Long Lost Friends

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Benjamin W. Erickson wrote this
The rumble of Leman Russ tanks seemed to drown out the march of the main column of Imperial Guard infantrymen. John, or Johnny as his squad leader called him, looked tiredly around, fatigued after the long days walk. Why couldn't they just bring Chimeras, and drive to the town they were supposed to protect? His squad leader had received the answer in a monosyllabilic form: No. His Sarge, Pete, was a guy that looked after his boys, though superiors didn't take a liking to him, due to his beliefs that the ground soldier was the key to winning any battle. He always wanted his privates to be in top shape, in case of an ambush, or something like it. But the higher ranking men always gave the credit of battles and wars to the technology and the mechanized units, such as tanks, and the like. John looked disgusted at the Leman Russ crews driving on happy and as pleased as they could be in their huge machines of war.
"Halt!" John let out a sigh of relief, as the order to pitch camp was issued. Just about every runt dropped with exhaustion to the ground, all 5000 of them. The 8 Leman Russ' ceased their incredible rumble, and put their machines to rest.
 30 miles away lay the town, empty of civilians, anyway. They had already seen the advantages of the Greater Good, and its subjects. Yet even with Tau shas'las, the town was almost completely empty. Everyone else was preparing the end of these meddlesome IG in the Tau planet of Tau're'o. Though the Tau respected their foes, many of them agreed that these gue'la were being extremely unpleasant. Reports of tortured Tau at prison camps had infuriated them, and revenge was theirs. Tonight the Tau will finish the Gue'la presence in Tau're'o. Tor'ke'su, the Shas'el of this Tau army from Vior'la, was no more than 3 miles from the gue'la position.
3 hammerheads, 2 broadsides and 4 Crisis suits took positions around the easily spotted gue'la encampment. They seemingly thought that enemy presence was ridiculous. All except a group of 10 were patrolling silently the position, being careful to not be spotted. But the XV15 Shadows, quietly investigating the gue'la, had already seen them, and were moving to intercept them. Just when the soldiers where about to reach the top of the ridge which they were encamped against, 8 figures in black with multibarreled burst cannons on their arms, materialized around them, guns trained on their heads.
"Do not shout, do not scream, and do not say anything." The soldiers immediately stopped, breathless at this turn of events. The perfect English got a look of impression from Pete, who rarely showed that expression to a Xenos. The Shas'vre of the group moved his head and stared back at Pete.
"Gue'la, drop your weapons, and forsake this war." Spoke the leader.
"Never. If the Emperor says we must defend this planet, we will do so." John suddenly replied.
"You take orders from another gue'la whose been living almost forever because you need a leader so desperately?" The Tau showed no respect to the Almighty Emperor which infuriated John. He was about to raise his lascannon and show the Xenos some respect when Pete grabbed his arm, forbidding him to raise his weapon.
"Hello, Ino're. Long time since we were last together." Pete spoke calmly, with a slight smile on his face. The shas'vre, startled, lowered his weapon, and looked intensely at the face which had uttered his name. Then, he removed his helmet, revealing another human, who at only 25, was one of the privileged humans to carry a XV15 battlesuit.
"Pete, you rejoined the IG?" Spoke Ino're, surprised to see a lost long friend.
"No, I looked for another opportunity to join the Tau force. The Imperial Guard was the only means to come here again. Will you receive my squad?" John could barely believe his ears. His squad leader, he who swore loyalty to the Emperor, was about to rejoin the enemy. Angry, he looked at his friend and Sergeant, and said:
"Will you join the enemy of the Emperor?!?"
"Yes, I will, for they treat their soldiers 10 times better than the IG. Won't you join us?"
The rest of the squad decided to follow their squad leader, but John wouldn't swerve loyalty.
"How? How can you abandon your fealty to the Emperor?"
John could barely keep his ears, as he was taught since he was small that the Emperor was the only one who they could place their trust in.
"I never swore fealty to him. I passed the Test of Fire with Ino're, and we swore to always trust and protect each other. My fealty is to the Greater Good. For the Tau'Va!"
This was the first time John heard Pete speak with such emotion… In the end he joined Pete, who lived to be another privileged human in an XV15. John became leader of a squad of 11 other humans, along with his buddies of his earlier squad. He gained great renown among the Tau, characterised for his aggressiveness, and ingenuity. The night he joined the Tau, he slaughtered the Commanders who treated the infantry like scum. Yet, of the 5000 soldiers, only 165 died, and the rest became either prisoners or subjects to the Tau'va.
 




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