He couldn’t help it. Hundreds of years conquering worlds, fighting all different foes, uncovering unimaginable worlds, and yet, he still felt the fascination of a little kid every time they were landing on a new planet. The thrill of the unknown always pumped his heart like if he was in the middle of a battle, full of excitement but never with fear.
The mission was simple. A beacon of information was detected in this planet which could potentially have valuable information about their position and how to find their battle brothers. During a space jump the coordinates got mixed up due to a malfunction in the system and their spaceship appeared in the middle of nowhere. But where there is faith there is hope and their spaceship found a beacon of light in the darkness.
There was no information about this planet on this data base, but according to the analysis, it was suitable for life forms. That could be good, finding potential allies there. But it could be very bad as well.
The landing was smooth and they didn’t find any opposition from anything or anyone. Almost too calm. First steps on the planet discovered a landscape with colourful vegetation. Scouts took off first looking for a place to establish a mother base that will be their home and fortress while thley stayed in that planet trying to find a solution to their situation. Their Captain Gael Cortez was a force to be reckon, but he never acted recklessly. Countless times he was able to turn the tables in the middle of a fight with his foresight and strategies and he learned to trust him with blind faith no matter the odds.
That’s the main reason why he was so surprised when captain Gael brief him with his mission.
⁃ Ezekiel. Our scouts found the source of the signal. It radiates from the ruins that we flew over on the south east. I want you to gather 4 of your best men and investigate the area. Track the source and retrieve as much information as you can. I can’t spare any lives so don’t try to be a hero. If you think the opposition is too hard fall back and we will regroup. I will make myself clear. I want that information but not at the price of our brothers lives. If someone can achieve this goal with such low resources is you and your team. Any further questions Lieutenant?
⁃ No sir. Consider it done.
⁃ One extra bit of advice. We don’t know where we are. We don’t know what we are facing. But we are not alone in this planet. And we might not be the only ones that located that signal. Use extra caution and let the light of the Emperor guide your path.
So…this information could potentially be incredibly valuable, yet the Captain was sending a 5 man squad to retrieve it? True that 5 Primaris could fight like 100 men, and their numbers were low…still, he couldn’t get his head around it. But if Ezekiel Varrist learnt something from his Captain it was that he never had a plan B, but all the way to Plan G instead.
The location of the signal was faint but steady, in the middle of a building in ruins. Gael was right. That’s was the first sign of civilisation. It looked like a mix between a bunker and a lab, but something happened there that lead the place to ruins.
Ezekiel and his squad took positions in a defensive formation that wouldn’t leave any blind spots while surveying the area. The place was pitch dark making the advance much slower, but they were in no rush…for the moment.
They could hear sounds and movement coming from everywhere but they couldn’t figure out what it was. And there it was. A body. Or what it looked like a body. While his squad took positions Ezekiel analysed the body. It looked like it was once human, but it was incredibly deformed to a point that was hard to look at. The body was missing half of his arm and had several huge fresh wounds. The body was still bleeding from those wounds, not much anymore , but enough to know that this monster was recently killed by someone or something.
⁃ Lieutenant! Ahead!
An unorganised blob of bodies was advancing towards their position. They were similar to the body lying in the ground, with deformities everywhere and empty mindless eyes that were fixated on them. Their advance was slow, but their numbers were far greater than theirs.
⁃ Stand back or we will open fire!
He knew that no answer will follow but he wanted to to see their reaction. There was none.
⁃ Caesar! Max! Cover our rear! Xavier! Logan! With me!
The mindless bodies could not understand that their numbers meant nothing against the might of the Primaris Marines. Bolt fire roared the place as the close the distance between their enemies. His bolt gun was working over time, but their enemies were falling like flies. He could hear shooting behind them, so he knew that Max and Caesar were busy as well, and the enemy was trying to surround them. Enemies kept coming and their numbers were getting bigger in the narrow area. They needed to move before they got surrounded.
⁃ Ravens! With me! Reckon positions while we advance. Don’t let them surround us. Let’s move towards the beacon quickly and get out of here. We don’t need to kill them, just outrun them.
The squad move as a unit covering all the angles like if they knew the place. Their swiftness was unbelievable considering their size and power armour. They could hear shooting and fights from afar and they saw many bodies chopped as they advance but they didn’t pay much attention to them.
Ezekiel had seem these kind of monsters before in one of their endless fights against the Nurgle heretics. They called them Poxwalkers, and they were like brainless zombies that succumb to disease and decay. Not a worthy adversary for a Primaris but could prove very dangerous in big numbers. Plus he knew they were not the only ones fighting them and soon they would find out as he could hear the grunts and screams closer.
The corpses were countless. The Boltgun Fire was the soundtrack of that place and the screams were getting fainter until they stopped. They put enough distance between them and the blob for them to have a little break just as they were arriving to their destination. There was blood everywhere and a mountain of corpses around. Noticed that there were not just Poxwalkers, but some green skins to….orks….
Standing in front of them, a colossal figure even taller than them. It was an Ork Warbozz covered in blood both his and his enemies. He seemed exhausted and was trying to catch some breath. Next to him 5 boyz in the same shape. The battle getting there had been fierce and judging from their appearance, it had taken a toll on all of them. They seem like the remains of their group, their only survivors. Ezekiel thought that they probably should thank them as they definitely took most of the Poxwalkers cleaning the area for them. It he knew that even if they were in bad shape, orks were formidable adversaries, born for the thrill of the fight, and they were cornered…
The Warbozz lift his eyes and saw them. There was no need for orders. Only one word that could freeze the veins of the most disciplined army:
Like if a reset button was pushed on the orks, all of them lifted their eyes and launched themselves like if they were possessed. The orks were waiving their choppas in the air closing their distance while they were overwatching and getting ready for the combat.
Ezekiel pulled his power sword and his plasma pistol ready for anything. In the blink of an eye the orks were already throwing blows at them. Ezekiel was an experience fighter and he stopped his opponent’s blows with ease, parrying and dodging before shooting his pistol in the chest. For a second he was able to analyse the situation. Logan was defending himself against 2 boyz but seemed comfortable. Everyone else was fighting until he saw Xavier. The power claw of the Warbozz cut through his power armour like butter.
Ezekiel launched himself with the promise on his mind that his brother’s death wouldn’t be in vain. He stroke with the strength of a hundred men making the Ork step backwards. He knew that even if his opponent was injured he wasn’t going to be an easy prey. One mistake and his power claw would chew him. He couldn’t beat the Ork with raw power, but he was faster than him, and his power sword could cause some real damage, even to a monster of that size. So he started dancing around his opponent. Orks are not known by their patience so the Warbozz started throwing demolishing blows while Ezekiel would dodge and strike. Parry and shoot. “Death by a thousand cuts” the Ork was bleeding by dozens of wounds. His will was strong but his body couldn’t keep up any longer. His power claw arm was only attached to his body by a small skin tissue. He had been a worthy and formidable opponent, but there was no mercy for the enemies of mankind. Ezekiel chopped his head of with a clean cut ending his suffering and took a moment to breath and look at Xavier for one last time. Only one of the boyz was still alive, but he was fleeing in panic after his bozz defeat. Max, his opponent was about to chase him :
⁃ Don’t! Let him run and hopefully drag the Poxwalkers with him. We are on a mission.
The squad moved towards the beacon ready to get whatever information was there. Caesar was analysing and copying all the data.
⁃ There are lots of information about this planet here. Looks like this building was an Imperial research facility. There are records of several different species on this planet, all seeking the same thing: an artefact.
⁃ If this was an Imperial facility, we might have some allies still here. We need to gather all the data and bring it to Captain Gael. We will be able to analyse this data in much further detail once we leave this place.
⁃ Agreed Sir.
⁃ Ravens! Let’s get out of here!