Battle For Murano: Part One. - Warhammer 40K Fantasy

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  1. #1
    Venerable Old One Phobos's Avatar
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    Imperial Guard attempt to take a town on a fertile agri-world from its Tau occuppiers. My latest story, posted only a day ago on Imperial Literature. Hope you enjoy.


    The rain poured down on the guardsmen idly waiting in the trenches, separate drops running together to form streams, which ran off the troops equipment and bodies, falling to the treacle like floor of their position. From the walls of the trench protruded mangled and decaying remains of concrete barricades and steel braces, catching unwary guardsmen with awkward edges and protrusions. The warren of trenches stretched around the south of Murano; a small town on the fertile agri-world of Harlough. Before this specific point in time, the trenches had not been used for a good couple of months; then being used for the same purpose as now; as a staging point for an assault on the Tau held town ahead of them. Months ago it had been only a light scouting force; and the Guard had easily overwhelmed the town, and advanced many miles beyond it, reclaiming land lost to the Tau in their lightning-fast assault in the first week of their attempt to capture the planet. Soon, the Imperial Regiments were near the initial Tau drop point; now consolidated into their base. Thereafter followed vicious fighting, the Imperial line falling back to beyond Murano in the face of a blisteringly fast counter attack, forcing them to lose miles in weeks.

    At the town of Murano, the Tau had just stopped their advance. Imperial commanders had immediately sent orders for a counter attack, starting with the arrival of a full two regiments, the Praetorian 3rd Fusiliers and the Mortant 19th Armoured Corps, to aid the first that had borne the brunt of the fighting, the now vastly under-strength Cadian 7th Rifles. The three regiments were to re-take the town, the provincial capital, which sprawled over nine square miles of otherwise unspoilt countryside.

    The men in the trenches were waiting for the appointed hour, ten o’clock in the morning of the twelfth of august, 998.M41, for the assault that would herald the beginning of the end of the Tau presence on Harlough, a vital planet in the region of space, its intensive farming providing food for planets several light years around. As the rain poured down upon the men, the concussive shockwaves from the repeated firing of Earthshakers mounted on the Basilisks of the Mortant 19th rained high explosive shells on both town and the fields separating the trench and town to provide cover for the soon to be scrambling guardsmen as they scuttled to the nearest cover of the town’s walls. Aiding them in this was the rain, more of a mist than heavy droplets, that rippled across the landscape in the wind that also swept the shattered remains of wheat stalks in idle circles.

    Lt. Lirate, Blue Platoon, Black Company, Praetorian 3rd Fusiliers, 0957 hours.

    Lirate stepped up to the fore of the trench, irritated somewhat that the weather meant he would have to get his batman to clean his usually pristinely polished boots for the third time in as many days as they marched through the wet undergrowth of the province to Murano. His feet were sucked down into the treacle-like mud that formed the floor of the sodden trench, before finding purchase on a long buried and forgotten plank, halting his descent into the rich brown mass. He whipped his head and looked up the trench toward the centre of it, marvelling inwardly at the sight of the thousands upon thousands of men ready to go forth and die for the Emperor. A shout nearby caught his attention, and his vision refocused on the scarlet form of Sergeant Hook; checking that the men in the platoon had no doubt as to their purpose in this battle and the eventual victory of defeating the Tau invaders. The plan for taking the town was simple enough; the Fusiliers and the Rifles would encircle the town around the east and west; with the Armoured Corps going straight at the town, and then the three flanks would contract, meeting at the centre of the town before the combined forces moved onward to the remaining small area that had not been swept clean of the Tau presence.
    A good plan, thought Lirate, in that it was simple and able to be understood by any guardsman, except possibly a dead one. Yet he could not shake off a certain uneasiness about the coming day; that an as yet unknown factor would come into play. He shrugged, thinking that the sixty thousand guardsmen and five-hundred-odd tanks that were in the vicinity would crush any possible opposition mercilessly. Others did not share his faith; and already there were rumours flying around, the worst Lirate had heard was that the Tau had joined forces with the Chaos heretic menace; something that was never going to happen, let alone on a world solely devoted to the produce of food to supply the billions upon billions of humans in the surround sectors, but that didn’t seem to have halted its effect on morale even before the first casualties had been suffered.

    Lirate turned to look at the nearest guardsman, his blood red tunic soaked to the colour of crimson, eyes wide, staring out over the plain, but unseeing. He was young, no more than nineteen at best, and his fear could be spotted a mile off, the Imperial propaganda apparently having taken its full toll on the young man’s psyche. Lirate glanced at his watch, his hand falling to his belt to retrieve an item that would be needed in the next minute or so.

    “Troubled, private?? asked Lirate. The guardsman, disturbed from whatever unsettling thoughts that were running through his head, jumped, before turning to face Lirate.

    “Yes, sir,? replied the youth, his fingers playing worriedly over his meltagun, Lirate realised he was one of his command squad for the platoon; recently transferred, no doubt. Lirate smiled benevolently at the guardsman.

    “Have faith in the Emperor, Goran,? spoke Lirate, finding what he had been looking for this time in one of the pure brilliant white pouches on his hip; a silver whistle. Wrapping the chain around his wrist, Lirate held the cool metal against the hot palm of his hand. “We will carry the day, have no doubt of that. With all this to support us,? Lirate waved over to his left, where the rest of the regiment was waiting for the signal, twenty thousand men waiting silently in rows, “We cannot possibly fail!?

    Lirate grinned again, briefly, before looking down again, urgently now, at his watch. Very nearly time. Against the back of his hand, the chain of the whistle gleamed as the little light that filtered through the rain struck its cool surface. Hook sloshed his way toward Lirate, before coming to a halt and snapping off a salute that would make a drill sergeant weep a tear of joy, considering the circumstances.

    “Platoon present and correct, sir!? bellowed Hook, and Lirate leant back a little, rocking on the balls of his feet, involuntarily due to Hook’s volume.

    “Very good. And steady on, alright?? Lirate raised his eyebrows in question at Hook, who responded with a smile as the shrill sound of a whistle was carried on the air from further up the trench. Raising the whistle to his mouth, Lirate looked once more at his watch. 0959:50. Inserting the silver object between his teeth, he gave Hook a meaningful glance, and spoke around the whistle.

    “Good luck, Sergeant.?

    Lirate didn’t hear Hook’s reply as he clamped his lips around the mouthpiece, and on that piercing note, the fifty-four other men of his platoon rose up and over the muddied side of the trench, running for the nearest cover of town walls through the rain that now lessened in its beating of the cold soil beneath them.

    Lt. Rivers, Red Company, 5th Mortant Armoured Corps, 1002 hours.

    Rivers laid a clammy hand on the smooth metal of the hatch release mechanism, adjusting his headset, and then his rain cape with his free hand, he pushed the turret hatch back on its hinges, before setting both hands on the turret rim and hauling himself up onto the little perch seat at one side of the hatchway. Quickly he swivelled both his head and eyes in search of the enemy or anything suspicious. Like others, he was disturbed at being detailed to fight such an elusive foe, which rarely came to into range, with their preference for shooting at long range.

    Twice before had his platoon come under fire from Tau aggressors, and three tanks were lost and two immobilised either by the all-powerful Railgun, or in the case where they had been ambushed by battlesuits, fusion blasters. Rivers grinned. Not this time. He was ready for the bastards. Newly commissioned from his previous rank of veteran sergeant gunner, he and his crew had left their old leman russ mount for a new one; a Vanquisher.

    Immediately they had set about changing the factory-new appearance of the Vanquisher into something more resembling a rugged, experienced machine of war, bolting spare tracks over the hull for extra armour, ripping apart old vehicle hulks to get other items needed like track guards and a working searchlight. No doubt if the Commissar had seen them in these acts they would have been immediately executed, or at the least given privy duty for a month, but fortunately he was chewing out a different set of tank crews at that point in time.

    Now, River’s platoon had split up, each going a different way into the heart of the city, but his sergeant’s tank, one of the Exterminator variants relatively new to the regiment, tagged on behind the Vanquisher, following its twisting turns throughout the suburbs of the town, and onward to conflict with the Tau.

    Lt Fleming, Green Platoon, Blue Company, 19th Cadian Rifles, 1008 hours.

    Fleming cursed and roared at his troops to hit the Tau gun drones that were now hovering about them. Already they had cut down four of his men, and now an intermittent chorus of lasgun fire was being hurled at the sophisticated heathen machines. Invisible bolts of las energy struck three of the five machines, clipping their levitators, and as gravity took its course, smashing the discs to the unforgiving asphalt of the road. The remaining two sped off into the distance, a few optimists among the guardsmen letting off a couple of hopeful shots at the retreating forms as the cacophony of lasgun fire died away.

    “Bugger! Why can’t you bastards shoot straight?? yelled Fleming, waving his bolt pistol and chainsword in his hands in extravagant circles of rage, “ If there was more than one commissar to every other company, one tenth of you would be executed for your shite attempt at shooting those heretic devices!?
    Several of the guardsmen cowered where they crouched in shallow trenches next to the roadway. Fleming had been angry before, but never to this tier.

    “I told you lazy whoresons to keep an eye out for the enemy!? shouted Fleming, walking over to the group of still warm corpses, “And this is why!? Fleming knelt down to the bodies, ripping off their dog tags from about their necks, and stowing them in a leather pouch on his belt. “Four men! Next time it could be twenty. You keep your eyes open, or you’ll be having your eyes out,? Fleming finished his tirade, before looking down at the bodies again; “ You four, get these fallen troopers to the side of the road, we’ll pick them up later when we’ve successfully taken the town.?

    Sparing a final look at the fallen guardsmen, he flicked his gaze down the road once more. “Onward!? roared Fleming, and as one, fifty guardsmen leapt up at his command, and started disjointedly walking down the tree encapsulated lane.

    Lt. Lirate, 3rd Praetorian Fusiliers, 1010 hours.

    Lirate crouched behind a guardsman as the command platoon scuttled its way into the eastern suburbs of the town, the guardsmen’s boots sliding slightly over the thin sheen of water on the polished cobblestones of the street. So far the platoon had met no enemy troops, but over the radios sporadic gunfire could be heard, the harsh bark of Imperial weaponry and the odd whine of Tau arms were plainly audible, along with the shouts and injured screams of men and alien alike.

    The sky, however, had cleared, and now soft rays of light were steadily gaining in strength and slowly warming and drying the equipment of the sodden men. Lirate and his squad stopped by a long dry stone wall, and with a passing interest, Lirate noticed some remaining water running down a long thin stream of moss attached to a piece of what passed for slate on the planet. Lirate turned his eyes back to what had caught his attention. A curtain of material in one of the houses ahead had seemingly wafted in the breeze, but Lirate could have sworn that there had been movement in the windows behind them. Seconds later, Lirate had his answer. Barely before the pulse carbine butts had been smashed through the plate glass of the window, Lirate was roaring orders at his men. The two squads two hundred meters behind the command squad came running, rolling anything substantial enough to be a barricade forward, a group of eight dragging a burnt out car forth and pushing it over to provide cover for themselves. The other two squads nearer the command one immediately ducked into doorways, battering down the flimsy panels, and ripping anything that could provide a bit of protection out of the buildings and hurling them into large heaps by the sides of the road.

    “OVER THE WALL!? roared Lirate, grabbing the guardsman in front of him and hurling himself and the guardsman boldly over the wall. The damp soil cushioned their impact, and the rest of the command squad joined Lirate and the guardsman, their bodies likewise hitting the turf in a hasty manner. Immediately, Lirate turned the guardsman over, and gaping mouth and vacant eye greeted his gaze. The guardsman had been hit by a salvo of pulse carbine fire, and holes in his uniform oozed blood at regular intervals of about an inch in a long arc down his cheek to his chest. In the corpse’s still warm fingers dangled the powerful meltagun, calmly brooding with its unleashed fury. Lirate retrieved the meltagun from the body, and put the sling around his neck, taking off his helmet to allow it for the briefest of moments lest one of the pathfinders decide to shoot him in the head also. Lirate tutted, withdrew an immaculate hankerchief from an immaculate cuff, and wiped some of the blood off of the meltagun’s pistol grip and stock, before replacing the hankerchief to its post in his sleeve. Lirate swung around as he heard the rapid barking of one squad’s heavy bolter, already set up and firing back at the houses where the Tau were. It was actually probably a minute after the first shots were fired, such were the guardsmen taken by surprise. Seconds later, grenades shoved roughly in the walls of the street were detonated, blowing masses of slate to the floor, further aiding the building of cover for the guardsmen.

    Lirate glanced quickly over the wall, and looked about the guardsmen. The Tau had picked a good place for an ambush. He cursed at having been led into a textbook ambush, cunningly and well executed by the alien heathens. He had an idea, and began yelling at Hook…

    Lt. Fleming, 19th Cadian Rifles, 1014 hours.

    Fleming’s bolt pistol jumped and roared in his hand as he led the command squad of Green Platoon into a squad of Fire warriors, swinging his chainsword with gleeful abandon as he slammed into the squad’s shas’ui, who made a feeble attempt to block his blow with his pulse rifle, only to have his head blown apart by a high explosive bolt shell. Fleming was pissed at this squad. Before he had known where they were, the fire warriors had cut down a full three squads of his platoon of forty-two, leaving only sixteen men left. A crippling blow, and he had to execute another one of his men to halt half the rest from fleeing. And so the depleted platoon mounted a suicidal charge on the fire warrior squad, roaring battle cries and futilely running into a blistering fusillade of fire from the shas’la. As he had run, many men had dropped either side of him, his mind registering the falling troopers out of the corners of his eyes as his lungs and heart laboured to keep up with the rest of his adrenaline-laden metabolism.

    Fleming swung his chainsword at another fire warrior, the whirring monomolecular blades instantly cutting through the warrior’s thin armour, splattering Fleming’s rage-contorted face with alien gore. Suddenly, looking around for more Tau to dispatch, Fleming found there were none. He looked about again, for his troops. Only three others had survived. One was sat astride the fresh corpse of a Tau, his knife in its throat, turned his head to Fleming, and nodded; his face and hands were also covered in blood. Resolutely, he gave the knife a savage twist before withdrawing it, drawing a gurgle from the torn throat of his former opponent. The four men slowly rose from their targets, and turned to look where they had come from. The remains of thirty-nine of their former comrades bore into their eyes, bleeding, blown apart, mutilated and maimed beyond belief. Revenge and malice, from its shrinking cloud in the men’s minds struck out once again, filling them with a rage untold of; losing such valued accomplices. With cold fire now burning in their hearts, they walked back to their fallen, picking up the most powerful weapons the still warm corpses had to offer.

    Fleming walked toward the contorted form of Private Hiley, his chainsword replaced in its holster, but the bolt pistol dangled loosely in his fingers. As he reached the body, its eyes moved, a look of anguish on his face. Hiley’s jaw had been torn away, as had three of his limbs, the fourth shredded beyond use by the vast amount of pulse rifle fire. His face set in steel; Fleming raised the bolt pistol to the middle of Hiley’s forehead. His eyes stared, fixated on the dull metal muzzle that was to be his merciful death. Fleming’s finger tugged at the trigger, and at the short range, he did not miss. A short distance away lay Hiley’s weapon, a flamer. Fleming stooped to pick it up, the blood on both his hand and handle of the gun now having coagulated as to give the most appalling reminder of what had transpired, the massacre of the platoon. Fleming now began to walk off into the town, the three remaining others following him with the weapons they too had looted from their dead, seeking revenge that would not be satiated till every Tau heretic had been purged from Murano...

    What do you think?

    "It fits like clothes made out of wasps!"

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  3. #2
    Senior Member PrOtOcoN's Avatar
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    Whats with you?

    You keep writing these brilliant stories, you must have somesort of syndrome :lol:

    It was great, cant wait for the end.

    Your fluffraping hurts my eyes. - TehDarkPredator

  4. #3
    Venerable Old One Phobos's Avatar
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    Heh, I may have to do a FAQ on myself, so many questions that are to be asked and answered time and time again..

    1) Nothing is with me, much less a girlfriend. (I wonder why? )

    2) No, I just like writing.

    3) The end might be a long time coming, I have a few other projects on the go as well as this one. I currently have three in all, two long term (including this) and the other, a sequel to Patrol that could be done in the next month if I really crack on with it. Typically, however, it takes me about a month between each piece of fiction, but unusually, the submission dates to Imp Lit were within ten days for parts one and two of Patrol.

    Glad you like.
    "It fits like clothes made out of wasps!"

  5. #4
    Senior Member Xaero's Avatar
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    definately outstanding, hey if you need any real-life pointers about military protocal, rankings, anything involving military, im here (im in the military =( )

    Mad Props to Angel_of_Rust for the sig.

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    relly cool

  7. #6
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    Superb!!! where can i read more of your stories?

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    Well written you have a real talent

  9. #8
    Normal member Fox D: Toastee's Avatar
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    Originally posted by The_Inquisitor@May 15 2003, 218
    3) The end might be a long time coming, I have a few other projects on the go as well as this one. I currently have three in all, two long term (including this) and the other, a sequel to Patrol that could be done in the next month if I really crack on with it. Typically, however, it takes me about a month between each piece of fiction, but unusually, the submission dates to Imp Lit were within ten days for parts one and two of Patrol.

    Glad you like.
    Wow, tis good your able to have more than one project on at the same time.

    Tis good work dude
    I wasn't to sure about a whole platoon of Cadians going that quickly into th story, but I suppose it can happen in war o.o

    Are these stort stories or will they be chapter based mini novel type things?

    Anywho, I look forward to the next piece! I Really should write some more, as I have a hell of alot of free time.
    But keep at them dude, hope you finish them all!

    Toastee.
    Want to chat? You can normally find me in the LO CHAT!
    LO CHAT! JOIN US NOW AND BECOME A GOD OF BACON.

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    very well done.i would like to see some of your other work

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