This short story was written a long time ago now and was originally based on a batrep, played between myself and another member of the club. I had grand plans for writing a story like this for each game I played and making them in to a full narrative but alas, I only wrote one or two and never really got the time to write more. I had originally set up a whole other blog specifically for this purpose but I've since deleted it as it was just sitting there not being used, I did however copy across the few stories written. I decided to put this one up now seeing as the last report was against Orks, I hope you enjoy.
There had been little time to prepare and now the sun was up, it was evident that there preparations wouldn't be enough. The defense line had been erected between a couple of ruined building, part of the old prometium pumping station. The surface pipes were still visible to the front, rising out of the ground only to end in a twisted mess of ruined plasteel pipework, the last signs of an earlier battle that had taken place, some years ago. The fighting then had obviously been brutal, none of the remaining buildings were intact, some were nothing more than piles of rubble, and very little of the structures that were left could be fortified. Even if they could, there was little time for such actions, at best they had an hour, at worst, minutes. Either way, commander Jhonisoun was worried, but then, who wouldn't be when you've an Ork mob bearing down on you.
The reports were sporadic, conflicting and wildly inaccurate, some stated there were just a few orks, no more than a dozen, others told of thousands, rampaging across the land. If all the reports were accurate, there were just a couple of squads, each a thousand strong, slowly wondering across the land in battle wagons. It didn't matter to the commander though, one Ork or a thousand Orks, they needed to die and they would do so here at Pipe Relay Station 34.
"Contact FRONT!" the shout was loud and clear, albeit in a voice filled with panic and fear. The should had come from one of Lt Wischert's men, up on the forward line.
Jhonisoun looked to his left, at the men who where man handling the quad gun in to place "Is that thing ready yet?" The quick shouts of confirmation was all he needed. Good, at least they had some air cover until the navy planes got here, now if only he know where Lt Sandesoun's lot were. They had left on a recce before dawn and should have been back by now and if this fight got up close and personal, just as the Orks like it, then he would need those men.
The noise grew louder every second, and barely a few minutes had passed since that first warning shout before the bulk of 5 Ork trukks could be seen screaming over or rather through, the remains of the pipe lines.
"Mister Mace, target target the left vehicle. Corporal Leask, shoot one of them, anyone, but hurry up will you. Runner! Runner! Order the Battery to openfire on the lead vehicle. Red Troop, gunners target the vehicle half left." The orders tumbled out, one after another as the commanders mind raced to take in to account everything he could see and hear. The trucks were moving fast, too fast, there was no way that they would be able to deal with them before the mobs were upon them. To his left Master of Ordnance, Artillery Captain Mace, spoke in to his vox caster, issuing coordinates and fire missions in the cool calm voice of a season veteran. Mean while to his front, the veteran Corporals, Leask and Irvine, lined up the closest trukk in the sights of the missile launcher.
Within seconds the air was alive with fire and smoke as every weapon seemed to come to life at once. The deep thump of the Wyverns against the sharp crack of the autocannons and the roar of the missile launcher against the shriek of the incoming rounds from the MoO's artillery strike. But despite all this, the Orks came on with barely a scratched paint job, all that is except the trukk that bursed in to flames, ork boyz spilling from the flaming trukk. Jhonisoun would like to have taken some satisfaction in that small victory but it seemed that the Orks had other ideas.
Almost as one, all the trukks slammed on their brakes, skidding to a halt barely meters in front of the defense line, a space that was very quickly filled with huge green skinned monstrosities, and at the center, almost directly infront of the commander, was possibly the biggest and ugliest thing the commander had ever seen. There was no time to do anything else but watch the events unfold before him. It was at time like these that generals were useless, there would be no order or disciplined firing line, only raw fury and the instinct to survive. The gouts of flame off to his right told him that Lt Wischert's command squad were doing their best to hold the right flank and the distant tink and crack of grenade launchers told him that Sandesoun's command squad was off to his left. In front of him was turning in to a blood bath. He had seen a few of the green skins go down under the panicked firing of lasrifles as the brutes charged, but now the Orks were making short work of the guardsmen, although they were not having it all their own way.
One of the few things that Jhonisoun could do, he did. The Quadgun picked up the screaming ork bomber as it flew in low to their left, opening fire in a stream of bright tracers. It was not clear if the rounds struck home or not, the monstrosity was belching black smoke and weaving all over the sky already, it was impossible to tell if there was more or less smoke and movement once the Quadgun had spoken. It was almost the last thing it did as well, as no sooner had it targeted the xenon flyer, it found itself a target of multiple rockets, fired from the trukks, although it appeared that the recent actions and the excitement of the charging mobs had broken the gunners aim, as all but one sailed harmlessly overhead. The one that did strike, only glanced the machine, doing minimal damage.
By the time the initial charge had settled, most of red platoon was down, with just a few guardsmen still standing to his right, most likely due to the priest in their mists. There were few that would run or falter under the glare of one of the emperors chosen disciples. He would have to hope that they would hold.
"Incoming, sir! To the rear! Navy by the looks of it"
The noise of the aircraft engines grew louder, Wolf Slayer and Deliverance, and aboard one of them, probably Wolf Slayer, was Captain Thomassoun and his command squad. Jhonisoun could feel the relief amongst his squad, they had some support and hopefully with it Yellow platoon would emerge. Wolf Slayer made an immediate impact as the lascannon bolts streamed overhead to slice through the ork bomber to Jhonisoun's left and deliverance wasn't far behind, the rocket pods opening up with their characteristic ripping sound, churning up the ground to Jhonisoun's front. It was reassuring to hear, what was not was the whoosh of the heavy Flamer on the front of one of the Wyverns. The sight of the building bellowing flame and smoke was something to behold, but it was not a good sign, that the enemy was so close to the vehicles that the crew were having to use such a close defense weapon.
There was little Jhonisoun could do about it though, as Yellow platoon had yet to show up and the ork warlord and his unit were moving towards his position. It was the sight of the last guardsmen being overrun, as the priest was cut down, that showed just how desperate the situation was. Jhonisoun steeled himself for the Orks attack, but as the Orks approached and raised their weapons, it was clear to Jhonisoun that the battle was lost.
The flames ended all further though.
The flames leapt from the barrels of the Orks guns, washing over Jhonisoun and his command squad, it was all the commander could do to pray for a quick death.
The lights were a dim red. The vibrations unsettling and constant. But As the commander came to, it was the noises that had the most impact, not the humming of the engines, no it was the moaning and groaning of dozens of men. Jhonisoun could not move, couldn't look around, all he could see was the underside of the stretcher on the rack above him. He blinked and stared at it for some time before he could figure out why it didn't quite look right. He was looking through only one eye, his left. The memories of those last few minutes on the battle field were painful, almost as painful as the sensations that were starting to return to him.
"Commander, your back with us then? For a moment I didn't think you were going to make it"
The commander stared at the man. Was he one of his? No, wrong uniform. A Yeoman, one of the Hrossey Yeomanry. That would explain the chimera.
"What happened? Who claims the field?"
The answer was not what he had hoped to hear, but he had to admit, not as bad as he had feared.
Thomsssoun had dropped from the vendetta to try and save the commander, but had been gravely wounded taking down several of the beasts. Both the wyverns of the 56th had been damaged by the rampaging Orks and would need the careful ministrations of the techpriests to function again, but worst of all, red platoon had been decimated. Yellow platoon had swept through the position, arriving too late to do anything but collect bodies. While the Orks had been eliminated, there was no way to hold the field and so yellow platoon had gathered up the wounded, loaded the worst on the the navy planes and had withdrawn, leaving the Orks to do the same.
The 851st were out of the fight for the moment. They needed to lick their wounds, deep and painful as they were. But they would return, they would reclaim the field, Jhonisoun swore to that, or at least he would have done, had he not have fallen unconscious.