Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe
His feet hit the dirt of 3-55, the fifty-fifth world to face the wrath of the young Imperium of Man’s mighty warriors of the 3rd Expedition Fleet.
The warrior, clad in shining power armor took stock of his situation.
Behind him, more of his brother warriors, not soldiers, stormed out of the newly made stormbird assault craft.
Before him, thousands of raging greenskin bellowed their hate and charged the invading army, firing their weapons into the sky and waving primitive cleavers.
In his hands was a guardian spear, a weapon crafted for both long and short ranged combat.
He knew just what to do.
As dozens more stormbirds braved the clouds of ork fighter craft to deliver their deadly cargo, the warrior lowered his spear and fired into the mob of xeno filth before him.
Like a scythe of death from a forgotten mythic figure the orks died in droves yet still they came on, heedless of the sure death that was before them.
Before long more of the warrior’s brothers joined him and formed a line, impassible an understatement.
These warriors lent their firepower to the defense of the landing zone.
In moments the bulk of this ork horde was crippled, thousands dead as more and more of the Emperor’s warriors joined the fight.
When at last the ork horde hollered their rage no more the warrior looked up and down the line.
Not one green xeno had made it to the golden wall and before them over three thousand orks were dead. He ran his eyes over the bodies of dead, looking for any signs of life.
One eye closed and the other on the spear’s sights, he saw an ork push itself up from the mounds of the dead.
He pulled the trigger once more, and the beast’s head exploded.
‘A good start,’ said the warriors’ commander, Captain Angelos ‘but a day’s labor isn’t done till the sun sets,’
A cry of agreement came from the men.
‘More are coming!’ shouted a warrior, not in panic, merely in warning to let his brothers know more of the xeno creatures wished to die by their hands.
‘Phalanx!’ ordered Angelos.
The warriors moved with a rehearsed fluidity to their movements borne from decades of warfare.
The warriors formed into blocks of forty men each as the second wave of the ork assault, comprising of beasts both larger and fiercer.
At an unspoken command the mortal men who had been given the privilege of piloting the stormbird assault craft down to the surface took off, leaving the warriors behind to ensure the safety of the valuable landers. They would join the Imperial fighters in the sky until battle’s end or a hasty evacuation was required.
‘Phalanxes, make a wall!’ shouted Angelos and the warrior formations closed space and formed a solid wall of spears stronger than the first.
‘Open fire!’ the captain yelled and four hundred guardian spears opened fire.
Again the orks came and again they died in droves. But this time it was different. The orks brought with them their crude vehicles, cobbled together from whatever scrap metals they could find and studded with every conceivable weapon possible these affronts to reasonable mechanics lumbered forward to try and put the invasion force to rest.
It was no matter though. Nothing the orks could come up with could compare to the might of the Legio Custodes.
The warrior closed his eyes and let his body move of its own accord, letting the movements of a hundred battles flow through him as he lost himself in the fires of combat.
When at last Xavier opened his eyes it was to a scene of utter destruction.
Everything the orks had thrown at them was for nothing. Their vehicles were destroyed. More. Their countless numbers lay still in great piles as teams of mortal men dragged them on the ground and poured promethium on the piles of bodies before setting them to flame.
A camp was being set up for the conquest force where the custodies had originally landed. The stormbirds had landed once more and waited in staggered rows behind the camp. A few custodies stood in tight perimeter, eyes open lest another attack come.
‘You fought well,’ said a voice and Xavier turned to see Captain Angelos.
‘You commanded well,’ said Xavier, giving as good as he got.
‘There are few commands that need to be given to warriors who conquered Earth and fought in hundreds of battles with an expertise that has never before been seen,’
The captain gestured with his arm for Xavier to walk with him. He did so.
After they had started down their path for a while and left the camp Angelos broke his silence.
‘What do you think of the crusade?’ he asked.
‘It is only right that we set sail to the void of space and seek to unite all of scattered humanity under one banner,’ replied Xavier.
‘Yes, I agree, but what else?’ he asked.
‘We should also seek to eradicate xeno filth like the orks so that humanity be safe,’
‘Yes,’ said Angelos. Now the pair began to trek up a large hill that rose from the desert plains like a shattered bone that broke the skin of the earth to jut out and break the flat monotony.
The captain was silent once again.
A minute passed and the pair neared the summit.
‘What do you think of the world we have brought into the Imperial fold?’ he asked.
‘They reminded me of Earth, ravaged by war and separation from the galaxy, but like our home they can be rebuilt and made into jewels of a new Empire that will span the galaxy. I was glad to be a part of their liberation and compliances,’
‘Aye so was I,’ said Angelos when they reached the summit. He looked away from his warrior, to the setting sun on the horizon. It was the second sun that was setting at last, the first one passing from sight before it, taking with it most of the day’s heat. ‘But what of this world?’ he asked.
‘What do you mean my captain?’ asked Xavier.
‘There are no humans on this world, only orks, nothing of great worth exists here, no vast piles of metals to be made into weapons, no great promethium deposits, the Imperium gains nothing from this world, nothing but target practice,’.
‘Yes, that does confuse me. The orks need to be wiped out for the safety of humanity but that could have been done from orbit,’
‘Yes, I agree,’. said Angelos, turning to face the path they had just taken to come to this spot.
‘But I just received a message that could answer that question,’ he said.
‘What is it?’
‘The Emperor is coming here, he will arrive tomorrow,’.
Finished: Too Much Love Will Kill You (working title), an original fiction novel. Working on: Second draft of Too Much Love, and the first draft of A Winter's Tale (working title).