The Troopers

Only War – RPG/TRPG Session

Run by Will

Imperial Guards;

Baine Bravith – Jason (jymmijamz)

Jools (NPC) – Chris (alcoholandaphorisms)

Hans ‘Loki’ Lokisson – Me

Odetta – Tanja

(Write-up by Chris)

Official site

EPISODE FOURTEEN

Baine, victorious in battle, and backed by the chain of command, stands in the midst of his once attackers, his muscles flexing and an abhuman grin on his face.  The drill sergeant who ordered him attacked as a “training exercise”  is gone and soon Baine finds himself alone in the army camp, hours before the break of the big push.

With a muscle rippling shrug he makes his way through the miles of tents and churned mud to try and find a medic to treat the burns that have been inflicted by his team mates over the past few days. There is an acrid smoke in the air, and around him are the signs of the total war that has been progressing. Even the newly arrived Albion Scouts are dragging their wounded to be treated, and patching up gaping holes in their polished painted battle tanks.

Following the stream of the wounded it does not take long for Baine to reach the medical tent, bleeding, moaning bodies pressed in tight as a few harried medical staff try to attend to the worst injured.  At the back the higher ranked officers are having some of the few available augmented limbs attached to replace those lost, for most the promise of a hacksaw and a cauterised stump is all that is available. As the wounded mass whimper for relief, for mother, or for the emperors mercy Baine stands in front of the nearest orderly, blocking his path.

Looking up at the giant abhuman the orderly stammers “w..what do you want here?

“Been burned. Need something for it”

The orderly points to the back of the room “The sister should be able to help you.”

Looking over Baine spies a male Echlisiarchy nurse, tapping a large bulky tech pad as he treats a wounded man.

Baine looks back to the orderly “Doesn’t look like sister. Looks like brother”

“Do you want to be healed or not? We don’t have time to mess about there are much worse injured around!”

Baine grumbles as he shuffles over to where the medic is working away, not even looking up the medic points to a tiny chair nearby “Wait there. I’ll call a servitor. I don’t have time to deal with this myself”

Pressing his bulk best he can onto the small, now ominously creaking chair, Baine waits until a medical servitor rolls up, the dead flesh over steel somehow more alive than many being treated here. Lights flicker from the servitors eye, then a hissing of static filled binary from behind its grill, seemingly addressed as Baine.

Confused, Baine just stares at the servitor as it repeats several times, then moves it’s bionic

arms under Baine’s armpits, trying to lift him from the chair. Baine doesn’t let it move him. Nurse asked him to sit here, so he will. After several more attempts, with increasing force each time, the servitor speaks aloud, this time in stern high gothic from the sound of it.

Baine looks around for the echlisiarchy nurse, finding no one free to aid him “I don’t understand.” He  says “Speak proper gothic”

The optic of the Servitor’s eye narrows and widens, flashing red. A needle slips under the Ogryn’s thick skin, then the servitor wheels away, returning moments later with a foul smelling viscous solution that it presses into Baine’s hands.

“What this?” Baine asks “I supposed to drink it? Wear it?” In response the servitor presses a parchment inscribed with low gothic into Baine’s hands. Looking at it Baine sees that the liquid should be rubbed against the burns directly. Stripping from his armour in front of the crowd, Baine immediately daubs himself with the healing slime.

Elsewhere, outside the quartermaster’s tent Loki notices that there is a distinct lack of people queuing this time, most being on the war front or injured.  Inside sits a fat balding man and the two men eye each other up and down

“Hey, I’m looking to resupply ammo and grenades” Loki says” While you’re at it I could do with a sniper class weapon if you have one”

“Standard load outs not an issue” The Quartermaster says “The rifle? You on special assignment or something, you got the papers for it?”

“I didn’t get anything I can show you” Loki replies “It’s not stuff I should be mentioning”

“Right, right” comes the disbelieving answer “Name and rank then”

“Hans Lokison, Private, Hadeon 13”

“Hadeon..are you just back from the scouting expedition? Huh, I’ll see what I can do then”

As the quartermaster heads off Loki leans nonchalantly against the counter. After a few moments several faces peer out from the armoury, looking Loki up and down before vanishing back again. Moments later the quartermaster arrives with a long las rifle,to which Loki gives a pleased thumbs up. The transaction done the QM turns to the next person in the queue “Right, what you want timewaster?”

A while later, smelling of foul goo, Baine arrives at the selfsame tent and greets the QM with a grin “I need some ammo for ma ripper gun?”

“Yeah, no prob…By ‘eck man you smell a bit. Is that an Ogryn thing?” The QM looks Baine up and down “By the look of it you need a uniform as well”

Baine nods, and pulls back the scraps of uniform he has to reveal his burns “Smell for burn”

“By ‘eck those orks are nasty out there….Anything else you’re looking for?”

“You got nice toys? Make big bangs?”

“What like a grenade launcher? Maybe, but I’ll need details, they don’t give this out to just any tom dick or harry. Name and Rank please soldier”

“Private Baine Bravith”

“I see, well I’m afraid we don’t have an launchers. You have gas masks right? I could give you some hallucinogen grenades. Chuck these at the smaller ones and they go doolally  Larger ones it don’t treat too good either.”

The only response is Baine holding out his giant hands, cupped together, with an eager look on his face.

Hours later Jools and Stoo return from their attempt to find women of negotiable affection, that particular mission having been a particular success. With that dead done they start towards the tanks of the Albion Scouts, looking to connect up with command for their next mission.

The giant hellhound tanks are lined up, massive flamers on their front. Jools notes that these must be from a different STC to most he has encountered, the backs are open top, leaving the crew exposed but with a better view of the battlefield. Walking up to a random one of the hundreds being prepared Jools throws a salute to the muscled woman working on the vehicle.

“Jools of the Hadeon 13 reporting for duty, First in. First blood”

“First in first blood eh?”

“Aye, was on the scouting mission earlier, a hundred plus xeno kills”

the woman rolls her eyes causing Jools to add “Seriously sir, there was some strange monolith involved but its all true”

“What is this to do with me?”

“Been assigned to you lot to help with the next mission. Looking for who’s in charge”

“Commander’s tank is the one over there.”

Looking over Jools sees the lead tank, painted brightly in the Albion Scouts command colours.

“You are kidding me. Why do we paint the command tank so bright? One day some ork will put two and two together and concentrate fire on the fucker”

“They always shoot at it”

“Then why the hell do we do it?”

“I don’t know” the woman shrugs “Ask an adeptus mechanicus priest”

“Hell no” Jools replies “I like not being castrated. Well I’ll go speak to the commander then, thanks. Anyway, don’t get killed out there”

“You either”

 

“Heh” Jools laughs “Must be love” turning around Jools finds Baine looming behind him, Loki skulking in the shadows some distance behind

“Well lad” Jools says to Baine “Thanks for being my wingman but I already got my end away”

“That was fast” Baine says with a cruel smile.

“We are in a hot zone lad, no time to mess about”

As they walk over to to contact the commander, Baine turns with a final leer at the woman working on the tank

“Stop leering at the good honest human” Jools says “That’s a good honest humans job”

Pushing through the crowd they soon end up breaking through into the clearing before the Commanders tank. Within moments a disco of dancing laser laser sights are on them, training up to rock steadiness on their skulls.

“Good reactions lads “Jools says to the wall of las carbines raised at them “Don’t worry. Albion 13, we’ve been assigned to you lot . Either we’ve really impressed or really annoyed someone high up. Same thing really”

The lead guard looks him up and down then says “Aww shit”

“Why does everyone say that when they hear we’ve been assigned?”

“Well” the lead guard has the good decency to look uncomfortable “You’re, well, you’re cannon fodder aren’t you? Listen, does that cap know you are assigned to us?”

“I bloody hope so” Jools answers.

A runner is sent off to try and establish the orders, and the Hadeon Squad mills around making the place look untidy while they wait.  Finally the runner comes back “Your orders  have been confirmed, the captain wasn’t expecting you to arrive so fast”

“Well you know us cannon fodder” Jools says with a sarcastic grin “Always in a rush to charge at whatever can kill us”

The guard shakes his head, less than amused, and points to the great jacket and peaked cap figure in the distance, immediately recognisable as a commissar. “Well, if you’re that enthusiastic you can always charge at him”

“Are you kidding lad?” Jools answers “You don’t kill a commissar” his voice drops to muttering as he continues “Not where anyone can see you anyway”

The guard blinks, shocked “Listen, move on, just move on”

“What lad, I was just giving advice”

“Get moving. Now!” the guard raises his las carbine again.

“Ok, ok lad” Jools wander away, back to where Loki is watching “Seriously, it’s like they’ve never had to shiv one of their commissars before” he mutters to Loki who just watches silently.

Together they walk through the ranks of the dull brown tanks, communication equipment sticking out of the top, until they come to the Commander.
Saluting Jools greats him “Sir. Hadeon 13 reporting for duty sir. I know we are early but we are enthusiastic to kill xeno sir”

The Commander looks nonplussed “Well, you turned up. That is the first test passed at least”

“Do many people fail that test sir?”

“You would be surprised”

Jools looks around the numerous battle damaged tanks and replies  “Actually I wouldn’t. Actually maybe I would, you got a good commissar of commissariness back there”

The commander frowns “This is not a place for levity soldier”

“Sir honest compliment sir. Your guard seemed very impressed with the commissar sir”

The Commander looks less than convinced as he answers “Very well, we will be leaving in one hour fifteen. Be ready then”

“Sir. A question sir. The tanks are equipped with anti personnel flame weapons, and we have las rifles that can handle infantry but not much more. Without any anti materia weapons how are we intended to remove the xeno construct?”

The commander nods “We are to establish a breech head until we can get heavy artillery in range”

“Understood sir” Jools salutes one last time then heads back to the others “Right lads, plan is basically we are on the hellhounds making up shit as we go along until they get trashed and we then do whatever the hell it takes to get out alive. Tacticus Imperialis 341” The time passes slowly with the squad cleaning and checking weapons and equipment until finally a peal of klaxons sounds the loosing of the hellhounds of war.

Within moments the squad have their packs on their backs, and their weapons in their hands running through the mud towards the command tank, moving past the numerous other squads doing similar tasks like gears in a finely honed machine. The hellhounds are moving into position, setting up the battle lines, at the front the commander waves them forwards “Climb aboard men”

“Understood sir” Jools says, leaping up and grabbing the bar at the side of the hatch to help him in “Sir, you may wish to shout at the Ogryn a bit until he gets on otherwise he has a habit of staring around and holding up the entire mission like an idiot sir”

The commander turns to an underling by his side, who has odd Albion Scout rank markings on his fine cut uniform, and mutters something unheard.  The unknown ranked man salutes and walks up to inches away from the Ogryns ear hole. What follows is a screaming in high gothic like none have ever heard. Moments later a second officer turns up by the Ogryn’s other side, screaming his face red. The words are not understood, but the intent is “Get in the tank now soldier”

Head hanging and begrudgingly Baine shambles into the hellhound, settling in just behind the giant flamer at the front. Impressed Jools looks out of the vehicle at the officer “Nice. I haven’t seen screaming like that since basic training…sir”

The officer looks at him, standing in what is recognisably the stance of a Sargent before a private and says “Thanks”, somehow managing to make the one word sound worse than the vilest insult.  Finally, Loki steps up onto the rear of the hellhound after all others have boarded.

With everyone one board the tank regiment sets of in an arrow formation, the command tank just back from the vehicles on point. The rumbling of the vehicles cause painful shaking and stomach unsettling vibration as they approach the green mass ahead of them. Somehow despite all this Jools has nodded off on the approach, his head settled against the rest by his side, drool dripping from his chin.  Orders are shouted to and fro between the tanks, bursts of flame to the air indicating positioning where needed.  Soon the looming head of the xeno built monstrosity is visible ahead of them, the top of the machine reaching high into the clouds. A half way point between blasphemous idol that mocks the god emperor and  heretical machinery that defies the omnisiah. Batteries of armament cover every inch of its surface, even the giant cannon that makes up one of its arms has chained smaller weapons crudely affixed to it.

The commander looks back at the squad “Right. Ready to see some action men?”

In response Baine nods enthusiastically, stroking his ripper gun.  Loki just stays quiet at the back until the commander looks to the sleeping Jools, then back to Loki “Private Lokison, could you do something about that? Loki kicks out, dragging Jools legs from the ground, causing him to unbalance, grabbing out for the wall before he falls to the ground.

“Sorry about that sir” Jools says, shaking himself awake “Saving energy for hating the xenos sir”

.

The commander takes out a pair of curved glass ended scanning equipment requisitioned from the the admech priests techtombs and places it to his eyes. Moments later his face falls ever so slightly and he bends to shout something unheard over the engine noise to the tanks driver. Moments later dust erupts into the air in the distance, concealing the horizon from view. The loudest thud they have ever heard that was not caused by an explosive shell fills the air, pushing against them all like a physical force, the hellhounds wavering from side to side until their drivers restore control. Looking out over the vibrating hull sides, they see, the ork horde charging towards them, the air filled with bellowed roars of joy joining into a single united “WAAAUGHH”

The air fills with orders from the vehicles loud hailers, calling back any vehicle that had detached to try and engaged the isolated scraps of resistance before. Thousands of xenos face them now, and no deviation from official Imperial tactics can be permitted

Attempting to brace against the bucking tank Jools takes pot shots out into the mass off greenskins.  It doesn’t take long for the return fire to start, waves of slugs of all shapes and sizes rattling off the armour of the hellhounds. Even with their armour the front tanks that take the brunt of the assault soon start finding their thick metal plates puckering inwards and breeching under the weight of fire. Then the hellhounds are in the thick of the hoard, their inferno weapons in range, and massed waves of fire roll out, what doesn’t burn crunches underneath the vehicles tracks as they push relentlessly on. The squads of the vehicles picking off the few survivors.

Looking up through the impromptu bonfires Jools spies a small group of large greenskin holding their ground, setting up something in the distance. Crying to the others he realises they are setting up heavy anti tank weaponry. The shaking of the tank means his fire at the squad gets but a glancing blow, but he calls for aid from the rest of the squad in taking down the threat.

Baine ignores the plea, happily letting loose his ripper gun into the massed greenskin directly beside the tank, mowing them down with ease. Loki keeps low, his flamer in hand ready for if any xeno get close enough.  Moments later the hellhound slides to the right, a close explosion taking out the track of the lead hellhound causing the other tanks to have to swerve to avoid it. The squad watches the xenos anti tank squad, as they load another rocket to fire, as the cloud of smoke plumes out from the launcher the tank throws itself to the right again, the rocket passing by harmlessly to explode in the far distance.

The breech in the tank formation caused by the loss of the lead tank means they are far from safe. Taking advantage of the gap in the flame the greenskin are piling into the breech. The tank commanders voice can soon by heart bellowing out over the loudspeaker, trying to reform the tanks formation to stem the flow of the xeno brutes that are scrabbling up onto the rapidly moving vehicles.  With a horrid crunch a forming up hellhound scrapes across the side  of its stilled colleague, the force of the impact spinning it round, still spilling fire into the air.  Lit by the light of burning promethium Baine stands high on the side of the tank, pouring fire down on the orks that got through the breech, tearing them from the tank as they try to climb on, but still the xeno come in seemingly endless mass.

Controlling his breathing Jools let loose a three round burst into the far distance, catching one of the heavy weapon xenos across the skull. Like a felled tree the beast drops to the ground,and does not move again. One down, three to go. His satisfaction is cut short as another two thuds sound in the distance, even through the dust clouds something can be seen starting to stir. There isn’t much time to dwell on this as even before the reverberations have stilled the orks are upon them again, swarming over the tank. Loki’s flamer waves fire across the tanks side, backed by Baines’ ripper. Burning and screaming bodies fall from the hull, to be caught up and chewed beneath the treads.

An explosion high above reminds them that the heavy weapons are not done with them yet, shrapnel falling from above like rain. Cursing Jools returns fire to little effect, Loki and Baine working to keep the orks from climbing onto the hull. The weight of firepower is enough to break the xeno’s charge and leave them falling back into the hellhounds flames.

“Lads I need some backup with the heavy weapon team or they are going to make mincemeat of us” Jools says before snapping off another shot, raking one of missile loaders arms, causing the shell it was holding to tumble harmlessly to the ground “That’ll do”

Loki nods and sights a perfect aimed shot between the other loaders eye, the las round impacts perfectly. The ork just looks back, seemingly unharmed despite the fizzling patch between its eyes. Slamming the shell into the missile launcher it points back towards the tank crew that just assaulted it. Moments later Baine’s ripper gun catches it ripping it in two.

A burst of smoke. The hellhound tracks leaving the ground. A deafening roar then just ringing echoes in their ears.  The launcher has fired. Swinging with but a single track on the ground, the Hellhound bucks, promethium tanks cracking and the Commander tossed loose into the greenskin horde, disappearing moments later. Promethium gushes everywhere from ruptured tanks, the Hellhound crashing back down to two tracks, spinning around before finally the driver manages to wrench it back to its course. The tank is intact, just, but its inferno cannon is doing nothing now.

Braced for the nigh inevitable boarding attempt now their main weapon is down, the squad is instead confronted by the sight of the Hellhound formation in tatters, and the dust cloud whipping up stronger and stronger. The booming ahead continues to rise, a gigantic Goliath idol approaching closer and closer.

Almost in sheer defiance Loki snaps off a final las shot into the xeno crowd, and they stand ready for the fight, to give their lives for the emperor.

Then they are joined, from the spilled promethium, smoke and wreckage shapes rise in flame. One, then another, then another, all around the battlefield.

The imperial saints have returned to the war

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