Thought For The Day: It is always better to find your enemy, before your enemy finds you.

Vladimir - Southern Approach, Anentar City, Chiros, Segmentum Pacificus, 907.M41

I spun and brought the blade of my chainsword through the back of a howling cultist, tearing it away seconds later to parry the axe blow of another of his brethren, this one beginning to foam at the mouth as he cried exaltations for his vile gods. As I dueled the raging heretic, I brought my bolt pistol to bear on another target, a shrieking bloodletter to my left, and put three rounds into its chest. The action did not require any thought, such movements were automatic, bred into me by actions on what felt like a hundred different worlds. I could hear my voice, oddly disconnected from my own thought processes, bellowing again the litanies and rallying cries I knew by rote. The Death Korps troopers around me fought in relative silence, and so my continuous speech made me a target, but I would have been one already, dressed, as I was in the storm coat and red sash of an Imperial Commissar. I impaled the axe wielding cultist and fired at the red blur that was another lesser bloodletter in combat.

The daemon spun, the frenzied compulsion to kill gleaming in its eyes. In an instant, its claws were clashing with my hastily raised chainsword, leaving scorched indentations on the blade wherever I parried its blows. Not only was it stronger than me, my sword would be in pieces soon at this rate. I was aware of the pressing need to end this fight quickly, or suffer a painful death. I wasn't keen on meeting the Emperor at just this very moment. A particularly jarring blow shook through my body, and my arm wobbled slightly. Pressing the advantage, the creature managed to get around my guard and knock its clawed hand into the side of my head. My vision blurred and I staggered a bit. As it struck me again I was thrown several meters, and everything turned white for a moment, then black for several more.

When I could see and hear again, I was being picked up by a pair of tall korpsmen in gasmasks which had been painted to look like pale human skulls. The corpse of the bloodletter was barely recognizable, but I could identify signs that showed it had been raked over with fire from a large stubber. I thanked the soldiers curtly, distracted by the sight of another wave of cultists and traitor guardsmen clamoring for our blood as they swarmed down a nearby hillside at us.

"Where are all these khekking heretics coming from again, Sergeant?"

"Habs straight ahead of us on the next ridge, Commissar."

"Which we haven't bombed the khek out of...because?"

"Not aware of the reasons for that, Commissar."

"I see. Carry on, Sergeant."

I took another long look at the hillside, before collecting myself and moving forward to meet the foul tide.

Jeren - Anentar Glades, Chiros

Sweat coated the control toggles as I struggled to regain control over the spiraling Valkyrie. The lurching of the vehicle was erratic and unnerving, and only the tight straps crossed over my chest kept me in my seat. Hands moving automatically to exert what control I could over the path of the ship, I took a moment to reflect on my existence.

Bad idea. I was snapped back to reality by the groaning and screeching of what sounded like the entire Valkyrie, and the sudden looming of the forests in front of me.

I could hear cries from the back, guardsmen who had heard and felt the dropship begin to drag itself inexorably towards the ground. Alarms began to go off all over the rest of the craft too, and I observed the control panel in front of me with a detached horror.

A hand seemed to set itself down on my right shoulder, enormous and heavy. My back straightened without any thought on my part, and I took a deep breath. With renewed confidence I began to shallow out the swooping fall we were taking, and control our descent. I could detect the faint odor of incense coming from somewhere. I was Imperial Guard, I reminded myself. If this was how it went, then so it was, but if I could do anything to prevent the deaths of myself and the guardsmen I was carrying in the hold, it was my duty to do it.

Josef - Southern Approach, Anentar City, Chiros

From the corner of my eye, I saw the Commissar getting back up onto his feet and charging back into the fray. I covered his attack with several bursts of fire from the stubber, sending the traitor guardsmen diving for what cover there was, and mowing down the raving cultists who were too stupid to get out of the way. The heat of the mounted weapon was familiar and reassuring.

I flexed my grip for a moment, the upgraded Chimera humming underneath me, blinking the sweat from my eyes. It only lasted a moment, and yet, when I had regained the clarity and focus I had possessed a moment before, there was something metallic and enormous and red coming towards me, and it was moving too Emperor-Damned fast for me to fully understand what it was doing. I opened up on it, squeezing down on the trigger until the stubber was too hot to fire, and the thing had what must have been a chainaxe. I collapsed more than I jumped off of the platform and into the inside of the Chimera, scant seconds before the sound of metal biting against metal assaulted my ears.

Space Marine. The word came to my mind unbidden. But not the good kind. The very very bad news kind. The kind that were traitors. Enemies of the Imperium. Creatures far beyond my ability to deal with as a mortal man.

Something outside made a heavy impact with the ground. I heard and felt it, and it happened again and again and again. Drop pods. The crazy bastards were dropping right into the middle of our assault. And it sounded like it was working. The berserk Space Marine outside was howling madly and beating on the outside of the Chimera, and the other crew were producing their lasguns, just as it occurred to me that perhaps I might need mine.

Franz - Southeastern Approach, Anentar City, Chiros

Everything shook; the sky, the trees, the very ground beneath my feet. We were thrown to the ground and showered with hot topsoil as something huge and blood red struck the ground with all the force of a Valkyrie. As I struggled to regain my feet, the object opened up with a clatter, spilling forth... vile monstrosities. I looked up briefly to see two men being gutted by an emerging giant. Stumbling backwards in awe and an emotion which I think must have been fear, (though it is said that soldiers of Krieg have none) I observed the gaze of the traitorous Angel of Death as it landed upon me, and I was certain that this moment was my end.

A screeching mass of hot metal saved my life, detonating upon the pauldron of the corrupted Astartes and blowing the thing sideways in a splatter of ceramite, flesh, and promethium. My vision blurred for a moment, my body swaying on my feet, and then every sense returned to me with even sharper clarity than before. Stepping towards the nearest bit of cover, a half-collapsed wall which looked like it had belonged to a municipal building once, I produced a frag grenade. There was a rather large gap in the combat wherever a drop pod landed, as the impact itself shook up the nearby guardsmen, and the emerging payload of traitors were not hesitant to take advantage of their enormous advantage. The bodies of Korps troopers were strewn about like dead rats before a pestilence. I prepped the grenade and tossed it towards the first Space Marine to enter my line of sight. Ducking back into cover, I heard the thing detonate, and looked back out to see the Astartes I had targeted slowly clambering back onto its feet. Hoping that I wasn't about to draw the fire of every Chaos-worshipper for half a kilometer around, I opened up on it, targeting the gap between its helmet and its body armor.

If it didn't die, then at least it was effectively neutralized, because it didn't get back up. I looked around myself. The battlefield was a series of hills, covered in bombed out and ruined buildings, with wide open gaps of what had once been wide boulevards, grass growing out from between the cracks and spilling out over the pavement. The rain of drop pods had almost ceased by now, but where the infernal things were buried in the ground, our lines were shattering. It wasn't that we were fleeing. The Death Korps didn't know the meaning of the word "rout" except when applied to the enemy. It was that where the blood red Chaos Space Marines landed, there was such a massive disparity in power that the guardsmen were being slain easily and quickly, without any chance at organized resistance. Taking cover wasn't always effective either, as bolters tore through flimsy walls and into lightly armored bodies like a chainsword through butter. I saw the new commissar recklessly opening up on a cluster of Astartes with his bolt pistol, drawing their attention from the guardsmen to either side and onto him through pure audacity and with a string of blistering rebukes impugning their honor and their chapter's honor, denouncing them as traitors and heretics, and bringing into question the sexual habits and the heritage of their collective mothers.

At any rate, I didn't appear to have attracted too much unwanted attention, so I took aim at the knee joints of another red-clad colossus.