Colonel Gudair stood by the window in the rebel compound deep within the northern hemisphere. Gudair was a bear of a man; standing at 6 foot 8 he dwarfed most of the men under his command. Even though he was in his late fifties, he looked to be in his late sixties. He had a huge mane of white hair flowing over his shoulders, as white as the countryside that surrounded him.
He was listening to his officers arguing over what to do with the prisoners they had captured. Some wanted to treat them like prisoners of wars and not like the caged animals they were. Outside the huge command room he was in the base was a buzz of activity. His troops that had cast off their allegiances to the false Emperor had followed their dark master’s wishes, gathering more subjects for the plague that was about to come. Patrols were run outside the compound, in reality they were raiding parties, taking more and more prisoners, not knowing to why their dark masters wanted them alive.
The God of pestilence, Nurgle, had promised Gudair all the power he could ever desire, if he served him. The surrounding countryside had been transformed into a defensive position, and the populace had been rounded up and put into cells deep underground. Colonel Gudair’s men had sacrificed some of these blind servants, taking their eyes to show how foolish they were to put their trust and loyalty to a rotting corpse. Gudair followed a real God, one that would reward him for his loyalty to him. He looked over at the three captains desperately pleading with their fellow officers to release the innocent. Fools he thought, they were trying to ruin the masters plan. When Gudair spoke the rest of the room fell quiet, the Colonel always spoke in a hoarse whisper.
“They are prizes to the God of Pestilence, and will be sacrificed when his unholy troops arrive. Now I suggest you worry about the Planetary Defence Force, they may have raised the alarm to the rest of the system by now.”
With that he motioned for the officers to leave, except Major Antinolus, his second in command, and friend.
“Keep an eye on those speaking against the fold, and if necessary remove them Antinolus. Nothing must get in the way of the masters plan.” With that the major bowed and left the room, and the Colonel could relax.
He was about to walk over to the decanter of Scotch on the table when the window he was leaning against shattered and he felt a tiny sting in the back of his head. That was all he felt or heard before he fell to the floor, a snipers round making its way through to his brain. Suddenly a voice spoke from the shadows, “You have been most useful to me Colonel and this will not go unrewarded, Grandfather Nurgle will reward you with a new life.” Gudair allowed a smile form on his face before he fell into unconsciousness.
Sarah stared at the incoming Valkyrie as it came into landing. Next to her Scott moved forward to the descending ramp, where five soldiers, all spouting brightly coloured uniforms of the PDF, descended and took defence positions around the Valkyrie. Sarah stood and rushed over with Scott to the Valkyrie, nodding at the leader of the five men as she passed them.
She boarded the Valkyrie just behind Scott, and took her seat close to the cockpit. A second later the five man rearguard boarded the Valkyrie and they were airborne, heading over the sloping landscape to Fort Jacob, 400 kilometres east of the capital Iylvan.
“Wonder what is going to happen now,” She said quietly to Scott.
“Guess we’ll find out when we reach Fort Jacob.” Scott replied, his eyes on the guardsmen sitting opposite them, finger on the trigger of his lasgun. He leant over to Sarah and whispered in her ears, “These men are wearing the same uniform as the 14th. You know Colonel Gudair’s old regiment. Keep your eyes on them. I don’t trust them.”
Sarah nodded once,her own hand dropping down to the rifle by her leg. She felt nervous, she had heard about the regiment before they had turned against their fellow Imperial soldiers. They had all been immensly loyal to Gudair, and only a single platoon hadn't turned like the regiment. That still didn't mean that they were trusted though.