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The Valor of Brother Amos
Brother Amos and his squad of tactical marines huddled around each other in the hull of the drop pod. The mission was simple: to scour the planet of the Chaos taint. Every traitor had to be eliminated to the last man. No prisoners, no mercy. Words buzzed across the comm-net as he heard the commands from above.
“Commence drop!” With those words, the drop pod detached from the transport vessel and began plummeting to the world below.
Brother Amos had always had a style about him that differed from most other sergeants of the Blood Ravens. He preferred silence to chanted hymns, and left each battle-brother to individually contemplate his duty to the emperor to be performed on the battlefield that day. He would interject some inspiration on occasion, but his speech was always sparse and laconic. Today he felt differently.
“Brothers, today we have the privilege, the honor, of cleansing this planet of the traitors who now hold it in the name of Chaos. They were once like us. Pure in mind and soul. But now they have become unclean. They, who are like us in flesh but not in mind, stand in our way, and in the way of the Emperor. We must end their existence on this day. You must always remember, my brothers, that we must all die someday. Some of us will give that gift to the Emperor of our lives today. Whenever that may happen, we will all embrace the chance to give that sacrifice, without hesitation. There can be no fear, no self, no retreat. Let us give ourselves to the Emperor on this day.”
With these words, the drop pod slammed into the soft earth below. Each marine was shaken by the impact, but the pod’s hull protected them from most of the blunt force of the landing. As the pod opened its access points, the marines didn’t hesitate to charge out into the unforgiving battlefield.
As soon as the doors were opened, battle cries, bolter fire and heavy weapons choked the air. Noises came from all directions, but as Amos scanned the immediate vicinity, he found no enemies to attack.
All around them, bodies of Blood Ravens and Chaos Marines alike were strewn about in equal share. He looked to the sky, and saw many other drop pods landing, and thunderhawks pounding the enemy strongholds. This battle had been raging for quite some time, and this landing was meant to finish the traitors once and for all.
“Forward Brothers!” Amos yelled as he ran forward into a dense forest. His objective was to probe the enemy strength within the woods, and eliminate the targets. He knew as well as any that if he was greatly outnumbered, it was a suicide mission. But he pressed forward anyway.
As they entered the forest, they slowed to a cautious advance amid the brush. Amos’ scanned the landscape, looking for the black armor of the enemy. They alien shrubbery was a deep red color and was very foreign to him. He was thankful for it, however, as it gave his men camouflage and helped distinguish the enemy. Suddenly, he picked up a subtle noise with his enhanced ears. He gave his men the signal to halt and take cover, and waited in anticipation of a firefight.
He continued to pick apart the scenery for any sign of the enemy. With no warning, bolter fire erupted from beyond his view.
“Open fire!” He ordered, and his men returned with a volley of fire. He could now see the traitors approaching from the East. He steadied his bolt pistol and let loose a precise burst that knocked a traitor to his knees. He did not get up. The enemy unit was composed of eight men, meaning he should be able to wipe them out. His marines had a considerable advantage due to the color of their surroundings.
All around, fire continued to lash back and forth between the two squads. Brother Montanez was hit, and fell to his hands and knees before collapsing. Amos hit a second traitor in the head, breaking apart his helmet and spraying his blood into the same-colored landscape. With an accurate frag missile from Brother Lawton, two more traitors were eliminated. Things were going well so far for Amos. Their numbers now reduced, the traitors began a ruthless charge, continuing to fire but now focusing only on the melee that would ensue. After seeing Brother Handoval shoot a traitor in the chest with his boltgun, Amos slapped a fresh clip into his pistol. A quick glance to his own men told him that they had all run out of ammo at around the same time. Rather than risk being overrun, Amos called his fellow Space Marines into a charge to meet the enemy halfway.
“Charge! Kill these traitors!” His men responded immediately. Most dropped or put aside their bolters in exchange for the combat blades they had brought especially for the siege of the forest. A bolt round struck Amos in the shoulder, not penetrating his armor but still slowing his charge. The charging units were now within a dozen paces. At the last moment, Amos dropped to the ground to avoid his foe’s chainsword. From his knees, he unleashed a devastating uppercut that nearly ripped his opponent in two. All around him, the swirling brawl raged. He could only focus on the immediate threats to himself, and trust his men to hold their positions to avoid being outflanked.
Every other traitor was already engaged in combat. He turned to his left and just as a follower of Chaos was raising his weapon, Brother Amos relieved him of his arm with a swipe of his chainsword. Brother Wasmer finished the heretic with a slash to the weakest point in the armor- the neck.
Amos turned again to face a new foe. Just as he turned, he saw Brother Demick being impaled by a legionnaire. Enraged, Amos charged headfirst into the fray. As he reached the unsuspecting marine, he kicked the traitor as hard as he could in the chest. The enemy was knocked back, and fell to the ground. He let out a loud cry as he leaped and slashed the heretic across the helmet. Blood dripped out onto the black armor he wore almost instantly.
The combat was over. Every traitor had been killed, but four Blood Ravens had been wounded. Amos rushed to Brother Demick first.
“Brother. How bad is your wound?” Amos asked. He genuinely cared for each of his men. Each loss was felt hard to him.
“I…I…” the marine said, and coughed grievously. “I have given the emperor my sacrifice.” His life-sensor faded. Amos held his Brother for a moment. Then, as he did with all of his fallen comrades, he wrote Demick’s name on a scroll with his blood. He wore the scroll at all times, as a memorial to his Brothers.
One other marine had fallen, but Brother Montanez and Brother Harvell would fight again.
He sent a message back to the orbiting ship that served as the base of operations for this mission. “Forest is secured. My squad is still eight strong. Should we commence phase two?”
A moment passed as the information relayed was processed by the commander.
“Commence phase two. Sergeants Proster and Gerigeo will meet up with you, and you will assault the enemy bunkers on the plains.”
Amos turned to his Brothers. “Now comes the hard part.”
As they exited the forest, the two tactical squads joined them as planned. They were now 28 strong. The large unit remained dispersed, and covered ground quickly as they roamed the plains. The bunker was in sight.
“Heavy weapons remain here. Fire on my count. All others, we shall charge the enemy.”
The words echoed in Amos’ mind. This would likely be his end. If this was how he’d give himself to the emperor, so be it. All that he’d regret is that he’d never get to see the eventual success of mankind as the masters of the galaxy.
The command caught him off guard. But he obeyed.
“Charge!” he yelled with all of his might. His Brothers followed him in the full sprint toward the enemy. The rust-colored, dry dirt kicked up with each step, causing them to be slowed slightly, but still they charged. Overhead, missiles and plasma bursts flew toward the enemy, some corkscrewing away, others pounding the target. With this, the enemy returned fire. Numerous bolters and a mounted heavy bolter ripped through the ranks, and Brothers fell all around. But still they charged. Brother Amos saw his squad’s Brothers fall, as well as fellow Blood Ravens from other squads. They were each his Brothers. Each loss hurt. But still they charged. They were now within fifty feet. Return fire from the charging marines inflicted casualties, but did not stop the ruthless fire from the traitors. Ten feet from Amos, Sergeant Proster fell, nearly ripped in two from the heavy bolter. Their numbers dwindled to 15. But still they charged. At this point, they were close enough for the heavy bolter to simply swing back and forth and inflict massive damage. More and more Brothers fell, yet Amos remained untouched. Finally the enemy heavy bolter stopped to add another ammunition casing. The charging marines were still dangerously whittled down. All around Amos, his Brothers, his friends, those he lived with, fought with for decades, fell. But still they charged.
When they reached the wall of the bunker, only seven marines remained. They could do little more than toss grenades in and then duck out of view. The opening was only big enough to fit with much struggling, allowing the enemy to easily shoot and kill.
Amos looked around, and saw that he was the only sergeant that had reached the wall. He assumed command of the remaining soldiers.
“Fire!” He yelled, and without fear, the marines stood and fired upon the traitors. With each dead traitor, a Blood Raven was knocked to his feet. Some dead, all wounded. Amos killed three traitors with one clip before being hit in his shooting arm. He dropped his bolt pistol and fell against the wall, in great pain. His elbow had a hole in it, barely usable. The last thing he saw before he passed out was the cheering Blood Ravens.
“They must have done it,” he said quietly to himself.
When he awoke, those brave marines all lay dead, where they stood as they cheered. He immediately became angry. How had he passed out from such a small wound? He had cost his Brothers their lives. At least he could have died with them. Now he had been left for dead.
He stood, and looked again at his arm. It was much worse than he thought. It was nearly ripped off at the elbow. He couldn’t hold a gun. But he needed vengeance. Or at least the closure of death.
He tried to access the comm-net, but he couldn’t. His armor had been damaged, and the communications relay was too heavily strained. He tried to walk through the barren landscape, looking for friends, enemies, anyone. All of the soldiers he could see lay dead.
In the distance, he could see something. It moved. If it was a friend, he’d join it. If it was an enemy, he’d fight it. But whatever it was, he ran in its direction.
When he got close enough, he could see several units of Chaos Space Marines, and a massive greater Daemon leading them. He could run, try to survive, help the Blood Ravens when he became healthy. Or he could fight, and die, with honor. He knew what he must do.
He let out a cry to announce his presence, then charged the enemy with only his chainsword is his good arm. He expected to be ripped to pieces by dozens of bolter rounds. But the enemy simply turned, and separated. The Daemon strode forward, challenging Brother Amos to single combat. He stopped for a moment, and thought of his own words as they dropped in to this battle. This would be his sacrifice.
“For the Emperor!” He roared, and leaped headlong into the Daemon. The beast’s great sword hit Amos hard, slicing his bad arm clear from his body, and severely damaging his shoulder and chest. But the Daemon was hit even harder by the Melta-bomb that Amos detonated as he collided with the sword.
The explosion engulfed the Daemon, but Amos was tossed like a ragdoll by the force of the sword, flew through the air, and crumpled on the ground. The last thing he saw was the flash of the bomb.
The second wave of Blood Ravens hit the Chaos Space Marines hard. Within the day, most fell, but insurgent pockets remained, as always. The day was won thanks to the great sacrifice of many Space Marines.
As the Apothecarion scoured the landscape, few Brothers lived. Of those who did, few could return to service with their damaged bodies, and were given the Emperor’s mercy. There was one exception. His face was scorched beyond recognition. His left arm was gone, and his entire left side was torn. His front armor had been melted, singing much of the flesh. Yet the fire still burned within him.
After hearing of the great courage he showed charging a fortified post, and the great sacrifice he gave for the Emperor, the commanding officers decided that one marine deserved a rare honor.
As the Blood Ravens searched the landscape for insurgents, a unit sprung from the trees charging at the Brothers. But they were all gunned down from the autocannon of the Dreadnought, Brother Amos.