Wrath of the Valkyries.
Kira wakes with a start, the nightmare vivid, sweating profusely her limbs trembling, a strangled cry choked off from her dry throat, her legs wrapped in the damp sheet she is fighting to free herself from. Gasping for breath, distraught at the tragic memories, surfacing from a dark long lost past.
The derelict space liner half one side torn away is drifting through the Hellico System, bathed in the Red Giants dim light. Their return journey interrupted by the automated distress beacon, their small stealthed assault ship Spear of Retribution, diverts off course to investigate the source of the call.
Passing from the front of the buckled bow, cruising along the torn side of the drifting super liner, the imperial vessel recording the extensive damage, they dock somewhere near the rear of the ship on one of the few Airlock portals still looking intact.
The Squad splits into two fire teams of four. The first driving towards the bridge the second down and back along the main thoroughfare exiting the public areas and entering the huge engineering compartments containing the enormous manoeuvre drives. Pulling themselves along the corridors devoid of life, the dark interior illuminated by their suit lights the alpha team steadily move towards the bridge set deep within the two kilometre long massive vessel.
Debris floats everywhere within the weightless vacuum of the once pristine vessel. There are no bodies curiously, though the walls are sprayed with blood and gore.
‘‘Whatever happened here’’ Maya says over the link, ‘‘is long over, just my luck to miss the party, you know I like to rock to the sound of gunfire.’’
They orientate their location on the HUD’s schematic of deck ten in one of the numerous stairwells that lead to the labyrinth of state rooms, lounges, recreational areas, interspaced with expensive deserted restaurants, and empty theatres.
‘‘Maybe there will be some survivors in one of the intact compartments,’’ the comment from sensible dependable Kerttu getting a scoff of scepticism from Astrid the last of the fire team members, her stunning beauty displayed on the lifelike reflective face shield of her sentient Valkyrie Armour Heartbreaker.
‘‘Well, were not going to find out stood about talking like a bunch of vicars at a garden party are we’’ Kira says. ‘‘Let’s press on and find out, you’re on point Maya’’, hearing the girl whooping as Stormbringer forges past them the white armour gliding through the vacuum, they all know she was always first into danger leading the charge. She pushes off heading down the walkway, using the torn wall to propel herself forwards.
‘‘The only gardening, I like to do is below decks if you know what I mean’’ Maya retorts as she sails past them, bringing coarse laughter from other marines at the double inuendo.
‘‘You have a wicked sense of humour Maya’’ Astrid quips leaping forward to follow Kira who is close behind but on the right side of Maya in the vanguard of the team.
‘‘I know, that’s why you girl’s love me.’’ As the armour rolls, she kicks off the wall gracefully at the bend. Her movements economic and effortless, she accelerates into the turn, drawing her pistol her attention focusing on the far end of the long corridor.
‘‘That cocky attitude is going to get you into trouble one day.’’ Herttu shouts amused at the girl, spinning gracefully to launch herself encased in Nemesis towards the corner of the passageway she now the rear guard of the tightly bonded fire team.
‘‘I hope so,’’ her armour grinning at them disappearing from view, the stealth enabled as the Valkyrie armour fades to blend with surrounding background, though each of the other Marines can clearly see her through their linked sensors.
As they turn the second corner to continue their journey into the bowels of the silent colossal shipwreck the world around them disintegrates into a hell of fire and burning plasma, their combat armour flashing with reds and ambers as damage markers rapidly begin appearing on their HUDs. Great rifts appearing all around the marines, massive holes blown clear through the ship. The armoured Valkyries cast into the crumpled walls and floor, by the terrific shockwave of energy.
Maya is gone, well most of her, just her helmet shoulders and the top of her torso left, her remaining arm still holding her weapon, taking the full brunt of the Heavy Plasma Cannon from an enemy ship’s main battery designed to breach thick battleship hulls.
Wraith Kira’s armour screaming decompression as the suit tries vainly to seal the breach, her right arm completely missing.
The two other Marines are firing into the crowded corridor beyond them, a mass of aliens streaming up the far stairwell the passageway now filled with exotic armoured warriors. The fusillade of enemy laser fire refracting off the composite Mk III VAL enhanced combat armour, unable to penetrate the thick plates of densely layered fibres of exotic alloys and ceramic coatings. The Imperial Marines high explosive armour piercing rounds not having the same problem, the depleted radioactive heavy metal shells tearing through alien protective suits shredding the oncoming attack.
Unfortunately, they are not alone as a massive Alien Battle Droid rips through the nearside wall peeling the metal like it’s made of tin foil, its long mechanical claw grasping Astrid round the waist, trapping her sword arm drawing her into the devastated compartment on the other side of the shredded wall. The young woman screaming her defiance firing point blank into what she supposes is the machines head her heavy calibre rifle shells from her Soul Reiver Pistol tearing into the alloy beast. Heartbreaker her armoured suit twisting trying in vain to gain release as her waist slowly crumples under the vice like mechanical grip. The Droids colossal claw holding her pinned as another of its many arms equipped with a rotating cruel looking serrated blade, slices into the armour at her neck. A third arm flailing her in wash of plasma energy, the ceramic coating of the sentient armour glowing brightly impervious to the lethal radiation.
The tough material resisting heroically until the whirling teeth of the weapon finally snags and the blade shatters, a single shard passing through a breach in the articulated neck piercing her flesh, her body unable to stem the massive damage, her suit filling with her own rich hot blood. Her body left to drift as the clumsy machine changes targets, drawn to other living human bio signs.
Kerttu looks around her, her armours HUD showing more of the alien armoured creatures have appeared at the far end of the corridor behind her. Pushing Kira into the cleared passageway to the front and forcing her badly damaged Avatar armour through a wide tear in the wall behind a heavy structural bulkhead, she conceals the seriously injured Imperial Marine.
The suit’s visual and audio sensors linked recording every finite detail of the devastating encounter, she says to the fainting girl, as she plugs the hole in her suit with expanding repair foam, designed to quickly seal breached armour.
‘‘I love you Kira, remember your sisters, may the Light of the Emperor always shine from your beautiful blue eyes, I go now to embrace our ancestors, I will reserve a place in Valhalla for you beside us! goodbye my little Snow Cat.’’
She Turns towards the new threat, roaring the Valkyrie War Cry the sonic blast stunning the rampaging creatures overloading their audio sensors. Her devastating weapon blazing on full-automatic, the 20mm heavy ballistic rounds exploding on impact after penetrating their inferior armour. She tears the heart from the new alien onslaught hosing the corridor of alien life, watching as the droid finally tears through the rest of the wall and clumsily climbs into the passageway trying to prevent the destruction of the assaulting warriors, too late for them, but she can see on her HUD more enemies ascending the wide stairwell, reinforcements crawling over every other compartment within the range of her sensors. The other squad surrounded already down to just two battling marines.
‘‘THEY WILL NOT DIE IN VAIN’’ she swears harshly. Her Fury rampant now, anger burning white hot within her, a nova scale eruption of angelic rage, her power sword flaring like a star as she charges the Alien metallic beast, the blade slicing through its flailing limbs as it tries to grapple the invisible foe dancing from its deadly clutches.
Pushing off from the wall she gracefully rolls over the droid, before nimbly kicking backwards from the ceiling and crashing down on the massive enemy war engine.
The armoured fist of Nemesis driving the holy weapon deep into the core of the animated machine impaling the metal monster to the floor as it’s multiple legs collapse under the devastating assault. The swarming enemy spilling into every passage in overwhelming numbers, the situation untenable. Her Decision made.
Crying out ‘‘For the Emperor, may the Light of his Divine gaze always Shine on Mankind, Death to our Foes and Glory to the Righteous.’’
Detonating her Avatar armours micro fusion power plant next to the massive alien machines own twin power sources.
Herrtu within the loving embrace of Nemesis, singing out their War Cry together with one almighty voice, a primal roar that even the Gods will hear and wonder at what cosmic entity could sing so sweetly.
The ship is rocked violently as the colossal explosion tears through the rear of the spaceship igniting one of the liners unbreeched fuel tanks and destroying the nearby fluctuating power plant, both together causing a massive catastrophic nuclear blast. The three large alien stealthed warships and their now vulnerably exposed escorts and assault craft full of armoured troops are caught in the rapidly expanding cloud of charged particles, the shock wave of debris turning to deadly shrapnel shredding the enemy assets. As the enormous battered liner fragments, it mixes with the volatile deuterium fuel from other parts of the ship combining in an expanding ball of fierce energy. The enemies’ vessels are engulfed, collapsing their shields, and overloading their own alien power plants.
The three mini novae brilliantly light up the darkness of space around the shattered shipwreck.
The Valkyries immortal souls will ride the tidal wave of wailing alien psychic energy on their long journey to the Halls of Valhalla. The Ancestral Home for the Heroes, and Gods and Goddesses. They to fight and feast and be reborn again to greet the rising sun, until Ragnarök the Last and Final Battle of this Tumultuous Age of Strife and Unending Conflict.
There will be no survivors.
Except… for one last damaged snowflake adrift in the wild storm of time and space.
The deep silence of the dark void, listening to the last distant War Cry of the Emperor’s Imperial Valkyries. The alien souls more than twelve thousand in total feeling the Wrath of the Imperium’s’… ‘Angels of Battle.’
‘When you pull the tail of an Arctic Tiger, you better be aware of the danger you are stirring up.’
An apt saying from her Frozen Home World.
The bulkhead had saved her from instant death.
Her battered Avatar armour had barely kept her alive in the maelstrom of chaos.
The experimental Imperial implants had quickly put her body into statis, stabilising the severely injured ice maiden.
The Goddess of War will have need of her faithful servant, a tear in the fabric of space drawing the wounded marine into a pocket of elsewhere and else-when.
She will not die, the stolen alien nanite technology diligently repairing the cells within her shattered body.
Reborn from Death. Immortality was within the last Valkyrie.
She is a vessel of Life for the Lifeless.
Her sisters within her, their joyful faces stored in her timeless memory.
The Daughters of Freyja waiting for a new beginning, and rebirth, to walk again under distant suns, to smile, and laugh and fight and love.
No longer Human, more than just flesh and blood, she is a lost dream.
A new improved but still flawed race of Mankind.
A Deadly Weapon of Destruction.
An Imperial Angel of Battle, and the Hope of Humanity.
Shaking, tears running down her cheeks she sobs for the loss of her three beloved sisters, her heart broken once again. Their beautiful smiling faces admonishing her, she can feel them within her, bound to her Immortal soul. Her hands covering her heart, a keening cry escapes her, despair washing over her despite the short-lived joy of the reaping of souls, awash with the blood of her enemies surrounding her. The recent attack on her ship crushed, she had slain them without mercy, butchered them, their life sprayed over the floor and walls of the vessel. A sacrifice to her siblings, their souls receptive to her gift. Her beauty only concealing the dark demon that wears her image, conditioned to warfare, devoid of compassion for her enemies, her Rage unstoppable driven by her loss, it was a monster that was unleashed to kill and maim, a lust that was only satisfied when bathed in blood.
She the perfect predator.
A reaper of souls.
And the last of her Sisters.