It took less than a minute for Valdar and his team to slaughter their way through a score of the tower’s defenders. The rest turned and ran.
The brother-sergeant had to repeat his order for his men to stop their chase—in their bloodlust, his men would have followed and slaughtered those who fled. But there was work to do.
Ordering two brothers to fire upon those fleeing—and to encourage their continued retreat—he ordered the wounded Brother Arjac to set demolition charges around the base of the tower. He and Brother Henghast, his best close-in fighter, entered the tower. It took them 15 minutes to search through the multiple levels of the multi-storied tower and slaughter all they found. Along the way, Valar gathered as many data files as he could find.
With the tower prepared for demolition, the four Space Wolves outside contented themselves with repelling two counterattacks, until Valdar finally reappeared at the tower’s entrance.
“Tactical assessment,” the brother-sergeant snapped.
“Disorganized resistance,” one warrior reported. “The Wolf Scouts keep disrupting their command structure with precision targeting.”
As if on cue, Valdar’s vox-link buzzed. Stormbrow was calling.
The fight over the bunkers was short. The PDF had died quickly, and most of the bunkers searched and set afire. All that remained was a small bunker on the far side of the compound, into which Grimblood had seen a number of civilians flee inside.
Now Grimblood stood only three meters from that bunker’s entrance, watching as Brother Mykor planted a shaped charge against the thick plasteel door.
Turning to his superior, Mkkor nodded, and Grimblood waved at him to proceed. “Detonation imminent,” Mykor yelled and slipped around the corner of the bunker.
The explosion was deafening, as if a Baskilisk had fired only meters away. Flame and smoke billowed outward, engulfing Grimblood, who stood unmoving as the violence swept past him.
A second later, an impatient Grimblood strode over to the buckled hatch and gave it a hard kick. It fell inward, and Brother Euf slipped past and entered, his boltgun sweeping the smoke-filled interior. Grimblood followed.
Dozens of figures were lying on the ground, both xeno and human. Some were a ruin of bloody flesh, their bodies torn apart by the explosion. Others were screaming or groaning as they grasped at torn legs or bloodied torsos struck by shrapnel.
Grimblood cared nothing of them. The mighty Space Wolf strode across the bunker to a tall, slender xeno lying on the floor. He looked significantly different than the Tau’s warrior class. The xeno was stunned but looked healthy enough. He’d do.
Reaching down, he grasped the creature’s arm and pulled him to his feet. “Euf! Find me a traitor who looks healthy enough to live.”
“Kill the rest.”
Three xeno skimmers—Imperial classification: Devilfish—appeared over a ridge and headed cross country toward a set of plasteel doors that were nestled into a fold of ground about 200 meters behind the tower.
Stormbrow had wondered about those doors. The most likely purpose was entry to an underground power plant or water-sewage facility, but the Wolf Scout had weighed the possibility that it was an emergency exit from the tower. That was one reason he’d deployed where he had—so he could keep an eye on those doors.
It had been the correct decision. As Strombrow watched, the doors opened, and a score of fire warriors and xeno laborers scurried out, some maneuvering cargo sleds out onto the grass.
Clearly they intended to load something valuable on those xeno transports and get them clear of the attack.
That wouldn’t do, the Wolf Scout thought. He told his two companions to continue to target officers and high-risk threats, then he rose and started down the hill toward the doors. At the same time, he used his vox-link to warn Valdar.
Even before Stormbrow completed his report, Valdar bellowed, “With me!” Without question, his warriors rushed to follow as their brother-sergeant turned and ran down the plascrete road.
Once a safe distance away, Valdar triggered the demolition charges. A massive explosion erupted behind him, the shock wave pounding into his back. Behind him, ignored by the brother-sergeant, flame and smoke engulfed the tower, which slowly but with increasing speed collapsed and disappeared into a dark cloud that spread quickly across the compound.
At the bunkers, Grimblood glanced briefly at the explosion. He also had set explosive charges in each of the bunkers. He ordered his two prisoners, incapacitated with a sedative injected into their necks, carried outside and hidden in some brush. Then he and his men started toward the coordinates shared by Stormbrow.
“Hurry along,” Grimblood ordered, as he triggered the explosives behind him. “We can’t leave the brother-sergeant to do all the fighting!”
Both teams of Space Wolves raced forward, seeking to converge on the now-parked Devilish. Valdar and his warriors were first to engage the enemy, clearing the top of a low rise in the ground. Below, they could see the Devilfish and laborers hurriedly loading cargo into the vehicles’ rear hatches. A bit closer to the Space Wolves, a firing line of Tau fire warriors stood at the ready.
It took only a second for Valdar to assess the tactical situation and issue orders. Brother Topas came to a halt at the top of the rise and planted his feet firmly as he brought his heavy bolter to bear. A steady thump! thump! of the heavy weapon soon echoed across the compound, and fire warriors began to crumple as the Space Wolf’s shots hit home.
The rest of the team, with Valdar five meters ahead of the pack, charged forward.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog that documents our wargaming adventures in the sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.