Sector Report II.5 – Polarnus

Assault on Polarnus Station – The Quick Summary:

For over 500 years since its capture, Polarnus Station was the centre of the Prosperitas Crusade: an impregnable asteroid fortress, deep within the Polarnus Nebula, considered unassailable by all practical analysis.

Crusade High Command had always anticipated an eventual attack on Polarnus Station, as part of the Archenemy campaign; however, it always expected that attack to come not from the Eye itself (being as treacherous for the Archenemy as for the Imperial Ships to cross), but from a pincer move executed by the Weeping Eye and Creeping Death Warbands – currently contained at Kelper Prime and the Strayvian Gateway respectively.

When, after a few hours of sudden Warp phenomena at the Eye’s edge, the latter disgorged the main body of the Weeping Eye warfleet, Crusade High Command were caught off-guard. Having thought the warband had been committed in entirety to the Kelper Prime campaign; Fleet Intelligence had vastly underestimated the size of the Warband’s fleet.

And so, Arnkatla Tain, Herforingi of the Weeping Eye, Champion of Neiglen, accomplished what no Archenemy commander had done in the years since the Lash of the Eye: she successfully crossed the border of the Eye on the edge of the Pollarnus Nebula, and plunged a fleet of vessels right into the heart of Crusade High Command, and into the iron gauntlet of the spheres of overlapping defences around the station.

Hundreds of carefully laid minefields and servitor-slaved turrets completely failed to function against the foul tide of Archenemy warships. Before Imperial Forces understood what was going on, the servitor-slaved weapons on the station traversed in their mounts and turned upon loyalist ships. Within the space of minutes, over sixteen ships were destroyed, and twenty others or more were crippled, caught between the heavy guns of the Archenemy Warfleet and the betrayal of their defences.

Although brave Imperial Guard void-suited counter-attacks on the compromised defences minimised losses, it was already apparent that Polarnus was going to fall. Though many Imperial civilians, including the local Trade Syndicates and the refugee communities of Caudica Secundus refused to surrender their homes, the body of Crusade High Command began a mass evacuation of the station.

In the midst of the evacuation, the Archenemy hurled the defiled hulk of the Gothic-class Cruiser Admiral Vanchenko (captured in 589.M41)  at the station by gravity-ram – its decapitated prow replaced with a crude array of magna-meltas that burned miles deep into the station, before the weight of the ramship firmly drove the cruiser like a nail into the side of Polarnus. From the dark holds of the hulk, an army of Mutants, Pirates and Weeping Eye Raiders swept into the corridors and vaults of the station – even as the Naval fleet withdrew, the battle of Polarnus was just beginning.

The Following section is for fun/to provide flavour for those trapped on the station

Havildar Justina Severin, of the 16th Naval Security Precinct, panted – her face streaked with soot and ash, a trail of blood running down from the gash on her forehead. Almost on instinct, she glanced around for something, anything to wipe the blood away from her eyes, before she gave up on years of ingrained Naval Academy conditioning, and wiped it away with the white sleeve of her uniform. Gripping her sword tightly, she glanced over the hastily constructed barricade that had once been a quaint little clothes stall – and immediately ducked down again, as slug-rounds slammed into the metal counter-surface of the upended stall.

“Bloody pirates…”

It seemed the Archenemy had thrown everything at them: marauding Weeping Eye Raiders in their crude yet effective carapace, babbling mutants and now… pirates. Amongst the scum that had boiled onto the promenade, she’d seen flashes of gang colours that she’d seen during less than sanctioned jaunts to the Omega sectors.

It was un-imperial to think of the people down there as the Imperium’s ‘forgotten’, but it was true: Vice-Admiral Chandier, as Commandant of the Station, had more that enough security and Crusade concerns to not look at distributing surplus rations to the scum. Governor Kwarteng wasn’t interested in anyone that she (or her allied Trade Cartels) couldn’t exploit for profit, and they weren’t going to begin paying out of their pockets; as for the Mechanicus… well, the Mechanicus didn’t think like living-breathing-feeling humans, anyway.

So they’d gone ignored, forgotten, and the Archenemy must have known that when they were targeting their ramship. They didn’t aim to hit the Garrison sectors – rather, they’d hit just above Omega-14, and worked their way up from the depths. So, they had their ranks bolstered by a fresh army of hungry, angry, neglected, and now armed scum to reinforce their already numerous boarding forces…

She made sure that the groxhide strapping around her wrist was secure, and bent her hand at an angle – the heavy-boar hand cannon roared as it discharged shot into the space beyond her cover, the thick strapping containing the force of the shot, preventing it from snapping her wrist.

She was rewarded with a couple of cries of pain.

With a glance upwards, she made vox-contact with the kill-team of Tempestus Scions crawling along the upper decking of the promenade, and, after getting the confirm back from them, nodded to her security team. With the metallic clatter of grenades hitting the decking from above, and the hell-hound scream of the Scions Hellguns, she rose from cover with another roar of her hand-canon, swiftly joined by the bark of her team’s shotguns as they hit the scum like an armoured wave.

Yfirmadur Galdur tugged his blade free from the abhumans skull, the beastmans still-cooling body pressed firmly into the deck beneath his armoured foot. Dýrunn glanced about the bodies with a look of disgust on her features, as she checked their ammunition, glancing up to him with an annoyed expression:

“<Why, Yfirmadur, why do they fight for the Corpse-God, when its worshippers treat them as nothing but chattle?>”

With a shrug, Galdur wiped his blade clean, and reached down to close the fallen but no less worthy opponent’s eyes, “<Perhaps, when one trusts their Gods completely, one becomes easier to dupe into dying in the belief that it will achieve the advancement of their brethren in exchange for their sacrifice.>”

It was Dýrunn’s turn to shrug, repeating the ancient saying of their people, “<Better knowing that your Gods are fickle and treacherous, then hope for deliverance by a Silent One.>”

Galdur shot her a glance, “<Best not to repeat that around the Herforingi; she would not like you to speak of the Carrion-God so… We are Grátur Auga…Weeping Eye>”  He dropped to the Low Gothic tongue: “Now, best we keep the ancient cynicism of our people silent, yes? The Ennþá are not so in their belief of the cruelty of our shared Gods.”

He glanced around the tattooed warriors of his Hópur, all of them Scylvendi. He tried to remember them before the coming of the Herforingi and her twin, before they had become Stjarnainnrásarher, raiders of the Stars – but found he could not, despite the faded and worn pelts they still wore beneath the forge-plate the Herforingi had granted them from her Voidship’s furnace.

He spun as he heard the roar of a shotgun, and Esja was kicked off her feet – bedecked in the absurd bright blue uniforms, came the void sailors of the Corpse-Emperor’s Fleet into the midst of his Hópur – and he grinned, in sincere joy. Gripping his cutting blade tight in his mailed fist, he growled low in his throat, roaring his own name as he threw himself at the sailors.

High above the violence, Vice-Admiral Chandier gripped the polished brass rail of her station’s bridge deck, monitoring both the evacuation of Crusade High Command onto the Saint Dorne’s Aegis, and the void war around the station. The Iron Lady had been turned around at the cost of sixteen tugcrafts, and the ancient Gloriana-class hulls engines were propelling her on an inexorable path through the attempted encirclement of the station. Even as zone mortalis boarding combat erupted in her lower decks, the Flagship was punching her way through the Archenemy voidships, clearing a path for the Aegis and the other surviving vessels.

Running her fingers back through her hair, she looked to her bodyguard detail in their untarnished armour, and severely wished she could have a gang of rougher-looking armspersons rather than a ceremonial detail, void nobility-blooded or otherwise. There was no way she could traverse the station in time to reach the Aegis before it retreated – and, as much as she hated this damned station, she wasn’t about to surrender her command centre to the Archenemy.

With a snarl of annoyance, she waved her staff back their posts, letting the familiar, if a little more frantic, chatter of relayed vox comms surround her, as they began the desperate attempt to weave some kind of coordinated defence of the station together.

She glanced towards Fleet- Commissar Merrick as they returned, her eyes flicking up and down their battered and bloodied form: “The Choir?”

They looked at her, and brushed their fingers through their hair, shaking their head, “It sung well, and it sung hard, but… something got into the Chamber with them… Nothing we could do, couldn’t salvage a single Astropath, so we dumped the chamber into the void, Ma’am.”

She sighed, and nodded. Inside her head, she was alone now, no voices screaming into the void to be heard. As the confirmation calls that the Aegis was underway came through, she gripped the rail, white-knuckled, and lifted her head with an exhalation of breath.

In the viewscreen, she could see two the burning victims of her stations treacherous auto defences – the Pegasus and the Bellerophon. She’d known both their Captains, and the pain of their sudden deaths by treachery still stung. Her eye narrowed, as she realized Magos-Artisan Honorius hadn’t responded to comms for over two hours; neither had ‘Governor’ Kwarteng, but she was less of a concern – she knew -exactly- where she’d find the ‘Governor’ – but the Mechanicus’ silence was worrying her.

As the Archenemies troops advanced down the Primary Spinal Corridor, the main cannon of the baneblade Sejanus’ Wrath opened fire with a loud roar. In the shadow of the super-heavy, a huddle of blue uniformed Armspersons and a vibrant swathe of Guard in various states of uniform waited. Commissar Hej glowered at the third component of his… ’command’. Armed with an array of exotic weaponry, the Blue Fin Cartel security had locked ranks around Governor Kwarteng until Knight-Captain Torei had agreed to allow her into the safety of his Superheavy.

Now, the Commissar was lumbered with the mercenaries, who, for all their better equipment – were less useful to him than a bunch of first year Schola-brats – they were reticent to follow orders, and about as interested in being heroic as the Archenemy, now hunkering down further down the Spinal Corridor.

As it turned out, it was the Archenemy who decided they were brave enough first: despite the deadly firepower of the Baneblade, they drove hulking mutants before them, and into the rough Imperial lines.

Soon, the Commissar found himself hunkered down with one of the mercenaries, the bulking one called Bran – some kind of ‘Captain’ of the Governor’s Guard.

Commissar…” the gruff woman nodded, and he returned the nod as best he could. Somewhere along the way he’d lost his hat, and, oddly enough, it made him feel vulnerable. He watched her reload what he was -fairly- sure was an unlicensed xenotech gun – but he didn’t have the time to give a frak about right now – as she muttering to herself, “take a cushy bodyguard job, she said… pays well… less danger, she said… if I live through this, my love, we’re going to have words…

As the Archenemy advanced on their cover, he gripped his chainsword tight, and glanced at her, “For the Emperor.” He nodded to her, convinced in his own faith,

“And Her too,” was the muttered answer.

And, together, they charged…

As the Navy retreats from Polarnus Station, the fight continues within this rock. Tell them to come back for us… tell them Polarnus Endures!

– Vice-Admiral Denita Chandier [in the last message broadcast by the Astropathic Choir of Polarnus Station] 4-936.592.M41