Monday, April 07, 2014

Mechanicum assault Libria I

The opening shots of the Librian Heresy had already taken place with the Dark Angels uncovering of the Heresy in late 013M42. However, in early 04.014M42 the war took the first sinister turn, when one set of imperial forces fought another on Libria I. Neither were Librian.

During the first few months of 014M42 the Librian crisis had led to a brief civil war on Libria I and II which, thanks to the energy and directin of Lord Inquisitor Hathek, had been won by "loyalists", who executed the leaders of those wishing to join the Federacy, a known ally or even client state of the Tau Empire. On Libria III the civil war had devolved into stalemate, with the military coup unable to pacify all of the civilised world. Battle lines had been drawn and to aid the loyalists, the Imperial guard had been mobilised with hundreds of regiments directed to the system. Admiral Jellicoe had dispatched Admiral Beattie's battlegroup to help the operations and protect the transitting guard forces. In addition to the imperial guard, the Crimson Fists, Imperial Fists and Blood Martyrs had already pledged support for the liberation of Libria III from the rebels, under lord Hathek's direction. However, Hathek wasn't the only Inquisitor with an interest in Libria.

As an amalthian, Inquisitor Lord Hathek aimed to salvage as much as he could from the Librian situation. The Dark Angels had uncovered the dark secret at the heart of the system, but now the good people of Libria had risen up against their leaders. He felt sure Inquistior Vorushko, who had declared the entire system excommunicate traitoris, would now rescind the order, despite her initial unyielding remarks. He couldn't have been more wrong.

Unfortunately for Hathek, Vorushko subscribed to the tennets of Istvaanianism, believing the imperium was at its strongest during conflict. She had also decided that the war in the Aleph sector could only be won with absolute commitment and the exploitation of all resources at the imperium's disposal. Libria to her was not just an asset, but a vast resource to be plundered. By declaring the system traitor, she had planned to terrorise the population into submission, then enslave them through crippling tithes and proclamations. This she surmised, would be enough to turn the tide against the imperium's enemies. She would gladly sacrifice Libria (which she felt was liable to fall anyway) in order to stop the tyranids, the orks, the tau...

Vorushko already had several astartes in her "crusade", the Carcharadons chief among them, and planned to use them to ensure Libria toed the line and accepted its fate. With the sector governor Titus Luthor effectively under her direction, she felt no threat from the imperial guard, and she knew that whatever she decided the imperial navy would not get involved in matters of politics. She had however sorely underestimated Lord Hathek, who she now bitterly resented for ruining her careful plans.

Natalia Vorushko was nothing if not a quick thinker however, and she quickly adapted her plans to meet the new situation. So hathek had a force of guard and some astartes flocking to his cause, but she knew that strategy would win the battle, not sheer numbers. The battle for Libria would now be all the more bloody, but in the end she was sure her aims would be met, and there would be a greater number of veteran imperial guard units to boot...

The next part of her plan now swung into action. On 0304.014M42 the Adeptus Mechanicus deployed their forces on the forge world of Libria I. They had hoped only to meet local Librian "loyalists", but Hathek had requested a non-Librian unit be stationed on the world as an insurance policy and a reminder to the Librians to keep their word and their place in the wider imperium. A Lunar Guard regiment just happened to stand in the way of the Adeptus Mechanicus and their objectives. The Mechanicum force weighed up the possible approaches they could take, before ultimately calculating that diplomacy would be a waste of time and they would be able to secure their first objective through force. The Adeptus Mechanicus then attacked the Lunar Guard.

The Lunar regiment at first reacted in shock, but recovered their wits quickly, launching a counter attack while all the while protesting their loyalist credentials to their enemy. The Mechanicum didn't listen, merely pursuing their objectives and destroying the mechanised regiment which stood in their way. The Lunar guard were defeated and the survivors fell back, abandoning their positions which had been protecting one of the many factorum settlements on the world, still oblivious as to the meaning of the assault. Some even believed the Mechanicum were agents of the Enemy, or Dark Mechanicus.

In fact the Adeptus Mechanicus had been envious of Libria I for many centuries. As part of its reintroduction to the imperium, the forge world had been able to continue to operate outside of Mechanicum control, under the ancient agreement almost a millenia old. This had been a political move at the time, easing the passage of the wealthy system into the imperium, as Mechanicus involvement into the Librian tradition may well have upset the delicate negotiations. Now it was used as an excuse for war by Inquisitor Vorushko, who informed the tech priests that STC data was present on Libria I, information which had been deliberately withheld by the Inquisition. She then explained her intentions, showing the Mechanicus that in time Libria would fall under her edict in any case, and that early securing of Libria I would be advantageous to her crusade. If the Mechanicum could secure the planet for her, they would get to keep it, and its STC information. It was a proposal the tech priests of Mars could not turn down, and from that moment they committed their forces to her "crusade".

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