Sunday, November 28, 2010
Brutal fighting ensued as the Necrons closed in on the major installations of the chaos base. Near the main landing strip the Claws of Lorek put up the strongest fight, but were slowly pushed back into a smaller and smaller perimeter around the base. By 2911.010M42 the Necrons had all but taken the strip.
Further battles on Scallius raged for a week, but by early 12.010M42 it had become a mopping up operation. With a large necron fleet in orbit around the world the forces of chaos didn't attempt to contest the system any longer. In just ten days the Necrons had conquered their first world.
The second raid caused similar damage and netted the Dark Eldar a similar number of slaevs. This time the targer was Ares, and once again the surprise of the raid meant an effective defence never materialised. Both the Imperium and Chaos now had two major threats interfering with their war, the Necrons and Dark Eldar.
The distraction on Blight may have contributed to the Covenant's subsequent defeat on Bastien, when the Imperium, lead by the Praetorian Guard, launched a major offensive in the south. Likely worrying about events on Blight, the leaders of Covenant forces reacted slowly, and by 0212.010M42 the Praetorians had taken significant ground off their enemy and had two of the remaining chaos settlements in easy striking distance.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Veers called an immediate conference of his generals upon hearing the news. Already Necron ships had been detected int he Cathasaea system and huge energy signatures had been intercepted. Worse, the other two necron tomb worlds were also showing heightened activity and for several days the Imperial fleet was put on high alert, fearing an invasion.
It did not come. Instead the Covenant of Damnation at their supply point on Scallius were the first to feel the might of the newly invigorated Necrons, their armies smashed asunder by a sudden and vigorous raid. The Necrons didn't stay however, phasing out after just two days on the surface of Scallius. Just as suddenly the energy signals vanished, but Inquisitor Huron knew this to be a bad sign. the Necron forces, travelling in their faster than light spacecraft were now abroad in the Perseus Deeps. An invasion would soon follow.
As 11.010M42 wore on there seemed to be no end to the fighting on Bastien. The deadlock remained and the two sides poured vast armies against each other without great success. On 1811.010M42 the Covenant of Damnation, who made up the lions share of troops on Bastien, began a well planned and brutally simple advance on the Imperial lines. Despite taking heavy casualties the Covenant forces ploughed forward, grinding down the Imperial Guard facing them in a war of attrition.
Unwilling to continue this death match General Veers accepted the aid of two Astartes chapters, including the Dark Angels. The Dark Angels moved in first, attempting to secure forward positions to allow the recapture of Heretic. The insertion mission was a disaster however, and the front line moved ever further away from the city. Many valuable Dark Angels were lost in the mission, but the other marine chapter was undeterred.
The section insertion mission followed a similar pattern to the first, but the chaos forces were taken utterly by surprise. They did not expect a second attack to be almost identical to the first. Suddenly key installations in Heretic had been siezed and the Covenant's supply lines cut. Now, with increasing pressure from Veers' guard regiments, the chaos army now found itself in full retreat. By 2311.010M42 the front line had returned to its previous position and Heretic was once again in the hands of the Imperium, the shattered smoking ruins being renamed "Nova Imperious".
Despite this return to fortune and overwhelming logistical superiority General Veers was unable to maintain the momentum. Once again the fighting bogged down into a familiar pattern and sweeping advances were replaced with trench warfare. The Astartes were recalled and the stalemate resumed. Veers knew he needed a new tactic and started planning for a "Big Push" to take place within the next couple of months...
Commander Fastblade was a veteran in defending Minos however and the Dark Angels were easily spotted and taken apart by his highly mobile hunter cadres. Few Dark Angels survived the massed pulse rifle and railgun fire and those who did lost all their heavy equipment. The Imperium quickly abandonned the idea of using Minos as a base for the crusade, but commander Fastblade ordered a strengthening of defences in any case. This time he was successful and in addition to the world's new defences, Admiral Swifstar's fleet was ordered to send a force to Minos to dissuade any further enemy intervantion.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Fighting desparately the Astartes chapter found itself outgunned and outnumbered, lacking sufficient support units and vehicles to fend off the crazed and determined traitor guard forces. By the end of 1911.010M42 the city of Imperious had fallen to chaos once again and the brave Red Angels defenders had been wiped out.
The loss of Imperious was a huge blow to Veers. Once again chaos had wrestled a key city out of his grasp and the Imperium now controlled fewer than half the cities on the planet. Not only was this a setback but Veers knew his career, and perhaps his life, rested on the result of this campaign. Now more than ever he felt bitterness at the loss of the Corellian Storm guard to other campaigns... )
Jellicoe dispatched the newly arrived battlegroup Cardale to investigate the threat, assuming that the force belonged to Tragean, Thok or Shaidar Haran. The three largest chaos fleets known to exist in the sector.
Commodore Cardale led the battleship Agamemnon, the cruisers Glorious, Cressy, Aboukir and Repulse, along with three sword class escorts to the Parthenope system on 1111.010M42. There he was rather surprised, and somewhat alarmed to find the sensor returns of five capital ships, none of which had been encountered before.
After a detailed search of old Imperial naval records the ships were identified as the battleship Savage Messiah, the heavy cruisers Iron Juggernaut and Hand of Tartarus and the cruisers Devastation and Black Wolf. Somehow Lorek, the “Master of Chaos” had got his hands on a fleet.
Cardale immediately gave battle, informing Jellicoe before he drew up his battle line. The two gothic class vessels deployed slightly to starboard of the Agamemnon while the Nova cannon equipped Glorious and Repulse brought up the rear.
The two fleets approached each other with the chaos fleet attempting to close the distance quickly to avoid long range nova cannon fire. Despite taking several hits the chaos fleet made it, though Savage Messiah suffered some damage. Cardale, feeling the time was right began to prepare for his tactical move which he hoped would rake the chaos fleet’s stern and deliver him the battle.
Just as he was deploying his ships for the turn, a strange reading appeared of the fleet’s aft, throwing the Imperial force into confusion and losing valuable minutes. A daemon ship had appeared, and then just as suddenlty vanished.
This confusion allowed the chaos fleet to weather the storm of the Imperial battle line and at close range pummel the closest ship, the Repulse with devastating firepower. She attempted to break off but her fires picked her out against the blackness of space. Within an minutes concentrated chaos firepower had reduced the ship to a smoking hulk.
Having lost one of his capital ships Cardale now successfully crossed the chaos fleet’s “T”, swinging Agamemnon and her two gothic class consorts round the rear of the chaos battleship. Opening up with massed lance fire the Savage Messiah and Black Wolf were soon crippled. Fortress of Hate soon followed, a lucky nova cannon hit from the Imperial battleship causing horrific damage.
Then once again the daemonship appeared, but this time took on corporeal form. Identifying it as the ex-Harbinger of Pain the Imperial fleet opened up as she charged them in a suicidal action. The daemonship met the same fate as the Repulse reduced to a spinning, drifting hulk of metal which disintegrated against a wandering asteroid. Whether or not the ship would be seen again however, was not discussed.
Following the loss of the daemonship the chaos fleet disengaged its crippled cruisers. Soon the traitor forces were reduced to a mere two capital ships, facing a battleship and three cruisers, though Glorious was forced to disengage soon after the destruction of the daemonship as both remaining chaos vessels targeted the Imperial carrier as the closest target.
Taking no chances Commodore Cardale continued to shadow the two chaos vessels for some time, before they decided they had suffered enough losses and disengaged. The Imperium had won the battle, but the loss of Repulse, though her hulk was towed back to Caitlen Station some time later, left a bitter taste in Jellicoe’s mouth.
Harbinger of Pain hulked
Savage Messiah crippled
Black Wolf crippled
Fortress of Hate crippled
Veers asked for reinforcements, but was denied. The Tyranid menace was winning on Betor, the Tau were barely being held on Tarsis and the Inquisition were becoming decidedly edgy about the planets Cathasaea, Gamador and Malius. The Lord General had to make do with the forces at his disposal. Veers met with his tacticae in late 10.010M42 and unexpectedly asked for advice.
There were many voices clamouring to capitalise on this rare opportunity, but Veers favoured one of them, that of master strategist Hyram Alderbrand more than the rest, and he accepted a lot of the old man's suggestions. To defeat Chaos would mean ensuring their supply was cut off. Bastien would be given enough forces to hold the line but the Chaos bases around the Bastien system must be raided, overrun or destroyed. Meanwhile Corticant was becoming a bottleneck for the Imperium. Another base was needed in the Perseus Deeps to become the centre of operations for the peripheral raids.
Veers redeployed his forces. Most of the Space Marine chapters at his disposal joined the Blood Drinkers on the newly established base of Aganthus, which Veers ordered to be enlarged and fortified. Even the Lamenters chapter, shunned by many of their peers, was included in this. The Lamenters however based themselves on the opposite side of the world to the rest of the Imperial base, which by 0511.010M42 was a riot of construction activity and a logistics nightmare.
Jellicoe increased the fleet's presence in the Deeps, the only reinforcements the crusade received, moving the fleet that had been blockading Tarsis, with little or no effect, to Corticant, while Dreyer's battlegroup moved to Aganthus. With his new dispositions Veers now plotted the next course of the Perseus Deeps campaign.
The first part of Veers' new strategy called for the annihilation of their base on Aethor. The Adeptus Astartes agreed to this task, as it would be dangerous and well behind enemy lines. Their task was to render the base at Aethor unuseable and to scout out likely landing sites for an Imperial Guard ground crusade.
The Lamenters and Red Angels carried out their tak with great zeal and courage that is expected of the genetically enhanced superhumans. The Lamenters raided the southern hemisphere, destroying a company of Khorne Bezerkers who were soon to be embarked for the War on Bastien, before blowing up the main facility in the south and returning with most of their comrades to the safety of their orbitting strike cruiser.
Meanwhile in the north a small team of Red Angels successfully scouted a likely landing ground in the northern plains of the savannah which covered much of the planet. They were spotted however by a patrol of Chaos Marines, but held their ground when the traitors attacked long enough to escape with their valuable data. They also killed a score of some of the Imperium's deadliest foes.
Much of Aethor was left untouched, though a great deal of damage had been inflicted by the raids and general Veers now had enough information to plan a landing. Then on 1611.010M42 a shocked Veers learned that the Eldar had repeated their attack of the previous month and raided Aethor themselves once again. The bloody raid, which decimated yet another company of Khorne Marines rendered the base of Aethor useless to the Chaos forces in the Perseus Deeps for several weeks.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
The Shadow Worlds had been relatively peaceful for much of 010M42. The Imperial crusade in the Deeps and the continued campaigns on Tarsis and Betor had meant a distict lack of focus on the Alphe and Shadow Worlds theatres of war. The Orks meanwhile appeared to be spending much of their time fighting among themselves, with both Waagh Snazteef and Waagh Nazghat apparently having both collapsed towards the end of 009M42.
The Eldar remained too weak to restart an all out war in the Shadow Worlds region, so instead used their webway portals to launch a punitive and successful raid against units of the Covenant of Damnation, based on Scallius. The Chaos forces were taken by surprise and the Eldar were able to obtain several important artefacts and deal the traitor units a heavy blow.
Exactly why the Eldar chose 11.010M42 to conduct this raid, and how it would ultimately help their cause remained unknown to outside observers, but the damage to the chaos forces certainly hindered their campaign against the Imperium.
Reports of the Blood Drinkers were sparse in early 11.010M42, but it is known that they carried out two raids against chaos forces in the Perseus Deeps. The first raid was costly, and unsuccessful, seeing the Astartes chapter soundly defeated by Catechism forces on Ares, but their second, against the Covenant of Damnation, was more successful.
The Covenant forces were still reeling from the surprise Eldar raid so when the Blood Drinkers appeared on 08011.010M42 the traitor guard units were far from prepared. In an operation conducted with lightning speed the space marines tore the rebel base apart, before withdrawing after just three hours on the planet.
Veers and the rest of the Imperium were unable to say what the Blood Drinkers' mission was, but the space marines were sighted upon their return to Aganthus, carrying with them something concealed in an ornately decorated casket in a procession which included several marines, all of whom had their heads bare and bound. Clearly the artefact concealed within was of great importance to be treated with such reverance by the Gods of humanity,
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
On 2710.010M42 the garrison on Aganthus was raided by Necrons who appeared from nowehere, destroying a key military base and settlement and defeating the Caldon Guard before disappearing once again. Later in the week Imperial spies heard of a similar raid against Blight, where the Clawes of Lorek took heavy casualties.
Admiral Jellicoe, commander of the Perseus Deeps Crusade fleet, searched in vain for any Necron ships in the vicinity, but General Veers was forced to reinforce his position on Aganthus, robbing the front lines on Bastien. The Necrons had become a serious thorn in the side of both sides contesting the Perseus Deeps. Neither side realised the real threat the Necrons faced however.
The Caldon Guardsmen didn't have to wait long for the inevitable assault. Wave after wave of Tyranids boiled through the narrow streets and headed directly for the defences. Flying and tunnelling bio-constructs ranged ahead of the main assault, seeking to bog down the defenders and reduce the fire power directed at the main swarm. The first defensive line quickly fell, buried beneath a writhing mass of alien killers. But there were two more lines and gradually the Caldon's firepower took its toll on the attackers. When the Tyranids reached the final position the depleted swarms lacked the strength to complete the assault and like a retreating tide the Tyranids withdrew, leaving only the uncountable corpses of their dead and those of the Caldon guardsmen killed in the attack. As the death count mounted for both sides the Caldon Guard grimly continued to build up their position, knowing there would be more carnage to come.