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The skies above Hive Kerranus were blotched with the faded remains of flak rounds, the once clear blue panorama smeared with the smoke from thousands of fires. The oily black trails of destroyed aircraft spoilt the chaos of the backdrop, relatively straight lines amongst swirling clouds of spent energy. As Veteran Sergeant Daine watched the battle ebb and flow all around him, there was but one feeling he felt - satisfaction.
This was what happened to those who stood in the Emperors way; particularly the foul xenos entrenched on this planet which was once under the glorious light of his benevolent rule. The deviant Eldar somehow had got the idea that this planet, Corona X, was actually theirs and they had arrived in force to drive out the inhabitants.Over my dead body, Daine thought angrily, smiling as he imagined the looks on the alien filth as they discovered that the Imperial forces had led them into a colossal trap, concealing themselves in underground catacombs constructed thousands of years ago by some other civilization as the first Eldar ships arrived in-system. Then, as they landed in their irritatingly graceful dropships, the Ultramarines had launched their assault from their own ships that had been in orbit around Corona X's only moon.
Smashing aside the relatively small Eldar fleet in a blazing display of pyrotechnics and shells the size of class-2 buildings, the Astartes began the drop-pod and Thunderhawk aerial attack, whilst at the same time the Planetary Defence Force emerged and commenced their own assault.
Caught between two forces, the Eldar expedition was torn apart in a matter of hours. 2 hours, to be precise. Nevertheless Daine felt that the victory had been too easy. Usually the Eldar put up a real fight, but he decided that the reason they had been so easily routed was largely because of overkill on their part. Currently, he and his assault squad were bringing the final blow to bear, an honour granted by Captain Sicarius. At the moment the Captain of the Second company was consolidating he and his troops position with small squads despatched to deal with any pockets of resistance. A small, desperate group of enemy warriors had dug themselves into defensive positions and it was up to them to finish the xenos off.
Flexing the fingers of his powerfist impatiently, Daine waited for the signal to strike with agitation. He had seen only limited combat during the main battle; being assigned to attack any tanks with meltabombs had proved to be a waste of time. Only one tank had been slow enough to catch up with and that had been destroyed in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately there had been no enemy troops inside, the blazing skeleton that was the troop compartment had contained only what appeared to be ammunition. Now, they would have a real fight on their hands!
He could see the small square where the Eldar were holding out from the ruined building they were in. Flanked by only low buildings and mounted piles of rubble, it would only take one jump to reach them.
He was broken from his reverie by the small flashing skull icon on his HUD. The company command was telling him it was time.As the Emperor wills,he thought.
"The order has arrived, men," He said with relish over the secure vox-channel. "Weapons at the ready!" The nine assault marines drew their bolt pistols and tested the blades of their chainswords worked properly before taking up the attack positions detailed to them at Tactical Command. Brother Barius ignited his flamer whilst Daine himself powered up his combat shield. He had waited for a proper fight all day and now the Emperor had granted him the honour. He was not going to let him down.
"Brothers - on my mark, commence the attack. Give them no mercy - show them how a warrior of Ultramar fights!"
His squad cheered in reply.
"Now, brothers! For the Emperor!" A mere thought sent the message from his brain to activate his jump pack along an implanted nano-wire, and in less than a heart beat he had tore high into the smog-choked air, powerfist hefted and crackling.
If the xenos had heard the assault marine's jets they would have mere seconds to prepare. Those seconds were clearly not enough. As their leader, a tall and elegantly robed figure carrying a shimmering, curved blade realised what was about to happen he tried to send a psychic warning to his troops to speed up their reactions. But it was too late. The junior Eldar psyker couldn't summon up the will quick enough to warn all the soldiers and even as those within range leapt at twice the normal speed to their positions, the assault marines landed.
Daine snarled in pain and anger as a shuriken round pierced his armour between the upper and fore-arm plates. Landing clumsily out of the distraction he instinctively raised his combat shield, energy shields flaring as more small-arms fire impacted upon it. Somehow he managed to wrench the disc-like bullet out of his arm using his powerfist, which was considered to grant the wielder the manual dexterity of a Mukaali, but he didn't question his luck. Leaping from his crouching position he swung the huge weapon in a great sweeping arc at the nearest Eldar warrior, shattering it's fragile helmet and neck vertebrae. Crying out in anguish, another leapt upon from behind, combat knife drawn and glowing with incandescent energy. But Daine's jump pack hindered the warriors grip, and wheeling around he felt a resounding clang as his shield collided full on with the xenos' chest. Ribcage splintered, the alien died screaming as Daine put a bolt shell through it's head.
Standing back to assess the situation, Daine watched as his battle brothers dealt with the foe. Brother Barius doused a pair of warriors running for a heavy weapons platform in liquid fire before putting their destination to the torch, power cells detonating under the intense heat. The slaughter was awesome to behold - marines hacking and slashing, chainswords flashing in the dim light and blood splattering the square. The Eldar fought bravely to the last man, but the element of surprise was all the Ultramarines needed to have the upper hand. As the xenos fell back, Daine added his own fire to the others' and soon not one alien was left alive.
As the thunder-clap explosions of bolter fire fell silent, the squad regrouped and admired their work. Eldar bodies littered the square, puddles of ignited fuel spluttering where they fell. The only noises were those from the blazing heavy weapons platform and the gurgling slosh of freshly spilled blood. A haze of smoke and evaporated life-fluid had formed over the tiny battlefield, more gruesome evidence of the massacre that had taken place. As he watched a robed xenos twitch in his death throes, Daine decided that all was done.
"Tactical Command, this is Assault Squad Daine. Requesting extraction, over."
"Copy that. Sending a Thunderhawk now, activate your homing beacon. Out."