Meanwhile, in a sordid town in the Badlands…
Xerxes sucked on his cigarette and stretched his back. Carrying his Flamer the whole way had been tiresome, so he really looked forward to take a good nap and rest his old bones in the settlement they had occupied some weeks ago. The smelly, incestuous inhabitants didn’t care much for them, which suited Xerxes best. He didn’t care for them either, as long as they would pay their taxes they owned to proud House Delaque for protection on due time. Not that High Lord Delaque himself, may the Spirits of the Hive always protect him, would know anything about this village and the Credits his gang pressed from those depraved Grox farmers and cheap fungus collectors deep down in the underhive. But, as some dead General somewhere and sometime had remarked, war has to pay for war. They had to see how to get the next meal, and so, they had to rely on those underhive dwellers for their own good.
Suddenly, his instinct for danger turned red. Something wasn’t right! The otherwise noisy and vivid market of the settlement was empty. No fires were burning in their steel barrels, like always. HE hissed a quick but quiet command to stop to his two subordinates and got in cover.
Just two foreign figures were standing in the middle of the plaza and searched for something. Plunderers! Now Xerxes understood. Some Gangers from an other house had entered their village. No Delaque could be blind enough not to notice the marks around the settlement that marked it as their property. Intruders. Well, he knew what they had to do.
With a grim smile in his face, he sucked on his cigarette one last time and lit his Flamer with the gleaming tip. The bubbls of high explosive gasoline crawled around the front end of his beloved weapon, awaiting him to push the button which would release a cloud of inflamed gas on his foes. In an coordinated move, all three Delaque entered the village.
“Hey, scummers!“, he bellowed, “wrong place, wrong time!”
Then, it happened all too fast.
The guy on the left side of the market place uncovered his mantle and a machine gun rattled at the three Delaque. Xerxes and Yuris chests were hit by shrapnels, only Gospodin managed to throw himself in ptotecting cover. Xerxes mind dwindled into darkness…
“Feelin’ better, eh?”
A flashlight was held directly in his face, so Xerxes tried to keep his eyes shut.
“What happened, you bloody fool?” the Heavy pressed between his torn lips before he was able to get himself up on his feet.
“Well, it really didn’t look good, that I can say“, Gospodin proclaimed hastily, “but we’ve been lucky. Lucky enough, I mean. The machine gun had a malfunction, so we were able to outflank and chase them. One more shot by the stubber, and we would’ve been mutie snacks, that’s for sure“.
Stretching and rubbing some of his mistreated muscles, Xerxes glimpsed some of the villagers lurking behind their closed windows and shut doors. Bastards, he thought. Not better than those slimy muties they had been fighting a few days before. He resisted his urge to lit some of them with his beloved Flamer, just to make a decent statement. Not this day, he sighed.
“Come on, lets move” he replied to the way too talky Ganger. “Let’s collect the due taxes and get away“. Somehow, the place did stink to him even more now…