Stories round the campfire - 312

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Stories round the campfire - 312

Postby Kentigern » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:34 pm

Need to get writing more! My second short story from round the campfire, open to suggestions for future instalments if anyone has any!

“What do you think it’ll be like Sarge? Will the Emperor really be waiting for us with open arms?”

Sergeant Loron Taal of the 312th Kylorian Guard stared resolutely into the distance. How the frak was he supposed to answer that?

The questioner, Garrus Kra, a pale youth barely sixteen cycles old, stared at him piously. Hopefully. Desperately. Surely there was something to make this worthwhile, to comfort him at this point?

Truth was Garrus Kra would be dead by mid-morning. If he was lucky it would be quick, but Taal knew that few Guardsmen were lucky fighting the Tyranids. More likely his death would be brutal and painful, a brief pointless life stretched out over moments of excruciating agony, before being processed down to be used as alien food.

“Aye lad, I believe he will.”

It physically hurt Taal to lie to him like that, but there was no alternative. They were all dead men, even if they were still currently breathing, the last defenders of the last standing bastion on a world overrun with xenos scum. Nothing could change that – but with the right words his men could at least die standing, and take some of the creatures with them. That had to be worth something surely, even just as one last curse at the uncaring universe.

“Look, I ain’t no priest, but it seems to me the Emperor will be looking out for us even more than some of the so-called heroes”.

Taal became aware that every eye was on him, breath held as they listened to his every word. Despite himself he smiled inwardly – what the frak did these kids do to deserve him at a moment like this?

“Space Marines, Generals, Saints – sure the Emperor loves them and what they do, but it’s easier if you are a living legend surrounded by all the firepower the Imperium can offer you. Us? We’re the real heroes. We’re the ones left with nothin’ but a lasgun and a combat knife, standing against the hordes and refusing to leave even when the enemy are all around us”.

The last words stung, the sight of the Thunderhawks of the Dark Angels departing a raw wound for all sitting round the campfire. The Space Marines, gods of humanity who none of them had even seen before, had arrived to save the planet, then left when it was clear that the alien tide was unstoppable. Their lives mattered it turned out. Members of the 312th rather less so.

“Y’know what, forget them. They will fight the Emperor’s battles another day in another place. But we, we will fight here. We’ll die here. But we’ll take as many of the aliens with us as we can. And maybe in doing so we’ll keep some other planet safe from these creatures. We’re the frakking 312th Kylorian Guard, and our stand tomorrow will live on in the history of our Regiment. We’ll stain this fortress with the filth of the xenos, and when we meet the Emperor we’ll be welcomed as the frakking heroes that we are!”

His men cheered. As one they chanted “312, 312…”, voices laced with pride at who they were, the role they filled.

Taal didn’t believe a word of what he had just said. They were meat, minor obstacles to slow down the aliens for one more day, to give time for the Space Marines to get clear.

Frak it.

They were dead and there was nothing he could do about it. He didn’t think the Emperor, or anyone else for that matter, would be waiting to meet him when his life was abruptly ended. But for a brief pointless moment he decided to let himself revel in the camaraderie round the campfire, the pretence that what they were doing mattered or would be remembered. At the end of the day, what else mattered other than what they had here?

“312, 312, 312…”
Good guys go to heaven.

Bad guys send them there.
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Re: Stories round the campfire - 312

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:15 pm

You can probably do without that last 'At the end of the day...' sentence, not least because the repitition of 'mattered' sticks out a tad, but also because it kind of lessens the impact of the 'we're all going to die uselessly' vibe.

Other than that, a nice little song to the unsung. Enjoyed.
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Re: Stories round the campfire - 312

Postby Squiggle » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:12 pm

Me too. Nice work Kentigern.
If my mind's the weapon, my heart's the extra clip

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Re: Stories round the campfire - 312

Postby theCrowe » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:28 pm

Yeah, I can dig it. Nice writing.

As far the last line goes I like the positive focus on the end. Maybe change the wording if "mattered" is a repeat but I like the idea that the line expresses. That really the glory of war is BS and its only the affection and camaraderie between humans that really makes them fight for eachother. The last line is necessary. Its why he joins the 312 chant, not because he's a two faced liar in despair.
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Re: Stories round the campfire - 312

Postby HungryP » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:52 pm

A small thing, but the line “when his life was abruptly ended” is at odds with Taal’s earlier rumination that it would most likely be drawn out and painful.

A good little tale though.
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