The Imperium is under siege by yet another sinister foe, the Ghrok. Their foul leader, See'E'Ohh Gimdak Do Moro, has led a massive assault on the Trini Sub-Sector and has laid waste to hundreds of worlds in his foul campaign for loot and bloodshed. Currently he is personally leading a mass attack on the Sub-Sectors fortress world and capital, the Shrine World of Unitet. Already millions of brave Fraternis Millitia and hundreds of brave Sisters of Battle have given their lives to halt the vile xenos and their unyielding assault. Gimdak believes himself unassailable...yet even now, as his armies close in on the planetary capital to deliver the final blow, his retribution is coming.
Chapter One: The Arrival
"Damn it Kris, you really should take better care of yourself." The old Apothecary grunted as he helped his old friend from his pain glove.
"The pain is fleeting, the knowledge gained is eternal."
"So you tell me, and so I've seen, but that doesn't change the fact that if you keep tuning this blasted thing up so high your going to put yourself on the operating table."
Kris Drosan had difficulty standing at first, his legs nearly giving out beneath him, but the old Apothecary steadied him. The two then worked their way to the center of the Apothicarium, away from the pain glove which had been on the Black Ship longer than most members of the Kill-Team had been alive.
Kris steadied himself on a cognatior while Gridar readied his medical equipment, he noticed the Apothecary had stocked up on anti-venoms and immuno boosters. "Gridar, its a Shrine World, are those immuno boosters necessary?"
The Biologist grunted with his usual faux irritation, "Ghrok like their chemical weapons and biotoxiens, its in the little beasities natures. He looked Kris in the eyes, his features grey and scarred, but still firm as if the man had been chiseled out of granite, "Don't you have a Kill-Team to muster, Captain?"
Kris couldn't help but smile, he knew Gridar well, the old Apothecary had saved his and many other lives countless times in the line of duty, but his personality was much like Kris' own, blunt and to the point.
"Very well Apothecary, I'll leave you to your work."
"And Emperor willing it'll be done before another one of you come and bother me!" Girdar shouted as Kris left the Apothecarion.
The clash of blades echoed through the armory, two massive power armored figures locked in pitched battle, while four others prepared themselves for war.
"Come now Specter, your making this easier than usual!" Nerus shouted as he spun his twin power swords, reveling in the thrum of the disruptor fields as they sliced through the air. On his left shoulder he bore the skull and laurels insignia of his Chapter, the Lords Exemplar.
"Its called a feint. Didn't they bother to teach you that in your 'Paladin' order?" Specter countered as he eyed his arrogant opponent, the fool had given the Marine Baleful plenty of time to prepare, preening his armor, polishing his helm, Specter was almost obliged to smile when Nerus strode into the arena wearing his crimson cloak! Specter gouged a line before him with his power claws, making his Chapters insignia, a fanged skull with wings, visible.
"Are you a gambling man Excelsior?"
"I never figured you the kind who took up such fool games Specter."
"That wasn't an answer." Specter stood ready, he could tell that Nerus was readying himself, the Lord Exemplar liked to shift styles every few flurries.
"Very well, whats the wager?" Nerus strode forth, confidant, the beak of his Corvus helm pointing up in such a display of arrogance.
Specter stood hunched, claws out to his sides, anticipating his foes movements. "You cross this line, and I'll yield."
Since Kill-Team Theron's inception, neither Nerus nor Specter had ever yielded to anyone in the arena, even Kris could not break their resolve in combat.
Nerus cocked his head to the side, inquisitive, clearly suspecting the Marine Baleful of treachery. "Do I have your word?"
"Do you really need it? I am a Space Marine after all."
"So am I, yet I wouldn't make such a foolish bet."
"Is the mighty Nerus Cabrin scared?"
"Space Marines don't feel fear, however, I'm hardly inclined to trust you."
"Very well Excelsior, you have my wor-"
Nerus suddenly lunged forward, right blade swinging for his foes throat. 'Nice try..." Specter thought as he blocked the blow with the back of his claws, and delivered a underhand strike with his remaining claw. Nerus swiftly sidestepped the uppercut, left blade surging forth towards Specter's midsection. Specter swatted the blade away, and made a wide swipe at Nerus' chest. The Lord Exemplar blocked the blow with is left blade and followed up with a kick to the chest. Specter blocked the kick with the back of his right claw, forcing Nerus to leap back in order to maintain his balance.
Nerus shifted his stance, from the full frontal, to a side step stance, presenting as little of a profile as possible for a fully armored space marine.
"And you lecture me on honor?" Specter stated coldly.
"The foe we fight deserve no honor, they are filth that pollutes the Emperors realm."
"You are not fighting xenos at this moment."
"Every breath we breath is one of defiance, every motion we make is against the enemeis of man, if you were a true Space Marine, you would understand that."
At this Specter lunged forth with such speed that Nerus was almost impressed. Specter became a flurry of claws, yet each strike met a flawless parry, however such was Specters might that Nerus was forced to focus solely on his own defense. Suddenly the Marine Baleful made a grievous error, overextending a stab with his claws, Nerus caught Specters right arm in the crook of his own, and delivered a punishing blow with the skull shaped pommel of his power sword to Specters brow. This was followed buy a knee to the chest, and as Specter stumbled back a roundhouse kick knocked him a considerable distance back.
'I will not let you win.' Specters inner voice echoed as he dug his claws into the ground, coming to a sliding halt. Nerus charged forth, blades poised for the finishing blow. Specter held his position, then, just as Nerus brought his blade down, he saw his moment. Specter's left claw swept Nerus' legs. As the Paladin Knight sailed over him, Specter allowed himself a small smile.
Nerus rolled, coming to his feet without missing any momentum and spun to face his opponent. However, before he could assail Specter, the Marine Baleful stood at attention, claws lowered at his side. Nerus followed Specters gaze. Kris "Bastion' Drosan stood at the entrance of the arena in his full armor, decorated in blue runes and proudly bearing the Indomitable Golems Chapter Badge, a mighty blue mountain. Nerus sheathed his blades and stood at attention, hands at his side, chest thrust out, and nose upturned.
"Briefing room, now." the Watch Captain ordered, short and concise as usual.
In the armory four Space Marines readied themselves for battle in the ways taught to them by their most honored forebears. One knelt before a great cog, praying the the almighty Omnimessiah. Two more knelt reverently before and idol of the great God Emperor of Mankind, one spoke litanies of forgiveness and redemption, while the other spoke litanies of bravery and valor. Yet the final one simply assembled his rifle, inspected his Volkite Serpenta Pistol, and sharpened his knife in complete silence.
Suddenly a bell toned, it was time. The four Space Marines fell in and briskly martched themselves to the brefing room. As they filed into the large room before the hangar and stood at attention, their Inquisitor paced before the holographic display of a verdent planet, and their four other teamates already stood at attention.
The Inquisitor waited for the rest of the Kill-Team to fall into formation before he began. "All right, now I know some of you are already privy to the mission at hand, but as we all know from experience, the best intel is full intel."
A small chuckle came from one of the Marines, Takashi Hono, of the Imperial Hounds. On his left shoulder was the Chapter Badge, a great Cyber-Mastiff. "This won't be like Operation: Silent Dirge, right Inquisitor?"
The jest was not lost on Takashi's close comrade, Calos Tytherion of the Emperor's Sentinels. His Chapter Badge, an ever vigilant eye, shone brightly in the light of the hangar. "Emperor willing, the Drop Pod will finally land at the drop site and not in the midst of a xenos horde."
Kris' steely glare silenced the two, but inside he understood their humor, blasted drop pods only seemed to land where the foe was thickest.
"Now Unitet is a Shrine World, temperate but humid, you'll have some bogs and swamplands but since the A.O. is the capital city of Uninata that shouldn't present itself as a problem. The city itself is moderately urbanized so expect some open ground, overall-"
"With all due respect Jorden, cut to the chase, what are we here to kill?" It was Edge, clad in his black camouflage cloak and leaning against a nearby ammo crate, the Equalizers Chapter Badge of a pair of balanced scales showing dimly in the hangars lighting.
The Inquisitor glared at the sniper, "The target, as if you didn't already know Edge, is the prime warlord of the Ghrok empire, a Gimdak Do Moro. The vile beast has been harassing this sector for some time, and has proven himself quite difficult to kill."
The holo-displays image shifted to that of the xeno in question, a huge, eel headed creature, with a cruel maw of oversized teeth and large goggles. The monstrosity was clad in a suit of power armor that was roughly the size of a dreadnought and bristled with various ranged and melee weapons. Ironically the slide showed that the suit was almost purely mechanical, and that the 'mighty' Gimdak himself was almost shoulder height of a Ratling.
"Disgusting." Murmured Sakael Vakier, the Kill-Teams local Black Shield, as was customary, his left paldroun was bare, empty and dispondant as the marine who bore it.
"Indeed," the Inquisitor continued, "Now the basics of the Ghrok is that they are tough little buggers, so aim for the head. Also, their weapons, though primitive, can prove quite lethal if they manage to hit you, and are often loaded with various explosives and toxins, most of which you immune to but they will take some of the fight out of you. Finally, they are extremely resistant to poisons of any kind, so keep that in mind before you start spitting in their faces Nerus."
The Paladin merely snorted indignantly and crossed his arms.
"Now, Gimdak is believed to have set up his headquarters within a minutorum weapons depot, its well fortified and Gimdak is reputed to have a large staff of personal guard. You will infiltrate the depot via any means possible, though there are several potential entrance points, the best bet is the sewers. And before you start Nerus, yes this is the 'most tactically sound' maneuver."
Again, Nerus made is indignation heard.
Again the holo-display shifted, showing the layout of the weapons depot and the sewage entrance. The sewers twisted and branched off in areas all around the facility, giving the Kill-Team access to various, potentially unguarded, access points all over the Depot.
"Now, the drop site is going to be within this radius," The display showed a large red circle around the depot and surrounding structures, "If all things go as planned and you do your jobs, Gimdak should be dead within eight Terran hours. Any questions?"
The Kill-Team remained silent as usual.
"Then get to work."
Chapter Two: Fallen Paradise
Once, the Shrine World Unitet had been a paradise of a planet. The world was green and lush, the skyline dominated by the spires of the numerous cathedrals and temples, from within could be heard the choirs of joyful citizens as they sang hymns about their beloved God- Emperor. Watching over it all were the Sisters of Battle, the Order of the Red Veil. This Order Minoris of the Adepta Sororitas had looked after and protected Unitet for generations.
That was before the Ghrok came.
Sister Superior Elisha Isador marched through the ruin and carnage that had once been the grandest of Unitet's cities, Uninata. She and her fellow red- and- gold armored Sisters of Battle were standing in the charred mess that had once been Uninata's central square, a plaza that was now a slaughterhouse. Corpses lined the streets like grotesque pavement, the homes that lined the streets had been ransacked and looted, and worst of all, the statue of the Holy Emperor at the center of the plaza had been blown to pieces.
This shall not stand, thought Elisha as she signaled her troops to advance. She had currently had a few Retributor Squads at her back, a testament to how low the Red Veil's forces were at the moment, but it would have to be enough. They were the last hope of the citizens of Unitet, and the God Emperor would not allow them to fail that duty.
"Remain alert sisters. The enemy could be anywhere." She voxed to her fellow Sisters.
As if on que, a rocket the size of a human head sped out of the ruin, hitting Sister Kaylis and reducing her into a hail of gore and shattered power armor. All around them, the foul eel- like Ghrok emerged from their hiding places, running towards then on mechanical legs, guns blazing. The Sisters were quick to recover from the initial shock of the ambush, and formed a protective circle, covering all their flanks. Soon, bolter fire lashed out at the Ghrok, creating a lethal web of gunfire as the two opposing forces fought. Many of the Ghrok died within the first few seconds, as the bionic exoskeletons they wore crumpled like parchment under the hail of bolts. But, no matter how many of the xenos died, two more would emerge from the wreckage like vermin scuttling out of a garbage heap.
Elisha could only watch as one by one her fellow Sisters sisters died under the Ghrok's assault. Sister Merida perished next to her, her skull pierced by a slug that detonated within her brain, turning her head into crimson mist. Filled with rage over her death, Elisha targeted the Ghrok that fired the shot, her bolter spitting death at the unfortunate xenos. The Ghrok died as the bolts shattered his tech- harness and pulped it's diminutive body. She mowed down two more before she heard the dry cough of a plasma weapon firing behind her. Spinning around, Elisha was greeted by a ball of superheated gas spinning towards her.
She tried to dodge out of the way of the projectile, but not fast enough. The plasma blast missed her torso and sheared through her left arm instead, vaporizing the entire limb and leaving behind a cauterized stump. The pain was excruciating, and Elisha screamed even as she toppled onto her back from the force of blast. Her vision blurred, and as she slowly tried to sit up, she saw the hazy outline of Sister of Battle standing above her holding out her hand to help her up, and died as another plasma blast struck her fellow Sister from behind, leaving a charred crater where her chest had been. Her killer was revealed as the Sister's corpse fell to one side, a Ghrok holding a primitive- looking plasma gun.
Elisha tried to get off the ground, tried to point her bolter at the xenos, but her body refused to respond as the Ghrok walked towards her prone form. The Ghrok now stood above her, it's disgusting face so close to her helmet that she could practically smell the thing's rank odor, and pointed it's plasma gun at her head.
"May the God Emperor preserve my soul", she whispered under her breath, and awaited the end.
But then she noticed that the Ghrok was no longer pointing it's weapon at her, in fact, it seemed to be distracted by something above it. Looking up into Unitet's blue afternoon sky, Elisha saw a fiery shape plummeting down from the heavens, as if it where some sort of avenging angel come to smite these unclean xenos. As the shape drew closer, Elisha could see it was no angel, but a large, jet black, cylindrical object. It looked almost familiar, had she seen something like it before? Then she remembered.
A Space Marine drop pod, she thought, it seems the Emperor does protect. Even as the pain of her wounds drew her into unconsciousness, she smiled underneath her helmet, knowing that the Ghrok would soon meet their end.
Chapter Three: Without Fail
The drop pod crashed into the ground, crushing four unfortunate Ghrok. The doors fell open, and the Kill-Team immediately lept into action. Specter was out of the pod first, leaping into the air, claws coursing with energy as he drove them into two Ghrok as he landed. One of the xenos rushed him, primitive auto-gun ablaze, only to be side swiped by a surge of plasma as Takashi opened fire with his heavy plasma gun, Specter then dove headlong into the xenos ranks, tearing his way through the beasts like a whirlwind of death and carnage.
Takashi then surged forth, his ornate plasma gun incinerating huge swaths of the Ghrok horde. A team of three of the xenos pushed a looted Thunder Fire Cannon to the edge of a ruined building that overlooked the plaza, and began training it on the Imperial Hound. Suddenly a bolt the size of a Space Marines fist came crashing into one of the Ghrok, almost reducing his four foot frame to pulped flesh and scrap as it detonated. Edge trained his massive Equius Pattern Oblivion sniper rifle on the Thunder Fire Cannons targeting array and fired, as the bolt came crashing into the apparatus the gun went haywire, firing on all the Ghrok before it.
The two remaining gunners desperately struggled to get the gun under control, but within seconds they and the gun were reduced to charred remains as Calos fired two grenades from his Astartes Pattern Grenade launcher, all while holding a Ghrok by the throat with his right hand. With a crunch he felt the xenos life slip away, he fired three more grenades into the xenos horde, the incendiary grenades ignited vast swaths of the horde and sent nearby Ghrok flying into the air in various states of dismemberment.
Nerus waded into the sea of eel-like xenos, Combi-Bolter slung across his back, power swords swinging, each strike a kill. One of the beasts lept above the horde, primitive maul over its head, Nerus merely glared at the beast and his bionic eye did the rest as a powerful lasbolt fired from his eye and blew the monster out of the sky. He then thrusted his blade down through the skull of yet another xenos, rather than pull it out he simply left it there, and then drew one of his many combat knives from its sheath on his hilt, throwing it with such velocity that it pinned its target to a chunk of masonry as it ran through its head. He then drew the sword from the dead Ghrok and continued to slaughter.
Kris and Sakael stood side by side, Sakael's Master Crafted Bolter ablaze as he slew scores of the Ghrok, meanwhile Kris took careful and methodical aim with his bolt pistol, each shot ending the life of one of the vile xenos that swarmed them, trying to overwhelm the Kill-Team as they slowly pushed forward from the drop pod. Tree of the beasts sprinted forth, primitive swords in hand as they rushed the Watch Captain, with one deft swing Kris decapitated two of them and ran the other through, the creature still snapped and spat at him, feebly flailing its blade. Kris crushed its skull with a swift kick that sent it sailing off his blade.
Gridar stood alone, bolter ablaze, he stood over the body of a Sister of Battle, a Sister Superior by the looks of her. Her arm had been blown off by a plasma blast, Gridar had seen the like one to many times. However the Sister's chest still rose and fell, Gridar would be damned if he let these xenos scum take another life, espcially one of the Emperor's most faithful. He went to load yet another clip into his bolter when he heard the cough of a plasma rifle, he sidestepped the blast with ease, and his eyes fell upon his assailant as it lept at him plasma rifle belching forth yet another deadly pulse of plasma, this struck Gridar in the soulder, scorching his Chapter Badge, a Hammer with a Skull at the middle of its head. Gridar recovered from the blast, managing to level his bolter and fire it at the xenos, but not before it landed, the bolts ripped into its body, yet still it charged and fired, trailing its organs behind it. It crashed into the aged Space Marine, clawing at hims madly as its rifle dropped from its grubby claws. Gridar rammed a surgical drill into its skull, the tool was ment to retreive Gene-Seed from the corpses of fully armored Space Marines, and thus made short work of the Ghrok's skull.
The xenos began to fall back, knowing they were outmatched. As quickly as they came the Ghrok dissolved into the surrounding ruins, dragging what dead and dying comrades the could... all fell quiet as the Space Marines regrouped around the drop pod, save for the sounds of war that echoed all over the world.
Darkness...then...slowly her eyes opened.
Her sight was still blurry, but Elisha could vaguely make out the shape of a large, black armored figure kneeling above her. A Ghrok? No, a Space Marine!
"Takashi, you really should have prayed harder to the Omnissiah," a deep, jovial voice rang out from behind her, "Seems we've landed in the middle of a battlefield, again."
"Perhaps the drop pod's machine spirit was offended by your fell body odor, Calos." said another good- natured voice, this time coming from off to her left side.
"I may not smell very nice, but that's nothing compared to you. Honestly, do you wash yourself with rotten meat?" the first voice, in a seemingly joking manner.
As Elisha slowly turned her head to the left, she could see several other Space Marines. But they were not like any Space Marines she had ever seen or even heard of. Each one wore jet- black power armor, the left arms of which were painted silver. Each of their left pauldrons bared the seal of the Holy Inquisition, while the each of the Space Marines right pauldrons bore a different symbol. Each one carried exotic and ornate weaponry, and moved amongst the alien carnage they created like the gods of war that they were.
Some kind of specialist force? She thought, wondering. Turning her view back to the Space Marine above her, she could see that his helmet, right arm, and backpack were painted white. Some sort of medical device was mounted on his right arm, and his armor bore the mark of the Medicae. An Apothecary.
"M- My Lord," Elisha tried to say, but all that came out was a muffled whisper.
"Shush," said the Apothecary, "You took quite a beating, but you should be alright. I've injected you with a sedative that will put you to sleep in a few seconds, long enough for your body to heal itself naturally."
Even as he spoke, Elisha could see the darkness creeping in to the corners of her vision. She was tired, and sleeping suddenly felt like a very attractive prospect.
"Thank you," she whispered as she slowly crept into unconsciousness.
As sleep took her, Elisha could have sworn the Space Marine whispered back; "Don't mention it."
Gridar stood up from the now sleeping form of the Canoness. Patching in to the Deathwatch ship in orbit's vox channel, he contacted the Inquisitor.
"Jorden, I have a wounded Sister of Battle, we need to get her somewhere safe." he voxed.
"Already on it," replied Jorden. "I've just informed the Uniteti PDF about the ambush. They should arrive soon to pick up the canoness."
"They better." said Gridar, before severing the connection.
Nerus started "Are you sure thats a proper delegation of rescources Apoth-" Gridar gave a low growl and glared at the Lords Exemplar, Nerus quietly yanked his combat knife from the skull of the Ghrok he had pinned to the wall earlier and stayed silent.
Walking back to the drop pod, Gridar consulted the rest of his Kill- Team.
"So, what's the plan?" he said.
Kris looked up from a schematic of Uninata's sewer systems given to them by Jorden.
"The plan is simple; their is a sewer maintenance entrance near our location, and if these schematics are correct, the sewer tunnel should lead us directly into the depot where our target is."
"Provided we survive. This entire area is infested with xenos." said Edge, looking through the scope of his Oblivion Rifle past the edges of the plaza. He could already see more Ghrok crashing through the wreckage towards their position.
"We'll make do, we've survived worse than this." replied Kris.
"Oh really? What about that time in the Ghoul Stars?" Calos chimed in. "You know, the one with the Eldar, and the Necron Monoliths, and the Dread Beasts that wanted to eat our primary hearts for dinner?"
"Calos, shut up." said Sakael, surprising the rest of the squad. Sakael rarely spoke, especially around his squadmates.
"I agree with the Black Shield, do shut up Calos. Now if we're all quite finished here are we going or what? I personally am not sitting here waiting for a xenos shitstorm to fall upon us." said Gridar, casting a puzzled look at Sakael.
Kris smiled faintly underneath his helmet. Half his job was keeping his team from fighting each other instead of the enemy, and while the bickering was as frequent as it was annoying, one learned to love it after awhile.
"Kill- Team Theron, move out!"
Chapter Four: The Decent
Edge scoped down the alleyway, his superhuman vision alert to any movement in the shadows... some part of him yearned for something to move, for something to kill. 'No...not now...not yet.' His inner voice quelled the anger...for now.
"Its clear." Edge said, barely a whisper but loud and clear on the vox, suddenly the Kill-Team materialized from the shadows, out of the various backallies and from behind piles of refuse and rubble, Nerus' red cloak flowed slightly in the light breeze cause by the raging fires that cast a surreal glow upon the alleyway.
"Ugh! That smell!" Takashi groaned softly, his enhanced 21st Founding senses allowed him to smell the fetid odor of the Ghrok even through his helmet. He could smell it drawing nearer, but he also detected a ffamiliar aroma...
Suddenly, a dark shape melted out of the shadows in front of them. The Kill-Team trained their guns on the figure, only to realize that it was just Specter, making one of his infamous silent entrances. Specter carried a Ghrok corpse over his shoulder, his lightning claws faintly crackling in the orange tinted darkenss. Edge relaxed, even though he was still quite surprised. How did the Marine Baleful always manage to sneak up on them? Probably some sort of special training that member's of Specter's chapter received.
"Did you find anything?" Kris asked Specter, having sent the Marine Baleful to scout ahead for any enemies.
"I found this." replied Specter, throwing the Ghrok's body at the Watch Captain's feet. "A scout, this area is filthy with them."
Examining the corpse, Edge could see wound where Specter's claw had entered and exited the Ghrok's skull, impaling it's brain and killing it in a single blow. A very clean kill, Edge approved, although he still couldn't figure out how Specter could have gotten close enough to deliver such a strike without being detected.
"Yes, yes you killed an Alien good for you. Now can we keep moving?" said Nerus indignantly.
"Hmph. Try to keep up Excelcior." said Specter. The Marine Baleful then stepped back into the shadows, fading into them and disappearing as if he was a shadow himself. Kris motioned for the kill- team to advance as Edge once again took point, using his superior vision to scan the darkened streets. Then, noticing a strange rumbling noise off to his left, Edge immediately motioned for the team to hold position before ducking behind the corner of the street. Glancing around, he saw a dark shape lumbering out onto the street. Was that Specter? No, was to big. As the shape slowly moved towards the Kill-Team's position, Edge thought that the shape looked a lot like a tank....
Cold realization came crashing down on Edge as he watched the lumbering shape draw closer. "Pull back!" he whispered urgently over the squad- wide vox.
'What is it?" voxed Kris. "Is it more Ghrok?"
"No, worse." replied Edge. "The Ghrok have a tank." The once proud Leman Russ had clearly been through some serious abuse, ramshackle plating and patchwork covered gaping holes in its chassis. All over it various gunports had been hastily cut and now the tank bristled with various forms of firepower both Imperial and alien in orgin. On its side Edge could see the smeared name of the tank, Unbowed Saint, the irony was not lost on Edge as a cold smile tugged at the edges of his lips. 'Now how to get around it?' Edge thought, they had nothing that could bring down a Leman Russ, even in such as squalid condtion.
Suddenly bolter fire rang out, Edge jerked swiftly to the source of the noise behind him, Nerus was firing at a near ninety degree angle. A Ghrok corpse fell from the roof above them, the vile beast still clutching some sort of primitive long-las. "You're welcome." Nerus snorted, insinuatuing that the xenos had been training its weapon on the Equalizer.
The tank came to a shuttering halt, a small Ghrok popped his head out of the main hatch and fixed his binocular-like bionic eyes on the alleyway, it screamed some indecipherable gibberish in the general direction, inquring if the now slain scout had seen anything... his only awnser was a bolt the size of a Space Marines fist crashing into his chest and blowing much of his upper body off. Incoherrent screeching and snarling rang out from the Leman Russ as the body slid back down the hatch. Edge was torn between seething anger that Nerus had given away their position, and relief that there were now two less xenos polluting this world.
"Thank you very much Nerus!" Calos shouted sarcastically as the tank's main cannon turned to greet them with its gaping maw, "Now we all get to die in a glorious one sided slaughter! Praise the Lords Exemplar and their illustrious Paladin Or-" A blast like the thunder of a thousand storms tore the Sentinel's voice out of the air as a massive shell tore through the alleyway.
"MOVE!" Gridar shouted as the buildings began to collapse around them, the Kill-Team sprinted out into the wide streets, the Leman Russ lit up like a tree on Emperor Day, bullets, rockets, las and plasma bolts blanketed the area in an indiscriminant spray of death. Edge took cover behind the remains of a Rhino, the charred corpses of Soritas and twisted platesteel his only defense against the hailstorm of destruction. Kris and Gridar found sanctuary behind a chunk of rubble created by the recent explosion. Takashi and Calos returned fire as they took refuge behind a sandbag pile in the middle of the road, stepping over the corpses of civillians and Fraternis Millitia as both grenaide and plasma blasts arced their way to the tank, blowing chunks of the ramshackle chaisis off and silencing various gunports. Yet still the beast of platesteel and cremaite lumbered forth, heedless of any damage. The tank's main cannon leveled itself at the two marines, but then a shape came sprinting towards it, "HERE XENOS! I AM READY TO DIE! CAN YOU SAY THE SAME?!"
Sakael charged the Leman Russ, bolter ablaze, the hail of fire did not phase him, even as shells the size of a mans head bounced off and tore into his armor. The main turret swerved with a great metallic groan and fired, Sakael flew from his feet as the shell took out the ground from underneath him, still he fired as he hit the ground.
Two more shapes darted from the shadows, Specters claws sparked as he rushed forth, and Nerus readied his flamer, not but a step behind the Marines Baleful. Specter lept onto the tank, and with a swipe, cut the main cannon in half. Nerus clung to the side, and stuck the muzzle of his underslung flamer into one of the gunports, with the pull of a trigger he filled the tank with fire and screams of dying xenos.
As smoke trailed out from the ruined Leman Russ, Gridar rushed to Sakael's side. The Black Shield had managed to turn himself over on his back, his breaths were labored, three wounds had peirced his armor along the right flank of his chest, and a chunk of shrapnel the length and width of a mans arm was lodged in his lower arm. Sakael tore the chunk of shrapnel from his arm with a curse, "I guess today is not your day." Nerus sneered. Specter glared daggers at the Paladin.
"My time will come...as will yours." Sakael was transfixed with his blood as it drenched his hand and lower arm. Gridar knelt at the red-handed Space Marines side, "Still breathing? Good, now hold still, got to fish those slugs out of you, hopefully they haven't fragmented much." He stuck the syringe into Sakaels neck, letting the immuno-boosters flood into his bloodstream as no doubt the painkillers were already surging into his system from the armors auto sences. The Apothecary then drove the retreiver into the Black Shield's wounds, pulling from two crumpled slugs and the thrid seemed to be the result of a lasgun, thus it required no further treatment.
"Alright, your good to go," Gridar smacked Sakael outside the head with a closed fist "But any more of these stupid stunts and I'll start to wonder why I waste time patching you up! As you said, your time will come, but its the Emperor's choice when you go, not yours." Sakael nodded respectfully and with Gridar's assistance, stood once more, ready to bring more xenos to their bloody ends in atonement for his sins.
"Hey!" The four turned to see Takashi prying open a manhole cover, "I think I found our insertion point!"
Kris, Calos, and Edge stood beside him, yet as the other four made their way to the insertion point, a problem was made clear. "Its too small." Edge stated dryly. "We know." Nerus quipped back. Calos cracked his knuckles, "Alright, alright! Don't everyone go pulling out their high-grade explosives at once!" He uncliped one grenade from his belt, only to have Kris stop him in his tracks. "Or, we could just go in through that sewage treatment plant." The Watch Captain motioned to a ransacked building across the street from where the Kill-Team was gathered. "But..." Calos started "For the Emperor's sake Calos! Put the grenade away!" Specter cut the Emperor's Sentinel off. As the rest of the Kill-Team moved towards the building, Takashi came by his dejected comrade as he sullenly cliped the grenade to his belt, "Don't worry Bruiser, well be blowing holes in more xenos before you know it." "I hope so, Beastheart, I think all this lack of collateral damage is giving me a rash."
Chapter Five: Sewers and Rats
While the city of Uninata might have once been a paradise, it's sewers were the complete opposite. The sewage tunnels were filthy with refuse and rubbish, some of which was still fresh. The walls of the tunnel were covered in grime and other, less pleasant substances, which did nothing to help the overwhelming odor of decay that permeated every inch of the tunnel. Even worse, the sewage tunnels had long since flooded, forcing the kill- team to wade through knee- deep, scummy water, in which more pieces of trash floated.
"You sure do take us to the nicest of places, Captain." remarked Takashi. Truth be told, the Imperial Hound was having a hard time breathing, as his enhanced sense of smell was practically overwhelmed by the fetid smell of the sewage.
"I take it back, you smell like a basket of roses compared to this." Calos said to Takashi, wadding through the cloudy sewer water behind him. The tunnel was narrow, so the Space Marines had to walk in a single file line just to fit through.
"Stay alert everyone, their have been reports of Chompaz infesting these sewers." said Kris, who had taken point at the front of the line.
"Chompaz? What are those?" replied Nerus, taking an almost longing glance back at the way they had came. Specter smiled underneath his helmet as the Lord Exemplar's pristine cloak and armor where sullied by the noxious sewage water. It almost served the fool right, revealing their position to a Emperor- damned tank, and nearly killing all of them in the process.
With a contemptuous look, Specter replied "Giant rat- like creatures, bigger than a fully- grown human, utilized by the Ghrok as a kind of attack animal."
"And the damn things thrive in places like these, so for Terra's sake, be careful." Gridar said, talking even as he ran yet another medical diagnostic on Sakael. He had stabilized the Black Shield and Sakael's augmented physiology had already done the rest for him, but he wasn't taking any chances. They couldn't afford to loose a member of the Kill- Team, not when they were this close to their goal.
"Oh please, what could a mere rat do against a Space Mar- BLARG!" Nerus was cut off mid sentence as a particularly large Chompa suddenly emerged from the fetid water in front of him, tackling the Lord Exemplar and submerging him in the sewage. Nerus wasted no time, unsheathing one of his combat knives and stabbing the massive rat in the throat even as he fell with a tremendous splash. To his surprise, the Chompa shrugged of the wound like it was a pinprick as resumed it's attack, chewing at Nerus' breastplate in order to get at the soft flesh beneath.
Nerus stabbed at the creature on his chest once more, this time rolling over as to submerge the Chompa in the sewage. Flipped onto it's belly, the giant xenos rat pawed at the air and screeched it's frustration as Nerus pinned it down with an armored boot. Nerus raised his knife to deliver the finishing blow- only to watch as Specter drove his right claw into the Chompa's exposed underbelly, piercing it's alien heart.
"Hey! That was-" Nerus said in outrage.
"I'm sorry, have I wounded your pride?" replied Specter, cutting the Lord Exemplar off. "I thought being trampled by a giant rat had done that already."
"Holy Throne." said Calos in amazement "Since when did you develop a sense of humor, Specter?"
"Oh also, you seem to have suffered... a wardrobe malfunction." said Takashi, gesturing towards Nerus's breastplate.
Nerus looked down to see that the front of his armor had been reduced to a mangled mess. The Chompa's savage teeth had made short work of the Aquila on chest, breaking off one of the heads and shearing off an entire wing. His cloak was in tatters, not to mention completely soaked with sewer water, and hung off his shoulders like a wet rag. Even the rest of his armor had not emerged unscathed, as it was now completely covered with filmy grime.
"Hilarious." muttered Nerus, resuming his march down the sewer tunnel, albeit rather dejectedly.
"Hmm, maybe you shouldn't have said that Beastheart." said Calos, turning to his friend.
"I think you just broke Nerus."
The two Space Marine's deep laughter echoed down the tunnel.
"WILL YOU SHUT UP!" came Gridar's angry retort.
From that moment forward, the Kill- Team traveled in complete silence.
The manhole lifted up ever so slightly, it was dark and dank in the depots lower most arms locker, yet the eyes that scanned the celler found it empty save for the massive piles of ammuntion boxes and racks of lasguns, waiting to be eventually looted by Ghrok. From the slit of darkness near the manhole two ghostly blue eyes peered out, after a long moment Kris whispered over the vox, "Clear."
He gingerly slid the manhole cover to the side and hauled himself out, leveling his bolt pistol at the the darkness, just in case the beasts were lying in ambush. Gridar hauled himself out, and offered a hand to Edge, whos Volkite Serpenta cast a red glow in the darkness. Next came Specter, claws adding the the pale lighting as the crackled faintly, behind him was Specter, his soaked cloak dripping unmentionable fluids as he checked to see if his underslung flamers pilot light had been extinguished, thankfully that was not the case. Takashi gently placed his heavy plasma gun off to the side as he hoisted himself up, then offered a hand to Calos who, with a nod of thanks, took it and pulled himself up. Finally, Sakael climbed through, and flicked a chunk of raw sewage from his soulder.
It was pitch black, save for the lights their various weapons cast upon the cavernous cellar, the rows of arms and ammunition ran on for what seemed like miles, and as Kris looked at the schematics, this was only one of a dozen or so vaults filled to the brim with arms for the local Sisters of Battle forces. The memory of the fallen Sister Superior drifted into Kris' mind, he knew from experience she was either going to be sent off to guard some far away backwater and never heard from again or have her mind forcefully scrubbed of all events, simply because she laid eyes on the Kill-Team. Such was the way of the Inquisition. He pushed the thought out, he had no time to indulge it, he looked over his shoulder and, with a little trepidation, gestured Nerus to his side.
"Yes Captian?" Nerus said in a surprisingly eager tone, then again he had to know what Kris wanted from him, nothing like being involved in a mid mission tactical meeting to lift Nerus' spirits. Already he moved with purpose that belied his excitment, and Kris could swear he saw the Lords Exemplar's eyes flash with anticipation. "I need an opinion, now were-"
"The xenos warlord would most likely be in the southern most vehicle storage bunker here," Nerus gestured to the bunker on the holo-map, "His psych profile that I took the liberty of compiling for the Inquisitor indicates that Gimdak perfers to stay in a small, easily defendable location where he can call upon heavy support if needed. Now MOST would assume the xenos to be in the central chamber but CLEARLY Gimdak is smarter than the average beast, or we woulden't have been sent to deal with him. THUS we can assume that he has instead stationed his forces through out the faciltiy but will have the bulk of his forces in the central chamber, antcipaiting a massed strike on that location. Should Imperial forces counter attack, he would have time to evacuaite via one of the many armored vehicles in the bay, with a convoy in tow no doubt."
Kris stared blankly at the Paladin, not out of shock for the long enantrie, but for the fact that it never ceced to surprise him that Nerus could spit out such tactical jargon as if it was a reflex. Kris gave him a curt nod and returned to his planning. Nerus was most likely correct as to Gimdaks wereabouts, but to reach them without setting off an alarm would be most difficult... they needed a distraction.
Kris voxed Jorden, "Inquisitor, how many men dose the millita have available in our area?"
Static greeted him for the longest time, then an awnser , "The Uniteti Militia has a small garrison with eight Leman Russ Tanks in a support role, what do you need?"
"A distraction, and one a bit larger than that, how about air support?"
"I could call in a strike, but they won't get past those AA guns at the depots perimiters."
"Artilery?" Kris hated to ask, but he was desperaite, in his mind he ran through a quick prayer of forgivness to the Stone and Dorn for even considering the use of such destructive ordiance against an Imperial structure, espcially one of such stratigic importance.
"Ghrok have looted most of the big guns, I'm getting word of a few Whirlwinds with the garrison but nothing thats going to do more than shake off some dust off the rafters." Kris felt a little relief, however, now it seemed he would have to send a garrison of men to their deaths, they would at least earn their place at the Emperor's side.
"Send in the garrison then, make sure they are under orders to limit structural damage if possible."
"These are militia men, Bastion, they'll shoot whatever they damn well know is shooting back."
The vox cut off, Kris turned to face his team, "Alright Theron, we find our exit and wait for some noise, then we move on the bunker."
Takashi gave an anxious growl, "Can't wait to pour some more plasma on these runts!"
Chapter Six: De Baddest of Bossez
Sigil Ka Dogo skittered frantically on his six mechanical spider legs, dual SMGs waving in a dangerous manner as he pumped his arms to add more momentum into his sprint. "BAWWS! BAWWSSSS! BAWWWWWSSSSSS!" he screeched as he ran through the tight corridors of the bunker, catching various glares and curious looks from his fellow Mudslogz as he skittered along.
Sigil rounded the corner into the main vehicle bay and suddenly skidded to a halt, falling over and somersaulting three times before coming to rest on his rear, legs fanned out flat to the ground as he looked up the colossal figure that stood with its back to him, brooding over a flickering and clearly damaged holo-map of the city of Uniata. The hulk of armor stood silent, its fourteen foot frame absolutly dwarfing the messenger. At its flanks stood Ghrok in large suits of power armor, each looking very similar to a Space Marine save for the ramshackle design and their protruding and undersized eel-like heads. Sigils large, mechanical eyes darted left and right, as if he now wished to leave, but now as the "Mareen" honor guard turned to face him he felt rooted to the spot.
"B-b-b-" he stammered as the massive figure slowly turned, See'E'Ohh Gimdak Do Moro, Crusha of a Thouzand Wulrdz, Breaker of Umanz, Smasha of Orkz, and Destroya of Efliez, glared at Sigil through two burining red eyes, his helm made his head seem just about the right size to fit the suit of armor.
Gimdak brought his fist down with such force that it made all the vehicles within the bay jump an inch or two off the ground. "WHAT?!" he bellowed in perfect gothic, his helm enhancing the roar to the point where Sigil was thrown from his seat and rolled to an admittedly safer position a few feet away. The little messanger suddenly found the courage to leap to his feet and stand at attention, "De Umanz are attaken de main gate baws!"
Gimdak chuckled, "How many?" he said as he returned to his map, his voice rumbled like thunder. "A-a-a-a-" Gimdak glared at the messanger, "About a undred! Dey gotz Tankz too!"
"One-hundred?" He spun around with such speed it defied logic and took three, thunderous steps towards the messanger, "YOU SCAMPER TO ME OVER ONE-HUNDRED PITIFUL HUMANS?!" He lifted his fist to squash the nuceince but then Sigil blurted out "DEY ATTAKEN FULL ON!"
Gimdaks fist came to a sudden halt, "What?"
Sigil took his chance, "DEY CHARGEN! IT NOT LIKE BEFER, WHERE DEY RUN OFF! DEY TRYEN TO TAKE DE GATE!"
Gimdak went back to his map, inspecting the newly input dots that represented Imperial forces nearing the gates. He brooded for a few more seconds, then he spoke "The humans can't overrun the gates with this, they know that...THIS IS A VANGUARD! DEPLOY ALL FORCES TO MEET THEM! I WANT EVERY AVAILABLE MUDSLOG WITHIN SPITTING DISTANCE OF THAT GATE NOW!" He slammed his fist inches from Sigil and the mudslog got the message, he skittered out to relay the bosses commands.
"Stupid humans," Gimdak snarled as he returned to his map once more, he studied it intently, watching as the red dots that signified his forces converged on the newly input green dots that represented the Imeprial forces now assailing his ill-gotten fortress "They think they can just outsmart ol' Gimdak, ahahha, stupid, stupid humans!"
Chapter Seven: Endgame
Edge listened to the sounds of mechanical feet clanking down to meet the last of the Uniteti PDF. Already his advanced senses could pick up the combined noise of the garrison's tanks as they lumbered in to position. Now all he had to do was wait until...
The sound of a miniature thunderclap roared it's way into the depot's narrow halls. One of the tanks had opened fire. The attack had begun.
"The diversion has begun, lets go." Edge told Kris, who nodded towards the rest of the Kill- Team. All at once, all eight Space Marines ran towards the ammo stockpile's entrance and into the depot's dimly lit corridors. Prayers had been said, weapons loaded, and power weapons activated. Now all they had to do was survive.
Boka Ga Kifa trained his beady eyes on the darkened hallway in front of him, searching for anything that might be a possible threat. The See'E'Ohh's instructions to Boka and the rest of his Mareen Guardz had been quite specific:
"Go out in to the hallway, guard the entrance to the hanger bay, and if you see anything that ain't a Ghrok, SHOOT IT."
At first Boka had nearly objected. Surely the 'Umanz couldn't breach the strongholds defenses.... then he stopped, because he remembered that Gimdak Do Moro was not someone you argued with. So he and the rest of his Mareens were on guard duty, although he hardly thought it was necessary. How were the 'Umanz supposed to get in here?
Then a bullet the size of Ghrok's head thundered out of the darkness of the hallway, reducing Boka into little more than a shower of gore and shattered armor.
Before the rest of the Ghrok could even register what just happened to their commander, Specter and Nerus raced across the hallway, blades unsheathed and crackling with deadly energy. Nerus lunged foward, plunging both of his power swords into the brains of two Ghrok before spinning around and slicing the third in half, the alien's primitive power armor clanking as it fell to the ground. Specter likewise attacked the remaining Ghrok, dicing the first unfortunate xenos into shreds before it's comrade could even fire it's weapon, then proceeded to gut the remaining alien "Mareen", his lightning claws crackling as he sliced the Ghrok's slug- thrower gun in half followed by the aliens skull, all in a single movement. The entire fight had lasted about six seconds, and none of the Ghrok had even had the time to scream before they died.
"Good work." said Kris as he and the rest of Kill-Team Theron advance out of the shadows in front of the massive hanger bay doors.
"How do want to play this one Captain?" asked Gridar, eying the doors. "We have no idea if the target has more grunts training their guns on the entrance as we speak."
"Exactly, that's why we're going in guns blazing." replied Kris, he did a quick motion, tracing the general shape of the Aquilla with one hand. "Calos, if you don't mind."
Calos grinned underneath his helmet as he uncliped two melta charges from his belt. Walking up to the door, Calos strategically placed the charges up against the door, priming both explosives as he did. "Everyone get back." he said, backing away. "This is going to be one hell of an explosion." Everyone moved away as Calos hit the detonator, blowing both melta charges simultaneously, resulting in a massive blast of light and heat, melting a massive hole in the doors, it's edges glowing with molten heat. "Move!" yelled Kris. Kill- Team Theron rushed forwards through the hole, guns and blades at the ready, into the cavernous hanger bay. Inside, rows upon rows of Imperial war machines, most half- stripped or looted by the Ghrok, loomed in the dim lighting of the bay. The Space Marines surprised by the lack of resistance, moved forward into the hanger cautiously, aiming their guns at the slightest movement.
"So you are hear to kill me?" rumbled an impossibly deep voice, the sound echoing throughout the confines of the massive hanger. "I'll admit, I'm disappointed, they usually send more of you."
"Where are are you?!" Nerus yelled back. "Show yourself xenos!"
A deep, throaty chuckle echoed out of the darkness. "I'm right here, Space Marine." A massive figure lumbered out of the dark in front of them, it's very footfalls causing the ground to vibrate under the Space Marines feet. As the figure moved closer, the true massiveness of the xenos warlord was revealed. Gimdak's armored form was even bigger than the reports had specified, larger than a Dreadnought, every surface of the ramshackle armor bristling with weaponry, crowned by a domed helmet whose eyepieces burned a malevolent red. "I hope you put up a good fight, after that last bout on Sigma Onasus I've been getting a little board of Space Marines. So far you lot have impressed me." Gimdak grabbed hold of the stripped hold of a Leman Russ tank and lifted it above his head. "Now, how well can you play catch?"
"FALL BACK!" Kris shouted, firing his bolt pistol as the xenos hurled the tank with all his might, the Kill-Team scattered as the hulk crashed into the ground, its hull crumpling like tin-foil with the sheer force of the impact.
"Throne of Terra!" Calos exclaimed, "How do we play this one Captian?!" he shouted of the roar of Takashi's Plasma Cannon. Kris dove behind the hull of a Basalisk, "Do I really need to spell it out for you Calos?! SHOOT THE XENOS!"
Gimdak's armored boot crushed the Watch Captains Basalisk like a cardboard box and raised his massive fist, then suddenly a salvo of explosions racked his side, Gimdak stumbled back from the force of the blast. Kris saw Calos slowly advancing towards the monster, his grenade launcher spitting out round after round. "Gah! That stings!" Gimdak roared, suddenly a quad-linked battery of hurricane bolters mounted on his fore arm roared to life, Calos narrowly escaped the barrage, falling flat on his stomach as the storm of bolts tore into the area around him. Kris leveled his pistol, but before he could fire, a massive bolt tore into Gimdak's shoulder, blowing a sizeable chunk of the machines armor off. Edge readied himself for another shot, but then saw something on the warlords right arm light up, he had a split second to leap from his perch on a Rhino before a massive melta blast reduced it to a smoldering ruin. Edge stood, his camo cloak smoldering, he saw Gimdak rushing towards him, bolts and plasma riddling him yet hardly even making a dent, building up speed like a freight train, he took a knee, lined his crossairs on the beasts eye, and squeezed the trigger...*click*. 'Jammed!' Edge threw the weapon aside just in time for Gimdak to drive him into the ground with his open palm. The xenos warlord lifted the Space Marine up, fist clenched tightly on him, Edge was lucky to be alive, but as his head cleared from the concussion, he heard his Power Armor groan as Gimdak began to crush the life out of him. It would have been easy to kill him outright, Gimdak was just toying with Edge, and the Space Marine knew it.
'Toy with this!' Edge thought as he activated his chapters uniqe mutation, his adrelinal glands began to work overtime, time almost halted, his hearts began to beat at dangerous speeds, he then began pressing against the beasts fingers, working them back. Gimdaks beedy eyes widend under his helm as he felt the little warrior pry his fingers back, he closed down on him with even greater force, now with both hands, but Edge didn't need to win this game of strength, his left hand closed on the grip of his Volkite Serpenta, he leveled the pistol at Gimdaks massive head and fired. A bright red ray of pure atomic energy hit the brute square in the eye, Gimdak howled and cast the Equalizer aside with such force that he careened into a Rhino and the impact buckled the tanks armor. Edge fell to the floor and lay still, his vitals reading critical. Gridar rushed to his side, bolter ablaze against the beast. Just as Gimdak began to level his mega-melta at the two he saw a dark shape fall from the ceiling, Specter dropped from the rafters of the hangar, like some bird of prey, claws outstretched, camo cloak billowing around him. He slammed into Gimdak, claws digging in at the armors collar.
Gimdak roared in frustration, his damaged helmet distorting the sound into a muffled shriek, as he grabbed at the Marine Baleful in an attempt to dislodge him. Seeing his chance, Nerus rushed foward with both power swords unsheathed, striking at the Xenos Warlord's legs. The master- crafted power blades shredded through Gimdak's armored legs, exposing panels and elaborate wiring. Something sparked and crackled within Gimdak's armor, and suddenly the Ghrok dropped to one knee with a resounding clang. "He's wounded," yelled Nerus "Strike n-" Nerus was interrupted by a backhanded blow from Gimdak's massive fist, sending the Lord Exemplar flying overhead and landing near Kris with a crunching noise. Specter renewed his efforts, clawing at the Gimdak's helmet with all his might, even while the rest of the kill- team rained down bolter fire and plasma upon the warlord. With a metalic screech, Specter's claws ripped Gimdak's helmet from his armored shoulders, exposing the Warlords diminutive eel- like body. Gimadak screeched, his normal voice almost comicaly high- pitched, and and shook so violently that Specter was thrown off his perch, landing on top of a half- finished Baneblade. The Marine Baleful just barely rolled out of the way before Gimdak's massive fist punched a hole in the tank's hull where he had fallen.
"Hey Captain, I got an idea!" said Calos to Kris over the vox.
"Calos, where the hell are you!?" replied Kris, as he rolled out of the way of another searing mega- melta blast. Looking around quickly, he noticed that the Sentinel was standing behind the raging Gimdak, priming an some kind of explosive.
"Listen, remember when you said the sewers run directly underneath the depot-" Calos' words where drowned out as Gimdak suddenly released a salvo of missiles from a launcher in his left arm, sending Sakeal crashing into a Valkyrie, firing at the xeno even as he flew through the air.
"Dammit, get to the point Calos!" yelled Kris, firing a volley of bolts at Gimdak's unprotected head in hopes of drawing the Ghrok's attention away from the stunned Black Shield.
"There's a tunnel directly beneath the hanger bay, we just need to lure him into the right postion and we can blow the floor from underneath that thing!"
Kris nodded, "Where do we need to lure him?"
"Just keep him where he is!" said Calos, rushing towards his next detonation zone, melta charge in hand. "I need time to set the rest of the charges!"
"Right." said Kris, unsheathing his power sword. "Specter, Takashi, with me!"
The two Space Marines nodded, attcking Gimdak with renewed vigor. Specter dove beneath Gimdak, his lightning claws sparking as he damaged the warlord's already ruined legs. Gimdak aimed his quad- linked bolters at the Marine Baleful, only to have his shot thrown wild by a blast of plasmafire. Takashi recentered his sights on Gimdak's hideous face, firing blast after blast of superheated gas. Gimdak raised an arm to protect is his vulnrable body, the plasma blasts harmlessly deflecting off his armored forearm. Kris then rushed in, his power sword slashing across Gimdaks breastplate, the relic blade slicing through the Ghrok's armor like butter, opening up a a mssive gash that leaked liquid coolant like blood.
Gimdak literally screamed with frustration. "UMAN SCUM! I WLL KEEL YOU ALL!" He no longer spoke in perfect gothic, and that coupled with his amazingly high- pitched voice made the Ghrok's threat sound almost comical.
"Like hell you will!" rang out a voice from behind Gimdak.
Gimdak spun around, his damaged armor shrieking in protest to such a sudden movement, to see Calos standing behind him holding a detonator in one hand, and pointing his Grenade Launcher at the xeno wth the other. Calos, with some relish, noted the Xeno's look of grim realization, and depressed the trigger on the detonater. The explosion was fantastic, and the burst of light blinded the Team. Dust and gravle flew all over the hangar, and a moment of calm settled over the area.
Calos sat up, the blast had sent him hurtling onto his back, he wiped the dust from his helmets eyes. He saw a large figure comming out of the dust twoards him and hastely leveled his Grenade Launcher, 'It can't be...' he thought in disbelief, hoping against hope it wasen't Gimdak. But then the figure shouted out "Calos! You crazy bastard! Please tell me you haven't blown your legs off, I don't want to drag out to the evac point!" Calos smiled, "I don't know Beastheart! I think I twisted my ancle! Ohhh the pain!" His sarcasem won him a good natured chuckle as Takashi helped his comrade up. All around them the rest of the Kill-Team fell in, Specter and a limping Nerus, Sakael cracked his neck and growled in pain, and Kris shook off some rubble that had clung to his shoulder. However, all was not well, Gridar was working furiously to keep Edge alive, the Equalizer had suffer massive physical trauma, shattered bones, ruptured organs, his entire body was a mess, but he could pull through, Gridar had witnessed Space Marines come back from far worse. "Gridar, status?" Kris asked, coming to the Apothicaries side, "He'll live, but not long if we don't get him back to the ship." Suddenly Edge came to, he roughly grabbed the Apothicary by his armors collar, "My weapons...Now." With that, the Equalizer went comatose once more. Gridar looked to his Watch Captain, and found that Kris was already gathering up the Equalizers wargear. Gridar would never understand the snipers obsession with his wargear, but it was best to oblige him. Then the whole bunker began to shake, the teams vox lit up, "Theron," Jorden sounded calm as usual but a tinge of alarm was doubtlessly in his voice, "I'm getting readings of extensive sisemic activity, the whole depot is comming down." Nerus glared at Calos "A little liberal with the ordinance weren't we?" "You try bringing down a xenos that big without some kind of overkill!" "Enough!" Kris scilenced his team as they began to make their way to the exit of the hangar, "Jorden, how long?" It was a painful few seconds when the awnser came "Ten minutes, at most." Gridar hauled Edge over his shoulder, "Well then, whats keeping you Theron!? Let's move!"
Huge girders and massive chunks of masonry fell to the ground as the roof of the depot caved in, hitting the ground with enough force to crush a Space Marine. Even as Kill-Team Theron ran for the exit, Kris silently wondered if he could ever be forgiven after such acts of destruction against the Stone. He then mentally chided himself, realizing that he would have to wait for spiritual forgiveness if he didn't want to be burried alive. As if to drive the point home, just before the Space Marines, the cavernous exit to the hanger imploded upon itself, the masive doors flattened under the weight of the stone above it. The entire exit was buried under at least ten tons of concrete and metal.
"Calos, blow us a hole through that rubble!" Kris yelled over the sound of shattering stone and twisting steel.
"I can't!" a dismayed Calos yelled back. "I used all my high grade explosives to kill the xeno!"
"Not exactly the way I wanted to go out." said Nerus. He still clutched his power swords, as if he could fight off the depot's collapse.
"It matters not," Sakael murmered "Emperor, I am coming."
Suddenly the wall nearest to the Kill Team exploded outwards, blown open by a pair of well-placed Hellstrike Missiles. A Valkyrie, bearing the mark of the Holy Inquisition, hovered through the hole it had made. The plane landed inside the depot, on one of the more or less stable patches of ground within the crumbling building. It's troop deployment doors shuddered open, as a female voice rang out from the Valkyrie's troop bay.
"Quickly my lords, get in!"
Gridar was baffled, he knew that voice! But it couldn't be... standing on the very edge of the Valkyies boarding platform was a Sister of Battle, her red and gold power armor baring the marks of a Sister Superior.
Even as Kill-Team Theron rushed towards the plane, wounded in tow, Takashi couldn't help but remark; "Say Gridar, dosen't that Sister of Battle look familiar?"
Jorden Moris wasn't exactly a man that rejoiced often, but seeing his Kill-Team alive, their mission completed, and with no casualties surprisingly, was enough to make him brake out into a rare grin. After escaping the depot, his newest member of his retinue had transported Kill-Team Theron back to his ship, where the Space Marines had immediately adjourned to the Apothecarion to recover from the battle and be healed of their more serious injuries, before assembling in the briefing room.
"My name is Elisha Isador, lords." said the Sister Superior to the assembled Kill-Team, with the absence of Edge, who was still recuperating in the ship's Apothecarion. "After you saved me, I was transported to this ship and woke up in the Medicae- I mean Apothecarion. I was approached by Inquisitor Moris, who offered me a choice. I could either have my memories wiped, or I could join the Inquisitors retinue. You can clearly see which choice I picked." Elisha shifted uncomfortably, as if not used to such attention.
"I also received this." added Elisha, holding up her new left arm. It had been replaced with a beautifully crafted augmatic limb, and looked sturdy enough to punch through cermite.
Gridar turned to Jorden, a scowl on his face. "If you were sending a rescue, then by the Emperor's Holy Boots, why didn't you tell us?"
Jorden nodded, understanding the marines disgruntlement. "Lets just say that Sister Superior Isador's recruitment was a little short notice. Anyways, good job Theron, dismissed."
Gridar grunted his disapproval, then walked away towards the Apothecarion to check on Edge. Specter and Nerus similarly walked off, no doubt back to the training cage to finish their duel. Calos and Takashi departed as well, laughing and joking about their most recent close call. Even Sakael stalked off, heading towards the ship's chapel. Only Kris remained behind.
Jorden frowned. "Kirs, something wrong?"
The Indomitable Golem looked up at the Inquisitor, his brow creased with worry. "We never found a body, and Gimdak was wearing armor, it is possible it could have-"
"I understand your reservations." Jorden interrupted "But even if Gimdak survived, his forces are already scattering from this world, and it will be some time until they regain cohesion. The Imperial Guard will push them back before that happens."
Kris nodded, the Inquisitor spoke true... though Kris was still uneasy about it, it was luck that the Kill-Team had succeeded, leaving such a xenos alive... it didn't seem wise. Regardless, Kris left the Inquisitor with a 'Yes sir.' and made his way to the Apothicarion.
Edge still lay motionless, Gridar had stripped him of his armor and was working at a calm pace, analyzing wounds and setting the Space Marines healing factors in motion. The Equalizers body was awash with scars, some fresh, some hundreds of years old. Nearly every inch of his body was host to various tattoos, most depicted blades, stubbers, the names of fallen battle brothers, tally marks, and many depictions of the Imperialis. Girdar noted the bullseye tattoo in the center of his palm, as well as his Chapter badge tattooed on his right shoulder, but by far the most outstanding was the elaborate tatooing over Edge's face, creating a perfect skull. Kris leaned against the wall opposet the operating room, he noted that this was the first time he had ever seen the sniper's face, aside from the skull tattoo, he was not so different from other Space Marines, strong jawline, flat brow, thin lips, and his hair was worn in a short mohawk.
Gridar left his patient to rest, and as he neared Kris he new the battery of questions that would come, but what he didn't expect was the small form that suddenly entered the Apothicarion. The Sister of Battle waited at in the bulkhead while Gridar answered Kris various inquiries as to Edge's health, and when he would be ready for duty once again.
Satisfied, Kris took his leave, heading straight for the room containing the Pain Glove, Gridar hoped he wouldn't be too hard on himself for the destruction of the depot. Elisha tactfully, almost reverently approached the Apothecary. "What is it?" he growled in his usual tone, the Sister stood, as if thinking over her words, "I just wanted to thank you properly." "No need, its the duty of an Apothicary to drag the fortunate off the battlefield to die another day." The Sister bowed respectfully, "All the same my lord, thank you." Suddenly a wreching cough called their attention away from one another, Edge began to chuckle, "Gridar..." he spoke with his eyes closed "Is that the kind sister I smell?"
The Apothicary strode to the Equalizers side, "You shoulden't be up, you need to rest Ed-" "I'll rest when I'm dead. Sister..." He beckoned to Elisha with a sway of his head, eyes still shut. The Sister Superior gingerly approched the slab of muscle, and with the utmost reverence knelt when he beckoned her closer. "Yes my lord?"
Edge suffered another coughing fit before he could respond, Gridar held him firmly in place to prevent any uneccary movent. "Gridar, knife." "Listen here you! I am not your damned serf." Edge's eyes shot open and his arm immidatly gripped the Apothicary by the collar, Elisha was stunned with the sheer speed he moved, Gridar didn't even flinch. "Please..." The sniper said flatly, Elisha saw his eyes, they were a deep grey, holding an death like pallor. Gridar calmly removed the Edge's hand from him and lay it beside its owner once more, and left without another word. Edge then laied back down, but his eyes never left the Sister's.
There was a long scilence, then he finally spoke, "Why did you take it?" Elisha was startled by the suddeness of the question but rebounded quickly "Well I-" "You'd leave your world, and all you've sworn to protect...espcially at such a time as it was still infested... Why?" Elisha regained her composure, she realized the Space Marine suspected her motives. "I felt that I could serve the Imperium better abr-" "As an Inquisitors bodyguard? Or was it the prospect of having your mind sifted through by a rather tempramental Servator that made you abandon any loved ones you might still have left?" Elisha was getting upset, the first time she had ever had an extended conversation with a Space Marine and he was interrogating her? A Sister of Battle? She coulden't hold herself back, after all that had happend, "They killed everyone I ever knew!" she exploded "Those Sisters were my only compatriots! I knew them since the time I could walk, and now their dead, those xenos scum killed each and every one of them right in front of me! I won't forget that, I won't let that go I-"
"Have to avenge them?"
The scilence was palpitable, Elisha realized a tear had escaped her eye, she quickly wiped it away.
Gridar stood at the doorway, he had been standing there for a while, he could have stepped in at any time. But this was the first time he'd seen Edge speak so much, and of his own violition. He made his way to the table, and presented the combat knife to Edge, one of a pair the Equalizer had brought with him from his Chapter. The weapon would be considered a well sized sword in the hands of a human, and its blade was paper thin. Edge casually passed it to the Sister, gave the faintist hint of a smile and said, "Welcome to the War."