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Approx.2400 words

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015   SJ

The Rise of Chaos:

The Erebus Cathedral  


written by  SJ



    Most of the one-hundred-meter-square, concrete, wall in front of the mine had been shot to pieces by the General’s Marines and Yarrick’s Guardsmen with Mk. 1 heavy bolters. The wall had six entrances, two on the sides, and two in front, with chain-link-fence doors; those had been damaged, but not destroyed. Once General Parker’s three Marine squads had made entry to the enclosure, it was obvious all of the Chaos troops had retreated inside the mine itself.
    The concrete mine building was built up against a small hill; it was as long as the enclosure, twenty meters deep, and almost two stories high. The mine’s sturdy double door was about fifty meters long. On each side of the main door were regular-sized doors for personnel to enter. The ground inside the enclosure was made of asphalt and still showed the use of mine vehicles; however, none were there now. The doors to the mine were all closed, waiting, with strange markings on them, like they were beckoning the Federal Marines to enter the Erebus Cathedral...and die.
    General Parker’s combat officer in charge, Captain Davis, was a solidly built man of African/American descent. He inspired trust and bravery in any squad he lead personally, and those nearby. Davis deployed his three Marine squads in front of the mine’s doors, but had no intention of using them, keeping them at least fifty meters away. They waited until supply shuttles had landed behind them, where at that time, he reorganized and reequipped his men with weapons and equipment, preparing them for fighting inside the mine.
    Meanwhile, Colonel Gallardo’s two Assault Marines planted explosives on top the mine, shaped charges, setting them so when they exploded, the mine’s main door would be knocked opened from the inside by the blast, neutralizing any traps Chaos may, or may not, have placed.
    Federal Marines squads were normally organized with nine men each, plus two additional Marines making up a small, heavy weapons team, in this case, a heavy bolter; those would be left behind. All the other Marines in each squad had been armed with novaguns except for one, who had a plasma gun; the sergeants had novapistols. Two men in each squad would now replace their novaguns, with meltaguns, while the sergeants added chain swords and melta bombs to their armament. Davis had his laser-sighted bolt pistol and a grenade launcher, something he was good at using to bounce explosives around corners. All the Marines had extra grenades handed out to them.
    The explosives above the mine door went off on time and did exactly what they were planned to do, the smaller doors flying off their hinges, the larger, main door, crashing to the ground top down. The Marines then made a cautious entry into the mine’s main compound, checking supply and office buildings carefully, but turning up nothing. Afterwards, the Marines had to use three large elevators to descend to the mine’s first level, something they did cautiously after dropping blind smoke down first. Once the initial area had been cleared, they then quickly prepared themselves to go into the mine’s tunnels.
    Davis had already known that the mine, on each of its two levels, had three main tunnels, arched and roomy, with a track in the center for ore and personnel cars. His three Marine squads would take a tunnel each. He also knew the main tunnels had side tunnels connecting them, and where they were in case his Marines needed to join up with each other. He led second squad personally taking the center tunnel. They cleared the first level in about twenty minutes, then descended to level two, which they cleared in fifteen minutes.
    The mine wasn’t a very large, as mines go. It had been used to mine precious metals, including gold, but, then had quickly played itself out and was abandoned. However, on the second level, they had discovered a passageway leading to some caverns, a place where, eventually, a small group of scientists had come to study ever since.
    The passageway leading to the caverns had long ago been turned into a ready room with supply cabinets, lockers, tables and chairs, plus a couple view windows. During the trip through the mine tunnels, it had become obvious to Davis that they had been used by approximately three squads of Chaos Marines, four to six Marines in each...more than previously expected. So far, he was glad he didn’t have to fight them.
    The ready room led to a large, irregularly-shaped cavern, which was about two hundred meters square. The floor of the cavern had numerous deep crevices leading down to unknown depths where water could be heard. However, years earlier, a strong metal grate had been built making a solid flat floor, in places, built around the many stalagmites that protruded upward. As for stalactites, the ceiling was high, putting most of them up out of sight even with the lights on, which had been left on, like the rest of the lights in the mine.
    Davis checked his map and plotted a course of action for squads one and two for when they entered the cavern. Third squad would be behind as a back up reserve.
    At the other end of the cavern, there was another ready room, which led, as far as he knew, to the caverns that the scientists had been currently studying.
    So far, Davis hadn’t heard from Yarrick’s two teams. They were supposed to have entered the mine from the emergency exit and then be in place to provide a diversionary attack once Davis encountered any Chaos forces. He should’ve heard from them by now. But, since he hadn’t, he guessed they should be somewhere inside the scientist’s underground complex.
    Then Davis got a call light. When he answered it, it was Yarrick himself, who immediately began speaking. “We just passed the scientists’ storage area and we spotted a squad of those Khorne Chaos Marines. And guess what. There’s a guy with them in a fancy battle suit, I’m willing to bet, Nehemiah himself. If they keep running from us, they should reach your location in about ten minutes.”
    “Yarrick...are you with the two squads?” Davis wasn’t told Yarrick would be accompanying his troops. He was surprised.
    “Yep...and it looks like Khorne is running scared...or, maybe they’re running TO someplace.” He answered, half bragging. “Is there anything over on your side they could be running to?
    Davis silently sighed to himself. He wished he’d been told about the High Commissar’s personal involvement before they started. However, he should’ve guessed. Yarrick’s done this before. He answered, updating him. “We’ve cleared the actual mine itself and are currently in the first cavern’s ready room. So far, we haven’t encountered any Chaos hostiles or devices at all.”
    “Nothing?” Yarrick was surprised. “What happened to those other jokers...Tzeentch.”
    “We haven’t seen them.”
    “That’s strange--” Yarrick pondered.
    “Listen!” Davis spoke up loud and clear. “We’ve found signs that, at least, three squads of Chaos Marines have used the tunnels before us. If they’re not over here, then they might be heading to your location. Understand?”
    “Loud and clear, Captain.” Yarrick responded calmly. “We’ll be ready for them if they come. Yarrick out.”
    Davis thought a second, then decided to call the General.
    “This is General Parker. Davis?”
    “Yes, sir. I need to ask you if you are aware that Yarrick is with his troops in the mine?”
    “He is, huh?” The General sighed, but almost laughed. “He didn’t even tell ME. But, I’m not surprised. How are things going down there?”
    The Captain quickly updated the General, then signed off.
    Davis, and all his sergeants had scanners they could use to look for signs of the WARP. All during the trip, they had picked up only residual signatures. The sergeant in third squad currently had the duty of keeping his eye on the scanner. He called out loudly when he got one. “I gotta a large WARP pulse coming from the other side of the cavern. It’s BIG!”
    Davis decided to call Yarrick, but was blocked...obviously by the WARP pulse. He then quickly issued commands to his three squads, assigning himself to third squad just before ordering them to move out. Once first and second squads were spread out in a line, they began to move forward to sweep the cavern.
    Even though Davis wanted to hurry to where the WARP pulse was, he moved his squads cautiously. They had only gone fifty meters when the cavern was rocked with a massive explosion, one that caused numerous stalactites to come crashing down, a few large ones barely missing his Marines. By the time they had recovered, third squad’s sergeant announced that the WARP pulse was gone.
    The explosion had knocked out all the lights. The Marines quickly switched to using night vision before advancing again. There was a lot of kicked up dust in the cavern as well. It would’ve reduced their vision down to almost nothing, but it was only dust, not blind smoke. Night vision had enhancements to see though dust, which enhanced their vision to about twenty five meters instead of five. The Marines on point advanced, followed by their squad.
    Then they began picking up movement, small creatures of some type. Suddenly the Marines on point were attacked. The sergeant in third squad, quickly determined the creatures were demons, all of them emanating a WARP aura.
    The small demons had long, crooked, arms and legs, all which seemed to come from a some kind of strange, twisted, head. They had three fingers and one thumb on each hand, all which ended in the shape of a sucker.
    Marines on point with novaguns tended to mount a kind of blade (about 250 millimeters long) underneath the end of their barrel. It could be used as a melee slashing weapon, but only if they had the room to use it that way.
    The Marine on point in first squad was able to fend off the demon that attacked him, enough so he could get away. When he looked back, the creature was gone. The point Marine in second squad wasn’t as lucky. He was jumped by two demons which grabbed onto him, where the sucker ends of their fingers produced black talons. He twisted, rolled, then came up swinging, hacking at the demons thinking he might’ve hit one of them. When he ran back to join his squad, at first, he though his class 4 armor had saved him; but, he collapsed, breathing heavily, feeling deathly ill, shaking. It was his buddies that saw the black marks on his armor where the demons’ talons had somehow penetrated without physically going through the armor. He was quickly turned over to the squad medic.
    The Marines were currently spread out. As they spotted more demons, they fired, seeing, incredulously, as their weapons seemed to either go right though the demon, or glance off. Only a couple times did it looked like they hit one, but were unable to verify the kill. Davis quickly acted, forming all three of his squads into a two-deep, close order, firing line. When the demons attacked, the concentrated firepower did the trick, the demons apparently disintegrating once they were killed, until third squad’s sergeant said there were no more left. However, by then, the injured Marine in second squad had died.
    Davis ordered his Marines to quickly advance, having them spread out into open order. When they saw what was left of the ready room in the distance, it was obvious it had been destroyed, the cave in now blocking any further advancement beyond that point. In front was a man in a plain, dark-blue, robe holding a metallic staff, looking like he had just used it, the upper part of the staff still glowing slightly.
    The Marine Captain wanted that man captured if at all possible. However, as one of the Marines in first squad was about to reach him, the robed man shouted something at the same time as a creature stepped in front of him.
    This creature was larger than the demons, and it was grotesque beyond comprehension. It had some sort of putrid, dark, bulbous body with two, short, stubby, legs. From the body, coming out in all directions, were curved, pointed, insect-like arms, most of which didn’t even look usable, even though they all seemed to move like they were. There seemed to be a small head in the center of the body, but it was mostly made up of teeth. The advancing Marine stopped short, then turned to run, but was struck in the back by one of the claws. At the same time, the squads fell back and prepared to fire. However, the Marine that was struck didn’t make it. He fell and began to twist and writhe, his body changing as WARP energy began consuming him. Once he was off to one side, Davis ordered his Marines to fire, a massive barrage tearing the creature and the Chaos Cultist with the staff to pieces. Once it was apparent that the Marine was no longer Terran, he was killed also, their only option.
    Afterwards, Davis analyzed the cave in inside the ready room. He could see the lower part of some kind of dark, gold, gate, the rest covered with rocks and dirt. Then there was another explosion from other side of the ready room, it knocking everyone off their feet and threatened a full scale cave in of the large cavern they were in. This time, some of his Marines were hit by rocks and stalagmites, but their class 4 armor saved them from any serious injury, only a couple broken bones. There was no longer anyway his Marines could continue on to support Yarrick.
    He made a call to the General.


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