Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chapter One: Dawn's Gate - Part 3 - Chaos Battles of Kettamet IV

Telurn closed his vox as soon as the battle shouts died down.  Fitting his helmet into place, the Sergeant spared a glance at his soldiers.  Each one bore a bolter, except for Galland and Moor, the plasma gunners.  Those two cradled their weapons with care, the plasma injection coils heating up in preparation for battle.  Galland and Moor never left the side of their weapons.  One too many tales of a plasma gunner mistreating his weapon and in the next engagement having it blow up, taking arms and head from the offending soldier.  Some would call the two crazy, but Telurn understood why they carried the dangerous weapons.  In a fire fight, a plasma weapon was better than a bolter.  Each shot from a plasma gun was twice the strength of a bolter.  Where a bolter shot would bounce of the thick hide of a carnifex or the armor of a terminator, a plasma shot would plow through and not slow down.

Telurn heard the grinding of the breaks and the rhino, Hellboar, ground to a halt.  The side doors opened and Telurn disembarked first, his squad following without hesitation.  Moving up the hill in front of him, Telurn spotted Cult Master Maem and Cult Master Grol setting up their support positions.  The walking behemoths in age old terminator armor looked more like miniature dreadnoughts.  Embedded into their armor were weapons of many different types: lascannons, meltas, flamers, and that was just attached to the right arm.  Holding the weapons in place was the armor and flesh, pulsing and moving even now.  Telurn couldn’t help but shudder at the thought of what warp infested power they had taken in to become what they were.

“Sergeant Telurn,” said a low, grating voice. “Your squad is to setup to our left.  Support the flank and make sure nothing reaches us,” Cult Master Maem said.  Grol didn’t acknowledge them.

“Yes, Maem,” Telurn spoke, already moving in that direction.

“Sergeant! You forget yourself,” growled Maem.  He shifted his great mass and faced Telurn. “You will learn your place, Telurn, or you will die.  Now appease me.”

Telurn’s jaw tightened, his knuckles growing white as they gripped his bolter.  He felt his teeth grinding together, pushing harder and harder, before he let them open in reply. “My apologies, Cult Master Maem.  If it pleases you, I will finish my service here with my death, or I shall leave your presence and serve as ordered.”

Maem almost spat his reply before facing back to the town. “Be gone from my site, and be glad that the master has need of you.”

Telurn hesitated only a moment to cast a twisted smirk at the vile Cult Master before turning back to his soldiers, who had wisely kept moving into position.

Settling into position, he looked out over the town, and for the first time studied the battlefield before him.  He knew why they were here.  The space marine’s had left a hulk of a dreadnought here.  It was long dead, but the technology was needed.  The Death Flies didn’t have the service of the Mechanicum of Mars to support them, so they scrounged everything they used.  In a way, he felt like a rodent searching for scraps of leftover food.  But better a rodent free than a pet imprisoned by a false god emperor.  There were other reports that a downed shuttle craft had been sighted here, and any information that could be taken was needed.

Muldaven’s voice came through over the vox. “Tyranid sighted.  Battle is upon us. They are coming!”

No battle shouts this time.  The Death Flies were focused now.  Dug into their position, Telurn’s squad would not move for the end of the world.  Nothing could pull them from their spot.  They held the high ground, they had cover, and they were covering the left flank.

Suddenly, off in the distance near the center of the line, the Bilecannon roared to life and the ground shook.   In the middle of the town, great cloud of earth, stone, and metal flew into the air. Then, running quickly through the cloud, over the rock and through the crater, he saw them.  First he just saw shadows, but only for a moment.  Countless insect like creatures with talons the size of a man running across the open ground straight at them; he could make out large creatures known as genestealers amongst smaller gaunts, but he couldn’t tell how many came.  Floating above the giant herd of tyranid were giant floating gaunt-like heads with long tails that hung down below: zoanthopes.  Psychers, he knew.  He had felt their mental waves of destruction before.  This was no small force, these tyranid were here to kill.

From off to his right, the Cult Masters’ lascannons sizzled as they opened fire aiming at a target beyond Telurn’s vision.  Their resounding laughter and howls of rage gave evidence to which missed his target and which struck dead on.

Telurn returned his focus to the gaunts ahead of him.  With a quick mental calculation for distance, he opened his squad’s vox channel and said, “Open fire!”  No sooner had he opened the vox channel and issued the command then the bolter and plasma fire flared all around.  Ahead, he saw the limbs of gaunts fly away, torn from the bodies.  The gaunts were beyond number, and even after reloading his bolter, Telurn could not tell that all that fire had slowed the hoard.  The Bilecannon roared to life again, and he saw a giant explosion erupt in the middle of the hoard of gaunts and genestealers.  Gaunt claws and genestealer legs and tyranid limbs rained down from the skies, pouring on top of the advancing horde of bugs.

Yet still Telurn could not see that it had made a difference.  The tyranid did not slow.

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