The last thing the crew on the bridge saw was the Guilliman’s Honor raining barrage after barrage like a murderous downpour with their macro cannons and torpedoes, before the Aegis was pulled into the warp and the start of a two-hundred-year fight for survival began.
The ship twisted and turned, pitched and rolled and the structural integrity was tested beyond limits intended for any ship. Entering the warp so aggressively and without proper preparation was dangerous beyond imagining, crew on all decks were thrown around like ragdolls, sustaining injuries and fatalities across all levels. It took approximately seven Terran hours for the Aegis to level out and steady itself, but to the crew it happened in mere seconds. The battle barge groaned and shook off the damaged external devices as it levelled out, the Imperial Eagle on the prow still sat proud and looked out upon the warp.
"Algernon, my Lord you have operational command. What are your orders? Admiral Hyppia picked himself up and stood to attention in front of the First Company warrior and awaited the response. "Admiral I need status reports ship wide, and a strength report of all men at arms. Also get me the Navigator and find out how and why this happened, and I need all Captains in the command room as soon as they are able". Algernon paced back and forth as he relayed his commands, the surviving members of the bridge crew doing what they could with the battered and damaged consoles. The bridge having gone through a terrifying assault and abused by the rigors of entering the warp so suddenly, was being prepared for use once again. Bodies of friend and foe alike were carried away, shell casings were swept up into sacks to be melted down to remake fresh bolter shells. The weapons of the traitors were gathered to be sent to the Techmarines for cleansing and repair, as any weapon now was more important than ever. "Burn the remains of the treacherous dogs, take what gene seed you can from our fallen brothers and place their bodies into stasis, they shall receive a proper burial on Ultramar and be honored for their duty." Algernon stated as he took a knee and placed an armored gauntlet upon the body of his late Captain, "your duty is over Captain, you gave all in the service of the Emperor. Guilliman himself smiles upon you this day for your steadfast courage and loyalty to the Imperium. For Ultramar and for duty, for past and for future, for Terra and the Emperor, no brother falls forgotten." Algernon stood and saluted his fallen Captain one last time before turning, as the door to the bridge opened with a group of battle weary Ultramarines marching in.
At the front was Mephitio Kyla Captain of the Third, followed by Sergeant Drakus of the Fourth, Bogfish of the Fifth then Sergeant Titus of the Second. They walked up to the First Company members and clasped gauntlets and shared quick conversation on the battles had over the past days, "Meridius, I hear you had to be rescued by the Fifth... Or what’s left of them anyway. Bogfish here tells me you had it pretty bad, and that the First Captain has been slain. This is unfortunate news brother, but I am glad we have rid ourselves of the traitors onboard. The heretics have dwindled our numbers but we are still battle prepared for anything that arises next", Sergeant Drakus said while greeting Meridius in the old warrior way with holding the forearm. "Yes Drakus, the fight here was brutal but so was everyone’s onboard here and the ships left behind. First Captain perished while in combat with their command, Algernon finished him off and has operational command now. He wishes to see us in the command room, we are in a dangerous situation here in the warp. Let us see what we are to do next, come brothers to the command room, we have much to strategize." With this Meridius gestured to the others to walk with him.
The group of Astartes all entered the command room as Algernon was finishing giving orders to one of the surviving members of the crew, "Algernon, all the company leaders are present except the Fifth, Bogfish here is representing them as the Captain fell in combat. The First is present and awaiting orders, and the engineers are inspecting damaged sectors and repairing what is needed." Meridius finished his report as the Hologram table lit up with the ship blueprint, it flickered on and off as the power fluctuated throughout the Aegis. "Thank you Sergeant, this past battle has cost us dearly. From what I'm seeing it is only the Aegis that made it through the transition, but others may have been pulled through on alternate streams. We all know the location so if any survived they know where to go, Emperor be with them. Now to the matter of the companies and marines we have at current, you say the Fifth was hit hard?" Algernon directed the question at Bogfish, one of the longer serving members and Champion of the Fifth company. Bogfish nodded in response and explained what had happened, "I see, well that puts us in a precarious situation gentlemen. With the losses received today we are at approximately seventy percent fighting strength, we will need to rearrange troops to even out the company numbers. We need to perform a ship wide search for any Alpha Legion that has been left onboard, and find out how and why this happened and where in the Emperor's name we are." Algernon detailed and laid out his plan to the assembled Astartes, the door to the command room slid open as Admiral Hyppia walked in with a data slate in hand. As he approached the table the ship suddenly went dark as an explosion ripped through the inner workings, the Admiral stumbled and fell with the breath being driven from his lungs as he landed on the deck.
The heat from the machinery surrounding him was near intolerable, the sound drowned out anything other than the roaring of the power surges keeping the Battle Barge alive. The Alpha Legionnaire had with him a handful of human followers of the Hydra, and they were planting explosives to damage what they could and hopefully put the Aegis of Ultramar out of order. How the humans were coping with the heat and the surroundings was beyond him but they were pushing through with the mission, some had already dropped dead from the surrounding elements by the time the last explosives were planted. "The legion commends your sacrifice, alpha dominatus!" The Alpha space marine put a bolt round in the head of the remaining humans and stalked off ready to blow the charges.
Red flashing lights and smoke was everywhere, fires were blazing and the life blood of the omnissiah blessed machinery was pooling. The bodies of the traitor humans had been charred beyond recognition, but what was left had been found amongst the aftermath of the explosives. The Ultramarines first on scene had found and dragged away the bodies, and sealed off the airflow into the engine room, to starve the fires of further oxygen. The engineers had waited until the all clear was given, and it was safe to enter the room to fully investigate the cause and the extent of the damage. After a full run through of diagnostics and repair, the engineer team revealed that the damage was severe enough to hamper any further movement at speed. The repairs required would take a time which the Strike Force could not afford, speed was of the essence on the mission at hand. The Astartes carried the charred remains to the medicae bay, with the staff busying to get as much info as they could before the Operational Commander arrived expecting answers. Sergeant Titus had arrived at the engine room to find out more data from the repair team, he had found them frantically moving about the machines using their mechanicum trained minds to do what they could. The tech priests were to the side praying to the machine god asking for forgiveness for allowing their beloved machinery to be damaged so, to Titus it looked like a dire situation and one in which would endanger their mission success. "Titus, what do you make of this? What happened here?" Oculus approached and asked his Second company counterpart, "it seems that multiple charges had been strategically placed and used to create as much damage as possible. The engineers and tech priests believe it will take some time to make repairs without the parts needed for a quick fix, we shall be helpless in the forsaken warp." Titus answered the Third company Sergeant as he knelt and worked his gauntlet through parts of the engine that had been shorn off, "courage brother, we have the gellar shield to keep anything at bay, and then the Librarians to deal with any warp spawn that breach that. Anything else will answer to our bolters, come brother Algernon will need to hear we still have traitors onboard our ship." With this Oculus reached a hand out for Titus and pulled him up, and they both stomped off towards the Medical bay.
They found the Librarian Caesar outside the door leading to the medicae, " Librarian, what brings you here? Have you picked up a splinter or a headache too strong?" Oculus and Titus both chuckled as they spoke to the First company Librarian, "good to see you as well brother sergeants, I'm glad you are both here as it seems the bodies found were not our crew but that of the Alpha Legion. And before you mention it, I know about the explosives placed in set positions." the two sergeants smiled and walked in towards Algernon, "I hate it when he does that" Oculus spoke with Titus agreeing. After a full ship wide search and finding nothing, Admiral Hyppia took up the comm device and broadcast throughout the Battle Barge. "To the traitors onboard my ship, we have not found you yet but the Ultramarines will find you soon. And they will I assure you of that, I know your legion favors the secrecy and knife in the back tactics, but the sons of Guilliman are plenty and have already bettered your weak attack. No matter, as before long you will be found and slain, no traitor will be left breathing. Bless the Emperor and Lord Guilliman!"
What seemed like three weeks of waiting as they drifted along the warp currents waiting for repairs, was in reality several years outside of the warps altered time. Still the repairs were being undertook, but every time the repairs grew closer another malfunction would occur. Or an engineer would go missing only to be found dead at a later time, the cat and mouse game with the traitors was testing the patience of the Ultramarines.
"Sir, we have identified an object. It.. it seems to be a ship sir." The auspex operator shouted over the din towards the Admiral sat on the command throne, the Admiral motioned to bring up the information on the main screens. The ship seemed to be of an Imperial design but very old, any attempt to communicate was answered with nothing. The telepaths could not find any other of their kind onboard to transmit too, the Astartes were called as well as the engineering chief to the bridge.
After a thorough talk with the chief engineer, he was sure that the ship could possibly have the parts needed to fully repair the Aegis. The Astartes were deliberating as to what the course of action would be if they decided to go across, the moment had come to make that decision it seemed to the Admiral. "My lords, we have a chance to gather the parts needed for a full repair, and to be back on route to Arkhona. The Telepaths are struggling to find our position so the ship could provide us with additional info also, I say we go across but the choice as is correct is your decision lieges." Admiral Hyppia bowed curtly and took a step back, he watched as the Ultramarines were conversing intently. He seemed to believe the decision was leaning towards going across but the risk was high and could reward them with nothing in return.
Drakus had helped sway the decision by stating that without the parts it would be weeks further still, until the repairs could be sufficient enough to get underway again at any considerable speed. And that was without anymore intrusion from the Alpha Legion, so it seemed the choice was to go across and to arrange who and how.
"The Second will go in and search for any information on our location, Third will go in and search for survivors, Fourth I need you to search for supplies, we need everything from ammo to food got it, Fifth as you are under strength you will be held back with the First." Algernon gave the orders as they all nodded in acknowledgement, "Algernon, I request to take a squad from the First to bolster the Fifth. We can provide them with the extra numbers and experience, and we can enter the derelict ship for the Engine room. The First can be held back with the Terminators and used if needed." Sergeant Meridius made his request to the assembled company leaders, as he did he motioned to the squad who were stood ready waiting the go ahead. "You realize this could be nothing Meridius, but I will accept your request. The Fifth need both the numbers and experience now after their losses, For now you shall be the Acting Captain of the Fifth. Take your squad and go with the Fifth to prepare for boarding, brothers let's get this done and then get ourselves back on mission." Algernon clasped hands with all the Sergeants and nodded at the Admiral.
The companies assembled in the teleport room, ready for beaming across to the dead ship. Teleportation was deemed the best option in their current situation, although it wasn't the favored means of transport for many marines. "Brothers, you have your orders! We need to make this quick, those people need our support on Arkhona. And Emperor knows how long has passed since we entered the warp, go with courage, go with honor and make our Father proud! We march for Macragge!" Algernon shouted, " And we know no Fear!" all the Ultramarines answered as the Teleportation pads warmed up and activated.