Deathwatch- Dawn of a New Millenium
Gadreel Israfel Joe
Primus Inter Pares
A towering Astartes, Gadreel Israfel Joe is currently a member of the Jericho Reach Deathwatch. Amongst the Blood Angels, he was a member of the fourth company’s veteran vanguard assault squad Helios. Throughout his two hundred years of defending the mankind’s galaxy, Gadreel has served alongside numerous other chapters, including all of the first founding chapters save the white scars and iron hands (one of which is a member of the deathwatch team he is a part of). Unlike most space marines, Gadreel loathes the idea of dying in battle, for if he is to be defeated in combat there will be one less blood angel to stand before the hordes of unclean aliens all too willing to eliminate the human race and their rightful dominance of this galaxy.
…. 3 Months ago ….
“Touch down in T minus 10 commander” came the voice of the pilot over the thunderhawk’s vox unit. This announcement amused me for we have no intentions of “touching down” on this outer rim dust bowl of a planet…
TX199 was barely a part of the Imperium. With no noteworthy exports to provide the greater Imperium and with a population under a billion they cannot produce the tithe in bodies for the Guard. But here we are, about to be dropped into what has been called … Hell incarnate. Upon hearing that, I thought we were off to quell a cultist revolution, daemonic incursion, or a traitor (spit) legion occupation. Was I ever wrong!
The plan was to drop out of our thunderhawk at 2000 meters because landing was not possible. With four squads dispatched to ‘reclaim’ this world, I thought that was overkill but would never voice my doubts to my superiors. The theme of this mission was that I was wrong.
I have dropped into countless battlefields during my service to the Throne, but none like this. There was nothing, and I mean nothing, to insinuate that there was a battle raging on this planet. The earth looked as though it had revolted against the sky, great rents and fissures covered the planet, but no life signs on our way in. Even with the worst of wars, there were scattered signs of life, human or otherwise. I theorized that the Warp may have been cruel to this planet and delayed our arrival to a point where the population may have been totally enslaved to an invading force such as the nefarious Dark Eldar or despicable forces of Chaos. Again, I was wrong…
With a planetary population missing, for that is what it was… missing, our four squads searched our designated quadrants for signs to what exactly happened here. If an invasion occurred, there should have been some signs of fighting, and at the least … bodies of the slain. Here there was nothing. Just a world where the population seemed to have left when its tectonics went through a period of worldwide extreme instability. Have I mentioned that I was wrong about all of my assumptions in regards to TX199?
Squad Hyperion was the first to ‘make contact’, or more precise, lose contact. One minute everything was fine, all four squads were reporting as designated, then suddenly Hyperion was gone. None of the customary vox disturbances of an attack or ambush, just silence. After this, we (the three remaining squads) were hyper alert, searching every shadow, questing for the reason for Hyperion’s silence. Now, the three remaining squads also kept an active line open with each other as opposed to reporting in in intervals. Let it be known that Sergeant Dermont of squad Solaris may have saved us with his tactics. He sent legionnaire Prius atop a monument in order to better survey the landscape. While atop his perch, Prius was out of range when the trap was sprung. The report we received from him was that people wearing the skins of humans rose from the cracked landscape and dragged his squad underground. That was his last transmission before an unearthly buzz cut through the vox ending any further transmissions. To drag a legionnaire against his will anywhere would require an amazing feat of strength, even if we were caught by surprise. I have fought cultists of Chaos whom were deranged enough to wear the flesh of their victims and once encountered a possessed human who had the strength of an Astartes, so thought that chaos was the more likely reason this world had fallen silent. Try again, not even close.
With our forewarning, we took to higher ground and surveyed the earth of any signs of movement. This mush have been why the planet’s land was so ravaged, but to have a cult numerous and powerful enough to cause world wide destruction was unfathomable. When it happened, we were ready, but not for what happened… The ground surrounding the building we occupied broke apart and hundreds of these metal scarabs poured out at our squad. Sergeant Ramzie ordered our flamers to the fore with the rest of the squad to lay down controlled cover fire for any stragglers that escaped the holy promethium we poured into the mass advancing our way. I distinctly heard the curse Sergeant Ramzie muttered even though he did not broadcast it through the vox. Then through the vox he ordered a tactical retreat for both our squad and squad Saphris (the only other remaining squad left) to rendezvous at a central point for immediate extraction. The implications of his decision did not register with me because at that moment, the entire road before us heaved and out came a dozen of Prius’ skin wearing men, except they were not men. They looked like robots wearing flaps of flesh for clothed. Behind them, two monstrous floating robotic spider things emerged, pushing rubble out of their way like a man walks through tall grass. We immediately laid down a barrage of bolter fire into the flesh wearing constructs. Sergeant Ramzie was calling in our thunderhawk for a strafing run prior to extraction which had me wondering why, these xenos were falling easily enough to our combined bolter fire. Then, before my eyes, the spider things came over to their fallen companions, who started to reconstruct themselves and advanced once again. How do you kill an undying opponent?
Again, another curse escaped Ramzies’ lips as the rhythmic sounds of drums emanated from the ground. The sergeant immediately ordered a full regroup and fall back to the extraction site to await our thunderhawk. We met up with what was left of squad Saphris at the extraction zone to make our stand. Sergeant Nilz of Saphron asked Ramzies what was this all about, all our sergeant said was the words “Necrons, their numbers are legion”. Now the drums were getting closer to our current location, and when I finally saw the “drums”, both of my hearts sank. Row upon row of robot warriors marched in perfect synchronization as to sound as a drum, each wielding a glowing green gun of some sorts. We opened fire into the advancing wall of silver, for each one that fell, another took its place. What was more disconcerting was that we spied more of those spider things lurking amongst the advancing horde, and where they floated, fallen warriors got back up to fight.
Through the vox we all heard “Touchdown in T minus 5…” Again I chuckled to myself knowing that they could not actually land.
Over the next five minutes, we made a furious stand. But slowly attrition began to take its toll on us. As the fighting continued, my vision was blurred by a red haze. This has happened before as the blood of my enemies obscured my vision, but these enemies did not bleed. The thirst was upon me… I believe at this point, the thirst was enclosing upon the rest of our survivors. I barely registered it when Ramzies fell to the bolts of green energy pouring into us. Upon reflection, fell is the wrong word, he was hit and just disappeared.
“Touchdown in T minus 1…” This time I laughed out loud with no care who heard me.
The thunderhawk’s main battle cannon spoke and then again, for one last time, I was wrong. The thunderhawk slammed down right in front of me with its hatch open and all guns laying cover as the remains of our assault party made haste for the cover if its belly. I made it there first, turned, and emptied my clip into the closing group of automatons as my brothers covered the distance to the thunderhawk. Once they boarded, I gave the signal to lift off as I left our pursuers a big little surprise . Warning lights were glaring even before the pilot began his insane maneuver to get us from landed to full throttle, but for the grace of the Emperor, he got us to a near vertical climb out of this forsaken world’s atmosphere. The explosion of my melta bombs was nothing short of fantastic, a burst of micro novas and then bits of metal slag exploding from out extraction point.
When the red haze cleared from my vision, I realized that of the forty brothers that landed on TX199, including myself, only four remained. Immediately upon our return to our cruiser in orbit, the four of us debriefed the captain. With our description of events, his eyes went wide and once I mentioned that Ramzies said the name Necron, the captain immediately called for an astropathic sending with the highest priority.
Restless, I proceeded to our ship archives to research more on these Necrons Ramzies spoke of. All that I was able to achieve was to be barraged with access requirements and restriction prompts. After a few hours of searching the cogitator banks, I was interrupted by the blare of the ship’s warning klaxons. Being the highest ranking legionnaire remaining, I made my way to the command deck to find out what was going on. To my surprise, the captain informed me that he received a reply to his astropathic report, and that order was Exterminatus! Not only Exterminatus, but a complete destruction of the planet itself. I did not know what warranted Exterminatus let alone the total destruction of a planet, but I am not one to question the orders of my superiors. Being the token officer on board, I spoke but one word… Commence.
One solar week later we left the asteroid field which used to be TX199, with an empty ammunition hold, bound for Baal to resupply and debrief. Once we arrived, I was summoned to the Grand Chamber for immediate debriefing. Lord Dante was there in person to hear what I had to say, but to my surprise so was Lord Mephiston. After listening to my recounting of events, Lord Mephiston nodded and walked out of the chamber. Dante stepped forward and laid a hand on my shoulder as I knelt, “Brother, you have done well to survive TX199 and bring word of the Necron awakening there. You have earned your wings this day!”. I did not fully understand the gravity of his words, but did not dare to interrupt my lord as he spoke. “I believe that the Necrons are one of the most dire threats to this galaxy, equivalent to that of the Tyranids in my opinion. We have a plan for you. Our duty calls and the Inquisition asks for one of out number to serve in their Deathwatch ranks. You will be our tithe to them. They are your new masters while you are there, accept what they say as though it came from me. Learn everything you can, for they are ever vigilant for the machinations of the alien. Bring honor and glory to your chapter while there, and return with the knowledge we will need to combat these alien threats to the Empire of Man. May the Emperor protect you my brother!”