Tank Death

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I wrote this some years ago and though I'd share it!



Gunther pulled his scarlet sash around him closer as the sand storm his tank was engulfed in grew more intense. Despite himself, the Commissar glared around the tank, looking for any sign of their foe.
Eventually, Gunther withdrew to within the armoured confines of the Guard tank.
"Auspex detected anything?"enquired the Commissar to Tank Commander Hulgrim, the tone of his voice betraying no malice.
"We should return to base. We have already reported that this auspex blip was nothing more then an echo"granted Hulgrim, issuing his ascent to Commissar with a casual salute.
With a nod, the Commissar gave his concurrence of the situation. The tone of the engine shifted slightly as the driver, Vull, directed the Demolisher into a shallow left turn.
The wind howled outside as Gunther's thoughts drifted back to the opening moves of the war.
Dark Eldar forces had struck without warning. They raised the first Imperial settlement within hours of attacking;the majority of the Imperial defenders were helpless against the onslaught. Since then, they had been playing games with the Imperial army, attacking, then disappearing, never really attacking in force, and auspex echoes had tripled in the last few weeks.
Despite it being apparent that the echoes were caused by the Dark Eldar, the Imperial Governor of the world had ordered all auspex contacts to be investigated and Dark Eldar raiding parties to be fought and if possible, routed before they could attack the remaining settlements.
So it was deemed that the armoured Imperial Guard regiments which were founded on the world would be those responsible for its continual safety, for its regular Infantry Regiments were too large and unwieldy to be effective against the xenos they faced.
And with that, Gunther had found himself posted to active duty serving with one such Armoured regiment, serving aboard the Leman Russ Demolisher Obedient Destroyer.
Worse of all was that Obedient Destroyer had not seen a single Dark Eldar since the war started. They were forever chasing auspex echoes.
The Commissar's thoughts darted back to the present to the squawk of the vox box. Although it was barely loud enough for the Commissar to hear, the Tank Commander confirmed what he thought he had heard.
"We have Dark Eldar attacking the settlement of Tuax. Two clicks south. Vull, take us down through the network."Hulgrim smiled warmly at the prospect of battle. Gunther knew the reason behind his expression.
Months before, Hulgrim's entire family was killed or captured during a raid on Meun and Hulgrim was too late to exact his revenge.
Another second and the engine changed pitch again. Shifting his weight slightly to avoid being thrown against the armoured hull of the Leman Russ, Gunther grabbed his ear defenders before Vull brought the tank to full throttle once again and the noise levels soared.
Even with them covering his ears, the noise from the engine was nearly unbearable, and the common Guard joke of tank crews being partially deaf slipped into the Commissar's mind like an assassin's blade into his back.
Forcing himself to remember the terrain of the surrounding areas from the many briefings he had attended, the Commissar was unsure of his exact location, but he was sure that Tuax was located deep in a gorge, with but two entrances marked on all the maps he had the time to study.
Glancing around, the Commissar's gaze fixed on a nearby monitor screen to his left. Toying with the controls for what seemed to be ages, the Commissar attained the setting he was after.
Deep red lines swam into view on the tiny screen, marking the contours of terrain as the armoured tank trundled by.
Pressing the stud to activate the zoom function, the Commissar panned and zoomed the display as far out as it would go. Eventually, the gorge became visible. A mesh of red lines and numbers, most of which were negative marked the location of the gorge.
Watching with quite intent, the Commissar watched gorge get closer on the screen with every passing second.
Expecting the tank to turn sharply, the Guard officer glanced over at the commander. Risking a glance back, the tank commander knew what he the Commissar was thinking. The tank commander began signalling in his hand gestures knowing full well that the engine noise would permit no other form of communication.
The Commissar got the crux of what the commander had gestured, and from that he begun studying the terrain viewer once again to look for what the tank commander had told him was their route down into the bottom of the canyon.
The tank commander had indeed told him that there was a series of tunnels which snaked their way down through the rock which formed the canyon walls, allowing those with local knowledge to get to the bottom of the gorge with relative ease. Although the tunnels were far from easy to navigate in the dark and many were too small to permit a Leman Russ through.
Without warning, the Leman Russ pitched forward suddenly and then banked slightly to the right as the tracks found their path into the deep tunnel.
Every now and then, the tank would slide left or right as it made its way down the tunnels. Other times the tank could just scrape through with no more then a few inches clearance to either side.
When the tank emerged into the sun light again, Gunther praised the Emperor for allowing the tank through the dark tunnels. Once the all clear was sounded signalling the tank was ready to go into battle as was the custom on this world, Gunther climbed the turret. Ensuring his ear defenders were still place, Gunther drew his bolt pistol as he braced himself against the movements of the tank beneath him.
Before him was a scene of what should have been horror for many unseasoned Guard warriors, but Gunther had been in too many battles to shy away from the scene before him.
Dark Eldar warriors darted gracefully from position to position. The scorpion forms of Talos'skimmed across the desert flow the gorge in the opposite direction of the tank. Clearly they had come out behind the Dark Eldar army, and as such were in the way if the Dark Eldar attack was truly broken and they fled.
A resurgent wave of power burned from the tracks as the driver gunned the engine again. The increased engine noise caused many of the Dark Eldar to spin upon their kneels to face the new threat.
Pulling the scarlet sash tight over his form once again, Obedient Destroyer prepared to go into battle…



Let me know what you guys think Smiley.




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