ONLY WAR

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Grumpy, Jan 10, 2015.

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    The hammer of the Emperor has launched it's surprise attack on the Severan Dominate's position.

    Below, the advance will have begun. The forces of Lord General Ghanzorik rolling forwards, Leman Russ cannons blazing, Basilisks raining death upon unprepared enemy lines, Chimeras streaming forward loaded with guardsmen; each of them ready to bring the wrath of the Emperor to bear on the traitors of the Dominate. The city of Aquila will burn, the streets will erupt into violence as a new front opens on this shattered planet.

    But that is not to be our fight.

    Our Valkyrie drops out of cloud-cover like a night time predator, the screech of its engines muffled by the din of Imperial guns on the ground. We fly in formation, other dropships carrying the squads of Blackjack Company to their drop sites. Almost immediately after leaving the protection of the cloud layer, I feel our ship begin to rattle as the air defences on the ground open up on us. Dominate flak cannons locking in, trying to ensure that we never reach our objective. Already several of our comrades and their transports will have been torn apart by the flak, their bodies plummeting towards the ground.

    The first lesson of war. First lesson of every Guardsman.

    You can't delude yourself that you're somehow coming out of this alive. That's not what you signed up for.

    Duty must be its own reward.

    My squad is arrayed along the seats of the Valkyrie's interior, strapped in to weather the twists and turns of the flight. Their first combat drop as a unit. This is the moment we've been training for, drilling for, anticipating for months now. Preparation is one thing, but combat shows what a Guardsman is truly made of.

    Ten soldiers ready to drop into the hellhole below.

    I wonder how many will climb back out?

    “ETA three minutes to the drop-site,” the pilot informs me through the intercom. I rise to my feet, snapping my harness onto the railings that run the length of the Valkyrie's ceiling to ensure the shaking doesn't wrench me off my feet.
    “This is it!” I yell over the screaming engines, “You all know what's expected of you, but let me go over our mission one final time! We're dropping into Nevarine Forest, where secessionist forces have a number of artillery and anti-air positions! Same positions doing their level best to blow us to pieces, so we're gonna return the favour! Nevarine is also the main route that they'll be trying to send reinforcements to the city through, so once we've silenced those guns we'll be making sure those reinforcements never make it!

    “Try to stay together on the drop! When you hit the ground, you look for me or you look for Corporal Carthex! Remember your training, keep your head on a swivel, and may the Emperor protect you!”
    I look upon each of their faces, hidden under helmets and masks, knowing that this could well be the last time I see most, if not all, of them alive.

    Duty must be its own reward.

    “Alright! Sound off, and get ready to jump!”


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  2. Janna would like to say she wasn't nervous, but it would be a lie. She had spent most of the flight in silence responding only when spoken to with a bravado that she didn't feel when it mattered. A guardsman's life is to die and they were being sent to one of the best places to do so. They would be cut off from support, behind enemy lines and up against the entirety of the enemy's reinforcements. Still... could be worse. They could be shot down. At least she knew that if she made touchdown they would still have their lifeline; the bulky vox unit strapped to her back. If she didn't... then she wouldn't be alive to care.

    The only outward sign of her nerves was that her gloved fist was clenched around the charm she always wore as a mental prayer to the emperor echoed in her head. With the jump imminent the charm was dropped back under her armor. A near miss rattled their dropship but already her fear was being pushed back into a small box in the back of her mind.

    "They couldn't give us the easy job, could they?" she asked rhetorically with a smirk beneath her helmet as she reached up to grip the overhead handrail, her other hand tugging on the straps of her grav-chute, making sure they were secure before checking the straps that held her gun across her chest ready to be fulled free the moment she hit the ground.

    Her thoughts wandered as she pulled herself up to get ready to jump. Somewhere, far away the father whose face she would never see again and who probably never learn the time or the manner of her death would be tending to the PDF armory. He had never learned why Jana had volunteered, but the pride in his eye when he learned she had was enough to make it worth it. Make this, her first combat drop worth it.

    "Private Aiar, ready."

    She faced the ramp, hand gripping the rail as her mind returned to the present. As of now nothing else mattered. They had a job to do and she would make sure it got done, surviving would be a nice bonus but either way they were in for one hell of a ride.
     
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  3. Grazer clipped his harness to the rail opposite Janna. He might have been grinning at her. His Lho-stick, turned sideways, was gripped between his teeth. The corporal always swore he would die with his cigar in his mouth - and that included being smashed, shot or incinerated during a drop.

    "All jobs are easy when the Emperor's in your blood!" His gruff shout barely pierced the aerial fugue.

    The drills were over. He had recorded the names and deeds of Tropaeum squad in the margins of his prayer book. Next to litanies of faith he had scrawled the sayings of Sergeant Kores; the gambling odds laid by Vesperin during the live-fire exercise on the Radamis Cruiser; the silent nuances of Straun as they received their load-out at Firebase Delta; the tally of times when Private Aperion used the word boom; the convictions half-murmured by Kross in the adrenal aftermath of their thirteenth practice drop; the lengthy exposition of Private Deimos on the chemical composition of engine degreaser; the incidents of panic and freeze-up on the Capara gun-range from Private Bauer.

    And all those put-downs from Janna - those rejections that only made him hungrier.

    There was no rhyme or reason to what Grazer chose to write down. His hand was guided by a higher power. As their deaths would be. He was the record-keeper, the carver of the headstones. His book already overflowed with annotations from the meat-grind history of BlackJack Company.

    Today the blood and ink would flow again.

    "We follow the terrain!" he yelled at his squadmates. "Fuck trees. Find ridges, hillsides and valleys. If the heretic bastards turn the big guns on us, we'll need the cover. I catch any of you bleeding out on open ground, forget the kalma-leaf."

    Kalma-leaf - painkiller for the wounded, comfort for the dying. Why hate the corporal when he puts the last smile on your face?

    "CORPORAL GRAZER, READY!"
     
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  4. Deimos looked up to everyone periodically during this flight, otherwise she was checking her tools and her still- was it full enough? Too full? She was obsessed about keeping the levels right- too much and it would slow her down, too little and she'd be ornery when they had survived another day and there was drink to be had. It wasn't that her silence meant calm- no, she was so deeply embedded into checking her supplies and weapons to give her something else to think on- Would today be the day that her luck ran out? Then again, one could argue that none of her family's participation in this line of work was ever lucky.

    She was constantly hearing a cacophony of sounds at this point, from their transport to the sounds of war around them, so voices added to the mix took some active listening, her eyes focused on Sergeant Kores as he spoke, listening to the plan of action being yelled out as she took a deep breath to steady her thoughts. If today was the day she died, at least she'd join the growing number of her family honored with this death. If she didn't die, she'd drink to her survival, then another for luck.

    Deimos looked to Janna as she called out, and then to Grazer as he called out a snippet of inspirational drivel, and divulged more information on where to go to, follow the terrain, got it. His joke brought a small smirk to her face as she finished getting herself prepared for the action they were about to take. Death might as well be the only calming thought on her mind- the only thing that she could truly depend on at the end of the day. Death would come eventually, as sure as the beating heart in her chest. It was just a matter of when and where. Just not today. She had work to do and drinks to be had when the work was done.

    One last breath to steady herself and she rose, her voice ringing out as the others before her "Private Deimos, ready!" Her voice strong as she kept her mind on the prize- survive today. Survive today, do her job, and drink tomorrow.
     
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  5. Staun had been doing what every good soldier does with a moment of downtime as they headed for the drop zone. He caught up on some sleep ignoring the sounds of the battlefield below and the scream of the Valk's engines. That was until the 3 minute drop warning. Without a trace of tiredness he awoke and began final gear checks as he stood up. Melta slung by his side as he checked his lasgun before shouldering it and taking out his pride and joy.

    The meltagun showed the usual wear and tear of an active battlefield issue weapon. The scorch marks around the barrel were as familiar as his own name, the litanies to the Emperor he'd had etched into the non-critical plates of the weapon by a ministorum scrivener were plainly visible. He ran his hands over the hydrogen tanks that fuelled the weapon and carefully over it's scope removing and reloading it once to be sure the actions were clean, free of dust and damage.

    Standing he clipped his harness onto the roof before finally addressing the squad. "Get me close enough and I'll make those emplacements run as molten metal." He smiled grimly. And if i'm lucky a traitor or two will get in the way. Private Staun, ready."
     
    #5 Kadaeux, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
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  6. They had things to blow up. Bitchen. Being useful filled him with great pride hopefully one day it could secure a spot as an officer. If a general and a private get a medal for the same deed, who does history remember? Who do the people remember? Answer: The guy who seem more shit and still had the gumption to put his foot so deep in the ass of the enemy he would would be wearing platform boots to his ceremony. If he was going to be here, Xander is going to scratch and claw his way to better place. Hopefully, nobody gets stepped on along the way. It would suck trying to be a good leader for everyone though. He will work on that, for his comrades.

    Xander had everything he needed for this fight. His gear. His head. His spirit. The equipment was fully checked twice. It was working in tip top shape. Well, tip top for the gear they got. Privates don't get shinies. If they don't get killed, they get better things to kill with. Ideally, he would get enough explosives to literally blow the enemy OFF the planet. Send those assholes to space. Boomady Boomy Boom. That being said, he positions his boom stick in the properly set and moved his explosives accordingly.

    "Guess Staun is not getting his magic leaf." He laughed and hooked himself on. In a few minutes, they would be going into boiled hell, and all they really had was each other. He had a small need to make some sort of stupid movie speech that would allow all the main characters to survive. The shitty thing was that, none of them might survive. "Just keep spraying until you see my fireworks." It was a whisper and a shoulder pat. He was ready.

    "Private Aperion, Ready!"

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    #6 Cerulean, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
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  7. Dominic was looking straight in front of him on his seat, his eyes lost to his surroundings. The realization of what was happening was finally setting in, the danger and seriousness of this situation getting into his head. Training was over; practice drops would be no more and the little “safety” they could feel back home was over. They were going to war as one of the many Elysian Drop Trooper companies to fight for the Emperor. The Blackjack Company. Well, it was to see what would BE left of the company. The private’s thoughts were lost in the memories of that day he signed up for this… It was hard to say if he regretted it or not. He only said what he needed to say and nothing more. He didn’t talk of his family; his wife and two daughters. He didn’t talk about his time as a part of a USAR team in Elysian. He kept that away, as it didn’t matter. All that mattered now was the fight ahead.

    As the Valkyrie shook at the shots that ripped through the skies and the other transportation vehicles were being shot down as they arrived. This was a familiar feeling, but those old times in the USAR team never felt like this one. It wasn’t simple rocket launchers or a group of men trying to bring them down. It was an army and cannons trying to bring them down before they hit ground. This was much more intense… He finally showed it, his hands wrapping around with each other. Yet, at the same time, it was exactly like before. His duty. It was what he had to do, so he would do it.

    Private Kross got to his feet as the three minute called was spoken to them. It was nearly time; he had a task to complete. Being on point for this kind of thing would be a first, but he had squad mates who would need the info from the frontlines. Taking in a deep, he hooked up his own harness to the ceiling, calling out right after Private Aperion.


    Private Kross ready for drop, Sergeant!
     
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  8. He sat there, quiet and unmoving like a stone as the Valkyrie shook with every near miss. Every ally that died in the Valkyrie over and weren't lucky enough to be one of the few groups to make it to the ground at least. He would prefer to die on the ground, not the air. Terrible death, being shredded to pieces inside of a Valkyrie, it sounded like a terrible death and every time that the aircraft shook he held his breath thinking that it was theirs that would be hit next and they would be the ones to die.

    He blinked, looking up from his stony look at his hands towards Sergeant Kores, the three minute call coming in. Each minute was excruciatingly painful to wait for and now the time that was known, three minutes, would feel like fucking forever. Fuck, why did he even join the Imperial Guard, he was the spur of the moment when he looked on his life and his ancestors life and how they never served in the Guard. Well, he fucked his family line over now.

    Standing up, he grabbed his modified Lasgun and made sure it was all in working order before clipping it to his chest, making sure that he couldn't lose it unless the strap broke or he took it off himself. Without this weapon, he pretty much becomes a little fucking toddler on the battlefield. He doesn't specialize in Medium/Close Combat like many of the other squadmates. It isn't part of his job in the squad, his job is to sit nice and comfy, preferably hundreds of yards away from the fighting. This also put him at a disadvantage, especially if he was surrounded by the enemy and his squad was a good deal away, shit he was already imagining his own death and they weren't pleasant.

    Come on...you fuck this is what you signed up for....

    A shaky hand missed once or twice before finally clipping himself in and becoming ready for the drop. If anyone asked, blame it on the rattling of the Valkyrie and that is why he missed, not because he was about to fill his boots with piss.

    "Private Bauer....Ready for drop"
     
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    PFC Terrick Vesperin stood at the back of the 10-man squad of B-Company-- Blackjack Company. How fitting, he had thought with glee so many weeks ago when he had been re-assigned from a chopped-up, casualty ridden company. Since then, he had stuck a black spade on his helmet, a '21' emblazoned in the center of it in High Gothic. He had egged the others on to do the same.

    He stood over the rest of his squad-mates some inches, giving him the mass needed to carry around his heavy stubber; it was strapped to a harness on his chest. He had one hand holding the grip along the top of it to alleviate the weight. The big thing was nearly parallel to his chest, but still bit into the space between him and the man in front of him. "Sorry about that, mate!" he had said with a chipper grin when they had all boarded up on the Valkyrie.

    Dice tumbled in his head as he held the bar overhead. The ship rattled with turbulence, and he knew troopships were going down all around. That's just how it worked out; there was no rhyme or reason to death on the battlefield. You went, or you didn't, and it was just luck of the draw. He didn't bother looking out any view ports.

    “Alright! Sound off, and get ready to jump!”

    Here we go. Time! His hand left the stubber on his chest and Terrick quickly groped himself, checking on the Las-carbine at his back and side, his side-arm at his hip, the actual drop-pack that would see him--hopefully--safely to the ground... Finally secured, he quickly made the sign of the Aquila.

    "Private Vesperin, ready to go!" he shouted over the din of battle below. He grinned toothily, the dice rumbling in his head louder than ever. He kept imagining the pips landing on variances of 7's and 11's.
     
  10. The back of the Valkyrie begins to open, letting the bitter night air come sweeping in. Thick with the smell of fires and smoke, the scent of gunpowder and blood. I stare out and down onto a thick canopy of forest, flashes of anti-air positions popping up as booming flashes amidst the dark.

    Like the sirens of old legends, beckoning the men and women of Tropaeum Squad to join them down in the gloom.

    And we shall answer their call.

    “Check the Grav-Chute of the Guardsman in front of you!” I roar over the sound of the wind and engines. It's a process we drilled into muscle memory back home, but out here amidst the din of war it will feel different. The first combat drop always does. This is a night my guardsmen will never forget, should they live through it. Behind me, Corporal Carthex ensures that the harness holding up my chute is fixed securely as I look out onto Nevarine Forest.

    “Sixty seconds!” the pilot intercom squawks, “Flak's getting real heavy, Sergeant! Tell your guys to hold--” The sentence is lost beneath the screech of metal and a roaring sound loud enough to leave my ears ringing. The Valkyrie rocks violently; were we not all strapped to the safety line, we would have been thrown off our feet. Snapping my neck around, I see the flames billowing out from beneath the doors to the cockpit.

    Flak strike. A solid hit.

    We have seconds before this whole dropship goes down in flames.

    “EVERYONE OUT!!” Wrenching myself back, I clear the path out the back doors. Carthex is already moving, experience no doubt informing him just how little time we have. Reaching over, I grab Deimos by the pauldrons of her flak armour and tug her out and into the open void. Aperion, Kross and Straun follow them out, just as the Valkyrie gives another wrenching shudder and begins to spin out.

    Off-course, the drop-site now lost amidst the dizzying plummet. The safety line barely keeps myself, Aiar, Bauer and Vesperin upright. One by one, the final three members of Trapaeum Squad manage to haul themselves out the doors. Without looking back I follow them, hauling myself free from the line and leaping through into the night sky.

    Weightlessness. Nothing but the roar of the wind outside my helmet. There is a peacefulness to this, even amidst the chaos that surrounds me. For a second or two I shut my eyes and soak it in, letting this strange calm overwhelm.

    Then my eyes are snapped open, and I'm igniting my Grav-Chute.

    Gravity kicks like a shotgun as the chute pulls me back from terminal velocity. I can see the skies around me ablaze as Valkyries are lit up by the flak cannons below. Good men burning within them, or else torn apart by the enemy attack. But I see other chutes too, above and below. Though they resist, the secessionists cannot push us back. Soon we will be on the ground, and it will be our time for retribution.

    The tree canopy rises to greet me, and by the time I'm level with it I find myself descending into a long, narrow clearing next to the beginnings of forest-covered foothills. The ground approaches, and I brace my legs in time for the landing with a practised motion. My next movements are thoughtless, a motion carried out so many times it barely requires conscious thought. Strip chute from back, let it slide to the ground. Strip lasgun from its carrier, load charge pack and shoulder. Sweep the nearby area, alert for signs of hostile targets.

    No such targets present myself. The only figures in the clearing with me are the final three to make the jump from the Valkyrie. With a frown, I lower my weapon and move towards them.
    “Damn it all,” I growl, “Aiar, see if you can contact Carthex or one of the others via Vox. Then let Command know we've made groundfall but didn't make the drop site. Bauer, Vesperin, watch the treeline. If it moves and it's not wearing Elysian colours, you light it up.”

    Over half the squad unaccounted for, and Emperor knows how far off our drop site.

    This is not how I hoped our first drop would pan out.


    AREA OF OPERATIONS - See OOC For Details (open)
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  11. There was no time for her mind to wander as the rest of the squad sounded off and they went through the motions they had been through a dozen times before, but never to the backdrop of heavy anti=aircraft fire trying to send them to the Emperor and Ollanius Pius. Then it happened, their craft was struck and they had two choices, drop or die.

    Not quite yet.

    She wouldn't remember how she got out, only the shouting of her squadmates and then the expanse of ground beneath her as the air whipped by. Training kicked in, hijacking her brain like a poorly mannered criminal and she spread her limbs, trying to direct her descent to stay with the man who had gotten out before her. A burst of tracer whipped by but was gone too fast for it to matter. A bigger concern was the fast approaching ground.

    She would have liked to say her landing was graceful, but when her chute cut out she was on all fours in the dirt. She would tell herself that it had been a precaution to preserve the precious communications equipment on her back... but like many other things right now it didn't matter. She was down, she was safe and so were one... two... three... others.

    Kores was already giving her orders and she obeyed adjusting the arm in front of her mouth. Squad, then command.

    "Private Aiar calling any members of tropaeum squad. I am with the sergeant and we have made groundfall and are trying to work out our position. If you hear this, please respond."

    She let the air go dead as she listened, the possibility of them being nothing more than bodies smashed against the ground in the back of her skull.

     

  12. He was ready to do two things, break down and realize that joining the Guard was the dumbest thing he has ever done and there is nothing in the galaxy can save him from the fate he has cursed himself for. When signing up, he did it without much thought or care, thinking it would be all daisies and shit to be given a Lasgun and nothing bad would happen. Yeah, that was the dumbest thing he has ever convinced himself to do, but he also didn't want to die. So when the Valkyrie was hit and Sergeant Kores was getting everyone off, Peter was ready to push past everyone and jump out. He wasn't going to die because of shrapnel or burns, or being crushed to death under the weight of a Valkyrie! The only thing that stopped him was the damn line he harnessed himself to with everyone else. Fuck.

    As everyone dropped, leaving Kores to be the last one to drop, Peter was looking down at the fast approaching ground. Fuck. Fuck...Fuck. How do I operate this thing again! His mind was going too fast and he just needed to calm down, or smash into the ground below and be nothing more than a pancake. Finally, the training that he had kicked in and he activated his Grav-Chute, being yanked up by the gravity almost knocked the wind out of him from how unexpected it was.

    There was probably piss in his boots now, but he was so numb from almost dying, that he couldn't tell if there was.

    As they hit the ground, he quickly got up to his feet, making sure that the Sniper Lasgun was intact and not broken somehow by the earth and his body crushing it. Hell, he was in worse pain than the Lasgun if it could feel. Landing on the weapon on solid ground stung like a bitch. He was already banged up, and it was from his own damn gun. Kores voice brought his attention away from the stinging pain he felt to listen to him give out commands. Sucking in a sharp breath of air, he crouched down and raised his weapon. Taking cover behind one of the trees that was closet, watching the tree line that they believed to be towards the enemy. Fuck...The enemy could be behind them.

    "I don't see anything yet Sergeant." It would be foolish of the secessionists not to send out a patrol to the Valkyries that were shot down, or just have a patrol monitoring the entire area for drops and Valkyries and unlucky any survivor to exist besides the ones that jumped out before it crashed.
     
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    The strike hit the Valkyrie like hell itself presumably reducing the occupants of it's cockpit to the consistency of fine paste. Checking the chute in front of him Straun didn't wait and jumped as soon as it was his turn. The hellfire of flak surrounded them for a moment before they plummeted below the incandescent blossoming fire of flak bursts. He didn't know if any of the others had been hit as he concentrated on his own drop. He didn't ignite his grav-chute anytime soon allowing himself to plummet until two seconds before optimal deployment. The blast of the grav chute arrested his downward momentum like a hammerblow and he descended into a clearing he'd tried to aim for in the last moments of his drop landing carefully on the ground.

    He smacked the quick release and shouldered his lasgun in one smooth move, scanning the terrain. The woods were thick enough to provide concealment and that generally worked both ways. Moments later the others were down, well those that Straun could see anyway, the Cpl, Kross, Aperion and Deimos. Sparing a moment he took out a dataslate and checked it. "By the Emperor's Left Nut. We're on the wrong side of the damned road!" He said in a sharp hiss keeping the volume down.

    Nothing would put them in more danger than a road crossing.

    Then he heard Pvt Aiar over his microbead. "Private Straun here. Position... i'm not sure how secure the comms are." He paused. He didn't want to go and inform the enemy where they were with detail. "We're on the other side of the strip closer to the South Hotel. I'm guessing we're going to check out their pricing before booking rooms." He hoped that Aiar would get the meaning of his comm.
     
  14. "Aagh! Dick!" Grazer growled as Straun trod on his leg. The Corporal was flat on his back, haloed by his grav chute and peppered with branches he had snapped on his way through the canopy. Before even making himself comfortable, he turned his cigar around, clamped the end between his teeth, and lit it.

    His side of the Valkyrie had jumped first, before the ship went into a spin. If Kores' team had made it out before it blew, they would have been flung in the opposite direction.

    Unconfirmed deaths - the worst thing for a chronicler.

    With a grunt he rolled to his feet and severed the lines of his chute, glancing at Straun as he gave a sitrep.

    "Deimos, Aperion - tell me if you're dead. Private Kross, gut the fuck out of anything that comes from that treeline.

    The Corporal moved over to Straun, dropping ashes on his dataslate as he peered over the gunner's shoulder. He grunted again. "Hmm. Close enough. We'll cross the road then storm the hilltop. No two ways about it."

    He unslung his Lasgun and checked the charge pack and sights. The cigar bobbed in his mouth as he gave his orders. "The others are alive, but till we get a full report consider them dead. In two minutes this clearing will be thick with Traitor Guard, come to finish us off. We move now. Deimos, Kross - our job is to keep these two alive." He jabbed his thumb at Aperion and Straun. "They have the firepower to destroy those guns, so we stick to them like our mother's titties. Understood?"

    He was already trudging through the undergrowth, heading due south for the killing field that would be the Aquilan Road.
     
  15. "Not dead yet, sir."

    Thank the Emperor that none of his toys went off. That would have really turned everything into shit. Standing and trying to get used to the fact that he just plummeted out of the sky like a kamikaze. He double checked the gear to be sure. Nope. They look okay. Pulling out his standard issue rifle, he took a good look at that as well. It's fine. He got himself situated and moved closer to the commanding officer. Sooner, or later they bark out orders. Of course, before he even got there, the group knew what they were set to do.

    "Storming a hill? Let's do it."

    Xander got his titties moving south, behind Grazer. Body lowered to keep his head from being spotted by baddies.

    "Assuming we don't hook back up with them, are we still going to the primary landing zone?"

    pvt_aperion_zpsa6580852.jpg
     
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    The dice stopped tumbling.

    At once, the Valkyrie shuddered as shrapnel tore the front of it, shredding the pilots. They had seconds before the rest of the ship began to nose-dive and fall apart. The Sergeant was quick, got them all moving, but it was all sorts of hell.

    Pfc. Vesperin barely got out. He didn't bother turning to look at the flaming carnage from behind. Instead, he kept his eyes on the carnage below.

    Goggles kept the wind from tearing too hotly at his eyes. He could see the ground light up in pinpricks of light all below, from behind treelines and ridges, from the inside of hedge rows and behind pill boxes. Tracer fire followed the troopships in the sky, and tore off into the distance as well. Burst of metal and flack exploded all around, but luckily, it was much farther up. Nothing to harm him and, he felt, the rest of Squad Tropaeum.

    He couldn't tell who was beneath him, but he saw Grav-Chutes come alive, and quickly whipped his hand to bring his own online. He felt the negative G's on his chest and grunted, his fall being momentarily arrested before he was allowed to continue. The thrusters high and behind him came to life on/off sporadically as he continued to descend. Death and duty aside, it was a pleasant ride!

    Sgt. Kores, and Vox-operator Aiar and their Marksman Bauer was in his eye line. The Sergeant barked orders, and Vesperin went to his. He pulled a knot on his harness and brought the stubber to bear. The large box drum of ammunition had been tucked awkwardly underneath his arm, and he snapped it into place with the practice of a thousand drills. It took less 4 seconds.

    Falling in next to Bauer, he reached forward to drop the bipod and then fell into prone position. He lined up the front and rear sights, and scanned the distance.

    "Who else you think is still alive?" he asked the skittish Private. "I bet you anything that Carthex's still breathing."
     


  17. That one confirmed hit on the Valkyrie had been enough for Kross to remember that one incident in his USAR team that almost caused all their deaths. The missile launcher had hit their transportation and everyone had to prop their own shoots for a jump. This, though, was far worst. He didn’t freeze, but instead looked at their COs to see the procedure they would take. Of course, the back door was cleared and it was time to jump. He followed up with Corporal Carthex and the others for their fall. When there was nothing under his feet, Kross remained focus, trying to figure out where to fall in all this madness.

    It was hard to stay in the game with all the cannon shots being heard and the Valkyries being taken down. It was a wonder if the others made it alive after them. But it wasn’t what needed to be done. A safe landing zone… He eyed around for his squad mates, did his best to follow suit and to stay near the Corporal. When it was time to ignite the suits, he followed through, losing his breath at the sudden jerk. What a change… This wasn’t small city operations. This was war, pure and simple.

    Kross rolled as his feet touched the ground, snapping off the Grav-Chute and reaching for the combat shotgun. His eyes immediately scanned the area, knowing the Corporal was a few feet beside him. His first orders from his CO was simple, Kross keeping his eyes all around as he spoke back.Yes sir.

    He received the communication from Aisir and he let it go to others to answer. Being on point, he had to stay in touch when he could. People told him he was insane for going in the heat of Close Quarter Combat, but it was what he did before. He would stay in what he was good at.

    He heard the plan from the Corporal, and really, there truly weren’t any options other than that. Storm them, take them down as quickly as possible as possible. He wished he would have brought at least a few smoke grenades, but the choke gas would prove quite useful once they would get to the gun site. He turned his head to look at Carthex and nodded.As you say, Sir.He pushed forward, keeping his flashlight out and Laspistol at the ready.
     


  18. She only received one message and it was faint, still she left the channel clear in case any more replies came before speaking.

    "Received, four guests this end... Cashing out."

    Again she left the channel clear for any replies before looking up at Kores. "There's another group of survivors. They've landed and are crossing the road to attack one of the southern batteries. They're several miles away at least by how weak the signal is." That was all she knew, in the chaos of the jump she had failed to pay attention of where they had touched down.

    "Tropaeum diswinged. Scattered but minimal casualties and we've missed the LZ." The message was sent, likely along with hundreds of others from other squads. Taking the time to look up she watched the skies, thankful at least that their ordeal up there was over... even if... "So long as those guns are up I can call all I want but command isn't going to be able to do a damn for us." This is what she had 'volunteered' for.

     
  19. “Carthex is too mean to die,” I say in agreement with Vesperin, my eyes darting about; absorbing the the landscape that surrounds us, seeking out landmarks. The trees that coat this region are pitch black but above us the sky burns with flak, with ripped apart Valkyries, illuminating the area in a hell-coloured glow.

    Hills to our west, and this clearing... not too many on the map I studied, from what I remember. The flak hurtling up into the sky, just over the hill's peak, is another indicator as to where we need to head. Our squad may be separated, but the mission remains the same. Carthex will be getting the others moving, so it's time for us to head out as well.
    “So long as those guns are up I can call all I want but command isn't going to be able to do a damn for us,”
    Aiar observes, having finished checking in with Command. Nodding, I shoulder my lasgun again.
    “Makes our next course of action nice and simple, then.

    “Alright, listen up. In five minutes this clearing is gonna be swarmed by Secessionist forces who spotted our grav-chutes, so it's time to move out. See that fire above the hill?”
    I motion with one arm to the flak blasting up into the sky from our north-west, “That's our target. We hit that, take it out, then rendezvous with the rest of Tropaeum. I want a tactical column. Bauer, you're on point, Vesperin's got the back. Aiar, keep that vox limited to your micro-bead for the time being.”

    Lead by example. That's what my sergeant told me back when I was serving as a Corporal in the Hell-Divers. A good man, Sergeant Allonse. He died well. Keeping my weapon at the ready, I begin to move. “Every minute we waste is another minute those guns blow our comrades out the sky. So we ain't got time to waste.”
     

  20. Private Bauer could really care less if Carthex survived or not, and some of the other squad members he could care less for. He didn't mention his thoughts, instead stayed in his crouched position as he continued to scan the field in front of them, watching for any signs of traitor guard to appear in the treeline. They would be seriously outgunned and outnumbered against the traitors, unless they met another squad that was friendly and shot down, but that was unlikely. He grumbled a bit before glancing up to Sergeant Kores as the new orders came through.

    He was on point. Fucking. Fantastic.

    Slowly standing up, he began to walk forward with the Sergeant, his eyes still focusing on what was in front of him. He didn't need to turn around and be shot in the back because he wasn't focusing. His mind was racing, trying to keep his breath steady so the Sarge wouldn't hear him practically hyperventilating over in his personal space. Twigs and other things snapping underneath his feet, they had to move fast, but if traitor guards were wandering these woods. Then they don't want to alert them by breaking every fucking twig, leaf, and whatever else may be on the ground.

    "So. Do you even think it is possible we will meet up with the rest of the squad?" Falling apart from one another in enemy territory seemed to scream at him that he might die, or his comrades might die. He continued to move, quickly with the rest of the squad, he probably shouldn't be talking at all. He was nervous, and felt like talking might calm him down, but might get him killed.
     
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