On the third day into the voyage the Sergeant Major tasked the STP with conducting Zero G training in the training bay. The STP squares off against a Squad from 1st Platoon who have three Heavy Stubber armed servitors in support of them. The team enters the bay and the gravity inducers are suddenly turned off while the signal to begin is given. The Beastmen charge forward with a roar and immediately enter melee with the shocked squad from 1st Platoon. Through the course of the skirmish the Beastmen lose more than half of their numbers but they are able to not only take just as many opponents with them but they are able to keep the squad engaged at their Human counterparts maneuver ahead. While most of the Beastmen made it into the fray two of them seem to have had a hoof slip or an error in judgement when pushing off because like Psyker Luther Hessman, they proceeded to bounce themselves off of the floor and to fly wildly out of control before gaining control of their movements and engaging the enemy. Sergeant Doyle and Corporal Tarn Volkgeir are able to push off and head for cover on the “ceiling” where they can take up firing positions on exposed enemies. Trooper Faroom charges forward with uncanny precision and aptitude in such an environment while Corporal Steher finds his way to a support by fire position and begins to pin down the enemy. The Servitors and a few wayward enemy who were floating helplessly through the air were the first to fall to the devastating fire delivered by the STP. Quite quickly all things considered the enemy fell one by one until the Sergeant Major called an end the the exercise. Declaring his fledgling team the victors. Sergeant Doyle decides that he needs to gain a bit more information if he is to properly lead his team and after giving his team instruction on how to proceed with training, follows the Sergeant Major to receive a briefing on what little is known about their destination.
The following days are full of yet more training. To include Urban Combat and lowlight engagements. IN these environments the Beastmen truly shine and are seen by the peers as a fine asset that needs little support in that particular mission set other than to ensure they are left alone to WRECK FACE! After a full week passes on ship the STP is summoned by Lt Sark and tasked with clearance of section PQF-34RTF-56trys.54 of the Hull. They are told that there is some form of critter that is becoming a nuisance and harassing the crew. With little more information the team grabs their lamp packs and heads off in two teams. One led by Corporal Steher and the other By Sergeant Doyle. Both teams have some difficulty finding their clearance routes without becoming lost. After spotting a critter Sergeant Doyle engages the beast and downs it with a bust of Hellgun rounds to the back as the fiend attempted to flee the party. With shortly after this engagement Sergeant Doyle and Corporal Volgeir along with their Beastmen counterparts are able to make it to what looks like the turnaround point of their patrol area. It seems to be a waste water treatment station or part of one at least. The air is heavy with humidity and the smell of mold. It is dark and the troops can feel the damp fetid air seep into their clothing and hair. Shortly after entering the processing station the team is engaged by a small group of the same beast that Sergeant Doyle had downed earlier. The Sergeant wisely shouts over comms channels that they are in contact and it is with this announcement that the team led by Corporal Steher and containing Trooper Faroom are able to find their way to the scene. Before they arrive however the team begins to drop the enemy who though seemingly tough are easily enough knocked out of the fight. Sadly there are too many to be dispatched before they enter melee with the short numbered team. Moments after the Melee begins Corporal Steher and Trooper Faroom with Beastmen in trail enter the scene and rush to the aid of their fellow Platoon members. As the fresh troops arrive it becomes clear that the initial enemy were nothing more than the tip of the iceberg as a veritable horde of the beasts come charging out of the room to the rear. In what was nothing less than an astonishing feat of combat prowess the Beastmen lay into the horde with Flamer and Frag. Their actions absolutely decimate the enemy. Those few who survive are rush forward only to be torn down by shotgun rounds and bludgeon. While the Beastmen are engaged the remaining beasts continue to press the Troopers. It looks like there will be a swift victory until with a guttural howl three enormous humanoid figures emerge smelling of rotting and stale body. As they charge ahead they land a crippling blow against Corporal Volgeir. He is staggered and direly injured but able to shrug off its effects while filled with the need to destroy his enemy and help his squadmates. Trooper Faroom suffers a similar strike and begins to lay round after round from his shotgun into the disgusting chest of his enemy. Sergeant Doyle is for the briefest moment unsure of the team’s chances and thinks to call for them to fallback but quickly decides better of it and commits to the fray maying devastating bursts from his Hellgun into the enemy. The turning point of the battle came when Psyker Hessman released a blast of energy from his mind that shocked his allies as much as his opponents. With a blast emitting from his body the Psykers body burst into light and flew directly up smashing off the ceiling before falling to the floor but not before the viscous force of his unfettered attack tore through the bodies of his enemy. The blast was so strong that it blew one monster apart and knocked the other to the ground. The grotesque beast that had fallen to the ground was finished off by a bust of automatic fire initiated by Corporal Steher and his Heavy Stubber that hit with such force that it pushed the enemies body across the floor like a power washing pushing leaves. With that the team was able to finish off the remaining foes with ease and returned with their battered and broken to The Hole. Once they arrived they ensured that their wounded brethren were taken to the aid station and they took a well earned reprieve.
After a week the Litany of Woe Drops out of Warp and everyone is happy for it. With fewer nightmares and better sleep the wounded are able to make a steadier recovery. Three days out of warp no word has be heard and rumors begin to circulate the Asterion was swallowed by a rift in the Warp, or that you were thrown off course and are now hopelessly lost in an unknown area of space with no sign of the Astronomicon. With part of the team still convalescing the others are summoned to be the Personal Security Detail for Colonel Marn who has been asked to the attend a briefing on the bridge.
The Team takes position behind the Colonel and are eyes with a wary if curious glance by the House Guard. Captain Herk begins to speak. “Colonel thank you for your presence. Please allow me to introduce those you see before you.”
-Magos Gerkin Balrooth Mechanicus Explorator
Magos Balroooth stands at 5’10 and has a medium build. He wears red robes trimmed in gold to denote his rank within Mechanicus and blue to denote his position as an Explorator that cover every section of his body from sight with the exception of his face; The Magos bows his head in acknowledgement
-Captain Fennel Beck
Capt Beck is 6’0 and has a large athletic build. His left eye has been replaced by an augment as has his left arm. He wears Storm Trooper Carapace and carries a Power Sword and Plasma pistol; Colonel, I hope that you are settling in and that your troopers can behave themselves
-Seneschal Sipline Karr is a tall lithe woman of 6’2 who wears impressive formal attire at all times and whose appearance is immaculate. She possesses a fragrance that is pleasant to anyone ear her but smells different to each person.
-Captain Herk Seems to skip a spindly 6’5 with mottled green skin can be seen where it appears near the cuff of his robes sleeve. The rest of his body is shrouded by a dark Grey Cloak. He stands near the Commodore.
-A man who wears Full Carapace with Inquisitorial regalia and a black Hooded Cloak.
-I am Captain Herk the Void Master
Captain Herk is stands 5’10 and wears the modified regalia of an Imperial Naval Officer.
-Commodore Captain Fin Rikt I presume you are familiar with. The Colonel grins and says “We are my dear Captain, but there is always so much more to learn. Come Colonel your insight on this devious quandary would be welcome. Captain Herk if you would be so kind as to refresh us all on current events.”
“Captain Herk nods and approaches the Table carrying a glowing Dataslate. He begins to speak " As we entered the Asterion system with the rest of the Naval Flotilla a Space Hulk was detected heading toward Asterion and the Litany was sent to investigate while the remainder of the fleet progressed to Asterion. The Flotilla reached Asterion with no problems and was still unsuccessful in contacting the surface. It was presumed that the Dominate forces were still in control of communications. General Corball made the decision to commence Planetfall. The first Wave of Arson Landers were launched carrying with them nearly half a million men and arms. The first wave landed unopposed just outside the Hive Barock and began preparations to assault the Hive while awaiting the second Wave of lander’s. Just prior to the launch of the second wave the Flotilla received communique about the presence of Ork Roks on the warp ways outlying Kulth which have put our front on that crucial planet at risk. The majority of the fleet was called away to respond to the emerging threat leaving only a single Destroyer to maintain watch over the planet. The flotilla did not however depart without launching the second wave of Landers. While en route tragedy struck as they made planet fall. As the second wave made decent through the upper atmosphere many Landers lost control entirely and were lost on impact. The cause of this tragedy is not yet known. Communications with the Destroyer have ceased and she appears to be adrift. Nothing else is known at this time.
We have approached the Hulk and our fears seem to not be in vain. The Hulk dwarfs the Litany of Woe by many orders of magnitude. Scans were initiated and the great libraries were consulted. It was surmised that this enormous monstrosity was none other than the infamous Space Hulk “Pandora`s Dirge”. The Dirge has existed for many millenia and where ever it appears tragedy strikes. It has received its name because the cause of tragedy is rarely if ever the same.
On Pelthos IV the Dirge appeared in system and the Star Pelthos began to sputter turning the face of Pelthos IV into a wasteland. At the Jelrenian Gate the Dirge was detected and in its wake the people of Jelren went seemingly mad only to turn on one another leaving the streets red with their brothers blood as they turned on one another in a bought of blood thirsty rage. During the Battle of Fell Bask the Dirge barreled through the Nishtor system; after its passing Imperial forces were destroyed entirely. No on is sure yet what occurred other than the Ork forces with whom the Imperial Forces had been engaged with seemed to over run what appeared to be undefended lines. No location that Pandora’s Dirge has appeared has not felt its terrible chaotic wrath. The Commodore feels there is a unique opportunity to perhaps disable or destroy the Dirge before it can unleash who knows what hell on Asterion.
To this end the presence of what appeared to be a relatively new addition to the Hulks Mass was detected. Amongst the twisted husks of ships that composed Pandora’s Dirge were the remains of “The Pride of Kezath” an Imperial Cruiser thought lost more than a millenia ago. Unlike many of the vessels that made up the Dirge; though damaged and twisted the Pride seems to not only have been nearly enveloped by the super structure but to remain at least nominally operable as its engines light and extinguished with a sporadic rhythm, kept alive these long years by an unknown force. Magos Balrooth would you please describe the import of this?"
The Magos approaches the table and in what sounds like a clipped version of High Gothic begins to explain “The weapons of the Litany of Woe are in no way adequate to defeat this threat. Pandora’s Dirge is far too large for us to make an impact directly. However with the detection of the Pride of Kezath we are offered an option. If the Pride still has functional Warp Engines it may be possible for us to activate them. The subsequent warp transit could cause enough damage internally that the Dirge will fracture and break apart.”
Captain Herk allows a moment to pass then continues “Due to structural instabilities there is no safe landing near the Pride so any boarding is expected to take some time. Current projections indicate that the Hulk will pass near Asterion in one week though the trajectory and speed of the Hulk are not stable and it seems to be be directed by an unknown hand. The Commodore – Captain will go aboard with a large contingent of his House Guard, activate the Prides Warp Drive and return within the week. Midshipman please display the clock”. “Aye Sir” responds a mousy looking man in his early 20s. After swiftly pressing a handful of buttons a display near the table illustrates a countdown set at 7 days, 10 hours, 43 minutes. You hear the Colonel whisper to himself “The Doom Clock.”
You see the man dressed in Inquisitorial Garb step forward “Have a care Commodore Captain. It was not by chance alone that you find me in your presence. For months the Emperor’s Tarot have warned me of this event. Though I cannot say what for certain; there is more at work here than we now see. I suspect we shall have larger issues than simply to deal with the presence of a Hulk.”
“Fear not Inquisitor Yeirborne. I will take Captain Fennel and more than enough of my House Guard to deal with any threat. Besides if I fail I know some bastards who may just have a way to earn their first meal.” The Commodore says with a glance and a Lion like grin at the Colonel. “I will depart tomorrow and keep you informed with reports where able. Captain please see to it that the House Guard are prepared and that the Colonel is kept abreast of the situation. Magos if you could escort me to provide some of your technical expertise I would appreciate it. Seneschal Karr and Captain Herk; as usual please see to it that he Litany continues to run and is still here when I return. Inquisitor Yeirborne, if you would be so kind as to indulge me with your presence.” With that the Commodore nods to the party and departs with the Inquisitor.
Three days pass and early in the morning across the PA mounted in the Hole comes a squelchy break followed by a gravelly voice saying “Attention, attention. All Imperial Guardsman of the 99th are to form up by Battalion with all combat equipment. I say again. All Guardsman of the 99th are to form up by Battalion with assigned combat equipment.” The bay becomes a mad dash as Guardsman jump out their racks and and scramble to get into uniform while gathering their equipment. You see Commissar Hetch stand in the doorway casting a critical glance at each man before stepping away without a word. Presumably he was satisfied with the Platoons motivation. You rush your way outside into the small space available and see Lt Sark standing where you expect him looking haphazard and struggling a bit with a belt. After forming up you stand silently for nearly 30 minutes. After that time Captain Jeshrack appears with the rest of the Company commanders and walked before you and your fellow Hellions. She addresses you “Guardsman. Shortly you will be mobilized. We will embark on the Arson Lander found on Docking level 4A4. You will be prepared to debark on to another space borne vessel to preform defensive tactics until such time as the entire regiment can be formed. Be ready to move out in 3 hours. You will receive further details that pertain to you as they become avaiable. The Regimental STP are to fall out immediately after this and link up with the SGM. Platoon leaders take charge of your Platoons and see that they are ready for embarkation.” With that you fall out and see Lt Sark struggle to interact with your platoon.
The STP is summoned to meet with the SGM yet again and are assigned to once more escort the Colonel. They gather around the same table you did previously. This feels like deja vu except there are fewer bodies surrounding the table as you cannot see Captain Fennel Beck, Commodore Captain Rikt, or the tall individual wearing the hooded cloak. Master Herk again stands at the head of the table the “Doom Clock” ominously desplayed over his head reading 4 Days 20 Hours 33 minutes. He speaks once all eyes are on him “You have all been gathered to be made aware of the situation in detail. The Commodore Captain as you know departed nearly three days ago with Captain Beck. They have not been heard from in 24 hours and given the gravity of the scenario we must behave as if their mission is lost. As acting Captain of the Litany of Woe I am activating the 99th and charging Colonel Marn with the completion of the Commodore Captains task as well as determining the fate of the Commodore Captain if possible. As you can see as he glances up at the clock time is not our largest commodity. The 99th will infiltrate Pandora’s Dirge via one of three possible functioning landing bays we have identified that yet may function. Due to the size of the Arson Lander and subsequent size needed to land you are some distance from the Pride of Kezath. Colonel Marn you and your command have full access to intelligence and we will accommodate your planning in any way necessary. My recommendation would be to infiltrate three elements along with a Techpriest provided by us via Shark Assault Boat. Once reconnaissance is completed and a functional bay discovered the Arson Lander will be launched and the Regiment will depart. You must leave within the hour.”