This is a story that I'm in the process of writing. Enjoy!

Scout sergeant Mordrax, of the Raptors 10th company, shifted his weight where he crouched in the sucking mud of the marsh. The swamp-world of Janius II had been a Tau held planet for the last 200 years, and its reoccupation by the imperial forces had dragged on for months. The everpresent mists surrounding the Tau outpost which was his squad's objective began to develop a opal-like glow as the shrouded star of the system rose. This was the moment he had been waiting for, the reason he had spent all night crouched up to his knees in a foetid pond, filled with mud-leeches. He straightened up slightly and moved between two mangroves, from where he had an excellent view of the outpost.

It consisted of three hexagonal structures, suspended from the boughs of a grove of bilharga trees. The nearest hexagon was painted a dull green, to blend in with the swamplands, and from its base water level platform was hung. There were two tetra class scout vehicles held by clamps at either side, and a shas'la sentry in olive and brown armour and fatigues. This structure was connected to the cenral hexagon by an enclosed walkway, and was larger than the first chamber. A Tau sentry patrolled a landing pad on its roof, and a sealed tube reached downwards into the swamp, some kind of sealed excavation, he guessed. The third hexagon was invisible, but he trusted his support fireteam under Brother Dyon, would eliminate any threats it might pose. He checked his men, Scout Brothers Ixion, Vamius and Justinius, and waved them into position behind him. Satisfied all was ready, he opened a comm channel to Dyon.

"I am ready. Open fire!"

"By His will, sergeant!"

Tongues of bolter fire licked from the reed thickets to Mordrax's right. The shas'la sentry on the landing pad crumpled instantly, and Mordrax charged the Shas'la on the platform nearest him, as the surprised xeno let of bursts of directionless, panicky fire in the direction of Dyon's fireteam. Mordrax drew his bolt pistol and fired through the sentry's neck. The tau's head flipped backwards, and the xeno slumped forward, falling against one of the tetras. A whooping alarm cut through the dawn mists as Mordrax circled the ladder leading to the first hexagon. There was a hiss as pressure bolts were drawn back, and Mordrax dropped from the platform and waited in the stinking swamp water, almost invisible.

A Tau warrior descended from the hatch, bare headed and with a shoulder pad detailing him as a shas'ui. He moved cautiously, hooves gripping each rung of the ladder, his pulse carbine swinging back and forth in a three-fingered hand, seeking its prey. Without hesitation, Brother Justinius raised his bolt pistol and nailed the shas'ui three times through the chest, dropping him as a bloody heap at the ladders base. Justinius' moment of triumph was snatched away as a shas'la hidden within the hatch opening, let rip on full auto, a lucky shot hitting him in the neck.

Mordrax and the rest of the squad drew back as energy bolts boiled the fog away and left scorch marks on tree trunks. Mordrax mouthed a silent prayer for their fallen brother, even as fire from Dyon's squad forced the shas'la to withdraw. Seeing his chance, Mordrax, followed by Ixion and Vamius, rushed forward. Mordrax emptied half a clip of bolt rounds into the dark hatch, and was rewarded by a yelp as the shrapnel hit home. He hurled himself up the ladder, it rungs slippery with dew, and hurled a frag grenade into the darkness within, sliding back to earth as the blast took out any remaining resistance. Inside, there were wo Shas'las, One who had been drawing his weapon from a rack as the blast hit. In seconds Mordrax took in the interior of the hexagon. A bunk room, with four beds, ration packs stacked neatly against one wall. Vamius and Ixion climbed up behind him, and the threesome set off along the walkway to the central chamber.

They were halfway along before Vamius spotted something bouncing along the passage towards them. He and Mordrax were already crouching before the photon grenede went off, turning the world white even through closed eyes. Ixion took the blast with his eyes open, and stumbled forward clawing at them wildly. Seconds later pulse carbine fire ripped his armour open, warm blood showering over Mordrax and Vamius, who were already prone and returning fire. There were two xenos beyond, one with a pulse carbine and the other with a pulse rifle. A bolt shell smashed the muzzle of the rifle, and Mordrax saw his chance. Throwing himself forward he tossed a grenade through the doorway and was rewarded with a gurgling scream. He half ran, half crouched after it, and grabbed the head of the disarmed shas'la, breaking his neck in one easy movement. The shas'ui lay dead, and seconds later Vamius had run one of the earth-caste technicians through, while the other hadfalled in the blast from Mordrax's grenade.

The two warriors stopped to get their breath back. The grating voice of Captain Nilos cut through to Mordrax's earbead.

"Are you in position? Is the base taken?"

"Yes sir. We have taken only two casualties. What do you want us to do, sir?"

"Your extraction zone is three klicks south of here. Move out, but leave the xeno facility intact. Inquistor Ramarrez has told me he is headed there now. Personally I would rather he left us to our own operations, but nevertheless, he is quite adamant. Your thunderhawk is waiting"

Mordrez turned and retraced his steps back to the access hatch. As soon as he was outside he heard the beat of distant thunderhawk engines. But he wondered, even as they boarded the huge craft, hovering above a shallow lagoon like some monstrous dragonfly, what an inquisitor would want with a backwater Tau comm-relay station?

Lexmechanic Iperon Novalinus lit another incense block and pushed it into its brass cage beneath the dialogus cogitator, which chittered feebly as it rebooted and began its painfully slow translation of the datablock recovered from the raided tau outpost again. He sat back in his chair and watched as streams of binary data scrolled past, occasionally interrupted by requests on difficult translations. Minding the translator was not an onerous task, but it was sufficiently tedious that Inquisitor Ramarrez entrusted it to his long suffering scribe. He spent some time sat mesmerised by the cogitators exposed thoughts, before he consulted his wrist chronograph. 2:35 AM, local time. The rest of the inquisitors temporary household here on Janius II would be asleep. And the blasted incense had given him a headache. He sat back again, and watched the scrolling data until the began to doze.

It was morning. Outside, chimera transports rumbled onwards towards the lines, and their was the bustle and mayhem of a large military base going about its business. Iperon Novalinus awoke with a start, and checked his chronograph. 6:17 AM. The inquisitor could be in at any moment. Quickly he busied himself about the translation from the night, which the cogitator had finished and lay on the dataslate connected to the machine for this purpose. He unplugged it and placed a reference (CX21.2C:Xeno outbost datablock sample A4) and date on it, before hurrying out to hand it over to inquisitor Ramarrez.

Ramarrez was breakfasting when the scribe entered, and speaking to one of the commissars stationed with the troops. Despite the heat and dampness the commissars coats was buttoned to his collar. The inquisitor already had a stack of dataslates and papers piled by his plate, as he managed the affairs, overtly or covertly, of the war effort across Janius II. Novalinus deposited the dataslate by his master and scuttled out.

"As I was saying, my lord, the rumours of mutiny in the Alessian 15th are, I believe, mere fabrication" the commissar continued after Novalinus had left.

"Thank you, commissar, but I would be obliged if you would encourage our men in the regiment to stay vigilant. That is all" replied Inquisitor Ramarrez as the commissar left.

Ramarrez wiped his brow. The humidity was unbearable and the fogs of the day before were thicker today. He had heard the monsoons would break soon, and for three months the war effort would grind to a total halt as the swamplands became impassable. He shrugged and reached to the side of his plate, and opened his newest aquisition, Novalinus' freshly translated dataslate.

He read the slate. Halfway through he frowned and stared hard at it. "It must have been a mistake by the translator. After so many years, it was ridiculous to even suggest... and his ilk would never ally with anyone.. unless..who knows the ways of the archenemy?" He wondered. He read on. By the time he was finished cold sweat was forming on his neck. It didn't look like a mistake. Mentioned three times, exactly the same spelling. He grabbed for the comm set perched by his right elbow.

"Yes I know. But I need a vid-meeting with captain Nilos in three hours. Of course its an emergency, by the Emperor!"

He flung the vox-horn down. Kirikias the schemer, Kirikias the mouthpiece, the voice of the archenemy, here, plotting something? The naive aliens had let him in, believed him, given him everything he needed. This war was going to get far worse, Ramarrez decided, and far more complicated.

please, comment, critique, etc to your hearts content!

Remember there is more coming, as it is a work in progress!