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.