Why'd it have to be clowns?

The situation was grim, even by the standards of the 41st millennium. Stuck deep in enemy territory, surrounded by said enemy, who could summon demons, alone, and unarmed.

"Fuck." grumbled Michael as he looked around. The fleshy growths were caked all over the structure Michael found himself in. Well, what was left of the structure. It looked to be an old industrial building, or maybe a warehouse. It was all very bleak and metallic, at least where the obscene fleshy warp growths hadn't latched on. The roof had caved in and parts of it were on fire, though the hole was more like a gouge. Already the Slaaneshi growths were starting to fill in the hole.

The room itself was rather bare. A dirt and debris covered floor, a few I-beam supports jutting up and forming a sort of latticework with the growths taking up most of the upper reaches. One of the walls on the other side was knocked down and Michael could see flames and twisted metal. With a shrug, he slowly set off in that direction, glancing all around for signs of movement.

Stepping out of the warehouse, Michael took notice of the source of the flames. It was an Imperial Valkyrie that had taken a nosedive into the pavement. It was in more or less one piece, much to the soldier's surprise, with only a wing torn off, embedded into a building further down. The pilots were obviously dead, seeing as bits of them were strewn about the front of the Valkyrie. The transport cabin had been looted and thankfully there were no other bodies beyond the pilots. That either meant that Michael's squad members were still alive or the cultists had carted the bodies away.

He was about to move on to try and find his squad mates when a flash of movement caught his eye. It came from above, a streak of color going from one ruined rooftop to another. Michael stood and stared for a moment. Another flash of color, an almost blinding array of blues, greens and other outlandish colors. Then another, and another and another.

"Damnit," was all Michael could utter as he broke into a run after the figures.

Deep in Slaaneshi territory, lightning fast figures in colorful outfits heading deeper into Chaos territory. In Michael's mind, that meant only one thing.

Harlequins.

Ducking into a doorway, he ran through a bombed out warehouse, keeping an eye on the roofs and exposed latticework. There were more of the obscene growths on the metal supports and the walls and the numbers seemed to grow as he ran. He passed intact crates stamped with the Ministorium seal, some were defaced with Chaos symbols, mostly the Star of Chaos and the Slaaneshi symbol. Briefly, he worried that the Chaos symbols didn't affect him like they did the other Guardsmen.

Throwing his metal right shoulder against a door at the end of the warehouse, Michael busted out into a courtyard. There were anti-air emplacements positions amidst supply crates and milling cultists. One such Slaaneshi cultist was standing not twenty feet from the door, directly in Michael's path. Not having time to slow, he brought his metal prosthetic up, grabbed the surprised cultist by the head, and slammed the back of their skull into a supply crate. The cultist's skull cracked open like a ripe melon. Sliding into cover, the guardsman snatched up the cultist's lasrifle-an archaic pattern, but still serviceable-and opened fire on the only now reacting Chaos minion.

Imperial Guard bootcamp and his own "training"-several years of playing shooting games-helped him rack up the kill count on the cultists. The Guard taught him how to shoot, video games taught him WHAT to shoot. Cultists dropped left and right, starting with ones already holding weapons, then ones milling around munitions and fuel canisters. The courtyard lit up with explosions and lasfire. Michael kept moving, taking potshots when there was an opening in the crates. He was finally pinned down when he dove behind a some sandbags encircling a Hydra gun emplacement.

"Shit," growled the young man, poking his rifle out and picking off another cultist. Ok, situation analysis. Pinned down, one clip of ammo, no backup and more of the enemy than he could handle. Well there was only one option: Go down fighting.

Michael was about to stand up and deliver another salvo of lasfire when the enemy stopped firing. There was a "Fft fft fft" sound and cultists started dropping, plumes of blood erupting from the entry wounds. In an instant, blurs of color were dancing through the crates, leaving cultist corpses in their wake.

The troupe had arrived.

Seeing his chance, Michael jumped up and ran over to the Hydra battery. Throwing open the hatch, he climbed in, grabbed the control and swiveled the flak cannon about and down. Though the narrow port, he could see some of the color blurs pause, then leap away. It was only then he squeezed the triggers, turning the wooden supply crates to splinters and the remaining cultists into a fine red mist. Michael then turned the battery on the other Hydra emplacements, sending them up in a fireball. Once everything was a smoking ruin, he started grabbing the controls with his prosthetic and began tearing the battery apart.

Stepping out of the now inoperable Hydra battery, Michael slowly moved through the crates, looting weapons and ammo from the bodies. Looking up from one of the bodies that had gotten mulched by the flak gun, he realized that he was surrounded by the Harlequins. One by one, their Holo-fields lowered, revealing thin humanoids decked out in eccentrically colored garb and stylized masks. They wielded pistols and swords in the typical Eldar style.

"Clever." said Michael as he slung his lasrifle over his shoulder and put his hands up. He wasn't about to be killed by some some space clowns. he had more important things to do, like rescue his squad, murder a handful of demons and kick a god's ass up and down the multiverse


Author's Notes: Ah yes, another difficult to write chapter. I tend to not plan things (With the exception of a few key bits) and I kept wondering "What would Michael do now?". Seriously, I'll be damn happy when I get through the Slaanesh chapters (Maybe two more chapters left in this "arc"?). Next chapter however will be an interlude. A sort of "Meanwhile, back at the ranch" chapter.