Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pathfinder Pt. 1

“Storm is coming boys” Calius said quietly to the rest of the scouts via sub-vocal vox, halting in the dense underbrush of the lush green foliage in the southern forest of Galtrex V.

Mikel and Tercius hunkered down in the shade of a felled, rotted tree with their sniper rifles, scanning visually for any contacts. Dorian extended his bipod for the heavy bolter and crept into the creek bed. Rama vanished in to a crutch of berry-vines and Serin provided rear security, keeping an eye on the animal trail they followed from the clearing where the biked were cached and camouflaged.

Within moments anyone looking in this area would never know that a small squad of Blood Raven Space Marines was hiding in ambush.

Scanning his auspex, Calius checked for any signs of movement or life forms. Using his eyes he began the real scanning.

“Are we clear” Mikel asked impatiently.

“Son, an old tracker once taught me; if you want to find something…use your eyes.” Calius replied.

Tercius asked quietly “How do you get that there’s a storm coming? The report we got was that it was to remain hot and clear.”

“Come over here and I’ll show you.” Calius answered. Tercius always asked the right questions and was anxious to absorb knowledge. A fine asset to the Blood Ravens.

Moving silently, Tercius slid over to Calius’ position.

“Now look at this webbing” Calius gestured to the arachnid web in the brambles and underbrush. “See how she’s spinning the web and making it tighter, denser? She’s making the web stronger. Sometimes animals and insects have a fine sense about things, like in this case…weather. She knows bad weather is coming because she is finely attuned to the barometer. As a scout we pay attention to the little things.”

“Attention to detail” Tercius replied as a mantra.

“Yes…attention to detail”.

After moments in the hide, waiting for the wildlife to get accustomed to their presence, the scout squad was on the move again.

Silently picking their way through the verdant hills, Calius raised a gloved fist. The squad froze in-place. The enhanced senses of a squad of Space Marine Scouts filled the immediate area, scanning every tree, rock, and blade of bitter-root in the area. The gloved fist spread in to an open hand, finders spread wide; all squad members slipped in to the nearest cover and concealment, raising bolters and sniper rifles, scanning for a threat in the overgrown forest.

A veteran of over a hundred years of conflict as a Blood Raven did nothing if not hone the intuition of Brother-Sergeant Calius. His experiences have led him from the testing fields of the Blood Trials, to becoming a scout like this team he leads now, to being an assault trooper, to joining the prestigious First Company and training in the use of the Tactical Dreadnought Armor, but for all of this, Calius’ real niche is that of a scout. His field craft and stealth abilities are peerless in the Chapter and passing on that knowledge is a priority, especially in a Chapter such as the Blood Ravens, where Knowledge is Power.

“Do you smell something?” Calius asked.

“Smell what?” answered back.

“Kind of a sweet small, almost a sickly sweet” Calius replied “Pungent”

“I can’t really place it Sergeant” Rama whispered “Maybe, I sense something, but I just can’t place it. Wind direction is Northeast. But I feel it more than I smell it.”

“Hehehehe…Rama, one day you’ll make a fine Librarian. Let me know what you feel and when you feel it, maybe you can track this down.” Calius chuckled.

“Will do sir.” Rama added.

“Just ‘Calius’ is fine son.”

Hours passed, and the squad moved though the patrol area, making their way back towards the clearing and their transportation. Scout Rama took point and led the way. The forest was loud with the sounds of avians and other arboreal life forms.

Scout Tercius provided real-guard coverage. “There is so much wildlife and activity, it’s going to be hard to filter out the native fauna and try and find an actual threat out here.”

“What exactly are we looking for anyhow sergeant?” Mikel asked from the front, covering the point-man Rama.

“This is what we do prior to the Blood Trials…we scout the area and make sure it is secure from any threats.” Calius answered as he slipped under a felled tree, checking for any sign of corruption or xenos passage.

“Don’t worry Tercius, I’ll keep you safe.” Rama commented from the hollow of a rotted tree.

Mikel suppressed a chuckle as he crept forward. Turning back to cover the rear, he halted briefly, scanning for signs of movement. Finding none but the activity of nocturnal animals, he lowered his cameoline hooded cloak and slipped on his night-vision goggles. Scanning briefly, the sweat from the oppressive heat ran in his eyes, and down his neck. Turning back to the front he saw, for a fraction of a second the tree he was next to actually move, the branch coming directly at his head.

He didn’t have time to move, or duck the branch, he didn’t have time to speak or react. The bladed claw of the Lictor tore through his throat, severing his head from his body. Arterial blood fountained from the bloody stump as Mikel went suddenly limp, falling to the forest floor in a heap.

No comments: