The Measure of Man


Part III: Planetfall

You descend on wings of fire, to the tormented earth of a dying world.

Inside the thunderous, claustrophobic hold of your drop pod, the agonies of crushing G-forces enough to kill an ordinary man assault you, while outside the armoured ceramite burns like a falling star. But you are no ordinary men who endure this fiery trial — you are Space Marines, the Emperor’s chosen Angels of Death.

Within your mind you recall the mission briefing, replaying it with perfect clarity. The world below is Tantalus, a resource moon on the edge of the Castobel system, a system around which the jaws of the Great Devourer are tightening shut. Your minds focus on the goal of the mission, and you recall the last broadcast from the planet’s surface — an icy, harsh voice barking from the vox-net through howling static:

Attention Deathwatch vessel Thunder’s Word. This is Magos Biologis Zardos Vyakai. My conveyance has been fatally damaged and forced to crash-land-en-route to rendezvous zone. I survive, the datacore survives. I require immediate extraction from this location. The swarm approaches, crash site unsafe. I will seek shelter nearby until your arrival. The datacore must survive and be retrieved. Location Encarta follows. I will set this message to repeat as long as the anima endures.” Message ends.

The voice cut off and was followed by a rapid chatter of sacred binary code, before beginning again:

The swarm, five hours and counting, five hours until the whole area is swept clear of life under an unholy tide of fang, venom, and claw. Five hours. Five hours and counting.

The retro-thrusters hammer into you like a blow from an enraged god. The drop pod doors blast open and you spring forth from your crash harnesses, power armour systems already engaged, auto senses tracking, weapons in hand. The daylight wanes, and through your suits filters you detect two pervading scents on the bitterly cold air: burning chemicals and human blood.

Players choose a Drop Location on the Map to begin.


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