Shadow of the Serpent

Into the Heart of the Serpent

Session 4

Watch Captain Marcus briefs the Kill-team of the massive splinter fleet that is invading Baetov VIII. The mission will still go as planned. The Space Marines are going to fly into the attacking bio-ship and destroy it, hopping their way to other hive ships, if possible.

The squad look wearily at each other, but their resolve still holds. Strapping themselves into the Caestus Assault Ram, the squad readies themselves for the suspenseful flight.

Warning lights appear that indicate an imminent launch. Vibrations of the ship can be felt as the launch bay doors open. Shortly after, the Assault Ram lurches and the attack run begins.

The ship shakes violently at nearby explosions and near misses. By the power of the Machine Spirit, the Caestus holds together. Until suddenly a Tyranid Drone ship crashes into the Assault Ram and bisects it quite cleanly. The 2 Librarians and the Devastator are immediately sucked out of the ship and into the void, their power armour protecting them.

The Space Wolf was rendered helpless and the half of the Caestus he was stuck in fell to the surface of the planet. The Ultramarine and Dark Angel managed to hold their place until the Blood Angel could collect himself and fly to get his squad mates. The newly added Techmarine assessed the situation of the Assault ram and determined the engines still worked and that the ship was still flight capable. With the pilot dead, it would fall on the Techmarine to fly the ship.

The Blood Angel managed to jump pack to the Dark Angel to pick him up. Holding onto a piece of debris, the Devastator braces himself for on coming threats while travelling to the Librarian. Off in the distance, a Tyranid attack fighter is making its was toward the Deathwatch, but it seems like the Space Marines were not spotted. The Dark Angel aims his lascannon, and fires. By the will of the Emperor himself, the lascannon bolt hits the Tyranid ship directly, crippling it. The fighter could not maintain orbiting speed and eventually burned up in the atmosphere of the planet.

The Assault Marine picks up his remaining squad mate and returns to the barely working ship without further incident. Still with a glimmer of hope and the guiding hand of the Emperor, the Techmarine flies the Assault ram toward the targeted bio-ship. With god-like maneuvering, the Techmarine manages to reach the bio-ship without further damaging the Assault ram.

The automatic boarding protocols of the Caestus trigger and the single multi-melta bores a hole into the bio-ship. The Caetus Assault Ram successfully board the Tyranid war ship. An automatic boarding recording triggers. “Kill-team, we have arrived at the bio-ship. The Assault Ram has sustained heavy damage, but should be able to fly back to Imperial air-space. I will wait here for your return.” The Kill-team assumes the Machine Spirit detected working engines and at least half of the hull, and thus determined the Caestus still flyable.

The assault doors open and a rush of rancid odours fill the inside of the ship. The Space Marines step out onto what feels to be an organic floor, they feel a deep rhythmic pulsing similar to a heartbeat from the floor. They are in a tunnel. Occasional incandescent green ooze puddles and orbs dot the walls, but otherwise the Deathwatch are in darkness. Distant screeches can be heard coming from either end of the tunnel, telling how long until resistance is met is impossible.

Undeterred, the group picks a direction and walks. They have a feeling it is the right direction and the pulsating has gotten ever so slightly stronger. Out from the darkness Tyranids attack. Half a dozen Hormagaunts and a Tyranid Warrior charge the waiting space marines.

Before anyone could blink, the Dark Angel fires off a shot at the Warrior, nearly killing it. The Blood Angel immediately charges the nearest Hormagaunt and completely misses his attack. The rest of the squad fires into the few Tyranids and kills them all. The Devastator fires on the Warrior once more and atomizes the creature. The squad moves on.

Rounding a corner, the Librarian senses another intelligence, more concentrated and directed, unlike the ambient Hive Mind around him. But it was too late. A Warrior and half a dozen Hormagaunts slam into the Techmarine, Assault Marine, and Tactical Marine, with a Zoanthrope bringing up the rear. Parrying, dodging, and striking find a few Hormagaunts dead and the Blood Angel heavily wounded by the scything talons of the Warrior.

The Zoanthrope makes its way into sight range of its psychic adversary, the Librarian. Calling on the power of the warp, the Zoanthrope fires a Warp Lance at the barely ready Space Marine. The Librarian started to try to contend with the power of the Zoanthrope with his Psychic Hood, but quickly thought against it as the Warp Lance misses him by millimetres. The after shock of the psychic blast creating frost on his armour.

The Librarian readied himself and fired psychic lightning at his rival. The Emperor’s Fury embroiled his attack enough to overload the warp field protecting the Zoanthrope. The psychic shock causing its head to burst like a melon, sending brain matter all over the corridor. A short fight afterward saw the rest of the Tyranids dispatched quickly.

Shortly after the fight, the Kill-team manages to reach what appears to be the giant heart of the ship. “Heart” being the quite literal term. With their moment of peace, the kill-team decides to plant a couple dozen grenades and charges onto the heart and blow it up as they make their way back to the Caestus. Half way into planting their bomb, the sucking sound of something exiting an orifice fills the room. A carnifex lands on the ground.

The giant creature roars and attacks the nearest Space Marine, the Librarian. But completely misses. The Librarian calls out to the Kill-team, telling them to finish planting the charges, the carnifex is distracted.

The Blood Angel attempts to plant the grenades, but fails to figure out the pin mechanisms, he then settles with firing his meltagun at the Carnifex, burning the exoskeleton but otherwise not doing much damage.

The Librarian counter attacks and manages to plunge his sword into the shoulder of the monster, activating his force weapon, he shocks the mind of the creature. The Dark Angel readies more grenades properly. The Techmarine lays down the remaining grenades and the Dark Angel sets a timer for 30 seconds. The Tactical Marine moves away from the Carnifex and unleashes a torrent of bolter fire, using Hellfire rounds. The bolts tear into the Tyranid’s flesh, meaty chuck fly off its body. But the monster still stands.

The Carnifex attempts to attack the Librarian again, but the Space Marine successfully parries the blows. The Librarian immediately tries to grapple the carnifex, but the carnifex easily overpowers the Space marine and the Librarian ends up in its jaws, fighting for his life. The Dark Angel, seeing his squad mate’s peril, carefully aims his lascannon at the jaws of the Carnifex and fires. Hitting the monster square in the mouth, atomizing it and much of the throat. The carnifex gurgles in protest.

Sensing its very likely demise, the Carnifex turns itself into a living battering ram and charges the Space Marines. The Librarian, Techmarine, and Devastator, who were in the way, successfully dodge the attack. The Librarian also manages to jump onto the back of the monster. As a quick thinking move, the Devastator fires his lascannon, barely aimed, into the backside of the carnifex that is now face-first into a wall. The shot pierces the exoskeleton and vital organs, and kills the carnifex instantly. Just before leaving, the Librarian chops off the head of the carnifex as a trophy.

Just outside the entrance of the heart room, the Kill-team is met with a horde of Rippers. Lobbing grenades, firing full-auto bolter salvos, the Ripper swarm was thinning significantly, but not enough to make it not a threat. The Librarian decides to push his psychic powers beyond his training and let loose a torrent of power. However, the Dark Gods came to the fore and sent him an overwhelming surge that he could not control. His would-be lightning turned into sputtering flashes that went nowhere.

But then, the warp seemed to draw to the Librarian. Everyone was lifted 6 metres into the air and quickly slammed onto the ground. The Blood Angel sustained massive damage to the left leg which rendered it into a useless flap of skin and himself unconscious (he now needs a matching bionic leg). The rest of the party took heavy damage, and the rippers were all found dead; their broken bodies filled the area of the corridor.

Counting down the seconds, the timer finally reaches zero and the massive thumps of explosions, could still be heard clearly even though the Space Marines were a couple kilometres away. The bio-ship convulses in what appears to be pain. The pulsating of its heart has stopped, but its death throes toss the Marines off their feet. The Deathwatch feel the pull of gravity start to shift toward the side of the tunnels, the bio-ship is falling out of orbit.

Now running to the Assault Ram, the Kill-team stop to find a group of Tyranids fighting each other in front of the assault ship. The squad carrying the body of the Blood Angel, the Librarian steps forward and attempts to push himself again. This time it was successful. The fighting Tyranids were wiped out except for a single Zoanthrope, which looks into the heart of the Librarian.

Seeing it readying its psychic energies, the Librarian attempts to wrestle with the Zoanthrope’s mind. Although very victorious against the ailing Zoanthrope, the creature still manages to fire a warp lance at the Librarian. Concentrating on battling with his mind, instead of dodging, the Librarian is hit on his left arm by the psychic blast. The pain and psychic shock prove too much for the Librarian and the arm is sheared clean off and leaves him unconscious.

The Storm Warden picks up the body of the Librarian and the rest of the squad head toward the Caestus.

The Assault Ram is still in place. But as the Space Marines near it, a panicking drone ship must have crashed into the Caestus because the next second, the ship is not there. The sudden opening into the void creates a vacuum and pulls into everything nearby. With the bio-ship dead, the opening does not self-seal.

From the opening, the stars move by faster and faster. The outer edge of the planet below starts to come into view. The temperature rises as a warm glow starts to appear on the outside of the bio-ship.

Minutes pass and the shaking of the ship entering the atmosphere becomes more and more violent. Suddenly, the shockwave of the bio-ship slamming to the planet, followed by a just as massive explosion. The shock reverberates through the dead ship and into the helpless Deathwatch. The kill-team blacks out.

CHAPTER 2.1 COMPLETE

The Space Marines awaken to find either surviving rippers gnawing on their armour, being completely covered in gore, or under a pile of corpses. The squad is scattered about. Holding onto each other so tightly, they have managed to keep each other within local auspex range, within the ship

The hull of the bio-ship is burst open and burst to a crisp. The cloudy sky of the polluted hive-world is now visible.

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