Corporal Tala Aponi took a deep breath, then wrenched the shrapnel out of her arm, clenching her teeth to keep from crying out. She was tucked into a dark corner of a hallway, back behind a pile of crates covered with Obscura Korps symbols and full of foul smells. She didn’t want to know what was inside of them. All around her, in the darkness of the catacombs, she could hear the sounds of battle. The sharp, staccato crack of the almost alien “Flash Guns” of Tala’s squad let her know that they were still in the fight, somewhere.
She kicked her empty medkit to the side as she finished bandaging up her arm and stood up, clutching her service revolver tightly with her good hand. This mission was hell, but they all were for the 24th Marine Special Forces. She’d been everywhere from the jungle muck of the South Pacific to the frozen wastes of Novgorod, but this was by far the single worst place she’d ever been.
Finding her squad was priority number one. Wandering around alone in this horror house wasn’t very high on her list of things she’d like to be doing, and even with all the morphine coursing through her bloodstream making her lightheaded, she knew that getting caught without backup here would be the death of her.
Tala slowly crept forward, her boots sinking down into the slick mud that made up the floor. “I could be sitting in the brig right now, safe and sound instead of surrounded by demon summoning shit, with half a kraut grenade in me if MacNeal hadn’t pulled strings. I swear I’m going to shoot his white man ass next time I see him.” As if summoned by the spirits MacNeal appeared right then, rounding a corner at a sprint, his goggles and his gun gone, clutching a pair of weird stone tablets in his arms.
“Aponi, cover!” The captain dropped into a baseball slide as Tala raised her gun at the thing that was chasing MacNeal. It looked almost like an Obscura Korps soldier, but twisted and wrong. His long black flack coat was torn, revealing a bare right arm that ended in glowing red talons instead of fingers. The freakish bald head was hidden behind a gas mask that couldn’t hide the corruption of the flesh beneath.
“Holy shit!” Tala raised her revolver on instinct and fired, putting a heavy pair of .44 rounds through the thing’s face and dropping it in an instant.
MacNeal stood, looking at the body as it was rapidly consumed by blazing red flames, then slapped Tala on the shoulder. “Nice shot. Come on, we’ve got to get these tablets out of here. Zermann can’t activate the Cardinal Cornerstone without them.”
“Cardinal what?” Tala suddenly regretted having been so hungover during the mission briefing. There was a scream from down the hallway in the direction MacNeal and the Obscura thing had come from, and Tala aimed her revolver that way. “Go Captain, I’ll hold them here.”
“I owe you a drink when we get back, Tala.” MacNeal smiled, then ran. Tala just shook her head and checked the cylinder of her revolver. Four shots, alone, in a gateway to hell, fending off an army of demons. Welcome to the Union Army. At least she was high for this.
Tannhauser is a combat board game by Fantasy Flight pitting two teams of highly trained military badasses against each other for control of the Cardinal Cornerstone, one of the four gateways to hell. It currently has nearly 20 expansions, from adding characters above the base ten in the starting game to entirely new factions, scenarios and boards to play on. Easier to pick up than most miniatures combat games, and with an intuitive “Pathfinding System”, Tannhauser is a great pick up and play combat game with tons of replay value.