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Transmission in progress...


Planet name: Quadesh.

Planet type: Shrine World.

Authority: Ecclesiarchy.

Status: Greenskin invasion ongoing.

Threat evaluation: High.

Priority evaluation: Absolute.

Current combat evaluation: Unfavorable.

Course of action:

Repel Xenos invaders.

Deploying off-world forces:

Mobilizing 178th Cadian and 3th Bariox Regiments from Luxor.

Mobilizing 12th Velvian Regiment from Satamore.

Calling nearby Adeptus Astartes detachment: Dark Angels.

It was another lovely day on the planet Quadesh. The sun was shining, birds singing, flowers blooming merrily. And let's not forget, a bunch of Space Marines charging.

"Forward Brothers," cried Company Master Ragna. "For the Emperor."

The Dark Angels moved like a vector, undeterred and unstoppable. They marched across land. They marched across bridges (one at a time). They marched across paddy fields, and barely got away before angry farmers came down on them. They marched across the greatest pile of Squiggoth shit mankind had ever encountered, Sergeant Victorius and eight Battle Brothers succumbing to its baleful taint, not to mention that horrifically flagrant stench. Ragna made an oath to avenge each and every one of them, but atlas, their purification would have wait. Now, there was another imperative business to be taken care of.

The Orks had invaded Quadesh, a Shrine World controlled by the Ecclesiarches. Of the more than one billion Greenskins who made platnetfall on the first day, not more than 600 millions reached the surface. Others were lost to orbital defenses, anti-aircraft guns, and a crap ton of accidents Orkish technologies were prone to. Nevertheless, those that remained were enough to secure a beachhead. Chamber militants, backed up by PDF and a detachment from the Order of the sacred Rose arriving from a neighboring system kept the Orks at bay for three months. Rather than facing the enemy in a head-on fight in which chances of winning were non-existent, they focused of cutting supply lines, protecting vital choke points and falling back orderly, eradicating isolated groups of Orks and destroying their coherence by inducing in-fighting as much as possible.

Continually pushed back, the Greenskin renewed their efforts every time, their reinforcement pouring in inexhaustibly. A Space Hulk arrived at in orbit, spilling Orks onto the planet within Rok or through Teleporta. When the foe seemed too great and the odds insurmountable, the planet authorities desperately called for help from outside. The Dark Angels were the first to respond.

Company Master Ragna led the 5th Company marines running through everything in their path. He had been doing so for three days in the absence of transport, the forest overgrowth inaccessible by vehicles. Ragna had suggested clearing it out with flamers, but the Priest vehemently disapproved such act of sacrilege of their blessed soil. As a result, most land vehicles, including Rhinos, Razorback, Land Raider, and even Dreadnoughts had to be left behind, much to Ragna's annoyance. If anything, all the running cost him a few weights.

After what seemed to be ages, the Dark Angels finally found what they had been looking for: Orks. At least two thousands of them, moving in awkward motions, some pulling trolleys, others working with crude tools, and a handful having already started a brawl. They were scavenging the remnants of what used to be a mighty armored column. Dozens vehicles and at least two Gargants became written-off as a result of the latest bombardment, their plating thoroughly melt under extreme heat, fusing with charred bones of the unfortunate occupants at some point. Several Meks were present; their keen innate technological senses, Ragna had no doubt, would allow them to recover useful resources from these otherwise worthless pieces of junk. At least, without the intervention of the Dark Angels it would.

"Get into formation," Ragna shouted, hoping days of frustration had not left his brain rusted. "Invictus charge pattern initiate." In the absence of powerful war machines, the manourve was recommended by the Codex Astartes. His sergeants gave him silent nods in approval. "For the Emperor, we shall cleanse these xenos from this sacred place."

"And lo the workings of our foe shall be rendered to dust and memory," Chaplain Dylus added.

"For the Emperor!" the Astartes shouted their famous warcry, one that had carved fear to the heart of the iniquitous for millennia. "Never forgive! Never forget!"

The charge began. Sergeant Markus led his Devastator taking up high position where they could best punish the enemy. He then ordered the squad to open fire, unleashing a cacophony of destruction. Amongst it were the booming from Heavy Bolters, the wheezing of rockets, and the squawking noise of Plasma Cannons.

The effect was gratifying. Hundreds Orks were mowed down where they stood. Bodies were literally reduced to nothingness. Some had already gathered their wits, grabbing whatever weapon they could find and snapping few shots in return. Their efforts were dealt with mercilessness. A Deff Dredd went off in vivid fireball. A Mek was on the verge of crying "Eureka", when a searing plasma bolt ended its existence.

Ragna spearheaded the advance. Three shots hit him in the torso and another seared across his helmet. He felt none of them, and neither did his Power Armor.

All of a sudden, the Orks right flank broke into panic as volleys of tracer rounds impacted with ferocious accuracy. The company's ten Speedbikes, led by Sergeant Rekel had arrived. Rekel himself rode on an Eldar Jetbike, bought for 200 Soulstones recovered from the eternal graveyard at Midpoint Argonnes Sector. The original price had been 300 Soulstones but the xenos decided to give up the bargain when Rekel threatened to crack open the one belong to their Farseer. The Eldar reaction face when he did so was simply priceless.

Rekel charged ahead of the squad, as always. Heretically it might be to admit, the Eldar ride provided much greater speed and efficiency, especially on such bumpy terrain. The initial impact from the Jetbike sent a dozen Greenskins flying, and Rekel continued to swing his sword, cutting off heads and disemboweled wherever possible. The rest of the squad followed his example, cutting a swath through the Orks ranks beautifully. Rekel dispatched a melta-charge, blew off a Deff Dredd; the smoking dead machine toppled like timber.

Closing the distance, Ragna ordered his brothers to open fire with their sidearm. The damage was inferior compared to the hammer of the Devastators, but it helped thin out the enemy ranks nevertheless. Markus's squad was doing a number on the Orks. Ragna saw heads exploded, bodies pulverized, torsos shredded, chest ripped apart, arms, legs and organs flying all over the place, uncannily resembling the fireworks on Emperor's Day. The sight was disturbing, if not unsettling, but Ragna knew the Orks deserved such. At least, he assumed they deserved such, Codex Astartes not making a lot of reference of the perfect corpse.

Emptying his Bolt Pistol twice, Ragna tossed away the weapon, gripped the Power Sword with both hands, and chopped down the first Ork in melee. This was what he was crafted for, this righteous slaughter of the foe of mankind, and Ragna felt a savage pride in his ability to deal death. He spared a glance to either side, seeing Space Marines fought with grim, remorseless precision and economy. They fought like heroes, each one a warrior worthy of being immortalized in son and verse. Yet, none looked for glory for its own sake, only for the Emperor and the Chapter. And for those who thought the Dark Angels were a bunch of good-for-nothing technology huggers, Emperor damns them forever.

The fight was well and fully joined. Ragna sliced his sword across the belly of two Orks, decapitated another, and then swung around to block an incoming axe blow. He impaled his assailant as the crude axe split in half. Bolt pistol shots hit him at close range, but Ragna ignored them, ramming his fist to the face of a Greenskin and splintered the skull of another. A Burna Boy came at him, shouting hysterically while unleashing a seething torrent of flame. Ragna felt the heat of fire washed over his armor, and red warning icons flashed up on his visor. Coolant gases vented from his armor's backpack as it fought to counteract the heat, keeping him nice and steady. Ragna slew the Burna with a downward slash, grabbed its weapon with one hand, and turned it upon the remaining Greenskins.

Victory was at hand. The now demoralized and tattered Orks broke from combat and fled for their lives, discarding their weapons and armor in vain hope to make themselves more fleeting. The way they ran was pathetic. They should have known better than none could escape the Emperor's wrath. The bikers rallied and pursuit. What had been a battle turned into a massacre. Of the two thousand Orks, only less than one hundred made it out. They had run off too far to chase, and the threat they bore was insignificant, so the Dark Angels stopped and took a rest. After all, even Astartes couldn't go on forever.

Not a single warrior of the 5th company died that day.

As the old saying goes, "Heresy grows from idleness", or something like that, the Dark Angels were doing something, even in their respite. Some honed their skills by competing in mock combat, or practiced shooting using deceased Orks as targets. Ragna caught sight of Markus, his trusted lieutenant and best friend, piling up Greenskins dead for methodical disposal (with a Flamer), preventing any further re-infestation. Rekel and his squad were busy maintaining their vehicles, with the help from the company Techmarine, Deliel. Apothecary Pokaziel was treating the wounded, and preaching, or ranting, about the benefits of vegetables in diet. His subject for today was Carrot – The truth behind the Emperor's keen eyes which eternally watch over His subjects.

Chaplain Dylus had taken those unfortunate Battle Brothers claimed by the Squiggoth shit taint earlier to the river of Salour tom perform purification rites, where the holy water should be able to cleanse them once and for all. Of course, Ragna told Dylus not to let them bathe in the river, as it would be considered an act of extreme desecration, not to mention exposing all the people drinking its water tainted by Squiggoth shit, assuming the Squiggoth hadn't actually drop shit into the river. Dylus assured him no worry.

Ragna was glad to see Sergeant Ciel NOT baking cookies. Those cookies he made were stuff of legend, forged from Holy flame and imbued by the Emperor's ancient wrath. After all, thanks to them, the Dark Angels were able to force one of the hated Fallen Angel to repent for his sins after decades of resistance. Brother Ari, who sacrificed himself as test subject (accidentally doing so only), survived owning to his stubbornness and was encased in a Dreadnought.

Ragna himself was also doing something. He was eating an already half-eaten sandwich, reading the company profile and situation report, as well as inspecting whether or not his company function smoothly, and if not, find out why. Ragna had been promoted to Company Master two years ago when the late Company Master Harkus fell in battle with a powerful Keeper of Secret. Apparently, his self-destructible underwear finally lived up to its name when its owner was on the verge of receiving cruel sexual harassment. The massive blast vaporized the entire Slaaneshi army, ending the Chaos threat once and for all. A fragment from Harkus underwear made it into the Chapter's relic vault.

An upstart officer he might be, Ragna was looking forward to Company Mater of the Decade Award, being the first to receive it right after promotion. After all, he had garnered quite a reputation before his elevation, particularly on Masoche where he, along with Markus, rallied the planet defenders (most ridiculous army ever) to foil an attempt from the Greenskins to invade the fortress unnoticed when his superior perilously underestimated the threat. Having his first taste of command, Ragan continued leading the 5th to battle against the devious Tau Empire on Dapion where crushing victory was achieved without the death of a single Astartes, although eight Rhinos crewed by Servitors used as bait to lure the enemy into an ambush were all but destroyed, much to Techmarine Deliel's chagrin.

The sandwich melted in Ragna's mouth. Half-eaten food was the best, especially when the other half was rightfully in the stomach of Azrael. Eating the rest was tantamount to receiving blessing from the Grand Master. Things were starting to go well indeed. This early win had put him in good spirit.

"A good victory, heh, Ragna." The voice of Sergeant Markus coming from behind was something Ragna was all too familiar with. "Just like the one on Dapion. Damn those alien filths."

"I only did what the Codex Astartes dictates," Ragna replied blandly without turning around. He finished the remnant of his sandwich before continuing. "You did pretty well too, as far as I can see."

Markus shrugged. "Well, just give me a big gun and pray for a miracle. And before you know it, that miracle does come true." He took a swig from a beer bottle.

"You should really cut that," said Ragna, slightly worried.

"What?" asked Markus. "This?" He indicated the bottle which was empty by now.

"Yes," confirmed Ragna. "As the Codex states, a sound warrior must consist of a sound mind and a sound body. Alcohol will prevail you neither of them. Have you been turning a deaf ear on Pokaziel's preaching?"

"I thought he was just ranting in his delusion," Markus chuckled. Ragna's stiffness made him regret saying so. "You know me. Always need that extra bit of Dutch courage. You can't fight with your head all the time, even Astartes are humans, only a little more special."

"Maybe," Ragna shrugged. He saw the Chaplain have returned. All the Battle Brothers with him were as clean as a whistle, to his unspoken delight. "But I am not subject to any trivial or base form of pleasure."

That moment, Ragna saw three figures clad in white heading towards the Dark Angel base of operation.

"Looks like we got company," said Ragna.

"We sure do," Markus echoed.

The people were Ecclesiarches representatives.

Leading them was the Confessor whose name Ragna accidentally forgot. It wasn't that memorable, and some of his Brothers forgot it on purpose. Ragna gave him the name: Big Daddy.

On his right was a Canoness whose name had two hundred fifty seven letters and ninety one syllabi. Ragna gave her the name: Big Sister.

On his left was another Celestian whose name Ragna didn't catch. Ragna gave her the name: Little Sister.

Ragna admitted, he was terrible at remembering people's name.

"Greeting, Astartes," Big Daddy began. "You welcomed us with your presence."

Despite his friendly appearance, Ragna knew that creatures of his kind eat Space Marines ball for breakfast, usually on a Tuesday morning. The last time he checked his time-piece, today was Friday. Ragna consolidated himself that nothing the size of Horus Heresy would happen if he minded his p's and q's.

"You too, Confessor," Ragna replied tactfully. "However, I suppose you are not here just to welcome our presence."

Ragna spared a glance to his Brothers. To his relief, Dylus had already knocked out Brother Maneziel with his Crozius Arcanum and ordered other men to carry him out of sight. Ragna was proud to have a Chaplain who was so quick on the uptake. Maneziel was sentenced to at least 200 feet from the nearest woman (including Eldar but not Dark Eldar or Demonettes) after being a victim/culprit of the Mochida's heresy. He was such a big pervert that even a Saint would have to cry in anguish.

"You saw right through me, didn't you?" Big Daddy laughed. "I am here, in front of you, as the bearer of crucial news. The Ork forces in orbit of Quadesh, has been destroyed, thanks the Emperor."

Ragna raised his brows. "Destroyed? I thought the Navy was still a week away." Surely this was a turn of event he was eager to see, but there was something else he couldn't put his finger on. What catastrophe could have caused just massive army to wither away in such a short period?

His questioned was immediately answered: "Eldar. They finished the job, then vanished mysteriously."

"So you've got any idea why they are helping us?" asked Markus skeptically.

"The Eldar is a very sophisticated and fickle type of alien," said Big Daddy calmly. "Their deed, good as it may be, could have been from a number of motives, to settle up old score, or follow an ominous prophecy, or just that they were pursuing agenda of their own."

"Or perhaps the Emperor sent them here to aid us," said Big Sister. She was a woman of huge stature, taller than an average Space Marine and, wore the most garishly decorated armor ever, and carried a giant Power Sword. Ragna assumed it was master-crafted, for even he would have trouble wielding it, let alone swinging it. Her breast was literally something Slaanesh would look upon with green eye. Judging from her facial expression, Ragna could see she was expecting other Space Marine Chapter, but got the Dark Angel here. What she said could be translated like this: "We don't need you here, go home". No doubt she would be much happier if the Eldar had been fighting alongside her instead of the First Legion. Mochida may have been banished, but his taint persisted.

"And where is the Sororitas in all of that?" Ragna turned to address her, rather annoyed.

"My Sisters are currently camping near the bank of the Salour river," Big Sister replied. By camping Ragna knew exactly what she meant. Her Sisters were probably bathing in the river right now. Ragna wondered what kind of bikini they were wearing. Some Battle Brothers who overheard the conversation were whispering to one another, and so the news spread fast. Already, there was spontaneous nose-bleed happening to several Dark Angels. Luckily, they all wore helmet so that wasn't visible.

Looks like Chaplain Dylus will have quite a tough time, Ragna thought.

"I suppose this is good news," said Ragna patiently. "So, it would seem that the campaign has drawn to a conclusion. Praise the Emperor for yet another in the nick of time deliverance."

"I know you people are perverts," Big Sister blurted out in annoyance. "But now you are also brainless fools." Several Battle Brothers jumped at the insult.

Big Daddy chuckled, keeping the conversation cool. "You've misread the situation, Captain. No matter, though, it is not too late to fix things. What I said was the Orks in orbit have been annihilated, not the ones on Quadesh soil. Now, without any means to leave this planet, they have become more desperate and savage, attacking our people at random, and even themselves. Furthermore, we've received news that Warlord 'Eadstompa, Emperor damn his name a thousand times, is leading a giant force into the Eastern Plain."

"Eastern Plain?" Ragna echoed. "What about its defenders?"

"They are fighting for their lives while you idle," cried Big Sister. Ragna felt the urge to decapitate her with his sword, but held it.

"Fort Valix was abandoned four days ago," Big Daddy went on, ignoring Big Sister. "Our troops fell back to the Halls of Saint Praestia. Some bloody fight occurred, Emperor protects the fallen." His voice took on a tinge of sadness. "Running out of food and munitions, they had no choice but to fall back. As we speak, Orks are moving unchecked and unhindered towards Hive Lotunz. Millions of lives will be at stake if they are not stopped, and I fear the guardians there won't be able to tackle such massive force."

"This is damn serious," said Ragna worriedly. "We'll need to move out as soon as possible. Blasted, it will take the whole week to mobilize our armor reserves to Lotunz." Ragna gritted his teeth angrily. "This terrain is proving to be our undoing."

"Is there anything your Chapter is good at?" asked Big Sister derisively. "Other than, porno-watching and ecchi manga reading?" Ragna spat a non-verbal swear to Mochida, once great champion, now heretic and pervert.

"Fear not, faithful servant of the Emperor," said Big Daddy. "We will pledge you whatever aide we can." Big Sister didn't seem too pleased about that. "And rest well, for tomorrow we move out at 8am local time. Rendezvous point at Imperial Bridge."

"The Emperor protects," said Ragna.

"May he indeed," replied Big Daddy.

"Let none stand in the march of the righteous," bawled Big Sister.

As they parted, Ragna suddenly realized that Little Sister had been outside the conversation the entire time. She seemed remarkably young and relatively timid, much unlike her tomboyish Canoness, but the honor badges on her armor indicated a high rank amongst the Adepta Sororitas, which one he wasn't going to bother. She reminded Ragna of himself. He had only served for less than a century years, and there he was, proud master of an entire company of the Dark Angels. Ragna caught sight of her eyes, doll-like, beautiful, brilliant, emerald colored. They were eerily familiar, as though he had seen them somewhere before. No, he had seen her before, Ragna was as sure as Horus was dead. But then, she was gone, along with the rest of the others.

Sighing deeply, Ragna turned to his Brothers and joined them. Tomorrow would be one heck of a day.

Ragna woke up with a heavy head the next day. After having quick breakfast, which consisted mostly of Ork meat and some local herbs deemed edible by the Apothecary, the 5th Company went on with their match. The knowledge that this war was going to be won soon had put them in high spirit, although Ragna was certain this was not the end yet. Surely, the invaders had paid through their nose, with at least 2 billions dead, including Gretchins and Gnotlings. Taking only combatants into account, their casualties ranged between 700 and 900 millions, which was still significant, considering the only 200 million PDF were killed and Ragna had yet to lose a warrior. The Sisters, who cares? The more fanatics die, the better.

Marching on Highway 48, the Dark Angel came to Imperator Bridge at 8:04. They could see it from ten miles away. The Imperator Bridge itself was the creation of engineering genius, a wondrously ornate suspension bridge spanning the gorges that marked the confluence of the Salour and Athena rivers. Marvelously tall towers of marble, adamantium and gold pierced the cloud at either end of the bridge, and cable wrought from some ingenious material supported the five kilometer span in an elegant latticework arrangement which was immensely strong, yet so graceful and airy.

Several written-off vehicles indicated skirmishes, which the Orks were utterly crushed without much trouble. Ragna couldn't quite comprehend why the invaders had yet to mount a cohesive effort to take Imperator Bridge. Surely, this was a target of great strategic value, not to mention an easy one given only less than five thousand troops were defending it, no matter how zealous they were. Warlord 'Eadstompa obviously lacked tactical sense, only driving the bulk of his force into the bulk of the Imperial force where they could have all the fight they longed for.

Sergeant Rekel and his bikers were already there, chatting with the men and women of the PDF. Sexual discrimination was heavily prohibited by the laws of Quadesh, thus leaving males and females with equal proportion regardless their occupation. The defense forces were no exception. Rekel seemed to have impressed quite a handful of girls with his awesome-looking Eldar Jetbike, and his squad mates were surrounded by a knot of admirers.

As Ragna approached, he suddenly realized the Sisters of Battle which they were supposed to meet up here were no where to be found.

"Did you see the Sisters go by?" he asked.

"No, my lord," Rekel replied. "The guardians report them going across the bridge at 6:47. Apparently, the Orks were less tardy than we thought. Lotunz has come under attack, and orders have been passed that they get there as soon as possible."

"Then why didn't they tell us?" asked Ragna, agitated. He was, after all, one of the Astartes, the finest warriors of the Imperium, and yet, the Sisters had shown him nothing but distrust and disrespect, neither of which he could tolerate. "I have had it enough. I'm going to mow down every last bitch on this forsaken world!"

The bridge defenders were frightened at the Space Marine's wrath. Several Dark Angels felt chill running down their spine, not wanting to stay near the bellicose and disgruntled Company Master.

"Calm down, my lord," Dylus cut in. The Chaplain's voice was soft whereas his expression was as grim as always, probably because of the Skullhelmet. "I deplore this…incident, but you have to take into account the true nature of the Sororitas."

Ragna sighed deeply, wallowed his anger. The Chaplain continued, "We venerate the Emperor because it is our holy duty. They do it because it is their source of sustenance. Like ravenous beasts, they care not the method, not the ones involved, not the consequences; their desire must be sated no matter the cost. Even so, part of this is the fault of our own. You know why women don't like us."

The greatest heretic amongst the ranks of the Dark Angels since Luther. "Damn Mochida," Ragna swore. "The Warp takes his soul."

"Rather than complaining, perhaps it is better to try and fix it," said Dylus serenely. "We are here to work. There are xenos to kill."

"Let's move out then," ordered Ragna. "There's no time to waste. We'll settle this once the Orks are exterminated from this place. 5th company, follow my lead."

The battle for Lotunz Hive had been going on for several hours when the Dark Angels arrived at midday. Ragna caught sight of Big Daddy inspecting the battle zone from afar with some of his servitors and approached him.

"You said at Imperator Bridge at 8," he began. "Your ladies never came."

"You must excuse us," said Big Daddy. "I try to persuade them, but they won't listen. They kept doubting your ability and moral. Emperor with me, they grew up so fast. Yesterday I remembered I just…"

"This will not stand," Ragna interrupted rudely. "Consider yourself lucky we are here to save your sorry asses."

"Oh, I forgot to tell you earlier," said Big Daddy. "The Eldar had also left us a message, stating that an STC is on board the Space Hulk, which is damaged and cannot escape. Oh, and the STC is intact."

Ragna's eyebrow raised at the mention of ancient technology. Despite the fact that the regression had ceased, new technology developed could were in no likelihood to march those lost in the Age of Strife, and so each STC discovered like this would speed up restoration by a lot. Pf course, this baby would go directly into the Rok and away from curious eyes, even those of other Astartes Chapter. "Now there's a good reason for us to be here. I'm sorry I got mad at you."

"No offense taken," Big Daddy assured him. "Technically, the Space Hulk is in orbit of Quadesh, so the STC onboard rightfully belongs to us. Fortunately, we are kind and generous people. Protect my daughters and we shall gladly grant it to you. Praised the Emperor."

The Orks, hundreds thousands of them, pounded the gate of Lotunz with everything they'd got. So far, their success had been kept at minimum. Whoever designed the defense did a splendid job, constructing two back-to-back walls, with the one behind twice the height. This meant that if the first wall were to be breached, defenders from the second can still lay down support to cover their retreat and keep the enemy contained.

Hive Lotunz was surrounded by enemy from all sides. Big mistake from the Orks, for that would avail them nothing; really should have focused all forces attacking the main gate. All the walls were equally tough and well-protected. Launchers, mortars, doom divers and aircraft relentlessly pounded the hive's shield. Another mistake; if a squad of Tankbusta had penetrated the shield by, well…walking right through it before unleashing a volley of rockets, that would have been disastrous. There was nowhere enough fire power to stop them if they had gathered the wit to attack from within the shield.

Rekel's biker squad had already distinct themselves in combat, silencing the Orks' artillery positions with little difficulty. Why the Orks had left so few personnel guarding them Ragna failed to contemplate. But there you go, no more shelling from now on. Ragna began to think whoever this 'Eadstompa was, he was all bark and no bite.

The Dark Angels set up firing formation up the sloppy hill where they would have the advantage from the terrain. As the smell of ionization filled the air, much thicker than anything a Plasma Rifle was capable of, Ragna burst with excitement seeing that support have finally arrived after so much delay. Three Land Speeder Vengeance powered forward, spraying streams of plasma fire into the Orks that saw entire mob obliterated, wiped out of existence to a single shot. They were followed by a more ponderous Darkshroud, an ancient vehicle, unique to the Unforgive Chapters and carrying an arcane relic which absorb ranged fired like a sponge soaking up water. The 5th Company was forced to leave behind all of their ground vehicles, who said anything about their hovercraft?

Codex Astartes called for Shield Formation, and Ragna deployed his warriors accordingly. The Orks turned to meet their new threat, charging uphill with tireless ferocity, only to die in droves under discipline fire from the Dark Angels. Countless bodies toppled, only to be replaced by even more. Any shot replied was all but absorbed by the impenetrable Shroud of Angels.

Overlooking the battlefield, Ragna looked for the Sisters of Battle. At least those fanatics were easy enough to find; he just had to search for the largest concentration of Greenskin. And there they were, in the right at the middle of all the carnage. Celestian squads fired using cover behind piles of dead Orks as well as wreckages of war machines while Repentia warriors fought the enemy head-on with an array of vicious-looking melee weapons. Big Sister and her bodyguards were locked in combat with a mob of Nobz. Seeing Big Sister slicing a giant Greenskin like paper with barely any effort vindicated Ragna's assumption that her sword was master-crafted. But for all their zeal and efficiency in combat, the Sororitas numbers were being thinned out fast, for they were severely outnumbered by at least 20 to 1. Their annihilation was inevitable, unless...

Rescue mission required Vanguard Formation, as the Codex dictated. Without hesitation, Ragna rounded up all his sergeants except Rekel, put Markus temporarily in charge, and equipped the rest with jet-pack to begin a fast attack. Ragan had looked forward to acquiring the new and advance Stratos-pattern jet-pack, but unfortunately, couldn't. No matters, though, for 5th Company would be entitled to receiving them next shipment.

Howling "For the Emperor!" at the top of his lung, Ragna and the rest of his Vanguard leaped into the fray.

"Oi! Da humiez are komin' fram abave," an Ork Nob warned its Boyz, seconds before Ragna pulverized its head with an airborne kick he had been practiced hours on ends. The Dark Angels splattered dozens Orks upon impact, and Ragna was pleased they didn't splatter any of the Sisters. Having Sororitas smear on any of his warrior's armor was the last thing he wanted.

"We don't need you help here. Avaunt!" cried Big Sister as she dissected an Ork at the torso.

"Will you please listen to what I have to say?" Ragna replied patiently, parrying a roughshod axe blow. "I know you all eager to die for the Emperor, but where and how you die are not you to decide."

"Said who?" roared Big Sister. "You have no authority over us."

"Said every single soul on this planet," Ragna responded vehemently. "If you die here, meaninglessly, than who will protect them? Will the Emperor look upon you with pride seeing the Sororitas have failed their holy duty to protect His loyal subjects?"

The mentioning of the Emperor seemed to have taken effect, because after a long pause, long enough for Ragna to gut eleven more Greenskins, Big Sister replied, "Alright. Guess you have a point."

"Good," said Ragna. "Now order them to retreat to better ground where the terrain is sentinel."

As the Sisters began pulling back with nearly half their original strength remaining, Ragna made swift order to pull back before taking any casualty as well. Suddenly, the ground began to shake eerily. This time, he was sure it was footstep. A horrid gasp came from his Sergeants as the Mega Squiggoth stampeded through the Ork horde, literally reducing dozens to unpleasant stain on the earth. The thing was so massive, its size was comparable with a Warlord-class Titan, something Ragna was really glad to have right about now.

"Look at it," exclaimed Ponthius. "How are we going to beat something like that?" Hails of death-dealing projectiles from the hive defenders and Markus's Devastators alike were fired at the monstrosity, only to be stopped by its Kustom Force Field. The only way to take it down was in melee, but who would want to fight such behemoth in melee?

"Bet with my Crozius Arcanum that's the one responsible for Victorius," said Dylus, calm as though he was commenting on the weather.

"All elements, pull back," Ragna shouted. "Retreat is not defeat. We merely search a better spot for victory."

At that moment, a Sister of Battle appeared at the edge of his vision. She was wounded, her right leg almost severed by a choppa, her armor offered little protection against the Greenskin brute force. Without thinking, Ragna sprinted forward, hugged the Sister tightly and pinned her to the ground, barely a second before the Mega Squiggoth ran pass where she stood.

Confusion reigned for a while. As the dust began to clear, Ragna realized he was lying right on top of the Battle Sister. It was Little Sister. Furthermore, his hands were right on her chest.

With a gasp, Ragna yanked up, blushing. Little Sister's face looked more like a cherry than something found on a human body.

"How…was…it?" she managed. Ragna was at a loss as to what she was questioning.

"How?" he asked.

"My…breasts," said Little Sister weakly. "How are they?"

"C cup," Ragna responded nonchalantly. He didn't know what he was doing back then. "I've seen bigger ones in my life."

The Sister looked as though she was about to cry. In fact, both her eyes were wet with tears, which made them even more cute and irresistible. "That's…so…cruel… Oni-chan."

"Finally, someone with respect," said Ragna, smiling. As he watched, the Mega Squiggoth was getting closer and closer to the hive whose defenders were all but hopeless. Judging by the sheer size of that thing, the gate wouldn't hold, not even a single impact. Ragna racked his brain for anything in Codex Astartes about what to do in this dire situation, when he came up with an idea.

"Stay here," he said to Little Sister, patting the top of her head. "I'll be back."

"But…" she began. Too late, Ragna activated his jet-pack and made went after the Mega Squiggoth.

"What are you doing, Company Master?" Dylus's voice rang on the vox. "You're not taking on that thing all by yourself, aren't you? This is not what the…" Ragna turned it off before the Chaplain could finish.

The Mega Squiggoth carried colossal structures on its back, including a power plant, but that was not what Ragna was going after. He had to kill the beast in order to stop it. The jet-pack wasn't too effective in term of precision, so Ragna couldn't complain when he landed off target by a lot. Luckily, he was close enough, and when the Mega Squiggoth stomped pass, he grappled on by one of the tusks that stuck out hideously in front of its face. For a brief moment, he saw his own reflection in the beast's eye, pale, tattered, determined, before he stuck his blade in. The creature squirmed violently in pain. With every last bit of his strength, Ragna was able to hold on. Even as the Greenskins up on top panicked to find what had gone wrong, Ragna stabbed the Mega Squiggoth again and again until its left eye had been reduced to bloody hole and soup-like mass.

The beast crumbled, sending the entire base on its back and all the Orks on it to their demise. Ragna landed on the ground like a feather. He was thoroughly caked in blood, but his spirit was good.

"You have been avenged, Sergeant Victorius," he roared to himself, and to whatever Greenskin bothered to listen. "None shall escape the Dark Angel's vengeance."

"Ya think ya 'ave won?" shouted the Warlord. The total collapse of the command base had not killed him, but put a horrendous scar across his bloodied face. How he could stand upright and speak Ragna wasn't about to contemplate. "Ya ain't 'ave won, unless I say so!"

He barely finished what he was saying when his head disappeared. The Warlord fell with the sound of thunder. His surrounding Boyz were demoralized and fled at the sight. Ragna turned to see Little Sister with the multi melta in her hand. Her leg still looked bad, but Ragna noticed a pretty smile on her face.

"I could have taken him," said Ragna, chuckling.

"Ya," Little Sister chuckled. "Just like you could have taken the one on Masoche. I still remember you."

That memory. Half a century earlier. The fortress. The Greenskin in the sewer. The ridiculous militia. The big fight. Markus being a noob. The little girl slaying the Warboss.

"You…," Ragna stammered, his heart pounding like crazy. "You are…"

A harsh blow on his cranium knocked the Dark Angel Company Master off cold; Ragna fell without a sound.

The shame!

"You PERVERT!" Big Sister was screeching like a wounded animal. "I saw that. I totally saw that. Your atrocity against my Sister's virgin will not go unnoticed. You and your chapter are all the same. PERVERT! PERVERT!"

"No no no no no," Little Sister cried in panic. "It was a misunderstanding. I…"

AN: Can you spot the reference to Bioshock and Warhammer Fantasy?