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File: Conscript Quest.png (198 KB, 665x476)
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No matter how bad you think things can get, they can always get worst. Unwillingly plucked from your former life, and sent to the soggy trenches of a forgotten front on a forsaken world, you seem destined to die in obscurity, or will you?

Pick your background:
>Corpse-starch factory worker – you think you have seen it all, but you haven’t seen anything yet
>Munitorum scribe – after years of counting supplies being sent to the front lines, now you get to find out where they all go
>Beach bum – you grew up in a tropical paradise doing as little as possible, but unfortunately this makes you an ideal candidate for conscription
>Noble – you once had it all, but now due to a string of bad luck, you are eating dead rats in a flooded trench
>Savant – there are few things you don’t know, unfortunately it is unlikely anyone important will ever ask your opinion again

Pick your gender:
>Male/Female

Pick your personality:
>Jaded cynic – life’s misfortunes have made you bitter about everything
>Bubbly extrovert – you are the life of the party, or used to be anyways, present circumstances have dampened your enthusiasm a bit
>Philosophical introvert – you think the big thoughts
>Gung-ho idiot – no idea is a bad idea

Pick your combat ability
>Moderately competent - with a bit more experience, you will become a reliable, if unexceptional Guardsman
>Lucky screw-up – you don’t do anything right, but somehow it always works out
>Natural born killer – you excel at fighting, but somehow no one ever notices
>Latent psyker – time and time again you pull off the impossible, you got to be careful though, the Imperium does not look kindly upon the unnatural
>>
>>5200115
>Beach bum – you grew up in a tropical paradise doing as little as possible, but unfortunately this makes you an ideal candidate for conscription
>Female
>Bubbly extrovert – you are the life of the party, or used to be anyways, present circumstances have dampened your enthusiasm a bit
>Lucky screw-up – you don’t do anything right, but somehow it always works out
>>
>>5200117
Supporting
>>
>>5200115

>Munitorum scribe – after years of counting supplies being sent to the front lines, now you get to find out where they all go
>Male
>Gung-ho idiot – no idea is a bad idea
>Moderately competent - with a bit more experience, you will become a reliable, if unexceptional Guardsman
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>5200115
>Munitorum scribe – after years of counting supplies being sent to the front lines, now you get to find out where they all go
>Dice decides! 1 for male, 2 for female
>Gung-ho idiot – no idea is a bad idea
>Lucky screw-up – you don’t do anything right, but somehow it always works out
>>
>>5200115
>>Munitorum scribe – after years of counting supplies being sent to the front lines, now you get to find out where they all go
>Male
>Philosophical introvert – you think the big thoughts
>Moderately competent - with a bit more experience, you will become a reliable, if unexceptional Guardsman
>>
>>5200115
>Corpse-starch factory worker
>Male
>Jaded cynic
>Natural born killer – you excel at fighting, but somehow no one ever notices
>>
>Beach bum – you grew up in a tropical paradise doing as little as possible, but unfortunately this makes you an ideal candidate for conscription
>Female
>Bubbly extrovert – you are the life of the party, or used to be anyways, present circumstances have dampened your enthusiasm a bit
>Lucky screw-up – you don’t do anything right, but somehow it always works out

You wake up in your little dug-out in the side of the reserve trench which your squad has made its home.

It is still raining furiously, like it has since the day you arrived, but at least the pumps are still working, so the water in the trench is only shin deep instead of chin deep like last time you woke up.

Your sergeant is standing over you, prepared to gently nudge you with the butt of her lasgun if you don’t wake up fast enough.

The Sarge is....different.

She was attending military college at the time of the evacuation of your home world, which makes her one of the few qualified soldiers in the regiment, but perhaps due to her young age or highly subdued personality, she was overlooked during the hasty formation of the regiment during the trip from your home world to this mudball.

In a quiet voice, she requests that you deliver some maps to Captain Dinn’s bunker, where he is meeting with some other officers, including your own Captain Danner, more commonly known as “Captain Imperium” for being an obnoxious blowhard incapable of doing anything except repeating propaganda in the form of “uplifting” speeches.

You don’t find Captain Imperium too bad (admittedly you get along with everyone), but his grudge against the Sarge does trouble you a bit. Captain Imperium resents the Sarge’s tactical knowledge, and only accepts it when he wants a good idea to take credit for.

You make your way through the trenches towards Dinn’s bunker, wading through deep water and exposed to the heavy rain.

Nearly everyone else you have met finds this world unbearably wretched, but you are always one to see the bright side of things. After all, you spent much of your life as a lifeguard/surfer in the water, so how is a little rain and mud going to hurt you? And sure your kilt is many sizes too small, but who wants wet cloth sticking to their thighs anyways? And sure the food is terrible and in short supply, but you have been meaning to lose weight for about a year now. And sure the loss rate on this front is rumored to be horrendous, but you never know when your soul will join the God-Emperor, one of your friends overdosed when she was 18. And sure no one is allowed to talk about what happened to your home world, but you are sure it is fine, demon magic is just a myth, the evacuation was just a precaution...
>>
>>5200236
You walk up to the entrance of Dinn’s bunker, where the malnourished and waterlogged servant girl Namara stands outside with that weird dish she is always holding.

Namara doesn’t talk much, and she doesn’t seem to like it when people talk to her, so you just smile and enter the bunker.

Inside are three captains representing three of the six regiments that have troops in this particular stretch of trench.

Captain Imperium stands up to introduce you, but forgets your name.

>”It is Trooper [first name] [last name].” you say. (pick your name)
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>>5200239
>It is trooper Dee O'Dourant
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>>5200239
Unless you prefer...
Trooper Emma Roid
Trooper Sue Namy
Trooper Tess Tickle
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>>5200236
>Catherine Thorn
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>>5200239
>Trooper Lisa Lance
>>
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“It is Trooper Catherine Thorn, sir.” - You say, before making what you think is a salute.

You take the maps out of the cylindrical container and put them on the desk, then loiter around, not sure whether you are dismissed.

The three captains discuss strategy for a while, but you don’t quite follow what they are saying, other than the fact that the situation in this section of the lines appears to be in a stalemate, with not enough troops to do anything other than maintain the trench network and patrol no-man’s land.

Captain Imperium looks like he stepped right out of a propaganda poster, with a muscular build, chiseled features, and a confident tone that helps distract people from the fact he only has about two weeks of military training, and like many officers in the regiment, owes he position more due to noble blood than actual competency. He wears the dark green flak jacket, red beret, and thick combat goggles of the 1st Happy Ending Regiment, and, unlike most male soldiers, wears the tartan patterned kilt instead of the more common dark green trousers. He tends to stand with his legs somewhat far apart, like his testicles are much larger than normal (they are not).

Captain Dinn looks enigmatic as always in his flowing green robes, reptile hide armor and copper serpent mask. The 1st Gomorrah Regiment, the “Sand Vipers”, are rumored to be from some remote feudal world, now said to be lost to unspecified “dark forces”, not unlike your own home world. They haven’t been on this world for much longer than your own regiment, but already have a decent reputation for being light skirmishers and scouts.

Captain Ajax represents the 78th Risian Light Infantry. Like most of his kind, he looks haggard and worn out. The Risians have been here for a few months now, since the beginning of the siege, and it is definitively starting to show. Like most of his regiment, he wears olive green fatigues and a patrol cap.

Eventually Captain Imperium remembers you are standing there, and dismisses you.

You make your way back through the flooded trenches and heavy rain to where your squad is redigging a trench that got damaged by mortar fire.

Along the way, you pass members of the Tallarn 45th/35th Armored/Recon Regiment and the 112th Krieg Siege Regiment.

You generally try your best to avoid members of both regiments.
>>
>>5200466

The Tallarns were sent to the Groxbridge front not long before your own regiment arrived. Their vehicles were modified to handle the soft mud of no-man’s land, but the attack failed badly and now the 45th/35th have been converted to a penal regiment and forced to labor under the supervision of the Kriegers. According to the Sarge, most Tallarn Regiments recruit from hardened tribes of desert raiders and are well regarded, but these regiments were apparently recruited from a slum spaceport city, and are mostly known for their cowardice, whining, questionable hygiene, and creepiness around woman (despite the fact their own regiment seems at least 30% female).

The Krieg are far worst though. Emotionless fanatics responsible for the condition of the trenches and the use of artillery, their officers have been given commissar-like powers to ensure their instructions regarding trench repair and hauling artillery shells are always followed. Their general was left in charge of the overall Groxbridge siege, and is rumored to be more than a little unhinged. Luckily now that they have the Tallarns to bully around, they leave the other regiments alone. Most of the time...

You spend several hours shoveling waterlogged mud out of a trench while others slowly try to get the panels of flakboard back into place.

Eventually Captain Imperium comes over and redirects your squad to help dig out the trenches around “Her Majesty’s Fighting Cock” instead.

You suppress a small shudder of dread.

The Fighting Cock is a Praetorian Baneblade that got stuck in the mud in no-man’s land and now serves as the backbone of a small cluster of saps and heavy bolter pits dangerously close to heretic lines. Although the tank itself has proven impervious to enemy fire, the surrounding positions are frequently raided or hit with mortar fire.

This may be your first real taste of combat.

>Go grab your combat gear, For The Emprah!

>Speed read through the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer while the others get prepared, what are you supposed to be doing again?

>Try to convince the Sarge you have dysentery or food poisoning or something.
>>
>>5200468
>>Speed read through the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer while the others get prepared, what are you supposed to be doing again?
>>
>>5200479
+1
>>
>>5200468
>Speed read through the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer while the others get prepared, what are you supposed to be doing again?
>>
>>5200479
+1
>>
>Speed read through the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer while the others get prepared, what are you supposed to be doing again?

You pull out your Uplifting Primer and flip quickly through some pages:

List of punishments... everything is punishable with horrible punishments

Mysterious blacked out section...

How to do guard duty...

List of equipment, most of which you likely never will receive...

Remember to pray when you load and unload...good point, you forgot about that one

Also pray to the armor, your jacket supposedly has some flak weave in it, so you guess it counts as armor

You flip through a few more pages to get to the section on combat maneuvers, which seems the most relevant right now, but as you do so, the Sarge glares at your for not grabbing your kit fast enough.

You head over to where you left your kit bag lying in a puddle.

Like everything else assigned to you, it is an odd mix of spare gear that was left behind by other regiments on the transport that took you to this planet, combined with some “recycled” items from soldiers already lost in the battles for this world.

In the bag is your Standard M-G Pattern Lasgun, a soggy blanket, and some empty sandbags. Which is pretty much all they gave you except for the 9-70 entrenching tool you have been using for the past few hours, and the folding spork, pen, whistle, mushy notepad, and water stained Primer you keep in your jacket pockets.

Even your uniform is assembled from centuries old gear found in deep storage on the transport ship, long forgotten by however it was meant for, mixed in with “recycled” items.

Your jacket (brown camo instead of the dark green more common in your regiment) is many sizes too big, but at least it is (sort of) water proof and allegedly as some light flak weave woven into it to protect against shrapnel or knife attacks.

Your boots are also too big, but at least they gave you several additional foot wrappings so they fit a bit more snugly.

Your kilt on the other hand is too small. There wasn’t enough trousers and kilts lying around for everyone in the regiment, and most of them are probably too big for you anyways, so instead some genius somewhere decided to cut some kilts in half both vertically and horizontally to make smaller skirt-like kilts for the smaller (generally female) members of the regiment. Some of your fellow soldiers find them degrading, but you don’t mind. In the perpetual rainy conditions of this world, wet clothing just bogs you down anyways.
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>>5202020

Finally there is your goggles and dog-tags. You rarely put the goggles over your eyes since they are covered in scratch marks and hard to see through, but since your kilt is rarely visible unless your (almost knee length) jacket is open, and your jacket is a different color than most of your regiment, the goggles are the only thing really identifying you as a member of the regiment, so you are required to wear them at all times (people were assigned either red berets or goggles, only officers got both). Most people wear the goggles around their necks, but you wear them around your forehead so they are always ready for use.

Long story short, your gear is junk, but it could be worst. Some of the PDF conscript regiments are fighting with civilian firearms and farm tools.

A short time later, you arrive at the front lines.

Somewhere up ahead to the north is the City of Groxbridge and the enemy lines around it, not that you can see anything that far away in the heavy rain.

What you can see though is a handful of figures working to clear mud from around what you at first mistake for a large bunker.

The Fighting Cock is massive beige tank commanded by some blowhard with a funny accent named Galbert who tells your squad to start digging on the east side of the tank.

As you head over and wait for the Sarge to organize people, you glance back at the tank and sure enough there is a large drawing of a rooster on the side. You wonder if the Praetorians are aware “Cock” has alternate meanings in certain Low Gothic slang, but dare not ask once you realize there are a few Kriegers overseeing the reconstruction of the trench network.

The Sarge gets the squad spaced out along the east side of the tank and orders you to dig. You pull out your 9-70 and get to work digging mud, but after a few minutes, hear the bone chilling whine of mortar shells arcing towards your position.

>Hide behind the tank.

>Get your lasgun ready in case their is a raid.

>Keep digging mud until someone orders you to do otherwise.
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>>5202027
>>Get your lasgun ready in case their is a raid.
>>Keep digging mud until someone orders you to do otherwise.
>>
>>5202027
>>Get your lasgun ready in case their is a raid.
>>Keep digging mud until someone orders you to do otherwise.
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>>5202113
+1
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>>5202027
>>5202113
That.
>Get into whatever hole we were digging.
>Put our lasgun on the side of the hole, or on the ground next to it.
>Crouch into the hole so we're as protected from shrapnel as possible.
>Then just keep shoveling mud.
So long as we don't get commissar'd for getting mud on our lasgun or get hit directly by a mortar round, we should be fine. Hiding behind the tank won't help since, well, mortars.

Also QM, I'm sorry that all those quest you do minus the Groxbridge one end up with a variant of Rhea as MC. Also, was that THE Namara ?
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>>5202698
Supporting
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>>5202698
>I'm sorry that all those quest you do minus the Groxbridge one end up with a variant of Rhea as MC
It is fine, high level characters can be a bit boring since they usually don't have to worry about the small stuff, which can be the most interesting to write about. On the other hand, they do get in more interesting fights, I may have to find an excuse to boost Cat's combat ability at some point.

>Also, was that THE Namara ?
Yeah, Namara also appeared in the Groxbridge/Grenadier story briefly doing the exact same thing. Chronologically this is several years before Rhea, but a month or so after the Ravenholm Grenadier story.
>>
>Get your lasgun ready in case their is a raid.
>Keep digging mud until someone orders you to do otherwise.

You decide to move your lasgun within reach just in case something happens, then keep digging.

You crouch a little lower though.

Although some people may mistake your relentless optimism for stupidity, your (very) basic training taught you the importance of cover, and you fully intend to use what cover you can without disobeying orders.

You are still woefully unprepared though when the first mortar shells hit.

The shock knocks you off your feet, but you scramble upright as you see that the flakboards have come loose in some places and mud and water is now poring into the trenches.

You try to help some of the others back on their feet, but more shells fall, including some that seem much larger than others.

After what seems like an eternity, the shelling stops, leaving you dazed and with a very loud ringing in your ears.

The Sarge stops to check on you, and says something, but you don’t hear it. You do see her pointing northward though, so you head in that direction.

The saps to the forward heavy bolter nests have collapsed completely, but you climb out of the trench and up onto a piece of loose flakboard to get a better view.

The forward heavy bolter nests are completely ruined from what you can see, and you suppress the urge to vomit as you notice at least a few body parts.

There are bomb craters as far north as you can see, which is admittedly not far given the heavy rainfall. It seems most of the mortar rounds fell just short of your location. Very lucky.

Someone taps your leg from behind, and you turn to see the Sarge behind you, who says something you can’t hear and hands you a pair of low-end magnoculars.
You assume she wants you to scan the horizon for threats, so you hold the magnoculars to your eyes and look about. The magnoculars are less primitive than they look, and somehow filter out some of the rain from the digital image, letting you see further.

No sign of approaching troops, but a few hundred meters away you spot some sort of strangely ornamental utility pipe. Most of it is still buried, but parts of it have been uncovered by enemy shelling.

No sign of any damage, it must be nearly indestructible. At least 50 meters long, and seems to split into two parallel components near one end.

If you didn’t know any better, you would say it was some sort of giant two-pronged spear.

“It is the bident.” - Says an awestruck voice next to you.

You turn and see the tank commander, Galbert, has left his tank and is standing next to looking through his own set of magnoculars. The ringing in your ears is still pretty strong, you didn’t hear him approach, but somehow you heard him speak. You suppose it makes sense though that a tank commander would talk louder than your soft-spoken sergeant.

You don’t really know what a bident is, but it seems to get the survivors of the bombardment super excited.
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>>5204187

You turn and see the tank commander, Galbert, has left his tank and is standing next to looking through his own set of magnoculars. The ringing in your ears is still pretty strong, you didn’t hear him approach, but somehow you heard him speak. You suppose it makes sense though that a tank commander would talk louder than your soft-spoken sergeant.

You don’t really know what a bident is, but it seems to get the survivors of the bombardment super excited.

An argument breaks out between the Praetorians, Krieger, and Tallarn that you don’t quite follow, mostly because you can’t hear most of it.

The other members of your own regiment are just confused, but the Sarge clearly recognizes this is a bit deal based on her facial expression.

The Sarge starts yelling, something she almost never does. This time you hear her (barely).

She is ordering some people join the group heading to the bident, some people fortify the nearby ruins to provide covering fire, and some people stay behind to guard the tank.

>Go visit the bident

>Go fortify ruins

>Stay near the tank
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>>5204188
>>Go visit the bident
This seems like a big deal. And we got partial dibs for seeing it with magnoculars.
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>>5204188
>Go visit the bident
Are we still on DL Thread 2 or have we reached Thread 3 yet?
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>>5204212
[Spoiler] Ravenholm Quest was DL thread 1, plus some stuff in between threads, this is the start of DL thread 2 [/Spoiler]

For anyone who isn't afraid of some spoilers, a lot of my quests are loosely adapted from /tg/ worldbuilding found here, or at least make references to it in the case of the Rhea Quest - https://1d4chan.org/wiki/Battle_of_Damnatum_Lutum
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>>5204225
RE: spoilers - that's funny, since Thread 2 was the only one of the series I was absent for. Lack of meta knowledge ho!
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>>5204188
>>Go fortify ruins
>>
>>5204188
>Go visit the bident
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>>5204188
>Go fortify ruins
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>>5204188
I don't like that bident thing. I don't know what happens with it, but I know stuff like that in Cold shoulder/DL tends to screw honest guardswomen over.
I'm supporting ruins because the tank won't win. A possibly haunted fortified position beats being caught in the open in case of more arty or a full on assault.
>Go fortify ruins
Let's go do the funny yellow space marine thingy over there. Maybe there's some dry ground ?
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>>5204528
>Damnatum Lutum
>Dry ground
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>>5204188
> Go fortify ruins
>>
>Go fortify ruins

You decide to join the team fortifying the nearby ruins.

You find yourself a part of a small group wading its way through the thick mud to get to a ruined building barely 100 meters away.

It is hard to say what the building once was, nothing is left but the concrete and brick walls, but it once had two stories, lots of windows, and was relatively large. Perhaps a site office or a worker’s barracks. Most of the other buildings in the area appear to have once been warehouses or processing plants, not that there is too many ruins in no-mans land. The area is outside the boundaries of the city and was once a waste dump or something.

The group consists of a mixed bag of your own platoon and some Tallarn, but as you enter the ruin, you also discover some Risians who had apparently been left there for several days, too afraid to question whether or not they should leave. You wonder if anyone manning the fortifications around the baneblade even knew they were still there. Few soldiers on this front have vox-beads, and friendly fire incidents are not uncommon.

The Sarge orders everyone to find window slots from which they can provide covering fire for the group investigating the bident. However, the heavy rain makes it impossible to see them, or the group by the baneblade for that matter, without the magnoculars, which are back with the Sarge.

Lacking anything better to do, you strike up a conversation with a nearby Risian.

Risians are alright in your books. From a tropical paradise not unlike your own home world, and similarly inexperienced and poorly equipped, the two regiments have a lot in common except many of your own regiment are from wealthier backgrounds, and many of the Risians are burnt out and jaded from too long on the front line.

It turns out this particular platoon of Risians have been in no-mans land for about a week now, and are scattered across two dozen ruins and wrecked vehicles to form a picket against enemy raiders. Although their have been a few minor raids, most of their losses so far are from mortar rounds. The remaining Risians believe that once all their NCOs died, their company command wrote them off as dead, though despite appearances, they still get resupplied occasionally.

The thought of hiding in the same spot for a week, waiting to get hit by a mortar round is depressing to say the least, so you which topics and speculate about the bident instead.
Soon a small group has gravitated to your section of the ruin and are exchanging gossip about the bident.
>>
>>5205220

Soon a small group has gravitated to your section of the ruin and are exchanging gossip about the bident.

There are many rumors that it is the only reason that Groxbridge was marked as a high priority for liberation, and once the cogboys and Inquisition somehow confirmed it wasn’t here, most of the liberation force was reassigned to other cities, and low grade regiments like your own brought in to blockade Groxbridge. Now that the bident has been found, securing it will likely be a top priority for High Command, though other rumors suggest that certain Imperial factions would rather see the bident destroyed, like the Kriegers, or certain Inquisitors.

Eventually the Sarge breaks apart your social gathering and gets everyone to refocus on the task at hand. After 30 minutes of wading through mud, a small group including Galbert, his tech priest, and the Krieger sergeant have reached the bident. Knowing what you know now, you are glad you are not with that group, no doubt there are some tension has to what to do about the bident.

However, the Sarge reports that after a few minutes of looking at the bident, the investigation party is now heading back to the baneblade.

The tech priest voxs that he senses an enemy servo skull scouting the area, and suddenly everyone is on high alert.

10 minutes past.

The rain grows stronger than anything you have seen thus far, to the point where it feels like hail on your exposed skin. The clouds are so thick it is practically night time.

20 more minutes past.

The team returning from the bident is still only half-way back, the stronger than usual rain is slowing them down.

20 more minutes past.

Galbert’s team reports seeing a some sort of shuttle or aircraft go down nearby and doubles back to greet it, thinking it may be a Naval investigation team arriving unusually early to check out the bident themselves.

10 more minutes past.

Galbert’s group spots some hovercraft approaching from the north. Only enemy formations are known to use hovercraft in this area, in particular, a group of traitor guardsmen known as the “Royal Hovercraft Regiment”, infamous torturers and rapists all. Galbert’s group reverses course again and falls back to the baneblade as fast as they can. The Sarge orders your own group to stay put in the ruins.

Makes sense, you are dead meat if you get caught out in the open in waist deep mud by a hovercraft.

Somehow you clamp down on your anxiety and hold your position.

Suddenly other guardsmen in the ruins start crumpling to the ground. You get a glimpse of tracer rounds zipping out of the heavy rain before you duck for cover, realizing they can see you better than you can see them.

A few moments later, a pair of explosions rip apart many soldiers inside the ruins and throwing the rest into panicked confusion.
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>>5205222

You realize the blasts were frag grenades just as figures in white, turquoise, and blue swarm into the ruins from both the entrances and window openings.

Your worst fears are confirmed.

It is indeed the “Royal Hovercraft Regiment”, a unit of traitor guard drawn from the elite Royal Niners regiment.

There isn’t that many of them, but they clearly outclass the ruins defenders both on an individual basis and collectively.

You try to think of what the Uplifting Primer would say to do in this situation, but you can only think of joke tactics from post-training banter.

>Switch lasgun to full auto, shoot everything that moves.

>Fix bayonets! (except without the bayonet part) – engage in melee.

>”Tactically reposition” yourself as far away from melee as possible and get some new cover, perhaps by leaving the ruins and then shooting from the outside in.

>Flee back to the baneblade and its surrounding fortifications, this position looks lost and will probably be bombarded by the baneblade soon anyways.
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>>5205227
>>Fix bayonets! (except without the bayonet part) – engage in melee.
>>
>>5205227
>>Switch lasgun to full auto, shoot everything that moves.
>>
>>5205227
>>Switch lasgun to full auto, shoot everything that moves.
When in doubt, apply moar dakka.
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>>5205227
>>Switch lasgun to full auto, shoot everything that moves.
>>
>Switch lasgun to full auto, shoot everything that moves.

The M-G Short Pattern Lasgun is one of the most widespread patterns in the galaxy. According to Captain Imperium, even elite soldiers like the Cadian Shock Troops, Catachan Jungle Fighters, and Armageddon Steel Legion use variants of this gun (though the Sarge later mentioned their variants are far superior).

But 220 shots per minute on a 150 shot power cell can lay down a lot of firepower.

Somehow you ended up in a relatively quiet spot in the skirmish, with no one coming directly for you. On the other hand, it is hard to find targets when everyone is moving around and the rain and darkness continues to obscure your vision.

You spot one enemy nearby, who is likewise scanning for a target. As you light him up, you get a brief glimpse of a keen face with gold piercings and chains, an open white and turquoise jacket with elaborate frogging, and blue trousers with gold trim.

As you search for your next target, you see a flash of movement out of the corner of your eye and stumble backwards, narrowly avoiding being beheaded by a slender woman with an ornate cutlass. Unfortunately, you slip and fall on your rear, giving the woman an opportunity to pin your lasgun with one foot and point her cutlass at your face.

Up close, you see she has fine features, platinum blonde hair in elaborate braids, and she is stripped down to her trousers and sports bra to show of her nauseating pink tattoos.

As you try to figure out what to do next, another Royal Niner with an androgynous gold mask comes over and prods you gently with the long bayonet attached to his long-barreled wood stocked lasgun.

He makes a snide remark about how “we will have fun with this one...”, only for his head to explode into bits of gore a second later.

Stunned by the rapid reversal of fortune, you don’t notice what happens to the female Niner, but you do get a front row seat to what happens next...

A massive figure in yellow armor bursts through a brick wall and starts picking off the remaining Niners with pinpoint shots from its immense bolt gun.

Resembling the lovechild of an ogryn and a tank, you immediately recognize it as one of the near-legendary Space Marines who have been aiding the reclamation of this world. The “Imperial Fists” “Chapter” is one of several who have pledged small detachments to counterbalance the presence of the traitorous Marines leading the enemy forces, though few such monsters have been encountered for some time. Instead, they have dispersed throughout the planet, helping the Imperial Guard in the toughest of the fights with the traitor Guard and cultists.

This is your first time seeing one, despite the fact that one of their outposts is not far from your billet trench. Under different circumstances, you would be overawed, but now you are just overwhelmed by having so many life-changing events happen in just one minute.
>>
>>5209406

In a booming voice, the Space Marine declares that all loyalist voices must evacuate the area as bombardment by Guard artillery, cogboy artillery, enemy artillery, and orbiting Naval vessels is imminent.

Wait, what?

>Flee straight back to front lines.

>Head back to the Baneblade, maybe you can catch a ride as it falls back.

>Stay and help the other Guardmen, not that there is that many left, though many who are still here are wounded.
>>
>>5209407
>Head back to the Baneblade, maybe you can catch a ride as it falls back.
Do as the good maybe-Sammos says
>>
>>5209407
>>Stay and help the other Guardmen, not that there is that many left, though many who are still here are wounded.
>>
>>5209407
>Flee straight back to front lines
>>
>>5209407
>Flee straight back to front lines.
>>
>>5209407
>Stay and help the other Guardmen, not that there is that many left, though many who are still here are wounded.
>>
>>5209407
>>Stay and help the other Guardmen, not that there is that many left, though many who are still here are wounded.
>>
>>5209407
>>Head back to the Baneblade, maybe you can catch a ride as it falls back.
>>
>Stay and help the other Guardmen, not that there is that many left, though many who are still here are wounded.

Although a large part of you wants to retreat/flee as soon as possible, you decide to stick around for a bit and help the others.

All three surviving Tallarns, a Risian, and one of your squad mates flee instantly, taking advantage of a rare order to retreat, though as far as you can tell, Marines don’t have any real authority over Guardsmen.

Two Risians and two of your squad mates remain, the rest are either dead or too wounded to move. The Sarge is one of them, but it doesn’t look like she will be taking command anytime soon. She has a nasty head injury and a badly cut arm.

One of the Risians takes a vox-bead off a dead comrade and uses it to get in touch with the surviving members of his platoon to spread word of the retreat order. About one in three Risians has a vox-bead (they were originally only given to officers and NCOs, but are now more available due to battlefield losses), which comes in handy for them as their platoon is scattered across several ruins and wrecked vehicles, with rarely more than 5-6 in a particular ruin, usually more like 2-3, or even just one in the case of those using vehicle wrecks as lookouts.

He reports that most of the Risians are falling back on foot as quickly as possible, but that some have linked up with a mysterious swamp boat operated by the Imperial Navy (the space navy) which was travelling up a drainage canal a short distance northeast. The swamp boat is scheduled to arrive at the ruined building just east of yours in less than a minute. You have no idea why the Navy is operating a swamp boat in no-man’s land, but it may be better than running through the trenches during an artillery barrage.

>Fall back to the Baneblade.

>Flee directly to friendly lines.

>Link up with the swamp boat.

>Stay and guard the badly wounded and hope you don’t get hit by artillery.
>>
>>5210992
Continue to help the severely wounded.
>>
>>5200115
Why did you let them pick gender lmao. Now your generic dime a dozen 40k quest is definitely dead. Stop clogging up the board with this shit
>>
>>5210992
>Try to get the sarge out of their
>>
>>5210992
>>Link up with the swamp boat

>>5211351
Cope and seethe
>>
>Link up with the swamp boat.

You decide to try linking up with the swamp boat.

It pains you to leave the wounded behind, but you promise to get them help as soon as you get back to your own lines and the bombardment stops.

Besides, you aren’t really in charge here, and the Risians seem keen to take the swamp boat.

Not to mention the bombardment has now started.

It is worst than you even imagined.

So many shells are landing nearby the ground is trembling non-stop, and even in the heavy rain, you see the bright white-blue flashes of “pinpoint” orbital bombardment striking nearby.

You can’t help but wonder what could justify such destructive power being unleashed in this area. Everything you have heard lately suggests Groxbridge is a near-forgotten front mostly fought by sub-par formations like your own. Perhaps someone doesn’t want the bident falling into the wrong hands, or either side’s hands for that matter.

“They shouldn’t be doing this, they will wake the metal dead.” - Mumbles the Sarge.

Your blood runs cold at this. Although one could easily dismiss it as the mutterings of a brain damaged soldier, the Sarge often seems to know things she shouldn’t, and you have heard rumors that something lurks beneath Groxbridge, particularly your section of no-man’s land, that even the heretics are unwilling to disturb.

You clamber through a window opening on the east side of the building, and wade through the mud to get to the next ruin a short distance away. This building was once just a shed, but the fact that it has part of a roof is much appreciated, it seems like forever since you weren’t being rained on.

Sure enough, a “swamp boat” appears in the drainage ditch next to the ruined shed you are in. A primitive device consisting of crudely welded metal plates, a control panel, a pair of heavy stubbers, and a large fan, it seems like something scavengers, or even orks, would build, not the Imperial Navy.

But among the figures packed into the swamp boat (no larger than a Chimera) is a middle aged man in the uniform of a senior Navy officer. Also present is a many-armed tech-priest, a junior officer, two shuttle pilots, three naval troopers, two Risians, and a particularly filthy PDF trooper. Now that your group has joined, there are sixteen people packed into the swamp boat.

You find yourself crammed near the back along with the senior officer, junior officer, tech priest, the PDF soldier, and the Sarge.

You listen in as the senior officer yells at various people through a high end vox-caster. To your surprise, it turns out he is a full fledged Naval Captain, commanding a cruiser. Such vessels have tens of thousands of crew and unspeakable destructive power, you figure he is the equivalent of a full general at least, which makes the fact he is out here in a small boat all the more unusual.
>>
>>5212226

Unfortunately, it seems he is unable to call off the bombardment, which was ordered by the Krieger General who commands the Groxbridge front, and fully supported by the Admiral in orbit.

To your horror, the Captain then decides there is no way to safely reach friendly lines, and instead he will switch back to his original plan, to infiltrate Groxbridge and call in a shuttle to pick him up.

This plan makes little sense in your mind, but you are starting to suspect the Captain is a bit unhinged.

>Stick with the swamp boat for now.

>Jump out of the boat, flee to the front lines on foot.

>Jump out of the boat, fall back to the ruins.
>>
>>5212231
>Stick with the swamp boat for now.
We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.
>>
>>5212231
>>Stick with the swamp boat for now.
>>
>>5212231
>>Stick with the swamp boat for now.
>>
>Stick with the swamp boat for now.

You decide to stay in the swamp boat for now.

Because why not?

In the past few minutes you have seen your friends blown up, killed your first enemy, seen a Space Marine, bailed on some wounded comrades, and met a batshit crazy Navy Captain. You are entering all sorts of new territory lately, and although you aren’t the most introspective person in the world, you are feeling increasingly hysterical and detached from reality.

Beside, walking back to friendly lines through deep mud in the middle of an artillery barrage doesn’t seem like that great an idea either.

The swamp boat continues south for a bit before finding a large flooded blast crater to do a U-turn in, at which point you start heading north, and then east.

The filthy looking PDF soldier claims to have crossed back and forth between enemy lines on several occasions by pretending to be a traitor. Not exactly a huge accomplishment because he pretty much looks like a traitor already with his ragged uniform and extensive scarring.

The boat stops briefly in order to loot some bodies for disguises.

Stick a spiked helmet and spiked torso armor on someone, and you pretty much got yourself a Thorakara Regular infantry soldier. They aren’t famous for uniform discipline and most people on the boat are so muddy you can barely tell their uniform’s color anyways. The heavy rainfall and almost nighttime conditions caused by the thick cloud cover also helps.

And it is not like the swamp boat is Imperial Guard standard issue, making up some sort of story about being cut off from your formation and falling back eastwards should be easy enough.

As the swamp boat plods along eastwards, you strike up a conversation with the Captain, partially to take your mind off the artillery barrage going on all around you, but mostly because it is your nature.

The Captain is an odd sort, switching frequently from “angry manic” to “unfocused senile”, and it doesn’t help that you have to yell into each other’s faces just to be heard.

But you do piece together that his decision to have the swamp boat made and deployed in the middle of a battle was an act of pure idle whim, and he is deeply angry at the Admiral and the Krieger General for ruining his “fun” by focusing him to depart the area to avoid artillery and orbital bombardment.

The junior officer, probably an Ensign or whatever you call them, listens intently, but doesn’t say much. The Captain briefly introduces her has Hiroka but never gives his own name.

You also chat with the PDF trooper a bit. He is very cagey about everything, and you are starting to suspect he is a full on traitor rather than just pretending to be one.

Your mood darkens as you realize you are approaching enemy lines.

Suddenly this plan is starting to look whimsically suicidal rather than just whimsical...
>>
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>>5213392

You use the magnoculars to scan the route ahead and realize you have almost reached the enemy front lines. They aren’t particular thick in this area, just several layers of basic trenches manned by Thorakara Regular infantry, with heavy bolter pits on either side of the drainage ditch you are travelling down.

The Thorakara are one of the most common opponents of the Guard on the Groxbridge front, they recruit heavily from Guard and PDF deserters, and train recruits and conscripts from other backgrounds, in order to create a force roughly equivalent to the Imperial Guard. The Sarge says they are the backbone of the forces serving the traitorous Iron Warriors Space Marine Chapter in this sector, but you don’t know much about that sort of thing.

>Lie low, hope the PDF trooper can convince the Thorakara you are allies.

>Jump out of the boat, swim a safe distance away, then walk back to friendly lines.

(map was made by stannimposter for the original /tg/ story, modified by me to show the current battle situation, orange line is current/future boat route)
>>
>>5213395
>Lie low, hope the PDF trooper can convince the Thorakara you are allies.
>>
>>5213395
>>Lie low, hope the PDF trooper can convince the Thorakara you are allies.
Captcha: D0GHR
>>
>>5213395
>>Jump out of the boat, swim a safe distance away, then walk back to friendly lines.
>>
>>5213395
>Lie low, hope the PDF trooper can convince the Thorakara you are allies.
>>
>>5213395
>Lie low, hope the PDF trooper can convince the Thorakara you are allies.
>>
File: Thorakara Regulars.jpg (116 KB, 700x590)
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>Lie low, hope the PDF trooper can convince the Thorakara you are allies.

You decide to continue sticking with the boat.

As you get closer to the Thorakara lines, you can make out the individual soldiers more clearly.

They are a ragtag bunch with armor in either the Cadian pattern favored by the local PDF but painted dark grey, or the similar, but spikier armor and more rounded helmets of the original invaders. Some have patrol caps instead of helmets, and many don’t have torso armor. Strange runes are carved into armor and gas masks and painted onto uniforms. Uniforms are typically grey, but you also see the black of cult recruits, the khaki of PDF deserters, and the red of the berserkers.

The PDF trooper in your boat tells everyone who isn’t disguised as a traitor (including yourself) to pretend to be a prisoner, so you put the magnoculars and your lasgun down, put your wrists together behind your back, stare at the ground, and try to look defeated.

A minute or so later, the boat is close enough to the first trench that the PDF trooper in your boat calls out “Hail Karasseus, The Warpsmith, and the Lord of Iron!”, and the Thorakara return the salute. He then briefly states the boat was on a mission from someone called Sarat, and not to interfere with his business.

The Thorakara stand down, and the swamp boat passes through their lines without incident. Either Sarat is known to them, or the people in the boat looked important enough not to mess with, particularly the intimidating naval troops.
A short time later, the boat reaches the River Grox and turns north.

A swollen, raging mess of turbulent muddy water at least half a kilometer wide, you are surprised the boat doesn’t capsize immediately. Perhaps out of a fear of this, the tech-priest driving the boat sticks close to shore.

You soon enter the city proper.

The rain has dropped in intensity significantly over the past 20 minutes or so, perhaps the orbital bombardment is messing with the clouds.

The plus side is you can now see more than a few dozen feet without the magnoculars.

The downside is you can now see more than a few dozen feet without the magnoculars.

First the boat passes a massive chemical plant now used as a staging area by the “Iron Revolution”.

The main cult supporting the Thorakara component of the heretic occupiers, you don’t know much about them, but the large banners and graffiti they covered many buildings with perhaps provides some insight into their aims:
“RICHES FOR THE WARRIOR AND THE WORKER, SLAVERY FOR THE MERCHANT AND THE NOBLE”
“DEATH TO THE XENOPHILE”
“THE AETHER IS HUMANITY’S LAST HOPE”
“A NAVIGATOR TAKES THREE WEEKS, AN AETH-COGITATOR TAKES ONE DAY”

You try your best to forget what you read, nothing good comes from reading the words of heretics.

The next set of structures is far worse though...
>>
>>5218745

A cluster of reeking, rusted warehouses covered in graffiti depicting three orbs close together, with piles of rotting corpses clumped here and there. Bloated beings who look half rotted themselves move between the piles, consuming guts and limbs with oversized maws. Small two-three feet tall creatures made of raw filth egg them on, and lumbering brutes in biohazard suits leaking decay prod them from one pile to the next.

The Captain throws up over the side of the boat and he isn’t the only one.

You cough up a bit of bile yourself, but your mind is too busy working out the implications of this horrifying sight to notice.

Although you have long heard of rumors of the existence of daemons, and unusually freakish mutants being formed by contact with the Warp, you have generally dismissed it as superstition despite the fact that even official briefings sometimes hinted at such creatures, and veterans of this front talk about them frequently.

You wonder if the stories that your home world was conquered by vast hordes of such creatures is true after all...

Distracted in your thoughts, you barely notice when the swamp boat pulls up to a pier and everyone starts getting out.

“Remember, you are supposed to be a prisoner.” - Whispers Hiroka as she takes your lasgun, and you belatedly cross your hands behind your back again as you notice some nearby Iron Revolutionaries glancing at the boat suspiciously.

You travel the short distance from the pier to the nearby tall building without incident, but it is clear the party is expecting trouble, particularly as the pintle mounted heavy stubbers from the boat were taken off and are now being carried into the building by the naval troopers.

The “tower”, as the Captain calls it, is a squat, ten story concrete building, probably an administrative building for one of the nearby factories. But it is apparently large enough for the Valkyrie that the Captain just called to land on the roof.

Unfortunately, it isn’t until the group is on the sixth floor that everyone realizes that the building is still occupied. Here, the stairwells are open and exposed, allowing the occupants of the unfinished looking upper levels to see the suspicious looking group as it continues to head towards the roof level. Iron Revolutionaries and Thorakara look up from where they are making crude explosives, sorting loot, and repairing weapons and armor and whisper to each other pointedly.

On the final floor, you spot something that fills your heart with dread.

Two Traitor Marines, grim versions of the loyal Marine who rescued you earlier, are standing on the far end of the floor.

>Flee back down stairs and out of the building.

>Keep cool, continue pretending to be a prisoner.

>Grab your lasgun back and die fighting.
>>
>>5218747
Follow everyone else's lead. If our cover isn't blown yet, we don't want to be the one that blows it.
>>
>>5218747
>Keep cool, continue pretending to be a prisoner.
>>
>>5218747
>>Keep cool, continue pretending to be a prisoner.
>>
>>5218747
>Keep cool, continue pretending to be a prisoner.
>>
>Keep cool, continue pretending to be a prisoner.

You play it cool, and the group somehow manages to reach the roof without arousing further suspicion.

Naturally that comes to a quick end when the Valkyrie closes in on the roof.

How they got past enemy anti-air defenses you will never know.

Luckily there is only one access onto the roof, and with two heavy stubbers and several lasguns aimed at it, initially nothing gets through.

At first they send a few Iron Revolutionaries with their black stained work suits, looted jewelry, and occasional broken gear necklace or conical straw hat, but they are poorly equipped and organized, mostly wielding work tools, sidearms, and the occasional old autocarbine, shotgun, or vermin rifle deemed unworthy of the front lines, and are easily gunned down.

Then comes a large group of Revolutionaries and Thorakara, but this group is also easily defeated, the 50 cal rounds of the heavy stubbers sometimes punching straight through cultists at close range.

But then finally one of the Iron Warriors arrives on the roof...

Your mind rolls with fear as stubber rounds and lasfire bounce off of it harmlessly as it starts systematically gunning down members of your party with its lasgun.

Luckily you were standing furthest from the roof access since you weren’t assertive enough to get your lasgun back from Hiroka, and therefore ended up being the first into the Valkyrie as it lands moments later.

In the end, only yourself, the Sarge, Hiroka, the PDF trooper of dubious loyalties, one of the Risians, and the Captain survive. You find the survival of the Captain rather suspicious as he was standing the closest to the roof top access, but perhaps the Iron Warrior got taken out by the Valkyrie when you weren’t looking.

The trip up to the Captain’s ship is surprisingly short. It turns out his ship is the one conducting orbital bombardment on the Groxbridge region as well as providing support to aerial craft, and therefore his ship is hovering just 12 kilometers above the city, barely above the cloud cover.

It is a bit alarming that something so big was hanging over your head for who knows how long, had the skies been clear, the cruiser would have dominated the horizon.

The Valkyrie lands in the Captain’s private hangar near the bridge, and the Captain and Hiroka immediately depart, but not before making a vague statement to the hangar crew about how you and the other surviving foot soldiers are “honored guests”.

>Hang out in the hangar for a while, it has been a wild trip since your first taste of combat less than an hour ago and you need time to process.

>Go visit the bridge, maybe you will learn something useful.

>See if you can get assigned quarters or find some food, it has been a while since you have slept in a bed, or eaten something other than corpse rations.
>>
>>5219662
Find food and somewhere to pass out.
>>
>>5219662
>>Hang out in the hangar for a while, it has been a wild trip since your first taste of combat less than an hour ago and you need time to process.
>>
>See if you can get assigned quarters or find some food, it has been a while since you have slept in a bed, or eaten something other than corpse rations.
>Hang out in the hangar for a while, it has been a wild trip since your first taste of combat less than an hour ago and you need time to process.

It turns out being “honored guests” isn’t that special.

The flight crew bring you over to their lounge area where you eat some flavorless porridge and rock hard biscuits, but hey, at least it is something different.

The PDF trooper wanders off somewhere, and a short while later, so does the Risian, leaving just you and the Sarge.

It is a weird feeling being out of the rain for so long, you exposed skin becomes dry for the first time in ages, but that makes your soggy clothing ten times worse.

The Sarge isn’t much company, she is still suffering from a head injury and you can’t help but wonder if she will ever recover.

You find a cot to lie down on, and you spend the hour or so lying on your back talking to yourself, trying to process everything that has happened to you: saw some of your squad mates killed, shot a heretic, almost got killed yourself on several occasions, saw a Space Marine (and two traitor Space Marines), disobeyed orders, left comrades in the field, found out that daemons and mutants are real, etc., etc., etc.

It slowly occurs to you that things have not been okay for a while, and you can’t continue pretending they are.

But who knows, maybe if you lie low for a bit, you can find a niche on the ship that isn’t completely terrible.

Eventually you fall asleep for an indeterminate period of time, before you are awakened by a massive jarring that throws you halfway across the room.

Confused, you stumble back to the main hangar area where you see Hiroka arguing with the flight crew and the pilots.

It turns out that the Captain and much of the bridge crew were traitors of some kind and rammed the cruiser into the Admiral’s flagship, and now the cruiser you are on is just minutes away from being blasted to pieces.

Because why not?

Everything else in your life has gone wrong in the most spectacular way possible.

>Start sobbing and begging the Emperor for forgiveness, this is what you get for being immoral, not taking your duties seriously, ignoring orders, abandoning comrades, associating with obvious heretics, etc.

>Start laughing hysterically. You have cheated death several times by pure luck, either you will get lucky again or you won’t.

>Keep focused and try to bargain your way onto the Valkyrie. Anything is on the table if it saves your necks. Anything.

>Suppress all your negative emotions and anxieties into a tiny little ball in the back of your head and go back to being your normal, bubbly, cheerful self.
>>
>>5221764
>>Suppress all your negative emotions and anxieties into a tiny little ball in the back of your head and go back to being your normal, bubbly, cheerful self.
If you can't change anything then why worry!
>>
>>5221764
Find sarge. However else we get through this, she's coming with us.
>>
>Suppress all your negative emotions and anxieties into a tiny little ball in the back of your head and go back to being your normal, bubbly, cheerful self.

You decide to suppress all the bad stuff and try your best not to worry about it.

You spot the Sarge wandering over and grab her before she wanders off.

“Good news Sarge! These nice gentlemen are going to fly us to safety." - You shout happily.

Actually they don’t though, while your back is turned, the Valkyrie does a surprisingly quick take off and leaves the hangar, taking Hiroka with them.

Okay, Plan B...

You don’t have a Plan B, but you look around the hangar anyways. What else is there to do?

Luckily you spot a hatch in the far corner, with “Savior Pod” written above it.

Well, looks like that is Plan B now.

You grab the Sarge and pull her over to the hatch.

You are worried that operating a savior pod will be above your meagre abilities, but one big red button opens the hatch, and once you are inside, another big red button launches the pod.

It belatedly occurs to you that savior pods probably weren’t meant to be launched when you are still close to a planet, hopefully this one has some sort of automated landing sequence because you have no idea what the rest of the buttons in the pod do.

The ride down is bumpy to say the least, but at least trying to avoid biting your tongue of prevents you from dwelling too much on whether you are about to crash into the planet.

Fortunately the Emperor favors you yet again.

You don’t bite your tongue or smash your head in, and after a few minutes of freefall, some sort of landing sequence kicks in, and the pod rights itself and slows down dramatically.
With one final thud of considerable magnitude, the pod lands.

The Sarge proves herself useful for once and flips a large lever from up to down, and part of the pod explodes outwards, creating an opening to the outside.

Naturally rain starts pouring into the pod (you were so close to being dry!), and as you look around, you realize by some extremely unlikely coincidence, you have landed just outside the ruins where you got your first taste of combat.

With nothing better to do, you help the Sarge out of the savior pod and head back to the relative safety of the ruined building.

You wave cheerfully to the one wounded soldier within who is still conscious and ask if anything is new.

He makes some semi-coherent comment about everything going to shit in the past few hours, and several new types of enemy showing up.

A new wave of dread threatens to overwhelm your forced cheerfulness.

You pull free your magnoculars and take a look out the various empty window spaces of the ruin.

The rain has lightened up to the point that you can actually see reasonably far in all directions.
>>
>>5222641

A few hundred meters southwards, the Imperial lines seem to be holding strong, and about a kilometer northwards, the heretic lines also seem quite active. The artillery/orbital bombardment is still ongoing, seemingly as senseless as ever.

A few things are different though.

Very different...

Striding leisurely through the Imperial lines are several almost impossibly huge war machines.

Titans! You heard there were some on the planet, but never imagined they would show up in the Groxbridge theatre.

In between the Imperial and heretic lines is something even more bizarre.

Ripping back and forth across the muddy battlefield of no-man’s land in machines resembling jet skis and speed boats with rocket thrusters on them are packs of shouting Orks. You don’t see any sane pattern to their behavior, but you suppose that is to be expected.

And if one new enemy wasn’t enough, you also spot waves of large, metallic skeletons, mostly heading towards the city. You remember from your Uplifting Primer, Cold Shoulder Crusade Edition, that these are Necron, though much of the relevant section was blacked out. Much like the Orks, they are far more intimidating than the Primer presents them as.

Well, okay then. So a few new types of baddies are on the field. Maybe they will all just kill each other and save us the trouble. Who knows? It is not like having three different types of enemies trying to kill you is more dangerous than just one. And you took down a Royal Niner earlier today, how much tougher can an Ork or a Necron be?

As you consider your options, the wounded Risian asks you where you have been for the past few hours, and how you ended back here.

As you struggle to think through just how exactly to explain your adventures in the swamp boat and up in the cruiser, you spot several small, stunted figures outside heading to the cover of the ruin. You recognize then as Gretchin, both from the Primer, as well as orders to keep an eye out for the little vermin. They have been popping up occasionally in no-man’s land ever since the failed Orkish raid on Imperial lines 1-2 months back.

You have heard they aren’t that great in a fight, but there is several of them, and you aren’t exactly a fighting machine either...

You grab a lasgun off the ground as you consider your options.

>Lie low, hope they go away.

>Open fire from the partial cover of the window opening.

>Try to lure them into an ambush.

>Try to lure them away from the ruin (and away from the Sarge and the other wounded).
>>
>>5222642
Lay low and pray that we don't get shanghaied into the inquisition after this clusterfuck is over
>>
>>5222642
>>Try to lure them into an ambush.
>>
>Lie low, hope they go away.
>Try to lure them into an ambush.

You put your back against the nearest wall and aim your newly acquired lasgun at the window openings to your right.

Hopefully they leave this ruin alone completely, and if not, hopefully they come in through one of the windows on your right and not your left.

The wounded play dead, including the Sarge, though you notice she grabs a gun of a corpse before lying down, so perhaps she isn’t as befuddled as she looks.

You tense as you see the first grot climbing a window to your right, but hold your fire in case more appear, thus allowing you to gun down several at once.

It is a wretched creature, dressed in rags and carrying a small revolver. If all of them are so poorly armed, you may have a chance!

A second and third climb through the window almost simultaneously, carrying another revolver and a blunderbuss respectively.

You decide that is enough, and open fire.

Unfortunately, only a single shot comes out of your lasgun (which misses).

Panicked, you check the ammo counter, only to realize there is none, then realize the lasgun is probably set to single fire, only to notice the gun only has one setting as you turn it over to look.

You curse your own hastiness in picking up the closest weapon.

Unlike the Standard M-Gs used by your own regiment and the Risians, the Tallarns use a more simplistic pattern which only has one setting (two if you count “off”).

The Sarge opens up on full auto instead, killing all three in a flurry of fire before her lasgun runs dry. You snap a few shots off on single fire as well, but you doubt you hit more than one before the Sarge finished them off.

She then points behind you, where as you turn you see that another grot has just climbed up onto the sill of the window opening behind you.

You manage to back step out of its reach as it swings at you with a steel pipe, but then it tackles you as you try to aim your lasgun for a pointblank shot.

The creature is stronger and heavier than it looks, but not overwhelmingly so. You manage to wrestle the pipe from it, pin the creature to the ground, and throttle it with its own weapon, though you get a few scratches in the process.

Luckily none of the other gretchin try to enter the ruin. Perhaps they ran when they heard fighting, you have read they are cowardly.

A massive nearby impact shakes you from your thoughts and knocks you to the ground. Somehow you know instinctively that this is different than the ongoing artillery bombardment.

You look up and see that what looks like large pieces of ruined ship are falling from the sky, perhaps from the collision between the battleship and the cruiser you were just on.

>Fall back to your own lines, there are some pretty deep bunkers there.

>Stay at your current location, you have rudimentary cover here.
>>
>>5227081
>>Fall back to your own lines, there are some pretty deep bunkers there.
>>
>>5227081
>>Stay at your current location, you have rudimentary cover here.
Better than getting buried
>>
>>5227081
>Fall back to your own lines, there are some pretty deep bunkers there.
>>
>Fall back to your own lines, there are some pretty deep bunkers there.

You decide to fall back to the safety of your own lines and its deep bunkers.

You say goodbye to the assorted wounded soldiers again, grab the Sarge, and exit the ruined building.

Outside it is perhaps even worse than you remember.

The Titans have begun their advance into no-mans land, and the Kriegers are using their massive footprints to help dig new trenches northwards towards the city. Unfortunately, they are attracting all sorts of attention from the Orks, pulling them away from the Chaos lines, and back towards the Imperial lines (and you).

Even worse, the bombardment from artillery and orbit continues non-stop, and now chunks of orbital debris are also hitting the region, with catastrophic results. With each impact, either the shaking earth or the shockwave travelling through the air is enough to knock you off your feet. Vicious winds form as air is pushed away from explosions and the rain hits your face hard enough to sting.

You somehow make it back to the now ruined Baneblade, and from there start travelling down the (mostly) intact trench leading back to friendly lines, but progress is slow and the trench seems to be leading directly towards the largest of the advancing titans, which of course is also attracting much of the enemy fire.

Still, you almost make it to safety, but then a (relatively) small mortar hits the side of trench not far behind you. As you scramble to get back on your feet yet again, you barely have time to react as a five foot tall wave of muddy water floods into the trench. The mortar round must have hit an earth dam and caused a pond of water to drain rapidly into the trench!

You have heard of men drowning in such events. Luckily you were a surfer in your former life and know how to move with a wave. You manage to get both yourself and the Sarge upright and leaned backwards a bit, then let the wave carry you forward for quite a few meters before the water level dropped enough you can walk again.

You realize much of the water is draining into a hole in the ground figure it is one of the many ancient tunnels that crisscross the battlefield. It probably leads back to Imperial lines, which heavily incorporate such tunnels into its network of underground bunkers, though they may not be happy to see someone coming from the direction of no-man’s land.

On the other hand, continuing on the surface may be just as dangerous, given you will have to cross beneath the Titan, then through a wave of advancing Kriegers. Also the increased chance of being hit by bombardment or debris.

>Enter tunnel network.

>Continue travelling back to Imperial lines via the surface.

>Fall back to the ruins you just left and hope for the best.
>>
>>5231472
>Enter tunnel network.
Definitely no unpleasant material down here, no sirree.
>>
>>5231472
>>Enter tunnel network.
>>
>>5231472
>>Enter tunnel network.
>>
>Enter tunnel network.

You decide to enter the tunnel network.

You gently persuade the Sarge to jump down the hole before climbing down yourself (mostly because you were worried she would stay on the surface if you went down first, not because you were using her as bait).

The tunnel seems to be relatively new. The cheap spray-on rockcrete is a clear indication this is a recent tunnel, not one of the ancient steel walled ones deeper down. It has very basic lighting, and despite being partially flooded with mud and water, is still much easier to travel through than the sinking quagmire that is the surface.

You travel south for a few minutes before reaching a T-intersection, which also has a vertical shaft and ladder leading downwards.

You are happy to see the helpful sign that says “Bunker A3 – 100 meters”, thus confirming your hope that the tunnel will lead back to a region of the Imperial lines you are familiar with.

You are somewhat less happy about the wretched smell emitting from the vertical shaft. It is like someone mixed feces with putrid flesh then left it out in the sun.

It reminds you of the daemon creatures you saw during your boat ride through the city and you can’t help but wonder what has happened here in your absence.

Luckily you make it back to the Imperial lines without further incident.

Bunker A3 is a maze of tunnels and storage spaces constructed by Guardsmen and specialized servitors under the supervision of the Imperial Fists. On the surface, it looks like a series of thickly armored pre-fabs, pillboxes, and automated turrets sunken partially into the mud, but beneath the surface it is much larger, extending five levels down, containing a range of specialized spaces, and even connecting via tunnels back to the main Imperial command centre, two kilometers to the south within Clipper Ridge.

You have only been here occasionally during the two weeks you have been on planet. A few lucky soldiers bunk here, but it is mostly used for supply and ammo storage. Under normal circumstances anyways. It is now incredibly crowded with soldiers from five of the six regiments assigned to this area taking shelter from the bombardment and falling debris. Only the Kriegers are absent, having apparently decided now is a good time to claim a new slice of no-man’s land.

The smell you noticed earlier is even worse here for some reason, and you struggle not to throw up again, like so many others have clearly done judging by the floor.

Instead you decide to seek out the rest of your unit, assuming any of them even survived the fight by the Baneblade.
>>
>>5233115

Your regimental structure is still quite primitive due to the lack of qualified officers, and the fact that almost no one has completed even basic training. Everyone is lumped into groups of 30-50 soldiers led by a sergeant, while every ten or so groups has a captain who is generally subordinate to a captain from a more experienced regiment (usually the Risians, not that they are much more experienced, but at least most of their officers are ex-PDF).

You manage to locate some groups under the command of Captain Priscilla, a company that has only recently arrived, but who were at least able to point you to the part of the bunker where some troops under the command of your own “Captain Imperium” are located.

You eventually manage to weave your way through the crowded bunker to get to a small room that has been temporarily claimed by soldiers from Sergeant Jiller’s group, as well as the remnants of your own group.

Through conversation with them, you are able to piece together that sometime after most of the soldiers in the area retreated to the bunker complex to avoid the orbital bombardment, the Iron Warriors spearheaded a subterranean assault causing massive losses, though it was eventually driven off by the Imperial Fists. However, in order to cover their retreat, the Iron Warriors flooded many of the lower tunnels with some sort of tainted filth.

The conversation shifts to how many of your comrades are concerned that their wounds are being infected by the foul miasma, which in turn shifts to your own injuries, and those of the Sarge.

Unfortunately your regiment currently only has 2-3 medics per company, and they tend to focus their efforts on officers and such. So far no one has been given the individual medical kits found in certain other regiments for basic wound care, and you doubt you will be getting such gear any time soon.

>Stay put for now, see if anyone provides orders.

>Go find a medic or doctor who can look at the Sarge’s head wound.

>Sneak out of the bunker and back to the surface, find somewhere to lie low away from potentially infectious air where the rain can wash you off.

>Go try to scavenge some medical kits from the supplies stored in the bunker complex.
>>
>>5233118
>>Go try to scavenge some medical kits from the supplies stored in the bunker complex.
>>
>>5233118
>Go find a medic or doctor who can look at the Sarge’s head wound.
>>
>>5233118
>>Go try to scavenge some medical kits from the supplies stored in the bunker complex.
There should be some scattered around.
>>
>>5233118
>>>Sneak out of the bunker and back to the surface, find somewhere to lie low away from potentially infectious air where the rain can wash you off.
Yeah no, I'd rather have her blasted into a pool of gore by a mortar shell or a titan foot instead of being turned into who knows what fuck-zombie
>>
>>5233118
>>Sneak out of the bunker and back to the surface, find somewhere to lie low away from potentially infectious air where the rain can wash you off.
>>
>>5233118
>>Go find a medic or doctor who can look at the Sarge’s head wound.
>>Sneak out of the bunker and back to the surface, find somewhere to lie low away from potentially infectious air where the rain can wash you off.
We need to help save someone today and dang it I don't want to leave sarge behind. But we can't stay here and risk being attacked by those creatures of filfth or getting infected by one.
>>
>Sneak out of the bunker and back to the surface, find somewhere to lie low away from potentially infectious air where the rain can wash you off.

You decide to sneak out of the bunker so you can go hide somewhere where the air is cleaner. Some clean air probably won’t hurt the Sarge either, you doubt a mere medic or some scavenged supplies would be able to quickly fix a concussion anyways.

At any rate, “sneak off” is probably an overstatement. There doesn’t seem to really be anyone in charge. It looks like the Kriegers marched out to support the Titan advance, and left everyone else behind except for maybe some of the Praetorian tanks. No one prevents you from leaving the bunker.

Outside, things are just as apocalyptic as you remember, actually a lot worse.

The Titans are all destroyed, or at least standing, but engulfed in flames and likely non-functional. You spot several large Ork and Necron machines that have likewise been destroyed.

Although the rate at which artillery shells are hitting no-man’s land seems to have decreased (probably because most of the artillery has been destroyed), the rate at which orbital bombardment is raining down seems to have increased exponentially.

Driven by curiosity and the (strangely calming) assumption you will probably die soon anyways, you climb up onto a nearby observation post, and scan the battlefield with your magnoculars.

From your new vantage point, and with the clarity provided by the magnoculars, you decide that the battlefield is strangely beautiful in its own way. The glowing beams of energy coming down from above the cloud cover remind you of lightning and also just how small everything on the surface truly is. They are blindingly bright, but luckily the magnoculars have some sort of built in compensator.

Both the lances fired from orbit as well as the falling debris punch holes in clouds cover, which swiftly disappear. They also create massive shockwaves as they hit the surface, clearly visible as the shockwaves slam the falling rain horizontally.

You focus your magnoculars closer to your own lines and are mildly amused to see that even the Kriegers, cogboys, and Marines are now falling back or otherwise seeking shelter.

You wonder why the Navy is increasing its orbital bombardment with such valuable assets on the field, but then you focus your magnoculars towards Groxbridge and spot the likely reason.

Although the rain continues to come down heavily, the Chaos lines seem to be literally on fire. At first you assume it was the result of some sort of incendiary munitions, but as you watch more closely, you realize a Titan sized humanoid figure made of pure fire is wielding what you assume to be the “bident” that was located earlier in the day (though it now seems like an eternity ago).

As you watch, it points the bident at some Orks, and creates a glowing blue bubble of energy that incinerates dozens of them.
>>
>>5237762

Thoroughly distracted by the spectacle, you are caught off guard when someone yells out “What are you idiots still doing out here?!? The rest of that ruined ship is going to hit in less than a minute! Shit that big can level everything for hundreds of kilometers!”

You turn and see Captains Dinn and Danner, as well as a few flunkies like Namara. They were probably in Captain Dinn’s bunker (which is really more of a pillbox really) and decided to relocate to a much larger, deeper bunker to improve their survivability.

>Follow them back to Bunker A3.

>Warn them about the toxic miasma coming up from the lower levels.

>Tell them to screw off, you are going to enjoy the apocalypse on your own terms.
>>
>>5237763
>>Warn them about the toxic miasma coming up from the lower levels.
>>
>>5237882
Seconded
>>
>>5237763
>>Warn them about the toxic miasma coming up from the lower levels
>>
>Warn them about the toxic miasma coming up from the lower levels.

You try to warn them about the toxic fumes coming from the lower levels of the bunker, but they just keep running, clearly deciding it is better to take their chances down there then on the surface.

After a bit of thinking, you decide you should probably follow them, but then you are distracted by a bright light coming from the north. The largest of the Titans has taken a direct hit from an orbital lance strike and explodes spectacularly.

A few moments latter, an even brighter light emerges from the west.

You turn your head, but it takes you a moment to realize you are looking at the sun.

For the first time since you arrived on the planet the cloud cover has broken and the sun, two suns actually are shining down upon you.

One seems significantly brighter than the other, but you can’t remember if that is normal or not.

Suddenly the brighter sun seems to wobble, then disappear completely, in its place is what you realize is most of the ruined battleship, falling from the sky at high speeds.

Its trajectory must be aligning with one of the planet’s suns, blocking your view. What you mistook for a bright sun was actually the burning hole where the prow once was, but now for whatever reason the ship is falling sideways, giving you a terrifying view of its burning gun decks and ruined bridge structure.

You prepare to flee, but three larger pieces of debris hit nearby at this moment, two in the city and one in no-man’s land less than a kilometer away.

You are thrown off your feet by the impact, and as you stumble upright, you notice the ship is now much closer, but also slowing down considerably.

To say it is unusual to watch a kilometers long burning wreck floating perhaps 10-20 kilometers to the west, and a few kilometers in the air is a massive understatement.

You turn and realize the massive burning figure is somehow doing this. As you watch, the figure shoots a beam of pure burning white energy from its palm which its the ship.

Everything goes white.

...You wake up in terrible pain...

..Some of your skin and much of your clothes has been burnt to a crisp.......

......You are in some sort of grand hall in a palace or a mansion....

..Weird but expensive looking sculptures and art everywhere..........

You see the Sarge talking to someone.......

....Her skin is more tanned, and her hair is platinum blonde, but it is definitely her...

..Also her concussion must be gone because she seems alert.....

...You are not though, everything is blurry and fuzzy and spinning...........

...........You wonder if you died and this is the afterlife........

.....Seems unfair that you are in pain and disfigured........

...You hear the clicking of heels on tile as the other figure approaches you............

........You feel a warm and tingly......

...................................

...............

....
>>
>>5238783

You wake up.

The ground is rock hard.

And full of desiccation cracks.

You are caked in dried mud, and a filthy but dry uniform, but something seems off.

The uniform doesn’t quite fit the same way as before, and a couple of rips and tears are no longer there or are different. Likewise, several scraps and bumps you received in recent memory are now healed.

You look around.

You are underneath the observation platform you were viewing the carnage from before the blast.

You rise unsteadily to your feet and note you have a massive headache and vertigo.

You climb back up onto the platform and look around.

The sky is clear, and the mud is dry as far as you can see, causing the area to resemble a desert more than anything.

Every visible corpse or piece of vegetation seems to be burnt to a crisp. Groxbridge itself seems to be burning, or at least the south part of it. A kilometer long piece of battleship juts from the dried mud in no-man’s land, you have no idea how it landed without destroying everything nearby. Nothing moves except the last remaining Titan has it stumbles without purpose towards the burning city, and a few Orks who are clearly dying but somehow not quite dead.

The Sarge appears beside you and hands you a flask of water.

Her eyes are clear and focused.

“This shouldn’t be possible.” - You rasp dryly.

“It shouldn’t be. Even if the platform protected us from the fire, the steam from the evaporating water probably should have cooked us. But stranger things have happened in the battlefield. I would keep this to yourself though. Also the little trip in the swamp boat and to the battleship and back. Commissars don’t like the unusual and anomalous.” - Says the Sarge.

Not long afterwards, crowds of Guardsmen and a few Marines and cogboys start flooding out of bunkers and other entrances to the underground tunnel network.

No one seems to realize you were outside before anyone else.

As far as anyone can determine, the Orks and Necrons are gone, and the Chaos lines around the city are silent. It doesn’t take long for a celebratory mode to emerge as people realize they somehow survived this round of the war, and seemingly outlived their opponents as well.

>Join in the celebrations, forget everything weird that has happened.

>Press the Sarge for details on what happened, particularly your fuzzy memories of being in some sort of palace.

>Go seek out a priest or a psyker, something strange has just happened...
>>
>>5238786
>>Join in the celebrations, forget everything weird that has happened.
Happy go lucky
>>
>>5238786
>>Press the Sarge for details on what happened, particularly your fuzzy memories of being in some sort of palace.
>>
>>5238786
>>Join in the celebrations, forget everything weird that has happened.
>>
>Join in the celebrations, forget everything weird that has happened.

You decide to try and forget about maybe being burned alive, the weird mansion, the slightly different looking Sarge, etc.

You and the Sarge manage to locate some members of your old unit, and the Sarge quickly takes command, organizes the group, and gets in touch with Captain Imperium, who in turn gets in touch with Captains Dinn and Danner.

Their orders are for your company and others in the area to clamp down on celebrations, organize themselves back into their groups, squads, and platoons, then prepare to march out into no-mans land if the Kriegers require support.

To your surprise (and a bit of dismay) the Kriegers are indeed marching into no-man’s land, which resembles a desert more than anything at this point. They move silently and effectively, and have been joined by some Marines from at least two Chapters, plus some cogboys.

You wonder if there is anything in the city worth fighting. The southern portion seems thoroughly wrecked, but there are probably some garrison troops in the northern portion as well.

Suddenly, the Titan sized burning humanoid reappears out of thin air and promptly starts spraying devastating rays of fire on the advancing Kriegers.

“What the fuck is that thing?” - You say, mostly to yourself.

“It is a C’tan Shard of Nyadra’zatha, a piece of an ancient god.” - Replies the Sarge, who was standing within earshot.

“Where did you hear that, it doesn’t even make any sense.” - You counter.

The Sarge doesn’t reply, and you wonder whether this is another example of her knowing things she shouldn’t, or just a sign she hasn’t fully recovered from her head injury yet.

What follows is an epic battle, fit for the history books and legends, that seems to last for hours, but probably not nearly as long. The “C’tan Shard” appears weaker than before when it stopped, then annihilated a kilometers long crashing battleship, but still wrecks plenty of havoc.

Feeling somewhat invincible by this point, you climb yet another observation platform to watch the showdown.

Although at first you are a bit worried, the Navy eventually deploys a considerable number of aircraft, which along with the remaining Titan and plenty of artillery and orbital strikes, seem to start wearing it down. Your own regiment contributes little to this though. No one orders you to move within firing range, either because they forgot about you, or they figure small arms fire won’t accomplish anything anyways.

The ending is strangely anti-climatic, the “C’tan Shard” simply disappears after being hit by a particularly intense volley from the Titan, though the shockwave that follows wrecks several aircraft and knocks down some of the closest Krieger units.

Your group spends the next few hours guarding a section of trench, while other, more experienced regiments clear no-man’s land and the upper tunnel network of enemy stragglers.
>>
>>5243610

The Necrons have disappeared completely, and there are rumors that the elite of the Orks also teleported out, but minor skirmishes with Orks and Gretchin continue into the evening. Forward scouts report that at least some cultists and traitor guard are still present in the city, but they are more interested in falling back and going to ground then fighting.

There are also a few rumors of strange rotting creatures, and sadistic feminine creatures that disappear and reappear at will operating in the lower tunnels. However, such rumors are quickly quashed when word gets around that the Commissars are executing anyone who mentions it.

Despite this, there is a real feeling that a major victory has been achieved today.

Most of the regiments present including your own are ordered to fall back to the Imperial rear lines while the Kriegers, Marines, and cogboys handle the clean-up efforts. There are rumors of an Inquisition force as well.

They even distribute some kegs of cheap booze they apparently had stored somewhere for a moment like this, before long your company seems well on its way to getting wasted.

>Get as drunk as possible, maybe you will forget some things better left forgotten.

>Get moderately drunk, be everyone’s best friend.

>Try to get the Sarge drunk, see if you can figure out how she knows so much.