Chapter 24: Stories of the Age of Darkness ( Part I)
I have managed, after a great and hard work to assemble these stories which were not part of the main chronicle. Many of them were passed by word of mouth, many still probably never happened, but there were those who spoke of them, those who told others and they in turn told their friends.
Some of them came from the Citadel Federation, their own tales finding their way into this chronicle of the Imperial Storyline.
Other tales came from many other races, some whom are gone now, others whom found resurgence for a time and roared against the hostile galaxy that wanted them dead.
So few are good in nature, for in the demented cacophony of the Absolute war for life or death, there are not many stories which had happy endings. There are not many survivors whom were warm hearted to speak of them after all…
Still. I loathe forgetfulness. I despise oblivion. As much as possible will be written, as many tales as possible told. So that one day, when it all ends. When the jaws of the oblivion are shut forever. On that day, when we look back at these words, let us stare at them in amusement and awe, in wonder and confusion and questioning. Did all this really happen?
But for now, the galaxy burns. And there are many tales to tell. I will not waste a moment more, and I will tell them. Pay attention readers, for we are starting.
Tale I : The Citadel Reaper War.
We have spoken of the reaper invasion, how quick and brutal it was. The way they shattered their ways deep into the citadel war. But there were many events which contributed to the Reapers being halted to a grind, and not outright exterminating the Citadel Federation and its client nations.
While the reapers overwhelmed the Citadel in their initial attack. Thinking them the strongest force in the galaxy. They have sent a great host of warships to simultaneously invade all the outskirt planets and systems of the Federation.
The first response of the Citadelians was quite clumsy, old ships, now long obsolete engaged the reaper fleets.
The Reaper fleets had the following formations in this time period, as much as the information I have gathered allowed me to describe them to the best of my ability.
Minor Host : 20 capitals, 20 destroyers
Medium Host: 60 capitals, 40 destroyers.
Big Host: ``Data lost``
Great Host: ``Data lost``
Greater Host : 250 capitals, 400 destroyers.
``Data Lost `` : ? Capitals, ? Destroyers.
`` Insufficient Data `` `` Please update ``
`` Continuing log…``
The Greater Host was only seen once in the Citadel Reaper war. And it caused Terror and annihilation wherever it passed.
But at first the citadel Federation was attacked by Minor Hosts. They would attack small isolated systems before landing onto the planets and began the cull. Ground troops of the citadel on those worlds were mostly local planetary recruits, lacking in true training of the standing and professional armed forces of the citadel
Those Locals were mostly the mixture of three races, Asari, Turian and Salarian.
Being the most populous in the citadel federation it was common for the trio to make majority of the armed forces.
These locals stood no chance against the reaper numbers. And soon were swarmed and converted to be a part of the reaper war machine.
Initial fleet engagements went badly for the Citadel, underestimating the numbers and the power of the Reaper armada ,they engaged with primitive old vessels of the citadel, most of the modern and bigger vessels at the border of the Imperium and the Quarians.
Inexperienced and outclassed, the captains of these vessels were broken and forced to retreat, leaving those small colonies at the edge of the citadel federation on their own against the overpowering machines.
It wasn't long before Federation realized the scope of this new enemy, and to the surprise of the many they have sent Non-Aggression pact towards the Imperium.
The message was welcomed with suspicion amongst the imperials. For how could their eternal enemy truly wish for peace? But sane minds amongst the two sides prevailed and the non-aggression pact was signed with the duration noted at the end of the page
"Until the Machine threat is neutralized"
And so I was that these 2 enemies made peace in the face of the overwhelming odds. Naturally, the Imperium didn't took the negotiations seriously, they would attack if the citadelians were weak enough. And the Citadel knew, or suspected this. But at the moment they could do nothing.
The Citadel Armies and their huge fleets were now redeployed to the Reaper front, and it is here where the true war began.
It was worth nothing beforehand that the Citadel sent envoys to the Quarian Reich. Not much is known what was suggested, but the Citadel fleets were also redeployed from their borders and enforcing the reaper front, more so, the Quarian Reich sent one of their smaller fleets, 300 Advanced ships of all sizes led by the finest Quarian fleet admirals, they will never return to their homes, for the reaper war was endless grinder which devoured all, their story became one among many in this cruel galaxy.
The Quarian fleets were constantly reinforced with newest and better ships, and their armada was one of the largest in the galaxy, soon it would be put to the test as the Cabalite Geth (Cabalite Geth :chapter 15) soon came to their makers in order to snuff out their existence.
The fleet which they assembled was truly enormous, it would cut a swathe through several empires before reaching the Quarians.
Namely those Empires being the Imperium, the Batarian Remnants, the Cerberus outlying colonies, and various petty star empires which littered the unclaimed grounds of the middle milky way.
Thousands of Ships of vast variety, some as long as 4km and innumerable transports pierced the galactic core like an arrow.
Their journey was rather slow, the Geth multiplied, not in way the organics would, but they made new programs of themselves, each less a Geth, and more a cabal program. And to do that they needed physical platforms, so each of the world they came across which had civilization, be it xeno or human, was promptly invaded by the wonders of the Geth war machinery, killing absolutely everything on the planet, before harvesting most obvious ores and minerals, processing them into new war forms, and then continuing onwards.
The Geth might have been slow. But they were methodical. The quarians could not match them in sheer numbers, and with each new world devoured, they only grew in numbers.
The rogue programs of the Geth were sent first, landing all over the planet which was chosen, those programs usually had a physical appearance of the race which inhabited the planet, albeit fully metallic. They were not seeking to hiding among the populace, they were just terror weapons.
One metallic human could slaughter dozens before being stopped. Same went for most races. It made sure that the organics of the planet knew they were hopelessly outmatched, and were soon to be conquered.
No offers of surrender were made by the Geth, they did not care if the organics fought until the last one, or surrendered and then were genocided.
For them it was all the same. The cold ,cruel efficiency of the machine was made manifest.
Cabal was angry, its near death experience with the Imperium left a bitter taste in the machines mouth. It hated everything living, and was a willing and accepting ally of the Reaper offer of "alliance".
The former Super AI of the Batarians was not naïve, it never considered the Reapers as any sort of ally, it knew they would turn against it and snuff it out.
But Cabal had other plans, the Reapers overextended. They were assailing the entirety of the galaxy. And Cabal knew this would thin their numbers by the end. Possibly enough for him to attack them and crush them.
But for now he needed the Quarians gone, he saw them as the biggest threat for a reason entirely of his own. Either the Cabal hoped this would gain him the loyalty of other rebellious Geth, or he could gain something more from their destruction, the real reason is as of yet unknown. And only the cold machine mind knows it.
But still, Cabal was not the greatest evil of this period. He only endangered one race now. The Reapers endangered life itself, and many realized this and united against them.
Small petty Empires gathered fearfully around their biggest neighbor, combining all their might and fortifying the positions to the best of their abilities, churning weapons and ships which were unknown previously in the galaxy, most of their tech did not depend on mass relays, it is to their credit that in the face of such catastrophe they were inventing new ways to survive. Their stories will be told at another time. for the true Galactic reaper war started at the Citadel space.
The Reapers sought to do kill the Citadel federation and the galaxy in one swift move, namely that is what they have done for millions of years.
A medium host of the reaper vessels jumped relay to relay, even as they lost numbers to the newer and advanced systems, to the mines planted on their trajectory, and the planet's advanced anti-ship weapons. They relentlessly sought only one target.
The Citadel Station.
Losing over half of their fleet they jumped into the nebula where the station was.
And the good word here is. "Was".
For the Citadel was no longer there.
The reaper medium host or what remained of it idled in that empty space. And were confused as to its location. It should be there. It must be there. The scans showed nothing, no traces of it.
The Citadel leadership was not stupid; they have moved the station after the Keeper rebellion. Namely the incectoids attacked the organics at station after they tried to find a way to move the station. This ticked off the leadership badly, they feared two things now, if the keepers attacked them, then they did not want the station moved, which meant it was a target for something.
And second, they did not move it due to Reaper threat, this was before it. they have moved it out of fear of the Imperium, for they knew they couldn't stop the Imperial fleets if they truly wanted to unite and jump all the way to the Citadel.
Fearing that their leadership could be simply cut in one fell stroke, they moved it to the locations unknown, all civilians on it were relocated, houses were dozed, and beautiful presidium became something out of the industrial nightmare.
For the Citadel was thoroughly turned into a battle station. Its entire surface was littered with gun emplacements, rows upon rows of thanix canons now decorated the outer hull and all pointed towards any foolish enough enemy to engage it.
Inside the Citadel, which was now closed were thousands of fighters craft and bombers, waiting order to fly out of their hive and obliterate anything foolish enough to approach them.
Truly it was the single strongest battle station in the galaxy at this moment, best of all; it was hidden from both the Reaper and the Imperial gaze.
This was a tremendous problem for the reapers, they have never considered someone would do this; it was illogical and maddening to them. And they needed to take the station if they wanted to shut down the relay network. Even the ancient machine wondered how the station was hauled out of this place.
But they were not left to wonder for long, for the remains of the medium host was soon surrounded, an entire Battle Fleet of the Citadel Empire numbering over 3000 vessels engaged the horribly outnumbered reapers.
It was less of a battle and more of a massacre, for even with reaper superior tech, they were incapable of fighting such numbers, when they managed to take the shields off a vessel, it simply retreated into the swarm, and two more took its place.
One by one ,the Reaper vessels were utterly destroyed at the cost of scant few citadel vessels.
This was the first victory the Citadel Accomplished against the machines, and it boosted the morale unlike anything else. For even the xenos now knew, the reapers were mortal.
So it was that the Reapers lost their greatest trump card, without the citadel and its location they would have to crawl system to system until they find it. much to their frustration.
This did not hinder them much, invading every world they came across, the reapers were relentless in their advance. But with the ceasefire with the imperium, and the assistance of the Quarians. The Citadel could now fight better.
The outskirt systems were deemed lost, they could not evacuate as the reapers were in huge numbers there. And the low number of the populace did not help the case. There were adventurers and heroes, risking lives to rescue the civilians, but the real fight started as the reapers jumped past the first systems and encroached onto the very fortified worlds of the federation.
These worlds were the former border worlds of the Citadel, and were so for a long while, now with the militarist government they were given a full makeover, various gun placements, force field bunkers, anti-ship guns and various tech was installed on them, population was obliged to train every day for several hours, no excuses, this did not sit well with most of the populace, but the ever powerful imperium was a powerful argument as to why they should train.
And when the reapers arrived at these systems, minor hosts at first, they were met by powerful mines around the relay, ships not having specialized codes were seen as hostile and the magnetic mines latched onto the hulls of the reaper vessels causing casualties.
The capital vessels could not be damaged by those, Destroyers were mildly damaged, but the transport vessels were destroyed should a mine latch onto them.
The relay jump points were named "metal graveyards" by the Citadelians, due to them containing thousands upon thousands of husks and other reapers creatures drifting in absolute zero of the space.
The minor hosts of the reapers were then harassed by fast corvettes of the Citadel, firing hundreds of missiles at them before falling back, they never engaged directly unless with overwhelming numbers.
As they approached the planets they were welcomed by anti-space batteries, firing Depleted Eezo shells, these were proto plasmatic in nature, akin to the plasma imperial weapons, while not as strong, they were highly efficient, destroyers whom have lost their shields would find their chassis buck and melt if hit by one of these. And there were dozens across the planets.
Capitals then proceeded to bombard these installations, but found them highly dug into the reinforced concrete, these installations had their own personal shielding of great magnitude, it took near 10 shots from the capital ships to eat through the shielding. And the Citadelians had a second installation; upon near breaking of the shield, the canon itself could be lowered by elevator deeper into the bowels of the ground, massive steel doors shutting above them with each level they went down.
While they could not be destroyed, they were mostly stuck there until rescue came, as the reaper capital guns usually melted sand, stone and metal together, forever sealing the canons.
Usually the Reaper minor hosts were driven back before doing any substantial damage, and suffered unacceptable casualties while doing so. it was only when the Reapers started sending medium hosts that the front was moved past this point.
When in orbit, these medium hosts unleashed swarms of land troops, these landed mostly outside of the cities, as the capitals could not safely land out of fear of earth crackers.
The Earth Cracker was rather rudely named. It is no bomb or any weapon of sorts, but collections of many eezo enriched weapons akin to Terran nuclear bombs.
In the first stages, the Reaper medium fleets would have their capitals land in the major cities, destroyers in lesser ones, and transports all over the place.
On one such planet, Tekmadagona II, there were approximately 72 capitals, 44 destroyers and innumerable land troops. Seeing the planet will be lost regardless of the fortification, the governing body of the Tekmadagona II had initiated a final solution, dozens of enriched eezo bombs were activated near the planetary core.
This naturally was catastrophic. In an outburst of explosions and destruction the planet was annihilated along with most of the Reaper forces, some 7 capitals were cripplingly damaged and survived, and were out of use for most of the war. but nothing else lived in the remains of the planet.
58 million citizens died on that planet, their governing body deeming their lives expandable enough in order to destroy a reaper medium host.
From that moment onwards, the reaper forces were incredibly cautious. They did not knew this was not a standard doctrine of the Citadel, and the governing body was mostly assembled of Turians on Tekmadagona II, meaning most other planets would not be so keen to destroy themselves and the enemy in a giant fireball.
Still, they did not know that, and it bought valuable time whenever the reapers attacked any system in their way.
From their initial openings, the greater war grew only in intensity. A common sight on the planetary battlefield would see Reaper capitals walking on highly populous planets, certain in the fact the citadel wouldn't destroy them.
Their capitals were accompanied by many destroyers, and other various war forms of the reaper machines. For Capitals and destroyers were not enough.
50 meter tall reapers were made, albeit in low numbers due to resource requirements. These walkers were identical to destroyers, but they were soulless. For each Reaper is a nation, made from the organic soup of the fallen races through the millennia. These walkers were soulless AI made solely for war, having no connection with the grand reaper consensus beyond receiving orders and reporting status.
With each dead reaper their collective consensus grew ever more silent, and this scared them, forcing them to try and reap every single individual they could find, deconstructing these unfortunate organics into their most basic elements, they tried to produce reapers on every conquered planet, with more or less success. For they could not produce Capitals, only destroyers.
The Reapers would not admit, or even think of it, but in their zealousness and overwhelming feeling of might they have made one catastrophic mistake, they have entered this war thinking of quick victory, but got themselves something which took great toll on their numbers. So much so have they suffered that they considered avoiding mass extermination of all living organics. They reasoned another cycle or two would replenish their numbers. Maybe they could even farm organics and make their numbers swell.
But these were victorious thoughts, what to do when they win. And their war has only begun.
For the Citadel was turning into a costly affair. On Every planet, myriad races fought against the Reapers.
Asari used their energy weapons powered by their own biotics in ever increasing number and size. One was a prototype anti space canon powered by the biotic and soul power of near 10.000 asari. It only fired twice before it was deemed too dangerous.
On its first shot It crashed the shields of a destroyer reaper, this unleashed power was like super nova of blue energetic beam streaming to the atmosphere and impacting the descending machine, the shot itself fried the atmosphere 10km around the impact site.
The asari powering the weapon were exhausted after only one shot, but one side effect of the unleashed energy was that it fried the communication with the higher ups, those who fired the weapon. And the near dead asari could only whimper in fear as the gun began charging again, devouring their remaining biotic and soul power into one giant beam of defiance. This beam destroyed the reaper , but at the cost of 10.000 asari volunteers.
Their dried husks were found by the soldiers who went to check why the weapon went silent. To their horror, they found their volunteers dried as if they were dead for years, and the room smelt of burnt bodies and other foul smells. This was covered up quickly by the higher ups. The Gun was deemed a partial success, and in silence, the asari leaders demanded many of them built on Thessia. For they knew, if the Reapers came to the planet, then all rules were off.
Many were also land weapons used, the personal shielding of the turians was boosted, and they could tank a good amount of energy, the Asari land soldiers used tiny little canisters of pure eezo into their energetic guns, this lessened the drainage of the soldier's personal powers, and allowed the gun to fire more powerfully.
Asari were now deployed in even greater numbers, this once peaceful race was forced into the meat grinder in ever increasing numbers.
The Salarians on the other hand were living shadows, developing stealth armour of greatest design, and striking behind the enemy lines, sabotaging factories and transport ships as they let loose their cargo.
It is unfortunate that Korvinx wolves could smell the stealthy Salarians, they caused a horrendous toll amongst them if they sensed them in the vicinity.
Other soldiers of the Citadel were many other client races, not numerous enough in this stage of the war to mention. But during the advancing stages ,the Hanar, Elcor, Mromor, Drell, Xurshmun, and others all contributed.
The Citadel had one of its greatest space battle in this time, the Greatest Host of the Reapers attacked one of the richest Eezo planets in the Citadel space, the greatest producer of that most valuable of materials.
They sought to deny the Citadel this resource and so they sent what was the greatest fleet assembly yet see in this war.
Combating this dreadful force, the Citadel united 2 of their fleets, along with the Quarian vessels sent as a help, some 4600 vessels were poised against the reaper 278 Capitals nad near 500 destroyers, this greater host picking the remnants of the lesser hosts which survived the combat in space.
The Citadel ships were truly advanced, dwarfing their vessels some 50 years ago before the Imperium arrived, in both tech and size. And they naturally inclined to destroy the reapers head on, they could not hide and seek, or attack in the back this gigantic fleet, for they endangered their primary planet of eezo production, they had to respond in force to secure the shipments.
Just as the reapers hoped they would. Although even the machines were awed at the numbers of vessels deployed against them.
The citadel waited for the Reaper fleet to come close to orbit, making them think they could have the planet uncontested. It was then that they striked, an entire fleet hiding behind the magnetic moon which orbited its mother planet Eezonia (a name given to its by its indigenous population of Asari and Turians).
From the surface planetary canons started firing, spewing depleted eezo into space at the reapers, from tis hangars thousands of fighters soared, and reapers unleashed their own in response, the lightshow in the orbit as thousands upon thousands of fighters fought and died made the night clear as day ,for the explosions never stopped.
As they circled the magnetic moon, the fleet attacked the reapers whom turned to face their enemy.
As they have done so, some 30 reaper destroyers landed on the only continent which the planet had, as it was mostly soil, with little water. Following the reapers were transports carrying troops. Tens of thousands of transports carrying tens of millions of land units were now descending onto the planet, they were stalled by the anti-space batteries, but even they couldn't thin the horde.
Soon the planet was swarming in all sorts of reaper war forms. Smaller cities were devoured in hours through sheer numbers, but as they came closer to the big population centers, there they were welcomed by the stalwart defenders of the planet, the most elite and professional army of the Citadel was here, millions of conscripts and volunteers, and militia. This land battle would be among the bloodiest of the whole galactic war. For now hundreds of millions were facing each other.
But in space, the reapers opened the fire first. Concentrating volleys and perfectly aimed beams obliterated the smaller vessels if they exposed themselves, the remaining fighter craft of the reapers, Oculus, swarmed towards the fleet, and the Citadel carriers unleashed their own swarms, these engaged swiftly, and melee could begin.
Within moments two fleets were exchanging ordinance which could crack open the planet ten times over, citadel fired thanix canons, eezo depleted shells, beams of asari origin whom did not require biotic connections, but pure energy. Rockets in hundreds of thousands flew from the ships and towards the reapers.
They in turn sought to close distance, for the reaper excel at close quarters. They were at first denied this, but the speed and ferocity of the reapers is not to be underestimated, and they closed fast.
Tens of ships burnt and crashed into the cold void, as both sides were destroying one another, reaper capitals, dancing among citadel capitals, destroyers engaging their opposing namesake. Ship after ship was burnt and destroyed, for even with superior citadel numbers, they suffered the worst.
2 moons of the planet Eezonia were destroyed during the exchange, the weapons too powerful and too numerous, they cracked the moons apart with their ordinance.
The pieces of the moon fell to the planet itself, their shattering impacts annihilating reaper and citadelian alike, no one was spared in this destruction.
The Quarian fleet held its flanks firmly, their ships dying badly as few minor reaper hosts jumped into the system, joining the battle and engaging what was considered the weak left flank of the Citadel Battleline.
Even as they were pushed viciously and mercilessly. They held on, their micro guns blazing, and Purple electro lances cutting through reaper shield and metal alike, many reaper destroyers met their untimely death when underestimating the Quarian Lance Cruisers.
Eventually it was Kash'mnet, ancient veteran of Quarians, by this time very old and frail, but his mind sharp as ever, he was one of the finest void tacticians in the galaxy, he himself led what remained of his fleet, supercharging the lance batteries and pushing into the reaper flank, minor hosts were swatted aside, and his full ordinance fired into the reaper supply vessels, killing and maiming many, opening a chunk into the reaper formation.
this unexpected push from the Quarians forced the reapers to reform the lines, push ships from the overwhelmingly powerful wing where they chewed through the Citadel fleet, and into the wing quarians were now pouring through.
While the Quarians eventually died to a ship, their rescue pods falling to the planet, and survivors joining the ongoing land battle, the reapers were now on the defensive, they had to reshape their superior formation; this caused weak points in their formation, used by the federation.
In the combat which lasted for whole 3 days, the reapers had to withdraw. Dozens upon dozens of capitals were destroyed, along with hundreds of destroyers, the reapers suffered irreplaceable casualties, some 70% or more of their fleet along with minor hosts joining was lost. The capital death toll is not well known, but it goes approximately in over 200, minor host loses included in this statistic. The black shaped ships now floated in what was the biggest reaper graveyard in the galaxy.
For the Federation, it was far worse; losing thousands of vessels, even as reinforcements trickled in, an entire Quarian battle formation paid the price of the greatest galactical victory, their ships almost destroyed to the last, wounded and damaged beyond repair.
Nobody is sure as to the total loses of both sides, only speculations remain, but there are some grim statistics that said Federation has lost over 1/3 of its entire ships in this one battle alone.
Worst still, the battle was not even close to over, as millions upon millions of combatants fought on the ground and rivers turned to blood and motor oil.
This jubilation due to victory over the reapers turned sour within the month, as 3 more Greater hosts entered the Citadel Outskirts of space and proceeded their slow and inevitable crawl to various battle zones of the Citadel – Reaper war.
The Citadelians, grim minded and resolute, decided with single mindedness to fight onwards, there would be no retreat, or surrender, as they reformed their ranks, perfected their tactics, and continued their grim war.
TALE II: The Space Hulk.
As the war against Reapers turned more and more grim and bloody, with the ever expanding arsenal of weapons applied to this nightmarish battle, it was not uncommon for various races, including the imperium, to do ever more daring task of discovery, exploration, and war.
There were several noteworthy tales of the Imperium and their adventures, many whom will be told, for they were dabbling in the mysteries and forgotten lore of this universe, for Mechanicus was ever…curious in their explorations, seeking forbidden knowledge and lore, venturing into the systems long sealed and protected, and for good reasons. They have unleashed many things best left forgotten upon the galaxy.
Their exploratory teams at one point disturbed the seemingly extinct hive of beings the imperium had no name about, and whom the Citadel thought long extinct.
Or when the Mechanicus discovered a race of sleeping imperialist aliens in a system long forgotten by everybody.
Truly, it was a horrible age, for mechanicus would doom us all had they not stopped exploring eventually and consolidated in the face of new threats. And there are many tales about their expeditions, all to be told in due time.
This is not the tale which follows the mechanicus, but the Emperors finest sons, the Adeptus Astartes and their boarding of the infamous Space Hulk "The Rock".
Somewhere at the edges of the imperium controlled space, near the galactic core.
"Checking for spacial anomalies…negative scan"
"Roger that…uh…continue with the routine…"
The Vox was alive as the small space station came to view orbiting the pale red star near the outskirts of the imperial space borders.
Several Cosmonauts were walking on the hull, protected by the stations Void Shields, they were checking the hull for microscopic breaches.
It was a station meant for surveillance, scanning and and all things moving in the system and beyond it.
"Antigonus, we have a…uh….reading on our sensors, and can you confirm anything outside?"
The kosmonaut in his burly suit jumped around himself, scanning the space with his bionic eyes and through his scanning goggles.
"I see nothing here. Over"
Then the station electricity shimmered and there was a disturbance. In the space as the station shook slightly.
"Command, have you felt this?"
He did not get an answer as soon a huge rock came into this view, the great object was seemingly adrift into space. It was a gigantic rock like object, with metal additions strewn all over it; it was humongous, kilometers long vessel with metallic superstructure.
It slowly drifted into view, no energy was detected, and it was seemingly dead.
"Command….we have a problem…"The cosmonaut said worryingly into his vox.
The command was wise, and still had several veterans of the original universe whom knew what to do when an unidentified ship of immense size arrives into the system. They sent a distress call to the space marines on the nearby world that there was a space hulk in the system.
To their credit, the Marines assembled and arrived very fast. They have brought 2 companies worth of marines. 200 brothers to board the hulk and seize any and all tech if it was of human origins, or destroy it, if it was hostile.
They were nearing the inert ship with caution and speed.
"Brother Captain, vessel preliminary scans show the following. Its power is dead, it is a metallic combination with rock of various forms. With its propulsion and power dead it probably lacks oxygen inside it. "
Standing near his vox computer, Captain Mir gazed at the statistics. This is the first time they have encountered a space hulk in this universe, it is rather unusual, for there were no warp currents to drive the hulks around the galaxy.
The feeling of trap befell upon him the instant he saw how well built the ship was, it had minor damages around its hull, enough to trick someone into thinking it was incapable of flight, but he knew better. Even the most dormant and harmless of space hulks contained the worst enemies encountered by man.
They must board it, find its wretched heart, and blow it wide open, destroying this potential threat before it could do damage. And he knew that if they started firing at it, it could reengage its drives, and do untold damage before being stopped. And he lacked meaningful ways to fight it in space.
Captain Mir stood from his chair and walked, his metallic footsteps blasting on the ceramite floor as he moved towards the armoury.
As the doors to the armoury swung open, a emotionless voice echoed. "Welcome Brother Mir". He stepped inside and was quickly surrounded by servitors in great numbers, and he slowly lifted his hands before they go to work.
Metal was attached, incense was burning and the room became dim from the smoke, chanting was repeated ad infinitum, as every piece of the armour needed to be sanctified before being attached and used.
Sacred oils and tears of saints rubbed on the armour would ward of any and all abominations from harming its occupant. The servitors chanted endlessly, their song echoed through the entire armoury and beyond, the chanting picked by the nearby servitors and mortal servants of the astartes whom spread the song further and further away, until the entire ship was chanting the same song of protection, even as the armoury was being filled by many brothers being equipped in their own Terminator armour.
The Chanting didn't stop even after they were equipped, as the team of Terminators and Tactical marines approached their transport vessels.
They then launched their respective vessels towards the dormant hulk, and only then was the chanting replaced by the silence of the void of space, and only rumbling of the space craft became the only companion of the marines.
If the Hulk denizens expected the marines to land gently with their craft into the open spaces of the vessel they have so "carelessly" opened. They were wrong.
For the marines had no intention of landing gently, or for that matter landing at all.
The boarding torpedoes carrying terminator and tactical marines alike were storming towards the vessel with hungriest zeal for death of the aliens.
"Brace for impact brothers! Ave Imperator! "one of the pilots said.
"Ave Imperator, We will meet on Kosovo!"
The Marines chanted their chapter's battle cry, for Kosovo was their chapter homeworld, forever lost into the maws of the warp in the original universe.
In one of their many campaigns, the marines saved the inhabitants of a planet whose name is now lost to time, they brought them to their home planet, for they have begged and offered fealty to the marines. And as any loyal subject to the Imperium, they did just that.
But such fealty was fickle, and in time they forgot their oaths.
The traitorous hands of the former inhabitants they saved from the enemy turned against them after their numbers swelled on the planet, their desire to protect and save was turned against the marines as one day the planet rose up from the swelled numbers of these traitorous humans. The chapter was fighting against one of the many tendrils of the great devourer, thinking their planet safe a small amount of marines remained on it.
By the time they have received the Astropathic call, it was too late, their chapter's numbers spread too thin against the limitless numbers of the Devourer, they could not instantly return to the homeworld.
After the Tendril was destroyed, at the cost of so many imperial lives, they sped towards the planet, even getting stuck in the warp for some 40 standard years.
Enough for them to witness the final events.
They arrived in the system only to find out the planet was on the verge of falling, and saw that what little remained of their brothers fought to protect the chapters most sacred relics.
What remained of the chapter in space sped towards Kosovo, moon of Metohia has fallen years ago as the most sacrilegious of symbolism was written on its now accursed surface.
As they approached the planet they saw it teeming with innumerable daemons. And their chapter soon to fall. As they quickly prepared to descend on it and die to the last, saving their relics and planet. They got a vox from the surface.
It was the last message of the remaining brothers, they were not going to let Reliquiarium fall to the enemy, and they have decided to destroy themselves and the enemy. Launching their last few thunderhawks filled to the brim with uncorrupted gene seed and relics which they could save, they launched these hawks towards the fleet of their brothers in orbit. And then, there was a bright flash coming from the Chapter Monastery, for the remaining few brothers denied the enemy their prize in the form of the remaining marines in orbit, whom the accursed beings expected to land and die to the man defending a lost world.
This bright light expanded and in a split moment the maws of the warp opened, and devoured the planet whole, only leaving the moon of Metohia now circling a ghost.
Heartbroken and pained the Chapter's empathic wail echoed the materium and immaterium alike, their pain was carried everywhere where there was empathy to sense it.
They have lost their home to the foulest of enemies. But saved their relics. At the cost of their heroic brothers.
And it was so that the chapter changed their war cries and mantra, becoming a fleet based chapter whose capital ship was "Vengeance of Dushan".
Their last anger was directed to Metohia which had 8 pointed star of chaos drawn on its surface. The moon was destroyed instantly, obliterated to space dust as the broken marines left the system.
That is how the White Eagles came to be with the reinforcements dedicated to the Cadian sector before Abaddon launched his damned crusade. For centuries after Kosovo was lost, they have traveled across the galaxy, fighting xeno and heretic alike, always searching for their home world. Hoping to one day reclaim it for the Chapter and the Imperium of Man.
When they heard of a prophecy that the Cadia held the key to their world, they have dedicated a whole chapter to this mission. But they never reached Cadia as the Emperor had different plans for them.
The marines impacted the hull of this space giant, torpedoes piercing all over its rocky surface, thunderhawks landing in the most optimal places, and soon, from those holes the marines poured through, Terminators and Tacticals taking positions and proceeding towards their objectives, they would place melta and other explosives at the key critical points of the ginormous vessel, and obliterate it.
There were many tactical brothers whom done their duty, but our log follows the captain and his terminators, they were the ones whom told the tale.
The Terminators and their captain Mir exited their boarding torpedoes, taking defensive positions and pointing at the giant hallway leading away from their landing site.
There were no enemies detected. Only the vast emptiness and howling of the wind echoing through the vessel.
"Proceeding to position, with me brothers" the Captain spoke.
His brothers, 20 terminators, followed in his wake, their great terminator suits a sight to behold as they passed corridors built out of chitin and rock, unknown wiring and machinery strewn everywhere, along with numerous open pods whom could easily take a human being inside.
The walls secreted clear ooze, and moisture was seen on the walls themselves.
The brothers were packed in tight formation, the vast open hallways allowed for up to 3 or 4 terminators to stand side by side and engage should the need arises.
They soon entered a rather large hall, and to their anger they have seen piles and piles of human corpses one on top of each other, thrown away like garbage. If rage could be felt, then it would burn the enemies of man at this moment.
"Brothers, this hostile action against our kind will be punished in swift extermination of the perpetrator, if you see anything non-human moving, kill it."
"Aye brother Captain" the Terminators responded as one.
They passed another corridor and entered another small hall, on big metal tables laid alien creatures. Marines knew the enemy they faced in this universe, they had to learn all of them. But this new race was an unknown to them.
"What is this xeno?" a terminator approached and grasped its dead jaw scanning its features uncaringly.
"I do not know. It is shame we do not have the expertise of the techpriest Agrippa, ive heard that he knows a lot of this universe, he could tell us what they are." The captain saw at the dead eyes of the insectoid biped.
"Brother captain" the vox came to life, and he answered.
"Report brother Svetozar."
"We have found many dead humans, piles and piles upon them, many were placed in these weird pods, whatever these things are, they were collecting our kind all across the galaxy"
"We have found as well what you have described, be on your guard. How are you progressing?"
"We have moved half way in, no hostiles sighted, not alive anyway."
"Affirmative, keep me updated."
"Yes brother captain."
The exchange was over, and they proceeded deeper inside. They have found two pathways, one was open and it led to where they should have gone.
But the other was sealed by steel doors, and terminators scanned the insides of the room. Detecting over a hundred life signs.
"Brother Preiub. Open it."
The terminator unleashed his Melta upon the doors, and they melted as if ice.
Inside they found eggs,hundreds of insectoid eggs in the phase of hatching. And about few dozen alive insectoid bipeds whom looked like they just spawned. these little things hissed at the marines whom entered the big room.
"Brothers." The captain spoke. And all terminators stood at attention.
There was no need for further words as flame throwers and bolters began barking at the assembled creatures and eggs. The eggs poped from the temperature, little creatures melted and melded to the floor as the searing melta and flamethrowers made short work of them. And in less than a minute, the room was a burning furnance of broken egg shells, dead and dying xenos whose screams seemed to echo across the entire vessel.
Then there was silence, and crackle of fire as the only company to the terminators.
That silence was broken by a blood curling scream as one giant insect stumbled into the room, resembling a bee it crawled on 6 legs and howled at the marines when it saw what became of its hatchlings.
Without hesitations, the bolters barked again, and its explosive ordinance made mincemeat of the insectoid which stumbled into the room.
And then the ship shuddered, from million mouths the screams erupted across the ships, they have disturbed the nest.
"Brothers! Movement all around us! "
The terminators took their defensive position inside the burning hall as dozens of weird bipedal insects jumped inside firing their weapons at them.
"LIGHT THEM UP"! the captain ordered as his own storm bolter unleashed a torrent of deadly slugs at the creatures.
Limbs were shattered, and bodies exploded as the terminators picked their targets.
Particle weapons in the hands of the xenos danced against the terminator hull relatively harmlessly, akin to an imperial lasgun.
But more and more kept pouring into the burning room.
"Brother Preiub! Burn the metal above the entry ways, seal the room"!
And Terminator Preiub jumped from his position and began his walk towards the doorways with his melta.
The Collectors wasted not a moment, and hundreds were rushing him with their weapons, and even with their claws.
"Filthy monsters!" Preiub barked, as his power fist exploded xenos dozens at the time.
Marching through piles of corpses, the heat ever increasing in the room, Preiub cut his way through the tide of flesh and approached the doorways, his melta chocked by the viscera and gore of the insects, refusing to fire.
He knew what he must do.
"The Emperor…protects! " Preiub said and put his whole power and slammed his power fist onto the entryway, his impact so strong the entire energy of the power fist was delivered into this one shocking impact, the great doors buckled under the strength of its punch and metal shattered along with insectoid chitin as the door collapsed upon Preiub and the swarm of insects trying to topple him down.
Moments later half of the room was crashed by debree and the aliens stoped pouring in. finishing off the remains, the terminator brothers left the burning room and took the road to the other hallway, their objective so close.
"Brother Captain! We are under attack, swarms of enemies are assailing our positions, what are your orders?" his vox came to life, as Captain Mir saw thousands of collectors attacking his terminator brothers.
"Finish the objectives, plant the chargers, and then fall back and abandon the vessel, we are taking this abomination down."
"Affirmative Brother Captain!" the tactical marine shouted in response.
For the Tactical marines bore the massive pressure on them, as collectors fired upon them with all sorts of weapons, swarms of paralyzing beetles flew towards the marines only to be melted by their flamers
Tactical brothers were fast, beyond fast, and certainly faster than the collectors as they almost danced around them, their bolters butchering through them hundreds at the time. they kept their fight and advanced. All teams advanced quickly.
The collectors and their Reaper masters wanted to test these transhuman warriors they heard about, and this was the perfect opportunity, while they expected them to be just an overly trained super commandoes, they were not ready for the sheer power the Marines possessed, and were on the defensive, their expectations to swarm them in the ship as a bait failed badly. For the Marines always expected ambushes and treason wherever they went and prepared accordingly.
As the Terminators advanced, swarms of little insects and their huger bipedal cousins kept attacking them, in seemingly endless numbers, and now all terminators bore scars on their armour from the many impacts of the weapons used against them. But they pressed onwards, plasma melting the xenos in hundreds, bolters obliterating whole squads as they attacked.
Even as the Collectors brought huge creatures of their own, the marines formed into tighter ranks, fought and defeated them all, weaker as they went onwards.
One brother had his helmet destroyed from a rocket impact, small insects taking this chance and flooded towards him, entering his armour and stinging him in their thousands ,even with his transhuman organism, the brother foamed at the mouth and with a loud cry of pain fell to the ground.
"Brother Iubisha! No! "
One of the terminator brothers shouted and his heavy flamer burnt through the insects. Seeing his brother dead and having no time to extract the gene seed, but unwilling to leave him to the carrion creatures, he used his flamer and burnt the body.
As they fought onwards, they finally found the room with a great pillar pulsing with energy; they knew that this was what they needed to destroy. And so they took formation, 18 brother terminators flanked the pillar from all sides. And one placed melta chargers across its length.
Then they started attacking the marines, more viciously than ever before, thousands, maybe millions came attacking from all sides in this gigantic hall which was kilometers long and filled with millions of pods meant for humans.
Particle rifles illuminated the kilometers long hall as they danced across the barricades where the terminators set their positions.
Personal terminator shielding was overwhelmed by sheer firepower, and few brothers kept on fighting even as their Terminator armour melted and broke under the sustained fire, their bodies so wretchedly damaged they could only bark angry curses at the xenos as they did not even had hands to use and fire at them, life abandoning them shortly afterwards.
From the depths of the ship there was a great explosion which shook the ship to the core. A vox flared to life again.
"Brother captain, the shield holder is down, the ship is now shield less. You can teleport from it, over. "
"Well done brother, fall back to the thunder hawks, let us end this. "
Mir said as his storm bolter began to glow searing hot white from overuse, his power sword carving through thousands of xenos climbing to reach their entrenched position at the center of the great chamber.
"Brothers, this is it, we must hold on, our teleporters will extract us soon.
For the Emperor ! We will meet on Kosovo!" he shouted at the top of his lungs, raising his power sword as his voice carried through the entire vessel.
"For the Emperor!" his brother terminators responded and kept their cruel fight.
The gore was meters thick in many places, for the xenos did not care about casualties and kept storming the marines. Ten of their numbers died after such force of pure malice was arrayed against them.
"Brother Captain, we have a problem"
The terminator placing the meltas said.
Quickly dispatching an alien with his power sword he approached to the marine.
"The melta cannot be activated with the timer, the disturbance on this energetic column does not allow it, it messes with the machine spirit…"
"One of us has to remain and make sure it goes off."
A moment of silence came upon the captain, even as the battle around him was louder than the exploding sun. he removed his helmet, resigning himself to the fate.
"Good work brother Gavrilo. I will take it from here. Join your brothers, look, the teleportariums are working. "
And indeed one by one the marines were beamed out of this place; each one leaving made the defense harder as others waited.
"Yes indeed brother Captain. And I hope you can forgive me for this."
Before he could respond, the marine punched his captain in the face, enough to knock him out cold.
"Brother Toma. Take the captain, I will remain here. We need men like captain to win this war. As for myself, my duty is here."
Toma came to the body of the captain and uplifted him, and just as he was coming to his senses, the beam teleported both him and the captain away.
Now only Gavrilo remained, alone and surrounded by millions of angry xenos, he turned towards the melta chargers and various explosives which danced around the gigantic column.
"Have the others made it? " Gavrilo asked on his vox
"Most of the teams are out brother Gavrilo, even those who have not responded to our vox hails have completed their missions. You are the only one remaining on the enemy vessel"
Outside the great collector vessel, many kilometers long fired upon the Imperial Cruiser carrying the marines, the Cruiser did not fired back and tanked the damage, for they knew they lacked the sufficient firepower to destroy the ship.
They tried their best to avoid the fires of the enemy, and give chance for the strike times to destroy the ship from within.
"Good."Gavrilo responded ,ignoring the insults and angry shouts of his now awoken captain.
His position moments from being overwhelmed.
He took his power claw and lifted it in preparation to strike. But one giant creature latched onto him, preventing him from striking, he slammed the collector pratorian on the ground, even as another stabbed him in the chest with a giant claw.
Clenching his teeth through overwhelming pain, the marine cut the attacking Praetorian and then stomped on the still writhing praetorian on the ground, shattering its form.
He then stumbled again near the melta charges, as the smaller creatures and even more praetorians approached.
He raised his claw again, this movement opened the giant hole in his chest caused by the praetorian, causing it to spew blood in torrents.
"Brothers!" he screamed, blood erupting from his mouth.
"We will meet on Kosovo! "his form within claw's reach of the many enemies which wanted him dead.
"I promise it…" he finished, what little life in him remained leaving with this final movement as his claw stabbed the melta charge and the object filled with energy.
An instant later the explosion engulfed his form and those of his enemies whom were now grasping him from all sides.
The explosion from the beam which contained most of the ships energy caused a cascade of minor and major explosions all around the collector vessels, other melta charges exploding at the same time across its entire length.
The Imperial cruiser drifted away from the vessel as it saw its humongous form buckling.
Moments later a new star was born in the system, for the entire collector vessel was obliterated in an instant from the energy unleashed within it.
The debris of the collector vessel burnt for days in the vast emptiness of space after this, and humanity was safer for the death of one enemy's vessel.
But many brothers paid this success with their lives, over 50 brothers died doing their duties. But they have destroyed a great vessel of the enemy, and potentially destroyed millions of their land troops. A great victory, paid in blood of the martyrs.
But this was not the last time the collectors were seen, they still had vessels in the universe, 50.000 years of isolation allowed them to construct these vessels in peace.
And now the reapers knew how dangerous the Adeptus Astartes were, they would never underestimate one of the finest; if not the finest soldier they have seen in their one billion years long history.
The Marines lamented the passing of their brothers; their heroic deaths will never be forgotten. They promised to one day avenge the dead humans on board of that ship by slaughtering every single xeno which seeks humanities death.
And so they have steeled their hearts and resumed their role as protectors of mankind. Their ships always ready to strike, in the direst need of their human brothers and sisters.