Reinforcements have been hurried to the Lorca Basin in a last-ditch effort to prevent the strategically vital agricultural region from falling into the hands of the Death Guard.
The 23rd Armored Battalion, 37th Heavy Mortar Battery, and a battalion of the 177th Tallarn Regiment have deployed to the city of Pollock, in the western Pattoa Flatlands, where they have joined the heavily battered 44th Dozarian PDF Regiment in a last-ditch effort to halt the months-long advance of traitor Astartes and the hordes of crazed cultists worshipping heretical gods.
Imperial forces anticipate an attack within the hour, and the result of this battle could determine whether the growing food shortage on the planet turns critical.—Imperial Voxcast, planet of Dozaria, 6 191 741.M41
+ Outskirts of Pollock +
+ Planet of Dozaria +
+ 6 191 741.M41 +
He was so tired. Before the Death Guard had invaded the Pattoa Flatlands, Colonel Elias Manikas could have served as a poster boy for the Dozarian Planetary Defense Force. Tall, lean, handsome, a hint of gray at his temples—Manikas had been the picture of health and vitality.
No more. As with the rest of his command, his body was gaunt, his face cadaverous—the effect of repeated exposure to the virulent miasma that always preceded the arrival of traitor forces. Despite the protection of his respirator, and the repeated inoculations provided by medical personnel, his body was ravaged by disease.
Now his ears were bleeding. He didn’t know if it was a new symptom of infection, or if it was related to the heretical chants coming from the approaching Death Guard army. Probably both. Every time he’d faced the Death Guard, there was a clamor of profane, discordant noises that gave him a headache.
Feeling sick to his stomach, Manikas turned to a nearby voxcaster and gave the order. “Enemy troops to our front. All heavy weapons to open fire at effective range.”
* * *
Unlike his opponent, Chaos Lord Ghaz Tak was confident of victory. He had overrun nearly two-thirds of the Pattoa Flatlands and, with the capture of the small city of Pollock, he would break the Imperial defenses once and for all.
The Lorca Valley would be his to despoil.
His contempt for the Imperial lackeys was as virulent as the diseases that ran through his veins. In battle after battle, Ghaz Tak had driven the Imperials from their defensive positions. With every kilometer seized, he’d found the bloated corpses of his enemy, rotting on the battlefield and providing fertile meat for a new generation of Rot Flies.
Today would end his glorious campaign. In his mind, the enemy was defeated—and all he needed to do was step forward and take his prize. There would no flanking maneuvers, no preliminary bombardment. He’d formed his troops into a massive column, with Bloat-Drones, Blight-Haulers, and Helbrutes bullying their way through the horde of cultists that advanced with him.
Smirking at the slaughter that was to come, he walked over to a waiting Rhino and stepped aboard, joining his bodyguard of Terminator-armored traitors.
He looked at them. “Let us share the bounty of Nurgle with the misguided followers of the False Emperor.”
* * *
At Imperial weapons began to bombard the approaching Death Guard, Manikas felt a faint glimmer of hope. His heavy mortars landed precisely in the middle of the huge column of cultists advancing on his troops. Scores died with every shell that fell.
Even more heartening was the accuracy of fire by the 23rd Armored Battalion. The enemy was supported by a platoon of Vindicator tanks, but these mighty vehicles were quickly destroyed. One tank was consumed by a spectacular explosion that wiped out every enemy infantryman within 20 meters of the blast.
The loss of armor shifts the odds in our favor, Manikas thought. He turned to his voxcaster.
“Order all big guns to target the approaching Rhinos. If we can keep those transports from charging into our lines—if the damned traitors have to walk any distance whatsoever—our firepower may be able to stop them in their tracks.”
A scream to his left caught his attention, and he turned to look. A sickly purple light was pulsing around one of the two Primaris Psykers that he’d been assigned. Clearly something was amiss. The psyker was on his knees, screaming and holding his head. Then a commissar ran forward, pulled his boltgun, and shot the tortured soul in the head.
The enemy loses its armor; I lose a psyker. A good trade, Manikas thought.
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Categories: Dozaria Campaign