The Ethereal sat on his hover throne, looking down at the pitiful humans who sought to betray their corpse emperor and embrace the Greater Good.
The gathering was taking place in an isolated farmhouse, deep in the thick forests that blanketed the western edge of the Great Continent, the largest landmass on the moon of Dar Sai.
The Tau had been fighting for years to take control of the poorly developed planet, and now, with Tau troops infiltrating their region, the leaders of some human communities had chosen to bow to the Tau.
The Ethereal knew he should be glad that they had seen the wisdom of the Tau way of life, but as he studied their pale, pink skin and the eyes that would not meet his, he could feel nothing but unease at their “otherness.”
Were they truly seeking a better path to the future? Or, as the Ethereal suspected, did they simply seek advantage, believing that treason would protect their control over their fellow humans?
Given that their emperor had been as cast down by his favorite son millennia ago, it was clear that treachery was a dangerous flaw in their species.
Still, once the war was over, these traitorous opportunists could be replaced easily by more enthusiastic—and reliable—believers of the Greater Good.
He was about to accept their allegiance when gunfire sounded in the distance. One of his bodyguard leaned over to whisper in his ear.
“You Eminence, we are under attack by some of the humans’ genetically engineered warriors. We need to get you to safety immediately.”
On 3 817 739.M41, operatives of the Ordo Xenos reported that village leaders at the edge of Tau-held territory on Dar Sai had been ordered to meet with a key Tau representative at an isolated farmhouse to the northwest of Port Aruna.
Details of the clandestine meeting were provided to the Deathwatch Xeno-Conclave of Vigilia. Aquila Kill Team Cassius, which was operating in the Sculptor System, was assigned the mission of disrupting the meeting and capturing the Tau representative.
Location: Small farmhouse, nestled in an isolated wooded area.
Deathwatch Kill Team: Brother-Chaplain Ortan Cassius, 5 x Deathwatch Veterans, 2 x Deathwatch with jetpacks, 1 x Deathwatch in Terminator Armor and Heavy Bolter.
Tau Forces: Ethereal, 2 x Tau Honor Guard, 13 x Fire Warriors, 3 x Kroot Hound, 1 x Devilfish armored transport.
Imperial Objective: Capture the Ethereal if possible, but do not allow him to escape. Ignore the human traitors. After the Deathwatch launch their attack, Inquisition stormtroopers will rush to scene and surround the area. No traitors will escape.
Setup: The Ethereal, Honor Guard, and two Fire Warriors were deployed inside the farm compound, along with half a dozen community leaders who were unarmed and irrelevant to the battle. Other xeno troops are deployed across the area to guard the Devilfish and the compound.
Brother-Chaplain Cassius and three Deathwatch Veterans enter the battlefield on the northern table edge. Two Deathwatch Veterans start on the table in the southwest corner.
Two Deathguard with jetpacks will arrive from reserve and Deep Strike at the compound entrance. A third Deathguard Veteran, with heavy flamer and Terminator armor, will teleport onto the scene after a homing beacon is triggered.
Special Rules: The Tau Ethereal cannot leave the table except on board his Devilfish. If the Devilfish is destroyed, then there is no chance of outrunning Astartes. His only chance of survival is for the Tau to defeat the Deathwatch.
On the northern edge of the battlefield, Cassius and his Deathwatch companions rush onto the table and make for the Devilfish. They are spotted immediately by the surrounding Tau guards, who open fire. One Marine is pinned.
The Marine shakes off the heavy fire and charges one of the Tau guards, quickly striking him down. As the Devilfish pilot desperately starts the transport’s engine, (so he can turn the vehicle and bring his burst cannon to bear, a second Marine reaches the xeno transport and places a demolition charge against the hull.
Cassius and a third Marine, an auburn-haired Space Wolf, russ past the transport to tackle a third Tau fire warrior. The fourth marine is intercepted by a Kroot Hound that rushes to challenge him.
To the southwest, two Marines enter from the table edge, running through the woods and directly toward the compound where the xeno leader and the traitor humans are meeting.
This small fire team is too weak to take the objective alone, but that is not their goal. They are seeking to draw the Ethereal’s protectors to the west. Two guards turn to face the advancing Astartes, but the rest of the guards stay close to the Ethereal.
Not so the traitor humans. They scramble over the walls of the compound and flee into the woods.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.