Friday, June 15, 2012

Story 1 - Holding the Line

[I hope you all enjoy this, I spent a good 1 1/2 - 2 hours on this]

I hadn't been expecting on having to deal with Orks for a long time.  I thought the last time I would have to deal with them was all those of Waaagh! Boomblade.  Ethereals know that was as many Orks as any Tau should reasonably have exposure to in ten lifetimes.  But here I am again, preparing myself to re-enter the battlefield on the opposite side of them.

Fire Warrior Team Leader Shas'ui Dal'yth Vyk'tos looked around the briefing room that was crowded with other members of My'lok's cadre.  They had been through thick and thin, fought the savage Orks time and time again, had unlimited battles against Eldar of both craftworlds, Commoragh, and even corsairs, and repeatedly taken on the Space Marines and the Imperial Guard of the Imperium.  These wars seemed to go on forever, and for almost no purpose it felt like.  Eventually it would all end and Vyk'tos would know her peace, but until that moment there was only war.

She focused again on the briefing being given: My'lok may have held a higher rank than her, but he certainly never neglected his own duties and gave as much help for the grunts of the army as he was able.  Sometimes the troops wondered if he ever got any sleep from all the work they saw him doing and preparing.  In any case the mission seemed simple enough:  the war had deteriorated into one of attrition, a brutal trench war that left neither side with an easy victory.  That was why My'lok and his forces were being sent in.  They had ended so many campaigns quickly and efficiently before, hopefully they could repeat their previous success'.  Vyk'tos clearly saw how things stood: hold the ground we already possess (simply because it was fortified and the T'au did not want to have to retake ground that would cost lives to reclaim if lost needlessly.  The land itself is irrelevant), get into the No-man's land and control it, wipe out enemy forces and establish a foothold on their side of the trenches.  Easier said than done.

The army deployed itself into devilfishes temporarily to get to their destination before the vehicles dropped them off in their positions and most of them headed back to ferry other forces into much needed zones.  Arriving at the trenches Vyk'tos understood why this war needed to be ended as quickly as possible.  Nothing but ruins and devastation was left in between the trenches, barbed wire, unexploded munitions, and craters that provided little to no cover were all that stood in the No-man's land with two small multi-level ruins that still stood by some miracle or other.  The trenches themselves seemed in good shape defense wise, though blood stains were prevalent everywhere and patches of mud was visible below the wooden planking of the floor.  She nodded to the other Fire Warriors that passed her on their way back.  The briefing had said that they had been deployed for only two weeks on the front.  Logistics reported that they had received 25% casualties, an atrociously high number.  No one knew how many Orks had perished in the fighting.  The troops were too weary to even nod in return, supporting each other as they limped off the battlefield, several men only standing by virtue of the arms they had slung around the necks of their comrades.  Dirt and grime had almost entirely covered their armor, preventing Vyk'tos from identifying where this regiment had come from.  She pitied them for all that they had endured in just two weeks.  She was more worried on what was going to happen to her own force.  She motioned for her squad to take positions on the right flank of the trench, within the fortified bunker.

All around them the T'au of Dal'yth were scurrying into their positions, broadsides being deployed in the trenches immediately next to Vyk'tos and her squad, in the center the second squad of Fire Warriors stood mostly within the trenches with some few stretching back in order to maintain use of the communications device that was installed behind the trench.  To their left stood one of My'lok's lieutenant's with a bodyguard and some pathfinders in the other bunker on the far side of the trench.  Over the comm-lines the Kroot appeared to be readying themselves for a swift assault against the flanks of the Orks, planning on hitting them from the other side of the trench through their skills at infiltration and stealth, relying on speed and ability to allow them to cross the trenches without detection and carefully avoiding the dangers of the No-man's land.  The T'au were all in place once the Hammerhead and two devilfish glided into their positions, one devilfish next to each bunker and the Hammerhead behind the left of the center of the trenches.

The visuals being provided by the pathfinders that were being streamed directly to the feed on Vyk'tos' helm-monitor seemed to be showing the Orks having three Looted Wagons with very crude weapons mounted upon their hulls, and a bunch of Boyz infesting the trenches.  There was a much smaller force than she had been led to expect by the briefing, but then again who was she to question a stroke of good fortune.  All of a sudden, as if on cue the Tau began to fire upon the brutes on the other side of the battlefield, a fusillade of shots that tore through their forces.  Bullets then began to fly in their direction as well, forcing Vyk'tos to concentrate only on her own task.  Her job was to take out as many Ork Boyz as possible, and so she brusquely ordered her squad to lay down their firepower upon the boyz directly opposite them.  Even as this was happening massive explosions seemed to sprout into being everywhere, turning her entire world upside down as she tried to orient herself after the world stopped shaking.

She quickly wiped some mud off of her shin-guards and dashed back to her position in the trench and resumed firing.  She was pleased to notice that already all of the Looted Wagons were wrecks, several nothing but craters.  From the voices being broadcasted the Broadsides and the Hammerhead had worked together for immediate results.  Someone was whooping in joy at the sight of some Deffkoptas, previously unseen, blew themselves to the sky completely by themselves as they tried to cross the dangerous No-man's land on the flanks in an almost miraculous act of self destruction.  Already it seemed that the forces of My'lok were achieving dominance as no other force had so far.  And so the battle went for what felt like hours but actually was only about ten minutes, firing off shots at the remaining Ork Boyz until the rest of the Tau forces were brought to bear.  And then the Kroot appeared to the right of the battle on the other side of the trenches.  Screaming their war shouts they charged at the Ork menace, firing off shots into the air until they were able to hurl themselves at the Boyz nearby.  With the destruction wrought upon them by the Fire Warriors they were able to tear the Orks apart, magnificently dodging side to side and swinging their weapons in swift and brutal arcs that tore through the crude armor of the lumbering Orks.  Within moments the Kroot were cheering as they rushed towards more of the Orks.

It was at this point that the Ork strategy became apparent as a squad of Burnas appeared out of nowhere to torch the surviving Kroot to oblivion before they had a chance to wreak further destruction upon the lines of the green-skins.  Even across the battlefield the smell of roasting Kroot was evident, sickening the T'au and forcing several to vomit as the odor so similar to roasting chicken stained the air.  New orders were issued by My'lok and so Vyk'tos commanded her squad to pile out of the bunker to enter one of the devilfish that had remained with their army.  Upon exiting the bunker Vyk'tos noticed that not only had the lieutenant and his bodyguard rushed out into the No-man's land, but also some Ork Kommandos had appeared behind the T'au lines against all odds and had attempted to take out the other squad of Fire Warriors as well as the Hammerhead.  Even as she watched the Tau managed to shoot them to oblivion and then beat them down in close quarters combat.  The Kommandos disappeared from view however as the Devilfish landed to allow the Fire Warriors to board it and Vyk'tos waved her troops on board it, following them all last to ensure they all had made it in one piece.

She and her squad sat within the Devilfish, being transported into the deadly No-man's land to ensure that total control of it was achieved before the final push to the opposite side was initiated.  Being sealed within the pressurized Devilfish the only news of the battle came over the comm-channels.  Scattered reports came of a squad of Nobz appearing behind the enemy trenches and moving fast towards the trench - in fact towards the position of the devilfish that Vyk'tos and her squad was deployed in!  The Kommandos were entirely obliterated, and most of the Ork boyz were eliminated.  The second squad of Kroot had piled into their own devilfish and had intercepted the squad of Nobz, intervening to protect the Fire Warriors.  It was at this point that the Devilfish came to a halt and the fire warriors found that their transport had been struck by some fragments of an explosive that had just gone off, disabling the motors of the Devilfish despite the sensor spines technology that the Devilfish had been equipped with before deployment.  As it was the fire warriors deployed themselves outside of it, several quickly falling to mines, stray bullets from the Ork lines, or barbed wire.  They continued to move cautiously towards the center of the No-man's land until they commanded a complete view of the entire No-man's land and they watched as the last of the Kroot that had placed themselves in between Vyk'tos and her squad were cut down by the massed shots of the Orks.

But with the death of the Kroot the T'au found themselves with nothing blocking them from shooting at the Nobz now, and then the barrage became too much for the Orks and within two heartbeats all that was left was the Warboss, some Burnas (that reportedly had been shot at by other squads), and 3 Ork Boyz.  At this point the Orks all began to rout, and the T'au proceeded to mop them up, taking a few captives but completely overrunning this section of the trenches.  A complete victory for the T'au, the prowess of My'lok and his forces had been proved once again despite all the odds!

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