Battle Brothers of the Jericho Reach

The Price of Hubris; Session 12
Where Tragedy strikes the World of Aarun

The Kill Team arrived back around mid-afternoon. Heydal, after being violently sick on the side of the road, informed the Battle Brothers that he would head straight for the Caele’s residence, to inform him of recent events. The Kill Team headed directly for the Imperial Compound to inform Brigadier Heth that whilst there had been a Xenos infection on Aarun, it had now been cleansed and the Rogue Trader, Diaz Lan, offered his congratulations on yet another world freed from the hated Xenos influence. They were also informed that their success in the Divested Hunt had given an instant impact, with the Aaruns treating the Imperials with a little bit more respect than before… which considering it used to be none, was a definite improvement.

The Battle Brothers spent the rest of the afternoon meditating on their success, whilst patching their numerous wounds and repairing the rents in their armour. Towards the start of the evening, they were informed that the Caele would see them after his evening meal, so the Battle Brothers decided to put on an impromptu training session, throwing the doors to the Imperial “Embassy” wide open so that the Aaruns could test themselves against the Adeptus Astartes in hand-to-hand combat. One of the first to turn up was the Aarun who had threatened them with “Legal Action” for the loss of his cart during the Grox Stampede… and in this case, his Lawyer was an impressive specimen of the Aarun world, standing 7ft 5inches with a build to match.

After a little negotiation over the terms of the combat, in which the Battle Brothers promised to pay for the business for two years if they lost, but the business owner promised to voice his awe at the Imperium to anyone who frequented his business for the same amount of time if his “Lawyer” lost, the bout commenced. Brother Curro was the one to take up the challenge, being the Assault Marine and Squad Leader for this mission, and he settled into a fighting stance. The Aarun, who was quicker than he looked, took the first swing, his meaty fists connecting with the face of Brother Curro, snapping his head back with a crushing blow and giving Brother Curro much more respect for this warrior. This made his hundreds of years of training kick in, and his reprisal was devastating.

One, lightning fast, punch hit the Aarun warrior in the chest, breaking a few of his ribs and driving the air from his lungs, whilst also making his feet leave the floor for a second. Brother Curro mercilessly exploited this, with a knee to the head of the Aarun sending him staggering backwards, wobbling awfully, really struggling to stay standing from this brutal assault that defied anything he had felt before. Brother Curro had all the time in the world, or so it seemed to his heightened senses, and he launched himself forward and felt his forehead connect with the face of the Aarun warrior, who let out a muffled groan as he toppled over, utterly defeated. The crowd was completely stunned, from first punch to the end of the fight had only been around 5 seconds, and it was just astonishing… but after another couple of seconds, the cheering started.

The Battle Brothers then started sparring with each other, and any Aarun’s brave enough to step into the ring with them, and the Kill Team became aware of just how impressive these people were, and a plan began to form in their minds as to the future of Aarun. As evening fell, they met the Caele on the roof of his residence… it was obvious that this was the place where he felt most at peace with the world and with what had happened. The Caele invited them to a feast in their honour, one last Aarun tradition because the Caele told them that he feared that the Aarun traditions would be subsumed in the Imperium… with the Caele even going so far as to ask the Kill Team to falsify their reports, to tell their superiors that the Genestealer seed was too deep in the planet, and that they should quarantine the planet until the sector is purified.

The Battle Brothers listened patiently as the Caele spoke to them about his fears for an Imperium Led future… with his proud warriors reduced to mere farm labourers, for the Decavane Crystals that made Aarun what it was being stripped away, for all the brutal beauty of this planet being destroyed all to feed the Imperial War Machine. Brother Curro spoke to the Caele about his chapter, the Storm Wardens, and how he had come from a world much like this, with a proud warrior culture… and how they were left to themselves, to be the people that would be recruited into the Astartes ranks… which intrigued the Caele immensely. Brother Curro’s comments that the Aarun’s would not be devoured, as they would by the Tyranids, but absorbed into the Imperium did not help ease the Caele’s mind, as he rightly pointed out that they sort of mean the same thing!

The Battle Brothers told the Caele that they would take his advice to heart and would come up with a plan for this world, and that they understood some of his fears, however treasonous they sounded to their ears. The Caele thanked them for their counsel and informed them that he would send Alkedre to fetch them around midday for the Feast, and then he thanked them and left them on the roof to their own thoughts. The Battle Brothers were somewhat torn… they could see both sides of the argument and, whilst they were loyal to the Imperium, they were also loyal to the Emperor and could see how this world could strengthen his legions without losing what made this world so special. They decided that their recommendation would be a compromise between all the factions… this world would be a recruiting ground for Space Marine Chapters, for the Imperial Guard, the mining would be limited and a lot of the land would be used for Agriculture.

The next day the Kill Team was met by Alkedre, who gifted them each a necklace made with the fangs of the Diablon they had killed. Also, because the Kill Team had brought back the entire body, Brother Curro was gifted with a cape made from the Diablon’s red scales, which shimmered in the Aarun sunlight. The Battle Brothers accepted these gifts graciously before meeting with Diaz Lan and Archibald Heth, with Brother Curro sitting next to the Rogue Trader in his cape and just feeling rather superior. The Kill Team were at the head of the parade to the Hall of Victory with the Caele, resplendent with Power Armour and Weapons… including a Lascannon that Brother Calremus insisted on taking with him… he had a bit of a light show in mind towards the end of the ceremony.

As the procession arrived at the Victory Hall, the Caele took to the stage that had been set up outside and gestured for the Kill Team to join him. From the height of the stage, the Kill Team could see just how many Aarun’s had come to this area of the city and, whilst it did not have anything in terms of sheer numbers compared to some of the Hive Worlds they had visited, it was still an impressive spectacle. The Caele’s speech got the crowd cheering, and the Kill Team could see the Aarun warriors freely mingling with the small contingent of Imperial Guard that were on Aarun. During the cheering, the Caele leaned towards the Battle Brothers and asked them what their decision had been, and a smile split his face when the Kill Team informed him of their plan/recommendation. He turned back to the crowd and informed them that he had decided to bring the world of Aarun back into the Imperium, by the God Emperor’s grace.

Battle Brother Curro was then invited to speak to the crowd, which was an ancient Aarun tradition that had somehow been missed out of their mission packs. Still, whilst he was no great speaker, he did understand how a world of warriors would react, and pitched his speech directly to each of them, informing them of the great future this world had within the Imperium, and how their strength had impressed even those of the Adeptus Astartes. All in all, it was a rather rousing speech that would be spoken of in glowing terms in the near future of Aarun. After this, everyone moved into the Victory Hall and took their positions, with the Kill Team free to choose their seats (not that anyone could have stopped them sitting where they wanted anyway!), but as Guests of Honour, this gave them more freedom than usual… although most of the Kill Team decided to sit at the head table with the Caele.

After the first course, the formal setting and seating split up and the Kill Team started roaming around the hall, with Brother Haakon going straight for the harshest alcohol he could get his hands on… he was determined to put his enhanced organs to the test. Brother Drakhaus sought out the “Shaman’s” of Aarun, knowing them to be psykers in all but name, because he wanted to test them to see how they used their powers, what training they were given, and how likely it would be that a major Daemon incursion would happen because of one of them getting stupid. Brother Haakon also kept getting asked about his Fenrisian Wolf Cloak, it being a singular creature especially on a world dominated by scaled lizards, rather than more mammals. The Tech Marine was getting the most attention, his otherworldly look completely fascinating and terrifying the natives.

An Imperial Missionary, Marius by name, was using the success of the Kill Team to spread the word of the Emperor and, as he was talking about the Three Challenges of Lehman Russ, the Space Wolves Primarch) he called Brother Haakon over because a lot of the Aaruns had expressed a desire to do the first two challenges (eating a lot of food, and drinking a lot of alcohol). Brother Haakon, with his enhanced organs, was the only one left standing after imbibing a herculean amount of food and beer, with many Aarun’s either unconscious or writhing around in pain from eating/drinking too much. It was at this time that the superhuman senses of the Adeptus Astartes detected the hissing sound of Genestealers… but this was too late to stop what came next.

The Genestealers, many of them dripping in Promethium from where they had been hiding, materialised in the hall, striking with deadly intent. Those nearest to the entrance of the Victory Hall were overwhelmed, dying with a smile on their lips and a drink in their hands… those next in line were not so fortunate, they had just enough time to realise what was coming for them, and feel the terrible dread and terror, before they were cut down. At the head of the horde was a monster the Kill Team had seen before… a Broodlord! The Kill Team, being members of the Adeptus Astartes, were some of the first to react, their training and lack of fear allowing them to move as a team, rather than as a group of frightened individuals, which was what was happening with most of the Aarun’s… the Caele and Alkedre being notable exceptions.

The Broodlord let forth a horrific psychic scream into the Warp, which made the already scattered Aarun defence fall apart, with only the Battle Brothers able to rally the tables where they were, along with the Caele, Alkedre, Brigadier Heth and Diaz Lan… and then battle was joined. Brother Elyes stepped in front of Alkedre and Heth, shielding them with his armoured body as he pulled out his Bolter and spat a stream of death towards the Genestealers attacking that table, but the incredibly swift Xenos were able to dodge easily as they surged towards the Battle Brother. Brother Drakhaus, meanwhile, had more exalted foes in mind, and sprayed the Broodlord with a full-auto burst from his Storm Bolter, but the creature’s tough carapace mostly held off the attack, with a few splinters of carapace being split off his carcass. However, the Genestealers then ripped into the Aarun ranks, slaughtering many of them for only the loss of a few of their own.

It was at that point that Karthus, one of the trusted generals of the Aarun people, revealed his true colours and leapt on Brother Calremus… unknown to the Kill Team, Karthus had been infected for quite some time, and him and his infected warriors had chosen now to strike. Brother Calremus was able to dodge out of the attack of Karthus, but another infected warrior managed to lodge its Genestealer dagger into his chest, but it only just penetrated the armour, and Brother Calremus’s natural toughness took care of the rest. Brother Calremus, using his natural strength and agility, shrugged off those attacking him, pulled up his Lascannon, sighted down the Broodlord and fired. However, the Broodlord was incredibly aware of its surroundings and managed to shift its bulk out of the way, but in doing so it left itself vulnerable to Brother Curro.

Brother Curro stepped up with his Power and Chain swords, swinging them in a concave pattern and carving big chunks out of the Broodlord, but not stopping the rampaging monster. Brother Haakon thought about using his Meltagun to attack the Broodlord, but the close proximity of Brother Curro nixed that plan, and his bolter shots were dodged by the Genestealers. Meanwhile, the Caele, fighting for his home and his people, stepped up and slashed at some of the Genestealers, his incredible strength (for an Aarun) carving through one of the Xenos. The Broodlord, with incredibly strength, pushed Brother Curro aside, his armour gouged by the scything talons of the Broodlord, leant towards the Caele, his mouth within a mouth extending, and punched through the Caele’s Saurian scale armour and into his chest… the Caele dropped immediately.

Brothers’ Elyes and Haakon started co-ordinating the first from the Bolters, more accurate bursts of mass reactive bolts ripping through the Genestealer Ranks and giving the overwhelmed Aaruns a fighting chance. Brother Drakhaus, himself relatively safe in one corner of the room, reached out with the power of his mind and overwhelmed the willpower of one of the Genestealers next to the Broodlord… with the plan being to make the Genestealer attack the Broodlord, and thus giving more opportunity for Brother Curro to hack it down. Father Marius, reciting prayers to the Emperor, started spraying the room with his Holy Flamer which, given that the Genestealers were covered in Promethium, was a startlingly effective manoeuvre, if a devastating one.

Brother Calremus, realising he could get overwhelmed by the number of infected warriors trying to attack him, dropped his Lascannon and quickly drew his Power Sword and Bolt Pistol and stood in a confident stance, awaiting their attacks. Brother Tyhous, the Tech Marine, lurched forward and buried his Combat Knife into the body of the Broodlord, whilst his Servo Arm came crashing down on another Genestealer, destroying the Xenos’s skull and flattening it into the ground like a squashed bug. The Caele pulled himself to his feet and buried his sword deep into the guts of another Genestealer, before quickly dodging a riposte, whilst Brother Tyhous took a couple of grievous hits from the other Genestealers, but his enhanced and machine aided constitution and armour were able to keep him alive, if wounded.

During all the chaos, the Kill Team realised that the Genestealers attacking Diaz Lan did not seem to be going all out (if you could make that distinction with Genestealers) and did not seem to be trying to kill him. But they could not do too much about this, as they were still engulfed in a tide of Genestealers, the Caele was injured and the rest of the battle was not going that well. Brother Drakhaus, controlling one of the Genestealers, used this tool to attack one of its brethren… which was completely surprised and went down after being torn to pieces by its Broodmate. Meanwhile, the Aaruns were putting up a bit more of a fight, taking down some more Genestealers as reinforcements arrived from the guards outside. Father Marius managed to clear the area where he was fighting with more gouts of flame from his Flamer, which freed up some other Aarun’s to go to their colleagues aid.

Brother Curro, seeing the damage the Broodlord had done, let out a cry as loud as Thunder, fixing the Broodlord’s attention entirely on him and away from the Aarun’s in the battle, before driving his Power Sword deep into the stomach of the Broodlord, causing a massive wound, and leaving the Broodlord staggering. Brother Elyes, who had taken out his Bulkhead Shears, saw the opportunity and took it… leaping high into the air off one of the tables, crying out a Dark Angels battlecry and burying them deeply into the back of the Broodlord, which staggered backwards and then, in almost slow motion, fell down dead, hitting the floor with a thud. The Kill Team had been made aware that the Caele had probably been infected by the Broodlord’s kiss, and so Brother Drakhaus, knowing what needed to happen, ordered his Genestealer Thrall to attack the Caele.

However, the Caele was a fine warrior and was still quite healthy and managed to dodge the Genestealers attacks, especially with the Aarun warriors throwing themselves in the way of the blows, willing to lay down their lives to protect their beloved leader. With the death of the Broodlord, that freed the Kill Team to focus down the rest of the Xenos, which they did with precision and brutality… although both Alkedre and Diaz Lan were pulled down by the Genestealers, but were found to still be alive, if gravely injured after the fight was finished. The final blow went to Brother Drakhaus, whose warp powered smite completely destroyed the two Genestealers that were retreating… and the Caele managed to survive the assassination attempt, even if he did not know it was as such… and, in fact, the Caele was the one that pinned the Genestealer and jammed his sword into the monsters throat, before collapsing.

With the battle over, the Caele and Alkedre were taken by their own people to be seen to, although their injuries did not appear to be as serious as were first thought, probably a side effect of the Decavane Crystals that were seeded throughout the planet. The Kill Team took stock, and realised that it was possible that any of the Caele, Alkedre or Diaz Lan may have been infected with the Xenos taint… and they only had the medical facilities to sort out one of them. The decision was made to scan the Caele… as if he was infected then this entire planet could be at risk, and might end up signalling the Hive Fleet that the Kill Team had very personal experience with. The Caele was somewhat sceptical of their claims, but could not deny that his General Karthus had turned against him, and was horrified that it could potentially happen to him… but in the end agreed to come up and be scanned on the Rogue Traders ship.

The scanning process was long and invasive… they were looking at an infection on a genetic level using arcane machinery that Brother Elyes and Diaz Lan barely understood but, eventually after a month the scans came back… and it was bad news, the Caele had been infected by the Broodlord’s Kiss and was a danger to the entire planet of Aarun. However, there was still hope… not only could the facilities on the Rogue Trader’s ship scan for the disease but it had the ability to cure as well… which Brother Elyes set about with much haste. Unfortunately, his skill was not up to the task and the scans they did after the “treatment” showed that the infection was still present and was in the process of rewriting the Caele’s very being. The Kill Team, who respected the Caele greatly, informed him of this in a very solemn way, although they were also unaware of how he would react to this news, because they did not know how fast the infection would spread.

So it came to pass that Caele Rylus Darkscourge took his own life in a ceremony that was witnessed by Diaz Lan, Brigadier Heth, Alkedre Firestalker and the Battle Brothers, and leadership of the planet of Aarun passed to Alkedre… whom the Kill Team were still not sure of. They managed to convince Alkedre that they needed to come back and test her for the same issue that had caused the former Caele to take his own life, and after informing the Brigadier of this, and that some members of the Adminstratum would be coming to help administer Imperial control, the Battle Brothers went back to the Watch Fortress to restock Lan’s medical facility, knowing that they were gambling that Alkedre was not infected, due to the amount of time that will have passed by the time they return (circa 3 months). The Kill Team were frustrated at this amount of time, but there was nothing they could do to change the eddies of the Warp.

The Price of Hubris; Session 11
Where the Xenos threat to Aarun is cleansed

Halfway through sawing the head off the Diablon, the planets apex predator, the Kill Team realised that they were actually strong enough to carry the entire thing, and realised that as a statement of intent it would be so much more impressive if they turned up with the entire carcass and, given that one of the main reasons why they were here was to impress the natives, it was agreed. The trip back was uneventful, even the inhabitants of this blasted land knew to stay out of the way of anything strong enough to kill a Diablon, and so it was that the Kill Team exited the canyon in the early hours of the evening, the sun slowly setting behind them, framing them as the legends they were. Two Aarun youths who had remained just outside the threshold could not stop themselves from staring at the sight before them, before remembering their duty and mounting their Theratryx’s and riding off to deliver the news.

When they arrived at the city darkness had just started to fall, and the streets were lined with both torches and people, the news of the success of the Divested Hunt had spread quickly, not surprising given how rare it was attempted (and even rarer that it was successful). One of the first things the Kill Team noticed was a massive increase in the amount of respect in the Aarun’s gaze; they were obviously now accepted members of the Aarun’s, if not by blood, then by deed. They saw Brigadier Heth in the teeming crowd, a grin splitting his face from ear to ear, and they heard some of the missionaries, taking advantage of this momentous occasion to spread the word of the Emperor… “See, this is what we were telling you about… these are the Emperors’ Children!”

They were met by the Caele himself at the entrance to his homestead. They could see that he was pleased by this turn of events, and he praised their bravery and skill, telling them that the last Divested Hunt that had been completed was by himself and Alkedre, and that this was a momentous day for Aarun/Imperial relations. Brother Curro, bruised and battered frame still healing from the Diablon fight, presented a completely unstained sword to the Caele, letting him know, without any words being spoken, how the fight had gone down. After the short ceremony, the Caele gave his permission for the Kill Team to rest and recuperate, telling them that in the morning, they had a lot of serious matters to discuss, which was what the Battle Brothers had been wanting to hear ever since they stepped foot on the planet.

The Kill Team, after a night of meditation, rededication and healing, turned up at the Caele’s homestead just as the sun was rising… they were impatient to learn what had been withheld from them and, based on their knowledge of Tyranids, were just itching to cleanse the hated Xenos from this world. They were met by Alkedre who escorted them onto the flat roof of the homestead, where the Caele stood watching the rising sun, his back to the Kill Team. He thanked them again for not dismissing the Aarun’s ways, and promised them a celebration for such an august event, but he stated that they probably would like to know more about the “Scythed Death” that had come to their world, which immediately got the Kill Team’s complete attention. The Kill Team was informed of the town of Grensvayl which, over the last five years, had become increasingly isolated and last year, sent no crops at all.

The Caele sent a war party to the settlement, because not paying your yearly tithe is not something that the Aarun’s usually do, and only a few of the hundreds sent returned. Those that did come back spoke, in whispers, of terrifying six-armed monstrosities that had scythed through their ranks as though they were not there. They also spoke of horrific cross-breeds between the two. The reaction was instantaneous… having learned from the Imperium what uses promethium could be put to, a massive excavation of the pits north of the city was begun in secret, and the town of Grensvayl was surrounded in a ring of fire which continues to this day. The Aarun’s were lucky that Grensvayl was hedged in on two sides by towering cliffs, so it was actually possible to contain the Genestealer threat. The Kill Team offered their congratulations on making the best of a bad situation, and for not allowing the taint to spread, having seen first-hand what can happen to a world if that happens.

The discussion then took another turn, with the Caele confiding in the Kill Team that, after learning all he could about their Imperium, he was left to wonder just how much nicer a Master the Imperium would be, compared to the Tyranids. He then shook his head to clear his thoughts and gave them permission to go wherever they needed to go on the planet, and to get there however they needed… he recommended they speak to Zahir Heydal who was the man in charge of the quarantine effort. With that, the meeting was over and the Kill Team quickly moved to their Thunderhawk Gunship, flying quickly to their destination. They could see their destination from many miles away; they could see the massive plume of smoke from the promethium fires that surrounded the town. The Kill Team made sure to land the Thunderhawk a little way away from the town itself, they did not want to give away their presence to the Xenos that infested the place.

The Kill Team approached the perimeter cautiously, knowing that the Aarun’s on guard would be very wary to anyone approaching and, from what they could see, time and the quarantine had not been kind to Grensvayl, with withered orchards, lakes of fire and burnt out buildings all that seemed to be left of the town. The Kill Team were not exactly a stealthy team, what with Brother Elyes’s power armour demanding that he be at the front, taking charge, at all times. Brother Drakhaus, on the advice of Brother Calremus, descended into a psychic trance to try and understand whether the Genestealers had started calling to the Hive Fleet yet… and the Kill Team was very relieved to find out that the answer was no. The Kill Team was met by confusion by Heydal, as there had been no communication about the Divested Hunt, but the Kill Team was able to convince Heydal that they were supposed to be here and Heydal was not about to argue with the Battle Brothers.

The Kill Team learned about the breakout attempts from Heydal… there had been three attempts that the Aarun’s had only just managed to contain, including on description that made the Kill Team think that psychic powers had been used, which concerned them greatly. But, on the whole, the Kill Team were complimentary of the Aarun’s efforts to keep their world safe, once again they saw a great potential in these people if they could be brought into the Imperium… and some of the Battle Brothers were thinking what a great boon they could be for the Astartes ranks as well. The Battle Brothers fell into a strategic planning conversation, deciding to keep the Thunderhawk in reserve, knowing that having flying artillery like that would be a boon in this cleansing of Grensvayl… and they also agreed that anyone left alive would be inherently tainted, and was to be killed.

Utilising Brother Curro’s jetpack, the Kill Team was leapfrogged over the flaming barricade one by one until they were assembled on the other side. Smoothly getting into their combat formation, the Kill Team set about exploring the surrounding area, keeping their senses peeled for danger. Taking the lead from Brother Curro, the team swept down from the north and approached the burnt out remnants of the Theratryx stables, weapons to the ready in-case of any ambush, with one strange thing that they noticed was a freshly slaughtered carcass of an Aarun Theratryx, with the Kill Team wondering just what might be alive in here. As they moved away from the stables, they saw a group of Genestealers circling around an Aarun lodge, not trying to enter, just circling around, as if they were waiting to see if anyone was inside. Brother Calremus, after consulting the rest of the Kill Team, raised his Lascannon to his shoulder and fired a shot at the Genestealers, with the bright lasbeam illuminating the dusky atmosphere.

However, Genestealers are nothing if not agile, and it managed to dodge out of the way of the beam, which meant the beam punched a fist sized hole all the way through the lodge, from one side to the other and it got the attention of the Genestealers who had been lurking around the lodge. The Kill Team, knowing that all hopes of stealth was now gone, started firing on the Genestealers from long range, hoping to kill them before they reached them in close combat. Bolters started their chattering, spraying fields of explosive death at the Genestealers, with lascannon shots illuminating the picture as well… and it was one of those lascannon shots that took the first kill, a Genestealer being a little too slow to dodge, and being engulfed in the beam, which sent parts of it dropping to the floor, with the rest of its body vaporised. It was then that Brother Drakhaus, looking at the Auspex, detected a large group of Genestealers massing behind the Theratryx stables, and he shouted a warning to his Battle Brothers.

Brother Calremus was the first to respond, throwing an Astartes blind grenade into the mass of Genestealers, which confused the swarm somewhat, but not enough to stop their charge. Brother Drakhaus extended his arm and watched as the bolt of electricity exploded amongst the Genestealers; with the power being pushed it caused a lot of damage and destruction and only caused a gust of wind to appear in the area, because of Brother Drakhaus’s wards on his body. Brother Curro, itching for close combat but knowing they needed to delay it for as long as possible, threw his Astartes Frag Grenade into another mass of Genestealers, sending bodies and broken limbs up into the air… the Kill Team was doing a good job of thinning the horde, but would it be enough?

The Genestealers charged, all ferocity and rage, with their scythed limbs slashing against the Battle Brothers. Brother’s Curro and Drakhaus had numerous gauges in their armour, as the talons sliced through the Power Armour like it was not there, grievously wounding Brother Curro who had not really recovered from his battering from the Diablon the day before. Brother Calremus pulled out his Storm Bolter, and started spraying his mass reactive bolts into groups of the Genestealers, blowing their limbs off whilst Brother Haakon drew his Power Sword and started slicing into the Genestealers. Brother Drakhaus, understanding what dire straits the Kill Team was in, pushed his power again, electricity spraying from his fist and sending the Genestealers flying. Brother Haakon could see how much damage the Librarian was doing, and that he was probably their only hope; the Battle Brothers took up position to protect the Librarian, to sell their lives dearly.

It was then that the Thunderhawk launched its strafing run, driving Genestealers into the ground with its Heavy Bolters, and breaking up the assault somewhat, giving the Kill Team a little bit of respite, and allowing them to get into their Triangle Formation. Brother Curro, overwhelmed by the Genestealer Hordes, fell to the ground after being taken apart by the Genestealers, his body buried under the seething mass that was assaulting the Kill Team. Not for the first time, this spurred the Kill Team into a ferocious assault on whatever caused the “death” of one of their fellows, even though Brother’s Haakon and Calremus were also taking a lot of damage from the Genestealers, with Brother Calremus only just holding himself up and Brother Haakon also looking pretty ropey. Brother Haakon refused to go down, taking down four Genestealers and Brother Calremus let rip with his Storm Bolter, taking down eight of the Tyranids.

This was an amazing result, as it left just a few remaining stragglers alive, which were then cleaned up by Brother Drakhaus, his Holy Smite destroying the rest of them and leaving the Kill Team hurt but alive, and thanking the Emperor for his grace. When they pulled Brother Curro out from under the massive amount of Genestealer corpses, they were amazed to see that he was still alive, and they got him to the Apothecary, Brother Elyes, who was able to get him back on his feet again. After taking care of the rest of the Kill Team, they took stock of their situation… they had just killed a hell of a lot of Genestealers and it did not seem like there were anymore that they could see. The Kill Team had seen some movement in the lodge after their lascannon shot and they were determined to check that out before continuing with their cleansing, and they had the Thunderhawk conduct a strafing run on the orchard to sift out any Genestealers that may have been hiding.

Brother Haakon decided that whatever was in the lodge would probably be impressed/terrified if he made an unusual entrance so, rather than going up to the door, or looking through the lascannon hole, he just walked up to a random wall and kept on walking, destroying the wall with ease. The three Aarun’s who were holed up in the lodge spun round with curse words forming on their lips, their blades jumping from their sheaths into their hands, before they saw it was not a Genestealer. However, they were confused when Brother Haakon commented that he was here to see why the grain had not been sent to Haistand in the past 5 years… the Aarun’s not understanding Space Wolf humour. The Kill Team was suspicious of how these Aarun’s had managed to survive in a town teeming with Genestealers, and the story that they had been hiding out and then raiding the Theratryx compound for food, because the Genestealers never seemed to bother with them, did not ring true.

Not trusting that these Aarun’s were not infected, Brother Haakon assuaged their fears, and gave them an Astartes Frag Grenade, telling them that this would bring the Kill Team back to them to “save” them. The Aaruns, having no contact with the Imperium, did not know that this was a fallacy, and so were quite thankful for this aid, even though it would be their doom. With their backs “secured” from being surprised, at the very least, the Kill Team moved out further into the town, being very cautious indeed after their last encounter. However, they were all distracted by Brother Haakon chuckling to himself over his rather mean “joke” that he had played on the Aaruns, and so they were surprised when a group of infected Aaruns rounded the corner and charged them. However, these were not Genestealers, and the Kill Team took them down with extreme prejudice. Frag Grenades exploded in their midst and the charge of Brothers Drakhaus and Curro was too much for the remainder.

As they were killing the last of the infected Aaruns, the Kill Team heard a series of loud noises, from both the areas where Brother Haakon had set up his mines to guard their flank, and from the lodge, where the sound was accompanied by the visual of spraying blood, as their “security measure” was used. Standing in the middle of the ruined town of Grensvayl, the Kill Team spotted the last remaining Genestealers approaching them, and stood their ground to take them down. A huge, intense beam of energy flew out of Brother Haakon’s Melta Gun, but his aim was off an all it did was set yet another fire burning in the town, whilst Brother Calremus aimed his lascannon at one of the Genestealers, and turned it into paste. Brother Curro drew his Power Sword and, with a cry to the Emperor, charged into melee slicing one of the Genestealers down the middle, from the head to its groin, with his Chainsword slicing across and taking out another one of the Genestealers, slicing all four of its arms off and leading it bleeding on the ground.

Brother Drakhaus reached deep into the immaterium and directed his immense willpower towards one of the Genestealers. Alien thoughts filled his mind, threatening his sanity, but he pushed past and found the monsters motor controls, and wrenched control from the Genestealer to himself, piloting it like a meat puppet. He managed to make the Genestealer shift sideways, and attack its fellow, ripping into the surprised organism and dealing a deathblow with its razor sharp claws. The remainder of the Genestealers crowded around Brother Curro, ready to deal death with their claws, but Brother Curro acted first, ducking under one of their lunges and burying his Chainsword deep into its belly, before rotating and throwing his Power Sword at the last remaining Genestealer, taking it through the eye and killing it instantly. Brother Curro pulled his Power Sword out of the corpse whilst looking askance at the remaining, docile, Genestealer and Brother Drakhaus.

Brother Drakhaus now had complete control over the Genestealer, and he had it out front as a scout for the Kill Team, as he informed his colleagues that he could control it for quite some time unless anything happened, but that the risk were worth the potential reward. The Kill Team had, from the air, seem a cave system towards the southern end of the town, and given they had cleared everything out up until then, they decided to take a look… and it was confusing because the closer they got, the less the Auspex could see, until Brother Calremus took a look at it, and deciphered that the magnetic interference was coming from the cave itself, which made the Kill Team very cautious as they approached it as they realised that this could not be caused by a natural occurrence. As they made their way towards the disturbance they saw a metal door, which had been worked so that, if it was not open, it would have been barely detectable, especially by the primitive Aaruns.

Given that they were going to be entering close quarters combat, the Kill Team shedded themselves of their heavy weapons, and took up their Storm Bolters and Melee Weaponry… and the decision was made to send in their Dominated Genestealer first. When nothing happened, the Kill Team advanced into the case, seeing immediately that there were three tunnels and, before deciding where to go, Brother Haakon took off his helmet and, using his Wolf Senses, attempted to get a better idea of the surrounding area. To the south, he smelt only death, to the north he smelt only metal and to the west he could smell the strong smell of death, and he quickly relayed this to the Kill Team, who decided that they would head towards the Death smell first. Advancing slowly down the corridor, they found a few broken life pods, which were inscribed with a symbol that none of them had seen before, a cog, inside which was the eight pointed star of Chaos.

After a discussion on what this could mean, the Kill Team moved on and found three corpses, one of which was more machine than man, all of which had been stripped of flesh and eaten, maybe when they were alive. Brother Calremus took one of the cogs with the eight pointed symbol of chaos to show the Deathwatch later, and then they decided that the Kill Team would move towards the sweat smell, with none of the Kill Team wanting to leave anything alive that could attack them from behind. As they walked down the corridor towards the sweat smell, Brother Calremus picked out, with his enhanced eyesight, some movement behind some of the rocks… with this, the Kill Team slowed down and approached in a more cautious manner, before realising that there were Infected Aaruns ahead, and a lot of mining equipment. However, they had been spotted and, before they could get to cover, the Mining Lasers were activated and shot a deadly beam of energy towards the Kill Team.

However, because of Brother Calremus’s words the Kill Team was able to dodge the Mining Laser, and the energy started melting the rocks behind them… what it would have done to their power armour would not have been pretty. Brother Drakhaus, feeling his grip on the Genestealer slipping, decided to send it charging towards the infected Aaruns, which mean it went outside of the sphere of psychic energy that Brother Drakhaus was maintaining. However, all this meant was that it reverted to instinctual behaviour, and that behaviour was to attacked the creatures that had attacked it… the Kill Team could hear the cries of terror and pain that emanated from behind the Mining Laser as the Genestealer ripped them apart with no mercy. After this slaughter the Kill Team wasted no time in blowing the Genestealer to pieces, it had served its purpose, and it had served it well, but it was just too dangerous to keep on a leash all the time.

Brother Calremus could see that the reason the Mining Laser had been so potent was because of the web of Decavane Crystals (which Aarun was famous for) had been interfaced with the normal power supply, and it had given so much more power it was almost unreal, so Brother Calremus picked up a few to take back for study. They also discovered a way to make the Decavane crystals inert for transportation, leading to a discussion about just what exactly was going on in this crazy place, and they received some of the answers when they looked down the mine shaft and saw that many Decavane crystals had been mined from here, and then shipped off-world to places unknown. With nothing else to see here, the Kill Team moved towards the last remaining corridor, the smell of “Metal.” And it was at this juncture that they realised some of what was going on… the Genestealers were just a distraction to stop people investigating, but it was a distraction that had turned on them because of the Quarantine.

The Kill Team, certain that nothing else was left, decided to thoroughly search the last room, finding a large group of Schematics, a lot of which they could at least figure out some areas on, but one in particular which was something entirely new to their minds, it seemed to be an unholy fusion of sorcery and technology, which Brother Calremus clarified for the Kill Team. It seemed to be mostly in tune with teleportation technology, which concerned the Kill Team, as teleportation technology was an ancient archeotech and not to be trifled with. With their work here done, the Kill Team did one last sweep of the area, but could not find anything else that was Xenos Tainted and, once they were happy with that, they incinerated what was left before getting the Thunderhawk to extract them.

Heydal was incredibly surprised to see the Kill Team alive, and even more surprised to learn that the town had been cleansed fully… with all the smoke from the Promethium, Heydal had not been able to distinguish between that smoke, and the smoke from the Kill Teams cleansing… but he was ecstatically happy that his long vigil was at an end. He listened, incredulously, as the Kill Team filled him in on what this small team had accomplished where the armies of Aarun could do nothing… he asked the Kill Team if their ship could take him and his men back to the capital so they could report back to the Caele… this was accepted by the Kill Team, who wished to get back themselves. The flight back was fine, although Heydal and his men, not being used to flying, were mute and looked rather sick for most of the journey, and as soon as the Thunderhawk landed, his men made a break for the door… almost kissing the earth so glad were they to be back in contact.

The Price of Hubris: Session 10
Where the Battle Brothers make quite the first impression

After a few hours of prayers to the Emperor, consulting his tarot and lightly scanning the Warp, Brother Drakhaus received the answer that he needed… there was a Xenos presence and taint on Aarun, and it was from one particular sect of a race, although he could not narrow down which Xenos presence the Kill Team would be facing. Upon telling this to the rest of the Kill Team, there was a debate over which Xenos they would be facing and, in Brother Calremus’s case, which Xenos they want to face (Orcs!). After consulting one of the star charts located in the Watch Fortress, they came to an educated guess that it would probably be Tyranids, given how close Aarun was to Beseritor, the location of their last triumph. Armed with the knowledge, the Kill Team began concocting strategies for dealing with a Tyranid Threat.

Diaz Lan was there to meet the Kill Team as they boarded the Horizons Pride, festooned with many more Battle Honours from the Battle over Beseritor and with Lan covered in glory for being the one to realise that there was a threat on Beseritor. He told the Kill Team that the amount of latitude he was not given by the Crusade made it all worthwhile, which gained him a few stern looks from the Battle Brothers… the unspoken threat that if he did anything to harm the Imperium, they would find him, no matter how much latitude he had been given. The Kill Team was again introduced to Lan’s senior staff, and Brother Calremus noticed that the original Enginseer, who had been present, was missing.

They learned that the Enginseer had been murdered, in cold blood, by one of the members of the Enginseers own team, and that the accused, Khol Bennex was currently being held in the brig, and they learn that he is swearing that he did it in self-defence, even though that contradicts what the other witnesses to the scene saw. This piqued the interest of the Kill Team, after all, if he was guilty then they were empowered to issue the Emperors justice to this traitor of the Imperium but, if not, then they could further the Emperors Justice by helping this man… that, and they knew that the trip would be long and boring, and this would keep their minds in shape. Diaz Lan did inform them that the Adeptus Mechanicus would want to question and try this man in their own way, which stymied the Kill Team’s ambitions somewhat.

Khol Bennex, it must be said, almost died of fright when the Kill Team stomped into the Brig, looking incredibly menacing (as Space Marines are wont to do) and he began pleading for his life even before they had managed to speak one single word. Once Brother Curro indicated that they were only here to kill him if he had done something to warrant it, he calmed down a little, although the Battle Brothers could, with their advanced senses, literally smell the fear dripping off him as he climbed up off the floor to face them. Brother Haakon suggested, in jest, that they just eat his brain to learn the truth of what happened… which sent Khol back down on the floor, pleading for his life again.

With a stern look at Brother Haakon, Brother Curro reassured the man that they only eat brains to glean information that is not forthcoming, which helped a little, and got him back on his feet, although he kept casting wary looks towards Brother Haakon. Khol Bennex stated first that he did kill the Enginseer, Krepp, but that he had found a Servitor that was spouting absolute nonsense phrases, and he had taken it to Krepp for the learned Enginseer to have a look at, and then Krepp had just attacked him out of the blue. He had stumbled backwards into the corridor, just avoiding the attack and Krepp had run at him, and Khol had managed to turn the charge so that Enginseer Krepp had met his end falling into a vast, boiling, depositary of engine waste.

They learned that Khol had seen a few more of the servitors spouting nonsense, but that no-one was listening to his warnings because, as a suspected murderer, his word was not to be trusted. Having received the name of Krepp’s second in command, Enginseer Gaant, the Kill Team informed Khol that they would be back… either to free him, or to enact justice upon him. With this new information, the Kill Team did spot some rather odd behaviour from some of the servitors, with many of them looking in bad repair, with wounds marring their flesh, and other anomalies you would not expect. This intrigued them enough that the found their way to Enginseer Grant to report their findings. On the way, they restrained one of the odd servitors so that the Apothecary, Brother Elyes could cast a cursory eye over it.

What he found did not fill the Kill Team with confidence… numerous sores that were weeping a blackish liquid and a vague brownish tinge to in the back of the “eyes” of the servitor, which Brother Elyes, thinking back into the history of the Horus Heresy, understood that the vague brownish tinge was corruption, and corruption from the Dark Mechanicus… a near mythical organisation that the Adeptus Mechanicus denied all knowledge of. With a new sense of urgency in their steps, they began the search for Enginseer Gaant, understanding that corruption of this sort needed to be excised from a ship like the Horizons Pride before it was too late.

After a quick conversation with another Enginseer, where they were relieved to hear that it seemed that only the Servitors that Krepp was responsible for seemed to have this taint. Brother Elyes was still poking and prodding the servitor they had gathered when, before his eyes, the limbs started mutating into razor sharp metal claws, the fusion of flesh and machine in its most tainted form. Brother Elyes was a Space Marine though, so he was quick enough to dodge when the inevitable attack came, stepping back out of its range and watching the attack clang against the metal corridor. Then, with an action that was as quick as only a Space Marine can be, Brother Elyes smoothly brought his Bulkhead Shears off his back, swung them round and decapitated the Servitor, which fell to the floor, the neck wound both sparking and fountaining black blood.

Knowing that time was even more of the essence, the Battle Brothers hurried to find Enginseer Gaant and immediately asked for an explanation for the monstrosity that they held in their hands (in a few pieces). Gaant was appalled at the lack of care that had obviously been given to this Servitor, and listened with mounting concern to the story of the Kill Team, after which he told the Kill Team that Krepp’s servitors were in a relatively small area of the ship, because of his other responsibilities, and that he would send a signal to them all to shut down and go inactive. Brother Drakhaus pointed out that if the Servitors are attacking people that are near to finding out their secret, they would probably not take too kindly to a shutdown request, and that could potentially be a problem.

Enginseer Gaant was convinced enough by that argument that he gave Brother Elyes a device that would shut down any servitor that was in range when it was activated, so that they could test it on one or two of the “odd” servitors. Dismissing the Kill Team so that he could get back to his work, Enginseer Gaant put his attention back to his duties, leaving the Battle Brothers to search the ship for more offending servitors, which was a rather menial task, but the Kill Team realised that cleansing this ship of the corruption of the Dark Mechanicus was worth it. They quickly found another servitor, Brother Elyes inserted the device into that particular servitor, pressed the big glowing red “off” rune and then, all hell broke loose.

Or, it would have done, had the Kill Team, taking Brother Drakhaus’s warning to heart, all be close to the servitor, so much so that as soon as its equipment started to mutate into weapons, it was hit by a barrage of attacks from all sides, which completely destroyed it. Brother Curro had also been recording this on his shoulder mounted pict recorder, so they rushed back to Enginseer Gaant to show him this proof, with Brother Drakhaus trying, but failing, to keep the smugness out of his voice. It was then that Enginseer Gaant noted an anomaly on his sensor equipment… it appeared that a large group of Servitors were heading that way. The Kill Team immediately set up a defensive perimeter to meet the Servitors head on.

The Kill Team all switched to close combat weapons, knowing that their blessed Bolt Guns could cause many more issues than they might solve, and anything heavier would undoubtedly cause a hole to appear in the hull, which is never a good thing. As the mutated and insane servitors moved around the corner, they were met with a blistering counter charge from the Kill Team. Brother Curro led the way, his power sword and chain sword cutting a large swathe through the servitor’s rants, his instincts tempered in the fires of close combat fighting with Carnifexes and Genestealers; these were merely an annoyance to him, a problem to be stamped out. The rest of the Kill Team took their lead from this awe-inspiring close combat performance, with Bulkhead Shears, Power swords and Force Staffs rising and falling with brutal efficiency.

Noting a particularly concentrated group of the servitors, Brother Drakhaus drew upon the warp to shoot a bolt of lightning in their general direction. The lightning was devastatingly effective, striking in the middle of the group and then coruscating out amongst the group, melting their metal parts and setting their fleshy parts on fire… after a few seconds of flailing around; the group fell into a smouldering heap. The Kill Team was a model of Space Marine close combat tactics, dodging, parrying and striking through the melee, their power armour taking the brunt of any hits they took, and their enhanced strength allowing them to cleave through the mass of servitors. After a frenzy of blows and counter blows which seemed to stretch for hours, but was actually less than a minute, the servitor assault had been smashed into a thousand pieces, and the Kill Team had barely broken sweat.

After breaking the back of the horde, Enginseer Gaant called a halt to inform the Kill Team that all the other servitors which had been part of Krepp’s detachment had seemed to have shut down and were not moving. Gaant, with the Kill Team’s support, collected a group of other Enginseers, equipped them with flamers, and then sent them out to do the Emperor/Omnissiah’s work, by cleansing the tainted servitors with Fire! For a week or more the smell of burning flesh and electronics filled the air of the ship, with the air scrubbers having to work overtime to clean out all the foul corruptions but, eventually, the task was complete to the Kill Team’s satisfaction. The Kill Team, having informed Diaz Lan of this, were given permission to free Khol Bennex but the Battle Brothers were not without mirth, and they decided to approach it in a slightly different manner.

The Kill Team approached Khol Bennex, with Brother Drakhaus making a statement that they were here to administer the Emperor’s justice, and would Khol Bennex stand and face his judgement. Cowering in the presence of these angels of death, Khol stood to face his fate, although the Battle Brother’s enhanced senses picked up a very foul odour coming from the lower half of his back. When he was informed that the judgment was that he was to be set free, and congratulations on helping protect the ship, he almost fainted and asked if the Kill Team was joking. Brother Drakhaus leaned in very close and asked Khol if it looked like he was joking. Khol lost his composure, squeaked like a little girl, and then ran off in a panic, leaving the Kill Team to chuckle at their antics… before reporting back to Diaz Lan.

A few weeks passed before Captain Lan introduced the Battle Brothers to his other honoured guest, Brigadier General Archibald Heth who was in transit to Aarun to take control of the Imperial Garrison. The Kill Team was surprised that such a high ranking member of the Imperial Guard was being put into what was a rather menial position. They surmised that it either showed the important of Aarun to the Imperial cause in the Jericho Reach, or reflected poorly on the General’s status and talent in the Imperial Guard. They sincerely hoped it was the former. Upon learning that he was a Cadian, who had served on the Archeros Salient, battling the forces of the Ruinous Powers, they realised he deserved his command and that he was a true servant of the Emperor.

After exiting and re-entering the Warp a few times to make sure that the Horizon’s Pride was not flying into the Hadrex Anomaly the ship arrived in the Orbit of Aarun. Lan informed the Kill Team that due to him failing the Aarun test the last time, he was not really welcome on the planet… merely tolerated, and so he would stay up in his ship until such time as he was needed. As the Kill Team flew down into the planet’s atmosphere, they could see how Aarun had been given its name; there was a slight sheen of gold that seemed to coat everything, although if you really focused then it seemed to just be a trick of the light. The thunderhawk set the Kill Team down in an open space just outside the capital, Haistand, which they realised was this Primitive world’s version of a landing pad. After disembarking the Kill Team saw that there was only one route up into the city, and that it was choked in traffic. With a general sigh, the Kill Team started the long ascent, getting their first impressions of the Aarun people.

Brother Haakon, with his massive fur mantle, definitely stood out amongst the people of Aarun, whose animal life on this planet tended towards the reptilian, so most of the people wore clothing that was scaled, and had a lot of bone inserts. The Kill Team immediately noticed that whilst the Aarun people were curious as to who these newcomers were, Giants in impenetrable armour, they did not show the normal level of respect and awe that Space Marines were used to, which was a strange and unsettling experience for a lot of the Kill Team. However, they could not help but admire the Aarun people; they were the exact kind of people that most of the Kill Team had come from, a proud warrior nation.

Midway up the climb, with the Battle Brothers making good progress, if only because of their bulk and strength, they passed by an Aarun merchant prodding and cajoling a group of Agrox up the road. One of the Agrox, its nose unused to this new metallic scent, began to get a little bit agitated, which started a chain reaction in the rest of the group and, before anyone could blink, they had gone berserk. Events crystallised into three flashpoints… an Aarun child in the path of a raging beast, a wagon full of people about to tip off the edge of the road and a young Aarun warrior surrounded by three of the Agrox, and looking in dire straits indeed. Brother’s Curro and Calremus were the first to react, Curro utilising his jetpack to quickly get to the wagon and grab a hold of it just before it was about to fall. Tapping the immense strength potential in his arms, he managed to arrest the momentum of the wagon and then hold it still, his arms straining against the weight.

Just before the Agrox could trample the Aarun child into paste, Brother Calremus and Haakon hit it from the side with a shoulder charge. They could feel the Agrox’s ribs break with the force of their charge, and they diverted its charge enough that it pass by the child before collapsing with most of its internal organs reduced to ruin. Brother’s Drakhaus and Elyes went to the aid of the Aarun warrior, a few kicks and chops to various vulnerable parts of the Agrox taking down two and allowing the Aarun warrior to bury its knife deep into the ear of the remaining Agrox, sending it down in death spasms. Brother Curro, tiring of just holding the wagon, nonchalantly leaned back, pulling the wagon back onto solid ground. This display of strength was met with a few gaps from the, normally unflappable, Aarun people. The fact that all of this had happened in a blink of an eye was even more impressive.

After a rather brusque encounter with the Aarun Herder, including threats of “legal” action, the Kill Team continued their traversal of the only road, from this side, into Haistand, with Heth commenting that he is always amazed by the quickness of action from members of the Adeptus Astartes. After reaching the city, and being given a general location guide by the General, Heth told the Kill Team where he would be quartered, and then left them to their own devices, in an unfamiliar city on an unfamiliar planet in the middle of an unfamiliar culture… this could only end well!

After talking amongst themselves, it was decided to meet with the leader of the Aaruns, Caele Rylus Darkscourge, as that was their main reason for being here. Their trip took them through one of Aarun’s main marketplaces, which seemed a hive of activity with bartering going on left, right and centre with gleaming racks of bladed weapons and large mounds of food seeming to be the two main pieces that were being traded for. They found their attention occupied by a merchant who, upon seeing the Kill Team, would not leave them around, shouting and hollering that he had something that they needed to see… not begging or pleading, but making a complete and utter arse of himself, until the Kill Team turned and began heading his way, if only to get him to stop talking!

After offering him his own residence and a massive herd of Agrox for their fabulous “thinstone” armour, and being rebuffed quite forcefully, he looked around carefully and took out a pouch, which he then revealed to the Kill Team. In the pouch were four very unusual knives, which the merchant claimed could cut through the very best armour that the Aarun’s could produce. What made the knives unusual was the talon like blade, which upon closer inspection, was revealed to be a type of chitin, but one that held an improbable razor sharp edge that the Kill Team immediately recognised was Tyranid in origin. Paying a bit more attention to the merchant, the Kill Team thoroughly quizzed him one where he had received these knives, and learned that he had received them a couple of months ago. Brother Calremus managed to trade his combat knife for two of the talon knives.

After learning that a man calling himself Heydal had given traded these knives to the Merchant, and that he had left using the westernmost road from Haistand, the Kill Team set off again for the homestead of the Caele, with even more questions burning their way through their minds. The rest of their journey was uneventful, and they were greeted at the entrance to the Caele’s Homestead by the local guards, with Brother Curro showing remarkable diplomacy by greeting the Aarun guards in their traditional way (by pressing the hilt of his knife against their shoulders). Zayr, the shieldmaster of Aarun was impressed by this, and made a mental note to inform the Caele that maybe these “Astartes” were indeed as had been described to them by the annoying runts of the Imperium.

After being ushered into a room to wait for the Caele, the Battle Brothers looked fondly at the surroundings, with most of them remembering growing up in cultures like this, before being chosen by the Astartes… it is not something they think about often, but in these surroundings the memories come easier. Their memories were interrupted by the entrance of the Caele who was, by any measurement, an impressive physical specimen. He stood almost as tall as the Battle Brothers, and was lean and muscled like all other Aarun’s the Kill Team had seen, and he had something that the Kill Team recognised immediately, he had presence… they could easily see why he was the leader of this world. After a formal greeting both sides got down to business, with the Caele wanting to know why the Astartes were on his world, and Brother Curro informing the Caele that entry into the Imperium would be glorious for his people.

The Battle Brothers could see that the Caele was no fool, but that he was bound by the traditions and laws that governed the people of Aarun, so when he offered them a potential way to further both the cause of the Imperium and their investigations into Xenos presence on the planet, by the Trial of “The Proving” they were quick to accept. They could see that this quick acceptance had impressed the Caele, but that his face was still lined with worry, although what for, they could not tell. Upon the ending of the conversation, in which the Kill Team were given until the morning to prepare themselves, they were introduced to the Caele’s second, Alkedre Firestalker who explained that they would be undergoing the Divested Hunt, a trial that only the most honoured of Aarun warriors had ever completed. They learned that they would have to kill a Diablon, which was a king predator on the planet, and that very few Aarun’s had ever completed such a task… although the Battle Brothers were confident that, even without their armour or weapons, they would be able to overcome this task.

Alkedre informed the Kill Team of the rules of the hunt, and then gave them some information… the likely area they would find a Diablon, tricks of how to track it and a description of what they generally look like. Dawn of the next day finds the Battle Brothers almost completely naked, bereft of their advanced armour and weaponry… without that, they looked every bit as martial and impressive as the Aarun people, although because of their gene enhancements they tended to tower above everyone, even without their armour. They stood before the Caele who, with a solemn look, gave them his blessing for them to begin the hunt. The Battle Brothers moved into the Canyon, taking heft of some of the ancient weapons that had been provided for them, but then realising that they could probably do more damage with their fists and feet.

After a couple of hours of relatively relaxing movement, the Kill Team came to the first set of terrain that was not a dry, blasted out wasteland, and immediately realised that this was a nesting ground for some of the planets animal inhabitants. Not wanting to sap their energy with a fight when none was needed, even if they could easily win it, the Kill Team decided to use a little stealth for once in their watch. This was a rare event given that Brother Elyes had probably the loudest set of power armour in the known universe, so it was not something that happened often. However, their lack of practice in this area was obvious when Brother Calremus managed to trip over one of the nests and landed with an earth shaking boom, which immediately drew the attention of the Theratryx (reptilian horses) in the area.

The Kill Team, with reflexes honed from years of experience, immediately got together, back to back, as the Theratryx swarmed around them and, so quick were the Battle Brothers that they were the ones who acted first, and who acted in concert. Brother Curro was a whirling dervish of destruction, his fists and feet flying at near impossible angles, taking the heads off the animals, or crushing their heads, their stomachs, taking out their legs… he was an unstoppable angel of destruction. Brother Drakhaus laid about him with a Holy Smite, ripped from the eddies of the Warp, sending Theratryx’s flying through the air, their smoking bodies dead before they hit the ground. The rest of the Kill Team was not as effective as those two, with most of their blows flying wide.

And then, the Theratryx started mobbing the Battle Brothers, trying to push them down onto the ground through their weight of numbers, whilst also clawing and biting them as much as possible. However, the Battle Brothers were too quick and too strong for this to work, and most of them emerged unscathed, with only Brother Curro having taken any damage at all. The Kill Team, growing tired of this combat, started taking apart the Theratryx horde with extreme prejudice, so much so that after another round of Lightning from Brother Drakhaus, the scattered to the four winds, not willing to suffer this much punishment. Brother Elyes, even though he was denied his usual reagents and medical supplies, was able to patch up Brother Curro enough so that he was in no discomfort at all. This meeting also gave the Battle Brothers more than enough supplies than they would ever need to complete the Divested Hunt.

The Kill Team resumed their journey through the blasted landscape and, after another couple of hours, they started encountering land and land formations that matched what they had been told by Alkedre and this knowledge spurred them on, knowing that the end could be in sight. Holding their breath against the sulphurous fumes that coated this barren landscape, their senses were soon overwhelmed with a new smell, that of rotting flesh and they noticed a footprint that matched the form that Alkedre had given them… and they figured out that there was only one of them by the tracks. The Kill Team took a minute to discuss their tactics, and they agreed that it would be too hard to explain a Psykers powers to the Aarun’s, so Brother Drakhaus agreed to not use any of his damaging abilities (Avenger, Smite etc) because it would go against the challenge.

Brother’s Curro, Haakon and Elyes took up position on a ledge just above the cave where they were sure the Diablon made its lair, and started sending a stream of arrows into the cave, to try and get the attention of whatever was inside (if anything). They were quickly rewarded with a roar of anger and could both hear and feel the thumping footsteps of the Diablon as it charged towards the entrance of the cave. Brother Haakon, using his Wolf Senses to get a better view of the area, nocked an arrow and let fly, only to see it clatter off the hard scale armour of the Diablon. He shouted a warning to his Battle Brothers that they would not be able to fight this at range, and he could hear the bows being dropped to the floor. Brother Drakhaus and Brother Curro both acted together, with Brother Drakhaus charging the beast as it left the cave mouth, and Brother Curro leaping down from on high at the same time.

Both tapped into their faith in the Emperor, bringing forth the strength that the Astartes was legendary for, and Brother Drakhaus was the first to land his blow, a roundhouse punch that grazed the scales of the Diablon, but which held it in place for Brother Curro to land on its head and jam his fist into one of its giant eyes. However, the Diablon would not be felled so easily, and it shook Brother Curro off before he could do much damage, roared in anger and defiance and then attacked. Brother Curro flung himself to the ground as the massive talon swept over him, and Brother Drakhaus managed to push the head to one side so that all the Diablon bit down on was dirt and rock. Brother Elyes, seeing an opportunity to swing the fight in the Kill Team’s favour, ran in and spat acid at the Diablon’s eyes but, just as it was about to hit, the Diablon blinked and its armour hard eyelids deflected the attack.

Brother Calremus once again did not bring himself glory with his fists, missing the leg of the Diablon, but to his defence he was more used to using a missile launcher than anything even in relation to close combat. Brother Curro drew one of the bone swords that he had taken from the weapons… he was not planning to use it to strike the Diablon, but to use it to deflect its attacks instead. Using the weapon as a balancing item as well, Brother Curro struck out ferociously, his right hand chopping against the scales and such was his strength that they cracked under the force of the blow. As the Diablon struck back, Brother Curro raised his bone sword and pitted his strength against the creature, parrying the blow but, more importantly, holding the leg off the ground.

However, this did not stop the Diablon’s jaws from closing around Brother Calremus’s legs, doing some quite dramatic damage before he was able to free it, and he could feel the tainted, fetid blood trying to seep into his immune system, but his Space Marine organs kept him safe from harm. Seeing an opportunity, Brother Elyes struck hard at the Diablon’s face, only for his fist to bounce off the scales… the Kill Team was learning new respect for this creature, and anyone who had hunted it before. Brother Curro, still holding up the Diablon’s leg, chopped his hand against the joint again and again, seeing the armour crack and digging into the flesh, but before he could do more damage, the Diablon managed to free its leg and slice Brother Curro across the stomach. What would have been a mortal would for anyone else was merely an inconvenience for Brother Curro, as his blood started working on clotting the wound right away.

The Kill Team continued its assault, slowly chipping away at the hardened scales whilst mostly avoiding the attacks back, this was a much harder fight than they thought it would be… every sweep of the Diablon’s claws could do terrible damage, and the jaws were not much better. However, they kept making it switch its target, or trying to anyway, so that none of them were a target for all it could bring to bear, because that could have overwhelmed even one of the Emperors Chosen. Brother’s Drakhaus and Curro continued to work together, with one of Brother Drakhaus’s punches driving the beast a few steps sideways, directly into a powerful uppercut from Brother Curro, and they could see by the anger of the Diablon; that hit had hurt. Its response was furious… it sliced its claw across the head of Brother Haakon, sending him sprawling in the dirt, wounded but not crippled.

The Kill Team was wearing the Diablon down by attrition, with no one punch or kick doing enough damage to truly hurt the monster. Brother Curro laid into the creature, cracking scales and driving it backwards with the force and ferocity of his attack, and it did appear to hurt the Diablon, because it lunged at Brother Curro with all its might. The first claw hooked Brother Curro in the arm which meant he could not dodge the second strike which hooked up through his stomach and out of his back, skewering him as the Diablon lifted its prize and then shook its claw dismissively, sending Brother Curro to the floor where he lay still as the grave. Seeing their Battle Brother laid low by this monster unlocked something in the rest of the Kill Team and they fell across the Diablon with some of their most powerful blows. However, the Diablon was still standing and was preparing its counter attack when Brother Elyes stepped up.

With the Diablon dazed slightly from Brother Calremus’s thunderous blow, Brother Elyes took a run up, ran up the back of Brother Calremus and launched himself through the air. He could almost see the fear entering the eyes of the Diablon as he crashed down with a massive overhead, double handed blow, which smashed through the skull of the Diablon directly into its brain. With a cry of pain so powerful the Kill Team had to cover their ears, the Diablon stumbled backwards a few steps before dropping to the ground, its head flopping about as if it had no control… and finally the beast was dead. Brother Elyes did not rest on his laurels, he was immediately up and taking care of Brother Curro, who had once again survived blows that he had no right to survive. The Kill Team took stock of the situation, and then started sawing the head off with practiced strokes.

Something Stirs in the Underhive; Session 9
Where not a lot actually happens

After the cleansing, as the month long purge of Beseritor became known, the weary populace gathered in Hive Primus, which was slowly picking itself back up, for a parade in honour of the Battle Brothers, the Imperial Governor, the PDF and the Imperial Guard who had “liberated” the Planet. The Kill-Team did, however, quiz Diaz Lan on his quick arrival, only to be told that his astropathic message had arrived two weeks before he sent it… the Kill-Team sensed the hand of the emperor in their victory, and gave thanks.

At the height of the parade, the Battle Brothers were awarded the Imperial Aquilla, forever marking them as friends of the imperium, and were granted the honoury title of “Hero of Beseritor.” After saying goodbye to Sergeant Mithras and the rest of the Imperial Forces on Beseritor, the Kill-Team accepted Diaz Lans’ offer to take them back to the Watch Fortress, for their debrief. The Kill-Team left behind a populace who would be forever grateful for their presence, and who would be immortalised in their history.

The Kill-Team used the month long voyage back to the Watch Fortress as a time of reflection and rededication, purging their bodies of any lingering xenos taint, both Tau and Tyranid and meditating upon what they had accomplished together. They felt the bonds of Brotherhood, that they had known all their life, returning… albeit slowly, but it was a good feeling for the adeptus astartes, and made the journey go quicker.

When they arrived back at the Watch Fortress, they met with Watch Commander Madrigal and Inquisitor Quist, and gave them an in-depth report of their time on Beseritor. Inquisitor Quist was very interested in their dealings with the Tau, letting slip that she had met Commander Flamewing on a couple of occasions, and that he was one of the leading voices in propagating a temporary truce with the Imperium, to allow both sides to focus on the greater threat, the Tyranids. The Kill-Team were also granted an apology from the Watch Commander, for not treating Beseritor seriously enough.

The Kill-Team also learned that this victory was one of the most significant victories against the Tyranids in the Crusades history, and given the relative scarcity of resources in the Battle, very, very impressive. Also, because the Tyranid fleet came from the Canis Salient, they had reported less of a Tyranid presence in the area, as if their strength was now concentrated in the Orpheus salient, which meant it was easier for the Imperium to fight the Tyranid Menace. The Kill-Team felt quite satisfied with the outcome of their mission, and felt a great sense of contentment and honour at performing the Emperors will.

After the meeting, the Watch Commander said that he would be assigning two more marines to the Kill-Team, a Tech Marine from the Blood Ravens chapter and a Devastator Marine from the Space Wolves Chapter, which Brother Haakon was pleased about; he looked forward to celebrating, Space Wolves Style, with his Battle Brother. The Kill-Team then spent a couple of weeks learning to integrate the new members into their tactics. The Space Wolf, Brother Hreidar found it easier to integrate, because of his pre-existing relationship with Brother Haakon.

The Blood Raven Techmarine, on the other hand, found it very difficult to integrate in the Kill-Team… the rest of the space marines were relatively suspicious of the blood ravens, whose past was shrouded in secrecy and whose members tended to keep to themselves. However, they did come to learn, somewhat, each of the methods of the existing Battle Brothers, and by the end of the training, they were much more of a tight nit group… and then it was time for their next mission briefing, and they entered to just Watch Commander Madrigal, waiting for them.

They were informed that the Watch Commander had already accepted on their behalf, given that he realised the importance of this mission, but had not told their old friend, Diaz Lan this fact, so they could listen to what he had to say, and get as much information as they needed. He does mention that the Kill-Team should find it amusing where he has decided that they should hold the meeting with Diaz Lan, and then leads them to an arctic live fire training range, where Diaz Lan is completely covered in a warm fur coat, but is still shivering under the immense cold.

To the Kill-Team, with their heightened immune systems, this was just a slight chill, and something that they could easily take. However, the mirth of the Kill-Team was quickly dispelled by his news… that the Lord Militant was convinced that Aarum could have a secret xenos presence on the planet, but that the Natives would not let them leave the capital because they had yet to prove themselves. They learned that the Aauruns were a proud people who had not fallen to the Dark Powers during the age of shadow, and as such were a very valuable resource.

After some preliminary questions, the Kill-Team learned that anyone trying to leave the capital have been killed, but also that other bodies have been found, with all of their flesh missing, and large shattered bones, as if they were carved in half. This prompted a flurry of questions from the Apothecary, Brother Elyes, regarding anything he had heard that could strip flesh from the bone like this… but unfortunately, there were too many predators which could do that to draw any conclusions.

They also learned of the Sister Hospitalier, Sister Rachael, who had been found with a dagger buried in her sternum, which the locals were calling a suicide driven by a weak spirit, but Diaz Lan informed the Kill-Team that no Sister would ever take their lives; they were too strong in their belief for that. Diaz Lan also exposits that the Aaruns could be in the thrall of some xenos presence, which is why they are not allowing any further exploration of the planet, but he is quick to follow that up and say that is only conjecture at this point.

With the meeting adjourned, the Kill Team went to arm themselves for this test of arms. Given that everything they knew about the Aaruns was that they respected might and warrior traditions, the Kill Team chose Brother Curro as their leader for that mission knowing that as a favoured Assault Marine, and as a Storm Warden, he would understand more than most the rituals and ways of communication that these Aaruns may favour. Brother Drakhaus retreated to his quarters to scry the warp for any potential information or help that could make a difference to their mission, understanding that they had gone into their previous missions underprepared, and only through the grace of the Emperor had they come through unscathed.

Something Stirs in the Underhive; Session 8
Where the fate of Beseritor is decided

The Manta moved silently through the Atmosphere, into the waiting void, and the Kill-Team could see the enormity of what had come to Beseritor. Massive, mighty Kraken completed their languid orbits around the Hive Ship; spore ships waited to unleash another round of their deadly cargo; and the enormous Hive Ship, slap bang in the centre of the fleet, starting to gorge itself on the biomass being siphoned from Beseritor. With skilful flying, the Manta Spaceship manoeuvred past all these threats and entered the Hive Ship through a gigantic entrance.

Not wanting to land, for fear of alerting the Hive Mind to their presence, the Cargo Hold was opened and the Kill-Team and their Tau compatriots jumped down to the ground, which was a hard, flesh like substance, and then it was just them, and the void. After a long march, Brother Drakhaus managed to trace a psychic link to the centre of the ship, and the Astartes and Tau entered one of the capillary tunnels that led further into the Hive Ship. It was not difficult for Brother Drakhaus to realise there was a massive psychic presence nearby; it was more that it was difficult to pinpoint exactly, because it was everywhere.

The Strain started to tell, being this close to a massive psychic power, on the Space Marines. They found themselves getting distracted, things flitting across their vision… although the one who had it worse was Brother Drakhaus, who felt like the weight of the world was crushing down on his mind… it was much harder for him to access the Immaterium than usual. The Tau, not being psychic creatures, were unhindered by this problem and moved down the corridors with no trouble at all. Brother Drakhaus informed the Kill-Team that the Hive Mind was scanning the ship at irregular intervals.

As he told them this, he felt another intrusion into his mind, and he was not able to turn this one aside, so he knew that they had been detected, and he informed everyone to expect an attack. Soon enough, they began to hear chittering coming from the walls, and lots and lots of movement and then, when they were in the middle of about 8 exits, the Tyranids attacked. A Horde of Genestealers swarmed towards the Kill-Team and their Tau companions. They were met by a storm of bolter fire, flashes of promethium and the pulse fire from the Tau. However, this was not the only attack the Tyranids had planned.

As the Genestealers distracted their opponents, A group of Ravenors burst up into the midst of the Kill-Team, and the Tau, their rending claws, covered in a toxic mixture, tearing into the ranks of the Tau fire warriors. However, they also meant that the Genestealers could close on their opponents, and the entire encounter devolved into a horrific melee. Brother Curro, his power sword and Chainsword a swirling vortex of death, leapt into the Ravenors, cutting them down one after the other, whilst dodging most of their attacks.

Brothers Haakon and Elyes managed to take down another Ravenor between them, before being swarmed by Genestealers and borne down under their weight of numbers, their armour scored by hundreds of rending claws. Brother Drakhaus, his psychic fury undimmed by the shadow of the warp, directed his power into the Ravenor attacking him, and its smoking carcass dropped to the ground. Brother Calremus, realising the Genestealers were probably the most dangerous, directed shots of flame into their midst, sending numerous Xenos to the floor, screaming their last.

The Tau Fire Warriors, unsuited to close combat, were swarmed and torn apart under the claws of the Genestealers and Ravenors, whilst Commander Flamewing managed to fire his missile pods into the two Ravenors assailing him, blowing them back into the wall, whilst the stealth suits, unseen by the Tyranids, exacted a terrible toll on the Genestealer horde with their burst cannons. Slowly, the tide turned, with the Battle Brothers of the Deathwatch living up to their reputation as Xenos slayers, ably assisted by the Tau by their side.

When the Tyranids were finally destroyed, the Kill-Team took stock of their situation. Brother Elyes managed to heal most of the wounds they had taken, and the Tau, whilst they had lost their Fire Warrior support, they still had Commander Flamewing and his stealth suits, which they immediately set to scouting ahead of them. After gathering themselves again, the Kill-Team started moving forward, further into the heart of the Hive Ship.

Brother Drakhaus was suffering from being this close to the Hive Mind, but he still managed to deflect many of the scans that came their way, knowing what failing one of those would cause them to happen. However, he was not infallible, and the fatigue took its toll, and as they moved even closer to the centre of the hive ship, they were assailed, from above, by a horde of Gargoyles. One moment they were absent, the next they were flapping around their heads, firing their toxin sacs at random.

The Toxins managed to take down one of the Stealth suits, their venomous and acidic attacks melting through the Stealth suit, which became visible as it fell down, dead. The rest of the Battle was over shortly, the Gargoyles not being too much of a threat, with the Kill-Team taking down numerous Gargoyles with each attack, bolt shells blowing them out of the air, chainswords cutting them down, ably supported by Commander flamewings’ airburst launcher, which sowed chaos and destruction in their ranks.

Brother Drakhaus could feel the weight of the Hive Mind bearing down upon him, and he knew they were close, and that there was no point trying to deflect the psychic scans anymore, they were just too powerful. He was just about to inform the Kill-Team and their Tau allies that they had been detected when they turned into a massive chamber, and saw the object of their quest. The Hive Queen, massive bulk reaching all the way to the top of the gigantic chamber, tubes connecting it to the ship, feeding it the biomass from the planet below.

The Kill-Team could see that the Hive Queen was not a threat in herself, in that she was busy concentrating on subjugating Beseritor, and that was taking up most of her formidable willpower. However, she was not defenceless; A Hive Tyrant, known to the Kill-Team as a Dagon Overlord, was present, as was three tyrant guard, and upon seeing the Kill-Team, they started advancing towards them. Brother Haakon immediately started carving open an area of the floor to hide the Nuclear Warhead, and the rest of the Kill-Team started giving him time to complete this.

Brother Elyes immediately shot at one of the “feeding” tubes, and his bolter, obviously blessed by the emperor this time, managed to make a crack into the sides of it, something no mere boltgun should have been able to do. This immediately got the attention of the Dagon Overlord, who focused his obscene mental powers and blew Brother Elyes across the room like a ragdoll, his body hitting the side of the chamber with a sickening crack. The rest of the Kill-Team was appalled by the sheer power of the creature, but they were space marines, and they would complete what they came here to do.

Sustained fire from the rest of the Kill-Team, helped by Commander Flamewing and his stealth suits, managed to take down the tyrant guard before they could reach them, but Brother Haakon still needed time to fully arm the nuclear warhead before they could make their escape. Brother Curro, knowing they needed another few seconds, launched himself into close combat with the Dagon monster, his power sword cutting impressive gashes into the creature.

However, this was a Dagon Overlord, and it’s attacks were brutal… firstly it sent the Stealth Suits fleeing in terror from a Psychic Scream, which also badly affected the Kill-Teams cohesion, before setting about carving Brother Curro into little pieces, ending with Brother Curro being flung into the ground at the Dagon Overlords’ feet, surely dead. However, this had given Brother Haakon enough time to set the warhead, and the marines managed to recover their fallen and started making a fighting retreat towards the Tau Manta Spaceship.

As they made their way through the ship, they could see the Dagon Overlord gaining on them, although they managed to knock it back with some grenades and bitter holding actions, but they could see the hordes of Tyranids coming in from behind it, gaining on them. As the Genestealers were about to catch onto them, carrying their Battle Brothers as they were, the two stealth suits opened fire and managed to drive the Genestealers back, giving the Battle Brothers a moments respite.

Commander Flamewing, hefting his plasma rifle in respect, informed the Kill-Team that the Tau would hold this line for as long as necessary, to give the Kill-Team time to escape. The Kill-Team, understanding sacrifice, even from a xenos, raised their weapons in respect as well, and then moved away… hearing the sound of explosions and plasma fire for a long time before everything went silent. They moved through the silent tunnels of the Hive Ship, until they could see the opening, and the Tau Spacecraft opened its hold to receive them.

Then, like a nightmare, Ravenors burst up at the exit of the hive ship, and the Dagon Overlord came on like a nightmare from behind them, his psychic power hitting Brother Haakon in the back like a freight train, sending him face down on the floor, unmoving. Brother Drakhaus, screaming at the insanity of it all, drew his own psychic power and blew the Ravenors into the void. Brother Calremus and Drakhaus, the only two left standing, threw their Battle Brothers into the void towards the open hold, before leaping out after them.

Amazingly accurate fire from the Tau Ship managed to keep them safe until they had reached the Manta, and just as they were about to tell the Tau to seal up the ship, Commander Flamewing, having lost an arm, and with many other wounds on his Battlesuit, blew through the Tyranids, his jetpack going past the safe point, and flew into the Manta, smashing into one of the walls and then laying still The Tau quickly gathered up their fallen Commander and took him to one of their medical stations, and the Manta quickly stealthed itself and moved away.

The Tyranid ships searched high and low for the Tau ship, but the cloaking technology was just too good, and so the Battle Brothers, for they had all survived, miraculously, were on hand to see the explosion at the centre of the Hive Ship, and the immediate effect it had on the ships in orbit. And then, the sight that the Battle Brothers thought they would never see, the Imperial Fleet arrived and started blowing through the confused Ranks of the Tyranids, and the last thing the Battle Brothers saw as they went back into the atmosphere of Beseritor was the Hive Ship being systematically blown apart.

As they moved towards Hive Primus, the Kill-Team could see the almost numberless swarms of the Tyranids, but without the guiding will of the Hive Mind, they were reverting back to their natural behaviours and turning on each other… the swarm was paralysed and would be easy pickings for the imperial guard. When they returned to the hive, and after wishing the Tau well as they left, they learnt that the entire lower hive had been lost, with the troops having been reduced to about 25% strength.

However, the Tyranids were no longer a military threat, there was a lot of infighting and the shadow of the hive mind had gone, so the astropathic communications were now getting through. The fight was not over, but the war had been won, it was all about cleaning the Tyranid infestation off the planet, rather than survival. The Kill-Team gathered with the imperial Commanders of Beseritor and watched the explosions in Orbit, as the Imperial Fleet took apart the Tyranid fleet with extreme prejudice.

Something Stirs in the Underhive; Session 7
Where a potential new front opens up

However, the Kill-Team was not finished with the Tyranids on the ground level; they were not going to accept defeat on in this first engagement without dealing them a punishing blow. So, whilst the infantry was retreating to their next prepared positions, the Kill-Team grabbed a few platoons of sentinels, and a chimera transport to carry them, and went Carnifex and Synapse creatures hunting. Time and time again, the Sentinels popped up to shoot the larger creatures with their heavy weapons, and time and time again the Kill-Team managed to keep the larger hordes from overwhelming them.

So successful were these assassinations that the Tyranid attack lost momentum as the Hive Mind needed to send more and more Synapse creatures into the hive to take control. This allowed the majority of the infantry and armour to make their way back to the second position… a much more defendable position that had been fortified during the last week. The Kill-Team was even able to move a little bit more leisurely towards the end, as they could see the massive horde of Tyranids massing, but with no order, milling around going back to their instinctive behaviour.

When the Kill-Team made their way back, they knew they had bought themselves a couple of days, at the most, but that it was more days that could lead to their salvation. After some high level consultations with the Imperial Governor and General, the Kill-Team took up their positions on the West entrance to the second level, this time making sure that the best troops were on the front lines… this was not going to be a holding action before retreating, these were the best positions they could hope for apart from the entrance to the hive spire… and the hive would be lost if they were at that position anyway.

The Kill-Team also managed to convince the general that the Hydra batteries would be much more useful if they were deployed into more of an anti-personnel position, rather than anti air… four linked autocannons, amazingly, does quite a number on less well protected infantry. They did keep enough of them in the large hangers, just in-case they had to launch their remaining air wing… although given how the skies were completely taken over with gargoyles, this would be a very risky proposition.

After a couple of days, with the troops starting to get a little antsy and afraid at what was coming, the Kill-Team, and other observers, noticed that the Tyranids were starting to act in a more concerted fashion, which gave them a clue that the attack would be starting soon. With the 5 members of the Kill-Team anchoring the line, the West Ramps defences were soon online, with everyone checking their fields of fire, to make this an incredibly painful assault for the Tyranids, all the while knowing that they were greatly outnumbered.

And then, suddenly, the Tyranids were attacking, launching themselves up the massive ramps towards the PDF defenders. However, the strength of firepower that was concentrated in this area took its toll, with wave after wave of Hormagaunts being slaughtered on the ramp, getting no-where near the imperial position. However, the number of bodies soon began to cause an issue for the imperial defenders; it was hard to make out the live Hormagaunts from the dead ones, so the line started moving up the ramp, getting closer and closer.

It was then that the larger Tyranid creatures entered the fray, Tyranid Warriors directing their smaller brethren, two mighty carnifexes starting to move up the ramp and, behind all of this, a Horrifying Hive Tyrant, which started to fire deadly warp energy, or its heavy venom cannon, blowing up tanks one by one. Brother Drakhaus, reaching into the highly volatile warp, due to the shadow hanging over it, managed to realise that there were three Hive Tyrants controlling this attack, but this Hive Tyrant was the only actually joining the attack, probably due to their presence.

Brother Elyes, taking a bead on one of the Carnifexes, fired off a burst of bolter fire, hoping to cause the same amount of damage as the last time he fired, but his aim was off, and the fire went wild. Brother Curro, aching to get into melee combat, pulled out his bolter and also fired at the same Carnifex, but the bolts did not have any penetrating power against the Carnifex, and exploded against its carapace, doing no damage.

With their bolters all but useless, except in the luckiest of circumstances, Brother Calremus took up his missile launcher, and fired a krak missile at the monstrosity, dealing it a nasty wound, although it kept on going regardless, but the Kill-Team could see parts of its carapace were cracked and smoking, it had been hurt. The rest of the Kill-Team decided to focus more on the Tyranid Warriors, attacking creatures that their bolters could harm, and also trying to take out the Synapses that were holding the horde in place.

Bolt after bolt exploded into the warriors but, despite the Kill-Teams best efforts, none of them went down, and the horde continued to advance. Brother Calremus, seeing that the Carnifex had been hit by a lascannon shot, fired another krak missile at the powerful monstrosity, causing another wound, but mitigated, somewhat, by the Carnifexes natural regenerative powers. Brother Drakhaus continued his assault on the tyranid warriors, blowing chunks off one of them.

Brother Haakon, taking aim carefully against one of the warriors fired one single shot, which flew through the air like a guided missile and hit the Warrior square in the forehead. The mass reactive bolt round blew through the cranial fortification, exploded out the back of its head, and the warrior slowly teetered, as if it could not believe what had happened, and then it fell over dead. Brother Curro followed up this example of extreme marksmanship by directing a controlled burst into the hide of another Tyranid Warrior, although it was not enough to kill the Xenos.

Whilst the Kill-Team had been focused on the monstrous creatures, the hordes of Hormagaunts had managed to pass through the withering fire from the PDF position, and charged into combat, leaping on the men of the 1st Company and ripping them to pieces… but Brother Haakon, commanding voice ringing out, kept them in position and, those not engaged, firing into the Hormagaunt ranks. Brother Curro leapt amongst the Hormagaunts like an avenging angel, slicing them to pieces and clearing an area, allowing the PDF troops to reinforce the area, preventing a potential rout.

Knowing that the Carnifexes were getting close to the PDF lines, Brother Curro, firing his fourth missile at one of the monstrosities, aimed and fired… and this time it struck true… the missile streaking through the air and entering the carnifexes body through a hole in its carapace, the back of the Carnifex exploding and the creature stumbling forward a few more steps, its brain too dumb to realise it was dead, before it fell with a last roar.

The Tyranid warriors, out of the three remaining, two charged into combat with the Kill-Team, their boneswords flashing and dicing, ready to feast on the blood of an adeptus Astartes. Brother Haakon was the point of their anger, and he suffered some grievous wounds, but managed to resist the pull of the boneswords enough to stay on his feet. Brother Curro, a little lighter on his feet than Brother Haakon, easily dodged the attacks aimed at him, feeling the familiar sensation of Battle coming over him.

Brother Drakhaus, hefting his force staff, charged into the flank of the creature attacking Brother Curro, his force staff slamming into the warriors’ side. Brother Drakhaus could feel the alien mind fighting against his immense willpower, but he prevailed, and the force of his willpower was sent burning through the Tyranid warrior, until it reached its brain, where it promptly exploded and fell down dead. Brother Elyes, realising how dangerous the boneswords were, fired into the combat featuring Brother Haakon.

His shots found the mark, despite the furiousness of the melee and the kinetic power of the bolts, combined with the poison soaking them, were just enough to kill the Tyranid warrior, leaving only one of the warriors standing. However, the Kill-Team realised that the Hive Tyrant was picking up the slack, and had been murdering vehicles since the start of the fight, they knew they would have to take that out next. Brother Curro, seeing the second Carnifex about to charge, and knowing the damage that it could cause, took his opportunity, and charged it first.

He flew through the air, his jetpack firing behind him, and hit the Carnifex square in the chest, the force of the connection jarring the bones of Brother Curro, but he managed to knock the Carnifex off balance slightly, enough to take its attention from the imperial line, onto Brother Curro himself. With the Carnifex threat to the line averted, Brother Calremus had bigger game in mind, sighting down the missile launcher and sending a krak missile directly at the Hive Tyrant.

However, the missile exploded slightly behind the hive tyrant, and so, whilst it wounded the monster, all it really did was get its attention. Before Brother Calremus’ astonished eyes, the Hive Tyrant seemed to vanish into a shadow, before the shadow zipped across the ground, and it became real again… but much closer this time. Brother Curro, having had experience fighting a Carnifex in close combat, easily avoided the wild swings from the creature, moving easily through the attacks.

Brother Curro, reaching into his reserves of strength, beyond that of mortal men, and utilising specialised training from the Adeptus Astartes, rammed his power sword into the torso of the Carnifex, parting carapace, bone and flesh, before pulling it out and cutting deep into one of its legs with his chainsword. If there was ever a Carnifex that looked surprised, this was one of them… its proto brain could barely believe the damage that had been done by this small thing, and it focused its attention completely on the Astartes.

Brother Calremus, knowing his only had three missile left, fired one more of them at the Hive Tyrant, this time catching it square on, and causing a shout of rage and pain to emerge… and causing it to entirely focus its attention on Brother Calremus. Before Brother Calremus could do anything, the Hive Tyrant was launching its psychic arsenal directly at him. However, the strain of having to direct so many Hormagaunts was obviously very distracting, as the power almost fizzled out before it his Brother Calremus, and he emerged pretty much unscathed.

Brother Curro again attacked the Carnifex with all his might, cutting through one of the massive claws that was attacking him… causing the Carnifex to loose a cry of pain, before dodging the attempted riposte from the Carnifex. Brother Calremus fired the second to last of his missiles at the Hive Tyrant, again causing a massive wound, which led the Hive Tyrant to shadow step into close combat with Brother Calremus, scything talons and rending claws attacking from all angles, cutting deeply into Brother Calremus’ armour.

The rest of the Kill-Team, those not involved in life or death melee struggles anyway, saw Brother Calremus impaled through his body and arm, lifted up by the Hive Tyrant, and then flung aside like so much detritus… they did not know whether he was alive or dead, but they knew he was, at the last, grievously wounded. With this immense display of superiority, even Brother Haakon could not stop the PDF troopers from retreating, and the Imperial position began to unravel, although the reverse companies were moving in from the back.

Brother Elyes, his normal taciturn demeanour unravelling at the sight of his Battle Brother falling, unclasped his bulkhead shears and, gripping them in two hands, charged into the back of the Hive Tyrant, burying them in its back, and making the Hive Tyrant rear backwards in agony. Meanwhile, Brother Curro continued his brutal assault on the Carnifex, cutting deep into its leg… it was obvious to anyone watching that this Battle would be over soon.

Brother Haakon, knowing that taking down the Hive Tyrant was pretty much the only way to end this assault now, fired a full auto burst of his bolter against the Hive Tyrant. The strength of the Emperor was with him, as all four of his bolt shells hit the Hive Tyrant, breaking through its already battered Carapace and exploding deep within its body, the detonations repeating, one after the other, until it fell down, completely dead. With the fall of the Hive Tyrant, the effect on the Tyranid horde was immediate, and its effects were felt along this entire length of Battle line.

The entire offensive up the west ramp fell apart, as all the Tyranids started spontaneously fleeing. This coincided with the reserve companies arriving for the imperial Forces, and the reinforcements followed the Kill-Team in a reckless charge down the ramp, killing Tyranids by the hundreds and driving them back. The Kill-Team also realised that the attack on the East ramp had faltered as well, so they moved back to the top of the ramp in-case the horde was moving away from the east to attack the west ramp.

However, as soon as they arrived at the top of the ramp, another crisis presented itself. On the vox, from one of the observation posts, the Kill-Team was informed that a ship had just appeared in mid-air and was approaching the hive. Just as the Kill-Team wondered if it was on a collision course, it stopped in mid-air, all its weapons firing down into the Tyranid horde outside the hive. The Kill-Team were hailed by the Ship, which identified itself as a Manta Spaceship, from the Tau Empire, requesting docking rights in the Spire.

Brother Haakon, who had been appointed leader on this mission, decided immediately that an enemy of my enemy is my friend, gave the order to let them land and, seeing the Tyranid Horde milling around in confusion, told Imperial Command that they were coming up to meet with the Tau. After a quick dash up the spire, the Kill-Team entered the hangar with the Tau Ship, which had been covered by the Imperial Troops. The Cargo Hold opened slowly, and the Kill-Team could see a Tau Commander, and Brother Elyes realised they had seen this Commander before!

This was the Tau Commander that they had attacked at the end of their last mission… although the Tau Commander did not know that and greeted them by revealing his face, making himself vulnerable with this action, intended to show that he meant no harm. The Kill-Team moved across the hangar bay, as did the Tau Commander, and they met in the middle, with the Tau Commander nodding his head in their direction.

The Tau Commander told them that they had been tracking some suspicious Tyranid activity for a while now, and that they had come to this planet a month ago, hoping to kill a lot of the vanguard organisms and stop the invasion of the planet. However, they had underestimated how deep the infection had spread, but they still managed to kill quite a few of them, out in the wilds, but could do nothing in the Hives. After explaining himself, the Tau Commander, called Flamewing, invited them into the ship to hear his proposal, and to meet his Commander. Intrigued, the Kill-Team accepted.

They were taken to, what was obviously, the Commanders Quarters and were introduced to Asun O’Zal, one of the legendary Ethereal Caste of the Tau… and the Kill-Team could see what a calming effect his presence had on the entire ship. The Ethereal told them the plan… that they would use their stealth systems to take the Kill-Team up to the Hive Ship, where they would find their way to the Hive Queen, and blow her up, causing the invasion to lose all direction and saving Beseritor. Commander Flamewing and his escort would go with them, to make sure the mission succeeded.

The Kill-Team, whilst suspicious of any Xenos, had been wondering how they were actually going to manage to win this war with the Tyranids, and this high risk mission was something they could appreciate. After a little discussion and debate about what was known of a hive ship (nothing) and a few other minor details, the Kill-Team accepted. They left the ship to inform the Imperial Governor that they would be taking the fight to the enemy and just to keep holding the line as they had planned.

The Governor was, understandably, a little shaken by the events of the past few weeks, but agreed to keep pulling the troops back to more and more defendable areas, to try and hold off the horde for as long as possible. The Kill-Team then boarded the Manta Spaceship, and the stealth technology came online, and they flew out into, and through, the hordes of Gargoyles that were blanketing the skies of Beseritor. After they had cleared those, the Kill-Team settled themselves in for a journey into the heart of the Tyranid Horde, on a mission whose results would decide whether this world was held, or would fall.

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.

Something Stirs in the Underhive; Session 5
Where there is a lot of Combat

In the ensuing chaos of the furious melee that broke out, neither the Mist Reaper nor the Kill-Team caused any damage, and even though the monster was directly in their face, the Kill-Team still had a hard time seeing it. Brother Haakon, calling upon his leadership skills, managed to infuse the entire Kill-Team with his ethics as a space wolf, making them much more willing to brawl, and quicker to react to close quarter combat, a boon at this moment in time. The rest of the Kill-Team felt their reactions quicken, and Brother Curro bellowed out a challenge to the monster.

The Mist Reaper struck first, however, cleaving through Brother Drakhaus’s armour in multiple locations, trying to infect the space marine with its horrific toxins, something that Brother Drakhaus’s enhanced resistances repelled. However, the assault had done a lot of damage, but Brother Drakhaus was unbowed and readied his own attack. Brother Curro launched into the attack, slicing with his power sword and chainsword at the creature… but the creature was too agile and weaved between the swings.

Brother Elyes, standing further back, readied his bolter and fired a burst at the creature, which was concentrating so hard on avoiding Brother Curro’s attack, that it was hit twice, in the face, by the mass reactive bolts. However, even this hardly slowed it down at all, letting the Kill-Team know that this was going to be a very hard fight. Brother Haakon moved around the side of the creature and tried to drive his knife into the side of the creature, but it avoided this attack easily.

However, the Kill-Team, working in concert, had managed to distract the creature enough that Brother Drakhaus, waiting for his chance to strike, was able to smash the creature on the right leg with his force staff. Pitting his immense will against the alien mind of the Mist Reaper, Brother Drakhaus focussed his power through his staff, sending it coruscating through the Mist Reaper, and dealing it a grievous wound that sent it reeling away. The Lictor recovered quickly, however, and set its xenos sights on the Librarian.

Brother Calremus fired his stalker bolter from the back of the Kill-Team, and buried an accurate shot in its torso, his special kraken rounds tearing through the armoured carapace and dealing yet another wound to the creature. Brother Curro, seeing the incoming attack against Brother Drakhaus, reached into his heritage as a storm warden, and his reactions quickened as he picked off the first attack from the Mist Reaper. However, the Mist reaper was very agile, and the rest of its attacks go through both Brother Curro and Brother Drakhaus’s guard.

A Rending Talon flew across Brother Drakhaus’s face, creasing his armour back into his face, and tearing off his nose, the blood splattering across the monster’s talons. The follow up attack, smashed into his left arm, appearing to almost completely sever his arm, sending him flying sideways into the wall of the substation, with massive arcs of blood spraying for a few seconds, before the marines body stopped the blood flow. To all intents and purposes, the Kill-Team was sure that Brother Drakhaus was dead.

Seeing this fate sent the rest of the Kill-Team into a period of cold fury… they wanted this thing dead even more than ever now. Brother Curro, letting out his roar of fury, challenging the mist reaper, then launched into the attack, striking so swiftly that even the enhanced agility of the Mist Reaper was not enough, the chainsword cutting through the mist reapers carapace and into its torso, the chainsword screaming as it bit through flesh and bone.

As the Mist Reaper was reeling from that blow, Brother Curro’s ancient power sword came around from the opposite side and sliced a massive, deep gash In one of the Mist Reapers talons… and the Kill-Team was sure they could see a look of fear on the monsters face. Brother Haakon took a step back, out of its reach, and fired a burst from his bolter, sending the mist reaper staggering back from the force of the shots. The explosions from the bolt shells ripped the leg off the Mist Reaper, and the rest of the shells exploded in its torso.

Almost in slow motion, the Kill-Team saw the mist reaper fall, being driven down by the bolt shells, missing a leg, the life finally went out of its eyes, and it dropped to the floor. Brother Elyes wasted no time in collecting the severed leg for further study, and the rest of the Kill-Team spent a few moments putting more bolts into the body, and then Brother Calremus used his heavy flamer to make sure it was dead, having heard stories of these things feigning death to great effect. Brother Elyes approached Brother Drakhaus, fearing the worst, but was amazed that the librarian was still alive. It was, said Brother Elyes afterwards, a sign of the emperors grace and mercy.

Brother Drakhaus pulled himself up, looking completely battered, his armour full of rents and holes, his helmet gouged. The Kill-Team took some time to reflect on their victory, whilst Brother Elyes was tending to all their wounds, and also starting his study into a contact poison based on the lictor’s gene structure, although he knew he would have to wait until he was back at the Arbites HQ. The Kill-Team was about to head further into the underhive, to search for further xenos taint, when they heard what appeared to be a riot starting in the main hive, their enhanced senses picking out what they needed to hear.

Then their vox units, which until then had been silent, started crackling into life and they started hearing reports coming in from all Hive Primus about insurrection, rebellion and destruction. The Kill-Team quickly narrowed down the three priority reports coming in, the small arms manufactory, the armoured manufactory and from the arbites HQ. Taking a quick decision, based on where they were, Brother Haakon decided to move against the Small Arms Manufactory, reasoning that small arms can be used by anyone, which gives them a larger manpower pool.

The Kill-Team quickly moved out of the underhive, boarding their requisitioned chimera, and made all speed to the small arms manufactorum, using their maglev boots to rest on the top of the chimera so they could fire at the rioters. Whilst they never managed to completely break any of the rebels on the way there, their efforts did make it easier for the clean-up crews who arrived on the scene later. They made good progress to their goal, and when they arrived at their destination, they could see a mass of people in the streets, pouring fire into the small arms manufactory, and they could see some las-fire from the PDF forces entrenched in the manufactorum.

They quickly took in the scene; identifying the major threats… they could see some heavy stubber teams setting up in a raised position that would enable them to pour fire on the PDF’s position, which would quickly swing the fight in the rebels favour. They could also see a group of rebels moving steadily towards the left side of the building, their heightened senses picking out the tell-tale evidence of high explosives. The order came to the driver of the chimera; to just plough through as many rebels as it could before it got stopped, getting the Kill-Team into position quicker than would normally be possible.

To the rebels, it appeared that their doom had appeared, almost too quickly for them to realise. The chimera ploughed into the back of their ranks, squelching numerous rebels under its tracks. Brother Curro waited until he was in range, and then, using his jetpack, launched off the top of the chimera and landed smack bang in the middle of the group of rebels armed with high explosives. Striking left and right, Brother Curro sliced two of the rebels into small chunks, before informing the rest of them that their doom had appeared. The Rebels, under the control of a malign force, did not break… instead they attacked.

Launching themselves at the space marine in their ranks, the rebels tried to plant their live explosives onto Brother Curro. However, such was their shock at the sudden appearance that the only thing they managed to do was for one of their number to slip on the entrails of his fellow rebel, fall onto the ground and blow their own head off. Brother Calremus, as he had so many times in this mission, turned to his heavy flamer, sending controlled bursts of promethium into the horde of rebels, sending them, screaming, into the arms of their xenos overlords.

Brother Haakon, using the mounted heavy bolter, started laying down suppressing fire against the heavy stubber crews, his accurate pinning fire making almost all of them go to ground within a few seconds, and delaying them from setting up their weaponry. Brother Drakhaus, reaching into the warp, fired the emperors wrath into them, sending even more burning and screaming before they died. Brother Elyes had taken it upon himself to protect the rest of the Kill-Team, so was laying about with his chainsword on any rebels who sought to climb onto the top of the chimera, slicing them to pieces and kicking their remains back down.

As the Kill-Team was performing their deadly work, an obviously infected human stepped out of the ranks of the horde and challenged the imperials to single combat… his fearless actions giving the rebels a boost, and making the imperials less effective as they cowered in their entrenchments. Brother Curro continued to slice and dice the rebels before him, cutting down two of them and sending the other one running, screaming, back the way he came, his indoctrination broken by the sheer fury of the Battle Brother. With the explosives troops defeated, a cheer went up from the imperial lines.

Brother’s Calremus and Drakhaus, acting in concert as only those who hail from the same chapter can, sent more waves of flame into the horde of rebels, which was thinning noticeably from their attacks. Brother Haakon sent another round of suppressing fire into the stubber teams, this time succeeding in stopping all of their actions in setting up the heavy weapons. Brother Elyes continued to defend the chimera, chopping and slicing the rebels as they approached, causing so much damage that the rebels pretty much decided to ignore trying to gain access to the chimera.

Under command from the infected human leader, the horde swung most of their fire against the space marines, autogun fire, stub revolvers & las fire all flowing around them, mostly missing, and those that hit causing very little damage, with the marines not even bothering to take cover, so contemptuous were they of their enemies’ fire. Brother Curro, hearing the challenge from the leader, fired his jetpack, landed in front of the infect human, bellowed out his own challenge, and then attacked. His attack was brutal, but the infected human, despite having chunks taken out of his torso, was still alive after the attack.

Seeing the horde teetering on the edge of breaking, Brother Calremus brought out his missile launcher, and sent a frag missile into the heart of the horde, sending bodies spiralling into the air, and creating a massive crater where their bodies should have been. Brother Haakon, having suppressed all the stubber teams decided to take them down. In a display of absolutely amazing accuracy and devastation, all the stubber teams were taken down with just one fully automatic burst, a feat which even the most prideful devastator would admit was something special.

Brother Curro, in a fight with the leader of the horde, managed to parry his attacks relatively easily, before unleashing his own attack. The leader had turned around to his men, trying to bolster their ranks… he raised his arm to show he was still in the fight, but then the arm fell to the ground, he turned around in shock, only to stop suddenly, and then his torso slowly, but steadily, parted from his legs, and he slid to the ground, quite dead. With this, final nail in the coffin, the horde finally broke and fled the scene, the imperial cheers in their ears.

After a quick conversation, over the vox, with the captain of the PDF forces here, the Kill-Team decided on their next objective… the arbites HQ. Doing the same thing as they had done before, taking pot shots at rebels causing trouble, moving through areas of heavier and heavier resistance, but speeding towards their objective. After around 30 minutes of travel, the Kill-Team arrives at the arbites HQ, and are gladdened to see that the Headquarters has not fallen yet, although it has been breached, and the sound of fighting comes from inside.

The Kill-Team immediately falls on the rear of the horde of people still streaming inside the arbites HQ. Ordering the driver to ram into the gates of the arbites HQ, the Kill-Team began their slaughter… Brother Curro and Elyes hacking into the horde with their chainswords and power weapons, Brother Calremus and Brother Drakhaus continuing their reaping with their heavy flamers, one mechanical, and the other mental. Brother Haakon continued his spree with his heavy bolter, picking off squads of rebels in single bursts, opening the way for the rest of the Kill-Team.

This completely devastating attack shattered the horde, sending them running from the Battlefield, and opening the way to the inside of the arbites HQ. The chimera rams into the doorway, not doing much damage to the reinforced rockcrete and steel door frames, and the Kill-Team disembarks into the building… they are immediately engulfed in chaos and debris, but their auto senses manage to make sense of it. Brother Drakhaus fired his holy bolter, sending streams of exploding shells into the ranks of the enemy, his accuracy allowing him to avoid any arbites in the area.

Brother Curro fired his jetpack, flying through the building into the most densely packed group of enemies. Landing with a crunch, he sent the rebels flying into the air, and in a blink of an eye, cut them down with his melee weaponry, saving the arbites that were on the floor nearby from an untimely death. What he saw then, however, was something he had never seen before in all his years of fighting.

An Arbites sergeant, maybe the one who had sent them the vox transmission, was almost flowing through the combat, moving with almost inhuman grace and guile, sliding through groups of the enemy, leaving them gutted husks as he passed. His preternatural awareness saved him a couple of times, dodging shots fired from enemies that he should not have been able to see… it left quite an impression over the Kill-Team, with many of them suspecting the sergeant of being infected by a genestealer… but they had bigger problems at that moment.

Shots flew from the rebels, bouncing off the ceramite plating of the Kill-Teams’ power armour, doing very little, if any, damage. Brother Curro continued his assault, cutting down one rebel after the other, his body also a weapon, crushing humans beneath his bulk. Brother Calremus, acting after his Battle Brothers, heard some chittering coming from a room off to the side, followed by the sound of something being eviscerated and decided to investigate, moving towards the room, and fired a krak missile into the room. He placed his launcher on his back, and hefted his heavy flamer.

Brothers Haakon and Elyes, noticing the movement of their Battle Brother, took overwatch positions facing the room, noting that the Battle seemed to be calming down, with the powers of Brother Drakhaus and Brother Curro’s melee skills carving through the remnants of the horde. Brother Calremus, not taking any chances of what is in the room, fired his flamer into the enclosed space, the promethium easily setting the room ablaze, and getting a highly satisfying screeching coming forth from the room.

Brother Calremus finally saw what was making that screaming, as four genestealers came charging out of the room, scythed limbs poised to tear through his power armour. However, Brothers Elyes and Haakon had his back, and their bolter fire ripped through the skin of two of the genestealers, sending the abominations back to where they were spawned. This still meant two of the genestealers were on him, eight scythed limbs coming at him, slicing through his power armour with impunity, causing some painful wounds to the Battle Brother.

Brother Curro disengaged from his Battle with the remnants of the horde to come to his Battle Brothers’ aid, charging in and cutting through one of the genestealers legs, a horrific wound, but still not enough to down one of the creatures. However, this did allow Brother Calremus to quick draw his bolt pistol and down that creature. The rest of the Kill-Team quickly finished off the remaining Genestealer.

As the Kill-Team was dusting themselves off from the latest skirmish, the Sergeant ran over to them, which immediately put the Kill-Team on their guard… they had seen his almost inhuman reflexes, and suspected some xenos taint. Their suspicions were proven unfounded, however, when the “Sergeant,” out of view of his fellow arbites, suddenly changed form… this human was a Callidus assassin. He quickly sent them over ciphers used by Inquisitor Quist, which Brother Haakon immediately recognised.

In their quick conversation with Sergeant Mithras, the Kill-Team learned that he had been sent by the Inquisitor, who was worried about Xenos Infiltration. He had been tasked with investigating the Arbites, but he had found no suspicion of taint, and pronounced them clean, which meant the Kill-Team could go about their business without worry. The Kill-Team promised to get in contact when the current crisis had been resolved, and they knew that they had a powerful ally within the arbites. After giving quick greeting to Commander Quintilla, the Kill-Team set off towards the Armoured Manufactorum.

As the Kill-Team was leaving, their voxes crackled a result of the long range of the message. It was from the Rogue Trader, Captain Diaz Lan of the Horizons Pride, letting them know that Battlegroup Vishnu was moving towards the edge of the system, after their sensors picked up multiple contacts moving inbound. In consultation with the Kill-Team, it was decided he would follow the Battlegroup, but more in a shadowing capacity, rather than in a combat capacity. They pushed the Chimera out from the doorway, and managed to get it working again.

They quickly made their way towards the Armoured Factorum, noticing that the PDF units were in much greater vision than the rebels, and that the arbites had started to regain control of the streets… it was obvious that the Space Marines actions had turned the tide in two key locations, and that the rebellion was burning itself out. However, it had come at a price; with the Kill-Team finding the Armoured Factorum a burned out husk… explosions had ripped through the entire factory… it was now useless.

With the riots calming down, the Kill-Team made their way back up to the Spire, for a meeting with the imperial governor, who informed them that the assassin had tried to kill him again, but quick actions from his bodyguard had saved him, albeit at the cost of their own lives. The Imperial Governor was obviously a little stressed; demanding to know what was going on in his hive. He visibly paled when he was informed that it was a Tyranid Infestation.

The Kill-Team let the Governor know about their fighting in the underhive, and that the murders would stop now that the Mist Reaper had been killed, and the Governor praised their contribution to this Hive, and promised them honours after the crisis was over. The Kill-Team was joined by the Arbites Commander, and they went over their situation. They had lost the ability to make armoured vehicles at a rapid pace, but their ability to manufacture small arms, heavy weapons and maintain order (arbites) had not taken too much damage.

The Kill-Team also learned, after some direct questions, that the Governors’ astropaths were having trouble sending and receiving messages, and that some of them had been hearing a whispering in the warp… all signs of impending tyranid invasion. Closing his eyes, Brother Drakhaus extended his senses into the immaterium, and realised that the psychic pulsing had not stopped, and focusing further, realised that it was coming from very close to the hive spire, only a mile below the governor’s office.

After some more conversations about the events of the day, the Arbites Commander was dismissed, and Brother Elyes took this advantage to travel with her, back to the arbites laboratory, where he began synthesising a specific poison to this strain of Tyranids, using the Mist Reapers Leg, and the Genestealers limbs. Meanwhile, Brother Drakhaus had been thinking back on his arrival at the hive, and realised that one of the nobles who had greeted them, had his noble house on the same level as the psychic pulse he was detecting.

The Kill-Team informed the Imperial Governor that the infestation was not over yet, and, using their newfound influence, managed to convince him to sanction a meeting between the Battle Brothers and the main noble of the house, the one giving off the psychic call. The imperial Governor also gave them a few platoons of the PDF, and some arbites to make sure they could carry out their mission in peace. With this, the Kill-Team made their way to the noble house, announced ahead of time, and were taken through the expansive grounds to their meeting.

They are met by the Patriarch of the Noble House, Patriarch Barbosa, who has come to the meeting with his trusted assistants and some experts at law, trying to keep the Battle Brothers from suspecting him, not knowing they had a librarian with them. He met them in the middle of a crystal dome, with some xenos artefacts clearly on display, this nobleman was showing them how far above imperial law he was… not that the Kill-Team was bothered by this in the slightest.

Patriarch Barbosa stepped forward with an outstretched hand, “How May I help you?” he inquired. Brother Haakon stepped forward, raised his bolter and stated “you can die!” Before firing. His bolts were aimed true, but before they could strike the Patriarch, a shimmering field of energy deflected the shots away, to smash into the Crystal dome. The Energy Field appeared to be infallible, deflecting all the attacks that the Kill-Team could direct at the Patriarch… until, as if by the blessing of the emperor, the energy field shorted out.

Brother Calremus, not wanting to take any chances with what this could be, loaded a krak missile and fired, even though one of this Battle Brothers, Brother Curro, was in hand to hand combat with the Patriarch. The Missile flew true, landing at the feet of the Patriarch, in an intense fireball that burned away the Broodlord’s human façade. When the explosion cleared, however, Brother Curro was still standing, singed perhaps, but still cleaving at the newly revealed monster with the Emperor’s Vengeance.

The remainder of the Kill-Team hit the Broodlord with whatever they could, hastened by Brother Drakhaus shouting out a warning that he could feel a massive psychic build-up from the creature… but they could not take it down in time. Brother Elyes felt the full force of the attack, as the creature pulled warp energies into itself, focused it into a beam capable of cutting through tanks, and directed it straight into Brother Elyes. He flew across the room in a shower of sparks and Warp energy, to land heavily against the crystal dome.

However, this attack had taken a lot out of the Broodlord, and with its energy field down, it was very vulnerable. Shouting praises to the emperor, and Promises of vengeance, the Kill-Team fell upon the Broodlord, bolter fire, chainsword blows and psychic powers being enough to finally send it crashing down to the ground… the entire combat was over in less than half a minute. The Kill-Team could then hear the shots coming from around the Noble’s estate as the infected humans tried to escape into the city proper, only to be met by the PDF and Arbites.

With the cleansing of the infection over, the Kill-Team returned to the palace of the imperial governor, to inform him of the success of their mission. However, they good news was shattered by a single vox transition from the Rogue Trader, Diaz Lan. “Battlegroup Vishnu has been destroyed… incoming tyranid fleet on the outskirts of the System, expect Beseritor is their target. Currently moving ahead of their forces, but will be there soon… may the Emperor Protect!”

Something Stirs in the Underhive; Session 4
Where the threat is learned

After an oath taking session that led the Battle Brothers to rekindle the bonds of kinship and, in some cases, friendship, between them, they made their way to liaise with Diaz Lan and his ship, the Horizons pride. The Kill-Team is informed that their weapons and items they have requisitioned will be waiting for them on board the light cruiser… they are also informed that a magos biologis team will be accompanying them on their mission. Brother Elyes had been reaching out to some of the contacts he has within the Adeptus Mechanicus, and one such team had agreed that, if it was xenos, and specifically Tyranids, it would aid their research.

With no further ado, the Kill-Team boarded the horizons pride with Diaz Lan, who informed them that, because of the shadow of the warp hanging over the Orpheus salient, it was unlikely that word of their coming to Beseritor would reach there before they arrived. Given that it was a month long voyage through the warp, Brother Drakhaus and Haakon, who was the Kill-Team leader for this mission, spent a little time on the outside of the horizons pride, practicing their Zero G combat techniques.

During the voyage, the Kill-Team kept themselves busy with various weapons drills, Brother Curro taking it upon himself to drill some of the troops that served on the horizons pride, which Captain Lan was very grateful for at first, but as the number of injured continued to rise from these drills, his gratitude started fading. Brother Elyes spent most of him time keeping to the shadows around the gun decks, providing many a mother a wonderfully scary story to tell her kids about the monsters in the dark, and what they would do if they did not eat their protein mush.

Brother Calremus spent most of his time in ranged weapon drills, Lan trusting him enough to realise that he would not puncture the walls of the ship with his missile launcher, given that Brother Calremus had swapped his heavy bolter for a heavy flamer, expecting that the more enclosed environs of a Hive city, even one as odd as Hive Primus on Beseritor, would favour this close range destroyer. He also spent time calibrating his stalker bolter that he had requisitioned, not wanting to lose the ability to fire long range either.

Brothers Haakon & Drakhaus spent most of their time with the Captain, trying to discover more information about Beseritor than they had been told. He did learn that the Captain was quite close friends with the imperial governor on the planet, and that would ease their presence on the planet. But, other than the rising casualty list coming from some of Brother Curro’s “bouts” the trip was uneventful and relatively routine… something that Captain Lan commented on at one of their dinners, saying that it appeared the Kill-Team was good luck.

As the horizons pride translated out of the warp, they were immediately hailed by Battlegroup Vishnu, headed by the Cruiser invictus. The captains of the respective ships obviously knew each other, and whilst they were not friends, they had a sort of professional respect for each other, although Captain Karrandan did tell Diaz Lan that he would catch him for the smuggling one day. Captain Karrandan did, however, have something important to tell the Kill-Team… since they translated to warp over a month ago, there had been more than 200 similar killings, and hive primus was teetering on civil disorder.

The Kill-Team also learned that the Battlegroup had been noticing blips on their sensors for the last few days, but they were not there when the Battlegroup investigated. Given the situation of Beseritor, the Battlegroup were not willing to put it down to errors in the machine spirit. The last piece of information they learned was that something, very small sensor signature, had managed to make landfall in the last two days, and nothing had been reported from the sighting stations on the planet. With this to ponder, the Kill-Team asked Diaz Lan to land on the planet so they could start their investigation.

After a journey time of a day to get to Beseritor, and after Captain Lan had received permission to land, and had been told that they would be met by the imperial governor himself, the Kill-Team boarded the Aquila lander with Diaz Lan himself and settled in for a short ride. They came into land on the tallest landing platform, a dazzling structure surrounded by glittering glass to stop the harsh winds at this height from sending everyone on the landing pad over the edge to their death. As the lander settled down, the Imperial Governor, a group of high ranking nobles and various other functionaries stepped out to greet them.

As the ramp extended from the lander, the Kill-Team got their first look at Hive Primus… but they immediately realised that something was wrong and they all looked above to see an indistinct shape hanging off the side of the hive, a high powered rifle in its hands. With only seconds to react, each of the Kill-Team acted. Brother Haakon launched himself on top of Diaz Lan, figuring he was the target. Brother Curro called out a warning and Brother Calremus focused his eyesight to get a better look at the assassin.

Brother Drakhaus, reacting with years of experience, took out a screamer and set it off, sending everyone to the floor, their senses overwhelmed by the object. Brother Elyes was the last to react, moving his boltgun up and sending a shot towards the assassin. His shot blew through the protective glass around the landing pad, and almost hit the assassin, before the assassin fired. The shot, which the Kill-Team could see clearly, approached the glass, and then phased through, before burying itself in the ground next to the head of the Imperial Governor… Brother Drakhaus’s action had saved his life.

With his shot missing, the Kill-Team saw the assassin moved away round the other side of the spire and away from their vision. The bodyguards were quickly moving the governor and the nobles back inside, as the governor signalled for the Kill-Team and Diaz Lan to follow him. They did this, noting that the imperial palace, near the very top of the hive, was absolutely gigantic, with each of the Battle Brothers thinking that so much more could have been eked out of the space, rather than wasting time with all this frivolity.

Reaching the imperial governors personal sanctum, the Kill-Team was informed that this was the third assassination attempt in the past month, and that the Imperial governor would be grateful if they could put a stop to them. The Kill-Team nodded their assent, but then asked to see some of the bodies of the recently killed people, as well as the body of the second assassin, which the imperial governor informed them was being held at the arbites headquarters. With this, the Kill-Team had all the information they needed, and so requisitioned an arbites chimera to take them to the headquarters.

The Chimera moved through the sparse crowds in the noble area of the hive and plunged down a few levels, the crowds becoming thicker and thicker as they neared the arbites headquarters. As they approached, they saw that the arbites had a honour guard welcoming them.

The Kill-Team would have been embarrassed, had such an emotion been understandable to them, so they just took it stoically and advanced through the honour guard. They met the Commander of the arbites, Quintilla Zetkin at the door. Quintilla was very awed to meet members of the adeptus astartes, with her predecessor being decapitated during the Battle to take control of this planet, over a couple of decades ago. She put the entire station at the Kill-Team’s disposal, and they immediately went down to the morgue.

Once down there, the Kill-Team dismissed the ranking medicae, and let Brother Elyes, the apothecary, and the magos biologis, examine the corpses. They realised that whatever had ripped the slain apart had been either biological or had been some sort of flexible metal. They also examined the corpse of the second assassin and after a full body scan and help from the magos, realised that the muscle had been super accelerated and, that this was caused by genestealer infection… with both of these hypothesises in place, the Kill-Team knew they were dealing with the great devourer, the Tyranids.

With this information, Brother Haakon was able to plot the “ripped apart” kills and discern a relative pattern to the attacks, which was leading down from the top of the spire to just above the underhive… although this hive had not yet had the time to create a true underhive, filled with the scum and villainy that the rest of the hive could not stomach. Their liaison came in and informed them that another death had been found, and Brother Haakon was able to confidently predict where the body had been found, much to the arbites dismay.

Taking the chimera, the Kill-Team moved down to the latest kill, and quickly deduced that the attack had come from outside, and that whatever tyranid creature it was, was fast, nimble and deadly. The Kill-Team, knowing they had to contain this situation, managed to follow the spoor of the creature, Brother Haakon’s wolf senses proving invaluable at this point in time. The followed it into the underhive, advancing cautiously through the vaunted tunnels and sub-power points.

Their auto senses, and auspexes, picked up movement ahead, from beneath a pile of trash. Brother Drakhaus advanced boldly into the room, and picked up the thrashing body of a hive kid, who was trying to hide from things beyond his nightmares. As Brother Drakhaus was trying to get some information out of the hysterical child, flesh hooks slammed out of the darkness and dragged the child, screaming, into the dark tunnel beyond.

The Kill-Team surged into action, flame, bolt rounds and psychic powers flying down the tunnel, catching the child in their crossfire, but not doing any damage that they could see of the creature, not that they could see the creature in the first place. They did, however, see some light glittering off the roof of the tunnel as the creature moved into a large substation. Cautiously, knowing to respect this enemy, the Kill-Team advanced into the substation, scanning all areas as they moved. The creature, a horrific strain of lictor, called “The Mist Reaper,” dropped down on them from above.

Shadows over Madness; Session 3
Where successes come like London buses

The Kill-Team dusted themselves off from their last encounter, treatment was administered to the wounded by apothecary Elyes, and the Kill-Team went back to the land speeder to continue on their mission. After a long, monotonous, period of travel, the Kill-Team began to realise that the trees were thinning out somewhat, and that the terrain was becoming more mountainous, it appeared that their destination would soon be within their reach.

After some rather vertical movements, up and around the rocky terrain, the Kill-Team realise that it appears the last active delirium trellis is actually inside the mountain. Tunnels criss-cross the face of the mountain, and without any hesitation, Brother Drakhaus directs the team into the left most of the tunnels. After having seen the vespid tunnels in the towering glades, the Kill-Team was left with no doubt that these tunnels were made by the same xenos creatures.

After moving, cautiously, through the warren of tunnels, the Kill-Team notices an exit to their current tunnel, and their enhanced vision notices what appears to be a fire pit, with various charge packs for las weaponry hanging above the pit, recharging. They also notice other las packs laying in the direct sunlight, recharging from the strong morning sun. The Kill-Team advance to the end of the tunnel and see twelve imperial guardsmen, their uniforms in various stages of disrepair, lounging around the fire pit, with two of their number busy slaughtering a mountain cat.

Seven of the twelve guardsmen, seeing the armoured space marines burst into view, quickly gather up their meagre belonging and run deeper into the mountain. The two busy slaughtering the mountain cat, just carry on as if nothing has happened. The three remaining, their minds completely destroyed by the effects of the delirium trellis, see the Kill-Team as food, and so charge them in a frothing frenzy, wielding their lasguns as clubs.

Brother Calremus raised his heavy bolter to hose down the idiots, but his penchant for violence was stopped by a command from Brother Drakhaus, who called for both the Kill-Team, and the charging guardsmen, to hold fast. the guardsmen ignored this command, and set about the Kill-Team with the butts of their lasguns, having about as much effect as someone who clubs at a mighty tree, expecting it to fall down. The Kill-Team showed remarkable restraint, although Brother Calremus backhanded the guardsman in front of him, sending him flying back with a broken neck.

The rest of the Kill-Team manage to subdue the charging guardsmen quite easily, with Brother Drakhaus and Haakon easily picking the guardsmen off the ground and cutting off their air supply, knocking them into the blissful embrace of unconsciousness. They restrain the guardsmen, not really wanting to harm, whom they assume to be, faithful servants of the emperor, just under the effect of a xenos device. With the mad guardsmen dealt with, the Kill-Team moves to take up a defensive position, whilst Brother Drakhaus moves to question the two remaining guardsmen.

This proves to be a very frustrating endeavour, with the guardsmen’s mind having mostly gone, but using his powers of persuasion, not to mention his powers of patience, the Librarian finally manages to tease some useful information from the two guardsmen. They learn that the guardsmen follow someone calling themselves the Mountain King, who killed a commissar to take command of this group. They also learn that this group has the trellis, and is using it to try and commune with the emperor.

The Kill-Team try and convince the guardsmen to lead them to this “mountain king” but their minds are completely focussed on gutting the remaining animals, even leading them to start butchering thin air. The Kill-Team moves on from this distraction, following the path mentioned by the guardsmen that will bring them to the mountain king and, more importantly, the trellis.

After an hour of moving through the cave system, and realising from the sounds coming from around them that the remaining guardsmen are moving away from them, probably to go to the mountain king’s side, they come across a rather strange sight. Brother Curro realises that this room, where they seem to be collecting random detritus is a throwback to their feral roots, where they collect the infamous ghostfire flower for the frenzy inspiring pollen that it produces.

Finally, though, the Kill-Team emerges into a cavernous area of the cave system, the arching ceilings reaching at least 20 metres above their head, and immediately notice a large throng of imperial guardsmen, praying before a delirium trellis, before which sits a man in a tattered commissar’s robe… this is obviously the mountain king. He is currently in the throes of beating a servitor, screaming “why can you not translate divinity!” into its face, before pushing it away, sending it scurrying back to the trellis.

He then notices the Kill-Team, and his face turns pale, but he still screams out “no, don’t do this, don’t take this away from me… we are so close, we just need a little time!” obviously expecting the Kill-Team to take the trellis away from him, he is surprised when Brother Drakhaus, expertly reading the situation, asks the “mountain king” if he would like any help with understanding the trellis. The Kill-Team is remarkably patient with the Mountain King, listening to his rambling, agreeing with his thoughts, and they manage to calm him down from the rather eccentric state he was in.

After further negotiation, the mountain king agrees to allow Brother Drakhaus and Brother Calremus closer to the trellis, to allow them to interface with it and help him in his dream to contact the emperor. The rest of the Kill-Team takes up a defensive position, ready to unleash hell on the guardsmen if they attack… the Kill-Team know what Brother Drakhaus is going to do, and they suspect it will not go down well.

They manage to hide their intentions quite well, the Mountain King is completely unaware and the rest of the guardsmen are taking their cue from him. Brother Calremus interfaces with the delirium trellis using the data slate that he had brought with him for this very instance… a rush of xenos energy and information rush through his eyes, into his head, but his conditioned mind is enough to fight back the attack… but he does wonder just how corrupt the servitor is if it has been getting the same treatment.

After Brother Calremus gives the go ahead, Brother Drakhaus raised his hand and called upon the emperors blessing, before launching his psychic energies into the delirium trellis. However, unlike the last couple of times, this time the reaction was something different and Brother Drakhaus knew it almost immediately, but his knowledge was not quick enough for him to shout a warning, as the trellis reflected the attack back to everyone within 30 metres… this included the Mountain King.

As coruscating energies exploded back at them, Brother Calremus, Brother Drakhaus and the Mountain king were all hit. The Brothers of the Kill-Team were only slightly singed by the power of the smite, but the mountain king did not fare as well… his body fell to the ground, lighting up like a celebration on an imperial world, leaving a smoking corpse on the ground. This completely broke the guardsmen, whose hold on sanity was tenuous enough anyway, and they grabbed up their lasguns and prepared to fight.

Brother Curro, gambling that as the emperors chosen, as the mountain king had anointed them, he would be able to cow at least some of them, called out that they were the emperors chosen, and that it was ordained by the emperor himself. This had the impact of causing half the guardsmen to fall down to their knees in worship, praying to the emperor for deliverance and refusing to take part in the fight… the rest of the guardsmen, having taken up their lasguns, fired.

Brother Calremus was the first to react, and his reaction was completely and utterly devastating. His heavy bolter chewed through the massed ranks of the guardsmen, sending bodies flying, exploding apart as the mass reactive bolt shells did their terrible work. Brother Drakhaus took advantage of the slight hesitation in the imperial guard and ran towards them, his long strides covering the distance in seconds… he stopped and gathered his thoughts, preparing to unleash the powers of his mind on the guardsmen.

The guardsmen finally managed to recover enough from the sudden onslaught to fire back, and a mass of lasgun fire hammered into the Kill-Team. However, their sacred power armour held back enough of the blast, and it barely rocked them back on their heels, but this had no effect on the guardsmen’s resolve, so focused as they were on gaining revenge for the death of their king. Brothers Curro and Elyes, seeing the horde baring down on them, fired controlled bursts of bolt shells into them, cutting down a fair few of the guardsmen as they charged.

Brother Drakhaus, however, was in range to unleash his powers in their most devastating form, sending flaming avatars of the emperor into the ranks of the imperial guard. This sent many of the screaming, on fire, into the hands of the emperor that they were so keen to meet. This damage must have shook them, because their charge against the 3 members of the Kill-Team did nothing, with Brothers Elyes, Haakon and Curro coming through completely unscathed.

Taking advantage of their enemies’ ineptness, Brothers Haakon, Curro and Elyes tore into the rapidly diminishing horde of guardsmen, taking down a fair few of them with their savage fury… for Brother Haakon, especially, it brought back glorious memories of combats past, and he tore into the guard. Seeing the fight turning, Brother Calremus aimed his missile launcher, loaded with frag missiles, and fired into the middle of the remaining guardsmen. This blew apart their enemies, but had the side effect of slightly injuring all the Battle Brothers in close combat.

The Battle Brothers were remarkably restrained about this bout of friendly fire. They realised that a greater good was done by destroying the remaining guardsmen, and that the damage done to them was minor, and easily healed. The guardsmen who had not engaged in combat had not come off much better than their brethren, with over half those who had knelt, praying, coming through the storm of bolter fire, missiles and psychic powers. Those who had, however, would recall the moment the emperor smiled on them, for the rest of their days.

The Kill-Team, after destroying the phased delirium trellis with the use of a few more smites, were approached by those guardsmen who had survived, and they asked if the Kill-Team would like to see their most honoured prisoner. The, rather surprised, Kill-Team indicated their assent. They are led into a side cave where they see, tied up and gagged, a water caste envoy of the Tau, whose, when he sees the Kill-Team, eyes light up and he starts moving in his bonds, trying to speak. The Kill-Team, after a slight debate, decide to let him speak.

The Kill-Team is most certainly surprised by his demeanour, thanking them for rescuing him for this group of “unbelievers” and telling them that he has to get back before the human general in their possession is shipped off-world for interrogation/indoctrination. It does not take the Kill-Team long to realise that he appears to be subject to the delirium trellises affects, and decide to keep him in this way of thinking for as long as possible. They agree to escort him back to his base, as long as they are unseen for as long as possible.

The Kill-Team, after a little more discussion, realises that they have to, at the very least, stop a general of the imperium from defecting, whatever the cost, as his knowledge of the canis salient could prove costly to the imperium’s position there. They also realise that letting the Tau have a Delirium Trellis is probably not the best, so they decide to try and destroy that if they get the chance. With their mission parameters set, the Kill-Team loaded everything they had into their land speeder, and set out for the Tau base.

Three hours later, the Kill-Team’s land speeder bursts into view, hurtling at increasingly insane speeds. The Kill-Team’s posture speaks of their annoyance with their Tau guest, who has literally not stopped speaking since they started off, and the relief is almost audible when he tells them to stop, and he will lead them to a place overviewing the Tau base. The Kill-Team can see that the Tau have been clever, there are no forested approaches anywhere near the Tau base, with 100 meters of deforested land in every direction.

They can see that it is heavily fortified as well; they spot the manta spacecraft on the landing pad, the fire warriors moving around the perimeter, the heavy railguns overseeing each and every entrance. They also see the imperial general moving towards the manta spacecraft, with a couple of fire warriors for escort, and they see the Tau commander in his Battlesuit, holding the only piece of the trellis they were able to get… the Kill-Team having got there before them in all instances.

Knowing there is not much time before the general leaves, beyond their reach forever, the Kill-Team grabs their longest range weapons; loading kraken rounds into their bolters, a krak missile into Brother Calremus’ Missile launcher and they take aim. As soon as the missile left his launcher, the automated radars and defences from the Tau’s base went off, sounding the alarm. The Kill-Team watched as the missile flew, straight and true, to detonate at the foot of the general.

When the blast cleared, they saw that the general had been turned into a fine mist by the krak missile, and that it had also managed to damage the Tau commander, and his fire warriors. The rest of the Kill-Team fired off their boltguns, further injuring the Tau commander, before deciding that their work here was done, and taking cover further back in the cliffs. This was just in time, as the automated defences sent a massive volume of fire up at their position, but all it did was gouge some impressive dents into the hills.

The Tau water caste had been taken back to the land speeder by the Kill-Team before this shot, so he was still blissfully unaware that his “followers of the greater good” were not as they seemed. The Kill-Team managed to convince the water caste that they were going off-world to meet with the human leadership in the greater good, so they needed to get back to the guardsmen, before calling for extraction. They did, however, “accidently” knock out the water caste envoy, their patience for his rambling had expired long before then.

After returning to the guardsmen, the Kill-Team hunkered down for a couple of days, after sending out their vox signal to the Spear of Fury to come and pick them up. Their caution meant they were able to avoid a couple of long range Tau patrols, until the thunderhawk entered the atmosphere and arrived to transport them back. Brother Dane, still the pilot for the thunderhawk did not say a word as a very cheerful water caste Tau envoy entered, nor did he say anything about the imperial guardsmen. The Kill-Team were, however, sure that if they had been able to see his face, that his eyebrows would have, at the very least, been raised slightly.

The thunderhawk docked with the spear of fury and then quickly made its way to the edge of the system and translated into the warp. The next two weeks of travel passed quickly for the Kill-Team, their time spent mostly in prayer and meditation, although they did have a relatively good natured dinner with captain Jaresh, although it was tempered by his dislike of Brother Drakhaus… but even Brother Captain Jaresh had to admit that the Kill-Team had comported themselves with honour and done their duty, as much as it pained him to.

The Kill-Team arrived back at Watch Fortress Erioch, refreshed and renewed by the journey, which had gone by without a problem, even Captain Jaresh had to admit that most journeys were not that smooth. After the Spear of Fury docked, they could see that Inquisitor Quist was waiting for them, eagerness present on her normally controlled façade. She led them to one of the debriefing room, with the Tau water caste looking around in awe at his surroundings. His happiness was only increased when Inquisitor Quist started conversing with him in the Tau language, as it just increased his delusion.

After the water caste had been escorted out of the room by some of the inquisitors acolytes, Inquisitor Quist turned back to the Kill-Team and gestured for them to report their mission debrief. Again the eagerness appeared on her face as the Kill-Team presented the control desk from one of the delirium trellises, and she began to examine it with the practiced hand of someone who had dealt with situations like this before. She obviously had never seen anything made of this metal before, and the Kill-Team waited patiently, and silently, for her to turn back towards them.

She listened carefully as the Kill-Team explained how they had managed to disable the trellises, nodding at their utilisation of the tools at their disposal. She showed less enthusiasm towards their treatment of the guardsmen, but they managed to extract a promise from her that they would be rehabilitated back into the guard, rather than just purged for having xenos taint… as they pointed out, the crusade needed every able bodied guardsman in the fight against the Tau, the Tyranids and the forces of chaos.

After the rest of the debriefing was concluded, during which the Inquisitor was told about the general who they had assassinated, the outpost they had saved, the effect the trellises had on the Kroot, which especially interested the Inquisitor, as a way of sowing discord in the Tau forces. With the debriefing finished, the Inquisitor advised the Kill-Team to have their armour seen to, and then to enjoy their time before the next mission… she said this in such a cheery way that it left the Kill-Team shaking their heads.

A month passes in the Watch Fortress… various Kill-Teams are sent out on missions, but the Kill-Team spends its time keeping ready to be called upon again. During that month, however, they manage to get involved in a feud between Watch captain Servais of the Raven Guard, and Watch Captain Brand of the Storm Wardens. During a particular intense conversation between both of them on the merits of their way of doing things, the Kill-Team is drawn into the discussion as well. Brother Curro, unsurprisingly, sides with his fellow storm warden, with Brother Calremus taking the opposite side.

Whilst this conversation/argument was going on, Brother Haakon saw Inquisitor Quist [DENIED, INQUISITION SEAL MAGENTAPLEASE CONTACT INQUISITOR QUIST TO ACCESS. HAVE A NICE DAY]

Meanwhile, Brother Elyes and Brother Drakhaus joined a rogue trader, who was sitting alone, but who gratefully introduced himself as Diaz Lan, one of the Rogue Traders who had signed up with the imperium, and was currently being used as a liaison between the crusade and the Deathwatch. After some rather awkward small talk, neither side being that good at it, the rogue trader started talking about the planet of Beseritor. Apparently, this planet was one of the success stories of the crusade, but Lan had heard some odd information coming from the planet.

He had petitioned the watch commander to investigate the findings, but the watch commander had much bigger problems than a few reports on an otherwise pacified planet. The Rogue trader informed the Kill-Team of all this, and then mentioned that perhaps a request from a Kill-Team to go and investigate these findings would pitch the balance in his favour. Brothers Drakhaus and Elyes promised that they would bring these findings to their Kill-Team, and, after discussion, would come back to him with an answer.

The Kill-Team eventually agrees that Beseritor is definitely worth checking out, and in their next meeting with the watch commander, they bring up the request. The Watch commander knows who this has come from, but as they are debating the merits of this course of action, a serf runs in, holding a gene coded dataslate. The Watch Commander opens it, and watches as the words “Send Them!” appear on the dataslate, with the exact co-ordinates of Beseritor. He looks at the Kill-Team, and then nods… “Beseritor it is then.”


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.