Lieutenant Vines had just poured himself a fresh cup of kaff when the door to the communication shack was ripped off his hinges. The trailer lurched from the strain, and he howled in pain as the hot fluid penetrated the fabric of his uniform. The pain was followed by a chill wind and cloud of dust that blew in through the mangled doorframe. "Al*" he shouted, then before a handed appeared out of the blinding dust to seize him by the throat, choking out any further sounds. He felt his feet dangling in mid air, but that did not seem to be much of a concern compared to his interrupted air supply. He scrabbled at the hand on his throat, but he might as well have been trying to bend steel bars.
Another gust cleared the dust, and he could see that his assailant was one of the Twelvers, a giant whose face was as red as his power armour. "DID YOU SEND US THIS!"
The pressure on Vines' throat stopped, and he dropped to the floor, gasping for breath in the thin air. A crumpled flimsy fluttered down to land on his chest, and he feebly reached for it, and took it up. Holding it close to his tear blurred eyes he make out that it was an order sheet from high command. "Y..y* yes*" he gasped in a bruised voice between sucking in air.
"LOOK* AT* ME!" The marine roared again, and the deck plates and Vines' uniform hissed and smoked where they were hit by the spray of saliva that accompanied each shouted word. "YOU TELL THEM THAT IF THEY PRESUME TO GIVE US AN ORDER WITHOUT CONSULTATION AGAIN THEN BY THE EMPEROR'S SHRIVELLED LEFT NUT SARPEDON IS GOING TO PULL OUT!" The tirade did not seem to need to be interrupted by any petty human necessities like breathing, the marine just carried on in without wavering in pitch or volume. "WE'RE MISSING THE FRIGGING CONSECRATION OF OUR FRIGGING CHAPTERHOUSE TO SUPPORT YOU MONKEY'S HERE, AND WE'LL BE DAMNED IF WE STICK AROUND FOR ANY MORE OF THIS CRAP, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"
A billow of dust made it look like the marine was smoking around the collar of his armour, and he now breathed, sucking in great snorting breaths like a bull. Vines nodded weakly, "y* yes* sir*"
"GOOD! YOU'RE LUCKY ITS JUST ME, MY GOD THE EMPEROR MUST THINK THE SUN SHINES OUT YOUR ARSE. IF SARPEDON HADN'T BEEN SO ANGRY HE WOULD HAVE HAVE COME OVER HERE HIMSELF, AND THEN YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN IN TROUBLE!" The marine spat on the deckplates between Vines' legs and a sizzle and whisp of smoke rose up. "NOW STAND UP, YOU'RE EMBARASSING YOURSELF!" The marine spun in place and stepped out the door, the shack lurching as it was relieved of his massive bulk.
Vines pulled himself carefully to his feet, avoiding the blob of bubbling acid on the floor. Looking to specialist Kenner, who had remained silent and motionless during the tirade, he croaked, "who in the Eye was that?"
"Glaucas, Captain of the sixth company" she gushed, "Isn't he dreamy?"
"What? Are you bent? He's a frigging lunatic!" Vines adjusted his ruined uniform as best he could, then flattened the crumpled flimsy on the bench. "I guess we'd better send his message."
Kenner eyes widened, "We can't tell an Inquistor and the Warmaster that, not if we want to wake up tomorrow."
Vines paused for a moment, thinking, then said, "You're right, make this signal, code delta three blue. "Sarpedon confirms receipt of orders."
Kenner snorted, and said, "yes sir."
Vines stepped to the gaping hole where the door had been, "and see what you can do about the door."
Some days the universe never ceased to amaze Pte. Glotkis, even though he knew that no matter what happened he hadn't seen everything. Today was one of those days. Things were still pretty quiet at the DZ as he sat in his shell scrape. Glotkis took advantage of the opportunity to prepare a CMR Rat, since it was getting close to meal time, and some sort of work detail couldn't be far away. For instance, it was only a matter of time until some sergeant would come along and tell them to finish the trench. Until then, he would just enjoy the comfort of the shell scrape, since who knew? They could just as easily get an order to bug out, and then they would have done all that digging for nothing. Worse, they'd probably have to fill it back in!
Pte. Glotkis was just going to remark about this to his newbie recruit loader, when he spotted something cresting the ridge. With a reflex honed by several campaigns he traveresed the Lascannon and drew a bead on the contact. He zoomed in, and pulled back when he saw it was a Marine. He kept the weapon trained, but figured the parimeter sentries would let the marine through. He was right, the Marine blew by the sentries in a huff, barely dignifying them with a response to the challenge. Onward the Marine strode, directly to the command pod. The pod heaved from the weight of the power armour when he barged in.
Glotkis and his loader could hear a scuffle from inside the flimsy structure. "Should we do something?" The loader asked.
Glotkis merely gestured. "As far as I can tell, this is what Marines do."
"But he's on our side right?" Continued the loader, still puzzled.
"Oh yeah! But they're touchy about things, and people don't argue because they just freak out more. When He's finished everybody will go back to what they were doing. Except that usually officers start giving out more orders for a few minutes, and a sergeant will probably come by to see what we're up to." Glotkis watched the command pod as it continued to shudder. The commotion didn't last much longer. They watched the command pod lurch upright again as the Marine stepped off and stormed away.
"But how do they get away with that?" Mused the loader.
"Well," answered Glotkis, the question has been rhetorical but he was going to share his wisdom anyway, "Marines are under a completely different command structure."
This really didn't clear things up. The loader posed the question a different way. "So if they don't take orders from the Sector commander, who tells them where to fight and when?"
Glotkis had no good answer for this. "We all wonder the same thing," he responded.
"So doesn't that make it difficult to coordinate a battle plan?" The loader continued.
"We all wonder the same thing," Glotkis repeated.
"I HEARD THAT!"
"Oh great," Glotkis sighed. Glotkis had forgotten about the whole super-hearing thing.
"I HEARD THAT TOO!" The marine spun around and came towards them.
Glotkis and the loader stood up and waited for the marine, who strode deliberately towards them as he removed his helmet. They stayed in the shell scrape so when the Marine was finally standing in front of them he towered over them. "DID YOU GUARDSMEN HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY TO ME?" He boomed.
The two guardsmen stood agape for a moment. Glotkis began to lean forward a bit, staring at something, focusing on it intently.
"What?" questioned his loader.
"What?" echoed the marine.
"S'Blood!" Glotkis blurted as if unable to help himself.
"What?!?" The Marine questioned again.
"I think that's a mole!" Said Glotkis, pointing at the marines neck.
"I think your right!" The loader agreed.
"Where?" Joined the marine, suddenly self-concious, craning to get a good view of his own neck.
"That could mean degenerate gene-seed," Glotkis explained.
"Should I get Inquisitor Null? He'll know," the loader offered.
"I'll get him!" Glotkis replied.
"ER, that won't be necessary."
"Don't worry about a thing, Sir! We'll get that checked out for you! Inquisitor Null! I think you should see this!" Glotkis shouted as he turned around.
The Marine began to back away and quickly put his helmet back on. "No, really, I'm expected back soon!" And with that he was soon making his way out of the Guard camp.
Korvus 02:42, 9 February 2008 (UTC) Nicholas Cioran and Allan Lougheed