The valkyrie shuddered as it passed through a pocket of stiff air turbulence, rocking the passengers slightly. Nobody was fazed, each of the occupants having experienced far worse in their long and dangerous careers. The only sound to be heard was the crackle of the craft's vox caster and the constant stream of voices carrying conversations and updates on the situation.
"There's a swarm of hostiles surrounding the Governor's palace." The inquisitor acolyte's voice called.
"The genestealers have forced a rebellion already?" The Tempestor Prime's voice responded from another Valkyrie.
"Doesn't look like it." Came the reply. "They're nowhere near well armed enough. This looks like a typical rebellion. The Lady Inquisitor might want to have a word with his Lordship when she arrives. In the meantime it looks like our drop zone is compromised."
"Understood." The Prime answered. "All units standby to engage. Lethal force only if necessary. These are civilians, intimidation before fatalities wherever possible."
The vox crackled into silence as the squadrons of valkyries made their final approach. Sergeant Kharis, the Tempestor of the squad stood and approached the weapons locker at the fore of the craft. "Well it looks like we'll be mopping up a bunch of scrubs angry at the local fuzz." He hit the code on the locker and the door hissed open. "Saul, Dwah, I want you two packing flamer units. Give the ungrateful bastards hot feet. Hopefully that'll be the kind of intimidation we need. Try not to burn anyone alive. You know, unless you need to like the boss said."
The vox suddenly buzzed back to life with an urgent tone. "Thunder Squad Valkyrie is hit! We're going down in Sector Gamma Niner, southeast of the palace location! Requesting assistance!"
"Squad Zephyr, divert to assist immediately!" The Prime's voice shouted the order urgently.
"Understood!" Kharis called back. "You get that?"
"Affirmative Tempestor." The pilot's voice called. Kharis gripped the railing on the ceiling tightly as the valkyrie banked and shifted its course. The initial landing pattern had intended to be a perimeter encircling the palace, but this situation had resulted in an unfortunate weak point. It couldn't be helped. Even so, The Storm had come to Aurox Prime and no pitiful local rebellion would stay its wrath. This landing would have the same result, even if the Scions had to quell this rebellion themselves...
All: The aircraft reach the drop point. From within you can hear the gunfire being laid down to force the rebelling civilians on the ground to retreat from the immediate area. The descent is quick following a few moments after the fire ceases, then followed by a creak and thud before the rear ramp opens.
"Move Zephyr move!" Kharis barks, his voice crackling over his helmet's inbuilt vox. The ten of you move as fire teams of five, flanking the aircraft hastily and moving into a position in front of it. Wind from the vehicle's downward thrusters creates a light dust haze but your objective is clear. Ahead of you lies the arterial road of the capital city, the governor's palace just to the northwest of your location. Squad Thunder's Valkyrie lies skewed on its side half on the street and half embedded in the side of a large building that appears to have been an Arbites barracks, its only protection coming from the Vulture Gunship acting as its escort and now, your own squad's Vendetta escort.
Once your squad clears the vicinity of your transport, the valkyrie lifts into the air, adding the weight of its own threat to the other two aircraft to cover your advance. Though initially the threat level seems low, some of the rioting civilians seem to have quickly learned that the aircraft are loathe to fire too close to their own and are closing in the Squat Thunder as the scions emerge from the downed transport. For the moment they will be okay, the wreckage of their valkyrie providing soft cover, but the encroaching rioters are fast growing in number and proximity. They need to be shown that getting close to Tempestus Scions is not a good idea...
Saul, Brynnjarr, Farkas: You are on the left flank of the valkyrie as you advance. Having been selected to carry a flamer unit, Saul is slightly slowed as the weight of the fuel tank weighs him down. All of you match pace with practiced ease, the five of you all honing in on the best place to defend near the tail of the crashed flyer. Before you can reach the downed valkyrie, a dozen rioters shift their course and try to intercept you. They believe their numbers will give them an advantage. Most of them carry light firearms, the remaining few have improvised explosives and all are carrying heavy blunt implements. You cannot afford to be cut off from your fellow scions for too long, so you will have to make this quick.
Saul: You instinctively hold back momentarily as you see the rioters come towards your team. Several of your teammates place warning shots at the feet of the angered civilians to little effect. Some of them are quicker on their feet than others and manage to engage at close quarters before anything can be done, but five of them are lagging behind. Nobody has beset you yet, so you have an opportunity to use your weapon to full effect simply by moving to one side to clear your line of fire and incinerate the rearmost five. Alternatively you can ignite your weapon off to one side and hope it gives your attackers pause long enough for your teammates to "convince" them to retreat.
Brynnjarr: Two of the rioters dash straight for you and attempt to bring you down. The first swings a mining hammer too early and finds himself bouncing limply off your large armoured physique almost comically before hitting the ground. His companion is slightly more competent, wielding a metal pry bar in one hand and a makeshift shield fashioned from a mining drill's debris screen in the other. Though you are able to deflect his attacks with relative ease using your hellgun, his fighting pattern speaks to a definite history with combat training, possibly former PDF or even Arbites. You could try to incapacitate him, but his apparent resourcefulness is a potential compromise of your own squad's safety should he have another trick up his sleeve. Use your judgement, your orders are to minimize casualties but in this case the lethal option may be preferable.
Farkas: An autopistol round bounces from your shoulder guard moments after you place a warning shot at the foot of one of the approaching rioters. You are the furthest forward of your squad but not the first to be engaged. Two of the rioters slip past wide to your right and engage Brynnjarr, but at a glance you deem them not a threat to him. Saul is behind you and with the flamer he will need to use his own judgement on the wider situation. The remaining two squad members like you are placing warning shots, but following the round that hits you one of them places a shot square in the chest of the firer. The first kill of the entire mission. Another two civilians seem enraged at this and charge forward even faster. One of them barrels into you before you can line up a proper shot, but you are able to roll with the movement and throw him from you while drawing your knife in the same movement. The crackle of las fire behind you tells you that your squadmate has made a second kill. The rising form of your assailant before you places you now in the position to decide another fate...
Dwah, Atlas, Hari: The three of you are with Kharis and another trooper as he leads you around the right flank of the valkyrie. Once you clear its immediate area it takes off once more, banking over to the right just above you and laying down suppressing fire with its multi laser and two successive launches from its rocket pods. When the dust settles, the effect appears to be minimal. Several dozen rioters are approaching from this flank, having circumvented the arbites struggling to hold the rest of the throng in check further back. Unlike typical rioters, these are well armed and what's worse, an ogryn bolsters their ranks.
Dwah: You have little choice but to loose a gout of flame across the ground to stall the rioters' advance. Nobody is killed but all of them think twice before their next steps. With a glance backwards you see seven of Squad Thunder are free and moving forward to assist Kharis and your fellows but they will not reach you before the enemy does. With limited use for your weapon at the moment you may be better suited to helping the last few troopers climb clear of the wreckage to aid in the imminent melee. Alternatively, you may be in the best position to end this confrontation quickly by taking out most of these criminals yourselves...
Atlas: One of your fellow troopers is hit by a lucky shot from the closing rioters and drops to one knee. One of his arms is clutching a wound between the armour joints of his abdominal plate and the other is struggling to lift his weapon. After a moment he manages to rise to his feet and begins to retreat towards the line being formed by Squad Thunder as they regroup. Two rioters have broken ahead of the pack to try and finish the job. It is too early for Scion casualties, you need to dissuade them or kill them so your squadmate can see to his wound.
Hari: You are between Atlas and Dwah when Dwah looses his first gout of flame and your fellow trooper is hit by enemy fire. Seeing him retreat is an unwelcome sight as it means your fire team is already down one man. Several warning shots leave your weapon as you spare a glance backwards. Squad Thunder is quickly regrouping but not fast enough to help before you'll be forced into an up close confrontation. Kharis' pistol leaves a line of scorched wounds across the ogryn's chest but the hulking brute roars and charges on. Your leader's sword is drawn in his hand and its blade begins to glow a dull blue. Kharis' intent is clear, kill the ogryn and the rest may lose heart. Kharis turns back to you for a moment and gestures towards two men running alongside the ogryn a few paces behind. They have the bearing of agitators, and their removal could potentially be just as crippling a blow as killing the ogryn himself.
All: Once battle is joined, your valkyrie hovers low and trains its weapons on the approaching masses. Its actions in the next update will depend on the course of choices players make here. Similarly Squad Thunder's role in aiding your own squad, and whether it will be necessary, will largely depend on Dwah's decision.
Nonsense is our Salvation