Battle Brother Invectman glanced down at the auspex short range scanner he held in his hand. He held up his armored fist and the squad came to a stop. The Brother-Sergeant read the scanner, though he already knew the answer it would give. His enhanced olfactory glands had detected them hours before, he knew their stench, Tyranids.
"Brothers, we are upon them"
Battle Brother Ceedus heard sergeant Invectman's statement through the comm-link in his armored helmet. He raised his bolter from its resting position. He knew they were near.
Tactical information flew across his eyes, as displayed by his power armor. He looked the Sergeant in the face and nodded.
The squad of ten prepared their weapons and bodies for a coming fight. The enemy was hunting them as much as they were hunting their enemy. These were no ordinary targets; they were Tyranids, aliens driven by one force, the will of the Hive Mind. The alien's only command was to devour all life. Each bug-like monstrosity had no other desire than to kill, eat, and survive.
Of course, this was no ordinary squad, they were Ultramarine Tyranid Hunters. They had spent years of experience and training on how to kill each beast. Their hatred of these aliens grew with every encounter, with every training exercise, with every hour of study of their biology and physiology. Fueled by hatred, and spurred by zeal these warriors prepared them selves to face their quarry.
The jungle was teeming with life, yet, the enhanced ears of the marines didn't detect the sound of a single animal. It was midday and the star which gave the planet light had reached its peak. The jungle was hot and sticky. Light poured through the canopy of trees above them. Steam rose from the ground. A slight breeze swept through the area, making the brush sway ever so slightly. The foliage was as tall as a man, and restricted the vision of the marines. Even without the blessing of sight, the marines knew their enemy was not simply near, it was upon them.
Ceedus listened, nature simply stopped when Tyranids were around, as if it feared them. All the noble battle brother heard was the sound of his own breathing, the beating of his twin hearts, and the mechanical hum of his backpack power plant. His power armor was his sanctuary. He maintained it with great care, to appease the machine spirit within. His thick armor, made of strong adamantium covered in a shell of brittle, yet heat resistant, ceramite, protected his enhanced physique. Powered bundles of cable were strung throughout the suit, which, when motivated, permitted the massive suit to move. Even the massive muscles of a space marine could not move in the thick armored shell. His body was intertwined with his armor, it was an extension of himself. As Ceedus' unwavering devotion would never let his body fall into disrepair, neither would he let his power armor. His plasteel eyes, surveyed the area around him. He turned his blue armored head.
The snap of a twig was all that announced the bladed angel which decended upon him. The hissing beast slammed its organic steel blades into him. He cursed himself as the force of the beast toppled the 1800 pound warrior backward onto his power plant.
"Fire at will!"
The sergeant's command was answered by the deafening sound of bolter fire. The massive weapons tore the surrounding foliage to pieces, each bolt finding its target. The air filled with clouds of dark ichor from the dying aliens. The bolts tore through the Tyranids like a knife, their thick carapace no match for the large caliber bolts which exploded only a split second after impact.
The hormagaunt attacked Battle Brother Ceedus with the ferocity of a rabid fiend, its scythe-like talons, dagger-like teeth and claws all searching for a weakness in the almost impenetrable armor. Ceedus raised his bolter underneath the head of the mindless killing machine. He pulled the trigger. The hormagaunts eyes flashed as its elongated head was blown from its six limbed body. Bits of flesh rained on the Battle Brother as he slid the still writhing carcass of the alien off his chest. Black alien blood stained the yellow double headed eagle carved onto the breastplate of his armor. Ceedus rose to his feet and brought his bolter to bear.
Purifying flame danced from the flamer in the hands of Brother Tydas, the burning promethium searing the brush. His probing flame was answered with the hissing of burning 'gaunt flesh. The 'gaunts hisses turning to shrill screams as they were enveloped by the flame. As the flames light danced over the blue armor of Battle Brother Tydas, he smiled, the song of the wailing aliens filling his ears.
Brother Invectman swung his power fist wide. His swing was answered by the snap of an attacking hormogaunts skull, as it was shattered upon impact inside the bag of flesh that was now the alien's head.
The fire of the bolters was answered by the sick sounding belch of a termagant's flesh borer. Its projectile of flesh consuming beetles, inspired by an electrical impulse, flew from the creature's weapon hand.
Brother Tydas felt a pinching, and then a biting, and then a tearing pain, as the beetles found a new home in the flesh of the inside of his right elbow. Normally such a weapon wouldn't make it through the armor of a marine, but the corrosive acid on the head of the beetles ate quickly through the weaker armored "skin" which allowed the marine to bend his armored arms.
Tydas took his flamer and touched the flame at the end of the barred to the inside of his elbow. Pain seared through his arm as the flame purified it from its external intruders. The marine gritted his teeth as he brought his flamethrower up for yet another discharge.
Dodging a high blow from a hormagaunts oversized talon, Battle Brother Xvadian delivered a crushing blow to the aliens midsection. It's ribs snapped like twigs as its screaming body was sent flying. Xvadian lifted his bolter to his hip and put the abomination out of its misery with a swift crack from his bolter.
While changing a clip on his bolter, Brother-Sergeant Invectman cried through his comm-link, "Courage and honor, brothers!".
Brother Ceedus roared with righteous fury upon hearing the battle cry of his Chapter as he continued to pour fourth pure, explosive, steelcrete death upon his mindless, unholy foes.
Heeding the battle cry from Invectman the rest of the squadron fought with redoubled wrath, giving their enemies what was rightfully theirs for their sins against Mankind, swift, bloody death.
Just as quickly as they had arrived, the alien horde had been annihilated.
The angels of death, the Battle Brothers of the Ultramarines, surveyed the scene. All was silent as the Brother-Sergeant gazed about himself. The air had become an almost tangible thing due to the thickness of the bloody haze about him. He beheld the severed limbs, exposed bones and entrails, and of the once great devouring beasts that had attacked him and his men. The alien's blood had pooled in spots on the over grown ground. The area of jungle in which they had fought was entirely torn apart. Bushes and underbrush had been torn to pieces during the firefight. This once quiet spot of jungle had now become a war zone.
As the rest of the marines in his squadron changed their magazines, inspected their bolters, Invectman knelt down and inspected the carcass of one or the fallen aliens. This particular alien was the one whose skull he had shattered. Its head was simply a lump of flesh, its right eye (the one which was facing upward as the alien was laying on its side) had been crushed, black blood running from the socket. Its mouth hung open, teeth shattered, and from this mouth ran its black lifeblood. Other than those blemishes, the remains were intact.
Invectman's bionic right eye probed for biological information on this particular alien. The sergeant noted the deep red pigmentation of the aliens flesh, and dark red shade of its bony back plates. It was on these back plates that the Brother-Sergeant found what he was searching for. This particular homogaunt had an enlarged external adrenal gland symbiote growing on its back. As a matter of fact, he noticed three of these glands growing on the beasts back.
Brother-Sergeant Invectman knew that rather than use weapons made by an artificer's hand, Tyranids utilized living symbiotes to augment their attack. He knew that these external adrenal glands were usually used to increase a beast's aggression, thus making a normal Tyranid faster, and more ferocious than normal. These glands, though, concerned the honorable Brother-Sergeant. Never, in any of his time as an Ultramarine, or Tyranid hunter had he seen such a deviation, at least on this size of beast.
The marine sat and wondered to himself in silence. As his eyes traveled down the back of the hormogaunts back, it was here that he noticed the most disturbing thing he had seen as a member of the Legions Astrates.
"Brother Ceedus, approach", called the Sergeant.
"Look at this marking.", replied Invectus, indicating the creatures rear plate.
Ceedus bent down to gaze at the back plates of the alien. It was here that he saw a tiny symbol, a triangle with four branches coming out of its peak. He knew the mark. This alien bore the symbol of the blood god, Khorne.