Big Game VI – Chapter Twenty Five: Interlude
The Duty was a massive object, suspended in the darkness of the void. An enormous leviathan compared to the smaller escorts and sleek light cruisers that moved in its wake as the last remnants of the blockade shattered behind them. Antonius spent a moment studying the hull of that majestic strike cruiser through the landing bay window as it came alongside Honor for their attack run. Above them, he knew, the Sacrifice was settling into the same speed and direction. In the distance, a dull yellow light trailed the maroon hull of The Furnace of Vengeance from the Angels Sacrosanct; the hammer to their anvil.
Four Astartes strike cruisers bearing down on their target. A truly terrifying force. Under most circumstances, it would be enough to pacify whole worlds, to make lesser fleets mutiny and offer up their Captains in surrender, rather than face that hideous, unstoppable power.
Now, it seemed like a precious sliver of hope.
Antonius became aware of a presence beside him. Ory-Hara the Silent, Chief Librarian of the Azure Flames, joined him at the viewport as the Duty locked into its pattern. He stood alongside Antonius, staring out into the same darkness, his thoughts impenetrable behind the metal mask that covered the lower half of his face.
“Do you think this will work?” Antonius spoke the question without meaning to.
Ory-Hara, the most powerful psyker in the Azure Flames’ history, save one. Ory-Hara, who was gifted the secrets of Atrus, Antonius’ own gene-father. Ory-Hara, who had taken a vow of silence to protect those very secrets. Antonius prepared himself for whatever psychic message might appear to his mind, but the Librarian did nothing but make a small movement with his shoulders. It took Antonius a moment to realize it was a shrug.
The Librarian glanced upwards, to the tactical monitor, where three sailed into battle, towards whatever fate awaited them. The names of each ship hung above its image on the starfield.
Honor. Duty. Sacrifice.
Antonius nodded slowly and smiled to himself. “You’re right,” he said. “I suppose it’ll have to.”
As if on cue, warning klaxons blared. It was time. Squads of Azure Flames Marines entered the room, and began to board their Thunderhawks. Turning as one, Antonius and Ory-Hara made their way to their attack craft as the ships began their run.