Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mabb Nebula: Tyndareous falls, Hylas invaded

With the Zadocian guard all but destroyed in the last Tau assault, only the Dark Angels remained, defending the last foothold the Imperium had on the planet of Tyndareous. Xanthus' costly diversion in the Mabb Nebula had gone sour, and the superior supply lines of the Tau had ensured an inevitable Tau victory. The Dark Angels refused to give up on the campaign however, stubbornly refusing to evacuate or surrender to the aliens. The world was Imperial and so demanded sacrifice and the Space Marine chapter was not in the habit of giving up.

Realising the mindset of his enemy, commander Shadowstrike employed a ruse. Knowing Imperial intelligence was all but useless, he withdrew a substantial amount of his force ringing the last Imperial stronghold. This had the desired effect, and the Dark Angels sallied forth in a brutal assault. This was the move Shadowstrike had been waiting for. As soon as the Dark Angels attacked, the Tau commander deployed his reserves, catching the Astartes in a murderous crossfire. The Tau admired the Dark Angels' bravery, but were baffled by their futile efforts. Eventually even the Dark Angels realised that more losses were a criminal waste and reluctantly requested evacuation, abandonning the planet to the Tau.

As fate would have it, the only fleet within reach of Tyndareous was a Space Wolves formation commanded by Erik Morkai. On previous occasions the Tau had allowed the Imperium to evacuate worlds, but Shadowstrike was no longer minded to give them that luxury. No sooner had the Space Wolves appeared in the Tyndareous system, the Tau fleet, commanded by Admiral Shinobi, moved to meet them. Trapping and annihilating the remaining Astartes would prevent them reinforcing the neighbouring world of New Cerberex.

As the two fleets approached each other to do battle, a complication arose. Lorek's fleet had been monitoring events for some time, waiting for a moment to strike, destroying the space faring capability of both races and improving his position relative to the Tau and Imperium in the Perseus Deeps. He hoped the two fleets wold damage each other and then his vessels could pick apart both sides as they struggle to regain formation.

Lorek's fleet appeared just a little to early for his plan to work. They were detected by the Tau first, and Admiral Shinobi immediately turned to face the incoming chaos threat. The Space Wolves were left relatively unmolested, and Lorek's plan was actually realised by Morkai's fleet. The Tau fought valiantly but were caught in the crossfire of the two enemy battle groups. Before long Shinobi, losing ships, decided enough was enough, and disengaged from the battle. This left the chaos fleet in an awful tactical position with respect to the Space Wolves, and after a brief battle, the faster chaos vessels fled, allowing Morkai to rescue the remaining Imperial defenders on Tyndareous.

The damage to Shinobi's fleet had an immediate effect. Instead of regrouping on Cerberex the Space Wolves travelled directly to the small Tau colony of Hylas, landing in force near to the main Tau settlement. Caught by surprise the inexperienced Tau commander on the ground did a creditable job defending his positions, and the Space Wolves were frustrated in their attempt to conquer the world in a day. By 0102.012M42 the fighting continued, and Shadowstrike began mobilising his tired forces on Tyndareous for a fresh action on Hylas.

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