Trials of the 15th
The Commissar’s spirit is eased by the sight of three men. They must have seen him go into hiding, or possibly reverted to their training and took to the shadows to avoid the watchful eye of the Enemy. Needless to say, most of his Imperial forces were wiped out and he felt like a coward for not being there, but a true Imperial servant follows orders. Now it is time to atone and help these few survivors escape.
He recognizes the largest of the survivors to be the Wraith, Jace Ranith. The Commissar can personally attest to his skill with the sniper rifle. The man is as stealthy as any in his veterans unit, and is adept at neutralizing enemy targets through the scope of his sniper rifle. Like this, perhaps, he takes comfort in the knowledge that he can participate in battle without fearing close quarter encounters.
The second vet is immediately recognizable. He possesses a terrifying air and his skill in the shadows is unlike anything the Commissar has ever seen before. This rightly earned him the title “Shadow”. Frightening to any mortal opponent, he possesses a scar on his cheek, and a transfixing gaze made possible by two unique eyes. On his belt, he wears a daunting dagger.
The third man is only slightly shorter than the Wraith, but lacks in bulk. He carries a silenced lasgun, which the Commissar does not like, as the gun is less powerful than the bolt pistol these men carry, but can nevertheless be useful against many foes at once. This man is known as “Tincan” for his metal jaw. The Commissar personally does not approve of such a thing, as it reminds him of the foul greenskin, who often fuse metal appendages to their jaws.
“It is good to see you are all awake” the Commissar begins. “My mission is to escort all of you to safety. If you put your trust in me and follow your orders, we will all leave here alive.” He looks around the room to search for signs of uneasiness. He finds none. “Good. We will begin by exiting this chamber. The layout of this area has been transmitted to all of you, so take a moment to revise it before you depart. Remember that I was not trained as a guerilla soldier, and in all my battles I faced the enemy head-on. This mission will be different for me. You are to go ahead and clear a path so that I can get through. You do not need to kill every patrol, and try to make as little noise as possible to avoid further conflict.” He looks around the room again. “Any questions?” “No Sir!” is the response around the room.
They move to the exit of the storerooms. “Once we pass through this door, there is no turning back. Exiting the room is your goal. The Emperor protects.”
"The Emperor protects, sir." echoed the three. After a quick check on their weapons, the scouts start moving forward, sticking to the wall. A pale light comes from the end of the corridor.
As they reach the first open space, Tinface peeks over the angle and signals the rest of the team to stand still. He whispers: "Multiple hostile contacts. One just around the corner, at least another one behind the crates. Saw another's shadow on the back wall; can't confirm though. We should take the first down quietly, to start with. Shadow?"
San looked at ‘Tincan’ and smiled.
“With pleasure” he whispered, drawing his dagger from his belt.
He moved along the wall and glanced round the corner. The heretic was facing towards the opposite wall, appearing to be admiring graffiti on the wall.
Crouching low and moving with care, he quickly found himself within inches of the cultist. San could tell that personal hygiene was not a high priority for those in the service to chaos, as he was suddenly hit by a wave of body odour. Taking a deep breath, he stood up quickly, grabbed the cultist and slit his throat, holding his head in a vice grip making sure he could not scream. The cultist struggled for only a few seconds before going limp in his arms. San turned to watch the shadow behind the crate, it showed no sign of movement or alarm; it appears the other cultists had not heard their comrade’s fate. Good. San silently laid the cultist onto the ground and signalled the others to move up to the crates. Before moving up himself, he decided to search the body for anything of use. He was only armed with a pen knife and an autopistol, nothing of use. The cultist appeared to wear no mark of allegiance, be it uniform or symbol.
‘Curious’, he thought.
San moved to the crates and edged himself towards the corner. He peered quickly round the edge to see what they were dealing with.
‘Looks like Tincan was right’ San thought to himself, ‘Two cultists, one leaning against the wall, the other in the middle of the room.’
He moved back behind the crates and considered the situation. With limited visibility it is unclear how many more cultists are on this floor, there could be one directly behind the corner. This possibility makes sneaking past them dangerous, as it would leave them in the open. No, they would have to take the chance of taking both out silently and hope not to attract too much attention.
San sheaved his dagger and pulled out his bolt pistol. He had taken care before venturing into the room to make sure it was loaded, but his ammo count did not look good. This shot had better count. Turning to his companions, he signalled that there were two ahead of them and they would have to take out both cultists at the same time with their pistols. He would deal with the one in the middle of the room. Before they could even give him a gesture of acknowledgement, San moved back to the edge of the crate and took aim.
‘This had better work’, he thought.
‘Trust me’, came the reply, ‘it will’.
San fired, feeling the familiar kickback from his trusty pistol. The cultist dropped to floor with a loud thud, blood pouring from the gaping hole in his head.
Jace silently nodded and saluted the commissar before silently running up the side of the wall following his comrades. His movements produced an eerie silence and no matter how much his equipment moved they never made a sound, both by the way he ran and by the hours he’d spent installing sound dampening padding into certain points of his armor.
He made it to the end of the wall in time to see “Shadow” expertly put down the cultist and signal that he would need to take out another with him. He upholstered his bolt pistol and quickly checked to make sure everything was in order. As he spun around the corner he lined up the sights of his pistol with the forehead of the cultist.
As soon as his eyes saw the cultists face is mind flashed back to “that night” and wraith was back. It only took fraction of a second, his eyes widened and then all expression left his face and as wraith returned. Then the cultist was down an expertly placed bolt round between his eyes.
Wraith then silently moved down to the downed cultist position and surveyed the scene. There were two cultists one sitting behind a crate with his back to him and the other was scanning the room. Wraith unslung his Neetler and line up the scope on the first cultist. “Damn can’t make the shot” he thought to himself only the top of the helmet was visible to him in his crouched stance and he couldn’t count on the armor penetrating properly.
He switched targets and carefully lined up a shot on the back of the cultists neck and sent the round. There was a slight click as the hammer swung forward, and all he could make out was a slight muscle twitch in the cultist’s neck before he crumpled to the floor.
He moved his attention to the other cultist but he still hadn’t moved. He signaled back to the other two about the situation, and then returned to his rifle to provide covering fire should anything go amiss.
The Commissar surveyed the scene from his hiding place. Silently shouting into his vox, he said, "grak dammit men! I told you to finish the mission! Somebody, finish the mission but remember that there is a ONE-POST limit in the future! Commissar out."
As Jace downed the cultist in the middle room, Knoffer approached the crates. With only a slight creak from the wooden planks, he grabbed the remaining heretic's head, covering his mouth and swiftly strangling him. As he slid the corpse behind the crates, he heard some kind of heathen lingo from the nearby corridor.
The sound had alerted the last guard securing the room: as he came out to check the source, Tincan had already lined up a shot with his bolt pistol, taking him out before he could reach for his comm; at the same time, Spectre and Wraith opened fire, assuring the target would stay down for good.
Nobody else came; the area was secure, at least for the moment. Tincan checked the last corridor: no surprises there as well. He double-checked for booby-traps or hiding enemies and found nothing. However, he was feeling somewhat uneasy. He had fought his fair share of Chaos filth in his life, both as a simple trooper and as a scout. Hell, he had a maimed face to prove that. And in all of his encounters with the forces of the Archenemy, he had witnessed how its forces spread its taint wherever they went, desacrating everything they touched. But these cultists... they were different. No marks on their clothes or flesh to show their loyalty to the Dark Gods. None of them seemed to carry unholy simulacra of Chaos in any form.
Tincan was a creature of habit, forged by the harshness of the seemingly eternal conflict waging on Cadia. This change was subtle, yet unnerving. Something felt wrong to him. He couldn't tell what. "Maybe I'm just paranoid. - he thought - They're Chaos filth. Nothing has changed. And they will fall, for the Emperor."
Snapping out from his thoughts, he voxed the Commissar. "Area secured, Commissar. We can move on. Sorry if it took so much. I didn't want to rush things, so I preferred asking San to go in first after assessing the situation, as he's the best of us with CQC and silent takedowns. Next time I'll act accordingly, sir. Knoffer out."
The Commissar peaks out from behind the wall. The body of one cultist lays on the ground, blood pooling from his throat. Admirable work he thinks. He carefully emerges into the open and is pleased to see that the patrols had been dispatched. He strides toward the exit point, black greatcoat waving by his ankles.
“Excellent work men” he says. “But you , Tincan, slacked off!” The vet looks at the Commissar, stunned. “Simply relaying information is not enough to succeed in this mission! As punishment, I award you with a silenced shotgun that I found on one of the cultists. This shotgun only has one round however, so use it wisely. Maybe now you’ll be encouraged to fight with your team!”
“The rest of you, good work. Shadow and Wraith, you both exercised great teamwork in dispatching the enemy patrols. Unfortunately, you two are stuck with your current gear until I can find something else for you.” A smirk on the Commissar’s face, he continues; “now, we will discuss our next mission.”
“My orders are to lead you west, where there is a shuttle bay. We will search for a functioning shuttle and make our escape in that. So far the Enemy does not now of our existence.” “Sir, what if the shuttles have been destroyed?” Shadow asks. “In that case, I request Exterminatus. That is all my superiors can afford to do.” Wraith steps forward, “and who exactly are your superiors?” The Commissar responds coldly, “that information is classified. And you are in no position to question my orders. Neither am I.”
“Also, I received orders to modify the rules. From here on in, there is a two-post maximum. This means that you must post at least once, but you can post twice per mission. That is all.”
The room to the west stretches down a long way. “Alright men,” the Commissar begins, “clear me a path down this way. It’s a long way across, but this corridor should lead to the main hub. From there, getting to the shuttle bay will be a simple matter. Be cautious, however, I have been told that the cultists behind those security doors are wearing flak armor and have shotguns. Do not raise an alert!”
"Aye, sir. Scouts, let's move." said Tincan, crawling behind the closest crate. Some other cargo occupied the room, blocking vision; the only enemy he could see was standing in a small alcove on the other side of the room.
"Alright. There could be more of them in the room, hard to tell from here. If we co-ordinate this right enough, we'll be through safe and clean. I'm moving in, I'll try and check from behind those crates. The Emperor protects."
Slowly, he walked behind the first set of crates and edged slightly to observe. Another cultist was standing there, speaking one of the crude dialects used by Chaos followers. Vox communications, maybe? But then he heard another, a voice coming from his left. Maybe a third one, further from the left: he couldn't tell clearly. However, given the unusual wall structure of the room, someone could be hiding in an alcove on the other side of the structure. Past those cultists, a row of crates and, more importantly, another huge box on the right side which created a perfect hiding spot. Something to keep in consideration.
Going back to the others, he reported his analysis. "We're looking at at least four enemy contacts. I'll take down the cultist on the other side of the room. After that, we should take down the other 3 at the same time. If you agree, just give me a signal when either of you is in position. I'll follow."
Moving as close as he dared, he took out his bolt pistol. As the guard leaned on a side wall, he shot him: a clean headshot. The corpse slid to the ground, quietly. After that, he got back into cover, waiting for orders from his teammates.
‘And so the curtain moves ever so slightly’ thought San as he listened to the Commisars instructions. ‘There is far more to this than meets the eye. Who is exactly in charge of this operation?’
But there was little time to dwell on these thoughts. After all, if he remained patient, the answers were sure to reveal themselves shortly. They always did.
San watched Tincan’s takedown with interest, as a craftsman might observe the works of another. The soft thud was like music to his ears. As the cultist began to slide down the wall San noticed that he seemed to have something on his back. Edging a little closer to the corpse he saw that it was an archaic looking vox-caster. A guttural bark sounded from the vox, it seems the cultist had been talking to someone and the channel was still open.
“Oh Shit” San muttered under his breath.
The voice barked again, this time sounding more urgent, as if asking for a response from his now deceased colleague. San turned the cultist over and tried as quickly but silently as possible to take the vox caster apart before the infernal bleating attracted any attention. The vox fell silent, and San allowed himself a moment to calm his mind before pulling out his bolt pistol.
He signalled to the other two that the vox was now dead and he would take the cultist closest to the right wall as his position allowed him the benefit of a perfect shot. As he settled himself into the alcove with the dead cultist he took aim. But something was wrong. The cultist he was looking at down his sights suddenly shifted position and began looking straight at him. San was sure he had not spotted him as surely he would have already alerted the others. It appeared he was looking to see where the vox caster had gone. The cultist shouted out into the gloom, readying his weapon
“Take the shot now!” San said as loud as dared and pulled the trigger.
As Wraith listened to the commissars instructions many questions came to mind; who are we really working for? Where would they be going after this? His thoughts were cut short as Tincan moved and dispatched the first cultist. Then his blood ran cold as he heard the crackle of the vox caster.
He quickly moved to crouch behind the nearby crates and surveyed the room his neetler snapping to his shoulder. He could see three cultists patrolling the nearby vicinity. Further down the room he could see one more cultist facing away from him. His attention turned though as one of the nearby heretics looked straight a shadow. He was put down quickly by shadow a well-placed round to the neck.
But the damage was done. The other two turned to look and at their comrade as he crashed to the floor. Wraith reflexively sent a round into the closest and watched as the last began to pull out a crude looking vox. Before he could get out a word however a small drop of blood rolled down his face as he dropped to the floor a neetle protruding.
Wraith checked the room again and couldn’t make out a change with the last cultist he could see. He changed the magnification on his scope and looked again he noticed two more in the far alcoves but none of them appeared to be aware of what transpired.
This unnerved wraith and set him on edge. He wanted to hunt this close quarters environment left him out of his element. He signaled to the other two then set his sights on the cultist in the middle of the room and waited for them to make their move.
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