IMPERIAL VOXCAST (6 015 743.M41)—Food riots broke out in the suburbs of Volantis today after one of the city’s food-processing centers was damaged by an insurgent’s bomb.
The Third Quadrant of the outer ring of surface dwellings that surround the Volantis hive city is aflame, as rioters have taken to the streets and set afire numerous buildings. An entire platoon of Arbites’ Enforcers have been deployed and authorized to use fatal force to restore order.
“Such civil disobedience cannot be tolerated—and will be met with the full wrath of Imperial authority,” Arbites High Marshal Albus Sundvar announced in an emergency voxcast earlier in the day. “Enforcers are authorized to use deadly force to maintain order.”
The high marshal laid blame on the civil rest to the Followers of Haruspex, a mutant cult worshiping the mysterious leader of the ruined city of Ungolath. Rebels in the mutant-controlled city have been fighting Imperial authorities for several years, and it is believed that supporters of this rebellion have infiltrated Volantis’ large mutant population.
Six days ago, the Followers of Haruspex claimed responsibility for an explosion at the city’s Food Processing Unit #7 that is the main source of food supplies t, among other areas, the Third Quadrant. The blast, which killed 20 laborers and injured 45, caused sufficient damage to the food manufactorum that it will be out of operation for at least three months.
Authorities have worked to divert food supplies to Third Quadrant, High Marshal Sandvar said. But several food convoys have been ambushed by rebel forces.
“The citizenry must understand that Imperial authorities are attempting to provide sustenance for the people of Third Quadrant, but these damnable rebels are determined to starve the community and provoke civil disorder,” Sandvar said. “The fault lies entirely with the Followers of Haruspex. They are the enemy.”
Despite such statements, rumors have spread—perhaps disseminated by the cultists themselves–that Imperial authorities intend to starve out the Quadrant’s mutant population as the first step of a pogram to exterminate all mutants in the city.
The challenges of diverting food from other food processing units—as well as the harassing attacks of cultists—has limited food supplies reaching the citizenry, authorities admit. In fact, only two food shipments—enough to feed only 20 percent of the quadrant’s population—have successfully arrived in the area.
Fears among the mutant population grew worse when city officials closed all city gates leading into and out of the Third Quadrant, a decision explained as necessary to limit civil unrest from spreading across the city.
With many citizens unable to find food for days, it was a matter of time before violence erupted. The first incident occurred yesterday evening, when a mob of about 30 mutants marched down toward the Third Quadrant’s central plaza with protest signs and torches. Two buildings were set afire, and windows were shattered in dozens more.
Squads of Enforces responded quickly and dispersed the crowd with shock staves and stun grenades.
Today’s violence was far more serious, authorities reported.
“At 16:00, a mob of 400 mutants assembled by the Monument of Heroes near the central market—and defied the order of Enforces to disperse and go home,” Sandvar reported.
“More than 60 Enforcers of Precinct 13 were ordered to deploy in riot gear, and they were reinforced with two Bullgryn auxiliary officers. All Enforcers were armed with deadly weapons and authorized to use deadly force.”
The mob at the Monument of Heroes responded violently as the Enforcers marched down the street from the Arbites Precinct House. At first, the mob threw rocks, but a wall of slab shields wielded by elite Subjugators protected the Arbites force from harm, Sandvar said.
Serious fighting broke out once several members of the mob brought forward autoguns and opened fire on the Arbites.
“Meeting deadly force, a team of Enforces armed with boltguns and shotguns fired from the protection of the slab shields,” Sandvar said. “The two Bullgryns also opened up with grenade launchers.”
What followed was a two-hour battle that saw nearly 50 dead and more than 100 injured.
According to authorities, the shield wall of one team of Enforcers and Subjugators advanced directly at the crowd, firing as they advanced. The mob attempted to charge the Arbites several times but were repeatedly repulsed by a storm of gunfire that left a pile of bodies, Sandvar said.
“When the mob realized Imperial might could not be challenged, the rioters broke into smaller groups and attempted to set as many fires as possible,” he added. “Running down streets and alleys, avoiding Imperial authorities as best they could by speed and deception, they broke into homes, murdered its residents, stole valuables, and set the buildings on fire.”
One group of rioters attempted to destroy the central market, but a team of Enforcers managed to intercept the criminals.
“The fighting was quite intense,” Sandvar admitted. “Two Enforcers were killed by rioters—one had his skull crushed by a club; the other was shot by a rioter with an illegally obtained firearm.”
Final victory over these rioters was credited to Bullgryn 187-D, who threw his 450-kilogram, three-meter-tall body directly at the rioters. Enforcers reported that the gigantic abhuman swung his grenade launcher like a club, knocking over several rioters with every swing.
“The beast caved in skulls, shattered rib cages, and even knocked one rioter’s head clear off his shoulders,” said one Enforcer who refused to provide his Identity designation. “If we’d had a few more Bulgryns, we could have cleansed the entire quadrant of stinking mutants.”
As inflammatory as the Enforcer’s comments, Imperial authorities were emphatic in declaring that Imperial policy toward mutants is not hostile.
“The Followers of Haruspex are spreading a lot of false rumors about some kind of pogram against the mutant population,” Sandvar said. “But I cannot emphasize enough that Imperial policy has not changed. Law-biding citizens—whether genetically pure or impure—will receive equal treatment under the law.”
As night fell, portions of the Third Quadrant were burning, and sporadic gunfire could still be heard from the streets of surrounding neighborhoods. But authorities say that the riot is largely over, and that only a few bands of criminals remain on the streets.
“They will be dealt with,” Sandvar insisted. “A curfew is in effect, and anyone found on the streets will be shot on sight. There will be no survivors.”
TheGM: The actual tabletop battle was not as decisive as Imperial pronouncements would suggest. Yes, it turned out that the Enforcers—decked out with carapace armor and heavy weaponry—were almost impossible for the cultists to kill.
But the victory conditions of the scenario required the Enforcers break the morale of the rioters before they could burn down 12 buildings (there were 32 on the table). The rioters set 10 afire before they were slaughtered.
It was a fun skirmish. The rioters had a guy with a mining laser and servitor with a heavy bolter, but the Enforcers hit on 3+. What’s more, the Bullgryns —in the few times the rioters failed to keep their distance—just chewed up the mutants.
Still, the table looked nasty at the end. Besides all the bodies, I had small fire markers (red- and black-painted cotton with blinking red LEDs inside) for every burning building, and an entire corner of the table was aflame. Great fun.
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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