"I don't understand this." said the tech-priest.
Commissar Phokas did not understand either. Among the wreckage of the battlefield he saw the distinct forms of an an Imperial Land Raider and two Leman Russ battle tanks. Yet each of these vehicles was painted in the garish colours and patterns of the Eldar Harlequins. They were hung, not with Imperial banners, but flags emblazoned with the twisted and decadent designs of the Eldar. The three Imperial tanks were not the only captured vehicles among the wreckage; he recognised the brutish form of an Ork battle-wagon, similarly painted in the same flamboyant diamond pattern.
"They had vehicles of their own," said Tech-Brother Gottschalk. "Strange, sinister machines that are faster than ours. Why did they need to steal our sacred armour?" The tech-priest's voice was heavy with grief. Had his eyes not been replaced by cybernetic devices, they would have run with tears.
"The ways of the Xenos are mysterious, my friend," said Commissar Phokas.
"They have defiled the spirits of these vehicles!" cried Gottschalk. "These foul Xenos dancers desire to blaspheme the Machine-God!"
"Do they even know about the Machine-God?" pondered Phokas aloud. He was not completely sure he knew all that much about the Machine-God. The Cult Mechanicus was a revered part of the Imperium and he respected them, but their doctrines and theology were a mystery to him. Mourning the loss of dead comrades made sense, but he found it hard to lament a new paint scheme on some captured tanks, however tastless it appeared. That these Eldar war-dancers were using captured Imperial tanks was a tactical concern, but little more than that.
"Perhaps," Gottschalk admitted. "The Xenos are ever ignorant of what is true and noble."
Phokas looked again at the machines.
"They don't appear to be badly damaged," he observed.
"They are in a poor state of repair, good Commissar," explained Gottschalk. "Not only do they defile our vehicles with their decadent colours, but they run them to the ground with not even a half-hearted attempt to service them."
"That must be why they abandoned them so early in the battle," said Phokas.
An idea occurred to Phokas.
"I think that they were trying to make a statement with these vehicles. A statement about us," he suggested. "By taking our vehicles, keeping them in a poor state of repair and then abandoning them in the fight, they are demonstrating the contempt they feel for us. It is a show of just what they think of Imperial civilization."
Gottschalk's mechanical eyes whirred and clicked, as though they were widening and then narrowing.
"Then they truly are an abominable race that abhors truth and goodness," he snarled. "But why also take that disgusting Ork war machine?"
"Perhaps to say that we are no better than Orks to them."
"May the Machine-God give us the strength to cleanse the universe of their kind!" declared Gottschalk.
Phokas did not fully comprehend all of the tech-priest's outrage, but he sympathized. The Eldar Harlequins were truly a disturbing force, with their sinister masks and their terrifying fighting prowess. They had danced and leaped across the battlefield, cutting down Guardsmen as though they were waxwork dummies. Thankfully, it had been their lack of numbers that had saved the day for the Imperial Guard; that and the heavy artillery bombardment that had been unleashed upon the Eldar. The commissar prayed to the Emperor that the creatures made no return.