Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Ultramarines raid on Boltarean finds the system fully fortified.

With the forces of chaos apparently now committed to multiple objectives, and the loyalist forces reporting significant chaos activity in the Hadron Deeps, the forces of the Imperium in the Hadron Expanse decided to launch a probing attack on the chaos held system of Boltarean. Leading this assault was the Ultramarines 4th Company, who were confident that they would be able to gather intelligence as well as disrupt the operations of chaos across the region.


The Ultramarines were able to penetrate into the Boltarean system, noting that there were no elaborate fleet defences in the outer reaches. However upon landing to investigate the Boltar III, the Ultramarines were ambushed by the Death Guard. The devotees of Nurgle and new masters of the chaos forces in the Expanse, quickly dealt with the loyalist astartes threat, killing most of the advance landing party and forcing the remaining space marines to make a hasty retreat. The astartes strike cruiser was then pursued by Tragaen's fleet, demonstrating that chaos now had Boltarean firmly under its control, and fully fortified as a significat base of operations.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Hadron Expanse: Current positions

Hexis: Current Map

Hexis: Sisters of Quartz join the alliance

The Sisters of Quartz had been watching events in the Hadron Expanse with alarm. Despite their efforts the lesser races were finding the location of the device and it now looked impossible to keep the necron secrets hidden from them. Lacking the strength to contest the world themselves the harlequins almost fell into despair, when they were approached by emissaries from their own kin. Farseer Tarquil of Kel Sandros, flanked by members of the Masque of the Black Sun. the visitors proposed an alliance. If the Sisters of Quartz would aid Tarquil and allow the Federacy and the Tau to control the necron device, then in reality the control of this dangerous Xenos technology would remain in Aeldari hands.


The Sisters contemplated their options and eventually agreed to help. At least this plan would prevent the powers of chaos or the ignorant imperium of mankind from getting their hands on such dangerous artefacts. The Sisters then set out to the world of Hexis, following old web way paths that only the Rillietan knew. Appearing in the Akrash pass, their presence (or rather the portal's) was none the less discovered by the Imperium, who sent out a patrol of Sky Lords to assess the situation.


In the rocky terrain of the pass the astartes met the Sisters, who managed to use the cover to their advantage, squeezing into every cravass and ravine so that the weaponry of the Sky Lords was unable to reach them. Then, the sisters made lightning charges across the broken terrain, slashing at the genetically modified super humans, their weapons easily slicing through the inferior Mon'Keigh power armour. One by one the astartes fell in combat, with the Aeldari giving the space marines no chance to regroup and establish firing zones. With the valley becoming a hostile environment the astartes withdrew, leaving the Sisters in control of the ravine and the surrounding valley walls. The alliance had a foothold on Hexis.


Hexis: Chaos forces storm into the device chamber of Praxis

The chaos forces that set out to the Lysis system were a mixed bunch, but the Black Legion and Alpha Legion managed to put aside their differences under the leadership of Garzoth the Immovable of the Death Guard 1st company, the traitor legion having secured their place as master of chaos in the Hadron Expanse. Even the Iron Warriors, now privy to what was afoot on Hexis sent a squad, under Dominar Horozkah. 

The Death Guard were ruthless and single minded in their plan and it’s execution. Land, clear a path to the device chamber then hold onto it, indefinitely if necessary. Upon landing the nurgle devotees quickly subdued a necron attack, while the Alpha Legion and Iron Warriors moved to secure the Grishtar gate. The Dark Angels and Last of Sycorax scouting forces were crushed, while the Death Guard moved through their allied forces in order to secure the centre of the ruined city. Here the Harlequin Sisters of Quartz attempted to oppose and turn back the traitor legion, but the damned astartes of nurgle would not be turned back from their objective. The eldar were brushed aside, and Garzoth the Immovable and his force descended into the chamber holding the device. 

In the ruins under the city the Death Guard faced the Primaris marines of the Howling Griffons, but even the imperium‘s newest genetic warriors could not remove the chaos forces, and by the end of 10.018M42 the device and its surrounding chambers had been secured, at least for now, by the Dark Gods. There they learnt the true secrets of the device, and began planning for the next phase. Soon the time would come when the device could be activated once more. 

Hexis: Imperium landings

The imperium moved swiftly to secure a foothold in Hexis having not only found out the location of the device and a star chart to the Lysis system, but also painfully aware that the forces of chaos had a head start. 

Given the difficulties of warp travel near to the Cicatrix, only light forces could be sent in the first wave, with a clear direction to set up a base and install warp amplifiers to allow heavier warships to follow. Escorting the adeptus mechanicus teams were squads from the Hammers of The Emperor chapter, Dark Angels and Sky Lords. Additionally the first wave was given a company of Last of Sicorax light infantry and a squad of precious Primaris marines from the Howling Griffons. 

The initial landings went to plan but the Primaris marines were soon pressed into service, fighting off a roving band of Black Legion. This indicated quickly that the forces of chaos had indeed already arrived on the barren dusty ruins of Hexis. The imperial force decided to split their efforts, with the Hammers of the Emperor escorting the mechanicum team to set up the first of the beacons near the ruins of Menthoteph. They were needed, as the ruins were not unoccupied. Necron warriors appeared to defend their territory, identified as from the Ha’Tek Dynasty. However the xenos seemed unusually sluggish, perhaps not fully aware. The astartes overcame the immediate threat and the first beacon began transmitting at 3010.018M42. 

The other force of imperial infantry attempted to prevent the chaos forces from taking the centre of Praxis, but because the forces were split and due to the ferocity of chaos assaults, the imperium failed to gain a foothold inside the city which contained the necron device chamber. 

Federal forces uncover the location of the Lysis system

By late 10.018M42 the exploratory teams of the Federacy had still found nothing other than the necron key. Studying the key had led them to the Hadron Deeps, but they still lacked critical information as to the whereabouts of the key’s counterpart - the necron device. 

The next phase of the expedition, carried out independently of the tau but with their consent, centred on dim worlds near to the warp disturbances close to the Cicatrix. While investigating an uninhabited barren rock for traces of the ancient Bahotek Dynasty, the federal forces were suddenly engaged by astartes forces. Without their knowledge a single Hunter escort had been shadowing the federal vessel, and seeing the explorator team only lightly defended, attempted to remove the federal presence and administer the emperors justice to the traitors, as well as prevent the hated separatists from gaining access to the device. 

The federacy were defended by a small squad of highly trained Federal special ops troops, who engaged the astartes in a rugged area of terrain. Fighting centred around a single gulley, where the federal troops were able to pick off the astartes one by one. They were helped by a mysterious effect which saw plasma guns on both sides unexpectedly explode in the bearers hands, but the space marines were resilient to the standard weaponry carried by the special ops team. Receiving intel that reinforcements were in their way, the federal force launched an all out near suicidal charge against the space marines, losing men but buying enough time for the explorator teams to get to safety. The Hammers of the Emperor withdrew and the federacy continued their search, but found nothing of interest. 

On the next world the federacy came to, they had to fight off a force of Black Legion astartes and cultists who were actively searching a set of ruins that seemed to indicate an underground power source. The cultists and their marine contingent were forced to flee after federal gunfire took down more than half the combat ready troops, and the federal scientists were able to open a gate into an underground vault. Here the federacy found what they were looking for, an ancient necron xenovault detailing the layout of the Bahotek Dynasty. Within the data, the separatist scientists found the location of the device in the Lysis system, on the planet of Hexis. Immediate plans were drawn up to send an expedition to the system, deep in the Hadron Expanse. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hexis and the Lysis system

The Lysis system was once a major hub of the Bahotek Dynasty but after the war with the old ones, the eldar and the C'tan the Bahotek Dynasty went into long term hibernation along with the rest of the necron race. Lysis, with its main world Hexis, fell into ruins. In the millenia that followed Hexis became home to multiple races, but the human colony established on the surface was wiped out by a shift in the sun's orbit in M32, at the same time as the appearance of the Hadron warps storms which separated the region from the rest of the Imperium. The system then drifted inexorably towards the hadron Deeps and now lies in a region that is extremely close to the Cicatrix Maledictum, an area of warp-realspace overlap.


Lysis is very difficult to get to. Warp storms rage all around the system preventing all but the smallest craft steered by the most skilled navigators from getting close without proximity beacons. Even the forces of chaos have difficulty locating the system reliably and multiple false echoes often spell doom for anyone unable to discern the real system's presence.


In a tomb complex deep beneath the ruins of Hexis' once continent spanning cities, now covered in dust and sand from centuries of desicating winds, the original civilisation lies dormant. Beneath even that, there is a chamber containing the necron "device", an arcane and ancient artefact which has powers over the warp which no other race, even the eldar, fully understand.


There are five of these devices, all created by the Bahotek and Harakhty dynasties when the galaxy was young. Part of an experiment to reduce the necron's need for the webway, the devices are cylindrical jet black constructions on which can be seen faint veins of irridescant green. The surface of each monolith, which is approximately the size of a small shuttle, is impossibly smooth and perfectly cylindrical, manufactured to a level of precision unheard of to the imperium of man. It's surface is also harder than all known materials and attempting to destroy the device results in the necron artefact simply disappearing only to reappear somewhere else. Once activated however, the devices can be controlled to emit jets of energy into the warp, pushing it away from realspace in a corridor, causing the Foramen across the Cicatrix Maledictum.


One such device exists at Corticant under the constant vigilance of the astartes and adeptus mechanicus, holding open the Foramen Majoris and Foramen Minoris - the latter being an error by Vorushko's agents as they had no idea how to control the creation of such conduits. Never-the-less these are the primary openings allowing the Imperium to continue to communicate with their worlds in the Perseus Deeps and nearby Imperium Nihilis.


A second device is active at Einmyrria, switched on by the tau after the eldar of Kel Sandros located the key and the means to activate it. Eldar, being psychic, cannot approach the device itself, as any psyker coming within twenty feet is instantly killed and their soul sucked into the device. This is the reason for the device's other name - the "soul hole".


The third device or original "soul hole" is partially active and under the control of Warsmith Stahl. Discovered by the chaos daemon prince "Moonface" the device was used to transport troops across the galaxy after being figured out by Moonface's patron god Tzeetch. Stahl now controls this device and uses it to avoid always needing a fleet, although even the mechanicum under the Iron Warrior's leader have no real idea how it works.


The fourth device is currently in the possession of the inquisition and in stasis. Originally the device had been captured by the Tau, who were working with the Federacy on a way to use it to power a defence shield using human psykers. These actions were found out by agents of Vorushko. Upon trying to destroy the device it disappeared, but they were able to relocate it in a space hulk and remove the item by ship. Now the Adeptus Mechanicum and the Ordo Xenos are investigating the item, thought it appears dormant. The fifth and final device is on Hexis in the Lysis system.


The activation of the fifth device is only possible at the right time under the right alignment of stars and planets. Then, with the application of the necron key, the predicted "Foramen Ignotum" can then be created by the device. With the right knowledge, this beam of energy into the warp can be directed, so the location of the Foramen can be decided by those who control the device with the right knowledge. Furthermore the device could be stolen, although this would require the arrival of significant forces and control of the ancient cities of Hexis. To deploy significant forces, the factions must send small scouting teams and set up homing beacons or otherwise find a way to direct their larger forces to the planet, in time for the celestial conjunction or before it, and prevent the other factions from doing so.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Crimson Blade complete the necron "set"

In late 018M42 the Dark eldar of the Crimson Blade kabal had served Vlokarion well. With their raids in the Hadron Expanse, amusingly sanctioned by the Aeldari, the Drukhari had secured six of seven key artefacts that once served the mighty Nahotek necron dynasty. The last had been taken by the eldar, but Vlokarion had learnt of its location and began setting in motion a plan to retrieve the last piece of the puzzle. Together the artefacts would represent a super weapon, or a near endless energy source. How to use this power Vlokarion had not yet fully decided, since merely having such power in his possession would reap its own benefit in the politics of Commorragh. His status of Vect's favoured lieutenant would be secure for the moment at least.


The stealing of the final artefact would be simple, since the Kel Sandros Eldar were not even aware of the Crimson Blade's plans. The Craftworld weaklings still believed that they had common cause in mind, the destruction or containment of the necron artefacts so that their power may never be used. Vlokarion couldn't help but chuckle at this. The Crimson Blade were almost undone however by the Masque of the Black Sun, a harlequin troupe who had unravelled the skeins of fate and determined that Vlokarion was on a path more dangerous than could be imagined, so they intervened, attacking the Dark Eldar in the streets of Commorragh in order to prevent them from taking the last artefact from the Kel Sandros craftworld. They were unsuccessful, and not one was left to warn the craftworld of the impending theft. Using webway portals not even known to the Kel Sandros themselves, the Drukhari were able to sneak into the very heart of the craftworld and steal the remaining alien artefact. Now Vlokarion viewed all seven in his secret warehouses of the dark city and smiled. Vect would be pleased indeed.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sisters of Quartz suffer setbacks

While the eldar of the Kel Sandros craftworld began searching for the Foramen Ignotum in order to advance their plans for Tau domination of the galaxy in order to destroy chaos, the Sisters of Quartz were actively following a different path. The harlequin troupe were growing ever more alarmed by the trespass of the lesser races into matters that neither concerned them and would likely bring damnation to all. However, the troupe were also being tracked by members of the Crimson Blade dark eldar kabal, who were keen that the Sisters did not find out their plans. By straying too close to the kabal's domain in the webway the harlequins had brought doom upon themselves. Ambushed in the labyrinthine corridors close to Commorragh the sisters fought for their lives but the small band that had become isolated from the rest of the sisters was mercilessly slaughtered by their dark kin. The harlequins put up an impressive fight, taking down all but two of the ambushing party, but the dark eldar had ensured that their own plans and intentions remained hidden from the other Aeldari faction. Had they found out, the harlequins would have almost certainly brought the full weight of the Craftworld eldar to oppose them.


The Sisters of Quartz had further issues when responding to a signal from a distant world. The barren world had been the site of multiple investigations by the factions of the Aleph sector, but when the harlequins finally arrived they found no-one. Unfortunately the hive mind found them, and every member of the band sent to the world was killed and then devoured by a genestealer attack on their way back to the webway portal. The Sisters of Quartz were losing their front line warriors, and still they were no nearer to stopping the discovery and misuse of the necron device.


Kel Sandros Eldar enter the search for the Ignotum

The Kel Sandros Eldar finally committed to the search for the Foramen Interdictum towards the end of 10.018M42. Tarquil had become concerned that the alliance, despite having acquired the necron key itself, were still making no progress in finding the necron device itself. To rectify this, the eldar sent small scouting teams through the webway, scouring the extinct necron worlds of the distant expanse at considerable risk, searching for anything that would tell them where the last device was located. Their search brought them into contact with the Genestealer threat, who the eldar seriously underestimated, and the small party sent to one world was wiped out, prompting the sealing shut of that webway branch. the Kel Sandros also encountered the Imperium, also searching the ruins at Vespae, but once again the loyalists were seen off, although the eldar were unsuccessful in finding any hint as to where the necrons had built their device. It almost felt as the necrons were mocking them , so Tarquil was forced to abandon his search and call in other help.

Admiral Enkvist recaptured by Drukhari

After his escape from his Drukhari captives admiral Enkvist didn’t get very far. The Drukhari base was situated on a barren world almost inimical to life, with no permanent settlements. Eventually Enkvist was able to send a distress signal once he was clear of the Xenia compound, and days later the admiral was found by the rest of the imperial force sent to rescue him. 

The remaining imperial guard detachment escorted Enkvist to their shuttle, heading out into the outer reaches where the imperial destroyer waited to pick them up. They never made it. The shuttle was easily picked up by the Crimson Blade Kabal’s sensor equipment, and a small team was able to penetrate the shuttle and overwhelm the guardsmen and navy ratings. Looking amused at their little game, the dark eldar took their prisoner back to their base. 

Meanwhile the dark eldar were inconvenienced on the ground by a scouting group of genestealers. This extra sport was unwelcome, but the Drukhari despatched the aliens anyway. They did not want the hive mind interfering with their plans. Unlike the other factions the Foramen Ignotum was a secondary concern. The Drukhari were after something far more valuable. 

Chaos find the Lysis system

The forces of chaos finally discovered the location of the necron device and the star chart to Lysis, after successfully deciphering ancient necron hieroglyphs on a system that had once been part of a galactic spanning empire. To find this vital information the Black Legion had to fight off the tau, whose scouting forces had by now reached the Hadron Deeps. Even worse, the Dark Angels continued to plague the Black Legion, and the Khornate warband the traitor astartes found at the site of the necron ruins were not willing to cooperate. 

With three opposing forces now contesting the ruins site, the Black Legion kept watch, until it became apparent that all forces were converging in the objective - the site of entry to the underground caverns. At first the chaos warband, a ragged crew of cultists and one astartes legionnaire, proved difficult for the Black Legion, but disciplined fire from the Sons of Horus eventually proved superior. Meanwhile the tau were driven off by the Dark Angels, who were themselves unable to reach the tomb site before the Black Legion. Having found the information they needed, the chaos force then withdrew from the dead world. 

Death Guard refuse Stahl’s decimation command

In 2010.018M42, Stahl, still apoplectic with rage from the loss of all the Iron Warriors hard won gains from their weakling allies, made a surprising demand of them: decimation.

“The weak must be purged from your ranks. For your continued failings, 1 in 10 must be purged, comply or be destroyed”.

The order sent a panic through the Chaos forces, for years the Stahl's 144th Grand Company had held sway over the forces of Chaos, and had on several occasions the Iron Warriors have purged the Chaos ranks, most recently the Tzeentch Legion and the rendering of Marcus, which had terrified the daemons into submissions.

For all these reasons, it was a surprise that when the emissaries of the Stahl arrived to deliver his demands, the Death Guard promptly opened fire upon them. Shocked at the reaction, the Iron Warriors return fire was uncoordinated, though the mortal Thorakitai, remembering their implanted training were able to bring down three of the monstrous Death Guard through weight of fire. Reinforcements from both sides rushed to the area. Iron Warrior Obliterators tore into reality, attempting a decapitation strike on the Death Guard Daemon Prince. If they hoped for a repeat of Marcus they were sorely mistaken, the bloated form of the Nurgle Daemon Prince proving far harder to destroy than the scions of Tzeentch.

The Iron Warriors fire patterns never recovered from the Death Guards treachery and were forced to fight the Sons of Barbarus blade to blade. The Blightlord Terminators managed to cut down the Havocs only to be cut down in turn by Sorcerery, magick appeared as though it would turn the battle in the Iron Warriors favour. Howevr Sorcery is subject to the whims of the Chaos Gods, and the Death Guard were very much in Nurgles favour, which tore into the Sorcerers of the Iron Warriors as they drew too deep. Knowing the battle lost, the remaining Iron Warriors withdrew.


Warsmith Stahl drummed his fingers together as the screed of raw data passed his eyes, his emissaries to the Death Guard had failed, there were casualties among the true sons of the IV, something he  sought to avoid if possible, however they failed and so were themselves shown to be weak.

The data from subjects T09831191/1 to /27 interested him, with a flick of his fingers he brought up the genetic history of the Thorakitai warriors, copies of the same soldiers with the same core memories through multiple warzones, stretching to the rebellion. Each time, the image repeated itself, accuracy significantly expectations, discipline again above expectation, involved in several engagements where geneseed of the IV would be lost. The bodies in the latest engagement had not survived, but that did not matter, the core battle data had been downloaded and would be implanted into the next clone. Satisfied, he made a gesture and the Thorakitai designations changed from orange to green - “IMPLANTATION SEQUENCE INITIATED” was added to the file data.

“Warsmith?” a robotic voice from a corner of the room intoned.

Arrayed around the hunched adept were 12 warriors of the IV, stripped of armour and chained to slabs. All were severely injured in one way or another and looked sickly to varying degrees. To most they would already be dead, but the former Chief Apothecary of the IV would not allow them to die.

“What is to be done with them Warsmith? The Rot has already set in”

Looking to his Lieutenant, Ceraunacus, Stahl sighed. He could not bring himself to let them die, to consider it brought memories that haunted him, being surrounded by the dying, helpless....

“I will not execute you Ceraunacus, you will not be granted the mercy of death for your failure.”

“Please... War...Smith” bubbled the broken form of  Ceraunacus, the triple boil riven over his flesh, “They... turned on us. The, Gods”

“They are not Gods!” growled Stahl, reacting to the Lieutenant. “I will not kill you, I will not kill my brothers. But punishment is required, Adept? Prepare them for sarcophagus implantation”

The terminally wounded Legionaries started straining against their restraints in desperation.

“Lycurgus!” screamed Ceraunacus with all the strength he could muster “Please... just let us die!”

“No” whispered Stahl, “Never again”.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Chaos forces raid Ceti

In mid 10.018M42 the Death Guard arrived in the Hadron Expanse, reinforcing the Emerald Serpent and keen to consolidate the Traitorous forces' base in the Expanse now that portents were increasing that the Foramen Ignotum was on the verge of being created. Mortarian himself knew of the importance of the Ignotum and its control, so sanctioned the excursion to the region, much to Warsmith's Stahl's annoyance, who wanted to keep the pressure on at the Foramen Interdictum and defend the base at Mordecai.

The Death Guard arrived and immediately set out on an expedition to Ceti, to raid the Necron world there to assess the Xenos strength and also to find clues as to the location of the Ignotum. The Death Guard raid went entirely according to plan, with the necrons of the Bahotek Dynasty showing lethargy in their actions, perhaps not fully reawakened, as their shooting went astray and the chaos marines tore into the centre of the force sent to oppose them.

The Death Guard assault enabled their agents to penetrate to the centre of the tomb complex in the northern hemisphere, but no information as to the Ignotum device was discovered. Satisfied that the necrons constituted a minimal threat outside of the Ceti system however, the traitor marines returned to Boltarean, setting up a fortress on the inhospitable planet of Boltar II, renamed New Slough in honour of their god Nurgle - god of all things corrupt and infested.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Sisters of Quartz act to prevent the Ignotum being found

While the hunt for the Foramen Ignotum intensified the Aeldari harlequin troupe the Sisters of Quartz were becoming increasingly worried at the ramifications of lesser ignorant races coming into possession of the necron artefacts that would power the Foramen Ignotum. Worse, the Bahotek Dynasty was showing signs of stirring. The Sisters resolved to prevent the other races from finding the Ignotum, and they would strike using ambush tactics, preserving their meagre forces for precision strikes. 

In mid 018M42 the Emerald Serpent were ambushed by the Sisters, who massacred the small force of Thousand Sons investigating a ruined necron complex. Several of the astartes were taken prisoner, but they did not give up theirs secrets willingly. The eldar were unable to discern how much the forces of chaos knew. However, the Traitor Marines were being followed by the Hammers of the Emperor, and the battle with the chaos forces had drawn their attention. The Sisters attempted to follow their normal ambush tactics, but the Hammers were ready for them. After suffering heavy casualties the eldar harlequins withdrew, unable to prevent the loyalist marines from investigating the necron ruins. 

Enkvist rescue mission becomes confused encounter

Following the defeat of admiral Enkvist’s fleet on the Hadron Expanse both inquisitor Huron and the admiral had been captured by Vlokarion’s kabal. The dark eldar had quickly moved the valuable Inquisitor Lord to be presented to Lord Vect himself, bringing great esteem to Vlokarion. The Admiral of the Fleet however was kept at a local base and the drukhari got wind of a rescue attempt by the Imperium. Using the Admiral as bait the dark eldar set their own trap. Enkvist was useless to them, but the imperium had information on the Foramen Ignotum. Information Vlokarion was desperate to get his hands on. 

The sorcerers of Tzeentch also foresaw the unfolding events, and a small team of Thousand Sons - part of the Emerald Serpent also set out to capture the imperial admiral, in order to learn the secrets of the enemy fleet. 

The Emerald Serpent and the imperial special forces attacked the site where the admiral was being held at almost the same time. Irritated by the appearance of the Thousand Sons, the Crimson Blade focussed their efforts first on removing the interlopers, which was successful. Now the imperial forces were dealt with. In the confusion that followed Enkvist managed to escape, but several special ops team members were captured by the Drukhari. 

The Crimson Blade didn’t find very much of use from the prisoners, but did learn the location of the imperial investigations in the Hadron Expanse, before turning the captured imperial guardsmen to the Haemonculi. 

Chaos forces uncover location of Lysis system

Despite the failure of the Black Legion main force against the tyranids and Emerald Serpent, the chaos legion eventually found success in the underground catacombs of the neighbouring system. Many of the worlds orbiting old stars near the rifts of Hecate were known to be locations of the former Bahotek dynasty so the Tau were systematically investigating them one by one. This made it easier for the Black Legion, who had no access to detailed surveys of each system and were low on manpower. Rather than conduct their own surveys, the chaos Legion simply waited until the tau found something of interest, then attempted to steal it by force. 

The activity of traitor marine units in the Hadron Deeps had however drawn the attention of the Dark Angels. Intending to prevent the dark gods from discovering any useful information and intent on punishing the traitorous Black Legion, a squad of imperial astartes secretly followed the chaos team into the underground complex. 

The tau detected both forces as they approached, opening fire on the chaos forces first, but the fight soon dissolved into a disorganised skirmish throughout the necron ruins. The Black Legion used this confusion to their advantage, stealing the tau research before ensuring the Dark Angels were eliminated. Having achieved their goals the traitor astartes made good their escape. The tau expedition had suffered a set back, but the Dark Angels had lost a squad for no gain whatsoever. Back at their temporary base protected by iconoclast escort vessels, the Black Legion analysed the stolen data, realising they had uncovered the location to the final necron device. 

Hadron Expanse: Chaos forces clash with Hive Fleet Eclipse

The search for clues in the Hadron Expanse accelerated into 10.018M42. Multiple Chaos war bands outside the control of either the Emerald Serpent or Warsmith Stahl looked to the Foramen Ignotum and the deep Expanse in order to advance their own position in they eyes of their patron gods. 

A group of Emperor’s Children ended up running into the Black Legion on an insignificant world, where rumours from the warp of ancient xenos secrets had led them. Whether their encounter was by chance only the dark powers can know, but the two forces showed no sign of working together to find the prize, immediately engaging one another. The disturbance alerted vanguard forces of a tyranid splinter fleet, designated Eclipse by the imperium. The confused battle escalated, with all sides committing more forces to the engagement. Eventually the Emerald Serpent drove off the tyranids and the Black legion, who had suffered the worst in the encounter. Nevertheless the Emperor’s Children found nothing, the Hive Mind of Eclipse having already discovered and ingested information contained in the almost hidden necron ruins. The Emperors Children had won the battle, but the tyranids now knew the location of the Lysis system, where the necron device capable of creating the Foramen could be found. 

Destino: Cybixx launches invasion

Despite Vorushko attempting to get hold of Archmagos Cybixx and ascertain his intentions, it seemed Cybixx was in no mood to talk. Despite Vorushko's declaration of a cesation in Crusade hostilities, Cybixx and his battlestation Mallem Cybixxum arrived at the Destino system in mid 10_018M42 with obvious hostile intent. The archmagos demanded that the system surrender, or his battlestation would pursuade them. When there was no reply Cybixx began to make plans to invade the outer worlds. The invasion of Destino VI was unopposed, but on Destino IV, amongst the snowy terrain, the loyalist bases had been bolstered by the arrival of House Corvus and Legio Dominus.


Following Cybixx's every move, the Legio communicated directly with the Crusade Mechanicum, denouncing the Archmagos as a traitor and a heretic, with mad ambitions and an obsession with Xenos artefacts. Enraged, Cybixx himself led the invasion force on the ice world, leading his army of half machines against the proud knights of House Corvus. Unfortunately for the loyalists, the accuracy of fire from the Knights Errants' Thermal cannons was far below expectations, and the combined failure of the Knights in general to deal with Cybixx's robots would cost them dearly. Withering fire from the Archmagos' robots and walkers quickly destroyed the vanguard of House Corvus, and an outflanking assault by electropriests silenced the Helverins supporting.


Legio Dominus kept fighting until the end, but for Cybixx the assault had been a mere distraction. While he was fighting House Corvus his real plan was to destroy the underground silos that protected the world. Achieving this with 100% efficiency, the system could now no longer defend itself against close assault by Cybixx's battlestation. Realising this, the remaining Knights and loyalists who could leave, fled for the inner worlds.


Cybixx did not have everything his own way on the invasion however. In response to the fighting on Destino IV, the Knights of house Stroganoff relocated a small contingent of their forces in the Destino system to the outer world of Destino VI. Unprepared for such a strange counter-offensive, the crusade mechanicum were taken by surprise. Rapidly outgunned as the Knights pressed in against the small garisson force, the Mechanicum abandoned the world, giving Cybixx pause for thought and a clear message that the loyalists would fight him for every inch of Destino. However, without a fleet in system, it was only a matter of time before the system fell to Cybixx.


The loyalists immediately attempted to ask Vorushko why Cybixx was still attacking when the crusade had declared a truce. Time delays with warp communication would delay an answer by at least a week, in which time Cybixx prepared plans for any type of response from his Inquisitor Lord...


Boltarean: Dark Eldar raid Necron tomb

With the Thousand Sons taking the brunt of Stahl's anger in the Perseus Deeps, in the Hadron Expanse the Emerald Serpent, having lost their grip on any control over the Chaos worlds in that region, focussed all their attention to consolidating their gains on their Boltarean fastness. In order to progress this, their sorcerors began investigating the ancient tombs of the Bahotek dynasty that littered the inner planet. This action however set of many unseen alarms, notifying the Aeldari of trespass on the forbidden and long sealed catacombs. Once again, sensing personal profit, the Drukhari of the Crimson Blade led by Vlokarion sprung into action on behalf of their race, appearing without warning through the webway portals hidden on the inner dust planet.


The Emerald serpent summoned a host of daemons in a defensive response, but the Dark Eldar were too fast and efficient to be troubled by the denizens of the warp. One by one the warp spawned abominations were banished to the Empyrean, and in a similar methodical fashion each Necron tomb was ransacked, its riches and artefacts stolen and many of the catacombs blown up by Vlokarion's assault. Then the Dark Eldar disappeared back into the webway, satisfied with the denial of knowledge to the worshippers of the dark gods, and counting the loot of a highly profitable excursion. Vlokarion mused as he looked upon the vast array of necron artefacts. How much would Tarquil pay for these?

Mordecai: Stahl asserts dominance

Following recent and continuing reversals of fortune for chaos, Warsmith Stahl had gone into his worst rage yet, ranting and raving and yelling all manner of obscene profanities when refering to his allies, particularly the Emerald Serpent, who he saw has primarily responsible for the invasion of Mordecai, but also for generally pursuing strategies not helpful to the overall cause of chaos. He also reserved a bitter tirade against Lord Tragean, who had taken his fleet to the Hadron Expanse seeking riches, instead of staying to help with the shoring up of the base at Mordecai.


Although the daemon princes of the Emerald Serpent were avoiding Stahl, the Thousand Sons on Mordecai were not so fortunate. In order to assert his dominance as Master of Chaos and ensure the smaller factions followed his plans according to his design, the Warsmith brutally attacked the tzeentch legion. A shard of Magnus was summoned once more to defend his battle brothers, but the tzeentch legion - previously the Prophet's of Sotek, were ultimately destroyed by the Iron Warriors' implacable weight of fire. Mordecai now looked to the Warsmith for its defence, leaving the Emerald Serpent isolated in the Hadron Expanse.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Imperium: A strategic nightmare

By the middle of 10.018M42 the Imperial strategic position in the Aleph sector had become extremely complex. Sector Commander Titus Luthor demanded an overview from his staff in order to provide a coherent strategy across the sector. The major ongoing theatres of war were understood. The Imperium needed to control and maintain the Foramen Interdictum in order to supply worlds the on the wrong side of the Cicatrix Maledictum. In addition with the rumours of the Foramen Ignotum and the opening up of the Hadron Expanse it was critical that the region be both exploited and protected from Xenos domination, especially against the Tau-Federal Alliance who sought to establish hegemony over the human worlds so long cut off from the Imperium.


Luthor had been in personal audience with Roboute Guilliman in order to get a judgement on the Inquisition war which had torn the Imperium apart since the Librian crisis. Guilliman's response had been clear. He was not going to intervene in petty disagreements and if the sector commander couldn't manage the problem of two Inquisitors then perhaps he should not be a sector commander. Fortunately for Luthor, with the renewed assault on chaos, the loyalist-crusade split had drastically calmed down, although the bad blood and disagreement had not been resolved and continued to boil up every now and then.


Of primary concern to Luthor was the active fronts against chaos near the Perseus Deeps. The successful taking of Paradorn from chaos had shorn up one end of the Foramen Interdictum, and the Imperium controlled Destino and technically Vandrax in the Foramen Minoris, giving effective control of both arms of the channel. Only Tarlius held out, heavily fortified by Stahl, but the Imperium had made a joint "crusade-loyalist" invasion effort, since Vorushko called a halt to Crusade offensive operations against the loyalists in late 09.018M42.


This declaration of a truce between Hathek and Vorushko was mainly motivated by Vorushko's wish to carry the war to the heretical forces of chaos. She was still adamant that the Foramen Minoris would have to be destroyed, but her control over Vandrax through Archmagos Cybixx all but assured that, or so she believed. The truth was a war between imperial forces in the Foramen only aided chaos, something neither Hathek nor Vorushko were prepared to accept.


In the Hadron Expanse Admiral Barham and General Chuikov led the main effort against chiefly the Alliance in the Echo Cluster. Small units did make forays into the Depths of the Expanse in order to search for the Foramen Ignotum, and it was here that the Crusade/loyalist situation would flare up again, as neither side wanted the other finding the ancillary channel. Vorushko, not surprisingly, was seeking to eliminate the extra channel.


The truce between the two sides of the Inquisition conflict was mostly holding however, despite the Grey Knights consistently conducting purges against Hathek's loyalist guard regiments, drawing the ire of General Patreus at Tarlius and General Cherenkov, head of the Novgorod regiments. then, in early 10.018M42 the Grey Knights, Space Wolves and Imperial Fists, with the agreement from General Cherenkov and Admiral D'Oyly-Hughes, made a full scale invasion of Mordecai Tersius. This opened up a second front against chaos but put Imperial resources at full stretch.


To cover both the Tarlius and Mordecai wars, with Stahl's fleet at Tarlius and Thok at Mordecai, two battlefleets were needed to maintain the operations. D'Oyly-Hughes at Mordecai and Collingwood at Tarlius. This however meant that with Enkvist's fleet in the Expanse all but destroyed by the Dark Eldar, Admiral Barham could not be reinforced and would have to face the Tau and federal fleets alone. Pendragon and Somerville could not be spared from their duties protecting the Vastrid and Valitane subsectors, and this arrangement already left Destino and the entire Zadoc subsector without capital ships.


Luthor also wanted a single commander in charge of ground forces (except astartes) and raised up General Cherenkov to be overall commander of Imperial Guard forces: Perseus Deeps. This irritated General Veers on Bastien and Patreus at Tarlius, but the Novgorod regiments formed the bulk of the fighting capability of the sector, and Titus could not afford to affront them. The Grey Knights agreed to waive their objections to the remaining Novgorod regiments, providing they were not exposed to the daemon threat, and a war council was convened for the "Foramen Front" - comprising of the invasions of Mordecai and Tarlius.


Foramen Front War Council

•             General Patreus: Commander of operations at Tarlius

•             General Cherenkov: Overall commander and commander of operations at Mordecai

•             Imperial Fists Captain Ajax

•             Lord inquisitor Hector Rex

•             Admiral D’Oyly-Hughes: Mordecai

•             Admiral Collingwood: Tarlius


A separate council was created for the Hadron Expanse Campaign. the addition of Vorushko to the Expanse council and the omission of Hathek seriously annoyed the Lord Inquisitor, but Luthor had had enough of Hathek, advising that he should busy himself looking for Heresy within rather than playing strategist. Vorushko, with her contacts at Terra and her position far away in the expanse all but guaranteed her involvement in the hadron planning.


Hadron Expanse Council

•             inquisitor Vorushko

•             Admiral Barham 

•             General Chuikov: Overall commander, ground forces


By the middle of 10.018M42 Sector Commander Luthor felt he had established control over the strategic situation, however he was about to be severely disappointed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hadron Expanse: Search for clues continues

The Federacy, with their knowledge of the necron key, contacted their Tau allies in order to broaden the search for the system where the necron device may be located. The Tau responded by sending several messenger vessels with small recon teams in order to scout local systems. Most were found with no sign of ever having had habitation, but one seemed to show promise. The recon team landed on the single world which harboured life, although no intelligent organisms were found. Among the snow covered landscape however, ruins were detected, and the tau began a systematic sweep.

The tau were swiftly set upon by graceful warriors clad in alien armour. Unbeknowst to the tau, the harlequin troupe known to the Aeldari as the "Sisters of Quartz" had been tracknig the tau movements across the sector. Now the tau had encroached on a world the Sisters saw as theirs to protect. The system contained many ancient necron secrets, as well as the location of the system the necron device. Although the Kel Sandros eldar were openly helping the tau, the harlequins were growing concerned over Tarquil's presumptuous hubris.

Rather than discuss the situation, the Sisters of Quartz simply engaged the tau in combat, shooting down drones and killing the tau commander with a fusion pistol. The tau fought back, but they were so shocked at being engaged by Aeldari forces, they did not make any progress into the ruins, and instead chose to abandon the search on this world, reporting their contact with the eldar to their command.

Meanwhile the Grey Knights and Ultramarines came to blows in a small skirmish on another outlying world. How exactly this occurred is unknown, as the clash happened well outside imperial jurisdiction, but no doubt messages from the Ultramarines in the Foramen had reached their brothers in the expanse, and the Crusade were now seen as potential enemies. In any case, the Ultramarines were driven off. Whether the Grey Knights found anything of use is also unknown.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Astartes invade Mordecai System

The Imperium had long desired to take out the Mordecai system from under chaos control. As a major industrial and fleet base the system had rose to pre-eminence following the loss of Bastien to the Imperium and Calliden to the Necrons. The raids by the Grey Knights and Imperial Fists in 018M42 and the securing of Paradorn had led to a strategic situation in the Perseus Deeps which now made a concerted effort to invade the system at least possible. Thok remained at Mordecai, but with the combined fleets of Barham and D'Oyly-Hughes arrayed against him, as well as space marine vessels, Thok declined an all-out battle for the outer planet, preferring to stay over Mordecai Primaris and await the outcome of the war on the ground.

The Emerald Serpent, now fighting on two fronts - in the Expanse and in the Perseus Deeps, could not afford to defend the initial landings by the Imperial Forces, which now consisted of several guard regiments waiting for the astartes to create a bridgehead. Crucial would be the pacification of Slaydon and its command and control centre. Without Salydon, the Imperium would be at the mercy of the ICBM system controlled from the city raining munitions on them as they tried to make planetfall en-masse.

The Imperial Fists and Grey Knights were joined by the Space Wolves on this assault, making the invasion a truly Imperial astartes effort, although the tension between the Grey Knights and the Wolves was palpable. In order to remedy this, in the vanguard assault on Slaydon, the Grey Knights and Imperial Fists used their less trusted allies as bait to draw out the enemy guns' positions. The Imperial main force then arrived, crippling a shadowsword a hellhammer and destroying many leman Russ battle tanks arrayed in defensive positions around the city. Tzeentch then showed his real hand as a warhound titan, three knights from the Aether Striders and a baneblade appeared, coming to reinforce their brethren, while one knight successfully outflanked the imperial advance and began tearing into the Space Wolf armoured vehicles. A short time later, the Thousand Sons of the Emerald Serpent appeared with the thrice accursed Ahriman and a daemon prince at their head, swiftly taking control of vital objectives.

In response, the Imperial Fists advanced from their fortified positions while continuing to lay down heavy fire on the enemy super heavy vehicles. However, even with the vision of their primarch Rogal Dorn leading them their fire power did not have the desired effect. A strike force of grey knight paladins used their psychic might to destroy the crippled hellhamer and then attempted to reposition themselves in order to go after the warhound. In a stroke of bad luck this failed but the paladins were able to assault a knight valiant, avoiding its powerful flamer thanks to the psychic powers of Lord inquisitor Hector Rex leading them. They quickly despatched the war engine only to find themselves surrounded by cultists with a warhound towering overhead. In the centre, the space wolves own group of elite terminators crashed into the thousand sons lines, the memories of prospero seeming to give their attacks extra weight. Crusaders and ministorum priests clearly corrupted by chaos then advanced, attempting to clear grey knight strike squads off of critical objectives but with only moderate success. The outskirts of Slaydon had by now become a bloodbath of wrecked vehicles and maimed bodies, but neither side held the initiative. The battle was in the balance.

In the final stages off the battle the paladins were finally laid low by the warhound. The thousand sons, their durability boosted by chaos magicks began to turn the tide on the elite space wolf terminators and with the help of a baneblade destroyed most of their number leaving only the leaders alive. The very last remaining space wolves managed just barely to once again wrestle control of the central objective from the thousand sons, the gate to the underground missile silo, while the imperial fists cleared the remaining cultists in the centre, taking more vital ground. At the same time, the chaotic crusaders were finally brought down by the Grey Knights while the Ordo Malleus transports heroically blocked the path of an Aether Strider's knight for long enough for them to seize and hold that objective.

The Space Marines had held on, just barely, to their objectives, long enough for elite teams to get inside the subterranean vaults and lay charges on the missile silos. As the astartes forces made a hasty retreat, a giant mushroom cloud outside the city signalled the end of Mordecai Tersius' planetary defensives, and the astartes commanders signalled to the overall Imperial Guard commander, General Cherenkov, to begin unloading his guard forces. The Imperium had made a successful landing on the chaos world.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Chaotic skirmish finds clues to the Foramen Ignotum

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

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

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

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

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

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