“A military patrol encountered a small ork raiding party on the southern continent of the moon Morthrai in the Sculptor System.”
“Imperial authorities are uncertain how the xenos managed to reach the moon’s surface without being detected, but it is believed the orks are likely a warband serving under one of the greenskin raiders operating out of the system’s Great Asteroid Belt.“—Imperial Voxcast, 3 420 741.M41
DEBRIEFING: Ork encounter, Morthrai
SUBJECT: Sergeant Eli Keer,
1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Beta Company, 4th Battaltion,
12th Planetary Defense Force Regiment
INTERVIEWER: Captain Merek Vethrus, Commissariat
INPUT DATE: 3 413 741.M41
RECORDER: Ministratum Scribe Balphus Ezrer
< Recording Begins >
“Identification: Eli Keer, sergeant, commander 1st Squad, 12th PDF Regiment. ID number: 192-A-Beta-982-491.”
“On 3 405 741.M41, my squad was on routine patrol outside the farming village of Mi-Pri, an isolated community on the Destino Plateau. We were 6 kilometers east, at the agricultural housing unit of the Boradea family.”
“As we were passing through the family’s vineyards, our point man, Private Silas Cax, came running back to the squad and reported that a small mob of orks were advancing on our position. My first reaction was to admonish him for indulging in a joke during a patrol.”
“He insisted he was serious. Although it was unbelievable, I could not afford to waste time confirming his report. I told him that there would be hell to pay if he was pulling a prank, but I ordered the squad to form a firing line amongst the cover of the grape vines.”
“I ordered the men to stay out of sight. I wanted a proper ambush. We had a good line of sight to the wood’s edge, and I wanted us as far back as practical before we began to fire. The last thing I wanted was to let the xenos get close enough charge us. I’ve never fought orks before, but I remember my training. If they get to you, you’ve a hell of a fight.”
“As it turned out, I soon caught sound of the orks. They weren’t hiding their presence. They were yelling and bellowing as they moved. Then I caught the sound of another batch of orks advancing to our forward right. That was worrisome. I didn’t dare spread out my firing line, however. Also, the terrain in front of this second group of orks was heavily wooded, and it would be hard to target the greenskins from a distance.”
“So, I hoped I could ambush the xenos in front of me and deal with them before the other orks could work their way through the brush and come at our flank.”
“The fight worked out as well as I could have hoped. Our first volley took down one ork, but the others we hit seemed to just shake off the lasgun hits. They really are as tough as I’ve heard.”
“In any case, it took them a few seconds to realize where we were, and that gave us an opportunity to take down a second xeno. But, we weren’t that hard to spot, and as soon as they saw us, they bellowed and charged right at us.”
“We fired another volley and then I ordered my firing line to fall back by sections. One section stood and fired; the second fell back 15 meters and set up a new firing line. Then the first section ran past them another 15 meters and set up their line, and so on.”
“Obviously the orks could outrun us, but each time we fell back, it bought us another few seconds . . . and we used the time well, We got off five volleys in total, and several more xenos fell. The surviving greenskins dropped to the ground and began a desultory fire in return.”
“I could see the orks to our right starting to appear out of the trees. Thankfully, there was enough brush to slow them down, and when they finally reached the rowed crops, they had to clamber over several fences.”
“With the orks suppressed to my front, I was able to turn one firing section against these new orks—and a shot from our lone plasma gun incinerated the largest greenskin in that group.”
“The orks traded fire with us for a few more minutes, but they seemed to lose heart and their fire slackened. Then they rose and stomped off, disappearing as quickly as they could into the woods.”
“No, I did not pursue. My commanding officer challenged me on that call, but I stand by my decision. We had two wounded, and chasing the greenskins into those heavy woods would have allowed them to ambush us and bring us into close combat. Then I would have been responsible for the destruction of an entire squad. I wasn’t going to let that happen on my watch.”
“My squad requisitioned the Boradeas’ family transport and, at my insistence (and their hasty acquiescence), we escorted the family back to Mi-Pri and contacted higher command to warn them of the xeno threat.”
“Two hours later, the 4th Battalion arrived in full force, dressed for a fight. My commanding officer set up a garrison around the village, and two companies began a search-and-sweep mission across the Boradea farm and into the woods beyond. Although signs of the orks’ passage were evident, the xenos were not found before nightfall.”
< RECORDING ENDS >
INTERROGATOR NOTES: All evidence suggests that Sgt. Keer handled the fight in a manner that brings credit to the Morthrai PDF. A debriefing of more senior commanders indicate that six ork corpses were found at the battle site, and that approximately a dozen or so xenos withdrew back into the woods. An extensive search of the region has provided no clue as to the xeno’s whereabouts.
In addition to the obvious military steps to deal with this xeno presence, I recommend immediate decontamination protocols be ordered for the countryside to the east of Mi-Pri. There is evidence of ork spore that, if allowed to persist, could leave the moon with a permanent infestation.
I have taken the liberty of drawing up plans for a 100-square-kilometer area to be bombed with an air-promethium-mix gel , with the goal of burning every biological component in the region down to the microscopic level.
* * *
TheGM: Finally, The Gaffer and I are once again able to fight across a game table. For our inaugural battle of the year, we decided on a small Shadow War: Armageddon game, and it was a blast to duke it out. The fact that I won didn’t hurt my mood a bit.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Shadow War