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Legio Counterstrike Story & Batreps (Part 1)


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#1
Brother Tyler

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+++ INCOMING MESSAGE +++
+++ DECRYPT CYPHERS ORDER ACCEPTED +++
+++ PRIORITY ALPHA-1 +++

TRANSMITTED: Purgator
RECEIVED: Spear of Justice, Euboros Orbit
DATE: 999.M41
TELEPATHIC DUCT: Astropath-terminus Takuan
SUBJECT: Immediate change to mission orders of Legio Supremacy Force, Brother-Captain Ænides commanding
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Let those who oppose the Emperor's vision suffer our wrath.
  • Picket duties terminate 999.M41.
  • Spear of Justice to deploy to Amdas system, Segmentum Obscurus.
  • Spear of Justice to intercept and disable traitor vessel in Amdas system.
  • Force Ænides to board traitor vessel and capture target designated Tomax Hell. All other renegades aboard vessel to be eradicated.
  • Traitor vessel to be scuttled.
  • Traitor vessel may be in contact with pirates in system. Force Ænides to report on any pirate activity and forces in Amdas system.
  • Spear of Justice to rendezvous with Purgator
Target Designated Tomax Hell involved in recent incidents involving Divine Hunter and Alcmene. Target originally member of [+++Deleted+++] Legion. Target priority level magenta rho. Enforce containment measures alpha alpha psi.

#2
Brother Tyler

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Flashback – 3 months

In the dark days of the Thirteenth Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler, the Legio suffered grievous losses. As the fighting waned and the long-term battle lines were drawn, the Legio dispatched three strike cruisers with the gene-seed of the fallen. By ancient compact with the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, the Legio was obligated to return the gene-seed of each battle-brother to his parent Chapter so that a replacement could be provided for the Legio. In this way, the Chapters and the Legio ensured their continued survival, for each Chapter prized the gene-seed necessary to create new Space Marines and the Legio was dependent upon the Chapters for battle-brothers to bolster its ranks. Among the vessels was the Sword of Fury, commanded by Brother Captain Gensian. This mission was to be the 250-year old Captain’s last mission.

As the
Sword of Fury re-entered real-space en route to the homeworld of the Tigers Argent, renegade Space Marines attacked. Like the few battle-brothers of the Legio aboard the Sword of Fury, the renegades bore the heraldry of various Chapters. Each of the renegades, however, had profaned his Chapter badge, obscuring the honorable badge beneath a rudely scrawled crimson “x” – Red Corsairs. Vicious fighting ensued, and though the renegades struck a dolorous blow when their leader felled Brother Captain Gensian, the battle-brothers of the Legio successfully repelled the attack.

While the Red Corsairs severely damaged the
Sword of Fury in the initial attack, the Legio strike cruiser was able to cripple one of the two attacking vessels. As the Red Corsairs fled in the remaining vessel, Legio Techmarines were able to quarantine the enemy ship while they performed the rituals necessary to return the Sword of Fury to full operation. When the battle barge Venator arrived, elite boarding parties penetrated the renegade vessel. Although most of the ship’s crew had been killed in the initial engagement, one traitor Space Marine was found alive. Barely. Unlike the renegades who had boarded the Sword of Fury, however, this survivor bore no profane markings upon his armour. Instead, his deep red armour bore two markings that betrayed his allegiance. The first was the stylized bionic skull and cog of a Techmarine. The second was a corrupted silver clawed hand. The surviving renegade was a Techmarine of the Astral Claws.

The renegade was returned to the Legio’s secret base for interrogation.

The methods of interrogation used by the Holy Orders of the Emperor’s Inquisition range from the subtle to the excruciating.

The renegade was identified as Rhendt

Reeling from the effects of Abaddon’s latest black crusade, there was no subtlety whatsoever in the series of interrogations the renegade Space Marine underwent. Various members and associates of the Legio participated in the battery of interrogations, including Chief Librarian Magursk, Epistolaries Van and Epheries, Inquisitor Boran, and Interrogator Urion.

Although the renegade did not survive the interrogations, the intelligence gained proved of grave consequence.


+++Transcript Begins+++

Renegade (R ): [subject screams]…Huron was right to…[subject screams as Interrogator Urion activates pain glove for thirty seconds]…[subject unconscious for two minutes twenty-three seconds following deactivation of pain glove]
Interrogator Urien (IU): Your allegiance to the Tyrant of Badab is not in question, renegade.
R: [expletive deleted]…[subject screams as IU activates pain glove for five seconds]…[subject pants]
IU: That will be enough of that.
R: [expletive deleted]…[subject screams as IU activates pain glove for ten seconds]
IU: Are you finished?
R: [subject pants]
IU: Very well, then. Where is the hidden base from which your vessels attacked?
R: [subject remains silent]…[subject screams]…[subject expires]

Chief Librarian Magursk (CLM): I saw it in his mind before he willed himself to die. It was the Amdas system.
IU: The fifth planet?
CLM: No, the asteroid belt.
IU: Ah…my master was wrong, then. Amdas is a far cry from the Maelstrom, though. It is intriguing that Huron’s forces have expanded so far. The base is also less than a week’s travel from Antioc, too. Could it be that they are in league with the traitors upon that lost forge world?
CLM: It would seem so. The renegades have made a mistake, though. While a hidden base in an asteroid belt will be more difficult to detect than on the planet, it will be easier to infiltrate. They’ve sacrificed defense for detection.
IU: We must inform your superiors at once. Servitors, remove this at once and have it destroyed.

+++Transcript Ends+++

#3
Brother Tyler

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The Warp. Home of Mankind's most dangerous foes, yet key to Mankind's ability to spread across the galaxy.

The irony never failed to amuse Promius, Navigator of the Roarx Family and currently in service with the Legio strike cruiser Spear of Justice. Sequestered within his private quarters aboard the combat vessel, he moved the ship closer to its target, the remote system of Amdas.

Promius would never be confused for one of the Adeptus Astartes. He came no higher than the abdomen of a Space Marine. His five-foot frame was thin and wiry, with long delicate fingers and aquiline features that appeared almost regal. Though he was a mere fifty decades old, his face was a network of wrinkles. His unkempt hair was a shock of snow white - another of the effects of prolonged exposure to the Warp. His navigator's eye, normally covered so as to protect others, was now exposed so that he could See.

A casual passerby might think that the Navigator was meditating, seated as he was on the divan in his room. If the witness looked more closely, though, he would see the beads of sweat upon Promius' body and the frequent twitching of various muscles. Those with some level of the psychic curse might hear a buzzing within their heads as the ebb and flow of the Warp was melded to the Navigator's purpose. At the very least, a passerby with no psychic ability would feel an unexplainable pressure. Yet no chance for unwanted witnesses could be taken - the Navigators Warp eye, centered in his forehead, would instantly kill any other who looked upon it.

Promius could feel the presence of Warp entities outside the Spear of Justice. The Warp was also known as the Sea of Souls, for it was alive and crawling with beings. These weren't physical beings as men, but were composed of energy and emotion. They fed upon the emotions of men, and for this reason the ship was heavily shielded. The librarians of the Legio, two of whom were aboard the ship, had erected wards to obscure the presence of the ship as it moved through the Warp. Even now, one of those librarians was in another part of the ship, fortifying those wards.

The Navigator would have laughed if he hadn't been so focused on his efforts - Mankind hated and reviled psykers, yet was dependant upon those with the curse. Even the God-Emperor of Mankind was a psyker - the most powerful ever. It was the psychic emanations of the nameless God-Emperor that projected across the galaxy, providing a beacon by which the Navigators could move through the Warp and help Mankind.

Just then, Promius detected the proximity of the Amdas system. There. It wouldn't be long before the ship re-entered the reality of the galaxy, leaving the mutability of the Warp behind and giving the Navigator some respite. The Spear of Justice had been within the Warp for over a week, traveling toward Amdas on its mission. Elsewhere about the ship Space Marines were preparing for the attack. Servitors went about their routines, ensuring that the ship was clean, weapons loaded, and the other sundry tasks were taken care of.

In the mind of one of the Servitors something began to take hold. The Servitor had once had its own personality, but had been mindwiped and relegated to pure servitude. While its mind had been wiped clean, though, something remained. This small vestige of its previous being had long been growing, for the Servitor had once been of strong willpower. Now, though, this will was awakening within the fastness of the Warp. As the sounds of the ship moving through the Empyrean assailed all aboard, the Servitor began to feel doubt. Within that doubt, the seeds of its destruction were sown...

#4
Brother Tyler

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As the Spear of Justice prepared to cross the boundary between the Immaterium and reality, the battle-brothers of the Legio gathered within the strike cruiser's chapel. Under the guidance of the battle-chaplain, the Space Marines recited the Litany of Hate and focused their intent on the mission to come. As Chaplain Muritano, formerly of the Rampagers Chapter, completed the recitation and the echoes of the collected Space Marines' intonations receded, Brother-Captain Ænides stepped forward. Gathered before him were all of the Legio battle-brothers aboard the vessel, except for Epistolary Hammil who was occupied with the augmentation of the ship's wards as it navigated the Warp.

Having served the Emperor as one of His Adeptus Astartes for almost two centuries, Ænides features were marked with the scars of battle. Over half of his skull was augmetic, the result of three different battles in which he had suffered significant damage to his head. Within his forehead were two servitude studs - one a bronze skull and the other a cerulean saltire, indicating his years of service within his parent Chapter and the Legio. His right eye had been replaced long ago. Now an unblinking crimson augmetic eye peered out from beneath the captain's heavy brow. Patches of discolored skin surrounded the augmetics, marks of honor where his flesh had suffered in the service of the Emperor. The brother-captain's armor bore various honors, prominent among these the stylized I earned after leading an Inquisitorial strike force. This symbol was surmounted by golden filigreed wings, all upon the neck guard of his Errant armor. Various seals and litanies decorated his armor, testimony to his purity and zeal. The badge of his parent Chapter decorated his right pauldron, a golden eagle wing upon a scarlet field - Brother-Captain Ænides had been inducted into the Emperor's Hawks Chapter before being recruited into the Legio.

The Captain's single organic eye scanned the battle-brothers arrayed before him as the augmetic eye strobed rhythmically. Most of these men had served with him in the battles against the forces of the heretic Warmaster, Horus. Some had been recent replacements, either transferred to the Spear of Justice from other Legio vessels or inducted into the Legio following the black crusade. Regardless, Ænides knew each to be an experienced battle-brother, for the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes sent only veterans to the Legio. As a servo skull projected a holographic image within the center of the chapel, the Captain's voice addressed his men, the tinny vox-caster amplified through the podium and channeled throughout the chapel.

"Brothers, we will face renegades."

This surprised none of the gathered battle-brothers, especially in light of the recent battles against the forces of Chaos within the Cadian Gate. Disciplined and professional, there was none of the murmuring that such an announcement would have elicited had the audience been the Imperial Guard.

The image of an asteroid field had taken form within the room. Some of the asteroids were small planetoids, while most were merely tiny rocks floating within the void, trapped within the combined gravitational fields of the larger asteroids and the star around which the entire belt rotated. Ænides continued.

"Red Corsairs have established a base here."

The servitor projected a mark upon one of the larger rocks. The surface of the asteroid was pitted and irregular. An Emperor class battleship could fit within two of the larger canyons portrayed by the hologram.

"This base is far outside the normal territories plagued by the forces of Huron Blackheart. We believe that it is a forward staging base for Antioc."

At this pronouncement, Ænides could see several of the veterans within the room harden their expressions. The Spear of Justice had been preparing for an assault on the fallen forge world of Antioc before the forces of Chaos vomited forth from the Eye of Terror. The Legio's plans for that world had been post-poned due to the dire threat posed by the latest black crusade.

"Intelligence also points to the presence of the Warmaster Tomax Hell upon this base."

Ænides didn't have to look to know who it was who uttered a curse at the mention of that traitor's name.

"Squads Golgotha and Domadeus will have the honor of disabling the external defenses of the base while the Spear of Justice engages the Red Corsairs' fleet. While the Corsairs have usually employed smaller fleets in normal pirate activities, prudence demands that a forward staging base will have additional vessels to support logistical demands. Squads Anak and Vrenhalian will stand by for boarding party action, and the remaining squads will be prepared to drop onto the asteroid and kill the enemy.

"We will capture any traitors not of the Red Corsairs. Epistolary Chang will lead the team engaged with Tomax Hell. Additionally, any renegade Techmarines will be captured so that they can be interrogated concerning the reinforcement of Antioc and disposition of that world's defenses.

"Are there any questions?"

There weren't. Ænides could see the resolve in the eyes of the Space Marines as they steeled themselves for the battle ahead.

"Very well. Squads Golgotha and Domadeus, prepare to drop via grav chutes upon these asteroids here and here." The servitor projected markers upon two asteroids close to the objective.

"The mission will commence five minutes after entering realspace."

#5
Brother Tyler

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Brother-Captain Ænides gave the command to exit the Warp as his ship approached the Amdas system. A bell tolled throughout the ship as the Spear of Justice prepared to leave the Sea of Souls and re-enter realspace. All across the vessel serfs assumed positions of safety while the Space Marines of the Legio assumed battle stations. Squads Golgotha and Domadeus embarked aboard the boarding torpedoes that would deliver them to the target, enabling the squads to cripple the Red Corsairs' defenses so that the assault elements could penetrate the base and capture the objective. Sergeants Golgotha and Domadeus had each performed final checks, invoking the Litanies of Hate under the watchful supervision of the Battle-Chaplain.

Elsewhere aboard the vessel, a mote flickered in Codicier Corona's consciousness. Something was amiss. As the librarian dedicated the major portion of his psychic power to maintaining the wards that protected the Spear of Justice from infernal attack, a part of his mind sought out the fragment of corruption that he had detected. Chaotic influence at this juncture could be disastrous. Meanwhile, his mind reached out and informed his comrade, Epistolary Chang, of the anomaly his gift had detected.

The Servitor's mind suddenly blossomed into a barrage of light as he at last succumbed to the voice within his head. Interrupting the task it had been performing, loading ammunition onto a Thunderhawk gunship, the Servitor's eyes suddenly glowed with awareness. A daemonic presence owned the Servitor's body now. The air in the hangar suddenly dropped two degrees in temperature and the possessed Servitor began to drool and mouth blasphemous sounds not meant to emanate from human vocal chords. The Servitor dropped the payload of ammunition it had been carrying, heedless of the damage that could be done had the weapon been armed. The daemonic presence inside looked around the hangar, searching for something to kill. Epistolary Chang, resplendant in azure power armour and armed with a glowing force axe, moved down the ramp of the gunship, searching for the daemonic presence that filled his awareness. Simultaneously the two adversaries saw each other. As the possessed Servitor screamed incoherently and began to run toward its opponent, the libarian gathered his psychic power about him, force weapon glowing as psychic lightning coruscated along the length of the heavy blade.

Promius could feel the silence as the Spear of Justice exited the Warp and he sighed as the chittering of daemonic awareness scratching at the hull of his ship faded to silence. He instantly became aware of the build up of psychic energy within the hangar, his navigator's mind sensing the energy and fearing the power each opponent wielded.

All at once warning klaxons wailed aboard the Spear of Justice.

"Report!" bellowed Brother-Captain Ænides.

"Enemy ship 850 meters off starboard," voiced one of the Servitors hardwired into the ship's sensors aboard the bridge. "Long range auspex also reveals a fleet over twice the size estimated by Intelligence. Two of the vessels are Strike Cruisers."

Ænides mouthed an obscenity at the news. His razor sharp mind immediately kicked into action, determining the proper response and voicing his command without any conscious thought. "Conn, get us closer to that enemy ship. Starboard weapons battery, prepare to fire."

The Herald of Gideon had once been a freighter moving cargo between the Imperial systems of Kharnak and Bosphorus. The vessel had fallen prey to the Red Corsairs, though, and now served as a picket ship helping the defend the space around the Red Corsairs' base in the Amdas system. As the ship's corrupted psyker cried out in alarm, the enemy strike cruiser suddenly exited the Warp to Port. Crewed by human pirates with only a handful of Red Corsairs aboard, the Herald of Gideon never had a chance. The tainted psyker sent out a warning to the base as soon as she felt the presence of the Imperial ship.

"Fire!" ordered Brother-Captain Ænides. The starboard batteries of the Spear of Justice unleashed a torrent of firepower on the traitor vessel, ripping it asunder as its shields failed and the weapons ripped into the superstructure of the vessel.

Ducking beneath a scything swing of the Servitor's servo-arm, Epistolary Chang brought his force axe up into the abdomen of his assailant. As the blade tore into the Servitor's body, Chang focused his mind's power into the crystalline matrix that permeated the axe. The nascent daemon bellowed in rage as it felt its tenuous hold on the frail physical frame it possessed disintegrate under the psychic assault of the Space Mairne librarian.

"So much for the element of surprise," said the Brother-Captain. "Squads Golgotha and Domadeus, prepare to deploy. There has been a change in plans. You will now be sent to the nearest asteroid, designated Theta Fifty-Four. The Spear of Justice will draw the traitors out and you will then vector to the target asteroid. Disable the base's defenses. If able, be prepared to enter the base and achieve objective Alpha."

"Aye aye, sir" was the response uttered by both Veteran Sergeants. The Emperor would be with them and they would destroy the enemies of Mankind.

#6
Brother Tyler

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The vessel didn't even have a name. Once an escort in a merchant fleet, it had been captured by the Red Corsairs and retrofitted for the type of hit and run missions favored by the pirate fleet of Huron Blackheart. Over two decades previous when the Red Corsairs had established the hidden base in the Amdas system, the ship had been one of several vessels to accompany the forces and materiel. Ever since, it had performed a security role, patroling a small area near a known Warp point. Since the Amdas system was remote, however, little action was expected. The Red Corsairs had performed very little pirate activity from this base, in recent years using it instead as a forward staging and replenishment area for forces augmenting the Warmaster of Antioc. Despite the ruthlessness and determination of the renegade Space Marine who captained the vessel, the human crew had grown complacent.

Their complacency was their doom.

Almost immediately after the ship's astropath detected the emergence of the Space Marine Strike Cruiser to port, the wispy old man contacted the bridge to sound the alert. Captain Thraisk accepted the alert of the astropath as expected, muttering an oath and lashing out at the nearest serf. While the poor creature whimpered in a pool of blood on the deck, the Captain bellowed orders to counter the threat his vessel now faced. Thraisk new well the capabilities of the enemy ship, though, and didn't doubt the outcome. Formerly a Sergeant in the Iron Champions Chapter, he had broken faith with the Imperium and sided with the renegade forces of Huron Blackheart, eventually rising to captaincy of the escort vessel after taking part in its capture. Knowing full well how this engagement would end, Thraisk ordered his astropath to send a message to his master at the base in the asteriod field.

***

"Range to contact 6,000 meters," droned one of the Servitors on the bridge.

"Quickly," urged Brother-Captain Ænides, " we must destroy them before they are able to alert the other traitors." While the Spear of Justice could easily best the small vessel it now faced, Brother-Captain Ænides knew that he must destroy the smaller ship in order to carry out the current plan.

"Range to contact 5,000 meters."

***

Within the hangar, Chang felt the sudden chill in the air as the psychic power of the daemon he had destroyed suddenly flared, a beacon to any psyker in the system. His mental power, augmented by the psychic hood he wore, quickly extinguished the daemonic presence.

***

"We are in range, Captain."

"Starboard guns, fire!"

***

For once, Thraisk stood impassive in the face of an attack. He could feel the impact as his ship was struck broadside, feel the vessel shudder as klaxons wailed. His servo-augmented armour kept him upright as the ship listed to port. Damage reports from throughout the ship confirmed that the hull had been breached, then that the reactor had been ruptured and that the ship was crippled.

Even outclassed and dying, Captain Thraisk heard as his gunners ordered the battery crews to fire on the Strike Cruiser. One last act of defiance.

"Captain, the message has been sent," communicated his astropath. Thraisk willed himself one small final smile as the second volley engulfed his ship, sending his soul to the Dark Powers.

***

"Enemy vessel destroyed, sir."

Brother-Captain Ænides ordered a damage report, but knew that none was needed. The enemy vessels weak counterattack had failed to penetrate the shields.

Then Ænides heard the communication from Chang, the Librarian. "Sir, I felt an astropathic message emanating from the vessel before it was destroyed. I was unable to decipher it, but it made it out in its entirety. Project that the renegades are now aware of our presence."

"So much for the element of surprise," uttered Brother-Captain Ænides.

Then one of the Servitors informed him of the sizeable fleet detected around the objective asteroid - a fleet large enough to prevent the Spear of Justice from completing its mission.

Brother-Captain Ænides was not one to give up, though. A veteran of numberless engagements, he had more than one trick up his sleeve.

Ænides quickly assessed the situation, determining that the ship was near enough to one of the asteroids to deposit a surprise, then change tactics.

"Squads Golgotha and Domadeus, prepare for insertion. There has been a change in plans. Do you remember the attack on Vistanius IV?"

Both replied in the affirmative.

"Good. You have your orders. All else, prepare for shipboard engagement. If all goes well, we'll be repelling boarders on the far side of this system's sun." Brother-Captain Ænides had the satisfaction of knowing that everyone was adjusting without complaint or confusion. A well-disciplined crew was at his disposal. He would need them in the upcoming battle.

***

The Spear of Justice fired the boarding torpedoes onto the large asteroid, adding a payload of equipment that had been rapidly loaded onto an empty torpedo. The action had been screened from the hidden base by several of the asteroids. Once the torpoedoes had been fired, the Strike Cruiser continued its approach to the objective asteroid as if blissfully unaware that its presence had been signalled to the renegades aboard the base.

#7
Aurelius Rex

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Fifteen Hours before...

Sergeant Golgotha looked at the pile of data-slates and groaned inwardly.

Paperwork… The necessary evil…

He sat down carefully – the bruises were healed, but his fractured rib-plate was far from knitted – and re-read the report on the Corsair base. It was impressive, especially in light of how rapidly it had been brought together.

The Red Corsairs base was protected by powerful shields, and a small fleet of escort ships. The plan was for the Strike Cruiser to jump in and lure the fleet and most of the Corsairs away, while his kill-team would slip onto the base. They would sabotage the base, deal with any renegades that got in their way, and then back to the Strike Cruiser in time for Vespers.

And if they should run into Noctus Cain or Warmaster Tomax Hell of the Night Lords, they were under orders to make sure that something suitably fatal befell them. Considering the Legio blood that they had spilled, Golgotha was only too happy to oblige.

He had been charged with selecting and leading the kill-team, and from the intelligence it was clear that they would need a broad range of talents, not just those good at bludgeoning with a powerfist, although they would be required too. The Corsairs base was powered by a reactor that seemed to owe nothing to the Machine God for its operation. All the readings showed that the interference it generated was going to play havoc with things like the containment chambers on plasma weaponry and the highest energy powerfields on powerfists and thunder hammers, with these weapons getting more unreliable the closer they got to the reactor.

These weapons would still be a vital part of their armoury, but ranged weaponry would be invaluable too, especially in areas like the sump where movement would be cut down to a crawl. Then again there were areas of the base filled with dense, acrid smoke that would cut down visibility to nothing… They would have to make sure that they made the most of the environment, it could be as important as an extra squad if they planned this right, and would hang them if they got it wrong.

Personally, he would be taking his bolter, fully loaded with special Inferno rounds, his Apollyon pattern chainsword, and his wits. With them, there was not much that you couldn’t kill.

He looked through the list of new marines that had just transferred aboard in the last week. He knew who he wanted from the older members of the Company, but perhaps there would be another Rhadamanthys, Sanchez or Jarrett among the inductees…

+++


#8
Aurelius Rex

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***

Three weeks earlier...

Tamuk Soto stood before the Warmaster’s Throne.

He had been summoned once again, into the audience of Tomax Hell. Soto stood alone, his warband of Red Corsairs waited in the shadows of the throne room, hanging on every word.

Tomax sat on his throne, a ghostly, hulking form in the dim light. His voice rose from the blackness like the moans of the dead.

“Now go. Choose who you will and replace the current garrison. Take what you need from the armory and stores, but know this, I will not tolerate failure. You have already pushed my leniency to it limit, Tamuk. If anything should happen to my outpost while it is in your charge; I will eat your hearts before your dying eyes, as I condemn your soul to the endless torture of the warp.”

Soto bowed, turned and strode from the throne room, purpose filling his steps. Already his mind was racing. As he cleared the daemon-forged doors, his warband fell into position behind him, and they marched down the corridor. As they reached the armory, Soto raised his fist. As one, his troops stopped. He turned quickly, his cloak swirling and spoke.

“It’s all here. The choices are yours. Behind these doors are gifts from the Gods, tools of death. What calls to you?”

“Is it the sweet song of Slaanesh? His rapturous weapons are inside.”

“Is it the thunderous roar of the Blood God? His instruments of war are inside.”

“Perhaps it is the arcane tools of the Changer, or the virulent devices of the Grandfather, it is all inside.”

“Go, choose your weapons, but make your selections with care, for even you dare not face the consequences of failure. Even you dare not face the wrath of the Warmaster, the wrath of Tomax Hell.”

***


#9
Aurelius Rex

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Nine hours ago...

Golgotha added another marine to his mental list. Scouring the Tactical squad rosters and talking to some of the potentials had yielded plenty of marines who were masters with bolters, chainswords and powerblades, but there would be times when brute force, rather than finesse would be required.

Powerfists, plasma pistols, maybe even a thunder hammer would be perfect as long as they could keep them away from the reactor core. He would have to convince Aiakos to let the Assault squads unstrap their jump-packs of course… Best to appeal to his sense of duty and idealism - doing what was best for the mission and all - and of course he would have to break out another bottle of oak-aged Blonica.

He would also have to track down a couple of marines that could handle a combi-melta. Brother Launfal of the Star Dragons would have been ideal, had he not fallen, like so many other good men, on Alcmene.

A fitting testament to his fallen brothers would be to burn the renegade base to the ground, and sow the earth with salt. At least it would be a start.

+++


#10
Aurelius Rex

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(Author: Joker)

***

Five hours before...

Soto looked at the gathered warriors.

Too few, he thought.

At this rate, if the outpost came under any sort of attack, they would surely be outnumbered. The Warmaster would not accept excuses. Failure was not an option. His wrath would be furious and brutal, and there would be no survivors.

They would have to rely on tactics to keep the outpost safe, as any loyalist attack would include many more warriors than he had at his disposal. Isolating any attackers and matching them in single combat might be the only way to whittle them down. The outpost had many places for such an ambush. The Armory, the Dormitory, and the Generator Room were all bottlenecks. The only issue with that was the fact that there was an odd power flux eminating from the generators that was playing havoc with certain weapons...

It didn't matter, at this point, he could see there would be no more help, he had to rely on what he had. Soto flexed his Power Fist, sparks flying from the crackling energy field surrounding the taloned gauntlet. No matter how few defenders he had, he would not lose the outpost. Not even if he had to take on all attackers himself...

***


#11
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

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(Author: Aurelius Rex)

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Three hours before...

Sergeant Golgotha was getting seriously worried by the lack of powerfist, and especially plasma pistol armed candidates that were volunteering for duty. He supposed that so many marines armed with bolter and chainsword was to be expected, but they needed a wider range weaponry if they were to be successful in this mission.

Smooth words and the bottle of Blonica had got Aiakos falling over himself to let his assault squads be considered, but they all seemed to either reticent to volunteer, or simply unsuitable.

It was nearly time to launch. He needed to have a quiet word with a few people, twist some arms...

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#12
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

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Pride Before the Fall...

(Author: Daeothar)

At the end of the 13th Black Crusade, the Fiery Lions chapter, which had only been involved in a support capacity safeguarding supply shipping, had become painfully aware of the fact one of their escort ships, containing a full squad of marines led by a 1st company veteran, had gone traitor during the conflict.

The Flaming Claw VII had been escorting an inquisitor and his retinue to the war zone on his specific request. The Flaming Claw had originally been an Imperial escort corvette, part of a squadron which had gone missing approximately 650 years before. About 15 years after the incident, the Fiery Lions Cruiser Fire of Justice was blatantly attacked by the same squadron of corvettes, a mere 10 light years from where they initially disappeared. The Fire of Justice destroyed 3 of the vessels and damaged the 4th without sustaining any substantial damage itself.

When a boarding party gained entry to the disabled corvette, they discovered its crew, covered in all matter of blasphemous tattoos, symbols and mutations, had committed mass suicide prior to the boarding. It was subsequently towed to the Fiery Lions main fleet, re-consecrated and retrofitted for use by the chapter, as per their ancient charter. The corvette was issued to the 5th company and assumed patrol duties with the 5th company fleet as a picket ship immediately after.

During its service though, it had always been considered an unlucky ship and was never really popular with its crews and its marines. A large number of strange occurrences have taken place during its service with the Fiery Lions, with Astropaths and Navigators going mad, freak accidents becoming almost common and the highest peacetime death toll in recorded chapter history.

When the Inquisitor, whose name will be withheld by order of the Ordo Hereticus, came to the Fiery Lions for aid, he found the chapter willing to comply for the right price, as it had been with other Inquisitors before. He was granted the use of a corvette, the Flaming Claw VII, and a complement of 9 marines from the 5th company, led by Veteran Sergeant Mossert of the 1st company to escort him to Cadia.

According to Imperial records, the Flaming Claw VII made it as far as Uralan, where it was last sighted. When it was next encountered by the Imperial Navy several months later, it was adrift near the system of Kato. Most of its crew was found to have committed suicide, while the rest had been savagely slaughtered, including six of the Fiery Lions marines, which had been especially mauled to the point of being barely recognizable. Blasphemous sigils and vile sentences were streaked in the blood of the dead on the walls. Of the other four marines and the Inquisitor, no trace was found.

A nearby Fiery Lions detachment was warned by the Naval Task Force commander and made great haste to reach his fleet. Upon their arrival though, the Navy guards onboard the Flaming Claw VII had been pulled back, as several had been found dead, having committed suicide. The Fiery Lions’ Librarian accompanying the detachment investigated the corvette and after a lengthy contact with the Fiery Lions Admiral, he ordered the Flaming Claw VII destroyed.

The Naval Task Force made short work of the small escort craft and resumed its patrol, while the Fiery Lions on the scene, with the recovered bodies of their brethren, returned to their main fleet.

Not long after that, reports started to come in of a small group of powerarmored brutes hijacking and raiding nearby shipping, slowly making their way towards the Maelstrom. They were identified by the color of their armor; a bright orange. The Fiery Lions had in the meantime never stopped investigating the disappearance of four of their brethren and had recovered the broken body of the missing Inquisitor on an abandoned space station near Kato. A multiheaded snake tattoo stripped from his back and stuffed in his mouth, he was hung upside down from a barbed hook in the ceiling, another dead Fiery Lion was found in a room nearby, apparently poisoned. A faint Warptrail, the only evidence of the others leaving, was headed straight for the Maelstrom.

Fearing the worst, the Fiery Lions began a desperate search for their wayward brethren, undoubtedly knowing there could only be one outcome to the situation, when they were contacted by the Legio Bolter and Chainsword. The Legio, having suffered grievous losses during the last Black Crusade, was requesting the chapter to send them one or more marines to bolster their ranks. Traditionally however, the Fiery Lions had never detached marines to the Legio, save for a handful of extraordinary occasssions.

When the next target of the Legio became known though, the Fiery Lions Admiral, Van Speyk, decided to send one of his men after all, in the light of the evidence found on the space station. The Fiery Lions addition to the Legio Bolter and Chainsword is under orders from the Admiral himself to report on, seek out, and if possible kill, all Fiery Lions traitors encountered. Only when all blemishes on the Fiery Lions’ honor have been erased, is he allowed to return to his own chapter. If the Legio will let him, is another matter altogether though…