No honour for a victory (Failed sumbission complete)

Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim, dark future there is only war.

No honour for a victory (Failed sumbission complete)

Postby Bod the inquisitor » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:16 am

The following short story is one of my submissions for the 2011 BL open submission window. Obviously, it failed the test for the Editor gods of BL towers :cry: Its based loosely on the experiences of a German machine gunner on the beaches of Normandy, I think Omaha if memory serves. I hope you all enjoy reading :D Oh I've split it up into multiple posts so it easier to read in multiple sittings without losing your place.

*Part 1*

The wickedly spiked ramp fell into the sea, kicking up a sheet of white frothy water as it embedded itself in the sand. Even as the boiling sheet of water collapsed a confused mass of green bodies tumbled from the alien craft down the ramp.

Gretchin, driven half mad by their primitive blood lust, pushed and shoved at each other in their eagerness to be the first to claim a kill. Inevitably, some were pushed off the ramp, disappearing into the sea. A few bobbed back to the surface coughing and spluttering. Thrashing away at the churning sea they slowly swam towards the shore and shallower water. Most had lost their weapons, in their desperate struggle to stay alive. Those Gretchin that reached the end of the ramp fared little better. Rushing head long into water so deep it reached up to their scrawny necks. It forced them to hold their weapons aloft in a vain attempt to keep them clear of the violently frothing sea as they waded ashore.

Corporal Jun Hydran was only slightly relieved to see the small aliens and not their larger Ork cousins. He had fought the Ork's before, and knew they were using their diminutive brethren to drain the fire power and will of the Imperial defenders. If any other race had employed such tactics Hydran would have thought them cowardly; but cowardice was not something you found Ork's displaying. They just used the Gretchin to preoccupy the defenders while the Ork mobs charged into the enemy to engage them in the preferred close combat that Ork's seemed to revel in so much. All the imperial defenders knew they had to prevent that from happening. They all knew it would all be over, if they let the Ork's get in amongst them.

Taking careful aim Hydran opened fire, maintaining fire discipline with short round bursts he marched the heavy solid slugs through the mass of struggling Gretchin. Arms were torn free, chests caved in, and heads burst as the heavy machine gun rounds ripped apart the little aliens. The sea surrounding the ramp was quickly discoloured by the copious amounts of xenos blood spilling out of their shattered bodies.

Then a relative storm of las fire joined the corporal's tracer rounds, zipping through the air, killing Gretchin whenever they struck the xenos. The guardsmen in the positions surrounding Hydran's own gun pit had joined the fight.

Sweeping his fire over the gaping entrance to the landing craft Hydran saw five huge shapes through the mist of water and blood kicked up by the fusillade of imperial fire. Ork slavers controlling the mob of Gretchin. An evil smile flashed across the corporal's face, this was an opportunity less experienced troopers might have missed, and Hydran had no intention of letting it go.

“Keep that belt running clean and true Gredal.”

“Will do boss” replied his loader and friend.

Hydran stopped firing while he shifted his aim, he did not want the Ork slavers to see their doom coming. One began to whip the Gretchin in front of it; Hydran chose it to die first. He fired a short burst into the centre of the hulking monsters chest. The rounds fired by his heavy stubber could punch through light armour and even brick walls, killing whatever hid behind them; they were that powerful. Concentrating a burst on one target for any creature other than an Ork, would have been over kill. But Ork's were tougher than most. Hydran had seen an Ork take a heavy stubber round to the chest and still carry on fighting, like it had been stung by nothing more than an insect. The barrage of rounds he laid into it pulped the xenos monsters chest and it fell, never to rise again.

Without pause Hydran fired again, walking a long burst around the tight knot of slavers. A second Ork fell, its head vaporised by multiple hits. Then a single round shattered a third alien’s armoured shoulder guard; two more rounds hitting in quick succession knocked the brute to its knees. The corporal did not get a chance to finish the job. Seeing its weakened state the Gretchin swarmed over it, slashing and stabbing they took bloody revenge for all the beatings and killings they suffered at its hands.

One of the slavers, roaring in rage, slammed a sparking club into a large leathery green ball at its feet. The Squig, little more than a mindless ill tempered walking mouth leapt at the gaggle of Gretchin tearing the Ork slaver apart piece meal. Hydran shot the wild beast as its maw closed around one Gretchin’s head. It burst like an overcooked rotten egg, sending thick glutinous strands flying in all directions. Several of its teeth were left embedded in the half chewed Gretchin's skull.

Hydran quickly dispatched the two remaining Ork slavers, reducing their chests to bloody pulp with concentrated bursts. Their masters dead the Gretchin quickly reverted to type, just as the corporal knew they would. What little natural courage they had, had been blown clean out of them by the withering torrent of imperial fire.

Those xenos still alive inside the landing craft started tearing and smashing their way into cover, breaking apart the ramshackle craft as they fought with each other, and the machine to find somewhere to hide. The survivors in the water scattered, racing for any shelter they could find as the hail of deadly light and solid rounds swept the beach.

It was a scene repeated all along the miles of beach, as the experienced troopers of the five imperial guard regiments fought against the greenskin tide that had slammed into their defences. Lord General Grifthna, commander of the thirty third Luson army group had rushed those particular regiments to defend Sonip's coast line by no accident. They had all fought and won against the Ork's on many battlefields. They knew how to defeat Orks, keep Ork at a distance and you will defeat the Ork. In a matter of minutes the men and women of those five regiments mercilessly demonstrated that maxim. The greenskin's first wave, which had outnumbered the imperial defenders six to one, was reduced to a disorganised rabble of panic stricken individuals, only interested in preserving their own lives.

A second Ork landing craft drew Hydran's attention as it rushed towards him, pushing a wave of foaming water before it. This one was aimed almost directly at him. It made it seem more personal somehow, like the xenos it contained were out to get him personally.

He rolled his shoulders, then hunched down behind his heavy stubber once more. Firing a short burst he watched with satisfaction as several of the heavy rounds punched through weaker parts of the armoured ramp. Encouraged he fired another longer burst, working the stream of solid rounds around the ramp for maximum effect.

The landing craft beached and the ramp dropped. Hydran fired another long burst; his rounds punching small holes in the wall of frothy water kicked high into the air.

As the water fell back down the corporal could just make out a ridge of dead Gretchin at the top of the ramp, all torn flesh and shattered bone. Then a wave of the filthy xenos boiled over the top of the corpse ridge; driven on by the violence of their larger cousins Hydran knew were lurking at the back of the landing craft.

Shifting his aim he unleashed a long burst into the rear area of the Ork machine, determined to kill the slave masters and break the Gretchin's morale once again.

A blinding white light filled his vision, mere moments before a roaring wall of sound assaulted his ears as a fire ball leapt into the sky. It rolled and billowed high into the air, before collapsing back down to be replace by a pillar of thick acrid, black smoke.

As Hydran's vision cleared he saw flaming Gretchin stumbling out of the shattered landing craft. Every one disappeared under the waves as they tried to put out the flames that consumed their flesh; none reappeared, except as sodden chard corpses.

“Yeh wooh we did it, Emperor be praised we stopped them didn't we Hydran, I knew you would” shouted Gredal.

Hydran's only reply was to give his friend a slap to the back of the head, it was all the communication he needed.

“Sorry corporal” there was not a hint of reproach in Gredal's voice.

Hydran knew it wasn't Gredal's fault; he was just not very bright. It had made him the butt of nearly every practical joke in the platoon; until Hydran had taken pity on the man and put him under his unspoken protection. It was not like he had wanted to; Gredal's child like outlook reminded the corporal of his own brother. At the thought of his brother bitter memories flooded Hydran’s mind for a moment, he suppressed them. Now was not the time, in an attempt at distracting himself he looked out to sea, and immediately wished he had not looked.

The sight sent a chill down his spine as he watched the throng of typically Orkish ships steaming towards the coast. At the front came a mass of craft like those already beached. They seemed incapable of keeping formation and appeared to jostle with each other for a prime position.

Smaller craft with impossibly large armoured gun turrets darted about between their bigger companions. Their turrets weight was so great the bows barely stayed above the surface. It made the gun boats look like they were about to sink at any moment. Watching the little gun boats darting about Hydran hoped those squads stationed either side of him had a good supply of anti armour rockets.

Not for the first time the corporal wished for more artillery support, if only there had been time to get an artillery regiment, or even a company or two in place before the battle. How different things would be if the imperial defenders could call upon those heavy guns. They could have lobbed high explosive shells in amongst the packed ranks of the impossible Ork craft. Sending many greenskin's to the bottom of the sea. It would have been a massacre to lighten the heart of even the most pessimistic imperial guardsmen. It was not a situation the troops of those guard units who had been rushed to the front liked. They all knew all too well that without the heavy equipment, this was going to be a tough and bloody fight.

Hydran's dark thoughts were broken by the appearance of yet another landing craft emerging from the smoke billowing off the burning wreck. This one carried Ork's. They were shooting into the air and waving the massive cleavers they loved so much. Involuntarily the corporal shudder at the sight as unbidden dark memories of comrades lost to those heavy rusty blades filled his mind; their body’s shattered, hacked to bloody pieces in a killing frenzy like no human could muster. Few survived a close encounter with one of those blades.

As the landing crafts ramp dropped corporal Hydran shouted at Gredal to get several ammunition boxes ready for easy access. The Gretchin had just been a warm up, now the Ork's were here; the real fight was about to begin.
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Re: No honour for a victory (Failed sumbission complete)

Postby Bod the inquisitor » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:17 am

*Part 2*

With practiced hands Hydran fitted yet another belt of ammunition into the breach of the heavy stubber. Closing it up he worked the bolt a couple of times to chamber the first round. The whole enterprise was becoming an all too familiar process for him today and he could not quite remember how many times he had done it. But in Hydran's experience fighting ork's was always heavy on ammunition.

Job done he looked up to find a target; and was surprised to find none. The beach was empty, apart from dead Ork's and their wrecked machines. It was only then that he realised the normal sounds of battle had momentarily fallen away. Only a few odd artillery shells screaming over his head disturbed the ominous silence. It was like the eye of a raging storm had moved over the imperial lines, a brief respite of peace and tranquillity before the storm of deadly battle returned. Hydran was no stranger to this oddity of war and knew it could be even more deadly than the fighting; lulling the unwary into a false sense of security. The corporal had seen many a green trooper, fresh from boot camp lose their head, often quite literally, that way. Turning his attention to the sea Hydran searched for the return of deadly battle he knew was coming. He could not see much, smoke drifted across the water, creating a near impenetrable wall of fluffy dirty grey. It was the most effective smoke screen the corporal had ever seen, even if it was accidental.

Flashes, almost missed in the thick smoke caught Hydran's attention. He grabbed Gredal, pulling him down they both hit the hard packed earth of the gun pits floor together. The distinctive freight train rumble of large calibre artillery shells roared over the corporal's head as he screwed his eyes shut; all the time praying to the Emperor that none of the shells landed on his little refuge. Huge explosions tore through the air and set tremors rippling through the ground as the shells landed behind the imperial lines where they did little damage. It demonstrated the typical ork disregard for accuracy; the wall of smoke would not have helped, but then that would not have bothered the ork's. They would be revelling in the noise and sound created by their efforts.

As the rumbling and shaking of the artillery strike dissipate a new sound pushed into Hydran's mind. It was the heavy repetitive thudding impact of autocannon rounds sweeping the sand bag wall that topped his position, mercifully it moved on.

Hydran leapt to his feet; fear for his heavy stubber biting at his courage, until he saw it was unharmed.

Reaching down he grabbed Gredal by the scruff of the neck and yanked him upright. Some would have accused the man of being a coward, the corporal knew better. It was just another example of the man's simpleton nature; he just needed a prod and poke in the right direction, besides, so far he'd never let Hydran down. Gredal did try to improve himself, as his well thumbed copy of the infantry mans uplifting prima testified to. Though, the corporal often wondered if the little private was just looking at the pictures.

Despite years of experience in the guard the sight that greeted Hydran was enough to almost freeze his blood with fear. An armoured behemoth, driving a great wave of sand choked water before it, was thrusting its way up the beach. Its bow was festooned with gun turrets of varying sizes, all firing wildly into the air. For a moment Hydran feared the thing would never stop. That it would slam into the imperial defences, ripping a huge hole in them, which it's inevitable cargo of screaming frenzied ork's would pour through.

The corporal searched the huge beast, desperate to find a target any target that might slow it, stop it digging up the beach like some monstrous giants plough. He could not find anything; but fired anyway just to calm his nerves and vent his frustration.

Eventually, the armoured monster came to a stop, its bow raised completely out of the water, a bank of sand covering the exposed keel. The ships mad dash up the beach had actually worked against the ork's. Most of the turrets crammed into the bow were unable to depress their guns low enough to hit the imperial lines. Instead, they waved about like some mechanical parody of a mythical ocean monster’s tentacles, spitting fire and shot into the air. Those few turrets that could fire upon the imperial positions began to rake them with merciless fire, spreading death and destruction up and down the line.

They did not go unanswered. Fiery trails leapt into the air as several rockets, followed by scattered autocannon fire slammed into the ork ship, peppering the turrets with armour piercing shot. One by one the turrets were knocked out. Some caught fire, flames licking out from beneath their rims. Others just fell quiet, gun barrels going limp. A few blew up spectacularly, torn from their mountings they were thrown high into the air to land randomly about the battlefield. One crashed back down onto the deck of the ship with such force it sent a rippling shudder throughout the crafts structure. A wave of sound that told of metal tearing under great stress washed out from the wounded ship. Despite the terrible damage two enclosed armoured gantries swung out and down, one on each side of the ship, presenting black gaping maws that promised a tide of green death. They slammed into the beach kicking up fountains of sand that obscured their dark mouths for a moment.

Hydran stared at the closest gantry as it violently shook and rattled. The bitter bite of fear knifed into his stomach as he realised what was about to happen. He swung his heavy stubber around, barely pausing to take aim before he unleashed a long burst into that dark foreboding maw. They met an ork emerging from the inky darkness, struck multiple times by the heavy rounds it fell to one side, dead. Another ork rushed out of the metal tube, only to lose its head to three of the solid rounds. As a third greenskin emerged Hydran could not help but wonder just how many ork's the huge ship contained. He was not sure if he really wanted to know the answer, he was certain he would not like it.

While the armoured gantry protected the ork's, it also worked in the imperial defenders favour. It limited the number of hulking greenskin's that could charge from its dark confines at any one time. It was an advantage that did not escape Hydran's notice. If nothing changed he knew he would be able to bottle up the ork's in the gantry, pinning them in place. Glancing to his left he could see a burst of tracer zipping its way across the beach heading for the ork ship. Happily he noted the absence of a tidal wave of greenskins charging up the beach there two. Another stubber gunner had had the same idea as him.

Three unwelcome taps to his right shoulder caused the corporals heart to miss a beat, it was a signal; the current ammunition box was running low. Hydran knew that in the precious seconds it took to reload the heavy stubber with a fresh belt several battle crazed ork's would make it onto the beach unharmed. In frustration the corporal fired a long burst into the gantry's dark mouth before he could master his anger. Settling himself he waited for a real target to emerge from the darkness as the seconds ticked away, each feeling like an eternity. Finally, an ork emerged, stumbling, one arm limp by its side wet with blood. The corporal realised his petulant outburst had actually had a positive effect. A fire storm of las bolts slammed into the wounded ork killing it.

Just as the guardsmen was about to try the trick again, a rocket leapt out from the imperial lines, quickly followed by a second. The first punched into the ship's hull and exploded, tearing a ragged edged hole just above the armoured tube. Yet close enough the explosive force rocked the walkway. The second rocket slammed into the gantry its self and in a fiery explosion tore the armoured shell apart, cutting the walkway in two. With nothing to hold it up the severed end collapsed into the sea, kicking up a great sheet of water and sand. A few dazed and wounded ork's stumbled from the shattered section of walkway into a hail storm of las bolts, bringing them down one by one. It was an inspiring sight and a near perfect display of imperial martial might, Hydran wondered if it would be enough to stop the ork's.

Movement in the darkness of the ragged end of the gantry still attached to the ship drew his attention. An ork appeared, arms flailing, it teetered at the edge as it was pushed from behind, until it lost the battle to stay on the gantry and plummeted to the ground. It hit the edge of the fallen section of gantry, bouncing into the air before flopping like a rag doll into the sea dead. Even an ork could not survive such a fall. Several more ork's died the same way, before it dawned upon them that their route onto the beach was gone.

Hydran's experienced ear picked out the sound of mortar bombs flying over head a second before they impacted. One bomb landed in the sea kicking up a tower of water and sand a mere meter from the ship’s hull. Three more landed on the ship’s deck creating fiery plumes above the ship. Several flaming ork bodies were kicked into the air and over the side of the ship as another volley of the deadly bombs fell screaming upon the deck. More ork bodies torn and bloody were kicked high into the air; some fell back onto the ship, others into the sea, none moved again.

Two of the deadly mortar bombs from a third volley slammed into the ship's hull tearing the rusty metal apart, leaving a huge hole in the ships side. The imperial mortar crews had unwittingly made a new exit for the ork's. Hydran hunkered down behind his heavy stubber cursing the fickle fortunes of war as he waited for the inevitable onrush of greenskin's he knew was coming.

He did not have to wait long, three Ork's leapt from the ragged hole, guns blazing cleavers waving above their heads. Taking aim he unleashed a short burst taking out one of the Ork's and wounding another before the terrible sound of the firing bolt hitting an empty chamber filled his ears, his stubber had run dry. Gredal, despite his simpletons mind, unnoticed by Hydran, had already prepared a fresh ammunition box. Expectantly he held out a belt of ammunition, like a mother holding a new borne. Despite the tension Hydran smiled. Gredal might be a little simple in the head, finding it difficult to grasp complex tasks but those few he did know, he performed flawlessly.

Taking the fresh ammunition belt Hydran opened the breach and fed it into his hungry weapon.

“Corporal, we've only got seven boxes left,” shouted Gredal.

That shocked Hydran; they had started with fifteen boxes, he could not quite believe they had chewed their way through that many. Suddenly he realised he was not even sure how long they had been fighting.

“You'd best go get some more then Gredal, oh and see if you can't scare up some barrels. At this rate we're gonna need more than the standard.”

“Yes corp,” replied Gredal.

The little man moved to the gun pits rear exit.

“Hey num-nut,” shouted Hydran as he grabbed Gredal's las carbine. “Don't forget your personal weapon, commissar Froden would love to catch you without it.”

“Urrrr, yeh corp, um was just going to get it,” lied Gredal as he turned, shuffling back to Hydran to retrieve the weapon.

Shaking his head Hydran turned back to his heavy stubber. His first burst brought down three ork's though one was only wounded. A short burst aimed at the creatures head soon put an end to the hulking xenos. But inevitably more ork's hove into view. For Hydran that was a perfect example of the problem with ork's, you could kill a load of the greenskin scum, but there were always more behind them.
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Re: No honour for a victory (Failed sumbission complete)

Postby Bod the inquisitor » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:19 am

*Part 3*

Looking up from reloading his weapon Hydran searched for a target, it did not take him long to find one. An ork carrying what, despite its alien origins, could only be a flamer. The double tanks strapped to the creatures back, each with a flexible tube snaking around the greenskins body to the long barrelled weapon it held must have been heavy. The massive alien was not moving as quickly as its lighter armed brethren; it took a lot to slow down an Ork.

Taking careful aim the corporal fired, a slightly longer burst than he intended, this time the fortunes of war worked in his favour. The first half dozen rounds tore apart the alien's chest. The force of their impact spinning it ever so slightly as it fell, exposing the fuel tanks to the following machine gun rounds. They struck the tanks with huge force, tearing holes the size of a man's fist in the metal, allowing the compressed flammable contents to escape, exposing it to the burning embrace of the tracer rounds fired by Hydran's weapon. The corporal was forced to look away as the very air around the flamer unit burst into a roaring conflagration. He knew it was his imagination, but he could almost feel the intense heat burning his exposed skin as the rolling ball of flames expanded outwards.

Turning back the guardsman was just in time to see the angry ball of flames collapse back upon itself, leaving several charred smoking bodies behind. A small number of Gretchin, despite being caught in the blast, were still alive. Trailing flames they dashed about looking for help, something, anything; to put out the flames that hungrily consumed their flesh. Not a single guardsman fired at the living torches. No one was willing to waste the ammunition on a mercy kill, not for xenos scum. It was a sight that gave Hydran a sense of pride that he fought alongside such men, men that knew their true duty to the Emperor and how best to perform it.

The fiery death of their comrades did not seem to dent the greenskin's enthusiasm for battle. As one a great mass of the brutal creatures came boiling over the ridge line attempting to rush the imperial defenders, bellowing war cry's in their guttural xenos language, waving weapons in the air; an unmistakeable promise of brutal violent death.

“Not today you foul warp spawned alien scum, not while corporal Jun Hydran is still fit and well,” he growled to himself.

With practiced ease Hydran began pouring fire into the aliens, each controlled burst took out numerous greenskins yet there was always more behind them. In their rush they stampeded over the dead and dying alike, crushing them to a bloody pulp as blood lust flooded their minds. Their only desire was to get at the imperial troops and start rending flesh and crushing bones.

Hydran kept up a steady rate of fire knowing he could do little else. The corporal just hoped that Gredal returned before he ran out of ammunition for his heavy stubber.

*Part 4*

Firing two long bursts into the thick knot of ork's Hydran was surprised by their reaction, until he spotted what was behind them. Five great lumbering figures in heavy rusting armour were brutally driving their way through the other ork's, killing those to slow to react and get clear. These hulking greenskins were easily twice the size of the ork's around them, and their crude armour made them that much bigger. They carried oversized weapons, typically crude savage things, festooned with spikes and blades.

Hydran had seen their like once before, ork elite troops their officer cadre, though he was not sure if ork's had such a thing. Even by ork standards these xenos were immensely tough with weaponry more deadly than their smaller comrades. They were also particularly vicious in close combat. It would be a struggle for his heavy stubber to bring these hulking brutes down. Not for the first time the corporal cursed his luck and wished he had a heavy bolter or autocannon instead of the stubber. They were weapons Hydran had found could easily kill even these colossal greenskins.

Hunkering down behind his weapon he selected one of the massive beasts at random. Taking careful aim on its chest he unleashed the fury of the stubber. The heavy fifty calibre rounds it fired had difficulty getting through the thick ork armour. Even when they did punch through the ramshackle, surprisingly effective armour, it robbed them of their killing power. So much so they barely penetrated the thick ork hide beneath. Slowly with care he walked the heavy rounds up the creature's chest until they reached its head. Even this monsters thick skull could not resist the power of the heavy stubber and it split apart in a shower of gore that splattered its nearest companions.

Hydran forced himself to pause for a moment, knowing that if he did not he risked the stubber's barrel warping, leading to a miss fire that could claim his life. The corporal had no intention of dying from such an avoidable, rookie mistake. He watched as the squads around him massed their fire against the smaller less tough ork's, again showing their experience in their choice of targets.

Just as the corporal chose his next target a rocket leapt out from the imperial lines. The ork's were so close now it took mere moments to reach its target where it exploded in a fire ball that engulfed the unlucky ork. When the smoke and dust cleared Hydran saw the ork had a massive hole punched clean through its chest. It managed to take one more step, before it fell like a toppled tree. The rocket team had used an armour piecing round to penetrate the thick ramshackle armour.

Pressing the trigger Hydran poured fire into his selected xenos aiming for its chest armour, he fully intended walking his aim up to the monsters head as before. However, unexpectedly the thudding impact of the fifty calibre rounds found a weak spot in the armour. A hair line crack, some minuscule fault in the metal, yet it was enough for the repetitive pounding impacts of the heavy rounds to exploit. The thick armoured plate shattered exposing the tough ork flesh beneath. Robbed of the shielding effect of the armour even the huge ork's tough hide was unable to resist the punishment inflicted upon it by the heavy machine gun rounds. The ork died were it stood, its chest pulped by multiple hits.

As the lifeless xenos toppled to the sand the roar of mortar bombs over head pierced the sounds of battle. They fell upon the surviving ork's, covering them in a blanket of fire and smoke laced with lethal shrapnel. Bomb after bomb fell, sending ripples of explosive force billowing outwards to engulf the ork's. When the barrage finally lifted and the dust cleared there was no sign of the last armoured ork. Only shattered bloody greenskin bodies remained, littering the beach around smoking craters.

A half heard noise in the access trench behind him caused Hydran's hand to drop involuntarily to his right thigh and the las pistol holstered there. Instinct told him it was his friend returning with more ammunition, but he still kept his hand on the pistol.

“Friendly's to your rear, friendly's,” shouted a voice barely heard above the tumultuous cacophony of sound that assaulted Hydran's ears. It was not Gredal's voice, it was only as Lieutenant Ryd Klin emerged from the access trench that Hydran finally realised who it was.

Hydran's platoon commander carried an ammunition box and the corporal could see the thick straps of an ammunition cage across the officer's chest and shoulders. A second man quickly followed the lieutenant into the dugout, also laden down with ammunition. He stumbled over to Hydran and dropped two boxes beside the Corporal's legs.

Seeing the quizzical look on the lieutenants face Hydran realised his hand still rested upon his pistol.

“Expecting trouble corporal?”

“Urr, was expecting private Gredal sir, you don't sound like Gredal. Pay’s to be cautious, in my experience sir.”

“Yes Gredal, don't worry about him Hydran, he was wounded but nothing a couple of weeks in the care of the medica won't sort out. I'm sure he's been medivaced already.”

“He'll love that; he'll milk it for all it's worth the lucky bugger," replied Hydran.

The corporal was surprised to find he was more relieved than worried for his friend. In truth Hydran was like many in the platoon who thought Gredal just did not belong on the front line. Though his belief sprang more out of compassion, while the others motives were more mean spirited and selfish.

Lieutenant Klin smiled weakly nodding in agreement, he knew of the friction within the platoon over Gredal. He was grateful that Hydran had taken pity upon the simpleton, shielded him from the predations of the others. Being without friends in the guard was a near death sentence.

“Do you need a replacement Hydran, it’s gonna be a long day here all on your own?”

“No I'll be fine sir,” replied Hydran before turning back to the heavy stubber. “I've got things about covered here,” he said, spotting a small group of ork's running for the cover of a shell hole around two hundred metres away. “Oh-no you don't,” he grumbled, forgetting he had company.

A long burst caught the aliens three metres from their goal and one by one they fell.

“So I see corporal, anything you want when I return this way?”

“Just some more water sir for me and the barrel, these damn ork's can take a lot of punishment. Sir any word on the reinforcements?”

“Still awaiting word from regiment, last I heard there was some kind of foul up. The munitorium guys sent down more supplies rather than men.”

“Supplies we got, its people who know one end of a las rifle from another we need,” snorted Hydran “We're crawling with ork's.”

“From the reports I've seen we got off lightly. I'll see what I can do about water Hydran,” he said before heading for the exit.

Hydran spotted Gredal's worn out copy of the infantryman's uplifting primer. He grabbed the tattered book and spun around just as the lieutenant was disappearing into the access trench.

“Lieutenant Klin sir," he shouted surprising himself with the slight hit of desperation in his voice.

The lieutenant reappeared, a concerned look on his face.

“You wouldn't mind seeing that Gredal gets this if he's not been medivaced already, that lunk head will be lost without it.”

The officer looked at the small worn book for a moment then stepped forward and took it.

“He'll get it corporal,” he said before turning and leaving.

Hydran turned back to the beach just in time to see another of the Ork's massed charges explode over the top of a ridge line half way up the beach. The corporal whispered a quick prayer to the Emperor, asking him to look after his friend and in return he'll keep killing the Emperor's enemies until his last breath. With that Hydran set about fulfilling his part in the unspoken agreement.
Ordos: Lectorformator

Enter my children,
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Enter and leave the light,
Enter and forever join the ranks of the damned.

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Stories from my past
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Bod the inquisitor
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Re: No honour for a victory (Failed sumbission complete)

Postby Bod the inquisitor » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:21 am

*Part 5*

The unwelcome sound of the heavy stubber's firing pin slamming into an empty breach filled Hydran's ears. It was not for the first time today, but this time it sent a stab of panic knifing through his stomach. The difference this time was that it signalled he was out of ammunition. He grabbed his las rifle and hunkered down beside the now useless heavy weapon a steely resolve to carry on fighting sweeping over him. After all he had his bargain with the god Emperor to think about.

The corporal used the steady distinctive sound of hot metal cooling that came from the stubber's barrel to calm his breathing, before he began searching for his first target. An ork obligingly popped its head above the ridge line for a moment. It was all Hydran needed, exhaling he fired the moment his lungs were empty. It was a perfect shot, one that would have made any sniper happy. The las bolt burst the Ork's eye burning its way through the soft tissue and on into the beast's brain, killing it instantly.

He searched for another target, found one and demonstrated the first shot was no fluke. For some in the regiment his marksmanship was a source of wonder. What they did not realise was that though Hydran was proficient with weapons like the heavy stubber he truly came into his own when armed for the anti-tank role. He had a knick name within the heavy weapons teams, first time brewer, because he could brew up tanks with his first shot. That took tremendous marksmanship; anti tank weapons did not tend to have automatic fire modes. It was why he always made sure he had a good las rifle when he was fighting from a static position.

The sniping also helped keep his mind off the situation. Without the rapid fire power of the heavy stubber this section of the front was dangerously exposed. Hydran hoped the lieutenant arrived with fresh ammunition before the ork's realised his weapon had fallen silent. Though certainly not the brightest of creatures, they were not exactly slow when it came to understanding the ebb and flow of war. The corporal was under no illusions; his prestigious sniping skills would not be enough to stop the ork's reaching the front lines and then the real dying would begin.

*Part 6*

Hydran tore open the thin tin sheet lining then fished out the end of the new ammunition belt so he could reload the heavy stubber. All the time the sound of ork rounds thudding into the sand bag wall rattled around in his ears; a constant reminder of the urgency of his task. It also served as a reminder of just how close to the imperial lines the tidal wave of ork's was getting each time it swept over the ridge line. The high water mark, as defined by shattered ork bodies, was no less than a hundred metres from the imperial defenders.

The corporal knew the squads around him must have taken a beating, he had certainly noticed a drop in the weight of fire they were putting out. If he was right he knew the defenders would not be able to repel the ork's when they finally managed to break into the trenches. It was going to be a short, bloody, one sided fight.

As those dark thoughts filled his mind Hydran spotted a group of ork's fumbling with what passed for an ork grenade, typically it was over sized and ugly. No human could hope to throw a grenade over such a distance, but the ork's strength meant they could.

Hydran swung the muzzle of his stubber around and sighted on the ork's, pausing for a moment, he hoped to catch them at the perfect time. He fired a long burst killing two ork's out right, a third, its belly torn open fell to its knees, dropping the deadly stick grenade it had just primed. One of its comrades, realising the danger turned to run, it was not quite fast enough. A hail of shrapnel, thrown out by the exploding grenade crippled it. Its slower witted comrades were killed outright. Either cut down by shrapnel or they had their insides pulped by the shock wave that rippled outwards pushing a billowing wall of sand before it.

“Not quick enough were you huh greenskin,” whispered Hydran as he turned his heavy stubber on the wounded ork, killing it instantly.

“Be aware imperial to your rear,” shouted lieutenant Kiln a second before the man himself emerged from the access trench, he looked exhausted.

The lieutenant dropped two ammunition boxes at Hydran's feet before straightening, putting his hands to his back.

“There's a nasty rumour going about that the reinforcements are on their way so keep an eye out and don't shoot any of them,” he said before turning to collect two more boxes of ammunition from the access trench.

“Looks like we're going to get out of this one corporal, thank the Emperor. I can't promise anything but we should be pulled out of the line once the reinforcements get here, until then . . .” said Kiln.

“Yes lieutenant, keep fighting and killing.”

The lieutenant smiled weakly and nodded in agreement before turning and leaving.

Hydran turned his attention back to the beach and searched for something to kill, unwilling to let himself believe that the nightmare would be over soon.

*Part 7*

Hydran flung the empty ammunition box aside, it landed on the pile that filled one corner of the little machine gun nest. The box hung there for a second, before losing its fight against the pull of gravity and tumbled down to the earthen floor. Hydran paid the noisy descent little attention, he opened another box took out its fully charged belt before feeding it into the heavy stubber’s breach.

The lieutenant's latest promise that the reinforcements were on their way, still filled Hydran's mind. It had been the third time the officer had promised they were coming, yet none had. Only the ork's seemed to be getting reinforced, each massed charge was growing larger and taking longer to beat back. The last one had almost reached the imperial lines, the corporal suspected in places it had.

A sound, in the access trench, only just heard above the constant noise of war, drew Hydran’s attention. Straining his hearing he waited for the expected shout he had heard so many times, it never came and confusion reigned in his mind. The corporal wondered if he was that tired, tired enough to imagine things, he had certainly been fighting for a long time with no rest. Taking a deep breath the guardsman tried to calm his turbulent mind. He succeeded until another noise drifted out of the access trench. There was something about it that screamed danger to his tired mind, though he could not quite understand what it was. It came again, louder this time, distinct a rumbling grunt so deep and alien, it could never have come from any human throat.

Hydran spun launching himself to his left as one hand fell to the holstered las pistol. A massive foul smelling ork burst into the machine gun nest bellowing, full of murderous intent. Las rounds stitched their way across the beast’s belly cutting it open, spilling its steaming guts upon the ground. The guardsman had not even realised he had fired. The stink of burnt flesh filled the corporal's nose as the ork collapsed to its knees roaring in pain; a thundering yell that shook Hydran's very bones. As if summoned by its wounded comrade’s mighty roar, a second hulking xenos appeared. It showed little compassion to its fellow ork, barging past it knocking the injured greenskin to the ground in its haste to get at Hydran. He shifted the las pistols muzzle, ever so slightly, and trusting in his instinct, fired, the bright beam of energy sliced into the ork's face. At such short range even a las pistol could punch through an ork's thick skull. Again the smell of burnt flesh, only this time it was accompanied by that of burnt bone.

The corporal did not have time to savour the kill. A third ork appeared over the lip of the gun pits wall, hanging there for a moment before it leapt with a triumphant roar. Hydran felt the very ground beneath his back shudder with the impact as the beast landed, it was so close and heavy. Its foul xenos smell filled his nostrils, a mixture of old mouldy cloth and rancid sickly meat, so strong it made his eyes water and he had to fight the urge to retch up the contents of his stomach. Without a second's pause the stinking greenskin monster swung the rusted, notched, cleaver it held in one hand.

Hydran did the only thing he could, ignoring every nerve in his body, which screamed at him to get away from the monster, he rolled towards it, cursing as he dropped the las pistol. He could almost feel the cold metal of the cleaver imbedding its self in his flesh, driven by the insane alien fury of the ork. Coming to a halt he frantically searched for the las pistol, or anything that might help him, anything that may prolong his life that little bit longer. His questing fingers touched the cold metal shaft of his entrenching tool. Grasping the object he swung it with all the strength he could muster, giving thanks to the Emperor for making him take the time to sharpen the edge the night before. It hit the ork's knee, catching it just right; the blow shattered the xenos’s knee cap. The beast's blood lust was so high it failed to register the wound, until it shifted its massive bulk, putting more weight onto the injured limb than it could hold; causing the greenskin to collapse, roaring in frustration and a little confusion.

Hydran was on his feet before his conscious mind even realised he was moving. Screaming in fury and a burning hatred filling his mind, he swung the improvised weapon once more. A massive over head blow. The blade bit into the tough ork hide drawing blood and a howl of pain from the xenos which quickly descended into a wet gurgling noise. He struck again and again with wild abandonment, hacking at the alien monsters neck. An animal like frenzy had over taken his mind. The corporal barely registered the hard jarring impact when the blade made contact with the ork's vertebrae. Yet he continued; all conscious thoughts submerged in a killing rage, an in human lust to spill blood and tear flesh.

Eventually the ork’s head rolled free, the ragged severed stump of its neck pumping blood onto the hard packed earthen floor. The sight and smell of all that blood drove Hydran's mind further into its killing frenzy.

A noise drew his attention and like a wild beast he launched himself through the machine gun nests entrance. The bloody entrenching tool held high an animalistic roar erupting from his lips, his mind empty of any thought, but the desire to feel the blade of his improvised weapon cutting deep into living flesh.

The blow was blocked. A sudden jarring impact that halted the entrenching tools deadly arc. Hydran snarled and growled like a predator denied its meal. He pushed forward, rushing his opponent intent upon knocking them to the ground; so he could hack them to pieces.

Driven by that almost insane frenzy which had ceased control of his actions, he failed to notice there was something different about his opponent. He failed to notice the lack of bulk, the lack of that alien stink that usually accompanied an ork, he just did not care. All he wanted was to feel the flow of warm blood across his hands, have its sweet metallic smell fill his nose. Even the pain of the blunt object that slammed into his side failed to break the animal fury that clouded his mind. Lifting the entrenching tool he prepared to strike again. A second impact drove the half mad corporal to the ground a moment before another blow caused him to drop his bloody entrenching tool.

“Damn it man; we're imperial you fool, Imperial,” shouted a man, every word spat out in anger.

Robbed of his weapon the low imperial gothic words drilled their way into Hydran's hate filled mind, finally breaking the insane blood lusts grip. Looking up the corporal saw a forest of las rifle muzzles pointed at his head. Then, a rifle butt slammed into his forehead. Falling into unconsciousness a single word briefly blossomed in his mind, reinforcements.
Ordos: Lectorformator

Enter my children,
Enter and join the betrayed,
Enter and leave the light,
Enter and forever join the ranks of the damned.

My latest effort: Useful Adversaries and Heart’s desire

Stories from my past
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Bod the inquisitor
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Re: No honour for a victory (Failed sumbission complete)

Postby Bod the inquisitor » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:22 am

*Part 8*

Hydran walked into the court yard; again he was struck by how few of his regiment were here. They would have needed a space four times larger than this to muster the entire regiment just three days ago, before the battle at the coast. A single day of battle had reduced them to less than seven hundred officers and enlisted men, mostly enlisted men. There were a few more wounded, though not many of them would be returning to active front line service, not without extensive augmentation, which the guard was unlikely to pay for.

Sleep had occupied most of the corporals time since the battle. Where, more often than not he relived those last few terrifying moments in the machine gun nest, as he had fought the ork. A silent watcher; helpless to intervene and stop the savagery, unable and unwilling to believe that he, was capable of such violence. Twice that same uncontrollable violence had followed him out of his dreams. He had awoken to shouts and rough hands pulling him away from comrades in surrounding bunks, his hands bloody and bruised, he had been trying to beat his comrades to death in some awful parody of that fight. No one would sleep in the bunks nearest to him now. There were whispered rumours that he was warp touched, or the battle had unhinged his mind, making him no better than his simpleton friend. Hydran had seen this sort of thing before, guardsmen could be a superstitious lot, it often led to the unfortunate trooper being ostracised and left to fend for themselves; they rarely lasted for long after that.

As the dark thoughts of exclusion buzzed through Hydran's mind he spotted the regiments surviving sergeants quietly moving through the ranks, getting them into some order. The regimental commander, quietly and without ceremony had entered the court yard; he was followed by the four surviving company commanders and the regimental commissar. Hydran was immediately struck by the thunderous, unhappy look Colonel Trasmun wore so openly. None of the regiment’s other officers looked happy either. Looking about him he saw most of the sergeants wore a stony flat expressionless look etched upon their faces.

Then his train of thought was broken by the unusual sight of Lord Commander Grifthna marching through a wide open door.

“Attention,” shouted the regimental sergeant major.

The harsh sound of around seven hundred boots stamping as one upon the court yards stone floor filled the space bouncing off the walls before fading away.

It was a rare event for the thirty third Luson army group's commander to appear before any of his regiments and went some way towards explaining colonel Trasmun's thunderous look. Something momentous was about to happen, something that did not please the colonel.

Without any ceremony colonel Trasmun stepped forward.

“Men, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Lord General Grifthnar commander of the thirty third Luson army group,” said Trasmun the tone of his voice left no uncertainty in Hydran's mind, the colonel was anything but pleased.

The army commander stepped forward; appearing to ignore the insubordinate tone in the colonel's voice and started speaking.

Hydran could not quite believe what he was hearing. It was common practice within the guard to disband and amalgamate units that had suffered severe casualties. But to disband and send the survivors to a completely different army group was extremely rare. There had been rumours that questions were being asked at the highest levels; why were so few men asked to defend such a large stretch of coast line? Why were they left without adequate support for so long?

This was an attempt at burying the whole affair. He and his comrades, considered damaged goods by one army group, were to be shipped off to another army group. After all, despite the imperial guard numbering in the billions, army groups were always short of men. Always looking to replenish the ranks, because war was a hungry beast and the imperium fought a million wars.
Ordos: Lectorformator

Enter my children,
Enter and join the betrayed,
Enter and leave the light,
Enter and forever join the ranks of the damned.

My latest effort: Useful Adversaries and Heart’s desire

Stories from my past
User avatar
Bod the inquisitor
Posts: 457
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:54 pm

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