The filthy xenos couldn’t even burn right. Thick smoke choked the chamber, not with the victorious feast-smells of roasting flesh, but a scratching foulness which cut the throat and pained even his implanted multi-lung. Vithar’s fangs bared at the sense-memory: they burned like the Illuminated Ones his pack had ended during the Purge of Scriatia. Blasphemous, many-angled things, worshipped into being through stained-glass windows set in cathedrals of heresy, and blasted back to oblivion by melta fire. His nostrils flared at the same stink of poisoned silica.
His flamer washed over ranks of eggs. He’d boarded the vessel searching for a lost scion of the Belisarius Navigator house. The wayward mutant’s craft had crashed on Levitian Quartus-26, and it seemed his family wanted their errant son recovered despite such blatant proof of his flaws. They had requested that the Vlka Fenryka “extend the courtesy of assistance as part of their honored alliance”. Vithar snorted. Navigators always used too many words. Due to sitting in sealed chambers with no tales of their own to tell, no doubt.
Vithar had been returning to his squad aboard the Fenrisian supply barge, Gnawed Femur. As the only ship in range, it had been diverted to recover the target. Even one Astartes was likely overkill for simple rescue. Low orbit auspex had located a crashed vessel, though interference from particulate storms confounded any further details. His first glance had told him the ship was not Imperial, but the Navigator might have sheltered within. One could never predict the insanity of those who gazed into the warp. He had unclasped his helmet, that his senses could best hunt his prey, and started searching the vessel.
The giant xenos corpse had not surprised him. As far as Vithar was concerned death was the xeno’s natural state, one he was blessed to help them attain. But the wounds were troubling. The thing had died poorly, burst from within. Tyranids. He growled and pressed on.
The only scents remaining in the long-dead vessel drew him deeper into the vessel. A large chamber, still moist, a low fog stirring as he strode into horror. The cavern was infested with ranks of what were quite clearly eggs. Vithar voxed the Femur.
“Large numbers of dormant xenos located. Commencing purge.”
And now they burned. His flamer washed over ranks of the foul incubators, baptizing the xenos with sacred promethium, burning them from the Emperor’s galaxy. Bursting motions turned his head to see things scuttling to escape the flames. He twisted to turn the judgement of fire on them, washing the walls, the roof, the skeletal claws falling, curling, blackening. A clatter directly above, he was pulling the flamer up even as everything went black. Knives of pain stabbed into the sides of his skull. Unutterable horror forced into his mouth, slithering past his tongue, questing to implant. He roared in inchoate fury, the last air driven from his lungs by this unforgivable desecration of the Emperor’s flesh. His teeth slammed shut, a portcullis, and his mouth flooded with pain. The thing on his face convulsed as he tore its weakened grip free, dropping to one knee to punch the horror into the ground. He spat a smoking chunk into the yellowed ruin.
He bent the flamer to the immolate the remains even has his gauntlet sizzled against the grip. His flamer continued to function. His armor was uncompromised, but would require repair and ritual cleaning to soothe its spirit at such insult. Finally he turned his attention to his burning flesh. His Betcher’s gland was gone, ruptured by the acid, and the melted stubs of many teeth would need to be replaced. He could feel his breath whispering through holes in his cheeks and under his jaw. Larraman cells were already hardening inside his mouth, and along the gouges in his vocal cords. Through it all, the flamer burned.
Pathetic. If their idea of defense was bleeding, he would be happy to oblige them.
The Femur’s preparations for departure were almost complete when the Navigator’s retinue arrived. Vithar stared through the armorglass viewing block of the airlock’s inner door. The Navigator was comatose, human eyes closed, third eye hidden under a securely knotted bandana. A bandana with bloodstained holes on either side, as if punctured by knives. An attendant hammered on the glass, screaming through the intercom channel.
“Open the Emperor damn hatch! We have to get him inside! Quarantine won’t help him!”
Vithar’s scarred gauntlet rose to the control panel, punching in the override. The heavy internal doors thunked and ground into the wall. The attendant recoiled from the end of Vithar’s bolt pistol. A voice ground like hate itself.
“Only the Emperor can help him.”
Suffer not the alien to live.
Warhammer the point home with: