Monday, September 20, 2010

Miss Seri's Hive Rats

Serifina, or as she is known to her followers, Miss Seri was once a housewife in one of the innumerable hab-blocks on one of the hive cities of Medusa V. Her husband was called up to defend the city from the many enemies during the last days of Medusa V. She had once been afflicted with "witherlung" a disease that was common in the lower hive levels and underhive and was found unfit for the Imperial Guard and was given a low priority for evacuation that would certainly doom her to dieing with the world she grew up on.
Miss Seri never told her husband that she had been rejected by the IG and through a friend in the manufactorum was able to obtain a battered long-las. While her husband slept she read and reread his hastily produced copy of the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer. And with her husband inducted and provided rations, her work was limited to keeping a doomed domicile clean until it was destroyed or they were forced to evacuate.

When his unit was deployed, Miss Seri followed at distance, staying to the shadows silently vowing to watch his back. As she moved through disused areas she developed a following of urchins and juvs that were curious as to this small lady with the big rifle. Her husbands first and final position was a defensive line along main thoroughfare into the hive. She found a spot above and behind the unit and settled in to watch. As she sat there, a few of the urchins approached and asked her what she was doing. When she responded, many left, fearing to be caught in the crossfire, but a few stayed and helped Miss Seri hide in the ruins more effectively. She shared what little rations she had and tended to minor scrapes and wounds as she waited.

The next day, the expected attack came. Miss Seri had found that in her weakened state after her recovery that her eyesight was a bit sharper. Her improved eyesight had come in useful at the hab market, and she would soon find a new use for it. With her limited exposure to the rites and rituals of the IG, and the only training she received from what she had heard from her husband, she knew little about limitations but only knew she must not miss. As the enemy came in sight, she took aim and fired at a particularly large Ork. The firing spooked her and when she looked through the sight she couldn't find her target. She searched for another target and fired, and again and again she couldn't find them but was resolute that she must not let her husband down. Eyes blurred by tears fearing failure, she continued firing. A pause in the battle allowed one of the urchins to come forward and ask why she was crying. When she responded that she had missed, the urchin was confused, as she had seen each Ork drop, struck in the head or heart by her unerring aim. It was her position that had prevented her from seeing their prone lifeless bodies. Sadly it would all be for naught as an devastating ordnance barrage landed directly on her husband's and the Ork's positions and few were left living. Some swore it was the orks, but others assured her it was an errant strike from orbit.

Dashing to her husbands unit, the survivors greeted her with a rousing cheer as they finally saw the mysterious sniper who had protected them. Sadly her husband was not one of the survivors. From that point on, she adopted the unit and would protect them the best way she knew how. She cooked for the unit, scavenged for gear and tended minor wounds. She would eventually lead a squad of Seri's Hive Rats,made of other wives and mothers, stricken with witherlung or too old to fight at the fore. And also the urchins and juvs would show them the best hiding spots and concealed routes through the city. It wasn't long before they too "found" rifles and began to help in a more direct way.

As the evacuation neared, her husband's former Sgt, now a company commander and familiar with Imperial bureaucracy, added the band of misfits to his roster as a provisional ratling platoon. And though they were doomed to die with the world they were born on, through their stealth and courage, Miss Seri's Hive Rats were provided with an escape.

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