“Rate of casualties exceeds accepted tactical parameters. Likelihood of defeat within 3.2 hours is now at 87 percent.“—Report of Prx Galius-77, Skitarii Alpha, Outpost Zero-Omega, 3.3 hours before his death.
“No sooner was this crisis overcome when a new problem arose. During our battle, the mutant with the mining laser had targeted my shuttle, and one beam of the weapon had penetrated the hull and damaged the hydraulic-mechanical control cogitator. Without it, the pilot would be unable to control the aircraft in flight.”
“As the Skitarii alpha had reported that it was unlikely his troops could defeat the rebels, and Abnightus then privately shared his opinion that the Skitarii commander’s analysis was optimistic, it was clear that, unless the shuttle was repaired, there would be no escape for any of us.”
“The tech priest in charge of the repairs informed me that the damage was repairable, but there were two components necessary for the repair—both inside rebel territory.”
“So, I took my ragtag group of fighters and went after the components.”
“Our first stop was on the surface. There was a storage shed located about 300 meters from the outpost’s entrance that, at least according to inventory lists, stored electrical conduits that were compatible with the aircraft’s wiring.”
“Acquiring these conduits did not happen without a fight. As we approached the shed, we saw about a dozen armed rebels around it. I don’t know how they reached the surface, but their presence was unfortunate, and we had no choice but to engage and destroy them.”
“This fight was a little easier than our first. The rebels had no heavy weapons nor the huge mutants that had threatened us only an hour earlier. The rebels also had no sense of tactics, and we were able to pick off a number of them with long-range fire, then a final charge panicked the rest, and the shed was in our hands.”
Behind Enemy Lines
“The final component needed was a data crystal that could control the cogitator. That, alas, could only be found in a secure storage chamber on Level 4 of the outpost. This was a problem, as the rebels had seized that level. We would have to go behind enemy lines.”
“There was no question of fighting our way through the rebels. Back in the command center, we scoured the schematics of the outpost and found what we needed: a man-sized ventilation shaft that had been decommissioned decades ago. There was a good chance that the rebels were unaware of it.”
“Moving as quietly as possible, we worked our way down the shaft and through rebel-held territory. After a tense 20 minutes, we reached our objective: a dusty ventilation grate in a generator room on Level 4.”
“The room was unoccupied. The generator was automated and didn’t even warrant the presence of a servitor. The corridor outside was empty, so we moved quietly down the passage, the sound of gunfire echoing eerily from above.”
“Two rebels stood outside the storage chamber, but with only emergency lights operating on this level, I was able to creep close to the guards. Two shots of my needle gun, and the rebels were writhing on the floor, the venom-laced needles in their necks killing them in short order.”
“We found the data crystals without difficulty and began to withdraw. For a time, I actually thought we might make it to the surface without a fight.”
“It was not to be. As we retreated down the corridor, we ran into three rebels who were more capable than their dead comrades. A firefight broke out and, although we won it easily, the noise drew unwanted attention.”
“By the time we reached the generator room, nearly a dozen rebels had caught up to us. A far more ominous threat also revealed itself. Behind the rebels were three xenos, with six arms and segmented carapace shells: genestealers.”
“While Count Feracci and his bodyguards made their retreat up the ventilation shaft, Commissar Brutus and his guardsmen turned to hold back the rebels and their xeno allies.”
“It was at this critical moment that the true extent of the xeno taint made itself clear. The Tallarn merchant,Amari and his men suddenly revealed their true loyalties, opening fire on us. We were backstabbed.”
“Their initial shots were devastating. Half of Burtus’ guardsmen were downed, shot in the back. The commissar reacted with admirable speed. Unhurt, he turned and triggered his chainsword, its roar deafening in the tight quarters, and his blade quickly drew blood as he swept it across the belly of one of the Tallarn heretics.”
“His heroics would hardly salvage the situation. He was the last guardsmen standing, and with the Tallarn traitors on one side of him, and the rebels and genestealers moving forward behind him, our entire party was threatened with destruction.”
“In such situations, only the most ruthless of tactics can save the day, and I didn’t hesitate. I turned to Abnightus and ordered him to open up with his heavy flamer.”
“I knew Abnightus would act without hesitation. If nothing else, the cybernetic enhancements to a teach priest’s brain puts logic above emotion, and, in this instance, necessity outweighed any loyalty to our comrades.”
“It was a painful decision. I saw the expression of shock and betrayal on Brutus’ face as I yelled out my command, just a moment before the commissar disappeared—along with the heretics—in the burning promethium that quickly filled the area with holy flame and smoke.”
“I didn’t wait to see if Abnightus’ flamer had eliminated the threat. The physical resiliency of a genestealer rivals that of a Space Marine, and I screamed at everyone still living to flee.”
“We raced up the ventilation shaft, Abnightus bringing up the rear and repeatedly sweeping the shaft with flames. Despite the devastation that his heavy flamer was causing, I could still hear the sound of claws against metal, indicating the genestealers were not far behind.”
Still, we reached the surface. But it was clear that fate had turned against us. Voxing the command center, I learned the rebels had broken through the Skitarii’s final defensive line, and everyone was evacuating to the surface.”
Click here to read Part 4 of the story.
Click here to return to Part 2.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Battle Report (Narrative), Convention Games, Shadow War, Shorehammer
Leave a Reply