“There is no innocence in this galaxy, of all places why did you think to find it on a planet named Armageddon?” Brother Bericus
My box of Dark Imperium, along with the Imperial I and Chaos indices, sat gathering dust in Bristol Independent Gaming for an unreasonable amount of time. Finally, after a busy surge at work and a relaxing break in Lisbon, I picked up my goodies.
I won’t go into my thoughts on the contents of Dark Imperium (that ship has sailed!) save to say that it is simply awe inspiring and brought to the surface the same feelings I had as a nine-year old when I received the 2nd Edition starter set all those years ago…
Last week I got my first game of 8th down at Bristol Independent Gaming. The day before I had spent a few hours rebasing and touching up my 40k Army – The Marines Malevolent! I absolutely loved these guys at the time and really appreciated the fluff Nick Kyme gifted this chapter. For those not familiar, they are a really nasty lot. They wantonly disregard imperial institutions (and lives) in the pursuit of their enemies. Their contempt for others has not played out well and they can no longer count on the Administratum or Mars for logistical support. As such, they scavenge, scrounge and downright steal in order to keep themselves operational. Their kit is, as a result, antiquated, battered and a strikingly at odds with those chapters that revere their wargear. Consequently, many chapters regard the Marines Malevolent as beneath contempt and barely worthy of the name Astartes, yet it is a testament to the chapter’s grit that they can survive in a hostile galaxy with such an arrogant and destructive temperament.
“And as for these lesser Chapters, these harbingers of misery, these scum, these marines malevolent, I defy them. Let them crash like waves upon fortress Terra, they will only break and retreat like the tide. Let them do their worst. For I am the light of the Imperium and will purge them in fire and blood!”
-Gorge Vandire, broadcasting to his supporters at the height of the siege of the Ecclesiarchical Palace on Terra, M36
“The Space Marines themselves appeared to be just as archaic. Most wore Mk VI Corvus-pattern power armour, stained yellow with a black cuirass and generators, the left pauldron studded with fat rivets. The armour’s plastron was bereft of the Imperial eagle, and carried only an octagonal release clasp, unlike the modern suits of the Mk VII Aquila-pattern. Every suit amongst them, bar none, was patched and chipped. The rigours of battle were worn proudly as marks of honour, in the same manner as the Salamanders’ branding scars. It was armour that had been made to last, not in the sense of its superior forging or exceptionally durable craftsmanship; rather, it was battle-plate that had seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of victories and been strung back together and hammered into shape by any means necessary in order that it saw another.”
– From the novel ‘Salamander’ by Nick Kyme
Captain Bericus: 4th company – Actions of Note
Bericus was given the honour of triggering the release of the Life Eater Virus against the Genestealer-held world of Trepta. From orbit, he watched entranced as the virus blossomed across the entire planet, wiping out every living thing, before finally consuming the atmosphere in a series of hellish firestorms released by the stored energy of the world’s dying biomass.
Bericus was infiltrated into the heart of the vast bunker complex on the rebellious mining world of Jibbus IV in 901 M41 and laced the ancient life support machines with nerve gas, killing millions of heretical fanatics in minutes. Bericus knew his actions were justified, as the world can still by mined by the automated servants of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but sometimes he still hears the choking screams of the dying.
During a desperate defence of the Forge World of Rotracuda in 946 M41 from a massive Tyranid splinter fleet, Bericus, then a member of his Captain’s honour guard, called artillery fire onto his own position as it was overrun. Bericus’ actions led to the death of all of his surviving squadmates, but was lauded by his superiors (including his mortally wounded Captain) as exemplifying the ruthless ethos of the Chapter.
Bericus commanded the cleansing of the hive world Maudigarn II in 980 M41. The world had been infiltrated by a sinister race of shapeshifting Xenos able to replicate the divine human form. The world was in the process of tearing itself apart in a series of paranoid civil wars until the Chapter descended upon it and instituted brutal purges. Billions were killed, thousands of them at his hands. Most of them were probably aliens, though there was no way to be sure. Even if hundreds were innocent…better to die than suffer the Xenos to live.
3rd War for ARMAGEDDON
As part of Captain Vanyar’s strike force Bericus was tasked with leading his Sternguard squad on seek and destroy missions on high priority targets. Open warfare of this kind, bloody and merciless, against an enemy that would give no quarter, saw Bericus embody the epitome of what it is to be an Astartes of the Marines Malevolent. He would endure days of ceaseless slaughter striding across the ash wastes, heedless of his safety, armour pitted and blackened by combat, tirelessly seeking greenskins to strike down. Bericus’ wounds didn’t impede him from participating in every major action of the campaign, despite the grievous injuries that he sustained at the claws of an orkoid war machine. It is worth noting that Bericus was present during the incident at the “Emperor’s Deliverance” refugee camp and a staunch supporter of his brother Captain’s tactical decision to use the camp as a killing field.
After leaving the planet and returning to the Chapter fleet Bericus‘ was given the Captaincy of the 4th Company in its entirety, a unit which had been badly mauled by a protracted series of engagements with Traitor Legionnaires. With his new command and the blessing of his Chapter Master and fellow Captains, Bericus headed to the Naufragium Cluster intent on collecting such a string of victories that even the High Lords on Terra would sit up and take notice of the much maligned Marines Malevolent…
Excerpt from an unfinished short story title ‘Season of Fire.’
As requested the thick astral scope of the Adsideo, one of nearly six hundred orbiting watch stations, glanced away from its vigil on the Pallidus Mountains to inspect a tiny corner of the Infensus region. Adepts adjusted the magnification, cycled through image filters and promptly found what the terse report from the Adspectus Claritatis was demanding. A plume of dust. The filters cycled to thermal, peeling away the obscuring layers, froze the image and came to a rest. The outline, despite some atmospheric distortion, was unmistakable. A score of Ork vehicles, adorned with all the accoutrements of crude lethality that could be expected of their race. There too, gutted on their battered hulls like offal on a butchers block, were the grizzly remains of what had been the Kholundan IXth.
The Razorback’s heavy treads locked abruptly, bringing the fearsome tank to a screeching stop behind the boarding ramp of the waiting Thunderhawk. The craft’s enormous turbofans beat up billowing plumes blasting the armoured vehicle underneath in noxious dust and toxic filth.
No, no. This world’s not done with you yet, thought Bericus inside the halted Razorback.
‘Captain Tull to Sergeant Bericus,’ rasped a disembodied voice from the tank’s internal voxcaster.
Tull, the taskmaster, the uncompromising, the sentinel of what was Hades, the Lord of the Third – or what was left of it.
‘Aye, Brother Captain,’ said Bericus, picking a fleck of bone from the teeth of his underslung chainblade.
‘State your readiness.’
Bericus spoke without thinking, his response as practised and monosyllabic as if he were back in the hallowed cloisters of his chapter monastery. ‘All brothers present and battle worthy, our steed is still fresh and our assault cannons still hunger.’
‘ Good. Sergeant of the Squad, accept your orders.’ Tull the traditionalist. ‘See here then, Brother Sergeant.’ A torrent of tac-data fuzzed in an epileptic shock across Bericus’ visor. ‘Eight enemy vehicles counted,’ continued Tull, ‘two to four score Xeno- filth moving at speed. Currently on a heading consistent with Ragalan’s Reach at -’
Yes Tull. I understand. We’ll intercept them.The Titan graveyard will be the killing ground. The leering skull face of that fallen lord of war will witness their ruin, see them and their wretched hulks smashed by my brothers. I picture them even now, hungrily entering that adamantium ruin. Into our bolters. Into our blades. Into our steed’s assault cannon.
‘I accept my orders Brother Captain,’ said Bericus taking the target’s speed and bearing, duly plotting an intercept in a heartbeat. ‘We go now! Glory and hate.’
‘Glory and hate. Tull, vox-out.’ The link snapped closed as Bericus gave a nod to Brother Fortix opposite. Fortix banged his gauntlet hard on the battered plate that separated the five astartes from their driver. The Razorback roared into life, surging out from under the rapidly climbing thunderhawk. The tank’s treads tore through the rank silt, eagerly gunning towards the new objective. Inside, Ajax pulled out his auspex, deftly goading the machine spirit into life with a silent prayer whilst Domli rose steadily and opened the top hatch. Suffocating heat poured into the compact compartment as the marine climbed out onto the hull. Domli gripped tight, his dull mustard armour suddenly bright in the intense glare of Armageddon’s hellish twin suns. The vehicle bucked about savagely as it tore through the blasted landscape. Ignoring the forces threatening to throw him off the hull, Domli reached out and ripped away the heavy enviro-tarp covering the twin linked assault cannons. Brother Ursad exchanged his sickle magazine for a sixty bolt round drum, locking the hefty load underneath his MK IV Godwyn Vb bolter just as the corvus helmed Domli dropped back onboard. The thick hatch behind closed him with a resounding crunch of alloy on ceramite. He tossed the tarp to one side and drew his boltgun, a matt black Umbra bonded with an indiscreet melta then checked the mechanism for the hundredth time that day, and days were short on Armageddon. Ajax sat at the Razor’s command node, his testy auspex now mag-clamped to his thigh and tracked the horizon through the assault cannon’s ocular feed matrix.
The five armoured giants went about their battle rites in grim silence. No regard was given to the fact that the Thunderhawk now searing into the crimson sky had been mere seconds away from taking them away from this wretched planet for good.
Thank you for reading.