These are a few fables of the men and commanders of the Drowen 616th, men who fought valiantly in many an Imperial war against its foes.
Reddik Malanar was brought up an orphan in the hive-city of Cyillik. His parents were loyalists living in the mid-western hemisphere, slaughtered by rebels in the 3rd Rebellion of Drowen. He was picked up by guardsmen in the charred wreck that was their home at the age of 10, and was brought to Cyillik for training. His intense patriotism for the Imperium of Man followed him all through training, and even in battle. He was quickly promoted to Sergent and was dictated leader of some fresh recruits. His squad was Drowen 527th 4th Squad. Their first battle in the 4th Rebellion of Drowen was a success, at they completed their objective with few casualties. In fact, they performed so well that they were promoted on the spot.
As the intense campaign against the rebels continued, Malanar's squad shined bright and was promoted to 1st Squad of the regiment.
After many battles stretching all across the north-western hemisphere, the regiment came to what was rumored the rebels stronghold, a town recently shelled out by the earthshaker rounds of their basilisks. Ruins were everywhere and the people were forced to leave, but the rebels would not let up. The final battle was to begin.
The regiment marched valiantly into the city, mowing down any rebels they came across. They took few casualties, while mercilessly killing the enemy. 1st Squad was moving through the city when they encountered a group of rebels slaughtering 34th Squad. Malanar let out a battle cry and they joined the fray, lasguns striking many rebels. But 34th Squad had been routed, an the rebels turned to attack Malanar and his men. Malanar and the rebel commander locked eyes and charged towards each other, swords raised. the other men clashed in the bloodiest battle in the rebellion.
Chainswords swung left and right, lasguns were dropped amidst the chaos of hand to hand combat. The standard issue bayonets were finally of use to the men. Malanar and his foe were locked in an intense combat, swords bouncing off each other in a spray of sparks and a roar of chainsaws. The traitor was skillfully blocking and parrying each attempt at a blow, as was Malanar. Finally, after thirty minutes of straight combat, the foe faltered once, and Malanar delivered the finishing blow, cutting through his opponents body, spilling guts onto the pavement. He heard a shout and turned to see a traitor with his lasgun pointed at him.
Within a second, a bayonet was lodged in the neck of the traitor, thrown by Hope. He turned to hope and they nodded at each other, barely aware of the carnage surrounding them. The whole squad was reduced to nothing more than Hope and Malanar. This understanding hit them suddenly when a large blast echoed through the courtyard. Hope was thrown to his back, as a Leman Russ plowed its way into the area. It was splattered with blood and covered with the skins of loyalists. It was a terror to look at, and it was aimed at them. Malanar grabbed hope, whom he was indebted to, and ran for cover inside of a building; not a moment too soon, as the ground where they stood became dust.
“Shit, where the feth did that thing come from?!” Malanar yelled. Hope responded with a shake of his head and some words that were drowned out by a deafening blast. “Hope, we need to get in there.”
“What? Sir, are you out of your mind?”
Malanar shook his head, “No, its logical when you think about it. There is nothing stopping us from walking right up and--” another blast, “--getting inside.”
Hope stared, open-mouthed. He looked at Malanar and realized he was serious. “Alright. Lets do it.”
They waited for another blast to occur, and this one was fired near to them. After the shock left them they sprinted full on at the tank. It barely had time to react, and before the crew could do anything, Malanar was on top of it, wrenching the hatch open, and Hope held his lasgun ready.
The tank moved under them, obviously attempting to shake them off. Malanar held on, however, and finally opened the hatch. The second he did that, Hope opened fire into the tank. Screams escaped the hull. Malanar jumped in, pistol in hand. The inside was even worse than the outside, no doubt due to the fact that Hope had just unleashed hell in there. It was a wonder the thing was still functioning; terminals were full of holes and smoking. The driver was stuck in his seat, held by the belt. Apparently, it was stuck around his body. He was screaming curses at them and the emperor. Hope had come down and discovered this. Hope had no patience for this and executed him.
“You didn't need to do that.” Malanar said.
“He was a traitor. He would have killed us.” Hope replied coolly.
“Right you are. But you have to understand, Hope, that we could have used him.” Malanar turned towards the hatch. “Come on, we don't know how to operate this thing. Best find someplace to be useful.”
“Roger that, sir.”
They climbed out of the hatch and left the crew-less Russ in the middle of the courtyard. They jogged in the direction of their objective, the capital building of the city, where more bloodshed awaited, in the name of the God-Emperor.
Ledger Hope grew up in the urban hive-city that was Cyillik, the Imperial stronghold on the planet. He was drafted into the Imperial Guard at 18, immediately thrust into a small-scale land war dealing with a rebellion on the western hemisphere of Drowen. The people had begun an uprising in the rural sector of the planet, in a pathetic attempt to shake Imperial rule on the planet. The Lord General Issuld was having none of this, for the rebellion spread father than expected. He sent a detachment of Imperial Guard, filled mostly with fresh recruits. He believed that in giving the trainees combat experience would give them not only a boost in morale, but also give them invaluable training against a feeble enemy.
The Drowen 527th Regiment was shipped out to the north-western hemisphere of the planet, 4 platoons of guardsmen, along with a company of Leman Russ battle tanks, more than enough to overpower the revolting farmers. However, what the Imperial forces were unaware of was the great distaste of the Imperials in this sector. Resistance was extremely strong, and the areas inhabited were well dug in.
Hopes squad, Drowen 527th 4th Squad, was positioned ahead of the others, for the fact that their Sergent, one Reddik Malanar, was highly decorated and well prepared to deal with any combat situation. The squad approached the rural city of Hurdlack, much like a village, with cottages left and right down many streets and alleyways. The target of Squad 4 was to take the Imperial Church at the center of the town, and hold it off against enemy attacks until reinforced at the location.
It was a good, solid plan, for the Church stood at the town center, straight down the road. The hope was that the people would give up, seeing the many tanks and troops approaching. Unfortunately, the people were not giving up that easily.
4th Squad swiftly approached the wall and gate surrounding the town, and carefully slid into the street. Finding Main St. deserted they moved forward cautiously, Sgt. Malanar was no fool. Slowly but surely the moved forward until the gates were far behind them. Hope and his men were getting nervous at the sight of no combatants. Fear was beginning to creep into them. Hope and four other men were moving down the road hugging the left side, while Sgt. Malanar and another four were on the opposite side. This was a bad move, so they realized as all at once shots began to ring out, and before they could react a missile struck the house the Sgt. was in front of. His and his men were engulfed in rubble as the cottage collapsed. Panic hit the men, but Hope stood fast. "In to the building, everybody, move!" Without thinking the guardsmen bolted inside, with Hope quickly following.
The place was deserted, and was nothing more than a humble shack, filled with the inhabitants modest belongings. Shots were still going on outside, lasgun blasts striking cottages. Time was short, and Private Hope knew that. "What are we gonna do?" one guardsman said. "We're gonna keep heading forward to our objective. Those are our orders," One man spoke out against this, saying what could five men, guardsmen of Private rank do? "These are our orders, to take and hold the Church, and thats what i plan to do, no matter what. Imagine if a Commissar was here, you'd be dead already," Hope explained. He moved to the window and looked out.
"It looks like there are Imperial Guardsmen of the 398th out there. What the hell? They are firing on our men!" This changed things, for not only were they fighting the people, but they were fighting fellow Guardsmen. Traitors, but soldiers like themselves. He turned around. "we need to find a back door, and continue to our objective. We're going to have to stick to the alleys if we want to survive." The men agreed, as they had no better ideas. His upbringing in the hostile hive-city was finally coming of use to him.
They sneaked out the back door, careful to not draw attention to themselves. From the sounds coming from around them, it was obvious that the other troops had begun advancing. There were no signs of tanks, however. They moved quickly, from building to building. From what they could see, the street was a maze of lasgun fire, and instant deathtrap. They were lucky not to encounter any resistance in the alleys, as the rest of Squad 4 made its way to the Church.
Soon they made it to a clearing.
What they saw at the Church was not promising. Two whole squads of Guardsmen were stationed there, as well as a heavy support squad giving suppressing fire. "Fuck," Hope muttered. Even with their squad at full strength, it would be difficult to successfully complete this mission. He poked his head out from the alley, so as to see the entire area. It seemed that the traitor guardsmen were distracted by the fighting down the road. Maybe they could sneak past... But Hope was not willing to risk it.
Within a matter of seconds, multiple shots rang out from the other side of the road. There was a large amount of suppressing fire coming out from the other houses, and instantly two traitors fell. The others were quick to react and ran to cover. Hope took his chance, told the men to get ready to run. The traitors would be distracted enough by the fire coming towards them that they probably wouldn't notice them moving towards the church. Another four of them fell, leaving one squad broken.
They immediately began falling back, only to get even more lasgun burns. This was beginning to look winnable. The heavy weapons crews abandoned they're weapons in favor of cover. A bad move. The odds were stacking up in their favor, for the last traitor squad took cover with their backs to them. The only worry would be friendly fire. He gave one motion to the men and they bolt out of the alley, guns blazing. Six traitors fell, and the other four, in bewilderment, stood up. The life was instantly stolen from them. The weapons squads quickly surrendered. What else could they do?
The Imperium had no mercy for traitors, and Hope and the men quickly executed them. Out of the alleyway, Sgt. Malanar and two Guardsmen jogged out. "Good job, men. Quick, grab the suppressive weapons. That heavy bolter will do," A few guardsmen carefully lifted the bolter and carried it towards the Church, with the rest closely following. "Where are the other two men?" Hope asked. The Sergent paused, and said "They're under the building." That was the end of that.
The Imperial Church consisted of a tower and hall. The tower, Malanar explained, would be the best place to take the bolter, for 360 degrees of suppressing fire. "Two men will have to man it. Any volunteers?" Two men were selected and sent up the tower with the bolter. "The rest of us will just take places at the windows. We have to hold this structure until reinforcements arrive."
Easier said than done. The traitor forces were aware of the loss of this strategic point and were sending in a re-capturing force. 4th Squad was in a tough place, for they were behind enemy lines. Attack was imminent from both sides. Sgt. Malanar encouraged the men that the Emperor was with them. Yells from the tower were a definite signal that the enemy was approaching. Bolter shots blasted from above, and one guardsman shouted that he had contacts. Hope ran towards the window, ready to fight.
He could see the traitors coming down the road, too many to count. All he saw was filth in front of him, and with that thought he began to fire. Body after body fell and yet the charge continued. lasgun fire came at him like a sea of red. He saw bolter fire come down from the tower above. The streets were red with the blood of fallen traitors. It was a scene that would forever haunt Hope.
More shouts came from the towers, just as multiple explosions rocked the area around them. The Leman Russ battle tanks had moved into the city and were approaching. Their allies had arrived, but so had the oncoming enemy. They had made it into the clearing, and their shots were getting closer and closer to where Hope's head was. He was farced to take cover, along with the other men at the windows. There was banging on the doors that Sgt. Malanar had barricaded, the enemy was at their door.
Unfortunately, the door was not build to withstand the punishment being put on it, and quickly burst inward revealing traitors on the other side. "For the Emperor!" Malanar cried, with his troops responding in chant. The two groups clashed, and the bloodbath began.
Hope was the second into the fray, bursting his lasgun into the bodies of their attackers, and then swung it around, clubbing a traitor. Blood was spilled on the Church floor, with many deaths on the part of the traitors. One of Squad 4 was struck down, but valiantly took down three men with him. Hope had killed six and Malanar at least ten (too many to count) by the time reinforcements arrived to push the traitors back. The bolter was still firing on the roof with its crew shouting with glee as they saw the cowards retreat. 4th Squad, or what was left of it, emerged triumphant from the Church, mission fulfilled. Inquisitor Phlow commended them personally, and Commissar Sevold, overseeing the campaign, promoted them all on the spot. However the war was not won, and this was the first of many battles in 4th Squad of the Drowen 527th.
After many battles alongside Sgt. Malanar, Hope and him formed a strong friendship that lasted to the present day, and Malanar trusts no one more than Hope, and vice-versa. Colonel Malanar personally requested Sgt. Hope to lead the 1st Squad of Drowen 616th, and he graciously accepted, as the first Sergent of the 616th.
Not much is known about Vladmir Trokowski or 2nd Squad. All that is known is that they came from the Romanov hiveworld of Skininski. Rumor has it that they were transferred to Drowen for their ruthlessness in combat. A total of ten squads were stationed in the entire of Drowen, and Col. Malanar opted to take on these hotheads. The men knew nothing of Drowen culture, and often offended the men. But after numerous battles alongside these beasts, respect was soon gained. Drowen's 616th 2nd Squad is one of the most famous squads on the planet, known for their complete victories against ridiculous odds. These battle hardened veterans soon sculpted themselves a place in the Drowen 616th Company.
In the mist, the men were aware of a strange presence. Something hungry, something unsettled. Sure signs of a bad place to be. The fog hung low over the plains in the early morning. The pungent smell of rotting flesh hung in the air like the chilled white surrounding them, hiding the carnage of the field. The nights battle left them weary and with few numbers. All they held was a small ruin on the outskirts of the valley, and that gray structure was not enough to protect them from the harsh, wet cold outside. They were soaked in water, blood and sweat. None of them had seen true civilization in days, even in the form of a simple camp. Their post was so far out that even scouts and recon had trouble getting to them, let alone other companies. They had been widdled down slowly to this last squad, comprised of the remnants of 616th Drowen's B Company. Colonel Malanar himself had promised the men over the vox that help was coming soon. That was two days ago, and some of the men were beginning to lose hope. Sergent First Class Senn Roshan himself was beginning to lose it too. The Chaos attacks were demoralizing, and the loss of their officer, as well as his entire command platoon, was a huge hit to B Company. Even the great tanks of the Imperium were no match to the overwhelming forces of chaos. Some men even defected in the long battles that took place in the valley.
The valley itself was shaped in such a way that it would be nigh impossible to capture and hold unless one were to capture both ends. It was shaped as a crevice, a large, grassy cut into the earth. Needless to say, the grass that once populated the area is gone, replaced with dead bodies of traitors and guardsmen alike. On each side of the valley was a large hill that sloped on both sides. The side the Imperial Guard held had an even larger crevice on the other side of the hill, and the only way of crossing to the other imperial forces was by bridge, which was destroyed many days ago in a rather successful Chaos assault. 616th Drowen was positioned on the other side, their advance in hope to re-enforce B Company halted by this lack of bridge. Their supplies were ill-equipped to handle such an obstacle, and therefore were waiting for air transport to be provided by this theaters general. This was taking much longer than expected, as there was much fierce fighting in multiple areas of this planet. There was little hope of B Company's survival.
Sgt. Roshan smoked his last lho stick, laying against a wall of the ruin. Scorch was getting a few minutes of sleep in while he could, cradling his flame thrower in his arms. Yissler was keeping watch from the roof of the ruin. Surprisingly enough, this ruin was somewhat intact. It still had three walls, and B Company had created makeshift ramps out of scrap metal to get to its other two levels. The "roof" was really just the third floor, for the roof had literally been ripped off by a stray cannon shot. It was set on the hill, with a block of concrete protruding out of the hill to provide a level surface. The whole area was worse for wear. Bullet holes and craters littered the place, and the bodies of the dead covered the earth. The remnants of B Company had been scattered on all floors of the building, for it was the only true cover in the whole area. They had their duty, and damned if they fail to hold this line.
Evest shouldered his long-las. "Your not gonna see anything, mate. The fog is too thick. Might as well get some sleep while you can, eh?"
Yissler turned to look at him, and had a sidelong glance at the valley. "We don't know when they'll attack. I figure some warning would be better than none."
"Right you are. Listen, get some rest, eh. I'll keep watch for you."
"Thanks, man." Yissler went down to the second floor and tried to find some comfort among the concrete.
There were ten of them, mixed and matched from different worlds under Warmaster Taryl's command. 616th Drowen's B Company was truly the melting pot of Drowen's finest, as they were assembled from at least six different worlds. This was not the norm in a single company; B Company was truly unique. Was, the key word, as ten remained. Lord General Issuld brought them together, and admittedly they did not mix well in the beginning. There were numerous fights between worlds and they quickly became separate. Issuld was not phased by this; he sent them into battle straight-away. The experiences gained three bonded the fighters for the rest of their lives and made them become one of the greatest companies of Drowen.
Then came the Argus Prime Crusade, a holy cleansing in the name of the God-Emperor. This campaign was to cleanse the Argus Prime sector of all Chaos and Xenos. Chaos created a foothold in this sector and began tainting Imperial worlds, and the Xenos were wiping out anything and everything in their path. Quickly the Imperial Guard was assembled in the system, and met tough resistance. The evil spread dangerously close to Drowen, and the Lord General had to act. He led the 616th, the 527th, and the 544th into the war. Warmaster Taryl commissioned the 527th and 544th regiments to other worlds, leaving The Lord General with the 616th under his command. They were sent to the imperial feral world of Solla (sa-la) to work in coordination with 159th Cadian on the surface.
The world the 616th were on was upside down, but this was the norm, as the lands geography was strange in itself. There was no ocean, only deep rifts in the crust, known as "rivers". The land was fertile however even with the lack of ground water. The water was collected into clouds at the top of mountains in large ocean-like lakes. One week of the year, the rifts would be filled with water as these lakes emptied, and then the lakes would refill. Thus was the cycle of a year on Solla.
It was not that time of year, and the rivers were empty. This made it extremely difficult for the Imperial forces to reach them with out air support, which the Lord General was reluctant to give, as this sector was about to fall. The man was truly a coward, and unfit for duty. Roshan always thought so, as well as the entire Drowen army. But his rank had more weight than a simple Guardsmen, or even an entire planet. This was not the way to purge Chaos, and the Inquisition would be here soon enough. Even the Commissirat was getting nosy into 616th's affairs. And right they were, it was almost heresy. The Lord General needed to be replaced, but unfortunately his status completely prevented that. Colonel Malanar would make a good general, Roshan thought. It did not matter what he thought. Not right now. All that mattered was getting B Company out of there, getting them to safety. He was in command now.
Evest shouted from the roof, "Chaos! Brothers, to arms!" Brothers from different worlds. This was the Imperial Guard. Sergent Roshan bolted up and ran to the nearest window, flipping the safety off his lasgun. Scorch got up as well and readied his flamer. The rest of the men ran to windows or cover, guns ready. Roshan looked out, and saw nothing but fog. He heard things, though. That was what did it, the noises. Blood-curdling screams and maniacal laughter. The stomping of feet. They were there all right. A lot of them to finish B Company off. Evest fired into the mist out of nerves. Roshan could see vague shapes now, appearing from the white. Yissler and the others started firing as well, but Scorch held his flame. He knew as well as anyone that his carnage was of no use yet.
The traitors burst from the mist, lines of blood-covered psychos screaming and yelling heresies. Shots rattled the ruin around them but nobody was hurt. Chaos was taking mass casualties but they kept coming, like a swarm of evil. Soon they reached the concrete platform the building rested on and swarmed around that. Scorch started dropping fire on them, and caused a strange retreat back into the mist. Roshan couldn't understand it, the chaos could have wiped them out. Something big must have been on the way. Then he saw them.
Four stalk-tanks were striding towards the ruin, and Roshan knew it was the end. B Company was not giving up, though. Re-enforcements were on the way, they would keep telling themselves. It was on the way, they would survive, for the God-Emperor was with them.
Out of the mist from behind them, four Valkyries swooped out of the mist behind them, guns blazing. They fired mercilessly into the Chaos lines. Blood and dirt were thrown into the air, and the men cheered. 616th's 1st Navy had arrived, bringing hundreds of troops, tanks and artillery. The Stalk-Tanks were blown out of existence, and so were about 500 Chaos cultists. The men exited their transports. Colonel Malanar steed onto the bloody soil of the valley and approached B Company. A hail of salutes followed. Cheers could be heard all through the valley.
"At ease. Is this all thats left?" Malanar asked calmly. "Who's in charge?"
Roshan stepped forward though the rubble. "We're B Company, at your service, sir. I'm of highest rank, Sergent 1st Class Senn Roshan. Colonel Frost was killed in action many days ago. We've been stuck here for a long time. Its a miracle we're still alive, that last attack would have surely done us in if A Company hadn't come." He stared into space for a moment, recalling how close to death they were, and yet, despite all possible odds, they were alive. He realized then that he was not done, this war was not over. "Sir, requesting further orders."
Malanar looked in his eyes. The men were tired, he could tell. Dirt clung to their fatigues and flak armor. Yet even through all of that he could see that they were ready to fight still, to finish this. Their spirit was as alive as ever. Malanar had seen this in men before, and never has he had one falter before him. Commissar Sevold walked towards him.
"Colonel, the chaos is on the run. we should move to attack now, while they are in retreat," he reported. He looked at the men before him. "Well? What are they doing just standing there?"
"I was about to order them to help lead and rally our troops. Commissar, you know what to do. Get them to 2nd Platoon. We move out at 0930." With that, he turned and walked away, to lead A Company.
Commissar Sevold turned to the men. "Well, men? Do you want to live forever?" B Company shouted, and they moved to the front lines, advancing over the edge of the valley to victory.
FROM: Colonel Reddik Malanar
TO: Lord General Magus Issuld
SUBJECT: Valley Conquest
Lord General, I'm pleased to inform you that we have pushed the arch enemy out of the valley, and are currently pursuing their retreat. Very few casualties in this push, with the kill count astronomical. It is possible that we will make a 6 mile push by the end of the day, securing a good foothold on the plateau. I have commissioned a forward base of operations in the valley, as the nearest HQ is only accessible by air at this point. It is a very good position, on a clear day you can see 2 miles out. I suggest moving more troops to assist here, as this very well be the turning point on Solla. Praise the God Emperor!
On a less happy note, I have been informed that C Company had been completely routed, and B Company had almost been too. All that remains of B Company is ten men who survived alone for a week while we were organizing a way to break the bridge gap. how they did this, I can not imagine. but they still have fighting spirit and are currently at the front lines of the charge.
I also regret to inform you that Colonel Frost was killed in action.
I assess that if we keep our current course of action, we should be able to defeat the chaos on this planet. I hope you agree, as it would be a pity to give up now.
Colonel Reddik Malanar
The Lord General read the report with his sunken eyes. He sat down onto his chair and thought, with his fist under his chin. "Malanar..." The thought. "Best man I know. I trust him with my life." He stood up. "I can't him lead his men to death." He began writing orders.
"Feth," Malanar swore under his breath.
"The Lord General has gone too far this time. This is cowardice," Sevold said. They rode in an open-topped Chimera, across the plateau. The pursuit was still on. The treads of 616th's 1st Mechanized division were bloody with dead cultists. The men were cutting them down, There was absolutely no stopping them now. Colonel Malanar was going to see this out to the end, even if it meant disobeying a direct order. "Colonel," Sevold said, "I won't stop you. The Commisserat is taking this over. The Lord General is unfit for duty. Carry on."