Monday, September 28, 2020

Drukhari ambush Mechanicus in Hadron Expanse

While the war between the Imperium and Chaos continued in the Perseus Deeps, the Adeptus Mechanicus were continuing their efforts to locate and acquire necron technology in the Hadron Expanse. General Pervical, overall commander of the Expanse, had given authority for the Mechaniucum to continue their missions in the region, and provided them with additional naval and ground support, but in reality Percival had little option. The Adeptus Mechanicus remained a law unto themselves, and their failure to locate the Nexus Arrangement had led them instead to track the movements of the Aeldari, who they believed had now located the mysterious object.
This intelligence tracking led the Mechanicum to the system classified only as 4e/65/78/75/73 on star charts. The system contained a number of apparently barren but inhabitable worlds, one of which showed signs of a previous civilisation. Here the Adeptus Mechanicus landed, set up a base, and began exploring the ruins. Perhaps here was the location of the Nexus Arrangement, as Aeldari vessel activity had been tracked to this system.
Little did the Mechanicum know that they had been themselves tracked by the Drukhari of Vlokarion. Behind the Imperial fleet, a Dark Eldar cruiser, cloaked by its mimic engine, had recorded the Imperial landings and were planning their own ambush. Vlokarion coveted the Nexus Arrangement for himself, but for now was "allied" with Yvraine so that the Aeldari could possess the artefact. He could not risk his plans being upset by the sudden arrival of the Imperium on the scene, and took action.
The Drukhari attack on the Adeptus Mechanicus started with swift raids, but soon devolved into a bloody slogfest which saw casualties mount on both sides. The Drukhari commander was alarmed, but Vlokarion was uncaring. So long as the Imperium were driven off the cost was sufficient. The battle continued for days before the Mechanicum decided to stubbornly resist was too expensive, and the agents of the Omnissiah withdrew from the world. They remained in system however, watching for any activity, still unaware they were themselves being watched.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Forgotten Sons raid Aether Striders


+++Incoming Transmission+++

+++Subject: Mordecai, status update, addendum+++

+++ =][=+++


Lord Inquisitor Hathek

We have picked up the trail of the Adeptus Astartes Chapter of seemingly the Ultima Founding who have attacked both Imperial, Xenos and traitor forces throughout the subsector. I have included a report of actions they partook in.

Sire I begin with a recap of the status of Mordecai. As you are no doubt aware the long drawn out stalemate on Mordecai has continued unabated. For every successful push the Imperial forces make we are driven back in another sector by the traitors. The situation on the eastern flank is particularly dire. Enemy forces had nearly broken through Kutuzov's lines a few weeks earlier and the situation has barely stabilised. 

Fort Abruphus’ continues to have both poor supplies and stretched resources - the soldiers are exhausted and there have been a number of mistakes made. Furthermore, the defending forces have been terrorised for weeks by four Renegade Knights.

The Knights claim fealty to the Aether Striders and are led by Sir Sinak Asmodor who pilots the Knight Tyrant “Machina Infernus”. His three companions are (or were); Hunt mistress Skasse Tyranthus piloting “the Hound of Souls”, the Witch Vortatha Krast, piloting “Infinite Hate” and Prince Tragget Griffith piloting “Blisslbringer”. The officers on the front line had, either through incompetence or through sheer exhaustion been unable to pin down the four rampaging knights, content as they were in destruction and carnage over a true battle strategy, or so it seemed.

Unbeknownst to the forces on the ground, the band of Knights had been rampaging with a specific purpose sire. The Witch Vortatha Krast had what, on further investigation a ritual that would tear a hole into reality, unleashing a daemonic host. The souls gathered, all that was needed was to cast the ritual. This is the point of interest to the Forgotten Sons.

On the morning of 1909.020M42 two Thunderhawks broke through the atmosphere, having deployed via Strike Cruiser. Quite how the Strike Cruiser was able to enter system undetected to us is a mystery. The Thunderhawks gave no hail or call sign, they just appeared at random to forces on the ground, who were not quick enough to shoot them down. Whether that was fortunate or not I would not dare say.

The Astartes deployed approximately 1.5 kilometres beyond the furthest Imperial front line, forming defensive positions. How they got the intel is unknown is unclear, however what is clear is they knew were the Witch was to perform the ritual and had deployed to stop the renegades succeeding.

Sire I took the liberty of deploying scout servo skulls and redirecting some orbiting assets to monitor the situation on the ground where the Astartes were, and so, can give a detailed report.

The Astartes deployed in a deliberately provocative manner, anchoring their right flank heavily while leaving their left flank undefended. Unbeknown to the Knights several stealth assets had deployed on the left flank, out of sight. The Hound of Skulls charged towards the Astartes defensive position at speeds I would not have thought possible, yet the Astartes seemed to have anticipated this move, rapidly pulling back into a crescent formation, which Skasse dutifully charged into, allowing herself to be encircled. Despite limited anti-armour the Astartes strategically targeted weak joints on the Knights in a manner other chapters often deem “dishonourable” with their bolters, staggering and throwing off the Hound of Souls charge. Skasse’s intended target – the Repulsor, was damaged but not destroyed by the things massive power claw.

Prince Tragget Griffith was able to destroy an Aggressor that was screening the main battle line. On the Astartes left flank the Infiltrator and Eliminator teams continually harassed Asmodor, not able to damage him, nor even trying, but rather simply slow him down. The Witch was casting her ritual, but the Astartes were clearly focussed upon the four Knights destruction, encircling Skasse and bringing her low with concentrated fire, finally ending her when a Redemptor Dreadnought charged and ripped her mutated body from her cockpit.

The left flank of the Astartes fared less well, with casualties mounting, which they seemed uncaring towards. Whoever these Astartes are, I must admire their dedication sire. Prince Tragget continued firing, however the Astartes had trapped and cornered him with low orbit drops of Supressor and Inceptor teams completing the trap and reducing his engine, and seemingly him to a broken mass. At the sight of two engines destroyed by the Astartes, who were moving to encircle the Witch, Krast abandoned her ritual and fled before she could suffer the fate of Skasse and Tragget. It is unknown if Asmodor and Krast are still working together, however it is believed that the Astartes in question are in pursuit of them. The ritual was stopped, and the east flank given some much needed respite.

I, with some reluctance share the last element of this report. In post battle action, it appears the Astartes executed several Imperial Guard officers on the eastern flank. We have a vox recording, taken by a ‘Trooper Sidorov’ of the Novgorod Guard. The officers had just been executed, and there were viscera over the receiver as well as lowering power fields. I have done what I can to clear the interference.

+++ Recording starts+++

Astarte: “Mortal. Trooper Sidorov, you are spared this punishment as it was not you who failed the Imperium, rather your superiors. Carry this message to ‘your’ General Kutuzov. We tolerate your failings no longer, we offer this warning, and only this warning. Do better, or meet the judgement of the Emperor.”

Trooper Sidorov: “S-s-sire, I need a to know who is sending the message… P-please”

Astarte: “Brave. Very brave of you mortal to challenge your betters. But. Acceptable. Primum de Oblitus, tell them that.

++++ Recording ends ++++

Lord Inquisitor Hathek. I took the liberty of trying to find more about this ‘Primum’. I tried searching the archives for the name, with no results. I searched for the full term associated with the Ultima founding, no results. Then I considered the literal High Gothic “First of the Forgotten”. Again, sire, no results. Whoever this Astartes was, according to interrogation of Sidorov (who has since been administered the Emperor’s peace), the Astarte bore the livery of one of high rank, perhaps even a Chapter Master. There could not have been an Ultima Chapter of no record sire, it’s impossible is it not?  I shall continue to investigate.

Your humble servant 

Adept Luthor Maute

+++Transmission ends+++

+++ =][=+++


Scrivener Gleon notes: Adept Maute’s location is currently unknown, he failed to report to handlers some days after this transmission was sent.

Chaos break through imperial defences on Mordecai Secundus

In mid 09.020M42 the forces of chaos brought into the field a new force that had not been deployed against general Kutuzov's forces. Making the warp jump from the daemon forge at Vandrax in the now collapsed Foramen Interdictum to Astralis, a force of Dark Mechanicus joined the Emerald Serpent and the Death Guard on the front lines on Mordecai Secundus. After a detailed analysis, the heretic techno magi put their knowledge to good use, blowing a hole in Kutuzov's front line entrenchments and advancing an armada of troop transports through the gap.
to counter this Kutuzov launched his own counter offensive, releasing a regiment of mobile reserves in the form of Tempestus Scions. the Scions scouted out the approaching armada, with their lead forces in Tauroxes, taking positions in old ruins once dedicated to the Emperor in ages past. Identifying the approaching army, the Scions called in their shock troops, making precision drops while  valkyries provided missle and lascannon air support. This initial counter attack managed to wreck an entire flank of transports, but the Dark Mechanicus responded, shooting down a Valkyrie and wiping out the first squads of drop troops.
The battle intensified as the second wave of imperial stormtroopers were sent in, hammering the Mechanicus forces and reducing their vehicles to wreckage. The chaos forces were not deterred however, and disembarked their infantry. Backed up by two legged mobile weapons platforms, the mechanicus forces engaged the imperial army in a close combat melee which quickly became a stalemate. The chaos forces held the critical objectives, but were taking heavy casualties. In the end however, the Scions were unable to gain air superiority, which cost them the battle. The Dark Mechanicus air power eventually neutralised the Valkyries, leaving the Scions at the mercy of the chaos air force. Realising this was an untenable situation, Kutuzov withdrew the remaining elite forces in order to preserve their strength. By late 09.020M42 the chaos forces had established a significant salient in imperial lines which now threatened the imperial HQ.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Decisive fleet action at Mordecai

In early 09.020M42 the Imperial Navy knew they had to force a favourable action with the fleets of chaos in order to increase the amount of supplies reaching Kutuzov's troops on the ground at Mordecai Secundus. If they could not break the blockade, Kutuzov's situation on the planet would become untentable, and the war lost. Astralis was still effectively unassailable, and an attack on the fleet base would be suicide. However, Admiral Gorshkov decided to bait the enemy into an equal fight, by sending in a large convoy with his battlegroup lying in wait behind.
Seeing a large Imperial convoy trying to break the blockade, the chaos fleet moved in for the kill. As soon as they did, the Imperial fleet assessed the threat. The battlegroup was not the entire chaos fleet, but a sizeable force centred around a Despolier class battleship escorted by several cruisers, moving in close formation towards the Imperial convoy. Assessing the odds as somewhat even, Gorshkov closed aggressively with the chaos fleet.
The Emerald Serpent fleet was surprised by the appearance of Gorshkov's battlegroup, and the Imperial admiral focussed his fire on the Despoiler. The chaos flagship took heavy fire, impairing the enemy admiral's ability to control his fleet. Orders were sent but ignored, and the natural inclination for the chaos captain's to squabble with each other was exposed, as the chaos battlefleet became less of a coherent force with its flagship under heavy fire.
By the time the two fleets had closed with each other to exchange real fire, the Despoiler was already limping. This was followed by a catastrophic detonation of a carnage class cruiser, the destruction of which crippled the chaos fleet's second largest warship, an Acheron class heavy cruiser. Seizing his chance, Gorshkov manouevered his fleet even closer, launching a devastating set of teleport attacks against the crippled vessel. The chaos ship was reduced to a drifting hulk, and the chaos fleet, now having lost two of their capital ships with only one of their enemy more suffering any serious damage, attempted to flee. Gorshkov managed to launch a wave of attack craft to put the Despoiler out of action before the remaining chaos ships were scattered. The battle had been a decisive Imperial victory. A battleship and two cruisers had been taken out of action, while the Imperium had suffered significant damage to only one of Gorshkov's dominators. The convoy reached its destination unscathed, and while the odds were still favourable to the traitors, an entire battlegroup had been neutralised, effectively giving the Imperial navy a 3-2 advantage in ships in the Mordecai system.

In fighting at Boltarean sees Death Guard take control

In fighting on Boltarean sees Death Guard take control
While the war on Mordecai continued to drain Imperial resources, the forces of chaos were also fixed on the system and the prosecution of the war there. The Emerald Serpent in particular had focussed its resources in their mission to remove te loyalist presence from Mordecai Secundus, taking advantage of Warsmith Stahl's retreat into his lair in the Enceladus Subsector. The daemon princes, brothers millenia ago, would now seize their chance to become the dominant force of chaos in the Perseus Deeps.
This did however mean that the Hadron Expanse became a lesser concern, and while the Death Guard were happy to ally themselves with the Serpent in the Deeps, on the Eastern Fringe they had other ideas. Central to the plan devised by the sons of Mortarion was the ultimate destruction of Ultramar and the enslavement of the Ultima segmentum to the ruinous plagues of Nurgle. To facilitate this they had begun to create their own bases in the Hadron Expanse, and now wanted to claim the chaos world of Boltarean for their own.
The Death Guard gave the remaining Emerald Serpent forces on Boltarean fair warning, but the pride of the Thousand Sons prevented any amicable solution. The scions of Nurgle moved on the Boltarean capital in force, and a long drawn out battle ensued outside the city. Aeons old grudges were settled, as the brutal fighting continued for days. Neither side were quick to give any quarter to their opponents, but in the end the unnatural durability of the Death Guard secured victory. The sons of Mortarion raised their flag above the capital of the chaos world, claiming dominance over all chaos forces in the Hadron Expanse.

Federacy and Imperium clash in the Hadron Expanse

In the Hadron Expanse there was a shift away from Hexis throughout mid 020M42 as all factions began to realise the irrelevance of that theatre. the war would continue to ravage the inhospitable desert worlds and countless lives would continue to be lost, but the wider subsector now began to take a more prominent position in the struggle for dominance over the region. The Alliance, especially the Tau, had begun to attack worlds in line with their "Hadron Expansion Sphere". The Federacy, although allied with this cause, did not want their hard work and cooperation to lead to an entirely Tau based domination in the region. Already Mimir, the seat of Federal power in the Expanse, had Tau bases and complexes, and the new governor of the Federal mission to the Expanse, Grandt Naylock, wanted at least one system that could be claimed entirely for the Federacy.
To do this, the Federal explorers began identifying likely systems. One such system was Tanis, an inhabited human system with a wealth of exploitable resources and ideal colonisation prospects. Keen to jump on the opportunity before the Tau, Naylock authorised an expedition. The Federal fleet delivered a sizeable force of Librian and Tallaxian forces to the system, along with a small battlegroup of naval vessels. The inhabitants welcomed the visitors and immediately aligned themselves with the Federal cause, even if they still retained some vestiges of their prior loyalty to the Imperium from millenia ago when the Hadron Expanse had last been connected to the Aleph sector.
At least, most of them became aligned. Unfortunately for Naylock, a pro-imperial "cult" sent a message into the void appealing for aid. This was intercepted by General Percival's astropaths at Arawath. Pleased by the find, but alarmed by the Federal takeover, Percival began to draw up plans to intervene. Before the planning stages had even properly begun however, the Space Wolves intervened unilaterally themselves, landing on the inhabited worlds of Tanis and taking control. The federal regiments took up positions to face this new threat, but following a decisive strike against their armour by the Space Wolves' fliers, the federal forces struggled with inaccurate and ineffective fire against the imperial air power, wasting precious time and ammunition while the Space Wolves' ground forces closed the distance. The Librian Guard tried to put the astartes off balance by conducting an aerial drop of stormtrooper forces, but this failed, allowing the elite sons of Fenrir to make contact with the Librian lines and simply roll them up.
The battle had been a shambles for the Federacy, who abandoned the system for the time being, chased out of it by the Space Wolves' strike cruisers and escorts. The astartes notified Percival of their actions, and began establishing a base on Tanis, which they immediately renamed "Canis" for their efforts. Now they would have to wait and see if the Alliance or other forces took interest in this newly discovered system.

White Scars hold the line on Mordecai Secundus

By 09.042M42 general Kutuzov had stabilised the eastern front on Mordecai. His guard regiments had dug in, but the supply situation was still dire. The forces of chaos knew this, so did not let up in their attempt to break down the imperial defences and break through to Kutuzov's command HQ. By now this HQ had become a sprawling complex controlling the entire war effort. If this was compromised the war on Mordecai Secundus would be over.
While the Emerald Serpent continued to pressure on all fronts, in early 09.042 the Death Guard did manage to penetrate Kutuzov's lines in the south. A force of elite traitor astartes managed to established a position splitting Kutuzov's defences, opening up a gap between two Novgorod Regiments. Held in reserve, the loyalist astartes now struck against this new threat. A force of White Scars, using their greater mobility, advanced on the Death Guard positions on two flanks, keeping their distance while peppering the traitors with constant fire. To deal with this threat the Death Guard units were forced to split up and attempt to deal with both attacking forces. They did manage to close the distance and make contact with some of the White Scars' bike squads, but the loyalist space marines had deliberately engineered a layered formation.
Now pinned by their engagement with the White Scars' advance units, the remaining space marines delivered their countercharge, encircling the Death Guard forces and reducing each pocket in turn. By 0509.M42 the chaos bridgehead across Kutuzov's defensive line had been eliminated, and the White Scars withdrew, allowing the Novgorod Guard to restore the unbroken defensive lines facing off against the Nurgle threat.