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Planet: Centaurus V
Regiment: Ordonon 13th Light Brigade (My Regiment - Ordonon 13th)
Colonel Constantine shoved his vox-officer's head below the parapet as the shell burst mere meters in front of them. The lethal shrapnel whipped overhead and decimated a full score of the Troopers around them.
"Bugger.", thought Constantine. This was bad. He could tell from the static-wracked pict display embedded in the back of the operator's master vox that the left flank was collapsing. If that happened, they would soon be overwhelmed. He had precious few reinforcements available and he knew damn well that he needed them to press a counter-attack and end this three-week long deadlock that was killing his regiment. He felt cold rage settle in his gut. What in the name of the Throne were these renegade bastards doing in the Centaurus Arm anyway? Ordonon was the only human-populated planet out here, but these traitors had still seen fit to set up shop here and it fell to the Light Brigade to dislodge the scum from their home system. He tried not to think about their location, the thought of the relative proximity to his beloved and forever lost homeworld still bringing a lump to his throat. Another explosion and fresh screams from the unlucky wounded brought him out of his musings with a thump.
"Get me Tolrane! Now!"
In orbit over Centaurus V, Fleet Admiral Lucius Tolrane stared at the carnage on the planet below via the unfeeling main pict-display. Feeling far too removed from the bridge of the Mars Class Battlecruiser Prelate Falco, he wished that he could do more to help the men of Ordonon.
"Incoming transmission Admiral!", his vox-operators voice amplified by the tense stillness of the bridge.
"Lucius!" Colonel Constantine's face was ashen and he was bleeding freely. "I need two landers, dispatched to my position, lock on to the coordinates of this signal. I need two Marauders dispatch coordinates Alpha7 Epsilon18 by Gamma4. Strafing run - incendiary munitions and fire support. And where the frak is Black?!"
"Orders recieved and understood Arman, the flights will be launching in approximately 20 seconds. Ignatius dispatched approximately 5 minutes ago - he should be there by now. I'll see what I can do to get hold of him. I'm readying another flight of Marauders and they're at your disposal."
"Thank you, Lucius."
"Good hunting, my friend.", but the Colonel was already gone.
Lord Inquisitor Ignatius Black, Centaurus Sector Lord, nominal Lord of Ordonon, Ordo Malleus and loyal servant of the Emperor, was lost.
"What do you mean you don't know?!", he bellowed at the Techpriest piloting the large lander.
"Exactly what I said. I don't know.", the Lord Inquisitor was always amazed that men who had no vocal chords and who were totally incapable of vocalising any emotion, were still somehow able to lace even the most benign statement with sarcasm.
"Well I suggest you find out - and quickly. I'm getting very impatient...", he let this hang for a second.
"Lord Inquisitor, if you kill me, who is going to pilot the lander?", having already turned away, Black was not expecting a response and was caught somewhat off guard. Turning back to the wayward Techpriest he responded in the only way he knew how;
"You are quite right, Magos. Forgive me. But please, the men of the Light Brigade are relying on us. Do your best to navigate this mountain range and on my honour as an Inquisitor, I shall make a full and frank account to your superiors.". Somewhat mollified the Techpriest's response was lacking in sarcasm,
"Thank you, Lord. I shall do my best.".
"That's all you can do." said the Inquisitor as he slipped one of his rings into the Techpriests flight-pack. He would see to it that every single bionic augmentation was ripped out of this cretin's body before he was sent to the Emperor.
"Stealing from a Lord of the Inquisition, magos?" he thought with suppressed mirth, "Whatever possessed you?".
"Landers inbound, sir!" the Colonel's vox-operator called over the din of battle.
"About bloody time. Commissar Doram - you will lead second and third platoons and secure the left flank - Leiutenant Heydrich is currently holding with first and fourth - they've taken quite the beating! Marauders are inbound to soften up the enemy - they should take the pressure off for a while - we'll just have to pray that Lord Inquisitor Black arrives in time!"
The Commissar's response was instantaneous and totally without fear,
"Understood Colonel. Second and Third - with me! Good hunting, Arman."
"And you Jennek."
The Commissar hurried his men into the landers and was soon on his way to the beleagured left flank, in a haze of dust and thruster exhaust. The Colonel was terrified, though his outer demeanour remained calm and collected. He knew that he was taking a grave risk. Uniquely, as far as he knew, within the Imperial Guard, the Officers and Stormtroopers of the Ordonon 13th were allowed to bring a member of their family with them, as they were no longer able to return to their homeworld. His own wife and young child were in the center of the command headquaters fort, along with the dozens of other loved ones. He knew that by dispatching the second and third platoons he was leaving the fort dangerously under-defended. He knew that he had no choice - if the left flank fell they were all doomed, but he also feared terribly for the safety of those within and prayed silently, with all his heart, that the women and children would be safe.
"Green light!", the lander pilot's voice called, tinny and remote from the vox systems of the lander.
"Onward sons of Ordonon!" bellowed Commissar Doram as he flew down the landing ramp of the lander, at the head of the 114 men and officers of second and third platoons, all hell-bent on vengance for the devastation they saw around them. At first glance, the Commissar estimated that at least half of first and fourth platoons were decimated. But he had little time for numbercrunching, as the first enemy bayonet thrust towards his head. His parry was effortless, his power sword easily turning aside the gore-slicked, mono-molecular blade. As he spun in a surprisingly graceful arc for a man of his considerable size he brought his humming blade up, severing the legs of the traitor Guardsman at the knees. The despicable coward did not even have time to beg for mercy as the power sword thrust through the flak armour protecting his tainted heart as though it were paper. The weapon came up to block another bayonet hefted at the Commissar's head. His boot made a sound that could only be described as a crunchy squelch as it connected with the traitors groin. The flare of agony in the boy's eyes was brief, as the vengeful blade separated head from body with a brutal back stroke. His landing made, the Commissar turned to the disciplined ranks of troops to either side of him, both platoons having seen off their attackers with the skill and dedication he expected.
"Make ready!" he bellowed above the screams of the wounded, the whining hum of 100 las guns being set to maximum output and single shot greeting him.
"Present!" 100 cold muzzles lowered to the advancing traitors chest height.
"Fire!" before the command had left his mouth, the sound of renegades hitting the dirt filled his ears.
"Fire!" the cowards were running now.
"Stand easy, boys! That was some fine shooting!" a cheer greeted him from devout men, truly elated at words of praise from such a pious warrior. But there was still work to be done. The Commissar delivered his orders,
"Second, reinforce the defences - re-pile sandbags and use the bodies of the scum you just gunned down if we're short. Third, salvage anything you can - we need las cells, and any heavy weapons you can find. Move out!" seeing that his orders were being carried out, Commissar Doram set off in search of Leiutenant Heydrich.
"About bloody time!" Lord Inquisitor Black considered this a fairly sedate response to the news that they were finally out of the planets equatorial mountain range and only minutes away from the battle. He had begun to wonder if this had been a good idea. The plan was for him and the party of his personal Storm Troopers and his elite retinue to hit the enemy from behind, having circled around the planet in the opposite direction, staying low and weaving through the mountains. While this had meant that they had avoided detection, it had also meant that they were at least half a standard hour behind schedule and he hadn't even been able to inform either the Colonel or Lucius of his whereabouts for fear that his communications would be intercepted. Still, they were nearly there now and not a moment too soon...
"Fliers detected, my Lord." the marked Techpriest at the helm reported.
"Approximately 500 kilometers, my Lord. They haven't detected us, they are not in any pattern my data banks recognise as that of attack craft and they are heading towards the fort." the Inquisitor considered this.
"Hmm. I think we can only assume that they're the Colonel's landers heading to re-fuel. It's not worth the risk of compromising our position now. Continue on present course."
"Yes, my Lord."
The fighting on the left flank was brutal. Las fire whickered over Commissar Doram's head as he and the battered Leiutenant Heydrich fired their bolt pistols over the firing step of the main trench. The fire-bombing from the marauders had given the men of the Light Brigade time to re-take the main trenches and they were putting up a fierce resistance, but it was clear that without the aid of the Lord Inquisitor, they were doomed.
"Do you suppose he had something more important to do, Commissar?" quipped the bloodied Leiutenant Heydrich as he ducked behind the parapet to slam home a fresh clip.
"You know the Inquisition, Leiutenant, they arrive precisely when they mean to!" the Commissar grinned, both at his improvised witticism and at the fact that he had just killed two traitors with a single bolt. The Leiutenant let out a short laugh as he resumed firing, turning to his men around him and barking,
"Keep firing boys! Lord Inquisitor Black will be here any minute!" a ragged cheer greeted him; with, he noticed, a somewhat more sarcastic tone and a little more swearing than was usual from those within earshot of himself and the Commissar. He shot a sideways glance at Doram and realised that the black-clad veteran was trying not to laugh.
Heydrich's words proved to be prophetic as, moments later, the Lord Inquisitors lander finally appeared in the midst of the traitor lines. The Artificer Armoured Inquisitor could clearly be seen, charging down the landing ramp, smashing the scum apart, left and right with his mighty Daemonhammer. This sight raised a truely exultant cheer from the survivors of platoons one through four and the Commissar leapt to the lip of the trench, to direct the Troopers in the final break of this costly campaign.
"No fear! No doubt! NO MERCY!" his voice boomed over the heads of the adrenaline charged Guardsmen.
The final battle was over in minutes. With the crushing might of the Inquisition and the hot retribution exacted by the men of Ordonon, the traitors were decimated to a man. The vox-net indicated that there was a general withdrawl of traitor forces occuring and that the tanks of the 13th were in pursuit. A total rout and a total victory for the brave men of the 13th.
The Inquisitor's lander dropped in front of the main line that, mere minutes before, had been a killing ground. He strode down the ramp towards the weary Colonel Constantine.
"About time, you bastard!" said Constantine, by way of a greeting, before allowing a grin to spread across his face and clasping the outstreched hand of his old friend.
"Forgive me, Arman - I had a somewhat incompetent pilot."
"I see, well not to worry - the important thing is that this damnable war should be over soon. And now I have a minute to assess the tactical situation. Oh, and I'd better tell Lucius about his losses..."
"Ah. The Marauders, yes? They so often lack the speed to escape once..." Constantine cut the Inquisitor short.
"No, no - the Marauders got away alright, but the landers that got my boys over there were downed less than a minute after take-off. We're not entirely sure what hit them - we can only assume a missile team got lucky." Black's mind was reeling.
"The landers - they were downed?"
"Yes, why?" the Colonel did not like the look in the Inquisitors eye.
"We... We detected a small flight, approximately five minutes after the landers took off." Constantine was beginning to worry - why was the Inquisitor looking so pale?
"Well they can't have been ours - not to worry, they can't have gone far."
"No, they didn't! Throne! Colonel, follow me!" the Inquisitor was running towards the ramp of the lander and the soldier within the Colonel obeyed instantly, terrified by the sudden change in the Inquisitor.
As they went in for landing the Colonel's mind retreated. Even he, a veteran of over a century could not bear the agony that was assailing his heart. The fort was ablaze. Two landers, bearing the entwined snake emblem of the traitors were sat on the landing pad and the Colonel's heart did it's best to escape through his throat.
Their counter-attack was swift and vicious. The twenty traitor storm troopers no match for the training and raw hatred of the Inquisition and the Colonel. The icy fear gripped every man of the fifty present. Each Inquisitorial Stormtrooper had a loved one in the fort. As did the Colonel. It took the Inquisitors iron will to open the blast door to the bunker in the center of the main keep. The sight that greeted them dropped every man with greater surety than a bolt-round. One hundred bloodied rags, that had once been women, children, brothers, sisters, lovers, mothers. All dead. Only Arman Constantine could bring himself to enter the room. With the soft intonation of the Emperor's Grace from Black's priest setting a somber backdrop, Constantine began the search for his wife and son. It didn't take long. His beloved wife of more than five decades lay on her back, two burns to her lilly white chest marking where the las bolts had struck her. His son, only thirteen years old, still too young to fight for the Emperor, lay on his front. Arman gently turned him. The boy still held the las pistol his father had given him for his birthday but three weeks ago. His wounds were on his front and he had fallen, face to the foe, clearly defending his mother. Forcing its way through the immensity of his unimaginable agony, a bud of pride burst into flower for a single glorious moment, before wilting and vanishing into the mire of his loss.
"I do not wish to be disturbed, under any circumstances." the Colonel's flat and lifeless order was clear to the ceremonial guards, who stood to either side of the door to his spartan office. Arman Constantine sat behind his desk and dreamt of Ordonon. His eyes shut for no more than a second. He remembered the smell of his beloved wife's hair as it cascaded across his face. He remembered his joy that he was to be borne a son. He remembered his pride at seeing the boy brandishing his las pistol, only weeks before. He remembered, but felt nothing. He could hear boots pounding down the corridor outside. He could hear the challenge of the Guards. Three voices in response. He could identify them immediately. First Sergeant Lispasian. Good to know Lip was still alive. Doram and Black making up the rest of the intrusive chorus. It didn't matter now. A smile crossed his face as a single tear rolled down his cheek. He refused to be distracted as the shouting outside reached a cresendo. He did not flinch as the muzzle of his ornate las pistol pressed against his temple, as cold and unfeeling as he.
"Emperor help me..." he whispered as his numbed mind barely registered a bang that shook the room and the hot blood that splattered across his face...
Oooohhh - is that the end of Colonel Constantine?! Well, either way this isn't the end of the story. If you read this far, well done you! If you like, or don't like or anything inbetween, feel free to say so. I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
That's really good, well done!
there is a spelling mistake - fireing is spelt firing, a common mistake
and the sentance "As he spun in a surprisingly graceful arc for a man of his, considerable, size he brought his humming blade up, severing the legs of the traitor Guardsman at the knees."
Where you have put ", considerable," really quite badly made the text disjointed and broken.
In my opinion it should be "As he spun in a surprisingly graceful arc for a man of his considerable size he brought his humming blade up, severing the legs of the traitor Guardsman at the knees."
yet again quite a small thing but (and again this is just my opinion) it flows a lot better without the pause, and those commas are used if you're adding unnecessary information, the word considerable is an adjective.
If you do want to use the commas it would work as "As he spun, in a surprisingly graceful arc for a man of his considerable size, he brought his humming blade up, severing the legs of the traitor Guardsman at the knees."
Really it's just me being pseudo picky don't let that put you off
Also I could be wrong here but isn't the word "frak" BSG? It was my understanding that the Imperial variant of the F word is "Fug" but having said that my knowledge of the guard is very limited and I only know the word "fug" from Dan Abnett's "Legion".
But other than my nitpicked comments I really enjoyed reading that, and will be eager to see what happens next! There were a lot of moments that really made me smile, like the Inquisitor who frames the Techpriest, or the commisar who's actually quite a nice funny guy.. Yet at the same time you worked in the warhammeresque everyday tragedy into it while still actually making it tragic to the reader, kudos to you!
Ultramarines: W1 D1 L1
Great read. Keep up the good work
My award winning Orky tale
The word frak comes from Graham McNeil's Storm of Iron - as it's one of the older books it wouldn't surprise me if it'd been replaced by now - I still like it, though - it has that harsh quality that any good four letter word will convey!
Wow, that was great. I've been writing a story lately, but nothing on par with yours!
I have to resurrect this thread so I can comment on it. Really well done, fantastic read. You really manage to evoke a sense of tragedy and loss within the reader. Rep'd.
Cool, looking forward to it!