“The colony world of Daxim III was struck by a massive asteroid that has devastated the planet’s surface and played havoc with the world’s biosphere. Casualties are expected to climb into the billions.”—Imperial Voxcast, 6 013 742.M41
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Industrial world suffers planetary cataclysm
By Seth Devetz
Imperial News Service
Orbit of Daxim III—It has been less than 24 hours since a massive asteroid struck the industrial world of Daxim III. Yet the surface of the planet cannot be seen.
That’s because the asteroid, estimated as three-kilometers-wide, vaporized so much of the planet’s crust that it created a tremendous dust plume that has blanketed the planet.
Casualties are impossible to estimate. The planet’s atmosphere is still in turmoil after the collision, and thick dust and planet-wide thunder storms have cut off all vox communications with the planet. Attempts at astropathic communications also have failed.
“We are confident that there is still life on Daxim III,” said Captain Jamis Tachhorn of the Adamantium Will, an Imperial Navy destroyer that was patrolling the Daxim System.
“Given the size of the impact, it is likely that no one is alive within several hundred kilometers of the impact site. But people on the far side of the planet will have felt the impact as an earthquake, and they would not be immediately threatened.”
A contingent of Adeptus Mechanicus technicians on Adamantium Will said the asteroid impacted Daxim III with a force of nearly 5 million megatons. This created, they estimated, a shockwave and ball of fire that likely wiped out all human life within 200 kilometers and seriously injured Imperial citizens as far away as 300 to 400 kilometers from the point of impact.
But they stressed that the initial impact was only the beginning of a global catastrophe. “The energy of this impact vaporized the asteroid and the planetary crust within 30 kilometers, sending debris out of the atmosphere and into the void. Already, a small ring of debris is forming around the planet.”
Untold millions of tons of debris also rained down on the planet—every part of the planet—heating the atmosphere to temperatures that will barely be survivable on the far side of the planet. This falling debris also is triggering forest fires that will consume vast swathes of the surface.
“Billions of Imperial citizens will die in the days ahead,” one technician explained. “First by fire, then by ice as the dust in the atmosphere is cutting off sunlight to the planet’s surface. Temperatures will drop below freezing over much of the planet, and unharvested crops will be destroyed by the cold.”
An astropathic distress call has been sent to the Nguyen Naval Base in the Belliose System, but it will be weeks, at best, before any significant rescue effort can be made, Tachhorn said.
Even then, it would take a massive fleet of ships to provide the manpower and food and medical supplies to assist the millions of citizens that might still be alive in the weeks ahead. And, although Tachhorn would not comment, it is obvious that such resources simply aren’t available.
There apparently was no warning of the asteroid’s approach—no planetary distress calls were sent, and sensors on research and mining stations in the four-planet system did not identify any large object approaching the planet.
“At this time, it is a complete mystery how this object avoided detection,” Tachhorn said. “There are astronomic surveys in every system with the intent of avoiding just such a disaster. What’s more, even the most amateur of astronomers should have seen the asteroid coming months ago. This is an inconceivable scenario.”
Whether further investigation explains what happens is anyone’s guess, but what’s clear is that there is little that can be done for the people of Daxim III. Even if billions survived the initial impact, it is likely that the infrastructure to supply food, power, and water to the citizenry will be severely affected.
What’s more, the lack of sunlight will destroy crops across the planet in days and, once food shortages arise, the death rate will certainly soar. Within a month, an estimated 90 percent of the 6.1 billion citizens on the planet will be dead or dying.
At present, atmospheric conditions are so unstable that no rescue efforts will be possible for the foreseeable future.
“We think it could be weeks before the massive lightning storms in the atmosphere begin to settle down,” Tachhorn said. “Until then, all we can do is continue our efforts to restore communications with the surface.”
Asteroid Strike Art: NASA/Don Davis
Daxim III planet art: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (USRA)
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
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