In the interest of cleaning this up a bit, I'm condensing all the stories here:
Bogdan heard it first. With a shriek, a gunship dropped out of the thick morning haze
hanging over the battlefield. The shriek became a roar as its vectored thrust engines
kicked to life and stabilized it into a hover which drowned out his warning to the other
troopers in the entrenchment. It tilted slightly, shifting right and the twin underslung
rotary cannons spun to life, methodically stitching fire along the length of the fortification.
Bogdan threw himself to the ground and scrambled on his elbows and knees towards
the closest bunker. He was splattered with gore as the stubber gunner Yaro's torso
came apart. Dirt and pulverized rock pelted him from the opposite direction as the back
wall of the trench was chewed up by the fusillade. His vision, already limited by the
eyelets of his respirator mask, tunneled down to the salvation of the bunker's entrance,
and he barely noticed as he crawled over the shattered and pulped bodies of his
squadmates. Then, as quickly as it had come, the gunship's engines spooled up again
and it shrieked off. The cacophony had left his ears ringing, and he couldn't hear
anything except the dull scraping of his body against the ground and the heaving breaths
inside his mask.
But then he felt them. A rumbling series of soft thuds that were definitely not his heartbeat.
He rolled over onto his back, pushing himself halfway up to lean against a sandbag
which had toppled to the ground against the revetment, and saw the first of the Space
Marines vault into the trench. Their armor was a dark blue, with black arms and a black
chest plate which sported a dull silver eagle across it. A head taller than the tallest man
he'd ever known, the Space Marines were massive. And they had come out of nowhere.
Had a transport landed under the cover of the gunship? Bogdan froze, his eyes wide as
he watched them move. The closest one was coming towards him. Emblazoned across a
banner on its shoulder armor in Low Gothic scrawl was the word “Punish.” Horrifically, it
stomped down on the head of Radomir, who had been trying weakly to pull himself along
the floor of the trench, his left arm missing just above the elbow. Radomir's head
disappeared under the massive boot, and Bogdan could only see the blood and gore
which splashed out above another corpse which had mercifully blocked his view of the
carnage. But he could feel the force of the boot as it connected with the solid ground of the
It looked at him, and he knew he was about to die. Bogdan's mouth opened and closed
without a sound as the towering warrior moved towards him. It was only then that he spotted
the two wicked looking blades attached to its thighs. Sword sized blades that the Marine
carried as if they were just knives. Its left hand reached across its body to draw one of them
as it approached.
With guttural cries which sounded muffled and far away to his damaged ears, several of his
fellows charged out of the bunker, Wenzel streaming ignited promethium at the Marines with
his flamer. However, the approaching Marine ignored the gout of fire, charging straight into
them, burying the blade into Wenzel's gut. It pierced all the way through him and Wenzel's
mouth opened up as if to scream, but instead only fountained blood. The Marine dropped the
massive bolt rifle to its side, right hand flashing down even as flames licked across its arm, to
seize the other blade, which glinted with an otherworldly sheen. It was slightly curved and of a
manufacture Bogdan had never seen before. The Marine's left arm swung around in an outward
arc, the inertia tearing Wenzel's body free of the blade, nearly bisecting him in the process and
scattering blood and entrails. The body bounced off the side of the trench, contorting
gruesomely around the massive wound as it fell to the ground. Almost simultaneously, as
another soldier's point blank las fire scored the armor on the Marine's chest, a sweeping
backhand slash with its right arm sent that soldier pirouetting to the ground, his rib cage opened
up from armpit to armpit, and arm partially severed. The right side of the Marine's torso was on
fire, and yet it seemed to pay the flames no heed. The third trooper was caught by a downward
stroke from the Marine's left blade, driving him to his knees, chest cleft to the nipple. The Marine
ducked into the bunker, and out of Bogdan's view. He was all alone.
As the kneeling trooper toppled into his lap, Bogdan recognized him as Cibor, and could feel the
man's lifeblood pumping out to soak through his trousers. A second Marine, his armor charred by
fire but no longer ablaze, looked down at him, and clomped right past to follow the first. Then a
third. His ears were still ringing, but he could feel the reports of gunfire and explosive impacts he
could only assume were the Marines firing their bolters. There were only two Marines left in the
trench. They were both on one knee, one studying some kind of picter mounted on its left arm.
Bogdan's eyes darted around. Even if he could will his limbs to move, the only weapon in reach
was Cibor's lasgun, but it was pinned underneath his body. The two Marines rose to their feet,
and walked in his direction. The first moved past him, and Bogdan's heart raced. They hadn't
noticed him. He was going to live.
The last Marine swerved only a half a step toward him, and a deep, tinny voice emerged from the
vox caster on the front of its scowling faceplate.
The Marine's left boot caved in Bogdan's chest, striking the right side below the plane of the heart
and lifting him up. Air was forced out of his mouth, mixed with blood in a gust of reddish froth, and
none rushed in to replace it. Bogdan slumped back down, suffocating as his lungs refused to work.
He blinked a few times, mouth agape and leaking blood. He stared numbly at the dancing flames
atop the corpse of one of his friends which had been set alight by Wenzel's flamer, his vision slowly blurring.
* * *
They found the Minotaurs sergeant lying near a tangle of mutilated bodies.
It had been a vicious and brutal close quarters fight. Stretched out around
the large dugout were the bodies of Night Lords renegades and cultists alike.
Inside the fighting position itself, the ground was a mess of severed limbs,
rent bodies, and spilled innards. Though his helmet's filters kept out the
smell, Veteran Marcus knew it must be awful. Discarded and empty weapons
lay strewn about, suggesting that the final confrontation had been a
whirlwind of blades and rifle butts. Three of the Minotaur's battle brothers
lay unmoving amidst the carnage. Apothecary Tulio knelt down to check
them for vitals. His vox silence told Marcus everything he needed to know.
The sergeant stirred, looking up at them. Marcus turned back to Tulio and
motioned with his head. “Get him on his feet.” Tulio worked diligently,
patching his narthecium into the suit's receptors, and working to identify the
sergeant's most grievous wounds and push the proper stims to render him
combat effective. Tulio was feeding the Minotaur's suit vitals to Marcus over
the squad comms. The physiology of a Space Marine was extremely resilient,
but it would still take some weeks before he would be at 100%. However,
within a few minutes, Tulio was helping the Minotaur up, his system pumped
full of combat drugs.
From behind his helmet, the Minotaur's voice projected from the vox emitter.
“Thank you brothers.”
The Invectors stood silent. The Minotaur continued. “I am Veteran Sergeant
Korragos. I am in your debt. Let me join you in taking the fight to what's left of
this rabble.” He moved to retrieve a bolter that was lying amidst the bodies,
but was stopped by Veteran Kester. He attempted to move around the
Invector, who moved again to block him.
“What is the meaning of this?” The Minotaur's voice was inflected with a
Marcus looked to Veteran Arctos. “Arctos. Your blade.” Arctos drew the short
sword which was clamped to his pack behind his left shoulder, and tossed it to
Korragos, who caught it reflexively. Marcus turned to Tulio, calmly handing him
his boltgun, and then his bolt pistol. He then turned back to Korragos, and
drew his own blade. The other Marines stepped backwards to form a ring
around the two combatants.
“Traitors.” The Minotaur hefted the blade, assuming a fighting stance. Marcus
dropped into one of his own, but said nothing in reply. The two began to circle.
Korragos lunged, expertly striking at Marcus, who just as expertly parried the
attacks and moved out of the way. Korragos whirled back around.
“I will cut both of your hearts out.” The Minotaur struck at Marcus again, who
again deflected the blows, before delivering a short kick to his opponent's
thigh, staggering him. Korragos brought the combat blade around in a
sweeping arc, but Marcus was already gone.
They clashed again, Marcus catching the Minotaur's blade, and sliding it flat
to lock them guard to guard. The Minotaur tried to loop an overhand punch
at his helmet, but Marcus stepped back, sweeping around and the punch
landed flush against his power pack with a dull thud. Marcus shifted his arm
up to catch the fist between his collar and the pauldron before the Minotaur
could retract it. Taking advantage of Korragos's momentary surprise, Marcus
threw an elbow which rebounded off of the Minotaur's helmet, before
Korragos was able to wrench his fist free and separate himself. The Minotaur
was slow. This was almost too easy. Almost.
Korragos wasn't done yet though. “What did the dark gods promise you?
What did it take to turn your back on your vows, your brothers, and your
Emperor, traitor?” The Minotaur swung at him again, but he was a fraction too
slow, and Marcus moved inside the strike, catching it forearm to forearm.
The Invector drove two quick, short fists into Korragos's helmeted face, rocking
his head back. The Minotaur staggered, and Marcus kicked his legs out from
under him. The Minotaur dropped hard, but recovered quickly, rolling to avoid
a downward strike that never came. Instead, Marcus simply watched him roll
away and come up to one knee defensively. Realizing there was no follow-on
attack coming, Korragos stood. But he seemed to know he was fading.
“If I were not so gravely wounded, I would destroy you, coward. Your victory is
“I've given you every chance you gave the Inceptors at Euxcine.”
The Minotaur said nothing, but the slightest flinch betrayed recognition. For
a few moments, the two Space Marines stood silently. Suddenly, the Minotaur
whirled, bringing his blade down on Kester. But the Invector veteran was
faster, deflecting the strike with his boltgun, and kicking at Korragos, who
leaped backwards out of the way.
In a sweeping cut, Marcus hacked through the soft armor behind the Minotaur's
right knee, severing the posterior ligaments. Korragos staggered, falling to a
knee, and Marcus looped the sword back around and down onto his wrist. The
blade bit deep into the Minotaur sergeant's flesh and bone, and he dropped
his weapon. Marcus gripped the Minotaur's pack with his left hand, wrenching
him around violently. The Invector struck him on the forehead with the pommel
of the blade, and delivered a kick that sent Korragos to sprawl on his back.
With a sweep of his boot, Marcus kicked the Minotaur's borrowed blade aside,
where it was picked up by Maro. Marcus walked over to Tulio, and retrieved
his bolt pistol. He turned back to where Korragos was sitting, having pushed
himself up with his one good hand. Their duel had trampled bodies and
entrails into the dirt, churning parts of it into a foul reddish brown paste which
now streaked the fallen Minotaur's armor.
Without a word, Marcus shot him in the neck. The bolt round punched through
the layered mesh of the soft armor, and into the Minotaur's throat, where it
detonated, pulping the airway and fracturing his spine. The Invector
re-holstered the stubby pistol as he approached the twitching Minotaur
sergeant. Kneeling down, he carefully disconnected the seals on the bronze
helmet, and lifted it gently off of his head. Korragos was not dead yet, his
superhuman physiology fighting to overcome even such an obviously mortal
injury, and his face was still contorted in rage. Through the dull black lenses
of his helmet, Marcus looked down into the Minotaur's eyes, a vicious smile
hidden behind his scowling faceplate.
“Burn the bodies. All of them. Their genetic legacy ends here.”
* * *
To: Inquistor Ydron
From: Inquisitor-Acolyte Trelka
Subject: Investigation into the power projection of Adeptus Astartes Chapter Invectors
Thought for the Day: Fulfilled is the heart bereft of doubt.
++ Following up on rumors of the unauthorized use of supplemental offensive forces by the Invectors Chapter, my team arrived in orbit of Zaertus Prime. Under the auspices of emergency repairs, we arranged to rendezvous with Task Force Hallogan and boarded the Admiral's flagship, the Exorcist-class attack carrier Magdan's Resolve. It was a rather small vessel to be at the head of such a fleet, however the nature of the xenos threat on Zaertus seems have dictated the need for its extensive complement of attack craft. The early stages of the Zaertus campaign have not gone well, by all accounts, and Admiral Hallogan seemed concerned I was there to investigate him. Reception was, to say the least, cold, and it took me some time to gain proper access to the ship's facilities I would require for my investigation.
By the Emperor's grace, our quick efforts to act had been rewarded. The Invectors forces had not yet arrived in system and we would be able to observe their actions and disposition from the beginning. When the Invectors strike force finally did translate into system, we noted that their fleet was far larger than would normally be required of a single reinforced company of Marines. While the compositions of Space Marine battlefleets are often unorthodox, typically due to the nature of legitimate seizure of prize vessels to replace lost fleet assets, this immediately struck me as noteworthy. I was not granted access to the debriefing between the Admiral and the Invectors command staff, but one of my acolytes was able to infiltrate the landing bay when the Thunderhawk transport arrived with the Invectors delegation. He observed several uniformed humans accompanying Captain Tyrus of 4th Company, Invectors, wearing dress uniforms of unknown origin. While I am unable to substantiate this, it is my belief they were the senior commanders of the Invectors own sector fleet and planetary defense forces, which would explain the larger than normal fleet and be authorized only within the confines of the Cersean sub-sector.
Despite any question as to the identity of the attachés, what we later observed was the deployment of mixed-type transport craft to the surface of Zaertus Prime, and the back and forth orbit to surface movement of both identified and unidentified strike craft outside the templates of standard Adeptus Astartes hull classifications. Our cover here is beginning to wear thin, and I fear that if our presence is revealed inadvertently, it may cause the Invectors to withdraw from the system or divide their space assets to obfuscate any wrongdoing as they have in the past. Please advise.++
To: Inquisitor-Acolyte Trelka
From: Inquistor Ydron
Subject: Investigation into the power projection of Adeptus Astartes Chapter Invectors
Thought for the Day: Fury is a weapon best wielded with temperance.
++Excellent work Inquistor-Acolyte. Await my arrival in system. If you are able to deploy any of your acolytes to the surface to observe the maneuvers of the Invectors, do so. If that will compromise your presence, then remain aboard the Magdan's Resolve and continue to monitor movements and transmissions from orbit. ++
To: High Admiral PragolisFrom: Admiral Gerol Hallogan, Battlegroup ZaertusDate: 381.786.M38Subject: Loss of Inquisitorial Agent on Zaertus PrimeThought for the Day: Through Sacrifice is the Emperor's Will Maintained.
++I feel it of importance to report the disappearance of Inquistor Ydron, whose arrival I had reported in my last status update. The Inquistor never revealed the nature of his mission on the surface of Zaertus Prime, and had filed a flight plan and landing clearance requests to rendezvous with our ground commanders working with the Adeptus Astartes forces of the Invectors Chapter. Colonel Golgan of the 131st Borodian reported no contact with Inquistor Ydron. Captain Tyrus of 4th Company, Invectors, likewise reported no contact with the Inquisitor. I sent scout craft to survey the Inquistor's projected flight path for signs of wreckage or emergency landing, but no such evidence was found. Given the state of the surface at this point in the campaign, it may be impossible to accurately differentiate the Inquisitor's lander from any of the other destroyed and discarded war material. I am unsure of how to properly notify the Ordos, and defer to your judgment in this matter.
In better news, I am happy to report that prognosticators have judged the campaign will be brought to a close within months, if not weeks.++
Edited by Veteran Sergeant, 28 February 2016 - 08:50 PM.