Usriel and Prometheus
Prometheus oversaw the movement of soldiers into the broken Ork fortress, a colossal effort given the scale of movement. Tens of Thousands of Astartes warriors and millions of Imperial Army soldiers, their tanks, artillery and transports made the movement slow. It would take at least a day, probably two before the lines had been restructured with the fortress of as a hard point. The Steel Sentinels begin fortifying while spare Imperial army regiments dig trench lines into the blasted ground beyond the new fortress.
This went on for several hours before a vox from the fleet came down. Prometheus was called for by his master of fleet Lord Admiral Surov. The transmission was broken up traveling through the debris and smoke of war. “My Prim-, A --- Ork flee- has --- the moon. We --- best them b- you --- witho-t naval sup-t ---. Our --- a disadvantage. There is --- asteroid --- center of th- formation, ausp --- tator predictions have it imp- n- your current posit--”
Prometheus frowned at the vox, annoyed at the interference. He could piece the situation together but if the interference grew more serious it might leave him in the dark. The asteroid though concerned Prometheus, it could be dangerous. If it fell with enough speed it could leave his army as nothing but bloody vapor at the bottom of a crater. However, he suspected a more cunning threat. The orks could be using it as a lander, their savage cunning and… recklessness makes it a possibility.
After a short moment, Usriel came to his brother, the powerfist that had been put onto him having been unequipped after the battle. A tech-priest followed closely, speaking to the Primarch even though it did not seem that Usriel was listening to the robotic speech patterns. “Prometheus, I have received a vox, however, it is heavily broken up. I feel as if the Orks may be attempting something, especially if they might be moving with some asteroid,” he stated, the tech-priest silencing himself with a light huff after being disregarded.
Prometheus nodded, “Yes. I suspect you are right. I… believe they are doing something creative shall we say” He says while hiding the source of his concern, his psychic powers manifesting in their subtle way. “It's a landing craft… They are going to land a horde, a whole tide of the greenskins.”
Usriel remained silent for moment, thinking to himself before turning and looking at the tech-priest, “What are the possibilities of that happening?”
Silence overtook Tech-Priest Foton before reporting the odds to the Primarchs, “It is not well documented on these class of ‘ships’. If it were to be used as a landing platform then it would likely cause immense destruction to itself and be otherwise useless and inefficient as such. However, an asteroid used for planetary extermination would be more potent.” The glowing eyes of the priest looked from Usriel then to Prometheus.
“Then the odds of a bombardment are more likely. However, these xenos have been known to… defy logic,” Usriel said as he looked back to his brother.
Prometheus regarded the tech priest for a moment, “That is a reasonable conclusion” acknowledging his opinion. “However, if it was to be used as an exterminatus weapon they could not have caught our fleet by surprise. It would take time to accelerate to that velocity and if I recall the moon’s orbit correctly it would provide a poor vector for such an attack.” he says to the tech priest though more as an explanation for Usriel. “We will need to turn our front and prepare for an assault. Unlikely as it might seem..” he says to Usriel this time “We will not have long to prepare once it strikes the surface.”
“If you insist. I will have some fortifications erected alongside the front where the projected landing site is, assuming that there are any xenos. However, I will be taking command of the defenses,” Usriel stated, turning away from his brother, to look at some of his neophytes carrying equipment nearby.
“I am unsure where it will impact exactly, though we may have some warning before it does. It may be prudent to have a force prepared for rapid deployment. I will organize the Legion and Auxilia to screen while the front is solidified.” says Prometheus as he departs, starting to speak into his vox and shouting orders to officers as he passes them.
Usriel stalked into the fortress to direct his legion to prioritize defensive emplacements. While the Imperial Auxilia would be digging trenches, his soldiers would be setting up ad hoc bunkers and other hardpoints, along with the Furorems that the two companies had at their disposal. No matter how much time they had, they would make the ramshackled Ork Fortress into something that could shrug off whatever assault the greenskins would dare to throw at them.
The Imperial forces prepared themselves, but they had very little time to prepare. Before an hour had passed the infernal glow of reentry began to grow on the horizon. Not long after the Rok impacted several kilometers outside the recent battle site. The very planet seemed to shake, dust and rock erupted into the sky in a foreboding mushroom cloud. Prometheus surrounded by a reaction force voxed the exact coordinates to his own officers and Usriel. The 3rd company Knights of Awe and their attached forces launched forth to make a fighting retreat buying time for the rest of the imperial forces to organize.
The tanks and super heavies roll making a hellish fusilade of fire and death. Cleaving down thousands of orks each moment. However the orks moved as a tide absorbing the losses with ease. Slowly the ponderous gears of the Imperial army engaged, shifting their position and aligning thousands of basilisk and bombard artillery to the advancing horde. Whirlwind tanks locked in the coordinates. Prometheus voxed his officers “The Xenos are upon us! Let the ground tremble with our fury” as he finished the horizon blossomed in fire as the many guns of the imperial army created a wall of fire and shrapnel.
Prometheus voxed Usriel next “Brother, the xenos will be on you in the hour. You are The line in the sand, I will join you when the Imperial Army has finished retasking.”
“Understood. The final preparations are being set in place. Let the die upon unbreakable walls, Prometheus,” Usriel responded through the vox, as he looked over the defenses once more. Neophytes sat upon the walls with their plasma rifles trained at the horizon, with a few teams manning furorems, their full-astartes teachers watching over them and inspecting how they treated the delicate machinery. He looked back into the few spires and could see the glint of scopes, the Flares, which sat ready to pick out the savage leaders or disable whatever vehicles they might happen to have.
Meanwhile, the Imperial Auxilia sat in the trenches below in their freshly dug trenches with some of their ad hoc bunkers being fashioned out of Aegis defensive lines supplied by the Steel Sentinels, some of the company even manned these bunkers alongside the bunkers but he could still here some of the Astartes bickering about sharing them. Las cannons sat at the ready, along with the many guns of the standard soldiers. He knew that holding this fortress was going to be a long and tedious affair against the amount of Orks that may be coming their way, knowing that an asteroid’s worth of Orks was going to be a force of nature that they could only delay until reinforcements could arrive.
The Knights Astartes collected imperial forces making a steady stream of reinforcements into the Steel Sentinel defensive line. Thousands of Imperial Auxilia storm troopers fall into the trench lines interspersed with the bright white and bronze of the Knights. As the Ork encroach on the line the heavy armor slowing the advance pull away allowing the defensive line to halt the charge. The green tide charges forwarward with an enormous “WAAAGH!!!”
Usriel watched for a few moments, watching the green wave advance but not ordering for weapons to open fire, not yet. He watched as the Orks dragged out a team of tank crew members and butcher its operators and still did he not order anyone to fire. After one more moment, he gave the order, “All units, open fire! Hold until the Eagle’s death!” A synchronized wave of red lasgun fire and blue plasma fire impacted the orkish line, cutting through them like a scythe to wheat. Artillery shells rained into the green mass and fountains of the xenos blood rained upon their own savage forces, but even still did they not relent. For just as quickly as the Orks died to the volley of fire, the next one would make it close and closer.
“Furorems, fire at will,” Usriel ordered, beams of light coming from the walls of the orkish fortress and, quite literally, making the orks disappear into as or mere being cut through with little resistance. He watched from the walls as the Orks numbers dwindled and dwindled only to continue to see nothing but green behind them. Then, the Orks began to open fire on the fortifications.
A wall of bullets collided with the walls, some hitting the dirt in front of the trenches, and some still finding their marks and killing the less fortunate. That was not the worst the onslaught had to offer, however, as Orks lept from the ever closer horde with their ramshackled jump packs. These Sormboyz landed in the trenches, some even daring to land on the walls, and hacking at the closest thing to them, only to be struck down by the chains of the Knights of Awe in order to protect their human comrades or being subdued by a dutiful teacher of a Steel Sentinel Astartes. However, disruption seemed to be their plan as the quick lull in gun fire was enough to allow the Orks to get close enough to where aiming merely did not need to occur.
“Front trench, begin to evacuate. Artillery shift to cover them on section 51A-Z,” Usriel ordered, some of the artillery silencing their weapons for a short moment before reigning down in front of the trenchline, Orks charging into a hail of shrapnel and gunfire. Flames from the Knights of Awe sank into the Orks, killing some outright though others still threw themselves into the trenches.
This process repeated and repeated, with each force that manned the trenches and ad hoc bunkers pulled into the Orkish fortress that now served as their only line of defense against the horde that began to encompass them. “Das right ‘ummies! Run! Away from our dakka!” Usriel heard, his helmet shifting until he found an Ork standing atop one of the bunkers. The ork was adorned with armor and had strange weapons that seemed to defy their logic, however, a single round from a Flare tore the being in half.
“Prometheus, order your men to prepare for a counterattack. I believe one of their leaders has been killed,” Usriel stated into his vox as he watched the Orks begin closing on the trenchline closest to the fortress.
“Aye, by the Emperor we shall break them.” Prometheus replied, he turned to the generals and Astartes captains. “Now warriors, For the Emperor and the Imperium, CHARGE!” The weight of the Imperial Army and Astartes legion rolled forward with Prometheus at the head of his Terminator elites. Flamers and bolters roared their fury sweeping the Ork horde back off the fortress walls.
The true might of the Imperium followed after the trench lines had been swept clean, Wolfram, Baneblade, and Fellblade tanks carved their way through the Xenos leaving not but broken bodies and blood beneath their treads. The infantry fell in with the tanks keeping the armor clear of orks climbing into them.
The battle devolved into a grinding battle as the Imperial forces slowly fought their way towards the cratered asteroid. It was not long before the bolt shells and energy cells ran short and the battle became a bloody melee with bayonet and chain-sword. The artillery however kept pace, shelling the ork hordes into submission and thinning the strength reaching the Knights of Awe.
Then came the forces of the Steel Sentinels, Usriel at its head with his honor guard preparing groups of soldiers with their rifles pointed towards the melee. “Prometheus, disengage, the Sentinels shall finish the Orks on this day,” the Primarch stated, as the firing lines readied themselves.
The order from Usriel was broadcast across the Knights of awe forces. The Imperial army forces fell back along with the armor. The Knights of Awe hold line as the other forces withdraw. Prometheus however growls into his helmet vox as he butchers the xenos “Knights, Fall back!” switching channels broadcasting to Usriel and Strategos Gaalus. “The Phalanx and I will not. You will not shoulder this assault alone” He says with a modicum of diplomacy. Realistically, he could not bring himself to retreat, Gaalus and his honor guard would be dishonored not following his Primarch into the fires of war.
“Very well,” Usriel said with a bit of disdain in his voice before a line of plasma buried itself into the Ork lines, the plasma fire being calculated to its massive effects as the Orks fell. Once the herd was thinned, Macro Plasma Incinerators spewed their holy deliverance upon the greenskins as the Terminators as the Steel Sentinels moved past the Knights of Awe, Usriel following suit. “It was ill-advised to have stayed, Prometheus. My soldiers did not have a clear shot to the Orks in front of you,” Usriel stated with a cold disappointment.
Prometheus scoffs into the vox, “Brother, these greenskins will fall! They can not stand against us!” It was dismissive, but the orks were breaking themselves against the Knights Terminator elite. It slowed the advance, but Prometheus didn’t care. Retreating from the battle was tantamount to surrender or defeat and such things would be unbefitting a Primarch.
The assault ground on, bright with flashes of plasma and las-fire rather than flame and bolter. Orks fell in the droves and the Astartes grew ever closer to the Rok still disgorging foul Xenos. Prometheus barks orders periodically advancing artillery to keep the worst of the tide crashing on the Astartes. Armor slowly rejoined the assault after reloading and refueling, driving the orks back yet further.
Before long the Orks had been driven back around the rok and were ringed in. The rok was slowly pounded into a new crater and sterilized. It took hours before the horde was driven into and sealed within the rok, and several more until the asteroid was reduced to molten slag by the stellar fury of plasma. The whole battle Impact to the final stream of plasma took nearly a day of hard fighting. Hundreds of Astartes and thousands of mortals lay dead in the field. Many fell holding the line and of these thousands dead, a Knight who fell holding a bunker of the line was interred into a Dreadnaught.
Usriel looked over the battlefield, walking amongst the corpse ridden field outside of the fortress, each of his steps crushing an orkoid that had died hours earlier. He could see their green bodies being hauled into piles for future incineration, but the issue was seeing the bodies of Astartes, Knights and Sentinels alike, seeing some of his Neophytes being carted away. It was a sight he was all too used to, a sight that he knew would continue to plague him so long as he served the Imperium. It was a necessary reality, unavoidable so long as the xenos continued to threaten the likes of humanity. At least on this planet, the Primarch knew that they were able to contain the threat of Orks and now it was only a matter of time until the crusade in Ullanor finished.