Death Guard vs. Necrons @2000
- win to Death Guard
Despite the failure of the Black Legion main force against the tyranids and Emerald Serpent, the chaos legion eventually found success in the underground catacombs of the neighbouring system. Many of the worlds orbiting old stars near the rifts of Hecate were known to be locations of the former Bahotek dynasty so the Tau were systematically investigating them one by one. This made it easier for the Black Legion, who had no access to detailed surveys of each system and were low on manpower. Rather than conduct their own surveys, the chaos Legion simply waited until the tau found something of interest, then attempted to steal it by force.
The activity of traitor marine units in the Hadron Deeps had however drawn the attention of the Dark Angels. Intending to prevent the dark gods from discovering any useful information and intent on punishing the traitorous Black Legion, a squad of imperial astartes secretly followed the chaos team into the underground complex.
The tau detected both forces as they approached, opening fire on the chaos forces first, but the fight soon dissolved into a disorganised skirmish throughout the necron ruins. The Black Legion used this confusion to their advantage, stealing the tau research before ensuring the Dark Angels were eliminated. Having achieved their goals the traitor astartes made good their escape. The tau expedition had suffered a set back, but the Dark Angels had lost a squad for no gain whatsoever. Back at their temporary base protected by iconoclast escort vessels, the Black Legion analysed the stolen data, realising they had uncovered the location to the final necron device.
The search for clues in the Hadron Expanse accelerated into 10.018M42. Multiple Chaos war bands outside the control of either the Emerald Serpent or Warsmith Stahl looked to the Foramen Ignotum and the deep Expanse in order to advance their own position in they eyes of their patron gods.
A group of Emperor’s Children ended up running into the Black Legion on an insignificant world, where rumours from the warp of ancient xenos secrets had led them. Whether their encounter was by chance only the dark powers can know, but the two forces showed no sign of working together to find the prize, immediately engaging one another. The disturbance alerted vanguard forces of a tyranid splinter fleet, designated Eclipse by the imperium. The confused battle escalated, with all sides committing more forces to the engagement. Eventually the Emerald Serpent drove off the tyranids and the Black legion, who had suffered the worst in the encounter. Nevertheless the Emperor’s Children found nothing, the Hive Mind of Eclipse having already discovered and ingested information contained in the almost hidden necron ruins. The Emperors Children had won the battle, but the tyranids now knew the location of the Lysis system, where the necron device capable of creating the Foramen could be found.
Despite Vorushko attempting to get hold of Archmagos Cybixx and ascertain his intentions, it seemed Cybixx was in no mood to talk. Despite Vorushko's declaration of a cesation in Crusade hostilities, Cybixx and his battlestation Mallem Cybixxum arrived at the Destino system in mid 10_018M42 with obvious hostile intent. The archmagos demanded that the system surrender, or his battlestation would pursuade them. When there was no reply Cybixx began to make plans to invade the outer worlds. The invasion of Destino VI was unopposed, but on Destino IV, amongst the snowy terrain, the loyalist bases had been bolstered by the arrival of House Corvus and Legio Dominus.
Following Cybixx's every move, the Legio communicated directly with the Crusade Mechanicum, denouncing the Archmagos as a traitor and a heretic, with mad ambitions and an obsession with Xenos artefacts. Enraged, Cybixx himself led the invasion force on the ice world, leading his army of half machines against the proud knights of House Corvus. Unfortunately for the loyalists, the accuracy of fire from the Knights Errants' Thermal cannons was far below expectations, and the combined failure of the Knights in general to deal with Cybixx's robots would cost them dearly. Withering fire from the Archmagos' robots and walkers quickly destroyed the vanguard of House Corvus, and an outflanking assault by electropriests silenced the Helverins supporting.
Legio Dominus kept fighting until the end, but for Cybixx the assault had been a mere distraction. While he was fighting House Corvus his real plan was to destroy the underground silos that protected the world. Achieving this with 100% efficiency, the system could now no longer defend itself against close assault by Cybixx's battlestation. Realising this, the remaining Knights and loyalists who could leave, fled for the inner worlds.
Cybixx did not have everything his own way on the invasion however. In response to the fighting on Destino IV, the Knights of house Stroganoff relocated a small contingent of their forces in the Destino system to the outer world of Destino VI. Unprepared for such a strange counter-offensive, the crusade mechanicum were taken by surprise. Rapidly outgunned as the Knights pressed in against the small garisson force, the Mechanicum abandoned the world, giving Cybixx pause for thought and a clear message that the loyalists would fight him for every inch of Destino. However, without a fleet in system, it was only a matter of time before the system fell to Cybixx.
The loyalists immediately attempted to ask Vorushko why Cybixx was still attacking when the crusade had declared a truce. Time delays with warp communication would delay an answer by at least a week, in which time Cybixx prepared plans for any type of response from his Inquisitor Lord...
With the Thousand Sons taking the brunt of Stahl's anger in the Perseus Deeps, in the Hadron Expanse the Emerald Serpent, having lost their grip on any control over the Chaos worlds in that region, focussed all their attention to consolidating their gains on their Boltarean fastness. In order to progress this, their sorcerors began investigating the ancient tombs of the Bahotek dynasty that littered the inner planet. This action however set of many unseen alarms, notifying the Aeldari of trespass on the forbidden and long sealed catacombs. Once again, sensing personal profit, the Drukhari of the Crimson Blade led by Vlokarion sprung into action on behalf of their race, appearing without warning through the webway portals hidden on the inner dust planet.
The Emerald serpent summoned a host of daemons in a defensive response, but the Dark Eldar were too fast and efficient to be troubled by the denizens of the warp. One by one the warp spawned abominations were banished to the Empyrean, and in a similar methodical fashion each Necron tomb was ransacked, its riches and artefacts stolen and many of the catacombs blown up by Vlokarion's assault. Then the Dark Eldar disappeared back into the webway, satisfied with the denial of knowledge to the worshippers of the dark gods, and counting the loot of a highly profitable excursion. Vlokarion mused as he looked upon the vast array of necron artefacts. How much would Tarquil pay for these?
Following recent and continuing reversals of fortune for chaos, Warsmith Stahl had gone into his worst rage yet, ranting and raving and yelling all manner of obscene profanities when refering to his allies, particularly the Emerald Serpent, who he saw has primarily responsible for the invasion of Mordecai, but also for generally pursuing strategies not helpful to the overall cause of chaos. He also reserved a bitter tirade against Lord Tragean, who had taken his fleet to the Hadron Expanse seeking riches, instead of staying to help with the shoring up of the base at Mordecai.
Although the daemon princes of the Emerald Serpent were avoiding Stahl, the Thousand Sons on Mordecai were not so fortunate. In order to assert his dominance as Master of Chaos and ensure the smaller factions followed his plans according to his design, the Warsmith brutally attacked the tzeentch legion. A shard of Magnus was summoned once more to defend his battle brothers, but the tzeentch legion - previously the Prophet's of Sotek, were ultimately destroyed by the Iron Warriors' implacable weight of fire. Mordecai now looked to the Warsmith for its defence, leaving the Emerald Serpent isolated in the Hadron Expanse.
Luthor had been in personal audience with Roboute Guilliman in order to get a judgement on the Inquisition war which had torn the Imperium apart since the Librian crisis. Guilliman's response had been clear. He was not going to intervene in petty disagreements and if the sector commander couldn't manage the problem of two Inquisitors then perhaps he should not be a sector commander. Fortunately for Luthor, with the renewed assault on chaos, the loyalist-crusade split had drastically calmed down, although the bad blood and disagreement had not been resolved and continued to boil up every now and then.
Of primary concern to Luthor was the active fronts against chaos near the Perseus Deeps. The successful taking of Paradorn from chaos had shorn up one end of the Foramen Interdictum, and the Imperium controlled Destino and technically Vandrax in the Foramen Minoris, giving effective control of both arms of the channel. Only Tarlius held out, heavily fortified by Stahl, but the Imperium had made a joint "crusade-loyalist" invasion effort, since Vorushko called a halt to Crusade offensive operations against the loyalists in late 09.018M42.
This declaration of a truce between Hathek and Vorushko was mainly motivated by Vorushko's wish to carry the war to the heretical forces of chaos. She was still adamant that the Foramen Minoris would have to be destroyed, but her control over Vandrax through Archmagos Cybixx all but assured that, or so she believed. The truth was a war between imperial forces in the Foramen only aided chaos, something neither Hathek nor Vorushko were prepared to accept.
In the Hadron Expanse Admiral Barham and General Chuikov led the main effort against chiefly the Alliance in the Echo Cluster. Small units did make forays into the Depths of the Expanse in order to search for the Foramen Ignotum, and it was here that the Crusade/loyalist situation would flare up again, as neither side wanted the other finding the ancillary channel. Vorushko, not surprisingly, was seeking to eliminate the extra channel.
The truce between the two sides of the Inquisition conflict was mostly holding however, despite the Grey Knights consistently conducting purges against Hathek's loyalist guard regiments, drawing the ire of General Patreus at Tarlius and General Cherenkov, head of the Novgorod regiments. then, in early 10.018M42 the Grey Knights, Space Wolves and Imperial Fists, with the agreement from General Cherenkov and Admiral D'Oyly-Hughes, made a full scale invasion of Mordecai Tersius. This opened up a second front against chaos but put Imperial resources at full stretch.
To cover both the Tarlius and Mordecai wars, with Stahl's fleet at Tarlius and Thok at Mordecai, two battlefleets were needed to maintain the operations. D'Oyly-Hughes at Mordecai and Collingwood at Tarlius. This however meant that with Enkvist's fleet in the Expanse all but destroyed by the Dark Eldar, Admiral Barham could not be reinforced and would have to face the Tau and federal fleets alone. Pendragon and Somerville could not be spared from their duties protecting the Vastrid and Valitane subsectors, and this arrangement already left Destino and the entire Zadoc subsector without capital ships.
Luthor also wanted a single commander in charge of ground forces (except astartes) and raised up General Cherenkov to be overall commander of Imperial Guard forces: Perseus Deeps. This irritated General Veers on Bastien and Patreus at Tarlius, but the Novgorod regiments formed the bulk of the fighting capability of the sector, and Titus could not afford to affront them. The Grey Knights agreed to waive their objections to the remaining Novgorod regiments, providing they were not exposed to the daemon threat, and a war council was convened for the "Foramen Front" - comprising of the invasions of Mordecai and Tarlius.
Foramen Front War Council
• General Patreus: Commander of operations at Tarlius
• General Cherenkov: Overall commander and commander of operations at Mordecai
• Imperial Fists Captain Ajax
• Lord inquisitor Hector Rex
• Admiral D’Oyly-Hughes: Mordecai
• Admiral Collingwood: Tarlius
A separate council was created for the Hadron Expanse Campaign. the addition of Vorushko to the Expanse council and the omission of Hathek seriously annoyed the Lord Inquisitor, but Luthor had had enough of Hathek, advising that he should busy himself looking for Heresy within rather than playing strategist. Vorushko, with her contacts at Terra and her position far away in the expanse all but guaranteed her involvement in the hadron planning.
Hadron Expanse Council
• inquisitor Vorushko
• Admiral Barham
• General Chuikov: Overall commander, ground forces
By the middle of 10.018M42 Sector Commander Luthor felt he had established control over the strategic situation, however he was about to be severely disappointed.
The Federacy, with their knowledge of the necron key, contacted their Tau allies in order to broaden the search for the system where the necron device may be located. The Tau responded by sending several messenger vessels with small recon teams in order to scout local systems. Most were found with no sign of ever having had habitation, but one seemed to show promise. The recon team landed on the single world which harboured life, although no intelligent organisms were found. Among the snow covered landscape however, ruins were detected, and the tau began a systematic sweep.
The tau were swiftly set upon by graceful warriors clad in alien armour. Unbeknowst to the tau, the harlequin troupe known to the Aeldari as the "Sisters of Quartz" had been tracknig the tau movements across the sector. Now the tau had encroached on a world the Sisters saw as theirs to protect. The system contained many ancient necron secrets, as well as the location of the system the necron device. Although the Kel Sandros eldar were openly helping the tau, the harlequins were growing concerned over Tarquil's presumptuous hubris.
Rather than discuss the situation, the Sisters of Quartz simply engaged the tau in combat, shooting down drones and killing the tau commander with a fusion pistol. The tau fought back, but they were so shocked at being engaged by Aeldari forces, they did not make any progress into the ruins, and instead chose to abandon the search on this world, reporting their contact with the eldar to their command.
Meanwhile the Grey Knights and Ultramarines came to blows in a small skirmish on another outlying world. How exactly this occurred is unknown, as the clash happened well outside imperial jurisdiction, but no doubt messages from the Ultramarines in the Foramen had reached their brothers in the expanse, and the Crusade were now seen as potential enemies. In any case, the Ultramarines were driven off. Whether the Grey Knights found anything of use is also unknown.
Despite the eldar attacks at Vespae and the ongoing war against chaos in the Echo cluster, inquisitor Huron was still not about to give up on uncovering the secrets of the system. Having secured the Dnatha system for the time being, Huron once again requisitioned forces to make the warp transit to the Vespae system. This time he ordered the entirety of Enkvist’s battle group to accompany his ground forces, in the belief that the eldar and their dark kin lacked sufficient naval forces to contest an imperial battle group. He was wrong.
The dark eldar fleet attacked without warning, employing their mimic engines to close to devastating short range. Unable to deal with the fast and agile Drukhari vessels, Enkvist’s fleet was torn apart. Little is known about the fate of the four capital ships under Enkvist’s command but only two imperial escorts returned, reporting that they had managed to destroy one Xenos vessel, but that the fate of the admiral and the inquisitor remained uncertain.