Before reading this story, it might be a good idea to read at least the first nine and last five lines of the story in the first post here --> link
Now then, on with the story. I'd like the people who reply to tell how they thought Vorlaz felt about what he did. Thanks
Vorlaz gazed out the portal at Carvon II. What had once been a beautiful blue-green world was slowly turning gray from the devastation wreaked by the orks, and foul clouds of pollution obscured what little green remained. Even the oceans had not escaped, having been turned an ugly blackish color by the foul ork vessels. He could see the faint glimmer that was the last fortress, where the remnants of the once strong Imperial forces gathered for their last stand.
He could envision the fighting as if it had already happened, as if he were watching a vox recording or remembering a battle long concluded. He saw the defenders preparing for their last stand, grimly readying their weapons. The orks head butted each other as they worked their way into a killing frenzy. Then the orks leapt out of their trenches and streamed towards the wall, a repulsive wave.
The years flashed by, men and orks dying, until some Warboss got powerful enough and some Mek built a big enough Gargant. Vorlaz saw the Gargant smash the walls and multitudes of orks pour into the fortress as the city burned and men died by the thousands.
"Captain," said a voice that snapped him back to the present.
"Yes," said Vorlaz, barely turning his head from the portal, but his voice carried none the less.
"The torpedoes are ready."
"Very good Sergeant. Wait until I give the order." There was nothing he could do, Vorlaz told himself. The defenders could hold out for a long time but they could not win. They would not receive any help from anyone, as Hive Fleet Tempest was stretching both the Imperials and the Iron Lords to their limits. If the orks took Carvon II, they would sweep into the rest of the sector and through the diversion cause unimaginable losses and damage in the northeastern fringes.
Vorlaz looked at his data slate. It read:
-Estimated loyalists on Carvon II: 100,000
-Estimated orks on Carvon II: 1,000,000,000
Vorlaz took a deep breath and brought to mind his only comfort: "Sometimes, the few must be sacrificed for the good of the many." Vorlaz hoped that what he would do here would make these brave fighters' deaths mean something, as well as saving other lives.
He walked to the bridge and said to the Ordinance-Sergeant, "Proceed with the Exterminatus."
The initiate nodded and busied himself with his panel. Vorlaz spoke again, this time to the navigators, "We will remain here awhile." Turning to his second in command he said, "Shut off all planet-facing view screens and close all planet-facing portals except the one in the planning room. I am not to be disturbed." Vorlaz strode back into the room as the door closed behind him.
He watched as the huge cyclonic torpedoes slid out of the ship and made their way towards the planet, slowly gathering speed. The planet would be added to "The List of Martyrdoms," the list of planets on which the Iron Lords had performed an Exterminatus. The stories of the final defenses of those planets would be recorded and their actions praised mightily. There were only eight worlds on The List, but soon there would be nine.
Vorlaz watched as the torpedoes hit the world, igniting the atmosphere in fiery hurricanes. He stood there for hours, entranced by the mighty power. He had seen cyclonic torpedoes at work on the ground (at a distance) and had no desire to repeat the experience. The noise created by the wind rushing towards the fire and the crackling of the flames was deafening. He watched as the infernos swept the globe and cleansed the enemy's main camp, situated in a vast desert, in the righteous fire of the Exterminatus. Likewise he saw the burning cyclones swallow the last stronghold of the defenders. He felt the weight of the men whose lives he had ended descend upon him, but he steeled himself and said to them, "You fought that others could have peace, and you died that others could live. You were heroes."
Then he could feel the burden lessen greatly, but it would never be gone. He himself would not allow it. He was now Terrum Exterminati, the "title" given to those who had ordered and performed an Exterminatus. His name would go down with Carvon II's on The List. Younger and older marines alike would look on him with awe, seeing him as a marine who had desolated a world. They would know it was both difficult and necessary, but they would not understand what it was like.
There were only eight other Iron Lord marines, all long dead, who understood. The phrase "Sometimes, the few must be sacrificed for the good of the many" was one of the pieces of knowledge imparted to new Captains, but he and the other eight were the only ones who truly understood what it meant.
He lost track of how long he watched. When the fires died out, Vorlaz came out of his musings and his data slate blinked, "LIFE SIGNS 0." Nodding, Vorlaz looked back on what was once Carvon II. It was now a dirty ball of ash; its oceans boiled away in the fires of purging. He slowly turned his back on the portal and closed it. When he emerged onto the bridge, his men looked at him differently. Vorlaz said quietly, "Our job here is finished. Let us return home."