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 The Pilgrimage (Lucius' Backstory)

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PostSubject: The Pilgrimage (Lucius' Backstory)   Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:51 pm

The drop pod exploded out of the battle barge, velocity and g-forces crushing into the underside of the squad contained within. It was nothing to the superhuman Marines inside. They had already made their oaths of moment aboard the battle barge. Plans of attack had been meticulously read and re-read until they were memorized. So now they stood like statues, restraints holding them in place while they hurtled planetside at breakneck speeds.

An interior pict display linked to each Marine's interior helmet display showed their location relative to the battle barge and the planet. Once they entered the atmosphere a countdown began in seconds: time until impact. The squad readied themselves for impact when the timer read "5". Retro-thrusters fired. The reduction in speed was dramatic. When the timer read "1" the doors and the restraints holding them in place blew free.

"Remember the Codex!" Brother-sergeant Lucius Vorenus lead the Novamarines 2nd Battle Company, 1st squad through the icy haze. Tyranid bodies and broken war gear were strewn about seemingly at random. It was as if a giant cyclone had been through the area, making a mess of everything and leaving nothing alive. In the distance more drop pods were making impact. The area was in the high mountains in the polar north of Macragge. A tactically advantageous location named the Cold Steel Mountains, it had been the location of some of the hardest fighting on the planet; 1st squad's orders were to secure their landing zone and attempt to link up with the Ultramarine's 3rd company. Survivors were to be aided and made to regroup if possible. They were kitted out and ready to carry out their duties to the letter.

The quiet was unnerving. It belied the carnage that it covered like a blanket. Lucius was just about to give orders to search for survivors when a call of movement went up from brother Telarius. Roughly one hundred yards distant, the cadavers of tyranids and Imperial alike began to wiggle. Almost imperceptibly at first, it became a macabre dance as the ground, like a rug, began to shake and come toward them.

"They're using the bodies as cover." The realization of such tactics being employed by no more than xenos beasts left a bitter taste in Lucius' mouth. "1st squad engage." As the bark of massed bolter fire broke the silence, the tyranids burst forth from their cover as though a single entity. Hormagaunts. A memory from the pre-mission briefing flashed through most squad member's minds. Instinctively the Marines began targeting the bioform's most vital organs for one shot kills.

They died in droves, broken apart by precise fire. Within ten seconds it was over.

"That's it?" Telarius asked with a snicker. "I don't understand why we committed the whole battle company."

"Stow that pride, Novamarine. We are on sacred ground. This is the home of Guilliman and that filth you just killed died but miles from his resting place. Our brothers would not have put out the call for aid unless it was absolutely necessary. Even if they had not, this is our duty."

Properly scolded, Telarius offered an apology. Lucius then gave the orders that would begin the trek to link up with elements of the Ultramarine's 3rd Company somewhere in the mountains. With autosenses scanning the ground for anymore surprise attacks, the Novamarines 1/2 moved out.

+++++++

"Fourteen times, you say?" 3rd Company Captain Jehnnus Ardias, a mountain of an Astartes with close cut brown hair and regal features typical of most Ultramarines, asked. "And you didn't suffer any casualties?"

"That's correct, sir." Earlier in the day Lucius and his 1st squad had linked up with the 3rd Company after close to six hours of trekking through the mountains. Along the way they had been hit by no less than fourteen separate tyranid attacks. From carefully laid ambushes to flat out berserk rushes, the xenos had come. And they had died. Near the end of the trek four marines had run dry on ammunition and resorted to using their combat knives or chainswords. They had come across the bodies of at least six Ultramarines. Each time they had paid their respects and, if gear was available, reclaimed it for themselves. Each time the apothecary attached to them did his sacred duty and removed the geneseed from the fallen brothers-in-arms.

But along with six sets of geneseed returned, they had also discovered and brought back three living brothers. One had wounds so severe that the apothecary had to activate his sus-an membrane to save his life, but the other two would return to the fight in no time.

"Well done, Novamarines. Well done. See that your men are resupplied. We are holding the line here." He pointed to a stretch of the Cold Steel Mountains. "This fortress is all but impenetrable, but there is one avenue of approach that could prove to be a weakness should the tyranids find and exploit it. Here."

There was a section of ridgeline, just as unassuming as the rest, to the west of where the 3rd Company would be holding the line. "If they get through here, it is possible they could then scale the mountains behind us and hit our flank. You're to make sure that doesn't happen. Can you do that for me, brother sergeant?"

"As Guilliman as my witness, we will hold that pass."

+++++++

First squad had re-kitted as quickly and efficiently as expected. Telarius had refilled on bolter ammunition, but had requisitioned a missile launcher from the Ultramarines 3rd Company. A bit wiser to the way the game was being played out, the rest of the squad had taken as many grenades as they could and locked their personal combat blades to their shin-armor in exchange for Ultramarine chain swords. Well equipped and ready for battle, Lucius shared a word of praise to Guilliman and the Emperor with Captain Ardias and gave the order to move out.

[WIP More to Come!]
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PostSubject: Re: The Pilgrimage (Lucius' Backstory)   Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:37 pm

"...ve overrun our posi... pulling back to rally-point-bravo. Callan, blow the charges, now! Repeat, the tyranids have overrun our position and we are pullin- contact left! Left!"

The vox cut out. "I am no longer receiving a signal, brother sergeant." Brother Furio, 1st squad's vox operator looked at Lucius. His voice, like his armored helm, gave nothing away.

"Understood. Carry on."

As the vox-caster equipped Furio moved on, brother Telarius approached. "The pass has been secured, sergeant: shaped-charges have been placed and fighting positions reinforced." He must have felt the air and posed a question. "Any word from Captain Ardius?"

Lucius looked up from the holomap projecting from his forearm display and nodded. "He is pulling back to rally-point-bravo. Alpha has been overrun."

Telarius inhaled and nodded back, his hand caressing his un-helmeted chin. "With Alpha overrun-"

"There is a very real possibility of the tyranids finding this route. Who is our best marksman? Is it still Pallo?"

Telarius smiled. "It's me. But Pallo is OK with the right weather."

Lucius smiled. "Get Pallo a motion predictor and a stalker bolter. Enemy scouts are no doubt combing the mountainside for a weakness. Expect contact soon."

Telarius hefted the launcher over his shoulder. "Good. I was starting to get bored."
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