Darkness Rising - Warhammer 40K Fantasy

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Thread: Darkness Rising

  1. #1
    Dark Apostle 10th Lyran's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    27 (x3)

    Weapons fire filled streets, lighting up the city streets like a candlemas celebration. Gauss weaponry turned men to lifeless husks, and lasguns were fired in return. The shots rang off of the metallic Necrons, damaging only a few of the enemy warriors. Colonel Adicos Verek added his dual plasma pistols to the mix, blasting a hole into the chest of one Necron and taking the head off another.
    Verek, commanding officer of the Fourteenth Venetarian Dire Wolves, stood firm as the Necrons advanced.
    “Hold your ground! Hold your ground, and keep shooting!?
    The Fourteenth Venatarian were currently involved in a brutal war for the fate of Sheradon, an industrial world where Necron forces had suddenly risen from Emperor knows where. The Planetary Defense Force had proved to be no match for the Necrons, and were quickly annihilated by the merciless alien warriors. The rest of the world’s defenses crumbled within a week, save a few isolated cities where more innovative commanders managed to stem the flow of the metallic warriors.
    The heart of production on Sheridan, an industrial world near the Eye of Terror, was Hive Xeras. It was here that the Dire Wolves, along with four other regiments of the Imperial Guard were sent, in order to win back the vital industrial plants that churned out supplies for the sector.
    After three months of fierce fighting, the regiments were able to win back the center of Hive Xeras and set up headquarters. It was here that the bulk of the Imperial forces were deployed, so as to retain control of the surrounding area. The spaceport located in the adjacent area had been retaken within a month. It was not long before the Imperial Guard managed to secure a foothold in the Imperius Ordinatus that produced the mighty Sheridan-pattern basilisks. At the same time the Bascilica Imperius Meton, the proud chapel that was the center of worship in Xeras, was retaken. The Necrons had slowly but surely been pushed back.
    Or at least the Necrons stopped coming for a while. A massive Necron force appeared at the southern outskirts of Xeras. The Imperials were slowly pushed back towards the center of the city, giving ground at almost every turn. More heavily fortified places such as the Imperius Ordinatus and the Bascilica Imperius Meton had yet to fall, but it was only a matter of time.
    The Necrons had refused to fall back, but the same held true for the Fourteenth Venatarian. Colonel Verek had held a resolute defense of the northern part of the city, eventually driving the Necrons out of the area that housed some of the massive gun turrets in Xeras. The Imperial forces were able to reroute the turrets and turn them on the Necrons once again, preventing any further Necron incursions in the immediate area.
    But now, the Dire Wolves were fighting for control of Hab Delta, where a large Necron force had been sighted. Blackened bones of dead Imperial citizens could be seen everywhere. The massacre had been devastatingly cruel. The forward elements of the regiment had been forging ahead when they reported being attacked by things that seemed to appear out of nowhere.
    Things went downhill from there. Verek quickly summed up the odds in his mind. Sergeant Lotto’s squad was cut off and surrounded. Geron and his mob were probably dead. Add the fact that upwards of three hundred Necrons were converging on the Fourteenth, and the whole mess was a recipe for disaster waiting to happen. If Verek didn’t act quickly, the Imperial line would be forced to fall back.
    “Duclane, take the upper platform. I want your platoon up there covering our advance. Bandal, I want you to push ahead towards Geron’s last location. See if you can locate him. I think it’s about time we pulled his ass out of the fire. And somebody radio for artillery. I want a nice spread of ordnance on those bastards. We’ll see if they get back up after that.?
    Verek was suddenly hurled to the ground as Sergeant Gus Ganthor tackled him, carrying the two of them out of a gauss cannon’s path.
    “Damn Gus, that was a close once. Thanks.?
    Ganthor merely nodded, as if saving Verek’s life was an everyday thing, which it was in a war zone. Verek had fought alongside Gus Ganthor since he was a lowly guardsman. Ganthor had watched over Verek for more than five years, and had saved him on more than one occasion. He was practically a brother to the colonel.
    Verek forced himself to concentrate on the battle at hand. He motioned for his platoon to follow him, leading the way as his men fanned out behind him. “Alright boys, this is what we’re ‘gonna do. Three platoon’s covering topside. We’re ‘gonna join up with the rest of the line. Then we’ll push those damned aliens back out of the hab.?
    A voice crackled over the vox net, tense but with a hint of amusement, despite being in a war zone. “Mind if we join the party sir? I’ve got Hassar’s cavalry and an armored company with me.?
    The voice belonged to Sergeant Ethus Lush. He was a veteran guardsman of many years, and was the close combat specialist of the regiment. Since he was such an experienced fighter, Verek allowed Lush to select the most promising hand-to-hand combatants of the regiment and train them even further. As a result, Lush’s platoon was the one called in when an assault needed to be launched. Lush would always be at the head of the mob, leading them through brutal close combat after brutal close combat.
    Sergeant Dramon Hassar was the commanding officer of the cavalry detachment assigned to the Fourteenth. His Rough Riders were also close combat specialists, but they were mounted specialists who made use of hunting lances. The lances were long-hafted iron spears with explosives attached to the head of the weapon. Hassar’s platoon was trained to plow through rank after rank of enemy warriors, paying no heed to the casualties taken. Those who became Rough Riders did not usually live long, but they died bravely, and that was all that the horsemen of Venataria really wanted.
    The armored companies of the Fourteenth Venatarian were almost always covering the advance of the infantry. Whenever the Dire Wolves were involved, a spearhead of infantry and armor was commonplace. The impressive firepower of a Leman Russ had turned the tides of battle on more than one occasion. The Venatarian armor was determined to make it happen again that day.
    Verek replied with almost a hint of laughter in his voice.
    “Well sergeant, I think you’d better hurry if you want to catch up with us. We’re about to go dance with the Necrons, and we’d hate to keep them waiting. It’d be improper of us to show up late. Meet up with us at sector three-one-eight.?
    Lush barked out a laugh and came over the vox again.
    “Roger that. Sector three-one-eight.?
    As Verek approached his forward line, he nodded in Major Katro Rikel’s direction.
    Katro Rikel was an aging man, well past the prime of his life, but he was a tactical genius. He was originally from the planet Hexen, but when his regiment was almost entirely wiped out, he found a home in the ranks of the Fourteenth. Verek had made him his second, and had not regretted the decision once. A large part of the Dire Wolves’ success came from Rikel’s innovative and experienced mind.
    “Alright boys, now that the Colonel’s joined us, let’s get this show on the road. We’ve got a date with death itself, and we’re ‘gonna step on their metal toes.?
    At Verek’s signal the line moved forward, weapons at the ready.
    “Rikel, take platoons two, three, and five, take Pontius Street. I want nine, ten, thirteen, and seventeen on Ceruss Avenue. Bandal, I want you leading them. Stay alert, because heavy destroyers have been sighted there. I’ll take four, six, and one straight down the center. Lush, Hassar, and an armored company will meet up with us at sector three-one-eight. The rest of the platoons are already en route to the Genatorium. Shoot anything that looks remotely inhuman.?
    A chorus of replies sounded off, but they fell on deaf ears as the point man was impaled by a ghostlike wraith. His inhumane screams echoed through the street, chilling the guardsmen to the bone.
    Three of the wraiths advanced towards the Venatarians with surprising speed.. A couple more members of the Fourteenth dropped to the ground before Verek had the chance to bark out an order.
    “Take them out dammit! Kill them now!?
    Rikel’s and Bandal’s groups carried on with their tasks, while Verek’s group opened fire. Verek fired his plasma pistols into the chest of one of the wraiths, but the shots just seemed to pass right through its body. The crack of lasguns filled the air and a dozen lasbolts whizzed through the wraith. Those that actually did hit it did no harm, causing little more than sparks as they sizzled off the metal.
    The wraith struck again, using its razor-sharp claws to slice trough Trooper Aiwas’ neck. His scream of pure terror was abruptly cut off as the blades sliced through his windpipe. His now headless body fell to the ground, blood gushing from the wound.
    Verek let out a howl of anger and fired his pistols repeatedly. The barrels of his pistols were starting to steam, but he ignored the heat and kept firing. Finally, a blast of plasma punched through the wraith’s head, dropping it to the ground in a heap of lifeless metal. Verek kept firing until it was reduced to a slag of molten metal.
    “Try and get back up now you *****!?
    Sergeant Ganthor fired his plasma pistol at the remaining two wraiths, then turned to Verek.
    “Adicos, we still have two more of the bastards.?
    Verek nodded and added his fire to the salvo. Lasrounds and plasma blasts flew towards the wraiths, but they remained relatively unscathed. Or at least they did, until the heavy weapons opened fire.
    Trooper Jaco had waited for the ideal moment to shoot. He followed the wraith’s movements, holding his fire until he was sure he would hit. When the wraith was just about to strike a Venatarian trooper, Jaco had pumped him full of heavy bolter shells. At first the wraith had managed to withstand the rounds, but after taking a couple more rounds, it was irreparably damaged.
    The other wraith was taken out by the anti-tank squad. Carrying their rocket launchers and heavy ammo, the squad split up and flanked the wraith. It saw three different targets, and faltered for a moment, unsure of which trooper to attack. Three krak missiles slammed into it simultaneously, tearing it limb from limb. When the smoke cleared, nothing remained of the wraith.
    With a nod from Colonel Verek, Sergeant Ganthor’s voice rang out across the battlefield.
    “It’s not over yet boys and girls. Spread out and move out!?
    The platoons cautiously stalked down the street, ready to take on anything that got in their way. As Verek passed the bodies of his dead troopers, he stooped down and collected their ident tags.
    It was a sad fact, but billions of Imperial servants across the universe died every day. It was impossible for the administorium to keep track of the courageous dead, but Verek would keep track of those of the Fourteenth who gave their lives for the Emperor. Too many good men and women gave their lives. Verek promised himself once again that he would make his enemies pay.

    Sergeant Aigo Bandal fired his lasgun as he ran, lasrounds ringing off the pavement as they shot wide of the intended target. With a curse, he flung himself behind the cover of a broken wall, as gauss beams flew overhead. The heat singed his skin, but he ignored the pain and returned fire.
    He ducked again, feeling the ferrocrete he was resting on heat up under the assault of the gauss flayers. With a wave from his fingers he ordered Sergeant Cosha to move ten platoon left through the ruined hab buildings. With any luck Cosha’s platoon would be able to flank the Necrons and hit them with their meltaguns. The meltaguns were said to be pretty damned effective against the persistent bastards.
    Bandal waved Sergeant Miyer over to his position.
    “Miyer, I just sent ten platoon to hit the left flank. I want you to advance your platoon up the street. Stick to the cover, and try to sneak up on them. Hide there and wait for my orders. While I bring nine up the right side, seventeen will give us some cover. When I give the order, open up with everything you have. We’ll make sure they stay dead this time.?
    Bandal and Miyer set out, stopping every once in a while to grab some cover from the unrelenting weapons fire. Luckily, there was rubble everywhere. The hab buildings had been pounded pretty hard by enemy fire. The remains of broken homes lay everywhere, along with the broken bodies of the homes’ dead occupants.
    As Miyer stepped over the blackened corpse of a dead citizen, Trooper Norol let out a scream of anguish as he was hit by the pulsing green light of a heavy gauss cannon. Another of the beams hit Trooper Waro, killing him instantly.
    The third heavy destroyer fired its cannon at Bandal, its ominous green light searing the air. Bandal fell, but not to the gauss weapon. In his horror at the blackened bodies of his troopers, he took a step backwards, tripping over another corpse, and saving his life.
    But on his way down, Bandal hit his head hard on the ferrocrete, and was knocked unconscious. Seeing this, Sergeant Miyer took charge. He was about to order a return volley when he noticed several large shadows. Looking up, he saw some strange pyramidal structures that seemed to hover in mid-air.
    Suddenly, the same sickening green light that the gauss weapons emitted started glowing from a crystal-like object on top of the hovering vehicle. Then the light turned into a devastating wave of energy that washed over ten platoon, killing half their number instantly.
    Another one of the structures fired on Miyer’s platoon, killing at least twenty of the unsuspecting guardsmen. Miyer’s horror grew as the Heavy Destroyers made another sweep on Bandal’s position in attempt to finish the kill.
    Miyer fired at one of the floating Necrons, only managing to draw its attention.
    The thing turned and fired.
    “Oh dirt-? stammered Miyer.
    His scream echoed throughout the ruined streets.

    Bandal came to just as Miyer was immolated by the green flames. Taking a bunch of grenades from his belt, he drew his combat knife and charged towards the heavy destroyers. His platoon provided covering fire as he ran to his likely death.
    With a downward stab he drove his knife into the armored body of the Necron. The knife buried itself into the rear of the enemy warrior. In one motion Bandal wrapped the bundle of grenades around the knife and pulled a pin.
    As the explosion tore through the heavy destroyer, Bandal was thrown aside by the blast. Sergeant Cosha and the nine remaining troopers of his platoon dragged Bandal away from the fight, just in time for him to order a withdrawal. No victory could be won with the immense skimmers floating above.
    With a weight of regret, Bandal turned his back on the dead and led his force through the ruined buildings. He had to warn Verek of the vehicles, or the city would belong to the Necrontyr.

    Major Katro Rikel was lucky enough to have made it so far without any enemy contact. Out of the three forces Verek organized, his was the only one not to sustain a single casualty.
    He greeted Sergeant Ethus Lush with a smile and a nod. The two were old friends, and went back a long way.
    When Lush was a young trooper, he fought alongside Rikel in a desperate battle for control of Hexen. The two had been of different regiments and different worlds, but that had not stopped them from becoming the best of friends.
    Where Rikel was the tactical genius planning a coordinated strike, Lush was the fearless warrior leading the charge. The two were opposites in so many ways, but they still were the perfect example humanity bonding together against whatever enemies the universe could throw their way.
    “So Ethus, why didn’t you join us sooner. Being fashionably late is not something you do in wartime.?
    Lush chuckled at Rikel’s joke, quickly formulating a comeback.
    “Well, I figured that there’d be more fun here, since I’m ahead of the rest of the line. But I guess when the enemy heard I was coming, they all ran away, ‘cuz I didn’t see any of them here.?
    Rikel was about to crack another joke, but a voice spoke out from the other end of the street.
    “Well, if you two are done with your tea party, we have a war to win. Or do you need me to hold your hands??
    Verek looked like he was about to speak again, when Trooper Pitano interrupted him.
    “Sir, Bandal just reported in. Ten and thirteen have taken heavy casualties. Apparently some big floating things hit them hard. My guess is that it’s the missing pair of Monoliths that command was looking for.?
    This posed quite a problem for Verek. He needed to push ahead to the Genatorium and turn the power back on, but he was not in favor of sacrificing the lives of his men. It was with decisions like these that the weight of command weighed the heaviest.
    “Alright, this is what we’ll do. Three, four, five, and Sergeant Howal from armor squadron two will withdraw Bandal. Hatch, I want you for this job. Lush, you and your mob go with them. Take out as many Necrons as you can, but your priority is to withdraw those platoons. Good luck.?
    As he left, Verek called in the remaining Sergeants.
    “Okay boys, it’s up to us to break the Necron grip on the Genatorium. This is ‘gonna be a rough ride, but we can do it. We have to do it. There is no other option. Any questions??
    Sergeant Mato, the joker of the group, piped up.
    “Yea, I got one. How long until we see the enemy? I’ve ‘gotta take a leak, and I was wondering if we had any time to spare.?
    Verek chuckled and shook his head.
    “Alright then. Dismissed.?

    Trooper Lopres was sweating inside his carapace armor as he aimed his missile launcher at the looming Monolith. Sergeant Bandal and the rest of the squad knelt around him, lasguns ready to open fire on any enemy careless enough to venture too closely.
    “Wait for it Lopres, wait for it.?
    The Monolith was coming closer.
    “Just a little more. A little more. Fire!?
    The armor-piercing missile flew at the enemy vehicle, a cloud of smoke trailing behind it. Three more missiles from other squads rocketed towards the same target.
    Lopres’ missile was the first to hit, but it didn’t seem to even scratch the armor on the Monolith. The other rockets hit simultaneously, exploding with a loud bang. Smoke billowed from the wounds in the vehicle, obscuring the damage.
    Bandal whispered to himself, “Come on, tell me that did something.?
    The Monolith came to a halt as it careened into the ground. It wouldn’t be moving for a while now.
    “Bandal to all squads. Break off and disengage. Repeat, break off and disengage.?
    Trooper Lopres tugged on Bandal’s sleeve. “Sir, I think we’re ‘gonna have a problem.?
    Bandal didn’t even have time to bark out an order. Instead he simply fired his lasgun on full auto, pouring lasbolts into the nearest Necron warrior. That one fell, but at least thirty more were still left.
    An assortment of lasguns, special, and heavy weapons opened fire on the Necrons, taking down a dozen more. Then the return volley hit the guardsmen.
    Trooper Lopres was hit first. His hand was hit by the outer edges of a gauss beam, stripping it to the bone. He didn’t even let out a scream. He simply hefted his rocket launcher in his remaining hand and fired away.
    Sowdo and Ghoa weren’t so lucky. Sowdo saw the weapon pointed at him, but he wasn’t fast enough to dodge the blast. His head simply disappeared. Not even the skull was left. Ghoa took a blast in the stomach. Like so many who fell prey to the Necrontyr, she was immolated from head to toe in green flames.
    Ghoa was famous within the regiment for her fascination with grenades. She always did have a seemingly endless supply of them. One of the grenades must have cooked off in the heat of the gauss beam however, because a massive explosion erupted outwards from her body. Luckily, she was a lot closer to the enemy than to the rest of nine platoon.
    The detonation took out most of the remaining Necron warriors. The heat flash singed those closest to Ghoa, but for the most part, the guardsmen were unhurt. With a few scattered shots, they destroyed the enemies that were still standing. There would be time later for mourning.
    A cheer erupted from nine platoon, until a frightening noise came from behind them. As they turned, they could see at least a hundred more warriors pouring from the portal on the immobilized Monolith.
    Lopres let out a quiet whistle, despite the obvious excruciating pain he was in. “Sir, I think we’re ‘gonna have another problem.?

    Trooper Char Pitano crept forward quietly and leaned out the window. With a hand gesture he gave the all-clear signal for the rest of the command squad to go ahead. As Verek neared the window however, a gauss beam punched a hole into the side of the building, narrowly missing the colonel.
    With a string of curses Verek flung himself out of the nearest doorway, but this only brought him out of the safety of the ruined building. Realizing his mistake, Verek rolled to a kneeling position and drew his plasma pistols. He fired both weapons, sending searing blasts of plasma into the head of the nearest Necron warrior. The machine shimmered and disappeared, leaving Verek alone on the street.
    He stood up, holstered his pistols, and turned towards his platoon.
    “Right. That was unfortunate. They probably know we’re here now, so be extra careful. Gus, get in contact with the rest of the force and tell them to keep on their toes. We can’t afford sloppiness now. Let’s keep moving.?
    Pitano fell in line next to Verek.
    “Sorry sir.?
    “Don’t worry bout it Pitano. It happens to the best of us. Just learn from it and you’ll be fine.?
    Verek spun around and drew his pistols in one fluid motion.
    “I definitely heard something. Fan out and be on the lookout boys.?
    One platoon spread out, searching for whatever caught their commander’s attention. More than one trooper had a look of nervousness and fear in his eyes. It had been a long day.
    Sergeant Fernand let out a howl as something stabbed into his leg. He fired his lasgun wildly, pumping lasbolts at full-auto into his attacker.
    The Necron was vile to look at. It was covered in the skins of its dead enemies, which were still dripping blood. Whatever it had killed, it had killed it recently.
    Fernand kicked out with his other leg repeatedly, managing to free his leg from his enemy’s clawed hands. He frantically clawed his way backwards, firing his lasgun single-handedly.
    Verek fired his plasma pistols, but missed as the Flayed One moved towards Fernand.
    Fernand fired until his clip ran dry, then fumbled for the autopistol he wore at his side. Before he could draw the weapon, the Necron was upon him. It raised its arm up and prepared to stab the sergeant, but then a crackling blade appeared in its chest. The enemy machine toppled lifelessly to Fernand’s right, sliding off of Verek’s power sword.
    Verek said quietly to himself, “I knew I saw something.?
    He simply holstered his power sword and drew his pistols again. There was still quite a ways to go before the fighting would be finished.

    Captain Mirus Hatch was a man with a high reputation. To start with, he was a nobleman, the son of Venataria’s planetary governor. He had served the Imperial Guard impeccably for seven years. His record was flawless. He never failed to complete a mission. That was why Verek had chosen him to relieve Bandal and the others.
    Like Colonel Verek, Hatch carried around a set of dual plasma pistols. He fired both of them at a Necron destroyer, hitting it with both plasma blasts. The first one carved into the large gun barrel the thing toted around instead of an arm. The barrel fused together from the searing heat, rendering the gauss cannon useless. The second shot slammed into the destroyer’s head, destroying the thing instantly.
    The men and women of the Fourteenth had learned to place their shots well. The heads were prime targets, but they were a little hard to hit. Regardless, if the head was removed, the rest of the Necron would disappear. Where they went, nobody knew, but at least they weren’t on the battlefield.
    The vox crackled to life as Sergeant Closh tried to reached Hatch.
    “Captain, more destroyers to the left. They’re trying to flank us!?
    Sergeant Closh was relatively young and inexperienced. Hatch had given him command because he had needed to fill the holes that war had created in the command structure. This would be his first and only baptism under fire.
    “Sergeant, move half your platoon up to intercept them. If they make it past you, they’ll punch holes in our lines. Take them out now.?
    “O-o-okay sir.?
    Hatch prayed to the God-Emperor that Closh would be able to hold it together, and that the speech impediment Closh had would not affect his ability. Hatch could not afford to have the destroyers wreaking havoc amongst his guardsmen.
    “Armor squadron, detach one of your Leman Russes to our left flank. Our boys there could use some backup. I want another tank on the right flank. The rest go up the middle and cover our advance. I want the rest of our line to advance up the street. We need to find our men.?
    The command squad followed behind Hatch as he led the way down the cluttered street, three platoon spread around him. To the left, Closh and four platoon were hunkering down behind whatever cover they could find, waiting for the right moment to place their shots.
    A large group of Necron warriors drew Hatch’s attention. The damned things were everywhere. Warriors were the staple of the Necron armies, and an effective staple at that. They were almost impervious to all but the most concentrated lasfire, and if they fall to enemy fire, half the time they just got back up.
    With this in mind, Hatch voxed armor platoon two.
    “Boys, I’ve got a big concentration of warriors where I don’t want ‘em. How bout you fix the problem??
    Sergeant Howal moved his Leman Russ up, firing with the battle cannon turret. The explosion tore through the warriors, searing through their metallic bodies. Either by sheer luck or near-impossible levels of accuracy, more than half of the warriors were vaporized by the round. The remaining were subsequently pummeled by continuous volleys of lasrounds and plasma blasts.
    Hatch looked back towards four platoon, and saw that Closh was doing a relatively good job of holding it together. Two squads at a time would move up, under the cover of the other three squads. Closh even led from the front, a trait that was hard to find in some commanders.
    Then all hell broke loose as a group of monstrosities attacked Closh’s platoon from the left.
    Hatch hoped that Closh would be able to fend for himself, because for the time being he would have to. A Necron Monolith was slowly advancing on three platoon.

    To Closh’s left, Trooper Serro screamed as the newly arrived Necrons shredded his body.
    “Oh dirt! Serro! Dammit! Open fire, open fire!?
    Closh held down the trigger, firing a stream of lasbolts on full auto. The lasbolts did little more than sizzle the blood-soaked skin that the Necrons wore as if it was their own.
    These Necrons carried no weapons, save the claws that extended from their metallic hands. They wore gory human skin, almost as if they were trophies. The effect on the Venatarians was obvious by the horrified looks on their faces.
    By his actions, Closh had failed to do anything but attract the monster’s attention. It bounded towards him with inhuman speed, it’s arms raised to strike. Closh stumbled backwards, tripping over the body of one of his troopers. He brought his lasgun to bear, but it was cleaved in two by the enemy’s strike.
    Just as the machine was about to sever Closh’s head from his body, a gleaming black blade cut through the Necron’s waist. The man wielding the sword turned to his right, firing a couple rounds from his bolt pistol at another Necron.
    Closh could almost feel an evil presence radiating from the sword, but the man had still saved him from death, or worse.
    “Behind you!?
    As the second Necron fell, a third came at the man from behind. He turned, holstering his pistol, gripping his sword with both hands, and struck upwards, all in one fluid motion. Cleaved in half, the Necron clattered to the ground.
    As if the Necrons were confused by this man’s sudden appearance, they faltered, almost as if they were deciding which man to strike. One of their number seemed to make up its mind, as it raised its claws at the man while his back was turned.
    A shape moving too fast to see slammed into the Necron, pouncing on it before it could strike the man. All that Closh could see before the thing disappeared was pale flesh and a significant amount of chains, almost as if the thing was a prisoner.
    The man came towards Closh, a hand outstretched to help him up.
    “Sergeant, whose in charge here??
    Closh didn’t even think to ask who this newcomer was. All he knew was that the man had saved his life and acted as if he carried immense authority.
    “That would be Captain Hatch sir. I’ll take you to him.?

    Colonel Verek crept quietly through the halls of the Genatorium. The dark corridors seemed to stretch on forever, past the ends of reality. The shadows reached out towards one platoon, as if they were the hands of death. Or the hands of Necrons.
    Seeing a glimpse out of the corner of his eye, Verek turned, his pistols drawn. Like an ocean wave, a swarm of insect-like abominations scurried towards him, ready to tear him limb from limb. He fired into them, killing a few, but failing to stop the charge.
    The troopers of one platoon took their commander’s lead and opened fire on the robots, killing countless more. Still, it was not enough. At least it wasn’t until two troopers fired their grenade launchers, killing a tremendous amount of the constructs. A couple more grenades finish the job, leaving one platoon shaken, but relieved.
    Then the sound came again, this time from behind them. Verek also noticed a squad of Necron warriors further down the hall.
    Apparently the Necrons did not notice one platoon, as they did not open fire. Verek motioned for the platoon to move further down the corridor, towards a central room where other hallways met. He shot down a Necron warrior with his plasma pistols, and started walking backwards towards the room.
    “Sergeant Payer, I want meltabombs by the entrance now!?
    Payer and his squad immediately unloaded their satchels of demolition equipment and attached their meltabombs to the walls. Payer had no idea what Verek was getting at, but it didn’t matter. He was convinced Verek had a plan, even if the meltabombs would not penetrate the reinforced walls of the genatorium.
    The platoon filed into the room, followed by Verek. When the Necrons were just about to reach the room he holstered his pistols and hit a button on the control panel, shutting the door. A muffled blast followed, killing everything within a twenty foot radius, save the Venatarians, as they had the cover of the blast doors.
    Verek turned to his troopers, knowing that he could count on them to complete the mission. His regiment had seen countless horrors, but the men and women standing before him were the best of the best. The elite of an elite regiment. His honor guard. They would not fail.
    “If you didn’t realize this yet, we are now in the central control room. We can’t activate the place from here. Ahead of us is an elevator shaft. We’re ‘gonna ride it down to the bottom, and manually override the lockdown. Then we’ll secure the perimeter, and purge the remnants. Let’s move out!?

    While one platoon was searching for the control room, Major Rikel was leading the rest of the 14th Venatarian in an attempt to cleanse the Genatorium, level by level.
    Gauss fire whipped down the hall, immolating one of the troopers. The squad turned as one, the troopers in the front kneeling so that their squad members could fire over them. A deadly flurry of lasbolts, plasma blasts, and heavy bolter rounds slammed into the Necron squad, tearing its members apart.
    The guardsmen moved on, ready to deal with whatever enemies came next. As his men moved forward, Major Rikel pumped storm bolter shells into a Necron warrior that was attempting to repair itself. He could not afford to let any one of those Necrons get up again. Verek needed the Necron presence eliminated, so Rikel would do his best to make sure it was done.
    These thoughts filled Rikel’s mind as he went about his task. Hive Xeras needed the Genatorium, and if all went according to plan, Xeras would have it.

    Verek holstered his pistols and turned to his men.
    “Alright, Pous, Duclane, front and center. I want you two to take your squads and form a defensive perimeter. The last thing we need right now is a surprise. Pitano, take a look at this. You’re usually good with tech. See if you can figure out how to work this thing.?
    The “thing? loomed massive and ominously over the troopers, a dark column enclosed in countless wires, buttons, and safety lights. It was the manual override for the Genatorium. Once activated, it would provide power for the entire hive.
    Verek leaned against the wall, finally able to take a rest after an extremely long day. He was exhausted. Even though he was seen as the best commander Venataria had ever produced, he was only human. The lives of his dead troopers weighed heavily on his shoulders. Every son and daughter of Venataria who had gone was worth more than any number of those damned Necrons. The Fourteenth had paid a heavy price for their involvement in the campaign.
    Verek’s reverie was interrupted by a shout from one of Duclane’s troopers. “They’re coming! We’ve got company!?
    The same tiny robots that one platoon encountered before swarmed down the elevator shaft, pouring out from behind the elevator. All Verek could see was a moving carpet of the creatures. A carpet of death.
    “Take positions and open fire! We’ve ‘gotta hold them off!?
    Leading by example, Verek aimed his dual pistols at the swarm and squeezed the triggers. Fifty-odd lasguns cracked in the darkness, adding to the damage Verek dealt. Grenade launchers and plasma guns took an even heavier toll, obliterating many of the things.
    But for all of the Imperial firepower, more and more of the bug-like things came. Two of the dire wolves were lost under a mass of metallic claws, which tore their bodies to shreds. In the confines of the room, the inhuman death screams echoed, seeming louder than physically possible.
    As the things came closer, Verek noticed that these Necrons were different. Instead of the normal silver tint, these ones had black and blue bodies, along with white heads. It was as if these ones were newer. But this did not matter. All Verek cared about right now was that those Necrons were killed. Questions could be answered later.
    More screams resounded off the chamber walls, sending a chill down Verek’s spine. He looked towards the source of the screams and saw a Necron covered in the skins of dead humans. Realizing where it had come from, Verek looked upwards just in time to see the Necron coming for him.
    Verek immediately dropped onto his back, robbing the Necron of the chance to simply crush him under its weight. Its claws stabbed deep into Verek’s right side, pinning him to the ground, but the colonel still had his left arm.
    Gritting his teeth through the pain, he brought his arm up, jammed the barrel into the Necron’s face, and pulled the trigger. The Necron collapsed back, its claws digging sideways into Verek’s arm. Ignoring the throbbing ache in his arm, he kicked the Necron off of him, finally freeing his right side.
    Pulling himself to a seating position, tendering his right arm, and slowly bleeding to death, Verek shouted over the din of the fighting.
    “Medic! I need a medic!?
    His voice was lost amongst the chaos of the battle.

    Inquisitor Hayden Tartarus walked towards Captain Hatch with Sergeant Closh in tow. Azure storm coat fluttering in the wind, bolt pistol and sword tucked into their holsters, Tartarus struck quite the imposing figure.
    His face was tanned and hard-set, his expressionless visage revealing nothing of his thoughts. He was obviously a man of authority and strength, and carried himself as if he knew how to handle himself. Closh had no doubts in that regard. He had just watched him take out a squad of those abominations.
    Closh forced himself to speak, in order to ease the awkward silence.
    “Inquisitor, what were those things??
    Tartarus at Closh, realizing that he was much younger than he looked. This man was inexperienced and a bit shaken from his near-death experience.
    “What you just saw was something most people in the Imperium will never see. Those things are called Flayed Ones. They are servants of a vile power, which you would do not want to know about. Just suffice it to say that they are a threat to the Emperor’s realms, so they should be killed on sight.?
    As Tartarus approached, Hatch saluted him, immediately seeing the Inquisitional symbol Tartarus wore on his chest.
    Since he was not a military man, Tartarus only nodded.
    “Captain, I’m Inquisitor Hayden Tartarus.?
    “Captain Mirus Hatch, Fourteenth Venatarian. How can I help you sir??
    “Captain, I need your help. I have a vital mission that could decide the fate of this world. How many of you are there??
    Hatch knew what was being asked of him. The Inquisitor needed the lives of him and his men. No doubt the mission was of the utmost importance, but chances were it would cost the Fourteenth greatly.
    “Well sir, right now I have about one hundred-fifty men under my command, along with that Leman Russ there. My force was sent to find and relieve somewhere around two hundred men, but they were hit hard, so I have no clue how many of them are left.?
    One hundred-fifty men would not be enough to get the job done, and Tartarus knew this.
    “Okay, well I’ll need more troopers than you have here, so we should find your missing boys first. Then, we’ll go about this mission. That is, if you’re willing to help.?
    Tartarus was different from normal inquisitors. Unlike the typical men of the Inquisition, he asked for Hatch’s help, instead of demanding. The fact that he was an excommunicated radical also separated him from the status quo of the Inquisition, but Hatch didn’t need to know that.
    To serve the Inquisition was to serve the Emperor. This is what Hatch had been taught from birth. He was the nobility of Venataria, a captain of one of the most prestigious regiments. Loyalty. That was what Venatarians had been taught. He was honor-bound to follow Tartarus’ orders.
    “Alright sir, you’ve got a deal. Just say the word and we’ll get right to it.?

    Trooper Char Pitano fumbled with the cables, trying to connect the few remaining wires. He needed to get into the fight, before his fellow Venatarians were overrun. One man wouldn’t make much of difference, but he would not leave the men and women he served with. If he could not slow the tide of Necrons, at least he would die amongst his comrades, instead of fiddling with some device that he had almost no idea how to work.
    As he continued to work, a dark shadow lay over him. Pitano turned, only to find himself face-to-face with a Necron covered in human flesh. A skinner, as the troopers had started calling them.
    Pitano fumbled for his lasrifle, but it was just out of reach. As the skinner prepared to strike, it suddenly collapsed onto Pitano, a smoking hole where its head should have been.
    His left arm raised, Verek stumbled towards Pitano, bleeding heavily from his chest and right shoulder. He lowered his smoking plasma pistol, then collapsed to the ground.
    Pitano ran over the Verek, forgetting all about the override station.
    “Oh dirt! Medic! Medic!?
    Medic Fernand scrambled over, saw Verek’s wounds, and immediately went to work. The Colonel had lost a lot of blood. Things were not looking so good for him.
    Realizing that he still had a job to do, Pitano ran back to the override device. He connected the remaining wires, flipped the ten override switches, and slammed his fist onto the control button. With a shower of sparks, the chamber lit up, flooding the entire room with light.
    Necrons were pouring out of the elevator shaft, quickly overrunning one platoon. Sergeant Ganthor could be seen rallying the Venatarians, preparing to make a final stand. Even the horrifically wounded were fighting, aiming desperately with their lasguns. But still, it wouldn’t be enough.
    But just as Pitano readied himself for death, metallic bodies were flung towards him as an explosion tore through the enemy ranks.
    The guardsmen let out a string of cheers as the rest of the detachment, led by Major Rikel, hit the Necrons from behind. One platoon redoubled its efforts, killing more and more of the enemy warriors. Fernand had Verek propped up on his body so that the both of them could add their fire. Seeing that their commander was alive, the men fought with renewed courage, quickly killing off the outnumbered Necron force.
    The Venatarians celebrated, cheering and whooping throughout the room. The Genatorium had been won!

    Amongst the countless other bodies in the field hospital, Verek lay recovering from his battle wounds. Restricted to his bed, his frustration grew with every day. There was still the matter of his missing troopers.
    Captain Hatch had reported in, though now he was under the service of an Imperial Inquisitor. Now that the Genatorium had been secured, Verek wanted his regiment to push forward onto a direct assault on the Tomb of the Lifeless, but his plans had been ignored by more senior officers of the Imperial Guard.
    If Verek only had his strength, he would have been leading his men himself, superiors be damned. But he was still weak, and his men needed rest. Despite a drastically increasing number of Necron forces, the tomb would have to wait. For now.

    The landscape before it was littered with the bodies of dead humans. The pathetic beings had failed to satiate its hunger. Their essences had not even been an appetizer.
    It stood the height of a man, its metallic body showing signs of immense age. Its ragged cloak fluttered in the wind as it held its Warscythe by its side. It had killed so many of the soldiers, as if they were mere cattle being brought to the slaughter. Even so, it had not been enough.
    But no matter, there was an entire world’s population to feed off of. It would feast, and feast, and feast, until its appetite had been satisfied. Then its power would grow once more, and the Harbinger would regain its rightful place amongst the Star Gods, its fellow C’tan.

    Member of the Fluffmasters Clan

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  3. #2
    Son of LO The_Giant_Mantis's Avatar
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    Great stuff. Well done indeed.

    I think it's really nice to see fluff stories which focus on the little guys on the ground rather than the all powerful marines/assassin/inquisitor types, and you've made their necron enemies suitably hard and scary to boot. Keep it up.

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    That took a while to read but was well worth it. Thats a really awesome peice of fiction. I only have one problem with it, a few times during the story a gaurdsman yelled "Oh Dirt!" C'mon, these are hardened grunts and i don't think they would have a problem with cursing at all. Other than that, a great read, im going to print it and show it around to some of my 40k freinds.
    pasta mixed with a little death is a nummy treat for you and me!

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    Pathfinder Edicius's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Commander Montka@Feb 19 2005, 01:14
    That took a while to read but was well worth it. Thats a really awesome peice of fiction. I only have one problem with it, a few times during the story a gaurdsman yelled "Oh Dirt!" C'mon, these are hardened grunts and i don't think they would have a problem with cursing at all. Other than that, a great read, im going to print it and show it around to some of my 40k freinds.

    That would be because of LO's word filter. It wasn't "dirt" when he typed it. Nice story btw. (Y)

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    Dark Apostle 10th Lyran's Avatar
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    yea, librarium online definitely edited my story. thanks for the feedback guys

    Member of the Fluffmasters Clan

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