No beginning is easy, and not all are the same. (I'm not finished yet)
The Defense of Turthol by the Promethean Fists and the Turthol Legionnaires
Listen to me my comrades. This that I shall tell you may become your past and your future. Take heed and you may survive for a bit longer. For the future is grim and full of darkness. For we reap what we sow; war breeds war and there will be no time for peace.
I take you now to the Ultima Segmentum. To a planet of the Pyros System called Turthol. This desert world is home to the Promethean Fists, a chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, the Emperor's holy warriors, his Angels of Death, the Space Marines.
The Chapter is still small at the time of our story. A mere 457 marines stood at the ready to defend the planet. They were not the only defenders though. Three Legions of the Turthol Planetary Defense Force stood with them.
Out in space an asteroid enters the outer reaches of a solar system. Behind this asteroid trail clouds of debris. Eyes, both mechanical and flesh watch it's progress and calculate it's path. It's headed straight for the third planet of the system.
But this isn't the System Solar, this is the Pyros System. And the asteroid isn't the problem, it's what it carries within its reenforced depths. Orks in their untold millions armed to the teeth and itching for a fight. But Turthol isn't defenseless. Defense batteries track the incursion, as thousands of Planetary Defense Forces, PDF, are called to the ready. And it's not just PDF units mobilizing, 457 of Humanity's greatest warriors, the astartes of the Promethean Fists chapter, make ready for the coming war.
“Sir, the Undying Flame and the Golem have engaged the ork fleet,” reported a serf. “My lord, Captain Kelros reports two ork cruisers are out of action along with multiple escort craft..”
“Excellent,” came the reply from the towering, bulky figure enthroned upon a seat of solid granite. “Patch me in to Captain Kelros on board the Undying Flame.”
“Aye lord,” replied the serf manning the vox terminal. “Connected, go ahead.”
“Captain, how goes the battle?”
“Captain, Gondhelm hails us,” reported a communications officer, looking up from his terminal.
“Put us through” responded Captain Kelros from the strategium table. “My lord, Captain Kelros of the Undying Flame. I would like to report.”
“Sir the ork fleet is too large for us to contain. The Mechanicus can't send help. A splinter force of orks has diverted to attack Pyros Technicus. The cruiser Sword of Turthol is on her way from exercises around Pyros Primaris with destroyer squadron Guardians of Pyros.”
“Captain,” exclaimed a serf. “Auspex scanners are screaming red. The orks have launched a wave of landing craft, all of them planet bound. They'll breach the atmosphere in minutes.”
“Chapter-Master” warned Kelros, turning to the vox. “Our Augurs are reading ork craft inbound. They'll be down in minutes. You're on your own for now. I apologize, Kelros out”
“Roger that” affirmed Argos leaning back from the vox before standing. He turned to a different serf. “Alert the PDF legions and place all military forces on red alert. I need all serfs to battle stations.”
“Aye, lord,” replied the serfs as klaxons blared. Across Turthol orbital batteries opened up, as legionnaires of Turthol's defense forces assembled. The first Waves of ork ships to drop through were meet by a storm of fire from interceptor guns and defense batteries. Hundreds of ships were destroyed in those opening moments thousands of orks dying with them.
"Lord Argos" inquired Captain Lokris of the 3rd Company the two of them made their way to the armory. "What of the marine squads scattered around in the deserts and mountains?"
"I'm afraid we will be unable to gather them in time." Said Argos placing his hand on his captain's shoulder guard. "They are commanded by our best sergeants. I'm sure they will be fine."
Lokris was about to respond when the doors to the armory opened revealing Argos' armor serf, Legges, there bearing a golden helmet and the sword Maelstrom.
"My lord, I took the liberty of retrieving your things for you. I hope I have not erred" added Legges going down on one knee.
"You have my thanks Legges" said Argos smiling as he knelt be fore the serf. Legges placed the helm upon Argos' head and secured the vacuum seals. Argos stood so Legges could fasten the sword to his belt. The serfs arms could barely reach around the marines waist but Legges managed to fasten the clasp, wrought to resemble a flame. Argos pulled forth Maelstrom from its scabbard. The blade glowed from the center a deep orange like molten lava creating heat distortions in the air. Argos returned the sword to its scabbard as he heard thudding steps behind him. He turned to see Chaplain Amriel approach from the command center, his black armor given a bloody hue by the flashing klaxon lights.
"Come my lord" beckoned Amriel, his skull helmet's amplifiers booming froth his voice. "Your warriors await."
Out in the desert units of the 4th company had been running siege training with units from the Turthol Legions when the orks had defended on them. The marines had transformed their rocky plateau into fortress of resistance and were now besieged by the masses of orks concentrating in their direction.
"Sergeant Lomis you have enemy armor on your flank" shouted Captain Brakus pausing to point towards a group of six war trucks that were racing towards the marines to disgorge their cargo of orks.
"Aye captain" shouted the sergeant before turning to his devastators. Their aim was true as each truck was obliterated by carefully placed fire from their guns. The devastators were dead accurate each shot hitting its target to conserve ammo. Scout sergeant Spyras directed his scouts fire against the more heavily armored orks. The scouts were reaping a terrible harvest, their sniper fire picking out the weak points in the ork armor with ease.
"Captain," voxed Spyras, scanning the horizon with his magnoculars. "Sandstorm approaches from the north. It will be on us in moments. Looks like it will slam head on into the orks."
Already the winds were picking up when Brakus answered. "Good, it'll give us some cover to counter attack."
A volley of fire from the orks punched a number of marines from their feet. Brakus thanked the Emperor when all the marines got back up and returned to the firing line.
"Damn orks scratched my paint" the marines grumbling drew laughter from his brothers as they blasted away.
"Brace yourselves" yelled Sergeant Spyras as the sandstorm descended on them. The orks howled as sand was blasted into their eyes. Their smarter brethren pulled goggles down over their eyes before shoving their blinded comrades forward towards the island of resistance. Using this distraction afforded by the storm Sergeant Mikhail and his assault squad descended in a blaze of fire. Orks cried out as they were caught in the flames or were cut down by roaring chain swords. Molter fire streaked out, pounding the orks to pulp and drawing their attention away from the squad in their midst.
In the gathering dark of the storm las-fire erupted into the orks. The Legion units had circled around the orks and poured fire into them. Squads of visored and scarfed legionnaires advanced along side their tanks as they massacred the panicking orks. A spirited counter charge by the orks wreaked havoc on the guardsmen but the orks were cut down without mercy.
" Legionnaires pull back behind the redoubts," called Captain Brakus through the storm. Sergeant Mikhail approached the command tank. "Colonel get your men back behind our defenses. The orks will be back in force and your wounded need shelter from the storm."
"As you wish, sergeant," replied Colonel Parimus through his sand scarf. "Soldiers onto the plateau, move!"
Sergeant Berko fired the las-cannons mounted on his predator, Turthol's Vengeance. The searing beams sliced through an ork war buggy with ease. Its ammo followed, cooking off engulfing it in flames.
“Direct hit,” cried Berko looking around for another target. Spotting one he traversed the turret around to face it. The ork gun barked, its shot kicking up a spray of sand near the left track of Turthol's Vengeance.
“Zerus lets move, its getting our range,” commanded Berko as another shot streaked by overhead. Zerus mashed the clutch and rammed both drive levers forward . The treads of Turthols Vengeance dug into the sand as it leaped forward. The ork tank followed suit tearing after it in a spray of sand and smoke. Berko fought against the motion of the tank to keep the enemy tank in his sights.
“Firing.” The las-cannons of Turthol's Vengeance blazed, unleashing twin beams of energy at the enemy tank. The shots missed, fusing the sand into glass. The ork driver swerved towards a wreck, just as Berko had hoped.
“Zerus stop the tank.” Zerus responded by yanking back both drive levers and bringing Turthol's Vengeance to a stop. The ork tank slowed to avoid a collision. Berko fired again destroying the ork tank.
“Berko what's your status,” voxed Sergeant Volus via the tank mounted vox.
“We're fine,” responded Berko as Zerus raced with another ork buggy. “We took a few dents, and knocked out a few orks. How about you?”
“We're getting swamped.” shouted Volus trying to be heard over the explosions. “Our Legion units have suffered fifty percent casualties and my platoon has been taking a pounding.”
“We're on our way,” voxed Berko before switching to the platoon channel. “All tanks, finish your hunts. Third platoon needs assistance.”
At that point the pict-recording filled with white noise before shutting off.
“Computer, what in the name of the Omnissiah just happened” asked the Salamander Captain.
+At this point in time Tank-Sergeant Berko's tank was hit by combined fire from a battle wagon and several heavy ork guns.+ responded the archivist spirit. +Shall I resume playing the records?+
“Yes,” answered the captain. The pict-recording flickered on again, this time showing the feed from a different device. “Computer why is it a different record now?”
+This archive of the Defence of Turthol is compiled from multitudes of video archives. Each from the war that took place on Turthol.+ explained the archivist spirit. +Shall I continue.+
“Yes I want to see it all,” said the Salamander.
Settlement Alpha-Omega, also known by the inhabitants as Dwimmerill, was once a pleasant if bland walled settlement. It had been built over an area of stable ground making it an excellent location for walls and a large town. Now it was under siege from the greenskin horde. Chapter-Master Argos was directing the settlements defense. Tech-Marine Naziry had been left in charge of Gondhelms defense while Argos was away.
“Sergeant Zakhar war trucks to the south. Take them out before they reach the walls.” yelled Argos over the gunfire.
“Aye Chapter-Master,” responded Zakhar before turning to direct the fire from his squad. “Devastators, targets north.”
Weapons fire lanced out obliterating three of the trucks. The dismounted orks had little time to react as brother Barros, the Chapters first dreadnought, opened up with his assault cannon. The orks were scythed down in a hail of solid slugs. Barros turned his cannon on an ork buggy shredding its passengers and detonating its crude engine.
“Fire and Fury, comrades” roared Barros through his sarcophagus’s vox casters. His powerfist mounted heavy flamer roared with him, incinerating a swath of greenskins. Ork weapons fire pattered harmlessly from his armored carapace, each shot doing nothing but marking its shooter as a target. Under Barros's watchful gaze a Tech-Marine directed a band of servitors in repairing the breach in the wall. The repairs weren't perfect but they would hold for a while. Argos climbed down from his observation tower and walked over to the hab unit being used as a command center.
“Barros, Zakhar, Colonel Plokus,” voxed Argos. “I need you at the command structure.”
Zokhar climbed down from his high perch as a half track bearing Colonel Plokus rumbled up along side Barros. A tech-marine worked nearby on a vid-screen assembly.
“Brothers I've gotten reports from our forces scattered around the planet,” began Argos. “Tank Sergeant Berko has engaged a large force of ork armor. Units of the Turthol 2nd Armored are assisting him in the fight. In the mountains Chaplain Amriel has engaged in a series of guerrilla battles against the ork force that landed there.”
The tech-marine interrupted Argos. “My lord the assembly is ready.”
“Good, thank you,” Responded Argos activating a hologram of the planet and it's surrounding space. A blotch of red circled the planet, the only sign of the ferocious space battles taking place in orbit. Argos zoomed in on a patch of the surface. “Fourth Company is stranded on a plateau in the western foothills. As for Captain Kelros, we've had no word. We're on our own comrades.”
“What of Master Naziry,” asked Barros. “Is Gondhelm besieged?”
“No brother not at the moment,” said Argos holding up a hand to stop any further inquiries. He turned to the vid-screen assembly. After pressing a few buttons and adjusting a few dials a the casters blasted with static. Unprotected by an astartes helmet plokus bent over double holding his ears. Argos quickly adjusted the dials again. The static stopped and tech-marine Naziry's voice came through alng with his eyes.
“... and the ork assaults are only getting stronger.”
“Hold up brother. Start over from the beginning.”
“Apologies. Allow me to introduce myself, Chapter-Master, for the Colonels sake. I am Tech-Marine Naziry, Master of the Forge.”
“Your reputation precedes you Naziry,” replied Colonel Plokus. “Thank you for secureing us the needed machines and ammo for our legions.”
“And there lies the problem. Our orbital batteries are reporting increasing ork attacks and dwindling munnitions” interrupted Naziry.
“Did we not have enough munitions when this was started,” asked Argos trying to be heard over the noise of a renewed ork assault.
“Sir, as you should know the agreement with the Mechanicus allowed for the supplies to be transported in shipments. Unfortunately the large number of ork ships have rapidly depleted the stores of ammunition.” explained Naziry.
Colonel Plokus stepped forward hesitantly. “Lords, is it not true that the orks will always go where the fighting is heaviest.”
“Yes Colonel that is true,” answered Zakhar over the sound of crunching metal. Everyone in the little group looked at Plokus. Berko spoke up, “Whats your plan Colonel?”
All drew close as Plokus began to outline his plan on maps brought to him by his aide. The plan itself was risky and the marines began to voice their concerns. “With the orbital guns down the volume of orks landing on Turthols surface will... What of the crews manning the batteries... Should they fight or run.”
“Silence brothers let the colonel finish,” admonished Argos. “Please continue colonel.”
“Very well. Remember lords that when the defense batteries were constructed, escape hatches and tunnels weere also built under them. Those tunnels lead to the nearest town to each respectively. Besides as long as Captain Kelros and the fleet are still fighting there will be fewer orks to send to the surface. That would also make Dwimmerill and other places like the 4th Company's bastion and Gondhelm the epicenters of all this fighting.”
“Aye the little one is correct about the fighting,” boomed Barros laughing at Plokus's indignant look.
“Brother Baros is right in that aspect, just as the colonel is correct about the fleet.” confirmed Argos, his voice emotionless. “I've received transmissions from Pyros Technicus that they have managed to defeat the splinter force and have launched a fleet towards us. Estimated arrival time is one week.”
“Good the execution of this plan depends on their arrival” said Argos before turning to the others. “Now then, let's get to work.”
“Sir, I'm getting a communication from the fleet. It's Captain Kelros and the Undying Flame.”
“Finally,” muttered Naziry. “Captain what is your status. What's going on up there?”