A/N: I know my character appears Mary Sueish, I know you don't agree with his views and I know most people out there root for the Imperium.
I know all that and I don't give a damn.
Capture Troopers and Shock Troopers recieved an augment to make them faster, Heavies and Supreme Trooper are genetically enhanced to be bigger and stronger, Helghast Bodyarmor is equal to Imperial Guard's Flak armor, Petrusite Based weapons are the shit, on par with Plasma, Force Recon is the name of Radec's Elite Forces and you'll see the rest by yourself, now, if you have a problem with that, or the Imperium not being ridiculously overpowered in this one fic for the sake of credibility and story telling, don't bother telling me how "Wank my wank fic is". I'm here to tell a story, if you don't wanna hear it, I'm not forcing anyone, I,m not even being paid for it!
If you think I should change something, you are welcome, but stay polite, please.
I pull my chin above the pipe for the eight time when the door to my cell opens.
"Major Sand, sir!" Snaps a muffled voice behind me.
The guy must be standing at attention, since I finish my tractions without hearing a sound.
Once it's done, I drop to the ground and turn to face the soldier.
His red optics are staring right at me, cold, machine like, yet burning with the fury of our people.
"Speak, soldier." I order.
I'm a prisoner, yet I still get to order my guards around. Life can be weird.
"The Admiral wishes to speak to..."
"Like I give a fuck," I scoff, putting on my t-shirt and slipping my rebreather over my mouth, before giving the private a hard look "get out of my face, boy scout!" I don't like wearing goggles with my mask just for that reason, I got blue eyes that glow very slightly because of high petrusite levels in my blood, so I don't need the optics to freeze someone's blood in their veins.
The guy doesn't even flinch. Good; Helghast don't flinch.
"Sir, he said it was urgent; that there was a 'malfunction of some kind with the device.'"
The device? I'm a pilot and a commando, why the fuck would he ask my… Aw shit! They used that Stahl Arms hyper-cheap crap! I told them it would fuck up in their face!
Well, we're still alive, so it obviously didn't fuck up as much as I thought it would.
"Alright, soldier," I sigh, "lead the way."
He makes a by the book, parade worthy 180 degrees spin and walk off in the corridor.
I snort and follow.
All the cells we pass are unoccupied; most crimes are punished by death on this ship, so the brig is pretty much empty. Well, except for JADE, an ISA Shadow Marshall I captured back when I was a 'capture trooper'. Actually, I make it sound glorious, but she was heading for exfil, convinced no one could follow and I jumped her at the last second.
Just that little extra speed and stamina my physiology gives me made all the difference.
I, myself, wasn't in jail because I committed a crime, but because I shot a general down on Helghan; traitor was feeding ISA info about Visari. The Colonel couldn't execute me, I'm the best Shock Trooper he's got and definitely the best sniper in this whole damn army, but shooting a general when you're a lieutenant has to be punished somehow, otherwise everyone would.
He promoted me by four ranks and threw me in jail for a week without food.
Hey, if it makes him feel better about himself!
I pass JADE's cell and we exchange a couple of insults.
"Am I finally getting rid of your ugly ass?" She laughs, expectantly. I can't see her, since the lights of her cell are broken. She broke them.
"You're not really a beauty queen either, darling. Ever wonder how comes you're the only female on this ship and no one raped you yet?"
"Too scared 'bout having your dicks cut off?" She suggests, earning a choked laugh.
"Whatever you've got is bad enough amputation is the only cure?"
"Fuck you Nate." Nate… I like when she calls me that… Anyone else would have gotten their throat ripped out, but, somehow, her accent or the way she says it allow that Vektan to get away with it.
"In your dreams, bitch."
She'd answer, but I'm already gone, so she just lets out a frustrated yelp.
We pass a doorway and I get the feeling the soldier wants to say something.
"Be very careful of what you are about to say, lad, I know of over seventy ways to kill you while using my bare hands, your helmet and a toe nail… YOUR toe nail."
He shuts up. Smart move.
As we walk trough the Helghast Heavy Battleship's corridors, I try to assess the situation.
Pieces from seventy-three cruisers form the Legacy of Visari, a huge battleship equipped with cutting edge tech and quite a bit of captured ISA gear. Our only goal is to carry on the Helghast culture should Helghan fall. We were given all the technology Visari could spare, over one point five million ground troops and just as many civilians so we could colonize another planet and, some day, take back what is rightfully ours.
My role in that is pretty small, I'm one General Vasiliev's field commanders. Well, since I killed general Vasiliev, I'm not sure who's in charge of the ground troops anymore, but I know Admiral Salvor is in charge of the Legacy and now he wants to see me about the Hyperdrive acting up on him…
I'm no scientist, and I only pilot Jetpacks, so he most probably has some combat op for me to conduct, which means we ended somewhere either inhabited or unfriendly-looking.
This is gonna be good.
"This is Colonel Ivan Warrick of the Imperial Guard to unknown ship, you are trespassing in…"
I look around the bridge; the Admiral is sitting on his command chair, in the middle of the cramped room, techies are typing away like machines on large computers along the walls and Colonel Svert, Vasiliev's former second in command, is standing behind the Admiral, hands in his back.
Svert is wearing a General's uniform.
"Colonel Sand." He greets me, his smirk audible beneath his mask.
Colonel? All these years spent doing Radec's errands and all I had to do to receive a five ranks promotion was to shoot a General.
If only I'd known.
"General… I thought Colonel Radec would be given the lead on this one…"
The admiral stands and put his hand on my shoulder.
"Sorry Sand." Is all he says before returning to his seat. "General, brief him."
Svert nods and turns to me, his sharp, dry voice explaining to me that we just arrived in a yet unexplored area of space and that we have absolutely no clue what is going on.
I will lead a 'Diplomatic Task Force' to aid the Imperials, whoever they are, against a large alien force that seems to be besieging one of their biggest cities. I'll be commanding a full Heavy squad, an armored division, two infantry battalions with support units and an air support squadron formed of eight ATACs, four Overlord dropships and twenty Jetpack troopers. Almost as much as Radec had under his command for the defense of Visari's palace.
"Why?" I begin when he asks me if I have any questions. "Shouldn't we wait until we know both parties of the fight before we choose sides?"
Seems like common sense to me that, as long as we don't know the whole story, we'd better just sit tight and wait.
"No, we saw what the opposing forces look like. The Helghast do not ally themselves with beasts, we'd much prefer fighting alongside Vektans."
That was a… Very tactical reason, I suppose…
"Shouldn't we contact the imperials, let them know we're on our way?"
The admiral scoffs.
"We tried; their comm. Equipment is not advanced enough to pick up our transmission, it seems."
I nod. "No further questions. Sirs, if you'll excuse me, I have to get geared up…"
"Yes, you do." The admiral says from his chair, his voice oddly playful, "Your new gear is in the B5 armory, second locker. Get suited up and join your troops in hangar Bay six, we'll drop in atmosphere long enough to deploy your combat barge and then you'll be on your own, whether or not we'll ally with the Imperial Guard is completely up to you. Don't screw this up and don't stick us with another ISA either. Dismissed."
I snap a salute and leave the room before bumping in the soldier that escorted me there. Looks like he's expecting to be ordered to bring me back to my cell or something.
"Excuse me, Major." He apologizes before stepping aside, ready to escort me.
"It's Colonel, soldier, and you can return to you squad, you are no longer needed here."
He hesitates, but knows better than to question my orders and finally nods.
"Affirmative, sir, reporting back to squad."
Good boy. I turn right in an unlit hallway while he goes left, to the elevators.
After bumping in a pipe for the fifth time, I start wishing I'd wear my goggles; night vision wouldn't hurt right now.
That's the thing with Helghast ship; we wear NVGs all the time, we don't need lights, at least, not when we're on duty, so when one burns out in the military part of the Legacy, no one notices or care… Except me.
I finally find my way to the armory… After testing the reliability of half the Legacy's piping.
The door hisses open and I am welcomed by dim black lights.
Am I really the only one on this ship who prefers using his true eyes?
"Yeah, you are. But then again, I'd show 'em off too if I had eyes like that."
The voice is female, muffled by a rebreather, and comes from a workbench in the corner of the room.
Being a sniper, I know exactly what she's doing; I do the same at least once a week.
You see, snipers don't wear body armor and are poorly trained in firefights - I'm an exception since I'm actually a shock trooper- so they use active camo to avoid trouble, no thermal, no visual, no radar, they're ghosts… Even to themselves.
That's all neat when you need to hide, but when you need to perform maintenance or to reload while cloaked, you gotta learn how to do it blind and without a sound, so snipers often take their gun apart and back together while cloaked; some even spend all their free time doing it.
Well, all their free time they don't spend shooting, sparing or working out.
They're Helghast, after all.
The sniper finishes assembling her rifle and uncloaks, revealing her Force Recon beret and badges.
I used to be Force Recon; a combine shock-stealth-Black ops unit of the Helghast Army. A lot like the ISA Shadow Marshals. Real hard-asses created and handpicked by Radec himself…
"You're the new CO, sir?" The sniper asks while locking a clip in her VC32 rifle.
I nod and look around for the lockers. They're next to the firing lanes, right ahead of me.
"First Lieutenant Nalia Kovachin at your service, sir." She introduces herself. "I've been affected as your second in command."
What! No one affects me a second, I choose them! Who does the general think he is! He… Wait… Kovachin?
"First Sergeant Kovachin? That you?"I breath, bemused. She removes her mask and give my face a closer look. Quite a feat from five meters away, but she IS a sniper…
"Holy shit! I knew I'd met you somewhere! Cadet Nataniel Sand! The shittiest shot I've seen in seven years at the academy… Yet you made Colonel! Nice job, lad! You're like, what? Twenty-eight?
"Twenty-four." I correct, feeling like I'm back in boot camp.
Sergeant Kovachin was never a bitch; she was hard, but fair and always had a playful demeanor, even when chewing your ass.
'You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn unless I told you not to! Seriously! Who manages to shoot themselves with mounted weaponry? You know what? When you get in the field, DO NOT try to kill the enemy, 'kay? You'll achieve better results that way…'
"You made Colonel at twenty-four! Fuck! I'm forty-five and I barely got to Lieutenant!"
"Jealous?" I tease while opening my locker. She scoff and take her gun apart in eighteen seconds flat.
"I trained you, remember? I'm more flattered than anything." She puts her mask back on. "Plus, it's not like we're actually being paid, right?"
Right… We're not paid, but god damn do the Helghast know how to reward efforts!
In my locker is an armor damn near identical to the one Radec used to wear, except it's completely black, even the cape, and has a gray-black beret sewed on the helmet instead of a colonel's cap.
It has Colonel's tag on it, however.
I slip on the dress uniform fairly quickly, but the armor's got so many straps and buckles I need Kovachin to help me put it on. It's light but incredibly strong -so much it is rumored to be indestructible- and has the same texture as an eggshell.
I then pick up a VC5 Ark Rifle and StA18 pistol, earning an amused look from the Lieutenant.
"You forgot to tell them you're a sniper or…"
I smile but do not comment.
Today, wearing that uniform, it must be the second proudest day in my whole damn life. The first being when I caught JADE…
Being a colonel… It's different. You get to screw around when you're an LT or a Sergeant, you can fuck up here and there, it's no big deal. As a Colonel, you command a whole force; everyone is looking at you and if you fail, hundreds of boys get killed.
Calm. Always be calm, polite and ice cold. Don't let failure or death get to you, always act as if it was part of your plan. That's what Radec did, so I'll give it a shot.
"Alright, Lieutenant, would you care to go inspect the troops while I plan the details of our operation?"
"Of course, Colonel!" She salutes and leave while I start typing on my wrist mounted tactical interface, reviewing maps, force projections and tactical evaluations.
Fuckin' son of a Vektan whore…
The aliens all have weapons on par with an LMG, but use them like they were handguns! On the plus side, they don't have any sort of armor…
Altough, given their size, it's not like they'd need one…
Heavy weapons. I'll need loads of heavy stuff…
I tune my communicator on the Quartermasters department's frequency and ask them if they already delivered the Battlegroup's equipment.
"In hangar six, Colonel?"
"Negative, Colonel, we're waiting for the last hours, in case you or the general wants to change something… You want to change something, sir?"
When I do tell him what I want, I can pretty much hear his face fall.
StA-62 Miniguns, W.A.S.P. Launchers, couple of arc rifles and cannons prototypes, M224-A3 anti-tank/infantry weapons, Pnv-3 Siska Cannons, StA52 LAR variant, Stova LMGs, M327 MGLs and a shitload of BP-02 Grenade pistols.
"You got all that, soldier?"
No answer. I think I just broke his brain…
"Yes, sir. I just sent your request to the Admiral, he says… He says 'Now that's what I call diplomacy.' I suppose he agrees."
Poor guy sounds confused as hell.
I make my way to the hangar.
I stand on top of the barge's loading ramp, sweat dripping from my brow under my mask.
Show time. Let's get this over with.
"Men, today is an important day in our nation's history!" I yell to the three thousands Helghast soldiers assembled in the hanger, in perfect military formation, "We are meeting with a new culture, another race we never encountered before. This is going to ask a lot of you, for all our life, we have been told to despise those who do not resemble us, to see them as enemy.
Today, you will put these teachings aside and fight for the glory of Helghan.
For the first time in our nation's history, we are not alone in the fight; let us show our gratitude to our new potential allies… And show the full extent of our wrath to the alien scum who dare oppose us! For they are the enemy now!
They are the threat to your people!
They are enemies of Helghan!
Show them no mercy!" A wave of 'For Helghan!' erupts as I roar the last part, to cover the cheers:
As a great man once said 'Strike, without worry, and without mercy! Fighting as one hand, one hearth, one soul! We will shatter their dream and haunt their nightmares! Drenching this new world with their blood! And as their last breath tears at their lungs, as we rise from the cold darkness of space… They will curse, for generations, the day they faced the sons and daughters of Helghan! Challenged Visari's people!"
Might as well cut the speech here, they're not listening anymore.
"Alright, gents, get in that rust bucket and gear up, I had real Helghast toys delivered for you, split the extra gear and ammo on the way and be sure you use all of it to the fullest."
They all march in the barge, which is really just that, a large, ferry-like space ship filled to the brim with troops, vehicles and gear. It usually serves as a forward base to the invading force too…
Damn shame the third army didn't use them, we'd be taking our vacations on the beaches of Vekta right now if they had.
As the first heavy weapons crate is opened, the 'perfect killing machines' attitude is replaced by 'ten years old in a toy shop'.
An Elite Shock Trooper salutes me, an Arc Rifle in the other hand, and declares, in a very formal tone.
"I think I love you, sir!"
And then walk away. I exchange a glance with an Heavy that was eyeing a Siska.
"Sorry, boss, but no." He declares in an hesitant tone.
I laugh and head for an heavy tank with the firm intention of making it my command vehicle.
Kovachin intercepts me halfway trough and points me to a re-painted Exo suit.
"Got tactical interface, radar uplink, secure communication channels and one heck of a badass look." She explains as we squeeze trough eager troops, crates and vehicles. "The General wants to see how it does as a mobile command post."
I'm starting to understand the whole point of this… I'm not sure I like it though.
I walk to the exo and jump in, trying to get familiar with the operation of the advanced piece of equipment.
I stop trying when one push too much rams the thing in a tank.
"You getting the hang of it, Colonel?"
"How about you scrub that window and see if you get the hang of it, Leftenant?"
She thinks I'm joking. I'm not.