The 1st tactical squad of the 4th company of the Star Krakens has been known as Squad Black Fist for longer than anyone in the chapter has lived. The members of the squad have the armour on their right fists coloured black, removing the mark if they leave the squad. Few outside the 4th company know the reason why, for the tale is told but rarely. It speaks of a great sacrifice, a stalwart and heroic brother sergeant and the weakness of a captain.
Sometime after the meeting of the ten flags, The Trident and the 4th company encountered a strange asteroid, drifting on the edge of the deeps. It gave of all the readings of being able to sustain life, yet there was almost no sign of fauna or animals on it. The Kraken captain deemed the rock of suitable interest for him to visit its surface, but maintained he need not be accompanied by his entire veteran squad. What could harm him on a rock almost utterly devoid of life? After much talk and persuasion, he relented and allowed the company’s first tactical squad to accompany him.
When they arrived on the asteroid’s surface, they were armed as though for a hostile encounter. Such was befitting for the guard of a company captain, however unlikely violence is. It was a great honour for the tactical squad to be the captain’s guard, and they would do things properly. They patrolled the area of the drop site thoroughly, lifting every rock and peering into every shadow. The Krarken ignored them, wandering across the barren environment without a care. So sure was he that there would be no battle this day, he did have his blade or pistol drawn.
As the captain walked, the marines constantly marching in front and around of him started to irritate him. Was he not a company captain? He needed to guard to swoop around him like a scout on their first mission. So it was that he ordered the squad back to the drop site, brooking no argument. Only one member of the squad refused to leave; the squad sergeant, his name lost to legend. The captain tried to talk his subordinate into leaving him alone, but the sergeant was adamant. Either he went with the captain, or the whole squad did. Eventually, the captain relented and the two set off.
They wandered far from the drop site, the captain still looking for something interesting enough to justify this visit. In truth, he was unsure why he had come to this rock, and to why he had ordered his guard not to accompany him. If he found an artefact of import or significance, it would save him from face when it came to explaining things to his fellow brother-captains. When they came across a deep ravine, a tear in the earth, he immediately decided that he would travel to the bottom. He descended as fast as was possible, the sergeant hurrying to keep up.
When they reached the bottom, the captain stopped. He merely glared around the canyon floor, as if daring it to explain to him why he was here. And it did. From a cave in the side of the of the rock, a huge monster appeared. It crawled out stealthily behind the captain, but halted when it saw the sergeant. The brother-sergeant had no such problem, unholstering his bolt pistol and opening fire. The tempest bolts bounced from the beast’s thick skin, sending shard of frag spinning through the air. Seeing his sergeant shoot over his head was enough to make the captain turn to face the threat, but he wasn’t soon enough to dodge the blow from the beast. Its huge, blade like arm crashed into his chest and threw him across the canyon floor. He smashed into the ground and lay still. The beast stalked slowly towards him, the huge black eyes that sat in the centre of its face focussed solely on his prone form. Their concentration was broken when the sergeant stepped in between them.
Seeing his bolts were useless, the sergeant had discarded his rifle. He filled his right hand with frag grenades and his left with a combat knife, before leaping for the foe’s throat. The alien was fast, however, and its claws sent most of his right hand off into the distance. Then it slammed him to the ground and screamed in his face. Perhaps it sought to exert its dominance, or was preparing to eat him. Either way, it gave the sergeant an opportunity. His left arm was trapped by the creature, but it had neglected to do the same to his right, likely because there was little left of his hand. The sergeant looked and his hand and saw that he had one finger left, the smallest one. With a roar to match the beast’s, he plunged his hand into the huge black orbs of the creature’s eyes.
The creature screamed, tearing its head back. But the sergeant’s single finger had been clenched deep inside the eye, and when it came out it brought a sizeable chunky of gooey ichor and flesh with it. Still shrieking, the beast stumbled away and bashed off the walls of the canyon. The sergeant pulled himself up, heedless of his wounds, and dragged his battered form to the fallen captain. From his battle brother’s belt, he drew the plasma pistol. Then he turned back to his foe.
Both the astartes and the xeno were wounded, but the sergeant was a warrior of humanity and a champion of the emperor. Victory would be his, even if he had to tear the flesh from his bones for it to be so. A battle hymn on his lips and the plasma pistol in his healthy hand, the sergeant began to charge his foe. Once again, he leapt into the air and once again, the beast’s claws flashed out and caught him. Instead of slashing him down, this time they impaled him through the midsection and held him up in the air. The sergeant hardly noticed. He was glaring at something at the creature’s feet, and suddenly he brought up the pistol and fired. The plasma round struck the frag grenades on the floor and detonated them with a cacophonous boom. With a fleshy sound, the xeno’s legs were blown off and it fell to the ground, with the sergeant still attached to it by the talons in his chest.
As they both lay on the ground, the sergeant raised the pistol again. The creature observed him with its remaining eye, still whimpering in pain. It seemed resigned to its fate though, and was not disappointed. The sergeant blew out the beast’s remaining eye, before allowing himself to rest. The captain awoke moments later, to find his loyal sergeant dying and the beast slain.
He knelt down by the sergeant and spoke to him. “Go to the Emperor in peace my brother, for today you were truly an exemplar of his might. Dwell in the darkness, so that we may think of you in the deep. You will not be forgotten, nor will your devotion” spoke the captain, as he looked down and the bloody remains of the sergeant’s chest and fist. The sergeant spluttered a response through the mouth grill of his helmet “We do not fall... we do not die... we rise...” before his head lolled back into the grove of the armour and he died. The captain carried his body back to the drop site, the last finger of the sergeant’s hand still grasping the aliens eyeball.
When they the krakens saw their fallen sergeant, their shoulders fell and gazes dropped. It was the captain who spoke to them of their sergeant’s memory. He cursed them for disrespecting his sacrifice, for mourning when they should have been shouting his victories to the endlessness of the deep. One of the brothers stepped forward, reaching down to the xeno’s eye. He spread some of the adhesive black liquid onto his hand, and then stepped back. One by one, every member of the squad did likewise. When all had adorned themselves likewise, they began to speak. Short tales were told of the sergeant. Of his deeds, his valour, his skill and his wit. The captain listened to them carefully, hearing not accusations but feeling blame directed at him from all sides. He retreated and left them to their ritual, guilt heavy in his chest like rock.
Once aboard The Trident the members of the squad began to make the mark permenant, painting the right fists of their armour black. So it was that whenever a new warrior joined the squad, his hand was marked. When one left, the mark was removed, and the squad have been known as the Black Fists since. Further examination of the xeno that had been slain showed that it was a psychic parasite, luring its prey close and persuading them to abandon all of their guard and arms. The captain was disgraced for his weakness, allowing himself to be taken in by the creature. He punishment was not terrible, though neither was it light. His fate is another tale, however.