THE SIGHTINGS of unidentified enemy units has meant an increase in squad patrols over the last weeks. But the last few days have been ones of frantic activity since a very eventful patrol I was involved in. I relate the events here as they occurred:
Our Rhino came to a halt with such ferocity that we were thrown forwards inside and all un-stowed equipment went flying.
'Disembark', barked the sergeant and the rear ramp crashed down, closely followed by the ten Space Marines of Tac Squad 1. We fanned out into a protective cordon and awaited further orders.
Two hundred metres away to our right Squad 2 were hunkered down in a similar fashion to us. I was wondering what would happen next when the ground around us erupted into shards of splintered rocks and shale. 'Incoming bolter fire from the ridge on our left', I called over the tactical com.
Scanning the top of the ridge I could see the muzzle flashes of bolters.'Looks like a small guard or lookout post'.
"Return fire when targets become visible", ordered the sergeant. I set my bolter to automatic fire and raked the section of rocky ridge where I had seen the muzzle flashes — the others in the squad joined the firefight. Our explosive shells created havoc with the geography — but had we hit anything?
We were ordered forward up the scree of the rocky slope under the covering fire of Squad 2. It was hard going, but luckily our angle of ascent provided us good cover from incoming fire. Our plasma gunner let loose a couple of searing shots as we neared the top of the ridge (the more destructive plasma cannon had been left in the garrison armoury as it is too heavy for fast patrol work) and we continued up the last twenty metres of slope in double time.
On reaching the summit we found a row of rocks forming a natural parapet along the whole length of the ridge. We scrambled over the top not thinking too much what lay beyond. I was the second to go over, behind our sergeant with his whirling chainsword, and landed in a roughly hewn trench full of spent bolter cartridges.
"Looks like the enemy has made a tactical withdrawal", reported the sarge to Squad 2. We split into two sections to search the trench. We had barely gone fifty metres when second section reported a find.
"Better come and look at this", the section leader's voice crackled in our earpieces. We searched further along our end of the trench finding nothing more exciting than spent cartridges and shards of broken body armour. Quickly retracing our steps we found the second section that were grouped around a shattered rock crater. I peered in and saw a Marine with his right arm blown off at the shoulder — the wound completely cauterised, the direct result of a plasma bolt.
The Marine was conscious but silent, his body armour pumping pain-relieving drugs into his tormented body. It is a sight I'd become accustomed to over the decades but something here disturbed me.
The enemy marine was wearing black power armour and appeared to have a Dark Angels emblem painted on his left shoulder pad. In addition he had numerous foul heretical Chaos symbols emblazoned on him and carried strange and abominable relics.
We transmitted a field report via the Rhino command radio and within an hour the Interrogator-Chaplain and a Veteran Sergeant were on the scene, loading the mysterious prisoner into the back of a heavy bolter-armed Razorback. Before the Chaplain left, we were made to retake our oaths of Allegiance to the Emperor and tell no one about this incident upon pain of death.
It would seem as if we had found something rather interesting.
Imperium Approved: Honoro Legio Dark Angels.
Chronicler Isiah, the 4th Battle Company, Dark Angels.