|19 Oct 2009, 02:06||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2005
The Falkreath Heresy (Prologue)
PrologueLieutenant Marick peered out of the bunker window. Outside, snow was lightly falling, covering the frozen ground. There were sounds of battle, but they were far away. All around there was evidence of war, however. Fallen comrades and enemies lay strewn across a mile wide snowy plain, already partially covered over. Trees were left uprooted, smashed over by armored vehicles. Tank wrecks were still ablaze, and even the crashed remains of a valkyrie were among the wrecks.
Marick had three hundred PDF regulars of the Northern Defense when sent out to engage the enemy at this station. He now had just eighty-seven men left. His force had destroyed an enemy unit of equal or greater size, however, including an armored detachment. Marick himself slew the Imperial commander, a captain, and took his power saber as a trophy. The PDF unit was battered, but it was far from broken. They knew what they were fighting for, they knew who they were fighting against.
The legions of the False-Emperor must be thrown back, at all costs. The Governor had decreed that the so-called Emperor of Mankind was to be other thrown, and it started here on Falkreath. According to Governor Frost, planets all over the Rilo Sub-sector were following the suit. Soon, millions of former Emperor-Worshipers will be fighting for the Dark Masters. Or so they were told.
That didn’t really concern Marick at the moment. He was determined to hold out as long as possible. He had been ordered to hold the Northern Defense Line against the Imperial forces. Stand and die.
Out in the gloom of falling snow, Marick thought he saw movement.
“Zero-One to any scout unit, need confirmation of movement at one o’clock,” Marick said over the vox.
“Scout Two to Zero-One, give us a moment,” came the reply.
Seconds ticked by.
“Scout Two to Zero-One, confirmed movement upon the ridge. Enemy infantry. Numbers are…fifty plus.”
Marick sighed, “Alright men, let’s make Governor Frost proud. I want defense pattern delta initiated. Give me the best firing lanes as possible. Let’s make the Emperor’s lapdogs suffer for our losses.”
Marick unsheathed his brand new power saber, its Aquila pommel already defiled thanks to a melta-torch. It was a relatively simple thing. Three feet of adamantium, with a long, two-handed grip with a simple hand guard. The pommel had been the only decorative piece on it. Its previous owner obviously wasn’t one for ostentatious weapons. Marick decided that if he lived, he would engrave the Eight Star upon its blade.
“Aspirant Jaesin, you’ve got command of the redoubt. Take two squads, if anything gets past us, blow them to hell,” Marick said.
“Roger, Lieutenant, moving into position,” said the young squad leader.
The three squads parted from the main group, and moved into position further behind the defense line.
From the main defense area, the defense forces could now see the enemy. They were Valhallans, that was for sure. The long greatcoats gave it away. The Guard force that had engaged them earlier was Cadian. Marick was curious to see how the Valhallans fought. Were they tight and regimented like the Cadians were? Or were they savage, brutal beasts that tore children apart and ate them for breakfast? Marick was hoping for the latter. He figured he could use a good fight.
Marick observed his battle line. They were entrenched, not a preferred way to fight this war, but orders were orders. They had firing lanes that intersected each other, allowing the best coverage possible. Heavy weapons were set up in sandbagged dugouts, and the remaining troopers had fixed their bayonets, awaiting close contact with the enemy.
Through the snowy breeze, the first of the Imperials came forward. Lugging flamer units, they advanced towards the trench line.
“Take them out before they get within range!” Marick yelled out.
Las and solid shots barked out from the trenches, felling most of the flame troops. Two made it close to the line, and hunkered down behind a set of larger rocks. Shortly later, they were obliterated, as a frag grenade found their hiding spot.
Then all hell broke loose. Waves of greatcoated infantry surged from the snowy air. Aspirants barked out orders, and Valhallans fell in droves. But so did the Falkreath. Marick saw a young trooper who’s name he couldn’t remember score three kills, and was about to congratulate him, when the trooper was felled by a las shot to the face. He might not have known the man’s name, but now the Dark Masters knew his name.
The enemy was close now, shots were zipping back and forth. There were so many of them, a lot more than the scouts had reported initially. The battle was about to enter its most brutal stage, however, for the Falkreath, it was a stage they relished in. For to slaughter their enemy, was to please the Dark Masters. Yells of “For the Emperor!” came from the Valhallans, and were responded in tune by the Heretic’s “For the Dark Masters!”
“Let them close, we’ll engage them in the trenches,” Marick ordered. He powered up his saber, and drew his pistol.
Marick leaped out of the bunker door, and out onto the trench floor. He was determined to lead his men from the front, and gain the honor of the Dark Masters.
As he was leaping down into the trench, so were the forward elements of the Valhallans. Many heretics were cut down in the initial assault, more in the seconds after. Marick leaped into the fray, swinging the captured sword at the neck of the first Valhallan in his way. The man lost his head. The headless corpse barely had time to fall to the ground, and Marick had already killed another man, this time with a single shot to the head from his pistol. The grossly oversized bullet had enough energy left to catch the next Valhallan in the chest.
The noise was horrendous, but even over the melee, Marick heard the sound of the tanks. He definitely heard the first cannon shot. A heavy stubber emplacement was annihilated along with the men manning it. Marick realized it was hopeless, he couldn’t stop the tanks, and kill all of the infantry. But he also couldn’t retreat. Retreat was out of the question.
Marick knew that word had to reach Northpoint that the enemy had broken through. With no long-range vox, he had to send out a runner.
“Aspirant Jaesin, I need you to dispatch a runner back to Northpoint to bring word of the failure to hold the line,” Marick voxed over the din of battle.
“Roger sir, runner dispatched,” came the reply.
By that time, the enemy had all but taken the trench line. Valhallan reinforcements were pouring into the trenched from all sides. Marick tried to organize a last stand, but he had too few men left under his command, even with Jaesin’s squads.
Marick cut and trusted and slashed and shot with his pistol. But it was not enough. Las rounds bit into him and his remaining men. In a desperate last gesture of rage, Marick took his entire belt of grenades, pulled the pins, and hurled them far into the Valhallan wave. Then Marick died. When the grenades blew, they took a dozen Valhallans with them.
It had taken the Imperial forces mere hours to crack the Northern Defense Line, but they wouldn’t advance too far. The fort of Northpoint was the next line of defense, and that would prove to be a major speed bump for the Imperial forces, for the Falkreath runner was mere minutes away from the fort, and his warning would raise a battalion sized unit to the line.
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