Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: In a cell for revealing sensitive information regarding the Inquisition
I didn’t feel safe standing in the middle of the courtyard and so I fell in behind three others advancing on the main entrance. The sound of gunfire from the ramparts intensified and I felt a faint wave of heat stroke the back of my neck. Despite the very real threat just beyond the walls, the suspense of what lay in the main building made me grip my las-carbine so hard my knuckles began to ache. I wished I could say I remained calm and resolute throughout, but I could see the end of my las-carbine waver. My breath was still ragged.
I heard screaming, muffled through the door of the main building, but definitely screaming. It sounded like pain and despair. A man was dying. Was he being tortured? Were those they had been sent to reinforce in there, fighting for their lives against an outflanking force? Had they already been butchered and it was the groan of a lone survivor slowly expiring? My mind rushed through the possibilities and I was sure my comrades were thinking the same. It didn’t matter. We had to move forward and face whatever lay ahead. Behind us was only death.
My father had taught me how to survive the crashing of tidal waves against our ship. When you could see a wall of water rising up to meet you, you wrapped the closest piece of rope around you as tight as you could bear. Then you held your breath and let the wave crash over you. This was not dissimilar. I gripped my las-carbine a little harder and pushed its stock into my shoulder hard enough to hurt. I took a deep breath and the barrel of my gun became reasonably steady. I was ready to face whatever was behind those doors. A crash shattered the suspense.
We surged through the door, weapons and tensions high. It was a miracle none of us open fired. There was little lighting in the main building, but there was enough to show two shadow-wreathed figures, armed. What were they? Assassins? Allies? Immediately the building was filled with shouting voices, mine included. “Put down your weapons! Put down your fucking weapons!” There were half a dozen overlapping voices, all of them human but that didn’t seem to matter to any of us. The unknown was enough to spook us. The moaning continued, although I don’t think any of us were paying attention to it anymore. Suddenly our voices were drowned out by a hurricane of fire and glass.
The windows behind me blew out and I felt a shard nick my ear as the shockwave forced me to the ground. The light of the flames persisted, but it orange hue caught the wings on the stranger’s uniform. “The Aquilia! They’re friendly!” I yelled, scrambling to my feet. Even though there were only two of them, the prospect of reinforcements almost moved me to delirious tears. It meant we weren’t alone in this. However, this moment of joy was quickly shattered by the sound of the orks barking orders. I looked behind me. Oh Terra, the gate was open.
“Close the doors” I said, not quite realising that I had said it until a split second later. I slammed the main doors shut and pulled a small table that had been by the window in front of the door. I turned the table on its side and jammed it under the doors handles. It wasn’t much, but it would mean the orks might take an extra second or two to break through the door. That second might be the difference between life and death if we needed to flee.
“Man the windows!” I yelled. I turned to the strangers. “Help us, or we’re all fucked.” I crouched by the window and propped my las-carbine on the frame for stability. I started to fire into the orks now streaming through the gates with my comrades. Some on the ramparts were dead or had been knocked onto the courtyard. The rest were firing into the orks. Although I hated myself for thinking it, I hoped the orks took a greater interest in those on the walls. At least if they died first, the rest of us might have a chance to escape before the xeno brutes turned their attention on us…