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Colonel Lawford watched as his Regiment, the Mars 95th Foot disembarked from the titanic transports, resplendent in their gold carapace armour and bright red fatigues. Their gold and silver lasguns shone in the bright sunlight and the tramp of their feet on the crisp, clean snow seemed to echo against the vast metal hulls on the transport ships. The twin banners of the Emperor and the Regiment’s own banner, which bore the symbol of the Adeptus Mechanicus headed the marching column, which was nearly a mile long.
The Colonel shivered and tugged his heavy coat tighter about his shoulders. He turned to his aides.
“How much of the regiment has disembarked?” he asked.
“All but 12th company, sir,” replied Commissar Venebles, a heavy set man who smoked a thick cigar
“Good, good.” Colonel Lawford scratched his small beard. He turned to Captain Windbourne, commander if the fleet that had escorted the regiment to the ice world. “Have you received word from the Chosen Men?” the Colonel asked him. The Chosen Men were an elite group of trackers, scouts and infiltrators. They were always sent a few days ahead of the regiment to get behind enemy lines, disrupting supply lines, blowing power generators and causing other mischief.
“Barely an hour ago, Colonel,” the captain said. “Major Sharpe informed me that he had some rather urgent information. He said that he would tell you in person.” Colonel Lawford nodded.
“Very well.” The colonel turned back to the transport ship and watched as the 33rd Armoured Company rumble onto the snow fields.
It was at that moment one of the Regiments 20 Rough Riders galloped towards the command group, accompanied by a group of 10 men in dark green uniforms and carrying ancient, arcane lasrifles.
“The Chosen Men, sir,” The Rough Rider sergeant said, saluting the colonel. Colonel Lawford nodded and turned to the Chosen Men.
“Report?” he barked.
“We rendezvoused with the Battle Guard chapter at 0200, sir,” a tall man with a straight sabre replied. He was Major Sharpe, promoted from the ranks and given command of the Chosen Men. “Their Chapter Master informed us that the Gene Seed had been sent out on schedule.”
“Then why has Mars not received it?” Commissar Venebles demanded.
“He doesn’t know sir. We were making out way to the transmission point when we found this.” The major held out a hand that held a fairly large claw that was a deep blue-grey. Commissar Venebles snarled as he felt the scar on his face itch. He recognised that claw. It had been one of those claws that had torn across his eye leaving nothing but white hot pain. Colonel Lawford took the claw from the major and turned it over in his hands.
“The Great Devourer,” he breathed. Major Sharpe nodded.
“Yes sir, but it is not a Hive Fleet we have been able to identify yet.”
“Does Chapter Master Fireheart know of the infestation?”
“Yes sir. He told me to inform you that the Chapter Council would be here before sunset.” The Colonel nodded. He turned to his aides. “Sergeant, make the preparations to receive Chapter Master Fireheart and his Chapter Council.” The sergeant saluted and scurried away to the main camp. Colonel Lawford turned back to Major Sharpe and the Chosen Men. “Major, I want you to do everything you can to locate the infestation,”
“The Great Devourer cares not for lives, nor cities nor planets. Find the infestation, eradicate it and then the Hive Fleet will be blind and deaf.”
“Yes Sir.” Major Sharpe saluted then motioned for his men to follow him back into the snow fields. Colonel Lawford scratched his chin again in thought. He saw Commissar Venebles scowling out of the corner of his eye. He turned to him. “William?”
“Sir?” asked the commissar.
“You alright William?”
“Sir.” Colonel Lawford could see the look in his friend’s eye, and knew he was lying.
“William, I have known you for more than 15 years now, but you have never told me where you served before the 95th. Every time I ask you, you just give me a vague answer.” He held the Tyranid talon towards the commissar, “If this has anything to do with where you served before, then I need to know.” William Venebles stiffened, then turned to the Colonel, dropping his cigar and stepping on it.
“When I was a junior officer, I was serving with the 45th Rallin Marine Corps,” he said. “We were dispatched to Jacob’s Moon to help suppress some kind of invasion. It was only when we arrived that we discovered that the ‘invaders’ were the Tyranids.” He took a deep breath and turned to look at the marching column. “For 3 days we fought. On our own, unsupported by the fleet or artillery. By the end of it, most of our men were hurling rocks at the xenos. We had fires going to try and recharge the las batteries quickly, but after the batteries of an entire squad blew up, we were ordered to extinguish the fires.” His scar throbbed as he remembered the grotesque Hormagaunt leaping over the barricade and slicing him across his face with its bone claw. “By sunset of the third day, the Armoured companies had arrived, but it was already too late. Nearly 99% of the regiment had been destroyed.” He turned back to the Colonel. “The Hive Fleet was code named ‘Grendel.’ I had hoped never to hear that name again…” He took another deep breath, looked and the floor and turned to face the transport ships. Colonel Lawford was about to touch his friend’s shoulder when the commissar lifted his head and drew one of his bolt pistols. He cocked it and held it in his hand feeling its weight. Still holding his pistol, he turned back to the colonel. “This time, we shall be prepared.” Colonel Lawford smiled and bowed his head. “I shall contact the fleet myself, asking them to be prepared to fight off all Xenos.” Commissar Venebles nodded. “I shall go and see to the disposition of the supplies, and see if we can get some extra tanks of promethium for the Hell Hounds.” The two friends parted ways to deal with their own business.
The regiment was fully arrayed in all their splendour, gold armour and lasguns gleaming in the waning light, red tunics made even redder by the setting sun, the banners of the Emperor and the Adeptus Mechanicus fluttering lightly in the slight breeze. Colonel Lawford and his aides stood before the massed ranks, watching as seven arcane, and wonderfully decorated Land Raiders rumbled across the snow fields towards them. The lead Land Raider was an ancient Promethius pattern Land Raider and bore the colours of a black axe on a green field, the banner of the Battle Guards Space Marine Chapter. Colonel Lawford felt a tightening in his chest, a mix of fear and anticipation. He had met and fought along side many Space Marines before, but he had never met one higher than a Captain. Now he was going to meet the Chapter Master of the Battle Guards as well as the entire Chapter Council. As the Promethius pattern Land Raider slowed to a halt, the colonel could read the name Excalibur on the shinning name plate. The other Land raiders formed up next to Excalibur, creating an awe inspiring sight. The assult ramp of Excalibur hissed as it opened, letting the cold light spill into the interior. From the belly of the great tank, striding like a conquering hero, emerged Chapter Master Caliban Fireheart, Master of the Battle Guards Chapter.
The Chapter Master looked like an ancient god of battle, replendant in his ornate Artificier armour that gleamed silver, with with the green and black of the chapter on his left shoulder pad. His helm was an ancient Mk. IV with dragons wings rising from it. The vents of his back pack were shapped like snarling dragon’s heads. His breast plate borea golden Aquilla that had been polished till it shone so brightly that the evening light reflected so brightly, it made the colonel blink hard. The Chapter Master’s left arm was bionic and his systems wirred as he flexed the mechanical fingers around the grip of his combat shield. The shield was green and showed the symbol of a white winged lion bearing the a black axe. In his right hand, the mighty Space Marine gripped the Black Axe of Ragnar'k, a mighty weapon with a black blade, that had been discovered during the Great Crusade, but was lost again, during the Horus Heresy. No-one knew how the Batle Guards came by the ancient weapon, save for the highest ranking Space Marines in the Chapter.
Snow crunched under the heavy foot-falls of the Chapter Master’s silver plated boots. Colonel Lawford dared to look into the eyes of the great helm and found only cold, untamed wrath, and he had to look away.
Chapter Master Fireheart was acompanied by the Chapter’s Honour Guard. They wore black tabbards over their green armour. Their armours trim was silver, and silver were their red-eyed helmets. Their right sholder pads displayed proudly the symbol of the Black Axe, while the left was black and showed a white lion rampant. Their combat shields showed two black axes crossed diagonally over a black castle. Bolt pistols were strapped to their sides and beautifully crafted power swords hung in gilt scabbards.
The Chapter Banner, borne aloft by Brother Ancient Tristran, depicted a knight, borune on white wings, striking down a dark armoured warrior with the Black Axe. Colonel Lawford gazed at the honour guard. Never before had he seen such warriors. He dared to look to his left and saw three more banners, each skillfully woven from silks, depicting castles, knights, swords and shields, and each surrounded by their own personal guards. He looked right and saw the same. On the furthest right flank, he could see a squad of highly decorative suits of Terminator armour, bearing their own banner, and at their fore was their commander. The colonel was unsure of what postion he held in the chapter, but even so he could see that he was carrying a huge Storm Shield and a great Thunder Axe.
Commissar Venebles, who, whislt still being awestruck, had managed to keept his wits about him.
“BATTALION,” he shouted, making the colonel jump out of the dream-like state he had wondered into, “ATTEN-SHUN!” The battalion stamped to attention in unison, the sound echoing off the surrounding snow covered hills. Colonel Lawford stepped forward and bowed to the Chapter Master.
“Colonel Abraham Lawford, commander of the First Battlion of the Mars 95th Regiment of Foot,” he introdced himself.
“Chapter Master Caliban Fireheart, of the Battle Guards Space Marine Chapter, bearer of the Black Axe of Ragnar'k,” came the reply. Colonel Lawford straightened.
“We have prepared the council chamber on board the Dauntless for your arival,” he said, indicating the huge transport ship that sat nestled in the snow behind the guardsmen. The chapter master nodded, then looked to his left, then to his right, inspecting the ranks of the gold armoured men.
“Lead the way, Colonel.” The colonel nodded then about faced and marched towards the Dauntless. The men parted ranks to let him and Commissar Venebles through. The two men were followed by the Chapter Master Fireheart, and he by the various Masters of the Chapter. They all walked up the boarding ramp of the Dauntless and dissappeared into the ship’s belly. The men of the Mars 95th gazed in awe and terror at the Space Marines, who stood, as still and silent as stone sentinels. And all the while, an enemy greater than the Tyranids approached.
Good, but the regiment feels more like normal guard than tech guard/skitarii.
Yeah, Cain tries to be friendly with the troops and only does executions when there's corruption and taint, like guardmen infected by tyranids.
There is no such thing as a plea for innocence in my court. A plea for innocence is guilty of wasting my time. Guilty.
- Inquisitor Lord Fyodor Karamazov
Thanks for the comments guys. I'll get to work on pt. 2 later on today.
Imperialis: I don't see why a commissar wouldn't make friends with his commanding officer, especally if they've been together for 15 years. And I do have plans to explain the past of the colonel and the commissar, but I need a place to put it in
qsd: Yeah, the regiment is lacking techy stuff. Whilst the regiment is called the "Mars 95th of Foot" they aren't based on Mars. Mars supplies their equipment etc, but they are not based on mars so bionics etc. are at a minimum. Primarally they do Mars' investigative work (Like finding out why Gene seed has not been delivered)