Monday, November 29, 2021

Apocalyptic clash on Hexis results in Imperial victory

Prelude to Battle
By the end of 11.021M42 the Imperium under general Konev had amassed significant forces on Hexis. Realising the strategic importance of the system in relation to the newly discovered region of the Rifts of Hecate, imperial high command had decided to force the issue and clear the planet of two major enemies, the forces of chaos and the tyranids. To do this the Imperial Fists had taken over overall command and had begun to erect defences prior to a major assault. A warhound titan had been deployed, and it was obvious to the Imperium's enemies that a major offensive was coming.

The forces of chaos, more or less leaderless since the abandonment of the campaign by the Iron Warriors, now had the Emerald Serpent take control. Using their psychic forces they managed to secretly increase their own strength, which now centred around a massive warlord titan. Before the major battle of Hexis, the Emerald Serpent gathered as many chaos forces to their banner, and also looked elsewhere for allies. They once again managed to convince the ork tribes to follow them into battle, promising a good fight and a share of the imperial scrap, while in an unusual turn of events, the worshippers of tzeentch managed to communicate with the tyranid hive mind. The tyranids had no reason to ally with the chaos forces, as it was their intention to build up enough bio-warriors to consume every living thing on the planet in order to create their own hive ships to escape the world and begin a new feeding cycle. However, the sorcerers of chaos tried to convince the tyranids that they would not be prevented from consuming as much of the imperial flesh as they desired, although the hive mind did not answer explicitly as to whether the chaos appeals had been successful.

Imperium's enemies launch massive frontal assault
On 2911.021M42 the forces of chaos, led by the mighty warlord titan, launched a massive offensive against Konev's outer defences. Using the power of the warp to create dust storms and electrical interference, the imperial defenders had no warning of this impending attack, and were quickly overwhelmed. The chaos forces were joined by ork tribes, which crashed over the imperial trenches decimating the guard units on the front line. Worse still for Konev's men the tyranids launched their own attack at the same time, apparently in a coordinated attempt to eliminate the loyalist forces from Hexis. Only the necrons, who the Emerald Serpent did not try to convince, stayed away from this assault, content to watch events unfold.

In the Imperial HQ an urgent meeting was convened, where several imperial guard regiment commanders recommended falling back to the newly built inner defences, but the chapter master of the Imperial Fists took control of the situation. Gregor Dessian proposed to meet the incoming enemies head on, with the full force of the Imperium now deployed on the planet. Overruling general Konev, Dessian now commanded the imperial forces and began to place them directly in the path of the oncoming assault.

Imperium sally forth
Gregor made his plans simple enough for the diverse imperial forces to follow. On the imperial left, the Fists themselves would charge forward into the chaos lines, inviting the enemy to assault them. The Fists' chapter master knew that he had to secure critical objectives before the chaos forces, then break the oncoming tide against the mass of the imperial armies. In the centre, the Lycanon guard would lead the advance, although this meant almost certain death, while the warhound titan and heavy firepower of the guard tank and artillery regiments would provide massive fire support.

The battle grew in intensity as the two sides clashed on the plains of Hexis, close to the ruins of the northern suburbs of Praxis. On the imperial left the Imperial Fists had to face swarms of tyranid creatures, while holding off the enemy warlord titan. In the centre, chaos knights obliterated the Lycanon mechanised force, but there were always more guardsmen to pour into the breach. The orks on the right flank proved difficult to contain, but mass firepower and the sacrifice of thousands of guardsmen held them at bay.

The Warlord titan was able to dominate the centre of the battlefield, but the chaos forces, surprised and checked by the imperial sally forth, were unable to shift the imperial forces from the critical objectives. The Fists took heavy casualties, and the Lycanon guard elite infantry contingent were almost wiped out, but the Imperial gun line was never reached. Having expended significant forces in trying to overwhelm Dessian's "wall of bodies", the Emerald Serpent now had too few units left in good fighting condition to run the gauntlet into Konev's heavy guns. The warlord titan was also taking a heavy battering from imperial firepower, and the commander of the chaos forces knew that to continue this attritional struggle would mean the loss of one of their most prized assets.

Imperium sweep into Praxis & Chaos withdraw from Hexis
Having broken the back of the chaos and allied assault on Konev's lines, the Imperial Fists had won the battle of Hexis, and passed over control to general Konev for the next phase of the operation. While the Lycanon guard tried to regroup, and the astartes paused to recover their precious gene seed, the rest of the imperial army swept into the city of Praxis, keeping the retreat of the chaos forces going all the way to the south of the city. This necessarily meant they were unable to deal with the orks surrounding the city of Menthoteph or the tyranid hive nodes in the desert of Cralth, but the focus of this assault was to secure the city of Praxis and remove the chaos forces from the planet.

The imperial force also began pursuing the enemy warlord titan. In this endeavour the Adeptus Mechanicus now deployed their assets, driving forward into the Shifting Sands region in an attempt to hunt down and deal with this ancient and powerful traitor. In this they were joined by the orks who, having realised the chaos forces were now not going to deliver them prize scrap, decided to hunt for chaos scrap instead. For this chase phase of the battle, the orks and Mechanicum managed to ignore one another, as they chased down the enemy titan. Realising they now had the imperium and the orks to deal with, the remaining chaos forces began to evacuate the planet, and the remaining battle worthy heavy units from the Emerald Serpent contingent now fought an effective rear guard to prevent the titan - believed to be the mighty "Astralis Invictus", from falling into enemy hands.

The chaos forces were successful in meeting this objective, and the gigantic war engine managed to escape, teleported back to the chaos staging post on the Hexis moon and from there back via the warp to the shadow realm which the imperium could not access. By 0312.021M42 all chaos forces on Hexis had been eliminated. The orks and tyranids still remained, though weakened, and now after years of hard fighting the Imperium had a commanding hold on the surface of Hexis. The war was not over however, as the necrons still remained a credible threat, but for now the security of Hexis as a staging post for expeditions into the eastern fringe and the Rifts of Hecate had been significantly improved. The strategic effects were only minor for the Emerald Serpent however. They had failed to advance their agenda against the Imperium and had suffered heavy losses, but by successfully withdrawing they had prevented their retreat from turning into a rout.

Hexis 0312_021M42

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Orks clash with Tyranids on Hexis

On Hexis, the war was clearly escalating in late 11.021M42. With the opening of the Rifts of Hecate the strategic importance of the world had increased, and all races realised that although the necron device and the Nexus Arrangement had been removed off world, there were still great riches to be found in the tombs below the surface. The orks and tyranids did not care so much about the strategic significance of the world however. The orks, brought to Hexis by the forces of chaos, were simply spoiling for a fight, while the hive mind desparately desired enough biomass so it could begin construction of hive ships as a way to leave the planet.

The orks, excited by the prospect of a "bug hunt" launched their own aggressive assault into tyranid held territory in late 11.021M42, crashing into the alien lines and thoroughly enjoying the slaughter that followed. Attacking without a motive the hive mind could discern, the orks overwhelmed the xenos creatures, tearing down the larger beasts while gleefully exterminating the smaller beasts. By the end of 2011.021M42 the scene of carnage in west Menthoteph was complete, as the orks massacred the tyranid lifeforms that had pushed in from the northern wastes.

Meanwhile, as the orks celebrated their victory, the Imperium had begun to plan for renewed action on Hexis. Finally recognising the importance of the world, general Percival arranged for a large reinforcement of Konev's lines, aided by the Imperial Fists. Konev and his new allies would secure and fortify their positions before building up for a massive offensive against all their enemies. This would secure the world as a base for the exploration of the Rifts, while allowing the full exploration of the tombworlds below the surface. As the forces built up in late 11.021M42 however, the Emerald Serpent decided it was now in their interests to strike at Konev first.

Corsairs interfere with Imperial plans

While the Imperium continued the war on Mordecai against chaos, several Aeldari farseer's determined that the ongoing expeditions in the Hadron Expanse, especially those led by the Adeptus Mechanicus, were a danger to the plans of the eldar. The Imperium had not given up on Hexis, and now looked likely to reinforce their positions there following the opening up of the Rifts of Hecate. This risked the humans uncovering several ancient Necron artefacts, as well as Aeldari knowledge the xenos race decided the Mon-Keigh should not have.

To disguise their intent, the eldar employed raiding corsairs in the Hadron Expanse. Over the course of 11.021M42 the corsairs conducted a number of raids on imperial outposts, which resulted in the Ecclesiarchy worrying about the faith of the imperial citizens in the region. Acting swiftly, the state religion of the Imperium of Mankind deployed a number of Adeptus Sororitas units to key outposts, bolstering the faith of the people by their visible presence, while also acting as a shield against eldar aggression. In late 11.021M42 the two sides finally came to blows when the corsairs launched a raid against the seat of imperial power in the region - Vanir.

The corsairs were taken by surprise by the appearance of the Sisters of Battle, and had to fight with skill and intelligence to outmatch the ferocious assault led by the female human warriors. The raid itself had been a success, but now the eldar risked being cut off from their webway portal and trapped. This fact meant the xenos had to fight hard and not give ground, resulting in heavy casualties and an extremely close battle. Though they did not know it the Sisters came within touching distance of the portal, before finally the corsairs were able to force the imperial force to retreat. Battered, the eldar force managed to withdraw, and the eldar suspended raiding operations for the time being.

Jade Serpent continue to acquire vital aetheric relics

Across the blistering windswept world of Ferrosium Secundus the forces of The Jade Serpent and the Penal Explorator Fleet Redemptus met in a ruined town, within one of the world’s bleak deserts. Hoping to capitalise on their foe again and make for a swift victory, the Thousand Sons were surprised to find the Mechanicum Forces leader, "Mechasapient" Harquen Valdor, waiting for them. Seeing the hesitancy of the Thousand Sons, the Techpriest seized the opportunity to steal the initiative and engaged with the Thousand forces, sending blistering Phosphor rounds and unleashing an Archaeopter Fusilave at the traitor legion. Within the opening engagements, the Thousand Sons’ various transports were crippled. Identifying the source of the enemy’s strategy, Aradak, The Ever-Changer, The Horror of Abaxian, The Breaker of Shields, The Wielder of The Stave of Barbs, Sunderer of Areez the Prophet of the Waagh launched himself across the battlefield. Moving quicker that the targeting computers of the Ad-Mec could justify, the lord of the Thousand Sons came crashing down upon Harquen Valdor and through shearing through the armoured plates, destroyed the machinery designed to keep the Techpriest alive.

Though the retribution of the remaining Admec forces was swift upon Aradak, the damage had been done. Unable to comprehend the magiks used by the Jade Serpent sorcerers, the soldiers and robots of the Penal Explorator Fleet Redemptus began to be whittled down. Trying to focus on crippling the Thousand Sons forces, the Mechanicum launched attack after attack at the land raider, the Crystal Pyramid, however the will of Tzeentch was strong this day, and rounds that should have sundered the vehicle merely bounced off harmlessly or fizzled into nothing. The Archaeopter Fusilave, Ingenuity Mars-Pattern Synchronopter, damaged from earlier in the fighting, attempted to ram both The Crystal Pyramid and the rubric marines, the Eyes of Radak III before it’s flight cogitator gave out, but this was a move the Thousand Sons were expecting and they unleashed searing warp fire upon the vehicle, destroying it. Flying through the inferno, the remains of the Archaeopter Fusilave crashed upon those it sought to ram, killing the rubric marines underneath and severely damaging the land raider, but not destroying it.

With the Mechanicum forces’ attention focused elsewhere, the other twin, Radak, The Golden Eye’d Cyclops, was able to focus on acquiring the next aetheric relic from amongst the ruins. A manuscript, no larger than a handheld data slate, hummed with warp potential within the debris of the ruined town. With it now secure, and their objective achieved, the remaining Jade Serpent forces withdrew out of range, victorious once again within the Rifts of Hecate...

Jade Serpent raid orks in the Rifts of Hecate

After seeing off the scout force of the Imperial Fists, The Twins Radak and Aradak of the Thousand Sons’ Jade Serpent cult set about preparing the next stages of their ritual that would see the worlds of their enemies isolated. The first step was to acquire components for the ritual; A task not lightly taken as many of the Thousand Sons’ enemies have laid claim to worlds in the Rifts of Hecate with the resources needed for the undertaking. The forces of the HobGrobbos of Grunk Prime, Engineerz of da Great Stompa Waaagh were the first to meet the wrath of the Jade Serpent.

On the planet of Ferrosium Prime, the Ork Warboss Areez, the Great Green Grobbo, Prophet of the Waaagh suddenly found themselves under attack as warp portals were ripped open within their ramshackle settlement. Furious that anyone would dare come into his territory, the Warboss Areez ordered all of his nearby forces to kill the intruders and bring any remaining scrap back to his workshop. Needing little encouragement, the Orks of the Great Stompa Waaagh climbed into their vehicles and sped towards the commotion. Hollering and roaring, the Orks of the Areez didn’t realise they’d come into the cross hairs of the Thousand Sons land-raider, The Crystal Pyramid until it was too late. Beams of light from twin las-cannons scythed across the battlefield and brought down many of the Scrap-jets and Deff Dreads before they’d had time to react. Enraged by the toll his war machines were taking, the Ork Warboss Areez, took to the field himself, ready to kill the interlopers. 

This was all the opportunity Aradak, The Wielder of The Stave of Barbs, needed. Flying through the air on a disc of Tzeentch, the Exalted Sorcerer of the Thousand Sons shot across the battlefield towards the towering ork Warboss. Compelling the nearby Rubric Marines to fire upon the warlord with a mere thought, the forces of the Thousand Sons overwhelmed the Mek Boss’ defensive systems long enough for Aradak to sweep in. The battle between the two warlords was as fierce as it was decisive. Guided by the will of Tzeentch, a lucky bolt shot from Aradak’s pistol blinded the Ork long enough for the sorcerer to dispatch him with The Stave of Barbs and felled his opponent. Gathering the relic material which the Ork Warboss had unknowingly added to his armour, the Thousand Sons withdrew before ork reinforcements could arrive. With a decisive blow dealt to the orks, a victorious Aradak returned to his twin who was already preparing the next strike against the Adeptus Mechanicus on the nearby world...

The Jade Serpent

Even before the Wolves descended upon Prospero, the twin brothers Radak and Aradak were master warriors and scholars in service to the 15th legion within the Cult of Pyrae and Cult of Pavoni respectively. Their loyalty to their Primarch and legion was unshakeable, so it was no surprise that when the Executioner’s sword dangled above their home world, they were at the front line in defence of it. Though the mighty world was sundered, the forces of Magnus the Red were saved and retreated into the Warp. After swearing fealty to the Changer of Ways, and with the Rubric of Ahriman complete, Radak and Aradak began to forge their path through the Cosmos. Tasked by Magnus himself, the twins have been sent to the Rifts of Hecate Sector to discover any valuable artifacts that may be of use to the Thousand Sons and to spread the influence of Tzeentch across the worlds there.

Radak, The Golden Eye’d Cyclops, The Burner of Theolis, The Slayer of the Red Wyrm, The Wielder of Blue Flame is a man of ambition and dedication. With the fall of Prospero, and the re-emergence of The Planet of Sorcerers and Astralis, Radak has been seen throughout the imperial worlds waging wars, seemingly at random, but in reality with a hidden agenda. Where his brother has submitted himself to Tzeentch’s Aspect of Change, Radak has devoted his life to Tzeentch’s Aspect of Knowledge. Drawing upon the power of the Great Ocean, Radak unleashes warp fire upon his foes, setting both their physical bodies and their mortal souls ablaze. No foe is beyond his reach, and by using his aether sight, Radak can single out the most important enemies on the battlefield and like a surgeon, excise them. Those who meet Radak without his helm find that his left eye is missing entirely and his right eye has been replaced with a golden and brass eye with intricacies that would make the most deft of the Mechanicum’s servants weep. To look upon this eye is to see the warp, as Radak has spent his life focusing his power through this single artifact. It is said that nothing is hidden from this eye, and woe betide those who fall under his gaze.

Aradak, The Ever-Changer, The Horror of Abaxian, The Breaker of Shields, The Wielder of The Stave of Barbs, Sunderer of Areez the Prophet of the Waagh, is a force to be reckoned with. Where Radak is the lockpick that unlocks the door to the flaws of the enemy, Aradak is the Thunder-hammer that smashes down the gate house. He is unsubtle as he is ferocious and through his martial prowess has slain many a foe that thought he little more than a scholar playing at soldiery. Tzeentch’s influence moves over all of sentient creatures of the galaxy, but it is only those with a will like Aradak that are able to harness this limitless potential. Aradak’s body is ever changing; sometimes it is hard and rigid like the hull of a battle titan, other times, it is malleable and deft like oil. Only through concentration that would seem impossible to mere mortals does Aradak keep his body in a usable form that would benefit himself and his lord, Magnus. When engaging in combat, Aradak will adapt his physiology to better fight his opponent at the time, making it near impossible for an enemy to gain the upper hand. Those that do engage Aradak in melee have more than just his shifting physiology to deal with, however; The Stave of Barbs is a relic created by Aradak himself. Like its master, the weapon is everchanging, and those who believe that they have expertly parried a blow from a Force Stave are often surprised to see a broadsword, or a Prosperine Khopesh embedded within them as the weapon adjusts its form to the will of its master. Such is the will of The Ever-Changer.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Hadron Expanse: Tau secure Tanis, Imperium complete Ferrosium Base

By mid 11.021M42 the Imperium had established their presence in the Rifts of Hecate and began sending exploratory forces to nearby star systems. This lead to the Aeldari perceiving a threat to their plans, as there was much the ancient alien race did not want the Imperium to find in the region, and clashes began to occur between imperial forces and the eldar. One such engagement was a raid by the eldar on the Imperial base at Ferrosium. The eldar were keen to disrupt and delay the build up of imperial forces in the system, but the Dragon's Sons chapter quickly responded and drove off the xenos threat. By late 11.021M42 the Imperium had established a strong base, and now began to construct a fleet servicing base to act as a jumping off point for further expansion.

The tau meanwhile took the opportunity to take advantage of the multiple distractions the Imperium now had in the Hadron Expanse. General Percival and his allies now had multiple fronts to supply, with Konev needing more troops to defend his positions on Hexis, and the expedition into the Rifts of Hecate stretching his logistics. This made the Adeptus Mechanicus expedition to Tanis vulnerable, and Tanis was a key part of the tau strategy. Striking swiftly, the tau fell upon the Mechanicum on the innermost world of the system, battering the skitarii defenders and ravaging the imperial installation. This forced the Imperium off the inner world and secured the Tau a base of operations on four worlds of the system. Now it would be very difficult for the Imperium or the orks (currently infesting Tanis VI), to interfere with the planned tau colonisation of Tanis II, the virgin terrestrial world rich in resources and ripe for exploitation.

Ultramarines successfully degrade ork defences on Magark

In the Vastrid subector the Imperium had begun to put together a strike force with the intention of invading the ork worls of Magark. Having secured the smaller ork system of Aspaster, Magark was the next logical target. For many centuries the orks had infested the Cerrack Nebula, and forts around the region protected the important imperial planets nearby. With the intelligence given to Lord Titus Luthor however, the Imperium could no longer simply ignore the ork threat. A Waagh! was brewing and eradicating the ork threat in the Nebula seemed preferable to waiting for the storm to break over the sector capital and it's nearby worlds.

While the army of invasion was being assembled at Aspaster, the astartes began systematically degrading the defences of Magark. This would take a number of missions, and the astartes and other elite forces were preferred to attempting to bombard the planet with the imperial fleet. The orks didn't have a huge fleet themselves, but they did have a number of lumbering roks, and the appearance of the imperial fleet too soon, would encourage the orks to construct their own vessels in response, something the orks had proven they could do rapidly and effectively.

Instead, elite raids were conducted. The first, involving an imperial knight, had been unsuccessful, but the Ultramarines launched their own attack in mid 11.021M42, evading the unwieldy ork "fleet" and landing on the populous ork world. Their aim was to establish a perimeter around a set of powerful ground based lasers, which would be a real threat to troop landers, then destroy them before the orks could organise a response. This they achieved, although the ork response was more swift than expected. The astartes chapter however were known for their technical adherence to the codex astartes, and this time it served them well. The ork leader was killed in combat, disrupting the greenskin counter attack and allowing the defense lasers to be eliminated before returning to their strike cruiser. Several more raids would be needed, but for now the operation to soften up Magark was going well.

Hexis: Tyranids embattled and necrons fail to enter tomb complex

On Hexis, the Imperium had become alarmed by the sudden ressurgence of the Tyranids as their work to uncover the secrets of the ruins of Praxis was not yet complete. The Adeptus Mechanicus in particular exerted their own political influence in order to secure more forces for the Imperial armies on Hexis, using their contacts to appeal far and wide. Help was not long in coming, as General Percival, aware that his armies were entirely dependent on the Mechanicum's good will to service his equipment and war engines, quickly re-routed two regiments of Imperial Guard to the planet that had been earmarked for the Rifts of Hecate. In addition to this force, the Grey Knights also committed one company to dealing with the Xenos threat, as they themselves recognised the loss of Hexis would compromise their aim to track down the Thousand Sons who they knew were active in the Hadron Expanse.

The news that new regiments were on their way prompted general Konev to launch an offensive against the xenos beasts now occupying the northern districts of the ruined city, that had cut off the imperial held central areas of Praxis. The tyranids were a challenging foe, but the Novgorod Guard managed to clear the area of the enemy, linking up once more with the isolated imperial sector protecting the vital works of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Soon after, the Grey Knights attacked, attempting to strike a decisive blow against the hive mind and key synapse creatures. They appeared to have been successful, as the great tyranid host reeled from the ferocity of the astartes assault, allowing the newly arrived elite Lycanon Guard to move forward into positions the Imperium had not held for many months.

This victory was fleeting however, as the departure of the Grey Knights back to their strike cruiser in orbit heralded a counter attack by the hive mind. Hordes of xenos creatures led by tank-like larger beasts crashed into the Lycanon lines. Despite the improved armour characteristics of their Leman Russ battle tanks, the Lycanon regiment could not hold back the alien tide in the north eastern suburbs of the city, and were forced back once more to the more defensible ruined urban districts of Hengrist. The Imperium had checked the tyranid assault on the cuty of Praxis, but the threat remained to Konev's forces.

Meanwhile, in the western wastes of the planet, a patrol of space marines from the Sky Lords chapter had been searching for the eldar webway portal, believing it to be a possible link into the necron tomb complexes themselves. During this patrol, they were unable to locate the portal, but they did stumble across a small force of necrons who they were able to drive off after a short firefight. What the necrons were doing so far north the astartes did not know, but it confirmed their suspicion that somehow the necron tomb complexes and the eldar webway were somehow linked. Under the surface, no matter how hard the Adeptus Mechanicus tried, the layout of the tombs just didn't make rational sense. The necrons themselves knew very well of the non-cartesian nature of the tombs and their link to the webway, but their encounter with the Sky Lords had not allowed them to secure an entry into the underground labyrinth as they had desired.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Mordecai: Adeptus Mechanicus hold the line

On 0911.021M42 the Adeptus Mechanicus forces on Mordecai Secundus came under another sustained offensive by the forces of chaos. This was the main counter attack in the south that Kutuzov and his war council had been expecting, striking west into the Sathugar mines from the cities of Burroneus an Ur'Ghar. Defeat here would represent a serious strategic setback, as the loss of the mining complex would not only unseat the imperial positions in the southern sector, but strangle imperial supply. In order to prevent this, imperial HQ had deployed the Mechanicum forces directly in the way of this axis of attack.

The battle developed into a close and hard fought engagement, with the manifestation of Mortarion leading the Death Guard forces, demonstrating the importance of this front with respect to the overall strategic position. The Adeptus Mechanicus were able to deal with this apparition however, thanks to overwhelming firepower, and after days of pitched battle with significant losses, it became clear the imperial line would hold. the chaos attack died down, and in response, Kutuzov ordered the construction of defences and a fort to protect the main avenues of advance into the vital mining complexes. The Imperium had weathered the counter attack in the south, but the strategic position was still not in their favour. There would be hard times ahead before the Imperium could consider a renewed offensive.

Tyranids strike back on Hexis

On Hexis, the tyranids had been comin under pressure from the orks and eldar. Having been stirred up by these attacks, the xenos hive mind now struck back. Rather than counterattacking the orks and unable to even hit back against the Aeldari, the tyranids moved west instead, swarming over the defences of the Imperium and striking directly into the ruined city of Praxis itself.

The area of the city that came under assault was Hengrist, where the Adeptus Mechanicus were investigating several ancient complexes both human and necron. They also guarded the supply route into the city centre, where the main work to uncover necron secrets was taking place. On 0611.021M42 the tyranids attacked, overrunning the imperial lines and putting the Adeptus Mechanicus defenders in a difficult situation. The imperial force trued to hold back the alien swarm, but the larger creatures in particular proved difficult to take down. By the end of the day the Mechanicum leader had been killed, and the imperial position was impossible to hold. The Adeptus Mechanicus fell back, cutting off the imperial force in the centre of the settlement, with tyranids now swarming over the ancient ruins. The purpose of this attack the Imperium could not discern, but it was clear the tyranid threat on Hexis could not be dismissed.

Skirmishes in the Rifts of Hecate

As 11.021M42 began, the Imperium continued to establish their base at Ferrosium, naming it Ferrosium Secundus and beginning to build up a significant installation on the second inhabitable world of the system. Largely driven by the agenda of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Stygies Forgeworld continued to send small but agile raiding forces to the larger world that was infested with the greenskins, in order to liberate as many resources they could while dealing with the "Hobgobbos" and preventing them from becoming a full blown "Waagh!"

Several expeditions to the inner planet were conducted by the Mechanicum, and there were a few skirmishes which finally led to a pitched battle on 0311.021M42. In this engagement, the skill and discipline of the machine god worshippers proved superior to the raw aggression of the orks, and the "great green gobbo" was himself taken down in the engagement. It was uncertain whether the great ork had actually been killed, but his incapacitation ensured the orks were driven off, and the Stygies Forgeworld uncovered several interesting ancient human artefacts for their efforts.

Further into the Rifts, another Mechanicum force made planetfall on the only habitable planet of the Helios Majoris system. Finding another resource rich world the imperial force set up a base, before being attacked by a xenos threat identified as tyranid in origin. Although the Adeptus Mechanicus force were able to deal with this threat, killing the tyranid hive node creature and scattering the smaller beasts, the appearance of the tyranid threat in the Rifts of Hecate was disturbing. This was further heightened by the discovery of a genestealer cult on Ferosium Prime, as the Imperium observed an inconclusive engagement between the orks and these cultists on 0511.021M42.

It appeared that the human civilisation on Ferrosium, and perhaps more widely, may have succumbed to the tyranid threat. This was not certain however, as no hive fleet had been detected and the biomass had not been consumed. The appearance of the tyranid xenos raised many questions, and work began attempting to trace and link the genetic heritage of these xenos creatures, to see if they were related to the identified strains of tyranids in the sector.

Rifts of Hecate strategic view