Part:2 The Rhino thundered across the blackened surface, disturbing the ashen surface that had kept the Chaos relics hidden for millennia. Now the battle that would determine the fate of the artefacts, and the combatants duelling for their control, was about to begin.
“All Units fire NOW!” cried Aun’Josi.
The flash of pulse weapons cut through the darkness of the battlefield illuminating the outline of the opposing battle-tank. The combined effect of pulse flashes and the smokescreen gave the Rhino an eerie appearance, like it had been summoned from the earth by dark forces.
“The smoke was too thick Sir” reported the Fire Warrior captain, “most shots missed and those that got through failed to penetrate the armour. Even the mercenaries failed to strike it.”
The news disturbed Aun’Josi but he could not show his discomfort. He was an Etheral, the unifying force of the Tau Empire.
“Prepare for a counter attack” he ordered.
The Rhino appeared out of the smoke and ground to a halt on the other side of the ruin. Its blood red paint-work was largely unscratched but the occasional plasma burn had left dark blotches on the metal, making those areas of the hull appear like clots. All that was needed was another strike and the Rhino would haemorrhage the troops inside.
Aun’Josi bit his lip and prepared for the tank to begin firing on his squad’s position; but none came.
“Weapons are disabled Sir”
Aun’Josi rolled his head back and breathed a sigh of relief. It was to be a short exhalation however. The immediate threat had been neutralized but this was only the beginning.
Enemy drop-pods appeared in the sky above him leaving a fiery trail in their wake as they burnt through the atmosphere. Aun’Josi watched them streak across the sky like comets bringing the portents of doom.
His thoughts were proved correct as the drop pods slammed into the ground on the far left of the ruin. No sooner had they made contact with the surface the pod door was cast aside as though it were made of paper. There were only a few Chaos units that could discard heavy metal like that. Aun’Josi wondered what monstrosities his men would have to face now. There was a heart-pounding moment of hesitation until his curiosity was sated and his fear increased. For out of the drop-pods; the Obliterators emerged, their hulking forms the result of a twisted amalgamation of daemonic flesh and metal.
“Signal the Dark Eldar” ordered Aun’Josi. “Tell them we need immediate support.”
“Orders have been sent Sir but there is movement on the right flank.”
“Of sorts, troops are exiting the vehicle. Looks like Khorne Berzerkers.”
Aun’Josi stared out at the advancing Chaos infantry. The Berzerkers followed the Chaos God Khorne the deity of anger, rage and hate. It was said that every act of violence further fuelled his power but Aun’Josi wasn’t going to just sit back and let them slaughter his squad unchallenged.
At the speed that the Berzerkers were charging his fire team would not have time to deploy correctly, which meant only one thing.
“Fire Warriors prepare for close combat!”
Suddenly, a deafening roar filled the sky as a dark blur shot overhead. ‘Finally these Dark Eldar mercenaries have decided to assist us’ thought Aun’Josi as the Razorwing fighter flew past the Obliterators and begun its attack run.
The Obliterators stood firm against the incoming hail of splinter rifle rounds and brought their own weaponry to bear on the jet making the sky light up with the flash of lascannon rounds.
Then there was a brighter flash as part of the Razorwing exploded.
Aun’Josi stared on in disbelief as the Dark Eldar fighter shuddered in mid-air then careened off as the pilot fought to regain control.
Another deafening round of gunfire sounded off in the distance and the Razorwing exploded, causing debris to scatter in the wind.
“Sir, Dark Eldar fighter destroyed by Chaos Defiler, took a direct hit from its battle-cannon. No survivors.”
Aun’Josi cared little for a Dark Eldar mercenary pilot. He had more pressing matters to handle. The Khorne Berzerkers were nearly on top of his squad’s position, their chain-swords raised above their heads ready to cleave any who opposed them in two.
“Brace for impact!” Aun’Josi shouted down the line to rally his men.
The Khorne Berzerkers responded by letting loose a blood curdling roar. The front row parted as their Lord surged ahead of his marines.
In what seemed like a nano-second, all of the Fire Warriors in the front rank were felled by the Lord’s daemon weapon. The massive two-handed axe sliced through the Tau armour like a knife would cut through butter.
One Fire Warrior raised his pulse rifle in a feeble attempt to parry the massive blade. The axe split the weapon in half and made a diagonal slice from the warrior’s neck down to his waist causing a fountain of blood to spurt across the other troops involved in the battle.
A warrior could be heard vomiting inside his helmet as another was impaled on the edge of a chain-sword, the blade penetrating both armour and flesh. Then the Berzerker revved up the blade whilst it was still inside the warrior.
Aun’Josi had retreated back to the second Tau line that had managed to assemble on the left side of the ruin and watched in despair as the final Fire Warrior in the squad was decapitated, the body slumped to the floor whilst the Berzerker held on to the head. Blood and sick poured out of the helmet as the follower of Khorne lifted the head like a trophy then threw it towards Aun’Josi’s position.
Then the second charge began.