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This article, Operation: Wretched King, was written by T42, and 40kfan. Please do not edit this article without their explicit permission.
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This article, Operation: Wretched King, is still being written. The authors, 40kfan, and T42, apologise for the inconvenience.
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In the grim darkness of the 41st Millennium, the Imperium of Man must face foes of countless vile forms. Traitors and Heretics of every persuasion, Xenos invaders and saboteurs. But few creatures arise that are truly as foul as Brood Boss Gutgora. A strange and dangerous beast, Gutgora and his band of filth are the spawn of the infamous Ork Genestealer Cult known as Grimfang's Kult. While Grimfang himself has even more potental to be a danger to the Imperium, his current vendetta with the equally infamous Blackteef Tribe has rendered him moot at the moment. However, Gutgora has recently begun a savage crusade against various worlds in the Segmentum Ultima, slowly building up numbers and ships. If left unchecked, Brood Boss Gutgora could overrun the Pherous Sector, and potentially the whole Segmentum. His brood spills across the stars, a plague of genetic infection and abomination, polluting the blood of the Imperial people and unknowingly seeding the death of untold billions. For in their wake the Great Devouerer follows. Soon Gutgora will have a WAAGH! to command, and he will undoubtedly spread his taint across the stars in a way that cannot be contained.

Thus, the Emperor's Holy Inquisition has ordered the beasts intimidate extermination. Once Gutgora is slain, the rest of his forces will be left leaderless, and easy prey for the bulk of Imperial forces. This mission has no margin for error. Therefore, only the best Xenos hunters in all of the Imperium will be deployed to purge the xenos abomination. The finest of all of the Emperor's Angels of Death. The Deathwatch.

The Kill-Team honored with this purge is the raw force of Kill-Team Orpheus. Each Marine of Orpheus is a superb warrior, forged in battle and baptized in blood. But they have yet to be bloodied alongside their new brothers. They are united only in purpose for now. Time will only tell if they will unite as a unit, or fall divided.

Chapter 1: The Kill-Team

The Thunderhawk flew through the night sky. Its black hull lit only by the pale light of three moons. Despite it's great bulk, the Astartes battle-craft flew swiftly and silently through the night, propelled by whisper-quiet engines as it descended through the chill air towards it's destination. With a hiss of hydraulics, the Thunderhawk unlimbered it's landing gear, landing softly on the metallic surface of a flat domicile roof, overlooking what had one been an Imperial Hive-City, now ransacked and defiled by the foul xenos that infested it. Like a great maw it's boarding ramp opened, ushering forth four black-clad giants. It's precious cargo delivered, the Thunderhawk took to the skies once more, soaring upwards until even the enhanced senses of it's former passengers could not discern it from the blackness of the night.

"Orpheus, this is the Nevermore. Vox check, sound off." The voice that echoed through the vox-speakers in all their helmets sounded just as gruff as it did in person. As was protocol, the Kill-Team answered with all due haste.

"Grond, here."

"Dumas, here."

"Ariss, here."

"Ki'sou, present and bored. Remind me why we have to move so damned slowly?"

The vox sounded again, this time with a hint of annoyance in it's mechanically-filtered tone. "Orpheus, the Nevermore will be available for any and all auspex-coverage you may require, but any fire support must be called in as a last resort. Are we clear?" The channel was answered by three affirmatives and one non-committal grunt.

"Good. This mission is of dire importance, Orpheus, if the Xenos get a foothold on this world it will be at least twenty more years before we get another opportunity like this again. I don't need to tell you just how much the Imperium would have lost by then. Harkness out." The transmission switched itself off, leaving the four Space Marines to begin their mission.

One of the Marines glanced up at the heavens above. "Quite the motivator, isn't he?" said Ki'Sou, identified by the iconic lightning bolt-and-line symbol on his right pauldron that marked him as a member of the vaunted White Scars Chapter. With his white and red heraldry, numerous tribal fetishes that decorated his black armor, and the mighty Chainglaive he slung over his shoulder, his free hand sweeping over his bolt pistol, Ki'Sou looked more like a tribal warrior than a Deathwatch operative.

"He's probably tired of your commentary. Dorn knows I am." Grond replied as he checked the power level on his massive Lascannon. Even in the faint moonlight the bronze gauntlet-grasped hammer on his shoulder gleamed, almost as if it was mirroring the self-righteous pride that practically shone from the Hammer of Dorn himself.

Ariss Mortalon of the Silver Skulls sighed underneath his helmet, it's vox-speakers distorting it into a faint electronic buzz. He had honestly hoped that the two of them would put aside their petty rivalry when the mission was concerned, but he didn't need precognitive abilities to know otherwise. He looked to Dumas as if to ask for some assistance. Resplendent in his bone-white robes, cowl covering his helmet and emerald-green heraldry shining, the Dark Angel appeared almost spooky in the half-light. As usual, Dumas said nothing, he merely turned and walked towards the ramp of rust- corroded stairs that would lead the Kill-Team into the streets of the ruined Hive.

The streets were uncharacteristically vacant. Save for the occasional Scavvie or stray animal that scurried in the piles of rubbish that lined the streets. Ki'Sou's head swiveled this way and that. He gave the clear impression that this was one of the first times he was without the rapid transport of his assault bike. He dreaded going so slowly.

A Scavvie, wreathed in nothing but tattered rags, darted across the road in front of the Kill-Team. Ariss felt something close in on his mind. A black presence in the front of his skull, clawing and snarling. He drew his plasma pistol, coils humming to life as he lead the target. He pulled the trigger.

The Scavvie halted for a brief second, mesmerized by the ball of hot death that came racing for him. In the seconds before plasma vaporized his face, a figure in a black robe lept upon him from the shadows. The figure was struck in the side, throwing it from its quarry and sending it sprawling onto its side, a smoking hole where its ribs should be. The Scavvie, ever grateful to be alive in this infested Hive, scurried away once he got his bearings.

The Kill-Team neared the corpse, Ariss bending down to pull the robe from it's prone form. A hideous amalgamation of human and xenos was revealed, it's skin bruised-purple in color, it's elongated cranium marbled with bluish veins, and yet it's face was so disturbingly normal... if one discounted the oversized maw crammed full of glassy fangs. "Hybrid filth." muttered Dumas, glancing down at the corpse before stalking away, bolter in hand. The rest of Squad followed suit, though not nearly as quietly.

Ariss spared a glance behind them. "Why would the Genestealers be attacking scavengers? They already conquered the planet." he said, somewhat disturbed. He had studied the these creatures in the Watch-Fortress, but this was the first time he had faced them in person.

At this comment Grond gave an annoyed grunt, and Ki'Sou said; "You haven't fought Genestealers before, have you?" The Silver Skull's silence was the only answer he needed. "These xenos look at any sentient life like their personal breeding grounds. You did that scavvie a greater favor than merely keeping him alive." Ki'Sou would have spat on the ground if he wasn't waring his helmet. "Damnable parasites."

"You'd swear he's still a Neophyte, what with all the stupid questions he asks." remarked Grond, even as he scanned the shadows for any more potential threats. Ki'Sou seemed to take offense to that comment. "Or perhaps you're just jealous that an Ultramarines successor beat you to the punch.", the White Scar replied.

"Wait, that was never confirmed-" Ariss started, but it was too late. Grond and Ki'Sou had resumed their trademark bickering.

Suddenly a targeting retina lit up within Ariss' helm-display, it's upgraded sensors indicating movement nearby. The Silver Skull cocked his bolter, holding his clenched fist in the air to signal the squad to stop. The bickering ceased abruptly. "Auspex alert, something's on the move." He said over the vox rather than out loud, for fear of being overheard by a potential threat. "I see it too," replied Dumas. "Ten feet ahead of our position, hab-block to the immediate right."

Kill-Team Orpheus converged on the ruined domicile with a speed that belied their great bulk, taking up tactical positions around what appeared to a half-collapsed residential building. A filth-caked sign bearing the word "VACANCY" in large letters of Low Gothic still hung from the handles of it's main doors. Ki'Sou was of course the first to take up position in front of the main entrance, poised to smash it down sign and all at the slightest provocation. The rest of the team took up breaching position, with Grond holding back, sweeping the windows of the hab for the slightest sign of movement. Dumas took position on the right of the door, Ariss took the left. Dumas gave the White Scar a silent nod, and Ki'Sou obliged.

The door shattered like glass as Ki'Sou shouldered through it, Chainglaive at the fore, thrumming to life. His Ariss and Dumas followed suit, pistols leveled. Grond followed suit, covering the rear with his Lascannon. The interior of the room was filthy and reeked of mildew, clearly abandoned. Though pitch black save for a feeble lamp upon a desk opposite the door, the Astartes could see clearly the most off putting feature of the room they had breeches. Several mauled corpses, no more than a few hours old at least, lay forlorn before them. Three were bunched in a corner, a couple with a smaller, beheaded body in between them. Another bent over the desk, rib cage torn open, its contents strewn about the floor before it. Two more, ripped open from behind, having been caught dashing for the stairwell in the adjacent room.

The team moved from the doorway, holding a diamond formation, Ki'Sou in front, Grond in the rear, and Dumas and Ariss on the sides. As they reached the center of the room, Ki'Sou suddenly stopped, and let out a low growl.

"I know you're there, little monster. I can smell the blood on your breath." He snarled, bracing himself in the direction of the corner with the three dead bodies.

As if to answer him, a rag wreathed figure fell from the blackness above the bodies, stooping low, claws outstretched. The rest of the team trained their weapons on it, but Ki'Sou moved to engage the creature. The beast stood still, glowing yellow eyes darting from marine to marine under its black hood, claws poised to strike at the approaching White Scar.

"Get back you damned fool!" Dumas whispered sharply. Ki'Sou ignored him, and continued to close with the beast while the rest of the team kept their weapons trained.

(MORE TO COME)

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