Echoes of Coldforge: Third War

Even by post-human standards, the Carcharodon is massive. A great slab of ceramite and adamantium and muscle, towering over the wreckage of the grav-train like a demigod. Little wonder that the menials are nervous, instinctively avoiding the gaze of their hulking master. The Astartes is completely motionless, silently watching the work crews as they transfer the stolen cargo into waiting grav-trucks and Rhino transports.

For some reason the Void Shark, as the Guard calls them, is unhelmed. Somehow the effect is even more intimidating. Deathly pale, with grey, corpse-like skin, his face is sculpted into a permanent grimace, as though repulsed by everything he sees. The Carcharodon's breath steams in Coldforge's freezing air, the only visible sign that the statue watching them is actually alive. Taskmaster Kallen obsessively checks his count once more, urging his men to work quicker.

Finally it is done, and the last crate is loaded. Only then does the Carcharodon speak, a hoarse, sibilant whisper that makes Kallen's skin crawl.


"Taskmaster. Status?"

Kallen swallowed nervously, checking the data-slate yet again before answering. "Twenty seven complete suits, my Lord. All Mark 6 pattern and fully proofed. Also five cases of replacement parts and maintenance equipment." Even though he has been addressed personally, he keeps his head down and his eyes lowered. The Sharks are rigid and uncompromising when it comes to etiquette and martial discipline – a fact his predecessor, Emperor rest him, had both neglected and regretted.

But only briefly, Kallen remembered grimly.

The Carcharodon does not answer. As the seconds drag out, Kallen realises he is holding his breath. He tentatively glances up, to see that the Shark's black eyes are boring into him. He wonders if he has done something wrong. The Grey Tithe is taken very seriously. Despite the cold, sweat is pouring out of him.

Suddenly the moment is over. The Carcharodon nods, once, then raises his bolter as he strides towards a waiting transport.

Only then does Kallen slowly breath out.