“Man this sucks, why are we stuck sitting here while those aliens get all the fun?” One of
the privates asked shifting his rifle around on his back.
“You think that is a bad thing private?” The
sergeant shot back. “No, let the Tau do what they please, we are just here to back them up.”
they are so good why do they need us then?” Another of the privates asked his tone more curious than contemptuous.
Tau do not have the numbers to maintain these extended lines.” The sergeant said very slowly, exaggerating every word
as though he were speaking to children. “We dig in with heavy weapons and shoot anything that comes at us so our allies
do not get hung out to dry.”
The privates milled about behind the barricades waiting through the dull hours of
the day. Everyone was getting tired of the endless waiting. Tau transports and gunships had coming and going every few minutes
for the last few weeks while the Gue’vesa and Kroot auxilaries sat around shoveling dirt onto barricades and digging
trenches. Nothing had happened and though the black columns of smoke indicating warfare could be seen miles off in the main
city out near the new outpost there was not a crater to be seen. Sergeant Torias liked it that way. If the Tau were content
to leave him where he was then that was fine with him. If he had still been a servant of the Imperium he had no doubt he would
be pushing his way into a meat grinder with an angry Commisar at his back at that moment. Given that alternative he was not
displeased to be eating solid meals and have a warm, dry bed.
He was still deep in thought when the tone of the platoon
shifted to worry and fear. “Corporal Gavin has not reported in,” the radio trooper nearby said staring at Torias.
There was a slight pause as the sergeant mulled the information over. “PREPARE FOR INCO…” he was
cut off by the roar of bolters and the sizzling zing of lasgun fire. Bodies exploded all around as a full company of space
marines and several detachments of Imperial Guard stormed across the field towards them. “OPEN FIRE!”
were doomed there was nothing they could do against such odds. Men were falling everywhere his platoon had already been halved.
With a roar of rage he swung a lascannon around and opened fire. His shot was true, slicing into the armor of a Rhino transport
blasting it into scrap. The bodies of a handful of marines and guard lay around the new wreckage. Satisfied he swiveled the
weapon around and took aim at a new target. He could not win, but he was going to bring some of them with him.
weapons fire exploded forth from the trenches. Even at a fraction of their full strength the Gue’vesa were remaining
disciplined. Slowly the raging assault began to slow, but too late. They would not be stopped before reaching the trenches;
as soon as those seven foot behemoths reached their lines the former guardsmen were doomed. Their old comrades would like
nothing better than to gut the horrible “traitors” for their actions. Thirty feet, twenty feet, ten feet, Torias
closed his eyes as the enemy closed in the last few feet. The roaring of weapons fire and the screams of men faded as his
memories flashed before his eyes. He waited, and waited, and waited. He was still alive. Surprised he patted himself down,
he had sustained several minor injuries without notice but on the whole he was intact. He glanced around the lines. Bodies
lay three deep along the trench and barricades but among them were the corpses of many Space Marine and guardsmen bearing
the Imperial eagle. A Tau Firewarrior walked up to him, the blank faceless helmet cocked slightly sideways. Torias smilled
and gave a salute. The Firewarrior nodded and moved off down the line checking for survivors.
Devilfish APCs were heading
across the field at a steady pace, driving the retreating Imperials before them. Burst cannons swiveled back and forth cutting
down guardsmen by the dozens and the occasional marine.
“Hey sarg, you made it,” a voice from nearby said,
turning Torias saw one of the privates who had been complaining earlier.
“Happy now?” He asked.