"An Uneasy Alliance"
(Preview for last Saturday's team tournament)
"This is Admiral Lucius Tahl, Commander of the Corsican 523rd Regiment of the Imperial Guard. Loyal Servants to the true Emperor. We are in need of assistance. We are outnumbered and in dangerous proximity to both Chaos and Xenos forces. Please respond."
Against his better judgment, Admiral Tahl had decided to open broadcast a call of help on all vox channels. He had decided to lead this small force unto the surface of this Emperor-forsaken planet ahead of the main force still in orbit. A minor warp storm had interfered with communications to the ships above, leaving Tahl and his handpicked honor guard stranded for the time being.
Their auspex was picking up enemy movement nearby, and it was only a matter of time until their meager concealment within a set of blown out ruins was discovered. Facing danger now or danger later, Tahl took the vox set and sent out his plea for aid, though his briefing revealed no known Imperial forces were on the planet.
"Ghost Leader this is Red Thunder," came the transmission from one of the Vendettas scouting over head. "I have a mechanized caravan closing in on you from the southwest, over."
Tahl pulled the vox mic to his face, "Red Thunder this Ghost Leader actual. Xenos or Heretic?" Tahl leaned back to his aid, "Set up the defensive perimeter, get second squad into those ruins and ready them for an ambush."
"Possible heretic, Ghost Leader. Astartes rhino chassis, but with an Inquisitorial seal on the roof hatch. Proceed with caution, I'll sweep out and prepare for a strafing run on your command. Red Thunder, out."
Tahl and his aides moved with haste into the command chimera. They rolled into an open city center, flanked by ruins on either side, facing an open entrance to the southwest. From his vantage point, Tahl could see second squad slipping through the ruins to his right, meltaguns and shotguns at the ready. He knew he had two other chimeras quietly moving into position on his left flank as well. He saw the dust begin to kick up in the distance, and could pick out the grey of the rhino hulls.
The Astartes strike force came to a halt at the edge of the ruins. Admiral Tahl's vox caster lit up, and a voice came through the speakers. "Imperial Guard Commander, I am Castellan Crowe, Head of the Purifier order of the Grey Knights Chapter. We are here representing the Ordo Malleus, and in the name of the Immortal Emperor of Mankind, I command you and your men to stand down." Tahl's instincts told him it was a trap. If he had learned nothing else in his time with the Imperial Guard, Tahl had learned that not everyone who comes in the name of the Emperor, comes in the name of the Emperor. But he had to admit, there was something different about this man's voice.
After a few moments the voice returned, "Commander, I come to meet thee." Tahl could hear the squeaking metal of the doors across the field, and a saw a single power-armor clad figure step out of the lead vehicle.
"Hold your fire," Tahl voxed to his men. The Astartes walked towards Tahl's chimera, and paused midway. Tahl stepped out the back of his command vehicle, to meet with this so called Grey Knight. "Keep your weapons trained on him," He said to his aides.
Tahl felt uncomfortable as the helmeted figure watched him approach. "I was told no other Imperial forces were on the ground here, Castellan." He eyed the Astartes' armor; it was ancient, but certainly Imperial. Tahl didn't have extensive knowledge of Astartes Chapters, but he had never even heard of armor such as the one this man wore. The lavish trinkets and jewels that adorned his chest plate, and the storm bolter built into his wrist guard. It was all very strange, even for a Space Marine.
"That is unfortunate, usually the Ordo Malleus submits all their plans to lowly Imperial Guard officers," Crowe retorted. It brought a smirk to the aged guardsman. "I sense no taint in you," the man said, coldly. Tahl thought he heard a sense of disappoint in Crowe's otherwise monotone voice. Realizing he was being scrutinized, Tahl began to feel very uneasy and took a step backwards, glancing towards his chimera. Castellan Crowe turned and began walking back to his vehicle cadre. "Mount up, Commander. Our enemies will be here soon. We must hold this ground until heavy support arrives. Chaos comes for us."