Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Swarm : 'Wave Assault' mission

Darryn has written up this Prelude for our 3000pts game tomorrow. Tyrainds vs Space Marines and Eldar.

Captain Laevinus regarded the ancient Xenos structure. It certainly didn't look like any transport machinery used in the imperium, which would be humming and sparking, the air pungent with the aromas of the incenses and unguents of the acolytes of the machine spirit. In contrast, this machine looked like nothing more than another old ruin, though he could not deny that it was responding to the Eldar group around it who were, of all things, singing at it.

The Farseer's melodic voice cut through the music - though even this, mused Laevinus, seemed only to enhance its beauty, "It will take the bonesingers some time to complete their task. I suggest that your men take up defensive positions, the enemy will be here soon". Laevinus regarded the Eldar through narrow eyes. Though it was true that she had not yet demonstrably lied to him at any point, he knew that the aliens' reputation was of untrustworthiness, and she still refused to tell him what the Eldar were doing on Altus 4.

Laevinus had come to the planet after the governor had put out an emergency call to help quell a rebellion which had taken over more than half of the planetary defence force. When the strike cruiser 'Litany of Vengeance' arrived, they had found the planetary palace under siege. After clearing the immediate threat, Laevinus force tracked down the leaders of the revolt and dropped directly into their headquarters, determined to strike at the heart of the cancer. What a cancer it turned out to be, at the heart of the rebellion was a genestealer cult. Laevinus had led his men through dark subterranean caverns, dripping with aliens ichor and filled with half human monstrosities, while the thick layers of plascrete above them cut off all communication. Breaking through to the very heart of the alien lair, Laevinus had found the core of the cult, all lending their voice to a singular chant. Their leader, a bald tattooed parody of true humanity, surrounded by his harem of dominated women, mocked the space marines, telling them that they were too late, that the great devourer had come. Laevinus had ended his life with a single shot from hist bolt pistol, while his men exterminated the chanters. Returning to the surface, however, Laevinus found that the magus had been all too correct. As soon as they were within communicator range, the 'Litany of Vengeance' reported that they were under heavy attack. Reaching the surface, the space marines saw the sky begin to turn black as thousands of mycetic spores dropped from the leaden skies. Unable to lower their shields for teleport, the ship dispatched gunships to retrieve Laevinus' men, but they were torn apart by swarms of gargoyles and tyranid shrikes before they could descend halfway through the atmosphere. Within minutes, the strike cruiser was overwhelmed, the last communication from the captain to Laevinus was to seek cover. Realising what the crew were about to do, Laevinus led his men back into the bunker of the genestealer warren. The 'Litany of Vengeance' then lived up to its name. Descending into the atmosphere, it detonated its plasma engines in the heart of the tyranid horde. When the space marines emerged again, they found nothing but devastation and corpses. Only their blessed power armour protected them from the incredible doses of hard radiation left by the explosion. Laevinus was torn - he knew that his duty was to get off the doomed planet, but could see no way to do so - even if he could find a ship it would simply be overwhelmed by the fleet of hiveships above the planet. Instead he resolved to sell the lives of his men dearly. That was when the Eldar had turned up. Usually Laevinus would have had nothing to do with the Xenos scum, but he acknowledged that the space marines were in a desperate situation, and the aliens could hardly lead them into a worse trap. They had promised a way off Altus 4, and the only price was helping to protect the bonesingers while they activated it. The only other real question Laevinus had managed to get answered was why didn't they leave the way they had come - the answer was that the Strike Cruiser's detonation had destroyed that avenue.

For the past three days, then, the combined force had travelled across the once verdant landscape of Altus 4, now pockmarked with alien vegetation taking root. All the time Laevinus aesthetic soul had been at war with his mistrust. Everything the Eldar did, from walking and running through to battle or simply taking meals was performed with an effortless artistry that thrilled the blood angel to watch. Nevertheless he was glad when, with the Tyranids closing in, they had reached this destination. Now, assuming that the Eldar delivered on their promise, all they had to do was hold out long enough to open the gate. Laevinus turned away and began ordering his men into position.

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