“Victory belongs to the combatant with the superior analysis of the tactical situation, the most efficient military force, and the hatred that burns brightest.“—Overlord Agamunzu, lord master of Tophet and the Dryillian Regency
South of the forest, Brother-Sergeant Hugon Titus of the Sternguard struggled to maintain his composure as his Rhino transport rushed forward.
Not far away, a tactical squad was being attacked by superior numbers of Necron warriors, and casualties were mounting. Brother-Chaplain Gèrves Valquelin also was moving to reinforce the Space Marines’ flank, but time was of the essence.
Finally, the Rhino slammed on its brakes and shuddered to a halt. The rear hatch dropped, and Titus led his squad of Sternguard out and forward to the fighting.
Energy beams streaked through the air in front of Titus, and he could hear the reassuring sound of boltgun fire ahead. He also heard the approaching roar of engines. The biker squad was near.
Reaching the far edge of the woods, he found only six brothers still standing. Not 30 meters beyond, several score of Necron warriors were marching forward, relentless, heedless of the boltgun rounds slamming into them. Several xenos fell every second. Some would blink out of existence with af lash of light. Others would fall, twitch, then begin to rise once more.
To his right, Titus could see the biker squad racing toward the Necron flank, and several of the xenos halted and turned to face the new threat,
“Sternguard! Target the xenos facing our bikers. Allow Chaplain Valquelin’s glorious charge to strike home to maximum effect..”
Squad Titus responded with the efficiency and deadly accuracy expected of members of the 1st Company. Targeting the Necrons with Kraken Penetrator Rounds, the veteran Space Marines mowed down most of the xenos firing at the biker squad.
With seconds, Valquelin’s bikers slammed into the rest of the Necron column, the chaplain himself striking the first blow—collapsing the chest of one xeno with his Crozius Arcanum.
“Forward!” Titus screamed. “Take the fight to the enemy!”
With a roar, his Sternguard, along with those still standing members of the tactical squad, drew their assault blades and chainswords and charged forward. After a few minutes of fierce hand-to-hand combat, the xenos were wiped out.
* * *
The superior technology of his species was beginning to make itself felt. Agamunzu gloated as he watched a human tank explode, and one of their transports shudder to a halt, black smoke bellowing from its engine. A hatch opened, and Space Marines hurried disembarked, only to be shot down by the Necron warriors lining the wood fence.
He’d learned of the defeat of his attack to the south. These Space Marines were primitive, but they were far superior to the rabble he’d been defeating since his awakening. He could not risk losing the initiative in this battle. A wave of disgust swept over him. He’d have to accept the assistance of the Destroyers.
He hated the idea. Their cognitive function severely impaired, the Destroyers were a disgrace to the Necron protocols of warfare. Insane, their only thought was to kill all life—a goal both unworthy of his noble species, but also a threat to the hope of those Necrons that looked to rid themselves of their cybernetic curse and return to a biological form.
Still, their disgusting presence was needed to bolster his troops.
+ + The Destroyers are released from the reserve. Attack the human settlement to the south of the forest. Eliminate the human threat. Send a Ghost Ark of warriors to support the attack. + +
From his command barge, Agamunzu watched a Ghost Ark turn and float slowly toward the hamlet where the Space Marines had defeated his first wave of warriors. Flashes of light appeared as the Destroyers teleported onto the battlefield, and the floating warriors began to accelerate toward the human line.
Suddenly, a series of explosions rocked the battlefield. The Ghost Ark exploded, its flaming wreckage falling to the ground in a crumpled mass of flame and smoke. To the north, gaps appeared in the line of his warriors. A massive human tank was charging directly into the Necrons, its lascannon sweeping across the battlefield. On its flanks, it was joined by armored transports firing smaller projectile weapons, primitive yet effective against his warriors.
* * *
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Categories: Tophet Campaign