Wing-Pilot Faunk grinned as Commander Macroy’s voice fizzed and popped over the vox.


The ancient hunting cry signaled the Squadron’s attack and the Thunderbolts of the 266th sliced into the attack, each flight peeling off and diving as one. Faunk picked out a lumbering transport as the Imperial pilots stooped on the Ork aircraft like the Falcon-hawks of his homeworld. His eyes flickered across his instruments in the standard check. Speed, 1200KPH indicated and building rapidly. Altitude, 18,000 metres and falling rapidly. He ran through the rest of them just as quickly, attitude, angle of attack, fuel, a half dozen others, each instrument showed a needle in the green or held a solid green telltale. The young pilot’s grin widened and he returned his attention to the enemy below.

The transport was part of what passed for a formation among the Orks, a loose gaggle of lumbering, ugly aircraft trailing fits and starts of black and brown smoke. Hecould see why veterans of the Beast’s first invasion called them ’smokers’, it seemed to him you could pick up such a formation from miles away simply by the cloud of fumes surrounding it. The 266th continued their plunge towards the enemy and Faunk felt the controls stiffen as his speed built up to almost 1500KPH. With an effort he dragged his nose up, putting the glowing orange crosshairs over the spine of his target.

His hands tensed on the controls as the first flight, Macroy’s own, let loose with their weapons for the first time in the war. Lascannon bolts lit the sky with their brief incandescence, autocannons filled the gaps between lasbolts with the slower strobe of tracer rounds. Quicker than the young pilot would have believed possible the Ork formation scattered, one aircraft trailing even more smoke than before and a second little more than a cloud of rapidly expanding gases. Excitement swelled in him as he wrestled his aircraft into a hard bank, following his target as it broke away from the Imperial fighters. The vox crackled again.

‘Faunk! Faunk! Where the hell are you?’

Caught up in the excitement of the chase Faunk didn’t hear his wingman’s desperate calls and he pulled his aircraft into an even tighter turn, chasing the yellow and red shape in front of him . Yelling with glee he urged his aircraft onward, closing the distance to the transport. The range-finder under the crosshairs blinked at him, five hundred metres, the recommended range for firing according to his academy instructors. He grasped the double triggers as his crosshairs danced across his target and the Thunderbolt spat lasbolts and autocannon rounds at the invader, the heavy airframe shaking with recoil. His fist locked around the controls he Faunk counted off seven seconds of furious fire, his ammo counter winding down rapidly and waited for the enemy aircraft to disintegrate. There was a flash of light as he screamed past the transport and a roar of exultation leaped from his lips at his first kill.

His grin wider than ever he dragged his nose around, searching for another target and his heart jumped as he felt his aircraft shake under a series of hammer blows. He twisted his neck hard to the right, then the left, looking in his blind spot for the enemy fighter that was shooting him. He swore as he he caught a glimpse of red and yellow. His pursuer wasn’t a nimble fighter but the huge lumbering transport he was sure he’d just destroyed. It’s front turret flashed and tracers curved towards his Thunderbolt. Somehow he’d missed the transport and now it was chasing him…


He’d screwed up royally today, he’d been told so in no uncertain terms by Commander Macroy. The litany of mistakes the Commander had reeled off seemed endless. He’d opened fire too far away and fired a wastefully long burst. He hadn’t taken deflection into account and the Commander thought he’d be lucky if his gun camera footage showed he’d come within 50 metres of hitting his target. He’d violated a dozen regs by ignoring vox calls.

Worst of all he’d left his wingman’s side and gone haring off on his own, endangering them both. Only luck and Macroy’s timely intervention had allowed him to escape the Ork transport’s attention and even so his aircraft would be off the flightline for several more hours whilst the ground crew repaired the damage. His wingman, Grueber, hadn’t been so lucky though. His aircraft had last been seen spiraling earthward, although several other pilots claimed to have seen a ‘chute. His recovery beacon was active and Wing Command had requested help from nearby ground units in locating and returning Grueber to the squadron. A small squad of Scouts from the Adeptus Astartes Exorcists Chapter returning from raiding Ork lines had acknowledged the request and diverted to search for the downed pilot.

Commissar Wenzl had been furious and Faunk had shivered as the Commissar informed him that if Commissar Yarrick himself hadn’t ordered every pilot and aircraft into the sky he’d have stripped him of his wings and court-martialed him on the spot. The Commissar’s tirade had lasted another ten minutes and Faunk was still shaking as he left the Commander’s office his ears still ringing with Wenzl’s stentorian voice, the Commissar’s words burned into his mind.

He’d barely left the office and begun the long walk to the hab-blocks where the pilots lived when he felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Macroy.

‘Get some food and then some rest lad. The Commissar was right, Yarrick was right, we’re going to need to every pilot we can lay our hands on. The Beast isn’t messing about this time.’

The Commander let go of his shoulder with a final squeeze and headed towards the flightline, he had another flight to lead in just a few minutes. Faunk started towards the hab-block again, then stopped with a shake of the head and turned to follow Macroy. There was no way he could rest now, not after this morning’s fight and certainly not after his encounter with Wenzl and the Commissar. If he couldn’t rest and he couldn’t fly until his aircraft was repaired then at the least he could use the sim-cogitators to practice deflection shooting, he could grab a bite from the messhall on the way…


I’ve always enjoyed writing short stories, they seem a natural fit for the pulp-sci-fi world of 40K. With the work on the 609th inspiring me I’ve begun what will hopefully become the continuing adventures of Willem Faulk as he goes from fledgling to falcon-hawk. You’ve already seen the war-weary Faulk in the initial 609th posts and hopefully you’ll enjoy what’s to come.

This story though does highlight some of my concerns regarding my Imperial Navy work. Most of my DIY efforts in 40K have been based on Space Marines or Guardsmen, two well known entities with solid canon backgrounds on which to lay my efforts. The flyers of the Navy however have far less canon material about them, a two edged sword if ever I saw one. Whilst it gives me a lot of leeway in what I write it doesn’t give me a lot of help sticking to the ethos and canon of 40K.

I think I need to gather the ‘facts’ and create a more coherent background if I’m to continue working on the 609th…

3 Responses to “Fledgling”

  1. Marshal2Crusaders says:


    There is a nice bit about Fighter wings and such in IA6 if you have access to it. You are right about it not having much background to stand on, that does make it hard to move into.


  2. SSG Snuffy says:

    Would you consider the material in ‘Double Eagle’ to be “canon?”

  3. SCC says:

    Going by GW’s own rules, yes, I’d consider ‘Double Eagle’ canon. The problem with DE though is that it mostly deals with the Phantine who are the only IG flying unit around and there’s no info on how similar Phantine units are to IN ones, so even that info is of dubious value. There are some details in there about Navy flyers but not a lot of the nitty-gritty I’d like. Still it is probably the best source for details on Imperial flyers and it’ll probably form the basis of much of my supposition.

    I started to trawl through it last night to gather what details I could on ranks, units etc. and I’ll do the same with the Imperial Armour books and so forth in the next few days too.

    @M2C: Yeah, I’ve seen that info, it’s useful but there are some minor conflicts with other info out there (like squadron and wing sizes for example). Look for an encyclopaedia style blog from me in the next few days with all the info I can gather on IN flyers…