Duchalla Kaide was looking into the downpour, searching for the enemy. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong, if only she could focus her thoughts properly. She was curiously out of breath.
Corporal Duchalla Kaide of Cadian 34th , heavy weapons expert, looked at her comrades, they all looked bleak and half dead already in the showering rain. “The enemy is closing in” Sarge said. She could not remember who they were fighting. Everything seemed to flow together in the driving rain.
Something was wrong…
“Now they are coming!” said Smythe.
“You’re supposed to be dead” she thought.
Something wrong. Never mind, in battle things don’t always add up.
The time for thought was at an end, she could see the enemy as unclear shapes dissolving in the distance, blurred by the rain. She racked the slide of her heavy bolter and with a satisfyingly heavy “chunk” the lock slid home and the weapon was ready.
She was panting now, out of breath.
The beast of a gun kicked and bucked in her hands as she sprayed a storm of mass reactives at the enemy. Curious, she thought, I feel rusty. Most of the shots hit anyway, each hit exploding an enemy trooper. The enemy kept coming though, firing back and all around her, her squad mates started to die.
Something was definitely wrong, if only she could catch her breath and think straight.
Now, Smythe was lying down, staring unseeing into the rain, just as she remembered from long ago…
This couldn’t be, she had stopped doing this. She had been discharged after she had been shell shocked, she had got the nerves… She had been discharged, albeit honourably after 10 years of service in the Imperial Guard. What in the name of the Emperor was she doing here in the mud again?
All around her, the dead were piling up, she was sinking down in the mud, suffocating.
Everything was wrong!
It was impossible to get a breath!
Now the dead soldiers all around her started moving, growling and panting reaching for her. The dead soldiers grabbed at her, she started shooting at the corpses!
Smythe was there grapping her, his head hanging at an impossible angle, empty eye sockets staring blindly, strangely he was already rotten as if he had been lying in the trench for a month.
She was suffocating and in a panic!
The corpses dragged her down!
All went black!
With a sharp, painful intake of breath, Duchalla woke.
Something cold and unyielding at her back a plastic covering over her nude body.
Her wrists were shackled.
If you’re new to the Lesotho panic story, there is a part before this one here
Where am I?
She took a few calming breaths and looked around, she was on an examining table, a strong smell of antiseptics in the air. I must be in the doctors laboratory, how did I end up here? The suffocating feeling of panic returned…
After doctor Valantion had started experimenting on humans, first inmates of the prison block, later even normal law abiding workers and families of the Lesotho complex, everything had gone terribly wrong. Now they called him doctor Death, a creature out of your worst nightmares. He had created mutants and nightmarish creatures out of ordinary humans and animals. It was also said that he experimented in aggressive viral strains, not only of the kind that made you sick, but also kinds of vira, that would mutate the body and turn people into walking dead nightmares!
As she cleared her mind and gathered her thoughts, Duchalla realized that she must have been caught by doctor Death or some of his assistants and were now confined in his lab! The lab was in the lowest level of the Lesotho complex.
I have to get out! Now, she thought.
She tested the cuffs at her wrists, they were not overly tight, her ankles were thankfully unbound. I’ve got out of worse than this, she thought with a wry smile, thinking back to that terrible time, when she had been a POW. Being a captive of the Druchii had surely been part of why she lost her nerve and of course the constant shelling of the Ryazah Conflict, many shell shocked there… No time for old war memories, she felt a rush of adrenaline when she thought back.
With a wince of pain, she dislocated her left thumb and her hand slid right out of the cuff, it was for some reason easier with the left. She worked the thumb back in place and with the help of her left hand, she dislocated the right thumb, she bit her lip to keep quiet as a fiery pain shot up arm, always hard on the right hand.
Duchalla slid soundlessly down from the examining table, without the plastic covering, she was stark naked. It was cold, she felt dizzy, she must have been under some anaesthetic. She wondered how she had got here.
Suddenly she heard a kind of growling and panting coming from down a corridor, a sound of shuffling feet. A smell of rotten meat started to sneak in over the smell of antiseptics. The smell of corpses. She looked around for a place to hide, she ran to the other end of the lab room, there was no other way out. Luckily she found a closet, she could squeeze into and hide. A bunch of corpses came shambling into the room. They looked like they had no purpose, just ambling around aimlessly. Growling and panting, maybe looking for food, she thought with a shiver. There were many of them and most looked like they had not been entirely human in life, very deformed and mutated, yet still quite dead except for the fact that they were walking around almost like dogs sniffing the air.
She had to wait until the hellish horde hopefully walked away again. As she waited, she thought back a little, Devin had been a good man, though nothing like the soldiers she had known previously. They had a little daughter, then it came back to her, When the outbreak came, they had made a run for it, trying to escape the hab section, which must have been 3 or 4 levels above her now. She had packed a big bag of food supplies and ammo. She had taken her old heavy bolter out and brought it too, a good thing she had reported it lost right before the discharge, she had thought, she had received a lot of fire for that, but she had managed to smuggle it out and take it with her back home, she had after all become quite attached to that gun. Duchalla and her little family had made a good run for it and made it to the public elevator. There was a lot of people waiting to get out. After about an hour waiting, it had been their turn, but just then disaster struck! A horde of the shambling corpses came down the corridor and people started to panic. Duchalla turned around and fired her big gun at them and the refugees pressed in on the elevator. She got separated from Devin and Marla, their daughter. The corpses just crept coming, she couldn’t take them out fast enough, at the same time, the crowd she tried to protect got more and more agitated. She thought she saw Devin and Marla get into the elevator. The crowd pressed in and the corpses got closer and closer. Something hit her on the head and she went out cold.
After an indeterminate time of fearful waiting in the closet, the corpses outside started to stir. A strange high pitched yet male voice called from the corridor. “Come here my pretties we have work to do, we are to spread the bounty of the father even more to the unworthy”. The corpses walked out of the lab, ever so slowly.
She tiptoed out of the closet, when they were good and gone. She looked around the room looked decrepit and ruined, much of the lab equipment was destroyed, fluids poured out on the floor, here and there puddles of acid had eaten away at the floor plating. There were these big vats with organic matter in fluid, some of them were clearly human body parts, some were clearly something else entirely, a lot in between. Some of the shapeless limbs of flesh in formaldehyde had eyes looking out on her. She ran from the room.
She carefully went into the corridor where the corpses had went. The lumens were blinking erratically, as if the power were cutting out. If all the power went, life support would go too and they would all be walking dead! She sneaked down the corridor silently, whenever she came to other rooms, she peeked in, perhaps there were more corpses or mutants… She came to a store room with clothes and equipment, maybe this was where they put the clothes of those they experimented upon. There were a lot of orange prisoner fatigues lying in piles, she was close to the cell block as well, if she remembered correctly, the correctional facility was situated right next to the research facility, handy for a psychopath doctor doing research on humans. She rummaged through the piles of clothes and suddenly she stumbled upon her own clothes. Yes! Her backpack with all her provisions and ammo was there too. She got dressed in a hurry, then continued down the corridor. She kept heading for the cell blocks, there was a service elevator there, maybe hopefully a way out. As she got nearer, she could hear the faint growling and shuffling of the dead ahead of her, she ducked into a room to the side of the corridor. It was a guardroom, there were weapons lying about as if they had abandoned the place in a panic or just were dead and cared not. There was her good old heavy bolter, she picked it up. Those assholes took it for themselves she thought. She took a pistol as well and as much ammo as she could carry. She racked the slide with a satisfying heavy “chunk” Carrying the big weapon she proceeded further down the corridor, she must be close to the service elevator now. The gun was terribly heavy, seven years of mothering did that to a woman, the hard work at the forges had kept her strong, just not as strong and fast as she had been.
The walls of the cell blocks was shaking, sometimes dirty hands shot out from small air holes in the cells, they sounded just like the usual growling, panting dead, there must be other survivors down here she thought.
She rounded a corner and up ahead she saw a few survivors! They wouldn’t be alive for long though! It was a group of prisoners being led forced backwards by a veritable army of the dead. The prisoners gave as good as they got but they were terribly outnumbered. Behind them stood a tall creature out of her worst nightmares. It wore an eyeless rusty spire as a head or was it a helmet, it was hard to see. It wielded a huge two handed axe and blocked the way to the elevator. The prisoners were pressed towards the giant with the big axe. When they got within reach he started hewing the poor men down like wheat! Duchalla stepped out of the shadows and fired her heavy bolter at the dead. The beast of a gun kicked and bucked in her hands, as she unleashed a storm of mass reactives into the army of the dead! She had sure become rusty, but no matter, most of the shots hit anyway the dead were everywhere in the narrow tunnel, they were hard to miss. Every time one of her mass reactives found a target it exploded and stopped them dead, there were just too many of them!
“Over here run! I’ll cover you” she yelled.
The prisoners sprinted towards her as she kept spraying death at the dead. The big abomination at the end of the corridor chopped down two more of the poor men as they turned and ran. The corpses tackled the prisoners and dragged them down. Duchalla was suffocating in her own fear as she saw the dead claw at the living, piling on top of them. In the end one of the men made it out of the clump of corpses alive and sprinted towards her. A strange dry grating hacking noise came from the big monster with the two handed axe! Was he laughing….
She grabbed the neck of the prisoner and helped him run faster, they outran the dead eventually and after a few twists and turns they felt relatively safe and ducked into the guard room with all the guns.
The prisoner quickly found a big knife and an outgoing for himself.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
Then she realized that his mouth was sewn shot. There were electrical sockets installed all over his body, he had a big sutured cut down his scalp and some equipment installed in his head! His left eye was a strange bionic, glowing with a green light. He was a sorry sight, maybe they had started changing him, just not finished it, he was definitely still alive and not growling, panting dead.
He held up 3 fingers. His eyes looked like he was smiling, it was hard to tell with his sewn up mouth, but it was somehow twisting.
“Three .. That’s your name?”
He nodded vigorously still smiling.
All right, who cares, at least you’re alive, lets move out of here before the dead find us. Let’s see if we can find some other survivors.
In the meantime at the inquisitorial headquarters in Mondus Centurium hive, Dominic Cisnerro was hard at work investigating the news he had got about Lesotho 2-12 from old Aurelius. He had petitioned the Administratum to gain access to all the dataflow to and from Lesotho 2-12 for the past two years. The Administratum asured him that he would get the permit, but they had to verify it first. “Damn beaurocrats” he thought, “it can take forever!” He had placed an operative in the arcive and he got snippets of information out, so there was something to work with, while he waited for the Administratum to finish its endless beaurocracy. He had an uncertain paper trail, that led through many dealings in illegal substances to here! Mondus Centurium. Apparently Doctor Valantion had had dealings with Epsilon 1110101 of the dark Mechanicum! Also known as “The Doctor” Ironically enough, doctor to doctor, scientist to scientist.
If it weren’t for the dire implications, Cisnerro would have laughed at the irony of this. Epsilon 1110101 had many dealings with cultists of the dreaded Nurgle, father of all sickness, decay and entropy! Epsilon 1110101 was reported dead on several occasions, but he could surely have planted a seed that now was festering somewhere else… With a sinking feeling Cisnerro thought back to the old case where Epsilon 1110101 used tainted genome to create a sem biological, semi mechanical virus, that killed nearly half a hive city. Nurgle had a hand in that as well.
This connection can only spell doom, the medical research of Lesotho 2-12 has surely been tainted, this is the proof we need! “We need a quarantine effected imediately!” He yelled at the nearest assistant “Get to work!”
Trekking down the endless corridors on the other side of the laboratory they suddenly heard the noise of fighting. Rounding a corner they came upon a pair trying to fend of a horde of walking corpses. Some teen age girl and one of those awful enforcers who always made sure that the manufactorum workers met their quotas! Never mind, they are alive!
She stepped forward and fired a few bursts of her heavy bolter into the mass of dead. Over here! She yelled. These dead were no match for her heavy bolter and they were quickly alone again.
“Thank you” the girl said. “I am Raynah, this is enforcer Zacharias”. “Yeah I know his kind”, she scoffed, “I am Duchalla and this is… Three”, she pointed at the former prisoner. Raynah went pale as she saw him, her eyes wide open with fear. Three nodded at her and smiled with his eyes again.
Raynah dragged Duchalla to the side. “Do you know who he is?” she asked, wide eyed.
“No, but he is probably not a very nice person, I just picked him up at the cell block”. Duchalla said.
“I am sure that is Damien three stabs, he is a convicted mass murderer”, she said trembling.
“I don’t care!” Duchalla said, “he is alive, so he is on our side, worry about that later, when we are out”.
They joined the others.
“We need to find a way out of here, the service elevator in the cell block is heavily defended, let’s try to get to the public elevator instead”. Duchalla said.
They headed into the labyrinth in search of a way out of the erratically blinking nightmare that was Lesotho 2-12
Thank you for reading this wall of text, I hope it was both entertaining and intriquing.
The big game is lose now!
I hope you all had a merry and peaceful Christmass and a happy, healthy and safe New Years eve. Now it is time for a brand new virgin hobby year. Here’s to a good one!