“Mayday, mayday, mayday. This is Valkyrie Quebec five-niner, fifth brigade, Devil’s Own. Total engine loss, we’re going down. Mayday, mayday, mayday.” lieutenant Neeson Mail desperately tried to coax the engines back to life.
“Engines’re fugged to hell and back. Shrapnel’s destroyed them!” Flight-sergeant Welch, Mail’s co-pilot was just as desperately trying to keep their ship from falling through the air like the proverbial brick.
The cockpit hatch snapped open, “what the fugging hell are you butt rings up to?” Mail didn’t need to turn to know that the speaker was Sergeant Imperial Mass, one of the hardest-drinking, hardest-fighting and most pious men in the whole of the Devil’s Own regiment.
“My fugging reach-round slit-faced boys are puking their hard-earned, Emperor-given rations all over the inside of your grok-cakked cargo-hold.” Mail smiled, it was well-known that Mass cared for his men more than most Sergeants, and that he viewed them as if they were the sons he had lost during the initial days of the Waaaagh!
Strangely enough, Mail realised that the gut-churning panic that had threatened to overwhelm him, had died with the appearance of the scar-faced regimental legend.
“My apologies sergeant, it seems that the cakking xeno slick-suckers we all know and love, have seen fit to cut short our flight, and have actually shot us out of the sky. So get your ugly, vango-face out of here and get those boys to strap themselves in good and tight. We have about five minutes before we hit.” There was a clang, and Mail turned his attention back to getting his craft to stay airborne for as long as possible.
The next few minutes passed as if they were seconds. Both pilots struggled with all their strength, fighting to keep the craft level, so that when it finally hit the ground it would so belly first and not enter into a death-dealing tumble that ended in an imperial guard barbecue of the worst kind.
“Visibility’s practically zero. Hopefully the storm will mean we get soft landing. Emperor’s mercy we get a soft landing.” the storm Welch was referring to, was one of the worst blizzards to hit this part of the northern continent of Nova Alba. Stratospheric nuclear strikes had caused untold damage to the weather system, and what had been a harsh environment before had been turned into an ice-covered hell that even the most hard-bitten special forces troopers feared to enter. Not that they were alone when they did so. Over a million imperial guard had been deployed to Nova Alba to fight the Waaagh! Over fifty thousand had casualties had been suffered as a result of the weather. Mail shivered at the thought of what was to come.
All too soon the ground was rushing towards them, the whiteout making it impossible to pick anything but blurs. The impact was sudden and brutal. Both of them were snapped forward in their restraints, the crash bags exploding with such force that Mail felt as if he’d been punched on the face by an Ogryn. Sirens started to blare only to be cut off asthere was a second, then a third impact. The last thing Mail saw was a large rock before a fourth and final impact knocked him out.
To be continued