Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thok at large in the Vastrid Sector

For months it had been believed that admiral Thok's renegade battlegroup was safely contained in the region of space around his lair at Mordecai, and Imperial intelligence had been concentrating on supporting the invasion of Parthenope. Somehow Thok's ships had slipped through admiral Jellicoe's blockade and on 2505.011M42 a fleet of chaos cruisers suddenly appeared at the Imperial forward fleet base at Gamarok, between Vastrid and Hemera on the main warp lane between Farport and the rest of the Vastrid subsector.

Thok's battlegroup was led by the fast battleship Ragnarok, a ship Jellicoe has fought had to bring to heel in 009M42. Thok had managed to repair the blasphemous vessel and now it got its revenge as the entire chaos formation opened up on the Canopus, in orbit around Gamarok IV. Caught by surprise the Imperial force of four cruisers stood little chance, and Canopus was quickly reduced to a drifting hulk and the cruiser Intrepid was forced to disengage.

Cressy and Agincourt however put up a spirited fight against the chaos ships, refusing to disengage and performing a series of impressive manouevres, using the planet's gravity well to gain position on Thok's fleet. The fightback saw Rheintochter caught in an appalling crossfire and she was reduced to a flaming wreck. Midgard was also badly damaged before the chaos fleet fled. The damage had been done however and the loss of the grand cruiser was a severe blow to the Imperial fleet.

A week later Jellicoe dispatched a force of cruisers led by the battleship Resolution to a remote system near Trian in the Cerrack nebula. Rear-admiral Craddock split his fleet up in an attempt to flush out the renegades, but this played straight into the hands of the renegade admiral, whose faster ships quickly ambushed the cruisers Agincourt and Centurion. Rushing to their aid the light cruisers Firedrake and Phoenix managed to get behind the Acheron class cruiser Baldir, crippling the vessel, but by then the cruiser Audacious had had her main drives crippled, and the massive cruiser plunged into the planet Mor Khan, obliterating the Imperial base on the planet.

Phoenix and Firedrake now found themselves caught between chaos vessels on two sides, and the crossfire from Ragnarok pummelled both Imperial cruisers, reducing them to wreckage. By now the Imperium were staring defeat in the face, but the appearance of Resolution and Bulwark turned the tide, battering the chaos fast battleship and forcing her to disengage. Skoll was also crippled and once again the chaos fleet fled the scene.

Although both sides had taken damage in both engagements, Jellicoe's fleet had come of worse, losing four capital ships, while Thok's fleet had lost only one. The Imperium managed to recover three of the hulked vessels and had crippled four enemy vessels including the Ragnarok, but it had been bested by Thok significantly for the first time in years. Jellicoe immediately moved a portion of the Imperial crusade fleet to Vastrid to counter Thok's move while trying to work out the motives behind the insane admiral's latest actions.

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