Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hive fleet encountered

On 0509.009M42 the Imperial fleet under the command of Vice Admiral Dreyer finally made contact with hive fleet Nemesis, the first contact with the hive fleet proper since the appalling defeat to the xenos suffered by Admiral Doenitz.

Dreyer commanded a significant fleet, but it was tasked with more than hunting down the hive ships of Nemesis. The admiral had one battleship, Iron Duke, five cruisers and several escorts at his disposal, but with that he was expected to face the Tyranid fleets around Betor and supply the war efforts on Tarsis Major and Alphe.

By early 09.009M42 admiral Jellicoe was getting frustrated at the lack of results in hunting for xenos vessels and ordered Dreyer to dispatch a force to Betor. Inquisitor Hathek had signalled that the war was going well, and that now would be the time to strike against the aliens.

Dreyer obeyed, sending much of his fleet to Betor, but keeping Iron Duke and Conquer to fulfill his other duties. This left Captain Dingemans on Intrepid in overall command of the force sent to Betor.

Dingemans split up his force of four cruisers and four escorts and after only a few hours in the system his dispersal of forces yielded results. Aboukir detected a Tyranid hive fleet and reported she was engaging. Facing the abomination head on the Aboukir, her captain knowing his vessel’s lance weaponry would not be enough against the monster, loosed a volley of torpedoes at the beast, rammed her, then fled while the alien vessel attempted to turn.

Dingemans’ fleet took a while to form up on the signal received from Aboukir and the gothic class vessel soon found herself receiving more unwelcome attention from Tyranid escort class vessels. Tentacles lashed the ship and alien organisms were set loose all over the ship, causing the Aboukir to become little more than a drifting hulk for several hours before the crew managed to regain control.

A second hive ship was sighted, along with several smaller vessels. The arrival of the carrier Intrepid and four swords forced a medium sized alien vessel to disengage, and the smaller xenos space organisms took terrible punishment at the hands of the heavy guns of Repulse. However her nova cannons recorded no hits and Dreyer was unable to form an effective battle line.

Two hours into the battle Cressy suffered severe damage to her superstructure and gun decks after taking hits from one salvo of alien weaponry. Its corrosive impact, Dreyer’s lack of a battle line and the ineffectiveness of Intrepid’s bomber waves convinced him that while he had reduced the alien fleet in destroying the Tyranid smaller vessels, a continued and prolonged engagement with the two remaining hive ships would result in the loss of one or more of his cruisers. He withdrew.

Jellicoe was satisfied with Dreyer’s report. The Tyranids had been engaged and much information learned. However the two hive ships were able to continue on their mission, and devoured the small outer planet of Xylross some days later.

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