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Blood of the Fallen - a Short Story
'WAS THERE SOMETHING you wished to say trooper Braddick?' He struggled to swallow, the colonel was a kind man, but when angered hes been known to drop a trooper.
'N- no, sir,' Braddick could feel the lump forming in his throat, knowing full well what a he was capable of.
'Then don't just stand there, do as i ask! And make sure the men are getting ready!' Blood boiled in the mans veins, Trooper Braddick nearly tripped and fell as he scuttled out the door to avoid his wrath. This crusade had been a thorn in Gladius' side since the start, nearly three years ago. Despite countless victories, the liabilities that that followed seemed to overfwhelm him. Gladius peered out the viewport in his quarters at the planet below. Scorches of black ash and fire were still visible and burning from the Orbital Bombardment some two days before. He wondered if anything could survive an attack of such proportion, to scar the planet itself must be damn near impossible for anything smaller than a fully armed Imperial strike cruiser.
The Colonel walked the corridors of the massive vessel down to the Soldiers Quarters, a massive cargo hold make shifted with bunks and storage lockers to place personal belongings and wargear. He thumbed his micro-bead in search of news.
'Sergeant Kied, whats our ETA on planet fall?'
'Flight crews say the shuttles will be ready within the next 3-4 hours, they are having some fueling issues.' Kied was Gladius' best friend in all this, knowing full well that if worse came to pass that he would be there with him, fighting to the last breath.
'Damn, keep me informed, im starting to miss the ground.' A chuckle hissed through the static of the micro-bead.' Are the men suited up?' Another laugh followed.
'Yes sir, you had Braddick so worked up he nearly crapped himself when he got here!' They both laughed and a sense of relief came over the Colonel as the humor roused him.
'Good, remind me to buy him a drink when we get back,' that is...if we make it back.
'GET DOWN BRADDICK!' Kied barked orders to his squad, lasfire and heavy stubber rounds snapped and crackled on the trench line around them. A series of thuds broke threw the hectic ambience, followed by a brief pause.
'Mortars! Get Dow-' Trooper Vera disintegrated as heavy mortar rounds shuddered the ground.Kied and Gladius had been firing thier lasguns at the dug in chaos forces when they heard the warning, then they felt it. Of a regiment of six thousand, nearly nine hundred had been lost in the past hour, the constant fire being consetrated from the chaos positions was tearing the guardsmen force to shreds.
'Sergeant, get on the vox to the 13th Armor, we need earth shaker rounds on that ridgeline imediately, or this fight wont last much longer!' a mortar burrowed into the side of the trench line where Kied stood, burrying him in mud and rain water. He struggled to dig himself out as more artillery fire pounded the area.
'KIED!' Gladius rushed to his aid.
'Al-...I'm Alright' he coughed and cleared his throat, 'Can't die yet sir, still need to watch over your a**!' Kied pick up the reciever and dialed in the frequencies for the 13th Armor, the Iron Fist of the Volden Hiveworld. ' Soon after the thunderous boom of Basilisk Cannon fire could be heard, from what sounded like hundreds of guns. In a flash of lightning the Ridgeline of chaos defenders erupted as the earthshakers punched below the surface and lifted the hillside itself from the planet with their eruptive force.
Cheers cried out as men clammered up from the holes they took shelter in to watch the spectical of the Fireworks. Medics attended to those they could in this moment of reprieve. while others simply watched in awe and fear of the shear destructive force. Kied approached Gladius with a wide grin splitting from cheek to cheek.
'Close your mouth Sergeant, if the guns don't kill me your breath will.' as though trying to be serious, Colonel Gladius couldn't help but smile and laugh as the fight for the day ended. 'Great, now i owe you AND Trooper Braddick drinks...and just when i thought this day couldnt get any worse.'
' It's ok sir, at least they didn't hit US by mistake, you know how those tread heads are, more worried about shooting the gun than actually aiming the thing properly.'a moment of silence ensued as the two of them looked on into the rising sun. Wonder, and fear of things to come.
'You think we'll make it out of here this time Kied?' a look of sadness grew upon the Colonels face, as if the victory today had never occured.
'With all respect sir, hearing you say that makes me all the more happier to fight on, because i know that I'm not the only one thinking it.' They both turned in silence, back to the sun, and marched off back to the trench line. They Had lived to fight another day, but for how long would it last?