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Calixis, Sub Sector V (Hervara, Koi, Rak Keel)
Posted: Sun 16 Mar 2014, 21:21:11
The War in Calixis Sector
“The dreams and thoughts of the ancients dwell beneath the surface. They move in a grinding pattern we cannot comprehend, ever churning in fevered slumber.”
–Llewellyn Manos, Seer to Exalted General Augustus
Only recently have the Imperial forces of the Calixis Sector contested the Severan Dominate’s control over the resource worlds of Hervara, Koi and Rak Keel. Though the war for control of the planets remains young, countless lives have already been lost to the savagery of battle. Similarly, the planet’s environment has been devastated by the expenditure of countless rounds of ammunition and immeasurable tonnes of explosives. This violence taints the memories of all who live, but many yet remember a time before the arrival of the current war—when the only foes were the Greenskins.
“I don’t mind ﬁghting the Orks. At least I can tell them apart from us.”
–Gunnery Sergeant Corbin Hayworth
The war effort to secure the Periphery Sub-Sector from the myriad threats that loom over it is an ongoing struggle for the Imperial forces of the Spinward Front. Holding the main resource producing planets like Hervara (ore and metals), Koi (weapons) and Rak Keel (food and chemicals) has become essential to the forces of the Severan Dominate, but they are opposed by both xenos, the brutal and numerous Orks, and loyalists, in the form of the Imperial Guard and certain elements of planets’s own military forces.
This is, in large part, because the Administratum is well aware of the strategic value that these worlds holds for the secessionists. As the battles escalate, some wonder if the world and its human population can survive the conﬂicts. After all, the individual world is merely one among countless worlds from the perspective of the Imperium, but it could be key to the Severan Dominate’s ability to continue the ﬁght. Because of these world’s importance, the forces loyal to Duke Severus the Thirteenth have dug in their heels sharply and intend to hold fast. The Duke realises that without produced wealth, his war chest could soon be depleted. His only hope for a successful strategy is to make certain that the short term Imperial losses upon Hervara or Rak Keel become so catastrophic that even the implacable Departmento Munitorum chooses to withdraw and redistribute its forces elsewhere rather than continue the direct assault. However, given the limited training of the Duke’s troops and the ﬁnite resources of the Periphery Sub- Sector, the Severan Dominate has been unable to complete the necessary master stroke. He recently sent one of his best commanders—General Mikhail Augustus—to the sub sector, with orders to achieve such a victory. To date, the General has met with little success in the ash-choked wastes of Hervara and acidic wastes of Rak Keel, but the renowned commander hopes to ﬁnd the opportunity or tool to strike a telling blow upon the Imperial forces. The Imperial Guard has had a much greater degree of success upon Rak Keel. Miraculously, many members of the local militia remained loyal to the Imperium. When the ﬁrst transports arrived upon Hervara, a number of units of the Rak Keel Excavatory Warriors turned against their brethren and provided a secure landing zone for the Imperial forces. The initial beachhead enabled the Imperium to land a full battalion of troops.
Unfortunately, that bloodless coup was the only one that the Imperial Guard enjoyed. Every battle since has cost the invading forces dearly in both steel and blood, as the remaining rebels have ﬁercely protected their homes. Meanwhile, the Orks have wantonly revelled in the world’s endless conﬂicts. For the Orks, Hervara is a fertile battleground. They take great pleasure in the chaos that has ensued across the world, but have secured few strategic objectives—at least, so far as the Imperium is aware. Even with the assistance of the native Ork population, the combination of Imperial Guard and Severan Dominate forces substantially outnumber the Orks present. However, there are at least as many Greenskins present as there are soldiers for either of the human factions alone.
Thisprovides the Orks with ample opportunity to engage their lust for battle. If the combined human forces were to somehow ally against the Greenskins, they would be able to quickly turn the tide and eliminate them, but given the current climate of bitter hostilities, the Ork menace represents a signiﬁcant wildcard. Drawn to any conﬂict, seemingly without rhyme or reason, the Orks frequently engage both sides simultaneously, spoiling the plans of attackers and defenders alike. When additional forces from Waaagh! Grimtoof joined the conﬂict, they brought with them a signiﬁcant number of Mekaniaks. The presence of these technologically-inclined Oddboyz, under the tutelage and guidance of the cunning and brutally inventive Big Mek Noshdakka, Big Nos to his friends, has substantially altered the ongoing war effort. The Mekboyz either built or converted several capable wings of Ork Bommers. Neither of the human forces was prepared for this turn of events, and it has signiﬁcantly impacted the abilities of both to safely land reinforcements.
While an Imperial Navy force could disperse the Ork aerial forces in short order, no appropriately equipped squadron has been dispatched to the system. For now, both the Imperial Guard and the Severan Dominate have been forced to manage ground-based offensives as the crude Ork aircraft cut roaring trails of black smoke across the skies. The world’s vast system of subterranean mines has allowed both sides to move their forces without fear of aerial assault, although it has also lead to numerous savage conﬂicts between Imperial and Severan Dominate forces in the depths of the caverns. Of course, as long as the Orks hold air superiority, reinforcements face serious risks when landing.
Re: Calixis, Sub Sector V (Hervara, Koi, Rak Keel)
Posted: Sun 16 Mar 2014, 21:41:23
Abscondrites Emerald, Heifers Point, Rak Keel (Red/Green)
The Troopers Primer on Calixis, Sub Sector V, Rak Keel
"Welcome to Rak Keel: Don't Drink the Water. Don't Breath the Dust. Ya'll be fine."
- Corporal Genrik, Tullarbardine Marine Raiders
The sand is red and it is poisonous, and quite a bit acidic. The sea is a green acidic algae soup and it is poisonous. The first mining colony on site - drilling for ancient algae deposits to produce prometheum had only one name for the planet: Red/Green. And they stayed safely far below ground.
Keel is also the word for the green algae paste served both civilian and lifestock. The boiling proces releases acidig fumes, which are also bottled, refined and sold.The paste is mildly anti-bacterial and very, very energy rich. It colours the teeth of regular eaters and gives you stomac cramps the first few times.
Fermentet it becomes a most algae pugnent liqour, called Heel, the deeper green the better - according to the locals. Mild halucegenic, the hangovers make the Keel stomac cramps seem mild, almost envigorating.
Algae tea, with algae sugar, HOT or COLD it tastes like greasy seawater. But quite filling and no cramps.
As they local dark green rock became popular amongst local nobility, the planet gained a reputation for hostility and automated mines.Soon after Abscondrite the Shaper showed up and diverted the local resources towards the Terraforming project - wanting to create a breadbasket ensuring both the selfsufficiency of the planet and local systems.
Ancient History: Abscondrite of the Green Robes
Imperial Saint, a Magus of Mars, who specialised in Terraforming planets using the "Light House" approach, where an area around a central processing plant slow grew more and more habitable, all the while the zone grew. Don't mention the Saint.
He quickly recognized the potential of Rak Hels massive algae oceans, both for producing oxygen and for a protein source. The Core Tower of Triopolis is his one of his ancient Terraforming towers and the Geo Synched "Core Bastion" his old station. Don't mention the Saint.
History: George St.Gibbons Heifer, Lord Privateer of the Golden Throne
Enterpricing Crusader and Trader of Renown. When he first tasted the algae paste produced on Abscondrites Emerald, he proclaimed it "fit for lifestock and guardsmen only". He rinsed his mouth with fine wine and 3 months later he laid the ground work for the massive meat trade that followed and made Heifers Point what it is to day. It quickly overtook the mining and drilling operations as most important buisness.
A rocky desert planet, who's virulent algaes quickly produced a massive green houseeffect and turned the poles into oceans, further enabling the algae spreading. Only in the deepest seas and highest reaches of the atmosphere more complex life survived. Most of it will try to eat you.
The Earth species introduced generally fare well with in the hives and cities - but find no purchase outside. The acidic sand and poisonous water exclude them from survival.
The dust is cold and the acidic water mostly bound in the sediment making short unprotected bouts outside perfectly safe.
Fierce winds whip up the sands, making it less safe to go about during the storms. Wind velocities reach storm strength.
Short Shade Season
As it warms the whirled up dust stays in the atmosphere blotting out the sun and raining down as fine sediment - creating foglike conditions.
Visibility can drop to 20-30 yards, but the wind has died down. The acidic qualities of the dust can now be felt.
Hot preiod, expelling the acidic moisture locked in the sediment into the atmosphere. Unprotected EVA is safe for minutes at the time, death within hours.
Arial predators become active.
Hurricane winds batter the landmass, carrying more moisture from the oceans. Going outside unprotected causes acid burns with in a minute or so, death in 7 or 8 minutes.
Mating season of subterran predators.
Long Shade Season
As it cools the winds die and the sediment in the atmosphere slowly settles, disturbed by brief gusts from the polar regions. The dust blocks out the sun and for more than 100 days visibility is below 20 m.
Re: Calixis, Sub Sector V (Hervara, Koi, Rak Keel)
Posted: Sun 16 Mar 2014, 23:35:30
The War Effort
“Every planet’s different, but every battle is the same. Keep your eyes forward, and keep shooting. You live ditch to ditch, lho stick to lho stick. In the end, it seems like there’s nothing else left to life besides ditches and lhos.”
–Corporal Dwayne Biehn
The war of retaliation against Duke Severus the Thirteenth for his secession from the Imperium has spread throughout the Periphery Sub-Sector and beyond, into worlds that have scarcely known the Emperor’s blessings. The Imperium has consistently been on the offensive, simultaneously pressing dozens of worlds. At the same time, Severan Dominate forces have made a number of precise strikes against the Imperial supply chain, effectively limiting the ability of the Imperial Guard to maintain such a broad battlefront. The presence of several xenos races, as well as forces allied to the Ruinous Powers, has further complicated the battles within the front. There are clear indications that some of these groups are working with the tacit approval of the Severan Dominate—further evidence of the Duke’s heresy. However, other foes of the Imperium are present solely as opportunists. The Orks and Chaos forces, in particular, have come to the region purely to exercise their lust for battle, and any target is a viable one for these heedless blasphemers. The Departmento Munitorum recognises that treating or negotiating with such forces is impossible, which indirectly beneﬁts the Severan Dominate, as such heretics and xenos sometimes provide a key distraction by presenting targets more worthy of the Imperial Guard’s punishing wrath. Meting out the Emperor’s Justice upon the renegade and the alien often stays Imperial Guard forces from assaulting secessionist strongholds, extending the war and giving more opportunists the chance to join the bloody fray while it drags on.
Hervara, Koi and Rak Keel represents a crucial battlefront within the region, in no small part because of its location. Physically close to the major worlds of the Calixis Sector, and placed on a key Warp route, the planets represents critical nodes in the supply lines that allow for the Imperial advance deeper into the core of the Severan Dominate. Until Imperial forces secure Hervara and Rak Keel completely, they run the risk of having their supply chain severed, forcing them to maintain a signiﬁcant Imperial Navy element within the region. Unfortunately, the Naval elements present are far better suited to striking against worlds still held by the secessionists, where orbital assaults do not risk scorching Imperial holdings. Thus, the Imperial Guard is highly motivated to subdue the threat on Hervara/Rak Keel as quickly as possible, so that the warships in the region can move on to other targets. As both are mining worlds, the valuable ores/chemicals are put to immediate use in supplying the armies of whichever side can hold it. The Severan Dominate is clearly more desperate in this regard, but with the ongoing commitment to the Achilus Crusade, even the vast reserves of the Calixis Sector have begun to wane. Both sides are anxious to secure these resources for their own purposes while preventing the opposition from doing the same.
Because of the obvious advantages that the world holds to the ongoing war effort, both human factions initially committed heavily to the war on Rak Keel. However, their evenly-matched might, along with the disruptions caused by Ork interference, has caused the battles to drag out for much longer than either side expected. The Orks have made all resupply efforts particularly challenging, but with the severity of the devastation, reinforcements have become increasingly necessary. If the Orks are able to reinforce their position with more fresh troops from Waaagh! Grimtoof, the Greenskins might push both the Imperium and the Severan Dominate from Rak Keel, dealing a crippling blow to both sides and helping to widen the path for the Waaagh! The presence of the Orks has transformed Ra Keel into a veritable microcosm of the entire war across the Spinward Front. As the Imperial Guard attempt to reclaim resources for the Emperor—assets that are His by right—they are opposed by both human traitors and relentless, rampaging xenos. In order for the Imperium to triumph, the Imperial Guard must quickly overpower all of these foes, so that the assets can be justly returned to their mandated purpose—advancing the Imperial war effort in the name of the God-Emperor. Key to this effort are the Imperial Guard regiments already in place upon Hervara/Rak Keel. All of these units have sustained substantial losses, yet they remain combat effective. Working in conjunction with additional units should allow these forces to concentrate their efforts within their specialities and focus their forces. Ideally, reinforcements would possess a skill set that complements the expertise of any of the forces present. However, High Command is seldom so fortunate as to have the ideal units in place to fulﬁl their needs perfectly, and so any kind of unit might ﬁght its way to the desperate, grinding war on Rak Keel. The Luggnum Sewer Rats have been deployed to Rak Keel with the speciﬁc intent of using their expertise to engage in tunnel ﬁghting. The planet’s vast network of caverns allows these warriors to effectively bring their expertise at close-quarters ﬁghting to bear against the Orks and Severan Dominate alike. The regiment has received accolades for their efﬁciency when engaged with the secessionists, but they have been markedly less effective when engaging the Greenskins. The Sewer Rats have suffered signiﬁcant losses against the Orks, leaving them well-motivated to seek vengeance against the brutal xenos. In a stroke of luck, siege infantry from the Death Korps of Krieg were assigned to Rak Keel even before it became clear that the war would be such a savage and protracted one. These soldiers are well versed in ﬁghting under conditions of toxic atmospheres. Respirators are frequently standard issue for them, so they are thoroughly trained in their use. Further, their ability to effectively man fortiﬁcations provides them some additional protection from the near constant straﬁng runs of the Ork Bommers. This combination has made them particularly well suited for the constant ﬁghting on Rak Keel’s surface. In the less populated regions, particularly near some of the mineshaft entrances, a partial regiment of Tallarn Desert Raiders have been involved in a number of conﬂicts. Atypically, these forces have had to be issued respirators in order to endure the toxic winds. While the ash-ﬁlled environment is substantially different from their native deserts, much of their training remains applicable. Particularly relevant is their training to move through shifting terrain and make effective use of it as cover. Initially, the Imperial Guard plan for Rak Keel was to seize the planet so that the war effort could make immediate use of the planet’s resources. This includes the mineral wealth as well as the world’s population. Historically, Rak Keel’s defensive forces have been noted as particularly competent.
High Command believed that once the secessionists were defeated, loyalists could be quickly identiﬁed for immediate training to form a regiment for use against the Severan Dominate. Such a recruitment effort could run the risk of reducing the world’s mining output, but most believed this would only be a temporary setback. As the war for control of the mining world has continued, the Imperial Guard ofﬁcers on hand have had to revise their plan. Some rumours indicate that unless the tempo of the war effort changes, more extreme measures might be necessary. Though none have spoken of Exterminatus yet—the mineral wealth of Rak Keel is simply too tempting to sacriﬁce—such a destructive sanction might not be completely off the table. At the very least, extensive use of orbital bombardments has been considered. Of course, given the current Ork air and space superiority, such an assault is not currently an option. In the event that additional Imperial Navy assets become available, it is likely that this option would be more seriously considered. Though the sacriﬁce of the resources on Rak Keel would be a bitter draught for the Imperium to drink, it might ultimately be necessary in order to deny critical resources to the Severan Dominate as part of a campaign of raw attrition. For the time being, the Ork forces are preventing either human force from effectively accessing Rak Keel’s mineral wealth, sowing chaos with gleeful impunity from their blazing, cacophonous aircraft. As a habitable world with worthwhile resources and a population which is, at least, partially loyal to the Emperor, annihilation remains an option of last resort. The Imperial hierarchy believes that any plan which can secure further assets to sponsor the war against the secessionists is the most viable.
“Every rebel we kill today is one who won’t be shooting at us tomorrow.”
–Lord Marshall Covington Pasheen
Currently, the most important asset in the war for control of Rak Keel seems to be patience. Both the Imperial Guard and Severan Dominate forces have become well entrenched. The Imperial Guard plan of battle called for a quick strike to overwhelm the native forces, but sadly, the Severan Dominate’s resistance exceeded all reasonable expectations. This was, in part, because of the number of reinforcements that the secessionists had committed to the initial defence of the planet. Even when members of the Rak Keel Excavatory Warriors turned to ally themselves with the Imperial Guard, it was only enough of a shift in power to establish a foothold. Since the initial invasion, the Imperial advance has been a slow and exacting process. While their initial landings would have been far more costly without Rak Keel Excavatory Warriors support, High Command has been reluctant to trust these forces. Initially, many of the ofﬁcers were engaged for prolonged meetings with members of the Commissariat. A signiﬁcant number of these soldiers were found to maintain secessionist leanings. Once judgment was completed, justice was swiftly meted out.
Fortunately for both the native forces and the Guardsmen who have come to depend upon them, far fewer issues have been encountered among the men of the line. Some of the Rak Keel Excavatory Warriors platoons have remained intact. High Command has generally integrated these elements into the Imperial Guard hierarchy, seconding them primarily to work in conjunction with the Luggnum Sewer Rats.Rak Keel Excavatory Warriors members are intimately familiar with the intricacies of Rak Keel’s caverns, which has permitted the Imperial Guard forces to exploit lesser known passages so that they can move behind enemy lines, expanding the scope of these battles. The fear, particularly among High Command, remains that the native forces still harbour spies for the Severan Dominate. In at least two instances, assaults that had high expectations for success were repelled by thoroughly entrenched defenders. It is unclear if this was a consequence of deliberate sabotage by Rak Keel Excavatory Warriors elements, or if it was merely the result of inaccurate military intelligence. Rak Keel Excavatory Warriors platoons continue to serve upon the front lines, but their intelligence reports are being called into question with increasing frequency. This could be a part of a larger plan to decrease reliance upon the native forces. It might also be a sign that the Commissariat is pushing to issue further motivational judgments towards the Rak Keel Excavatory Warriors. It is now clear that the initial assessment of Rak Keel’s defenders was woefully inaccurate.
When High Command assembled the invasion forces, few of the groups targeted were operating at peak efﬁciency. In most cases, the regiments selected were partial units that had either been depleted through attrition or that were already split across multiple worlds. As a relatively quick conﬂict was anticipated, the intent was that these units could reunite with their regiments once the conﬂict was resolved. This strategy also placed several battalions under the direct authority of commanders who were unfamiliar with their ﬁghting styles and equipment. While some of the blame for the slow advance and signiﬁcant losses can be attributed to the unexpectedly stubborn resistance, it is also clear that the Imperial Guard tactics were inadequate to rapidly overcome the secessionist forces. As the battles have continued, their overall competence has certainly improved, but some fear that this improvement has arrived too late, as the Imperial Guard forces currently on the ground might not be sufﬁcient to overcome the combined secessionist and xenos forces. The initial deployment also failed to take into account the Ork presence on Rak Keel. The last xenos survey was quite dated and identiﬁed the Greenskins as having been cleansed from the mining world. Once battle was engaged, this proved incredibly inaccurate. In short order, a signiﬁcant number of native Orks emerged to engage in the conﬂict.
Unprepared Imperial Guard elements sustained signiﬁcant losses when the Ork forces took them by surprise, depleting both the manpower and equipment of all of the Imperial forces. At the same time, the Orks began to seize some of the damaged Imperial vehicles, reﬁtting them to be more consistent with their xenos technology. Within just a few months, additional Orks arrived from Waaagh! Grimtoof, drawn to the warring planet by the promise of additional battle. Uncharacteristically, many, though hardly all, of the new arrivals remained aboard their vessels. This enabled the Orks to establish a fairly effective blockade against reinforcements, destroying or scattering all of the Imperial Navy craft that were in-system at the time of the xenos arrival. When the Imperial Navy craft withdrew, this left the Imperial Guard forces with very little air support, further limiting their ability to quickly respond to sweeping changes across the battlefront. A signiﬁcant contingent of Ork Kroozers and Roks remains within the system, targeting any Imperial or Severan Dominate vessel that enters the system. This has already led to the destruction of a number of unprepared supply transports. In order for Imperial Guard reinforcements to pierce the blockade, they must have the support of the Imperial Navy. Any standard transports would be signiﬁcantly outgunned by the Ork craft, which could have tragic repercussions for the units unfortunate enough to be aboard. The Ork forces that made landfall included a disproportionately high number of Mekaniaks. These xenos technologists were well-equipped and have begun to exploit the planet’s bounty, reﬁtting their vehicles and wargear with any natural resources—or salvage—that they can obtain. Unexpectedly, their presence also enabled the Orks to quickly secure air superiority over much of the planet. A number of wings of Ork Bommers have disrupted all Imperial efforts to retake the skies. Most recently, Ork Deffkoptas have also been seen on the fringes of several conﬂicts. These unstable, sputtering craft have been surprisingly effective, cutting dark lines across Rak Keel’s polluted atmosphere and driving Imperial Guard and Severan Dominate elements on the surface to seek any available cover at the sound of their brutal, chopping blades.
The outcome of the war likely hinges upon which force can next gain the upper hand. A signiﬁcant inﬂux of reinforcements, or a new and unexpected weapon, might help to turn the tide, handing Rak Keel to the Orks, the Imperium, or the Severan Dominate. The Orks have a signiﬁcant advantage in this regard, however, because of their blockade. If either human faction hopes to triumph, it must ﬁrst break through that barrier