Onslaught on the Rectitude

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This story, part of the community effort on the Abyssal Jaws chapter. Note: This story is no longer up-to-date with current canon.

Midshipman William Watts was going to die. The Imperial Maresian Ship "Rectitude" had been his first posting after graduating from the Maresian Naval Academy, and he had never been prouder than the day he had boarded the gleaming destroyer and set sail to guard the eastern naval shipping lanes. While goods could be shipped around the planet by space-capable cargo flyers, such travel was expensive for large quantities of goods. As such, many merchants chose to ply the seas of their oceanic world, giant ships sailing between the great floating hives. These large, slow vessels were often vulnerable to pirates seeking to plunder them and take their cargo for the illegitimate mini-hives which drifted with the currents. But it seemed it wasn't pirates that would be the end of the Rectitude.

Midshipman Watts gaped as the chitinous creatures swarmed over the lower decks. The sailors fought to force them back, but as William watched one of the creatures reached its gigantic pincered appendage out and severed a seaman at the waist. The long pikes the sailors normally used to pull in smaller craft simply bounced off the armor of the scuttling creatures, while more of them continued to pull themselves over the sides of the ship and set upon the hapless men. The captain had sealed the bridge and now barked orders over the comm system to organize a concerted defense, but it was hopeless. In the chaos that was the decks of the ship, the midshipman could do nothing but watch as they were overwhelmed.

Caught up in the hopelessness of the situation, William had to throw himself back in fear to avoid being speared as one of the crab-like creatures clambered over the rail he had been perched at. Scrambling back until his back hit the bulkhead of the command bridge behind him, William quaked in fear as the creature advanced, chittering and waving its gigantic pincer claw. His hands scrabbled for the laspistol he had been issued upon graduation, but as soon as he freed it from the holster the rolling of the ship tipped it out of his grasp and it slid over the edge of the deck. The creature almost upon him now, William cowered back and prayed that the lighthouse of the great God-Emperor would guide his soul.

His eyes closed, William never saw the gigantic red-and-blue figure leap impossibly up from the deck below. Its booted feet landed on the back of the crab creature, forcing it down to the deck. And as a giant pincer reached for it, the figure drove a long harpoon down through the thick armored carapace into the body of the creature... which promptly exploded. Stepping down from the now-smoking carapace, the gore-covered behemoth freed its harpoon at reached a hand out to the quavering Midshipman. Pulling him to his feet with a yank that almost dislocated his arms, the giant emitted a deep rumbling sound. It took the dazed sailor a moment to realize that the behemoth was laughing, a low rolling chuckle at his confused state.

"Come brother!" The giant figure called to him. "The sea has seen fit to challenge us on this day!" And without another word the red-and-blue warrior swung itself over the railing and plunged into the melee below. William found himself staring down once again at a massacre, yet this time it was the crab creatures who could not stand their ground. More of the giants had boarded the Rectitude, and William finally recognized them as Space Marines, the revered warriors of the Emperor. Moreover, they were the Abyssal Jaws, the chapter he himself had dreamed of becoming! He had not had the will as a youth to undergo the initiation challenge, and so had enrolled in the naval academy. Yet here they were, driving back these beasts from the deep. The marines fought with skill, and as William watched two worked in concert to trap the claw of the biggest of the creatures using massive hooks attached to their belts. The beast neutralized, a third warrior stabbed into its face with one of their explosive harpoons.

Looking about the ship, William was aghast to see a gigantic hole in the windscreen of the command bridge above him. It seemed one of the creatures had managed to bash its way through, and the bridge crew were only saved by dint of being less visible than the captain's elevated position. Yet despite this loss of command, the ship badly needed to return to safe harbor for repairs. While the sleek skimmer the Marines had used could guide them, the ship could not go without a commander. And so it was that, despite his trepidation, the young Captain Watts of the IMS Rectitude found himself very quickly tiring of the taste of crab.