Heroes Among Us . There are times when, in the large maps and status charts that plot the ever-changing face of battle, men perform acts of bravery that make them stand so tall that they cannot be ignored. We adore these men; we call them heroes, lavish them with attention, and adorn them with metals. This is rightly and justly deserved. But for every one of these men we recognize as the heroes they are, one hundred die without recognition, to a man as brave and to a man as heroic. Sadly, all too often, their stories die with them, untold and unsung, fading into forgetfulness. We recognize this, and in an attempt to honor the memory of their existence, we erect tall structures to force into our minds the freedoms and causes they championed with their very last breath. We honor those we can, and they bear upon their shoulders a just share of glory for every man whose story remains hidden; it is their torch to carry. Here are their stories, listen well, dear traveler, listen well.
Sergeant Williams (Infantry):
While a general retreat had been ordered, Sergeant Williams knew that COP troops would press hard on the heels of his men and might overcome them. He chose a natural chokepoint and ordered them to continue without him while he held off the enemy. Under vigorous protests, his men moved away to honor his wishes. He stood firmly, and when he ran out of ammunition he engaged the enemy hand-to-hand. It took the COP another four hours to break through his position, ensuring the safe return of his men to friendly lines. He was posthumously awarded the Ivory Wreath for bravery in the line of duty. His last recorded words were: “Molder, in these last few moments that are mine, let me hold fast and do your will to the end.”
Marshal Forge (AWP):
Forge, a product of the Advanced Warrior Program, led a contingent of twenty-five space marines against two hundred of their COP counterparts in an attempt to retake a strategic position. He chose his moment perfectly, striking when the exhausted enemy was receiving provisions and their guard was lowest. They struck hard with both projectile and melee weapons; shooting, cutting, and hitting their way through to glory. Complete confusion gripped the COP position. Many fled rather than fought. The enemy suffered 60% casualties, though many were killed when a COP artillery bombardment was called in on the wrong position. Forge paid heavily for the success, though; nine of his marines fell in the heroic struggle. The unit was commended highly for their actions, and awarded the Supreme Commander’s special Unit Citation for extraordinary bravery in the face of a vastly superior foe. Forge’s battle cry: “To duty, to destiny, to the death! Charge, brothers!”
Space Marine Warness (Space Marine):
On a diplomatic mission to a “Back-woods” planet by the Supreme Commander, a COP sniper was drawing a bead on the Sup Com to bring him down. Hearing a slight noise that aroused his suspicion, Warness turned from his patrol route to check it out, stumbling upon the sniper just as he was about to press the trigger. With truly cinematic timing, Warness took on the sniper hand-to-hand and prevailed, thus directly saving the life of the Supreme Commander. He was promoted and made a personal guard in the Sup Com’s entourage. Not as boring a position as it may sound; the Sup Com is far from shy, and sometimes leads attacks personally, being a commander who shuns the desk and favors being in the trenches.
Corporal Billings (Sniper):
On a heavily forested and dark planet of Biscone, Billings was sent in to scout for a possible LZ for invading forces. Convinced he could hold a particularly convenient area open for the landing forces, he continually refused evacuation even when all others considered his position untenable; opting instead for ammunition and provisions to continue the fight. He held out for five days until the fleet could arrive. He welcomed the invading forces and still refused to be relieved, continuing to support the invasion as best he could. His grim total: 120 infantry, 21 senior NCOs, 10 officers, and 2 hardsuits. He was awarded the Silver Star for valor.
Lieutenant Jackson (Medic):
Jackson received the Ivory Wreath for his actions in a particularly horrible battle in which, under heavy enemy fire, he repeatedly exposed himself to mortal danger to treat and rescue injured men. He is credited with saving nearly a dozen lightly to badly injured soldiers with great peril to his own life. However, and to no shame or detraction of Jackson’s heroism, some suspect chivalry on the part of the COP enabled him to make his trips without injury. He is quoted as saying: “I only wish I could have saved more.” after he was told of the exact number he helped.
“Battles are won as much by the massed groups of men and material as the small contributions of individual men; who, rising above themselves, perform acts of bravery that in that moment define who they are.” – Ultramarine