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Author Topic: Big Game Hunt  (Read 1336 times)

refuse

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Big Game Hunt
« on: April 17, 2014, 10:07:09 PM »

Palidius VI was a thrice damned planet.
Six months ago the Imperium had left with the planetary tithe of Imperial guard. And this time they had taken more men then any of the previous drafts. They claimed a Black Crusade was coming, and needed more men. Seventy five percent of the men between the ages of 14 and 30 were taken. The men who were fathers were excluded. Almost all of the doctors and nurses were taken. Skeleton staffs were left. Students of medicine, and there teachers were left. The factories were now staffed by women. No hardship cases were accepted. Those physically not capable of serving the Imperial Guard were turned over to the adeptus mechanicus to become servitors. There was no compassion in the drafting process. Fathers were left only so they may raise the next generation of Palidius’s population.

The defenses were manned by those left. Only ten percent of the forces needed to man the planetary defenses, far below the Imperial Edict on staffing. Many of the priority Ultra defenses were unmanned. With only three percent of the airspace covered it had been child’s play for the invading force to land unseen. The cities were under siege before they even knew there was anyone on the planet. There was no battle, only a massacre on a planetary scale.

Lord Commander Bowman stood upon bluff 247 overlooking the capital city of Palidium. The surviving population of the city was in a complete rout. Behind them the forces of Chaos were slaughtering all before them. Women and children were butchered alongside the men.

But the Lord Commander was not here for the population, though a few thousand would find their way to his personal slave ship. He was after the chaos forces who were hunting the civilians. They were World Eaters, puppets of Khorne. While they were the sworn enemy of the Emperor’s Children, the reason they hunted them today was completely different.

* * * *

The first waves of the population reached the top of the berm. They stopped when they saw what was waiting for them, but the throng of people behind them pushed them forward, right into the Emperor’s Children. Some where herded into slave ships, the rest were allowed to pass.

The mass of Emperor’s Children stood in perfect lines, their servitors and bound slaves did the herding. Some kneeled listening, others swayed to an internal symphony, and some arched their backs as in pain or exquisite pleasure. But all stood in perfectly straight lines. Those whose units were assigned a rhino stood next to them, even the throng of humanity did not waiver the legion’s perfection.

* * * *

Then upon the signal from the Lord Commander, the forces mounted up. Those who were not assigned a vehicle started walking forward. The mass of humanity had thinned. The air was heavy with the screams of those being killed by the forces of the World Eaters. The Emperor’s Children stopped on the military crest of the berm. The pause was but momentary, but when they stepped to the top, they fired their weapons. The squads without rhino support were composed of Noise Marines, a subcult of Slaanesh. They had developed blistering sonic weapons; those weapons were now tearing through the world Eater forces. The sonic weapons were set to ossilate. Anything within the blast range was torn apart. The Lord Commander felt for those civilians being torn apart by the powerful weapons, they would never know the pleasures he could show them. But the front row of World Eaters had ceased to exist.

* * * *

The Noise Marines shifted their fire, ignoring a small knot of world eaters in the middle. The World Eater Lord and his retinue were spared. But they didn’t shed a thought to why, they were charging along with the rest of their force. The World Eaters were closing the distance with incredible speed, and they were still striking out and killing all within their reach. But this had been planned for.

The Rhinos of the Emperor’s Children raced through their lines as they topped the berm. They drove straight through the massed humanity towards the enemy. The warp amps that were mounted on some of them, were powering up. The effect on the humans was incredible, many of them turned and fled back into the World Eaters. The World Eater’s charge never faltered, they ran directly at the closest Rhinos.

The Emperor’s Children avoided the World Eater’s Lord. Only the Lord’s Land Raider and one rhino drove straight for them. The Land Raider’s occupants unloaded directly into combat with the World Eaters and his retinue. The fighting was brutal; the mindlessness of the World Eaters was matched by the grace of the Emperor’s Children. Soon only the World Eater’s Lord and one of his chosen stood against the Emperor’s Children Lord. Both of their retinues had been killed. Now the rhino that had accompanied Lord Commander Bowman divulged its cargo of an apothciarian, a sorcerer and his retinue. They stepped up behind the Lord Commander. The World Eaters didn’t notice them; they were focused on killing the hated champion of Slaanesh.

* * * *

The Lord Commander’s backhand swing took the head from the World Eater’s Lord, a howl of rage still issued from the spinning decapitated head as it realized that its blood would not go to Khorne. The last chosen of the retinue screamed, and his body bulged. He had been consecrated to Khorne, a vessel for a Blood Thirster to enter this world. The rage he had felt at the death of his lord overwhelmed the chains that bound him, and the Blood Thirster stepped through his body into the material world.

Now the sorcerer’s retinue stepped forward to confront the might warrior of Khorne. With one swipe of its mighty axe, the six chosen of Slaanesh were cut in two, their souls sent to Khorne. The Blood Thirster’s axe arm went limp, the six had been anointed by Slaanesh, their souls were filled with the pleasure of death which were not meant for Khorne. The Blood Thirster raged, his whip coming around to strike at the 3 Emperor’s Children standing before him. But this arm too went numb, and then his legs gave out; he had been poisoned by the souls he had stolen. The apothicarian struck out with a large needle like weapon, driving it deep into the beast’s chest. The Blood Thirster became as still as a statue, even the hair along its body did not move in the wind.

The lord commander looked at the two servants of Slaanesh standing with him, and then looked out upon the battle field. “I will oversea the taking of the field, you prepare this vile beast for the trip.” His Land Raider stood there, and he entered the leviathan.

The apothicarian depressed a stud upon his arm, indicating that the prize was theirs. The Tech Priest Alsal would bring the specially prepared conveyance to him, and they would move the Blood Thirster to the waiting Thunderhawks. “Your part in all of this is not over my fiend of Khorne, you will still get to kill many, but you will do it as we need, and your service to Slaanesh will not be forgotten.” And with those words, the servitors loaded the Blood Thirster upon the back of a specially prepared Rhino, and drove it to the Lord’s Thunderhawk.

* * * *

It was two more hours before the Lord Commander returned. His suit was covered with the gore of countless World Eaters. Following him were one thousand slaves. And driving besides him was his Land Raider.

The Lord Commander knew that Slaanesh was pleased, and that he was following Slaanesh’s grand plan. He only hoped that Slaanesh would deem him fit to rebuild the Emperor’s Children, if not he would enjoy the work.

* * * *

Four weeks later the Ultramarines under the command of Commander Naceron, and under the provisional authority of Inquisitor Barry, arrived on Palidius VI. Half of the major cities were now only inhabited by ghosts. Of Palidium there was a mystery, the other cities had killing fields that were dozens of miles long. Bodies spread out from the cities like a blood splatter from a blunt instrument. But they could not find more than half of the bodies that should have littered the killing fields of Palidium. The early reports showed that the invasion had been by World Eaters but it wasn’t their pattern to take survivors.

It was early the next morning when the Ultramarines found their answer. In the fanning gore fields radiating from Palidium, there was an irregularity, a large section of the killing fields were barren of bodies. When the Inquisitor and Commander went to the field, they found their answer, the World Eaters in that area were dead, and they could not have continued their massacre.

“It looks like they met the Emperor’s grace,” Naceron issued proudly. “They were slaughtered like those they chased.”

The inquisitor was not so sure. “If that is so, then by whom commander? No call for help went out; no bodies other than the World Eaters littered this field. Who did this? Where did the inhabitants go?” His eyes followed the rhino tracks as they lead into the distance. “The tracks end at the base of the cliff.”

Looking down, the inquisitor saw an item partially buried under a dead World Eater. A portion of an Emperor’s Children shoulder pad and shoulder had been separated for its owner. He picked it up and showed it to the Ultramarine commander. “This does not bode well for the Imperium commander.”

A marine standing near the commander spoke up, “Why is that Lord Inquisitor?”

“Because neither force destroyed the remaining cities, they both left,” the inquisitor spoke with finality. “Burn the fields, contact the head of the planetary government, the factories must be reopened.”


---------------------------------

“Commander we have reentered real space.”

“Very well navigator. Helm set course for Cefelon II, Astropath contact Cefelon’s defense net, sensors scan for enemies.” Commander Salius knew that his orders were already being followed, but his training required he issue them each time the re-entered real space. He was commander of Deliverance, a battle barge in the service of the Ordo Malleus. Their mission was to stop at Cefelon, and deliver the Grey Knight’s secret cargo.

Captain Fergus of the 235th Grey Knight Company walked up and stood next to him. As usual at this time of day, Fergus had come directly from the morning ceremonies and was wearing his duty uniform.

“Captain Fergus, we will be on Cefelon in sixteen hours.”

“Very good commander, once the cargo is in on Cefelon, I will feel much better. The Emperor’s Tarot has shown a great danger for this mission, but now we are almost done, I feel relieved.”

* * * *

The impact vibrations were muted but they could feel them.

“Sensors, what was that,” Demanded Salius. The commander knew that collision with space debris was to be expected, but it was not something that one ignored.

“No contact sir, but the shields are now up.”

“Very good, get some servitors out there to determine what hit us. And I want an assement of the damages in 1 minute.”

The sudden noise of the klaxon surprised everyone and had caused Captain Fergus to jump.

“Commander there are multiple hull breaches, level 15 forward 6, 7, and 8. Level 24 aft 27, 28. Level 25 aft 27. Pressure doors closed,” droned a monitoring servitor.

Fergus’ question was even toned. “What hit us commander?”

“We don’t know yet Captain Fergus, but the damage seems deep, but localized,” was Salius’ response.

The Grey Knight commander turned to leave, “I will ready my men, have yours prepared.”

* * * *

The three dread claw assault pods had been floating in space for three days, waiting for the ship that was predicted to return to reality at this location. As foreseen, it arrived exactly where the portents had indicated Within moments of the target ship’s entry into the material, the dread claws’ engines had fired, hurtling toward the marine battle barge. The first few moments after the transition from the Warp to real space ships were blind, their sensors useless.

In two of the chaos boarding ships rode space marines of the Emperor’s Children Legion and a passenger. In the third was a present the Emperor’s Children had prepared for the Grey Knights, something Lord Commander Bowman thought they might enjoy.

* * * *

As the dread claw’s boarding pincers pierced the hull of the battle barge, they fired their retro-rockets to slow their impact. The velocity was slowed only minimally to protect the occupants while still driving their boarding pincers deep into the hull, securing them to the side of the imperial ship.

The third dread claw never fired the retro-rockets; it used its momentum to burrow itself deep in vile imperial ship. The point of impact was planned to deliver the cargo where it would have the greatest impact. The destination was to be a large gallery used for military drilling, but the dread claws momentum had carried it through the gallery and into a ships armory.

Around the entry wounds created by the dread claws, the ships crew died as they were exposed to the vacuum of space. The chaos ships fired massive lasers designed to clear debris from the boarding hatches, and eliminate any unfortunates nearby. A moment of intense discharge and the sphincters at the end of each vehicle opened, releasing the occupants upon the unsuspecting crew.

From the first two pods, emerged 18 Emperor’s Children in terminator armor and one Sorcerer of the Thousands Sons. They came out shooting, the ships crew was already responding to the boarding, their training allowing them to react to the danger. But in turn each group was mowed down. The terminators marched inexorably towards their destination.

From the third pod emerged the most talented killer of Khorne, a bloodthirster. The rage it felt for being a captive of Slaanesh was unleashed, it was oblivion incarnate, an unstoppable force bent on destroying all it could reach. As it hacked its way out of the armory, it ran into Grey Knights running to arm themselves. The marines never had any chance. The bloodthirster knew that the one that had captured it was near, and its path was to destroy him.

* * * *

The boarding claxon was sounding in the bridge. The ship had gone from post warp preparations to counter boarding actions. The commander had not issued a command, and he knew that the ship was reacting as trained.

“Sensors, what do we have aboard,” was the commanders only statement.

“Servitors show two boarding locations, three dread claw class boarding ships,” was the faceless answer issued from a mechanical voice of a communication servitor.

“Scan the area for ships, proceed on course,” the commander paused. Something was wrong, but what he couldn’t tell. A feeling of dread had crept into him. “Contact Cefelon and warn them we have been boarded. Warn them the enemies are the fallen.”

* * * *

The captain of the Grey Knights had sense the bloodthirster the moment it had left the dread claw. The boarding ship had been shielded to prevent the daemon from moving, and from psykers from sensing the daemon.

He could sense the Fiend of Khorne on the ship. The waves of energy emanating from it were simply hateful. But in those psychic waves he could feel the murderer of Khorne was searching for something, or some one it truly hated. That was unusual for a minion of Khorne, hatred was alien to them. He sent a mental command to the teleport servitor, and a split second later he was standing on the command teleport pad. Nine marines were in the chamber, five in Terminator armor and 4 standing in their dress uniforms.

“What is the status,” inquired Fergus.

“Amory one is destroyed. Squad Invictus is gone. A bloodthirster is aboard the ship, how it got here we do not know as of yet. We have only honor guard in armor right now. The unit was in morning prayer.” Lieutenant Bale was reading the status from a data slate. “There are two boarding actions. The second boarding action is by marines in terminator armor, chapter unknown at this time.” As he spoke, Bale and the other marines were donning their terminator armor.

“Squads Purius and Honourus are to hold the invaders; we will deal with the Rage of Khorne. Have the rest of the squads encircle the beast. What is near the invaders?” Fergus was intimately familiar with the ship, but the memory core of the ship would be projecting possible attack points.

“It shows they are most like to head towards engine room four. Aproximate time in route, 15 minutes, with the most likely path is through Apothicary Room 7.” Bale was armored now; the dressing servitors had finished their job, and were now dressing Fergus.

“Genestore 1 is in Apothicary 7. Signal all units to Apothicary 7.” Fergus stepped to the teleport platform; the sacred engravings were now glowing. “We will need to stop the child spawn of Khorne.”

* * * *

The Lord Commander stepped into Apothicary 7, and stared at the huge steel doors that separated him from his prize. His eyes aglow, he nodded slowly. Tech priest Bechala twitched as the mechandrites extruded from his body and reached towards the control panel. The sparked as they made contact.

“Lord Commander, the dogs are upon us.”

The massive chaos lord looked to the passenger that had ridden with them. “Sorcerer of Tzeentch now is your time to earn your fee.”

Rtch’ Cla smiled at his erstwhile allies and as he held his hand aloft, started to chant.

Bowman sat heavily on a table, his weight easily supported on the surgical platform. “You have 2 minutes Bechala. The rest take up positions.” And the lord commander sang.

* * * *

The squads of Grey Knights were proceeding down the corridors with a practiced efficiency. They were moving up from the engine room to the Apothicary, prepared to engage the boarders.

It was at D corridor they met the first resistance. Packs of daemons were running through the ship. Daemons of Tzeentch were assaulting the crew in a haphazard fashion. But the guns of the crew had no effect upon them. The marine’s well practiced bolter drills cut down the daemons. They marines kept moving forward at a practiced pace, maintaining their over watch drills.

But quickly the marines realized the number of daemons was increasing. The constant pressure of daemons had the crew on the retreat, and had stalled the marines advance. Their initiative had stalled, and they had taken up a defensive position.

They quickly signaled that the imitative had failed, and that a flanking movement was needed. Two more squads signaled they were ready and heading to the Apothicary by a different route.

* * * *

The steel door opened on silent hinges, a slight sound of a pressurized environment expelling into the room was the only sound.

Inside were 40 containers of genetic gold, the geneseed of twenty fallen warriors of the Grey Knight chapter. This was the prize, what the fighting had been for, the task Slaanesh had set before him.

Lord Commander Bowman stood up, and walked to the door as his retinue collected the containers. The sound of bolter fire had grown closer over the last few minutes.

“Growing tired sorcerer? Or has Tzeentch run out of daemons?”

Beads of sweat were rolling off of Rtch’ Cla’s face. His skin was slick with effort. “The Grey Knights have strong wards Lord Commander; it has taken much to summon what I have.”

“Very good, we are leaving now. Give them something to play with as we leave.”

“Uhhhg that should hold them, I am spent. We must leave now.”

A terminator stepped forward, “All vials are accounted for, and secured my Lord.”

“Very good, make for the ships. Thank you Rtch’ Cla, your service is done.”

As the Terminators stepped out of the room, Rtch’ Cla’s form faded, leaving the Emperor’s children to their own. Outside the daemons of Tzeentch were flittering down the corridor. They were scouring the path to the boarding ships.

“As the Tzeentch sorcerer said my lord. The forces of the false emperor could do nothing.”

“They have their hands full.” His laughter filled the corridor.

* * * *

The Blood Thirster was raging through the corridors. The Grey Knight terminators were hard pressed to keep up with it. They had tried to engage it, but it had ignored them. It kept charging down the corridor striking out at anything that came within reach. The Grey Knights were nothing before it, the one it wanted was ahead, close. The hate it felt was boundless, and would only be sated upon the death of the servant of the enemy.

* * * *

The lord commander was the last to enter the boarding ship, all had gone well. Only one thing was left.

He stood waiting in the breach. His laughter filled him. He should have left, but the pleasure he was gaining from waiting was to good to pass up.

* * * *

The bulkhead gave way, and the Killer of Khorne stepped into the devastated area before the two boarding vehicles. The champion of Slaanesh stood before him, laughing.

The bloodthirster gave a massive bellow of rage. The sound was deafening and killed many of the crew that heard it. But the lord continued laughing, and the child of Khorne charged.

But the Lord wasn’t to die today. He depressed the emergency release button. And within an instant the door irised closed, the boarding spike retracted, and the separating engines fired.

The bloodthirster howled as the prey escaped.

The ten Grey Knight terminators entered the room to see the bloodthirster howling into the void left by the departing boarding ship. The cold vacuum of space had sucked the air and debris through the rent, and the minion of Khorne had prevented itself from being sucked into space by driving the massive axe it carried into the deck of the ship. The warriors of the emperor quickly moved to circle the beast, their nemesis weapons dully humming in their hands. The Master of Rage turned to the Grey Knights and battle was joined. They Grey Knights were now fighting for their lives.

• * * *
The Lord Commander stepped into the ill lit room through the dangling curtain of flesh. He wore no armor, and carried no weapons. The sleeves of his long flowing robe concealed the large box he carried in his hands.

“Good morning Lord Commander.” A thin voice welcomed the lord commander.

“Good morning Fabius, I have brought my side of the trade, do you have your side ready?”

“Ahh commander, still direct after all these years. Yes, my side of the deal is ready, but first let me see the seeds of the Grey Knights.. I have great plans for them.”

The Lord Commander placed the box on the table next to Fabius Bile, and took a seat in the chair provided for him. Fabius was one to take his own time, he would have to wait for his side of the deal. But it would be worth the cost.
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