The Emperor Protects
“Why do you continue with this charade?”
“Open your mind Corporal Ceesay”
“Yes, yes… Army number two-four-six-one-one-nine-seven-nine. Four-thirty-first Norcium Rangers.
Corporal Ceesay, your resilience is a credit to you, but you can save yourself the trouble. We know all about you and the unit you are in’ the interrogator paused for several seconds ‘your comrades have already told us everything”
The interrogator glanced to his left and the machine began to hum again.
“Save yourself the agony Corporal, open your mind, and release yourself to the embrace of the true God. We will enlighten you; show you another way, another life. Just relax and let us in. Become one of us”
“Spell this out pox head. Go-and-fuc….”
Pain. Raw, undiluted pain. Burning, scolding, incredible….
Ceesay passed out.
* * *
Day one hundred and sixty two
Main Entrance, Green Street Bastion
It had been three hours since the last attack. That was unheard of. The enemy had always attacked on the hour.
Corporal Ceesay lifted his magnoculars and swept the open streets in front of him. For as far as the eye could see, the ground was an anarchic tangle of blasted rockcrete, smashed vehicles and the detritus of a battlefield hotly contested.
The enemy were consistent, he would give them that. The hundreds of red-armoured bodies that littered the field showed their determination to take the fight to the Imperials. Their rank, decaying corpses, looked like beetles laid out in the sun. Only their shape would tell you that they were actually human.
Ceesay used the word loosely. Perhaps they were once, but now? When they sold their souls for the price of immortality, they lost the right to the title ‘human’. Now they were anything but, mere shadows of what once was.
Ceesay remembered the first encounter he had with them, the day he killed the first of them.
The Arbites compound had been overrun and their bodies had been skinned and hung from the Precinct walls. There were frantic calls from help coming in from all over the district, people were dying everywhere and the local PDF locked themselves up in their barracks and screamed at the regulars to do something about it.
Ceesay and his men…
We were on leave for Thrones sake.
They had just started a well-earned stretch of R and R after six months of chasing Eldar reavers all over the system.
We had earned a break. And now this.
Ceesay and his section had found a muster point and confiscated weapons from the ill-trained PDF troopers, before commandeering a transport bound for the Space Port.
The planet had gone mad with gangs of doped-up civilians attacking anything that moved and the rule of law crushed under the weight of a million iron-shod boots.
They had got to the Port just as the first enemy transports landed, disgorging their cargo of the red-armoured troops.
Chaos troops. Servants of a corrupt God, bound to the destruction of Humanity
Ceesay’s driver had accelerated and then ploughed through a throng of the enemy, its eight wheels crushing them easily, and scattering the rest. They had reached the main gates and Ceesay could see some of the defenders frantically signalling to them to move.
The Corporal jumped down from the cab, just as one of the red-armoured enemy stepped in front of him.
This was very wrong. It was a man, but not a man. Where once was a face there was now a bulging open wound that was not caused by injury, but for a purpose.
His enemy bellowed through sutured lips and brought up a long-barrelled lasgun with a wicked curved bayonet attached.
Ceesay was quicker.
He had fought Reavers and had won, beating them at their own game in hand-to-hand combat, using only his boot knife and lots of raw, unadulterated aggression. He struck low and hard into his enemy’s groin, opening up the femoral artery and castrating it in one swift move.
He twisted the blade and struck again, coming in an arc and digging deep into the soft area below its left ear. It dropped, barely making a sound.
And they ran.
And now, over five months later, he was standing, defending the last place of resistance on the planet.
Help was coming
they said. Hold out
they had said, and they fought the red Chaos troops. Matching their bestial fury with a ferocity borne out of desperation.
Then the tanks had come, and line upon line of robotic monstrosities that screeched obscenities at the defenders before the defences finally collapsed. His men died, he lived.
That was the way of things.
* * *
Ceesay could hear firing outside and the dull thumps of explosions. The atmosphere in the cell immediately changed. He felt a deep dread come over him and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up.
He was about to die.
Suddenly his interrogator slumped forward, his twisted face, now a gaping hole. Ceesay was covered with gore and brain matter, but despite it all, he suddenly felt elated.
The gigantic form of a Space Marine stood at the entrance to the cell with a smoking Stormbolter in his right fist and a large rectangular shield in his left.
“Thanks be to the Emperor” Ceesay muttered through cracked teeth. The marine stepped inside and surveyed the interior.
“Are you alone?” came a metallic voice. Ceesay grinned.
“Not any more. A Space Marine? You are the last thing that I expected to see”.
Ceesay could tell that the marine was communicating with the others outside. He sat back and laughed aloud. He had made it, he had beaten them all, he had prevailed, and now he had been saved.
“Soldier?” asked the Marine. Ceesay grinned.
“Yeah, Corporal Ceesay, Jack Ceesay, Norcium Rangers”
“Do you see me?”
Ceesay blinked rapidly, his eyes suddenly focussing.
The huge figure moved closer and bent down. A rugged face, scared from countless battles, and with eyes that had seen too much, was studying him closely.
“I am your deliverance”
“Deliverance. Your pain and suffering is at an end”
“But, I don’t understand”, Ceesay was frantic now.
“You have seen too much, things that should not be seen”
“Them?”, he nodded at the dead creature that lay at his feet.
“You are a brave man Corporal. Now be at peace”
The Emperor Protects