Upon exiting the Warp, Lugerev had quickly met up with Loakk, and took the first shuttle out toward the Wandering King. He was expected, and docked quickly. The Primus Medicae was now in his full set of Wargear, and likely would be much more often than nought, now that he realized he was no longer safe even among his own Grand Company. He had worn a MkIV suit once, and he was a bit frustrated that the Mk V didn’t seem to be much better. In fact, some of its internal systems were actually, worse. Still, it held up better than the MK IV defensively, which is what he needed most when attending battlefield wounds.
He escorted the Techmarine to the battleship’s Apothecarion, where he asked him to wait while he spoke to the Captain about the details of the mission. Fortunately, there were several research projects Lugerev had nearly forgotten about, that were in various locations of his lab to keep the Genetor occupied with interest for some time.
And so, Lugerev made the long trip to the ship’s bridge, as the fleet began to split in two; the bulk of it going straight towards the primary target Pelexis III, and three of the ships going to kill the Space Wolf Strike Cruiser, the Fist of Russ. Normally, Coues would be on board with his twin, to keep each other in good company, and coordinate their efforts. He would have to fill that gap today, he supposed.
Iapetus was standing at the tactical display, a large, hololithic table that showed the planets of the system, the relative location of the XIXth's Fleet, and their target - The Fist of Russ.
‘Hail, Captain. I have brought the Techmarine Genetor of Adriun's lot on board as well. He has stayed in the Apothecarion for the time being. I will have to rearrange some things. I think Tirgivil feels he owns the King's sick bays...’
'Lugerev,' Iapetus said, cordially. He looked up, at the Chief Apothecary, and arched an eyebrow. Lugerev was staring off, at the bridge's primary view-port - A huge pane of reinforced glass - With widened eyes. 'Is there something amiss?'
Lugerev stared out into the gray moon that concealed their prey.
'Luna...just look at it.’ He said, pointing an armored finger. ‘I've never seen so many dead ships...' he puts his hand down and turns his head sharply to an angle. 'That one, that's the White Feather, one of the Scars'. I was aboard her once. And there, the Unbreakable...she did so well at Phall. Even in the craters, on the surface, you can see their corpses.' he looks down shaking his head. 'How could we have lost, brother?'
Iapetus thought for a moment, rising in his posture from busying away at the holomap, considering.
'We lost, brother,' Iapetus said, returning his attentions to the tactical display. 'Because Terra was the ultimate fortress. A palace that spanned continents, her walls manned by the Emperor's finest, against a horde. All waves crash, in the end.'
Lugerev looked at Iapetus, the Captain's face a bright blue; his skin and armor reflecting the light from the table. Lugerev's expression turned uncertain, his stance loose. 'That's not Luna, is it?'
'Not at all,' Iapetus smiled, though the question neither wanted, or needed, an answer. 'Loakk is aboard?'
He looked out the viewport again, seeing this less significant moon, and its master Pelexis II, in the distance behind it.
‘Loakk is aboard, yes. He wanted some Space Wolf gene-seed to toy with.'
He reached his hands to the edge of the table, and peered down at the holo-display the Seventh Captain was looking at and manipulating.
‘So, what is your plan? My role is simple enough, but I need you to get me there.’ said Lugerev, lightly opening his hand to point towards the miniature Fist of Russ.
Iapetus pursed his lips. 'A three pronged assault - Wandering King, Lonesome Queen and the,' He adjusted the tactical display, enhancing the Third's Cruiser. 'Shade Wraith,' He said the name distastefully. 'Corner the Wolf and snap its legs. Lucian can take the bridge and the armoury - I want to bleed his Company dry - Whilst the Seventh take the enginarium,' A tough fight, indeed, Iapetus knew. 'And the Apothecarion.'
‘Yes, our fallen angel friend is more than welcome to take the petty glory of killing the vessel’s commander.’ Said Lugerev, releasing his grip from the table’s edge, pushing himself away in order to begin pacing the deck.
‘Good. I’m glad to hear we have the important parts. I’m sure getting rights to the Apothecarion wasn’t too difficult. It never is.’
‘Iapetus, Pelegon has yet to inform me why these Wolves are holding Salamander Gene-seed. I suppose I shouldn’t think on it too much. Little outside my medical work makes sense to me anymore.’
‘And we shall hope, brother, that Lucian will get himself killed,' Iapetus grinned. 'Should the Wolf prevail, I will shed no tears,' He stepped away from the table, stepping towards the centre of the bridge. 'It makes little sense. The Wolves are many things - Unwashed barbarians, near-feral, mortal-lovers - But thieves? That they are not.'
It was Iapetus who paused, now. 'I do not trust Pelegon's judgement. Something is wrong, here. I am certain of it.'
‘But apparently, we are.’ Said the Apothecary, still on the bit about thieves, throwing his hands up and half rolling his eyes.
‘I’m sure something is wrong. We will probably all die. But what does it matter? If I am to be perfectly honest with you I kind of hope we all do. I’ve seen so many deaths already-death, dying death!’ he yelled the words loudly, then shook his head violently. His wrist mounted bolter slung forward on its rack and its ammunition belt lost its slack as he thrust his arm out pointing it at random Legionnaires on the deck below. Some turned, looking up in alarm and hesitation. He groaned, switching from target to target with enraged grunts.
‘Save lives! Save them! I have to save your lives!’
His breathing slowed. His posture straightened, and his bolter retracted.
He turned his head to the side just enough for Iapetus to see a grinning face.
His body turned, and he walked back to the Captain, saying his name again but elongating each of the vowels.
‘Iaapeetuus. What are you doing?’
'Lugerev, brother,' Iapetus said, retreating, towards the tactical display, towards his spear. 'Enough. Come to your senses, Apothecary,' His voice was calm, almost soothing. 'You cannot act like this, not here. Not on my ship.'
He stepped closer, angry, veins beginning to throb.
‘All I asked is what you are doing! That gene-seed is mine! You understand me? Mine, my hands only!’ he shouted, ruthless.
'What would I want with Gene-seed, you fool?' Iapetus bellowed back, face twisted into a snarl. 'Were it a ship you were after, you mad bastard, I would gladly pilfer it,' He shook his head. 'You are the flesh-smith.'
A smile returns to Lugerev’s face, accompanied by a downward tilted chin, a furrowed brow, and a shaking of the head half whispering.
‘Third Company. Third Company.’
Without a moment’s notice Lugerev’s sword swings out, the murderous blade whistling through the air and coming to a frozen state of deadness.
He laughs softly.
‘You know, an angel can lose its wings and fall into the mud, but unfortunately, that doesn’t quite make it a dead angel, now, does it? His emphasis was filled with bassy puncture.
He begins to laugh harder, staring hard into the green, glaring eyes of Iapetus.
The Seventh Company Captain chuckled in return.
‘Yes, brother! Maybe the Wolves will only take a bite out of him, and he’ll come to me!’
Lugerev steps to Iapetus, grabbing hold of his metal cloak and shoulders, wide eyed and happy, laughing between syllables.
‘Can you imagine? Lucian, the Dark Angel, laying on my surgery slab, waiting for me to fix him up?!’
The laughter could be contained no longer. And once it began to die down, Lugerev raised a finger to try and wipe the moisture that had collected at the corner of his eye. He spoke further.
'I believe you were about to go into more details about this plan before I interrupted you. So, tell me, tell me more.' he says, twirling his hand.
After a few moments, a female officer of sorts stepped up toward the table.
'Lords,' A voice said. Iapetus turned his head, and saw Lumiana - Uniformed, carrying a wafer of dataslates under her arm - Standing there. 'We are within visual range of the target.'
Lugerev almost spoke up to the Equerry, but couldn’t quite remember the old lad’s name. He had served under Iapetus since at least the beginning of the Legion’s decision to go turncoat, he knew.
'Thank you,' Iapetus said. He turned back to the Apothecary. 'Come, follow me,' The Shipwright took up his spear, gathered his cloak about him, and walked into the centre of the bridge. The mortals quietened, in reverence of their lord. 'Open communications with the Lonesome Queen,' He ordered, coolly. 'Magnify. Show me our quarry.
The Fist of Russ filled the view-ports. Long and sleek, painted in the icy-blue of the Wolves, her flanks bristling with cannons. 'A fine ship,' Iapetus said, leaning on his spear. 'I present our prey, my brothers,' He smiled darkly. 'Pelegon wants it. Our Legion wants it. I want it.'
'Target acquired,' His gunnery officer called.
Iapetus turned towards Lugerev. 'It is about time, brother,' He said. 'We show the thin-bloods what true fury is.'
The Master of the Fleet smiled, waiting a moment before finally turning and giving the curt order.
Lugerev stood beside Iapetus, hands folded behind his back and watching the viewports intently.
'Its suddenly clear to me that we do the same work, Iapetus, merely on different scales. I believe that little jewel of a ship already belongs to us. Still, I have the same feeling I did on Medrengard. There's something about this one...my gut tells me it likes to slip its leash.’
The Shipwright laughed. 'Ships do not escape me, Apothecary,' He watched, as the cruiser rolled, cored by the lances of Iapetus's ships. Debris, organic and metallic, shoaled around the vessel. 'Your escort awaits, Lugerev,' Iapetus smiled, clasping his brother's wrist. 'Watch yourself, brother. Watch the Third.
Lugerev nodded, accepting the embrace with warmth. A pod had been designated for them, he and Loakk. Along with Adriun’s associate, Iapetus made sure that a good plenty of warriors would be by them on their fight to the enemy’s Apothecarion, which in all likelihood, would be the easiest path during the battle for the ship.
You can never be prepared for the unexpected