Corintus was panting as he ran towards the old sanctum building that had been converted to a bar. He knew Arachas would still be exactly where he left him. Coming up behind Corintus was his squad - Arachas' squad - and four decoys that were to confuse Sturmm's men in case of an attack.
The square stretching out in front of the sanctum was covered in early morning mist.
"There he is," said Commissar Gaius, who was coming up next to Corintus. The Commissar was right: Arachas' form could be made out, just outside the door to the sanctum. He was leaning against a lamppost, obviously smashed from drinking amasec straight till the morning.
Corintus gestured his men and the decoys to get into place. Casting a forlorn look at his old comrade, who clearly did not have the slightest idea of what was going on, Corintus led two of his best shooters up into the sanctum. They would provide cover fire from the upper stories.
"So far, so good," remarked one of Corintus' shooters. Corintus gave him an annoyed look, but said nothing. He thought it was bad luck to be so optimistic at the onset of a mission. Not two seconds later, a burst of fire erupted from the tall building to the east. In a spectacular display of blood and gore, one of the decoys was shredded to bits.
Then everything was chaos.
"Secure Captain Arachas!" called Corintus out, who took aim at the figures now emerging from the mist on their eastern flank.
"We've lost him, sir!" called out Lieutenant Kassad from down on the street. "He just disappeared into the mist!"
"Emperor damn it," cursed Corintus.
"FORM UP! ESCORT ALL THE TARGETS!" barked Gaius, who was across the plaza. He cocked his boltpistol and looked at the nearest trooper. "I'll move up behind you, son... it's for your own good."
The trooper gulped and did as he was told. The squad feverishly lunged forward to secure the targets, they themselves now unsure which of them was their former Captain.
"Good," said Gaius, overviewing the squad following his orders by the letter. "They are moving in the right direction... for now."
The tall building to east turned out to be Sturmm's main firing base. Before long, death erupted from the windows and Rapier Squad had to dive for cover. Despite the volume of fire, however, Sturmm's squad seemed to be suffering from Stormtrooper Syndrome again (or a rough night with Sergeant Barbie, who was notorious for her insatiable lust even amongst the Cadians).
Sergeant Quintus, hoisting a plasma rifle, took a hit square to his helmet and was flung backwards. Gaius grunted, but looked down and found the bullet had bounced off harmlessly. Ignoring the temporarily downed trooper, he directed Sergeant Hoyt to secure one of the targets. Hoyt was summarily hit by stubber rounds and was knocked off his feet.
From their position inside the sanctum, Corintus and his men tried their best to keep Sturmm's men at bay. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, Corintus concluded. The remaining targets, hopefully with Arachas amongst them, were herded off the battlefield. It came down to him to buy them time to retreat.
Recruit Locke, up on the second floor, took a sure shot and managed to down Sturmm's sniper, Sergeant Bilko, in a skillful shot. The return fire made him duck for cover. A story below he heard a muffled cry. Glancing over the side of the building, Locke saw his Captain slump to the floor of the balcony. A grinning sergeant Barbie, her gun still smoking, could be seen across the street.
Back on the east side, a cry suddenly went up from one of the troopers. His target was making a run for it. Commissar Gaius stood poised to break cover, but as he analyzed Sturmm's firing lines, he realized the target - he couldn't see if it was Arachas or not - had just unwillfully committed suicide. Sure enough, several moments later the target was ripped to shreds by stubber fire.
Well, at least Sturmm knew what he wanted: only a dead Arachas would do.
They would soon know. Lieutenants Kassad and Silenus skillfully guided their targets from the battlefield, while recently promoted specialist Sultus did the same.
Realising they had secured those targets they could and that he was now in charge, Gaius led the retreat off the field. Leaving Sturmm with two bodies and a chance at revenge... or not.
A ruined building, two kilometres down the road from the battle. The Lieutenants hoisted in the targets, but the look on their faces said it all. Gaius cursed inwardly as he inspected the men themselves. All three of them were decoys. That could only mean one thing...
The next moment they heard bolter fire coming from the direction of the battlefield. It almost seemed cheerful, for everyone knew that squad Sturmm was firing off rounds to celebrate their kill and vengeance. Corintus, alive but wounded, sat against the wall and sighed.
"It is over," he said. "Arachas, hero of Aeterna... is dead."
Gaius said nothing, but turned to the western corner of the building. There sat Renegade Sergeant Bilko, already tied to a chair.
"Don't worry," said Gaius. "It's personal now."