False Flag - Epilogue
* * *
Few knew that there was a direct access to the Maneaters Navigators Dome from the Inquisitors Chambers. Only the Inquisitor ever used it. Thus brother Mikail was slightly surprised when he entered the dome from the command-bridge's door and found out that the dome was not empty as he had assumed. The techmarine had come to spend little time in silent contemplation with nothing but the light of stars as his company when he suddenly found himself looking at revered Inquisitor Hezika Carmillus who had apparently come here for the same thing. What was more was that Inquisitor was sitting there, her long legs resting on a table, clad in adorned silken robe of gunmetal color that resembled of nightgown. His augmented senses could feel the heat of her body and he could smell her sweat. Likely she had come here straight from the practice floors or one of the gyms inside the Inquisitors Chambers. Mikail assumed she was beautiful. Her form had pleasing symmetry in strictly aesthetic sense and Mikail could appreciate her well-formed, functional muscles but in all honesty he had no real knowledge, or capacity to judge, whether a normal man would consider it beautiful. Such things were simply not in his nature. The sight did, however, seem like he had unknowingly just disturbed a somewhat intimate moment.
”They did succeed.” Inquisitor Carmillus said, not letting her eyes off the outline of the planet showing through the lower, floor-level, panels of the dome.
”I did not disturb you?” Mikail asked.
”No, not at all.” she answered, turning to look at him. ”I hope I did not disturb you.”
”Surprise, yes. Disturb, no.” Mikail said moving at her side.
”It is a rare creature that can surprise a Raven Guard.” she smiled, ”but I think it was my lack of formal attire of powered armor, rather than anything I did. I apologize for it, hardly a decent attire for this hour.”
”Yes, but the failure was mine. I had allow myself to grow so accustomed to see it that I had come to expect it.” Mikail said. ”But how do you know? That the mission succeeded, I mean.”
”I just contacted Rosa. She is down in the hive, disguised as one of the clergy. She sent me there was a battle in the underhive. Around seven hundred people dead and a similar number of tyranids and assorted hybrids. The remains of one of the tyranid creatures found contained strong doze of psy-out dust.”
Mikail nodded. It had to be the Broodlord, so they had gotten it. That was still good to know.
”It does not change your opinion on the mission?” Carmillus asked.
”The fact that it succeeded? No. I still think Watch Commander Mordigael made the wrong decision in allowing it to pass.”
”May I inquire why you are of such opinion?”
Mikail stayed silent for a moment, contemplating the Inquisitor. ”I believe that the decision to push ahead with the original mission despite of the radical changes in operational environment was done at least partly to assist the Angels Vermillion company on the ground.”
Carmillus smiled impishly ”You think that the decision was corrupted by Watch Commanders feeling of brotherhood towards his fellow Astartes?”
Mikail shook his head. ”I am afraid it was the ghost of the legions and their long-dead primarch, not any feeling of brotherhood for Astartes in general.”
”You might underestimate Watch Commander, I think.” she said, turning back to look through the glass wall.
Mikail just nodded. ”It is possible. You never told any of us what you thought of the mission.”
”And, even though you are so polite not to ask directly, I will respectfully have to decline from telling you.” the Inquisitor answered, rising to her feet. ”It is a matter of mutual respect between Watch Commander and myself. He knows what I think, we have discussed it and the call was his.”
”Good night, Frater Astrotechnicus.” she said, opening the well-disguised door in the wall and vanishing through it.
* * *
The Destroyer of Worlds - Planning and Preparation
* * *
MISSION REQUEST / BLUE PRIORIOTY / REQUESTING PARTY: DEATHWATCH
AUTOMATED DEATHWATCH KILL SHIP JULIUS ROBERT HAS SUFFERED A BREAKDOWN IN
COMMUNICATIONS AND ROUTE CONTROL PROCEDURES DUE TO ROUTINE ASTROPATH MESSAGE NOT
CONFIRMING WITH THE ESTABLISHED CODES. THE SHIP HAS BEEN AUTOMATICALLY LOCKED DOWN
AND IS UNABLE TO CONTINUE ITS PRESENT MISSION UNTIL THE COMMUNICATION AND ROUTE
CONTROL PROCEDURES HAVE BEEN RE-ESTABLISHED.
MISSION TASKS: FIND OUT THE REASON FOR FAILURE ON COMMUNICATION AND ROUTE CONTROL
PROCEDURES ABOARD AUTOMATED KILL SHIP JULIUS ROBERT. RESUME THE COMMUNICATION
AND ROUTE CONTROL PROCEDURES AND/OR ESTIMATE THE NEED FOR REPAIRS.
PERSONNEL: ONE (1) KILL TEAM
COMMUNICATIONS: DIRECT RADIO UPLINK TO TRANSPORTING SHIP
BACKUP COMMUNICATIONS: SECONDARY RADIO COMMUNICATION PROCEDURES
INSERTION METHOD: CAESTUS ASSAULT RAM
EXTRACTION METHOD: CAESTUS ASSAULT RAM
MISSION TIME: APPROXIMATELY THREE (3) DAYS
MISSION ABORT PARAMETERS: COMPLETE FAILURE OF KILL SHIP SYSTEMS. IN CASE OF MISSION
ABORTION THE MISSION PERSONNEL MUST PREPARE TO DESTROY THE KILL SHIP JULIUS ROBERT
BY ANY MEANS AND USING ANY ASSISTANCE NECESSARY
MISSION END PARAMATERS: ASSERTING THE REASON OF FAILURE IN AND RESUMING OF
COMMUNICATION AND ROUTE CONTROL PROCEDURES.
MISSION DANGER RATING: PURPLE
* * *
Intelligence Summary: JULIUS ROBERT
Deathwatch / Astartes Only
Ship Type: Autonomous Kill Ship
Mission: The Julius Robert was last sighted on routine patrol mission, cruising between twelve worlds in Jericho Reach deemed most likely candidates for Extreminatus in near future. The patrol was prognosed to last from 15 to 28 years in total and was divided into 30 segments, according to pre-calculated way points. The contact protocol of the ship was to stop in each way point and automatically lock down all its functions. Then the ship astropath would send out a coded signal. After receiving the signal the Watch Fortress Erioch would send a confirmation signal which would open the automatic lock-down and allow the ship to continue. The last signal received by Watch Fortress Erioch 32 days ago used wrong code, so no confirmation signal was sent and the ship is assumed to be in lock down. At the time Julius Robert was carrying a payload of six atmospheric incineration torpedoes, six cyclonic torpedoes and twelve virus bombs.
Structure: While the ship itself is extremely sizable, being 1900 meters from rear to bow, there is only a limited number of strategically important targets on it. Most of the space on board is taken by the cloacking devices and the huge reactors powering them. Between these, the ships main reactors, warp coils, Exterminatus loading bays and launch tubes and the water and waste recycling systems there are only three habitable areas: The bridge, the main engine controls and the armory labyrinth.
The bridge is in three levels each separated by bulkheads and secondary airlocks. The first level is used by the automated navigation personnel, the second by the weapons servitors and the third by the astropaths.
The main engine control is five levels high but is actually one huge space used only by the Magos Cybernetica and his altar-servitors. It is also the main Shrine of Omnissiah on board.
The armory labyrinth is technically habitable since in cases of emergency and when the exterminatus warheads need their centennial rites of reforging it must be traversed by the enginseers. However, everything there is normally operated by fully automatic machine spirits. The place is built in shape of labyrinth with no lights or signs and the actual warheads are hidden inside the various corridors of the labyrinth to protect them from tampering in case some one manages to break into the ship.
Enemy Activity: No known enemy activity. No indigenous life. One hundred and sixty-seven weaponized servitors and kept in constant cryo-sleep unless an unauthorized breach is detected in the ship. If released these servitors do not have any kind of locks or overrides installed and will continue to engage all living targets inside their designated patrol area untill destroyed.
Imperial Activity: The crew of the ship consists of Magos Cybernetica, 3 cyborg-astropaths, 21 cyborg-pilots and several thousand servitors. All the ”living” crew, the Magos, the cyborg-astropaths and the cyborg-pilots are permanently wired into their work-stations. Of these the Magos is the only one continously awake. The cyborg-astropaths and the pilots work in three shifts with each shift lasting for three onboard months or one jump. The serviotrs on board are awakened and put back to cryo-sleep according to instructions of the Magos.
Dramatis Personae: Addition
Brother Cassius (Ultramarine Tactical marine) - Silent, laconian, dependable. Formerly a sergeant of the 10th company Cassius is a prime example of everything Ultramarines are made of and he has spent last ten years making sure the next generation of Ultramarines inherit as much of it as possible. He is a codex marine and proud of it, but it does not mean he is hidebound. He is a solid tactician with a load of dirty tricks up his sleeve just in case.
The Destroyer of Worlds – Planning and Preparation
The Kill Team Maneater returns to watch fortress Erioch after the long stretch of operations on Castobel. Arriving to the Erioch they find most of the fortressess senior personnel and Kill Teams absent, being sent on other operations around Jericho Reach. While they have been away the fortress serfs have been outfitting a tactical room for the Kill Team Maneater. The tactical room is outfitted for their use only, requiring passing a genetic lock to get in. Inside they find a spartan room with large table and holographic display board. On the table is three files and a short note from Watch Commander Mordigael himself. The note states that Mordigael has left all the lower-priority pending assist requests, three of them, that the Deathwatch on Jericho Reach had received and dumped them on Kill Team Maneaters desk to be resolved at their own phase as soon as they are able.
For the moment Kill Team Maneaters strenght is eight men: brothers Eukarios, Ezekiel, Falcon, Marius, Regis, Ulrik and Viktor and a new replacement, brother Cassius of Ultramarines, who has just been inducted to the Deathwatch and is on his way to fortress. Brothers Falcon and Marius are still absent for reasons unknown to rest of the team so the team have two days to discuss the merits of different assistant request. They quickly decide to tackle the problem of the unresponsive Kill Ship at first and proceed to start training for spaceship boarding operations. Meanwhile brother Victor goes to ask Interrogator Merinae for information on Kill Ship Julius Robert which is their target.
At the same time Falcon and Marius have been with Watch Commander Mordigael. As Marius is now unable to contact his chapter and presumed to be dead by them and even Deathwatch does not know how to reach the chapter master of Carcharodons the Watch Commander has decided to offer Marius a chance to join the Deathwatch and Kill Team Maneater. Marius accepts the terms that he will serve in Deathwatch using his personal and/or his ships coat of arms untill such time as the chapter master of Carcharodons can be contacted and informed of his whereabouts. Knowing the nomadic patterns of his chapters fleets and the solitary nature of the Chapter Marius silently prepares himself for the possible eventuality that he will spend the rest of his life in Deathwatch. As inducting astartes into Deathwatch withiout Chapter masters approval, purely on premises of recommendations of Deathwatch Kill Team members and Inquisitor is extremely rare event brother Falcon will spend two days with Marius, recording all details of his induction, the terms of service and description of the rituals where Marius' power armor is repainted. As librarian he will later file the records into Watch Fortress Eriochs archives.
When bothers Falcon and Marius get back from the rituals and Cassius arrives to the station the Kill Team Maneater is in full strenght and can start to prepare for the coming mission for real. Interrogator Merinae has found a whole file of stuff about Julius Robert for the Kill Team, including rudimentary blueprints (with several strategically important areas missing) and ancient photographs of the insides of the ship. As there is no information what has actually gone wrong with the ship the Kill Team decides to cast Emperors Tarot and augury for details on their opponents. Borther-librarian Falcon prepares the rites and deals the tarot. As he goes deeper and deeper into a trance the other astartes precent notice that he has unknowingly set the tarot aside and, deep in trance, is dealing invisible tarot cards. As the room grows darker all the reflective surfaces (mainly the polished left arms of the Deathwatch power armors) start to twist and strange reflections show on them. Suddenly the holographic boards picture also twists and phases out to be replaced with strange shape the Kill Team recongnizes as the outlines of terminator suits helmet.
Convinced by the auguries that there might be renegade marines with terminator armor aboard the Kill Ship the team chooses their best ship-boarding expert, Marius, to lead the team and start to outfit themselves with equipment needed to deal with locked doors and inside bulkheads and with weaponry capable of penetrating heavy armor. All bolters are loaded with kraken rounds, brother Regis leaves his heavy flamethrower home in favor of missile launcher and several dozen krak missiles and everyone packs with extra krak grenades, melta bombs and demolition kits. For the next two weeks it takes for the Kill Team to reach the last known location of their target ship they practice ship-board combat tactics and disembarking from Caestus Assault Ram over and over.
The Destroyer of Worlds – Execution
* * *
Locked and loaded. Magnetic locks grasp the elbows and the helmet of the power armor. I have twenty-two krak missiles weighing on me. One in tube, eighteen in backpack ammo holders, three on my armor in quick-releases. The Ultramarine behind me carries two more krak missiles and will load my launcher. He also has a bolter and will keep my back if the two-dozen krak missiles run out. I hope they won't. My only back up is handfull of krak grenades and a bolt-pistol with 14 kraken rounds. Twenty-four shots. I pledge each of them to Emperor for he protects.
The outside feed cuts out as the magna-melta fires, filling the void ahead with bright, searing flash. I shake around in the magnetic locks as Caestus impacts the hull of Julius Robert. A brief flash of outside feed, nothing really can be seen except for the bright fireworks of the frag-launchers going off, filling the corridor ahead with literally hundreds of thousands of 8 mm steel ball-bearings. The assault ram door open and the Caestus has stopped but the magnetic rails to which I am attached start to push me forwards, out of the ram. The man before me, Marius, activates his chainsword. I do not hear the motor, but I see the outline of the blade blur as it starts to run. He goes in first. If he falls, I will avenge him with my first krak missile.
As I clear the mouth of the rams assault tube the magnetic locks release me and I drop to high kneel, aiming forward and left. The automatic sight of the launcher starts to seek for targets. There is none. There is only rubble, blinking of emergency lights and the smoke. The pressure of the frag-launcher blast has popped open all maintenance hatches and thick bundles of cable hang out of them like exotic snakes. The silence is all around. A single 8 mm ball-bearing rolls on the floor past me. I have just survived the most dangerous part of Caestus assault. We proceed.
* * *
The Kill Team Maneater enters the ship by crashing through the outer hull with Caestus Assault Ram, boarding the Julius Robert near engine control room. They run into an empty, deserted corridor. Entering the large cauaseway leading towards to main doors of the Temple of Omnissiah they notice that there are no signs of fighting or hostile boarding. All the statues of the past magi cybernetica who have served on Julius Robert are intact and the great doors locked with the cogwheel of Mars are closed. There is a fine layer of dust on the floor. The Temple of Omnissiah, also known as the engine controls, is a huge, open cathedral. The floor is littered with technological machine-monoliths three to five meters tall each and the middle of the circular space is dominated by a huge pillaring power core. Lighting strikes sporadically between the machine-monoliths also exposing the ships magos cyberneticus who is permanently attached to the floor by a termite-mound of optical cables and connected to the power core by thousands of other snaking cables.
The Kill Team spreads out, covering for the techmarine Eukarios who heads straight over to magos, and detect something large moving in the shadow of the power core. As it comes closer they spot a huge machine, a cross between terminator armor and a small dreadnought, with green-white paint and symbols of a known Adeptus Astartes Chapter, Sons of Medusae. This is no traitor marine. They hail him on radio and a deep, booming voice answers: ”This ship belongs to Sons of Medusae. Lay down your weapons or you will be destroyed.” As the dreadnought-like thing starts to encircle behind the team, towards the door, and all contact-attempts are answered with demands of surrender or destruction Marius orders the Kill Team to open fire. A krak-missile crashes into the force field of the thing and its techxorcism gun short-circuits brother Regis' power armor in turn. Then the tide turns as five more Sons of Medusae, each wearing a full Terminator armor, teleport to the engine room. The Kill Team takes cover and starts another round of negotiations with the Terminators. However, even the sergeant Drakon of the Terminator squad insists that the Sons of Medusae are here in emperor service to remove the exterminatus warheads from the ship and that they will fight anyone, even Deathwatch, trying to detour them from their sacred task. The Kill Team decides to retreat to the smaller tunnels of the engine compartment.
The Kill Team reaches the engines and going to the outer hull of the ship are able to contact the Inquisitor Carmillus aboard the Maneater for instructions. Carmillus tells them that the Maneater has detected a light cruiser belonging to Sons of Medusae and have started jamming its teleporters. Hearing about the terminators she also notes that the light destroyer is of type capable of supporting only a maximum of ten to fifteen astartes. The Kill team decides that they must now try to reach the bridge and see what is happening there. Arriving to the bridge the Kill Team finds all the cybernetci pilots awakened. Of the ships astropaths one is dea, shot to the head by single bolter round, and two others are asleep inside their stasis coffins. The tracks on the dusty floor look like there has been a group a terminators here just a while ago. The Kill Team asks the pilots to assists, but the pilots are tied into contesting the magos cyberneticus for the control of the life support systems and the lock-down is hindering them too. The Kill Team figure out that if they can wake one of the astropaths they can get the astropaths send a confirmed code, receive a confirmation and get the ships lockdown released. However, brother-librarian casts new augurs and the signs tell him that the terminators are on their way back to bridge... its time to prepare for combat.
The Kill Team puts all the pilots back to stasis fields to protect them during the combat and start to booby trap the corridor leading to bridge. Gathering all their krak-grenades they trap ever meter of the 20 meter long corridor and set up fire positions in the bridge so that each and every one of their eight brothers can fire to the corridor at the same time. As the terminators start to push to the corridor the battle ebbs and flows each round, but, in the end, the Emperor protects the Kill Team and when the last of the terminators falls they are all still alive. Brother Falcon is critically wounded and unable to continue and almost everyone else have suffered small wounds from storm bolters and fragmentation launchers. They have expended literally hundreds of kraken rounds, half-a-dozen krak missiles and four krak grenades. The bridge is a smoking ruin. The Kill Team figures out a way to release the astropaths by shutting down the power of their stasis coffins. The problem is that they must cut a single cable that is inside the Temple of Omnissiah. Brother Falcon stays behind with Eukarios to attend to the astropaths and everyone else sneaks downstairs. Prepared to fight the dreadnought thingy the Kill Team does not need to do it as brother Ezekiel skillfully snipes to cable with a single bolter round, managing to cut the cable without damaging any of the other systems.
Now that the astropaths are awake and pilots have regained the control of the ship they ask the Kill Team to go and switch the damaged magos cyberneticus offline. The Kill Team goes back to engine control and prepares to tackle the dreadnought thing. They plan to booby trap the corridor and lure the dreadnought there but as they are nearing the door, the dreadnought comes out and the Kill Team finds itself closer than they wanted. Brother Eukarios manages to disarm the things thunderhammer but it quickly disables Eukarios with burst from the techxorcism gun. Meanwhile brother Victor has managed to attach a melta bomb to the dreadnought things hull. When Victor disengages to get away from melta-bombs blast radius and everyone else starts to shoot at the dreadnought thing brother Cassius tries to drag Eukarios to safety. Then the thing shoots Cassius and his power armor goes dead-cold due to haywire. Now fighting with his pure strenght to move both himself and Eukarios out of the melta-bombs blast radius. Realizing he can't get away he uses last ounce of his strenght to push the frozen techmarine into safety, rips away his helmet and yells a command to Viktor to blow the melta-bomb. Viktor pushes the remote-detonators button and both the dreadnought thing and Cassius vanish into a ball of white, searing light.
As brother Regis runs to see what happened, Cassius slowly crawls to his knees. His armour is ruined, but he is alive and brother Eukarios is also alive. The dreadnought thing, however, is melted to slag. After this the Kill Team quickly turns the magos off-line and contacts the pilots to confirm that they have the ship under control. With the ship now online and preparing for the next jump the Kill Team retreats back to their own ship.
Imperial casualties: Six battle-brothers of Sons of Medusae chapter are killed and three members of the Deathwatch critically wounded.
Aftermath: Three more battle-brothers of Sons of Medusae chapter are killed aboard the Julius Robert by ships murder servitors. The Sons of Medusae light cruiser is seriously damaged by Inquisitor ship Maneater. Subsequently the whole incident is covered up by Ordo Xenos and Deathwatch.
The Baraban Incident – Planning and Preparation
* * *
MISSION REQUEST / BLUE PRIORITY / REQUESTING PARTY: DEATHWATCH
INQUISITION HAS LOST THE ABILITY TO TRACK TAU FORCE COMMANDER SHAS’O K’ILA AND AS SUCH
SHE HAS OUTLIVED HER USEFULLNESS AS A SOURCE FOR INFORMATION. DUE TO HER MAJOR ROLE IN
ORGANIZING, TRAINING AND MENTORING THE REBEL HUMAN TROOPS ON BARABAN HER DEATH WILL
SERIOUSLY DISRUPT TAU OPERATIONS ON BARABAN AND WILL HELP ACHILLEUS CRUSADE IN HOLDING
BARABAN AND THE GREYHELL FRONT.
MISSION TASKS: KILL TAU FORCE COMMANDER SHAS’O K’ILA ON BARABAN. DESTROY HER
RETINUE AND HEADQUARTER STAFF.
PERSONNEL: ONE (1) KILL TEAM
COMMUNICATIONS: ASTROPATHIC LINK TO TRANSPORTING SHIP
BACKUP COMMUNICATIONS: NONE
INSERTION METHOD: THUNDERHAWK DROP
EXTRACTION METHOD: THUNDERHAWK PICKUP
MISSION TIME: APPROXIMATELY THREE (3) DAYS
MISSION ABORT PARAMETERS: NONE
MISSION END PARAMATERS: DEATH OF SHAS’O K’ILA
MISSION DANGER RATING: WHITE
* * *
After evacuating from Kill Ship Julius Robert the Kill Team Maneater returns to the Watch Fortress Erioch. Brother Siracum had been absent from the last mission, being interred in the medicae halls of Erioch where his jaw bones and lower teeth had been replaced with ceramic substitutes after the original had been swiped off by a genestealer in Castobel. Most of the team were impressed to see how well he had been patched up, only a small scar across his cheek and jaw were left, but Siracum himself seemed more comfortable hiding the scars under high collar. After surviving the melta bomb aboard Julius Robert brother Cassius was almost recovered from his wounds but his armor was wrecked beyond repair. However, he had been issued a new one which brother Eukarios brought to him from the Erioch armoury. The new armor was a true wonder, an Aquila -pattern Mk7 which was till grey ceramite, never before painted or used by anyone else. Indeed it looked so new that the paddings inside were still uncut, radio devices uncoded and even the small plastic sheets covering the helmet lenses were there...
The assebled team was just admiring the new power armour when watch captain Ramiel entered, throwing a pile of reports, their own reports from last mission, to the desk. ”I strongly recommend putting the traitorous Sons of Medusae and their chapter under full prosecution suspected of crimes against Empire.” Ramiel quotes from one of the reports. ”What are these reports? I cannot send these report up the chain. No-one wants to read stuff like this. You are not Inquisitors. Who has given you any right to judge another Astartes Chapter? What if they had perfectly legitimate orders from Mechanicus like they claimed?” Ramiel chastised the team. ”You all better rewrite these reports. Right now.” he said, turning to leave. ”Oh, by the way, you are all expected be in the hangar bay three by 21:00 tonight. Full parade dress. And brother Ezekiel better look especially good there.”
So it was back to work. Drawn between rewriting the reports and painting the new power armor for Cassius the team was already running late but managed to be in the hangar bay by the time, all wondering what was to come. When the doors opened on 21:00 a Deathwatch dreadnought and three librarians enter the hall. While one of the librarians records the ceremony two librarians, their armours covered in scrolls, escort the dreadnought to the Kill Team. No words are spoken, but skull servitors are constantly writing down the thoughts of the dreadnought and the two librarians on the scrolls covering their armour. The dreadnought presents brother Ezekiel with marksman's honour, the golden badge made from the exact same bolt casing brother Regis pocketed aboard Julius Robert after the shot that cut the single optic cable from among hundreds of others and freed the astropaths of the ship from stasis coffins. After the dreadnought and the librarians leave everyone is clearly impressed and moved by the rituals and the team decides to dedicate the rest of the evening for celebrations.
Next morning the team gets together in their briefing room and looks through the assistance requests piled on their table. ”We can walk to this Eldar ambush some other time” brother Regis says, throwing a request detailing a mission to escort Inquisition personnel into some xenos ruins on the table. Afew others nod and the team quite quickly decides to tackle a request for assassinating Shas'o K'ila, a tau commander whom the Kill Team had tracked before on Baraban on another assassination mission. This time it looks like the Ordo Xenos has lost their ability to track Shas'o K'ila and thus she is no longer needed alive as a source of intelligence. However, it seems that the situation in Baraban has tensed up. There are indications of major Tau assault coming soon and Shas'o K'ila has been last seen near the strongly fortified front lines of Tau. So instead of stealthy assassination the mission looks like having the profile or a quick and dirty assault.
The Kill Team selects brother Regis for their leader and starts to equip for the taunting task at hand. For moving across the grass stepped of equatorial Baraban they get themselves some bikes and a single land speeder Storm. The assault marines prepare for cleaning some trenches and bunkers, brother Victor taking two power swords while brother Marius makes do with chainsword and bolt pistol. Brother Siracum, always eager for close combat, also takes chainsword and bolt pistol while Eukarios lays his trust on powerfull machine spirits of a meltagun. For long range firepower brother Ezekiel takes his trusty heavy bolter, brothers Ulrik and Cassius take boltguns and librarian Falcon takes a stalker pattern boltgun and auxiliary grenade launcher. Preparing for proper trench warfare and bunker-busting everyone loads up on frag and krak grenades, meltabombs and demolition charges. Brother Viktor even decides to requisition for a single cryo-grenade. Just in case.
With everyone stacked to the limit with extra ammo and grenades the team takes the oath of weapons, make last minute maintenance rites to their armaments and kneel down in prayer before the Thunderhawk that is taking them down to the battle.
The Baraban Incident – Execution (part #1)
The Kill Team lands near the imperial lines and finds itself on a grass plain some kilometer away from what looks like Imperial Guard lines. They have been promised a recent intelligence update and guides from local Imperial Guard, so they try to contact the lines over and open radio. For the longest time no-one answers and then suddenly an unknown voice starts a panicked rant over the radio, demanding that all transmission over the radio are forbidden and only traitors use radio. The Kill Team is quite perplexed over this at first, but then they hear the roar of artillery somewhere in the distance and suddenly shells start to drop all around them, throwing a few battle-brothers and their bikes around like rag dolls. Concluding that the defectors are using Imperial radios for zeroing their artillery Regis orders everyone to shut down their radios, from this on it'll be full radio silence with only signs and spoken commands used. Meanwhile librarian Falcon has sneaked near the Imperial trenches and once the artillery bombardment starts he dives down into the trench, protecting the shell-shocked guardsmen with his own power armor. The artillery bombardment lasts for a few minutes and once it is over Falcon calls the others to the trenches.
When the Kill Team finally finds the command bunker they find out that what they thought would be the 13th Maccabean Janissaries regiment has been shrunken to a mere few companies and left-overs of one battalion HQ staff. The regimental commander and his HQ are dead, the regimental vehicles and mortars are lost and the 360 survivors are led by the battalion intelligence officer, holding the last strongpoint in the line of defector advance. What they can give the Kill Team is the approximate location of the Tau command center somewhere near the Tau southern main trench-line 400 kilometers away. They also promise to send two guardsman bikers as guides to lead the Kill Team near the lines. As the Kill Team and the intelligence officer are discussing the enemy locations suddenly a winded young sergeant runs in, informing that the enemy is attacking again. The intelligence officer takes a look outside and turns to the Kill Team ”Thats the main assault coming our way with full artillery in support. If you leave now, you can probably just make it out of the way before we'll have a real battle in our hands.” The Kill Team also goes outside and surely a human wave of somewhere around 600 defectors is closing in, firing their lasguns and in the distance the roar of the artillery picks up again. There is a quick discussion amongst the Kill Team on if they should help the guardsmen to stop the assault with brother-librarian Falcon wanting to help the guardsmen and several others wanting to leave right away. Brother Regis makes the call and judging that they might run slow on ammunition before even getting near their main target if they stay now orders the Kill Team to break contact and get out now.
Having abandoned the Imperial lines behind them the Kill Team pushes on and drives for a full day without breakes. On their way they are attacked once by a Tiger-Shark class Tau fighter which manages to force them into spreading out and wounds Regis with ion cannon blasts before it is finally dropped by concentrated fire from brother Ezekiels heavy bolter and brother-librarian Falcons stalker boltgun. A few hours later, near the evening, they finally reach the Tau lines. Visual surveillance from the top of one of the nearby hills tells that there is a network of trenchlines several kilometers wide and deep ahead. The trenches seem to be manned by human defectors but the Tau command centre of Shas'o K'ila is supposedly somewhere in the middle of it all. A bit unsure of how to proceed the Kill Team decide to ask librarian Falcon to augur for them. Drawing a circle on the ground and lighting a dozen candles librarian Falcon starts the ritual but is answered only by a an ill wind, deep rumbling and tremors of the ground and darkening of the shadows around which also scares one of their guardsman guides to fleeing the camp never to be seen again. The Kill Team decides that this is an ill omen sent by the Emperor himself to chastise them that they are relying too much on augurs and should start to work harder by more mundane means. So they hatch a plan: the two assault marines sneak near the enemy lines and try to infiltrate into the trenches, once they are notice the rest of the team will lay down continous bolter-fire to suppress the enemy lines while the assault marines break into one of the bunkers and capture a defector officer bringing him back to the others for interrogation.
The firefight starts as brothers Marius and Viktor get within 50 meters of the trenches but as their seven other battle brothers concentrate heavy bolter, boltgun and bolt pistol fire along the width of the trenchline the defectors are easily pinned and the assault marines easily break into the trenches. Clearing away few squads of defectors with Marius' chainsword and Viktors powersword they break into a nearby bunker, overpower the defectors inside and capture one of the defectors which looks something like a leader. The interrogations are a bit of a letdown as it turns out their prisoner is just a lowly defector sergeant who has seen Shas'o K'ila last time almost four months ago. When they finally execute him brother Siracum and Ulrik gain some insight on hwo the directional marking system inside the trenches work by drinking the defectors blood and eating his flesh. With this knowledge the Kill Team decides that it is time to break through into the trenchline again. They quickly camouflage their bikes and the land speeder amongst the grass, leaving the last guardsman guide to guard them and set out again.
The Baraban Incident – Execution (part #2)
* * *
Guardsman Xarus was running. It was a maybe just an hour before that he had fled from the presence of the Astartes, but he had already lost his sense of time. Baraban had been known to do that, but this time Xarus was not sure it was the planet. There was something fundamentally wrong here. At first the concept of being chosen to guide the honorable Astartes had filled him with pride and joy, but the last twelve hours had not been what he had expected. The angels of death in their black armour were not what he had thought. They were cold, calculating and acted as if they didn't even notice Xarus. To them he was as if he had not ever existed. It was not what he had expected at all. His squadmate Janis hadn't understood it at all. He had tried to talk to her, but she didn't seem to mind the cold attitude of the angels. But the worse was yet to come. The ritual. All those black-clad giants around their circle and their candles had smacked a bit too much of the heresies the church-fathers in Maccabeus Quintus had warned Xarus about. When the ground finally roared its protests on the vile rites Xarus had decided to run. He had tried to drag Janis with him, but the silly bitch insisted on staying, just smiling and staring at the dark clouds above as if she was smitten by the display of power the psyker angel had just unleashed. She didn't seem afraid, just exited.
Suddenly Xarus' right leg went numb and he fell hard to the grass. He hadn't seen or heard anything but when the tingling pain started to spread around his thigh he knew he had been hurt. Xarus crawled around on his back and looked at his right leg. He had been shot. Xarus had seen enough wounds to know it was a lasgun blast that had ripped a hole into the back of his thigh, gouging and maiming the muscles. It was neatly burned and black now, but Xarus knew he didn't have more than five minutes before the muscles that had constricted from the blast would relax and blood would start to flow from his wound. Besides of that there was also the small matter of someone who had shot him. Xarus unslung his carbine and slowly rose to his knees to peek out of the grass just to see the familiar form of Janis aiming at his direction with lascarbine just a couple of dozen meters away.
”Janis?” he asked, still unsure of who had shot him. He noticed there was a fresh cut in Janis' forearm. As if someone had cut an inch-long incision into her left arm with a knife less than hour ago.
”Xarus.” Janis rose up, still aiming at his direction. ”Don't raise that lasgun of yours.”
”Whats this about, Janis?” Xarus asked, leaning on his lasgun to rise on his feet. ”You are cut. What has happened.”
”Oh, that.” Janis said, slowly walking towards him with lasgun still aimed at his body. ”Its nothin' really. I made it to remember you by. To remember this.”
A cold feeling went up Xarus' spine as he heard that cold statement. ”Jan, don't. They are not human. They are not worth it.” he begged.
Janis stopped, now only ten meters away. ”I'm afraid it don't matter. You showed disrespect to the angels by running away. You shamed yourself.”
”But Jan, they are psykers. They are mons---”
Xarus' plead was cut short when Janis shot him. The single lasgun blast penetrated his forehead and destroyed his brain in blink of an eye. He died before ever realizing it. Maybe it was good he died so fast and never got to see how Janis kneeled before his dead body and drank his blood from the wound.
Just as she had seen them do.
* * *
The Kill Team decides to break into the trenches from pretty much the same place they captured the defector sergeant from and do it by using pretty much the same tactics. The rest of the team lays down a barrage of bolter fire along the trench while Marius and Viktor sweep in with their jump packs to clear the way. Although the defectors are now alerted and standing ready in the trenches they are easily pinned down by dozens and dozens of bolter shells aimed at them while the assault marines quickly jump into the trench, bringing death with them in the form of boltgun, chainsword and power swords. When the second wave of Ulrik, Sicarius, Eukarios, Falcon and Cassius run forward and reach the trenches Marius and Viktor are already making way deeper into the fortified system of trenches with just an occasional flash of bolt pistol of power sword showing the way. Without stopping the devastators also follow up and the Kill Team reforms into a line with Marius and Viktor alternating on the point and Ulrik and Cassius keeping the sternguard. Eukarios starts to navigate using his cartographer to draw a map of the trenches as they move, guiding them deeper inside the fortified lines. The Kill Team makes steady progress with the first assault marine pushing ahead into melee every time enemy is sighted and the second one using his jump pack to dive further ahead, cutting off any chance of retreat. With this tactic Marius and Viktor wade through the defectors feeble lasgun fire, leave little for the others to do, leaving a trail of dead bodies, burning cloth and charred, blood-soaked grass to mark their way. Brother Siracum follows closely behind, drinking blood from several dead defectors in order to abstract more information out of them.
The Kill Teams lighting advance comes to stop when they finally reach a circle of seven bunker domes dug into a hollow hill. As Marius, who is currently going first, charges ahead with his jump pack he is struck by a lucky lasgun blast. Out of the dozens of shots aimed at him one amazingly hits straight in the left lense of his helmet, blowing the lense apart and damaging his eye. He falls down for a few seconds, quickly switching into his echolocational sonar as the other battle-brother run in to help him. Noting the bunker domes the Kill Team think they are now at the top of the Tau HQ and Eukarios starts to use his meltagun to blast holes inside. Suddenly a huge swarm of Tau drones sweep in from hidden caverns all around and start to rain pulse blasts on the Team. Pretty much everyone except Eukarios and Ezekiel are hit several times. Ezekiel and Falcon start to pump heavy bolter and boltgun fire into the drones, but it was the two frag grenades and demolition charge thrown quickly by Ulrik and Cassius that disperse most of the drones, allowing the kill team to get in. With almost everyone hit the Kill Team have no choice but to pause for a few minutes and let Siracum patch them up. Regis has had pulse blasts burn through the power armor lining of his neck, Cassius has had his left forearm filled with burns and Marius has, in addition to the left eye, had pulse blasts sever the oxygen pipe of his power armour, break a left rib and pop out parts of balck carapace. Siracum can't do anything about the eye so he just pumps the Carcharodon full of pain suppressors and nails the loose bone, carapace and left side of the breast plate into his thorax as an emergency measure. Brother librarian Falcon has had his artery ripped by pulse blast in thigh, so Siracum quickly sews the artery together and uses repair sement and industrial nail gun to attach his power armours thigh plate right onto his black carapace, thus closing the wound at least untill his body can start to regenerate.
Already having given the enemy inside the bunker several minutes to react and prepare while the Kill Team was patching up their wounds Regis pushes on the assault. Eukarios navigates using his auspex to scan through the walls and cartographer to mark the progress. Marius, Viktor and Regis are in the front, Cassius and Ezekiel in sternguard and Ulrik, Siracum, Eukarios and Falcon clearing rooms to the sides. Few rooms filled with Tau are cleared with fragmentation grenades untill Eukarios opens a door into bigger hall where Tau firewarriors have bunkered up. The Kill Team uses grenades and heavy bolter to suppress the Tau while the vanguard of Viktor, Marius and Regis run around to corridor going around the right side of the room, use power swords to cut a hole into the wall behind Tau barricades and roast the Tau with few blasts of flaming prometheum from Regis' heavy flamer. Having found an elevator in the now cleared hall the team stops to consider how they can find Shas'o K'ila and her retinue from the bunker complex. Regis suggests that Siracum, being worryingly enthusiastic about drinking enemy blood, takes some from the Tau but he refuses to touch the filthy xenos blood. Ulrik, on the other hand, sees his refusal as sissy weakness takes a bite from one of the Tau and Viktor also tries it. Drawing on the memories gained from Tau flesh and aided by the Death Spectres intentisive knowledge on xenos and their tactics Ulrik and Viktor quickly conclude that the Shas'o K'ilas battlesuited retinue has probably bunkered in some bigger hallway where they can concentrate their fire on only few avenues of approach. Like this hall with only one doorway and the elevator. Using auspex to scan through floors and meltagun to make holes Eukarios leads the way six stories down where auspex shows that there is a similar elevator hall with auspex showing movement inside.
The Kill Team decide to surprise the Tau waiting for them by using the meltagun to melt holes into the ceiling, drop grenades and pour fire on them and drop into close combat. The plan, however, goes into a right mess as Falcon opens up with pushed Avenger and the rolling tides of the warp cause all power armours shut down and become powerless. This does, however, also cause the Tau battlesuits freeze and when Siracum and Viktor manage to use their feat of strenght to get their power armour frozen servos moving they start to cut down the frozen tau battlesuits with Viktors power swords and Siracums krak grenades. When the power comes back a few seconds later two tau battlesuits are already down but the rest five are coming back online. Ezekiel cuts down one suit with burst from heavy bolter while narrowly dodging the return fire from plasma rifle and Viktor engages the commanders battlesuit, throwing his cryo grenade first. The cryo grenade slows down the commander and she is quickly cut down by the flashing twin powerswords. Regis grapples down one suit and pins it to the ground, allowing others to finish it. Siracum tries to attach a meltabomb onto one and succeeds but doesn't have time to get away and both him and Marius are badly burned by the blast. Ulrik also grapples one Tau battlesuit and manages to pin it, allowing Viktor easily kill it later with power sword.
With the Tau commander now killed and her retinue destroyed the Kill Team proceeds to burn and destroy the nearby command centre and get back up to the bunker roof. At this moment librarian Falcon gets a message from Maneater that the Tau have managed a breakthrough in imperial lines and as the second echelon troops are soon marching towards the break through the very spot where Kill Team is they must be evacuated from the plante immedeatly. Covered by orbital lance strikes searing the trenchlines all around them the Kill Team board the Thunderhawk that lands right on the bunker and fly back aboard the Maneater waiting for them in the orbit. On their way up they notice from the Thunderhawks tactical displays how several regiments of fresh Tau troops are converging to the spot of the imperial line where they earlier saw the 13th Maccabean Janissars make their last stand. With the primary liaison between defected humans and Tau now killed and her headquarter and personal retinue demolished, but with a huge breakthrough in Imperial lines the fate of Baraban is still undecided.
Imperial casualities: Three critically wounded Deathwatch battle brothers, six lightly wounded Deathwatch battle brothers.
Xeno casualties: ~180 imperial guard defectors killed, ~50 tau firewarrriors killed, ~50 tau drones destroyed, 6 tau XV8 battle-suits destroyed, one Tiger Shark -class fighter dropped and commander Shas'o K'ila killed.
Aftermath: ~360 Maccabean Janissars of the imperial guard and 500 imperial guard defectors killed in breakthrough. ~200 imperial guard defectors killed by orbital bombardment to protect the Thunderhawk pickup.
The Dead Ground – Planning and Preparation
* * *
MISSION REQUEST / BLUE PRIORIOTY / REQUESTING PARTY: ORDO XENOS
ORDO XENOS HAS DETERMINED THAT THE TAU ARE ENGAGED IN INVESTIGATING THE XENOS RUINS FOUND ON OBJECT BR-11789. DUE TO THE HEAVY PRESENCE OF TAU FORCES IN SYSTEM FURTHER INVESTIGATION OF THE RUINS HAS PROVED IMPOSSIBLE BUT IT SEEMS THAT THE TAU HAVE A SOURCE GUIDING THEM INSIDE THE XENOS RUINS. FURTHER INTELLIGENCE INDICATES THAT THE SOURCE IS LIKELY A LIVING CREATURE. IDENTIFICATION AND CAPTURE OF THIS SOURCE IS OF GREAT INTEREST TO ORDO XENOS.
MISSION TASKS: IDENTIFY AND CAPTURE TARGET CODENAME ”UPSILON” ALIVE AND FUNCTIONAL AND EVACUATE IT TO ORDO XENOS CUSTODY
PERSONNEL: ONE (1) KILL TEAM
COMMUNICATIONS: DIRECT RADIO UPLINK TO TRANSPORTING SHIP, USABLE ONLY FOR EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
BACKUP COMMUNICATIONS: NONE
INSERTION METHOD: ORBITAL DEAD DROP WITH EITHER DROP POD OR GRAV CHUTES
EXTRACTION METHOD: THUNDERHAWK PICKUP
MISSION TIME: APPROXIMATELY FIVE (5) DAYS
MISSION ABORT PARAMETERS: IF CAPTURING TARGET CODENAME ”UPSILON” IS IMPOSSIBLE, IN THIS CASE THE MISSION REVERTS TO SECONDARY PRIORITY WHICH IS TO KILL TARGET CODENAME ”UPSILON”. IF BOTH CAPTURE AND KILLING OF TARGET CODENAME ”UPSILON” ARE IMPOSSIBLE THEN THE TERTIARY PRIORIOTY IS TO CALL AN ORBITAL STRIKE ON COORDINATES OF TARGET CODENAME ”UPSILON”.
MISSION END PARAMATERS: TARGET CODENAME ”UPSILON” IS ALIVE AND IN ORDO XENOS CUSTODY
MISSION DANGER RATING: WHITE
* * *
The team has returned from last mission into Baraban and find themselves being given another set of three urgent calls for assistance. After a longish discussion the team finally come to the conclusion that the situation developing slowly at Object 11879 needs to be handled as the Tau have suddenly developed an unhealthy interest to the arcane xeno ruins on Object. The kill team has also been assigned to a new Watch Captain, in this case Watch Captain Mordu of Fire Angels, a member of a chapter known for its ties to Ecclesiarchy. Fire Angels being from one of the more recent foundings and known for their tendency to support the canon Imperial Creed as preached by Ecclesiarchy several members of the kill team, especially ones from First Founding chapters, don't exactly seem too happy with their new assigned leader.
Before starting to work on their plan the kill team decide to gather some information on the Object 11879 and the strange ruins. They meet up with Watch Fortress Eriochs cartograph and one of the Inquisitorial Stormtroops scouts who has just come back from reconnaisance mission on Object. After some talk with both the cartographer and the scout the kill team walks away with maps of the area and some solid knowledge on the environment on Object 11879. Meanwhile Brother Victor managed to track down some information on the ruins and finds out that they are known to be remains of the unseen xeno-race of Necrontyr, presumed to have been extinct for last 60 million years. Victor actually knows these types of ruins as his chapter, Death Spectres, has examined similar ruins before in the Ghoul Stars region and raided them for xeno artefacts on behalf of Inquisition. The ruins are known to be dangerous because space and time do not function normally within them and it is easy to get lost forever. The Object itself offers hazards as it is an airless rock orbiting a powerfull pulsar star. The radiation from the pulsar disrupts all radio communications and its radiation is dangerous to exposed personnel and equipment. As if that would not be enough the scout has told the kill team that the Tau have several space ships orbiting the Object and maintain a well-equipped fighter base on the surface.
The kill team decides on a basic plan which involves them slowly infiltrating near the Tau air base and camp and wait for the ”Upsilon” to show up. When this happens the first part of the team, Cassius, Eukarios, Marius, Siracum, Ulrik and Victor, ambush and catch the ”Upsilon” while a second detachment, Ezekiel, Falcon and Regis, attack the fighter base and destroy the fighters on ground before they can take off. With this plan prepared the kill team elects Viktor to lead the team, take the Oath of Astartes and prepare to take off. While preparing to take off brother Siracum prepares a service to Emperor and Primarchs in the chapel of the Watch Fortress. This, however, turns sour as the Ultramarines Cassius and Regis politely decline to attend the service, preferring instead their own prayers. As Siracum approaches Regis and asks what is wrong an argument develops as Regis explains to Siracum that he does not feel comfortable with prayers and rituals of Sanguinus and blood. Several other also take part in the discussion and suddenly Victor finds out that the situation is hopelessly deadlocked. Bother Eukarios even suggests that Regis and Siracum should duel, but both decline that idea. Finally Viktor has no other option but to ask for Watch Captain Mordu to step in.
Watch Captain Mordu meets up with the kill team in the chapel and hears out the case. Finally he instructs brother Siracum to lead a short common prayer to Emperor to the whole kill team together and then leave the rest of the time allocated to prayers and religious service for everyone for their own chapter-specific rites. Everyone agrees to this. After leading the short common prayer brother Siracum leaves to meditate on the recent turn of events. This is the first time in his career that he has been reminded of the fact that all Astartes do not have the same beliefs and revere primarch Sanguinius as he does.
The Dead Ground – Execution (Part #1)
* * *
The Thunderhawk leaves the main hangar of the Maneater, the roar of its after-burners vanishing into the airless void outside. The rear monitor shows the blastdoors closing. Somewhere from the deepest recesses of the mind comes a vision of a coffin lid closing on you. Even though you are shot outside into the uncaring void it feels like you are being buried alive in a metal casket. The air inside the Thunderhawk suddenly feels damp and stale. The monitors of your power armor show everything is as it should be, but it just feels wrong. The front monitors show the rocky surface of the planetoid rushing towards as the Thunderhawk drops into the gravity well. Even the plain rock surface seems somehow strange. Instead of being just lifeless rock it has the look of an unknown enemy beast, charging towards you with its maws open. It does not feel lifeless in the normal sense of the word. Instead of being just lifeless, it feels dead. Devoid of the very possibility of life. This truly is Dead Ground.
* * *
As the Thunderhawk carrying kill team Maneater enters the lower orbit the battle-brothers all come acutely aware of the unnatural feeling surrounding the Object 11879. They were warned of it earlier by brother Falcon who had tried his psychometry on one of the rock samples brought back by the Inquisitor scouts but here the powerfull feeling of being cut off from everything and everyone else is so strong that even the those battle brothers who are not psykers are bothered by it. The Thunderhawk swoops down and starts to make its way towards the pre-designated drop point, flying as low as the rocky terrain allows. Suddenly the battle-brothers all enter a silent darkness as their auto-senses cut out all outside light and noise and they feel a bone-jarring impact in their bodies...
As the kill team comes back to their senses they are in a crashed Thunderhawk, still in their seats and all the warning lights of their Thunderhawk are flashing and their power armor is rebooting its functions. The kill team quickly exits the vehicle and secure the area, but they are in middle of rocky, dusty, airless desert with no enemy to meet them. A quick inventory shows that the ignition power source of brother Victors jump pack has died, there is something seriously wrong with brother Ezekiels lascannon and the Thunderhawks drives are damaged and control-surface still rebooting from some sort of EMP, requiring the pilots at least 16 hours of repairs before they can get the Thunderhawk up in the air again. The kill team decides to make for the nearest high ground and observe the surroundings. They have landed just outside a huge, several kilometers deep crater that is at least 200 kilometers across and their target area is actually in middle of the said crater, meaning that they need to descent down the steep side into the dust sea below and make a 100 kilometer journey on foot to reach the target. Just as they have sent brother Marius with his working jump pack down into the crater they notice a pair of lights, probably afterburners of Tau fighters, lifting up from the middle of the crater and heading their direction.
The kill team buttons up the Thunderhawk, powering it down and everyone outside gets under their camo cloaks as the fighters get closer. The Tau fighters, closer identified obviously as Barracudas, make a sweep around the area but as they don't attack the kill team assume their presence on the Object has, so far, gone unnoticed. The kill teams instructs the Thunderhawk pilots to continue the repairs while they themselves make down into the crater and start their journey towards the target. It takes them 18 hours forced march across the difficult dust-caked plains to reach the higher ground and the huge Necrontyr structures there. After some searching the kill team manages to locate a small five-man Inquisitorial Stormtrooper scout team that has been keeping eye on the Tau. It turns out that about 20 hours earlier the target of the kill team, the ”Upsilon”, entered one of the Necrontyr pyramids with an escort of four firewarriors and three XV8 Crisis battle-suits. The kill team is shown a record of the event and they notice that ”Upsilon” is a tall, gaunt character dressed in covering robes, dragging cables and two large canister units of some kind behind him. ”Upsilon” is constantly being under guard by four Firewarriors who seem to be ready to shoot him. More importantly the recording show that about an hour after the ”Upsilon” entered the pyramid with his retinue the pyramid started to glow eerie light and finally unleashed some kind of massive electromagnetic pulse that knocked out the recording servitors and caused uproar in the Tau encampment. It also seems that this might be the reason why the kill teams Thunderhawk crashed.
As their lascannon was destroyed in the landing and the time is short the kill team decide to alter their original plan. Brothers Falcon and Regis will go to the Tau fighter base and using Regis' armoursbane missile launcher and Falcons stalker boltgun will try to destroy the fighters on ground and/or kill the pilots before they can scramble. Two of the Inquisitorial Stormtroopers will follow along and support the two marines with laser sniper rifles. The rest of the team will sneak near to the Tau encampment and attack the buildings as soon as the firing starts in the fighter base. Another pair of Stormtroopers will follow them and support them with laser sniper rifles. After destroying or neutralizing the Tau main force outside the pyramid the kill team intends to enter the pyramid and capture the ”Upsilon” there and get out before Tau reinforcements arrive.
Brothers Falcon and Regis sneak about 200 meters away from the fighters. Two fighters seem to have pilots already inside while the others are on stand-by. There is also four Devilfish transports but there is no outside sign on if they have crews inside or not. Regis starts the battle by firing his missile launcher at one of the Devilfish, hitting it squarely. As the firing starts the two fighters start to roll up to the end of the runway and two of the Devilfish transports activate, steering their burstcannons towards Regis and Falcon. Regis manages to blow up a second Devilfish quite fast but at this point the battle brothers come under fire from fighters Ion Cannons and second Devilfishes Burst Cannon. Dodging the fire and taking cover they fire again, this time knocking out one fighters Ion Cannon with Falcons bolter. The fighters are, however, not stopped and while still nowhere near the runway and getting into air they open fire with Missile Pods, wounding Falcon. Falcon manages to destroy the fighter with well-placed bolter-shot and Regis manages to knock down the second Devilfish, but the second fighter hits Falcon with Missile Pods again, knocking him into unconsciousness for a few minutes. Regis finally hits the second fighter knocking it into burning wreck. Looking around Regis notes that the Stormtrooper snipers have managed to kill all eight air caste pilots who were trying to cross the runway and man the remaining four fighters so the situation is quite calm for a while. Regis revives Falcon and together Regis and critically wounded Falcon destroy the rest of the fighters and Devilfish with missiles and hand grenades. At the battle of the fighter base the kill team has one critically wounded casualty, but all six Tau fighters and four Devilfish have been destroyed into the ground and the Tau have lost their air superiority.
At the same time as the first missile is launched towards the fighters on runway the rest of the kill team explode into action. Brother Ezekiel is left behind to cover the area with bolter while the rest of the team splits up into three pairs and head towards the buildings. The assault is quick, ruthless and decisive. Each pair throws a frag grenade or two into the house and one member of the team assaults right into the exploding grenade, forcing the enemy into melee before they can recover from the explosions. Once each house is cleared the pair will continue to next and next after that only stopping when they have finally run out of targets to kill. The team trusts on their power armor to protect them from their own grenades and for the most part it works, allowing the kill team to make quick work of the Tau Firewarriors and human defectors inside the buildings using powerswords, bolt pistols, chainswords and hand flamers. However, brother Marius still gets light wounds as he charges into one of the buildings and a frag grenade goes off under him. That, however, is the only wound the kill team receives as they brutally sweep through all the eleven buildings of the encampment killing everything they find.
The Dead Ground – Execution (Part #2)
The Kill Team gathers just outside the pyramid entrance and takes a count of casualties. Brother Falcon is hit pretty badly and brother Siracum has a few burns from Tau plasmaguns, but otherwise the team is still fit to fight. They are running pretty short on frag grenades and all missiles from the missile launcher are used. Also brother Marius is down to only a few bolt pistol clips. On the brighter note, they have cleared the whole Tau base outside and can now land the Thunderhawk intended for extraction anywhere outside the pyramid without danger to it. The remaining Tau are now inside the pyramid along with Kill Teams target and the remaining force is estimated to be at least three XV8 battle-suits and possibly four or more XV15 battle-suits.
As the Kill Team enters the pyramid brother Victor warns everyone of his earlier encounters in Necrontyr ruins while serving with his own chapter. According to his chapters experiences in the Necrontyr ruins of Ghoul Stars the time and space bend strangely inside these structures and it is easy to get lost. Sometimes you might even get lost forever... The Kill Team finds the inside of the pyramid a maze with dozens of entrances to choose from. Brother Falcon uses his psychic powers to help them navigate inside. He has noticed that while the stone of the strcutures itself feels dead and emotionless it also means that non of the structures have any residual emotional aura left from Necrontyr, thus he can use his psychometry to find tunnels that have at least some emotional residue, meaning they have been recently used by Tau. Very soon after this the Kill Team runs into a prepared ambush set up by three XV15 stealth suits. Luckily brother Ulrik notices the very subtle shifts of light from one of the stealths suits optical camouflage and starts to assault towards the suit as the stealths suits open fire with burstcannons. The Kill Team is hit several times, but manage to rush and overpower the stealth suits in close combat before suffering more than light wounds from burstcannon blasts.
Continuing ahead the Kill Team quickly find being lost inside the winding corridors. Finding a door that has been somehow concealed from plain view they enter a bottom of a deep well inside a circular room. Two Tau stealth suits have taken positions in the room, raining blastcannon fire on the Kill Team below. Yet, once again, brothers Ulrik and Marius are on the point and manage to rush and overpower the Tau before sustaining more than superficial hits. At this point it dawns to the Kill Team that they have gotten seriously lost. The circular room has no exits but when they go back from the entrance they came in from they do not enter the expected corridor but the bottom of another well in another circular room that looks suspiciously similar to the one before. As brothers Ulrik and Marius enter the room first they witness a strange scene: Their target, ”Upsilon”, is floating in air, handling a strange looking xenos disc and being intensely watched by four Fire Warriors who are aiming at it with their weapons. ”Upsilon” is without robes now and the battle-brothers see a tall member of the Tau air-caste who looks like his whole body has been cut in pieces and reassembled with pieces of black stone here and there where his own flesh should be. There are also two tubes running into its back from what look like huge energy cells. Unfortunately, the battle-brothers also spot three XV8 battle-suits with plasma rifles in the room so they have very little time to act. As brother Ulrik shouts out a warning to others coming behind, brother Marius rushes the closest battle-suit with his jump pack.
The rest of the Kill Team rush inside, firing and in the confusion of the first seconds after the contact the Tau Fire Warriors shoot and kill ”Upsilon”. However, dying ”Upsilon” manages to cause the xeno artefact he was handling go off somehow and the room is filled with a flash of bright light. Coming around after the flash the Kill Team find themselves inside a cubic room 100 meters across. They have phased in space somewhere else along with the disc-shaped xeno artefact and two of the battle suits. However, brother Regis, the third battle-suit and the remains of ”Upsilon” and the Tau Fire Warriors have vanished, perhaps left behind or perhaps phased somewhere or somwhen else. Undisturbed by the sudden change of scenery the Kill Team rushes the remaining two battle-suits, mauling and slicing them with boltguns, bolt pistols and power swords. As the quick but brutal combat is over the Kill Team asses their situation. They are trapped somewhere inside the Necrontyr structures and have lost one member from unknown causes. Target is dead, but they have captured the xeno artefact the target was using. While the others start to look around their prison for way out and brother Falcon starts to investigate the xeno artefact. However as brother Falcon starts to reach towards the artefact with his psychic powers something goes wrong and the room is, again, filed with bright flash of light.
As the Kill Team comes around they notice that they have been teleported outside the Pyramid and, according to their Thunderhawk still howering above, eight hours have passed since they entered the Pyramid. Brother Regis is still nowhere to be seen and now also brother Falcon has vanished along with the artefact. Routing their signal through the Thunderhawk the Kill Team call Inquisitorial ship Maneater and ask for status report on the Tau. When Kill Team was inside the Pyramid the Tau ships had launched fighters to fly over the base, but so far the Tau have made no move to come to the surface to investigate their destroyed base.so the Kill Team decides to wait for a day untill they call for extraction.
Twelve hours later brother Falcon appears outside the pyramid and, when the Kill Team runs to meet him, he appears ghostly, almost translucent. Brother Ulrik reacts to the sight of ghostly battle-brother by raising his weapon, but brother Falcon calms him and, manipulating the strange xeno artefact still in his hand, suddenly reverts back to solid and more normal form. Brother Falcon reports that while studying the artefact he mistakenly transported himself in time, space and something he calls ”phase”. He had been in some danger, but managed to learn to control the artefact enough to get out of the Pyramid. He has no idea where Regis vanished during the battle twenty hours ago, but as it was also result of something going wrong with the artefact he is afraid that Regis is lost in time and/or space. Content that they can't wait any longer or risk any more losses by investigating the artefact the Kill Team abandon further search for Regis and call for the extraction back home.
Imperial casualities: One Deathwatch battle brother missing in action, One critically wounded Deathwatch battle brother, three lightly wounded Deathwatch battle brothers, one damaged Thunderhawk.
Xeno casualties: ~40 imperial guard defectors killed, ~30 Tau firewarrriors killed, 8 air caste pilots killed, 5 XV15 tau battle-suits destroyed, 2 tau XV8 battle-suits destroyed, 4 Barracuda-class fighters destroyed, 2 Manta-class fighters destroyed, 4 Devilfish transports destroyed.
Poison Gardens – Preparations
As the Kill Team Maneater returns to Watch Fortress Erioch they notice that the whole fortress seems to be preparing for war. Several Kill Teams and individual Kill Marines are being redeployed and the techmarines of the fortress are in process of awakening a Deathwatch dreadnought. Returning to their own quarters they find them untouched with the two latest calls for assistance files still on their desk. The calls are from Castobel and Baraban with missions to either investigate possibly Tyranid related food poisonings in Castobel primary hive or to help the Imperial Guard in Baraban to stop the collapse of the Imperial defence there. Seeing as they have been away from the fortress for at least a month they realize that the intelligence on both calls must be highly outdated and decide to consult their watch captain on the state of war. Watch Captain Mordu tells them that the situation is critical on both fronts: Castobel hive is in a risk of falling, leaving the world to Tyranid hands and thus opening the Hive Fleet Dagon a new avenue of approach. The Deathwatch has reacted to this threat by sending a single Kill Marine to Castobel to gather up-to-date intelligence and by sending another Kill Marine to Hethgard to pressure the Imperial Navy to deploy ships to stop the Hive Fleet. On Baraban front the world is deemed almost certainly lost at this point and the Deathwatch reconnaissance has detected Tau ship movements towards Galactic North warp currents. If allowed to gather in force at Baraban orbit and head towards the Galactic North the Tau fleet will almost certainly next hit the Watch Station Oerth and possibly threaten the Watch Fortress Erioch itself.
The Kill Team discusses the merits of each operation and finally decide that the Castobel front is more critical. By their reasoning if Castobel falls it will threaten the lives of billions of Imperial citizens on several worlds while if the Baraban falls the Tau will be stuck fighting against fortified Deathwatch stations. They inform watch captain Mordu of their decision and start to plan. At this point the team is introduced to their new replacement: Battle Brother Sigmund of Crimson Fists is joining the Kill Team to replace the battle brother Regis who was lost in action in their last mission. After instructing the new battle brother about the next mission and the general situation in the Jericho Reach the Kill Team decides to go to the practice range. In shooting competition the new-comer scores as third after Ezekiel and Cassius and in practice-cage he seems to be an average duelist with swords. His strong grip does, however, impress brother Ulrik. After practice sessions the Kill Team holds a small ceremony in remembrance of their lost brother and then decide to gather intelligence considering Castobel. Brother-lexicanum Falcon receives an Aquila Token with Inquisitorial symbol and the monogram of Inquisitor Carmillus for figuring out the function and use of the xeno artifact captured in the last mission (see Dead Grounds).
The first thing they do is have brother-lexicanum Falcon conduct an Augury on the subject. The Emperors Tarot reveals mixed signs pointing at human element of some sort being the greatest danger to Castobel and the Kill Team. Only after the reading is almost done does the new-comer Sigmund note that the Tarot cards have been intuitively placed in the shape of a common tactical symbol used for Tyranids with a skull in the center. Perplexed brother-lexicanum Falcon decides to take a new reading and now they are shown a vision of shambling hordes of humans with a huge, shadowy form at the background. While brother Eukarios is picking up some papers in the Library he accidentally comes across an old, misfiled report of an Lost Age of Technology relic being hidden on Castobel. He informs others and together with brother-lexicanum Falcon and sanguinary acolyte Siracum they start to investigate further. Meanwhile brother Ulrik goes to meet with Kill Marine Kraai of Raven Guard who is just leaving to Castobel and Kill Team Thunderstorm which is just returning from that front. He gathers some recent intelligence from the returning Kill Team and gives the Kill Marine leaving before the Kill Team Maneater their wishes on what he should gather intelligence on.
Meanwhile the three astartes doing research in the library have uncovered several reports which point to a mythic device called Caduceus Reactor being situated underground somewhere on Castobel. This mythic device is supposedly a Lost Age of Technology relic, a hive-city sized construct made for mass-producing biological entities by means of cloning. Siracum is horrified by the prospect of cloning technology and insists that if necessary the Caduceus Reactor should probably be destroyed. Brother Eukarios, on the other hand, wants to uncover it and let the Adeptus Mechanicus and Inquisition decide what should be done with it. At this point, however, both agree that the real mission is in trying to save the last hive on Castobel from falling and the possible Caduceus Reactor is just a sideline. After being notified that their ship is ready to leave the Kill Team arms itself and prepares to deploy. Brother Ezekiel takes a heavy bolter and Cassius takes a missile launcher with lots of frag, krak and incendiary missiles. Brother-lexicanum Falcon takes a stalker patter boltgun with auxiliary grenade launcher and lots of frag grenades. Siracum takes a bolt pistol, hand flamer and chainsword. Eukarios takes a meltagun and a bolter. Viktor takes two power swords and Marius takes three bolt pistols. Others feel content with simply loading up on frag grenades and ammunition. Last they take their oaths and depart the watch fortress.
Poison Gardens – Execution
* * *
The sound of the boltgun action is cut out by the auto-senses, registering not as a sound but a momentary absence of the background sounds. A head vanishes in explosion of pink mist. The Astartes shifts the crosshair to another target.
Yet gain, a moment of silence. Instinctively he knows that there is still three bolts left in the magazine and one in the chamber. He also has one full magazine left. After that he is down to his bolt pistol, which is neither silenced, nor has enough range to reach down the mountain. A new head appears in the crosshairs.
Another pink mist. The Astartes knows that his fire will make little difference if the battle does not shift. He is now picking off the undead one bolt at a time, taking his time to watch the battle below, taking his time to assess the moment… Now in his crosshairs he sees one of them over a fallen Angel, its hand around his helmet, trying to pull it off his head. The Angel is dazed, momentarily blind.
The head vanishes, the arms left go. The Angel rises up again, chainsword ready. Another life saved by single shot, but how long? He spots another Angel to the right, slipping on the blood, going down amongst the undead.
The Astartes is reloading as he watches through the scope while the Angel regains his balance, rising up and pushing the two headless corpses off him. Last magazine is in. After this one is gone the only thing he can do is sit and wait and watch the Angels die one by one under the overwhelming horde… or join the battle with them and die, taking his valuable intelligence with him to the grave. He hopes he won't have to make the choice.
* * *
As the Kill Teams Thunderhawk starts to enter the Castobel orbit they detect a Deathwatch coded locator beacon on the surface. They decide to follow the locator beacon, landing just a few hundred meters from it on a top of table-mountain and find Kill Marine Kraai there. At the foot of the mountain a huge battle is raging, what seems like a thousand-head horde of humans is attacking an Angels Vermillion encampment defended by a single Warhound titan. A second titan is close by, burning heavily. Kill Marine Kraai is, armed with his stalker patter boltgun, taking shots at the attacking humans but is running out of ammunition as the humans just keep coming regardless of losses. Looking closer at the battle with brother-lexicanum Falcons stalker pattern boltguns sights it looks like the massive attacking horde is composed of undead-like zombies who shamble and run towards the Angels Vermillion only to be cut down in their relentless boltgun fire. Brother Sigmund throws Kraai two boltgun clips and the whole team starts to descent the mountain. On their way down brother Kraai tells them that it turned out that the Castobel hives have been using the Caduceus Reactor for hundreds and hundreds of years to produce their food by cloning as the world itself is unable to sustain biological life. Recently however the primary hive became suddenly under attack by zombies and now most of the hive is in constant battle with full-scale zombie apocalypse. Kraai hasn’t had chance to infiltrate the Caduceus Reactor itself to see if the zombies are casued by something brewing there. He was about to try it by using an entrance at the foot of the mountain but arriving here he found the Angels Vermillion locked into battle with the zombies streaming from below.
The Kill Team make a quick plan: They will contact the Angels Vermillion and ask the titan to shift its weapons away from the foot of the mountain for long enough time for the Kill Team to fight their way in and seal the tunnel by using demolition charges. At first the fighting goes well and the zombies pose little trouble but after about a minute of continuous shooting and hacking the team find out that the blood of the zombies is corrosive and is starting to eat through their armour, hurting them. Also the zombie hordes tide has shifted and they are streaming towards the Kill Team now in huge crescent shape, trying to surround the team. Brother Sigmund makes a quick decision and throws his demolition charge to Viktor, instructing him to fly it inside over the zombies heads by using his jump pack. Viktor manages to deploy and detonate the charge a moment later, collapsing the tunnel. At this point team leader, brother Eukarios, orders the Kill Team to retreat from the zombie wave and let the titans weaponry to deal with them. However, both sanguinary acolyte Siracum and battle-brother Sigmund refuse and dig their heels in, taking on the horde. Assisted by the titans firepower the Kill Team manages to survive for another few minutes until the zombies suddenly stop and turn around, shambling towards the now blocked cave entrance. The Kill Team is surprised to see this but there is more strangeness to come as moments later all the remaining zombies suddenly collapse with their heads somehow severing themselves from the bodies and rolling off. As the Kill Team closes in to investigate the suddenly harmless bodies small cockroach-like creatures start to swarm from the recently decapitated heads. These creatures are harmless to power armoured marines, so they just take samples of them for later investigation.
The Kill Team contacts the Angels Vermillion and ask about the attack, finding out that the Warhound titans were sent to scout the opening in the mountain and were parked for the night when the zombies attacked by surprise, overwhelming the second titan. Now the number of Angels Vermillion has dropped to 17 marines of which five are in hibernation due to critical injuries and most others are wounded. Siracum can deal with the simple wounds but the geneseeds for the 18 fallen brothers need to be rescued and the Kill Team decide to arrange the evacuation of the Angels Vermillion geneseed when their Thunderhawk comes to pick them up. Leaving the Angels Vermillion to continue their struggle the Kill Team march to the hive, evading hormagaunt patrols on the way. When they finally reach the hive they find out that it has been divided into two by the fighting. Most of the lower levels are empty with only signs of fighting and piles and piles of decapitated zombie bodies left behind while the higher levels have fortified themselves and in many cases blown up huge parts of the hive infrastructure in attempt to physically contain the zombies on the other side of chasms created by explosives. Taking more samples on the way the Kill Team investigate the matter and come to preliminary conclusion that something is laying eggs inside the humans. The eggs hatch into small cockroach like creatures that burrow into the victims brains and release acid into the blood stream. As the acid starts to break up the victims bodies the creatures also control the victims, using their acid-blooded bodies as weapons. In some circumstances, perhaps if using the zombie proxies doesn’t seem to work, the hive-mind commands all the zombies to destroy themselves. When this command is given a small surge of acid will decapitate the head, collapsing the zombies and letting the small critter either stay inside the protective skull or, if necessary, leave it to find another host.
After some searching the Kill Team find an underground railroad leading away from the hive with a fully functional but hard-to-operate automated train still running. Boarding the train they make their way to a huge cave several kilometers across where some sort of industrial hemp is cultivated. As they investigate the fields they come across a huge horde of ripper swarms, looking a lot like bigger versions of the skull-infesting cockroaches, and have to fight their way back to the train. They continue and find the railroad terminating in a huge underground field of corn. While they start to walk on they come under attack by several waves of ripper swarms and must retreat to the entrance where they can defend against the swarms coming through a single tunnel instead of surrounding them and coming from all sides. The Kill Team take a stand there and have to fight through three successive waves of thousands of organisms each with last wave having some venomthropes guiding the rippers. At this point almost everyone in the team is wounded, some more than others. Most of the fragmentation grenades have been used and brother Ezekiels heavy bolter is down to just few bursts so he loans a boltgun to continue fighting while conserving his last heavy bolter rounds for bigger creatures.
Once the third wave is down the Kill Team get to break to gather their breaths and reload. They quickly decide to make their way deeper into the complex and following a series of railroads and elevator shafts find out that they are inside some sort of automated machine which is keeping the fields and huge rooms filled with cloning-tanks going. In a room with cloning tanks in it, they are attacked by two waves of extremely poisonous venomthropes again and notice that this particular genus of venomthropes is spreading some sort of small seed-spores. At this point some of them are already critically wounded from the venomthopes poisons. The Kill Team tries to contact the machine spirit several times, but to no avail. It does not seem to have any servitors, cameras, microphones or access panels. Only after they start to search through the radio frequencies they realize that the machine is communicating internally through a radio. After calling the Caduceus Reactor on its internal radio frequency the Kill Team is approached by three tall figures in white robes that arrive by teleportation. It turns out that these “ambassadors” are some sort of Lost Age of Technology bioengineered servitors that the Caduceus Reactor uses to communicate with humans. Speaking to these creatures the Kill Team find out that an unknown organism of some sort has infected many of the Reactors systems. Assuming this to be the root-cause of the zombies and ripper swarms the Kill Team asks to be shown where the unknown organism is.
As soon as they say their wish aloud they are teleported into a Tyranid infested chamber with a huge, previously unseen Tyranid bioform that looks like a cross between a carnifex and a venomthrope in the middle. The Kill Team immediately open fire and wound the creature which then attacks with its tentacles, hurting Siracum, Falcon and Sigmund badly. Siracum drops from the poisons and is administered detox by Eukarios while Falcon retaliates with a psychic attack. The powers of the warp answer to his call and the avengers flames are followed by a soul searing lighting that leaves the Tyranid bioform dead but also leaves a seed of corruption on brother-lexicanum Falcons soul… Fearing a Tyranid counter-attack the Kill Team again contacts the Caduceus Reactor and asks it to transport them to “where all the food was delivered”. There is a flash of teleport again and the Kill Team find themselves in an ancient ruin somewhere else than Castobel. Fortunately brother Marius knows some stellar navigation and quickly determines that they are in same star-system as Castobel, but different planet. The Kill Team decides to wait it out and surely enough after a few days of waiting the psykers aboard Maneater detect their signature has left Castobel and find them out for evacuation.
Imperial casualties: Three critically wounded battle-brothers
Xenos casualties: Queen of Poisons, 10 Venomthropes, 5000 zombies and 20000 ripper organisms killed
Aftermath: The Caduseus Reactor managed to purge its systems of the spores when the Queen of Poisons organism was no longer there. The food production for the hive continues even though the Caduceus Reactors capacity has been damaged by the Tyranid inhabitants.
Poison Gardens – Epilogue
* * *
How many Astartes does it take to save a world?
That question has been running through his mind several times last days. After the Kill Team Maneater vanished on its mission to the bowels of the Caduceus Reactor, brother Kraai has taken the command of the hive. His assets: Five battle-brothers from Raptors, twelve battle-brothers from Angels Vermillion, one damaged Baal Predator and one Warhound class Titan.
Two days after the disappearance of the Kill Team the undead and ripper attacks have been down by 70%. The Hive feels safe again. The recent food samples show no signs of infection. Still, he can’t be sure yet so he ordered one hundred criminals to be hauled from the underhives and detained in single-man cells with only food from new samples brought to them. If none of them show any symptoms after a week he plans to order the old stockpiles burned and new food distributed amongst the hive population. His instinct says that somehow the Kill Team succeeded. He hopes he is right.
He has another problem. One concerning not the immediate battle, but the future. He has six brothers in suspended animation, one Raptor and five Angels Vermillion. He also has the geneseeds of four Raptors and eighteen Angels Vermillion waiting for evacuation. Assuming that all the critically wounded brothers would be healed and all the geneseeds would take root he holds a potential future of fifty marines in his hands, they all dependant on the evacuation away from the hive.
How many Astartes does it take to save a world?
If he can finish the fight with the eighteen that is left, then it takes eighteen. If the Kill Team was what turned the tide around, then it took just nine. He has eighteen living marines and fifty ones in animation and as geneseeds, waiting. How many worlds is that?
* * *
Blood in the Void – Planning and Preparation
* * *
MISSION REQUEST / WHITE PRIORIOTY / REQUESTING PARTY: ADEPTUS MECHANICUS
DEATHWATCH KILL SHIP JULIUS ROBERT HAS BEEN GIVEN A PRIORITY ONE TARGETING ORDER TO CONDUCT A FULL SCALE EXTERMINATUS ON THE WORLD OF CASTOBEL BY USING SIX (6) CYCLONIC TORPEDOES. AT THE MOMENT IT IS UNKNOWN FROM WHERE THE TARGETING ORDER HAS ORIGINATED BUT AS SOON AS JULIUS ROBERT EXITS THE WARP THE ONLY WAY TO STOP IT IS BY DIRECTLY ASSAULTING THE SHIP AND FORCING A FULL SHUT-DOWN OF THE SHIPS SYSTEMS BY ACTIVATING THE EMERGENCY LOCK-DOWN PROCEDURES. WHEN THE SHIP EXITS THE WARP THERE IS A THIRTY-SIX HOUR WINDOW TO CONDUCT THE ATTACK BEFORE JULIUS ROBERT GETS INTO RANGE TO CALCULATE AND CARRY OUT THE FIRING SOLUTION.
MISSION TASKS: STOP THE KILL SHIP JULIUS ROBERT FROM CONDUCTING AN EXTERMINATUS ON HIVE WORLD CASTOBEL, FIND OUT WHO GAVE THE EXTERMINATUS ORDER
PERSONNEL: ONE (1) KILL TEAM
COMMUNICATIONS: DIRECT RADIO UPLINK TO TRANSPORTING SHIP
BACKUP COMMUNICATIONS: SECONDARY RADIO COMMUNICATION PROCEDURES
INSERTION METHOD: CAESTUS ASSAULT RAM
EXTRACTION METHOD: CAESTUS ASSAULT RAM
MISSION TIME: MAXIMUM OF THIRTY-SIX (36) HOURS
MISSION ABORT PARAMETERS: PREMATURE LAUNCH OF EXTERMINATUS WEAPONS, MISSION TIME ENDING
MISSION END PARAMATERS: STOPPING THE SCHEDULED EXTERMINATUS ATTACK ON CASTOBEL
MISSION DANGER RATING: WHITE
* * *
Having been evacuated after the mission to bowels of Castobel the Kill Team was met with two new mission requests. It seemed that by now the Watch Station Oerth was under attack from the Tau fleet but there was also a new problem brewing for Castobel: The Kill Ship Julius Robert had been assigned to destroy the planet by means of Exterminatus and Adeptus Machanicus was asking for Deathwatch to stop this. There was long discussion on the subject of whether the Kill Ship was under correct orders and if the Kill Team did really have the authority to stop it. There was also the problem that Shadow in the Warp laid by the Tyranid swarms attacking Castobel made it impossible for them to contact Watch Fortress Erioch so they were forced to resort to their own council. In the end it was decided that they had bled too much for Castobel to let the planet die without knowing the truth.
As the Kill Ship was now fully activated and trying to protect itself from any intrusion while carrying out the Exterminatus the Kill Team knew it had to break through the outer-hull, navigate its way through a changing labyrinth of automated defences and reach the ships pilot. They also had the problem of limited resources since their ship had not left Castobel system after the last mission they could not resupply themselves from Eriochs stocks but were forced to cannibalize their own vehicles magazines for boltgun ammunition and were running short on grenades and melta-bombs. In the end the plan was very simple: Breach the outer hull with Caestus Assault Ram, navigate the way through the automated defences to the pilot, communicate with the pilot to find out how the orders for the exterminates were given and then stop the exterminates procedure. As there was no quarantee that the ship would be responsive to Deathwatch or Inquisitor level override-codes it was decided that Tekwitch Lysiana would accompany them to ship as she could possibly break through the ship security by using non-imperial procedures (which Inquisitor specifically approved for this mission only). Understandably brother Eukarios was less than happy for the decision.