IMPERIAL VOXCAST: (3 150 736.M41; subsequently redacted)—As military forces strengthen the defenses around Susa City—the capital of Hegira—the moon’s political elite are quietly making arrangements to evacuate to other worlds.
That’s the assessment of a secret report circulated through the Imperial Guard Commissariat, which has reminded Gen. Tiberius Vectrix that the imposition of martial law last year authorizes him to order the execution of any government official who diverts resources from the war effort for their personal use.
Imperial authorities quickly denied that such a report exists—and denounced such news accounts as a defeatist rumor.
“I have every confidence that the xenos will be repulsed, and our world will be rid of this vile menace to Imperial rule,” announced Praetor Favious Syagrius, the supreme Imperial authority on Hegira. “There is no need for anyone to leave our beloved home.”
Such reassurances have not eased the concerns of the general population, which has seen the ork invaders conquer nearly two-thirds of the moon. Nearly half of the world’s population—some 10 million citizens—lived in regions now controlled by the xenos, and all are presumed dead or enslaved.
Despite Imperial protestations, at least 15 senior Imperial officials have been arrested at the Palatine Space Port in the past month on charges of possessing false identification, unauthorized travel papers, and bribery of custom officials.
Sources also say that, a week ago, three private merchant vessels launched from the space port without authorization. Subsequently pursued and seized by the Imperial Navy, each ship was found to contain high-ranking Hegira citizens seeking to flee to other worlds.
More than a month ago, sporadic rioting broke out after the announcement that the famed Barad Mine, the largest ore-processing facility on Hegira, was conquered by the ork menace on 3 110 736.M41. Since then, as trench lines were dug outside the capital city and citizens began to realize the seriousness of the military situation, public morale has plummeted.
The xeno victory at the Barad Mine was the third defeat suffered by Imperial forces this year. This defeat is considered all the more significant because the ork advance is now threatening some of the most critical regions of the moon—regions that are essential to the continuation of the war effort.
“The seizure of the Barad Mine is particularly dangerous,” explained one Imperial officer who insisted on anonymity. “It provides the orks with a launching point for an assault on the capital, which would put the orks within reach of the Palatine Space Port.”
Loss of the vast manufacturing facilities in Susa City, along with the loss of the spaceport that is a critical supply link to the Imperium, would almost certainly doom any effective military opposition to the orks, the officer said.
“If the orks strike for Susa, then the battle for Hegira enters a critical phase,” the officer said. “We are on the brink of ruin. We cannot afford another defeat.”
This possibility, previously known only to the aristocratic elite, has fueled the surge of illegal evacuation efforts, authorities admit. Several senior officials were arrested aboard one of the merchant vessels seized recently, and their trial is to be broadcast on Imperial Channel 15 at 19:00 tomorrow—with their execution broadcast at 21:00.
“Now is not the time for citizens to lose faith in the Emperor—or in his grant design for Hegira,” Praetor Syagrius said yesterday. ‘We will prevail over the xeno menace.”
— Artwork of ork warrior courtesy of Diego Fonteriz. See his artwork at http://fonteart.deviantart.com/
The Corvus Cluster is a hobby blog dedicated to our wargaming adventures in the Warhammer 40K universe of Games Workshop.