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Legio Counterstrike Story & Batreps (Part 3)


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#1
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

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Round 2:

Round 2, Battle 1: Haddix vs Onyx
(Author: _______)

+++

Haddix could still feel the pain in his left leg, his systems had done their best to try and keep the leg at high efficiency, but it was getting worse. He didn't know how long he would be able to keep going at this pace for. Sooner or later he would bump into another degenerate of the Ruinous Powers. Some half-crazed killing machine probably, and with his faith in the Emperor and his axe in his hand, he would bring justice to the battle.

He had been listening to some of the vox-channels as he walked down the hallway. Some of the other Legio members had not been heard from for a longish period of time, and it was getting worrying. If they had fallen, then the strike force was getting extremely low on numbers, and would run out completely soon. If this mission failed, if Haddix failed, then the Emperor only knows what would happen to the others. Those aboard the Sword of Justice where keeping most of the enemy forces busy, putting their lives in danger, so those aboard the base could have a slightly higher chance of success.

His chapter had given him the honour of being their representative in the Legio, the bond between the Chapters, one of the few things all chapters held in common. Haddix felt some pride swell up inside him, out of all the veterans in the chapter, he was chosen. He had not done anything to let them down so far, and was not going too soon. He had honoured his predecessor in the Legio from the Black Sheep's, keeping the reputation of the chapter as high as he could. This would be the mission that he would prove himself fully, hand-picked to go into the heart of the enemy. It was his time.

The hallway was well built compared to the other corridors he had been through so far. Every thirteen strides was an arch way, supporting the heavy roof and what ever lay above him. His objective was simple enough, though the journey could prove hazardous. He had already dispatched one traitor marine of the Red Corsairs, and countless tolls of servitors, serfs and cultists. His presence in the base must be known by now, he was probably being followed. Maybe a small group of cultists, around three or five of them, would ambush him round or corner, or attack him from behind. The hardest battle would be against another marine, a traitor.

His train of thought was suddenly cut short as the hallway filled with laughter. Haddix spun around as the laughter was coming from behind him. "Maniacal Laughter" thought Haddix, as he raised his axe. The hallway was well lit, and he could see a good distance down the hallway and it was empty. Still he kept his bolter trained on the distance as he tried to work out where the laughter was coming from, glancing up he saw the source. Quickly squeezing the trigger of his bolter, emptying half a magazine into an air-vent in the ceiling. The deafening roar of the bolter ceased as the laughter cut out.

Haddix waited, the vent was in tatters. If something was above it, surely the creature would be riddled with high explosive bolts, and bleeding. He turned to continue his journey, as the laughter started up again. It was closer this time though, louder and more mocking. Once again the source of the laughter was another vent. Before the thud of the bolter started, the laughter stopped. Something was playing with Haddix, and Haddix did not enjoy being played with. War was a serious issue, not something to be played at. War was his reason for his birth, his life and his death. No-one would laugh at his demise, not even his foe.

+++

Onyx starred down on his next piece of prey. He had been tracking him for the last seven minutes, playing with the creatures mind. He had just sprung his final trap, laughter. It was amazing how many marines, who feared no foe, who never broke, who could face daemons and not run, where distracted and confused by laughter. Their complex, militant minds could not comprehend laughter, and here Onyx was, laughter reincarnated.

The creature had already blasted more holes into one of the air-vents then it took Onyx to slay his last opponent. He had journeyed back to the command centre to entertain that fool, Soto. He had presented him with a nice helmet of one of the Legio members who had learned the hard way why people feared Onyx, and this Legio creature would be the next to learn. His body was filled with strange chemicals which where chewing their way trough his wounds from his past battle, slowly healing him. His armour still had the sliced hole on the chest piece, and another one on the back piece. He had been skewed by his opponent, and his anger would be taken out on this one. He took a deep breathe in, filled his lungs with air and let out his laugh, his perfected maniacal laughter.

+++

Haddix tried to remember his training. Everyday was training, but those early years where the most important, after that it was just perfecting the skills. The Legio had taught him more, how to operate in an even smaller task force. He could see his old scout sergeant's face, and hear the words he spoke -

"Space Marines do feel fear in the face of the enemy. What makes them different to the rest of the Emperor's armies is that we embrace the fear. We use the fear to guide us, to help us. Fear is our ally. Both Marines and Guardsmen have similar reactions to fear, both involve running. Guardsmen flee Marines charge!"

How true those words where. Countless times on the battlefield, Haddix had felt the fear grow inside and watched lesser men flee. But the Black Sheep would raise their weapons and charge into the hear of fear, into its very being. Take the fight to fear, and the fear would help you win.

Some concrete dust floated down from the ceiling, like something had moved above him. As large pieces of concrete and other materials started to rain from above, the air duct shattered. Before Haddix could react, he was surrounded by laughter. It was directly above him, and coming down fast. The laughter was clad in dark blue armour, with large red wings on its shoulder bad; traitor. Laughter fired shots down at him, but its aim was false as parts of the ceiling blocked bullets, or the cracked harmlessly of the floor. Before Haddix could react, Onyx had brought his sword down.

His sword glowed purple, thirsting for blood. His muscles flexed, stronger then before. The warrior of the 17th Legion of Fear, laughter echoing from his helmet, thrusted his sword down into the Legio marine. Its power field slicing trough the armour of the helmet, just missing the marine's face. Cutting deep into its right shoulder, burning through tendons, nerves and muscle like they were nothing. Its speed slowed as it collided with bone, but splintered it deep.

Haddix felt the hot air on the right side of his face, his helmet sliced open. No damage from that, bar a little burn. His should was in a worst state though. The traitor's sword had gone deep, and his armoured fingers opened as muscle tendons relaxed. His bolter and combat shield dropped to the ground, clanking heavily against the floor. All he had left now was his faith ami ins axe, he would survive. Haddix attempted to bring the axe round, but the traitor was fast. Bring its heavy boot into Haddix's damaged leg, crippling it completely. Haddix dropped to a crouched position, his lower left leg just a dead weight now. If he survived this battle, it would be difficult for him to complete the mission anyway. His scout sergeant's voice came back into his head, the sound of battle behind him -

"If you're about to die, take as many of the bastards with you!"

Haddix smiled. If he couldn't complete the mission himself, he would give his brothers one less traitor to worry about. The traitor was already bringing its sword back, ready to swipe the final blow. Haddix, dropping his axe, reached down to his belt and took on of the melta charges he had been given, and thumbed the activation code in. Training kicking in, in death's face he could still do his job efficiently. He tried to set the time for fifteen seconds, and prayed.

Onyx had seen the Legio marine grab something from his belt; it wasn't going to be a good thing. Onyx had no problems killing an unarmed foe, it was easier. Bring his sword across the unarmoured side of the marine's head, his sword crunched against the skull, and then burnt through the brain, finally out the other side. As the marine's body slumped to the floor, Onyx kicked the object that the marine had been playing with and stared at his fallen foe.

'"Ya know, my daddy used to say every man's got a devil. And you can't rest 'til you find him... but if it's any consolation to you, you have put a smile on my face'

Laughing to himself he walked down the corridor, as behind him, a large explosion happened, bring down more of the hall way.

+++

Victory to Onyx

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 15 June 2006 - 08:59 PM.


#2
Aurelius Rex

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Round 2, Battle 2: Dailore vs Inihilus (Author: Brother Tyler)

+++

The melta charge timer counted down.

00:11

00:10

00:09

00:08

The charge had been placed upon the rotting corpse of a traitor Space Marine, a servant of the Lord of Decay. The traitor's decay, long since begun upon entering his eternal servitude, was about to be hastened.

00:07

00:06

The charge bore an Imperial Aquila upon its front facing, a symbol adopted by the Emperor of Mankind when he first united the factions of Terra. As the Emperor spread his rule throughout the galaxy, this symbol had spread throughout the dominion of Man. Aliens had died beneath the swords and guns of those who bore this symbol.

00:05

00:04

00:03

The greatest warriors of the Emperor were the Adeptus Astartes, created over ten thousand years hence. Some said that the Emperor used his own being to create the Astartes. They towered above normal men and fought like gods.

00:02

00:01

00:00

The melta charge detonated, the body of the traitor disintegrating in the blast. The reactor was destroyed and the power it provided to this sector of the base suddenly flickered out of existence. One whole quarter of the base descended into darkness.

Gravity containment fields faded and detritus began to float within this sector of the base. Scattered throughout, several bodies hovered in the air, floating aimlessly. Most of these were normal men - pirates and renegades who had served the Red Corsairs. Some of the bodies, though, were Space Marines. Loyalist or traitor, the limbs of the dead moved in a haunting manner as the cessation of gravity rendered them free.

Several living beings were in the sector. Each felt the base shudder as the charge exploded. Secondary explosions within the reactor room were also felt. Only one of the Space Marines had expected the detonation, and he smiled coolly. He immediately activated the vox comms, reporting in to his Sergeant, "Dailore here. Initial objective completed. Am proceeding to secondary objective."

A hiss and crackle of static answered him. He couldn't quite make out the reply, but assumed it was an acknowledgement by Golgotha. He shrugged and continued in his advance.

+++

Not too far away and in the path of Dailore's advance, Inihilus paused in his actions. He had been preparing for the approach of another of the base's attackers, dismantling power coupling covers and planting some nasty surprises. If the attackers had been able to plant a charge in this sector's reactor room, they weren't far. Inihilus hastened his activities, placing the last of his "gifts" and moving back to his position.

Carefully. Ever so carefully. He mustn't contact the exposed wires.

+++

Then the backup systems jumped on, providing emergency power. Blast doors closed at various parts of this sector. The destruction of the reactor had activated emergency protocols, ensuring that the base was protected from exposure to vacuum and attack. Bodies and detritus crashed to the decking. In some cases, they had begun their descent from some height, and their impact upon whatever surface was below them caused them to rupture even more than the weapons of mankind had done in their death.

Faint red emergency lighting also activated, casting an eerie light throughout the sector.

+++

Dailore sighed inwardly as the affects of the reactor suddenly disappeared, energy field around his power fist suddenly spurring into full power. He flexed the fingers into a tight fist, feeling the collection of energy charging, scent of ozone filling the air as the coruscating energy field dissipated the fluids and tissues of the Nurgle-follower he had recently slain.

He straightened his arm, back-handing the bulkhead.

The energy glove shattered the wall, driving almost half a meter through the surface, leaving a crater.

He had not even used any effort.

He voiced the Litany of Hate, preparing himself mentally for any further encounters.

Still on the move, he consulted his eidetic memory once he completed the litanies. His next objective was some distance away, and he would have to rendezvous with the sniper first. The link up point was not far, down the next corridor and through what was supposed to be a storage room.

Dailore turned left at the appropriate corridor. And he halted.

The long corridor was filled with exposed cables. They had been ripped from the walls and ceiling. Someone had done this deliberately.

Dailore adjusted his position, peering through the cables in order to search the corridor. Someone had set this up as a choke point. There were no other paths through to his objective - he had to go down this corridor.

Suddenly there was movement about halfway down the corridor.

Dailore reacted instinctively, kneeling down and bringing his weapon to bear. He stopped himself, though, when he registered the source of the movement - a rat. The rodent was malformed, though, and larger than a normal rat. It squeeled as it noticed his movement, moving away.

As it contacted one of the cables, though, the corridor was lit up with electricity. Power coursing from the cable through the short provided by the mutated rodent to the metallic decking, the rat's body quivered uncontrollably. The creature screamed pitifully as the power cooked him alive. The bulging eyes erupted, bloody pulp littering the corridor as the creature's mouth frothed.

Then the creature's body fell off the cable, smoking carcass falling to the side. Dailore would have to venture through the corridor carefully.

+++

At the other end of the hall, Inihilus waited. In his hand was the activator for the two grenades he had planted. Depressing the button once would detonate the first grenade. A second press of the button would cause the second grenade to explode. Inihilus' wrecked face almost grinned, but he held his composure. It wouldn't do for the loyalist dog to realize that Inihilus still lived too early. His plan must be allowed to come to fruition.

+++

Dailore moved carefully. In some places, he had decent room to maneuver. In others, though, the cables hung so thickly that he had to crawl upon the deck or squeeze his immense bulk up against the bulkhead. Various objects littered the deck - panels that had once kept the cables within the wall and ceiling, refuse from the traitors within the base, the body of the rat, and other unidentifiable objects. He had to be especially careful with the cables hanging from the ceiling. The banner pole he wore, impaling the head of a greenskin, had little clearance and Dailore had to maneuver carefully in order to avoid contacting cables.

Stepping gingerly around one of the cables, the Black Templar heard a faint "click". Instinctively, he dove to the floor, jumping back and presenting his back. An explosion tore through the air not far from where he had been standing.

The ambush had been sprung.

Dailore assumed a kneeling position, aiming his bolt pistol down the hallway and trying to find his attacker. Searching thoroughly, all he could see through the cables was a large form upon the deck. Was it possible that his attacker's ambush had backfired, killing him when he had sought to kill Dailore? It seemed unlikely, and Dailore trained his weapon upon the form, targeter registering the range. The figure appeared to have the size of a Space Marine, but wore some type of robe. It was difficult to tell what color the armour was in the red light, although Dailore could tell that it was dark. The robe, though, was pale. Could this be Abshae? The Dark Angel wasn't supposed to be in this area, although it was possible that he and the sniper had switched routes.

Ever one to be cautious, Dailore pressed on.

The figure was beyond his bolt pistol's range, but he continued to aim the weapon at the prone figure as he advanced.

Then the figure's hand twitched.

Dailore attempted to jump back again, but was hampered by some cables. The traitor had placed this grenade well, ensuring that it was in an area from which Dailore could not easily escape. He had placed it too well, though, and several large cables protected Dailore from the brunt of the blast. He winced as several small fragments found the injury he had sustained in his right leg previously, but the pain was insignificant.

+++

Laughter filled the corridor as the robed figure came upright. Even in the crimson light, Dailore could see the poor state of the armour, the blasphemous marking upon the left pauldron.

The enemy warrior brought his own weapon to bear, an archaic bolter with a targeter. He raised his weapon, firing upon Dailore.

Dailore cursed. He was an easy target, alone in the length of the hallway. The live cables would hurt him if he contacted them. They might even kill him, enhanced physiognomy or no. He was outranged by the opponent's weapon, though. As the enemy's bolt exploded in one of the cable's, though, Dailore realized that he also had some cover. He would have to maneuver avoiding the cables, but using them as cover.
He pressed on, moving under fire.

Bolts exploded around him or whizzed by him, the enemy firing relentlessly.

"Come now, fool. Let the ecstasy of death take you." The voice was deep and hollow, uttered by the robed Space Marine as he paused between firing rounds.

One of the bolts caught Dailore in the arm, the limb flaring with the pain of the blast. Dailore was still out of range, though, but closing fast.

Continuing to avoid the enemy fire, Dailore raised the pistol as he came within range, pulling the trigger and returning fire. The cover provided by the exposed cables worked both ways, though, and one of the cables was split in twain. One end crashed to the deck, sparks flying as the live cable contacted metallic debris.

Dailore began to pinpoint the weaknesses in the armour of the once great angel that stood before him now, encrusted with vile pus.

The incoming fire increased as the stationary traitor took advantage of his own position and the tenuous plight of Dailore. The Black Templar was forced to disregard the threat of the cables as the bolter barked twice, throwing himself at one of the walls and narrowly avoiding the bolts.

Dailore sprang forward, jumping nimbly over the large cable upon the deck and ducking beneath another low-hanging cable just beyond. As he ducked low, the traitor's bolter barked again. Dailore continued his downward movement, rolling beneath the bolts and firing as his body again presented to the front. The bolt found the enemy's abdomen, penetrating the armour and exploding within.

"Ah, plaything, there is fight in you yet. Come, feel the kiss of my blade."

Dailore wasn't fooled by the bravado of the voice. The grimace of pain upon the ruined face told him that the shot had done some damage. He evaluated the wicked weapon the enemy held, though. It was a baroquely shaped blade, contorted faces upon its blade and sheen of wetness upon its length.

Closing the distance, both opponents fired as they charged. Canny warriors both, each attempted to fire where he thought his opponent would move, and each moved in a manner that fooled the other.

As the bolts exploded in various surfaces of the corridor, the two clashed, Dailore uttering a war cry of, "For the Emperor and Sigismund!"

Dailore's upraised fist was pulled back, energy collecting as he prepared to strike. The follower of Nurgle, though, thrust forward with his warp-spawned blade. Though Dailore attempted to bat the blade aside with his pistol, the casual movement of Inihilus rendered the loyalist's parry premature.

The barbed blade thrust forth into Dailore's exposed chest, impact stopping him cold in his charge.

Dailore's battle cry was cut short, a grunt of pain issuing forth instead. Even as his body continued to bring his power fist around, the strike faltered. Inihilus moved aside, letting the blow pass him harmlessly.

The momentum of the strike swung Dailore's body around, the blade of his opponent tearing the adamantium armour and the body within, virulent energies coursing up the blade and attacking Dailore's body.

The Black Templar's body fell to the deck, power fist impacting upon the surface and tearing through the decking in an explosion of energy.

Inihilus bent down as his opponent's struggles grew weaker. He sighed, a gurgling buzzing noise. "Poor child, your Emperor has abandoned you."

As the body of Dailore slowly stopped moving, Inihilus stood up. He moved away slowly. There was more prey within the base.

+++

Victory to Inihilus

Edited by Brother Tyler, 14 October 2006 - 12:45 PM.


#3
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

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Round 2, battle 3: Fautor vs Alpharius (Author: Brother Tyler)

+++

The battle in the corridor was a scene of carnage. The corridor had widened out at this point, allowing six men to walk abreast here. Along the outer edges of the corridor almost a dozen men circled, a variety of weapons held at the ready. Most bore short bladed weapons commonly used by ship boarding parties. A few also had laspistols. They circled slowly, each focused on the enemy warrior in the middle. The black-armored figure was a behemoth compared to the men around him, standing at least a head taller than the tallest of his opponents. His size and power armor immediately proclaimed him to be a Space Marine, one of Mankind's most potent warriors. The buzzing chainsword and the bodies that littered the hallway around him were testament to his battle prowess. Over a dozen men had ambushed him, and though he had suffered wounds that would have fallen a normal man, he continued to fight on and had succeeded in killing three of his attackers.

Lurching suddenly to his left, the Space Marine caused the men to that side to leap back defensively. They had seen the horrific wounds wrought by the terrible weapon, and none desired to suffer such wounds. The move was a feint, though, and succeeded in drawing others in. As quickly as he had moved to the left, his body swung around quickly, chainsword whirring in a vicious arc and biting through the flesh of two more of the pirates who moved too closely.

Five bodies now lay upon the deck, although one of these groaned as his life's blood spurted from the mortal wound. Another of the pirates, having some sense of pity, fired his laspistol at the mortally wounded man, ending his suffering.

"Know this, miscreants. I am Fautor, battle-brother of the Castigators and the Legio. Your miserable existences will end here, today, as I exact the justice of the Emperor!"

The proclamation from the deadly giant froze the men in their tracks. Then the Space Marine lashed out with the chainsword. Another of the pirates fell to the deck in a lifeless heap. As the body thudded, two of the pirates broke and ran back whence they came, seeking refuge from the fate they knew awaited them if they pressed the attack.

Fautor observed the flight of the miscreants as he continued to engage the remaining warriors. As if by accord, the combatants engaged in a swirling melee. The chainsword bit into carapace armor, flesh, and bone, felling pirates. The attacks of the pirates were impotent, most missing entirely, or clattering harmlessly into the Corvus armor of Fautor.

As he continued killing, Fautor observed the flight of the two pirates. Then he noticed the red-helm beyond the two, recognizing it as belonging to Durus. The battle was as good as done. The distinctive bark of a bolter erupted within the corridor and the pirates fell.

Only two of the pirates remained in combat with Fautor, the rest dead or dying within the widened corridor. As the two backed away to opposite sides, Fautor drew the plasma pistol. He had bolstered it after it had overheated earlier. Smoothly, he aimed the weapon at a pirate who realized what was happening, but was too terrified to react. Calmly, methodically, Fautor brought his body to its full upright position, chainsword deactivated and lowered as he pulled the trigger of the pistol. The pirate screamed as the plasma energy tore into his body, the scream cut short as the air in his lungs scorched him. The plasma burned through carapace armor, clothing, and body instantly, ending the renegade's life in a burst of agony.

Fautor calmly lowered the pistol, knowing that Durus would take care of the remaining pirate.

Sure enough, the bolt pistol belched again. The sound of the bolt exploding within the body of the pirate brought a sense of satisfaction to Fautor.

Surveying the scene around him, Fautor slowly ensured that none of the pirates remained a threat. His gaze cast around until finally it came upon his ally.

Red helm, blue green armor - Fautor activated the chainsword without thinking. This was not Durus! A Space Marine, to be sure, but not one of the Legio. This traitor must have killed Durus, for he surely wore the helmet of the Legio battle-brother. The armor should have been black, but it was a blue-green. The figure also stood upright, staring calmly at Fautor with bolt pistol at the ready.

As Fautor exploded into action, the traitor calmly brought his pistol to bear, squeezing the trigger and sending deadly bolts at the Legio battle-brother.

Fautor, though, was a veteran warrior and his reactions had been honed in a hundred battles. He threw himself to the side even as he charged, plasma pistol raising to fire. The first bolt missed him completely, though the second glanced off the pauldron. The impact failed to harm him, though, auto-reactive shoulder plate adjusting to the bolt and protecting him from the deadly missile.

Fautor fired his plasma pistol. Reluctant to fire with abandon after the recent overheating, he squeezed the trigger once. A jet of plasma shot forth, engulfing the traitor.

The renegade addressed Fautor over the vox caster, "Emperor curse you, fool. You shall not harm a servant of the Emperor and live!" The challenge was interspersed with grunts, though, and Fautor knew that he had wounded the lying traitor.

Still charging, Fautor squeezed the trigger again even as the traitor fired his bolt pistol. Again the Legio battle-brother evaded the attack, jumping high as the bolts flew beneath him. The jump brought his pistol up as the plasma shot forth, blinding energy impacting on the helm of the warrior. The plasma melted through the helmet, searing the flesh and skull beneath and reducing the head of the warrior to a melted ruin. The remains of the helmet flew back as the body fell beneath.

Fautor closed the distance as the blue form clambered into the deck. Dead weight. The limbs splayed about the body, the helmet scrap skidded to a halt.

Fautor nudged the body with his chainsword, expecting no reaction. When none came, he quickly got his bearings and set off down the hall. Durus' body would be somewhere down here, but it would have to wait. The objective was nearby and Fautor had a mission.

+++

Victory to Fautor

Edited by Brother Tyler, 14 October 2006 - 12:47 PM.


#4
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

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Round 2, Battle 4. (Author: Aurelius Rex)

Eshara vs. Moloch the Tempest

+++

Seven meltacharges, eleven minutes left. The charges would trigger if he tried to remove them, but Moloch had the shape of the Legio codes already. He still had time.

If he had given the Legio marine time he would doubtless have accused him of being an oathbreaker, a traitor devoid of honour. It was wrong, of course. He had promised himself to the Keeper long before The Astartes had found him, so his leaving the Soultakers could hardly be called unfaithfulness.

The Keeper had kept him safe, shielded him from the purity checks, stopped his body from tearing itself apart during the implantation procedure, and greased his departure from the Chapter with a suitably large measure of blood. The Soultakers had elevated him beyond the herd of humanity, but the Keeper had taken him so much further. The next step along the path was to bide awhile with these Corsairs. A week, a century, he would know when it was time to leave.

No. Moloch was an honourable individual and he had given his word to Soto to guard the secondary generator, and that was what he would do. Behind his eyes numbers danced and his fingers flashed over the keypad of the explosive, turning angrily flashing red telltales to green.

+++

Another massive detonation rocked the base and turned vox-comms to white noise. Reception was patchy this deep inside the base, but Brother Eshara was sure he had heard the gruff, arrogant tones of Fautor use the codeword for the defence laser array. If the Castigator had been successful then their eventual collection by Spear of Justice would be far less rocky.

Sergeant Golgotha had instructed to meet up with Brother Ramiel before attacking the secondary generator but he had been delayed, and could get no response from him. His target was up ahead. He saw the blast doors of the generator room open, and beyond them the corpse of his friend, Ramiel, slumped across the floor.

Rage at the Traitors mixed with sorrow that he had not been there to help his Brother. When the mission was completed he would scourge himself in the Painglove in atonement, but first Ramiel’s killer would be made to face Imperial Justice.

+++

Moloch climbed over a tangle of cables to the second meltacharge but was sent sprawling as a flaming bolt-round hammered into his back armour. These Legio marines would no-doubt call him dishonourable, but he was the one who had just been shot in the back! Rising to his feet he turned and leapt at his foe, gracefully vaulting over buzzing machinery and cabling.

‘Ah, it seems I’ve found yet more vermin stalking these halls. Come, face your death then, brother.’ he said, letting the venom drip from the final word. He was about to continue when another jet of liquid fire turned his left shoulder pad into an inferno.

This marine was a more fitting opponent than the last, but still no match for him. He darted to one side to throw off his opponent’s aim and then leapt off a bank of machinery, his powersword humming. Intense agony ripped into his gut as bolt rounds slammed into his abdomen, one penetrating the ceramite armour. He felt the bolt ignite inside his armour, felt the flesh incinerating inside it’s own protective shell.

He pushed the thought aside as irrelevant and speared his powersword into the side of the marine. The blade ground against bone - probably the hip - as it came free for the beheading stroke, but the delay was enough to let the chainsword rise to desperately parry the weapon at the last instant.

Despite the agony as he burned inside his armour, Moloch the Tempest laughed as the marine scramble out of his reach like a whipped dog.

+++

Eshara dropped his chainsword, it’s teeth still spinning furiously as it hit the floor, and turned to fire at the Traitor marine. The oxy-phosphor gel had turned it into a pyre, but it seemed not to know or care. He emptied the magazine into the abdomen of the charging monstrosity…

+++

The hail of fire punched straight through Moloch’s segmented abdomen plate and ripped open scorched black carapace and muscle. Implants of the Soultakers Chapter were bathed in liquid fire as he burned inside and out.

‘Keeper!’ he screamed, as darkness engulfed Moloch the Tempest.

+++

Brother Eshara closed the blast doors of the generator room and dragged the body of Brother Ramiel painfully, but swiftly up the corridor, mindful of the need to get away before the explosive charges his fallen brother had set detonated. He had known when he volunteered for this mission that it was ‘Extremis Omega’, meaning it was understood that in the event of their death their bodies, weapons and armour would most likely not be recoverable. This was not a fate that Eshara would wish on another member of the Legio whatever standing mission orders might say.

Judging that this would have to be far enough, Eshara carefully laid Ramiel out on the deck and drew his knife. Even if the fates conspired to stop him recovering the body, he could at least return his geneseed.

+++

Inside the generator room the charred husk twitched…

Inside the chest of Moloch the Tempest hearts, scorched and cracked, started to beat once more…

Inside a brain boiled dry in it’s own skull thoughts began to dance…

‘Keeper!’ it whispered, somehow forming the word with vocal cords that were nothing more than blistered knots of gristle.

Moloch crawled across the floor towards the meltacharges. He had sworn… to protect…

Dragging himself up the bank of machinery, heedless of what he was leaving behind as he moved, Moloch reached one of the charges. Through an eye made cloudy he tried to focus on the control panel. The disarm code was etched into his mind, but his remaining fingers were giving him trouble. The panel swam at last into focus…

00:03...

00:02...

00:01...

+++

Victory to Eshara.

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 01 June 2006 - 06:17 PM.


#5
Aurelius Rex

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Round 2, Battle 5/6 (Author: Aurelius Rex)

Sir Ward and Caius Morgane vs. Abraxius and Alkakronus


+++

Alkakronus couldn’t believe his luck. After they had re-established contact with Soto he had immediately ordered them to the Security Nexus, a heavily armoured bunker filled with security monitors, internal scanners and data access terminals… perfect for his needs.

The place had been cracked open like an egg, either by intentional Legio sabotage or the explosions and quakes that seemed to be tearing the base apart, but many of the security systems were still operational.

He pushed the remains of a servitor out of the chair, ripped out the straggling data connections it had left and started his search.

From the look of the remaining security feeds there were not many people left alive on the base. Alkakronus clicked past channels filled with static until he came upon a live feed, apparently from the secondary generator room. He caught a brief glimpse of a charred, hulking figure which was cut off by a flash of light and a burst of static.

Alkakronus felt the base shudder, and the lights flickered out, leaving the cold green glow of the monitors. That was it, it was time to leave. This base could keep it‘s secrets. He had to get to the hangar bay, or at the very least an airlock.

+++

Sir Ward was wary of pairing up with another marine after the last had run out on him in the middle of a firefight. It was even worse that he had been assigned what seemed to be one bearing the geneseed of a Traitor Primarch who should not have been let anywhere near the Legio. Well, needs must…

Sergeant Golgotha had entrusted the two of them with taking the security bunker. He had been emphatic about the need to blind the enemy, deactivate the remaining sentry guns, and also to open certain blast doors before turning the bunker to slag.

Another shiver went through the base, plunging them darkness.

+++

‘Check the monitors in the surrounding area.‘ said Abraxius as he walked up behind his ‘partner‘.

‘Do it yourself.’ Alkakronus spat back as he vacated the seat and moved to a console showing a schematic of the base. With disgust the Slaaneshi marine squeezed the progenoid he had harvested between thumb and forefinger and sucked the contents out through the incision he had made like a connoisseur.

Guilliman. A bland stock of course, but a surprisingly long sustain and a wonderful peppery aftertaste…

He was shocked back by movement on the security monitor - a Legio marine accompanied by a much smaller figure, obviously feminine, and with child. The image was a blurry monochrome, but Abraxius was fascinated by the flash of body glove beneath the heavy storm-coat, dark, sharp eyes behind the pressure mask and the wing of what he assumed was black hair falling over her pale face.

Abraxius made a mental note of their location and made for the door, all thought of Soto’s orders forgotten.

+++

Caius Morgane watched the two Chaos Marines standing among what remained of the security station. It looked like someone had started taking the place apart already. Beside him Brother Ward was lining up his first shot but paused - both Corsairs seemed to be leaving the security station.

A stab of recognition and anger hit Morgane as he watched the Corsairs. One bore the distinctive marks of a Pleasure-Cult devotee, not a corrupted Emperor’s Child like Lukianous earlier, but the same taint that perverted his Legion. He could not let him leave, even if it jeopardised the mission. Sergeant Golgotha would understand.

Without a word of warning to the marine beside him, Morgane opened fire.

+++

The two Corsairs reacted to the roar of gunfire in completely different ways. While Alkakronus dived into what little cover remained to assess the situation, Abraxius gave a roar and charged. Alkakronus was certainly no coward, but he had seen enough heroic charges against insurmountable odds - and the inevitable heroic funerals that went with them - to know there was a better way.

A brief glance told him that there were only two Legio marines, but they were covering the only viable route to the hangars, and escape. The good news was that they were concentrating there fire on the screaming maniac in the pastel powered armour and ignoring him. That was sure to change if they stopped Abraxius, so having determined the best course of action for his continued survival, Alkakronus stealthily advanced on the loyalists.

+++

At last he had found a quarry that intrigued him. She had something, a fire long beaten out of the cult slaves on the base. And gravid… It was an enigma that he would enjoy picking apart over the coming months. Or perhaps days.

Abraxius recognised the signs. He was becoming more and more jaded, his senses dulled by going to ever greater extremes of narcosis, perversion or self-harm just to get some kind - any kind - of reaction. When it came down to it Slaanesh had an appropriately sadistic sense of humour. Even the lung-emptying primal warp-scream at the thought of combat and the jarring impact of bolt rounds deflecting off his armour was somehow hollow.

He gasped as the flaming bolt round caught him in armour seal between left leg and groin. The intensity of the pleasure/pain staggered him, but he kept on running through the symphony little deaths and exquisite agonies with a wide rictus grin. The interfering marines were within the span of his chain-glaive before another flaming bolt punched through his throat and lodged itself in his spine.

This ensured that for the last few seconds of Abraxius' life, which from his perspective stretched out into a dark infinity, he felt the worst possible sensation.

Absolutely nothing.

+++

Sir Ward redirected his fire on the second Corsair, the one trying to flank them from the right. It was a source of much personal pride that every Kraken round he had fired since stepping off the boarding torpedo had found it’s mark, the recorder on his custom-crafted bolter would attest to that, but his heart was telling him that Morgane could claim that last kill. Ward swore that this Traitor’s death would be claimed in the name of the Knights of Kudra.

It took several more carefully placed shots but he finally found a weak point under the arm as the Corsair snapped off a wide shot with his bolt pistol. Satisfied, Ward drew his chain dagger to finish the job face-to-face.

+++

People who didn’t know Alkakronus thought him shifty, devious and self-centred. A coward. They were wrong about him being a coward. He had been an Astartes for nigh-on five decades which had honed his combat skills, and years as a fugitive had taught him when to run, and when to fight. Two years ago on Hauth he had been cornered by three full squads of Arbites, but he was the only one to leave that bone-yard alive. He was feeling cornered now.

The marine with the chain dagger dodged the first two sweeps of his poweraxe, but he did not have the reach and the third bit deeply through the pauldron and into the shoulder. The Legio marine was stunned, his fancy bolter slipped from his grasp. Alkakronus wrenched the axe out to behead the marine, just as he had done to the Magistrate on Hauth, but the weapon was flicked out of his grip by the chainsword of the other Legio marine.

Alkakronus raised the bulky bolt pistol to end this but had to take a step back, just a fraction too slow as the chain dagger sliced through his neck. This time it was his bolt weapon that clattered to the ground out of numb fingers. Agony seared through his body as a chainsword pierced his back and splintered through the chest armour just below his hearts, still spinning furiously.

With vision dimming, Alkakronus reached out with both hands and pulled the weakened marine in front of him onto the chainsword.

+++

It had been an accident, a terrible accident. The last vengeance of a dying traitor, but Caius Morgane knew what the others thought of him, suspected him of. Traitor geneseed, traitor marine… A terrible accident…

He closed the glazed eyes of Brother Ward. It was a terrible accident, but no-one must find the body…

+++

Victory to Caius Morgane

#6
Aurelius Rex

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Round 2, Battle 7 (Author: Ferrata)

Hasoroth vs. Kekmeses of the Twilight


Hasoroth crouched behind the metal ammunition cases as las-fire whipped above his head. The cultists had him pinned; he had found them reloading their heavier weapons. He had quickly taken out a number of the rear guard, but the main bulk of them were causing problems. He had taken refuge behind some empty boxes of ammunition, and they were severing to keep the majority of the shots away from him. His ammunition was running low, so it would be useful to attain some more on his way.

He had already spotted his next target, a lone cultist away from the pack. The fool had strayed too far to Hasoroth’s left, and had not realised he was visible around the edge of the boxes. Bringing his bolter to arms, he released a hail of fire from his weapon. The high explosive rounds smashing into the cultist’s unarmoured abdomen, ripping through his internal organs and sending his system into shock. Dropping to the ground, its body spasming as it hit the floor. Its group temporarily distracted by the noises the fallen cultist made. Hasoroth using the split second to change cover and get a better aim at the group of cultists.

Switching his bolter to full-auto and lowering it to get a sure sight down his targetter, Hasoroth unleashed a wind of death across the room. The bullets spinning through the air like individual reapers of death. Each one smashing into the cultists and ending their measly lives. Limbs going flaccid, losing the grip on their weapons. Crashing into the ground, some of their weapons fired accidentally. One lasgun nearly cutting Hasoroth’s power pack, which would have cut off vital support for his systems.

After a quick scan of the room, Hasoroth advanced onto the region of death, the cultists’ blood covering the floor in a deep red liquid which made it slippery underfoot. Even the power armour boots with their mag-locks where struggling to keep Hasoroth up-right. Grabbing some extra ammunition from one of the boxes, Hasoroth glanced across to the far side of the room. Entirely invisible to the cultists, but Hasoroth had picked up the outline of a marine, a traitor marine.

The traitor was kneeling down in the middle of an open area, weapon at his side. Hands clasped around the end of weapon, in a non-combat position. Hasoroth wondered if the marine was injured, but it didn’t seem to be suffering. A weird glow surrounded the traitor, a husky crimson light which seemed to glimmer and shine around him. His head was not enclosed in a helmet unlike most marines; instead a cowl covered its face. The traitor had his eye’s closed, as it some kind of trance. A voice appeared from behind the cowl.

“Bringers of Protection. Bearers of my Shield.”

The damn traitor was praying to his foul Ruinous gods, asking them for aid. Hasoroth, bringer of the Emperor’s will, would bring this traitor down in a hail of fire, and on the end of his spear. The cross-hair fell upon the traitor’s head; the red lines lay dead in the centre of the traitor’s eyes. A single shot would bring this foul beast of chaos down. A single adamant bolt flew through the air, its aim true.

“Bring forth your Protection. Bring forth your Shield.”

The bolt reached a few inches from the traitors head. The bolt melted as it hit some kind of shield around the traitor, hissing as it hit the floor. The traitor smiled as he heard the sound. Hasoroth, shocked by the events, unleashed another two bolts at the traitor. As the bolts spun towards the traitor, the traitor finished it’s pray.

“Give me power, Give me hell!”

The new bolts fell victim to the same fate as the first one, making small pools of molten metal on the floor. The traitor opened its eyes, a crimson light beaming from them. The traitors head spun round, its crimson stare locked on Hasoroth. Quickly getting to its feet, it began the long charge towards the Legio Marine. Its feet pounding the floor, a beat of death. Hasoroth emptied the rest of the magazine into the traitor’s chest. His aim was true, but they fell to the same foul spell as the previous bolts. This traitor was blessed; his death would be all so sweeter. Hasoroth threw his bolter to his side and drew his spear; combat would be the choice of the day.

The traitor brought his weapon down, to reveal the pistol contained within it. Lowering it to Hasoroth’s shin level and let out a volley of bullets, instead of flying straight, they formed into a large single bullet. This single bullet sped through the dusky air in the ammunition room, shimmering with the same light which had saved the traitor before. It pierced Hasoroth’s shin, not splitting his armour, just creating a tiny hole which the rest of the bullet followed through. Exploding inside Hasoroth’s shin, ripping muscle from bone, and tearing ligaments out of place. Hasoroth dropped to the ground, his left leg unable to cope with the amount of stress it was currently going through.

Hasoroth could feel the pain tearing up his shin and into his thigh. His systems kicked in, numbing the pain in his lower body, filling his blood stream with numerous pain-killers. He tried to mentally block the pain that was getting through his systems, gripping his spear even tighter. As the traitor closed down on him, bringing his weapon down to finish the job that the bullet had started.

The traitor’s weapon was heavy, but Hasoroth managed to raise his spear just in time, deflecting the weapon to the side. Smashing the reverse side of his spear across the traitor’s shins. Using all his strength, Hasoroth pushed himself of the floor. Standing ahead of his opponent, he stared deep into the crimson eyes. He wondered if there was anything in this ruinous power, a new strength maybe.

No, Emperor Forgive.

Brining his spear across the traitor’s chest, cutting a deep line from the top of its left shoulder to the tip of his right leg. His opponent reeled as the pain rushed though his body, but instead of blood running from the wound, the same crimson light which shone from its eyes. Beaming out of his chest like he was filled with some mystical power. Hasoroth, shocked by the lack of blood, readied his spear for another attack. Chaos was strong, maybe stronger than the Imperium.

No, Emperor Protect.

Quickly his spear was travelling back across the traitor’s chest, but this time the opposite way. A deep x had been formed on his chest, burning with the deep crimson light. Hasoroth spied his final wound which would bring this traitor down. Chucking his spear to the ground, he whipped round his bolter as he reloaded it. Pushing the nozzle of bolter into the centre of x, and unleashed his fury. A whole magazine was fired, at point blank range, into the traitor’s chest. Every single bolt exploding around the internal organs of the foul traitor, if he had any. The traitor’s body spasmed, like the cultist, as he stood there. Standing in front of Hasoroth, crimson light fading. The life force rushed from the traitor. Dropping to the ground, the traitor’s life was extinguished.

Doing a final check of the room, Hasoroth collected some more ammunition from the boxes and set about fixing his melta charges in here. He should be able to acquire some more on his way out of this room. He found a large pile of explosive rockets, a perfect location for one of his charges.

Victory to Hasoroth

#7
Aurelius Rex

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(Author: Aurelius Rex)

+++

‘A Son of Orar, a Praetor of Orpheus and, surprise, a Relictor…’ mused Inquisitor Holst from behind him, each crisply enunciated syllable falling into place like cut glass. ‘Well, at least that is two more Chapters we can shame into contributing marines to the Crusade against Antioc.’

It spoke of exceptional talent and ambition for someone to rise to full Inquisitor at such a young age. Sergeant Golgotha had not been back to Mycenae, home of both her Inquisition Fortress and his own Chapter in twenty-five years and by his best guess she would just have been learning to walk around the icy floors of the Schola Progenium. Rejuvinat treatments were possible, but they always showed around - and behind - the eyes. It was not surprising that they had never met, but he would have preferred to be working with an Inquisitor he knew.

Golgotha span the Apollyon up to speed for a few moments, clearing the mechanism. He knew the rest of the company laughed about his oversized chainsword, but it was truly a beautiful, and brutally weapon.

It was time to move on. Wordlessly they set off, Golgotha taking the lead. The command tacticae was grim. Too many vital signs were darkened… Too many brothers, old friends of decades like Quadras, Samiel, Ramage and Dailore that he had persuaded to come along. New intake marines who had eagerly volunteered and would now remain little more than a name, a face, and a few lines on a pict-slate. They were facing more Corsairs than expected, and they were far more than cannon fodder. He had expected that more would have chased off after the Spear of Justice, but Soto must have kept back his entire Inner Circle just in case.

Another shudder ran through the floor and as the overhead lights flickered he allowed himself a smile of satisfaction. Eshara had taken out the secondary generator. Despite the resistance they were taking the base apart. The shield array was still operational but in a while that might well be immaterial.

There was still no response from Baeyert. The Fiery Lion had turned off his vox and vitals and disappeared, leaving Brother Ward in the middle of a firefight. He had heard rumours about the Chapter - that they were little better than pirates – could he have taken the final step and sided with the Corsairs?

‘Don’t worry about Baeyert, Sergeant.’ whispered Lady Holst, ‘He has his own agenda, but in his own way he is still loyal to the Throne.’

Golgotha looked down sharply at the Inquisitor now by his side, taking three steps for every one of his. ‘Body language, educated guesswork and female intuition, Antonius… I didn’t scan you. Our compact with your Chapter still holds.’

Ahead of them the blast door loomed, meters thick steel and ceramite braced with adamantium. If Ward and Morgane could take the security station this would make things a whole lot easier. As if on cue Morgane’s vox activated but if there was a message it was drowned out by the roar of bolter-fire and the sound of bloody combat.

Then Brother Ward’s vital signs went dark and Morgane’s vox deactivated.

‘Morgane… Ward… Caius, report!’ No response. The command tacticae showed Morgane’s vital signs as alive, but his body was under intense stress. Then, just as he reached to unpack his stock of melta charges the blast door rumbled, and with a tortured screech of metal slowly began to rise. According to Lady Holst the reason for the whole mission lay just ahead.

But there was still no response from either Ward or Morgane.

+++

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 01 June 2006 - 06:21 PM.


#8
Aurelius Rex

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Round 3: (Author: Aurelius Rex)

Round 3, Battle 1 - Caius Morgane vs. Onyx

+++

The base was deserted. There were plenty of corpses choking the corridors but they didn’t count.

The sound of gunfire had died away to nothing. The annoying whine of the sentry guns and security monitors had ceased, but the base was far from quiet. Chain-reaction explosions, the ominous, tortured creak of decking, unchecked fire and the hiss of slow decompression… The base was going into it’s death throes.

The Warmaster was not a forgiving man. Onyx had served under Tomax Hell throughout the Long War and had first-hand experience of his brutality. After losing this outpost, Soto and the Red Corsairs were finished.

This was going to be so much fun.

Onyx stalked the halls in search of prey. The Endgame was nearly here, but at the moment he had a little time. To kill.

+++

Morgane shifted the weight of Brother Ward and stared down into the Abyss. After what he had done there was no other option.

+++

In spite of all the damage the base had suffered the shield generators were still operational. Beyond the primary reactor core and perhaps Soto’s command bunker it was the most likely target for Legio sabotage. The top of the stairwell opened out into a vast circular chamber with a wide walkway around the circumference over a sheer drop to the shadowed depths of the base. The shield generator array itself was pressed against the roof of the chamber by half a dozen support pillars entwined with power cables, the largest supporting the gantry over to the array.

As Onyx moved around the arc of the walkway to the gantry he realised that he was not alone. There was a Legio marine on the far side of the room, previously hidden by the bulk of the array. Casting aside stealth he drew his pistol and charged.

+++

Morgane carefully lowered the body of Brother Ward to the deck and unslung his bolter. A hail of inferno bolts succeeded in throwing him back against the wall, but despite being badly wounded the Night Lord pulled himself back to his feet, let out an insane, amplified cackle and charged once more.

The traitor marine dived wildly into combat, overextending himself and leaving himself open, but when he pulled the trigger to put a bolt into the vulnerable armoured neck seals, the bolter clicked empty, and the moment was gone. Too late he realised it was misdirection, the powersword slicing through left greave and flesh of his leg with ease.

Morgane ignored the wound and adjusted his style to compensate for the loss of mobility by discarding his empty bolter. His superior swordsmanship was beginning to pay off and every time the traitor marine grew impatient with seeing every attack parried Morgane would punish him with an elegant jab with his chainsword. Each time the whirring blade skittered off powered armour plates and while it did no physical damage it was undermining the Night Lord’s self-confidence. By the fourth time the taunting, maniacal laughter had finally ceased.

+++

Onyx banked the fires on his frustration and backed off. Even despite the leg wound this marine was outfighting him. If the Legio had given him a powersword rather than a chainsword Onyx was certain he would have been dead by now.

So he decided to out-think his opponent.

Without taking his eyes off his opponent, Onyx emptied his bolt pistol into the Legio corpse. It had the desired effect. With a howl of affronted rage the Legio swordsman threw caution to the wind and leapt raggedly at the ‘desecrator‘. Too easy, too easy. He savoured the sensation as his powersword severed the right leg above the knee and took great pleasure in turning the chainsword into an expanding storm of flying metal with the return swing.

Harsh, mocking laughter echoed from the walls, but it was not from Onyx. It was coming from the incapacitated and beaten Legio marine.

+++

It was not how he wanted this to end. After the death of Brother Ward his darkest daemons, the ones from which he and his Chapter had fought to Redeem themselves had picked at his soul. The thought that he had - even for a second - considered hiding the body left him shuddering with self-loathing and he had resolved to return the body of Brother Ward to his Chapter and face the consequences.

But first he had to complete his mission, and until now he was sure that he could do both. One would have to do. He flicked the arming toggle on the remote detonator and the melta-charges on each of the support pillars bleeped in response. The Traitor marine was quick on the uptake and had already gone, but would be hard-pressed to outrun this explosion.

‘I’ve failed you, my Brother.’ he said, looking over at Brother Ward. ‘Forgive me, my Emperor.’

+++

The detonations vaporised the support beams and flashed back into the shield array. The resulting explosion breached the outer wall of the base and decompressed more than a quarter of the base.

Despite looking into the jaws of death and still being alive, Onyx could not find anything to laugh about as he slammed the pressure door closed.

+++

Victory to Onyx.

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 01 June 2006 - 06:25 PM.


#9
Aurelius Rex

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(Author: Joker)

***

Onyx was bleeding. The pressure door was bowed, but it had held. His ears were ringing.

The lapdog's bolt had exploded while lodged in his chest plate, and sent shrapnel into his muscles when it detonated. Larraman cells were clotting the wounds, but slowly. The pain was cleansing, clearing his mind, and focusing Onyx on what needed to be done. The Warmaster must be warned, the damage to the base was catastrophic. He shook his head, clearing the last of the fog from the explosion behind the pressure door.

Onyx jumped to his feet and began to jog toward the control center. As he ran, he thumbed the activation rune on his sword and the purple glow leapt along the blade. The passageways were deserted. It looked as the Loyalists had not penetrated this far into the base yet. Onyx rounded the final corner to see the bulkhead to the control center open.

The room was empty, but many of the cogitators seemed operational. Soto was nowhere to be found. The surveillance systems were still mostly functioning, and he scanned the vid-screens for signs of defenders. Only 2 could be seen. In one of the screens he saw a woman bearing an Inquisitorial seal walking with a black-clad marine with a green shoulder bearing the stylized "S" of the Scions of Dorn. Onyx noticed that one of the vids seemed to be frozen on the end of his last fight, prior to the explosion. Gauntleted hand flying over the controls, he had a flash of inspiration. Within seconds all of the vid-screens throughout the compound were showing the same thing, his annihilation of the dead body with bolt shells and the defeat of the invader, repeated, on an endless loop. With a deft movement, Onyx drove the point of his blade down into the panel, destroying the controls.

He moved over to the communications panel, scanning the runes and displays. What luck! The transmitter was still configured to contact the Warmaster. Onyx slammed his fist down on the transmit control and began to speak, forcing his voice to remain calm and steady.

"My Lord, The Compound has been under attack for some time. The fool Soto is gone, I can only imagine that he has fled. I am doing what I can to hold them off, but the attackers are well armed and moving with purpose. I have yet to figure out what they are after. My Lord, the woman is here, and with her, the ape, Golgotha. I need re-enforcements or the outpost will fall."

***

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 15 June 2006 - 08:46 PM.


#10
Aurelius Rex

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+++

The Spear of Justice was limping, damaged. Since the Corsair last boarding action it’s manoeuvres had been drunken wallows rather than the smooth course-corrections expected of a Marine Strike-Cruiser. Or at least that was the impression Brother-Captain Ænides was trying hard to project.

The Red Corsair fleet sent after them was an assortment of heavily converted and armed transports and freighters, claimed Navy cobra destroyers and their flagship, a Dauntless light cruiser. The Spear of Justice had drawn them away from the base to give the Kill Team as much time as possible, and the prospect of taking an Astartes Strike-Cruiser as a prize had proved attractive bait. Unfortunately keeping the fleet interested, and darting forward to prevent ships from breaking off back to reinforce the base had left them in a tactical position that Ænides would never otherwise have chosen. Even taking into account the trio of Corsair ships she had left crippled there were still too many to defeat head-on.

In truth, the last boarding action had hurt them. Before they had been cut down the boarding parties had succeeded in taking most of the short-range defence turrets off-line. A classic Corsair tactic. His crew was frantically trying to bring them back on-line before they were swamped with boarding craft full of renegade marines specialising in ship-to-ship combat.

‘Brother-Captain, surveyors are showing the Corsair base has lost shields, and is venting atmosphere.’

That was the sign. He gave the order to make best-speed to pick up the Kill-Team and blast the base to pieces. As he watched the tactical display more and more red flecks - boarding torpedoes and assault boats - spilled out of the larger Corsair ships. It would not be pretty, but he had complete faith in his crew, and the marines under his command.

He just hoped that the damned Inquisitor and her mission had been successful.

+++

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 01 June 2006 - 06:27 PM.


#11
Aurelius Rex

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Round 3, battle 2: Fautor vs Inihilus (Author: Several Concerned Cricketers)

+++

A hissing roar filled the hallways of the Red Corsair base as the base's atmosphere vented into space through an ever growing number of holes caused by Legio sabotage. Inihilus stood firm as wind howled around him, his tattered, grime encrusted robes flapping in the wind, a sickening shower of spores, dust and filth sloughing off the cloth, streaming behind him, sending disease and sickness flooding through the base. The Plague Marine's mouth twitched, tentacles writhing gleefully as he thought of the suffering the few remaining human pirates would suffer before they died, their souls gathered to Pater Nurgle's pustulent bosom, a more painful death than awaited them at the hands of the Legio or decompression, but a far more useful one for the great god of disease.

+++

Fautor pressed onwards, the rush of decompressing air a palpable force on his back, hurrying his steps. From the few garbled vox reports he had picked up Fautor suspected the Legio assault had not gone as planned but Golgotha's words still rang in his ears,

'You must not fail Legionnaire. The Inquisitor is depending on you.'

More than the words though, the intensity in the Legio Sergeant's eyes had impressed upon the Castigator the importance of his role in the assault. In the distance he heard another series of hissing explosions, more melta charges detonating he was sure. The dim corridor lighting flickered and the rush of air surrounding him lessened as it found yet another route to the void outside. Fautor put such distractions aside, he would not fail, he would not allow himself to fail...

+++

The dark figure dashed across the corridor, it knew safety was near, if only it could find it. Sleekly plump, its fur slicked back, the creature's beady eyes scanned the corridor, its ears twitching, trying to hear something beyond the hiss of wind. Another short dash brought it to what a man would recognise as a cross road, all the creature knew was that danger lurked in places like this. Its instincts cut into overdrive and as the wind lessened for a moment it heard a noise from the left it had spent its life avoiding - footsteps. It listened harder, its tiny brain trying to determine which way to flee. It turned to the right and paused, more footsteps. Whiskers quivering the rat sank back into the shadows and waited...

+++

Inihilus stalked through the shattered remains of the Red Corsair base, his cloak twitching in the lessened decompression winds. A skeletal hand gripped his bolter, a be-slimed gauntlet his Plague Sword. Reaching a 4 way intersection he glanced at the air lock status display, there was only one way not locked down by blast doors - straight ahead. Moving off again his tentacles twitched as he saw one of Pater Nurgle's faithful assistants, a rat, cowering in the darkness of a short side corridor. Bending low he caressed the creature, blessing the creature with a myriad of the Decaying God's most potent toxins and sicknesses. Hissing, bubbling laughter came from behind the tentacles as the little creature shuddered, quivered and twitched.

+++

Fautor staggered, then hit the plas-steel deck with a crash as the floor beneath him bucked and reared, rearing like a spit-snake preparing to attack. Another wave rocked the floor, the walls buckled and Fautor scrambled forward towards the intersection. A third wave pitched the Marine headfirst into the clearing, thrusting him almost face to face with the hideous form a Plague Marine. The Plague Marine was standing, barely, one skeletal hand gripping a wall stanchion so hard it had twisted and buckled. Scrambling backwards he pulled the trigger of his plasma pistol, a roiling ball of star matter crashing into the dark green armour of the Nurgle Marine, sloughing away layers of slime and filth, burning through the ceramite and plas-steel beneath before finally biting into the corrupted flesh of the Traitor.

+++

Inihilus' tentacles writhed as he felt the heat of the plasma ball burn through his armour, scorching his flesh and biting deep into his internal organs. Melted armour flowed down his chest and he hissed as his newly created Plague Rat was engulfed in boiling ceramite. His corrupted blood boiling, Inihilus charged the black armoured Marine who was still scrambling backwards, desperately trying to track him with that thrice-damned plasma pistol.

+++

Fautor jerked the trigger of the plasma pistol and cursed as the shot went wide, expending it's fury on a series of airlock control panels. The traitor loomed over him now, his corrupted sword raised on high, ready to strike. The energy coils of the ancient pistol glowed dimly and Fautor knew he had only one shot left before the weapon would need to recharge. As he pulled the trigger he knew he had been too slow, the Plague Marine was already striking down and even his death now would not stop that deadly blade from pinning him to the deck. Not even the enhanced immune system of a Marine would be able to resist Nurgle's Rot or one of the other vile diseases the blade undoubtedly carried killing him.

+++

Inihilus' tentacles writhed again, this time in triumph, as he drove Pater Nurgle's blessed sword down at the prone Legionnaire, soon Pater Nurgle's legions would be joined by another oozing, pus-filled zombie, a more potent servant than the Plague Rat could ever have been. The crackling, hissing discharge of the plasma pistol echoed down four corridors again and Inihilus watched in disbelief as the pulsing ball of energy smashed into his Plague Sword. His eyes locked on his blade Inihilus saw a word he had long since forgotten was engraved on the blade, the last thing he would ever see.

+++

Fautor watched in mute fascination as the plasma bolt struck the blade of the Plague Sword, the cleansing fires purging it of filth and corruption, revealing an elaborately engraved obsidian blade beneath centuries of disease. Before he could read the writing the Castigator's eyes were drawn back to the expanding cloud of plasma, the bright mass had been partially dissipated by the sword but enough energy remained to smash into the twisted face of the Plague Marine, destroying its skeletal features and the mutated tentacles that had emerged from its mouth. The Plague Marine slowly toppled backwards, a smoking black hole where its face had been.

The death of the Plague Marine released the Castigator from his almost-trance and he could feel the burning of the one-time Plague Sword in his belly. Laying his pistol on the deck he grasped the blade and bracing himself, drew it from his armour, wincing at both the pain and the shrill screech of metal on ceramite. Tossing the sword aside and standing he could now read the engraved word that shone through the corruption surrounding it.

Caliban.

+++

Victory to Fautor

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 16 June 2006 - 04:22 PM.


#12
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

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Round 3, battle 3: Eshara vs Brutus (Author: Brother Tyler)

+++

The asteroid within which the Red Corsairs had established the hidden base was doomed. Originally utilized by the Adeptus Mechanicus, the base relied more upon concealment than durability as its primary defense. Though the original inhabitants had long ago departed the base, the Red Corsairs, despite the improvements they had made, had been unable to create a rugged fortification. The shields and gun batteries, formidable as they were, had never been intended as anything other than a temporary measure against anything but the most cursory attack. A direct assault by a Space Marine strike cruiser with a dedicated landing force could only be slowed down.

The initial assault by the Spear of Justice had severely damaged the base's plasma reactor. The follow-on destruction of the secondary reactor and other strategic targets had further weakened the base and ruined the structural integrity of the asteroid. It was only a matter of time before the asteroid disintegrated.

Deep within the asteroid, an entity stirred. The destruction wrought upon the asteroid had disturbed its slumbers, prematurely awakening the being. As the status of the asteroid was relayed, the mind within arrived at the logical conclusion in a matter of nanoseconds. The mutated creatures that served the entity were of no consequence, even though millennia of experimentation would be lost. The data collected over the years had been recorded. That data must be saved. More importantly, the entity must survive.

Cold logic set in motion a sequence of events that would ensure the entity's survival.

+++

He knew that the base was falling apart around him. His goal of abandoning the Red Corsairs was becoming more urgent with each passing moment. He was too far from the base's bays to make good his escape that way. Even if he were in that area, the remaining defense batteries would likely finish him off before he could depart. No. The attack Space Marines, though, would have some plan for escape. Though it wasn't unknown for the Adeptus Astartes to execute the occasional suicide mission, such endeavors invariably involved some plan to retrieve the gene-seed of the fallen. Brutus did not know which Chapter it was that had launched the attack. He had not recognized the livery of the Space Marine he had slain. This was neither good nor bad - there were rumored to be only a thousand or so Chapters in existence. Brutus had only ever interacted with members of three other Chapters while still serving the Dark Angels. His time with the Red Corsairs, however, had exposed him to members of a number of Chapters. The core of the Red Corsairs, including the master, were the surviving members of the Astral Claws. Brutus had never been told of the Badab War or of Lufgt Huron's rebellion against the Imperium. It was a sobering lesson, learning that there were Space Marines who had turned from the Imperium. The fact that such knowledged was deliberately kept shrouded in secrecy didn't surprise him. After all, he had turned from the Imperium long before he had learned of other renegades. Such knowledge had vindicated him in his quest for independence, however. Whoever the attacking Space Marines were, he could use the confusion of the attack and the instability of the asteroid in effecting his escape.

+++

The terse instructions from Sergeant Golgotha had come as a surprise. Eshara had not realized that the damage done to the base had been so extensive, although the recent tremors he had felt, even those which he had caused himself, were a good indicator of the veracity of Golgotha's claims. The change in objective, honourable and necessary as it was, saddened Eshara. The stiff resistance the strike team had met, though it had been penetrated sufficiently to achieve the team's objectives, had left too many battle-brothers dead or wounded. He had already retrieved the precious gene-seed of Ramiel. Now he must return to the surface, providing assistance to any battle-brothers he found or, if necessary, retrieving their gene-seed.

Grimly, Eshara consolidated his remaining ammunition in the two magazines he had left. Simultaneously, he consulted his psycho-enhanced memory. The layout of the base had been embedded in his psyche preparatory to the attack. Determining his current location, he plotted the quickest route to the rendezvous point. There were at least two battle-brothers whose objective routes intersected his path. One of those was known to have run afoul of renegades. The other had not been heard from. The explanation for that might not be negative - the base's architecture had interfered with vox communications as soon as battle-brothers plumbed the depths of the base. Perhaps the incommunicado battle-brother was simply dealing with communication problems. Regardless, Eshara knew that he must do his best to find the missing battle-brothers, any others he might encounter, and return to the surface for retrieval by the Spear of Justice.

Still loading rounds into the magazine, he set off on the path to rescue. Only the most attentive observer would notice the trace of a limp, for his knee, damaged in the encounter with the diseased traitor, had already begun to heal.

+++

Deep within the asteroid, the inner chamber of the entity had resolved itself into an escape capsule that was shielded within a chunk of rock. The final security locks had closed. When the larger asteroid finally disintegrated, the entity would survive within the smaller rock. Any nearby vessels would detect nothing other than another rock in a see of rock debris. The entity and all that it had worked for over the millennia would survive.

+++

Elsewhere within the base, two Space Marines were converging on each other. Each had been recruited as a youth from his homeworld, survived grueling trials and surgical implantation of superhuman organs, and the most intense regime of training, psycho-conditioning, and therapy to be found anywhere in the Imperium. They had been turned into elite Space Marines, Mankind's most potent warriors in the never-ending struggle against the threats to the Imperium. These two Space Marines whose paths were about to cross no longer served with the respective Chapters that had made them into superhuman warriors. One had renounced his oaths of loyalty, turning renegade. The other had been granted the singular honor of representing his Chapter within a secret Chapter of Space Marines.

One of these warriors would die this day.

+++

As another mild tremor rocked the asteroid, Brutus was pitched to the side of the hallway. He steadied himself automatically, arm buttressing his massive bulk against the bulkhead until the shaking subsided. It wouldn't be long until the base shook itself apart. The ancient warrior had no intention of being within the asteroid when that happened. He renewed his departure.

+++

Eshara had ceased moving as the tremor began. He thought he had heard movement from down the corridor. He called out on the proximity vox net, "Eshara here. Who is approaching my position?" No response. It could be an enemy approaching. Or it could be one of his teammates, comms damaged in the attack or hampered by the base's internal architecture. Quadras had penetrated this way. Whoever it was, he was moving fast. Eshara estimated that it was a Space Marine nearing his position. Deciding that caution was called for in this situation, he ensured that a bolt was chambered then assumed a ready defensive posture, bolter covering the hallway through which the approaching individual would come.

Despite the auto-senses afforded by his armour and the targeter upon his bolter, the inky blackness of the corridor beyond fifty meters was impenetrable. Eshara estimated the distance to be 100 meters or so. Within moments it was less than eighty.

The approaching figure was moving at a speed that few other than a Space Marine could match.

Eshara called out on the vox net again, "This is Eshara. Identify yourself."

No answer.

Whispering the Litany of Hatred, Eshara prepared for combat.

+++

Brutus had heard the initial challenge over the vox net, although the encryption used by the Legio rendered the words unintelligible. He didn't need to understand the words in order to understand the importance of the contact, though. One of the attacking Space Marines was nearby.

While the most obvious enhancements of the Space Marines are their bodies, the prodigious abilities of their minds made them even more deadly. Even as he continued his headlong advance, Brutus' mind rapidly cycled through various courses of action. He still had plenty of ammunition, although his bolt pistol had limited range. If it came to combat, he would have to get close. He would have to ensure that he got close. Understanding the honour of the Adeptus Astartes, he thumbed the activation rune on his power sword, shutting the power field off. Still moving forward, he returned the weapon to its scabbard as the second challenge came over the vox net.

He then removed his helmet, clipping it at his belt. His eyes adjusted quickly to the gloomy darkness. Up ahead he could see pale light filtering through. His adversary was most likely ahead. He continued in his forward momentum.

+++

The approaching Space Marine (Eshara was absolutely certain it was a Space Marine now) was at a little over fifty meters now. He would be entering the lit portion of the hallway soon. Eshara had the entrance covered.

The instant his targeter identified a target, Eshara sighted in. The figure emerged into the light. Eshara could make out dark armor - green. It wasn't one of the kill team members. When the targeter indicated lock, the Legio Space Marine squeezed the trigger.

+++

The unmistakeable sound of a bolter being fired presaged the thunderous impact. Brutus' vision was still adjusting to the light. He had not seen his attacker, although he estimated from the sound that he was at the extreme range of the bolter.

The bolt struck him with full force. He had moved his body slightly to the right, taking the bolt on his left side. The bolt penetrated his armour, but he had judged correctly and it was exiting his armour as it exploded. Still, the impact spun him slightly, throwing his left side back. The pain was intense, and it took every ounce of his will to refrain from the instinctive combat reactions.

Even as fiery pain engulfed his body, Brutus raised his empty hand to his attacker, showing the palm in sign of peace and calling out, "Hold! I am a friend."

+++

Eshara allowed himself a slight smile when he saw that his shot had been true. Still aiming in on the approaching figure, Eshara saw the bare head and helmet attached at the belt. That might explain the lack of response. When the figure unexpectedly gave a sign of supplication, Eshara's smile faded. At the pronouncement of friendship, Eshara obligingly lowered his bolter. Not one to be fooled, though, he merely lowered the weapon from an attack position, keeping it aimed in on the opposite figure from the hip. The figure's next pronouncement was quite unexpected.

"Brother-Marine, take me off this rock. I have been held captive against my will. I was rescued by one of your comrades... Quadras was his name."

Eshara could see that the green-armoured Space Marine was still approaching on the run, although he was making no hostile moves and his sword was sheathed. Still, he wasn't one to be fooled easily. Quadras may have rescued the opposing figure, or he may have been killed by him. The battle-brother's name was easily distinguished upon the honour scroll upon his pauldron. Learning his name would not have been difficult for either a friend or a foe. Eshara activated the external address speakers and challenged, "Identify yourself, 'brother', and tell me what has become of Quadras."

Brutus' pace slowed as he realized that the attacking Space Marine was giving him leeway to advance. He noticed that the bolter, though no longer at the ready, remained pointed in his direction, targeter still aimed in on him. "I am Brutus of the Dark Angels, captured by traitors during the recent fighting around Cadia."

Twenty five meters.

"The traitors held me captive and tortured me. They told me that they planned to sacrifice me in some ritual to the Fell Powers. It was only the fortuitous timing of your attack that saved me from that fate." The signs of combat pain were evidenced in his speech, betrayed by slight strain.

Twenty meters.

"Come. We must make haste to the surface for this asteroid will surely destroy itself."

Eshara considered Brutus' words, then retorted, "and what became of Quadras that he is no longer with you?"

Fifteen meters.

The former Dark Angel did not allow his face to show the scowl that he felt internally. This Space Marine was no fool. He continued to press for information and his weapon remained aimed upon him. "He fell in battle. After he rescued me from the brig, we ..."

At the mention of the brig, Eshara instantly brought his bolter to the ready. The brig was nowhere near this area of the base and Quadras had never been there. This traitor had been attempting to use subterfuge. "Hold!"

Continuing to speak even as the black-armoured Space Marine brought his weapon up, Brutus brought his own bolt pistol up while pulling the power sword from the scabbard, ".. .ran afoul of several of the traitors."

Both Space Marines fired in unison.

Brutus' shot, fired from the hip while moving forward at full speed, ricocheted off the leading left greave of Eshara. The impact failed to penetrate, although it did knock the leg back and pitched the Legio Space Marine forward.

Meanwhile, Eshara's shot, aimed with the benefit of a stable position and targeter, struck Brutus full on the chest. The acid-filled bolt penetrated the thick armour, driving through the skin and black carapace, shattering the sternum and thrusting forward into the vitals before exploding. The round, developed to cause severe pain to even the most durable of adversaries, caused traumatic damage to the centuries-old traitor.

Both Space Marines hit the deck almost simultaneously - Eshara rolling quickly to regain his footing while Brutus slammed down out of control. The renegade's power weapon, still deactivated, flew from his grasp and slid forward into the bulkhead.

Eshara was up instantly, weapon aimed in on the head of his opponent, watching for any signs of combative movement. He registered the movement of the empty hand, pulling down towards the waist; then the turning of the head as the traitor pushed his upper body up in order to look squarely upon his killer.

Blood stained his nostrils and mouth, although the flow had been stemmed by his body's enhanced defenses. His speech, though, was labored and amply exhibited the damage done to his body. "Come closer my brother, Give me final grace..."

Eshara noticed that the arm holding the bolt pistol was pinned at an awkward position and twitched slightly. Apparently the arm had been broken, likely in several places. The weapon was aimed in the wrong direction, though, so Eshara stepped forward cautiously.

"That's it come closer."

As Eshara entered grappling distance, the green-armoured struck out feebly with his combat knife. Even as the Legio Space Marine brought his bolter up to fire, though, all strength abandoned the traitor. As his leg moved forward and kicked the attacking arm back, Eshara pulled the trigger.

The weapon had been aimed in on the traitor's head.

Eshara turned from the now headless body of the attacker. At least he knew what had happened to Quadras. Perhaps he could discover the fate of his other battle-brother en route to the surface.

Knowing that his communication was unlikely to reach the surface, Eshara transmitted regardless, "Eshara here. I have just killed another of the traitors and am moving to coordinates X509-G. I estimate two minutes until arrival."

With that, Eshara plunged forward.

The base shook itself once more, as if rebelling at the death of another of the defenders.

+++

Deep inside the depths of the asteroid, a countdown began. The entity within the survival chamber began humming to itself absently.

+++

Victory to Eshara

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 16 June 2006 - 04:32 PM.


#13
Aurelius Rex

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Round 3, battle 4: Hasoroth vs Baglis (Author: Ferrata. Rolled by Aurelius Rex.)

+++

Baglis strode down the corridor, heading towards the escape pods. The base was falling apart around him, and Soto had been off radio for a number of minutes now. It wasn't looking good for the defenders; maybe the Legio had actually succeeded, for once. Another explosion ripped through the base somewhere above Baglis' location, as rubble dropped from the ceiling.

Baglis continued his path, being prepared for both Legio and Corsair attack. He knew that the Legio might head towards the escape pods just encase they could not get out by any other means, and his Corsair brothers would jump him if it meant that could survive that little bit longer. His chainsword was slung over his back, his bolter-melta in his hands.

"They Slaughtered your Brothers"

The voice was familiar to Baglis, he had heard it before. It had visited him in his dreams, in his nightmares. It appeared in his head, and spoke of his Brothers, and their demise. Unlike ordianary noise, which enters through the ears, this voice was just there, inside his head. Like it had been there before, and it will be there again. But now, now was the first time he had heard it while conscious.

"Against the Fortress" whispered the voice, it crippled Baglis. Emitting pain from the centre of his head, deep with in his midbrain chaos erupted. Baglis collapsed to the ground, clutching his head. Ripping of his helmet, he grasped the harsh air. It had been recycled so often that he wasn't sure if it was safe, but he needed to. Taking in deep lungs full of worn air, Baglis' headache worsened.

"Against the Guns they were Slaughtered" hissed the voice, but still angelic. Baglis struggled to keep breathing. He tried to push himself up, but his arms failed him. Crawling forward, he reached some boxes. Hoisting himself against the wall and boxes, he begun to inject some pain-killers into his body,

"Their Father sending them to their Dooms" the voice offered. Baglis rested his combi-melta on the box and slowly pushed himself up. All the pain which rushed through his body didn't put him off. He knew he had a task to do, get himself of this damn base. He needed to get off, get back to his brothers. Stumbling onto his feet, he carried on, wearily, towards the escape pods.

+++

Hasoroth listened to the command across the radio, it boiled down to a simple word, "Evacuate". Though, he generally listened to orders without question, he finished his task first. He only had three more melta charges to place, even though he had already place an additional seventeen which he had found lying around the ammunition stores. That was Hasoroth, above and beyond the call of duty. Leave no task undone. Do everything better than the last time, the next marine, the previous marine. He would be the best of the best.

He placed one of his charges under a large amount of las rounds. He had already selected the most devastating places, then the places which will make the biggest explosions. He was now on the low priority places; every single one would add more damage to the already crippled base. Every explosion, every foe slain would give the Inquisitor more time to achieve her objective. That was the key of this mission; make sure the Inquisitor got her mission done. He would give his life for the Legio, for the Inquisitor, for Humanity.

Placing his final charge, he exited the ammunition stores. He flicked down the tactical map screen in his visor, and planned the best way out of the crippled beast. Several different routes flashed in front of him, estimating the danger which will arise on each journey. He selected route epsilon and sprinted down the selected corridor. He stopped dead as he saw an armoured figure struggling along the wall.

+++

Baglis glanced down the corridor, his vision blurry. Amongst the haze he could make out the hulk of a Space Marine. He couldn't distinguish what chapter he was from, or even if he was Legio or Corsair, but it was a foe. Stumbling along the wall, using it to support his weight, he advanced deviously towards his foe. His hand lost grip, Baglis collapsed to the ground. On all fours he glanced up at his new foe, his eyes bloodshot.

+++

Hasoroth stared at the traitor, the pathetic creature which was crouched several hundred meters away. Hasoroth believed in honour, he followed honour, he was honour. Did the traitor deserve any honour; the answer was simple, no. This was just not any traitor; this was a traitor from the Legio. Not just a traitor against his chapter, or a traitor against the Emperor, but a traitor against every single Space Marine chapter.

Bringing his bolter up, Hasoroth unleashed a single bullet. The bullet span past Baglis, and crashed into the floor beside him. Hasoroth cursed his bad aiming, and unleashed another bullet towards the collapsed traitor. The bullet smashed into the wall next to Baglis. Cursing his bad luck once more, he promised if he ever got out of this base, he would spend another twelve hours at the shooting range.

Baglis tried to focus on the source of the bullets, squeezing his own trigger he released his retaliation. The bullet collided with Hasoroth's shoulder guard, and deflected harmlessly into the wall. Down, blood-shot and hazed, Baglis was still a better shot than this Legio recruit. Pushing himself forward he closed the ground between him and his foe.

Taking his time, Hasoroth lined the shot up perfectly with his targeter. The bullet flew through the air, finally connecting with the traitor. Not able to pierce the traitors armour, the bullet span off the heavy shin guard.
Baglis stumbled closer to the Legio marine, collapsing as the voice appeared in his head once again.

"Your Father is gone. Only I remain."

Baglis, pushing the voice from his head, climbed to his feet once more. Bringing his combi-melta to arms, he shot his single melta shot. The beam was aimed perfectly, melting the paint of Hasoroth's chest plate. Liquid adamantium dripped from the chest plate, a large whole appearing. His black carapace started to heat up, he could feel the pain. Hasorth closed his eye's, asking the Emperor for guidance. The melta beam was pushed back, until it stopped. Its energy reserves broke, and the single shot wasted.

Hasorth, still feeling the heat from the melta beam, placed his faith in his bolter once again. Quickly clicking his bolter's trigger twice, releasing two bullets of death. One hitting the traitor, while the other missing. Both bullets finally clanking with the ground, neither managing to cause damage onto the traitor. Hasoroth swore once more, twenty four hours in the firing range.

Baglis on his feet once more, starred at his foe for the first time. He saw the metal skeleton, the bear metal skull. Two small energy gauss pulses fired from its weapon, one colliding with Baglis' armour, the other missing. Its emotionless face starred back, no fear, no compassion, no hopes. Just a destroyer, just a force of evil.

"What do you want with this base?" questioned Baglis, his voice dry and unfocused.

"To destroy you Traitors who hide within its walls." Answered the skeleton, although the voice came from higher than the machines mouth. Baglis closed his eyes and opened them again, now the marine stood there once more. Calling upon his newly found powers, Baglis prepared the charge.

"Honour in Battle" yelled Baglis as a roaring flame flicked from his mouth. The inferno was aimed straight at the hole in Hasoroth's armour. The flames scorched through the black carapace and against the bare skin and muscle. Hasoroth reeled in the pain, and collapsed to the ground. He could feel his internal organs slowly cooking inside him, foul chaos. Unholy gifts, presents from the warp.

+++

Four Minutes Later...

Baglis stood over the body, it was good fight. The body's twitched, the muscles still storing some energy inside them. Baglis wondered what would happen now; he was astonished to be standing here. The body groaned and started to awake. Bring his freshly charged combi-melta next to the body's head, he squeezed the trigger.

"Justice in Death" he whispered as he disappeared.


+++

Hasoroth fired his bolter twice at point blank range, both smashing into the charging traitor. Both dropping harmlessly to the ground was this marine's armour impregnable. He chucked his bolter to his side, and drew his Power Spear. Holding it firm between him and his attacker, he prayed to the Emperor.

As Baglis closed, the spear was thrust forward, stabbing deep into the traitor's chest. Baglis dropped to the ground once more, as he body pumped pain killers into his blood stream. The voice returned to spur him on, not wanting to lose a follower.

"Once against the fortress, still they did not flee."

Baglis pushed himself forward, trying to grapple the Legio marine to the floor. His chainsword out in front of him, hoping for that fluke hit. Hasoroth brought his spear across once more, slashing across the traitor's chest. Baglis eye's filled with more blood, his vision nearly gone. Collapsing to the ground again, Baglis was visited by the voice.

"Twice against the fortress, still they did not flee."

Once again Baglis pushed himself to his feet. Stumbling towards the Legio Marine, his vision was a sea of red. He sluggishly brought his chainsword around, but the power was not behind it. Its teeth nibbling at the paint-work on Hasoroth's armour, but not managing to bite their way through. Hasoroth, wondering how much pain this traitor could take, stabbed his spear forward for the last time. The spear plunged deep into Baglis' chest, exiting through his power pack. Skewed on the weapon, Baglis dropped.

"Three times against the fortress, they where saved."

Baglis stood up, placing his fingers in the deep wound in his chest. He watched as Hasoroth strode down the corridor, another kill on his record. Baglis stared at his body on the floor, still bleeding. The angel placed her arm around the fallen marine. For the first time, Baglis saw the source of the voice.

"You know, I could give you your life back."

Baglis starred into her eyes, and wondered. His spirit form started to fade, as he was sucked back into his body. His foot twitched, then he groaned. His spirit grabbed the combi-melta and aimed it at his own head.

"Justice in Death"

The beam burnt a deep hole through Baglis' head, there was no coming back. His spirit disappeared as his life could never be returned. The angel stood for a moment, sighed, and disappeared herself. Another Wings of Death marine under her command, another death to her heart.

+++

Victory to Hasoroth.

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 16 June 2006 - 06:18 PM.


#14
Aurelius Rex

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Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

(Author: Daeothar)

I suppose you would like to know how I came to be what I am now. That would not be easy to explain. Truth be told, I have a hard time understanding myself. I think there must always have been a lingering fear, deep inside my soul, for what could happen in that one moment of letting down my guard. The very idea has haunted me, even in my youth. On a subconscious level I must have known all along, that the potential for surrendering was hiding there, deep inside my soul, invisible to everyone, including my oblivious self.
Looking at me, you would not know that at one time, this mortal coil held a noble spirit, a shining paladin of humanity’s greatest hope. Needless to say it’s gone now. Yet, before this pallid flesh turned into the hideous and terrible form you now see before you, I was once a loyal and pious member of the proud Adeptus Astartes. A hero, even among my peers, I was regarded highly and according to many, on my way to the top. Yes; how the mighty have fallen.

Although the seeds of doom have been lingering inside of my mind since I came into this universe, I suppose the beginning of the end lies somewhat closer to the present. It all began when we were on patrol in the vicinity of Vanaheim. After destroying two small pirate fleets, we were ready to meet up with the Unguis Leoninus again. It would have been good to sit with my brethren of the first company once more after all those years for a short time at least.

However, en route to Paramar, we received a transmission from an Inquisitor called Belloque. Under jurisdiction of his Inquisitorial seal, he requested our help in finding immediate passage to Cadia, where at that time, the thirteenth Black Crusade raged in all its destructive ferocity. Assuming he must be carrying important news, to further the Imperial war effort, Captain Verschueren decided to grant the lord Inquisitor the use of the corvette Flaming Claw VII and a squad of marines to safeguard him. Strangely enough, this Belloque specifically requested the use of the very ship we would be assigning him in the first place and he accepted the starting price without bartering. In hindsight, that should have alerted us right then and there.

I was given the honour of leading the escort and although I was looking forward to a homecoming after two years of patrol, I gladly accepted this assignment. Such was my devotion to duty at the time. Under my command were nine marines of squad Beyaert of the fifth company.. Their sergeant had been wounded in the last engagement and was undergoing cybernetic surgery at the time. Although these men were still relatively inexperienced, compared to my own two hundred years of service to the chapter, I was confident they would serve well.

Some of the squad had been uneasy boarding the corvette we were assigned to and although I dismissed their reluctant behaviour and whispered stories as superstition and serf-talk, I would be soon to realise their anxiety was very much justified.

It started out innocent enough. One of the serfs onboard committed suicide. Threw himself down an elevator shaft. A not uncommon occurrence in the Warp. No matter how strong the null field is, there is bound to be residual traces of warp energy through the ship. It takes a disciplined mind to ignore these maddening wisps of Aether and even though the serfs receive training and are screened, there’s always one or two in a crew that loose control.

Then another one swallowed his own tongue. A next one drowned himself in a refresher station. And then another and another. Soon we were looking at a death toll of ten a week. This could not be allowed go on like that; the crewmen were getting restless and an investigation was started.

I requested the Inquisitor to lead the inquiry, as his position warranted a certain amount of investigative prowess at the least. But he refused. He locked himself in his quarters, not to be seen by anyone outside for a long time.

It was then that I started to get the visions. They were brief at first. Nothing I hadn’t seen before. Scenes of the hunt. True hunts at first, with worthy prey and skilful kills. Then they began to take on a darker tone altogether. Slowly but surely the scenes turned more bloody, less refined and more savage. Pretty soon I had terrifyingly real hallucinations of wholesale carnage, with me laughing and slaughtering with glee.

This disturbed me greatly and although I tried my best to wash my mind clean of these vile images with soothing prayers, I knew deep inside already, that this was to be my fate and there would be no escaping it. Still, I fought it for as long as I could. As the in facto leader of the escort I should have been aware of the occurrences around me at the time and I should have addressed them accordingly. But I wasn’t. Too much of my time was taken up by vainly fighting the visions that haunted me. I should have been aware of the fact our Astropath was one of the many who were driven to kill themselves rather than submitting to their inner rage, like the rest of us. I should also have been aware that the ship’s navigator had been visiting the Inquisitor’s quarters many times, even while we were en route! Little did I know he was given course correction all the time by this charlatan Belloque.

All this came to a halt though, when the navigator, whose name I cannot recall, too took his own life. In his navigator’s bubble no less; shot himself though the head with a laspistol. The shot broke the bubble and the raging Warp claimed both his body and his soul. As Belloque later told us, we were lucky to not have been too deep into the Warp at the time, or we would have been unable to drop back into realspace. As it was, the emergency cognigators were able to pull us out of the Warp, in deep space, lightyears away from any system.

With no navigator to guide us through the Warp and no Astropath to call for aid, we should have been dead, al of us. And so we nearly were. At that time the bouts of rage and hallucinations were becoming harder and harder to discern from reality. I could no longer recognize anyone around me and in my fear and anger at my fate I lashed out at anyone coming near to me. This must have whipped the others into the same state, or perhaps they reached it even before me, who’s to say?

The end result was no less grizzly. Hundreds lay dead. Corpses everywhere. The ship had become a slaughterhouse and there was blood everywhere. Blasphemous sigils were drawn in blood and excrements on the walls, limbs lay crisscrossed in the hallways and piles of skulls were raised in intersections. The inside of the ship looked like a hell. A hell we had created. Our very own hell from which there would not be an escape. The blood would not wash off my claws or my armour. Another effect of the portion of abyss we had sired for our own damned souls..

Only myself and 3 other marines were left. All others were dead. Strangely enough though, the wiry, frail inquisitor too was still alive. I would have gathered he would have been one of the first victims of the bloodrage that had gripped all those of us who did not take their own lives. What bothered me most though, was the fact he appeared untouched, both by the bloodrage and the sufferers of it. He simply said to us: ‘There’s a ship coming’ and returned to his quarters.

He was right of course. An old, almost derelict freighter found us on its course and came to the rescue. To this day I do not know whether it were the machinations of that wretch Belloque or some automated distress signal that brought them to us but there they were. Two score of hired help and a proud but impoverished captain, owner of the ramshackle ore-hauler that docked with our shadow of former glory, the badly battered Flaming Claw VII. She had sustained some serious damage during our last hours in the Warp, when the ship was attempting to return to our reality.

The crew welcomed us as honoured guests as I’m certain this was the first time any of them saw a spacemarine in person. Still, I knew it wasn’t our being Astartes that made them fearful as well as respectful. The blood was still on our hands and armor after all. They wanted to salvage the Flaming Claw VII but Belloque was adamant in his refusal. It should have been my call but I was too preoccupied by keeping the hallucinations at bay to make any kind of decision. He probably would have overruled my orders anyway. The hauler remained docked for a few more hours, during which Belloque disappeared back onto the Flaming Claw, returning at the very last minute before we cast off, carrying something small, wrapped in his cloak, pressed to his frail body.

Once underway, Belloque again shut himself in the captain’s cabin, which had been offered to him, for what reason only he knew but he took the object he recovered from the corvette with him. I too confined myself to the quarters provided to me but for completely different reasons no doubt. I had felt the change starting to take hold of me.

Yes; the change. For I was not always the being you see before you right now. Noble features once graced this damned face and toned muscles could be revealed from under bright and clean armor. It was there though, onboard that centuries old, near scrapped civilian ship that I discovered my body was changing into something no longer human. The pains wracked my body for days, as tissue melded with armor and changed in unforeseeable ways. That time is all a blur though and although I have flashes of memory from that time, when the pains and madness subsided for a few merciful hours, I cannot recollect much.

I do know that once I finally emerged from my seclusion, my consciousness finally returned, the crew went mad with fear. The captain was more than shocked and told us that he would no longer tolerate us on his vessel and would drop us off at the nearest spaceport. It was all he could do to keep his men in check, well aware that they would not be a match for our powerarmored might. He was right.

Belloque came out of hiding and during his long talks with the captain, I could once again feel the rage building up inside of me. I could see the same thing happening to the others, although they had not undergone the change I went through. They had been surprised at first but seemed to accept my change in stride. If nothing else, it appeared to strengthen my position as their leader as if it was only natural. It wasn’t, I knew that much. I also knew the bouts of primal rage coming over us were anything but natural either and already, there was no way back for any of us.

The rest is all a blur again. I know we slaughtered the crew, laughing out loud and feasting on the flesh of our victims, I know Belloque was watching us in our gory work, smiling darkly all the time. Some waking moments I remember, usually when boarding other ships, most very much like the one we left behind, in much the same way we left the Flaming Claw VII in the beginning. A score of vessels we must have boarded and slaughtered this way, all the time nearing a destination only Belloque knew.

I wish I could tell you more about this terrible time but this is all I can recall. I do not seek to apologise for our actions because we were well aware, as I am now, that what we had done was far beyond redemption for any of us. I cannot help but think, that if we had been more vigilant in the very beginning, our faith stronger and our resolve faster, we could have overcome whatever corrupting influence brought us to this point of eternal damnation. As it was, we had at that point lost all hope of salvation. Then, we arrived at a spacestation and something new happened. Belloque, well aware of our internal struggle and our knowledge of our damnation, confided he would be leaving for a couple of days and we were to wait for his return to the station, while he descended to the world below.

Immediately, it was as if a veil was lifted from our eyes, when he boarded a shuttle going planetside. And although the crew of the station desperately tried to leave on any available vessel as well, even using the escape pods in the end, leaving us to ourselves on the enormous construct, we felt a weight lift of our souls for the first time since we had boarded the Flaming Claw. To us, it became clear that whatever Belloque was, he no longer was walking in the Emperor’s light, if indeed he had ever. And although we agreed something needed to be done about Belloque, it was unclear to us how or what we should do. Brother marine Geeraerts volunteered to conduct a search of Belloque’s quarters and as he searched the cabin for anything at all that might give us an edge on that rogue Inquisitor, the rest of us were in the control chambers of the ancient station, to monitor Belloque’s return.

Geeraerts finished his search of the quarters well before the Inquisitor returned, nothing of interest having been found by him. Later that night, while we were waiting for yet another ship to fall into Belloque’s trap and the oppressive atmosphere was slowly returning, Belloque requested a meeting with Geeraerts. Fearing the worst, we accompanied him to the Inquisitor’s doors, waiting outside, ready to burst in at the first sign of something going astray. It wasn’t necessary. Geeraerts came out unscathed half an hour later, confiding that Belloque wanted information on the rest of us. We would be called in as well, to be questioned likewise.

Although the prospect of being alone in one room with Belloque filled me with loathing, I was relieved to know nothing serious would happen.

Until we found Geeraerts the next morning that is. Bloated, sickly green and dead. An anguished look on his still features, as rigor mortis had fixated his shrivelled lips in a snarl that left his teeth in a perpetual death grin. We knew enough. Belloque had to die, right then and there.

We gathered outside of his quarters and fighting back the rage, we forced our way in and restrained him. I admit it was not pretty but no suffering would suffice to atone for atrocities that had been afflicted, through his influence, in the past couple of months. Before we met him, torture would not have occurred to us but in the direst circumstances. Yet I set upon my gory task with relish. I will not go into details here, they are both mundane and unnecessary to the purpose of this story but know that he did not die without pain. We finally revealed his true allegiance when we discovered a very large, viciously moving, Electoo on his back, depicting a multi-headed serpent, which we identified as a Hydra. Only one faction that I knew of, and know of, uses this despicable symbol. Belloque had been in league with the Alpha Legion and with this knowledge we took turns mangling this wretch of a man that was responsible for so many deaths. Not only that, but he was the one that pried us from the Emperor’s light with his vile magics, denying us to ever return to his grace again. What his goal was, what his obvious connection with the Alpha Legion was or what the object was he recovered from the Flaming Claw, we will never know, as he died after hours of our administrations but the veil of darkness was again lifted from our souls.

Having bled his corpse dry, the three of us remaining, discussed our options. There were not many. Tonningen wanted to disappear, he argued the Galaxy is large and there are places the Imperium would never find us. Lages wanted to push on. It had been clear from the location of the spacestation we were on, in the Kato system, that we had been slowly headed for the Maelstrom anyway. We might as well try to reach it and try to somehow contact the Red Corsairs. They were vile traitors but then again, so had we become. At least we would be able to be amongst peers there. The closest thing to a chapter, to call home. After some discussion, we unanimously agreed that that would be our course of action and set off. We left the station by lifepod to the surface. There we secured passage on a ship headed in the right direction. Its captain the sort which did not ask questions. We had to get used to this type of scum we now mingled with, as we had made our choice. Better to embrace our path and not look back.

For a while we succeeded in this. I will not bore you with the countless months we spent looking for a contact into the Red Corsairs. When someone does not want to be found in the area around the Maelstrom, he rarely will be. Suffice to say they finally found us. Although they displayed large amounts of distrust and I can’t blame them for it, we were inducted into their ranks and split up. Apparently, it is uncommon for more than one marine from one chapter to make it that far and they did not trust us together. I have not seen either Tonningen or Lages again and I can only assume they’re dead. The deathtoll for Red Corsairs is quite appalling, especially as there are precious few apothecaries to tend to the wounded. Also, there rarely are enough hormonal balancers and tailored drugs available to sustain a large gathering of marines. That’s probably why individual units are spread out over such a large amount of worlds and ships.

My days are numbered too I fear. I’ve never been able to fully appreciate the chaotic nature of the Corsairs and although the rage has so far protected me from the rest of my compatriots; they rightfully fear both my mutations and my martial prowess, I know I’m being looked for.

We are here on this old outpost now; you can hear the battle raging in the distance. The fabled Legio Bolter and Chainsword has come to seek out the Red Corsairs at last and is slowly forcing our forces back. They are here now. Inside this old asteroid base, looking to capture it with as much of us as possible in it, no doubt. We know our fate at their hands of course. If they succeed in taking the base, there’s nowhere to go for any of us so we fight with abandon, knowing we are dead already.

I have killed over half a dozen of our erstwhile, still loyal, brethren so far but I feel the final confrontation is coming soon. I have seen him; a glint of familiar orange in a sea of black, silver and red. Our escape into the Maelstrom must not have been as inconspicuous as we thought, as my old chapter has sent a hunter to seek us out. Maybe it was he who killed Tonningen and Lages, after all, he knew them best. He was their sergeant in a time long gone. He will not stop and he will blame me for their fall. Maybe he’s right.

All I know now is that he is stalking me, seeking me out as I relate all this. He comes closer by the minute and the time nears for me to finally confront my past. I will let the rage finally embrace me whole and I will fight to the end. Who knows? I might even make it through. Do with this information as you see fit. By telling you this, I am not trying to redeem myself; it is far too late for forgiveness as you no doubt know, but perhaps my story will foster some understanding for our actions. It is all I can hope for. Now, go! I can feel the rage building again and this time I will not hold it at bay; I am damned beyond redemption and will act as thus. The end is nigh and I embrace it wholeheartedly. Whatever transpires in the next few hours, one lion will fall and one will walk away…

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Of Tooth and Claw

(Author: Daeothar)

The explosion rattled the dim overhead light sphere in its protective cage. Beyaert slammed a fresh clip into his bolter and freed his double sided chainsword from the Red Corsair’s corpse at his feet. Silence once again took hold of this secluded part of the traitor’s base. Not even the remote sounds of battle, bolter fire and the occasional scream, seemed to really penetrate the oppressive quiet that was so recently ripped apart by the Fiery Lion and his wayward opponent, now lying broken and gored on the grating of the dimly lit hallway.

Dust slowly descended from the low ceiling, catching the pale and weak light of the emergency lights, disappearing in the distance. He was near. Every fibre in his body was aware of it and nothing would stop him now, so close to his elusive quarry. There was no doubt in Beyaert’s mind that the traitor had heard the brief but fierce combat in this narrow corridor. He was facing an opponent not only driven by hate and despair, but also aware of his presence, the Corsair guarding this part of the base, in his feeble attempt at resistance, had seen to that at least.

Cautiously he moved on, certain the final confrontation was at hand at last. For a brief moment, the Fiery Lion thought about those he had so callously left behind. It was not in his nature to abandon those depending on him, especially not in battle. But this assignment had already brought so much disarray to all that he had held dear not long ago. He was not certain of what he presently felt; regret, anger, guilt and hate all whirled around in his mind in equal measure.

How could he ever face again those that thought of him as a brother and he so treacherously left behind several hours ago? They had depended on him and he had shamed their trust. He had broken an oath, just to keep another. He could not help but draw parallels with his own position and that of the one he hunted. Would the Legio now set some unsuspecting brother loose on him after this was over, in turn messing up that unfortunate’s loyalties?

No. He could not allow his thoughts to drift like that. These musing only brought him closer to taking the path of the one that would be facing him soon. The one that had led Beyaert’s own men to death and disgrace. The one that had ultimately led Beyaert himself to be here, seeking him out; the erstwhile Veteran Sergeant of the First Company of the Fiery Lions Chapter, Mossert. The Traitor.

Beyaert silently recited the litanies of hate once again. How many times had he done so now, after piloting the Boarding Torpedo to the surface of the asteroid? It didn’t really matter, did it? His resolve was returning with each verse, as he cautiously moved further down the corridor.

A low growling could now be heard further down, where several dark doorways opened up to the hallway. Beyaert stopped. This was it. He hefted his double sided chainsword in his left hand, feeling its superior balance, his finger hovering over the activation rune. Crouching low, ready to leap at his still hidden opponent, he inched forward, all senses, heightened by Legio combat drugs, alert for the slightest change in his surroundings. He could hear his own hearts beating in his chest, his nose picked up the scent of sweat, blood and a faint trace of Promethium. Straining his ears he could now hear somebody besides himself breathing nearby. Very nearby.

A low, rumbling voice spoke softly from the impenetrable darkness of the doorway to his right; ‘So, it finally has come to pass, lion’.
Beyaert froze; even though he had employed the full extent of his impressive hunting and stalking skills, the lost brother had managed to outsmart him and had the drop on him. ‘Mossert. You must have known the Pride would come after you’, Beyaert managed hoarsely. ‘But of course; I would not have it any other way’ answered the voice in the dark, ‘just like I knew it could only have been you.’ ‘Just as you feared, you mean’ hissed the loyal Lion, ‘what did you do to them, for them to blindly follow you to their doom anyway?’

‘You have to believe me none of us had any choice in the matter brother, we were betrayed by vile machinations and forces beyond our control or comprehension, we…’ ‘Don’t call me brother, you vile traitor!’ Beyaert spat; ‘you lost that privilege long ago when you betrayed the Emperor and the Pride. When you killed my men!’ ‘Your men were not yours to begin with Sergeant’ Mossert answered calmly, ‘they became my men when we boarded the Flaming Claw and left you behind. They were my responsibility. And my loss…’

‘No; they were lost to the Pride, lost to the Emperor, lost to me’ Beyaert retorted, ‘they followed you because they were ordered to, but they were my squad and you will have to answer to me for their deaths’. ‘For what it’s worth, both myself and our dead brothers never wilfully turned away from the light. We were forced by circumstance but had our revenge. And now, I will gladly be held accountable for my actions since that fateful day we freed ourselves from the oppressive influence that forced us, but only those. What the others did, was out of my hands, as we parted as equals.’ Mossert quietly moved closer to the doorway, staying in the shadows.

Beyaert had slowly turned towards the doorway and now stood upright, facing the shadowy figure crouched in the deep shadows inside the darkened room. ‘Tonningen is dead’, he said, ‘I crushed his skull with his own autocannon on one of the upper decks. Of Lages, there is no trace. Yet’. ‘I thought you cared about your men’, observed Mossert, as he slowly got up and stood to his full height. ‘That what I killed was no longer one of my men’ answered Beyaert, ‘I doubt he recognized me’. He inconspicuously flicked his bolter to full auto fire, partly concealed by his body.

‘Yes’, Mossert mused, ‘he seemed strangely attracted to the Corsair way from the beginning’, as he slowly flexed his claws one by one. ‘And that sadly leaves us with just one more matter to conclude,’ the traitor said tersely. ‘Ready when you are, Sergeant Beyaert…’

The Lightning Claws shot forward from the darkness in two bright blue, crackling arcs, as Beyaert brought up his chainsword, its shrieking roar ripping through the silence of the abandoned wing of the station, just in time to parry one strike. The chainsword’s motor loudly protested, as its chain was stopped by the claws cutting into it, sending razorsharp teeth flying everywhere as Adamantine shrapnel, cutting both combatants. Simultaneously, Beyaert twisted his right arm up, bringing his combat shield on his right arm into the path of the second claw. Turning his bolter in between them, he pulled the trigger and kept it depressed and as the searing white hot muzzle flash burnt both their faces, temporarily blinding both, a full clip of Inferno Bolts ripped through Mossert’s right claw. The projectiles exited on the other side of the bloody, mutated orange weapon and leaving a ragged, gaping hole in the terrible limb grapling with Beyaert’s chainsword.

With a howl of pain, Mossert smashed into the loyal Lion with all the force his mutated, hulking frame could muster, throwing his smaller opponent off balance and sprawling into the corridor. Beyaert slid to a stop and raised his bolter again, aiming for the bestial features of the traitor coming for him, Mossert’s lionesque features curled into a snarl. Lining the barrel up, he squeezed the trigger, a dry click the only effect…

Then Mossert was upon him again, swinging his intact left claw towards the bolter stretched out at him. The powerful, augmented slash of the terrible Lightning Claw cleanly cut through the venerated firearm, leaving Beyaert with only the part behind the triggerguard remaining. As the Fallen Lion swung to slash at his former brother again, Beyaert desperately threw the remains of the once proud bolter at the dark lion’s features, hitting him squarely in the snout, a roar and staggering back the satisfying result.

Beyaert crawled back some more to get enough distance between him and his opponent, to find room for the vulnerable moment he needed, to get back on his feet. However, Mossert, in all his bestial fury did not allow him the time, as he pressed on his attack. He once again caught the damaged, but still roaring chainsword Beyaert swung at him with his right claw, which had been mangled beyond repair but which could still parry. Just as he was about to plunge his left claw, crackling with energy, into the downed Lion’s body, finishing him off, another, hugely more powerful explosion rocked the abandoned part of the base. The lights died instantly and the metal and rock of the structure groaned and buckled, steel beams breaking and tons of debris falling into the narrow hallway.

Silence…

Coughing, Beyaert pushed a piece of metal plating off his shoulder and head. His ears rang with the thunder of the explosion and ensuing cave in. His senses momentarily overloaded, he coughed again, as he tried to get his bearings again. The pitch black darkness prevented him from seeing anything, only allowing him to feel an oppressive weight on most of his body, preventing him from moving. He managed to switch on one of his suit’s lights and was able to survey the situation. It was not pretty. The corridor had caved in, about twenty paces behind him, in the direction from which he had come. He could not see far into the other end of the hallway, as his body was pinned under a huge pile of debris and his light source wasn’t strong enough to pierce the darkness very far. Only his chest, head and left arm were uncovered and from the lack of sensation in his right leg, he was certain he had lost function of the bionic limb. Again.

Suddenly he heard movement on the other side of the partial cave-in that had covered him. Turning his head and light into the direction of the sound, he witnessed Mossert slowly and unsteadily getting up, his already damaged right arm an even more mangled mess, hardly attached to his shoulder anymore, as a metal panel had cut through the mutated flesh and fused Ceramite. There was surprisingly little blood, even for a marine. He staggered back a step, regained his balance and fixed his bestial eyes upon Beyaert.

‘Well. Sergeant Beyaert.’ The mutated traitor said softly, his voice once again strangely devoid of the bestiality so evident on his features. ‘It appears we find ourselves in quite a situation.’ Your lust for my blood seems to have been thwarted by your brothers’ destructive works. Look at yourself, sergeant. You’re helpless and your fate rests with me it seems.’ Beyaert desperately started to try and move his body from under the pile of debris. ‘Rest assured though,’Mossert continued, ‘I never really wanted you dead. I can’t kill yet another of my brethren.’ ‘I’m not one of…’ began Beyaert, but let the sentence hang.

‘Yes; do you see now?’ asked Mossert. ‘Even though we were damned to walk outside of the Emperor’s light by foul powers, we have always been part of the Pride, even when we could not return to it.’ I do not wish this fate,’ the mutated renegade gestured at his distorted facial features, ‘to befall anyone else and this realisation has given me purpose once again.’ He started to limp down the corridor. ‘farewell Sergeant Beyaert. Please relate this encounter to the Pride and let them know I will seek my own atonement for my past sins…’

Powerless and refusing to accept what he had just heard, Beyaert had to lie there and see his prey slowly slip from his grasp, as he moved, ever more surely, into the darkened hallway. ‘I will get you Traitor! I will hunt you down to the end of the Galaxy! You will not get away, you abomination!’ But a soft, low laughter was all he got in return, disappearing in the gloom. Desperately, Beyaert tried to free himself from the debris holding him down but he already knew he would be too late; his quarry had gone…

It took Beyaert a lot of time to get himself free of the rubble that had trapped him in the explosion. In the meantime, he could hear the sounds of battle coming from elsewhere in the base. More explosions could be heard and he realised it would just be a matter of time before the base was destroyed completely. He considered his options and came to the conclusion there really was only one left open to him. He would have to return to the Legio and face the charges that would obviously be put up against him.

He could remain here and die, but that would serve no purpose. Going after Mossert was futile, with only one functional leg, he was both too slow and weak to face him again. Besides; he no longer possessed a weapon, his bolter destroyed, buried under tons of debris and his chainsword badly damaged and missing a number of teeth. And where would he look? No; the Legio was his only way off this rock and that window of opportunity was closing rapidly, judging by the explosions shaking this base. He set off down the darkened corridor, his suit’s small light the only one piecing the oppressive darkness and using the remains of his chainsword as a makeshift crutch to assist in walking.

If possible, he should link up with brother Ward again. Reluctantly, he switched his vox and vitals back on, making his presence once again known to his Legio brethren… The squad display remained empty. He tapped his bionic eyepiece, assuming it had been damaged in the battle, but the display did not change. ‘They must all be dead’, he thought. For all he knew, he could be the only survivor of the assault force. More fuel for the guilt building up inside of him.

Then the vox system started to crackle. ‘…ight now!’, ‘Fall ba…’, ‘…mediate eva…’, ‘…pedoes’. The unmistakable voice of Sergeant Golgotha; the last man Beyaert wanted to face right now. Still, as long as the former Scion of Dorn was alive, there was a chance of getting off this forsaken rock. ‘…yaert, you wretch!’. ‘…of hiding, have you? Get back here right no…’, ‘…have words about this later!’ Beyaert winced at the tone of his sergeant. There was no way back now and resigned, the Fiery Lion limped in the direction of the Legio Boarding Torpedoes. There’d be hell to pay…

Edited by daeothar, 08 July 2006 - 08:10 PM.


#15
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

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(Author: Aurelius Rex)

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The order had gone out. It went against the grain to withdraw while an enemy of the Throne remained on the field of battle. Even worse, they would be leaving behind the bodies and geneseed of fallen brothers...

Time was of the essence - by now the Strike-Cruiser would be on it's way - but if he didn't find at least a few recovered bodies on the boarding torpedoes then Golgotha had misjudged their calibre.

Their own mission was taking far longer than anticipated. Once past the final set of blast doors the metal decking had quickly given way to bare, crudely excavated rock. Labyrinthine passages carved from the body of the asteroid.

'They were drawn here - the Mechanicus.' said Inquisitor Hoist, pausing to run her fingers across the grooved stone of the wall. 'They wouldn't have known that the Entity was here, not consciously, but it was the reason they built this base.'

'But these caves... They must have suspected something was down here. They were searching.' said Golgotha.

Hoist looked up at him appraisingly. 'Yes, but the Inquisition has tracked these creatures before, and they are very good at hiding. It sent them round in circles.'

'And is that what it is doing to us now?'

'No, sergeant.' she said, pushing her arm to the elbow through the seemingly solid rockface. 'I know what I am looking for. This is the gateway.'

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Edited by Aurelius Rex, 15 June 2006 - 08:41 PM.