Prey

Prey

Postby Primarch on Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:26 pm

With a skittering of claws, the hormagaunt leapt onto a fallen log. Throughout the darkness beneath the thick green canopy of the forest it's brood mates moved with it. It hissed as it sniffed the air, thick ropey strands of drool hanging from its fanged maw. The highly attuned sensory nerves in the hormagaunt's snout could easily detect the heady scent of a lictor's pheromone trail, despite the variety of prey-spoor and bio-matter smells found deep within this fetid jungle. The lictor-scent told the gaunts that prey was nearby. Soon their purpose would be fulfilled in a rain of claws and the tearing of prey-flesh. As one the brood-pack moved through the trees, heads darting left and right as they moved, scanning for prey to kill.

Ahead the scent grew stronger, the gaunts bounded out into a large clearing to where the scent originated. The lead hormagaunt bounded up onto a large mound of bio matter. It's claws scraping across a shattered carapace as it poked its head down into the splayed chest of a lictor. The hormagaunt managed a click of warning before the booby-trapped tyranid corpse exploded in a shower of gore and spinning metal fragments. Almost simultaneously, seven emerald green clad warriors emerged from the edges of the clearing, their bolters spitting fire and death into the startled gaunts. With the roar of an enraged dragon a sheet of burning promethium swept across the brood as a heavy flamer was brought to bear. Lacking the co-ordination granted by the presence of one of the larger Tyranid breeds, the gaunts milled in confusion or leapt forward to engage their attackers piecemeal.
One gaunt made it through the flames and bolts, lunging out with talons engineered by the sinister will of the hive-mind to shred armour and tear flesh. With a crunch that would have sickened any sentient being, the gaunt's extended talons broke against a field of crackling power surrounding a giant green fist. The word Hasedoa inscribed on the back of the fist was as alien to the hormagaunt as the gaunt was to the warrior bearing that name. The hissing gaunt's life was brutally aborted as the emerald warrior blew it's head away in a shower of chitin with a single point blank shot fired from his bolt pistol.

Around the clearing the last of the gaunts were herded by jets of burning fuel and torn apart by concentrated bolter fire. Sergeant Hasedoa blink clicked the deactivation rune for his power fist and clamped his pistol to his thigh.
'A good day's hunting brothers,' chuckled Radean over the squad vox, 'It feels good to be free to stalk once more.'
Hasedoa didn't respond, his thoughts flitting back to the most recent tragedy to befall the Warriors of the Mantis. After making planetfall to help with the evacuation of civilians under attack by the xenos, the Mantis Warriors had suffered horrendous losses defending an Adeptus Mechanicus facility as the Tyranids had devoured the plants, creatures and corpses that littered the world. At the end of the siege dozens of Mantis Warriors were dead and those who still lived had suffered some form of injury from the alien horde. Radean had suffered acid burns to nearly 90 percent of his body holding back a hissing bio-construct whilst guarding a vital intersection. Hasedoa himself had several new augmetics courtesy of an encounter with a genestealer brood.
'Place mines in case any more of the xenos are drawn to the blood spilled here. Be ready to move out in 5.' The six warriors under his command moved with smooth efficiency, swiftly digging shallow pits and dropping mines into them before covering them with topsoil.

Moving swiftly through the dense jungle with the ease of those accustomed to dealing with tangling vines, quicksand that could bury a man in seconds and deadly creatures both native and foreign, the seven man veteran team pushed on to their rendezvous point. Master Mantodea and the remainder of the chapter's first company were involved in similar clean up operations across the continent. The chapter's fleet had pursued a splinter of the original hive fleet to the verdant arboreal world of Janus Tertiary. As the Tyranid bio-ships had moved in towards the planet the Imperial fleet had swung out from behind the planet's second moon and crippled several of the enemies capital ships. Those that survived had launched spore pods towards the surface, only to find the First Company of the Mantis Warriors, the famed Tranquility Veterans, waiting for them.

Named for a battle fought almost 100 years before, the first company had held for weeks against a numerically superior force amongst the yellow and green forests of the far distant planet, Tranquility. As the dull grey drop-pods of the Carcharadons had crashed into the forests on jets of flame, the First had been preparing. So used to the brutal clash of arms and the furious onslaught of combat, the dread Carcharadons had been ill suited to the war of attrition which followed. Waiting in well-planned ambushes, the emerald warriors had struck swiftly and moved on before any reprisals could be directed their way. Paying particular care to target senior officers, tech-marines and especially apothecaries, the veteran sniper teams had dealt the hulking beasts of the 'Space Sharks' a blow that their chapter was still feeling. The loss of experienced warriors and the destruction of the fallen's gene-seed had weakened the chapter far more than the loss of line-troopers would have. Of all the actions the Warriors of the Mantis had seen during the tragic Badab War, the destruction of the aberrations of that ignoble chapter was the one least regretted. With the revelation of the Blackheart's web of lies and deceit, the Mantis Warriors had surrendered to the true authorities, the spilling of their brother Astartes blood weighing heavily on them. The result of the Mantis Warriors actions had been a penitent crusade and the loss of their chapter's home worlds. For nearly 100 years the chapter had been forbidden from recruiting new warriors or replacing it's losses. During those years the chapter had suffered greatly, but Master Mantodea, formerly captain of the third company had led them through fire and damnation towards the purification of the chapter's sins and the redemption of their honour. Now a handful of years remained before the survivors would stand before a council of their peers and recount the chapter's deeds of valour in the hope of being judged worthy to once again count themselves alongside the other champions of mankind.

The seven warriors made good time through the jungle, their long strides ad powerful physiques carrying them further and faster than any unaugmented human could manage. A shaft of daylight streaming through the trees was the first hint they got that they were nearing their destination. Pushing on, they broke through the tree line and out onto a small area of grassland. This was to be their rendezvous and extraction point once the enemy had been dealt with.
Massardon was the first to notice the grim omen 'Smoke at bearing 327 brothers!' All eyes turned to the heading given, and surely enough, all could make out the rising column of smoke in the distance. With a sense of foreboding, Hasedoa brought up the map on his helmet display. The column of smoke was dangerously close to where they were heading. 'Double time from here. All weapons at ready, be prepared for combat. The Emperor Protects!'
'The Emperor Protects!' the squad chorused.
Moving rapidly through the tall grass, the squad made for the smoke. Whilst the Mantis Warriors speciality was for stealth and guile, they were no cowards to shy away from danger and were just as capable of meeting a foe head on as any of the Adeptus Astartes.
Pushing on the squad found themselves before a long crater, the ground gouged as if by a giant claw, grasses burnt away and the dirt rent asunder. At the far end of the crater lay the source of the smoke and a worrying sight for all of the marines. A great, green wreck lay burning, it's nose buried in the ground and pieces of metal lying all around it like a bird with its feathers plucked.
'Throne!' exclaimed Radean, sweeping the muzzle of his bolter left and right, all trace of his good humour gone from his voice, 'Those thrice accursed Xenos will pay for this.
Hasedoa waved his men forward, the warriors fanning out to cover more ground and to present smaller targets to any hostile presence. Moving slowly and with great care the Mantis Warriors approached their downed craft. As Hasedoa rounded the remains of the left wing his targeting reticule lit up, settling across a green armoured figure lying before him. The squad advanced at a faster pace, their guns trained on the tall grass that had escaped the flames and on the holes in the side of the wrecked thunderhawk. Hasedoa reached the side of the fallen marine and dropped to one knee. With his deactivated power glove he rolled the marine over to find that the front of his armour had been dissolved.
Prims Painty Points > +924.5
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Re: Prey

Postby Primarch on Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:26 pm

'To arms brothers, the enemy is here!' No sooner had the words left his lips than the tall grasses started to churn with the motion of a great many bodies stirring to life. Bolt guns chattered their fury as termagants and hormagaunts burst from the grass. In a mirror of their own ambush, the Mantis Warriors found themselves surrounded by the enemy and at the mercy of their guns. But the green clad soldiers were no damned xenos; they were warriors of the Emperor, holy angels of death and masters of war. With the training born or many long decades of fighting across a hundred worlds, the Mantis Warriors retaliated in kind against the vile unholy xenos assaulting them. As bio-weaponry splashed off power armour, bolt rounds found their mark in chitin and flesh. As talons and claws raked downwards, chainswords and combat blades parried and blocked.
For everyone of the insect like aliens, death awaited it in the glow of the burning gunship. And then, suddenly the tide turned. A massive beast, easily dwarfing any of the chapter's few surviving dreadnoughts entered the fray. It's talons, each as massive as a fully armoured marine rose and fell. In the space of a second, Thantosa, hero of Halonica and a warrior as brave and heroic as any Hasedoa had known was dead, his upper torso shorn from his lower by the force of the blow that struck him. As the great beast lumbered forwards, the smaller killers darted into the gap created in the Mantis Warrior's defensive circle. Hasedoa bound himself assailed from front and back and turned from punishing the xenos for their presumption to strike at him to furiously blocking the dozens of razor sharp claws that sought to end his life. As he dodged incoming blows and deflected attacks with his fist and combat blade he could feel the eerie calm of the Mantis Religiosa settling on his mind. Despite their lightning fast strikes and reflexes bred purely for fast, vicious murder, the hormagaunts seemed to be moving in slow motion. Meanwhile, Hasedoa was moving faster and faster, striking with a speed a surety that most Astartes could only dream of achieving. Hasedoa shook his head, trying to dispel the haze that was overwhelming his senses. To give in to the Mantis Religiosa was to relinquish one’s sense of self and one’s mind. Not unlike the dark rage that had afflicted some of his comrades in the Lamenters Chapter, once a warrior gave way to the Religiosa there was no turning back. He would fight with the speed and grace of a warrior possessed of true perfection, but even his enhanced biology would burn out shortly, his neural pathways shutting down until he was nothing but a killing machine, blinded by the light of the Emperor to all save the destruction of mankind’s foes.

Struggling to maintain his grip on his mind, Hasedoa watched the giant bio-beast engage Brother Mannir. Mannir dodged the beast’s first strike and lunged forwards with his chain sword. The motor of the blade revved and the teeth span, but the blade slid from the beast’s armoured shell without causing more than a scratch. Even as Mannir tried to dodge a second swing, a termagant leapt upon his back, driving him forward to be impaled on the larger beast’s talon.
Radean shoved his way through the press of the melee over to Hasedoa. ‘We’ll need your fist to hurt that thing. I’ll handle these little ones, you go and take the glory.’
Hasedoa nodded and made for the giant beast. Even as he prepared to strike, the monstrosity felled Massardon, snapping the bones in his leg and dropping him to the ground. Swinging the power fist square at the monster’s back, Hasedoa dealt it a stinging blow, cracking the carapace and sending chunks of bone flying. With a roar the beast turned on him and brought all four of its wicked looking claws down at him. Hasedoa dodged and twisted, evading the blows, but unable to get past the barrage of claws to land a blow on the creature. Hasedoa could feel his strength ebbing as he concentrated on staying alive long enough to find a gap in the thing’s defenses, but second by second he could feel the ache in his muscles building.
As his strength began to fail, so to did his strength of will. Once more he could see nothing but the blinding holy light of Him on Earth and the vile beast that must be destroyed. If Hasedoa fell here then his brothers were as good as dead, having nothing in their arsenal that could hurt the creature before him. With a supreme effort of will he set his vox system to broadcast and record. ‘Brothers, it has been my honour, make sure that our chapter lives on in glory.’
As the last vestiges of his life slipped away in a golden haze, Hasedoa felt more at peace than he had ever been before. The tyranid before him seemed to be moving as if through a quagmire, it’s every move visible to him before it even made it. There existed nothing beyond this time and this moment as Hasedoa did what he had been created to do and moved like an emerald bolt of lightning to clean the Imperium of it’s enemies.

…..

Epilogue.
‘It is always a shame to see one of our best and brightest like this Master,’ the apothecary said.
‘True,’ replied Mantodea, ‘But everything I have heard and experienced tells me that he walks with the Emperor. That in itself is a blessing worthy of this curse.’ The chapter master ran his gauntleted hands over the edge of the stasis pod. ‘Keep him comfortable and secure for now. One day we may need him and his brethren again.’

Mantodea walked to the hatchway leading out of the chamber. Looking back over his shoulder he was dismayed to see the banks of stasis pods lining the room. There always seemed to be less empty pods every time he visited.
Prims Painty Points > +924.5
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Finished Minis in 2016 (as of Nov 30): 369 + 2 Tables of Terrain
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Re: Prey

Postby Seb on Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:48 am

Awesome story, I didn't know that this chapter had a gene flaw similiar to the blod angels.
Although it sounds a lot more pleasant than the black rage.
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Re: Prey

Postby Primarch on Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:44 am

Seb wrote:Awesome story, I didn't know that this chapter had a gene flaw similiar to the blod angels.
Although it sounds a lot more pleasant than the black rage.


Thanks,
You can find more info on the chapter (and others) here.
Prims Painty Points > +924.5
Finished Minis in 2014: 510.....Finished Minis in 2015: 300
Finished Minis in 2016 (as of Nov 30): 369 + 2 Tables of Terrain
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Re: Prey

Postby Konrad on Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:01 am

Augh! I just lost my carefully crafted comments due to accidently pressing capslock and something else at the same time, grrr. One more time then.
I like the hunter becomes prey becomes hunter switch. The Marines names were cool! Are they Spanish?
The battle scenes were exciting. I did get lost at one point. Where you describe how the Tranquility Veterans got thier name, it sounded like you were describing the current battle. A Carcharadon sounds like another Tyranid to the layman. Maybe just to make sure everyone understands we are switching to a different planet you could repeat the planet names. "Tranquility, like Janus Tertiary, was a world of verdant jungles etc. etc. ". Sorting through a big list of imaginary names is confusing......like learning a foriegn language.....
...and now his Head was full of nothing but Inchantments, Quarrels, Battles, Challenges, Wounds, Complaints, Amours, and abundance of Stuff and Impossibilities.....
Cervantes, Don Quixote
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Re: Prey

Postby Primarch on Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:52 pm

Konrad wrote: I like the hunter becomes prey becomes hunter switch. The Marines names were cool! Are they Spanish?

Not really, I just looked at other named characters from their background and made up some similar sounding names. Mantodea was lifted from the Bell of Lost Souls Badab War fan-codex from a couple of years ago.
Konrad wrote:The battle scenes were exciting. I did get lost at one point. Where you describe how the Tranquility Veterans got thier name, it sounded like you were describing the current battle. A Carcharadon sounds like another Tyranid to the layman. Maybe just to make sure everyone understands we are switching to a different planet you could repeat the planet names. "Tranquility, like Janus Tertiary, was a world of verdant jungles etc. etc. ". Sorting through a big list of imaginary names is confusing......like learning a foriegn language.....

Sorry, guess I didnt explain that one very clearly. :oops: I forget that most people dont go around trying to remember which imaginary armies fought which imaginary battles at which imaginary place. :oops: :oops:
Prims Painty Points > +924.5
Finished Minis in 2014: 510.....Finished Minis in 2015: 300
Finished Minis in 2016 (as of Nov 30): 369 + 2 Tables of Terrain
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