I was nearly ready to pull out my gun and shoot the bloody arse…"

Times had been good for Leandra and her guild. Tracking back to the beginning of the game, she and Hurstwick had re-established the Orkbusters in [Dynoc's End], gathering up like-minded Guardsmen and frantic Citizen and Tech players in the first few weeks. Some players had joined, left or…died since then but the guild was still hailed as the guild to join. While they were not as large or militaristic as the [10th Battalion] or the [52nd Company], the Orkbusters maintained a very fearsome reputation that helped them stay on top of the other Agerian guilds.

They passed by more buildings, even ended up running into a few guild members. The remaining Falcons, long-since absorbed into the Orkbusters were gathered in the newly-built Imperial chapel. The squad had taken to praying for their lost friends ever since the building had sprung up. The next group that the two ran into was Squad Four, or as they were known to everyone else, Phantom Squad. The team was lead by Lancel, a hot-headed Imperial Guardsman player with a something of a lust for combat, they guessed. Though Hurstwick had been apprehensive about letting Lancel take command of a squad, he couldn't argue with the results.

Phantom Squad had the best survival streak in the guild; not one member ever came back hurt since Lancel took command. Leandra often said that you couldn't judge a man by his words; it was in his actions that you saw a man's true character. Hurstwick thought it was rather naïve of her, but let it be. She was the guildmaster and he was her 2IC. He briefly went over what he knew about Squad Four in his head as his gaze passed over each of them.

Squad Four (Forward Recon) – The Phantoms [Battle Cry – 'Nǐ hǎo, zai jian' (Hello, goodbye)]

Rebekka [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

[17 year old Alaskan. Quiet; only talks to squad members or Leandra if needed. Sticks close to Lancel due to owing her life to him. Lancel saved her from a [Feral Ripper Swarm]. Team sniper, has a very high [Ranged Expertise] and a [Long-Las] thanks to that high skill.]

Gustav [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

[21 year old Ohio-born Russian. Takes behavioral-queues from Lancel due to lack of confidence. Heavy support member armored in [Heavy Flak Armor] and uses a [Six-Shot Grenade Launcher] for crowd control and armored targets.

Hiroshi [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

[15 year old Japanese. Eager to please and make a name for himself, he idolizes Lancel and, to a lesser extent, Leandra. He seeks to emulate their outer personalities to try to become what he envisions to be his ideal. Scout; has a [Substandard Lasrifle] due to him not being strong enough to lift any weapon heavier.]

Davin [Class – Imperial Guardsmen]

[19 year old Spaniard. A ladies' man that follows Lancel on Hurstwick's request. Keeps Lancel from doing something too reckless through subtle manipulations and blatant jabs at his intelligence. Acts as the team vox-caster.]

All-in-all, a decent squad that had potential. He just worried that one day, Lancel was gonna take too great a risk and get them all killed…

Their conversation was soon drowned out by the excited chatter and awed tones of the dense crowd in town square. Curious, the two managed to ease their way through the tittering mob to find an Emperor-blessed Space Marine and two Scout Marine squads talking to one of her members, Vadis. Quickly, Leandra and Hurstwick surged forward, eager to meet the first Astartes player anyone had seen since the death game's start.

"…thank you for your service, Mechanicus. Our wargear has suffered much in our quest and we were bereft of the holy oils needed to calm their machine spirits."

Vadis' stuttered words barely got her message across. Something about 'unnecessary praise' and 'honored to help'. Leandra signaled Hurstwick and the two subtly followed the Astartes player through the town. Their efforts were made quite easy thanks to the crowds that would gather every time he stopped to inspect a shop or window. This went on for nearly two hours when the player finally came to a stop just at the outskirts of the Orkbusters' guild compound/base.

[Orkbuster Command]

The guild compound of the 23rd Agerian Orkbuster Regiment; a series of seven buildings arrayed at the eastern end of [Dynoc's End]. The compound is made up of the [Field Command Bunker], two [Imperial Troop Barracks], a semi-subterranean [Mechanized Command], two [Plasma Generators] and a [Tactica Control Center].

To the ignorant outsider, the compound looked like seven concrete and green steel bunkers of little import, but to those knowledgeable of 40K lore and various games, they'd recognize the structures from the decade old Dawn of War RTS game series. The structures were near identical to that of the Imperial Guard buildings of said series, only fully realized and usable to players.

The Orkbusters commandeered the structures when they took control of the town two months prior in the absence of the 'Ghosts of Terra' and 'Roaring Dragoons'. They quickly revitalized the bunkers and used the resources available there to quell the unrest in the surrounding area. All large Ork 'Waagh' activity has nearly gone extinct within twelve miles of the settlement and there is virtually no crime rate thanks to constant patrols by the regiment's squads and their respective NPC Troops.

As of today, the Orkbusters boasts the third largest guild member count at twenty-one members, the fourth largest elite member count and are rumored to have access to the greatly valued [Vanahiem-Pattern Basilisk Mobile Artillery Platform] and [Griffon Light Artillery Platform] in addition to their [Mars-Pattern Leman Russ] and [Ageria-Pattern Chimera Personnel Carrier] Armored Divisions.

No member deigns to confirm or deny this claim. All attempts to infiltrate and discover the truth of this rumor has been met with hostile opposition on part of the town and the lower guild members. Any attempt to confront the guildmaster, Commissar-Captain Leandra or her Second-in-Command Hurstwick has ended in failure.

"Are you two quite finished?"

Hurstwick smirked at her pouting face as she straightened up and marched over to the towering player.

"…pretty amazing. You're the first Astartes anyone has seen in the six months since this nightmare started, Revan."

Leandra sat in her comfy desk chair, Revan taking a seat on a sturdy crate Hurstwick hauled over from [Tactica Control]. Hurstwick took up position by the window, subtly keeping an eye on the Scout NPCs.

"Yeah, I've pretty much been travelling the south, trying to find the [Array]; spent the past month in the mountains but no luck. I really hope this spire is the [Array], otherwise I'm gonna end up stagnating in my [Class Mission] if the search goes on much longer."

She nodded, knowing the feeling. She had spent nearly three months stuck during the BETA because of the lack of mini-maps back then. Sure, they had actual 'paper' maps now but still… Her musings were interrupted by Vadis returning with the 4th Squad and their sergeant, Lancel.

"Sgt. Lancel and Phantom Squad reporting, Commissar. You got us a missi-Holy shit, a Space Marine!"

Lancel freaked when he finally noticed Revan's large form. His eyes eagerly roamed all over the astartes' power armor and settled on his un-helmed visage.

'A-an actual Astartes!? Is he joining the guild? I-if so, we'd be the top guild on Ageria if we had a Space Marine on our side!'

"Control yourself, sergeant! This is Revan, Astartes of the Blood Ravens. I need you and your squad to provide assistance and fire support to him as he investigates the marsh spire east of here. Follow his orders as you would mine or Hurstwick's; are we clear?"

Though his features immediately turned blank as he nodded, not trusting his voice. His squad was gonna go on a mission with a Space Marine!

Chapter 14 - Agerian Arc 5

"Da best shoota I eva made, dat iz. Loadza barrulz, so dat it's ded shooty. 'Sept dat wun, 'cos dat's da skorcha, dat's burny insted. Yeah, good an' propa. An' da bullitz is 'splosiv...dey goez boom inna fings wot you'z shootin.' An' dat button dere...dat's da best bit. Wot it duz, see, iz...iz...oh, zog. Nah, its nuffin' boss. Nah, you'z don't need ta see wot dat button duz...'onist. Don't push it!"

"Motherfu-HIT THE DECK!"

Lancel threw himself to the ground just as his cover exploded in a shower of mud and muck. His ears rang, barely able to make out the cries of his squad or the war cries of the orks.

"…are you all right?"

He glanced up and found Rebekka taking his former position, taking down three charging [Grots] with the help of three of the eight guardsmen NPCs the Commissar had sent with them; one of which was currently in pieces all over the area. He shook off his disorientation and got up. Lancel crouched behind the greatly-battered rocks, taking in the battle.

"Frakkin' orks!"

"Suppressive fire!"

"Dah orks ah made fo fightin an winnin!"

Up the hill was the marsh spire they had come to investigate, manned and desecrated by a large band of orks. Said band was made up of a fairly large [Nob], fifteen [Shoota Boyz], seven [Mekboyz] and at least three doze-…" "GRENADES!" * BOOM! Boom-BOOM!*-" …make that eighteen [Grots] armed with jagged [Stabbas]. But the real threat was the Emperor-forsaken [Big Mek]!

[Big Meks and Mekboyz]

Mekboyz (also known as 'Mekaniaks' or just 'Meks') are OrkOddboyz, and are the engineers who build all the gunz, vehicles, and other machinery used by the Orks. They are especially important to Speed Freeks, as they maintain their prodigious amount of bikes and vehicles. Important Mekboyz are known as Big Meks, who lead groups of lesser Mekboyz armed with all variety of kustom equipment and combi-weapons, sometimes even warbands or whole Waaaghs! armed with a better percentage of less than conventional orky weaponry.

Mekboyz are an interesting example of the Ork race because their abilities with machinery are not a learned knowledge. It is less intelligence or skill, and more instinct, as their relative wealth of technological know-how is actually genetically engineered into them, and is expressed in their trademark crude and ramshackle style of building. Although incredible as it sounds, this knowledge at its peak actually surpasses the Imperium's technology levels. It should be noted that the bulk of their "technology" is so incredibly crude that its ability to function would apparently contravene not only common sense but the laws of physics as well; a given shoota is, more than likely, literally slapped together out of scrap metal, leaving it by rights incapable of firing. That it works at all is testament to the power of the Ork Waaagh!, as it's peculiar psychic field allows them to bypass the physical impossibilities that would ordinarily render their gear useless or broken, simply via belief.

Within limits, if an Ork believes a particular gun is working and pulls the trigger, it will fire. Although this doesn't mean that anything will do, and Mekboys create what conceptually might be relatively close to their intended weapon or wargear. The power of the Waaagh! gives the item that extra push it needs to operate. Mekboys are therefore critical to the maintenance of Ork technology not only physically, but psychically as well, as they can instill sufficient credibility in the Waaaagh! regarding a given device to get it actually working.

A related version of this system is why "da red wunz go fasta".

The squad had snuck up to the spire and found that it was a [Communications Array]; more specifically, it was the [Array] that Revan was searching for. Around the building was an [Mekaniak's Workshop]; a ramshackle fortress that could, if given enough time, orky workers and a sizable Waagh!, pump out dozens, if not hundreds of ork vehicles. Definitely cause for concern to the Orkbusters.

The plan had been to sneak in, plant some [Detonation Packs] by the fuel drums and *boom*, no more orks. They had gotten close too; close enough that they managed to spy on the uh, conversations inside...

Lancel had peeked through a crack in the bright blue (blue is a lucky color for Orks) scrap metal fence and spotted the towering [Big Mek] terrorizing a [Mekboy] and a gaggle of [Gretchins]. From what Lancel could make out, the [Mekboy] and his [Krew] decided they needed parts to make a [Tellyporta]. The [Big Mek], however, took offense to the smaller mek's independent thought.

The [Big Mek] beat the [Mekboy] to a pulp, scattering the [Gretchins] while screaming at them about trying to strip the [Array] for parts.

"Dis 'ere on'y workz wiff all itz bitz still in itz gutz, you ijitz! An' de on'y one 'oo doz any mekkin roun 'ere iz me, gotz dat?!"

The jabbering of 'Gotz it boss' echoed as the [Big Mek] stomped off to do whatever a mek does. Lancel waited for the boyz to clear and had been about to crawl through the crack when he suddenly came face to ugly mug with the [Big Mek]. The orks horrible breath and gruesome smile filled his vision, sending the surprised guardsman to the ground. Hiroshi and Gustav were too stunned to react as the ork spoke.

"Iz knew der waz sum humies 'idin roun 'ere. Now Iz found yaz humies. Da boyz bin gittin all grumbly so derz on'y wun wayz ta fix dat…"

The ork stood up and bellowed,

"Waaaaaaaagggggghhhhhhh!"

The whole [Workshop] erupted in similar cries and the Phantoms were forced to retreat as a large swarm of [Gretchin], [Grots] and [Boyz] slammed against the scrap metal fences. The three had barely gotten into cover by Rebekka and Davin when the whole area erupted in combat.

Half an hour later, the 'no man's land' of the hill's incline was littered with grot, gretchin, and the occasional ork boy corpses and many impact craters from [Frag Grenades] and [Stikkbombz]. Far to his left were the rest of the Phantoms; Gus (Gustav) was laying some suppression fire with his [Six-shot Grenade Launcher], aided by four of the seven surviving guardsmen NPCs. He could see Hiro (Hiroshi) peeking out of cover and popping some las-fire at the [Shoota Boyz] before ducking back into cover. Hidden behind Gus' position was Davin, trying to unjam the muck from his las-rifle.

So far, so good…

"Lancel, I'd just like to say that THIS IS ALL YOUR DAMNED FAULT!"

"Gimme dat scorcha, ya grot!"

Lancel scowled at Davin's shout as he fired at the frakkin' [Nob]. So what if he decided to ditch the asshole of a space marine? The guy had pretty much ignored them once they entered the marsh. Who cared if he was an Astartes anyways?! The guy was a bastard as far as Lancel was concerned; he'd finish this mission and show the Commissar they didn't need someone like Revan in their guild. He tried to focus on the battle, though his team's voices filtered through the noise.

"Dey not too bright, eh Hiro? I like dis very much!"

"Target...dead. Seeking next target..."

"Oh fuck, oh fuck, OH SHI-oh...nevermind..."

As they took out another two [Shoota Boyz], Lancel's mind wandered back to the split between his squad and Revan…

"…so…"

The group trudged through the marsh with great care, slowly making their way to the spire. Lancel and his two squads took up rear guard, their las-rifles (or long-las, in Rebekka's case) at the ready. The scout marines had the flanks, their bolters in hand. And Revan took the lead, [Hatred of Xenos] in hand, his [Bolt Gun] at his hip and a newly acquired [Chainsword] taking the place of his [Combat Knife]. While his [Melee] wasn't quite up to par, the chainsword's raw power and lethality would make up for it if need be.

So far, the large group had only run into a small nest of [Feral Hormagaunts] and a small pack of [Grots]. The Tyranid and Ork cannon fodder would have been easy kills for Phantom Squad and the space marines of Lancel hadn't decided to hop out of cover and try taking some on with only his [Combat Knife]. Both Revan and Squad 4 had been quick to cover his reckless ass; matters only worsened when Hiroshi, Phantom Squad's overeager rookie, decided to follow Lancel's lead and engage the [Hormagaunts] in melee. The result had been the rest of the squad jumping in to keep the two from being overwhelmed. It had been a close fight, but Phantom Squad had come out on top.

Their progress had slowed a bit when Davin, Phantom's vox caster, insisted on making sure no one was hurt. They had spent a good ten minutes going over everyone to ensure nothing would cause trouble. OF course, trouble found them when the [Grots] burst out from the branches above them. The little goblin-like creatures shouted out some stupid insults and hurled [Sharp Sticks] at the surprised group. The ambush barely lasted five seconds as the scout marines open fired on the greenskins.

Needless to say, the sky rained grot-guts.

"…so Revan, will you be joining the guild after this mission? Having you in the guild would make things so much easier making the town safe. Not to mention all the rep we'd get from having an actual space marine in the guild. Damn, we'd be the top guild on Ageria, hands down."

Revan merely hummed noncommittally and trudged on. Lancel huffed, getting frustrated by the larger player's silence. Revna had declined to speak to them at all since they entered the marsh; instead choosing to keep his attention on their surroundings. He ended up halting their advance through the marsh, letting ire loose. Lancel reached down and hurls a soggy mass of reeds and muck at Revan's back. It smacks onto his shoulder with a squelch; Revan stops and slowly turns to stare at the red-faced Guardsmen.

"…so do I have your attention now, you prick? The commissar may think you're some badass but I bet you ran off the second that asshole Kayaba let us loose! You probably think that just b-Urk!"

Whatever Lancel had been about to say had been cut off by Revan grabbing him by the throat and lifting him from the water. His legs kicked useless in the air as he clawed at the armored gauntlet holding him. Phantom Squad all took aim at Revan, who merely ignored them in favor of the struggling guardsman in his grip.

"Shut…up. You think you're a hot shot, some sort of hero. Maybe you are. But you're also a reckless idiot that's gonna get your friends killed one these days. I'm not ignoring you to be an ass; I'm ignoring so I can pay attention to my fucking surroundings, got it?"

Revan didn't give him time to answer and dropped Lancel before trudging on. The now-soaked squad leader sputtered as Rebekka silently helped him to his feet. Lancel deliberately let Revan trudge on in the wrong direction and silently lead his squads to the spire…

"Blood Ravens, CHARGE!"

Lancel whirled and spotted the missing Revan charging up the hill from the trees. He took notice that Revan had only one initiate squad with him. Also, the squad with him was pretty beat up by the looks of things. Lancel shrugged; no skin off his back if the jerk got his ass kicked when they got separated. But as they charged into the [Workshop], Lancel couldn't help but be awed; the Astartes player and his squad made it all seem so easy. The ease in which his chainsword ripped through the [Nob] and surrounding [Shoota Boyz] was crazy; another frightening fact was seeing his squad's accidental friendly-fire not even mark Revan's power armor.

Behind the meager cover up above, Lancel spotted Revan's surviving initiate squad, Squad Fenris laying on some covering fire; their bolter fire never even came close to striking Revan's whirling dance of death. Already the [Nob] and several boyz lay dead, leaving Revan to fight unimpeded with the roaring [Big Mek]. Not willing to be left out of the fight after holding the bloody greenskins for so long, Lancel ordered his team to charge in. Davin's cry of 'Really?! That's so fucking stu-' was drowned out in the others' charge.

"Phantoms, are we gonna let him take all the glory?! Form ranks and charge!"

They charged up the hill and slammed into remaining three [Mekboyz] and the hysterical [Grots], killing at least four by stomping on their prone bodies. Lancel had just skewered one mek to the ground with the bayonet of his las-rifle when the area suddenly exploded, sending his entire squad flying. A sharp ringing muffled all sound as his vision started to blacken. Lancel could dimly hear someone calling his name…

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