The Search For Cheng.   Posted by Terradyne.Group: 0
Terradyne
 GM, 228 posts
Sat 21 May 2016
at 21:46
The Search For Cheng
The director has been missing for several hours already, and the trail grows colder with every passing minute. Without the means to readily track them - or engage their forces - the transport that ferried them there has been forced to remain on-station, though it has transmitted all known data.

Tracking them down will still take time and effort, however - and potentially several combat vessels, depending on what you may find there. It will take time to gather your forces and move them, and you must also take into account how long you are willing to risk them lost - whether being taken further away, or...worse.
Maya Adderson
 GM, 144 posts
Sun 22 May 2016
at 17:32
The Search For Cheng
"How, how the fuck did Allister Cheng get kidnapped from behind his security?  Stolen from literally one of the strongest points we have?  Somebody dropped the ball badly here."

Maya was livid.  She had been expecting problems for some time--the perils of living in a universe where everything seemed to want to kill you and all victories seemed temporary--but she was in the middle of making excellent progress completing the Ataraxia Project when news of this event came to her and she needed to put it aside.

And yet--she was one of the few elite personnel the New Federation had who was in a position to act on time--and the first thing she did was make her way to Hercules with what assets she could wrangle up on short notice.  She needed to get readings on the enemy trail--and that meant collating the residual trail before it completely vanished, and crunching that together with her own divinations and number crunching.

Hopefully the Imperials had something to offer too--Councillor Cheng being broken open would be...  Fractally bad--not disasterous, there were protocols to ensure that his codes wouldn't let the enemy walk whatever they wanted through their security, but he still knew enough to be devastating in the hands of Chaos.
Alexander Thorton
 player, 40 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Sun 22 May 2016
at 19:54
The Search For Cheng
"What a fucking mess." I sighed as details of what had occured showed up on my pad "Get me Captain Thorne, I have need of her squadron." I stated in the silence of my office, only the chime of the holo-globe alerting me that the AI had heard and acknowledged my order.

<"Dear, I'm going to need your help with some divinations">.
Terradyne
 GM, 229 posts
Sun 22 May 2016
at 20:37
The Search For Cheng
"I...I don't know, Ma'am." stutters the poor ensign that brought you the news. He seems more than a little intimidated - and even without delving into his mind you can tell that he practically radiates fear.

The trip to Hercules to pick up the trail takes precious time that could be better spent finding the director, but you have so little choice - placement matters, in this sort of thing, the subtle changes that manifest in the warp, and the necessity of more complete readings.

You can track a ship through the warp - of that you are sure - it is just a question of following it.

After hours of work on the problem, you get your answer - but it is not one that you would like. The trail moves far outside the sector, deep into space largely uncontrolled by the Imperium. Even so close to their heartlands there are still vast wastelands of space, a million stars to hide around.

And beyond that - they hide in the Warp itself. Enough to deter lesser seekers, it is not sufficient to obscure their trail, or their destination. You will be able to attack - but it will be on their terms, more than yours.

[The enemy is 3 ticks away; each tick there is a risk of permanent damage being inflicted to Allister and Celina]

***

Mustering a fleet is a difficult task. The stealth squadron reports in quickly, for they are already mobile, quick and searching for the enemy. Your own vessel and escorts are powerful, by local standards, but not a replacement for an entire battlefleet.

Six cruisers and a dozen frigates are available from Hercules' orbital fleet - but they are still slower than your own, despite a gradual upgrade program. Taking them will give you greater power, but will slow your advance considerably [+1 tick]

Many more ships can be gathered - two battleships and their escorts within one more tick, and the entire sector battlefleet could be theoretically mobilised within two. The question comes as to whether or not you wish to risk that time, to engage a fleet of only partially known capabilities.

Not all news is so mixed, however, as shortly after the stealth squadron's arrival the warp splits open and another ship emerges. After a brief moment of worry, powered weapons and preparing for combat it transmits its authorisation - and the guns go down faster than any time you have seen before.

It is not difficult to see why; the vessel appears to be operating under the auspices of the Inquisition, that most feared of Imperial organisations.

"This is the Righteous Herald; we will assist in this matter."

The ship itself is like no other Imperial vessel you have seen. Sleeker, bereft of much of the heraldry that they seem so fond of, it is more advanced than all but the greatest of the Mechanicus vessels you know of, and as such, far more dangerous.

The Astartes on the viewscreen is similarly of no known Chapter - but you hardly have complete records of such, either.

***

The image of the captain is one that is quick to appear. Only minutes have passed, and if she was asleep she shows no signs of it now. "Admiral. The squadron is ready to depart at your order; we'll need several days to get to the rendezvous point, assuming warp-conditions remain as they are now."

[Thorne: +1 tick over base]

<"Of course. What is it - oh."> she replies, moving through a blistering whirl of emotions. Eventually, she settles on a kind of frustrated annoyance. <"It's always something to do with them, isn't it? Why couldn't he have been kidnapped by Orks?">

Time passes, and she eventually returns, though sounding pained; as if having faced great effort. <"I am sorry, husband. But I could wrest no useful information from the mire that surrounds them. Such was a...strain. I will be of little use for some days, and I must rest.">
Maya Adderson
 GM, 145 posts
Sun 22 May 2016
at 20:59
The Search For Cheng
"It can't be helped, we'll have to take what we can get on short notice--waiting for the Sector Battlefleet risks too much, given the distance we need to cover, and the possibility of this being a diversion".

A battle inside the Warp itself...  That was sketchy even in the most optimal conditions, but it couldn't be helped under the circumstances, it was paramount that Councillor Cheng be recovered--either to save him if possible, or at least ascertain how much he leaked if he didn't.

----------------------------------------------

"Your assistance is appreciated Astartes"  Maya thanks them.  "We have managed to confirm their location with our instruments--and it's a fair distance off.  We'll be departing as soon as the planetary forces have finished their preparations--and our primary objective will be to recover our captured Councillor--ideally alive.  He's well protected, but we still need to ascertain if he remains pure--and if not, how much he leaked, so we can prepare appropriate countermeasures.  As such, upon intercepting, we will attempt to bring down the Voids of their flagship and then recapture the VIPs with a boarding strike, bringing down targets of opportunity as we can.  If you require any specific munitions that you don't already have, let me know--my vessel has a manufactory on hand."
Terradyne
 GM, 231 posts
Sun 22 May 2016
at 22:06
Re: The Search For Cheng
Maya Adderson:
"Your assistance is appreciated Astartes"  Maya thanks them.  "We have managed to confirm their location with our instruments--and it's a fair distance off.  We'll be departing as soon as the planetary forces have finished their preparations--and our primary objective will be to recover our captured Councillor--ideally alive.  He's well protected, but we still need to ascertain if he remains pure--and if not, how much he leaked, so we can prepare appropriate countermeasures.  As such, upon intercepting, we will attempt to bring down the Voids of their flagship and then recapture the VIPs with a boarding strike, bringing down targets of opportunity as we can.  If you require any specific munitions that you don't already have, let me know--my vessel has a manufactory on hand."
"Understood." he says, gravel-voiced and grave-toned. "We are fully equipped to combat this threat; no assistance is required."
Maya Adderson
 GM, 146 posts
Sun 22 May 2016
at 22:16
Re: The Search For Cheng
"Good to know, we'll send you the data as we go, hopefully we'll rendezvous with another squadron of ours as we go, but speed remains our greatest priority at the moment."
Terradyne
 GM, 232 posts
Sun 22 May 2016
at 23:20
Re: The Search For Cheng
"Indeed. We cannot afford to delay. Our vessel is capable of more rapid travel than those of the Navy. I would suggest that you do the same."
Maya Adderson
 GM, 147 posts
Wed 25 May 2016
at 17:54
Re: The Search For Cheng
Some Time Later

As the hastily assembled Strike Force neared the enemy's determined battlespace--a plan was currently being forged.

"Commodore Thorne's squadron hit a few rough patches, but the most recent communication we've recieved from them is that they should still arrive a few hours after we do."  Maya reported to the band of officers and representatives from the combined task force who were currently meeting aboard the Coyote--the survey vessel that she normally made use of to have a mobile laboratory while she was assisting at Ataraxia.

"So what we have now is what we'll have access to for the campaign--I'm leaving the specific rules of engagements to the resident commanders, but our objectives at least are clear.  Primarily, our job is to recover Councillor Cheng--ideally, his defenses will have held, but we still need him alive regardless.  Secondary objectives are the recovery of Lady Celina and any other prisoners on board, the capture or destruction of enemy officers, and the recovery of any actionable data.  Actually wiping out the enemy fleet is more of an added bonus.  Astartes elements have been seconded to our task force to assist in the actual boarding assault, with our fleet's remaining armsmen and battle automata being spread across for defense against Traitor counter-boarding attempts.  I myself will join with the assault team to retrieve the Councillor.  Any questions?"
Terradyne
 GM, 262 posts
Sun 29 May 2016
at 23:28
Re: The Search For Cheng
You stand upon the bridge of the Coyote, the air tense with expectancy. Soon you will arrive at your target - you can feel it, somehow, distorting the warp with its very presence. Not beyond reason - as much as applies in this domain - but in a way as to provide a sign of its presence. A fingerprint.

"Sensors, what have we got?" asks the captain as you move closer.

"One moment, just clearing it up." she says. One of your Navigators - assigned to the task of assisting the sensor arrays in the deep warp - she is an able assistant. "Looks like three cruisers, eight escorts and the heavy." she pauses, looking up, then back down again. "Some of them look like they've been modified, though. We'll need to be careful, they're pretty dangerous, and we're not really a warship."

The captain nods. "Understood." he turns back to you, his eyes hard, grey and stony. "Councillor. We need a final go on this situation - and an understanding of the rules of engagement here."
Maya Adderson
 GM, 154 posts
Sun 29 May 2016
at 23:32
Re: The Search For Cheng
"It's a smash and grab, we get Cheng and his wife, and we bug out--no heroics and no circling for blood.  Thorne's squadron is a few hours out to reinforce us if we get bogged down, but we're trying to minimize damage here rather than wipe them out.  Knock them out of the Warp and once we've got an idea of the VIP's position, we'll send a strike force to get them and go."

She turned then and tapped her ear.  "Any developments, you contact me immediately."

There was still some time before the battle began, she'd need to complete her own preparations.
Terradyne
 GM, 263 posts
Mon 30 May 2016
at 00:09
Re: The Search For Cheng
"Understood. But we can't hold against that kind of firepower forever. Make a mistake, and we might not be able to get you out of there."

***

You prepare your armour and equipment, the same tools that you used to defeat Daemons before - amongst the most dangerous tools in creation, by your reckoning. The Grey Knights prepare with you, their equipment transferred over from their Strike Cruiser, so that they may take advantage of your teleporter - more reliable than theirs, and longer-ranged.

Though they stare suspiciously at your equipment - and especially your staff - they make no comment on it. Their own equipment is certainly no less strange - though much of it looks normal, it is dressing atop stranger machinery than used by the majority of humanity.

"We are prepared." says their leader, as you complete your own pre-battle checklist, and step up to the teleporter platform.

You feel the ship slide out of the warp, the slight pressure on the edges of your mind vanishing as you slip into cool realspace once more. And the slight vibrations of combat begin, things that you feel through the deckplates with each discharge or impact. You cannot read the battle truly from here, but the sense is of one that is as yet unconcluded - no decisive victory from either side.

"Councillor?" comes the voice of the Captain over the ship's intercom. "We've located Councillor Cheng and his wife; we'll be deploying you momentarily."

A few seconds pass before you feel the tugging of the teleport platform, the floor dropping beneath you as you slide across to the other ship, through a semi-stable warp-tunnel.

Immediately your armour crackles slightly as it absorbs and nullifies the ambient corruption of this place - stronger than many that you have felt in the past. But you are shielded from it...the Director, however, is not, barring his enhanced physiology.

The Grey Knights around you fan out, but find no foes to destroy. You are near the Director - that you are sure, and are not far from a hangar bay. But where he is you cannot yet say.