Final Decisions "Then this is settled. We will go and help the Scars," Sidon proclaimed and gave the word to Admiral de Beaumont to prepare the ship, "To see where the loyalty of these wild sons lie, once and for all." "I shall take my men and go to Jana Prime, try to help the Seventh deal with our misguided brothers," Minteril spoke, his form shifting as the engines of "Battleborn" activated and the distance between them spread. "Brothers of the Third. Death to His Foes," he uttered and shut the link. "Captain Extrovious," Sidon turned his head around, giving only a slight nod to the disappearing echo of their Lord Commander, now facing his former squad legionary. "We will move in quickly, deploy the troops just like we always did right on top of them and catch them by surprise. You will be the one who will lead the charge. Make me proud, Brother." And as quick as that, the meeting was over and the designated leaders went to prepare their troops but the ultimate force composition fell into Extro's hands as he rose through the ranks into one of the Millennial's leaders. Soon, the real test was about to begin. Like the wind - Planet Ios @Jorimel @DeranVendar @Draconion @matt23 @dx144 @Vulpas @Uriel1339 @Grall_Stonefist They arrived in the system within the next hour, "Sovereign's" decks on full alert. Battle found them right at the start as trio of escorts tried to bar their way. Suffice to say, venerated Battle Barge and her mighty macro guns saw the smaller traitor vessels obliterated even before they had a chance to open a single shot. Connection with the single White Scars ship was made immediately. It was a rather new Strike Cruiser dubbed "Thunderbolt", made in Saturn's orbital docks in the wake of Ullanor Crusade and pushed in use to replenish Fifth Legion's losses suffered at the hands of Ork armada. Her captain, a burly mortal with obvious Chogorian heritage simply uploaded their own scanner readings, both in the orbit and on the planet below. Situation looked grim to say the least. Two dozen Death Guard vessels were closing in from the opposite edge of the system while a number of them were already present, two were exchanging fire with the White Scars ship while another four were positioning themselves so that the troop transports could reach the planet undisturbed. Under de Beaumont's command, "Sovereign's" long range lances found the mark and one of the haulers was cut in half as its shields were unable to prevent the damage, but more were coming and fast. Even as the number of Stormbirds and Thunderhawks sped from the "Sovereign's" hangars, it was clear that the full Millennial's deployment would be impossible. But thanks to the new coordinates, those Emperor's Children that land on Ios would find themselves right atop their target. Supported by a squadron of Storm Eagles, the trip to the surface was uneventful. Inhospitable tundra spread across the entire continent below them, here and there crossed by large lakes and low mountains. It was a world untouched by the Imperium's hands, perhaps deemed unworthy of its attention and thus, saved from its monstrous appetite. Things quickly changed as they approached their destination. A structure rose as if out of nowhere, built on the side of a small hill, its surface black and smooth, even from the distance. It was of oval shape standing on a wide pedestal, its line almost perfect. Around it the Emperor's Children could see smaller block-objects, the classic Imperial infrastructure built around something that definitely wasn't created in the Forges on Mars. But as they came closer and started the combat deployment, alarms blared as the scanners picked up multiple bogies in the air, all bearing signs of the Death Guard. Storm Eagles broke off in defensive pattern while the transport ships unloaded troops and flew off, holding in the reserve and waiting for the moment to strike. Rain began to fall in its earnest accompanied by fog, the world apparently not welcoming of the new intruders. On the ground however, the situation was slightly different. "Hail, sons of the Phoenix," a tall Astartes rose his hand in greetings as the first Emperor's Children touched the ground. He looked every bit White Scar - leather-like skin, long topknot and a short goatee, his armor cluttered with various tribal tokens while one of his shoulder pads was covered with a grey skin of some large lupine animal. Savage and primal, yet his eyes betrayed a genuine fondness, especially as he obviously fought to find proper words in Low Gothic. "Welcome to Ios. We have been expecting you," White Scar pointed at the sky above them and then at the alien structure behind. "I'm Yabuqa and I was told to take you," he nodded towards Elymas, " - and you," then to Jendon, "To him over there. The rest, find yourself at home. We won't wait for long, especially as he riled them up." As the Emperor's Children force spread out, they would find more White Scars around the camp, although their numbers were low and they looked like they went through a real hell and came back. Armor was damaged, chainswords broken, couple of jetbikes they had were parked in the back but not a single one looked operational. However in spite of it, not a single one of them seemed to be in a bad mood, quite the contrary. They sang as they dug low trenches and set up mines and other traps in a circular area around the camp, greeting the newcomers like long lost brothers they were. There were no static defensive objects however, couple of houses that they found on the ground were nothing more than single-floor habitats, customary to expedition fleets and lacking any serious protection. What defensive structures they found were turned into scrap, couple of automated turrets and a number of servitors reduced to their basic components, courtesy of White Scars themselves. Whoever came on this world first was long gone and whatever remained of their forces had been dealt with in swift fashion, however this fact left much to long for as scanners soon began bleeping again, informing everyone that the enemy was closing in from all sides - but was yet out of the reach of their visuals, given the worsening weather conditions. "I would say attack then retreat, but it would only hasten our demise," Yabuqa returned after escorting Elymas and Jendon to the entrance of the strange structure in the middle of the compound, the White Scar approaching Extrovious and Vitaly, "And nobody would like that. But since our cousins are bringing heavy guns, I say we intercept them even before they reach the first line - you are swift, or so the stories tell. It could be done. Or we could just die faster," he shrugged levelly, "It makes little difference, as long as zadyin arga is successful." OOC The base is located on slightly elevated ground with couple of small buildings surrounding the hill and circular foreign structure in the center. White Scars have dig trenches around the base and placed a number of vehicle ("tank") traps around the perimeter. For the sake of doing this easier, the enemies will be attacking you from two sides (left and right). There's also a number of broken equipment lying around and I'm leaving this up to you for use\figuring out the details, but it's mostly Mechanicum stuff. I'll write the friendly troop counter elsewhere but in terms of support, you will have 2 Aerial actions: Storm Eagle strafing run and Stormbird bombing run, which you can use during any turn you wish - first one will be better against light targets, other one will be better against heavier. Battle itself will last 4 or 5 rounds, depending on the rolls. <Beneath the ground> @Uriel1339 @Vulpas The entrance into the strange building was easy to find, once they got near it. Just like the structure itself, it was of oval shape and passing through it left Elymas with a strange feeling of displacement. The black stone around him seemed to affect him differently, the contact he had with the powers at his disposal was loosening with each step he took downward. Jendon on the other hand, felt no such thing. The polished surface and the complete lack of any damage or wear and tear, be it from firefight or age, was astounding. It changed slightly as they went on and passed couple of remains. Defenders of the place were of Mechanicum origin but it was hard to distinguish their type as in most cases, they were reduced to ash or small dark smears on the floor. They walked down the staircase for good ten minutes before they finally reached the end of the road and the chamber spread around them in all directions. Imperial equipment and various machines were placed on left and right, though their origin was obvious their use was not as the two legionaries looked at some technology offshoot they've never seen before, not even in Vitaly's work. What was worse, straight in front of them and going for good two hundred yards was an entire field of capsules, each connected with another one via a thick net of cables that spread through the entire room. Even from the distance, Jendon could see movement within couple of the capsules and what was undoubtedly human body placed in each one. At that moment they felt the foreign touch brushing against their minds, Elymas knowing the psychic probe for what it was while Jendon, among other things being a trained Alpha Legion operative, knew how to steel himself from such interference. "Well met, brothers of the Third," voice spoke both within their minds and out in the darkness of the chamber, while rattling of bones brought attention to the speaker on their right. He looked old, much older than Yabuqa or any other White Scar they saw back on the surface, the face of an ancient warrior surpassing even Sidon and Nykar Kul. Long white khaitan spread beneath his waist as he slowly turned towards them, using a dark wooden staff topped with an avian skull to support his weight, although both of the Emperor's Children knew with certainty that his weakness was but a charade. There was hidden power behind his storm-blue eyes, the likes of which Elymas never saw before, even when standing in a place that had such effects on his own gift. "I've called but was unsure if you would make it. It seems I too need to have a little bit more faith," the White Scar smiled kindly, "Trying times are these, indeed." "I am named Targutai Yesugei, zadyin arga of the White Scars. Weather-maker, if you so prefer," he said with a good-natured tone, although he too spoke with thick Chogorian accent. "We are here on Khagan's behest, to uncover one of his father's many secrets," Yesugei nodded towards the many capsules in front of him, "But I fear he won't like what we found." "It is a...switch, of that I am sure," he tried to explain further, pointing at the console in the center of the room where the dark material that the entire structure was made of rose from the ground to form a circle within a circle. "To activate it, a maelstorm will be unleashed as the minds awaken. For this, I need your help," Yesugei told Elymas, "And to make sure these people survive, I need yours," he turned to Jendon and his Apothecary's badge. "Regrettably, I hoped my vision would lead me to a resolution but I only found more suffering," White Scar sighed and his stance shifted slightly. "This must be stopped. I have put my mind on saving these people and shattering the chains with which they are tied to the purpose that placed them here, for whatever reason. Will you help me?"