Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Device Campaign: Aftermath

With the device successfully obtained by the Eldar, Hathek's alliance collapsed. The Necron fleet arrived over the planet of Sentinel, evacuating their forces but not attempting to steal the world, at least not yet. With Xanthus gone his remaining forces were slowly annihilated by the Ork and Chaos forces which now controlled much of the world. Hathek still held the Governor's Palace and Scrapyard, but now both sides faces a protracted struggle for control of the world, unless reinforcements arrived. Leaving the Space Wolves in charge, Hathek left in pursuit of Xanthus.

Lorek too saw his alliance collapse, as the Orks decided they wanted Sentinel for themselves. Lorek now had to decide whether fighting the Imperium and the Orks for control of a world he once dominated, was now worth the effort.

The Eldar plan had succeeded brilliantly, and with the chaos device safely in their hands they proceeded with the preparation of the next part of their plan.

Day 3

By the morning of the third day the Conqueror's of Gorgoroth, Covenant of Damnation, Aurora Angels and Praetorian Guard were exhausted and unable to fight. Lorek still held the central compound however, but had been forced to abandon his attempt to dislodge Xanthus from the spaceport, moving his ork forces back to the compound. At the same time, Thrugnik made a final move to capture the scrap yard and the Catechism attempted to find and shut down the eldar webway portal in the Bastern mountains.

Xanthus still clung on desparately to the spaceport, but by now he knew all was lost. He moved the Dark Angels in to help defend the spaceport, while sending the 24th Islandawandans on a certain suicide mission against the central compound to buy him and his entourage time to escape.

Hathek also had problems. His Praetorians were no longer a fighting force and he desperately wanted to stop Xanthus escaping. The Necrons offered him a solution. They would wake their brethren at the Ningbo tomb complex and overwhelm the Orks and Chaos. Meanwhile Hathek would be free to move on the spaceport, cutting off Xanthus' escape.

Now the eldar made their final play for the device. First they intercepted and defeated the orks at the scrapyard after heavy fighting, preventing the orks from gaining much needed resources. At the same time the dark eldar thwarted the Catechism's attempt to cut them off by destroying their webway portal. The Necrons, moving in force on the tomb complex, found their way barred by a further force of dark eldar. The ensuing battle and Necron defeat ensured that Hathek's faction would not be able to destroy the device.

In the Sentinel plain the battles reached a climax. At the space port the Cerberex Guard clung on despite a ferocious Spaec Wolf assault, allowing Xanthus to reach his fast Inquisition shuttle and escape. The 24th Islandawanda, supposedly sent on a suicide mission, actually managed some success against Lorek's forces, defeating them and relieving the central compound. However their success was short lived, as the orks made short work of the remaining Tau, while the eldar cut off their retreat, annihilating the remaining Dark Angels and ensuring the Islandawandans would be trapped between chaos, ork and eldar forces. As the battles here raged, the eldar used the tomb complex themselves to open a portal to the device. Just as Xanthus' outnumbered and outgunned defenders finally succumbed to the overwhelming Chaos and Ork army besieging them, and bestial greenskins and traitor legionaries flooded in, the device disappeared in a shimmering light, vanishing along with all eldar forces on the planet. The battle for the device was over.

Day 2

Following nightfall on the 8th, Hathek's Space Wolves and Praetorian Guard moved together towards the Sentinel Prime Complex, but as dawn broke they found themselves with a large eldar force to their rear and were obliged to give battle. As the eldar and dark eldar forces ground Hathek's forces down, Lorek consolidated his hold on the central compound by causing further losses to the Tau, who were the only one of Hathek's forces to make it to the compound on day two. The Necrons moved into the Governor's palace, defeating the Conqueror's of Gorgoroth, while Lorek sent the orks to deal with the Cerberex Guard at the spaceport.

Once again the Xanthus' loyal guardsman refused to budge, and Lorek was turned back. No matter how hard he tried he couldn't break into the reinforced fortification which housed the device, as a secure underground tunnel to the space port kept the besieged defenders supplied. Lorek was also frustrated by the interference of the eldar and sent the Covenant of Damnation north into the Bastern Mountains to find them. However, Xanthus had pulled his badly mauled marines out of the Sentinel valley to rest, only for them to make contact with both the Eldar and an enormous summoned horde of daemons. the results were catastophic for Xanthus, who almost saw both companies wiped out. The daemons then disappeared and the Covenant of Damnation effectively ceased to be a fighting force after this.

Meanwhile the 24th Islandawandans were once again defeated having retreated into the mountains from the Caverns of Argaash. This time the eldar battered the remaining tribesmen, leaving the remains of the 24th scattered and almost spent.

Day 1

The Ork and Chaos fleet almost ran headlong into Hathek's smaller, faster vessels, but in the end the Imperial fleet was able to land troops and move to the edge of the system before the orks arrived. Lorek and Thrugnik then landed their troops in the southern mountains before dispersing. Lorek's plan was simple. Steal the device and get it operational, leaving via the portal. He didn't much care what happened to the Orks, they seemed to be more interested in the Sentinel Scrapyard in any case. Hathek simply had the destruction of the Device in mind. Leaving wasn't a priority.

Having landed, the Orks moved north towards the scrapyard, and formed the left wing of a broad chaos front. Lorek's forces, along with Thrugnik's orks, moved towards the Sentinel Prime compound, very soon encountering Dark Angel and Aurora Angel space marines who were holding the perimeter for Xanthus. Bloody fighting here saw Xanthus' defences falter, and by the end of 0812.011M42 Lorek and Thrugnik had surrounded the main imperial compound.

On Lorek's right, the Covenant of Damnation and Conquerer's of Gorgoroth made for the spaceport, but a stubborn defence from Xanthus' Cerberex Guard soon turned into an all out counter attack when the eldar intervened on the Imperial side. On Lorek's far right, the Catechism executed a wide flanking manouevre, racing across the central plains and defeating the 24th Islandawanda at the Caverns of Argaash.

Meanwhile Hathek had landed in the north, and the space wolves, moving around the western shore of the Odin Sea, encountered Orks at the Scrap Yard, seeing them off and digging in, aware of the ferocious battle taking place at the main compound and not wishing to get involved, yet.

The Praetorian Guard moved to the east of the Odin Sea but were ambushed and delayed by the eldar, while the Tau, who had landed at the Ningbo Tomb complex, were massacred by eldar intent on preventing any activation of the dormant Necrons under the surface of the planet. The Necrons themselves had gone straight for the main prize, but despite defeating an eldar ambush, they could not get past the enormous battle taking place outside the compound.

The Device Campaign: Introduction

The three day battle of Bastien occurred between 0812.011M42 and 1212.011M42, when four major factions converged on the Imperial outpost following the revelation that Inquisitor Lord Xanthus had almost completed construction of a second "device", capable of creating stable portals between worlds thousands of light years apart.

Inquisitor lord Hathek had been spying on Xanthus for months, and when his spies were sure of what Xanthus was up to, they sent a message to their master who immediately gathered as many forces as he could to converge on Sentinel. Time was short, so hathek could only call on one regiment of Praetorian Guard and a company of Space Wolves.

To increase his forces, Hathek leant heavily on the Tau. Eventually they consented to sending one hunter cadre, but Shadowstrike ensured it was made up of their most inexperienced and expendable troops. The Tau had fullfilled their treaty obligations, but only just.

On the way to Sentinel Hathek received a strange message. The necrons had learned of Xanthus plans, but also knew what would happen were the device to fall into the wrong hands. They too craved the destruction of the blasphemous machine, and offered an alliance with Hathek. After much negotiation Hathek agreed, to the consternation of the Space Wolves. However Hathek's retained his imperial authority and now his "alliance" had the forces required to overwhelm Xanthus and destroy the device.

Unfortunately for Inquistor Hathek, he was not the only force aware of the creation of the device. The forces of Chaos felt the nascent device's call in the warp, and, affronted that the Imperium would dare to replicate something of theirs, resolved to steal it. To improve their chances, Lorek secured help from the Catechism, Conquerer's of Gorgoroth, the Covenant of Damnation and two Ork forces including those of Warboss Thrugnik. The ramshackle fleet had already assembled in the Cerrack Nebula and departed for Sentinel days before Hathek was even aware of the device's existence, but distance and fate meant both forces would arrive on the same day.

the eldar, especially the Rillietan, had been manipulating events for months, waiting for this day. Their farseers had forseen this day, when three factions would converge at the same time and clash over the device. This they had intended all along. While the three sides fought amongst themselves, the eldar and dark eldar would gather, move swiftly to their objectives and steal the device from under the noses of the Imperium, Tau, Necrons, Chaos and Orks.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Perseus Deeps modifiers


++++++Transmitted: Astropathic beacon Sigma 1188_3
+++++++++Received: Astropath Adranek
++++++Destination: Inquisitor Lord Hathek
+++++Mission Time: 0212.011M42
++Telepathic Duct: Terminus Calladek
++++++++++++++Ref: Heresy/112_213XAN
+++++++++++Author: Inquisitor Julius DeMann

Thought for the Day: A single thought of heresy can blight a lifetime of faithful duty


My Lord Hathek,

I can confirm your earlier suspicions are correct. I have been observing Lord Xanthus' actions on Sentinell for many weeks now. Despite his ongoing distraction of the war on Tyndareous, his main obsession is as ever "the Device". Somehow he has come into possession of the plans to the arcane chaos machinery and is now attempting to build one of his own. It is as you postulated. The device creates a stable wormhole through the warp, much akin to the eldar webway, but without joining it. This device can create a portal from anywhere, to anywhere.

From what I have seen of its construction it is of identical design to that posessed by the arch traitor Moonface, and will be able to deliver agents, assassins, even armies wherever Lord Xanthus sees fit once it is fully operational. I witnessed its first test. Ten souls of "heretics" were fed to the device, and the heretical construction disappeared, only to re-appear some minutes later, with Xanthus himself, who by then was looking very pleased.

This is surely heresy my lord, and this infernal device must be destroyed as not only is it heretical in design by its very nature, who knows what it calls when it is put to use. Already I feel the taint of chaos in the air, though Xanthus seems not to notice. It is calling them here. If you do not move to destroy it soon, others will come for it.

I am reasonably certain I have taken all the necessary precautions to prevent Lord Xanthus from intercepting this message, but if not, act soon, I shall await instructions.

The Battle of Calliden

Battle of Calliden - Aftermath

The battle of Calliden was inconclusive. At first glance the losses would suggest a chaos victory. Certainly the chaos-ork fleet had caused the most damage, destroying six Imperial capital ships for the loss of just one. However the orks had been scattered and had lost five roks, and the chaos fleet had seen, eight of its capital vessels crippled, including Thok's flagship, the Jormungandr. In addition three of the Imperial losses were dauntless class light cruisers, and other than the Glorious and Conquerer, the rest of the Imperial fleet was intact. The chaos fleet would be unable to launch a major raid for months, and the strategic situation remained unchanged. Jellicoe was still able to bottle up the chaos fleet in their three port worlds, and the status quo was preserved. Thok had been unable to turn the tide of Imperial numerical superiority with an overwhelming victory, and Jellicoe had been unable to cruch the chaos fleet once and for all, as he had hoped. The outcome had been uniquely undesirable for both sides, but it was the Imperium who began the inevitable post mortem. How had they lost so many ships? Why didn't Jellicoe get the crushing victory so many had been expecting?

Imperial analyticae immediately rounded on Admiral Jellicoe himself. They criticised, with the luxury of hindsight, his decision not to follow Dreyer into the heat of the battle with Tragean, in order to chase the "phantom echo" of a fleet to his flank. Jellicoe did not know at the time however, that Thok's forces were drifting in silently and would not appear for some time, and he was also unaware that Hector's battlegroup were not arriving swiftly to aid Dreyer. Some criticised Dreyer for immediately attacking, then finding himself outnumbered and outgunned, but when he requested permission to attack, both he and his superior were completely unaware of the ork threat just behind Tragean's lines.

More observers pointed to the slowness of the arrival of the Adeptus Mechanicus and of Admiral Hector, with many criticising Hector's risking of his light cruisers against the ork roks. In Hector's defence, Jellicoe in his official report praised his subordinate for the daring and bravery of his light cruiser force, for without their attacks the orks may have lost far fewer gun platforms than they did. Most of the criticism ended up on Jellicoe however, with the main thrust of their argument pointing at his initial deployment of the fleet. His battlegroups had been too widely spread, so that when contact was made there was little if any hope of forming a "grand fleet" as Jellicoe's own standing orders had instructed before battle was joined.

In the end however, Jellicoe weathered the storm of criticism, his reputation damaged, but still intact enough to remain head of the Imperial navy in the sector. After all, none of his subordinates had showered themselves in glory, and the chaos fleet had been severely damaged. The much anticipated invasion of Calliden was however put on hold. Much more pressing matters had now come to a head on the planet of Sentinel...

Imperial Losses

Indefatigable - Destroyed
Cressy - Destroyed
Irresistible - Destroyed
Medusa - Destroyed
Hippocampi - Destroyed
Helios - Destroyed

Glorious - crippled
Conqueror - crippled

Chaos Ork Losses

5 Roks destroyed
Sword of Ajax - Destroyed

Jormungandr - crippled
Beowulf - crippled
Brunhilde - crippled
Grendel's Fury - crippled
Skoll - crippled
Doombringer - crippled
Unnatural Permutation - crippled
Unholy Flame - crippled

The Battle of Calliden - The Battle

The first chaos vessels sighted were those of Lord Tragean. Jellicoe received a message from Dreyer's flagship Iron Duke and the admiral gave his subordinate permission to engage, as his own battlegroup was following Dreyer's with Hector on the starboard wing and the Adeptus Mechanicus fleet tracking an anomalous energy signature on the port wing. Jellicoe hoped to trap Tragean before any reinforcements could arrive.

This plan went wrong with alarming rapidity. As Dreyer's vessels began the action with Tragean at 12:22 local system time, the Adeptus Mechanicus fleet reported that a large fleet was threatening Jellicoe's flank, and they were straining to keep up. Annoyed, instead of following Dreyer, Jellicoe turned his fleet, led by the Agamemnon, to port, preparing to meet this threat. This left Dreyer on his own, fighting it out against Tragean around a densely packed asteroid field. Worse still, it was at this time that the ork Roks, and a fearsome ork hulk appeared dead ahead, and began lending their ordnance of torpedoes and fighta bombas to Tragean's attack.

Dreyer's battlegroup opened the shooting and caused the first damage to Unnatural Permutation at 13:30. Tragean's vessels began firing back and Dreyer found himself trying to fend off swarms of ork attack craft while taking fire from the chaos ships, which had formed into a concentrated battle line. Using the cover of the asteroids, Dreyer's ships managed to cripple the Harbinger early on while avoiding critical damage themselves.

While Jellicoe was still waiting for the second chaos fleet to pull into view, Admiral Hector's battlegroup arrived on the starboard wing, behind Tragean's fleet. This ought to have put them in an ideal position, but Hector was slow to order "all ahead full" and Tragean's vessels already had a good lead. At 15:36 Dreyer's luck finally ran out when Irresistable became the first casualty of the battle, brought down either by fire from Tragean's lead ships, including the battleship Irredeemable Apostate, or from waves of ork torpedoes.

Hector's ships finally began accelerating, but it soon became apparent that they could not meaningfully aid Dreyer's battlegroup, who were now skillfully navigating the asteroid belt in order to get a good shooting position against Tragean's ships. Hector had his own problems as well, as the orks were beginning to interpose themselves between his fleet and the chaos vessels. Disaster struck at 15:44, when Medusa, a dauntless class cruiser, took an unlucky hit from an ork torpedo, breaking her back and sending her spinning out of the battle. Revenge came swiftly however, as at 15:45 combined firepower from Dreyer's gothic class vessels, emerging from the asteroid field, crippled the Unnatural Permutation.

Meanwhile Jellicoe had made contact with the fleet he had been chasing. Appearing from the port quarter, Admiral Thok's fleet appeared, led by the Jormungandr. They had drifted in silently and powered up weapons at the last moment, taking the Imperial fleet by surprise. The result was almost catastrophic. Thok's entire fleet zeroed in on the cruisers Valiant, Indefatigable, Conquerer and Agincourt. The results were predictable and at 15:40 the Indefatigable was reduced to a smoking hulk, while Conquerer took heavy damage. Thok's ships shooting had been woefully inaccurate however, and Jellicoe ought to have paid a much heavier price. Conquerer and Daring quickly disengaged, the latter having been caught out on her own and engaged at long range by the newly arriving chaos vessels of Lorek, which appeared on the scene at about 15:40, on the port wing of the ork "formation".

Jellicoe now had his revenge. Agincourt and Valiant made an expert torpedo run, while firing both broadsides at the rear of Thok's lines. Supported by the lance batteries of the Agamemnon, Thok's ships took a battering. Worse still for the chaos admiral, at 15:45 the Adeptus Mechanicus fleet arrived on his port quarter, damaging a chaos cruiser and crippling the Jormugandr with an outstanding display of accurate nova cannon fire. Thok's fleet couldn't withstand this kind of punishment for long, and despite frantic manouevres, Brunhilde, Skoll, Beowulf and Grendel's Fury took heavy damage, and Thok's entire battlegroup disengaged at 16:45.

The defeat of Thok ought to have ensured that despite the fact that Jellicoe had torn up his battle plan, the Imperium would win the day. However things were coming to a head in the centre. Tragean had now managed to get behind Dreyer's force, and Hector's fleet were now busily engaged with the ork roks. Worse still, Lorek's fleet was turning to chase Dreyer's fleet while Jellicoe's vessels struggled to turn round and get back in the fight. The Adeptus Mechanicus fleet's arrival made up for the poor tactical position Jellicoe's forces were now in, as long range firepower crippled Lorek's flagship, the Sword of Ajax, at 17:15.

Admiral Hector's fleet was suffering at the hands of the orks. His ships had destroyed three in a fierce engagement, but Hippocampi had been reduced to a hulk, and the wreck of the Medusa detonated as she collided with an asteroid at 17:25, only adding to the scene of carnage on that area of the battlefield. In the centre, Tragean was constantly frustrated by the lack of discipline from his captains, and despite damaging the Iron Duke and setting it ablaze, Dreyer's fleet managed to escape annihilation by successfully navigating the asteroid belt which dominated the centre of the action. However, Dreyer soon found the action just as hot on the other side, as his fleet began to form up with Hectors to fight the orks. At 19:08 the ork hulk itself showed its worth, destroying the Cressy and minutes later destroying the dauntless class Helios, after it had been crippled by a long range salvo from one of Lorek's vessels. The wreck then exploded at 19:15, blinding the sensory augurs of most vessels in the vicinity.

Jellicoe was losing ships, while the chaos forces hadn't lost one. The orks by now had lost four roks, and their hulk was taking damage, but the forces of chaos still had all their ships intact, even if several were seriously damaged. This finally changed at 19:27, when the ailing Sword of Ajax was finished off by the Adeptus Mechanicus. The forces of the machine god also managed to cripple the Unholy flame, before the confusing augur returns caused by wreckage and explosions from destroyed Imperial vessels began to see both sides lose contact with each other.

Despite some long ranged salvoes over the next few hours, the main action was over. Jellicoe ordered his sub commanders to form up on his flagship while he searched for the chaos fleet once more. Several hours later Beattie's battlegroup arrived, informing Jellicoe that the chaos fleet had returned to the safety of the Calliden space docks, while the ork roks had melted away into the asteroid belts which ringed the system.

There was a brief discussion whether or not to press home the attack and assault the docks, but with so many ships lost or damaged, the likely result was mutual annihilation, something Jellicoe could not afford. Disappointed and unsure of the result of the battle, Jellico returned to port at Corticant, his battered vessels arriving some days later.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Battle of Calliden - introduction

With the losses sustained by Lorek and the Catechism in the previous months, as well as intelligence that the warfleet of Shaidar Haran was no longer a gestalt entity, Admiral Jellicoe received orders from his superior to end the chaos blockade and to knock out the chaos fleet once and for all. He could call on five fleets for the action, those of his own battlegroup, led by the battleship Agamemnon, Admiral Dreyer's formidable force, the ships of newly arrived Admiral Hector, Admiral Beattie's battlegroup and a significant force lent by the Adeptus Mechanicus, who were eager to pour over the anticipated chaos hulks following the victory. Against him the chaos forces were known to have three fleets, those of Thok, Tragean and Lorek, and Jellicoe reckoned he should have a 5-3 advantage in numbers. More than enough for a crushing victory. Little did he know that the forces of chaos had anticipated such an attack on Calliden, and had made a pact with the orks, who had converted much of the outer rim's asteroids into their own unique battlecraft, roks.

So on 0312.011M42 the fleets of Jellicoe arrived in the Calliden system. Upon exiting the warp Jellicoe immediately suffered a setback, as Beattie's fleet hadn't arrived and could not be contacted. Presumed delayed in the warp, Jellicoe was forced to press ahead when several augur returns from the Adeptus Mechanicus vessel Magos Vaspasian indicated that the chaos forces were ready and waiting for them. The returns were vague however, and Jellicoe was forced to split his fleet, dividing it into its usual battlegroups as he pressed on in system. In the outer reaches of the system, close to a rogue planet and several asteroid belts, first contact was made.

Order of Battle


Battleships - Class
Magos Vaspasian - Retribution
Apollo - Oberon
Iron Duke - Emperor
Agamemnon - Victory

Heavy Cruisers - Class
Valiant - Armageddon
Glorious - Mars
Hephaestus - Exorcist
Hermes - Exorcist
Morpheus - Dominator

Cruisers - Class
Scienta - Tyrant
Valente Deo - Dictator
Esto Perpetua - Tyrant
Suppono - Gothic
Indefatigable - Tyrant
Agincourt - Lunar
Conqueror - Lunar
Indomitable - Gothic
Cressy - Gothic
Irresistible - Dominator
Implacable - Dominator
Morpheus - Dominator

Light Cruisers - Class
Daring - Defiant
Erebus - Dauntless
Medusa - Dauntless
Hippocampi - Dauntless
Helios - Dauntless

Chaos Ork alliance

Battleships - Class
Irredeemable Apostate - Desolator
Jormungandr - Desolator

Heavy Cruisers - Class
Messiah of Pain - Acheron
Sword of Ajax - Hades
Beowulf - Acheron
Plagueclaw - Hades

Cruisers - Class
Brunhilde - Carnage
Heimdal - Carnage
Volsung's Revenge - Devastation
Grendel's Fury - Devastation
Skoll - Slaughter
Doombringer - Devastation
Dark Omen - Carnage
Unnatural Permutation - Carnage
Reaver - Slaughter
Doomblade - Slaughter
Fortress of Hate - Devastation
Warp Revelator - Devastation
Divine Anarchy - Devastation
Agonise Demise - Carnage
Unholy Flame - Carnage

10 Ork roks and one space hulk

Necrons claim blight, make gains on Enaloth

The war on Blight came to a grizzly end on 0112.011M42 when the Necrons attacked the final stronghold of chaos on the world, defended by the hapless Covenant of Damnation. Mostly conscripted cultists, the Covenant lacked the equipment and supplies to hold the Necrons for long, and after the initial assault, the chaos defence of their world collapsed in less than a day. Blight had fallen to the Necrons, and they looked to the other worlds of the Perseus Deeps for their next conquest.

More worrying for the Imperium however was the sudden appearance of Necrons in the Vastrid subsector. Necrons had not been encountered outside the Perseus Deeps before 12.011M42, and the Inquisition was content to believe the extent of the Necron threat in the sector was confined to this area. Members of the Inquisition considered the Necrons a minor force, possibly the awakened remnants of a long lost fringeworld, but a battle between orks and Necrons on the world of Drift threw this assumption into doubt. Inquisitor Huron decided to give up on his investigation into the Rillietan for the moment, and determined to understand the extent of the Necron threat in the sector, alongside Lord Hathek.

Enaloth had been overrun by an advanced splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Nemesis some time ago but, distant from the Hive Fleet, it hadn't been consumed. Instead it acted as a psychic beacon, calling Nemesis to the fertile feeding grounds of the Perseus Deeps. The awakening Necrons desired to remove the Tyranids from Enaloth, both so they could rouse those of their number slumbering beneath the planets surface and also to avert the attentions of the ravenous Hive Fleet. Still in the process of awakening the Necrons wanted to avoid an unneeded direct confrontation with the full might of Nemesis.

Travelling through Dolmon Gates, Necrons from Gamador and Skera arrived within the still sleeping tomb complexes on Enaloth and began their assault on the planet's surface. Expecting any attack to come from space and stranded far from the guiding will of the Hive Mind the Tyranids were disorganised and uncoordinated. The initial attack of the silent ranks of Necrons scoured hundreds of Tyranids from the planets surface and having suffered such heavy casualties in the initial attack the Tyranids were never able to muster a significant counter attack. Even so, the vicious aliens had no conception of fear and fought bitterly to the end. Although the Necrons did eventually purge the planet it cost them more time and effort than they had originally conceived. With the Tyranid threat removed the Necrons began the process of re-activating their tomb complexes, ignorant for now that a tendril of Hive Fleet Nemesis, bloated from its consumption of Valboris, had already headed the call of its splinter and was already heading towards Enaloth.

Tau keep Aornis Passage open

While the Imperial and chaos fleets battled it out in the Calliden system, the Tau fleet was also in action. Since the raid on Aornis, the Tau had found the forces of chaos even more willing to throw their forces against them, even though their resources were wearing thin. On 2811.011M42 another Tau convoy to Parius was attacked, this time by the Conquerers of Gorgoroth.

The Tau reaction was immediate and unwavering. A new fleet, having recently arrived at Tarsis Major, set off to the Rim Worlds to seek out an action with the new chaos battlefleet. Battle was joined near the Aornis system on 0412.011M42, with the chaos vessels coming off much the worse in a very one sided battle. Suitably chastened the raids on Tau convoys stopped, for a while, allowing Shadowstrike to fortify Parius significantly.

Da Verminator asserts dominance

With the bulk of the Imperial and chaos attention focussed on the Perseus Deeps, the orks took the opportunity to continue their expansion into the Vastrid sector, and both Thrugnik and Da Verminator landed vanguard forces on Gabriel's world. Not finding any defenders, the forces of the two warbosses inevitably decided to see who was "da best", and fighting broke out between them. Victory went to Da Verminator and although the battle was a comparatively small affair, the slight to Thrugnik's honour would not go unnoticed.

A few days later, on 0412.011M42, Thrugnik's orks found themselves raided once more by the dark eldar, although they were able to fight their enemy to a standstill. The dark eldar had been watching the orks fight amongst themselves and had decided to take the opportunity to raid a weakened Thrugnik. The orks however were not as weakened as the dark eldar had hoped, and they went back to Commorragh empty handed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


++++++Transmitted: Light Cruiser Serendipity
+++++++++Received: Astropath Selanor
++++++Destination: Inquisitor Lord Hathek
+++++Mission Time: 2811.011M42
++Telepathic Duct: Terminus Furdinand
++++++++++++++Ref: OrdoXenos/4623832643/ST
+++++++++++Author: Inquisitor Darell Yintard

Thought for the Day: My mind is a fortress, no false thought shall tresspass


My Lord Hathek, as per your instructions I have been investigating the origins of the Tyranid Hive Fleet codenamed “Nemesis”. My enquiries on Alphe were fruitful and I obtained many samples. Lab tests reveal Nemesis to be a highly evolved strain derived from Hive Fleet Gorgon. However, the gene strain appears to show evidence of artificial tampering, with many sequences atypical of Tyranid DNA and demonstrating signs of viral insertion. I cannot conduct a full analysis with the equipment and personnel available to me so I have dispatched stasis-locked samples to you via a courier escort.

After leaving Alphe I traced Nemesis' route back along its extrapolated course. It appears to have consumed a number of life bearing planets within the Hadron Expanse. This region is sparsely utilised by the Imperium, with only a small mining colony marked on the astrological charts. This world has been consumed and yielded no valuable information.

I shall continue to trace Nemesis' path and I will report my findings to you. The Emperor protects.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Parataea raided, Parius resupplied

In late 11.011M42 the Tau colony of Parataea came under attack from the Shattered Silence kabal of the Dark Eldar. Until now, the Tau had been relatively free of Dark Eldar raids as they were not considered "good sport" or useful as slaves. More to the point, Tau were decidedly less valuable. However the raid on 2611.011M42 was particularly savage, with the Tau suffering heavy losses. Many of the colonists began to think twice about their continued presence in the Perseus Deeps. Something would have to be done.

The Tau holdings in the Perseus Deeps had been suffering ever more frequent raids from Dark Eldar, Necrons and Chaos forces alike. Shadowstrike was aware of the need to consolidate the Tau's grip on the region and proposed a program of fortification and colonisation to establish a string of new Sept worlds. He was aware that some of the minor worlds that could not be defended might have to be abandoned in the process, but the new colonies would be proof against anything short of a major crusade and provide a suitable staging point for future expansion.

One obstacle to these plans were Chaos pirates launching out of bases in the rim worlds. They had been preying on supply convoys carrying the materials and troops needed to establish the new Septs, so when intelligence assets discovered the base of a pirate clan on Aornis the Tau were quick to retaliate. A small battle group managed to approach the planet undetected and deploy an air wing of Barracudas and AX-1-0 Tiger Sharks into the atmosphere. Clouds of hellblades hurriedly scrambled to intercept them. Despite being badly outnumbered the Tau pilots had the edge over the poorly trained and disciplined pirates. In a short space of time the hellblades were all destroyed or driven off. Meanwhile, whilst the main attack had distracted the bases defences a second strike force of barracudas equipped with air to ground missiles had evaded the fighter screens and strafed the base unchallenged, destroying it utterly. The pirates on Aornis had been utterly neutralised and the Tau convoys were once more able to reach Parius unmolested.

Necrons make major move on Blight

The war on Blight between the Necrons and Chaos forces had been going on for several months with neither side making much headway. The world was never heavily populated, and its conversion to chaos in 009M42 hadn't done anything to improve things. At first the Necrons had come in small bands, harassing the population and providing a distraction to the forces of chaos in the Deeps. This all changed on 2211.011M42.

The Necron fleet arrived in the system without warning, finding Lorek's fleet stationed above the world. The chaos fleet moved to intercept the invasion, but carnage followed. For the loss of just a few escorts, the Necron fleet obliterated Lorek's fleet, destroying five capital class vessels. The remaining ships fled, allowing the Necrons to land thousands of warriors on the surface.

Warbands of the Conquerers of Gorgoroth attempted to stop the tide of invading forces, but despite a tenacious defence, the Necrons eventually overwhelmed the traitor astartes forces, pushing them back and expanding their own bridghead. Days later the hills of Blight erupted with more Necron warriors, and it became apparent that the new arrivals had awakened a sleeping tomb world. By 2911.011M42 the chaos forces were holding on to a tiny scrap of the world, defending a perimeter against hopeless odds.

As the Chaos held section of the world continued to shrink, the Catechism intervened, sending a fleet to the Blight system to challenge the supremacy of the Necron vessels. The Necrons formed up their fleet formation once again and engaged in a fierce battle. This time the result was not so one sided, as the chaos admiral inflicted serious damage on at least one of the Necron capital ships. Never-the-less the Necrons prevailed once again, maintaining their blockade of the system and continuing their ruthless prosecution of the ground campaign. It would only be a matter of time before the planet became the sixth world to fall to the Necron menace since their appearance three years earlier.

It was apparent to all now that the Necrons were awakening on a number of worlds across the Deeps. Privately Inquisitor Hathek feared the number of worlds in the sector could be dozens or even hundreds. If they were all to awaken, the whole sector could be doomed. On the plus side the fleets of the Catechism and the Claws of Lorek had been severely damaged, and there had never been a better time to launch an all out assault against the chaos naval forces. In addition, intelligence suggested that the vessels of Shaidar Haran had been divided between the Catechism and the Conquerors of Gorgoroth. This left, so Admiral Jellicoe reckoned, just Lorek's battered fleet, Admiral Thok and Admiral Tragean to deal with. Jellicoe began to muster the fleet at Corticant and sent long range Cobra patrols into the Deeps to seek out the main bulk of the Chaos fleet.

War in the Vastrid subsector

With the conquest of Trian, general Pollack was preparing an assault against Aspaster and Hogan's Fall, when intelligence came in of movements of troops and warships to the galactic south. Orks and Chaos forces were reported moving in on the strategically important minor worlds of Spinitis and Gabriel's world, and this needed countering. Pollack knew his forces would not be able to react quickly enough, so the space marines of Aurora Angels chapter offered to deal with the threat.

At the same time, the Dark Angels fleet became available for use in the assault on Hogan's Fall which Pollack had been planning. This allowed the Imperial General to redirect the bulk of the fleet to search for the chaos vessels, while the Dark Angels dealt with the massive Rok fleet in orbit around the minor world.

The Dark Angels successfully defeated the haphazard fleet of asteroids, but took heavy damage in the process. They would now be unable to support Jellicoe's planned attack on Chaos, and returned to Corticant for repairs. They did manage to scatter the orks however, and the Ork forces on Hogan's Fall sound found themselves surrounded and destroyed by the Imperial troops landed while the Ork Roks were being dealt with. The planet was, for the third time in as many months, back in Imperial hands.

Meanwhile on Spinitus the Aurora Angels landed, securing a base on the planet before finding that forces of the Covenant of Damnation had got there some days before. The Astartes attacked and drove off the Chaos forces, expanding their zone of control and taking over the main outpost on the world.

The Covenant had also landed on Gabriel's world, but here the Orks had already appeared, creating their own ramshackle fortresses and setting up great workshops to build their war engines. Many of these were put immediately into use, attacking the Covenant forces, and no matter how hard they tried, the cultist forces couldn't seem to destroy the infernal Ork walkers, and were scattered into the wastelands of the planet, leaving the orks to consolidate their hold on the world.

Valboris consumed

With the Hive Fleet in orbit Nemesis showed none of the lethargy it had during the early days of its infestation of Valboris. Driven by the imperative of the Hive Mind and freed from the need to grow re-enforcements in planetside reclamation pools hordes of Tyranids swept across the planes and skies of Valboris.

Long after other traitor legions had abandoned the planet to its inevitable fate the Conquerors of Gorgoroth tried to stem the tide. Taking up positions across a narrow isthmus they hoped to negate the Tyranids overwhelming advantage in numbers. Their efforts were in vain. Creeping forward under cover of darkness the Tyranids erupted from the ruins of Buffalo Crossing with alarming speed. As the ground was blanketed with writhing gaunts, the skies were filled with gargoyles, unhindered by the constricting terrain. Crazed with blood lust the berserkers of Khorne charged headlong into the wall of living bodies and disappeared under it without trace. Seeing their fate and realising their cause was hopeless the remaining traitor marines withdrew to Coyote Creek where drop ships waited to evacuate them.

No such salvation awaited the hundreds of thousands of cultists that made up the bulk of Valboris' defences. They were left with no choice but to make a last, desperate stand. Under the brutal control of their officers they managed to cut down the first waves of Tyranids with disciplined volleys of fire. Even the lowest of the Tyranids proved unusually difficult to put down, their will totally dominated by the overriding imperative of the Hive Mind, driven to achieve total victory regardless of injury. Suddenly, more Tyranids erupted into the defenders flanks and rear and the remaining organised resistance, already stretched to breaking point, collapsed completely. Nemesis fell on the remaining scattered pockets and devoured them voraciously. Soon, all was silent except for the thrum of ripper swarms stripping the dead and the planet itself of its biomass. With nothing left to resist the Hive Ships descended and began to feed.

Bitter fighting on Tyndareous

By the end of 011M42 the war on Tyndareous had been going on for months without the swift resolution both sides were looking for. For every gain there there had been a reverse, and every initiative had been countered. Now as 12.011M42 approached, the Tau and the Imperium were both planning their new offensives.

On 2411.011M42 both sides began their offensives at dawn, and the two forces ran headlong into each other on the outskirts of Garrett. The Tau, commanded by Moonshine, had planned on taking the city, and were quite unprepared for the sudden appearance of a regiment of Zadocian Guard moving towards their lines. They reacted slowly to the situation, and by the time they had mobilised their reserves, Ranier Pass had fallen to the Imperium. Moonshine had no option but to withdraw from Garrett.

Just 24 hours later, the Tau attacked again, this time coming round the Imperial defences from the north, an area held by the Red Angels. After a protracted fight, Moonshine turned the Imperial flank, undoing their earlier gains and retaking Ranier Pass. The Imperial forces had to then pull back to straighten their lines, surrendering much of Garrett in the process. Then the swing of battle changed again.

The Imperial commander identified a weakness in the Tau assault, and drove home a new push by the Zadocians in the south of Garett. Here the Tau were inexperienced and less well equipped, as Shadowstrike's elite Cadre's had still not been employed. The new attack went in well, and the Tau had to give ground. By 3011.011M42 the front line was back where it started, with thousands dead on both sides.

The Imperium and Tau were both frustrated, but the Imperium were happier. Eventually the Tau would tire of the war of attrition - they expected - and either withdraw or overcommit their forces to Tyndareous, weakening them elswhere. This would also play into Xanthus hands. However, on 0212.011M42 the Dark Eldar suddenly attacked, massacring the Red Angels and completely cutting off the Zadocian Guard in Garrett. The Imperial regiment collapsed, soldiers either fleeing into the hills, surrendering to the Tau or being enslaved by the Dark Eldar, and thanks to this intervention, the city fell to the Tau without a further shot being fired. Now the Tau dominated the east of the colony, and had cut the Imperium in two. The war on Tyndareous seemed far closer to a conclusion than it had in weeks.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vastrid Subsector: current situation

Tyndareous: current situation

Rillietan target Chaos and Necrons

While Inquisitor Huron continued to try to raise a force to chase after the eldar, his options were becoming limited. Now the Orks had taken Hogan's Fall his initial plan had to be scrapped, and as 11.011M42 progressed, it seemed his quarry had returned once more to the Perseus Deeps, perhaps just to spite him.

The eldar now known to Huron as the Rillietan conducted two major raids as the end of 11.011M42 approached. Both times the eldar attacked in concert with the dark eldar kabal known as the Shattered Silence, so there could now be no denying that the two were working together on something, a fact both unusual and disturbing. The first raid was conducted against the forces of chaos on Carnage, with the Rillietan obliterating the Conquerers of Gorgoroth in open battle, before sacking settlements and blasphemous places of worship. The eldar then vanished back into the webway before reinforcements could strike back against them, the Shattered Silence appeared on the other side of the Conqueror's territory and soundly beat them, taking advantage of the confusion wrought by the Rillietan.

Two days later on 2211.011M42 the pair of forces appeared once again, this time on Zog, where the Imperial forces sheltered behind their garrison base walls waiting for the Necrons to attack. They were more than surprised when they received intelligence from their agents that the dark eldar and eldar had combined to attack their enemy. This time the Shattered Silence faired well, defeating the Necron army and sacking at least two tomb complexes, but the eldar of the Rillietan came unstuck when they themselves were ambushed by their Necron enemies en-route to their target. The Necrons beat off this second attack, but the damage had been done - giving the Imperial defenders some breathing space to prepare their defences.

Huron was still completely in the dark. The pattern of raids seemed random, almost arbitrary, and yet at the same time their seemed meaning and purpose behind them. Perhaps it was simply too complex for one human mind - even a great one - to unravel, especially as the lord Inquisitor was not in possession of all of the facts. Even some facts would be nice. Lord Huron worried that the rest of the races in the sector were merely puppets. dancing to an eldar tune.

Orks establish base on Hogan's Fall

While the Imperium retook Trian from the forces of chaos, the Orks, under their more successful warboss, Thrugnik, arrived on Hogan's Fall. It isn't known if this was deliberate, fate, or accidental, but the Orks found the world deserted, with only the remains of an Imperial base to show that it had recently been an outpost of Man. After setting up an initial base, the Orks began building, excavating the rocky hills for the metal to make their warmachines, and as they did so, encountered strange objects. Eventually the leader of the Orks on Hogan's Fall ordered a "propa" investigation, and very soon the Orks had excavated an enormous tomb complex.

As they dug, they became aware that they were being watched. A small squad of shadowy individuals was observing their every move, and apparently making notes. Annoyed by this the warboss sent out an army against the small squad. The Orks advanced whooping and firing their guns in the air, each wanting to be the first to get to their enemy or miss out on the fun. Very soon the Orks had more than they bargained for however, as a host of daemons appeared between them and their prey. Rather than be put off by this however, this only encouraged the Orks, and even more joined the ad-hoc expedition. After a protracted battle, the daemons were banished, leaving the strange squad just ebough time to make good their escape.

Later, on 2211.011M42 the excavations soon bore fruit. Unfortunately the fruit was the mass activation of the Necron tomb complex they had unknowingly been excavating. The Orks however had numbers on their side, and the tomb complex was still waking up - the necrons appearing unfamiliar with their weapons and not fully awake. Despite losing hundreds of boyz to the mechanoid aliend, eventually the tomb complex was cleared and mercilessly pillaged of everything of worth.

When news of this event reached Inquisitor Huron, the lord Inquisitor began making connections. Twice the Imperium had tried to regain the world of Hogan's Fall. small and barely inhabited, and twice they had been removed from the world by the eldar. And yet the Orks had been allowed to stay. Huron thought of what would have happened had the Imperium, not the Orks been present when the Necrons roused from their long slumber. Perhaps the Imperial garrison, unlike the orks, would have fled, or been wiped out. Perhaps the Necrons would have awoken fully and roused more from sleep. Perhaps allowing the orks to take Hogan's Fall had been the design of the eldar all along, or perhaps the old Inquisitor was letting his mind run away with him.

Imperium takes Trian

With the successful landings conducted by the Praetorian Guard consolidated, General Pollack brought together his military aids and subordinates to discuss the next phase of the campaign on Trian. However, just as the council got underway on 1711.011M42, they were interrupted by the arrival of none other than Erik Morkai himself. Stunned by this arrival, the Imperial Guardsmen listened in silence as he informed them that he had arrived with more than a hundred battle brothers, and he had a plan to take the world in just two days. None on the council dared to contradict the great astartes warrior, and they all nodded their assent to his plan when he presented it to them. Two swift strikes on the largest Chaos bases would, he said, destroy the hold the enemy had over the world and their following would crumble, leavin the Vastrid sector free once again of the taint of chaos.

The council agreed and drew up plans to deploy their guardsmen "if needed". Many were excited by the possibility of taking Trian so quickly while others doubted even the Space Wolves could pull off such a feat. One man was privately seething, and hoping Morkai's men would fail. General Pollack was silently furious. If the Space Wolves succeeded they would take Trian and all the glory - away from him.

The Space Wolves' plan went like clockwork. Just two days after arriving the astartes forces arrived without warning at the largest settlement occupied by forces loyal to Lorek. At once the cultist followers broke before the ferocity of the Space Wolves' charge, summoning daemons to do their fighting. Expecting this, the Space Wolves countered by using immediate drop pod reinforcement, and the daemonhost crumbled before their firepower. Meanwhile over three hundred kilometres away another force was attacking the Conqueror's of Gorgoroth. Taken off guard and by surprise the Chaos forces were unable to stop the Space Wolves' assault which thrust like a dagger at the command structure of their forces on Trian. After just one day of fighting, half the time Morkai had predicted, all organised resistance on Trian collapsed and the remaining defenders fled or laid down their arms as the Imperial Guard finally got the order to move out.

Trian had fallen, and the forces of chaos had been routed from the sector. Bells were rung in honour of the Space Wolves for the deliverance of the Cerrack Nebula, and celebrations took place across the subsector as the news spread across the void. Through gritted teeth General Pollack stood for propaganda vidpicts alongside the squad leaders of the astartes. Sidelined, slighted, and with a lust for glory re-ignited, Pollack began planning his next move against the Orks.

Tau retake the initiative on Tyndareous

After a promising start the Tau invasion of Tyndareous had foundered. Many Cadres, veterans of the campaigns on Tarsis and Melberg, had been rotated out for much needed refits and re-enforcement. In place had been drafted in new Cadres under a fresh Shas'O and they had lost ground under the pressure of repeated Imperial counter attacks.

Shadowstrike implored the Ethereals to allow him to take command of the campaign. He explained that if Xanthus' faction were allowed to claim a victory on Tyndareous it would mean not only the loss of the campaign but also the imperilment of Tau colonies throughout the subsector as Xanthus' cause gained in credibility and support. Eventually the Ethereals assented and Shadowstrike began redeploying his Cadres to the beleaguered war zone.

The Tau position was fragile and Shadowstrike expected a concerted Imperial drive to remove the Tau base on Tyndareous once and for all. Sure enough, Stealth teams and aerial surveillance soon detected signs of large troop movements and the Tau prepared for the inevitable onslaught.

The assault was two pronged. Airborne Guard regiments swooped into Vallarender. Unsure where exactly the Imperials would strike the Tau were spread thin and an escalating engagement soon broke out in the suburbs of the city. The Valkyries and Vendettas of the Guard made repeated strafing runs of the Tau positions but each time they were met with disciplined and concentrated volleys of fire that forced them to break off and circle for another opportunity. With time running out and Tau re-enforcements arriving from all directions the Guard were forced to make ever more reckless attacks and paid the price. One by one the attack craft were shot down or crippled and the survivors broke off and returned to base, low on fuel and with little to show for their efforts.

Meanwhile a second attack targeted the main Tau base itself. The Tau easily picked up the armoured column of Space Wolf vehicles heading towards their perimeter and prepared a defence in depth, prepared to give ground and drain the attack of its strength with a withering onslaught of fire. They didn't notice the Strike Cruiser silently orbiting the planet until it unleashed its payload of drop pods. The attack was both audacious and risky. The combined orbital drop, mechanised assault and rear attack by infiltrating Wolf Scouts was impossible to co-ordinate with total precision but the brutality and surprise of the attack threatened to annihilate the Tau base. A less disciplined foe would have broken before the terror tactics of the Astartes, but hardened by years of constant campaigning Shadowstrike's Cadres displaying near perfect fire discipline. Not giving the Space Wolves time to consolidate and form a co-ordinated attacked they isolated each facet of the attack in turn. Astartes emerged from their drop pods, only to be gunned down without mercy by overwhelming firepower. The Space Wolves fire support succeeding in inflicting heavy casualties amongst the Tau and bringing down many of their armoured vehicles. Despite this the drop pod assault had failed and the Space Wolves had no way of holding the ground they were taking. Reluctantly they withdrew, saving their remaining strength for future fighting.

With the Imperial offensive blunted and their forces thrown into disarray Shadowstrike launched his own offensive. Airborne Cadres succeeded in securing Rainier Pass and Pardle Junction unopposed before Mechanised Cadres streamed into Tyndareous Base, destroying the aircraft based there and surrounding the Tyndar Plateau. Now the Tau had the advantage on Tyndareous and Shadowstrike intended to press it and finish this campaign quickly.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nemesis launches new offensive

On 0811.011M42 the Imperial battlegroup under Clinton-Baker had arrived at Caitlen Station, taking up position around an outer planet while all manner of resupply ships from the station itself brought much needed spares and crew to the waiting vessel. However, just days after their arrival strange surveyor reading readings should have alerted the Commodore to an imminent threat, but the readings were vague and unrecognised. Then without warning a mass of vessels appeared, strange living vessels bearing bioweaponry and vicious looking claws. Hive fleet Nemesis had arrived.

The appearance of the tyranids at Caitlen station was a complete surprise. The hive mind had acted with great and unexpected strategic planning. Instead of waiting above Alphe to be attacked by Commodore Clinton-Baker's battlegroup, the tyranids had ambushed their attackers in a situation favourable to them.

The hive fleet attacked directly, and despite the Imperial vessels coming to full alertness almost immediately, Clinton-Bakers ships were not in an ideal tactical formation and were far too close to their enemy. A violent battle erupted, with Nemesis losing a vast number of their smaller ships. Early on in the battle the light cruisers Arethusa and Galatea were overwhelmed and destroyed, but as the battle progressed the victory of the alien fleet was by no means certain. However Nemesis triumphed at last when the Oberon class battleship Hercules, stuck at the rear of a hastily deployed formation, faced the full fury of the tyranid battlefleet. Hercules' shields were overwhelmed and the mighty vessel was pummelled from bow to stern. The ancient battleship blew up with all hands and the rest of the fleet was forced to retreat back to the safety of Caitlen Station's Ramilles class starfort. Nemesis did not pursue, but the planned mission to Alphe was cancelled, the planet and its defenders left to their fate until more forces could be spared.

Meanwhile on Alphe, listening posts and orbital surveillance satellites on Alphe had been maintaining a status of high alert ever since the discovery of Tyranid bioforms on the western archipelagos. Imperial intelligence believed the infestation was merely an advanced tendril of nemesis, sent to gather information and secure a beachhead for a full invasion. General Percival had ordered that all anomalous sightings were to be investigated, so when a meteor shower was sighted over the Alpmaadow Downs a company of Guard was dispatched to investigate. The sighting was far from the infested zone and the Pryford Meadows region was considered a rear echelon area. It was garrisoned only by the 24th Islandawandas, a large but poorly equipped regiment of light infantry almost entirely without vehicle and artillery support.

It was only when the company investigating the impact site failed to report in or answer hails that concerns were first raised at High Command and Percival ordered a surveillance satellite to be hastily repositioned to overfly the 24ths last known co-ordinates. What was shown on the orbital feed horrified him. Infra-red imagining showed millions of teaming xenoforms swarming around an impact site that was already obscured by an extensive hive node. The images barely had time to sink in before the satellites sensors detected an unidentified craft nearby and the feed went dead.

One by one the command post lost contact with all its satellites and orbital installations. The Hive Fleet had at long last arrived. Hours later all contact was lost with Pryford. A last panicked vox transmission reported a sea of Tyranids coating the plains in a heaving mass of chitin. Percival immediately ordered the redeployment of Guard regiments to contain the invasion and prayed that it would be enough.

Raids confuse Huron

Inquisitor Huron arrived in the Vastrid sector with his entourage in early 011M42, but was unable to sequester any forces to carry out anything other than observations. Inquisitor Lord Hathek was unwilling to lend Huron any of his own indentured forces with Xanthus still at large in the Mabb Nebula, and Lord General Roover was prevaricating with Huron's request. Roover still had wars to fight in the Perseus Deeps, Alphe and Cerrack Nebula, not to mention the unwelcome sideshow of the war on Tyndareous thanks to Xanthus' xenophobia.

While Huron watched and waited, more raids were conducted by the eldar in the Vastrid subsector. First the Conqueror's of Gorgoroth were massacred by Dark Eldar forces on Trian, but in complete contrast to the raid the previous week, this raid only helped the Imperial invasion, but Huron was unwilling to believe the timing was mere co-incidence. This was followed by a smaller raid on the ork world of Aspaster, but the main raid came on 1711.011M42, when the Rillietan mounted a large assault on the Red Angels at their base on Quim.

The Red Angels were unprepared for the raid and their response to the lightning raid was unco-ordinated and haphazard. Once again the Marines suffered with lack of equipment, and General Pollack began to worry about the effectiveness of the Astarted force, although he was unable to voice these concerns. Huron meanwhile was still in the dark as to whether the Dark Eldar and Rillietan attacks were part of a wider strategy. The Shattered Silence attack on Hogan's Fall was more evidence, but evidence of what? Huron resolved to raise a force and go to Hogan's Fall, to bait the eldar into attacking. Maybe if he could capture a prisoner or two the meaning behind these raids would become clear.

Pollack presses home Vastrid offensive

With the failure of the first invasion of Trian, General Pollack wasn't about to give up on his plan of making safe all the worlds of the Cerrack Nebula. Only a week after his initial invasion Trian was assaulted again, this time with better preparation and intelligence gathering. The groundwork paid off, and following heavy fighting with the Conquerers of Gorgoroth, two Imperial bridgeheads were established by the Praetorian Guard, led by the veteran 42nd regiment.

General Pollack also sent a regiment of Islandawandan Guardsmen, considered "expendable" by the Administratum, to investigate the loss of contact with Hogan's Fall. The poorly equipped Guardsmen landed without incident, but soon suffered the same fate as the previous occupiers of the outpost. The Dark Eldar of the Shattered Silence attacked the Islandawandans with a furious assault, but found to their frustration that the Imperial Guard were stubborn in their defence. However, after over a day of fighting the commander on the ground decided he was outmatched, and with Pollack's agreement the invasion was cancelled, although no consideration was given to the remaining defenders on Hogan's Fall. It was considered an unacceptable risk of valuable assets to extract the Islandawandans, and the entire force was wiped out. This setback didn't concern Pollack, such regiments were easy to replace. Learning his lesson, Pollack put plans to retake Hogan's Fall to one side and concentrated on planning the next offensive on Trian.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Trian debacle

Following the success on Quim, General Pollack hoped to capitalise on the Imperial victory by immediately moving against the Chaos positions on Trian. His Cerberex Guard were exhausted, so could not be sent into another battle immediately, but Pollack still had three regiments of Librian Guard and a company of Red Angels to call on.

The Imperial fleet, led by the battleship Vanguard, met no resistance when it arrived at the Trian system, and Pollack was able to unload one regiment of Guardsmen and establish a bridgehead. However, within hours of creating this base, the Imperial forces came under attack from the forces of Chaos, who were far more numerous, organised and well equipped than Imperial intelligence had let on.

The first attack came from the little known Conquerers of Gorgoroth, who were able to deploy several land raiders, each filled with murderous Khorne bezerkers. The Librians, regiments largely untested in battle, suffered greatly as their tanks failed to deal with the enemy armour. Overall gunnery was poor, and the Conquerers managed to charge the Imperial infantry without too much trouble. The battle was bloody, but the Imperial Guardsmen stood little chance against the ruthless traitor marines, and before long the entire Imperial perimeter was compromised.

Facing a massacre, Pollack, still safely aboard the Vanguard, called for aid from the Red Angels, who duly deployed in order to buy the General more time to gather reinforcements. As they deployed, a second force appeared, taking the Imperial forces off guard. Traitor Marines belonging to the "Enraptured" warband, attacked the Red Angels, who were all on foot, with tanks and infantry. The result was a massacre, and the Red Angels took heavy punishment, The forces of the Enraptured and the Conquerers of Gorgoroth then completted the rout, meeting in the middle of the Imperial bridgehead and slaughtering the remaining defenders to a man.

Pollack ordered in more regiments, but with the bridgehead overrun and the forces of Chaos fully alerted, his sub commanders pleaded with him to abandon the invasion. Frustrated, the General assented, and the Imperial fleet returned to Quim, minus a complete regiment of Guardsmen and half a company of Marines. The Chaos presence in the Cerrack Nebula remained, and Pollack faced difficult questions from his commanding officer, Lord General Roover.

Swiftstar breaks into Perseus Deeps

The Tau position in the Perseus Deeps had become increasingly desperate during the latter part of 011M42 with the loss of the Skera colony, and despite the protestations of Shadowstrike that the war on Tyndareous was unfinished, the Ethereals decided to reinforce their positions in the Deeps, particularly the main bases of Lucardium and Cernunnos.

Admiral Swiftstar was given the task of moving his considerable fleet from the Mabb Nebula to the Perseus Deeps, as quickly as possible. This meant travelling near to the Rim Worlds, the home of the Catechism. Recent fleet actions convinced the Tau admiral that the Catechism fleet, although formidable, might ignore the Tau fleet passing through their territory, given their recent losses against the Imperium.

Unfortunately for Swiftstar, whoever was commanding the Catechism clearly objected to the large Tau fleet lumbering its way through the Rim Worlds, and before long the Tau found themselves with a large Chaos fleet on their tail. Only able to make short warp hops, the Tau admiral knew he would have to give battle eventually, and the superior speed of the Chaos warships ensured the battle took place in the confusing mercurial zone of a solitary star near to Aornis, once a Tau base.

The Chaos fleet split into two divisions, with the greater part led by a Desolator class battleship, passing down the port wing of Swiftstar's "box" formation. This allowed Swiftstar to turn his fleet to starboard, lining up the smaller battlegroup of three cruisers in his formidable gunsights. Unfortunately in the difficult environment of the sun's radiation belt, the shooting on both sides suffered, and while the chaos fleet lost one devastation class vessel and had two more cruisers crippled, Swiftstar was frustrated that the damage wasn't more significant. He was more annoyed by the fact the two crippled cruisers managed to escape within the sensor baffling radiaton belts and plasma filaments.

Swiftstar then manouvered his fleet in a wide arc to face the remaining chaos vessels, suffering severe damage to two of his protector class cruisers and the loss of his escorts. The battle continued spasmodically for another hour, before both sides withdrew, neither side able to claim victory despite the greater material losses of the chaos fleet. By 1211.011M42, Swiftstar had made it to Cernunnos, significantly strengthening the Tau position in the Perseus Deeps, but the damage to two capital ships was an unwelcome setback.

The scourging of Hogan's Fall

While the assault on Trian raged, there was fighting on two other worlds within the Vastrid subsector. On 0311.011M42 the Dark Eldar of the Shattered Silence fell upon the Imperial base on Hogan's fall. The base had only recently been wrestled back from the Orks, and the Imperial Guard at the base were entirely wiped out or captured before the Grey Knights, using the world as their base of operations within the subsector, could counter the alien raid.

The Grey Knights moved quickly to stop the Dark Eldar from entirely destroying the base, but the Shattered Silence brought murderous firepower to bear on the small Imperial force. Before long the Grey Knights were in retreat and were forced to ask for assistance.

The Dark Angels responded to the call but deployed straight into a Dark Eldar ambush. They lost many brave astartes warriors before aborting their mission, leaving the Grey Knights to fight off the aliens alone. Unlike their other raids, the Shattered Silence continued their pursuit against the Grey Knights until they were forced to completely abandon the world. The Dark Eldar Kabal had already taken a huge haul of slaves, so this action perplexed the Imperial forces and drew the attention of Inquisitor Huron, who in response moved his base of operations to the subsector.

By 1011.011M42 the Grey Knights had evacuated Hogan's Fall, leaving any remaining Imperial citizens, military or civilian, to an unpleasant fate at the hands of the Dark Eldar. Hogan's Fall had been destroyed as an Imperial base, at least for the time being.

Valboris almost consumed

The slow death of Valboris continued as 11.011M42 began, with a determined assault by the Tyranids for the rest of Purgatory. Despite the impossible position the Chaos forces found themselves in, they still eagerly leapt to the defence of their world, and new warbands threw themselves enthusiastically at the alien foe. For some it had become an insane battle of honour, with various factions trying their forces out, almost always suicidally, against the Tyranid menace. There would be no evacuation, every man on Valboris would fight to the last.

The latest force to "try their hand" against the Tyranids were the new arrivals to the subsector, the Conquerers of Gorgoroth. This force was virtually unknown to Imperial intelligence, but it seems while the majority of the force travelled to the Vastrid subsector, a small force evaded the Nemesis scout biovessels above the world of Valboris and landed near Coyote Creek. Within hours of their arrival the crazed Khorne bezerkers were in combat, charging the Tyranid horde overrunning Purgatory...With predictable results. Nemesis accepted the biomass thrust before it, and moved impacably onwards towards Buffalo Crossing and Erin Bay. Analysts now reckoned Purgatory would be overrun by the end of the year, unless Nemesis chose to take even more time over its conquest of the outlaw world.

Eldar raids arouse suspicion

11.011M42 began as 10.011M42 had ended, with more Eldar and Dark Eldar raids. The main focus of these raids seemed to have shifted to the Vastrid subsector, one of the main reasons why Inquisitor Huron moved his base of operations to the subsector. Huron was intent on knowing why the raids had increased during the year, to a far higher level than seen in the last century.

The latest raids on 0211.011M42 and 04.011M42 took place on Aspaster and Trian in the Cerrack Nebula. The first was conducted, as Huron managed to find out, by the Rillietan, the strange Eldar force led by the warriors of the Laughing God. The raid destroyed several Ork installations, and enraged the greenskins, whipping them into a frenzy which saw them launch their abortive attack on the neighbouring system of Quim a few days later. Huron couldn't help but draw a correlation. Were the Eldar deliberately goading the Orks?

The second raid took place on the Chaos world of Trian, days before the Imperium launched their abortive landings on the world. The attack saw a force of traitor marines wiped out, and the Dark Eldar take many prized astartes captives, but the real effect was to put the Chaos forces on full alert, just in time to defeat the Imperial landings. Huron grew more and more concerned. Were these raids linked? Were the Dark Eldar working in concert with the Rillietan? For them? Huron made plans to sequester a force of Guard and draw up a mission to find out.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Necron implacable advance

The Necron threat in the perseus Deeps increased in magnitude as 10.011M42 drew to a close with increased activity on two worlds. The first, Blight, a chaos daemonworld once called Sullidaan, saw an upsurge in fighting as Necrons began to advance ever closer to the world's capital on the western hemisphere. The Necrons were determined to retake their old empire, and this world they considered their own, no matter what daemonic entity now claimed it.

The Necrons faced mostly daemonic armies loyal to the faction known as the Covenant of Damnation, but some astartes warbands were also present. After initial gains the Necrons suffered a determined counter attack, buying the forces of Chaos at least time to deal with the threat, but with Chaos on the back-foot on all fronts across the region, losses in men and equipment were hard to replace. Again and again they were forced to rely on daemonic summonings to do their bidding, and these were often risky and capricious, and couldn't hold territory for long. This was made worse as the Necrons advanced, the daemonic grip on Blight loosening with every Necron gain.

While events played out on Blight, the weakened tau colony of Skera soon came under unexpected attack. Only weeks before the Tau had suffered at the hands of Dark Eldar raiders, and were ill-prepared to meet this latest invasion, which came in great strength. Bravely the Tau sacrificed themselves for the greater good, giving ground where they could and attacking ferociously where they could not. However the Tau found the Necrons particularly hard to deal with, noting in horror how the mechanoid race simply withstood firepower which would shatter the advance of other races.

Reading the transcripts of the commander of Skera's call for aid, Commander Shadowstrike realised that the commander with responsibility for the Tau colony world was out of his depth. Shadowstrike immediately dispatched a veteran commander and his hunter cadre to deal with the situation, but when they arrived the situation was dire. The Tau landed their forces amidst scenes of near panic as the colonists of Skera scrambled to get off-world as soon as possible. Advancing straight into battle Shadowstrike's cadre soon found itself on the end of withering firepower from the Necron invaders, and could do no more than delay the inevitable. They held on long enough for the colonists to escape, then enacted a fighting withdrawal, engaging in desperate firefights as the last of the Tau dropships made for orbit. Skera was beyond hope. Which world would be next?

Raids continue in Perseus Deeps

Raids by Eldar and Dark Eldar continued, even intensified in the last week of 10.011M42, as the Vastrid subsector saw a number of small actions involving most factions vying for control of the Cerrack Nebula. A new Kabal, as yet unseen in the Perseus Deeps carried out three separate incursions with mixed results. One against Thrugnik's Orks on Aspaster was unsuccessful, but another, as well as a raid on Chaos held Trian, yielded better results and a healthy tally of captives.

Meanwhile in the Deeps the Lamenters found themselves under attack by the Shattered Silence while investigating the remains of a Necron civilisation on an unimportant world near Corticant. The Shattered Silence did not seem to want captives, so why they attacked the Lamenters remains a mystery, although speculation hints that there was something there the Dark Eldar didn't want the imperium to find.

Never-the-less the Dark Eldar raid was easily beaten of by the Astartes forces and the Kabal withdrew to lick its wounds in the webway, allowing the Lamenters to continue their reconnaissance unmolested.

Later in the month the forces of Chaos found themselves on the wrong end of a raid by the Rillietan on Calliden. This was the first time the Eldar of the Harlequin faction had raided a major Chaos world, and the action was quite unexpected and without apparent motive. Several Chaos installations were destroyed and the Chaos legion guarding them took heavy casualties.

Nemesis reaches end game on Valboris

The slow but unstoppable advance of the Tyranid horde on the Chaos world of Valboris continued in 10.011M42, with the hive mind apparently willing to take its time in digesting its current meal. No new hiveships appeared, but there was no need, as long as they kept pushing the defenders back.

After taking Main Crossing and Mount Silston in the previous month, despite a momentary setback, Nemesis was on the move again in 10.011M42. By the middle of the month reports of Tyranid activity had reached the settlement of Purgatory, and fighting resumed. The Chaos forces deployed all they had against the invader, which in truth wasn't much in terms of men and equipment, but for a time dogged resistance held up the Tyranid advance. It was a forlorn hope however, and by the end of the month half the settlement had been infested.

The defenders of Valboris now faced certain death. Without massive reinforcement from Chaos forces - which were in retreat across the sector - Nemesis would have its prize. But the worshippers of the dark gods refused to go quietly and without a fight, and the doomed struggle on Valboris continued.