Adept Hans Talandor watched the screens of his auspex station in the PDF base. An interplanetary grid of sensor arrays constantly fed him information, most of which was useless. A small warning light beeped on his display, it appeared as though a ship was exiting the Warp on the very edge of the system. It appeared to be a ship of ancient make, but Hans could not identify the class. He tuned in the vox implanted in his throat.
"Adept Talandor to Senior Tech-Priest Carnitine."
"Sir, an unknown ship has just exited the Warp and is en route towards the planet."
"I shall arrive shortly." The ship could be seen on the screens now, thanks to the pict finders in the sensors. Unlike most ships of the current era, it looked less like a floating cathedral and more like a ship of war. A name was visible on the side, Benthos, and a mark was visible on the prow. It was a large metal face, shaped like a death's head. The words "Iron Within, Iron Without" were visible under it. Hans sat staring at it, and didn't notice when the Tech-Priest entered.
"Adept Talandor, this is the vessel you spoke of?"
"Yes, sir." The Tech-Priest studied the ancient vessel, muttering to himself while he did so.
"It appears to be Great Crusade era, though there is a .017% chance I am mistaken. Have you tried hailing them?"
"No, sir. They are just now coming into vox range."
"Attempt to contact them." The Adept nodded, tuning into a hailing frequency.
"Unknown ship, this is the Vanaheim PDF base. Unknown ship, we require identifacation." The vox burbled and hissed for a moment before a voice came on.
"Vanaheim PDF, this is the Iron Warriors' ship Benthos, we have wounded and need medical attention. Can you send word to Terra? Warmaster Horus has betrayed us!" The two men in the station looked at each other in bewilderment.
"Benthos, are you referring to the event known as the Horus Heresy? Are you not aware that it occured over ten thousand years ago?" They heard an intake of breath.
"What?! Ten thousand years? But what of the Emperor? The Primarchs?"
"Do you wish to meet in person? I'm sure it would be easier to explain." Both men looked at the new person in the room. It was a beautiful young woman, her lovelyness marred only by a scar that ran down her right eye to her throat. She wore black robes over a leather combat suit, and wore a gold necklace with a large, styllized "I" pendant.
"Yes, yes. Of course."
"Very well, Vanheim out." The two men looked at the Inquisitor, their eyes curious.
"Carry on." She walked out of the station, down the hallways towards the exit. A Rhino sat idling outside, painted black and white. Five Space Marines stood next to it. All of them were fully armored except one.
"Inquisitor Nixos, is it true?" The Inquisitor looked up at the Black Templar Castellan.
"Yes, Castellan. A Great Crusade era ship belonging to the Iron Warriors has just exited the Warp. They are due to meet with us, so I want you all to be ready."
Aboard the Benthos all was quiet, despite the news. A massive warrior in Mk III warplate sat in the commander's chair, his face covered by an iron mask, one that was identical to the one depicted on his shoulder plate. His name was Barabas Dantioch, Warsmith and former commander of the 51st Expeditionary Fleet. He commanded what was left of his Loyalist Iron Warriors, little more than twenty five in all. His sergents, Bendix and Mereel, stood awaiting his orders.
"My brothers, these people what us to meet with them so they can explain the galaxy's current state. I say we do, but cautiously. This is not the Emperor's Imperium anymore." Bendix nodded in agreement.
"Yes, Warsmith. I say we should send Venerable Brother Firaxa along with you and one of the Terminators." Mereel nodded.
"Agreed. We need you well protected, Warsmith."
"Am I not able to defend myself, brothers? Have I become too weak and feeble to do so? You are my brothers, but you both forget your place. I am the Warsmith, my place is at the frontline of battle and siege alike." He tapped a few buttons on his command throne.
"Tech-Adept Holdan, ready lord Firaxa. And awaken one of the Terminator suits, I'm coming down." He stood, towering above what was left of the human crew. Most had died on the long journey, but new ones had appeared, thanks to a crew of both men and women. His armor was silvery grey, black and yellow warning chevrons covering his left shin and right shoulder plate. A bolt pistol was holstered at his waist, a gift from an Imperial Fist captain. While most of his brothers were jealous of the Fists, Dantioch rather enjoyed their rivalry. He had always thought that without competition you could not improve you work or yourself.
He walked down the halls of the ancient ship, flanked by two guards in Mk III plate similar to his. Both held ancient Crusade pattern bolters, each a powerful weapon. He entered the Mechanicus workshop, a large place full of broken warplate and shattered weapons. Dantioch saw the Tech-Adept over at one of the three suits of Terminator plate they still had.
"Hail, honored Tech-Adept." The tall man turned to face him, a small grin on his face. He wore the red robes of his order, but unlike most of his ilk, Holdan was no stranger to combat. He had lost the left side of his face to a laspistol round when the Loyalists captured this ship. In it's place was a large bionic, the left side made of a silvery metal, his eye a large red one.
"Hail, Warsmith. I have almost completed the rituals for the suit, and Tech-Sergeant Goran completes the awakening for Lord Firaxa as we speak." Dantioch looked over the massive suit of Terminator plate, it was Cataphractii Pattern if he remembered correctly, and he always did. It's left hand was a power axe, perfect for cutting through foe, armored and unarmored alike. A storm bolter was bulit in on the right hand, a deadly weapon in the right hands. As he studied it, a loud grinding was heard, like the gears of a tank. Dantioch walked through a small door to the Dreadnought hold. A large silver Dreadnought, covered in warning chevrons and weapons, shuffled about as though trying to get his feet back.
"Hail, Venerable Firaxa." The "eyes" of the massive war machine locked on to the Warsmith, before another great grinding of gears sounded.
"Well, if it isn't the Warsmith. So, have we made it to Terra? Are we bringing the fight to the Emperor's enemies?" Dantioch shook his head slowly.
"Not yet, brother. There is some news you must hear, but it will have to wait. We need to prepare to go planetside." He turned to the Tech-Sergeant standing there. "Brother Goran, ready the Stormbird for flight. I must prepare as well."
He walked over to the suit he had been inspecting, standing on a small raised dais as a group of servitors walked out of hidden alcoves in the wall. The began removing his warplate, piece by piece. Soon he stood before them in nothing but his iron mask and a black undersuit.
"Tech-Adept, have my armor sent to my chambers." The Adept of Mars nodded as the servitors began to bring over pieces of the Terminator plate. They started with his legs, each of servitors chanting a hymn of the Mechanicus, so as to appease the machine spirit of his armor. Soon his legs were encased, and the began with his torso. It a total of three hours for the warplate to be completely activated and awakened. A servitor handed him the power axe, which he slid onto a magnetic lock on his back.
"Warsmith, I have prepped the Stormbird for flight. We are able to leave when you are ready."
"Good. We are on our way." He nodded at Venerable Firaxa, who started walking after him. Any who met them in the corridors jumped out of their way, but many followed, eager to see the Warsmith go forth once more. An honor guard of four Assault Marines was to be sent with him. Assault Marines were rare in the 4th Legion, usually reserved for going over the walls of a fortress to plant demolitions. Due to the high number of fatalities this type of work entailed, the Assault Marines have to be superb warriors. All were armed with chainaxes and bolt pistols, armored in Mk IV plate. Dantioch turned to the twenty odd men that had gathered before him.
"Today, my brothers, I go forth not to war, but in friendship. I go forth to find out what happened to our beloved Emperor and the Arch-Traitor Horus. Iron Within!" The voices of twenty three warriors roared.
"IRON WITHOUT!" Dantioch turned and strode into the Stormbird, followed by the Assault Marines. It was a tight fit for Brother Firaxa, but he managed. The ships engines fired, letting it rise off the deck. It flew out of the hold of the ship, down towards the planet below.
Inquisitor Nixos stood at the vox controls of her Thunderhawk dropship, watching as the servitor slaved to the contols slowly flipped through the stations. The squad of Black Templars stood outside the dropship, some standing watch while others prayed. Her mentor had been Inquisitor Thrax, who had overseen the re-claimation of the Forge World Graia several years ago. She had been an Interrogator then, and had watched as he tested the Ultramarines' Captain. He had let use the Black Templar squad that was on loan to him, as the Captain was now his bodyguard.
"This is Vanaheim, repeat Vanaheim. Come in Bethos, come in."
"Copy Vanaheim, this is the Stormbird Iron Soul, on approach vector. Where do you want us, over?"
"Copy Iron Soul. We want you to set down about two kilometers west of Facility Njord."
"Copy, moving to approach." Nixos walked out of the dropship, standing by the Black Templars as they watched a small speck of light approach. The Black Templars tighten their grips on their bolters as the form of a Stormbird came into view. It was a silver-gray, black and yellow warning chevrons appeared on many of the panels. An iron death's head mask was imprinted on the prow, above the words Iron Soul. It slowly dropped in for a landing, it's skids sinking into the soft earth. The back hatch groaned open, and the Inquisitor and Templars alike heard the clanking and grinding of Firaxa's ancient body. They watched as he stood to attention, and a group of silver clad Assault Marines filed out. They heard another heavy clanking as a massive figure walked down the ramp.
He was clad in Terminator plate, an ancient Crusade era pattern. A power axe was locked onto his back, and a storm bolter was built into his right gauntlet. Instead of a helm he wore an iron mask on his head identical to the one on his shoulder pad. He raised his hand in greeting.
"Hail. I am Warsmith Barabas Dantioch, former commander of the 51st Expeditionary Fleet." The Inquisitor cautiously raised her hand as well.
"I am Inquisitor Mjolka Nixos of the Ordo Malleus." The Warsmith cocked his head.
"What is an inquisitor?"
"We are an order of warriors dedicated to rooting out the influence of unholy xenos and Chaos." The Warsmith nodded. He then looked at the assembled Black Templars.
"Who, might I ask, are these warriors? They appear Astartes, but I do not recognize the heraldry." The Castellan stepped forward, removing his helmet as he did.
"I am Castellan Francisco Fleischer of the Black Templars, most noble sons of Rogal Dorn." The Warsmith nodded.
"Well met, Sons of Dorn. I remember many of your elders from my days. All were noble warriors." The Castellan spit at his feet.
"Such can not be said for yours." Instead of reacting like they though he would, the Warsmith began laughing.
"I like this one, Inquisitor. He's got spirirt. But on to why we're here. What happened to the Emperor and the Arch-Traitor?" The Inquisitor began the tale, able to tell the entire thing due to being an Inquisitor. The Warsmith frequently asked questions during the tale, which the Inquisitor answered.
At the PDF station in the Njord facility, something evil was awkened. Adept Talandor knelt before an eight-pointed star daubed onto the floor in blood. He chanted in an unholy tounge, his ears and eyes bleeding as he did.
"My Lords, hear me! An ancient ship, with loyalist Iron Warriors has been contacted." Before he could complete another sentence, a bright red light surged from the Chaos star. The Adept screamed in pain as he mind was invaded and violated by an ancient being of pure malice. Soon his screams were quiet though, and he stood. But when he opened his eyes, the were like the yellow eyes of some great reptile.
Ok, I got this idea from actual 40k canon. During the Heresy a group of Iron Warriors remained loyal and they captured an enemy flagship, but they were lost on their way to Terra and nobody knows what happend to them. So, please review and tell what you think, where I might need improvement, etc. Thanks, and remember. Iron Within, Iron Without!