Author:Jonathan Green
Language: eng
Format: epub

THE ROAR OF bolter fire, the zealous shouts of the Marines and Chaplain Wolfram’s own bellowed battle-prayers urging the Templars on, echoed deafeningly from the tunnel walls: The cacophony was swelled by the screaming cries of their attackers. Amidst the press of the black-armoured giants, the explorator assigned to Wolfram’s squad screamed in hysterical fear, no use to anyone.

The inevitable battle had begun in the confined, half-collapsed tunnel, the fighting hard and furious. And the enemy was relentless.

The mine was infested. They came at the Templars in their dozens, armoured hides mottled pink, purple and blue, glistening wetly, springing forward on muscular legs, grabbing with clawing hands, while a third pair of limbs slashed at the holy warriors with oversized talons. Where these dreadful claws struck the verse-inscribed ceramite of the Black Templars’ armour they gouged great grooves in the surface, even cutting through as deeply as the Space Marines locked inside them.

A ravening creature sprang at Wolfram, beady black eyes set in the dome of its bulbous head fixing on his behind the ruby-quartz visor of his skull-helm. It opened its fang-filled jaws, emitting a screeching cry that cut through the veteran chaplain.

With a roar born of righteous fury, Wolfram brought the blazing head of his crozius arcanum up into what passed for the monster’s midriff. In a mess of purple ichor, ropes of intestines flopped from the creature’s body, coiling around the haft of the power axe as the flaring razor-edged blades of its Templar-cross head burst from the alien’s back in a blaze of blue sparks.

Genestealers, the chaplain thought. An abomination in the eyes of all Emperor-fearing people and their presence a foul stain on the face of His Imperial Majesty’s galaxy-spanning realm.

Oh, how he hated the foul xenos spawn.

* * *

LETTING OFF controlled bursts of weapons fire into the mass of alien bodies scrambling towards them, Marshal Brant and his men held then-position at the entrance to the gallery. As the grotesque genestealers flung themselves at the embattled Space Marines, in wave after wave, the ardent Black Templars cut them down with sustained bolter, melta and plasma fire.

One or two rapidly moving creatures managed to evade this curtain of fire, flinging themselves at the gunning Templars with phenomenal bursts of speed. These were felled by chainsword, combat knife and crippling blows from armoured fists powered by muscles strong enough to lift the end of a truck.

Brant heard a stifled cry behind him. Darting a glance backwards he saw Brother Taran, his meltagun dropped on the ground in front of him, trying to stem the geyser of blood fountaining from his neck where one of the alien abominations had punched a taloned limb right through his power armour and into the flesh beneath. Even Taran’s genetically altered body could not hope to overcome such a terrible injury and he collapsed to his knees before keeling over onto his face, his lifeblood pumping from his dying body.

Taran’s killer was crouched behind its victim like a spider about to spring.


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