Last Son of Caliban: Among the Fallen
Sergeant Zebediah stalked across the field. His squads flamer belched burning promethium over groups of traitor corpses. His men carried naked blades, plunging them into any body showing any hint of life, any sign of not being mortally wounded. Zebediah stepped heavily. Deliberately crushing the skulls of traitorous corpses. The vox chime was unexpected, but never a surprise. “Brother Sergeants, bring me an officer from the traitors if one lives. Ezekial has questions.” Zebediah looked around and gestured towards a knot of bodies a short way away. He looked over where a body groaned and closed with one step, plunging his blade clean through the top of the skull of the wounded traitor, his fist fracturing the skull when it made contact.
The knot of bodies had fallen around the command group. The officer were dead, but the vox-carrier still lived. His heavy, backpack-mounted vox unit had exploded, absorbing the bolt that had been meant for him, He suffered grievous wounds, and likely would not live. Certainly not without medical care he was unlikely to receive. Zebediah grabbed him and carried him indifferently across the field to where Master Cain and the company officers gathered around the Repulsor and Razorback they rode. Ezekial was among them, speaking quietly to Master Cain. Lieutenant Bors intercepted the Sergeant.
“What is this Brother Sergeant?”
“Vox officer, master lieutenant. Best we could find.”
“It should do. There has been a mortal sergeant wandering around. See that he doesn’t interfere with any of our men.” Bors said gesturing at a squad of guardsmen gathering weapons in the sector.
Zebediah gestured to his men to fan out in that direction; “It shall be done master Lieutenant.” They stalked off in that direction, their heavy battleplate amplified by deliberately careless footfalls. The Guardsmen looked up, the sergeant crossing the front of his heavily loaded squad as they gathered weapons and munitions from the dead.
“Master Astartes, thank you for your help on the field. How can my men assist you?”
Zebediah looked over the men. They were tired and worn. Most of them carried 4 or 5 weapons. One had a full carrybag of heavy weapons munitions. Lieutenant Nabbok crossfed him a sped up feed of part of the battle. Several minutes of combat played out over a span of seconds. Zebediah twisted off his helmet. “Rest a moment men. We will summon transport to help with your burdens. Sergeant Mawlon, you fought bravely. One of the enemy commanders charged your squad. You were outnumbered, outgunned, and poorly equipped for close combat. You stood your ground when a tactical displacement might have been called for.” Mawlon and his men stared aghast at this cold, dispassionate analysis of the chaos that had engulfed the battlefield.
“We weren’t going to run from those traitors Master Astartes” said the man after a moment. Finding his voice.
“Nor should you, fellow servant of the Emperor. When their commander charged in you met him blade to blade, impaling him on your bayonet before cutting down his guards in close combat. And each of you men accounted for several of the traitors today. For this you shall be remembered. Sergeant, show me your weapon.” The confused sergeant unslung his weapon. Cleaned of the muck of battle it gleamed dully. Sergeant Zebediah looked it over silently, before plucking a purity seal from his shoulder plate. He read it to the assembled men. ‘On this day, on this world I swear to fight the enemies of the Emperor, to purge their treason, to destroy their weapons and crush their spirit. To this matter and on this weapon I swear.’ Sergeant, you and your men fought to the oaths of an Astartes of the Dark Angels.” Speaking no further he took a personal flame unit from his belt, briefly heating the wax he affixes it to the casing of the lasgun. The ribbons and seal looked ordinary on a marine, on a mortal lasgun they covered nearly all of one side of the weapon. Stepping back, Sergeant Zebediah crashed his fist to his chest in salute, his squad matching the gesture. Carefully slinging the now treasured weapon, Sergeant Mawlon and his men made the sign of the Aquila across their chests in return.
“Thank you my lord. You do me and my men honor.”
“Honor comes to those who act in the Emperor’s name, and no others. When the transport gets here, load the wargear you have gathered into it and rest. Tonight you feast with the warriors of the First Legion.”
A short distance away Ezekial dropped the drained husk of the vox-officer. Looking to Master Cain he said “The one we seek is here. He leads the traitors. He will be watching for us now.”