It’s the screaming that I’ll never forget. The Imperial Guard were not prepared for this kind of mission, and The Hammer of the Emperor, blessed be their mission, failed in their duty before we had even landed on that cursed rock the Cult Mechanicus had named Ulric. The guardsmen in the drop-ship were shouting blasphemies the second we breached the atmosphere, and despite the shaking and sudden lurches in all directions that the ship was taking, the platoon’s priest and commissar were making the rounds with prayers and laspistol, attending to the lost.
This was my very first mission. I was still a novice in the order and had never fired my bolter in anger before. I can imagine how I must have looked then, too thin neck sticking out of my power armor, trembling as I watched each gibbering soldier cut down, reciting my prayers with a stammering voice as Sister Superior Halquin led us in benediction against the foul creatures we were about to face. I think I might have pissed myself, I’m not completely sure.
We’d been briefed by Inquisitor Argus Fane, may the Emperor keep his soul, on what we faced upon this blighted world. Apparently the Mechanicus had been running a research facility here and performed some heresy or other in one of their experiments. Within a week the facility had gone rogue, corrupted by the warp energies they had released, and within a month there was a full-blown daemon incursion on the world. To this day I don’t know why Fane didn’t simply call exterminatus on the world and whatever reasons he had for mounting this assault died with him on Ulric. He’d called upon every resource he could muster to attack Ulric, and they were considerable. Three companies of Imperial Guard, the fourth and first companies of the Harbingers Astartes chapter and our own Cleansing Fire commandery landed on Ulric, and directly into hell.
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