May 7, 2015

Rising Tide

Governor Axival stood upon a stripe-marked steel platform and watched an Arvus skimmer descend on the shipyard's bay area. Around him a sizeable formation of Elysian Drop Troops stood at ease, accompanied by their command staff and the representatives of the Commissariate. Alongside each platoon a Sentinel walker could be seen towering over the infantry. Bearing their regimental colours the company was ready to welcome the Astartes officer.

As his guest emerged from the skimmer carrier, Axival could see that Captain Taelos had come alone, unescorted by other Space Marines. The immense figure was clad in the yellow power armour of the Imperial Fists but the captain was bareheaded, his stern face turning to greet the welcome. The god of war walked through the Elysian ranks, casting a divine shadow over the mortal men as he went. Captain Taelos was wearing a ceremonial fur cape and carried a sheathed blade strapped to his belt along with a number of grenade pouches.
"I bid you welcome, Captain Taelos" Governor Axival said and took a bow, gesturing the Space Marine to follow him to the operational quarters. "We're most pleased you've decided to aid us in our quest."
"The alien presence in Nimbosa is strong. The Emperor is not pleased with the combat prowess displayed by the Militarum." Taelos spoke softly but with a little impatient tone of voice.

"I'm certain to see the Imperial Campaign take a new turn now that you've taken charge, Captain" Axival consented as the men walked side by side through another massive bulwark. "The Tau and their allies are accustomed to the traditional infantry tactics displayed by our Guard Regiments, but they are not prepared for the mind of an Astartes."
"What can you tell me about the battles in the region so far?" Taelos asked, remediating the position of his left, skull-decorated gauntlet. The Governor took his time before answering, obviously choosing his words with care. They were almost at the end of the glass-walled corridor when he finally spoke.

"The Tau Empire has had time to prepare for our invasion. Their positions are fortified and the regular infantry is systematically backed with air support and rapidly deploying battle suits. Their counter-attacks are invariably mechanized and constantly leave us in need of more anti-tank supplies" Axival explained, as the pair ascended the short steps onto a balcony, where the entire Naval Base could be seen bathing in the light of a setting sun. "The Tau are however only part of the challenge. When trying to reach the actual battle line our forces are continuously harassed by their alien mercenaries, strong and savage scavenger-creatures originating from planet Pech. These auxiliary warbands form the backbone of hostile forces on this quadrant and we're losing precious time undergoing tiring guerilla warfare against these mercenaries."
"I want to have a word with your Fleet Admiral about our bombing run capacity." Taelos grunted. "We need constant fire missions to slow enemy armour in order to breach the Tau defense lines. The aliens are dug in and as we concentrate aerial and artillery efforts we will be able to conquer a stronghold at a time."
"I'll set up a tactical briefing at once." Axival bowed.
"Make sure the Militarum command staff is present. I want to know more about the way the Tau have formed their defensive strategy. Their forces are stretched wide and operate without a solid leadership; their tactical acumen will be relying on theoretical standards."
"As you wish. But aren't you at all concerned about the influence of the primitive mercenary savages? The contrast they bring to the Tau tactica in ferality and bloodthirst has been quite intimidating on our ground troops."
"No. Mercenaries are my favorite kind of adversaries. It's rare to be given such a choice in warfare. The xeno scum you mentioned are no different. They can be fought..." Taelos said, turning to gaze the red horizon. "...or bought."

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