SD Theta-49

Shadow Force embarked on the Thunderhawk Swift Retribution for the 30 minute flight to the drop zone. The drop zone was 10 klicks from area of operation which will be traveled by foot to ensure the element of surprise. Since there were no last minute changes to the mission, the flight down was jovial, it was good to be back in the saddle again – days on the ship could be so boring. The units were talking smack as they usually do to cut what little tension there was. They agreed to a small side bet on who could kill the most enemy units once contact began. The winner would be crowned “the Reapers” until the next mission; in case units had the same number of kills, the unit that had the most close quarter kills would be deemed the winner.

The Shadow Force disembarked with practiced precision, despite that forces have only been assembled into a fighting force for a relatively short time. Umbra Redemptio was formed right after the decision was made to send a Raven Guard contingent it investigate the Nephilim Sector and the rumored Pariah Nexus. It was decided that the bulk of forces would be drawn from the 10th Company Vanguard and supporting forces from the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 1st.

Squad Rushal (Eliminators) set up at the ramp to cover the disembarkation. Squad Sorlynus (Veteran Intercessors) and Squad Tev (Intercessors) were the first on the ground setting up a perimeter, followed immediately by Squad Ort (Eradicators). Lieutenant Torovac strode down the ramp with Squad Rushal trailing while they scanned the treeline with their powerful scopes.

With Squad Rushal on point, they set out for the 10 klick trip to the are of operation. All communication from here on out would be done using Corspake, a series of hand gestures. Every battle-brother learned this before under going their first Rite of Shadow.

The trip was uneventful.

Arriving on station, Lieutenant Torovac sent Sqad Rushal to the hold the right flank, they set up in on the objective in a large pallet of cargo boxes. They were supported by Squad Tev. Squad Sorlynus hunkered down in the center of the zone while the Lieutenant took Squad Ort to set up an Master Ambush on the left flank. Once in position it didn’t take long for a detachment of Death Guard to enter the AO. They were split up with a small unit of Plague Marines on each flank, with a blob of Pox Walkers supported by a Plague Surgeon anchoring the middle. On their left flank, with a unit of marines with Blight Launchers was their warlord, a giant Lord of Contagion.

Using Corspoke, Torovac ordered Squad Solynus to infiltrate farther up the center of the battlefield, using the cover of supplies and haulers. Waiting for the signal to spring the trap, they took the first objective. Once they were in position, Torovac ordered Ort’s Eradicators to take out the right flank; leaping out from where they lay in wait behind the front end of a large supply hauler, they fired a full salvo from their Melta Rifles into the unsuspecting Plague Marines. The majority of them evaporated in a cloud of super heated plasma, leaving two very scorched Plague Marines with Plague Spewers. Ort thought to himself that Plague Maines are strangely easier on to look at, almost attractive when they are melting, has something to do with how the different color flames wind together.

Simultaneously, Squad Solynus stepped out behind the supply hauler, grabbing the center objective and opened up with their bolt rifles into the Pox Walkers. Shells ripped through them, but the cursed Nurgle bodies just closed right back up, there is a reason that it is said that they are disgustingly resilient! On the right flank Squad Rushal attempted to take out the Plague Surgeon to now avail, to much supply vehicles obstructing the line of sight. Supporting fire from Squad Tev only manged to keep the Plague Marines facing them from effectively returning fire, while the Lord of Contagion ducked behind a large holding tank.

The trap being sprung!!

It didn’t take the Heretics long to react, the remaining two Plague Spewing marines charged forward loosing their veil weapons into Squad Ort resulting in but one flesh wound. The Plague Marines charged into the squad with tremendous force, but Ort’s battle-brothers received the charge, giving just enough to envelope the Heretics, dampening the power of the impact. The battle-brothers escaped the furry of the Nurgle minion’s attacks with but another wound; the Mark X Gravis armor saving a battle-brother’s life. The Heretics were not so lucky, one was destroyed in the counter attack leaving one surrounded Plague Marine – who showed no sign of fleeing. He roared in defiance. As if Squad Ort was of a single mind, they let their Melta rifles swing free on their slings, pulled their bolt pistols, and granted the Emperor’s Peace to what was millennia ago one of the Emperor’s children.

Meanwhile, in the center of the battlefield Squad Sorlynus squared off against a nearly full strength squad of Pox Walkers. The thrice damned things would not die to bolter rounds, so Sorlynus’ men prepared to do it the old fashion way – tear them limb from limb. That’s when a salvo of Blight Launcher rounds hit them knocking one battle-brother to the ground and out of the fight. With the squads attention on the Pox Walkers, with the howl of Chaos itself, the Plague Marines charge full force into the Veteran Intercessors. The attack was as ferocious as their brothers’ attack was weak on the left flank. The attack took another battle-brother out of the fight. With things looking a touch on the dire side, Sorlynus stepped up and lent his aid to his battle-brothers. His men managed to take out one of the accursed marines, leaving 4 of them to 3. Sorlynus went to even the odds, lifting his Thunder Hammer in a mighty swing.

At that moment, Amrike pondered why 10th Company’s Master of Recruits, Shadow Captain Korvydae, chose a Thunder Hammer for his preferred weapon when 10th Company what were all Battle Brothers started as Scouts to learn the basics of stealth. But that was a question for another time.

The hammer swung in a high arc, connecting with the head of the enemy marine, obliterating it with a loud crack of energy. He connected twice 3 more times dealing death with each blow. Maybe that is why Shadow Captain Korvadae chose the hammer! The deadly power and loud thunder of the Emperor’s Judgement with every blow was enough to suck the fight from your enemy – even a heretical Plague Marine. Fearing Solynus more that Papa Nurgle himself the Plague Marine broke and ran. No time to check on the fallen brothers, they had to fend off the Pox Walker’s ineffective attacks.

At that point Sgt Tev led his squad in to support Solynus and his men. Seeing that not only had the Pox Walkers pushed Solynus’ squad off the objective they were threatening to envelop them. Worse, a vile Plague Surgeon was moving into position behind the Pox Walkers. With noise discipline no longer required, Tev voxed Solynus the tactical situation.

“Brother Solynus, work your way to your left! We will fill the gap support you on the right!” Tev shouted into the vox.

“Roger that!”

But the Pox Walkers did their job, Squad Solynus was bogged down and unable to slide left, even though they cut down 3 of them. The Plague Surgeon charged into the fray before Tev could cut him off.

The Plague Surgeon took out one more of Solynus’ men before Tev Crashed into him. The impact of the charge allowed Solynus and his remaining battle-brother, Corax, to break contact, slide left around a stack of crates. Meanwhile, Tev’s unit grievously injured the Surgeon, but not before losing two of his men. They fell back, but the Surgeon had tasted their blood and was not having any of the plan; he charged Tev again. Again Tev did damage, but at a heavy cost. Now he was the only one standing, but the Surgeon was on its last legs. Wobbly, but screaming for the his enemy to join battle. Tev held the Surgeons attention, not realizing that it had single-mindedly charged into Ort’s range. As it melted in the super heated plasma it realized its mistake.

Meanwhile, Solynus and Corax were finishing off the remaining Pox Walkers. The Lord of Contagion, being pinned down by Rushal’s sniper fire decided to leave the field seeing that his entire patrol lay dead or dying on the field.

Lieutenant Torovac was happy with his patrol’s performance; especially his own. There were only 7 casualties, all would recover. The entire patrol was embarked on the Swift Retribution, the casualties were being looked after by the apothecaries, only then did the Lieutenant breathe a sigh of relief. As the door closed and the engines powered up the mood began to lighten. Solynus and Tev were checking on their battle-brothers, Tev both proud and concerned about the mission. His men performed like clockwork, but paid a heavy price. Thank the Emperor they would recover and be combat effective in short order. Solynus was joking with his casualties, ribbing them for being taken out, but only because they were not injured badly and would be ready for the Emperor’s call when needed.

“Thank you brother, that was very timely support out there today.” said Solynus on their way back to the troop transfer station.

“It would have been better to get there a few seconds earlier. If that Lord of Contagion would have just stayed behind that storage tanks.” said Tev.

“Such is the Emperor’s will. At least the brothers will be fine in a few days. That was a great job of luring that Plague Surgeon in to Ort’s firing lane. I only wish that we had finished off those thrice cursed Pox Walkers in time to see him melt in the wrath of the Emperor!”

“It was strangely satisfying, especially now, knowing that there were no permanent injuries.”

As the two sergeants entered the transfer station, Sgt Ort and Corax where having a friendly argument on whose squad won the bet. Ort was arguing that killing the Plague Surgeon was worth 2 kills. When he saw Tev and Solynus enter the station, he looked up questioningly. Nods from his brother sergeants let him know that all were going to be fine.

“Sarge, you know that hand to hand kills trump all kills. Because that is how real men kill the enemy.” Corax laughed.

“Seriously, they were Pox Walkers – they are like cockroaches that won’t die!” exclaimed Ort with feigned incredulity.

Joining in, Solynus laughs, “Stow it Ort, you know the rules of the game!”

“The Reapers! I like that. Maybe next time you can take the title.”

As the Lieutenant walked on station everyone settled down. He stopped in the center of the deck and turned to face them.

“Nice job brothers.” He said, there was pride in those words. With that, he turned and walked back to the make-shift sick bay to check on the injured.