We used to (and occasionally still do) run these huge ‘Grand Battle’ games of 40k. JB Coulter, formerly of GW Canada, was at the first one we did for the old Eye of Terror Campaign and dubbed them ‘Floorhammer’ as the space we played on needed to be played on the floor. Our first games were 30 by 15 FEET – so if you couldn’t walk on the ‘table’ you’d never be able to reach the center. Later Christian and I made an additional cloth runner allowing us to make the games expand to 30 by 20 feet.

One of the ones we organized didn’t go at all well for the Imperials. The Danikans got ‘run over’ by Rod Murray’s all flying Ulthwe army. Thousands of points of Craftworld Eldar turned the Danikans into a speedbump. This was a piece I wrote after the game to reflect the ending.

Stormtrooper Sergeant Halas stood atop the Customs Bridge as the day died before him. The blazing ruin of Al ‘Haraik Central lit the sky like a third sun. He’d heard terrifying things about what had gone on there. The Adepta Sororitas who had gone in, and had not come back out again.

For his part, he’d been lucky. All across the field the Imperials had been smashed. Not so much fleeing as dead where they stood. Some of the Space Wolves had escaped, it was said, along with a portion of the Armored Company. The Desolation Angels had actually not only held off a large Alpha Legion support force but had attacked the village north of the city. But for the rest, there would not be much coming back. Halas and his men had ridden their craft through several strafing runs, only once having to really worry about groundfire while flying in support of the Danikans. It was said that even the legendary Senekal had fallen. The Emperor praise his soul.

The engines of a pair of Valkyries howled as they settled behind him. The bridge was a choke point. Holding it, they might be able to keep some of the chaos forces on the other side – give their own forces a chance to re-group beyond. Central and its starport were gone, but a small force could hold this bridge against almost overwhelming numbers. As a defensive position it could not be easily beaten. The Stormtroopers and Inquisitor Van Helsing had leant out their planes to ferry in more guardsmen. The surviving Wolves and Angels would be scooped up by their own Thunderhawks and would join the others here. This bridge would hold. It would have to!

In the dusklight, he spied movement. Quietly, trying to watch his footing on the deck still slick with Xenos blood, he moved toward the end of the bridge. Perhaps some of the armored company had broken through…

A flicker. A flash. 3 short beacon flashes, two long and another short. The signal of the day. Halas did not let down his guard. The Archenemy had obscene and forbidden ways of making a man talk…

The line which straggled in was tattered and worn. Few had weapons. Not a man among them was unhurt. Closer. Danikan uniforms unless Halas was mistaken. He’d played cards with a few in weeks past. A woman lead them, her green uniform caked in dried blood.

“ID.” Halas said quietly. He hated to ask, but the treachery of the enemy was well known. She tossed over her dogtags. Halas ran them through his auspex and the image came up a match. She looked a lot better in the photo. “1st Raehaniv?”

“Fourth Danika now. The 1st ceased to exist on Cadia during Abaddon’s little summer vacation. The transfer paperwork is still tied up in the Departmento Munitorum. You know how they are.”

Frowning, Halas muttered, “It’s irregular. And anything irregular now-“

“Let the young lady through, sergeant,” a weak voice came from the rear. “My ID should clear.” The voice bubbled – the voice of a badly wounded man. Halas warned his troopers with a covert sign to cover him and moved to the stretcher that a pair of injured men had set down. The officer on it was covered in filth and blood, the entire mess stained a uniform reddish brown from his elaborate cuirass to the his tall boots to the aquila on his torn officer’s cap. Halas checked the tag hanging from the man’s throat – noting the great hole in the cuirass, stuffed with bandages and soaked through with bright red blood. The auspex beeped. Halas’ eyes widened and he waved the column through – whispering into his microphone to get a fast Valkyrie ready for immediate medevac.

The shattered Danikans went past, first in darkness and then in the too bright illum of the bridge lights as the installations chronometers snapped them on.

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