Saturday, April 28, 2012

Another setback for Shadowstrike

Imperial command on Va'Doran were quick to capitalise on the advances made by the Librians. Lifting off from their drop zone, wings of Valkyries and Vendettas carried their payload of drop troops from the Prozan Cavalry to secure the remainder of Mesme Tol. Supported by air strikes from Vulture gunships the Prozans were successful in pushing the Tau out of the strategically important central hills. The Tau cadres in the region seemed to lack significant anti aircraft capability and were ill equipped to deal with the highly mobile Prozans. Rather than throw away lives stubbornly holding on to empty hillsides in the face of merciless air strikes the Tau withdrew until the air war could be fought on a more favourable basis.

Shadowstrike was concerned with the direction the war was heading. The expansion of Imperial forces from their original beachhead made a quick resolution more and more unlikely. The appearance of Librians and Prozans amongst the Imperial forces on Va'Doran showed that the invasion could no longer be attributed to “rogue elements” within the Imperium. Hatheks words were exposed for the lies they were.

To regain control of the campaign the Tau needed to assert dominance in the air. With his fleet now secure in orbit and patrolling the space around Va'Doran Shadowstrike began deploying wings of Mantas, Barracudas and Remoras to the planet's surface. Shadowstrike himself then transferred to the planet along with an elite cadre of hand picked black ops specialists and staged a daring raid on the Imperial landing zone.

The operation was a high risk venture but it was already too late to abort when lead elements of the strike force identified the bulky, 8' tall forms of Space Marines defending the landing zone rather than guardsmen. Although taken by surprise the Marines of the Red Angels reacted with clinical precision, advancing into the hail of shots and sniper fire to seek out their elusive foes. Their targeting sensors found it hard to find solutions against the Tau's stealth technology but eventually they identified the bulky forms of XV88 Broadsides hidden amongst the trees. Powering up from where it had lurked in the blackness of space a strike cruiser made a flyby of the planet, teleporting in elements of the Red Angel's 1st Company before the Tau fleet could react.

The Tau attack hung by a thread but the terminators and teleported into the heart of the Tau positions and faced attack from every quarter. No sooner had they dealt with one ambush than they would face attack from another direction. One by one the veterans of the 1st fell before the repeated ambushes until only the captain and chaplain were left. Their last video transmission showed the hazy form of a new and even more advanced stealth suite variant levelling the bulky form of fusion guns towards them.

Having suffered heavy casualties and finding their rear positions overrun by Kroot the Red Angels retreated and abandoned the landing fields and their vital supply dumps to the Tau.

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