With hand signals, they all dispersed into nearby cover at an intersection, hauling the debris and any (still-complaining) fallen bodies into place to make more substantial defences. Two layers of ceramite sandwiching a superhuman meat-body made a much more effective sandbag than a few mere crates and pipes.
With no way to pass the Tactical Dreadnought armour except through them, it would have been like walking into a hail of bullets.
The confined area meant that the enemy would probably only number one or two against his whole unit, so there could be a chance.
From experience with his own boarding shield, Kesh knew that this mobile cover would not last very long...if they crossed the distance, entering melee against even a sole Terminator would be worse than trying to weather the gunfire. Twin bolters were bad enough, but their wielders were possibly even more skilled in close combat.
Outflanking was an clearly better option: Second Claw would be less-able to turn and defend themselves against lighter power armour, perhaps they could even bypass these elite veterans and get to the softer targets behind? In his usual role, it was an option he would choose, but he had to remind himself that he was supposed to be 1st Legion, not 8th.
Yet Kesh realised it could also easily be a trap: the huge armour being used as an obvious roadblock deliberately designed to split the attackers up (by making them outflank) and thus focussing their thoughts upon circling around, rather than watching for any ambush which lay in wait for them.
Another possiblity was to sit and wait it out, holding the Terminators there.
Nearby ladders meant they would be able to climb up into the roof trusses for more cover and use the Terminators' own bulk against them, because their weapons would not be able to train upwards very far, so they might be forced to either stay where they were and lessen their firepower, or abandon their position in order to back away and shoot more effectively.
This staid option chafed against his training, but (to him) seemed to be in keeping with First Legion.
However, staying meant that they could be enveloped and also possibly run down if the Terminators charged.
One final solution presented itself: to withdraw and help Helek's unit.
If they could both eliminate Helek's foes, then they would all have more chances against whatever else was to come. This last eventuality offered the most chance for survival and would be more effective in the long-run.
Seeing the bloodlust in his comrades' eyes, he regarded them all sternly in turn:
"You have vengeance in your eyes and murder-grins behind your masks...I know, because these desires mirror my own.
"Laren and Tarnet, you see to drive your pistols and chainswords into the midriff of the enemy, to feel their hot blood pouring out. Yet you would both fall before you got halfway...there would be none of the glory for you today."
"Geshek, Valek and Niheld, your bolters have claimed more targets than most in the ranges and upon the field, yet their armour has few weak spots to aim at. It is no disrespect to your skills, but you may expend most of our ammunition trying to bring just one of them down, leaving us with too few bullets remaining for the rest."
"The foe has made a bastion out of their very bodies and armour; charging them will result in naught but our lives spent worthlessly. They seek to split us up by making us outflank: so they want us to go one-on-one, advancing into their lair where they know the territory and they hold the advantage.
"Even our skills would be hard-pressed in such a test...but it proves that they do not trust themselves to defeat us...they place their faith in defences, but haven't we spent these last decades in service to our Primarch by showing the enemy the folly of such measures?" Kesh tapped his deactivated hammer against the floor, seeing their heads nod in agreement.
"The shields will be held and we shall withdraw. You heard the sounds of attack on Helek's unit: we go to reinforce them and make our combined greater numbers count."
Throwing frags to cover their escape, even through locked shields, their cover still reverberated from the impacts of bolter rounds fired wildly in their direction, quickly progressing back to where Helek's was engaged.
Kicking the faceplate of a fallen brother who was still complaining too loudly, he added:
"Quit whining: You don't even sound like one of the First Legion, let alone of the 8th..."
Urgently trying to trace any living relatives of Private Sam/Samuel "Jock" Wilson (Black Watch, No. 6 Commando, UK Army Service ID 2764432, died 10.06.44). Any info/suggestions gratefully received.
"Mockles! Pent on silpen tree, blockards three a-feening. Mockles! What silps came to thee, in thy pantry, dreaming?"
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