Battle Brothers of the Jericho Reach

Something Stirs in the Underhive; Session 6

Where Plans are made and Battle is met

The Kill-Team quickly fell into planning mode, with the Imperial Governor, the General in charge of the PDF and the Commander of the Arbites joining them in their conference. With none of the imperials having any experience of the Tyranids, the bulk of the planning fell to the space marines, although they had to argue some of their suggestions very hard to get them accepted. Their first plan, which had the Imperial Governor reacting in horror, was to move most of the planets nuclear warheads into the partially built second hive, move the criminal elements there as well, and then detonate it when the Tyranids attacked.

The Rest of the nuclear warheads, 5 of them, were to be loaded on Marauder Bombers, and were to be used when the Tyranids attacked Hive Primus, although they had to compromise to only use them 4 miles outside the Hive, otherwise the damage to the hive, and the world of Beseritor, would be too great to recover from. They declared martial law, and any elements of the population that were not involved in essential labour (weapon production etc) were to be utilised in building defences inside and outside of the hive.

They also managed to get the Imperials to agree to start producing more of the toxins that Brother Elyes had managed to concoct, although their manufacturing base was not too involved in medicines, so it would be a slow process… but the Kill-Team figured that having some toxin was better than none. They also, immediately, put in process a mass recall to the hive, knowing that to try and defend the outlying villages, towns and farms would be impossible, and would spread their forces impossibly thin… this plan was heartily endorsed by the Governor, keen to preserve as many of his people as possible.

With this agreed, the population was mobilised in way that no-one on Beseritor had ever seen before, and within a few days the hive was surrounded by stake filled pits, with the Kill-Team gambling that the first few assaults will be overconfident, given that the Genestealers had probably sent a lot of information to the Hive Fleet… they were going to use that information against the Hive Fleet. They knew that the Hive would eventually adjust its tactics, but they hoped to have dealt is quite a nasty blow before that happened.

The Kill-Team then turned to the sticky subject of what to tell the Rogue Trader to do… they realised that he would be useful in orbital defence, but they realised, after some debate, that he should be sent to other worlds in the Orpheus Salient to try and spread the word about what is happening on Beseritor, because they realised they could never defeat the Tyranids fully, they could blunt their ground forces, but they would be overwhelmed eventually, they needed help from the Battlefleets in the area.

They also did an inventory to see how long they could last in the event of a prolonged siege… early estimates came back that, even with intensive recycling of everything (corpse starch etc), they could only afford to feed the population of the hive for 2 months… which the Kill-Team, in a fateful way, mentioned they were unlikely to last anyway, without outside intervention. The Kill-Team also made the decision to move their HQ down to the Arbites Headquarters, arguing that the spire of the Hive was too vulnerable to attack, and that the Arbites had some pretty impressive fortifications.

So, over the course of the next day or two, all command and control equipment was moved to the Arbites HQ, and the PDF forces of Beseritor were moved down onto the bottom level, with the worst companies taking the brunt of the forces, and the better companies acting as a mobile reserve. They also fortified the entrances to the upper hive; they were going to make the Tyranids fight for every inch of ground that they wanted to take. This activity continued, even as the satellites and orbital defences went dark, as the Tyranids scourged the atmosphere of imperial presence.

However, the Kill-Team had the enginseers make some adjustments to some of the Marauder Bombers, they were no longer ground attack vehicles, they were high altitude scouts. Using these planes, the Kill-Team was able to keep an eye on the tyranid fleet, and to see where it looked like they would be landing. Of course, they lost quite a few planes in this way, but the intelligence they provided was vital, and would be used by the Kill-Team to strike back at the swarm.

So it was that on the third day after the Tyranids had arrived at Beseritor, that the sky was filled, from horizon to horizon, with spores and troop ships, all bringing their deadly cargo down onto the planet’s surface. The few ground to orbit defences that Beseritor had did their best, but they were unable to make even a little dent in the pure numbers being flown, dropped and expunged from orbit.

Another couple of days passed; with no satellites the Hive was mostly blind, having to rely on the information spotted by the High Altitude bombers. What information they could gather, indicated that a large number of Tyranid creatures were on course to reach the Second Hive, under construction and filled with most of the planets nuclear warheads. The day after this intelligence arrived, there was a massive explosion from behind the horizon, but so massive was this explosion that it could be seen and felt from everywhere on Beseritor… Hive Secundus was no more.

Brother Drakhaus, tapping into the swirling eddy of the warp, could hear the anger from the Hive Mind at the destruction of a large portion of its forces… less protected and trained psykers were driven mad by the psychic power unleashed upon the destruction of that part of the swarm. Immediately, the speakers began blaring that the Xenos had destroyed the hive, and that only service to the emperor and immediate obedience would stop the same happening to Hive Primus, which did a lot to restore morale amongst the PDF troops.

However, the day after that was the day that the Kill-Team knew would come. As dawn broke on another day on Beseritor, all that could be seen, for miles around, was a massive swarm of Tyranids, millions strong, and all with one goal in mind, Hive Primus. The nuclear armed bombers were immediately dispatched, all 5 of them, with the Kill-Team noting that there were not many gargoyles in close support roles; they were more in high altitude at the moment. The operation was almost a perfect success, the bombers flew out on all 4 main points of the compass, and they were there in a minute, if not less, not giving the Hive Mind time to react.

One of the marauders did not complete its mission, with its nuclear warhead not arming, but the other four were timed to perfection. In almost synchronicity, the nuclear weapons went off in the heart of the horde, blasting massive holes in the swarm of Tyranids, and cutting their numbers down to size. However, there were still millions of troops, and they converged closer together as they moved in on the Hive, and before the Hive knew it, it was surrounded, and the Tyranids were massing at the 4 entrances.

The Kill-Team realised that they had made a miscalculation, the airfields for the bombers and fighters were in the land surrounding the hive, which meant they could only keep one wing of their airforce, the rest would have no place to refuel or rearm… so they were sent the order to spend their armaments on the horde, and then try to take down any flying creatures or organic ships with their own lives.

With the Tyranids surrounding the hive, the Kill-Team handed over strategic planning and redeployment to the Imperial Governor and the PDF General, and made their way down to the Northern Gate, taking up prime defensive positions, redirecting the PDF Forces, and then waited for the Tyranids to make their entrance. With the gates being welded shut, there was no visibility about what was outside… all they could hear was scuttling and heavy footfalls, interspaced with explosions from some of the artillery pieces firing from further up the hive.

Then, they all heard it, a massive smashing boom, as something with immense weight and power crashed against the northern gate, and they were getting reports that this was going on at all the other gates as well. A massive claw ripped through the metal gate, and then so did another, and then the sound of metal being ripped from itself, as the gate started to be torn off its hinges. With a final sound of metal screeching, most of the gate came off, and the Tyranids flooded through.

Hordes of Hormagaunts and Termagaunts came through the ripped gate, the first wave obliterated by the buried mines, but they did clear them for the next wave. A storm of las-fire met this attack, but the Hormagaunts were too fast, and there were too many of them, and they were on the front of the PDF units in seconds. The Termagaunts put down some fire, being guided by an inhuman intellect; they started firing at the troops behind the emBattled lines, preventing the quick reinforcement of the position. At the back of this wave, came three Tyranid Warriors, who were directing the swarm’s attack.

Amidst the storm of las-fire, the sounds of bolters could be heard. Brother Elyes immediately fired off a storm of mass reactive shells into the Carnifex, but was astonished when it barely noticed the attack, carrying on barging towards the imperial line. The Tyranid Warriors, having seen this attack, fired towards Brother Elyes, but their Deathspitters could only graze him, which emboldened the troops around him, who were locked in bitter combat with the Hormagaunts.

Brother Drakhaus and Brother Curro answered this attack with a storm of bolt fire, their shots tearing into one of the Tyranid Warriors, the bolts exploding against its carapace, doing a grievous wound to the warrior, which was only enhanced when the poisons of Brother Elyes started coursing through its veins. The Hormagaunts, breaking through the front of the imperial line, threw themselves onto the Battle Brothers and started tearing at their armour.

They did not inflict that much damage, although one particularly lucky hit did strike Brother Curro, and the Kill-Team realised that they had to kill the Synapse creatures, there were just too many Hormagaunts for the Imperial Line to deal with. With the line engaged in combat, the Carnifex started a run, powering towards the Imperial line, the weight of its strides shaking the very foundations of the street. Brother Calremus dropped his missile launcher, shook off the Hormagaunts and pulled out his heavy flamer, ready to cause destruction.

Brother Elyes, pulling out his Chainsword, started ripping Hormagaunts to pieces, slicing them in two as they leapt at him, cutting through their bodies easily. Brother Curro, shouting a war cry of the Storm Wardens, fired his jet pack and slammed into the Carnifex, stopping its charge and drawing its attention to this much smaller foe, rather than the imperial line. Brother Curro commenced his attack, dodging inside the reach of the Carnifex and, with a feat of strength, chopped his way through the carapace, causing a couple of wounds.

Brother Drakhaus smote the Xenos, the lightning crackling around the Hormagaunts and sending their smoking corpses to the ground. Brother Haakon and Elyes began hacking and shooting at the Hormagaunt Horde, finally starting to make a dent in the almost uncountable masses, with the fire from the Armoured Units and PDF troops helping to bring them down. All of this was almost a sideshow, with the main event being Brother Curro locked in combat with the massive Carnifex, the pivotal fight that would determine who carried the day at the northern Gate.

Brother Curro, himself large for a space marine, still found himself dwarfed by the massive bulk of the Hive creature he was fighting. He used this size disparity to his advantage though, dodging between the clumsy swipes and strikes from the Carnifex, and inflicting measured attacks and wounds. The Carnifex, although it could regenerate, could not match its smaller opponent, and even when one of its attacks looked like it would connect, Brother Curro managed to re-direct it into the ground.

As more and more attacks found their mark, the Carnifex went into a rage, but even then Brother Curro was more than a match, avoiding the thrashing creature, before moving inside its guard, planting his power sword under its chin and firing his jetpack. The momentum, and the power of the strike, ripped the skull off the Carnifex, and Brother Curro flew up in the air, the head of the Carnifex transfixed on his sword, a perfect rallying cry for the Imperial Defence.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Kill-Team had been doing their best to keep the rest of the Tyranids off their Battle Brother, striking down Hormagaunts and attacking the Tyranid Warriors, taking them down with methodical pace, one after the other, making the attack lose more and more cohesion as each warrior was destroyed. Eventually, the attack was repulsed, but the Kill-Team was already aware that the south and west gates had been lost, and that troops were being moved in to plug the breaches. The Kill-Team, aware that this level was lost, countermanded that order and started pulling the troops back to the next level of the hive.



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