Hesperus Salvage.   Posted by Terradyne.Group: 0
Arthur
 player, 33 posts
Mon 17 Aug 2015
at 16:45
Re: Hesperus Salvage
"It is good to see you Agrona. This world has been quite a challenge for one like me, so I appreciate your help.

Now as you've heard from my report, this planet was decimated by the Enemy. How they did it, I am still unsure, but my current hypothesis is that they somehow managed to lure the majority of the population in one spot and then sacrificed all of them for something. Again, what it is, I have no idea.

However, I believe that the answers to those questions are available to us.

First though, there are some gears and equipment that we've recovered from the surface, as per the original plan of this expedition, that I would like your people to investigate. They were far away from the site where we found those Daemon Ships, but at this stage I'd rather be careful rather than sorry.

Second, we've recently uncovered the remains of a group of survivors which seems to have survived longer than the rest of the population by sealing themselves away, and cutting their hiding spots off the central power grid directly. Though they still died in the end, circumstantial evidence suggest that they knew what was happening and how to stop it. Any data that your people can uncover would be Useful information in my eyes.

We also found a message which tells us that other survivors fled underground, and indeed ever since the beginning of the expedition we have been receiving signals from underground. But with no map and no idea on how much the Enemy's influence reach you can see why I am hesitant to simply send my men down there blindly. However, with your aid, I believe that we can now send an force down there and achieve our objective."

This message was last edited by the player at 16:46, Mon 17 Aug 2015.

Agrona
 player, 16 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Mon 17 Aug 2015
at 19:42
Re: Hesperus Salvage
"All reasonable assumptions and suggestions. Very well. I shall begin with a general examination, while a number of my followers may examine the general items you hold. If you would be so kind as to provide shuttles...? This diversion was rather impromptu, so we have somewhat a dearth of the equipment I would usually make use of."

She pauses briefly and makes sure none else will overhear her next statement.

"Also, you should be aware that I bring with me a number of other Eldar. I will generally keep them separate, but inform your subordinates they would be wise indeed to be on their very best behaviour, and to keep their tempers cool."

As she finishes, her shadow seems to subtly unfold, though none but the most perceptive would - indeed, could - ever notice. Far in the distance, Agrona can hear the Aspect giggle.

"Now, I will begin. You may loiter this line if you wish, Arthur. Perhaps you might once again intuit something remarkable~"

Orders:
Get some psykers to have a look-see at Arthur's quarantined and recovered items.
Make a general psionic survey of the world
Assuming this doesn't profoundly change the situation, go have a look at the remains of the survivors.
Terradyne
 GM, 68 posts
Mon 17 Aug 2015
at 21:29
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Shuttles come to loft your specialists to orbit; graceful things by human standards, they are nonetheless slightly sub-par to the Eldar watching. But perhaps they do not care - or their devotion to war simply renders such aesthetic senses moot.

The selected group travels to the human ship, to examine this recovered equipment for whatever they might find.

While they merely look at most with a vague sense of disdain for the crudity of the technology, once they see one of the pieces, they recoil in disgust.

"It is...filthy." says one, her voice carrying the full sense of what she means. "Infested with crawling worms of rot."

The piece is rather rapidly thrown into space by the human ship, before being used as target practice for the guns and the ashes hurled into the local star. Perhaps an overreaction, but with the works of Chaos one can rarely be too safe.

Several more pieces of technology are found to be so corrupted by the workings of Nurgle; to have been infested with some aberrant daemonic force that seeks to subvert the very technology of this place, much as they normally subvert the living.

***

Your senses expand across the world, and Lileath's with them. Her shadow-aspect may not be the strongest, but she is still a goddess, and carries the might that that entails.

All throughout the tunnels that lie under this world; the warrens carved by thousands of years of workings, of caves turned into mines and factories, of storage hubs and distribution centres. Threaded through them all is the touch of Nurgle. The restless dead stalk the tunnels, massing slowly, but with the force of an oncoming natural disaster.

Even your senses cannot tell you their number, but there are many millions below. Where before there were the Tech-Priests and their Servants, now all are slaves to the dark will of the daemons below.

Their work complete, they had slumbered for a time, but now stand awoken. Their work dead, and their task once more to complete it.
Arthur
 player, 34 posts
Mon 17 Aug 2015
at 23:44
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Arthur's avatar flickered for a second in both second and frustration before stabilizing into a pensive pose.

"A power which allows machines to be infected and taken. It reminds me of the Beast mentioned in Admiral Alexander's reports. Perhaps this is where it was original created? Yes, that would make sense.

And you say that there are millions of zombies down there? Well this is certainly a terrible situation. But it was a good thing that we came. With the manpower and resources available to them, they can certainly unleash another terrible menace upon the Sector and perhaps beyond.

Since it seems that the entire planet is infested in one way or another and there is nothing of value that we can recover in terms of material, I say we have to destroy this planet completely, to prevent anything from spreading from it.

Yima, do we have the necessary tools to do that with our current fleet? And what are our options is we lack those tools? What do you think Agrona?"

This message was last edited by the player at 00:02, Tue 18 Aug 2015.

Agrona
 player, 17 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Tue 18 Aug 2015
at 08:58
Re: Hesperus Salvage
"'twould certainly be the safest choice. To simply wipe all life from the planet, denying our foe the use of it." Agrona states neutrally.

"It is by no means our only option. The rot, at heart, is an extension of our foe, directed by simple minds and creatures bound to the world. You have not the tools to strike at them directly, but we do. There is no soul in all the world which my sword cannot sever, and in the face of Lileath, few are the beings that might withstand her light." She continues.

"The question, chiefly, becomes whether to gamble on the existence of a locus for our foe, a place where it can be engaged in full, or if there is only the teeming masses of rot and decay. Though the scalpel might reach anything and cut anything, it shall not be much use if there is not a heart or a brain to strike, but simply a teeming mass of festering insects."

"My personal inclination and my instincts bid us make the attempt - we have an opportunity to strike at our foe in truth, not merely to banish and delay - but you have been here longer, and thus I shall defer to your decision."
Terradyne
 GM, 69 posts
Tue 18 Aug 2015
at 09:13
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Arthur:
Yima, do we have the necessary tools to do that with our current fleet? And what are our options is we lack those tools?"

"We could make a good try of it, certainly." he says, calculating blast patterns and plasma propagation through the subsurface strata. "But really, none of the ships here were designed for extensive bombardment. Some of those tunnels go down for miles and they span continents."

"We could probably do it, it would just take months without any heavy munitions."
Agrona
 player, 18 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Tue 18 Aug 2015
at 09:38
Re: Hesperus Salvage


"I suppose we should see if we might act with more precision then. I will see about investigating the foe in depth."
Arthur
 player, 35 posts
Tue 18 Aug 2015
at 15:24
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Agrona:
"I suppose we should see if we might act with more precision then. I will see about investigating the foe in depth."

"While you do that, I will send out a message to the Federation requesting the necessary munitions to destroy this world."

Arthur then opened a private comm with Agrona. "Another thing, I want you to have someone check everything we brought here for any signs of the infection. We have tried our best to be careful, but it is possible that something might have slipped through either through subtle manners or brute power, it certainly almost happened to me."

This message was last edited by the player at 15:27, Tue 18 Aug 2015.

Agrona
 player, 19 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Tue 18 Aug 2015
at 18:32
Re: Hesperus Salvage
"Hm, well, we shall see to that soon enough. I believe any of my people might serve well enough, if they but paint the symbol of Lileath on the bodies of your troops. If this should be objectionable, keep them quarantined until my personal attentions can be spared."

Agrona pauses, considering.

"Hm, mayhaps if you are to remain in contact, we should first see to a few additional protections for you. A trifling addition, most likely, but a few runes on whatever device you make use of to transmit might be appropriate. I will be making use of your shuttles regardless, I am sure..."

She seems to muse for a few more instants, before casually shrugging it off.

"In any case, there is much work to be done yet. Now, for the first part..."

Orders:
-Let the Avatar and the other combat troops seek out minor clusters of enemies and engage at will to take the measure of any above-ground forces.
-Agrona will shuttle to various above-ground positions and attempt to triangulate - in cooperation with Arthur - the position of whatever hides in the heart of the world.
-During one of the transfers, Agrona will stroll onto the ship Arthur is operating out of and quickly draw a few temporary runes of protection and the like on the communications device in use.
Arthur
 player, 36 posts
Tue 18 Aug 2015
at 20:02
Re: Hesperus Salvage
"You are the expert on this sort of things, so I will defer to your judgement."

Orders:

-Send a message to the Federation requesting Strategic Planet destroying weapons to be sent to us. This world and potentially others like it need to be purge.

-Get the troops who were on the planet, their gear, their AIs and everything they've been in contact with quarantined and then checked by Agrona's people for any signs of the infection. Dispose of the corrupted elements as per usual.
Terradyne
 GM, 72 posts
Wed 19 Aug 2015
at 17:41
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Your orders for strategic weapons are filled about as quickly as might be expected. The weapons are not particularly cheap, though they are very effective. Delivered by Webway they arrive within a few weeks, giving plenty of time for your ground teams to be quarantined and checked out.

[Eight Sunburst-Class Strategic Antisystem Weapons Ready. -8000IC]
[Deploy Against Planetary or Stellar Bodies]

"You know, I always wanted to blow up a sun. Sitting there all smug and aloof. You'll get yours, sun!"

Though it proves rather aggravating for the troops that were on the world - they feel that you do not trust them, and to a certain extent they do not trust you. If this thing can be transmitted via electronic means then surely you are vulnerable to it as well?

While it is only a suspicion, it is one that may build if it is not dealt with...

Meanwhile, they are checked over by the Eldar. A good half of their gear is contaminated to some degree, having apparently spread over squad datanets without notice. How it is able to do this is unclear - though its origin renders its capabilities hard to know. In future your troops will likely disable networking protocols in potentially hazardous conditions.

[-75 Suits of Terminator Armour]

That is not the worst of it, however. Of those sent down to the surface, two hundred of them - mostly those that entered the freighter - are contaminated by the influence of Nurgle. Not to a particularly great degree - their armour, as compromised as it may have become, still served as a bulwark against the enemy. However you will still need to decide how to deal with them.


***

You visit the Yima on the secon, creating a few temporary runes to protect and filter the communications. While it will not protect him from the direct attention of the enemy, they will surely protect both him and the ship from indirect exposure.

The Avatar grunts in acceptance of the task you give it; hunting and killing the enemy is something that it knows how to do - and that it likes doing. Merely following you has been grating at what little patience it has.

Despite their patrolling, however, they seem to spot no enemies. Nothing on the surface at all. "They hide from us, the cowards." are its sentiments wrapped in as few words as possible.

Searching the surface should not be a too long a task, but you find yourself continually stymied by the distributed nature of the enemy. There is certainly more than one daemon controlling the hordes - but you cannot say how many.

As you touch down for the third one, a somewhat ominous feeling starts to come forth; a premonition of sorts, but far too late to do more than act momentarily.

You brace as you feel the ground give way beneath you, metal and ferrocrete decayed by the power of Nurgle.

And you tumble down, into the darkness below...

***


You awaken some time later. Enough for the collapse to have ceased, leaving a thin shard of light from the surface above.

You find yourself alone, in one of the tunnels infested by these un-dead creatures. The way back up - if you could even reach the ceiling - is likely treacherous and the roof vulnerable to further collapse.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:41, Wed 19 Aug 2015.

Agrona
 player, 20 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Wed 19 Aug 2015
at 20:14
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Sighing, Agrona dusts herself off and shifts her grip on Anaris.


Glancing around, she grimaces at the sliver of light. It is not, truth be told, a great situation. Attrition might well bring her down, even if no single being present might plausibly threaten her.

And she does not know where the exit is.

Fortunately, she has other tools than merely violence at her disposal.

Drawing on her connection, her own talents, and the shadow-taint in her soul, she weaves the darkness around her, fading into nothingness.

Hopefully, she thinks, it shall suffice.

Actions:
Use stealth sorcery to avoid detection.
Begin moving, try to find either hints of an exit or hints of deeper corruption.
Using her link, get a message out to the rest of the expedition to converge on the area Agrona was operating out of, and attempt to scout out exits aboveground.
Arthur
 player, 39 posts
Wed 19 Aug 2015
at 22:26
Re: Hesperus Salvage
"This situation is a mess. I think there's no point in delaying the necessary."

Orders:

-Have the Eldar take over handling of the Sunbursts. As in, they have to protect the damn things from the infection. We do not want to lose these. No one from the Fleet, AI and Human including myself is to go near those things. Teach them how to activate/deactivate, deploy and destroy the Sunbursts.

-Right the reach of this infection is really too much. Have the Eldar do a full sweep of the entire expedition. Everyone and everything is to be checked, especially myself since I was the target of a concentrated attempt at subversion. Make it clear to my people that this mandatory for everyone and a matter of the most crucial importance, they have no reason to refuse.

-Get all of the AIs to report to a predetermined series of warded data hubs for check-up. Those who are infected are to be locked in warded data hubs and quarantined, while those who are clean can get back to their duty, with wards placed over the areas they work in. If any AIs refuses to report for the check-up, assume that they've been subverted and physically sever the connections to any hubs that they are in and then hunt them down for disposal. Any human who refuse to be checked over are also to be tracked down and forcibly checked and then locked away with wards.

-Have the Eldar put up wards of protection, anti-corruption and other ones that they feel will help protect against the infection over the members of the expedition who are clean and the ones who are the least infected, like the 200 soldiers who have already been detected. The ones who are more infected are to be confined and quarantined, with wards placed to insure no funny business happens and their conditions do not get worse.

-If I am infected, put me on lockdown like all the others with wards to insure protection and prevent the infection from getting worse. Pass command to a clean human commander and make it clear, seriously for the sake of all things sane, do not nuke Agrona or we are all dead. Unless she asks you to do it and the Eldar confirms that it is actually her asking.
Terradyne
 GM, 73 posts
Thu 20 Aug 2015
at 14:03
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Drawing deeply on the shadows within and without, you wrap them into a cloak that stymies all but the most piercing of sight. While the enemy sees through the dark, they cannot see the dark itself, and thus shall you move through them.

Light inverts and the world becomes clearer. Some small piles of bones mark the dead, here, crushed by falling rock and iron. Others move, shambling about in search of what fell here. A sense of bright life now swamped, and their senses confused.

Movement down here proves surprisingly difficult, even for the fleet feet of the Eldar. Rusted floors, slick with water and stained with oil, crumbled and pock-marked by entropy, safe movement is slow at best. With no map or more than a general sense of things, there are no signs of an exit yet - many gantries extend above, but if they are in as poor a shape as the floor, then they are manifestly unsafe.

And the enemy remains elusive. Ever present, but...hidden. The feeling of their presence all around but refusing to resolve into a target to strike against.

You signal for reinforcements, but they will take time to arrive. The Avatar cannot be readily lifted by shuttles, and there are too many Aspect Warriors to transport that way. A vanguard will be delivered, but little more. The rest will arrive by the setting of the sun.



***

The Eldar are, as a whole, not particularly happy to have to handle so much. Already having to check through your equipment, the AIs and attempting to ward things as well, handling the Sunbursts puts them to the limit of their tolerance. The missiles themselves are reasonably large, and the launch systems have to be properly isolated and the sequences learned. Still, they perform the task about as well as you could ask them to, and hopefully it will stop them from being launched without orders - or to allow them to be launched in an emergency, when otherwise they might be stopped. Still, every Eldar guarding them is another that cannot be employed elsewhere.

With close to two thousand humans to check through, and a lot of equipment, the Eldar have a considerable amount to look through. You already have what you suspect to be the worst, the Eldar having checked over the ground teams for contamination. They continue on to the rest, and while some of them show a slight whisper of it, it's apparently nothing to be particularly worried about - the general advice being 'don't send them into contact with Nurglite stuff again and things will be fine'.

You've already disposed of everything that you suspect is contaminated, and they can't actually find anything else with any particular signs of it. And so they move on to the AI, having sorted through thousands of pieces of equipment to find very little.

All of your AIs report in for checks, and the higher ones all check out fine. It seems that no matter what else, nothing actually got on to your ships. The lowest level intelligences - those in the suits - had already been disposed of anyway, but they weren't even sentient, and noone has really shed any tears over them

When they come to you, the apprehension is almost palpable, from the crew and the other AIs; if you have become infected then almost anyone

"You are..." he starts, pausing. "Clear." he nods, moving on to the next AI. A bit of a surprise, perhaps, given that you had been exposed, but you also were extremely quick in actually severing any sections of compromised code, and didn't give it a moment to dig in. It seems that you got lucky, and the expedition breathes a sigh of relief.

With almost everyone else busy, either guarding or checking, the actual time they have to spare for runes is minimal. They manage little more than basic wards on the worst cases, to ensure that they do not deteriorate further. More than that will simply have to wait for a less hectic time.
Agrona
 player, 21 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Thu 20 Aug 2015
at 18:29
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Agrona sighs noiselessly as she crouches in a crevice, hidden from all, and considers the situation.

While she might continue just walking the tunnels in theory for perpetuity and be at fairly low risk of actual harm, it does not bring her any closer to any sort of goal, and she has things she needs to do within a relatively short timeframe.

So she's going to have to get creative.

Already she can feel Lileath's apprehension.


She reaches out with her mind, seeking out several points at once. Her body, the base, the materium. Lileath, the warp, the highest of all. Her soul, strung out between the two. The stains of darkness running through it, coiling up inside her, touching a plane between. The Aspect of Lileath, held there, aware there, resonant.

A feat once achieved with the mind of Lileath and her Servants, bridging the webway and the realm of shadows.

Agrona does not quite have the same advantage, but then, she is not pioneering access to the shadowrealm by herself.

She cannot, however, easily do it without risking herself. Her focus for reaching across the boundaries, in the end, is her bonesinging.

And she cannot sing and keep her shroud up at once, she suspects.

It will suffice.

It will suffice.

She stands, and holds Anaris, resting it lightly against her shoulder. With a twist of mind and hand, her helmet retracts and from it spills blackish purple hair, cascading down her back.

She sings out the first note.

Actions:
Using bonesinging/psychic powers, reach into the shadowplane and make it visible to Agrona... or to Lileath, centered on Agrona.
Reassert the cloak of shadows if possible.
Follow paths seen in the shadowrealm to find an exit. Use personal precog to pick which paths to follow when presented with choices.
Terradyne
 GM, 74 posts
Thu 20 Aug 2015
at 20:25
Re: Hesperus Salvage


The air is foul, but the shadows seem to cool it to mere unpleasantness. Each breath you take brings in the taint of the enemy, only to be crushed under the power that dwells within.

With each note you dig deeper through the veil that divides all the realms; the think line that separates you from the roiling unreality. A mistake here could be fatal...but you are not known for making mistakes.

The spur of Wraithbone grows at an odd angle, to mortal eyes seeming to twist and disappear into darkness, but to you it is as clear as the noonday sun, a spear into the realm of shadows and darkness, a link forged between worlds.

To see across it is not a trivial task, but it is something that you can now do, here. With this as a relay, a pure spike of black wraithbone bridging the realms, you can scry without fear.

A place of weakness, now, it could also serve as a retreat, in an absolute emergency.

While you have felt the probing touch of the enemy, your cloak has held fast - just - the shadow-stuff clinging to you, refusing to dissipate quickly, even as your concentration lapses. There are things here that are searching for something - for you - but they are yet to find you.

Scrying the realm of shadows is different to here, sending your mind flying through the cool darkness, devoid of the taint of the enemy. With Lileath to guard your body and soul, there is no fear here.

It does not take you long, however, to find the history of a million feet carving a path into the realm. Machinery lies half normal, half decaying as reality slowly seeps through, but the movement of so many, so often, simply carved their paths into this place.

Soon you see an exit, pallets of materials and bodies brought in and out so many times to make a solid line here. A ramp leads above, three tunnels across. A short walk and you will be in the sun once more.

Within moments you withdraw from that place, and move along the path you saw. Servants of your foe trudge mindlessly about, bones and metal forming a somehow-mobile form, animate only from the power that infests their bodies.

Passing them by in silence and darkness, you reach the way out. Ten thousand and more have gathered here, standing and awaiting some event. Reflected light is visible, staining the ramp with what is left of the day. And yet the stand, to a one, in the shadows.
Agrona
 player, 22 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Wed 26 Aug 2015
at 21:13
Re: Hesperus Salvage
A trap, an assault, a blockade... or perhaps merely instinct?

Agrona supposes it does not truly matter. She has found her exit, and for the nonce that shall be good enough.

Fading into a corner, she contemplates her next move.

It is, in truth, simple enough. Slip out fully, where she will not be constrained by the enemy, and cannot be pinned and corralled by a force that outnumbers her, and which leaves only a path of retreat into the depths of the tunnels.

But that escape itself is not without risk.

So. She has promised Lileath to be more careful.

If you would kindly guide our forces into position near this exit... she whispers to the Aspect in her mind.

She will watch and wait until all the pieces are in place. Or something terrible happens.

One of the two.

Actions:
Call all assets to deploy close by the exit.
Once deployed, Agrona will first attempt to sneak, then in case of failure dash for the exit, possibly flying as necessary.
All units will secure her escape.
If the enemy follows outside, conduct a fighting retreat and coordinate orbital firesupport as possible and necessary.
Arthur
 player, 40 posts
Wed 26 Aug 2015
at 22:44
Re: Hesperus Salvage
With the most critical personnel free of the taint and what little infection there was contained, Arthur turned to more productive activities. Like, preparing to lend help to Agrona if things go pear shaped. Which turned out to be a wise decision.


Orders:

-Have as many Warded Terminators as possible be ready to be teleported to Agrona's aid.
-Personally help coordinate the orbital support alongside the military AIs, if necessary.

This message was last edited by the player at 22:47, Wed 26 Aug 2015.

Terradyne
 GM, 85 posts
Tue 1 Sep 2015
at 22:02
Re: Hesperus Salvage


The rest of your force are already on their way, and with the added impetus of knowing where you are - and that the enemy is mustering nearby - they forge ahead with greater speed. Some use shuttles, while others - such as the Avatar - make do with raw strength alone.

Making their way across the vast mechanical city, they close on your location quickly. Eldar speed combined with great urgency lending them the swiftness to cross a hundred miles in little more than the blink of an eye.

They assemble around the exit, taking what defensive positions they may. Those specialised in ranged combat hold back, taking what higher ground they may, while the close-combat specialists move up to charge and ambush when they are required to attack. The remainder form up into tactically sound positions, to reinforce either group as required, and to provide fire support as they may.

The Avatar paces back and forth, waiting for the battle to begin.

With support outside, your army fortifying their position and preparing for battle, now is the time to withdraw from a position of extreme danger. You step out into the horde, some part of you expecting catastrophe.

But there is nothing. Only the groans and scrapes of the horde of the dead; the splintering of bone and the clink of touching metal.

The enemy again proves their poor observational skills - and you wonder perhaps how they managed to perform any complex task if their senses are as degraded as they seem to be. But you are hiding in the deepest shadows, and they are not aware of exactly what to search for, so perhaps it is merely your skill that is on display, not their weakness.

Whatever it is you flit from shadow to shadow, passing through the growing horde with ease as you head for the light above. There is a moment upon the peak of the ramp, where shadow gives way to the last light of day, but you dart through it as a blur, and no response seems to come.

Yet either you were noticed, or the enemy has the poorest of timing, and the sound of ten thousand treading feet - discordant, chaotic - follows out after you. The sound of an army marching with the fading sun, into the twilight world beyond.

But it is not all that marches forth, for as you cross your lines, surrounded once more by allies, the ground shakes with footsteps as something emerges. Deep green, great in stature, corpulent and bloated it strides forth from the exit. Decayed, riddled with rotting flesh it nevertheless carries a sense of great power.

The Avatar rears up, roaring its anger to the air, echoed by the Eldar that surround him. A curious mirror between the two; manifestations of a god and their followers.

In response, the Daemon merely laughs, deep, low and dark.

Withdrawing may not be as easy as you had hoped.

***

Arthur:

The Eldar aboard work as fast and as hard as they can, now that the most immediate threat is contained, but even they cannot work true miracles. Applying wards capable of resisting the insidious work of this enemy takes time and effort, and they have prepared only a scant hundred of your group by the time that battle nears. They assemble on the teleporter pads, ready to be deployed when and where they are necessary.

Your second - and potentially far more important - task is far simpler to complete. Moving your small fleet into position is a matter of setting a course and sitting on antigrav thruster in an aberrant geostationary orbit.

Fire support will be difficult to employ in full, the simple presence of your allies rendering the heavy guns counterproductive in all but the direst of situations

You move your small fleet into support positions, antigrav systems keeping them static above the exit, ready to bring down whatever fire support is needed - though it will be necessarily limited by the sheer risk to your allies below.

You spend your time plotting the closest striking points permissible, and with the help of the Yima, working out a bombardment plan to maximise effectiveness. Without true knowledge of the enemy's capabilities it will of course be of limited use, but it is far better than nothing.

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:02, Tue 01 Sept 2015.

Agrona
 player, 23 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Mon 7 Sep 2015
at 20:36
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Agrona swears quietly to herself before activating her comms.

"All ranged forces, fire upon the enemy. Melee forces, converge a group at the rear of the Avatar to keep a path of withdrawal clear. All other groups should keep the ranged forces clear. Attempt to make space for orbital fire support."

With a flourish, she spreads her wings, even as she attempts to grasp hold of the shadows cloaking her and drag them over her sword. Her wings unfolded, she cannot hide in shadow, lit by her goddess as she is... but a sword obscured, that is another matter altogether. And the sword that is not seen is a sword that shall make a clean strike.

And with her sword, a clean strike is all that is needed.

She ascends into the air with all the speed she can muster, to join the Avatar for the clash against the daemon.

In the moments before battle is joined, she sends another message.

"Arthur! Fire upon the enemy now! Melt their point of egress and as many of them as you dare! Pay them back the suffering they have inflicted upon mankind!"

Then there is no more thought for such things. A daemon of power rightly holds all her attention.

Actions
Order forces to engage the enemy army, mostly while keeping their distance, except for a core group to secure the rear for the Avatar and Agrona
Agrona joins the Avatar to do battle with the nurglite daemon
Agrona casts Lileathean shadow-magic on her sword to make it hard to detect so she can gank someone with it
Tell Arthur and the humans to alphastrike the nurglites to at least make it a limited engagement with a manageable number of opponents.
Terradyne
 GM, 86 posts
Mon 7 Sep 2015
at 21:41
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Your forces acknowledge as they pull back, discipline overcoming bloodlust, and the desire to see the enemy dead personally. Even as they lure the enemy into the guns of your ranged assets, it is clear that they stand no chance.

Lumbering corpses of tattered meat and bone are little protection from the razor-sharp disks of their Shuriken Catapults, or the heavier guns of the Dark Reapers, and they carve through their numbers like a harvester's scythe.

The close-combat Aspect Warriors hold back, contributing with what longer-ranged fire they may have, though with the sheer ease that they fall to your weapons, it is a surprise to some that you ordered the melee troops to keep their distance; they obey orders, but with their weapons and skills, they could have carved through the thousands here like a scythe.

Their replacement is far less personal, but no less effective. Fire rains from the sky, great laser-bolts from their lightest guns, intended for little more than point-defence work yet powerful enough to smash their way through the horde, severing the tide at the entrance and slowly burning their way through it. Ten thousand are cut down, but more walk forth from the entrance, following their dark master in a march unto death.

While the battle at large goes well, the fight against the true manifestation of this evil is much harder-fought. Its corpulent bulk lends it an unnatural strength, pushing its own decayed and rusted sword against the Avatar's own, forcing even the magma-hewn sinews of the shard of Khaine back a step.

You flit in on black wings of shadow, fading against the failing light. But the beast sees through your cloak; it sees your sword and your aim, and gestures with an arm, summoning a great gout of rotten flesh and vitriol, hurling it towards you. You have to dodge, for if it were to hit then surely it would injure you, and so your first attack run is broken.

The Avatar takes the distraction you offer to push forwards anew, hewing into the corpulent, bloated flesh with a red-hot blade. Billowing, acrid smoke comes forth from the daemon, who writhes as he feels the sword pierce him.

And so distracted once, then twice, the daemon is vulnerable, as it may never be again. From a perch high above it, you drop down, wings pushing you ever-faster, sword outstretched with both hands.

You flick past the daemon almost too fast for any to see, and carve off its head, dragging it off in your wake. The body stands for a moment, before slumping to the ground.

It slides to the floor, and the undead around it fall to the ground, robbed of what little power they may have had. The slowly-fading body of the daemon sits as a reminder of what happened here, but the world still hangs heavy with the touch of Nurgle.
Agrona
 player, 24 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Mon 7 Sep 2015
at 21:59
Re: Hesperus Salvage
Agrona smiles with satisfaction as the bulk of the daemon collapses on the ground. A potentially dangerous encounter ended in moments.

"The foe is slain, its soul rent apart, never to reform. We withdraw now, our survey complete. Our allies will burn the world for what remains of the rot, and we march on our original objective. May this be the first victory against the rot of many!"

Action
Pull out and let Arthur torch the world. Return to the Craftworld and march on the Webway Domain in a hopefully short and simple campaign.
Terradyne
 GM, 87 posts
Mon 7 Sep 2015
at 22:12
Re: Hesperus Salvage
The withdrawal is swift, one of the minions of the defiler dead, and some measure of vengeance imparted. The Avatar seems pleased, to some extent, even though it did not strike the killing blow. With that and your own demonstration of utter superiority, you will not have trouble for some time with the Aspect Warriors, nor their leader.

Moving through the Webway, you dart back to the craftworld, much to the surprise of many that reside there. They did not expect you so soon, or with such a large army at your back. But your visit is short-lived, and you once more head out to clear the Domain that the humans desire.

The journey takes several days of motion, moving deeper and deeper into the tangle of the Webway, until finally you arrive at the wide-open spaces of the ovoid domain. Like a world - or a craftworld - lodged within the Webway itself, it has long been neglected since the fall of the Empire. Few have been here, but you see the sign of footprints in the untended gardens that once were the focal point of the entrance.

Eldar have passed here, and recently. But something else has followed them. Daemons.

Your fingers near the footprints, and you sense the familiar power of the Enemy. Not many, perhaps, but a few, stalking those that passed this way before. This domain is quite large, and searching through it may take some time without aid - though you surely outnumber the enemy by far, and control the only known entrance.
Arthur
 player, 41 posts
Tue 8 Sep 2015
at 00:45
Re: Hesperus Salvage
"This was a job well done people. Now, let's finish this and go back home for decontamination."

Order:

Destroy this World and everything on it.
Go home and keep the infected personnel quarantined, but in good conditions, until our experts can find a way to cure them.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:46, Tue 08 Sept 2015.

Terradyne
 GM, 88 posts
Tue 8 Sep 2015
at 06:14
Re: Hesperus Salvage
"Well." says the Yima, as he watches the countdown hit zero. "This is it."

Already the other two vessels have withdrawn to a safe distance, leaving only yourselves above the world, gradually moving to higher and higher orbits.

The hatch retracts, an iris over a weapon to destroy a solar system. The charge moves forwards, slowly, silently, and is released. It drifts off before its engines fire, sending it spiralling towards the world below.

The Yima speeds away under its drives, pushing them to the limit of its capacity, passing a light-second in under a minute, and accelerating as fast as it can to escape the coming blast.

A Sunburst is not only intended to demolish stars, nor is the technology alien to your normal sensibilities. In the end, it is simply the same arcane processes that give you gravity on your vessels turned to destructive ends. The weapon flickers for just one moment as it activates, shifting gravitic tides tearing it apart, but it is already far too late to stop it.

And within that single moment, for the world of Hespereus, gravity is simply deactivated. Every scrap of binding energy released in one fell swoop.

The world turns white as each atom, each molecule tries to escape in every possible direction. Those on the outer edges move the fastest, travelling outwards at a significant fraction of the speed of light, while the inner core is far slower. When a moment later gravity reasserts itself, all that is left of the world is a pile of dissolute white-hot nickel-iron slag and an expanding cloud that used to be the crust and upper mantle.

Some parts of the world will pull themselves back together in time, but that will take many thousands of years. Some parts will simply expand forever, into the darkness of space.

Whatever threat was there is gone, now, for nothing could have survived the energy unleashed by that event.

***

And so, your mission complete - after a fashion - you return home. Down on numbers and resources thanks to infection, you have lost things on this expedition - but you have prevented another horror from ravaging this area of space in the years to come.

Those personnel infected are kept isolated as best as you can, both aboard ship and back on the colony, until they can be cured. It is not an imprisonment they bear well, perhaps, but it is a necessary one.