Out of the country for ten days and look what slips - getting off my autherial backside, as of now :-)
"Two, watch it!" Ui'var barked at this team mate. "On your left!"
Ui'arran jerked up the bulky arm of his xor'vesa in time to meet a tooth-rattling stream of heavy bolt fire. Armour chipped and cracked under each strike, but held firm under the assault. The shas'ui twisted his suit out of the line of fire, for the first time noticing the rapid moving skimmer that had attacked him. Trailing debris from its ruined under-side weapon mount, it began to peel away, trying to reduce it's exposure to a counter attack.
"Leave it - with me!" Ui'var triggered his own thrusters, bounding out to the right from behind the massive silo, Ui'arran hot on his heels. Even as the tau warriors moved, missile fire rained down from above, showering their position with blossoms of amber-lit fire and plumes of blackened soil. "Stay on target, Two!". Stomachs lurched as the pair of xor'vesa bounded clear of the assault and brought their own fire to bear...
In the smoke strewn cockpit of Cerberus Unbound
, Princeps Geuren resisted the urge to cough and splutter; I will show these xenos no ounce of weakness - I am a Princeps of Him on Terra!
The fervent thought stilled the impulse to respond to the smouldering air that shrouded his command throne. Instead, he kept his voice low and controlled.
"Back us up; target the assailant and destroy it."
The titan, in a display of agility that one unfamiliar with the machine would have thought impossible, veritably hopped and skipped backwards, raising the curved, conical twin weapon barrel on its right hand side in line with the Piranha that was now banking sharply to escape retaliation. Conduits roared with lambent energy, and the entire front end of the weapon flared as the plasma stored within the war engine's heart was siphoned and channelled into a blast of pure destructive energy. Striking the tau skimmer squarely as it tried futilely to evade, the blast heated, melted then vaporised the light alloys of the smaller machine in a heartbeat. La'roh didn't even have the time to think about screaming; he simply ceased to exist. As the plasma flare darkened and passed, one of the kor'vesa from the Piranha tumbled unsteadily out of the blast zone, its blackened carapace spluttering the odd spray of actinic sparks. Had the kor'vesa been programmed to consider such philosophical dilemmas, it would no doubt have judged itself lucky to have survived.
Clinging smoke and plaster swirled around his xor'vesa as El'tyen, jaw clenched, sought for a way through the ruined structure, Stalker La'rua hot on his heels. The remains of the building shook as another spread of missiles from the nearby gue'la support vehicles cascaded around the two warrior's behind him, both shas'ui bearing the punishment stoically, moving their bulky suits nimbly through the gap made by their commander as all three made their way to find a firing position against the towering Warhound
. Movement across the street caught El'tyen's eye; power-armoured gue'la were moving to try and pin his cadre in place for the larger and firepower-laden titan to eradicate.
Bold, but not very well executed.
El'tyen's mentor's mind marked off a string of "grudges" against the manoeuvre; it was half-cocked, poorly supported and woefully over-exposed. And here's why...
"Stalker - Fire and fade". Beside him, both xor'vesa of Stalker One and Two angled their weapons down, cutting loose with a barrage of fire that chewed methodically through plaster, brick, ferro-steel and ceramite armour, chipping shards of protective material from the alien warriors. One was caught in a vulnerable neck joint by a rail round, the projectile separating helmeted head from now-limp body, which slumped meatily over backwards in an awkward sprawl.
El'tyen ignited his jetpack, his armoured suit easily piling through the dilapidated roofing material above it as it performed an arc of movement towards the targeted squad. He let fly his own weapon systems at the top of the arc, a pair of rail rounds bowling one trooper over, while the stream of fire from the experimental PPAR on his right shoulder drilled home into a second gue'la, pitching it over onto it's helmeted face, a ragged series of holes torn through it. Scattered bolt fire came up to meet him as he descended, chipping armour but failing to do any damage. Sights set, the battlesuit careened into one of the troopers, knocking it back and down as the armoured knee of the XV8 pinned it to the ground. The trooper struggled, its armoured fists flailing against El'tyen's leg. In a blur of motion, the other power armoured trooper snapped his boltgun level and started blasting in at the tau commander's battlesuit. Blocking the shots as best he could with his arm, raised to cover the cockpit, El'tyen winced as crack after crack of exploding bolts shuddered against his armour. Lurching sideways, the xor'vesa punched its assailant squarely in the face, hurling it back through the crumbling wall behind it. Almost immediately, the marine that he'd floored with his initial attack drew its pistol and started blasting away at El'tyen's back. Reversing his direction, El'tyen dropped back down onto his knee, once again pinning the prone enemy, then hammered the armoured fist of his left arm downwards, crushing the helmet and ending the trooper's struggles.
Right, and now for....
The battlesuit lurched again as the trooper he'd punched through the wall charged back through it and leapt at him.
Kicking open the door to the cellar, La'bryn had enough time to register the streak of movement passing before him before he shouldered his Pulse rifle and let fly. Dashing to impromptu firing positions, Archer One joined in their team leader's fire, riddling the landspeeder with pulse shots, tearing it to pieces. The tau warrior nodded to himself, then motioned his team into more secure cover around them...
Inside his cockpit, Ui'arran's fingers danced over the secondary controls, compiling SatCom and MagRes images into the OmniTrack gear which instantly fed them to his leaders xor'vesa as well. Data flew between the vesa of both suits, selecting the most likely targets. A warning flashed across the top left of his HUD, indicating another friendly unit was targeting the same squad of gue'la; smart missiles from Lancer One arrowed towards the enemy squad, shredding one limb from limb.
Grappling his primary controls, Ui'arran spoke into his commset. "Firing".
As both xor'vesa completed their sideways dash, their weapons unleashed a hail of burst and rail fire as they cleared the structure before them. Overhead, heavy rail rounds screamed through the air, igniting a trail of fire at its passing. Ahead and above, the towering form of the Warhound
was rocked as the shot from the Eighty-eight behind them ricocheted off at an oblique angle, while a second shot, from Ui'nierra's Hammerhead, chewed into the hipjoint of the machine, gimping it. Focusing his attention on the target squad, Ui'arran grinned as two more gue'la toppled over, one headless, the other clutching vainly at the gaping hole in its chest. Triggering his thrusters, he followed Ui'var back into cover.