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Shas'la Vral sat silently in the Devilfish; this was unusual for him as he was usually the life of the party. A female Tau across from Vral watched him critically, "What's the matter Vral, you seem a little disconcerted today, I hope it doesn't effect your performance today." said La'Ilyth, who sat prodding Vral with the butt of her rifle. She was the first friend he made when he joined this unit one tau'cyr ago. She was weakly built, even for a female, and looked as though a small breeze could knock her over. However she was a crack shot with a gun, probably best in the unit. The quiet fire warrior looked up at her, his face unreadable due to the helmet.
We have watched this one with great interest.
"I'm fine Ilyth, really. I believe my condition is due to the level of comfort in this transport." The transport lurched and pulled up sharply as he finished speaking, soliciting several groans from the Shas'la. Vral could have sworn he had heard a dull thump coming from outside.
An apologetic voice came through the PA, "I'm sorry for the bumps, but we are receiving fire from anti-aircraft weaponry. The landing zone is nearby. Commence final checks."
We believe he is ready.
"Those savage greenskins couldn't hit the broadside of a broadside." Came a shout from one of the older Shas'la, who had failed his trial by fire at least twice by now. Instead of gaining any humility from these failings, he grew more arrogant and surer that he would pass the next. The team visibly shuddered at the terrible pun. This fire warrior could only be described as average, apart from his ego. He practically shared the same vital statistics as Vral, which the latter was thankful for. This way, he could not make fun of the younger Shas'la the way he did with Ilyth.
Are you sure, he is still quite young, will he fit in with us?
The Shas'ui in charge of the group heard this, and wasn't to impressed. "Be quiet, La'Keola, save your jokes for the Orks. Maybe they'll kill them more efficiently than a pulse rifle ever could." He paused for a moment, remembering something. "Ah yes. You heard the pilot, weapon checks, make sure all rifles are loaded, armour joints running smoothly and do I really have to repeat all this to you? We've been through it a thousand times." The Shas'ui was called Jal'cyl. Very tall for a Tau, he wore the same yellow armour and brown under-suit as the rest of the unit, apart from the white helmet and shoulder guard that signified his rank. He placed a hand on his helmet, and tapped his hoof off the floor impatiently. The Devilfish lurched once more as the descent started. Various sounds of clips being inserted into rifles were heard for the next thirty seconds.
Yes, calm yourself. I am sure. His fighting prowess assures us he will at least do a good job. Observe. If he survives, I will be correct. If he dies, no major loss.
As the angle of the transport got deeper, the body rattled with the air resistance. This sent a few packets of extra grenades crashing to the ground. Heads were turned in that direction, but refocused on the hatch when the light switched from red to amber. "Well Vral, good luck, and try not to get yourself killed today." Ilyth told him, getting off her seat and taking her place next to the Shas'ui at the front. Vral was ordered to take one side hatch, along with La'Keola who was told to take the other. The young Tau noticed his left hand armour joint wouldn't move smoothly.
He questioned the Shas'ui about it, who in turn replied with, "No time Shas'la, be on your guard! It begins!"
The g-force in the Devilfish knocked over a few Shas'la as the skimmer swerved to face away from any oncoming threat. The light turned green as the ramp descended and the side hatches flicked open. Vral and Keola dived out, hearing the sound of Ork guns. They were taught to ignore the noises of Orks unless the unenlightened ones were close by. They weren't too good at aiming their weapons.
The sound of hooves pounding off the exit ramp without any screams signified a successful landing. The team automatically took up a defensive position around the outside of the transport, kneeling down and forming a perimeter around the Devilfish. No threats were found. After a few moments, they broke position.
The Shas'ui brought the group together, and had his hand held at the side of his head. "Okay, there's a crisis team up ahead of us, so easy on the fire in that direction. There is also another set of fire warriors about 30 metres east, although they've taken casualties. Our orders are to aid and assist whomever we can. Guess that means squad gamma." said the Shas'ui, returning his hand to his rifle grip. "Go."
A projectile about the size of a fist smashed into the armour of the Devilfish and detonated, causing a superficial scorch-mark on the APC. The fire warriors ducked as it hit. Keola picked out a seven foot Ork running towards the team and burned a hole in its torso with his rifle, its formerly green skin turning to a charred black around that area. "Okay, go!" The Shas'ui shouted, throwing his arm forward in a needlessly dramatic display.
As soon as the squad was clear, the streamlined Devilfish fired up its engines and retreated into a safe position. It waited for the extraction command.
Shas'ui Jal'cyl ignored the incoming fire as he ran to meet up with squad gamma, despite a few near misses with the shootas. Vral distinctly heard Ilyth say something about how the beasts had a better shot than some of the pathfinders, although later she would deny this.
They all dived into the muddy fox-hole that squad gamma was in, apart from one unlucky Shas'la who took the brunt of a shoota round and collapsed to the ground with a good chunk of his head missing, a pool of blood formed around the corpse. Vral surveyed the wounded. He could tell without any medical qualifications that the one lying next to him wouldn't make it, green-blue blood was pouring out of him at an alarming rate, and he was missing a leg. The dying Shas'la was also screaming for help, which saddened some of the other fire warriors, and annoyed Vral, Keola and Jal'cyl.
The Shas'ui from both teams were discussing tactics that may be able to save their hides. According to squad gamma, they'd walked into a kill-zone. Ilyth and another Shas'la called Nal'kath took turns firing over the trenches, at what they thought was an Ork shape. Occasionally she or one of the other fighters got lucky and left a few hole-ridden boyz, but nothing substantial
Keola ducked down as several more fist-sized bullets came flying overhead, impacting harmlessly on a destroyed Devilfish behind them. This set sections of it on fire. When Keola returned his gaze towards the enemy line he jumped. "Shas'ui, there are twenty foul-smelling muscle-bound Orks charging at us. By estimation, they will be here in twenty seconds." Keola cried out at Jal'cyl.
Jal'cyl stopped talking to the other group's leader, and was instantly at Keola's side. "Bah! Prime grenades! Carbines to the front!" the older Tau bellowed. The only carbines in the area belonged to squad Gamma. The ones still able to wield them jumped to the front of the hole and started firing pulse bursts into the oncoming horde. Vral noted disinterestedly that the Shas'la he was next to had finally died. He supposed he could grieve later, even though he didn't even know the person. The fire warriors not holding a pulse carbine unclipped grenades from their belts and took position behind the carbines.
On the command of the Shas'ui, which was more of a disgruntled "Now!" the grenades were thrown. Immediately, all living fire warriors turned away from the target and shielded their optical sensors. After registering a flash, they all turned around to face any unfazed Orks. There were more Orks left than were hoped. Streams of blue fire were shot at any green-skinned alien that the sights could find. One or two broke through into the hole, and a melee ensued. Ilyth took a blow to the head from the flat-edge of a choppa, sending her directly to the ground. Vral's helmet visor blinked, and showed that she still lived, but would have a major headache when she came around. If she came around at all, that is.
Three Shas'la were hacked into pieces before the Ork incursion was driven off. Jal'cyl took aim with his rifle, and put any Orks affected by the photon grenades outside of the hole out of their misery. There was no more sound coming the Ork lines. That little assault wasn't their full force. Where was it?
In the moment's respite, any spare Shas'la were sent to check on the wounded. Ilyth was fine, and would be around any moment. Jal'cyl had taken a choppa to his head, but the helmet armour plating prevented any serious damage. It just left a scar on the helmet parallel to his optical sensor. "Carbines, keep your eye on that line."
A low humming sound was emitted from the Ork's general area. Vral risked a glance over the side of the foxhole. That sound, it was getting louder. A blur of yellow and black washed overhead as the volume of the humming reached its apex. The sound then turned into a whoosh, then back into a humming as the object turned. There was a loud thump, and a spray of dirt and rocks was produced as it dropped to the ground.
The object was as plain as day, a Crisis suit in all its glory. The head of the crisis suit was painted a dark red colour, and it was armed with a flamer and a plasma rifle. It stood nearly twice as tall as any Tau, and had enough armour to stop most Gue'la and Ork weaponry. By the looks of it, a Shas'el had decided to join the group. "Gamma unit, Mu unit, I have eliminated the heaviest resistance behind those fortifications." said the commander through the commlink. He pointed towards a makeshift bunker in the distance. "Leave any survivors here, a medic will be along in a moment. Good luck fire warriors." With that he ignited his jetpack and was sent careering into the sky, and out of sight.
Vral was in two minds about this. On one hand, he must obey the order the Shas'el gave him. On the other hand, charging into Ork lines were not his idea of fun. He was left little choice as Jal'cyl broke cover, taking the rest of the two units with him.
The weakened helmet armour of the Shas'ui could not stand up to a second battering, as he found out when he jumped the wall. There were fifteen of the hulking ogres behind that section. A smoking Ork dreadnought was seen behind the second wall. Vral muttered a quick 'Thank you' to the Shas'el for that, at least. The primitive walker was out of the picture, which frankly to Vral looked like a tin of rations with arms.
There was a spray of cyan blood out of the now criss-cross wound on Jal'cyl's head. He fell to his knees, and to his final credit he managed to take down an Ork with him as he fired wildly with his pulse rifle. After a moment he dropped to a prone position and lay still, never to rise again.
Keola, probably due to his experience in battle, ran back a few paces whilst firing off his rifle. The Shas'ui from team gamma sported a bloody line running down his arm. He lopped off an Ork head with his bonding knife. Jal'cyl would have been annoyed. That knife was ceremonial only, but Vral reasoned that desperate times called for desperate measures. The Shas'o who planned this should have recruited some Kroot auxiliaries.
The order came through the commlink not a moment too soon. The voice of the gamma team Shas'ui blared, "Squads gamma and Mu, fall back to the foxhole. Carbines will perform a rearguard." The Tau paused for a moment whilst they processed this order, then those who were defending swiftly moved into position. The rest of the teams were running backwards through the grasslands to get to cover once more.
Vral had made it to the front of the charge, ergo he had to run the furthest back, and dodge friendly fire from the Carbines at the same time. Things weren't looking good. A shoota round grazed his leg and made him stumble, he cried out due to the searing heat of the bullet, which had burned through his under-suit and exposed a piece of blue skin and a flesh-wound on his thigh. Vral promised the Mekboy who made that gun a slow death, Tau'va be damned.
Keola turned his head around towards the sound of the noise, and saw the young Vral in trouble. Against his better nature he stopped his retreat and jumped back a few paces. He grabbed Vral's hand and dragged him along the field for a few moments until the other Shas'la could regain his footing, mostly by choice, as dragging hurt more than running. A humming sound was heard again.
This wasn't the low, comforting drone of a Tau jetpack. No, this sound was more like a rocket igniting. An especially crazed Ork that was drooling from his fang-filled maw had strapped himself to a rudimentary rocket pack. This mad beast flew a few metres behind the retreating team. Keola dived into the foxhole before the Ork got close. Vral wasn't so lucky. He felt the ground leave him as the vice-like Ork arms gripped his waist and lift him thirty feet into the air. He then felt the ground find him again quickly. It must have missed them. There was darkness shortly after as Vral dropped, arms flailing, into a dense woodland area.
Constructive Criticism wanted.
<img src='http://kiirar.fatcake.com/kiirarsignew.gif' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
Tau: 4/4/3 - 50%
DaemonHunters: 1/2/0 - 33.3%
Dark Angels: 3/1/0 - 75%
Not bad. More, if there is any.
An extremely well polished piece, nothing sticks out like a sore thumb aside from a few minor spelling mistakes. Nicely done.
"It fits like clothes made out of wasps!"