+ inload: Alien wars narrative blurt; Nai Primary – 235.M35 +

+ Nai Primary – 235.M35 +


The plants waved slowly back and forth in the sea breeze, though the water's surface distorted the movement. Improbable-looking things; the emerald stems were slender, and fifty or more foot tall. Like a child's drawing of a tree, they were topped with great spherical tufts, lavender in colour.

With a murmured imprecation to the machine spirits of his armour, Raphael touched two fingers to his helm's earpiece, summoning the lares of the vox-caster. A momentary pop that flattened into a subtle hiss indicated the communion with the Captain was successful.

'The Wards of Furiel attend, Master; the beach is attained.' Ahead of him, Donato knelt behind a cluster of coral-pink rocks, his weapon tracking back and forth across the headland.

'Acknowledged. Lazarus and his strateia are ascending, parallel to your position,' – a series of chimes accompanied the appearance of green runes in his armour's hood as the other squad's location behind the ridge of the reef was confirmed – 'continue the processionary.'

The vox-lares pipped out, and Raphael absently tapped the orison-box at his belt to acknowledge his thanks to the spirit of his predecessor. Waving his men forward with a gesture, the sergeant watched as Donato jogged ahead to the next patch of cover as Farnese took up his place behind the rocks.

The green runes of the hidden Squad Lazarus followed a similar pattern – one marine advancing, pausing; then another taking up his position as the first moved on. It was as rhythmic as the lazy tide, and the movement of the darting shoals. It was a beautiful world, reckoned the Blood Angel. The water was clear, the beach sand gleaming, the sky an attractive pink.

Satisfied, he began to advance at an easy stride, his broad feet raising short-lived clouds of sand, the knuckle-bone in the orison-box rattling reassuringly.

+++

The forty Blood Angels had marched, submerged beneath the gentle sea, for four hours. Now they waited, a few hundred yards off shore of the settlement, on the leeward side. Hunkered down they appeared as patient and still as the scattered rocks. Only the silver-filigreed Chaplain moved amongst them, pausing occasionally to rest a hand on a bowed helm, or to pass his crozius reverently over a proffered personal relic. In the water, his considered movements were slowed further, lent a silent and dreamlike quality by the water. A meditative atmosphere had fallen over the waiting host.

His command duties long completed, Raphael repeated his catechisms over and over to himself, praying to his armour to protect his body; to his boltgun to bring death to his enemies; to the lares and penates of his wargear to ward his spirit and keep his vision clear. Next to him, Barbarigo was passing his spare boltgun ammunition across the purity-sealed ; first one way, the the other.

A chirp altered Raphael to the Captain's vox-chorister. He remained kneeling for a moment, fingers to his helm's earpiece. Together with the other sergeants and command staff, they rose; their squads following a heartbeat later. Tycho turned to face his troops for a moment, his golden-masked helm impassive and inscrutable. His cape twitched, a-swirl in the current, then he turned once more to lead his followers the short distance to the beach.

Sea water cascaded from their armour as they broke the surface. Raphael felt it was akin to awakening – the silence of the previous hours was gone the instant his helm cleared the water, replaced with the sounds of distant fighting and the occasional heavy boom of shellfire. Boltgun raised, Raphael scanned the settlement's sea wall; even as a low, artificial wail began. A siren. A poor omen.

Although streams of smoke rose from the far side of the town, it seemed that their Nova Terran allies' bombardment had failed to draw all the defenders away from the beach. Raphael spotted glimpses of the distinctive jerky movements of the Nai as they scuttled to position. Boltgun fire began stabbing out from the advancing phalanx, joined moments later by heavier fire from the Devastators. Raphael saw one of the Nai, exposed as it shifted position, burst into a cloud of turquoise viscera.

By this point the Blood Angels were running; charging up the beach. Their scarlet plate, still dripping, gleamed and sparkled in the bright light. Return fire started up, fizzing past the Astartes; but too little, too little to trouble them. The roar of boltgun fire was hymnal; ascendant – but the Nai, if they noticed, were not fleeing. Their composure troubled Raphael momentarily.

Without breaking stride, Farnese and Engel, slightly ahead of the rest of the squad, lobbed grenades towards the base of the wall. They detonated with a cloud of smoke, through which the squad charged. The world disappeared again, this time in a cloak of rock dust. Raphael simply ran over the first Mor-Nai, smashing the dazed and injured alien aside. The second he gunned down from point-blank range; the third he clubbed with the side of his boltgun. His brothers were with him; the defenders over-run, his blood singing.

+++

Even before the dust had settled, the Blood Angels drove onwards. Pausing only for a squad count, they made ammunition checks and a benediction in the lee of a nearby water tower; then pushed into the city.
Raphael could not shake off the uneasy feeling that had gripped him on the beach – if anything, it was getting worse as they picked their way through the mediaeval tangle of streets.

Brother El-Aster, his armour white with dust, was a few yards ahead at the intersection. He paused for what seemed a long time, then lifted his hand slowly, four fingers outstretched, for the rest of the squad to see. Barbarigo jogged past the sergeant in an awkward half-crouch, staying low. Before he reached the point-man, the whole end of the street erupted as something huge and writhing burst through the wall of the corner building. The two lead marines simply vanished in the cloud.

The remaining members of the squad had their weapons up, searching for a target, calling on the spirits to commune with their missing brethren – and it was then that Raphael's fears were confirmed. The two marines emerged from the settling cloud of debris, their movements as stilted as the Nai on the beach; and what followed them was monstrous. A bulbous, writhing mass of tentacles, the bulk of it hovering a few feet above the dirt ground. The air was thick with its mind-numbing presence; and it was all Raphael could do to blurt out over the general vox a warning:

'Krell!'

4 comments:

  1. ****Yum. Yum.****
    ****I do like the shellfish people****
    ****Just crack them open and suck out the innards****
    ****Ooh. These ones are spicy...****

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Nai – excellent with a crisp white and some fresh, crusty bread.

      Delete
  2. That's a cool bit of fiction, especially the aquatic element, hope you expand on it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. No direct plans, but I would love to make a Krell or two one day. Of course, if it inspires another reader, perhaps we'll see one sooner than later! :)

      Delete

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