Morning fellow Heretics!
I'm a huge Imperial Guard fan (It's Dan Abnett's fault, honestly, i was into space marines before i read First & Only and Ghostmaker). I wrote these little mini-stories after my dad bought me the plastic baneblade a few years ago for my birthday (the model of which is the only survivor of my ex's cull of my entire collection). They're inspired by the little mini-stories you get in battle reports and the corners of white dwarf and codexes! Anyone know the ones i mean?
The point man ahead of Sergeant Kraener didn’t utter a sound as his head was detonated by a ricochet bolt round, the blood vaporising, and spattering Kraener across the face. The big sergeant tried wiping it off, though only ended up smearing it across his harsh, scarred features.
Waves of red pulses flashed above the squad’s heads, slamming into the fallen buildings around them. Masonry fell, covering the squad with ash, dust, and the winter snow that pervaded the ruined city around them. Artillery banged and thumped in the distance, whilst other infantry units moved up alongside, crouching down in the rubble.
Kraener could hear the squeal of armoured tracked vehicles somewhere ahead of him: their target. Somewhere ahead was a Chaos tank, giving the regiment’s artillery company all sorts of grief.
The ground shook.
It kept shaking, getting worse and worse as it got louder, and louder, shaking the big Cadian to his bones.
Massed bolter fire whickered across the Imperial Guard lines, wiping out dozens of guardsmen. It was the target; it had to be. A bright flash of light puffed out from behind a partially destroyed building and struck a Leman Russ in its forward hull, blowing it to pieces, and ripping the infantry behind it to bloody shreds.
Kraener roared and charged out of his hiding place, darting towards the source of the cannon fire. His squad followed behind in a tight grouping, heads down, and faces grim.
They rounded the corner and came face-to-face with their target.
“Nobody said it was a fraggin’ Baneblade,” Kraener breathed a second before he and his entire squad were turned to pulp by the Chaos super-heavy tank’s main cannon…
It was everywhere on this bleak world, suffusing the sky, the ground, even the harsh forests that grew like bacteria on a corpse. The dark forests were deadly to anyone stupid to venture away from the hive cities or military bases, filled with myths, legends, and a thousand native predators.
A column of Tau trudged through the densest part, led by a small unit of pathfinders.
There were no birdcalls, predatory growls, or the crack of dead wood under paw, only the chilling silence of the forest. Shadows leaped about under the blazing gaze of the battlesuits’ lights.
The pathfinders were the first to die, slaughtered by wooden homemade flechette mines undetectable by the Tau’s advanced sensors. Wearing minimal armour, the pathfinders were shredded to bloody ribbons. The column slowed to a halt, weapons powered as it turned to meet this new threat. But there was nothing to see.
The sensors picked up intermittent life-signs, but nobody saw anything.
And then suddenly their commander’s battlesuit was dropping to its mechanical knees, the helmet and chest a smoking ruin. Grief and fear spread through the column, followed by a healthy dose of surprise as the commander’s bodyguards were engulfed in a wave of las-fire. They fell, one of which accidentally triggered its plasma cannon and killed two of the battlesuits behind it.
Small fist-sized objects fell among the regular Fire Warriors.
Belatedly, they realised the objects were grenades.
Bodies were flying everywhere, and panic was ensuing as large figures moved from the shadows of the forest around them. They didn’t so much as appear as transform from shadows into people. They were human, dressed in camouflage, their skin painted with green stripes, and wearing bandannas.
They moved silently, slicing throats, and stabbing sharp blades into soft bodies before the smoke and dust could clear.
A missile snaked out of the woods and struck a devilfish troop carrier dead on its cockpit. The skimmer dipped to one side, and crumpled into its neighbour.
The screams of the dead and the dying were ripped from alien throats as the humans mopped up the survivors.
The Tau commander was the last alive.
He struggled to get out of the battlesuit, his limbs aching from the impact of the shot. He clambered over the wreckage of his beloved wargear, trying to find some way to repair the comms gear in the suit. He reached for the remains, and found a booted foot in the way. He looked up to see two of the humans.
One carried a smoking sniper rifle, the other an energised sword, and a crude-looking projectile pistol.
“Who are you?” the Tau demanded in the rough human language.
The human smiled.
“We are Catachans.”
Gotznub the Weird trudged wearily through the snowfall.
He growled at his Boyz to keep up, clubbing one over the head with his shoota to reinforce the point. Except that the ork he clubbed didn’t get back up again, a smoking hole in his chest.
Gotznub scratched his head.
“Oo did dat?”
A screaming chainsword suddenly separated his head from his muscled shoulders.
“Dat ‘urt yoo pile of maggots.”
His head was alive long enough to see Imperial Guardsmen dressed in fur-lined greatcoats slaughter his mob.
The 5th Cadian Armoured Division smashed against the Chaos lines like a tidal wave. Nine-hundred-thirty-three Leman Russ battle tanks, plus another four hundred Leman Russ variants, and thirteen Hellhounds, all supported by three Baneblades.
Battle cannons roared, and lasers flashed and zapped as the Imperials opened fire, obliterating dozens of Chaos Marines, and their ancient corrupted tanks. Cultists died in droves, unprotected in the face of such wrath.
General Jast was sat in the cupola of his Baneblade’s main turret.
He grinned, lighting up a celebratory cigar.
“I do love the smell of burning heretics in the morning.”