- Location: the desert city of Tarterus, Cerberus XIII. Southern defenses.
Silence had descended with the chill desert night. Unter-Kommissar-General Hilda von Stroheim peered into the darkness through the bunker’s slits. The soldiers were nervous, almost terrified. She put her hand on one soldier's shoulder, nodded grimly to another, where she went her round to ensure that the troops kept their morale. Kommissar-General Ilse had persuaded the regimental command that they must hold the defence facing the Emperor's chosen. There was information that could save the Empire from destruction, if not treason within the Adeptus Astartes managed to eliminate the leak first.
Hilda put her head down to get out of the bunker, and stepped out into something taken from a nightmare hallucination. Bonfires burned on top of newly erected monuments and columns everywhere in the city. Huge legionnaires in grotesque armor prepared for battle without even acknowledging the human defenders with a glance. Untrained locals had been massed together in flocks of cackling militia, giggling as they fingered their new laser guns, while others indulged in self-mortification at altars set up everywhere. Only inside the perimeter she and her men had erected, was something like sobriety and order. And her soldiers hardly dared to leave their bunkers.
The buzzing of flies was almost deafening.
"Keep the wall at any cost, Lieutenant. That's all."
This was the Rubicon.