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Recruitment By Fire
An excerpt from the Journal of Corporal Josephus Corric, Imperial Guard, 40th Infantry (Mechanized), Echo Company
Regarding events during 995.M41 on Gudrun, Helican Segmentum Obscurus
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We were moving forward to assault this Enemy held outpost when we were stopped by a company of Traitor Marines. Us softies, well, we’re no match for all that power armor and lets be candid, the standard IG issue lasgun is about as effective against power armor as harsh language.
The Enemy was dug in to this hillside deep and good. They had thrown up earthworks and camouflaged the area pretty well. Nothing had showed up on our auspex or geothermal imaging. We walked right into the area without warning and the Enemy began shooting.
It was not pretty. Textbook ambush that could have come right from basic tactics class. The Enemy waited until half of the company had passed them and then opened fire. They had at least two quad-linked heavy bolters hidden in those hills. The incoming fire was so thick I thought I could see individual bolter rounds as they were fired.
The first ranks of men were mowed down so quickly they didn’t even have time to scream. One moment they were there, the next there were just steaming body parts oozing blood.
The ranks farther back… well, I don’t think I’ll ever forget those screams. The Enemy swung those quads over the line of men and watched them fall. Farther back, the rounds weren’t as effective; that is, they did not kill cleanly. The Enemy seemed to take a perverse joy in shooting the wounded. Listening to them scream, watching them bleed… We paid a heavy price for relying on those Mechanicum instruments rather than our eyes. That won’t happen again, I can tell you.
As we sought cover, I noticed that no one was giving orders. I expected some Commissar or officer to start rallying the men and when that didn’t happen it dawned on me that I was the ranking man. Talk about a weird sensation, being in charge and all. Surreal.
I figured that since the Astartes get all the credit, they might as well do the heavy lifting. So I made the command decision to call them in. Our company was supported by the Angry Marines and I got their vox frequency off my dead lieutenant.
“This is 40th ID, Echo company, transmit to Astartes detachment. We are south south-east 22 clicks from debarkation and have had our advance halted by fortified Enemy located at coordinates 37 23.516 …”
I was startled by the abrupt reply that overrode my vox transmission. “Uh, well, we encountered some Traitor Marines dug in…”
“WHAT??? PANSY ASSES HIDING IN THE GROUND?!! WHERE??!!”
“37 23.516 -122 02.625” I said, giving the location of the GPS coordinates.
There was an uncomfortable pause on the vox.
“WHERE THE FUCK IS THAT???!!!”
I reasoned they were experiencing mechanical difficulties with their instruments. So, I figured I’d describe some landmarks. “Uh, well, we’re by this mountain and there is a stream near by…”
“LIGHT A FUCKING FLARE, YOU ASSHOLE!!! MARK THE DZ AND GET OUT OF THE FUCKING WAY!!!”
I was a bit taken back. “Very well. Watch for the green flares.”
There was no response from the vox.
I got my troops to mark a zone a few hundred meters from our position and then we waited. I listened to the vox and gathered intel. Seems that there was some heavy atmospheric interference and that only sub orbital craft could be used.
I heard the sound of roaring engines at full thrust. Four Valkyries entered our airspace, their thrusters on full as they came in low. Was the rear hatch open? I could see glints of red and yellow through the small gaps in the hatch. Were the occupants crouched and ready to … jump? No, that had to be a mistake, no one inserts a ground assault at full throttle…
“GET OUTTA THE WAY!!!” I heard through the vox. The Valkyries did not slow as they approached. In fact, they seemed to speed up. When the Valkyries were directly over our position, the marines … jumped. I’d never seen anything like it.
In seconds there were sixteen yellow and red figures raining from the sky, each armed with … bats and wrenches?
“WE GOT US SOME HEADS TO CRACK!” We got out of the way, alright. The marines came down on the Enemy position mere meters from the redoubt. The Enemy was surprised too, they didn’t even fire. The yellow and red wave crashed over the redoubt and the combat was joined, hand to hand. Or wrench to head, as it were.
I stood up to get a better look at the battle. No, this was carnage and I wanted to join. I wanted payback for the ambush. “For the Emperor!!! For the Fortieth!!! FORWARD!!!” I yelled. Echo company sprang from their cover and rushed the redoubt. We took the position and mopped up what the marines left us. Literally. There was not much left and what was left could fit in a bucket.
In the midst of the slaughter, I noticed a change in the battle. We were no longer moving up the redoubt. Fact was, we were not moving at all. We were taking cover from plasma bolts that were being shot from further within the hillside. I moved along side a Marine that was cleaning bits of a helmet from the jaws of his power wrench.
“Status, Sir?” I asked after saluting.
The marine looked up from his cleaning, “WE’RE GETTING SHOT AT, ASSHOLE. YOU NEED ME TO TELL YOU THAT?!!!”
Indeed, we were. The forces of the Enemy had established another system of redoubts and had fortified them with plasma emplacements. Which were laying down an impressive suppressing fire. The Angry Marines were, well, angry, but not stupid. No one charges into plasma guns fired from a fortified redoubt. So there we all were, taking cover in that trench, waiting for… Well, I was not sure what we were waiting for. I was sure that no one was going to charge into that plasma.
The marines conferred with one another. I heard snippets of their conversation: “TOO FUCKING FAR…OUT OF RANGE…THOSE FUCKING FUCKS…CANT GET THE FUCKING ANGRINATOR IN HERE…WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LISTENING TO, ASSHOLE??!!!” The last comment was directed at me. “Sorry.”
“DAMN RIGHT, YOU ARE!!!” Just then the Marine with the power wrench stood at the redoubt’s edge and yelled, “FUCKING PANSIES!!! STOP SHOOTING!!! HONORLESS WIMPS!!!” He threw the piece of helmet he had freed from the wrench’s jaw. There was still something in that helmet…
Incredibly, the fire stopped. Even the Marines were surprised.
“Worshipers of the corpse-emperor! Surrender and welcome the embrace of Chaos!!!” The voice was silky smooth and deep, yet deadly. Like broken glass in ice cream.
All of the marines began screaming insults in return. They were imaginative and dealt mainly with detailed instructions on how the Enemy could fornicate with a Catachan devil. This then progressed into fornication with plasma engines, then fornication with various edged weapons, and then fornication with their mothers and other ancestors. It was getting… repetitive.
I figured I should do something. I approached the Angry Marine with the wrench. He paused in his insults and took notice of my presence. “Let me try”, I said.
“YOU UP FOR THIS, FUCKFACE?!” He bellowed. I did not get the impression that he was purposely hostile toward me; this seemed to be his usual means of address. “Yessir!” I replied.
“HAVE AT IT!!!” Grinning, he gestured rudely toward the Enemy ranks and stepped aside.
Incredibly, the Angry Marines stopped shouting. They were still seething, the air between them charged with heated rage, but they did not utter a word. All eyes were on me.
“This is Corporal Josephus Corrick, 40th Imperial Guard Infantry, Mechanized, acting commander of Echo Company. You are surrounded. Surrender, and we will show you the Emperor’s mercy.”
“No. You are surrounded. You surrender and we wont wear your skin on our armor.” Came the reply.
The Angry Marines groaned. I remained unperturbed. “Look, no more blood need…”
“BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!!!” Came the response. Angry Marines were shaking their heads and becoming impatient. I was feeling a bit irritated.
“This is foolishness! You have no chance! This redoubt is the last point of resistance…”
“FFFUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!” The Enemy blew me a raspberry. The Angry Marines were laughing now. At me.
I felt my face flush “Surrender now and we promise you…”
“Worshiper of the corpse-emperor! We will wash you away from this planet in an unending tide of blood! Join us and you will know true glory in serving chaos!!!”
I froze in place. The world suddenly became very quiet and time froze. It was just me with my thoughts. After watching half of my company torn to shreds by the Enemy, they were asking me to join them? The screams of my brothers in arms, still fresh in my mind, came to the fore of my mind. Suddenly, something changed, igniting a deep rage within my self that surprised me. But I embraced it. The rage and anger gave me a strength I did not know I had. My voice boomed over the battlefield as if I were using a vox.
“Join …you. Join…you. JOIN YOU???!!! Why in the FUCK WOULD I JOIN THE LOSING SIDE???!!! You traitor assholes turned your back on your legion, your species, YOUR EMPEROR to do what??? TO BE ON THE LOSING SIDE??!!! You are on… what? The 11th, no, 12th , no, 13th Black Crusade? That’s an uninterrupted twelve time LOSING STREAK!!! You would think that you fucks could get it right one time in TEN THOUSAND YEARS!!!
The Angry Marines fell silent and looked upon me, with respect. I was encouraged.
“Power of Chaos? The only power I see is THE POWER TO FAIL!!! CHAOS MAKES YOU STUPID!!! FUCK AN A! WHO THE FUCK JOINS UP WITH A TRACK RECORD LIKE THAT???”
I was rolling now. The anger burned within me like a plasma drive at full power.
“‘RUINOUS POWERS’??? THE ONLY RUIN I SEE IS YOU SHITTING YOUR PANTS!!! DUMBFUCKS!!! WHO IS THE ONE COWERING IN THE BOTTOM OF A FUCKING HOLE, BITCH???!!!”
The Angry Marines broke out into a hearty applause. There was no response from the Enemy. Just an embarrassed silence. They started shooting again, but it was just filler.
The Angry Marines were still clapping. I moved back from the rampart and the anger still burned within me. “Join them… chaos must make you stupid… fucking fucktards…”
The Angry Marine with the power wrench approached me. He removed his helmet and spoke, “HEY ASSHOLE! THINK YOU CAN FIGURE OUT WHICH END OF THIS TO USE???” He handed me his power wrench. It was beautiful. A meter long of polished adamantium, perfectly balanced and the head still dripping with the blood of the Enemy.
“FUCK YA!” I bellowed back.
“RIGHT!!! HERE IS THE PLAN, I THROW YOU INTO THE ENEMY AND YOU KILL THEM. THINK YOU CAN REMEMBER THAT??!!!”
I did not even get to respond before he picked me up and threw me boldly over the rampart directly at the Enemy position. Thank the Emperor, the Enemy was just as surprised as I was, and didn’t shoot me out of the sky. I landed a half a meter short of the twin linked plasma gun the Enemy had placed in the redoubt. Without thinking, I hit the mount with the power wrench as hard as I could. Then I felt the shock up my arms and nearly dropped it. Two things then occurred to me: 1) that I should turn it on, and, 2) I was going to die. Lucky (or not so lucky as I found out later) for me, the gun-operator assumed the wrench was on and dived away from the emplacement. I lit up the power wrench, let out a warcry, and triumphantly hit the gun. There was a bright flash of light and that was all I remember.
I woke up later. Much later. I was in a hospital ward surrounded by arcane instruments of unknown purpose. The Angry Marine was there; the one that gave me his power wrench. He saw I was awake.
“WHAT KIND OF STUPID FUCKER USES A POWER WRENCH ON A PLASMA EMPLACEMENT???!!!”
He shook his head with incredulity.
“FUCKING CHAOS PUSSIES RUNNING AROUND, ON FIRE, SCREAMING, AND YOU SLEEPING THROUGH THE WHOLE THING!!!” He laughed. It was an angry laugh.
“YOU OWE ME A NEW WRENCH, FUCKTARD. JUST SO I CAN KEEP MY EYE ON YOU, THIS APOTHECARY IS GOING TO RAM SOME GENESEED THROUGH YOUR FUCKING SKULL.”
There was a hint of a smile in his eye as he walked out of the room.
“WELCOME TO THE ANGRY MARINES… ASSHOLE.”
Just spent the last 4 hours playing “Don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story” , it was really great!
Reminded me of Katawa-Shujo