The sky screamed around the Thunderhawks as if understanding the doom they carried. The Iron Warriors cut through the world’s thin atmosphere. Soon they would tear out its rich mineral veins to feed the endless hunger of their Daemon Forges. But first they descended on the single shining city on the planet’s surface. Nowhere near the richest deposits, the ravenous assault fleet could easily have avoided it. But the Iron Warriors’ eternal hatred could bear nothing to stand in their sight. And their Forges fed on more than mere metals.
The Thunderhawks descending through thick clouds of fumes and dirt kicked up by the bulk landers. The craft arrayed themselves in a line a mere hundred meters from the edge of the strangely defenseless city. Every building was metal, windowless, crowded together on a vast flat shining disc.
Serrik strode from the Thunderhawk ramp to the blasted earth and advanced towards the city. His squad fell in behind him, unconsciously matching the metronomic precision of his augmetic legs. Their exactitude, their strength, their perfect endurance were truly Iron Within. His face still snarled around the scars of the krak missile which had nearly torn him in half. His soul still recoiled from the suckered tentacles which had sprouted from the bleeding stumps, whipping and flailing for flesh until they’d been amputated.
Beside him Haksar still carried the Narthecian chainaxe he’d used for the “surgery”. Excision of mutation had become such a regular duty he’d installed a spare narthecium gauntlet in the haft of his axe, the better to study and destroy “gifts” of the Iron Warriors’ would-be sponsors.
Past the yellow-black bulk of the landers stood the city. Harsh. Angular. Plainly unwelcoming, but ludicrously undefended. There were no walls, no ramparts. Emplaced weapons were either utterly invisible or entirely absent, both options equally impossible to the Iron Warrior mind. It seemed that anyone could just stroll in and explore freely unless a defender happened to bump into them wandering the hallways. Though it seemed the arrival of the Iron Warrior’s annihilation force had driven even the careless creatures of this travesty to defend themselves. A door retracted vertically and line of metal bollards filed from the nearest building, sliding across the metal to form a firing line. Some sort of self-propelled turret? They looked ridiculous. Then they fired. Ten attackers simply disappeared, vaporized by weapons far more powerful than any melta.
But that’s what cannon fodder were for.
Ten out of a thousand were nothing. Regiments of barely armored scum were driven from the holds of the bulk haulers. The vast craft arrived carrying cargos of worthless mortals and left full of precious metals. The Iron Warriors drove the slavestocks forward, chainswords hacking at those too slow to the attack. The vast mass charged at the city uncaring of their losses. Those blinded by vaporization flare screamed and ran at the afterimage of light, instant death a greater reward than most Iron Warriors prisoners had even dared to imagine.
The defending drones kept up their fire but didn’t even dent the advance. Hordes of humanity broke over and around them, metal rocks helpless to hold back the tide flowing past and into the city, and suddenly the Iron Warriors slammed into them. The mass of flesh had protected the armored figures from the fusillades and now they were point-blank.
At close-quarters the drones’ defense was laughable. Squat, flat-bottomed things, their powerful ranged weapons were front-mounted with a tiny field of fire. Their only melee weapon was some sort of … plunger? Serrik lowered his shoulder and charged into the closest, rocking it back on its base, his chainsword cutting through the gun-stalk before it could flail in his direction. The plunger suddenly surged forward and flared to swallow his helm.
The world went dark but for warning runes as it covered his eye-lenses. He roared as tore away his helm, pulling the sucking plunger out of the robot as he did so. Then he slammed his helm down, using it do drive the dangling spike of alien metal through the dome on top of the machine. It squealed and gurgled in a distinctly unmechanical manner, spurting noxious fluids around the improvised misericord before falling silent. He pulled his helm free of the now-lax sucker and resealed it to his gorget. No point in giving up the advantages of tactical insight so easily.
Alert rune directed his weapon as he turned to shatter a second with chattering bolter fire. The pathetic las and solid-slug weapons of the fodder had bounced off the armored hides, and it even weathered a few rounds of mass-reactive, but sustained fire forced dents into breaks through which explosive rounds burst it from within
Another alert and he turned to find Haksar flanked by four of the metal machines. Serrik charged forward, leaping with chainsword raised high above his head to bisect one as he landed. The two halves fell apart to spill a hideous tangled thing deep in the heart of the wreckage.
“Xenos!” spat Serrik, turning to blast the weapon-arms from a second. The machines could not evade, bogged down by the morass of expendable troops, unable to maneuver in the maelstrom of battle.
“Worse!” cursed Haksar, kicking the third from the end of his chain-axe before burying the blade in a third. He leaned in to study the narthecium display in the haft even as the spinning blades mulched the matter within. “ABOMINATIONS!” he roared, gunning his axe to spray an organic slurry from the ruined shell.
He turned to Serrik. “MUTANTS!” he roared, hate harsher than the vox-amplification. “These things were once human!”
“EXTERMINATE!” cried the nearest thing, its screeching vox-torn blare a parody of Haksar’s righteous human anger. “DALEKS ARE THE SUPERIOR BEINGS!”
Not once in his endless war had Serrik stepped backwards, but now he almost recoiled. These things thought themselves superior? They embraced this horror over the pure human form, they desecrated metal to make this mockery of strength, and they dared to have pride? His incoherent cry of hatred almost drowned out the thunder of his bolter, advancing as he smashed the Dalek’s disgusting life to shreds. These were not foes to be killed. These were offenses to be punished.
The Iron Warriors, already the embodiment of brutal close-quarter combat, erupted in fury. The Dalek line collapsed. Several screamed with anti-gravitic energy as they tried to flee into the sky, only to be slammed back down and crumple under the pauldrons of Warriors with meteoric jump packs.
“EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!” The call echoed from synchronized speakers. An armored wedge of Daleks was forcing its way forward from deeper in the silver city. Ranks of their ridiculous guns fired in unison to vaporize entire swathes of fodder.
“PERNAK!” called Serrik. The response was an earthquake in metal as the company’s Dreadnought charged across the battlefield. Mortals too slow to escape his path were ripped and torn on the hooked and bladed flanges across his armored shell.
“IRON WITHIN” boomed the entombed Warrior. The blood-soaked machine smashed into the Dalek wedge, scattering them left and right. His immense left power fist grabbed the closest by its domed ‘head’, hoisting it aloft before closing, crushing, hurling the sparking wreck at two more. His right weapon was an immense Siege Spike – four meters of cursed black iron designed to puncture the stress-points of fortifications – with pistons that screamed as it punched through fallen Daleks.
“IRON WITHOUT!” responded Serrik, the cry taken up by every Iron Warrior on the surface.
“Advance! Destroy! None of this filth will feed our forges!”
Servo-bundles flexed and pumped, master-crafted armor built to embrace and enhance his transhuman perfection, both pulsing with strength as he pushed forward to lead the charge.
“These wretched things desire extermination and we shall bring it to them!”
Enjoy mighty marine victories with:
Or really Warhammer the point home with: