Sunday, May 14, 2017

Corticant: Aftermath

The aftermath of the Corticant invasion left the planet in the contril of the loyalists, crusade and alliance forces. The necrons withdrew, realising they could not prevail, and the Alliance, bottled up in Fort Bastion with hostile enemies on both sides, made good their escape. The loyaliusts and Crusade now eyed each other with suspicion, before a truce was held at Arenhall Junction.

Here, Inquisitor Vorushko met with the leaders of the Imperial Loyalist forces, explaining that she was not their enemy, and that she had no intention of destroying Corticant or passing any edict outside the Zadoc subsector. Unconvinced, but realising further war was not in anyone's interests, the commander of Corticant, General Veers, agreed to Vorushko's terms.

The Crusade forces withdrew, with the exception of Vorushko's personal guard, and the archeological ruins in the south of Corticant were ceded to the crusade. What the Inquisitor lord wanted with the ancient Necron ruins was anyone's guess, but on 2406.017M42 another inquisitor, Huron, arrived on the planet. Then they waited, waited for a miracle.

Meanwhile all around dire portents were beginning to be fortold amongst those with psychic talent. Before long psi phenomena started affecting even non-psykers, and the evening sky all across the sector began to glow an erie sickly purple. Warp storms began to rage across the sector and transport was ceased. The Aleph sector watched and waited to see what would happen next.

The invasion of Corticant: Chaos and Xenos

The Chaos forces were lured to the planet of Corticant by the prescience of Tzeenth, who knew that the defeat of the other races, especially regarding the necron device, would be beneficial in the months and years to come, and he sent his favoured daemon prince to take the fight directly to the defenders of the Archeological site. Unfortunately for the prince of change, his plans were undone by the presence of loyalist Librian Guardsmen. Unable to seize the site for chaos, the Emerald Serpent faction now preferred to wait and let events unfold.

The Necrons too wanted access to their ancient device, but upon appearing at Ironhaven, their progress was checked by the Deathwatch, who had been tracking the movements of the Sautekh dynasty for many months, since the necrons were now awakening all across the eastern fringe. The necrons managed to defeat the Deathwatch and take Ironhaven, but realised with the eldar and alliance standing in their way, there was no reasonable chance for them to retake their ancient tomb site.

The tyranids of Nemesis had already insiduously infested the world of Corticant through long range spores, but the arrival of the other factions was not part of the tyranid master plan. Across the planet the hive mind was assaulted. By the Ultramarines at Wellake, the Angels Repentant at Shadowshore, and with the eldar harlequins repeatedly harrassing their movements across the strategically vital Arehnall Junction. By the end of 06.017M42 the Tyranid threat at least had been eliminated from Corticant.

The invasion of Corticant: The alliance and the eldar

The alliance invasion of Corticant was comparatively unprepared and ill-equipped. The Tau and Federacy had no idea of the real importance of the device on Corticant and were oblivious to the multitude of forces now arrayed against the small world. It is likely that had they known such an invasion would not have been attempted at all.

The alliance force consisted of a small number of Cadres of Shadowstrike and Skyfall, with some support from Federal Hartak units (squats) and Alliance mechanicus from Vornax. This force prepared a landing zone in the north of the planet, with the intention of taking Fort Bastion and the planet's main communication hub, before mopping up resistance later.

Upon landing, the alliance forces were shocked to discover the world had also been invaded by the crusade, and the loyalists were already battling multiple Xenos. Unable to merely withdraw, the Mechanicum forces tried to hold off the Minotaurs, which they barely managed - Shadowstrike threatening the Crusade landing zone in order to take the pressure of the Ad Mech, who were losing badly. This worked, but the battered Mechanicum forces would play no part in the assault on Fort Bastion.

"Shadowstrike" (or most likely one of his disciples) then led the attack on the imperial capital, and the Federacy committed their own forces with the Squats of Hartak fighting as auxiliaries, teleporting into the Imperium's back lines to destroy their artillery effectively dirupting their communications. Despite the Imperium diverting all available forces to stop them they weathered the storm and captured the central refinery complex. This was key to the fort. Without power the forces of the imperium were doomed, but they did not surrender.

Gradually the Praetorian Guard were surrounded in the complex of Fort Bastion, bombarded by the Tau for hours, before finally trying to break out of the cordon and immediately being cut down. They did inflict significant losses on the Tau forces however, especially to their exposed infantry, but their armour and crisis suits were eventually able to push in, with Shadowstrike and his bodyguard personally forcing their way into the complex, destroying multiple armoured units before engaging the Guard in close quaters combat. They eventually relieved the beleaguered Squats who blunty swore they were in no need of rescue and had everything under control already thanks very much.

With Fort Bastion secure Skyfall's units made landfall and began moving the tau perimeter westwards, meeting little resistance, but by now the alliance did not know what to do. They had the capital but war had erupted all across the inhabited hemisphere of the planet. While they decided their next move, Skyfall's forces were attacked at Violetwind, forcing the tau to withdraw entirely to the Fort. Now, as the loyalist forces followed up, it was the alliance who were besieged at Fort Bastion.

The invasion of Corticant: The crusade

Vorushko's plan for the invasion of Corticant was not without risk. She lacked the forces to take the entire planet and hold it against the loyalists, let alone the forces she now knew were en route to the planet to make their own bid to control. She knew the necron device under the surface of the world was the key to imense power, and her Mechanicus colleagues needed to hold the world long enough to understand its secrets. With this in mind her small force of Minotaurs, Angels Repentant and a regiment of Death Korps made their way unnoticed into orbit around Corticant, aided by arcane technologies awarded to the Lord of Light by the Mechanicus and prepared to assault the loyalist world.

The attack was simple. Land in force on the shores of Lake Hartford, cut imperial forces in two and take the capital. With the loyalist forces split and in disarray her forces would then move on the excavation site, her real target. However, as soon as her forces landed they made contact with the alliance landing force, and heretic Mechanicus forces moved to intercept the Minotaurs' first drop. The astartes, full of anger and hate, furiously assaulted the traitorous Ad Mech, but in their fury they managed to lose sight of the objectives, and despite doing overwhelming damage, were forced to withdraw lest the Death Korps landing site be overrun.

The plan fell apart shortly after, as the Death Korps, far from tying the Lycannon down, were instead massacred on the shores of Lake Hartford. Now Vorushko only had her Astartes forces left. The Minotaurs made a successful drop on 1005.017M42, defeating the Lycannon at Bymarsh and taking the settlement, and the Angels Repentant took Shadowshore, crushing the remnants of the tyranid infestation sent fleeing from the Ultramarines. However, the main prize, the excavation site, was now defended by the Librian Guard. Vorushko would not be able to assault their positions without risking a counter from the north, and there was no way of holding the site long enough to perform the much needed analysis, as the site was remote and she would need to hold both the settlement of Bymarsh as well as the archeological objective. Without the Death Korps, this would be impossible. Despite holding both sides of Lake Hartford, Vorushko's forces could go no further.

The invasion of Corticant: Loyalists

The loyalists defending Corticant soon found themselves beset by enemies. General Greaves, appointed by Veers to oversee command of imperial forces on Corticant had significant forces at his disposal, and he had prepared well. The Lycannon guard were deployed largely in the west, which proved fortunate when the Death Korps of Krieg, loyal to Inquisitor Vorushko, landed in force near Lochford. In a large and bloody set piece battle the soldiers of Krieg were decimated by the Lycannon, and their assault on Blackhollow failed. However, just hours later the Minotaurs led their own assault on the imperial guard, smashing the Lycannon at Bymarsh and quickly fortifying their position. The Lycannon Guard now found themselves cut off in the north west from Greaves at Fort Bastion.

The excavation site itself was defended by the Librian 12th Armoured division, which was considered to be loyal by the commissariat, loyal enough to defend the archealogical dig at least, where Greaves, unaware of its importance, did not suspect any hostile intervention. He was wrong of course, the excavations were the primary reason for Corticant becoming the target of invasion, but the senior ranking official responsible for the defence of the planet was not deemed important enough to know what had been found there. Even so, his deployment of a full division of Librians (mostly to get them out of the way) was fortunate. On 0606.017M42 an enormous host of daemons punched through into realspace, led by a daemon prince proclaiming to be the head of a cult known as the "Emerald Serpent". What that meant know one knew, but the Librians fought valiantly anyway, their big guns and multilasers ppouring fire into the daemons and their vehicles for once proving reliable and sturdy. The attack was over in just a few hours, with the remaining daemons banished back to the warp.

Still, a daemon incursion was a concern, but no sooner had Greaves received news of this than reports came in of tyranid activity in the north west. The nascent threat of Nemesis had awoken, seizing its chance to call the hive fleet to the world. Greaves was thankful to have a force of Ultramarines on hand however, and the astartes, remembering their hatred for the foe that once ravaged their own domain, obliterated the tyranid infestation in short order.

Worse was to follow for Greaves however. The necrons soon appeared, using arcane technology to arrive and seize Ironhaven, and the Deathwatch force sent to remove them found the Sautek Dynasty had reinforced the Charnovokh in strength. The imperial force were unable to dislodge them and retreated to Fort Bastion, where they hoped to aid its defence from a new attack. The alliance had finally arrived.

The alliance had landed just south of the ocean known as the Squallor, and now had pushed in to the capital Fort Bastion. THe Praetorians fought doggedly but with the Astartes still mopping up tyranids and the Lycannon guard cut off by Vorushko's forces, General Greaves could only watch as gradually the tau and federal forces took down the mighty fort's defences. Within a day the capital, and spaceport, were in the hands of the alliance. A few days later however the Lycannon guard, aware the Minotaurs could not be everywhere at once, forced a path through to the north of Lake Hartford. There they met and defeated a large army under tau commander skyfall, and by 1505_017M42 the alliance were besieged themselves in the fort. General Greaves managed to escape into the wilderness, and he took command once again when the relief force arrived.

Corticant summary

Corticant summary: Chaos and tyranids defeated, loyalists hold major settlements as well as the excavation site. The alliance hold fort bastion and the space port while the crusade hold critical strategic locations. Overall two of these three factions must now work together to prevent the third from taking control of the ancient device at the core of the planet. Time is critical, there can be no long war.
The alliance - aided by the eldar harlequins, now know the importance of the device. The crusade under Vorushko are busily gaining knowledge of the device, while the loyalists are still rather clueless, but actually hold the site...

Wednesday, May 03, 2017


Inquisitor Vorushko cast the data slate aside and gazed idly at the artificial flames in the fireplace of her state room aboard the Inquisition ship Lord of Light. This was her base of operations now. With the apparent rise of Guilliman and the involvement of the living saint, much of her Crusade had abandoned her. The Crusade fleet, a rag tag but giant force of vessels with fanatical zeal, as well as the firebrand priests had all gone, swept up on a holy crusade to Terra, where Celestine herself had appeared with the resurrection of the Primarch of the Ultramarines. Now only three chapters of Astartes, the Sky Lords, Minotaurs and Angels Repentent, kept faith with her, along with elements of the mechanicus and several guard regiments she had managed to secure. But her fleet numbered mere tens of ships where once there had been hundreds.

Vorushko remained skeptical. She knew within her heart there was something wrong with Guilliman, no matter what her one time friend Greyfax claimed, the reappearance of the Primarch after ten millenia and the involvement of Xenos proved to her that the Primarch could not be trusted. "Trust me" Greyfax had ended her communication, but how could Natalia trust a friend who had been trapped by Xenos for several centuries? To Natalia, trust meant nothing. Faith and righteousness had been her defence in the past and had served her well. She knew her purpose was just and her plan the only one which would deliver mankind from the alien and the heretic on the eastern rim. Faith in the emperor had got her through the warpstorms of the Aurelis Deeps which had trapped her ship for more than three hundred Terran years, and Faith had told her this sector must burn to cleanse the wound eating at the heart of the Imperium.

And now the new data from Corticant. Her agents had done well, intercepting the secret communique to the idiot Hathek. The old fool still had little idea of the power that had been found under the surface of the world, and worse, they had managed to accidentally activate the thing. Now it would be calling to all who had the with to hear it.

Natalia knew what the object found in the caverns was. This was the third, or possily fourth such construct to have been found in the Perseus Deeps. At first the Imperium had assumed these "devices" had been created by the warp spawn of chaos, having first encountered such an artefact in the possession of the Iron Warriors, but her junior Inquisitor, Xanthus, had managed to destroy it on Myrentas II, dying in the attempt. This device had been used to fold space and punch tunnels through the warp, sacrificing thousands of living souls to power it.

Another had been found on Valitane, and yet a third on Protogonus. The device on Valitane had been similarly used by chaos, this time to bend the warp to the will of its masters, controlling the population and almost overthrowing imperial rule. Vorushko's agents had stopped that just in time, and then discovered a third being analysed by the Tau and Federacy on Protogonus. the alliance, ignorant heretical fools that they were, attempted to harness the power of the device to build an impenetrable energy shield, with varying, often disastrous results.

Now another, a fourth had been found on Corticant. As yet Hathek and his "loyalists" were not yet aware of what they had found, but this one was different. Not only had the device been found intact, but the ancient power core it sat upon. And it had been powered up... Even the accidental feeding of one living soul to the device was enough to start the ancient engines, which now broadcast their signal across the Perseus Deeps. Others would come, tempted like moths to a flame.

Vorushko stood, her mind made up. Pulling the hood over her long flowing hair, the inquisitor lord made her way to the bridge of the Lord of Light.

"Summon the Crusade Council. We are going to war".

Corticant badlands excavation transcript

+++Transmitted: Corticant Terminus 
+++Date: 0105_017M42
+++Security Clearance: Extremis Ultra
+++Ref: CBE004/1-B
+++Recieved: [REDACTED]
+++Subject: Corticant Excavation Report
+++Author: [REDACTED]

My lord,

Progress in the caverns beneath Veers Mound has been swift of late, thanks to the timely arrival of Adeptus mechanicus scanning equipment and the use of explosives blast into the vast subteranean caverns which auspex returns had indicated must exist. As predicted there were some fatalities among the excavation crew, but the importance of this mission overrides such selfish concerns such as personal safety. They died in their own way to serve the Emperor.

Upon entering the chasm we were confronted with total darkness, but within stood the fruit of our labour. Even the Adeptus Mechanicus lord with us appeared to show signs of wonderment and awe at the vast structure which now stood in front of us. Fully 100 stories high, the almost perfectly smooth and impossibly black obelisk stood as a buried skyscraper, not reaching for the skies but diving into the darkness of the core of the planet. We were unable to see the bottom with our lighting equipment, but scanner estimations suggest the obelisk may drive even further into the rock.

Atop this alien structure, within the chasm into which we had blasted, sat a cylindrical structure, lying on its side with  one circular end pointing towards us. Nothing appeared to hold the structure fast onto the towering obelisk and yet it did not roll off. We had made our egress into the cavern holding the wonder at the same height as this cylindrical object, which must be one hundred feet long and twenty feet in diameter. A ledge of rock jutted out twards the top of the black structure, and upon examination it was clear there had once been a polished marble floor atop it. Ancient beings would have once walked this path, but for what?

The Adeptus Mechanicus scanned the structure, and found nothing but their own scans reflected. the object appeared more than inert, but as if it had a negative existence. Fearing the machinations of the warp I instructed our Psyker to user her Psinescience on the object, but she recoiled in horror, declaring the black cylinder as an anathaema. Never-the-less, I resloved to investigate further, and we crossed onto the top of the giant structure. The surface was impossibly smooth, glass like, with not a scratch after millenia. Not even a grain of dust marked its black and wholly unreflective surface. Neither did it feel slippery, and many attested to feeling as if they were walking on the void itself.

At last we approached the cylinder which now loomed above us. A final auspex scan revealed nothing, and a circuit of the object revealed no markings indicating a way in. Whatever it once was, whatever its purpose, it was now dead, or so we thought. One of our indentured guardsman was unable to resist temptation and layed his hand on the object. There was a scream and a whipcrack noise which appeared to come from within my own head, and the guardsman instantaneously vanished from existence. The crack had been the rush of air to fill the space he no longer occupied. Looking at our group I noticed we all had nosebleeds, but our psyker faired the worst. She had been the one screaming, and now she lay lifeless on the perfectly black surface.

We picked up our her body and made our way away from the object, noting now that the auspex returns registered internal energy, and green lines became barely discernable on the black face of the cylindrical object that had somehow claimed two of the lives of our party. 

Since this first encounter we have studied the object, or the device as it is now known, in more detail, but answers elude us. It still registers a small energy signature, but we fear to actively investigate more. I await your guidance my Lord Inquisitor.

++End Message

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Imperial Command and commanders - 0105_017M42

Alliance gains on Libria II

Following the invasion of Libria II by the alliance, General Zhukov, overall commander of loyalist Imperial forces in the Libria system, was left with an unenviable task. The tau and Federal fleet maintained their grip over the system and even though the Crusade fleet had all but evaporated, the loyalist fleet under Admiral Jellicoe had been pulled back to the Perseus Deeps after the fall of Hemera. It was thought that Hive Fleet Nemesis could reappear at any time, and the supply route via Corticant was the only viable line of communication left with the Libria system. This had to be kept open at all costs, and a standing presence at Libria just simply wasn't viable.

Small amounts of reinforcements and equipment did manage to run the gauntlet of the Alliance crusade, although many shipments of cargo were intercepted by the alliance fleet. The imperial Navy had access to some system ships, but these were unable to leave the protection of Libria I's orbital batteries, which had been taken under loyalist control in the invasion against the crusade. A meaningful move of troops to Libria II would be met with overwhelming force, and would be doomed to failure.

Only Astartes forces were able to get through to Libria II, their strike cruisers able to outrun the alliance fleet and refuse battle if they were chased. On 2704.017M42 one such strike cruiser managed to get past the alliance fleet and deliver much needed reinforcement to Zhukov's forces on the ground. However the alliance had landed on Libria II in force, and as soon as the Deathwatch force arrived on the planet they were assaulted by elite tau forces and quickly found themselves overmatched. Suffering a heavy defeat the imperial forces had to retreat once again, and the Tau progressed to the settlement of Slade. If this continued Zhukov knew the entire Libria campaign would collapse.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Corticant targeted

As 05.17M42 began the eyes of the major powers in the Aleph Sector were inexorably drawn to the Perseus Deeps, and on one particular planet, the strategically vital system of Corticant. This world, conquered many years ago by General Veers' crusade, had been essential in securing the victories over Chaos on Bastien, and had endured an assault by the Harakhty dynasty of the Necrons in 013M42. Now Corticant had become the strategic lifeline to Libria, as it stood on the only stable warp lane connecting imperial space to the Zadoc subsector following the fall of the Aleph Subsector decades before.The Upper Perseus Reach was now the only route to get supplies to the Zadoc subsector.

With the reappearance of Hive Fleet Nemesis in the Perseus Deeps Sector Commander Titus Luthor ordered Jellicoe to move the fleet back to the region, and now Jellicoe's fleet were en route to Corticant from their base at Caitlen station. A small window of time now opened up where Corticant essentially had no defence, as the remaining units of Jellicoe's fleet had been forced to patrol the Farport warp lane to counter any potential Hive fleet attack on Farport and the Vastrid subsector. This did not go unnoticed by the other powers in the Deeps as the great fleet slipped its moorings at Corticant and made its way hubward. Corticant was now exposed.

Titus Luthor could not know however that the Necrons, far from terminally weakened, had been reinvigorated by the arrival of the Charnovokh dynasty. The Necrons monitored the Imperial fleet movement and considered their next move. Perhaps now was the time to retake their rightful possession from the cattle that infested Corticant? Neither did Luthor know that the Eldar were aware of the Necron plans and had their own counter measures in place. They knew more about Corticant than any other race, and could not allow it to fall into the hands of their ancient foe. The imperial commander was similarly unaware that the Alliance, frustrated by the ongoing drip feeding of reinforcements into the Libria system, had come to the conclusion that taking Corticant would ensure a swifter victory to that ongoing long and bloody struggle. And no-one yet knew that the Tyranids of Nemesis had already chosen Corticant as their next axis of attack, and that cults were already in place.

Finally, the Imperial command were as yet unaware of the excavations of the Corticant badlands, and what the Adeptus Mechanicus had found there. Something ancient and extremely important was hidden beneath the rock of Corticant's mountains. Inquisitor Vorushko, leader of the crusade, was aware however, and did not intend for this device to fall into the wrong hands. No one could be trusted, least of all Titus Luthor, who had recently been visited by her nemesis, Inquisitor Hathek.

Never-the-less, Luthor wasn't stupid. He had reinforced the planet in any case should any force decide to attack the planet while it was relatively unprotected. Would it be enough however? Corticant was about to be plunged into a savage conflict which would decide the very fate of the Aleph Sector.

Libria System, current situation