Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…
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…
------------------------------------------------Of Tooth and Claw
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.
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.