Panda's 40k fiction competition entry. 'Boarding Action'
Chisom Flacer ducked involuntarily as splintered shards of bulkhead rained down on his hunkered form. The last burst of fire had been far, far too close for comfort. How the archenemy filth had got this far into the mechanical bowels of the ‘Gaze of His Throne’ he would never know, let alone how those bastards had erected an autocannon at the far end of the corridor. Now, Chisom had never even seen a man able, nor one particularly willing, to lug an autocannon into a firefight, and he had a few navy ratings in his squad with both augmetic and gene-boosted strength. Still, Chisom supposed, this was the sort of shit you encountered on a day-to-day basis when you were part of a fleet tasked basically with floating through the emptiness of space, wiping the Emperor’s incapable arse for him.
“Bet that ‘golden throne’ of his is covered in stinking brown turd streaks” Chisom cursed under his breath. His faith always deserted him during boarding actions, and he preferred it that way. Anger had a way of keeping him alive, alive enough to make sure to ask for the immortal God-Emperor’s benediction the following day. He’d seen some brutal struggles in his time, but this was right up there with the very worst of them, he’d lost two fingers on his left hand a couple of years ago to a rusted cleaver, and if he was lucky he’d only lose a few more and nothing more important today. He had no idea how the actual fleet engagement was going, but the ‘Gaze’ was in dire straits. The dauntless class light cruiser had been taken by surprise and swiftly boarded by three ‘Idolator’ level archenemy raiders, and the ships crew, at least the part Chisom and his team were part of, had been pushed back towards the prow, attempting to prevent the chaos scum from reaching and detonating the ship-to-ship torpedoes in the magazine. From the brief, static-ridden calls on the portable voxcaster Chisom had access to, he knew similar desperate stands were occurring near the bridge and engineering.
For now though, they were in a stalemate. The Idolators were small vessels, and the boarders, even from all three of the vessels only barely outnumbered the Gaze’s crew. The real issue was the fanaticism of the infidels. The initial shock of the boarding action had cost the loyalists heavily, with many crewmen too injured to repel the initial assault. In addition to this, the chaos troops had no regard for their own lives. Chisom cursed again as another burst of suppression fire whickered past his right shoulder from the autocannon. His teams were under strict orders only to use low penetration, close range weaponry in order to maintain the Gaze’s hull integrity. The attackers had no such qualms, firing off autoguns, las weapons and rarely even heavy support guns like the autocannon, as well as tossing grenades left, right and centre. This had led to the situation Chisom was in now, his team were pinned by the autocannon, unable to close to a range suitable for their shotguns. The archenemy troops however, were content to keep them suppressed, perhaps knowing that the ship would eventually fall under their sway. Either way, Chisom Flacer was getting less and less impressed. He’d heard rumours there had been explosive decompression on some of the lower cargo decks earlier on in the engagement, and he didn’t know what that had meant for the guard troops that they had been ferrying, some sort of specialists apparently. Well, they’d have to fend for themselves Chisom decided, as the autocannon sounded off again. The tinkle of glass shards pattering onto the deck continued as the autocannon continued to slowly eat through their impromptu cover. Even over the roar of the heavy weapon, Chisom could hear the sounds of an almighty struggle somewhere close.
“Right, this is fucking pathetic!” Chisom declared to his team “Semaj, you’re with me! The rest of you, don’t cower an inch further forward until I’m back.” Chisom and Semaj crawled painfully over the shards of metal and glass that covered the corridor’s deck grating until they turned the corner, out of the autocannon’s arc of fire. Semaj followed quickly as Chisom set a blistering pace towards the magazine. “You smoke that Lho crap don’t you?” Chisom snapped at his follower.
“You got a lighter on you?”
“Good.” Chisom smiled the first smile he had all day. He took a quick turn towards the half assembled new shipment of torpedoes. He knelt and pulled out a bottle of amasec out of his pack, tearing off a sleeve from his naval uniform. To Semaj’s amazement he swiftly emptied the expensive liquor onto the strip of fabric. Even more worryingly, he began to tamper with the launch apparatus of the torpedo, despite Semaj’s desperate protestations. As the volatile rocket fuel began to leak onto the deck, Semaj began to make the sign of the machine god, and repeat the Emperor’s prayer, over and over.
“Shut up and pass me that canister behind you!” Chisom slapped Semaj into action, emptying the sand from the emergency fire prevention canister and filling it with the torpedo propellent. Carefully he attatched the shred of uniform to the top, before he and the terrified rating began to drag the unstable burden back towards the shrieking sounds of the autocannon.
“So we’re all good with the plan?” Chisom concluded. Half his squad started to complain and he cut them off with a snarl. Gripping Semaj’s lighter, Chisom made the sign of the Aquila over his chest, lit his handmade fuse, and with an immense shove, rolled the canister towards the autocannon emplacement, almost losing his head in the process.
Thunkthunk………………thunkthunk………thunkthunk…thunkthunk thunkthunkthunk…. Chisom could hear the canister gaining speed until with a tremendous, blinding flash, an almighty shockwave blasted down the corridor,to be succeeded by unnatural shrieks of pain from the lackeys of the archenemy. In the thick, acrid, cloying smoke Chisom, Semaj and the rest of his squad rose and sprinted wordlessly towards the other end of the corridor.
What they encountered when they got there was a bunch of strangers casually sitting on the deck amongst piles of archenemy dead, cleaning their fingernails with a variety of vicious looking, razor sharp blades, looking extremely smug. One or two of them even had the gall to look directly at the speechless group of navy ratings and tap their wrists, imitating looking at chronometers, as if to say: What time do you call this?
“Alright, that’s enough of a joke lads. Get ready to move out. This ship’s not going to retake itself!” Chisom snapped out of a trance as one of the men yelled out, then moved towards him. The man, an officer by the rank insignia on the chest of his flak armour, offered his hand to Chisom.
“Major Isaiah Rotrell, Fourth Bemani Corsairs at your service sir”
“Chisom Flacer, senior rating” Chisom took the guardsman’s hand “You’re the specialists we were carrying I presume?”
“Aye, ship to ship boarding actions are our in our blood Flacer, we’re pirates, more or less, from an archipelago world. That said, we’re still thankful for that distraction you cooked up, we were going to have trouble with that autocannon. Good to see at least some of the crew have shown some backbone and ignored those idiotic orders regarding weaponry”
Chisom looked around at the squads clustered around the Major. They wore light blue flak armour and cream fatigues, carrying a mixture of lasguns and a few special weapons, grenades, and more than a few knives and cutlasses, ice axes and stilettos. Many of the men’s faces were heavily marked with blue tattoos.
“Ah, sir, you can’t retake the ship with those.” Chisom uncomfortably stated.
“I know I know” Rotrell replied, "its nothing special, but all our heavy stuff’s packed in storage. The lasguns will have to do." Rotrell grinned at him.
“You know what I’m saying sir. Those weapons are capable of breaching hull integrity…”
“For the Emperor’s sake man! Have you ever fired a lasgun?” Rotrell laughed again “You can barely fry an egg with the things! Besides, if those bastards are using them, why shouldn’t we?” Chisom had no answer to that. “Stick with us man, we’ll soon have the ‘Gaze’ back in the hands of the Emperor.”
Over the next hour, Chisom saw why the Corsairs were known as specialists. Experts at corridor fighting, particularly at close quarters with their deadly array of short knives and blades, the Corsair spearhead carved through the archenemy resistance like a ship through the waves. They stopped only briefly to send teams to relieve the beleaguered defenders of the bridge and engineering. The engineering team contained special squads of the heavy ‘buccaneer’ elite infantry due to the reported mass of heretic troops battering the defences like a tide against the shoreline.
Rotrell’s team, despite him seeming to be the ranking officer seemed to be heading for no objective in particular, and Chisom could make neither head nor tail of his actions, despite his troops undeniable effectiveness. They were moving so fast through the corridors of the ‘Gaze of His Throne’ that Chisom lost track of where they were completely. The only indication they were not going in circles was the increasing degree of enemy resistance. The Corsairs themselves though, showed an unerring sense of direction.
“Almost there lads” Rotrell cried out, the whining crack of las fire intensifying as they reached an atrium, the corsairs quickly spread out, making best use of the boxes and crates stacked in the open area. By the strobing glow of the pattering las shots, Chisom saw that they were in a viewing area that had been stacked with cargo. He also noted with a manic grin that they had reached the initial breach. The Corsairs had pushed the chaos filth back to their point of entry, and Chisom could see the torn and scarred bulkhead where the archenemy had boarded. The hull had been cut open as if it was made of paper, and with, shock, Chisom Flacer saw the mechanism of that entry. Taloned mechanical fingers extruded from a boarding pipe wide enough to allow four large men abreast. It was as if the pipe was an entity itself, and had punched through the Gaze’s outer shell like a fist, opening up the gouged metallic wound and inverting itself, hooking into the cruiser’s superstructure. Chisom realised there would be more of these, probably one for each of the Idolator craft assaulting them. He heard Major Rotrell on the vox to other Corsair platoons, verifying that they had located two others. The archenemy were holding on desperately to their bridgehead, and the storm of las and solid slug fire intensified, occasionally interupted by the whoosh of flamers.
“Get ready to take it to them Corsairs! I want blades and blaze!” Rotrell had to scream to be heard over the firefight. “Ortell, I need a Tanith spectacular” Rotrell yelled in the ear of his nearest flame trooper. “Wait ‘til you see this Flacer, it’ll blow your mind. Got taught this trick a while back by a mean bunch of fethwipes. Sooner have them at my back than any Astartes!” A ragged cheer went up from the Corsairs around them as Rotrell unholstered a solid slug autopistol, meanwhile Ortell was shucking the tanks on his back and disengaging them from the hose. “On four Ortell, four for the fourth!” Rotrell shrieked like a banshee, and began to count as the flame trooper hefted the tanks. As he threw them Rotrell tracked them through the air, piercing them with a single shot as they neared the enemy ranks. Time slowed as the archenemy troops and their defensive positions were covered in flaming promethium and thick smoke.
“At them! At them!” Rotrell shouted, leading the charge of blue and cream, a cutlass in his left hand and a wicked looking three bladed dagger in his right. Their line tore into the chaos boarders, and desperate hand to hand fighting began, with Chisom dragged along. He saw a Corsair fall, a monstrosity with a beard made of what looked like melted wax towering above the guardsman, about to land the death blow. Chisom fired his shotgun, and the rounds of lead and glass evaporating the mutant’s shoulder and right side of its face. The guardsman grinned at him, rose to one knee and threw a knife at another boarder, leaving him mewling in agony as it struck home in its windpipe.
Just like that, the assault was over, Chisom drawing his breath lightly but sharp in his lungs, their were precious few blue armoured corpses on the deck. Most of the Corsairs were busy slitting throats or wiping ichor off their blades. Rotrell smiled at Chisom “ Don’t relax yet friend” Rotrell turned to his vox carrying adjutant “Everyone in place Debrea?”
“Aye aye sir!” the voxman winked.
“Corsairs!” The blue armoured figures were lined up and ready, knives in hands, as well as lasguns and flamers. “Board them!” Rotrell shouted, and Chisom stood on the deck stained with blood and ichor, aghast with horror, mouth open in surprise, as the guardsmen charged down the chaos boarding pipe, the sound of Rotrell’s laughter cackling in his ears.
Death magnetic: 5 slabs of vinyl: Pure spinning ecstasy.
Last edited by Pandawithissues...; 04-07-08 at 01:26 AM.