|The Last Man Standing
Author: code-11 PM
An imperial Guard deserter recalls his encounter with the Tyranids and tries to get off his doomed planet; Tyranids attack again, PDF decides to leave, something intervenes in the life of mortals. Rated mature for violence.Rated: Fiction M - English - Sci-Fi/Horror - Chapters: 47 - Words: 100,207 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 12-05-12 - Published: 05-15-09 - id: 5064291
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Note from the author-I apologize for the wall of text; at some point I'll have the time to reformat it. If it helps any, there are actually paragraphs in the later chapters.
We were only recruits, enticed by the glory of combat, the honor and remembrance of war. We had no idea of the horrors of the campaign in which we recruited. We were not told of the sacrifice, of the death, of the endless suffering that we were forced to witness as people who we grew up with died right before our eyes. The broken bodies, just lying there, rotting. We were not told of the twisted writhing remnants of our brothers in arms that appeared where healthy comrades were, just a second earlier. We were unprepared for the reality that is war.
It started out well. I was assigned to the 2305th battalion of the imperial guard. Training was as I expected it to be, dreary, monotonous, boring. I assumed that I knew all the facts, I mean hell; how hard it is to fire a lasgun? After a few years of intense training and physical readiness I was itching to get to the front lines, to start writing my page in history. How little did I know… I was finally assigned to combat, we were all excited, this was our chance to show our worth, to make a difference. As our troop transport shot through the warp there were no doubts, every man's head filled with half-truths and propaganda. As we reached our destination we were boarded by another vessel, one bearing deserters of the war going on below. They shouted to us, told us of our folly; they warned us. However, the diabolical words of the misinformation received from our indoctrination once again steered our actions. We spat on the men, called them shameful and pathetic. They were carried away to some unknown place, for torture and most likely, execution. We never saw that part of the ship though. We were as blind to that half as we were to the truth that was hidden below us.
The orders came, we were all to initiate transport, every one of us dressed in combat vests and armed with our standard weapons. The transport was perfectly coordinated by the commander in the transport above us. Little did I realize that the only fact that the was still alive was because he never actually traveled to the surface. When we got there, the wall blinding us began to shatter. Bodies and corpses were what we found when we arrived. The servitors had been ordered to stop burying the bodies and instead they were heaped in a pile and left to rot. The sat, defiling our camp until some special unit person decided to do the poor souls a favor and turned his flamer on them, liberating us of their death searching eyes. That's when the first of us began to have our doubts. "We were not told of this" they wailed. The commissar was fierce however and soon frightened us back into shape, as was his job. He laughed at our squeamishness. Even he was not prepared for the onslaught that was to come.
About 3 terra months after we landed, the number of Orks we encountered began to dwindle. Instead of charging thousands, we were faced with small squads who seemed unsure, as if the legendary fearlessness of the green devils was inexplicably broken. We rallied at the false victory and surged forward, encouraged by our apparent success. The truth was not revealed to us until we reached the war camp. The Orks had constructed a monstrous outpost, and from it they had surged like an interminable tide. When we approached, it was like someone had turned of the spigot; the never ending wave had stopped. We cheered and yelled and celebrated, thinking that Victory has near. Our hopes were crushed and we blanched before what appeared to us in that camp. Our enemy lay dead, all of them, uncountable corpses and half cadavers lay strewn on the ground, like some morbid green rug. The thing that unnerved us the most was that it was not lasguns that did this. The carcasses were too mutilated, too defaced . In fact barely could be found intact at all. They all seemed to have gashes in their flesh, almost like…well bite marks.
Morale was plummeting and the commissar all but had to threaten to shoot us to get us to make camp in that ungodly place. During the night a heavy fog set in. When the sun set there was a whole battalion of us, plus heavy support and number of sentinels and tanks. That would soon change.
It started with the outer guards. Tales spread like wildfire, people being dragged off into the night; nothing left. As the attacks grew worse and worse, the commanding officer on the ground ordered us to make ready for war again; against who? No one knew. We began seeing shapes in the dark, vast amounts of… things. They were like nothing we had ever seen before, let alone fought. As it neared midnight, the things decided that they were done with stealth and surveillance. Vast hordes swarmed as claws shot out from the darkness, taking us unaware. Screams filled the air as the attackers slaughtered the unprepared guardsmen. When the rest of the force readied, it was already too late to do anything. Shots split the night as one by one, the units fell. The people left with any common sense (Including me) rallied to the commander, ready to fight to the death against the foe.
Little did we know the nature of our adversary.
The morning brought no respite from the rout, just a blood red sky filled with strange winged creatures. We had lost all communication with our "friends" in orbit, I imagine that they left at first sight of the creatures. They knew what we were against, and which way the blade would fall.
The final assault against us was absolute, a commander just out of training would have soiled his flak vest at the very thought of it. Even our officer, who had witnessed many bloody, chaotic battles was unprepared to the sight that met his eyes when the filtered sunlight lit the plains before us.
It was a wave. There was no end to it. Just a solid mass of creatures, large ones blocked out the sky and slashed at our minds with their eldritch powers. Flying ones turned the red sky black with masses of bodies. In the center of our camp a furious digging noise brought even more of the things from below. As our troops died, a last glimmer of hope appeared, a transport; fully functional. We ran like chaos inself was at our heels, and for all we knew, it was. When our commissar tried to stop us we shot him, all of us, no hesitation, no regret. He would have dragged all of us back there until our blood ran from our bodies like a rushing torrent of gore. One of us had some idea of how to fly the thing and we got out of there as fast as our engines would allow us.
From our view point over the battle field we were forced to watch as the last of the men we had served with died in the name of the emperor.
I'll never know why they let us escape, the certainly had the capability of killing us all. They didn't though. I think the bastard has some kind of idea how our news would affect the rest of the empire, they let us escape to demoralize the others. And hell, it worked.
Now as I sit here, under a blood red sun watching the same thing unfold I am reminded of that time, the time when everything seemed so effortless, when the correct thing to do was clear, when the blood of my friends did not stain the depths of my soul.
I have another transport, but I know they wont let me leave, why should they? I already informed high command, they have no use for me any more. I see the wave getting closer. My mouth turns dry. What is left for an old man, a retired army soldier who only saw months in combat. Nothing- that's what. The echo's of that day stir me from my deepest dreams, and their voices plague me in my mind.
I will not let them get me, I know now that this is the only was to go, the lasgun seems friendlier now, like an old comrade. But it's a lie, they all died long ago.
To the Tyranids…