The first sign of trouble was the screaming of one of the troopers as he was drug into a side room. rushing to his aid his squad mates fired into the room. when blade got back to the area he saw a massive armored creature. it was half restrained over the corpse of the trooper. Blade and Galen fired almost simultaneously, covering the creature in more netting. Leah firing her dartcaster downed the beast with sleep darts.
"What is this thing?" She asked as one of the troopers slapped a sleep patch on the creature in an unarmored spot.
"I think it's an ambull. that should keep it sedated until the boys get her to collect it." one responded. "We might want to lock it in here though to be safe."
agreeing they left the monster in the room and Tallus spot welded it in. continuing on the came across a body with what they at first thought were scraps of clothing fluttering on it. As Ross started to bass it one of the "scraps" lifted up and hissed at him. spinning and fireing his webber he rolled the small creature into the wall entangled. three others took off from the corpse as two more dropped down from the ceiling and wrapped around the heads of two stormtroopers. Galen, Blade, and Tallus, quickly took down the three flying off the body. Leah was covering them while several other troopers tried to pry the small creatures off their friends. As Galen and Ross went through slapping sleep patches on the entangled creatures Blade, Leah, and Tallus helped the two guardsmen by applying patches to the creatures wrapped around their helmets. the screaming men struggled as they were held down and the creatures soon fell asleep and were peeled off.
"Gloomhaunts, I hate Gloomhaunts!!" one of the unfortunate guardsmen shivered as he wiped blood off his face shield.
"Shove them in a sack and lets keep moving." Galen said. "we still have a ways to go and all that noise will draw attention."
packing away the small creatures, they started again winding through the ship. hearing growls from around a turn, Ross and Galen eased forward. peeking around the corner they motioned the others up but to stay quiet. moving up Tallus's metal arm bumped a wall with a sharp clang.
"Crap!' Ross exclaimed and spun around the corner firing. Galen covered him, as the troopers set up a heavy webber. falling back a group of mad crewmen rushed around the corner into the fire of the squads webbers. many went down in the hail, the rest fell on them with wrenches and knives. Leah dropped one with a well placed dart. Blade drew his sword and ran the next through the thigh. the man went down screaming curses. Galen and Ross were struggling with their own assailants while "Bob" stood by as men bashed and crawled over him.
the troopers being better armed and armored were holding their own only two going down under the weight of numbers. Blade, hamstrung Galen's attacker and looked up to see if any more of the infected crew were coming. instead he saw a six limbed horror crawling along the ceiling. Leah sent a several darts into the creature to no effect. galen followed suit and fired his webber at it. dropping to the floor before the sticky mass hit, it waded into the melee. Blade used the pommel of his sword to club down another of the crazies, as Ross subdued his attacker. the genestealer tore into the heavy webber's gun crew. one was torn apart by it's claws while another was held by the men for it to implant it's taint.
"MASKS!!!!!" Galen yelled as he dropped the shield of his voidsuit, and pulling the pin on a gas grenade. the companions and troopers scrambled to either seal their voidsuits or close their gas masks. the infected started to slow then drop as the cloud rolled over them. several of the slower troopers dropped as well. The genestealer ignored the gas as if it wasn't bothered at all by it. Blade and ross fought their way to the heavy webber as the monster tore another trooper apart. galen and Tallus fired their weapons at it hitting a lower limb and one leg. leah and the troopers picked off the few infected still standing. seeing Ross and blade at the heavy weapon the monster roared and charged. Ross hitting the trigger at the last instant covering the creature in heavy webbing. screaming it went down in a tangled mess. Galen charged over and injected it wi the specially crafted mixture used to put the creature asleep then snapped on a shock collar.
"Well that was an experience." Ross said shakily. "thats one ugly S.O.B."
"We were warned they were fast and tough. Wonder how many more are around?" Leah asked
"Quite a few. i would guess. lets get these fellows secured and move on. get on waking up our boys." Galen responded.
They had lost eight troopers, another to being infected by the genestealer. down to ten troopers the group started forward again only to turn the next corner to find the passage barricaded with frightened men pointing spears at them and several bodies at it's base.
After several tense minutes they were allowed to enter. The men and women were ragged, several suffering from untreated wounds. Blade discovered they had been fighting the creatures for several days. the captain had ordered the other beasts released to try to fight off the Genestealers and their minions. No one knew how the explosion happened. just that it had rocked the entire ship. there were about four thousand survivors in this pocket. they claimed that others were trapped in other parts of the ship and the captain still held the bridge the last they heard before they lost contact when the ship was rocked by some other calamity.
The group was taken to meet with father Hendel, a small man tending his flock. he explained they had been headed for Damaris to help settle the world and carry on the tradition of Saint Drusus. He was baffled as to what horrible sin they could have committed to deserve this. Blade told him to be calm, ad that help would arrive soon. the portable vox was set up and it was reported that most of the ship had been cleared but around their position many heat sources showed on scans. too many for just those in the barricaded portions.
"Father Hendel, our men are coming. however, when they get closer to this position those things are going to try and come in here. we must hold the barricades until the creatures are crushed between us and our forces. rally your people and get ready the next few hours will be difficult." Blade warned him.
"This whole trip has been difficult. the Emperor had turned his back on us. but i will warn my people and the captain's crew." he responded and wandered off to spread the word.
Blade and the others checked on the different positions and waited for the show to start. It began as distant screams and gunfire. slowly drawing closer. then the first attempts were made by the infected to breach the walls. first a few then in waves. they were put down in waves of netting and darts. several turned back only with the use of the few sleep grenades left. the colonists killed everything that got close to the barricades. thrusting their spears at the men in a panic. finally in the last rush the genestealers came around the corners with blinding speed. covered by their thralls. some were brought down by the companions webbers, but most made it over the barricades and tore into the hapless pilgrims. several more went down in tangled messes. others fled deeper into the space controlled by the survivors. screams and blood marking their paths. chasing after four of the creatures that had fled the five companions followed them into a sealed compartment.
finding a dead end the creatures turned and charged. Blade's gun clicked empty so he threw the worthless junk at the nearest one. incensed the beast slashed at him tearing his armor and cutting his left arm. drawing his sword, Blade slashed back with equal ferocity. nearly severing one of the monster's legs. both galen and Ross were bleeding from cuts received at the claws of the monsters and Tallus was firing at the fourth with his webber. Leah had out one of the needles waiting for an opportunity to dart in and keep the beast down.
Attacking again the beast in front of Blade snatched at him it's claws sinking into him and dragging him forward. it's deadly mouth waiting. in desperation Blade brought his sword up between them while he sliced himself he also drove the point under the beasts chin and into it's brain. he almost didn't survive it's death as it shook, clawed and snapped. Tallus finally entangled his opponent enough for Leah to dart in and sedate the creature. the last two were buried under a wave of angry crewmen pouring into the room with spears and knives tearing them apart.
Behind them came troopers in Austin house colors. "Sir, the ship is secured...... or this half of it anyway." Galen acknowledged him and sent for a medic. Blade was badly injured and the others had all sustained some injuries. Getting Blade back to the Fortune, the doctors started sewing him back up.
While Blade recovered, Leah took over the running of the ship and operation. the stripping of the bow section was going well and all three of the raiders were back in working order, even though they were crippled. Tallus was able to fix the minor damage done to the Fortune, and repairs were slowly coming to come along on the raiders. the extra hands from the Fortune would speed that along if they stayed for very long but she expected to be gone in a few days.
Galen and Ross were directing the cleansing of the aft portion. It was going slower. Having to vent the sections to prevent being flanked as well as doors being shut and locked by the infested slowed down progress. all the xenos captured along with the infected were being transferred to the "catch net". a slow process when every person coming off the ship had to be screened with only a handful of detectors. several more small pockets of survivors were found. The Fortune had replaced it's losses in crew from the best they could find while the three raiders were back up to around 85% efficiency.
after 2 days of bed rest Blade was mostly recovered. meeting with his officers.
"How long before we have cleared that hulk? we need to be on our way to the path." Blade asked.
"We could probably clear it in one more push the problem is it's around the drive room . the drive is damaged and leaking radiation. it doesn't seem to bother the 2 dozen or so genestealers in there, but it would kill any unprotected man that went in. we just don't have enough rad suits for us to take it." Galen responded.
"They can't get out but we can't get in? great." Blade responded and thought for a moment. "fall back on one side. then flood it. the bilge is still collecting drainage and the cisterns are still full. pump it full of water and flush them out. they will either come out or drown."
"That might work. I'll set it up." Galen said. he moved off to get ready.
"we'll leave the raiders here, with a few new officers, to finish the salvage and complete some repairs. then have them make their way back to Port Wander." Blade instructed Leah. Climbing out of his bed he started getting ready. he intended to help with the last capture.
the pumps had been running for 5 hours now. Blade and the others waited for the beasts to decide to come out. the chamber was already half full and the water was rising. after another hour a hatch burst open, spilling water in a wave as the creatures poured out with the water. troopers opened fire with stunners webbers and dartcasters. Tallus threw a switch and sent a jolt of power through the water stunning more of the creatures as a capacitor was drained. while half went down in the rush the others made it to the defenders. screams and roars mingled as human and xeno blood spattered the decks and mixed with the foul water. Blade worked his webber in slow precision. making each shot count as he subdued one creature then another. his companions were not quite so lucky. ross went down with a creature riding him. several troopers moved to assist him. Leah's bionic leg was damaged by a claw and stopped working. Galen and Tallus were backing another angry xeno into waiting nets with power staffs. the sheer weight of numbers of humans won out as the aliens were buried under layers of webbing and preplanned traps. soon the fight was over with few casualties.
after getting the xenos stashed away and those of Blades crew that were infected, getting medical attention, the Fortune got underway again. slipping into the warp and through the Maw.