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All original characters are my creation, and may be used more or less freely (although referencing would be appreciated).
Second Turtle to the Left
He knew that noise. He knew the noise of the sudden entrance into the materium. The burst. The thrill. The alarm. They were falling. They were damned. He was in a cell in a vessel that was plummeting itself to the planet below. He didn't care. They had taken everything from him, his ship, his life, his warrant. He only laughed.
"What happened?" There were many humans in the bridge, only three were alive and only two were sane. Inquisitor Kayleck kept her vision down not looking into the Navigator's eye. The abhuman didn't seem to care, too occupied convulsing like the rabid madman he know was.
"Darkness. The astronomican. I'm blind. Blinded. The golden path... is no more!" The revelation was one hard to bear, even for the prophet who madly attempted to shriek his eyes with gory fingers. The Emperor's light didn't shine. And soon no light shone for the Navigator for he was knocked out by an inquisitorial punch.
"Throne!" Kayleck's frame wasn't that of a brawler. She for the most part contented herself with appearing to be an inoffensive dancer. More than many had undervalued her, taking too long to consider that the form of a duellist is in fact as lithe as that of a ballerina.
"Inquisitor" the voice of the storm trooper captain sounded calm even in the situation. "I've teams checking the ship, Brother – Captain Ran-Aldib and his Astartes are also aiding to the task. The Gellar fields appear to be still standing. We don't know what happened, we have lost potency on the warp drive. We are being drawn by the gravity of the planet below. It is slow but it will be faster soon enough... I suggest we find someone who can fly this ship or we are going to have a rough ride." There was a smile on the captain's lips, the idea of a complicated planet entry sounded funny for a veteran of the D-99 Elysian.
With a resigned sigh Inquisitor Halwinnit Kayleck of the Ordo Xenos took the piece of advice. Unfortunately most of the Ollanius' Revenge personal capable of actually flying the light cruiser were gathered at the bridge when the alarm started and somehow they had been terrible at avoiding the Navigator's gaze. Or something worse happened. Something she didn't want to ponder. The Inquisitor gave a quick cursory inspection of those gathered. Most were dead with their eyes open in a shocked expression. Others, more fortunate, had taken longer to die hitting themselves hard against the consoles and bleed profusely. Still there were some that missed the show.
"Captain Ferros, vox Sergeant Boon it seems his... companion isn't here. Maybe he knows where she is." The Inquisitor couldn't care less about the frolicking partners of her troopers, and the purple eyes of the Cadian sergeant were certainly popular among the Navy officers.
A nod, a smirk, a short vox conversation, and a minute later a dishevelled woman wearing a Kar Duniash's Navy uniform, clearly unfit Karskin boots, and a satisfied smile appeared at deck.
"Frak! What happened?"
"Captain Herdess take control of the vessel and land us at the ground. In one piece preferably. Now." Telling the woman that they didn't actually knew what happened wasn't the best course of action.
"I'm only a Commander and I can't do it alone." The nervousness on the woman's voice was obvious, still she was to be commended for he sat herself at the captain's throne and started tampering with the controls.
"In name of the Inquisition I would like to commend you on your promotion. Captain Ferros here can vox most of the personal on the quarters tell us who you need. The Emperor protects."
It was a hard hour and a harder landing. Many people run at the time, it was hot, both due to the nervousness of the crew and the heating of the atmosphere. Fortunately the The Ollanius' Revenge was a sturdy old vessel, a ship that had always made the Inquisitor proud. They were a black scar, a scar of four and a half kilometres of length, in a deserted area. The recently ascended Captain Herdess might not consider her skilled in the art of landing light cruisers in unknown planets without the aid of a docking bay, but she had certainly proven herself capable. Around the landing were tall canyons, rocky formations and some forests.
What worried the inquisitor were three revelations that she had had during the fall. The first, if the instruments of the ship functioned correctly, they were in Graia, a forge world deep in the eastern fringe. If this was indeed Graia it was much less industrialized that one would expect, no one had spotted any facility from the Adeptus Mechanicus as they did planet fall. Instead what they had seen was some unknown xenos architecture. That was the second thing that the inquisitorial conscience. The third issue at the back of her mind was the more pressing though, all the psykers on the vessel had gone mad or were dead. For the throne there was something wrong.
"Did you recognize that vessel tribe leader?" The thought was a complicated and rushed one. A thought that was repeating and replicating itself through the mind of those gathered. The tribe leader was old. Had travelled far. And had studied farther. But the truth was that he had no insight for his fellows. He didn't recognize the craft.
"It must be Terran." It was only an educated guess, it was clearly not theirs, and the bane of the creators lacked the skills and the interests to construct such a thing. It was a good guess though, or as good as any, almost correct. It didn't calm the others. That arose more questions that it answered. For if it was Terran why had they constructed such a monstrosity? Why had they landed with such... lack of grace? Even Terran pilots were better than that. Something was amiss.
"Dark Templar Talrisis, gather some zealots and go investigate"
"Trooper Van Saar coordinate with the Magos and the Enginseers I want a list of the damages in the vessel and repairs necessary in ten minutes. Sergeant Argol take the sniper team to the Ollanius' roof and provide cover. Trooper Buticularo you are in charge of the Vox. Corporal Thor, trooper Bartle, trooper O'Hen you are on drill duty, turn the boarding parties of the imperial Navy into soldiers worthy of his name! Quartermaster Ivy, trooper Guts, trooper Catallus coordinate with Sister Silvana and get me a campaign hospital. Trooper..."
The orders kept flowing, the Captain was clearly skilled in shouting them and the men were more than capable of following. Of course serving under Inquisitor Kayleck's command demanded that they were more than capable. All of them stood firm, wearing proudly the black and red fatigues of the storm troopers under the carapace armour. Most hailed a collection of tools, weapons and assorted gear distinct from their companions. Each of the soldiers hailed from a different regiment of the guard, all of them had survived several campaigns in most cases battling the enemy without, the aliens. Once they had thrived on those battlefields they were pushed into the Schola Progenium and drilled the basics again. Those that had made it were given equipment that would make a guardsman drool, a chance to die in His name, and the hard news that training never ended. Captain Ferros was proud of his troopers and with the aid of Brother – Captain Ran-Aldib pushed them as far as they could. Simply put the thirty men and women under his command were a much deadlier force than anyone familiar with the guard ranks would expect.
"Throne! Move!" Once the commands were finished every trooper moved to carry their particular set of commands, a group of them started scouting the area surrounding the fallen vessel while others started digging trenches and fortifying the terrain. As a group moved towards the interior of the Ollanius' Revenge the Astartes emerged. Six towering figures, eclipsing that of any man, garbed in the black and silver ceramite power armour of the Deathwatch and covered with cloaks of the finest cameleoline. The Alien Hunters Kill Team favoured stealth.
"Captain Ferros, you are in command until I return. I wish to examine the constructions we saw from orbit. Ensure that our prisoners are comfortable, and see if we can instil enough lucidity in an astropath to send a message." Although she was a mere human, she had donned all her battlegear, carrying a collection of archeotect, and xenos instruments that would make most techpriest drool. The Ordo Xenos took command of the expeditionary force. "Brother – Captain let's move."
When one is a capable mercenary it takes some special things to pike ones interest. Commander Sertes fancied himself such an individual. And he was now certainly surprised. For the contract that he was receiving was from a dead man. Commander Sertes was pretty confident, almost sure, that dead men were not able to issue contracts. Still his interest was picked and he wasn't going to stop on a technicality.
"It appears to be some unknown xenos construction..." There were few things that frustrated her more than an unknown xenos construction. Specially in a forge world, that didn't look like a forge world at all. She was after all a member of the Ordo Xenos. As such it was her duty that such constructions didn't remain, or at least didn't remain unknown, for long.
"Brother Caleb does this architecture remind you of something?" Brother Caleb, was the most knowledgeable of the kill team when it came to Xenos, both as his rank as Apothecary and as his chapter of Origin. It is well known that the Guardians of the Covenant thrive in old archives.
"The Record of Oblivion makes no mention of this Xenos. I'm sorry Inquisitor." It was worth a try.
The longer she observed the structures through the magnoculars the more uneasy she was. The architecture seemed to flow, there were almost no geometric angles it was almost as if it had grown instead of being constructed. Some of it reminded her of the Eldar crafts.
"We will need to get a closer look. Brother – Captain on your lead." At the moment they were atop a mesa observing the structures from afar. If they were to identify them, they would need to move closer. Much closer.
Ran-Aldib the captain and leader of the kill team was an imposing Astartes, he was old for his kin and his eyes shone with a mix of barbarian cunning and scholarly strategist. The Mentors chapter enjoyed to collaborate with other imperial formations, and the vigil in the Deathwatch was a unique opportunity for such an endeavour. His weapon was old, some said that it was as old as the Heresy, being a Charnabal Sabre, a Relic Blade of impeccable craftsmanship. As the Brother – Captain intoned a silent prayer he donned the equally old Storm Shield, tinted in the black and silver of the Deathwatch.
"Brother Baldassare lead the charge. Brother Accipiter provide support."
The assault marine hailing from the Lamenters gripped his ancient power spear and caressed his winged jump pack. He was said to be a being of striking beauty, many saying that he would made his gene father proud. Accipiter for his part was a ghost, his skin had turned white long ago and his hair was pitch black, many took him for a member of the Raven Guard but he was in fact of a successor chapter the Raptors. His weapon of choice was the "raven patern" shotgun. As the Lamenter he also wore a jump pack but his was small, and extremely adapted for jungle warfare.
"Brothers Mihai, Agrippa spread out and provide cover."
The other three brothers excelled at scouting and providing covering fire. Both Mihai, from the Blood Ravens, and Agrippa from the Imperial Reavers, had been trained by great scouts themselves Cyrus and Torias Telion were well renowned scout instructors. Both were very close, favouring M.40 Targeter bolter themselves. Their biggest difference being over the Codex Astartes, relic which the Blood Raven was surprisingly not keen in adopting.
As they approached the structure they were themselves observed. Small points started to ping in the auspex of the brother – captain, a piece of archeotect taken from the watch vaults. Small machines seemed to swirl around them contenting themselves in studying the magnificent space marines.
"Captain Ferros, this is Brother – Captain Ran-Aldib it seems that the xenos possess some kind of cloaking technology. Remind the patrol to use their auspex."
The Astartes kept their advance, reliant to spring the trap, luring more of the enemy towards them before reviling in the fight. But then a vox message arrived.
"Brother – Captain, thanks. It seems that the patrol has also encountered several of those devices. Their exact words were 'Frak we are surrounded'. The xenos seem to be using some Abominable Intelligence. My boys are under heavy fire... would you mind diverting some of it?"
With a smile Brother – Captain of the Watch Ran-Aldib, hailing from the Mentors Chapter pronounced the words.
"Suffer not the Xenos to live."