Hive World Terra

Insperatus Nex by IBBoard

This story is an unofficial story based, without permission, on the Warhammer/Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property owned by Games Workshop Ltd.

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The Wrath of the Emperor dropped out of the Warp, far enough away so as to avoid colliding with the drifting hulk. The loyal Ultramarines on board knew their misson and would gladly carry it out, not just for the Emperor on Terra, but also as vengance for Ichar IV and the devastation wraught by Hive Behemoth.

The hulk loomed large on the scanners, visible for many light years and even in the Immaterium where its crippled warp engines left a faint smear in the swirling void. Detailed scans revealed that it contained a Tyranid infestation, just as had been expected. The reported size of the nest, though, was much smaller than could have been expected on a hulk of that size. A few small pockets of Genestealers, nothing that a five man kill-team couldn't handle. Squad Veritus were quickly despatched to the boarding torpedoes, armed and ready to cleanse the drifting hulk of its Xenos scum before it reached an inhabited world.

The boarding torpedo impacted into the side of the huge vessel, ploughing through several weakened outer shells before coming to rest. The nose of the torpedo opened as the last echoes of the rendered metal screeched down the corridors. The Marines swiftly spread out in a well drilled covering formation.

"The perimeter is clear," said Sergeant Veritus, examining his scanner, "but from now on it's hand signals only. Those Xenos scum may not understand it, but by the Emperor can they track down human speech".

As one the squad disabled their comms and prepared to face the enemy.

Waving his men on, two behind him and two on the other side of the corridor, Sergeant Veritus headed for the largest blip. As they approached the bulkhead, he signaled for the squad to stop. Examining his scanner closely, he altered the resolution and located the exact position of the Genestealers within the room. Quickly, he planned the assault and then in a swift flurry of hand signals and gestures assigned them to their tasks. Kyros would hold back to cover the exit and make sure nothing escaped, while Storis and Artamos prepared to swing left as they entered the room. Veritus and Theron would take the right hand side, trapping the aliens in the cross fire.

The squad readied itself, all guns pointed at the thick door and all thoughts focused on clearing the infestation. As the door slowly opened, Kyros stepped into the middle of the corridor and planted his feet. No matter what onslaught came at him, he was braced and covering it, ready to feed it rapid firing death. The door gently thudded into its final open position and the two teams slipped around Kyros and into their positions.

As soon as the two teams stepped inside the room, Genestealers began to awaken and break away from their cover. The hulk had been drifting and abandoned for centuries, the interior slowly decaying in places and collecting the detritus of the years. As they leaped on the fittings of the room the alien claws dislodged some of the debris, kicking up small clouds of dust.

As the first Genestealer leapt from the crate it almost instantly exploded in a shower of chitin and gore. Kyros marked a mental tally. The first Xenos death of a mission always felt so good. He contemplated the feeling briefly, but quickly returned his full attention to the room before him. At the same time, several other Genestealers had appeared from various areas of the room. The chatter of bolter fire echoed down the corridor; the voice of the Emperor's wrath upon the alien scum. A dozen broken bodies were strewn across the floor, none looking remotely human. Veritus thanked the Emperor for the fact; at least the hulk hadn't had any humanoid visitors recently.

Before they continued their sweep, Veritus ordered a squad check. The enemy had never appeared to come close enough to cause any damage. The attack had caught the aliens off guard, but a Sergeant could never be too careful when facing Tyranids. Artamos, Kyros, Storis and Theron ? each one checked the status reports from their power armour and each silently signaled no recognised breach.

Beyond the door at the other side of the room, Veritus' scanner indicated a merger of several corridors. Seeing only four more blips, all of grouped size, Veritus headed towards the nearest. Reaching the juncture, the Sergeant noticed that the blip seemed to be larger than the last one, and almost appeared to be larger than when he had previously looked at it. He dismissed the idea and knew that his small squad could handle whatever faced them.

The deep throb of the warp engines was ever present in the distance, rumbling through the ship's corridors. Its presence was at once both comforting and disconcerting. Artamos seemed to be the only one who noticed it, a slight flicker in the note as if the machine spirit was unhappy. They would have to get closer to the crippled warp engines later, but for now they were still safe from the contamination zone. The Chapter Master would still demand an examination from the Apothecaries and Chaplains upon their return, but the potential contamination level was well within accepted limits. Their power armour and faith in the holy Emperor would protect them.

As they reached the second infested room, Veritus was sure the blip had grown. Examining the scanner in more detail he noticed that the other blips seemed to have shrunk slightly too. Faint dotted lines on the map overlay showed him that there were conduits and air ducts that connected the four closest pockets of Tyranids. He turned his comm to boradcast so that he could be heard by the squad.

"In the name of Guilliman himself," he cursed, "those Xenos scum seem to have tracked us and anticipated our movements."

Turning to the rest of his squad he intoned, "Maybe the rumours from the Emperor's Xenos Inquisitors are true, these floating hulks may occasionally hold a higher form of intelligence than the animalistic scum. But we have the Emperor upon his Golden Throne behind us, our faith in him is our shield and our protection."

With that the squad spread out into a well practised formation. Altering their attack strategy in case the creatures had learnt from the last assault, they prepared to open the large metal door. As it began to slide up into the roof they prepared to enter, saying their own personal prayers to the God-Emperor.

As the door raised inch by inch it became obvious that there was a shadowy shape waiting just on the other side. Kyros, automatically retaking his position covering the exit, loosed a few rounds through the gap. An inhuman scream echoed from the other side of the door and the shadowy shape grew before becoming a purple pile of chitin and claw; the foul creature had been crippled by the shrapnel rounds.

Keeping their distance from the flailing claws, Storis finished off the Genestealer with a final bullet in its bulbous head. The others in the room hadn't been quite as quick or close and were spread across the room. As one, and ready to provide covering fire in all directions, squad Veritus followed their sergeant into the room.

They had hardly got into the room when the first wave attacked; a dozen Genestealers leaping from different directions, all intent on rending the Marines in two. The first two were cut down before their claws left the floor, exploding in a cloud of ichor and chitin. Another four were in mid-air as they exploded, but six made it closer. As they landed, their claws flew in a blur of attacks. Each marine did his best to fend off the claws, beating at the Genestealers with their bolters or emptying clips into their alien bodies indiscriminately.

The next wave delayed its attack momentarily as the hulk shuddered. This time there was no mistaking it, Artamos had heard an unstable warp engine earlier. The tech-priests aboard The Wrath of the Emperor must have misjudged their estimates, the hulk was closer to destruction than had been predicted.

"We may not have much time," began Sergeant Veritus, "this hulk may implode at any moment. The machine god must not have been with his servants when they surveyed this floating wreck. Do not expect help from The Wrath, do not expect an easy battle and do not expect to return from this. All we can hope for is an honerable death and a place in the Hall of Honour. For the most holy Emperor on Terra, Gulliman and the Imperium itself...Make Them Pay!"

The next wave of Tyranids were crouched like springs, ready to leap at their foe. The Marines readied themselves and the aliens leapt, clawing as they flew through the air. This wave was stronger; the initial assault seeming as if it was just testing their defences. Easily three dozen tyranids were attacking the loyal Marines, swamping them in chitinous limbs and claws. Several had been torn apart by the rapid fire of the squad's bolters, but there were more than enough to still pose a threat.

The aliens were too close for Veritus' liking now. He dropped his bolter to his side and brought out his chainsword. The buzz of the teeth and the high pitched scream as it bit through chitin was a comforting sound amongst the alien noises coming from the Genestealers. The shudders were getting worse and the noises in the throb of the warp engines were sounding more like tortured souls.

The aliens finally got the better of Kyros and Storis, dragging them to the ground and tearing at their armour. Power Armour could take a direct hit from a bolter and survive, but these aliens were clawing at the weaker areas, intent on breaking into the doomed Space Marine inside. Two of the squad blips on Veritus' HUD had turned black, the pack of 'Stealers having killed two of his brethren. The other two were beginning to look more yellow than green; Artamos and Theron were taking hits.

Veritus took a step back to get a better swing at the aliens in front of him, and prepared to give one final speech, but he felt himself fall. The ship had begun to shudder violently, disrupting the Genestealers and throwing Veritus to his feet. This is it, he thought, the Xenos scum will take me while I'm prone like the barbarous animals that they are.

He prepared for his fate as he fell, expecting to see red flashes across his suits status indicator as his armour was torn from him, but instead all he saw was a flash of the brightest, purest black, followed by a multitude of comparatively subdued colours.

The warp bubble in the engines had collapsed, imploding the ship and dragging what was left of it into the Immaterium. Veritus and his two remaining squad members were taken with it, their souls left to drift in the endlessness of the warp.

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