Friday, 30 September 2016

Station 19 - the silence of Golovin

Regulo looked around at his assembled warriors. All were stalwart members of the 4th Company of the Dusk Knights, bar three, who stood outside the usual strict organisational structure of the space marines. It was not a typical strike force, but for an investigative mission of this nature, a large combat party was not required. The brothers standing before him comprised Sergeant Reyes' Squad Primus, the pilot and gunner of the outrider landspeeder 'Hailstorm', Ancient Sosimo, the Contemptor Dreadnought, and Techmarine Vasco. The three warriors not drawn from Hazard Company were his own personal advisors, a conclave of Librarians of the Chapter comprising the gregarious Guiomar, the taciturn and serious Ildefonso and the hotheaded Valerio.

Such a curious agglomeration of brothers rarely took to the field, however there was no identified enemy force at work here. Instead, the Chapter Master led this group of marines on a specific investigative purpose. The planet was mentioned in the archives of the Dusk Knights Chapter, back when they had simply been the crusade fleet Haakon of the Black Templars. This world, Golovin, had been cleansed of the taint of the heretic, a Cabal of the renegade Thousand Sons having been discovered here. Crusade Haakon had left behind a modest presence, intended to function as a small recruiting and monitoring outpost for the Black Templars, but as Regulo and the Dusk Knights had passed through the system they had been disturbed by the lack of any vox-traffic within the system, and they had been unable to raise the monitoring and recruitment outpost.

He had assembled this team to investigate, with its members chosen because of their own particular talents. The Conclave was here, aside from their ability as scholars, to assess if there had been any psychic activity worthy of investigation, whilst techmarine Vasco would be able to interrogate the cogitators of the monitoring station to find out if there had been any reason why it was no longer manned. Squad Primus had been included at Captain Alvaro's insistence, he was adamant that he would not allow the Chapter Master to visit the surface without even a single squad as a bodyguard detail. At the last, Regulo had relented, and agreed to bring not only Squad Primus, but the Hailstorm to act as a scout vehicle in case they needed to venture further afield. Ancient Sosimo came along out of his own curiosity, the dreadnought attaching himself to the mission when he discovered that they were to visit the planet on which he had received the wounds that lead to him being interred within the dreadnought's sarcophagus.

'Brothers', Regulo spoke at last, 'I know you have been advised that this is not a combat mission. We are here to gather intelligence on why this station has been abandoned. The ship's sensors can discover no evidence of a conflict, nor are there life signs in the vicinity of the outpost. There is however no record of this station being left to rot, and I would know what has occurred here. Be alert, and leave no stone unturned. The Emperor Protects.'

The smoke began to clear from the room, and the stench of scorched daemon flesh burned at the back of his nostrils.

"Dusk Knights, report!" Regulo barked over the inter-squad vox link. Searching the room, Sergeant Reyes and his men began to pick themselves up, sealing the daemon-wrought rents in their armour. The Chaos warband had caught them unawares, vile creatures of stretched flesh and tentacles materialising from the walls as Squad Primus had entered the main comms room at the outpost. A baying Lord had accompanied them, screaming his rage and hatred of the Imperium as he laid about himself with an axe that wailed with the otherwordly voice of the warp. Before they had a chance to recover, the Warlord had battered Captain Alvaro aside, sending him crashing through the viewing panel to the ground below, and knocking the rest of the squad from their feet. Regulo had recovered from the shock arrival the quickest, and set about butchering the daemonic entities, banishing them back from whence they came with cracks of power from his gauntlet. He had taken several direct strikes from the Chaos Lord as he did so but trusting in the protection of the Emperor, his Iron Halo flared brightly, its compact energy field generator deflecting the blows and giving the Chapter Master time to bring his power fist to bear. He had quickly crushed the daemonic steed the heretic rode into battle, and had then battered the Lord to bloody ruin. Only the intervention of a squad of Alpha Legion chaos space marines had spared the creature from being ground to paste, and even though they had managed to drag their lord to safety, Regulo had cut down several of the squad as they retreated.

"Techmarine Vasco is going to be busy, Sir" came the voice of Epistolary Guiomar "and we need to get Valerio back to the Fist of Glory soon, he has been laid low by some tentacled monstrosity that burst out of the armour of one of the chaos marines"

"Rest easy, my friend, I have already requested thunderhawk retrieval, they will be here in moments" Regulo replied, "What does it look like out there?"

"Captain Alvaro isn't happy, I think the fall from the window hurt his pride somewhat, and his armour is a bit scratched in places. Techmarine Vasco looks like he's done a full day in the practice cages, and Ancient Sosimo's power plant is smoking. The Hailstorm got hit by autocannon fire and is going to need some attention before it will fly again, but the enemy have fallen back." Guiomar's tone, as ever, made it sound as though he was suppressing a smirk, and that they hadn't just suffered an ignominious beating at the hands of their enemies. "And Sir, I think we've found what happened to the previous occupants of the station and why there were no life signs available. There's a cache of stripped armour parts here, and the marines that were wearing them have been butchered." The vox link overloaded as the thunderhawk Olav's Vengeance arrived on site, the roaring of its engines drowning out any chance of hearing anything more Guiomar had to say.

"Find them Guiomar" Regulo growled. "I will not let this stand, they took us by surprise here, it is time we made them pay for that. Bring the rest of the conclave and search them out."

What do you all think? This is essentially a narrative written around a game I played against Ryan on the 29th October. I wrote the first part before we rolled for mission etc, and the second half is intended to set out roughly what happened from a narrative perspective.

Here are the photos I took from the game.
Ryan's deplyoment, note the big havoc squad with autocannons!

I didn't put much on the table to start

But Regulo (Kantor), Alvaro and half of Squad Primus arrived on turn 1 to wipe out the bikes

Those pesky autocannons wrecked my thunderfire!

Most of squad Primus is gone, fallen to the Chaos Lord and Spawn, but Reyes and Regulo fight on

I was a little surprised that neither Sosimo nor the Hailstorm managed to wound the terminators. Then the Hailstorm got caught by those havocs!

After a ridiculously long combat Sosimo finally dispatches the terminators, but he's down to 1 hull point, and the conclave arrive with the rest of squad Primus

Regulo is on his own now, with a lot of enemies bearing down on him, but the chaos lord is gone

Somehow though he manages to win the combat, the marines falling back and the spawn destroyed

The game splintered at this point - Regulo ran down the remaining marines and survived the havocs, but I couldn't finish off the Rhinos.
This was Ryan's first game with the Chaos codex, and though my army was very much not optimal (in 1250pts I had a chapter master, a captain and three librarians) as I wanted to only use fully painted models, we had a really close fought battle, ending in a 13-13 draw. That was kind of frustrating for me since I had neglected to secure objective 2 on my first turn, but equally Ryan's dice betrayed him horribly, whilst Kantor seemed incapable of failing any kind of save. He waded through 4 Chaos Spawn, a Khorne Lord on a juggernaut and a full squad of Alpha Legionaries taking only a single wound, whilst after that he weathered two turns of autocannon fire without failing a single artificer armour save.

I think he used up my year's supply of passed armour saves in just that one game!

For my last thoughts, it was so much fun having fully painted models on the table, I'm glad I've been strict with myself about that!

No comments:

Post a Comment