What was it about this isolated, barren place? What hidden powers lay locked in the vaults of this long abandoned post? Brother Librarian Lycurgon; now recovered; had rejoined his battle brothers on the planet's surface. During his recovery in the care of the Chapter Apothecaries he had dreamt of strange alien objects, inhuman beings, and lucid colours in the sky that bloomed like ripe flowers in his mind's eye. Recent skirmishes with Chaos forces so early into the campaign did nothing but worry him further, where there was Chaos, there was the warp. His concentration broke as memories of the first engagement resurfaced, the memory crisp and precise as if he was living it again, his armour was rent in dozens of places and his shield shattered as a huge Chaos dreadnought in the colours of the Sons of Horus, prepared to finish him. He snapped back into reality and considered the matter, ultimately the Chaos strike force had been vanquished by the fury of the Minotaurs, but Lycurgon knew that Chaos was an infection, just when you thought it had been defeated, it would re manifest and swarm back like a cancer, especially in places such as this, where he could feel the faint warp signatures in everything around him...even the air, this place had to be a conduit and the answer was within the complex itself, like flies to rotten fruit, all of them; Imperial, heretic and xenos alike were drawn to this place. Lycurgon was sure that he would see the ugly face of Chaos again before this investigation was through, but for now there were more immediate issues to hand, the Orks.
Veteran Sergeant Cordus of Tactical Squad 'Araios' approached and gave salute.
"Brother Librarian." It was a vented statement, hissed forth without any emotion. Lyurgon did not turn to face the Sergeant, but nodded in acknowledgement.
"Orks sighted north of complex, attack imminent, numbers unconfirmed. Tactical Squads Araios and Dorusas have taken position at the complex's primary gate. Terminator Squad Gerousias awaits yours instructions."
Yes, Lycurgon thought once more...like flies drawn to rotten fruit.
Welcome to another 14th Legion Battle report, where the Fury of the Minotaurs faces off against the technological ascendancy of Waaagh Orkimedes! My opponent is a a well known UK tournament player and old friend: Rupert Penwarden, you may have seen his beautifully painted armies on the web (Black Templars, Ork Death Wing), for this battle he decided to use a diluted version of a list he took to this years Brighton tournament last weekend. From the outset, this was looking to be a classic game of waves of Orks crashing again the thin bronze Space Marine line! It was also a great opportunity to use my finished gaming table; including the Forge World Imperial Strong Point; which made for a perfect objective for the missions. Sadly I forgot to take army shots and copies of the army lists, however I am sure the in game photos will make up for my school boy error! This would be my second game this year against a very experienced and competent tournament player, so I expected this to be a tough and informative game indeed...
Missions: Capture & Control/Deployment: Dawn of War
Minotaurs Tactical Squads Araios and Dorusas divided into combat squads to best cover all angles of attack and create lanes of fire. They dug themselves in the complex itself using the ill maintained, long abandoned defences. Although the Ork army had yet to be seen, they were out there, and in vast numbers. Brother Librarian Lycurgon appeared at the centre with no less than ten Terminators of squad Gerousias, armed with storm blotters and cyclone missile launchers, they were prepared to pour immense torrents of fire onto anything that dare burst out of the ruins ahead.
The Orks vomited from the ruins, creating a thick green lines of boyz, the sheer numbers made it impossible not to bunch up. Warboss Gore Tooth and his retinue had arrived on the left flank amidst the cover of ruins, while a mob of shooter boyz secured the other ruins on the right flank. Despite the difficulty of moving through swamps and ruins, the Ork wave had begun to move forward in numbers.
The sheer number of Orks was unexpected, Lycurgon and the terminators advanced towards the centre, hoping to divide the Ork horde into more manageable halves, they laid down a vicious hail of bolter and frag missiles into the Ork centre whittling down one mob to a scant few, the Ork's moral wavered but a swift punch from the lead Ork brought the remains of the mob back into line. Seeing the success of Gerousias squad, tactical squads Araios and Dorusas begun pouring fire into the Warboss' retinue, however the natural toughness of Orks and the cover of ruins meant a far fewer Orks fell to their bolt rounds.
The Warboss and his retinue belched forward from the ruins, such was the numbers of Orks surging forward that most got stuck within the ruins, at least they would have some relative safety from incoming bolt shots. The reserve Ork mobs on the right flank, swung towards the centre filling the gap created by the Terminators earlier shooting. With axes and klaws clanking, the Orks continued to run the gauntlet of fire, closing the gap between them and the Marines very, very quickly.
The speed of the Ork column had taken Lycurgon completely by surprise, the Warboss and mob were mere moments away from hitting the Minotaur's lines and still in vast numbers, in an attempt to stem the tide, Lycurgon and Gerousias Squad rounded on the Ork left flank. Combing fire with squad Araios and Dorusas, they let loose a massive torrent of fire into the Orks felling dozens. When the smoke cleared however, there was still more than enough Orks ready to take the places of the dead, in addition Lycurgon had exposed himself and Terminator squad Gerousias to a massive combined charge from no less than three Ork mobs. All that as left to do was prime power fists and draw knives in preparation for the charge.
Warboss Gore Toof grinned, the beakies had come to close and the speed of his runner boyz had caught the enemy off guard, now was the time to chop. Swinging his power klaw in the air he let loose a mighty Waaagh and led his boyz into a headlong charge at the thin Minotaur lines, crashing into the defences like a might green tsunami. The Orks mobs forming the centre opened fire on the large terminator squad felling two before following up with a mighty charge of their own, there would be no more shooting, just the finality of combat. The charge barrelled over the defence line and drove the beakies away from the hastily formed defences, Gore Toof's power claw killed with every blow, and to his amusement the beakies before him scattered.
++ Turn 4++
Lycurgon was furious, he had over extended himself and now found himself and his brothers fighting a battle of attrition against what seemed to be an innumerable foe. Everywhere he looked there were green skins and while the he and squad Gerousias had weathered the initial attack, larger more powerful Orks with piston driven klaws had appeared and were running amoke amongst his brothers. Centuries old suits of armour were rent and trodden underfoot by hordes of hacking Orks. Squads Araios and Dorusas were fairing little better, the Warbosses' charge had left bloody ruin, and the survivors had tactically fallen back in a hope to bring guns to bare, having regrouped they threw a volley of bolt rounds into the encumbered Orks, seeing that the bolt rounds had been ineffectual, they drew knives and charged once more.
Warboss Gore Toof cackled as he swung his Klaw in wide arcs, where he swung, gold beakies died. The beakies had tried a sneaky trick, running away so they could shoot some more of the boyz, but in the end they were cornered and had been forced to throw themselves back into the thick of combat. They had put up a good fight, but they he had more boyz, slowly but surely the Orks were pouring over the barricades and into the main complex. The three mobs in the middle had taken huge casualties from the Terminators but again the sheer numbers of boyz had dragged down the big beakies and it was now looking more a case of finishing the survivors.
Lycurgon lashed about him but his wild swings all flew wide, all but one member of the once proud Terminator squad Gerousias were gone, he was more or less alone and surrounded by leering, laughing Orks. Each time Orks tried to step closer he swung his force side in wide arcs to disperse them, but he was tiring with each swing. The Orks had finally begun to grow bored baiting him and at the command of one of the larger Orks, they swarmed him as one, Lycurgon's revered blue armour vanished and was washed away in a sea blood soaked axes and klaws, his shield flickered furiously attempting to deflect the impacts but with staggered finality the generator field failed.
Veteran Sergeant Cordus analysed the situation, Brother Librarian Lycurgon and Terminator squad Gerousias, were not answering vox calls, tactical squad 'Dorusas' was gone, cut down by the Warboss and his own tactical squad had taken a severe beating. However ahead of him was the Warboss himself, perhaps honour could be restored if he could eliminated the Warboss, then the loss of so many brothers would at least partially accounted for. Drawing knives he and his demi squad advanced, firing bolt pistols into the mass of green skins, having expended ammunition they broke into a charge striking directly at the Warboss. Cordus roared and slice as he singled out the Warboss, the Ork seemed to be laughing at his attempts and Cordus didn't like that one bit. Taking advantage of the Warboss' distraction, he rammed the blade of his knife in the beast's neck, he wrenched and sawed at the neck, while the green giant choked and gurgled on its own alien blood, with his left hand he grabbed the Orks jaw and gave a hard jerk that ripped the head completely off, the eyes of the Warboss seemed to frown in anger at him as he did. Exhausted, he stood there on top of the the generator and quickly glanced around, despite the ferocious efforts his battle brothers were being swamped and one by one they were dragged down. Looking at the face of the severed Warbosses' head, he laughed before clubbing a Ork who strayed to close with it. His maniacal laugh rang out as he swung the Ork's head like a club and slashed his knife in wide arcs at his attackers, while he and the remains of his squad were swallowed by the green tide.
The Warboss was dead, but the beakies were more dead, only a few scant survivors in gold beakie armour remained. The Ork army had overwhelmed the shoddy defences and taken the complex, the secrets beneath would belong to Big Mek Orkimedes!
Mission: Caputure & Control
Minotaurs 0 - Orks 2
++Location: Intergotion Room #171 Strike Cruiser 'Son Eater'++
"Orks, they were mere green skinned filth. In our history we have crushed the Lamenters, stormed the fortresses of Shaprias and brought sorrow to the scions of Ultramar. And yet you fail to...mere...Orks. What is your reasoning for this abomination of outcomes?!"
The sound of the interrogator's voice boomed and echoed in Lycurgon's ears, rudely awakening him from his unconscious state, where was he, how long had he been here, how had he survived? The last thing he remembered was Orks, dozens of them beating him with crude axes and klaws. And the fallen, so many of his brother fallen, it was all on his head...but it wasn't his fault, the Orks had come in a tide, so many...so quickly.
"ANSWER" roared the shadowy figure, leaning into Lycurgon's face.
"How dare you speak to me thus, I am Brother Librarian Lycurgon of the..." he was swiftly cut off, before he could finish, the interrogator pulled away and turned his back on him.
"You are nothing in the eyes of Judgement and you are no brother" he spat, the interrogator turn to face Lycurgon and stepped forward partially into the light, his face was still hidden but; to the secret relief of Lycurgon; the figure was clad in power armour that bore Minotaurs livery. He was 'home' and amongst 'brothers'.
Lycurgon strained to lift his head and tried to stare into the eye his tormentor, but his vision was blurred and his mind swam, whatever was doing this was unnatural for he was after all an Astartes, his body was more than mortal. He squinted and look at himself, noticing tubes trailing from his arms and into the throne that he was seated on, he noticed the arms of the chair were ornately engraved and seemed to be carved from some stone. He shifted his body and made to lift himself from the chair but to his shock, he realised he was locked into place by heavy shackles at the wrists and ankles.
"We await your answer still 'law bringer'" there was a hint of mockery in the tone, that fuelled Lycurgon's inner fire, he would boil his tormenter's blood for insulting that more venerated of titles.
"I would not be so hasty in using your 'gifts', you will find them sorely lacking" said the interrogator , who seems to empthasise on the word 'sorely'. Lycurgon was furious and dismissed the comment, he begun summoning powers from memory, he felt the inner white hot fire surging within his mind, ready to be unleashed on his tormentor, he squeezed his eyes shut and uttered words of power. The bolts of energy never came, instead he roared in agony, whatever these tubes were, they were inhibiting his powers and in fact they were turning his powers against him, the white fire could not be released, but it would not abate, it threatened to burn him from within and consume his very soul, even though his eyes were firmly shut, it felt like he was staring into the depths of a sun. The light and pain finally ended and his head crashed limply on his chest, while drool ran down his chin, the pain had stopped but he could feel it's echoes with each breath. Another voice chimed in and in the background Lycurgon could make out what sounded like constant mechanical droning, as he focused on the sound it begun to form words and take pattern, almost a symphony of verbal typewriters each one reporting in time, different analytical data, he raised his head to see a holo-image and in his horror he realised who it was, Lord Asterion Molloc.
The holo-pict of the Chapter Master glared down at him sitting on a massive high throne. Lord Molloc was surrounded by a chorus of analytical servitors each one reciting numbers of logistics, losses, cargo, munitions. A song of accountable assets that told of the Minotaur's power sang from the throats of monotonous proto-human mind slaves. Lycurgon opened his much to utter words...
9 Suits of Tactical Dreadnought armour - damaged
12 Suits of Astartes Power armour - damaged
2 Suits of Astarted Power armour - destroyed beyond repair
20 Troops assets lost or damaged equating to 400 + training.
What reasons do you give for this logistical blunder? The resources expended in this battle ill reflect the accounted resistance encountered." It was not the voice of the Lord, far from it, instead it was the dull mechanical droning of an account servitor that was speaking down to him, under the glare of Lord Molloc.
"un-un-expected assets from the enemy and strategical blunder from command structure" stammered Lycurgon.
"So, finally it realises it's errors. Perhaps there is something salvageable in you, hubris befalls proud men. Your enlightenment brings honour to your company, welcome once more 'Brother' to the halls of your home, honour the chapter" Stated the shadowed figure.
"The complex..it is something more, I sense warp signatures emanating from it...immense power within. The Orks fed off of it during the battle." Lycurgon continued.
The shadowed figure looked urgently to the holo-pict, Lord Molloc turned to him and gave a short, sharp nod. Behind Lycurgon, doors slid open and he heard two pairs of heavy footsteps and tracks grinding towards him. He strained to look behind himself, and was rewarded with the faint glimpse of cold white armour and a heavy servitor tractor unit.
"Brother Lycurgon, you will rejoin your brothers in the Librarium and recover your health, however you will do it from within this chair and devoid of your powers. We feel that your reliance on these 'powers' have made you craven and weak, you will spend your time undergoing renewal of hypo-indoctrination and neuro-cerebral surgery, you will remember what it means to be an astartes of the Minotaurs Chapter, even if it means we must treat you like a neophyte."
Lycurgon hung his head as the entire chair was lifted up by the servitor tractor unit, it reversed towards the door, flanked by the two Apothecaries who monitored various interfaces on the side of the stone throne. As he exited the room and the, doors begun to slide closed, he weakly raised his head to see the holo-pict of lord Molloc turn and begin conversing with this shadowed interrogator.
A deep low growl emanated from the holo-pict, it was guttural and fierce, far from the noble ideal of what an Astartes was, there was malice, intent and forbidding in the voice.
"The complex belongs to us, use every asset." It was a short statement that needed no elaboration, loss of life was no longer a factor and neither was failure. The campaign for this back water planet had escalated and its fate would be decided some one other than Brother Librarian Lycurgon.
"See to this personally. Ivanus" Ended Asterion.
The shadowed figure stepped into the pale light, the skull face helmet of Chaplain Ivanus Enkomi looked up at the holo-pict of Lord Asterion Molloc. He nodded and In one fluid gesture, Ivanus brought his right arm across his chest in salute, before spinning on his heel and marching towards the doors, his robe swirled around him like some liquid beast...
Thanks for reading,
The 14th Legion