“A squad of Charcharoth militia reported a firefight with mutant rebels in an abandoned village south of the rebel-held Tomada Oasis. Two soldiers were wounded, while two mutants were killed and a third captured.“—Imperial Voxcast (6 110 742.M41)
* * *
World of Morkai—At the beginning of 742.M41, the lords of House Fenring—masters of the hive city of Charcharoth—were greatly concerned that mutant rebels had seized the Tomada Oasis some weeks earlier.
Observing the planet’s Council of Electors bicker and waffle over a military response, House Fenring decided to act independently. Its first step was to order a reconnaissance mission to determine whether the mutants were preparing a military advance southward toward Charcharoth.
A 10-man squad under the command of Sgt. Jameh Hallaq, accompanied by Commissar Bashar Tlass, was sent north to investigate. On 6 103 742.M41, this squad reached the village of Anakin, one of dozens of small walled communities in Tomada region.
Arriving by shuttle, Commissar Tlass ordered the shuttle to circle the village. Using an onocular, he determined the village was abandoned. This was a reasonable guess, given that mutant raids in the northern desert had driven many villagers to flee south to the relative safety of Charcharoth.
But then he noticed movement. A small group of mutants was approaching the village from the west.
In a debriefing after his return, Commissar Tlann explained what happened next.
“I urged Sgt. Hallaq to land outside the village and engage the mutants. I felt there would be much to gain by taking prisoners for interrogation.”
Using the village walls as a screen, the shuttle landed and the squad disembarked. Unfortunately, the squad’s advance into the village was interrupted by the appearance of a giant sand scorpion, a deadly predator that burst out of the sand and attempted to grab one of the men with its pincers.
Faced with this threat, the squad opened fire on the creature and drove it away. Although this incident took less than two minutes to resolve, with no loss of life, the squad’s advance on the village was delayed.
“Our hopes of taking up a position in the ruined buildings were dashed,” Commissar Tlass said. “All we could do was advance and hope we could win the day.”
At this point, Sgt. Hallaq divided his force in two. He and Commissar Tlass , along with two soldiers, entered through the front gate, while the rest of the squad moved to the west to clamber over a low wall and seek to outflank the mutants.
The mutants had made good use of the delay caused by the desert scorpion. Once Sgt. Hallaq led his men through the front gate, he came under fire by a heavy weapon, later determined to be a heavy stubber. One soldier was wounded, and the commissar, Sgt. Hallaq, and the other soldier were pinned down.
From cover, however, Sgt. Hallaq observed that some mutants were ignoring the fighting.
“At least half the mutants were rushing about, searching buildings,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what they were seeking, perhaps water purifiers or other valuable equipment, but I could imagine no other reason why they would not seek to repulse my squad. I assumed they hoped to grab what they could and then disappear into the desert.”
Based on that hypothesis, Sgt. Hallaq ordered some of his men to fire upon the searching mutants, as their movement required them to dash from cover to cover. This made them slightly easier targets.
“I figured if I killed a few of the mutant scum, the rest would lose heart and run,” he said.
This tactical decision appeared to bear fruit. Over the next two minutes, two mutants—clearly finding something of value—were downed as they attempted to flee the village. When a third mutant was killed attempting to retrieve an object from a downed mutant, the remainder of the mutant band abandoned the fight.
As the squad secured the village and manned the outer walls, Sgt. Hallaq and Commissar Tlass examined the objects that the mutants had attempted to spirit out of the village. They were data cubes.
Uncertain whether the mutants could call for reinforcements, and determining that the data cubes and a still-living mutant prisoner needed to be returned to headquarters, Sgt. Hallaq—with the approval of the commissar—ordered the squad to return to base.
The data cubes were later examined by an Lexmechanic of House Fenring, and it has been determined that the data cubes contained classified information about the security surrounding Grant Elector Fabius Nemetorius.
This suggests several disturbing developments:
• the mutants are seeking an opportunity to assassinate the Grand Elector and disrupt
• someone with security clearance is providing the mutants with classified information; and
• there is a sufficient spy network of mutant sympathizers to transport the data cubes to a remote desert village nearly a third of the way around the planet.
This was an important discovery, and Commissar Tlass anbd Sgt. Hallaq were commended for their actions.
TheGM: Ooh, a network of rebel spies? A threat to the Grand Elector of Morkai? A bit more intrigue is added to this story line.
I love a narrative campaign. You never know what direction it’s going to take. I envisioned the story of Morkai simply as an opportunity to paint and fight with a mutant army. (I play the army as a Genestealer Cult, but that’s because I like the ambush rules, not because there’s a xeno taint on the planet . . . but who knows?)
The Gaffer and I have limited time for gaming, so we’ve been doing a lot of Shadow War: Armageddon skirmishes lately. But this battle raises a new narrative opportunity. We know the Inquisition is on the planet, so maybe there will be more Kill Team-style battles based on this spy ring—a Shadow War between the Inquisition, Arbites, and mutants.
Wow. A week ago, this story line didn’t exist . . . it just created itself.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Morkai Campaign
Shadow war stuff is SO interesting. My bet is on a recongregationist looking to ‘strengthen’ the imperium by rebuilding it. The Elector will be an unwitting martyr to inspire the populance to greater efforts…..and also get that useless dandy out of the war of a proper administrator replacement.
Wow. That’s a narrative twist that I hadn’t considered. Very, very worrisome direction. That’s the thing about a shadow war. What IS going on? Whom CAN you trust?
What if this IS a triple threat with someone working on the inside–on their own agenda, separate from that of the government or the mutants?
I have no idea what’s going to happen next.
TRUST NO ONE! KEEP YOUR LASER HANDY!
Classic for an inquisitor of this school of thought to trigger an insurrection before it’s strong enough to win. Stress test the system, cull the chaff, reforge the weapon of humanities faith. All the tells are there. The unworthy may quake, but the faithful have nothing to fear.