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Falling to Doom
How did this come to be? That was all Hicks of the 102nd Elysian Drop Troop Regiment could think. With a hole in his gut and Guardsmen dying all around him he could think of nothing but how?
The Imperium had launched the Tauros campaign against Chaos in the Agripinaa system to maintain control of the sector. The Imperial forces in the system were drawn from Elysian and Cadia, with support from the Adeptus Astartes of the Dark Angels. Six years, and millions of lives later, it looked like the Imperium was on the verge of victory.
Command of Imperial forces had fallen to Supreme Grand Master Azrael, however upon delegation of tasks the Lord Commander of Guard forces was allowed to do as he saw fit. The war was at an end, the final pocket of resistance had put up a fierce fight but was forced onto the back foot as casualties took toll and the enemy vastly outnumbered. The Ravenwing of the Dark Angels were to perform a surgical strike on a splinter group of the traitors, hereby denying the main force much needed support. The Cadians of the 50th and 51st regiment were to use their tanks to pound the enemy into submission, then the Elysians were to take advantage of the carnage and drop within enemy lines.
On the eve of the final battle, all Dark Angel forces ominously departed the system without reason. Battle plans were thrown into disarray but, with victory so close there could be no turning back. The Imperial Guard would press on alone, a decision that would cost them dearly.
Above the roar of the Valkyrie, Hicks could hear Sergeant Kane barking last minute orders. ‘Lissen up! Those traitorous bastards down there are the Iron Warriors that means we are in for one hell of a fight!’ The men went about doing a final check on their Grav-Chutes whilst he carried on. ‘ETA 3 minutes, you wanna live then keep your head low and pick your shots.’ With that the squad gave a unanimous ‘AHOO’. Hicks took the Aquila that hung around his neck into a fist and prayed for protection from the God-Emperor.
The doors were opened and the men all jumped out methodically, each touching the Aquila above the door as they did. With the grav-chutes slowing there descent the Guardsmen raised their “bullpup” Lasguns and fired. Hicks however, was armed with a Plasma Gun. With a thud, he landed and took aim. An Iron Warrior sporting silver, gold and black power armor caught his eye. The colossal figure was taking aim at the score of Valkyrie in the sky. Hicks brought his gun to his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. Where just a moment ago had stood a huge marine there one now nothing but a smear of blood. Hicks took in his surrounding, it did not look good. Not nearly enough of the enemy had been “pounded into submission.”
'On me'! Kane roared as he was followed to a nearby Rhino. It had been partially destroyed by Lascannon fire but would provide good cover. As with all Elysians, the men of Hicks’ squad were of an exceptional shot. They started firing at the nearby fiends, aiming at the weak points between the thick ceramite plates. Kane’s squad had managed to catch a squad of the Chaos marines in crossfire with another squad of Drop Troops who had just landed. Between them, Hicks figured they had dropped 6 Marines. However, with the element of surprise now gone, the Superiority of the Iron Warriors began to show. One of the traitors sprang from cover and, firing from the hip, dispatched 3 of Hicks‘ men in as many seconds with a torrent of bolter fire. The squad was coming under increasing fire and went to ground. The comms officer requested Valkyrie support.
After what seemed like the longest minute of his life Hicks heard the engines of the Valkyrie, seconds later he heard the heavy bolter open fire. Knowing he needed to use the distraction Hicks rose from the ground and took aim once again. He unleashed a bright plasma bolt at one of the Marines scrambling for cover, another traitor stricken by his dreaded weapon. Hicks thought the momentum was turning, how wrong he was. On the horizon he saw the “splinter group” making there move.
Hicks was bought back to his immediate surroundings with a scream. To his left was Kane, he had been struck by bolter fire. Though it had missed his major organs he bled out in a matter of seconds. Hicks snatched the Aquila from around his neck and and with a scream returned fire. Yet another Marine was obliterated but the situation was hopeless. His Plasma gun was out of juice and he was one of only 3 men left. He knew he was dead. Hicks looked his brothers in the eye, no words were needed. Defiantly they started to sprint at the oncoming Marines. The comms officer ran at them with a primed Demo charge but before he could get close enough he was gunned down. Hicks heard a scream to his left and knew his last brother was also dead. He reached the closest Marine and raised his fist. He felt his jaw shatter. It was only now that he truly understood just how outclassed he was. Laughing, the sadistic Marine punched his stomach that hard his fist broke his spine and came out of his back. The Marine just tossed him aside as he went to join the splinter group attack the Cadian forces.
As Hicks lay there taking his last breath he had to wonder how this had come to be. Just a day ago victory was with grasp. Now he lay there dying and could see the Iron Warriors advance relentlessly towards the remains of the Cadians. Why had the Angels forsaken them? He grabbed his Aquila and found no answers.
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Karl La Roche
"The Cage of Fire"
Yonslu was a master of his craft, he commanded a squad of five Iron Warriors who excelled in infiltrating. They had all split up upon entering the main Capital structure, each given separate objectives to further cause havoc. The capital was made up of three concentric circles of huge walls. The PDF with support from a small contingent of Elysian drop troops had already rigged the zones between the outer walls and the capital building to blow. Yonslu could do nothing to prevent this, but if he and his team did their jobs those rigs would be useless.
Yonslu had butchered many men on his way to the centre spire of the capital. He knew his men would be doing the same, killing and hiding the bodies was the first rule. But there comes a point where a body would be found and all the stealth in the world wouldn’t be able to hide the five huge Iron Warriors. Out of the five icons on his display two were green indicating Kato and Keshi were done with their tasks and were on their way back to warn the Warsmith of the rigged buildings. The central processing column was essential to cutting the entire information flow in the capital no communications, no video feed and remote detonating. This will leave the entire capital blind. Even if they did manage to repair the damage unlikely as it was, the entire Iron Warriors army would be in the capital manually disabling the rigged buildings and making their way to the capital building.
According to his heads up display a few corridors over was the door the central processing room. His team had completed their tasks and were leaving the capital to rendezvous with the main bulk of the invasion force. There was no way to do this without being seen, scans indicated at least fifty persons in the central processing room.
Yonslu rounded the last corner and there it was the door to the central processing room, as he had hoped none of them had been seen and the door was unsecured. Yonslu checked his bolter, perfect condition as it had been the day it was given to him. He secured his bolter; this was a time to be quiet and quick. Drawing his combat knife and power sword he thumbed the iron skull which sent dark red lighting shooting up the blade. He was ready for the downfall of the capitol building.
Yonslu ran into the central processing room expecting to see serfs and techs running around like a beehive in summer but it was empty. The room was empty, this was no central processing centre, as he made to leave the door slammed shut and the lights went out. Yonslu readied himself for an ambush but none came. Without warning three doors set into the walls opened spill blue light from them, Yonslu’s display shifted to filter out the colour, from each door stepped three hulks of ceramite. Yonslu’s display instantly scanned the three newcomers identifying the markings on their shoulder pads. He couldn’t believe it each astartes was from a different chapter one Salamander, one White Scar and one Iron Hand. It suddenly dawned the significance of these three, Isstvan VII!
The Salamander spoke first. “No doubt you have realised you have been tricked Iron Warrior, your communications are being blocked and there is no escape from this place”
The White Scar spoke next “You may not realise the significance of this action, but the rest of your squad fell into the same trap. So none of your carefully planned tasks have been carried out and the rest of the Iron Warriors are already on the way” Yonslu felt both his hearts sink. How had this happened? No one commanded as much mastery of technology as the Iron Warriors. So many things had over ridden his built in senses, the plans of the Capital building, the rest of his squad completing their missions and most recently the readings from what he thought was the central processing room.
The low booming voice of the Iron Hand broke his trail of thought, he spoke with a slight smirk “Your so called brothers are marching into a trap we have called ‘the cage of fire’.”
“We’ll wipe out one Warsmith at a time and this deed will echo throughout the warp, not even the Chaos Gods can protect you from the might of the Emperor!”
Yonslu was about to make a grab for his power axe and lay challenge to these three imperial scum, when a gleaming yellow fist exploded from his chest. Bone, Ceramite and blood exploded in a gory fountain fit for the Blood God! The fist was retracted and Yonslu fell to his knees, the newcomer stood in front of Yonslu and announced himself as Captain Goldfren of the Imperial Fists 7th Company. After announcing who he was he stepped into line with the others and spoke with an even tone “We are all here as Chapters that have felt losses at the hands of your foul legion and this day will see a portion of that debt repaid, as for you Yonslu of the Iron warriors your time is over!”
Yonslu could just about look up and mutter these final words “Iron within, Iron Without” he never saw who pulled the trigger but it was the last thing he ever heard.
WarSmith Wanshi watched as his Grand army marched into the Capital. Not a single moment of resistance was encountered; he smiled and thought to himself “another invasion, another victory”. He spotted a lone thunder hawk leave the rear side of the capital he chuckled “Squadron 6 to alpha 3 5 one enemy outbound”.
Wanshi looked back to his army advancing through the city. But that vicious grin was suddenly reverted into a hateful scowl when the entire city went up in flames. A cage of fire Wanshi thought as he turned and walked away.
I didn't really get all that much from this story. It's decently written, only a few typos that jumped out at me. I don't know why but I just didn't really get in to the writing, though. Maybe its something to do with the characters; I don't really know much more than the fact he's an Elysian with a plasma gun, and it all seems a bit dry to me.
Karl La Roche
A slightly better effort here, I think. I actually got a sense of the betrayal the traitor marine felt, and I like the way you've mirrored the infamous Isstvan VII massacre. The ending does seem a little rushed, no doubt due to the word limit, but it doesn't detract all that much from the overall story.
Both pretty decent efforts but I think I have to give this one to Karl La Roche.
Shinglepants - 2/5
Karl La Roche - 3/5
Neither story really did anything for me...I couldn't really feel the action in the first and didn't get the strong emotions in the second...
Karl La Roche- 2/5
"Take their gold, burn their homes, kill their familes and enslave their souls. Show them no mercy...oh and could you post these letters while you're out?"
-Malekith, Witch King of Naggaroth.
Shinglepants: I'm gonna have to go with the others here, you really needed to flush out your main character, the bit part by his Sergeant in the Valkyrie was more involved. Hicks just seemed too much of a face in the crowd, and while that fits the Guard theme well, it does not a good story make. I liked the action, it flowed well and there were no pauses or slowdowns, even if I thought your enemies were a little wimpy (but I'm a Chaos Marine at heart, so I'll admit that I'm biased).
Karl La Roche: I liked flow of the beginning, but unfortunately you simply dropped your main character in and didn't really expand on him at all. And I will admit I winced when I read your Space Marines gloating monologues, they sound like they practiced in front of mirrors beforehand. Far too comic book/B-movie villain for my tastes. I did like your Iron Warrior's sense of disbelief and outrage when the trap was sprung though, you do kinda emphasize with him.
Shinglepants - 2/5
Karl La Roche - 2/5
Karl La Roche 4/5
Cudos for both writers for incorperating their foes into the stories, both somehow having the finishing blow being a fist through the chest, very nasty.
To Shinglepants, one of the curses of writing for guard is the shear amount of fiction out there that you will be compared too. A 1,000 word limit is tough as it is, you did a good job when the Elysians were jumping into battle and fighting their way through the traitors. The opening was what let it down for me, too much information which didn't fit well with the emotional battle which followed.
Karl's piece was far more mythical with the three space mariens being equivalent to angry spirits seeking their revenge on an old enemy, giving it a far more unique feeling. I am a tad lost concerning Isstvan VII, some more depth into what did happen on that planet would have helped. This along with Captain Goldfren of the Imperial Fists 7th Company being the only named character apart from Yonslu and WarSmith Wanshi, for seemingly punching through a space mariens chest, are these refferences to 40K history?
I'm guessing the 1,000 word limit was quite a hard one, well done otherwise!
Last edited by Andy_G; July 27th, 2011 at 11:09.
GLORY TO THE DICE GODS!
Shinglepants: Firstly credit for the combat scene, it does make a nice change to have a guardsman actually kill something before he gets brutally murderd by someone better than him. However I didnt really get the catastrophic element... as far as i can tell, its just 2 squads getting killed. To a space marine, thats a fair bit but I imagine that wouldnt even register on the scale for a guard force.
Karl La Roche: I liked the idea of chapters getting some revenge on the iron warriors for Isstvan but two things really let the story down for me. Although the monolouges were a bit cheesy and somewhat out of place the main problem I had was that you got the history of Isstvan and the dropsite massacre wrong! The White scars and Imperial Fists never went to Isstvan V (sadly there never was an Isstvan VII) so it didnt really make any sense for them to be there. Had it been the Raven Guard that would have been more apropriate, though I dont think the story needed 3 (4 if you count the fist) separate chapters. It may seem a bit harsh but I feel if your going to tie the story in with official 40k fluff, youve got to get it right.
Shinglepants - 3/5
Karl La Roche - 2/5
Your friendly neighbourhood gargantuan creature
Hey guys, would like to thank everyone for their input. I have to say, this is the first "creative" thing I have written for a good 8 years so I did struggle a little. Still, thanks to the comments I know where I can Improve and hopefully will do in the next round.
Karl La Roche, I enjoyed your piece, well played. The whole fist through the chest thing is quite cool!!
Voting's not quite done just yet!
I can't say that any of the entries I've read yet have seemed particularly 'catastrophic'. You'd think that on a scale like 40k, a Catastrophe would at least count as the fall of an entire planet or the loss of some immensely important artifact. At this point, since everything is still in the first round and this is everyone's first story, I've just been voting based on the stories and skills themselves, rather than focusing entirely on how well the theme was handled.
Shinglepants - there were a few typos that really stood out to me, but otherwise the story was well written. You gave a good exposition and I can appreciate the setup you that managed with the Dark Angels ("why have the Angels forsaken us" at the end). Battle scenes are intensely difficult to write, they chew through words in a hurry, so I have to commend you on writing what seemed like more than 1000 words. I felt that you did a great job writing the battle itself, I felt the actual "flow" of the fighting going on through your words. However, I'd warn not to chew up space like that in future rounds unless the theme is specifically about an engagement- you want to explore emotions, motivations, and setting more, which is what I think hurt you in the eyes of the other voters.
Karl La Roche - firstly, please watch your spacing. That came through as a solid brick wall of text. Try to get a space between your paragraphs and try to keep large blocks of dialogue in separate paragraphs. That's nit-picking college stuff, but it does help to make it easier to read- I didn't mark you down on it at all, just a note for future submissions. I liked your story, but I had to double check that you weren't writing about Alpha Legion rather than Iron Warriors. Typically Iron Warriors lay siege to a planet, and just brutalize it into submission- Alpha Legion are the stealthy guys. It sort of goes back to what Heirodule said- if you're going to try to add outside fluff into your stories, make sure that it fits. Otherwise, good job, and I like the focus on dialogue rather than combat.
Karl la Roche 3/5