The metallic beast was christened Gutwrencher, and it wore that name proudly. The men inside the tank were squeezed in, not only because of the little room the cabin provided, but also to limit the amount of tossing about they’d have to suffer. The transport was old, very old. Tare couldn’t remember a time when he hadn’t gone into battle riding Gutwrencher. The vehicle was old, sure, but like most old things still in service, it was tough. Tough beyond all measure. Gutwrencher had taken hits from countless missiles, plasma guns, cannons, melta fire, innumerable tyranids, and the rhino would not stop. Oh, sure, Tare could remember countless times the vehicles tracks had been thrown, the hull ripped into, the drivers killed, the doors blown wide open, the engine melted. But always the rhino was recovered and repaired, back in service a short time later. It wasn’t a clean vehicle, either. It carried no fancy decorations like the fool Space Marines adorned their transports with. Beyond the sigil of their war band, the Death Fly of Rabis Prime, it was undecorated. It was a machine that had a purpose, a job to do, and it did that job well.
Gutwrencher embodied everything the Death Flies aspired to: unstoppable, unrelenting, unwavering monsters of war free from the tyranny of a false god-emperor.
Beyond the cloud of dust churned up by the tracks of the tank, Tare could see the other two transports following behind. Up ahead, the bilecannon Rolling Grim lead the force toward the town of Dawn’s Gate. The dozer blade, a wall of hardened steel and other metals, cleared the way in front of the Grim while it’s single, large cannon protruded from a small cutout in the top of the blade, waiting to release the shell it invariably held ready. The crew of the Grim was a tough lot. They had to be. Enemies the band faced would focus their fire at the bilecannon in an attempt to bring down the lumbering monstrosity. A lesser man would fall under the fire that tank received, and would not stand the thundering shot it sent in return. Even Tare could not imagine how the once-men operated with as much efficiency as they did.
“Sergeant Tare, Sergeant Telurn requesting comm hook with you,” said a voice through the vox unit. It was Gutwrencher’s driver, Soldier Moratoro, a solid once-man from the moon of Rabis Prime, Rabis Nox.
“Patch him through, Soldier,” Tare said.
A crackling sound indicated the channel switch, and a second later, an voice of a cement brick being dragged across stone came through Gutwrencher’s vox unit.
“Tare, I’m getting readings from up ahead. Can you confirm? Five hundred meters, dead center of town if the reading is right,” Telurn said.
“Hold on, let me check the boards,” Tare said, closing the panel on the door and turning around to look at the monitors and readouts on the inner wall of the rhino. A quick glance later, he said, “I have nothing on thermal imaging, everything looks…” but an electric click sounded as Telurn cut in.
“Check audial, it’s there.”
“Right. Checking now,” Tare said, flipping a few dials and pushing a button. A few seconds later, the screens blinked rapidly as they changed displays, and slowly a picture came into view. Over four-hudered meters ahead a large grouping of targets were massed, and they were moving toward them. “Damn it, Telurn. Four hundred meters confirmed,” Tare said. He opened vox channels to Muldaven, Sergeant Getling, Honor Sergent Vorn, and Cult Master Maem. “Contact at four hundred meters ahead, and closing. Audial readings confirmed. The bugs are coming for us!”
Tare turned around to face his squad of five. Already Muldaven was laying in commands over vox, but the soldiers of the Death Flies already knew what to do. Tare smiled at his squad, already with helmets donned and weapons at the ready. He felt the Rhino shift into higher gear as it propelled itself faster and faster toward the awaiting enemy.
“Death Flies! Battle arms, once-men!” he bellowed.
“For the glory of Rabis!” his squad shouted back. Gutwrencher’s front pitched up, then down, and Tare could hear the crashing glory of the rhino smashing through half destroyed ruins.
“For the glory of Mygar!” his squad shouted again. Tare could feel the battle heat take him. He could smell his blood, taste his blood, feel his hearts pound faster and faster as it prepared for the oncoming battle. Raising his powered fist before him, he let the final verse of the Death Flies battle call fall over him.
“For the glory of Father Nurgle!” they finished with a final shout that shook the insides of the rolling box with it’s might.
“Yes, my kin, for the Lord of All!” Tare intoned.