Blooding

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"Shas'saal Vior'La Mal'caor, we have established visor-link. Your progress is now being monitored."
"Understood," Saal'Mal'caor replied, his voice trembling slightly.
"Try not to worry so much, Mal." the Shas'La replied.
Saal'Mal'caor smiled at hearing her words. Shas'La Vior'La Mesme had been a good friend of his for many Tau'cyr. He fondly hoped for her to be his mate, as he had carried feelings for her since his first day at the Academy, when he first saw her. The way she called him "Mal" made his heart skip; such familiarity was unheard of for those not bonded in the Ta'lissera.
"Ready?"
"Yes... no... I don't know."
"Make up your mind fast, Firewarrior, 0.09 Decs until go."
Those brief moments past like Tau'cyr. Finally, the green light over the Orca's drop-ramp lit up, and the Tau stormed out into hell.
*  *  * In the closed confines of his helmet, Saal'Mal'caor's breath came out in loud, echoing gasps. Behind him, the Orca's engines roared loud, white-hot fire emerging from the thruster ports like dragon's breath. It fought for height, eager to clear the battle-scarred earth, and into the harsh white abyss above.
The world turned upside down. There was a sickening sensation of movement, and Saal'Mal'caor's vision turned to a blur. He refocussed enough to see the cause of the mayhem; the Orca had lost and engine. It was spewing fire and fuel in all directions, spinning helplessly as the Ork Flakk-Wagon pummelled it with massive rockets. It wobbled in midair, before gravity finally dispelled the magic holding it up, and reality struck home with a frightening blast. Saal'Mal'caor shut his eyes, and felt the apocalypse consume him.
"Mal! Mal! Get up! Come on Mal, Get up!"
The Shas'Saal staggered to his feet. His team-mates were forming up and opening fire at something out of his sight. He readied his rifle, and joined them, replacing a Tau whose ruined form was now cartwheeling back down the scree.
...there were so many...
Instict hit. He dropped to one knee, and began snapping off precise shots into the throng. He remembered the words of the Shas'El that drilled him; pick a target, squeeze the trigger, do not pull; engage until target is dead, and move on. He downed six Orks in quick succession, before the Green tide hit...
Burst Cannon fire shredded the mob an instant before they could strike. Four Crisis Suits dropped from the heavens, weapons taking an unforgiving toll on the Ork agressors.
"Mal! Kroot Auxiliaries are positioned to the east, they need cover-fire! Gather a team and advance!"
"Confirmed, Shas'La!" Saal'Mal'caor replied, picking out four of his team-mates. The five ran along the crumbling rise, slipping on loose rock and crumbling dirt. They finally caught sight of the Kroot, shooting and hacking at a massive mob of brutish monsters.
"Covering fire! Saal'myar, Saal'aish, use that rock-pile as cover! We'll take the high ground!"
The Tau split up efficiently. It was not until later that Saal'Mal'caor, watching the recorded scene during La'Mesme's debriefing, that he felt the cold sting of terror. For now, adrenalin had stolen his body, and blinded his senses to everything but the foe. He didn't even remember hearing the gunfire, or seeing the shot-sparks of ricochet that were winking along the slate-covered hill.
The Tau opened fire, aiming for the flanks of the Ork squad. Some Orks split off to charge them, but these were rapidly dispatched before the Pulse-fire was returned to the throng. Finally, there guns stopped, as the Orks buckled and fled.
"We're not done yet, Mal. El'Rash'ya is caling up all available troops to target and destroy the main Ork taskforce gathering in the depression to the north. Watch your footing, the ground is loose..."
Saal'Mal'caor let out a long, tired breath. His adrenal surge was fading and he just wanted to sleep... preferably with La'Mesme.
Nodding to his team-mates, the five Tau followed the Kroot onwards into battle once more.
 




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