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Dead Ridora

Submitted By: Date: February 21, 2007, 12:00:00 AM Views: 1815
Summary: Chapter One: My Home The wind was blowing that afternoon. It sent the wheat tops rolling in long, golden waves as far as the eye could see; the hills stretched toward eternity. The warmth of the second sun felt good against my burnt, sweat-soaked skin. It was a beautiful shade of red as it fell lower in the darkening sky.

My hands ached from the toil of the day’s labor and my back was none the better. Horsemen of the ever-vigilant Ridoran Equestrianas galloped past in a billowing cloud of dust, their long golden lances shining brightly in the star’s failing light. I looked past the whimsical clouds blanketing the sky into the pink-purple of the binding storms of the warp far off in space.

Those storms have trapped us on our planet for hundreds of years. Our only remembrance of the Imperium is the small space station in high orbit about our planet’s equator. The lone ship, the Starlight IV, bound within our space could only stretch her legs about the Ridoran atmosphere. No ship has punctured the storms and Captain Lingsholm, would not risk it. Luckily, we were self-reliant and could sustain ourselves on the rolling acres of our agriculturally-rich planet.



The fields ran along the surface in great oceans of land mass. The Pangaean continent segmented by the great rivers which ran like huge bands across it. The blue of the rivers was as astounding as the sky. From the fields we were given food and horses. From these we survived for millennia with little Imperial support.
     
Amidst the openness of the surface, sheer, towering cliffs ran for miles, they acted as our hive cities. Billions resided in the caverns we cut from them. Huge, magnificent halls and grand parlors adorned the interiors. No person was left wanting for a more luxurious abode. It was our home, our splendid, beautiful home. We lived in peace with our planet and in return, she gave us everything. Peace ever-lasting, until they came.



In the failing light, I saw the huge flames falling from space. At first I thought they were chunks of the space station. Years later the Imperial investigators told us they were Ork Roks. They were trapped in the warp, until the storms spit them out upon our world. They flew past the Starlight, though she was firing everything she had at them. I could only imagine what the Captain was screaming over the communicators at our generals as her missiles hopelessly scratched at the fire balls.

They slammed into our planet’s surface causing huge earth quakes around the globe. I dropped my scythe as I heard the planet lurch with their impacts. Huge plumes of dust leap from the craters into the sky. That was the last time I saw the suns. The dust encircled the atmosphere, it plunged the planet into a hazy, dirty light. All around, the Equestrians rallied; banners led them to the hive cities. Loud-speakers, placed every one-hundred meters, spouted the emergency call to evacuate the fields. Usually they were used in case of flash field fires. That time they sounded loudly, with an undertone of deep fear.


   

I ran as fast as my legs could carry me to the gravitational platform that would carry me up into the safety of the cliffs. Below the rising platform, the golden waves of wheat were replaced with dark, sorrowful fields waiting for the upcoming battles.

The platform stopped at my floor. A quick sprint to my room proved to be surprisingly difficult. The usual hustle and bustle of the children running through the halls was replaced with men running towards the plateau level. Over the yelling of the passer-bys, loud speakers in the halls directed the men to dress and get to their pre-assigned transport ships. I flung my door open and the resulting crash tore my wife, Lyndis, from the window. She pleaded for me not to go, she ripped at the cuffs of my pants as I hurried to slip them on. She cried loudly, my two week old child cried in the adjacent room. From my closet I pulled my lasgun and body armor. I pulled the vest over my bright long coat and plopped my helmet on my head. Lyndis had already collapsed onto the floor weeping uncontrollably. On my way out, I lifted her tear-soaked chin and kissed her lovingly, I had never seen her so distraught. I ran into the nursery and kissed my baby boy, Jerit, he silenced when I entered and, as if knowing, cried loudly when I exited. I left the front door open as I raced to the stairs. I knew Lyndis was watching me from the door. I didn’t look back; I wouldn’t have gone if I did.



{mospagebreak}

Chapter Two: Invasion


The metal seat was cold from being unused for years. The last time I sat there was when I turned 16, the age at which all males must receive military training. A whole decade passed before I had to sit there again. I hoped, prayed, to the Emperor that I wouldn’t have to sit there, clutching my lasgun against the chest armor I wore. My knees clicked together in nervous anticipation. I used my grav-chute everyday to get to work but to drop into combat was a different matter. My squad and I sat in silence; the roaring engines of the dropship were the only sounds in the bay. The sergeant by the name of Minlid, was a good friend of mine. We worked in the fields together as each squad member came from the same area. Each man in the ship I knew. I knew their wives and their children; I knew their pets and frequently visited their apartments, and partied late into the night. Deep inside of me I knew at the end, I wouldn’t be seeing some of them again. Sergeant First Class Minlid told us the enemies were Orks. The tension among the soldiers increased as we were told the adversaries. We have known them as killing machines but still, we were run-of-the-mill farmers.



The training we received was rudimentary, a compulsory for all field workers. The Administratum felt we needed no more training as the regulars were adequate in number. The warp-storms, encasing us in false protection, added to the feeling that we were safe. As the ship shook violently, I wished we trained a little harder. Several men by the bay door vomited when they looked outside the tiny, fogging windows. I could hear muffled pops followed by sounds of small pieces of metal hitting the outside of the ship’s hull. A small red light shone in the darkness of the dimly lit space. Sergeant Minlid stood up, remembering the routine; I stood up as well and faced the rear of the ship. Some men forgot their training and when seeing the others, they stood up as well. In anticipation to jump, I strapped my silvered helmet onto my head. It was silvered to signify I was a reservist, the foundation and shining symbol of our planet’s resiliency. Although I was not a conscript, they had green helmets, I was under-trained for a man about to go to war. Normally, we would have trained months before being shipped out, but the attack caught us off-guard.

The rear door opened causing the decade old dust to swirl about the bay. Looking out, I saw the ground far below, the fields were aflame and they burned brightly in the darkness of the night. ”So much for a surprise attack”, I thought. Sergeant Minlid took his place between the two columns of the squad. The small red light above his head turned green and we jumped out.






It was like flying, flying with metal shooting past you. As we fell several men were hit by the sprays of flak. I heard a loud metal on metal sound near my ear. Reaching up, it felt wet. The adrenaline pumped so hard that I hadn’t noticed the pain. Despite the noise, my pulse throbbed loudly in my ears. I looked at my altitude meter. “Little more, little more” .An Ork fighter screamed past, fire spilling from its engines. The rush of air from our trailing fighter caused dizzying turbulence. In the confusion of the fighter fiasco, I engaged my grav-chute too late, but not late enough to cause me trouble. The rush of wind lessened as the chute slowed my descent. ”I will soon be on the field below”. So I thought.



The ground began to spin and the wind picked up. The left side of my chute shot off my back. Flak must have damaged it. My stomach tied into a knot and a lump formed in my throat. My wife and my son were now in my mind. The ground was quickly catching up with me. The blackness of the night grew darker.

I awoke in the only tree within a thousand miles. My head was battered but I thought that I was alright. I performed a functions check. I moved my head from side to side, moved my fingers, wrists, and then arms. Continuing, I moved my toes and then my ankles. When I moved my legs I felt a sharp pain and had to cover my mouth to stop myself from yelping. I looked down and saw a large branch sticking through my thigh. Dark blood was seeping from the wound. I reached for my personal med-pack but it wasn’t there. It was with my lasgun and the helmet that was knocked from my head, somewhere on the ground, ten feet below me. Slowly, very slowly, I pulled my leg free from the branch. I had to bite into another stick. I could feel every little bump scraping against my muscles and bone. Every little prick made me bleed more. I could hear the precious droplets of my life hitting the leaves below.

Finally, free from the pain I swung to the underside of the limb and dropped like a rock onto my equipment. The impact made me buckle in pain. For a second I teetered on the brink of consciousness. After a few seconds, I managed to fight down the feeling and searched for my missing equipment.
 
The lasgun handle jabbed into my side, but at least I was out of the tree. The med-pack was under my failed grav-chute. I reached inside, searching for the bandages.
 
Each drop trooper was given a quick-fix med-pack. Inside are some bandages and wound filling foam. Our instructors stated those were all we needed for any injury up to and including a Carnifex bite. I took the foam out from the package. It looked like a large syringe with an extra-wide needle made from plastic. I stabbed it into the wound on my leg. In a moment of searing pain, the syringe automatically shot the foam into the gapping, bleeding orifice. The sticky, expanding foam filled it and stopped the flow of blood. I lay under the tree for many long minutes, biting into my arm. If I yelled the Orks would hear me and I would be worse off. Darkness enveloped me.

 

{mospagebreak}

Chapter Three: The Dawn


The dawn was fast approaching when I opened my eyes, the massive debris cloud hung in the atmosphere, blocking out the beautiful sunrise Ridora was once known to possess. My heart sunk, as I knew the cloud would remain for the rest of my lifetime, and my child’s. Those damned Orks would pay if I had anything to do with it. I got up from the pool of dried blood, the tall grass stained underneath me. I grabbed my weapon and started to run for a small shack on the other side of the small desolate field. I kept my head down. For what reason I can not say, the field was being prepared for planting and was barren. Due to phenomena of the twin stars rotating about our planet, the growing season was year-round. Our planet was perfectly placed to sustain life in between those stars.



My foot falls were noisy on that quiet morning, boots crunched on the tilled vegetation. I reached the shack, cautiously I approached. The windows were dark. I pushed the squeaky door open. A few over-turned chairs, a small bed, and a short wooden table adorned the humble field watchers building. These were a constant sight in the fields farther away from the hives. Here a couple stayed to watch over the fields at night. A lonely, quiet life that was most humble.

Despite my constant blackouts, I was very tired. My adrenaline had been coursing through my veins at a mile a minute in the air. Drained to the point of exhaustion, I sat on the bed. It felt soft under my weight. The newly issued lasgun stayed in my hand as it rested on my lap. A picture of an elderly couple sat on the table. Two dishes with half-eaten meals were beside an empty pitcher. My eye lids became heavy. I attempted to remain conscience, but against a bitter defense they drooped, and eventually closed.



A cold pressure was pushing on the back of my neck. My eyes popped open. My palms sweated as I tightened my grip on my weapon.

“I should shoot you, dead man.” The weapon pushed harder into my neck.

“Please don’t kill me I have a wife and child,” I wept.

“You think they’ll care about that, private?”

I turned, slowly, to see my assailant. It was sergeant Minlid.

“So what is this?” he eyed me up and down. “I leave you to jump out, thinking you would be alright, and look at you.”

I looked like hell. My leg was bandaged with blood clearly visible on my clothes, my face bruised, and my uniform torn from the tree.

“Oh, just a rough landing sergeant.” I said as I came to my feet.

“Well then, why didn’t you link up with the rest of the squad?”

“Oh well, you see sergeant…”

“Sergeant Minlid, you should come see this!” another private, Parlis, yelled into the shack. The three of us ran to the backside of a large hill nearby. The other members of the squad had already taken positions along the hilltop. Their rugged demeanors told me they had had rough landings as well. Several of the men had bandages on the legs like mine, and others were missing equipment. The lascannon team was short a man, half the ammo and corporal Jonith had only one drum for his grenade launcher. Sergeant Derkan was on the vox-caster attempting to establish a signal to the rest of the company.



 

The sight in the valley beyond was astonishing. Thick, black smoke filled the air. Hideous dreadnaughts were smashing into ranks of men. Tens of thousands of Greenskins moved in a living tide from their Rok located miles away. They slaughtered the militias that retreated from the ground they were defending. In their wake the ones with flamethrowers burned our beautiful fields. The hills were ablaze in hatred and mourned for vengeance. I could hear the cries of the dying on the breeze.

“Wh-hat-t do w-we do sergeant?” Parlis asked nervously.

“I would like to help but the rest of the company should meet us here. Unfortunately this battle is over.” Minlid said in a distant voice. His eyes stared blankly at the battle below. It was over before it began. The sheer numbers against the men spelled their demise. The green skins yelled horrible, nerve-shattering chants. Blood was upon their axes, and rage upon their brows. A group of the smaller green skins pointed towards our hill. Instantly, the tide turned toward us.


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