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A short story of one of Durus Quatinus Ferrum's exploits during
the Crusade for Antioc Campaign with the Legio B&C.
Last Updated; February 08. 2007 - Imperial Record

The Fall of Ferrum

The Gaias space station had fallen silent after the last battle.
Sergeant Ferrum had stood over the last remaining enemy and promptly planted a heel between the man’s eyes. He hadn’t even noticed as the fragile skull caved in under his heavy boot.

That was close to an hour ago and now he and squad Nexum where stuck here baby-sitting Forb while the squat little human worked feverishly to purge the Gaias computer-system of defences and virii so he could gain control and bring the might of the Gaias defensive network to bear against the forces of the enemy.
Ferrum had seen to it that the little man’s wounds had been cleaned and bound by his squads medic. Forb had protested of course, but Ferrum had insisted and eventually the squat had grumblingly agreed.

Ferrum looked at him now as he worked the consoles of Gaias.
Typically of a Squat he was grumbling and thinking out loud as he worked, but not so typically of a Squat, he was reciting many of the Mechanicus litanies while doing so.

Ferrum had mixed feelings about the little man, he was a Squat and that may have lead many a Marine to unjust anger, but it didn’t bother Ferrum who came from a Chapter that had a good business-like relationship with the Squats before they where wiped out as a major player on the Galactic Arena. – It was still a mystery to Ferrum how the Tyranids had penetrated that far into the Imperium without being detected... No, he suspected deeper treachery had been behind the near extinction of the Squats; probably the ones that had the most to fear from the short race’s straight forward view of machines. – The Adeptus Mechanicus.

That is what gave Ferrum mixed feelings about the Squat. His Chapter of origin didn’t have much love for the tech-priests who treated machines like... like divine entities. – Ferrum knew it was rubbish of course. – A time waster.
His Chapter never used such superstitious rites around Machines and they had no problems. They took good care of them, used them properly, but there was nothing divine there. – The only thing close to divinity was Humanity itself and the Emperor at its head.

That world view had made his Chapter fit in well with the Squats, but it was also why the Adeptus Mechanicus had tried to have his Chapter destroyed as Heretics in the past. – If it hadn't been for the intervention of the Inquisition...

Ferrum’s thoughts where abruptly interrupted by a blaring alarm and the whole room was suddenly bathed in red light.
Ferrum strode towards Forb so he could have a closer look at the screens before leaning in over the Squat. “What is going on?”.
Forb didn’t even turn or stop his hectic work on the consoles.
“It appears that a major Fleet Battle has commenced.” he said, his voice thick and accented.

“The enemy has moved in on our support group and launched a surprise attack upon them”.
The Squat’s fingers danced across the consoles of the control station.
“Also, it appears we are about to have guests...” This time Forb did turn around, concern written on his face.

“How, where and how much time?” was Ferrum’s instant reply.
Forb leaned back to his consoles again.
“Two Shark Assault Boats; launched at us from a passing enemy ship less than three minutes ago”, Forbs fingers kept dancing across the consol again and a hololithic emitter came to life, showing the two enemy crafts’ position in relation to the Gaias.
“I would estimate around a hundred enemies inbound and if me calculations are correct they will hit us in less than ten minutes”.

“Where?” Ferrum was insistent.
Forb looked up at the bold Marine again, then grumbled something and leaned over to the hololithic projection where he stuck his hand out as if to touch the monochromatic 3d image.
“Here”, he said. “Less than fifty meters from this control station”.
Forb looked up at Ferrum again with worry clearly showing in his face.
“We wont be able to stop them and that many enemies is to much for even your team to hold of long enough for meself to gain proper control over Gaias”.

Ferrum was getting slightly irritated. “Well then shoot them down!”
Now Forb was getting irritated to. “I cant!” he said raising his voice and getting slightly flustered. – “The enemy shot up most of me Servitors remember!?”.
Only two of the local defensive stations are operative. They are manually handled and they are on the wrong side of the Gaias! – It will take at least another two hours before the local defences are online and even longer to gain full control of the defensive network. – If only you and your squad had done your job properly my Servitors would still be whole now and...”.

Ferum interrupted the angry little man by snapping to attention while giving him a fierce scowl, his jaw clenched tight as he crushed the chairs neck-rest where he had rested his hand. Ferrum didn’t even notice his destructive spasm, and Forb was sure the Marine was about to strike him down as the large man swiftly put his helmet on and pulled his Chainsword out while the helmet atmo-seals hissed into locked position.

But the expected lethal blow never came. Instead Ferrum turned on his heel and headed for the door, every bit an effective tool of war.
“Silex, on me! The rest of you stay here and defend this station”. His voice was distorted by the vox caster in his mask, giving his voice a slightly machine-like quality.
Silex quickly ran up to his sergeant, but just as the two Marines where about to reach the door, Forb addressed them.

“You cant hope to halt the enemy. There is just one manual defensive turret in their path.
You will be blown to bits by their defences as you activate it. They will see your attack coming long before you can mount an effective assault.

Ferrum halted his forward momentum and turned in one swift move, standing completely still with his bolter at the ready; the blue lenses of his helmet staring coldly at Forb.

“No” he said, his voice machine-like. – “They wont see this coming!”.


+ + + + +


Four minutes later, Ferrum was running head first at a steel bulkhead.
Silex, his demolitions expert had meticulously rigged the outer wall with a directional charge, and now, as Ferrum was running full force straight towards the expected explosion, he was hoping his faith in the skills of his team was not misplaced.

Ferrum could hear the clanging of his heavily armoured boots on the metallic crating of the floor. His breathing was heavy and expectant as he ran with all his might towards the bulkhead in front of him; then the entire room shook and for a split second, the area straight ahead of Ferrum turned into a seething fireball rushing towards him like a Hell-born daemon.

As it was about to engulf the sprinting Marine in a hail of lethal shrapnel, the fireball retracted and collapsed in on itself, Ferrum following the disappearing flames closely as the outer bulkhead collapsed and sucked everything not tied down into the cold vacuum of space.

Ferrum managed to pump on with a few more powerful steps before throwing himself forward and forcibly being sucked out of the Space Station’s insides, rushing with immense speed towards the approaching Assault Boats.
Ferrum leveled his back pack thrusters and adjusted his course slightly, then stabilized his vector, boosted his thrusters to maximum and let them rip, flying with immense speed, straight as an arrow towards the closest Shark.

A little over a minute later, Ferrum was already close enough to the Sharks that he could glimpse the boarding craft pilots with his helmet’s magni-optics.
He had been forced to adjust his approach vector slightly a couple of times and had thus lost a little speed, but the two ships where approaching fast and in another minute he would be close enough to latch onto one.
He was pretty certain the pilots hadn’t seen his small black-armoured form against the dark backdrop of the universe, and the shrapnel from the explosion onboard the Gaias would have provided enough sensory noise to give him cover from their onboard instrumentation.

Before he had come to far out and lost contact with the short range vox-link, Ferrum had heard the frustration of Forb at the horrible damage done to the ancient Star Cathedral, but in truth the damage wasn’t all that bad and the small hallway that had been torn open was part of a compartmentalised section that had already been sealed off.
A couple of days would see the chamber sealed up again and another week’s worth of work would make it as good as new. – The Sharks would do far worse if they reached the station...

But now, Ferrum was about to reach the Sharks instead.
He was coming up on the closest one, but he was coming in to high. At this angle he would overshoot the ship by a mere few meters.
Ferrum checked the pressure of his thruster tanks. – Enough for a quick boost and some adjustment thrusts.
He slowly rotated his body so he was approaching the Shark in an up-side-down position, then he leveled his thrusters downwards and speed full thrust towards the closest ship’s cockpit window.

The Shark Assault Boat was looming huge in front of him now as he was speeding head first towards it. He could see the panicked faces of the pilots as they finally spotted him, seemingly appearing out of nowhere, bolter leading the way.
The ancient weapon silently spat forth death and three tiny explosions blossomed against the ship’s front, collapsing the windows and instantly bathing the cockpit in freezing vacuum – Seconds later, Ferrum came crashing through the front window, feet first to land inside the pilotless boat. His mag-boots instantly grabbed hold of the ship’s metallic floor and Ferrum swung around, ready for a battle, but the pilots where already dead and frozen in their chairs.

Quickly surveying his surroundings, Sergeant Ferrum assessed that the cockpit was much like that of a Thunderhawk’s. His suits onboard database was already showing him the more advanced of the vessels controls as he searched the control consoles buttons and levers.

Glancing up at a monitor he could see the rear of the ship’s compartment with around fifty traitor guard strapped in. The men looked worried but not overly alarmed. – That, could be remedied!

Quickly flipping over four switches, Ferrum turned the ship’s auto-pilot off, then entered new coordinates, eased down on the thrusters a bit to let the other ship catch up with them before abruptly throwing the ship into the flight path of the other Shark.

A red light immediately blinked to life on the pilot’s consol, trying in vain to warn the dead pilots of the imminent impact.
For good measure Ferrum stepped back and then put his foot cleanly through the control panel to kill of any Machine-Spirit controlled evasive manoeuvres.

On the passenger compartment monitor, Ferrum could see the ship’s cargo panicking now, it was clear to them that something was wrong, very wrong! – Then the monitor sputtered and died. – So would the passengers!

Ferrum practically ran to the back of the cockpit and quickly surveyed the sealed metal door before forcibly punching a hole through it and continuing to rip the thick steel door of it’s hinges; exposing the crew compartment to the terrible effects hard vacuum could have on an unprotected human body.

While his mag-boots secured his position, horribly mutilated and dying men came flying at him, carried on the currents of air that pushed everything in the passenger compartment towards the cockpit, as the ship's hull decompressed.
Then with a terrible explosion, the floor lurched, the world spun and the ship’s main hull broke in two as the side wall was ripped open by the other shark that had futily tried to evade the inevitable crash.

Wild currents of air where now ripping all over the place with enough force to throw Ferrum of balance. One of his mag-boots lost it’s grip, then the rush of air was gone, emptied into space in an instant, and the world became a crazy mess of intertwined metal and blurred motion as the hull of the two sharks ripped through eachother.

Something hit Ferrum in the back and he fell prone, crushed down by an immense weight as he was dragged along the floor at neck breaking speed.
A second later the pressure on his body disappeared and he was now in a prone position, looking out of the remaining hull on one of the Sharks’ small, rear cargo compartments.

The piece of hull that had dragged him along floated lazily away into space.
– All was calm.

He quickly surveyed his situation. – The Power Suit was intact, his weapons where still with him and the compartment he was in was floating free, away from the remains of the Sharks and the majesty of the Gaias, that he could see in the distance. – Not enough thrust left in his suit to get him back safely.
With a thought Ferrum activated his emergency beacon and sent out a distress call on the Imperial emergency channel.

From here, Ferrum estimated that a part of a Shark’s midsection would hit the old Space Fort but Ferrum doubted that the already weakened structure of the Shark would do much damage and if there where any surviving invaders onboard he had no doubt that Forb and his own Legio team would have little trouble sending the invading traitors to whatever god they may please.
– Besides he was sure the rest of the Imperial Forces on Gaias must be well on their way to the right side of the Fort by now.

The compartment Ferrum was in was rotating ever so slowly as it spun-free through space and Sergeant Ferrum stood up to get a better look of the vast, star-specked battlefield that was space. It was then it hit him... The stars where dimming as the compartment rotated. – The universe was getting brighter.

Ferrum could feel his hearts rush faster and a good dose of adrenaline drop into his system as the cargo compartment rotated fully around and he realized just how much danger he was in.


The planet loomed before him like some giant, legendary monster; ready to swallow him whole, and he was falling straight into it’s maw; pulled in by it’s massive gravitational pull.

Ferrum opened all Imperial hailing channels and transmitted his lonely plea for salvation, but in his hearts he knew that none would come.


+ + + + +

It was hopeless of course!

Ferrum figured a freefall towards Antioc would bring him up to around 6000 kilometers per hour and at those speeds he would be subject to just over 5500 centigrades.

– He would make a spectacular meteor.

But Ferrum wouldn’t give up. He couldn’t! – He had to remind himself that he was an Astartes. – While he yet remained alive, there was hope!
Astartes he thought. Hah! More like “A-Star”. – “A falling star”.

Sergeant Ferrum stood holding on to the ruined hull of the Shark he had landed on. Leaning out over the hull’s side much like a sailor may lean over the side of his ship, he could just glimpse the Gaias star fort in the dark. He could also see lance strikes sear between ships in combat out there. – He was certain he had glimpsed at least two friendly ships being destroyed already.

He had been falling towards Antioc for around twenty minutes now and in that time he had been privy to a spectacular space battle every time his piece of hull had rotated around towards the universe. But his little floating island in space had almost stopped rotating now and Antioc was starting to get awfully bright.
– And big!

Earlier, Ferrum had sat down to try and listen-in to transmissions from the far away battle, but all he ever received was static; even though he was sure at least two of the ships where moving closer to his position. – So he had decided to try and put himself into a meditative state while waiting to be... “fired”..., but his mind had been insistent on constantly analysing his situation in an attempt to try and find some way out of it.
Finally he had given up on the meditating and decided to continue looking at the Space Battle instead. This had forced him to lean over the side of the wrecked hull.

It was then it had dawned on him.
The length of this part of hull was far to long to be one of the rear cargo compartments. – He had been wrong in his assessment! – This was not the rear at all; it was the far front!

The front of a Shark was like a huge syringe designed to cut its way through the outer skin of a ship in order to deliver it’s “poison” into the ship itself, but more importantly it was almost pure Titanium. If he could somehow slow his makeshift float down, he may just survive atmospheric entry. – That would still leave him with the problem of surviving the rest of the fall though.

Maybe he could make some sort of makeshift glider or parachute.
From what?? Ferrum looked around. The area he was on was part of the buffer area where the main part of the ship met up with the sharp Titanium prow of the front.

The cockpit would have been just above him if it hadn’t been torn away in the crash, and the entire rear section was gone. – Except the part he was standing on which extended with rather thin walls for something like four, maybe five meters into a congregation of twisted metal and wires. There was nothing here that could help him.

Ferrum looked up at the walls at the side of his little platform. They where thin enough that with some work he would be able to cut them with his chainsword... Maybe he could make some sort of glider out of those?

No. The idea was ludicrous. Even if he managed to cut and bend the pieces together they would never survive the heat of atmospheric entry, and even if they did he doubted he would have any chance at controlling a makeshift glider at the insane speeds he would be hitting the atmosphere at. – It was hopeless!

No! It was NEVER hopeless! – He was a Marine! – His training wouldn't allow him to just sit down and die. For an instant Ferrum contemplated screaming out to some Godly entity for help, but he didn't. – There where no Gods, only Humanity and the Emperor!

Ferrum remembered the face of his mentor back at the university of Angels when he was still a young boy trying to follow the teachings of his Chapter of origin; "the Guardian Angels". The voice of his mentor came back to him now. – Teneo had been his name, Chaplain Teneo.

The white haired old chaplain had thought Ferrum’s class about the physics behind the possibility of Thunderhawk and Drop Pod atmospheric entry.
In the process he gone into detail about optimal speed, angle of attack, radiation, shielding, heat pulse and much more.

It all came back to Ferrum now. – The Chaplain had even told them about the Legendary story of a Terminator that fell to a planet’s surface from orbit, and survived.

The Terminator had survived the heat of entry due to the thick ceramic plating of his exo-armour. Ferrum looked down at his own armour. It had the same type of ceramic carbide plating. – Not as thick, but it was the same.

He wondered how the Terminator had survived the kinetic shock of hitting the ground. – He must have hit with force enough to count as a small Lance Strike.
Teneo had never gone into detail on that part of the story. – Maybe it was just a story. – Yes, a motivational story; that is all it had been.
Ferrum fleetingly wondered if the old Chaplain was still alive.

Then he snapped back to reality. Alive! That was what he had to remain, and standing about daydreaming wasn’t going to help.
Ferrum swung about looking at Antioc again. It was steadily approaching, and faster now.

Judging by the size of the planet, Ferrum estimated he was already far into the planet’s Themosphere, maybe a hundred or so kilometers out, probably a little more than that.

He figured he had another hour or so before he hit the planet’s upper Mososphere where he would start hitting the first air particles and radiation would increase drastically.

Ferrum was glad he had undergone chemotherapy to activate his Mucronoid glands before the mission on the Gaias. The Mucronoid secrete would help protect him from vacuum, heat and radiation and thus it was standard to activate the Mucronoids before space battles. – The secrete left an awful stink if you stayed in your suit for a few days, but it rarely came to that.

Hopefully the thick gooey substance would help him get through Antioc’s atmosphere without being subject to a lethal dose of radiation, but there was still that issue of heat.

He would have to get to work if he was going to make this piece of trash into a protective, drop-pod like contraption. – He felt like an Ork.

+ + + + +

Around forty minutes later Ferrum had achieved much.
He had ripped away most of the debris and wreckage in the rear of the compartment he was standing on, and as expected he had found a door leading into the syringe-like prow’s boarding corridor.

The door was damaged and had been sealed shut by metallic debris, but Ferrum had employed his immense, power-armour-enhanced strength to pry it open.
Inside he had found that the corridor was intact and divided in two. One chamber for the inner ship and one meant to function as a atmospheric decompression chamber.
He had also found four oxygen tanks rigged up for the plasma cutters at the front of the prow, and a fire extinguisher quite close to them as well.

Back outside, his trusty old chainsword; Acer Mucronis had chewed it’s way through the thinner parts of the wreckage’s hull and Ferrum had used all his force bending the large plates that remained, into six petal like plates that extended out in a circle around the large hull. The plates would serve as wings or more correctly as air brakes, slowing his descent through the atmosphere.

Slowing down the craft in the higher atmospheric layers was the very key to a successful atmospheric entry so he would use the petal like wings to increase air drag and allow for more atmospheric gas-particles to hit the craft at higher altitudes. Sort of like a petal winged shuttlecock.

Using cable he had also rigged three of the oxygen bottles to the front of his megalomaniac craft and was just about done using the last oxygen bottle as a thruster to swing the makeshift pod around enough that the thing was now falling with it’s Titan prow first and its makeshift airbrakes at the rear; when he spotted something small up ahead, some way of to the right and moving rapidly into his flight path.

Standing up on top of the increasingly unstable craft, Ferrum adjusted his auto-senses, increasing the magnification to see that it was a satellite.
The little thing was going to crash with him! – Could it be a part of the planet’s defensive system? – Ferrum doubted it considering its size.

Moving quickly, he opened the valves on the forward pointing oxygen tanks, hoping the little thrust they gave would be enough to slow his speed down a bit.
Then using the rest of the thrust in the last of the four oxygen bottles, he re-angled the hulk he was on, so it would hit Antioc’s atmosphere at close to a forty-five degree angle. – He hoped it would be enough to slow the craft down on it’s way through the atmosphere, but it would get hot; unforgivably hot.

Ferrum checked his approach vector again and saw that the satellite would probably miss him. – He had done it! One small victory for a lonely Marine fighting an entire planet.

He was the best, he was the greatest, he was... an idiot!
Satellites like that where extremely valuable to the Adeptus Mechanicus. It was sure to have a three level re-entry system. It would have a stabiliser and a parachute. – He had to get that satellite!

Trying to quickly calculate the Satellites trajectory he figured he could make it if he jumped, but that would mean leaving his protective shuttle behind.
Running to the front he grabbed one of the lose rigging cable of his thruster rig and tore it lose, then being practically out of time he took a running start and in a leap of faith, he jumped, reaching for the passing satellite.

He jumped... – And he missed!
The satellite flew past his body, and he just managed to touch it with his index and middle finger; then it was past his reach, and solidly connected to his boot.
Ferrum couldn’t believe it. Somehow not even thinking about it, he had managed to activate and move one of his mag-boots into the path of the satellite. It was stuck for now. – Someone planetside was sure to be pissed.

Looking back down towards his craft, Ferrum could see the air-breaks had started vibrating and the temperature readout of his suits external sensors was increasing.
Hand by hand he started climbing back the steel wire he had held on to when jumping, and eventually he was rewarded by setting a solid foot back onboard.

He was starting to have a hard time standing up now and if it hadn’t been for his mag-boots he would surly have been thrown clear. – Ferrum silently thanked the Emperor for his foresight when creating the Astartes and their gear.

The craft shook wildly and it’s makeshift wings practically sang with vibration now, even though few air-molecules where hitting home yet.
Crawling to the back of the craft, Ferrum reached the rear and still clutching the little satellite, he climbed down onto the platform he had originally landed on.
Things where a bit calmer here and Ferrum could see the external temperature readout drop a bit. – Wouldn’t be long now though.

Ferrum took one last look into space and saw a ship in the distance. He thought he recognized the prow. – Could it be the White laurel?
He didn’t have any more time to think about it. The temperature was rising drastically and his vision was cut off by an increasing orange glow. – He had hit the Mososphere in full and was forced to retreat to the inside of the Titan prow.

Ferrum forcibly closed the outer blast door and reinforced it with ready steel bars and other debris. – He steadied himself against the craft’s inner wall and gently patted it.

I dub thee “the Falling Star” he thought to himself and smiled. – His very own ship.

Then his world shook, the temperature outside went catastrophically of the charts, three explosions rocked the ship in succession and everything went black.

Ferrum could see his life rushing before his eyes, then nothing.


+ + + + +

Was he dead?  –  No, he was sealed in and falling.
The oxygen tanks at the front of the ship must have exploded, throwing the Falling Star into a deeper angle and throwing Ferrum into the nearest wall.
He was being shook all over the place and the headlight in his helmet had been crushed as he smashed his head against a Titanium wall.
Ferrum shook his head. He was still holding the satellite in one hand; with the other he had somehow grabbed on to a piece of shrapnel and thus managed to secure his position.

Ferrum couldn’t see anything except his helmet readouts, which showed he had banged his head pretty bad; that he was out of thrust, out of light and out of luck.
The temperature readout was increasing drastically.

Ferrum was just about to turn on his IR emitter and switch to night-vision when somebody turned the lights on.
It was a dull orange glow that allowed him to see, and Ferrum suddenly realised it was coming from the hull itself. – The walls where glowing-hot and melting!
That meant the temperature of the craft itself was over 1700 centigrade, probably much higher.

If his estimations where correct he would be in the worst of the heatpulse now with temperatures reaching well over 5000 Celsius outside.
He checked his suit's external sensors again.

He couldn’t feel it inside his suit yet of course, but the temperature inside his baking-oven of a ship was reaching close to 1000 degrees.
His bionic arm would start melting at around 1500, while the reinforced carbon ceramic plating of his power armour wouldn’t melt until they reached close to 3300 degrees. – They where already glowing and the temperature readout of his boots, touching the floor, where showing 1500 degrees at the soles.

– The Armour could survive heat like this, but could he?
The coolant system of his power armour was allready working overtime and he was now sweating heavily. The Mucronoid secrete covering his body helped cool him, but Ferrum wasn’t even aware of that. Stepping quickly from foot to foot he couldn’t believe this heat pulse wasn’t over yet.

Then he heard; no, felt an explosion going of, and he keeled over.
His power armour’s display flashed several red icons indicating something had hit him at the hip and caused considerable damage to the ceramite armour there.
His bolts! How could he have been so stupid?! – He should have thought of this and gotten rid of them in space.

He pressed the quick release button of his belt and saw the magazine holders fall to the floor. Quickly grabbing the mag in his bolter out and throwing it away from him he saw that the ceramic plates of his armour had started smoking, then his chest started hurting like all hell.

His bionic arm was glowing, and it was transferring the heat through his chest-bionics into his soft organic parts, otherwise protected within the power armour.
He was frying on the inside. – It hurt! Oh by the Emperor it hurt!
He felt as if though he was on fire and indeed he was, burning from the inside out.
Clenching his teeth he tried to take a step away from the bolts on the floor, but it was to late.

Several of the bolts detonated against the floor, further damaging his armour and kicking the legs out from under him. – The helmet display indicated his armour was breeched.

Ferrum fell to the floor. – A fall within a fall.
Everything was moving in slow motion and he felt as if though his legs had been broken at the ankles. His head hurt and his body burned.
He felt as if though he was being dipped into a pool of boiling lava and every agony was stretched out into eternity. – Purgatory! – Could the Chaos “Gods” save him now?

Then he hit the deck just behind where he had been standing, and fell straight through.

As through a haze, Ferrum could see the Falling Star like a glowing pool of magma.

The hulk of an emergency raft had shrunk considerably and now he was falling away from it as it was breaking apart. – He had fallen straight through the molten metal floor.

Not only that, but he was no longer super-heated.

The glow of his bionic arm was gone. His armour no longer smoked and the painkillers and adrenaline injected into his system where quickly taking effect.
Combat drugs they called it, and Ferrum was grateful that Power Armour was equipped with them.

For a moment he lay there with his eyes closed, feeling blissfully like he was on a soft bed.

But this was no soft bed he was on and as the drugs started clearing his mind he was once more reminded of the predicament he found himself in.

Judging by the air density readouts from his armour he estimated that he was already close to the bottom of the Mososphere. He would be hitting thicker air currents soon and he had better be ready for that. – How would he slow his fall?

Then he remembered the satellite. Somehow he was still holding on to it.
Bringing it in above his body to shield it slightly from the rush of thin air, he soon realised how he had managed to hold on to it. – It was melted to the front of his armour’s hand guard.

Cracking the thing’s thin rear shell open he expected to see a stabiliser, but found no such contraption.
Ferrum blinked in disbelief, then in near desperation he tore the top cover of and rummaged through the poor little machine’s insides. – No parachute.

That was it then, he was a goner!


+ + + + +

He was just about to try and turn around on the air currents to get a look at the ground and estimate his remaining time when the vox link in his helmet screeched to life with static and a cut off s.o.s. call. Then he glimpsed a lightning like glimmer in the darker skies above, as if a star had just gone nova.

It lasted for but a second, then something hit him in the back. – Hard!
It was so hard in fact that Ferrum collapsed like a rag doll; or at least that was what it felt like. – He had the wind knocked out of him and then he went into a wild spin.
The sensors in his suit showed he was being subject to over 3G and that he was spinning wildly out of control at close to 120 revolutions per minute.

Ferrum was fighting the terrible pressure, and desperately trying to halt his crazy spin.

A normal human would have had his limbs and neck broken long ago and if not then he would surly have lost consciousness by now, but although he felt like he was being chocked and crushed, he was hardly getting dizzy at all thanks to his Lyman’s ear.

He could hear air rushing through his power armour now; the rush of icy cold air finding its way through the many cracks and holes of his armoured legs.
Ferrum reached out with his arms, and with considerable effort he was finally able to stabilize his fall again.

He carefully positioned his body across the airflow to lengthen his impact time against the atmosphere. – The temperature on the outside of his Armour started rising again, but it was nothing compared to what he had seen upon atmospheric entry.

Forty-two seconds later he was in full control again. The pressure on his body had decreased to just over one G, and his speed had lessened as well. – He was still falling far to fast to survive an encounter with the ground though. – That was one meeting he was not looking forward to. – Maybe it would have been better if he had fainted.

It was quite clear that what he had hit earlier was the upper layers of the Stratosphere and he figured he was at just over forty kilometers up now.
That would give him another forty minutes to ponder about his doom. – Ferrum suddenly wished he was religious.

A few minutes later he was studying the landscape below, wondering if he should attempt to hit a specific spot.
He had gained pretty good control over his manoeuvrability by flowing on the air currents, extracting or retracting his limbs and changing his angle of decent.

To his surprise he had actually begun to enjoy the view when he suddenly realised that he could at the very least go out like a Marine and try to hit some enemy held fortification.
At just over a thousand meters per minute, a direct hit from someone of his weight would have to be destructive. – Ferrum smiled at the thought.
They shall know no fear, indeed!

Then his vox crackled to life again. It was mostly just static and he realised he could hardly hear anything due to the overwhelming sound of rushing air, but he thought he detected a strange voice over the net, then it was gone again.

Ferrum shut down the external hearing receptors of his auto-senses, but could still hear some air rushing through his suit. – He was again reminded that his power armour had been breached at the legs and actually pondered getting the ceramic sealant-paste out of his toolkit to repair some of the damage, when a voice came again.

“Mayday! Mayday!
This is the I.N.S. White Laurel. We have taken heavy fire and sabotage from enemy forces. We are going down! I say again we are going down! Our coordi...” The transmission died out again.

Some way of below him, Ferrum suddenly noticed three small dots moving at great speed towards his position. Whatever they where, they where moving above the cloud layer down there and they where moving fast!
Ferrum increased the auto-sense optics to their maximum and was rewarded with the sight of three defiled Lightning Strike Fighters moving towards his position at great speed. – Could they have detected him?

Not very likely, he thought, but not entirely unconceivable either.
Ferrum watched the three planes approach for a little longer.
No, it was more probable that they had been deviated from some other mission to shoot down any rescue pods launched from the White Laurel.
Well, two could play at that game.

Ferrum had once heard a veteran guardsman compare a Space Marine to a tank. – He had never thought he would compare himself to a fighter plane, but now he did.

He levelled his body down and to the side so he would intercept the planes, then he pulled his bolter out and got ready. – He would only get one chance at this and if he was really lucky he would be able to actually land on one of those things, take it over and land safely.

Ferrum smiled. – Here goes nothing he thought.


+ + + + +

He was approaching the planes fast from the rear now.
The plan was to manoeuvre in to land on the first, then shoot one down, take over the one he was on and shoot down the third. – It wasn’t going to be easy.
"No, actually"; he thought, "it was going to be impossible".

He was coming in far to fast and at to sharp an angle. – He was going to hit!
The plane furthest to the rear was becoming bigger at unbelievable speed.
Ferrum could see the pilot spot him through the cockpit and he could clearly tell that the man was surprised despite the fact that he was wearing an oxygen mask.
The man reached out towards the cockpit with a hand, almost as if he was saluting the onrushing Space Marine, or bracing himself for impact maybe.
Then Ferrum rolled himself into a tight knit ball and hit home.

The resulting crash was tremendous and he went straight through the plane just behind the cockpit.
The thin metal sheets of the craft buckled under the sudden impact and the plane literarily folded in on itself, like a book.
Ferrum came out on the other side, not very surprised that he had come through the thin metal plates of the plane in one piece, but his wrist hurt like hell, so did his shins, and part of him was on fire again.

He tried to ignore the pain and block it out as he concentrated on going out into a stretched out air breaking position again.
Levelling his bolter at one of the other, disappearing planes he pulled the trigger and found to his dismay that nothing happened.

In all the excitement he had forgotten that he had rid himself of his bolts while still onboard his makeshift atmospheric entry vehicle. – Ferrum growled in anger and pain.

The fire that had started on his armour was out again and he threw the bolter around to his back, rather surprised that the chain attached to it hadn’t broken or melted yet.

Ferrum reached down towards his utility belt to try and get his ceramic paste out.
He wanted to plug those holes down at his ankles. – The fire a moment ago, had found it’s way through them and burned his legs again. – His Power Armour was pumping even more stims into his system.

Ferrum stopped what he was doing when he spotted more dots coming at him again.
Two of them where the fighter planes coming back; the rest where way up high above him.
One of the fighter planes coming at him fired chaffs and flairs. – They must believe he was some sort of missile or drone.

With some difficulty Ferrum started manoeuvring towards them.
The planes circling and following him; trying to figure out what he was no doubt.
One of the planes came about and shot towards him up close to try and get a look. – Big Mistake!

Ferrum may not have any ammunition to shoot with, but he still had his bayonet and a throwing arm that would shame even an Ogryn. – He could throw ten times longer and harder than any normal human.

Pulling out his bayonet he waited until the plane came flying by, dangerously close.
Ferrum let go with all his strength, throwing so hard he was sent into another wild spin for a second.
The Bayonet flew true, spinning over and over in the air until it hit the metallic side of the plane and lodged there. – It had hit, but not with enough force to count.

The pilot looked over towards the thing that had hit him and was surprised to see a bayonet lodged to his plane and shaking out of control in the air currents of his speeding craft.
The large knife was lodged just to the right side of his aircraft’s nose, but not deep, and in a minute the vibrations would shake it lose he thought.

The pilot was right and less than thirty seconds after it hit, the bayonet fell lose and was consequently dragged into one of the plane’s powerful jet turbines.
The wing of the plane exploded in a hail of fire and then it started its long descent towards the ground below.

In the meanwhile, Ferrum had been concentrating on the last plane and had used the pistol still strapped to his hip as another dangerous projectile.
Just as the third plane had come in for an attack run, Ferrum had thrown the pistol with all his might at the plane and winged it at the side of the cockpit, crushing the windows of that side and possibly destroying vital instrumentation.

The plane had managed to fire a volley back at him though and had even hit him with a large calibre projectile, practically destroying his right shoulder guard and dislocating his shoulder in the process. – Ferrum gritted his teeth, but was already so full of combat drugs that he just felt a slight sting as he forced his shoulder back into place.

Then the plane threw itself into a dive and was even now heading down and away from the battle hardened veteran. – The pilot had probably lost visuals and would have to land as soon as possible if he wanted to live.
Ferrum also wanted to live and here again was another desperate solution to his predicament.

The other objects that had appeared above him earlier where transmitting an Imperial emergency code. They where rescue-pods fired from the White Laurel, and having Sped towards his position, they where now, almost matching velocities with Ferrum.

One of them shot past him approximately thirty meters away.
Ferrum knew the function of these automated pods all to well, and he knew it would be firing it’s retro thrusters any moment now.

He figured he had fallen from around 34 000 to 18 000 meters during his battle with the planes, a theory that was largely supported by his armour’s air-pressure instruments. – The pod would start its break-down at 15 000 meters.
Ferrum guided himself in above the pod, and then levelled himself down to gain speed and catch up to it.

He leaned in. Just a little closer. – Just a little closer. – There!
He caught hold of one of the pod’s stabilizer wings and pulled himself flush to it’s side, then he activated his mag-boots and squeezed with both arms until the pod’s metal started giving in. – He hung on for dear life!

The pod shook violently as it tried to fight the sudden imbalance in its systems.
They passed 15 000 meters, then 14 000 meters and still the retros hadn’t fired.
13 000 meters, 12. Ferrum was getting worried that he had made a big mistake that would kill both him and whoever was onboard this blasted thing.

The 11 000 meter mark passed. 10 000, 9, 8; then as suddenly as lightning, the retros started firing and the pod started spinning.
Ferrum almost lost his grip, but his bionic arm was lodged deep into the metal of the pod’s thick stabiliser wing and his mag-boots where set on full strength.
He pulled himself flush to the hull again as the descent-speed slowly but surely dissipated along with the pod’s altitude.
They where at 1000 meters now. 700, 500.
Ferrum could practically feel the ground beneath his feet but they where still moving to fast.

They where coming in over an industrial complex with tall factory buildings and pipes. – At this speed they would still crash. Ferrum thought he might possibly just survive such a crash, but he wasn’t so sure about whoever was in the pod.
Then at 60 meters the pod's emergency thruster engaged and the speed of the pod was reduced drastically in one harsh jolt.

Ferrum fell free.
He had been inattentive for just a moment and wasn’t able to hold on.
He fell! Thrown clear towards one of the many, tall factory buildings and hit the side of a factory pipe at a terrible speed.
Instinctively Ferrum reached out with his bionic arm to brace himself but he still hit the rusty old pipe hard enough to leave a considerable dent.
And then he was falling again, but somehow his mag-boots had landed a grip on the pipe, holding him close to it as he fell.

Ferrum threw his body around and punched his bionic arm into the pipe’s metal shell, trying to acquire a grip, but all he managed to do was to come screeching down the side of the pipe, sparks flying. – At least the pressure helped break his speed even more.
Until he was just over half way down the pipe that is, as suddenly the pipe turned from being made of metal into being made of concrete.

Ferrum’s mag-boots lost their grip completely and at twenty meters he fell away from the pipe, falling another six meters in freefall before hitting the wood and tin roof of a factory building.

He fell straight through the thin roof, then continued through the wooden planking floor below; hit a supporting beam on the way down, went through another wooden floor, and having fallen through a high hall, he landed heavily in a deep pool of spill-oil.

Ferrum sank like a rock for about five meters, then he hit rock bottom and lay completely exhausted.
He was burned, broken, crushed and feeling horrible.
He was certain his rib-plate had cracked and that his ankle was fractured; that his left side and both feet where burned; that his wrist felt funny, so did his neck; That his armour was cracked, opened, crushed and dented in a dusin places; and he was certain he was leaking oil.
Great! He thought dryly. – I knew I should have repaired those holes while falling.

Switching between visions he finally got back on his feet and found a vision mode he could glimpse his surroundings in. – He would need to get out of this oil and quickly.

Glancing around to make sure he hadn’t dropped his weapons, Ferrum limped over to a concrete sidewall and started climbing. Punching and kicking hand and foot holds into the wall to bring himself upwards and out of the thick, black muck.

Once his head surfaced he looked about to make sure no enemies where lurking nearby, then he dragged himself from the thick oil and let himself roll away from the pool before resting on his back again, looking at the thick oil pooling out of his armour.

He had survived a fall from orbit! – He was starting to understand now, why his fellow Legioneers liked to call him “a Chosen by Fate”.

Ferrum looked about and figured he was in some sort of construction or repair facility for huge industrial machines.
Rolling over on his stomach, he got to his feet again and limped over to a huge mechanical gate, to take a look outside.
There in the open yard lay a small number of crashed escape pods with what seemed to be an Inquisitor and his retinue, in cover.

Making sure there where no enemies around, Ferrum shook and scraped the worst of the oily mess off of his armoured shape as well as he could. – Still wasn’t much left to identify him as a marine of the Legio, but he would have to risk it.

“Inquisitor!” he yelled through his vox. His voice sounding metallic and hollow.
He could see the Inquisitor tense up and glance his way.
“My name is Ferrum, I am a Sergeant with the Legio. Don’t shoot”.
– Ferrum sounded weary; He felt utterly ruined. Then he stepped out from the building and he could see the Inquisitor getting ready to shoot him, but then the man seemed to relax, despite Ferrum’s horrid appearance.

“Oh, the Emperor sends his Angel to protect me in all this. Thank the Lord!”
The Inquisitor smiled wryly as if he had a secret joke he would not share.
“Tell me Sergeant Ferrum, can you hail your allies still?”
“I do not believe so”, Ferrum said but scanned for Imperial channels in the area anyway. He was pleasantly surprised to find one active, and not needing an Inquisitor to tell him what to do, he called in an evac for one Marine and an Imperial VIP.

Less than half an hour later they where both sitting in a Thunderhawk heading for orbit and the Imperial Navy Space Ship: “the Hand of Fate”.
The Inquisitor who had identified himself as an Inquisitor Lord by the name of Rogan was thanking their rescuers and attributing his own escape and rescue to Divine intervention by the Emperor himself, who had sent his Guardian Angel to protect him on the ground, so he could continue his good work.

"You know, they will call you a fallen after this. – You better hope you don't run into any Dark Angels". The Inquisitor smiled his secret little smile again.
Ferrum had no idea what Rogan was talking about. He just nodded his head wearily.

Little did he know that the joke truly was on him and that an enemy had just slipped passed the Imperial Crusade’s cracks.

Ferrum had been through an eventful day.
Today he had been an infantrist, a Space ship, a Fighter Plane, a Bomb and a oily Sub Marine. All that remained was for him to act like a tank. – Ferrum sighed.

He figured many would tell legendary tales about the Fall of Ferrum, but most would disbelieve it as mere fiction. – Ferrum cared not, for all he wanted right now was to get home to the Legio’s Battle Barge where he could get re-supplied, repaired and stitched up.

– He had a War to Win!

Related Pages:
Durus Quatinus Ferrum's Character Entry
The Legio Record on Ferrum
Local Copy of Legio Records
Stories of Ferrum's other exploits with the Legio B&C



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