Wow, I thought this short was brilliant. I had a sneaking suspicion that something was up due to the author’s foreword, but it wasn’t what I was expecting at all (which is always a sure sign of the author doing his job properly). Madness Within by Steve Lyons stars the Crimson Fists, a Space Marine Chapter desperately trying to recoup their loses from an extended war with Orks, and even a treacherous librarian succumbed to the ways of the warp who can’t simply be put down.
A demon stalks the halls of a Crimson Fist outpost on a potential breeding world for the Astartes; it seems to be taking down the Crimson Fist squad stationed there one at a time. This in turn, forces Sergeant Estabann to take drastic measures, much to battle-brother Cordoba’s chagrin. Together the surviving pair release Librarian Suarez from the pain glove, hoping that the Librarian might be their last chance at victory against the demon and saving the lives of hundreds of potential recruits.
For my second short story review within The Space Marine Script Book, I felt that the Madness Within far outstrips Helion Rain, simply because the plot and pitch of “The Madness Within” are so much more engaging to my personal interests than that of Helion Rain’s, “Fight Tyranids, Destroy Objective” approach. Yes, that is a very simplified bit of Helion Rain, but you get the point.
The twist at the end is hidden within the story extremely well, and even more shocking is the fact that the author simply added it in to expand the short, when it feels like it had been written for this surprise intention the entire time. I highly recommend finding yourself a copy of The Madness Within in any format; it will be enjoyable.