Valdane's Chronicles

Falling Skies - Part 6

The red market. Crashing waves.

Having secured The Blind Saint, Kill-Team Fury plans their attack on the market district.

Located in eastern Calistria, The Rag Markets have been the scene of constant heavy fighting. Currently, the rebels are dug-in, waiting patiently to repel yet another PDF attempt to retake the squares.

Skold begins preparations by ordering the The Blind Saint’s liberated officers to bolster the PDF front lines. Accompanied by Junon and Gerhardt, they’ll return to the Portica staging areas via the Inquisitorial acolytes’ Cutter – bypassing the front lines. From there, they’ll lend some decent leadership and the might of the two Astartes to the frontal assault.

When they arrive, Junon and Gerhardt report that a single Leman Russ Battle Tank has joined the fray – The Avalosian Hammer. Having heard the Kill-Team’s broadcasts, they’ve just arrived from the outer provinces.

The rest of the Kill-Team heads south from their current position, sneaking through the ruined hab district and circling around the western flank of the Rag Markets.

The night’s storm continues to pound the shattered city, keeping the cobblestone streets slick with rain. Occasional lightning marks the outlines of the ruined skyline. Sporadic thunder adds to the distant sounds of battle.

Silently, Skold, Tyr, Dariel, and Kor make their way through Calistria’s alleys – careful to not draw any attention. Soon, they reach the outskirts of the markets – hearing the chattering of automatic weapons fire and the barking of orders.

Unfortunately, a small rebel guard post blocks the Battle Brothers’ path.

Skold hurls a brick into a nearby building, drawing the attention of the sentries. The rebels skulk away into the wet shadows, leaving a sole guard behind.

The Astartes sneak into the ruins as well, hoping to encircle and ambush their prey.

Skold draws his knife, and approaches the remaining sentry. Stumbling over some of the rubble, he alerts the guard. Immediately, the rebel begins firing with his stub rifle and yelling to his comrades. With the strength of a Fenrisian wolf, Skold hurls his blade forward, plunging it deep into the snarling face of his foe. The man’s body tumbles into a wet pile.

The Astartes charge headlong through the ruins, attempting to quickly finish off the other rebel sentries before they can alert the greater force in the markets beyond. Plowing directly through the hab’s flakboard and timber walls, Kor and Dariel subdue the first enemy. Tyr’s heavy boot finishes the other – along with most of the floor.

On the eastern fringe of the market, the PDF begin their assault – supported from the rooftops by Junon and Gerhardt. Immediately, things begin to go horribly wrong.

Overlooking the eastern market squares, an entrenched rebel anti-tank gun threatens the PDF’s armour support and halts its advance. Without the Leman Russ’ guns, the PDF falters, losing many of their men to effective heavy stubber fire.

Skold orders Junon and Gerhardt back and the Assault Marines help the PDF institute a fighting withdrawal. Firing all the while, the PDF’s heavy battle tank lumbers backwards, grinding over the crater-strewn streets and the unfortunate few too wounded to crawl out of the way.

Skold, Dariel, Tyr, and Kor know that their immediate objective is now clear – destroy the anti-tank battery in the central building to allow the PDF to resume their advance.

Having still not alerted the rebel garrisons to their presence, the Battle Brothers sneak forward building-by-building. Eventually, one final edifice remains before they must head out into the open. Maneuvering around back of the structure, they find the building’s rear door locked.

The Brothers ready their weapons and push in. With his servo-arm extended, Kor charges through the barricaded door, taking a large chunk of the surrounding stone wall with it. Around him, his comrades pour into the breach, slaughtering those inside.

Now, through the building’s dirty and bloodied windows, the Kill-Team gets their first good view of the market squares. The Rag Markets have been heavily entrenched, with a crisscross of earthen barricades and defensive positions providing multiple covering fields of fire. It’s clear that the rebels won’t give up without a fight.

At the center of the four squares, a mid-sized hab building has been converted into a central garrison and headquarters. Through a few smashed windows, the Brothers see that the ground floor has been cleared out and converted into a full battery, housing three large anti-tank guns and a variety of semi-hidden heavy stubber nests.

With a wet growl, Skold orders a breach and clear. He and Tyr ready their Krak anti-armour grenades, preparing to blow straight through the building’s heavy outer walls.

Meanwhile, sensing the coming ferocity of battle, Dariel works himself into a blood-frenzy, pouring battle-hymns through his vox, and allowing the Black Rage to flood his system with adrenaline.

Skold nods and the Brothers pour back out into the rainy streets.

Tyr and the Space Wolf release their payloads, sending the powerful charges soaring to the adjacent structure.

Dariel and Kor continue their sprint, allowing the grenades to detonate only fractions of a second ahead of their charge.

The shaped charges cut through the wall, carving a massive opening into the heart of the rebel headquarters. Through the smoke, confused and disoriented troops scramble for cover.

Dariel leaps through the gap, immediately plunging into the fray. His hungry chainsword slams into the disorganized mob, taking a massive toll. Back and forth, he swings wildly, screaming the most holy of Baalian hymns and proverbs.

Just as Dariel throws his tenth blow in half as many seconds, a crackling blade rises to meet the adamantium teeth of the Flesh Tearer’s borrowed weapon.

Clad in heavy carapace, the rebel leader clashes with the Astartes. Wild blows are exchanged, followed by parries and counter-attacks. In his blood-rage, Dariel lets his guard down, giving the rebel leader a microsecond opening to plunge his power sword deep into the Flesh Tearer’s shoulder. The crackling blade carves through Dariel’s gorget and paulron with ease.

Now finding himself overly focused on his single opponent, Dariel is overwhelmed by the surrounding mob. They club and slash the Astartes, finding little purchase among the overlapping ceramite plates of his power armour.

Seeing his fellow Battle Brother encircled, Kor unleashes a gout of pressurized promethium, enveloping the horde in holy, cleansing fire.

With their flesh crackling and sloughing off, many among the rebels fall to the ground, adding their horrific screams to Dariel’s bellowing laughter.

As the rebel leader catches aflame, Dariel turns and grabs the man by the throat, lifting him high overhead. He drags his chainsword through the man innards, spilling them to the ground and covering himself in a blood-rain. Smashing his pommel-clasping fist into the man’s pelvis, he stretches his arms outward and tears the rebel completely in half. Dariel tosses the shredded pieces aside and returns to his deadly dance.

Around him, the surviving anti-tank guns and machine gun crews continue to hold the PDF at bay.

Skold and Kor continue their assault, rampaging through the crowded building. Skold unleashes devastating volleys of metal storm shrapnel while Kor continues to fill the room with fire. Eventually, the main group of defenders are whittled down and destroyed.

Meanwhile, outside on the street, Tyr has been single-handedly holding the Kill-Team’s rear and defending both flanks. Taking cover among the alcoves of the ruined storefronts, his heavy bolter chugs through round after round of explosive ammunition.

Many of the rebels’ rearguard begin to reposition, attempting to circle around behind the now Astartes-occupied central building. Tyr holds steadfast, cutting them down as they cross out into the open. Swinging his gun both east and west, he takes down scores of troops and machine gun nests.

Back inside, Kor seizes one of the anti-tank guns, turning it on the rebel trenches outside. Firing near point-blank, he vapourizes one of their emplacements. Quickly, his servo-arm reloads the gun while he adjusts aim – repositioning the weapon’s crude crosshairs on another group.

Dariel and Skold finish off surviving weapons teams inside and prepare for a counter attack.

With the rebels’ anti-tank guns and many of their stubber teams knocked out of action, the PDF resume their advance. Columns of infantry push up behind the Leman Russ while others pour out into the market through the ground floor windows and ruins of surrounding buildings.

Lordsholm standards and banners are flown high and proud as the screaming masses of those still-loyal pour into the rebels’ forward entrenchments and earthworks. With brutal hand-to-hand engagements and short-range volleys, the PDF finally begin retaking the eastern squares.

Behind them, the Leman Russ pushes north and makes a mockery of the rebels’ mortar and stubber pits. The vehicle’s heavy bolters spew a torrent of hate while the tank’s main battle-cannon obliterates numerous buildings and trenches with ease.

Regardless, the remaining rebel forces to the northwest mass for a charge, pulling together a few hundred troops.

Through the ferocious combat and surrounding chaos, Skold somehow notices the rebel lines surge. He seizes a heavy stubber from one of the dead crews and immediately fires a torrent into the first wave. Pumping round after round into the rebel masses, he screams to his Brothers to make ready.

Kor quickly repositions to prepare the northern anti-tank gun. He hammers the firing mechanism, unleashing another point-blank burst into the rebels. The thunderous explosion shatters all of the remaining windows in the vicinity. The ensuing pressure wave is felt even by the mighty Astartes.

A billowing wave of smoke and ash washes back through the ground floor openings, encompassing the Battle Brothers’ position and obscuring the advancing enemy hordes.

Using the smoke as temporary cover, Dariel leaps headlong through the ruined northern wall, plunging deep into the rebel masses. The two forces crash together like a tidal wave breaking over a single rock.

Still, the rebels’ numbers are overwhelming.

The sheer volume of combatants causes the enemy force to swing around west, forcing the Kill-Team’s left flank. Like a swarm of insects, the rebels pour through the central building’s ruined windows and walls.

Tyr repositions in order to get a better vantage point and defend his Brothers inside. He locks his armour in place, hammering his foes point-blank. Almost choking his gun with the pure volume of carnage, he braces himself for the likelihood of being surrounded.

On the other flank, Skold continues to pour heavy stubber fire into the crowds. The rebels encircle him, finding weak points in his armour to stab and shoot at. The Space Wolf repeatedly disengages, leap-frogging backwards while hammering effective fire in to the rebels’ screaming faces. In blood-curdling Fenrisian, he curses back.

Kor too, is overwhelmed as the rebels pour around and over his anti-tank gun. A few of them plunge their bayonets deep into his right greave, dragging the Iron Hand to the dirty, wet ground. The Techmarine uses his servo arm to bat his assailants aside, shredding flesh, shattering bone, and ending lives. He fights back to his feet.

Finally, the rebels surround Tyr – their masses overwhelming even his heavy bolter’s astonishingly high rate of fire. Tyr lets his main armament fall, switching to his pistol and monomolecular blade.

The combat is ferocious – with scores of rebels literally crawling over the Astartes in an attempt to bring them down.

The Battle Brothers fight for their lives.

Some how, some way, the rebel hordes begin to thin.

Eventually, they break – choosing a hasty retreat over complete and utter annihilation.

Moments later, Junon, Gerhardt, and the PDF vanguard enter the central building – awestruck at the holy might of the Astartes.

Bruised, bloody, and battered, Dariel, Kor, Skold, and Tyr stand tall among a mountain of spent bolter shells and bodies.

One by one, the PDF make the symbol of the Aquila and take a knee.

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