The Setting: A satellite communications relay station, outside the port city of Aruna, on the moon of Dar Sai.
A small hedged yard features two eight-meter-tall communication arrays and a a rundown, concrete-block office building that sits alongside a rural dirt road. Across the narrow, rut-marred road is a small vehicle repair shop that really is nothing more than a tin-metal shack with a few tools hanging on the walls. A few meters down the road is a cemetery, a small shanty with a tiny garden, and the occasional copse of trees in a landscape of meadows and crop fields.
All is quiet. Inside the office building is a dingy office where sits Petrov Karlson, formerly high mayor of Port Aruna and an influential politician on the argri-moon—but now just another refugee fleeing the Tau invaders that have seized his proud city.
Outside the building, a squad of Imperial Guard troops stands vigil, hoping against hope that the xenos will leave them alone as they attempt to refuel their armored personnel carrier and then drive as far away from the fallen city as possible.
If they’re lucky, they can follow the unimportant country road back to Imperial-held territory. Alas, fortune does not smile upon this party. A trooper spots the approach of a xeno patrol. Lasguns are raised. Men run to cover. Sgt. Conrad Deley sticks his head into the office and warns the governor to stay inside.
“You don’t want to get your fool head shot off, your Excellency.”
The Early Moves
The Tau approach from two direction:. The xenos’ squad commander, a Shas’ui, leads two Fire Warriors, as well as a Pathfinder with a rail rifle, along a stone wall that runs down a hill to the vehicle repair shop. Approaching from behind the satellite array are three Fire Warriors, two gun drones, and a Stealth Suit.
As the xenos advance, there is a tense silence across the battlefield. The occasional avian can be heard warbling in the trees, but there is no gunfire. Both sides are still too far apart. There is an occasional glimpse of the enemy, but there is no good shot.
As the Tau move closer, the Pathfinder stops halfway down the hill where he has a fine view of the small assembly of buildings below. His companions continue, using the stone wall for cover as they move forward.
There are several targets within range of the Pathfinder’s rail rifle. But he selects one that is stands alongside a wagon. The isolated guardsman is crouched down at the wagon, thinking he has good cover against his enemies coming from the other direction. But, unknown to him, the Pathfinder is behind him and has a clear shot at his back. The xeno aims down the long barrel of his weapon and fires. And misses.
The Fighting Begins
There is a sudden roar as the two drones and Stealth Suit use their jets to rocket over the hedges surrounding the satellite arrays. Dropping into cover, the drones and combat suit also open fire on the guardsman by the wagon. He ducks into cover.
Two Fire Warriors following behind run up to the hedge, force their way through, and hurry to the cover of a tall generator and the base of one of the arrays. They spot a guardsmen at the opposite corner of the office building; he spots them at the same time. They fire first. The guardsmen does not respond in kind. He drops to the ground.
The Tau continue to spray the Imperial position with gunfire. Not far from the fallen guardsman, Sgt. Deley and another soldier are forced to take cover behind a large outdoor furnace.
With the Imperials pinned down, the third Fire Warrior works his way around the hedges on the west side of the yard, using the thick vegetation to mask his movements.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.