M’yen unleashed another devastating barrage of his pulse blaster from where he laid on the hill just beyond the thorn bushes. The shot scythed through the gue’la’s torso in several places, each punctured wound bleeding profusely. His victim skidded onto his knees, his charge halted by the force, and collapsed onto his back. He shifted his aim onto another gue’la sniping at them from behind a nest of arched roots. He squeezed the trigger. The blast went wide and dissipated harmlessly against the bark. He dropped the pulse blaster on the ground, drew his pistol, and lined up another shot. A slew of hell-gun fire slithered up the hill towards him, but Or’es and Ro’va beside him combined their fire on the source until it halted.
Relax. Take a deep breath, exhale, and then…
“Tau’va!!!” M’yen pulled the trigger. He watched his victim’s head fly backwards in a spray of gore.
Tel’kyse shouted in the same moment a searing ball of golden energy darted over their heads. “Plasma gun, in the gorge, on the edge of the swamp!”
Ro’va pointed toward the field that M’yen was covering. “M’yen, is that your kill over there? Lying on his back in the swamp?”
“Yeah!” M’yen fired another discharge of his pulse pistol toward the gorge. The Plasma Gunner retreated after a bolt neatly slammed into the tree trunk beside his head. “What about it?”
“Ethereal’s blood, he’s getting back up again!” Ro’va took aim with his blaster and fired another round. The blast removed the left arm of the gue’la as he made to stand, but somehow, he found his feet none-the-less. The dismembered figure dropped his hellgun into the murky water, drew his pistol, and snapped off several shots as he charged.
“Gah!”A bolt connected with Or’es’ armor and drew fresh cyan-colored blood from his ribcage. He collapsed backwards onto the hill. “I’m hit!”
“Kill it!” Ro’va shouted. He fired several rounds into the charging gue’la. “Before it closes the distance!”
M’yen sucked in a breath in disbelief. He was uncertain as to whether the corpse he killed was anything near reality, as it became flayed and maimed from Ro’va’s unrelenting fire. By the time it reached the base of the hill, the gue’la appeared entirely unhindered by the weakness of the flesh and armor shorn from its bones. Then without a moment’s notice, he leveled his pulse pistol at the undead creature’s head and vaporized it with one round. The corpse clattered into the grassy hillside, lifeless.
Re’shi chuckled at their exasperated gasps of surprise. “What is the matter, Shas’la? Are you perturbed at the death of several stubborn gue’la?”
Or’es favored his ribcage. “Did you see that, Re’shi? That gue’la took over a dozen blaster rounds to take down! I could see his bones from where the muscle peeled away, and the bastard was still charging.”
Eldi called over the comms. “Hostile reinforcements, closing in! Looks like they are about to initiate a charge, Shas’ui!”
“However surprising, Or’es,” Re’shi chuckled. “I suggest you come to terms and redouble your efforts. Here come a hundred more of the same gue’la.”
The gue’la emerged from the surrounding swamp without a single cry and charged forward toward the Tau Empire’s lines with a speed that belied their bulk. M’yen’s gaze swept across the lowlands below and picked out hundreds of blurred outlines making progress through the un-crossable bog. What manner of creatures were these, that could defy nature so? A fusillade of hell-gun fire crisscrossed across the darkened skies, exchanged with the coiled whine of pulse fire across the entire frontline. Over the entire scene, he caught a glimpse of hexagonal fields soaring over the battlefield.
M’yen inhaled, exhaled, and began to snap off multiple shots into the midst of the twisted gue’la. One shot caught a walking corpse in the bicep and must have gnawed through a bone, since the hell-gun in his arms went limp. A second attempt blasted away the boot of another one, but it continued to drag itself toward the Tau Empire’s lines. M’yen ended his misery with an unerring headshot. Ro’va, Or’es, Tel’kyse, and Eldi swept an entire wave of gue’la off of their feet with a blinding, relentless fusillade. The remainder of Patient Hunter joined their fire with Shadow Hunter, and created a withering kill zone that melted enemies away by the score. And yet the horde came onward, dropped their ranged weapons in favor of roaring chainswords as they began to close the gap with their enemy.
M’yen quickly holstered his pistol and picked up the pulse blaster. In the same moment, a bullet-ridden corpse climbed the hillside and took a vicious swing at Ro’va. Ore’es obliterated him with a point-blank shot, but several more climbed over the lip of the hill and took his place. M’yen rolled aside to avoid becoming crushed beneath their boots. One of the gue’la noticed him, and broke away from the pack to leap on top of him. The combat knife in the gue’la’s grip flashed forward, but M’yen’s blaster dismembered his legs in one sweep. The gue’la toppled on top of him and drove his blade downward none-the-less, and made a deep incision through his armor around his waist.
M’yen ushered a shout that would terrify any living creature. With brutal force, he cracked the butt of his blaster into the gue’la’s chin with enough force to splinter bone. Blood seeped through his opponent’s mask, but otherwise he appeared unharmed by the pain. The gue’la re-seized the knife and made to disembowel him with a flick of his wrist.
One moment, the gue’la was poised to take M’yen’s life. A brutal uppercut of Re’shi’s knee into the corpse’s jaw sent him flying upwards the next. M’yen cried out in fresh agony as the combat knife slipped free of the wound. Re’shi leveled his pulse blaster toward the gue’la as it clattered onto the hillside and smeared its brain matter across the lush grass with a pull of the trigger.
Tel’kyse ducked beneath a whirring chainsword as she juked to the right. The bonding knife in her right hand impacted against a gue’la’s helmeted cranium, repeatedly, until the skull partially caved in from the force. The pulse pistol in her left hand made simultaneous reports, blasted a pair of armored figures off of Eldi, who shredded the weapon arm of a gue’la who had nearly ran him through. She leapt backward on a moment’s notice, allowing a chainsword to etch sparks out of her armor. She lashed out with a heavy kick and splintered another corpse’s leg into pieces.
Ro’va scrambled away from his attacker, and made the fatal mistake of attempting to parry a chainsword. The monomolecular teeth of the blade chewed through his bonding knife without effort and shredded his helm and the flesh beneath into gory shreds. M’yen watched the corpse drop with a shred of remorse and dispatched Ro’va’s murderer with a point-blank blaster round to the skull.
A dozen more gue’la this time climbed the hillside and joined the desperate fight. Was there even a point to killing them if there were so many? Suddenly, his thoughts only became filled with bringing as much of the foe down with him as possible. He held his finger down on the trigger and did not stop, even as the hill became nothing more than a gore soaked mess.
The earth quaked beneath him in protest of something incomprehensibly large landing upon it. M’yen gazed up through the endless haze of death to see towering machines of nano-crystalline armor descend from the breaking light of the sun. Their bright ochre and matte black armor was incredibly bulky, but their design lent them an air of grace and elegance that only an Ethereal could hope to match. Great jetpacks stemmed their rapid descent from atmosphere, and great weapons three-fold the size of an ordinary Tau unleashed their salvos and dispensed their charge cells. The XV8 Crisis Battlesuit squadrons looked upon the battlefield with squared helm-lenses, and crushed dozens of gue’la underfoot where they chose to land amongst them. The backwash of flames spread across the swamp like a roiling tide, consuming anything not armored in nano-crystal to the charred bone. Heavy plasma rifles burned through the cover of Birches and foliage without effort, incinerating anyone foolish enough to hide from the vigilant gaze of the XV8 teams.
M’yen could only gaze on, dumbfounded, as dozens of the Crisis Suits joined the fight against the gue’la advance. The instincts of the remaining gue’la on the hilltop told them to seek refuge. The beleaguered forces of the Tau Empire sent up a vaunted cheer as the humans broke and fled all at once, suddenly driven by a need of self-preservation.
“Unseen Moon to Patient Hunter, Shadow Hunter, and Cold Inception. Reinforcements have arrived. The way is clear to proceed with evacuation.”