|GM JC Spooks|
+++ACT I: THE ASHES OF TREACHERY+++
With the firestorm guttering to embers and the shock of the murderous betrayal still sinking in for the disbelieving loyalist survivors, the traitors, forced to commit to the attack by the actions of the bloody-tempered Angron and his World Eaters, launched a rapid assault on the surviving loyalists hoping to wipe them out in short order.
Crawling from the cellar in which Toc had weathered the firestorm, he finds cover in the collapsed remains of the hab block that stood above. Toc runs a full automated armour diagnostic and, with well trained hands, checks his equipment. At the same time scanning his surroundings and vox channels for... anyone.
Over heavy vox static,
"Sergeant Timeo come in..."
"Anyone from 5th squad... Anyone from the 4th company..."
"This is brother Toc, 4th company of the Deathguard. Calling all channels, if anyone can hear me, please respond"
Toc begins to move randomly, building to building, so no-one can triangulate his position from his vox... can't be too careful.
"Well, this day started out as a normal one." Torv mutters under his breath, walking around outside the drop pod that he had just exited.
"Captain Tyranus! We've landed planetside, it's time to wake up. We have things to do." he said, entering the code into Tyr's Dreadnought armor to awake it.
The man in the Dreadnought armor stood up, finally, and maneuvered its way out of the pod.
"Ahh, that we do, brother. That we do."
Tyr pulls up several menus on the inside of his iron casket, and begins to survey what damage may have been received from the landing.
"Checking systems now, hopefully everything still works. After I'm done, we can get moving. Set up a perimeter search, see where we landed and what's the situation in the area."
During the check-up, he receives Toc's first radio message, but decides to wait and see what he has to say before responding. After the mysterious marine identifies himself, Tyr does respond.
"I read you, Battle-Brother. This is Captain Tyranius, special Dreadnought unit of the Emperor's Children legion. What is your position?"
What is your business here child of the Emperor?
Toc responds hesitantly, nothing will ever be simple or clear for him again
"What is your position and disposition captain, I will come to you... what brings you to this thrice damned surface? Are you and your legion responsible for the firestorm just passed?"
What has happened here, who can I trust, I must find this child of the Emperor maybe he is in the same position as me... more likely I will have to destroy him
That sounded like a Deathguard... maybe a legion force remains that I can link up with
"Receiving you marine, though your signal is weak, are you Deathguard, repeat are you Deathguard, what is your location?"
the pict-capture is very small, do we have any landmarks that we could all head for? or shall we just make it up?
time to try a looping message I believe.
The next message Sgt Dapphon sends out is looped to transmit every 30 seconds for the next couple of minutes. It takes listening a couple times to get the full message.
"This is recon Sgt Dapphon of the 2nd dusk raider company, my co-ordinates are 11D AE 0117 6732."
Sgt Dapphon will position himself in cover about 100 meters from the co-ordinates and wait.
until we find out otherwise I made up a random number using NATO standard co-ordinates.
Once Toc deciphers the vox message, listening intently for two or three loops, he makes his reply.
"brother Toc, Death guard 4th, inbound"
Why use the old legion name, everything is wrong today. Time to get some answers.
Toc moves off to the given coordinates, scanning his surroundings but moving in a well drilled tactical fashion.
As he approaches the coordinates (2-300m out) he vox's again.
"Sergeant Dapphon, this is Toc of the Death guard, neither one of us can afford to trust right now, anymore than we can be choosy about our allies. I suspect you already have your sights on me if your reputation is anything to go by... Let's at least meet face to face, Captain Temeter always spoke highly of the 2nd... "
|GM JC Spooks|
As you move about the ruined hive-city one thing is immediately apparent: Istvaan III is dead. All organic matter that was not hermetically protected has been reduced to a soupy substance that sloshes into ditches and around your boots. Anything that managed to survive that was blasted into nothingness in the ensuing inferno, leaving even terrain as nothing more then a flat scorch mark.
Keep doing what you're doing for now. Your position on the overworld map is largely unimportant at the moment.
"they made that crusty old man an officer? Check your breastplate marine, you won't hear the shot before it is fired, and that dot is where it will hit. The answer to my next question is very important, which of the merican hives was your captain from?"
Brother Toc should be able to see a red dot on his breastplate from the sgt's targeting array.
whatever answer you give to the question will be right, even if the answer is a different location than the merican hives of terra.
"Me, responsible? No; but I fear the rest of my legion not sent to this dead planet was responsible for most of it. In this dark time of betrayal, I do not ask that you trust me completely. Only that you give me a shot to prove I'm not one of them anymore."
"As it appears that you have decided to meet up with Seargeant Dapphon, I, too, shall head to your coordinates. Don't worry, you'll hear me, and my engineer, coming. I can't sneak up on anything anymore."
With that, he begins to head to the coordinates that Dapphon set out, eager to meet these new faces.
"You seek to trick me. Temeter, like your own Garro, was of the tribes of old Albia."
Toc walks forward bolter in hand but not raised, trying to use the red dot to head roughly towards Dapphon. He knows the sniper has him dead for the moment.
"the question is not whether we are who we say we are... but whether we each can trust the other. I suggest you come out and we resolve this quickly sergeant. We have a child of the Emperor inbound that I have no reason to trust."
Give me a reason to trust you sergeant. We all need allies right now.
"I know little"
Toc moves boldly to where Dapphon awaits, halts, then snaps off an efficient salute
"Sergeant... The Emperor's child is interred in a dreadnaught sir, he is accompanied by his 'engineer' they claim they will make no attempt at stealth. ...He claims that his legion are responsible for this! But that he played no part himself... Have you heard anything from your Captain? from Mortarion himself? what is going on? You speak of fathers fighting sons, has the Emperor, and his so called children, turned his back on his true sons?"
As he speaks Toc seems to relax, he was not destroyed in a hail of bolter fire as he approached, maybe this Dapphon has some answers... Toc's bolter however is not relaxed, it remains trained on his superior.
"The life eater virus can only be deployed by the order of the Emperor or his sons, perhaps only the Emperor and the warmaster. To release such an agent on a world with friendly troops is unthinkable. Even our Primarch has never deployed it under such circumstances. All coms are messed up right now, nothing orbital is getting in or out.
And if you are thinking maybe this was a terrible accident, stop. One life eater virus canister would not do this, a planned bombardment was needed. War has been declared this day, the sides are unclear at this point."
"I serve the Emperor as always. There are only ever 2 sides to a fight, the Emperor's and the enemy. Tell me brother, have you ever fought on the same field as him? You don't even have to see him to feel the presence with you and you know in every fibre of your being that you will see victory that day.
So we determine who still fights for the Emperor and kill anyone else. Does that make the situation clear brother?"
Suddenly, the Children's voice sounds over general Vox again.
"Brothers Toc and Dapphon, I am 200 meters out from your coordinates. I will stop once I am within 100 meters, and wait for the all clear to proceed to your actual location."
"Come on, Torv. We have guests to meet."
Soon enough, the pounding footsteps of the metal monstrosity can be heard approaching, as every step causes a slight tremble in the scorched earth.
"Brothers, I am within 100 meters of the given coordinates. Just give the word when you are ready, and I shall make the final approach."
"The Emperor and his Imperium, solely. Whatever may be happening, I am still a loyal servant at the feet of Him, and I shal continue to serve up until the day he no longer requires my service, or I die in the attempt."
"How about you, brethren? Do both of your hearts still beat for the Emperor and all of his glory?"
+++Sgt. Barak of World Eaters 8th inbound.+++
A hulking man in White and Blue slams down into the street impacting a small crater around him. The turbines on his Humpback wind down.
+++Cut the chatter Legionaires we need to move. We won't luck out a second time with that advanced warning. Get below now!+++
With that he points towards the sewer entrances and runs to them.
holstering his bolter and bringing out his beloved meltagun, Toc turns to the new arrival.
"We have company..."
Dapphon "I have often wondered whether the Emperor is a tyrannt that should be overthrown, no I have never seen him. But recently I find myself thinking that that tyranny is power used without right. I feel the Emperor has every right to wield his power. After all... The Emperor Protects..."
Toc shouts across the blasted plain...
"Child of the Emperor, I serve my Legion. And right now my legion stands beside me!"
Toc "He is not with me. My engineer is an Emeperor's Child as well, and standing beside me. I have no idea who this newcomer is, and we should be wary of him".
Finally, the walker comes into view, a beautiful piece of gilded, purple-painted steel, armed with a large fist on one side, double autocannons on the other, and a variety of other armaments and equipment attached to the carapace.
Another Space Marine walks beside it, carrying two bolt pistols, their barrels aimed at the ground.
A voice emanates from what must be the armored cockpit.
"Well, brothers, I am here. I do not ask you to trust me blindly, but I will let you know that I still fight for the Emperor and, by extension, you."
It seems we are surrounded by the Eaters of Worlds
"Any more of you white ghosts in the night sergeant Gil'een?"
"It seems we are forced into a party of sorts, each of us have had more than enough opportunities for ambush and slaughter, so I suggest we find somewhere safer to parley"
"Sergeant Dapphon, do you not think we should find somewhere nearby that will provide cover for us all? Goldenboy included. I suspect his bulk is beyond the sewerage system."
Tyranius "I think you should keep an eye on our ghostly companions, Angron's feral brood can be unpredictable."
As Dapphon moves off and the others presumably follow, Toc takes rearguard behind the Dreadnaught, meltagun in hand.
Sgt Dapphon leads the group off towards whatever looks like the most intact structure within sight, using his monoculars. Once he has a bearing he uses standard astartes hand signals to indicate that they should move out.
Tyranius"Brother Dreadnought, you have a more powerful communications array than any of the rest of us, can you pick up any orbital signals?"
Toc swings the melta to cover Barak
"Is that an order Eater of Worlds?! Explain yourself and your sudden arrival here unannounced"
Barak's hand moves and presses a few buttons just below the jawline of his helmet. A hissing sound can be heard as the World Eater rips off his helmet and clips it to his belt. There is a fury in his eyes. The man moves towards Toc, close enough to have Toc's Melta gun pressed against his ceramite chestpeice.
"I don't know what's gotten a hold of you Legionaire - but whatever it is I would ask that you stow until you're back aboard your battle barge. This whole mission has flipped and we need to get back and regroup so this whole thing can get sorted out."
If it's not clear Barak - like a number of Marines during Istvaan III - was not told the whole truth in order to get him to hide quicker and survive the initial blast. As far as he's concerned some terrorist plot to kill marines was nearly successful and we're simply awaiting further orders and possibly extraction.
Barak takes a deep breath. "Let's just try to regroup with what's left of our respectful squads. I agree, the Dread certainly isn't getting down there -" He gestures towards the sewers. "I'll fall in for the trip - luckily there shouldn't be much resistance now since they all blew themselves to Terra!" He gives a gruff laugh and replaces his helmet.
+++With any luck we can clean up this rock in half the time it would have been.+++
|GM JC Spooks|
Suddenly the clouds above, black as they are in wake of the world death, give way to the familiar sounds of Storm Raven gunships pushing through the upper atmosphere. Once they punch through the cloud banks you can see that there are hundreds of them, each bearing the heraldry and markings of the World Eaters legion.
They appear to be heading for the plaza area west of the Precentor's Palace, some distance from your current position. They're still high off the ground but they're firing at something on the ground below, though you can't tell what.
Meanwhile the general Vox channels are still flooded with demands for status updates, explanations, and cries for aid all across the hive city.
"Sergeant Gil'een! Sergeant, are you in contact with those forces?"
It seems a battle has begun. In times like these, battle strips illusion and reveals truth. If any sense is to made of this day, I'd wager that battle is where it shall be found
"Goldenboy, any luck with that vox link? Gil'een?... Kemeul?... does anyone have any information!"
Exasperated Toc opens a private vox link...
Dapphon "I don't trust that salvation is descending on these wings... Do you recognise the attack pattern Sergeant? Is there anything you can tell me about those forces? We need to start acting smart"
|GM JC Spooks|
Tocs attempts to use the vox are ultimately fruitless as thousands of other, similar calls are already flooding all general operations channels. On top of that, either communication with your forces in orbit has been cut off somehow or their command channels are being drowned out too.
Barak stands still a moment, transfixed on the descending Storm Ravens. He could have sworn that Marines were the only ones who made it out of the terrorist's plot - so who could they be shooting at?
+++I can't get through to them. Comms seem to either be flooded or down. Let's keep our comms on to this channel so we can hear eachother and move to their assumed LZ. We can assess the situation further from there.+++
Barak speaks with a notable hesitant edge to his voice, contrary to his earlier steely conviction. It appears that the marine shakes off whatever was holding him in trance and begins to move towards ships landing at a much quicker rate.
+++Comms seem packed. I wasn't able to get much besides confusion. I suggest we approach. If they are firing on our enemies it's imperative that we approach and help secure the LZ. If it's as you say and they are firing on marines it's imperative that we approach and help defend the LZ.+++
"Sergeant Dapphon, may I borrow those magnoculars?"
Assuming they are handed over
Toc hands the magnoculars to Barak
"call it a hunch, does your lord Angron lead that formation? "
When do the eaters of worlds make planetfall after a orbital strike... When there are foes to finish up close...
What force in the galaxy could survive today's firestorm and be facing the prospect of an assault by Angrons finest and still need softening up on the way in... Only legion forces...
Toc slows, gazing at the sundered clouds... what is going on up there
"Which is why we need to co-ordinate with other survivors, there are thousands of astartes defending on that LZ, we have what, half a dozen bolters, a melta gun, an auto cannon and a handful of power weapons? Just with ourselves there is little we can do against the force decending."
"Agreed sergeant, we need to think and act strategically now... It is clear to me that defending the LZ would be our objective. No ground forces would ever bring down virus bombs on themselves. And since we have seen no planetfall before now, the forces defending the LZ must form, at least partialy, the target of the bombs. By extension we oppose the World Eater assault."
We face at least two legions. Tyranius claims the Emperor's Children unleashed the horror, and now the World Eaters follow on the heel
Tyranius"Captain, I would dearly like to know more of what you saw in orbit... how deep is the rot?"
"Well, Brother Dapphon, I have quite a bit more firepower than that, but I understand your point. What we have next to none of is information. I do suggest we make our way closer to the LZ, but with some measure of stealth."
He motions towards the descending gunships with one massive "arm".
"I, of course, would not be able to go with you, but my engineer should serve you nicely in my stead."
Toc I'm actually not sure what I actually would've seen in orbit. GM, could you help me out here?
|GM JC Spooks|
Torvictus, Dapphon, Tyranius "A more Pressing concern, we now know we are opposed to at least a portion of the World Eaters... and yet we march with two of Angron's sons... how far can we trust our quiet companions"
We've used all sorts of different legion names (Duskraiders, warhounds etc) yet we seem to organically have a situation where no-one knows anything about what's going on, shall we just retcon that everyone is using standard legion names? at least for now.