Friday, April 7, 2017

A Short Story - For the Emperor

Zardakk Kull removed his helm, taking a breath of the corridor’s air. It smelt of blood and expended ammunition. Licking the sharpened points of his teeth, he watched as his erstwhile allies picked their way through the wreckage of the battle, silencing survivors and collecting unused ammunition. In the ruddy emergency lighting of the corridor, the metallic blue armour of his allies looked almost indigo, while his blood red armour simply appeared darker.

The Word Bearer Acolyte and his two Space Marine escorts had managed to cajole the mysterious Alpha Legion warband into assisting them in taking the Imperial cargo ship carrying the bones of some worthless Imperial saint. Kull intended on corrupting the ship and unleashing a daemonic plague on the Shrine World of Macallan IV. With their trademark subterfuge, the five Legionaries had infiltrated the eight member team aboard, hiding until the ship entered the fringes of the Macallan system. 

There had been five Imperial Fists onboard as a security element, indicative of the importance of the ship’s cargo. Alone, the Word Bearers and the Imperial Fists would have been evenly matched. With the Alpha Legion’s support, there was no contest. Kull had barely killed three of the ship’s crew before the four legionaries and their leader scythed through their Astartes escort. Kull had earlier asked for the leader’s name, but had only received “Alpharius” as a response. There was no doubt that it was not the fabled primarch, but the squad leader did his namesake proud, single-handedly killing the three Imperial Fists with his combi-plasma and lightning claw.

The door to the bridge slid open, and Kull stepped through the portal, closely followed by the nameless squad leader. Zardakk Kull opened the pict-feeds to the cargo hold, in time to see his fellow Word Bearers get gunned down by two Alpha Legionnaires, while the other two planted explosive charges on the walls and the sacred relics. The devastation unleashed when the charges blew would be immense.

A whisper from the warp alerted him to more immediate betrayal, but Kull was too slow in whirling around to confront his silent companion. The razor sharp tines of the lightning claw stabbed out through his chest, tearing through both his hearts and severing the lower half of his spine. The Acolyte slumped to the floor, and the Alpha Legion squad leader stepped over his body. Setting the ship on a collision course with Macallan IV's spaceport, a ping sounded from the console, marking an unknown contact that had appeared on an intercept course. 

“Why?! Why do you do this? The Dark Gods expect success!” The Acolyte’s confusion was apparent despite the pain fogging his voice. 

The Alpha Legionnaire slowly turned to face him, raising his bolter and removing his helm at the same time. Kull looked at a face marked with the hydra, coiling around the unnamed marine’s cold eyes. Kull saw the trigger finger tighten, and heard the last three words of his life. 

“For the Emperor.”

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