Above and Beyond (Episode 1) by Áron Németh is the first in a series of short stories and novellas that will make up The Caligari Archivum, a collection of stories tying in with the upcoming computer game Inquisitor – Martyr. In this first instalment we’re introduced to Theoden Mercer, captain of the merchant vessel Stormskipper, who’s approached out of the blue by an unusual customer looking for passage off-world. When complications arise as a result of the deal, Mercer and his crew are forced to fight their way out of trouble, and find themselves with serious questions about their passenger.
Although set in the 40k universe this isn’t actually published by Black Library, even though you can download it (for free) from their website. It shows, too – tonally it’s just slightly off, and feels like 40k crossed with something a touch less grimdark. There’s plenty to like in the greasy, slightly Necromunda-esque setting, and while the prose is sometimes a little clunky there’s the core of an enjoyable, action-packed story here. Or the start of one at least, as this is clearly the first part of a wider story. It’s maybe missing the touch of a good editor, but there’s the potential here for something fun.