Cheers Keen4e, glad to see people from BL are still posting stuff. Hope you enjoy the next chapters.
Jagga (Ork World)
“Come on,” whispered Captain Stratton Archer. Very slowly the six strong team of snipers inched over the edge of the sand dune. As they reached the ridge they saw the lights and cooking fires of the massive ork settlement laid out below them.
Captain Archer pointed two fingers at Danny Hendrick, and Josia Thaba, the darkness, combined with their cam-cream and ghillie suits made them almost invisible.
“You two, go left,” he said pointing further down the dune. “Mik, you’re with me. Jess, Kim, go right.” The two female snipers nodded and began to crawl on their bellies to a good spot.
Captain Archer watched his team disperse, and then slowly settled down into a comfy position. He pulled his ghillie clock round him, to even the sharpest eyed ork he was now just another patch of sand. Mik did the same.
“Alright Mik,” whispered Archer, as he nestled his long las into his shoulder, “find me some targets.”
On the far right of the dune Jess very slowly panned her binoculars across the ork positions. Suddenly she stopped and a wicked grin spread across her cam-cream smeared face,
“got one.” Kim took her eye away from the long las’ scope.
“Where?” she whispered.
“One o ‘clock, from us. Range eight hundred...” Kim fixed her eye back to the scope.
“Got him, big fellow, red armour, banner pole?”
“That’s the one.” Said Jess
“Right,” said Kim slowing her breathing and letting the rifle’s sight fall naturally onto the massive orks head.
“Wind?” She asked
“Ok bro,” Kim said to the ork, “this one’s from the Emperor.” She breathed out, and then gently squeezed the trigger.
Right down the other end of the ridge, Danny lifted his head as he heard the shot,
“was that the girl’s or the boss?” he asked Josia.
“Who cares bro, we ain’t goin’ see no kills here.” He was right. This far left there was very little of the ork camp in site. Only the odd grot running to and fro on some errand, nothing worth revealing their position for.
“I hate this place,” announced Danny, “it’s damn too hot in the day, too damn cold at night.”
“Will you stop complaining and find me something to kill.”
“Eight weeks we’ve been here bro, how much longer this gonna take, eh?”
“I don’t know Danny, I’m not the CO. There’s still half a frigging planet left to conquer, its gonna take a while.”
“I know bro, it’s just...” Suddenly the two of them were bathed in light. They both dropped their heads to the sand and stayed still,
“They spotted us?” asked Danny, on his vox bead. There was a low drone as the ork deffkopta passed overhead.
“I think it’s just a patrol bro.” The light moved off and the two snipers raised their heads, just in time to see the muzzle flashes from an artillery battery.
“Emperor!” exclaimed Danny “Run bro!” The two of them jumped up, looking like two running pillars of sand. A series of huge explosions behind them lit up the night, and hurled tons of sand into the air.
“Call for the extract!” bellowed Josia “Get the frigging chimera here now!” Danny tuned in his vox as they ran,
“Zero alpha, zero alpha, this is Charlie two alpha, we need to extract. Coordinates follow.” As he gave the extract point a second round of explosions echoed on the dune, this time further away from the original spot. The deffkopta’s were still circling round the camp trying to find the snipers, fortunately they didn’t go near the other two teams.
“Lucky escape, eh bro?” said Josia, Danny nodded in agreement.
Captain Archer swore viciously into his vox bead, as he saw his targets head explode in a shower of blood and gore. Mik flinched at the language,
“cheer up sir, we’ll get the next one.”
“Those damn girls! They always take the best kills. That was a boss, I’m the damned Captain, I should have those.” He blew the head off a grot in anger.
“Their pretty good, eh sir?”
“Their damn good, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get those kills.” It was then they heard the deffkopta and saw the artillery landing on Josia and Danny’s position.
“Idiots,” sighed the Captain. “Where are those guns Mik?”
“Eleven o ‘clock, on us.” Archer found the artillery park and picked out a large Ork commanding a battery of mortars.
“Wait for it,” he whispered “wait for it.” as the grots dropped a shell down one of the tubes, the Captain fired his rifle. The lasbolt blew the ork’s head clean off. The body fell forward onto the gun barrel, knocking it over as it fired. The shell crashed into the batteries stock of munitions, the whole area suddenly lit up, and the noise was deafening even to the snipers.
“I think that’s enough chaos for one night eh?” Mik nodded. The two of them slipped back over the dunes ridge, and began to run towards the extract point.
The whole team sat in the back of the chimera. As they were still in enemy territory they were still running silent, and the cabin was lit by dull green lights. Mik lit an iho stick.
“I can’t believe you idiots get spotted,” he said to Danny, and Josia
“They didn’t spot us bro,” protested Danny.
“The what where they shooting at, eh?” asked Jess, stealing Mik’s iho stick.
“I don’t know,” said Josia “target practice.”
“Target practice!” said Kim “You frigging idiots were the targets.”
“Alright, shut up,” said the Captain “You are idiots,” he said the Danny and Josia “but you did us a favour by making them reveal their artillery.”
“Exactly!” said Danny clicking his fingers, “we did it on purpose.” The six of them burst out laughing.
The heat in the tent was stifling, the eighteen officers, were all sitting on camp chairs, or perched on the edge of the map table. Colonel Vanclure took off his bush hat and wiped the seat out of his eyes.
“So as things stand, we’ve reached a stalemate?” he asked.
“Afraid so boss,” said Major Henrik pointing at the map. “We’ve got over six hundred kilometres of front to patrol and only six thousand troops to do it with.”
“We can hold them, no problem,” said Major Mamello, “but we can’t try and take any ground.”
“Frigging orks, frigging Jagga, frigging Guard!” swore the Colonel. He took deep breath, “how are the other regiments doing?”
“Not so good boss,” said Captain Nombecko, regimental intelligence officer “the Kentoki have been beaten back in the third District, and those frigging Narmans can’t hold onto anything their assault teams capture.”
“So what you’re saying is that in the last six weeks we’ve made no gains at all.”
“We had speed and surprise on our side after we landed,” said Captain Elko. “It took the green bastards two weeks to get their act together; then they hit back.”
“Alright enough of this, it’s depressing us all,” said Colonel Vanclure. “Captain Archer how did your recce go?”
“Not too bad sir, no casualties, thank the throne. One boss, confirmed kill; sniper Kim Lodewijk. An artillery park destroyed, leading to considerable chaos and loss of life in the enemy camp.”
“Well done bro,” said Captain Elko.
“Yes thank you Captain, make sure to thank your squad from me, eh.”
“I will Colonel, I’m sure they’ll appreciate that.”
“Good. I’ve got another job for you Stratton, there’s rumours of an ork Gargant somewhere in the mountains, something like that could easily tip the war in their favour.” Archer nodded, and began to speak, when a young Lieutenant burst into the tent.
“What do want boy?” asked the Colonel.
“Sir, there’s an Ecclesiarchy delegation here,” the young man said breathlessly.
“Frigging priests,” one of the officers muttered.
“Watch your tongue Captain,” warned Vanclure “Alright boy, we’ll come out to meet them.”
The Colonel led his officers out of the tent, into the painfully bright sunshine.
The group of officers abruptly stopped as they saw what was outside the tent. Three huge landing craft were sitting on the camps landing pads, each one jet black with the winged skull of the Ecclesiarchy picked out in red on the nose. Standing on front of them was an entire Frateris Templar regiment, over eight hundred black and red troopers stood to attention in company groups.
“What the hell’s this?!” asked Colonel Vanclure “who’s in charge here?”
The ranks of Templars parted to allow a group of priest and other Ecclesiarchy personal to the Colonel. Their leader was dressed in Bishops robes; he had a massive grey bread, and a mane of hair the same colour. The priests and confessors around him carried a mixture of holy icons, artefacts and weapons, servo skulls and servitors surrounded them and the sickly-sweet smell of incense hung in the air around.
“Are you our reinforcements?” asked Major Mamello soundly slightly puzzled. The bishop ignored him and turned straight to Vanclure.
“Colonel I am Bishop Jasone.” One of the priests handed the Bishop a scroll which he unrolled, “The Ecclesiarchy formally accuses you and the entire of the 101st Dolumar Rangers of heresy most foul.”
There as a stunned silence, the Rangers looked more confused than afraid at the accusation.
“Are you frigging joking!” said Captain Elko.
“Be quite Captain!” snapped Vanclure, “Perhaps we can discuss this in private?” he said to the bishop.
“Major Mamello, Major Hendrick can you both accompany us to the HQ tent, the rest of you return to your units.”
The Colonel led his two majors back into the tent followed by the bishop and his retinue. The Templars remained unmoving outside.
“Ok, so what exactly is my regiment being accused of?” Vanclure asked.
“You are accused of heresy mos...” began Bishop Jasone.
“Yes I know that part, why are we accused?” The Bishop snapped his fingers and a priest handed him another scroll.
“By order of his Holiness Ecclesiarch Alexis XXI,” he read “all units of the Imperial Guard, Adeptus Arbites and Imperial Navy, must have a serving Ecclesiarchy contingent of no less than thirty.”
“This Decree was issued four standard years ago, when His Holiness Alexis XXI was pronounced Ecclesiarch. Upon recent examination of your regiment it became clear that you do not have a single priest, confessor, or bishop serving with you. That is why you are accused.”
“Do even know what this regiments role is?” Hendrick asked, the Bishop glared at him for his interruption.
“I have not been given that information.” He said icily.
“We’re a scout/sniper unit,” said Mamello “that means recon, it means stealth.”
“What is the point of this?” asked the Bishop.
“The point is,” replied Vanclure “that we mainly work by infiltrating enemy positions, and we have to be quiet to do that. Priests are not quiet. I have been a soldier of the Imperium for thirty years, I have been a devote follower of the Emperor for fifty six years, and I have kept my regiment alive time and time again by putting soldiering over prayer!” The priests looked shocked at this.
“That is why you are accused. Nothing can be put before the Emperor, nothing.” One of the tent flaps was pushed aside and a Templar strode in.
“This is Templar Colonel Isaac Angevin,” said the Bishop “he is your senior you for the duration of this investigation.” Vanclure scowled at the red and black armoured warrior.
“I know about the Decree, alright,” said Vanclure “I spoke to Lord General Militant Patraeus myself on the issue, he assu...”
“You are clearly not aware that the General was charged of heresy six days ago and burnt at the stake.”
“That doesn’t change anything,” said Vanclure quickly getting over the news of his Commanders death. “This regiment cannot operate with an Ecclesiarchy unit attached to it.”
“Your units combat efficiency, which given the state of this campaign is clearly lacking, is not my concern. The spiritual welfare of your men and officers is.”
“Fine. Begin your investigations, but right now I have an attack to plan.”
“I’m afraid not Colonel,” said the Bishop, as more Templars entered the tent. “Corruption often comes from above, you and your command staff will be interrogated at once.” The tent flaps were swung closed.
Captain Archer ignored the salute of the two Templar Guards as he walked into Intelligence tent. They were posted all over the base at present to ensure that none of the Rangers tried to interfere with the Ecclesiarchy’s ‘processing’ of suspects.
Captain Nombecko looked up from the maps covering his table. His eyes were red from lack of sleep and stubble covered his jaw, an iho stick hung limply from his mouth.
“Alright bro.” He said to Archer “Close the flap.” Archer unhooked the flaps bindings and let it fall over the tents entrance.
“You sent for me?” asked Archer. Nombecko gestured towards two camp chairs next to the table, Archer sat down. Nombecko passed him a glass of amesac and an iho stick.
“Remember what the boss said about the Gargant?” he asked, Archer nodded. “Well since these Templar scum have arrived the chain of command has fallen apart.”
“I know that bro, things are looking bad. I haven’t taken my team out on a hunt in days now.” Nombecko nodded, and took a drag on his iho stick.
“So I’m the only man in the regiment not under interrogation that has access to the necessary information.” Archer nodded,
“Right, it seems that this frigging Gargant is real, it’s defiantly there. District 14, 227 West. I need you to get rid of it.”
There was a brief pause, Archer stubbed his iho stick out in an ash tray and knocked back his amesac.
“That’s right, and there’ll be guards, lots of them, but you’re the unit’s best bro.”
“Ha, I know it,” said Archer smirking.
“As there’s no one who can officially give you the orders, this missions going to stay quiet. I don’t want anyone outside your unit to know about it.” Said Nombecko “Also the Templars don’t like the idea of anyone leaving the base so we have to make sure they don’t find out.”
“They won’t let us conduct missions?”
“Not a thing, the forces already off base aren’t being allowed back on and we aren’t allowed out.”
“So not only do I have to get past ork lines and cripple a Gargant, but I also have to get past hundreds of Templar Guards.”
“I’m afraid so bro.”
“When do I go?”
“Right now. Put a team together, brief them and go.”
Mik, Danny, Jess, and Kim all nodded in agreement as they finished listening to the Captain’s brief. They were all too well aware as too the threat of the Templars after Josia had been dragged off for interrogation. In his absence Chad Tarik would take over as Danny’s shooter.
“Alright guys, you’ve got twenty minutes to get all our kit, get cammed-up and get back here.” Said Captain Archer “And remember, don’t let anyone else know about this, if someone asks tell them you’ve get a kit inspection, or your having gear replaced, but try and stay quiet.”
The team nodded and set off to prepare their gear.
By midnight the whole of the six strong unit was assembled in the bases far West corner. Captain Archer noted the professional application of cam-cream, and the excellent use of ghillie suits. Had he not known they were there, his team would have been invisible; even to him.
“Ok,” he whispered “let’s do this.”
The Templar smashed his armoured fist into Nombecko’s face again. The intelligence officer grunted in pain, through his cracked lips and shattered teeth.
“Speak! Damn you!” roared the Confessor. Nombecko spat a stream of blood and bits of tooth at the two Templars and the Confessor, spraying them all. More fists crashed into his face, he had stopped trying to avoid the blows, and struggling against the ropes tying him to the chair. Now all he was doing was keeping his mouth firmly shut.
“We know that Captain Archer and five others left the camp.” Said the Confessor “We know they did this on your order, where are they?!”
“Even if I wanted to tell you I couldn’t,” said Nombecko wearily, “Stratton Archer is the best sniper commander in the this unit, if he doesn’t want to be found you won’t be able to find him.”
Keep them talking, he thought keep them watching my face. His fingers were almost free of the ropes and he would soon have his hands free. He kept his gaze away from the Templars autogun propped on the table less than twenty centimetres from him.
“He left five days ago, his target was a Gargant, located in District 14, 227 West.” The Confessor said smugly “We have received reports that the Gargant has been crippled, but we have had no word from the Captain or any of his unit.”
Nombecko was silent, looking at the ground, the Confessor nodded once and the Templars once again set into his face.
“Where is he?!” roared the Confessor, Nombecko was silent for a second. Then he raised his head,
“Alright,” he said “I’ll tell you.” The two Templars stood back to allow the Confessor space to get close to Nombecko.
“So where is he?” Nombecko grinned,
“He’s coming back, and he’ll kill all of you!” The Captain pulled his hands free and grabbed the autogun. With his feet still tied to chair he couldn’t go anywhere, but he still managed to empty the weapons clip into the priest and the two Templars. The three bodies slumped to the ground trailing blood.
Nombecko quickly began to work on freeing his feet, suddenly the tent flap opened and two more Templars rushed in, Nombecko swung up the autogun and pulled the trigger. A dry click came from the weapons barrel.
“Frigging thing...” he said as the two Templars emptied their weapons into him.
The Ecclesiarchy forced the whole base to watch, as the Colonel and his two Majors were burned at the stake, along with several of the senior Captains. The Templars formed a ring of red armour around the pyres as the smoke climbed into the sky. Not a single one of the Rangers burned that day made a sound. The Priests and Confessors called to them, saying that if they admitted to being heretics, if they begged for forgiveness then they would be freed. The gathered Rangers watched with anger, in two weeks their entire senior staff had been decimated, many NCO’s had also been executed less publicly, as had several soldiers. The mood of the men was rebellious, and the Templars were constantly on alert. It was only as the ashes from the pyres cooled and the smoke began to blow away that the regiment was dispersed and ordered to return to their duties. By then however there was no one left on the base to give them orders.
Captain Archer and the four remaining members of his team cautiously edged towards the top of the dune. After seven days away from bases they were all tired and haggard. Having to leave a badly wounded Danny behind to as the Ork guards chased after them was still upsetting the squad. When the chimera failed to meet them at their pick-up point two days ago they had began to worry about the situation at the camp. An hour ago as they made their way back they began to hear gunfire, since then they had quickened their pace, and now they were finally back they were beginning to slowly put together an idea as to what was happening in the base.
The rows of tents and pre-fab buildings were lit up by the full moon and also by the roaring flames that engulfed the southern section of the camp. The rattle of autoguns and the snap-hiss of lasrifles was clear from their position. All over the camp figures were engaged in close quarter fire-fights, running battles, or stand up shoot outs. As they watched a petrol bomb arced up into the air, trailing flames.
“What the frig is going on?” Asked Kim in shock.
“Are the orks attacking?” said Chad.
“No,” said Jess as she took her eye away from her binoculars, “we’re fighting the Templars.” They all jumped as Captain Archer’s rifle cracked,
“Who was that boss?” asked Mik
“A Priest who was about to take off the RSM’s head.”
“Emperors teeth,” breathed Jess “look over at the parade square.” As one all scopes and binoculars moved to where Jess was indicating. Chad was sick loudly. Over two hundred Rangers, officers, and NCO’s were in the square, each impaled on a long iron pole, blood and faeces was crusted at the bottom of each pole. As the team watched they saw several of the bodies twitching and moving.
“Oh Emperor...” said Kim, as Chad was sick again.
“What do we do boss?” asked Mik. Archer said nothing, his face gave away nothing but his eyes showed the rage he felt.
“Boss?” prompted Kim
“Jess, how many Rangers can you see over the rank of Corporeal down there?” he asked.
“The RSM, two or three CSM’s no officers anywhere.”
“That’s what I thought,” Archer said “We need to get down there, the Rangers will fight to the death but right now what they need is leadership, someone to coordinate the fight.”
The snipers all readied their weapons.
“Let’s do this.” Said Jess. Captain Archer nodded, and the team began to run towards the camp.
“Hold the scum!” bellowed the RSM as he swung his lasrifle by the barrel, crashing the butt into the face of a Templar. The Rangers around him fought like demons, most were out of ammo, and were using bayonets, rifle butts or their bare heads. After being forced to watch so many of the Rangers brutally executed on the parade square the regiment had cracked. The RSM himself had fired the first shot, putting a round between the eyes of Templar Colonel Angevin, since then the fighting had been none stop. The Rangers lacked numbers, ammunition, and most importantly coordination. The RSM and the few remaining Sergeants had tried to gather men around them to regain control, but the situation had rapidly got out of hand and now small groups of Rangers were fighting separate, desperate battles all over the camp.
“SURRENDER NOW AND YOU SHALL DIE SWIFTLY!” bellowed a Templar officer, on the far side of the vehicle park. The Rangers roared in anger and refusal.
“Here they come again!” shouted a soldier. The red armoured Templars poured around the Chimeras and Salamanders.
“Get at ‘em lads!” screamed the RSM. The two masses of men charged each other, sprinting between the big transports. Petrol bombs, rocks, and grenades flew from both sides crashing down in the midst of the soldiers. Weapons raised, both sides smashed together, within seconds dozens of men on each side lay dead.
The vox amplifiers of the Templar officers boomed over the carnage, the Priests and Confessors howled prayers and devotional chants as they fought. The Rangers screamed in defiance and rage. The RSM swung his weapon into a Templars groin, then smashed the butt into his head as he fell, snatching up a fallen autogun he sprayed it’s ammunition into the Templars.
A massive Confessor jabbed his war hammer at the RSM, who blocked it deftly with his stolen weapon, the two exchanged blows while the battle raged around them. The RSM slammed his fist into the Confessors nose with a satisfying crunch, knocking him to the ground, the man’s hammer swung in an arc across the ground hitting the RSM in the ankle knocking him down. The two of them grappled together of the sandy earth, punching, kicking and biting. The Confessor brought a knee up into the RSM’s groin. He jumped up and raised his war hammer over his head,
“HERETIC, I CAST THEE OUT!” he boomed as he brought the war hammer down onto the RSM’s head, cracking his skull open. When the Rangers saw their RSM’s death they let out a cry of dismay. Sensing the advantage the Templars pressed forward with a roar of victory.
Suddenly the Confessors head exploded in a shower of gore.
“Rangers!” Captain Archer screamed “Straight at ‘em!” Before the headless corpse had even reached the floor the Rangers surged towards the Templars, butchering dozen’s who stood in shock.
After a further hour of close combat slaughter, the Templars were pushed out of the vehicle park and the Rangers took back the munitions shed, allowing them to re-arm. Captain Archer gathered the highest ranking survivors around him. Four sergeants, twelve corporals, and one terrified supplies Lieutenant.
“This it?” he asked “This is it, from over five hundred officers and one thousand NCO’s this is it?”
“I’m afraid so sir,” said one of the sergeants “Apart from the companies with the Narmans on the front line, were all that’s left.”
“And how many men have we got?”
“Just over two hundred,” said the young Lieutenant “and many of them are wounded and have been fighting none stop for two days...”
An explosion behind them followed by a brief exchange of gunfire reminded them that the fighting was still going on.
“Ok, we’ll form a perimeter here, we’ve got the supplies and munitions stores with us, so we should be able to hold for some time.”
“Then what sir?” asked a Corporal. Captain Archer opened his mouth to answer when several dull thuds sounded from outside the base.
“What the frig was that?!” asked someone.
“Do they have artillery?” asked Archer, the NCO’s shook their heads, “Then it must be...” they all worked it out at once, and those that didn’t soon recognised the high pitched squeal of Ork shells, and the coughing roar of their rockets.
“Find some cover!” shouted Archer, the Rangers around him dived under pre-fab buildings or merely dropped to the ground, hands wrapped around their heads.
Then the shells landed. Explosions tore into the southern side of the base, the orks firing into the flames. The noise was deafening, the heat unbearable, and the flames lit up the night as if it was day.
After what felt like hours the bombardment ceased.
“Up!” shouted Archer “Get up!” He could hear the same command coming from the Templar lines. Then he heard the familiar roar of the orks, in the darkness it was only possible to see the path of their advance due to their muzzle flashes. The unstoppable green tide burst right through the camp’s low sandbagged wall, the Templars roared and charged the Orks, and the Rangers did the same. The three armies crashed together.
When the sun rose the next day the camp was still caught up in the heat of battle, the fires had spread from the southern side, until they covered most areas, smoke filled the air making it impossible for combatants to tell friend from foe. The fires had cut groups off from each other, so now small desperate battles were being fought, with fires raging round the combat.
Captain Archer had seen little of the orks since the first charge. His unit of around sixty men had been pushed out of the battle by a group of ork dreadnoughts and heavy armoured warriors, forcing them back away from the rest of the Rangers. They had ended up trapped in the Templar controlled section of the camp, and for several hours had been fighting off near constant attacks. Only Jess was left from the sniper team, Mik and been decapitated by an ork dreadnought, Chad had dived on a grenade that landed next to Archer while he was unconscious, and Kim had been shot in the stomach in the last Templar attack of the night.
Jess’s rifle crack off three shots in rapid succession, three Templars dropped dead, as they charged. The female sniper calmly changed clips. The rest of the Rangers blazed away unconcerned about ammunition conservation. Archer stood by an open window and threw grenades one by ones from a wooden box containing over forty.
They had turned the munitions shed into a fortress, the Templar’s had been beaten back time and time again, and their dead lay thick outside the walls. The Rangers positions meant that the Templars had been unable to use, rockets, grenades, or flamers. So all their attacks had to be straight charges.
“There can’t be many left now, eh boss?” asked Jess.
“I frigging hope not.” Archer replied firing an autopistol on full auto into the charging crowd of Templars.
Suddenly a commotion on the left flank caught his attention. The Templars were turning to fight something also coming out of the flames. A huge scorched and blackened ork dreadnought burst out of the wall of fire and smashed into the panicking Templars. It spun around wildly, its huge buzz saw blades tearing off limbs and opening up the stomachs of the Templars. From behind it came more orks.
“Emperors teeth!” yelled Jess, “they must have broken the Templar lines.”
“Target the Orks!” ordered Archer “Kill the orks.” The dreadnought made short work of the Templars and began to lurch across the open ground towards the Rangers.
“Bring that frigging thing down!” boomed Archer. A barrage of rockets whooshed out of the ammunition shed and crashed into the charging dreadnought.
The orks responded in kind. The first two missiles shot over the top of the ammunition shed. Then a stick bomb smashed through a window and landed between Captain Archer and Jess.
“Oh fu...” breathed Archer.
The world turned white. The camp was incinerated.