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Hi guys, my first time here...welcome anything constructive.
MERRY CHRISTMAS BY THE WAY!
As a cat curls up in front of a warm fire, the smoke from Silasâ€™ cooker curled around now thankfully still gun barrels. Silas looked out through his bunker and across the battlefield; in the blur of the early morning mist the bodies that littered the battlefield looked like they were asleep, curled up against the cold. A few equally cold carrion birds were also waking up to find a feast in the making on their doorstep â€“ cries and whistles alerted other birds and several were soon circling overhead.
It would be a cold day today, wet too Silas thought; but at least it would be safe thank the Emperor. Raindrops and wind were easier to protect against than artillery shells and bolter rounds and the hot food he was making â€“ the first in three days â€“ would help warm the cold away. Pausing, Silas looked down at the power sword he had acquired yesterday and shook his head â€“ what had he been thinking.
He continued cooking the powdered eggs and synthesised meat for his squad and kept an eye on the coffee urn that had a tendency of falling over when beginning to boil. The smell of roasting fat and the sound of a whistling urn that promised coffee woke up the rest of his unit faster than the whistle of an incoming shell. Marshall stood up unsteadily and stretched out fully, his back clicking a couple of times. Ferry and Plinth just sat there and stared straight ahead for a few seconds; different reactions to an almost forgotten experience â€“ a full nightsâ€™ sleep without fear. Only three days â€“ what a difference.
Ferryâ€™s lasrifle jumped up then just as quickly his arm relaxed and the rifle went down. A rustle at the doorway to the bunker had announced the arrival of Master Sergeant Oar who had been on sentry duty with Taylor and Po. He came in with three food trays and three cups in his giant hands instead of his customised heavy rifle. Manson who had been injured the day before and now lay with his midsection heavily bandaged, propped himself up on his elbows with help from Plinth and smiled weakly.
Smiles all round this morning.
â€œYou shouldnâ€™t be cooking us food! But thanks anyway Silas.â€?
â€œThank the Emperor â€“ hot food! Nice one Hero!â€?
â€œThis coffee is a little weak isnâ€™t it?â€?
The last comment drew a â€˜then donâ€™t drink it assholeâ€™ look from Sergeant Oar as he left the bunker; balancing three breakfasts for the sentries outside.
â€œWas only joking brother â€“ sorry Silasâ€? Ferry said in between mouthfuls.
Silas smiled, checked his lasrifle and slung it over his shoulder and went out onto the battlement to get some fresh air. He stopped at the door and turned around, walked back to the little cooker and strapped the power sword around his waist and continued on his way. Manson caught his eye on the way out and nodded very slowly â€“ his eyes watering, his lips trembling.
The wind on the battlement was freezing and woke Silas up better than the coffee had. When he looked down he was astonished at the sheer the number of bodies piled around the battlements. How had they managed to repel this many Chaos troops â€“ cultists, Marines and even Berserkers lay dead around the battlements.
â€œThat suits you.â€? Master Sergeant Oar said, waking Silas out of his daydream. Oar looked down at the power sword, back at Silas and walked slowly away.
The past few months had been a very confusing time of his life.
Silasâ€™ division, the 11th Rielian Light Infantry had been sent in to reinforce the nineteen imperial divisions and three Space Marine chapters already dug in on the planet Oban. Oban was an extremely important strategic system for both Chaos and the Imperium and neither were prepared to leave without a fight. The battle had see-sawed for the months Silas had been on-planet, with both sides taking heavy losses. The 11th Rielian was tasked to protect the southern space port and with the three armoured regiments assigned to it by general command, had dug in.
Chaos had seen that the weak point to the entire Imperium lines was, unfortunately for the 11th and Silas, the southern space port and had purposely left it alone for the opening months of the war. A few weeks after the outbreak of the war, Imperial high command reassigned the armoured regiments elsewhere when it became obvious that that no one would attack the southern space port. Orbital scans and remote drones had found nothing within a hundred kilometres of its defences.
A few weeks later, two whole infantry brigades â€“ nearly half of the 11thâ€™s strength were redeployed to another theatre and supplies to the 11th were halved, redirected to other guards divisions that were involved in heavy combat with several Chaos Marine legions. Having been hoping for exactly this to occur, Chaos moved quickly. Attack ferociously elsewhere in the hope that the imperial high command would weaken their only true weak point â€“ and it worked.
Three months after the war had begun; Chaos assaulted the southern spaceport â€“ hoping to overrun it and outflank the Imperials before they could reorganise their lines. Moving with a speed and purpose rarely seen in any army, two thousand Chaos Raptors descended on the southern space port, preceded by a short but brutally intense artillery and orbital bombardment that tore huge holes in the surrounding rockcrete and plasteel battlements. The Raptors swarmed over the 11thâ€™s lines tearing through the guardsmen like a scythe through wheat. But they did not have the numbers and were slowly pushed back out of the imperial lines and were then driven out onto the cleared plains around the spaceport where the Imperial mortars and heavy auto-cannons made short work of them. Had it not been for the fact that the main Chaos army had been delayed by over an hour by the sudden appearance of a squadron of Imperial Scorpion gunships the spaceport would surely have fallen in the first assault. Soon after the Scorpions engaged, Chaos war-cruisers and strike craft fought their way into a holding pattern far above the spaceport, in an attempt to preventing further Imperial reinforcements or air support.
As the Raptors retreated under heavy fire; the rumble of Rhino armoured personnel carriers and Predator Annihilator main battle tanks were heard just as the first crested the horizon. Since the artillery had been the first thing to go in the Chaos barrage and subsequent Raptor assault â€“ the 11th only had medium mortars and auto-cannons to answer the heavy armour of the Predators. With the aid of their heavy armour the Chaos forces managed to get right up to the battlements before disgorging their occupants â€“ thousands of frenzied cultists and Chaos Marines.
Silas thought that this was the end, no reinforcements, no artillery or armour support and his lasrifle had almost no effect against Marine armour â€“ he had to aim for their helmet visors or their armour joints but that was pretty difficult to do when your target was running at 40 kilometres an hour at you with a chain-sword. Of his original squad of fifteen men, only ten were left â€“ three having been killed in a single pass by the same Raptor earlier that morning and Private Tolich was quickly on his way to join them, his right leg having been blown clean off.
â€œOur prayers are answered! Praise the Emperor! Look - the Space Marines are here!â€? screamed Commissar Veldt, pointing skyward with his bolter pistol. Following his prompt, we made out hundreds of blue ion thrusters that were the signature of Space
Marine drop pods â€“ the baby blue and yellow meant only one thing: the Ultramarines were coming. Cries turned into cheers that turned into roars as the guardsmen threw themselves literally back into the battle. The arrival of the Space Marines had equalised the battle somewhat even though the imperial lines were badly breached and the guardsmen were still outnumbered.
The battle wore on through the night and into the second day as another brigade of the 11th Rielian returned aboard Valkyrie drop-ships with supplies and ammunition. A huge number of drop-ships were destroyed outright or shot down by heavy ground fire from the Chaos armour and infantry who were now in possession of about one-third of the battlements around the space port and could use the bunkerâ€™s heavy weapons (heavy auto-cannons and heavy lasguns) on the guardsmen and the drop ships.
By the morning of the third day the 11th only controlled one-third of the space port and was rapidly losing the remainder to a stronger Chaos side that could smell the fear we reeked of and could taste victory in the blood that they drank from the wounded guardsmen and Marines that they found â€“ it was a sickening sight and sound to behold.
Silasâ€™ company had been halved in number and pulled back to a badly overcrowded bunker complex on the eastern side of the space port â€“ huddled together with other equally terrified men.
The Ultramarines had been badly thinned down as well â€“ losing over six hundred marines in the last daysâ€™ fighting. They had borne the full brunt of the Chaos assault on the second day and had paid for it badly. Several thousand Chaos troops lay silent outside for the Ultramarinesâ€™ loss though and it had stopped the momentum of the Chaos advance. Silas sat next to a badly injured but nevertheless very watchful marine â€“ a giant of a man who stood a good foot taller than Silas, himself a shade over six foot three. The marine saw Silas watching him, turned and smiled. Silas thought it was like looking at an angelâ€¦
â€œMy name is Captain Roan Caras. I command the Ultramarinesâ€™ second companyâ€? his voice deep, somehow comforting
â€œSilas Carr â€“ Corporal Silas Carrâ€? his own voice sounded thin and immature in comparison the booming bear growl of the Marine
â€œNice to meet you Silas, we have endured much these past two days â€“ more than I have endured for sometime â€“ it is a good battle and it will be a glorious victory for the Imperium and the Emperor when we win and burn these heretics!â€? his eyes glowed with either unshakable zeal or madness â€“ Silas couldnâ€™t tell which but hoped it was zeal.
The next attack came moments after the conversation ended â€“ a Predator anti-tank shell smashed through the rockcrete wall of one of the adjacent bunkers, killing all of the guardsmen inside as thousands of bolters and cultistsâ€™ lasguns opened up on the remaining guardsmen. There was a weakening the fire outside and some hoped that reinforcements had arrived but no â€“ the Chaos commander, a Chaos Lord of some repute walked forward and growled in a twisted, tortured voice towards the guardsmen
â€œGuardsmen of the Imperium â€“ we do not care about you. You are free to walk away if you surrender or join us if you wish. The marines are the ones we want to slaughter and dine on and drink their pure blood! You have one minute to decide.â€?
There was a general hush amongst the guardsmen, several faces turned to glance quickly at the marines amongst them and just as quickly turn away. Captain Caras stood up, showing no sign of the wound on his hip, unsheathed his rune-covered power sword and stepped out of the bunker in full view of the Chaos army.
Without uttering a word he ran straight at the Chaos Lord, his power sword held high. When he was halfway he uttered a high-pitched scream that shook the imperials from their stupor and they roared as one and rushed out to meet their death.
In the general melee that ensued, no one could see what was going on more than a metre away from them and no one cared, occupied enough with the enemy in front of them. The guardsmen were no match for the Chaos Marines and especially not against the Raptors or Berserkers. Silas picked up the bolter pistol from the dead Commissar Veldtâ€™s hands and emptied the clip into two Raptors who were taunting a badly wounded Space Marine â€“ the contact explosive rounds tearing open their body armour as they dropped to their knees and fell. Silas reloaded the pistol, discarded his rifle for its bayonet and fought his way through to where he thought his unit was.
Silas dodged a poorly aimed swing from a cultist and shot him in the chest and then leapt on the back of a Khorne Berserker and stabbed him in the neck with his bayonet, the Berserkerâ€™s helmet having been shot off by a recently dead Marine. The berserker giant toppled over and Silas now stood surrounded by three cultists. He had never thought of himself as a warrior but he was gifted with a rare ability to anticipate, dodge an enemyâ€™s attack and retaliate all with remarkable speed. Seconds later, all three cultists lay dead.
These two acts of combat drew the attention of a Raptor Sergeant who jetted in; meaning to crush Silas into the ground. As he landed the Raptor sergeant felt a spear of pain up his left leg â€“ he looked down and saw that an imperial bayonet had been shoved between his armoured greaves and his thigh armour and that the little human was nowhere to be seen. The boom of a bolter pistol closely preceded the thumping the Raptor felt as a blaze of high explosive bolter rounds hit the Raptorâ€™s left knee â€“ disintegrating the joint and toppling the giant. Silas immediately scrambled over the Raptor, dodged his power fist and crammed the bolter pistol into the Raptorâ€™s throat and pulled the trigger. The Raptor struck Silas in the chest with his head, tossing him aside â€“ only his now destroyed flak vest saved him from punctured lungs and smashed ribs â€“ the Raptor then tried to struggle up on its remaining foot, gurgled out a blood-filled cry and collapsed.
While this was going on, the imperial navy had finally managed to clear the Chaos blockade over the embattled guardsmen and began sending in reinforcements and gunships to hold the spaceport. They would not land for another thirty minutes.
Back on the ground, Silas had not come to terms with the fact that he had single-handedly killed a Raptor Commander and he didnâ€™t have time either. The Chaos Lord had seen the struggle and was impressed with the little guardsman and wanted to crush this upstart, smash his skull and drink his blood. A crowd had gathered around Silas and the Raptor while they had fought, soldiers from both sides standing side by side in one of those strange moments only the battlefield can produce.
The Chaos Lord stepped forward, holstered his bolter pistol and gripped his power mace with both hands. Silas couldnâ€™t believe what was happening â€“ a Chaos Lord? He reloaded his bolter pistol and picked up a discarded Cultist sabre. Vain, the Chaos Lord toyed with Silas, feinting left and right half-heartedly and tossing his head back to roar with laughter; a sound identical to a domesticated cat being strangled â€“ Silas circled warily and chose each step with care, making certain not to trip.
In mid-laugh, Vain leapt forward, bringing his power mace down with lethal force on the spot Silas had been a hundredth of a second before. Sweeping sideways immediately, Vain again missed the guardsman by a mere fraction of an inch â€“ but a vicious, controlled front kick caught Silas on the hip and spun him like a top sending him careening away down a pile of rubble. Silas expected to be pounced upon immediately and grabbed a lasrifle with its bayonet fixed on â€“ but no attack came. He could see the back of the crowd that had formed around the duel and could still hear the roars and screams from the onlookers â€“ a very strange sight, guardsmen and Space Marines standing next to cultists and Raptors some baying for blood, others watching terrified.
Silas pushed his way through a group of guardsmen and saw that the Ultramarine Captain, Caras had taken his place and was now trading blows with the Chaos Lord Vain. Vain was much more evenly matched and this time, there was no laughter or game playing with his opponent â€“ each blow, each thrust, each parry counted. But the deep wound to his hip and thigh began to tell, Caras was beginning to lose ground and grew rapidly slower â€“ as he did, the screams and cheers from the on-looking Chaos troops grew louder and louder, a cultist caught Silasâ€™ eye and drew his finger across this throat, smiled with vacant eyes and went back to watching the duel.
Vain had won.
Caras lay with his cuirass torn, pinned to the ground by the Lord Vainâ€™s armoured boot â€“ he gloating as he began to lift his mace above his head.
â€œMighty Space Marines â€“ Bah! Mighty Imperium â€“ Bah! They are nothing before Chaos! I will kill this false emperorâ€™s lackey and then dine on his bloodâ€¦â€?
His words brought dread to the imperial troops who began to back away and blood lust to the chaos troops, who looked about to find the nearest guardsmen or Marine they could attack.
Before the spell of watching the duel broke â€“ Silas ran forward and scooped up Carasâ€™ power sword and in one swift movement thrust the blade underneath Vainâ€™s right arm and pushed it in as far as it would go. The laughter turned to a shriek of pain (though it did not sound much different) as Vain turned, the last thing he saw was the muzzle flash of a bolter pistol. His head came apart like an overripe fruit with the explosive bolter rounds and Silas picked up the power mace and screamed â€œFOR THE EMPEROR!â€?
The effect was ridiculous in its speed and power on the two armies: the will to fight fled the cultists faster than they were able to flee the battlefield but the Chaos Marines, Raptors and Berserkers waded into battle. The cultists were the first to feel the arrival of the imperial reinforcements â€“ Scorpion gunship cannons and missles made their presence felt as the cultists were mown down by the hundreds.
Drop pods full of fresh Blood Angel and White Scar marines and terminators landed as well as Thunder Hawk troop transports full of fresh guard infantrymen â€“ thousands of them.
Dreadnoughts and Leman Russ battle tanks, dropped from orbit moved in to engage the rapidly demoralised and retreating Chaos army. Within a few hours, the space port had been re-taken and the Chaos army routed â€“ â€˜no prisonersâ€™ was the order of the day. Well â€“ it was the order everyday.
Silas looked around at the end of battle to see if he could see a friendly face â€“ no one. There were hundreds of guardsmen and even Space Marines who were lining up to congratulate the man who had killed the mighty Chaos Lord Vain â€“ the leader of the entire Chaos army. Had he known who Vain was he would probably have run â€“ he definitely would have run.
Caras died in an Apothecaryâ€™s arms on the transport back to the Ultramarinesâ€™ battle barge â€“ his last words to Silas had been:
â€œKeep the sword Corporal Silas Carr â€“ you will need it more than me now. May the emperor give you the courage and the opportunity to wield it in battle many more times â€“ you have my gratitude.â€?
Peace - he had found it boring before the battle, always itching for something exciting. What an idiot he had been. Peace was the best thing he had ever had to endure.
Though the battle had only lasted three days and two nights and the Imperium had been victorious, it had been achieved with cost of nine thousand guardsmen, over eight hundred Space Marines and an untold number of Chaos soldiers. Silas lay down on his cot and pulled the blankets up, thinking about the past few days â€“ how did he feel about them? He had no idea â€“ no point of reference to even figure what he felt. What he did know was that he would always be different, that others would always look at him differently and that in the morning he would be very hungry.