They couldn't be alive. They had no organs, no muscles, no minds. The metal men were just that, metal formed into the vague shape of men. There were no engines powering them or motors making them move. The metal men were simply impossible. But they still came on, knife fingers snipping towards us, long, expressionless faces gazing at us with glowing green eyes. Janine hit them with the flamer again, but they ignored it, and why wouldn't they? There was no flesh to burn, no nerves to feel pain, just heartless metal intent on death. I dropped the clip out of my bolter and fumbled a new one into place, then fired. The explosive shells impacted into the oncoming mass. Here one would fall, there another would stumble, but they didn't slow down. To my horror the injured ones picked themselves back up, their bodies reforming right before my eyes. I think that, by then, I was screaming.
Kora saved us. She came out of nowhere, her stormbolter blazing, and the two creatures in the lead fell into twitching piles. “Regina, where's the Inquisitor?”
“Here!” Kane shouted, his power sword cleaving through the neck of a metal man who had come up behind Kora. Two more nimble flicks of his wrist sent the thing to the ground in several pieces. His bolt pistol barked twice, then empty, he threw it at one of the things with a growl. “Necrontyr,” he said, holding his sword in a low guard. “This was the last thing I was expecting. How could I be so stupid?”
“What in the name of Terra is a Necrontyr?” Kora sent another burst from her stormbolter into one of the monsters that had gotten too close.
“I will be glad to tell you more about them when we survive, sister,” Kane responded, then slipped next to Kora and wrapped his arm around her waist. He drew her bolt pistol from her hip and put a pair of bolts into another of these Necrontyr. “Let's just say they're bad. Where are the Deathwatch?”
“They were right behind me.” As if on cue the full force of our expedition burst into the clearing. Analyn had formed the sisters into a defensive firing line and were laying down a steady stream of bolt shells into the creatures. She lead, as always, from the front, her plasma pistol reducing the metal men to slag. The Deathwatch Marines came marching in from the left, two with bolters guarding the flanks of the third, who had his heavy bolter on some kind of suspensor rig that allowed him to fire it while moving. The sheer amount of muscle that must have taken, even with the mechanical assistance, was staggering. Angelica was with those marines, her eviscerator revving at high speed.
I heard a shout over all the fire and saw Inquisitor Vecht being encircled by several of the Necrontyr. Angelica charged forward to save him. Her eviscerator cleaved two of the creatures in twain with a single stroke, which created an opening for Vecht to dart out of danger. He was frantically trying to reload his inferno pistol while sprinting back behind the line the sisters had formed.
The Deathwatch were making their way towards us, slowly but surely blasting their way ahead, and for a moment I thought we might be able to break free and get back to the sisters like Vecht had, but I've never been quite that blessed. The Emperor, I believe, likes to show me his affection through challenges. As the marines closed, a sudden deep darkness began engulfing the clearing. It was like a cloud of the deepest black which fell upon us. Immediately all fire ceased, and there was no sound. It was as if all of my senses had been taken from me, and I might have thought I'd died if the sharp pain in my leg hadn't remained. Then, in an instant, the cloud was gone. And what had appeared in its place was much worse.
At least twenty of the metal men were now standing between us and the relative safety of the firing line. These Necrontyr were different from the others though. They each held large weapons of some kind, glowing with the same green energy that burned in their eyes. Amongst them, one stood out. It stood a full head taller than the rest and clutched in one hand a massive staff that flickered menacingly with crackling bursts of power. “No no no! That's a Lord!” As he spoke the Lord turned to us and somehow made a noise in my head that sounded almost like a voice, but incredibly wrong. It spoke inside of my head like the voice of a tomb, filling my senses with the smell of stale air and dust that hadn't moved for millenia. It was like death itself had invaded my mind, promising nothing but oblivion and an end to all things. Then something slammed down in my mind and a bright white light forced out the darkness. I saw the Lord recoil as the light of the Emperor filled me, so I emptied the clip of my bolter directly into its face.
It staggered back, then raised its staff. A moment later Janine simply disappeared, screaming, as she was torn apart by a blinding beam of energy. Unsupported, I fell to the ground, something that saved my life as more of the energy beams tore through the air around me. Kane tackled Kora to the ground, rolling on top of her to cover her. As the Lord targeted us, the rest of the things began firing at my sisters. I watched as one was torn to pieces by the coruscating green blasts. Her armor disappeared first, then her skin, muscle, bone and finally there was nothing left of her, swept away as easily as dust on a floor. Analyn shouted and the sisters began firing back. A meltagun caused one of the metal men to disappear as completely as that sister, and Vecht's inferno pistol, now reloaded, did the same for another.
The Lord came towards us and I struggled to reload my bolter again, but the muck of the ground had fouled the feed. Kora raised to one knee and began firing a steady stream from her stormbolter, but the Lord kept moving towards us, the bolt shells not even denting his metal body. Kane joined in with Kora's bolt pistol, but even together they couldn't even slow the creature down.
A Deathwatch marine, may he be held at a special place at The Emperor's side, slammed into the Lord at a full sprint, sending both of them sprawling to the ground. As it rose to its feet again the Marine spun and caught it in the chin with the butt of his bolter. The Lord staggered back, then jerked and danced as bolt shells slammed into it from all directions. The Marine was firing at point blank range, and behind the Lord the other two Marines were pouring fire into it. Its limbs came apart in a storm of shrapnel. Its head exploded and its body was torn to ribbons. Shattered and broken, the pieces of the Lord fell everywhere.
Kane grabbed me and hefted me up, groaning under the weight of my armor. While not as bulky or heavy as that of the Astartes, power armor of any type is exceedingly heavy for those without any kind of augmented strength. Kora raised her stormbolter to fire into the rest of the metal men from behind, but Kane slapped the weapon down. “No, we've got to get out of here. We're outmatched. Vecht! Vecht, can you hear me?” Kane lowered his head as he spoke into his microbead. “Fall back quickly, we're dead if we keep fighting. Get back to the shuttle and get airborne. Come pick us up, we'll be heading North. Understood?”
The Deathwatch marines were moving to join us when one suddenly staggered. I watched in horror as his massive body jerked and was pulled into the air, the Lord's staff punched straight through his chest, the ceramite armor as effective as paper. With a single gesture of its arms, the Lord tore the marine in half and sent the two halves of his body flying across the field. What was left of the Necrontyr Lord had pulled itself back to its feet and begun to repair. Its head was still gone, but was reforming, inch by inch, as I watched. The other two marines turned to engage it, only for the staff to again emit those blinding energy beams and disintegrate the marines where they stood. “We need to get out of here, now!” Kane shouted, hauling me away from the scene, but for some reason we seemed to be going too slow, like the air had become too thick to move in. Kora shouted and fired her stormbolter, and I could see the shells spin as they cut through the air so terribly slowly. The Lord easily dodged them, simply stepping aside, a blur of metal too fast for my eyes to keep track of. It was suddenly before me, staring into my eyes as its own reformed and began blazing once ore with the unholy green energy. It simply shoved Kane aside and caught me up by the throat in its cold grip. As it hoisted me into the air, I saw a vague black shape in the air behind it, moving as terribly slowly as I had been.
It plucked my helmet from my head and cast it aside, then began squeezing my neck. I gagged, trying to wrench myself free, but I couldn't gain any momentum in the cursed slowness which didn't seem to affect the Lord in the slightest. It stared at me with a cruel curiosity, watching me die. As my vision faded I prayed, commending my soul the Empror's safekeeping, then I heard the terrible sound of metal on metal, shrieking, and my eyes shot open wide. Angelica hung in mid-leap behind the Lord, her eviscerator rammed into the base of its neck, grinding down into its body with the same lethargic speed which had caught all of us. The Lord dropped me, and everything sped up again. It hit the ground hard, and Angleica tore the back of the Lord completely off as she wrenched her weapon free. “Did that hurt, fucker?” My sister was grinning in the way she did when she'd found something on the battlefield which had sparked her bloodlust.
As the Lord spun to face her a plasma shot sheared its arm off at the shoulder. Analyn was coming at it from the flank, plasma pistol in one hand, power sword in the other. “Emperor damn you, Angelica! I told you to fall back!”
“Falling back is for cowardly little pre-pubescent girls, Palatine!” Angelica swung her eviscerator again, but the Lord blocked with its staff and knocked her aside. Angelica rolled back up to her feet and charged again. “What's the matter, Analyn? Need me to buy you some sanitary pads for your first menstruation?”
Analyn came at the Lord from the side and her power sword cut a gouge across its torso. “That's it! When we get back I'm going to make you clean every toilet on the ship.” While the Lord recoiled Analyn put her boot to the Lord's chest and shoved it down to the ground. “Come on, we're going!”
“Not yet!” Angelica pounced on the fallen Lord and brought her eviscerator down towards its chest, but the Lord got its staff in the way and the chainsword's teeth tore into the alien metal. “It's still kicking! I want to finish it off!”
“We have to go,” Kora shouted, helping me to my feet again. “Let it go, Angelica!”
Some of the Necrontyr with the guns were turning back to face us, and Analyn shouted one more time. “Angelica stop! Stop!” The Palatine sighed and stared up at the sky, “Oh Holy Emperor, why won't she stop?” They were the last words Analyn ever said. One of the knife fingered Necrontyr stepped up behind her and flicked her head off of her shoulders. Her headless body collapsed just as Angelica finally cut through the Lord's staff and drove her blade into the thing's chest. She wrenched the blade left, then right, and the Lord lie still. A sideways glance showed her Analyn's fate, and Angelica screamed in unmitigated rage. She charged into the fray, her eviscerator roaring almost as loud as she was as she hit the Necrontyr formation from behind.
Kora almost followed her, but Kane grabbed us both and began dragging us towards the treeline. “Leave her! We have to go, now!” The three of us stumbled into the forest once more, me still being carried by Kora. As we disappeared amongst the trees and the sounds of battle fell far behind us I realized that until that shuttle came we were going to be alone in these woods with the Necrontyr.
So ends the eighth passage of the Personal Record of Palatine Regina Winterfield concerning the fate of Inquisitor Isimbard Kane.