Planet Type: Hive World.
Hive Location: Spires.
* * * * *
Corporal Jeffrey Winger felt uncomfortable and out of place in this lush, verdant park. He'd spent most of his life in barren, rocky surroundings, and the few truly civilized places he'd ever visited were nowhere near this nice. Even worse, the buildings around the park and the table at which he sat were all large, gaudy and seemed to sparkle like jewels (he wouldn't be surprised if they were actually made of jewels). Having grown up in the Lower Hive of Necromunda, Jeff wasn't used to this amount of splendor. He was even less used to hanging out with Imperial nobility, all of whom, while friendly enough, were anxious to ask him questions. Britta Perry, Pierce Hawthorne, Shirley Bennett, Abed Nadir and Troy Barnes seemed more self-aware than the others nobles up here in the Spires (although not by much, in Pierce's case), so he hoped it wouldn't be so bad. At the very least, the table had a lot of good-looking food for him to snack on.
"So, you're, like, Annie's bodyguard?" Britta asked, taking a bite out of a piece of fruit.
Jeff looked over at Annie Edison, the girl who he was supposed to be protecting. She was engrossed in her book, so she wasn't likely to be any help. He was going to have to do the talking. He sighed inwardly: He was great at grand speeches that could rile up an entire regiment of his fellow soldiers, and he wasn't bad at talking a girl into bed, but he had never had to...chat.
"Uh, yeah. My Commissar is a friend of the Planetary Governor..."
"My uncle..." Annie said, briefly looking up. "...wants someone to hold my hand when I travel to Terra next week."
"Exactly," Jeff said, smiling. Annie didn't like him much, but he was starting to like her. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind.
"You can't blame your uncle for worrying," Shirley chided. "Terra is a dangerous planet. Pilgrims and other outsiders are killed there every day. He just cares about you."
"I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself," Annie said, returning to her book.
"Still, it's cool that you've got a real Imperial Guardsman hanging around you all the time," Troy said, looking at Jeff with something like awe.
His friend, Abed, had never stopped looking at Jeff since they sat down. He asked, "What's it like, being a Guardsman?"
Jeff shrugged. "It's okay. It's not as exciting as the stories make it sound."
"I figured as much. I had a feeling that the Viso-Plays weren't realistic."
"You ever kill anything, Winger?" Pierce asked, reaching across the table for a sandwich. "Or been in a major battle?"
"I've been in a few. Never on the front lines, though."
"You ever see any Xenos?" Troy asked. The others looked at Jeff intently, waiting for his answer. Even Annie seemed interested.
"A lot. In fact, my first battle was against the Tyranids..."
"The Emperor protects," Shirley whispered, clutching the symbol on her necklace.
"How did you make it?!" Britta demanded. "I thought they never left survivors!"
"Lots and lots of shooting, that's how."
"How does that work?" Annie asked, finally setting her book down. "I've read a lot about the Tyranids, and the weakest of them are able to tear tanks to pieces! How is a Plasma Gun supposed to help?"
"Well, when you have a lot of them, it makes a difference. Besides, the purpose of those tanks are to keep the enemy from getting close."
"Anything else?" Abed asked.
"I helped some refugees escape the Orks once. I only saw a couple of the green bastards, and they were both dead, so that's probably not as exciting as you all were hoping...Oh, I helped bring down a Necron Tomb Stalker."
"Awesome!" Troy said, punching the air.
"What about Chaos?" Annie asked. The others gasped, and Shirley clutched her necklace again, sending a quickly whispered prayer to the Emperor. "What? Saying the word isn't going to bring them down on us."
"I've had a couple of bad experiences with Chaos Spawn," Jeff said quietly. "I don't like to talk about it."
"Good idea, Jeffrey." Pierce said quietly, giving Annie a dirty look.
Hoping to change the subject, Jeff said, "Hey, Annie, why are you going on a Pilgrimage, anyway? Why not just worship at the temple here?"
"It's not the same. I want the whole experience, maybe get a chance to see the Imperial Palace. Besides, I've never been off-world. This'll be a great chance to 'rough it'."
Britta snorted. "Yeah, 'rough it'. You'll get your own private compartment on the ship, servants, a bodyguard, probably a nice hotel..."
"I'm not going to have any servants..."
"Whatever. The point is, you won't be really living rough. Do you have any idea what rough living is like? Ask someone from below." Britta gestured at the ground, and Jeff knew that she was referring to the lower levels of the Hive City.
"Excuse me, but I work for the Charitable Choir every weekend. I know that I'm privileged, but I'm not naive, and I'm not callous, either."
Annie was starting to get angry, and Jeff reached out and grabbed her arm. "Annie, you don't have to get defensive."
She turned to him and seemed ready to speak before a massiv BOOM! tore through the air. The group looked up, stunned.
The blue, clear sky was turning pink, with red stripes writhing across. A large, violet hole began to open in the sky, and strange, writhing shapes came through.
"What is that?" Abed asked pointing. As the shapes got closer, and the details filled in, the group gasped in horror.
"Chaos Daemons," Jeff said hollowly.
"Thanks a lot, Annie," Pierce said darkly.
The Emperor: A powerful psychic superhuman who is worshipped as a god by the majority of Mankind. He's (mostly) dead, with his body stored on Terra.
Chaos: Evil beings from another dimension and their mortal followers.
Hive City: There are various types of planets. A Hive World is one so crowded that the cities are single structures. The higher you live in these Hive Cities, the richer and more priviliged you are. The people who live at the very top (the Spires) are the richest and/or most powerful citizens of the city.
Tyranids: Alien beasts that travel in massive swarms and eat all organic matter.
Necrons: Murderous robotic humanoids.
Orks: Savage aliens who kill for fun.
Imperial Guard: The Army. There's also an Imperial Navy, which runs the giant spaceships. The Imperial Guard just has infantry, tanks, planes and the like.
Terra: Earth. It's basically a massive city dedicated to worshipping the Emperor and keeping him (somewhat) alive.
Planetary Governor: Every planet has a governor who runs everything on behalf of the Imperium. They're usually on the planet's surface but sometimes live in space stations above the planet.