All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 SJ
The Rise of Chaos:
Out of Action
written by SJ
"You have some badly bruised ribs, one is slightly fractured." The doctor spoke clearly.
Lana winced, sucking in her stomach as another man, a medical assistant, started wrapping up her ribs with gauze. There was a large, ugly, bruise on the right side of her abdomen, near where her ribs began.
A third man, dressed more like a research scientist than a doctor, pointed at her bruise and asked. "Did Sergeant Dakota do that to you?"
But Lana wasn't concerned about herself. Upon hearing her friend's name, she looked at the research scientist and pleaded, asking again. "How's she doing? Is Jennifer doing any better?"
Seeing the worry in Lana's eyes, he really didn't want to answer, knowing what information he had so far was only bad. He sighed, then responded. "She was catatonic when she was brought in. When last I checked...she had slipped into a coma."
Lana sighed, sorrowfully, then winced again, holding her stomach. It hurt to breath too deeply. When Lana looked at the scientist again, he spoke, trying to sound hopeful. "We've come quite a bit further in our research since the last group of colonists-turned-cultists died months earlier."
"But it looks like she's going to die eventually...just like the others did?"
So far, all persons that had been captured and controlled by Chaos, have followed the same pattern after being rescued. They became catatonic...fell into a coma....then died.
But the scientist tried to sound positive. "No. I'm told that Sergeant Dakota is a tough Marine. If anyone can make it though this, she can."
Lana believed him...or, at least, wanted to. She had insisted on going up to the Emperor Corporation's science ship with Jennifer shortly after escaping from the cement compound where Boseman had taken her captive. The science ship had medical doctors there, and anyway, General Parker wanted to speak to her and her CO in person; it was a good place to for them to meet.
The medical assistant had finished up with the gauze, telling her that was the best they could do for now. He suggested she rest--stay off those ribs, and try not to get beaten up again for a least another couple days, he jested seriously, smiling. He told her that her CO was coming with the topical analgesic; they didn't have any. He pointed at the bandages covering her injured ribs, telling her to just rub it on in that area...right over the gauze, it'll soak in.
The scientist and the doctor had left before the medical assistant had finished with his gauze. Lana and him had made a couple flirting glances at each other before he was done. As he started to leave, she joked with a bit of a shy smile, not expecting him to hear. "What...no kiss?"
"No. No, kiss!" Lana clearly recognized Colonel Gallardo's voice from behind her. He stepped up with a joking grin. "What's with all this kissing? You're a Marine for gods sake. Marines don't need kisses..." He chuckled, his comments making himself laugh more than anything. Lana didn't want to laugh. She knew it would hurt...but still had to smile a little, not at his joke, but in the way he was laughing at himself. She was happy to see him.
He placed a tube in her lap, then joked again. "Here...I got you some barbecue sauce for those ribs."
She looked down at the topical analgesic and let out a chuckle at his joke, then winced.
He understood her pain, then almost laughed again. "Only hurts when you laugh, huh?"
As the medical assistant opened the door to leave the medical bay, he stood back to let in General Parker, who came in with two assistants.
The General seemed almost larger-than-life than the video screen made him. As he walked up to Lana, he looked at her, then smiled, starting to laugh.
Lana sat wondering...
"I'm willing to bet Boseman has a new respect for Special Ops now!" The General grinned widely. "No one is going to beat your record."
The female Marine had no idea what he was talking about, but started to smile.
"Twenty-nine Khorne Cultist Berserkers...using a pair of 9.1s." The General proudly laughed again. "When I told Captain Davis about it, he had a fit. But he wants to shake your hand."
Lana smiled wanly. She wasn't attempting to break any records when she killed all those Cultists; she was just fighting for her life.
When the General was done smiling, he got down to business as usual. "Well...it looks like Major Yarrick's got himself two hand-picked teams to go down into the mine from that emergency exit...each accompanied by a close-combat-specialist. I wish him and his men luck..." He grinned. "They're going to need it."
Before Lana could speak, the General continued. "You, young lady...you're going to be on light duty for awhile. What is it...a couple broken ribs?"
"Only one is fractured..." Lana corrected. "Not too bad...but, rather annoying, and," she winced as she got up from the medical table, "painful." But there was still one question she wanted answered about her rescue. "Tell me...how did you guys find me so fast?"
The General smiled, looking at Gallardo. "It was your CO. While we were running around trying to figure out where to even start, your CO was calmly checking the hotel files. They had a record of what all the personnel on that space station did, and were they went...or close enough for us to narrow our scans down to find you."
"Never underestimate marketing research for a new hotel." Gallardo smiled, cleverly.
Lana took some time to rub on some of the topical analgesic before putting back on her shirt. It was obvious she was eager to get back to work. Gallardo told her she would be on guard duty back at headquarters, on the ground...away from combat.
Cheyenne Ranger headquarters was located behind a long, wide, flat, hill about six kilometers west of the mine. On the south end of the hill, Lana occupied a cement, open-topped, bastion-style bunker, with one other Scout Marine, a new recruit that hadn't fully qualified expert with his bolter yet. Below them, underneath a monorail track, was a squad of eleven Planetary Guardsmen, fortified in a hastily built trench, one that Lana didn't think was near deep enough. But, it probably didn't matter...since the battle would be taking place inside the mine.
Still, Lana had an eerie feeling about the whole thing: Chaos forces had a good defensive position outside the mine. They could have caused significant casualties as General Parker's Marines advanced, THEN retreated into the mine afterwards. And the town of Kepet...other than the emergency exit, its location was not very strategic. Was the Chaos commander aware of the emergency exit and now waiting to ambush them inside? Unlikely, but...
All the transport shuttles from both Yarrick's and Parker's command ships were located at a small, civilian airport located about two kilometers southeast from the hill Lana was on. She could see it clearly from her position, watching as the shuttles were busy picking up and dropping off equipment, then landing inside the walled enclosure of the mining compound, soon to return and repeat the procedure. The rain and most of the clouds had dissipated, rays of sunlight dotting the landscape of what was quickly becoming a clear, sunny, morning.
But, in the mine itself, called the Erebus Cathedral by the Chaos commander, that was a different story. Lana continued to think about it: Erebus...a dark place under the earth through which the dead passed before entering Hades--like, a gateway. She remembered Boseman's WARP gate--a disposable one. If Chaos had more WARP gates inside the mine, then they wouldn't be as trapped as General Parker and Major Yarrick thought they were. But where would they go with that gate...?