“This is trooper Juliette requesting immediate assistance at the armoury. Multiple unharmed civilians trapped and need immediate evac…”
This broadcast had attracted Oliver's attention far more than father gale's muttering. He was aware of his lot, a bunch of people believing that as long as you stay faithful all the things trying to murder you will magically vanish. He had learned himself during his childhood that prayers were more effectively answered in person than in spirit when he had come to blows with one bully back then. He would grunt or try and do an off the record broadcast to remind everyone to keep their eyes for threats, not on the ground for prayer but he had to go help...
As he was following the ones who were making for the armory, he stopped behind a large group of civilians and saw the scene himself. A bunch of people crying and sprawling helplessly across the floor with a hungry skate floating behind them, its jaws snapping. He saw that once the skate got its prey there would be no stopping it from charging headlong at them so despite his young years he acted as fast as he could.
At first he sprinted towards the mass that were headed for the vehicle bay encouraged by the priest's first transmission.
He broadcast in the local frequency: "This is trooper Oliver, requesting reinforcements in the armory area. Civilians are trapped in docking bay D12 under the danger of a skate, I repeat civilians are trapped in docking bay D12 under the danger of a skate."
He could hear the commotion but he couldn't be sure that the aftermath of this was because of the people stumbling for the vehicle bay, because of his transmission or because of the word "skate". He and the guards who had rushed to help ran back to the armory where everyone was aware of the situation.
As he jumped upwards to gain everyone's attention he redirected his voice towards the biggest crowd of people he could spot. He also had the idea to clutch the chain knife with which he had slashed the gargoyles, the acidic blood still steaming in its cold surface hoping that it will raise the morale of the civilians. Juliette who was with the group that had found the spore and had first broadcast for assistance could be there too but he didn't try to actively spot her location confident everyone around would listen.
"We need to fend off the skate before it eats the people and most importantly before it comes for us. If it charges at the door we will have many wounded! Follow me to the weapon supply storage, we need to find rockets, grenades, incendiary ammo or flamers, anything big and bad enough to blast the thing in pieces!"
Not being one hundred percent sure that their armory would have the delicate variety of weapons he described he started running for the weapon storage, knowing that the first group that had come to help at the armory would follow him. He hoped more would...
When he opened his eyes he was lying face down on the snow. He couldn't believe that the moment he sat down to catch his breath he dozed off and actually slept and even dreamed.
It was a weird choice of dream, not only for the place that actually existed, but for the people inside it. Juliette was one of the officers that accompanied the group that uncovered the tyranid object and the energy resonating from it seemed to have startled them all. In the end he blamed his sense of fellowship for the dream insisting inside his head that everyone was fine. If that was the only emotion
he could relate to such
Not being able to think of how tired he was he stood up to shake off the weariness and gazed at the entrance of the shelter. Soon the snow would cover half of it and digging through it would be a tiresome process that he wasn't sure he could pull off. Without having more time to think though, something rammed him from behind and he was face down in the snow again.
The shadowy creature rose behind him, it's fangs poised ready to shred on his face. The only reason he hadn't suffered a huge injury was that the creature seemed more intent on biting than charging him at first although now it was ready to throw itself and a deal more angry. But being experienced now from his fight with the tyranids and young enough he rolled sideways in order to avoid the creature's lunge. As the thing crashed against the icy snow, he rolled sideways again, not missing a moment and found himself on top of its surface. It was smelling weirdly, it was cold of course and there was a loud thumping on his fingers like a thousand hearts below it were beating as one, or more accurately one heart beating fast as a thousand, he couldn't tell. But the surface was gluey. The cold temperatures against the creature's chitin had made a small layer of crystal on top of it and like icicles it was sticky. Sticky enough to hold his hands.
The creature of course couldn't bite him there so it did its best to shake him off. And it would have succeeded if Oliver hadn't struck his ice pick against the thing's back as bluntly as he could. Using his chain knife might have ripped the creature but that wasn't his intention for the moment. Holding his pick tight the creature was moving right or left, its face pressed against the snow from the pressure on its upper part. Then it started strafing backwards, blindly sliding in a crude fashion in the snow hoping its rider would lose his balance.
As he was doing his best not to fall down and get hit, the skate raised its ray-like tail poised to strike him with the sharp end. But since it was blind the tail only got stuck in Oliver's furry clothes. Then he pressed his arm around it and pulled with all his strength forward. The creature let out a howl that almost drove him deaf and rose from the snow gaining extreme strength from the adrenaline inside it. Then it accelerated against the snow mound with all the strength it could to shake the rider off. Oliver braced for impact, crawled atop the beast, one hand clutched at the pick the other hand holding the tail and his mouth almost licking the glistening surface. He muttered a whispering prayer to the Emperor and closed his eyes.
The rest was a blurry ride that no one was meant to do. The tangle burst out of the snow mound, the creature having built up all its strength for the charge. For some seconds he was speeding in the snowy environment, hail dripping against his face and then suddenly the loud thump of impact and all became black.
He couldn't tell for how long he was tumbling but it seemed they had hit a solid surface, as likely a building as a rock. When he landed, he was face down again and he could feel the metallic taste of blood on his mouth. The moment he raised his eyes he saw the skate, the ice pick having been lost in the ride it drove a huge slash in its upper body and had even torn its tail out. The thing was crawling slowly at its fins trying to take a bite of him. With his last remaining strength he put out his Chain Knife that seemed to have just enough power for a slash and bashed it against the above of the creature's cranial area.
There was a short blast of gore and another loud screech and the creature stopped fighting. One inch more and it would have bitten Oliver's foot, but it was weakened from its wounds.
Half on his knees he sheathed his weapon and made a mental note of requesting another ice pick. They had bashed against an iron wall half buried in the snow. On the ground there was the faint sight of metal-paved roads. He hoped that if he wandered to some side along the obscure pathway he would find some guardsman, someone who could lead him to the nearest base. His vox wasn't working and had a huge crack upon its surface probably from the ride but somehow his weaponry was still in its sheath.
He could taste the blood pouring down from his bleeding nose and he was sure that both his shoulders were displaced. He did his best to keep his arm on the chain knife in case he needed to flash it out and half walking, half stumbling he followed the path shouldering the wall with only her
name on his mind.......