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Old 01 Sep 2008, 12:49   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 9,807
Default Entry H - The Iron Cage

The Iron Cage

Sebastus IV. Noone would have thought such an insignificant world would ever play a part in shaping the future. The surface was barren and lifeless, no indigenous people, animals nor plant called this world their own. Yet it did have a part to play in the grand scheme of the universe. A part of death, hatred and change for those that would participate in the events soon to take place. In the cold depths of space a malevolent eye turned its attention upon the world. A plan began to form in its mind. Events were put into motion that would echo for the rest of time. The stage was set. All that was required now were the players.

The swarm of drop pods slashed a fiery trail through the overcast sky towards the rocky, barren surface of Sebastus IV. Their targets were the anti-aircraft batteries situated on the hills to the west of the Eternal Keep, where they could destroy any aircraft approaching the fortress. The thick grey cloud cover meant that the drop pods would be upon the enemy before they had time to react. Inside one of the armoured pods Captain Valon of the 12th Company went over the plan again. He wasn’t pleased with it. It had been a rushed planning session; the anger of Rogal Dorn towards his brother Perturabo had clouded his judgement. They had abandoned their usual methods of thoroughly planning their assault. It felt wrong. Valon however like all Imperial Fists had been trained to improvise once on the ground and how to adapt to situations in combat. The restraints inside the drop pod locked down on his shoulders in preparation for the jarring impact of the landing. Having made many assaults by drop pod the sudden jarring impact didn’t affect him at all. Scantly a second after impact the explosive bolts on the sides of the pod fired and the sides fell away.

Valon was the first Imperial Fist to set foot on the surface of Sebastus IV. The cloud of dust displaced by the impact of the drop pod still billowed about when the captain of the 12th charged out with his command squad following. They burst out of the dust with bolt pistols at the ready, chainswords revving and ready to react to whatever awaited them. The impacts of yet more drop pods slamming into the surface created a wall of dust that provided immediate cover. Around the guns were a series of bunkers linked by deep trenches. But there was no sign of any Iron Warriors. Something was horribly wrong here.

“My lord, the whelps of Dorn have begun their landings”. A tactical display activated on the table in the centre of the room. The layout of the Eternal Keep and its defences appeared in detail. The position of the anti-aircraft guns was displayed in red denoting the first Imperial Fist landings. “They have walked right into our trap. They will not survive for long”.
The primarch Perturabo looked up from his steel plated throne. “Don’t be so sure of yourself Warsmith. The sons of Dorn may be weak cowards, but they are space marines none the less”. The primarch rose and walked up to the display. “Dorn will send his underlings to destroy the outlying guns. My brother will come for me directly, not realizing until too late that I will not grace him with my presence”. Perturabo smiled evilly. “Those fools may have embarrassed me on Terra, but now they blindly walk to their deaths. Activate the defences”. He walked back to his throne and sat down. They were perfectly safe here miles away from the Eternal Keep in this underground bunker complex. “Your soul will soon be devoured dear brother. It’s a shame I can’t end it personally, but needs require me to be here”.

Valon gathered his sergeants together. “Sergeant Corlin, take your squad and secure the first bunker. Sergeant Reitol, the central bunker. Sergeant Locas, the final bunker. Set up a defensive perimeter whilst we destroy the batteries. Keep your eyes open brothers, something is very wrong here”.
All three sergeants saluted together. “Yes Brother Captain”.
Captain Valon turned his attention towards the immense guns. It wouldn’t take many demolition charges to put them out of business. He gathered his command team to him and they made their way to the base of the nearest weapon. Valon stowed his bolt pistol in his holster and deactivated the energy field on his power fist. Taking the first demo charge handed to him he knelt down next to the base of the weapon. He glimpsed a large box shaped device wired into the base of the auto-loaders. As he looked the device began to flash with malevolent red lights. Valon was up and running before he knew it. “Move”, he bellowed to his command team. They almost made it. Seconds later the marine captain was thrown through the air before slamming violently into the bunker. The other members of his command squad weren’t so lucky. Apothecary Teolis lost his right arm in the hail of shrapnel from the exploding weapon and the marine carrying the 12th Company standard was torn into bloody chunks. Only brother Mahnor was unscathed having been standing furthest from the explosion his power armour had only taken superficial damage. He ran over the remains of the standard bearer and raised the banner that had fallen into the dust. Of the others, there was nothing remaining. Shaking the ringing out of his ears Captain Valon regained his feet. He staggered into the central bunker. “Targets sighted Brother Captain. They are attacking . . . .” the radio went silent as bolter shells exploded against the walls of the bunkers. Valon looked out the viewing slit at the advancing Iron Warriors. There were so many. The Imperial Fists 12th company were completely cut off from help.

At that exact moment, a pair of Thunderhawk Gunships broke through the cloud cover and began their landings a mile from the southern face of the Eternal Keep. From the battlements a squad of Iron Warriors armed with missile launchers sighted in on the lead gunship. With a single order from their squad leader all four launchers fired. As soon as the first missile left the gargoyle mouthed weapons the next missile dropped into place from the loading rack atop the launcher. Twenty rockets were fired in as many seconds. The pilot of the lead Thunderhawk saw the exhaust fumes atop the fortress and immediately began to pull the craft up in an evasive manoeuvre. The first ten missiles miraculously shot underneath the craft. Suddenly there was a massive explosion as three missiles detonated against the starboard side engine. The nose of the gunship dropped right into the path of the final rockets. The last seven all impacted within one foot of each other against the armoured glass of the cockpit. The cockpit was engulfed in a tempest of glass, shrapnel and fire; the pilots were torn to pieces before the fire had a chance to ignite what remained of their bodies. With one engine destroyed and noone left alive at the controls the boxy gunship plummeted five meters to the ground, nose first. The assault ramp at the front took the brunt of the impact as the craft burrowed into the ground before the engines cut out. The second Thunderhawk had a few extra seconds of warning than the other did. The first thought of the pilot after seeing the missile exhausts was to get his cargo of marines to the ground. The Iron Warriors atop the Keep expected their next target to go to ground; they held their fire and waited for it to land. Moments before the assault ramp had begun to lower, they fired again. The first five marines had no chance. The dust thrown up by the impact of the first downed Thunderhawk and the landing of the second meant that the first volley of missiles missed. But the second volley didn’t. The five marines on the ramp were obliterated. The remaining marines got out without significant injury, the nearby trench offered cover from the missile bombardment. A final volley aimed at the interior of the Thunderhawk caused the craft to explode in a massive fireball. Inside the first downed gunship, Sergeant Farlen punched the side access door with his power fist repeatedly. After the first couple of hits from the energised weapon the door began to crumple outwards. A few more punches and the door fell to the dusty ground in two halves. A god amongst men leapt from the interior first. Unlike the rest of his warriors who wore their standard yellow power armour, his was jet black in remembrance of his father and brother Sanguinius, both killed by his most beloved brother Horus. But more than a reminder of those he had lost, it was a reminder of his biggest failure. The pain of guilt over his failure to act quicker still burned hot in his breast, but even now that was nothing compared to the titanic fury at his traitorous brother Perturabo. He had promised Guilliman that he would dig Perturabo out of his hole and drag him back to Holy Terra to answer for his crimes. “Traitor”. Years ago that thought would never have seemed possible. All those days he had spent with Horus on the Vengeful Spirit, talking about their father and all the glories they had won in his name. And now here they were. Two brothers facing off once again, each hoping to best the other for what they believed to be right. As they clambered from the wreckage bolter rounds began to explode around them. Rogal Dorn raised his perfect blade and levelled it towards the attacking Iron Warriors. “Brothers! Show these vile traitors the error of their ways. Show them the folly of turning their backs on the Emperor and the Imperium!” he bellowed as he began to charge towards the trench line ahead. Around him his marines roared the battlecry of their legion as they followed their lord. “Primarch-Progenitor, to your glory and the glory of him on Earth”!
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