by Chris Cook

She moved quickly and confidently, despite the slaughter around her. Some of her own troops, those unlucky enough to be too close when the attack came, fell so fast that she literally waded through blood and gore as the Tyranids swarmed across the battle lines. A pack of hormagaunts saw her and turned as one to remove her. She caught the razor-sharp blades of the leader, with bare hands, and drove them outwards and back into two more of the creatures, before leaning in towards the struggling creature and calmly biting through its throat. She wiped the blue gel from her face as the creature collapsed, dead. Ahead was her target.

The Hive Tyrant stood a metre above even the massive Warriors, directing the attack. She slowly approached it, still ignoring the slaughter of her troops around her. The huge creature saw her and turned to face her, with speed unnatural in something so large. She stopped in its gaze and smiled slightly. It raised its head and roared at her, while two of its four arms brought its venom cannon to bear. The weapon belched a stream of concentrated acidic venom, shattering a boulder behind her as she cartwheeled over the blast, landing safely a few metres in front of the startled creature. The vicious barbed whip lashed towards her chest, but her hand moved almost too fast to see.

She caughgt the point of the whip, a long spine passing straight through the palm of her hand; she didn't seem to care. She heaved on the whip and tore it from the grasp of the Tyrant. It bellowed in rage and charged at her, bonesword swinging wildly. She dropped the whip and flipped easily over its head, landing on a large boulder behind it, with her back to the creature as it turned to face her. She unfurled from her crouched landing, lying on her back and tipping her head backwards to gaze, upside-down, at the Tyranid. She raised her hand and looked dreamily through the hole cut by the whip. It healed without so much as a scar.

She smiled again as the bonesword blade slashes towards her head. Both hands swung upwards, catching the blade between her palms inches from her face. In one movement, she spun herself around, using the blade for leverage, shattering the sword in the process of flipping herself over. Her crouched legs straightened explosively, sending her and the stunned creature to the ground in a tangle of limbs.

The Tyranid flailed wildly at her, sensing that it was somehow being beaten but unable to understand how. Clawed talons went limp as armour-plated wrists were shattered by unstoppable blows. A leg buckled as a kick broke bones and tore muscles apart. Slowly, bleeding from a dozen wounds, the Tyrant ceased its struggles. She smiled one last time, almost playfully hitting it with a blow that tore its jaw loose.

Seeing the damaged arms fall to the ground, no longer attacking, she reached down to its massive chest with both hands, tearing through the alien ribcage, opening the creature by raw force from neck to hip. She felt its mind dissolving in death, the strength of will echoing away down the conduits to the creatures still fighting around them. Relaxing, as she stretched out in the bed of flesh, she let her mind follow. Around her, dozens of the alien creatures suddenly began collapsing, howling in agony as their minds were shattered from within.

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