Sunday, February 12, 2012

Imperial gains and setbacks in the Vastrid subsector

General Pollack was still prosecuting his war in the Vastrid sector as 02.012M42 progressed. Already his battlegroup, with a lot of thanks to the Astartes chapters who lad lent him their strength, had made significant progress in the Cerrack Nebula and Radeon Cluster since operations had begun in 010M42.

Pollack had a relatively small force of only five capital ships, ten Imperial guard regiments and attached Astartes companies, who were a law unto themselves anyway. Even so Spinitus and Achreom had recently been fortified, while in the Cerrack Nebula only the orks prevented total Imperial domination. Pollack didn't have enough forces to realistically dislodge them from here for the time being at least.

In the Radeon Cluster Pollack new the Orks on Gabriel's World would be vulnerable. Da Verminator had got the ork fleet trashed in late 01,012M42, and the ork supply lines were looking almost non existant. On the arid scrubland of the planet, only a few warbands remained, often fighting with each other for control of the world.

Pollack decided to deal with the threat before they began multiplying or came under the control of a more powerful warlord. He requested an initial drop from the Space Wolves to be followed up by Imperial Guard landings. In the event the Guard weren't necessary. Although the orks put up a fight they had no way to contend with the Imperium's absolute aerial and space supremacy, and those orks who escaped the initial Space Wolf landings were gradually obliterated by the Space Wolf fleet from orbit.

By 1502.012M42 the Imperium had secured Gabriel's world and assigned a few thousand Imperial Guardsmen to hunt down any straggling orks, while the adeptus administratum went about rebuilding the planet's infrastructure.

While Pollack was successfully adding Gabriel's world to his list of conquests, Inquisitor Huron had secquestered a regiment of Librian Guard to help him in his investigations of Dark Eldar activity. Pollack had objected, but had no power to stop the Inquisitor Lord. And so on 0802.012M42 the cruiser Agincourt arrived at Drift and set down the Inquisitor and his guardsmen.

For two days the Imperial forces landed on the uninhabited world went about their business unmolested. An outpost was set up and Huron found intriguing evidence of Necron activity underground, although only indicated by faint energy signals. He kept this information to himself. perhaps thats why the Dark Eldar were being attracted to this world.

Then on 1002.012M42 Huron's Librian scouts made contact with a significant force of Dark Eldar and were obliterated while warning their comrades. Immediately the Librians formed up into an offensive line and began moving towards their enemy, the tanks kept in the open plains while the infantry, supported by chimeras and hellhounds, moved through the old settlement of Drift Prime, now reduced to an ashen ruin by previous wars.

The Librians moved towards their enemy to avoid being trapped at their bridgehead, and it almost worked. The small Dark Eldar craft sent against the Librian tanks were obliterated by Demolisher and Leman Russ fire, and the left flank of the Librian move cut through the Dark Eldar cleanly and efficiently. However, in the city the Librians faired far worse. Raiders with dark eldar warriors kept the Librian infantry pinned down while the Imperial gunfire was inaccurate and ineffective. The dark eldar then threw in their air support, the wings of the alien craft bearing witness to the fact they were of the Shattered Silence kabal.

the dark eldar air strikes were devastating to the Librian infantry, and after a day of fighting the Librians were forced back inch by inch, towards their landing zone. Inquisitor Huron delayed the order to evacuate but he finally relented once the tanks of the Librian 81st regiment were destroyed by dark lance fire, something which had eluded the Shattered Silence for much of the battle.

Despite losses the Shattered Silence had forced Huron's army to abandon their toehold on Drift, but the inquisitor had learnt a lot. There were necrons on Drift yes, but also dark eldar, and dark eldar who seemed not only to want to raid and pillage and steal, but to have Drift for themselves. They were far more interested in seeing off the Imperium this time than taking slaves. What did they want from Drift? Huron had to wonder as the Agincourt moved away from Drift along with its battle scarred human cargo.

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