I stood in the corridor waiting. My breathing was short, my palms sweating as I gripped the stock of my deck gun. Nobody said anything as I stared over their heads lying behind the barricade we had stuffed in the corridor. James, Tony, and Greg are all crouched in behind the barricade watching down the corridor. I stood back as there wasn't enough room for me up there, so I hid myself as much as possible behind the rim of bulkhead that acted as the door frame. Sven is beside me manning the Atrose HST18 on its tripod; everyone refers to it as the 'Heavy Stubber.' I could see the chain running over the lip of the feeder box and piling onto the floor. The stubber is like a shotgun machinegun, chain fed 18 gauge rounds with a max fire rate of 480rpm. This gun is designed to chew through anything that is not made of metal; it made my little 12 gauge sawed off semi-auto seem like a childes toy in comparison.
Thinking about the guns made me feel a little better; it took my mind off the inevitable fight. I pulled my flack vest down a little, trying to settle it more comfortably over my chest. The thing is heavy, full of bullet proof plates and gels designed to seal wounds if anything actually pushes though it. Worse though is the helmet, big ill fitting dome that isn't even designed to take a direct hit, just deflect glancing ones. I breathed heavily again and looked around; everyone was positioned with the same stoic expressions on their faces. It didn't make sense to me, when they come there will be fifty or sixty in the mob and all we have are shotguns and a heavy stubber, effective but not against that kind of number, especially since they will also be armed. And the green bastards don't care about death, they charge head long into anything that will give them a fight.
We heard an explosion and felt the tremors vibrate though the floor. Sven looked over to me, "That was a port gun coming off, you could hear the plasma rupture." He looked almost excited, but kept his voice steady.
"There is no way you could tell that," Tony sneered, "now shut up and watch the corridor, I want that thing firing first before any of the green buggers get a chance to come around that corner." He craned his head around towards me, "And get on the vox, find out if we're actually expecting or if they need us to move."
I set my gun down against the corner and pulled the mic off the vox pack I had stuck further back, the thing is heavy and I don't want to be wearing it in a fight, if we need to run I can pick it up then. "This is Voidsman Charlie; Sergeant Wearez needs to know the port-aft sitrep."
There was silence for a moment, "This is Voidsman Agusta, port-aft is overrun decks four through eight and they are climbing. There is a standoff on third in two-B near the hanger. Enemies engaged on eight near the guns. Port-aft plasma batteries have been destroyed." There was a very definite tone to his voice; he ended with, "Long live the Emperor." This fight wasn't going well for us.
"And the Commonwealth," I replied and put the mic back.
Tony looked back at Sven, "How in the nine hells did you know that?" He asked while fishing something out of his pocket.
"I told you, I could hear the plasma ignite." He looked very smug as he took the twenty credit chit that Tony was handing him. Every time Sven says something he shouldn't know the sergeant pays him, every time he is wrong he pays the sergeant.
"Right, and I'm the son of the emperor." He says begrudgingly.
Sven bows, "An honor to meet you sir, but I thought you would be taller?"
That got a bit of a laugh out of all of us. Then we heard the sound of feet banging down the corridor, Tony yelled out, "Emperor!"
We heard an almost breathless response, "Light." It was another crewman. And six of them came shambling around the corner. Three are wounded, but only one was being carried fireman style. They also carried a heavy stubber but it had no chain. "I'm Lieutenant Petrome, who's in charge?" as they limped up to the barricade.
"That would be me, I'm Sergeant Wearez. What's going on?" He stood up as he spoke and looked sternly at the lieutenant.
"We were defending the next point down, the stubber ran out and two of my men were already dead. We grabbed the wounded and ran for it." There was an explosion from down the corridor, "Oh and we left a couple AP mines in the doorways." And to accent that fact there was another explosion.
"Anyone critical?" Tony was looking at the man being carried.
"Yeah, Jimmy got hit in the stomach and it went right through the armour, came out the back and hit Tim there in the hip. Jimmy is stable but he needs a doc."
"How long you figure?"
"Maybe another two or three minutes."
"Fuck. Get Jimmy around the corner and join us here, take the spare chain for the stubber, I would rather have both those things going at once. Did you call in the fallback?"
.... There is more of this story ...
Science Fiction /