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Old 01 Sep 2008, 12:54   #2 (permalink)
AuinMyrrath
Shas'O
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 9,807
Default Re: Entry K - Untitled

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Mathias vaulted the balcony wall, and landed atop the building below. Skidding on roof tiles, he rolled down into the street and sprinted for his men. Ahead, the last of the courtyard wall gave way as Ancient Hantas barged through the gap, both guns blazing into the fray. A missile launcher coughed, striking metal, throwing chunks of tank armour at the Captain as he rounded the corner and joined the fight. The Razorback was smoking, its port-forward engine destroyed, and drive gears reduced to twisted metal. The gunner fired, missed, and corrected as the Triarius rose from the diving roll. The gun’s second barrel spat a bolt of pure energy, reducing the Marine to ash.
Mathias had no time to issue fresh orders. He saw Niika go down to a head-shot, and vaulted the falling Sergeant. His chainsword found and exposed neck, his combi-weapon belched plasma. Dead Marines littered the ground, all the enemy. Brother Sidha, born on some barren desert hellhole, was valiantly standing over the crippled form of Garen, his legs missing. Mathias parried a blow from a charging Tarjan, only for the attacker to fall as a volley of point blank fire took him down. Brother Cho reloaded, denting the face-plate of a distant enemy with a shot before turning on another enemy.
There was a loud, metallic crack. A lucky round blew out the viewing glass of the Razorback’s turret as the Brother-Captain pushed clear of the transport, the gunner roaring litanies of fury as his weapons found the guilty soldier, and immolated him. Knife and blade bit into flesh, spent bolt cases littered the floor, dancing amidst the corpses of the enemy. Metre by metre, Vengeance was winning. Soon, the Tarjans had been reduced to a cluster of men in the centre of the court-yard, desperately trying to topple the advancing Hantas. Their heavy weapons were lost, the Hastati dead or dying, and now the survivors fired in a panic, shooting at anything and everything in a desperate bid to survive.
The combi-plasma roared, supported by Brother Khréd’s larger counterpart. Together, Mathias and Khréd pushed forward, letting the second Combat squad break cover and push. A three way crossfire formed as bolter, plasma and solid slug pounded relentlessly into the dwindling circle of Trajan warriors. The Marine directly in front of him toppled, the one behind dying as three bolt rounds all struck at once in the centre of his chest. The gap his death formed was exploited, and two Trajan’s were raked from behind by heavy weapon fire. Mathias fired again, and armour chimed an alert that the plasma gun was empty. By then it didn’t matter; the last Trajan fell before he could toggle the gun setting.

He turned back to his men. By some miracle, Niika still lived. His helmet had been blown apart, and his skull was a mess, but he was alive; his remaining eye swivelled frantically in its socket. Brother Cho, bleeding from a dozen bolter impacts, was trying to keep him awake and alert, forcing his sergeant to recount trivial and seemingly random facts; to allow him to sleep would mean his death.
“Apothecary to Objective Sigma-Minor, emergency!” Mathias’ order was acknowledged immediately by his command squad. They would be here in three minutes.
“No losses to report, sir.” Cho said calmly as Mathias knelt beside him. Every member of the assault team had suffered injuries of some kind; only Cho and Khréd were remotely battle-worthy.
Peliates approached. He looked at the scene with disbelief, removing his helmet in case the auto-senses were somehow exaggerating the scale of the devastation. They were not.
“I do not believe it.” he whispered.
Mathias rose to face Peliates. “That is how real Space Marines fight.”

With a full company behind him, Mathias began his push back toward the landing fields. The way was contested, but against a hundred Astartes the PDF and civil uprisings could not hope to succeed. With a base secured, the Marines of Vengeance were systematically evacuated. Mathias lingered on the landing pad, watching Peliates co-ordinate the last lines of defence. The Centurion had learned much over the frantic hours of warfare, and his men were formed up in Codex-doctrine battle lines as opposed to their conventional tactics.
“Brother-Captain!” Peliates was approaching the Brother-Captain at speed. “Brother-Captain, only yourself and your command section remains. What is your plan from here?”
Mathias hesitated. Though he would never consider the warrior before him worthy of Company command, there was something about Peliates he liked. A friend, perhaps. He deserved the truth.
“This world is damned.” Mathias’ voice was deadpan. “The Governor has effectively a full Chapter under his control, and that is a threat we cannot allow to exist. We hold orbit, but I do not know how long this will remain… I am declaring Damnatus upon this planet; we will cleanse it with orbital fire and withdraw until a full battleforce can be assembled.”
Peliates nodded. “I take it there is no room on your Thunderhawks for my men?”
Mathias shook his head.
“I understand, Brother-Captain. My Chapter is fallen, my world shrouded in darkness. My men and I are a risk, even after we have fought together. I understand your decision.”
“You will be remembered,” Mathias promised, boarding the Thunderhawk.

The Thunderhawks climbed, the raindrops shimmering as the exhaust of the ramjets evaporated them. Peliates watched the purple gunship rise upwards, growing smaller and smaller before vanishing into the clouds. He turned back to his men, gathered on the landing fields. A mob of rioting citizens was closing fast, the shining giants of the Fifth Company visible in their midst. He watched as part of the platform was torn away by heavy shelling, and wished he had that kind of artillery to call upon.
“Peliates to Mathias, respond please.”
Mathias here, what’s your situation?
“Grim. We’ve got a Traitor Company closing. Recommend you deny them the landing fields.”
Acknowledged. Your name will be remembered with Honour.
The Centurion smiled. He turned once more to the battle line, watching his men clash with sword and spear against the endless tide. He saw Agamon decapitate a warrior of the Fifth Company with a perfect swing, and stab a second, using his bodyweight to throw the man off the platform. A third fell to a bolter shot. Then the warrior was dragged down, his weapons still killing as the life left his body. The heroism was repeated over and over, each man dying where he stood.
“It has been an honour,” Peliates whispered as the bombardment engulfed them, burning the landing field away in a blinding flash of light.
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