Whatever happened now, it didn't matter. The war was lost.
Ivan Chord, planetary governor, hero of the Manticore War, was dead. Assassinated.
And all Able Standent knew - trooper first class of fourth squad, eight company of the standing Qualitat Defence Force of the Valorax Guard - was that even if his life and the lives of everyone he knew were soon to end; he would die fighting for retribution. Fighting for revenge!
His squad had been posted in defence of the governor's headquarters when the attack hit and he and all his battle brothers had failed in their duty, fighting off the attacking Adeptus Sororitas and Grey Knights.
As he and his squad took up firing positions in one of the still smoking ruins, Able saw where their enemy were headed: a pair of empty landing pads. Their assassination mission accomplished, the Sisters of Battle had swiftly withdrawn. They were trying to get out of the city before the full force of the Valorax Guard could mobilise and trap them!
They were already in the square below the landing pads!
A column of Leman Russ Battle Tanks rolled down the street beside Abel's position as he blasted the power armoured women with his lasgun, hoping for a lucky strike, but their armour was too good, the cover provided by the ruins too complete.
There was no way to catch them before they escaped!
"Bringer of death," he whispered to his weapon as he blasted away, "speak your name, for you are my life and the foe's death."
Then from the sky came a sound of falling doom and something struck the upper landing pad like a missile.
Able thought it was the enemy retrieval boat... then he saw it crack open and his prayers to the beneficient Emperor were answered. From the smoking drop pod strode the Crimson Blades, already letting fly with bolter shells into the square below and immediately tearing apart the Adeptus Sororitas as they scrambled into cover.
The square was a shooting gallery. The Sisters were trapped. And before they could find a defensive base from the pincer they found themselves in, a second Drop pod came down on the other landing pad, blocking their escape completely.
The Valorax Guardsmen cheered and Able cheered with them. The planetary governor was lost but now the Space Marines were here, fighting alongside them against the greater Imperium. As a line trooper, Able scarce understood the ramifications of this but he knew something momentous had happened.
He knew these new allies made every difference.
But he had no time to savour this change.
The air split and tore in the ruins before them and through the gap in reality strode a towering construct Able had no name for. He saw the silver armoured Terminator strapped to the front of it and saw the weapons turn their way and suddenly knew that this new alliance would mean nothing to him if he were dead.
Morale squads through out massive amounts of fire at the Grey Knights as they appeared, as did the infantry, but as squad after squad of the elite warriors materialised their weapons fire started to falter.
With only two squads of Crimson Blades to help them, surely their was no way to defeat this new enemy!
Then Damien Gord, gigantic company captain of the Crimson Blades appeared in a snapping of reality down in the square beside the Sisters of Battle and let fire his storm bolters.The Sisters of Battle were fleeing for the bunkers next to the landing pads but the crossfire was wiping them out.
The mighty Throne of Judgement fell,m trapping Inquisitor Lord Karamazov beneath it.
And still Abel fired, dropping to his knees, pausing only long enough to rip out his lasgun's steaming power pack and reload.
All around him his squad was dying from storm bolter fire. The Grey Knights strode through the rubble, moving away from the Crimson Blades, out of their range. The Adeptus Sororitas were lost. Able was sure of that. From his position it looked like only a couple of the women still survived; but the Grey Knights were undeterred by this. They calmly hosed down the Valorax Guardsmen, consolidating their position so that they could strike back at the Crimson Blades from a position of strength.
Rocket blasts thundered overhead and Able saw a boxey landing craft blot out the sky as it swooped across the ruins. It was a Stormraven Gunship! More Grey Knights and a Dreadnought!
The magnetic docking clamp at the back released the Dreadnought in mid-swoop and it crashed into the building next to Able's where his commanding officer bellowed into his vox, directing the losing combat.
The Crimson Blades were increasingly cut off from where the battle was moving. They had defeated the Sisters of Battle but they were in no position to redeploy closer to the Grey Knights.
Able could see where this was going.
He muttered the litany of protection. "Mighty Emperor, spread Your divine light to protect me from the darkness."
Grey Knight Terminators ripped the command squad apart as the Dreadnought tore open the armour of the Battle Tanks. The Stormraven slowed and hovered, preparing to disgorge its final cargo.
Then Grey Knight Purifiers fell from its open doors, firing their incinerators into the few remaining guardsmen before them.
Able clambered down from the upper level of his ruins and ran to help but he wasn't fast enough. As the Dreadnought crashed through the remaining tanks, the Purifiers hacked his remaining battle brothers apart.
In a moment of divine panic, Able Standent realised he was the last remaining guardsmen of his company alive.
And he realised that almost four hundred yards separated him from the Crimson Blades who might otherwise have saved him.
Then the Purifiers turned their humming falchion blades on him as well and sliced his flesh and bones to pulp.
With Ivan Chord dead and the Crimson Blades laying their gauntlets in the Valorax camp, the entire planet-wide theatre of battle had shifted immensley.
But all it did was point to an escalating conflict growing further and further out of control!