The Dead Of War
Dead Of War
Chapter 1 - 'The Emperors Retribution'
It was a cold morning and the wind was bashing up against the barracks walls, the corrugated iron sheets that were meant to provide some form of elemental resistance, but all of us inside the barracks could feel each gust of wind and it chilled us to the bones. I was woken up by the whaling siren that was stationed within each corner of the room; they were rusted cones of steel barely hanging onto the walls.
“Rise and Shine MAGGOTS!!! It’s your first day as real soldiers now MOVE! I want you all outside in 15 minutes” Bellowed Staff Sergeant Kane. His voice still sent shivers down my spine from training. He was morbidly harsh during training; he tore a recruits arm out of his socket just because he asked why. No one made that mistake again.
I got out of bed and made the sheets up. I looked around at my squad and they were all at peak fitness and they all still hadn’t recovered from the regulation hair cut. I chuckled inside at Higgson’s hair, he had an accident with the flamer in training last week and singed off half his hair.
I opened my dusty wooden drawers and pulled out my fatigues, no matter how much they were cleaned they the stench of sweat still clung onto them, they were a dirty khaki colour and they had a stippled camoflauge, the deep brown and blotches of sand gave the pants good camoflauge in most dirt world environments. I pulled them on and then grabbed my boots from underneath the bed; they were a hard leather boot with the 52nd Cadian Drop Corp insignia on the side. I pushed my feet into them and tide the laces. My shirt was the same style as the bottoms and my carapace plating was worn from previous owners, my name was burnt into it. Private Leon Valentyn, underneath my name and rank was a marksman badge from me coming top of my class in the shooting competition. The colour of the plating was a matt forest green and the sides were trimmed with a shadowy grey colour, I was a true soldier now.
I stood up from my bed and walked to the door of the barracks, it was withered and cracked frame was hardly hanging onto the iron walls. I opened the door and the handle was ice cold as if covered in liquid nitrogen. I shivered and then continued. I looked around the outside of the door and took in my surroundings because today would be my last day here before departing upon my first tour of duty. The sky was a musky ice blue and a string of clouds were all that lined the skies, the sun was dull and the light it threw onto the planet’s surface was yielding. I noticed a wave of darker clouds rolling in from the horizon; hopefully I wouldn’t be around much longer to feel the oncoming storm.
The very few trees lining the military campus were decrepit with frost and the floors were dirty and covered in the filth of ten thousand soldiers. I turned around to see the legion of soldiers lining up before Staff Sergeant Kane and the companies commanding officer General Bellum; he was a well built man with a stern look about him not many of us had seen him before, he wore a large cloak that was pinned on both his shoulders, it drooped down over his front as well, it was a deep red and was lined with gold. He had a chest plate adorned with his victories and his many medals, as he stood in front of the platoon he pulled out a cigar and lit it up in front of us all. He took a large drag on the cigar and then let the smoke plume out of his mouth.
“Welcome to the Dead of War boys, today is the day you go from being worthless pieces of shit and become real men. Among the many of you there are some men from noble families, I do not give a shit about your heritage you are all the same to me, you are my fist at which I command under the emperor’s wrath. DO NOT FORGET THIS! If it is the last thing you hear before you die then that will give me satisfaction. You are my men and your Tour of Duty begins here TODAY!” Said Bellum as he blew the last of the smoke out of his mouth.
We were all lined up in a perfect formation, the whole company was just more meat for the grinder, the sound of uneasy breathing rolled through the ranks and a whistle from the wind tumbled overhead. I knew we were just a pawn in a bigger scheme of course. But when my home world came under attack by chaos I had nothing left anymore. I have nothing to lose. Those filthy heretics will burn under the Emperor’s fury. All the men in my squad were standing to my left and we were the Marksman’s Team; all of us topping the charts for accuracy in the range, I pushed the limits and I reached the top 100 shooters in the 52nd Cadian Drop Corp for this I earned myself the use of an exclusive sharpshooter rifle; it was a long barrelled lasgun with 3x zoom optical scope. My squad all had an extended barrel on there rifles, the standard IX Mars Pattern Lasgun was the rifle adopted by our company, it offered a slightly higher power shot at the expense of ammo and the time in between shots was slightly longer, it also fires a single shot for greater accuracy rather than the other pattern guns that fire in bursts or at an automatic rate of fire.
“Soldiers you will probably not come back from this war, I am not here to dishearten you but if you do falter in battle, you will be executed on the spot by a company commissar. If you are lucky enough to survive boys, you will be immediately deployed to another tour then you will certainly be able to prove your worth to the emperor” Sighed the General as he turned away and walked down off the podium, shortly after Staff Sergeant Kane removed the standard and follow the general.
I turned to my squad to see what to do, I was confused as to why the General turned away and Kane was now also gone. The only thing left in there wake was a creaking wooden podium. The wind was still strong and it chilled us all.
“Hey Valentyn, lets get going I think we are all meant to be at the transportation dock after gathering our gear” Said Higgson, his hair still made me laugh a bit.
“Aye, Ok guys we should get our rifles from the armoury and then quickly throw the essential gear into a satchel? Higgson come with me an we’ll get the Guns. The rest of you get the other things from in the Bunk Boxes ok?” I said with a tone of authority, I could get used to this.
I looked around before departing towards the armoury to sign out the guns; all the other soldiers in the company were heading back to barracks or making there way to the armoury just like us. The bustle of ten thousand men gave me a feeling of unease and I wasn’t particularly sure why. Maybe it was due to the fact half these men wouldn’t return. I can only hope me and my squad all come back in one piece.
“Sergeant Winters asked me to give you this Private” Said a courier who had somewhat sprinted across the courtyard to hand me this sheet. I thanked him and looked at him with a form of disrespect. This man had no confidence he was a spineless fool under the complete influence of the armies Senior Officers. He didn’t even wear standard fatigues he had a set of ‘fancy’ clothes on.
“Ugh...Those couriers make me Sick Leon. So worthless aint they?” Said Higgson.
“Yeah, there a damn joke. They get paid triple what we do and they do shit!” I hastily replied.
I opened the letter and it didn’t say much but as I was the current squad leader it was my duty to make sure my squad didn’t falter. The paper had a small saying in the centre of the stained paper, the imperial eagle was stamped in the top left and a series of numbers and dates were on the right. I breathed in and read the words of ‘wisdom’.
“If I charge, you will follow me”
“If I retreat, you will kill me”
“If I die, you will avenge me”
-Heed these words private; I see great things from you-
Sergeant Winters – Head of Recruitment
As I finished the letter it brought a smile to my face and I closed it and put it in my trouser pocket. By this time me and Higgson had reached the armoury doors, a set of huge plasteel doors adorned with the 52nd Cadian Drop Corp insignia and the Imperial eagle rested just above the doors. There was a smaller door to the right and it had a small retinal scanner next to it and a card swipe for armoury staff; to the left of this the larger doors had a lever to open them. I pulled down the lever and a hiss of decompressing air rung out as the metal doors ground into action and they slowly opened up, the gears grinding went through me but I wouldn’t have to listen to them any more.
“Hey Steve, were here for our guns.” I said casually.
“One second Valentyn, just checking…yeh..Mm hmm... Ahh right yeah sure I’ll just get your guns now guys” Said Steve, he was the bases’ armoury technician and blacksmith.
“Right just sign here you two, and just for the record I’ll let you sign for the rest of your squad” He winked and handed over a sheet of paper clipped to a cracked wooden board.
I took the pen and wrote down my squadies names and signed for there weapons.
52nd Cadian Drop Corp- Marksman Squad- C Company
Private Leon Valentyn
Private Paul Higgson
Private Yuri Kladgrid
Private Samuel Weather
Private Jarren Latice
I handed over the sheet and Steve checked them over, shortly after he simply handed us 4 marks rifles IX Mars pattern and then my custom Marksman Rifle 3x Optical Zoom, oh how I love to gloat about it. A grim smile grew on my face and I picked up the guns and slung them over my back. Outside waiting for the Armoury stood the rest of the squad leaders waiting to get there weaponry. I grabbed Higgson and pulled us both into a run back towards the barracks; we were half way there when we looked up at a disturbance of noise in the sky, a gargantuan ship pulled down into the bases docking bays. It was most likely to be our transport; it was covered in an assortment of weaponry and its vector engines made it a fast moving Cruiser; most likely a Lunar Class. These monstrous ships can carry anything between one thousand imperial arms men to one million arms men. Its thrusters scarred the tops of the tallest towers and the sound caused a ringing of deafness in my ears. It was clad in metres of thick adamantium armour and was armed with several high powered lances and other weaponry. It had ‘The Emperors Retribution’ Painted on the under belly and on the side and the ship was completely adorned with golden eagles and symbols of the emperor. On a black background this made the Eagles stand out with a heavy contrast, gleaming with purity. The noise died down and the ship landed. Myself and Higgson headed back to the barracks once more.
The ship landing reminded me of the ships ripping through my planet’s atmosphere and crashing down to the surface, hundreds of Dread claws spiralled down in a dramatic fashion, tearing into the ground and blasting debris up as there thrusters countered the landing. Dozens of chaos disembarked from the pods and they began to hail walls of precise bolter fire down upon innocent civilians. My father had passed away only days before the assault so I and my family were mourning in the family retreat. We all watched in amazement as the people we had known all of our lives were blown into pieces by the heretics. There flesh just tearing off there bodies and a wash of blood was covering the nearby walls and floors. Upon the impact most people were just being gouged in two by the high explosive bolter shells. There bodies slumping to the floor like dolls. I remember vividly what happened next. It hurts to think about it, but it helps at the same time my mind is torn between what to do. Lock it away or try and heal. My wife walked outside to see if she could help anyone herself, but she was turned on by those damn heretics, clad in blood red armour wielding huge bolter weapons, adorned with blades and spikes. They made me sick.
“Leon you ok man? You look freaked” said Higgson with a true worry.
“Ahh nothing man, just thinking about things, yah know how it is” I replied
“Yeah man sorry, it slipped my mind, you’ll be fine” he claimed.
“yeah I guess” I finished
We reached our barracks. Barracks-Number 5. I can’t wait to see the back of this place, the rest of my squad were all assembled with the equipment outside.
The Base’s information system fired up and a voice played out of it with a rusty over tone.
“Could all soldiers please report to docking bay 1 to depart on ‘The Emperors Retribution’ Cruiser. Estimated time of departure for all units 45 minutes” informed the voice across the speaker. A screech rung out of the siren and then it fell silent.
Me and my men headed for the Docking bay and awaited transport to our first tour of duty.
“Good luck boys” Laughed Staff Sergeant Kane as he strolled passed us on his way to the docking bay as well. He was now wearing his full war gear, a power fist on his left bearing the triple chevron and crown for his rank. Although the power cords weren’t functioning at the moment. I could still see the immense amount of power this weapon offered him. In his right hand he held a hell pistol; he also wore heavier armour than the rest of us. Our simple flak armour only had a few plasteel plates covering us. He on the other hand had several plates covering his chest and a layer of 5 plates on top of each other on his shoulders.
I had reached the hangar doors moments after SSGT Kane, I opened the doors and looked inside, I was in awe of how many soldiers stood in file formation waiting to gain entry to what was likely to be there transport to death. I took up position in line with my team and we waited.
Chapter 2 - 'The Calm Before The Storm'
We had been onboard the Cruiser now for several hours and the ships hosts had taken me and my squad to our room. Room 5024, Fifth Floor sub-section Delta.
“Ain’t exactly home Valentyn but it’ll do hey?” Smiled Higgson
“Yeah sure Higgson, I mean the beds aren’t exactly comfortable, but what do yah expect” I replied
I looked around the room and it looked similar to an imperial prison, it made me shiver a bit. It was unnerving to say the least. The walls were dirty and the iron plating was rusted. The beds were stacked up to the ceiling, bolted onto the walls in a crude fashion. The floors were made of carbon and that was just as dirty as the walls and everything else in this gritty little room. We all got into the bunks and locked the rifles up in the gun cabinet. There was a small table towards the right side of the room, directly opposite to the beds stood a small bronze statue of the Emperor, holding his blade in both hands and standing strong.
“Sleep well boy’s, its going to be a rough few weeks on this ship, so we need all the rest we can get” I said to my squad as I drifted into the deep sleep I had longed for over the past few weeks. But as I dropped off my nightmarish past began to haunt me again, flickering images of pain and suffering were penetrating the very surface of my mind. The imagery started at the point when my wife had walked outside to see what she could do to help everyone outside, in the disarray she was gunned down by the chaos scum. I watched in horror as the woman of my dreams was slain before me by the Emperor’s enemies. My mother ran out of the house screaming at them calling them every obscenity she could muster and soon after she did so, the largest heretic within the group stood a foot above the rest and his armour was the deepest black and it was covered in silver scripture and glowing chaos runes. He carried an enormous glaive in his right hand and a bladed combat pistol in the other. He stormed over to her, she was frail in her old age and he put his pistol in his holster and pushed the handle of his glaive in the ground so the blade was protruding out of the now bloodstained ground. He roared at his men to cease fire and make there way to the pick up point. He turned to give my mother a look that could slay a daemon, and then he glanced at me hiding behind a torn curtain in the top window of our family home. He Smiled. Grappling my mother round her neck with his bladed fingertips and the weight of the gauntlet nearly choked my mother instantaneously but before she could choke he grabbed her leg and threw her over his glaive, she was torn in two and her blood funnelled everywhere as her body slid down the huge chaos blade he pulled it out of the ground and tossed her body aside, she hit a nearby wall with an unnerving thud and crack. You couldn’t see her blood though through the rest of the fallen. A single tear rolled down my cheek and crashed down to the floor below. The chaos scum laughed and broke into a run after his team.
I walked down stairs and grasped my autogun and wandered outside onto the blood soaked earth. I looked over the hills and saw several chaos crafts lifting from the ground and roared into the darkened sky. I went lower to the ground and began to sneak around to the local docking bay. Slowly creeping I walked straight past the two corpses of my loved ones and went straight towards the bay. I looked up at a heavy noise crushing my ears and was horrified to see a beam of energy a thousand times the size of an imperial tank rippling down towards me, chaos was annihilating the world and I didn’t know why. The searing heat started burning my skin and I broke into a run towards the bay. Everything went white and then darkness.
I woke up from the painful nightmare and cracked my head on the bed above. Sweat was pouring from my forehead.
“AHH my damn head” I shouted as I hit the metal bars of Yuri’s bunk.
“What is it Leon, this best be freakin’ good man I was having the best dream about , ah never mind what about but this best be good” Said Higgson with sheer frustration.
“Sorry man I was having that nightmare again, I’m going for a walk around the ship guys I’ll be back soon don’t worry ok?” I replied.
I got out of bed and pulled on my plain black fatigues and tied up a pair of running shoes. I slowly walked out of the room to avoid waking up anymore of my team and then locked the coded door. I headed towards the ships cafeteria; the noise of my shoes tapping the metal sheets began to give me a headache and really start to get on my nerves. I got to the cafeteria and walked over to the counter and asked for my favourite food, they sadly didn’t sell Khatjia; this was a meal developed on my home planet and it had been my favourite food since birth. Instead they served me some semi warm gruel and a lump of bread. I pulled up a seat and began to eat my food at the greasy bar. The cook, well if a cook is what you could call him, he smiled at me as I tucked into my gruel, it tasted like slime but I was so hungry I just ate it. I finished it and sat around for a few hours. My days from there on were similar apart from the nightmares weren’t happening anymore, this was a major relief as I actually got some rest. It was the third week aboard the ship and our journey was to end today.
“Men get your things ready were about to land, this is Staff Sergeant Kane and I want you all assembled one hour before we land. So get your rest and get ready” called the SSGT across the microphones in all the rooms.
My team were all ready and kitted up. We had a joke before making our way through the hollow bowels of the gargantuan cruiser; the steam was hissing out of cracked pipes and the floor was shaking as the hole of C Company marched towards the assembly hanger inside the cruiser. Petroski from the support squad sprinted passed us and he was holding another mans pants; laughter was ringing out of him. Then suddenly another man completely dressed bar his pants ran past him shouting out how unfunny Petroski was.
“What and ass hey. I mean if you did that to me Valentyn I would kick the hell outta you man” Said Higgson
“If you think you could take me on Higgson then I’ll let you try “ I laughed at him and smiled.
“You can both shut up, because I would take you both on ha-ha” Jested Yuri,
I shook my head and carried on down the corridor, we eventually reached the massive bay doors, they were already open and the hole of C Company was beginning to take position inside the belly of the beast. I jogged over into line with my team and we stood in wait. About half an hour later the microphones powered up and then out came the stern voice of Kane.
“You getting dropped sooner men, hook up your grav-chute because your going in hot and you have fifteen minutes to get ready because the floor your standing on is gunna open and your dropping out of the ship. It’s a five hundred foot drop but I’m confident in your ability to do it. I will be joining you on the ground. Good luck” The microphone was silenced and then C Company was bustling as they equipped grav-chutes.
Last edited by Ste; 04-27-09 at 09:34 PM.