The storm continues to rage, the wind driven dust screeching over the hulls of the vehicles and the violet lightning crackling across the sky. The convoy rumbles over the dunes, closing in on the forsaken outpost.
Curtis’s muttered prayers to the Emperor mix with Sila’s as the vehicles pass over the mine installation perimeter.
“Stig, weapons hot. Everybody else, lock and load.” Lazerus barks as he loads fresh magazines into his weapons.
The big guardsman wakes from his short nap and awkwardly reloads his weapons in the confines of the turret bubble. Following that he checks the ammo feeds on the stubbers and gets them ready for action, keeping eyes to the front.
Lucius’s body remains motionless. Inside his own mind Lucius feels the hot claws of the scrap code biting into the back of his mind and tries to extract himself from the scrap code he was studying. A sudden flash of fear fills his heart as he realizes he is stuck fast, the black tendrils of the sorcerers code tightening around his soul. Suddenly a grim face fills more info
his mind’s eye. A great avian skull fashioned from slithering black cables and corroded steel, asymmetrically spotted with burning red eyes, it moves with a bird like rapid precision. The mechanical horror face caws and hisses with the sound of grinding gears and escaping steam jets.
It screams in binary, raking Lucius’s mind, “COME FORTH, LITTLE COG! YOU SHALL BE UTILIZED AS WELL! YOUR GREAT EMPIRE MACHINE LIES BROKEN. A HEAP OF RANDOM PARTS TO BE SALVAGED BY THE GRAND ARCHITECT. COME FORTH LITTLE COG, YOUR DESTINY AWAITS.”
Lucius is trapped in his vision. His mind reeling with terror, unable to withdraw, his electronic synapses burning out one by one.
Suddenly the fat scarlet beam of a mars pattern las cannon slices through the storm and pierces the crew cab of one of the leading crawlers. A burst of flame immolates everyone inside. The crawler continues on slowly turning to the left trail a thick black smoke from it’s shattered control cab. The great machine trundles another hundred yards and then gently collapses onto the scorched earth as if to tired to carry on.