Unsung Heroes

00:20 into the battle

Commander John Hyndurian closed his eyes, his back pressed up against the wall of the trench he was in. His men, each a Space Marine who’d exceeded the call of duty in his own right time and time again, took whatever they could sporadically turning to fire of a quick volley to keep the heretics at bay. Everything was pulled off with timed precision. They wouldn’t be Space Marines if they couldn’t… more so, they wouldn’t be Deathe Phoenixes. Commander Hyndurian began to mutter the beginnings of a prayer… He was no Psyker but his devotion to the God-Emperor was infallible. It was because of His will that they were still alive after all. The scene above Jah Plion had been a blood bath… still was most likely. Ork, Chaos and Space Marine fleets pounded into each other along the fringes of the atmosphere. If he looked up, he was sure he’d see the flashes in the sky that heralded more explosions along with the occasional chuck of metal that came hurtling towards the earth.

All three fleets were still engaged in their ethereal dance of death as they vied for dominance… But the ongoing massacre didn’t end there. As soon as all three fleets spotted each other entering the system at roughly the same time, they began to drop almost all their troops at once. There was no point keeping anybody on board when there was a chance that they’d die waiting to be dispatched. No, all the generals knew that the only option was to try and establish a foothold as soon as they could. The planet wouldn’t be carpet bombed… no, there was something here that was far too precious.

The result had been a rain of drop pods and ships that descended from the heavens, many doomed to erupt into fiery twisted explosions as they collided with each other… Since most of the pods had all been launched post haste, Commander Hyndurian didn’t doubt that his squad was the only one caught behind enemy lines… That is to say if there were any lines at all. They’d fought their way through a mob of dazed cultists who were trying to regroup and summon a portal through which they could call upon more warp-spawn. The screaming heretics had been easily dispatched… but the battles after that… they’d gotten progressively more intense. The impromptu surprise attack on the Green Skin Choppa Boyz had been a quick affair if not bloody. To their advantage they had stumbled upon the enemy horde and attacked before they could be sighted. He had only suffered 3 losses and had two moderately injured in that fight. With five men left, they had quickly found themselves pinned down by another squad of heretics… only these accursed dissenters weren’t cultists. No they had been brothers… now they were a plague, a plague to which the Commander thought of himself and his men as the exterminator.

Opening his eyes, his heart and spirit lifted he lifted his head above the trench to survey the enemy positions. No sooner had he looked up than a hail of Plasma fire punctured the air where his had had been. Raising his Melta-gun he looked at his men and nodded his expression grim. The heretics were entrenched… and with good reason. Plasma rifles were most accurate when held steady. They’d have to find a way around or a way to force them to move. The former option would be preferred… He knew he had his men could take the scum in close combat. They’d all been outfitted with Power fists as honor gear for their exemplary service in the last campaign.

“To me, Brothers! The Emperor guides our vengeance on this bloody day.”

Crouching low he began to sprint as fast as he could, his brothers following, along the trench. He didn’t know where it led but procrastination wasn’t going to get him anywhere. He could hear the sizzle of more plasma fire following them, occasionally feel and smell the pungent odor of plasma eating away at the metal pack he wore when he made his way through the shallower parts of the trench… But the Emperor favored his children. Short moments later the trench grew deeper and circled around in a large arc towards bring them closer to the chaos marines. His vengeance was almost at hand, he could smell it in the air. Eyes lighting with a fervor that he knew was the Emperor channeling his rage at the heretics through him, he continued onwards, stopping occasionally to return fire. It gladdened him when he heard the metallic groan of one of the steel frames the Chaos Marines had been entrenched in and around followed by the warning shouts that told him that a few of his Melta shots had weakened the structure somewhat.

Rounding a particularly large bend, the plasma shots growing in intensity around them, Brother John Hyndurian stopped dead in his tracks… luckily, he was still half hidden behind the bend. His Brothers stopped behind him, waiting to be told what the new development was. Licking dried, dirt covered lips, Hyndurian watched the alien cover behind the safety of the trench, yelling at each other in their disjointed mutilated grasp of the Emperor’s language. They were pinned down as well… That would explain why the Chaos hadn’t rushed them. If they did so they’d not only give up a vantage point but also be vulnerable to flanking maneuver by the Orks. Laying low, and pushing back he could hear the guttural shouts of the Ork commander.

“Why theys shootin to the sides?!”

“I dunno Boss… Maybe they be stupid!”

“Aargh! You be stupid, grout! I smell something humie…”

The Commander knew that they were about to be discovered. Without a second thought he pulled two frag grenades from his belt and tossed them around the bend, practice and experience telling him that the throw had been perfect. Ducking, turning his face to the side a little, he felt and heard the explosion along with the screams of pain from the green skins. Peppered with bits of dirt, rocks and even a few remaining vestiges of Ork, Commander John got up and ran into the smoke cloud and disappeared into its murky depths… his brothers right behind him. Just as they had entered a mass of shadows fell from the sky into their midst.

By the time the smoke had cleared, pushed away by an erratic wind, the scene had changed drastically… In the center of the small circular trench was a mass of mangled bodies and severed limbs. Blood flowed freely. Commander John Hyndurian with the last of his two brothers stood back to back, ducking, dodging and striking back at a group of Chaos Raptors that had been lurking nearby and had decided to join the fray… the few Orks that had survived the frag grenades had long since been cut down. All that remained was akin to a family feud gone terribly wrong.

A chainsaw sword came down in front of the Commander… a strike that was easily dodged by a quick side step. He lashed out with the back of his power fist and felt the satisfying crunch of bones as the energized glove smashed into the side of the leering Raptor’s face. Not wasting time to gloat over his victory, he ducked and rolled as a set of blades descended upon him. He rolled and faced the two attackers and fired a series of Melt- shots into their torso’s… one fell on the spot a large crater now occupying the space between his two arms while the other had fallen backwards, dazed.

Hearing another shout he looked to the side to see that one of the two surviving brothers had fallen as a series of chainsaw swords finally managed to pierce his armor, one managing to find the soft spot at the base of the helmet… He fell to the ground his head managing to keep from rolling away by a sliver of skin. Roaring in fury, Hyndurian fired at the mass of Raptors that proceeded to mow down the last survivor of his squad, one of them going as far as to grab the Space Marine before he felt, tear off his helmet and take a bite out of his face before turning his attention to the Space Marine Commander. He could hear them jeering, some laughing maniacally as they charged at him… if that weren’t enough, he felt the first shots of Plasma fire strike his chest and send him flying backwards as the entrenched Chaos Marines charged towards the trench emboldened by the arrival of their kin… Firing off shots at random to slow the incoming tide, Hyndurian tried to stand up but found that his thigh had been cut into. He didn’t even know when this had happened… Adrenaline and strict pain training had made the mortal wound invisible to his senses. Still struggling to stand up, the Commander felled the first Raptor to approach him… the fool had been cocky enough to think that he’d go down without a fight and as consequence took a power fist to the gut. Turning his face to the spew of green tinged blood that shot out of the creatures mouth he let it drop to his side and swung his fast in an arc to fend off two blows… the chainsaw swords were kept at bay but their sinister teeth had dug into his glove and powered it down. The power fist suddenly weighing down his hand the Commander switched tactics and fired his Melta-gun into the nearest Raptor while more Plasma fire slammed into the ground around him, one slamming into his foot, making his entire frame buckle under him. Not the type to give up on opportunities, the Raptor commander raised his chainsaw sword, inverted and with both hands drove it straight into Hyndurian’s abdomen. It met resistant at first but the armor already weakened somewhat by the plasma bolt it had absorbed soon gave way allowing the Space Marine Commander to watch as his innards were churned to a mush.

Coughing up blood, his vision slowly dimming, John Hyndurian could barely make out the raptor Commander telling his men to back away while he stood above his prey, his demonic snout sniffing at the carnage he’d caused. He grabbed a plasma rifle from a one of the Marines who’d joined them and pointed it at the dying Space Marine.

“Any last words, Brother?”

“Heretic…” was the whispered answer… and answer that was cut short by an explosion that turned the trench into a crater. With his failing strength, Commander John Hyndurian had activated one of the two frag grenades still attached to his belt… the explosion caused the other to blow up and thus the entire trench erupted in a series of explosions that threw a giant ball of fire into the sky… The Emperor had just exacted a tiny bit of his vengeance and Commander Hyndurian had been more than happy to have been his vessel.

00:43 into the battle

The End

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