"how the hell did we end up out here?" McMallahan asked, looking through the eyes of the drone on the outside of the devilfish's side using his tau issue data pad.
"I am unsure," Arc'Nar responded.
"It was probably that massive armored man, with huge hands, and a red circle in is chest, the 'handyman," the ship's gunner said, "think he may have thrown the entire devilfish through the external wall of the orbital. Thankfully we were buttoned up..."
"We anywhere near the station still?" the vehicle commander asked.
"Yes," the lone tau of the vehicle said, "I have the orbital's locator array on scanners. Our void-engines are inoperable but we should be able to call for help if nothing else."
"Better then nothing, activate the distress beacon."
Several hundred kilometers from the station, the small, but powerful, transmitter of the distress beacon began to pulse. It transmitted calls for help in both Tau, and then imperial, standards and languages, alternating back and forth. Exactly how the devilfish had been thrown through the orbital's wall with enough force to cause it to drift away that quickly, and yet not tear apart would surely be the topic of discussion within the 85th for many years.
Despite the heavy casualties, and a good 15% of the regiment still unaccounted for, the 85th had proved their medal, at least to themselves if nothing else. Even cut off from tau and gue'vera forces alike, they had managed to operate. As the station was cleaned up squads of the 85th were being found, somehow alive despite impossible odds, all over the place. Some on the far side of the orbital from where the rest of their company was supposed to be. Some had welded rooms shut, to the extent that they ended up almost completely airtight, keeping them alive even as entire sections of the floating city decompressed. Chimeras turned to makeshift bunkers, Devilfish loaded with pulse rifle equipped guardsmen held connections in the city to the last and other such feats were turning out to be remarkably common place among the humans of the 85th. They weren't alone, however, the stations native tau firewarriors deserved as much of the credit as the human fighters. Without the riptide suits the station surely would have fallen.
One thing is certain though, somehow, just about every surviving member of the 85th now has gotten their hands on some piece of tau technology that they weren't issued. The majority of the survivors have pulse pistols now, rather then just the officers. What had once been tau style pulse rifles, now sported lasgun iron sights, human style pistol grips and modified las-charge packs for ammo.
None of the firewarriors who had fought alongside the 85th decided to question the new human equipment.