Rebirth part 11
The Dawnhammer cruised swiftly from area to area, eradicating all the daemons they came into contact with. As they came into contact with numerous other ships, the dark shape of the battle became all too clear. A force dedicated to Chaos undivided would have been preferable, and many had expected a black crusade to be the worst they could face. They were wrong. They faced not one generalized force of chaos space marines, but four distinct opposing fleets, each working together in a way not seen since the Horus Heresy. Each devoted to one of the dark gods. Contacts had been spotted who had been believed dead. The champions of chaos had rallied together, and it seemed not one reviled name had been omitted from this battle. Fabius Bile, the dreaded Lufgt Huron, even the ship Terminus Est had born the reviled lord Typhus directly onto the Phoenix, only to be repelled.
“Fire all lances on my mark!” Cried Agnos. The Daemonhunters were engaged against a ship witch held markings barely recognizable as those of the world eaters.
Agnos narrowed his eyes. The ship had barely done anything. It hadn’t even fired any weapons, it was to easy. This was not a khornite assault. He hesitated. He regretted it.
“Sir! Multiple boarders detected…” The voice trailed off as the tactical screen made his words unnecessary. Agnos realized that it had been an all to Khornite assault. The ship had not been intended as a weapon but as a means of delivering one. Or many. It had emptied itself, literally dozens of teleporters had been detected, and transport pods were en route in the hundreds.
“Take out as many pods as you can!” He cried, lifting his storm bolter to cover the door. Almost on que, the door collapsed inwards.
“Kill! Maim!! BURN!!!”
Chaos Terminators bearing the colors of the world eaters charged into the room. Each one wielded weapons with an ancient air to them and a build that suggested they were made for one purpose; to spill blood. A clawed power fist tore at Agnos’s armor, cleaving a gash into his side. He bit thru the pain, blasting the foolishly exposed head of the heretic to a fine powder with his bolter, carrying thru the motion, he brought his fist into the chest of the one behind him.
“Put out a distress call NOW!” He cried at the com officer.
Ishin observed the various officers around him. The ship had been infiltrated by the foul forces of the word bearers, but the heretics were using dark magic’s to conceal their locations from the crew of the ship. It had been purely by chance that he and the devastators who now stood around him had encountered some of them earlier. As usual Masonek was nowhere to be found, sneaking about trying to locate the enemy no doubt. Ishin was glad that the inquisitor was not an enemy.
The few psykers available to him were scowering the ship, but the word bearers had powerful sorcerers manipulating the warp, and they were skilled at concealing their actions from the agents of the imperium.
"Has anything been found at all?" He asked to the room at large, already knowing the answer.
"No, the psykers have scowered the ship quite thoroughly and found nothing." responded a marine at a control panel.
"But we know the word bearers are there, they’re hiding."
"The psykers assure me that they’ve found nothing."
Even as Ishin was ready to call the psykers off, an alarm sounded.
"Contact has been made in subsection 12!" Cried the astarates at the panel "Daemons!"
At the last word Ishins heart sank. They had been fortunate enough to avoid contact with the denizens of the warp so far, but it seemed their luck was running out.
"Sir, more are appearing, all at the same location." Said the marine in a worried tone.
"Tell the tactical squads to form a perimeter and-"
"Sir, the daemons are attacking anything within reach, all nearby squads have already moved to respond."
With a sigh, Ishin lifted his bolter from the table.
"So much for a strategy."
less than a quarter of an hour later Ishin and the devastators charged around a corner and towards a bulkhead leading to a chaos held section of the ship. As they neared it, it buckled towards them with a sound like the impact of a predators autocannon.
A blast from the lascannon of one of the devastators vaporized the door, and Ishin lead the way thru. The hallway was drenched in blood and the innards of marines. Bloodleters dug at the remains of slain marines, devouring whatever they could scoop from the power armor.
"Shit!" Cried Ishin losing his balance on a pool of guts and blood.
The cry alerted the daemons who took up a number of hideous weapons and charged the group. The devastators let loose a volley of heavy fire reducing them to a fine dust. Even as they began to breath easy however, more daemons began to materialize from the warp, lightning and arced from wall to wall and space itself seemed to lose its meaning as the hallway bent itself thru time and reality belching out another mob of bloodleters who charged the devastators with axes and swords.
There must have been more than 30 of them, and at least 5 died immediately as the marines let loose fire from their weapons. Ishin charged the closest one and gored it open with his power sword. It evaporated into ash and the one behind it stepped forward swinging its blade. The sword impacted with Ishins power weapon and part of it immediately melted. Ishin brought his bolter to bear in one hand, allowing his pistol to remain holstered. He blasted it to dust with the life blood of war; bolts.
As they fought, another squad arrived.
"Get down!" They cried, volleying grenades at the daemons. 15 fragmentation grenades hit and destroyed most of the daemons, what was left was eaten up by the fire of the new squad. The shrapnel impacted on the devastators and Ishins armor but did nothing to the thick ceramite plates.
The devastators got up and the two units moved thru the next bulkhead, meeting with an unexpected sight. In the next stretch of hallway, there was absolute calm. A few daemons remained, but as they watched the beasts evaporated, Masonek walked thru the bulkhead at the other end of the hall.
"I killed the summoners." He stated simply. Blood washed this corridor (if it was possible) even more thickly than the last, and the ashes of slain daemons covered the flood inches deep.
"How?" asked Ishin near speechless, the inquisitor showed no sign of injury of strain and yet he claimed to have fought his way thru hundreds, if not thousands of daemons and slain a sorcerer powerful enough to have summoned all of those warp spawned menaces In less than the amount of time it took them to run unhindered to this location?
"That is not important, the threat is gone, I suggest you attack another ship." Stated Masonek with his usual tone.
Iradius hadn’t felt this good in years. The foolish black corsairs had the confidence to board his ship? That was fine with him, his storm troopers made short work of such interlopers. As would he. His blade cleaved into the skull of the nearest boarder, and as it did the traitors brethren broke and ran down the hallway. The inquisitorial stormtroopers behind Iradius took them down with a hail of hellgun fire placed with the accuracy of veterans of a hundred wars.
The ship of the black corsairs had come accompanied by three others, but a nova cannon blast from the Phoenix had decimated on before it even came in range. The second had been brought down by a broadside from the Madrid IV as soon as they came close. The third had found itself "dead in the water" so to speak after they had showered it in psyk out warheads launched from small fighter craft. Assumedly they had succeeded at killing the ships astropath (or whatever passed for one on traitorous vessels) The last and largest ship had emptied itself in an attempt to board and take the Madrid. They were failing.
Iradius and twenty five of his favored inquisitorial storm troopers were guarding the area around the bridge, this was the thickest fighting, the heretics were trying to take the command center in order to maneuver the ship so that they could receive support from their allies.
A wall burst, and from it came a stream of flame. As it stopped ten berserkers charged forward, the first squad of storm troopers engaged them and quickly lost half their number to slay a single traitor. As they fought, the imposing figure of none other than Huron Blackheart stepped thru the hole, poring fire from his gauntlet at Iradius. Iradius took the flame without a shudder thanks to his power armor. The Traitorous corsair cackled menacingly, flinging his head upwards as if in acknowledgement of the favor of the dark gods.
"Fool!" Shouted Iradius, brining his power sword across, removing the head of the traitor instantly.
"Pausing for just a moment over the body before rushing to aid his men, he muttered. "No helmet... why did no one think of that?"
He then rushed and dispatched two berserkers, who seeing their master dead cried out and redoubled their efforts, only to be met by the skills of a warrior like no other. Iradius single handedly dispatched the berserkers within just a few minets.
"Don’t assume victory yet, It’s quite possible that another will take his place quite quickly. Head back to the bridge, we need to make sure that none of this scum has stepped foot in it."
With that he and the 17 surviving storm troopers took off towards the bridge. the hallways were winding and labyrinthine- the better to confuse boarders. As they passed by a bulkhead the sounds of bolter fire could be heard not to far off. Without a word he lead the troopers in the direction of the sounds. They quickly came upon some chaos space marines doing battle with his loyal storm troopers. They were engaged in close combat, and the loyalists were losing badly. With a mighty cry Iradius leapt into the fray, swinging his blade in a wide ark, causing three of the traitors to step back.
"Big mistake." he said coldly.
Iradius lifted his bolt pistol, removing the head of the one directly in front of him, the storm troopers behind him took down the two to his sides. The remaining 5 chaos space marines finished off the last of the 7 storm troopers that had been alive when they had entered. The traitors drew bolters and began to concentrate fire onto the inquisitor. Iradius's armor cracked in two places. He was shocked, usually his armor was above such light fire, no matter he would repair it after the battle. Jumping backwards, he sprayed bolter fire onto the largest of the heretics, as his men wore away at the armor of the others. Quickly the intruders were vanquished and 9 storm troopers still stood.
With that, Iradius lead his men back in the direction of the bridge. Iradiuss enhanced sense of direction brought them quickly to the location. The bridge of the Madrid IV was shaped in a trapezoid, the long side made up of numerous monitors displaying tactical information, the edges descended down to the floor in rows of stations each linked to functions in a different part of the ship. The short end was a balcony from which the captain or Iradius could observe and give orders. The captain had a grim look on his face.
"Iradius, more ships have arrived, the iron warriors of all things."
Iradius observed the monitors for a brief moment.
"Helmsman! Take us here!" He said taking the nearest station from its owner, and relaying the coordinates to the navigations officer."
Moving hesitantly to comply, the helmsman said "Why sir, that opens us up on many angles."
"It does, their first volley should wipe out almost all of the intruders, from there we can regroup the storm troopers and prepare a defense from any boarders they send. For right now all weapons fire at will!"
The room watched as the first of the enemy ships was reduced to slag by the massed fire of the Madrid, one of its allies suffered a minor puncture in its hull. With that Iradius took his storm troopers to the designated regroup point. He had already sent the message for all troops to withdraw and meet them there. Reaching the huge reinforced observatorium, he took a short squad count. About half of his men remained. That was better than expected. His men never succeeded to go beyond the call of duty. He would never have them replaced by anything less than a full complement of blood angels. ...Alas... As they good, the ship shook. Good that would be the iron warriors unwittingly slaying their comrades.
Iradius’s thoughts drifted to Isaac. He had gone to protect his mount. It was pointless, plenty of guards were posted and the security in that sector consisted of sophisticated battle wetware shotgun emplacements. The old man had always been protective of the titan. They were both old…
Riley grimaced. Things were not going well. The men were cowards as always, but in the face of daemons they were even more prone to break. The fools. His pistols bite was felt by an unfortunate trooper who happened to be close to him.
“Stand you fools! Fight back or we’ll all die!” He shouted over the cackles of the daemonetts.
The Slaneshe monsters had been a thorn in his side for the past hour and a half. They had been teleported onto the ship by a dyeing chaos vessel. It had started with minor contacts in the storage holds, and the infestation had grown. The foolish guardsmen had been systematically falling back ever since they had arrived despite his best efforts. He couldn’t remember how many men he had executed over the course of the battle. Then like a gift from the emperor, a heavy weapons squad made their way to the front of the blood smeared corridor. They breached regulations and let loose a volley of Frag missiles. The daemonets were blasted to smithereens. He shouted a final threat at the platoon and they stopped running.
“You might as well be children! Stand and fight them you bastards!” He shouted angrily, “And you! Who authorized heavy weapons!” He demanded of the closest trooper carrying ammunition for the missiles.
“Lt. Lopez, sir.” He said making terrified eye contact with the commissar.
Shooting the trooper, he turned to the man carrying the missile launcher. “Go back to Lopez, and tell him there’s a 100% chance he’s dead the next time I see him.” He said grimly, “There’s a reason we don’t shoot missiles inside a dam ship. It just so happens that that-” He pointed to the wall. “Is all that’s standing in-between us and a vacuum. Every missile that hits it means a 4.24% chance we all get sucked into that vacuum.
It was then that the vox sounded, and Riley made his way to the vox trooper.
“Bridge to Riley.”
“This is Riley.”
“Boarding aid has been offered by The Dawnhammer, terminator units set to teleport to subsections 12-18 and 4-7.”
“Roger that, these children don’t know how to fight. Give the kind inquisitor my regards.” With that Riley turned to the platoon.
“See what you idiots do? You cant even fight one battle without help from astarates. If you cant fight what can you do? What have you got to show for enlisting training and all the recourses put into the regiment. Your all a disgrace! Now get back to the rally point, there are going to be some bloody terminators in here in a few moments and I sure as hell don’t want to get caught in the crossfire!”
The warp flowed around him like a cacoon of power, with the help of the architect of fate no defense would be able to deny their advances. For one such as he these ships were like lambs to the slaughter…
“What’s the tactical? Is there anywhere that the knights need aid?” Asked Riley into the vox.”
“Negative, tactical show advancement on all fronts.” Responded the bridge.
It had been about an hour. The grey knights had asked the guardsmen to stay back and gather at their regroup points. They had teleported to the centers of the enemy held subsections and moved outward from there. Riley was frustrated that his men couldn’t help. And on top of that, they should be helping by now, against as many daemons as the tactical had detected there had been a 73.132% chance that the terminators should have taken 15-34% casualties by now. It didn’t feel right.
“Riley, a group of knights is moving to your position.” Crackled the vox, along with an unusual burst of static.
Riley heard the booming footsteps of power armored feet… but if he was any judge that was not the sound of a terminator…
“All troopers ready weapons NOW!”
With that a tide of daemons erupted from the nearest bulkhead accompanied by blue and gold power armored space marines. With a chill Riley recognized the distinctive headgear of the Thousand sons.
“Open fire!” bellowed Riley. The sight of what must have been 30 daemons and what he counted as 7 traitor marines was enough to terrify any guardsman into fighting.
Over the vox came the panicked voice of the bridge tactical commander. “Riley! The knights readings just changed! Its sorcery, their enemies!”
Executing the nearest trooper trying to flee, and shooting a panicked trooper a warning look Riley grabbed the vox transmitter in one hand and continued firing his pistol with the other. “I’m quite aware of that bridge. Warn the others.” He said in a forced calm. If they could just keep the men from running they might be able to win by sheer numbers, but already half the platoon was dead and a quarter running down the corridor. And to show for it was only one dead rubric and a handful of slain daemonets.
“Fighting retreat!” He cried to the last 16 men. As three more were slain by a spray of fire from a thousand son, he grimaced and shouted “Fall back!”
Several moments later a solid bulk head was slowing down the enemy and he and the seven survivors of the platoon were making their way thru the hallways to the designated retreat position. Broadcasting over the vox, Riley relayed the order to retreat to the regiments Col. Who informed him that the entire force of guardsmen were falling back to the retreat points.
“Good.” Said Riley, “We need to work together. The men cant fight these monsters one on one.”
“Agreed.” Said the Colonel shortly before breaking the connection.
Within 10 minets the squad had made it to the landing bay that was the retreat point. The weapon sponsons of the Valkaries were manned. Riley held his judgment. The chances of a heavy bolter puncturing the hull of the ship were less than the chances that they would win the coming fight.
The bay contained 8 valkaries and 2 valkarie vendettas. As well as about 1000 troopers formed up in ranks using improvised and pre-fabricated cover prepared for this possible eventuality. 3 other landing bays were set in a similar fashion. If this was an accurate statistical representation of the regiments casualties. About 41% of the men survived. It was bad but not as bad as he had expected. The armor transports were securely in the lower decks of the ship. They were the final fallback, should that position be compromised the ordinance stored there would be used to compromise the ship’s hull and destroy the majority of the enemy.
“Alright, charge you packs now, ready all weapons and cover the entrances!” Shouted Riley.
Only moments later gunfire broke out and he spun to see a mixture of Tehzechian and Slaneshe daemons rampaging their way towards the valkarie at the far end of the bay. It was surrounded by two platoons of men firing with the fervor only terrified men could know. Already Thousand sons were coming out behind of what must have been at least 150 daemons. About 20 heretics were eating at the men with bolters. Fortunately he saw a lascannon blow from one of the vendettas slay one instantly. But as he watched a sorcerer began to weave strange magic’s.
“Gun him down now!” Shouted Riley, and a sniper nearby, who according to regulations should not have his rifle took a one in a million shot and beheaded the heretic at three quarters of the way across the landing bay. The sorcerers energies exploded outwards slaying 4 of his rubrics.
“You!” Shouted Riley. Pointing at the sniper, who looked terrified at Rileys stern expression, sure he would be executed for using his weapon on the ship.
“Sir!” He responded.
“You’ve just been promoted to sergeant.” Said Riley sharply. “That shot was one in a million, literally. Luck is an enduring quality, be sure not to run out.” The guardsmen looked shocked and then pleased.
“Thank you sir.” He said, and then looked affronted as Riley grabbed the rifle from his hands.
“Get yourself a standard weapon, regulations aren’t something officers should break. With that Riley was off.
In the next two minets three more mobs of enemies entered the bay. It was just the tip of the ice berg. As Riley beheaded a daemonet he heard his name being called.
“Sir! Cried a nearby Vox officer, “emergency relay from the bridge.”
“Alright men!” barked Guant. “This is your first chance to fight for the primarch. We’ve already taken casualties from the first wave of enemies, but the Daemonhunters were kind enough to bail our asses out. I doubt any of you remember the Sabbat crusades by now-“ He looked around the cabin of the drab Valkarie. “No none of you do… During that war we battled on a world called Phantine, a select squad of our men dropped in from aerial transport, we lost many of our best men in that operation air drops are sticky business, and this will be the king of them, Were dropping into an already full landing bay, filled with fighting guardsmen and dameons. Were repelling in on ropes, and were going to be dropping straight into a close range firefight. It’s a stupid Idea, but were doing it anyway. For Feths sake! Flying a Valkarie in space is a stupid idea! But were doing both, do you know why?”
“For the Emperor!” Responded the platoon in unison.
“Feth no!” barked Gaunt. “Were doing this because our comrades are already down there getting chewed up by chaos space marines and if we were in that situation they’d do it for us!”
Gaunt pulled the bolt on his bolt pistol and hefted the sword of heronimo.
“Do you want to live forever?!” He cried to the sound of the hatch opening and the sound of the battle below merged.
“Feth No!” Shouted the men repelling out of the valkarie in twos.
Sorry it took so long, It’s a bit longer than the others. I just needed to figure out how to get from A to B. And how to work out killing of blackheart for being a helmetless idiot in the process.
Hope you all enjoy. =)
"A true king is never alone, his will is equal to the will of all of his followers."
-Alexander the Great, kind of