Despite the Marine Commander of the expedition requesting a show of force as a prelude to diplomatic negotiation with the planet of Konos III, the considerable influence and standing of diplomat and Itinerator Sabastien Thul required that military power would only be used when all else had failed. Konos III would be welcomed into the Imperium without a drop of blood shed.
"But surely a display of military might would be a warning?" Argued the Commander, "Several of our new Thunderhawks, along with a company of my men? They must know what they face if they do not comply."
"Nonsene", retored Sebastein Thul, "A dozen or more worlds have been swayed by my words, let the blood of the sons of Angron saved for a more obvious foe. Do not forget that our great empire is built upon a foundation of the furthering of mankind, and a gentle hand on the shoulder, more than a bloodied fist, must turn them to this way of thinking."
After received a barrage of initially confused and questioning com-signals, the orbital relays of the fleet transmitted the standard greeting of the Emporer and of Terra to all the major powers of Konos III. The planet was not a unified whole but instead consisted of many kingships, unions and republics, and its atmosphere and blasted landscapes were testament to their various feuds and disagreements. Although several of these nation-states offered a consultation of some sort, it was the Etat Union which, as Thul was later quoted as remarking, "seemed to have a similar disposition to our own". A meeting time and place was agreed, and preperations for the historic repatriation of another long lost branch of humanity were made.
A day later a small landing craft, carrying Thul and only a small 5 man squad of marines (selected on the basis of temperament) made their way down through the atmosphere to the landing zone. There, landing atop a massive building decorated with podiums of polished marble, many types of fauna and rich tapestries, and infront of massed ranks of neatly arrayed infantry of the Etat Union, first contact was made.
Sabastien Thul had smiled and nodded at the one named Homish, the appointed representative of these people, as yet more terms and agreements were discussed. Behind him the giant Astartes had stood immobile at attention before their transport shuttle, their bolters pressed up against their chests, and their armour polished to a brilliant white (something Thul himself had insisted upon), seemingly unperturbed by the fearful glances and whispered conversations of Homish's entourage.
Negotiations were indeed moving along well- Introductions had been made, and further meetings had been planned under more comfortable conditions. So well infact that Sebastien Thul almost complained when the Astartes to the right of him raised his boltgun and fired, blowing the Union representatives head apart in a shower of gore. His suprise had almost turned to anger at the Astartes who had dared to bahave in this manner, as a gauntled hand grabbed him by the collar, and wrenched him around and towards the shuttle. Words chimed over his earpiece in the thick accent of the 12th Legions homeworld, "we are betrayed."
Then all was lost in a barrage of white noise, and a wall of sound as the five marines, standing shoulder to shoulder, unleahed their weapons on full automatic into the still suprised looking soldiers. Obscene flowers of blood blossomed from the bolt impacts and dozens of soldiers and civilians alike were litterally shredded where they stood. Although shocked and dismayed by this horrible violence, nevertheless decades of war had made the militias of Konos tenacious fighters, and within seconds the air sang with the machine-noise of their projectile weapons.
Thul cradled his head in his hands. As he stumbled back towards the shuttle, he turned to see one of the marines fall, his armour dented and torn by the hail of incoming fire, blood fountaining from a hole in his eye piece. Another marine moved behind him and put his arm around his waste, attempting to shield the Diplomat's vulnerable body and usher him into the vehicle. But, as the shots winnied and twanged from the carapace of the marine, dragging him to one knee, Thul realised that all was lost. The fuselage of the shuttle, intended only for light transport duty, was dented and torn. The marine lurched forward, and Thul fell infront of him, his delicate rebreather pipe spilling its cargo of incense onto the red carpet beneath him. What had gone wrong? Why had his honour guard begun this hopeless battle and condemned them all to death? He squirmed around and looked at the battle behind him.. somehow over the incredible din of bolter fire and screams of the dying a roar sounded, that made the ground shake and the building they had landed upon tremble. Just as those marines standing turned to look upwards, an incandescent flame came down towards them. Thul looked up in wonderment, and barely had time to gasp before the building and everything within several miles was annihilated in an expanded ball of nuclear fire.
Commander of the fleet Borya slammed his fist down on the view screen. He had given warning to his men the moment the incoming missile had been detected, but from studying the data pict he had known that there would not be time for Sebastien Thul nor his honour guard to escape.
The display on the monitor revealed the expanding msuhroom cloud of the missile on the government building below. Although only a small yeild weapon, it was obviously more than enough to ensure the instant destruction of anything within several miles of its impact point. To Borya, it did not matter that a rival state had sought to sabotage the meeting, nor that those just attacked might be innocent, just that the open hand of Terra had been bloodied in an act of unprovoked cowardice.
The bridge crew stood in silence as the commander turned to them. An almost imperceptible grin played accross his features as he spoke.. "tell the fleet to prepare, and the make the landing craft ready. These people will learn how the 12th earnt their name."
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