Non Plus Ultra.   Posted by Terradyne.Group: 0
Terradyne
 GM, 387 posts
Sun 11 Sep 2016
at 23:48
Non Plus Ultra
Necessary Decisions:

With the enemy assault on the sector underway, your own response must be prepared. A portion of the fleet is committed to defence - and you must decide further how the remainder must be deployed. Certainly a heavy assault force is needed - but can you be certain that your home systems will be safe, while they are absent?

Beyond this, of course, you must also determine the means of transit. Warp-drives are by far the quickest, but are also subject to severe variation in arrival time, as your own arrival here exemplifies. Poor warp-conditions could result in an arrival weeks - or months - after you had intended to, especially considering the fact that the enemy has at least some dominion over the warp itself (even if such is not absolute).

The second option is to attempt the journey utilising your FTL drives; not all of your ships are currently rigged for such (the converse also being true), but enough are to make a possible strike force that can arrive at a predictable time. The issue, of course, is that this will take close to two weeks to cover the distance to Hercules, leaving the enemy with a significant amount of time to perform whatever actions they wish.

Intelligence Report:

The Enemy arrived two months after the start of 40775, initiating a surprise attack from Warp-transit on Imperial ships that were not prepared to face that level of assault from such a short distance. Most of the fleet in orbit was destroyed, inflicting only minor damage on the enemy.

Outer-system observation posts have remained active - though those within the orbit of the fifth planet have been gradually destroyed by packs of enemy raiders. There are approximately one hundred and eight [108] ships present in-system at this time - thirty [30] more have been spotted leaving to an unknown destination.

Fleet composition is similar to previous enemy attacks - though it slightly more top-heavy, a greater proportion of battleships and heavy cruisers present than you might expect. In addition to this, they show some signs of having been modified, though the extent of these alterations is unknown at this time.

The enemy made planetfall approximately ten minutes after completing warp-translation, deploying one hundred and twenty drop-pods as an initial strike-force. Additional enemy Legionnaires were dropped into the area as the battle progressed. Enemy destruction of listening posts and surveillance infrastructure has made accurate assessments of their numbers impossible, however at least two thousand [2000] enemy Legionnaires have been sighted, with a considerably greater number of daemons and cultists [>3 OOMs] engaged in planetfall warfare operations. Casualties amongst Imperial forces and civilians are unknown, but likely severe. It is unlikely that the enemy could eradicate all life on the planet without a concerted effort over several months without relying on extensive bombardment support.

Final Federation assets were withdrawn through the Webway gate seventy-nine [79] hours past initial enemy contact, and no further intelligence is available planet-side after that point. Long-distance observation remains active, but image-resolution is relatively poor - active imaging methods would not be conducive to the design or operation of a stealth platform.

More recent observations have detected a severe weather and imaging anomaly of unknown source covering much of the former capital hive. It would appear to be a warp-displacement anomaly of some form, though there is nothing on record that would match it. It is, however, growing steadily in intensity - its final field strength remains unknown.

This message was last edited by the GM at 10:24, Mon 12 Sept 2016.

Alexander Thorton
 player, 53 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Thu 29 Sep 2016
at 09:22
Non Plus Ultra

Onboard Federation Navy Command Cruiser Due Diligence, Video-Link Conference.

“Everyone. My apologies for my late arrival, something critical came up.” I began, taking a sip of tea.

“The Navy, has come up with two primary operations against the threat we face, codenamed Damocles and Cataphract. The precice details will be sent forward to you all later, but essentially, Damocles concerns our efforts with the distraction and destruction of enemy space-based assets.”

I paused for a moment

“Cataphract is the navy's operational plan for dealing with enemy ground-based threats, as well as supporting General Schilling and any evacuation plans that are ongoing, either by us or the Imperium. However, the navy considers Cataphract a secondary operation.” I gave the general an apologetic look.

“The primary issues that I'd like to discuss are thus. Force distribution, Imperial Assistance and lastly the Ascalon and it's arrival.” The last carried a tone of not quite annoyance.

“I have eighty two combat vessels available, eighty seven if we count the survey cruisers, which I am. Currently, thirty five vessels are allocated to the defence of our worlds, not including defence platforms such as the Voidstar.”

“My plan is to take an additional fourteen vessels from the defence forces to bolster the combat fleet. The fourteen vessels are all corvettes, the currently assigned cruisers and frigates to defence would stay in place.”

“This gives me sixty six combat vessels to fight the enemy with. I am loathe to simply try repeating my engagement with the Dread Pilgrim. While I'm certain that a CQB engagement would eventually go our way, the projected losses are far too high to contemplate such an action.”

I shook my head. “At any rate, the question I have to you all is one of agressiveness. The navy's current plan is to raid enemy held space and destroy any stragglers or patrol fleets that the enemy commanders might place. This would continue until the Ascalon was close to coming, whereupon we would attempt to force a CQB with the enemy flagship.”

I took another sip of my drink, looking at the others. “However, I am still willing to modify Damocles at this stage. If any of you believe that we would be better served by attempting to push for the sector capital immideately, or staying put and not fighting at all, I'm willing to listen.”

[Stuff is talked about]

“Cheng, you proboably know the best out of us all, what has the Imperial navy got left in sector, and how willing is it to coordinate with us?”
Allister Cheng
 player, 139 posts
 Spy
 Diplomat
Thu 29 Sep 2016
at 09:50
Non Plus Ultra
"A Emperor and an Apocalypse, six battlecruisers, twelve cruisers and twenty-one frigates. A reasonably formidable force. Admiral Streen is not very good at change, but he will adapt and cooperate given the dire situation. It might also help that if disaster strikes, the Inquisition will ask him some pointed questions."
Maya Adderson
 GM, 219 posts
Thu 29 Sep 2016
at 11:52
Non Plus Ultra
"When you get right down to it, the highest priority is killing the Prince in charge of this expedition"  Maya's message came along.  "I'll be along with the Ascalon in about a month, we're making good time, and I don't think he has an adequate response to it just yet.  The Imperium's rallying a force together, but realistically, they're not expecting to be able to do much more than clean up afterwards.  The Ordo Malleus has opened their case records of this guy's work, and he's notorious for rabbiting right before they can get enough assets on hand to put up a proper fight against the Devourer."

She reaches for her notes, bringing them up.  "Worse luck, he's evidently been adopted into the Word Bearers Legion--who are particularly notorious for inviting Chaos into the material realm.  As Sorcerers, they may not be on par with the Thousand Sons, but their ritual work is second to none.  Whatever he's doing on Hercules is something we want to stop ASAP as a direct result of this, given the difficulty of removing Chaotic Influence from a planet.  Have we figured out how we're going to spoke his wheels?"
Allister Cheng
 player, 140 posts
 Spy
 Diplomat
Thu 29 Sep 2016
at 13:30
Non Plus Ultra
"There is a single squad of Grey Knights left in the Sector. We could try and get them to the surface of the planet to disrupt whatever the bastard is setting up. Barring that, anything we try might just make things worse."
Alexander Thorton
 player, 54 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Tue 4 Oct 2016
at 15:40
Non Plus Ultra
In reply to Maya Adderson (msg # 4):

"I take it then Maya, you'd like for me to strike the planet as quickly as possible?" I frowned over the video-link.

"Can't we simply shove a large bomb through the webway? It is still secure correct?"
Terradyne
 GM, 391 posts
Wed 5 Oct 2016
at 09:44
Non Plus Ultra
Analysis AI #115 (Rhodes Nox): [Webway Gate Status: Active, Hidden. Weapon Transport Possible: Singularity Interaction with Webway: Unknown.]

[Previous interactions of complex space-time events with the Webway have proven largely unsuccessful. It would seem unlikely that the structure would still exist if it was so easy to destroy. However, we do not know if the devices (unstable as they are) will continue to operate.]

[Transport of Plasma Munitions are possible but will only damage the Hive in question.]
Alexander Thorton
 player, 55 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Tue 25 Oct 2016
at 16:04
Re: Non Plus Ultra
Maya Adderson:
"When you get right down to it, the highest priority is killing the Prince in charge of this expedition"  Maya's message came along.  "I'll be along with the Ascalon in about a month, we're making good time, and I don't think he has an adequate response to it just yet.  The Imperium's rallying a force together, but realistically, they're not expecting to be able to do much more than clean up afterwards.  The Ordo Malleus has opened their case records of this guy's work, and he's notorious for rabbiting right before they can get enough assets on hand to put up a proper fight against the Devourer."


"Do you still have access to any inquisitors or Imperial specialists in exactly what this ritual will do, or at least provide me with an estimated time-frame before it is activated, this isn't exactly something the navy has a great deal of experience in." I understated the point.


Allister Cheng:
"A Emperor and an Apocalypse, six battlecruisers, twelve cruisers and twenty-one frigates. A reasonably formidable force. Admiral Streen is not very good at change, but he will adapt and cooperate given the dire situation. It might also help that if disaster strikes, the Inquisition will ask him some pointed questions."


"From what little I know of him, while inflexible, the man is a professional. My main task, and yours if you can come along, or spare someone, is to convince him that I need his entire force. We can't afford to sheppard much back as a reserve." I said, calculating the risks in my head of taking more vessels away from defence.

I had a feeling this battle was going to be decisive in many ways.

Allister Cheng:
"There is a single squad of Grey Knights left in the Sector. We could try and get them to the surface of the planet to disrupt whatever the bastard is setting up. Barring that, anything we try might just make things worse."


Terradyne:
Analysis AI #115 (Rhodes Nox): [Webway Gate Status: Active, Hidden. Weapon Transport Possible: Singularity Interaction with Webway: Unknown.]

[Previous interactions of complex space-time events with the Webway have proven largely unsuccessful. It would seem unlikely that the structure would still exist if it was so easy to destroy. However, we do not know if the devices (unstable as they are) will continue to operate.]

[Transport of Plasma Munitions are possible but will only damage the Hive in question.]


"I figured it wouldn't be that simple, but either of those can provide us with a good distraction and delay if we time it correctly. I lean towards the explosives, if only because the Grey Knights might later inquire exactly how we seem to posess the level of webway access we do, but I'm happy to defer judgement on the ground side aspects of this endevour."

This message was last edited by the player at 16:05, Tue 25 Oct 2016.

Terradyne
 GM, 392 posts
Sat 29 Oct 2016
at 20:24
Re: Non Plus Ultra
As you ready the assault, there is a great rent in the warp; a ship emerges, colossal; decorated with wards alongside its armour, each one glowing softly with repulsed warp-energy.

Rents in its side show battle-damage, the vessel having been in combat. It is not terrible - but that it has been attacked is an unexpected thing.

The Ascalon is here, and as they hail you, they have an explanation - and good news...

***

Emerging from warp high over Hercules the Ascalon moved in, shields and weapons powering up as it moved through the enemy fleet. A hundred lesser ships crowded orbit, each one a defiled temple to dark gods. Lashing out with dark fire and corrupted munitions they pound the sacred hull of the Ascalon. Each shot digs craters and rents into it, making way for the auger-tipped dreadclaws, each carrying their own payload of disciples of darkness.

Pushing on through the fleet, the Ascalon turns its Trident Pulsars upon the corrupt voidships, tearing through one after another, rending them unto dust even as they hurl fire and flame at it. Its shields flicker, weakening - but do not yet drop.

Bringing the great gun along its spine to bear, it homes in on the source of a terrible fate; even now the event it will spawn echoes through time, a scream of horror from the universe parting on a bulwark of power.

Yet there is still time, and as the weapon charges another questing presence seeks out a target; the great darkness that directs these events. With a focus to make all envious and the raw power to back it up, she strikes out with force and fury, driving the great beast back. With each blow it is pushed back further, even as the Ascalon begins to take more damage.

With the distraction set and the foe occupied, the field flickered, the ritual they had invested so much in imperilled. And for just a moment, it was clear enough to fire.

Stabbing out with shot after shot the Exo-Lance blasted crater after crater into the space that was once a Hive-City. Already in ruins and being taken apart, piece by piece, it is instantly turned to ash and dust, and all present sent to their end.

One shot catches something else - and the field flickers and collapses entirely. A tower crumbles; hopes of a creature dashed. The world dies as everything left living upon it is turned to ash.

And with one final surge, the Ascalon is gone, vanished back into the warp, leaving a trail of broken ships behind it.
Alexander Thorton
 player, 57 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Sat 29 Oct 2016
at 21:21
Re: Non Plus Ultra
"Nicely done." I say as the report finishes, feed linking me to the ship.

"Long range reconnisance still reports the majority of the enemy's forces are present loitering over the world despite the ritual's failure. It might be prudent to attack now and crush them, but I'm willing to listen to suggestions." I stated, before smiling slightly.


"We are no longer on a tight schedule afterall, thanks to you."
Maya Adderson
 GM, 220 posts
Sun 30 Oct 2016
at 04:56
Re: Non Plus Ultra
"Thank nothing, they were within hours of completion when we got in range"  Maya replied from her own position--currently multitasking by directing the DC teams even as she worked at inscribing replacement wards for the ones that had burnt out in the previous campaign.  "We had to commit the Ascalon sooner than was really a good idea--We're still combat viable, a beating like this won't be enough to impair our fighting power, but we blew the element of surprise already, and your own flotilla is going to be working overtime to get us in position to take down the Devourer.  Assuming he doesn't just rabbit anyway."

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:56, Sun 30 Oct 2016.

Alexander Thorton
 player, 58 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Sun 30 Oct 2016
at 12:39
Re: Non Plus Ultra
In reply to Maya Adderson (msg # 11):


My eyes flit across a report popping up on my screen, a frown forming on my face as I read it.

"Unfortuneatley, the Kukri I had sent ahead is reporting that the enemy fleet has translated out of the system."

"We could try to track it, between the four psychic vessels of my fleet, and yourself it might be possible to catch it before it goes too far." I suggested somewhat uncertainly. Given the enemy's commander apparent preference for running away, I imagined it had quite a few ways to prevent just that.