[40k] The Scour

Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim, dark future there is only war.

[40k] The Scour

Postby LIRR » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:32 pm

The world was called Ars Moriendi. Twin moons found in its orbit. One significantly larger than the other. Both grey and dull, marked by a million impacts each from comets. The one time habitable world, a marvel of diversity in both animal and plant life, the result of terraforming twelve millenia before by the first human settlers to set foot upon the world, was now a wretched thing to behold.

Brother Ragnvald looked up at the moons, barely seen behind the thick cloudcover of the sky and the layers of dust and smoke sweeping passed by strong gales. Somewhere up there the Ordo Xenos Battlebarge, The Unforgiving, was hovering in silent solitude in its stationary orbit above the now ruined world. Ragnvald, indoctrinated Battle Brother of the Deathwatch, formerly of the Space Wolf Chapter, lowered his view to survey the landscape around him. If there ever had been a hell to behold, surely this was it; Sight was hindered by dust and smoke, clouds of putrid stench and veils of toxic fumes. The strong winds pulled and tucked on widespread and tall flames, fires burning everywhere, the scorched ground cracked and glowing emberlike, barren and dead. Ash and dust, flame and smoke. A dark expanse of destruction. Boiling pools of molten biomatter, releasing with each bubble burst gases of venomous nature. Had it not been for his Power Armour, even he, a Space Marine, would have succumbed to this deadly enviroment.

Ragnvald held his boltgun casually in his one hand, the broadbladed bayonette as always attached to the barrel. A mighty doubleheaded axe held in the other and leaning against his shoulderpad. He looked to his right as the rest of the unit, twenty Brethren strong, moved up passed him and ventured onward across the hellish wasteland. The unit spread out in a wide semi-circle, strict formation, eyes scanning for any sign of threat or danger. Beneath their heavy and armoured feet, the ground cracked and broke apart, their imprints allowed to sink in deep into the devastated soil.

"Anything?", the Lord Inquisitor said over the voxlink. The old man clad in an artificier classed Tactical Dreadnought Armour. Even with the aid of the suit, the man was no taller than the Astartes around him.

"Negative", a Magos Genitor of the Adeptus Mechanicus said, kneeling to study the ground itself. His crimson robes blackened from the sot found in the air, the attire playing wildly in the winds of the gale. He seemed robotic almost, dressed in his arcane atmospheric suit of Marsian origin. As he leaned heavily against his bionic utility-staff, the Magos scooped up a palmfull of ash and dust with his gauntlet, each finger leaving a deep scratching imprint in the scorched ground. A bionic arm, slender and covered with twisting wires, extended from beyond his shoulder and moved an optical device close to the burned soil in his hand. As the winds pulled the ash from the palm in long tendrils of dust, the Magos shook his head. "No, nothing as of yet".

"Then the world has been purged", Sergeant Saxo said, the aging Marine standing next to the Inquisitior.

Within his Terminator suit, Lord Inquisitor Raglan nodded as he took in the impressions of the atermath of destruction on display all around. "Aye, it would seem so".

A gunservitor grabbed the aging Magos by the arm and aided its master to his feet. The Magos emptied his hand of ash and then limped over to the Inquisitor and Sergeant, relying heavily on his cane to keep him upright. The helm of his suit offered a grim visage, an image of the Adeptus Mechanicus heraldry of the two-split skull; One half biologic, the other bionic. "It would seem the Exterminatus has been fullfilled and completed. Judging by the readings we have from the various levels of atmosphere, one can conclude that it is done. All biological compositions have been purged and cleansed. Omnissiah guides".

"Excellent", Raglans' voice said over the vox. "Praise be the Immortal God-Emperor Eternal".

Ragnvald, positioned on a small mound of molten slag, almost like cool lava in apperance, moved his interest from the commanders of the expedition and instead allowed his onboard systems to scan the distant horizon. Filtering out what could be filtered, he zoomed in on some pillars a couple of miles away. Towers. Buildings. Manmade. The twisted skeletons and burned out husks of skyscrapers and other structures. A city annihilated and obliterated. The city disapeared out of sight as thick clouds of ash and toxic fumes was moved in by storms to block all view. The Space Wolf reset his visor. He moved down from the mound, as he did tossed a glance over to the Thunderhawk situated on the ground some three hundred meters away. It was nothing but a blur beyond the stormravaged clouds of ash and dust. He walked over to the only Salamander of the outfit; Natal. The heavy reptilian cloak hardly moved at all in the galewinds, the tough hide unimpressed by the elements.

"What are you looking at?", Ragnvald said as he approached.

Natal glanced over his shoulder and when he identified the Space Wolf, he returned his interest to what he had inspected the moment before; A wide expanse of lowlicking fires kept down by the strong winds, like a field of grass where each green blade had been replaced by a glowing hot flame. "Testament", the Salamander said, his voice deep as it cut through the white-noise of the voxlink.

"Of what?", Ragnvald wondered as he stepped up next to Natal. As he did, he understood what was so interesting. The expanse of fire was littered with scorched bodies of massive beasts, or rather, what remained of them. One could identify a monstrous torso. A massive, crippled and twisted insectoid leg. Twisted arms of foul beasts curling around horrid shapes. The creatures, dozens of them, lifeless and still, seemed to have fused with the ground itself, the biomatter having merged during the cataclysm.

"A testament to the necessity", Natal then explained. "A testament to our duty and vigilance".

Had it not been for the helm, Ragnvald would have spat acid onto the closest corpse. Tyranids. Scourge of the galaxy. They had come to this system a year before to devour and feed. A month ago, the Imperial Navy arrived together with the Ordo Xenos. The Tyranid splinterfleet had been utterly destroyed after a series of smaller skirmishes and two larger engagements, and the world of Ars Moriendi had so finally been purged. The end result was visiable all around. Exterminatus; Hell to behold.

Lord Inquisitor Raglan left deep marks in the ground as he moved on. ”This matter is concluded. Our duty is done. Nothing has survived here”.

Sergeant Saxo reacted to this, ”Milord. We made planetfall half an hour ago. The other survey teams may have found something”.

”Do not presume to question my judgment, Honor Sergeant”, Raglan said and turned the full bulk of his Terminator Armour to face the Marine officer. ”I have destroyed five worlds and untold billions of innocents aswell as hated xenos. I know my line of work. The world is purged and purified, may the benevolant Immortal God-Emperor Eternal offer absolution to those who died here in His name”.

”I do not presume to judge, milord”, the sergeant said and then took a look around at the hellish devastation of a once fertile world. ”I do however presume to perform my duty”.

”Then do so”, the Inquisitor said, ”By respecting my command”.

”Sire”, Sergeant Saxo made a slight nod to show his submission, but the members of the unit could tell all too clearly that their leader was not pleased by the situation. But at the same time, they all understood their part. An Astarte is not the subject of freedom. An Astarte is the subject of a higher calling, higher than freedom; He serves.

A Servitor Menial was collecting samples from the soil, aswell as the air itself. The creation was nothing more than a human torso, heavily modified by bionics, fused beneath his abdomen with a pair of tracks that allowed the construct movement over various forms of terrain. The Magos oversaw the collection gathered in glassteel jars. Two servo-skulls circling above his head, like loyal falcons. ”We have what we need and what we came for”, the adept of the Machine Cult said and turned to face the Inquisitor.

”Perfect”, Raglan said and then set his course for the distant, barely visiable, Thunderhawk. ”Then let us be done with this wasteland and return to orbit”.

”Yes sire”, Saxo said and made a nod to indicate affirmation. ”Bodyguard, fall back to LZ by fireteam; Diamond formation. Alert status yellow”. The sergeant then headed after the Inquisitor and the Magos.

Ragnvald took a quick look over in his sergeants direction and then back to the burning remains of the Tyranids. ”Noone escapes the Emperors wrath”.

”Fall in, brother”, Natal said and moved over to his position in the formation, his Multi-Melta carried with ease, not hindering or slowing down his stride.

Ragnvald sneered, wishing he could have spat atleast once at the scorched corpses. He eventually headed after his Fireteam Companion. The Grey Hunter walked through a shallow pool of toxic waste, boiling like some nightmarish bog. The murky green ichor of the pool sticking to his greaves like wet snot. He eventually caught up with Natal the Salamander and they joined the formation as it headed back to their transport. The tawny hue of the sky was dismal, the massive cloudcover of ash and dust depresive. The black ground of sot, ravaged by fires, a horrid dream come alive. A testament, Natal had called it. To the extention of mankinds will to survive. Had she had the power, humanity would have destroyed stars without hesitation. Determination. The greatest and purest of virtues found in man. Exagurated to the extreme in the minds of the Adeptus Astartes. The determination to vanquish all foes to bar humanities cause and purpose. Then Ragnvald stopped in his advance.

Natal took note and turned to look over his massive shoulderpad. ”What's the matter, brother?”.

”The earth moved”, Ragnvald said, looking directly at the ground found some ten meters away from him.

”It moved?”, Natal asked, a hint of amusement in his voice.

”Aye. Moved”, Ragnvald said and took some steps closer to what he had seen. ”It stirred”.

Sensing the seriousness in his Companions voice, Natal redied his heavy weapon and activated the open link. ”Sergeant; Fireteam Ten reports unconfirmed contact”.

The unit halted and like automatons the remaining eighteen Marines took up defensive positions, kneeling with weapons held ready, each one covering his own predesignated field of fire as demanded by their formation. Both the Magos and the Inquisitor were unsure of what was going on, but Sergeant Saxo was more acustomed to the situation.

”Distance”, Saxo demanded as he himself redied his own Boltgun.

”Thirteen meters”, Natal reported, ”South by southwest”.

Saxo found the information odd. ”Confirm thirteen, one three, meters”.

”Confirmed, sir”.

”Identify contact”.

”Unable, sir”.

”Hold firm, Im moving to your position”.

”Yes sir”.

Ragnvald kneeled, eyes ever locked on the scorched patch of ground up ahead, leaning against the shaft of his axe, his Boltgun held ready. Behind him, in a wide stance to handle the force of his mighty weapon, Natal stood ready to engage any foe and cover his Companion. Ragnvald was sure of what he had seen. The ground had moved. It had stirred. It had trembled. A tremor had stirred the top layers of ash and dust and dried and cracked crust of soil. It had moved.

”Report”, Sergeant Saxo said as he came jogging up to Natal.

The Salamander never took his eyes from Ragnvald, ”Possible contact at thirteen meters. Possibly dug in”.

Saxo adjusted the grip on his Boltgun. ”Bunker complex or foxhole?”.

”Neither, sir”, Ragnvald said and made a quick look over his shoulder, hardly able to see past the massive bulk of the shoulderpad.

”Explain”, Saxo said.

”I think we have a burrower”, Ragnvald replied and concentrated yet again on the ground up ahead.

”Depth?”, the sergeant requested.

”Topside”, the Grey Hunter said.

Saxo moved up to the Space Wolf, Ragnvald got back to his feet and was handed a grenade.

”Prime and engage”, Saxo said, ”If it is found topside the plasma detonation will deal with it”.

”Sir”.

Saxo and Natal backed off as Ragnvald readied the grenade.

”What's going on?”, the Inquisitor was heard over the vox. ”I have no time for military games”.

The Magos chuckled, ”Overcautious, Omnissiah guide them. To think that they believe to have found survivors on this purged rock”.

Lord Inquisitor Raglan shook his head, ”I swear; the Deathwatch will be the end of me”.

The plasmagrenade detonated and showered them with the brightness of a sun for a split second as the ball of superheated gas expanded in the blink of an eye, incinerating everything in reach. All it left behind was a deep crater, at places the ground molten to glass, a thick plume of smoke rising from the hole in the ground. Ragnvald cautiously moved to the edge of the crater, holding his mighty Boltgun with a single hand, he allowed the barrel free aim down into the defilade, his heavy axe ever resting against his shoulder.

”Clear”, the Space Wolf said after a full scan had been made using his onboard systems.

Saxo nodded, ”Rejoin formation Fireteam Ten. Unit, prepare to move out”, and with that the sergeant turned to head back to the Inquisitor and Magos.

”Tremors, huh?”, Natal said.

Ragnvald glanced one last time at the plasmacreated crated. He had a gutfeeling that would not let go. ”I tell you, Salamander”, the Grey Hunter turned the eyes of his helm upon his Companion, ”We are not alone”.

A tremendous crack, as from splitting rock, errupted and large pieces of bedrock and crusted ash was thrown through the air, trailed by thick tails of dust and sot. The Magos fell over, the Inquisitor took a step back to regain his balance.

Sergeant Saxo took aim, ”CONTACT!!”.

The unit spun around in time to witness the Servitor Menial getting impaled by a rendering talon lunched from a horrid creature; a Ravener. As the immense talon recoiled, oil, blood, guts and cogs were sprawled a great distance and the Servitor shredded in half. Saxos' Boltgun roared and spat forth a series of shots in quick succession; Six hits to the ferocious beasts skull, sending the abomination backwards, its head exploding in a cascade of gore and iccour.

The ground gave in beneath the feet of Brother Formanus of the White Panthers Chapter, the hulk of the Marine dropping down into a gaping hole, engulfed by dust and smoke. His Companion instantly opening fire down into the crater, a shrilling high pitched scream of pain errupted soon thereafter as the bolts struck and ruptured xeno carapace to wreck havock on the alien anatomy within.

”Tremors indeed!”, Natal said, his voice increased as adrenaline shot through his veins.

”Fall back by Battle Squad! Diamond Formation!”, Saxo roared out the order as he hurried over to the Magos and aided the ancient scholar to his feet once more.

Natal and Ragnvald hurried over to link up with the four other Brothers of their Battle Squad. As they moved, the ground heaved all around them, claws, talons and all kinds of xeno apendiges and limbs broke the surface from subterranian hiding places. Horrid and terrifying jaws of death pushed through the topsoil, evil eyes scanning for prey as beastial throats shrieked and roared. A huge, scimitaresque claw, a good twelve feet in length and two feet at the widest, dripping with green ooze, exploded from the ground right infront of Ragnvald, sending him tumbling into the ash and sot. He expertly used his momentum to his advantage, rolling over his durable shoulderpad and came up kneeling. Turning his torso by the hip, he got sight of the creature as the ground was pushed up as the giant monstrosity climbed out hiding, one massive taloned leg at a time reaching out to spike the soil to in turn heave the carnivore out of the confines of hell itself.

Natal swung his weapon to bare, stance wide, grip firm. Within his helm he grinned, teeth grinding. ”For the Emperor!”, his voice errupted across the voxband and his Multi-Melta came to life. The sudden blast of jetengines roaring as the twinbarrel errupted, launching superheated particles into the gut of the emerged leviathan. The soft underbelly of the monster imploded and its innards ignited, massive flames spewing forth from the wide open wound in the torso, cooked and boiled alien intestance flung far and wide. With a prolonged groan, the leviathan slowly sunk back down into the ground, its limbs lifeless as they where dragged down with the bulk of the monster.

”It's an ambush!”, the Inquisitor exclaimed in between firing his Boltpistol at an aproaching Hormagaunt, the creature succumbing to the fire and crashing to the ground, stirring up a cloud of ash in the process.

”Move, milord!”, Saxo roared in return, covering the Magos and Inquisitor as best he could with his Boltgun. To his aid he had the personal Gunservitor in the service of the Magos Genitor. The weapons-construct fired his mighty Heavy Boltgun in bursts of salvos, churning the flesh of the beastial monsters closing in on them, the weapon ripping xeno bodies apart with ease.

A rockface came to life, leaving the barren cliff behind. The Magon Genitor screamed, his shriek cut short as he was hoisted into the air, head engulfed by a myriad of tenticles extending from the ferocious head of the towering monster that had made itself known. The Inquisitor took a scything talon straight through the leg, impaling his limb despite of the Terminator Armour. The Ordo Xenos agent cried out as he fell to a knee and then emptied what was left in his pistol into the huge Lictor before him. Saxo reloaded his weapon in less than a second and then took aim at the Lictors features, the Magos still dangling from its tentacle infested maw. A second later, four bolter rounds had torn the xeno head clean off and the behemoth collapsed to the ground.

Ragnvald severed a scythed limb with a single strike from his axe, the beast recoiling instantly. Moving on he fired a burst with his Boltgun, point blank, into the face of another hellish creature. To his right, Dorbim of the Blood Angels, moved with coldly estimated ease, his twin Plasmapistols sending firery doom with precise precision into every target presented. The Blood Angel ducked incoming claws with the grace of a dancer, firing a plasmabolt here, one there, killing as he went as if it all was a macabre piece of art in the making. To Ragnvalds' left, Boork of the Mechanica Victus Chapter, swung a heavy Poweraxe and decapitated a foe with ease, forked static lightning errupting as edge cut exoskeleton and flesh. From his Backpack, a servo-arm seemed to move with a will of its own, striking Tyranids out of the way without Boork even sharing a glance in that particular direction, the servo-arm at times gripping hold of a predator and lunging it across the field to crash into a fiendish cousin, crushing both through force of impact. Natal was closeby, the muzzle of his Multi-Melta glowing white hot, the weapon roaring time and time again, ripping targets apart with intense heat and scorching flames.

Ragnvald howled as his axe clove a horrid beast in half, head to groin, the purple iccour splashing across his wargear, staining the carvings and markings of his ancient suit of armour. Extending his Boltgun, holding it out with a straight arm, the weapon came to life and with a mighty burst split open two Tyranids of unimaginable horror. Spinning to find a target, Ragnvald managed a glimps of a fellow Brother some distance away, the Marine succumbed to the onslaught of the horde and was dragged down by claw and fang.

Sergeant Saxo pulled the Inquisitor along, the talon in the Inquisitors leg still lodged in place. The Thunderhawk was not far off now, four Brethren standing on the ramp itself, Boltguns firing at targets attempting to charge the craft. The vessels own onboard weaponsystems spraying death all around with leathal salvos.

”Pilot!”, Saxo growled over the vox.

”Transport Sigma Three responding”.

”Activate skimmer drive!”.

”Affirmative sir”.

The armoured feet of Saxo struck the ramp like thunder as he ran up towards the cavernous interior of the vessels cargohold. The Inquisitor was more or less lunged into the ship as Saxo halted at the top of the ramp. Instantly a team of Medicae rushed up to see to the Lord Inquisitors needs; He was in great pain and had lost alot of blood. The entire Thunderhawk rocked as it actived the skimmer drive, the gravity repulsors used to guide it during the last seconds of descent and landing.

”Good”, Saxo said over the vox, linked with the pilot, ”Now pick up my men!”.

”Yes sir”.

The Thunderhawk began to move forward, hovering a meager meter above the ground.

Ragnvald ducked in under a leaping Tyranid, spun and came up with his axe using the momentum of the move to drive its edge straight through the torso of a Tyranid Warrior, killing the creature instantly. Brother Dorbim placed a well aimed shot on either side of Ragnvald, killing a Tyranid behind either shoulderpad of the Grey Hunter. With no time to thank the Blood Angel, Ragnvald lashed out with a kick, forcing a monster to fold, the finished the creature off with a stab from his Boltgun and its cruel bayonette, the blade punching through the back of the Tyranids skull. Brother Boorks' servo-arm, holding on to the body of a genestealer, circled above the Marines' head time and time again, using the body of its captured creature as a blunt instrument, striking Tyranids out of the way with tremendous force.

All of a sudden the gale intensified as thunder echoed overhead and sight was reduced to zero visability as dust and ash was tossed into the air. As the sudden surge of the storm settled, the explanation reveleaved itself. The Thunderhawk had moved in and landed not far off, no more than thirty meters away. Allready, members of the unit were performing a fighting retreat up the ramp of the transport. In the gaping maw of the cargoholds accessway, stood Sergeant Saxo himself, firing his Boltgun with expert skill, killing with each burst fired.

”Salvation, Brothers!”, Natal raised his voice to be heard over the dreaded vortex that was close combat. ”Our good sergeant has deemed it fit to save our wretched lives!”. And with that, he incinirated the upper torso, head included, of a most horrible creature, scorched pieces of bone flung through the air together with the vapour of boiled blood.

Ragnvald was laughing, a smile as wide as his face upon his features, within his helm. He had not reloaded his Boltgun, instead relying on its bayonette and the heavy axe in his hand. He rellished the carnage, took pride in the killing, savoured the sight of cleaving xenos. This was what life was all about. As he remembered from his Blood Claw days. The bloodlust. The craving. He felt it anew; And it was glorious! He howled as his axe did its work. Laughed as Tyranids shrieked from pain and suffering. He was in his prime.

”Quench your bloodthirst, brother!”.

Ragnvald was janked to the side and pulled along. As the Grey Hunter gathered his wits anew, he saw Natal holding on to his shoulderpad with a firm grip. Beyond him lay on open path to the Thunderhawk.

”Battle is over, brother!”, Natal spoke. ”Time has come to lick your wounds, eager wolf”.

The guns of the Thunderhawk and a dozen or so Marines, standing on the boardingramp itself, kept up a continueous barrage to keep the Tyranids at bay. Ragnvald ran for the vehicle, and Natal joined him. Out of their Battle Squad, only the Salamander, the Grey Hunter and Boork of the Mechanica Victus returned. The Marines began to back up the ramp, guns ever firing, never tiring, unleashing neverending volleys of certain death.

Saxo took a few steps into the cargohold and allowed his Boltgun to rest, thick fumes of gunsmoke leaving its barrel and ejectionport. ”Pilot, seal the craft and take us out of here”.

”Affirmatire, sir”.

The ramp began to close as the Thundehawk took flight proper, and all Marines hurried inside. Out of the twenty that had joined the unit, fourteen remained alive. Six of which wounded to various degree.

”Well, young wolf”, Natal said and placed a heavy gauntlet on Ragnvalds' shoulder, staining his fingers and palm with xeno fluids.

”Well what, Salamander?”, the Grey Hunter asked as he finally swapped his empty magazine for a fresh and fully loaded one.

”Tremors, huh?”.

Ragnvald chuckled. ”Call it animal instinct”.

Natal joined the chuckle and shook his head. ”Nay; I would call it witchcraft”.

They all took a step to remain in balance as the Thunderhawk shook violently. Some of the Marines forced to take aid of walls not to loose their footing. The craft dipped and heaved, the rear clearly fishtailing.

Ragnvald took a look about inside the cargohold. The entire craft was shaking. ”I have a bad feeling about this”, he said.

Had it not been for the helm, Rangvald would have picked up the deadly glare given him by Natal. ”You dont say, young wolf”, the Salamander responded, not hiding his sarcasm.

”All hands, brace for impact. We are crashlanding!”, the voice of the pilot echoed through the internal voxsystem of the Thunderhawk.

”You should trust my instincts, Salamander”, Ragnvald said and then grabbed hold of a Attack Bike that was secured to the floor of the cargohold.

Natal did the same, putting his Multi-Melta to the side and holding on for all his worth to the bike. ”It would seem adviseable”.

The Thunderhawk went down, belly first, riddled with crawling Tyranids that clung to the armour of the craft like insects and worms on a decaying cadaver. The descent was fast and out of control, several beasts having pierced and clawed at engines and wings. As the Thunderhawk struck ground, all lights onboard went out. Everything not securely fastnened or bolted down, was sent airborne, flung across the corridors and quarters, boxes, dataslates, equipment and serfs alike. Even some Marines lost their grip and were thrown across the cargohold. Ragnvald held on for all his worth, his fingers digging into the armour of the Attack Bike itself as the world around him shook with unparralled ferocity. Natal was clinging to the vehicle aswell, kneeling next to it. The cargohold was filled with a deffening roar, a never ending thunderclash errupting mere feet from ones head. The Thunderhawk came to halt with a massive impact, forcing the craft to tilt by several degrees. This single hit managed to throw several Marines of their feet. Then all was silent. All was dark. All was tranquil.

”You allright?”, Ragnvald asked as he grabbed Natal by the arm and aided the Salamander to his feet.

”Aye, I'll live”, Natal said and the two took a look around. The nightoptics of their helm allowing them to view the cargohold in shades of green, white and black.

Marines were getting back on their feet, some seeming dissorientated after the crash. By one corner a massive pile of debris had gathered, tossed there by the force of the crash. Amongst the rubble, one could spot potruding limbs belonging to serfs', their bodies now crushed and maimed beneath the pile of rubble.

”Magnus is dead”.

Everyone turned to face the Apothecary. He was kneeling by a Marine lying flat on his stomach not far from the closed ramp. Magnus had been one of the wounded from the initial battle, now the strain of the crash had claimed his life.

”Rest in peace, brother”, the Apothecary said as he prepared his instruments, ”For in life, you had but war”.

”The others?”, Saxo said as he slowly got back to his feet, leaning against a crate. ”The wounded?”.

”I am still here, sir”, a Marine with a severed arm said, the stump tended to before lift off.

”Ishmael, reporting”, an Ultramarine said and slowly pushed himself to his knees.

”Kaghanate wont last long”, a White Scar said, kneeling by a fellow brother of his Chapter. There was regret in his voice. He was holding his cousins head in his arms, the helm removed. The White Scar named Kaghanate was pale beneath the layers of blood that covered his face. His eyes seemed distant. It was clear he did not have long to live.

”Xerxidon is unconscious”, another Marine reported.

”That leaves me”, the last of the wounded Marines said, one leg covered in his own blood as his armour had been pierced at the kneejoint, yet through sheer determination he still supported his weight on it. ”Carnmaeus, ready for battle, sir”.

Saxo nodded, ”Good”. He took a quick glance around the cargobay. ”Pilot to Sergeant Saxo, report”. No reply. ”Brother Hastasmehn, respond”. The vox was dead. Saxo made a quick survey of who of his men were still able. ”Natal. Ragnvald. Inspect the cockpit”.

”Yes sir”, Natal said. Rangvald merely offered a nod.

The two Companions climbed the ladder leading to the upper deck, removed the hatch and left the cargobay behind. Natal was first up the ladder and turned and gave Ragnvald a helping hand to climb through the narrow hatch. The upper deck was a mess, the crash had torn much of the equipment from their intended positions and flung them across the compartments. Serfs and some servitors were spread about, their bodies broken and twisted. A servitor was still functional, but useless, as it heplessly lay on the floor, able to only move its head and its bionic arm. Sparks flew from broken electronics. Some static electricity errupted now and again where powerconduits were ruptured. Natal pushed a bundle of wires to the side, the wiring having fallen from the ceiling and blocked the narrow corridor. They found the blastdoor leading to the cockpit ajar. Ragnvald moved up without hesitating and grabbed hold with both hands, relying on brute strength to force the door open. The final foot Natal took care of by pressing his boot against the armoured door, the doorway finally sliding open in full. Natal entered the cockpit while Ragnvald remained behind in the door opening. The Marine pilot sat folded over his controls, his co-pilot sitting slumped in his seat.

”Doesnt look good, does it”, Ragnvald concluded by what he saw.

Natal grabbed the pilot and pulled him upright in the seat. ”Brother Hastasmehn is unconsious but alive, if the Machine Spirit of his armour is to be relied upon”, Natal said after his suit had linked up with the armour of the pilot. The Salamander then leaned over to inspect the co-pilot. ”Dead. Some internal damage. Cause of death most likely a broken neck”. Natal returned to an upright position and sighed, looking over at the Space Wolf.

”Main vox?”, Ragnvald said and peered passed Natals' large bulk.

The Salamander turned around to inspect the controls of the cockpit. ”All dead. The Machine Spirit must have been angered and upset due to the crash. It is not responding”.

”That and a swarm of xenos crawling all over it”.

Natal made a quick glance back at the Grey Hunter. Seeing how Ragnvald had his head aimed at the canopy of the cock-pit rather than at him, Natal turned to inspect the canopy aswell, or rather, what was beyond it. The armaglass was cracked at several places and the nose of the Thunderhawk was well covered with a huge mound of dirt and ash. But that seemed like a small problem, considering that just beyond the cracked armaglass, a brood of genestealers were climbing all over the transports. And two of them, sitting hunched, were looking right back at Natal and Ragnvald.

”Sergeant to Fireteam Ten”, Natal said over the vox.

”Go ahead”, Saxos' voice replied over the ether.

”Mission update; Pilot, unconsious. Co-pilot, dead. Status of the Thunderhawk; Upset Machine Spirit most likely, everything seems to be out of commition. And without a Tech-Brother, I fear this Thunderhawk will never leave this world”.

”Understood”.

”Fireteam Ten, out”.

”Saxos' out”.

Transmission was cut. Natal sat down leaning against a dead controlpanel, the instruments cracking under his weight. Ragnvald remained in the doorway, leaning against the wall. Both of them were looking out the armaglass at the Tyranids crawling all over the nose of the vehicle. Now not just genestealers, but also Hormagaunts, Rippers and the odd Tyranid Warrior and Ravener aswell. Some of them making threatening gestures with jaws and talons, but never trying to brake through the armoured glass as if knowing it was futile.

”How did they do it?”, Ragnvald thought out loud as he studied the hated xenos beyond the canopy.

”Do what?”, Natal asked.

”Survive the Exterminatus. And so many of them”.

”I have no answer, young wolf”, Natal said, ”Nothing more than that we clearly underestimated these vile creatures”.

”Indeed, brother”. The two of them studied the fearsome creatures for a moment or two in silence before Ragnvald spoke again. ”How long until the Unforgiving responds? Fortyfive minutes?”.

”The beacon you mean?”.

”Aye”.

”Aye, fortyfive minutes”. The beacon they spoke of was the onboard beacon of the Thunderhawk. With the Machine Spirit dormant, it would deactivate, and thus warn the Brothers in orbit that something was amiss. ”In little more than half an hour, Drop Pods will crash down where they last had a reading, secure a perimiter and then Thunderhawks move in”.

”That could be miles away”, Ragnvald pointed out. ”Who knows when the Machine Spirit gave in. And if they land with Drop Pods, the Tyranids will swarm them”.

Natal nodded, ”Most likely. But if the other survey teams have encountered similar fates, the Unforgiving will understand that this assignment is not to be taken lightly. There will most likely be another volley”.

”Another Exterminatus?”, the Grey Hunter asked.

”Aye. That would be my guess”, the Salamander sighed. ”And we would be incinirated by the Emperors glorious wrath”. He chuckled and then grabbed his helm with both gauntlets and, unlocking the seals, removed it from his head. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. His skin was tan, his head cleanshaven. Upon his brow he wore a tatoo of the Aquila, and following the edge of his jaw, from ear to ear, across his chin, was a sacred litany of his Chapter tatooed in High Gothic. The left hand side of his face was badly scarred, either by fire or acid, but it had healed nicely nonetheless. He chuckled and smiled, ”Rejoice, young wolf”, his deep voice seemed deeper still now when it was not transmitted across a vox. ”We were the bait that lured the enemy into the trap. We revealed their secret and now the Imperial Navy will deal with them once and for all. There is no shame in this being our casket”, he gestured at the Thunderhawk around them, ”For we have guided the aim of the Emperors just retribution. We have sentanced these despicable xenos to their deaths. It is we, here in this coffin of adamantium and broken down mechanicum, who are their bane. For we lured them out of hiding”.

Ragnvald removed his own helm and placed it on a control panel just inside the doorway. His great mane of blond hair fell like a waterfall down over his shoulders and chest, framing his chizzled and grizzle features. His impressive beard, braided as it were, was allowed to spread freely down across the winged wolfskull found on his armoured and runeinscripted torso. His eyes blue as ice and as sharp as steel. ”Is that supposed to cheer me up, Salamander?”, the Grey Hunter said, a minor frown on his noble features.

”What else have we, eager wolf? We are trapped inside this casket. Nowhere to go. We have no means of communicating with the Unforgiving or the other survey teams. As soon as they find out that this world still harbours hated xenos, they will take steps. No matter how you view it, the only conclusion is that the Ordo Xenos will blast this damned rock back to the Age of Strife”.

”True that we have revealed the foul enemy”, Ragnvald nodded, ”But I would still rather die in combat, than to die from a barrage launched by my own ship. I would rather avange my brothers slain. Rather uphold the honor of the Great Wolf”.

”Here you hide”, a mechanical voice said from behind Ragnvald.

The Grey Hunter entered the cockpit to make room for Boork. The bionic Marine filled up the entire width of the open doorway. Even though he wore his helm still, it was clear that he reacted upon the swarm of Tyranids found mere feet away, just beyond the canopy of the Thunderhawk.

”What news?”, Natal inquired.

It was clear that Boork found it hard to ignore the close proximity of the enemy. ”The sergeant sent me to try and sooth the Machine Spirit, in hopes of awakening the Thunderhawk”.

”You have such knowledge?”, Ragnvald said.

”To some extent”, Boork nodded, ”But I am no Tech-Brother by any means. My understandment of the nature of the Machine Spririt is on a novice level compared to the Tech-Brothers' of Mars”.

Natal glanced at the dead instruments of the cock-pit, ”No disrespect, but I doubt we will ever get this bird to fly again”.

”Nothing works in here?”, Boork asked.

”Nothing at all”, Natal explained.

”Then I shall have to inspect the internal engineering. The external I believe is off limits for the moment”, Boork said and took a look at the Tyranid horde that crawled all over the nose of the transport.

”Good luck”, Ragnvald said as the Mechanica Victus Marine left the cockpit for the aft section of the craft.

”So you are not pleased with the situation?”, Natal then asked.

”Us stuck here? What is there to be pleased about?”, Ragnvald frowned, finally allowed to spit out of dislike. The saliva hissing for a brief second as it struck the floor.

”Young and eager wolf”. Natal seemed amused. ”Death in battle is not glorious. Death with purpose; Now there can true glory be found”.

”You keep to your Vulcan ways, and I shall keep to mine, Salamander”.

Natal merely chuckled.

XXX

”Well, Brother Boork?”, Saxo asked, sitting on a crate in the cargohold.

”I regret to inform, sir, that the Machine Spirit can not be salvaged. The Thunderhawk is forever lost unless put in the able hands of the Adeptus Mechanicus”.

The sergeant nodded, he had half expected it. ”So we are trapped here”. He looked around at the others. ”Any suggestions? We have no means of evacuation or communication. What say you, my brethren”.

”I say we die fighting”.

Everyone turned their attention to the only Space Wolf amongst them. Ragnvald was still without his helm, his mighty axe as alwas resting comfortably against his shoulderpad. The Grey Hunter took a step forth to be seen and heard by all.

”I for one can not stomach the thought of idly remaining here and simply await a comming Exterminatus that will strip my bones of flesh”. The Space Wolf turned to look them all in the eyes. ”I for one can not stomach sitting on my arse, as the Imperial Navy does my work for me. I am a Space Wolf, descendant of the Great Wolf himself, and I am by fate destined to die in combat. I say we make a stand. I say we make our last day in our glorious service of the Emperor such a day that all our brothers will cry out in shame for they could not stand with us in this compelling hour. I say that this is the day Legend is born”.

”A warriors death”, the White Scar said.

”A glorious death”, a Black Templar filled in.

”A Marine death”, a third Battle Brother put emphasize to the words.

Sergeant Saxo studied the assembled, the lone survivors. Only the Marines had survived the crash. No human had withstood the violent force of the impact as the Thunderhawk had struck ground, including Lord Inquisitor Raglan who had been in the medicalbay at the time of the crash.

Saxo got up on his feet and fed a fresh magazine into his Boltgun. ”Then so be it. Objections or suggestions?”.

Silence.

Ragnvald looked over at Natal. ”Well, Salamander. Will you join your Companion for one last charge?”.

Natals' stern features slowly warmed and allowed for a smile. He chuckled, ”Young wolf. So eager for carnage and bloodshed”. The Salamander then nodded and grabbed his helm, ”Aye, Space Wolf. Natal will stand with you in this final hour, until death”.

Ragnvalds' face split in a broad smile, ”One last battle”.

Natal moved the helm to its position and secured it in place, then, through his visor, the Salamander locked eyes with the Grey Hunter. ”For the glory of the Imperium”, his dark voice boomed across the voxlink.

Ragnvald grabbed his helm and before returning it to its proper place, he adressed his brethren one last time, a grin of mad thirst on his face. ”We blast our way out through the cockpit, it is the only way out. And then… Howling, we will charge our way into the waiting arms of our Father, Emperor of Mankind”.

He was answered by a mighty warcry, seldom heard cried out with such conviction.

The End
LIRR
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:42 am


Re: [40k] The Scour

Postby LIRR » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:05 am

Tiny bump :?
LIRR
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:42 am


Re: [40k] The Scour

Postby LIRR » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:43 pm

yeah... its another one :oops:
LIRR
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:42 am


Re: [40k] The Scour

Postby Chh » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:16 pm

Can non-Astartes wear Terminator armour? I know they can wear normal Power Armour (albeit less effectively due to the lack of a Black Carapace), but Tactical Dreadnought armour is surely Space Marine-only equipment?
Currently writing: http://www.thebolthole.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2138 (Sanguinian Heresy)

Please read some of it, and give feedback. Please?
Chh
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:59 am


Re: [40k] The Scour

Postby LIRR » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:43 am

Inquisitors have always had the Terminator upgrade option for the tabletop as far as I can remember ;)
LIRR
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:42 am


Return to Board index

Return to Warhammer 40,000

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest