A KNIGHT IN FULL
Avenger Field, near Ferrus Mons, 732 hours
Sierra Tempest loped smoothly along the wind-swept dunes of black, crumbly ash, her companions matching the Knight stride for stride. Sixty-seven Knights of the Steel Talons marched north, intercepting a force of nearly three hundred Renegades, intent on looting and slaughter in the south.
"Contact, twelve hundred meters." said the lead Knight.
"Spin up weapons, come to flank speed. Ready destructors." ordered Gregor, striding alongside the machines.
The leading renegade machine turned and a booming exclamation echoed out from across the plains. The renegades turned as one, staring in horror at the line of smoke grey and blue Knights. Syrus stood next to Gregor, the immense banner of the Steel Legions flying proudly from his Knight.
"Filth." spat Gregor. "Sound the charge. My brothers, my comrades. We stand at the brink! These vermin crawl from the shadows, intent on easy pillaging. Will it be so?"
The Knights answered as one, sixty-six voices raised in a howl.
"Will they find the Steel Talons lacking?"
"Then prove it, my brethren! Kill them all, for the Talon! CHARGE!!!"
Gregor's warhorns sounded, a booming noise that set Wright's teeth on edge. The Knight stomped forward, powerblades drawn. Syrus crashed after the Grand Master, and sixty-five Knights followed, a sweeping charge down the Pallidus dunes. The renegades desperately tried to realign their flank, to present their armored Planet Crackers and Devastators to the front, but the machines were too tightly packed. Laser Destructor and Vulcan Bolter fire hammered the first ranks, scything them down. A few EMP bolts and lances flew from the renegades' ranks, killing two of the Knights. Gregor stomped over their bodies, his warhorn still blaring in hatred. The Knights all along the line sounded theirs as well, filling the Pallidus for leagues around with noise. The miners panicked, the front ranks trying to push their way into the mass of machines.
With sixty-five voices raised in a howling roar, the Steel Talons hit the front lines of the renegade army. Miners were thrown into the air. Suits were crushed beneath the weight of the adamantium machines. A Planet Cracker tried to turn, but seven Laser Destructor bolts caught it in the midsection and it came apart at the middle, shedding debris. Wright slew two miners who turned far too sluggishly to match the screaming Sierra Tempest. His auspexes overloaded in the target-rich enviornment. He glanced up as a third miner died, it's cockpit shredded by hard rounds. The banner of the Steel Talons still flew proudly above Gregor and his cohort, who had formed a flying wedge through the middle of the horde. The Knights in the rear, armed with Turbo Lasers and hellstorm rockets, reaped a fearsome toll, while the outer edges were vulcan bolters and powerblades. At the tip of the spear was Old Gregor himself, wielding twin powerblades with a mastery only time can bring.
Matthews was next to him, a plasma destroyer singing death. Rickert kicked a suit away, stabbing it through the chest. The miners were beginning to crack, their resolve in numbers being grinded away by the Knights' skill and ferocity. A Devastator suit clanked over Wright's head, the machine turning to open fire. Wright pivoted on the spot, Sierra Tempest's VI slowing the world down as his senses sped up.
There. he thought. His powerblade sheared straight through a lightly damaged knee joint, and the Devastator toppled, it's warhorn howling in pain. He finished it with a burst of Turbo Laser fire and moved on.
Gregor had reached the opposite end of the horde, and had split his warriors, each taking half of the now dwindling army of miners. A Planet Cracker smashed into Syrus, crushing the man's cockpit and killing him instantly. Gregor unsheathed his blades, cutting into the Cracker's hydraulics. A burbling howl echoed from it's horns as the fluid leaked into the cockpit, drowning the pilot. The machine toppled over, a pool of blue ooze leaking from it.
A warrior Wright didn't know pried the Steel Talons' banner from Syrus' dead machine. Wright smiled deep in his engine as he realized even in death, Syrus hadn't allowed the banner to fall. Matthews stormed past him, vulcan bolter chattering. A miner on his knees shuddered under the impacts, and disintegrated.
The miners broke, all order lost as they ran for their lives. The Talons gathered in the center of the field, firing outwards, and a gratifying number of miners failed to escape. Wright only saw twelve clear the dunes on the edges of Avenger Fields.
"Victory!" yelled Gregor. "We have victory!"
The Talons cheered as they celebrated in the slaughter.
Ferrus Mons Repair Ward, 1634 hours
Sierra Tempest was annoyed.
She routed herself into the Ferrus Mons' communique dossier, tunneling through their counterintrusion software.
A simple aegis matrix blocked her path. She sighed in frustration and initiated a laughably obvious viral path. The barrier howled in rage and fled from the communique channels to chase down the Trojan, leaving her free to enter the communications MAJCOM.
A dozen files filtered down from the MAJCOM channels, and she filed them in less then a nanosecond into her own hardware. She would review them later. A single file marked "Operation: COVENANT" caught her attention.
She opened the file.
++++To Master Doloun, Steel Talons, Thracia.++++
Recent intelligence from the STI spooks indicate possible xenos presence in the renegades' ranks. Caution advised. Sightings include Kroot Mercenaries and even Tau battlesuits. A single miner survived the raid on Harper's Ferry and described to me in great detail a Crisis XV8 suit. Careful out there in the Noctis Pulveris, Adam. This might be over both our heads.
Sierra Tempest spent two full processor cycles contemplating the news. The Grand Master clearly knew more about the rogue miners then he was letting on. She reviewed the history on miner sightings. Less then ten years before there was no such thing as a "renegade miner" on Thracia. Now the Steel Talons fought bitterly against hundreds.
She withdrew from the Mons' network, feeling Wright shutting her power cells down in preparation for the night.
"Sleep well, my friend." she said as he walked away. "You and your comrades have earned that, at least."
You'll forgive me, but you must be mistaken. I've met your makers, and they don't even know your name...
GIVING CHASE- ORDO HERETICUS FIC (Updated Mar. 19)
Hat in the Ring