Saturday, October 06, 2018

Chaotic skirmish finds clues to the Foramen Ignotum

On an unclassified desert world deep in the Hadron Expanse the tendrils of Nemesis were beginning to make themselves felt. The genestealers on the hulk named "Perditious" in the depths of space were not the only bands of these vicious creatures found in the expanse. In early 10.018M42 the Grey Knights, responding to an emergency distress call from a small mining colony not heard from in a thousand years, made contact with a few dozen of the creatures. The astartes were able to dispatch the aliens but no trace of the miners was found. However the mechanicum agents working with the Grey Knights determined that signal from the colony was actually far older, and warned of something far worse.

Further investigation of the mining settlement revealed the presence of the miners' finds, an ancient Xenos artefact, and strange cartographic references in an ancient alien tongue, describing a device which would "push back" the immaterium. That's as far as the miners had got before they had mysteriously disappeared, but the Grey Knights realised this could be a breakthrough in finding the Foramen Ignotum. An ancient alien device to "push back" the warp was certainly involved in the Foramen Iterdictum, so the small squad of Ordo Malleus marines moved swiftly to secure the ruins. They were not alone.

The Grey Knights were not the only responders to the distress call. The Federacy had sent an away team to the world to investigate, similarly interested in leads to the Foramen Ignotum, and the loyalist Mechanicum of Legio Dominus had been secretly listening in on the Grey Knights' conversations with their Adeptus Mechanicus aids from a small escort vessel in orbit. Now they landed a Skitarii unit to ensure the technology did not end up in Cybixx's hands. Legio Dominus were mistrustful of Cybixx and his cronies, and were keeping tabs on all of the "Crusade" mechanicus activities. In addition the deaths of the genestealers at the mining base now drew yet more to the scene, curious as to why their activities had been disrupted by interlopers.

The four forces descended on the mining installation some twenty kilometers west of the ruins of the mining settlement at about the same time. The Grey Knights, supremely confident, moved swiftly to secure the mine entrance and its contents. The Federal force, a full squad of Librian soldiers and a special weapons team, made their life difficult however, as they opened fire from concealed positions. Legio Corvus laid down a fire screen on the Grey Knights as the genestealers stalked their prey from the shadows.

The Grey Knights found themselves caught in a merciless crossfire from Legion Dominus and the Federal forces, and at the critical moment the genestealers charged. A swirling melee developed over the Mine entrance, giving the Federal troopers, then the adeptus mechanicus skitarii, time to move up and engage their enemies with brutal close range weapons. Flamers and grenades were used on both the astartes and the genestealers as they approached, and although both the Grey Knights and Legio Dominus shot many of the Federal troopers, not one was hurt badly enough to take them out of the fight.

The Grey Knights were quickly overwhelmed although they caused enough damage to the genestealers to severely blunt their attack, eventually driving them off. The skitarii then had to face the Federal Troops, who although had many lightly wounded, all but one were still capable of fighting. After a brief search of the ruins the skitarri withdrew, leaving the Federacy in command of the battlefield. In the mine, the federal troops found the artefact they ad been looking for, an ancient Xenos item believed to be a necron key to the phallus astronomicus or "device", capable of creating stable passageways through the Cicatrix. Where the actual device was they still did not know, but before they withdrew the skitarri of Legio Dominus had found their own clue - a map of the planet Hexis in an unmarked star system in the Expanse. Here they believed the key would be able to activate the device, but where the system was, no one knew.

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