Rebirth part 10
This was still an uphill battle. Even as he saw gaunt return to his seat accepting his instructions, Guilliman wrestled with frustration at the fact that no one in this age could understand the emperor. No one could understand that he was the only one alive who knew him.
“Very good. If we are done, I would like to inform you all of the details of my plan.” He said “The motivation and goal of this crusade have been explained so far thanks to Ibrahm, but the means are still more important. However the motivation of those means is of even more important. You see, Iradius, Marluxia and I have already discussed what the Imperiums reaction to what I am to reveal, and we have come to the conclusion that even in the best possible circumstances, we cannot hope for anything close to full support. Many systems and chapters however will be too far away, unwilling, or simply unable to take part in this, and I will advise all systems not to do so publicly. However there will be many, especially among the inquisition, who will be hell-bent on stopping us. We may even on terra face resistance from the adeptus custodoes. We do think Mars will be relatively easy to turn. They don’t think that the emperor is a god anyway, so this would validate the cult of the mechanism in many ways. However we aren’t certain that all of mars will join us, and for all we know they could take this as an attack on the Omnisiah. Given this, we deem it prudent to withhold the information from the Imperium as long as possible. Even then enemy inquisitors will doubtless prepare their armies to stop us. All of this taken into account, we need to garner all the support possible. It is to this end that I am going to reveal to you a secret known only to me, and recently Iradius, and Marluxia. Within the eye of terror there is an artifact older even than the emperor himself. Many millennia ago, I fought against the eldar on many occasions, on one such occasion, I discovered a tome that I was compelled to read from, It told of a race older than the galaxy itself, that came to this galaxy driven from its home by a great evil. For a time it lived in peace but was again threatened by another evil, that evil was never named, nor were the race or that witch drove it from its home. It said that this race created many of the races we battle today to combat this new evil, and that it was eventually successful but faced extinction. The book recorded that the race compiled all of its knowledge into a single device, and that this device was left to the elder, when the elder race fell however it was lost in the eye of terror. This device was said to be called the tree of life. Soon after the Emporer ascended to the golden throne, Leman Russ was struck with a vision, and left the space wolves for a destination he shared with no one. It is said that he would search for the tree of life, and return at the end of time. I never told him or anyone of the tree of life, so this cannot be mere coincidence. I am going to use this army to enter the eye of terror, and find the world on witch Leman Russ and the tree of life reside. With them on our side, we can hope to win an all out war against the rest of the inquisition. He would garner the complete support of the space wolves. With the full support of two chapters, and the probable support of a projected 50% of the rest, as well as support from many inquisitorial forces,” He gestured at the gathered inquisitors “and of mars, we would be able to win.”
Everyone in the room sat in stunned silence. Then to everyone’s surprise, someone started clapping. Everyone turned to see Marluxia standing at the back of the room, smiling clapping. As they watched he walked to the stage the primarch stood on.
“With not only one, but two Primarchs to guide the Imperium, we would be the greatest of all the forces in the galaxy. I will swear my eternal fealty to you O’ primarch of the thirteenth liegon.” He said kneeling.
With that Many of the inquisitors seconded Marluxias sentiment. Gaunt took a somewhat less enthusiastic approach, expressing his sadness.
“Many innocents will die in the war you predict Primarch, why can we not simply kill the emporer without drawing notice to his death.”
“Yes. That is a good plan” Said the inquisitor Gaunt had spoken to earlier.
Guilliman turned to face the commissar. “Our enemies in the inquisition would stop such a move, and use it to make us look like heretics, only causing us to lose support.”
“How do you even know where to look? The eye of terror is massive and finding a single world would be almost imposible.” Said Ishiin, the Blood Raven of the group.
“I’m glad you asked that.” Said the Primarch. “The tome I read that told me of the Tree contained directions to its location, and as you may or may not know, all Primarchs had photographic memories. “
“When are we departing?” Asked Agnos.
“As soon as the forces that have come are ready to depart.”
Isaac felt stunned, although he did not show it. Even though Iradius had become more volatile over the years, and he had become his commander, he had still thought that he would trust him with something as important as this. Why had Marluxia been told and not him?
“What are you talking about? I want to see the primarch.” Demanded Lord General Alexander.
“Well the primarch doesn’t deem you important enough to warrant his personal presence. The ship will be re-supplied, and then we are departing for the eye of terror.”
“Why are we going there? Surely other battlefields are more tactically important?”
Gaunt spun to face the general. He had been given proxy authority by the Primarch to command maters on the ship, Mordenkine, and he was dammed if was going to take backtalk from a fool.
“Look general, The Primarch wants this fleet in the eye of terror, and were taking it there. If you want to debate it, you find him and interrupt what he’s doing yourself, to question his orders. Now, I am going to make sure the Ghosts get adequately supplied. I suggest you get ready to depart yourself.”
With that Gaunt left the Lord General standing in anger.
Inquisitor Agnos oversaw the arming of his strike forces ship the Dawnhammer with fire in his belly. The majestic vessel, though palling in comparison to the mighty Phoenix, was exquisite none the less. Its lances each adorned with gold and its hull the purest white.
“Tell the loaders in cargo bat 3 to work faster!” He barked at a man at a panel.
He stood on the command bridge, overseers at monitors feeding data to the main screen, from which he derived instructions for the overseers to relay to the workers.
“Make sure all weapons have ample ammunition. We don’t want to be left wanting in the eyes of the Primarch!”
Mosonek strode down the halls of Ishin’s battle barge. It was ready for war, and the assorted marines that followed the, until recently, rebel were all at their battle stations. Mosonek had no ship of his own, and no retinue. He worked completely independent of any resources he could not call his own.
He selected a cabin and removed its former occupants, taking the quarters for himself. Within a few minutes Ishin arrived.
“So, freeloading on my hospitality as usual Mosonek?” Asked the blood raven dryly.
“Far from it,” Responded Mosonek, “If you want me to leave I will.”
Mosonek had half a mind to throw the man bodily from the ship. Killing two of his marines was something he didn’t take lightly. But he was no fool. This man was dangerous and had been known to be very zealous in the use of inquisitorial authority. He didn’t know why such a man was suffered by Iradius.
“Not at all, I only wish you had announced yourself. And it wouldn’t hurt not to kill my marines.” Said Ishin irritably.
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Responded Mosonek indifferently.
Isaac watched as his ancient companion rose from the ground for the first time in 3 millennia. Countless carrier craft lifted the Warhound with mighty cables from its resting place beneath the citadel of Velonica. Even after so long it was a beautiful thing to behold. Its mighty form the panicle of what once was created by man. The Madrid IV waited to take it to her hold in orbit. Rebuilt from the remains of the ancient Madrid III, the Cruiser was almost unrecognizable. Countless additional lances had been added, and more plasma weaponry had been added. Isaac stood on a balcony in the western rampart of the organizations palace. An enormous defensive artillery emplacement stood not 100 meters away. As he watched the Indomitable rise into the clouds, he heard power armored footsteps approaching.
“He is still as beutifull as ever Isaac.” Said Iradius.
Isaac smiled. “I was never concerned about the Indomitable’s beauty. Only his rage.”
“A rage I remember thankfully.” Said Iradius, matching Isaacs smile.
“Yes, I suppose we did save you quite a few times didn’t we?” Said Isaac.
“There was a Bloodthirster quite a long time ago. I was still a scout back then, we didn’t stand a chance. You leveled everything within a hundred meters.” Said Isaac nostalgically.
“Oh that had to have been thousands of years ago, I don’t remember it at all.” Laughfed Isaac.
They both smiled quietly for a while.
“I’m sorry old friend. The Primarch called us together, and instructed us to tell no one ahead of time.” Apologized Iradius, referring to the Primarchs plans.
“It’s alright. I never go into battle with hard feelings for my comrades.” Said Isaac.
“And battle is where were going.”
The fleet departed from Velonica that day. 35 days after the triumphant return of the Primarch Robute Guilliman. They traveled thru the warp for 27 hours at the maximum speed at which they were capable. When they arrived at the Cadian gate, every soul on the planet stood outside, and watched the sky as the light of Dozens of ships exiting the warp shone like the fires that fueled the forges of ancient man upon terra. The ships paused for a brief moment in time, only 17 minutes to accept new ships into their fleet. Regiments of Cadia joining their crusade into hell itself.
At high noon Terran time, they year 40,473 a fleet numbering in the dozens crossed the border between the Materium and the Imaterium, ending a three decade long period of inactivity across the Cadian gate. This event had been foretold by many powerful beings throughout the galaxy. Many foes would await them within the Eye of Terror, but at the time not one man questioned the unerring orders of Robute Guilliman.
Many would die in this crusade. The crusade that would become known as the beginning of the end of the Imeprium. Historians for ten thousand years to come would question the wisdom and sanity of those who mounted it. And no definitive conclusion would ever be reached. All that can be done is to learn the lessons of history, and judge for ourselves.
As soon as they crossed into the eye of terror, every trooper on the Mordenkine knew it. The ship now held 4 regiments, the Tanith, the Iridian, the Cadian 39th, and the cadian 122nd. It as all the other ships in the fleet stayed in close formation with the Phoenix. Although it was the most powerful of all the ships in the fleet, it was the most important and as such all the others clustered around it forming a defensive perimeter.
The men’s hearts were both elated and troubled. Everyone knew that ship to ship combat was a certainty. In such a situation, the fighting soldiers of the imperial guard could do what they could in boarding parties, but without armored support they would be of little help, and the battles would be almost entirely up to the ship crew to be fought. And the fact was that their vessel was entirely intended for transport purposes, its combat capabilities were limited. In a ship battle they would be the first to go. Even as these thoughts ran thru the heads of Gaunt and the other ghosts, sirens went off all around the fleet. An enemy fleet, daemonic powers and corrupted vessels carrying Chaos space marines, had been waiting for them.
“Arm all lances, and prepare to fire on anything that comes in range, load all landing craft and prepare for boarding action!” shouted Shipmaster Booth.
The man did little in his old age, ferrying guard regiments from battle to battle was his ships only duty. But now he prepared for a combat situation he had not been in for over a century. It was exhilarating. A Small Chaos craft was striking ahead with greater speed than the others in its fleet, along with several others.
“Fire Lances on my mark! –Now!” He cried as the small ship drew near to their humble craft. He felt a thrill as he saw its hull puncture. They had hit it directly, and despite their low firepower it was leaking air.
“Sir! Boarders detected in subsections 12, 13, and 15! Surveillance shows its low level daemons!” Cried a security officer at a monitor a few meters from Booths main layout.
“Dam! They must’ve teleported! Get any available guardsmen down there to control them; if they can’t repel boarders they aren’t worth a dam.” Responded booth. “Launch all available landing craft for a counter board!”
“Sir! A second vessel is coming in for a broadside!” Shrieked a panicked ensign at a tactical panel.”
“Fire all lances that have recharged now!” He shouted.
The tactical readout showed a satisfying explosion and the ship stopped moving, but not before its lances had already caused a small breach in the Mordnekines hull.
“Excellent, they must’ve been a flimsy support ship.” Stated Booth smiling. “Get that hole patched, and recharge those lances for a second blast on the first ship ASAP.”
“Sir more boarders!” Said the security officer “Subsections 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25!”
“By the Emperor! To dam with those landing craft, I want all the guardsmen holding off those daemons!” Shuddered Booth.
They hadn’t been in the eye of terror for even an hour and already it looked like they might be the first to die.
Ferrero lead the platoon thru the narrow hallway until they reached the intersection where the boarders had been detected, his bolt pistol at the ready and his chain sword revving. They turned a corner and abruptly came face to face with a group of perhaps 20 bloodleters rampaging down the hall searching for enemies. At the sight of the guardsmen they let out inhuman howls and redoubled their speed.
“Fire at will!” Shouted Ferrero taken by surprise. No heavy weapons had been permitted in the fear that they would puncture the ship’s hull from the inside, so all that answered was a hail of lasfire. Only two of the beasts were brought down by the platoon before they entered close combat. From there it was brutal. Ferrero was charged by the biggest one and barely dodged its first blow, blasting a hole in its head with his bolt pistol at point blank. It fumbled around for a moment and then dissolved into the warp. As he watched 7 of his men died quickly, then another bloodthirster was brought down by a well placed bayonet. Then something wholly unexpected happened. From the other end of the hall, a charge of Iridians caught the Daemons by surprise, 3 of them were blasted to death by an organized line of lasfire, and then the Iridians charged in ranks of 5 using their guns like spears with their beyonets, the second row skewering those that charged the first. The resulting confusion on the ranks of the Bloodleters allowed the Tanith to rally and crush the rest of them.
18 tanith and 12 Iridians died.
Agnos was happy. He was in his element; nothing was more fun than Daemon slaying.
“In the name of the emperor suffer not the Daemon to live!” He bellowed over the din of the battle.
The battle cry was ancient and overused, but it never failed him. Him and 9 of his terminators were repelling boarders near the engines. The Daemons were nurgalite by his judgment. They oozed with puss all over their bodies, and their skin was rotting. Rotted all the way thru in places he noticed as one of them struck him with a sharpened exposed bone in its arm ineffectually. He quickly proceeded to de-brain it with his power fist, brining his storm bolter to bear on the next one. He was however interrupted by a shout of his name, and a hail of storm bolter fire cutting down one of the daemons closest to him. A 5 man tactical squad had been sent for some reason.
“Master Agnos!” the leader shouted, “You are needed for command!”
“Why, can’t the idiot shipmaster command this thing himself?” Shouted Agnos angrily.
“It’s not that, your authority is called for due to… unforeseen circumstances.” Responded the knight
“Spit it out man!” He cried.
“Bloodleters have boarded some of the other ships.” Said the marine. “Slaneshe, and Tzehchians as well.”
Agnos’s head snapped to the knights. The Terminators pushed the daemons back so that he could talk.
“Did you say what I thought you said.” He uttered in a hushed tone.
“Yes.” Said the knight.
“Go back to your post, I will se to the tactical decisions.”
With that, he began a technical ritual he used only on rarest occasions. Making sure to enter the coordinates correctly he engaged his terminator armor’s personal teleporter. With a flash of warp energy and a few arks of lightning he appeared on the bridge of the ship. He approached the shipmaster who was observing a tactical readout.
“Inquisitor!” Said the shipmaster nervously. “I don’t think anyone else realizes the implications of this. Elements of all four powers are battling on one side. Not only that, but they were waiting for us.”
Agnos peered at the tactical for a few moments. “The other Daemonhunters surely know, but they have chosen not to voice their concerns. We will do the same, however we now have a new priority, we need to prevent further spread of daemonic influence. What is the closest vessel with daemonic boarders?”
The shipmaster responded immediately he always knew what the space around his vessel held.
“The Mordenkine sir. It’s an imperial guard transport and is being attacked by two enemy vessels. They were however caught by surprise and it was able to cripple one and damage the other. They’re in bad shape though.”
Agnos gave his orders quickly and decisively. “Kill anything that threatens that ship. And by the emperor kill the daemons.”
“Shipmaster booth! Another ship is coming, one of the Daemonhunters!”
Booth didn’t even register where it came from, the news was just too good. As he watched, the Dawnhammer’s lances ripped into the side of the second ship, leaving nothing but a cloud of expanding debris. Several seconds later it incinerated the first in a stream of holly plasma.
A communication came thru from the Daemonhunters, and Booth answered it. The face of Inquisitor Agnos appearing on the hollow.
“Do you have any daemon boarders?” He demanded.
“Yes, we do, in more than a third of our ship.” He responded.
“I’m sending over terminators now.” He said.
Over the next twelve minuets Booth watched the tactical readouts as all the boarders were eradicated by Grey knights arriving via teleportation. He made to thank the Inquisitor, but as suddenly as they came the terminators teleported away, and the ship veered out of comms range for its next target.
“Send all repairs teams to work, stay on alert and keep the lances charged.” He instructed the crew.
Ishin carved his relic blade into the skull of a chaos space marine. The blade stuck, and he had to spend precious seconds heaving it out. As he did another of the traitors charged him with a chain axe, but a devastator brought him down with a lascannon. However as the devastator shot he was slain by a word bearers bolter. He and 11 of his ragtag outcast marines were doing battle against a squad of 6 word bearers that had transported themselves onto the ship without detection, until the unit had run into them by pure chance. As he watched their leader began to chant in twisted tongs, and warp energies began to gather around him like a sinister cocoon. The devastators tried to kill him, but one of his servants lunged to take the shots. As he watched the word bearer began to twist and change. But before it could become prominent, he stopped, the warp energies evaporating and fell to his knees screaming. From behind him Ishin could see Mosonek walking slowly towards the squad. All the word bearers were now writhing on the ground in pain. As he grew nearer, small blades erupted from his fingertips, about 3 inches long. They shone with a faint blue indicating that they were powered. The inquisitor came to a stop before the lead word bearer. He picked up the comparatively massive figure easily by the throat with his left hand, and plunged his left into the marines chest. He the cast the man aside. By now the marines had killed the other four word bearers in their incapacitated state and the hall fell silent.
Mosonek turned to leave without a word.
"A true king is never alone, his will is equal to the will of all of his followers."
-Alexander the Great, kind of