Chapter I: Qurbitus Station 978
Bags of Plascrete! The substance with which fortifications are constructed. That's what his eye lids felt like! Bags of Plascrete. Every muscle in his face seem to want to jump down to the floor. His back ached. His arms and legs had long ago stopped obeying his commands. His voicesounded like the rasp of a chainsaw on wood. Yet he was going through the motions simply by sheer will power. Sheer will power and solid training. Colonel Sagitante looked up with exhaustion in his eyes. He hadn't slept for three days! Three days in which his world had turned upside down. Three days in which his family and friends had been lost. Three days in which half his command had been decimated. Three infamous days since the insurrection started on his home planet. Qadis III was a thriving agricultural and commercial world and home to him and thirty billion souls. Thirty billion souls who lived amongst beautiful rolling forests and clear blue oceans interspersed with cleanly built cities. Thirty billion souls who had been faithful to the emperor, until three days ago..
He remembered for the thousandth time, with helpless anger, that day, when he had arrived on orbital station Qurbitus 978. As the youngest colonel in the history of the Qadis Regiments, he had been assigned to the less than exciting task of routine checks of the orbital defences. The orbital stations were a marvel of STC designs containing a veritable arsenal of weaponry, including defence lasers and missile pods that could cost an invader dearly. They also served other purposes, like communications relay and surveillance. Each of the four stations which orbited their world were deemed important enough to warrant a resident astropath, a contingent of Arbites and his own Decarde' Stormtroopers, the best on the planet. From sensor auguries they could map every inch of Qadis III, track every space object within their system and communicate with their vast commercial fleet.
Sagitante had been recruited form the Cadet Corps directly in to the officer training school at the very young age of 16 Qadis years. He was a brilliant tactician, a master strategist with a vision far out-reaching those of central command. But he had one flaw. He was not a politician. And in his early years he did not comprehend the power of subtle manipulation and quiet subterfuge. His outspoken opinions which had endeared him to the career officers of the planetary defence forces, had also created enemies, who through superior rank and political machinations had limited an extremely promising career. Despite that, Sagitante, born to a poor farmer, and possessed of an unlimited reservoir of energy and drive had managed to completely revamp the planetary defence forces, creating the elite Decarde Storm Troopers in the process. The Decardes, as they were commonly known, were able to respond to any planetary emergency as rapid response units. He had even managed to assign such dedicated units all over the world, at critical points some openly and others covertly. That his foresight would eventually pay off he had known all along. But the circumstances in which that strategy would be required was something even his brilliant, far thinking mind hadn't anticipated.
While on the orbital tour, on that fateful day, what he saw on the planet, 32,000 miles below made even his stern constitution wretch with disgust. What seemed to be a local disturbance in one of the Arbites Precincts had within a matter of hours, turned in to a full fledged insurrection in the capital. The governor, solitary amongst the governing body who had supported Sagitante's vision, and his court were dead. The Arbites in the local precinct had sold their lives dearly in defence of their headquarters. The planetary defence forces were revolting and joining the mob on the streets. It was only hours later, trapped in the orbital station without any transport, that he learned that the Decarde units stationed at the Capitol City had been mysteriously relocated without his knowledge. All his painstakingly planned deployments within the city had been demolished by command authority vested in Central Command. It was only when his adjutant sent him a frantic message, before it was cut short abruptly, he realised the enormity of the situation. A single word, spoken in whispers came through the communicator, and froze his blood for a moment. "Genestealers!" It was a genestealer uprising. So sudden! So quickly! Sadly half his units in the Capitol city which had been treacherously deployed to indefensible sections, had perished, holding out while invaluable information was beamed up to him. He had chosen his men well! Slowly but surely, as his units in the city were decimated, he built up a picture of what had happened. The unit redeployment were ordered by central command authority, now known to belong to the revolt plotters.
He had then swung in to action, anger and vengeance fuelling his drive to counter the enemy. His commands activated hidden units of Decarde Storm troopers, who immediately took over vital areas according to his pre-planned deployment. All four orbital stations were in his hands. The rest of his loyalist units were to regroup, executing a fighting withdrawal to the ragged foothills of the Bramberg Mountain range. "Operation Last Bastion" had commenced on his orders. Eventhe central command authority had no knowledge of these plans. At the Bramberg mountain range he had hoarded a veritable arsenal of weapons and supplies for just such an emergency. Units of his Decarde Storm troopers who had survived the initial onslaught had sold their lives dearly in the Capitol City. Destroying vital armouries and power grids, bridges and overpasses, all of which helped slow down the pursuit of the retreating loyalist units.
Now, three days later, the only loyalist units that had survived were a few miserable survivors from the Arbites precinct under the command of the formidable Judge Maligannon and his own division of Decarde Storm Troopers along with their sister regiment "Death-Killers". Fortunately the Death-Killers were an armoured fist regiment, completely mobile and armed with considerable firepower. Together they were holding out against the genestealer cult at the distant mountain stronghold of the Bramberg Line until help arrived. Having contemplated the events of the past three days yet again, Sagitante looked up with his weary eyes at the Librarian. He was amazed that the Librarian looked as fresh and relaxed as if he had slept for a whole week. He was an anachronism of bone white terminator armour and thin fragile robes of the same coloured. The Dark Blue flash on his shoulder pad denoted his affiliation to the librarium. Intricate coils and connections extended from the terminator suit to the librarians shaved head, no doubt related to his psychic abilities. Scrolls, purity seals, service studs and holy tomes adorned his body and armour alike. The Librarian and his bodyguard of five terminators had arrived in a fast vessel within a day of his distress signal. The techmarine who accompanied them had constructed a modified teleportation device on deck. He had also helped them re-align the missile batteries on to the surface, bringing much needed relief to the Decard's and the Death_Killers and the emperor's justice to the stealer hordes.
Even now the terminator squad was down on the battleground, at the last bastion, taking command of the forces but they were so few.
..Sagitante hoped that relief would arrive soon he feared for the life of his men. his family his world the imperium.
Sudddenly the station astropaths sounded the alarm
Eyes wide in panic " one of them screamed " The shadow falls the great shadow in the warp."
"Report clearly, damn you" screamed Sagitante 'What is it?" He was so tired.
"There was sheer terror in the astropath's face "Something massive in the warp" He was visibly shaking!!!
Sagitante looked at the senior astropath! Glenragard, who was old enough to be his grandfather, looked at him with unseeing eyes, and said "Something massive moving in the warp. The signals are not clear.. It is too early for the Segmentum Tempestus fleet to arrive.. Perhaps it is a splinter hive fleet, after all. Or a Spacehulk"
There is a keening psychic signal emanating from Capital City, beaming in to outer space."
The words froze in his mouth Sagitante felt dizzy A hive fleet It's the only entity that could make such a displacement in the warp So we are to die after all.
" Prepare the reactors for auto overload. Initiate operation Final Frontier! Download all tactical data in to data bouys for launch at my signal." He rapped out his commands. "Await my authorisation for the final countdown." The data buoys could be sent off with an auto pilot so that whoever arrived in the future could understand what had happened if they failed to overcome this menace. "We shall take some of them with us. Wait for my signal to inform the units on the ground."
Looking at the senior astropath "How big? Any details? We must warn the Segmentum fleet" He turned and looked expectantly at the Librarian, who had listened to everything impassively.
The Deathwing Librarian stood fast. Resplendent in his massive white armour, he remained silent, lost in thought or perhaps trying to analyse the tides of the warp.