Friday, 14 August 2009

...this is now

As the transport ship decelerated into orbit around another world, Shas'O Tyrnax reflected on the changes of fortune for his Expeditionary Force.

Five years and another planet... I wonder what awaits us here?

Praxedes was a border world. Initially colonised by humans many thousands of years ago, the local populace had welcomed trade relations with the burgeoning Tau empire. As Tau interests had developed, a small security detachment from the Tau Seamu sept was deployed to the world. Cordial relations had been maintained with the planetary Governor, and what territorial engagements had taken place were small enough that the wider Imperium had not seen fit to intervene.

Until now. The new Imperial Guard commander was far more aggressive and career-minded. He was determined to make his mark on Praxedes, and further his career elsewhere. The sudden increase in engagement tempo had forced the Seamu sept to request reinforcements.

The H'Rus Expeditionary Force still has no home - but we have the personnel and equipment - the Seamu sept have a home but not the strength to defend it.

For the Greater Good, Praxedes is our new deployment.

That was then...

H'Rus was lost.

After several further engagements, the Tyranid swarm overwhelmed the remaining defenders.

Even now, in spite of the intervening years, the battle reports were being reviewed and analysed.

At the last stand, bitter enemies had stood shoulder to shoulder with each other to stem the tide, and allow civilians to escape. Even long-term foe, Farseer Varshar, had joined the final battle against the Tyranids. The Eldar had held the right flank, whilst the rival Tau Saemu sept took the middle. The H'Rus Expeditionary Force had held the left flank - but all to no avail, as the Tyranids spewed forth more and ever more reinforcements, far beyond the expectations and belief of the defending commanders.

The planet H'Rus was gone, stripped of all bio-mass. A dead world.

But the name would live on within the H'Rus Expeditionary Force, a fitting tribute to the fallen, ensuring they would never be forgotten.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Debrief and review

Shas'O Tyrnax watched the combat recording for the fourth time. His initial feelings of anger and frustration had faded to professional detatchment, as he once again studied the way the Tyranids had decimated his force.

So close. A tiny, almost insignificant moment, when the course of battle was decided beyond redemption.

The Broadside's sheild drone had been orbiting as usual, but when the XV88 had moved, the drone hadn't quite caught up. This moment, perhaps a mere fraction of an inch, had resulted in the battlesuit becoming involved in melee combat, denying it the opportunity to bring its railguns and missiles to bear one more time and thus disposing of the Brood Lord once and for all. This had freed attendent Genestealers to hunt down the remaining Stealth-suited troops.

So small, such a tiny distinction, between success and failure. No more.

He smiled; a grim, cold, mirthless smile. Reinforcements were due soon.

Then the removal of the Tyranid threat will begin in earnest... And any who stand in the way of the Greater Good.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

"Intercept One, Report... Intercept One - Report... Are you receiving???

With a deepening sense of dread, the staff in the command centre awaited a sign, any sign, from the interception force sent out to deal with the Tyranid force.

Intercept One, are you receiving? ST-P2, are you receiving?

The gentle hiss of static did nothing to hide the ominous silence over the command frequencies.

Command, this is ST-P5. We've found something... Wait...  ... found them.

The strain in the voice was audible.

Command, this ST-P5. They're dead. All of them. It appears they were ambushed by at least one Lictor and several independent units of Genestealers.  Damage indicates one Brood Lord was present. We've recovered the unit commanders' combat recorder. We're returning to base. ST-P5, out.

The combat log was all too clear.

The Intercept force and the shadowing patrol team had identified objectives around the cratered ruin of a village - but the village was swarming with Genestealers under the Hive-mind guidance of a Brood Lord. Almost as soon as the Intercept force had formed a defensive formation, 6 heavy explosions had ripped through their lines - wiping out half the stealth team, stunning the Fire Warriors Devilfish transport and pinning the commander. The Genestealers rushed forward and engaged the screening Kroot. 

Tau Counter-battery fire was largely ineffective, killing only two Genestealers.

The Kroot fought bravely against overwhelming odds before being mercilessly cut down. But they'd bought enough time for the Fire Warriors to dismount from the Devilfish and rapid-fire into the Brood Lords' contingent - significantly thinning it before the Genestealers swept into the Tau Commander. Another swarm of Genestealers attempted to assault the Devilfish, but failed to get their claws into it, and the flechette rounds inflicted casualties.

Combat raged to and fro, with the Tau Commander surviving two rounds of melee combat before succumbing to a hail of claws and teeth. In the meantime, a Lictor had appeared, which became the target of the lone Broadside - but it's camouflage was too great for a clear shot. Another swirl of combat ensued, until the Devilfish exploded, taking several Genestealers with it. Almost simultaneously, a supporting unit of Kroot were cut down on their way to assist.

The Broadside managed to kill the Lictor, before being assaulted by the Brood Lord. The brave battle-suited warrior lasted two melees before being torn asunder by the Brood Lords' monstrous claws. The two remaining steal suits were assaulted and cut down, as were the two lone gun-drones left from the Devilfish. In spite of taking heavy casualties, the Brood Lord, one Lictor and a small clutch of Genestealers sneaked away, but no Tau were left alive.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

ALERT: Tyranid movements detected

The terse encrypted warning came from one of the picket patrols
To: HEF Command
From: ST-P2.
Message: Tyrannid troop movements detected in our sector. Co-ordinates are being transmitted via secure channel.

The reposnse was equally brief.
To: ST-P2
From: HEF Command
Message: Understood. Shadow enemy forces, do not engage. Repeat: do not engage. Independant direct action will be taken.

Shas'O Tyrnax considered his options. This will need more than a simple patrol...

Monday, 16 March 2009

Field Report : March OrBat

Shas'O Tyrnax sat at his admin desk in the command tent and sighed quietly, Too few, too new.

In spite of two successful combat patrols, he knew the campaign was intensifying, stretching his meagre resources. The review of the HEF OrBat wasn't helping his darkening mood.

Troop: 2x Firewarrior squads; 2x Kroot allies
Transport: 1x Devilfish
Elite: 2x Stealth teams, 1x Crisis modular battlesuit
Fast: 2x pirhana
Heavy: 2x Broadside battlesuits, 1x Hammerhead (faulty railgun gyro-stabiliser)

He cursed silently. That Hammerhead is supposed to be the pinnacle of weapons engineering - yet it couldn't bounce a round off an barn - let alone hitting the door. They'd barely been able to salvage it after the last patrol. The crew were well trained he knew - they'd fought well and bravely in previous campaigns.

Must be something about this planet. He knew this was not likely the truth - that was far more unpleasant. The Eldar are aware of us and planning accordingly.

Then he spied a file that lightened the mood in the command tent "Requisition Update".

Req. Approvals
1x Devilfish + pathfinder enhancements
1x Pathfindder squad (rail-rifle and carbines)
1x Sniper drone squad
1x replacement Commander suit + upgrades
Armaments & ammo
Engineering & spares
Vehicle primer, paint & camouflage nets

Req. Deferral, awaiting supplies
Battle fatigues - Firewarrior
Battle fatigues - Pathfinder

He smiled. I wish they'd send some engineers to fit out and paint the vehicles. Still - at least the Firewarriors will have something to do off duty...

Saturday, 14 March 2009

The future takes shape...

Shas'O Tyrnax addressed the loosley filed ranks of his Fire Warriors

La'Rua One and Two - Listen up!!!

We know the Eldar are here. In spite of our victories so far, we must assume survivors and thus they are aware of our presence. Our advance patrols have indicated wreckage from Tyranid and human Imperial Guard forces. These we know to be enemies. Kill on sight.

More interestingly, our advance Pathfinder units have detected Tau communications. These are not of our Sept.

We do not know yet their intentions. They may be future allies... but they could also be enemies. Until we know more, if you encounter them, treat them with respect. Ignore them if possible, support them if needed, defend yourselves if required.

Our business on this planet is two-fold. Firstly, to secure a base for us. Continued deployments have stretched our supply lines and we need a forward operations base. Reinforcements will arrive in time - until then, we must waste nothing.

Secondly - we know that a Tyrannid incursion is expected. Our intelligence to date suggests that H'Rus is being corrupted already, to act as a staging post for further expansion. For the sake of all Tau in this sector, it must be stopped.

Your orders are simple: Take the ground, secure the ground, defend the ground.

Any questions? No? Reconnaissance and combat patrols begin at dusk.


As Tyrnax turned from his troops, he hoped his they would be up to the tasks ahead. He'd taken all the available recruits, veterans and depleted units he could find to build up the expeditionary force.

With a wry smile, he remembered that he still had outstanding requisitions for field kit. Some of his new "troops" were still in training cadre grey.

Well, he thought to himself, they would at least be bloodied soon. All too soon...