Faith and Betrayal
“Faith and Betrayal” is a Warhammer 40,000 Dark Heresy/Deathwatch RPG Campaign set approximately around the time 814.M41. It follows the exploits of Acolytes under the command of Inquisitor Sand of the Ordo Xenos and the missions of Deathwatch Kill-Team “Kronus.” Working alone, and sometimes together, both of these Inquisition units are dedicated to finding and destroying the enemies of the Imperium. “Only in Death Shall Duty End!!”
It has been five months since Tyranid forces from a tendril of Hive Fleet Dagon advanced on the Imperial station in the Salient Orpheus known as the Perihelion. Just prior to the station being overrun, Kill-team Kronus departed the station with the fleeing Imperial fleet, but left behind two of its members- Brothers G‘heirnat and Angelos who volunteered to remain behind so that their team could complete their mission in extracting a high value Inquisition prisoner on a shuttle with limited space available.
Death at the hands of overwhelming Tyranid forces is the fate that many expected for the left behind Deathwatch Marines, and the notion of entertaining even the thought of a rescue attempt could not be done while the beleaguered Imperial forces were struggling to merely survive being routed. Since then, the battle line has moved far past the Perihelion and the station now lies deep in Tyranid territory. Deep scans by probing Adeptus Mechanicus vessels show that the station still appears to be intact, though its condition and structural integrity is in question as the monitors for many of its critical systems are no longer transmitting. Speculation, supported by biometric augurs, is that the station is infested with Tyranid organisms and a small force of capital-class Tyranid ships stand guard nearby.
Recently, a window of opportunity arrived when a desperate counter-assault by a combined force of Imperial Navy, Adeptus Astartes and Adeptus Mechanicus ships stalled the Tyranid advance. A bloody stalemate has ensued and the call for reinforcements from both sides has gone out. Amongst this carnage, petitions for a rescue attempt of the stranded Battle-brothers of Kill-Team Kronos have been made, backed by the support of various Deathwatch and parent-Chapter Space Marines, as well as a few members of the Inquisition and Adeptus Mechanicus. Enough support came forward that a desperate plan was approved to send a small, but formidable, combined force of Naval, Astartes and Mechanicus ships to make a concentrated strike into the Tyranid battle line closest to the Perihelion in an attempt to draw away as much of the nearby Tyranid fleet as possible so that a sole Deathwatch cruiser, the Argent Crusader, could penetrate to the Perihelion and deliver Kill-team Kronus (consisting of Brothers Aoner, Vectis and Dante and Palatine Ruby) and Veteran Sergeant Agamorr (a legend amongst the Deathwatch and Adeptus Astartes) to rescue the lost Space Marines, carry out a variety of sub-missions and destroy the Perihelion.
Brother Dante was chosen to lead Kill-team Kronos, while Brother Agamorr would operate solo to complete his mission objectives. It was also decided that two Deathwatch relics would be beneficial in aiding the boarding party with mission success- Sergeant Agamorr armed himself with the famed Hammer of Balthazar and Brother Aoner wielded the legendary Shard of Bekrin.
After an uneventful transit through the Warp, the Kill-team reached their destination and it appeared that the Imperium’s plan to draw away the Tyranid ships from the Perihelion was a success. Using a Thunderhawk gunship for insertion into one of the Perihelion’s massive landing bays, the Kill-team and Sergeant Agamorr disembark into a fighting boarding action against a formidable Tyranid force of Carnifexes, Termagants, Hormagaunts and Warriors. With supporting fire from the Thunderhawk’s various weapons, the Space Marines and Sister of Battle met their foes head on using bolter, flame and melee attacks to decimate their Xenos opponents. During the battle, Brother Aoner tapped too much into the dangerous Warp energy used to fuel his psychic powers and inadvertently summoned a daemon prince called Vargash the Black (who Aoner had mistakenly summoned before on a previous encounter, which resulted in unfortunate results). The enraged daemon prince sought the librarian’s death, and it was only through another fluke of Warp intervention that Aoner was saved and Vargash returned to his domain.
With the Xenos in the landing bay destroyed or scattered, the Kill-team and Agamorr proceed deeper into the station, splitting up to prosecute their individual missions, and planning to link back up later to enact the protocols to destroy the Perihelion. Not sure where to locate their missing Battle-brothers, Kill-team Kronos wandered the station looking for clues. The Perihelion was in a decrepit state- lack of maintenance and the Tyranid presence has left failing or non-operational utility systems, a damaged interior and no sign of survivors. Eventually a scan by Brother Vectis picked up a faint distress signal Imperial in nature being broadcast from the bridge area and the Kill-team made haste to locate the signal’s source.
Proceeding down one of the station’s many corridors, the Kill-team found their way blocked by an unresponsive door. As Brother Vectis and Sister Ruby used their technical skill to attempt to revive the door’s machine spirits, the rest of the Kill-team enacted a desperate defense to buy Vectis and Ruby time to complete their work as a massive horde of Tyranid organisms flooded the corridor intent on terminating the Kill-team. Termagaunts and Hormagaunts attack the Kill-team’s position with razor sharp claws and organic weapons that fire armor-boring beetles. Brother Aoner unleashes psychic death while Brother Dante stoically stands his ground to bulwark the corridor against the enemy.
On the brink of being overrun, Vectis and Ruby are successful and the sealed door opens to reveal their missing Battle-brothers on the other side. Brother G’heirnat motions the team through the door while Brother Angelos charges into the Tyranid horde to buy his teammates time to retreat to safety. Once all of the Kill-team members are safely through the door, G’heirnat seals the door to keep them safe from the relentless Tyranid assault.
A short exchange of pleasantries follows and the Kill-team learns of the hardships that Angelos and G’heirnat have endured for the past five months. With no ammunition left and their armor battered, G’heirnat and Angelos are grateful to receive the weapons and ammunition that the Kill-team has brought for them.
After utilizing the semi-operational augur array on the bridge, the Kill-team investigates a warning rune at some stasis chambers near the bridge and discover the Perihelion’s Chief Astropath, Mardon Arlarnt, who requests that the Kill-team escort him to safety so that he can relay a priority message that he was in the process on receiving when the station’s evacuation was taking place. The Kill-team agrees, and with the astropath under their protection, the Kill-team decides to make their way to the Adeptus Mechanicus section of the Perihelion to complete one of their objectives- to retrieve a valuable archeotech item called the Lucius-pattern Vision Hood.
On the way, Brother Vectis becomes aware of multiple contacts on the auspex rapidly approaching the Kill-team from two different sides. This message is relayed to his teammates and the Kill-team decides to form a defensive position in a room housing several of the station’s sub-generators. This room can be easily defended- a pile of rubble and debris partially blocks one corridor, a small hole in the ceiling allows limited access on one corner and there is only one long corridor that is entirely open. Brothers G’heirnat and Aoner position to hold the long corridor with flamer and psychic powers, Palatine Ruby and Brothers Angelos and Dante act as a ready reserve to assist where they are needed and Brother Vectis watches the partially blocked corridor and the hole in the ceiling in a position where he can protect the Astropath.
The kill-team does not have to wait long until the enemy is upon them. A large group of Genestealers rushes down the corridor at G’heirnat and Aoner and they unleash their weapons in an effort to push them back and reduce their numbers. Calamity strikes the Kill-team from the onset as Aoner taps too much into the Warp and his psychic Smiting power backlashes onto himself severely wounding the Librarian and hurting his comrade Dante; the Black Templar G’heirnat is unharmed as his Chapter’s distrust of psykers has developed methods of protecting them from the Warp’s foul energies.
There are too many Genestealers to keep at bay with the weapons at the Kill-team’s disposal and battle is soon joined as Genestealers nearly overwhelm G’heirnat and Aoner. Brothers Dante and Angelos rush in to assist their battle-brothers while Vectis holds his section as best he can when Genestealers start emerging from the rubble and the hole in the ceiling. Overwhelmed and starting to sustain serious wounds, the Kill-team takes some desperate, but tactical measures- Palatine Ruby sends cleansing flamer fire to engulf Genestealer and Space Marine alike and all of the Battle-brothers, except Vectis and G’heirnat catch on fire with some of the Genestealers. Covered in flames, both forces fight on.
Angelos sends several Genestealers to their death with sweeps of Vectis’ power axe. G’heirnat takes on the enemy armed only with his Storm Shield and a Combat Knife. Vectis’ servo-arm reduces Genestealers to bloody pulp. Palatine Ruby’s hand flamer keeps the enemy burning. Bolstered by the defense of his Iron Arm psychic power, Aoner cuts at the Genestealers with the Shard of Bekrin. Dante yells defiance at the enemy and drives his comrades to a battle fervor that guides their attacks in a way that the Genestealers find difficult to avoid.
The Kill-team slays the remaining Genestealers, but have sustained numerous wounds and Brother G’heirnat administers aid to his battered comrades. Their time on the Perihelion facing the Tyranid threat is starting to take its toll on the Kill-team- the stock of pain suppressants in their armor is slowly being depleted, their apothecary’s supply of medications has long been used up, and it is only through G’heirnat’s medicae skills and the grace of the Emperor that the Kill-team is still in fighting condition.
Finally arriving at the Adeptus Mechanicus section of the station, the Kill-team makes their way through a devastated section where the Tyranids have used brute strength and numbers to smash their way through the security protocols and physical barriers- the remains of combat servitors litter the corridors and heavy reinforced doors have been torn asunder. The exception to this devastation is the area where the Tech-Priests house their high-value secure storage. The Kill-team finds that the Tyranid advance has not penetrated this far into the section and Brother Dante decides that he and Brother Angelos will scout ahead of the rest of the team to check for an ambush.
Ahead of their fellows, Dante and Angelos find that the area is still under guard by active combat servitors. The heavily augmented guardians rush at the Space Marines with deadly whip-like appendages crackling with power. Calling to his team for aid, the two Space Marines are engaged by the servitors and Angelos becomes a whirlwind of death destroying his foes. By the time the rest of the Kill-team arrives, the few remaining servitors are easily dispatched and the way to recover the Lucius-Pattern Vison Hood is clear.
Using the authorization codes provided to them by the Adeptus Mechanicus, Brother Vectis unseals the vault where the Hood is being stored. A marvel of archeotech, the Vision Hood gives it wearer the ability to detect life signs through a variety of barriers and cloaking devices, detect radiation and contaminants, and note flaws in structural integrity. Hoping the device will assist them in combating the Tyranids with chameleon abilities, Brother Aoner dons the Hood for the rest of the mission.
While evaluating the abilities of the Hood, the Kill-team gets a distress call from Veteran Sergeant Agamorr. The Sergeant’s mission in recovering the geneseed was successful, but the famed Deathwatch Space Marine is being attacked by overwhelming Tyranid forces and requests the Kill-team’s aid. With haste, the Kill-team navigates the Perihelion’s corridors (the Vison Hood assisting the Kill-team in evading Tyranid forces) and arrive at Agamorr’s location too late for battle and find the Veteran Sergeant’s bloody and broken body atop a small mountain of dead Tyranids.
Sustaining grievous injuries, the Sergeant’s body is slipping into suspended animation to preserve his life until advanced medical aid can be given. G’heirnat revives the Sergeant for a short time so that they can question him about what took place. Agamorr still has the geneseed intact, but reports that a rare and classified Tyranid-strain creature known only as “Species Seven” attacked him. While the rest of the Kill-team are lost with the reference, Agamorr and G’heirnat know of the creature and the apothecary briefs his brothers on the rarely seen and reported (some don’t even believe in its existence) Tyranid creature that is simply described as a Hive Tyrant with Lictor abilities. Records to date indicate that there have been no survivors of a suspected Species Seven encounter.
Before slipping back into suspended animation, the Sergeant tells the Kill-team that Species Seven is stalking them even now and they must complete their mission before its too late. While Brother Vectis secures the Sergeant’s body, Brother G’heirnat takes possession of the recovered geneseed and Brother Dante stows his chainsword to wield the mighty Hammer of Balthazar. The team then makes haste to the Engineerium to initiate the station’s auto-annihilation sequence.
Kill-team Kronus arrives at the massive plasma reactor that powers the entire orbital. Stretching up through several levels and crawling with thousands of Tyranid organisms, the Kill-team starts their long approach to the control room located in the center of the massive chamber. Leaking radiation slowly starts to affect their bodies but their Melanchromic Organs are able to protect them from permanent damage for the time being. Vectis drags the body of the hibernating Sergeant Agamorr as the team makes their way to the closest catwalk that travels through the arcing plasma streams to the control room.
Their progress is soon noted by the nearby surrounding Tyranids and a warning flashes through the Hive Mind. Hundreds of Hormagaunts and Termagants’ under the direction of Tyranid Warriors make haste to the Kill-Team’s position. Some of the Tyranids are fast enough to intercept the team before they make it to the center of the chamber and a blood battle ensues between the two forces.
As the battle continues, the massive numbers of the Tyranids starts to give them an advantage. While decimating a horde of Termagants, Brother Angelos goes down and is swarmed by the creatures. Brother Dante and Brother G’heirnat are able to get to their critically wounded battle-brother in time to treat his wounds. Many of the Kill-team have sustained numerous injuries as they finally make their way to the catwalk that leads to the reactor’s central control but inside they find that the battle is still not over as yet more Tyranids wait for them within the control room itself. With time ticking away, the Kill-team charges into the enemy crossing into the inner control chamber of the reactor core for the Perihelion. While Brother Angelos acts as rearguard against sporadic advancing Tyranid organisms, the rest of the team takes on the enemies waiting inside.
With the enhanced visual assistance of the Lucius-Pattern Vision Hood, Brother Aoner is able to see two more Tyranid Warriors hidden on the other side of the control room and he advances ahead of his Kill-Team towards these targets. When he arrives, he does indeed find two more Tyranid Warriors, and realizes almost too late when one of them sends a powerful beam of psychic power at him that one of them is a psyker Tyranid Prime. The two psykers, Librarian and Prime, begin a duel hurling psychic energy at each other.
Calling for his Kill-team to push forward, Brother Dante leads a charge that results in the death of one of the Tyranid Warriors and inspires the rest of his team. After dispatching the other Tyranid organisms guarding the control chamber, the rest of the Kill-team converge on the Prime. Outnumbered and trapped, the Xenos synapse creature is quickly slain.
After setting up a security perimeter, and tending to the wounded, the Kill-team searches the control room for the Sacred Scroll of the Rite of Auto-Annihilation. Palatine Ruby braves the radiation danger and locates the scroll and immediately heads out to a protected area while Brothers G’heirnat and Vectis complete the Rite, which is executed flawlessly. With the safety barriers disabled, the massive plasma reactor becomes unstable amidst the sound of warning klaxons. The countdown to the destruction of the Perihelion begins, and with only a short window of opportunity for escape, the Kill-team makes haste to the nearest hanger bay for extraction. With the station’s structural integrity failing, the Kill-team must maneuver past obstacles of falling debris and collapsing corridors, as well as fight past scattering Tyranids caught in the destruction, to reach their destination.
Making it to the nearest landing bay with only a short amount of time left, the Kill-team voxes their awaiting Thunderhawk for extraction and gets to work preparing to exit. It is decided that splitting into teams would be best. One team to finds a suitable void suit for Astropath Arlarnt, so that he may survive the void when the landing bay doors are opened. One team, which includes Brother Aoner wearing the Lucius-Pattern Vision Cowl to scan for incoming Tyranids, including Species Seven. And the last team, consisting of Brothers G’heirnat and Vectis, who have been tasked with manually opening the massive landing bays doors, which are no longer responding to electronic controls.
With five minutes till their Thunderhawk arrives, Palatine Ruby and Brother Angelos are able to locate, and get Arlarnt secured in a void suit just as several large groups of Tyranid creatures converge on the landing bay from several directions. Brother Dante quickly requests the assistance of the Alpha Scars Chapter Tactical Squad under the command of Sergeant Riesus that has been waiting on standby to assist. The squad teleports into the center of the landing bay with weapons ready to support the Kill-team’s exit. With the clock ticking away to destruction, Brother Aoner’s Lucius-Pattern enhanced vision notes a fast moving group of three Tyranids heading toward the landing bay concealed by the walls.
What happens next unfolds in a matter of seconds. The Alpha Scars Tactical squad brings the Emperor’s vengeance down on the foul Xenos, decimating many Genestealers and Hormagaunts with bolter fire and frag grenades before being joined in melee combat where all but their Sergeant would fall to the deadly claws of the Xenos. Angelos charges into the midst of the Xenos hordes, and later joins his remaining Chapter Battle-brother to finish off the remaining attacking hordes of Tyranids. G’heirnat proves that his strength is indeed legend when his mighty armor-enhanced strength easily turns the massive wheels that manually open the landing bay doors, while Brother Vectis’ powerful servo-arm struggles to do the same. Brother Aoner takes on Species Seven and its duo of Lictor companions as they enter the landing bay. A blast of psychic might reduces one of the Lictors to a smoking carcass and catches Species Seven in the blast. Showing no signs of distress, the massive Lictor-like creature continues past the librarian toward the Space Marines at the landing bay doors while the remaining Lictor assaults Brother Aoner. The advance chameleon effect of Species Seven makes it hard for even the augmented senses of the Space Marines to see its location and the Tyranid creature is able to initially engage the Space Marines single-handedly and cause serious injuries, especially to Brother Dante. Eventually the Kill-team are able to locate the hidden creature and bring their combined numbers to bear (Brother Aoner joins the fight against Species Seven after a perfect blast of stormbolter fire from Palatine Ruby kills the Lictor he is in close combat with). Brother Vectis is able to deliver the killing blow against the deadly creature by boring a massive hole into the creature with his Breaching Augur.
With their escape route clear, the Kill-team (carrying the bodies of their wounded and deceased Space Marines), board the Thunderhawk and make haste to the safe zone of the Perihelion’s explosion. The Tyranid space assets have since returned after hearing the synaptic cry from Species Seven, and the Thunderhawk desperately maneuvers the gauntlet of debris and Tyranid interceptors. Finding themselves on the edge of the safe zone when the Perihelion’s plasma core finally explodes, the Thunderhawk is buffeted by the massive energies released in the blast wave. Adrift with no power, the Thunderhawk is eventually picked up by the Imperial forces, though all the Kill-team members have suffered critical injuries, including severed limbs and Astropath Arlarnt perished in the blast wave. Despite the damage to their bodies, the Kill-team returns to Imperial-controlled space hailed as heroes, their mission a success.
* GM’s Note: This mission was created by the GM and inspired by events in the Deathwatch adventure, “The Ark of Lost Souls,” by Fantasy Flight Games and the Warhammer 40,000 novel, “The Death of Integrity,” by Guy Haley.