They skirted the perimeter, the Sergeant giving hand signals as they went. In the centre, five cloaked men stood in a circle, chanting nonsense that made their
heads hurt. One of the men shouted a final word and then they stopped, stepping away.
The sergeant seized his chance and signalled the men in. Lasguns aimed, they charged.
The leader of the cloaked men turned to them, an eerie grin on his face. He spoke with a maddened tone. “You're already too late.”
Some of the soldiers exchanged confused glances before an explosion burst their ears. It came from the middle of the cloaked men, a bright light forming and growing. They fired, mostly out of panic. A few shots hit their mark felling a couple of the men, but not before a blackened blade stabbed out of the light, gutting the leader in the heart. He laughed even as the last of his life leaked out.
The owner of the blade followed it through.
The soldiers saw red.
Then there was nothing.
The Battle barge popped into existence above the world. From above, it appeared as though nothing was wrong. There were no craft making invasion obvious, but a distress had been broadcast. A solitary craft exited the space ship and made planetfall.
It shot down like a spear, breaching atmosphere in seconds. The ground getting closer with each passing second, trying to play chicken with its pilots. Then it levelled out, streaking the sky, as below, artillery peppered the charges of multicoloured masses.
Small flying creatures, either brave or stupid, bounced uselessly from the craft. It was only when a much larger creature decided to charge, were targeting systems engaged. Lascannons locked into position.
It was not needed however; the planet’s automated anti air defences beat it to the punch. And while it failed to destroy the monster, it distracted it and knocked it off course just long enough for the hulking craft to speed away.
Having reached an appropriate dock, it engaged landing gear and retro thrusters slowed it down, touching the land with a dull thump as metal hit metal. Finally, a ramp crashed down, scattering dust and small debris.
A human, clothed in fine regalia and flanked relieved soldiers, stood ready to greet new arrivals. Medals glinted from the fading sun before the roof slid shut, plunging the hangar into temporary darkness. A dull whine entered as lights dotted about the walls buzzed on, punctuated by a dull thud that only got louder and more rhythmic.
“Thank the Emperor your here, Space Marines,” the Commander said, his voice echoing, making the hangar seem even more empty. The silhouettes of heavy set power armour grew closer, its white colouring slowly revealed more and more.
“We heard you had a daemon problem,” a voice boomed. It had a light edge to it, as though the owner found it funny.
“These blasted things have a name? Curse it all.” The commander squinted, trying to make out the Marine’s faces. The closest one seemed their leader, a scar raking a milky white eye being the only thing visible. “But so must you. Please, what is our saviour’s name, so we can honour your future deeds.”
A snort followed. “We were the Swan’s Grace Chapter,” the blind eyed leader said, teeth showing in a grin.
The Commander couldn’t help compare it to an animal baring its teeth. “Were?”
“Now we go more by the Murder of Swan’s moniker. It has a nicer ring to it don’t you think?” The marines stopped a few paces away. They were still tall enough that even there, the Commander had to look up to meet his eyes. A red glint stared back from the Marine’s one good eye. “Also, I’m afraid we aren’t your saviours.”
As he said it, the light finally came fully on, revealing the Space Marines in their full glory. The leader, a bald headed figure with expressional eyebrows and cheerful snarl stood in front, one hand on the hilt of a sheathed sword, the other gesturing as he spoke. Behind him stood seven more marines, amour studded with spikes and trophies. Chainswords were in hand ready for a fight.
The Commander took a step back, as the Bald marine mirrored with a step forward.
The Marine flourished with one hand to his men, “We are your conquerors.”
“Open fire! Open Fire!” the Commander screamed as his worst fears were realised. They had made a mistake.
Lasfire punctured the air, setting it ablaze with light. The Space Marines charged, closing the gap instantly, armour shrugging off the panicked shots. Chainswords roaring as they were activated. The bald leader shouldered men aside, leaping on the Commander.
Raising him up in one armoured hand, he whispered in his ear.
“But don’t worry; we’ll still deal with your daemon problem. You see, we like the Gods, but not their spawn.” He unsheathed his sword, which crackled with roiling energy. “And after that, we’ll take good care of your- oh excuse me. We’ll take good care of our world.” And with that, the Commander never breathed again.