|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|07-05-10 02:03 AM|
|Worldkiller||^end Of Part One^|
|07-05-10 02:02 AM|
‘Which way Clarkson?’ shouted Fortensen,
‘Just follow me!’ shouted the young trooper.
‘We can’t keep doing this!’ shouted Markus.
‘I agree,’ said Fortensen ‘Clarkson, keep going, take five men the rest of us will hold them,’.
‘Yessir,’ said Clarkson, starting down the tunnel with five envied others.
‘What do you mean hold them?’ asked Markus.
‘We buy Clarkson the time to get to the source, take down an Astartes or two then try and get back to him,’.
Sor’Talla marched forward through the tunnel, joining up with his scouts.
‘Well?’ he asked.
‘They’ve dug in up ahead, we scanned the tunnels in front us and they have a dozen pointes where they can fall back to and get the drop on us no matter what we do,’.
‘Then we’ll make our own tunnels,’ said Sor’Talla, raising the melta gun.
Five men were incinerated in the energy beam that erupted from the left wall. Another three were killed when the force of the blast split the rock and the pieces went flying.
‘Retreat!’ shouted Fortensen ‘We can’t hold them!’ he added.
The last thirty men of the group began running after the trail of electro markers left by Clarkson and his group.
Markus stayed where he was, firing from the hip with his hellgun on full auto. The red las-bolts filled the newly made tunnel, still glowing with the heat of the melta beam.
‘Markus we have to go!’ shouted Fortensen, dragging a Jackal up.
‘Just go!’ shouted Markus, taking a krak grenade off his webbing. A second later he was hit in the side by a bolt shell. He fell to the ground in anguish and yelled out in pain.
‘Just go!’ he repeated.
Fortensen made his way to the next curve in the tunnel, keeping an eye or Markus as the trooper kept spraying las-bolts into the tunnel.
Fortensen turned his back on the trooper as he turned the next corner. The next thing he heard was the krak grenade going off.
‘Keep moving!’ he shouted.
Sor’Talla kicked the ragged remains of the mortal that had killed two of him men.
‘Keep moving,’ he snarled. The rest of him men, sixteen now, followed the mortals in thrall of the false god.
‘Make sure they lead us to the prize!’ he shouted after them ‘Don’t kill them all, not yet!’.
‘Run!’ shouted Fortensen as the marines came up the tunnel right after them.
He made a few steps before turning and snapping off a quick shot with his plasma pistol, hitting the ceiling above the hunched down traitors. A trooper next to him exploded in a cloud of blood as he was hit by a bolt round.
‘Grenades!’ shouted Fortensen and the men who had grenades threw them down the tunnel, set to explode on impact.
‘That’ll slow them,’ panted Fortensen ‘We can’t stop though, come on,’ he added.
Sor’Talla came upon his men, twelve of them standing, two of them kneeling in pain as their genetically enhanced bodies repaired the damage, two were dead.
‘Why have you stopped?’ asked Sor’Talla
‘We need the melta my lord,’ said one of the marines doubled over in pain.
Sor’Talla drew his rite knife and stabbed into the weakling’s neck, severing the spinal cord and killing him instantly. He did the same with the other.
‘Keep going,’ he snarled.
The marines resumed the chase, rounding the corner and meeting a volley of lasbolts. They returned the favor tenfold and continued.
Sor’Talla leveled the melta and carved himself a straighter path through the rock.
Fifteen men now, Fortensen’s group gave up trying to slow the implacable advance of the Astartes. They were out of grenades and had few weapons that could truly hurt them and no armor that would save them from deadly bolter fire.
Before long the group came upon Clarkson and his men at the end of the path set down by the electro-markers.
‘Where is it?’ asked Fortensen.
‘At the end of this tunnel, there’s a green light, it looks like a pool of green water. We’re supposed to walk through it,’.
‘Fine, lets go,’.
Clarkson turned his back and started down the tunnel. He didn’t get far before the Astartes caught up with them and opened fire once more with their weapons.
‘Everyone down!’ shouted Fortensen.
Clarkson dropped down and crawled back to Fortensen who help his plasma pistol in both hands and was pointing it at the Astartes. The others were firing on them already and managed to back them retreat back behind the corner that led to this last tunnel.
‘The portal won’t let us pass as long as they live!’ shouted Clarkson above the din of lasguns and bolters trading fire.
Fortensen fired off two rounds from the plasma pistol.
‘Why not?’ he asked.
‘The Guardian said so!’ he replied.
‘The one who spoke to me earlier,’.
‘That all makes perfect sense,’ said a Jackal, moments before being shot by a bolter.
‘Fight to the last breath!’ shouted Fortensen, knowing this was the end, that he would not reach his goal, that he would die down here under several miles of rock, having failed his lord.
He was ripped from his thoughts as a single metal ball was thrown into his section of the tunnel. He looked at it and recognized it as identical to the stun grenades used in the raids on his regiment.
‘Shi-‘ he said before the explosion of sound and light knocked him and the rest of the men out.
When Fortensen and the survivors came to he saw that they had been placed next to the wall of the tunnel sitting up. His hands were bound in a steel cable that dug into his wrists when he tried to move them.
Twelve Astartes stood before the remaining mortals, bolters held at the ready with a their captives’ weapons in a pile behind them.
Another Astartes stood at the end of the tunnel, before a glowing green portal of some sort. It must have been what Clarkson was talking about.
‘It moved,’ said the young trooper, just waking up.
‘What?’ whispered Fortensen. The Astartes looked at them.
‘It was around the bend, now its in front of it. Its moving,’.
‘What is moving?’ asked the Astartes who was standing right in front of it, turning around. This one held a melta gun.
‘The portal, the portal that leads to what we’ve all been looking for,’ said Clarkson before his commander could shut him up.
‘I see no portal,’ said the traitor.
‘You’re not pure in the eyes of the Emperor…’ said Clarkson, his head lolling to the side.
At a nod from the Astartes commander one of the marines kicked the young trooper in the stomach just hard enough to wake him up.
‘Your god is a false god!’ he shouted ‘the traitor of the crusade shall burn in the fires of the true gods!’.
Behind him the portal began moving again, coming down the tunnel towards the bound prisoners.
The Astartes commander raised his melta gun. ‘Tell me, right now, where the prize is,’ he said.
‘Not here,’ said Clarkson ‘we’re not even on the right world,’.
The portal started moving faster, and before long was right at the end of the line of prisoners.
‘Talk faster,’ snarled the traitor ‘where is the prize?’
Fortensen disappeared as the portal closed on him and swallowed him whole. He made no sound as it engulfed him. The traitor commander swung his melta around to point at the vanished commander.
The invisible force he could not see touched the barrel of his melta and weapon exploded in hundreds of fragments. The beast snarled in pain as the weapon’s fuel engulfed his hand.
‘Get out of here!’ he shouted to his men.
Clarkson and the rest of the prisoners rose to their feet and leapt into the green portal, letting it take them away.
Sor’Talla didn’t know what was happening, two of his men were killed by something he could neither see nor sense and the prisoners had escaped. He didn’t know what was going on, so he ran out of the tunnel, going back the way he came with the rest of his men behind him.
When the green portal engulfed him Clarkson felt relief. His hands were no longer tied, the Astartes were gone, and he felt safe, for the first time in many days.
He added pain to the list of things he felt when he slammed into a smooth stone floor from what felt like a thousand foot drop.
The other men who had gone through with him were in a similar position.
Clarkson found his way to his feet and saw Fortensen half sitting half leaning on a boulder with his arms crossed.
Behind him was a massive antechamber, miles high and simply too vast to describe.
Clarkson heard screaming and saw more men of the Glison and Jackal regiments appearing in the air above where he found himself.
‘Get out of the way,’ said Fortensen.
As they did so the men appearing in midair fell to the floor, but were unhurt. Looking quizzically at his commander Clarkson got only a shrug in answer to his unasked question.
More and more men kept appearing and falling to the floor.
When about two hundred men in total had appeared a lone figure, tall and elegant appeared behind Fortensen. All eyes were on it.
‘Its an Eldar…’whispered Fortensen.
‘Come,’ said the Eldar turning around and walking into the dark chamber.
All the men began to follow him, not knowing what else to do.
‘No,’ said the xeno ‘Only him,’ he said, pointing to Clarkson.
The young trooper broke out of the pack of men and caught up with the tall being. The two walked off and were lost to sight.
‘What now?’ someone asked.
‘We wait,’ said Fortensen ‘We wait,’.
|07-04-10 03:54 PM|
|arturslv||Wow, it's a really good story, gripping and lots of action! Keep the good work up!|
|06-26-10 11:21 PM|
‘Yes sir,’ said the trooper as the squad turned another corner.
They were the last words he’d ever get to say.
With a thunderous bang a bolt round hit the man in his chest, the carapace armor doing nothing to stop the terrifying killing power of the staple weapon of the Astartes.
The man was blown apart from the inside as the bolt round did what it was made to do: kill quickly and make a mess of it.
‘Back!’ shouted Mortun and the squad was only too ready to comply.
‘What do we do sir?’ asked Markus, his back against the wall and his hellgun held tight across his chest.
A grenade was thrown against the opposite wall by the Astartes and ricochet onto the floor right in front of the squad.
‘This,’ said Mortun and kicked the grenade around the corner.
The grenade exploded and Mortun hear a shout of pain.
‘Now!’ he yelled and rounded the corner, raising his grenade launcher.
Both the Astartes were on their backs, the explosion of the grenade knocking them over. The victory was shortly lived however as they began to rise. Mortun fired one grenade into the chest of the closest marine, killing him. Mortun took aim at the other traitor marine.
He was too fast though.
Unsheathing a long, barbed and wicked knife the Astartes leapt into the air and came down right in front of Mortun and slashed the knife, barely missing Mortun, but managing to cut the grenade launcher in half.
‘Get Fortensen out,’ said Mortun to his squad and drawing his power saber, ‘I’ll hold him off,’ and powered up the blade.
He swung the saber from his hip, aiming for the giant’s leg only to be parried away by the knife. The immortal was smart, he hit Mortun’s blade in the side, not the edge where the power would simply cut it in two.
Mortun gripped the hilt of his blade in both hands and brought the saber down in an arc above his head.
The Astartes deflected this attack easily as well and backhanded him hard enough to drive him to the floor. It was playing with him.
The giant raised his armored foot up, preparing to bring it crashing down on Mortun, and he would have done it, save for a bolt round the smacked into his breastplate.
The force of the shot was enough to drive him back a step, but power armor was built to withstand something like that with ease.
Mortun turned in the direction the shot had come from, and there, before the open doors of the brig, was Colonel Fortensen, panting, bloody, bruised and holding the bolter of the dead marine.
Clarkson watched as the gunships of the Flying Jackals strafed the walls with their miniguns, they seemed to have used every last missile. Here and there the men of Lord Ryken’s Philistis fired off antiair rockets to little effect.
The young trooper is thrown to the floor. A voice in the dark says something about the device, how they could lead them there. Find the device and lead them there only to die. But the imprint will only work on a few. After that they will fell drawn towards-
Just a few minutes before someone in the bastion had turned a heavy bolter on the Glison, killing seven men and wounding a few others who would never fight again, even if they survived the night. One of the Vultures fired on the man with a lascannon.
Clarkson heard the whine of motor engines and looked up.
A hand, fingers spread is inches away from Clarkson’s face. The young man feels pain. Like nothing he’s ever felt before.
‘Why is this happening?’ said Clarkson, holding his head in one hand.
Not of Colchis born or conquered…
Blowing wind in all directions a Valkyrie was landing in the middle of the ad hoc detention center.
Clarkson felt drawn to it. Like he needed to be on it.
Before it even landed a man inside wearing he glossy black carapace armor of the Flying Jackals opened the side panel and motioned for the imprisoned men to get it.
Clarkson couldn’t move. No matter how bad he wanted to the instinct not to break cover without a weapon of some sort overrode his motor functions and he stayed down.
‘Get in!’ shouted the man, both hands cupped around his mouth.
Taking a breath and closing his eyes Clarkson finally managed to stand. As he stood up the guards on the walls resumed firing into the Glison, killing several. But the night was on their side and it was difficult to find targets in the pitch black.
Bullets and lasblasts peppered the ground right behind Clarkson as he closed the last few feet to the Valkyrie. Jumping into the aircraft he fell flat on the floor, safe, but not as safe as he thought.
Bullets and lasblasts followed him and hit the Jackal who had motioned him and others into the Valkyries was shot in the leg and collapsed on it. He was still holding onto the bulkhead with one hand and drew a hellpistol with the other. He fired away in the general direction of the shooters.
‘I’m sorry,’ said Clarkson.
‘Don’t worry about it,’ said the Jackal ‘You didn’t shoot me,’ he fired off another burst from the hellpistol ‘he did’.
Other Glison were still clamoring into the Valkyrie. The pilot turned around in his seat and spoke to the Jackals at the side panels and told them to close up or they would weight too much to take off.
‘Tuck your legs in son,’ said the Jackal who’d been shot and Clarkson did so. The Jackal grabbed the handle on the sliding panel and slammed it shut.
‘Okay we’re good,’ he shouted to the pilot.
Taking off, the pilot used enough power to send everyone not sitting down falling to the floor.
‘Hold on!’ the pilot shouted, and speed out of the detention center.
‘Remember what Mortun said,’ said the Jackal on Clarkson’s side of the troop hold, ‘don’t fly above the command bastion’s roof, at least not till we’re out of range,’.
Clarkson looked up from the floor. ‘Where are we going?’ he asked.
‘Our commander picked out a spot in the mountains to hide out from the traitors, most recent scans of the place showed it was adequate for VTOL aircraft so we can land there,’.
‘Are we going there now?’.
‘No, there’s a chocolate river in a gumdrop forest our commander wants us to check out first,’.
Mortun and the marine traded blows, the Astartes had speed, strength, and experience on his side. Mortun had a slightly bigger and better weapon, along with his own considerable experience.
‘Shoot the damn marine,’ said Fortensen.
‘We don’t want to hit Mortun,’ said a trooper Fortensen recognized as the one who carried the contraband smokes around.
Fortensen watched as Mortun blocked a thrust from the marine’s knife. He truly was a skilled swordsman.
But he didn’t have a chance, not against an Astartes, not if he fought alone.
He parried the swinging knife with the side of his blade, he was about to disarm the hulking red beast when the power armor clad giant kicked him to the floor for a second time and reversed the grip on its knife.
‘Give me that,’ he said, grabbing one of the Jackals hellguns. If they wanted their commander to die with pride then fine, but Fortensen needed him.
‘Die you son of a bitch,’ he said and pulled the trigger, shooting three rounds into the marine’s knee.
The traitor stumbled, mid stab. The surprise caused him to miss Mortun and sink his blade into the floor.
Mortun wasted no time and rolled off to one side, away from the eight foot tall Astartes. Fortensen shot another three rounds into the marine’s backpack, damaging the armor’s mobility. Mortun stood up and reversed his two handed grip on the power saber.
‘We’re wasting time,’ said Mortun to Fortensen, and stabbed down.
‘Glad you’re alive,’.
‘Glad you could help with that. I assume you have an escape plan?’.
The squad set off down the hall.
‘What’s the situation?’.
‘My Valkyries are getting your men out of the detention center, they’re being evacuated to a location in the desert I found. We should be able to hold out within a cave system close to the evac site,’.
‘Most recent scans showed it was relatively safe. Like I said we could hold out there for quite some time,’.
‘We’re not going to hold out,’.
‘I found out why Kor’Farrah is here and not joining his master in the Isstvan system,’.
‘Lorgar needs him to find something,’.
‘A weapon, or some device of some sort that will help them in the war,’.
‘So there’s something out there, in the deep desert I’m guessing or we would have found it by now, that we need to destroy to weaken the rebellion,’.
‘Not necessarily, it could be something Lorgar needs destroyed lest it prove a hindrance to his rape of the Imperium,’.
‘When did you get melodramatic?’
‘Not the time Mortun,’ Fortensen sighed.
‘So we need to find this thing and what? Protect it? Prevent anyone else from getting it?’
‘That’s what it looks like to me,’.
‘That is terrific,’.
Before long they found themselves back at the breach point Mortun and his men had made. The Valkyrie was still hovering there, but one of the Vultures had been shot down.
‘You flew around a few time to make yourselves harder targets right?’ said Mortun into his helmet vox.
‘You must have forgotten to tell me sir,’ said a static riddled voice on the other end.
Once they were back on the Valkyrie Fortensen finally had a moment to breath, but found himself unable.
‘Are my men safe?’ he asked.
‘Let me get a status update,’ said Mortun, raising a hand to his helmet vox. After a few moments he lowered it and looked Fortensen in the eye.
‘Two hundred and fifty o your men have made it to the evac site, we’re among the last out,’.
‘Two hundred and fifty?’ gasped Fortensen ‘out of four hundred?’
‘A lot of my Valkyries got shot down,’.
‘Where where your Chimeras? Why didn’t’ you plan better? You just got over a hundred of my men killed!’ Fortensen shouted.
‘The Chimeras were destroyed! The traitors snuck explosives onto them and then detonated them, that’s why the Valkyries had to go in, thats why so few of your men got out. Now shutup, if it hadn’t been for me and my Jackals you’d be dead, and they’d all be dead. Stop acting like you’re the only one who’s ever lost men under your command,’.
Fortensen didn’t look at Mortun.
‘Here I got you these, I know they’re not your own but I doubt you’ll be getting those back,’ said Mortun, taking a belt with a holster and sheath attached off a rack.
‘An empty sheath and holster, to remind me of something else taken from me?’
‘These go with it,’ said Mortun, tossing a power blade and plasma pistol to Fortensen, ‘They were the closest match to yours in my armory,’.
‘Thank you Mortun,’.
The Valkyrie took off into the night, followed by just a few others of Mortun’s aircraft.
‘I’m glad you were the only commander brought here who’s regiment had aircraft,’ said Fortensen.
Mortun shrugged. ‘The Astartes probably have a Stormhawk hidden away somewhere, and the navy’ll have its own fighter and bomber wings,’.
As the sun rose on the horizon the men of the Glison 33rd Regulars and the Flying Jackals kept their eyes open for any sign of the enemy. None came.
On a flat stretch of ground the surviving squadrons of Mortun’s gun and troopships waited in loose formation, no one wanting to bother packing them in tighter. No one had the energy.
The commanders of the two regiments sat on two empty water barrels, with a third serving as a table with a map on it. The traitor’s camp was marked in red, their current position in green. Fortensen didn’t like how close they were.
‘So is there a plan?’ Mortun asked Fortensen.
‘Find what Lorgar wants, make sure he doesn’t get it,’.
‘That’s terrific Fortensen, now do you know where this thing is?’
‘No but I-‘
‘I think I might,’ said a trooper from the Glison.
Mortun and Fortensen looked up from the map they had been staring at and looked at the trooper. Their bodyguards did as well.
‘What’s your name son?’ asked Fortensen.
‘Alright Clarkson, tell us what you know, or what you think you know,’ said Fortensen.
‘Sir,’ began Clarkson ‘after the raid, when we were all imprisoned they had us in that detention center, it was almost like how you rescued us except they were in there with us and they wouldn’t even let us move. We waited like that for about an hour and then this… black robed… thing came in, Kor’Farrah was with it, along with the leftover Astartes’.
‘Did the general refer to it as “sorcerer”?’ asked Fortensen.
‘He might’ve sir, it certainly looked the part,’ Clarkson continued ‘the thing walked through the detention center, it stopped sometimes, in front of someone and just stood there, looking at him from inside it’s robe thing we couldn’t see into. Sometimes, after stopping in front of someone it would point at him and one of the Astartes would take him away,’.
‘I’m guessing that’s what happened to you?’ asked Mortun.
‘Yes sir, it is,’.
‘What happened after that?’
‘I don’t remember sir. I remember a hand, and a flare of pain like nothing else I can imagine and since then, since they dropped me back into the detention center I’ve just been… drawn in some direction,’.
‘Where are the other men that were taken in?’
‘I don’t know sir, I looked for em’ after they were done with me, I couldn’t find any. They either died then or during the evac last night,’.
Fortensen looked at Mortun, briefly.
‘So are you still being drawn towards something?’ Fortensen asked.
‘Yes, I think so at least,’.
Clarkson pointed into the mouth of the nearest cave, which was hastily being barricaded by the Glison Regulars and Jackals with pieces of aircraft that had only barely made it there before breaking down beyond all repair.
‘There sir,’. he said.
‘Well isn’t that convenient,’ said Mortun.
‘Gear up men,’ said Fortensen, ‘we’re going spelunking,’.
‘Why did you allow them to escape!’ roared Sor’Talla, the leader of the Astartes left behind by the blessed Primarch Lorgar to enforce Kor’Farrah and make sure he fulfilled his set task.
‘Its all part of the plan,’ said Kor’Farrah ‘they will lead us to the device, the marker spell worked and one of the Glison is leading us there right now, everything he sees we see and when he sees the device we will swoop in and kill them all,’.
‘If you had followed your orders we would be combing the desert at this very moment, not playing games with a couple rouge commanders you dislike,’.
‘Just get over the fact that I have a plan and its working,’ snarled Kor’Farrah.
Sor’Talla raised his bolter to Kor’Farrah’s head.
‘Don’t forget who’s orders I follow,’ he said.
‘I haven’t,’ said Kor’Farrah, ‘and if I fail, which I will not, you can do things your way but until then,’ he raised a hand to the bolter and tried to push it away from his head, it didn’t work, ‘I am in charge and we will do things my way. Ready your men,’.
‘Five of my men are dead,’ said Sor’Talla, ‘I want the rest of my marines to go in, alone, when you find the device,’.
‘And you will, but right now, we must be patient,’.
The beam of a flashlight lit up the dark tunnel. Mounted on the barrel of one of the Jackal’s hellguns the flashlight began to flicker.
‘Jensen go to the rear,’ said Mortun, in the middle of the formation as the trooper, who had taken point, saw that his flashlight was dying, ‘Markus take point,’ he added.
The troopers moved smoothly, exchanging positions as the company moved on.
‘I ordered you all to check the batteries before we left,’ said Mortun to Jensen.
‘I did sir and it was fully charged, I don’t know what’s wrong with it,’ he replied.
Fortensen came to his aid.
‘Its probably got something to do with the device,’ he said.
‘I think we’re getting closer,’ said Clarkson ‘the feeling’s getting stronger,’.
The group kept advancing down the long, dark, and wet tunnel. Every step echoed, no matter how carefully they walked, and every drop of water from the ceiling was like the ticking of a bomb waiting to go off. The dark was an impenetrable shroud around everything good and right, hiding it not from sight, but from existence. The flashlights had trouble piercing it, and when they did it was only ever for a few feet.
By the time the group had spent about an hour walking through the tunnel it was Clarkson who had taken point.
Five flashlights lit up his back, making him visible for those behind him. The twenty five others tried to pierce the darkness around them.
In the back Fortensen was keeping pack, drumming a mark into then handle of his plasma pistol with his fingers.
Mortun was a few paces ahead of him, before motioning Markus to take his place from back where Fortensen was.
The trooper quickened his pace to take his leader’s place while Mortun stood still and waited for Fortensen to be right next to him and take Markus’s spot.
‘We can’t keep going on like this,’ he said.
‘We need to find that device,’ came his reply.
‘We need to know when they come for us,’.
‘You’re right, but we still need to locate this thing,’.
‘Group halt,’ said Fortensen, the thirty men stopped.
‘We need to go back topside, make sure we’re secure against attack,’.
‘But sir we’re close, I can feel it,’ said Clarkson, desperately.
‘Mark this spot with electro sig, we’ll find our way back, once we know the men topside are safe,’.
Clarkson reluctantly gave in to his commander’s order. ‘Yes sir,’ he said.
The group turned around and started down the path they came, all but two glad to be moving on. As for the two disappointed, it was for as many different reasons.
As the group followed the trail of infra red markers they left in their wake the sound of running feet came from up ahead.
Thirty rifles came up and Colonel Fortensen shouted ‘Star!’ the challenge word.
‘Heartbreak Ridge,’ came the countersign and a Glison trooper came up to the group.
‘Colonel Fortensen, Lieutenant Mortun,’ he said ‘we need both of you topside now, there’s an emergency,’ he started running back the way he came.
Fortensen, Mortun and the rest of the men ran after him back to the surface.
Clarkson kept pace for a few meters, before slowing down and quietly falling back to the end of the group.
When the rest of the soldiers had passed him he stopped completely and turned around, in the direction of the force drawing him.
When Colonel Fortensen reached the entrance to the main cave was swallowed by a storm of panic.
‘What’s going on?’ he asked.
‘They’re here sir,’ a Lieutenant answered.
From the mouth of the cave men came in, carrying everything they could and barricading the entrance.
Fortensen strode through the ocean of soldiers and looked out the cave mouth. More men were lugging equipment up the slope of the rocky mountain the caves were in.
The Colonel started down the slope to help the soldiers still out in the open. He looked up and blood red Astartes Thunderhawk was flying in circles above the mountain.
Mortun joined him on the rocky slope and saw what he saw.
‘Come on we have to get it all inside!’ he shouted.
Mortun started down the hill towards the gun and troopships. Fortensen kept his eyes on the Thunderhawk while all around him men rushed back and forth between the mouth of the cave and ad hoc camp with all their equipment and supplies.
The Thunderhawk flew behind the mountain and Fortensen lost sight of it. When he looked for Mortun he saw the younger man running for one of the Vulture gunships.
Fortensen heard the scream of incredibly powerful engines and saw the Thunderhawk coming in low over the landing zone.
‘Mortun no!’ he shouted before the Thunderhawk let the nose mounted heavy bolters, all four of them, open up and began to rip apart the grounded aircraft along with the scores of men who were still out there, trying in vain to get supplies in to withstand a siege.
Explosions hid the landing field from Fortensen’s sight and the old man lost sight of Mortun’s Vulture in the fire.
‘No!’ he shouted again at the loss of his friend.
‘Sir we have to get inside!’ shouted a trooper, Fortensen didn’t know from which regiment.
The Thunderhawk finished its attack run and soared up into the sky in preparation for another attack.
The trooper tried to pull Fortensen with him but the horrified Colonel wouldn’t budge, losing so many men in the escape just a few hours-or was it days?- ago had been like losing his sons, this was like losing a brother.
In the end Fortensen had to be dragged back to the mouth of the cave where he stood upright, forsaking the cover of the barricades as men of the two regiments kneeled behind the crates and kept their weapons pointed in the direction the enemy would come in as the Astartes Thunderhawk continued to loop around the mountain, occasionally blasting at it with its main cannon.
After two hours Fortensen looked away from where Mortun had been slain and looked at the men around him.
‘Where is Clarkson?’ he asked.
The young trooper stumbled through the tunnel like a blind man, unable to see anything it was so dark. He used his hands to find the walls and fell on his face once or twice when he stepped into a shallow hole.
He continued on this way for a while, about two hours after he disobeyed the Colonel’s orders and went deeper into the mountain. He knew he was getting close.
He forged his way onwards, letting the force calling him show the way. He let the force show him the way until it stopped.
The force just left him as though it were never there. In its place Clarkson saw a faint, ghostly green light at the end of the tunnel, where it curved off to the right. He followed it.
‘Dammit!’ shouted the sorcerer.
‘What is it?’ asked Kor’Farrah.
‘I can no longer see what the marked sees,’.
‘Did his flashlight go out or something?’
‘No, I would still be able to see even if he could not, it is as though the mark on his soul is gone,’.
‘Then Sor’Talla will get his wish, tell them they can land,’.
‘Sir we need you up here,’ said a Captain of the Glison to Colonel Fortensen.
‘We need to find Clarkson, he knows the location of what we’re after here,’.
‘But we don’t know when the Astartes will attack the cave sir,’.
They were distracted when the men at the mouth of the cave started firing their lasguns. Fortensen and the captain rushed to the mouth and saw the Thunderhawk landing, facing the cave entrance.
The ramp on the aircraft lowered as the main cannon elevated towards the entrance.
‘Get down!’ shouted Fortensen just as the massive gun bellowed in anger. The shot hit the inside of cave entrance and killed a dozen men. Fortensen rose with a long gash down the side of him arm. The captain he’d been talking to was dead and there was a loud ringing in his ears.
‘Fall back!’ he shouted.
Glison Regulars and Jackals rose to their feet around him, firing their weapons into the cloud of dust that was covering the exit. Fortensen raised his plasma pistol and added his own firepower to the panicked barrage.
‘Fall back!’ he shouted again and the men around him began falling back farther into the cave.
As Fortensen ran with the men further back he chanced a glance back at the cave entrance and saw two squads of Astartes walking, just walking, in.
‘Take cover!’ he shouted and threw himself flat on the ground.
Men took cover behind crates and fired on the Astartes with everything they had. A heavy weapons crew with the last remaining heavy bolter opened up and stitched a path of bolt explosions up the ground towards the cave mouth. Two of the heavy bolts smacked into the breastplate of a warrior in the front of the loose formation.
The giant was knocked back a step and the armor was significantly deadly. This didn’t stop the traitor from raising its bolter and firing two shots, killing the two weapon operators in a second before firing off a third into the heavy weapon’s ammunition box.
The bolt rounds exploded and sent shrapnel out in all directions, pelting the Astartes power armor with no effect and killing many of the loyal Imperial Army men.
‘Fall back!’ shouted Fortensen again. Snapping off two shots with his plasma pistol. The first plasma bolt hit an Astartes in his shoulder, turning him to the right a bit with the force of the shot. The second hit him in the face and the traitor howled in pain moments before the plasma ate through his helmet and killed him.
‘Fall back!’ Fortensen shouted again.
The men tried to fall back, but the bolter of the Astartes made deadly and accurate enemies, but they had nowhere else to go.
Running doubled over Fortensen and the men around him tried to get to the end of the cave mouth, where it broke off into several tunnels going in many directions.
Two men to Fortensen’s right died as the Astartes fired into the retreating defenders.
Fortensen made it to the tunnel and rounded the corner, just barely avoiding a bolt round that almost took his arm off.
Fortensen went into the tunnel that went right, the one he, Clarkson and Mortun had taken earlier with a group of soldiers to find what needed protecting or destroying. Other soldier went off in different directions.
He didn’t stop running until he’d turned five more bends, putting much ground between him and Astartes and meeting up with a small group of soldier who had taken what little cover there was.
‘Here sir,’ said a Jackal, handing Fortensen a detonator. Not asking what it was for, the Colonel hit the detonator.
Three tons of rock fell with the sound of thunder, covering the exit at the back of the cave entrance and preventing access to the tunnel system.
Fortensen exhaled, for what felt like the first time in hours.
‘We need to find Clarkson,’ he said.
Sor’Talla beat his fist against the pile of rocks. Roaring his anger the marine raised his bolter and fired half a clip into the pile. It did little.
‘Get the melta,’ he said.
‘Sir,’ said one his squad ‘the Army shits are coming,’.
‘Then get the melta quicly,’.
‘He’s not here sir,’ said the trooper called Markus.
‘Shit, I thought he came back with us,’ said Fortensen.
‘Maybe he went off looking for the thing,’
‘Most likely, come on, we’re going back where we left off,’.
Fortensen took off down the long tunnel he and the survivors of the attack were situated in. All the men went with him, not wanting to stay behind and wait to be gunned down by Astartes.
‘Set up traps for the Astartes, it might not hurt them, but it will slow them down a little,’ said Fortensen as he checked the charge on his plasma pistol.
Sor’Talla leveled the melta gun at the rock pile and pulled the trigger and the rock melted under the hellish heat.
Soldiers of the command of Kor’Farrah came in through the mouth of the cave. When Sor’Tall finished cutting a hole through the rock large enough for him and his men he turned around and faced the small group of ten soldiers sent out ahead of the main host.
‘Unworthy mortals do not deserve the glory our gods will give us,’ he said, raising the melta gun ‘go back, and tell Kor’Farrah he wasted too much of his master’s time and that we will take the glory from this world. He had his chance,’.
The fierce deathmask painted on the Astartes’ helm gave his words a fearsome edge. The soldiers turned and left, they couldn’t get out fast enough.
‘How many does it take to deliver a message?’ asked Sor’Talla.
‘Only one,’ chorused his remaining men and nine bolters came up.
‘Come on we have to go faster,’ said Fortensen as they heard the echoes of bolter fire.
Markus had an auspex out and was looking at it.
‘If we run we can get to our last marked position inside thirty minutes, but visibility is something that never thought to come here so running could be a potentially harmful option,’.
‘It may be our only option,’ said Fortensen.
The group continued down the path left my electro-markers earlier.
‘Sir, do you know what happened to everyone else?’ asked Markus.
‘I don’t know, they fled into different tunnels, the detonation that covered up the entrance probably helped them get away, and if they have supplies they may last for a while but I’m afraid they’ll be on their own unless we succeed,’.
‘And what will happen then sir?’ asked Markus.
‘What do you mean soldier?’
‘If we succeed in destroying, or protecting whatever Kor’Farrah is after, how do we get off this planet? The chances are slim we kill the Astartes, and even if we do we still have several thousand traitors back at the camp to deal with if we want to get off this planet, so even if somehow we survive this day, how exactly do we go on?’
‘We don’t trooper, everything has been taken from us, our brothers, our only viable way of getting off this planet, everything, save our duty and that is what we shall carry out unto our dying breath,’.
Markus said nothing.
When at last the group reached the point where the original party turned back, they found Clarkson keeled over on the floor, sobbing.
‘I tried to go down there…,’ he whimpered.
‘Down where?’ asked Fortensen.
‘Down below, but it wouldn’t let me, led me in circles…’
‘What are you talking about?’ asked Fortensen.
Clarkson began to cry again.
‘Speak damn you!’ shouted Fortensen and the tunnels carried and echo of his voice far.
Clarkson gathered his strength. ‘We were close… the last time we were here. After you left I tried to go on and find what was… drawing my forward, but the force… just led me in circles after I saw a green light, I noticed that when I dropped my helmet… and found it a few minutes later as I stumbled in the dark, then I heard a voice and it said “not alone…not alone…not alone”… so I came back here, to wait for you sir,’.
‘Well get up, we’re going now,’.
‘Yessir,’ said Clarkson, his spirits visibly rising.
‘Can you lead us back?’
‘Then do so,’.
The bark of a bolter ended the conversation as well as the life of a Glison trooper who screamed in pain moments before he died.
‘Run!’ shouted Fortensen.
The group began running again, a few troopers blindly down the tunnel to no effect.
|06-19-10 07:36 AM|
They scrambled across the dusty avenue, not even considering rising to stand, the risk was too great.
They got under the next building just in time.
‘These avenues are too damn wide!’ hissed Hansen.
‘I agree with you there sarge,’ said Clarkson.
‘Come on, we’ve got to find some way to get our hands on a portable vox caster, or at least a helmet vox,’
‘How do we do that?’
‘Remember your stealth combat training?’
‘And your unarmed combat training?’
‘Well now it’s time to combine the two,’
Crawling toward the other side of the building the pair kept their eyes open for any patrols.
As they found their way to the edge of the building they spotted a platoon coming down the avenue, patrolling the camp most likely.
They waited as the platoon passed them, and saw to their delight two sets of legs stop while the rest kept walking.
A figure clad in a blood red cloak walked up behind the kneeling men in the center of circle intersected by four lines that made an eight pointed star.
The smell of incense filled the room lit only by a few small candles.
‘Is it done?’ he asked.
‘These things take time,’ said the man ‘but I almost have them, they will fall
for the trap soon enough,’
‘Good,’ said the cloaked man with a smile.
‘Now!’ hissed sergeant Hansen and the two troopers rose from their hiding spot and subdued the two troopers who had stopped for a smoke before the even knew what was happening.
They had just dragged the two unconscious bodies under the building before the searchlight came back.
‘Take their helmets and guns,’ said the sergeant.
Clarkson took the helmet off one of the troopers before prying his hands off the lasrifle and removing the pistol from the side holster, the combat knife was the last thing to get before the young soldier really looked at the man he had beaten.
‘Sarge come look at this,’ he whispered.
‘What?’ asked the older man.
‘Look at this guy’s head,’
Clarkson pointed to a scar on the Colchis trooper’s bald scalp, it was an eight pointed star, carved by a knife and now scarred over.
‘I saw the same thing on mine,’ said Hansen.
‘What does it mean?’
‘I don’t know, I think I skipped that part of the Trooper’s Manual,’ said
Hansen, ‘Lets just get this stuff back to the barracks,’
‘They’ve taken the bait Lord,’ said the man in the eight pointed star.
‘Good job men,’ said Captain Hicks ‘let’s just hope everyone else got what they were after,’.
Along with Clarkson and sergeant Hansen, other teams had gone out as well, from all the other regimental barracks for similar purposes. Unfortunately, the weapons depot was guarded by Astartes, impossible to sneak past and impossible kill without some sort of weapon on hand and even if they could have managed it the noise would have been more than enough to bring the whole damn camp down on their heads.
Casting anxious glances out the windows of their barracks every few seconds, the men of the Glison 33rd went to work on the small vox units they had, trying to tap into the regiment’s emergency channel and establish communication with the rest of the regiment.
The few armed men in every company stood crouched behind beds turned on their sides with their stolen lasguns aimed at the doors, ready for anyone that tried to get in.
As the minutes turned to hours and early night, already pitch black on this world, turned into midnight, the men at the windows noticed the searchlights begin to focus more and more on the barracks block of the Regulars.
‘How’s it coming Larser?’ Colonel Fortensen asked his adjutant.
‘I’ve almost got it working sir, if the Jackals were doing it too it’d be a lot easier to get to the signal off their gunships’s vox strength,’
‘You know as well as I do they’re being watched much closer than we are, anything they try is a hundred time more likely to be seen,’
‘Yes sir,’ said Larser, not caring in the slightest because of how much more difficult it made his task.
‘Just get it done Larser,’ said Fortensen.
‘I think I’ve almost got it…’ Larser said as he coiled a small length of exposed wire around a thin brass rod used for hanging clothes.
‘Now!’ he exclaimed, just as a dozen searchlights outside stopped their routines and pointed straightaway at Fortensen’s personal barrack.
‘Shit,’ said Larser.
Twelve small balls were thrown though the windows, shattering them into a thousand pieces. The balls, grenades now, Fortensen saw, hit the floor just before exploding in a large blast of light and noise that sent fifty men falling down blind and deaf.
Fortensen just managed to open his eyes before a shape came running up to him, raised its arms and battered what he knew was a lasguns stock into his head and finished what the flashbangs started.
‘Shit, that was Fortensen’s barracks,’ said Mortun, looking out the window his men’s motorpool. He watched as a hundred men, spearheaded by five of the Astartes break into the building.
‘Stop everything! Stop everything!’ he shouted at his men ‘The sooner they find out the Glison were trying to contact us the sooner they come barging through our doors!’
‘Why don’t they fight back sir?’ asked one of the troopers, Mortun thought his name was Gerer.
‘Because shit for brains the Astartes practically forced them to turn in their weapons, every one of them, for “maintenance”’ said Markus, one of Mortun and Fortensen’s “inner circle”.
‘Why do we still have ours then?’
‘We don’t have all of them,’ answered Mortun this time ‘we had to turn in our hellguns to, whoever’s behind all this wanted us unarmed to but we were able to hide some in the gun and dropships because they know we’ll never surrender them to anyone and they likely don’t quite know which side we’ll fall on so they probably wanted the Glison to feel like everyone was turning over their weapons while keeping us almost happy and more pliable to their aims,’
‘Sir that was quite a mouthful,’ said Markus.
‘I know,’ said Mortun, ‘I was kinda realizing some of it as I spoke, thinking out loud as it were,’
‘Well it explains quite a bit,’
‘Do they know the Glison were trying to contact us?’
‘Not if we managed to power down all our equipment,’ said Mortun, looking over at his senior technician and raising an eyebrow. The technician nodded back.
‘Right now we just have to sit, wait,’ said Mortun, looking at his gathered men, ‘and find out if someone’s gunning for us,’
‘So we’re just gonna abandon them?’ someone asked.
‘No, we’re going to save them, I just don’t want to get us all killed when we’re doing that,’ said Mortun.
Two men dragged Colonel Fortensen’s limp body upright by the arms with his legs trailing after him. A black sack covered his head, at first he had thought it just a normal sack but once the men had put it on him he couldn’t hear a single should, couldn’t see the light through the threads, couldn’t smell, couldn’t even feel the heat of this world through it. He was devoid of all his senses, with only his mind for company.
The next thing Fortensen felt was the floor as his kidnappers threw him to it.
A strong arm gripped the back of his head, lifted it up just enough, and slammed it back onto the floor.
Fortensen was groaning in pain as the sack was ripped off his head.
‘I will ask you a very simple series of questions and you will answer them truthfully and to the best of your ability or the lives of your men are forfeit.
Do you understand?’ a voice asked.
Fortensen looked around the room he found himself in. It was dark, removing the hood seemed almost a wasted movement, save for a few candles melted almost completely down. He looked at the floor and found himself within an eight pointed star.
‘Why does that shit keep coming up?’ he muttered.
‘Are you Colonel Fortensen of the Glison 33rd Regulars?’ the voice asked.
‘Did you fight the greenskin hordes yesterday on the desert fields of this world Larso II?’
‘Yes, I…’ he said as he was cut off by another voice, one he recognized.
‘Get to the real questions sorcerer, we already know all this,’ said Kor’Farrah.
‘Yes my lord,’ said the voice in the dark.
A knee shoved into Fortensen’s stomach and blew the wind out of him. He fell on the floor in pain.
‘What the hell was that for?’ he asked though clenched teeth.
‘I’m growing impatient,’ said Kor’Farrah.
‘You haven’t asked me any real questions,’ said Fortensen.
‘Well I don’t really like you,’ came his reply.
‘Why were you sending your men to obtain vox units and weapons?’ the voice in the dark came again.
‘You know damn well why,’ said Fortensen.
‘I wanted it to be easier when I got you and your men out of the way,’
‘Why us? What made my men so special?’
‘Your regiment comes from a world that was brought into the Imperial fold
long before the others here, including the Flying Jackals, there’s no way you would join us in our holy quest against the False God,’
‘So you are rebellious zealots,’ said Fortensen ‘I’m assuming this includes the other regiments here?’
‘It does, minus the Jackals, but they will be with us soon,’
‘Why the hell did your master leave all the man power here behind to take care of one regiment?’
‘There is something he needs here, something he thought he would have time to claim before the war began in earnest, but the prophecy moves fast, faster than he anticipated and so he left his favored mortal son behind to claim it and when I do, worlds will bow before me,’.
Lieutenant Colonel Mortun sat on the fold out chair in the officer’s dining hall in the command bastion, waiting for the man that had issued his summons.
Taking a long drag of one of Markus’s contraband smokes he leaned back in his chair and stretched out is legs. He would at least wait comfortably.
‘Is a drink too much to ask for?’ he shouted to the guards at the other end of the hall.
They didn’t answer. They didn’t move. They didn’t seem to breath.
Mortun waited a few minutes more until the guards each raised a hand to their helmets and nodded once. They slung their lasrifles over their shoulders and pulled the massive doors to the hall open.
In strode Lord Ryken, commander of the Philisti Legion of Feros, a world brought into compliance by the Word Bearers.
At his hip was an inferno pistol, resting in an elaborate holster and on his back was a power saber.
Mortun looked closer and saw that it was his power saber.
‘What the fuck are you doing with that!’ he shouted.
Lord Ryken did not answer, instead he continued walking towards Mortun and did not say a word until he was standing directly in front of the younger man,
‘Making you an offer,’ he said.
‘What kind of an offer?’ asked Mortun.
‘The kind you would be unwise to refuse,’ said Ryken, taking the power saber out of the sheath and gripping it by the blade with the hilt towards Mortun.
‘Your regiment’s weapons and freedom back, for absolute loyalty to the great primarch Lorgar,’
‘When did you take away our freedom? You weren’t prepping a raid on our barracks last night.’ asked Mortun, looking at his blade.
‘You still have it, but the Glison don’t, and if you say things I don’t like, you’ll join them under the watchful eyes of the Astartes without so much as a knife at hand,’.
Mortun gripped the hilt of his blade.
‘I think I understand,’ he said.
‘Good, then as a token of your loyalty, you shall execute Fortensen,’ said Ryken, and released his grip on the blade.
‘The soon to be left to rot in the desert Colonel is being questioned right now, you will be permitted to return to your barracks until the great Kor’Farrah is done with him, then the execution will take place,’
‘What happens to the Glison?’ Mortun asked, holding his blade in his hands, examining it for any blemish or any other kind of damage.
‘They die to, they are loyal to their master and their master is a blind servant of the Emperor first and the Imperium second, we cannot use them in the war,’.
‘Well that answers that,’ said Mortun.
‘Yes, it does,’ said Ryken.
‘Am I dismissed?’
With that Lord Ryken turned and left. Mortun went with him, the hall had only one exit.
When they left the hall Ryken turned left, deeper into the bastion. Mortun went right, his guard detail falling in step behind him.
‘We’re getting our weapons back,’ said Mortun.
‘What exactly happened in there sir?’ asked Markus.
‘Kor’Farrach made the biggest mistake of his life that’s what, get on your vox and tell the techies to prep the Chimeras for a breach’n’grab,’.
They left the bastion, exiting on one of the landing pads, stopping to look at the temporary prison that had been made for the Glison.
Facing the defense guns of the bastion on one side and surrounded by hastily constructed plas-steel walls on the other three the Glison were like a herd of animals.
Twenty Astartes kept watch on them, bolters at the ready. Mortun could see they had already taken a few potshots into the regiment, only a few hundred men left after all the fighting and the raids.
‘Let’s go sir,’ said Markus, the dry desert wind blowing his hair.
Though Mortun knew they couldn’t see him, he spoke to them in his regiment’s battlesign, having to say it even though he knew they didn’t even know it.
We’ll come get you. We’ll come get you, he said.
He turned his back and walked into the waiting Valkyrie, the blade of his power saber catching the light.
Down below, on one of the plas-steel walls the light glinted off the eye lens of an upturned Astartes helmet. As the Valkyrie took off from the landing pad the immortal raised two fingers to the side of his helmet.
Night fell on Larso II once more. Aside from the events and revelations since the night before, it was much the same as the preceding weeks. A few minor ork attacks, nothing much to trouble proceedings within the traitor camp.
Colonel Fortensen waited, hands tied behind his back in a dark cell with the black sack once more over his head. On his knees he waited for his execution.
Outside his prison cell two Astartes stood guard, bolters held tightly across their chests.
‘Are we ready?’ asked Mortun.
‘Yessir,’ said Markus ‘The Chimera patrols are about to complete their last sweep and will be coming back to the motorpool, or so the traitors think and the Valkyries have extra fuel tanks and are waiting just beyond radar, they’ll move when we do,’.
‘And the Vultures?’
Mortun climbed into his Valkyrie, Markus and ten other troopers waiting for him and ready.
‘Are you sure about this sir?’
‘Absolutely not, but there are no other options. Lorgar needs something on this world for his rebellion, he needs Kor’Farrah to get it and we need Fortensen and his men to help us keep that from happening,’.
‘Yes sir,’ said Markus, leaning back in his seat.
‘Takeoff,’ said Mortun.
‘Now give the signal,’.
The Valkrie lifted off into the air, joined moments later by an escort of two Vultures.
The three aircraft flew slowly, lest the engines make too much noise, but in the dark night everything sounded louder than it really was.
‘Don’t worry,’ said Mortun to his men as well as himself, ‘we’ve got dozens of ships in the air, no one’s gonna notice one more,’.
The troopers looked doubtful to say the least.
Like ghosts the three aircraft brought themselves up above the command bastion. Mortun looked out the pilot’s window and saw squadrons of his Vultures and Valkyries flying in standard maneuver patterns, nothing fancy, nothing that would take up too much fuel.
‘Captain Tanner, are you and your men ready?’ he asked his subordinate officer in charge of the Chimera division on an encrypted vox channel.
‘Yessir, awaiting your signal,’.
‘Addressing all units,’ said Mortun to all his men, ‘you have been briefed by me on our mission here tonight, you all know what you have to do, there are four hundred men down there about to be executed for being loyal to the Emperor. The mastermind behind this is a madman who wishes to murder innocents and destroy all we have fought so hard to create. No quarter will be given to you in the event of capture, so give none in return. If you find yourself with a tactical advantage, take it, for traitors deserve no mercy, no fair fight and shall receive none. For the Imperium men, now we make our move,’.
Screaming like banshees a hundred aircraft dived out of the midnight sky.
Vulture gunships locked onto their predesignated targets and fired their deadly missiles into antiaircraft guns which exploded in fire and noise. An alarm went up, though it was hardly necessary.
‘Get ready men!’ shouted Mortun as he opened up the side hatch on the Valkyrie.
‘Sir, I just noticed, where’s your hellpistol?’ said Markus.
‘I decided on something a little more useful,’ said Mortun, hefting his new, more useful, weapon.
The wind blew in Mortun’s face as the Valkyrie spiraled downward, circling around the command bastion. The Vulture escorts casually fired their missiles or strafed the ground below.
‘Tanner how’s it going?’ asked Mortun over the vox, he had to shout to be heard.
‘Its alright sir, they can’t form solid lines to stop us and surprise is still working in our favor,’.
‘Let me know if the situation changes,’ said Mortun, he could just make out the line of Chimeras as they powered down the camp’s avenues. The multi-lasers mounted on front blazed away, starting fires left and right and cutting down the occasional patrol squad.
‘Alright boys, lets show’em what we got!’ shouted captain Tanner to his men. He smiled as the Chimeras blasted through the streets, nothing would stop them.
‘Corporal take the wheel, I’m gonna pop a hatch!’ he shouted. A young corporal took over driving and Tanner climbed back to the topside hatch to take over the pintle mounted bolter.
‘Yeah fuckers yeah!’ he shouted.
He was ripped from his joyous reverie when a missile streamed from above and his the Chimera before him.
He looked up and saw a blood red armored Astartes with a shoulder mounted missile launcher.
‘Now that I have you attention,’ said the giant before dropping the missile launcher on the roof of the barracks he was using as a firing platform.
Tanner watched in horror as the giant raised a small object, a device in the shape of a cylinder with a button on top.
Tanner knew what is was just moments before he died.
It was a detonator.
The traitors had known what was going to happen; they had known and were prepared.
All along the line of Chimera APC’s explosions ripped through the metal, killing Tanner’s men and ending any chance of rescue from the ground for the Glison.
‘No!’ shouted Mortun at the top of his lungs as the Valkyrie rounded the command bastion and he saw the explosions.
Tears came down his cheeks as secondary explosions tore ruined vehicles apart.
‘No!’ he shouted again.
‘Sir,’ said Markus, putting a hand on his shoulder ‘we’re about there,’.
‘Lets kill these fucking traitors!’ shouted Mortun.
The Valkyrie pilot found the spot Mortun specified and hovered.
‘Now!’ the officer shouted.
The Vulture gunships blasted a hole in the wall with their armaments.
‘Let’s go!’ shouted Mortun.
Once they were inside Mortun signaled his squad to move ahead and secure their immediate position while he relayed orders to his squadrons fighting in the air.
‘The Chimeras are gone, I repeat: the Chimeras are gone, Valkyrie pilots must evac the prisoners immediately, Vultures will support them, take out any antiaircraft guns that may appear, stay below the bastion’s roof, the guns up there can’t fire on anything below them. Understood?’
He got acknowledgments from his squadron leaders before continuing with his squad’s mission.
‘Where are we sir?’ asked Markus as the squad ran down a long hallway.
‘Lever 12B, prison level, its where they’ll be keeping Fortensen.
‘How do you know it’ll be here? That he’s not being kept somewhere secret?’
They turned a corner and twenty lasguns came up to stare at them.
‘Because nothing gets this kinda guard detail,’ said Mortun as he raised his grenade launcher.
‘Fire away boys!’ he yelled, and pulled the trigger.
A frag grenade shot from the short barrel, its recoil bringing another grenade into the firing chamber just as the grenade found the center of the room and exploded, killing Lord Ryken’s men like so many scarecrows.
The Jackals shot anyone still alive with their hellguns.
‘Come on lets go,’ said Mortun, running though the pile of bodies and puddles of blood.
The squad blasted away more opposition, using speed and superior fire power they blazed a path through the halls.
‘Couldn’t we come in closer sir?’ a trooper asked, Mortun didn’t know who.
‘No, I was looking for the easiest stretch of wall to blast open, we’re lucky we were as close as we were when we came in,’.
|06-16-10 06:10 PM|
It Caused An Effect
This is a Horus Heresy short, it not done yet and feedback would be appreciated.
The first sign that something big was happening came when Astartes of the Word Bearers legion left the men of the Imperial 45th Army Group. Packing into their Stormbirds the Astartes offered no word as to why they were leaving, only that “A greater calling beckons us”.
As the stone gray assault craft soared into the sky seventy thousand mortal men of the 55th Expedition Fleet were left alone on a world with a war against the barbaric orks only half-way prosecuted.
As the first uneasy night fell, the perimeter patrols, tripled in number since the events of the morning, heard the first cries of the ork natives in a month. But that alone was not frightening to the men of the Glison 33rd Regulars . The fact that they were cries of victory were.
The next morning brought little comfort.
Colonel Fortensen was in the command center, a prefabricated structure designed for army commanders on campaign. Pouring himself a cup of caffeine, mixed with battery acid if the taste was any indicator, Fortensen looked out the window to see a dying yellow sun rising to bring a new day to this miserable world. The sun gave the land a sickly hue, but that wouldn’t last long. In just a few hours the second sun would appear on the horizon and bathe the world in a blinding white light that would require the men of the Imperial Army to don special eye-wear.
‘How’s the caffeine this morning?’ asked a slightly younger lieutenant colonel as he walked into what was half jokingly called the “rec room”.
‘Shitty Mortun, shitty like how you say hello every damn morning,’ said Fortensen.
‘The day I don’t ask how it is is the day it tastes like fine wine,’ replied Mortun.
‘That fails to explain why you think it’s a good way to say hello and it brings up the question as to why you think wine is a good thing to partake in in the morning,’
‘After yesterday I think we could all use a damn drink,’
‘You’re right on that account at any rate,’
Mortun grunted in response and took the caffeine pot offered by Fortensen.
‘I think we’d better just take these to the war room and not waste time here,’ said the senior officer.
‘Right right right,’ said Mortun.
Walking into the war room, where all operations for this war had taken place under the leadership of the Primarch Lorgar.
In the center of the room was a large holo-image projector table with a 3-D image of the Imperial Army base and surrounding landscape.
Gathered around the projector table were thirty Imperial Army commanders, each with a portion of the Imperial force on the world under their command. Without the presence of the Astartes commanders that had been here just a few hours ago, the room seemed almost empty. Without the Primarch, the room seemed to have been built for absent gods.
Fortensen looked around the room at the crowd of colonels, generals and other officers. Then he looked at the empty command throne that the Primarch had sat in when planning campaigns against the ferocious greenskin that thoroughly inhabited this world like a hive of insects.
Looking at the crowd of officers gathered Fortensen noticed one absence that didn’t leave him hopeless.
General Kor’Farrah, commander of the Colchis Royal Guard wasn’t here. That was good, the arrogant bastard was always using his favor with the Primarch to boss the other officers around and get whatever he wanted. Fortensen was glad of his absence.
Fortensen remarked on this to Mortun.
‘Maybe his lord took him and his men with him,’ he said.
‘No, I saw their tents out in that little eight pointed pattern they seem to be so damn fond of,’
Their curiosity was put to death when all other commanders in the room turned to the entrance and looked in the direction of Fortensen and Mortun.
Mortun looked behind his companion and himself.
‘Fort, I think we’d better get out of the way,’ he said.
‘What for?’ said the older man before turning around himself, and he saw why.
Standing just outside the doorway was Kor’Farrah, with five Astartes in dried blood red power armor providing a body guard.
‘Move aside Colonel,’ said the General.
Fortensen obliged, too taken aback by the Astartes.
What happened next took shocked him even more.
Kor’Farrah sat on the Primarch’s command throne.
Several of the gathered officers let out asps of disbelief, some of anger, all of surprise. Such a brash act could only be made by one with absolute knowledge that he could. The five Astartes guarding him would certainly lend aid to that belief.
‘Gentlemen,’ said Kor’Farrah, ‘Thank you for coming today,’ he continued as though today were like any other and there were no ork horde within a hundred miles of the Imperial Army camp that just witnessed the greater three thirds of the Imperial force leave.
‘While the great and noble Primarch Lorgar of the 17th Legio Astartes and the greater portion of his legion’s strength depart for the Isstvan system, this war here still needs to be finished, which is why I, chosen of Colchis have been left in overall command, with twenty-five Astartes and the 45th Imperial Army group at my disposal,’
Fortensen couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Kor’Farrah was a madman, a manic who reveled in shedding the blood of his enemies, even if they were human and had surrendered already, he made and ideal man to pit against the greenskin, who did not know what surrender even was, but he was a terrible man to serve under.
The Colonel spent the rest of the command meeting only half listening to Kor’Farrah, he was too preoccupied with thoughts on how to get his men as far away from here as possible. There just wasn’t something right about the new commander and he didn’t want to know what it was, he just wanted to be far away from it.
When the meeting was adjourned Fortensen stalked out of the command bastion as fast as he could, with Mortun right behind him.
‘This is all bullshit,’ said the younger man.
‘You’ve got that right kid,’ said Fortensen.
‘What the hell are we gonna do with that madman in charge now?’
‘I do not know, try to survive this war, get a transfer to another expedition fleet would be the best option I think,’
‘That’s the only option I think,’
‘Right again. Just get to your men, tell them what’s happening and get them ready, we don’t know when Farrah is gonna send us into the meat grinder,’
‘Weren’t you listening?’ asked Mortun
‘Somewhat, I was too distracted, why?’
‘Both our regiments are going straight to the front for the next phase of the operations here,’
‘Shit,’ said Fortensen.
Shit was right.
Howling like daemons the orks swarmed into the defense trenches amongst the men of the Glison 33rd Regulars. Spearing bayonets into their bellies and firing their lasguns full auto the Regulars took many orks with them, but it was a hard fight, and many Regulars would not fight again.
Private Clarkson thought as much as he hurled a frag grenade down a section of trench that had been taken over completely.
Flame and shrapnel ended many orks and their death cries pounded the ears.
‘Take it back!’ shouted sergeant Hansen and forty Glison Regulars charged into the stretch of trench and stabbed any orks they found, some men abandoning their lasguns when they ran out of ammunition picked up the mare barbaric greenskin weapons.
Clarkson charged with the rest unloading on the enemy and beating them back over the top of the dusty earthen trench.
‘Push them back!’ shouted someone, somewhere.
As if they had been inviting the greenskin in for tea and biscuits earlier.
As more orks were cut down by las-fire more and more poured into the trench.
‘Where’s the damn artillery?’ shouted someone, Clarkson had no idea who and cared even less. It was a valid point though.
In answer to the question the sound of incoming fire washed over Clarkson’s ears and he risked looking up, away from the fight, even though he knew it would be impossible to see the shots fired.
He felt their impact though.
Crashing into the ground just in front of the trenches the artillery shells blasted apart scores of orks, but more importantly, blew the earth apart as well.
Rock and earth blasted into the air in all directions, some landing in the ork horde, some coming down to cover the embattled Imperials.
Clarkson raised is arm to shield his eyes from the stinging dust just as the force of the explosions knocked him and his comrades off their feet.
The rocks and the hard earth dug into Clarkson’s back and pained him even as he tried to get back on his feet, but a massive ork was charging towards him just as he opened his eyes.
He tried to grab his lasgun but it was just out of reach of his outstretched arm, his fingers just barely managing to touch the blazing hot barrel.
He reached for his sidearm instead, knowing it couldn’t possibly stop such a brute, but refusing to go down without fight all the same.
He blasted away with the laspistol, firing five shots at the greenskin’s head and doing little more than burn it.
The creature gave a barbaric warcry and raised its chainaxe above its head.
Clarkson closed his eyes in anticipation of the end of his life.
The axe came down.
But Clarkson felt no pain.
He heard a ringing in his ears and looked to the left, there the axe was, embedded in the ground and the haft quivering.
He looked back at the ork that had just been about to kill him and saw that where once a head had been, there was nothing but a burnt and smoking crater between the shoulders.
Clarkson looked behind him and saw Colonel Fortensen, one hand holding his power blade, humming with deadly energy, and the other holding a plasma pistol aimed at space the ork’s head had formerly occupied.
Fortensen didn’t spare him a glance as he ran past him blasting away with his pistol into the ork horde charging through the breach into the trench. The men of the Glison 33rd followed, lest their beloved commander fall.
Clarkson fought his way to his feet, picking up his lasgun as fast as possible and bringing it back up to his shoulder to fire once more into the ork horde.
‘Damn that man, damn that man!’ shouted Fortensen, ‘he knew he was firing too close to the trenches and now we get the shit,’
Clarkson didn’t know who he was talking about, and he would have pitied that man, whoever he was, had he not almost been responsible for his death.
Fortensen raised his voice once more for him command vox.
‘Mortun, now would be a damn fine time!’ he shouted.
Clarkson didn’t hear what the other man had to say, but he did hear the roar of a squadron of Vulture gunships as they soared low over the battlefield. He watched as they looped around over the ork horde and unleashed their deadly capacity for death.
Round after round of solid ammunition streamed from the miniguns slung to the wings into the mass of greenskin, chopping them into smaller and smaller pieces.
Underslung missiles screamed as they were launched at the ork vehicles, few as they were.
Explosions became the punctuation marks that ended the short sentences that were the lives of the orks charging into the breach.
‘That’s all nice and pretty Mortun but it won’t be enough,’ shouted Fortensen.
As if on que Valkyrie drop ships found their way above the breach and added their fire to the Vultures’.
The Vultures and Valkyries continued firing into the horde as dozens of repelling lines dropped from the troop ships.
Black carapace-armored troopers slid down from the lines, keeping hold with one hand on the repelling mechanism and other on their hellguns, firing into the ork mob below.
‘Make room for them men!’ shouted Fortensen.
The men of the Glison 33rd let out a triumphant yell at seeing their brothers in arms and charged forth, cutting down orks left and right.
They couldn’t clear out the orks fast enough though, and some still crowded the drop space for Lieutenant Colonel Mortun’s Flying Jackels.
Clarkson, towards the back of the human mob saw a black armored man, more decorated than the others, repel halfway down the line and then leap into the ork horde below, a power saber flaring with a new inflow of energy rushing up the blade.
‘Damn that man to,’ Clarkson heard Fortensen say, though he didn’t quite sound as mad as before.
The men of the Flying Jackels made it to the ground more or less in one piece and joined the fight in full force.
Forming into phalanxes the thirty-six storm troopers of the first wave fired none stop into the orks, pushing the howling beasts back.
Someone with a flamer opened up and poured fire on the greenskin.
The combined force of sixty or so Jackals and Glison Regulars fought their way through the ork horde and found the man that had leapt from the Valkyrie.
To Clarkson’s eyes he didn’t need rescuing.
Standing on the backs of two slain giants Lieutenant Colonel Mortun swung left and right with his power saber as he fired into the horde with his hell-pistol.
Laughing as he parried an ork blade before reversing his grip and stabbing the offending party, Mortun was Imperial valor incarnate.
The men of the two regiments were able to get to him before he was drowned in the tide of orks.
‘Next time, you can save yourself,’ said Fortensen.
‘Just setting an example for the children,’ said Mortun.
‘This needs to end now,’ said Fortensen, firing off three blasts from his plasma pistol.
‘I agree,’ said Mortun before raising a hand to his command vox ‘Major, I think firestorm pattern Foxtrot would really come in handy at about this time,’
‘Yessir,’ came a static riddled voice on the other end.
Mortun turned and looked at Clarkson who stood in awe of the officer.
‘Watch this kid, hopefully you only have to see it once, best lower your shades to,’ he said.
The Jackals had already lowered their shades when they heard their commander give his order on the vox, but the Glison needed more instruction for the sake of their ability to see.
Just as Clarkson and the rest of the Glison lowered their helmet shades a dozen squadrons of Vulture gunships soared out of the sky, dropping their payloads and lighting the battlefield up like the eyes of a god.
The orks vanished in the fire, vaporized by the heat.
Hundreds of Glison across the entire first defense line let out another triumphant roar and rose from the trenches to lend their fire to the slaughter.
More Valkyries dropped from the sky to unload scores of more deadly Jackals.
The men watched as Vultures strafed the field, obliterating the orks and bringing victory to the Imperial forces by nightfall.
As roving patrols of the Glison and Jackals mopped up the last few bands of orks that clung to the rocky terrain Fortensen and Mortun had a brief moment with naught but loyal ears close to them.
‘I don’t think we were supposed to survive today.’ said Mortun, as they patrolled the outer perimeter. He held his power saber and hell pistol at the ready, but powered down for now.
‘I don’t think so either, that artillery fire was too close too often,’
‘What the hell are we gonna do about this?’
‘I don’t know, Farrah’s probably trying to figure out the same thing,’
‘Hmm. What if we commandeer one of the Navy ships?’
‘Won’t work, we’d need a troop carrier for that and Farrah’s got the Astartes, along with his own men, guarding them. No one gets on one without his permission,’
‘Wait,’ said Mortun. They, and their escort, stopped walking altogether.
‘Do you think the Astartes know?’
‘I haven’t thought about that,’ said Fortensen, his eyes widening in horror.
‘If they are that would mean the Primarch set Farrah down this path he’s on, that he’s ordered our deaths,’
‘But why the hell would he do that? We are loyal subjects of the Emperor, if anyone should be put to death it is Farrah, he’s almost a complete religious zealot,’
‘He’s also from Colchis, along with the Primarch,’
‘Favoritism is not beyond the reach of even His sons I suppose,’
‘No I suppose not. But if the Primarch want us dead what does that mean?’
Fortensen thought for a moment before the horrifying conclusion came to him.
‘He is no longer a loyal servant of the throne,’
‘Is that why he left? To wage war against it?’
‘Why are you asking me? If I had known I wouldn’t even have allowed my regiment to be in the same sector as the Primarch, and that would have been the least of my actions,’
‘What could have possibly turned him away from his father?’
‘I don’t know, but we’ve been out of contact with the greater, and less remote, part of the Imperium for quite some time now in this system, we don’t know what’s been going on,’
‘Could there be a rebellion against the Emperor?’
‘That’s not something I want to think about right now, let’s just concentrate on getting off this rock in one piece,’
‘Right,’ said Mortun, clearly shaken at the thought of rebellion against everything the Emperor had created.
‘Markus,’ he said to one of his Jackals.
‘Yessir?’ asked the trooper, his voice quivering and fearful from what he had heard.
‘Are you a loyal soldier of the throne?’
‘Would you give your life for the Emperor and his Imperium?’
‘Would you walk through the fires of forgotten creeds for it?’
‘Yessir I would,’
‘Good, then give me some of the contraband smokes I know you carry with you,’
‘I think I’ll have one to,’ said Fortensen.
‘And one for him to,’ added Mortun, pointing to his friend.
‘Anyone else?’ asked Markus.
Not one man in that patrol returned to base without having inhaled the drugs.
That night Clarkson was in his battalion barracks, gathered around the center of the room where the battalion’s commander, Captain Hicks, spoke as quietly as he could to the men. After the events of the last day, he didn’t have to raise his voice to be heard by everybody. Imperial artillery fire and orks made unusual, but not ineffective, allies when it came to murder.
‘Word just came down from the Colonel,’ the Captain said, ‘we need to go on full alert, enemies other than the orks could come for us during the night and we need to be prepared for that,’
‘But sir,’ said sergeant Hansen ‘the Astartes made us turn in our weapons earlier for inspection and maintenance by Mechanicus, we’re unarmed,’
‘I know, which is why we need to get them back,’
‘What are the Jackals doing?’ asked a lieutenant.
‘The Colonel said Mortun and his lads are preparing their drop ships for a mass evac, quietly, so it might not be as effective as could be,’
‘Maybe not,’ sergeant Hansen threw his weight into the conversation ‘the Mechanicus were never allowed near those things by the Jackals, they have their own motorpool for what they’re doing. Hopefully they still have control over it at least,’
‘That’s right, but its got little to do with our weapons situation,’
‘Yeah what do we do about that?’ someone asked.
‘Well first you wait for your commanding officer to explain the plan before interrupting him, and if you absolutely must do that, you add a sir,’ said Hicks.
That shut everyone up.
‘I will lead a small group of volunteers out of the barracks, our first mission will be to take a portable vox mast or some flashlights at the least, in order to establish communication with the rest of the regiment. General Kor’Farrah, it seems, is doing his damn best to make sure we can’t talk to each other no matter what,’
‘And after that sir?’ a lieutenant asked.
‘Then we find out what the colonel want us to do, and during the meantime we will be avoiding camp patrols under the direct command of Kor’Farrah, and this may include some of the Astartes that were left behind to cement his command, who will throw us in the detention center with no rations at best on some trumped up charge at best, and we don’t even know what they will do at worst yet. Any volunteers?’
Clarkson wished he hadn’t raised his hand to volunteer. Hiding from a searchlight under the support beams of a barrack structure inhaling the rough dust of this world with all sorts of probably poisonous insects crawling around was far from comfortable.
‘This just proves what the Captain was talking about,’ whispered sergeant Hansen as he crawled up alongside Clarkson.
‘What do you mean sarge?’ asked Clarkson.
‘The searchlight, its not focused on the perimeter, its looking down the gird lines,’
‘Come on, the lights about to pass the ground in front of us, when it does we’ll have about fifteen seconds before it comes back, we’ll have to get to the next building in that time,’
With that they crawled forward, moving just under the edge of the building, just out of sight of the searchlight operators.
‘Not quite what you had in mind when you enlisted eh?’ asked Hanesn.
‘No sarge I suppose not,’ said Clarkson as the light passed on the ground right before them.
They moved, just as darkness came back to the path before them they moved, not wasting a second they could not get back.