The vox hissed static and squawked to life. ‘-ompany, advance!’
Squad Juno leapt forward without hesitation, emerging from the cover of the ruined shrine with bolters roaring. As their shells raked the shattered sanctum ahead, return fire lashed at the Space Marines. Orange tracer rounds flicked through the air, ricocheting off the thick ceramtie of the Crimson Fist’s power armour as they surged relentlessly forward into the squall. The sanctum was heavily defended, but it has to be taken. The Orks desecrated it with their presence. They had to be purged.
Brother Cassius was on the floor before he felt the impact. Flecks of ceramite settled on his eye lenses as he lay on his back, staring at the slate grey sky. Orange warning runes glowed across his helmet display, belatedly warning him of an explosive impact on his chest plate. He rolled to one side, and struggled up onto one knee. Ahead, the squad continued their advance into the torrent of enemy fire. A brother dropped from the line, clutching at the shattered remains of his face, the spray of blood silhouetted against a distant eruption of flame.
Cassius Heaved himself upright, his amour’s motors squealing in protest at the demands put upon them. More runes began to flash as he leveled his bolter and added his fire to the storm, the makeshift barricades in the doorway of the sanctum disappearing in a cloud of debris and screams. Cassius began to run, loping forward to regain his place in the battle line as warning runes turned from orange to red.
He caught up with Brothers Caito and Marullus as they paused behind the outer wall. Their armour was heavily pitted by gunfire, but they both calmly cycled fresh magazines into their bolters oblivious to the damage. Sergeant Marullus looked up and gave Cassius a curt nod, before tossing a grenade through the doorway. As the explosion reported, they burst into the ruin.
The Sanctum was vast inside, towering columns and shattered stain glass windows disappearing into the smoke filled recess of the vaulted ceiling above. At its centre a huge statue of the Emperor stood watch over a stone lectern at its feet, now the focus of the Ork defences. Furniture and collapsed stonework had been hastily assembled into a redoubt of sorts, and from within its depths the green tide boiled forward.
At such close rang the Orks crude weaponry was devastating. Muzzle flashes and gouts of flame filled the air, as a stray round ricocheted off Cassius’ helmet and rang it like a bell. In front of him Marullus fell with a curse, his leg a bloody stump at the knee. Howls and screams flowed over the vox as the Ork horde surged towards the outnumbered Marines. Cassius and the remainder of Squad Juno took up firing stances and laid down a wall of bolter shells, the flecks of green visera mixing with the shrieks of the dying. Every shot turned a green skin brute into green mist, but still they came oblivious to the heavy toll the marine’s fire was extolling. Another brother fell as the torrid green mass closed in for the slaughter.
The vox crackled once more, Sergeant Marullus’ voice straining with the effort. ‘Blades! Bla-’
The order was drowned out by the sudden collapse of the sanctum wall as a massive, hulking form smashed its way through the plascrete ruin and crunched over the rubble. The towering metal beast continued its advance unabated, raising it’s right arm and unleashed the full power of its assault cannon. White hot streaks of metal scythed through the air and into the Ork ranks. With joy and relief Cassius recognised the heraldry of Ancient Brother Ferox, the companies Contemptor Dreadnaught, as it strode past him and waded into the Ork charge.
Cassius smiled as he dropped his spent bolter, unsheathed his combat blade and charged forward to follow brother Ferox into the heart of the turmoil.