Chapter Thirty-six

a/n apologies for the delay and many thanks for the reviews and encouragement. I'm afraid that the next chapter too will be a little while, maybe a month or so, in posting.


"Mr Morgan, can I ask you something?" They were warming down after a long training session.

"Of course, Janey. What do you wish to know?"

She looked a little shy, then smiled. "We've met lots of marines since we met you. But all of them are shorter than you, and most by more than half a metre. Is it because you're a different Legion?"

He smiled slightly. "An interesting question. It is, to a degree. The Primarchs, like any family, were not all the same size. Though they were taller than their astartes, naturally. I didn't see all of them of course, but over the years I at least glimpsed most, because Fulgrim was on good terms with the majority of his brothers, and because all the Primarchs involved in the Massacre stood on a dais together while Horus addressed all the rebel legions. Anyway, Mortarion was the tallest, nearly four metres. He blotted out the sky and was taller than any of his brothers by about three decems, though not as stockily built as some. Next, Corax and Kurze were about the same, closest to Mortarion, then by less than a decem Sanguinius and Fulgrim. Horus and Ferrus Manus were next, then Guilleman, Magnus, Lorgar, Perturabo, all about the same, all six within twenty or so centimetres of each other. The shortest were Leman Russ, Vulkan, Angron and Alpharius, but only Alpharius scraped under three metres tall and then not by much. I never saw the Lion, and only glimpsed the Khan at the Siege for a fraction of a second, not long enough to get a reading on my autosenses, and he was mounted. But not just height varied. While Mortarion was tall and ascetic, Angron was almost square, bigger built even than Magnus, and you've seen from the vid how powerful he was. I would suggest the default, if any, in terms of build was something like Guilleman or Sanguinius and, Janey, you've seen the Throne of the Primarch. Any one of them was easily capable of crushing a marine in power armour barehanded, and looked it."

She nodded, a thoughtful expression on her nearly adult face.

"Anyway, when we become astartes, we are implanted with and thus inherit genetic material from our individual Primarchs, and all of those differences play out. Most Death Guard were quite tall, about two metres sixty to two eighty, and all of them, like Mortarion himself, were practically immune to hostile environments or even the most virulent poison. My own brothers were typically about one to two decems shorter, and we tended to find our hair, and sometimes our eyes, gradually lightening over the years; my hair was a sort of medium brown before I became an astartes. The Children were on average taller than any but the Night Lords and Death Guard. I never met a short Night Lord, but I understand that many of the ordinary citizens of Nostramo were also tall, so that could have been a factor as well. You follow me? It's not just the genetics of the Primarch. The Blood Angels were typically shorter than the Children by about a decem or so, but that's probably down to the difference in base genetic stock rather than any difference in Primarch, because the Angel and Fulgrim were almost identical in height and build."

"And good looks," put in Kat.

Morgan's smile was dry. "Quite. You should also remember that we space marines tend to vary in height like normal men, too. Our own genetics can make a significant difference. My own family, both parents, were tall; Ethaniel's parents were shorter. I inherited my parents' height, and I was always taller than he was, in fact the difference grew a little after we became astartes. I was one of the tallest warriors in the Legion. Space Wolves, as you no doubt noticed when you met Sigurd, tend to be broad, both because Russ was immensely powerful and stocky, and because the ordinary people of Fenris have evolved over the generations to be themselves powerful and stocky due to the nature of their homeworld.

"Finally, you have the issue of genetic drift. Modern Imperial astartes are,... less, than their predecessors, because the base genesets of the Primarchs are lost. Without the reinforcement of the original genetic code to the geneseed, their physiques have started to drift back over time, closer to human normal. While Sanguinius was very tall, there are dozens of generations of geneseed between his original genetic code and the implants used in today's Blood Angel neophytes. And all of those generations include human – in this case Baal native – DNA. So the Blood Angels and their successor chapters have lost a little of that height. Based on our time at Baal Secundus, I would say that today's Blood Angels are about twelve to fifteen centimetres shorter than the Blood Angels of the Great Crusade. And likewise, so are today's Ultramarines. If Meleriex is a typical example, the Raven Guard seem to have retained much of Corax's height, as they have his pale complexion, and his black eyes and hair. I'm sure you also remember that Sigurd was the shortest of his kill-team, but you probably didn't notice that his sense of smell was much better than mine or Ignatius', and that too is a trait inherited from his Primarch, like his elongated canines. As I understand it, the canines continue to grow throughout a Space Wolf's life."

"So does that mean you are better than a normal marine?" asked Janey.

"I am anyway; I have at least, even allowing for possible warp distortion to my personal timeline, forty or fifty centuries more combat experience than even a legendary warrior like Cervan Dante. That knowledge provides skills that even the mightiest modern astartes would be hard pressed to match. Moreover, of all the Legions, the Children were noted as having the most perfect implants, by direct demand of the Primarch. Everything worked exactly as it should in perfect order and balance. Fabius was very proud of that and would expound at length to anyone who would let him."

"Who's Fabius?" asked Kat.

"The Legion's Chief Apothecary, as was. He decided he didn't want to follow the Children's new patron power and went off on his own. They call him Fabius Bile these days, and I believe he is second only to Abaddon on the Imperium's most wanted list. Even by the standards of the traitor legions, his list of crimes is exceptionally horrific."

Both of them looked at him curiously. He met the combined gaze and slowly nodded. "He cares nothing for the chaos gods, the Emperor, or any other power; what he wants is to create what he considers to be the ultimate warrior; ferocious, superhuman, intelligent and devoid of morality, and to be remembered for it. To that end he has experimented on entire populations, created viruses that have wiped out worlds, tortured uncounted hundreds of thousands. Fabius has no loyalty; he will hire to anyone who can meet his price. I think he'd even work for the Imperium – if he didn't expect to get killed on sight. If he knew we had a possible sample of Primarch blood he would stop at nothing to gain it. You'd be better off captured by the Children or the Dark Eldar than falling into his hands."

They both winced at that bald statement. Following the Sula Abet skirmish the previous year they'd all had a discussion, including as much information as they could find from Imperial sources, about the Dark Eldar, and most of that had been punctuated with one or other woman taking a few moments out to control their nausea.

"Worse than them?"

He nodded. "Apothecaries know enough to keep victims alive under torture for far longer than you would believe possible, and Fabius may be the most knowledgeable apothecary who ever lived."

Janey nodded. "So why are we trying to get hold of one? An apothecary."

"Because while I can manage field medicae, I have not the skills to run the tests we need. Because we dare not ask the Imperium. Because we have to know."

Kat looked at him. "Can we trust him?" It was clear she wasn't talking about the former Emperor's Children Apothecary.

"No. He is dangerous, sadistic, ruthless, and treacherous. But he is our only viable option. The only option that serves neither the Imperium nor the chaos powers. And that is not Fabius Bile."


The street had been in semi-darkness for years, lights unrepaired and unreplaced. Once, a long time ago, this had been a moderately prosperous middle-class area of the central hive; now it was half-abandoned, the workers and shopkeepers moving upwards with new construction, leaving the habs and shops, even the devotives and manufactoria, to the less gentle uses of the underhive gangs.

People walked swiftly here; only those who knew what they were about and had specific business would linger, and even they would keep hands near weapons. Shattered buildings, once homes for families, now housed rats, and much worse vermin. A few half-working flourescent signs flickered fitful advertisements – for whores, moonshine, drugs, and worse.

The Imperium's writ barely ran in these places; might made right, and screams of pain were a frequent accompaniment to the few entertainments offered. Rarely, so rarely each was an event, a hiveworld's rulers would send forces of arbites into such warrens to remind the denizens of their loyalty to the Emperor. The raids were not made from any sense of civic duty, however; the punitive expeditions were a necessity, lest heretic cults or xenos infestations gain a proper foothold. More than one hiveworld had been brutally shattered by the Inquisitors, the Imperial Guard, or even the space marines because its rulers had been too lax in keeping possible heresy down. More than one hiveworld had exploded in rebellion for the same reason. And more than one hiveworld had been scoured clean of life itself when rebellion had met the ruthless implacability of Imperial reaction.

The rulers of Medusa IV, as might have been expected of competent governors, were in the habit of making these semi-regular 'inoculations'. As such, this particular underhive section was relatively quiet; it had been a recent recipient of a large-scale visitation from armed and heavy-handed law enforcement. This state of affairs suited the two figures moving swiftly but alertly through the district rather well. It was difficult for an observer to see who, or what, the mysterious couple were, since not only did they move quickly from shadowy place to shadowy place but they kept themselves wrapped in voluminous cam-cloaks that made it difficult to tell height, weight or build, let alone get any idea as to description.

Still, the pair were not unobserved; in this place, noting movement, or the suspicious lack of it, was a vital survival skill. Caution, however, was an equally vital part of the locals' education, and the two strangers were left unmolested. For the moment.

The square they were headed into had been fairly grand once; a few graffitied and broken carvings showed that a fountain had once stood at its centre, and many of the remaining buildings would have been considered well-proportioned and handsome by their original owners. Now, the few remaining windows were shuttered with steel, and any occupied constructions defensively modified and with groups of muscled and scarred guards, openly armed, at their entrances. Scruffy signs indicated brothels, drug dens, and bars with only a couple of well-guarded merchant premises breaking up the ugly parade of vice peddlers.

It was towards one of the less prominent bars that the two cloaked figures moved; murmured words were exchanged with the guards and they slipped inside without fuss.


The bar was run-down, even by the standards of the area. Rough tables that might a long time ago have been used for legitimate purposes, and possibly even cleaned once upon a time, stood at each corner of a triangular, high-ceilinged chamber with a rough stone half-wall on its short end, across from the door. Only one of the tables was occupied, a pair of ogryns slurping noisily from large tankards. Behind the low wall, which appeared to also be the bar counter, a thin, weaselly-looking man with a grubby patch over his left eye ran a filthy rag over a slightly less filthy mug. He looked up as one of the cloaked figures approached, leaving the second by the door.

The bartender gave a brief nod and indicated a curtained-off alcove on the left beside the bar with a grubby thumb. The cloaked person moved towards the alcove; the companion remained by the door, back carefully against a solid wall.

Before the curtain could be pulled back, it was pushed partly aside and a chubby, balding, and unpleasantly greasy man stepped out. He indicated one of the tables and took a seat there. The other moved towards him, and placed a clean and expensive-looking anti-monitoiring device on the table, out of place in this den; the man's eyebrow rose in surprise. The cloaked being sat opposite; both kept their hands carefully on the table, though the cloak still covered all but a faint glint of an armoured gauntlet, colourless grey in the gloomy semi-darkness.

"An interesting piece of tech. I don't suppose it's for sale?" said the greasy man, barely above a murmur.

The reply was soft, light and feminine. "No. I have a token for you, and a message. You will ensure it is passed on?"

"If the price is right. Passed to who?"

An amused tone. "It's on the message." A small metallic object was dropped into the man's waiting hand. He looked at it, then looked alarmed. The cloaked woman's voice held cold humour. "I would not fail to deliver it."

The greasy jowls shook in negation. A small bag was passed. "For your trouble." The woman stood to leave, a soft scrape, something hard brushing the table's scarred plast, accompanying the move.

A cloaked hand reached out and the anti-listening device was enveloped again. She turned and walked to the door; her companion followed her out.

The greasy man looked at the bartender, and moved quickly back behind the curtain. He had an urgent message to deliver and the recipient was not one who brooked delay.


Outside, the cloaked woman exchanged a glance with her companion, and the two of them moved more swiftly and openly, clearly intent on leaving the little ruined plaza.

As they passed a fairly large brothel there was a sudden cry.

"Look out!"

Both turned, alert, one hood falling back to reveal a pretty young woman with long dark hair. A lash rose and fell by the whorehouse wall and a half-naked girl yelped in pain. The young woman looked angrily at the wielder, an old woman with a cruel expression.

"I wouldn't mind her, pretty," came a confident voice from the shadows between the brothel and the ruin next to it. A man stepped into view, rough-shaven and arrogant. More followed him, five, six, eight, and others stepped from the brothel itself, moving to surround the pair. "It's yourself that you need to worry about. Slumming it down here. You upper-hivers never learn, do you?" The false regret in his tone grated.

The girl tilted her head, apparently unafraid. "Upper-hiver? Whatever gave you that idea?" She flung her cloak partially back, revealing a large and unpleasant-looking gun which she idly cocked with an armoured hand. Gold chasing carved a half-aquila on the stock of the boltgun, glinting slightly in the flickering neon illumination.

The other figure gave a soft chuckle, likewise throwing off its cloak to show an equally large and dangerous gun, and rich purple armour. "I think they must have mistaken us for helpless victims."

The man frowned, "Ah. Sisters? A shame. Regrettably we can't let such pretty prey leave. Can't have you calling in your friends." He snapped his fingers.

Four massive figures shambled round the corner, all of them bearing massive axes and in one case what appeared to be an Imperial Guard heavy lasgun. They gave stupid but nasty grins on seeing the two women. The surrounding thugs started to reach for weapons.

The younger of the woman looked regretful. "I see you're going to make this difficult." She pulled the trigger, sending a burst of fire into the group of ogryns, who bellowed in fury and charged.

The other woman reacted instantly, sending a flurry of explosive death into the small group of thugs in front of her, then a second spread to her left where three men were charging; they went down in a screaming heap of shattered flesh and bone, their primitive light armour no match for bolter fire.

"In the Emperor's Name!" Janey sent a second burst into the ogryns, then a third. Two collapsed, even their massive frames unable to take that sort of punishment. Slug pellets bounced off her armour and a las-bolt scored a trail of blackened paint on her shoulder. "Phoenix, some help would be appreciated." She ducked an axe blow, stuck her bolter into the abhuman's face and blew its head off.

Kat drew her combat blade and swung viciously at one of the men closing in; it was getting too close to use guns. The man jumped back, but her follow-up punch, with the augmented power of her armour behind it, knocked him flying. An axe missed her by only centimetres; she parried the follow-up two-handed, the massive shock shaking her to her boot-soles. A flare of familiar light caught her eye.

"What kept you?"

"For the Emperor!" The massive thunder of Sedreth's stormbolter tore into the mêlée, leaving smashed bodies and fleeing thugs.

Kat slipped another axe blow and drove her blade upwards, severing the femoral artery in a welter of bright blood. The ogryn screamed in a bass falsetto and grabbed for the terrible wound. Her blade stopped a centimetre from its suddenly terrified eyes. "Live or die. Your choice."

"Me live," it whimpered, still holding its leg with desperate strength.

Janey stepped over, pulling a large belt loose from one of the dead ogryns. She held it up. "Tourniquet. You understand?"

It nodded. She looped the belt round the creature's massive thigh and drew it fairly taut. "You will have to tighten it a bit more. I can't compress that amount of muscle."

The ogryn nodded again, slumping to a sitting position and looking miserable as it pulled the belt tight enough to stop itself from bleeding to death.

"Any others alive?" asked Kat, not taking her eyes, or sword, from her still dangerous opponent.

"Not here," came Sedreth's bass rumble. "I thought you were not going to get into trouble."

Janey looked up at the huge Terminator. "So did I. It wasn't intentional. Still, now we're here, we can't just let some hive gang attack us."

Kat looked at the ogryn, even sitting down its head was on a level with hers. "Where did they run to?"

"Temple. Dat way. We guard."

"Temple." Sedreth's voice was hard and flat. "Somehow I doubt it's anything sanctioned by the Ecclesiarchy."

All three looked at each other. Janey moved to the body of the gang leader and ripped off flak jacket, shirt and trousers. "Tattoo. Morgan?"

He glanced at it. His eyes went cold. "The eight-pointed star." He looked at the worried-looking ogryn. "I sincerely hope that you do not have one like it?"

"Uh-uh. Ogryns paid, be guards. Worship be for squishies. Ogryns strong. Not need worship."

Kat looked at Sedreth. "Squishies?"

"Normal humans. Ogryns sort of squish them in most fights."

"Oh." She gestured to the now-closed brothel door. "One of the girls in there tried to give us a warning."

He nodded, and walked over to the heavy-looking metal slab. A single blow from his powerfist crumpled it like paper. "Outside. Everyone. Now."


Only two of the brothel occupants had any cultist markings; Sedreth didn't waste a bolt, simply snapping their necks. It took under half an hour to discover that the brothel was run by an underhive slaver gang, which kidnapped young women from the lower parts of mid-hive and forced or sold them into prostitution. There were eleven whores present, none over sixteen. Kat was not pleased when they recovered the ledger.

"These bastards have sold more than forty girls this year alone. Not including the ones here. And they've been doing this for years and years."

Sedreth nodded slowly. "First, the temple, Kat. Then we can deal with these scum."

"What about these?" She indicated the kneeling group of pimps, bawds and clients.

"What about them? We cannot execute everyone, Kat. Nor do we have the facilities to imprison them. They are not followers of the ruinous powers; by the lights of the underhive they are simply making a living. We can free the kidnapped girls, give them medical treatment, and return them to their families. To do more would require time and resources we do not have."

She looked angry. He put a huge armoured paw on her shoulder. "I know. But we cannot cleanse the entire galaxy. It is not our task to do."

The redhead looked up and slowly nodded. "I suppose. What about our big friend here?"

"Ogryns are usually both loyal and brave. And tough. He can lead us to the temple, and once we've destroyed it, it may be possible to offer him a position of some sort. We'll be heading through ork territory; an ogryn might come in handy."


+++Excerpt from arbites investigation chi-septem-indico-seven 3719732.M41+++

+++Statement of witness gamma 113, male, aged thirty-six, hive Medusa IV Tertius+++

The space marine and the Sisters burned the temple. The priests who'd so arrogantly decried the glories of their gods died cowards, begging and pleading, deserted by their cruel guards. Those guards didn't live much longer. The slave girls were freed, taken aboard their ship, so it is said.

Afterwards we were all set to clearing up a ruined chapel, men carrying blocks of stone to repair the walls, women replacing pews and lectern, even us children scrubbing floors and walls. It took us three days of labour. The space marine stood before us and there was a sudden flare of light which blinded almost everyone.

When I could see again there was a heavy statue, the Emperor, armoured and powerful with one hand raised in benediction. The marine lifted it easily, though it weighed, weighs still, more than five tonnes. He placed it on the dais, facing towards us all, then stepped up beside and took off his helmet for the first time, to reveal a large handsome face with white-blond hair and cold blue-grey eyes that cut through even the most hardened. His voice was deep and strong; we wrote down what he said and it has become a litany, of sorts.

"Look around you. You have worked together to cleanse this temple. The galaxy is a dangerous and hostile place; no-one knows that better than those at the bottom of the pile. Your lives are harsh, often violent and short. Remember that such is not the Emperor's will; humanity may toil, but we are born to reach for the stars, and He understands that. I shall not give pretty promises of a better life; down here, you all know better. But I do say that you can attain more, by your own efforts. The tech-adepts come rarely here and the buildings and systems fall into disrepair. So teach yourselves to keep them. You have no hospitals, no medicae. But you can learn that too. Schools do not exist, so build them and teach your children. Humanity only endures because, united, we are greater than our enemies. So work for each other, rather than prey on the weak; you never know when you may need those 'weaklings'. I know of what I speak; my own life was once saved by a farm-woman, a fully armoured astartes saved by an untrained civilian."

He paused for a moment, as if to let that last sentence sink in. Then he went on.

"Once, this despised underhive was a prosperous area of homes and markets. It is your decision whether it shall be so again. But I charge you all to keep this place neutral. It is for all the Emperor's people, and not to be sullied by ambition for territory or power. Finally, remember this. The Emperor protects, but He also expects us to assist Him in doing so. He sacrificed everything to save humanity, and endures eternal pain to maintain that protection. The least we can do in return is to maintain our weapons and our humanity ourselves, so, put some effort in. You will not regret it."

The couple of hundred of us, ragged men, women, and children, stood, silent. He stepped down from the little dais and walked deliberately into the crowd, towering head and shoulders above us all, a great white-feathered pinion affixed to his armour, perhaps a trophy of some past conquest. A small hand reached out, a child, and he stopped. He half-knelt down, on one armoured knee, still as tall as a big man, and looked in the ragged little boy's face, then gently took the dirty fingers – my dirty fingers – and touched them to the crux on his shoulder.

"Do you feel that?" he asked in a quiet voice that carried in the silence.

A scared, awed, nod. I did feel...something. I think.

"That is the Crux Terminatus. In every such crux is a fragment of the Emperor's own armour, so that every Terminator carries Him into battle with us, that the enemies of humanity might sense Him and know fear. With the Emperor at our side there is no foe we cannot best, no enemy we cannot defeat. You understand?"

A second nod. The marine gently touched my head, ruffling my hair like my father used to do, then stood. "I and my companions must leave. We are tasked by the Emperor, and must complete that task. We shall none of us return; likely we shall die in His service. It is good to know that we leave behind honour and courage and commitment. Sedreth to command. Teleport."

There was a second flare of light and the space marine and his companions were gone, never to return. That was twenty-four years ago.

Interrogator: And now?

We still belong to gangs, we still fight for territory and goods. Much is unchanged; it is after all still the underhive.

Yet.

We have kept the chapel; Demik, the ogryn they did not kill, keeps it clean and guarded, the torches and sconces lit. The congregation is more than a thousand strong, now.

We have built a school, where all the children of the whores and gangers can come to learn to read and count.

We even have a market, where neutrality is observed, mostly.

We have lives, of sorts, better than before. And our children will have better ones. In the Emperor's name.

+++End of excerpt+++

+++Excerpt from arbites investigation chi-septem-indico-seven 3719732.M41+++

+++Conclusion of investigation+++

This hab area is better kept and maintained than typical of the sector. The inhabitants regularly attend services in praise of the Emperor. While violence remains commonplace, local cooperation is greater than typically found. An area described by locals as the site of a former heretical temple remains sealed off with plascrete (presumably stolen since no local plascrete work order can be found) and strictly guarded. Several Imperial icons are placed facing the sealed-off entrances. On enquiry locals made it clear that they would welcome any Ecclesiarchical or Inquisitional investigation to confirm there is no further danger.

Signs of active heresy found:

minor – non-Hierarchical services lacking trained priests of the Ecclesiarchy.

Signs of potential heresy found:

minor – belief that Ruinous Powers exist but that the Immortal Emperor protects. Potential for agents of evil to infiltrate and turn congregation to heresy currently considered extremely small due to generally high faith of inhabitants.

Actions recommended:

Assignment of Ecclesiarchy Priest. Note: this assignment will require the priest to live in the underhive.

Request for Inquisitorial investigation. Note: this request is included at the behest of the local inhabitants.

No further action to be taken against local inhabitants. Regular patrols and investigation by arbites considered unfeasible at this level of the underhive. Active encouragement of local worship and neighbourhood work potentially counterproductive, but occasional supervision expected to prove helpful.

Addendum: Inquisitorial mission due 3719734.M41. Case sealed under Inquisitorial authority six-theta-chi-green, 3725734.M41.

+++Excerpt ends+++


second a/n: I note my most recent reviewer didn't leave a reply address so I thought I should make a comment here on the relative strengths of chaos marines and Terminators, which he feels are out of balance.

Despite attempts to make gameplay more balanced by our friends at GW, please forget those tabletop stats. If you read the books, Terminators are horribly imbalanced compared to even normal space marines - who themselves are equivalent to dozens of guardsmen. One Terminator is easily the equivalent of a squad of marines in normal power armour, and in a confined space, such as the corridors of a ship, likely two or more. Terminator weaponry is much heavier - a stormbolter was originally (in the first Space Hulk game) written as the equivalent of two heavy bolters linked together even if subsequent reviews have lowered that a tad - and the armour is almost invulnerable except to a lucky or carefully aimed shot. There's a reason for that 5+ invulnerable save in gameplay; a Terminator can conceivably survive a direct hit from a tank's main gun. More than once. Remember also that Terminators are the very best; veterans of decades, at least, of service. Their skills are considerably better than even normal space marines. Add in power fists and power swords vs chain swords and combat knives for melee and the poor sods in Mk IV plate are in for a bad day.

I have tried to remain true to that GW fiction rather than tabletop 'balance'.

Thus when Sedreth in Terminator armour takes on a couple of squads of 'standard' chaos marines without that armour, there is only going to be one winner unless he can be flanked and swarmed under or hit with multiple heavy weapons. Brother Mallory (remember him?) got the concentrated sonic blast of a whole squad of noise marines, which is why he was killed. The other Grey Knights in that fight lost one killed due to being swarmed under, and another crippled for the same reason. Combined fire or overwhelming numbers are the only certain way to take down a Terminator for any ordinary troop type. In a narrow corridor that isn't usually possible.

The Night Lords in the first fight took on a regiment of guard - that's 3-5000 men - with just over a score - 20 - and were winning until Sedreth took a hand. At those sort of odds, a rallying force, such as another astartes, is sufficient to allow the (much) more numerous side to win relatively quickly, which is why the Night Lords vanished back nto the darkness once their captain was killed.

The Children under Kaeseron nearly took down a Deathwatch kill team, and again, those guys are the elite of the astartes. Without the intervention of a Terminator-clad Sedreth - himself the equivalent of three squads, they would have killed the entire team for the loss of just under three to one - and considered that a glorious victory. Deathwatch kill-teams are feared and respected, even by chaos marines, for a good reason. Of course, had any of Julius' own Terminators got aboard, the fight would have gone very differently - but then we wouldn't have a story, would we? Oh, one other note on the subject; I consider that Geller Fields disrupt daemonic entities moving through them, and prevent them drawing on warp enrgies if caught inside. This is why Kaeseron's possessed marines didn't get to Phoenix, and why the Keeper of Secrets that did get aboard was so much weaker than would normally be expected.

Anyway, I hope this long missive clears up any misconceptions, and thank everyone for reading and commenting.