Second Church Protectorate
“Die you frakker!” screamed Marius, his fingers pressing again and again on the fire control button. He had passed through the calm and controlled commander phase and was only now interested in killing his enemies. This was a nightmare, he had no idea how many men he had left, and in fact cared little. The only thing fixed in his mind was the next enemy that crossed his sights. In such a target rich environment, it was easy to lose yourself.
His last Spitfire missile speared outwards, obliterating his target; a slow moving bomber which had lined itself up for a run at the AA batteries. All he had left were his auto-cannons and he was determined to make every last one of these Tauran frakkers pay. Screaming his anger aloud he roared as he fired, “Walters, where are you? This is for you!”
A calm washed over him, an exhilarating energy he had never felt before. He heard Walters’ voice ringing in his mind, “I know my son, have faith!”
The curious thing was that he did, and unbelievingly he felt his laser cannon power up. It burnt with a pure green fire and he aimed at his enemies and felt the screaming bolt tear them apart. There was none of the usual waiting time, rather he seemed to have infinite charge in his weapon. The auto-cannon was spent, his missiles were gone and yet his laser cannons carried a sort of divine flame.
A message entered in his brain, he heard the words whispered and he did indeed believe. His voice rang through all of his surviving wingmen’s speakers, “Have faith in Him, believe in Walters and you shall be rewarded. See how I smite our enemies!”
The channel became clogged with transmissions, “In Walters’ name! For Walters! Die you Frakker!” All worked, they had been blessed and were exultant. Their enemies could not resist the purifying fire of their lasers and down below Walters roared, grew and called more to his banner. The enemy came, they fought and they died!
Viker watched them come, the mutants and dispossessed herded by their masters; the Tauran Elite. He watched as the virulent armour of the fallen spewed forth clouds of bloated flies which swirled around their heads, hiding them from sight. Laser fire was ineffective against them, only dropping the monsters to the earth, yet the Taurans came on.
He looked up at Walters and found him smiling, saw him nod to his own men and stride forward. Like many Viker raged in frustration at his inability to be more than he was, to walk at Walters’ side and then miraculously his Colonel halted. He turned, his eyes flashing a pure verdant green and spoke, “Come, join me!”, was all he said and they did.
They came in their hundreds and thousands, screaming his name, yet he did not wait. He strode forwards to meet the demon possessed Taurans and they cried out in anguish. Running they tried to catch up with him, almost insane with their desire they ripped and tore their way through the unfortunates who faced them. They had no pity, no reason to forgive; their Lord walked alone and they would not be found wanting.
Walters smiled and watched them come; it was almost time, he could feel it.
“What’s keeping us,” growled Berbatov, his halberd slamming into the wall, sending metallic sparks into the air.
“Calm down,” cautioned Arn, “we still have time!”
“But he’s alone, with nothing but a handful of men with him!” replied Berbatov in frustration.
“Have faith, my friend,” responded Arn, “When has he ever let you down?”
“Never!” snarled Berbatov , “My fear is that we will fail him!”
“Do not fear,” said Arn, his tone reassuring, “even now we arrive!”
Second Church Protectorate
AA batteries spewed forth their charged weapons, tanks rolled forwards and the Seventh Lutheran killed. They were inspired, nothing could stop them. Not the Tauran champions whose now plague invested bodies caused unimaginable mutations in their minions, nor the Battle Fleet which railed against them.
Elsewhere on this accursed planet, Church Troops died. They boiled in their own juices, they cursed their leaders and still they expired. Only those who fought within Walters’ sphere of influence prevailed.
Marius and his men were invincible; they harvested enemy souls as though they were nothing more than offerings to their Lord. Far out in space, the Tauran fleet despaired and when they thought they were at their lowest, they felt deceived.
Out of the vagaries of space appeared ship after ship, led by a strange three-masted vessel whose broadsides were devastating in the extreme. They ripped and tore, scalded and boiled, the very existence of their foes away. The Tauran Pagan Gods quailed at the fervour they faced, their minions were destroyed without pity, screaming into the void.
They had never faced such an enemy and knew not what to do. On the planet’s surface Walters came into his own, his long awaited ascension was imminent. He howled in triumph as his enemies fell, and his men howled with him.
With each slash of his claws they grew, with every bite of his jaws they changed, until at last they were his. Their bodies became infused with his power, their cries were only an echo of his own and in the midst of the ripping and tearing host, Viker found his God and was pleased.
Second Church Protectorate
Nothing could prevail against the intense bombardments, the Tauran Battleship heaved in pain. Boils and pustules on its hull burst, throwing virulent waste, debris and ammunition outwards. A miasma of bloated flies roared out of the distorted turrets, the respective swarms obscuring the form of the vessel. Slowly the great ship got underway, its creaking and groaning shell resisting the impact of the plasma batteries by the sheer will of its demon-infused master. With one last great effort it lurched its way into fold space, leaving behind a trail of plague infested debris, which dwindled and died.
Other ships were not so lucky, the Galleon’s accompanying cruiser and two destroyers laid down a tremendous field of fire. It seemed as though they were willing to expend every last missile, every drop of plasma, and to drain completely their laser batteries. Once free of the battleship, the Galleon joined them, methodically reducing ship by ship the Tauan fleet to inexistence.
Smaller transport ships dropped out of the warp, hanging back out of the way of the seething maelstrom of fire. As a safe corridor was blasted through to the planet, they waddled their way forward, taking up a stationary position above the war stricken world below.
Second Church Protectorate
“Whoa!” gasped Marius, as a sleet delta-winged fighter screamed past him, its plasma cannons spitting forth brilliant streaks of lightning. In a matter of moments, two of the attacking craft were nothing more than rapidly dissipating balls of energy.
The swift vessel turned sharply and roared back towards him, taking up a silent but protective position to his right. He tried to contact its pilot, but received no answer.
Another silently moved into place to his left, rigidly holding a more than respective distance, seemingly their task only being to escort him.
“Got to get me one of those!” said Marius to himself, as they effortlessly matched his speed. Then at last he remembered the rest of his Wing and guiltily asked for a roll call.
Viker saw the blade as it arced towards his head and knew that there was nothing he could do. At the last moment, a gauntleted hand parried the blow, following through with the blade in its hand. The weapon sheared through the meagre armour of the mutant, showering Viker in a spray of bile and blood.
Beside him stood one of the armoured figures, who nodded briefly and then sprang forward into the fray once more. Stiv glanced round and saw that somehow he had left his platoon behind, he was surrounded by armoured figures and slightly ahead he saw the Colonel. He pulled his rifle from the body below him, the bayonet had become stuck in its entrails and he needed to stamp down hard in order to rip it free.
There was a soft footfall to his left and he swung the weapon sharply, but to his dismay it was caught and held. Crying out in desperation he let go of its stock and scrabbled for his combat knife, but a hand gently closed over his restraining him.
“Your fervour is admirable, soldier”, said a soft voice, “but trying to kill your commanding officer is not the done thing.”
Shame-faced, Viker looked into the grinning face of Walters and wished the ground would open up and swallow him.
“S-s-s-ir!” he muttered in chagrin, “I am so sorry!”
“Not to worry …..ah yes, Viker, isn’t it?” and then when the young man nodded, Walters continued, “Your fervour has led you to rashly leave the protection of your platoon. If you insist on being here, then I’ll just have to give you a helping hand.”
Walters eyes began to blaze with an incandescent green fire and Viker felt himself drown in their vast depths. There was a roaring in his head, a long drawn howl and then he feinted.
“Johns!” roared Walters and the Corporal raced forwards, “My Lord?” he rasped.
“Take care of him,” Walters commanded, and then more quietly, “he’s one of us now.”
Johns grinned and hefted the prone body of the soldier effortlessly onto his shoulder. The boy had shown promise and had been rewarded, today many others would receive their Lord’s gift, but Johns sensed something special about this one.
Elsewhere on Argent III, Church troops fought and died. They were no match for the Tauran Elite led forces, nor the swarms of bloated flies which crawled into every open orifice of their bodies. Their still warm corpses expanded grotesquely, finally exploding and each one expelling a mass of the horrific insects. Thus an expanding wave of plague-driven troopers crashed back into their own lines, ultimately propagating their fellows’ doom.
In other areas, decaying and putrid men staggered onwards, laser fire ineffective against their mindless assault. They bit and clawed at their ex-companions, infecting them even as they gorged on the fresh meat.
The only true resistance came from a mixed group of Eyotalian Lancers and Infantry. Their tanks held their position with the barrels of their battle cannons depressed to their limits, they fired high explosive rounds directly into contaminated troopers as well as the oncoming Tauran Forces. They then rolled forward, flamers and heavy bolters charring and exploding what was left.
Accompanying them was what was left of their infantry, their Leftenant had wisely ordered his men to discard their rifles and with pistols and short swords only they butchered their way through their undead foes. These weapons were a remnant of their historic past and with a steady and measured beat they swung and stabbed, cut and hacked until their arms ran with the blood of their enemies.
Cheering they celebrated their victory until the drop pods began to slam down. Wearily the Leftenant called his men to order as a new wave of mutants raced forward, and waited for the drop pods to show what new horror they would thrust upon his men.
Explosive bolts blew, metal flew away and out they came, howling and snarling with rage. Armoured covered bodies leaped forward, weapons blazing a constant explosive fire. A huge man led them, smashing through the desperate defence with ease, bodies crumpling into nothingness as he struck.
Berbatov had arrived, and the Tauran Forces trembled.
Guest post with D.P. Prior
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