Hey all, this is my first fanfic, so please go easy on me ^_^; R&R would be much appreciated.
Basic premise of this chapter is to introduce my OC, Commissar Tomas. I'm still playing with the details, so he'll be more fleshed out later on, but the basics is that he's a faster-thinking combatant, so he'll organize his men a bit faster than other Imperial officers would. Take that as having leadership 14 rather than the usual Guard Commissar's Ld 10 (Then again, Ciaphas Cain [HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!] would have Ld 20, ne?)
The Imperial system of Ypres was in flames. It was very different than the Sol system; its main planets were medium-gravity and almost perfect for their human inhabitants, a small belt of mineral-rich asteroids which soon attracted dozens of mining stations and pirate raiders, and several gas giants and ice-planetoids after that. The planets of Ypres were mostly agriculturally equipped - the single hive-world on Ypers II the sole exception - with the large continents, many of which were flattened by the first human colonists many, many years ago to make more land for crop and livestock farming. As such, this bread-basket for the sub-sector was supplying many forge- and hive-worlds with food. So of course, when the taint of Chaos touched this vital system, the Imperium of Man was not about to give it up.
The beastly worshipers of the Chaos Gods were swarming around in huge droves, and the local PDF did all they could to hold out until more reinforcements arrived. Two months into the conflict, it was clear that the Chaos forces were pumping huge numbers of the hive-world inhabitants - now a lost cause - into the Ypres IV battlefield, but the large lack of heavy armor on both sides meant that the two forces became locked in trench warfare. It seemed that the entire system was going to grind itself down by a brutal war of attrition.
The Imperial Guard, the Hammer of the Emperor and by far one of the largest armies in the galaxy, arrived in force during the beginning of the third month in the Ypres conflict. Men, machines and munitions were being dropped off into the planetary battlefield in massive landfalls. But even so, seeing the forces of Chaos and fighting them not only wears down the physical body, but also the mind; slowly, sometimes over an entire campaign, or sometimes, within a heartbeat.
Morale of the rank and file troops was upheld not only by their friends, officers and sergeants. Those men faltered, lost confidence, called retreats, charged too early, too late, and could not inspire confidence in some of their men. Commissars did not fall to those mistakes. They were tasked with keeping the morale of their troops by advising - sometimes very strongly - the officers and individual troops as well. One of the newer but no less experienced soldiers of the Imperium to join the conflict in Ypres conflict, known only as Tomas Sturm, was one of these men.
"HOLD THE LINE! IN HIS NAME, YOU WILL HOLD!"
The hurricane brutality of battle found an eye around Commissar Tomas and his command squad of Guardsmen, their bolters, las- and hell-guns chattering holy death to the traitor legions about them. The Commissar himself, a man wielding a massive power fist and sleek, dark blue hell-pistol, attracted beleaguered guardsmen from around him like a light in the darkness, his battle-scarred frame covered by the massive black, gold and red Commissar's greatcoat. The peaked Commissar's cap shone brightly in the gathering darkness as he headed for the Foxtrot defence lines.
Each layer of the local sector's defences were organized into layers, labeled Alpha, Beta, Charlius, Delta and so on until Imperia. Now, the heretics had worked their way into the Foxtrot defences.
Finishing off the last of his hellgun's current charge into a corrupted soldier, the grizzled man looked about him as his small, backpack sized batteries spooled up energy into the charge pack: He had taken some pains to learn all the regimental battle cries of his attached command, and spotted the uniform of a fallen 593rd Junkers regiment, and several others, still alive, crouched in a shell-crater. They were perhaps infamous of their patriarchal society, and... the details ended as their favored battle cry rushed out of his throat. The Emperor was their Father, their world the Mother.
"FOR THE FATHER! FOR THE EMPEROR!"
Junkers about him looked up, bewildered at the use of their battle cry, but still feeling the steel of fierce pride flushing their souls of any fear. They were lost, and now they had a compass to guide them. To battle they would go. Guardsmen went from cowering wrecks to actively shooting soldiers, their aim either deadly accurate or simply saturating a space with las-bolts. The Priest accompanying Tomas grinned as he joined a squad, now moving at a full gallop to overtake the retreating enemy. "Now, that has gotten fire into their bellies!"
Grinning, the Commissar continued the charge down the slope, his hell-pistol set to full auto. Gears within his metal arm whirred and clicked, locking into place as he prepared to fire. A ragged platoon was further downhill, close to disarray. One bolted, and was promptly shot down with a pair of las-blasts. Re-holstering his 'execution pistol', what was once his standard-issue las-pistol, Sturm moved on. Retrieving his hell-pistol from the sling he carried it in, he advanced upon a platoon or maybe a company – it was hard to tell who was dead or alive out there – and dropped into one of the larger craters. He pointed with his hell-pistol at several men rising from the crater. "You, you and you! Supply detail, by my orders! Gather up a vox-caster and operator, preferably in one piece, then head for the firebase in that direction!" Tomas shouted for others to join him as they charged up the small hill.
The firebase was simply a strongpoint in the line of the trenches which seemed to dominate warfare around these parts. It was a Junkers pattern E firebase, which was used purely for front-line defense. The natural hillock was turned into a series of five rings of trenches, encircling a pre-fabricated bunker. That bunker was still occupied by loyal troops, but their blast-doors were being slowly breached. A quick burst of shells cleared one from heretical assault. He pulled a +guardsman forward, telling him to order the door open. The man obeyed, thankful that the matter-rending power fist he had been man-handled by wasn't activated.
"Come on, come on! Clear the firebase, and HOLD! And in the name of the Emperor and the Father, open this blast door before I HAVE YOU SHOT!"
The firing slit on the blast door outlined a panicked face, who recognized the commissar. The door was hurriedly opened. A shotgun-wielding sergeant was leading the way, his young lieutenant trailing behind him with laspistol in hand.
"Sir, yes sir! JUNKERS 593rd, ON THE LINE AND SEND THOSE TRAITORS TO THEIR GRAVES!"
The men surged to the top of the nearest firing step, some being cut down by gunfire and las-blasts, limb rent from torso in a spray of blood or simply vanishing as the guns of the enemy swallowed them in an explosion. Others screamed as they saw their horrible wounds, others called for apocetharies and medics. But the majority... by the Emperor, they were wonderful. Arranged in a ragged line, they all seemed to fire as one as they pumped a steady stream of las-blasts, autogun shells and heavy bolter rounds towards the enemy. Across the enemy lines, their bodies were shredded with the holy firepower of the Emperor's Hammer. Tomas raised his hell-pistol, howling as he added his own contribution to the counter-attack. Looking over the parapet, he saw the enemy gather for a charge.
"HOLD THE LINE!AFFIX BAYONETS AND PREPARE TO RECEIVE THE ENEMY! "
The enemy thundered forward, an unrolling carpet of heresy as they advanced, eating las as they tried to press their attack home. Guardsmen around him cursed as they ran dry of las-packs, or their autoguns jammed. They were about to be overrun! Shouting litanies of hate in concert with the priest beside him, who jerked the control primer of his chainsword to greet the heretics, Tomas heard the electric whine of the tired Machine Spirit in his hell-pistol. The chargers were dry. Again. Damn. Tomas' power fist, the metal gauntlet that encased his still flesh-and-blood arm, crackled to life as the first few heretic troopers jumped over the last stretch of barbed wire around the last ring of defense. The first heretic trooper was a babbling mess, a eight-spoke wheel of chaos carved into his forehead, his lasgun already beginning to rust. That first mutant to reach their lines was promptly propelled back, missing a good chunk of his chest-plate and trailing chunks of flesh, as the Commissar delivered a heavy blow.
"NONE SHALL PASS! FOR THE FATHER, KILL!"
More guardsmen panicked as Chaos forces fell in among them, a brutal melee enveloping the firebase. The commissar cursed and crushed a traitor soldier's head against the wall, and continued to fire into the crowd of still-approaching heretics. Several of his men had the initiative to climb atop the firebase, and man the heavy stubber – an analogue of heavy machine-guns of ancient times – that was mounted there. He shouted at them to pour fire out and not into the actual trenches, cutting down the heretics before they reached their lines. A sword nicked his epaulettes, and he quickly sent a pair of bolter shells into the assailant's face.
"HOLD THE LINE! REPEL ALL HERETICS!"
They were being backed up into a corner now. A shout drew his attention uphill, away from the enemy. There were two of the three guardsmen he had selected out earlier, vox-caster and a platoon of Junkers in tow. One of those guardsmen took a las to the chest as they slid down the hill, other stray shots kicking up the wet mud around them, his arm coming off at the shoulder as his collarbone and ribcage disintegrated. The remaining guardsmen scampered into the trench, followed closely by the Vox-operator. Tomas grabbed the operator, and hauled him into the bunker.
"Call in reinforcements, and get them to start shelling this area!"
He turned and returned to the battle as the platoon charged, leaving the vox-caster and operator to call in whatever he thought was best. That man worked fast, certainly; within a minute, artillery shells began to crash around them, the high pitched whines telling the Commissar that it was Imperial shells falling into the ground. He shouted for the guardsmen to take cover inside of the bunker, and start firing out from there. The vox-caster operator was already inside, still chattering on to command. Seeing that all this men were inside or dead, Tomas gave the enemy one last burst of shots before ducking inside.
The vox caster was the first to greet him. The stench of blood and burnt meat filled the inside of the bunker as Guardsmen fired out from the narrow windows.
"Commissar, Sector Command is sending us reinforcements; a squadron from the Junkers 295th Armored, the rest of Junkers 593rd Heavy, Jumael 28th Light's entire regiment and ten platoons of the 3198th Cadian whiteshields."
"Excellent, we will hold out for now. Can you contact the other bunkers?"
"I shall try now, sir." The Vox-caster... Raubin, his embossed name declared. "This is Vox-caster E-28D-473 to all Foxtrot-area bunkers, do you copy?"
Tomas left him there, and quickly moved between the four rooms of the firebase's bunker, clearing them out personally. There was an underground armory as well, which he quickly sent a few men to clear out and bring up whatever was left. As expected, unfortunately, there was nothing but empty crates of las-packs, although the recharger could come in useful if they survived.
The shelling ceased half an hour later, and Tomas was the first one out of the bunker.
The heretics had all gone into a final charge now, tripping over their dead and dying as badly-aimed lasguns hissed overhead. Still, a few of those stray rounds managed to hit his Guardsmen as they rushed the firing steps. Tomas jumped up on the firing step himself, hell-pistol spitting out iridium-melting death as he surveyed the battlefield. Shell craters and the carcasses of vehicles littered the battlefield before them. The Commissar smiled as he remembered the vox-report from only ten seconds ago. He almost felt sorry for these heretic bastards. The rumble of Leman Russ tanks made the Commissar turn around as the crash of their shells pummeled the traitors. The chatter of their sponson mounted heavy bolters threw up craters as they cut down platoons of infantry in a single burst. He looked up to meet the sight of a tank commander, waving a power sword around from atop a Vanquisher.
"DRIVE ME CLOSER, I WANT TO HIT THEM WITH MY SWORD!"
Tomas shouted for Raubin, which triggered one of his bodyguards to go inside the bunker, to bring out the Vox-operator, who rushed out to meet him.
"Give me a channel link to the armored platoon that just went past us."
The field-phone was handed to Tomas, who began barking orders into the mouthpiece.
"Captian Rusch, this is Commissar Tomas. You will halt your advance. The bravery of your men is commendable, but their deaths – and yours – can be spent more wisely. We must not let the heretics encircle you, lest your tanks fall into enemy hands. Set up a cordon in sector Gamma, and let the heretics come to you while we prepare defenses, understand?"
"Yes, Commissar." Came the reply.
Around him, he could see other platoons and even entire companies moving in to fill the gaps on the line. Commissar Tomas barked into the bunker to get his men out. They stumbled into the light of the local sun, laughing nervously as they saw the sight of the reinforcements. A few simply sank to the ground praising the God-Emperor. One was in such disbelief that they had survived that he started banging his head against the pre-fabricated wall, laughing hysterically. Tomas slapped his helmet to get the man back to his senses. Others crouched down on the broken earth and did their best to imitate men who lounged about, knowing that they were going to get more enemies to fight soon enough. Raubin walked back to the Commissar, still talking to his fellow vox-casters. He looked up at Tomas, before giving off a short salute.
"Other bunkers report they're getting relieved as we speak, Commissar."
The firebase was reinforced by the arrival of the Whiteshields as the other Guard regiments spread themselves out along the lines. The white stripes on the Whiteshield's helmets gave them away as the conscript troopers; the children of the local regiment, or orphans from the battle-zones the Cadian 3198th had visited. Some weren't much older than fifteen, by Tomas' eye. They were riding atop Chimera APCs, which were towing or carrying large crates of supplies; laspacks, belts and belts of ammunition replacement lasguns, grenades, two more vox-casters (with operators), medical supplies, and of course, food and recaf. One thing he could give the Cadians was that they knew what to bring along. He called out to the platoon commander (The name carved onto his chest plate read 'Osser', who quickly jogged over with his command squad. Tomas began to give out orders.
"How many squads do you have, Sargeant Osser?"
"Five squads of twenty, Commissar... sir."
"Have two of your squads start policing weapons and ammunition from the battlefield, and clear these bodies from the trenches. The Junkers Sargeant there will provide perimeter security when you're out there. I want this place ready for defence as soon as possible. Then get two more to start mining the shell craters and the lee-sides of the vehicles; If any of those heretics take cover, I want to give them a nasty surprise. The last squad will begin to distribute supplies. We will hold this line, Sargeant, and we cannot do it with ill-prepared defences."
Tomas looked out into the distance; the flash of guns and the rumble of man-made thunder was still there. Yper's sole sun was starting to set. To his left, towards the night, the lines of light tracing of the sky showed the Imperial Navy deploying everything short of Exterminatus on the heretics. He turned to Raubin.
"We've got a long night ahead of us. The Emperor Protects."
And chapter done. I'll be doing more if you guys send me enough reviews.
Just a few OOC details, though:
Tomas has been trained/tutored/taught by the (in)famous Ciaphas Cain to not shoot his own troops, although he still does.
This Commissar is not the Commissar Tomas Beije that Ciaphas meets when they re-unite in The Traitor's Hand.
Favored weapons: A hell-pistol or power fist in his right hand and left hand, since he can use a single, high-duration battery to power both weapons. The hell-pistol is basically a high-powered version of regular Guard-issue penlights... I mean, las-pistols.