Read the first part of the story here.
Mon'ash Wasteland, 0608 Hours. A blast of a sickly yellow-green venom blasted right through the pirahna.We were knocked off our feet by the displaced air. There was no explosion. All that was left was a wreck of the skimmer and a black hole marking the route of the attack. The acid was still dissolving the metal.
Another two blasts had struck at the battlesuits, and they dissapeared into the explosion.
The speed at which life can be lost... i thought to myself.... I looked, back again at the pirahna's It's side-mounted seeker missile pod.
"uh....R..RUN!" I screamed... that was all I could say before the adrenalin caused me gag for anything else i tired to say, we bolted away from the wreck, and a massive explosion woofed up behind us, launching some us in the air. The acid had detonated it's seeker missiles. I landed on the hot ground, coughing up dust.
I shook of the dust and opened my eyes. All of us had survived, all except Gun Drone Fio'shas. It's programming systems were a fraction of a second slower than us Tau reckognising the threat. Yet another casualty.
"Your gonna pay for that!" I heard Aresh'shan say. His vibrant sense of humor shines through even the darkest of moments.
The Hive Mind had already learnt that Gaunts were not enough to defeat us. Faster than any normal being. It sent it's living battering rams against us.
Hundreds of Y'he Warriors, Carnifexes and Genestealers came from all directions. Their hungry screams peircing the air.
"Stand your ground!" I ordered in a stern voice. It started to rain strange black particles. We formed a circle as the wave enclosed us, shooting at the oncoming horde. But it did nothing I holding them back. I looked at my arm computer, and my confidence swallowed up into the bottleless pit of fear... all the cadre had been killed. It was only us and the battlesuits. And for all i knew they could be next.
My confidence returned, a loud wooshing sound of jetpack thrusters opened up above me, looking up I saw Shas'O Aures and two other battlesuits, giving the Y'he a massive payload of plasma fire.
But, of course, nothing can stop the Y'he's hunger.
A Warrior struck it's monsterous claws right through Ol'nan, ripping him easily in two. Another was shooting swarms of flesh eating worms at us, trying to find meat in between our armour. I shook them off and took aim; firing dozens of shots into the warrior's and genestealer's mouth as they each tried to rip my head off, making it appear as if they were killed.
My ammunition was running low.
Then yet another payload came to take us....three blasts of venom whooshed above my head. Aures's two body guards were shredded into peices. Aures's Iridum armour had saved him.
All of a sudden it was just me, Ui'Fiotan, La'Aresh'shan and O'Aures fighting alone. Us four versus the tide.
The Y'he closed in. Now was the time to make a final stand for Tau'va. I readied my pulse rifle.
But then they were all blown back by a mysterious force. Their green blood flew up form where they were standing. We found ourselves alone, the entire battlefield littered with the dead bodies of the Y'he.. no more screams... as if the invasion had never happened.
A white portal opened up in front of us, it's light engulfing us. I could hear the sounds of millions of echoes, as if the doorway to a gigantuan labyrinth was opening up in front of us. The light suddenly ceased, and we were temporarily blinded.
But XV8 battlesuits have superior optical systems. And Aures was the first to get his vision back.
I heard him gasp in disbeleif.
"No way" I heard him say as if he was talking to somebody he'd met before. I was confused... Y'he dont speak! I could then make out several dark bluish shapes in front of me. O'Aures was about to continue, but was cut off.
"Lets get this straight before it is just made worse..." Came the words from a dark, sadistic, and slightly metally unstable Archon.
"I don't trust you. I don't even like you. You don't like me. Everyone is happy. I'm here to get rid of those bugs. So are you. So if I see one gun pointed at my back, the last thing you are ever going to see is Commorragh."
"What are you doing here Kh'err'akh'an!!?" I heard Aures say in a very stern and annoyed voice. My vision had fully returned.
"Weren't you listening?"
"Yes... but why? Last time you were here you wanted to take my warriors back to your hellish domain for endless toture!!"
Kh'err'akh'an looked at his razor sharp combat knife, and twirled it in his hand. I could tell it's blade has been cleaned of blood countless times. He then said:
"Genestealers fetch a high price in Commorragh, and us Dark Eldar hate the fact of a planet being wiped clean of life."
Aures thought for a while, we all knew that eldar were backstabbers.
"Well it's your lucky day" Replied Aures. "This deal wouldn't have gone down so smoothly if half my cadre were still alive."
"Yes... obviously you were taken by surprise, I can see the lack of planned manouvres... or is this how you normally do battle?"
"Don't stretch the firendship alien!"
"I'll leave you to your paranoia... now we'd better act fast, the psychic manouvres of the tyranids have only been temporarily scrambled, it won't be long before they return."
He then turned away towards a very large ship that I didn't even know was there. Such is the silence of eldar craft.
Aures continued looking ar Kh'err'akh'an. I then said to him:
"There's something about that guy... something slight and disturbing. I don't know what".
Aures replied without turning around: "Yes, we are lucky we don't have the amount of psychic might as the Gue'la, if they were nearby they would be seething in pain... Kh'err'akh'an is a complete psychic blank."
Trying to add some humor to the glum moment, I said: "Really.. I didn't know that existed in eldar. I'd hate to see a Nicassar near him!"
We both laughed. I then looked around for Fio'tan and Aresh'shan, and saw that had gone off past the Orca to reload and properley prepare for the next wave. Surprisingly the dropship was left untouched by the aliens. Aures was making an off planet call.
I found myself looking into the cargo bay of the Orca. It was virtually empty except for about twelve boxes of ammunition, and a single unused XV8 Battlesuit docked in a charging bay at the back. I looked at it, not in awe of its sleek designs of the earth caste, and past its sybolic meaning of hope and power. I looked at it as if it were myself.
The truth is I had already deserved a place in one of those, but I felt i needed to stay with my team for a little longer. But now that they were all gone...
I decided it was time, I walked over to it, and booted up the data screen attached the the suit's charger. It read:
+++ Oresh'uan Earth Caste XV8 Crisis Battlesuit.+++
- MkIII 32fio Twin-linked Flamer
- Tau'n Pattern Burst Cannon
- Sheild Generator
--- Operational status
- Charge level: 1000/1000
- Mobility faults: none
- damage (external-000) (internal-000)
"brand new! Great!" I thought to myself. I entered my initials and set a pin number to claim it as my own. The front armour plate shifted, and with a hiss of escaping oxygen, it flipped open. The seat and the many controls inside were lit by a dull interior light.
I took off my armour and backpack, no need for that now. I looked at my pulse rifle. It had done me so much in the past, killed so many. Only jammed once. Was broken three times, but never overheated. Chipping was all over the corners of the rifle, and most of the desert-yellow paint was fading.
I looked up at the battlesuit.
I then started to climb into it, strapped on the control gloves to my arms, and the visual goggles to my face. I then activated the battlesuit. Three mechanical arms came from the roof, and bolted on the three weapons, the flamer to the right arm, the sheild generator to the left, and the burst cannon on top on the left shoulder mount. The front armour plate slide down again and sealed, and i was in darkness for a second.
I was then illuminated by the image of the surrounding cargo bay, crystal clear as if it were my own eyes. I felt larger, as if the suit was a part of my own body, and stronger. The stamina flowed through me, I felt i could run for hundreds of Tor'kan without breaking a sweat.
But I may as well have referenced to it... as myself.
"Most people need training to boot that up, but it seems as if you'r a natural!" I looked up, it was Aures, still in his battlesuit. But now he wasn't towering above me, he was the same height.
I walked over and jumped out.
"Good feeling that first time" He said. "You just need to know two things when piloting one of those, shoot like you'd shoot a regular pulse rifle, and the jetpack is operated by mind, but eventually is overtaken, and is controlled by your will, as if it were another limb."
A distant scream was heard in the background. This one was terribly lound, the sky was growing darker, as if the sun was being blotted out. Slight tremors could be felt.
"Kh'err'akh'an is attacking from above, while we'll be on the ground." Aures said. "I have also called over some aid from the...."
He was stopped, and Shas'o Mok'than, commander of the Aun'Va Coaliton walked over to us in his gleaming white XV8 battlesuit.
No!.. I thought to myself, hopfully the childish rivalry that occurs between between the shas'la and sometimes shas'ui of us and them don't happen. That's the last thing we need.
"Aures!" Mok'than said, "It is good to see you again... and your companion?"
"Shas'ui Ko'vash" I responded."This fleet is a tough one! It bashed through your cadre and is still hungry! I have brought over the Sky Dragons and Aura Warriors battle forces, it's time to put three minds on one purpose, Ta'ro'cha".
Mok'than then turned around and looked out onto the oncoming tide. Bio titans, I thought, great.
The sound of powerful, space-faring engines roared above me, several manta bombers screeched overhead, accompanied by the hundreds of flying battlesuits from the Sky Dragons, and the Barracudas and Orcas of the Aura Warriors.
High above them, was the hellish fleet of Kh'err'akh'an, the dreadful screams coming from them.
"Lets fly up to the bio titan, position a triangle around it's head, two hammerheads are taking chunks of it's belly right now... Give it nothing but pure Mont'ka!" Said Mok'than, his teachings from the revered Commander Puretide has made him see war as a only puzzle, that took risks to solve quickly.
But some puzzles require time and a lot of thought... No time to hesitate though.
He then glanced at me. "This looks like a suitable squad."
Aures nodded to Mok'than. He seemed to understand. The both launched up, and with only the slightest thought I too was propelled into the air by my jetpack. It seemed as if it was already a part of my body.
We flew up over the battlefield. I felt a slight gulit as if I was supposed to be down there, fighting in the ranks.
But I put my past behind me, serving the Greater Good is above all. We hovered high up, and we found ourselves...