I present before you all the collected works detailing the missions that my group and I have conducted for our Inquisitor as acolytes. We are Inquisitorial Team Alpha, and this is for you all to enjoy.
Chapter 1 – The Beginning
“The Imperium overcomes.” – Common proverb
Just another day on yet another of the Emperor’s planets far off in the Calixis Sector, however not all was as peaceful as it seemed. One could be forgiven for getting the wrong impression given off by the grassy fields and clear blue skies. It seemed peaceful here, but it was simply the calm before the imminent storm. This is where the story of our particular group of acolytes begins.
The peace was disturbed as a chimera transport barrelled over a hill and towards a small industrial area that lay further on ahead. Its tracks churning up the ground and leaving a muddy trail behind it as it sped towards the compound. Then came the artillery. The high explosive shells started landing behind the transport and were zeroing in fast.
Inside the transport the squad of PDF troopers and their “guest” sat strapped into their seats feeling every bump and turn as the Chimera swerved and bounced under the constant barrage. The troopers stared down at the floor, praying, while their guest simply sat there staring directly ahead of himself.
He was dressed in the blood red vestments of the Mechanicus, armed with only a las carbine, a compact las pistol on a thigh holster and a staff stored next to his seat. He had been presented to the squad earlier where they were told they had to get him to a Mechanicus compound close to enemy lines and they were to protect him with their lives.
They would fulfil that duty at every instant.
Though the driver had valiantly managed to stay clear of the enemy bombardment so far, he had grown over confident and as soon as he managed to sight the compound he had throttled ahead with all haste. At that moment the Chimera’s luck had run out, for as they were within reach of the compound a single shell descended on their position and detonated at the rear of the transport. The force of the explosion tipped the Chimera on its side and sent it grinding along the ground, into the compound’s perimeter wall.
The wall, though sturdily built and reinforced, was breached by the hurtling transport as it made contact. Slabs of the wall and large chunks of dirt were launched in different directions as the Chimera ploughed through the wall and then slowly ground along the rockcrete floor before coming to a halt.
The Tech - Priest awoke to the sight of all his escorts bloodied bodies slumped over in their seats. His own head was resting on the cold wall of the APC that had now become the floor. The light inside the Chimera was red and there were the occasional spark from broken electronics, but otherwise the basic structure of the vehicle was still intact.
“Praise the Omnissiah.” He said dryly.
He looked around at the dead PDF troopers, and then he unstrapped himself from the seat and began to check himself for injuries.
“Nothing broken, slight bruising on left thigh and hip.” He noted.
He checked his equipment; nothing was broken or damaged though the same couldn’t be said for the pieces in the Chimera. The guards had done their duty bringing him here, now it was his turn to fulfil his. He checked the vox caster that one of the troopers was carrying – it was damaged but still receiving transmissions. The Tech – Priest listened in on the frequency.
The only audible noise was static and the occasional garble of words that made little to no sense. The Tech – Priest decided it would be best to leave the transport and head into the compound and carry out his orders. He moved to the rear of the Chimera, gave a quick prayer to the machine god, and then pulled the lever for the ramp control. The ramp shuddered and the metal groaned as it strained a little before the ramp swung open exposing the interior to bright daylight.
The Tech – Priest stepped into the open…
Just north of the compound there was a tent that had been set up at the top of a hill. A small group of ragtag soldiers approached the tent flanking a rather frail looking nobleman who walked gracelessly towards the tent flap. He had been sent here on the order of the Council of Nobles who was now in the process of removing the Emperor’s presence from the planet.
They had been planning for years and soon they would see their dreams a reality, but there were many in the Council who wanted a transition that was void of major bloodshed. To this end they had sent a request for negotiations with the Commander of the local guard regiments and they had been told to meet here outside the Mechanicus compound.
“Do you think they’ll leave willingly sir?” asked one of his escorts.
“Hah…of course not but this is mere formality that the Council demanded be carried out.” He replied.
“So there will be all out war then?” replied another.
“Almost certainly, so I suggest you steel yourselves men.”
The noblemen turned to face them as they neared the tent.
“Wait here” he said in a hushed tone.
“When I exit the tent again we will get rid of this emissary, that should make our position clear to the dogs of the Emperor.”
With that he strode into the tent.
Its occupant gave him the scare of his life for the delegate towered over the nobleman. He wore a fur pelt over his left shoulder whilst donning a full set of gleaming bronze coloured flak armour that fitted tightly over his blood red uniform. There was a las gun slung over his shoulder that looked slightly worn and old as well as a shotgun of munitorium issue. In a tanned leather holster buckled to his belt, was a las pistol equally as worn as the las gun he carried on his back. But one item the man carried that stood out the most, was a double-headed axe strapped to his waist, a single wolf’s head cast in silver adorned the space between the two blades.
“A Vostroyan…well I guess I should be honoured that they would send someone of such stature to negotiate with us.”
The Vostroyan’s voice was deep and well mannered.
“I am not here to exchange niceties, we are here to negotiate a peaceful resolution are we not?”
“Uh…yes your right lets get right to the point of this discussion…”
Before he could finish though the Guardsman had pulled the shotgun from behind his back and aimed it at him.
“Here are our terms.”
The shotgun roared.
The noble barely had time to react but he managed to dive out of the way as the pellets shredded the wall behind him. He rolled out of the tent and began sprinting towards his escort who were all as startled as he was. Things had taken a rapid turn of events.
“Shoot you idiots! Kill the negotiator!”
They aimed their assorted weapons at the tent and opened fire. Their las guns and auto guns pelted the tent putting hundreds of holes through the thin fabric, until at last it gave way and collapsed. There was a moment where all was still before the guards rushed to help the nobleman up.
“Are you alright si…” one managed to ask before a hole was blown through his head.
“Get to cover!” one cried before hauling the nobleman to his feet and leading him towards the other side of the small hill.
Another shot was fired at them, this time putting a large crater in the ground where the nobleman was standing moments before. The nobleman managed to get to the other side and slid down into cover. His remaining guards did the same and made it to safety save the last one. As the guard was sprinting towards them another shot was fired and it found its mark in the middle of his back. The round went clean through his back and through the front of his chest; the force of the bullet carried his body a little further before landing in a heap in front of the group.
“What happened sir? I thought they were here to negotiate?”
“So did I.” Thought the nobleman.
“Well…I guess there real intention was to send a strong message by killing me.”
The nobleman paused and nodded his head as he considered what had transpired in the brief time before he was forced to run for his life. Though he was nearly killed, events have gone in his favour and now he could act without consequence from the Council.
“Lets get out of here and call in the main force.”
“Right away sir, the transport’s just at the bottom of the hill.”
Unbeknownst to them, the Vostroyan had managed to escape the tent via a hole made with his lasgun’s bayonet. After his getaway he had contacted his companion placed nearby whom then targeted the group and managed to pick off two of the guards. As that was happening, the guardsman had sprinted back towards the compound, heading for the building where the sniper was perched.
“Um…Sebastev did the man insult you the moment he saw you or what? Why the immediate violence?” The sniper asked through the microbead.
“I am no negotiator, and scum who would so easily abandon the Emperor for their own gain deserve no chance to explain themselves. If they are repentant, then I shall give them the Emperor’s mercy.”
“Fair enough, you make your point Sebastev.”
“Damn right I do, now get ready cause they’re going to send a shit load of infantry to this position.”
“No doubt, did you notice the Chimera that made its grand entrance here.”
“I did, any survivors?”
“Yes there’s one, he’s over at the foundry conducting repairs. He’s a Tech – Priest.”
“Cog boy, here? I guess he was the one command was talking about when they sent us here.”
“Introduce yourself, nicely if you can.”
“No promises”. Sebastev grinned.
The guardsman continued sprinting towards the compound. He vaulted over the sandbags at the gate and made his way towards the Tech – Priest working at the console located next to the entrance of the foundry.
“You were sent here by High Command, cog boy?”
The Tech – Priest didn’t stop working as he replied.
“Yes indeed. Are you aware that High Command thinks you are all dead?”
“Did they? Well that explains why we haven’t received any transmissions in a while…”
The Tech – Priest finished typing on the console and then turned around extending a hand.
“Technographer Mordecai Metallus at your service, and you are?”
The Vostroyan grasped his hand and they shook.
“Conscript Gregorious Sebastev, Vostroyan 68th Regiment, 5th Company, 3rd Platoon, 7th Squad.”
“And the man in the tower?”
“Oh he didn’t tell me much, only that his name was Claude. He’s a Sell-Steel.”
“Is that his name?”
“It’s his rank.”
“So he’s an assassin.”
Inquired Mordecai as he took cover from the incoming fire that peppered the entrance behind him.
“More or less.”
Replied Sebastev, as he let loose a volley with his las gun.
The Tech – Priest stared at the cloaked figure in the tower and then nodded. He turned his attention back to the console for a moment and then faced the guardsman. Behind him the foundry roared into life and the sound of mechanical grinding was slowly increasing in volume.
“There, soon the automated defences should be operational again and that will give those damn rebels a sure surprise when they come running over that hill.”
“Well, that is a help indeed,” noted Sebastev, quite thankful to the Tech – Priest.
“I am doing what I was taught to do Sebastev, and as a Krieger I was born to be as utilitarian as possible.” Mordecai replied.
The guardsman nodded. He had heard of the great discipline and fanatical dedication of the Death Korp. No doubt all the inhabitants of Krieg were a gloomy but dedicated people, though the Tech – Priest struck him as being a little different from what he had expected from a Krieger.
“How long before the defences are online?”
“Give it about 5 minutes and it should be operational.”
“Okay. Well, until then we got to hold out for 5 minutes, do you have vox we could use to contact command?”
“I’m afraid not, the one in the Chimera is broken and I don’t have the tools or parts to fix it. There is an radio mast at the back of the compound I could try to use though.”
“Do it, Claude and I will hold off the rebel scum until those defences come online.”
The Tech – Priest nodded and began running towards the back of the foundry to the antenna. Sebastev ran back to the gate and took cover by the sand bags he had arranged earlier. He scanned the hill for any sign of trouble before contacting Claude over the microbead.
“Claude, the cog boy managed to get the foundry’s automated defences to work but it’ll take 5 minutes for them to come online.”
“Well that’s just great,” came the reply.
“But the enemies is already here, there’s about companies’ worth of them just behind the hill. See if you can stall them for a while.”
Claude scanned the mass of infantry with his scope looking for any obvious indication of rank. If he could take out the officers before the enemy arrived, then their task would be a lot easier.
“Ah, there you are…”
In the mass of rebels there was a single member who was much better outfitted than the other soldiers he was barking orders to. He would be the example that the others needed to understand just who exactly they were dealing with.
“Here’s a welcome gift, you bastards.” Claude uttered as he steadied his rifle and held his breath.
They had come in a convoy of trucks and jeeps down the country road towards their destination. Spilling out of their vehicles onto the field they had marched in a rather disorganized mob towards the compound. Their leader was at the front giving orders to his subordinates as they approached closer to the compound.
The men looked up to their officer for leadership and assurance. They had thought that this would be a simple task, as there were only 2 or so Imperials stationed at the compound. They were so self-assured that they froze when a shot was fired and their leader’s throat ripped open as a round passed through his neck.
He fell to the floor clutching his throat as blood gushed from it. The men could only watch in terror as their leader literally drowned in his own blood. Since no one was taking the initiative, they were as helpless as sheep without their shepherd. More shots were fired and even more of them fell to the onslaught. Soon the fear passed though and instinct kicked in. They ran to cover wherever they could find it.
“How many did you get?” asked Sebastev.
“8 of them, including the one who looked like he was in charge.”
“That should hold them off for a few minutes.”
Behind Sebastev the Tech – Priest came running back to the gate and took up a position next to him. He patted the guardsman on the shoulder and passed him a few charge packs when he had turned.
“I found these in an ammo crate outback, I’m certain that you’ll need them.”
“Thank you, and what of the antenna?”
“It was difficult but I was able to get a distress signal out, it should alert any Imperial force within 50 klicks of this position.”
As they were saying this, alarm klaxons began going off and the main gate behind them was closing fast. They both glanced at each other before getting up and sprinting back into the compound just before the gate shut. Within, they saw that sections of the floor were separating and turrets were being brought up.
“Well I guess we’re ready for those rebel scum now.” Mordecai stated quite pleased with the scene unfolding before him.
“Don’t be too sure, yes we have secure the compound and the defences have been reactivated but that hole in the wall made by your arrival is still there.”
Sebastev replied as he turned to face the overturned Chimera.
“Ah true as that may be, the foundry is now safe, so now my original mission is complete.”
Sebastev headed towards the breach in the wall and looked around for anything that could be used to seal the wall. As he was doing this he received a call from Claude.
“Sebastev, I’m almost out of ammunition up here and they’re coming in for…”
The sound of a single bullet flying past filled the transmission followed by a cry of pain.
“Claude are you alright!?”
“Ngggh, I’m fine, a stray round just clipped my face.”
“Claude pull back down here, let the turrets handle the rest.”
“No arguments here.”
Claude was bleeding from a cut on his cheek; he cursed himself for not seeing the shooter earlier and slung his hunting rifle over his back. He checked the remaining charge of his compact las pistol holstered at his shoulder; the green glow of a full charge emanated from the pistol’s receiver and bathed his face in soft light. Holstering the weapon, he drew his sword checked its edge, satisfied with the sharpness of the blade; Claude slunk into the shadows, allowing the black of his bodyglove to blend into the darkness as he began to descend the tower under the covering fire of his two companions and compound defence systems.
As Claude pulled back down into the compound from the tower, the rebels swarmed over the hill. But they soon realised the folly of their actions, for the turrets all turned in their direction and soon the chattering of heavy stubbers and auto guns filled the air. The entire frontline of rebels was cut down instantly with many more suffering grievous and fatal wounds as the barrage of rounds peppered the hillside.
Before long, the hill was covered with the dead and dying, although there was a few who managed to escape back to their transports. The trio watched as the rebels fled from the area.
“We did it, we actually bloody did it” uttered Claude as he held his bleeding face.
“Indeed, now hold still so I can tend the wound.” Mordecai replied as he cleaned and care for the cut on the assassin’s face.
Sebastev did not speak, only listening carefully for anything that they could have missed.
“That won’t be their last attack, soon more will come, so unless reinforcements arrive we’re still screwed.”
Just then, there was a high pitch whistle and main gate erupted into a fireball.
“Artillery incoming! Get to cover!” Sebastev hollered as he grabbed both the others by their collars and literally dragged them back to the foundry.
He threw them into the covered entrance of the foundry, before getting to the task of finding some sort of cover from the incoming fire and shrapnel. He found it in the form of a large piece of rockcrete from the broken wall section earlier. It took him a few moments to get into position but he managed to get his massive arms around the slab and lift if. It took every single fibre of his being to carry the damned rock over to the foundry entrance; all the while high explosive shells fell all over the compound taking out large numbers of turrets.
Sebastev vaulted over the slab and took cover with the other two. It went on for a few minutes, the ground shaking with every impact of the rebel’s artillery. Then it stopped, but the noise was replaced by the grinding sounds of vehicles and tank treads. Soon there on top of the hill a Leman Russ painted in rebel colours aimed down at the compound. Then came detachment of trucks bearing men and crew-served weapons behind the lumbering behemoth.
“We’re dead aren’t we?” Claude asked.
“No shit, well boys it’s been a pleasure but looks like this is the end for our brief time together.” Sebastev replied.
“Indeed – well at least we die in service to the Emperor and for our glorious Imperium. I can think of no greater way to die.” Mordecai added.
The trio looked amongst themselves and then nodded. They aimed over their cover and opened fire on the rebels. Many of their rounds found their marks and slew a score of rebel grunts. The rebels returned fire, their munitions bouncing off the rockcrete and ceramite door.
Then the Leman Russ lowered its battle cannon at them.
Then something happened that would change the lives of the 3 men forever. Just as the Leman Russ was about to fire the battle cannon at them, two trails of smoke and fire descended from the sky and struck the hull of the tank. It went up in a column of flame as it was blown apart. Soon more missiles landed amongst the mass of rebels and they too were torn asunder.
A vulture gunship swooped by on a strafing run. Its auto cannons blew sizeable holes in the mob of retreating rebels. Soon more appeared and the rebels were no longer visible. All that remained of their once glorious army was the remains of their shattered bodies and vehicles.
Soon chimera transports and valkyries were on scene with troops disembarking and forming a perimeter around the compound. A group of Tech – Priests were also present as they approached the foundry. Mordecai split off from the trio to go greet their arrival.
“I have done as you ordered Magos Militant.” He said as he approached the group.
“You have indeed young Technographer, the Omnissiah was with you today” replied the Magos.
“Now young initiate, there is something you must know, you have been chosen for something far greater today. You will see soon what it is but you must know this first, should you fulfil all that is required of you on this journey. You will not be the same – you will become an equal to the greatest Magos in this sector and perhaps beyond. Now go and remember the Omnissiah watches over you.”
A single valkyrie descended from the sky and touched down in the middle of what was left of the compound. The trio stood in front of its rear hatch. The valkyrie was painted black as night and clearly marked on its fuselage was the stylised ‘I’ of the Inquisition. The ramp dropped and a squad of storm troopers rushed out and stood to attention on either side of the ramp. Then he came down.
The Inquisitor stepped down from the ramp and strode towards the trio. He wore what appeared to be carapace armour though it was heavily modified and adorned with trophies and wards alike. His attire was as black as the valkyrie that had taken him here. The hat on his head marked him out as one of the Ordo Hereticus, a witch hunter. The surrounding troopers who were keeping guard watched in awe as the inquisitor unsheathed his ornate power sword and pointed it at the 3 men who stood before him.
“I am Inquisitor Kurgen and I must say you men have done quite an impressive job holding this place.” He began in his well-mannered tone.
The trio remained silent and kept nervously watching the inquisitor. Had he come merely to congratulate them? To accuse them of some heresy that they were suspected of? Or perhaps it was something far beyond that.
“You have shown promise and in that I am going to present you an offer you truly cannot refuse.” He said giving a warm smile from underneath his wide brimmed hat. Sheathing his sword, he extended his hand towards the trio.
“I ask that you pledge your lives to a cause greater than all that you hold dear.” He said.
“To become my acolytes in service to the Inquisition and the Imperium at large.”
Both Claude and Sebastev were in a mix of shock and awe while Mordecai was still, contemplating and calculating the situation. He knew full well this is what the Magos Militant had meant earlier. If this was his destiny, then so be it he thought.
“I offer my services to you as a member of the mechanicus and to serve the Emperor’s undying will.” Mordecai said stepping forward.
The other two stared at the Tech – Priest as he gave his reply. Was he so sure of himself? Then they would have to follow suit, for perhaps the Emperor had greater plans for all of them.
“We pledge our services to you as well, my lord. To serve the Emperor until death claims us.” They stated unanimously.
“Good, by the all the authority bestowed upon me from our glorious Emperor, I declare you all servants of the Inquisition. Now come, we have matters to discuss.” Inquisitor Kurgen replied as he beckoned them aboard the valkyrie.
One by one they boarded the assault carrier and were guided to a seat each by the Inquisitor, who then motioned for all his storm troopers to come back aboard. He then ordered his pilot to take off and before they knew it they were airborne, on their way to Emperor knows where. Whatever challenge or reward that lay ahead was obscure, but it was a certainty that this would test them in both body and will.
The first chapter of our heroes’ tale comes to a close… And thus the adventure truly begins.
Don't play stupid… He's better at it.
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Love the Negotiation tactics
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"
Chapter 2 – Introductions
“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.” – Old Terran proverb
The Inquisitor’s valkyrie erupted from a formation of clouds followed closely by the two vulture gunships escorting it. They ploughed head on into a larger group of clouds before levelling out and were now skimming across the pure white surface.
Soon more gunships pulled up in formation around the transport, and before long there was a good fifty aircraft escorting the valkyrie. The aircraft flew over the massive sea of white clouds with the setting sun at their backs as they throttled ahead.
And then below them appeared a break in the clouds – it was a window into a very different place.
The scene below seemed a world apart from where they had been scant hours ago. The green fields were being reduced to smouldering ashes by raging fires and the bodies of rebel soldiers and vehicles alike were littered everywhere. The dead dotted the landscape. The rebels were on the run, with Imperial Guard mechanized formations harrying them the entire way.
The Imperial advance had been in pursuit ever since their counter attack that had seen the rescue of the three newly recruited acolytes. However in front of the advancing forces was an obstacle. Not one the Imperial troops could overcome with sheer numbers alone.
A river wound its way across the land, separating the two opposing fronts. It stretched on for as far as the human eye could see. Here the rebels were preparing a last ditched attempt to halt their foes and consolidate their defence.
As soon as the last rebel truck was over the river, the bridges were all blown sky high. The Imperial forces were now unable to pursue further and pulled up to take position on the riverbank opposite the rebels.
The Imperial tanks found themselves under heavy fire from rebel defences where the scum had taken shelter and halted their withdrawal. They now had the Imperial Guard pinned down and taking casualties. Chimera transports were individually targeted and systematically destroyed by precisely aimed shots from anti tank guns in hardened positions across the river.
The situation had turned dire for the Guard but their fortunes were about to be change for the better, for unlike the rebels the Imperial troops, they had all the support they needed. Most importantly, they had the Emperor on their side.
“To all air support in the vicinity of the river, this is High command – we have priority targets on the ground – mechanized divisions are requesting close air support along the river front. Any squadron leaders receiving, your orders are to break off from any other mission and proceed to provide support, danger close. How copy over?”
“High command this is Falcon one actual, copy your last, proceeding to provide CAS for friendly ground units – Over.”
“Roger that Falcon one – The Emperor Protects – High command, out.”
“Hawk wing this is Hawk one, our boys are taking a beating down there and we’re going to go help them out.”
“Falcon wing we’re going to break left while Hawk takes the right.”
The squadron leader was met with a series of will do’s and affirmatives over the vox before nodding to himself, satisfied.
“Hawk one – lets see who racks up the most vehicle kills this time.”
“Roger that Falcon one, your on and the loser buys a round of amsec for everyone.”
The vultures broke off into two separate formations leaving the valkyrie behind them. They formed up into attack formations, shaped like a wedge and accelerated to attack speeds.
“To all ground units receiving – if you have designators, flares or any other targeting equipment we need you to mark enemy positions or we cannot provide accurate fire support. Request that you start ASAP as we are coming in hot. ETA 30 seconds.”
Immediately the pilots found enemy positions began lighting up on their targeting systems along with trails of red smoke rising across the enemy fortifications.
“We have target co-ordinates – fire support incoming.”
The gunships opened fire.
The rebels were struck with volleys of rockets and accurate missile fire that tore up their emplacements and destroyed vehicles. Vultures on their gun runs shredded both rebels at the marked locations in the trenches and those who exposed themselves in the open. Ordinance that missed its intended mark upturned enormous chunks of earth or had hit the river where the detonations showered the banks with water.
Heavy bolter fire strafed the charred ground, finding their marks amongst the disorganized mass of rebels with many of the dead and dying getting torn up by the hail of mass reactive rounds. Anyone still alive after such the onslaught fled in the face of the overwhelming numbers and firepower.
The rebel forces began fleeing the trenches as they realized they had no chance against the Imperial onslaught from the air and the ground. Whilst the rebels were occupied with the vultures, the mechanized divisions had brought up bridge layers to close the gap and continue the stalled advance.
Leman Russ tanks throttled ahead followed closely by formations of chimera transports that powered up the banks behind the tanks. As the tanks rushed ahead, they formed a defensive line beyond the trenches whilst the chimeras held back. Ramps dropped and the contingents of armoured fist squads in the transports stormed the trenches en masse with a hail of grenades followed shortly by a charge with close combat weapons in hand – leading to a bloody and loud, albeit quick cleansing of the fortifications.
When the slaughter was done the men mounted back on their transports and were once again on their cat and mouse chase of the remaining enemy troops. There would be no rest for the traitors and there would be no safe place for them to hide no matter where they holed up. This conflict was going to bleed them of precious resources and lives.
The Emperor’s fury had been brought to this world by the arrogant and naive actions of the nobility, now they were to receive their just punishment. This world will burn in the fires of war – another small fire burning dimly in the Emperor’s domain. It was only a matter of time until the embers burnt over.
After the escorts broke off, the valkyrie continued on to its rally point for pick up. As expected the Inquisitors transport was waiting for him. They were far behind enemy lines; air dominance had yet to be established in the area.
Jutting out of the clouds was an Imperial cruiser waiting patiently for the Inquisitor. It hung there in the sky like a floating fortress. The ship bore no official markings or any of the usual decorations consisting of high gothic architecture with statues of saints or iconic symbols. It was painted in a menacing black – perfect camouflage in the depths of space.
The ship, though lacking in decoration, bristled with weapons from the array of macro cannons and lance batteries on its sides all the way to the torpedo tubes that adorned the underside of the armoured shell on the front of the cruiser. The batteries mounted on the starboard side tracked the tiny valkyrie all the way to an open hangar bay located near the rear of the ship.
“Valkyrie transport – Docking.” Announced the servitor at the hangar control panel.
“All maintenance crews – To stations – The Inquisitor – Has returned.” Rang the monotonous voice of the servitor.
The valkyrie entered the open hangar doors and hovered over the landing area before setting down on the ceramite landing pad below. Instantly the maintenance crews were already attending to the craft – the boarding ramped dropped and the passengers stepped out. The storm troopers filed out first and rushed off, presumably to a rally point or to their quarters on the ship.
“Now all of you follow me and don’t fall behind.” The Inquisitor said as he got up and cast his gaze upon the acolytes.
They nodded their understanding.
“Well then lets go…oh and welcome aboard.” He said with a sly smile.
The Inquisitor proceeded down the ramp with his acolytes, passing the rushing crewmembers and lowly tech adepts. Mordecai noticed that the scurrying crewmembers avoided eye contact and kept distance from the group – the Inquisitor especially had a noticeable amount of space around him as he carved a path through the mass of technicians.
The group approached a moderately sized loading bay door opposite to the landing area. It appeared to be guarded by sentry turrets and more storm troopers who snapped to attention as the group arrived. One of them saluted the Inquisitor and handed him some papers. After a quick check he handed the papers back and opened the bay doors via wrist mounted controls. After passing the door, the group walked down a long corridor until they reached what appeared to be a hub area within the ship. The ceiling was much higher here, held up by reinforced pillars.
In the back of the room was a pair of blast doors with more storm troopers maintaining watch from a checkpoint set up in front of the doors. They saluted the Inquisitor and opened the doors behind them. Inside there was an elevator with a console placed at the back of it. The Inquisitor got on board and beckoned his new found acolytes to do the same. Once everybody was inside the Inquisitor pulled out a card and inserted it into the console.
The doors closed once again and the lights dimmed as the console lit up bathing the Inquisitor’s face in a blue light. It gave an eerie feeling to the now sealed off elevator – all noise from the outside was gone, replaced by the steady thrumming of machinery.
“Identification required.” Came a metallic female voice over the speaker.
A section of the console opened up and a small microphone came out. The Inquisitor leaned in and spoke.
“Kurgen – Inquisitor – Ordo Hereticus.”
There was a momentary pause followed by a beeping sound from the console.
“Inquisitor Kurgen identified – Ordo Hereticus – Voice authorization required.” the voice rang.
“Omega Alpha Foxtrot – key numbers are Nine Four Seven.”
“Processing – Voice recognized – Key numbers are correct – Termination systems powering down – Welcome back – Inquisitor.”
With that the microphone retracted into the console and the lights turned back to normal. Then the elevator lurched causing everyone but the Inquisitor to stagger as it began to ascend.
“Your security systems are impressive Herr Kurgen.” Noted Mordecai.
“Indeed, you can never be too careful in this line of work my acolytes.” Replied Inquisitor Kurgen.
“What exactly are the termination systems that were mentioned?” Asked Sebastev.
“Oh well let me put it this way – if we were determined as hostile or if we did not input the correct key card and voice authorized password…well lets just say I would pity the cleaning crew for having to deal with the results.” He replied turning to face the Vostroyan.
He let what was said sink in and seemed to wait for any sort of response from the acolytes. For a moment all that was heard was the elevator ascending. The Assassin, who had been busy lighting a lho stick then interrupted the silence.
“I see the Inquisition is taking the policy of overkill very seriously sir.” Claude responded before placing the lho stick in his mouth and the lighter back into a holder on his belt.
“Considering our line of work it’s a sort of a do or die policy Claude.”
The Inquisitor turned to face his acolytes directly, with his signature smile spread across his face. He scanned their faces one by one before nodding his head and rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
“We work in secret and so do the majority of our enemies – it is a constant game of cloak and daggers.” He said as the elevator came to a halt to a sizeable blast door.
The doors behind him looked impregnable to say the least, but with a simple insertion of his key card and a few button presses later, the doors began to open. The massive slabs looked as though they required a large amount of force to pull apart, yet they slid aside smoothly and with minimal noise. Upon closer inspection it could be seen that the doors were at least 5 metres thick.
The Inquisition certainly went to great lengths to be prepared for anything.
As the events inside were unfolding, the Inquisitor’s Cruiser was leaving the planet’s atmosphere. The force of the engines propelling the ship on its ascent caused the earth below to tremble. The noise being emitted was akin to a thunderstorm as the giant vessel continued on its climb towards the heavens.
It was only a few minutes before the ship had exited the atmosphere and was cruising at a steady pace, for a space faring vessel, before heading on a course to bring the ship away from the planet – out into the vastness of seemingly Imperial controlled space.
Onboard the ship the Inquisitor was leading his acolytes down the corridor just past the massive blast doors that had greeted them. The acolytes observed that both walls were covered with framed pictures and pieces of art that depicted distant planets and regions of space they had never imagined. All the paintings displayed the very vessel they were on against a backdrop of different planets and sectors of space. One such painting depicted the ship in a fierce space battle with what appeared to be renegades.
“Quite a collection eh?” The Inquisitor said without missing a beat.
“Indeed sir.” Sebastev responded.
“This ship has been to places, and I mean a lot of places by the looks of it.” Claude said taking the lho stick out of his mouth.
“Of course it has, after all the influence and reach of the Inquisition are undoubtedly incredible.” The Inquisitor replied.
“No vanity intended of course, but if you think this is incredible then you’re in for more than a few surprises later.” Kurgen added.
They seemed to have finally sighted of the end of the seemingly endless and decorated corridor.
“Ah here we are, finally” Inquisitor Kurgen said with an exaggerated sigh of relief.
The group reached the end of the corridor where there were more storm troopers on guard duty. They all came to attention as the Inquisitor approached. They were guarding a large set of ornate doors, the seal of the Inquisition carved into it. Two of the guards rushed to the door and in a practiced motion they opened both sides simultaneously just in time for the Inquisitor and company to stroll on through before the door was just as quickly shut behind them.
The room they had entered surprised all the acolytes. Then again they didn’t really know what to expect considering they had just been plucked from a battlefield to serve a higher purpose. It looked like the strategy room of the Imperial High Command – holograms of planets, ships and people were set up across the immensely large and well-lit room. Dozens of adepts were working on terminals or rushing around handing out data slates and clipboards. Many seemed to be analyzing data that was constantly shifting between hands.
There was a walkway that cut across the room dividing the small army of people who rushed around between the various consoles and holograms. Overhead were lights that kept the room well lit leaving the impression that work was always being done. The level of dedication was admirable.
“Now believe it or not there is an order to this madness.” The Inquisitor said as he strolled down the walkway towards a door on the other side.
“This is your information centre… or rather perhaps nerve centre would be a more apt word to use. These adepts collect and analyze data that you receive from other cells of your acolytes and agents or your contacts – then you use this information to best decide where to send your teams and even where you are needed yourself.” Replied Mordecai.
“At least…that is the most educated and logical guess I can make Herr Kurgen,” he continued.
Sebastev and Claude both looked at the Tech-Priest with surprised expressions on their faces. He had quickly evaluated the scene the moment they had entered the room. Neither man had much experience with the Mechanicus so they had no idea as to what the abilities of one of the Tech – Priests could be.
Sebastev had once caught a glimpse of a Magos who was in discussion with the patriarch of a much more powerful noble house back on Vostroya – the Magos was a giant draped in red vestments that covered his mechanical body though they did little to hide the multiple mechadendrites that slithered out from his back.
Claude having been a free lancer had never seen a Tech – Priest until he met Mordecai but he had the chance to visit a forge world on one of his many contracts. The planets surface was simply a vast sprawling factory that covered everything for as far as the eye could see – even the area of space around the world was a ring of space stations and construction yards for the sector fleet. Though he had never seen a one of the Cult Mechanicus, he understood the power and influence that they held at their disposal.
“You can see the flow of information through the room – the lower level adepts receive and work through their reports before handing them out to the more senior adepts and they in turn reported to who is more senior than them. At the end of the line Inquisitor, you receive only the most analyzed and noteworthy reports.” The Tech-Priest continued.
“How very perceptive of you Mordecai, I see recruiting you was not a waste but now I want to see how well your friends impress me.” The Inquisitor answered as he opened the door.
“It was a simple deduction Inquisitor – nothing noteworthy and I doubt you’d recruit us just for being able to state the obvious.”
“Ah correct you are young acolyte but fear not I’m certain you’ll find that your powers of observation will serve you very well in future…should you survive that long.”
“Of course Herr Kurgen.” The Tech-Priest replied.
The acolytes quickly filed in and were followed by the Inquisitor who closed the door behind him. The room was smaller than the information centre that they had just gone through. Within the room were three other passages – one directly across the room while the other two were to the right and left respectively.
“To the left is the armoury where you boys can purchase weapons and armour with the money you earn, steal or requisition. To the right is the mess hall where all the meals are served and the hallway in front leads to the working quarters of everyone here – for the adepts, my acolytes and agents and finally myself.” The Inquisitor explained.
“Now get your keys from reception and then meet me in my quarters.” Kurgen continued.
He continued forward down the passage to the dormitory area proper. The trio followed with haste and as they entered after the Inquisitor. Down the corridor the Inquisitor went whilst the acolytes moved to the desk of the reception counter.
Behind the wooden desk was an old man. His short hair and shaggy beard were grey with age, although there was a noticeable absence of wrinkles or any of the other visual ailments that were common to the elderly. He noticed the trio approaching and raised his head from the rather miniscule amount of paper work that had occupied him.
“We’re here for our…”began the Guardsman before he was interrupted when thrown a set of keys by the old clerk.
“Those are the keys to your respective rooms, hope your familiar with the term basic necessities.” The old man said as he jotted down notes on some paper.
“Of course.” Claude responded as he put an lho stick in his mouth.
He patted him self down for a lighter, finding it and then set about lighting his lho stick.
In a single fluid motion the clerk had taken a knife out from a sheath on his leg and took a swipe at Claude’s head. The acolyte barely had time to lean back and dodge the attack – which cut the lho stick in his mouth clean in two. The other two acolytes responded quickly by drawing their side arms – directing them at the old man.
“What was that for?” shouted Claude as he got back up right. His sword was drawn the moment he had regained his footing.
“No smoking on the ship” came the clerks reply as he put the knife back into its sheath.
The acolytes held back from the desk for fear of getting within the clerks striking distance. He was fast, too fast for an ordinary old man. Then again the man did work for the Inquisitor and served aboard his ship. Just as the old man was about to raise his hand again, he found Claude’s sword at his neck the moment his hand had moved an inch from his side.
“That blade looks like it might fail you soon…you should get it replaced if you plan on living this lifestyle.” The clerk said as the blade held its position precariously close to his neck.
“Even a broken blade can still cut alter mann.” Said the Tech-Priest.
“It seems the Inquisitor hasn’t lost his touch in choosing promising acolytes.” The old man continued as he held his head up from the tip of the weapon.
The Tech-Priest was the first to lower his weapon. Sebastev followed shortly after, holstering his las pistol away before giving Claude a stern look. The assassin looked back still holding his sword to the clerk’s neck before relenting and sheathing the blade.
“Where’s the Inquisitor’s room?” asked Mordecai.
“Its at the end of the hall, big magnetically sealed doors – you can’t miss it.” He replied in his gruff voice.
“Danke alter mann.”
A few minutes later…
The acolytes approached the door to the Inquisitors room, which slid open to reveal a room with a large marble table and golden high back gilded chairs that lined each of its sides. Two figures occupied the far end of the room, one was recognizable as the Inquisitor and the other was a short, lanky and bald man whom they had not seen before.
The stranger wore tatty robes and had the marks of a sanctioned psyker tattooed on his forearms. He had a standard Cadian issue las pistol tucked in a holster by his waist and carried a metal staff in his left hand.
“Ah I see you have arrived my new acolytes.” Began the Inquisitor as the acolytes took a seat at the table.
“As members of my newly formed cell, you shall have the honour of being Inquisitorial Team ALPHA. As the Inquisition, we are tasked with handling the darkest secrets of the universe, specifically being under my liege you are all to be committed to the fight against the heretics of humanity. To cleanse the infrastructures of the Imperium free of taint, hence the Ordo Hereticus.” He continued.
“Your first mission that you will undertake, is on the planet Errodies IV, the planet was a compliant Imperial world until 6 months ago when a wave of uprisings came from the underhives. All contact was lost shortly afterwards. Now normally we would send in a Guard regiment to deal with this mess, but there is a delicate matter that the Inquisition must address. There is a virus bomb stored within the planet’s armoury. The weapon is too dangerous to leave in the hands of the unknown, so I have decided to send you to the planet’s surface to investigate. Report to the shuttle bay immediately.”
Don't play stupid… He's better at it.
I apologise for the long delay, school is not very forgiving. I hope you all have a great time reading the newest update, expect more to come.
Albeit very slowly…
Don't play stupid… He's better at it.
I love the Clerk and nerve center view
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"
Thank you, my team and appreciate your viewing. Stay tuned for more!
Don't play stupid… He's better at it.
Finally, chapter 3! The long awaited (or so I hope) addition to the legacy of Inquisitorial Team Alpha. Stay tuned for more, chapter 4 is already in the works as we speak!
Chapter 3 – First Encounter
“There is a difference between walking the path and knowing it.”
The valkyrie accelerated through the dusty atmosphere towards Errodies IV and the mysteries that it held. The inside of the transport was cramped and the entire cabin shuddered as the aircraft was battered by unseen forces.
Sebastev turned the small badge in his hand, the gold plated symbol of the Inquisition bounced in his palm as the craft shook. Such a small symbol to signify so much power and authority, it was a strange feeling indeed. He was content with what this meant, but couldn’t help but feel a great sense of unease.
Was it doubt that worried him? Or perhaps it was something more sinister?
He left those thoughts to stew in the back of his mind as he tucked the badge behind his flak vest. Looking up, he observed his comrades as the valkyrie continued its descent. The assassin was busy playing with the sniper rifle that he had upgraded. The Tech-Priest was slouched over with a small pool of fluids forming between his feet as he retched. It seemed he wasn’t one for atmospheric re-entry.
The stranger whom they had met in the back on the ship was seated next to him and he remained quiet as he swayed with the valkyries movements. Not a word had been shared between the three and the psyker who had just joined the newly formed team of acolytes.
“He seems fairly normal…for a psyker anyway.” Thought Sebastev.
His opinion of the psyker would change drastically before the day and the mission was over.
The acolytes staggered into the scorching heat of the arid desert. The ramp behind them quickly closed and the VTOL began its ascent from the drop zone. Soon the four men were left standing alone, a few hundred metres from a large collection of buildings. They watched as their only means of escape slowly shrank into the endless blue sky above them.
“Are you alright Mordecai?” Inquired Sebastev.
The Tech-Priest was bent over with his hands on his knees cleaning out whatever fluids were left in his respirator.
“I feel like the intelligence has been forcibly beaten out of me and the heat isn’t helping the gnawing pain in my head.”
Sebastev went over to help out Mordecai, Claude chuckled a little as the psyker simply looked straight up at the sky. Knowing the other two were busy, the assassin picked up his rifle, inserted a magazine into its receiver and racked the charging handle.
He then took aim at the psyker.
Mordecai and Sebastev turned to see the psyker looking straight up with Claude standing a few metres away aiming his weapon at their oblivious companion. They ran to Claude hoping to stop him before he did anything rash. Just as they reached him he began to speak.
“Now Mr. Psyker would you mind telling us who the hell are you?”
The bald headed man turned his gaze from the heavens and looked at the trio. He had a blank look on his face and his eyes seemed to dart between looking at their faces and then at the town behind them.
“My name…” he began as he walked towards them.
There was emptiness to his eyes and the expression on his face was dull and uninterested.
“…is Ramirez, a newly sanctioned psyker and newest member to this team.”
“How do we know we can trust you?” Asked Claude.
“I refuse to answer that question on the basis that I do not have an answer.”
Sebastev looked to the Tech-Priest who paused for a moment before nodding. Mordecai put his hand on the rifle barrel and pushed it down, though Claude resisted for a moment he let the Tech-Priest have his way.
“We don’t have time for this right now, we have a mission to complete.” Said Sebastev.
Mordecai consulted his data slate for directions. It appeared that the closest strong point of Imperial control was the Adeptus Arbites courthouse.
“I suggest we head to the courthouse in town and assess the condition of Imperial authority in this area.”
“Agreed.” They replied in unison.
The four figures moved towards the buildings located on the northern side of town. The courthouse was built in the typical gothic style in stark contrast to the simply built hab blocks around it. The main door was left ajar and the acolytes entered the building.
Sebastev swept the front desk with shotgun in hand followed closely by Claude who moved to the right of lobby with his las pistol and sword.
“Lobby area is clear, you can come in.” Called Sebastev to the other two outside.
Mordecai and Ramirez entered the room and shut the door behind them. The front desk was opposite the entrance with a staircase on either side of it going up. The place was deserted.
“Well that’s not a good sign.” Said Claude as he rejoined the others.
“Ramirez you keep watch here while the rest of us search the rest of the courthouse. Don’t touch anything while we’re gone.” Ordered Sebastev.
The psyker nodded and returned to watching the door. The trio quickly and thoroughly searched the building, finding the armoury stripped clean, the living quarters empty and the offices also eerily void of life. They finally came to the office of whom they assumed was in charge of this courthouse.
“Forgive me but I thought we were to secure some sort of biological weapon, so I must ask why we are in some small settlement in the middle of nowhere instead of at the hives?”
“Because Claude, you don’t think it foolish to store such a destructive device in close proximity to large populations? Hiding it there would be difficult if not impossible and plus I am led to believe that they had no idea that the weapon existed in the first place. Perhaps the Inquisition erased such information from records?”
“That makes sense I guess…” Replied Claude.
“Cut the chatter both of you, we’re entering the room.” Said Sebastev.
The Vostroyan approached the door and slowly opened it before entering with the other two in tow. They found, unsurprisingly, another room with a noticeable absence of life and had once again been stripped clean of anything mildly useful. Though in this case the lack of life was because the only other person there was the corpse of an Arbite, slouched over the desk in the back of the room.
“Don’t mind if we come in.” Said Claude aloud as he walked around Sebastev and patted him on the shoulder.
The Assassin took out another lho stick as he strolled into the office. The Tech-Priest followed closely as he took note of the room and its contents with close scrutiny before turning to Sebastev.
“Again we find another room empty and stripped down…I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve been thrown into a rather precarious situation with little to no chance of success.”
“I believe this is a test Mordecai…a trial if you will where we are to demonstrate our abilities. Now let us see what happened to this unfortunate soul.”
The Tech-Priest walked over to the body with the Guardsman while Claude looked out the window. After a few minutes of silence broken only by the occasional mumbling from Mordecai he finally turned to Sebastev.
“Well?” Asked Sebastev as he crouched next to Mordecai.
“She’s been dead for at least two weeks and her body is just covered in lacerations.”
To emphasize the point he raised her arms, both of which had scores of bite marks and elongated cuts that had torn straight to the bone. Her armour was also showed varying states of damage ranging form scratched paint to deep gashes.
“Those don’t look like animal bites…”
“Ja. They’re not, those marks are consistent with human teeth and the cuts look like they were made with nails.”
“So what are dealing with then? Cannibals?”
“You may not be far off the mark, while examining the body I found that large chunks of flesh had been bitten or torn off, but then I came to the head and well…”
The Tech-Priest took a deep breath and with his gloved hand he lifted the head. Sebastev at first only noticed the large amount of dried blood that caked the face, now he was confronted with the true extent of which he was faced. The area where the Arbite’s forehead should have been was instead replaced with a large hole in her skull that seemed to be supplemented with a similarly large exit wound on the back.
“The exit wound is not small, it seems to be made by some sort of stub weapon. But the wound seems to be more recent, I can only assume that she was shot after being bitten.”
Claude, who had been at the window, interrupted the conversation that ran between the two with an urgent look on his face.
“Save the guess work for later, right now we have a serious problem.”
“What is it?” Asked Sebastev.
“There are four people approaching the courthouse from the main square.”
“Then lets get down there and fortify the door.”
“You don’t understand…Ramirez is outside and he left the door open.”
The trio rushed downstairs to the lobby, running out the door and formed around the psyker. The group of approaching people appeared to be civilians though they did not so much walk as they did shamble towards the acolytes.
“They just came out from past those buildings over there and began approaching the courthouse.”
“What the hell does that have to do with you opening the door open and coming outside?” Barked Sebastev.
“Oh that? Nothing really, just got curious that’s all.”
A rasping voice cut the conversation short.
Claude had his hunting rifle aimed while Mordecai was in the process of taking out his las carbine. Sebastev took aim with his lasgun and Ramirez slowly drew out his laspistol. The shambling group of strangers were twenty metres away and weren’t gaining ground fast.
“Nobody do anything unless I tell you to.” Ordered Sebastev.
The strangers only shambled closer.
“Identify yourselves or we will fire on you.” Called out the Vostroyan.
They paused and once again a plea was heard.
Before anyone else could react, Ramirez had taken aim and his laspistol discharged with a crack. The laser found its mark straight in the head of the leading group member. He collapsed backwards and lay motionless on the ground. The other three didn’t even flinch and were once again shambling towards the acolytes.
“Did you see that? Headshot on my first go!” Shouted Ramirez.
Claude, Sebastev and Mordecai were in shock at the psyker’s action. Though unexpected and defiant, Ramirez had revealed something about these strangers. They weren’t going to stop now. It seemed they had no choice.
“Gun them down…the Emperor knows his own.” Said Sebastev as he squeezed the trigger.
Inquisitor Kurgen was on the ship’s bridge discussing matters with the Captain when the signals officer interrupted. The officer had a grim expression on his face.
“What is it lad?” Asked the Captain.
“Sir, a small armada of ships has just entered the system and are heading this way with all haste.”
“The quarantine buoys we set up were ignored but we received picts of the incoming ships.”
“Well what is it then? Spit it out man.” The Inquisitor replied.
“Sirs…the ships carry the eight pointed star.”
There was a brief silence as the Captain thoughtfully rubbed his beard while the Inquisitor simply put on his signature smile. Had he expected this?
“Well this has certainly escalated much faster than expected.”
“Orders sir?” Asked the Captain.
“Do not engage Captain Matthias, despite our superior armaments and experienced crew I’d rather not risk an open engagement with us being outnumbered. Keep us out of their detection range, I’m going to inform my acolytes of the approaching Chaos fleet.”
He strode off to the doors at the back of the bridge leaving the Captain with his task to accomplish. He sprung to action the moment the door closed.
“Helmsman bring the ship to a new heading, we’re going to use the planets moon for cover. Alert the engineering deck to go on standby and have repair teams to their posts on the double.” The Captain bellowed.
The bridge staff rushed to their posts to carry out their Captain’s orders. Messages were sent and klaxons sounded all around the ship. The vessel was quick to obey the command of its Captain and soon enough it had left the orbit of Errodies IV.
“Helmsman, all ahead full.”
“Aye Captain, all ahead full.”
Time was no longer a luxury the Inquisitor could afford; yet the acolytes were already in enough trouble as it was.
The acolytes’ weapons impacted amongst the incoming strangers, felling them until a small pile of corpses began to form. They stood their ground for a moment before walking over to investigate the bodies.
“Mordecai…do you have an explanation for this?” Asked Claude.
“An explanation for the strangers attempting to attack us, an explanation for Ramirez shooting the first one in the head, an explanation for the necrotic looking strangers’ existence or all of the above?”
“All of the above.”
“Well, first off we did shoot at them first, secondly I have no idea why he shot the strangers and last of all I need a bit of time before I can answer that one. Give me a minute.”
The Tech-Priest quickly went to work while the others covered him. Sebastev poked one of the corpses with the muzzle of his lasgun before turning to the Tech-Priest who rose to his feet while dusting off his hand.
“These people…they’re all dead…”
“Well you don’t say, I mean we only shot them down a minute ago…”
“No I mean, judging by the decomposing tissue and numerous injuries, they weren’t alive when we ‘killed’ them.”
“So what? They were the walking dead or something?”
“Precisely. I think we’ve been thrown into a situation far more complicated than we had originally believed. This is either a product of some mad science or…”
“I’ve heard rumours that the powers of chaos have had a hand in situations similar to this. I can’t be certain but that’s only a probability.”
“Well that’s just great, but lets leave the complicated thinking for later. Right now the only thing that matters is securing the objective.”
Sebastev turned to face the psyker with a scowl, speaking clearly and with an underlying tone of menace.
“You, I don’t know whether to shoot you or pat you on the back for killing the first one.”
“I wanted shoot something…and plus those guys creep me out.” Replied Ramirez as he looked at the bodies.
“Or at least they did.”
“Yeah that’s nice and all but lets go, Mordecai you got any idea where the objective is located?” Asked Claude.
“There’s a large warehouse about five hundred metres from here – it’s listed as a disused structure.” The Tech-Priest replied.
“The device is there?”
“The Inquisitor gave me the details. So it should be there, however in order to actually secure the device we need a code to get in and also the arming code just in case.”
“Where do we get those?” Inquired Sebastev.
“The head of the courthouse here is in the employ of the Inquisition in that they were entrusted with the codes, though they were never told what the codes were for.”
“So that’s why we searched the courthouse?”
“Ja, now we have to find this contact if we want any hope of completing our mission.” Said Mordecai as he began walking away from the courthouse.
The others followed closely, each man on the lookout for anymore of the walking dead. They managed to arrive at the large rusted doors of the warehouse without incident. Sebastev and Claude both pulled on the giant handles to open the doors.
“You’d think that someone or something might have heard us shooting.” Said Mordecai.
“I was hoping to shoot more things…” Replied Ramirez in a sombre tone.
The Tech-Priest looked at the psyker with a perplexed expression on his face. This new addition to their team seemed to be unpredictable at best as far as he was concerned, which led him to question how such an individual got sanctioned in the first place.
“Maybe they were desperate?” He thought to himself.
The sound of metal scraping broke Mordecai from his thoughts and brought his attention to the now open door. They proceeded inside quickly and before long they found themselves in a rather dimly lit space that stretched on for a hundred metres all around. Littered around the place were crates in various conditions and all manner of waste material that had been left to rot.
“The Inquisitor said that there was some sort of a shaft that led underground.”
“You sure?” Asked Claude.
“Stop asking and help me already.”
After shuffling some boxes around and clearing away the junk on the floor, the acolytes came across a handle in the floor. Sebastev immediately went to work lifting the handle and in turn a large section of the floor it was attached to. Below were some stairs that led into a darkened space. Mordecai turned on his glow lamp and led the way down into the shadows.
“There’s a door here labelled with something, give me a second.”
The Tech-Priest rubbed his gloved hand across the dust-covered door and held the glow lamp to it. Inscribed onto the door were the words ‘DEPARTMENTO MUNITORUM’ in bold and stencilled letters.
“We’ve found it, Sebastev come help me open the door.”
Years of neglect had left the door rusted shut and it took the efforts of all the acolytes to pry it open. Clambering through the door and into the room they found the lights turned on as they made their way further in. Splayed out in front of them were racks of weapons and boxes full of ammunition. There was an elevator located behind the boxes with what appeared to be a security panel.
“Jackpot! Let’s see what we can find here.” Said Claude as he inspected what few weapons were on display.
They quickly scoured what they could from the supplies here. Mordecai and Claude went through the ammo crates for charge packs while Ramirez and Sebastev checked the weapon racks. The Guardsman picked up a combat shotgun and a fully loaded grenade launcher, a big smile forming under his moustache. He also found a small box of shells and took those as well. Ramirez also found a shotgun and took it for himself.
As the Tech-Priest and Assassin turned around, Sebastev threw them both autoguns along with a few magazines of ammo each before he turned as well, only to find Ramirez taking two autoguns for himself.
“What are you doing?”
“These are mine…”
“But you only need one gun don’t you?”
“I’ll sell the other one, I need the thrones.”
“Uh…okay then, whatever you say.”
“Inquisitor Kurgen, sir I have a report to make.”
“What is it Captain Matthias?”
“Sir, the enemy ships will reach the planet in 50 minutes and after that we will no longer be able to extract your acolytes without risking our own safety.”
“I am aware of that Captain, I am currently in the process of contacting them but so far we have not managed to reach them. Return to the bridge and await new orders.”
“Understood Inquisitor, we shall await your instructions.”
With that the Captain strolled out of the Inquisitors office. Inquisitor Kurgen opened a small cabinet in his desk before pulling a bottle of amasec along with a glass. As he poured himself a drink, the hissing sound of the door unsealing caught his attention.
“We’ve managed to contact the team sir, I’ve taken the liberty of transferring the line to your personal vox.” Said the old clerk.
“Thank you Delius, that will be all for now.”
“No problem sir.”
The Inquisitor opened another drawer and pulled out a small headset before adjusting it, he spoke into the mouthpiece.
“Now my acolytes, before giving your report I must tell you something…”
“Well I got some bad news.” Said Mordecai as he got off the vox.
“That being?” Asked Claude.
“We have to secure the bomb and get extracted from the planet in a very short window of time.”
“Reason?” Inquired Sebastev.
“A group of ships identified as being from the servants of Chaos have entered system and will be here in forty minutes.”
“Ah…great. Any good news?” Said Claude.
“I don’t recall ever saying I had any.”
“Fair enough. Anything else?”
“Since we’re under the pressure of time, the objective is no longer to secure and transport the device. It is now to secure and arm the device, we are not allowed to let it fall into the enemies hands.” Said Mordecai as he got packed up the vox caster.
“If we can’t have it, neither can the enemy.”
“Well then let’s go find these arbites and get those codes. Mordecai how long do we have?”
“Just under thirty minutes.”
“Then let’s go.”
Before they could exit the building, the vox unit in the corner of the room sparked to life.
“To any and all surviving citizens of the Imperium, this is Judge Victus. We have managed to establish the last point of Imperial control at the Barrens Windmill. If anyone is still alive and receiving, you may seek shelter here. The Emperor watches all.”
“I guess we go there, ja? Asked Mordecai.
“It appears so. Come on, let’s go kill some more.” Said Ramirez.
The acolytes gathered their gear and stormed out of the building, though as they left the door remained open.
Slowly, methodically, the four acolytes approached the windmill. They had skirted the edge of the town towards it and when the building finally came into view, a grim sight met them. Strewn from the top to the bottom of the path were the corpses of the risen.
Standing vigilantly at the door was a pair of Arbites who took notice of the acolytes. One of the guards waved them over and the acolytes came joined them.
“We didn’t expect to see any more survivors.”
“Nor did we, is Judge Victus here?” Asked Sebastev.
“Yes, go on in he’ll want to know that we aren’t the only ones left on this forsaken planet and that his transmission didn’t go completely to waste." Said the Arbite as he opened the door and let them in.
The acolytes entered into the windmill and once in inside were greeted by more Arbites. There weren’t many of them left, including the two outside there were only eight of them altogether. Three of them were huddled in one corner tending to a fourth with another going through a couple of crates of ammunition. The last one was dressed in the most regal looking armour and he presided over a vox caster at the back of the windmill. The acolytes approached him.
“Judge Victus, we would like to have words with you.” Said Sebastev as he approached.
“And what words would those be?”
The Judge’s head perked upon hearing this and he turned to face the acolytes. His helmeted face was hidden, but it was easy to see that he was conflicted.
“Shield.” He replied.
“If you know the code, then you should know why we have come.”
“Yes, I suspected you might arrive sooner or later since this damnable situation.”
“The Inquisition wants this mess cleaned up, as soon as we’re done here we have extraction waiting for us but there’s a limited window of time for that.” Mordecai added.
The Judge nodded and proceeded to pull out some cards from his chest pocket and handed them to the Tech-Priest. At that same moment the injured Arbite started convulsing violently and the other three backed away. Judge Victus approached his pale and sickly subordinate.
The arbite lunged forward and grabbed onto the Judge’s leg. The other arbites scrambled for their weapons while the Judge attempted to throw off his attacker. Just as he was doing so, the arbite took a bite out of his leg through an exposed section in the Judge’s armour. Victus screamed in pain before beating the infected over the head with the butt of his pistol and threw him to the ground. The other arbites then finished him off with a volley of shotgun pellets before tending to their leader.
“Damn it all…I’m as good as dead now. I don’t suppose you know what happens if they bite you?”
“You become one of them…” Said Mordecai.
“Yes, now it seems that I must turn down your offer for escape.”
The sound of gunfire and the moaning of the dead interrupted them. The other arbites piled out the door and the sounds of their weapons added to the rising cacophony of noise outside.
“Sir, there are more of them outside with at least a few hundred more approaching just behind the first group!” Cried an Arbite from the door.
“You men go and complete whatever mission you have, my men and I will distract them to keep their attention away from you.” Said the Judge as he picked up his shotgun.
“That’s suicide.” Stated Claude.
“No doubt, but I cannot allow your efforts to go to waste now can I? Plus I am a Judge and I would no more flee from battle than any other warrior of the Imperium. Now go, while there is still time.” Replied Victus as he limped towards the door with blood flowing down his wounded leg.
Before leaving through the door he turned to the acolytes and with a strained smile and said.
“May we meet again at the Emperor’s side.”
And then he was gone out the door. The acolytes gazed out the door as they saw the arbites holding their ground at the bottom of the sloping mound against the numerically superior horde of the dead. In the middle of it all stood Victus with power maul in hand laying waste to dozens of the foe about him as he shouted orders and encouragement to his dwindling number of men.
“For the Emperor!” Came the cry over the din of battle, as the acolytes sprinted out the door they left the arbites to their final stand. Their bravery and sacrifice would not be in vain, the acolytes would see to that.
The acolytes did not have to run far to come into contact with a roving band of the undead. The idiotic gazes of the risen turned to face the sprinting figures, their jaws opening in dumb anticipation. Their numbers were thin, but this time amongst them there were some who looked different. Instead of the gaunt and skeletal frame of those the acolytes had faced before, those who were different were broad and heavily muscular, easily towering above the tallest of the normal horde. Their faces were an abomination; the lidless eyes stared into the eyes of the acolytes and saliva poured out of their mouths, the absense of a lower jaw to retain the fluid within. Flesh hung from appendages and the glisten of white bone shone through.
Sebastev motioned for the rest of them to stop and all four of them began to bring their weapons to bear. He sighted down the red dot sight affixed to his lasgun and took aim, Emperor be with him that they would emerge from this alive.
“This is for Victus.”
He squeezed the trigger and a beam of blue light lanced towards the awaiting horde. The rest of the acolytes followed, their shots adding to Sebastev’s fury. The beasts shambled forward like a single entity, absorbing the incoming fire from the acolytes. Many of them fell as the rounds passed through their rotting flesh, but the larger abominations soaked up all the incoming fire and kept walking forward.
He exhaled, paused, and squeezed the trigger, the round passing into the head of one of the horde. Claude racked the charging handle and ejected the spent shell casing, he let go, chambering a new round and brought his rifle to bear once more. This time his scope settled on an abomination, he panned his scope around until it settled on its head. Finger resting on the trigger, he breathed out and squeezed.
The acolytes were panting as they finally made it back to the warehouse. The road behind them was littered with bodies. Most noteworthy being the two mutated hulks that now lay unmoving.
“Okay how long do we have now?” Quizzed Claude.
“We now have less than fifteen minutes until extraction. Might I suggest we hurry inside?” Replied the rather out of breath Tech-Priest.
Claude rushed through the open door of the warehouse, the others running behind the assassin. It was dark inside and as soon as Claude disappeared into the darkness, there was a wet smack and he flew through the door and skid across the floor, coming to a halt only mere metres from the other three.
There was a deafening roar and Sebastev brandished his axe and charged through the door to meet his foe. Ramirez found Claude’s head resting at his feet; a trickle of began to spread all over his left shoe. Mordecai rushed in to find Sebastev spitting on the cleaven corpses of the mutated abominations while pulling his axe out of the remains of one of the abomination’s faces.
Hauling the unconscious form of the assassin over his shoulder, he signalled to the other two. They crossed the floor quickly to the elevator on the other side. Mordecai went to work and in a few seconds he had accessed the elevator, culminating with the door opening and lights coming on inside.
The acolytes took the elevator down into the armoury below, Ramirez, attempting to bring Claude back to his senses slapped him across both. The assassin rose with a shocked gasp, pulled out a knife from its sheath and held it to the psyker’s neck.
“Calm down. You were just knocked out and we brought you safely to the storage complex.”
“Knocked out? I’m surprised my neck or anything else isn’t broken.”
“We can check that out later. Right now we have ten minutes till we’re stuck on this soon to be barren world.” Said Mordecai.
As the Tech-Priest finished his sentence, the elevator came to a stop and the doors opened. As the acolytes stepped through, the lights turned on and they found themselves in a space that seemed to dwarf the entirety of the town above. Placed in the middle and surrounded by red lights was exactly what they came for, the virus bomb. It was as big as the courthouse upstairs and seemed almost as menacing a sight – very apt considering its purpose. Wasting no time the Tech-Priest ran to the console below the device before he was furiously typing and pulling switches while the others formed a perimeter around him.
“And done, now come meine lieben work for good old Mordecai.”
Alarm Klaxons began to wail as the platform around the bomb began to rise, red warning lights flashing everywhere. Clearly, this was going to bring them a lot of unneeded attention. The ceiling above began to shift aside and the sun’s rays poured through the shaft.
“That’s our cue to get the hell out of here, I’ve already sent the extraction signal to the ship.” Mordecai said as he turned from the console.
“Now back to the elevator with all due haste.” Shouted Claude, as he ran to the elevator.
“The valkyrie will pick us up at the town square in front of the courthouse, the pilot can only attempt one landing so we better make this fast boys.” Said Sebastev.
The group returned to the elevator and were topside, with only less than 6 minutes to leave. They knew it all came down to these few moments if they were going to live or join the planet in annihilation. They attempted to escape through the front entrance, only to find the risen clawing their way through the plasteel doors.
“Through the back!” Yelled Mordecai, as he spotted a backdoor on the otherside of the warehouse.
The acolytes hurriedly opened the door and ran through, finding themselves in a back alley, one end terminated in a dead end; the other was a clear route into the open square. They ran down the alleyway the end in sight, only for the hordes of the undead to bar their path once more, lured in by the sounds of the klaxons and the stamping of booted feet. The acolytes raised their weapons and gave no quarter as the undead charged in.
The back alley was tight, and only wide enough for two acolytes at a time and this played to the acolytes’ advantage, the mass horde was now contained in the tight alley with nowhere to manoeuvre, they became easy prey for the guns of the acolytes.
Ramirez fired his combat shotgun into the horde, impossible to miss at such short ranges, he shredded the abdomen of one of the undead, its guts spilling out onto the ground as it pitched over and died. Mordecai snapped off shots with his lascarbine, blue lances spearing into the horde, he punched a hole in each leg of an approaching undead, and as it fell to its knees, he shot it once more in the face.
Claude reloaded his hunting rifle, swapping the empty magazine for a new one. But before he could chamber a fresh round, one of the risen bore down on him. Cradling his rifle with his left hand, he drew his laspistol from its holster and shot it twice in the head, the back of its skull exploded and showered those behind it with brain and skull fragments.
Sebastev shot twice, placing one shot into the chest of the undead and the second straight through its left eye. A rune in the scope flashed red, signifying an empty charge pack; he left the weapon to hang from its sling and drew his newly acquired grenade launcher. Its rotary cylinder housed a collection of grenades, three frags and three kraks, an even spread. He sighted down the iron sights of the weapon and aimed it in the middle of the horde. Breathing out, he depressed the trigger but missed. The grenade soared above the heads of the horde and into an archway on the other side of the square. As the archway collapsed, it knocked into one of the nearby hab blocks only to reveal more of the undead.
“We don’t really need this right now!” Shouted Claude, as he backed away from the clawing hands of an undead.
“Remind me to get better at using these things later!” Replied Sebastev as he switched to his combat shotgun instead.
He blew out the skulls of three more before switching to his axe and charged into the horde.
“Forward! I’ll see you all at the town square!”
His axe singing as it swept through the air and embedded the weapon in the chest of a risen and wrenched it free with a sickening crunch. Claude drew his sword and charged into the fray with the other two running in guns blazing, the cacophony of las rounds and shotgun shells accompanied the sound of blade meeting flesh and bone.
The acolytes managed to reach the town square, alive and relatively unscathed, Mordecai checked his chrono.
“The valkyrie should be here soon.”
Ramirez simply stopped and pointed at a hab block.
“What! What are you pointing at? Say something!” Claude shouted. The apparent uselessness of the psyker began to annoy him greatly.
“That.” Said Ramirez and shambling figures streamed out of the hab block door. The endless tide of undead locked on to the acolytes and began their slow assault.
The acolytes formed a perimeter and began to unleash their firepower, shots tearing off limbs and exploding heads as the four acolytes poured shot after shell into the unstoppable tide.
There was a loud whine of engines as the valkyrie came in.
Its side doors swung open and its side mounted heavy stubbers opened fire. As it descended, the ramp came down; a storm trooper wielding a hellgun waved the acolytes into the transport. He shouted at them just before firing his gun at the amassing horde of the dead.
“Come on, we can’t stay here and they couldn’t pay me enough anyway!”
The acolytes piled into the valkyrie and found themselves a seat before strapping themselves down. The pilot took the craft higher off the ground, before switching modes of flight. The ramp was retracted; the side doors swung closed and a rather exhilarated storm trooper unhooked himself from the heavy stubber before sitting next to Sebastev. The Vostroyan was soaked in his own sweat and was caked in dust from his helmet down to his worn boots. More or less of the same could be said of the other three.
“Well how do you feel good man?” Shouted the trooper as he patted Sebastev hard on the shoulder.
“I feel like I need a drink…a strong drink…lots of strong drinks.” Said Sebastev realizing how parched he was now that the adrenalin was wearing off.
The trooper laughed as the small craft began to shake as it exited the atmosphere to meet up with the Inquisitor Kurgen and his ship. Down below, the bomb had reached the surface with a horde of the walking dead attracted to it by the sound of klaxons.
The newly arrived heretics had launched their own atmospheric craft to carry out their intended mission. They spotted a light, fast moving craft but chose to ignore the cowardly dogs of the Imperium and set course for the town instead. The leader of the landing party observed his underlings as the urge to kill grew more and more as their shuttle approached the surface. He could feel the promises of the Chaos gods again, a thousand worlds would burn by him and a thousand more waited.
He climbed into the cockpit to look out towards their landing zone. All was clear, it seemed his masters’ plan had worked perfectly. The dead roamed in hordes and Imperial control was cracked open, ripe for the picking. However, as they approached the drop zone near the old warehouse in the town he saw something that he did not come to expect. There surrounded by the dead was the bomb, the very thing they had come to collect. As his eyes widened in horror, it detonated.
The entire craft shook and buckled as the force of the explosion threw the occupants around. The shuttle spun out of control as it hurtled towards the ground. All the transports were engulfed by sickly green cloud. As the ship spun round and round, the back ramp was sheared off as the shuttle collided into another. Men were sucked out the back as the shuttle depressurized and the poisonous fumes of the virus bomb entered.
The shuttle impacted into the one of the hab blocks, followed in quick succession by the others. The heretic leader looked up, his abdomen impaled by a steel beam that had gone through the windshield of the shuttle. He saw his men screaming and melting away, as the virus ate them alive. He raised his own hands to see them dissolving away before his very eyes. All his attempts to scream curses to the Dark Gods of their betrayal were futile, as his lungs melted into themselves.
Then there was silence as if all had been cleansed. It was a truly gruesome fate indeed for a whole world, but indeed a necessary end.
The valkyrie docked aboard the ship and the acolytes quickly piled out of the craft. They ran to the nearest viewport as the cruiser itself was already making haste to depart from the planet’s orbit.
“And…now.” Said Mordecai looking up from his chrono.
A green circle blotted out from the planet, it could not have been more than a few hundred kilometres. Yet the circle grew at an alarming pace, covering the surface of the world. In a matter of minutes the entire planet was covered, where the green circle touched, it was replaced by black. Soon the world was nothing more than a floating black rock.
“Well…we did it eh?” Said Claude as he patted Mordecai on the back.
“Ja, it seems so.”
Sebastev took out his flask of amasec and had a drink. Well not so much a drink as emptying the whole flask in a few thirsty gulps. From the background came clapping, not a mass applause, but from a single man that came forth, strolling towards the acolytes with his signature smile showing from beneath his wide brimmed hat.
“Well done my acolytes, now lets see what spectacular performance you’ll put on next eh?” Said Kurgen.
The acolytes eyed each other wearily with the exception of Ramirez who seemed untroubled by the fact they had only managed to escape death by mere seconds. They were tired and battered but still alive and no doubt ready for more. Just how the Inquisitor had hoped they would be.
And so their first mission for the Inquisition came to a successful conclusion.
Don't play stupid… He's better at it.
Well done, I like the "Living Dead" Not as a player, but well as a reader…
And in our Main DH group, our Priest is the one who hates flying in
Well DONE BRAVO, I await part 4
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"
Thank you for being such a close supporter of our fan fiction, it's good to know that our work is being appreciated.
And as a minor spoiler for next time, Team Alpha is not only threatened by foes on the ground but also in SPA- OH MY GOD THEY'RE COMING OUT OF THE WALLS!!!
Don't play stupid… He's better at it.
Apologies in advance for having taken so long to publish anything new, school is relentless and time is short. But do not fear, chapter five is already halfway done (due to it being a short chapter and our writer (Mordecai) finding time over the Christmas break), though time of posting may vary as finals approaches. Without further ado, our latest chapter:
Chapter 4 – Trouble in Space
“Temptation will always kill the weak.”
In the dark and barren expanse of space, the Inquisitor’s cruiser ploughed through the stars at full speed to its intended destination. Within the armoured confines of the ship, the acolytes were spending their time going about their menial tasks and were awaiting further instructions from their patron. Down the hall of the living area, Sebastev was making his way to find the others. He had been notified that they had another assignment. He stopped and knocked on Mordecai’s door before awaiting a response.
“Come in, though be careful when you do.” Came the muffled voice from behind the door.
Sebastev opened the door and was immediately assaulted with the smell of mechanical oils and metal. The room was organized with all manner of assorted items, stored in what little space the room provided. Mordecai was sat at a workbench in the middle of the room, working on the autogun he had obtained during their previous mission.
“What is it?” Asked the Tech-Priest.
“We have a new assignment and Kurgen has summoned us to meet him immediately.”
“Okay, give me a moment.” Said Mordecai as he continued tinkering.
“What are you doing?”
“Well with the thrones I earned from our last endeavour, I’ve managed to make some additions to my autogun.” Mordecai said as he lifted up the weapon that now sported a suppressor and a red dot laser sight.
The Vostroyan nodded his head before turning to leave.
“Come on let’s go, get you gear together and let’s see where the old man is sending us this time.”
The acolytes assembled outside the Inquisitor’s room before being allowed in by the clerk. Seated at his desk, the Inquisitor held a glass of amesec in one hand and a data slate in the other. He looked up as the group approached and put on his signature smile.
“What’s the mission my lord? Asked Sebastev.
“I was just reading through the information that my informants have passed through and its seems I’ll be sending you…” The Inquisitor managed to say before he was interrupted by wail of a klaxon.
“All decks brace yourselves!” Shouted the voice of the Captain over the intercom.
The entire ship shuddered and lurched, throwing the acolytes to the floor. The Inquisitor almost fell, but managed to grab hold of the desk and remain upright. The glassware on the table rolled off and shattered as they hit the floor followed quickly by the bottle of amesec. But he bottle was saved such a fate, when the Inquisitor managed to dive and catch it.
The shuddering stopped after a few minutes as the intensity slowly subsided. Everyone in the room got to their feet slowly, the door opened up and the clerk entered carrying a broom.
“I knew I kept you around for a reason.”
“Of course sir.” Replied the old man as he began sweeping away the broken glass. He raised an eyebrow at the Inquisitor slowly rising off the floor, bottle in hand.
“Good to see you have your priorities straight sir.” He said as he slowly shook his head.
Kurgen smiled and rubbed the back of his head with one hand in slight embarrassment. He opened a drawer and took out his headset. He quickly tuned to the desired channel and spoke into the mouthpiece.
“Captain, would you care to explain what just happened in the simplest way possible.” He said with emphasis on simplest.
Claude rubbed the back of his head where he had fallen; whilst Sebastev helped the other two get on their feet. They watched the Inquisitor have his conversation with the Captain and before they knew it, he had put the vox down and marched to the door.
“All of you, come with me now. There’s been a change of plans.”
The Inquisitor entered the bridge with the acolytes in tow. The Captain came to greet them and led them to the front of the bridge. Outside the viewport, the acolytes saw something beyond any of their comprehensions. The object they saw dwarfed their ship a hundred times over. It appeared to be an agglomerate of all manner of debris, but most disturbing was that the object was made of multiple wreckages of multiple ships of human and alien design, fused together into a single entity.
“Sir…what is that?” Asked Sebastev not taking his eyes away from the monstrosity.
“That my young acolyte is a space hulk and you’ve just received the honour of exploring it.”
The acolytes all turned to their Inquisitor who simply raised an eyebrow. They were all in either shock or disbelief, with the exception of Mordecai who could not make an appropriate facial movement as a respirator occupied where the bottom half of his face should have been.
“When do we leave my lord?” Responded the Tech-Priest.
“Immediately – though I doubt you know anything about space hulks except perhaps of rumours. That might be an exception in your case Mordecai, I’m sure your superiors have made mention of these treasure troves of technology.”
Mordecai nodded as Ramirez spoke up.
“I am void born – I have heard tales of these ‘hulks’ and none of those stories were pleasant.”
“Ah true and I warn you now as with all other assignments I give you, there is no guarantee of coming back alive – for who knows of what unspeakable horrors awaits you onboard that derelict mass.”
“Anything in particular we should know about?” Inquired Claude.
“I won’t lie to you, inside that hulk you can find anything from xenos to daemons, although you’ll most likely encounter both.” Replied Kurgen as he placed a hand on the bridge window and turned his head to look at the space hulk.
He sighed before meeting everyone’s gaze.
“However, now is not the time to deliberate on that. Your mission is to simply scout out the hulk to the farthest extent you can. There is a shuttle waiting for you in the hangar bay. Break a leg gentlemen.”
As the shuttle approached, the pilot played the auspex over the hull of the derelict mass, scanning for a suitable docking area. Once found, the pilot throttled the shuttle towards the suitable site. Inside the shuttle, the acolytes waited in silence, donning the void suits issued to them back on the ship. The environment in the hulk had yet to be determined as habitable, they weren’t taking any risks.
After twenty minutes of waiting, the sound of the shuttle docking got the acolytes to their feet. The pilot’s voice came over the intercom as the acolytes readied themselves.
“Okay we’re docked – atmosphere seems breathable so you won’t be needing to wear those void suits.”
“Oh that’s just great, after all that effort to put it on in the first place.” Mumbled Claude as he began to strip off the suit.
A short while later, the acolytes were back in their normal attire and stacked up on the shuttle door. Sebastev looked back on the group and nodded before pulling the door release. The shuttle door slowly slid open with a hissing sound as the pressure equalized on both sides.
The interior of the hulk was black as night, the only source of light came from the shuttle. What they could see was that the docking area extended into a corridor that melted into the darkness. The groaning of metal and the occasional growling noises could be heard emanating from the darkness. Something was in there and there was no doubt about it.
“You know how we should be saying encouraging things about the situation and comforting each other? Like saying everything will be alright and we’ll be fine.” Said Sebastev as he took out his lamp pack.
“Yeah?” Said Mordecai as he took out his glow lamp and hung it on his belt.
“I would…but I would be lying.”
Sebastev began to make his way slowly down the corridor, lasgun drawn, followed shortly after by Mordecai, Ramirez and finally Claude who hung back with his hunting rifle. The acolytes had only two light sources between them and the interior of the hulk was dark and cold. The docking doors slid shut behind them. They heard the pilot bid them farewell over a transmission that was racked with static. Soon, only the noises of the hulk remained. The acolytes were now alone…
“Captain we’ve received word from the pilot that the insertion was successful – however we have now lost all contact with team Alpha. Even the pilot can’t raise them – some sort of interference is jamming his communication.”
“Inform the Inquisitor. The interference is probably just the residue warp energy from the hulk’s transition back to real space.”
“Aye sir.” Said the bridge officer as she ran back to the communications officer.
The Captain was seated in his chair located in the centre of the bridge with a clear view over everything. He held a glass of amesac in his right hand and a data slate in the other.
“Sir, I have the Inquisitor on the line, he says he wants a shuttle prepped to leave in 15 minutes if the acolytes haven’t made contact by then.”
“Get to it then, notify the hangar bay and have a kill squad put on standby. Issue them boarding equipment and have the shuttle equipped with an ICU. Emperor only knows what skulks aboard that derelict mess.”
“Ten thrones say they come back alive.” Came a voice from behind.
“Well I may now be ten thrones richer, though I pray that I’m wrong, Inquisitor.”
“Oh, yes I too hope that they come back alive – and I know what you’re thinking, but I stand by my decision to send them in there.”
“Of course sir, that’s why you’re in charge.”
Slowly making their way down the dark corridors, the acolytes stopped as they reached a corner. Sebastev took a peak round the corner before turning to face the others.
“There’s an elevator around the corner where the path ends. The elevator looks broken though. Mordecai, you think you can do anything about that?”
“Give me some time and I’m certain I can get it to work.”
At the elevator, the Tech-priest began by opening the panel for the controls and getting to work on the mechanisms inside. Claude was taking deep breaths of the chilly air whilst Ramirez fidgeted quietly, maintaining the same empty expression on his face. It was quiet now, with only the sound of their breathing and Mordecai’s tinkering to disrupt the silence.
The elevator doors opened and a light from inside illuminated the corridor. It took a moment for the acolytes to get used to the change in light levels, but they managed to see that the elevator was empty, just before the light flickered and died again.
“Mordecai…what just happened?”
“To be honest Claude, I think it’s a miracle that this thing works in the first place and I’ll hazard a guess and say that years of neglect and travel through the warp has not been kind to the machinery here.”
As they piled into the elevator, they noticed a sign was marked docking bay in low gothic. Their only option now, was to go up to a floor marked as transit. Sebastev hit the button and the doors quickly closed. The compartment shuddered as the cables strained to lift the elevator after untold millennia of disuse. It took a minute for the acolytes to arrive; they tensed up as they felt the elevator decrease in speed.
The elevator finally ground to a halt, even the normally docile Ramirez and the calm minded Mordecai were trembling as the doors began to open up. This time, they were met with a dimly lit corridor instead of endless darkness. The corridor was easily wide enough for two people to walk side by side. Mordecai and Sebastev took point with weapons held at the ready. The corridor ahead seemed to go straight before turning left, though it was difficult to make anything else in the dim light.
The sound of skittering caused the four of them to suddenly stop, it skittering intensified and was joined by the popping sound of a small calibre gun going off quickly followed by an inhuman squeal and a wet thump. The sound was getting ever closer; the tension in the air was getting to the acolytes. They readied their weapons, ready for whatever lied ahead.
The first thing they saw was a little creature tumble round the corner with another in tow. They were green skinned and long eared with stubby arms and legs that gave them surprising speed. Each one was armed with some form of cleaver or firearm and they rushed towards the acolytes with all haste. Behind them another four showed up all similar in appearance.
“Gretchen.” Uttered Sebastev before pulling the trigger, a spear of light hit one of the xenos in the torso.
The las round punched straight through the little creature and it simply rolled to the floor. The others began to fire as well and the gretchen were all but cut down. They returned fire with their crude firearms, shots scattering all across the corridor, denting steel and scratching armorplas.
There was an eerie moment of silence before the acolytes let out a deep sigh. They observed the scene before them. Ricochet marks riddled the far wall while the ground in front of them was strewn with the bodies of the xenos – their pools of blood slowly spreading across the floor.
“Well that was…exhilarating, though I can’t say I’m surprised that they tried to charge us down.” Said Claude as he picked up a spent cartridge casing and admired it.
Sebastev bent down on his knee to examine the corpses.
““They weren’t charging at us, they were running from something. They had that expression on their face. Fear of something, something that made them run for their lives. Something that was chasing them…” Trailed off Sebastev as more skittering came from down the corridor.
The four of them were quick to react, but they weren’t quite prepared for what they were about to witness. Two forms rushed around the corner, clinging to the walls and moving with unbelievable speed towards the acolytes. The creatures possessed six limbs, a pair of arms on each side, its toes and fingered ended in sharpened claws. Their jaws wide open, display a row of dagger like teeth and eyes bright yellow, filled with primal hunger. The purple bodies of the creatures were masked by pieces of thick, blue carapaces. Unknown to the acolytes, the mind of both creatures were psychically linked, as they bore down upon the acolytes, their minds manifested a single word.
In shock, the group immediately opened fire on the advancing creatures. Not halted by such a show of aggression, the creatures continued to charge forward erstwhile incoming fire whizzed over their heads or deflect off their carapace.
As the fiends continued to close the distance, Sebastev took careful aim, breathed out and squeezed the trigger. He caught one in the neck just below its chin – sending it crashing to the ground, inertia made the body slide further before coming to a complete halt.
Despite the death of the creature’s companion, the remaining creature reached the acolytes and pounced off the wall, straight at Mordecai.
The Tech-Priest swung the butt of his rifle at the creature as he attempted to beat it over the head with the weapon. But he could swing, he found himself paralyzed. Time seemed to slow down for him, his limbs ceased to obey his will, he looked down and saw that the creature had punched its clawed hand straight through his armour into his chest. He felt something warm trickling down his robes and an intense burning sensation in his upper abdomen. As it retracted its claw, the Tech-Priest fell onto the deck, a single hand pressed over the hole in his chest.
The foul being let out a bestial cry of victory, as it failed to notice the wolf headed axe that came down onto its head from behind. The blade cut straight through the armoured carapace with astonishing ease as the wielder let out a mighty roar. Sebastev would avenge Mordecai and show this beast the error of its ways. The head had been split in two but the body was still flailing and twitching. With a final effort the Vostroyan hammered the axe into the middle of the creature and cleft it in twain. The two halves flopped over and continued to twitch sporadically before stopping altogether.
“Mordecai, are you alright?” Asked Sebastev as he knelt down.
“This is certainly…interesting.” Replied the Tech-Priest as removed his clutched and trembling hand from the hole in his flak armour.
His hand returned covered in blood, but the bleeding from his chest seemed to stop. Sebastev took a look at the wound while Claude swapped out his hunting rifle for his autogun. Ramirez stood there silently though he looked around nervously back at the elevator and the corner where it seemed all manner of xenos had come to kill them.
“What are these things?” Asked Claude as he kicked one half of the creature’s carcass.
“I don’t know and as long as they stay dead when I shoot them, I really don’t care.” Replied Sebastev as he patched up the hole in Mordecai’s chest.
It took a few minutes but the Tech-Priest managed to rise, despite the wound he’d just received. Besides the now bandaged wound, the Tech-Priest seemed perfectly fine, not hinting, or at least not able to hint, due to his lower face modification, any pain whilst rising off the floor.
Claude moved ahead of the others slightly in order to inspect one the gretchen’s corpses. He heard the sound of something skittering across metal coming from above him and looked up. The sound of metal giving was followed by a moving blur as another one of the creatures fell through the ventilation shafts and landed right in front of Claude.
He reacted instantly, not so much out of skill but with a healthy dose of fear that kicked in with natural instinct. He swung his autogun round, screaming as he pulled the trigger.
Being so close it was near impossible to miss, almost every round from Claude’s fully automatic burst found its mark in the xenos beast. The sound of Claude’s screaming could be heard over the wail of gunfire and he didn’t stop even as the creature lay in front of him, its body riddled with holes.
The top half of its head was gone and there was smoke rising from all the holes. Claude was breathing heavily and was trying to calm himself down. The sound of his teammates running to him was drowned out as he stood there staring at the corpse. He finally snapped back to reality as Sebastev placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Are you alright?”
Claude looked up at the ceiling where the creature had come from and then down to the floor where it now rested before making eye contact again with Sebastev.
“I think I soiled myself.”
“I’d be surprised if you hadn’t” Said Sebastev with a nervous grin.
The acolytes had made it round the corner and were advancing slowly down another corridor before reaching a large room. It was a mess inside – pools of blood covered the floor and unidentifiable chunks of flesh were littered around.
“Can we go home now?” Asked Claude as he carefully stepped his way across the room.
“No we can’t, our orders are to proceed as far as we can inside till we otherwise find something too much to handle or no other route to proceed.” Sebastev said to remind the assassin.
They made to the door on the other side that opened up into another corridor. The lighting was dimmer, but the acolytes could still make out the shapes of bodies on the floor. Making their way forward they saw that the corpses were a mix of both the unknown xenos creatures and gretchens.
Coming around another corner, the acolytes found the corridor ended a short distance away with a wall. However next to the wall there was a door that seemed operable. As they made their way towards the door a loud voice made them stop in their tracks.
“Oi, boyz getz youz ides ovar ere!” Shouted a deep voice in broken Gothic.
Sebastev slowly turned to the others and told them to move back around the corner while he pulled a frag grenade out of a pouch on his belt. Mordecai came forward pulling out a length of wire from his bag. He pointed at the grenade and then at the door before nodding his head. The Guardsmen was apprehensive but nodded his head as well.
Slowly the two of them snuck up to the door and set up a simple trip wire that would set of the grenade when whatever inside came out. When they were done they made their way back and took up position at the corner. From inside the room, the voice boomed again.
“Dem filfy gitz finks dey kan beatz da orkz en fighting, dey finks dey kin jus killz uz ike we notin. Deyz gud at killing but dere aint no one az gud at fighting az da Orks.”
This was followed by an almighty war cry that echoed down the corridor. It was a loud and primitive cry of excitement, filled with battle lust. The acolytes prepared themselves for what now seemed to be inevitable.
The door was opened and it swung inside before the sound of pounding feet filled the air. The first greenskin to cross into the corridor tripped the wire, the grenade exploded with an almighty crump. The explosion took out the second ork at the door, tearing him to bloody shreds whilst throwing the first one against the wall.
The first ork was hunched over against the wall with shrapnel embedded in his back. Claude landed a shot to its head, decorating the wall around it with a mixture of gore and brain matter. More orks poured out the doorway and charged towards the acolytes in a fashion expected of the green skins.
“Get da umies!” Shouted an ork as he leapt over the corpses and into the corridor.
Shot after shot was fired into the ork ranks, but they would not relent. The beasts were tough and even a shot to the head wasn’t guaranteed to stop them. The acolytes continued their fire as the orks approached and had slain another five of them in addition to the two killed earlier. The orks had fired back while advancing, but they missed every shot.
The acolytes luck was about to abandon them. Crouching through the doorway was the biggest ork any of the acolytes had ever seen. It towered above the other orks and was easily much larger than Sebastev. The ork wore a helmet bearing horns and armour that that consisted of thick slabs metal and a mass of wiring and hydraulics. The armour was decorated with crudely painted sigils and skulls, alien and human, hung off its waist.
In the orks right hand it held a giant gun, something akin to two heavy stubbers welded together. However it was the orks left arm that caught the acolytes’ attention. On the end of its left forearm where the hand should have been, was instead a freakishly large metal claw with the blades painted blood red.
The beast let out a hail of rounds at the acolytes and for the most part he displayed the same accuracy as those before him, but the sheer volume of fire ensured that quite a few rounds found their mark. Sebastev had the wind blown out of him as a flurry of rounds peppered the chest plate of his guard armour.
In reaction to such devastating firepower, Sebastev stowed away his lasgun and reached frantically for his grenade launcher. The others kept firing at the monstrosity that was hurtling towards them down the corridor. It laughed as the round they fired bounced off his armour. Suddenly, there was a solitary crack as one stray shot managed to knock a horn of his helmet. The ork paused for a moment to check where his horn had gone.
Claude lowered his rifle and only managed to say.
“I think you just made him upset…”Said Mordecai as he swapped an empty magazine for a fresh one.
To prove his point the orks expression turned sour and there was new determination in his eyes as he once again began moving down the corridor. By then Sebastev had loaded his grenade launcher and took aim at the ork.
“Take this you green skin freak!” Shouted Sebastev as he pulled the trigger.
The krak grenade he fired sped down the corridor and hit the ork on his left leg where it exploded upon impact. The blast temporarily obscured the corridor for a moment as dust filled the air. The ringing noise from the explosion permeated down the enclosed area deafening all.
From the smoke the ork continued striding forward. The acolytes were in shock. The armour on his left leg was shattered and the flesh beneath was burnt and open with minor wounds, yet that was all the damage done. The ork was close now, within five metres of the acolytes.
It was at this moment when one of the acolytes took a decision.
Ramirez had holstered his pistol and drew his combat shotgun. With it in hand he ran forward towards the ork while screaming at the top of his lungs. As he got within a metre of the beast he came to a skidding halt, he pointed his weapon at the ork, closed his eyes and fired. His finger wrapped around the trigger and was followed by a loud roar as the shotgun discharged, only then did Ramirez open his eyes.
He missed with every single pellet, though the ceiling above the ork’s head was peppered with holes.
The ork followed Ramirez’s gaze to the ceiling above and cracked a crooked smile. Before Ramirez could bring his shotgun to bear again, he was picked up by the ork’s massive claw and was left dangling in the air between the blades. The others were unable to shoot without the risk of hitting Ramirez. They bore witness to a gruesome scene indeed.
Blood sprayed across the walls and it spattered across the faces of both the ork and the acolytes’ as Ramirez screamed out in horrifying pain as the claw began to close. His body was instantly crushed and cut at the same time. The others stared wide-eyed as they watched their comrade be ripped apart.
It was then a miracle happened. Instead of being sliced into pieces between the claws, the psyker was still relatively in one piece, despite the blades that now sliced into his body. It appeared that some fortune remained with the man; one of the buckles for his armour had managed to jam the closing mechanisms for the claw. Though it didn’t change the fact that he was still gravely injured.
The ork seeing that the psyker was no longer able to fight, threw him to the ground. Ramirez hit the floor with a wet smack and could only make a gurgling noise as his lungs began to fill with his own blood. The ork raised his left hand high in the air, intending to finish Ramirez off with a crushing blow.
As his fist swung down, the ork cried out in triumph, his newest victim crushed beneath the weight of his power klaw, but it never happened. A figure clad in gleaming silver power armour met the blow with his sword. The newcomer looked up at the ork and with his free hand lifted the brim of his wide hat to reveal his face. The ork saw that the stranger although human, showed no visible sign of strain as he matched the ork’s own strength.
“Well…it would seem that I’m no too late to join the part am I?”
“Inquisitor Kurgen, what in the Emperor’s name are you doing here?”
“What? Aren’t you happy to see me Claude?”
The ork let out a cry before swinging the massive gun in his right hand at the Inquisitor. Before the ork’s arm could make contact, the Inquisitor reacted by bringing his left hand back and with an open palm slammed the ork in the chest.
Upon contact, a loud booming noise shook the corridor and assaulted the acolytes’ ears. The ork’s armour cracked and shattered as the Inquisitors palm kept going until it hit the xenos in the abdomen. The ork was immediately thrown back down the corridor and collapsed amongst his still standing brethren. Sebastev, Mordecai and Claude stood silent in utter amazement.
“How…how did you…”Uttered Sebastev.
“Oh that? Psychic powers are quite a useful thing to have, especially in my case with my telekinetic abilities and what not.” Answered Kurgen, looking down at Ramirez.
More orks came pouring out the door now as the sound of battle had attracted them.
“No time to waste, if you want to save Ramirez take him back to the ship now. Go, I’ll deal with these simpletons.”
The acolytes didn’t wait a moment longer, Claude lead the way back to the elevator whilst Mordecai and Sebastev dragged the bloodied Ramirez behind the assassin. In the background, they could hear the Inquisitor and the orks fighting, the occasional cry of pain and screaming mixed in with booming sounds.
In the elevator ride down, both Sebastev and Mordecai were both attempting to administer first aid to Ramirez who had now coated the floor in his blood by the time they reached the docking level. Here they found a squad of stormtroopers with a stretcher on hand.
They sprinted back to the shuttle and inside found that an ICU had already been set up. They placed Ramirez carefully onto the prepared operating table and with the aid of the medics on hand began to stabilise the psyker. The stormtrooper sergeant slammed his clenched fist on the cockpits door, signalling the pilot to leave.
The craft sealed its doors and detached itself from the space hulk. Inside the shuddering of the craft left much to be desired by the medical staff as they fought to staunch any further bleeding from Ramirez. As the shuttle throttled towards the Inquisitor’s cruiser, the Tech-Priest walked up to Sebastev and Claude who were seated at the back of the shuttle. They sat in silence with the rest of the stormtroopers, all of them raising their heads at the appearance of Mordecai.
“It seems they have managed to stabilize him, but the fact is there’s a ninety nine percent chance he won’t make it. It would be merciful to simply end his suffering now.”
Everyone grunted in acknowledgement and looked back down at the deck. Mordecai sat down and picked up his autogun with his blood caked gloves. He began to remove the magazine and looked back at the ICU where the medics were now keeping an eye on Ramirez. He contemplated the psyker’s action on the space hulk that led him here before shaking his head in disbelief.
Mordecai stowed the empty magazine and racked the charging handle back to inspect the condition of his autogun. A single bullet fell from the ejection port and clattered onto the deck. His eyes widened as he watched the solitary round roll across the deck. Sebastev noticed this and addressed the Tech-Priest.
“What is it?”
The Tech-Priest looked back.
“I have one round left…”
Don't play stupid… He's better at it.
Mordecai 1 is better then none… 1 u can still shoot yourself!!
Their Inquisitor has fast hands and knows what important!!
What as Ramirez’s battleplan or did he have 1?
So is there a part 5 coming?
Angel of Death said:
Mordecai 1 is better then none… 1 u can still shoot yourself!!
Their Inquisitor has fast hands and knows what important!!
What as Ramirez’s battleplan or did he have 1?
So is there a part 5 coming?
Mordecai was really hoping to end Ramirez's life at that point, we almost had to stop him from walking over there and placing the last round in Ramirez's unconscious form.
To be honest, Ramirez's battle plan was to run ahead of the group and make use of the +30 to BS for point blank with his combat shotgun, sadly due to poor rolling and the fact that he was 4 metres away from the ork nob when he finished his movement phase, well…. The chapter speaks for itself.
Chapter 5 is on it's way soon, I hope, but to quote our writer: "You can't rush art" :P
Don't play stupid… He's better at it.
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