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 A Desperate Action

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Draegon Eledor

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Number of posts : 12
Age : 36
Registration date : 2007-05-01

PostSubject: A Desperate Action   Fri 28 Dec - 19:39:18

A Desperate Action

The Guardsman crouched over the detector array studied the readout closely. Everyone held their breath awaiting the news, hoping against hope that the first indications were wrong.
‘Sorry sir, first trace is confirmed, range seventeen hundred, sector three five through forty and now some indication of fliers on vectors Green eight and eleven.’

Colonel Trasker signalled to his two vox men who began relaying co ordinates to the command bunker. The cry of ‘Stand to!’ went up in the trenches around him and although the swirling snow and faintest hint of pre dawn gloom made visibility almost nil even with night vision equipment, he could hear the survivors of three platoon powering up the heavy las cannon nearby.

Trasker tensed involuntary as he checked his bolter. Less than three hours since the last attack. They were coming more frequently now and with every assault his men’s effectiveness and numbers fell as the Necrons ground them away relentless, untiring and indifferent to every counter they tried. A burst of fire from one of the few remaining flak batteries broke into his thoughts; it had opened up from the top of the promethium refinery ruins to the west.

‘What sort of range? Snarled Trasker at his sergeant.
‘Eight hundred sir’
‘Too soon - who’s on that battery?’

A shattering explosion rocked the ground, and without asking Trasker knew that the battery would not be firing prematurely again. There was a sudden change in air pressure and two troopers nearby were knocked flat as something large, fast and deadly passed over them at tremendous speed, unseen in the storm.

A hunter missile flew upward from a portable rocket launcher from seven platoon’s position, its distinctive trail scoring a blazing trail across his night vision, but the chances of a hit were remote if previous experience was anything to go by. Even as the fiery tail of the rocket was swallowed by the storm the noise of the enemy flier’s engines shattered the air leaving everyone temporarily deafened for several seconds.

Half a dozen star shells burst overhead as Trasker’s senses returned and the ragged sound of shots could be heard from the sectors under attack. Unsure if his hearing was still affected he grabbed the vox from his aide and dialled in to Commissar Hevry for a report.

Hevry had his hands full: Necrons were within five hundred metres of his command post, their gauss weapons adding a green tinge to the sunlight rising behind their advance. One or two had been hit by return fire but they rose implacably, reconstituted by their self repair systems. The horde was advancing with the wind behind them, and it drove stinging ice crystals into the eyes of the Cadian guardsmen as they tried to pick their targets. He could hear Trasker demanding a report in his ear piece and he lifted his monocular to check how close the remorseless warriors were just in time for a green bolt to pass through the instrument and his skull.

Trasker was giving his report to the Captain General thirty minutes later. The Necron attack had been repelled again, but the redistributed Cadians were now less than one man to every ten metres of perimeter in some places. Each probe sapped precious lives from the defenders whilst the Necrons seemed to absorb the imperial’s fire, returning just as strong on each attack, content to whittle away the guard slowly without Trasker suspected exposing their main force,

He was considering recommending falling back to the inner structures of the complex, if caught in the trenches his troops would be trapped. But falling back he would lose the coherency of his lines and the ability to redeploy his reserves swiftly around the perimeter. Once they left the trenches they would be mopped up piecemeal. Almost all of the heavy guns were gone now, and the biting storm had now ceased, but its absence only allowed the sporadic incoming artillery blasts to pick out targets more accurately.

The Necrons didn’t need any storm to cover them, and their weaponry and equipment seemed equally indifferent to the freezing conditions that froze lubricants jamming vital guns equipment and seizing up the engines and moving parts of their vehicles. The same bitter cold sapped the will, strength and even life from the desperate guardsmen, wounded men unable to move froze where they fell.

The main ammo dump had been hit the day before leaving all types of ammunition short and only two command bunkers remained. Three tanks cloaked in camouflage netting still had operational weaponry, but were either immobile or crippled so that they could barely move. As soon as they fired again they would be targeted by the pinpoint artillery fire or picked off by one of the several watchful doom scythes that circled overhead just out of missile range.

Where the high rocky ground closed to within two hundred metres of the perimeter on the south side, deathmark snipers kept his men’s heads down and Trasker felt sure that the next attack would be from that direction. Occasionally the wind carried the rumble of engines from that direction as unseen war machines jockeyed for final assault positions.

Perhaps the Necrons had held back fearing a breakout covered by the atrocious conditions, but now they woul;d have no such compunction. Trasker briefed his section leaders in the lull as the light strengthened and found time to visit the wounded in the field hospital. There he learned that he was now in command as Doctor Fredrensen gave him news of the death of Commander Durkenheim who had been fighting for his life for the past two days.

There was no time for grief, as in the Northern sector, two great monoliths appeared accompanied by hordes of scarabs. As Trasker watched, the scarabs deliberately scurried back and forth over the minefield protecting that approach, triggering the mines that had been one of his last hopes to surprise the attackers. Scores were blasted apart but they were losses the enemy could easily afford. With the monoliths not even bothering to seek cover from the light weapons fire of the guardsmen came the feared immortals, elite fighters, tougher and more deadly than the normal Necron warrior.

Even as the imperial mortars began lobbing their last precious shells at the onslaught cries came from the eastern and southern defence lines: An annihilation barge was leading in more immortals against the east flank, and in the south, warriors aboard a dozen heavily armed and armoured ghost arks were moving in covered by the deadly deathmarks. There was no chance of bringing reserves to support any side.

The doom scythes again screamed in to do their deadly work, death rays and tesla blasts scorching through great swathes of the defensive works, the last Leman Russ erupted in fire as it took a lucky hit from one of the fliers. Tomb blades and destroyers sped by in small groups on every side, punching holes in the guards’ lines and then retreating as quickly as they had come, sniping deathmarks picking off soldiers unwise enough to break cover to engage the attackers.

Now the final chapter began as several units of the dreaded Triarch Praetorians materialised inside the complex in open areas deliberately cleared by intense bombardment. They immediately scattered, attacking the field hospital, the main command bunker, the mortar unit whose crews were cut down to a man in seconds.

To the west, which so far had suffered only nuisance attacks, more dots now showed on the detector readout: a very large contact and several escorts it seemed, plus yet more ground forces. This then was the main reserve that he had always felt lurked outside sensor range. This was truly the end.

Trasker, hunkered down in a foxhole with the reserves on the western side could tell that his entire regiment at full strength would have been hard pressed to hold any single flank. As it was he had fewer than two hundred men, many of them wounded, all of them short of ammo. Studying the final force approaching to smash through the west he could see that these were of types previously unknown. The large contact was some kind of giant monolith, like two of the normal ones welded together base to base, it rotated around its central axis as it hovered at improbable speed.

He could see the same distinctive gauss flux arcs used by normal monoliths, but it had many more, the rotating body continually revealing more weapons systems and bringing them to bear. Two distinctive green energy spikes betrayed the existence of the feared particle whips and it also appeared to mount several of the distinctive teleport gateways that acted to bring forth troops and could also swallow up an opponent foolish enough to get close.

The doom scythes accompanying it seemed also a different design; still the distinctive crescent shape, but subtly different, sleeker somehow, with fully enclosed shells that concealed the cockpit, projecting a greater aura of menace if anything. Although he wouldn’t know if for a few more seconds, their weaponry was to demonstrate a longer range and more devastating effect when it was unleashed.

Trasker steadied his men, trying to ignore the cries over the vox as the rest of the regiment began to reel under the of the attack, but then, confusion: The northern and southern attacks seemed to be faltering almost as if caught in indecision; then the western attackers opened fire with a tremendous barrage that wreaked immediate havoc.

Explosions blossomed as the westernmost monolith and a ghost ark exploded under fire from the Necron forces approaching from the west. Trasker watched in disbelief as the doom scythes fired from an impossible range, bringing down their fellow scythes, ripping through formations of warriors and immortals. The Necrons were firing on the western incomers too, and wheeling their formations away from the imperial lines whose threat was to be fair, minimal at this point.

Other Necron troops rippled into existence amongst the attackers and turned gauss and tesla fire on their own, but looking more closely with his monocular, Trasker realised that the newcomers were not infact Necrons: They moved too swiftly, lacking the harmony of Necron formations that strode in formation like the automata they were. They moved more naturally and did he imagine or could he her faint shouts and orders amongst the new fighters?

He also noticed that when they fell, none rose again, and after seeing a few serious wounds he was quite certain that he was seeing mashed blood and bone when Necron weapons struck home. These it seemed were living humanoids wearing Necron like armour. The Necrons too were not acting normally: Their armour seemed less effective against the new arrivals and after a few minutes it struck him that he had seen no Necron reanimate after being felled by them.

He watched in disbelief as a Necron Lord disintegrated under the fire of a deathmark yet not a deathmark. Suddenly screaming swarms of scarabs descended from the clouds. His heart sank as he thought for a moment that the Necrons had some last card to play, but the flying scarabs sought out the Necron vehicles, attaching themselves to the second monolith and catching and enveloping the last surviving doom scythe. The entropic powers of these scarabs worked just as effectively and the Necron armour was reduced to scrap in seconds.

It was the Praetorians who winked out of existence first, then the others, those that still survived; the battle ground belonged to the newcomers who stood amongst the wrecks of dozens of Necron transports. The Cadians remained in cover, uncertain of what they were witnessing, but the newcomers seemed indifferent to them, collecting their dead and wounded and assembling below the huge monolith which loomed large over the scene a hundred metres short of the westernmost trench line.

The new troops, their features concealed by armour that was Necron-like yet not Necron, began to disappear as some form of transportation ray similar to those used by Necron Night Scythes evacuated them from the planet surface to the super monolith. The swarms of scarabs swirled up into the clouds and disappeared. The Doom Scythes were already over the distant horizon.

A powerful signal however suddenly overrode the vox frequency, every guardsman paused as an unknown voice filled the airwaves.

‘It seems Colonel Trasker that the battle here is concluded. The enemy has withdrawn. We suggest that you may wish to do the same, this planet has little of value to you that would justify the cost of holding it.’

Trasker answered automatically, hesitant as he could not even be sure if he would be heard.

‘Perhaps, but that is a matter which I will have to decide upon in liaison with the Lord Admiral commanding our relief fleet.’

The voice laughed unpleasantly.

‘Oh well played Colonel, but there is no such fleet as you know, you will find your communications clear only after our departure and then I suppose you may receive support within a few weeks, but that is as you say, a matter for yourselves.’

The evacuation of the relief force was almost complete now. Last to go were the stretcher parties that rippled out of existence in a manner reminiscent of Necron phasing, yet not.

‘You know my name; perhaps you might do me the honour of giving me yours so I know to whom the empire owes thanks?’

‘I am Overlord Chaleen of the Ch’imn dynasty. You owe no thanks; we fought here against the betrayers for reasons of our own.’

‘The Necrons are your enemies? Yet you yourselves…’

‘We are the Necrontyr. The Necrons are a fell shadow of our race, a cruel mockery, the Necrontyr were nearly destroyed uncounted ages past and replaced by these usurpers. But not even the ancient gods could take us all, enough of us escaped to rebuild. For millions of your years after we escaped the destruction of our race by the C’Tan and Szarekh the Betrayer we have hidden from our enemies, the cursed Eldar and the hideous machine creatures that replaced our own kind.’

‘The Necrontyr ruled this galaxy and will again. We were billions strong on millions of worlds yet threw it all away. We will make those pay who destroyed our brothers, we will restore our rightful place in this universe. We have not slept and stagnated like the machine slaves.’

‘We have grown stronger, quietly, steadily, watching the younger races like you, treading lightly, hunted by Praetorian death squads and our ancient enemies. Harsh lessons have we learned: We did not flee the light to skulk underground, we adopted new ways, gained new strength, harnessed technology rather than enslaved ourselves to it. We have begun to Strike back: The Eldar have already paid and their death rattle is playing out thanks to our patently designed and delivered vengeance. We have destroyed countless strongholds of the betrayers, cursed millions more with lingering destruction and now we are strong enough to reclaim what is ours against all comers.’

‘Humanity has a choice, you can act with us and share in our glory as we return, or you can add us to the list of your enemies and damn yourselves to ultimate destruction, for only those who ally with us will enjoy the fruits of the future. We are the Necrontyr. We will triumph; We will reclaim our legacy and destroy the abomination that is Necron kind. We will return order to the galaxy and give swift justice to those who betrayed us.’

The carrier wave went dead. The super monolith vanished in a second with no transition and there was nothing to show that any kind of Necrontyr presence had ever existed. The groans of the wounded resumed and sergeants began barking orders again as Trasker re entered his command post and sat down to ponder his report. Outside, across a devastated ruined landscape, it began to snow again.
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A Desperate Action
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