The Dark Fortress

Sector H24 defile

Astartes Record: /// 4th Co arch /// Dark Angels
Crossfile to: /// ref: 0028042011
Author: /// Chronicler Isiah

AFTER A dark period of no reports — thanks to the presence of Inquisitor Rodemstev — and in response to your most urgent messages conveyed upon the Angel of Vengeance frigate Balthazaar, this report is being transmitted via [xxxxxx].

I should like to bring your attention to an incident of 2 weeks inst.: the interception of skirmishing Ash Legion renegades by a Ravenwing Attack Squadron.

The particulars are thus. Approximately 110 leagues south of our garrison position on the arid Pitalco Plain, a routine patrol of three bikes accompanied by an attack bike were en route to enter a sheltered defile to replenish and rest during the hottest period of the day. The action unfolds as recorded by Sgt Halliza.

:: Report begins ::

I directed Lucius to recce forwards to check that the defile and its well were unoccupied. But within las range several ill-aimed shots came his way. Jinking to avoid them, he scouted closer at full speed and unholstered his bolt pistol. On reaching a slight lip covering the northwestern section of the defile, Lucius fired into the shadows beyond — the triangulated source of the las fire. Over the comm-link he informed me of the number he thought might be involved, at that point a small squad of approx 10-15 troops, probably without heavy weapons. He also informed me of a partly camouflaged 8-wheel troop carrier of the type commonly used by the Ash Legion. It has been known for a power armoured warrior of unknown chapter to be accompanying a renegade squad such as this, but in this instance there was as yet no evidence as such a presence.

With this information I decided upon a course of action. The attack bike (armed with a heavy bolter, would attempt to outflank the position and round the defile by a circuitous route. The remainder of the unit (myself and Ochus) would immediately sweep forwards using our bike-mounted bolters in order to cover the lone Lucius whilst returning to our position. My aim was to capture one or maybe two of the renegades and dispose of the rest. Should a renegade Astartes or Chaos warrior be present, his capture would become the prime directive. In my experience these fast attacks are usually enough to disorientate troops that are not particularly battle-hardened — as I supposed these to be.

Communicating to headquarters (under coded cypher) of our situation, the plan was put into execution.

We moved forwards over the dusty plain, the dust thrown up by our movement served to give us a modicum of cover on our approach run. Incoming fire was strong but aimed too high — a common fault of inexperienced troops firing at fast moving advancing targets. Our own fire meanwhile was putting out a high rate of fire, causing the covering lip to erupt into fountains of sand, small stones and shattered rock in a most impressive display but I doubt anyone was hit. Lucius had now rejoined us, and after clearing a jammed bolter, added to our weight of fire. Short bursts of three or four rounds give the impression of heavy fire whilst conserving precious ammunition (as we were in no position to reload and we didn't yet know the true extent of our enemies) for possible later use.

Our bikes broached the lip and we flew over, off the ground for several feet. Landing heavily in a restricted area is not an easy task at full speed and under defensive fire.

Drawing my power weapon, my troopers drawing their chainswords, we set about those closest to us. Using practised strikes we cut off arms, split skulls down to the breastbone, or cross cut into torsos. We did this on the move and without looking at the results of our charge. We simply swept through the first group then onto the next. In that next group several dusty Ash Legion renegades were already turning tail and heading for the armoured transport. But they were not fast enough to outrun us and the distance they needed to cover was too great. We cut them about severely until they were all on the ground.

In the midst of this action, the attack bike entered the defile from a south westerly direction. Its heavy weapon barking distinctively, its rounds tearing explosive chunks out of both terrain and enemy troops alike.

I ordered a couple of enemy troops spared the slaughter and we herded them towards their own transport. It was then I noticed its turret swinging in our direction — carrying a mid-bore ballistic weapon of a type similar to an autocannon. I didn't want to suffer the fire of that weapon so ordered Ochus to dismount and enter the opened rear hatch of the transport with frag grenades. Three detonations later smoke emerged from the transport's vision and firing slits, accompanied by a badly scorched figure in smouldering fatigues. He was shot dead at close range by Ochus using his bolt pistol.

We pulled our bikes up and came to rest at last. The sector of the defile we were in was covered in bodies and body parts, and knee deep in swirling acrid bolter propellant smoke. Apart from us and the two spared enemies, there was no other movement.

The whole action had lasted no more than 45-60 seconds — it has taken longer to report this action that it did to undertake it.

We took our time at this point to dismount and search the bodies of the fallen, collecting any orders and identifying personal documentation we could find — which as is happened amounted to nothing significant.

We did manage to recover several well used maps from the transport, and took care to remove the radio to return for analysis by Techmarine Kaelen. We punctured the vehicle's tyres to render them unrecoverable and laid a small explosive charge in the form of a meltabomb to destroy the hull.

While we waited for the transport flyer to arrive to convey the prisoners away, usual duties were performed post-action. Ammunition was replenished and bikes checked for damage. Luckily, the only damage sustained was a bent exhaust cowling and a slightly bent floorpan leading edge on the attack bike — caused by its collision with a large boulder on first entering the defile. The brothers were in very good spirits.

:: Report Ends ::

As Sgt Halliza's extract states, prisoners were taken and they are now being interrogated and mind-probed by Librarian Mehabiah. We need to find out the strength of this renegade force — whether they operate as small units or indent to strike as a whole — where their headquarters is — who gives them their orders etc etc.

I don't expect them to survive the interrogation.

Sgt Halliza and his squadron have been commended for this sharp action. The others of his squadron not at the time with them are suffering the teasing jibes reserved for those who have missed out on recent enemy contact.

Ravenwing patrols have been stepped up. They are covering a wider area and often accompanied by Speeders over the rugged terrain. This has placed a heavy workload on the (few) 2nd Company warriors we have, but one they are relishing.

This concludes this report. Any subsequent matters arising will follow.

Until the Sword is reforged.

Imperium Approved: Honoro Legio Dark Angels.

Isiah signature

Chronicler Isiah, the 4th Battle Company, Dark Angels.