The Year of Our Blessed Emperor's Record 847.M41
Subject: Summary-To-Date of "Brass Chronicle" Mission, Section I
Thought For The Day: A mantle of absolute surety is proof against the razor of doubt.
Pursuant to your request, I have compiled a summary-to-date of the Mission, "Brass Chronicle", and extraneous data relating to its progress.
The Brace of Daggers deployed its remaining Thunderhawk to Castobel's surface without incident. Kill-Team "Opal" unshipped their Storm-variant Speeder and made good time into the Orolan Hive boundaries within an hour. Tech-Marine Zahariel reports that anomalous interaction of gravitic repulsors caused by the proximity of expansive bodies of water continues, but postulates the fresh-water marshes and river deltas of the surrounding region are consistently shallow and has had little difficulty maintaining safe operation of the vehicle (see Extant 1). The Team has also relayed coordinates relating to the location and direction of some two hundred thousand refugees. This exodus is indicated as using wide, flat-bottomed skiffs and other makeshift flotation structures to navigate the marshlands.
Extant 1: As I am sure you are well aware, a compilation of reports from across the Blessed Emperor's realms has confirmed this anomalous behavior as being universally consistent, regardless of the technological variance and/or local fluid compositions. Reports from as far back as 817.M41 indicate complete gravitic failure over vast and deep expanses of water, such as oceans, seas, and fast-flowing rivers, and include an inventory of vehicles lost to this anomaly. To date, the AdMech are at a loss as to the cause(s) of this relatively new development.
Extant 2: Based upon unofficial "chatter" across the Kill-Team voxnet, there is reason to be suspicious of the refugee population, particularly with regards to Tyranid implant-sickness. An alert has been directed to Navy bomber assets, with a recommendation for the use of expanding incendiaries.
Visual observations reported by the Kill-Team regarding regional storm cells indicate an increase in inclement localized weather patterns, and are inconsistent with Naval imaging augers, the atmospheric displacement suggesting the density of Tyranid Harridan assets has increased since the last imaging sweeps.
Continuing onward to Planetary Positioning Coordinates (PPC) for the Primary LZ, Kill-Team "Opal" followed a strict policy of aerial reconnaissance prior to choosing a suitable structure on which to land and disguise the Storm. Brother Navarre deployed via Jump Pack to the surface streets, while the Team proper secured the Storm and deployed in a limited-spread formation for descent through the structure. Per Mission briefing, the sprawls of Orolan Hive's outer regions have long been assumed to be abandoned by the local population and given over to roving broods of lesser 'Gaunt bio-forms; primary contact information suggests these broods are more widely scattered than intelligence data initially indicated (the transcript from Brother Navarre's vox-link reads as follows: -bolt pistol discharge, single round- "Do not be concerned, Brothers. A single 'Gaunt, its behavior consistent with uncontrolled instinct, but it is no more.")
Initial visuals of the LZ indicated a partial collapse of the fountain plaza, but the Kill-Team moved to confirm or deny its viability as per Mission instruction. Pumped-water conduits and sewage sluices showed that failed structural integrity of the plaza was due to excessive weight rather than from the activity of subterranean burrower-forms. In any case, Brother Zahariel confirmed the Primary LZ could be reinforced to support the P-238 ("Pelican" Troop Transport), but the structural resources required would need to be gathered from the surrounding structures and would of necessity take far longer than prudent with regards to the Mission timetable. The Primary LZ was abandoned in favour of recommended Secondary.
Extant 1: Kill-Team voxnet "chatter" indicates a controlled deployment into the Primary LZ. Brother Scipio maintained an Overwatch position at the edge of the fountain plaza, utilizing a decorative retaining wall as cover and a brace for his heavy bolter. This Overwatch position was further supported by the Kill-Team's recent addition and current Mission Team Leader (begging many pardons, Lord Kynar, but the name of the Blood Angel has escaped me at this moment). Brother Zahariel moved to inspect the plaza collapse, supported directly by the presence of the Apothecary, Brother Aengus, ensuring a continence of command range. Brother Navarre continued to observe the surrounding area for encroachment (see Extant 1a), but the use of his Jump Pack was kept to a bare minimum (Brother Navarre has proven over the course of several recent Missions to be far more level-headed and less inclined to impulsive reaction. Recommend Distinction.
Extant 1a: Upon inspection of the plaza collapse, Zahariel and Aengus witnessed the appearance of several 'Gaunt bio-forms within the sewer sluices that had become smashed open during the collapse. Voxnet "chatter" amongst the two reveal a curious behavior exhibited by the 'Gaunts: they appeared to be observing, non-aggressive, their instinctive behaviors seemed impeded, their predilection for explosive speed and violence subdued. Brother Navarre's voxlink "chatter" reveals additional curious behavior: a lone 'Gaunt revealed itself to Navarre from behind an alley corner located at the far end of the open fountain plaza maintaining a crouched position of cover, apparently observing the Kill-Team. The Kill-Team Mission Leader (again, my apologies) surmised the curious behaviors being displayed by the 'Gaunts was an indication of the presence of a nearby Synapse-node, and ordered all visible 'Gaunts destroyed to limit intelligence gathering behaviors. Those within the sewer sluices withdrew from fire, while Brother Navarre engaged his Jump Pack to cross the plaza. Navarre quickly caught up to his target, which appeared to be withdrawing further into the alleyway, and killed the creature with skilled precision. It is at this point that matters become yet more curious: another lone 'Gaunt appeared from an attached breezeway, first jumping out and then back and then out again. Based upon voxnet "chatter", the Kill-Team surmised the Synapse-node was attempting to lure individual Kill-Team members away from their mutual support, and the command to terminate localized Tyranid bio-forms was rescinded.
Extant 2: Intelligence gathered from imaging augers reveal very few Tyranid "behemoth" organisms, such as those represented by the Carnifex genus, but there was no collateral obstruction of the plaza collapse (such as a hauler transport or tank), and the Kill-Team wisely maintained operational preparedness for the possibility of a "behemoth" engagement.
The Kill-Team withdrew from the open fountain plaza to their Storm in a standard covering formation and moved to the Secondary LZ coordinates. The gates of Barbican 7 were visually verified as being intact, showing signs of aging and neglect but none of having been battered or otherwise assaulted, the open concourse and plaza surrounding it clear of collateral obstruction, and there was no indication of Tyranid presence. Still operating with caution, the Kill-Team landed their Storm along the wall next to the barbican and deployed. Brother Scipio again set up an Overwatch position, utilizing the wall strucutre's crenelations as cover and brace, this time covering the open concourse directly outside of the barbican gates with a view to the inner ring, while Mission Kill-Team Leader (…) took the opposite view, covering the outer ring. Access hatches leading into the barbican proper were already open, and Bother Navarre entered on point as the remainder of the Team began a standard sweep-and-clear of the barbican tower structure. Aside from a few long-dead militia, the structure was clear to its foundation level, and Brother Zahariel began repairs to the gate's locking panel (see Extant 1). Once the gates were opened, Kill-Team Command (again, my most profuse apologies) ordered an inspection of the concourse to verify its structural stability, wary of another collapse being caused by the weight of the Pelican. The concourse was determined fit for use as a Secondary LZ. There are several subterranean accesses to the flood tunnels beneath the concourse (colloquially known as "manhole covers"), and the Kill-Team inspected their immediate openings, rigged them with cluster mines, and sealed them with a las-welder as additional proof against encroachment.
Extant 1: Voxnet "chatter" reveals that hooded light fixtures within the structure were devoid of incandescants, the crystal remains of such littering the floor beneath each hood, and there were scorch trails surrounding the gate's lock panel, all indicating an electric overload of unknown cause or origin. During Brother Zahariel's affectation of repairs, the Kill-Team experienced a second or two of operation-wide tech failures: the gate lock panel shorted again and required a second repair, this time with a fusible link and a redundant power source to prevent further failure (it should be noted that while Brother Zahariel's use of a Screamer's power rod in this manner displays an ability to work within the constraints of available resources, it is far outside the AdMech's acceptable boundaries of technological re-purposing and should be omitted from Mission Reports forwarded to that institution's representatives); the Kill-Team voxnet signals, auto-sense and suit bio-monitor retrieval systems temporarily drop "dead" and, in the moments of signal
re-acquisition, the Kill-Team indicates a brief (3-4 second) stuttering power current from their suits' fusion reactors. Naval assets have been monitoring the meteorological conditions surrounding Orolan Hive and its environs since the visual observations of the Kill-Team were disseminated amongst Mission Watch elements, and have noted an increase in discharge activity from lingering storm cells; a notice has been forwarded to the pilots of Section II of "Brass Chronicle", and if the cells open within the LZ region their insertion may need to be scrubbed.
Once the barbican gates were confirmed as operational, the Kill-Team advanced northward through the garrison tunnel in the formation they have adopted as most efficiently benefiting their Team composition. Several hundred meters along the garrison tunnel interior the Kill-Team discovered the reason behind the lack of gate assault evidence: burrow tunnels beneath the rockrete floors open into the garrison tunnel, within the boundaries of it's enclosure walls. The burrow openings themselves are of sufficient size to comfortably allow entrance of a fully-armoured Astartes, but auspex readings indicated a twisting and convoluted warren beneath the surface. Voxnet "chatter" retrieved from the Kill-Team becomes temporarily clogged with overlapping bursts, indicating a brief Q&A session regarding the consequences of leaving open burrow breaches in their wake. At this and other burrow openings further along the garrison tunnel interior the Kill-Team settles on lacing the breaches with cluster mines and Screamers.
The Kill-Team search and declare clear the entirety of the garrison tunnel through to Postern Gate 7 (a distance of approx. 9 kilometers). As with the barbican PoE, the Kill-Team Tech-Marine is required to affect a repair on the gate's locking panel, though this time there are no anomalous surges, and Brother Zahariel's voxnet "chatter" takes on a tone of concern: he suggests that long-overdue maintenance of the hive's reactors may have resulted in power fluctuations and overbleeds, stuttering idles, or possible overload levels, culminating in the observation that the Mission may have run into a limited timetable.
Exiting through Postern Gate 7, the Kill-Team advance into the causeway bordering the Mechanicus Shrine-entrance and visually verify the following: automated gun emplacements engaged a sizable formation of lesser 'Gaunt bio-forms (Magnitude Classification 80-100) that were supported by a "behemoth" (Brother Aengus confirms through first-hand experience [no pun intended] the beast as a Carnifex). All Tyranid bio-forms within the causeway are reported as having been killed by the gun emplacements, but not before the massive crab-like claws of the Carnifex had battered an opening in the Shrine-entrance.
Voxnet "chatter" retrieval is recorded, with Zahariel putting forth the following: "Something commanded these beasts to behave in this manner. The lesser 'Gaunts were used as a living shield against the punishing gun emplacements' fire, and even after their deaths the behemoth continued its assault in the face of horrific wounds. Whatever Synapse-node issued these commands, I suspect it is still somewhere nearby, either within the 'shrine…or out here, somewhere."
As Mission Objectives require the Kill-Team to ensure a safe PoE for Section II, they advance to the breach and prepare for a sweep-and-clear of the interior. Brother Zahariel confirms the gun emplacements are unpowered, inoperable, but is unable to determine any further details regarding the stability of the hive's reactors.
Within the breach, there is a scattering of lesser 'Gaunt creatures that have apparently succumbed to wounds suffered from the guns warding the Shrine-entrance's gate. 200 meters past the threshold, Kill-Team voxnet "chatter" reveals a sizable formation of lesser 'Gaunt creatures (Magnitude Classification 40-50) that have been killed with"excessive" gunfire. Brother Zahariel notes the absence of automated defense systems in close proximity. Brother Aengus makes note of thousands upon thousands of tiny metallic spheres, each of them little more than 3cm in diameter; they litter the area, creating a hazardous surface, have evidently abraded the surrounding walls of the corridor (as indicated by a scouring that has left a bright, mirror-like surface), and trace levels of an unidentified radiation are detected from the spheres. Voxnet "chatter" fills with speculation of the possible intercedence of AdMech assets still operating within the hive's infrastructure.
It is at this point, as the Kill-Team moves further into the hive's foundations, that their voxnet becomes garbled and confused with static and squeals, an effect caused by intervening structures of significant proportions. The last "chatter" retrieval indicates the Kill-Team have encountered some form of trap or alarm. Until their voxnet is reacquired, Section II remains on hold for go signal "Orichalcum" (see Extant 1).
Extant 1: Meteorological assessments from the Navy continue to indicate unobtrusive weather patterns within the vicinity of the Secondary LZ.
By My Own Hand,
Attache' to Deathwatch assets, Castoble, from Hieronymus Baf