Prologue IV – The Mantis Warriors

+++ Saint Ahra orbit +++
+++ command bridge of “Sword of Zagul” +++

– “This is commander of “Sword of Zagul” sergeant Corymbus acting within the authority of Captain Tagon Ortuga, answer our hail or condemn yourself to obliteration, this is my final warning” Said Corymbus and then he turned to one of bridge human officers:

– “Time before they are in firing range?”

– “Two minutes my Lord. They are all burning their engines towards us with full speed”

– “Gunnery decks ready my Lord, awaiting the targets approach” reported another crewman

– “Sergeant Olivyi to the bridge. We are ready and waiting, boarding torpedoes loaded with Battle Brothers!”

– “Very well Olivyi await my orders.” replied Corymbus

– “My Lord they are hailing us!”

– “Put it through on main screen”

The main screen filled with an image of an old man wearing Imperial Navy livery of the Admiral rank. His face was rugged and his overall look was of a man that gave up on his life, sorrow and bitterness dripping form every word he spoke.

– “This is Admiral Felario of “Rightful Glory”, 1st Jorus monitor squadron. I see the false Emperor has send his curs to bleed us yet again. Face me lapdog, I hope you will make for better sport than your lousy brothers did on the surface of Baalimm, and …”
– “Cut the link. Forward the orders to our accompanying destroyers that all but the command vessel are to be obliterated into oblivion. “Rightful Glory” is to be taken by boarders. Sergeant Olvyi this is bridge – you have clearance to slaughter everyone on your way save for the Admiral Felario – I want him alive. Enginarium, full speed ahead” Corymbus – veteran of countless void battles, for more than two centuries serving as one of the most gifted battleship commanders in the Chapter relayed his orders in a heartbeat to his subordinates, content that he will finally see some action after nearly a year without firing his ships weapon systems.

– “My Lord, it looks like Lord Jehol was right, entire system thrown into madness of insurrection, abandoning Emperors light.” voiced his thoughts one of crew officers.

– “Yes, that is likely the case now that I have seen his defiance I have no doubt that the insurrection runs deep within Jorus, and most probably was planned with care. The real question yet is not that of how many of them there are already turned traitor, what is most important is the figure of the leader – who is behind this madness? My intuition tells me we will find out soon enough, and when we do there will be no mercy…” Proclaimed Corymbus

– “My Lord? Permission to speak freely?” Asked First officer of “Sword of Zagul” greybeard man who often provided Corymbus with valuable council.

– “Granted”

– “Honor demands that we serve void kill to “Rightful Glory” and its crew, why would you board it and why would you keep its captain alive?”

– “Felario is by the right of his rank a commander of system bound fleet, that means he was allowed to attend council meetings consisting of system governor and other military commanders, and that means he is very well informed. Also if we can assume that land forces are all dedicated to insurrection, and now we know void forces are also taking apart in it, it leaves a question of the role of system governor. Our interrogators will have plenty of questions for Felario. That is why I am not killing him where he stands – and truth be told I would gladly obliterate his ship with barrage of our weaponry but efficiency of campaign ahead of us is more important that my personal pleasures” Corymbus grinned towards first officer after finishing.

+++ two hours later +++
+++ “Sword of Zagul” command bridge +++

Wreckage of system fleet slowly drifted in the void towards the Saint Ahra due to its gravitational pull. Veteran sergeant Corymbus added another victorious battle to his honour roll.

– “My Lord, sergeant Olvyi reports that mission was successful, Admiral Felario is captured and his crew is dead to a single men. Also sergeant Olvyi reports that mission was carried out without any losses.”

– “That was expected of him, very well let him bring his captive onboard.”

– “Sergeant Olvyi is trying to establish vox link with the bridge”

– “Put him through”

– “Sir this is Olvyi we are onboard Thunderhawk and coming back to “Sword of Zagul”. We need to speak privately … there were things onboard captured vessel… you might want to know about it, I mean you should know about it … this was unexpected”
The vox connection crackled and made Olvyi sound like he was more worried than he actually was.

– “Very well Olvyi, meet me in my quarters as soon as you will be able to. First officer Tornton, you have the bridge. Also complement our escorts on their prowess, it was perfectly executed operation” Replied Corymbus before leaving the bridge.
+++ half an hour later +++
+++ “Sword of Zagul”, Veteran sergeant’s Corymbus private quarters +++

– “Corymbus I will get to the point…”

– “Please do”

– “Onboard the command vessel squad Olvyi encountered blasphemous shrine devoted to the pantheon of Chaos. Corymbus! By the THRONE they worshipped ruinous powers!”

Corymbus’s features darkened. As a true servant of the Emperor he hated pawns of chaos above all other foes that humanity encountered in the vastness of galaxy’s void and he sought every occasion to deliver just punishment to the misguided and fallen. But now he also knew that this was bad news. Not out of fear, but rather out of carefulness he wanted to avoid meeting the inquisition. Now that the nature of the foe was revealed it was a matter of time that this bloody bastards will also arrive in the system.

– “Olvyi keep this information to yourself and order your squad to not spread it even to other battle brothers. For now it’s better to await Captain Ortuga’s decision of how we will handle this war. And also we should wait for Admiral to voice his reasons for treachery. Thank you Olvyi, you may go now.

Olvyi bowed his head and left the room. Ship-master reached for his helmet lying on the desk and put it on his head.

-“This is Corymbus, prepare the prisoner for my arrival. I shall question him personally. Make sure to have all the necessary tools and servitors ready within twenty minutes”.

Short confirmation followed, and then Corymbus walked out of his quarters towards containment cells, with dark thoughts and even darker mood.

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