Chapter 2 - Aftermath
Commissar Dravel watched the burial trench being filled by the remaining defenders, and saw the ramins of his predesessor, commissar Volt, being buried. These men needed a proper burial, there remains to be consecrated by the armies chaplains, but there was not the time nor the men available to complete such a task, and he had more pressing matters in hand. Not only were the Orks hitting them hard, and with no visible course of action, but he had just been informed of some guests that were joining there little battle.
A faint noise in the distance, gradually building to a loud whine, announced the arrival of the Thunderhawk. Dravel tried to compose himself as best he could, for he knew what was inside that ship: Space Marines; Adeptus Astartes; Blood Angels. The most feared of all Space Marine factions, not only for there incredible tactics and fearsome exterior, but once their fabled 'blood lust' had come upon them, they went berserk, and have even been known to throw away there guns, taking on their foes with chainswords and even their own gauntleted fists. In many ways they fought like the Orks, though Dravel knew that it would take someone either very brave or very foolish to say that to their faces. As the Thunderhawk landed, the ramp was lowered, and the first marines poured down it, fanning out to secure the immediate perimeter. Dravel had seen Space Marines many times, and had even fought against the dreaded Thousand Sons traitor Marines, but every time he saw their mighty forms, a cold shiver ran down his spine, and why shouldn't it? They were a good head taller than he was, with huge muscular bodies, and were capable of even Dravel knew better than to challenge the words of one such person.
Dravel took his peaked cap from under his arm, and placed it squarely on his head, before striding over to the ship. Captain Darius emerged at the top of the ramp, and gave Dravel a warriors salute -slamming one hand across his chest- and Dravel did the same, rather too powerful than needed, partly due to his nervousness, and partly because of the robotic arm he had to have fitted, after his original was left at the battle of Grim Rock, compliments of a necron destroyer. The captain walked down the ramp, and came over to the commissar. Every step the captain took made him grow in Dravel's vision, untill he almost looked too big to be allowed. Darius slapped the commissar on the back, nearly knocking him to the floor,
"shall we discuss this small Ork matter then, Dravel?"
boomed the captain, his voice used to command being obeyed without question. The commissar flinched at having his name spoken so openly, and thought of commanding the captain to apologise, untill he remembered who he was addressing. Instead he smiled and gestured to his tent.
As the Thunderhawk dropped from the flight bay of 'The Pride of Mephos' captain Darius opened the sealed envelope which was given to him by his commander. It said that a Hiveworld had been overtaken with Orks, and one particular place -Hive 52- was under almost constant attack. Apparently it was his squads job to assist in driving the greenskins back, away from the Hive, into open ground, where they can be obliterated by The Pride of Mephos's powerful energy batteries. As they descended into the atmosphere, he caught a glimps of the battle scarred lands below. It looked so desolate, like the planet had been virus bombed. How can anyone live out here, he thought. As soon as the words had entered his brain, he saw the Hive city, or rather, the 200ft high plascrete walls surrounding it. From the information implanted in his brain by the tutelary engines, he knew those walls could take one hell of a pummelling, and before they even took a scratch, the enemy would have to get through the energy barrier covering the Hive like an umbrella. He shook the thoughts out of his head, and just caught the end of a dirty joke one of his battle brethren were telling.
'.....and the girl turns to the man and says: thatís not my belly button either!'
All of the brothers guffawed. Let them joke, Darius thought, they'll soon become serious when there is promises of fighting. As if reading his thoughts, Chaplain Azriel turned to him and let his piercing gaze linger on Darius's features.
'Donít worry, Brother Darius, there will be plenty for us to do.'
The captain looked at Azriel features in turn: His implanted eye; his scarred and pitted skin; his slightly melted lip. The Chaplain saw Darius's gaze.
'Tyranid spore mine. Gamma sector 3. Took me right in the face.'
While contemplating this gruesome visage of Azriel during the mine attack, he realised he knew very little of the chaplains past. He knew he must ask him, as it was a just thing to know the details of your battle brothers. Just as he was about to ask, the ramp of the Thunderhawk descended, and Darius realised he must have been incredibly involved in his own thoughts for even his super keen senses to not hear the change in the motor, or even the thump of the landing struts hitting the ground.
'Secure the perimeter, may the Emperor guide your shots' ordered Darius over the comm. link. The space marines thundered down the ramp, and took up defensive positions around the perimeter. As Darius stood at the top of the ramp, he saw at commissar staring back at him, as well as several troopers. At this range his eyes could easily make our the stern profile of commissar Dravel, and old acquaintance of some long past mission.
He almost jogged down the ramp, and slapped the commissar on the back. As he addressed the commissar by name, he saw the man flinch, as if he was not used to it, but he didnít way anything, he just nodded, and gestured to a nearby tent, so the captain followed.
In the radio room, Dravel explained to Darius that to vanquish the Ork threat, the enemy needs to be out in the open, so that The Pride of Mephos's bombardment cannons can take them out.
"Do you have any suggestions of how we do this?" asked the commissar.
"Just one" replied the Captain.
copyright by farsight 19.07.2002