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The Lamb, Kalor Varkesh and the other assorted High Imperial and Imperium ships are still being sucked into the supermassive blackhole caused by Indigo Shade in Tales Post 4. The Lamb's tractors manage to save some of the other ships from slipping into oblivion but Ameryl is at a loss for any plan to escape the ultimate demise of the universe. High Legatifex Astrid, however, suggests that Kalor Varkesh use its Bagon Noz Drive to open a gateway to Tartarus that they can all fall into and escape the physical Story Realm. They conduct the plan and though some are lost during the attempt, The Lamb manages to get inside by tractoring onto some horrific force from within Tartarus.

Post

Shades of an Empire

Hellsfire

Continues from Tales Post 4.

Ameryl: "Grab the two largest sections of the High Imperial Battlecruiser."

Locrete Bastelle Andralain glances up from her station.

The station itself is a combination of silver and black metals, smoothed out so that its as soft as silk. The console panes are lit up a serene blue colour that adds a sense of calm, even now. Despite the immense pressure being placed upon the ship's hull, the interior bridge remains unmoving thanks to an inertia dampener that surrounds the bridge itself. The ship's warp core has a similar dampener to ensure it doesn't rattle into oblivion. Someone suggested that one ought to be placed on toilets, because it would be very embarrassing to be caught in one when the ship comes under fire and you fall face first to your demise. The proposer was demoted.

While the lower panels are illuminated in blue, the panels behind her are lit up white against the smooth, jet black metal. The tactical officer swings a hand to one of the white panels behind her and it projects onto the front viewscreen of the bridge. It displays the information regarding the High Imperial battlecruiser that has been split in twain after its failed jump out of the Briggan system. Ameryl sees the lifesigns - all quickly dwindling. The fore appears to be the more sturdy half with its personnel outlasting its rival half. Likely the damage isn't as bad and they've been able to seal off the exposed sections with energy barriers. The aft, however, is in much worse state as the hull itself is crumbling - torn apart by the pull of the ever increasing supermassive black hole.

The Lamb's tractor snaps onto both halves, preventing the rapid descent of the aft into the black hole.

Andralain: "I have them."

The serene, graceful beauty of the woman is marred by the bright red irises that glare out at the world with a deep, internal hunger. Once an angel, blessed with purity of her god, now cursed by the lust for blood of the vampire.

Ameryl: "That was the easy part. The real trick is getting out of here. The pull of the black hole isn't going to allow any normal jump out of here. Even slipping onto the astral plane isn't going to work because it's tethered to the real world... suggestions?"

Andralain: "Captain, I need to tractor Kalor Varkesh immediately!"

Ameryl: "Go ahead."

The vampire-angel sweeps her hand quickly, moving one of the white panels behind her to the viewscreen. Ameryl watches as Varkesh is snagged by another tractor. From the readout she realises that Varkesh has a much lower mass and so it was being dragged into the black hole much faster. The dragon had been clinging to one of the larger battlecruisers before its grip was overcome by the gravity pull. Now the ships are all slipping in slower, but together.

Ameryl: "Immediate crisis averted. Seriously, no suggestions?"

There's a sea of forlorn, defeated shrugs. Everyone thinks they could easily escape the problem themselves - the portal room would take them instantly anywhere else within The Imperium, bypassing realspace entirely. They hope.

Unfortunately they'd be leaving behind the High Imperial ships as well as the Omega Reich platforms.

The communications officer pipes up that a communication is coming through.

High Legatifex Astrid: "I have a way out of this. It's going to be damn tight though..."

Ameryl: "We have zero alternatives so I guess your idea is the only one we have."

Astrid rubs her eye, knowing this is not going to go down well.

High Legatifex Astrid: "We have a Bagon Noz Drive, it opens a doorway to Tartarus. Once there, we're beyond space and time. The gravity pull in reality won't affect us there."

Ameryl: "Right... but you have to fly into it first."

Astrid wiggles her flat hand side to side.

High Legatifex Astrid: "Sooooooort of. You actually get partially pulled inside - don't ask how - but actually if I open it up in the direction of the black hole itself and we dr--"

Ameryl: "Seriously? If we miss the gateway to Tartarus--"

High Legatifex Astrid: "I know."

The remaining High Imperial battlecruiser is already positioning itself behind Kalor Varkesh, tucking itself in close. Being so close to other ships might have resulted in accidental collision, but the netherwyrm can cling onto any ship that gets too close and ride with it.

Ameryl: "Helm... take us in behind the High Imperial craft. Position the two bulks of their ship in close to Kalor Varkesh. Have our own ships tuck in close to The Lamb too."

High Legatifex Astrid: "I have a mage onboard who swears he can widen the gateway, hopefully we'll all fit through. I'll have to... jump from ship to ship, backwards, to keep Kalor Varkesh out of the gateway. Once he goes through, it'll close on this end."

Ameryl rolls her eyes. She gets tired of these do or die scenarios.

The ships all move, close as they dare. At one point the pull of the supermassive black hole increased exponentially, almost dragging one of The Imperium vessels into The Lamb. Fortunately The Lamb responded by tractoring the ship and guiding it sidewards and up alongside The Lamb instead of colliding into it.

They have to act quickly. Any more delay would start to break up their ships and time would begin to slow to such an extent that they'd cease to exist in realtime.

Kalor Varkesh's body bursts with netherflame as a gateway rips open. Ameryl notices that it begins to widen, possibly the results of the mage's efforts, and Kalor Varkesh itself beats its great, aetheral wings as he fights the pull of gravity and the gateway. The first High Imperial battlecruiser slides into the gateway quickly as its pulled by both forces, with netherflame licking its outer hull. The Imperium vessel beside The Lamb flies through next, wobbling as the black hole's pull drags it off course. The yanking of Tartarus, however, manages to pull it back towards the maw and its falls inside.

The remains of the other High Imperial battlecruiser starts its descent, half guided by the tractor of The Lamb. The fore falls into the gateway, half shoved by Kalor Varkesh. The aft, however, ruptures as the force of Tartarus grips the ship and its weakened hull disintegrates. Pieces of the ship fall into the maw, while the rest breaks up. The biggest bulk does enter Tartarus, but Ameryl doubt anyone would survive in there with the state that its in. She shudders to think what might become of them... what might come upon them.

As another Imperium ship slowly reaches the threshold, Kalor Varkesh pounces on it. For a moment it looks as though it might tear into the ship and destroy it, but he then leaps off of it. The forward motion takes Varkesh only a fraction away from the gateway, the pull of the black hole too strong to allow him to get away more than that.

As the gate remains open for longer and longer, Ameryl is sure she can see wisps of something very large, very evil, lurking just beyond vision at the gate's rim. She suspects it's rather curious.

It came time for The Lamb and its orbiting Greater Omega ships. The tractor tries to pull the other ships in tight, but the pull won't allow her to line them up into a nice queue to pass through the gate. She tries to push them further forward, seeking to fire them at the gate. Two pass through. One hits the rim of the gate.

It slices in two, like a hot knife through butter.

Half of the ship slides by the gate and towards the black hole. One half slips into Tartarus - exposed to the demonic elements. She isn't certain which fate is worse, stretched and peeled apart by time or stretched and peeled apart by demons.

Another Omega ship, small as it is, flings off like a marble and winds its way down, whole, towards the black hole. From the sudden expulsion of that ship, The Lamb bounces and starts to drift away from the Tartarus doorway.

Ameryl: "That's not good. Tactical Officer..."

Andralain looks at Ameryl with concern in her eyes. She already knows what she's going to be asked and she doesn't like it.

Ameryl: "Tractor onto... whatever is inside there and use it to pull us in..."

Since there's only The Lamb and Kalor Varkesh left, the only option is to pull on something inside. The Lamb jerks back towards the gate. Kalor Varkesh lunges at The Lamb and lands on its hull, its talons groping its shell. They both plunge into hellsfire.

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