Armageddon

Noise. The barks of bolter fire, the deafening blast of demolisher cannons that made the very ground tremble, the bellows of the greenskin menace. Shozar ducked as a jagged axe swung towards him, it clipped his jetpack making him stagger back a little.

Towers reached like outstretched fingers towards the sky though far more numerous. The massive walls that sheltered the hive city of Heron V lay blasted apart. Ramshackle looted vehicles and a tide of greenskins poured over the rubble, those that fell met their fate under the boots of their comrades. The axe swung again and Shozar met the blade, his chainsword snarling. The screech of the chainsword teeth against the axe blade added to the cacophony of sound.

His attacker stood, an eight foot wall of green muscle, huge white fangs bared, it shouted a bellow that could be heard even over the thunderous noise. Shozar uttered a battle cry and pushed the ork back, even such an immense creature was no match for a space marine.

Space marines, eight feet tall, clad in ornate armour of adamantium passed down through the chapter, created for the sole purpose of fulfilling the Emperor of mankind's will. They were surgically altered so that their bodies could be as much a weapon as any firearm, minds honed to be as sharp as their bodies. Shozar in armour of crimson red was a Blood Angel. One of the most devout of the Emperor's chapters. Yet even they have a flaw. The Red Thirst, a curse in the Blood Angels genes. It would drive them to through down their weapons and run head-on into the enemy, it deprives them of reason, leaving only a thirst which must be sated with blood. If this was indulged then the marine could be overcome by the black rage. A demon-like fury that would not stop until the space marine was dead, yet at the same time he was able to sustain the most grievous of wounds and continue fighting.

The ork lashed out with a huge hand and struck Shozar in the shoulder, he heard something crack but it wasn't the adamantium plate protecting his shoulder, though it now had a slight indent. The ork recoiled, howling with pain, nursing it's shattered hand. Shozar fired a shot from his now unholstered bolt pistol. The point four five calibre explosive round was blasted out of the barrel of his gun and blew a huge hole in the orks chest, blood dripped almost silently from the hole and pooled around the ork's body.

Shozar looked around. Hundreds of lines of imperial guard were firing upon the oncoming green tide. The guns fired small orange beams at the orks. An armoured column led by an enormous Baneblade unleashed a fiercesome volley into the host of greenskins before charging into them. The Banblade's massive sponsons fired lasers with the diameter of a space marine's height, these cut through five of six orks with each shot.

He had no more time to admire the work of the Emperor's servants as a gargantuan squiggoth crashed through another portion of the huge wall that had protected Heron V. Shozar activated his jump pack. A burst of fire erupted from his pack and he sailed towards the beast. It stood at least seventy feet tall, huge tusks protruded from its lower jaw, it crushed hosts of orks under its stubby legs.

Shozar heard the collective cries of fear from the imperial guard, if he was going to do something he had to do it now, before the guardsmen became too demoralised to fight. He activated his jump pack again and another burst of fire carried him thirty feet over the monstrous creature. For a moment he seemed to be held in place, a brief moment of serenity took over, but the sky was filled with the whine of turbines, roaring heavy bolters and other sounds.

He pencil-dived, chainsword first towards the gargantuan squiggoth's head. He activated his pack to gain speed, his chainsword growled with approval as the distance closed rapidly. He hit the rhino-like creature in the head like a speeding bullet. There was a brief period when all went dark and noise of battle became muffled except for the screeching of chainsword teeth on bone. Then his vision was filled with an explosion of blinding red. He used his pack to slow his descent so the impact would not be lethal, to him. Shozar slammed into the ground in a cloud of fire and blood, the ground sank down several feet under and around him. Orks were lifted off their feet and sent flying into the air due to the force of his impact, he hunkered down to absorb the force.

It was jarring but he had no time for rest. Greenskins poured into his crater. He smirked under his beaked helmet, the thirst might yet take him. He sprinted forward and slammed the first ork with the whole two tons of his muscle and armour. The ork yelled as it flew backwards, Shozar spun and lashed out with his chainsword, the snarling teeth found purchase in the belly of an ork, red ichor splattered splattered him as the beast was cut in two. He smashed a gauntleted fist into the brutish face of another ork, the blow landed with a satisfying crunch.

Then he was lifted into the air, powerful hands gripped his sides, he could hear his armour beginning to crumple. He lashed out with arm, leg and chainsword, trying to land a blow on his attacker. He looked underneath. A massive ork, easily ten feet tall held him, a manic grin on its face as it savoured its victory. "I am not beaten yet!" roared Shozar over the staccato of gunfire. He fired his jet pack. Gouts of fire struck the monstrosity full in the face, the smell of burnt flesh filled Shozar's nostrils. The ork howled in agony and relinquished its grip on him, he sailed forward into another ork which disappeared in a mist of blood when he hit it. Shozar slammed his armoured boot into the gut of an ork, it staggered back. He grabbed it by the neck and slammed it head-first into the ground.

A bellowing howl of anger turned his attention back to the large ork. It was clad in rusty brown armour, a huge hammer was now carried in both hands, its face was now blackened, burnt, and entirely missing flesh in some areas. It brandished the hammer. He looked down at his chainsword remembering something that Captain Castigon has said before they had departed, "it is better to die for the Emperor than live for yourself". He looked back to the ork. Its burnt face was contorted with rage, beady black devoid of all emotion.

The thirst clawed at Shozar, he could no longer fight it. Some orks stopped to watch, bellowing approving shouts to their comrade, "come on, kill da humie" , or "smash em wit da hamma". The ork tensed up, preparing to charge. The thirst washed over Shozar, a red haze appeared around his vision. The ork charged and Shozar broke into a run towards it, he was about ten feet away when he ignited his pack and propelled himself into the lumbering brute. It was like hitting a wall made of steel, his shoulder pad met the ork's jaw, blood spurted from it. Shozar planted his feet on the massive ork's chest and kicked off. The ork staggered, Shozar landed on his feet with a dull thud.

Around him the battle raged on yet the imperial forces were driving the orks back. A thin line of red space marines was all that separated the greenskins and imperial guard. The space marines were turning the tide. The sky roared with the sounds of fighters and bombers streaking overhead.

A new feeling filled Shozar, rage. A black rage building inside him, after the thirst he could not fight it. It consumed his strength to fight leaving him exhausted. He dropped to one knee and the rage took over. The thirst had been an almost peaceful transition, the rage crashed down upon him. It tore at every fibre of his being, filling him with an uncontrollable anger that he had to unleash. A war cry took over him, he charged at the ork with new speed, fuelled by the rage. The whirring snarl of the chainsword was all that he could hear. The teeth shredded the ork's arm down to the bone, then the colossal hammer slammed into his side crushing several armour plates.

Shozar coughed up blood in his helmet, his vision blurred and faded. When it returned he was no longer in the heat of battle with the orks. He stood in a dark wide chamber with two others. It was dark but with his augmented eyes the figures were unmistakable. He gasped. Sanguinus, primarch and founders of the Blood Angels lay, blood pooling around him. Clad in brilliantly golden armour, his once white angelic wings stained with red, the once noble countenance was now scarred and bloody. The other figure, tall in black armour, a shadowy wolf-skin draped across his shoulders, a daemonic red glow surrounded him as he stood over Sanguinus. Shozar knew him to be Horus. Horus looked at Shozar, then back to Sanguinus, then back to Shozar and smirked. Shozar could not contain himself, he lunged forward with the broadsword-like power sword, "Die heretic scum!" Horus looked shocked, Shozar brought the crackling blue sword down and cut off Horus' arm from the elbow down. No messy spurts, a clean cut, such was the finesse of the power sword. Horus swung a mighty warhammer but Shozar was too quick. The hammer smashed into the ground at the place where Shozar had just been. Shozar knocked Horus' hand away with an elbow strike. Horus yelled and backed away as Shozar, now wielding the huge hammer in one hand and his power sword in the other. He swung the hammer at Horus, it whistled as it cut through the air. It smashed Horus' side and another blow to the chest knocked him to the ground with a tremendous crash. Shozar threw the hammer aside which hit the floor with a thunk. Horus tried to crawl away weakly, Shozar planted hia boot in Horus' back and drove the power sword through him.

Horus..Horus..Horus... The ork gave a final howl of agony then collapsed, dead. He was back at the battle, the ork's arm was missing from the elbow down. Four red armoured Blood Angels.. no. Four black armoured chaos space marines were running into the dark chamber. He had to protect the body of Sanguinus. He ripped the power sword from Hours' corpse and flicked the heretic's blood from it. The chaos space marines raised their bolters, Shozar charged. There were four barks, then silence. Shozar lay, four holes punched through his chest. The dark chamber vanished once more and he was back at Heron V, four Blood Angels moved around him, one propped him into a sitting position. Shozar drew an agonising breath, one of the rounds had pierced his heart.

One of the Blood Angels crouched next to him and removed his helm. His neck length hair hair golden blonde, his countenance similar to that of Sanguinus. The space marine looked into the eyes of Shozar's helmet. The battlefield had fallen silent now. "Rest now brother" the marine said in a soft voice, "rest, knowing your duty is done". Shozar's vision began to grow black but he could still hear the distant voice of an imperial guardsmen.

"Well what about us eh? Are we finished our duty?"

Shozar was about to fade when he heard the marine's reply. "Only in death does duty end", then the crack of a bolt pistol rang out across the sombre city.

By Sean Douglas Kennedy