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John Carpenter's

Multiple Signals

By Brad Stephenson

In homage to John Carpenter

Log report #012   M41.779

1230hrs ship time,

 

Life aboard this ship is starting to take its toll on me though I have been in the imperial navy for the twenty years now. This patrol of the borders of the Lymphitca system is turning out to be more boring then an ork trying to hit a bullseye from a foot away. I did my shifts without trying to think about it too much, though in a way it is a bit of a relief compared to the last battle this ship participated in, having to clear a path through a hive fleet to make way for the heavy cruisers to come in. I’ll tell you something, no one should have to face the tyranids but it has to be done.

 

Anyway back to the reason for this log entry, the auspex boys had detected something in a debris field from a previous battle millennia before, from what they could tell it was physical and it gave off strange energy readings, we assembled a team to take a shuttle and investigate the readings., while they were away some of the new recruits started placing bets on what it was, they started saying it could’ve been power cells, an offline ship, anything that uses power.

Our navigator Augustine started acting a bit stranger then usual when the team returned two hours later with what ever it was.

Well from what I’ve been told it was a casket of some kind covered in glyphs that our techpriests can’t decipher, many of the crew are trying to guess what race the glyphs belong to but in my opinion it looks like eldar to me.

 

End of line

 

Log report #013   M41.779

2200hrs ship time,

 

Well nine and a half hours went by and the mechanicus hasn’t even scratched the surface of the casket trying to get it open. In my years I never seen something like this, they had tried everything they could think of in their arsenal. Lascutters, plasma torches, you name it they broke it. I think they’re going to be doing a lot of praying tonight fixing those tools.

We tried using a psyker to open it thinking it was psychically operable but a few minutes into it he went insane, started talking gibberish then blew his brains out with his laspistol, honestly the training they get is atrocious.

I had been attempting to translate those glyphs but I had no luck. its as seems those glyphs just aren’t the same as the ones used by the eldar or just refuse to be deciphered, If they’re a lot older then now then its impossible to translate unless you have a farseer here. Never understand the mind of a xeno.

Well at any rate our astropath had intercepted a transmission requesting assistance against an ork fleet; I had him send a message that we were busy with an unknown artefact and that we’ll be on our way as soon as it was secured.

The casket has been moved to a secured tech bay where it’ll be under close observation till further notice.

This is captain Jago Dakari of the exorcist class cruiser “The Flaying Blade” signing off.

 

End of line

 

The firing range was empty that night for all but one battle brother; Veteran Isaac Tyrius of the executioners, a chapter that had rebelled during the badab uprising but was forgiven for their actions when they released that they were on the wrong side and rejoined the imperium, was busy shooting the targets with one of the booths specially made laspistols made to give the effects of a bolt pistol. He was one of the best marksman in the entire chapter and shooting became his dedication when he started out as a scout sniper and then as a devastator when he became a full fledge marine, after forty years in the chapter he had been promoted to veteran after he, by sheer luck or the emperors guidance, taken out a tyranid biotitan with a single shot with his lascannon thus earning him the nickname “Dead Eye” which he hated of course, although he did get punished for shorting out his lascannon by using all its power in a single concentrated blast.

He capped shot after shot with exceptional accuracy making burn marks all over the shifting target; each session uses a hundred shots for giving scores and accuracy ratings so if a marine hit the target ninety five times then his accuracy rating would be ninety five percent and so on.

His weapon gave its last crack before depleting and placed the weapon back its holster and he waited patiently for his result. He brushed back his short, brown hair, his hands passing over his service studs.

The Pict read out on the bench flickered and it read 99%

He gave a whisper of both success and disgust to himself, before shutting the booth down and heading back to his quarters, his free time period was nearly up.

He passed the great hall where the chapter gathers for special occasions such as celebrating the founding of the chapter and making special announcements, etc. he saw someone at the alter there whom he thought was one of the serfs who maintain their battle barge, but it was too big be one of them. he walked in and he saw it was his fellow veteran and closest friend Tigris. He was praying at the alter, speaking in old gothic. Isaac chuckled and walked over to him.

He placed a hand on Tigris’s shoulder and he stopped speaking and turned to him, the dark birth marks of his face the same as the tiger which gave him his name absorbed the light coming from the candles.

“Greetings brother, were you at the range again?” Tigris said before making the sign of the Aquila, finishing off his prayer before getting up.

“That’s a stupid question Tigris, I still can’t get a hundred percent and I felt certain I’d get it that time” Isaac said, he walked out of the hall with Tigris coming up behind him.

“Wouldn’t that make it the fiftieth or sixtieth time? I lost count after try forty” Tigris asked.

“This would be the sixty-fifth attempt now” answered Isaac slightly annoyed of him for that.

His friend gave him a pat on the back of reassurance and smiled.

“Always the persistent one weren’t you? Ever since you heard of that record you been shooting as much as a flash git with its finger glued to the trigger” he said.

“Yes well, I want to do something that’ll make my mark in history apart from killing aliens and heretics”.

“yeah but you’re not the only one” Tigris remarked, showing a scared left hand, obviously he tried to beat his record of a hundred stabs between the fingers with one of his knives in under thirty seconds but caught some of his hand in the progress.

“I thought you never missed unless you were trying to do it blindfolded” Isaac joked,

“You’re Close. I did it with one eye shut” Tigris remarked,

They walked down the hallways back to their quarters to initiate their rest period, going into a dreamless state of hibernation till Morning Prayer and the next day.

 

Captain Tselios of the first company was at the bridge of the ship in the command chair, it was his job to control the ship after the Chapter master himself and he was away with a company to deal with a Genestealer infestation, so Tselios was in charge till he gets back.

Tselios rarely sleeps as he believes that you can have plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead and he lets his Catalepsean Node do the sleeping for him.

He was doing a routine auspex sweep of the area, checking for anything strange to investigate and so far there was nothing worth reporting, the odd asteroid or dying sun but nothing too serious.

He passed this boredom by completing holographic puzzles and reviewing old battle footage on his chair’s hololith display recalling some of the chapter’s finest battles, although the chapter were not proud of their part in the badab uprising and so they generally don’t speak about it.

“Ah a battle with the Tyranids” he said to himself seeing the hololith’s display shifting to a battle against the great devourer, he watched as he saw assault marines engaged soaring gargoyles and the devastator marines blasting great hordes of gaunts out of existence. He looked at his left arm’s bionics where he had lost it to a Ravener that came up under his command squad where he slew it himself with his bare hands, well, bare hand to be exact, that was a fine victory.

Just then a red light flashed on his control pad, an incoming warning. He punched in a few buttons and the bridge’s central hololith display flickered into life, it projected the image of a ship in the distance

“An imperial ship? local sources said there were no ships on patrol here” he thought, he pressed some more buttons so the ship was more zoomed in even then the picture was fuzzy but he managed to make out the outline of it.

“An Exorcist?”

He activated the battle barge’s ship-to-ship communication system and attempted to make contact with the vessel.

“Unidentified Exorcist Cruiser, this is brother captain Tselios of the Executioners chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, respond” he said into his voxbead.

He waited a few moments but he received nothing static on the line, he tried again.

“Unidentified Exorcist Cruiser, this is brother captain Tselios of the Executioners chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, respond”

Still no answer, just static. Tselios shut the coms off and got out of his chair where he made his way to epistolary librarian Morgan who was meditating in his respected chair, Tselios gave him a light tap on his shoulder and Morgan opened his eyes.

“Oh captain, what do you require?” he asked, Tselios explained the ship to him and how they were not communicating which sounded strange.

“So you want me to try and contact their astropath to find out why they’re here brother captain, I will attempt to make contact” he said.

Morgan put both hands to his head and his eyes glowed white as he tried to make contact. He kept up this state for a few minutes before he stopped, shaking his head in defeat.

“Nothing sir, either their astropath is dead, incapacitated or they’re refusing to answer”

“I see. we’ll need to investigate this, the last thing we need are traitors” Tselios said.

 

Tselios looked at the group of battle brothers selected for this investigation, he chose to send a combat squad of veterans for the investigation and they stood to attention in their full armour, Isaac and Tigris were among them. The marines all had a special skill that Tselios thought would be essential such as Isaac’s marksmanship and Tigris’s close combat prowess, the veterans all had effigies of their skills painted or attached on their grey and blue camouflaged armour apart from their right shoulder pad which bore their chapter symbol, an axe on a red circle.

Isaac had painted crosshairs over his helmets eye ports and had pouches containing magazines while Tigris had an array of various knives in holsters on his armour.

They were all in the briefing chamber and Tselios wasted no time in spelling out the facts.

“Veterans of the first company, you had been summoned here to investigate an unidentified Exorcist class cruiser that has found in this region, so far they had not answered communications of any kind, Vox or Astropathic. Your orders are to investigate and confirm if there are any navy personnel on that and if they’re still loyal to the imperium, in case of hostiles your mission will be to search and destroy” Tselios explained.

Pressing a button on the controls to the chamber’s hololith display a holopict of the ship appeared as a rotating image like in holo-schematics, the marines gathered round to get a better look of the ship.

“This is the clearest image we can get till we get close enough for thunderhawk range, the barge will be keeping a relative distance away, there’ll be a  team of our brother terminators that’ll board to give you assistance should anything happen, any questions”

A veteran who had flames painted on his armour put his hand up.

“Just one brother captain, how did that ship get out so far into space? This area is remote enough as it is” he asked,

“I don’t know, maybe they were pursuing pirates and got lost, that’s one thing you have to find out, now prepare yourselves”

 

The thunderhawk roared out of the bays and soared of into the direction of the ship, with a servitor piloting the shuttle the marines were in the passenger compartment with their Sergeant, a former tactical marine called Orean was up with the servitor.

Isaac had his custom made bolter which he upgraded over the years on his lap and was busy adjusting its scope and illuminators which all his battles brothers had on their weapons. Tigris was lovingly tending his double handed chainsword as well as attaching razor sharp blades on his gauntlets giving him “tiger claws”.

The ship soon approached the prow of the Exorcist cruiser, as the ship was carefully manoeuvred past it Orean looked at its workmanship, an old ship of beauty still in use, providing a link to the past. That was when he saw something; on the prow written in large, crimson red lettering was the name of the ship The flaying blade.

He motioned the servitor to keep the ship in this spot while he contacts the barge; punching in a few buttons he opened the vox channels.

“Captain Tselios” he said, a few seconds of static went by before he got a reply,

“Yes sergeant, what is your status?” Tselios replied,

“We had arrived at the ship and it doesn’t look like there’s any external damage, we’re by its prow and we had found out its name sir. It’s called The flaying blade

There was a pause before an answer came.

The flaying blade? I heard of that ship, it vanished into the warp over two centuries ago on their way to engage ork warlord Gazmog’s fleet”

Tselios was part of that campaign as a mere battle brother and he nearly got killed in that conflict.

“Orders brother captain?” Orean asked,

“Proceed with investigation but stay sharp” Tselios answered.

“Yes brother captain, we’ll vox you back if we find anything else”

Orean ended communications and gestured the servitor to continue which it did without question. Sure enough the thunder hawk landed in one of the hanger bays with a thud on its landing skids with its search lights blaring.

“Keep the ship here, don’t let anything on it” Orean ordered the servitor.

“Yes lord” it chimed, Orean walked down to the compartment and saw the veterans all lined up, bolters ready, except the flame armoured marine who carried a flamer.

“Brothers one thing, this ship has been stuck in the warp for two hundred years… expect sickness” Orean said simply, the marines nodded and the hatch was released, slamming down hard into the decking and they walked out, illuminators shining.

 

The hanger was in complete ruin, all of the fury and starhawk squadrons were in destroyed heaps and scattered all around the hangers many levels with shows of fierce combat, the marines looked around as they cautiously made their way past all the wreckage with their armoured boots crunching on debris, keeping a carful eye out for anything suspicious.

“Or instead of sickness, a scrap heap” Tigris said.

“Well this is a techpriest’s worst nightmare” Isaac said, he had seen his share of destroyed vehicles in his life but they were merely destroyed toys compared to this, some looked like they had been blown apart with incredible force while some were crushed into metal pancakes.

“More like the omnisiah’s worst nightmare” Orean said, he picked up a buckled armour plate from a fury and examined it, the plate had strange gouge and slash marks into the metal.

“Tigris you’re the blade expert what do you make of this?” Orean said, handing the plate over to him.

Tigris took it while they continued walking to the lift on the far end of the hanger towards the back of the ship, Tigris had his fair share of various close combat weapons and he had the scars to prove it but this one left him at a lost, he was thinking that the ship might’ve had a run in with genestealers but the slash marks were to thin to be claws, they looked almost like teeth marks or to say in the least finger nails.

“I would say genestealers but the gouges are too thin to be done by their claws” he said, he scanned an image of it and stored it in his helmet database for future reference before chucking it back into the hanger.

They had made their way to the service lifts and entered it, it was a nearly cramped fit they got inside and shut the doors.

“Right, lets head to the bridge and see what we can find” Orean said, he punched a few buttons and the lift sped upwards.

On their way to the lifts they didn’t notice the group of dark bestial figures hiding in the wreckage, making light screeching sounds before turning and heading off towards the stationed thunderhawk.

 

The lift reached the bridge level, the doors slid open and the squad formed out into the hall way, weapons drawn, the illuminators showing the carnage that had been unleashed. There were signs of combat just like at the hanger, gouges in the wall, shots from small arms fire and flamer burns. There were some corpses of navy personnel slumped against the wall, shredded corpses with looks of horror on their dead faces. But what was more was the scattering of burnt beyond recognition corpses. The marines carefully moved past them and got to the bridge’s main entrance, the ornate doors didn’t looked too damaged with flamer burns over the golden eagle emblem spanning the two doors. Orean signalled two of the team to try and open the door which they did with difficulty as something the door shut, when they finally managed to shove the doors apart there was a rush in the air around them and the corpses all started sliding on the floor towards the door and when the door was open wide enough the bodies flew into the room, surprising the squad.

“Hull breach” a marine said, that was the only logical explanation.

They saw that heavy equipment was pushed up against the door as an attempt to barricade who ever were still inside. They got into the ruined bridge and scouted around keeping their weapons drawn.

Most of the controls and communications equipment was destroyed or heavily damaged, some of which were still giving sparks in the airless environment. There were several shredded bodies scattered around along with more burnt ones lying around, the ship’s gravity drives preventing everything from floating around too much. The armoured glass port of the bridge was shattered and the bridge was left to the mercy of space, ice covered everything giving the feeling of an ice world.

“Well this is why they didn’t answer” a marine said.

Isaac moved cautiously coming up to the Astropath’s seat when he heard his boot tread on something wet, he looked shining his illuminator on what he stood on. It was a trail of blood and it was leading up to the astropath’s chair, he shone his light over and saw something thing that shocked him.

“Brothers!” he yelled, the squad rushed forward over and saw what he had seen, something that even made one of them turn away.

It was the ships navigator, slumped dead in his chair with the astropath as well huddled on the floor. From the looks of it was suicide, there were deep cuts in their arms and throats from which long tendril like streams of blood were frozen like crystals in mid air, there was a look of utter terror and fear on their faces and their eyes were all gouged out as if they were self inflicted, a ceremonial knife was hanging limply from navigator’s right hand.

“By the throne what the hell happened here?” Orean said,

“Well it certainty isn’t genestealers” Tigris said, he went over to a console that wasn’t as damaged as the others and punched in a few buttons, the screen flickered to life.

He pushed the headless corpse of its operator of its seat and proceeded to access the ships logs, infact he was surprised that there was still power in the ship.

“This data is all jumbled; I can’t make it out from this console. Wait a second, there’s something about a casket in the tech bays, looks like xeno Origen” Tigris said, he shut the console off and went back to the team.

“Let’s head for the captains quarters maybe we’ll find more clues. Mycen, you and Elgin head down to the bays and investigate that casket” Orean said, Mycen the flamer wielding marine nodded and with Elgin, a marine who specialised in explosives went to one of the lifts outside the bridge while the other navigated their way to the Captains quarters, opening and sealing the doors one at a time.

 

Orean, Isaac and Tigris got to the Captains quarters; the pressure in this area wasn’t compromised so there was no vacuum damage here, they entered the quarters, weapons drawn. The quarter was in disarray, as if heavy fighting took place in here.  There was destroyed furniture, torn books and the like. They moved up to the captains desk and started looking for anything that could tell what happened with Isaac keeping guard at the door.

“I think I found something” Orean said, he was looking in a drawer and he pulled out a small vox recorder used for taking memos and such. It was round back up to the beginning of the disk inside.

He placed it on the desk and pressed the play button, it soon started the recording.

 

I gonna hide this disk when I’m finished, if none of us survives at least there’ll be some kind of record. Our shield won’t hold much longer, the ship’ll have to exit now. We have been in the warp for about…a week, we still haven’t come close to killing it. One other thing, I think it rips through your clothes when it takes you over. Karpenter found a shredded flak vest from its first victim but its I.D tag was missing…it could be anybodies.  Nobody…nobody trusts anybody now, we’re all very tired. There nothing else I can do…except wait.

 

Jago Dakari, captain of the Exorcist cruiser “the flaying blade”, M41.779

 

“According to the ships chronologic system only a week passed” Tigris said confused, confirming one aspect of the recording,

“That’s the warp for you; you can spend a day in the warp and then come out two centuries later” Isaac said.

Orean started looking for anything else of value when their com’s picked up something.

“Brother Sergeant, can you read me?” it was Mycen and panic was in his voice.

“Mycen, what is it?” Orean ordered,

“Its Elgin sir, he’s dead.”

“What, How?”

“We were ambushed when we found the casket; this thing came out from above us. It looked like a crew member but he had tentacles coming out of his body. Elgin tried to get a shot but it was so damn fast…”

“Mycen hold your position, we’re coming down” Orean commanded.

“Well you better hurry sir; I don’t think I’m alone down here”.

 

The squad arrived at the bay, keeping a close eye out and they saw Mycen out by the bay door, the door was sealed shut.

“Praise the emperor you got here, the Casket is right here” Mycen said punching a code for the door.

The door slid open and they stepped inside, they saw the stone, glyph covered casket in the middle of the room. The lid for it was propped up against it, revealing a hollow space, covered in slowly thawing ice in the casket. In a far corner they saw their dead battle brother sat against the wall, small and blood soaked punctures in various places oh his body and at his feet was the culprit, riddled with bolt wounds.

It appeared to be a crewman like Mycen said, but his flesh was warped into multiple forms from what looked like different life forms into one entity and masses of tentacles protruding from his torso.

“What kind of abomination of nature is that?!” Orean said in shocked and disgust.

“There is no way the warp can do that if the Geiger shields were active” Isaac said.

Tigris unsheathed his chainsword from his back and gave the dead thing a couple of pokes.

“Well it appears to be dead” he said.

Suddenly a mass of tentacles burst forth from the corpse and latched them on his weapon, a Chittering, hissing noise like those of insects at night emitted as well. To their horror they saw the thing pick itself off the floor and flailed with its tentacles flinging Tigris off his feet and into the wall behind it, to add to their horror they saw it changing form in the most gory way they had ever seen, quite frankly it made warp mutation look like a butterfly changing compared to this.

“Kill it!” Orean commanded, the squad fired their weapons, riddling the creature with horrific wounds but it just wouldn’t die.

It lunged at them taking Orean in it clutches, they fell to the ground wrestling each other, Orean trying not to get bit from a suddenly large gaping, jagged toothed maw that had morphed in place of its head. Orean got his bolt pistol and rammed it down the mouth firing away and making internal explosions ripple in its body. The jaws bit down hard on his arm, the teeth penetrating his adamantium armour and he yelled in pain. Tigris got up quickly, charged over to help his sergeant and with one swipe of his clawed gauntlets sliced the head off Orean’s arm.

“Contact!” Mycen yelled as he primed his flamer.

The marines took his warning and dived out the way quickly just as a plume of chemical flame roared out and immolated the thing. It roared, thrashing around in pain before dying again, slumping to the ground.

Tigris picked up his chainsword while Isaac tended to his sergeant, sealing off the punctures in his armour. That was when they heard the noise again but it didn’t come from the thing they just killed but it emitted from their dead battle brother. To their horror and confusion they saw Elgin’s body pick itself up from the floor and tentacles spewed forth from the holes in his armour.

Tigris wasted no time, he charged forth and decapitated it in one roaring slash with his chainsword, catching it on the neck and sending the head rolling and bouncing into a corner. The headless corpse now punched him in the chest sending him flying past the others; it soon sprouted a new head in a fountain of red gore, a combination of reptile and insect bearing razor sharp fangs.

“What in the warp are you?” Orean said.

“I cannot be killed for I am many and one” the thing spoke without even using its mouth, it right arm expanded and the armour plating of the arm ruptured as spines burst through as if it was tissue paper, Isaac primed his bolter and shot off a few rounds, the bolts impacted on its flesh and the thing writhed in pain as its flesh started to turn into mush.

“Hellfire rounds, never leave home without them” Isaac smirked; Isaac always had a variety of munitions with him just in case he needs them.

Mycen primed his flamer and let loose, the creature was now fully engulfed in flames, and fell to the ground, as it burned the marines gave a silent prayer to their fallen brother glad that his body didn’t have to suffer a fate worse then death.

“We have to contact the captain and tell him about a xeno infestation on here, keep a loose formation but stay close” Orean commanded,

The marines obeyed and formed up, they got to the ruined hallway when they heard the noise of cracking metal back in the bay and Tigris and Mycen went back in to investigate. Elgin’s decapitated head was shaking violently and to the marines confusion they saw chitinous spider legs burst out from his helmet, picked itself up and two eye stalks ruptured forth from within, it gave a small roar before trying to scamper away.

“You got to be frakking kidding” Tigris said, pulling a knife from his holster he threw it and nailed the thing to the floor and Mycen aimed his flamer before unleashing an inferno on the screaming head.

 

“What do you mean his head tried to pick itself up and leave?!” Orean asked disbelief in his voice.

They had got up to the medicae bays to see if the ex-crew had gathered any information about these things, they had a run in with more of those things and knowing how to dispose of them effectively dispatched them with ease, their smouldering corpses burning away nicely.

“I know that’s hard to believe, but that’s what happened” Tigris said.

“Brothers I think I found something, autopsy reports and a medical journal” Isaac said, he stopped rummaging in the shelves of a cabinet and came over to them and placed the things on an operating table. The reports were sketchy to say the least with what appeared to be vital information circled in red on the papers.

“Look at this” Mycen said, putting a finger on the circled text he meant.

 

Dismemberment has no effect on these things as their parts simply seem to morph into smaller forms but is just as nasty as the larger ones; we lost eight good men that day.

Any survivors who read this remember: every part of these things is a whole.

Another thing is how they spread; they seem to work by coming into physical contact with anything and infecting them by touch alone, even a small particle of the infected is enough to take over. But a more refined form of infecting is assimilation; it consumes its prey via tentacles and becomes it, this way it can imitate things more perfectly how ever it needs to be alone to do this. DON’T EVER GET SEPRATED.

 

 

 

“I’m am damned” Orean said looking at the bite marks on his arm, he had been starting to feel a bit heavy in the mind but he dismissed it as nothing, now he had a reason.

“According to this report if this thing ever got off the ship, it could infect this segmentum in just under two thousand years, predicted anyway”

“Theres only one choice of action then, destroy the ship’s warp drives and send this thing to the warp, it can’t infect Daemons since they’re not actually physical” Orean said.

The marine looked at him, they were dreading what he was going to say but they knew why.

“Mycen, how long did it take for Elgin to change?” Orean asked,

“Well, he was dead for a minute before I called you then it took you lot twenty minutes to get to my position so I’ll say an hour at the most? That’s because he was dead”

“That should give me half an hour at least, get of the ship and tell Tselios what happened” Orean commanded

The squad hated to do this but it was their duty follow orders and so reluctantly they obeyed.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Isaac said, handing a plasma charge over to Orean that had been recovered from Elgin, his sergeant took the charge.

“Suffer not the xeno to live” he answered.

With that he made his way out of the bay, when he got to the door he gave the Aquila gesture to the squad as a final farewell, they made the Aquila back and Orean made his way to the engines.

“Come on lets get out of here” Isaac said, with that they moved swiftly over to the lifts to the hanger bays and then on to the thunder hawk.

 

“No, don’t tell me that’s the hawk!”

That was the first thing Tigris said when the elevator doors opened and the glow of flames filled the compartment. They ran through the wreckage; double timing in case any of those things were skulking around.

His horror was confirmed as they saw the smouldering, charred fragments of the once proud ship, Orange Flames still licking the adamantium plating. All around were dozens of corpses of those things.

“Search the wreckage; see if the Vox is still intact” Isaac said, his battle brothers nodded and they started scrounging in the ruins.

If the vox isn’t damaged then we can call in the terminators, Isaac thought. Lifting a damaged seat away he saw the pilot servitor crushed under the controls, its bionics were sending spark every time it twitched blood and hydraulic fluid seeped out of cuts and gashes.

It turned its head round and looked up at Isaac.

“Lords… I did… what I could” it said, its synthesised voices broken and slow.

“What happened” Isaac asked, he heard steps behind meaning Tigris and Mycen had came over.

“Unidentified…creatures attacked. Forced to self destructed ship to prevent…them leaving with…it.”

“Warp damn it. Is the Vox still intact?” Isaac asked.

“It can send… but can’t receive…” the servitor said before shutting down as the last of its life left its body.

“Found it” Tigris said, he hauled the battered unit up and started to home in on the frequency of their barge.

“Tigris, hurry with the message. More could be on their way” Isaac said, keeping his bolter prised.

Mycen checked his flamer before holstering it and picking up a spare bolter off the floor, Isaac threw to him a magazine of inferno rounds; he locked it into the weapon and cocked it.

“I sent the signal, I told them to load up on hellfire and inferno rounds. Let hope they get here” Tigris said, he had a hint of nervousness in his voice.

“I know what you mean” said Mycen.

“Its not every day you fight an enemy when simply hacking off its limbs increases their numbers, give me an ork any day”

Suddenly they heard the insect-like noise emitting around them, instantly they drew their weapons, illuminators blaring. The things or Changelings for lack of a better word crawled over the wrecks, some were moving on two legs, some moving on four or more and some were just heads on legs. In the light of the flaming wrecks and their illuminators, they were horrible to behold.

“Suffer not the xeno to live!” Isaac yelled in defiance,

“They have sinned, they await their Execution!” his brothers roared in union, this was a battle cry of the Executioners.

They let loose their weapons sending mutagenic and incendiary death at the enemy. Isaac flawlessly dispatched them with deadly accuracy, conserving ammo with single shots, Mycen dual wielded his flamer and bolter burning any that got too close to them while Tigris threw knives coated with hellfire poison at those in range, scoring between the eyes shots.

“Running low!” Mycen said he drew his knife and set it ablaze with his flamer dousing it in promethium; he waved it around fending back any changelings with fiery swipes.

Tigris and Isaac did the same with their weapons and soon they wielded fiery blades, Tigris with his flaming chainsword looked as if he had a swirling inferno in his hand when he made a slash but the creatures soon had them surrounded and pushed dangerously close to the edge of the hanger.

Isaac looked out into the vastness of space and saw a light coming closer, he smiled in relief.

“Salvation comes!” he roared.

The terminators had come, the thunderhawk hovered in front of them and the hatch swung open, revealing the terminators. The weapons of both the hawk and the terminators blazed away like thunder, riddling the enemy asunder with flame and mutagen.

“Come on!” a terminator yelled firing his storm bolter.

Isaac, Tigris and Mycen jumped on but they weren’t alone, suddenly a head spider jumped over, fangs spread out and bit hard on Mycen’s left foot, it razor fangs biting deep.

“Typical!” he yelled and he burned it off with his flamer then Tigris with his chainsword without warning sliced of Mycen’s  leg off at the knee before kicking it back in the bay.

Mycen’s leg sealed itself as his larraman’s organ kicked in and Isaac helped him into a seat, knowing what Tigris did might just save Mycen’s life.

“Pilot, leave now” the Terminator sergeant said, the ship veered backwards, its sponsons still blazing away and fired of a salvo of hellstrike missiles loaded with promethium  which ruptured and burned the changelings in cleansing flame. The thunderhawk sealed its hatch and sped away leaving vapour trails from its thrusters.

“What happened, what were those things?” the Terminator sergeant asked,

“Shape shifters… some kind of infectious xeno that can assume the form of anything it infects, all the information is right here” Isaac said, handing over the documents that had been recovered, including the captain’s memo disk and the medical journal.

“Where’s Elgin and Sergeant Orean?”

“Those things killed and took over Elgin and Orean got infected, he stayed behind to blow the ship” Tigris said.

“He’ll blow the ship and take those things out with him, he doesn’t know how to fail” Mycen said, looking at his stump.

 

Keep going, Orean thought to himself, don’t give these things the satisfaction of taking you.

The hatch to the drive room slid open and he stepped in, sealing the hatch behind him. He moved cautiously, his bolter drawn.

Suddenly he clutched his chest, his bolter falling to the floor and he fell on his knees, grunting in pain. He knew he didn’t have much time left; the thing was slowly taking him over. He pushed his body to its limit as he got up and ran to the drives.

Sure enough he got to the warp drives, archaic machines that give the power of warp travel. He bent down and attached the plasma charge onto the drive’s failsafe system, he planned to put the drives into overload and destroy the failsafe system so it can’t be reversed.

Must hurry, he thought as he punched in buttons and pushed levers. The warp drives powered up, rumbling and humming. He bent back down to arm the plasma charge, setting it to detonate in five minutes. He heard a sound a few feet from him, a choking, gurgling sound like someone being throttled. He shone his bolter in the right direction and saw a grisly sight.

It was a survivor being assimilated. He was wrapped tightly in a mass of tentacles from one of those things, gore soaked and in extreme pain. Orean noticed something shining on a shoulder that wasn’t covered in tentacles, a captain’s crest and insignia.

“Captain Dakari?” Orean asked his bolter praised and ready.

The captain looked at him with white eyes and struggled to speak.

“Kill…me…” he spoke quietly, a tentacle wound itself around his entire face, making him choke.

Orean uttered a litany of cleansing and fired his bolter, the captain was out of his misery and the creature let go of him, revealing his half digested body.

Orean fired again, riddling the enemy with hellfire rounds that reduced it into dissolved mush. He heard more coming over to him and he fired once more.

That’s it, he thought, come and get me, we’re all gonna die here. He heard rumbling as the engines had started to overload, glowing blue and sending lightning arcs through the air.

A four legged changeling resembling something similer to a tyranid jumped on him and forced him the ground.

“Evil may take my body but my soul belongs to the emperor!” he roared as the plasma charge and the engines detonated, engulfing him and the changelings in white and blue light. The changelings all gave out an echoing scream as the light enveloped them

 

From the view screens in the hawk, the marines saw the exorcist cruiser The flaying blade buckle and rupture as it exploded in a ball of lightning sending great, flaring arcs through space, it then started to implode as the barrier between the physical and immaterial realms weakened and the ship was sucked into a gaping hole, through out the destruction they all made the Aquila in homage and respect to their fallen brothers.

As the last fragment of the ship was sucked into the warp the hole dispersed like morning mist in a blue and purple colour.

Without hesitation the thunderhawk turned and flew back to the battle barge, its engines flaring.

 

Captain’s log

The flaying blade incident

M41.979

 

The ship had been destroyed according to the team’s report; the information that had been brought back justifies some of their findings as well as their helmet’s film footage, the mere thought sickens me.

A xeno that can assume any form through infection of other species and all under its one mind or as the team said “it’s many and one”.

It’s a good thing they defeated it before it could leave that ship otherwise the imperium would’ve have been ripped apart from within, a rival to chaos that would be.

They had done the chapter a great service.

But one thing bothers me… just what was that thing’s original form?

 

 

 

 

 


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