The Guard bring the Emperor's Wrath to heretics.
Another bloody raid…”
Inside the room was a group of 14 people. The only light came from a small lantern upon the table. Dust fell down upon the people each time an artillery shell exploded. Still the music, played by the tanks and other vehicles above ground, could be heard very well. The squad leader looked at his group. There were three Thurovians, dressed in grey greatcoats and black helmets. There were also three Ardennians, dressed in grey and white. The other eight soldiers were Batavirans, dressed in brown great coats and fur caps. “I’m glad you are all here,” squad leader Arnold “Suv” Suberiv started, “As you all know, we have the honor of going on another raid behind enemy lines. Our main task is to find out what the enemy is up to, what are they going to do, where is their artillery? But we wouldn’t be Batavirans if we didn’t have permission to engage small groups and cause confusion behind enemy lines. After our reconnaissance mission and annoying the heretics we will return towards the other Batavirans. The codeword is: “Saratov.” Remember that… Take equipment for six, seven days. We will gather near the eastern trenches in one hour. Anyone has got any questions?”
Wilburt Brund, a Bataviran meltagunner, raised a hand: “Sir, why us again? I mean, I don’t want to go, I have been upon two raids already! Can’t you send someone else to attack those Slaaneshi followers?”
-“Are you questioning my authority or that of one of our officers?” Suv placed a hand upon his las-pistol.
-“All right, then I want everyone near the eastern trenches in one hour. May the Emperor be with us!”
The time passed quickly and after one hour everyone gathered near the eastern trenches. Suv gave a quick outline of what was going to happen: Using the cover of the night and the loud music played by the Batavirans, the group would cross the no-man’s-land. The three Thurovians carried simple wire cutters in case they encountered barbed wire. Then they would cross the heretics their lines and regroup. After that they would advance into the city.
“It’s dark enough now. I will go first.” The squad leader pointed towards the Thurovians, “You guys come after me.” As silent as possible, Suv lifted himself over the top. He hated this moment, if there was a sniper, he would be a sitting duck. However, no shot came and shortly the Thurovians followed him. Inside the no-man’s-land it was horrible. The group crawled through mud and snow, corpses lay all around them and rats, flies and maggots were everywhere. Sometimes you could even hear the moaning of the dying…
Sven Nyberg, a Thurovian, crawled behind Suv. He carried his shotgun upon his back and held the wire cutter in his right hand. Nyberg looked behind him and saw his two friends, Kritz Kholodia and Skran Christensen, following him. Behind them again crawled the Batavirans and the Ardennians.
Suv had reached the first barbed wire by this time. A dead heretic hung upon the wire. While Nyberg was giving his wire cutter to the squad leader, the Thurovian saw something hanging upon the barbed wire a couple of meters’ to their left. Nyberg quickly gave Suv the bunker tap, which means tapping the other person twice, this could be used in situation where something dangerous was about to happen, but talking wasn’t possible. Suv immediately stopped and looked at Nyberg, whom pointed at something to their left. A small can, probably filled with stones, hung under the wire. If Suv had cut the wire, then the can would have fallen and all the Slaaneshi followers would have known they were up to something. Suv gestured the Thurovians to come closer. The Bataviran pointed at Christensen, then at the can. Christensen gave a grin, showing his few remaining teeth and crawled away. Then Suv pointed at Kholodia, the can and the right side. Kholodia nodded and crawled to the other side. He had to check if there were any of those cans were there. At the same time, the other Batavirans crawled closer.
Storm Varaheim, a Bataviran meltagunner, crawled next to his squad leader. “Sir, I need to…”
-“Not now Varaheim.” Suv looked at Christensen, who was removing a can. If the Thurovian dropped the can, all would be lost.
Varaheim tried again: “Sir, I really…”
-“I said not …”
Before Suv could say anymore, Varaheim let out a loud fart. In the silence of the night, it sounded like a gunshot. Everyone immediately pressed himself into the ground.
-“If you fucking do that…” Suv couldn’t finish his threat, Varaheim let out a new louder fart. Everyone tried to vanish into the ground, waiting for the enemy to open fir, but no shot came.
“What was that?” Someone muttered.
-“It was Scott! He always does this.” Wilburt Brund said.
Upon which Scott Cannon, a Bataviran, replied with: “You stupid son of a motherless Ogryn!”
Suv shut everyone up, he was very angry, his squad was acting like a bunch of conscripts. Still, Suv thanked the Emperor that the loud music drowned the noise that Varaheim made.
The entire squad waited ten minutes before Christensen returned. “I have removed two of ‘em, sir.” It took another five minutes before Kholodia returned. He had removed three cans and buried them. He spoke with a thick Thurovian accent. “Suv, when I was removing one of ‘em cans, I suddenly heard a loud noise. Followed by another one. At first I thought I had dropped the can… But I hadn’t. Still it scared the creeps outta me. But what was that noise?”
Before Suv could reply Brund said something: “It was Scott, he always does this.” Followed by a colourful insult from Scott Cannon about a female Ogryn and a Ratling having mated and abandoning their child. Suv cursed again. The entire group lay in the mud, in the no-man’s-land. All it took was one curious heretic and they would all be slaughtered. And his group were acting like it was a walk though the freaking park! His squad lacked discipline or were all simple minded... Probably both… He shut everyone up, again, and started cutting a small hole in the barbed wire. After an thirty minutes, the entire group was through the first fence. Suv remembered from experience that the next fences would be easier. One hour later, the entire group was through the barbed wire. They just had to cross the heretics their lines.
Sven Nyberg was now crawling in front of all the others. Suddenly he stopped and pointed at a nearby machine-gun nest. An old couple was sitting behind the Heavy Bolter. Suv thought about the possibilities: Crawling forward, risking being shot and dying in vain or killing the Slaaneshi followers and move on… It wasn't a hard choice…
Aisne Detlear crawled forward, closer to the old couple. He was besides the groups sniper also an expert at close combat. His small scythe he held tightly in his hand, in his other hand he carried a cloth to prevent the heretics form screaming. He could hear them talking. He understood most of it, even though they spoke with a difficult accent. However what he heard out wasn’t good: “This one has died too early! It’s all your fault! I wanted to have some more fun with him!”
-“My fault?! If you hadn't slammed his skull with a hammer he would still be alive!”
The woman screamed at the man: “You mean you like him more when he is dead! Admit it you want to do a dead body!”
“Now that you say it, perhaps I’m going to try!”
Detlear didn't want to hear anymore. He was disgusted. These people were sick… He crawled closer, could see the back of the old woman. His scythe flashed once. The Slaaneshi follower sank to her knees, without letting out a scream. The old man, who tried to remove his pants, looked up. Before he could say anything, Detlear pushed a cloth in his mouth and let the scythe come down upon the Slaaneshi follower.
After it, Detlear signaled to the others that it was all clear. He had a minute or three before Suv and the others would arrive and thus he sat down behind the Heavy Bolter. The sniper thought about what the heretics had said. He looked at the bodies of the people he just had killed. The old man, with his pants upon his knees and his face full of make-up. The old woman lay next to him, she wore even more make-up and had her chest bare. Detlear covered her chest with a blanket. Heretic or not, he still preferred it if women were dressed properly. Then he noticed that he had pulled the blanket of something. He fell from his place when he saw it.
It was the tortured body of a dead Bataviran… It had to be the body of a Bataviran… He wore the traditional fur cap, but the way the hat was attached to its head was horrible. Several nails had been driven through the fur cap into the skull. This was what the way that the Slaaneshi followers wanted to have fun. Detlear, with a shaky hand, closed the eyes of his dead comrade and said a short prayer for the dead Bataviran.
May the Emperor hear my plea…
For I am just a lowly flea…
For my friend, who fought very brave…
Give him his rest inside his grave…
Now Detlear just wanted one thing, just getting out of this place. He grabbed a knife, dipped it in the woman her blood and placed it in the man’s hand to make it look like a suicide. After that the sniper primed a grenade and shoved it into the Heavy Bolter. He couldn’t afford it, to let the grenade go off yet. Because if he did that, the enemy would know the Batavirans were there. This way, the first heretic that would open fire with this gun, would fire into the grenade, setting it off and destroying the gun. He took one last look around, jumped out of the nest and went towards Suv and the others.
The entire night, Suv and his group advanced towards the city. Dodging patrols, hiding inside whatever cover could be found. With three hours of darkness left, the group approached the outskirts of the city. They advanced slowly, hopping from building to building. A lot of buildings were reduced to ruins. It seemed that the Valhallan artillery had done a good job. The remaining buildings were occupied and full of Slaaneshi followers. Upon some buildings chaos symbols or numbers were painted.
At dawn the group hided in an empty warehouse. A perimeter was established and five sentries were placed, one in every corner and one upon what was left of the roof. The rest of the soldiers sat down in a circle around a small campfire. Wolte Darfe, a nice guy to have around and Bastov Volovir, a guy who barely spoke, had prepared an easy meal. It consisted of local fruits, boiled in Skadian milk and some meat from a native bird. It didn’t took long before the men started talking about all sorts of things. Suv told about his previous raids, Storm Varaheim told about his girl in fifth company and Robert Jetterson told about how he once dug a foxhole so deep, that he ended up in a mine the heretics dug to undermine the Batavirans their lines. Wilburt Brund complained about the mission, but after a few angry glances from Suv, Brund shut up. By this time, most of the men already slept.
The next day, just after mid-day, the entire group traveled further into the city. Hopping from building to building and from ruin to ruin again. Carefully, so they didn't disturb any Slaaneshi followers. Every once in a while Suv looked at his map and made some notes.
That afternoon, the group encountered a small bunker. The little bunker lay next to a road. Outside patrolled just two guards and near the heavy door were two other sentries. There was no other entrance. “Well sir, are we taking the shot?” Aisne Detlear passed the field glasses to Suv. The squad leader spotted the four soldiers outside and couldn't find anymore. He couldn’t find how many heretics were inside. Suv thought for a moment, “No shots, it’s better to be silent on this one.” Then he removed his small scythe, a common weapon among the Bataviran soldiers. “We will strike when it’s dark.
Suv quickly explained the plan to his squad: “Detlear, the bunker has one exit. It’s is your job to make sure none of the Slaaneshi followers gets in or out. Varaheim, Oberon and Brund, you guys as meltagunners would probably hurt us more than help us in this environment. So you act as guardians for our sniper. Bastov Volovir and Andreas Ceyleon, you guys have to dispatch the guards outside. If you are done, you give us a signal. Then Scott Cannon and Wolte Darfe will dispatch the sentries near the door. After that, the three Thurovians and I will charge the bunker, guns blazing. The rest of the Batavirans and the Ardennians follow us after one minute. Everyone understands what he has to do?” All the men nodded and then vanished into the darkness.
After Volovir and Ceyleon had killed their guards, it was up to Cannon and Darfe. They lured the enemy towards them with an old trick, throwing a tin can filled with stones around. One of the sentries came to see what happened. Darfe quickly killed the man, however the other sentry still hadn't come to check out the noise. Cannon waited in his position. Finally the man walked in his vision, the sentry called the name of his fallen comrade. Cannon still waited in his position, the sentry wasn't close enough. The man walked closer, but more careful. Still he wasn't close enough yet. The Bataviran waited for what it seemed like minutes. Then the heretic was very close, he just had to take one more step forward. Cannon raised his scythe…
Either the Slaaneshi follower had figured out the trap, had seen Scott Cannon’s scythe or was just scared, but suddenly the heretic turned around and back towards the bunker. Cannon cursed, these damn heretics had the same courage as a Rattling! The Bataviran jumped out of his position and ran after the Slaaneshi follower. The heretic was trying to open the large door. Cannon raised an arm, there was a small chance he could kill the sentry by throwing his scythe. The Bataviran had no choice and decided to take it. Cannon threw his scythe…
Missed! The small scythe slammed against the door without hurting the sentry. The heretic tried to pull open the door. Scott Cannon dashed forward. The Bataviran grabbed the from behind and dragged him to the ground. Behind Cannon and the Slaaneshi follower, the Thurovians and Suv moved up. While Cannon tried to choke the heretic, the Slaaneshi follower kept kicking against the large steel door with his boots. Then someone tried to open the door…
The element of surprise was gone. Sven Nyberg shoved his shotgun in the narrow gap between the door and the wall and pulled the trigger. The wall was painted red with the blood of the heretic that tried to open the door. The Thurovians and Suv entered the bunker, leaving Cannon behind to strangle the last sentry. Inside the bunker were a lot of Chaos stars and praises to some unknown person. Out of the corridor on the left came a Slaaneshi follower, stripped to the waist. “What the…” Before he could say anymore, Kritz Kholodia’s shotgun barked to life and the man’s chest was torn open. “I’ll take this way!” Kholodia jumped into the left corridor. After a second, Suv yelled at the other two Thurovians: “Nyberg, Christensen, take the right corridor! I’ll take this one!” In a moment the Thurovians had vanished into the corridor an Suv continued his path forward.
Sven Nyberg and Skran Christensen worked together as a fast and deadly couple. Christensen opened a door, Nyberg threw a grenade inside the room and Christensen closed the door again. This was the way the Thurovians preferred their wars: close quarters, brutal and no mercy.
Suv was making his way down his corridor, he had just one room left. He searched through his pockets but couldn’t find any grenade. Carefully he reached out for his laspistol. The squad leader carefully opened the door.
Inside the room was a continues moaning from someone. In the middle of the room was a small man bent over a table, he had a scalpel in his hand. Upon the table lay another person, who seemed to miss both of his legs. The small man said: “Praise me! Scream my name in your agony! Maybe then… And only then I will end your suffering.” The person on the table said with a difficult accent. “You are Slaanesh chosen… you are a immortal god… Now please… Kill me…” Suv, sickened by this view, placed his laspistol against the small man his skull and pulled the trigger. The little man fell screaming on the ground.
Now the Bataviran could get a good look upon the man at the table. “Shit… It’s a Thurovian!” The man on the table had no legs anymore, instead he had two bloody stumps. The belly of the Thurovian was cut open and a dirty cloth was stuck in one of his eyes. The Thurovian on the table grinned, “I ain’t so pretty now, sir… And I just betrayed the Emperor... Please kill me… That way I can try to redeem myself for the Emperor…” Suv knew that the Thurovian wouldn’t survive much longer. The squad leader murmured a prayer for the wounded man…
Kritz Kholodia had just two rooms left. He moved to the next room, primed a grenade, opened the door, threw in the grenade and closed the door again. The Thurovian looked at his last room. Before he could do anything, a man jumped out of the room. The Slaaneshi follower had a laspistol in his hand and fired twice. Both times the man missed… Kholodia, at this distance, couldn’t miss with his shotgun. He fired twice, the first shot blasted away the heretic’s right foot and the next round removed the torso of the man. Kholodia dashed forward into the last room. He had no grenades left.
Inside this room was a small table, upon the small table lay several knifes and a vox. A man was nervously trying to get help through the machine: “This is outpost seven-three… We are under attack… I repeat we are under attack! Do you copy?!”
Kritz Kholodia didn’t wait for a reply and fired at the machine. The shot sent the vox flying into a million pieces. At the same time, the heretic jumped up and grabbed a knife. Kholodia aimed at the enemy and pulled the trigger… Nothing happened… The shotgun was jammed! The Thurovian looked up and saw that it was too late to do anything. The Slaaneshi follower stabbed the loyalist in the side with the knife. The Thurovian groaned and fell upon the ground. On the ground, the Thurovian didn’t waste any time. Kholodia removed his hammer and slammed upon the heretic’s foot. The Slaaneshi follower fell screaming down. With two fast blows, Kholodia shut the man up for good. Now the Thurovian noticed the amount of blood that was flowing out of his side. “Just my bloody fucking luck!”
By the time Aisne Detlear and the three meltagunners arrived, the job was already done. Any survivors? ” Storm Varaheim asked, more to start a conversation then expect a reply.
All the faces blankly stared to the ground. Suddenly, Robert Jetterson, an Ardennian, opened his mouth: “One of us got hit…”
“One of the Thurovians, Kritz… Kritz Kholodia…”
Storm Varaheim entered the bunker, he wanted to see how the Thurovian was doing. Varaheim was surprised by how swift and how brutal the Thurovians had fought. In order to find Kholodia, he just had to follow the curses that the wounded Thurovian made.
Kholodia lay in what used to be the armoury. He was surrounded by the other Thurovians and Suv.
“No! I don’t want to get up!”
-“But… We cannot leave you here…” Sven Nyberg tried.
“I would slow the group down… It would be a handicap…”
-“We cannot leave you like this! We all have seen what the Slaaneshi followers do to their prisoners… Do you want me to remind of all the corpses in the city?”
“No! I said no… Just leave me here… We all have left behind… Some friend during one occasion or another… Just give me a bloody grenade…” Kholodia spoke slowly, taking deep breaths between his words. He was losing his energy.
Suv hadn’t said anything during this entire conversation. He knew that he couldn’t take Kholodia with him. But it didn’t feel right to leave a friend behind. It just wasn’t the right thing to do… Suv hated this moment, this war and the heretics. Finally, the squad leader decided to say something:
“You wish to stay behind?”
“Yes! But let my death not be in vain… A Slaaneshi follower with a vox caster was able to send out a message, before killed him. Please, could you spread some promethium around or something? So that when the heretics enter this bunker, I got a little surprise for them…”
Everyone knew what this meant… If the Slaaneshi followers knew that the Batavirans were here, then the heretics would launch a large search party and then probably find them.
Following the instructions from the Thurovians, the group quickly changed the bunker into a large death trap. While the last preparations were being made, the Thurovians and Suv had their last words with Kholodia. Sven Nyberg first talked with Kholodia, while the others waited outside.
Both weren’t men of many words. Finally Nyberg said something: “Remember the time when we destroyed that fuel depot?”
-“When you got your foot stuck between those bricks and I had to save your skinny ass?” Kholodia grinned as both remembered that day. “That was a good day! ”
“It looks like it that I can’t return the favour…” Nyberg said very grave.
-“Then you owe me one in the Paradise!” The wounded Thurovian smiled broad. “You owe me one in the Paradise! Now go… The others are waiting…”
Both men shook their hands and Nyberg left. After Nyberg, Skran Christensen talked with Kholodia.
After a while, Christensen came out of the room again. Now it was Suv’s turn.
The squad leader didn’t know what to say: “I’ll see that you get a medal for this. Even if that is the last thing I do.”
Kholodia seemed to lose his marbles. “A medal? Not much use now, sir… Not much of a use, no, no, no, I’d rather have a good meal…”
“Then I will make sure your family gets it.”
Suv felt very uneasy, because Kholodia just started laughing more.
-“No sir, no family for me. No family left at all… My parents died when I was young… And my brother was a cultist. Finished him off like mere cattle…”
“How about going down in the regimental history?”
-“I would like that…”
Suv gave one of his grenades to Kholodia. They shook hands and then Suv saluted Kholodia as if the Thurovian was the regimental commander. The squad leader then turned around and left the wounded in his own make-shift grave. Behind him, Suv could hear Kholodia talking to his dead brother.
The entire group marched on for a couple of hours. A sudden explosion ripped through the silence of the night. A fireball, the size of several houses, went high up into the air. Everything was alight for a second. The fireball came from where the group had left their friend Kritz Kholodia… Sven Nyberg watched the fireball going up and vaporize. Those that watched Nyberg in the fading light could have seen a single tear running down his face. “We will definitely meet again in the Paradise…”
The group then marched on before getting some sleep.
The next day the group marched even further into the city. The good old routine of advancing was repeated again: Hopping from building to building, dodging patrols, making notes and encountering new horrors.
In the afternoon, Robert Jetterson, an Ardennian, had heard something. He was at the front of the group and suddenly ordered a halt. “Tanks, sir, can you hear ‘em?”
Suv listened very carefully and now he too could hear the tanks. But the tanks didn’t approach them, the tanks drove away. Suv couldn’t say anything, because Aisne Detlear interrupted him: “Sir, I think you might want to see what I just found…”
The squad leader followed the sniper back to his place. There Detlear pointed over a wall and asked Suv if he wanted to have a look. The squad leader was stunned by what he saw, not because of the beautiful view, but because it was so unprotected! In front of them lay an entire armoured regiment!
Suv dropped back behind the wall, removed his field glasses and then took a new look at the heretic’s their camp. Now he could get a far better look. There were around thirty Leman Russes, ten Basilisks and maybe sixty Chimera’s. Several groups of walkers patrolled around with their searchlight. In the middle of the camp stood several tall structures. Detlear, who was next to Suv, whispered one thing: “An entire freaking regiment…”
The regiment didn’t expect a Bataviran attack this deep in their territory, because there were no sentries patrolling outside the camp. Apparently the regiment didn’t put any value in it. When Suv finally got something into his head, it was hard to get it out of it. So, as expected, Suv wanted to get ‘a closer look’, to see what the regiment was up to, where they would be going. None of his men had protested of course, because it probably meant that they would be shot. The group watched the camp the entire day, making notes about how often the walkers passed.
Finally, at dusk, Suv decided it was time to attack. An hour ago, he made a little plan of what he wanted his men to do. They were not allowed to kill any Slaaneshi follower or destroy any vehicle. Because if they did, the heretics would know that they were there and a large search party would look for them and probably find them.
So this what they were going to do: Storm Varaheim and Sven Nyberg had to look for any clues near the tanks. Skran Christensen and Scott Cannon had to check the out the Chimera’s. Robert Jetterson and Aisne Detlear would try to find any clues near the Basilisks. Suv, Wilburt Brund and Wolte Darfe would look through the buildings.
The soldiers took as less equipment as possible with them, no gun, no backpacks, not even their canteens. Everything that could make noise could betray the Batavirans. They only took their scythe or axes, in case they were caught.
“We crawl forward here,” Suv said, while drawing a line in the sand, “there is just some barbed wire and the sentinels come by once every twenty minutes. Enough time for any of us to jump over the wire. In the darkness, I doubt it that anyone can see us. I want everyone to be back in three hours. Any questions? None, good… May the Emperor guide all of us!”
Getting in was even easier then Suv expected. All of his Batavirans went over really quick, just running towards the barbed wire, jumping in the air and then disappearing into the shadows. The smaller groups quickly moving towards their objective. Actions like this, would have been dubbed insane or impossible by others. To the Batavirans, it was just like gambling, only when you lost, you died.
It took Suv almost thirty minutes to cover a distance that could be run in less then five minutes. While Suv crawled closer to the buildings, he could feel a million eyes upon his back. All waiting to kill him on the right moment. He knew that the eyes weren’t there…
However, it only took one pair of eyes, from a curious sentry or a drunk heretic, to ensure that they did die.
There were twenty-eight buildings in total and all were covered with marks of Chaos, praise to Slaanesh and curses to the Emperor. Suv himself lay in a narrow alley between two houses. Some guys in glittering armour entered the building on the opposite of Suv. The building behind Suv was used as a gathering place, several drunk troopers stumbled out and even more went inside. A building further down the street, had several men standing outside smoking Iho sticks. The building next to Suv, showed no signs of activity and that was why Suv decided to take a quick look inside and then leave again. The squad leader gestured to Wilburt Brund and Wolte Darfe to come closer. After that, the squad leader explained to them that he wanted to enter the building. Wilburt Brund made himself ready to break open the window, but Suv stopped him in time. Then Suv poked his scythe between the window and soon the three of them were inside. “It’s too damn easy…” Darfe grinned. “Just don't go trashing around like a Skadian cow." Brund sneered at him, upon which Darfe gave him a two fingered salute.
Once inside, Suv lit a small flashlight, just to see where he was. He and the others were in a small room, where there was just one desk. There were no other windows and there was an open door. The group quickly checked the room, couldn’t find anything and then went to the next room.
Inside this room were various tables and light came in through the windows. Upon each table lay several documents and other papers. Before the Batavirans had any time to check the documents, someone walked past the door. Slowly, the person did a key in the hole and tried to open the door. Wilbert Brund dived back into the previous room, Wolte Darfe crawled under a table and almost knocked over a chair, Suv hided under a desk. The Bataviran peeked past the desk and could see two heretics walking into the room. They didn’t bother to turn on the light. Suddenly, one of the Slaaneshi followers stood still and said: “Didn’t you just hear something?”
-“No… Nothing… Are you scared or something?!” The other one muttered. A heretic kept standing near the door, while the other heretic walked into the room and grabbed some of the papers from the nearest table. The man who stayed near the door tried to light an Iho stick with strange device. The man clicked the device twice, but it wouldn’t light the cigarette. Enraged, the Slaaneshi follower threw the device to the dark corner of the room. The lighter made a small spark and then disappeared into the dark corner. The other man said something about not smoking inside and both men left the room again, locking the door behind them. Suv closed his eyes for a second and grinned… The heretics made it too damn easy!
As Darfe crawled out of his hiding place, he felt a small device on the ground. He picked up the lighter and clicked it once. A small flame erose from the little thing. As if Darfe was holding the flame in his bare hands, he dropped the lighter.
Suv noticed that Wilburt Brund had left, the coward must have fled back towards the others and probably had left them behind. “Stop playing with that toy!” Suv whispered as Darfe dropped the lighter. Using the little light he had, Suv red most of the documents. Most of them were love letters or threats to an anonymous person. Nothing was worth taking with him. He glanced at Darfe, who was still playing with his new toy. The squad leader gestured him to come closer and then held out his hand. Disappointed, Darfe handed over his lighter and waited. Suv, clicking the device once, set most of the documents on fire. After that, he scattered the burning documents around the room. As the fire started to grow, the two Batavirans left the room. In the last moment, Suv threw the lighter back into the room. Silently the Batavirans climbed out of the window and using the confusion they had caused, disappeared into the night.
It took them maybe another hour before everyone was back. No one had gathered any valuable information. Although, Wilburt Brund had indeed left his squad leader behind and fled back towards the group. Everyone cursed at him for being such a coward. However, that all seemed forgotten when another building collapsed and black smoke filled the air. Heretics were running around the place like ants. Robert Jetterson made a joke that the Hellhound pilots, who had a reputation for being pyromaniacs, would be jealous of what Suv had done. Aisne Detlear wondered if the Slaaneshi followers were able to stop the fire in time, before it burned down the entire camp. Wilbert Brund just kept quiet and said nothing for the remainder of the night.
The Batavirans didn’t wait to see if the heretics were able to extinguish the fire. The group marched for the rest of the night before they got some sleep.
The group made a small fire and for a moment everyone was happy. Scott Cannon and Andreas Ceyleon prepared a meal, but it tasted like shit. But then again, for men who haven’t eaten in forty-eight hours, eating shit would have tasted like pork… Sven Nyberg started telling some dirty jokes and others lay down and closed their eyes. The war, the hunger, the heretics, the dead and everything was forgotten, for a moment…
Around midday, the group left again. It was time they started to go back. They could reach the other Batavirans in two maybe three days. The routine of avoiding patrols, hopping from building to building started again.
The next day, in the afternoon, the group decided to have a small break. They had marched for hours and needed a small rest, but not more then fifteen minutes. There were several buildings in the surrounding area. Next to the road were various ruined rooms. After checking the building, the group settled down in one of the rooms. In the houses lay corpses from loyalists and from heretics. Rats, the size of a small dog, scurried away. In the corner of the room, where the group had settled down was a large native spider. The spider had the size of a large dog and were quite common to encounter between the ruins. The spider lay hidden under a heretic’s corps and watched the Batavirans with his many eyes. The spider raised two of his front legs and was ready to jump anyone that came to close. Suv and the others sat down in the room, moved some of the bodies, killed a few rats and then relaxed for a moment. Schuster Oberon, a Bataviran meltagunner, who wanted to pee, moved away from the group. The Bataviran didn’t know that the spider was watching him. Slowly the spider saw how the Bataviran came closer to his lair. Suddenly, the spider jumped out of his hiding place and on the chest of the Bataviran. The poor man fell upon his knees, with a screaming spider digging into his chest. Brund, who sat closest to Oberon didn’t move. Oberon tried to get the spider off him, but he couldn’t remove the spider. The spider still was biting and slashing into Oberon’s chest. The next moment, Aisne Detlear, the sniper, ran into the room: “Sir! Sir! Six Leman Russes are coming! I couldn’t report the tanks earlier because they drove behind a wall! What do we do?! The Slaaneshi followers are here in a minute!”
Suv cursed loud. Schuster Oberon was dying, with a screaming spider on his chest. There were six Leman Russ Battle tanks outside and there was no bloody cover anywhere! “Scatter! Hide somewhere! Jetterson and I will stay with Oberon. The rest of you hide and do not attack any tank!” Detlear ran up the stairs while Scott Cannon jumped out of the window. Storm Varaheim dived behind a pile of rubble and quickly buried himself between the stones. This way, he had a clear vision on the road and yet the heretics couldn’t see him.
Suv heard the tanks driving outside. Quickly, the squad leader fired up his chainsword and drove it into the spider. The spider screamed louder but didn't let go. Suv was afraid that the heretics heard them. Carefully, Suv cutted of one of the spider his legs, because the squad leader was afraid he would hurt Oberon. However the spider still held on to poor Oberon and kept screaming. Finally, the squad leader ended all the screaming by cutting the spider almost in half. The Leman Russes were almost there, Suv could hear their engines. The Bataviran dragged his wounded comrade behind a pile of rubble and told the Ardennian to protect Oberon. Suv himself dived behind a ruined wall.
The tanks came into Suv’s view almost a second later. In silence, the squad leader prayed to the Emperor that the heretics hadn't heard them. The tanks stopped in front of him, so Suv had a clear look on the tanks. Some tanks carried corpses on them, others were covered with chaos stars. Then Oberon started coughing up blood... The tank commander, his face in an ugly mask, yelled a command and pointed at the Batavirans. Oberon grinned and said something about meeting in the Paradise. Jetterson, in a vain attempt to protect his friend, pressed himself against the wounded Bataviran. The heavy flamer on the tank opened fire… The lethal flame swamped both of them and all that was left were cindering ashes. Suv felt the heat coming from the flame.
The Batavirans were spotted, the shit was about to begin...
For a moment, Suv feared that he would die too from this horrible weapon... Then, deciding that he wouldn't die alone, Suv grabbed his meltabomb and sprinted forward. The tank commander made a silly face, as if he didn't expect this to happen. The last thing that the Slaaneshi follower would ever see was the Bataviran attaching a melta bomb to his tank, because Aisne Detlear blew the heretic's head off. The shower of gore was all around the turret and the squad leader felt drips of blood on his face. Suv, after attaching the meltabomb, jumped behind a pile of trash while the bomb exploded. The tank was reduced to a pile of molten slag. Suv yelled about the Emperor and several other joined him, as one man they all screamed: "For the Emperor!"
Engaging a tank head-on was a suicide mission, often the attacker died without damaging the tank. In other armies, when you engaged a tank like that, you received a medal for it. Scott Cannon knew that, because he had seen some propaganda papers about it. A sergeant -Scott forgot his name- from another regiment had done it and paraded the entire day around showing his newest medal. Even some high ranking officers came to congratulate him. For the Batavirans, it was quite common to engage a tank head-on. They never asked for medals or wanted to be praised. The fact that you saved the man next to you was a reward that couldn't be expressed in medals. Despite all this... It still was a suicide mission.
Cannon held on tighter to the large tin-can-like grenade. Adrenaline was steadily pumped through his veins. Two tanks stopped in front of the Bataviran. From one of the tank, you could see the only the back. From the other tank, you could only see the snout. The tanks hadn’t spotted Cannon yet.
From the other side of the road, Bastov Volovir suddenly popped up, ran forward and pushed a krak grenade into one of the exhaust pipes from the first tank. The second tank, who stood behind the first, opened fire with his heavy flamer. Volovir was slaughtered without any mercy. He stood there, screaming until only black ashes were what remained of him.
Scott didn’t know if it was because of Volovir’s grenade or because of the heavy flamer, but suddenly the exhaust pipe from the first tank exploded, leaving the tank immobilized. Toxic, blue clouds floated out of the other tank. Cannon didn’t wait and dashed forward, shoved his grenade into the other tank. He heard a muffled explosion and someone started screaming. To be sure, the Bataviran, shoved a fragmentation grenade into the tank. With a howling noise, the splinters ricocheted in the tank and the screaming stopped. Cannon allowed himself a moment to sit against the tank he just has destroyed and he took a deep breath.
At the same time, the hatchet of the first tank flew open and several Slaaneshi followers started to jump out of the tank. “Well… If it ain’t lovely…” Cannon groaned when he picked up his lasgun…
Suv had destroyed one tank, Cannon had taken one out and Volovir had ruined another one.
Skran Christensen, Sven Nyberg and Andreas Ceyleon were swarming one tank, one was driving in little circles to get a good firing position and the last tank was trying to escape.
Wolte Darfe quickly prevented the last tank from escaping, by shoving a krak grenade between the tracks. However Darfe tried to run away, he felt that his jacket got stuck between the tracks. Screaming in his terror and anger, the Bataviran tried to free his jacket, but it was all in vain… Slowly Darfe was dragged to a cruel death. Just when Darfe’s arm went under the tank, his krak grenade exploded. The tank couldn’t move and the Bataviran was stuck with his arm under the tank. Darfe screamed for somebody, anybody to save him, the pain was unbearable.
Like a cruel trick of fate, the tank crew decided to leave their vehicle and tried to make a run for it. One Slaaneshi follower noticed that Darfe was stuck under the tank. Slowly the heretic came closer, showing a broad grin on his face, murder in his eyes and a knife in his hand.
Darfe, going into a shock, just primed a grenade, whispered the Emperor for mercy and waited for the grenade to go off…
Storm Varaheim saw a little explosion next a tank. He sprinted towards it, it could be a friend in danger. However, Varaheim arrived too late… A heretic and a Bataviran lay on the ground, like a couple in love. A different Slaaneshi follower, opened fire with his laspistol, missing Varaheim by mere inches. The Slaaneshi follower fired twice more, hitting Varaheim once but not penetrating the flak armor. Varaheim fired once, didn’t miss and melted the heretic.
Sven Nyberg, Skran Christensen and Andreas Ceyleon were swarming one of the two tanks that were left. Nyberg and Christensen fired their shotguns through every possible hole they could find. The pellets bounced around in the tank with a high howling sound. Ceyleon shoved frag grenades through the driver’s hole. At a certain moment, one of the grenades must have hit the ammo box, because the tank exploded. All were thrown high into the air.
By the time Nyberg had regained his senses, the tank was a burning wreck and the Thurovian could see Ceyleon sitting against the wall. Upon a closer look, Ceyleon was pinned against the wall by a large pipe. The dead Bataviran looked like a small child that had fallen asleep in the Kindergarten, if it hadn’t been for the blood that steadily flowed out of his wounds and mouth. Nyberg, panicked by what he had seen, looked for Christensen. Skran lay unconscious on the road, right in front of the last escaping tank. The tank steadily drove forward, as if it hadn’t seen the Thurovian. Christensen still was unconscious when the tank drove on top of him. Between all the chaos, Nyberg could hear Christensen’s bones being crushed under the heavy tank. When the tank moved forward again, the tracks were colored red with the Thurovian’s blood. Sven Nyberg sank back behind the wall, this was too much… He had lost two if his best friends and the tears started to blur his vision.
Aisne Detlear saw all of it happen and wanted pure revenge. With his sniper rifle, he was no match for the large tank. Despite that the brave Bataviran fired round after round on the tank’s hull. By firing on the tank, he gave away his position and the tank made use of it. The large Battle Cannon swung around and for a moment Detlear could see the shell inside the cannon. Then… Aisne didn’t think about anything anymore…
At this close range, the Battle Cannon had a devastating effect. Not only Aisne Detlear, was gone, but also the entire house was reduced to a million pieces. Lethal splinters were sent in every direction.
Using the distraction that Detlear had offered, Storm Varaheim had slipped forward and fired his meltagun at the large tank. The left part of the tank started to melt and the crew screamed in their terror. Varaheim fired a mercy-shot, to prevent the heretic’s from suffering anymore. After this, a strange silence fell over the group.
Suv looked at what was left of his squad. Sven Nyberg sat next to a dead Bataviran, Scott Cannon was saying a prayer for his fallen comrades and Storm Varaheim sat on a tank, slowly chewing on something. No one knew where Wilburt Brund was and to be honest, no one cared about it…
Suv quickly gathered the equipment from the dead soldiers, or rather, what was left of them. The group couldn’t afford it to waste any supplies. After that, the squad leader said a short prayer and ordered his group to leave. As soon as Suv had said these words, Wilburt Brund crawled out of cover. The group didn’t even bother to ask for a explanation or an excuse, Wilburt was just been a coward.
-“Sir… I thought, since you said…The plan was… We wouldn’t attack the tanks… Thus I didn’t attack… You see…”
Out of nowhere, Scott Cannon farted loud and showed a broad grin. He interrupted Brund and everyone knew what it meant… Brund had lost their respect…
In a dark mood, everyone marched back. Silent, like moving scarecrows the group pressed on. They would probably meet up with the other Batavirans tonight.
The hardest part of the mission was getting back. The heretic’s would have reinforced their line and the group had to dodge them. Then there was the Bataviran sentry, he was the wild card in this story. If the group made too less noise, the sentry wouldn’t know they were coming and probably open fire upon them. If Suv made too much noise, a trigger-happy sentry or conscript could open fire upon them. And if they made way too much noise, then the Slaaneshi followers would open fire on them. It has happened a few times, often there were some casualties, but nothing serious.
Suv’s biggest fear, was that the sentry would open fire on them. If the Slaaneshi followers opened fire, then the group would sprint forward, but if the sentries opened fire…
Slowly, the Batavirans could hear the music from their comrades on the other side. Everyone had to suppress the urge to run forward.
Crossing the heretic’s their lines was easier then Suv had expected. There was a small section with just a few foxholes that defended a large sector. Killing only what was necessary, the group started to crawl forward. It would be a long trip back, because everyone was tired, covered in mud and packet with almost twice as much equipment…
In this sector, there hadn’t been so much fighting. There were a couple of craters and some dead bodies, but compared to their previous trip, this place was almost “clean’’. After what seemed hours, but were minutes, Suv and the remainder of his squad reached the first line of barbed wire. Using the last wire cutter and one of the backpacks, the group managed to cross the no man’s land pretty quick. Three hours later, the entire group had crossed all the barbed wire.
They were almost home. Everyone wanted to run forward, but no one did...
The heretics had found their dead friends earlier than expected and not long after that, a flare was sent up into the air. The Batavirans froze immediately. However, Wilburt Brund sneezed… Within mere seconds, the Slaaneshi followers opened fire on the Batavirans, on the other side of the no man’s land and the Batavirans opened fire on the heretics. Suv and his group were caught in the middle of it…
Suv hollered the codeword over and over again: “Saratov!.. Saratov!.. Saratov!..” However the codeword was drowned inside all the chaos from the firefight. Wilburt Brund screamed in his fear and pressed his face into the mud. Scott Cannon pressed himself flat on the ground in a crater. He felt a warm liquid between his pants… He would worry about it later, it was common to piss your pants in a situation like this.
Storm Varaheim closed his eyes, used a corpse as cover and started praying to the Emperor. It was every man for himself in these moments. Suddenly, he had enough of this shit. He wanted to go to his Bataviran comrades. He was safe there. He gathered all his courage, counted to three and then pelted forward, screeching the codeword as he went: “Saratov! SARATOV!” He fell into a trench and still kept murmuring the codeword. It took Varaheim a couple of seconds to realize he was safe…
Scott Cannon looked at Suv and the latter only gave a nod. Scott Cannon swallowed hard, said a prayer and dashed forward. At the top of his voice he screamed the codeword. He fell into a crater and another Bataviran told him to shut up and keep quiet. Thankfully, Cannon sank to the bottom of the crater and smiled at the man opposite of him.
After seeing Cannon vanishing, Suv pointed at Sven Nyberg. However the Thurovian refused to run, “We cannot leave Brund behind like this!” The coward still lay crying in the mud, begging to be saved, he didn’t want to go on anymore, he refused begging to be killed…
“He is lost! We cannot save him anymore! Now go, we cannot stay here forever,’’ the squad leader replied. Suv knew he couldn’t go before Nyberg was safe. He refused to leave any soldier behind.
The firefight was still going on. A heretic opened fire with a heavy bolter and a Bataviran autocannon fired at the Slaaneshi followers.
At the same time, the Thurovian crawled towards Brund. Nyberg slapped the Bataviran once, so he could regain his senses. This didn’t help, Brund was slamming his head against the ground. Nyberg slapped the coward again…
Suv saw all of it happen, how Brund got angry and grabbed his knife, how Nyberg tried to calm him down and how Brund slashed at Nyberg’s face in one swift movement.
Nyberg, screaming in surprise and fear, held both of his hands against his face. Blood flowed through his fingers. Brund stabbed again and Sven Nyberg as a reaction rolled away. This reaction would cost him his live, a heavy bolter caught sight of him and opened fire. Nyberg died very easy, his shoulder was blown off by a bolter.
Brund grinned at Nyberg. He was very proud of what he had done.
Suv had seen all of it happen. It was horrible to see. After Brund had killed the Thurovian, Brund even licked the blood from his knife. While the murdering coward licked his knife, he noticed the squad leader. Howling like an animal, with his head between his shoulder, Brund ran towards Suv. In a vain attempt, the squad leader tried to removed his laspistol, but it was already too late. It would be over in a moment, Suv would meet the Emperor soon. Suv closed his eyes. However, in the last second, he saw how Brund’s face was twisted by horrible pain...
Suv felt a splatter on his face and then Brund falling upon him, but the pain of the stabbing knife never came. Carefully Suv opened his eyes and saw a hole where Brund’s eye must have been. Brund had been hit by a las shot through the eye… Suv pushed Brund’s body away. The covering fire had ceased now. Carefully, Suv crawled towards the other Batavirans, whispering the codeword very softly. Eventually a friendly face appeared and dragged him into a trench.
Suv, Storm Varaheim and Scott Cannon were the only survivors of the fourteen that left. The information they had gathered proved to be very valuable and they had destroyed two squadrons of Leman Russes, the mission was a success and their comrades hadn’t died in vain…
They were allowed forty eight hours of rest before they were dragged into the line of combat again.