“Four generations of Piers have farmed this land. We built something here. We built a home. We built a way of life. And now the mutants want to take it from us. Let’s kill the bastards.“—part of the speech given by Ma Sophia to the defenders of her farmstead
* * *
Not four meters away, Cyrus heard a scream behind him. It was barely audible above the roar of Koveh’s weapon, but it was so unexpected that he turned to look.
His blood froze. Two mutants were struggling with Balka, a 30-ear-old laborer whose wife had just borne him a child. Cyrus looked on in horror as a mutant rammed a knife into the young man, who slumped to the ground. The mutants wasted no time clambering over the parapet and onto the roof the maintenance shed.
Balka’s death broke the spell of fear that had paralyzed Cyrus. Screaming in outrage, he raised his auto-gun and opened up on the mutants. One was hit and fell. The other charged him, screaming as he raised a hand-made axe.
Cyrus blocked the swinging axe with the stock of his gun, then slammed his knee into the gut of the mutant. The man grunted and doubled over, and Cyrus swung the stock of his gun down upon the man’s head. He heard the crack of bone, and the mutant dropped like a bag of sand.
Still in shock, Cyrus saw two more mutants clamber over the parapet, but he just stood there. They paid him no mind. They ran down a nearby staircase that led to the courtyard. below.
It suddenly occurred to Cyrus that he should push the ladders off the wall before more men climbed up.
* * *
Deacon Alfonzo was climbing the stairs to the roof of the maintenance shed when the two mutants appeared above him. One mutant raised his auto-gun, but the old priest was faster. He held a shotgun at his hip, and he fired instinctively. His aim was poor, but in the narrow confines of the stairwell, he could hardly miss.
The first mutant was thrown back by the blast, the parapet behind him suddenly coated in blood. The second staggered and dropped to his knees, one arm missing and blood spurting from a jagged neck.
The priest could feel his heart pounding, but he put his faith in the God-Emperor and continued up the stairs. Grasping the shotgun tightly, he reached the roof and found several mutants and two farmhands wrestling for their lives.
There was no way to fire without hitting his own men, so Deacon Alfonzo gripped his shotgun by the barrel and charged forward, swinging at the head of the closest mutant.
“Death to the heretic!” he screamed.
* * *
On the far side of the compound, the mutants were over the wall and gathering on the roof of the supply shed. The two men defending that building had been overwhelmed, and all that stood between the mutants and the slaughter of the farmstead was Lando Falrez.
A mechanic by trade, Lando had never been in a fight. But he had been worried about the mutant insurgency, and he’d decided some months ago to put his mechanical skills to good use. Using some old oxygen tanks and the pump of an industrial sprayer, he’d cobbled together what passed for a flamer.
Although he’d tested it a few times, he was terrified to use it against a human being.
But he was more terrified, right now, of the deformed and murderous men in front of him.
He rose from his hiding place—behind the wall of a second-floor patio by the living quarters—and turned the nozzle of his makeshift weapon toward the mutants. They were barely in range . . . at least as best Lando could determine.
He pulled the trigger, and a wave of heat that reminded him of his welding days lashed at his face. The flames shot out of the nozzle and soared across the open space—and engulfed the mutants. Their screaming was beyond description.
One mutant who’d escaped the flames leapt from storage building’s roof and landed on the staircase below him. Lando could not turn the flamethrower fast enough, and the mutant hurried up the stairs, screaming hate as he raced towards him.
Lando stepped back, attempting to turn his weapon to this new threat, but the mutant was upon him.
Then there was a shot from behind. The mutant was flung back, as if hit by a sledge hammer. He landed on his back, his chest a gaping hole of steam and gore.
Looking back, he saw Ma Sophia—breathing heavily and holding an old lasgun.
* * *
The bodies were buried, the prayers said over the dead.
Four men were dead, including Deacon Alfonzo. Three more were wounded. Only Ma Sophia and Farhad were uninjured, not counting the wives and children who’d spent the battle hidden in the food cellar.
The wives of the dead looked stricken; the children were silent and subdued. They’d survived, but they’d lost so much.
Ma Sophia hated to tell them what came next.
“All that can be said has been said for those who fell. Now we have to get on with living. But not here. There’s no future here.”
Some looked at her in disbelief. This was their home. It was the only place they’d ever known. But others clearly understood the reality of their situation. They watched her with grim stoicism.
“You’ve got 30 minutes to fill a single feed crate. One crate per family. That’s it.”
“Then we’re leaving.” Ma Sophia choked as she spoke those words, but she carried on.
“We don’t have he guns or people to hold this place. The mutants drove the Tech Priests out of the oasis, and this was just a scouting party . . . just a test of our defenses. They figured we’d be easy prey. Well, they found out they were wrong. We held them . . . barely.”
“I’d hoped they’d leave us be. We’re no threat. But we drew blood, and they’ll come back—with many times as many men, and no doubt with some weapons that’ll blast in our walls. “
“They’ll kill us as surely as you’d butcher a grot for dinner.”
A faint breeze picked up, and she caught the smell of burnt flesh. Her stomach churned at the smell, but she also felt a grim satisfaction at the suffering of the mutants before they’d died.
“So get moving. Farhad is hooking up a wagon behind the tractor. We’re heading south to safety.
Ma Sophie didn’t say what she really was thinking. We’re going to try to make it to safety. But it’s 200 kilometers of open sand before we reach the next town. We can only hope the mutants have had enough fighting for now.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Morkai Campaign