NEWS REPORT—Imperial authorities announced that the mayor of Mora was arrested—and executed—yesterday for treason after allegedly negotiating with xeno representatives to surrender his community rather than face a possible military attack.
Mora, a small plantation to the east of the beleagured city of Malati, is not strategically significant, authorities say. But any “act of treason is unacceptable and must be dealt with harshly,” announced Senior Arbiter Valtyr Kech, who led the investigation that led to the mayor’s arrest.
The mayor, Aldros Cierza, was executed by firing squad ….
—Media report, dated: 3 499 735.M41
MISSION REPORT BY: Approbator Adonai Drusus
Acolyte to Inquisitor Serillian
FILE: Tau Infilitration Units, Dar Sai
CROSS FILE: Tau, Xeno Military Threat
INPUT DATE: 6 501 735.M41
INPUT CLEARANCE: Inquisitor Level
SUBMITTED TO: Inquisitor Serillian
It has been known for some time that Tau Emissaries, from what the xenos call their “Water Caste,” have been traveling clandestinely across Dar Sai in an attempt to persuade Imperial citizens to reject their loyalty to the Emperor and embrace the false promises of a better life under Tau rule.
Attempts to capture these emissaries have been unsuccessful to date, but on 3 471 735.M41, one of our minor intelligence assets was passing through the Mora plantation and heard a rumor of xenos encamped in the nearby forest. Upon further investigation, he learned that a Tau emissary was meeting secretly with local government officials and offering to spare the plantation from a military attack in exchange for a peaceful surrender.
As per your instructions, I hurried to Malati and requisitioned a squad of Imperial Stormtroopers and a Valkyrie from the Imperial Guard commander, Capt. Stevrous Stark. I then traveled to the pre-assigned pickup point to make contact with a secret detachment of the Knights of Altair, whom you had arranged to join my mission.
We landed to the southwest of Mora in a meadow where our intelligence asset was waiting. He reported that a meeting had been arranged between the mayor, Aldros Cierza, a minor nobleman of the family that rules the local plantation, and the Tau emissary. The meeting place was an ancient ruin several kilometers outside the plantation center.
With that information, I set up an ambush that would allow us to seize the traitors and the xenos. The Stormtroopers, along with several members of your retinue, approached the ruins from the north, while several Space Marine Scout snipers approached from the east and south.
TURN ONE: As my Inquisition team and Stormtroopers advanced on the traitors, we were spotted by an observant member of the traitor’s retinue, a local militiaman employed by Cierza. The militiaman fired and took down one of our Stormtroopers.
With the first shot fired, our men let lose with a torrent of lasgun fire that killed the traitor. Cierza and several of his entourage hurried for the mayor’s armored transport, which started up its engines and moved up to the ruins to board the traitors. I, along with a number of men, rushed forward to intercept the transport’s likely path of escape.
As this was going on, one of the Scouts of the Knights of Altair took careful aim and put a high-velocity round through the head of a militiaman running for the transport.
With the first sound of gunfire, the Fire Warriors of the Tau spread out to shield their Emissaries, who rushed to their transport [vehicle codename: Devilfish], whose turbine engines roared to life.
TURN TWO: My personal team took position in front of the transport, which accelerated towards us. No doubt the driver assumed his armored vehicle would simply brush us aside. He could not have known that we were accompanied by an Imperial-sanctioned psyker, Trayen Algar, who unleashed a bolt of witchfire on the vehicle.
The witchfire nearly undid our efforts. It struck the armored transport with such fury that the vehicle exploded, and I was certain all inside had died. Most had, but miraculously, Cierza stumbled out of the vehicle in a daze, accompanied by a bodyguard.
I scolded Algar for the excessive result, but I later realized my rebuke was unfair. If one asks a psyker to stop an armored vehicle, what can one expect? Holding back his power might not have crippled the transport, which would have allowed the traitors to escape.
As we dealt with the human traitors, the Tau were reacting with frightening efficiency. The Emissaries boarded the Devilfish, which rose off the ground in a roar of turbined power and started moving down the countryside road.
There was no opportunity for my troops—or the Space Marine Scouts—to intervene. We had been spotted prematurely, and we were poorly positioned to respond. So we concentrated on finishing off the remaining human traitors, while the Scouts picked off the screening Fire Warriors with an efficiency of fire that was a bit unnerving.
Some Scouts did move toward the road, but at that moment, the hatches of the second Devilfish opened their doors, unloading a team of Kroot, the avian auxiliary troops who have committed so many atrocities near Malati.
These xeno warriors spread out to provide an infantry screen for the retreating Emissaries.
Thankfully, I had anticipated the enemy’s efficiency. Tapping my private vox link with our Valkyrie circling overhead, I ordered it to intercept the Emissary’s transport. I would have to depend on it, along with its cargo—a tactical squad of Knights—to deal with the Tau.