Genesis II: Beravon Betrayal

Betrayal; Archon Aholi and the Twentieth Legion of Secunatus Rexionis is betrayed at Beravon and attacked by the legions of his siblings Ibeji and Ceres. The super-soldiers of the Twentieth have to warn the Imperium, and Ibeji and Ceres must wipe out the survivors before they can do it.

PROLOGUE

21M.998

Ceres

"Blood Marines are descending on the Urruk fortress, my lady," she was told by her admiral.

The Archon stood firm on the command deck's command section. An eerie silence laid over the bridge of the Conqueror. Thirty Zahoriana-class Battleships had been constructed; twenty-three to the Archons, master of the legions, one to the master-less Imperial Blades, one to the empress and the rest to various fleets of significance. Four of those had later been given as command ships to the four legions of the next generations. Among all of those few were far more famous in Imperial space. The Conqueror was one of those. A naval enthusiast would be aware of the name of every Zahoriana commanded by her and her siblings and maybe even all thirty. Normal folks in the Imperium knew the names of a few: those likely being Anu's Master of Maragge, her Conqueror, Ibeji's Hand of Might, and definitely Andraste's Angel of Light. Then of course it depended on where you lived in the Imperium since if the Minotaur's Sons had brought you into the fold then you'd likely listen extra for news about the Eater of Worlds.

"The fleet is in position, my lady Archon," the old Admiral von Sackenmeyer. His hand gripped his gilded cane hard. Despite his monotone voice, she saw that he was concerned, but he remained loyal. He's started his career as a pilot in the Sixteenth Legion after all.

"Are all my ships synced up to the Hand of Might?" Ceres asked.

"Yes. We, we are ready."

"Good." She sat upon her throne and leaned back against it. "Coming generations will thank you, Ølgott."

Von Sackenmeyer nodded. He seemed soothed by that notion. Every moment that followed felt like an age to her. She always considered herself a patient woman but she ached to get this done with.

Finally the ship's Adjutant said, "Archon Ibeji is ordering all Imperial Hand and Onyx Crusader ships to gain a targeting solution on their target."

"Do it."

"Done," the AI said after a moment.

The officers in the command section gazed at each other and knew that the moment was almost upon them. The tension the mortals felt was palpable, far more than anything Ceres felt.

Finally, the word came into open fire. Ceres gave the command and the guns of the battleship – joined by hundreds of ships – suddenly unleashed a surprise attack against the fleet of her dear brother Aholi. Jamming signals had been activated to ensure that Aholi's legion on the planet below remained unaware. There must have been lovely chaos aboard the Blood Marine ships. At the knife-fighting range of three kilometres the Conqueror and Hand of Might poured their combined firepower into the hull of the Bloodsworn. Joined by the full might of the Dark Cataclysm and Ragnarök, the armour plating of her hull began to break in numerous places. The dreadnought battleships had turned their planet glassing Plasma Bombardier Cannons on her dear brother's flagship. Those guns she had used to scour-resistant worlds clean battered the immensely powerful battleship. Not even half its size, the three Apocalypse-class Dreadnought Battleships had the most powerful cannons in Imperial service – and for the first time a legion felt their might.

It was then that the shock had apparently worn off as the first of her brother's ships returned fire. The war cruisers and destroyers manned by Blood Marines of course. She smiled as Bloodsworn turned its unharmed guns on the Conqueror and the armour plating and hull, piercing into the depth of the warship. Many ships of the Twentieth Legion were already wrecks floating in the void. Every moment the holomap showed another ship destroyed. She knew that Ibeji had divided feelings of this, but he knew that their cause was righteous. She had known that this day would come for too many decades. She had waited too long for the first step, the first phase, to re-forge their mother's flawed vision. Any regret had burnt away a century ago as she first saw what had to be done, what lied in the future.

"She's gone silent, Archon," von Sackenmeyer reported. "Dead in space."

The Bloodsworn offered no further resistance, her primary and secondary systems offline. She was a husk floating in the void, nothing more. Ceres felt a wave of pleasure rush over her as the remaining vessels were destroyed one by one by superior and overwhelming firepower.

A midshipman handed von Sackenmeyer a datapad.

"Orders from the Hand of Might," the old admiral then announced. "Archon Ibeji orders that the fleet is to fire on the landing zone."

"Get me a targeting solution and pour hell upon them," Ceres answered. Half a minute pass before the first ships of the fleet focus their fire on the planet. Another minute pass before the guns of the mighty Conqueror followed. Even Rexionis could not survive a direct bombardment of that kind. The Twentieth Legion would be no more. Extinct without any comprehension of what had happened and why.