The skies burst with plumes of anti aircraft fire, chaff exploding throughout the clouds. The Stormhawks of the IX: Blood Angels legion of the Emperor’s Astartes flocked down through the storm with the consummate skills of the battle brothers at the helm guiding the slaved servitors to carry out their instructions.
Brother Captain Aeneas stood behind the pilot and looked out on the mayhem that was coming to life before him. The pilot, Brother Acucio acknowledged the Captains presence and said “This chaff, whatever it is, is playing havoc with the sensors’ sir. It won’t be long we are on schedule for the drop....Two minutes”. Aeneas nodded and turned through the hatch.
He walked down the centre aisle of the drop ship looking into the face plates of his battle brothers as he went. At the end of the aisle he turned “One minute” and the Heads of every Astartes bowed in the suspension harnesses. Aeneas Lifted his golden helm and secured it with a hiss of pressurised gases, it was an odd sensation for him. He could not shake the feeling but he always remembered the entombment into the Golden Sarcophagus, the final moments as it closed around him every time he sealed himself into his Astartes battle armour a brief claustrophobia the remnants of his previous human life upon Baal. Alacrino, The Sanguinary priest with his command squad, and oldest friend always mused that he should show no fear, Aeneas always believed it allowed him a small measure of empathy with the humanity that he was elevated to protect and defend as an Astartes.
The feeling had passed almost as swiftly as it had arisen and the Captain raised his Axe from its place in his alcove in the front of the drop ships belly at this the green light filled the chamber and the Astartes rose in unison. Aeneas visor showed the Astartes of his command squad as green teardrops gently blinking in his display. The Angels of Baal turned to the dropping ramp.
They descended on plumes of flame, crashing into the xenos and the pandemonium was evident. The carefully targeted anti-aircraft fire began to lose co-ordination as the warriors of the IX broke through the gun emplacements, ruthless and yet graceful they struck down the insectiod forms of the aliens. Potenciano and Primael “the twins” broke into a run synchronised to covering each other as they moved swords flashing out to strike off limbs of the closest xenos. Potenciano's inferno pistol fired a super heated blast into the middle of the insectiod on the gun controls. Primael kicked the cadaver away and began to fasten the melta bombs to the base of the mighty anti-aircraft guns barrel and then signalled it was time to leave.
The trenches that had halted the advance of the Imperial army for months now began to run green with ichor. It fizzled as it was sprayed from Aeneas’ axe, and the xenos head clattered against the floor, mandibles chittering some unknown curse. Alacrino and Ilidio were by their lord’s side cutting down the aliens that had been driven to frenzy as the Astartes over ran their gun emplacements. Marcus was lethal motion his glaive biting into xenos flesh and carapace as he charged down the trench.
Aeneas looked to the sky as the Stormbird of the Primarch punched through the sky overhead cutting through the gaps created by the incursion of squads from Aeneas 14th company. A voice in the vox came through over the command channel “The Primarch wished me to convey his blessing and his thanks Brother Captain Aeneas.” “Thank you my Lord Azkaellon, The 14th awaits the Primarch’s command.” “Received Fourteen Knight Panther, Leave the trenches to the Geno troops of the Imperial army and rendezvous with the rest of your company and break to the left flank, draw their guns and then converge on the Primarch.” “By your will Lord, Aeneas out.”
Brother Alacrino approached with the rest of the command squad; Marcus the companies Sword champion bowed his head to his lord as he returned his glaive to its scabbard. Ilidio the company banner bearer holstered his pistol and put the banner pole to the ground and squared his shoulders. Potenciano and Primael “the twins” nodded a greeting to the Captain. “Orders brother Captain?” Said Ilidio.
“To the Angel” he replied with joy and satisfaction as the melta bombs exploded around him.
The Stormhawks landed in the rally point just west of the line of trenches and now ruined gun nests, Brother Acucio’s voice came through over the vox “ Fourteen knight Panther, your chariot awaits” Aeneas smiled at the amused tone of the pilot. “My thanks Brother; we are to begin strafing runs on the nests to the left of the Primarch’s position, then full combat drop.” “Aye Captain.”
Aeneas and his squad settled into the suspension harnesses as the drop ship lifted back into the skies, “squads check in” Aeneas called over the vox, “Focio here, one brother wounded but still battle worthy my Captain” The veteran sergeant of the jump assault squad barked in reply no doubt cleaning his power hammer before the next engagement.” “Galeaso here my lord, Ancient Brother Ezio wishes to know if he will be allowed to participate in the battle lord, he doesn’t sound impressed to be caged in the back of our bird over here!” Galeaso was a recent leader to his squad and his youthful teasing of the mighty dreadnought was sure to cause Brother Ezio to give him another lesson in respect.
“Brothers, we are to hit hard and true on the nests of sector four-alpha, once a hole has been tore through the great walls we are to drive into the catacombs and purge the alien from this planet. Squads Xanthus, Vitaliano and Errol will create the anvil to our hammer strike with their squads moving to create a cordon with their rhino transports.” “Received lord” said the squad sergeants in unison.
The three Stormhawk transports rolled in for their attack runs, lascannons and missile fire carefully coordinated to break the walls of the alien monstrosity looming ahead. They found their mark in flame and coruscating light exposing the honeycomb within. Once again the green light filled the interior space of the drop ship and the bird of Focio’s squad held station beside that of its Captain firing the nose mounted weapons of their craft into the xenos position as below; Galeaso’s Stormhawk was landing and He with his Astartes were disgorged from the aircraft, Mighty Ezio appeared from the rear of the drop ship and began to stride through a tirade of energy weapon fire from the rallying insectiods position.
As one the command squad of fourteen knight panther stepped from the exposed belly of the craft and gunned their jump packs to control the descent. They landed with striking swords and rumbles of weapons, Focio’s squad landed to the tunnel above the Captain and began their cleansing of the alien structure with bolt pistol and chainsword echoing throughout the tunnels. “Well met, My Lord” said Galeaso as the Captain joined his position, Aeneas looked to the hulking form of the dreadnought as it picked a handful of the charging insectiods in his left fist, power coruscating as he crushed the enemy into the nearest wall. “so nice of you to join us Aeneas, better late than never”, Aeneas bowed his head to the mighty machine “my apologies Ezio, but I do not think such a celebrated hero such as yourself would want me to outshine you so i gave you a head start”. A rumbled issued from the dreadnought which could only be a chuckle and Ezio marched down the tunnel in search of his next target.
“My Lord auspex readings suggest the enemy is retreating to the central chamber, Heavy resistance in the tunnels above is being reported by Brother Focio” said Alacrino. “It could be a deception” said Ilidio, “then we spring the trap” replied the Captain.
The tunnels were filled with a sticky sweet cloying stench, dripping glistening fluids from pock mark holes in the walls “no doubt where the alien hibernate” mused the apothecary as he inspected the nearest hole. “Concentrate Brother” replied Potenciano as he fired the inferno pistol into another of the holes, “their illusive these xeno’s, attack and then swiftly withdraw. There’s no pattern to it!” “Ah Brother there is you are just not seeing it, perhaps they are desperate to protect something that we have yet to see” suggested Primael with a calm measured tone. “Always the philosopher, Primael” Potenciano retorted. The Astartes emerged into a vast chamber lit by an unnatural light. Ilidio let out a Baalite curse as the sixteen Astartes took in what was in front of them. The beast was colossal with a thorax the size of a land raider and a huge bloated abdomen. The beast let out i high chittering sound and from the tunnels above their heads came scampering and charging insectiods of all shapes and sizes. Some with buzzing wings others with long snake like bodies with hundreds of legs all heading for the warriors in red.
Aeneas and his chosen leapt to the skies to meet the oncoming flying monstrosities as Ezio and squad Galeaso charged below. Chainweapons ground on carapace sections eating into the soft meat between the joints. Ezio barrelled into one of the snake like beasts and knocked it back before releasing cleansing promethium from under his power fist. “Sir we are outnumbered we must fall back” counselled Alacrino, “We will not let the Angel and Lord Azkaellon down, Focio location?” Aeneas shouted into the vox over the buzzing of the wings, he gunned the jump pack to narrowly miss the alien weapons fire. “Converging on your position now sir” replied the veteran.
Aeneas frowned, he needed more numbers fast and the tactical squads could not get to his position in time, He opened a vox link to the battle barge in low orbit “Angels Fury Priority strike Fourteen knight panther” “received” said a brisk voice. Aeneas landed and joined Potenciano and Primael “the twins”, adding his axe to their swords.
Marcus was a blur of shinning metal and red armour striding into the xenos masses carving spewing ichor across the chambers floor. A large insectiod with upper limbs shaped into large bone swords it struck down with furious speed Marcus dived out of the way of the first but was battered back by the following strike. As the Astartes slid across the floor, a low rumble and crackle of electrical energy and light formed. A thundering roar and air splitting molecules issued in the middle of the mass of insectiods, a flash of bright light and then five figures in hulking suits of tactical dreadnought armour the strode from the defensive wheel outwards rapid firing twin linked bolters and promethium. Power fist and swords cutting down the foe, Brother Iovian, Diocletian, Maximian, Galba and Brother Sergeant Zeno of Angels Fury squad bolstered the attack and marched over to the Battle Captain. ”Welcome little brothers” boomed Ezio as the dreadnought