+ 3rd Bjaha Sur Caballeros +
Andres was positive he was dying.
His chest felt like it was collapsing. His breathing was rapid, his tongue coated in copper. Needles danced across his brain, sending wracking tremors through his bones. Stars and bursts of light swam through his vision, magnesium bright. Andres wasn't even sure if Andres was really his name; it was just the first name he could latch onto as his mind swam in battery acid. He could feel something cold and clammy across his chest and face, and began panicking when he couldn't identify what he was lying upon. Or who he was, for that matter.
A sharp, spiking pain; center of his spine. Pre-implanted epidural, redeployable. Something like a cool, calming breeze ran through his veins, slowing his heart rate and breathing, eased the pain, and finally allowed him to gather his thoughts. His name was Andres; Soldado de Primera Andres' Pavia, 2nd Assault. He was what some would call a mercenary, but one sworn to one liege, The Golden King of the Himilazias. He was bonded to the sub-detachment called the 3rd Caballeros, who were a branch of the Bjaha Sur, a Foreign Legion Conglomerate, honorary members of the Old 100, forever calling the An'mani Sink of Old Earth home, birth to death.
'Alright, idiota, you figured out who you are', Andres chided himself for losing control. 'Now stop resting, and get on your feet.' He tried his arms again, feeling like they were strapped with leaden weights, and finally rolled himself over. He was greeted with the sight of the heavens burning, infernos highlighting every skyline. Shells and tracers threaded the air like a plague of insects, and the sound of war drowned out all others in crashing waves of chest rattling thumps. Andres memory was finally piecing itself back together, reminding him of his precarious situation, and exactly why he needed to get off his perezoso hindquarters.
This wasn't his stomping grounds, the An'mani Canyons or the Bosque de la Muerte of the Highlands. There were no clan-families nearby he could call to for help, across the farmlands of the simple people he loved with all his heart. He was in the unfamiliar cold and cratered foothills of the Gokyu Ri Badlands, just behind the lines of the Arch-Traitor. 2nd Assault was supposed to use the Badlands radiation pockets to cover their insertion into the Sagramatae Hab-Districts, keeping their Blood Kite Gunships flying quick and low through the craggy ridge lines leading to the now-breached XXVI District gates, in a suicidal effort to draw Horus's allies away from the front lines. Enemy bats were thick in the air, though, and avoiding their hunter's eye was nearly impossible. Bond-Brothers of Iron Locust Flight, another sub-contractor detachment of the Bjaha Sur hailing from the Abd Al Kuri Shelf, gave many of their lives trying to keep the Caballeros intact, but it had been impossible to stop every enemy airframe in the sky. A Voss, sleek and graceful as a diving hawk, had blown out the engines of Andres' taxi, the light Blood Kite coming apart in the air. He remembered spinning, fire, smoke, blood, pain, a maelstrom of life unraveled in a blink of an eye. Soldado Martinez had been sucked out the breach in the craft, the last words out of his mouth ones of apology to his now-widowed wife. 1st Teniente Rogin McKae had been struck by shrapnel when the engine blew, and died on the deck, choking on gore. His familial claymore remained in it's sheath, unbloodied. Andres was ashamed he couldn't remember how the rest had died. They were bond-family, even those who were Abtahka and not of The Blood, and their loss cut him deeply.
Suddenly, Andres remembered why he was as weak as a newborn. He remembered the climbing out of the smoldering wreck of the Kite, disoriented and battered, tripping over a giant boulder that wasn't a boulder at all. He remembered looking down, and seeing the broken corpse of a Fallen Angel, clad in sea-green. He remembered lifting his eyes, seeing many more broken bodies, realizing that Alferez Selena, their pilot, had put them down in the heart of an enemy squad, thinking that all others were dead. A kamikaze attack, but one that had left Andres quite alive, and alone.
Then, one of the Maldito had moved.
Andres had never fought a Legionnaire. He knew of none who had, and lived. So, Andres made a stupid decision, fed by fear. The second the maw of the Son of Horus's Bolter began lifting in his direction, Andres abandoned reason and his training, and had dumped a full 700mg dose of Chimera into his body. The second his chem harness injected the volatile stim into his system, Andres' memory became a drug distorted haze of red and black, of dancing chain lightning crawling across his bones, of hot heat and frantic adrenaline dumps.
Muzzle flash. Dodge left, burning in ribs. Shoulder carbine, full auto, brass chimes in the distance, tapping .42 caliber rounds across ceramite. Dancing stars, chips of paint, too little blood. Flash, flash. Nothing, then a sledgehammer to the chest. Andres remembered his helm coming off with the force of it, the fresh air feeding his induced insanity, ignoring a hit that would have leveled an Unaug and trusting his Carapace to keep him breathing. Bang, Bang, Click. Magazine dry, no time. Get close, get bloody.
Ignore. Kill. Rage. Break. Kill. Kill. Kill.
Warmth in his hand, An'mani Oak handle. He had forged the tomahawk himself, as an inductee. Jump, land, straddle. The giant was wounded, only one chance while the War-Lion is confused. Andres arm became a machine, a piston. The drug-fervor gave him an intensity the XVI bastard wasn't expecting. Lens shattered. Helm caves. Throat split. It's blood burns on his skin, but not as much as the poison in the meat of his body, or the pain in his heart. Foam and spit, howling rage and loss, every brother and sister he lost in less than ten seconds. Something felt like it was biting down on the crown of his skull, the drugs tearing at his mind. Lighting in his side, a pitiful haymaker. Again, ignore. Strike harder than the threat. Crunch, the shock of bone giving. The Wolf of Cthonia stopped moving.
Andres hadn't stopped until it became a joke, a homicidal maniac stuck on a loop. He had started laughing, and he had no idea why. He had stood, leaving his hand-axe buried in the monster's skull, still giggling manically, and promptly went into a grand mal seizure, falling back into the rocky mud like he had been poleaxed. Darkness.
He remembered all of this, but yet, he didn't. Like a corrupt vid-feed, it was hard to tell what was real and what was imagined. He needed to see if it was true, or if had hallucinated. Over-Doping had a habit of doing that to the mind, especially a reactive like Chimera, and most definitely with the size dose he has dumped.
With a heaving, weak gasp, Andres raised himself to a sitting position. He couldn't gauge how long he had been out, but considering the intensity of the aerial engagement above his head, he assumed it hadn't been long. The Son of Horus that had nearly killed him still lay upon the ground, cold and stiff, the lacquered tomahawk handle beckoning him, shining in the flash of tracers and contrails. It was true. He had killed a Demi-God.
Andres suddenly didn't care. The price had been too high, and his heart was broken. His brothers and sisters were dead, and nothing would bring them back.
The rest of La Familia were out there, though, still fighting. he needed to link up with another Platoon, and keep moving. Andres made a quick check of his battered grey carapace, inspecting the crater at his sternum. Thank the Ancestors, it looked as if the bolt round had struck and detonated at an angle, or Andres would have been torn apart. His load bearing vest was frayed from spalling, but was mostly intact. He could see his helm and carbine from where he was sitting, but his body was still a shaking wreck, and wouldn't allow him to move.
Andres triggered a 5mg dose of of Eufor from his harness to halt the spasms of his fried nerve endings, and another 60mg drop of Phoenix to regen his battered flesh, along with a spurt of Morphia to shut down the pain. It wouldn't last long, though, and his system desperately needed a flush. Chimera took a vicious toll on the human frame, and if he remained untreated, he could lose chem-balance and become unstable. There was little he could really do about it until he could find an Alchem to treat him, so finding other Bjaha Sur unit was a necessity for survival.
His body finally responding to his commands, if barely, Andres regained his footing, and retrieved his helm with shaking hands. Pulling back fine dark braids and becharmed locks from young, yet strained, facial features that spoke of his Merian Centralis heritage, Andres snapped his head-shell back in place. Taking in a drugged draw of blended air through the helm's grille to focus his swimming vision, he tried tapping TacNet to ping nearby allies as he began looking for the rifle he tossed aside when he lost control. For once, the satellite actually gave him a return, half a klick out. 1st Assault, Hyenas. Nord Afrik Shock Troopers. Not his first choice, by far. They were La Familia, but distant, and with a terrible aura around their history. Beggars can't be choosers, though, and Andres needed a flush of Rehab and a blood transfusion. Finally finding his Achilles pattern .42 caliber auto-sub amongst the burning detritus of the crash site, Andres swapped out his magazine for a fresh one, and began limping towards 1st Assault's DZ, stopping only to wrench his axe from the XVI Legionnaires caved in skull, and to kick the bastards' corpse. He was melancholy and battered, but determined. Death beckoned, and Andres would not shy away.
After all, he already knew now what it was like to die.
Soldado de Primera Andres' Pavia, 2nd Assault, 3rd Bjaha Sur Caballeros
Edited by Hyaenidae, 04 September 2015 - 02:21 AM.