About Augustus the Arcane

Chief Librarian of the XXI Astartes Legion: Keeper of the lore, guardian of secret knowledge.

The Sorathian Affair: A Narrative Campaign

Within the space known to the Imperium of Man as the Viridian sector, lies the Sorathian system. Its young star is orbited by seven planets. During the Great Crusade these worlds were conquered in the name of the Emperor of humanity. Throughout the great war wrought by Warmaster Horus, every corner of the galaxy was touched by the conflict and this system was no exception.

The Sorathian System

In the aftermath, these distant worlds were abandoned by the new, more cautious Imperium. Some within the Administrartum would see the system return to the fold, and a reclamation fleet has already been dispatched. But humanity is not alone in its interest of this sector. Every major faction in the galaxy has something of value to gain amongst the Sorathian worlds.

Overview: This campaign is intended to be flexible, responsive to player input and focused on that “cinematic” aspect of the game that we keep hearing about. As you will see in the posts that follow, there are many factions participating in the campaign, each led by a varied cast of characters. These Warlords are the players’ avatars within the campaign. Events during the Sorathian Affair will be dictated by the choices made by players. New players wishing to play 40k games in the universe of this campaign can create their own characters be added to the tale.

Gameplay: This is not a turn based campaign. Instead, it will progress by chapters, each one advancing the campaign story, according to the outcomes of the battles fought, and choices made by players. There are several ways in which you can participate. First, you can join the various events that will be run every now and then (such as the battle for Tarandros) where major plot points will be resolved. Second, you can play narrative games using the special campaign rules. Finally, you can play regular games of 40k set in the Sorathian System.

Aside from the player armies (of which more can be added at any time), there will also be a number of NPC Warlords from various races, that will interact with players in different and hopefully fun ways. Unlike player factions, NPCs will not grow in power from game to game, though they may be affected by particularly significant plot points in the narrative. This will allow players to switch roles from time to time, should they desire to do so.

Victory Conditions: As a “story mode” campaign, everyone’s primary objective is to have as much fun as possible. However, everyone has a general goal, which are provided more as plot devices than a means to “win” the campaign. Certainly there are significant milestones that can be reached by every participant, which will give each player access to truly unique abilities, units and items.

While most faction’s objectives are known only to themselves, the Tau Empire and Imperial Guard are less than subtle about their intent to colonize the Sorathian system for the glory of their respective peoples. These two factions are unique in that they alone have the resources and inclination to occupy a world on a permanent basis. Should a Tyranid hive fleet ever reach the system, it might similarly begin to harvest planets and consume their bio-mass.

In game terms, this means that these three factions can “conquer” planets. This task will be of varying difficulty, depending on the native populations and the desire of other players to aid or oppose the would be conquerors. At the time of the campaign’s start, only Commander Darkstar of the Tau reached the system in order to lay claim to its worlds. As you can see from the galactic map, his conquest has already begun.

Planetfall: Part 2

As the first newcomers arrived on Tarandros, an enormous dust cloud raced across the south of the planet. Harsh voices could be heard emanating from this cloud; shouting and cheering for no discernible reason. At the head of this cloud, an enormous ork stood on-top of his battle wagon. He wore a black tricorn hat and wielded a great power klaw. A long, black leather jacket billowed behind him. “We’z a gonna cromp some ‘eads, cromp some ‘eads, cromp some eads…” the ork warboss sang at the top of his lungs, gesturing wildly with his klaw. “Kap’n Klaw!” cheered the nearby orks, whether they could hear him or not. Great fights were going on all over the planet, and they were all very excited to reach one.

Without warning, tiny red things started falling from the sky, which seemed very strange to the ork warboss. Only once they hit the ground a short distance away, did he recognize them for what they were. “Space Mahreens!!!” He shouted gleefully, and kicked his driver to make him go faster. The vehicle lurched as the bruised driver shifted into a higher gear, then careened forward at top speed. Seeing this, every other driver in this rag-tag convoy did everything possible to keep up.

Ork Battlewagons

But suddenly, strange beams of focused light erupted from the horizon and crashed into the ork vehicles. A truk was hit directly in the engine and exploded. Behind the Mahreens, the ork warlord could see sleek purple vehicles hovering in his direction, firing their strange weapons at him. “Dat no fair!” shouted the ork leader.

“Dat’s right, no fair at all!” boomed a deep and orky voice. The ork warlord was so surprised, that he almost fell from his wagon. He looked up, and saw an enormous winged ork hovering above him. Everything about this being shouted strength, cunning and toughness. He even shone with a green aura of orkiness. The warlord’s mouth hung wide open as he took in this awe-inspiring sight. He was so dumbfounded that he almost fell off his truck a second time. Eventually, he had the presence of mind to ask “um…wot are ya?” The being roared with laughter. The kind of laughter than one only hears from an ork during the best fight of his life. “I am Gork, puny one! From my orky realm I have seen your Grand Space Waaagh! It is, without doubt, da best Waaagh that I have ever seen!”

Though he was certainly amazed by this revelation, the ork warboss had no doubt in his mind, whatsoever, that before him floated an ork deity. However, he had a very strong suspicion that this entity was actually Mork, but he wisely kept his doubts to himself. “But, dere be one ting dat stands in da way o da best Waaagh evar!” Gork continued. “Da tricksy El’da! Dem pointy eared weaklings hate da orks! Coz dey jealous of how strong and green da ork is, so always dey try to spoil da best fights!” The ork warlord had never hear of these ‘El’da’ creatures, but they sounded like terrible people and nodded vigorously at everything that Gork, but more likely Mork, told him. “But have no fear, dat why I came! I’ll help ya beat da El’da so dat you can has fight wif da Space Mahreens! Now, I’ll be summonin some friends to help in da fight. Dey be ork spirits o da best orks to ‘ave died in da best ‘o fights!”

With a strong and orky flourish, Gork waved his his arms, and several large green clouds appeared throughout the battlefield. Fifteen great green hounds materialized out of the nearest cloud. In the distance, six orks riding strange wavy creatures exploded out of a second cloud. To the right, fifteen strange orks sauntered out of a third cloud. They looked just like ordinary orks, wielding two choppas, but they were slightly thinner and had two weird lumpy-things on their chests. The ork warlord was amazed and overjoyed that such beings would fight by his side. As his Battlewagon continued to speed along, Gork spoke to him one final time “now, just tell ya boyz dat dese ere ork spirits iz gonna fight wif us!” With that, he floated high into the sky and began to fire great green bolts of orky power at the enemy.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Aboard his Stormraven transport, it did not take long for Blood Angels Chaplain Malkor to realize that something was very wrong. The once-clear desert skies of Tarandros had turned overcast without warning. Soon, unnatural lightning, with no thunder, erupted all around him. The Astartes pilot fought valiantly with his controls, and succeeded in evading the ravages of this impossible storm. On the ground below, Malkor watched as vile daemonspawn materialized near the advancing ork vehicles and began to move towards the four Blood Angel assault marine squads that awaited him. Only now did the Chaplain understand. This was not a tempest of this world. He had flown into a warp storm. He attempted to contact Librarian Alfonso, or their strike cruiser in orbit, but the storm made all communication impossible. In this fight, the Blood Angels stood alone.

On the ground below, the brave Blood Angels prepared themselves to meet the combined ork and daemonic forces. Survival seemed an impossible goal, but they were each of them prepared to sell their lives dearly. “For Sanguinius, for the Emperor!” They shouted, as one. Fifteen enraged hounds of Khorne had materialized right next to the left-most assault squad and began to gallop towards the five Astartes. When they were only steps away from their prey, they were assailed by a hail of missiles. First, a storm of laser fire burned into them from three different directions. Next, thousands of mono-molecular discs sliced through them at hypervelocity. Many hounds fell to this onslaught. Heartened by the beasts’ thinned numbers, the five assault marines boldly charged into the daemonic dogs, firing their pistols as they went.

Four purple Eldar skimmers had joined the battle, firing their shuriken and laser weapons at the ork vehicles and daemons alike. Four of the six screamers were brought low, whilst a number of daemonettes were sent howling back to the warp from whence they came. The Eldar firepower also brought ruin to all of the ork transports but one; Kap’n Klaw’s Battlewagon. Three smaller, faster Eldar vehicles sped along the right flank, showering the orks with monomolecular death. Deep within the right flank, twenty Eldar warriors guarded two robed figures. To the eyes of the Blood Angel assault marines, these were clearly psykers. One was evidently senior, as his rune armor seemed more elaborate to the enhanced Astartes vision. They reasoned that he must be one of the famed “Farseers.”

Apparently the Eldar were just as susceptible to the depredations of chaos as humans for, without warning, the lesser psyker began to shriek in pain. His body began to spasm uncontrollably and started to twist and contort, until the Eldar’s physique transformed into the hideous form of a Herald of Tzeench. Enraged, the daemon fired a bolt of psychic energy at the nearest skimmer, inflicting noticeable structural damage, before being cut down by his former-companions’ shuriken weapons.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The ork warlord was getting very upset at the El’da. They were shooting up all of his boyz’ truks and wagons, slowing them down and stopping them from getting into the fight. Not his Battlewagon of course. Not only did it have red paint, but it had obviously been blessed by Gork, or possibly Mork, so was now fast AND indestructible. Soon they pesky El’da would be dead, and the ork warlord and his boyz could get back to fighting the Blood Angels. This thought reminded him about the Space Marines, who were now in dakka range. “Light em up boyz!” He shouted.

Every ork with dakka, which was all of them, opened fire. However, for lack of good aim, the disorientation of having one’s truk blown up from under one’s feet, or more El’da trickery, not a single Marine died to the, otherwise impressive, fusillade. “Dat was pathetic boyz! ‘Ere, lemme show yaz how tis done!” The ork warboss aimed his twin-linked big shoota and fired at the nearest Blood Angel, killing him instantly. Every ork was very impressed by this marksmanship. Clearly their leader was indeed blessed by the favor of Gork, just as he told them. Finally, the Battlewagon was within sight of one of the hated floaty-tank things that had been so annoying. While the vehicle still moved at full speed, the ork warlord jumped from his wagon. Ten Nobz followed suit, landing with heavy thuds, their impressive bulk preventing momentum from throwing them on their faces.

With a gleeful roar, the ork warboss shouted “WAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHHH!!!” at the top of his lungs. Every ork on the battlefield heard this exultant cry and became overwhelmed by the constant itch for battle. They felt as though they could charge over any distance, so long as they ended up in a good fight. The Kap’n used this energy to pounce on the nearest El’da vehicle. With a few wild swings of his power klaw, the weird floaty machine was a smoldering ruin, that would spoil fights no longer. Overhead, a dakka jet fired madly into another floaty-thing. However, his weapons were not as big, nor as mighty as his leader’s claw, so they failed to destroy their target.

Dakka jet

Two new green clouds appeared near the El’da. When the strange mist dissipated, two enormous killa kans were revealed. Somehow, giant scorchas had been welded to these mechanical behemoths. Gork’s realm must have very good meks! One of these walkers fired a gout of flame at the El’da on foot, cooking many of the weaklings inside their puny rubber suits. The other moved against one of the three remaining floaty-things. The ork warlord was ready to do the same, when he was distracted by a very loud buzzing sound. He turned, and saw a red box-looking plane flying directly at him. In moments, the vehicle was only a boyz’ throw away. It landed on the desert floor and opened. From inside, ten very angry sounding Space Marines charged at the Kap’n and his nobz. As they ran towards the orks, they shouted: “HOOORRRRUUUSSSSS!”

The orks were so astounded by this unexpected orky behavior, that they almost forgot their manners. “WAAAGH!” They all shouted, once they recovered, and jumped to meet the Marines. This was going to be a really good fight. The two sides collided like steel on rock. The combined mindless fury would have been terrifying for anyone to behold. The ork warlord grunted out a guttural challenge, but the marine leader calmly pushed one of his companions in the great ork’s direction. So infused was he by the power of Gork, that he could know no defeat. He swung his klaw five times, and five marines lay dead by his hands. His nobz did not do nearly as well, though they did manage to kill two more, while losing only five of their number. In the sky overhead, Gork continued to rain orky green death upon his enemies. The warboss smiled and raised his klaw in triumphant solidarity.

HOOOORUUUUS!

But then, disaster struck. The same plane that had delivered such a grand fight, returned to attack Gork himself! It fired its nasty weapons against the entity, making him howl in anger. Bullet after bullet smashed into the orky being’s form, until at last, he could no longer sustain his presence in this reality. “NOOOOOOO!” Shouted the warboss, as Mork was forced back to his orky realm. So distraught was the Kap’n by this great injustice, that he closed his eyes and wailed in frustration. When he opened his eyes, however, everything had changed. He was no longer standing on a desert world. There were no Marines or Eldar nearby, and all of his boyz were gone too. Instead, he was in a place where nothing made sense. Direction had no meaning, things that should never be together were fused as one, and a sense of deep wrongness pervaded everything. The ork looked up and saw that he stood before an enormous, two headed beaky creature, with blue wings, that held a long curvy stick. “Hey!” The ork complained “you’re not Gork!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Malkor rejoiced as the greater daemon was forced back into the warp by the Stormraven’s weapons. The sudden and unexplained disappearance of Kap’n Klaw was also gratifying. Without their leader, the remaining five nobz had lost the will to fight and were easily run down by the frenzied Death Company. Yet elsewhere, the battle did not go so well. Of the four assault squads that had begun the battle, only one remained, valiantly wresting the high ground from the last remaining ork boyz. Nearby, the Death Company dreadnought that had also deployed from the Stormraven, had charged into a band of daemonettes.

Ordinarily, there is naught that can withstand the unstoppable power of the Blood Angels’ most vicious dreadnought. But the decadent servants of Slaanesh are not of this world, and mortal weapons do not always harm such as them. Malkor watched helplessly as the proud Astartes machine flailed ineffectively against the swarm of daemonettes, unable to slay even one of their number. In return, the fiends rent great holes into the dreadnought’s armor with their evil claws. Before he was able to retaliate, the daemonettes destroyed the Death Company champion utterly. For him, there would be no more battles.

The unlikely Eldar allies fared no better. The daemons had destroyed all of their vehicles but one, which listed badly to one side, its grav-engine damaged by the daemonic onslaught. The Eldar Farseer remained, directing his forces to slay the last remnants of the daemonic incursion. The orks all lay dead. Or so the Chaplain believed. However, Malkor now heard the unmistakable whine of the ork flyer that had proven so ineffective against the Eldar skimmers. This time, it unleashed its storm of bullets at the Farseer and his beleaguered squad, already greatly reduced in number. The psyker’s power seemed to hold many of the oncoming missiles at bay, and allowed him to anticipate and avoid the flyer’s shots. But there was nowhere to hide, and the ork strafing run was unrelenting. Eventually, only the Farseer remained on his feet, until he too was slain.

As this happened, the last surviving assault marine squad charged into a second group of daemonettes. They fought bravely, but the creatures were too lithe, too unnaturally fast and their claws cut through Astartes battle plate as though it were flak armor. It was not long before Chaplain Malkor and his remaining Death Company wards were the last standing Blood Angels on the battlefield. With the same energy that they had when the battle began, the doomed warriors charged into the daemonettes that had so humbled their entombed brother. “HOOORRRRUUUSSSSS!” they shouted. This time, the only reply was mocking laughter. Many daemonettes fell to the Blood Angels’ onslaught, but they were simply too many. Death Company marines fell in quickly succession, until only Malkor remained.

He swung his holy crozius and crushed a daemon’s skull, banishing its filth to the warp. The Chaplain had guided his brothers to an honourable death. He had fulfilled his sacred duty. His ceremonial black armor was cut in countless places, his lifeblood seeping from just as many wounds, and even his impressive Astartes physiology struggled to keep him conscious. At long last, Blood Angels Chaplain Malkor felt his knees buckle, and was powerless to prevent his body from falling upon the blood splattered mud of Tarandros. With his last breath, he gave thanks to the Emperor, that he may now rejoin his father, and was no more.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

After making his final pass, the dakka jet pilot realized that he was the last ork left alive. He therefore decided that it would be best for him to head on home. But first, he thought that he should probably radio Kap’n Klaw. The real Kap’n Klaw; the single biggest, baddest, saltiest and most clever ork pirate that there ever was! Early on in his conquest of Tarandros, Klaw realized that the indigenous orks were really, really thick. So thick, that they would only follow him if they could actually see him. In order to be everywhere at once, the Savvy ork pirate concocted a most brilliant plan! To each of his biggest Nobz, he gave a hat, black leather coat and Klaw, just like his, only slightly smaller.

The pilot snatched his radio receiver and squeezed on the talk button. “Boss! Dis dakka jet…uh…four…methinks.” The ork released the talk button and waited patiently. After a few moments, Kap’n Klaw’s angry voice came alive from the plane’s radio. “What ya want maggot?!” The pilot snapped to attention in his seat. “Uh, da boyz…dey iz all ded” he said hesitantly. “Ded, all of em? How’s dat?” Asked Klaw. “Um, well hell beasties showed up an’…” “Hell beasties… damonz iz wot killed all da boyz?” Interrupted Klaw. “No boss, we woz fighting wif da hell beasties we woz” the pilot replied, hesitantly.

“What ya do dat fer??!” Demanded Kap’n Klaw. The pilot started to get nervous, as if Klaw could somehow reach through the radio and strangle him. “Uh…well you told us dat…well…dat he was da boss, cuz…he had da hat an’ da Klaw…smaller dan yours ‘course! Dat why you da boss…boss. But uh, ‘e said dat Gork appeared to im from ‘is orky realm an’ brought all dem hell beasties ta help. Only…’e called em ork spirits.” A long pause followed before Klaw asked, incredulous “an’ you lot believed all dat?!” The dakka jet pilot gulped audibly “uh…well…coulda been Mork an’ um…’e woz da boss…” Cap’n Klaw growled loudly in frustration and the line went dead. The pilot shook his head, shrugged, and turned his plane in the direction of the Jolly Roja. He was pretty certain that he would not outlive the night.

Planetfall: Part 1

For hours, frenzied tidal waves of crazed green-skins dove head first into the implacable ranks of the Adeptus Astartes. The feral ork masses had never met such a foe. Precise volleys of bolter fire smashed into the advancing hordes. Stormtalon gunships hovered in the skies above, unleashing their lethal payload on the advancing savages. Those that were not cut down by the righteous thunder lived only to meet the warriors of Ultramar in brutal close combat. At the fore, stood brother Captain Titus, resplendent in his battle regalia. Amidst the ruin of countless fallen orks, the Ultramarine leader fought on, tireless and undaunted.

By the flash of their bolt-pistols and the lightning of their power-blades, Titus and his honour guard lay waste to every green-skin to cross their path. Soon, even the vast numbers of the ork horde were spent. The fight had been a slaughter. Though hungry for battle and utterly without fear, the native orks of Tarandros had little in the way of weapons that could pose a serious threat to the Astartes elite. As such, and despite the great carnage, the Ultramarines suffered no fatalities. Captain Titus sheathed his weapon and surveyed the battlefield. “Brother Marius” he called. From the ranks of ceramite-clad warriors, a tech-marine came forth and asked “yes my Captain?” “Tell me of the enemy’s movements” Titus commanded.

Tech-marine Marius consulted his instruments before replying: “The majority of the planet surface is overrun by green-skins. Not all are as disorganized and ill equipped as those that we just faced, however. I have analyzed Guardsmen vox traffic, and it appears that these native orks are being directed by a single warlord. Several armored divisions report engaging a fully mechanized force. From the chatter…it seems that they are no rabble of mindless orks…they are larger than average and their armor is thickly plated.” Captain Titus nodded as his suspicions were confirmed. “Then we must hunt down and slay this leader. Afterwards the reclamation fleet will perform its work.” Titus turned to Brother Antonius, who was charged with coordinating communications with the Imperial Fleet.

“Inform Admiral Vijeck that he is to deploy a platoon of Guardsmen, an armored division and Basilisk support to this position. I expect these coordinates fortified within the hour.” He said. Antonius acknowledged the command and began to relay the message. Captain Titus turned to Marius once more “tell me which Guardsman detachment has met with the fiercest resistance, that is no doubt where this warlord lies.” The tech-marine began to reply, but he was immediately interrupted by Brother Antonius. “Captain! Emergency transmission from Brother Sergeant Severus!” Titus had dispatched Severus and his bike squad to scout the area to the north of the Ultramarine landing site. Clearly something was amiss.

Captain Titus adjusted his vox controls and listened to Severus’ cold, metallic voice, broadcasting to all authorized Astertes channels. “Enemy contact, quadrant Alpha, sector 12. Xenos: designation Tyranid sighted. Spore pods breaking atmosphere. Xenos: designation Tau sighted. Both forces collaborating. Reason unknown. Guardsman convoy laid waste.” Unfazed by this unexpected development, Titus sprung into action. With a gesture, he signaled for his honour guard to form up about him. They complied in moments. The Ultramarine leader opened a channel to Battle Barge Andronicus. “Brother Severus has found a new threat. The Codex requires but one course. Emergency teleport on my position. Commence immediate deployment of strike force Beta.”

In mere moments, Titus was aboard his flagship once more and executing the strategic re-deployment of his forces. On the planet below, Sergeant Severus and his bike squad waited patiently. The horizon changed quickly form desert brown to scaly purple. As the Tyranid beasts advanced, teams of fire warriors took up positions behind them. This did not concern Severus in the slightest. He was not troubled by the sighting of a Riptide battle-suit and its impressive armament. Nor was he perturbed when the enemy swarm was a mere kilometer away, scurrying towards him at all speed, in the shade of a Hive Tyrant’s enormous bulk. For he knew no fear.

When it seemed that the Xenos masses would surely engulf the lone bike squad, strike force Beta rained down from the heavens. From their drop-pods, tactical marines and sternguard alike rushed forth and took up defensive positions about Severus’ squad, using their very transports as cover. With a deafening roar, the Tyranid Hive Tyrant flew to meet them. Every bolter weapon on the field opened fire. The first volley tore a great hole in the beast’s wings. Unable to stay aloft, it plummeted to the ground. The assembled Sternguard armed their weapons with hellfire rounds and emptied their magazines into the foul creature.

image

But the Tyrant’s hide was strong, and the massed Ultramarine firepower appeared to have no effect. Hundreds of rocket-propelled bolter-shells detonated harmlessly on the giant Tyranid’s carapace. Even the Sternguard specialized ammunition seemed ineffective. Great holes would be torn into the Tyrant’s scaly body, only to be regenerated within moments. The beast twisted and turned, roaring in fury. In spite of the terrible barrage, the creature held its ground, exhibiting no instinct for self-preservation. As though its mind were not its own. Eventually the persistent fusillade took its toll. The Hive Tyrant’s outer shell was rent asunder. Soon the beast suffered wounds that even its unnatural constitution could not heal. At last, after suffering the wrath of the marines’ weapons for fully ten minutes, it fell, lifeless.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

From his vantage point amidst his entrenched fire warriors, Cadre Fireblade O’shui observed as the insect leader died. Phase one of the prototype psi-emitter test was complete. The device was the culmination of the Water Caste’s research into solving the ork problem. Little was known of the predatory alien race that the humans called Tyranids. Unlike Vespid, these life-forms had resisted all Ethereal attempts to educate them about the Greater Good.

By chance, one of their biological vessels had been found drifting in deep space near Darkstar Sept. Once captured, Tau scientists studied the creatures found within. They learned that Tyranids operated through synaptic communication and discovered that mastery over the insect leader would grant control over the swarm. O’shui knew nothing of how the strange device operated, only that it emitted waves of energy that matched those of the insect leader, compelling all others to obey. They great beast itself had been lobotomized, and implanted with electro-shock guidance systems.

While remaining in range of the creatures, the Cadre Fireblade had monitored the purging of local ork infestations. The Tyranid weapon proved highly effective for this purpose. However, the arrival of the humans prevented a more thorough test. Evidently they had ignored the orbital buoys that clearly declared this world to be property of the Tau Empire. Materializing in Tarandros’ outer orbit, using their reckless warp technology, the Imperium of Man had made no diplomatic overtures as far as O’shui was aware. Unauthorized landings had taken place throughout the planet’s surface.

A mechanized column had even barged into the test area and began attacking the Tyranid experiment. This triggered an immediate and vicious retaliatory instinct that quickly overwhelmed and destroyed the interlopers. Afterwards, when O’shui saw the Space Marine reconnaissance unit, he knew what would come next. The Fire Cast Academies teach well the tactics of the human Imperium’s strongest warriors. It would be a honour to test the Tyranid weapon on them. An opportunity that the Cadre Fireblade could not ignore.

Now that the Tau’s pet Hive Tyrant lay dead, the Fireblade wondered if the remaining Tyranids would remain under his control. He activated the psi-emitter’s interface and confirmed that its output still emitted the frequency that should cause the swarm to attack. To his relief, the Tyranid advance continued uninterrupted. They significantly outnumbered the handful of Space Marine warriors that had just deployed to defend the bike squad, and O’shui was confident that they would be defeated. The defensively deployed Marines held firm, but the advancing insects would soon crash into its exposed right flank.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Unbeknownst to Cap’n Klaw, his various acts of piracy throughout the Viridian sector had not gone unnoticed. Months ago, a Planetary governor had secured the aid of Alfonso, Librarian of the Blood Angels Astartes chapter. Aboard their strike cruiser, the children of Sanguinius had tracked Klaw’s erratic movements and followed them to Tarandros. They arrived in the planet’s orbit just as their Ultramrine brothers had begun their assault. Not long after, the Blood Angels intercepted a guardsman communique, reporting the sighting of an enormous Orc matching Klaw’s description. He had been seen aboard a Battlewagon, moving at all speed toward the south of the Ultramarine landing ground, accompanied by an assortment of ork vehicles.

Two squads of death company had been readied for this occasion, and they each flew to the ork warlord’s location aboard their own Stormraven gunship. The rest of the Blood Angels force remained aboard their ship, in low orbit, ready to descent into combat by jump-pack or drop pod. As soon as the cruiser reached the proper coordinates, four squads of five-strong assault marines leapt out of their ship’s open hangar. They burned through Tarandros’ atmosphere, activating their jump-packs mid-flight, and landing with thunderous impact in sight of the Ork mechanized force.

Librarian Alfonso was about to order the rest of his brothers to join the assault marines, when Ultramarine Sergeant Severus’ message burst to life on his vessel’s emergency vox channel. Immediately, he resolved to dispatch half of his force to aid the Ultramrines. He ordered one of the Stormraven pilots to change course, and joined a tactical squad in their drop-pod. At his command, they descended with all speed to the planet below, with yet another squad of assault marines falling in their wake. As his transport reached its destination, scans of the forces beneath him showed that the Tyranids were poised to flank the Ultramarines. Adjustments to the landing coordinates were made.

Before the Ultramrine lines could be enveloped by their foe, Alfonso’s drop-pod crashed into the Tyranid’s path. The Blood Angels burst forth and added their bolters’ music to their Astartes brothers’ symphony of destruction. The Blood Angel tactical squad held the creatures at bay long enough for the assault squad to arrive and charge head-long into the tangled mass of vicious Tyranids. Meanwhile, the Ultramarine firepower was so great, that the Tyranids could not reach their lines. As a result, they were effectively funneled into the right flank, and clawed desperately at the newcomers, seeking to overrun them.

They may have succeeded in this goal, but the re-directed Sotmraven gunship shot out of the clouds above, and tore into the advancing creatures with its assault cannon and bolter armament. Worse, for the foes of the Imperium, the flyer landed and from its hold jumped ten Death Company marines. Bellowing incoherently, the crazed warriors leapt into the heart of the Tyranid swarm. Soon, they became a tiny spec in a sea of claws and carapace armor. With every swing of their chainswords, the death company and assault marines claimed lives. Yet even their impressive might could not weather the storm for long. One by one, death company marines were dragged down by the press of Tyranid bodies. The Blood Angels assault marines fared better, but even they would not last forever.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Cadre Fireblade O’shui was greatly troubled by the arrival of the Blood Angels. The promising flanking maneuver had been halted entirely. Even though the reinforcements were thinning out, the slowed momentum meant that the Tyranid swarm suffered terrible losses from the Ultramarine firepower. Events could not be allowed to progress in this manner, or the battle would be lost. The Fireblade ordered his fire warrior squad and the Riptide Battlesuit to bring their armament to bear against the Blood Angels. This seemed to prove effective, as a number of marines were slain by the Tau’s weapons. Meanwhile, a second fire warrior squad unleashed their pulse rifles on the Ultramarine positions, but inflicted minimal losses.

In response, the Ultramarines launched a hail of frag missiles at their assailants. Against all odds, the fire warrior squad survived this onslaught, but O’shui was forced to order them to retreat from the field, lest they be destroyed utterly. The Fireblade accessed the psi-emitter’s controls once more, to begin the encryption process. Under his mission parameters, it was imperative that the experiment’s data be safeguarded and transmitted to his superiors. When encryption was at 50%, yet another enemy drop-pod fell on the field. Unlike those that had arrived earlier, it boldly landed between the Tau lines and what remained of the Tyranid experiment. Out came the most impressive Space Marines that the Cadre Fireblade had ever seen. Their ornate armor was inlaid with gold sigils and their weapons glowed with crackling blue fire.

These warriors marched purposefully towards the Tau lines. One amongst them stood out above all the others. His livery was even more extravagant, and the great deference given to him by his companions left no doubt in The O’shui’s mind, that this was the commander of the Ultramarine forces. Acting on instinct, the remaining Tyranids converged on this new threat. A small pack of hormagaunts was nearest and pounced on the newcomers. The Cadre Fireblade was not surprised to see how easily these creatures were dispatched. The Ultramrine leader fixed his gaze upon O’shui, and began to march in his direction. Encryption had reached 75%.

When the Ultramrine command squad was only paces away from the Cadre Fireblade’s position, every remaining Tyranid rushed to intercept him. So many were the creatures, that O’shui could no longer see the Marines. Hopefully, the experiment would survive long enough for the psi-emitter’s encryption process to be completed, so that the Tau forces could withdraw. But it would not come to pass. Even the impressive numbers of hormagaunts proved meaningless to the Space Marine power blades. By the time encryption reached 90%, Cadre Fireblade O’shui knew there could be no retreat.
———————————————————————————————————————————–

Captain Titus parried claw thrusts and dodged countless snapping maws with expert precision. His weapons brought death to every hated Tyranid they touched. Titus had fought in the great Tyranic war, and his muscles remembered well how to best this foe. “For Ultramar!” he bellowed, as the last wave of hormagaunts crashed onto his honour guard. The ground was awash with the vile ichor of dismembered Tyranids, their lifeless shells piled high. Atop this grisly mound, the Ultramarines formed an impenetrable ring of power-enhanced steel. Despite being vastly outnumbered, only two honour guard had fallen by the time every last Tyranid lay dead.

This enemy defeated, the Ultramarine Captain turned his attention to the Tau leader. He could not fathom what madness possessed these two Xenos forces to fight together, and it mattered not. “To me my brothers” he called. “Let us slay this xenos filth!” Together, Captain Titus and his honour guard charged into the Tau warriors. Titus felt only contempt as they lifted their puny weapons to overwatch against his righteous advance. Unsurprisingly, their weak energy blasts had no power to damage Astartes artificer armor.

Out of habit as well as form, Titus called forth a challenge to the enemy leader, to single combat. But the fight was so swift, that the Ultramarine Captain may as well have been fighting the lowliest Tau foot soldier. In mere seconds was the Tau leader lifeless at Titus’ feet. Meanwhile, his honour guard made short work of the remaining Tau warriors. Only the enormous Tau battlesuit that had attacked the Astrates from afar remained. Clearly dismayed by the Ultramrines’ prowess, the suit’s cowardly pilot engaged his thrusters, and feld the field. The day was won.

“My thanks brother!” Declared Titus, when he saw that Blood Angel Librarian Alfonso was approaching. “It was a honour to do battle by your side, brother” replied the Librarian. In this moment of respite, Alfonso told Titus of his mission to slay the ork warlord “Kap’n Klaw.” He spoke also of how he had dispatched half of his strike force to his believed location. However, the Librarian had heard no news since he parted ways with them, and could not fathom why.

Planetfall: Introduction

Cap’n Klaw stomped back and forth across the armored plates on top of his landed space craft, Da Jolly Roja. The ship was surrounded by a sea of orks. Excited, feral orks, anxiously waiting to fight in Da grand space waaagh!! The ork pirate Captain had been very successful in convincing the native ork populations of Tarandros to join him. With brute force and promises of gud fights, feral orks had flocked to him and virtually the entire planet was now under his “control.”

But Cap’n Klaw had one problem. The giant Roks that he needed to carry his new horde of Boyz off planet were still under construction and far from completed. Meanwhile, his boyz were getting restless and would soon turn on each-other if Klaw did not find anyone else for them to fight. At a loss, Cap’n Klaw shrugged and decided to tell his expectant masses more stories of the great fights that they would be having.

“Listen up boyz” the ork boss roared from his vantage point. “Now I iz gonna tell yas bout da best enemy ta fight!” A lone ork shouted up “Iz it da bug things ya told us of boss?” “No!” Klaw shouted back. “What bout dem fish people?” At this Kap’n claw roared with laughter. “Na boyz, da best fights are wif da umies!” Thousands of orks gasped in amazed unison. “Umies…what’s a Umie boss?!” many of them asked. Pleased that he had gotten their attention, Klaw smiled evilly and shouted: “Umies are just like orks, but smaller and weaker, coz dey got pink skin and everyone knows green skin is da best!” At this the crowd roared and cheered. Cap’n claw silenced them with a barked order for quiet and continued. “But da umies, dey smart and come at ya wit many, many of dem weak boyz and dey try very hard to fight as gud as orks! Dey got many wagons an—”

“Boss?” someone interrupted. “is dat a umie?” Anoyed, Kap’n Klaw reached for his dakka pistol and fired at the speaker. He missed the intended target, but hit another ork right between the eyes. This was good enough as far as Klaw was concerned. He was about to continue his story, when he heard a very familiar sound. He turned around and saw the unmistakeable trail of space marine drop-pods falling from the sky. “Oh…dat! Na boyz, dem be space Mahreens! Dey be like umie Nobz, but angrier. Dis gonna be a real gud fight boyz…GO GET EM!!!”

With frenzied abandon, the entire feral ork mass hurled itself in the direction of the falling drop pods. Their excitement was so great, that Da Jolly Roja, rocked back and forth as the tide pushed onwards, almost tipping their captain off of it. But the salty space ork used his mighty claw to grab hold of his ship and weathered the storm. Once the feral orks had passed, he laughed and went below decks to prepare for the beginning of his grand Space Waaagh!

————————————————————————————————————————

The steel rain of Ultramarine drop pods burst through atmosphere. Squadrons of Stormtalon gunships patrolled the skies below, ensuring no harm would come to their brothers. The cacophony of screeching metal would have been deafening to anyone within these ceramite meteors. But within his drop pod, Brother Captain Titus could hear only the rhythmic chanting of space marines preparing for war.

As the last ritual word was spoken, the drop-pod struck home. The Ultramarines barely noticed the thunderous impact and waited patiently for their transport to open completely. In the instant that the landing leafs hit the ground, Captain Titus strode forth and breathed in the arid air of Tarandros. With the studied precision of centuries, his honour guard formed a protective ring around his majestic countenance. The sons of Guilliman had arrived.

Captain Titus Arrives