"Scoop" Yurik, Freelance News-agent
At around mid-day-cycle, as our party emerged from yet another dank and odorous access tunnel into another gloomy and cavernous dome, we were greeted by shouts and the unmistakable sounds of gunfire. Under the watchful protection of both Liam and Seamus himself, this reporter and his pictographist moved within sight of the fierce battle. Once more we were able to make out the regal violet uniform of the 7th Ash Waste Rifles moving into cover amongst the seemingly skeletal remnants of clustered hab-units and air-processing systems. Not surprisingly given their rather enthusiastic approach to "exploration," the Nex Manus Imperator were spotted across the ad-hoc battlefield, their crimson robes standing out against dull, gray and brown debris.
Father Benedictus and juve Pius run toward their opponents
It seemed that the infamous Cawdor gang had once more seized the initiative, as several of their fighters moved swiftly towards the Rifles' positions, shouting battle-prayers and promises of retribution. Only a select few of the NMI elected to stay behind, selecting elevated positions. Not to be outdone, the Rifles moved carefully across the ground upon sighting the NMI advances, dispersing their numbers laterally and vertically, with several fighters scrambling up ladders to obtain superior firing positions. Most notably, 7th AWR heavy "Zeke" was spotted lugging a rather large stubber to the top of an air-filtration tower, scanning the field below for targets.
Nex Manus Imperator fighters were quick to take cover from the potentially lethal heavy stubber, but in doing so were forced to halt their advances, leaving NMI heavy Callixtus exposed along a catwalk. While other members of the Cawdor gang moved beneath catwalks and through cover to flank the Rifles' firing positions, Callixtus was cut down by a burst of stubber fire and sprawled awkwardly on the metal decking before his flamer could flush out the Van Saar fighters in the lower levels of the air-filtration tower.
Despite the loss of their heavy, the NMI returned fire from cover, forcing several purple-clad Rifles to dive for cover and wounding a few others. NMI ganger Donus fired on Rifles juve Tex, resulting in a display of violence so spectacular it forced Rifles leader Orion to flee whilst wiping his face clean of the juve's blood. Unfortunately, as Donus took aim for this shot, it allowed Zeke sufficient time to unleash a long burst of stubber fire, punching into the Cawdor ganger and throwing him bodily off the platform to the ground below.
Rifles heavy Zeke takes aim as ganger Visili looks on
Father Benedictus' considerable skill with threats of "PURGATUS!!!" inspired the NMI to fight on, even as juve Innocent was wounded by autogun fire from the 7th AWR. The Cawdor zealots leapt forth from cover, with a small assault element flanking right, hoping to scale the tower and silence the Van Saar heavy stubber for good. Before the group could reach the tower, they spotted Rifles ganger Old Chester and opened fire, and allowing Cawdor ganger Caius to subdue the Van Saar in a swift melee action. As the other NMI fighters prepared to open fire once more, the panicked Orion ordered the 7th Ash Waste rifles to retreat.
The Nex Manus Imperator had brutally fought their way to another victory, but the cost this time was indeed high - Donus, who might otherwise have survived his light stubber wound, had broken his neck as he struck the concrete floor of the dome. In an unusually somber act, the other members of Nex Manus Imperator prepared a pyre for the body of their fallen comrade, and after a brief ceremony, Father Benedictus set the platform alight with his own hand flamer, and led the Cawdor gang away into the shadows in silence. As the group departed, our party spotted a flash of purple amongst the crimson robes - Old Chester was now a captive of the Nex Manus Imperator.