Lord Grulgor of the Iron Warriors surveyed the war-torn wasteland before him that had once been a spaceport. The last of his Death Guard allies were falling back through the blasted terrain to his waiting thunderhawk gunships while the shelling from the Imperial Guard Frenly 812005th continued unabated. From the unordered bloom of explosions he knew that the artillery was too far out of range to have the precision to truly threaten his forces, and wondered whether the Imperial Guard officers knew what a waste of munitions the bombardment was. His thoughts were interrupted by clanking mechanical steps as one of his personal guard shuffled impatiently. “Does my company bore you so, Digitalus?” asked Grulgor. “The hull of my thunderhawk could use some cleaning if you’re looking for something to do.”
“As degenerate as they are I can understand evacuating the plague marines, but why did we take such pains to retrieve that?” spat Digitalus, the scorn clear even through his bionic voice. He looked back into the hold of their thunderhawk, where a bloated hulking creature was chained. Thick chunks of ceramite plate, the remnants of a suit of terminator armour, were lodged in its flesh, while thick swarms of flies constantly buzzed around it. “It’s best to leave those that have drawn the ire of Gods to die. That is not an existence worth living.”
“For the first time in your miserable life you speak with reason, and I would normally agree,” Grulgor chuckled. Caught off guard by this sudden display of emotion from his normally cold superior, Digitalus was at a loss for a come-back to the verbal jab. “However,” continued Grulgor, “there are debts and oaths that even the likes of us would do well to honour. After this miserable world burns, I will find a way to bring back Singh if I have to scour the Eye from Medrengard to the darkest daemon world.”
Transcript of message originally recovered from the helm-mounted pict recorder of brother Anateus of the Blood Angels (M.I.A.)
Later broadcast across all Imperial command and communication frequencies on Bekrin from an unknown source.
Transcribed by savant Elias, under employ of Inquisitor Cobel, Ordo Xenos
[Pict-recording emerges from white static, showing a figure half-shrouded in darkness. Subject is clad in full blue-green power armour. Adorned with heretical iconography, in addition to three-headed hydra and serpent scale symbology (cross-ref: Alpha Legion traitor astartes)]
[Aside from plain rockcrete ground, surroundings are indistinguishable]
[Subject speaks, voice pitch and tone fluctuates unnaturally. (Speculation: modulation likely used to disguise identity and intimidate/unnerve message recipients)]
Subject: Servants of the Imperium, despite many months of effort your holy world lies in ruin. It is overrun by xenos, traitors and heretics. Quite an unthinkable situation! Surely the hammer of the Imperial Guard, holy Inquisition and mighty Astartes should have made short work of such opposition. How could this planet remain in such a sorry state?
[Subject unsheathes a curved combat blade, proceeds to swing it idly. Blade appears to be composed of momo-molecular edged nanosteel]
Subject: Consider a military force as the human body. Just as all the organs and systems of the body need to operate together to achieve equilibrium, the components of a military expedition need to work in coordinated concert to achieve their goal. Now, consider that in the human body the most dangerous and lethal of diseases are the cancers, where the body’s own cells turn on itself. Could the same not be true for a military expedition? Look to your allies and comrades-in-arms, who can really be trusted? What are their true motives? Perhaps the reasons for your continued failure are closer than you think.
[Subject quickly throws the blade at a point close to the pict-recording source, the recording immediately dissolves into white static]