Argus sat uncomfortably in the back of the bucking Valkyrie Gunship. Even inside the pressurized hull of the craft, the almost nonexistent atmosphere around the craft made his head swim. The young Inquisitor did his best to think about something other than his current situation. He’d gotten here through a combination the best and worst luck.
After the crippling strike against the Ghost of the Void, the Inquisitor and his men were forced to wait for repairs in the empty orbit of the small agri-world. Argus hadn’t even bothered to learn the colony’s name, for soon after arriving in a stable orbital position, Argus and his officers had received calls for aid. The PDF forces below were engaged in a losing war. They were locked in running combat with an elite force of pink-clad raiders, who, by all accounts matched descriptions of “The Fread Men”. It had taken some time, but Argus had finally hunted down the traitor – Captain Samwell Fread.
Monitoring Fread from orbit, Argus discovered the skilled commander had established a base inside a cavernous underground complex. Argus would have bombed the place to hell, but his ship was incapable of orbital bombardment. The Eldar attack had crippled most of the vessel’s primary weapons, and the warship was without teeth. Argus and his troops were forced to make war the way men had done for millennia – face to face and tooth to tooth. So here he was, in the back of a Valkyrie, rocking violently in the stormy sky.
Argus, with the help of his advisors, had planned a two-pronged strike against Fread’s compound. Many of his troops would make ground-fall and launch a sustained frontal assault – mounted inside their powerful Taurox Prime, supported by dedicated Gunships and protected by atmospheric strike craft. While this force assaulted the brunt of the Fread Men, Argus would take a team and insert via a grav-chute High Altitude Low Opening, or HALO jump. With their boots on the ground a few kilometers behind the battle lines, Argus and his team would infiltrate the facility, and find the traitor. Argus would finally put a bullet in Fread’s head and end this troublesome ex-comrade. Then the team would exfiltrate and extract with their grav-chutes once more. Quick, precise, and lethal – just like the troops Argus commanded.
Argus pondered the specialists who surrounded him. Squad Helax was one of the many teams that made up his personal forces. Clad in their pitch-black uniforms of the Cadian 406th Kasrkin Regiment, the squad filled the capacity of the craft – a full twelve-man team. Squad Helax was led by Sergeant Gisa Amalda, a short thinly built woman who made up for her lack of size with a fury that even surprised some of the Imperial Praetorians.
Beside her were her two secondaries’, Corporal Hunila Angalda of Alpha Team, an equally ferocious woman, albeit with a better temper, and Corporal Saras Vodulf of Bravo Team, a tall lanky man with surprising strength for someone of his spindly build.
Alpha team was then made up of Trooper Avina Teja, a tall beautifully built woman who had caught Argus’ eye more than once, Trooper Cyrula Bragga, a brute of a dwarf with the personality to match, and Specialist Ansis Ataulf, who could make an ogryn look tiny and frail. Bravo team was just as varied, with Trooper Thidrik Gundiok, a short and skinny man with a brain that even the Mechanicum would be jealous of, Trooper Lucienne Amouk, a lethal minded soldier, with a fit enduring build, and an eye for the finer points of killing, and finally Specialist Inna Atharid, a large and bulky man with an unhealthy predilection for fire. To round the team out were the Gosvintha triplets. The teams dedicated firepower, Led by Corporal Niketas, and followed by Troopers Euroc, and Ibba, the only girl. All three had the same build, an average height, with an above average strength, even by the exacting standards of the Cadia’s Finest. While Alpha and Bravo teams were equipped with standard hotshot lasguns and pistols, the Gosvintha Triplets were all equipped with powerful grenade launchers, and carried specialized ammunition just for this operation. It gave Helax Squad some serious punch when it counted, and versatility when they needed it.
A rock of the Valkyrie shook Argus from his thoughts, Sergeant Amalda stood in front of him, a hand on his shoulder attempting to grab his attention. “Sir?” She said flatly.
Argus was quick to answer, his bare head looking up into the glowing blue eyes of the Scions Omnioshield Helm. “Hmm? Yes, what is it?” The Sergeant didn’t even question his funk.
“We’re over the drop zone. Waiting on your go.” Argus looked around the cabin to see Squad Helax standing in file, weapons strapped in and all of them facing the bay doors, their masks expressionless. Sergeant Amalda was the only one beside Argus out of line.
“Oh. Thank you, Sergeant. In line then.” The young man coughed out. The short woman stood straight, saluted him, before taking her spot at the front of the line, the spot beside her open for Argus himself. The Inquisitor could feel his heart pumping away in his chest, the carapace tight around his body. The young man had never made a jump before, and the comforting feeling of his gilded power armour had to be replaced by the tight and unnatural feel of carapace armour to make the jump. Rising slowly, Argus stepped to the front of his file, turning to Sergeant Amalda before speaking. “All good to go then Sergeant?” He questioned down to her.
“Almost Sir. Your sword, and your mask.” the woman pointed down to Argus’ blade, then up to his bare head.
The clasp on his scabbard was undone, leaving his sword easily able to fall. Argus had been fiddling with it while he was in his thoughts. His mask was off as well, leaving him sure to die of asphyxiation in the thin atmosphere. Argus’ face flushed a bright red in his embarrassment, ensuring to close the lock on his sword, and quickly securing his own omnimask over his head. The eye ports suctioned themselves to his face, locking his eyes into the mechanisms. They blinked to life, and Argus eyes flooded with information from his HUD, from his ammo count to his team’s vitals. He was thankful the team didn’t get the information he did, because while their heart rates were all calm and steady, his own was fast, ragged, his heart feeling like it would burst from his chest. Argus took a moment to regroup, before nodding to the Sergeant.
She blinked acknowledgment in his HUD. There was a banging on the door to the cockpit, one of the team signaling the go to the pilots. The bay door behind them whirred open. Argus was hit square in the face with a baleful wind. The lights in the cabin vanished simultaneously with the door opening. Sergeant Amalda jumped, followed by Corporal Angalda, Trooper Teja, Trooper Bragga, Specialist Ataulf, and Corporal Gosvintha. Argus was given no time to think. He was pushed forward by Corporal Vodulf. Without even looking out over the door before him, Argus leapt from the Valkyrie, spying nothing but an endless sea of clouds as he fell.