The world itself was a wasteland - lush forests turned black and old, decrepit trunks falling into craters caused by basilisk cannons. From the defenses made into the mountainside, one could see across the plains that lead to the beachside along the eastern walls; throughout the lands as far as the eye could see was pure ruin. Craters filled with blood, gore and debris littered the landscape, many beige-armoured corpses covering it for miles, along with organic, sleek vehicles with no treads, its turrets flat and laying against the top of the wrecks with bulbous weapons attached to both it and the front of them. Numerous blacker, thicker bodies lay strewn about as well, their armour plates still flickering with light-bending power, their stealth qualities working for a time after the user's death all the same. Large, boxy suits of plate and servo's also were layed here and there, their arms with different weapons yet all with tremendous damage; many seemed to die in at least pairs, or on their own with what could be their 'teammates' not too far ahead of them. Yet all this was but chaff in comparison to the Imperial losses. For every one of the Xenos bodies, there were four guardsmen. Trench networks that criss-crossed along the plains and into the woods were filled with the Death Korps of Krieg, as well as many having charged out of such trenches to bayonet the foe; some succeeded, their bodies being close to another disemboweled foe. Many did not. Cadians, Catachans, Mordians and Brontians all were within the forest as well, many of the former's bodies being seen facing the Citadel, all along its path; a retreat had been attempted, with so few who had managed to get in alive, let alone unscathed. The Death Korps & Mordians were perhaps what had kept them from falling so quickly - the former's sheer attrition rate and demand for blood forcing every inch, every meter to be payed in many lives and ammo, whilst the Mordian's strong discipline and organization, along with their constant accurate fire with each time they fell back, ultimately until they had gotten back to the fortress itself. Hundreds of Leman Russ tanks were upon the battlefield as well, many sitting in front of the citadel walls with holes punctured in their frontal armour, massive railguns puncturing them and destroying the vehicles in single shots; yet for what the Tau had in quality, the Imperium had in quantity. Every tank destroyed, another two rushed past it, guns blazing. An Armoured regiment of the Cadian 812th had the 347th & 103rd Armageddon Steel Legion mechanized regiments had spewed out of the gates, chimera transports filled to the brim with guardsmen. In particular was the sight of one massive battlesuit with what looked to be a shield upon one arm, the other replaced with a form of gatling cannon. Three Leman Russ tanks were all around it, two of which in front of it with countless holes upon their hull and turret, one behind it with its sides punctured and the turret a few meters away - its ammunition having cooked off. The frontal armour of the Riptide had been shredded with the shield arm being melted off - plasma, perhaps - and set at its side. A chimera transport was bashed against its leg, tripping it with a dozen guardsmen all around it. Among them was a single heavy bolter that was set upon the riptide's corpse, being used as cover as they fired maddeningly at the enemy. Unfortunately, such sacrifices had not stopped the Tau's entry - while costly, they all the same advanced forward with battlesuits at the front, demolishing the gates and surging in. The many levels were covered in Fire Warrior bodies, their long pulse rifles being cumbersome in such close quarters, along with the merciless zeal that the Imperium possessed. Despite all this, the victory itself was perhaps a pyrrhic one - yes, the Tau were defeated. Reinforcements from the Cadian 901st and two more Armageddon regiments, with one Valhallan mechanized regiment had come from the rear, forcing the Tau into a retreat. Yet the casualties were unimaginable. There had been two million Guardsmen upon this continent, the vast majority upon this northern sector that they'd fought for. Now there were not even two thousand left, many regiments wiped from the records, with many more dangling by a thread with perhaps one or a dozen lives remaining. Hours had passed as names were called, hours upon hours of platoon commanders writing off many more guardsmen as KIA or MIA - friends lost, many without a word. It was one of the more painful things, hearing a name as MIA. Sometimes one would see someone hear a friend's name as that and break down, knowing its true implications: there were no MIA here. Merely KIA that weren't found. Yet sometimes, one found someone who would grasp at that thread, in a daze, wandering out onto the battlefields in search of that one name. Maybe a longtime friend, maybe a loved one. But they'd search until the day's end. It never ended well, for them, whether they found that person or not. The next morning was a somber one of course, the men and women being lined up within the Fortress Halls - a large place, once pristine but now ragged and damaged, its massive pillars cracked and charred, numerous Mechanicum turrets upon its cieling damaged or destroyed altogether. The day before, a hundred Tau bodies littered its marble floors along with almost a dozen Battlesuits: they had been removed, the Adeptus Mechanicus that accompanied the relief force taking them for... 'Study'. A Dais was set up within the halls, and on it stood a man; from the looks of his gear, it was clear he was from Armageddon. A thick longcoat, with his respirator hanging around his neck and his helmet off with it. His Auburn hair was at chin length and he had a thick stubble as well; the war had lasted almost a year, and one had little time to tend to oneself. "Men and Women of the Imperium; today, we have won against the Xenos enemy," he started, his voice hoarse yet still loud - even with the vox caster that set in front of him. "yet we all have seen the price of such a thing. My predecessors had underestimated this enemy, and here we were sent, undermanned and undergunned. Yet we have emerged victorious, all the same." A small pause for him to take his breath. "We have lost many friends here, many brothers and sisters; worse yet, many beloved regiments such as the Cadian 435th are now gone forever, not a man left in their name. We shall honour them here; their banners shall line these walls, in their name, just as the surviving ones shall." "However. This is not what this speech is for; it is not about your past, of the accomplishments we as a whole had succeeded with. But our future." "We had numbered two million, three hundred and fifty thousand, eight hundred and four when this battle began. Now, we are only one thousand, three hundred and seventy six. By all rights, our regiments are depleted; we have no supplies left for the most part, and we will require reinforcements that would take too long to come. And because of this, I have come to a decision: henceforth, your old regimental flags shall forever hang here. We shall not bring them with us; henceforth, we are to become a single Regiment." A burst of murmurs and chatter had started up - many confused, some pleased, and some angered, shocked even. The only thing that kept it from escalating was the sight of the Commissars upon the right side, their battered longcoats still sporting the bright reds and golds, their skullpeaked caps upon their heads, among them was Siegfried Skyruss, the man standing tall enough to feel a giant amongst men. "I am not under any illusion that you are all going to enjoy this. Many of you have been proud soldiers under these names; but look at our manpower. Many of us do not even number in the hundreds." The man's shoulders soon slumped, and he took ahold of his respirator. "I have given the orders to the sergeants and platoon commanders; while we do not have any title yet, by Imperium law we shall be Regiment 12506; our name shall come later. I expect, and am confident, that all of you shall aid in giving us a proper title, and a reputation that shall put fear into the hearts of our enemies." His heels clacked together -- in unison, the newly formed regiment did so as well. Kriegers had their heads held high, passive and obedient, uncaring for the deaths of their comrades. Cadians kept theirs high out of pride and spite of the enemy, using this pain as fuel to fight their foe. Platoon Commanders now turned to their forces, and with data-slates in hand, called out names. "Harada P., James N. 5691823-1968299-Delta..." "Khal N., Lianna G., Arban N....." Names were all called out from each one, the men being formed into their own squads with a sergeant at their head. It was clear that they were mishmashes of all sorts. Cadians, Praetorians and Kriegers. Armageddoneers, Therons & Mordians. "Roy T., Aquilia C., Zhara, Garrul U., Saven H., Romanus L., WR-613780-Alpha, Dei K., Kallen, Siegfried S. - squad Gamma." The voice came from a relatively tall, Cadian woman, her flak armour scorched on the right side and a cast that wrapped over the same arm. Her hair was trimmed to barely under a centimetre, and her piercing Violet eyes stared back into each of them as they came over. "I'm to be your Sergeant, it seems: Sergeant Korallia Linnis." She said, a small frown coming at her lips; it seemed at least, a bit displeasing to her. "You're to meet me in two hours, on the eastern side of the wall, beside the gate itself. Pack your things and we're going to get off this blasted rock. Any questions??" She looked to every one of them expectantly; as though she had thought maybe there would be one. Her gaze had looked over towards the Commissar for a moment, a nod of respect being given, with an uneasy stare pointed towards the Psyker. No words were spoken directly of course, simply... Looks. Here began Squad Gamma's journey; one can only hope it doesn't have an end anytime soon.