The steel buckled under the blows, alien fists leaving great indentations in the blast door’s inner surface. Beyond it lay a narrow access corridor choked with whatever foul iteration of Tyranid abominations now clawed at the door. Hideous screeches penetrated the bunker, muffled by the foot thick metal of the door. Sergeant Guero disregarded the clamor and cast his eyes around the room.
Six scouts crouched, catching their breath and checking their bolters, attempting to distract from the screams without. Two more were attempting to secure the entrance, barricading it with metal supply crates and a now useless command console shorn from its mounting. The ninth, Aurelio, sat propped against a wall, a savage wound all but obliterating the Ultramarine insignia from his chest plate.
Just boys, Guero thought. Initiates. Scouts at their very rawest, and with so much training to have been ahead of them. They should have had time to prepare for the myriad horrors that assail the Imperium, but their first mission had come unbidden – and it would probably be their last.
The screech of tearing metal drew the scouts gaze to the rapidly deteriorating door, fear lining their eyes. The lights flickered before dying, plunging them all into blackness. A second later, the ruddy glow of the red emergency lighting kicked in, revealing the boys faces now on the edge of terror.
‘The enemy is upon us and our time runs short,’ Guero remarked flatly as he stood, immediately capturing the squad’s attention. As if relieved by the distraction, they too joined Guero and stood, bolters in hand. ‘When that door fails, remain calm. One shot, one kill, and then move on to the next target. Faith will be your greatest weapon now and by the Emperor’s grace, we will survive this day.’
Aurelio slumped sideways onto the floor, blood pooling silently around his now lifeless form. The remaining scouts stared back at Guero, as he turned and leveled his bolter at the door. The scouts paused, momentarily overwhelmed, before snapping to do likewise.
Did they believe him? It mattered not. Better they fight as heroes than be consumed by the truth of it.
They were dead, and nothing could change that now.