Eight thunderhawk gunships plummeted towards the ground beyond the sound of speed. Their metal carcasses were glowing in vengeance as they entered the atmosphere. The left behind them the disintegrating masses of two strike cruisers, which smashed by the gravitational forces of the planet and that of the warp exit point, were paying the ultimate price for exiting too close to a planet's gravity well. There was no one aboard except for expendable droids and servitors. Every marine had boarded the thunderhawks and they had performed an emergency exit the moment the ships came out of warp space. It was a highly risky manoeuvre, rarely performed in the past, but had been carried out with precision.
Ezekiel braced himself, tuning in to the winds of the warp to try and assess the threat level awaiting them. They were surprised that no defensive fire met their arrival, but the pilots took no chance, flying their thunderhawks in unpredictable evasive patterns while closing in on their targets. The thunderhawk gunships were descending almost in a vertical dive and only the space marines' advanced systems within their suit of armour kept them in balance.
"Ejection point in thirty seconds" The pilot's voice came over the intercom "Auto-pilot initiated."
"Ramp open." shouted the jump master, watching the rear ramp descend. Twenty five marines activated their jump packs to idle settings, testing their systems as the count down clock called out the ejection timing.
"Three! Two! One!... Eject! Eject! Eject!"
Within thirty seconds all twenty five marines had exited the rear of the gunship and had spread eagled themselves to slow their descent. Powered by its engines and synchronised with the other gunships their gunship took up formation as all of the screamed towards the ground.
Ezekiel looked on satisfactorily, puzzled by the lack of opposition to their arrival. The intensity of the warp storms in the region coupled with their close arrival and disintegration of the ships may well have foiled any sensors arrays that were deployed. So far the plan seemed to have gone well. He could only hope that the thunderhawks' automated systems would work as well as they had hoped for.
One after another, the explosive and adamantium filled gunships slammed in to the bedrock of the impact point at pre determined intervals. The first impacted well above ground level, levelling the three hundred story high munitorium. Unexpectedly this resulted in a massive fireball which detonated the second gunship high above the ground, its explosion being wasted. The fifth gunship's sensors malfunctioned and it veered off to explode harmlessly within a large body of water, causing the whole lake to boil in to massive steam clouds. Ezekiel watched on, concerned about these developments, but he needn't have worried. The chapter techmarines had not failed them. Five gunships impacted at pre calculated intervals, each one gouging out a massive crater in to the bedrock of the planet. A massive crevasse three miles wide and at least six miles deep had been formed within seconds. Ezekiel's enhanced senses could just make out the cavity yawning in a man made adamantium and plascrete structure at the base of the crevasse. He thanked the emperor for his beneficent wisdom and activated his vox-com.
"All units prepare for assault landing! Follow plan delta for deployment! Johnson be with us" Ezekiel's voice boomed across the vox-coms of two hundred avenging angels falling from the sky.
Two hundred jump packs ignited simultaneously just before ground fall. The bleached bone armoured men of the absolution chapter formed a perimeter at ground level around the crater while the Dark Angels continued their headlong descent in to the abyss. As they descended there Ezekiel saw that the plascrete roof of the underground fortress had indeed been shattered by the repeated explosions. Before he could adjust his trajectory another Dark Angel fired his thrusters to maximum and flew through the breach, closely followed by another three marines. Master Erinyes, commander of the eighth reserve (assault) company was certainly not going to allow one so venerated as the grandmaster of librarians to take any risks. As Ezekiel slowed his descent in through the roof he unsheathed his trusty sword. Connected to his brain and drawing upon his psychic energy, the force sword was a very potent weapons especially in the hands of an accomplished psyker such he. He landed lightly, noticing that the four who had preceded him had formed a defensive circle to protect him.
"Trust you to show off Erinyes", said Ezekiel in passing evoking a momentary smile in the commander's face. The rest of the company landed in a tight knot and deployed for action but kept their jump packs attached as planned and fanned out in the direction of the four tunnels.
Ezekiel concentrated hard as he sought out the essence of his dear friend. There was a faint trace present, but he also felt the roiling emotions of pure warp energy. With alarm in his voice he charged down the southern corridor, "Follow me!" He could hear the thud of running ceramite boots on the plascrete floor behind him. The time for subtlety and deception was over. They had run out of time. He had to reach the scene of this blasphemy or the Imperium would suffer catastrophically. This he knew in his heart. Then he rounded a right angled corner and stormed in to a long nearly mile long corridor. At the other end, his enhanced vision identified three men. Three men with space marine physique and covered in black robes were intent on destroying a communications relay. He had little time to think as the three men turned, simultaneously pulling up weapons in their hands. In an instant Ezekiel had launched himself forward in a head long dive, activating the jump pack with a sharp mental command. The thrusters flared and he became a blur, a speeding bullet, closing the distance in an instance. His right arm held his force sword along his body, while he pointed with his left hand at the closest individual. A flicker of thought and his mind entered the mind of the other. Hesitation, doubt, and sheer confusion suddenly wracked the traitor's brain stunning him in to inaction. The effect of this hit the other too as well, such was the force of Ezekiel's mental fortitude. The next instance he was amongst them, swinging his sword in a wide arc and cleaving the first heretic in two as he flew passed him. Deftly controlling the jump pack he swung his body to upright himself, his heels screeching on the plascrete floor sending a shower of spark in his wake. A click and the jump pack detached itself, falling with a thud as Ezekiel charged the other two men. He would dispense the emperor's justice right now and absolve them of their heresy. Not for them the mercy of repentance. Not while his comrade was in dire need. The flare of the force weapon died down and the charred remains of the two men. Behind them, the cloven body seeped blood on to the floor. Darkness closed around Zamius' eyes, and it was only then he saw his slayer. Recognizing Ezekiel he knew that his task had been accomplished, and then darkness claimed his soul.
Ezekiel continued his charge, desperation giving him urgency, the rest of the force struggling to catch up. Only Erinyes and Asmodai kept pace with the grandmaster of librarians. They reached the blast door at the end of the southern tunnel. Without pause Erinyes charged the door, his powerfist swinging in a wide arc. With a screech of tearing metal he lifted the door off its hinges as Ezekiel and Asmodai charged in side. What faced them there stunned even the strongest of them for a moment. Ezekiel recognized his friend immediately and understood what was happening. With pure rage welling within his heart he realized that he was too far away to reach him quickly. Time slowed measurably as he saw the events occurring in slow motion. He cursed himself for having dropped the jump pack. He saw the cabal of sorcerers continuing to chant their foul sorceries, mesmerised by the flow of raw warp energy amongst their midst. He saw the eastern blast door on the raised corridor open and a figure clad in black robes step in. He saw another robed figure step out from the western corridor from what seemed to be a command centre. Both were bringing their weapons to bear. It was then that he saw the sword hanging from the waist of the heretic who had appeared through the eastern door. Asmodai saw it too as did Erinyes. As one they charged down the corridor trying desperately to reach their comrade in time.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
DEATH BY VENGEANCE
Chronicled By ( Shadow Guard )
GATHERING OF ANGELS
This section provides the narrative history of the events that took place during the Gathering of Angels campaign conducted by the Inner Circle, during Abaddon's Thirteenth Black Crusade. This is in no way the official GW version nor is it in anyway an attempt to infringe on their IP. There are many versions of imperial history buried within the sands of time and this is but just one of them. Read on if you dare!