Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rim Worlds; Imperial retreat, tyranid gains

General Alexander's second invasion of New Sparta was progressing well. The Claws of Lorek had proved as weak as expected and within a week of the initial landings lead elements of the Prozan Cavalry had reached the outskirts of the main inhabited settlement on the world, simply known as New Sparta. The forces of Chaos had significantly modified the city since the Imperium had been eradicated from the world in 008M42, and now the settlement was ringed by a set of high walls and watchtowers hewn out of the rough rock of the planet itself. Many had been embelished in typical heretical style featuring great carved skulls and other symbols, although skulls seemed to be a popular choice. Decoration aside the twisted walls presented Alexander with a problem, as the plan to simply assault the city now looked seriously in doubt.

Alexander pondered for a while, then decided that the forces of chaos were weak enough to risk an all out attack on the main gates of New Sparta. The Praetorian 27th, recently landed, were detailed with the main assault, while the Prozan Cavalry would act as mobile reserve should the chaos resistance prove more stubborn than anticipated.

The initial advance went well, but when the Praetorians reached the gate itself the chaos resistance did indeed become stubborn. The Claws of Lorek fought with renewed vigour and the Praetorians found themselves in a bloody stalemate, despite their numbers. Just as Alexander was about to order in the Prozans, a new threat emerged.

Having pinned his enemy at the gates of the city, lorek sent the Conquerers of Gorgoroth around the Imperial flanks, striking at the Imperial rear. General Alexander was forced to hastily send in the Prozan Cavalry against the new threat, splitting his forces. Unfortunately the Conquerers proved to difficult a nut to crack for the airborne units, without access to ground support, and they were forced to fall back to camp Alexander. This left the Praetorians, still stuck outside the city gates, dangerously isolated, and without the reserve in support they were beginning to suffer increasingly heavy losses. Faced with no alternative, Alexander ordered a retreat, finding himself pursued effectively all the way by Lorek and his allies.

By 2607.012M42 camp Alexander was beseiged and the general was finding himself having to explain events to his superior. Plans were drawn up for another evacuation, but on the 27th, everything changed.

The first sign that something was wrong was increasing difficulty in communicating with the fleet in orbit, followed by earthquakes, sudden atmospheric storms and a darkening of the skies above the planet. The ground commander, Colonel Barker, then received a garbled and barely audible transmission from Alexander aboard the task force flagship, informing him that the fleet was pulling away from the planet due to an unforseen Xenos threat. The tyranids had arrived.

The ferocity of the tyranid invasion shocked both the Imperial and chaos forces on New Sparta, but it was the chaos armies which faced their wrath. The Claws of Lorek lost an entire division, half their force on the world, along with several veteran astartes warriors to a vicious alien assault, before much of the inhabited portion of New Sparta was consumed by the tyranids - confirmed as hive fleet Nemesis. The Conquerers of Gorgoroth attempted to counter attack, but met much the same fate, taking terrible punishment and losses before abandonning half of New Sparta's useable territory to its unfortunate fate. Thousands died in the first hours of the invasion, as the landscape itself reacted to the biological assault it was now being subjected to. By the end of 07.012M42 the tyranids had established themselves across much of the planet, and both the forces of chaos and Alexander's battlegroup now had to decide whether the planet was worth fighting for.

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