Sisters of Mercy
"After Dantius III Claymores joined Black Templars under the command of Castellan Thelos, they are now on their way toward their next objective and new challenges. In the meantime, Black Templars are teaching Claymores about their way of life and their enemies…"
At the very end of the mighty Black Templar strike cruiser, just above the main engine room, the great Templar chapel is located. It is in this room that new battle brothers are promoted from fresh and green Neophytes into full-fledged battle brother. The chapel itself is decorated with colorful windows from both sides of the walls, made of stainless glass and done as paintings to represent the most notable victories of the chapter. One such window shows medieval Templar using his spear to kill a giant beast on top of the mountain, which in fact represents successful Black Templar crusade against Tyranids in defense of world Thetus. At the very end of the chapel, opposite from the entrance doors, stands a wall made of stainless glass. Spreading almost across the entire width of the wall, it shows three Marines holding their swords. In the middle is marine painted yellow representing the Imperial Fists, the legion from witch Black Templars came from. On his right is marine representing Black Templars themselves, and on his left is dark blue marine representing Crimson Fists.
These chapters are very close because the legion from which all three came from, and as a result in most sacred rituals they are always represented together. In front of the big stainless glass stands a pedestal that holds copy of the imperial bible. The book is read by Chaplain during the Neophytes initiation, as well as during the major rituals and events. The pedestal itself lies on a minor high ground, separated by few steps from the rest of the chapel floor. The chapel itself is huge, enough for over two hundred Space Marines to be present at the time. Young Neophytes would stand side by side, leaving a straight way from the doors to the pedestal. While Castellan and Chaplain would stand near pedestal, on the higher ground, and promote young Neophytes into mighty Space Marine battle brothers. Most of time the chapel was empty and quiet, from time to time only Chaplain would enter to read bible and pray to the Emperor. But today is a special event as sword clashing can be heard all across the chapel. Several steps from the pedestal stairs a circle of Claymores and Templars is formed, inside that circle Claymore Miria and Castellan Thelos are exchanging blows with their swords. This exercise became every day event ever since Claymores joined Thelos and his brothers after Dantius III mission. Space Marines see friendly sword duel as a matter of honor between their brothers, even if Claymores were not Marines Thelos and his battle brothers enjoyed the everyday training at the ship's chapel with their new sisters.
Two weeks passed since Claymores joined Black Templars and many things occurred since then. They joined Castellan Thelos original strike force, ten Black Templar ships containing around 400 battle brothers. These marines were left to finish their original mission and clear planet Erebus from the remaining forces of Chaos Lord Nemeron, while Thelos take squad of his best troops and chased Nemeron who fled the battlefield. After killing the traitor Claymores joined Black Templars and were now part of the vast fleet headed toward its next destination. But the journey itself was quite slow, two weeks have passed already and they were still some few days from their next destination. Claymores used that given time to learn more about the new world they were now living in, with their own records on Dragan's ship they now have access to Black Templars records on Thelos ship. Apart from that Claymores were also getting used to training every day with their new allies. Every day after the morning rituals Templars would train with Claymores in all sorts of close combat techniques. And what is more important than that they started to tech Claymores how to use ranged weapons, or at least to introduce new strategies regarding ranged weaponry.
But Claymores were not too impressed with it that was only natural being that they were trained to fight with swords as long as they can remember. But in this new world most enemy troops possessed some sort of ranged weaponry, so they learned basics at how to use them and what types can they expect to encounter on the battlefield. But both Claymores and Templars love to clash their swords in the main chapel, for both of them it is a matter of great honor and mutual respect. Indeed, after the mission on Dantius III, Templars accepted Claymores and treat them like equals. They even overlooked the fact that Claymores are half-daemons, and offered to teach them how to fight and survive in this new world they were so harshly introduced. Templars acted like that because in Claymores they could see themselves. Space Marines were not humans anymore, but superhuman. Genetically altered to the peak of human perfection: ribs forged together to form strong bone shield around lungs and heart, double of all major organs, additional nineteen organs to allow them superhuman abilities, incredibly strong muscle structure and many other enhancements.
Space Marines were as a result of all that immortal, around seven feet tall, able to see in the dark, able to withstand most poisons, able to breathe the air that would kill normal humans, able to life object twice of their size and many more. But unlike Claymores they are independent as every Chapter controls several worlds, to which they govern, and train their own Space Marines as well as manufacturing their own equipment. Space Marines were given the ultimate freedom unlike Claymores who had to follow the orders from the Organization. But marines have ultimate duty set to them by their Emperor, to oppose and destroy mankind enemies and to ensure the further existence of the human race in the galaxy. Every Chapter has its own codes and rituals, some of them place their own goals and agendas as priority but most offer assistance whenever it was necessary. Their similarity with Claymores was in their role, both Space Marines and Claymores represent the last hope for mankind in their worlds. Claymores are also super human but unlike the marines, who are made through genetic alterations, Claymores are made by mixing human body and daemon flesh and blood.
Claymores are ultimate warriors on their world, trained from youth and wielding the best weapons their organization can provide rarely any daemon can resist them. But unlike the Space Marines Claymores don't have their own independence, even worse is the fact that their own organization is treating them like expandable tools. And that fact is what made Black Templars like Claymores even more, they are known for their hate toward anyone use their troops as expandable cannon fodder. Claymores rely on their sisters in arms for help and guidance; their sisters are the only thing they have since ordinary people on their world see them as monsters and not saviors. Space Marines also rely on their brothers, even if people they protect see them as saints and divine beings. To Black Templars and every other chapter in the Imperium every battle brother, from new recruit to thousand year old veteran, is considered as important part of the chapter and treated with respect.
Inquisition is hated mostly because of that reason, because some Inquisitors would gladly send into pointless death thousands of soldiers not for the sake of their assignment but for the sake of improving their position in the Inquisition. Some of them sacrificed entire worlds in their own gain, some even tried to use Space Marines as cannon fodder. Templars saw this thing differently for solders like Victor and his men, they were after all trained to be the best and it was expected for them to place their lives if necessary for the sake of the mission. It was even normal for some Imperial Guard regiments to sacrifice themselves to save civilian population, but those were special kind of situations and it was expected for someone to pay the price of duty. But some Inquisitors or planetary Governors were using solders recklessly for their own goals and as a result there was sometime lack of troops when they were needed the most. Because of that fact Space Marines disliked the Inquisition and Inquisition keeps them on close eye as a result. But nevertheless, because of their unique situation they mostly overlooked at these small things and choose to cooperate for the sake of the people they sworn to protect.
When Thelos and his brothers heard from Miria about how Organization was treating them they were outraged, from her stories they realized that Claymores were not so different from them and choose to help them in their current situation. Templars also agreed on one thing: the true nature of Claymores is to remain closely guarded secret to prevent some "unwanted" element of the Inquisition to go after them. It was luck that few Inquisitors knew about Dragan's work and they to choose to stay silent about it. Thelos established contact with them as soon as he boarded his ship and explained the situation. Dragan superiors just advised Thelos what to do next and said that they will answer him in two weeks regarding his question about what to do next with the Claymores. So, to everyone else they were just normal sisters from Adeptus Sororitas assigned temporarily by Inquisition to serve alongside Castellan Thelos Templar strike force. It was like that for two weeks now: learning in the morning, practice in the afternoon and free time for the evening. Occasionally Claymores and Templars would meet in the ships Chapel and participate in friendly duels between one another. And today, it was Captain Miria and Castellan Thelos turn.
As both are superhuman in some way, Miria and Thelos are exchanging very powerful blows. Both are equipped with their standard armor (with Miria using the power armor that Dragan gave them) and both are using their standard close combat weapons: Claymore and Power Sword. One would say that Miria have the upper hand here, she is after all carrying bigger and more durable sword and have superior speed unlike her opponent. But Thelos is 300 years old veteran and he has genetic alterations as his advantage, no matter how fast Miria is he can always counter her attack. Sword clashing is becoming more powerful and more often, in the center of circle Miria is trying to get upper hand in the fight. But her efforts are countered by Thelos swordsmanship followed by powerful counterattacks.
Miria is using her full potential without using any kind of yoma powers or attacks; on the other hand Thelos is just using half of his actual strength. In addition to his normal strength, coming from his genetically altered body, Thelos power armor is giving him some extra strength in combat. While Miria is receiving some extra strength from her Sororita armor her normal fighting strength is not enough to even match the Castellan's. So Miria decided to try to outmaneuver Thelos and to use every giving chance or opening to try to knock him off his feet. But that seems rather difficult since Thelos can counter almost every Miria's attack and can even counterattack her after that. Some twenty minutes have passed so far since the start of the duel and it is Miria who is now in defense against Thelos powerful attacks.
"Traitors from within," Thelos sword hit's Miria's claymore hard "aliens from without, "another powerful hit against Miria "and daemons from beyond". Thelos swing his power sword once more and this time hit is so powerful that Miria backs off; Thelos look at her and continues to speak: "These are the forces that threat the very existence of Man." Miria attack him, but her attack was countered and Thelos managed to make an opening and kick Miria with his right foot. Miria landed on Zariel who prevent her from falling, Thelos is just standing in the middle of the circle and speaking: "It is our sworn duty to counter these threats and destroy them. It is the very essence of our existence as Space Marines." Zariel helps Miria to get up; she is now standing few meters from Thelos, ready to face him again. Thelos point's his power sword toward her and asks:
"You think you are ready to do that sister Miria?" Miria silver eyes meet the red visors of Thelos helmet, she just smiled and said: "I don't know, let me first bring you down and then we shall see."
Miria used Claymore ability to move fast and she positioned herself behind Thelos, he noticed that and tried to counteract by turning around and swinging his sword. But Miria saw this coming; she used her Claymore to block Thelos sword and make a big opening in front of her. Miria then used her left fist to punch Thelos in head with all her strength. With Claymore already superior strength combined with Angel armor (this is name of Adepta Sororitas armor) capability to increase strength of its user it was more than enough for even a Space Marine. Thelos fell on his back and his helmet was sent flying across the room. Everyone was surprised but quiet, as the fight was not yet over. Miria approached Thelos, who was recovering from attack, and point her Claymore to his chest. "So, do you admit defeat Castellan?" She asks him, Thelos just smiled and says: "First rule of war is to never underestimate your enemy."
With saying that Thelos used his sword hat was still in his left hand, he hit Miria's legs with the middle of his power sword with enough force to knock her off her feet. As Miria fell to the ground Thelos quickly keel before her and put his sword to her throat. Miria realized that she was defeated, she was now angry for not seeing that coming even if they practice all day since they joined Thelos task force. "Just because I honor our duels doesn't mean that the enemy will honor it to, you must be aware of that in all times." Thelos put's his word away and stands up "But you managed to knock me down and I must say that I am impressed. After three centuries in Emperor's service I thought that was impossible, until today at least."
He offers his hand to Miria and helps her to get up. Miria accepted his offer, and after helping her to get up, Thelos leaves her and resumed his daily business with his battle brothers. Claymores approached Miria in attempt to make her feel less frustrated about her defeat. "I must say that I am surprised." Ilena was first to address to Miria "You even managed to get Thelos knock down, and that is something."
"Yeah, you really show him back there." Helen adds. Miria sighed: "Thank you, but this is unnecessary, I was still defeated in the end". "You could avoid defeat if you didn't make one crucial mistake." Clare is addressing to Miria "You offer him to surrender and by doing that give him time to strike back at you". "Clare is right." Deneve adds her opinion to this "You should have disarm him first and then try to ask him to surrender."
"That would be pointless because he is a Space Marine and they never surrender." Clare reminds Deneve about Thelos stubbornness and how he would continue fighting even if he faces certain death. "But this is a simple training, you think that he would be little relaxed. Not as serious like that time when he charged daemon prince all by himself?" Helen talk to Clare, but she is then addressed by Ilena: "He is not that serious, you could saw by his actions that he didn't use all his actual strength or all his moves in combat. I can even say that he allowed Miria to assault him several times just to see how she will react to his counterattacks."
"Well that is not good news." Cynthia adds her opinion "If Miria is having a hard time against Thelos in those conditions than what chance would we have if we ever encounter Chaos Space Marines." She is talking about Space Marines who betrayed the Emperor and sided with the dark gods of Chaos, giving that Claymores are part of the Inquisition now there was high level of certainty to face them one day. "You didn't noticed that Miria to didn't use her full battle potential?" Tabitha is addressing to Cynthia "This is after all training, it serve to exploit new kind of strategies and learn about your opponent weakness. If Miria used her full potential then Thelos would surely die as he can't match her mirage."
"I am not too sure about that; you saw how good his reflexes are?" Everyone is looking at Ilena who is explaining why Miria's attack won't work against Thelos "They are almost as good as ours, maybe even better". "What are you trying to say Ilena?" Tabitha asks. "Say that Miria use mirage against Thelos, with his reflexes he would be able to counter her attack no matter where she strike him. And if she is vulnerable in that position, Thelos could just use his fist to hit her and Miria would be done for." Claymores look at Ilena with cold look in her eyes, she is speaking the truth. Claymores are half daemons, but Space Marines are even more than that. They are the very apex of human evolution; warriors so strong that little foes exist that can oppose them in battle.
"But I also think that is not the case with every Space Marine, only with those like Thelos who is 300 years old veteran."Deneve share her opinion: "So we would have no problem against standard Marines but we would have no chance against veterans?" Ilena is answering to that: "Something like that, but bear in mind that standard Marines focus more on ranged combat then melee. So getting to them and engaging them is also a challenge." Uma ads her opinion: "Than I suppose it's a good thing that we are on the same side." But her comment is countered by Miria: "Don't be fooled by their generosity, remember that they were thinking to let us get killed and then finish the daemon. It is only because of Dragan's sacrifice that they accepted us, otherwise who knows what would happen."
Claymores are silent; they know that this is one truth they won't to admit to themselves. Even if they are saviors to people of Dantius III, to the rest of the Imperium they are the very thing Mankind is trying to destroy. To Thelos, choosing between doing his duty and helping half-daemons was probably to toughest in his entire career. But their silence is ended by a large shouting behind them: "What are you talking about sister? That is not true, the only reason Thelos didn't join the battle immediately was because he was astounded by seeing our sisters at work!" Claymores turned and smiled as it was their new friend, Chaplain Valerius, shouting about Thelos. "Thelos is a good men, he would never let such fierce warriors like you to die in vain."
"Thank you for your comforting words Chaplain." Ilena thanks Valerius for his conforming words". "Do not thank me sister for my words are not meant to be comforting but honest. Even if it seemed that Thelos would leave you to your destiny he would help you eventually, but I fear that misleads and ls you and Dragan told him took root into his heart." That stamen is true, Dragan intentionally laid Thelos about Claymores true nature. Even if he had the best intentions that action cost him his own life and almost the lives of Claymores he brought with himself on his journeys. Chaplain Valerius continues his preaching while Claymores listen carefully: "I have been together with brother Thelos for over 100 years now. We have fought many battles together and slain many alien beasts and Chaos daemons. Thelos is very honorable men, even for Space Marines standards. I do not doubt that he would lend you a hand no matter what the situation is." However Miria is cautious, she will never forget the scene at Dantius where Thelos questioned himself to help them. She asks the Chaplain:"Then answer me this Valerius, what would happen if Thelos left us to die on Dantius?"Suddenly, Valerius look Miria eye to eye and answer in a very serious expression.
"If he let you to die I would kill him myself." Miria and others are speechless; they didn't anticipate that kind of answer. "You are who you are, you can never change that. But the fact that you fight Daemons with all your courage and zeal, even if you are half breeds, tells me that you are not the enemy but an ally to be respected. You are truly a blessing from the Emperor himself, powerful warriors that can oppose mightiest of Chaos Daemons and triumph. If Thelos left you to die that would be very dishonorable thing to do even by Astartes standards, and in my opinion that kind of man do not deserve to live." Thank you for your chanting Valerius, I see why they chose you to spread the word of your lord." Deneve gives compliment to Valerius. "Do not thank me sister, I am just doing the Emperor's bidding."
"So will you go with us in the next battle?" Clare asks him, Valerius look toward her and answer: "If my expertises are needed them I will certainly join the battle. Why do you ask sister?" He looks toward Clare for answer but instead of her Helen answers: "Because we are on this ship for two weeks now, it would be strange not to receive some news or not to arrive somewhere in all this time." Ilena added to that: "Also, is there any news from the Inquisition regarding us or Dragan?" Valerius sighed and answers: "I do not know sister, if Thelos didn't said you anything then that must mean we haven't received any news yet. Imperium is a big place so a great deal of patience is needed when you are traveling or waiting something."
Valerius finished his answering and raise his head toward smiled and said: "But I guess we are going to find out sooner than expected." Claymores look at him in confusion, and then they all turned toward pedestal. Near pedestal was Thelos, standing before his battle brothers and looking toward Claymores. He yelled: "If you finished chatting with Valerius can you please come over? I have some importing things to say."
Claymores and Valerius approach the pedestal and join Space Marines who were also standing and waiting to hear what is Thelos going to noticed that all Marines are very calm and serious, meaning that this news Thelos is going to tell them is not small thing. Indeed, after two weeks some news from the Inquisition must have been received In the meantime. And any news from that organization is not small thing at all, especially for Black Templars who do not like them very much. Situation is tense and everyone is silent, that silence is ended when Thelos acknowledged that everybody is present and that he may begin his debriefing. "Good, now that I have your attention we can proceed with this briefing."
"Briefing brother Thelos, does that mean we will go on a mission soon?" Zariel ask Thelos. "Yes brother Zariel, but first I must deal with more important thing." He turns his head toward Miria and Ilena. "Yesterday we have received the massage from the Inquisition."
"What did they say?" Miria asks Thelos. "Well… first they said that they are very sorry for Dragan's death. They assured me that his body will be transferred to his homeworld and that he will be buried with all the honors". "Strange for the Inquisition to undertake such action, they usually don't care about that kind of thing." Zariel expressed his opinion which was countered by Clare: "I don't know what kind of Inquisitor was Dragan but he was a good man. And good men deserve that kind of treatment."
"I agree sister Clare, there is no doubt that he was good and honorable men. I am just saying that it is unusual that Inquisition is doing this, most of the time they don't even recover the bodies." Zariel answered Clare, and then Thelos to join their debate: "Dragan was Inquisitor Lord brother Zariel, and very famous one to that. He is known to have discovered more those one hundred lost colonies and peacefully integrate them into the Imperium. He have also helped in stopping several major Chaos incursions and at least dozen Ork and Eldar raids, as you can see he was quite powerful Inquisitor even if was a little…strange."
"What do you mean by that brother Thelos." Valerius ask Thelos. "He was not regular Inquisitor Lord, he had more compassion and felling than any other I could remember. Just seeing the relationship with his Stormtroopers and the fact that he saved Claymores is more than enough to conclude that."
"And what about our sisters Claymores? What happens to them?" Valerius asks Thelos. "As for them the Inquisition informs me that they know everything about them to the smallest details, at least the Ordo Malleus does. They said that for now they can stay attached to us until further notice, and they thank us for helping them in keeping Dantius III in the Emperor's grace". "That's unexpected, Inquisition thanking us?" Zeriel express his opinion on the matter. In the meantime Thelos turns toward Claymores and ask: "Are you ok with this?" Ilena answers:
"We don't have that many option available, if Inquisition thinks that we are better with you then we shall stay by your side for now." Other Claymores nodded to her answer, all is going well for now. For a moment Claymores though that they will be send away on some distant world to be further investigated or worse, it seems that Dragan requested that they remain unharmed and further studied from distance. They already had few options, they can try to fight back if they ever come to take them away but Inquisition is too much powerful even for them. And if they run and escape to Rabona the Inquisition already know how to find them and it will be only a matter of time before they go after them. But luck was on their side, staying with Thelos and his Templars was indeed the best outcome they could have. They have also become fast friends with Black Templars who are so far the only ones who in some manner share the same faith as Claymores. With Templars they could be sure that they will be taken care of and not be treated as expandable anymore, what expect them with Templars only future knows. After hearing Ilena's answer Thelos says:
"Good to hear sister, I am glad that you are staying with us until further notice."Thelos then turns toward his battle brothers. "Now for the other news." Space Marines get closer to Thelos who turned around and type something into the console that is located on the pedestal. Claymores get closer to, only to be amazed as the holographic picture of the planet appeared in front of them. The planet seems earth size and it is mostly covered with desert, with the exceptions on mountain chain in the South Pole of the planet and the enormous city that covers around 40% of it. Thelos turn around again and continues with his debriefing: "Yesterday I have received a message from "Eternal Crusader", the massage was from High Marshal Helbrecht himself." Claymores noticed that all Marines in that moment started to stare in Thelos with high attention and seriousness, meaning that it is probably orders from very important person. "His orders were to move and secure this planet." Thelos points toward holographic image.
"And what is the world in question?" Zariel asks. "The planet is called Gracia Prime, it is a Forge World that houses a Titan Legion Ignitus and produce Leman Russ and Chimeras for nearby sectors."Thelos answered. "So it is a mission of great importance, what is our orders brother Thelos?" Velerius asks.
"Land on the planet and secure the Manufactoriums that house Titans and Leman Russ tanks. After that kill enemy leaders and leave to the relieving force to finish off the enemy." Thelos then turns toward Claymores. "Will you aid us on this mission Claymores?"
"Is there any particular reason why we shouldn't accompany you?" Ilena asks. "I ask this because we won't be fighting Chaos heretics or Daemons. We will be facing Orks now." "Orks?" Helen asks.
"They are a race of violent aliens who only exist for one thing – to fight." Zariel explains the nature of their new enemy. "They are savage, merciless and endless in numbers. They are usually fighting in small groups and against each other, but sometimes they form up one large group, united under a single leader, and attack unsuspected world. In that case if the world that is under attack don't receive help soon its fall is inevitable."
"Woah, those guys sound like serious threat. Why wouldn't you let us help you in that case?" Helen replied. "I concur, why you are asking us if we would help you?" Deneve asks Thelos. Thelos sighed and answered: "Because you are specialized in battling daemons, from what I understand from Dragan's reports the yoma were the only thing you were fighting against. This enemy is completely different, even if they are not as strong as daemons they have guns and they number in thousands. You may come if you wish, but wouldn't that be the waste of your unique talents?"
That is a good question, the main reason why Inquisition took interest in Claymores were their anti-Daemon fighting. To use anti-Daemon specialized troops against some other foes is not advised as there are other branches of military that can counter them. In addition to that Thelos has a point – Claymores fought only against yoma, the human renegades they killed on Dantius were nothing more than possessed individuals to them which makes them daemons in making. Now it would be different, Claymores would kill someone other than daemons and Thelos don't know how good they will be in that. Orks are tough and cunning enemy, to lose even one of them would be a great loss for which he would be held responsible as they are under his protection for the time bows her head and close her eyes, and then she asks Thelos:
"Tell me then this Castellan, are human lives in danger?" She raised her head and stare into Thelos brown eyes. He answered: "If Orks conquer this world they will kill everyone to the last men, women and child."
"Then you should already know our answer. No matter who our enemy is, our duty as Claymores is to protect Humans. If these Orks are going to slaughter everyone on that planet then we must take steps to prevent that." Miria answered Thelos, Chaplain Valerius smiled as well as other Templars."She sounds just like the crusader of the righteous." Valerius said while smiling. "Indeed Valerius, I am glad that we have solved this problem as well." Theos answered. Suddenly Zariel asks:
"Now that we have deal with most important thing maybe you could tell us Castellan what can we expect on this mission?"Thelos turns toward his battle brother with his serious face and continue his debriefing: "Intel is not as accurate as we thought. All we know for now is that the forgeworld was attack some week ago. Orks attack it by using the rocks to deepstrike into critical locations and make havoc with the defending troops. Giving the importance of the planet three regiments of Imperial Guard are already deployed, their objective is to protect civilians and to secure the manufactorium."
"So our mission would be to secure the Titans and kill the Ork leaders?" Zariels asks."Yes, that is correct. Our first objective is to secure the manufactorum and after that find and eliminate the Ork chieftain.""Sounds simple enough."Valerius adds his opinion.
"We will know once we arrive there." Thelos answered and then said the following "Our ships will arrive at Gracia Prime tomorrow after 14:00 hours. Until then rest, check your wargear and familiarize yourself with the manufactorum schematics that are uploaded to us this morning. Go now, and may the Emperor grant us victory tomorrow." All battle brothers shout in the same time: "PRAISE BE THE EMPEROR, OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR!" And after the shout they all turn away from Thelos and make their way to the great chapel doors, all except Claymores who were still standing there and waiting for Thelos to give them additional information. Thelos walk away from the pedestal and as soon as he gets close enough to Claymores he started talking:
"I am glad that you have chosen to aid us, however this thing tomorrow will not be as easy as regular daemon hunt you guys are accustomed to. It will be an military operation with high stakes and powerful and numerous enemy." Ilena ask him: "I see, what you want us to do then?"
"Seeing how inexperienced you are in this kind of situation I will assign you to our squad. You will follow my commands to the letter and make no objections. I will see that we get the job done as soon as we can and get out of there quickly, is that understood?"
"Understood!" All Claymores answer in the same time."Good, now I want you to rest until tomorrow. If you want, librarium have lot information about Orks and how to kill them with ease. I will be taking my leave, see you tomorrow sisters." Thelos said that and then made his leave. Moments later in the grate Templar chapel only Claymores were left, they are discussing among themselves about the current situation.
"So we are going to help them after all Miria, I thought that you said that they would let us die back there?" Helen asks, Miria sighed and answered: "I do not know anymore, they were just standing there you saw that yourself Helen. But perhaps Valerius is right, perhaps what we saw back there is Thelos struggling between himself and his duty and he chooses us above his duty."
"If that is the case we have nothing to fear then, and I am sure that anyone of us would have done the same in his situation." Ilena answered in rather calm voice. "However that means that he must have broken some sort of sacred oath of their Chapter, if that is the case then he must risked a great deal to help us."
"But that doesn't matter now, I mean what he have done before. I am sure that if the same situation is to happen again he would not hesitate to help us." Uma stated her opinion that is so pure and truthful that everybody looked at her. Uma got a little nervous because of everybody's reaction to her statement but then Miria said to her:"You are right Uma and I am sorry for that before." Surprised Uma answers:"Uh…thank you Captain Miria, but there is really no need to apologize…"
"There is, I was fast to express my feelings that we wrong as I see it. And for that I am sorry." Uma smiled, next one to say something was Deneve:"Now when that is over with I must ask you captain: are we really going to help them in fighting these Orks?" Miria answers:"Yes Deneve, I believe it that is what I have told Thelos. Why, is there something you wish to add to this?"
"Just some observations from my side, I think that Thelos would prefer if we stay out of the fight this time. He is right about one thing – we are specialized in fighting yoma, or daemons as they call them, not entire armies of some unknown creatures. By the looks of it may seem thateven Space Marines will have hard time fighting them, so why did you offer our help when we are too inexperienced and may be a burden to them?
"Deneve has a good point, it is a very unpleasant situation. An unknown enemy in great numbers and unknown chances for success, to Claymores it brings back the memories of Pieta and northern war where there was unknown number of enemy and almost no chance for survival. They have just been saved, twice, and is it really good decision to challenge the fate again? An awkward silence is once again dominating the chapel as Miria and Ilena are thinking about what to say to this matter. The silence is finally broken when Clare gives her opinion: "They have saved our lives so it is only natural to offer them assistance as a token of our gratitude." Everybody is looking at Clare with surprise in their eyes. "Furthermore, Thelos said himself that ordinary Humans are in danger. Is it not our duty as Claymores to protect them?" Deneve answers her:
"That is all true; however we are not facing yoma here but unknown enemy." Clare answers: "That may be true but this time we are not fighting alone, we have Space Marines and Stormtroopers to support us. With their assistance I think that he may have big chances to see through this mission without a single casualty."Ilena adds her opinion: "Clare is right; this will not be like Pieta at home. This time we will have someone to support and watch over us. And as Uma said a moment ago, this time they will not hesitate to help us. So if we take all this into account we have rather good chances in finishing this mission unharmed."
"All right then, is there something else to say?" Miria asks, when she didn't receive answer she finished with words: "Then let us go back to our quarters on our ship, we will rest for now. Tomorrow we will ready ourselves and join Templars in battle. Let us go now." After saying that Miria started walking toward great chapel doors with the rest of Claymores following her, soon the great Templar chapel fell into silence once again with only torches and lights that light big stainless glass showing any kind activity. The chapel is to remain silent until the next time when training or Chaplain chants put stop to the perfectly peaceful environment of the great Templar chapel.
Claymores returned to their ship to make preparation for tomorrow's mission. Miria and Ilena briefed Victor, who was now promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and given full command over 1367'Th Stormtrooper Regiment. Victor said that he understood the situation and mission at hand; he then retreated to prepare his own men for the drop while Claymores retreated to their own rooms. The rooms that Claymores occupied were quite small, they only consisted of two beds that were positioned one on top other, one chair and desk with holographic interface and window that looked at the never-ending black horizon. Sharing their rooms were Miria and Tabitha, Uma and Cynthia, Deneve and Helen and finally Clare and Ilena.
But tonight Clare is alone in her room as Ilena is in the ships librarium reading books from various authors to better understand this new world that was opened to them. She was doing that ever since they have departed from Dantius III, Ilena would talk to Dragan before about various subject regarding Imperials and their way of life. Now that Dragan is dead Ilena only has his collection of books to learn from, she would take book to read into the very late hours of night. Even this night that was reserved for rest and preparation was no excuse for her, Ilena is reading books about the nature of Orks to better understand her opponent and to better prepare for mission. Clare was left alone in their room as a result, but she didn't mind that.
She was sitting in the chair and cleaning her power armor and Claymore for tomorrow's mission, she seems very quiet and focused at task at hand. But Clare is in fact thinking about all that happened before and people she left behind. She is remembering all now, Teresa's death, her joining the Organization, travelling with Raki, battling the male awakened being with Miria, Deneve and Helen, battling Ophelia, battling Duff and many others. She remembered all the people that died from Elena to Flora, but most of all she is thinking about that boy Raki. That boy that was following her and that actually cared about her no matter if she is not human, that boy that she have to let go and that boy she is searching for ever since.
Now she is separated from him more than ever, and even if she swears to draw her sword for the Emperor she is planning to survive no matter what and return one day to Rabona and find him. She is sitting in her chair and while thinking about that she is preparing her gear in hope of distract her from thinking exactly that kind of thoughts, but so far without much success. Suddenly the doors of her room opened and loud metallic footsteps could be heard, Clare is not even turning her head to see who it is. She just closed her eyes, lowered her head and asks:
"Is there something you need Valerius?" Standing near her is Chaplain Valerius, he is just like every other Space Marine – a 9 feet tall Superhuman solder. But unlike other of his kind he is a man of faith, entrusted in keeping the fighting spirit of his brothers and advising them in time of crisis. He has blue eyes and dark hair, and a great scar on his face going from his mouth to his right ear. He earned that while fighting Tyranid swarm at Sicarus system, he was very lucky that day as Tyranid beast crack open his helmet but was unable to penetrate any deeper than that. If the cut was little higher he would lose his right eye as well, but fortune was at his side that day and he survived that battle with many slain Tyranids before him and this one scar as a mark of that battle. He answers:
"I was just checking my sister. That is after all my duty." Clare opened her eyes, raised her head and answered in cold manner: "Your checking is not needed Chaplain. As you can see I am perfectly fine."
"I wouldn't say that sister, maybe you didn't notice but I can see things that rarely anybody else can." Clare is just sitting silently and listening to Valerius. "For instance I can say for sure that you are very temperament person, you may appear calm on the surface but that is not the case inside you; am I right?" Clare leaves her equipment and turn around to face Valerius who continues his analysis. "You carry great burden inside you sister, and you did a great job in concealing that fact." She asks him: "Just how did you know all of this?"
"I am Chaplain; it is my job to know this kind of things. You can tell me everything Clare, I am only here to help." Clare sighed and starts talking: "Everything you said is true, I am carrying many souls inside me that will never forget me that I leave my world and go on this crusade of yours." Clare asks: "Do you have some obligation to them?"
"Yes. And that is not the case with me alone, all seven of us have obligation to our comrades that fell in Pieta several months ago." Clare asks: "And you are afraid that you might die before you return to your world and finish that obligation?"
"Do not misunderstand; we are not afraid of dying. It is just that if we die the many souls inside us will never forgive us for that. That is why we fell a little uneasy for helping you on this mission" Valerius answers: "I understand sister; let me tell you a story then." Valerius sits on the bed and continues. "It is about little boy who have a happy childhood. His parents were farmers who worked hard and had a peaceful life. He was happy with his family and he helped them and played with his brother and sister as much as his free time allows him. Everything was perfect until one day the great horror descend from the sky and ancient death dealers started to kill everyone. After an attack on his farm only the little boy was left alive, surrounded by burning building and staying near bodies of his dead family. For three days and night he was there all alone, until death dealers returned to that farm. This time they saw him and the little boy had nowhere to hide from them, just as he thought that his final moments arrived he was saved by angels. The angels attacked the death dealers and finish them off before they could hurt the boy. After that, having nothing left but pain and sorrow, the boy was adopted by angels. Soon he became one of them and takes his part as defender of Man, but he was reckless from the very beginning. Because his heart knows only pain and hatred toward the enemy he was many times in situation where he could lose his life. In the end I talked to him, reminding him what the most important thing is and let him decide how to proceed." Clare asks: "And what happened to the little boy in the end?"
"He took my advice to heart and he was very successful, in fact so successful that he now has entire company under his command." Clare immediately remembers something and she asks surprised: "Wait, you don't mean…" but she is cut by Valerius: "What did I say something? Anyway, let me tell you something. It is true that you and your sisters lost a lot, even before Pieta. But don't let that pain and sorrow controls you, for that is the last thing friend and family you left behind would want. In battle, no matter how difficult the situation, there is always alternatives. In your darkest hour and most difficult situation remember your comrades and your family for they will give you strength to overcome every obstacle. And most important thing of all – stay alive for you are the only proof that their sacrifice was not forgotten and not in vain." Clare smiled and answers: "Thank you for your time Chaplain, I will make sure to take your advice into consideration." Valerius stands up and says:
"As I said – that is my duty sister." Clare turned around and continued to clear his gear while Valerius was going toward doors. But before he exited the room he stopped and said: "You don't need to suffer your pain alone sister. You have your sisters on whom you can depend and who can help you in most dire of situation. I am sure that in your most difficult time they will be more then glad to assist you." Valerius turned his head toward Clare who is still cleaning her equipment "I do not know what path Emperor in stored for you, but I will pray that you and your sister return safely to your homeworld one day and finish what you started." And after saying that Valerius exited the room, living Clare who was still cleaning her equipment and thinking about her home planet and Raki…
Finally the time has come as Black Templar fleet exits the Warp in space above Gracia Prime and prepares to deliver troops to surface to counter alien threat. Space above planet was already full of debris as Ork forces destroyed many orbital defense platforms before landing on the planet surface. But no Ork ships were present in orbit when the fleet drop out of Warp, it seems that they have overwhelmed the defense stations and then used them to crush in the most poorly defended areas of the world and overwhelm them. In orbit around the planet, Black Templar fleet established position and inside its ships four hundred Space Marines were prepared to once again march into battle. But one ship is different than others, inside it eight warriors clad in power armor and carrying huge sword prepare to go to battle.
This will be their biggest and most dangerous battle they have waged so far, for this is not the battle that decide fate of village of hew hundred warriors – this is a battle of epic scale, the one that decide the fate of entre worlds. And so the Claymores get out of their rooms fully prepared. Clad in their power armors with their Claymores at back they are prepared for battle, this time however they have taken some additional equipment. After they learned how to use it, each Claymores also took few grenades, combat knife and a bolt pistol. With all that equipment holstered at their belts and Claymores at their backs, eight Claymores exit their rooms and made their way to the front of the ship. Several levels below them, in hangar bay, Victor and his men finished the last preparation and now they are entering their transports and making last checks before they drop off to the planet surface.
But Claymores won't be joining them this time; while they were getting ready they have a visit from Thelos. He instructed them in taking teleporters instead of transports, because there was a situation on surface that must be dealt with before transports leave ships. Thelos told them about mission: Ork have taken control of planetary anti-air guns, and unless someone shut them down for good many transports will be shut down from the sky. Miria and Ilena accepted the mission, and as a result they were going toward teleport room instead of hangar bay. When they arrived inside the room were two men waiting for them, they came as a surprise as Thelos told them nothing about someone waiting them. Two men were in the dark corner of the room and Claymores could only see their silhouettes as well as their glowing green eyes, one of them asks:
"Are you Claymore Sisters?" Claymores were little uneasy because his voice didn't sound human at all. It was deep and sounded almost like a machine voice, Miria somehow answered back: "Uh….Yes. Yes we are."
"Good we were expecting you, Thelos told us that you were going on a very dangerous task so he asks us if we could assist you somehow." The two came out of the shadow, they wear red robes over their entire bodies, hold something that resemble like spear with axe like top in their hand and having some strange contraption like claw coming out from their backs. Claymores still couldn't see their faces as they wear robe over their heads to, the only things they could see was their green glowing eyes and tubes coming out of what seems to be their mouth. The two approach Claymores and asks: "Your swords please."
Miria and Ilena draw their claymores and give them to the strange men in robes. They just took them and put some strange contraption at the very end of the blade, just above chappe. The device was small, size of a palm, and it featured something like a button. The moment they put the device on the blade a hard metallic sound could be heard, similar like putting down a very powerful magnet to metal surface. The device was in place and strange men returned the swords to their owners, while doing that one of them says:
"Here you are sister, and may the blessings of the Machine God be with you. We would require the rest of you to give us your swords to." Other Claymores draw their swords to give them to the strange men, Ilena asks them: "What is this thing you put on our claymores?" The strange men answer: "In battle you will face many challenging and very hard opponents. When you press this button the device will activate and it will generate magnetic field around the entire blade. That will enable you to cut through toughest armor with ease, Thelos sword work in similar way."
"So you are actually making our swords into power weapons?" Tabitha asks him. "Correct, the opponents you face are not to be underestimated. We cannot do much as you don't understand many of our weaponry, but we can at least make your swords into power weapons and make them much stronger." The strange men said that just when he attached the device to the last claymore and returned it to its owner. Ilena then asks them: "So you are the ones that are called Techpriests of Mars?"
"That is right sister, we are here to make sure that your equipment is working as it should and to offer you blessings from the Machine God. May he and the Emperor watch you are you will be thrown in the battlefield soon." Techpriest say that while bowing their heads. After that one of them headed to the control panel while other raise his left hand and showed them teleporting pads. Miria nodded her head and instructed Claymores into entering teleporter pods. The pods were made for one man each, they have no seat and above each of them were giant metal ball that just started to gather electricity. Claymores entered pods, and as Techpriest go and locked every one of them for teleportation he says: "Do not be afraid as no harm can get to you during this process. Your bodies will dematerialize from here and again materialize at planet surface once the transfer is complete. You should be careful as transportation is instant and you should get yourself ready before we send you down there." Claymores nodded and made a battle stance just in case they encounter some opposition at their destination. Just as Techpriest closed the last pod, metal balls that were gathering the electricity reached their maximum. The other Techrriest says:
"Initiating teleportation…..now." and he pushed a button on console. All electricity that was stored in metal balls was sent into the teleportation pods and in a mere instant they zapped the Claymores who disappeared. Techpriest who closed the pods activated his communicator and reported to Thelos: "Brother Thelos, teleportation process is complete. You may launch Thunderhawks." After receiving that call Thelos give the order for all transports to depart and begin their planetary drop actions. On all ships hangar bays opened and hundreds of transport aircrafts head toward the planet, it was now Claymore job to make sure that those transports would have safe landings.
Meanwhile, on the planet surface, where once were tall and magnificent buildings now all you can see is ruble and devastation. Now, a place that was once full of people talking and walking is not nothing more than silent wasteland of ruined buildings and desecrated statues. Suddenly, silence is ended as bright beams of light appeared. They lasted only for an instant, and in their place came eight armored warriors carrying huge swords and standing in attack stance. Teleportation was successful, all eight Claymores teleported without any trouble. The only problem now was where they are, as teleportation system is not one hundred percent accurate when teleport beacons are not used. Claymores observed the area and after realizing that nobody was around them they lowered their guard.
"Well that was certainly…weird." Tabitha commented on teleportation. "It may be a strange technique but it is useful, we have arrived quickie and without any problems." Ilena is adding her opinion to Tabitha comment."
"So Miria, tell me how one anti-air gun looks like?" Helen asks. "Thelos explained to me that they will be stationed inside circle shaped buildings with hole on the roof from which will that gun fire."Miria explained the situation to Helen, in the same moment Clare turns toward Miria and asks: "That would be a problem, we are designed to fight monsters and daemons not bring down buildings."
"Do not worry about that Clare, Thelos told me to get inside one of the anti-air bunkers and solution will present to us." Miria answered Clare. Suddenly, the girls heard some sound not so far away. The sound was like energy weapon discharge. "What could that be?" Uma asks, Deneve answers: "Sounds like that are maybe some survivors. We should investigate and offer assistance."
"Agreed, let us go Claymores - we have work to do." Ilena issued order and head toward the source of the sound, other Claymores followed her. After walking several minutes trough rubbles Claymores arrived at the source of noise. That was the first time they saw Orks, and it was not pleasant view at all. Orks are very unpleasant to look at, they are big and muscular and very brutal. Half of them have some armor on them while other half are almost naked, their only advantage was their numbers. From a distance it seemed like they are outnumbering Claymores ten, maybe twenty times.
"They sure are ugly." Helen commented on Ork appearance. "Yoma are not better either, but the problem is not their appearance – it is their numbers and their weapons. You can see that some of them have ranged weapons with them." Deneve said her analyzes of the Ork horde. "That could be a problem if we get hit, but our armor should protect us from that." Cynthia added her opinion. "Hey, has anyone considered where they are going? It seems that they are following that sound we heard earlier." Tabitha added her opinion. Ilena then said:
"That must mean that there are survivors around here somewhere and that they are offering resistance to the Orks." She then turns toward Miria. "We should followed them and offer assistance to the survivors." Mirai nodded and says: "I agree, if we make contact with the survivors maybe they can tell us where to find and how to neutralize our targets. Come on Claymores, let's follow them." Miria issued an order and start following Orks, other follow her lead. Orks are easy to follow, running toward the source of the noise they are not interested in anything else but to find some enemies and to fight them. Claymores used ruined skywalks and rooftops to keep tracking the Orks, some of the ruble even offered them good cover in case if some Ork spot them and they need to quickly hide under it.
After several minutes of tracking Orks Claymores finally arrived at the source of the noise, they hid themselves into rubles of some apartment building that had big hole in the wall. And from that hole they could see entire plato in front of that building, they made sure that nobody was in the area and then they get close to the hole and saw what was all that noise about. In the plato there was a huge number of Orks, they estimate that there was at least one hundred of them. They even have several Nobz, bigger and tougher Orks that acted as leaders and controlled the smaller ones. The noise was coming from the building that was on the opposite side of the plato, the noise was In fact energy weapon fire that was concentrated on Orks. And Orks were gathering In front of the building as they were very close to breaking down the main door that was preventing them from entering inside. Claymores knew that if those Orks break inside that the defenders would all be killed in mere moments. They need to act, and to act fast. Miria turned around to face the others and said: "Those poor souls don't have much time; we need to act fast if we want to save them."
"What do you want us to do Miria?" Clare asks. "The only thing we can, we will split into two teams. I will take Helen and Deneve and hit them from the left and Ilena, you will take Clare, Cynthia and Tabitha and hit them from the right." She then turned toward Uma "Uma, you will stay here and kill the big ones from the distance. Once you kill the first one we will attack." Uma nodded and immediately started to unpack, In the meantime Ilena told Miria: "A wise and bold plan but take note that we are probably outnumbered 10 to 1 here. But your tactics are good, if you kill the big ones fist the smaller ones will lose moral and run."
"I see that somebody have read Dragan's books to." Miria answered to Ilena, she smiled and says: "The best way to defeat your enemy is to know your enemy. Now let's go, we need to finish this and keep moving. The assault force is counting on us." Miria just nodded and head through the hole in the wall. Other Claymores followed, except Uma who just finished reassembling "Ultra" pattern Mk. IX Sniper Rifle, one more "gift" from Dragan and his office.
When Claymores started to go on training together with Black Templars, Thelos knew that he must get them introduced with modern weapons and combat tactics. That also included practicing with ranged weaponry, one thing that Claymores weren't accustomed to and one thing they will need time to master. First thing that Thelos did was to determine order of strength among Claymores, in the end it was concluded that among all eight of them Uma was the weakest and most inexperienced one. Thelos also knew that each of them have some ability or technic unique to them, so when he asks Uma about that he gained most unusual answer: "Among the eight of us I am best in throwing sword accurately across great distances."
Of course, other Claymores look at this as probably the least useful skill as they only have one sword; Helen had the most fun of this as she burst into laughter. Uma felt even more uncomfortable than usual, but where her comrades saw almost useless ability Thelos saw something else. It is not miracle when Claymores undertook shooting practice that Uma scored the highest, it is then when Thelos gave her one of Dragan's most precious weapon – his very own custom made sniper rifle. The rifle itself was a gift from Deathwatch, an elite team of Space Marines from various Chapters who are excellent alien hunters. It was almost as long as Uma herself, and it could hit a target from very great distance – two to three kilometers. Thelos taught Uma how to assemble/dissemble it, how to operate with it and how to use it most effectively. The results were better than expected, after several days of training with it Uma was able to hit even better than some of Thelos Marines.
When Claymores started this mission Uma dissembled rifle and attach rifle parts to her backpack, fortunately the rifle is not as heavy as other weapons they used on trainings so it didn't present any real problem for her. She could carry it on every mission and when needed offer heavy support or kill target of opportunity from afar.
Uma finished all preparations and put her right eye on the scope. She targeted one of the big Orks, as soon as Miria gives her the signal she will snipe him down and then move to the rest of them. When she kills the last big Ork she will disassemble her rifle as quickly as she can and join the fight. Meanwhile, two groups came very close to the Orks, Miria's group hid themselves on the first floor of nearby ruined building while Ilena's group hid themselves behind rubles of a big downed statue standing in a middle of plaza. Ilena leaned over the cover to observe the situation; she was contacted by Miria via vox radio located in their armor.
"How does it look Ilena?" Ilena answeres: "As expected, there are a lot of them. Probably around one hundred, maybe less, I can't be sure from here."
"All right, now all we need is plan how to…" Miria didn't finish the talk when she was interrupted by Helen who yelled "YAHOOOOO!" and jumped with all her might into the nearby statue and then returned back. Of course, the statue alone was so devastated that Helen's push was more than enough to make her break and start falling down. It came as a surprised and crushed on unsuspected Orks, killing many of them in process. Surprised Miria looked at Helen who in return addressed to her: "How about this for dynamic entry?" Deneve gave her answer: "You will never change." Helen smiled and answers to her: "Good, Because I don't plan to." And then two of them jumped from the building and engage nearby Orks, Miria shouted via vox:
"Ilena, you and your team engage at once. Uma, start hunting down the big ones and then join us." She then grabs her Claymore and joins the fray to. On the far side of the plaza Ork heard that something crashed and turned around to see what was going on. They suddenly felt something near them, they turn around again and this time they saw four figures in power armor and giant swords. Ilena made her stance and says: "Today you will meet you end Orks." Ork Nob who is acting as leader starts giving orders:
"Humiez? Boys, come now, crush this git…" He didn't have time to finish giving his orders as his head exploded from a bullet that Uma send from her sniper rifle. The big Nob headless body falls down and Ork around him quickly became disoriented, that was the moment when Claymores strike. Soon it was all over, the Orks lost all their Nobz thanks to Uma's snipping skills and were thus unable to organize and offer resistance to Claymores who cut them down by dozens. The entire battle lasted little over minute; it was in fact until the last Ork Nob fell down and the rest of the Ork lost all their fighting spirit and started to retreat. Claymores cut down approximately half of their number; they didn't even get hit once as they were much faster to react then confused Orks. Uma arrived shortly and joined group that gathered in front of the big doors that Orks tried to bring down.
"That was some good work Uma." Miria praised Uma's sniping skills. "Thank you Captain Miria." Uma answered with smile on her face, happy to be able to help the group in some way. "Now, how do we open this big doors?" Miria asks as she looks at them. The doors were around five meters high and very thick, like they were designed for this kind of situation. "May I try something?" Clare asks while looking at Mira, when Miria nodded Clare approached the doors and knocks three times.
"Is anyone still alive inside?" She asks but nothing was heard, Claymores started to wonder if the defenders were alive or still inside. But suddenly they heard sharp and loud voice: "Identify yourselves!" The one who approached the door now was Ilena and she presented herself:
"I am Canoness Ilena from the Order of Claymores. In the name of Inquisition open these doors." For several moments it was silence, than the doors started closing down. When the doors finally came down behind them were several solders, they carry standard urban uniforms, helmet, flak armor with shoulder plates and assault rifle. They all have number "177" on their left shoulder plate and on their right chest plate, the middle one looked like a leader as he was carrying sword and pistol. Claymores entered the room and Miria addressed to their leader: "Good that you are alive it seems that we arrived just in time to assist you."
But she didn't receive a reply, instead something unexpected happened. All Guardsmen kneeled before Claymores, after they knelled the other ones who were just several meters far from the entrance knelled to. Claymores were shocked as they are not accustomed to this kind of treatment. On their world they were outcasts, everybody addressed them as daemons and witches and nobody wanted them around. It matter little that Claymores represented the only chance for Humans to defend themselves; they were hated as much as they were needed. And now, they were getting more than just simple gratitude, and because of that Claymores were all stunned and surprised. When Ilena regained a little confidence after being surprised like that she says:
"Uh….. Thank you for your honors solder…you can stand up now." The leader of the solders stand up looked at Ilena and says: "My lords…you have saved us, we are forever in your dept." The rest of soldiers follow their commander and stood up as well. Leader of solder then saluted Claymores in military fashion and says:
"Lieutenant Stiven, 177'th Cadian Regiment. We arrived here two days ago and are fighting Ork ever since." Lieutenant switched to his normal stance and continued "Me and my men are the first wave of our Regiment. We were ordered to hold this position while the rest of our regiment offloads from the spaceport, later the rest of our platoon would join us and we would make our push toward Manufactorum. But we have been here all day and receive no news from the command, then this greenskins attacked us and we finished up here, defending ourselves and praying that help arrives. Tell me what your mission sister, can we be of some assistance?" Ilena addressed to him:
"I am sorry to inform you that the rest of your Regiment is probably still in space as Ork have taken control of the anti-air guns. It is our mission to disable these guns." Lieutenant puts his hand on his chin and answered: "Just as I feared, those guns are a big problem indeed unless we can find some way to destroy them." Then he look right into Ilena and deliver more bad news "But I must inform you that there are five anti-air guns on this side of the planet, each one is located around fifteen kilometers from one another and each one is fortress for itself. It will be a challenge to take them all down."
"What, five of them? Are you kidding me, we have no idea how to take down one of them; what should we do against five?" Helen protests at this new information, but her protest is reasonable. Claymores are best in taking down small enemy forces or big and hard monsters and individuals – they are not trained or designed to take down building that are bigger then Rabona cathedral. Miria asks Lieutenant: "Do you have any idea on how could we take them down as quickly as possible? In twenty minutes hundreds of dropships will appear and many of them will be shot down if those guns are still operational." Lieutenant thought for a while, he snapped his fingers and says: "I know a day to disable them all at once." Claymroes look at him with interest, but Lieutenant ignores them and address to a Guardsmen to his right:
"Steve, remember that Generatorium you mentioned when we arrived here?" Guardsmen though for a while and said: "Of course sir, how didn't I think about it before?" Guardsmen turn toward Claymores and continue "Noble Sisters, what Lieutenant here is trying to say is that all you have to do is to disable Generatorium. The building itself supply with power all five anti-air cannons and this whole part of the Hive City, if you disable it the guns will shut down and without backup generators they will remain silent for good." Miria asks him: "Do you know how to disable this Generatorium?"
"If you give me enough time and keep the Orks away from me I can." The Guardsmen answers. "Please wait here, I have to discuss this with my Sisters." Miria and Claymores move away from Guardsmen and form a circle to strategize, In the meantime Lieutenant started issuing orders to his men to regroup and get ready to move. "So what do you think about this course of action?" Miria asks her comrades.
"I think it is the best course of action. We are short on time and if there is a way to successfully take down all five targets at once we should at least try it." Ilena brings her opinion to the matter. "However the real problem will be to hold off Orks if they choose to attack, last time we were lucky as we used confusion. This time if they attacked it will be in force and we can't really say that we will be able to hold them off." Deneve ads her opinion to the matter. That was indeed problem here, as powerful as they are there are only eight of them while their enemy probably number in thousands. But Clare observes the Guardsmen and says to the group:
"Why don't we use Guardsmen?" Everybody is looking at her now, Clare continues "If they are as good as Victor's Stormtroopers then they can be of great assistance, probably even more since we are not fighting daemons now. If keep the Orks at distance and let Guardsmen to kill them at range we may buy ourselves enough time until the help arrives." Plan sounds very realistic but Ilena is not so sure about it: "That plan sound excellent but these men have their own orders and we are not their superiors. Are you sure that they will help us?" Clare turns toward Lieutenant and asks him: "Lieutenant!" Stiven answer her call and turn toward her "Will you and your men help us in disabling the Generatorium?" He salutes her and answers:
"If such is the Emperor's will!" Then he turns back to his own men "All right Guardsmen, we have a job to do. Sisters of Battle have a mission to disable the big anti-air guns on this side of the planet and thus allow our dropships to bring down reinforcements. To make that work we are going to disable large Generatorium and then wait for relief force to arrive. We are Imperial Guard, and we will do our duty!" Lieutenant raise his sword high in the air, his men salute him and answer: "By the Emperor it will be done!" and then they start going toward Generatorium. Claymores were surprised and didn't know what to say. They started to think if all Humans living in Imperium are so zealous and crazy. Lieutenant joins them and asks:
"My Lords, are we going?" Claymores smiled and started to follow his men, Miria addressed to him: "Thank you for your help Lieutenant." He answers: "It's an honor to serve the Imperium ma'am." He joins them and together Claymores and Cadians headed toward the Generatorium. With all Orks concentrated around the main anti-air gun bunkers there should b no problem getting there, but as soon as they shut down power the Ork will realize it and start attacking them. They will have to hold out until the rest of their forces from space arrive to support them. Both Claymores and Cadians had luck as they encountered zero resistance on their way to the Generatorium. It seemed that Orks looted that place and leave it be while they take interest in anti-air guns and overrunning the rest of forge world defenders.
The main Generatorium building was completely empty and in ruins, the only thing left in one place was the main generator that gives power to the entire hive city, short of the main Manufactorum itself who rely on its own power source. They also arrived just in time as anti-air turrets detected approaching Imperial dropships and they were making adjustments to start taking them down. Guardsmen Steve, who was also one of regimental engineers, was almost finished in placing melta charges all around main control room. Without that room the generators would fall silent until someone build new ones, which was beneficial for Imperials who didn't want Orks to take it back and aim their guns to Imperial dropships.
Outside of main Generatorium building was pile of rubble that men from 177'th Regiment used to made a defensive line. The Guardsmen were not so numerous, all together they have a little over one hundred men, and thirty of them were wounded. But nevertheless, each and every one of them took their position and formed a defense line, in front of the Generatorium building there was one long street that head to the center of the factory district, and on the sides were two smaller streets but full of ruble and almost impossible to get through. So the Lieutenant send several Guardsmen forward to set traps and mines on anticipated enemy movement to buy them some time. They even used five barrels of fuel they found inside Generatorium building, they placed them on different tight locations so when several Orks get near them they will get incinerated.
All this was done so that Guardsmen can buy time and to keep Orks at distance as they would cut them down in melee. Claymores are surprised, on their world ordinary Humans could do little against yoma except to delay them. Here, the Humans have professionally trained solders that are more than capable to bring down not just one yoma but entire army of them, and Stormtroopers were good example of that being able to hold down daemon attack in the mountain city at Dantius III. Their staring and surprise was noticed by Lieutenant who just finished issuing orders to his men, he approach Miria who were standing with Deneve, Helen and Clare and asks her:
"You seem surprised Sister, is there something wrong?" Miria answer him with a smile: "Everything's fine Lieutenant, it's just a little strange to us seeing that you are actually getting ready to face the horde that will assail us once we get those guns down." Lieutenant Stiven look at their surprised, Miria have just realized that she probably said something she shouldn't. "That's strange; I thought that you Sisters would be used to fighting alongside Guardsmen. Are you telling me that you didn't fight alongside Guardsmen until now?"
"No if you don't count Inquisitorial Stormtroopers. To be honest this is our first major battle we are participating, we are newly trained Sisters and this is our second mission." Deneve gives him an answer, and honest answer to that. Miria too is relieved as Lieutenant seems to believe their explanation as he just smiled and said: "Your second mission you say? Well let me tell you one thing then: we may look fragile and weak but we are tougher than that. Don't worry ma'am, we will get the job done." In that moment, behind them at the Generatorium entrance, Guardsmen Steve just abandoned the building and rushed to inform Lieutenant. He arrived, saluted him and reported:
"Sir, I am pleased to report that all melta charges are set and that you may activate then whenever you want. But I must inform you that we will lose all power in this part of the city, short of Manufactorum itself, in addition to that sir we will probably draw every Ork in two kilometer radius to us." He gives the detonator to Lieutenant and resumes his stance. Lieutenant looked at the detonator for a while and says: "You did a good job Steve, now take your position. It will get very bloody very soon so be ready."
"Yes sir!" Steve saluted him and rushed toward his position. Lieutenant then offer detonator to Miria: "This is you mission after all Sister, it is only fair that you press that button." Miria takes the detonator, Lieutenant takes his Lasgun that was at his back and makes last check before battle:
"I will be at the trenches with my men, once you press that button we will have two, maybe three minutes before first wave of greenskins arrive. After that we will just pray to the Emperor that we last long enough until help arrives." Lieutenant turns around and slowly walks toward defense line that his men set up earlier, while walking toward them he said to Claymores: "You may want to press that button soon Sister, those dropships of yours will be here in a matter of minutes." Rest of Claymores gathered around Miria who looked at detonator with great unease, there is no telling if they will survive long enough for Thelos or Victor to arrive and aid them. "You better hurry up Miria, those dropships will arrive any second now." Ilena warns her.
"Look, one of those guns turrets is turning around." Tabitha noticed one of the large anti-air turrets in distance; the turret turned around for 90 degrees and points its dual cannons that fire shells at incredible speeds. The dropships must be close to the ground and the Orks were probably making preparations to blast them out of the sky. "We are running out of time Miria, it's now or never." Ilena warns Miria, but Miria hesitates. She knows very well that if she press that button they will found themselves in the same situation they were several weeks ago. Surrounded from all sides with little chance of survival, and as far as she was ready to risk her life to repay her dept to Dragan and his superiors she still wanted to stay alive and return to Rabona to deal with the Organization.
But this was not just about them anymore, millions of lives were is stake here on Gracia Prime, so in the last possible moment Miria choose to put her life and lives of her comrades in the endless and unpredictable paths of faith and press the button. As soon as she presses it she and other Claymores were almost knocked out by shockwave caused by the explosion behind them. Guardsmen were in cover so they didn't feel anything, Lieutenant and several other Guardsmen rushed toward Claymores and help them to get up. A they were getting yp the girls saw result of their work – the great anti-air defenses were offline now and just in time to as hundreds of dropships appeared above their heads and started to descent into the overrun city. But, unfortunately for them, dropships will focus primary on the Manufactorum while the retaking of the city will have to wait. In the meantime, Cadians and Claymores must hold out all by themselves until either Templars or Victor arrives. Claymores took their position right in front of the Guard lines, Lieutenant addressed to them: "We will provide as much cover fire as we can, but I am afraid when the Orks get close to us that we will be overrun in a matter of seconds." Clare just said:
"You just concentrate on your part Lieutenant, leave the Ork and close combat to us." Clare draws her Claymore, Guardsmen were shocked when they saw how will the sisters fight the Orks. Surely the Orks are masters in close combat battle; even the mighty Adeptus Astartes have trouble beating them in their own terms. But these eight Sisters that stood before them draw their big swords and with cold determination wait for their enemy to arrive. Lieutenant is now confused and he asks them:"Are you serious Sisters? You are going to face an entire Ork horde in close combat?" The Claymores are silent and steady. "By the Emperor and Holy Terra, what you are doing is suicide."
"It may look like that Lieutenant, but this is unfortunately our only strategy for now. The only thing I can say to you is to try to take down as many big ones as possible; we will take care of the smaller ones as much as we can." Ilena gives him a straight answer that they will not make a step back, just like they did it in Pieta. Claymores didn't turn at all to see if Lieutenant or his men understood them at all, they only heard: "By the Emperor it will be done ma'am!" Guardsmen then reorganized themselves and made some distance between them and Claymores. In the distance they could already hear the sound of hundreds of Orks chanting and getting closer to them.
The Orks reach them in short time, only few minutes after Miria pressed the button and blown up Generatorium room. But terrain was on their side as Orks could only attack them from one side, the other two sides of the street were in rubbles and hard to get through. But it worked in both sides as Guardsmen and Claymores were trapped between pile of rubles all around them and horde of Orks in front of them, but between Guard lines and Orks were some twenty meters of open space with no cover at all witch gives them great advantage. But it was only for a short time and they knew it, they will have to hold out until spare troops could be send to get them out of this mess. Orks finally arrived and start to get over the rubble into open terrain, Claymores ready their swords to face them. Behind them Lieutenant issued order to his men: "Concentrate lasfire men! Show them Cadian ferocity!"
His words were followed by volley after volley of Lasgun fire that gone over Claymores heads and strike at the Orks charging at them. Above Claymores were now red beams of light travelling toward Orks and creating mini plasma explosions on the target spot. Not powerful enough for kill an Ork immediately but after two or three shots the Ork would fell to the ground. There were enough Guardsmen to keep the Orks at bay, until Nobz arrived that is. In that moment Lieutenant issued an order to his men to target the Nobz and leave the smaller ones to Claymores. It was then when Claymores charged and engaged the Orks some five meters from the Guard lines. The fight is harsh and brutal, the Orks outnumber Claymores greatly but Claymores are more faster and agile then Orks and usually kill an Ork with the first swing of the sword. And with a help of Guardsmen who are taking down big Ork Nobz the Ork who engage Claymores are without leaders and thus easily dispatched as they just rushed to fight and are as a result cut down by either Guardsmen or Claymores.
But after some time the Ork numbers are starting to take their toes, no matter how many Ork they shoot or cut down more and more are coming. Some Guardsmen already fell as Ork brought their own shooters to counter them, luckily the Ork shooters are highly inaccurate and Cadians just lost few men. But the Ork distraction is taking its toe as Cadians must now concentrate on them as well, living Claymores with large number of smaller Ork to deal with. At one moment single Claymores was facing eight to ten Ork all by herself, and even if some of them like Clare was able to dispatch all of them at once some got hit. But thanks to the protection of Angel armor they were fine, for now at least. They were fighting Orks for some time now, and their numbers just keep growing. "Is there no end to these brutes?" Ilena asks in the heat of battle.
"Not from what I can tell, they are just coming and coming." Cynthia answered whiel dispatching two nearby Orks. "This is bad Miria, if we don't get help soon I am afraid that we are going to be overrun." Clare stood near Miria and expresses her opinion on the situation.
"I know that Clare. But the only hope we have is that Castellan Thelos secure the Manufactorum and head here as fast as he can." Miria answer her while dispatching nearby Orks.
-"Then I hope that he is working fast, because it seems that we don't have much time left." Clare answered to Miria who just took a look at the whole situation. Orks were still coming, shouting and charging. Their leaders were targeted by Guardsmen but with less efficiency now as Guardsmen to are targeted by Ork shooters who just grew in number too. To her it was Pieta all over again, maybe Thelos was right, maybe they should just stay on the ship and fight only daemons. There was too much left to be done, they couldn't die now. Not when they have so much unfinished business back at their home. Miria continues to fight as well as other Claymores, none of them used their yoma powers so far. That was an agreement between them and Templars. To not used them in front of other Imperial forces, only if their lives depended on it. In a middle of fight one Ork Nob break loses and charged toward Miria. Deneve noticed that and shouted: MIRIA! WATCH OUT!
But it was too late, by the time Miria noticed him he was already on top of her and punched her in the chest. Miria flew two meters before hitting ground, she was barely conscious now. Her Angelic armor absorbed much of the damage and her yoma powers started to regenerate the area around impact site, but as Miria was able to get back to sitting position the big Ork was at top of her getting ready to swing his jaunt was axe. Uma and Deneve rushed to help her but they rushed too late as Ork was already making his move. Just when the big axe was to split open Miria's head Lieutenant jumped in front of her and block the impact with his sword. To Ork was furious, but only for a moment as he was cut down by Ilena and Uma in the next moment. "Lieutenant?"
Miria asks in confusion, Lieutenant just turned around and offered her hand to stand up, she accepted it and Lieutenant pull her up. "Your duty is not done Sister." He said to her as he pull her up, then he turned toward the Ork horde in front of them and start shooting with his Laspistol. Miria took her position in front of Lieutenant and cut any Ork who was misfortune to get close. Then a new threat appeared, on the edge of the ruble where Orks start jumping in the clearance several Orks carrying big guns and their back appeared and start deploying. Lieutenant and Claymores noticed them and stood there in shock as the smaller Orks stooped attacking.
"Oi, what are those things?" Helen asks. "It seems that this is as far as we go." Lieutenant said that with big unease as the Orks were deployed and getting ready to fire. As a last resort Lieutenant just bowed his head, closed his eyes and said: "Emperor, you who watch over us from the Golden Throne of Earth, please do not let us to this foul aliens but split open the havens and sent your wrath to them."
A prayer to his God, Miria knew that in desperate times ordinary Humans turn to their own gods for protection while they had just their lost ones to remember to keep them going. Ork Lootas just finished targeting and were ready to start shooting, in that moment something happened. Something fell from the sky right in the middle of Ork Lootas and sends them and ruble flying all around the battlefield, several more fell right into the massed Orks and sends them flying to. Claymores and Cadians were stunned, is this really the Emperor's wrath that descended from havens to punish the bloodthirsty aliens? Not quite but close enough, from the pile of rubble and smoke Orks started flying around like toys. It was then when Chaplain Valerius jumped in front of two remaining Ork Lootas and quickly dispatched them with his Crozus Arcanum.
He was in his black and white battle armor with black helmet featuring white scull at front. In his right hand he help plasma pistol that quickly incinerate every Ork he shoot at and in his left hand was Crozus Arcanum, a giant maul that was glowing in blue light at its top representing the power field that was engraved into it. At his back he have a Jump Pack, that mean that he disengaged from the main task force and jumped from his Thunderhawks to land right in the middle of Ork Horde and help Claymores and Guardsmen to break through the Ork lines. He was not alone; with him were around ten Black Templar marines, five of them with bolters and five of them with chainswords. Valerius turned toward Claymores and Cadians, lift his Crozus Arcanum in the air and shouted: "Fear not my brother and sisters for the Emperor Angels of Death are with you! Let us now show this greenskin horde the might of the Imperium!" He turned toward confused Ork and shouted:
"FOR THE GLORY OF THE IMPERIUM, CHARGE!" and charge the Ork lines, Claymores and Guardsmen followed him and charged to. Now it was the Orks who were fighting desperately as Black Templars and Claymores cut them down one by one, supported by volley after volley of Lasgun fire. At the front line, side by side, Claymores and Templars dispatched Orks by dozens in mere seconds. Most zealous of them all was Velerius who, swinging his Crozus Arcanum and sending Orks flying all around him. He even engaged few Nob who charged at him In order to bring him down and try to break the morale of Imperials, but even they were no match for him. First one tried to strike him down with his big axe, but Valerius evaded him and use the opening to hit the Nob with his Crozus Arcanum in the head. Ork head exploded as a result for beign hit with power weapon and Nobz headless head fell down to the ground. The other Nob charged at Valerius and yelled "WARGHHHHH!" only to face plasma shot in the head from Valerius Plasma Pistol. Other Templars and Claymores didn't have any trouble at all as they were heavily supported by Guardsmen behind them.
Claymores didn't even use their yoma powers, but they were prepared to do so if Valerius didn't drop from the sky and aid them. They evaded revealing themselves, for now at least. But something new happened to them, they were surprised. For their entire life they were fighting alone, seeing only to themselves. They were even left to die in Pieta abandoned by both the Organization and the humans they were defending. But here, things were different. Ordinary humans were more than able to resist any major threat they were encountering. Here, the Claymores were not alone anymore; with them were their "older brothers" and now Guardsmen. They were fighting alongside them, they trusted them, they aid them in the most difficult situations and they were even regard them as martyrs. All Claymores noticed this thing and they were little sad because their comrades back at Rabona couldn't fell what they were felling like now – that they are part of something, not outsiders and not outcast. They were respected and cared, they wanted for their comrades to fell this same thing. But that kind of thing will have to wait for their future was long and uncertain, for now at least.
After half an hour fighting and cleaning the main street the task force arrived at the big plaza with Techpriest statue standing in middle of it. The Ork forces were getting thinner and thinner and started to retreat almost ten minutes ago. And since then Claymores, Templars and Guardsmen were advancing carefully just in case that the Orks were planning some kind of ambush. When they arrived at plaza surprise was waiting for them, instead of bunch of angry Orks they were greeted by Lieutenant Victor and his Stormtroopers. "Well well, look who we have here lads." Victor smiled and addressed to his men to appeal to arriving troops. Claymores were surprised, first one to interact with Victor was Cynthia: "Victor? What are you doing here?"
"Our job sister, we were deployed some three blocks from here and were fighting Orks ever since. We give them one hell of a fight ma'am and by the time they were able to regroup it was too late. We clear everything from our landing zone to this plaza."
"Good job Lieutenant, once again you and your men proved to be worthy warriors of our Emperor." Valerius praised Victor and his men. He bowed and answers: "Thank you my lord. But we were just doing our job, nothing more."
" 'Just doing your job', if only all his servants were as you and your men." Valerius continue his word of praise; in the meantime Miria and Ilena step forward and asks: "What about the Manufactorum Victor? Wasn't your objective to deploy there and hold it until further notice?" Miria asks him, Victor stand still faced toward her and answers: "Plan has changed sister Miria, with so many Orks grouping here lord Castellan decided to destroy them before they massed enough Orks to overrun the Manufactorum itself." Ilena asks him: "The Manufactorum is still holding?"
"Yes ma'am. The troops inside have been holding even since Ork first landed on this world. We deal with Orks here and made contact with two Guard Regiments stationed here. I see that you also made some new friends." Victor noticed Cadian Lieutenant and his men arriving behind them. "We helped them against Orks, they were trapped in building when we arrived." Deneve added. "And what did I say you about Cadians, was I wrong?" Victor countered with question and a smile. "You were right; they are very brave and very well trained solders. Lieutenant there saved my life, I didn't expect that human have enough courage to stand to that beast." Miria answer Victor's question.
"They are not just ordinary solders ma'am, they are Caidans – one of the best trained and most respected Guardsmen in the whole damn Imperium. They are not as crazy as Kriegsmen but they are crazy nonetheless." Victor continues to explain but he s interrupted by Helen. "All right Victor, we get it they are excellent solders. Now tell us what do we do next?"
"I am glad that you asks, Thelos is waiting for you north of here. He wants you to join him and his Templars In the initial assault on Ork troops making siege to the Manufactorum." Victor answers her, Valerius then continues: "All right then, let us go sisters. Every minute counts." Claymores with Valerius head toward Templar lines; In the meantime Victor synchronized with Cadian Lieutenant Stiven and organized his Stormtrooper Regiment and two more Cadian ones. They will get their men ready and resupplied and then together with Templars they will make their final push toward Manufactorum. After some twenty minutes of walking Claymores and Valerius finally meet Thelos who was preparing his men for the final push toward Manufactorum. He noticed them and says:
"We'll let me tell you that I am glad that you are alive, but what you did there was reckless. I mean, your way of dealing with those anti-air guns was ingenious. But you should avoid all those Orks and meet us here, why were you facing entire horde instead?" They were little confused with question, nevertheless Miria answers: "We didn't accomplish our mission alone; we had some help from Cadian Guardsmen. They told us about Generatorium, set the charges and help us finish the mission. We couldn't just live them there with all those Orks."
"I see, than you were lucky to have met them. Then again, those Guardsmen were lucky to meet you as they were saved in the end." His answer was rather strange, nevertheless Claymores did their job and now it was time to prepare for the final push. "Are our troops ready?" Valerius asks Thelos. "Almost, we just need to wait for Guardsmen to arrive and then we will march toward Manufactorum."
"What about the third Regiment, where are they?" Thelos replies: "I ordered them to deploy directly at Manufactoum Valerius, to buy the defenders more time until we arrive. But Emperor's blessings are upon us today, Manufactorum is heavily defended and it will take enormous amount of Orks to bring those defenses down." Thelos and Valerius discuss battle plans while Claymores stand aside and watch them discussing. Suddenly, a lone Guardsman appeared. He was running for a while, you could tell by his sweaty face and heavy breathing. Even his voice was raised, meaning that something big was going on. Claymores approached just as Guardsmen arrived at Thelos to report. "My lord, I bring you grave news from Lieutenant Victor and Lieutenant Stiven."
"What happened Guardsmen, you look like you saw a ghost?" Thelos asks him. "Our scouts just returned from the frontlines with this information: the Orks are massing and they will attack soon." Thelos accepted this news with shock in his voice: "What? Where?" Guardsmen replies: "In the northern part of the hive city my lord, some of them already moved and the rest will follow soon."
"This is bad Thelos, if they reach Manufactorum before us we will have hard time explaining why the Titan Legions were torn apart by greenskins with us here." Valerius added his opinion. "I know that brother Chaplain; do not worry we will arrive there in time. You Guardsmen, do you have something else to report?"
"That's not the worst part my lord, the Ork force divided into two groups. Both of them are big and powerful." Thelos asks: "Divide, what do you mean divide?"
"One group is heading toward Manufactorum and the other is heading toward the civilian district. My lord, if we don't send them help they will get slaughtered" Even if he was wearing his helmet you could fell Thelos despair toward current situation, the Ork made an unexpected move and he had no forces to spare to help the civilians. His priority is Manufactorum and it must remain that way. "Guardsmen, return to your commander and tell them that we are continuing according to plan. Tell them to prepare to follow us in securing the Manufactorum." The Guardsmen greeted with his usual 'yes, my lord' and head back where he came from. The Claymores were shocked by his answer, Valerius to who tried to reason with him: "Thelos…" He started to talk but he was immediately cut: "Not another word Chaplain, I made my decision and it is final"
"There are millions living in those parts of the hive city. MILLIONS!" Thelos answered in rage: "I know that, but the Titans in Manufactorum are responsible for securing BILLIONS living in this sector!" Thelos was right, to help civilian would meant living Manufactorum to fall to the Orks and endangering countless billions living on nearby planets that were under protection of the Titan Legion stationed there. And they didn't have enough forces to split and to help in both crisis, they would risk losing this planet as they were only capable fighting force on it right now. Valerius and Thelos were looking at each other in silence; none of them knew what to say to each other when suddenly: "We will go and help the civilians." Miria step forward and said that. Valerius and Thelos now turned toward her and Thelos says: "What did you said Miria?" He asks her because her comment came at him like cold water in face.
"I said that we will go and help the civilians. That way you won't have to split your forces and you won't have to leave one of them to their fate." Thelos is steady as a tree, he still cannot believe what he is hearing, Valerius is more calm then him and he asks: "Sister Miria, do you even know what you are suggesting?" Instead of Miria Deneve answers: "I think that all eight of all knows what we are saying Valerius. We will go to the other side and help the civilian population in repelling the Orks while you can concentrate on our prime objective ant that is securing the Manufactorum. I don't know what is so unusual about that?"
"Say the fact that you are going against an entire Ork horde all by yourselves. Do you have a death wish? Remember what happened back there at Generatorium, if I and my brother didn't drop you would be dead, those Guardsmen to." Valerius answer her question, but Ilena added: "That was merely lucky coincidence. Those Orks would be dead anyway even if you haven't arrived." Valerius look at her in silence; he knew exactly what Ilena meant. On the other hand Thelos is angry: "We agreed that you will not use them at all. Do you want for others to report you to the Inquisition?"
"I think it is fine to use them if our lives are in danger. Witch was exactly the situation there; even if those Guardsmen saw us we could just say that it is simply a "miracle from the Emperor"." Thelos was silent and calm now, he knew that Miria's explanation was logical. It could work with almost everybody exept real Sisters of Battle, other Astartes Chapters and the Inquisition. But this was no small thing at all, he encountered an entire Ork horde alone before and he knows very well that it is no small thing to face such overwhelming force. But he is still thinking about all those civilians who are unprotected and who will get slaughtered if not assisted. After few moments of silence he said to Miria: "All right, you go with your sisters and help those poor souls. We will take the rest of our forces and march toward Manufactorum."
"Thelos!" Valerius started to protest but he was cut by Thelos."This is the only way Chaplain and you know it. We don't have enough forces to spare and Claymores can easily take out Ork commanders, if they do that the rest won't be a problem for them." Valerius just looked at Claymores, then returned to Thelos and while nodding he says: "All right brother, then let them go now they have a long way to go until they reach the civilian area." Thelos returned to Miria: "Go now sister, and please try to stay alive." Miria smiled and answers:
"Don't worry, we will." And after Thelos game them a map they disappeared in a blink of an eye. As soon as they vanished from their sight Thelos addressed to Valerius: "You will go too; I don't want to lose any of them. And I want for you to make sure that nobody is suspicious for their 'gifts'. But most importantly, I want you to be there and help them if the Warboss leading these Orks decide to go there instead on Manufactorum."
"Understood brother, you can be sure that they will be safe with me. And good lick with the Manufactorum." And after saying that Valrius took one of Templar Land Speeders and heard toward civilian district, Thelos turned around and joined the marching Guardsmen and Space Marines going to secure Manufactorum. Whiel marching he look toward the sky and pray to his God Emperor to watch over them all in the coming battle…
Somewhere in civilian district, Ork Nob and group of Ork boyz under his command were looting the place and searching for survivors. Orks are wide known as brutish race who is also interested in salvaging whatever they can and turn it into weapons of war that they can use against their enemies – be it Orks or somebody else. In looting there was no general rule, all that could be made or used as a weapon was taken away and modified. Ork looters group was not very large, several smaller boyz and one Nob.
The boyz were looking through the rubble while Nob was standing in the open and watching for anything that moves. He was also close to his own boyz to keep them in line, because It was in Orks nature to fight and only the most strongest of leaders could unite enough Ork under them to became threat to others. One of the Ork boyz has just finished looking through the rubble; with his job done he turned toward Nob and asks: -"Yo boss, why are we looking through this pile of trash and not stomping humiez instead?" Nob answered in deep and angry voice: "Because the boss said so you git, he needs this part of the city fully scavenged so that he could make big gunz to stomp the humiez at the factory."
"So we are just going to look through all this rubble?" Nob was now quite angry and he roared toward the boy: "You just keep your mouth shut and do your job, or I am going to feed you to the squids." "But boss…." The Ork boy tried to talk to the Nob, but he was interrupted the next moment as Nob head was cut from his body. It all happened in a second, in one moment Nob was standing there looking at boy with fire in his eyes. Next moment he was headless and beside him was a blonde woman with silver eyes and big sword in her right hand. The Ork boy was surprised, but only for a moment. He quickly regained his spirit and shout to other boyz:
"Humiez! Get them boyz!" Behind him was the rest of his gang and they charged at the blonde women. Even if they outnumber her they were hopelessly outmatched as another one appeared behind them and start to kill them as well. Ork looters were dead in moments, above their dead bodies were Clare and Ilena, standing and watching them: "This is already 10'th group we faced since we entered this part of the city." Clare says. "It seems to me that they were here to scavenge whatever they can from these ruins, maybe even acting as scouts."
"You think that their main force could be nearby?"Ilena replies: "I don't know Clare, we are deep into the city itself and we are still to see larger force then simple squad of scavengers. We also didn't receive any word from others and they may be even deeper into the city from the two of us." Ilena explains to Clare, who holstered her sword behind her back. "You are probably right, let's keep going."
The two of them were preparing to move out, several hours had passed since eight of them departed with Thelos task force and rushed to help the citizens who are about to face full scale of Ork invasion. Their strategy was simple: divide into four teams by two and kill as many Ork leaders as possible. Plan sounds simple but it is harder than it looks as Ork are very numerous, they already have hard time catching up and taking out small groups. What will they do when they encounter main force? Only time will tell, but fortunately for Claymores luck was on their side… Clare and Ilena were just about to move on when Clare turned toward headless Nob body and noticed something, Ilena turned and saw Clare heading toward it.
"What is it Clare?" She asks. Clare didn't answer; she crouched near the body and grabs something from Ork belt. It was some kind of artifact, it looked like some kind of necklace and it consisted of glowing red diamond, some kind of white strong material around him. "What is that?" Ilena asks after she saw the artifact in Clare's hands. "I don't know, but this is not something ordinary. It radiates some kind of energy, it's not yoma energy but you can sense it if you concentrate." Ilena close her eyes and after few moments:
"You are right; it does radiate some kind of unknown energy." She opens her eyes again "But it doesn't looks like anything I have seen thus far, not even in Dragan's books." Clare stands up and put artifact in her back pocket. "Then I shall keep it with me and give it to Thelos when we finish our mission, this thing looks like some kind of weapon or very important device since the big Ork held it. Imperials will know what to do with it." Ilena nodded:
"All right then, let's go." Then she turns and continued her way, Clare follows her. But the two of them didn't make two footsteps when Clare sensed something behind her. She quickly draws her Claymore then she turns and made one swing. Her intuition was right as her swords clashed with another, unknown sword, and send its wielder back from her. Ilena and Clare were now facing the unknown attacker, who was quite mysterious. It was no Ork but other than that they didn't know, the mysterious figure was all clad up in white and elegant armor. It was female judging by the breast plate area, and she wore strange helmet with red hair coming out of it. Her sword is glowing blue indicating that it was power sword, but marking on it were not Imperial. And the last thing was her reflexes; they were much higher than Human – almost on pair with Clare and Ilena. The mysterious figure quickly made her stance and opposes the two Claymores, Clare ask her: "Who are you and why did you attack me?"
"I will not answer to anything you ask. I have just come to retrieve what is mine." The mysterious figure answered. Her voice was also synthetic, just like that of a Space Marine – only female in this case. 'What is mine?' Clare thought to herself, Ilena was confused to. But it didn't take long for her to realize, Clare out her right arm in her back pocket and pulled out the artifact she collected from the dead Ork Nob. Clare raised her right hand with artifact in her and asks: "Is this what you came for?"
"You dare to mock me Mon'Keigh? You will not hold it for much longer." The mysterious figure answer was followed in anger. She took assault stance ready to strike. Ilena took her stance to, ready to face her. Clare made an unusual move, she made several footsteps toward attacker with her stance down. "What are you doing Clare?' Ilena ask in confusion, but Clare didn't answer. She stops some few meters from the attacked and throw the artifact at her feet. Both Ilena and attacker were confused, as attacker looked at the artifact now in front of her feet Clare said to her: "If this is your then I am returning it to you, I am sorry if we insulted you in some way." Clare returned her Claymore behind her back, Ilena did the same. Attacked didn't say anything, she just knelled and picked up the artifact. She looked at it like it was very important to her and that fact alone made Clare to forget the aggression this mysterious character exploited and she even smiled that she could regain her treasure from these brutes.
"We will go now, I hope that retrieving that thing bring you some comfort." Clare and Ilena turned around and continued their way, but moment later they heard that same synthetic voice talking to them: "Wait Humans." They stopped and turned toward her. She continued: "You are going to face Ork horde, that is suicidal as there are simply too many of them. Why do you want to do that? Is it not better to retreat and try to take back the city later with more forces on your side?" She asks them.
-"Then who will take care about millions of helpless people living here? The Orks are going to kill them all to the last; we are here to prevent that from happening." Clare answered her. "I see, in that case I will tell you that the entire Ork horde assaulting this world is dividing into two groups. One will go to capture Manufactorum, the other one will come here. It is likely that the Ork leader will come this way as he is known to take more pleasure in looting and running away than assaulting great fortresses and strongpoint. This Ork leader will come here to loot whatever he can and then he will escape, just like he did before. The attack on Manufactorum is just cover up for his real operation, but in this case that is fortunate situation for you as he will undoubtedly face you here. If you can kill him here then this entire invasion will halt and the Orks will be defeated."
"That is useful information indeed and real luck in our case. But we still have to avoid his entire army before we can get to him." Ilena added her opinion on the matter, the mysterious figure smiled and continued: "You cannot avoid Orks for that long Human, sooner or later they will discover you and then you will have hard time to get to their warboss. The only way to get to him is to hold his entire war operation here, that will make him come to you and that will be your chance to get rid of him."
"Good point, but how is eight of us going to face of his entire army?" Clare asks. "The one thing that characterizes this city is that he is divided into two sections – north and south section. Between them is deep pit that stretches from one end of the city to another. Your luck here is that there are only two bridges that connect them, the one is to the north of here and the other is Manufactiorum itself. If you hurry up you will get to the north bridge before main Ork force, seeing your level of skills the small open corridor is just what you need to make their number useless against you. If you face the Ork there you could hold them long enough for their warboss to appear and then you can have your chance in ending this invasion." The plan is brilliant, with only one entry point to hold the Claymores could stop the entire Ork horde in its tracks. It could be challenging, but not impossible.
"Thank you for your suggestion stranger, we will head there immediately." Clare and Ilena turned around and disappeared, they didn't waste time anymore now with this information they can put hold on Ork invasion for good. The mysterious figure raises her left hand and looked into the artifact. "I have finally found you brother, thank Khane for this miracle." She then turned in the direction where Clare and Ilena were headed now. "I wish you luck Humans, you are going to need it to survive what awaits you on that bridge." The mysterious warrior put the artifact into her left pocket and continue her journey, she wondered if she will meet these mysterious Humans again.
In the meantime Clare and Ilena decided to vox Miria and others who were spread all across the city, hunting down Orks and helping civilian they encountered. They agreed to meet up in the northern part of the city, close to the bridge itself to strategize. Clare and Ilena arrived at the meeting point some few minutes after they departed with their mysterious helper. The place was in fact another great plaza; they could even see the beginning of the bridge that was some two hundred meters away from them. First to arrive were Miria and Tabitha; as soon as Miria arrived she wanted a report. After Ilena explained situation to her Miria looked at the bridge and said: "So, according to that mysterious figure, this bridge here and at Manufactorum are the only two crossways into this part of the city?"
"It would seem so. If that stranger was telling us truth then this is where we must fear Orks if we want to stop them from killing everybody on this side." Ilena answered to Miria. "But Ilena, what if that stranger was lying? We don't even know who she is and you say that she gave you this information after you returned something to her?" Tabitha asks. "So far her claims were true, I was near the bridge to inspect it and I can say that I didn't notice any kind of other passages that lead across. And the canyon below that bridge is very deep so we don't need to worry about them founding some alternate way across." Clare answered to Tabitha's worrying question.
"If you say so Clare but how will eight of us be able to hold that many Orks, we barely held much less at Generatorium and we had Guardsmen to help us out there?" Tabitha asks another question, this time she was backed by Miria: "Tabitha is right, that 'ally' of yours also said that entire Ork horde will pass across this bridge. How did you think to hold them here?" Ilena turned toward bridge and calmly said: "Like the mysterious figure suggested, we will hold them on the bridge. In tight area like that (the bridge was around kilometer long but only about thirty meter width) their numbers will mean little to our speed and swordsmanship." Miria also turns toward the bridge and said: "That is true, but we can only hold them for so long. In the end even we will crumble against those numbers." Ilena close her eyes and bow her head, and then she said:
"What other choice we have Miria?" She opens her eyes, raised her head and turned toward Miria "There are millions of people living here; they will be all dead if Orks pass through this bridge. We don't have any means to destroy the bridge so the only thing we can do is to try to hold them until we either kill their leader or wait until either Space Marines or Imperial Guard comes to support us."
"Why are you so sure that the Ork leader will come here Ilena?" the voice from side addressed her, it was Deneve who have just arrived with Uma."I read through Dragan's book, I searched any kind of data about Orks once I have learned that they will be our enemies. From that books I learned that Orks are drawn to fight, the more intensive the fight is the more Ork will appear. Same goes for their leaders, if we succeed in holding majority of their army here their Warboss will appear and that will be our chance to end this." Ilena answered to her, but Deneve ask her again:"Are you sure that the Orks will retreat if we kill their leader?"
"They will retreat, more importantly their whole invasion will be halted as they are all gathered around one leader. Kill the leader and the rest will be easy to deal with as they will be disorganized and fight amongst themselves." For a moment all six Claymores were silent, Miria bowed her head and close her eyes to think about this. This situation was serious thing, they could retreat to Manufactorum and aid Thelos but millions living in hive city will be killed if they do that. And they cannot risk dying yet as their comrades back at Rabona were still living under the terror of Organization, there are also their dead comrades to who they have obligation to fulfill. But Miria knew that they themselves told Thelos that they will take care about unarmed civilians here, even by the price of their own life. Miria knew that it was against their honor to turn around and run away now so she finally decided what to do. She raised her head open her eyes and says:
"All right, there is no other choice. We will draw our swords, face our enemy here and hold them down as long as we can. Beside our swords and our abilities we also have Sororita's armor to protect us, the only problem will be Ork numbers. But if we do this carefully we should be able to hold out until the Ork Warboss arrive." She then look at other Claymores, all of them have serious expression on their faces. Uma was shocked as she just realized what are they about to do, others were speechless and just look at Miria.
"Look guys, I know that this situation is just like few months ago at Pieta and that our chances for survival are as slim as ever. But millions of Humans live in this city and only thing standing between them and bloodthirsty horde is this bridge and eight of us. No matter how much I think this is the best solution I can come up with." Miria desperately tried to explain the current situation, she was addressed by Clare: "It's ok Miria, I think that no one here would want to do it differently. Even if we are to prioritize our survival in this situation we are still Claymores and it is still our duty to protect Humans." Clare words are most pure and honorable, as Miria turn her look to her she continues: "It will be cowardly to abandon all those millions to their fate and most importantly below our honor. I think that all of our deceased comrades would understand that." The other Claymores looked at Miria and Clare with smile, Miria sighed and said:
"All right then, let us made preparations for incoming horde." Uma found one useful spot on nearby ruined building and she assembled her sniper rifle, it was her job to observe and when she sees the Ork report to Miria so that they could made stance and await them ready for battle. In the meantime Helen and Cynthia arrived, they were pretty far away and they need much more time to arrive and join others. Of course, when she heard what are they about to do she was angry: "What did you say? We are to face entire army all by ourselves with no backup whatsoever? Tell me please that this is a joke?" She addressed to Deneve who was inspecting her armor and equipment as well as rest of Claymores who were beside her.
"This is no joke Helen, the Orks are going to pass this bridge and if we don't stop them all people living on this side of the city will be killed." She answered her in a cold manner, not even looking at her being busy checking her equipment. "But…but…." Helen looked desperate; she bowed her head and closed her eyes. For a moment something like groaning could be heard from Helen, and then she took her sword and yelled in anger:
"All right then, I am already sick of this world and this greenskin bastards. So let us face them and finish this quickly; I want to return to our ship and rest a little if the rest of you don't mind that." Everybody was shocked at first, but then they smiled and Deneve said to Helen: "That's an excellent idea Helen, every one of us could use some rest after this is done." In next moment somebody was calling Miria's via her armor's vox, Miria pressed the button and asks: "Yes?"
"Miria this is Uma, I must tell you guys to better get ready because here they come." As vox is by default speaker system the other Claymores heard that as well and get on their feet. They were now heading toward the bridge who was just several meters away from them. Miria asks: "How many Uma?"
"I can't tell as they are advancing in columns but I would say many as their numbers have no end. Don't worry they are still some kilometer away so you should have some time until they arrive and attack you."Miria replies: "Understood Uma, you stay there and take down every Nob you could see. We shall take care of others."Uma replies: "Understood captain, good luck down there." Uma terminated her connection to Miria's vox and she was now closely following Orks who were advancing slowly toward Mria's group. She aimed her sniper rifle and start sniping down Ork Nobz, leaving standard Ork boyz to her comrades. On the beginning of the bridge Miria and others formed a straight line, as Orks were getting closer they slowly drew their swords.
"So, our plan is just to cut down as many as we can until their leader appear? Sounds easy to me." Deneve is being sarcastic as she points her two Claymores toward angry horde who is closing to her. "Miria, giving that we are alone here does that mean…" Clare ask Miria but before she could finish Miria answered her: "Use your powers, but try not to overuse them. We promised that we won't use them at all, but we can use them to certain degree without any consequence."
"Hm…..All right, in that case this will have to do it." Clare answered and holsters her sword at her back. The Orks were now just few meters from Claymores, their numbers were endless. It was almost like at Pieta, the only difference was that here individual Ork was much weaker than awakened being or yoma. Still, Ork numbers are terrifying. They occupy every part of the bridge from the Claymores to the furthest place that eye could see. Uma was still busy with sniping; she killed probably over twenty or thirty Ork Nobz when the main horde clashed with Claymores at the bridge.
The battle at the bridge is hard and brutal, but it is completely single sided as Orks are suffering great casualties from Claymores. Clare used Flora's technique from Rabona to maximize her sword ability without releasing any youki, other are also trying to compensate. All except Ilena who is such expertise in quick sword that she don't even release her youki when she is using it. After several hours of fighting the Ork withdrew to regroup. The bridge was covered in Ork corpses, somewhere even as high as two meters. None of Claymores were hurt, few get hit by their Angel armor protected them. Helen, Cynthia and Tabitha sit down to rest.
"Woah, Thelos was not joking. These guys really don't quit that easily." Helen said so while berating hard. "Take your time Helen, they will come again." Deneve answered to her. In the meantime Uma showed up before group: "Captain, I wanted to report that all is quiet. For now at least…" She talks to Miria while Miria look at her with surprise. "Why did you leave your post Uma?"
"I didn't want to Captain but I ran out of ammunition. The rifle is worthless to me now."
"This is troublesome; we won't be able to kill their leaders from distance. I am sure that their attacks will become more coordinate and with that much harder to repel." Ilena share her concern about developing situation."I know that Ilena, there is no doubt that the next wave will be harder than the first one. But regardless of that we still need to hold on, people living in this city depend on us." Miria answered while looking at the pile of dead Orks. She continues: "Tell me something Ilena, you read Dragan's books in ship's library."
"Some of them at least, I was searching only those who had some information about Orks." Miria turned to face Ilena eye to eye and asks: "Then tell me what you read about the Orks? Why are they doing this?" She pointed her sword toward the pile of dead Orks "What kind of war or resource would be worth all this death and destruction?"
"The answer is quite simple Miria, the Ork live only for one thing – to fight. They do not choose targets, when they see someone they will fight him regardless of who he is. It is in their very nature, their entire species is like this." while Ilena is calmly answering Miria's question, Deneve asks her: "If those Ork are that much of a trouble then why don't the Imperial deal with them?"Ilena turned toward Deneve, who is standing behind her, and answers: "Because they can't, even if they are as powerful as they are they are just to overstretched on all sides to even contribute some troops here to protect this world."
"What do you mean 'overstretched'; just how many wars are thy fighting." Helen asks in confusion after hearing Ilena's answer. "To many I'm afraid; the books I read thus far talk about countless wars waged all across the stars by various factions. I still don't know all the detail, all that I figured out from those books is that our very survival is at stake and these imperials are the only thing standing between us and extinction." Everybody looked at Ilena and couldn't say even a single word. Miria broke down the awkward silence moments later: "Let's just not think about it. Many things happened in the last few months, many of them are hard to believe in. And I am not sure that even I want to believe in some of them. There will be plenty of time later to debate on this subject, right now we have to prepare for the next wave." Claymores nodded to express their agreement to Miria's comment.
"All right, now if we…" Miria started to talk but was interrupted by Clare: "Excuse me Miria but did you consider returning to Rabona one day?" Clare's question took Miria by surprise, however she calmly answer: "Yes I did, but why do you ask Clare?"
"Aldo I understand the stakes here and the lives in question but exposing us to this kind of risks will not get us closer to home, it will in fact lead us further from it." Miria bowed her head, Clare was right after all. Just eight of them accepted the job where there is little chance that they will return alive, such actions could get them all killed and Miria knew that pretty well.
-"I know that Clare and I was thinking a lot about it. But no matter how much I want to return to Rabona and deal with the Organization I can't put aside Dragan's sacrifice and all the lives that could be lost if the Orks ever get across this bridge." Claymores were now al lup and they formed a circle around Miria and were listening to her carefully. Miria continued: "I swear to take the revenge upon Organization one day and I will do it. But while on that path I will not close my eyes or cover my eyes to the call for help."
"We understand that Miria, that is why we have you as our leader. No matter what you choose to do we will be beside you at all times." Clare answered to Miria's comment. Miria surprisingly ask: "Then why did you ask me do I want to return to Rabona?"
"Because I wanted to hear that from your mouth, and know this: In whatever hopeless situation or whatever insane order you give us we will follow your orders. On that you can be sure Miria, now let us prepare and face our enemy." Clare say that with a smile, other Claymores also smiled. Miria relaxed as she was suspecting that sooner or later they will question her motives and orders. But now it seems that they will after all try to survive all of this together. Tabitha who was standing on the very edge of the bridge noticed something in distance. She turns her head, Cynthia noticed that and asks her: "What is it Tabitha?"
"Can you hear it?" She answered to Cyntha almost immediately."Hear what?" Tabitha continues: "That sound, looks like it comes from the brdge itself and it's getting stronger."
Moments later other Claymores could also hear that strange sound. It sounded like something big was heading their way; it was in like sound of something really heavy and big marching toward them. "What the….they are already here?" Helen shouted as they couldn't see the Orks because of the two meter pile of dead Orks that was covering the bridge.
"Damn it, all Claymores defensive positions!" Miria gave the order and all Claymores move to the very entrance to the bridge, some few meters away from the Ork pile, and took their stances. The sound was getting stringer and louder, it was not alone. With that sound the Claymores could also hear the sound of approaching Orks as they shouted their famous battle cry: "WARGHHHH!"
The Orks cannot be seen because of the pile on the bridge, but they were closer and closer. Claymores get ready and just when they expected the Ork to charge at them jumping from the pile of their own dead, something unexpected happened. The pile of dead Orks was smashed, and as dead Ork flew all around them they could clearly see the source of that strange sound. Some kind of machine was standing on a place that was previously a pile of dead Orks. The machine was around three to four meters big; it has two legs and two hands with blades attached on it. Both blades were In circular shape and they were turning at very high speed, the machine itself don't have head but rather small opening for eyes on the middle. For Claymores it was terrifying sight, they have never faced such contraption before. "What the hell is this thing!" Helen shouted, she is quite nervous now. "Damn, they have a Deff Dread with them." Ilena answered Helen's question with anger in her tone.
"A Deff Dread?" Deneve asks. "A walker vehicle quite powerful for foot soldiers, Miria we must go now!" Ilenas answered to Deneve then shouted to Miria. "What?" Miria turned her head toward Ilena and asks her. Ilena's answers in anger: "We are not match for that thing; our sword cannot cut through its armor. We must go now if we hope to stay alive." Miria hesitated for a moment and then she nodded to Ilena. And just in right time as Ork boyz started to appear around the machine. Miria made few steps forward to face all the Claymores and said: "All right, listen up we are…." But she didn't finish her order as she could hear another strange sound to, this one was behind them now. "What is it Miria?" Cynthia asks, Uma who was next to her also noticed the new strange sound: "What is this sound?" Helen also notices it:
"What, behind us to!" and it was bad timing indeed as both Ork boyz and Deff Dread were charging at them. The sound was coming behind them, and behind them were some ruins and a ruined building some thirty meters behind them. Sound was now very close, and it sounded like jet engine. Just as Ork were starting their charge above the ruined building something black emerged at full speed. It looked like some kind of vehicle, moments later it found itself above Claymores and in the next moment it collided with Deff Dread. The explosion of two vehicles was huge; it killed all the Ork around them and knock the Claymores off foot. As they were slowly rising up they wondered what happened.
"What the hell was that now." Helen asks while holding her head. "I don't know, but I do know that we should be careful. Something jumped out of that black thing before it collided with Ork machine." As soon as they heard this Claymores hurried to get up and make stance to face this new threat. As soon as they could stand up they were greeted by familiar voice:
"You sisters are like magnet for bad luck. It was good thing that I took Land Speeder with me. But a shame that such a fine vessel had to be destroyed in this way." Claymores were first confused then happy, before them were none other than Valerius; the Black Templar's Chaplain. They are also surprised as Valerius should be at Manufactiorum with Thelos, holding back the Orks and protecting Titans. "What are you doing here Valerius?" Miria asks him, still surprised to see him. "I and Thelos got to conclusion that you sisters could use some assistance, I didn't really need Thelos beside his four hundred battle brothers so he send me to assist you."
"It's a good thing that you came when you did, Ork walker just showed before us and we were just ready to leave as we lack means to oppose it." Ilena explains the previous situation to Valerius. "I know sister, it was really the Emperor's will to arrive when I did. But I am afraid that our work is not yet done." Valerius turned toward the bridge and readies his Crozus Arcanum. "Here they come." The Ork horde charged again, Claymores hurried up and made their formation with Valerius in middle. "If we hurry up now we can still hold them on the bridge!" Ilena shouted, the Orks were quite near the bridge's end. Now that Valerius explosion clear most of the remains from previous battle the bridge was once again clear and the Ork horde charged, now with leaders and heavy weapons. But Ilena's order was countered by Valerius:
"No sister Ilena, we will hold here." Ilena was surprised as were the rest of her comrades.
"But Valerius if we don't hold them there…" Ilena started to reason with Valerius, but he cut her in a middle of speech and said: "Trust me sister, do you think that we alone are to face all this Orks?" Claymores were now more confused while the Ork horde approaches. Suddenly, the Ork horde was countered by beams of Lasgun fire. Claymores turned only to notice Cadian Guardsmen and Victor's Stormtroopers taking positions at the ruins and start targeting Orks on the bridge. "What is all of this Valerius?" Miria finally ask Valerius.
"Why do you ask me sister Miria? When you should ask those two" Miria turned around and saw both Lieutenants coming to see them. The Orks on the bridge were now in cover as they were hit from several sides from the Claymore side of the bridge, that buy some time for Claymores and both Lieutenants to have a little talk. "Victor? Steven?" Deneve asks the two Lieutenants who came to them. They both saluted them and Steven fist spoke: "Ma'am, me and Lieutenant Victor came here to support you in your defense of this city."
"We appreciate your coming but what about Manufactorum?" Clare asks them, Victor replies: "Don't worry ma'am, we took only one hundred Guardsmen with us and fifty of my Stormtroopers. It's not much to have any effect on the main strike force but it's enough to hold the Orks on this bridge."
"How did you even know where are we going to be In the first place?" Cynthia asks him. "Me and Steven here figured it out; this is after all the only place where you could mount a successful defense without being overrun. Now if you don't mind let us show this Ork what we are made of. And if my superiors have something against this decision they can court martial me after this is done!" "Both of us as far as I am concern Lieutenant." Steven added his opinion with a small smile on his face. Then he continue "All right sisters, we will provide fire support while you take them down in close combat just like at Generatorium. And don't worry about those Ork vehicles; we have brought weapons to engage them."
"Thank you Lieutenants; let us all live long enough to see the end of this." Miria thanked Victor and Steven for their support. "Don't worry sister we will, and thank you ma'am. We will not take our position, take care sisters. The Emperor protects." After saying that both Lieutenants return to their man to better organize them, on the other side the Orks have massed behind cover and were now ready for charge. "This is it sisters, ready yourself and let the Emperor himself guide our blows."
"You really believe that your Emperor is a God, don't you Valerius?" Deneve asks him while making her stance to face the incoming Ork hordes. Valerius just stood still looking at Ork horde and he answered: "I wouldn't be the Chapter's Chaplain if that was not the case. You may not believe in the Emperor, it is only natural because you were isolated from everything in the last ten thousand year. But let me tell you this, the Emperor has always been there for us in our darkest times. Whenever I ask for his guidance and help he always helped me and my brothers in one way or another. So have some faith sister, you will see that the Emperor will answer your call." Claymores listen to Valerius closely
"And as you can see, you are not alone anymore. On your world you have been despised, outcasts and left to look after yourself, protecting the people who hated you for taking the last of their hard earned money and treated as expandable by the very Organization that you swore your loyalty to. But not here, here you have brothers and sisters who will fight alongside you regardless of the situation and solders and friends who respect you and who are ready to give their lives for you. If that is not the Emperor's miracle then I don't know what it is."
"Fine speech brother Chaplain, we are very grateful for that." Miria thanked the Chaplain. Valerius laughed and said: "You don't men to thank me sister, I was just doing my duty. And now…" Valerius took two steps forward and he was now standing in front or Ork horde that has just charged at them. Lasfire and heavy weapons fire flew all around them right into the advancing Orks, some were cut and some were wounded, but the majority of them continued to advance. Valerius raised his left hand, in witch was his Crozus Arcanum and shouted: "MAKE YOUR STAND, HERE AND NOW!" and hit the first Ork that get close enough to him. Claymores also charged into the pocket that Guardsmen fire made and engage the Orks. The battle begun again, but this time the chances for survival were higher and they just need to hold on until Warboss arrive.
In the meantime, at Manufactorum, Castellan Thelos arrived with his strike force and discovered that the great factory is intact. When his task force arrived there were no Ork to be seen, the small bands that arrived at factory were nothing more than a nuisance for the Manufactorum defensive guns. When Thelos arrived he was greeted by Manufactorum representatives and it was not long before he placed his battle brothers and Guardsmen to defensive positions. Now, inside Manufactorum Castellan Thelos is walking in a long corridor with Manufactorum Magos. Magos is half the size of Thelos and he is wearing standard Adeptus Mechanicus red robe, but even if he is half of Thelos size he is not that weak for his entire body is full of cybernetic implants. In his long lifespan of almost four hundred years almost nothing except his brain and some parts of his head remained human, everything else was replaced for cybernetics for such is the way of Mechanicus.
Thelos didn't mind that for he too was upgraded, but in different way than Magos. The two of them are headed toward main Manufactorum part because Thelos wants to see the current state of Titan war machines; he thought that if Titans are intact he could probably ask Magos to sue them against Orks. As they are slowly walking toward main chambers, which are not that far away now, the two men are talking about current situation: "I must thank you and your battle brother for coming so fast. We didn't expect any kind of help in the next few weeks."
"It was the Emperor's will that we were close enough to provide assistance Magos. To tell you the truth even I have doubted that you were alive and that the Manufactorum is safe."Magos replies: "I too am surprised at Ork behavior brother Castellan, I thought that they will launch the attack on Manufactorum immediately. But it seems that they have something else in mind."
"Perhaps, is there any other way to enter the facility except the main gateways?" Magos replies: "Not to my knowledge, the other minor entrances were destroyed and we flooded the sewers when we heard that the Orks have invaded. The only remaining entrances are the ones that your forces are guarding." They have arrived at the end of the corridor; in front of them are the big metal doors with the sing of Mechanicus – a skull, half organic and half cybernetic. The big door opened and the two of them entered a large chamber.
"Now, behold brother castellan, the living gods of war that you have come to protect." Castellan and Magos entered a great hall that was kilometers long and around three hundred meters high. Castellan and Magos stopped at the fence and look at what was in front of them.
-"Holly Terra, they are magnificent." In front of them stood several Imperator class Battle Titans, the most massive and most powerful war machines ever to be built by Imperium for use in ground warfare. The Titan itself was fifty five meters high; it is a walker vehicle with two legs and two arms.
But the arms were his main weapon, with Gatling Volcano Cannon in his right hand that could send a volley of high energy laser beam that could melt the toughest armor and in his left hand he have Turbo-laser Destructor, a weapon that can deliver a powerful blow from a very long distance. And finally to the left and right side of his head, which is positioned in line of Titan shoulders, were powerful Plasma Annihilators. A weapon so powerful that it can destroy an entire city in several shots, and all that firepower stand right in front of Thelos. He feel like he was in a presence of a god, in some way that was true since Imperial Titans are regarded as gods of battlefield. With the most powerful ground weapons mounted on them they could destroy entire army's and level entire cities in one shot.
"I see that you are quite amazed brother Castellan." Magos addressed to Thelos who was still amazed by Titan, Thelos turned his head and realized that he was distracted by Titan.
"I am sorry Magos, but this is a first time I saw an Imperator Titan. It is such a fine machine." Magos replies: "Quite right brother Castellan, I am glad that you were mesmerized by its beauty. Not everyone is that much impressed with the creations of the machine god. And I am glad that you were." Magos smiled at Thelos. "I don't know what to say Magos, it is of course my pleasure to receive such high regards from a person like yourself."
"It's ok brother Castellan, now shall we get back to business?"Magos turn to side and rise his right hand in a direction of yet another hallway that spread across entire room where the Titans were stationed. Thleos nodded and the both of them continued to walk and talk: "So, tell me Magos what is your current situation regarding the great war machines?"
"Nothing much, all fifty of them are in green and ready to go. But the real problem is the crew that is needed to operate them. We only have enough to operate three Titans, the rest are either unavailable or killed in the initial attack." Thelos replies: "I see, you can put your crews on standby then Magos. We will need their help if Orks decide to attack the Manufactorum."
"You can relax brother Castellan, I have already issued that order the moment your brothers and you arrived. If the Orks decide to attack we will be ready for them." The both of them talked and walked all the way, not taking even a moment to turn their heads and enjoy the view of mighty Titans that looked at them from great height. But even in all their glory, without any crew to operate them they were just what they are right now – great statues representing the gods of war and the true representation of Emperor's might. After some time the two of them entered main control room, the room was filled with computers and Tech Priests who constantly monitored the situation inside and outside of Manufactorum.
"As you can see, using satellite images we have been able to foresee the Ork movements all this time and to prepare our defenses accordingly. But, even with such preparations and advanced information we could do nothing to prevent the Orks from overrunning the northern part of the city and the factory district."
"You did your best Magos, what about the rest of the Planetary Defense Force?" Magos replies: "Some take shelter in the Manufactorum with civilians who fled northern hive city, the rest were killed while trying to hold them off." Castellan asks: "I see, and what about the Imperial Guard Regiments?"
"I see that you brought two with you with the addition of Stormtrooper Regiment. The last one is from Elysia, they already took an assignment to raid the Ork supply lines in the northern city." Castellan answers: "That is quite the gamble, isn't that dangerous since the Orks are probably preparing big invasion on Manufatorum?"
"Not according to our most recent information." Thelos looks at Magos with confusion. "What do you mean by that Magos?" Magos replies: "Well according to our most recent information the entire Ork horde, including the Ork leader of this entire campaign, have moved to east and are planning to assault the hive city."
"WHAT!" Thelos is now furious; Magos noticed that and tries to reason with him. "Calm down brother Castellan, let me explain. The Orks were preparing for the assault, we to thought that they will assault us here in the Manufactorum. But it seems that Ork were driven to the main hive city by the resistance on this bridge here." The Magos show Castellan the plans of the city on a holographic projector. The projector showed a bridge that appears to be the only way to cross from the northern part of the city to the main city in the south.
"The Orks were preparing to send a small force to try to cvapture poorly defended hive city. But it appears that something stopped them on that bridge, something strong enough to get attention of entire Ork horde and their leader." Thelos is thinking in himself 'Emperor, please don't tell me it's them', Magos is continuing. He taps a button on a side and the picture doomed to maximum, showing the seven armored warriors with big sword from bird's perspective. "You see here, it seems that these seven Sisters of Battle were able to hold down the first attack of Ork hordes. But when the main force arrives they will have no chance against them. They are now joined by a small force of Guardsmen and what appears to be a Space Marine Chaplain, but even with these reinforcements they will probably hold on their own for several hours before they get overwhelmed."
"Magos listen carefully; we must send them reinforcements at once." Magos turned toward Thelos and says: "I would send them help if I had something to actually send them. Even if we send our forces stationed here now they would be to late. An Elysians will not return from their missions for at least a day. Do not get mad Brother Castellan, I care about that city to as they are our people and under our protection. But the Ork cut us by surprise and there is nothing more that we can do for any of them." Thelos thinks for a moment, and then he addressed Magos: "Magos, I maybe have a solution. But you will not like it." After telling his plan the Magos got very angry at Thelos: "What you are suggesting is heresy! To do something like that is madness; even I have a hard time issuing orders for something like that."
"You told me that you care about those people Magos, and I care about them to. I especially care for those eight sisters and their allies that are defending that bridge, they don't know what are they expecting and when they find that out it will be too late for them to retreat. So I am asking you again Magos, will you help me to do the Emperor's duty or not?" The Magos thought for a little while, even if his face was half in cybernetics Thelos could see that he is having a hard time making decision. Magos finally spoken several moments later: "I don't like this Castellan, if something goes wrong then the machine god's los will be irreplaceable."
"Do not worry about that Magos for I will go to. As long as I am there nothing will happened." Magos nodded and says: "I will hold you to your word Space Marine now hurry and head toward the hangar doors. I will give the move order soon, may Emperor smile upon us today and grant us victory." Thelos turned around and headed toward doors. "You don't need to worry Magos, I always keep my promises." Thelos said before his exited the room. Magos just smiled in his resolution. He would normally object such request but there was something in this man that gave him reassurance that he will get a job done and return victorious. He turns toward console and start giving orders via main communication console.
Several hours have passed since the Orks have made their second assault, and for that several hours the unending horde just keep coming and coming. The bodies of dead Orks were everywhere, especially at the bridge. But every now and then the Orks would send a walker or several strong Nobz to toss the dead Ork bodies over the bridge and made place for the rest of them to pass. The Imperial Guard situation was not that much better, even if their casualty rate was not that high thanks to Claymores and cover they were running out of ammunition. Lasgun is standard Imperium's assault rifle, it fire a beam of focused light that makes mini plasma explosions at the target area, even if not very powerful the rifle is easy to maintain and on medium setting can last for one hundred and fifty shots. But the problem now was the length of the battle, almost all Guardsmen were on their last power pack and most of them have fallen to as low as fifty shots left. They run out of heavy weapons to, but luck was on their side to as the Ork were not sending anymore walkers.
Claymores took the worst hit as they are fighting constantly for hours. Most of them are at their physical strength limit and are trying to rest in every possible moment they catch. But unlike Pieta where they were almost wiped out after shorter amount of time here they were perfectly fine when it comes to physical health. They took blows and hits but their armor protected them and Guardsmen behind them did their best to take down as much Ork ranged weaponry as they could. They still didn't use their yoma powers for there was no need in it. But, the main reason why everyone was still alive was probably Valerius. The Black Templar Chaplain was still fighting like the fight just started, many Orks tried to cut him down but he was successful in evading all their attacks and but many of them down for good. While Claymores guard his side Valerius took the brunt of attack and repelled it. His chanting and battle cries also provided inspiration to troops around him, making them to fight harder.
All Claymores were fascinated by such determination; they have never seen anything like that. They now finally understand why are Adeptus Astartes, the Emperor's Angels of Death, named like that. They were in fact made for battles that were sure defeat, they would enter that battles and against all odds secure a victory. They could see that as Valerius was now standing some few meters in front of them and tie the main Ork force around him. He suffered several blows but his armor protected him, he was even wounded on one spot but it seems that his advanced physiology help him to stand and fight. Behidn them Lieutenant Voctor run toward Claymores while running, he jump down from cover and addressed to first one he could see: "Sister!" The one who heard him was Tabitha. "What is it Lieutenant?"
"I have bad news; we are running out of ammunition. We need to pull back if we want to stay alive!" Tabitha replies: "Damn it, Captain Miria…" Tabitha is trying to reach Miria via her suit vox. But she is unaware that her vox is two channeled meaning that the others also heard Victor's report. Before she ended her request for communication Tabitha already received an answer: "I know Tabitha, I heard it to. This is a very bad situation, there are many of them remaining and we are at our limit."
"Ugh, do these guys ever quit?" Helen asks via vox? "I don't think so, it seems that the more we fight the more of them are drawn to us." Clare answers her back. "So we are just going to fight until we either die or get exhausted? We should retreat and try something different." Helen is now expressing her thought about the developing situation. "Even if I am against that Miria Helen is right. If we stay here we will surely die. We should fall back and rethink our strategy; we can't hold them at this bridge anymore." Ilens is giving a tactical advice to Miria.
"I to agree with Ilena, we must pull back now Miria."
Deneve is also supporting Ilena's idea. Miria is now in difficult position as she has to risk retreat which would result in some Ork forces getting across the bridge and attack the undefended civilian population of the hive city. But before Miria could decide what to do next Valerius is telling them something via vox channels: "They are gone sisters, you can relax now." Claymores are surprised and they are just standing still, looking at lone Valerius figure surrounded by Ork corpses at the bridge entrance. "Gone, what do you mean gone?" Miria is asking him.
"They have retreated sister, they are probably regrouping or…." Suddenly Valerius stopped. "Or what Chaplain?" Miria asks again, now concern at what could stop the Orks and what did Valerius sensed. Suddenly Valerius made stance like he is going to take a hit, in the next moment something huge hit him and Valerius flew. He flew for several meters and finality stopped when he hit ruble behind Claymores.
"VALERIUS!" All Claymores said it spontaneously, they turned back to see what kind of thing was standing there. It was an Ork, but not like the ones they were fighting all this time. The Ork was quite big, even bigger than Valerius. He is covered in armor from top to bottom with only his head exposed. On his arms he is wearing enormous power claws. Claymores are all surprised as they never saw a creature like that, it was still not as big as Awakened One. But then again, awakened beings didn't wore armor and guns like the Orks did. The big Ork roared and said: "So you are the gitz that are stomping my boyz. I am Warboss Backbreaka, I when I am done with here you will all have your backs broken."
"You are the leader of this horde?" Ilena asks him. "I am the biggest and meanest Ork that evar lived humie, and I will smash everything that stand in me way. You broke lot of my boyz today, and I will now break you." After saying that the giant Ork rushed toward Claymores, fortunately they were fast enough to avoid him. For a creature that size ( the Ork Warboss is about four meters tall and much wider than Thelos or Valerius who are superhuman ) the Ork Warboss is quite fast. But not fast enough for Claymores who are not counterattacking him. "Is that the best you can do?" Helen smiled while she was attacking the Warboss, but something happened. She hit the Warboss only to find that her sword bounced of his armor.
"Huh?" Helen is standing in front of Waboss confused to what happened only to be hit by Warboss in the next moment. She flew and hit the ruble just like Valerius. "Helen!" Deneve calls for her comrade "You will pay for that best." But to her threats the big Ork Warboss just laughed:"Ha ha ha ha. A humie with a spirit, this is going to one hell of a fight." In that moment Helen appeared from ruble.
"Are you alright Helen?" Miria asks her. "I am fine, maybe little shaken but it's ok. This is one thought Ork we are dealing here". "Agreed, let us attack periodically and try to find some weak spot." Ilena addressed to Miria and as soon as Miria nodded to her they both attack him followed by the rest of their comrades. While Claymores engaged the Warboss the rest of the Orks were standing at the bridge and cheering. Victor and Steven saw that as an opportunity and start to position their men around perimeter. Each of them was now at only one laspack each, that was not much but it was enough to hold them down for a little while and pray for miracle. In the meantime the battle between Warboss and Claymores was not going well as Claymores attacked the Warboss but without any success, his armor was too thick for even their enhanced Claymores. In one moment they all stooped their attacks to strategize; they were also tired from all attacking and evading.
"Ohhh, what's the matter humies? Getting tired?" The Warboss laughed while Claymores looked at him with anger in their faces. "Finished? We are just getting started xeno." They all turned around to see Valerius getting out of ruble that fall at him. If he was ordinary human he would be dead the moment that pile of rubble fell on him, but his armor and enchantments protected him and he was now up and ready for battle once again.
"You are tough Space Marine I will give you that, but I will still crush you like I did with the rest of the humies on this planet". "Listen sisters, your swords cannot penetrate his armor. He is too thick for even your power Claymores to get through. But his armor is also weak in joints, so try hitting him there with all you got. Cut off his arms and legs and then finish him, that is all I could advice now. I will attack him head on and try to crack his armor."
"All right, all Claymores dismember this beast." Miria gave the order for attack. "You think that you can take me? Warboss Backbreaka? NEVER!" The Ork shouted as he was ready to face Claymores who just charged at him. But before he could act he was distracted by shots from Valerius bolt pistol as he to Charge at him. The big Ork was confused and he just tried to hit the first one who got near him, but it was too late. Claymores strike as fast as they could at the joints and they were successful, the joints on Ork armor were poorly defended and after a few hits the Claymores were able to break it and after several more to finally cut off Warbos legs and arms. As the mighty Ork Warboss fall to the ground, without his arms and legs, and in the next moment Valerius get close enough and reading his Crozus Arcanum to deliver the final blow.
"Mighty Emperor, GUIDE MY BLOW!" He chanted and finally delivered the final blow. Crozus Arcanum fell upon the Ork head and as a result of power field the weapon was armed the Ork Warboss head exploded."Finally, that was one tough Ork." Helen finally sits down to relax and rest, but the problem was not yet over as the rest of the horde was quite near them. But they were now confused as their leader fell.
"You got to be kidding me; we have to fight these guys to?" Helen asks as she finally remembered the bunch of Ork that were just looking at all of them from the bridge that was also full of Orks."It seems so, they don't look too happy for seeing us killing their leader." Deneve answered Helen as she take her stance to face the incoming horde. They could hear voices coming from the Ork horde: "They killed the boss, get em!"
"I guess it's never boring with those guys, huh?" Helen said as she to make her stance to oppose the Ork horde. "Do not fear sisters, we will answer them shot by shot and hit by hit. Our Emperor will see us victories this day!" Valerius is chanting as the Ork horde is preparing to charge. "You know Valerius, we could really use you at Pieta." Clare game him a compliment on his work.
"I will make sure to be there when you need me one day, if we survive this encounter of course."The Ork horde was preparing to charge. Opossing them were Claymores and Valerius with around seventy Guardsmen and Stormtroopers behind them, the odds are pretty much against them. Then suddenly the Orks saw something that scared them, they turned around and start to fall back across the bridge. "What just happened?" Uma asks.
"It seems that they are running from something." Tabitha answered, In that moment Cynthia adds: "Uh guys, can you fell that the ground is shaking?" Cynthia was right, whatever the Orks saw was probably massive judging by the way the ground shakes each time it would made a step. Valerius turned to his left and in the distance he could see it.
"Holly Terra, I can't believe it, he actually requisition one of them." Claymores and Guardsmen also turned and were stunned. "What the hell is that thing?" Helen asks scared as kitten. "That, my sister, is an Imperator Titan. A great war machine forged in the volcanic foundries of Mars. A true manifestation of the Emperor's will." Valerius answers while still looking at the giant Titan getting near them. The Titan was some five hundred meters away from the bridge, on the balcony that was above his head Thelos was standing and observing the situation.
"Can you hear me Princeps?" Thelos called the Titan commander. "Loud and clear brother Castellan, we can see the bridge. What would you have us do?"
"That bridge is the only way for Orks to cross into the southern hive city, aim your guns toward that bridge and destroy it." Princeps replies: "Understood brother Castellan, stand by." At the bridge's beginning Claymores were still amazed at the giant metal behemoth who now stooped some four hundred meters from the bridge. The Titan main guns were now aimed at the bridge and they started shining as they collect energy to fire.
"What is happening now?" Ilena ask Valerius about the strange light coming out of the Titans main four weapon systems. Valerius simple answers: "The Emperor's swift retribution." And in the next moment the guns opened fire. The light coming from the four Titan energy weapons was so bright that Claymores were blind for a moment; the resulting explosion was so great that they were also deaf for a short while. But all of that lasted for several seconds, and after Claymores regained their senses again they were shocked with the scene. The bridge was gone, blown into oblivion by Titan weapons. On Titan itself Thelos could clearly see that kilometer long bridge was destroyed and that Ork forces were stranded at the other side. "Should I start targeting the Ork forces on the other side of the cliff." Princeps ask Thelos.
"No Princeps, the Guardsmen and Black Templars can take care of that. Thank you very much for your cooperation on this matter." Princeps replies: "You are welcome brother Castellan, even I am against that to destroy the great work of our Techpriests ( he was referring to the destroyed bridge ) I am glad that billions of loyal followers were saved."
"As we all are Princeps." Thelos was now looking at the defenders side of the bridge, he could see Valerius and Claymores standing there at the very edge of the cliff and he waves to them. Valerius spot him and said: "There is Thleos?"
"Where?" Miria asks. "On the Titan's head, he is waving to us." Clare smiled to that and asks Miria: "Are you still sure that they want us dead and that we should take care of ourselves Miria?" Miria to smiled and says: "Now I am certain that is not the case anymore Clare. For the first time im my life I can say that we are not alone anymore."
Several hours later the group was at Manufactorum, resting and treating their wounds. Miria and Ilena are talking with Steven: "I may I say again that it was an honor to serve under you ma'am."
"It was our pleasure to fight alongside you as well Lieutenant. Be well and may we meet again one day." Ilena greeted Cadian Lieutenant, he saluted them and head to meet his man who were preparing to go on the other side of the city and liberate it from the Ork hordes. Victor addressed to both of them: "You see sisters, what did I told you? Out here you count on us ordinary humans to aid you whenever you want."
"I can see that now Victor, and may I say that we never meet crazier humans than you from the Imperial Guard." Miria answered to Victor's compliment. Both Claymores and Stormtrooeprs were now resting in Manufactorum's living quarters where most of the high ranking officers were living. Now it was the turn of other Guard units and Templars to start claiming the city back for the Imeprium. After some time the room doors opened and Valerius entered inside. "Valerius what is it? Ilena asks.
"All of you need to come with me; we have a visit from Inquisition." Everyone stood up and followed Valerius to the meeting place. Victor was nervous; Miria and others saw that was a bad sing. Something big was happening if the Inquisition decided to send their representative to this world. When they arrived to the meeting point they were outside, on one of the landing platforms, out there was black Valkyrie transport with big "I" on both her wings. In front of it was Thelos and the Inquisitor, the Inquisitor looked like men in early fifties, but giving his status he must be much older. His hair was as black as coal, his eyes are also black but with addition of being as steady as a rock. His pale face was speaking about trouble as he looked really angry. Claymores and Victor stood before him while Valerius took his place aside Thelos. With his deep scary voice he addressed to Claymores: "So you are the Claymores, daemon hunters from world known as Rabona?"
"Yes we are."Miria answers. "And I suspect that you are the one called Miria, leader of this group of warriors?" Miria once again replies: "You are correct again."
"Well now, my name is Lord Inquisitor Nero. And from now on you have been assigned to me following the unfortunate death of Lord Inquisitor Dragan at the hands of treacherous Daemon Prince of Chaos."
"I am glad that we meet Lord Inquisitor." Ilena spoken to Inquisitor, he waited for a moment then continues: "Now to why I am here, I have read the reports from Thelos and Magos and I must ask you Claymore Miria: why you and your comrades disobeyed a direct order?" Claymores looked at him confused. "I don't understand…" Miria was trying to ask a question but she was cut by Nero:
"The orders were to secure Manufactorum and its Titan was machines. Why did you and your group break from the main force and headed in unknown direction to engage the Orks?" Miria replies: "We learned that the Ork were to attack and slaughter defenseless civilians. We decided to go and help them." Deneve answered to Inquisitor's question, Miria now noticed that Thelos and Valerius were quiet the whole time. In addition to that they were also nervous about something. Nero asks: "So you are actually admitting that you decided to deviate from the more important task to loom freely around the city and engage the Orks?" Claymores were now angry:
"More important task? We just saved the lives of countless billions, how is that less important?" Helen asks Nero, he calmly replies: "Their lives mean nothing to us, even if the Orks killed them all to the last men." Claymores are shocked with his answer "That would be of course regrettable, but the Manufactorum stationed here worth more than five hundred billion people living in the southern part of the city." Miria and other cannot believe his words; does that mean that they are even worse than the Organization that betrayed them? Nero continues: "Now I would like to talk about you disobeying the direct order and I would also like to discuss about the punishment for that disobeying." Punishment, that didn't sound right. But, Thelos made two steps forward and says:
"You shouldn't punish them Lord Inquisitor for what they did. It was I who gave them the order to go and help the civilian population." Nero turned now to face Thelos, he was quite angry with his statement: "This is unacceptable brother Castellan, even if we assigned Claymores to you and your brothers for the time being that doesn't mean that you can command them as you wish."
"The Claymores understood mission parameters, they wanted to help those people but they knew that Manufactorum is more important. So I ordered them to go and stop the Orks advancing at the hive city while we would secure the Manufatorum using the rest of our forces." Nero is starting to calm himself, he then returned to Claymores and says: "Anyway, I was just trying to tell you what the punishments for disobeying orders are. Since you are officially not under our command but you rather joined us it is instructed to me to send you right home where Dragan found you if this kind of thing ever happened again. I now see that your feelings toward ordinary humans is more powerful than I originally imagined, that might change some plans we have in stored for your services but no matter – you can still be useful. That is if you still want to stay with us or you want to run away to your homeworld?"
"It's all right, we promised that we will repay Dragan for saving us and until we think that debt is repaid we will continue to be in the service of the Emperor." For the first time Nero smiled. "Good, as expected from you Claymores. Now the main thing I came here for, by the power invested in us by the Immortal God Emperor of Man I hereby declare you Inquisitors. But note that your titles are just permanent and they will be stripped once you decided to return to your homeworld. You are also staying with Dragan;s ship and Lieutenant Victor's Stormtrooper Regiment, but they are now under you direct command. You will report directly to me and I will give you mission from time to time that the Inquisition deem the highest importance. What do you say?"
"We are honored and accept the offer." Ilena answered and bowed, other Claymroes did the same thing."Good, until I give you new missions you are free to wander in the assigned sector and answer the distress signals if you want to. See you again soon sisters, lieutenant. The Emperor protects." Nero greeted them and turns away toward his dropship, he stopped when he got near Thelos and says: "Your Adeptus Astartes status saved you the trouble this time brother Castellan. But you can count that Marshall Helbrecht will hear about this report to."
"I understand, would you please send my regard to Marshall when you're at it?" Nero didn't spoke a word he just smiled and headed toward his dropship. In few minutes his dropship lifted and disappeared in the skies of Gracia. "Miria, Ilene what the hell was that!" Helen is angry and she is asking Miria about their decision. "That guy just said that he doesn't care if those people lived or died. They are even worse than Organization, so are we still with them?" But Miria and Ilena are silent; Clare and Deneve are to meaning that they just figured out something.
"Oi guys, what is it?" Helen again now more confused than angry. Thelos noticed that and he asks Miria:"So you finally see it now don't you?"
"See what I don't understand?" Helen is still asking, and by the look of it Uma, Cynthia and Tabitha also don't understand what is happening." The silence was broken by Clare who answered Helen's question: "We have just realized the bigger picture."
"The bigger picture?" Helen is still confused. "Those Titans and that Manufactorum are crucial in defending not just this world but many other worlds that reside in this sector. If we had to choose to save those five hundred billion and left the Manufactorum to fall to the Orks we would damn countless billions living on other worlds to death as they would be defenseless against any kind of aggression. Worst off all the Orks would probably take the Titans for themselves and used them against other targets. He is right, their lives are really less important than the Manufactorum." Helen is shockingly looking at Clare. "She is right Helen, when you look at the bigger picture their lives are really not that much important when compared to many others who live in the countless other worlds." Deneve backed Clare's answer.
"You see sisters this is the war I didn't want you to know off. A war where only goal is survival and where the men sacrifices are so great that sometimes even entire worlds are lost to allow us to slow down or destroy the enemy. You can say that a reason why those five hundred billion are still alive is due to Emperor's miracle, and your own resolution." Thelos added his opinion to the matter at hand. "But what will happen next time when all of this happened again?" Miria asks.
"Only the Emperor knows that sister Miria but right now that most important thing is that you succeed. The Manufactorum is safe and the people of this world will live to see another day. Don't ever forget this." Valerius is trying to cheer up the Claymores; he is successful as they all and with Miria thanking him. Then Thelos asks: "Tell me one thing sister Miria. How did you know where to hold the Orks? I don't remember telling you anything about a bridge being there."
"We had help." Clare answers. "A help, from who exactly?" Clare replies: "It didn't present herself; she was some strange looking figure in white armor. We encountered a group of Orks and after we dispatched them I picked up some shining artifact that was releasing some kind of strange energy. Than that mysterious figure appeared an attacked me, after she explained that she wanted the artifact I gave it to her and in return she told us all about the Orks and the bridge."
"Hm, I guess by her voice you know that she is a female for sure, did she mention something else. I can't remember any report about some special operative on this planet." Clare continues: "She did use some strange name for us, she called us 'Mon'Keigh' several times." Thelos was surprised at Clare's answer, it would be also correct to say that he was also worried. On the other hand Chaplain Valerius was mad: "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" He shout at Clare, Clare was confused about what did wrong. But Valerius spoke to her: "Sorry sister I don't mean to get out of control."
"Anyway, the next time you meet one of her kind do not trust them. They are manipulative by nature and would sacrifice you without hesitation." Thelos warned Claymores about this mysterious figure. "Who is she exactly brother Thelos?" Ilena asks. "Her race is called the Eldar and they are even older than Humanity. They are very dangerous and you should be more careful the next time you meet them, this time they helped you but the next time they won't hesitate to use you for something I am sure of that."
"Don't worry we will take care Castellan." Miria answered Thelos advice. "Wery good." Thelos answered and then he put his helmet on and slowly with Valerius walks toward the Manufactorum entrance. "Anyway your work here is done, your action here will be told to generations that will come. Too bad that they will never find out who are really their saviors, but that is for the best. You are free to go wherever you want, if you need any help from time to time feel free to contact us and we will respond if we can."
"Understood brother Castellan." Ilena said and just when they were ready to depart themselves Thelos called for them: "One more thing sisters, it's about the thing that you realized about this whole situation - welcome to the grim darkness of 41'st millennium." And after saying that Thelos and Valerius left the landing area and entered the Manufactorum, to finally join their brothers in the liberation of planet. The newly pointed Inquisitors entered the dropships with their newly acquired Stormtrooper Regiment and shortly after getting on their ship leave the Gracia system and head off to unknown direction, to listen and to respond to any aid for assistance.