The Liberation of Lemnos
As the ashes of the 12th Black Crusade settle in the Gothic sector, the seeds of the 13th are planted.
Inquisitor Lenna Straub and her retinue stepped out of her private Chimera, The Iron Duchess, and headed over to the old PDF bastion that served as the headquarters/office building for the minors. He head of mining facility had pleaded to the Adeptus Arbites for help and the nature of their call had triggered her net of spies. Naturally it was coincidence that they day she was paying a formal visit to the precinct house was they day that the Arbites, led by Justice Veritas Vulcanis was departing. Even as she felt the dusty air in of Dyson Canyon swirl around her, his rhino pulled up, its troops spilling out. Not too far distance was the small detachment of loyal PDF, spreading out into defensive positions. Out of concern or military habit, she cared not, but was comforted by the professionalism of their commander, Colonel Harrison. Lemnos Minora Mining Facility 37 was a desolate place, but not an unlikely place to find heresy.
“This is a box canyon,” Vertias commented, scanning the area, “a good place for a trap.”
“We can handle anything these minors can throw at us,” Lenna replied cooly, “and for that matter, much more than that.”
The prefect of the mine stepped forward in his robes. They seemed overly ornate for a man in charge of people who dug into the earth. Around him were his various attendants, to include an earthy woman who Lenna would guess was the foreman and most likely the one who actually got things done around this place.
The prefect’s eyes widened when he saw the stylized “I” on Lenna’s customized power armor. He whimpered and fell to the deck. Behind him the others, not quite as impressed or perhaps not knowing the power she wielded, bowed in supplication.
“Your, um, majesty! We did not expect one so noble as yourself to, um, grace us with your presence!”
“And yet you called,” Lenna replied.
He seemed to shrink back even further. “I-I did not expect so many of you to come…”, he said as his voice evaporated to a mere whisper.
The crackle of Lenna’s in-ear vox bead interrupted their conversation.
“Contact. I see 30 plus cultists with small arms and hand weapons. Behind them looks like two companies of traitors and three Lemans,” reported one of the scout sentinels.
She spared a contemptful look at the prefect and his crew. They seemed shocked and although her gut feeling doubted their involvement in this duplicity, only a full interrogation of each would reveal the truth. But they would fire that crucible when they came to it.
“Justice, ready yourself.” She turned to her retinue, “Gentlemen, board the Iron Duchess. We have guests.”
The cultists had rushed forward with little regard for their own lives, ignoring the light casualties they suffered as typical of their ilk and its regard to human life. In return, they had inflicted some casualties on the Arbites and the Imperial Veterans. The Iron Duchess roared forward, vying for the ideal position to break through their lines. The traitor tanks had fired on the ancient rhino, wearing it down. Its passengers jumped out the back and sides and took cover amongst the machinery. The ratling snipes moved forward to engage but were cut down by the cultists then chased down and butchered. More traitor PDF and cultists than one would expect but certainly not a problem for her to break out of. She urged the driver forward when she noticed a flash of light through the firing ports of the Chimera. Suddenly black figures in roaring jetpacks slammed down behind her vehicle. Raptors! Just as her mind tried to absorb and process this information a vox transmission from the sentinel on her right flank reported, “I’ve got figures in black power armor in sight! Did the Inquisitor summon Astartes? Wait! They are opening fire on our tank!”
Black Legion. Lenna suddenly realized that this was not just a few rebel PDF and some disposable cultists.
The Judge hopped out of the burning wreck of his rhino and into the Iron Duchess. The loyalist tank whipped around the corner and spewed forth fire into the raptors that appeared but only felled one. The arbites fired into them as well but were unable to wound them. At this point, Lenna realized that the path through to the left was untenable and maneuvered the Duchess back. The loyalist troops traded shots with the cultists, further cutting down the numbers of each. The traitor platoon with its autocannons repositioned to bring shots on left most sentinel but their shots went wide. The platoons with the missile launchers held their ground, perhaps retaining some of their military discipline. The trio of tanks, Intent on blood, the Raptors ignored the command squad in front of them and instead rushed the Arbites squad within the machinery, cutting them down but losing more of their number in the process. The chaos Havocs, seeing the flank of the loyalist tank, cut into it with their cruel lascannons and destroyed it-a harsh blow to the dwindling loyalist forces. In the maelstrom, Colonel Harrison was cut down, leaving his command squad leadersless and unsure what to do next. Lenna gritted her teeth and swore to make the enemy pay for their Heresies. Meanwhile the cultists charged the remaining arbites and locked into hand to hand combat-neither side achieving much of an advantage.
She backed the Duchess up and from the hatches poured sweet revenge into the Raptors, reducing them to one lone survivor. Color Seargeant Duffy, taking charge of the loyalist command squad, and sensing that a breakout effort was doomed, rushed to the office building. Maybe a vox cast could achieve what the Inquisitor could not; a cry for help. Lenna Realized that with this egress blocked by the tanks, the other side of the canyon may provide some escape. The Iron Duchess whipped around the large mining processor in the middle of the canyon. The lone raptor fired into charged the loyalist veteran platoon, killing two, only to be cut down as he attempted to charge into them.
The loyalists on her left closed with the cultists mob, intent on ending their heresy forever, while at last the remaining arbiter fell to the frenzied heretics. They avenged the fallen Arbite but in turn were cut down by combined heretic and traitor PDF fire. Just behind them, the Sentinel that had provided them covering fire fell under a torrent of heavy bolter fire from the tanks. The Iron Duchess pulled clear of the heavy machinery, and straight into the sights of the Havocs whose lascannon and missile launcher fire ended its heroism.
Dazed, Lenna and her retinue climbed out of the wreckage and into the cover of the machinery; they would charge their way through the enemy and to freedom. Cruelly, the tanks shifted position and cut them off. The last sentinel fell victim to missile launcher fire. As Lenna’s brave priest charged over the machinery, the Havocs once again cut into him. From the bastion, Color Sergeant Duffy opened fire with the aged heavy bolters and prayed that they would forgive the lack of maintenance rites spoken for them. He was rewarded and the cultist scum were cut down en mass
Steadying her nerve, her people charged over the side of the machine and onto the ramp, into the tanks which opened up. She heard the deafening roar of battle cannon explosion and collapsed in her shattered armor. In the bastion, Duffy slapped the side of the vox and quickly looked around to see if there was a tech-priest present to admonish him. Old habits die hard he realized. Suddenly a voice cut through the static, “…broadcasting on all frequencies. Bright Angel, Bright Angel, can you read me?”
Realizing that this must be code for the Inquisitor he responded, “Bright Angel has fallen. I say again; Bright Angel has fallen. There is a general uprising led by warriors in black powered armor. Do you copy?”
There was only static from the speaker for a moment and then, “Copy all. Hold out as long as you can. The Emperor Protects.”
The Emperor didn’t protect the Inquisitor he thought to himself. He wondered how long they could hold out against the amassed Chaos forces. Duffy looked at the civilians, noting the prefect curled up in a fetal position and crying to himself. If it turns to cannibalism I’m eating that one first. It will be worth the upset stomach.