'Death comes to all flesh.'
- Ulkair the Unclean
The whoosh of air entering the sealed cargo compartment was the only sound that could be heard for a few precious seconds. It didn't really bother me, I had grown used to it over the course of training, in case your wondering im a Stormtrooper or at least I am one now. This is my first mission with the Holy Ordos, and I am serving the Malleus. The other three members of my kill-team are here with me, I don't know their names and they don't know mine, its better that way. Their code-names, nick-names, that I do know. The guy on my left was huge, muscles like rock, short black hair and the biggest of us all. His code was Executor, never knew why that was though I suspect the huge Chainaxe he carried across his back had something to do with it. The one to my right was just a bit older then me but he had long hair, white as marble, and a heart-shaped face, nearly looked like a girl. His code was Longshot, because of his sniper rifle. Finally the guy in front of me was the Sarge, his code-name as well, bald and strong looking, not a slab of muscle like Executor but more quietly strong, deceptive even. As for me im called Sunburst, thats because I carry the squad's Plasma Gun, or maybe its because of my red hair. Im not really sure.
As the doors opened up the squad feet instantly, helmets on and weapons ready. Our mission was quite clear, this installation had dropped out of communications and the Adamantium it mined was needed by the Ordos to make armour for its Inquisitors. Sarge led the way, his hellgun right in front of him as he ran into the main hall of the structure. We had been told it followed a standard STC pattern so it would be simple to navigate, at least thats what we thought. It was deserted, but it looked like it had happened instantly. Things were left lying about, like the people had just disappeared.
'Auspex shows nothing Sarge,' I heard Executor say, Sarge nodded and took his helmet off, he was quick to give orders out.
'Helmets off people, we need a clean sweep of the facility. Executor you and I'll take the dormitories. Longshot and Sunburst, take the mess hall. Once those are clear, head to the administration level. Go.'
We all split up quickly, Executor and Sarge went off down a hallway to the dormitory section while Longshot and I took the stairs to the mess hall. The hallways were just as deserted, it was like everyone had just up and left right in the middle of whatever they were doing. But the doors were sealed, had been sealed for a while judging from the dust on them.
Once we both got to the mess hall Longshot pulled out a scanner and ran it over the area in front of us. There was nobody here either, just old half-eaten meals strewn across tables covered in dust. The weird thing was subtle though, no flies. Normally insects get drawn to old food, but this place was dead and silent. Not a single thing alive in the room but me and Longshot.
'This place is dead too, what the hell happened to these people?,' I wondered, out loud. Longshot turned to look at me, puzzlement written on his face.
'I dont know Sunburst. I,' whatever he had been about to say was lost as something was knocked over. We both turned and saw something, it looked human, bolt through a door as soon as it had seen the both of us. It had knocked over a chair on its way out, betraying its position.
'Something moving!,' I shouted as I took off after it, I heard Longshot telling me to hold up but I was too caught up in the chase. I ran into a corridor and could see it ahead of me, it was pale and running fast but it was definitely human. I sprinted down the corridor and turned into a dead end, the thing right ahead of me. It just stood there, its back to me. It was wearing a miner uniform, tattered and torn. Its skin underneath was pale, like granite.
'Identify yourself, in the name of the Inquisition!,' I ordered. I quickly wished I hadn't. It turned around and I nearly vomited. Its skin was broken and cracked all over, boils and pus were dotted all over its chest and face. But the worst part was its eyes.. it had none. They had melted away, the burns around the empty eye sockets were proof enough. I froze, right as it screamed. It sounded like a horrific Daemon had reared up and wailed as the thing charged me, I quickly raised my Plasma Gun but a shot rang out and it dropped, a smoking hole where its forehead had been. Longshot was behind me, his weapon raised.
'You ok Sunburst?,' he asked. It took me a moment before I nodded. He was about to say something when there was a horrible screech, the same as the dead thing's scream. I turned around quickly and saw three of them advancing on us, but they were even worse. Their skin had turned green and necrotic, their guts hanging out of their stomachs and one of them had a horn sprouting from its forehead. And all of them had just one unblinking eye each, milky and weeping pus.
Longshot quickly fired at the horned one, taking it right in the eye which slowed it, for a moment before it kept coming. I raised my plasma gun, thumbed the ignition rune, felt the familiar rush of heat and fired. The three hostiles were grouped so close together that the blast fried them all, their remains melting together in a disgusting pile of smoking sludge. I was quiet for a moment, I could hear Longshot speaking into his vox, he was telling Sarge and Executor about the hostiles. The training had mentioned these things, they were Plague Zombies, people who had died from their sickness and been resurrected as foul mockeries of human life. I muttered a litany of protection and turned to check the corridor behind me. Longshot was gone. I hadn't heard or seen a thing, he had just disappeared. I raised Sarge on the vox.
'Sarge, Longshot's gone. One minute he was behind me, the next I don't know,' I said as quietly as I could. More of those things could be about and I didn't want to alert them.
'Damn it!, head to the administration level. Executor and I will meet you there,' he said, I could hear gunfire over the vox. Sounds like he had met the hostiles too. I took off quickly, not wanting to risk being taken as well. It hurt to leave Longshot but I had no clue where he was, or I didn't until I heard him scream. Concern for a comrade overriding my orders I rushed ahead, my sun gun at the ready, as I entered into a large walkway.
Underneath me was a horror that im surprised I didn't scream at. Hundreds of shambling zombies, all necrotic and disease-ridden were in a massive crowd, congregating around one huge figure. It looked like it was made out of twenty people, a gruesome mix of flesh. Its legs were like tree trunks of dying flesh, its arms just as thick but its claws were razor thin, it was hunched over and had a long neck with a tiny head missing the bottom of its jaw, and the flies, buzzing all around it, crawling in and out of the cracks in its flesh. And in front of it was Longshot, he had been grabbed and taken here pretty quickly, so fast I hadn't even heard anything. The brutish zombie roared and grabbed him, and it started tearing him apart piece by piece. I considered firing, just to stop him screaming but it wouldn't have done anything. I quickly prayed for his soul to find peace with the Emperor as I quietly moved on, heading back through the door and through the corridor to the elevator. All the while I could hear Longshot screaming, but once I got into the elevator it stopped and for a second I was relieved. When I turned around that quickly changed. The brutish zombie was at the end of the corridor, it had seen me leaving. Its beady eyes glared at me, like it was studying me. I pushed the elevator buttons as fast as I could, and as soon as I had moved my hand the massive brute screamed and charged at me, way too fast for something that size. The doors just closed in time as the elevator soared upwards.
My breath was fast, I thanked the Emperor the doors closed when they did otherwise it would have skewered me. I tried the vox but it was down, I was sweating. It was fear, something I hadn't felt for quite sometime.
'The Emperor Protects,' I muttered, feeling stronger already. As the doors of the elevator opened I was greeted by the faces of Sarge and Executor. I smiled, both of them had made it through though I noticed both had blood on their armour.
'Sunburst, good your here. We thought it was more of them,' Executor said, I sighed. 'Im fine... Longshot didn't make it though. One of those things, but massive, ripped him into pieces,' I explained. Executor looked sad but Sarge remained impassive as ever, he would deal with that afterwards like he always did.
'We need to access the main console in the administrator's office. With that date we can evacuate and inform the Inquisition, they'll purge this place and that'll be that,' he ordered. Executor and I quickly fell in and ran along with Sarge through the spacious office section. More Plague Zombies started coming out of the sealed doors, not so sealed anymore, but Sarge and Executor blasted them with their hellguns as soon as they came into sight. My Plasma Gun was quickly with them, a quick burst melting two zombies as they shambled into view.
Another burst took out three more, and a scream pierced the air. I turned to fire and saw the brute zombie, Executor pinned underneath it and its claws dug into his chest. It lifted him up and a long tongue shot out of its half-mouth and into Executor's face, his blood and brain splattered all over the wall. Knowing he was beyond help I fired a burst of plasma at the alpha zombie, for a moment I thought it was dead only for it to shamble forward, its skin blackened and charred, but essentially unharmed. My heart sank, the thing just wouldn't die. Sarge roared and charge forward, his hellgun on full-auto, blasting away at the thing's face. It raised a claw to shield itself and leapt forward, pinning Sarge beneath its weight as its half-jaw tore into his chest. His screams were the last thing I could take, I dropped my plasma gun and ran for it, right into the Administrator's office, the door sealing behind me. I stood against the door, Sarge's screaming still ringing in my ears. Through the tiny porthole I could see the huge zombie finish with Sarge, biting through his neck and then running off, where to I never knew.
It was over. I knew it was over. They were banging on the door, and eventually one of them would get through. I had no supplies, just my armour and my side-arm. But I at least could complete the mission, just not in the way anyone expected. I jumped over the desk and started hacking into the computer, an Inquisitorial override took care of the passwords and firewalls. I comprised a full report, along with the events that had taken place on this damned place. The banging still hadn't stopped, I could see dents in the door and I could hear the huge zombie again, clawing through the door. I had seconds at most. I compiled all the information into a data-transmission and started beaming it out, Inquisitorial ships patrolled this area frequently, someone would pick it up. Then I noticed the silence, something was very very wrong. A burst of heat melted the door, and the huge zombie stepped through the melted breach, carrying my plasma gun awkwardly in its clawed paw. It stared at me for a moment, and smiled maliciously, its half-jaw splitting into a horrific grin before it fired.
The last thing that Sunburst felt before he died was agony, and fear.