Monday, April 07, 2014

The Librian Heresy: Descent to war

The events leading up to full scale war between imperial factions were complex and remain confused. By the middle of 04.014M42 the Adeptus Mechanicus had siezed Ansonville and Fort Cobb on Libria I. Natalia Vorushko had realised that Inquisitor Hathek would not recognise her authority, nor would he join her in her crusade against Libria. Vorushko now had powerful allies and a crusade force was being formed to strike fear into the hearts of any man, but on its own it would not be able to secure and hold the entire system. The Inquisitor needed more men.

She had approached Titus Luthor, commander of the sector, with whom she had a strong personal relationship. This relationship also meant Luthor was able to explain his predicament. Inquisitor Hathek also bore the same rank as Vorushko, and he would not get involved in a war between inquisitors. Luthor had sent forces under General Abrahams to the Libria system with orders to help crush the rebellion. They would continue that mission.

Natalia Vorushko left Vastrid on 1204_014M42 en route to the Libria system. She realised she would have to travel in person to organise her crusade. Luthor had made it plain that only the defeat of Hathek himself would allow the imperial guard to unambiguously follow her orders. She had replied that this would lead to bloodshed between the imperium as she intended to follow through on her edict, no matter the cost. The sector commander had merely shrugged. That was the last time the two had spoken.

The plan now was straightforward, if complicated by Hathek's intervention. The crusade force would secure Libria I for the Mechanicum, using its vast resources and one billion population to create a new crusade army under her control. Once complete, the fleets of the Minotaurs, Carcharadons, Sky Lords and the Mechanicus should be sufficient to mount an invasion of Libria III and win the war, even if the navy made a stand, which she doubted. Then she could begin the systematic exploitation of the entire system for the good of mankind.

Her first task following the conquest of the system would be to squeeze every last drop of wealth out of Libria. Mining, manufacturing and the exploitation of natural resources would be stepped up on a gigantic scale. Over the course of ten years Libria would be stripped clean. Vast fleets would carry that wealth away to safer worlds and its people would be inducted into the imperial guard or other vital services. No one would remain. After this ten year period Libria, and surrounding systems supporting biological life, would be subjected to the Exterminatus, rendering them lifeless and barren.

This was Vorushko's grand plan, and one she had envisaged long before she arrived in the sector. She would create a "fire break" between the imperium and the alien, halting the main tyranid advance and preventing further encroachment of the tau empire. She had approval from her superiors in the inquisition, but also enemies, She knew if she failed, the fall of the rest of the sector would only be hastened. Sacrifices, however horrific, were needed to ensure the future of her race.

First Libria I had to be captured. The Lunar Guard - a loyalit force under General Abrahams - had been badly mauled by her allies. Abrahams had been contacted by Hathek, who had succesfully convinced the general that there were now "seditious elements" in the inquisition who had powerful allies. Hathek was determined to thwart Vorushko - as he had thwarted the dangerously unstable Inquisitor Xanthus. From now on the loyalist forces under Abrahams were effectively Hathek's.

While the imperium descended inexorably into civil war on Libria, the Federacy were discussing at length their response. Representatives from Hartak and Aleph V were keen to send a strong force to Libria. Their brothers and neighbours had asked for help, surely the Federacy must answer. Others, notably those from Cerberex and Tallax, remained less convinced. If the Federal fleet suffered losses at Libria, who would defend the home worlds? War was still raging on Cerberex and the forces the Federacy could muster could be easily swept aside if the imperium was to exercise her full might. Debates continued during 04.014M42, but the federal fleet was mustered at Hartak.

The Tau also coveted Libria, though they knew that a combined effort with the Federacy gave them their best chance of success. For years they had been proping up a failing regime in the system, but this had been uncovered too soon by the inquisition. Fortunately the imperium had decended into petty internal squabbling, giving the rebels a breathing space. However the tau were also in no position to immediately aid their new friends on Libria. War continued on Zadoc, and the orks and tyranids posed a significant threat to the tau right flank in the Zadoc subsector. With the establishment of "Fort Zadoc" and the vast swathe of the planet under chaos dominion, the war would take some time to conclude. Even so, the tau were unwilling to throw away the opportunity which now presented itself. On 1604.014M42 they sent a high ranking ethereal and members of the water caste for talks with the Federacy on Hartak. The question was whether the alliance would now show its hand in the Librian conflict.

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