Battlefield Casualty Replacement

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

Battlefield Casualty Replacement

Postby Boris » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:23 pm

Ladies, Gents, demented Muties!

It's been a while, longer than I expected. However, I have finally, courtesy of my Fiancée, typed up my entry that was sent forward for the Astra Militarum collection and, funnily enough, rejected with an email saying; "Thanks but no thanks!"

It is not completed, however as it has been such a time between me writing I thought it better to get some critique now than wait and have to smash out a complete re-write/re-phrase and such.

As such any points will be gratefully received. I'm back, and I'm bad! Obviously within certain sensible, preset parameters.

Battlefield Casualty Replacement

Fourteen Hours...

The statistic was flashing around every now and then, the statistic that dictated how long an Imperial Infantryman would last on the battlefield. The glaring error was, I was no Infantryman. With a lightning bolt decal and a laspistol at my hip i was, without a shadow of a doubt, NOT Infantry.

I had to make it through fourteen more hours then maybe, just maybe, I’d make it completely. ‘Maybe not.’ I thought as I heard the crump of artillery once more.

The rest of the squad could sleep, not a one stirred. I however, could not. It didn’t seem to matter that the rounds were going the other way, I couldn’t stop thinking about the “What If’s”

‘What if we get caught in it?’

‘What if I panic?’

That was my biggest worry, although I hadn’t voiced it. I didn’t think that these professionals would appreciate it. I had therefore passed the time organising what little equipment I had; my duffle, pistol belt and helmet. The vox, my vox, was sat with the Officer of the Watch. It’s pack looked deflated like me.

An alarm, a deep booming tone, shook me. It simply roused the others as if it were an normal occurrence. Given that they were the Garrison, it probably was. It caused a hustle and bustle of voiceless action, boots were strapped on, and jackets zipped, helmets knocked together. I could barely concentrate. It took all my being just
to focus. It was actually happening. I, an HQ Signaller, was going to war.

“Any sleep?”

I shook my head. To think that at one point I had hoped this would happen. Too many nights in Command Centres dealing with officers and Munitorum staffers had lead me to the trawl. I never imagined I’d be picked. It was only
when I saw the stamp on the top right ‘BCR’.

Battlefield Casualty Replacement.

Dead mans boots.

At this juncture, I had quite rightly sworn at the docket and wondered whose poor place I was filling. Before then I had never heard of Kai Zhan, let alone Vogen. Then I was here.

“Greene.” Sergeant Gamal growled. “Here. You’ll need this.”

He held up a bedraggled flak vest in the customary 122nd urban sprawl.

“Keep low, move fast?” it was the lamest thin I could have said.

“Definitely. If you see me running, catch up.”

The squad were much in the same of looks. Stocky, thick necked, with the unnerving presence of purple eyes. Not that they sounded it. Some were tough city slummers from Kasr Holn, others from the greenery of Kasr Tyrok.
Only their mannerisms seemed to give them away.

Sergeant Gamal, though not the biggest, oozed confidence in a way that almost passed to arrogance. The difference was, he knew what he was doing. It was his ‘brick’ I was part of, two five man teams broken into, to aid city fighting.

I donned the vest, thankful for it’s’ somewhat limited protection despite its weight. Others equally had personalised theirs with names, slogans and symbols. Fenner, the grenadier, had ‘KA-BOOM’ on his plate and ‘With Love’ on the shiny case of each grenade.

Dressed in a somewhat incongruous manner we waddled (or I did), more than marched. The 122nd complex was replete with everything to sustain and defend a regiment, it was its’ own stronghold. The whole regiment was on the move, or so it sounded. Collecting weapons, briefs, chaplains about their business.

“Specialist Greene!” I looked up to see a Captain by his bars. “Welcome to Fifth Company.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Don’t thank me yet. You’ve still got thirteen hours and twenty three minutes.” at which with the platoon
present he began orders.

I’d sat through enough to follow the ebb and flow of something that had perhaps not changed in millennia. Until I
heard ‘Command and Signal’.

“Mission Go is ‘Hammer’, Mission No is ‘Anvil’. Vox-ops see the Battle Captain for your settings. Lost comms, refer to your cards.” I was surprised, usually every figure was covered, every ‘I’ dotted. “Sergeant Gamal’s squad will lead”

Just like that the platoon rose and shuffled off, a sea of urban sprawl. The plan, the mission, was to push through the ruins to the west in a bid to take the Basilica Imperialis; Apparently a dubious prospect at best, given the lack of cover or indeed suitable cover. Still, they approached it with grim determination.

I couldn’t point anything out, I was under them. All I could do was collect my set, accept a las-pack bandoleer and wait with Fenner looking something between a Munitorum Loadmaster and a Tallarn Desert Raider.

“We’re first. Keep low, move fast, stay with your brick. We’ll be back in time for scoff. Happy, Green?”Sergeant Gamal turned, his helmet on jauntily and a lho-stick burning.

“I’ll tell you in...”

Thirteen Hours...

Gravel crunched underfoot as we dashed from the bolt hole, ten stick figures slamming their heels fast as they could into the ground. I had not seen this view, i had not known that Vogen had been so enormous and yet compacted; as if to fit everything in as small a place as possible.

Our first rendezvous point was the fortification tower to our west. Not that it wasn’t visible, it was a Hydra emplacement, normally used to pummel flyers. Now it was an OP, a staging post. The problem was the morass of wasteland, rubble and workers habs between us.

The phrase ‘check, double check and check again to be sure’ became an instant hit. In the time between the beginning of the conflict and now, the traitors had smashed, blown up and flattened what they could. They believed a policy of ‘Scorched Earth’ would aid them. Not as much as it did the Cadians, who appeared to simply take it in their stride. It was slow-going, the ground underfoot crackled, the hollow buildings echoed the eerie silence that would soon be overtaken by the anarchy of urban war. It was a grim game of cat and mouse all told.

“Greene, line one passed.”

“Zero, Five One. Line one passed, over.” I couldn’t help the words almost drying up in my mouth, as I received a
helpful “Roger Out.”

Ahead were the shells and destitute hulks of buildings long forgotten, perhaps used as a training area. It was now home to the enemy. To our front spread two units, one behind the other, generator stations, fences ripped up and cabling like a sea of serpents. We’d been briefed that the cultists, under the guise of an Astra Militarum set up used autoguns and other stub style weaponry. I had no doubt that they’d be used to good effect.

Luckily no one shot at us, yet, which was more than could be said for the rest of Fifth Company. Some departure lines had been identified by mortars or snipers, others had been shot in the back as the enemy revealed their bolt holes.

Again the stubbornness born into the Cadians kept them fighting back. I’m sure a month in the Caducades would have made me, too.

Sergeant Gamal had asked for nothing from the vox chatter, despite the incessant zips, cracks and whumps sounding. I gathered he was far too experienced to let a little ambience get the better of him. If anything, i was more disturbed at how we were being left alone. At which point Logan, the point man called a halt, his hand outstretched to show a bayonet.

The trio of cultists were dead, for sure, las wounds. But who? Our answer came in the form of five veterans. Kasrkin, hot-shot lasguns, carapace armour; naturally in the sprawl of the 122nd complete with red shoulder guard.

“Five-One, Kappa-Three. Loud entry point one, one. Over.” the voice was low as if talking was something foreign.

“Roger, danger close. Out.”

This I passed to the Sergeant, who bade us lay low. The Kasrkin were clearing the area so that we might get forward. Or would have done if not for the cry; “Incoming!”

One of the Kasrkin stumbled as a whip crack sounded, then fell, his eyepiece shattered. A dull roar began as an enfilading heavy stubber opened up. Rockcrete spat dust and any scrap of cover was sought. I’d simply thrown myself down, unable to react with my laspistol. I did the next best thing i could. My job.

“Zero, Five-One. Contact, wait out!”

Logan was sprinting to the next burned out groundcar, bobbing down behind the immolated wheel. He fired twice and gestured for me to join. My knees were shaky, moving left in open ground could be – I was there, without registering it I had shifted.

“Anyone see anything?” Gamal didn’t need to shout with the vox-beads.

Behind varying pieces of debris, they fired back, watching to our left as another burst of rounds came. It was as if they hadn’t meant to hit us, but pin us down for their sharpshooter. The Kasrkin had hunkered down further ahead in a shellhole, their grenadier was prepping something. They must have had augurs beyond our equipment,
as although the stub-rifle cracked, no one fell and an almighty thunk sounded as he stood.

The top of the first generatorium flashed with phosphorous, a grim death at best. Kappa Three began their breach in earnest now, a thrum of hotshot-lasguns and howl of a flamer.

“Move on, we’ve got our job.” Gamal evidently didn’t want to leave, but knew we had to. “The Emperor knows
his name, Greene, send it.”

And so I did. My contact report compared to others was lame. Either the enemy didn’t bother with forward elements or wished to cut us off. Even the heavy stubber had relocated, which to my surprise scared me more than being under its influence.

We were to skirt round, to the rear generator station and lie up, waiting for the rest to catch up. The main obstacle was the boulevard which should have been clear. It was not. It was a morass of every vehicle, abandoned in panic. Several dead cultists and even Kai Zhan PDF lay rotting, skulls glinting in the gloom.
I hadn’t noticed the weather or rather the lack of it; it seemed the whole place was just...

Twelve Hours...

...dead? Was I dead? Had it been just like that? Surely not, not me, not I. I hadn’t come all this was to die in a fragging hole!
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