Imperial Voxcast, 6 714 741 M.41—One-third of all Imperial Navy ships assigned to patrol the Dryillian Quarantine Zone were put out of action by Necron warships during a raid on the Melinoe Naval Base.
Two cruisers, three frigates, and two destroyers were utterly destroyed, and a battleship, a heavy cruiser, and two destroyers suffered severe damage.
“With the loss of Flotilla Liviana last year by the Necrons, a new naval detachment was gathering at the Melinoe Naval Base to assume its duties in defending Imperial citizens against the Necron threat,” Commander Lucius Antonius explained during a press conference announcing the attack.
“Alas, this new flotilla has been put out of action before it could assume its duties.”
How the Necrons penetrated so deeply into the Melinoe System without being detected is unknown. The first alarm sounded when a wave of xeno vessels light cruisers began firing at the heavy cruiser, Emperor Defiant, and destroyed its bridge and starboard thrusters.
“The xenos were only 50 kilometers from the Emperor Defiant when they opened fire,” Antonius said. “It’s simply not possible to get that close without being detected . . . yet that’s what happened.”
Imperial ships quickly returned fire on the xenos, but as the flotilla was parked in orbit, the engines of most ships were powered down—with the result that the flotilla was unable to maneuver until each ship powered up its engines. That made the Imperial ships an easy target for the xeno attackers.
“It was at this vulnerable moment—when ships were powering up their engines—when the xenos caused the most damage,” Antonius said.
A second wave of xeno attack craft appeared 20 minutes later and included several capital ships, including two Skythe-class Reaper ships, six Skythe-class Harvest Ships, and a Cairn-class Tomb Ship.
Launching scores of Doom Scythe fighters, this attack force targeted the battleship, Armageddon. The battleship took heavy damage, but its powerful weapons batteries destroyed two Harvest Ships, encouraging the xenos to maneuver away and target the less-powerful cruiser, Righteous Avenger.
A massive energy beam from the Tomb Ship penetrated deep into the hull of the cruiser, setting off fuel bunkers and armaments and igniting fires that quickly burned out of control. Despite heroic efforts by fire-fighting crews, the flames could not be contained, and the ship was left a burnt-out hulk.
For reasons not clear, the xenos withdrew after half an hour of fighting—abandoning the opportunity to destroy the battered Imperial ships still in the fight.
“The mind of the xeno is inexplicable,” Antonius concluded. “But it should be obvious that the dogged defense of our war ships convinced the xenos to withdraw before the tide of battle turned in our favor.”
TheGM—The Necron overlord, Agamunzu, indicated he would pursue a campaign of raids to keep the Imperium off balance while he worked to recovery from his major defeat on Tophet. Could this raid be part of that strategy?
Who can say? All I know is that the Necron threat remains a worry for Imperial commanders. The question on my mind is whether High Marshal Adrias Ioculus of the Knights of Altair Space Marine Chapter will remain in the Dryillian Quarantine Zone to keep the pressure on the cybernetic warriors. Or will he move on to a new war zone and hope the Necrons will lick their wounds for a while?
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our hobby adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.