Submission for the 2nd Weekly Writing Challenge- Notable Battles:XIXth Legion "Cardinal Guard"Excoriation of Harkess
When the 78th Expeditionary Fleet exploring Segmentum Lamia encountered the human empire known as the Harkess Conglomerate, negotiations between the two would deteriorate swiftly. The Conglomerate, while technologically advanced, were a deviant trade syndicate that had totally overtaken the very civilisation that had spawned it, usurping it's original government through corruption, blackmail and extortion whilst seizing every vital resource with its armies of indentured "employees." Every citizen owed a debt to the Conglomerate from birth, forcing them into tedious, joyless lives of soul-crushing work, kept docile by a steady stream of company-produced narcotics, alcohol and other distractions, all for a price, of course.
Unwilling to relinquish their status or tolerate an outside power meddling in their affairs, the Conglomerate's ruling council, known simply as "the Board", violently refused the Imperial Envoy's terms before executing them as a message. Infuriated by this grievous insult and display of naked arrogance, the 78th's commanding officer, Praetor Alexian Kallistari of the XIXth Legion personally vowed to avenge this dishonour and swiftly set organising his plan for retribution. The Conglomerate Fleet, while powerful, was slower than their Imperial counterparts, something Kallistari exploited to his advantage. Keeping the main body of his fleet beyond the system's edge he divided his destroyers and light cruisers into multiple wolfpacks before unleashing them across the system in a campaign of lightning raids, identifying and striking at various facilities and resource sites critical to the Conglomerate's production of consumer goods. Such locations would see the full fury of the Fleet's Jeracite Host unleashed, razing them to the ground and denying all hope of salvage with the lingering taint of phosphex and radiation.
This strategy would force the Conglomerate onto the defensive, dividing their fleet to protect each of their worlds from Alexian's wolfpacks. The Imperial attacks had already stretched the supply of chems to it's limit, with planetside security forces having to enact martial law to quell growing unrest from the increasingly agitated populace. Aware that the Imperials had yet to show their full strength, the Board sent out a summons to their various "trading partners", promising as much spoil as they could fit in their holds if they could destroy the interlopers, they would not have to wait long for a response. Within days over a dozen small fleets of both Xeno and Human origin descended on the Harkess system, catching several Imperial raiding groups by surprise and forcing them to withdraw.
Undeterred, Alexian observed that though these new foes were dangerous, they were also divided. Each fleet operated independently of the others with little-to-no care for co-ordination or strategy, only following the lead of their respective commanders rather than working together. Therefore, Alexian would use his raiding groups to lure individual fleets away from supporting elements before warping in with the rest of his fleet, the previously withheld heavy cruisers and battleships would devastate the mercenary ships that stood their ground, while the raiding parties' lighter corvettes, destroyers and cruisers would run down and cripple any who sought to flee. After several devastating ambushes the mercenaries' resolve began to falter, realising they were outmatched and that the spoils they'd been promised were out of reach, the vengeful marauders turned on their Conglomerate "partners", raiding several of the very worlds they were meant to defend before scattering into the void once more, abandoning the Conglomerate to their fate.
The fires had not even begun to cool when Alexian made his move, his fleet sweeping in-system to storm the still-reeling Conglomerate homeworld of Harkess Prime. With the full might of the 78th unleashed the Conglomerate ships in orbit were overrun, many striking their colours and surrendering or attempting to flee as the Imperial Juggernaut seized orbital supremacy. Minutes later, orbital bombardments struck planetside emplacements and strongholds as drop pods and landing craft in the thousands descended to the surface. With the corporate PDF scrambling to face the invaders the long-oppressed civilian population finally saw their chance to be free, rising up in gargantuan mob-armies against their overlords and assaulting any Conglomerate buildings or forces they could find. Caught between the vengeful mob and furious onslaught of the XIXth Legion, the PDF quickly disintegrated in a series of swift but bloody battles.
Within two hours, the Conglomerate's Head Office, a gargantuan structure that was equal parts administrative centre, fortress and palace were ablaze with the emerald fires of Jeracite Phosphex, and all twelve members of the Board who had denied reunification in their avarice were summarily executed by Alexian himself before the jubilant citizens. With the head cut off the snake by the third hour transmissions of capitulation were received from the remaining Conglomerate worlds, their remaining fleets and army units surrendering themselves to the victorious 78th.
Edited by Nomus Sardauk, 23 August 2020 - 02:03 AM.