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I havent written anything for quite a while, so I thought I'd actually write one of my ideas for a change.
Note: plentiful swearing in this, so the swearfilter's going to have a field day.
I joined the Guard a few months ago. Six months, I think its been now, five since we shipped out from Jopall, where "we" is the 22nd Jopall Urban Skirmishers. A good eight thousand of us, I think. Or at least, there were. We're now on this poxy planet called Togra, and its *****ing twisted compared to Jopall. Almost the entire planet is covered from pole to pole with massive urban sprawl, but instead of it being a hive world, its like one *****ing huge hive all over the ***** place. The largest city we have on Jopall, Teasor, the city where I went to join up and train, has a trio of skyscrapers rumoured to be half a mile tall. Its like that here, the entire planet is a city half a mile thick down to the bedrock, where under that are the manufactoria.
Personally, so far, I'm hating it. But then, that's not all so surprising considering my position, which is currently in a meter deep crater in the plasticrete surface of one of Togra's freight spaceports; situated near a major industrial heartland and hab/recreational areas about equidistant. I'm *****ing cold, its dark, its starting to rain and we're under increasingly heavy fire from Tau forces. I'm currently trying to raise someone on the Vox, flicking and twisting all manner of switches, but theres not a lot other than intermittent screaming and static; and best of all, theres a nice big rock making a cartoon sized indent in my right buttock. On top of all this, the squad's heavy stubber is rattling out bullets at a rate of knots, and on top of whats falling from the sky, its raining down into the crater and its twelve inhabitants with red-hot brass.
And to think that not three hours ago I had no idea that I was getting into this cluster*****, when now I feel like I've been here all my life. The ride down in the dropship was turbulent as we came through the outer atmosphere, and bloody murderous thereafter. Tau fire came floating up lazily to meet us, only to seemingly scream by as it missed, which wasn't all that often. We plummeted the last fifty feet to the ground after being hit by a missile or something, and the shriek of metal was deafening as we ground to a bitter halt. It was only after we halted that the noise from outside became noticeable, a constantly fluttering wall of sound that tore at our ears, punctuated by the screams of a girl in the dropship that had broken her leg.
With haste born of anxiety, I slipped out of the crash restraints, trying and failing to ignore the pain in my shoulders where they had been forced against the woven nylon, and wrinkling my nose at the acrid smell of spilt fuel that was geysering out of a pipeline overhead into a large amber puddle. My eyes settled on the bulkhead door at the end of the transport that lead to the crew cabin, and strode swiftly over to it, ignoring the other troopers as they groaned from the injuries they'd sustained in the drop. Looking around swiftly, I picked up a piece of still warm jagged metal, inserted it between the door and frame, and yanked at it. Nothing happened, and after trying again in a slightly different position, called for someone else to help me. Someone, I cant remember who, asked the possibility of using the flamer as a kind of cutting torch, but was fortunately shouted down. A good deal of us were very mindful of that dark puddle, and the fumes it was giving off. We hadn't come halfway across the galaxy to be a fuel-air bomb.
At about this point someone managed to open the rear hatch, and the cacophony from outside changed from a flat tinny annoyance to a deep rumble that threatened to make us dirt ourselves. To distract myself I took to driving my boot into the control panel for the door release, repeatedly kicking the mangled mess of wiring.
"Come on you *****! Open the sodding door!"
After a particularly vehement kick, something in the bulkhead began to whirr, and the metal screaming sound of a few minutes before returned to haunt me, setting my teeth on edge as it scraped across my nerves for a second. As soon as it was open wide enough, I slipped through the gap shoulder first, intent on checking on the pilots, but it turns out I needn't have bothered. One of them has his head on the panel, a shitload of blood still dripping from his forehead, and the other is sporting a plastiglass shard the size of my leg through his chest. I turn away, fighting the feeling of my skin nearest the bodies wanting to crawl away as far as it can, before I remember why I joined up and quickly loot the bodies. The dead don't have debts to pay off.
I squeezed myself out of the cockpit back into the troop compartment, where it seems the rest have been waiting for me, I only have enough time to grab up my lasgun and the voxcaster before I'm leaping off the small lip at the rear of the bay onto the concrete and running for my life towards cover, ducking and weaving, blue orbs of pulse fire ripping past me but more often hitting my comrades, who collapse like rag dolls onto the landing pad surface.
After what seems like an ice age, I leap into a crater in the meters-thick plasticrete, shouting apologies to my cushion as I scramble to my feet and try to take in the situation around me. The noise is still there, except now it's being added to as a heavy stubber is smacked down onto its tripod by a trooper I vaguely recognise. Within a few more seconds its showering hot brass over the rest of us in the crater, around half a dozen, I guess. That alone twigs that something horribly, horribly wrong is in progress. Blood spurts across my face and I absently wipe it away. A load of people are crying and whining in a way that pisses me off, and I yell at them to shut the ***** up while I look around, risking putting my head in the open for a second I get a snapshot of the surrounds, and close my eyes to hold the image.
A row of craters like this one, all with some guardsmen in, probably from the initial bombing runs. One of the bombers didn't make it out, theres a nice pile of smouldering wreckage just before the tau lines that provides a small measure of cover. Cloud covers pretty thick, and the sunset illuminates the bottom of the cloud layer like a golden ocean just clinging to the sky, and illuminated from below from a multitude of shuttles that are burning, like my one that's crashed into the plasticrete.
The worst thing, though, are the bodies. I recognise the shields on the helmets and shoulders, colours by company. The majority are red, from the first wave. A lesser number, but still significant proportion, are blue, like the one on my own shoulder. Its at this point that a voice I hardly recognise as my own issues from my lips in a hoarse shout to the others.
"This is it? This is all that's made it?"
This sends the people mewling into a fresh paroxysm of sobbing, and as I'm checking over my lasgun I give them a quick, scathing look, recognising a couple of girls and a posh boy from the aristocracy back home. From their badges I see they're supposed to be REMF's. Rear Echelon MoFos. They're sporting a couple of scratches between them, and bothering the medic whos working in the bottom of the trench on a guys leg that a pulse rifle has flayed almost to the bone. The medic obviously has about the same patience for the wankers as I do, yelling at them as they whine about their injuries for the umpteenth time.
"For *****s sake, when you've got a real wound come to me, otherwise get the ***** out of my sight!"
I look at the medic's nametag and remember it for later. Calahan.
That shuts them up for a bit, and I take to the edge of the crater alongside the heavy stubber with its staccato rumble, and start firing wildly toward the Tau's lines before I calm down a bit and try to select my shots through the small magnifier on the rifle, something like a X2 factor.
I spot some xenos with chestplates and small assault rifles scuttling from a burnt out shuttle, and immediately switch my sights to them, kicking the guy on the stubber and pointing in their direction. My accurate las shots take down their helmetless leader and the guy immediately behind him. The guy on the stubber is a sadist, scything out the tau's armourless legs from under them, and through my sights I watch one rip off his helmet and scream, clutching his leg with his three-fingered hands. I fire a trio of rounds at him, and soon he has something else to scream about as three smouldering holes appear up his arm. Tiring of my sport, I scan the battlefield again until a voice comes over the vox-bead in my ear, warning us that the rest of the regiment is dropping on our position, or thereabouts.
I yell this to the crater in general, and am nearly instantly sickened by the looks on the faces of the posh trio, glee that someone is going to come and rescue them like their parents did from life at large. I wouldn't mind if they grabbed a rifle and started shooting, trying to take as many of the xenos with them, but since they're doing sod all I feel like I could shoot them as well as the blue-skinned bastards.
Within about ten seconds, shadows fall across the crater with alarming rapidity as shuttle after shuttle pours down onto the concrete, just as rain starts to fall, in a fine slow drizzle that swirls lazily in the wind. The pilots of the shuttles have the sense to use their derelict brethren for cover, but that doesn't stop the men inside being cut down as they run for us in the craters or other cover around.
Many get cut down, but those on the outside of the running packs act as shields for those in the center, and before long, our twenty-foot diameter crater is heaving with troops, who immediately come up to the lip of the trench and relieve me so I can go into the bottom next to the medic and start to man the vox-caster properly. A sergeant that must be forty if hes a day stands in the bottom of the trench barking orders at everyone, campaign tattoos all over his arms. I set up shop near the medic, taking advantage of the time it takes for the set to properly warm up to transmit rather than just receive to whip out my raincape as now its really starting to pour down. I watch as a section of eight take advantage of a lull in the firing to scramble up and over the edge, scuttling as fast as they can for what looks like the mangled remains of a shuttle engine. I watch them for a while before I drag myself to the vox set, and spend a couple of hours in a stupor repeatedly casting my net and getting nothing in return. In that time it seems like our crater has become a regrouping point, since every half hour it seems, enough troopers and an NCO turns up to be sent back off into the great black yonder.
So now, I'm here. Private first class Hans Radke, age seventeen, vox operator, two hundred and fifty light years from home and sat in a dark, wet crater being showered with hot brass, under attack by a furious fusillade of fire.
You *****ing idiot, Hans.
At least, I think, my watch still works, but after shaking it a number of times and listening carefully for its distinctive just-off regular tick, I discover that's knackered too. Sighing, I reach again for my rifle and take my place again on the edge, tucking one leg up under my arse to provide a seat. Looks like I'm going to be there for some time.
"It fits like clothes made out of wasps!"
Tis good, in my humble opinion. It is a good idea to be objective about the situation and to tell the reader what is going on. However, a battle is about the most surreal and sensorially-overloading experiance that a human can experiance. Espechially first ones.
So, don't over explain what is going on, and don't get into the minutae of military kit while the battle is raging. Get a little subjective and describe the sensations of near misses without describe what model of gun was actually firing.
"punctuated by the screams of a girl in the dropship that had broken her leg." - how does the narrator know she broke her leg ?
Anyway, I look forwards to seeing more of it. Keep at it !
Ryan Dancey, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, believed that TSR failed because of "...a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy." Are you listening, Games Workshop ?
*nods* I like it.
Not too sure on the use of some of the swearing, but aye. Tis good to see you back writing again dude.
Is the rest of it going to be in the same sort of style?
Want to chat? You can normally find me in the LO CHAT!
LO CHAT! JOIN US NOW AND BECOME A GOD OF BACON.
Sounds good, but why not use the swear words they use in the Blacklibrary novels?
Feck <-- could replace a lot of *'s
Originally Posted by Karmoon
Tis fecking good my old friend, i can't wait to read more of it, it's certainly describing the fear and anxiety that one so young would feel when dumped into a shithole of a battlefield like that.
Very descriptive and attention-grabbing, write more please.
And Toastee's right, its good to see you back writing again pal.
An update. Tell me if its going in the right direction.
The Port 331 Massacre, as its become known to the regiment and the rest of the imperial forces at large, resulted in something like fifty percent casualties for the Jopall 23rd, and around thirty for our rescuers, the Noctan 9th. Hence comes the integration. Some monkey in the Administratum thinks "These two regiments have the same fighting style, are in the same area and can easily be combined into one regiment that can be sent back off to the fight immediately!".
Exactly what the rest of us think of this train of thought is damn near unspeakable. But, I will say this; it has a certain kind of logic, but in practice is one of the most horrid practices imaginable. Not only do you have the pressures of combat, but also of wondering whether you can trust the guy next to you, or in our case, wondering just what the hell his name is. I shuffle forward in a line to get my new kit, noticing the way that the camouflage is now made up of predominately dark greys and greens for urban warfare instead of our previous white/blue attire. I'm carrying another few effects as well, of fallen comrades. Its been strict tradition hammered into us by the old sergeants who have years of experience that the decent thing to do to honour the dead is to buy their effects, and the resulting cash goes back home, or into the company cash pool. I managed to come away with a catachan knife with the imperial aquilla engraved on it to act as a blade runner, which cost me virtually all of the bounty of the confirmed kills I got; and a couple of powerpacks for use in lasgun or voxcaster. The currency of my life, it seems.
"Private Radke, Hans, 42282-44929!" bawls a quartermaster sergeant, and I split off from the long row to my one of three NCO's behind a wide counter, the area behind them packed with new gear freshly shipped in, ironically on the spaceport where I lost my gear three days ago. Some genius grabbed my vox set and put it up on the edge of the crater as a rudimentary barricade, along with whatever rubble was lying in the bottom. In fairly short order it managed to stop a chunk of shrapnel as big as my fist, sticking out of the case like an obscene gesture to me.
I drag my feet as I shuffle towards the desk, dressed still in the combat fatigues that I wore on the drop, I haven't had the time, or probably more importantly, the inclination, to change. I'm aware that I stink villainously, something that the crumpled nose of the sergeant tells me as if it were a ten-mile high sign, handing over the chit to sign with extreme reluctance. I scribble my name and number, toss the pad across the desk with a clatter, pick up my bundle of gear, and begin the long walk across the pockmarked plasticrete to the barracks of the new regiment.
The new "barracks" is set up in one of the cargo terminals some way behind where the tau lines were, judging by the number of burnt out tau vehicles, some with angry wounds still bleeding the odd wisp of smoke. It's a new morning, and while the air is reasonably cool, the sun is beating down fairly mercilessly and its not long before my breathing becomes a bit forced as a few beads of sweat wind their way down my forehead and drip off my eyebrows as I walk for about two miles across the tarmac. The lighters that used this place must have been *****ing colossal. Ahead of me, about two hundred meters distant, there's another guardsman taking the same walk, and no doubt, the same ahead of him and the same behind me. All heading for one building, a long, low warehouse type affair with vast open sliding roofs with cranes on railways set in the concrete on either side, as well as sliding doors as big as houses in the walls. Two of the three doors are open, and as I get closer I see a vast network of bunk beds that are sometimes three or four deep as they stretch up from the floor to hastily-constructed sub-floors in the warehouse. Half of them are still being put up, as I get closer the noises of construction, particularly the harsh grate of circular saws on metal, clamour louder and louder.
In a few short minutes I'm at the door, dumping my gear on the floor before a bored-looking sergeant who finds my name on a long list, where my bunk is, or will be, and which squad/platoon/company I'm in. As soon as hes said it, I'm off, leaping up the stairs as well as someone can with usual full fighting kit, plus an electronic rock, and for once I'm grateful as the constructors of this lot seems to know what they're doing.
There are directional signs. The floors are colour coded, as are the bunks at about eye-level. There are two main highways about three meters in width, one lengthwise and one across throughout the floor, the top level. In the very middle someone's been thoughtful enough to have cut a nice big square hole so there's a passageway throughout the three floors of the building, presumably for fresh air to circulate. Coming off from these main walkways are multiple smaller ones, about as far as you can stretch your arms out. There are few people around, and those that are are obviously from the Noctan 9th, speaking to each other in hushed voices. I find my allotted bunk and dump my stuff, being one of the first three to get here. I can't help but notice that people's effects are more heavily biased on the techy side. One bundle of gear on the bunk next to mine is making a dent suspiciously like that of a bag of hammers in the mattress, and another has a battered rocket launcher on it.
For the first time since the fighting I can feel myself relax, and im conscious of a sudden tiredness in my shoulders. Stretching my arms out to either side and arching my back like a cat I notice the signs overhead that point toward the showers, and I start moving before the action registers. As I stride I take off my shirt and the rest of my gear as well as I can, before dumping it on a bench in the changing room, and kick the door open. Three nude women meet my eyes, and without missing a beat, I turn around on the same foot and walk straight back out again. I take a deep breath, and then, after leaning around the changing room door and re-reading the signs, I notice that its got an extra word.
It is with an immense trepidation that I step back into the shower, and nod at the three, who smile that little sarcastic smile as they know that I'm embarrassed to all hell. I mean, its not like they haven't got anything I haven't seen before, and I know to women that sounds really crass, but theres still the uncomfortable atmosphere of some people you've never met before standing in the same room as you, when completely in the buff. Its not like you can just stick your hand out and say, "I'm Bob McBob, howdyerdo?". It is this one fact that means I can have a shower in peace and quiet, because no one says anything to anyone else, even though its obvious that at some point we're going to have to. The hot water initially feels scalding, but after a while the relentless drumming on my skin has a relaxing effect, and I can feel the tenseness just dissolve out of muscles and run down the drain. Its great.
So great, I feel like singing for the first time in three months.
"It fits like clothes made out of wasps!"
WOW! What can i say??? WOW!
This is getting better and better as it goes along. You're certainly capturing the emotions of the young soldier very well, in fact if i didn't know better I'd say you were writing from experience!!!
I can't wait to read the next part, in fact I was gonna ask if you minded that I copy the whole thing into word and printed it off to show my teacher. She's very critical when it comes to stories so she should give an honest review, since she's impartial as well it would help you know if there's anything you need to change!
Let me know man and WRITE SOME MORE!!!