Approx. 3000 words
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 SJ
Chaos: Infinite Darkness
written by SJ
The monorail car had a small com installed just for emergencies. Lana was contacted by Supervisor Garcia first, then by Lieutenant Lawrence. She quickly explained the situation with the people she had rescued, then spoke to Apothecary Ramos, who said he’d be there waiting.
Dylan Ramos had a friendly way of speaking that seemed to bring life back into the eyes of the little girls as he medically examined them, handing out bottles of a special liquid containing restorative properties. “Hola, niños, hola, niños...”
The little girls seemed to understand the Old Earth language and said it back to him. But, right now, they were all very hungry. Lawrence was going to offer them some food, but he had to mention the last of the lasagna was polished off by a couple big Marines once they had arrived earlier. However, Yarrick was there. He made a call to a local restaurant that catered to young children and said they’d be there shortly with all the food they wanted.
Afterwards, Lana sat down with Yarrick and Lawrence and began reporting the results of her mission, what she had learned from the young woman she had rescued. Officer Melinda Dion had been listening, and she responded eagerly, “a big crystal, huh? That restores my power crystal theory. The scientists on Alshain must’ve brought some kind of power crystal with them to experiment on. And on Cornucopia. Roland Nehemiah Jones called from the Tolstoy system and talked to a worker at power plant six by the name of Sal Wilson. With further investigation, I had learned that someone at the power plant had overheard Sal saying he had a box containing some crystals, then he left to meet with his cousin Master Sergeant Blake Wells at the Cornucopia Space Marine Base. Supposedly, he was going to meet with Blake to test something.” Melinda could be seen smiling, like she had just solved an important riddle. “Power crystals...that has to be the key. Good job, LuLu.”
Lana’s three team members that had gone with her to the Calaxo monorail station had returned with the Ops shuttle to Planetary Guard HQ shortly after she had gone into the Zone of Darkness. They were there waiting for her, happy she made it back safely. She wanted to have a short meeting with her entire team, Bull, Gannon, and Ramos included.
She had just received news from Supervisor Garcia that the track at the Cimarron station had been broken, apparently destroyed sometime after she had left. She wanted everyone to be alert and ready. It was possible that her actions might’ve pissed off Chaos enough to the point they would attack.
There was also the follow up mission involving Yarrick’s mortar. If or when it began firing, that could also prompt Chaos to attack. However, she had given him the landmark he wanted, a notable statue in the city’s central square were the Crystal was supposed to be located. But, Yarrick had suddenly been alerted to another event involving the four Imperial Guard corsairs currently in space. He could be seen talking in the distance, sometimes shouting.
Meanwhile, Lana’s team sat around and waited. The Special Ops leader had not had very much lunch earlier, since she’d been rushed at the time to get into space to make her report. And she had dropped her pie in the shuttle. She was hungry, something Ramos suspected as he walked over to where the restaurant was feeding the rescued children and got her a plate of food, a kid’s meal, hotdogs and fries, but good enough.
Shortly after Lana had finished eating, Yarrick came over to explain: “We just had a battle in space. Those Chaos ships came back...and as far as I was concerned, they had blood in their eye. All their weapons were fully charged. If they would’ve been allowed to reach the planet, they would’ve fired torpedoes on the civilian population.”
“So, what happened?” Lana asked, interested.
“I had to send my corsairs to intercept.” He smiled. “I’m proud to say the Pendulum of Doom is now out of action, badly damaged--”
He suddenly got a call and began listening, nodding with an, “uh huh, okay, okay. Good job.”
Lana looked at him. Before she asked, he summed up. “Right now, the Legion appears to be protecting the Pendulum of Doom.”
“What about your corsairs?” Lana wondered, seriously.
He sighed again. “I lost three of them. The one remaining is undamaged, but out of torpedoes.”
“How about the Legion? Was it damaged? Do you think it will try to advance on the planet?”
“The Legion doesn’t seem to be very badly damaged, if at all.” Yarrick sounded sure. “But, I doubt its going to advance on the planet. If it tries, my remaining corsair will destroy the Pendulum of Doom.” He touched something on his phone, answering a message. He smiled. “And, Captain Anderson’s destroyers just arrived in the system. I just received a message they are preparing to jump to Cimarron as we speak.”
Just then an excited Lieutenant Lawrence stepped up with news of his own. “The Darkness..IT’S GONE!”
Everyone just stood looking at each other for several seconds, shocked. Then Lawrence spoke up, “there are rescue teams ready to enter the city, but...”
That’s when Lana took command, making a call to the Kroot squad first. “Shaper To’donelaro, this is Officer LaFong.”
He answered with, “at your command.”
“There’s going to be a couple civilian rescue teams coming to your location. Once they get there I want you to advance into the city and protect them, okay.”
“The Darkness?” He asked.
“It’s gone.” Her voice was confident. “And it’s not expected to return. The rescue teams will be coming to your location in trucks with food and supplies for the civilians that have been trapped in the city all this time.”
“My squad is ready and will protect them with their lives.” He signed off.
She turned to Lawrence. Once he was finished talking to two rescue team leaders, telling them to advance to the Kroot location, she told him to get the other teams ready, maybe try to use some of his Guardsmen to escort them. She and her team had other plans.
Officer LaFong hustled all her team members inside the shuttle. Bull and Gannon had battle suits on; she told them to equip their Mk. 2 heavy bolters. She explained to Ramos that she wanted him to come with them, and to put on his battle suit as she put on her fatigue shirt, Scout helmet, and Tau force shield. She was going to fly in stealth mode to the center of Cimarron City and try to destroy that Crystal; capture it, if possible. He complied happily.
When Yarrick overheard, he had to say, “I like that plan. I wish I could go with you.” He shrugged and smiled. “But, I didn’t bring any armor for myself.” He frowned one eyebrow. “What are you going to do if all the forces of Chaos are still there, Rhinos and all?”
She smiled. “That’s where your mortar team comes in--”
“Yeah, I like it.” Yarrick seemed to read the Space Marine’s mind. He called one of the members of his mortar team over, introducing her as Corporal Lyon. He explained. “She’s one of the FOs for the mortar team.”
Since it appeared like Yarrick knew what she had planned, she explained it to her team. “Okay, guys. We’ll be in stealth mode. If we spot a host of Chaos forces occupying the center square around the crystal, then--”
“We’ll let the heavens rain down fire on top of them,” Yarrick grinned. “And I’ve got six melta bomb mortar rounds and six plasma rounds.” He looked at Corporal Lyon, who had prepared herself for the trip, arming herself with a laspistol. “Is that right?”
She answered just before entering the shuttle. “Yes, sir. Six and six.”
Lana then spoke to Lawrence. “Once I’ve flown over the city I’ll be able to better ascertain where any Chaos forces are located. I’ll relay that information to you so the other rescue teams can know where and where not to go.”
“There’s only two more teams and I’m going to send them ten Guardsmen each as escorts.” Lawrence responded confidently.
Just before entering the shuttle, Lana had to make her own assessment of the situation. “If you ask me, I think Chaos is bugging out. They want to retreat while they still have a spaceship to retreat to.”
The Special Ops shuttle flew over Cimarron City in stealth mode with Ramcke in the pilot’s seat. Lana knelt down behind him so she could have a good view, leaving the co-pilot’s seat to Corporal Lyon in case they spotted Chaos forces in the city’s central square.
But, there was no one.
Central square was empty, aside from the presence of a small number dead bodies scattered around in the fifty meter square area. The government buildings nearby, were damaged, but not destroyed. The monorail station was damaged, plus the track in front and behind it had been blown apart, blackened, destroyed by very a powerful lascannon.
Approximately three hundred meters away, to the west down Main Street, the area was covered with blind smoke. Lana ordered the shuttle to land behind some posterboard signs, blocking view from the west.
Once the shuttle had unstealthed, Bull and Gannon exited first, then Ramos, who had just finished putting on his battle suit and had chosen a Storm bolter as his main weapon. Once they were out in the open, they began taking fire from laspistols, those hitting having little or no effect on the battle suits, the Cultists quickly killed by the Space Marine weapons. Bull and Gannon then took positions facing west, Ramos found a position facing east; when he was fired on by laspistols, he returned fire, taking out his competition easily.
To Lana it was obvious that Alpharius had left behind Cultists to cover Tzeentch’s retreat. How many there were, was unknown at this point. By the time she and her team, Dakota, Burns, and Ramcke, were out in the street, the laspistol firing had stopped.
However, from the cloud of blind smoke from the west, they began taking bolter fire, unaimed and fired blindly from the smoke. Bull and Gannon returned fire.
Corporal Lyon wanted to exit the shuttle also. She only had light armor, so Lana assigned her Burns as an escort. They made their way into the central square next to the statue (the Crystal was gone), where the FO had a good view of the smoke were Chaos had to be. Lana quickly assigned Dakota to Ramos, then she and Ramcke found a couple five-story antenna towers they could climb to use their sniper rifles from; Ramcke took a tower on the west, Lana found hers next to some residential buildings on the east. She had a hunch there had to more Cultists in the city. The towers would make excellent vantage points to see them from.
Lana had reached her tower and had just started up when she heard over the squad com Corporal Lyon scream. Burns came online and explained:
“We just had six Screamers fly over our heads.” He announced quickly.
“Oh, my God...those things are horrible!” It was obvious Lyon had never been that close to demons before. “It sounded like they were screaming.”
Burns followed up. “Three of them just turned toward Ramos, the other three are heading south.”
Three of the Screamers had made the mistake of going to where Dakota was located. She easily dispatched them without much effort.
The other three Screamers were heading toward the Kroot squad, Lana could see them easily from her vantage point. She continued to climb as she called: “To’dondelaro, this is LaFong. There are three demons heading toward your location.”
The cross street to the city’s Main Street was called Promenade Street. The Screamers were heading down that street fast. Lana could see the Krootox Rider right in the middle. It began firing and one of the demons exploded and disappeared. Then the Kroots released their three Hounds and a melee quickly ensued. By the time she had reached the top of her tower, the fight was over. The demons were gone, but two Hounds lay dead, the last one badly wounded.
Then Lana spotted an ambush through her scope, four Cultists, two on each side of Promenade Street waiting with grenades. She quickly informed To’dondelaro, who reacted without hesitation, halting the Krootox Rider and sending Kroots around behind the two pairs of Cultists where they were quickly dispatched using the melee attachments to their Kroot Rifles. The Kroot Shaper then called in his thanks.
Lana could see Ramcke in the distance on his tower. It looked like he had found a number of targets and was in the process of finding more. He made a call to Lana. “It looks like the Cultists are carrying incendiary grenades. I think they might be trying to set fires in the city.”
After answering her understanding to Ramcke, Lana called Lawrence and explained, telling him about the Cultists setting fires. He answered, telling her that his rescue teams had firemen with them, and that he would pass on the message.
Then she spotted two more Cultists to the east. With them was an Alpharius Chaos Marine with a bolter. She notified Ramos as she took aim. Dakota and the Apothecary then took cover and fired, spotting them several seconds after they were notified. The Cultists and the Chaos Marine were killed quickly in a hail of fire. Lana spotted two more Cultists further away setting fires; she took them down quickly, but not before they had set one fire, which she reported.
Then she heard Bull and Gannon cursing. Afterwards, Bull came on online. “Hank, Little Sister, you guys better get out of those towers–-there’s a Predator coming your way!”
Hank had seen the Chaos Predator tank emerging from the blind smoke about the same time as Bull and Gannon did. He was halfway down his tower when a bright, violet, beam of light cut part of his tower below him in two. Lana had just started climbing down her tower, when she spotted Ramcke’s tower start to fall over, watching as he jumped off and landed on the roof of a two-story building. A beam of violet light flashed under her, next to her tower, then two more, which cut her tower in two. She was now in a four-story free fall. Below her she spotted a backyard swimming pool. She had no idea how deep it was or if it had water at all. Just before she hit, she formed herself in a ball and landed with a mighty splash.
Bull and Gannon were still cursing as they reached the back of the shuttle. As Space Marines, they had been trained to take off and put on their equipment quickly. To get their Special Ops certificates, they had to do it much quicker, something they had complained about at the time, and now were happy they did as they discarded their heavy bolters and took up missile launchers, using the shortcuts they had learned. They loaded one krak missile clip each then took off running...not stopping until they were under the monorail platform, a perfect position for a side shot on the Predator tank. The side lascannon on the tank was just starting to swing their way when they fired.
Bull’s missile took out the side gun and did substantial damage to the vehicle’s interior. Gannon’s missile hit the tank just under the turret, the blast dislodging it and doing even more interior damage. The Predator was very likely knocked out. But, the two Marines reloaded and fired again.
The Chaos vehicle was burning now, plasma fires. They suddenly spotted a ball of blackness inside the tank, near the rear, which expanded, then imploded like a black hole, putting out the fires, but leaving the tank just as dead, if not deader. They looked at each other and said the same thing. “What the hell was that?”
The incident with the two sniper towers hadn’t gone unnoticed as Dakota headed toward Ramcke’s position, and Ramos ran to find Lana’s position, were she fell. In a short while, Jennifer reported Hank with a broken leg and a badly sprained angle. However, Ramos was having trouble finding Officer LaFong.
From Bull and Gannon’s perspective, the blind smoke had faded. They advanced behind the dead Predator looking for Rhinos to destroy. They only spotted one, which had been already knocked out by a couple carefully dropped plasma mortar rounds. All that was left was a burned out WARP gate. The battle was over.
Ramos' search for LaFong led him to a backyard with a pool. The residence of the house reported the event, saying they saw something splash down in their pool, then, shortly afterwards, spotted someone at the edge, climbing out. Then two strangely-dressed people came into their yard, their description matching that of Alpharius’ Cultists. One of them had a staff and a bolt pistol. Then they attacked the person who had fallen in their pool, striking her several times. They couldn’t believe what they saw next. It seemed like one of the Cultists used his staff to open a big black hole, the two Cultists stepping into it and disappearing, taking their victim with them.
When Jennifer arrived, Ramos repeated what the civilians had told him. They sighed, looking at each other, thinking the same thing: They had to report Lana’s capture quickly...even though they had no idea what anyone could do about it at this time.