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post #45 of (permalink) Old 11-03-13, 03:57 PM
Dave T Hobbit
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Default HOES #13-09: Delay

Veteran Sergeant: Delay

They found the Minotaurs sergeant lying near a tangle of mutilated bodies. It had been a vicious and brutal close quarters fight. Stretched out around the large dugout were the bodies of Night Lords renegades and cultists alike. Inside the fighting position itself, the ground was a mess of severed limbs, rent bodies, and spilled innards. Though his helmet's filters kept out the smell, Veteran Marcus knew it must be awful. Discarded and empty weapons lay strewn about, suggesting that the final confrontation had been a whirlwind of blades and rifle butts. Three of the Minotaur's battle brothers lay unmoving amidst the carnage. Apothecary Tulio knelt down to check them for vitals. His vox silence told Marcus everything he needed to know.

The sergeant stirred, looking up at them. Marcus turned back to Tulio and motioned with his head. “Get him on his feet.” Tulio worked diligently, patching his narthecium into the suit's receptors, and working to identify the sergeant's most grievous wounds and push the proper stims to render him combat effective. Tulio was feeding the Minotaur's suit vitals to Marcus over the squad comms. The physiology of a Space Marine was extremely resilient, but it would still take some weeks before he would be at 100%. However, within a few minutes, Tulio was helping the Minotaur up, his system pumped full of combat drugs.

From behind his helmet, the Minotaur's voice projected from the vox emitter. “Thank you brothers.”

The Invectors stood silent. The Minotaur continued. “I am Veteran Sergeant Korragos. I am in your debt. Let me join you in taking the fight to what's left of this rabble.” He moved to retrieve a bolter that was lying amidst the bodies, but was stopped by Veteran Kester. He attempted to move around the Invector, who moved again to block him.

“What is the meaning of this?” The Minotaur's voice was inflected with a simmering rage.

Marcus looked to his closest battle brother. “Arctos. Your blade.” Arctos drew the short sword which was clamped to his pack behind his left shoulder, and tossed it to Korragos, who caught it reflexively. Marcus turned to Tulio, calmly handing him his boltgun, and then his bolt pistol. He then turned back to Korragos, and drew his own blade. The other Marines stepped backwards to form a ring around the two combatants.

“Traitors.” The Minotaur hefted the blade, assuming a fighting stance. Marcus dropped into one of his own, but said nothing in reply. The two began to circle. Korragos lunged, expertly striking at Marcus, who just as expertly parried the attacks and moved out of the way. Korragos whirled back around.

“I will cut both of your hearts out.” The Minotaur struck at Marcus again, who again deflected the blows, before delivering a short kick to his opponent's thigh, staggering him. Korragos brought the combat blade around in a sweeping arc, but Marcus was already gone.

They clashed again, Marcus catching the Minotaur's blade, and sliding it flat to lock them guard to guard. The Minotaur tried to loop an overhand punch at his helmet, but Marcus stepped back, sweeping around and the punch landed flush against his power pack with a dull thud. Marcus shifted his arm up to catch the fist between his collar and the pauldron before the Minotaur could retract it. Taking advantage of Korragos's momentary surprise, Marcus threw an elbow which rebounded off of the Minotaur's helmet, before Korragos was able to wrench his fist free and separate himself. The Minotaur was slow. This was almost too easy. Almost.

Korragos wasn't done yet though. “What did the dark gods promise you? What did it take to turn your back on your vows, your brothers, and your Emperor, traitor?” The Minotaur swung at him again, but he was a fraction too slow, and Marcus moved inside the strike, catching it forearm to forearm. The Invector drove two quick, short fists into Korragos's helmeted face, rocking his head back. The Minotaur staggered, and Marcus kicked his legs out from under him. The Minotaur dropped hard, but recovered quickly, rolling to avoid a downward strike that never came. Instead, Marcus simply watched him roll away and come up to one knee defensively. Realizing there was no follow-on attack coming, Korragos stood. But he seemed to know he was fading.

“If I were not so gravely wounded, I would destroy you, coward. Your victory is tainted and-”

“I've given you every chance you gave the Inceptors at Euxcine.”

The Minotaur said nothing, but the slightest flinch betrayed recognition. For a few moments, the two Space Marines stood silently. Suddenly, the Minotaur whirled, bringing his blade down on Kester. But the Invector veteran was faster, deflecting the strike with his boltgun, and kicking at Korragos, who leaped backwards out of the way.

In a sweeping cut, Marcus hacked through the soft armor behind the Minotaur's right knee, severing the posterior ligaments. Korragos staggered, falling to a knee, and Marcus looped the sword back around and down onto his wrist. The blade bit deep into the Minotaur sergeant's flesh and bone, and he dropped his weapon. Marcus gripped the Minotaur's pack with his left hand, wrenching him around violently. The Invector struck him on the forehead with the pommel of the blade, and delivered a kick that sent Korragos to sprawl on his back.

With a sweep of his boot, Marcus kicked the Minotaur's borrowed blade aside, where it was picked up by Maro. Marcus walked over to Tulio, and retrieved his bolt pistol. He turned back to where Korragos was sitting, having pushed himself up with his one good hand. Their duel had trampled bodies and entrails into the dirt, churning parts of it into a foul reddish brown paste which now streaked the fallen Minotaur's armor.

Without a word, Marcus shot him in the neck. The bolt round punched through the layered mesh of the soft armor, and into the Minotaur's throat, where it detonated, pulping the airway and fracturing his spine. The Invector re-holstered the stubby pistol as he approached the twitching Minotaur sergeant. Kneeling down, he carefully disconnected the seals on the bronze helmet, and lifted it gently off of his head. Korragos was not dead yet, his superhuman physiology fighting to overcome even such an obviously mortal injury, and his face was still contorted in rage. Through the dull black lenses of his helmet, Marcus looked down into the Minotaur's eyes, a vicious smile hidden behind his scowling faceplate.
“Burn the bodies. All of them. Their genetic legacy ends here.”

Last edited by Dave T Hobbit; 11-03-13 at 04:02 PM.
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