these things that blind me and shout like the gods? Why can I not know? I am pulled to my feet by a hand telling me “Come on! I can hear them coming”. The hand… is cold?
We run! But we cannot escape. Lightning flashes by. I feel pain, but I do not at the same time. Where am I? There is no way out! We must fight! We hold our ground well, but we cannot win.
“RUN!” I hear the word. Did I say it? Was that my voice dripping with emotion? I am alone now. And now… I am gone...
I awake with a start. My heart is racing. Sweat pours over my bare body. I throw the sheet off and sit on the edge of my cot, wondering what the dream foretold. The line between reality and dream blurred. I use my training to bring my senses back under control.
Who am I? I am LXV of the Vindicare Temple. Who do I serve? The Emperor of Mankind and his will. What is my mission? To recover the rogue Eversor assassin, dead or alive. Where am I? I am…
I am abroad the Dauntless-class light cruiser Zenta. Myself, three of my companions, an Imperial Regiment dispatch, and a crew of 50,000 men are on board. It is early, though I do not suppose there is an early in space. Many of the men are still asleep, and should be for another hour or so. I get dressed in my black Stealth Suit and head to the training deck. I might as well use this time I have to myself.
My mind is still lost in the dream. I run along the track – a ring with the artificial gravity pulling inward – for how long I do not know. My mind is lost in this dream. I sit on the floor of the training center, meditating on the dream. Its meaning must come to me! I know it must.
I sense a presence in the door. A light footed shadow. It travels across the room until it is standing behind me.
“Are they others awake?” I ask it.
“No It is still too early.” it replies. I laugh to myself at its use of the word ‘early’.
“Then why are you up?”
“I woke early and decided not to waste the time.”
“Then we are together.”
They move around to my front. Before me stands one of the other assassins, the one that goes by the nickname Coldstrike.
“Why are you up this early?” she asks me.
“I had a dream.”
“You have had many of those. Why is this one different?”
I remain silent. I do not wish to worry her.
“You fear it is the curse, don’t you?” she asks.
She was the only one I ever told about it. A line of minor noblemen, low level psykers. My line, cursed from the days of The Horus Heresy. They say that they always see their death in the form of a vivid dream, right before it happens.
“I do not know.” I reply.
She kneels in front of me and removes her mask. The face of that young girl behind it looks me in the eyes, her ice blue pupils staring straight at me. I cannot hold her gaze.
“It will be alright. I am always here for you, just as you have been for me.” She says in her gentle voice.
“You cannot be there for me in death” I reply.
“Then I shall be there until then.”
Then it started. We both snap back to reality. A loud crash that shakes the whole ship. We rush to the bridge, grabbing our weapons along the way. Another crash! We are under attack!
We reach the bridge just before the third explosion rocks the ship. As I look at the displays I can see right away what we are up against. Four Infidel-class Raiders and a Sword-Class Frigate, all with a white hand painted on their hulls. They are bearing down on us and their boarding crafts have already launched.
“Pirates! Captain Tirpitz! What is our status?” I call out to the captain, an elderly Navy veteran with grayed hair and a thick beard.
“The bastards have hit our starboard Plasma-drives, and two of their craft are making for the port side.” He hollers across the chaos that has become his bridge.
“Can we fight them off?” Coldstrike calls to him.
“Nah, good sires. Not this time. They caught us off guard. The ship is lost.” He replies.
“Then we must launch the escape pods. We have a mission to complete.” She calls back.
“Aye.” He grabs a com and calls across the ships systems “Everyone! Make for the nearest escape pod bay.” He releases the comm “I will see you off, but I’ll be damned if a couple of low life pirates are going to scare me off my ship.” he says with a fire in his eyes of a man half his age.
We meet the rest of our team as we head for the escape pods, meanwhile hearing the sounds of crew members being slaughtered by the invading pirate forces. We reach the hall leading to the launch bay, right as a swarm of pirates floods around the corner. We fight as best we can along the hallway, but we are losing men and ground fast.
“Back! Back I say!” Cries Captain Tirpitz.
“Sir. Is there another way to the pods?” I ask the captain.
“Only the vent system. You and your men can go that way. We will hold them off.”
He shows us the entrance and then throws himself, alongside his crew, at the pirate hoard. The battle raged throughout the ship. The captain and some of his crew eventually made it back to the bridge.
“LXV! Have you made it to the pods yet?” The captain calls across the Vox Relays.
“Not yet. There is another thirty meters before the hatch.” I respond.
“Well move your asses! The ship is gone. We are going to crash into the nearest Raider as soon as you are clear. They are not taking my ship from me!”
Then it happened. An explosion goes off right in front of me. When my eyes clear the path way is gone. We have to exit the vents and make it on foot down a side corridor. Then a second explosion goes off in the next corridor. The blast sends my team flying in all directions. My dream from that night begins to flood back to me. When I look up I see a hand in my face. The hand of Coldstrike.
“Come on! We must make it to the pods.” She calls us.
We run down the hall. As we do, I can hear the sound of pirates running after us. I see some large crates ahead as las fire flashes past. I know what I must do. When we hit the crates I spin and drop behind them and return fire. The rest do likewise.
“Keep moving! You have to complete the mission.” I order them.
The other two get up and move to the launch bay, but Coldstrike stayed.
“I said leave!” I yell at her.
“And I swore to be there for you.” She yells back.
We hold them off as best we can, but they just keep running over the bodies as the pile up.
“You must go! We do not both have to die here. You can live.” I tell her.
“We can both live. Come with us.” She says.
“I have lived. And I have served my Emperor. Let me give what I have left to further his will. RUN!”
She knows now what is happening. She turns and runs towards the escape pods. I know this is my end. I hold them as long as I can. Shot after shot begins to find its mark. I feel the pain now.
“The pods are gone, LXV!” I hear the captain over the Vox.
A smile crosses my face “Very good sir. Let’s make these guys regret this day!”
As the shots keep coming I fight on. I do not know how many I have killed by now. The hall has grown empty save for the bodies layering the ground. All my strength is gone. As I collapse on the floor, I hear one last mad cry from Captain Tirpitz,
“Come with me to Hell you…”
And then… nothing.