Crisis in the City - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

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Shas'Ui
Posts: 291

Crisis in the City - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#1 » May 02 2008 04:20

Let me tell you a tale.

Along time ago, on a forum called ATT, I decided to share some of the battles I had fought with my fellow members of the community. Taking a knack for fiction writing, I converted the events in game to ones that could be told in paragraph and verse; where the rolls of a dice could be expanded upon as the actions of heroes, villains and more. And I got pretty good at it, according to most of the accolades I was kindly bestowed with.

And then, from ATT’s perspective, nothing.

Right at the point where the battle of an outnumbered and outgunned Tau strike team versus the wrath of a Warhound Titan should have been resolved, the story stopped.

Short version? The writer went through his own personal crisis’ (or three), injury, rehab, change in employment, depression, yadda yadda, the list goes on.

That is, until the day, when looking through some back up data, I stumbled upon the original notes for the battle. Life had moved on, horizons had broadened.

And after all this time, I present to you, the stalwart faithful of Advanced Tau Tactica and those new to this experience, the finished, completed, entire story that is;



Crisis in the City… Cerberus Unbound



+++ Dedication +++

+++ “For Misty – my very own 'vesa'”– 1990-2006 +++




+++ Prologue +++

Lunging wildly down the dilapidated road way, the retreating skimmer trailed a tongue of fire that licked at battered armour-plate and threatened to engulf the lone remaining crewman as he desperately sought shelter. Control yoke wrenched to his chest, the pilot bullied his dying craft around, drawing a line of sparks from the port stabiliser as it gazed the ruined structure hurtling past him. He had but scant heartbeats left to live.

A finger, trained by years of experience and a will of iron, gently squeezed the firing stud on the controller. Upon the Heads-up display, a pulsing blue icon fluttered then solidified, denoting the release of yet another salvo of rail fire. Housed snugly within the barrel of the M3R, parallel tracks of magnetic coils pulsed rapidly, sending the payload on its way at near hypersonic velocities. As they found release from their containment, the solid slugs tore into the open air, ripping pressurised molecules apart with such power and friction that the air itself ignited. In the blink of an eye, the wispy trail of flame connected with the fleeing land speeder - which by then was already dead; it had simply to experience the results of the shots that had killed it. Volatile liquids mixed with the lapping flames of the already damaged craft, sparking suddenly, then detonating with a banshee-like howl of glass-shattering thunder, sending the now flaming wreckage barrel-rolling down the street, colliding with a ruined wall, then tumbling end over end, coming to rest by one of the few remaining unblemished light posts in the entire city.

"Nice shot, boss". Ui'var still managed to sound just a little irreverent, but nevertheless projected a very business-like aura, even over the static laden comm. channel. It wasn't the mindless prattle of an underling trying to carry favour; it was one professional respecting the skills of another.

No matter how good the shot had seemed, Shas'el Elsy'eir Tyen B'saal Shi was displeased, uncomfortable and uneasy. Every sense he had muttered hummed and sucked its teeth sceptically, knowing full well that something quite central and major was wrong.

This was the fourth time in as many decs that they had engaged their potential target; an elite strike force that had merrily ploughed its way through no less than five entire cadres without so much as an audible distress call. When first called to engage this threat, El'tyen's cadre had been a hodgepodge of half assembled units, with some running on little more than spittle, binding cord and the will of the Greater Good, while others had been unable to join the hunt due to their sorry state of repairs. As it was, the Fio tech staff had worked wonders - his cadre's second Crisis Team, Stalker, was now on station, providing his force with a much needed boost in firepower...

Now, however, this made him uneasy; since their first engagement, the foe had become especially cagey. They met little more than fast, light patrols each time they engaged; certainly nothing that had come thus far could have caused such wholesale slaughter.

An icon flashed on his HUD, showing an incoming comm. link coming through. Blinking at it, the channel crackled as Vre'wynn spoke.

"Shas'el, I've just been relayed a D-call from Kau'ui Ny'eldi - automated, and very brief".

A D-call? From El'ny'eldi? Not like him to push the panic button. El'tyen clenched his jaw thoughtfully. "Relayed?".

"Came via Echo La'rua; Vre'kosh is heading back after a deep recon sortie - picked it up off a picket drone".

El'tyen nodded to himself. "What's the bearing?"

+++

The ground shook; masonary trembled in a slow, pulsing crescendo of raw kinetic power.

Listening to the sound, feeling it through his shattered bones, Shas'el Ny'eldi knew he was dead already; he could feel his life-blood draining from countless wounds that were now numbing the once-excruciating pain that had marked his demise. Given how widespread they were, he was surprised to be conscious at all.

Rain seeped in through a large chevron-like rend in the Xor'vesa's front armour, drizzling a morbid blanket of moisture over the remains of his battle suit, running into small rivulets that trickled endlessly to the paving below, diluting the blood and mechanical fluids that themselves dripped from the suit in watery puddles of black.

All around him, he knew the remains of his shas lay dead and dying. None of them had stood a chance; he knew that - not that it eased the pain of failure.

The tremors grew louder; the same perpetual rhythm, yet each shudder heavier than the last. In his narrow field of vision, the dying tau saw a crumbling wall collapse in on itself as it was literally shaken apart.

He hadn't much time left. But focusing on anything seemed to drain him further, closer to the brink.

For the Greater Good, then. The thought galvanised the last of his strength.

"Ve-v-vesa?" He stammered weakly.

++Warning; All Primary Systems at Zero; Registering Fatal Wounds to Pilot; Primary Locomotion at Zero; Secondary Locomotion Error; Limb Not Found; Leak in Fusion Pile dete-++

"Acq-uire KV....-Zero-Seven".

++Target Acquired; Warning! Proximity Alert! Recommend Evasive Action++

The air outside the cockpit suddenly seemed darker. The beaten and broken battlesuit itself seemed to shudder.

"A-a...ah...Align.. comm....las..r".

++Aligning...Detecting Lock-On Error; Lock-On at Eighty-Three percent; Collision Imminent!++

Shadow passed over El'ny'eldi; the air roared with mechanical thunder.

"S-send D-call".

++D-call aw-++

Darkness fell.

+++

"Shas'kosh, did you get that?"

Rain drizzled continuously across the city, but in one broken down alley way, the drizzle was having a rather unexpected argument with Gravity. Probability would have frowned at the scene in bemusement, while Physics and Fate would most likely have shouted "Eureka", run off down the street without a towel and run smack into each other; the rain simply failed to hit the ground in several places, despite there apparently being absolutely nothing but sky above.

It was moments like this that Vre'kosh lived for.

A tepid crackle of lightning briefly illuminated the Stealth La'rua faster than the Stealth Field on their scout suits could handle, momentarily betraying the presence of three angular, bulky figures and four disc-like objects. Waiting for the camouflage gear on his suit to catch up, Vre'kosh raised his hand out as if to tap something in front of him.

Inside the suit, the action of his arm manipulated the HUD before his eyes, allowing him to call up a stream of data, including the brief message burst his team had just picked up. His eyes flicked to the location stamp on the message, noting where it had come from.

"Echo, ammo check".

Despite the lack of explanation, his team mates rattled off a manual check of their remaining ammunition, removing the cylindrical clip at the rear of their burst cannon, looking at the rounds contained within, before slotting the clip back in place. Vre'kosh performed a checked of his own; he had less than an eighth of his original ammo load - it had been a fruitful excursion. Tapping the cylinder twice against the head of his suit, he slapped the magazine back into place and locked it. "Barely point-one".

His team mates confirmed his fears. "Point-one, also".

"Point-zero-three". Ui'raus delivered the admission with a hint of satisfaction in his voice - most of the rounds that now failed to occupy the magazine had killed Gue'la infantry and armour today.

Blinking at the comms icon of the HUD, Vre'kosh opened a channel.

"Vesa, relay through KV-24 to Kau'ui Tyen B'saal Shi. Message reads as follows; Distress call from Kau'ui Ny'eldi; Echo requesting instructions".

++Relay open. Attach D-call transcript?++

"Confirmed; Attach and Send".

+++
Firestorm - Shoot lots and watch what drops...

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White Knight
Shas'Ui
Posts: 291

Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#2 » May 02 2008 04:22

"This could be the break we've needed. Shas'vre," El'tyen growled. "Did you get a fix on location?"

"Copy that, Shas'el. Came through the Drone relay we installed - Kor'vesa-zero-seven was point of origin. Area seems pretty built up; we could hide a whole Manta in there and no-one would find it".

"Quite, Shas'vre - we entered the area just over a dec ago. If not for the drone relay, I doubt we'd be able to talk".

"Shall we proceed ahead of the Kau'ui, Shas'el? We're not far...."

El'tyen interrupted calmly yet firmly. "Vre'kosh, your telemetry says that your ammo is beyond critical levels. Can you confirm?"

There was an audible pause. "No it doesn...". Another pause. Realisation dawned."...oh, confirmed, Shas'el". There was no disguising the brief bemusement and final frustration in the voice.

"Sorry, Shas'vre, but the reset dodge was old when I was Shas'la. Besides, your la'rua's weapon telemetry does say ‘full'... which is quite the novelty, in my experience". Grinning despite himself, El'tyen tensed his muscles to help relieve the twitch that he could feel there - they had been in the cockpit for some time, now.

"I'll remember that next time, Shas'el". The voice, while static laden, was undeniably subdued.

I'm sure you will. While bad practice, and despite the building ache in his cramped limbs, the fact that Echo had try to mask the true status of their ammo supply brought a contented smile to El'tyen's face for a moment. He had no doubt that given that their first ploy had failed, Echo would haul themselves back for resupply and be back to join the fight as soon as they could. No one leaves a D-call unanswered.

Arching his back to stretch the muscles there, El'tyen sent his instructions with the surety of one who would not be argued with. "Echo, head back to Pick-up Four-Niner - you should be able to get what you need from the Orca on station there".

"Copy, Shas'el; mo..##n#.#o###----".

The warbled channel cut out.

Only then did El'tyen notice that the aching in his limbs felt much more pronounced now. His muscles weren't cramping...

They were being shaken.

All around the Kau'ui, buildings visibly shook in a slow, thumping rhythm that threatened to start jarring teeth out; windows clattered from frames in knife-like shards, while loose masonary began pouring down from upper floors, crumbling chaotically as the timbre of the tremors grew deeper and firmer. Down the roadway, a ruin that had once been an office block reverberated so vigorously, El'tyen wondered it would remain standing much longer.

Suddenly, with an agility that belied its size, a gargantuan avatar of destruction, its head for all the world looking like the incarnation of some ancient terran myth lurched through the side of the towering ruin, sending broken bricks and scaffolding scattering around. Floors caved in and avalanched off of its heavily armoured surface, while a pall of dust billowed out from the base of the former structure. Flanked by two tracked vehicles, the bipedal war machine turned to face the Tau cadre.

El'tyen's flipped on his external speakers and bawled at his warriors. "Warhound! Break, Break, Break!"

+++

Image

Imperial Forces
Special Issue - Warhound Detachment
"Cerberus Unbound" - Mars class Warhound Scout Titan
  • Plasma Blast gun;
  • Vulcan Mega-bolter;
810 points
Note - Counts as having Wrecker (Stomp attack) as it moves through buildings (still subject to terrain impediments) and Siege Shells (Titan Killer Weapon).

Supporting Troops - Enhanced Combat Patrol

Troops - Tactical Squad
6 Space Marines
  • Boltgun;
90 points

Heavy Support - Devastator Squad
4 Space Marines
  • Missile Launcher;
2 Space Marines
  • Boltgun;
170 points

Heavy Support - Whirlwind
Whirlwind Missile Tank
  • Vengeance Missiles;
85 points

Heavy Support - Whirlwind
Whirlwind Missile Tank
  • Vengeance Missiles;
85 points

Fast Attack - Landspeeder Squadron
Landspeeder Tornado
  • Heavy Bolter;
  • Assault Cannon;
80 points

Fast Attack - Landspeeder Squadron
Landspeeder Tornado
  • Heavy Bolter;
  • Assault Cannon;
80 points

Total Force Cost 1400 points

---------------------------------------------------------------

Tau Forces

HQ - Shas'el El'sy'eir Tyen B'saal Shi
  • Shas'o XV8;
  • M3R(MP),
  • Plasma Pulse Accelerator Rifle (CIB),
  • Vectored Retro-thrusters,
  • Stim Injectors,
  • HW Multitracker
127 points

Elite - "Hunter La'rua" Shas'ui El'sy'eir Var Kais
  • Shas'ui Team Leader XV8;
  • M3R(MP),
  • Burst Cannon,
  • Flamer,
  • HW Drone Controller,
  • HW Multitracker,
  • Bonding Knife,
  • 2 Kor'vesa Shielders,
  • Shas'ui XV8;
  • M3R(MP),
  • Burst Cannon,
  • Multitracker
144 points

Elite - "Stalker La'rua" Shas'ui El'sy'eir Nex T'kaid
  • Shas'ui Team Leader XV8;
  • M3R(MP),
  • Burst Cannon,
  • Flamer,
  • HW Drone Controller,
  • HW Multitracker,
  • Bonding Knife,
  • 2 Kor'vesa Shielders,
  • Shas'ui XV8;
  • M3R(MP),
  • Burst Cannon,
  • Multitracker
144 points

Troops - "Archer One La'rua"
  • 6 Shas'la Fire Warriors;
  • Pulse Rifle,
60 points

Troops - "Archer Two La'rua"
  • 6 Shas'la Fire Warriors;
  • Pulse Carbine,
  • EMP Grenades,
78 points

Fast Attack - "Viper One"
  • Pirahna Light Skimmer;
  • Fusion Blaster,
  • Targeting Array,
  • 2 KV-G,
70 points

Fast Attack - "Viper Two"
  • Pirahna Light Skimmer;
  • Fusion Blaster,
  • Targeting Array,
  • 2 KV-G,
70 points

Heavy Support - "Ranger La'rua" Shas'vre El'sy'eir Wynn Mont'y'he
  • Shas'vre XV88-2;
  • Smart Missile System,
  • Linked Rail guns,
  • Advanced Gyro,
  • HW Drone Controller,
  • Bonding Knife,
  • 2 Kor'vesa Shielders,
125 points

Heavy Support - "Lancer One" Shas'ui Elsy'eir Neirra Myr
  • Hammerhead Gunship;
  • Smart Missile System,
  • Vehicle-Mounted Rail Gun,
  • Multitracker,
  • Target Lock,
  • Decoy Launchers,
180 points

999 points total

Mission - Cityfight - Maximum Attrition

++++++

"Alright, Shas; broken formation; hug cover; keep your eyes on the sky for indirect fire and for the Aun's sake, stay out of that thing's line of fire!"

As if to illustrate the venerable shas'el's words, rockets shrieked down from the sky, their vapour trails tracing an arc from near where the huge Warhound had just demolished an office block. Shrapnel flew against buckled walls and hi-tech armour, buffeting the Tau units sheltering nearby, but nothing more than the odd scrape or singed armour pauldron marked it's passing.

Fingers dancing over the controls of his tertiary display, El'tyen flinched as the ground beneath his armoured feet shuddered; the sensor screen above his HUD smeared and dissolved in white static; off to his left, the remains of the city block that had stood there gaunt and silently but moments before swarmed and writhed with rolling gouts of molten plasma fire. Walls burst, floors splintered and the fragmented remains of windows shattered into globules of liquid glass, spraying the street below with a fiery rain of scarlet embers. Giving the screen a gentle thump on the side with his hand, El'tyen's eyes caught the stalking form of the Gue'la titan pounding along a street two blocks north. Many times taller than any of his Kau'ui's xor'vesa and far more powerful than any ground weapon the Empire possessed. It wasn't just a weapon of destruction - it was an icon of the Gue'la faith.

That thought brought grim determination to El'tyen's expression. The psychological door he was presented with swung both ways - certainly, the Warhound had caused great damage to the morale of the front-line cadres, but the two-fold boost from destroying such an icon would restore much of the Fire Caste's flagging enthusiasm for engaging the foe in this area, while making the imperial forces sit up and worry. Win/win, as long as his Kau'ui could drop the thing. Easier said than done.

Image

Looking at the surrounding terrain, the old shas noted some hardened structures to the west; probably food storage designed to last against the perpetually bad weather on this Aun-forsaken dirt-ball. I doubt our large friend will stray too close to them - he'll want a shield of infantry to stop us getting in close. If I were them, I'd...

"Vre'wynn, anchor our flank; Lancer One, swing left and watch for fast movers, but if the op arises, core the primary; everyone else use the cover on the right. Viper; hold your shots; Hunter, Stalker; we'll knock the shields down for Viper to place their hits in between clearing the infantry screen. All confirm".

A series of icons flashed green on his telemetry, while the comms clicked with affirmatives.

"Shas'el", Ui'nex's voice was taut with anticipation, "we have P.A.T.s moving around to the north west - looks like they're trying to get a firing position across our axis". Stalker La'rua's team leader grounded his suit in a battered alleyway, crushing a trash receptacle flat beneath one armoured hoof while he leaned up against the burnt out building next to him. His wingman, Ui'jarran, landed smartly behind him and huddled into cover.

"Stay in cover, don't give them cheap shots". El'tyen powered through the plaster and brick behind him, shaking loose fragments from his armoured bulk with a casual shake, then sent his suit scooting down the alleyway. As he neared the damaged and precariously held-together structure before him, the shas'el cut loose with a blistering salvo of fire from the multi-barreled plasma pulse acceleration rifle on his xor'vesa's shoulder , smacking hole after hole into the wall before him until at the last moment, twisting the battlesuit slightly, the veteran pilot thundered through the remains of the wall and grounded in a squat amidst a scene of smoke and flame. Beneath his xor'vesa's feet, water leaked randomly from a set of pipes rising from the rubble-strewn floor, while his left knee pad rested just gently against a small oval-themed bowl with the cracked remains of a hinged lid on top. Something primal in his subconscious hinted that the lid was best left closed, given the levels of methane his ˜vesa was detecting around it. Wincing distastefully, he watched as the titan lurched along behind the buildings, bursting from cover, multi-barreled weapons spinning up to speed. Even as the weapon began to howl like the namesake of it's bearer, he couldn't help his eyes flicking back, ever so briefly, to the foul container beside him. If that's the indigenous plumbing, then....

And then, mere moments after bursting through the side of the crumbling structure, chaos caught up, and fire flew.

+++
Firestorm - Shoot lots and watch what drops...

User avatar
White Knight
Shas'Ui
Posts: 291

Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#3 » May 02 2008 04:24

"Viper Two? Viper One. Don't get ahead of yourself, La'roh". La'colis kicked his skimmer around and arrowed north, using the ruins to his left to cover his rapid advance. Ahead of him, he could see the identical skimmer of La'roh and La'korde, pushing it's engines. The nimble skimmer banked right, then rolled over and pulled into a hard left turn, dumping speed as it approached the roadway the Warhound would be coming down. Looking back to his controls for a moment, he canted his head and spoke to his rear-seat-operator, La'jaim. "Keep your eyes wide, La'jaim; heat up the primary, we're going to need it". Hearing an affirming grunt, he cut in the etheric rudder and brought the skimmer's nose towards his cover, letting the skimmer sideslip easily over the ground. Flicking a pair of toggles with his left hand, he brought the targeting array online, checked that the fusion blaster was indeed ready, and prepared to strike.

+++

Image

Within the armoured cockpit of the Warhound, Cerberus Unbound, Princeps Harriman Geuren could feel the beast rage. The machine spirit of his scout titan had tasted the destruction of the vile xenos scum several times this day, and now the pretenders to the Imperium's Might threw yet another offering before him.

In one of the paired seats before him, one his two moderatii uttered a brief report while focusing on his task. "Princeps; heavy infantry bearing zero-seven-three, closing to optimal".

Furrowing his brow, Geuren shifted his gaze, and that of Cerberus Unbound's primary occular array, to bear on the direction indicated; true enough, more of the heretical Tau battle suits were bounding through the tight alleys and streets. One thundered almost wildly across the thin passage in his view with a confidence that could only be borne of experience. He smiled tightly. "Increase to flank; divert power from blastgun". As the suit barreled into the burning building, the smile on the princeps' scarred face widened.

"Target the lead alien. Fire".

+++

Image

+++

The room around him disintegrated in a conflagration of armour-piercing shells and tracer rounds as one of the Warhound's primary weapon systems let fly, tearing ruthlessly in to the very heart building. His suit lurched bodily with every impact, alloy squealing against ricochets, groaning under impacts. One stream of fire cut towards him through the melee of chaotic debris; he side stepped away from it, but it followed quickly, wrenching him around as it contacted near the intake by his suit's right shoulder. Armour tore and scattered like confetti in the wind. Despite the jarring impact, El'tyen managed to perform a controlled roll with the blow, neatly ducking him under the line of fire, where he made to make his exit.

++Warning - Starboard intake hit; starboard thrust capacity at seventeen point three percent and falling; detecting break in power feed;++

Shouting to be heard above the storm of shellfire, El'tyen roared. "Vesa, shunt tertiary power to retros, now!"

++Acknowledged; diverting power from reserve to ...+++

"Absolutely!" Deaf to whatever the vesa babbled on about beyond that point, El'tyen virtually threw his xor'vesa back through the wall he'd entered through and out into the street.

+++

Seated snugly in the gunner position of her Hammerhead Gunship, Ui'neirra leant forward, flipping a row of toggles on the frame in front of her, sending power coursing to the weapon systems at her command; the tracking sphere by her left arm controlled the targeting data for the smart missile racks underneath the prow of the tank, while her right arm cradled the bulky stock and joystick of the main rail gun against her shoulder. Nestling the main weapon into a comfortable position, she flipped on the heads-up overlay; a digital reproduction of the view all around the tank flickered to life - three-hundred and sixty degrees compacted into an arc of slightly less than half. Targeting reticules floated gently in response to her movements, working her shoulders comfortable. Panning the main gun to her right, she zoomed in on the building that the enemy titan was pouring fire into; as it happened, she'd arrived just in time to see a burst of flaming debris burst forth from the office block; red-lining his jet pack, her commander erupted from the burning structure, hopped once off of the street paving, then careened into a relatively intact window frame of the building next door, shattering glass and brick in his haste to exit his previous location.

Keep your head down, Old B'saal.

A circular screen below the main display showed the main fight to the northwest as a series of white splotches on a midnight blue background; MagRes echoes of units moving and weapons firing; the largest contact to the north showing the presence of the Warhound, it's reactor pumping out power beyond anything else on the battlefield. She could also make out the two Piranha light skimmers of Viper La'rua beginning an attack run on the behemoth. Good hunting, shas.

Her attention shifted to the west, where two fast moving contacts blurred in a southerly direction. She smiled, an expression that actually seemed joyful, rather than the grimmer expressions of most shas in a similar situation. Her left hand rolled gently over the missile controller, marking her prospective targets on the screen before her.

"La'daell, keep swinging us out wide - we have company; let's meet them". The shas in the cockpit poured a touch more power to the engines as a response. The armoured frame of the Hammerhead rattled slightly in response.

"Range in point-one-six, Shas'ui. Let's up the scorecard".

"Just get us a little closer...".

+++

Ui'var scowled as the missile barrage nailed one of his Kor'vesa dead centre, splitting it open like an over-ripe fruit. He'd had enough of taking the pain; it was time to give some back. He leapt his xor'vesa towards the cover of the large food stores, plotting a route that would allow him to bring some pain back on the infantry that bustled their way through the structures to the north. "Ui'arran, with me".

Image

The two suits flitted sideways, landing firmly enough to unload their full firepower at the squad of space marines taking up position in front of the Warhound. Both Rail weapons sang repeatedly, bracketed by a hail of pulse fire from the la'rua's burst cannon that kicked up tell-tale impacts and damage all across the front of the building opposite. The solid slugs of the M3R tore through a wall and cored the marine sheltering behind it, his dying spasm sending his bolt gun flying haphazardly backwards. Cutting in his jetpack to try and make use of the momentum they'd gained, Ui'var had enough time to make a small correction in his fire pattern, walking the stream of fire from his arm mounted rotary barrel gun into an unfortunate marine who was shifting position - the shots caught him high on the chest, one punching straight through the gue'la's neck and separating the head from the body. The now-headless marine toppled over onto it's knees, then backwards, out of sight.

Both suits landed and huddled up to the cylindrical building beside them, the remaining Kor'vesa zipping in front of Ui'var to shield him from any return fire.

+++

As he touched down briefly in the alleyway, El'tyen sighted on his erstwhile tormentor. The titan loomed large in his HUD; he lined up his own M3R and squeezed. My turn.. Both shots struck high, near the head of the machine; an azure spark and flare marked the demise of one of the war machine's precious void shields. A second bracket of fire from his right managed to acquire a similar reaction; the shields fell.

Pushing off the ground, El'tyen thundered his suit through another wall.

+++

"Watch it, Two! You're leaving yourself vulnerable! Wave off!"

La'colis wished he had a hand free to gesticulate at his wingman. The hot-headed young shas raced around the corner, just in time to see the shields on the titan fall. It was like dropping fruit in front of a starving Fio; Viper Two raced in, the two Kor'vesa peeling away to find their own targets as La'roh unleashed his fusion blaster.

Even though the machine was moving to backtrack along the street, the young shas landed his shot well - the line of fusion fire seared across the multi-barrelled Vulcan cannon on the Warhound's left arm, only to settle on melting fiercely into the main structure, where the massively thick carapace met the shoulder. Smoke washed away from the gouge, accompanied by a billowing of flames from one of the bulky vents to the rear.

"Hwah!", shouted the elated La'roh. "Now that's what I'm talking about!"

+++

As the two Landspeeders rocketed towards the tau flank, a spider's web of smoke contrails wrapped themselves around the stocky storage silo, reaching for the two machines. The two craft banked sharply, but the smoke trails converged on them like an angry shoal of flesh-eating fish; the lead speeder was swamped by impacts, thumping dead centre into the vehicle so that only scant shards of burning scrap fell to earth. The second barrel-rolled through the swarm of assailants, taking a heavy hit to the nose, wrecking the cannon that sat there, while the others missiles screamed past, detonating harmlessly behind it.

"Shot, Lancer One".

"What happened to yours, Shas'vre?"

"Keep wondering, Shas'ui".

+++

A bedraggled pair of moth-eaten rodents, each no bigger than a man's fist, scurried their way along the dark passage way. Pickings were poorer than usual; many of their fellows seemed to have disappeared, mysteriously and without a trace, not even a last desperate scent, while more and more recently the ground would shake, and the hot living breath of nature would claim more victims for its pyre. It was getting so that all they could find to eat were their own ashes.

And now, something new clattered along in the darkness. Sounds; voices. Giants! The giants were back - yes, definitely them, not the others. In the small minds of each rat, millions of years of evolution snapped into action and pressed the large red button in their minds that carried a very simple instruction; run!

As they scampered into a nearby crack in the wall, the sounds behind them drew closer, the clumsy shambling and hushed voices of the larger creatures reverberating down the passage way.

"Look, you are sure this is the right way, yes?"

"Scanner says its up ahead," came the reply. "There's a stairwell right there; we also, " the terse voice continued, "have a second passage that seems to lead north; should be a... maintenance chute that leads up into one of the buildings next to where those artillery tanks are sitting".

"Maintenance chute"? Said a third voice, incredulously.

"He means a drain. Honestly, these people have ways that'd make a kroot blush".

"I guess you didn't see what that Shaper did in the back of the Orca last ro'taa, then?" Piped up a fourth voice.

Above them, the ground shuddered with the tremor of a heavy impact far above them. Dust fell from the shadow-laden ceiling, clouding what little light they had.

The first voice hissed, as if talking through clenched teeth. "Belt up, Saal! This isn't the academy anymore - you're on The Line now; the least you could do is try and act like it!"

"Sorry, La'bryn".

In the darkness a figure that had, up until now, said nothing, merely shook it's head in quiet bemusement.

"Right, listen up! Archer One, with me - move on the stairwell. Archer Two? With La'rellia. See if you can take out those missile tanks and ease the pressure off of the Xor'vesa teams. All clear?"

There was a chorus of static-laden clicks.

"Good. Tau'va Shi!"

The figures moved into action, one line heading straight down the tunnel, the other peeling off to follow the course north. At the corner of the junction, the last two figures paused opposite each other.

"Were we ever that young?"

"Technically, yes. A drain???"

"Maintenance chute".

"That'll just happen to smell worse than a Krootox with a gastric problem".

The other shadow rolled his head resignedly. "Probably, so don't take your helmet off. Have fun".

"We'll try. Keep your head down, La˜bryn".

"You, too, Rell".

As the two figures hurried off after their teams, neither noticed the two muffled squeaks in the darkness, nor the sickly, wet and very organic suckling sound that then retreated back into the darkness.

Patience...

The other would bide it's time.

+++
Firestorm - Shoot lots and watch what drops...

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White Knight
Shas'Ui
Posts: 291

Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#4 » May 02 2008 04:25

"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...

+++

Image

+++

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.

+++

Image

+++

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.

"Shooting, Two".

"Agreed, Lead".

+++
Peace...

The sky gently rolled above him, revealing beatific mandarin shading across the clouds high above. Twin suns, one a glowing orange, the other a deceptively cool blue beat serenely across the plain, warming his skin pleasantly. Sighing, he tasted the air as he inhaled, the tingle of wooden essence tinged with a subtle tang of... something that was beyond his ken, as if just out of reach. Closing his eyes, he inhaled again. There was something else there, much more sour than before; faint, yet palpable. He frowned in concentration.

As he sought recognition, he felt a dull throb pass through him, awakening sensations that had been there all the time, yet had previously remained unnoticed. Bafflement grew, nourishing his curiosity. Reaching for one of the now growing sensations, this one from his head, his fingers touched not his dry, sun-warmed skin, but something sticky, something viscous. This was not how he remembered this place...

A memory?

The throbbing grew rhythmically into a distant pounding of drums that echoes through the hills and fields of his mind...

This is not real.

Yet still it persisted, just as the pounding grew, still as slow, but louder, and louder...

Not knowing felt like being out of control; and that was something a shas'vre could not...

Shas'vre!

Realisation dawned. His eyes snapped open.

The vividly beautiful sky was replaced by a mottled grey shroud, viewed through a long, jagged tear in his xor'vesa's cockpit, the rend pinging metallically as it cooled from some massive heat impact. A roaring squeal of noise barraged his ears. Pain stabbed across his body like knives digging for bone. Electrics sparked and spluttered from his controls, while lubricant trickled down one broken panel and dripped down onto the exposed bone of his arm which poked sickeningly through his combat suit.

Blinking, disoriented, the ringing in his ears began to subside enough for him to make out voices; frantic, garbled. Then, one much clearer.

"Vre'wynn, respond!" Then, "Can anyone see him?"

Outside his wrecked xor'vesa, he not so much as heard but felt the approach of a behemoth; a destroyer of lives. The Warhound...

One of the other voices returned, much clearer this time,

"Confirmed; the eighty-eight is down, repeat, Vre'wynn is down".

+++

"Keep up... the pressure!" El'tyen's rumbling voice sounded strained across the general frequencies as he struggled with the remaining foe before him. Out of the corner of his eye, he'd seen the salvo of fire from the gue'la heavy weapon team corkscrew in towards Vre'wynn's position. He had no time to worry about that now. Grappling with all of the strength his suit had available, both gue'la and xor'vesa wrestled with one another to force their opponent's weapons away from bearing on each other. The power-armoured trooper, slightly smaller in stature than El'tyen's XV8, had ducked in underneath his shoulder weapons, neatly evading their wrath. The Shas'el, however, took a more direct approach, crushing his assailant's bulky looking pistol beneath his armoured gauntlet, the force of which also seemed to cause significant damage to the gue'la's hand. Almost chest to chest, the two combatants struggled with each other in a deadlock...

Image

FLASH...

The air crackled as the light flared impossibly bright for an instant, then faded, announcing the discharge of the titan's plasma weapon. Heat washed over them, being this close, blanketing them in an elemental's breath that threatened to send them toppling, yet neither warrior dropped their guard.

A cacophonic whining, punctuated by a staccato drumroll heralded the unleashing of the titan's other main weapon system, tracer rounds lighting up the darkening sky above like supersonic fireflies.

Teeth clenched hard, El'tyen heard the dismay over the comms...

+++

"Vre'wynn's down, Vre'wynn's down - can you, can anyone see him?"

Ui'var cursed profusely within the privacy of his own xor'vesa - they'd just lost one of their two remaining big hitters; there was little chance of the brave shas'vre walking away from that hit.

"Confirmed; the eighty-eight is down, repeat, Vre'wynn is down".

Well, that sealed it. Worse still, he could see the other crisis team falter, ever so slightly, as they tried to assess the situation. He brought himself in to cover, letting the targeting vesa select the best spread. Looking at the tactical display, he saw Stalker La'rua finally shift position as they prepared to line up on the Warhound again. It was a sloppy manoeuvre; had they taken damage he hadn't seen?

"Stalker, tighten up, you're too loose; hug the wall, hu-".

Too late.

Shell after shell chewed paving and wall with impunity as a line of destruction was walked across the titan's field of view, shredding first the drones then both xor'vesa's of Stalker La'rua limb from limb in a spray of metal, dirt, oil and blood. Staggering haphazardly from the assault, Stalker Two had enough time to stumble no more than five paces, weapons smashed beyond recognition, left arm missing and billowing smoke from the shoulder, before the whoosh of a descending missile barrage completed the display of destruction, hammering the now-wrecked suit to the floor.

"Ahh, Kroot-hash!"

+++

He had to regain the initiative.

Arms strained, armoured joints creaked, wills matched; suddenly, El'tyen pivoted his suit back, dropping to one knee, but levering his foe off the ground for a split second. In that instant, the aged shas reversed his direction, throwing his head forward to cannon solidly with his foe. The blow knocked the gue'la back, only bringing his head up with enough time to see an armoured hoof fill his faceplate, shortly before it caved in his skull.

Squatting down to reduce his profile, El'tyen took a moment to regain some discipline. "Hunter, intensify your fire to compensate; I'll bracket the target from the east - I want those shields down so Lancer can make her shots count". Mind ever on the bigger picture, El'tyen delivered the instructions as if they had been planned all along. Switching frequencies, he opened up a direct channel with the last of his forces on station.

"Archer Two, I need you in this fight now".

+++

Within the shadow of the Warhound, the two squat Whirlwinds, their missile-laden snouts raised to the sky as if they could smell their distant targets, continued to belch off rounds over the roofs towards the tau. Smoke blossomed from each launcher with every discharge, which, coupled with the wind whipped up by the Warhound’s passing, shrouded the surrounding city block with a miasma of debris and dust, charged with latent energy and an ironic vibrance; the hulls of the two tanks almost seemed to spark and crackle.

Not thirty yards before the pair, within one of the now increasingly common ruins surrounding the area, a pile of broken ferrocrete shifted and clattered, unnoticed, to the debris-strewn floor, as a large metal grate flipped open with a heave.

Mental note; I need a new rebreather and at least three rota in a de-con shower. Poking the snout of her carbine before her, La’rellia ushered her charges out of the access drain, her eyes fixed on the missile launchers before them.

Even sealed within her armour, the shas kept her voice low as she chinned open the comms for the cadre. “Archer Two on-site and moving to engage”. And I just hope they have those ugly lumps of scrap buttoned up tight, or they will smell us coming. Gritting her teeth, she rose lithely from her makeshift cover, a burnt out heating appliance of gue’la construction, and pumped her fist forward twice.

As one, the team of Shas’la bounded forward, weapons up, and let fly at the nearest vehicle. Each hit sent an increasingly chaotic spray of armour-shards pluming from the Whirlwind, shredding antennae and lesser stored equipment as the shas frantically sought a weak point.

Behind them, Destruction Incarnate roared it’s frustration to the heavens.

Image

+++
Firestorm - Shoot lots and watch what drops...

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White Knight
Shas'Ui
Posts: 291

Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#5 » May 02 2008 04:27

Surging to his left, El’tyen barked into his head mic, while his fingers poised over the firing studs. “Now! Hunter, pop that shield - Lancer, Viper, choose your shots; I want that walking junkyard out of my engagement zone, NOW.” Clearing the cover of the building, El’tyen found his intended target; just beyond cover themselves, the trio of armoured gue’la were lining up for a shot on something. Out of the corner of his HUD, he saw the Ui’neirra’s Hammerhead rise up over the top of the containment structure it had been using for cover, the long-bore rail rifle tracking towards the towering titan before it. “Archer Two, match my firing solution – cover Lancer”.

The words were still being spoken as the venerable shas unleashed his entire payload, the PPAR stitching a chaotic maelstrom of incandescent fire across the armoured figures in front of him, while the M3R neatly punched a hole through the tubular weapon one of the marines carried, cooking off the charge within and vaporizing what was left of the warrior. Almost immediately, a second stream of pulse fire caught the beleaguered power-armour troopers from the other direction, ricochets sending up spinning shrapnel and plumes of dirt, as the distant Shas’la team supported their commander. Tell-tale corkscrew contrails from seeker missiles hurtled into the fusillade, detonating ferociously. Amidst the fire storm, a tell-tale flash from above signalled the collapse of the titan’s shield, El’tyen noting the stark fire trails that marked more rail-fire, this time from Hunter La’rua, that had opened the way for the rest of the cadre.

Swooping in close on the Warhound’s left, La’colis brought his Piranha in to point blank range. His gunner, timing it to the last second, sent a fissile blast of energy into the power coils around the rear of the monstrous weapon the Warhound carried on that side. Armour melted, cables sparked, and the weapon died.

Not wishing to waste the opportunity, Ui’neira, hunched over the controls of her tank’s railgun, squeezed off a shot that chewed into the head of the beast, a large buckled plate of ferro-titanium pinwheeling away from over the vulnerable neck joint only to collide viciously with the plasma coils of the cannon on the titan’s right arm.

+++

It was all wrong. All wrong!

Princeps Harriman Geuren watched within the machine-spirits sensors as his crew scrambled to repair the damage done by the attacks of the filthy xenos. For the first time in years, he felt a confusion, a lack of understanding, something tht given their bond with the machine they rode was as alien to the princes as the foe at his feet. He struggled to comprehend, to fathom why this feeling even existed in his world, and where it dwelt, so that, as with all other foes, he and Cerberus Unbound might crush it together, for the glory of the Emperor.

Ears still ringing from the last heavy hit, the Princeps focused his attentions back towards restoring the titan’s systems. Repathing the machine spirit through secondary conduits, and with his tech-priests almost frantic devotions, Geuren felt the great multi-barrelled cannon on his left arm splutter, fade, then grow powerful again, returning to life. Barely had the power been restored than the gargantuan muzzles whipped around to seek retribution.

Within him, the machine spirit howled, as it had done on countless fields of battle, but still the feeling, almost a harmonic he couldn’t quite hear whispered ghostly at the back of the princeps’ mind.

Tracking the assailants that had flared off his remaining void shield, Geuren let his lust for vengeance, and that of the war machine, take control.

DIE!

+++

Ui’var’s eyes widened as, no sooner than it had seemed to be knocked out, than the Warhound opened up again, this time pouring it’s malice and destructive power his way.

“Two, get clear! Bounce it!”

Shoving his wingman back, Ui’var threw every ounce of energy he could into the maneuvering thrusters of his xor’vesa, sending it in a wild lurch sideways as the avalanche of shells blew past. The suit shuddered as if it were a doll caught in a giant’s grasp. Alarms blared, the vesa dispassionately reeling off scores of system damage before finally dieing itself in a shower of sparks. As shells tore through the air, the shimmering form of his remaining shield kor’vesa darted to the fore, planting itself firmly in the way of the oncoming fire, only to flare and shatter as the heavy projectiles ripped into it. Gritting his teeth so hard he threatened to crush his own jaw, the Shas’ui hauled on the controls, attempting to regain some control. Still shuddering, the xor’vesa was sent sprawling backwards, the cascading impacts sending it spinning like a top. Fighting for balance, and running on instinct alone,, Ui’var countered the spin and got the xor’vesa’s armoured legs beneath and behind him. Kicking out, the metal hooves dug deeply into the ground as they fought to arrest the momentum the multiple impacts had induced. Ploughing up twin troughs of ferrocrete, the suit came to a semi-controlled stop, right in front of his wingman.

“Var? Var? Respond!”

His head still swimming, Ui’var stretched his jaw and twisted his head to loosen the sudden tension in his muscles. “I… I’m alright, I’ve got it”. Seeing the ruin of his onboard vesa, the shas’ui toggled some switched above him to manually zero his weapons to a preset alignment, and took the first breath he’d taken in what had felt like an eternity. “I’ve had it with this thing – let’s hit it again”.

+++

Image

+++

Pain and awareness returned with a jolt that sent lances of agony down Vre’wynn’s spine and back and forth along his limbs like a steel-needled echo. Debris splattered the shell of his xor’vesa from yet another missed shot impacting nearby. Inside, the blackness that threatened to engulf his flickered with sporadically pulsed motes of light.

From somewhere behind the pain, realization lapped over the edge of cognition. If I can feel pain, I’m not dead. Focusing on his ragged breathing, the wounded tau eased himself over on his left side as much as he dared; the tell-tale throb of a broken rib made even the smallest shift an agony, but slowly and surely, he managed to bring his eyes in line with the still functioning tactical display at the front of his cockpit, now almost entirely above him.

“Right…….”, he gasped as the effort of speaking sent another twinge down his side. Thinking better of continuing on that thread, the Shas’vre focused his thoughts on his inner monologue. No more wise-cracks, let’s see what we can do to help. A quick appraisal of the Eighty-eight’s systems did not reveal much other than a great deal of damage. Moving was not an option, and most of the right side had been sheared off or fused. The ammo bin had split and disgorged it’s contents somewhere behind him; not that the solid projectiles would have exploded. His secondary weapons had been torn away, so even an indirect salvo of smart missile fire was not an option. Then, he noticed something.

The scarred HUD showed the relatively intact barrel of the left railgun, pointed straight up towards the heavens. No ammo, but..

Using the eye-tracking interface of the display, Vre’wynn rapidly cast his eye over the battlefield, seeing how the action flowed and ebbed. To his flank, a salvo of artillery fire tore up an eruption of earth and building, sending some fo the figures of the Fire team there flailing as the force bodily threw them up and away. Further forward, the static-laden magres scanner showed the attack of Archer Two on the gue’la tanks. There.

A whoosh of a portable missile hurtling past tensed Vre’wynn momentarily, and he instantly regretted the motion. As the errant charge detonated well past his position, he ran analysis exercises through his head in an aid to regain his grip on consciousness, his breathing labored and painstaking. Near miss. Either meant for someone else, or a waste of a shot. He coughed gingerly, trying not to set off another spike of pain. EMPs. They need to use...

“…E-E…EMPs, Ah-Archer Two. Close Assault…”

“Who the..?”

Ignoring the startled reply, he eased his left arm into line with the control stick for the remaining rail gun, aware that his grip on the situation was numbing as he succumbed to his wounds. “Hnngh..Hunter, acquire my target and shoot”. He tapped three keys above him, each press an impossible weight that barely refused to move, then eased the controls forward and away from him. Outside his cockpit, the long-barrel rifle canting down until it rested almost level with the ground. Thumbing the targeting system online, he lined up his sights, throught the scaffold beneath a rusting silo that looked as beat up as he felt, and painted one of the distant Whirlwinds with invisible light, as best he could.

“Target-Sig Two-One-Ardent. Don’t miss, Var, I…” He inhaled sharply as the pain threatened to overwhelm him. “I can’t hold this long…”.

+++

“Who the..?” La’rellia raised her left hand to the side of her helm as she tried to make out the voice. “Say again”, she queried, “all after E…”.

Her eyes widened as realization dawned..

“Archer Two, charge the trailing tank; EMPs on the turret and exhausts, MOVE!”

+++

“..I can’t hold this long…”

El’tyen’s xor’vesa hurtled up and over the ledge of a crumbling office block, weapons blazing continuously at the last of the infantry shielding the Warhound. Off to his right, a salvo of missile fire shrouded the remaining Piranha in smoke and flame, only for it to emerge the other side, shuddering and trailing smoke, but still active. Now on a par with the behemoth before him, he saw it unleash the full force of it’s multi-barreled cannon towards Hunter La’rua below. A drone shattered, armour fountained and bucked wildly, but the xor’vesa, in a blinding display of skill and desperation, somehow whirled to an almost controlled fighting stance, battered but still functional.

“I’ve had it with this thing – let’s hit it again”

Cutting across the comm. Channel, El’tyen barked, “Strike that. Ui’var, you have new telemetry – kill the tank, leave the Big hitter”. The old shas smiled as barely a moment later, he heard Ui’var respond.

“Got that, B’saal, engaging on T-feed Two-One Ay.”

Good hunting, lad, make the Shas’vre proud.

+++

Pounding out from cover, the two battle suits thumped shot after shot from their rail-repeaters. Covering the distance in a fraction of a second, the solid rounds punched through the frontal armour, each hole arrowed by the pursuing friction trail of fire. An instant later, as the shockwave blew over it, the tank’s turret, dipped sharply in response to a dull pop inside the machine, then swiftly began to billow thick oily smoke.

Behind it, the shrouded figures of the shas’la stepped back as multiple charges riddled the second tank with sparks and small detonations of static. As if to signify it’s death, the tank’s launcher lurched upwards, unleashing a final missile into the sky, to detonate harmlessly overhead, almost dead-level with the Warhound’s cockpit.

+++

The flash of the detonation outside caused a shudder throughout Cerberus Unbound that brought icy horror to the pit of Geuren’s stomach. At last, the strange feeling he had felt before made itself known and clear to see.

Doubt.

Hesitation.

The machine spirit, ancient and venerable, had never faced defeat.

And it was afraid.

Outside the view ports of the Warhound, Geuren saw the snout of the alien tank outside flash with energy.

+++

The fanged visage of the Warhound crumpled under the impact of the hypersonic slug unleashed at it. Metal warped and collapsed inward, liquefying artificial and organic components alike. Burrowing further, the shell cored it’s way past the engine room, narrowly missing the tech-priest fighting to preserve the ancient machine. Even as the trailing shockwave pulverized the adept to little more than a smear of gore, the round hammered into the reactor casing, ricocheting upwards through secondary systems in an orgy of carnage.

The heart of the battle machine, reacting to some base command path, scrammed the nuclear fire within, highly pressurized water flooding the reactor in a fraction of a second. Starved for power, other secondary systems cut in slamming safeguards into servos and joints to lock the titan haphazardly in place; the creaking and groaning of metal calling mournfully across the city.

However, over-balanced, the groaning of metal grew to a howl as the Warhound pitched slowly sideways, the smoking crater where the head had once been twisting around to drive through the ruins as if little more than kindling, quaking the ground at it’s passing.

Image

+++

From the shadows of a nearby rooftop, eyes observed the fall of the armoured behemoth coolly and clearly.

Soon

Fading away from the site, the eyes turned to look one last time as, overhead, Orca transports flew in to retrieve the remains of the tau strike team.

Soon

In the shadows where once something had watched, nothing remained but two puncture marks in the ferrocrete, as if something had suspended itself from the wall there.

Soooon

+++ Fin? +++

Yep, sorry, I'm back :-)
Firestorm - Shoot lots and watch what drops...

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RevRanDoM
Por'O
Posts: 1576

Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#6 » May 02 2008 04:55

Exquisite!

Welcome back. :D

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Doombringer
Drill Shas
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#7 » May 02 2008 05:12

*Salutes*

Welcome back, White Knight.

Wherever life takes you, or has taken you, you can rest assured that you have a plethora of friends, colleagues, and pupils here who would jump at the opportunity to assist.

Glad to see this all wrapped up. Amazing finish!

Might actually inspire me and Ozzy to get back on that illustrated rendition of it. :)

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Sa'cea Mont'yr
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#8 » May 02 2008 06:37

Beautiful, WK. Glad you're back, and welcome back and all that. Hope to see you some more around here.
Shas'el Sa'cea Cal'Ka Mon'tyr

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Eiglepulper
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#9 » May 02 2008 06:39

That was just outstanding. Simply outstanding.

*Applauds*

E.

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P'Shar's Rifles
Kor'O
Posts: 2041

Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#10 » May 03 2008 09:35

Glad you're back, WK!

You're a true wordsmith. That was completely absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks for sharing your work with us!

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Eltnot
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#11 » May 04 2008 05:03

Oh so happy to get to finish reading this. Glad to hear that things are getting back on track for you.

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Dal'yth Mont'sha
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#12 » May 04 2008 05:51

Glad to have you back WK. Glad to hear things are getting back on track for you and hope things stay well.

Also glad to have the end of the story too. Very well written as per usual. Hope we can hear a few more stories from you.

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Tael
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#13 » May 06 2008 08:48

Man.. brilliant stuff. Was wondering about the EMP's myself. Nice way of using them in the end, suitable cinematic. Titan Fall! thats one large kill marking..

Look forward to your posts White Knight! PPAR for the win :D

~ Tael.

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Shas'O Mo
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#14 » May 31 2008 03:19

A battle report and a story :biggrin: ! Amazing, truly great!
Join the greater good, It's good for you!

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LiquidWulfe
Gue
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#15 » May 31 2008 04:40

That was truly epic. One of the best warhammer 40k reads I have had in a long time.
“One Gun is enough, when it’s Big" Award

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Carrot
Shas
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#16 » May 31 2008 06:23

Truly excellent writing. It is smooth and easy to read with just the right attention to detail.

I look forward to seeing future literary efforts in this vein.

Nice work with point of view, by the way. Excellent job of meshing the very different perspectives on the battlefield.
Mobility is a priceless tactical advantage.

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RevRanDoM
Por'O
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#17 » Jun 06 2008 10:47

A masterwork, such as this, deserves to be recognized for the great contribution that to ATT that it is. It has been stickied as a measure of its excellence!

Thank you again White Knight. :)

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Lyi'ot
Por'O
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Re: Crisis in the CIty - Cerberus Unbound (Complete)

Post#18 » Jun 06 2008 10:56

I totally agree, Revrandom. I'm glad to see it's already sticked. :)

White Knight, it is a great work of fiction. Every character has depth, ever battle scene action, every scene cut tension. Reading through it, I loved the character of El'tyen; I was totally like "Did he survive close combat????!"
++TFTD: He who promises peace, promises damnation.++

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