Quintus let the slightest sigh escape his lips and he watched the coldness of the air trace the outline of his breath. He could hear the rain pattering across what little remained of the building’s roof. He found it calming. The arrhythmic sound helped clear his thoughts in the remaining moments before his squad would strike. For three days, he and his fellow Eliminators waited inside one of the only buildings that still overlooked the city’s main roadway. Before the Tyranids landed in force and began reshaping the planet with their foul biology, the roadway bore the name “Petitioner's Lane.” But any petitioners who once walked these streets fled long ago or suffered worse fates at the hands of the city’s new occupants.
The Eliminator sergeant could hear the xenos moving below on the street. The telltale click of Tyranid claws on the shattered masonry set his teeth on edge. Their corruption offended him and he could feel sheer hate pulsing behind his eyes. For three days, Quintus’ squad had watched the aliens construct and grow their horrible breeding pools all across the city. Lesser forms, with the sheen of birthing fluid still coating their skin, streamed out of these organic factories constantly. The screeching never ceased. The enemy chittered and screamed of a victory that the Imperial Fists would soon deny them.
The largest of these breeding pools sat across the lane from their building. If the swarm required it, the pool could create massive creatures capable of matching a tank in size and firepower. Quintus and his men knew this from their briefing before deploying three days ago. The briefing where the Captain of the Fifth asked that they bear the indignity of waiting inside an occupied city, watching the foe corrupt it, and not firing a single shot until a high value target revealed itself. Miserable work by the standards of any warrior. But Squad Quintus obeyed and waited. They waited for the thunder.
Then the thunder came. And the sky opened.
Thunderhawk Gunships in the bright yellow livery of the Imperial Fists appeared suddenly through the clouds and rushed towards the ground. Smaller craft danced in front of them and rained death down on the flying Tyranid forms that swarmed up towards them. The Eliminators watched their brothers descend to the planet wreathed in steel and with their colors born proudly. Quintus kept his misgivings to himself and turned back towards the Tyranid pool.
The surface of the pool began bubbling with gestation and Quintus motioned for his two brothers. The knelt on either side of him, las fusils at the ready and steadied on the broken windows that looked out across the lane. Something massive took shape in the alien structure below them. Even in a half-formed state, Quintus could tell that the creature could easily crush an Astartes underfoot with its sheer weight. A pulsating cannon formed along the creature’s spine and it gave an ear-splitting roar of pain as the hive mind of the Tyranids spontaneously rewrote its genetic makeup.
Quintus motioned the word for “wait” in battle-sign. His hands tensed as he did so. After three days, condemning his brothers to waiting for even another second felt like cruelty of the highest order. But as the beast below emerged from the fluid that birthed it, Quintus finally loosed his hand and pointed directly at the Tyranid monstrosity. At this command, the two Eliminators beside him opened up with a volley of shots from their las fusils. Beams of white-hot energy sprang forth from the barrels of their guns and punctured the newborn creature faster than the eye could track. The beams both penetrated and cooked the Tyranid. Quintus watched with no small satisfaction as the beast’s many eyes began to boil and then burst from the las fusils’ heat. It made one last whimper of pain and then fell to the ground with a thud.
The comm unit in Quintus’ ear buzzed with static for a moment before a voice commenced speaking.
“You did well, brothers. We have landed. Regroup with us at the main gate to the city. The Tyranids’ infection ends here.”
At those words, Quintus felt his muscles relax. The tension of the three-day wait left him at the knowledge that his brothers safely made planetfall. He released another quiet sigh as his brothers ritualistically checked their weapons. After they finished their inspections, Quintus motioned towards his two fellow Eliminators and they all began the long walk down towards the Petitioner’s Lane.
Edited by Son of Carnelian, 06 April 2021 - 05:17 AM.