Var and his little trip
Hi guys this was first posted in The Warhammer Forum but I've left that now so I thought I would post it here. I'll finish it some time soon (when I have time i.e. never) and Ive began rewriting the start as it needs a bit more work to tie in with the ending I have in mind. My sig comes in hte next bit which I have in mind.
"Day was breaking as the drop pods hurtled down to the planet, when they hit the edge of the volatile outer atmosphere they looked like a harmless storm of meteors. The gunners on the ground knew better however, they knew what they really were and quickly put up a storm of their own, a storm of fire and metal. The damage that they inflicted was light, the pods were travelling at too great a speed for the defence guns to actually do anything . On the surface legions of men and machines formed up and took up their stations in the maze of defensive positions outside the capital city of Grofis Magna. All eyes strained skyward in preparation for what was to come.
With a crash, a drop pod hit the ground near Rue Skalmen and his men sending shock waves 200 metres in every direction. The doors slammed down and Skalmen and his squad of PDF opened fire on the interior of the pod. For nearly 30 seconds las bolts and bullets pummelled the pod and everything inside. Skalmen called a cease-fire, the squad stopped and began to peer through the smoke to see what they had hit. Skalmen bent down to pick up a clip that he had dropped in the fusillade. It was then that the drop pod returned fire. The auto cannons on the central column of the Deathwing pattern pod lowered down and began to rip up the ground and everything within their fire arcs with mass reactive shells. Skalmen’s reaction saved him as he instinctively leaped into the nearest foxhole. The rest of his squad wasn’t so lucky. Hands over his ears to try and block out the scream of the bullets he cursed himself.
In their eagerness to come to grips with the enemy they had forgotten about the Imperial first wave. The softening wave. All around the landing zone the scene was repeating itself, tanks blown apart by missiles from other Deathwing missile pods, bodies flying backwards as bullets detonated within them. Screaming, explosions and the churn of ammunition feeders filled the air. With the dawn death and mayhem had come to Grofis Prime .
High up in orbit Inquisitor Icarus Var was preparing to head to the planets surface. The Deathwing pods had left the ships half an hour before hand and Var wanted to be on the surface with the first of his troops. As Var walked to his personal Valkyrie he surveyed the men and women that would soon be fighting and dying for him. They seemed calm doing the last minute checks that every soldier did before they entered into battle. Reaching out with his mind he checked for any impure thoughts. Anger, nervousness and even sadness greeted him. He found nothing unusual as he entered the hanger where his ship was birthed, his bodyguard were waiting for him. Two of them sat on the tail ramp of the drop ship while the other three were already strapped in securely.
“Ready?” Var asked as he approached. The two men on the tail ramp stood up and came to attention.
“Of course sir”. The reply came from Alexis Feliko, a forty something Veteran from the 51st Brimlock Dragoons. Feliko had lost his left hand during the purging of Fasdaman sector and had had it replaced with a Powerfist when Var had requisitioned him from a field hospital during the war. On his back he carried the trademark of his former unit; a cavalry sabre, old habits had died hard. Var looked at his other bodyguard Wilhelm Oak. A short quiet man in his late 20’s formerly of the Diepr 3rd he had proven to be level headed under fire and deadly with the Meltagun. He, like Feliko, was totally loyal to Var and knew what was at stake should the invasion of the planet fail. During the five years that they had been in Var’s service they had become far more than servants to the Inquisitor, and the only thing that had prevented Var from making them his apprentices was their lack of psychic talent.
The other members of his retinue didn’t have that problem however. The three huddled forms, already suited up and strapped into the sides of the drop ship were Alpha level pskyers, dangerous and only allowed onto the battlefield in the company of a Inquisitor. The Triplets, as they had been named by Feliko, were simple shields both in body and in mind for the Inquisitor. They stopped any malign beings from influencing Var’s forces and could stop bullets in mid flight if needed, in addition Var was not above using their bodies to prevent damage coming to him.
A claxon sounded somewhere in the bowels of the ship and a automated voice came out over the loudspeaker
“Five minutes till drop all second wave troops to board transports, repeat, five minutes till drop all second wave troops to board transports. All navy combat wings to standby for launch, repeat, all navy combat wings to standby for launch”
Hearing the voice Var moved up the ramp followed by his two acolytes. Feliko and Oak dragged the side doors shut and locked in the heavy bolters, before strapping themselves while Var went to the intercom and alerted the pilots that they were aboard. With that the back ramp rose into position blacking out the interior of the craft, seconds later the internal glow strips on the roof and the floor lit up and bathed the cabin in a soft green glow. Var strapped himself in the seat between Oak and Feliko where he could keep his eye on the triplets. Satisfied that they weren’t going to have a psychic upheaval at any time in the near future he once again extended his sense past the physical barriers of the Valkyrie, the hanger and the ship in low orbit down to the planet’s surface. Keeping his flight shielded so that no other pskyers would know of his presence he surveyed the battlefield. The frontline PDF were in disarray after the landing of the Deathwings but the second, third and reserve lines were still in position. That was to be expected however, the PDF were ill trained and ill equipped for repulsing the landfall. The real action would be when the third line entered the fight. It was they who carried the dread icons which would summon the daemon packs onto the material plane.
They were not his real concern though, he switched his focus to inside the walls of the city. A vast shield extended over the city’s walls. It prevented the Imperial force from dropping into the city itself and kept the liveable artificial atmosphere in. In the very centre stood Var’s objective. The Temple of the Emperors Guiding Light was where the Architect had made his lair, perverting the building till it held no resemblance to that which it looked like twelve months earlier. Instead of the domes and arches it was now made up of wicked blades pointing to the heavens. Where it had once been a place of worship and devotion it now stood as a symbol of the malice that had corrupted this world. Within it was the Architect and inside his mind was information which would greatly aid Var and his allies. After surveying the surrounding area and quickly making note of the trench and entrance system, Var brought his sight back to the Valkyrie. Over the intercom came the automated voice once again:
“All Navy combat wings are go, repeat, all Navy combat wings are go”, then after a seconds’ interval it returned with
“All drop ships one minute to launch, repeat, all drop ships one minute to launch”. Var smiled to himself, with the Marauders and Thunderbolts on the way down to strafe the defensive guns the time was drawing close. If the Imperial Navy wings achieved their objectives then the ride down shouldn’t be too bumpy.
“Is that voice really starting to annoy anybody else?” inquired Feliko jokingly to ease the pre-drop tension, Oak smiled and Feliko chuckled quietly to himself. Var didn’t react, he didn’t need to, now the drop was under way he was calm and totally focussed on the task at hand. When the voice next came across the comm it was drowned out by the main engines of the Valkyrie as it’s turbines fired up. Lifting it’s weight of the deck with repulser jets it swiftly glided towards the void shielded exit. As soon as it had passed them the craft shot from the cruiser and with the rest of the Imperial Valkyries sped towards the planets surface.
Within Grofis Magna the Architect’s forces began to chant infernal rhythms to themselves over and over again. Slaves were lined up, given barbed whips and commanded to begin self flagellation. Any who didn’t comply were shot immediately. The words that sprang from their lips hurt human ears to hear. Watching from a balcony the Architect Resminar smiled to himself at both the sight and sound of it. Dressed in black and gold robes with a shaven head and fierce blood shot eyes he was the very picture of insanity. He revelled in the howling and bloodlust, it was like a calming hymn to his ears. Everything was going to plan; the first line of PDF had fallen back after sustaining heavy losses and the second would soon follow once the Imperial Infantry arrived. By the time the third line engaged enough lives would have been taken by the Imperials to summon his daemon packs and when they arrived then the real blood spilling would begin.
Walking back into his chamber he felt a small psychic pulse from above, turning his head to the heavens he sent out his own pulse seeking the source. He couldn’t find any and put it down to a rouge burst from one of the dread icons in the courtyard below. Thinking nothing of it he signalled to his aide and bodyguard Beleanre to attend him.
“Yes your Excellency?”
“Bring me the orb” the words were full of glee like a child, talking about a new toy.
“Yes your Excellency.” Beleanre crossed the room quickly to a box covered in black velvet sitting upon a altar against one wall under a ruinous symbol. Uncovering it with one hand he pulled out a knife from his belt and held his other hand above a gilded opening on the lid. With one quick motion he drew the knife across a palm already crisscrossed with lacerations. The blood welled for a moment before dropping through the hole. Catches on the side of the box popped open and the lid swung open to reveal a purple orb nestling in a pile of bones. With both hands the bodyguard reached in and lifted it out while softly chanting. Of the blood which had been dripped onto it moments before there was no sign, and as the orb left its box the temperature within the room dropped several degrees, ice began to form on the edges of the Beleanre’s spiked black and gold armour as he moved back to Resminar.
“The orb your Excellency” he said as he lowered his massive form into a kneeling position in reverence to the unholy artefact which sat in the palms of his hands.
“Thank you Beleanre”. The words were there but there was no meaning behind them. Taking the orb from the bodyguard the Architect placed it upon a pedestal centred in the room and stood before it waiting.
Within moments a demonic face appeared, its face long with two gaping holes for a nose. Two sets of curved horns sprouted from its head above its wicked eyes and when it opened it’s mouth one could see innumerable rows of sharpened fangs and a tongue that seemed to have a mind of its own.
“Yesss” the voice hissed in a tone of utter contempt. Resminar in turn answered with utmost care and respect.
“The plan is moving ahead perfectly O great one. We shall be ready for your accession within the hour, it would be ready sooner but the Imperial attack was delayed slightly”
“That is of no matter mortal, everything is prepared for me as I demanded?”
“Yes my lord as you can see” With a look of insane glee the Architect ripped open his robe to expose his chest to the orb. Upon it were tattooed symbols and words older than human kind, if any mortal were to look upon it they would go insane in an instant.
“Good mortal you have prepared yourself well, I will be with you soon. Do not trouble me again until I am on your plane”
“But O great one do you not want to see the vessel that I have prepared for you?” the tattooed man’s voice sounded desperate to please.
“Ah yesss I sssupossse I would” the daemon’s voice sounded bored
The cry of “Bring in the vessel!!” echoed off the walls. A side door opened and two armoured figures entered holding a smaller form between them by the arms. Unceremoniously they dumped it before the orb and the man who had been carried promptly collapsed. Viciously the Architect grabbed the man’s head and pulled him into a sitting position.
“Ah yesss Governor Vashon I believe?” the orb spoke once again in contempt
“Former Governor Vashon my lord, quite fitting don’t you think; the Imperial vassal will soon become its destroyer”
“Yesss, it isss what you humans call irony isss it not?” and so saying the demonic head disappeared from the orb and the temperature rose slightly.
The Architect quickly let go of the former imperial ruler’s head and took the robe which his bodyguard offered him, covering the symbols on his chest so that nobody would see them.
“You two get rid of him and bring me the latest tactical reports and Beleanre find out how long till the second wave hits the trenches”. The regal persona had returned, giving no hint of the grovelling weakling that had only moments before been proffering itself before a simple glass ball and a voice from nowhere. None of the bodyguards within the room commented on the change; instead they simply hurried to obey the Architects orders, they knew what would happen if they didn’t, none of them wished to be flung from the temple balcony to the spikes below.
Halfway through the descent the defence batteries that had survived the strafing runs opened up again and several Valkyrie went down in flames. The incoming fire did nothing to smooth the already bumpy ride. Oak squeezed his hands into the arm rests and fought back panic. He hated drop assaults, he hadn’t been trained in them and despite having clocked up nearly thirty in the last five years he still wasn’t entirely comfortable with them. Feliko and Var however seemed perfectly fine with the experience. The triplets opposite seemed surprisingly calm as well which was in direct contrast to their usual stammering about danger, death and destruction. Oak didn’t mind having them around, Emperor’s teeth they’d saved him from enough bullets to warrant their place in Var’s service, he just wished they’d been made mute as well as blind.
As one particularly large blast shook the craft Feliko reached under his seat to a locker and removed from it a commando issue bolt pistol, rebreather unit and a hood. The hood was like the masks that the agents of the Offico Assassinorum would wear. Goggles covered the eyes and any standard issue breather mask could be fitted to the mouth piece for use in hostile environments. It was vital that the Imperial forces wore masks during the assault as the planet had a atmosphere but no oxygen; instead it was a volatile mix of methane, hydrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide. Seeing this Oak and Var followed suit. The craft was sealed against the outside environment but it was better to be safe than sorry. The suits the Triplets wore were specially designed for combat pskyers with completely enclosed helmets that helped to stop any malign influences from invading their vulnerable minds.
Now that the ride had begun to level out Oak pulled out his melta gun from the storage locker and attached the ammunition hoses to contact points on the power unit beneath his rebreather pack. Flicking a switch on the side of the power pack he checked the power gauge, everything was fine. He unstrapped himself, stood and swung his power/rebreather unit to his back and after locking the melta gun into place behind him onto its magnetic plate he took out the bolt pistol. The bolt pistol was a commando issue cut down to be lighter and issued with drum pattern ammo magazines. Var, Feliko and Oak all carried them and cut down auto guns in addition to their personal weapons. The reason for the bolt pistols was their ammunition, the auto guns were fine for taking out the lightly armoured PDF but when the daemons appeared they were about as effective as spitting at them. The bolt pistols were equipped with Psycannon bolts and to reduce the amount of weight that Var, Feliko and Oak carried, the majority of the ammunition was stored in the Triplet’s backpacks.
Feliko meanwhile had unstrapped himself and stood up to prepare the door guns for action. The heavy bolters were locked into the steel bulkheads of the passenger compartment, and when the side doors opened they swung out on horizontal arms so that gunners could provide covering fire on the landing zone. On most craft this was done by specially trained door gunners however Var liked to keep the crew of his craft minimal and Oak and Feliko were capable enough to do it themselves. After taking one last look at all the occupants of the cabin to make sure they had their masks on Feliko radioed through to the pilot to alert him to the fact that he was going to open the side doors. The doors slid open and with a pop the controlled environment of the cabin disappeared to be replaced by the ‘air’ of Grofis. Feliko racked the slid of the heavy bolter and checked the belt feed to make sure it would flow free while Oak moved to the free weapon and did the same. Outside the winds swirled around the craft buffeting it. The defence guns had fallen silent either from fear of Imperial reprisal or lack of targets, Var wasn’t sure which, not that he really cared. Over the intercom the pilot’s voice told them that they were currently at 1000 metres and would be landing in two minutes.
Upon hearing this Var finally unstrapped himself and checked the brace of laspistols on his hips. After making sure that they were charged he reached into his locker and removed the rest of his wargear. The guns came out first and were swiftly checked and placed aside. His sword was what he was looking for. To the untrained eye it looked like a normal, if slightly archaic, broadsword. The only thing that made it different to any other sword was a rune on the hilt. It’s normal appearance belayed its true form. The sword contained the essence of Sherempar, a daemon that Var had bound to his will. The rune was the daemon’s true name and to keep the daemon’s power in check Var kept the sword stored within a obsidian sheath. Despite this he could feel the power and hunger radiating from the blade. He didn’t like to use the sword, it made he feel unclean and impure, however the ends always justified the means. Sighing he holstered his bolt pistol in it’s case on the bottom of the sword sheath, swung it over his shoulder and fastened it securely beneath his clock which had begun to whip around in the heavy wind.
Crossing the cabin he moved to each of the triplets and pressed his signet ring into a slot on the back of each helmet before unstrapping them from the benches. After the ring had been placed in the slot a small opening appeared at the front of each helm. The helms, now active, allowed the pskyers to influence the world around them with their powers. Each one stood and faced Var while he checked them over one last time, finally over the sound of the wind, the engines and his own mask he shouted,
“You will stay with me and provide shielding while we make our to the airlock gates, if myself, Oak or Feliko are hurt I will have you executed upon the end of this mission. If you feel yourself or your kin becoming possessed in anyway I would recommend that you jump or push them into the path of the nearest bullet as I will be watching you and if I catch any taint I will disable your helms and deal with you at a later date is that clear?”
“Yes Inquisitor” all three answered in chorus. They knew what would happen if they did not conform and soul searing was not a desirable process for any of them to go through.
Var turned from them and moved to Oak’s side where he was close enough not to have to shout.
“You will go out first and secure the landing site understood?”
“Yes sir” Oak had already known that would happen, every drop proceeded the same way, him first, then Var and the Triplets with Feliko bringing up the rear.
“We have one minute before we land so look sharp” . With that Var moved to the closed ramp and activated the controls to lower it. To his right Feliko began to fire three round bursts into the gloom, five seconds later Oak saw a flashes of movement and began to do the same. Var didn’t react to his retinue’s gunfire, rather he only stared out into the swirling sky, framed perfectly by the light bursting through the opened ramp.
Skalmen was still huddled in his foxhole when he heard the scream of the lander jets. Poking his head above the parapet he saw the lights of the aircraft as it came in to land, he could also see the muzzle flash of the door mounted weapons as they spat fire out at some fool who had been stupid enough to jump out of cover. He ducked his head back down and checked his laspistol, seeing that it had a full clip he smiled and picked up the sack filled with grenades he had rigged up while he had been cowering in his hole. They had tricked him the first time but not again he thought to himself as he prepared to jump from the foxhole. Not this time, this time he was ready for them.
As soon as the Valkyrie hit the dirt Oak stopped firing and sprinted down the ramp auto gun at the ready. He made his way out around the wings of the craft, all the time keeping low to the ground and his cape wrapped around him to disguise the shape of his pack. Like Feliko’s sabre, the cape was a throw back from Oak’s former regiment. Growing up in the mountainous ranges of Diepr had prepared Oak for moving quickly across terrain and he put his upbringing to good use. Moving back around to the ramp Oak was just about to give the all clear when he saw a shape lift itself up over the lip of a foxhole and begin to make its way quickly towards the drop ship. Dropping to his knees, he tapped his mike to alert Var that the area was not clear. Bringing his auto gun to his shoulder, Oak carefully took aim.
Skalmen was up and running for the enemy lander with his improvised bomb in hand before he saw the kneeling figure. Diving to the ground he snapped off three shots with his pistol, not waiting to see if he had hit, Skalmen instead began to crawl towards a broken metal spar sticking out of the ground five metres away him. Breath rasping in his rebreather, ears straining to hear any return shots, and arms burning with the effort of the crawl he focussed on getting to the metal bar. It was only when he reached the spar and looked up he saw no sign of the target and congratulated himself on the kill. Smiling he stood up and reached into the grenade bag for the trigger pin. He felt an impact in his right shoulder and feel to the muddy ground. Skalmen’s first thought was for the bomb bag, quickly checking it he realised that he hadn’t pulled the vital ring. It was only then that he realised that he had been shot, infuriated he once again rose to his feet, pulled his pistol up and began to scan the surrounding area for his attacker.
Oak fired again after re-adjusting his aim. The next shot hit his target in the gut blowing a fist sized hole in his abdomen. This time when the figure fell down he didn’t get back up again. Oak quickly checked the surrounding area before making his way to the fallen target. The creature had once been human, now it was a twisted animal with great chunks hacked out of its face and arms. It wore a crudely fashioned breathing unit on its mouth and its eyes burnt with hate as it stared up at him. Not wishing to look at the wretch any further Oak put his auto gun muzzle to its forehead before turning his own face away and pulling the trigger.
When the creature stopped it’s death throes Oak radioed to his master that the area was all clear and then made his way back to the ramp. The whole operation had lasted less than 30 seconds. By the time he reached the Valkyrie Var and the Triplets had disembarked and Feliko was just making his way down the ramp.
“No trouble?” Var asked
“One PDF with an improvised satchel charge”
“Yes sir” nothing more was said on the matter as Oak reloaded his auto gun and placed the half used clip in a side pocket for later use.
“Right our object is through this trench system, we will be meeting up with a Storm Trooper squad about 100 metres in. They will blow the protective gates and secure the air locks within, from there several other squads will join us and we will then move into the city and enter the sewers to get access to the Architects tower.”. Var racked his auto gun’s slide, hunched low and began to move towards the trench system keeping his profile low. The rest of his team followed in the same manner although it did take some prodding from Feliko to get the triplets moving.
Private Rye’s squad was pinned down by enemy fire and in serious danger of being surrounded. The drop had gone perfectly, only turning sour when they had entered the trenches. They had been moving along the edge of a trench when a lone sniper had put a round through Vil’s skull. As per their training they had hit the deck and began scanning the nearby terrain for possible hiding spots. Less than a minute after the shot a figure had been spotting just ahead of them moving behind a large tree stump. The squad had risen to return fire on the running sniper and almost immediately a concealed machine gun nest fifty metres to their right had opened up hitting two more of the squad and wounding Sargent Hadsen in the chest. The squad then been forced to make a mad dash to the nearest trench carrying the wounded man with them, leaving the fallen bodies and more importantly the squad‘s flamer behind. Now at half strength and pinned down by the machine gun it was only a matter of time before a enemy squad found them.
Rye looked over at his sergeant and seeing that he was beginning to shake uncontrollably, moved to him and took out his personal med kit. Pulling out gauze, a bandage and his only dose of pain killer he pressed the gauze to the wound with his right hand while pulling the syringe cover off with his teeth. Hadsen’s hand stopped him, he didn’t want Rye’s only dose wasted on him. Rye took the hint and proceeded to change the now soaking gauze before wrapping the bandage around the man’s upper chest. Hadsen pulled himself up so that his back was resting against the trench wall, he couldn’t feel his left arm at all and his black and grey uniform was quickly turning a nasty shade of brown. The rest of the squad had their backs to him guarding their position while Rye fiddled with the bandage.
“Leave it, I’m binned mate” he spoke without realising it, voicing the truth that he knew inside. Rye just laughed and replied
“With all due respect sir, shut up, you’re not binned, just holed up a bit”
“What would you know you’re not a medic are you?” this came from Tasdic, the squad’s resident cynic, ignoring him Rye continued on with his work until he had done all he could.
“There you go sir, problem solved” Rye leaned back on his heels proudly surveying his handy work.
“Yea fantastic, only thing is Sarge can’t use his left arm and we are still pinned down, so could you please tell me how the problem has been solved?”
“Tasdic if you don’t shut up this very minute then by the Emperor I swear I will put a round through your head, do you understand me?” Hadsen’s usually curt temper had been cut even shorter by the loss of blood and the considerable pain that his body was going through. Reaching down with his right arm he began to pull his map from its protective cover attached by a piece of cord to his webbing. Seeing that his sergeant was having trouble Rye did it for him. Beneath his mask Rye could see the gratitude in Hadsen’s eyes.
The battlefield was hot with activity, both the Architects and Imperial. Stormtroopers surged through the trenches fighting with rebel PDF. Explosions and screams filled the noxious air. Nearby the Sniper surveyed the scene through his scope. He had finished his primary objective quickly and had, as per orders, moved onto tracking his secondary. The remnants of the storm trooper squad looked as if they were staying put for a while with their leader injured. He focussed in on the soldier attending to the wounded man. Putting the crosshairs over his helmet and rebreather unit he calculated the range of the target and how much he would have to adjust for variables. 75.2 metres, wind minimal, terrain clear, height 23 metres, a shot he could easy make with his eyes closed and while moving to boot. He toyed with the idea of putting them out of their misery but decided against it, he wished to see what would happen if he didn’t, besides he could always do it later. He didn’t know why he had been ordered onto the battle field to do this job, any two-bit marksmen could do it, but these were his orders and he wouldn’t risk displeasing the higher powers. He was good but his master was better. He noticed movement in the distance behind the storm troopers. Another enemy squad moving up. Opening the channel to his commander he asked for permission to go begin operations in the area. The answer came back confirmed. The Sniper smiled and loaded his rifle before taking aim.
“Right lads we are up and moving in two minutes” Hadsen had decided to stop sitting around and begin to do what they were supposed to be doing.
“What about the machine gun, you know the one that’s kinda stopping us from doing that right now sir?” this from the ever helpful Tasdic.
“How observant Private Tasdic, what I was planning on doing was falling back and trying to get round another way that is of course unless you wish to undertake a voluntary lone assault” Hadsen smirked.
“You know what I think falling back is the best idea you have ever had Sarge”
“I thought you would, lets move, gamma pattern, Rye you take point”. As one the squad began to move back the way they had come while the machine gun continued to pour fire over their heads.
After the Sniper had dealt with the incoming enemy squad he noticed the storm troopers falling back. He couldn’t let that happen, he re-adjusted his aim quickly, fired twice before adjusting again and firing another three rounds. All perfect kills, his old tutor would have been proud if the Sniper hadn’t put a bullet through his skull. Smiling within his mask he rose from his hiding spot and began to crouch run towards the trench.
Being on point Rye was the first person to see the figure drop over the parapet and into the trench. Dressed entirely in a black form fitting suit with a squared skull mask it was armed with a large rifle with a bulky suppressor fitted to the end and a knife handle protruded from the top of one boot. As per his training had taught him he dropped to one knee, raised his hellgun and snapped off two shots. He was certain that one of them would have hit however the figure managed to dodge not one but both them with a spectacular cartwheel. Before Rye could fire again the figure had somehow made its way across the trench and was now holding the business end of a pistol, which had only moments before been at the figures belt, to his throat. In a rash move Rye attempted to knock the pistol from his throat but before his arm could come into contact with his assailant it pulled its arm up and used the pistol butt to bludgeon Rye on the crown of his helmet. He fell into the mud of the trench and expected to fell a bullet in his gut at any minute. Instead he was surprised when the figure bent down and said to him four simple words
“I’m on your side”. The figure reached down and offered its hand, Rye took it. At this point the rest of the squad rounded the corner. Immediately they raised their hell-guns and it was only Rye’s shout that stopped them from pulling the triggers. Hadsen stepped forward with his pistol raised and asked what exactly was going on. Before Rye could answer the mysterious figure answered for him
“My name is Erwin Thorvald, imperial assassin of the Vindicare Temple. I was told that if I finished my primary objective early I should cover your approach to your objective.”. The squad was dumbstruck. They had heard rumours of the group of individuals called imperial assassins but had never seen one, what amazed them even further was the fact that one of the fabled had been sent to make sure that they made it to the object. Tasdic was the first to speak, voicing the thing that was on all the squads minds.
“Are you serious? Why would you be made to cover us?”
“I don’t know, I simply follow my orders, I was told by Inquisitor Var to make sure that this squad made it to the airlock. I will be given further orders there.”
“Oh yea and you did such a good job at doing it too, you only let half of us get killed you freak, fat lot of good you were aye” Tasdic wasn’t known to be the most subtle or appreciative of people.
“I regret I was not fast enough to get to you in time but as I said this was my secondary objective. And as for not covering you. There was a squad of 20 assault troopers coming up behind you to force you back into a line of trip mines. They didn’t make it.”
“Yea sure there were” Tasdic still wasn’t convinced and looked like he was about to continue the fight when Hadsen stopped him
“Ok that’s enough Tas, Now you if you are who you say you are what is today’s code?”
“Lasrys Galtal Fivus Sergent Hadsen” Thorvald replied instantly “and yesterdays was Euroa Comtel Ulus, the day before that it was Ortax Jager Numfound, would you like me to continue?”
“Bloody show off” smirked Tasdic.
“I said that’s enough Tasdic leave it!. Lets move it out I’m sick of these bloody interruptions” Hadsen was beginning to get angry, and when Hadsen got angry the squad did what they were told.
The squad and it’s new member made their way through the trenches without further incident although Tasdic did look rather embarrassed when they came across a area of trench that had obviously been ripped apart by remotely detonated trip mines. Thorvald simply smiled into his mask again. It took them a further ten minutes after that to reach the air lock and its defences. Once Thorvald had taken out the sentries with jaw drooping accuracy Hadsen asked for volunteers to lay the demo charges. None of the squad were particularly keen to do it so in the end it was Rye who volunteered for the job while Thorvald provided overwatch on his movements.
Rye gathered the demo charges which the squad carried and began to worm his way through the mud towards the airlock while Thorvald slipped over the trench wall and into cover where his firing arcs were wide. Although the sentries were dead it was a foolish enemy who didn’t have other defences in place at such a vital airlock. Indeed Thorvald eliminated three enemy snipers before Rye had moved four metres. While he was scanning the area he opened his comm channel and checked on Var’s progress.
“Thorvald to Inquisitor Var, come in Inquisitor”
“This is Var, speak”, the transmission was filled with the rhythmic chatter of auto gun fire, screams and melta gun blasts. It was clear that Var had engaged the enemy and a large one by the sounds of it.
“Hadsen’s squad and I are at the airlock in the process of securing it. What is your position and ETA?”
“Good we are currently held up about two hundred metres behind you to the left, enemy mutants big ones, ETA three to five minutes, have that area secured by then.” Var’s voiced sounded calm as always despite the combat around him.
“Confirmed, Thorvald out” and the sniper returned to scanning his firing arcs for enemy units.
Rye crept along the route he had picked out to the protective doors shielding the airlocks from unauthorised entry. They were made of heavy steel probably half a metre thick and somebody had daubed symbols of the ruinous powers on them in what appeared to be human blood. The sight both disgusted and angered the young storm trooper. He felt himself filled with righteous hate for the chaos foe and this hate spurred him on. When he reached the doors he wasted no time in pulling the meltabombs out of their containers and placing them at strategic points across the door; namely the hinges and the joins. It was close, the squads demo expert Racs had been killed in the hand to hand scrap earlier and he had carried the majority of the charges. Nobody had bothered to pick up the pack in the aftermath meaning that all the squad had was the few one or two that each individual trooper carried.
Switching on the charges and setting the detonation frequency took some time and by the time he was finished Rye was feeling physically sick due to his proximity to the chaos symbols. He was really beginning to wish that he hadn’t volunteered for the job, it seemed that he always ended up with what Tasdic called the ‘bone’ jobs. Before he left Rye made sure he slit the throats of the sentries, he knew they were dead but even so he didn’t want to take the chance of foul powers reanimating their lifeless corpses. Seeing their blood spurt from their severed throats and feeling it flow over his gloves felt good to Rye. He was surprised to find himself scalping the creature and then returning to cutting into the dead sentries neck even after the windpipe was severed. He just kept on sawing. In the end the head came off completely. He then went onto the next and repeated the action. By the end of it his hands and upper arms weer completely saturated with the traitors blood. Just as he had done previously when he had finished giving Hadsen medical attention he sat back on his haunches to look at his actions. The bodies still didn’t look right, they looked too peaceful. Rye hated that such traitors to the Imperium could be allowed to rest in death like that when they had turned their backs on their sacred duties. Picking up his knife again he began to cut into their torso’s with long deep strokes. Blood squirted out onto his facemask and body armour as he removed entrails and body organs, he worked in a frenzy to make their bodies pay for the sins of their souls. At last and after a transmission from his sergeant inquiring as to his whereabouts and actions he finished up and began his slow crawl back towards his squad members.
Var was beginning to become annoyed. The progress was slow, every corner they seemed to turn there was a new enemy squad was waiting for them. He daren’t risk another psychic flight this close to the Architect’s temple, he wanted to remain undetected until the very last possible moment in fact the whole mission depended on it. So it was up to brute force to make it to the airlock doors. To further increase the problem ammunition was begin to run low for the auto guns. The problem had been temporarily solved when Feliko, during a lull in the fighting, had split his remaining ammunition between Oak and Var before drawing his sabre. From then on he had fought up close and personal with the foe screaming out insults and curses with every stroke of his sword and swing of his power fist.
Just before Thorvald had contacted the Inquisitor for the second time the group had run into a four hulking mutant monstrosities who had held them up for a extended period of time. Var had dealt with two simultaneously, dancing between the them shooting off eyes, tentacles and various other appendages before exploding them from the inside with a psychic bolt of energy. Meanwhile Feliko and Oak destroyed the third, Oak crippling it with careful shots from his meltagun then Feliko tore the one of it’s heads off before ramming a grenade down the gore filled hole. The Triplets had torn the last apart with mental blasts.
They were now about fifty metres form the airlock and were engaging with yet another squad of traitor PDF. The Triplets were in front deflecting the enemy fire while Oak, Var and Feliko (with a borrowed laspistol) popped off shots from cover. Var finally lost his temper, rage began to course through his veins and he dropped his pistol. His two bodyguards knowing what was about to happen, quickly hugged to the cover even tighter. The Triplets feeling the psychic shift dropped into the mud and began whimpering. The PDF stopped their random firing from behind cover and thinking that they had killed their opponents stood up and began to move towards Var’s position. They soon learned the error of their ways when Var rose to his feet, eyes dark with hate behind his goggles.
The air began to crackle with barely restrained energy as the Inquisitor strode forward. A PDF trooper charged him screaming with a bayonet and billhook intending to put the hook through his enemies skull. He never got to within two metres of Var because the Inquisitor immolated him with a look. Stunned by the gruesome death of their comrade the rest of the squad stood dumbstruck as Var extended his arms. From his finger tips dark lightening leapt forth moving across the ten metres separating Var from his targets in a heartbeat, organs boiled, bones shattered and blood curdling screams rent the air. Where before had been 14 men now was only blackened scorch marks on the ground. Var’s eyes returned to normal and he moved back to where his retinue were picking themselves off the ground.
“I guess the cats out of the bag now sir” Feliko said handing back the laspistol he had borrowed and the one that Var had dropped.
“I’m hoping that Resminar will think it was one of his own if he notices it at all” Var said as he took back his weapons.
After two minutes of crawling Rye made it back to his squad, which were as usual lounging around. As he crawled into camp he saw Thorvald slip over the trench wall like snake. Hadsen stood up, picked up his spotting scope and surveyed the door before saying
“Whenever your ready Rye”
“Ready for what sir?”
“Ready to blow the door Private” Hadsen replied curtly,
“Ah sir I’m not taking the piss but I don’t have the detonator”
“What? I thought since you volunteered you would have the detonator” the sergeant’s mood was getting steadily worse.
“No sir I didn’t pick it up I though somebody else did”. Hadsen lowered his scope and turned to the rest of the squad.
“Please tell me that one of you picked up the detonators after Racs bought it”
A chorus of ‘no’s came back from the other three.
“Shit, right Rye by the looks of it your going back to the door…”,
Thorvald just tunned out the squads squabbling and moved to the lip of the trench. After first checking the surrounding area for potential hostile unit he drew a bead on the door. There were nine charges in total set evenly apart in rows. With the detonator in some corpses pocket and Var arriving soon the only way of firing the charges was remote detonation. Easy shots even for untrained marksmen, pure simplicity for one of his calibre. His finger moved to the trigger.
The bickering of the squad was drown out by a series of nine explosions in phenomenally quick succession. The storm troopers turned in time to see Thorvald lowering his smoking rifle.
“Problem solved sergeant” . Without a word the squad advanced towards the airlock.
The sight that greeted them was terrible. The doors had come off their hinges but nobody payed attention to that. What they looked at instead was the mutilated bodies of the sentries. The heads and scalps had been removed and the heads placed on sticks rammed into the earth. The limbs had been separated from the torso and spread out into the sign of the imperial aquilia with two hacked off feet forming the head. The torso’s had been gutted and the organs tied together in a chain forming some sort of macabre cordon around the scene. Rye heard Tasdic though up in his mask moments before he himself retched. Hadsen spoke first ,
“Private Rye did you do this to these bodies”
“No sir, I set the charges like you ordered and made my way back” answered Rye, the squad was getting concerned now
“Then why is it that you’re covered in blood and you have two scalps hanging from your knife hilt?”
“What?” Rye was surprised by this accusation until he looked down at himself and saw with his own eyes the ochre colour of his fatigues and the two bloody flaps of skin attached by hair to the hilt of his combat knife. His comrades weapons came up and pointed the young Storm Trooper.
“I’m only going to ask you this one more time Private Rye, did you do this to these bodies?” Hadsen’s voice had become like granite and Rye knew that his Sergent was perfectly willing to shot him if needed.
“No Sir!! I swear I didn’t do anything to them” Rye was getting concerned now, the squad sometimes joked around but this was going too far especially considering the situation.
“Private Laveran Rye, for the safety of this unit and yourself I order you to disable your weapon and get to your knees with your hands above your head. “
“What!?, I swear I didn’t do anything!!” Rye was scared now, he couldn’t believe that this was happening.
“Private Rye, on yours knees now!!!” Rye did so, knowing what was about to happen and thinking that if he complied he might be spared. Ljourn and Dyads the two remaining members of the squad moved forward, to place binders on his wrists.
“Sir I didn’t do it, you know me I’m not a traitor please” he wasn’t begging just trying to make his superior see.
“I’m sorry Rye but I have to remove any corruption from the regiment as soon as possible before it infects others. For consorting with the enemy be it conscious or unconscious the penalty is death. May the emperor have mercy on your soul” Hadsen sounded genuinely sorry but still raised his hell pistol to Rye’s head. Tasdic, now recovered from his regurgitations, turned away so he didn’t have to watch while Thorvald looked on impassively. The young storm trooper closed his eyes, resigned to his fate. Hadsen’s finger tightened on the trigger. The crack of a pistol echoed across in the trench and the Hadsen’s hand came up…"
First of all any of you that made it this far are to be congratualted, second please feel free to comment