GM: As per the OOC thread, apologies for the lengthy delays that have hampered the thread. In an attempt to smooth over the delays and move things forward, I will be jumping slightly ahead in terms of the combat on Vinov and I will be short-cutting some of the narrative.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Vinov: A World of DeathAkkad, Greysight, Ghent and Yeng
(Sabaan remains aboard Spearcast)
The last of the Tyranids falls, dead, and you are triumphant. The black ichor that passes for their blood quickly soaks into the parched earth, the snaking root-veins suckling and pulsing hungrily as the gestalt hive mind ensures nothing goes to waste on this planet.
As silence once more fills the air, you see the Commissar rise and greet you. As he approaches his hand comes up to his face, unclipping a respirator mask so that you can make out a scarred, pugnacious visage. He salutes crisply.
"Thank the Emperor," he says. "I thought we were done for."
Behind him, you see the remaining soldiers tending to one another, stripping ammunition from the fallen. Those of you with more than a passing interest in the humans you have encountered in the past will notice that their uniforms do not seem to conform to typical patterns used by the Astra Militarum - indeed, many of them do not even wear flak armour. Many of them have waxy, ashen complexions and your heightened senses can detect them wheezing heavily as they breathe.
"We received word that the Astartes had arrived on Vinov. Interrogator Ryken dispatched us to bring you to him."
Following the soldiers' lead, you pass through jagged rocks intertwined with the ever-present roots of Tyranid consumption. The air is still laced with mist that seems almost to follow you, attempting to obscure your vision. Your helms' auto-senses are able to divine the way forward; the troopers manage without, seemingly finding familiar routes through the hellscape before you.
It is not long before you see the Imperial refineries - or what is left of them - ahead of you.
Suddenly the Commissar motions downwards, urgently. As you take cover amidst a series of craters gouged in the earth, you see a dark form appear on the horizon, growing larger and larger still. Its vast limbs move with a stately, if hideous, grace across. Its A low-slung head tracks back and forth as it scans the landscape for enemies. The creature is a Hierophant, a massive Tyranid bio-titan.
As the Hierophant stalks forward, closer and closer still, the time seems to stretch into infinity. You know that if the thing detects you, it will spell your doom. Your weapons - even Akkad's Heavy Bolter - will do precious little to a creature designed to shred armoured vehicles.
Finally, the shaking ground recedes as the Hierophant continues its patrol, a low, droning challenge issuing from it and echoing across the wastes.
The Commissar finally gestures on and the patrol diverts through a desiccated river-bed, long since drained dry. It is mere minutes before you reach a heavy metal hatch, more like an airlock you would see on a space-faring vessel. Two of the mortal troopers struggle with the heavy wheel sealing the door until Ghent steps forward and wrenches it open.
You find yourselves in a tunnel: dark, cold and oppressive, constructed of rough cast rockcrete. Apart from the pale lumen globes set into the low ceiling every ten metres or so, the curved walls are crossed by snaking conduits and cables, none with any obvious function. It is only just large enough for the armoured form of an Astartes, and you are forced to proceed in single file. Any of you with experience of fighting in the confines of a Space Hulk may find yourselves uncomfortably reminded. The fact that you could easily face a genestealer in these halls only strengthens the comparison - and none of you are fortunate enough to rely upon the comforting bulk of Terminator Armour.
Finally, the tunnel levels off, and you find yourself in front of an armoured portal that makes a mockery of the door you opened earlier. It seems as armoured as the prow of an Imperial Navy warship, and as you approach you see a pair of slaved heavy bolters whirring to life.
"HALT!" A deep, grating voice resounds about the chamber, emerging from a vox-grille at the portal. "Tread carefully, for you enter the domains of the Mechancius. Identify yourselves!"
The Commissar removes his respirator once more, looking at the vox-grille as a series of lenses whir and focus on his face. The slack-jawed servitors manning the heavy bolters jerkily come to life in a parodic imitation of their former lives, glassy eyes seeming to focus on the armoured forms of the Astartes behind.
"Omnissiah be praised, we are saved," the voice is still rough and metallic, betraying none of the apparent relief that the words themselves suggest. "Enter, and take refuge from the storm."
The door grinds open as a warning klaxon blares. After it opens, you are greeted by the robed figure of Interrogator Ryken; his expression is obscured by the robe he wears about his head. Next to him, nearly half as tall again, you see a red-robed adept of the Machine God. Mecha-dendrites and servo-assisted arms bristle from behind them, giving you the impression of a spider. They seem to move almost with independent thought - twitching, clasping and unclasping such that there is a near constant pattering sound around them.
The Brothers of Kill-Team Blackthorn - Akkad and Greysight - will recognise Ryken, but this is the first time they have encountered him since shortly after the death of the Genestealer Broodlord. The Brothers of Swordhand - Ghent and Yeng - will not, but will acknowledge the symbol of Inquisitorial authority the Interrogator wears upon his robes.
Ryken inclines his head.
"It is good to see you. We must converse quickly, lest this world's destruction be for nought."
++++The Valshari ValleySolastion, Atratus, Teralil, Varvost and Vorr
As Atratus melts into the darkness and Solastion advances forward, your auto-senses hear whispered conversation, even if you cannot make it out clearly. You see Varvost's gauntleted fist grasp his chain-axe tighter as he prepares for the inevitable ambush.
There is movement as you see a figure step forward, a woman wearing crimson carapace armour.
"I am Adrielle Haldane, Interrogator in the service of the Lady Lythea of the Ordo Xenos." There is a glint in the light as she proffers a golden rosette similar - though less ornate - to the one you recovered from the Broodlord's lair. "Brother Solastion, we are glad to have encountered you. Our Mistress ordered us to remain in place until she returned."
She turns as Brother Atratus appears once more from the shadows, his weaponry held low but the unspoken threat clear enough.
"Lower your weapons," she says - not to you, to the unseen others within the farmstead. You hear the metal-on-metal noise of weapons being lowered, charges being released, safeties being engaged.
"You'd better come in," she says.
The farmstead within is a modest size, and certainly not built to accommodate the bulk of five Space Marines, especially with the bulk of your jump packs. Varvost remains outside, watching the perimeter of in case Tyranids attack. You see that Haldane and her companions have converted the building into a war-room; maps are pinned over family portraits and scrawled over with hand-made annotations.
"We've kept up with the situation as best we can via vox. We first set up here when the Inquisitrix began to suspect something was wrong at the heart of Syndalla. We had given up hope that the Lady would ever return."
She frowns a little, as though at herself, and tugs the cuirasse of her carapace plate down. It is as though she is gearing up to say something of import.
"Brother Solastion, from what little I know of the Astartes, am I right that you a chirurgeon?" she points at the narthecium and reductor on your wrist. Imperial Cruiser 'King of Kings'In orbit of Syndalla
in use by the Kill-Team responding to Interrogator Ryken's call for help, you made do with an Arvus Lighter piloted by the Syndallan Levies. The startled flight crew knew better than to argue with you when they saw your face. The craft lifts off, affording you the ability to see Beregar, the city under your command - and as the craft lifts higher and you see the curve of the horizon give way to the blackness of space, you can see the damage and destruction already wrought by the vanguard of the Tyranid forces upon the stricken agri-world.
You are greeted by the sight of the King of Kings
, Captain Locke's vessel, and next to it, the Adamant
, almost its twin, though lacking the visible battle damage of the former ship.. The two Dauntless
-class Light Cruisers seem set almost like a pair of swords about to cross.
Your craft lands aboard the King of Kings
with little resistance once the crew transmit the authority-codes of the Deathwatch, and you are directed to one of the many landing decks. As the ramp descends with a hiss of gouting steam, you stride forward onto the deck with all the force of a Space Marine charging into the breach. The mid-level officer assigned to greet you is startled as you move heedlessly past him.
"My lord? My lord?" his shouts echo futilely, growing quieter and quieter as you advance.
As the conveyor platform jerks to a halt and you reach the bridge of the King of Kings
you see the familiar face of Fleet-Captain Locke, and a new individual that must be Captain DuRanes. There are several naval armsmen behind him, their snub-nosed scatter cannons trained on Locke.
DuRanes whirls, his eyes widening as he takes in your bulk, but there is a tightening in his jaw that you interpret as a conviction that he is doing the right thing. This is a man who has followed orders his entire life in the certain surety that doing so brings victory.
*(I am thinking of Director Krennic
when describing DuRanes.)
Edited by Commissar Molotov, 12 April 2020 - 09:36 PM.