The Battle of Meta-Gamma Hot

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warbattlemetagammaCommissar Gerhart flicked a clod of earth from his black leather trenchcoat and stared out over no-man’s land. The percussive rumbling of the artillery ten miles back had finally subsided, and an eerie silence descended. If he strained, he could just about hear the grumbling and snarling of the Greenskins in the far distance. Thirty fething days on this Emperor forsaken planet, and all they had to show for it was a lot of spent ammo casings, crap stuck to his coat and a bit of a cough.

Sgt. Hoyt stepped alongside him, peering up over the edge of the trench. “Sons of bitches are dug in like Armageddon ticks. This will require careful planning.”


Gerhart lit his cigarette and smiled to himself. He had faith in his men; and faith in command, for the most part. “Worry not, Hoyt. I think I have a plan.”

Hoyt shifted. “I had no doubt of that, sir. What did you have in mind for us to do?”

The Commissar half-closed his eyes to prevent the smoke from his cigarette making them sting and water. He pointed to a large boulder not too far away from the trench. “That boulder. Do you think you could make it over there before the Orks could draw a bead on you?”

Hoyt rubbed his stubble thoughtfully. “Possibly, sir. I could double my movement if I charged, but I wouldn’t be able to fire.”

Gerhart sat back on a stool fashioned from a discarded crate, and sunk into deep thought. He knew that taking out the War Boss was the easiest way of dispiriting an Ork contingent. They lost the ability to co-operate without one, and started fighting amongst themselves instead. “Could we send a sniper out, do you think? Could they knock out the leader from there?”

warbattlemetagamma3The Sergeant squinted out across No Man’s Land. “Difficult to say, sir. I think a shot like that...well, you’d be looking at a six. Five plus, if he had a scope fitted. Do you think we could measure first?”

A distant voice rumbled from the Ork camp, “No, you can’t bloody measure first!”.

Hoyt shrugged and continued. “To be honest, sir, I don’t really think that’s workable. I mean, one turn to run over there...another to make the shot. The battle would be half-over by that time. We need to be on the road to victory before then, really.”

Gerhart passed him the cigarette, which Hoyt gratefully accepted. “Would it increase your chances if I came out with you, Hoyt? Morale support, and all that?”

Hoyt shook his head. “No, sir. I suppose I’d get a re-roll if I could see the banner, but that’s miles away, isn’t it?”

Gerhart didn’t answer. It was a rhetorical question. A new standard bearer had been brought in, but he was far too inexperienced – just barely covered in primer – to be this close to the front line. It was different in his day. Back then, kids in just their undercoat fought and died alongside him. And a young woman from Necromunda who kept telling everyone she was supposed to be an Imperial Guardsman with Heavy Flamer.

warmetagamma1Suddenly, with an almighty “Waaaagh!”, the Orks broke cover, streaming across the battlefield towards them. Gerhart, Hoyt and the rest of the squad grabbed their lasrifles and squeezed off a few rounds into the charging Greenskins. Several fell, but more and more bulldozed towards them.

“We need to do something, sir!” shouted Hoyt. “If they get into close combat range, we’re done for!”

“Hold steady, Hoyt! We’ll give as good as we get!”

Hoyt looked a little scared. “Negative, sir! They’re charging, some have more than one close combat weapon, and two of us here are encumbered with heavy weapons. That’d put them at +3 for starters, sir. Not to mention the standard Strength and Initiative advantage an Ork has over a standard human.”

Gerhart cursed under his breath. The boy was right. Quick as a flash, he pulled out a fragmentation grenade and flung it into the oncoming Ork horde. All the enemy caught in the blast were destroyed as one, and all those partially caught were destroyed on a roll of 4+ on 1d6.

“Good shot, sir!” cried Hoyt. “But we’re going to need a little more than that. And my armour save’s shit!”

The remaining few Orks charged over the strands of barbed wire, and dropped down the seven feet or so into the Imperial trench. Blood, blades and mud flew as the technological side of warfare gave way to sheer medieval brutality. Gerhart could do nothing – pinned down as he was by two large Orks – as he watched Hoyt fall under the onslaught.

Gerhart staggered under an axe-blow and fell to the floor. All seemed like it was over for him when, from out of nowhere, a mammoth black kitten's paw swept down from the sky and sent the Ork warboss flying. Unable to believe his eyes, Gerhart watched as the giant cat ran amok across the battlefield demolishing all units and even buildings in its path.

A voice rumbled from the Ork lines. “Mr Jingles, you are very cute, but very annoying.”.

Gerhart was not sure that he agreed.
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Brad Harmer is the editor and frequent columnist for Emotionally Fourteen.

The Battle of Meta-Gamma There Will Be Games
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