The Hunter and the Hunted Lieutenant Brown sat in his command pod 1 kilometer away from th

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The Hunter and the Hunted Lieutenant Brown sat in his command pod 1 kilometer away from the enormous space hulk, a huge, derelict space ship thousands of years old. He sat in the dim room hunched over the console, watching the marines move down the corridor through the camera mounts. "DaCosta!" the lieutenant shouted through the comlink, "Move your squads toward sector Zed Zed Alpha. The main offensive requires your presence." "Copy that Lieutenant, moving now," replied DaCosta. DaCosta had turned and made a quick count to make sure he had all of his marines. "Pestilato. Take the point. Everyone else fall in." A Terminator moved in front of DaCosta, its massive bulk moving smoothly. The footsteps rang out throughout the dark corridor. Pestilato moved up the corridor, DaCosta right behind him. They came upon a four-way intersection, three corridors were blocked by thick bulkheads. The way they came was the only way open. "Not a problem," Pestilato said calmly. His chain fist juddered to life and he cut into the bulkhead. In seconds, there was a Terminator-sized hole where the bulkhead used to be. DaCosta watched carefully, looking out for genestealers. His bio-scanner detected an unidentifiable amount of lifeforms, about fifty meters away and closing fast. "DaCosta to Lieutenant Brown. Lifeforms detected. Possible genestealers. Awaiting instructions." "Continue in present direction. Any resistance should be met with deadly force." "Understood," replied DaCosta. Pestilato saw the blips on his bio-scanner. "Sir. Lifeforms detected. Genestealers confirmed." "Keep cool," replied Crowe, "Don't get overzealous. We have to make it through. Find a defensive position and set on overwatch." Pestilato raised his storm bolter, a heavy, double barrelled, automatic weapon that fired hollow-tipped explosive-charged caseless rounds. He flipped the switch that set his storm bolter to fire faster than it was designed to. Pestilato looked up, and saw three genestealers closing in on him fast. There they were, three grotesque creatures, the stuff you could only dream about, things so horrible that they couldn't possibly be real. Yet there they stood. Three huge, ominous creatures with large purple heads and gleaming red eyes. They stood at least seven feet tall and were hunched over. Their legs looked similiar to a dog's, with haunches and clawed feet. They had four arms, two with normal human hands and two with claws that could cut through steel like it was soft butter. This nightmare was sheathed in a tough carapace shell. "Genestealers confirmed! At least three coming in fast!" said Pestilato as he pressed the trigger of his storm bolter. Shot after shot poured into the alien, creating large craters in its shell, creating a mist of putrid green blood. The creature squealed and fell to the ground. "Nicodemus to DaCosta. We were delayed by a surprise Genestealer attack. No casualties. We should be in your area... now." Just then, Nicodemus stepped in followed by Fabian and Boubonicus. Nicodemus wore the Aegis suit of a Terminator Librarian, a warrior with powerful psionics. Fabian was carrying a heavy flamer while Boubonicus was wielding Lightning claws, large gloves with claws surging with energy designed to rip the carapace from a genestealer's body and get at the soft flesh beneath. "Proceed to designated area." replied DaCosta. "Pestilato. Fall back. We're following Nicodemus." "Unable to comply, sir. Genestealers are waiting just out of my line of sight. As soon as I - Aaaaaaarrrrgggghh!" Just then, Pestilato fell to the ground, a huge slash in the center of his chest. His blood soaked the front of his armour as well as the claws of the genestealer who killed him. DaCosta heard the steady hiss of air as it escaped from Pestilato's Terminator suit. "Pestilato's down!" shouted DaCosta. DaCosta fired as he moved back to the others. The genestealer took about fifteen rounds to the head and countless others hit the Stealer's body. It was dead before it hit the ground. "DaCosta, this is Brown. Pull out and move to the designated area. The offensive is looking grim." DaCosta noticed that Brown's voice was wavering, as if he was nervous or excited. "Iglesias reporting in sir. I have Karell here with me." DaCosta turned to see his old friend. Behind Iglesias was Karell, a man that had the spirit of a wild stallion and great fighting ability. Karell was on assault cannon detail. Although dangerous, that's the way Karell liked things. "The other three are behind us. They should be here momentarily." "Good, because we don't have much time to wait. The genestealers are all around us. We have to move - Aaarrggh!" DaCosta felt a great weight slam into him from behind. He had enough time to turn around and see a genestealer trying to rip him apart. He drew his powersword as the stealer attacked. The clawed hand was aimed right for his face, but DaCosta was able to get the sword up in time. He returned the blow, slashing the top of the stealer's head. Karell positioned himself up against a wall, ready for any stealers that came his way. "Stargrod here. We have arrived. Awaiting instructions." "Find a defensive position. We have to fight off this first wave if we are to move any further." By now, Fabian and Nicodemus were in a long corridor. "Set up, back to back formation," said Nicodemus. "Yes sir." Nicodemus backed up to Fabian and fired his flamer into an intersection that would lead a long line of stealers to the captain and the others. "Suppressing fire established." "Good. I'm on overwatch, all we have to do is wait for the captain and the others." As he finished his sentence, Nicodemus saw several genestealers advancing on his position. He fired his storm bolter, tearing two of them apart. The last one managed to dodge the high-explosive shells. It raised its arm to slash Nicodemus's face off. Nicodemus was faster. Channelling psychic energy into his force axe, he brought the axe down on the shoulder of the stealer, lopping two of the arms off. The stealer fell to the ground squealing, trying in vain to reach the Librarian. It soon bled to death. "Allright, let's move." "You go first. I'll cover our advance." replied Fabian. "Good. Go." said Nicodemus. Nicodemus moved forward as Fabian backed up. Fabian continued to fire his flamer at the same intersection, buying the other marines the time they desperately needed to regroup. "Let's go! Move, move, move!" shouted DaCosta, "Boubonicus! You take point!" Boubonicus moved in front of the captain. He pulled in front of Fabian, who had his back to him. Boubonicus readied himself for the stealers coming down the corridor. The first one was on him. Boubonicus drew back a hand and slashed the stealer. The lightning claws struck the back of the stealer, tearing away the carapace. Boubonicus used his other hand to stab the stealer in the back. The claws pierced the soft flesh, killing the stealer instantly. Two other stealers jumped on Boubonicus, knocking him to the ground. He slashed fiercly with his claws, cutting deeply into a stealer's belly, causing blood to splurt out onto Boubonicus's armor. He backhanded the other stealer, knocking it back. It charged him again. Boubonicus lowered his claws, ready for the stealer. The stealer impaled itself on the claws. It swung at Boubonicus in a last ditch effort to kill him, but the weak blow bounced off the armor. As Boubonicus pulled the claws out of the limp body, a stealer he hadn't seen came out from the darkness. He had no time to put up his claws to defend himself. The stealer pounced on him and clawed away at his chest and arms, tearing the armor to shreds. "Help! Get it off! Get it off! Aaaaaaarrrrggghhh!" DaCosta couldn't see what happened to Boubonicus, but heard his pleas for help over the intercom. He heard the rending of metal and flesh, and soon, the sounds became indistinguishable. He then heard the sounds of bolter fire, and the squealing of a dying stealer. "Keep moving!" shouted Iglesias over the noise of the battle. Iglesias and his squad moved down the corridor after the captain. Stranski, the last in line, felt a huge weight on his back that forced him to the ground. He heard it clawing away at his armour. "Help me! Shoot it! Shoot it! I can't reach it with my power glove! Heeelllpp Mmmeeee!!" Those were Stranski's last words. He felt the claws digging into his back. The pain was unreal. Then he heard it clawing at the inside of his armour, telling him that it had cut through him. Then his world turned black. Karell turned just as the stealer finished ripping Stranski apart. He thumbed the assault cannon to life. The barrels spun at fantastic speed, becoming a blur. Bullet after bullet hit the stealer, reducing it to a fine green mist. After destroying it, he turned and caught up to his fellow marines. "Karell, come with me. We're taking a different corridor. We're gonna cut off those stealers!" Karell said nothing, but nodded to Iglesias. The two seperated from the rest at the intersection Fabian had been firing at for so long. Nicodemus moved into a room. There were three other exits. before he had time to think of which one to use, stealers were bearing down on him from the right corridor and the corridor in front of him. He fired his storm bolter, killing two of them. He then backed into a corner. There would be no relief, the others were too far behind. The stealers advanced on his position. Nicodemus pulled the trigger on his storm bolter, but no shots were fired. The magazine fell out of the bolter and hit the ground. The sound could not be heard over the rushing genestealers. Before Nicodemus had time to reload, the stealers attacked from both sides. Nicodemus channeled his psychic energy into his force aze and brought it down on a stealer, decapitating it. He channeled more energy into it and attacked another stealer. The stealer managed to dodge out of the way, but could not counter the attack. Nicodemus channeled the last of his psychic energy into a final blow, and slashed at a stealer. The stealer dropped, oozing blood from a huge wound in its side. Nicodemus saw more stealers coming down at him through the corridors. He backed into a corridor on his left, reloaded his bolter and set it on overwatch. He fired at the stealers that were coming at him. He shot each one over and over again. Every stealer he shot died instantly. He pressed the trigger until the magazine was empty. The stealers kept coming. "Get back!" yelled Fabian into his comlink right before he fired his flamer into the room the stealers were charging at Nicodemus through, obliterating all of them. They burst into flame and fell to the ground. They tried in vain to reach Nicodemus, who was just outside the room. "That's it! I'm out of juice! I'm gonna have to reload! Give me a minute!" Fabian pulled out the empty container of "Flamer Juice" and dropped it on the floor. He reached around with his left hand and pulled another one out of a compartment on his back. He popped it into where the old one was. He connected the feed tube to the container and was set. Stargrod and Kinner were trying to catch up to DaCosta and the others. Stargrod turned around to see if there were any stealers behind them. A stealer jumped on him, clawing and biting at his helmet. The helmet came off. Stargrod tried to swat at the stealer with his power glove, but to no avail. The stealer drew back a clawed hand. Stargrod tried to scream, but could not. He could only watch in horror as the clawed hand came down upon his face. Kinner heard a crunching and grating sound, like metal on metal. He then heard a squishing sound over and over again. "Stargrod?" he said as he turned around. When he turned around, he saw Stargrod, or at least, what he thought was Stargrod. All he saw was a suit of Terminator armour lying on the ground. He saw a bloody pulp where Stargrod's face should have been. Beside the carnage, Kinner saw a helmet that looked like it had been cut open by a can opener. He then saw the stealer hovering over Stargrod, blood dripping from it's mouth and claws. The stealer leapt at Kinner, throwing him to the ground. Kinner tried to fight it off, but his arms were pinned by the great bulk of the stealer. The stealer started to chew its way through the helmet. Kinner could only watch as the saliva of the creature ran down his visor. He watched the strong jaws chew up and down. He heard the seals on the helmet break. The helmet came off, and he was then face to face with his killer. The stealer opened its jaws. DaCosta heard a blood curdling scream from around the corner. "Stargrod! Kinner! Sound off!" Silence. "Stargrod! Kinner! Respond! Where are you!?" Silence. Nicodemus backed into a junction between two rooms. "Relax, Nicodemus. This is Karell. I've got your back covered." "I'm going up to the exit. Cover me." Iglesias said as he moved forward. The stealers went after him, but he kept moving. Nicodemus was glad to hear the soothing voice of Karell. Nicodemus reloaded his storm bolter again. He heard the assault cannon spin to life and pump shots into the disgusting lifeforms. By now, they would be dying. Karell held the trigger down, continuing to put shots into the stealers. Then the bullets stopped coming out of the barrels. The ammo counter kept counting, but no shots were firing. "She's gonna --- Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhh!!" The assault cannon jammed and exploded. Nicodemus turned as Karell screamed. He saw the cannon explode. It was suddenly very hot. His armour was melting away. "Nnnnnnnnnnnooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" Nicodemus managed to scream before he died. With his cover fire gone, Iglesias knew he couldn't make it. He saw blips right before the exit registering on his bio-scanner. He was then tackled from behind. He rolled onto his back to see a genestealer on top of him. "Get off me you slimy - Aaaaaarrrgggh!" The genestealer had ripped Iglesias's right arm off. Iglesias brought up his power glove and crushed the stealer's head. Another stealer leaped onto Iglesias, slashing him to pieces. Fabian and DaCosta moved into the room where Karell exploded. They saw fragments of Karell's armor, as well as Nicodemus's burnt and mangled force axe. "Fabian. Close up. Back to back formation. If they want to kill us, they're going to have to work for it." "Yes sir." Fabian saw genestealers pouring into the room. He fired his flamer. Out of six genestealers, five burned to the ground. The last one got through the flames to Fabian. Though it was burning, the stealer ignored it and attacked. Fabian raised his power glove, but not in time. The stealer slashed through his chest, nearly cutting him in half. Fabian only gurgled before he fell to the ground. DaCosta didn't hear Fabian die over the sounds of his storm bolter and the dying genestealers. DaCosta heard Lieutenant Brown's voice over the comlink. "Turn around! Turn around!" DaCosta turned around to see Fabian lying on the ground, bleeding all over the floor. Fabian's helmet had fallen off during the attack. Fabian's empty eyes looked at DaCosta with a look of despair and pain. He also saw the stealer that killed him. "Die, you filthy scum!" DaCosta drew his power sword just as the stealer swung at him. DaCosta couldn't get his sword up in time to block the blow. The blow ripped through the armour and into his chest. He felt part of his arm ripped away. He saw his right hand and storm bolter get tossed away. He felt the bile rise in his throat. The stealer struck him again, this time square in the chest. The claws dug into the armour, piercing DaCosta's chest. DaCosta opened his mouth and felt blood drip from his mouth onto the floor. He fell to his knees, dropping the sword. The stealer swung once more, cutting through the armour easily and cutting into DaCosta's side. He rolled on his left side. The genestealer then slashed deep into DaCosta's face. Lieutenant Brown saw the screen that was linked to DaCosta's camera mount go dark like the other nine. "They are all gone. We will always remember. Sergeant Lazarus, the reinforcements were unable to reach you. Fall back and regroup."

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