The Four Strands Modeling, Painting, Gaming and Storytelling

Big Game V – Chapter Nineteen: A Betrayal

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Abraxas crushed the head of the last militia soldier. The soft bone collapsed in his appendage and the brain made a dull squish as it seeped between the fingers.

“Now,” Diomedes spoke in his mind, “the entrance was near here. Find it for me quickly.”  Abraxas obeyed, Diomedes was part of him now and the great weapon directed his actions. His mind and its mind intermingled into a single action. Abraxas ran across the ground quicker than any living thing could attempt. The Chaos militia troops had been an easy challenge. He could evade alien Eldar rangers if he wanted. He was a machine of war and death. He had but one purpose. No, he now had another purpose; he was the bearer of Diomedes and it was an honor that was awe-inspiring.

The circular cave was there. The Marines were exiting. Counting, Abraxas tallied their numbers and updated his tactical engine. There were two more of the Astartes inside. One of the troopers and the Magos remained as well. And then there was Kalsman…

“Focus!” Diomedes demanded, pulling Abraxas’ consciousness to the task. He was a tool of the Holy Omnisiah, and his master was an excellent craftsman. Diomedes let the Marines carefully exit the cave. One of them appeared to notice him but must have dismissed it. He was concealed in the rocks near the entrance. No human form could fit in this fashion.
When they were gone, Abraxas moved quickly darting into the cavern. The hall was dark but he did not care. With the oculari he could easily see in pitch black. The flare compensation easily adjusted for the light differential.

“Quietly,” Diomedes hissed into his mind.  Abraxas slowed, his clattering metallic feet now making only the slightest tapping on the stone. The echoes were soft, no one beyond a yard or so could hear him. Deftly he moved along the hallway. He ignored the beauty of the place but his visual processor recorded all of the images for his master.

“They were here before,” Diomedes said idly, “We will find their remnant and ensure their secrets are silenced.”  Abraxas was silent, his comment was not solicited or desired, he was a merely a carrier. The host of the great one. The hallway continued in darkness, the gamma compensation increased allowing Abraxas perfect vision. He could detect the heat signatures of the marines ahead of them. Their poweplants glowed white hot in his sight. The electromagnetic interference of the Inquisitor’s conversion field crackled in his sight as well. That would be a problem. He could subdue the marines easily. Diomedes was a weapon of expert skill and no amount of superhuman strength would stop its quicksilver edge. The trooper was of no consequence, even his powered saber was no problem as he would never see Abraxas coming. The Magos wasn’t even armed.

“He is expendable, uninitiated and a fool to boot,” Diomedes commented.  The Inquisitor though. He was no warrior but was well armed and the rosarius device contained energy shielding which would prevent Diomedes from effortlessly killing the man. It would take skill. The Inquisitor would have to be the last to fall.  The party ahead reached a door. Abraxas stopped and waited for their action. This place would be a good ambush but there was little space to maneuver. If the Marines noticed him approaching, he would be cut down, unable to make use of his quickness.

“Wait,” Diomedes commanded and he obeyed.  Moments passed and there was a great rumble, then another. The door ahead of them opened, rolling aside to reveal a room beyond. The room was immense and Abraxas lost focus for a mere second to take in what he could see.

“It is there!” Diomedes screamed in his mind, “The great vault! They have found the vault. They must be stopped now Abraxas. This cannot fall into their hands. It must be destroyed. The ancient enemy’s knowledge is a threat! Kill them all.”

Abraxas Struck.

The Chamber was large, maybe a mile high and probably three quarters that far across, like a hollowed-out egg. The party had entered approximately half way up the cavern. A wide walkway extended around the circumference of the room and this is where Abraxas caught them unawares.

He fired once with the laspistol from his hip, catching Magos Tukmehn Kelhar in the back, near the left kidney. The man went down with no more noise than the sharp crack of the pistol. Abraxas let the weapon fall from his hand as he leapt from the ground. Like a pouncing razorlion, Abraxas brought the full force of Diomedes down in a two-handed strike. The flashing arc of the weapon trailed across the dimly lit cavern like the terrible light of a deadly star. Brother Mobuti spun, his reflexes fast enough to allow him to take in his attacker. The marine valiantly moved to dodge the attack but Diomedes was sharp and Abraxas was quick. The blade of the halberd missed his head but bit into the marine’s shoulder. The Ceremite plate buckled, its machine spirit was no match for the power of Diomedes. Mobuti could manage a grunt as the weapon lodged itself in his second heart. The giant soldier slumped down, his last breath used to futilely grab the weapon out of Abraxas’ hand.

The scene descended into chaos. Brother Majeed opened up with a long-controlled burst from his boltgun as Sergeant Pickman unsheathed his massive power sword. Abraxas dropped low and shielded himself from most of the bolter rounds using Mobuti’s body. One round pierced his left calf but the round detonated outside of the flesh, sparing him his leg. After microseconds of fire, Abraxas shoved Mobuti’s body forward, heaving it towards Pickman. The Sergeant was not expecting this and took the weight full force as it drove him off of the walkway. A single yelp was all that was heard as the trooper tumbled into space. Majeed had already pulled out his monomolecular blade and gripped it, reversed in his right hand. The Marine idly pointed the boltgun at Abraxas and fired, one-handed.

“Fool,” Diomedes echoed Abraxas’ thought. Few could manage that task and clearly Majeed lacked the grit to control the burst as he emptied the weapon. However, the marine threw himself into the charge, his weapon spraying wildly. Abraxas nimbly stepped aside and evaded the mass-reactive rounds as he prepared to receive the charge. Majeed leapt at Abraxas and the surprise on his face was sweet as Abraxas discharged a vent of blue-hot plasma from the end of Diomedes. The bust of super-heated energy melted the front of Majeed’s breastplate, scarring the image of the aquilla. Majeed collapsed onto Abraxas, his momentum completing the furious assault. However, injured he could not control his fall. Abraxas rolled and bucked, flipping Majeed to the ground. The grapple was fast, Majeed was injured but not dead and Abraxas knew he must end this quickly or the marine would kill him. Majeed reached to grip Abraxas around the throat. Diomedes spun easily and Abraxas brought the haft of the axe around to the back of the Marine’s head. Twisting his torso in a manner no organic being could manage, Abraxas slammed Majeed in the back of the head, his helmet toppled off of his head. Sliding out from under the injured marine, Abraxas gained his feet as Majeed recovered.  Majeed spat bloody and poisonous saliva on the ground and looked up. Abraxas could see the mighty scar across his face and his dark complexion burned with hatred. Majeed uttered a growl and said, “Traitors are a canker that the Space Marines will cut from the heart of the Imerpium.”  Abraxas brought Diomedes up and pointed it at Majeed, who knelt before him, “Fitting you kneel before your god.” The weapon melted Majeed’s face from his bones and the Marine slumped to the ground, dead. A laser-bolt impacted in Abraxas’ shoulder knocking him down. The weapon carried a significantly increased power.

Another bolt impacted in Abraxas’ torso before he could dodge. Kalsman spoke, “I figured a good few rounds would work well.”

Abraxas leapt for the man, spinning Diomedes to skillfully deflect a laser bolt across the powered head of the great weapon. The conversion field flared with light as the weapon collided with it. Kalsman quickly drew his power sword and struck for Abraxas.

“Kill him now!” Diomedes screamed. Abraxas was damaged but functional. He could easily defeat this man. Diomedes flared as it impacted against the field four more times.

“What madness is this, Abraxas?” Kalsman demanded, breathing heavily, “Are you an assassin of the Mechanicus or are you touched with chaos?”

“I am inevitable,” Diomedes spoke with Abraxas’ voice, “I am the end of all things. I am a servant of the darkness at the end of time. I am a herald of the dying stars, I am a true servant of the great Jackal, he who hunge…”

The soliloquy was cut short. Abraxas tumbled to the gound, his right leg had been severed. Glancing to his flank, he saw Sergeant Pickman, barely holding on to the edge of the platform. He had whipped the great power sword across a low arc, severing Abraxas’ leg. Diomedes slipped from his hand as Kalsman pinned him to the ground with the power sword. Abraxas could feel the absence of the great weapon and struggled to reach for it, desperately.

“Come on, Talyn,” Kalsman said as he helped the trooper to his feet.

Abraxas feebly reached for Diomedes again, frantic to regain his master. Kalsman calmly collected the mighty space marine power sword from the ground and look down a Abraxas.

“Perhaps you want this?” The Inquisitor said, “Too bad.” Kalsman brought the power sword down across the haft of Diomedes and split the weapon in twain. The sparks as he cut straight through the power core were intense. The weapon jerked, like a living thing caught in its death throes. Then it was still. Abraxas screamed, his soul itself breaking. He had failed in both of his purposes.

Kalsman knelt near Abraxas, “Now before we continue here, I’m going to need to ask you some important questions.”

“Inquisitor,” Pickman said, “Antonius reports incoming chaos forces.”  Abraxas saw Kalsman reach down and depress rune-stud on his Rosarius as he looked at Abraxas, “That should give us ample time talk. Pickman, tell Brother Antonius that our support is en-route. We will be departing as soon as I have a short conversation. I’m sure that our captive here can illuminate the quickest way to get what I need from this facility.”

Abraxas saw the heat within Kalsman’s eyes, the man was as curious as any Magos.

“Now, Abraxas, you will tell me what I need to know, or I will demonstrate what I learned as an excruciator under one of the greatest fallen Inquisitors to walk the galaxy…”

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