Vanity and Destruction
They are coming.
Trudos Arasio scrambled to his feet and frantically pulled on his heavy grey habit of office.
There is a shadow in the warp. I must inform the Commander.
When he entered the command room a few minutes later, the vision had become clearer.
He reverently bowed before the Command dais before waiting for instruction.
“Master Arasio, you may approach.”
The Astropath was blind by virtue of his profession but he could still ‘see’ using the gifts that he had been given. He knew that the Space marine captain was observing him with suspicion.
“You are perspiring Master Arisio. It is most unbecoming.” The Astropath went down on one knee.
“I have detected a shadow in the warp Captain and further visions lead me to suspect that a fleet is approaching, a fleet of some considerable size.”
Captain Tranquillus turned to the gathered command crew. He did not need to say anything, but demanded answers.
A subaltern stepped forward holding a small Auspex.
“Long-range Augur has picked up an anomaly at the edge of the system.” He paused.
“Sir, it is most irregular. It could be a large object or a group of objects, but this cannot be confirmed. Also, we are receiving unconfirmed updates that there is no sign of the Foedari
“No sign? Be more precise, this is not a game we play, this is a matter of honour.”
“Captain,” the subaltern continued, though his voice was barely a whisper. “Our long-range sweeps have confirmed that he entire Euxine System has been vacated. The Doom Warriors have gone, all of them.”
Slowly and with a great rasp of static, the gigantic Command screen that hug from the vaulted ceiling began to change from the black of space to a subtler pale green in colour.
“Shields engage! Beat to Quarters!”
Within seconds the blast shields were lowered around the Command cell. Ten Space marines marched in and lined each side. Each of them faced outward, protecting the Commander.
A shape appeared, distorted and fuzzy, but there was no doubting who or what it was, it was another Space Marine.
“Augur confirmed. A large fleet has transitioned into the System. They bare Astarte’s protocols.”
Tranquillus turned to the senior command crew.
“Another trick perhaps?”
“It is not beyond them Captain. But this was not in the rules of engagement.”
Tranquillus held up gauntlet for silence as the figure on the screen became clear.
A brute-faced bull of a man stared down at them through blood-red eyes. He had the face of a brawler and bore many ritual scars almost as badges of honour. He wore bronze armour with the head of a beast emblazoned on his left shoulder guard.
“Captain Berdi, forth company to be precise.” The voice boomed. “I have been instructed by the twelve to bring you and your protagonists The Doom Warriors to heal. This internecine rebellion between you will cease immediately…”
“Hold your tongue Minotaur,” Tranquillus barked. “You have no jurisdiction here. These systems belong to The Inceptors Chapter. You do not have leave to be here, with all the paraphernalia and apparel of war.”
The Minotaur was unfazed. He remained rigid and as solid as before.
“This foolishness between you and the Doom Warriors must stop. Entire sectors have been destroyed or damaged because of your petty, childish behaviour…”
“Spare me lessons on etiquette and good manners… Captain. These are characteristics that are absent in the Minotaurs. You are attack dogs and scavengers and only one step up from the savages of Fenris.”
Captain Bardi slowly shook his head. If he was angry at the insults, he did not show it.
“I find it hard to believe that you are a second-founding Chapter who came from the Ultramarines and the bloodline of their gallant Primarch Guilliman. You denigrate their heritage and history.”
“We do not need to be reminded of our bloodline… Minotaur, and if you ever mention our Primarch again, I shall hunt you down and kill you.”
Captain Bardi turned slightly and all eyes strained to hear his hidden words. When they saw him nod, they all knew that something poignant had just happened.” When he began talking again it was almost automated.
“You have dishonoured the legacy of Lord Solar Macharius and everything he fought for. Your petty, foolish differences with the Doom Warriors have caused widespread rebellion and dissent. You have been censured. Drop your shields and lay down your weapons and await the judgement of The High Lords or Terra.”
The Command room was deathly silent. Even the chatter from the lobotomized servitors and drones had stopped. Captain Tranquillus remained steadfast in the centre of his dais and stared directly into the eyes of his new enemy. He had been playing bluff and counter-bluff with the Doom warrior Chapter for as long as he could remember. So long in fact, that he could not remember exactly what it was they had been fighting for.
Foolishness. Dishonour. Dissent.
These were words that were alien to the Inceptors Captain. He was a son of Guilliman and a proud son of Ultramar. His Chapter held sway over twelve systems and controlled the lives of billions of Imperial citizens. He stood on the bridge of his Battlebarge The Legacy of Macharius
and he was surrounded by a fleet of fifty battle-tested vessels. Millions of troops stood ready at their beck and call.
This Minotaur dares to threaten him?
“There is only one fool here,” he said. “And that is you Minotaur. Be off with you. You are outmatched and outgunned.”
One of the command crew stood up abruptly his face pale and in shock.
“Captain. Euxcine Primaris is under attack. The capital is under attack. Chapter Master Tanicus orders us to immediately engage the Minotaur fleet. We are authorised to use lethal force.”
Tranquillus stared up at the screen again and saw the truth. Captain Bardi, the Minotaur Captain was smiling back.
“I look forward to meeting you,” he said with a growl. “It will not be pretty.”
* * *
* This relates to the Euxcine Incident (Ca. 400-425.M41). Following the death of Lord Commander Solar Macharius, a swathe of Imperial space fell into anarchy. The Doom Warriors and Inceptor Space Marine Chapters became locked in a petty struggle for power in the region which came to the notice of The High Lords of Terra. Several Loyal Space Marine Chapters were dispatched to quell the rebellion and bring the rebellious Chapters back into line.
The Minotaurs were sent into sort out The Doom Warriors and Inceptors. The Doom Warriors fled immediately but The Inceptors were caught and utterly destroyed. Only 100 Inceptors survived and were stripped of all their relics and honour.