Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Ark of Dust

In the year 609.M41, a small Imperial flotilla that had dropped out of the warp near to the world of Valhalla stumbled across a vast space hulk drifting dangerously close to a populous agri-world. Among the flotilla were two Space Wolves strike cruisers carrying upwards of 150 of the chapters finest, en route to Valhalla itself to link up with a gathering crusade force. Upon discovering the hulk, Wolf Lord Gulo ordered a small contingent of the Wolves under his command to board the vessel and investigate what, if any, threat resided on board the hulk. The marines initially met little resistance but within 15 minutes of boarding, they were swiftly and suddenly assaulted by a large number of genestealers and massacred to a man.

Gulo realised that this was no straightforward boarding action and was pondering whether destroying the hulk was an option. However, upon assessing the data returned to him by the boarding party before their unceremonious massacre, two things became clear. First, the size of the hulk meant that destroying the hulk with cyclonic torpedoes or even a continuous barrage of firepower would only split the hulk in to several large chunks, which, if caught in the planets gravity, would be drawn towards the planet and cause catastrophic levels of destruction which the population would surely not survive. Secondly, one section of the hulk seemed to be a large Space Wolves vessel. Gulo's curiousity was piqued. Leaving the majority of his force under the command of his Rune Priest, he sent them onwards to Valhalla, keeping only his Terminator armoured contingent and sending out a request to nearby Baal for assistance.

Lexicanum Calistarius answered the call at Commander Dante's request. His experience on board the Sin of Damnation only a few years previously made him the perfect man for the job. Unfortunately, that mission had had a profound effect on the librarian and he still smarted at the loss of so many brave marines. The memories of Lorenzo and his squads sacrifices to get the librarian to safety and ensure the success of the mission had not faded. He arrived with 40 terminators at his beck and call and immediately met with Gulo to decide on a course of action.

The plan was simple in theory. The hulk had two weak points which, if sufficiently damaged from within would split the hulk in to 3 pieces. The other two chunks (the largest of which seemed from the scans to be the most heavily populated) would be small enough to be towed out of the system and destroyed. The third chunk could then be explored by the Space Wolves to see if anything of worth to their chapter could be salvaged. This would then also be towed and destroyed.

All in all,  55 terminator armoured veterans of the two chapters were present, and they would be sent in to secure a forward base from which the force could operate. At this point two small teams would be sent deep in to the hulk to plant the explosives while their battle brothers would follow in their footsteps to secure their escape route. These teams were to be lead by Blood Angels Sergeant Catania, a man with over 500 years experience under his belt, and Space Wolves Sergeant Lupus, a legend in his own right.

The boarding action went off without a hitch and the terminators encountered little to no opposition. A beachhead was established and the two squads set off together on their mission...

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