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.