Seven forms padded along
the narrow passage. Lights streaming from the ends of their guns. They were walking slowly, cautiously, tentatively.
loud crunch echoed in the passage. The lead form looked down, his light shinning on the floor.
"What is it?" One of
"Why did we stop?" Another asked.
The first form crouched down, examining the floor. "It’s
a skull." He said to those behind him. "Be careful, we're getting close."
"Great, now we should be cautious." One said
The troupe moved on down the hall. For several minutes they crept along the passage passing ancient
mosaics and frescos of long dead heroes and forgotten battles. Statues adorned every doorway, and filled many alcoves.
are we down here anyway?" A voice chimed in breaking the silence.
"Yes, why are you here indeed?" A deep angry voice
broke in cutting to the bones of the group.
Suddenly light flooded the passage and hidden doorways all around them
opened up. They were surrounded, surrounded and defenseless.
Seven men stood
on the raised dais, each with a black clothed man to their left. Seven poles stood behind them, each with chains and spikes
covering every inch of their surface.
"Heretics, you are here to answer for crimes against the Imperium. For treachery,
consorting with aliens, murder, heresy, possession of forbidden alien artifacts, for possession of forbidden Imperial artifacts,
robbery, sabotage, etc, etc, etc. You get the idea." Said a man clothed in white robes, carrying a large librum. He sounded
bored but his voice rang out clearly nonetheless. "For these crimes and more you are sentenced to be crucified and burned
as heretics and traitors. Do you have any last remarks?"
The man at the center of the dais raised his head. "Yes, yes
I do. How would you like to be buried?"
"Wha, what?" The man in white stammered.
Suddenly the dais erupted in
motion. The man in the center drew out a laser knife and with a single swipe had cut his bonds and the throat of his executioner.
His right hand flew out catching the falling body and sending it out in front of him. Bolter shells ripped into the corpse
as a squad of Aurora marines opened fire. The man hardly slowed tearing the bolt pistol and chainsword
free from the dead body he sent a hail of precise shells into the marines lines. Each shell splitting into the junction of
helmet and chest plate. Ten marines reeled back their fire spinning off wildly; ten marines clutched at torn necks, ten marines
fell dead to the ground.
Around the center man the other six had freed themselves and re-armed from the weapons of
their executioners. Though with not nearly as much speed or skill as their officer they turned their attention outward.
divisions of the Yulgar Imperial Guard were present. The entire 175th and 224th regiments were on the parade ground around
the prisoners. That included all tanks and equipment... that included supplies. The prisoners took little time in sending
out well aimed fire into the supplies littering the field.
Explosions tore all around as explosives, munitions, and
fuel canisters were ignited under the weapons fire. Whole platoons of guardsmen were annihilated instantly. The chaos and
confusion was rampant.
Through it all the man at the center of the dais stood still. Slowly he raised his arm, bringing
his pistol level with the fleeing form of the Inquisitor and his retinue.
A single shot broke above
the cacophony. A single round sliced through the air straight at the Inquisitor. A single round pierced the man's leg, blasting
apart. A single man fell to the ground.
Gue'vesa'O Vash walked forward slowly, his unit forming up around him. His
men fired into the inquisitorial retinue, killing them to a man... or machine, it was hard to tell with those strange creatures.
Ho... What th... who the he... hell are you." The inquisitor coughed his vision going blurry.
O'Vash looked down at
the quivering man. He raised his pistol to the mighty official of the Imperium's head. "The rogue element, that’s all."
He said. When he walked away his pistol was one shell lighter.
The door was blasted
inwards with a concussion of blue fire. The elite squad stormed in overpowering the defenders with overwhelming firepower.
The carbines, pulse rifles and burst cannons felt much better to the squad then the clumsy imperial weapons. They had managed
to relocate their weapons as they stalked through the base. Outside the sounds of battle reached them but inside the men went
to work quickly. They were now in the central power station. They had already blasted through the command center stealing
a great deal of vital information and set charges in the armory. Just one more pack of charges to place and they could leave.
Vash wouldn’t let the Tau soldiers fighting and dying outside down.
"Give me forty seconds." One of the soldiers
called as he worked over the explosives huddled under a repair hatch. The rest of the team fanned out setting up in covering
Vash stood on the center of the control bay, chainsword clutched in his left fist, pulse carbine slung under
his right arm. Something didn’t feel right.
"FOR THE EMPEROR!" Came a battle cry from... somewhere... no, from
Vash dove backwards bringing his chainsword up in front of himself just barely blocking the down slash of an
assault marine sergeant. "DAMN!" He cried his pulse carbine blowing the marines left kneecap apart. The marine screamed in
pain and rage... well perhaps just rage. Chainsword clashed against chainsword, weapons screeching in protest as their razor
edged teeth caught fast. The powerful weapons tore free from their wielders as the opposing forces sent the locked weapons
flying into the air. Vash rolled sideways barely avoiding the sergeant’s first volley of bolter shells. He kept on rolling
the marines fire right on his heels. Then he hit a set of plasteel stairs and came to a stop. The marine howled in triumph
raising his weapon. Vash grimaced and looked away as the still locked weapons tore into the marines exposed head.
goes up must come down." He muttered getting to his feet.
Throughout the room the marines battled his squad, already
two of his elites were down, and another one wounded but still fighting. The technician still worked to secure the explosives,
as of yet not noticed by the marines. A stray bolter clipped the adamantium near him sending shrapnel into his arm. He gritted
his teeth and kept working. "10 seconds."
More marines could be heard stomping down the hallways, converging on their
position. O'Vash spun sending photon grenades skittering into the passages, rewarded by the screams of marines. The last of
the assault marines fell dead, his upper body vaporized by hot plasma. The gue'vesa'vre smiled at his handiwork. Kissing the
looted plasma rifle he threw it aside. Tau tech was better.
The soldiers sped around the entryway sealing the doors.
Angry fists slammed into the metal as the marines collided with the obstructions to their prey.
"What now, where trapped?"
One of the men asked his face flushed and face bleeding from where his ear had been torn off. None of the others looked any
better, numbering only five now.
"DONE!" Cried the technician.
Vash looked all around his eyes scanning the
room. "We go up." He said noticing the scaffolding rising to the ceiling. Without hesitation the squad moved to comply. All
"Reese, lets go!" He called out to the wounded man.
Blood streaming from multiple wounds and face
charred on one side the man looked at his officer. He slowly shook his head. "No, this is as far as I go. Get out of here.
Tis a good day to die for the Tauva."
Vash merely nodded and tossed the man another gun. With a smile the doomed soldier
rested his weapons on the rail of the deck. He would make the Imperials pay dearly for his life.
Up, up, up the team
climbed. Helping each other all the way up. If one slipped two others grabbed him and pulled him up. 101st floor, 110th floor,
122nd floor. Up, up, up they went losing all track of time as they climbed into the air along the power bays and into a maintenance
shaft, far into the center of the main tower. Far below them they heard the screams and gunfire, then silence. They muttered
a solemn prayer for their fallen comrade.
The hatch opened with a hiss, steam
pouring into the air. The four battered, dirty, and wounded men pulled themselves onto the highest roof of the great Imperial
spire. There was almost nothing up that high. Just three large spikes jutting into the sky, each bearing a torn imperial flag
buffeted in the harsh wind.
"Whe... where’s the trans... trans... Oh shit you know what I mean." Huffed one of
the troopers as he tried to catch his breath.
"I don’t know." Said another.
"Should be here." Piped in
"Are the communicators working?" Vash asked his voice commanding.
One of the group pulled a large canister
shaped item from his belt and punched a few buttons. A mean sizzle met their ears. The trooper turned the canister around
to see a bullet hole in its base. He looked up his eyes wide in horror.
"I don’t know whether to be glad it stopped
the bullet or terrified that the beacons dead." He said his voice tinged with fear.
Vash strode to the side of the
spire and looked down. He could see men running up the spiral staircases through the great shattered windows. He watched the
glow of a plasma rifle as it was carried up the stairs. He wheeled about to address his troops.
"Any of you have a
plasma pistol or rifle?"
One of them sheep fully shook his head. "I did sir, but I tossed it aside."
frowned in silence. Then he noticed something. One of the spikes was a good bit larger than the others. He stomped forward
and examined the thing. It was worn with decades of weather and its intricate carvings were long gone. But he could still
barely make out the edge of a door. He put his carbine to the crack and squeezed the trigger. Plascrete chunks flew out as
a hole was blasted into the door. Reaching into the blast hole he gripped the edge of the door and pulled. Screeching the
decaying portal grinded open.
Inside was a small comms room, old beyond measure and filled with cobwebs and dust.
It had clearly been abandoned long ago as its tenants had either been killed or simply assigned elsewhere. He stepped inside
and looked around. If he was right there should be an equipment cabinet somewh... ah there. He stepped across the room pushing
aside the webs and debris with his gun. Reaching the small storage unit he tried to open it. "Ah, jammed!" He groaned.
of frustration he gave the thing a hefty kick that hurt more than he had expected. Hopping up and down slightly he turned
a small circle to face his men still standing in the doorway. It took him a moment to see the expressions on their faces.
"Oh don’t look so shocked." He grumbled.
"No sir, look." One said pointing behind him. Turning around
Vash saw that the cabinet had opened when he kicked it. Smiling he saw its contents. Grenades, flares, and what he had wanted
a single plasma rifle its storage rack edged in warning tape a large sign above it giving notice of its hazard. Chuckling
he tore it free from its straps and ran to the door.
He pushed past his shocked men running to the edge of the tower
again. He took a grenade from his belt and unceremoniously pasted it onto the rifle. Setting the timer for 5 seconds he tossed
it into the air and away from the tower as hard as he could. With a cry he dived away his men doing the same.
that rent the air turned heads on the ground, all looking skyward with confusion.
Ximoro'An stood in the war room arguing furiously with Shas'O Grim'fal.
"We must wait, give him time." O'AN said pounding
"NO, my men are dying Shas'O, not yours. I say we have waited long enough, the plan has failed. We must
cut our loses and retreat!" O'Fal cried equally as loud.
"You cannot know tha... WHAT!" Ximoro'AN roared as a Shas'ui
came up to him.
"Um, shas'O, with all due respect we have received a signal. But it can wait if you don’t wis..."
"What signal?" He cut in now serious and quiet.
not really a message, but a large plasma blast was seen on top of the Imperial spire. It was set off with a photon explosion.
That’s him. Shas'el!" O'An yelled snapping orders around. "GET AN ORCA UP THERE NOW, WITH ME IN IT!"
stairway was clogged with bodies. Light green power armor meshed with the tan of imperial guard fatigues. The Gue'vesa were
desperately trying to hold the roof. They couldn’t last much longer though. Already another man was down. Not dead,
but not able to fight. He lay on the ground, his mind wandering in and out of consciousness. They would be overrun soon.
loud boom turned their heads, the Imperials on the stairs surged forwards believing air support had come. The rage of a burst
cannon shattered that belief. O'An hung out of the back of the Orca, his burst cannon spitting death into the stairway.
GO!" HE called down to the Gue'vesa. The beleaguered survivors gathered their wounded man up and made for the drop ship's
ramp. Imperials surged for the roof but they were too late. The orca soared away into the distance, its passengers safely
"Brother Captain!" Called initiate Vogden.
"What is it scouted!"
Shouted the angry company commander. He had lost too many men today to be in a good mood, and with nothing to show for it.
have found something, something strange."
"What is it?" The captain snapped.
"We, we don’t know sir, some
kind of device."
"What does it look like?"
"Well, we can’t stop it, and its counting down."
Querot Mainar, prime jewel of the Imperium on planet Z4-66G seemed to expand from the inside. Flames jetted
from every window, bolts and panels were sent flying away as they were shot from their attachments. The spire ruptured with
an almighty boom, a giant mushroom cloud of fiery destruction roaring into the sky.
Down on the fields below the Imperials
watched as their last hope was lost. Gone was their headquarters, gone was their high command, gone was the governor, gone
where the space marines.
Weapons fell to the ground and hands raised into the air. Tanks came to a halt their hatches
popping open and crews spilling out. There was nothing left but surrender.
Gue'vesa'O Vash and Shas'O Ximoro'An watched
the scene from the view screen of the orca drop ship. Both haggard officers smiled. A job well done was always satisfying.