Friday, November 01, 2013

Swiftstar arrives at Zadoc

With the tau fleet in the Zadoc system having suffered significant damage, and a known imperial fleet on the way to reinforce Zadoc, Admiral Swiftstar was recalled to reinforce the tau position as the empire prepared for an invasion landing. Swifstar duly embarked several Hunter Cadres onto his ships and proceeded from Tarsis Major. Swiftstar was only able to send four capital vessels and a trio of escorts to the Zadoc system, but this was deemed a satisfactory detachment to carry out the landings.

Upon passing Caitlen Station the Imperium's warp listening devices picked up Swiftstar's movements, and the imperial battlegroup newly arrived to Jellicoe was immediately dispatched to Zadoc. Thanks to superior imperial warp technology the four capital ships, a mars class carrier, two lunars and a retribution class battleship, arrived at Zadoc well ahead of the tau. The two then closed for battle, with Swiftstar forming a smaller version of his "box formation".

The imperial fleet scored the first hits and first success, wiping out the tau escorts which were caught by surprise, before turning to starboard to show the tau their broadsides, but it was swiftstar who got the first decisive blow. He successfully directed all his firepower at the imperial battleship, using his messenger class vessel to direct fire control. Swiftstar knew the imperial fleet, and instructed his captains to aim for the enemy vessels' bridges, hoping to decapitate the command and control of the larger enemy craft.

The initial tau volley was even more devastating than the tau had hoped, and the imperial battleship was heavily damaged, her bridge shorn completely off. Soon the mars class suffered a similar fate, with at least two tau vessels pouring fire into the command centre of the carrier vessel. Unable to follow orders, the two large imperial vessels simply drifted forward firing opportunistically at the tau.

Swiftstar then closed to near suicidal ranges. The effect was devastating for one of the imperial lunar class vessels, as she was crippled and her bridge also smashed, leading to the death of the fleet admiral who had decided not to use the retribution as his flagship. However, as the fleets closed, the signal went out from the remaining imperial ships. "Prepare for boarding". This was interpretted by the tau and a wave of panic briefly flared throughout the xenos vessels.

The protectors were the first to be boarded, but the few boarding parties who managed to arrive on the tau capital ships were quickly cut down. In return the tau pummelled the battleship at close range, rendering her uncontrollable and on fire. The lunars scored more success, boarding the emissary class vessel at the rear of the tau formation. There was little swiftstar could do as the tau crew were butchered to a man, and the emissary left drifting in space.

As the fleets passed the mars class, its command gone, was unable to evade the full firepower of the tau fleet, and she was soon knocked out of the fight, venting atmosphere and tumbling end over end. The battle ended then, as the imperial battleship suffered a plasma containment breach, exploding violently and crippling one tau protector. The remaining lunar class ships, one damaged, slipped away behind the mass of burning plasma and debris of their battleship.

With the retreat of the imperial fleet the remainder of the tau vessels joined up with their comrades and began the invasion of Zadoc. On 0111_013M42 hundreds of thousands of tau were dropped from orbit, barracudas and mantas securing the skies over Foregia as the day 1 objectives were secured. Within two days the tau had established a bridgehead from the Nanalia Sea to the lagiaca sea, taking the city of Guion on day 3 of the invasion. From here they were well placed to strike the heart of the imperium to the west or the chaos to the east. Once again the tau had intervened in an imperial vs. chaos war. They hoped that like Tarsis Major before and on Tyranteous, they would end up the eventual victor in their quest to add the entire subsector to their empire.

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