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Lexicanian Trask prayed the Rebel advance was faltering. Below him the Land Raider and Predator continued to fire on the Traitor Titan while the Ultramarines milled about trying to regain formation. Two Loyalist Titans raced forward on an intercept course. Trask upped the intensity of his magnoculars. Filters cut in to prevent him being blinded by plasma flare. He made out the insignia of the approaching allies: Warp Runners.
The enemy Titan loomed like gigantic skeletal death over the wasteland of twisted girders and broken buildings. Trask felt impotent and alone as far below his brother Marines fought to stave off the enemy advance.
The battle teetered in the balance. Trask hoped the Warp Runners could stop the Deaths Head before it reached the Bromium Refinery. He knew that it would only take one unlucky hit to make the whole ammo dump go up like an out of control reactor.
"Keep firing, brothers," Trask urged over his comm-link. "That last salvo almost overloaded the void shields."
The crews did not respond verbally but the intensity of their fire increased. Behind the vehicles squads of Ultramarines formed up for a desperate last stand.
A burst of fire from the leading Warp Runner caught the Traitor high on the carapace. Armour boiled and ran. The Deaths Head staggered closer: a doomed giant making on last effort to swat its tiny assailants. Once more Trask breathed a prayer.
It was going to be close.
Marnoc looked across the plain. The sky was bright with dropships. Assault pods drifted down like armoured spores. When they hit the ground they burst open and Ultramarines leapt forth to secure their dropsite. Marnoc raised the Fortunata's fist in welcome and was rewarded by a cheer from the battle-brothers.
Reinforcements had arrived. Marnoc believed that they were enough to turn the tide of battle and drive the Rebels from Rogsburg for the third time.
We can win, he thought, exulting as he watched hundreds of pods touch earth.
Suddenly a hail of fire tore through the Ultramarines. Those who had not got clear of the landers were mown down. Assault pods were caught at their most vulnerable, while airborne, and burst into flames. Marnoc wheeled the Titan and spotted three Death's Head Warlords.
He let out a low moan. The rebels had enough firepower to end the beachhead before it was established. He felt his mouth go dry with fear but he swiftly reached a decision. He opened the comm-link to the Moderati.
"There's only one thing to go," he told them. "We've got to protect the Marines."
The Moderati knew it was cetain death. They didn't hesitate. "Go and get them, Princeps," said Toal.
Marnoc wheeled the Fortunata easily. It no longer seemed to fight him.
Functioning as a team they raced towards the Death's Heads, weapons blazing. Marnoc concentrated fire, bringing the targetting icons to bear on a Warhound. It tried to evade but was too slow. The plasma cannon gnawed away at its void shields till they flared out. Toal put a burst from the defence laser into its reactors. It halted.
The enemy returned fire. Pain seared Marnoc as he concentrated on maintaining his own shields. He bounded forward while the Moderati blasted away. Then they were on top of the Rebels. From below him he heard Hazan shouting abuse at their foes as the powerfist tore and ripped.
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