“You think this world is yours? It was ours long before the birth of your species. What matters that we have slept? You stain our world with your presence, and we will purge your existence.”—Overlord Agmunzu, lord master of Tophet and the Dryillian Regency
The Emperor Protects
The Necron assault did not go unanswered by the Knights of Altair. Waiting inside the Land Raider, Bloody Vengeance, High Marshal Adrias Ioculus watched impassively as the Necron bombardment targeted his command. It was only when the xeno infantry broke clear of cover and began their advance that he gave the order allowing his men to return fire.
The accuracy of his Knights was gratifying for the 300-year-old chapter master. A Sicaran Battle Tank, a revered relic from the time of the Great Crusade, opened fire with its high-velocity Accelerator Autocannons, tearing apart rows of advancing Necron warriors.
The Bloody Vengeance also fired its sponson lascannons. The powerful lasers struck the Necron’s Doomsday Ark and, although not destroying it, the vehicle was engulfed in a faint shimmer that indicated that its quantum shielding had collapsed.
Observing that the Necrons were concentrating their forces on his left flank, Ioculus Ioculus decided the time had come to launch his counterattack.
“Attack Force Alpha is authorized to advance,” Ioculus signaled through his comm-auger.
To his left, the chapter master saw a pair of Rhino transports accelerate directly at the Necron vanguard, followed by a biker squad led by Chaplain Gervès Vauquelin.
Did you think we would just sit back and shoot, as if we were lowly PDF troops? Ioculus thought to himself. Now we will see how quickly you respond to a more dangerous foe.
As if to emphasize Ioculus’ thoughts, a nearby Predator targeted a passing Annihilation Barge, its lascannon beams smashing into the vehicle’s side and scorching its hull.
The reaction of Agamunzu would have surprised Ioculus. If anything, the Necron overlord was amused by the humans’ aggressive tactics.
The humans want to close into hand-to-hand combat? Let it be so.
Transmitting new protocols, Agmunuzu ordered his command barge to speed forward. He would join the fight and bloody his warscythe.
In direct challenge to the advancing Space Marines, a phalanx of Necron warriors marched out of the ruins and opened fire. Multiple hits by the xenos’ gauss weaponry scorched one Rhino’s armored hull, the onslaught of energy eventually overwhelming the vehicle’s machine spirit and bringing the transport to a shuddering halt.
From its rear hatch, a squad of Sternguard Veterans hurriedly disembarked.
The Triarch Stalker, lurking atop a nearby roof, targeted the other Rhino. Using the data of the vehicle’s targeting data, a squad of Immortals fired their gauss blasters and tore apart the Rhino’s left treads, forcing the vehicle to a halt. Its rear hatch also opened, and a Crusader Squad emerged.
Meanwhile, the biker squad attempted to swing around the wrecked vehicles and continue the attack. But they were forced to slip through a narrow gap between one vehicle and a ruined building, and they were suddenly confronted by towering cybernetic constructs known as Canoptek Wraiths.
Their advance stopped cold, the Space Marines soon found themselves on the defensive, with only a handful of bikers in the front of the column able to fight. Two bikers were quickly struck down, although they managed to kill one of the 10-meter-tall Wraiths.
Struggling over scattered bikes and bodies, Chaplain Vauquelin joined the melee. Wielding his crozius, the chaplain fought like a daemon, blocking the Wraiths’ blows while pounding the xenos’ mysterious silver shells and sending shards of xeno metal flying.
Vauquelin finally bested a second of the monstrous constructs, but a snap of the snake-like tail of the final Wraith finally struck home, sending the chaplain flying through the air and through a shattered window of a nearby ruin. The mighty warrior did not re-emerge.
A wailing screech from above signaled the arrival of enemy aircraft. A crescent-shaped Doom Scythe swept overhead, its twin-linked telsa destructors targeting the Space Marines scattering below it. Two Marines failed to sidestep the aircraft’s deadly energy beams.
Meanwhile, the Annihilator Barge attempted to close with the beleaguered Astartes, only to be targeted by the same Predator tank that had fired earlier. Another lascannon beam struck the xeno venicle—and the skimmer skewed downward and slammed into the ground in a mighty explosion.
Turning the Flank
To the east of this fighting, a weaker Necron force also was on the advance. Supported by speeding Tomb Blades, a Ghost Ark floated across the ruined battlefield, using the ruins of abandoned buildings to close with the Knights’ defensive line.
When the Ghost Ark finally cleared the ruins and moved toward the Space Marines, the Astartes line responded. All manner of heavy weaponry targeted the Necron transport, but its Quantum Shields deflected everything thrown at it.
Moving within 20 meters of the firing Marines, the transport stopped and a squad of Necron warriors disembarked, opening up with their gauss weaponry and striking down several Marines.
The Knights responded with all the fury of their pure hearts. In a reckless act of determination, the Vindicator fired its powerful cannon at point-blank range. The cannon round landed on target, so close to the defensive lines that some Astartes were knocked from their feet. But it also buffeted the Ghost Ark, disabling its energy shield, and wiping out the xeno warriors, leaving only a blackened crater where they had once stood.
With the Ghost Ark skewing crazily at the powerful blow that struck it, an Ironclad dreadnought, housing the ancient hero Coradexus, stomped forward on its adamantium legs and, with a roar of hatred broadcast over its vox grill, he fired his meltagun into the flank of the transport. The vehicle exploded in a fireball that rose 50 meters in the air.
At that point, the order was given to advance, and the line of Space Marines and their gray-painted war machines began to advance. Leading the way was the Sicaran Battle Tank, which moved down the transport highway and used its Accelerator Autocannons to slaughter dozens of A tactical squad followed closed behind, with Coradexus, stomping behind at his best speed.
From the sky, an Assault Squad dropped on columns of fire, landing amidst the squadron of Tomb Blades. Firing their boltguns and activating their chainswords, they charged the xeno skimmers and easily brought them down, the wreckage of their vehicles blinking out of existence as per their mysterious xeno protocols.
More Necron warriors appeared. From the north, a squad marched out of the ruins of a corrugated shanty and swept the Assault Squad with their gauss flayers. Two Knights fell, but the others responded by charging directly at the xenos. The hand-to-hand fighting was brutal and bloody, but once Coradexus joined the fray, the xenos’ doom was assured.
Not far away, more Necrons appeared, seeking to join the fight. But the advancing Sicaran Battle Tank spotted them and quickly opened fires. Within seconds, the Necrons were vaporized, and the Knights had turned the Necron flank.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Tophet Campaign