Saturday, August 15, 2009

Battle in the Wastes

The Tyranid threat had been encroaching on the settlement of Barad’s Tome for some time now. Pre-Assault shelling from Imperial artillery had turned the landscape into a mix of craters and ruined buildings, but the area was still important from a strategic standpoint as it marked the beginning of Highway 204, a vital road to the Imperial war effort. In particular, there were 5 defensive positions that were key to securing this stretch of the highway: the two ruined remnants of the Redemptionist Rectory, the last remaining Imperial fortification in the region, and a ruined house and rocky outcropping in which heavy weapons and anti-aircraft defenses could easily be situated.

The offensive was triggered just before dawn when a vanguard of the invading hive fleet discovered the forward operating elements of the 24th Fortunan and Dark Angels Space Marines. Fortunately both were situated out of sight and range from most of the Tyranid bio-weapons, though Tactical Squad Alpha bore the brunt of the assault, losing 2 men. The leader of the foul beasts, a Hive Tyrant accompanied by his guardian beasts, advanced towards the remaining Marines, hoping for a quick end to the fight.

Imperial forces quickly responded to the assault. Dark Angels space marines ran onto the board and sprinted for good firing lanes. Trump-King Xavier Strauss saw this and new that the noble Astartes would need cover from the approaching Hive Tyrant or else the entire offensive would fall apart. The quick thinking commander ordered his Chimerae to execute a daring maneuver, driving full speed and swerving 180 degrees at the last moment to let their cargo disembark. T-K Strauss commanded both his own and the Diamond squad to bring the foul beast down. After a flurry of hot streaming death from the two squads the beast barely hung on to life, its bodyguards destroyed. The Spade snipers hidden in the top floors of the ruined Rectory attempted to finish the beast off, but their weapons were no match for its chitinous hide.

The beast roared and charged those who had wounded it. The light of the Emperor was with our men, however, as the fearsome weapons of the Xenos failed to make any significant headway. The Tyrant charged, roaring in its guttural tongue, yet somehow the Diamonds managed to dodge its fearsome blows and hold the beast to a draw.

The Imperial counterattack surged onwards, marines bellowing challenges and jumping into the fray. But even the mighty Space Marines proved no equal to the gargantuan beast, losing two of their number to its wicked talons.

At this point Ninesman James “Jimmy” Johnson became a hero. Running forward and leaping suicidally onto the creatures back, he pulled out a grenade and slammed it into one of the deep wounds that had been caused by melta and plasma fire. Leaping off again, he turned around just in time to watch the creature explode in a fantastic fashion. Since his squad was eliminated later in the fighting, his Star of the Legion will be posthumous.

The joy of the counterattack was short lived, as genestealers and their Broodlord, codenamed “Amanda,” surged onto the field.

Fortunately the Emperor looks out for his humble guardsman and reinforcements arrived. Combined fire from the Terminators, the Spade snipers and a small squad of Stormtroopers brought Amanda’s retinue down to just three xenos while a Scout sentinel marched up along the other flank, dying gloriously in close combat with the beasts.

More genestealers poured on from the right flank and the gargantuan Carnifexes trudged forwards. Lictors also appeared out of the rubble and joined the fight. If not for the timely intervention of Hearts-Queen Catherine “Kitty” Jones the battle might have been lost, but a hail of blistering lasgun fire eliminated one brood while costly close quarters fighting eliminated a second in addition to a lictor. The Hearts-Queen relied on her personal vox bearer to give her squad the courage to assist the Terminators in taking down the fearsome Fex.

Elsewhere the battle looked ever brighter for the Imperials. One of the Warrior broods had been eliminated, as well as the other Carnifex and two of the Zoanthropes that were haunting the battlefield. Even though 2 of his men had succumbed to plasma burns and he himself was grieviously wounded, T-K Strauss fought on, losing a third man while trying to eliminate a Lictor that had devoured the last member of Diamond squad. The brave Dark Angels once again proved their mettle by charging the beast in its lair and laying it low with blessed chainswords.

The alien, seeing that it had taken grievous losses from the tactically superb Imperial assault fell into retreat. They would be back later, no doubt, but for now the highway was once again under Imperial control. Hopefully this would not be another world to lose to the hive…

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