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 Post subject: Assault on Tyran
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:27 am 
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ASSAULT ON TYRAN - The Naming of our Race

The Tyran Primus base lay in the midst of Tyran's great world-spanning oceans, dug into an island that was the very tip of a chain of ancient volcanoes. The oceans of Tyran covered over 80% of the world's surface and were home to a dizzying array of marine life ranging from the small and innocuous scuttlefish to the highly dangerous 200 metre long kraken. The base itself was fortified to resist violent storms and the attentions of the voracious oceanic life forms. Tyran Primus also had four giant defence lasers in armoured silos for defence against marauding alien space craft and any unknown monstrosities lurking in the deep oceanic abyss.

Over four hundred personnel manned the base Administratum scribes, Explorators, Adeptus Mechanicus Genetors, Engineers, Lexmechanics, their entourage Servitors and a single Astropath. They were under the command of Magos Varnak. a member of the ruling caste the Cult Mechanicus. Explorator ships passed through the Tyran system to collect supplies and deliver reports every three to six months. The last ship to depart was the Investigation, destined to survey worlds on the Eastern Fring though Varnak feared all he would receive were further reports of extinct planets.

Over a month after the departure of the Investigation Tyran Primus detected a cloud of close to a thousand unidentified objects entering the Tyran star system. After initial studies revealed the cloud was made up of neither spacecraft n debris Magos Varnak piloted one of the station's small system ships towards the cloud to investigate further. When approached, the ship came under attack by unknown object almost immediately. Magos Varnak was injured, several oft crew were killed and the ship itself was so badly crippled barely survived the journey back to Tyran. As he recovered from his injuries Varnak grimly ordered the base to alert status and armed the Servitors who would act as the first line defence if there were an invasion.

A week later the first attacks began on the base. The stom-wracked skies of Tyran were split again and again by the blinding flash of the defence lasers as they strove to drive t] attackers away. Bolts of laser energy capable of melting through whole city blocks lanced into space as projectiles launched by the enemy above smashed down on the base. Silo 2 was shaken and cracked by several hits but the chants a ceremonies of the Tech Priests kept it firing.

The uneven battle raged on for an hour or more as the bra laser crews blasted at the hundreds of invaders around Tyran before, amazingly, the enemy simply withdrew. Varnak sent his three remaining system ships in pursuit of the foe. They added to the destruction already wrought by the ground-bas lasers and confirmed Varnak's earlier observations of the attackers. The objects appeared to be creatures of alien origin vast armoured organisms with thick carapaces that were apparently fully adapted for life in space.

The system ships were quickly crippled or destroyed by the bio-ships and Magos Varnak was informed that the defences of Tyran had damaged or destroyed only a dozen creatures out of a swarm of close to a thousand. He was forced to conclusion that should the invaders attack again and with greater vigc the base on Tyran was doomed. Escape was impossible. All that remained was to try and warn the Imperium before selling themselves as dearly as possible.

But the Astropath could broadcast no messages. The disruptions caused in the warp by the creatures' arrival made it impossible to use astrotelepathy. In a few hours or days the warp might clear but for the moment Tyran was completely cut off. To preserve what knowledge they had Varnak ordered a data codex to be formed of all the information gathered about the invaders. The data codex would be set to record the fate of the base until it was sealed at a signal from Varnak's control pulpit and dropped into a 3,000 metre deep bore shaft beneath the base. Even as the codex was being prepared the aliens moved in to attack positions once more.

As they came within laser range the invaders released thousands of pods above the planet. The pods fell toward Tyran in tight clusters and did not break up as they hit the atmosphere. Though the laser defences destroyed any pods which would have impacted on the base many more fell into the sea around it. To enter the sea was death for a human yet the aliens could be seen approaching the base on sonar scan. The seas thrashed and boiled as more aliens emerged from their pods and hacked their way through the voracious native beasts that swarmed around them.

Defence laser fire ripped into the bio-ships as they began an intense bombardment of the base. Several of the creatures fell burning into the atmosphere but the bombardment continued. Hissing acids ate through the armoured laser silos and one by one they were silenced. Magos Varnak watched the advance of the aliens on the crystal screens of the sacristy. The creatures were upright and six-limbed, clawed and fanged like fiends. The scattered defensive fire ricocheted off their thick hides and heavy carapaces like hailstones.

The aliens attacked the south dock and smashed their way through the electro field and armourplas shutters as if they were paper and glass. Servitors guarding the dock fought back with flamers and the first invaders through the breach were slain or driven back hissing their defiance. But other creatures, screaming giants with arms like great scythes, waded forward and Magos Varnak watched in horror as they shrugged off the napalm fires and hacked their way through the Servitors as if they were made of straw.

In an instant the enemy were through the dock and spreading through the base, destroying everything they found. Magos Varnak's finger hovered over the switch that would send the data codex plummeting into the depths. Every moment might give some additional insight into the enemy, but every moment brought the fighting closer to the sacristy. Smaller, scuttling creatures appeared in the enemy ranks and began to cast constricting webs over the Servitors and Tech-Priests as they fought in the corridors.

Varnak looked to the station Astropath and both understood that they could not allow themselves to be captured by this new and terrible alien race. Varnak released the codex and descended into the reactor chamber to set the station destruct sequence. Even as he completed his prayer the doors of the sacristy were buckling and tearing before the fury of the assault from outside, and with only seconds remaining Magos Varnak struck the sacred rune of ending upon the power altar.

Earth received one final, garbled message from Tyran. On the wings of death came a dire prophesy of doom and a mental image of the skies over Tyran turned black with swarming monsters. From the world of Tyran the invaders acquired a name at last - Tyranids.
ASSAULT ON TYRAN The Tyran Primus base lay in the midst of Tyran's great world-spanning oceans, dug into an island that was the very tip of a chain of ancient volcanoes. The oceans of Tyran covered over 80% of the world's surface and were home to a dizzying array of marine life ranging from the small and innocuous scuttlefish to the highly dangerous 200 metre long kraken. The base itself was fortified to resist violent storms and the attentions of the voracious oceanic life forms. Tyran Primus also had four giant defence lasers in armoured silos for defence against marauding alien space craft and any unknown monstrosities lurking in the deep oceanic abyss.

Over four hundred personnel manned the base Administratum scribes, Explorators, Adeptus Mechanicus Genetors, Engineers, Lexmechanics, their entourage Servitors and a single Astropath. They were under the command of Magos Varnak. a member of the ruling caste the Cult Mechanicus. Explorator ships passed through the Tyran system to collect supplies and deliver reports every three to six months. The last ship to depart was the Investigation, destined to survey worlds on the Eastern Fring though Varnak feared all he would receive were further reports of extinct planets.

Over a month after the departure of the Investigation Tyran Primus detected a cloud of close to a thousand unidentified objects entering the Tyran star system. After initial studies revealed the cloud was made up of neither spacecraft n debris Magos Varnak piloted one of the station's small system ships towards the cloud to investigate further. When approached, the ship came under attack by unknown object almost immediately. Magos Varnak was injured, several oft crew were killed and the ship itself was so badly crippled barely survived the journey back to Tyran. As he recovered from his injuries Varnak grimly ordered the base to alert status and armed the Servitors who would act as the first line defence if there were an invasion.

A week later the first attacks began on the base. The stom-wracked skies of Tyran were split again and again by the blinding flash of the defence lasers as they strove to drive t] attackers away. Bolts of laser energy capable of melting through whole city blocks lanced into space as projectiles launched by the enemy above smashed down on the base. Silo 2 was shaken and cracked by several hits but the chants a ceremonies of the Tech Priests kept it firing.

The uneven battle raged on for an hour or more as the bra laser crews blasted at the hundreds of invaders around Tyran before, amazingly, the enemy simply withdrew. Varnak sent his three remaining system ships in pursuit of the foe. They added to the destruction already wrought by the ground-bas lasers and confirmed Varnak's earlier observations of the attackers. The objects appeared to be creatures of alien origin vast armoured organisms with thick carapaces that were apparently fully adapted for life in space.

The system ships were quickly crippled or destroyed by the bio-ships and Magos Varnak was informed that the defences of Tyran had damaged or destroyed only a dozen creatures out of a swarm of close to a thousand. He was forced to conclusion that should the invaders attack again and with greater vigc the base on Tyran was doomed. Escape was impossible. All that remained was to try and warn the Imperium before selling themselves as dearly as possible.

But the Astropath could broadcast no messages. The disruptions caused in the warp by the creatures' arrival made it impossible to use astrotelepathy. In a few hours or days the warp might clear but for the moment Tyran was completely cut off. To preserve what knowledge they had Varnak ordered a data codex to be formed of all the information gathered about the invaders. The data codex would be set to record the fate of the base until it was sealed at a signal from Varnak's control pulpit and dropped into a 3,000 metre deep bore shaft beneath the base. Even as the codex was being prepared the aliens moved in to attack positions once more.

As they came within laser range the invaders released thousands of pods above the planet. The pods fell toward Tyran in tight clusters and did not break up as they hit the atmosphere. Though the laser defences destroyed any pods which would have impacted on the base many more fell into the sea around it. To enter the sea was death for a human yet the aliens could be seen approaching the base on sonar scan. The seas thrashed and boiled as more aliens emerged from their pods and hacked their way through the voracious native beasts that swarmed around them.

Defence laser fire ripped into the bio-ships as they began an intense bombardment of the base. Several of the creatures fell burning into the atmosphere but the bombardment continued. Hissing acids ate through the armoured laser silos and one by one they were silenced. Magos Varnak watched the advance of the aliens on the crystal screens of the sacristy. The creatures were upright and six-limbed, clawed and fanged like fiends. The scattered defensive fire ricocheted off their thick hides and heavy carapaces like hailstones.

The aliens attacked the south dock and smashed their way through the electro field and armourplas shutters as if they were paper and glass. Servitors guarding the dock fought back with flamers and the first invaders through the breach were slain or driven back hissing their defiance. But other creatures, screaming giants with arms like great scythes, waded forward and Magos Varnak watched in horror as they shrugged off the napalm fires and hacked their way through the Servitors as if they were made of straw.

In an instant the enemy were through the dock and spreading through the base, destroying everything they found. Magos Varnak's finger hovered over the switch that would send the data codex plummeting into the depths. Every moment might give some additional insight into the enemy, but every moment brought the fighting closer to the sacristy. Smaller, scuttling creatures appeared in the enemy ranks and began to cast constricting webs over the Servitors and Tech-Priests as they fought in the corridors.

Varnak looked to the station Astropath and both understood that they could not allow themselves to be captured by this new and terrible alien race. Varnak released the codex and descended into the reactor chamber to set the station destruct sequence. Even as he completed his prayer the doors of the sacristy were buckling and tearing before the fury of the assault from outside, and with only seconds remaining Magos Varnak struck the sacred rune of ending upon the power altar.

Earth received one final, garbled message from Tyran. On the wings of death came a dire prophesy of doom and a mental image of the skies over Tyran turned black with swarming monsters. From the world of Tyran the invaders acquired a name at last - Tyranids.

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 Post subject: The Battle for Macragge
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:29 am 
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THE BATTLE FOR MACRAGGE

Inquisitor Kryptman received word of the last message from Tyran months after the attack. By the time his ship reached the Tyran system almost a year had passed and at first he could not equate the dead, dry planet he found to ocean-bound Tyran at all. After a long search Inquisitor Kryptman unearthed Varnak's data codex and learned the full horror of the alien threat menacing the Imperium.

As the Inquisitor's ship left the Tyran system it encountered the acid-eaten hulk of the investigation, declared missing months before. The vessel appeared to have been crippled and then boarded: all of the crew were missing and the ship was little more than an icy shell. Clearly the same foe that attacked Tyran had destroyed the Investigation and perhaps even followed its trail through the warp back to the Tyran Primus base.

Kryptman ordered his Astropath to send a priority warning to the Imperium but the Astropath could not penetrate the warp turmoil left by the passing of the alien fleet. Even the nearby Thandros telepathica booster matrix was obscured. In desperation Kryptman set course for Thandros in the hopes of re-establishing communications there.

But the Tyranids had attacked Thandros and moved on long before the arrival of Inquisitor Kryptman. Thandros was not as well protected as Tyran. The miners living in tunnels on Thandros II and III could not hide from the Tyranids or escape into space. The telepathica matrix orbiting Thandros I was later found to have emptied all of its turret magazines and burned out its defence laser crystal before it was overrun. Nonetheless the Telepathica adepts manning the base were unable to send word of their plight to the Imperium because of the Tyranids' psychic blockade. The Thandros system fought and died alone.

Kryptman salvaged the telepathica matrix and sent his message to warn the unsuspecting Imperium of the magnitude of the Tyranid threat. The Astropath, red-eyed with weariness after days of concentration broadcasting Varnak' s codex and Kryptman's report, gave the Inquisitor instructions to travel to the planet Macragge in Ultramar, the empire of the Ultramarines Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. There he would assist the Master of the Chapter in locating and eliminating the Tyranid fleet. As dictated by Imperial tradition the alien hive fleet of the Tyranids had been codified with an ancient and forbidding name from legend: Behemoth.

The Navigator of Kryptman's ship strained to follow the guiding light of the Astronomican through the swirling energies of warp space as the ship pushed through the shoals and reefs of that most capricious medium. At times the undertow left by Hive Fleet Behemoth threatened to lose the ship in the warp forever but the Navigator avoided every whirlpool and riptide with consummate skill, the elongated teardrop formed by the warp drives of the Inquisition ship slipping through the Immaterium like oil through water.

In the Macragge system a dozen other ships already hung in orbit and each day more arrived from the warp. Lumbering Space Marine battle barges hung over Macragge like gigantic azure monoliths etched with the gaping maws of weapon bays, launch tubes and heavy bombardment turrets. These leviathans dwarfed even the sleek strike cruisers arriving from the Ultramarines' furthest outposts. Orbital fortresses and ponderous systems defence monitors surrounded Macragge with a ring of firepower.

Inquisitor Kryptman met with Marneus Calgar, Master of the Ultramarines, beneath the portico of his palace of brilliant white marble perched high in rugged mountains above the glittering seas of Hera. Calgar stood as a giant even among the genetically altered Space Marines. Nothing escaped his piercing blue eyes and even Kryptman' s terrible discoveries did not disturb his noble demeanour.

The Ultramarines were readying themselves for all-out war with the Tyranids. The Emperor had despatched a Segmentum Tempestus battlefleet from the orbital docks at Bakka. Calgar felt that Macragge was the system most immediately threatened by hive fleet Behemoth. Macragge itself, already well-protected, was being even more heavily fortified and would be held tenaciously by Ultramarines and planetary defence auxilia until the combined Ultramar and Imperial fleet arrived to take on the hive fleet.

A month later the Tyranids attacked Macragge, their fleet of over a thousand vessels sweeping aside attacks by Ultramarines strike cruisers as they pushed insystem. With no sign of the Imperial fleet from Bakka, Calgar was forced to use the Ultramar fleet in a risky ploy. By leaving Macragge and retreating outsystem Calgar drew the Tyranids onto the defences of Macragge as they sought to encircle it and invade. The Ultramar fleet struck the aliens while they were spread out and vulnerable, successfully carving a bloody swathe through their fleet as Calgar tried to fight his way back through to the protection of the big guns of Macragge.

At the height of the battle Ultramar fighters from Macragge crippled one of the largest Tyranid hive ships and this seemed to fatally disrupt the cohesion of the hive fleet. The Tyranids' attacks became increasingly uncoordinated and Calgar's fleet reaped a great tally of fallen bio-ships. As the battle raged the Tyranids unleashed thousands of spores above the vital northern and southern polar fortresses which were the keystones of Macragge's defences. Each spore that fell to earth cracked open to reveal a Tyranid creature and soon thousands of Tyranids were marching across the ice fields towards the fortresses.

In space the battered hive ships retreated and, desperate to prevent their escape, Calgar' s tiny fleet gave chase. Though Calgar feared for the polar fortresses he knew they were well guarded by Ultramarines of the 1st Company supported by defence auxilia and Titans of the Legio Praetor. Most of the 1st Company were formed into Terminator squads equipped with tactical dreadnought armour and the best personal weaponry in the Imperium. Entrnsting the fate of Macragge to these veteran warriors, Calgar chose to pursue the Tyranid hive fleet.

The Tyranid swarms on Macragge surged on towards the polar fortresses. Sickle-clawed beasts bounded forward across snowy plains scored by lasers, their numbers blurring individuals into a shifting mass of slicing hooks and piercing talons, others wheeled through the bleak, grey skies on leathery wings and drooled their liquid fire on the defenders below. The ear splitting rattle of bolters and the thump of artillery drowned out the bestial, hate-filled screams of the swarming Tyranids but they swept on with implacable ferocity.

The veteran Space Marines of the 1st Company led the lightly armed defence auxilia in a tenacious defence of the fortresses, holding every wall and trench until the last possible moment before it was overrun by the swarm. Slowly the troops withdrew ever deeper into the fortress while making the Tyranids pay in blood for every yard of ground. The Titans of Legio Praetor stalked the ice fields and drove smoking furrows through the onrushing Tyranid hordes with shells and plasma. Crippled Ultramarine ships which Calgar had left in orbit above hurled down bolts of ruby flame and megatons of explosive death at the Tyranids, but still they came on.

The ferocity of the swarms was unbelievable. At the northern fortress they overran the walls by using the steaming piles of their own dead for cover. Titans were dragged down and ripped apart by sheer weight of numbers, like lions being swarmed over by soldier ants. Weapon barrels glowed red hot and jammed in spite of the arctic cold, ammunition began to run low though the fortress contained stockpiles for months of siege. The snows around the fortresses were stained arterial purple with Tyranid ichor.

As the fighting became close and deadly lumbering scythe-armed giants tore into the defenders' ranks like living battering rams, smashing their way through metal and rockcrete walls with equal fury. Even the Terminators could not stand against Tyranids in hand-to-hand fighting. Six-limbed, armed and armoured in shining chitin, the creatures sprang forward with blinding swiftness, their claws lashing out to rip through ceramite and adamantium with impossible ease. The Ultramarines had to rely on the heavy short-range firepower of their storm bolters, heavy flamers and Assault cannon to bring down the foe.

At the southern fortress stalking creatures penetrated deep into the labyrinthine corridors beneath the citadel through a supposedly inaccessible disposal culvert. The mantis-clawed horrors slew dozens of auxilia troopers from ambush in the maze of dark corridors and rooms before they were finally hunted down and eliminated by Terminator squads. Some men were driven mad with fear or paralysed with terror as the Tyranids broke through the perimeter again and again. With each perimeter breach the Ultramar garrisons had to withdraw to a new defence line. The Ultramarines were forced back, step by step, by the alien tide of organic killing machines.

In space Calgar pursued the Tyranid fleet toward the ringed world of Circe at the edge of the Macragge system. The timely arrival of the Tempestus fleet from Bakka finally sealed th Tyranids' fate by catching them in a vice between the tw fleets. In a desperate fight the combined human fleet destroyed the remaining hive ships at a great cost in men and ships.

The Tempestus fleet of over two hundred warships including the huge Emperor class battleship Dominus Astra was almost completely wiped out in a titanic battle around Circe. The battle was only won by the heroic sacrifice of the Dominus Astra charging into the heart of the hive fleet and triggering it's warp drives. The Tyranids were destroyed in an uncontrolled warp vortex which also dragged the Dominus Astra tc oblivion. Calgar's surviving ships came about and roared back to Macragge to try and save the beleaguered polar garrisons.

The remnants of the Ultramar garrisons had been forced deep underground by wave after wave of Tyranids. The survivors of the Ultramarines 1st Company were still fighting amongst the coolant stores and capacitors of the giant defence laser silos of the northern citadel but all contact with them was lost after the Tyranids completely overran the surface outposts. At the southern fortress the remaining 1st Company detachments had been destroyed when they attempted a counter-attack against a vital bastion captured by the Tyranids. Small pockets of Ultramar resistance still held out in bunkers above ground. Calgar, feeling that the situation was becoming critical, sent the 3rd and 7th Ultramarines Companies ahead in their fast strike cruisers while his remaining damaged ships limped back to Macragge.

As the sleek strike cruisers swooped over Macragge the Space Marines of the 3rd and 7th Companies were deployed by drop pod onto the poles with their supporting units following up in gunships. Scenes of unbelievable carnage awaited them below. Piles of mangled Tyranid corpses and shattered wargear lay strewn across the ice. Vast steaming craters pocked the snows where Titan plasma reactors had melted down and the stench of death lay everywhere.

The 7th Company, dropping on the southern fortress, landed unopposed and quickly linked up with the survivors of the garrison above ground. Together they pushed on to clear the subterranean passages which had been overrun. Only a handful of Tyranids remained to oppose them but they fought back with maniacal ferocity. Initial progress was bloody, with several advance squads being attacked by lone Tyranids or small groups which took their toll. But the Tyranids' attacks lacked strategy or coordination and most of the creatures were riddled with bolter fire as they emerged from cover.

In the north the 3rd Company came under attack as soon as it landed. Hundreds of creatures emerged from dark tunnel mouths and shattered bunkers to assail the Space Marines, threatening to overrun their dropzone by sheer force of numbers. Only staunch defensive fire laid down by the company s Devastator squads kept the alien swarm at bay until Thunderhawk gunships arrived to blast the Tyranids back below ground. Captain Fabian of the 3rd Company prudently awaited the arrival of the company's three Dreadnoughts before proceeding into the fortress itself to search for survivors.

The dark, dank corridors beneath the northern fortress were already subtly altered by the aliens' presence. Mucous dripped from the walls and ceilings and a pervasive musky stench filled the air. Alien screams and roars echoed and re-echoed weirdly along the tunnels. Warily, the Space Marines pushed forward, the darkness moving back reluctantly before their suit lights. The corridors were littered with Tyranid and Ultramar dead and even bio-scanners failed to identify the creatures that lay in ambush amongst the corpses. Such lone attackers wreaked havoc at close quarters, slashing into the advance squads in an orgy of destruction before they were killed.

Eventually the forward squads started to use flamers to burn their way along the passages and flush out their enemy. Even as the creatures burned they still leapt forward with claws outstretched to rip and slay.

Two full squads of Space Marines were killed in a lightning fast flank attack by a dozen Tyranids at an intersection. Only the presence of a Dreadnought blocked their rampage through the company's perimeter, and the Dreadnought itself had one arm ripped off by the creatures before it cut through them with its assault cannon. As the company entered a great chamber below Silo 8 they were assailed from all sides as a nightmarish horde of creatures sprang from the shadows.

A hail of obscene projectiles struck at the Space Marines, burning through their armour and spraying them with vile corrosive mucous. Chain swords clashed against curving blades of bone and bolters chanted their catechism of death as the Ultramarines desperately fought back. A mighty Tyranid lord, huge as a Dreadnought, thundered into the Space Marines' line. Three Space Marines fell to a single sweep of its curving blade before a Dreadnought charged into the monster.

A titanic struggle ensued as monster and machine battled to the death. The Dreadnought reeled back as the Tyranid struck it a mighty blow, sparks flew as the Dreadnought's power fist crashed into beast's carapace. Pouring ichor from its wounds the creature raised its blade and chopped through the machine's leg to send it crashing to the ground.

The beast howled in triumph and raised its blade to deliver the killing blow as Captain Fabian leapt forward into the fray. Power sword and alien blade clashed together with a cracking energy discharge. The beast swung a mighty overhead blow at Fabian as he staggered back from the discharge but the captain leaped aside and the blade buried itself in the rockcrete floor with a flash of power. In the fraction of a second before the creature freed its blade Fabian levelled his plasma pistol at the creature and fired, the incandescent blast catching it full in the head as Fabian pumped shot after shot into the creature. The beast reared up with a final ululating howl of agony and fell back dead.

All around, the Ultramarines were on the verge of being overwhelmed, only the psychic blasts of the Librarian were stopping the Tyranids completing the slaughter. But as the Tyranid lord fell many of its minions turned tail and were cut down by bolters as they fled. Those that fought on were blasted apart as the Ultramarines resorted to firing amongst their own troops to finally prevail. At the end of the fight barely a quarter of the company had survived and all three Dreadnoughts were damaged. Captain Fabian grimly ordered his remaining men to continue the hunt for survivors.

Once more the greatly reduced company cleared its way forward with flamers and finally reached the lower penitorium where the 1st Company had made their last stand. Tyranid bodies were piled six deep around the doors and within the room a circle of Terminators lay where they had fought hack to back. They were still and lifeless, every one having given his life against the Tyranid hordes. The Ultramarines' 1st Company had been wiped out to the last man, a grievous blow from which the Chapter has still to fully recover.

Hive Fleet Behemoth had been stopped, but only at a grievous cost to the Imperium of Mankind. In the aftermath of the first Tyrannic war there was little the Imperium could do to strike back at its foe. Behemoth had arrived from a virtually unexplored quarter and had disappeared completely after the Battle of Macragge. The trail of the hive fleet led back to the empty void of intergalactic space.

The Techno Magi of Mars spent many years classifying the Tyranid artefacts and bodies left on Macragge but could divine little from the evidence. The obvious facts were that, like the Eldar, the Tyranids used a form of bio-technology to organically form weaponry (though Tyranid weapons were limited to short-ranged projectiles and close combat weaponry) and that the Tyranids themselves formed an incredibly diverse race, more so than even the Orks. Gretchin and Snotlings which infest the galaxy.

The only discovery of great note was that the Tyranids had employed Genestealers as shock troops. These creatures had previously been thought to be autochthonous denizens of the moons of Ymgarl that had spread through space onboard cargo barges. Their presence amongst the Tyranid hordes was testament that this theory was in error. Genetic samples indicated they were Tyranid creatures, so why were they already established far to the galactic north-west? The Salamanders Chapter of Space Marines conducted a xenocide campaign to purge the moons of Ymgarl and Inquisitors intensified their scrutiny for Genestealer infestations but nothing more could be done.

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 Post subject: Hive Fleet Kraken
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:29 am 
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HIVE FLEET KRAKEN

Two and a half centuries passed with neither sight nor sound of further Tyranid incursions. Some members of Earth's Adeptus Administratum began to question the necessity of maintaining so many armed forces in the galactic south-east to resist a non-existent Tyranid threat. They argued that the hive fleet had represented the sum total of the Tyranid race and that it had been destroyed at Macragge. When inhabited worlds along the south-eastern fringe began to suffer an epidemic of riots, terrorism, sabotage and, in some cases, outright rebellion the same Adeptus claimed the people had become dissatisfied with living in the midst of an armed camp and chosen to violently illustrate their displeasure.

The Inquisition suspected a plot and moved quickly to 'investigate" the dissenters for signs of treasonous thoughts or heretical influence. It was soon established that all of the dissenting Administratum officials either originated from the south-eastern fringes or had travelled there at some point in their career. No other unifying factors could be found, and many of the suspected traitors had never even met each other.

Inquisitors were dispatched from the Inquisition fortress at Talasa Prime to fully investigate the Ultima rebellions. Meanwhile, the Inquisition instigated a terrifying purge throughout the Imperium and particularly on Earth, incarcerating anyone in high office who had had contact with the Eastern Fringe. Tens of thousands were dragged away by the Arbites to languish in prison colonies while the investigation continued.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:31 am 
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ICHAR IV

The Imperium's first concern was the rebellion on the industrial world of Ichar IV. The Ichar system is vital to the Imperium. Its gigantic factories and sprawling refineries form the lynch pin of one of the few densely populated sectors in the Ultima Segmentum. Thousands of ships carrying ore and myco-protein pass through Ichar's huge orbital docks each year.

The rebellion had been swift and bloody. Years before, a religious fundamentalist group called the Brotherhood had caught the hearts and minds of the impoverished city workers. Their preaching of the return of the Emperor had promised better times to come and a place in heaven at his side, the kind of spiritual comfort most sought after by those without power or privilege in life.

The Brotherhood's mercy missions and chapels had soon become a common sight in the poorest districts and their good works were legendary. The Ecclesiarchy had carefully monitored the Brotherhood for any taint of iconoclasm or heresy but had found nothing, if the reports were to be believed, but the most laudable of faith in the Emperor. Eventually permission was sought and granted for the Brotherhood to build a cathedral in Lomas, Ichar IV's largest city.

Shortly after the completion of the cathedral the trouble began. The Brotherhood refused to pay its tithes to the Planetary Governor and refused to allow its members to be inducted into the Planetary Defence Force. Brotherhood preachers began whipping the populace into a frenzy with predictions of the imminent return of the Emperor. Vigilante Brotherhood militias started to patrol in many areas, brutalising far more "unbelievers" than non-existent criminals.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:32 am 
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THE RISE OF THE GENESTEALER CULT ON ICHAR IV

Matters came to a head when rioting broke out at a Brotherhood mass rally held before the great cathedral. Arbitrators moved in to break up the crowds with power mauls and suppression shields but were fired on from the cathedral itself. The Arbites returned fire, killing several Brotherhood militia and enraging the great mass of people. After beating off several charges by the mob the Arbitrators were forced to withdraw by the arrival of another, larger mob from the poor district.

Rioting spread throughout the city and the Arhites were unable to suppress it. When PDF troops were called from their barracks to assist the Arbitrators most of them rebelled and came out in favour of the Brotherhood. Vicious fighting broke out all over the city and, when it came to light that the Planetary Governor had been assassinated, the fighting spread to every city on Ichar IV. Within hours tanks daubed with Brotherhood symbols and flying crude revolutionary banners held most of the intersections and utilities in Lomas and the Imperial forces were being pushed back in other cities.

Dawn brought full news of the assassination of the planetary governor and most of his ministers. Some were killed by bombs, others by snipers, others were murdered with their households in horrific massacres which looked like the attacks of wild beasts or mob violence. Shortly afterwards the Brotherhood seized all broadcast stations and announced their new theocratic government.

Loyal forces still controlled much of the countryside outside the cities and the judges of the Adeptus Arbites still held their precinct fortress against the rebellious populace inside Lomas. Nonetheless, most of the world's cities had been captured in a full scale rebellion against the Emperor of Mankind. Inquisitor Agmar arrived on Ichar twenty seven days after the outbreak of rebellion, on the same day that the Arbites precinct fortress was finally overrun by Brotherhood forces. The judges were not to be so easily defeated, however. Most of their number escaped along a secret tunnel and captured the city's four main power generators.

To Inquisitor Agmar's eyes the situation on Ichar IV had the appearance of a well-orchestrated plot rather than the upsurge of popular opinion being depicted by the Brotherhood. Agmar requested the assistance of the Ultramarmnes Chapter of Space Marines to help the Imperial forces regain full control of Ichar IV. While they awaited the arrival of the Ultramarines the Imperial Guard regiments on Ichar bombarded the cities and held off ferocious counter-attacks made by Brotherhood militia battalions.

Repeated attempts to reach the trapped Arbites met with failure in the dense rubble surrounding the generator plant. Amidst piles of crumbled rockerete and twisted girders Imperial Guard units were consistently driven back by the savage zeal of the Brotherhood troops in deadly close combats. The brave Arhites finally fell six days after Agmar s arrival, though in their last act of loyalty to the Emperor they destroyed the power generators they had held so diligently. The lurid fires lit by their melta bombs burned for days afterwards, casting a black pall of smoke across Lomas like a chilling shroud.

The war had reached a stalemate and ground down into an extended city-fight. Casualties spiralled upwards daily in dozens of skirmishes and ambushes fought through ruined apartment blocks, burned-out factories and mangled refineries. Predatory snipers lurked, ready to kill the unwary. Every doorway could conceal a booby trap or a hidden enemy. Entire Imperial Guard patrols disappeared without trace in the maelstrom of combat.

At the other cities the story was the same. The Brotherhood had the Planetary Defence armouries and the teeming populace to draw on for their soldiery, and they controlled the bulk of the planet's laser and missile silos. Siege and starvation would be necessary to drive them out.

Inquisitor Agmar led several small battle forces into Lomas to uncover more information about the Brotherhood. Piece by piece the picture of what had happened on Ichar IV became clear. He learned from prisoners about the ruling hierophants, heard their fanatical claims to be part of the magnificent "New Order" which would sweep through the galaxy. In a surprise raid he slew a Neophyte of the Brotherhood and saw what manner of creatures were leading this New Order. The divinations of the Imperial Tarot and Adeptus Telepathica psykers confirmed Inquisitor Agmar's worst fears. In utmost secrecy Inquisitor Agmar sent a report to the conclave of the Inquisition and awaited the arrival of the Space Marines.

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THE SCOURING OF ICHAR IV

Thirty nine days after the outbreak of rebellion the Ultramarines battle barge Octavius entered Ichar's orbit and prepared to deploy its drop pods. Ichar IV's defences were still largely ineffective because of the damage inflicted on Lomas' s generatorium by the Arbites and drop casualties were light. Companies of Space Marines seized the main defence armouries and the governor's palace where the Brotherhood militia headquarters had been established. At first the Brotherhood was taken by complete surprise and the primary objectives were quickly secured. The Brotherhood militia launched a series of desperate counter attacks to dislodge the Space Marines but their forces were critically disorganised by the destruction of their HQ and they were beaten off with heavy losses.

Outside the city the Imperial Guard launched a major assault to link up with the Ultramarines. Fire and smoke leapt into the sky as artillery shells burst upon the city. Laser fire slashed back and forth as crouched figures scrambled from cover to cover. Heavy bolters flared through the murk, their shells kicking up erupting lines of dirt and rubble. The Imperial Guard doggedly advanced using their Leman Russ tanks as moving strongpoints and the Brotherhood's lines bent back before them.

At the height of the attack Inquisitor Agmar's specially-placed spy satellite picked up militia forces leaving the Brotherhood cathedral and moving up to contain the Imperial assault. The Inquisitor knew the time had now come when one hold stroke would end the rebellion. He sent a prearranged signal to the Octavius orbiting high above.

In the echoing nave of the cathedral a crackling blue haze appeared, brightened and then in a flash of azure light solidified into a number of hulking figures. The Brotherhood guards at the doors wheeled round in time to be ripped apart by a thunderous hail of explosive shells. More than twenty Space Marines in Terminator armour stood towering over their torn corpses in the sudden silence that followed. More guards, Neophytes and Acolytes suddenly poured into the cathedral through side doors as the Ultramarines Terminators spread out from their teleport point. A storm of lasbeams and autoshells rattled off the Terminators' thick armour plates to no avail: storm bolters were raised in gauntleted fists and the walls were painted with Brotherhood blood.

A handful of survivors hurled themselves into close combat with the giant warriors. Voluminous robes fell hack to reveal bone-ridged heads and glaring eyes when the Neophytes lashed out with their inhuman claws. Some of the Terminators were overwhelmed and dragged down by the supernatural ferocity of the mob but the roaring jet of a heavy flamer cut across the survivors before they could exploit their victory. Smoke and the stink of burned flesh billowed up to the high-arched roof from the funeral pyre.

The Terminators spread out with machine-like precision, some froze into overwatch positions while the others searched the cathedral for the hidden passages they knew it must contain. Their Librarian pointed to the altar and more explosive shells blasted it apart, revealing steps down into darkness.

Flipping on their suit lights the Terminators filed down the steps to find the black heart of the Brotherhood. A dismal crypt lay below, with many twisting passages spreading out from it in all directions hut the Librarian could sense the way through the labyrinth. The Terminators' scanners came to life as they left the crypt, showing multiple foes closing quickly on their location, creatures that moved too quickly to be human. The Terminators moved to the positions they would cover from overwatch and waited, ready to deal death at the slightest movement.

First came the distant clicking of claws on stone, then the thunder of the creatures' armoured bodies striking the walls and each other as they rushed forth to bring swift death to the intruders. The first of them sprang into the glare of the lights, its four deadly arms held high over its crouched body and bestial head. Genestealers! No doubt was left now, the Inquisitor was right: a viper's nest of aliens lay at the heart of the rebellion. Fangs and claws glittered as the Genestealers ran forward with insect-quickness to slay their hated foes. Storm bolters roared, sounding impossibly loud in the confined tunnels, explosive tipped bolts caromed from chitinous bodies or pierced them and blasted alien flesh to bloody pulp. The cleansing fires of flamers incinerated whole tunnels at a time but the creatures charged forward without fear or hesitation.

Each strobing flash of the storm bolters showed the foe getting closer. They swept over the bodies piled in front of the Ultramarines and tore into the Terminators. Three of the armoured giants were ripped apart in as many seconds before the rest fell back to the crypt. The Genestealers leapt after them without pause, easily catching the rearguards as they backed away still blasting. Who can say how many more of the aliens were blown apart or crushed by the Terminators' power fists before they were overrun? Not enough to stop the onrushing brood but enough to slow them while their brethren prepared to fight again. In the crypt flamers held side passages against flanking Genestealers and forced them to pour forth from one end of the room. The combined fire of a half-dozen storm bolters burst through the horde and, as the survivors leapt into cover behind great stone sarcophagi, the Librarian summoned a purifying column of warp fire. Unnatural flames filled the end of the crypt, hissing fires that ate through alien flesh as though it were fat and gristle instead of iron hard chitin and steely cartilage. Most of the brood burned in an instant, the rest fell to the explosive bolts which raged through their ranks like a miniature artillery barrage.

The Terminators moved on, cautiously now because they were few. No more of the nightmarish Genestealers barred their way or leapt from ambush as the Ultramarines pushed ever deeper into the heart of darkness. Deep beneath the city they found what they were seeking in a high-groined chamber with carved walls like the ribs of some great beast. There the Genestealer Patriarch crouched on a great dais, huge and bloated with the power of its sprawling brood. It squatted with arms outstretched, head turned upward as if listening for some distant call as the Ultramarines marched into the hall. They raised their weapons to destroy the abomination and it lowered its eyes to gaze on them with a threatening hiss.

Without warning a horde of monstrosities poured into the chamber from between the calcified ribs-walls. Three-armed hybrids, tainted humans and purestrain Genestealers leapt forward to protect their all-father. A wall of explosive bolts marched along the mob and the chamber dissolved into a scene of chaos and bloodshed as the howling fanatics hurled themselves on the Terminators. The Ultramarines Librarian cut his way forward through the creatures, the glowing white blade of his force axe leaving a trail of shorn limbs and lopped heads behind him. Each step became harder, as if he were wading through deeper and deeper water. He could feel the palpable psychic waves of alien thoughts beating against his mind as the Patriarch exerted its ancient, implacable will upon him. Deep pits opened in his subconscious, ready to swallow his psyche whole.

A shocking surge from the Librarian's psychic hood broke the spell. Focusing his own indomitable will, the Librarian forced his body out of the physical world for an instant, and in an instant he was gone. A bright flash marked his departure, another flared at his point of arrival as he teleported onto the dais with the Patriarch. The creature span round and lashed out its claws with incredible speed. Blood and sparks flew from the Librarian's armour as the claws ripped into it. The Patriarch easily ducked away from his clumsy backswing. The beast pounced again and rained a flurry of blows on the armoured figure which were almost too swift to follow.

In desperation the Librarian called to his battle brothers and the dais was swept by storm bolters. Indiscriminate fire ricocheted off the Librarian's armour but some shots struck and wounded the Patriarch. In its moment of distraction the Librarian swung his force axe in an irresistible arc which carved through the Patriarch's armoured hide with a flash of power. The force axe rose and fell, hacking the Patriarch into a bloody pulp and spraying purple ichor across the chamber.

With the death of its Patriarch the brood was thrown into confusion. In the chamber the handful of remaining Terminators slaughtered the mass of creatures assailing them. Nothing escaped the blasts of their storm bolters and the cleansing fires of their flamers as the Terminators exacted some small measure of revenge for the death of their forebears over two centuries before. In the city above the Brotherhood units resisting the Imperial Guard offensive collapsed. Small knots of fanatical Acolytes and Neophytes held out in towers and bunkers but triumphant Imperial Guard tanks swept through the rubble-strewn streets crushing all opposition.

Ichar IV was back under the iron heel of the Imperium within three weeks. All signs of the Genestealer infestation were thoroughly rooted out by the energetic Inquisitor Agmar with the assistance of the Ultramarines. Yet at the end of the campaign several mysteries remained unanswered. The first was what had become of the Magus, the human-seeming leader of the Brotherhood who had disappeared at the start of the rebellion. His body was never found and no prisoners were able to shed light on his whereabouts, even under Agmar's most persuasive questioning.

The second mystery was the reports of Astropaths and the Ultramarmnes Librarian who had slain the Patriarch. They told of sensing a faint psychic disturbance like a long, keening call or a signal radiating from the planet, a signal which had been cut off when the Patriarch was killed. The oldest and most powerful of the Astropaths had told the Inquisitor that he toc had sensed the Patriarch's call and that he had felt a distant shift in the warp. It was a sense of something vast and seething, a shadow of a monstrously powerful entity which had turned its attention to Ichar.

When Agmar submitted his report to the conclave of the Inquisition he was warned of a growing number of reports from survivors fleeing from the outer fringes. The information was garbled and contradictory but one fact stood out, the Tyranids had returned with a new hive fleet, Hive Fleet Kraken

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 Post subject: TENDRILS OF THE KRAKEN
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:34 am 
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TENDRILS OF THE KRAKEN

This new Tyranid invasion had come without warning and no one could be sure how many planets had fallen to the Tyranid horde already. Hive Fleet Krakcn appeared to made up of many sub-fleets which moved to attack worlds across an entire sector simultaneously. The alarming disruption in the warp brought about by the hive fleet's passage had blocked out astropathic communication beyond the besieged systems and warp travel in their vicinity had become dangerously unpredictable. Whole sub-sectors of the Imperium had been swallowed up with almost no clues as to what had happened to them. The handfuls of survivors had fled aboard ships and been flung hundreds of light years off course by the turbulence in the warp. Their chilling accounts of the nightmare advance of the hive fleet formed the bulk of information available to the Imperium.

Tales came of skies turned black over whole continents by clouds of wind blown poison spores. Of hulking monsters that stalked the land, ripping and slashing with murderous claws. Stories of billions of creatures swarming across the face of a world, devouring everything in their path and leaving the planet a wasteland. Whole population centres had been subdued or wiped out in a single night, and those taken alive had envied the dead.

In the Miral system Imperial Guard regiments and Space Marines of the Scythes Chapter still held out against Tyranids which had overrun the lush jungles and plantations of Miral Prime. The Imperial Forces had retreated to a huge rock mesa known locally as the Giant's Coffin where they fought almost daily against raging hordes from the dense jungles below. The jungles themselves had become extraordinarily active since the invasion and only constant defoliation prevented vines and creepers engulfing the defenders' narrow island of rock overnight.

A free captain brought rumours of Lamarno, a feral planet which had come completely under the sway of Genestealers. When a Tyranid hive fleet arrived the fierce tribesmen had calmly boarded the bio-ships to be consumed by their new 'living gods'. He also brought a tale from the giant asteroid-monastery of Salem, telling of how the monks had chosen to poison themselves and their carefully built ecosystem rather than allow their sanctified flesh and bones to be consumed by the advancing Tyranids. Now Salem was nothing more than a gigantic tomb.

Another dedicated merchant captain helped evacuate millions from the mining worlds of Devlan before it was consumed. The extensive system of Sentinel space stations around Devlan delayed the hive fleet long enough for a fleet of giant freighters to escape into space. A company of the Lamenters Chapter of Space Marines held off frenzied attacks by the Tyranids until the last ship was loaded. Left surrounded and cut off, the Lamenters commended their souls to the Emperor and took a heavy toll of the invaders before they were finally overrun.

Yet there seemed to be no refuge even in flight. One giant ore ship fleeing from Devlan with its cargo of refugees arrived at its destination ominously dark and silent. No communication was forthcoming from the vessel and it made an automated landing far from habitation. Those investigating the ship found it to be a slaughterhouse of terror and death when they unsealed it. Men, women and children had been mercilessly butchered in their hundreds, perhaps thousands, it was impossible to tell. The Inquisition suspected a breach of quarantine protocol had allowed some Tyranid organism to get aboard, but nothing could be found, so what it it was and what became of it remained a mystery.

Orbital defences on Graia had held the hive fleet back for a time but the invaders had overrun Graia's single moon. Now every orbit brought a rain of mycetic spores on the planet below, each spore bearing its payload of doom and destruction. Explorators reported discovering a world deep in the Eastern Fringe which had been seeded with Hormagaunts during a Tyranid terror raid decades before. Swarms of the sickle-armed beasts had killed every living thing on the planet and now battled with each other in their unrelenting bloodlust. The Squats had reported attacks by a swarm of hive ships on isolated Homeworlds close to the galactic core, tens of thousands of light years away from the main hive fleet on the south-eastern rim of the galaxy.

Inquisitor Czevak reported that the Eldar craftworld of Iyanden had been subjected to a series of massive Tyranid attacks. The once mighty craftworld had fought off swarm after swarm of attacking hive ships but in doing so its space fleet had been virtually destroyed. Several swarms of Tyranids had reached the craftworld itself and fighting had raged throughout its slender Wraithhone towers and magnificent crystal domes. Now most of the craftworld lay in ruins and four fifths of its people were left dead or dying, a terrible blow to the dwindling Eldar race.

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