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New Year, Old Friends
Introduction <> Army Lists <> Batrep, Turns 1-3 <> Batrep, Turns 4-6 <> Lessons Learned
New Year, Old
Friends: Battle Report, Turns 4-6
“Be ready to fire again and fear not. We have them where we want them,” Khandar Madu replied. Then she called out to her troops. “Now let us crash down upon them like the tsunami.” She nodded to the plasma gunner in her squad and he fired his proxy weapon, spattering a huge glob of yellow-green paint across the front of Hengist’s Rhino, “destroying” it and cutting off any escape for Hengist and his remaining men.
Maneater I advanced further up the field, deep into Space Wolf territory, and Veteran Sergeant Marga ordered his men to attack Modi’s Blood Claws. They dismounted and fired blank bolter shots and two gouts of gray goo from a proxy flamer and Marga’s proxy bolter-flamer. Most of the Blood Claws went down; Modi and the rest fled. The Tigers cheered, but Marga pointed to the melee between Hodur’s Blood Claws and Patels’ Tigers of Rudra. “With me!” he yelled, drawing a wooden training knife from his belt.
Hafdan watched in dismay as the top hatch of Maneater III opened again. This time, two Tigers—the one with the missile launcher and one with a proxied plasma gun—emerged. Ignoring the fire coming their way from Striking Wolf, they “neutralized” the last two Gray Hunters with Hafdan. Then they started to turn their weapons on him.
Marga’s Tigers crashed into the Blood Claws in a ferocious counterattack, but though the Space Wolves were outnumbered, they were undaunted. Three Fenrisians and three Vedics went down and the fight went on. Seeing this, Hafdan drew his power axe. He rolled left, behind some cover, then ran forward to join the swirling melee.
Khandar Madu flexed her wrists and the blades of her lightning claws popped out of their sheaths. For this training session she had disabled the power to them, but they would still be useful for the fight to come. She and her men charged Hengist and his Gray Hunters, who lurked under the tower.
“Come on, babe! I’m right here!” Hengist called. He had taken off his helmet and was brandishing his wooden sword.
“I’m no one’s ‘babe,’” she replied, icily. Around her, the Tigers and Wolves fought each other with boltgun butts and wooden training knives. She swung wildly, letting her temper finally get the best of her. She managed to tag Hengist with a punch to the side that though non-lethal, must have surely broken some ribs.
“Of course not,” he replied, through clenched teeth. He shattered her left knee with a swift strike from his sword, then struck her across the face of her helmet, stunning her. “A mere joke, my dear,” he gasped, spitting up blood.
He looked up in time to see the bore of a Tiger boltgun inches from his face. Oh sh— he thought, and then the impact of the blank broke his nose and blinded him. There was the familiar electrical sting as his armor shut down. Around him, he could hear the Tigers falling back, leaving Khandar Madu behind as Hengist’s Gray Hunters chased them.
In the middle of the field, Hafdan carved his way through the Fighting Tigers. Veteran Sergeant Patel yelled “Get back!” to the orange-and-black Tigers, who retreated as he and the remnants of his squad held off the Blood Claws.
“I am sorry I have to do this,” Singh told them.
“Apology accepted,” Modi replied. Boltguns fired and the Tigers charged. Modi and his Blood Claws went down.
“We cannot do more to save our comrades,” Singh told his men, pointing to where Hafdan and the other Blood Claws were defeating Patel and the last of his Tigers of Rudra. “We must fulfill our orders and take this side of the field.”
“Look out!” one of his men called, as the Predator Striking Wolf rumbled into view, searching for new targets.
“Take cover!” Singh yelled.
Beneath the tower, Hengist shook his head as his eyesight began to return. Though he was glad that his blindness was only temporary, his face was a bloody pulp and the pain in his side was worst than any he had ever felt before.
“I can’t move! I can’t move!” called Khandar Madu.
“That’s...that’s the Control Computer,” he replied, gasping. “It’s declared you...a casualty and cut off the...power within your armor.”
“How stupid of me,” she said. “In my panic, I had forgotten.”
“It’s...all right,” he said. “It’s your first Joint Exercise. I panicked too, the first time. Back...when I was just a Blood Claw. Scary, isn’t it?”
“Yes, I am ashamed to say it is,” she said.
“Think...nothing... of it,” he said. Suddenly, he screamed in agony and passed out.
“Hengist? Are you alright? Hengist? Hengist!” she called. No reply. She cursed the armor that held her paralyzed. This is NOT going the way I wanted, she thought.
As Singh had said, the battle was rapidly turning against the Tigers. With no other viable targets, the Tactical Squad and the Devastators atop the tower fired on the Space Wolf Land Speeder hovering behind a twisted girder from another, now-destroyed tower. Veteran Sergeant Abhayankar noted with dismay that Hengist’s Gray Hunters had re-emerged from below, hacking down the Tactical Squad that had accompanied Khandar Madu. Now they, Hafdan, and the “surviving” Blood Claws were swiftly trouncing the last of Marga’s orange-and-black Tigers of Rudra, huddled near the base of the tower.
“Gentlemen, we are in a very bad position,” Abhayankar said to the others.
From below, the Wolves began to howl.
Unable to target them, the Devastators atop the tower fired on the Wolf Speeder lurking nearby, “destroying” it. It was up to Hafdan and his men to secure the tower and the victory for the Space Wolves.
Hafdan and his men heaved themselves onto the platform at the top of the tower and crashed into the Tigers there before they could reload. Burdened by their heavy weapons, the Devastators were no match for the swifter Blood Claws, but the Tigers of Rudra put up a bit of fight. Hafdan struck down one of them, avoided the wild swing of another’s boltgun butt, and found himself face-to-face with Veteran Sergeant Abhayankar.
“Do you yield?” Hafdan asked him.
“Of course not,” Abhayankar answered.
“Good man,” Hafdan replied. He feinted with his axe, then threw an elbow to Abhayankar’s face, sending him reeling. He tottered on the edge of the tower before Hafdan grabbed him and pulled him to safety.
“Thank you,” Abhayankar said.
“It’s been a long morning,” Hafdan said. “I think we’ve all had enough.” Suddenly, a message came over his earpiece. He turned to Hodur.
“Hengist is dying.”
“Nevertheless,” Hafdan replied, “you are sitting out the rest of the Exercises.”
“We’ll see about that,” he growled, and dug into his mutton stew. Around them, the Tigers and Wolves were enjoying their meal as night fell on Charon Delta.
“I am sorry,” Khandar Madu said. “I lost control of myself. It won’t happen again.”
“You did fine,” Hengist said. “Your claws were disabled, as the Old Pacts require. It was no fault of yours. Accidents happen, even in the most tightly controlled Joint Exercises.”
“No, don’t feel bad,” Hafdan added.
“I do feel bad,” she replied. “Not only for injuring you, but for panicking when my armor cut off and for losing the session. I was so confident that my strategy would work.”
“It was an excellent strategy,” Hafdan said. “The field had lots of cover, which hampered your firepower. And don’t forget that Hengist and I have participated in these Joint Exercises before—we knew to stick to the cover, block your lines of sight, and move in. Patience was the key.”
“Yes, yes it was,” she said. “I am also ashamed to admit that I have not lived up the Bonds of Friendship between our Chapters. I have not been a friend, as I ought to, and worse, I have been discourteous. Please forgive me.”
“All that is done,” Hengist replied. “Though it is good to see you’ve lightened up a bit.”
She smiled as they laughed. “Well, I’ve lost our bet. You never did say what you wanted if you won.”
The two Wolves grinned slyly at each other. “Well, we have to admit,” said Hafdan, “that we didn’t care much for you, either. So we were going to demand that you shave off that red hair of yours in front of everyone. A little public humbling for the haughty young Kshatriya.”
Khandar Madu’s face grew grim, but Hengist laughed. “Nay, nay, all that is done, too. We are all friends here—let us forget the bet and celebrate our time together. Come, let us have a drink,” he said. He signaled, and his thrall stepped forward with mugs of beer for the two Space Wolves and Khandar Madu.
“We have eight more days of training. To those eight days, and to our long friendship thereafter,” Hengist said.
Khandar said, and drank.
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