Astra Militarum Battle Report

By: Ailarian

Something was wrong. Melchoir had been the point of the spear clumsily thrust into more ambushes

than he cared to count. He now had a sixth sense for when he was about to be played the fool.

"Group, take up positions in these ruins!" He shouted softly through his micro-bead.

His soldiers began to react, using the ruins for cover as the commander marshal had trained,

and retrained them to do. The officer walked up to a ruin to gain a better view of the situation,

noting how well his troops set up and followed orders. A few short months ago,

these had been the dregs of the Foleran underclass.

A few were petty criminals, while some were merely desperately poor, willing to sell their bodies

for a clean shirt and daily bread. Most of them were debtors,

indentured into the off-world army in lieu of payment to their creditors. It was little less than a miracle

that Melchoir had been able to whip them into anything resembling a fighting force.

The officer pulled out his magnoculars and looked down the last street out of what had

once been a small town.

Stumbling blindly around on the road, he could see his quarry -

a stranded astropath vainly searching for help.

Melchoir's ship had arrived out of the warp just after the worst disaster of the fledgeling campaign.

The forces of the Imperium had just suffered a devastating rout, leaving behind equipment,

soldiers, and all manner of important or sensitive property lying strewn around everywhere.

One of the most critical things to restoring order was to restore the shattered communications

network of the loyalist lines. Couriers, long-wave voxes and, most importantly, astropaths

had gotten lost in the general confusion, and Melchoir had been sent to reclaim one such lost soul.

If the enemy were able to capture astropaths, they would have an easy way to eaves drop in on

imperial communication, and be more effectively able to reach outside of the planet for support

from elsewhere. Melchoir deeply understood the gravity of this mission.

As his troops fell into place, he gave a quick glance at his friend and second in command Sanario.

The priest had already put down his eviscerator and pulled out his prayer book, preparing to sanctify

the efforts of the officer and his men. The priest had helped fight on the front lines of the recent civil strife that expelled the comissariat from Folera and its armies. The Ecclesiarchy and the Munitorum had long fought a small proxy war between themselves over Folera, and while Melchoir generally supported the smooth, military funcionality of the Munitorum over the banal superstition of the priesthood, he did admit that he felt good knowing there was no longer a foreign presence polluting his army - the very black coats of the commissars eliciting both fear and loathing - and that the new king of Folera (one of his kallista, no less), had regained full and proper control of the planet and its citizens, as was his holy right ordained by the God-Emperor himself in times of legend.

After a simple prayer, Melchoir and his men were ready to go.

On instinct, he turned his magnoculars across the road. His eyes sifted through the ruins,

looking for any sign of danger.

He spotted it. For the briefest moment, he caught the glare of power armor through

the blasted-out windows ahead of him.

Suddenly, his magnoculars exploded right in front of him, sending his field glasses

flying out of his hands. "Sniper!" someone shouted as Melchoir blinked, temporarily stunned.

"We're under attack!" one of the heavy weapons spotters shouted from the roof.

"All units," Melchoir shouted, regaining his composure,

"hold your position and engage the enemy!". As his troops started into action,

he dared a quick look out the window. He caught the briefest flash of a sniper on the upper floor across from him and pulled his head back a half an instant before a sniper round cracked into the wall just behind where his head should have been.

"Sharpshooters!" he called to his retinue, and two Foleran snipers moved up, smartly saluting.

"We've got three or more enemy snipers in the ruins. One is on the second floor," he said,

looking at one of the sharpshooters, "and the other is on the third, second window from the left,"

he said to the other. "I want you to set up and fire on my target. Go!".

The sharpshooters quickly took up a place in the window, drawing their sights on their

assigned targets. The snipers across the street had decided to go for easier prey, unloading

into the lascannon crews on the floor above. "These sharpshooters are well trained,

" Melchoir thought. They didn't just wait for a good shot, they waited for the right shot.

A few moments passed and the loud crack of a pair of long-lasguns pealed over the swiftly

erupting noise of battle. Melchoir hazarded a second look. One of the enemy scouts had his

head blown nearly clean off, while the other screamed as he lurched forward,

plummeting off of of the ruin to his gristly death.

The officer looked back across the street and could see a power armor horde racing

up towards the road.

"Artillery!" Melchoir shouted to his fuel-bombers "Engage target, straight ahead."

As he pointed his finger at his target, the artillery lit up, lobbing massive fuel bombs in

a high arc over the ruins in front of them. The officer looked ahead. The space marines

ahead of him saw the incoming rounds fly through the air. In a desperate attempt to save

their chaplain, one of the marines tackled their leader to the ground, and was piled on by

four more marines.

The air ignited as a massive promethium blast slammed into the marines.

Melchoir instinctively flinched as the heat wave blew across the street.

As quickly as he could, he regained a view on his target. As a thick, roiling plume of smoke

rolled up into the air, he could see the charred and blasted spot behind the ruins.

Heaped there were a giant pile of corpses, almost the entire squad was wiped out.

One of the power armored bodies twitched and then flopped to one side as the only

lightly-singed chaplain heaved the remains of his battle brothers aside and stood up defiantly.

Melchoir was about to redirect his sharpshooters, when something appeared on the edge of

his hearing. Some sort of a hollow rumble, as if from far away. The officer's heart sunk in his


He'd heard that sound before.

Only a moment later, a drop pod came careening straight at him,

firing its explosive retro-rockets the moment it hit the ground. As the dust of this fantastic

landing started to settle, he could see a sight that would have left a hundred lesser

men quaking in fear.

The space marines had also calculated the strategic importance of being able to snag an

enemy astropath, and sent an emergency response team to stop him.

The sternguard and their captain cooly and implacably marched down the ramp and prepped

their combi-flamers. The air suddenly burst in a massive wave of liquid fire, sending Melchoir

and all those around him scrambling for cover.

But the enemy wasn't the only force specially prepared for combat. Foleran forces

had fought across the galaxy over the last century, and in the generally ramshackle,

jerryrigged, ill-equipped, and generally unsupported way that was typical of a regime

that was required by oath to send forces abroad, while retaining the best troops and

equipment for their domestic wars at home. Crown Prince Rupert Ek Istpherion

(named crown prince because he was a prince that represented the crown on the field of battle)

was the new head of the Foleran Off-World Army, and had promised to remedy this.

The prince had already enacted a great expansion of the Foleran parallel institution of the

Schola system. The Kingsguard was rapidly expanding from being just that -

a service that provided personal protection to royal and kallisteriate families -

into an elite fighting force in its own right. The motley new units strained under the pressure of their

new logistics system, and the first out the door were being rushed into battle perhaps prematurely,

but the end effect could already be felt.

High in orbit, the crown prince and his staff were able to carefully monitor situations

planetside and send in reinforcements as needed. Upon detecting the space marine commander

sending in reinforcements, battle command had done likewise.

Just as the rest of the space marine threat charged in, a valkyrie did a hairpin hover,

repelling in a group of stormtroopers before taking off nearly as fast as it had arrived.

The stormtroopers were fast on their feet, instantly identifying the nearby threat and opening fire.

Fully-charged hellguns sprayed murderous laser fire into the space marines at point-blank range.

They held up their fire, randomly unloading into a great sheet of flame as a pair of flamers swathed

their foe in burning fire.

Unable to resist a challenge, the shattered remnants of the enemy closed in on all sides.

The sergeant quickly redirected the fire of the squad to the left, blasting away at the

lightly-singed enemy chaplain. He arrived regardless of the desperate effort, smashing apart a

few guardsmen before a brave, and shockingly well-trained stormtrooper ended his menacing

threat with a combat knife. The sergeant turned to address his other threat only to find the great

champion of the enemy already upon him. His eyes fiercely glowed through his ancient helmet,

a growl escaping through his rebreather.

The stormtrooper sergeant didn't even have the chance to turn on his power weapon before

he was horribly stabbed in the throat.

Meanwhile, seeing the stormtroopers single-handedly stop a wave of charging

space marines, and seeing all of the rest of the action focusing on the firestorm erupting to his right,

one of the guard sergeants decided to show a little initiative. Under cover fire from a

nearby autocannon squad, he rushed out onto the road and confronted the now terrified astropath,

who blindly groped at him as he arrived.
"We've got to get you out of here!" He shouted, as another fuel bomb exploded

on the enemy dangerously close to him, wiping out even more space marines.

The two ran away as fast as they could away from the flames, as the rest of his squad closed

rank around him.

A few straggling survivors ran out of the flames after him, but were gunned down in a hail of

lasgun and autocannon fire.

"Melchoir!" the sergeant shouted over the micro-bead, "I've got him! I've got the astropath!"

Melchoir recieved the news just as he dove for cover as the sternguard lit up his heavy weapons.

As the flames died off, Sanario sprang to his feet.

"Men of Folera!" the priest cried to all around him,

"These foul heretics have come to put you to the flame. No, not just your flesh,

but your souls, and your families and your sacred honor! Let us murder these filthy heathens

in the name of all that is holy. In the name of the blessed king of our lands. In the name of

the God-Emperor of all mankind! Charge! Charge, men and purge the foul heretic with pure

force of will!"

The soldiers around the priest cheered their ascent. A nearby officer squad directed

the men at his command in well aimed-lasgun volleys while another charged in and unleashed

its own torrent of flaming death on the sternguard who had just so recently

been unloading fire in kind. Sanario lifted his ten-foot-long chainsaw sword into the

air and turned it on with a great revving of its engine. Melchoir put his powerfist into first and

with a yank on the ignition cable, the disruptor field on his massive gauntlet began to hum.

He was just about to charge into the massive orgy of destruction, when he felt a tug on his sleeve.

The officer turned and looked at his medic. The priest turned and looked at Melchoir, and

then did the same. "What are we waiting for?" the priest angrily demanded, as the sounds

of screaming enemy - screams not the fault of his own savage action - rang around him.

"Hey," the medic began, "I was told that if it looked like you were going to run into

somewhere dangerous, I was to give you some of these," he said, holding out a couple of pills

just extracted from a large bottle.

"What? What do these do?" Melchoir asked, taking the medicine from the medic.

"Well, I was told that if you take two of these, you become incapable of feeling pain."

"I'll take three!" Sanario angrily shouted impatiently, intrigued by the concept.

The priest grabbed the pill bottle and quickly swallowed three small white capsules as

Melchoir took his dose, leerily.

"Now," the priest continued, "Let us charge! For the king!"

Melchoir had only taken a couple of steps outside of the ruins when suddenly

the drugs hit him. His body briefly went numb and he became slightly disoriented.

Suddenly, what felt like an orgasm of flowers exploded in his mouth and in his brain.

He could smell the stench of just how BLUE the sternguard captain's armor was.

His mind raced between a cascade of rose pedals and a sudden peal of a loud buzzing noise.

His body felt light and etherial. The whole world was suddenly at peace, and the officer felt a

calm as the tranquility of events happening exactly as they were supposed to floated

through the air.
Melchoir knew one thing. More than he ever had in his entire life, right now,

he wanted to murder someone. Murder someone dead.

In a haze of blissful rage, the officer nimbly leaped over the sandbags and

was face to face with his assailantee. With as much effort as playing a flute into a soft breeze,

scattering their melody amongst the leaves, Melchoir lifted his power fist and grabbed

one of the space marines by the face. He pinched his hand in and ripped the head

clean off the torso. His hand finished its clench, crushing the helmet and spraying blood out the

bottom, back into the marine's armor.
Staring blankly, as if he didn't quire realise what had just happened,

he turned and grabbed another marine, ripping his arm clean out of its socket.
Sanario stared wild-eyed as he jumped clean over the battlements and charged directly at the

space marine captain. He swung his blade frantically and wildly. Caught off balance by the violence

ramming full-speed into his brain, he miscalculated his own strength, wildly overswinging and bouncing inhumanly powerful eviscerator attacks off of the marine's iron halo, sending sparks and ozone shooting through the air.

Taken completely off guard, the marine commander struggled to swing back, his attacks clumsily

flickering off the priest's rosarius. He managed to get something approximating a good, solid

attack in, but the priest, in a frenzied rage, appeared to feel no pain whatsoever.

The priest seemed to be more and more consumed by insanity, shouting and slathering

as blood started to trickle out of his nose and mouth. Ditching his sword, Sanario flung

himself onto the space marine, tackling him to the ground. The marine desperately tried to grapple

with the enraged guardsman in vain. Nothing was going to stop the priest.

With colossal effort, he managed to work of the marine's helmet, hissing blood onto the terrified

commander's face. Helpless to react, the marine squirmed under Sanario as the priest bit the

marine's face, and then clenched his hands around the captain's throat. Desperately thrashing,

the space marine started to convulse as the priest choked the life out of him. The world went hazy,

and then dark as Sanario smashed his lifeless head into the back of his armor.

The priest stood up and let out a mighty roar before collapsing into a fit of convulsions onto

the ground. The battle had been won.

Melchoir looked around confused, dripping with blood.

"Will he be okay?" Melchoir asked the medic. "Will he be okay? Will he be okay?"

The officer couldn't tell if the world was reverberating an echo through his mind or if he

had actually asked the question three times.
"Well," the medic began, "so the bottle says that side effects may include renal sepsemia,

cardiac hemorrhaging, blindness, stroke, and death. I'm not going to lie to you,

I have no idea what any of those words mean, but it sounds pretty bad.

I think I have an antidote to it," he continued, rummaging through his medic bag.

"Ah, yes, an EPH injection," he said, reading the label.

"What does that do? Does that do? Do?" Melchoir thought he asked.
"Well, it's supposed to make things better, but it says here that side effects of EPH

on a patient that has taken MNDP is... Umm... rectal hematoma, occular sclerosis, ventrical

laceration, constipation, and death. Hey, they end with the same one. That's weird."

"Wait, what kind of a doctor are you?" Melchoir asked.

"Of course I'm a doctor," the medic replied, "What, you think I was in the line for the

toilet and wound up in the line to become a medic by mistake? Pssh...

How improbable is that?" the medic asked scornfully. "Now here, you'll feel a little prick".

Meanwhile, amidst all the action and chaos, far on the Foleran right flank, trouble

was brewing. Unbeknownst to the rest of their comrades, a giant land raider had driven out onto

the street, threatening to roll up the guardsmen, or perhaps to strike at Melchoir himself.

Under direction from their junior officer, the nearby guardsmen ran forward into the ruin, and

prepared to ambush the land raider.

A loud belch rang out over the guardsmen.

"Iffa pleese!" shouted the offending ogryn.

Holding down the right flank were 5 fat, monstrous, thick in every definition of the word,

unfortunately odorous ogryn. Their ponderous abhuman frames had been draped over by

neatly-pressed white uniforms, just like the guardsmen. They were standing at what could be

vaguely presumed to be in an "attention" posture with their leader, besashed and speckled with

medals (just like a real guard officer) lumbered up and down inspecting them.

Melchoir had previously served under the command of one Sir Daxos P. Clinton III,

the consummate Foleran gentleman. Disturbed by the crude, generally unsoldierly

appearance of the brutes, he had ordered their hair cut, their bodies swabbed of stench,

and that they were placed in proper uniform (as best as could be constructed). It was thought,

so Daxos insisted, that a professional soldier within must start with a professional soldier without.

He had even trained the ogryn not to reply to commands unless they were issued in a

polite fashion, such as being concluded with the phrase "if you please".

Yet despite all of his efforts, the ogryn remained thuggish and altogether uncouth.

Ogryn are extremely difficult to train, however, but when they finally get something

in their thick skulls, the habits are likely permanent. Now, despite want for marshal Clinton's

guidance, they still strictly maintained their decorum as best as the little training that had

sunken in would allow.

"N'y'all'r a dis-grace to tha uniforms!" the ogryn captain bellowed, ruining any shred of stealth

the guardsmen still maintained. "Y'all'll be standin-atta-tention, iffa please!", the ogryn barked,

flipping around and striding back up the line. One of them used his enormous hand cannon

to scratch his ear while another picked his nose.

Unable to control the ogryn, the junior officer flatly gave the order to fire on the

lumbering land raider. From very close range, the guns sparked and peeled paint

off of the tough, ceramite armor. With a small explosion, one of the meltagunners

even managed to knock off the pintle multimelta.

Suddenly aware of the guardsmen's presence, the massive land raider swerved to

the right and then made a long hook, presenting its face to the guarsmen. Hurricane bolters

fired wildly as the raider disembarked its deadly cargo.

Bursting with anger, the enemy chaplain and his retinue dashed forward into the guardsmen.

With every sweep of their massive claws, a guardsman was eviscerated into several

flying chunks, scattering their assorted bits across the battlefield.

Sensing the danger, a lone sergeant burst forward. No, his men would not be thus ended.

Not on his watch. He was going to DO something, dammit!

"Hey, hey you!" the sergeant shouted, pulling out a pair of combat knives and

charging straight at the master of sanctity. "Just what do you think a pansy like you are doing?

By all that's good and holy, I-"

The chaplain, scarcely breaking his stride, smashed the sergeant in the face with his croizus.

Just for good measure, he smashed him again five more times, leaving little more than a bloody smear on the ground in front of him.

In a panic, the rest of the guardsman fled, despite the best urgings of their junior officer.

Still implacable, waiting for orders, the ogryn watched the guardsmen take flight.

"Boys!" the ogryn captain shouted "Presentaaaa ARMS!"

The ogryn leveled their massive cannons at the terminators, fidgeting around for a better position.

Politely, the ogryn waited until all of the guardsmen were free of the ogryn's field of

view before they fired.

A massive explosion rocked the field as roughly 600 pounds of nails,

shrapnel, screws, and general steel pointiness burst with shocking violence onto the chaplain and his squad. Unprepared, the terminators were knocked flat, and the chaplain was thrown back into the land raider.

The chaplain quickly took assessment of the situation and, realising that he

was now nearly alone against the entirety of the guard army, decided to tactfully

withdraw from the combat. He and the remaining terminators scrambled into place

inside the land raider, which closed its assault ramp and sped off. The guardsmen

desperately tried to finish it off with meltaguns as it sped out of range, but to no avail.

The space marine warlord had escaped... for now.

Sanario held his head, reeling with the force of a hundred thunder hammers pounding

at his head and at the back of his eyes. He correctly assessed that he had never felt more

miserable in his entire life. Melchoir, also in less than perfect shape, quietly finished his tea,

carefully placing the cup back in its saucer. The high-pitched clink of porcelain grated

on the priest's very soul.

The city had been cleared of all enemy presence, and the astropath

had been successfully recovered and returned to line command where he

would begin the desperate attempt to repair communications between ground forces

and the fleet. Without further orders, Melchoir had fortified the town and brought the kitchens

up for a good, hot meal. Given how cold the night threatened to get, the men would probably need it.

"It's nice to be back," Melchoir said, calmly, rubbing his powerfist arm.

All this time, and it still had never healed properly.

"Yes," Sanario replied at a whisper, "yes it is."

The officer got up and placed an extra blanket on the priest where he lay on the

remains of a recliner. The priest silently acknowledged the officer as he walked over

and turned out the light. He turned around and faced back into the darkness when

he got to the door.

"You know," he said back to his friend, "perhaps next time you should use as directed."

The priest chuckled a thousand needles of fire through his body, groaning as

he pulled the blanket higher up on his body.

Melchoir left and shut the door softly behind him.

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