The Thunderhawk banked sharply, skimming low through the plascrete canyons of the wrecked hive. Jarrett increased the magnetic pull of his boots, anchoring himself more firmly to the deck as it tilted under him, and looked around the crowded compartment. Thirty marines, each clad in the black and red of the Legio Bolter and Chainsword murmured their final prayers and readied their weapons for planetfall. Marines from some of the most famous chapters in the galaxy, the Salamanders, Imperial Fists and Raven Guard stood shoulder to shoulder, each proudly displaying their heritage on their right shoulder pauldron.
Across the compartment a young marine bearing the heraldry of the Brazen Claws was conferring with Diffido, formerly of the Exorcists Chapter. The Brazen Claw glanced up, met Jarrett's gaze and nodded. Jarrett returned the nod, but couldn't shake the unease he felt about the Exorcist. Diffido's armour bore arcane hexagrams and runes that disturbed Jarrett in ways he couldn't explain. He'd heard rumours of the chapter's strange practices - they all had - and he couldn't help but feel worried about dropping on a Chaos controlled planet with a marine who seemed so close to heresy himself. Jarrett shook his head, and braced himself as the pilot gave the ten second warning.
The Thunderhawk settled in the shadow of a desecrated temple to the Emperor, at the edge of an open plaza. Jarrett leaped from the ramp, his boots kicking up dust as he ran after Sergeant Castor. He skidded to a halt behind a shattered pillar and scanned the square. As the rest of the squad took up positions around him, a mob of chaos marines in burgundy armour burst from an archway and sprinted towards the Gunship, bolters spitting fire. As Jarrett raised his weapon, an icon flashed in front of his eyes and he whirled to see traitors flooding the square from every direction.
Glancing towards the Thunderhawk, Jarrett saw the first group of traitors reach the access ramp, only to be repelled by a counter-charge led by the Brazen Claw, Rhadamanthys. The young marine fought calmly and coolly, wielding his chainsword in both hands, the weapon a blur as he pushed back the burgundy armoured chaos marines. Turning away, Jarrett racked the under-slung grenade launcher that jutted from his antique boltgun and fired a krak grenade towards a squad of traitors entrenched behind a fallen pillar. The grenade flew high over the traitor position, impacting against the base of the temple wall behind them and detonating with a sharp report. Castor's voice buzzed from the vox bead in Jarrett's ear
"Emperor's teeth, Jarrett, at least hit the enemy…"
The wall of the temple, weakened by Jarrett's grenade, slowly collapsed on top of the traitor squad burying them in plascrete and mortar. Jarrett smiled as the cloud of dust rose into the sky and turned to assess the situation.
The black clad Legio marines had formed a loose ring around the Thunderhawk, holding back the tide of Chaos marines and cultists that flooded into the plaza from every corner. The Heavy Bolters on the Gunship opened fire, raking the hordes of traitors with explosive shells. A deep rumbling echoed around the square as a Land Raider encrusted with skulls and leering daemonic faces powered through a ruined wall, crushing corpses beneath its cleated tracks. The twin Lascannon lanced out, striking the Thunderhawk's starboard engine, and raking along the hull towards the cockpit. The beams of coherent light flared as they struck the reinforced plasglass screen, then the cockpit exploded with a blinding flash as the lasers penetrated the protective shielding…