Tuesday, 5 November 2019

The long night

This was a price of fiction I wrote a while ago, originally it was about a group of scions on a mission but the story seemed to just wonder without any idea of where it was going, so it got shelved for several years until recently. I decided that I would get rid of a couple of blogs that I had that I was just not using at all and this sat on one of them, so I repurposed it to I introduce a couple of new characters. I hope you enjoy.

He rose unsteadily to his feet, coughing the dust out of his lungs as he did. It didn't help much, for the dust was still everywhere, coating every surface, rising to fill the air with every little disturbance. He stood, waiving on his feet, and unclasped the hydro pack from his right hip. At first he tried to wash the dust out of his mouth but soon gave up, not wishing to waste what precious little liquid he had left. As he sipped on the warm, stale liquid, he surveyed the immediate surroundings, starting with the ground at his feet. His eyes soon spotted what he was looking for, his lasgun, its sighting unit smashed beyond repair. The weaponsmith won't be happy about that, he thought as he stooped to collect the weapon but as he reached out his hand he stopped and stared at the blank space where the end of his arm use to be. His vision wavered as the pain shot up his left arm and through his entire body. Acting quickly he grabbed a strap and tied it on as tight as he could before reaching down again and scooping up his rifle In his right hand.

As he returned to surveying his surrounding, he could see the devastation that had been brought on by the commanders last vox cast. The building was a wreck. Where there had once been grand palace walls, covered in beautiful and intricately detailed scenes of the imperium, the feast of the emperor ascendant, the victory of the Lord Solar Macharius and the glorious golden throne but to name a few, there was now nothing but piles of rubble. Where once the magnificent vaulted ceiling had been, the sky was now clearly visible, dark and foreboding. This glorious palace, that stretched for miles in all directions, with numerous court yards and terraces, ballrooms and function hall, was naught but dust and rubble. The navy had been as lethal and efficient as could be expected, however he couldn't relax just yet. Despite the look of the place, something told him he wasn't alone, afterall, if he had survived, then others could have as  well and there was no telling if they were going to be friend or foe.

he would have liked to have put his helmet back on and tried the local vox net to try identified how many of his squad still lived but all that he could see of his helmet was part right side and half an ear piece, neither of which were attached to anything else. Hopefully he might find a replacement helmet elsewhere, either he'd borrow one or find one that no longer had an owner, at least not one that was living.

Looking around at where he last remembered seeing his squad proved pointless, there were no signs, none at all. The one good thing was that the swarms of cultists has also dissapeared under the rubble. It was these cultists that had forced them to call on the navy. They were a writhing mass of madden, half animal, wild eyed once humans, who thought nothing of there own lives or of the lives of those around them. They had pushed forward, a wall of flesh, armed with all sorts of improvised weapons and Dharem and his squad, along with the rest of the platoon, had cut them down by the score with well aimed and constant volley fire but even as the lasguns, flamers and grenade launchers did there stuff, the mass came ever closer. That fateful discision had been made when they had been forced in to the chamber, only to be met with Three platoon coming the other way, their situation an exact replica of their own and to make matters worse, more of the crazed cultists were starting to pour in from all the other chamber entrances. It was soon evident that even with both platoons, there was little chance that they would survive, the commanders had decided that by calling in an orbital bombardment and using their vox casters as homing beacons, they could ensure that as many heretics as possible died.

As he started towards an exit, well, what he assumed was an exit anyway, he sensed movement off to his right. With out even thinking, his lasgun was up and ready for what ever was under the rubble, even if his vision swam with the effort of holding the rifle steady with his ruined arm. It didn't take long to figure out what or rather who was under the rubble, as no sooner had he honed in on the source of the movement, it let forth a stream of curses and foul language. Dharem relaxed slightly and reslung his lasgun before moving at assist trooper Ushad, for it was without a doubt who was underneath, no-one else could or would roll off that many curses in one sentence.

"Ushad, keep it down will you! Do you want everyone to know were here?"

"Corpral? That you? You alive?"

"No I'm dead, of course I'm alive! Now shut up and lets get you out of there"

It took a lot longer to get Ushad out than hoped, for although he was not seriously injured, his left arm was pinned and broken by a large chunk of broken column. When they finally freed him, it became evident that his arm was not the only broken item, both is helmet and rifle were damaged beyond repair, at least field repairs. His helmet was sporting a dent as big as an astarties first and his rifle had shorted and fused the power core, something Dharem doubted even the weaponsmith could fix. On the plus side, at least for Ushad, all his rations were still intact. Dharam couldn't help by smile at the sheer joy displayed by Ushad at that discovery!

"We need to move, find a better defensive position and wait for the next units that come through"

"Should we check for the others?"

"We'll do a quick scan on the way out, but were not hanging around any longer than we need to" and with that he turned and walked across the room.

It took most of 30 minutes to check the room, and while there was little to see, they were able to confirm numerous dead troopers and a significant number of heretics, the exact number was unknown as they stopped counting when it became evident that there were a lot of them. During the search they also found 4 surviving cultists, not that they survived long after that, each being dispatched as quickly and quietly as could be managed. More importantly they found troopers Alem and Mohal, both injured and in Mohals case, quite seriously.

So it was that the four of them left the chamber, re-equipped and re-armed, although, while Dharem was now armed with a plasma pistol, a slightly battered and bruised plasma pistol at that, he still did not have a working helmet or any other form of comms, which was worrying as they needed to get out as soon as possible or at least let people know they were there. Dharem decided to head towards what he hoped was one of the large courtyards, large enough to defend and maybe even get a lift out.

The progress was slow, with all the members being injured. Dharem was on point, although every muscle in his body ached and despite the strapping on his arm, he was still loosing blood at a dangerous rate. Ushad was bringing up the rear as he was in the next best condition, suffering with his crushed and broken arm. Lucky being a man of great strength, he could wield his new rifle one handed with relative ease.  Alem was suffering with what he suspected was a broken leg and possibly a few broken ribs, although his armour was helping a lot in supporting him as he walked. The worst casualty was Mohal, he was coughing up blood now, and from the look of him he was bleeding internally somewhere. It was obvious that he wouldn't last long.

As the group made their was slowly towards there objective they came across several cultists, luckily they were only in ones and occasionally twos and all were injured. The group wasted no time in dispatching the heretics as quietly and as quickly as possible, less they alert anyone else near by. As they neared the square Dharem had chosen to hole up in, they could all hear the low chant, one none of them recognized the chant, nor the language being used. As the four of them crouched in the darkness of a ruined archway and even more worrying sound could be heard. Deep booming foot falls and more than one set at that. What mutant, unholy monstrosity was chasing them down the hallway Dharem did not know but there was really only one option.

"Ready weapons, Alem take the front, Ushad the rear" Dharem made sure to speak with a clear and confident voice, hoping to bolster the waving nerves of the troopers around him.

"That won't be necessary, Corporal" spoke a voice, full of the confidence that Dharem could only dream of right now. "Brother Sargeant Kael, take your men and clear out the square ahead and call the Blackstar"

With those words, 5 hulking forms moved pass the stranger, moving with a speed and swiftness that belied there true size.

With the sound of gunfire up ahead, the stranger turned to face Corporal Dharem.

"Well met Corporal, my name is Inquisitor Tullus. I believe the square in front of us is now clear, let's see if we can get you some medical attention."

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