Warforce walked through the base towards the Furor Noctis meeting hall. A wind was gusting and whipping his robe about his power armored frame. The constant snapping sound from the cloth of his robe in the wind was irritating him. Unconsciously he began balling his hands into fists, clenching and releasing repeatedly. He knew it wasn’t the wind’s playfulness with his robe that had him so infuriated; it was the failure of his mission and the loss of so many brothers that had his temper on edge.
The council had gathered to hear Warforce’s report and he knew they would not like it one bit. Not only was he the only one left alive from the strike force, which would already be known after his arrival back on Forlorn, but Orks were in the vicinity. The possibility of an attack could not be ruled out. It was also unclear what the Orks now possessed. The shimmering box that his strike force lost aboard the space hulk could be nothing but a bauble or it could prove to be a devastating device. He felt that the box was of value but the extent of that value could only be speculated upon.
Calming himself down, Warforce gave his report to the council. Every council member present kept their expression from their face but it was obvious by looking into their eyes that they were angered at the news. It was not clear whether that anger was aimed at him, if they felt he was responsible for the catastrophic mission, or at the situation itself. He knew he could reach out with his power and briefly touch their minds to get that answer but he was afraid to know the truth. The disappointment he placed on himself was an unbearable weight already and knowing that his brothers of the Furor Noctis might also lay blame at his feet would be too much to bear.
Once the council meeting convened the Disciples of Twilight were put into high alert and had begun preparations for an attack. Scouting parties around the base were doubled. The number of Marines performing perimeter guard duties was also increased. A scouting ship was also launched and sent to report on the space hulk’s activities. If the Orks were going to move in for an attack then knowledge was an asset the warband could acquire easily.
“Recon One reporting. I have detected a ship launch from the space hulk. It’s not a model I recognize. Probably a crude Ork vessel. It’s headed towards orbit now.”
“Received, Recon One,” responded the Marine on duty in the vox-station that morning.
The council was quickly gathered and the news from Recon One was delivered. Soulgore was the first to speak, “I can’t imagine they’re coming down for tea.”
“Likely not. Let’s get the squads assembled while we track the progress of the Ork vessel,” replied Maelstrom. Every council member agreed on the course of action. Maelstrom nodded towards one of the Marines standing guard at the door and the Marine immediately saluted and left to relay the command.
Thoughts of redemption flooded Warforce’s thoughts as the Furor Noctis continued their meeting. A chance to prove himself anew was being presented and any chance was better than none. The lives of his brothers could not be restored yet vengeance upon the enemy was a close second by his reckoning.
Strategies were drawn by the council, as much as could be with an unknown threat. With no ships of their own capable of space or aerial combat, all they could do is wait and see what the Orks would do.
Tempest, Champion of the Havocs Squad, put his hand to his helmet, listening to the incoming vox reports. He nodded his head to himself and switched the vox channel to squad level. “We have visual on the Ork ship. It will be approaching our location in two minutes. Fire on my command.”
The Havocs on the ramparts of the base unleashed flakk missiles from their missile launchers at the approaching ship. Two quad-guns opened fire on the ship as well, the sound of the weapon batteries deafening. As soon as the flakk missiles were fired the Marines quickly reloaded and let off another volley as the quad-guns continued to track ship and fire unrelentingly.
Smoke bloomed from the Ork’s ship as it was struck repeatedly from the Havocs’ powerful barrage. Thick black smoke billowed from the engines exhaust and streaked across the overcast sky. Suddenly the ship banked to the west and its angle of approach rapidly lowered. It was going to crash. The ship’s speed was too extreme and its altitude too low for any sort of recovery.
Grinning underneath his helmet as he tracked the Ork ship’s descent, Warforce opened his vox channel to his strike force, “Move out and follow that ship.”
Warforce and his strike force were to the west of their base and would be the first to arrive at the soon-to-be crash site of the Orks. It was fitting, thought Warforce. His chance at redemption was being delivered to him.
Disciples of Twilight