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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-27-13, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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Chapter 5

Nine troopers in the dark red and brown of the Sedukhar Hosts panted and sweated as they ran, clambered and crawled through the obstacle course under the dull grey twilight of the shrouded sun, a lone figure in a brown storm-coat yelled and shouted abuse at them, a loaded pistol firing into the air and for a good measure near those who were faltering.

Dersh looked up at the brightening sun through the grey clouded sky as he jogged around the outer circuit toward the firing ranges, his combat armour felt heavy and the pack he was lugging did not help the situation, the long-barrelled Mark II ‘lancerifle’ anti-tank rifle was the only thing that felt good when carried.

He adjusted his helmet and jogged on to the firing range where Samnir the Gol; the squad flame-trooper was already spurting spears of reddish flames onto his designated targets left of the firing field; the area was blackened and charred from all the previous sessions.

Dersh signalled to his subedar and he replied by firing into the air, a husk of an imperial tank and three moving targets appeared from the right end of the field, he raised his spear rifle and lined a shot carefully, the targets began to move about to cover the vehicle in a preset pattern, the turret turned toward him.

“Die, please,” he whispered to his target through the gunsight and squeezed the trigger.

There was a solid bang and the husk erupted in flame and smoke, Dersh grinned. Three solid bangs soured the grin as he turned left to the source of the shots only to see the Jikra woman, Eseth, easily picking of moving targets with every shot. She did not even pause.

“Trooper Eseth! Inform your squad-mate that you are covering him!” the subedar shouted, “Communicate you damned heathens!”

Eseth finished her routine targets and bowed to the subedar, Dersh grinned at her like he always did.

“Trooper Dersh! Get the bloody hell up and moving, Eseth! You are his cover, now act like it!”

The subedar’s sanctioned training regime was punishing, his rifle drills and close combat spars was a source of great pain and discomfort to the new bloods.

Haum had led the bayonet training himself earlier, with ample footing and vigour for a man who had been bed ridden by dangerous wounds a day ago, he vigorously trained them in techniques in close combat.

The subedar had walked amongst the squad practicing their techniques adjusting the faulty blows, admonishing the clumsy ones and punishing the squad at the end for all their combined failures of his stringent standards and each failure was met with repetition of the tasks.

Dersh felt especially burdened by the failure of his comrades, and his role as heavy support along with Samnir and Heku had seen him relegated to special duties of weighted training and double circuits in the trench crawl.

Mej especially was unhappy, seeing how his scoped autorifle freshly painted and repaired from the armoury, was already scratched and chipped in places due to the rough movements and accidents that accompanied the training.

Dersh grunted with effort as he ducked into a trench and ran past Mej covering him with his scoped weapon; behind him Eseth struggled past the razor wire and crawled up behind Dersh.

“Keep it moving Dersh, faster!” he heard Soca howl from ahead.

Dersh strained his arm as it ached with the constant effort and movement. The added effects of the fight out of Lorterstown had still not worn off from the majority of the new bloods and it did not help this situation, he leapt past a small box on the ground and clambered onto the broken edge of the trench and advanced into the mucky pond that separated a small bridge dangling perilously over waste water.

Dersh sighed at the prospect of repeating the run.

The subedar was working them to the ground since they were woken at dawn; they had all complained to the vice-subedar at their short break, but Soca as unconcerned as ever had just told them to harden up.

Dersh saw other sects of sedukhar and footmen trained and left at hourly intervals, yet his sect was the only one that remained in the training fields, practicing and training under the relentless eyes of the subedar. It was like he was training them up to be as ready as possible.

He nearly slipped near the bridge mouth, snapping him out of his brief glimpse of his day. He had to stop thinking of his situation and concentrate on his tasks. Atleast that is what the subedar kept shouting at him.
An hour before sunset prayers of the temple the squad was relieved from their combat-training; Haum had been summoned by Command and he had left Soca in charge.

The exhausted Soca had simply ordered them to retire.

Dersh took to this order with relish as the squad retired to their lonely barrack.
“Haum sure is putting his whip on us,” Heku grumbled as he walked beside him.

Dersh grunted in assent, “I heard he has a reputation, rather his sect does.”

“Did you mean, otherwise this is as you say,” agreed Eseth as she dragged her pack along the ground.

“Where did he go to anyway?” Dersh ventured his voice loud enough to reach Soca.

Soca ignored the question.

“Well vice-subedar?” Heku asked pressing the matter.

Soca hissed in annoyance, “I don’t know. Maybe it is a briefing. He still hasn’t reported back to Host command. Maybe he is going to have us shot for being weak. I don’t know.”

The vice-subedar hastened his walk and hurried ahead toward the armoury, the other members waited till he was out of earshot to grumble and complain about him.

Dersh simply grumbled and agreed to his comrades, he didn’t really care at this point; he was too tired to care.

There is no intelligence. Only degrees of Idiocy.

Last edited by Exitus_10; 09-27-13 at 03:26 AM.
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