The year is M41 749, and the Eastern Fringe is beset. New Tau ideas are sweeping across the sector like wildfire, and worlds threaten to turn on their imperial masters and embrace the Greater Good.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of Doton. One of the planet's two main continents, Doton Secundus to the west, is under the control of one Count von Lysandus, a man suspected of Tau sympathies. The other, Doton Primus to the East, was under Governor Otto von Grunssig, who was killed by rebel forces. The planet itself is of average technology level, the Secundus area containing many Tau devices. The climate is temperate, similar to that of old Earth, and the main area of conflict, a hundred mile wide spit of land now known only as Hell's Gate, is an immense no man's land due to the long war.
The Hell's Gate line consists of several strong points connected by mile after mile of trenches and barbed wire in between many small villages. The Tau forces are making good their offensive on all of these, and are currently holding the ground on several fronts.
Captain Virgil looked out over the muddy hillside before him, and cursed the day that his workforce had been called up to serve Emperor and Imperium. The weather was cold and wet, the trench he was standing in was filthy and uncomfortable, and a fellow could get precious little sleep from the constant sounds of artillery fire and lasgunnery. He produced the binoculars that, in happier times, had been used for bird watching, and gave the area a cursory look. Nothing appeared to have changed since yesterday.
He turned as his former secretary, now second in command, Sergeant Lara Beckenstein, stumbled across the wooden duckboards towards him. She looked odd with a lasgun shouldered, ill fitting flak armour hanging off her, but he supposed that they all did. "Welcome," he said, smiling ironically, "to another day in the Imperium's worst schleiqing hotel: trench sector 459! Lice ridden beds come as standard, with rebel snipers adding a little extra zest to our stay." Then a reassuring smell came to his lips. "Is that recaff?"
"It is," Beckenstein replied cheerily, producing a flask from somewhere and pouring half the contents into the proffered tin mug. No one called anyone sir or ma'm in Virgils regiment, and no one really minded. There was a short pause as they both sipped the blessedly hot drink. It tasted awful, but it could have been Grox tail soup for all they cared; at least it kept the chill out of their bones.
"Is everything quiet?" Virgil asked. Beckenstein nodded.
"No sign of rebels along our front. A few mortar shells have landed in 458, and worker- that is to say, private- Hessia got in a fight with Danzig. Over a spilled plate of slops- that is to say, rations, I believe."
"Again?" Virgil sighed. "What happened?"
"They escaped the commissar, at least." Virgil never had the heart to report any misdemeanours to the commissariat. He didn't want any of his men to die with a lasbolt to the brain unitl the enemy came. Then, they would probably all be shot dead, but that was another matter.
"Have you set up that listening post yet?" he asked, trying to sound like the soldiers sounded in holo picts. It never quite got carried off, for some reason. Beckenstein nodded.
"Fourth section- Schmidt, Reuterzein and Adolfson are going through the tunnel right now," she said. "Dersterbruuk and Himmen are following with their heavy bolter."
"Good, good." The listening post was a grandiose name for a ruined windmill in no man's land which had been deemed a convenient place to watch for enemy assault without being noticed by rebel and Tau troops. A tunnel connected it to the Imperial lines, and it was meant to be garrisoned constantly by imperial troops. Regrettably, the professional soldiers were elsewere, probably sipping tea and sacra- or whatever their drink was called- in a billet several miles behind the lines. So, once again, it fell to the 7th to fill the gap. "Anything else happen?"
Nothing had, which just goes to show how quickly things can change in wartime.
Last edited by Doelago; 02-02-10 at 02:58 PM.