Approx. 2000 words
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 SJ
Seekers of Slaanesh
written by SJ
Normally, by now, farmers would be out planting onions all along and on both sides of the river that wound its way west to east approximately one kilometer north of town. Sergeant Sammy Burns crossed over that river on a strong wooded bridge and continued on north along a double-lane paved road, the terrain on both sides of him becoming dry, flat, ground. The road took him between two large hills that were too rough and rocky for his Scout bike to drive on top of, then he continued on off-road over more dry, flat, ground, then where the grass became more verdant.
Far to his right, east, the direction the road traveled, he could see in the distance a small group of buildings, the place where Dion had placed two of her detection devices. He stayed west of that as he continued on.
Sergeant Ramcke tried to stay parallel to Burns’ location. The terrain where he was at was less dry with more grass and trees, also with wooden fences he occasionally had to navigate around.
He sat on his bike underneath the shade of a tall tree located on his right, and behind a fence in front of him. Far to his left, west, he could see the buildings of a small farming complex, where Dion had placed her detection devices on his side.
About a thousand meters north of him, the terrain turned into the same bleak, hilly, treeless ground that was around the mansion.
As Burns idled his bike out in an open field, he saw the same type of bleak, treeless, terrain as Ramcke did at approximately the same distance away.
Aside from the initial WARP pulse inside the mansion, something that Dion and LaFong were beginning to believe had been done to try to knock out the scanners and cameras, there had been four more smaller pulses...none of which produced a single result...the basement inside the mansion remaining just as empty as it was after the first pulse.
A little over an hour had passed since the last WARP pulse; the two Space Marine Scouts sat on their bikes and looked out at the terrain. The sun was high in the sky as they drank from their canteens and ate a couple protein bars...then they prepared to resume their task. It was Burns who spotted movement first, something coming up over a hill more than a thousand meters to the north.
Using his binoculars, he tried to spot it, at the same time asking for confirmation from the satellite team.
“I’m sorry, we aren’t getting anything.” Was the response from a mature-sounding man.
He was surprised. “You can’t find anything?” He started talking to himself. “There it is...I see it. WOW! You should see this thing?” He spoke to the satellite team. “You guys are still not getting this? It’s about 1200 meters north of my position. WHOA...there’s another one way over on the right about two hundred meters away from the first one!”
Finally, LaFong cut in, explaining. “If they’re running around as individuals, then satellites are going to have a tough time finding them.”
The same satellite team operator answered. “There...I’m getting a reading...coming in...”
Sergeant Burns waited, keeping his eye on the first object, losing track of the second one.
The voice of Sergeant Amanda Hale came online. “If they’re demonettes, get the hell out of there fast, Burns. I’ll come in and cover you. I’m only about five hundred meters behind you.”
The satellite team began describing, “I don’t know how to explain this, but I’m getting a similar 'life-sign-indeterminate' that we got for the demonettes--but different.”
Finally, Burns had a full ID. “This thing looks something like a small dinosaur. It has a long, narrow, head with a suction-cup for a mouth. I has a long, heavy neck. It’s body is round in back with two strong, bird-like, legs. And, woo hoo, there’s some kind of female demon riding on top of it. At first, I though she was naked, but she has these black leather straps around her. Her body is this pale, pinkish color. She has large, naked, breasts, but--”
“Get the hell out of there--” Sergeant Hale shouted, then had to ask, “wait..you said a PINK body? Naked?”
“Burns!” LaFong got his attention, demanding and answer, “is it a demonette or NOT?”
“Well...hell--I guess it has to be.” He had trouble finding the words. “The thing she’s riding has to be some kind of beast demon, I guess. Her face is very demonic looking, and she has what looks like long, black, horns that curve back behind her head like hair.”
“Mine looks the same way.” Suddenly, Ramcke was online, describing something similar on his side. “The horns on mine are sticking up and outward...like a devil.”
The satellite team member assigned to Ramcke began reporting, a man with a thin voice. “Yeah...I’m getting life sign readings from two of them over there. But, the readings are a little different than the last time we found demonettes.”
LaFong had a plausible explanation. “That’s probably because you’re reading the two life signs together: the beast it’s riding, and the demonette herself.”
Then a sharp female voice came online, Lupe Diaz from the Chimera supporting Ramcke. “I still think you guys should get out of there before those demonettes start affecting you the same way they did our guys. Damn it...get out of there and--”
“Want me to shoot it?” Ramcke’s voice was calm. “I have it in my cross hairs right now.”
“Hell, yeah. Shoot it or run away.” Lupe demanded.
Then they all heard the zip of a silenced Space Marine sniper rifle...then two more.
“Did you get it?” Lupe had to ask.
“I shot the creature through its head and hit the demonette.” Ramcke began explaining. “But, it took two more shots to take out the demonette. They’re both gone now, disintegrated.”
“You did?” Lupe sounded very surprised.
“If you want me to shoot mine with the twin-linked, I need to wait until it gets closer.” That was Burns.
“What the hell’s going on?” Amanda was equally surprised. “Why--”
“I know what it is.” Jennifer Dakota’s voice was clearly heard. “The previous demonettes were summoned by the Masque of Slaanesh, and because she summoned them, they assumed her power...the power to make men see her as beautiful. These demonettes are different, probably summoned by Lucius. They apparently don’t have that power. They’re just demons...probably scouts--acting as the eyes for Lucius.”
“I’m getting a report from my satellite team there’s another demonette coming up behind the hill the first one was on.” Ramcke reported. “What me to shoot that one?”
Lupe answered. “Yes. Shoot as many as you can get. I’m coming up to your location and will join you in about five minutes. I’d like to take out a couple of those demonettes myself.”
“Go ahead, Hank.” LaFong confirmed, then spoke to her other team member. “Burns, fire when ready.”
“I’ll fire as soon as they get a little closer. I’m not armed with a sniper rifle, like Hank.” Burns answered.
“I’m on my way to your location, now.” That was Amanda Hale, speaking to Burns.
Ramcke began spotting another demonette rider as it peeked its head over the crest of the hill, then back down as he patiently waited for a good shot.
Then the thin voice of the satellite team member came on line, his voice anxious. “Uh...Hank, I just picked up two more of those demons over to the east of your position. Damn, they’re hard to find. You’re team leader is right. Individual objects are much harder to detect than groups.”
Hank had been so busy trying to make his shot, he hadn’t noticed the sound of a rider right next to him, behind the tree. He turned, spotted the beast first, then the demonette after she had dismounted, walking right up next to him...
He had been kneeling down behind the fence, using it to rest his sniper rifle on. The demonette slowly knelt right beside him. His mouth dropped open as his heart pounded...scared--nothing he could do but wait to die.
But, as time passed, the demonette remained staring at him. Then she reached out her hand, just a hand, not a talon, and touched his shoulder, then his face. He was too scared to move, but something about this demonette told him she didn’t want to hurt him...only curious, almost benevolent.
At the same time as he heard Lupe screaming an unrecognizable warning, a second demonette rider rushed up, the beast kicking up dirt as it came to a stop. He could plainly see one of her hands was a long black talon. He dived for cover just as she slashed, but not at him, at the other demonette, who fell and suddenly disintegrated. Then there were multi-laser beams flashing all around him as he threw himself flat on the ground, the rider demonette taking off fast dodging the beams while the first demonette’s mount fell and disintegrated.
He could hear Lupe cussing, angry. When the Chimera came into view, she continued to cuss while still firing the multi-laser at the fleeing demonette, stopping only when she spotted Ramcke getting up, seeing he was okay, but still wondering what had happened, “there was a demonette right on top of you. I thought you were dead--how did you survive?”
He didn’t know how to answer.
Some of the Guardsmen had gotten out of the back of the Chimera, trying to spot the fleeing demonette, looking for more. “I got the beast that damn demonette was riding.” She pointed. “It’s over there someplace. I’m surprised I hit anything. I’ve only had a couple days to train with this multi-laser.”
Ramcke recovered, then picked up his sniper rifle, aiming in the direction where the demonette had fled. Soon he fired, then fired again.
Lupe looked at him. “Did you get her?”
He nodded, still not understanding why the first demonette didn’t kill him, then stood and died, almost like she had given her life to save his. It was hard for him to believe--but, it was something he’d never forget.
As the day progressed, both flanking teams spotted more rider demonettes; but, after shooting a couple more on each side, the demonettes began keeping their distance...just scouts.
Then they seemed to all go away...
The two Chimera squads fell back to the edge of town, while Ramcke and Burns returned to Federal HQ. Melinda and Lana had talked about what had happened. It was obvious the demonettes had carefully avoided the area south of the mansion that had all the detection devices, neither of them understanding how or why.
However, the next step had to be taken: They needed to send a team into the mansion. Lana’s team was the obvious choice, with her team of Space Marines and heavy weapons, minus the Scout bikers, who would go back out on patrol. Officer Dakota wanted to go with her--another obvious choice; but, she wanted to talk to Marcellus, first.
When Marcellus came online, Jennifer and he talked a short while. Afterwards, Ramcke eventually had to open up about what had happened to him, much to the absolute surprise and shock of the others.
After Marcellus had carefully listened to Ramcke tell about the demonette that refused to kill him, he made a response that made everyone feel just a little bit better about what they were doing. He smiled and responded wisely, “it seems even the demons of hell are not completely beyond...redemption.”