Feels like rust.....
Caralis snarled as he saw yet another wave of orks bearing down upon his ravaged squad. The bridge was littered with their dead, and the wrecks of their “vehicles”, if such things could be classed as such, granted varying amounts of cover from the punishing weight of fire from Brother Memphis. The scouts had already downed several of the larger brutes with pinpoint sniper fire, not that it mattered. The sheer weight of this assault looked likely to overrun the scattered Astartes defending the western half of the bridge. He could hear the chatter between his Brothers as they complained about the stubbornness of the orks, bolters were reloaded, chain-weapons revved, the hiss of the flamer igniting, readying to belch its flaming death upon the monsters. The heavy chatter of Memphis’ heavy bolter erupted suddenly as the aging warrior picked the distance to unleash the bolts of destruction that his venerable weapon contained.
At seventy-fire metres, the first bolts connected with the foul greenskins, felling dozens in a thin pink mist of blood. Memphis shook with the heavy recoil of his weapon, firing his weapon in a tight arc that maximized his ratio. Hundreds of empty brass casings fell to the wrecked Chimera upon which he stood, death rained upon the greenskins, with the dozens turning into hundreds, the greenskins climbed mountains of the dead. Caralis grinned beneath his helmet as he saw the death dealt by his centuries’ old friend dispensed in the name of the Emperor. A single click brought his attention back to the squad Apothecary dispensed the Emperor’s Mercy to Battle-Brother Jarvus.
“The Emperor knows his name Brother-Sergeant,” stated Grimald, already setting about the business of retrieving the gene-seed of the fallen Brother.
Jarvus had been caught in the power claw of an ork warboss, his armour crumpled under the pressure of the mighty weapon, and despite the crippling wounds dealt as the weapon closed around him, Jarvus had managed to plant a powerful kick to the creature’s jaw, snapping the head upwards and releasing him. Grimald had descended upon the warboss at this time, his reductor, the tool that could save the legacy of heroes, was also a tool to destroy. The reductor had removed the creature’s minimal brain matter with a single strike to the left temple, and Grimald, his once white armour, was now a gore-covered giant. Once the job of securing the Chapter’s Due from Jarvus’ body, Grimald dragged the body to join those of Tiberius and Soren.
“Weapon temperature spiking Brother-Sergeant, ammunition reaching critical levels,” stated Memphis, the muzzle of his weapon glowing red with heat.
“Fall-back to point Tiberius, Brothers Antioch and Karatil provide cover,” ordered Caralis, watching as his battle-brothers began firing their bolters in short bursts.
Memphis backed away from the Chimera, his weapon firing in two second bursts to keep some variant of suppressive fire upon the approaching horde. Caralis looked around at Brother Xander and Zukos, the two younger brothers of the squad. Both were battle-scarred, their armour pitted with impact marks of solid slugs and cleavers. The midnight colouring of their armour dulled in places to the base gun-metal grey. Xander’s helm lay on the ground, the blood-red lens of the left side shattered where an ork axe had connected with sufficient force to reach Xander’s skull. The larramen cells had sealed the wound effectively, and Grimald’s minor ministrations with skin-wrap had secured the wound to bleeding again anytime soon.
“Prepare to relieve Antioch and Karatil, short controlled bursts, cover fire to point Tiberius, we make our stand where the standard flies,” said Caralis, watching as Memphis finally reached what had once been a PDF Leman Russ Punisher.
“Yes Brother-Sergeant!” chorused the two brothers.
Point Tiberius marked where the veteran brother had fallen, an ork having thrust a rusted pike through the warrior’s back, creating a wound even his advanced system struggled to seal. With the crippling wound hampering his movements as he was surrounded by greenskins, Tiberius was dragged down and butchered. Eleven of the beasts were slain in his death throes, and even as Grimald and Caralis cut their way through to his body, they saw he still held the squad standard in his hand, despite the noticeable attempts to his bloodied arm to rectify this, the squad still held onto the legend that their standard would never fall. Point Jarvus was where Memphis had originally set up his weapon; the Chimera was where Jarvus had been caught by the warboss that had slain him. Point Soren was where the youngest warrior of the squad had fallen, a single stray round had shattered his vox-grill, and passed through his closed mouth before detonating, and destroying his skull and his helm was filled with blood as his body fell. He had fired a total of eighteen shots from his bolter before dying, in the first minute of the engagement. Point Soren was the reinforcement point, where the promised Guard troops were being dropped in by Valkyrie gunships.
“This is Sergeant Caralis of Squad Genesis, Destiny Bridge is being overrun, I say again, Destiny Bridge is being overrun!” said Caralis into the open vox-system.
“Genesis, this is Colonel Lukas Harvid, of the Risac 121st, we are ten minutes out, I say again, ten minutes” answered a voice, the vox crackling with sound of gun-fire.
Caralis almost laughed, raising his plasma pistol and firing a shot off. The shot engulfed three orks, dissolving their bodies even as their brethren leapt over them. Grimald echoed Caralis’ shot by planting three bolts into three separate targets, each one detonating in a shower of blood. The orks seemed to remember their own guns now, firing back in sporadic attempts of suppression. A missile detonated against the wreckage Brother Karatil was crouched behind, throwing shrapnel and smoke around the Astartes warrior. Caralis watched as a massive brute barged past its smaller brethren, a trophy rank on its shoulders bearing helmets of three different Astartes Chapters, one bore the wings of the Dark Angels, the others each bore the laurels of veterans. In one hand it held a massive double-headed axe that even Caralis was unsure of managing to hold in one hand. The other hand however, held what looked like it may have been a Terminator’s assault cannon at some point, the multiple barrels spun rapidly, and a hail of rounds filled the air. Xander was lifted into the air, the rounds detonating on impact with his armour, his body becoming a puppet, as round after round struck him. A round detonated against the elbow joint, shearing away the limb in a welter of blood, another round caught his knee joint, shattering the ceramite armour encasing him. It lasted five seconds, and in that time, over two thousand round had been expended, the majority missing their mark, but enough made contact to reduce Xander to a wreck of his former self, his face was bloody, his armour ruined, and Grimald himself cursed as he dragged the warrior into cover. Antioch switched the bolter he had taken from Soren for his usual flamer, and doused the area before him with burning promethium, a dozen orks screamed as their flesh melted from their bodies. The brute that had wounded Xander leapt over the burning wall of flame, its massive bulk becoming a hammer as it landed, the armoured car caved under the weight of the monster. Antioch was still turning to bring his flamer upon the beast when it brought its axe down upon his head. The Astartes fell without a sound, his helm cloven in two, his skull caved in. Grimald twisted himself to bring his bolt pistol to the beast, even his enhanced body only managed to squeeze off one round at the beast before it smashed him to the ground. Xander managed two shots from his bolter before it smashed its axe into his chest. Once, twice, three times the axe rose and fell, leaving a bloody pulp behind it, the beast snarled as Karatil placed three shots into its back. It turned to charge towards him, but Karatil already had other troubles, a mob of orks had used the lull in firepower to overwhelm his position.
Karatil cut down seventeen orks before being slain, his headless corpse tumbling from the wreckage he stood upon, his lifeless fingers twitching around the trigger of the bolter, firing the last rounds in the magazine. Caralis fired four consecutive shots at the mobs, all but erasing them from existence, and he launched his over-heating pistol into another group. The ancient weapon detonated in the air, showering large numbers of orks with molten plasma. Caralis turned back to the beast that had set itself upon Grimald, and was shocked to see that Grimald struggling, and the fact his reductor was missing, as was his entire arm. He fought with a combat blade wretched from his shoulder guard, driving it into gaps of the beast’s armour, slashing at ligaments, for all the effect it was having, Caralis would have thought Grimald was tickling the beast. Crying his Chapter’s battle-cry of “No blood, no victory” Caralis charged though the orks overrunning the Destiny Bridge. Zukos stood with Memphis upon the ruined tank, his bolter spitting death with precise bolts, while Memphis cut down groups of orks with each second-long burst of fire. The Scouts assigned to Genesis had closed towards Point Tiberius, their bolters firing in content bursts, the two snipers downing the larger orks with single shots that detonated inside the skulls of the beasts. The other three, one of which was the very same sergeant who had taught Caralis all those centuries ago, sprinted towards Memphis and Zukos, trying to lend their aid where it could achieve the most.
“Genesis Squad, Harvid, Vendetta Squadron “Lightning” inbound thirty seconds, mark primary targets for strafing run, West to East” said the mortal Colonel in the vox bead.
“Target everything east of point Tiberius,” snapped Carlais, his power axe cutting through the torso of a stubber wielding ork.
It was only as the words escaped his mouth that Caralis realised Grimald stood east of Tiberius, battling with the largest ork possible. The beast was easily four metres tall, and broader than the ancients who inhabited the dreadnoughts, its animal-hide “clothing” was dyed black, with red dashed across seemingly at random. The beast had four Astartes helms hanging from chains draped over its shoulders, with it right shoulder armoured in what looked like scavenged power armour. A terminator helmet encased its left fist, carved with little skill to frame its meaty fist, the four helmets dangling from the chains each looked to belong to Chapter Captains. Ultramarines, Brazen Bulls, Iron Hands, and even what looked to be a unknown variant to Caralis, a knightly looking helmet that was shining silver. A variety of grenades hung from a strap running across its chest.
He sprinted towards the creature, his axe cleaving into its shoulder even as it booted Grimald into a smoking wreck of a Chimera. The beast turned without pause, sweeping its axe to decapitate the Brother Sergeant, with Caralis ducking only just enough to have it skin the top of his helmet. His enhanced hearing picked up the distinct whine of the Vendetta Squadron, even as he slammed his fist against the knee joint of the creature, bringing a roar of pain before it kicked out at him. Caralis was knocked flat onto his back by the blow, sparks erupting as his ceramite armour scrapped against the rockcrete surface, his power axe sliding away from him. He groaned as he felt the blow cracking his fused rib cage, even though wearing the power armour, Caralis felt every ounce of strength that had been put into the strike. He rose to his feet, raising his arms to ward off the follow up kick that he saw was coming. The impact was lessened by his arms, but no less painful. He rolled left, hearing the axe connect to the rockcrete. The beast roared as its elusive prey rolled away from its backswing as well, keeping just beyond the range of its heavy axe. Another swing and it rolled again, only it came closer. Caralis rose from the roll, smashing the crown of his helm into the beast’s jaw, breaking a couple of its tusk-like teeth, he slammed his fist into its gut, doubling the creature over as he followed up with a knee to the same point his punched.
The beast just wouldn’t roll over and die, it warded off his knee with a meaty paw, and shoulder-barged the Sergeant with all its weight. The rockcrete surface cracked and furrowed as Caralis locked his armour, the servos groaning as the beast pushed against him, trying to bear the Astartes to the ground. Caralis knew that should he fall, then it was over for him, he could still hear the bolter-fire of his brothers, but his vision was filled with the creature. He hooked his arm around the creature’s neck, barely able to grip the entirety of the thick muscles. The beast roared, pushing even more of its weight against the armour-locked warrior, and Caralis was shocked as he saw red icons flashing in his visor, several breaches were forming along the joints, and his left leg was crashing under the pressure. The distinct whine grew in pitch now, and he was vaguely aware of Memphis shouting for cover.
“Anvil, Hammer” came the voice of the Vendetta pilot.
Despite his position, Caralis smiled beneath his helmet, and watched as the three Vendetta gunships roared over Tiberius. Lascannons flared, Hellfire missiles launched, heavy bolters roared, and the Destiny Bridge was turned into a firestorm. Caralis saw entire mobs of orks vanish in fiery death, lascannons turned ork warriors into shreds of pulped meat, and the heavy bolter rounds tore great holes through the ork lines. Caralis watched as a series of rounds stitched their way towards him, and just as the first round struck the beast before him, he unlocked his armour, letting the beast power him into the ground, round after round struck the beast, tearing large gobbets of meat from the beast, its armour failing to protect it. He felt the weight slacken just before it barrelled onto him, and he snarled in surprise as the beast ruptured his armour with its landing, the left knee joint giving way altogether.
“Good fight humie…… good fight” muttered the beast, but its hands gripping something on its chest.
It pulled its hand back, and Caralis saw several rings decorating its hand, and finally it clicked what the beast had done. He tried to shift the beast’s weight, but it wouldn’t budge, it weighed far to much. He laughed into the vox, he heard the shouts of alarm from his few remaining Brothers, he heard the Vendettas do another attack run. He felt nothing as the grenades exploded. The sheer amount of explosives that detonated threw the ork warlord from Caralis, and punched the Astartes even deeper into the rockcrete. His visor failed, the last reading he saw was the rupturing of his chest-plate, and the power-levels died instantly after.
Caralis opened his one remaining eye, and stared at the open sky, a human was working franticly on him, he felt the needle pierce his skin, and he felt the unusual components of Morphia enter his bloodstream before his enhanced system overrode it. The human was trying to stem the pain, and failing as only a mortal could. He caught a sight of the now one-armed Grimald trying to stem the blood-flowing freely from the multiple wounds across his body, a glance to the Apothecary’s leg showed three now empty cans of skin-wrap laying discarded. He tried to laugh, but all it brought was a gurgle of blood.
“By the Emperor! He lives?” said the mortal in surprise.
“He’s Astartes boy, and he’s stubborn too. You’d think he’d be an Imperial Fist with that trait,” muttered Grimald, slamming a vial of larramen cells into his body.
Caralis spat a mixture of blood and shattered teeth onto the ground, the heavy thud of his secondary heart was the only thing he could hear from his body. What happened to his primary? He tried to sit up, but Memphis appeared in front of him, holding him down. Not once, in the four centuries they had served together, had Memphis been able to hold his Sergeant down. By the Emperor, it didn’t hurt anymore. The beat of his secondary heart was becoming longer now, his eye was closing, he could see Memphis shouting at him, but he couldn’t make out the words. Grimald slammed something into him again, and his heart quickened for a moment, before slowing once more.
His eye closed.
His secondary heart stopped.
His rigid form relaxed.
And above him, Memphis wept, Grimald cursed, Zukos remained silent, and the mortals gathered around him saluted the passing of an Astartes. Caralis could see this all, as though detached, unable to move in the slightest.
“It’s different, isn’t it Brother?” said a voice behind him.
“Aye Chief Librarian, it is indeed,” he answered, knowing who it was without turning his spirit around.
“I could let you go if you want, Caralis, Emperor knows you deserve his Peace,” said Zenthus, the Chief Librarian of the Midnight Fangs Adeptus Astartes Chapter.
“Or?” was all Caralis said.
“Or I could put you back into your body and we get you into a Dreadnought, see if you can’t dispense the Emperor’s Wrath against the orks once more,” said Zenthus, his faint blue hand gripping Caralis’ shoulder.
“I still have a few centuries of service to give Brother,” said Caralis.
“Aye that you do, now get back in that wreck of a body,” said Zenthus, the strength in his hand forcing Caralis down into his body.
It was impossible for Grimald to believe. His sergeant for the last century had died before his eyes, his body a ruin, his primary heart was damaged, his secondary had failed, and his multi-lung had collapsed, as had his left natural lung. He was missing both legs, and half of his hip was missing, his chest a bloody crater, his right arm was missing from the bicep, half his head had caved in from the force of the explosion that had all but eliminated the ork warlord. The other orks turned and fled at the demise of their leader, and the Lightning Vendetta squadron was joined by Thunder and Storm squadrons, each pursuing the ork horde for many miles, leaving a carpet of dead and dying. Then he heard it.
He still couldn’t believe it as he turned to the body of his sergeant. The beat was clear. His chest rose and fell, his eye snapped open, his one remaining hand gripped Memphis’ wrist and pulled him close. The sergeant spluttered something to Memphis, who nodded his head and grinned at Grimald.
“Stabilize him, Apothecary, I’m calling ahead to the Nightengale,” said Memphis, already sending the short clicks that voxed the codes for extraction.
Grimald nodded, and set about stabilizing the stubborn sergeant. He worked with Zukos, using the warrior as his tools. Zukos did everything as Grimald stated it, allowing the hampered Apothecary to work as though uninjured.
“Hold on a little longer Caralis, Master Antion awaits you,” said Memphis.
Caralis laughed a little before closing his eye and sealing his mind in the back of his head, where the discomfort of the Apothecary’s skills and the flaring of pain could not bother him, all his will was focussed on keeping his hearts beating.
“Awaken, Caralis of Genesis,” stated someone.
He opened his eye, and saw the darkened metal of the Forge, before him stood the Master of the Forge, Antion, and every detail of his armour visible to Caralis’ eye. He could see the latest repairs dealt to the armour after the battle with the orks, he could see the half skull symbol of the Mechanicus engraved every four-point-one millimetres, and he only just realised why. He towered over the Master of the Forge, who was by no means a small Astartes. He could see every detail on the armour of the Master, he could sense the two Dreadnoughts behind him, and both armed with lascannons and missile pods. He could feel them targeting him. Zathos stood between them, his thunder-hammer held in one hand, the Chapter Master was smiling as he watched. Zenthus stood behind the Chapter Master, unarmoured, and wearing a black robe with the fanged maw embellished on the chest.
“Can I just ask one question, Forgemaster?” said Caralis, flexing his new machine legs.
“Of course brother,”
“Is there rust in this thing? Because I have a major itch in my arse…..”
An awkward silence fell upon the room, before Zathos and the two dreadnoughts broke out laughing. The Master of the Forge looked angry enough to strike the former sergeant down, but let it pass and walked off, muttering about not letting him be weaponized any time soon.
AHAHAHAHAHAHA DEAD MARINES EVERYWHERE! -Dreadnought craves its way through wall- OHHHHHHHHHHHH A BIGGER DEAD MARINE!
Jonas to me during our battle of the Midnight Fangs against the smurfs..... Uh, Ultramarines.
Last edited by ExchangedHades; 12-20-11 at 10:30 AM.