The sister fell into place at the front of the column Celestian Victorine had organized the group into. She kept her bolter in firing position, pre-aiming at each corner as they approached so if an enemy emerged they would already be in her sights. When they rounded the final corner and saw the mass of xenos, mutant and renegade filth threatening to overwhelm the Crusader Vitruvia opened her mouth to suggest that they all throw frag grenades into the mass of enemies while they were clumped together and their backs were turned. Six frag grenades, a magazine dump and a charge would have done tremendous damage but Vitruvia was too late-- Sister Caroline opened fire with her heavy bolter and the enemy charged.
Vitruvia dropped to one knee behind protruding section of bulkhead and squeezed the trigger on her bolter. A tongue of fire a meter long spewed from the barrel as dozens of bolter shells ripped through the air into the charging men. Vitruvia was an excellent shot. At point blank range and firing into the teaming mass of flesh she couldn't miss. The carnage was immense; it was as if an invisible scythe swept through the air and struck dead those who fell inside it's path.
A mutant's leg was blown in half at the thigh. Another disemboweled by the detonation of a .75 caliber bolt shell in his gut. A kroot was unlucky enough to survive a bolt shell that shattered his hip and left him squirming upon the ground in agony before his companions trampled him to death in their headlong, maddened charge.
But still they came. Sister Caroline was driven back from her exposed position and autogun fire raked Vitruvia's position, the section of bulkhead that was thrust out into the corridor absorbing most of the rounds. Still, she felt the ringing blows of metal projectiles upon her shoulder and arm as sparks and paint flew as her helm and shoulder plate deflected the fire.
The barrel of her bolter glowed cherry red as Vitruvia let off the trigger, sweeping her gaze to the small group of humans who had set up a heavy stubber and were attempting to suppress her fire (power armor changed the suppressing-fire equation, thank the Emperor.) She looked down her scope and pulled the trigger; a bolt punched through the tattooed gunner's yellow teeth and detonated in the back of his neck, half decapitating him. His companions screamed and fled.
Vitruvia laughed and swept her bolter back toward the horde of charging flesh. They were close. She squeezed the trigger.
It clicked empty.
Armored fingers snatched her chainsword from her belt and mashed the throttle-- the blade roared as it severed the arm of a puss-dripping mutant in it's draw-cut and then punched through the flimsy makeshift armor of a pirate's chestpiece and out his back.
A trio of frog-like xenos leapt across the section of bulkhead that Vitruvia had taken cover behind and forced her back with thrusts from jagged, rusty spears. She retreated before their advance, warding off their thrusts with sharp, precise parries that flowed one into the next like a well-oiled clockwork machine until with a sudden twist of her chainsword and sharp lunge she intercepted the advance of one xenos, closing the distance between them and severing his lead hand with a snap of her wrist and rev of the chainsword's throttle.
She was among them then and the reach of their spears became a handicap. The wounded one stumbled against his closest companion letting out a shrill screech as he clutched his stump while green ichor squirted into the air and Vitruvia's chainblade snapped out, humming through the air with the speed and power of a heavy-worlder augmented by the servo-motor's of power armor, splitting the skull of the unwounded xenos down to the neck and then finishing off the outmatched survivors with precise thrusts through the torso.
Something struck her in the skull hard enough to drive her to one knee and leave a long dent in the helm of her power armor. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw Horatio driven back into another room but before she could process the though something drove through the shoulder of her power armor and hot blood ran down her arm.
The Kroot yanked his rifle-spike out of her shoulder armor and his companion lifted his own rifle for the coup-de-grace against the kneeling Sister.
A heartbeat of hesitation was lethal but a childhood of neural conditioning at the Schola Progenium had erased the human foibles of doubt and uncertainty. She felt no fear only the razor edged focus of the martyr.
Vitruvia simply lifted her wrist, squeezed the throttle and drove her chainsword into the groin of the Kroot whose rifle-hook was stuck in her shoulder plate. He let out a piercing scream as the adamantine teeth ripped his guts out through the hole in his crotch.
The second Kroot swung his rifle down at her skull again. Vitruvia lifted her free hand above her head and took the blow on her bracer. It drove into her helm with enough force to rattle every bone in her body and her fingers went numb.
She stood and knocked the hooked-rifle out of her shoulder plate.
"Hail Imperator, full of grace."
The Kroot reversed his rifle with an uncanny, alien grace, hammering Vitruvia in the jaw of her helm hard enough to whip her head back.
"Be with me now."
It feinted and Vitruvia's blade snapped across her body but the xenos flipped the rifle about and struck her a blow on the leg that left another dent in her armor and buckled the athletically muscled sister's leg.
"And in the hour of my death."
She stumbled back, chainsword flicking through a pair of parries that deflected his next two attacks until she felt her back bump into the wall. He was good. She thought she could beat him had she been uninjured but it would have been a close thing.
He feinted again but Vitruvia parried his strike-- the strength of the blow nearly knocked her chainsword from her hand and she felt blood oozing down the inside of her armor. It had reached her hip now.
The xenos was fast, freakishly strong and very, very skilled. Vitruvia was wounded and had begun the fight ambushed and outnumbered. Were it not for her power armor she would have been killed several times over.
The rifle snapped into another feint-and-strike; the final blow. Vitruvia didn't bother to block. She spun into the strike, her power armors boot screeching on the floor. The blow fell upon her back unguarded and she felt a rib snap under the force of it-- but her chainsword slammed into the Kroot's neck simultaneously.
The motor screamed and adamantine teeth ripped through the Kroot's neck to the spine. Black blood splattered her armor and the Kroot reeled and fell to his hands and knees, arterial spray squirting across the decking.
She stomped his skull until he stopped twitching, recovered her bolter and looked for members of her squad who needed aid.