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The 2nd Mercadian Crusade.


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From the view, the twin suns were low on the planets horizon - a motif Techmarine Krause associated more with views from the parapets of the ancient chapel keep at Volte Secundus.

Here, above the burned and ruined temple world of Acre IV, there was no such tranquility.

Only death and glory awaited.

The vista below pulsed and rippled in the hues of warfare, reds, greys, a myriad of distant incandescent glows as munitions from above and below detonated in slow constant rhythm. A vast display of pyrotechnics that writhed across the lower stratosphere.

The remnants of Imperial Naval vessels drifted dead and fractured in orbit, huge metal behemoths, spilling their lifeless sailors and troops into the cold void.


The guns of the 2nd Mercadian Crusade Fleet were finishing the annihilation of the battered chaos warships.

There had been little resistance to the Crusades approach - the Imperial system navy here had been destroyed in a long engagement against the enemy, but had sold their lives dearly. The enemy had been refitting their ships when Lord Marshal Mercadius and his fleet had arrived. Short work indeed.

The orbital staging area was secured from perceived flanking from outer system.

Between the ground and the fleet was the firestorm.

Now the ground needed securing.

The batteries needed to be silenced.



To any sane man, the view would install dread. To approach that maelstrom willingly? Madness indeed.

Krause grinned at the panorama. He relished this. This moment before the sacrament of battle.

Now clear of the fleet above and circling widely around the planet below, still just out of low-orbital range for the daemon weaponry, the view of the situation became apparent.

He cut the thrusters back and searched for a way through briefly, his eyes picking out a pathway through the blanket of fire that roiled below.

'Final prep for drop' he breathed quietly into his vox comms.

Servitors acknowledged in machine speak.

Weapons sang online together, relaying through the gunship systems in a chorus of binary exhilaration.


The Angel of Antioch was an original Eisen-Falken pattern gunship supplied to the Black Templars many centuries before. The reason why the Adeptus Mechanicus had so rewarded the chapter was lost to antiquity, most likely removed from the pages of historians by the notoriously secretive Mechanicus itself. Suffice to accept that it was a deed of some consideration to the Machine cult.

The Angel was a blessed vessel. With so few to maintain in a fleet so vast, they were accorded huge priority by the Black Templar Techmarines. Only the finest servitors were assigned duty to her systems and they rigorously maintained and prepared her for conflict.

Her machine spirit was old, if her cogitation unit still maintained enough elements she could recall ancient battles far greater than this. She too hungered for the destruction to come.

A klaxon began, the cabin lights flickered to red.

Krause heard voices issuing final orders: the sergeant below, the prayers of the chaplain.

An ancient brass armature folded down from above him, projecting ethereal images of the terrain below the clouds, flickering with holo projected light around the pilots head.

He dipped the Eisen-Falken Gunships blunt, brutish head downwards into the hell that awaited and opened up the engines. In a gently spinning arc the Angel of Antioch peeled into the lower atmosphere.

Almost instantly the air turbulence began fighting her as the monstrous daemon weaponry below belched fire into the heavens. Krause knew this gunship like a part of his own, though much augmented, body. Instinctively he weaved her down through the firestorm. Moments started to stretch. He saw the path. He could see the flak pattern. The battery of weaponry on the planet guarding the Temple Shrines had been set along high valley ridges. if he could punch through fast enough and ride the valley.. below the batteries.. before they could realign..


Something huge came into view so fast only his reactions saved the Angel. He slammed hard to port as a nightmare of metal wings, curved viciously into twisted spines, flashed past. Moments after the proximity alert whined pitifully. Whatever it had been, it was big, and it was circling around for another strike. Shells stitched through the air just ahead of the Angel, a slashing line of destruction she was hurtling directly into.

Krause span the Angel on her axis, upside down and literally dropped out of the sky like a meteor, straight into a fresh barrage from the daemon cannons below. The cabin was awash in the fiery glow. The proximity alert grew more insistent. The enemy was blindingly fast, living metal with malign intent and the hunger of a true daemonic bird of prey. 'Double-Sixer' could not get a fix on the target, it was approaching from directly behind the Angel now, and closing with no seconds to spare.

He counted calmly as servitor-66 intoned warnings in a loud, hollow, emotionless tone.

'Enemy contact imminent'


'Collision imminent'


'Suggest evasive man-'


First jinking hard to starboard, the Angel rocked as the hellish metal daemon-thing clattered past, moments later diving headlong into an explosion of fire and metallic parts as the battery below opened up once more.

Riding the edge of the firestorm, Krause took the gunship through into the airspace below.

The sight of the burning temple world was breathtaking. The remnants of the Imperial Guard forces were being slaughtered across the plateau by the traitorous and daemonic forces. The dark specks of tank wreckage. The burning spires and monuments. Krause ducked the Angel under the valley ridge, catching a brief view of the mighty daemon cannons, before entering the canyon before the plateau.

His auspex highlighted the mission path from the information that bled across his vision.

They were through.

Now, he hoped, they had arrived too quickly for the enemy to assemble a larger greeting party.

And if they had, well, no matter.

The weapon servitors chimed in binary agreement.

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A pretty good read. I would suggest not using quite so many short sentences though and the format needs to be refined but besides that it was enjoyable. I'd like to see more. :D
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Her engines growled menacingly as she rose steadily, a bass rhythmic snarling that reverberated from the canyon walls.

The moment her nose cleared the plateau edge, Krause opened up her thrusters and felt his face flatten against the inside of his breathing apparatus.

Like some black-winged titanic predator of prehistoric skies, the Angel ascended over the canyon ridge, then, dipping her brute head as she charged, sneering almost at the prey laid before her, her weapons systems lit the air alight. Missiles rippled in perfect synchronicity from beneath her wings.

An infantry detachment of cultists were still clamouring around the great brass beast, offering up captured guardsmen and civilians in a frenzy as fuel for its insatiable lower mandibles. After each nightmare set of maws had devoured its screaming victim the great brass horns would ignite and balefire of incredible intensity would issue forth to stain the heavens.

Well within optimum range and with no obvious air support in this sector, the scurrying traitors were easy prey for the gunship.


The buzz-saw cacophony of assault cannons ripped through the air, chunks of burning organic parts danced into red mist where moments before the damned and their hapless sacrifices had cowered. Above the wreckage of humanity below, the missiles hit the exposed lung-tubes clustered around the spine of the daemon weapon, sending molten metal flesh and bone shrapnel into the air. One warhead had obviously found it's way inside the great behemoth, it's vile and twisted flesh ballooned from within outward and fire leaped from its venting holes. At that moment, the twin-lascannons pinpointed the swollen thorax of the beast and popped two head sized holes neatly straight through the monstrosity. The nightmare thing lurched to its side, screaming from a myriad of bleeding mouths, for now it drooled thick noisome fluids from its mandibles and the brass horns melted and ran like candles in a furnace. The beast machine detonated silently, outlined from within by unnatural flame. The blast wave that followed roared over the Angel of Antioch as she continued on past, weaving slightly from her path to the next target along the ridge. Already the servitors had target locks and Krause again unleashed a deadly salvo from the gunships payload. The ridge and it's cannon emplacements were being torn to shreds by the Angel. With much of the chaos horde engaging the last of the Imperial system defence forces across the great plateau, the defence had been almost too easy to overwhelm. Krause put such thoughts to one side for now. These were simple morsels to whet her appetite, and he watched with a glad heart as the enemy were engulfed in a tornado of destruction. The dying screams and roars within the target co-ordinates could be heard in the cabin as the Angel soared past.


The Templar Brothers below in the transport section assembled for departure, final prayers offered up to the Emperor were whispered as power armour systems switched to combat readiness. Great mechanical fists and heavy blades crackled with lethal electrical power, boltguns were readied with solid determination.

An encoded transmission unraveled from the binary glowing psalms within Krause visor.

'Fleet mechanicus to Angel Six. This is Fleet. Confirm Angel.'

'Angel to Fleet. Acknowledged. Orbital Defense emplacements neutralised. Securing LZ on my coordinates. You may commence invasion. Praise the Emperor.'

'Acknowledged Angel Six. By his light, shall we triumph. Fleet out'.

Circling the battlement once more the gunship picked off those that were briefly fortunate to be out of the blast areas. Smoke and scorch marks ran in a myriad of patinas across her fuselage and bow livery.

Krause looked for a suitable landing zone. Already the fleets Thunderhawk dropships were on route, coming down fast to take advantage of the hole in the orbital defenses. Krause was well known for his ability to fly a brick through a pin hole in one piece (some heretics may indeed say the Emperor himself probably taught him to fly in his sleep, for how else would his skills be so flawless if not given by divine providence?) Regardless, there was still a chance that the other pilots and their cargoes could be hit from artillery elsewhere surrounding this region, but once they reached safe altitude, they could land here unmolested and disgorge their battle-hungry cargoes. Once secured, this plateau could be contested from a staging area, the fleet resupplying and dropping down defensive positions as and when required. Krause swung the Angel around in a slow clockwise rotation as she dusted down, the gun servitors ever vigilant for fresh targets to acquire and neutralize. As he did so, he saw the first drop pods coming down, long trails of dark smoke following their re-entry path. Krause smiled humorlessly; no doubt the brother dreadnoughts he mused, eager for battle duty had coerced the pod bay servitors to drop them ahead of the confirmation. The LZ was secure, but not yet secure .


The Angels feet descended like iron talons and she rocked gently as her suspensors over rode the thrusters. Krause was setting her down in what could once have been a temple city square. The parapets and battlements of the ancient monastery keep were set back into this end of the plateau in three vast circles of ancient marble. Shattered blocks of cyclopean size were carved with all manner of holy symbolism, Imperial doctrine, Templar prayer walls and religious statuary. She settled smoothly onto the blasted terrain.

Her prow opened downwards, assault ramp deploying under the watchful eyes of three servoskull gunners and Krause ever vigilant observation.

Squad Raserai moved forward from the angel, the warriors robed in dull black and thick slabs of riveted armour, iron clad giants intent on holy murder.

The deadly hulking form of the chaplain in his terminator armour dwarfed even these great warriors. He strode forward without falter, skull mask grinning at the carnage around the beach head. Long prayer scrolls and relics on chains adorned his ancient suit and he carried a storm bolter and crozius, both of meticulous craftsmanship and legendary reputation. The chaplain stopped abruptly and turned back to the ramp, still in the process of disgorging squad Grimm. The brother initiates immediately dropped into firing and assault stances.

Without further warning, the ground erupted with a cascade of slavering jaws and claws.

The welcome party had arrived.

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High out above the plateau, Venerable Brother Krieg brooded upon his mission objective.

Secured by heavy servo arms, his vast armoured bulk was securely clamped in place within the drop pod. Tubes and power cables snaked within his metallic sarcophagus like a nest of synthetic tentacles.

The dreadnought armoured veteran always hated travelling in these vehicles. Trussed up and locked down but still conscious, he hungered for conflict more with each passing second. The Emperors will needed to be done here, on this world.

Information from the drop pod was in constant update to his machine systems, a stream of data and statistics that was unnecessary to the ancient warrior. The altitude was dropping so fast the numbers were a neon blur. The hull-shell of the assault pod was vibrating violently. Nearby airbursts rocked the path of his descent, stabilizer fins and their hydraulics struggled to maintain the free-falling flight of the vehicle as it screamed through the atmosphere to its plotted destination. That's if it made it down in one piece at all.


Krieg paid no attention to the distractions. He was reliving this experience from a hundred times before. For a moment, he forgot where he was, what this planet was called, this system.. was it xenos he faced once more? No, xenos had not been mentioned he dimly recalled during the pre-combat service. No matter. His mighty power fist opened and closed with need for purpose, seeking something in the air to crush within it's grasp, impatient for battle. Krieg cycled the action of his storm bolter.

The pods thrusters bellowed as they fought the planets gravity, battling the forces of physics to guide the metal shell down. Krieg noted the word 'IMPACT' flash.

Even with it's velocity suppressed by thrusters, stabilizers and anti gravity suspensors, the drop pod smashed down into the paved street sending debris and rubble in all directions. Clouds of dust billowed out around the landing site, for a moment obscuring the vehicles angular upright frame. The pod popped explosive release bolts and the heavy boarding ramps came thundering down into the dirt.

Freed of his loading harness, Venerable Brother Krieg strode forward.

Already his vox relay system picked up a nearby transmission from Templar battle brothers. His auspex indicated he was near their position, not far from this street block. The city was a sprawling mass of stone ruins and craters across the plateau, with each sector having been heavily shelled by both traitor and loyalist alike. Without his guidance systems and tactical data feed, he would be as good as lost to the labyrinth of decaying and blasted wasteland. He grunted, and lumbered through the ruins on his heavy piston legs, hydraulics hissing menacingly.


'FOR DORN!' Bellowed Chaplain Kronstein. His storm bolter rent the air, adding to the chorus of destruction unleashed by the Initiates holy bolters.

The first ambush wave had been suppressed quickly, but the shrieking creatures were issuing forth from many hidden underground chambers. Their numbers were increasing with each passing second. Red skinned daemons burst forth from the blood soaked ground, screaming blasphemies and war cries as they launched themselves at the Templars.


In answer the weapon systems either side of the Angel's cabin split the air asunder. A volley of bolter shells tore one of the red fiendish beasts into three pieces in mid leap. The hurricane gun racks hammered a steady stream of explosive ammunition into the creatures. The Templars of Squad Grimm held position and also lent both fire and bolter to the task at hand. One beast had vestigial wings and clumsily vaulted over the nearest creatures being chewed in half by the gunline. Another followed it's lead. The chaplain strode forward and met the first daemons charge with a vicious swing of the crozius he carried. The mace connected with the beasts skull squarely, vapourising the unholy flesh and shattering twisted bone and horn. The jaws of the second devil lunged at Chaplain Kronsteins helm. Swinging his storm bolter up with lightening reflexes, he smashed the muzzle into the creatures mouth. Broken fangs rattled off his grinning skull face-plate as he squeezed the trigger. The daemon backflipped, headless, then blew apart in a haze of blistering fluids as it crossed the fire arc of the hurricane racks.

The Templars then took up assault weaponry, and following the chaplains lead, charged fearlessly into the melee. Claws and fangs ripped at the armoured warriors as red butchery by blade and chainsword began. In seconds, the ambush had been neutralized. The Templars executed the remaining heresies as the Chaplain gave praise to the Emperor, pausing as he did so to crush a horned and dismembered head beneath heavy boot.

Krause was given confirmation that all squads were deployed and the Angel lifted away, her engines washing grey dust across the deployed strike force.

The secondary objective awaited, and Chaplain Kronstein ignored the retreat of the Angel as tactical data updated across the inside of his visor.

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