As Tobias was scanning the sky, a large flame burst into existence. Even in the darkness, he could see the outline of the aircraft begin to dive like a bird shot in the chest mid-flight. It was the Valkyrie he had just been on, seconds ago.
With his eyes having a few moments to adjust, he could see his squad members beneath him now. There was a moment of serenity with free falling through the air. After all, the violence was up there. It might be up there in the planes, and down beneath them on the ground, but right here, in between it all, everything was okay. Sometimes there was flakk coming up at the from the ground, but there wasn’t any of that, this time.
Any sense of tranquility amongst the chaos was defiled by one of his brothers-in-arms exploding into a red mist again. Another Ork plane drove through them, firing its gun all the while, slicing a man in half with its left wing and sending his two halves spiralling toward the ground below.
The first thought Tobias had at seeing this, was wondering if the man was still alive as his legs spun in the air beside him.
A hammer may as well have struck his heart, as he asked himself, ‘Where is Elias?’
‘Shit!’ This was real, he thought, he needed to react to something. He couldn’t just remain at the mercy of the universe like this.
Credit to him, Vaarn acted first as the aircraft again opened fire into the air around them, by firing off his lasgun into the chassis. He had no effect, and was subsequently struck by large calibre rounds in turn, but, he had been the first one to do something. Tobias had always been better than Vaarn, but Vaarn had acted first.
More las fire lit up the air as the rest followed the example. Tobias too, gripped his weapon, whipping it around to point in front of him and let loose the best he could at the fast moving target. Dillon, praise Dillon, was the smartest one of them in that moment. He was the greatest of them in that moment, firing his grenade launcher. It was perfect shot, lobbed straight into the Ork pilot, crashing into the glass with a spout of flame erupting outward. It was a shot to be recognized but one that never would, as Dillon died immediately after, and the chances of the any of them returning home looked more miserable than they ever had in Tobias’s life.
Had he always been better than Dillon, too? He wondered. Dillon had been there from the very beginning, so, who’s to say? He thought.
The moment of crisis passed. He peeked downward to see the ground coming up fast, and slammed his chute release. They were never meant to float in on their chutes for more than a couple seconds or so. He hit the ground in a roll, the same roll he had performed a thousand times and perfected. It was automatic for him to hit the ground this way. He saw Elias come out of the same roll in his peripheral. His boots were now on the ground. A sensation after free fall that could never be ignored, even in these circumstances.
Jacques, the only other one of them left, definitely did not hit the ground in a roll. It looked as if he attempted to, despite his wounds, almost laughably so. It was still commendable, at any rate. Jaques' knee hit the ground and his body tucked, but he fell hard onto Prolial Prime, sliding quite a bit in the process.
Tobias didn’t stand, but raised up into a controlled crouch, shouldering his lasgun proper. He would be the eyes while Elias ran to Jaques. This was assumed between the both of them. Sure enough, Elias did just that. It was only then that Tobias realized his boots had hit Ferrocrete instead of rocky soil, and there were actually walls around them.
‘Heh...wow.’ he muttered, in disbelief.
‘All clear, from what I can tell, Elias.’
His brother was already applying pressure to a wound on Jaques.
‘Find us a way out,' He hissed, half-a-cry and half-a-whisper. 'Keep your eyes open, Tobias.'
He looked straight up into the sky, just to make sure there was no flaming wreckage or anything else he might be able to see falling down on them. There appeared to be nothing, but as he looked up he saw them again. His comrades, their names, and their deaths, and they sunk into him.
Elyas had been their Sergeant for ages. Even the newest members had been with them for about a year now. He had been on so many missions with them, so many worlds….they were all Elysian, they were all part of his home. They had been glorious.
And they all died, so helpless. So, pathetic.
He felt a fury rise in him. Incalescence flooded his head. A fever of pain and anger coming to the fore.
‘That was despicable.’ he said aloud.
‘What was despicable?’ asked Elias.
Elias’s posture wasn’t right. It wasn’t off too much but a trained eye could tell. It was not nearly as professional as it usually would be.
‘Their deaths. Except Dillon, Dillon’s was okay.’
‘Throne of Terra,' Elias spat back. 'This isn't the time to get sentimental.'
‘Screw sentiments.’ He said, angry. ‘Are you kidding me Elias?! Are you fugging kidding me? What was all that?’
Elias was lifting Jaques up now, but holding him in his arms rather than hauling him over the shoulder, since the main wound was apparently in his gut.
‘In a decade of military service, we’ve never lost more than one of our squad at a time, and that’s been far and few between. What the fug just happened?’
‘Men died, friends died,' Elias shot back. 'What can we do? Stand around, dejected and wet-eyed, and wait for the Greenskins? No, we live. We live, and we fight, and we mourn them later - As soldiers and as brothers.'
There was a heavy pause, and in it, a stench struck his nostrils. The air was rich with smoke. There were gunshots not far off, not far off at all. More fires, on the ground, this time. Shouting.
‘Any one of them could have been you.’ he said, lasgun down and held in one hand, like a child holding a toy.
Another pause. Some of Elias's gear clanked together as he took a few steps forward with Jaques.
‘And any one of them could have been you,' Elias's voice was softer, now. 'But we made it. We are Lengens, Tobias, we always make it.'
Tobias Looked at the side of his lasgun, held out in front of him, reading the text painted on it: T. Lengen
‘Damn right we are.’ He said. His professional demeanor returned to him, but he looked over his shoulder before scouting ahead.
‘Don’t you ever die like they did.’ he said.
'I'm going to die, old and withered, with a pair of women in my arms,' Elias grinned. 'Who'd tie your bootlaces were I gone?'
‘That sounds like a good plan, so long as one of those women isn’t that pistol of yours.’ He teased. It would likely earn him a punch later, but it was always worth it.
With that, he called out to the bleeding, unfortunate slump of a soldier.
‘Come on, Jaques! Time to prove that you’re almost as good as a Lengen.’
And with that, they made their move to the main building ahead.
You can never be prepared for the unexpected
Last edited by unxpekted22; 02-13-16 at 11:35 PM.