While in the process of carrying out sensitive courier duties within the Orpheus Salient, Kill-Team Kronus is suddenly diverted to the Vanir System by orders of the Inquisition. It appears that Hive Fleet Dagon is on the move and its tendrils are branching out toward nearby areas containing various Imperial holdings- one of these is an Adeptus Mechanicus research orbital called the Perihelion. Mainly a research station, the Perihelion does house advanced medicae facilities and a section dedicated for use by the Inquisition. Lead elements of Hive Fleet Dagon are approaching the facility, with a larger force in tow, and Imperial command had ordered the evacuation of the station.
These evacuees are being shuttled to a responding Imperial Naval cruiser, the Stoic Judgment, and it is here that the Kill-Team will proceed to pick up a secret Inquisition prisoner that was being held on the Perihelion for medical treatment. This prisoner, Namor Tarinten (designated under the codename Subject Atlas), officially listed as executed, was one of the Monarchs of the Kingdom of Vanir and responsible for many atrocities against the Imperium and his people, including the deaths of over 3.5 million citizens. Not known to many, in addition to be a tyrant, Tarinten is a Chaos-worshipper and powerful champion of Khorne. He was being held by the Inquisition and recently was critically wounded during an escape attempt. Additionally, the Inquisition never received the final transmission from the Interrogator in charge of Tarinten and the Kill-Team is ordered to recover this data.
With a proven record, Brother G’heirnat is again selected as leader for this mission and the Kill-Team arms up from the limited armory aboard their frigate, the Mark of Honor. By chance, the frigate was in the process of delivering the famed Deathwatch relic, the Cruciform of the Crusade, back to Watch Fortress Erioch and Brother Angelos decides to arm himself with its destructive power.
Arriving at the location of the Stoic Judgment the Kill-Team proceeds to the naval cruiser for what should be a simple prisoner pick-up. They find the docking bays a bustle of activity as personnel from the Perihelion are accounted for and arrangements are made to house the additional people. With assistance, the Kill-Team discovers that Tarinten never made it to the Stoic Judgment despite all of the shuttles responsible for his section having returned. Further interviews of the shuttle pilots responsible for that area finds that one of them, pilot Vaush, admits that he did not proceed with docking for his final evacuation run due to sighting several Tyranid spacecraft in the area as well as creatures infesting the orbital itself. He claimed that it was not cowardice that caused his decision to terminate his mission but a logical course based on the circumstances.
The lead elements of the Tyranid fleet vanguard are five to six hours out and Imperial high command has ordered that all Imperial forces be out of the area before the fleet arrives. With the mission clock counting down, time is of the essence as the Kill-Team must get to the orbital to retrieve or confirm Tarinten’s status before the Tyranids overrun the place. The Kill-Team goes to work preparing for departure to the Perihelion. Floor plans of the orbital are obtained and the team comes up with a plan to approach the Perihelion using their servitor-piloted Aquila shuttle as a decoy while they take one of the medically-modified Arvus Landers (volunteered to be piloted by Vaush on Brother G’heirnat’s orders) and use the distraction caused by the Aquila shuttle to sneak in and dock with the orbital.
Upon arrival at the Perihelion, everything goes as planned and despite the destruction of the Aquila shuttle, the Kill-Team is able to dock with the Perihelion. Exiting their lander in a zero-gee bay, Brother Dante notices that Tyranid Termagants are attempting to conceal themselves amongst the floating debris to ambush the Kill-Team. Passing warning to his teammates, this launches a firefight between the opposing forces and the Kill-Team is easily able to destroy and rout the enemy with minimal injury.
After successfully docking with the Perihelion, Kill-Team Kronus proceeds to the prisoner’s location. As they navigate the twisted, and sometimes damaged, corridors of the orbital they find the facility abandoned and operating only on emergency power with minimal life-support systems functional. Arriving at the quarters of the prisoner, they find him hooked up to several experimental medicae life-support machines and under the care of a Chirurgeon; he is also under the guard of two Crusaders, which, as can be seen from several bodies, have been busy dispatching probing Genestealers.
Brother G’heirnat provides the Crusaders with the proper authorization code and the Kill-Team is briefed on the current situation. Interrogator Gavin went to the comm tower several hours ago during the evacuation but has not been heard from since. The prisoner is in poor health and requires constant care from the experimental machines he is hooked up to sustain life functions. His health is deteriorating due to the fluctuation of power on the orbital and he needs to be taken to stable facilities as soon as possible.
Brother G’heirnat immediately orders everyone to prep the prisoner for immediate transport to their shuttle. With the additional people, and the prisoner’s life-support machines, the shuttle is going to be over capacity by one and Brother G’heirnat decides to wait till departure time to figure out this dilemma. Locating the Interrogator and the data will wait until after the prisoner is secure.
While enroute to shuttle with the prisoner and Inquisition Agents, the team receives word from Palatine Ruby (who is with their shuttle) that the shuttle is under attack by Tyranids. Brothers Dante and Vectis are immediately dispatched to respond while the rest of the kill team escorts the prisoner. Pushing their genetically enhanced bodies to reach the shuttle in time, the Space Marines speed through the corridors to the docking bay and find the shuttle besieged by a horde of hormagaunts and two Raveners. No stranger to the Tyranid menace, Vectis’ confidence and presence strengthens Dante’s resolve and the two Space Marines open fire on the Xenos. The Hormagaunts respond by charging and swarming the two Space Marines and nearly overwhelm them by sheer numbers before the two Space Marines are able to affect a counter-attack that decimates the horde. Turning their attention to the Raveners, each Space Marine takes on a Ravener in single-combat. Despite their wounds, each Space Marine is able to dispatch their foe- Vectis smashing his Ravener with a mighty blow from his servo-arm and Dante splitting his in half in a shower of gore from his chainsword.
Still proceeding to the shuttle bay, Tariten tells G’heirnat that the Inquisition plans to re-instate him in power on Vanir so that he might use the power of Chaos to slow down, and maybe even stop, the Tyranid advance in that system. G’heirnat disregards the prisoner’s words as blasphemy and has him sedated. Shortly afterward, the Kill-Team is ambushed by two Lictors. The Crusaders and Space Marines have no problem fending off this attack and terminate the Tyranids with the loss of only one Crusader. Arriving at the shuttle, Brother Vectis informs the team that the shuttle has sustained some damage from the Tyranids that will need to be repair prior to departure- a task that will take at least an hour. With the mission clock ticking away, Vectis secures the help of Ruby and Vaush and the three of them begin the repair work.
With the prisoner secure in the shuttle under the guard of the remaining Crusader and two of the Kill-team, G’heirnat, Angelos and Dante proceed to the comm tower to locate the Interrogator and his last transmission data. They are easily able to locate the comm tower and find the Interrogator’s body laying at one of the comm consoles apparently killed just prior to transmitting the data. Brother G’heirnat sends the transmission and secures the data-fax just before the team is ambushed by Genestealers.
The Genestealer assault is quick and deadly and soon Brother Angelos is wounded and unconscious and Brother G’heirnat and Brother Dante are on the verge of being incapacitated. Relief comes in the form of some hospital patients that assist the Kill-team in dispatching the Genestealers. Greeting the three patients, the Kill-team finds that they are war heroes from various units of the Imperial Guard that are known for the acts of valor they accomplished fighting the Tyranids in the Orpheus Salient. They were left behind during the evacuation. Recognizing the value of these individuals, the Kill-Team decides to evacuate them as well- making them over capacity by three.
The repairs to the lander are finished just as Brother G’heirnat and his team returns with the war heroes in tow. Over capacity by three, Brother G’heirnat assess the importance of personnel and surprises the Kill-team and evacuees by dispatching the Chirurgeon by breaking her neck. Many of the Kill-team do not approve of G’heirnat’s actions while Tarinten looks on with glee. A heated debate breaks out between the Team, evacuees and the remaining Crusader over who stays. Veiled threats are exchanged, posturing, and even a duel between the older and more experienced Brother G’heirnat and younger and ambitious Brother Angelos, which G’heirnat wins, before it is decided that G’heirnat and Angelos will remain on the Perihelion. Relinquishing the Cruciform of the Crusade to the care of Brother Vectis so that the relic may be returned, Brother Vectis passes his signature power axe to Angelos so that he may be armed against the massive Tyranid force about to descend on the orbital.
With the Tyranid vanguard minutes away, the lander takes off to rendezvous with the Stoic Judgment before it departs. The Kill-team is two members short and the odds of survival for Brother G’heirnat and Brother Angelos are slim to none. Against an overwhelming enemy force in a failing space orbital it would be a miracle if the two Space Marines are ever again seen alive.
- GM’s Note: This mission was created by the GM and inspired by The Unit television episode “Force Majuere.”