And now....more fluff from (who else?) me!
Trooper Franz Kaden of the Thelcyon PDF shivered in his ill-fitting red-and-grey uniform. He was uncomfortable in the chilling cold of the night in Cendin City, the main establishment on the pioneer world. Kaden stood at attention with the rest of his squad, his lasgun's metal freezing his hands as he stared straight ahead, seeing nothing except his own breath, frosted by the cold. His sergeant, a man called Jildax, inspected them.
"For all of you unfortunate sons of groxes, this will be your first combat," the grizzled veteran stated, "I can only hope for your sake, and for the sake of this town, that the combat training I gave you found itself a home in your thick skulls."
"What are our enemies?" a young trooper enquired, "how many of them are there?"
Jildax strode up to the boy in question. He could not have been more than 18, the youngest in the unit.
Kaden himself was 23, recruited 6 months ago as per the governor's order.
"First of all, you will render to me the honourific 'sir' or I won't wait for the enemy, I'll kill you myself. Second of all, we go up against the reason why this planet was abandoned in the first place.
"9 hours ago, energy readings were picked up outside this city, about 2 kilometres distant. Big ones. So they sent a scout team with Adeptus Mechanicus priests to the location. Only once did they send back a message, and most of it was screaming. Only one word was audible," the sergeant's face became grim, and he spoke the next word like a curse, "Necrons."
There was complete silence as each of the men considered this. Necrons, the silvered nightmares, the fearless monstrosities that brought swift death. Necrons. The word brought fear to the most seasoned soldier. And they were in the middle of an assault to dislodge the humans from the tomb-world, green, untested troops.
Finally Sergeant Jildax ordered, "Alright, you sorry dogs, to the gates!"
They marched, double-time, to the main gate of the city, and into one of the bunkers on either side of it. There, they waited; sweat dripping down the backs of their necks, despite the cold. There, they set up their weapons, a missile launcher and grenade launcher. They were well equipped for PDF, but that did little to quell their unease.
There they waited, for what seemed like hours, waiting for an order, a glimpse of the enemy, anything to occupy their minds. Franz took the time to observe the rest of his squad. Ten men, non older than him, save the sergeant, all jumpy, coiled tighter than a spring. All as nervous as him.
"Wait!" cried the young soldier who had spoken earlier, "I hear something!"
Jildax rose to punish him, but then they all heard it; a crunching of gravel. They brought up their weapons, aiming outside, searching for targets. A tap on Kaden's shoulder made him spin and cry out, but a friendly voice spoke back,
"What are you looking for?" the trooper found himself looking into the face of their platoon's officer, Lieutenant Ferdas, "Some good looks?"
The sergeant laughed.
"I'm serious! You must have the ugliest squad on the whole planet!" Ferdas chuckled, "ah well, holding out okay? Not too bored?"
Without waiting for an answer he said, "Good, good," before striding back into the night. It began to rain.
The squad was still restless, and after another few hours of lounging around, an earsplitting screeching siren echoed through the city, immediately wakening the soldiers. The sergeant grabbed some magnoculars, and searched the darkness.
"There!" he shouted, pointing, "I see them!"
Kaden looked, and saw it too; eerie green glows in the night, highlighting the skeletal aliens that bore the weapons. The light made them look even scarier, if that was possible.
"Weapons!" Jildax yelled, "Single shot, maximum power! Missile launcher, load and wait for my order! Same for you!" he gestured to the grenade launcher bearer, Holb.
The men rushed to their duties, and lined along the bunker's edge, bracing, fingers on the triggers. Each chose a target and tracked it. This was easy, in theory, for the Necrons slow, implacable advance made them tantamount to target practice, but in combat, these untried men couldn't keep their aim steady. The Necron warriors strode closer, ever closer, but no order was given.
Then, at a nod from the vox-officer Lokven, Sergeant Jildax screamed, "Fire!" as las-fire erupted along the Imperial lines, cutting crimson streaks across the wasteland to impact on the Necrons. Some stumbled and fell, smoking holes in their torsos, others missing heads. Most kept going, slowly but surely, as bolts of focused light rebounded from their gleaming bodies. They kept walking, even when missing arms and even legs. Kaden also saw some that had fallen get up again, despite wounds that would have felled a Space Marine. At another command, missiles streaked toward the enemy, throwing up great clouds of dust and debris, ripping apart Necrons. They were closely followed by grenade rounds and plasma bolts. Throughout this, the foe had not fired a single shot.
Then, at some unseen signal, the weapons of the Necrons flared with energy, and, as one, let loose a storm of green-white lightning. There were screams of pain and horror from the human lines. One of the men in Franz's squad was hit by one in the chest, and his death-cries were a chilling sound to hear, as he was vaporized, his armour, his clothes, his flesh, and his bones until there was nothing left.
"Switch to rapid-fire!" the order was relayed through the lines, "Fire at will!"
Through the hail of fire, Kaden dared to think, to hope, that they could live, they could win this battle. But these warriors were just the beginning of the xenos' monstrosities, as a wave of shifting silver swept over the broken ground rapidly. Each little silver beetle, hungry for the flesh of the PDF. They crashed into the bunkers, seeping through every crack, to pincer themselves to the humans, then explode, causing horrendous casualties and wounds from shrapnel. They proved to be vulnerable to flame weapons, and were largely exterminated from the battle. Then, floating beasts, a combination of warrior and large shell, with huge, crackling weapons attached to spindly arms came to the field. A knot of these turned to Kaden's bunker, and their weapons lit up, preparing to fire.
"Get out!" Jildax howled, "Out of the bunker!"
Kaden and 3 others leapt out the back of the complex just as the beams crashed into it, disintegrating the ferrocrete and armourplas construction. They turned to see the main gate get hit by the same treatment, though on a much larger scale. The Destroyers rushed through the breach, firing calmly. The warriors strode purposefully behind them, slower, yet no less destructive.
"For the Emperor! Do not allow this filth to taint this proud city!" Lieutenant Ferdas shouted, firing his laspistol and motioning with his power fist. Roused by his fervour, the guardsmen, along with 2 new squads opened fire again, crippling Necrons. Here, a clutch of warriors destroyed by a well placed grenade. There, a Destroyer falling to the earth, exploded by a missile.
Ferdas led his squad forward, and punched his power fist through a Necron torso as his men used their bayonets to effect, severing limbs and power cables. The robots fought back, carving guardsmen apart with their curved blades which absorbed the blood of the humans. The Lieutenant stood among a pile of fallen aliens, victorious, when another horror of the Necrons unveiled itself. A long, curved spine with broad shoulders swept down from the sky and impaled him with wicked claws, lifting him up and shredding him in mid-air. More of them butchered his squad, as constant las-fire kept them away from the rest of the guardsmen.
A humming filled the air. Kaden looked around in confusion as a glowing filled the area in front of him. A guardsman standing in it began to shudder violently, before exploding and showering the air with gore. The green glow darkened and began to form a pyramid shape. The newly formed Monolith raked the area with green bolts while the front disgorged more warriors and hideous Flayed Ones from a swirling portal.
Lascannon beams hit the thing dead on, made burning, melted holes which filled up again without sound. All this time, Kaden was firing his weapon frantically. He pulled the trigger again and again, while watching his comrades die. Sergeant Jildax went down to a Flayed One, a curse on his lips as his chainsword, battered and broken, fell from his nerveless hands.
A bone-chilling howl came from the Necron host, and Kaden looked up. A flash of lightning in the stormy skies lit up the silhouette of a huge figure in tattered robes standing on one of the gate-towers.
It brandished its weapon, a huge scythe, and Franz Kaden was frozen with horror as the silver host advanced towards him, burning away the very atoms of his existence. It projected its name through the human lines with its presence, a word that meant death to all who opposed it.
You may not see us
But we'll be there
You may not feel us
But you will care
Your shots will not hit us
We are shapes in the mists
Blink and you'll miss us
For we are the Ghost Fists!