Martin - GM
Matt - Space Wolves Wolf Scout Bjorn
Jon - Raven Guard Apothecary Validus
Garreth - Iron Hands Techmarine Markus
Designated Leader - Apothecary Validus
Kill-Team Oath - Oath of Glory
Mission Requisition - 100
Mission Six - A Surgical Strike
The team has been allocated the task of insertion into a Tyranid hive ship in order to deliver a bio-engineered neurotoxin to cripple the production of warrior forms prior to the ships seeding of system worlds. The team is to be split into an internal assault element and an exterior team equipped with Jump Packs modified with an EVA system and armed with an experimental directional melta shaped charge with which to create an evacuation route directly through the organism. This should enable them to enter at any point and though the optimal use of the device will be to create an escape route it can also be used to draw any active Tyranids away from the primary team.
Due to the wide variety of potential threat types Devastator Tyr requisitions several clips of specialist ammunition in order to maximise his efficiency against an as yet unidentified set of enemies with these including area effect munitions, Hellfire rounds and armour piercing shells. Apothecary Validus requisitioned a Flamer.
The team has also been allocated the use of a unit of Harakoni Warhawks Drop Troopers to act as support though the general consensus amongst 'Team A' is that they'll probably just get in the way. Techmarine Markus's offer to 'modify' them to make them more useful was politely but firmly turned down. He was also informed that as he was in the EVA team replacing them with servitors was also not a viable option as he would be out of range to direct them...
The Harakoni Warhawks are the Imperial Guard's elite airborne regiments of Drop Troopers raised from the the Hive World of Harakon. The Harakoni Warhawks are predisposed by their world's environment to excel at Grav-Chute drops into planetary combat zones from orbit. This style of combat also increases the Warhawks' use of elite Storm Trooper Squads and small-unit tactics over those preferred by standard line troopers of other Imperial Guard regiments.
The troopers of the Harakoni Warhawks are considered elite forces and every Guardsman is outfitted with a full suit of Carapace Armour and are also equipped with specially crafted Type 5 Pressure Helmets, which come with built-in respirators and breathing apparatuses intended for low-oxygen, high-altitude drops or for deployment in hostile environments like the vacuum of space or on worlds with toxic atmospheres. Normally equipped with Lascarbines however, Storm Troopers are always equipped with a Hellgun as a standard weapon to take full advantage of their superior training and weapons expertise.
"Harakonari an tellika regala!"
— A rousing Harakoni Warhawk battle-cry spoken in Konndar, the dominant dialect on Harakon
A Caestus Assault Ram of the Deathwatch first deployed the EVA team at the closest safe landing point before using its forward-firing heavy Melta Weapon known as a Magna-Melta to punch through the hive-ships outer armour before the craft's armoured prow crashes through the weakened area.
Validus meanwhile was taking auspex readings of the area though he detected no immediate threats. The entry point had been selected to intersect with a large passageway heading in roughly the required direction so the teams Wolf Scout Bjorn took point and ranged ahead. More concerned with their primary mission than dealing with their Warhawk allies the Apothecary left them to their own devices before Tyr of the Imperial Fists ordered them to form a defensive formation on either side of the advancing team primarily to keep them out of his line of fire. Bjorn discovered a large chamber some fifty metres ahead of the teams current position with a large pool of strange bio-matter at it's centre. This pool was partially surrounded by a number of small Tyranid organisms that his Deathwatch training identified as bioforms classified as'Rippers'. Evidently the larger forms were yet to awaken...or were elsewhere...
Editors Note - I'm yet to use that Breaching Auger to actually open something other than Xenos bodies...
The internal team traversed the chamber somewhat less stealthily than would have been optimal with only the Harakoni making the crossing noiselessly and this had drawn the attention of the already awakened creatures as well as causing several of those still hibernating to stir. To further complicate matters Apothecary Validus was having trouble interpreting the auspex readings needed to divine their optimal route onward so arbitrarily selected the centre-most exit from the chamber. More worryingly there were also a significant number of awakened creatures now moving to investigate the interlopers...
Editors Note - There were an astonishing amount of fluffed dice rolls during that bit...no seriously...Stealth characters failing stealth tests and medics failing medicae tests...
Validus stopped the team while he once again checked his Auspex and this time managed to make more sense of the readings being somewhat relieved to find that he had fortunately taken the correct route. Less fortunately this delay had allowed a significant quantity of Rippers and larger life forms to close on their position and now the corridor behind them was filled with enemies. Tyr ordered the Warhawks into better firing positions and they awaited his signal to attack. With so many creatures packed into such a confined area the Devastator couldn't really miss and decimated the oncoming horde with Heavy Bolter rounds. The Warhawks also made a good show of themselves as they picked off many creatures that slipped though the Imperial Fists onslaught. Knowing that the Tyranid ships and their inhabitants tended to act with a single mind Validus requested that the exterior team attempt to draw some of the attention from them and they duly obliged by obliterating several choice looking bio-weapons along the vessels outer shell.
Somewhat satisfied with their performance in the encounter with the Ripper Swarm Tyr decided that these 'Warhawks' might be useful after all and began to direct their activities personally as the group moved into a new area that for want of a better description appeared to be 'breathing'. Possibly this area controlled the atmosphere inside the ship in a manner similar to a set of lungs. This speculation was however interrupted by another Ripper attack though this time supplemented by larger Gaunts. Tyr laid down an impressive field of suppressing fire with the Warhawks supporting him with Hellgun blasts and they managed to repel this new assault with only the loss of a single Harakonian.
The Devastator and his remaining troops retreated in good order eliminating any threats that approached while the Apothecary and Wolf Scout continued to navigate their route deeper into the enemy ship. They arrived to find the Space Wolf attempting to (and failing spectacularly) remove a sphincter-like obstruction from their path. They had seen many of these so far functioning presumably as doorways though up to know they had all been in an open state. With a horde of enemies approaching and being unwilling to wait for Bjorn to beat his way through the obstruction manually Tyr quickly removed the backpack feed from his Heavy Bolter and inserted a clip of Hellfire rounds instead. The acid within these specialist Bolt rounds made short work of the blockage as well as removing much of the surrounding wall allowing access into the armoured corridor beyond.
With the primary team making relatively good progress the extraction team picked up their pace in order to make the rendezvous point on schedule encountering very little that couldn't be handled with minimal effort. It seemed that the vessels attention was almost entirely focused elsewhere...
The newly entered passageway was pulsating alarmingly with sections extracting and contracting without warning. A particular violent reaction in one section brutally reduced three of the warhawks to a bloody paste as a new wave of enemies flooded into the section through the Hellfire created breach. Seemingly unperturbed by their losses the Storm Troopers continued their support of the Imperial Fist Devastator as he was once again poured Heavy Bolter rounds into the Tyranids advancing upon them. Bjorn and Validus added to this weight of fire with their own weapons but even focused down the relatively narrow passage the enemy advance continued.
Blade, maul and auger enhanced by power fields destroyed any tendrils that attempted to drag them down but for each one destroyed another replacement emerged. Bolt rounds were fired into targets fat too large to miss though against such gigantic bio weapon emplacements it was doubtful that they were reducing the enemies capabilities by a significant margin however each of these attacks seemed to correspond to an increase in the attempts to neutralise them. Most importantly however the internal team reported a reduction in the reinforcements that had previously been flooding to their location so seemingly the newly awakened vessel currently had limited resources at it's disposal though this situation was unlikely to last once the living transport ship fully awoke.
Unfortunately they also now needed to extract themselves from the mass of exterior defences in order to enact the primary 'rescue' part of their mission. Being far less agile than his two fellow Astartes Techmarine Markus was having trouble navigating his way through the mass of grasping tendrils this problem being somewhat compounded by his insistence on taking the most direct route forward rather than diverting via less dense areas of activity. After a brief consultation between them the Black Templar and White Scar used their Jump Packs to swiftly manoeuvre through the bioships defences and then overpowered their packs in order to scoop up the Iron Hand and lift him out and over the immediate hindrance to their progress. Seeing the logical necessity in such an action Markus reluctantly complied and once clear they continued with their initial mission though they still periodically made attacks on likely targets as they went in order to keep some attention focused upon their location rather than that of the other team.
Editors Note - Iron Hands don't go around things...well..mine doesn't...going over seemed an acceptable compromise though...
Once this minor and slightly embarrassing setback was bypassed Validus contacted Markus from the extraction team and instructed him to abandon the attempts at distraction and make their way as quickly as possible to the point where the melta-charge would be needed to create the escape route as his team was nearly at the optimum point for the toxin to be used.
Editors Note - Relationships between the Iron Hands chapter and the Raven Guard chapter have been fairly shaky since the notorious drop site massacre and haven't improved significantly since, therefore my character may have briefly considered taking a more leisurely pace than would be optimal...he doesn't have anything against either the Space Wolves or the Imperial Fists though so he did indeed pass the message on and off they all went to effect a rescue...
With the aid of an Astartes Krak Grenade a large enough gap was created allowing access to the spine that was their ultimate destination though Tyr retrieved the Wolf Scouts abandoned Chainsword first. He also noted that their Techmarine would be less than happy about the condition of the weapon when they returned though after the mission on the Jungle planet he was already quite used to rebuilding Bjorns wargear.
Wolf Scout Bjorn entered first and reported that there was signs of activity coming from both directions and that if they wanted to complete the mission then both sides of this section would need to be defended in order to allow the Apothecary time to work. The Space Wolf readied his shotgun, Tyr prepared his Heavy Bolter and the few remaining of the Warhawks split themselves equally between the two avenues of approach. With the area as secure as possible Markus activated the melta device on the vessels surface as Validus injected the poison directly into what would hopefully lead into the equivalent of the living ships brain.
The vessel began to shudder as the melta charge bored it's way through the armoured layers of it's bio-engineered exterior and onward creating a wide escape tunnel as it went. Meanwhile the ship reacted to the poisons coursing into it by commanding every awakened creature to converge on the invaders and destroy them. Though the initial waves had consisted of smaller forms such as Rippers and Gaunts this new assault element contained a number of formidable Tyranid warriors and slowly advancing from the rear was the massive form of a Tervigon.
Perceiving them correctly as the greater threat Bjorn unloaded his shotgun in the Tyranid Warriors direction but inexplicably failed to do any damage. The Apothecary switched to his requisitioned Flamer and flooded the area with Promethium and though this caused devastation amongst the lesser bioforms it did little to slow the warriors advance. A single Warrior burst from the horde and eviscerated a Storm Trooper before skewering the unfortunate Wolf Scout at his side. At this relatively close range the Kill-Teams linked systems could once again share visual information as well as vox signals and the danger that the internal team was in was immediately apparent.
Techmarine Markus activated the Maglev devices installed throughout his bionics in order to slow his descent marginally and simply stepped over the edge and plummeted downwards. The two Assault Marines descended by the more traditional method of utilising their Jump Packs.
The ever reliable Imperial Fist was causing terrible casualties among the tightly packed mass of Tyranids with his Heavy Bolter and had even damaged the heavily armed Tervigon at their rear. The two surviving Harakoni Warhawks were now permanent fixtures at the Devastators side and were proving to be far worthier allies than any of the Marines had first suspected as they picked off targets of opportunity with their Hellguns.
Validus attacked the Warrior who had speared Bjorn as it hurled the badly wounded Space Wolf aside in order to engage this new threat. Before the Warrior could act against the Apothecary the Iron Hand crashed into the chamber and removed it's head by utilising his Plasma Cutter mechadendrite as an improvised Plasma Pistol. With the complete kill-team team now fully engaged the immediate area was quickly cleansed but his was at best a momentary reprieve.
All weapons were now focused upon the advancing Tervigon though only the Heavy Bolter rounds were having any real effect. Standard Bolter ammunition and Shotgun rounds even in the quantities unleashed by the Techmarines pair of Storm Bolters and the teams Assault Shotguns was largely nullified by the creatures layers of armour and sheer mass while the creature lacked the vulnerable areas necessary for the teams sniper weaponry to target. The Imperial Fist had become somewhat fixated on the Tervigon and seemed determined to destroy it at any cost as he turned down Markus's offer to cover the teams retreat. Seeing no logical reason to remain his fellow Astartes stayed as long as was reasonably possible before making their own escape back to the surface via the melta created tunnel.
Tyr pumped round after round into the advancing monstrosity diverting his fire only when necessary to eliminate the smaller creatures that periodically emerged from the brood creatures abdomen. Despite punching a myriad of holes through it's carapace and tearing vast chunks from it's form it became increasingly obvious that it and the horde behind it would reach him far before he could cause enough damage to kill it and common sense began to prevail. As he retreated along the escape tunnel Tyr took one last look behind him and was surprised to see the Tervigon attempting to force it's way into the tunnel. Risking one last burst of fire he aimed directly at it's upturned head and was rewarded with the sight of the last round blowing it's skull to pieces...
Now all that remained was to see if the toxin did indeed cripple the vast Tyranid Bioship and await their next mission.
Back to Reality.
There were a lot of inexplicably terrible dice rolls in the early part of this mission which meant that the stealth aspects swiftly turned into a running battle though whether this was our GM's intention or not we'll probably never know.
As the objectives were achieved we all got the maximum XP available for the mission and several players were awarded bonuses for roleplaying (particularly Gareth whose Imperial Fist Devastator was spectacularly effective this session). We also got a few points of Renown each as the reputation of Kill Team Theta begins to spread.
Apparently our next mission is one of assassination...
Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.