The Planetary Empires crusade continues, here’s the current map of the system with my force’s holdings. I grabbed a home base as a Star Port, and expanded to another Star Port on the ice planet. The advantage of those structures is that I count as adjacent to all tiles on all planets, which makes sense given that my Crusade represents an Acquisition Phalanx deploying from an orbital tomb ship.
Game Three: A Scythe in the Fields
“So many… unclean… biologicals…” said Nemesor Sebekh out loud, choosing to emphasize his ire by deploying his vocalizers. The group of Warriors next to him stood at attention, barely understanding the words he said. They were not part of their war-programming, so just washed over the near-mindless rank and file. Across the battlefield was a massing swarm of strange bug-creatures.
He let his distance oculars zoom in on one side of the swarm. Sebekh had to marvel just a bit: the sheer capability of these beasts to manifest the weapons they needed for a fight. From sword-like extensions on their limbs to massive bio-cannons, they were a strangely engineered race. In a way they reminded him of the destroyer cults amongst the Necrontyr: constantly refining their bodies to destroy all biomass. Sebekh shook his head: no, these creatures didn’t want to destroy all biomass. They wanted to consume it all, and turn it into more of themselves. They were unclean biology and needed destroyed, as fast as possible as far as he was concerned.
Sebekh sent a command to the Doom Scythe, to target the creatures that would be able to target it back. The crescent-shaped flyer dove across the enemy lines, scouring them with its flensing death ray and killing one of the massive gun beasts. A mighty winged leader-beast tried to reach it with flight, no doubt hoping its razor-sharp sword of bone could slice the flyer to pieces. But the pilot–some minor noble from his dynasty–jinked at the last moment and the beast’s flying charge fell short. The Doom Scythe turned down the lines and obliterated the other larger gun beast. With both of the gun beasts downed, the flyer moved to further distance to begin damaging the forces at more range.
Sebekh ordered his ground forces to close on the hordes, their burning gauss and tesla shots cutting swathes thru the foe. A few of the clawed beasts managed to reach the Ghost Ark and damage its integrity enough to deploy the warriors it carried, but other than that the biologicals were all stopped before they reached his lines proper. The last few beasts streamed away when their leadership fell, and the biologicals fled before him. Nemesor Sebekh felt that odd pulse down inside him that had reflected on the destroyers’ notions surge a bit. “Scour all life,” he whispered to himself, and began super-heating his body to burn even the grass he stood on.
Game Four: Night of the Wolves
With the Tyranids fled, Nemesor Sebekh set about ordering his units to conduct scans of the area. He would have preferred his Cryptek advisors be supporting the forces, but he needed their technical knowledge to find Trazyn’s prize for him. Soon enough, he got an interstitial alert from one of them. The Cryptek’s voice had a certain wheezing quality, perhaps an affectation from the time when she had flesh. Sebekh had hoped for news of the beacon, but instead she warned that a human ship was moving into high orbit at rapid speed, and that a land-based force was marching fast to match it’s approach. The human ship started dropping cargo containers which floated down on gravitic parachutes. A resupply mission, and by the looks of the approaching force it was another group of the augmented humans racing to get their hands on the supplies: no doubt ammunitions and fuel to power their fighting. “Now, that cannot do…” said Sebekh. He motioned to Warden Nesos, and issued a command to attack with all forces.
This breed of mutant warriors wore different, more utilitarian armor than the prior ones his forces had clashed with. They operated in much more tactical fashion as well, standing off and firing at times rather than simply rushing into melee with despite lacking numbers. A cluster of them guarded a spot where a supply pod was drifting toward, and unleashed their chemical propellant weapons at the Ghost Ark.
Sebekh’s Flayed Ones took a different track, and came up against one of the mutant biologicals’ transports. He hated unleashing them, as he had to watch for any signs of degeneration and curse amidst the others in his command. But they were effective at times. Setting them to tear apart the vehicle best they could, Sebekh readied another weapon he had brought for these battles. Too many of these mutant humans in their armor had refractive shield generators borne amidst their armor–and that was blunting too many of his attacks. So he had gone to the reliquary on the Tomb Ship and removed a potent surprise.
Sebekh’s dynasty, the Szerakhan, had captured a number of the fragments of the Nightbringer during their war of vengeance upon the C’tan. A row of them were stored in stasis units on the ship, and he had brought one along. Setting down the unit, he released the swirling entity inside out onto the battlefield, directing it with the enslavement protocols of its capture system toward the lines of the mutant warriors. A roaring metal suit–which scans said contained a corpse of a fallen mutant–rushed forward from the lines to face the swirling mass of C’tan energy, but it was quickly sliced down by the massive scythe of the thing. With the Nightbringer shard controlling the middle of the field, Sebekh’s forces were expanding on all fronts but one.
The leader of the mutants emerged from the transport, a frozen sawblade of a sword in his hands, and laid waste to the Flayed Ones. While they managed to drag down the squad that emerged with him, they were no match for his destructive might. Sebekh watched the carnage at a distance, and recorded the battle patterns of the great warrior. He would be a worthy match in the future. With the supply drops entirely disrupted, Sebekh ordered his forces to withdraw with their victory–to not damage more of their forces unduly. The sky-blue armored warriors would have to scrounge for ammo and fuel, and that would slow their advances on the spaces that Sebekh needed to search. “Good enough for now,” he mused.
Game Five: Mindshackle Interrogation
“Honored Nemesor, we have word of a human scout,” messaged Warden Nesos after a period of further searching–this time amidst the dusty ruins of a city. “Some manner of surveyor team for the humans has been creeping through the ruins. Should we intercept them and see if they’ve seen our objective?”
Sebekh sent glyphs of acceptance and satisfaction in response. His forces moved quickly into the city, and started searching the various spots where the surveyors may have hidden. Unfortunately, they must have issued a distress call, as with flashes of translation black-armored warriors from that same group of over-adorned mutant monkey-forms started appearing and massing for an assault.
His initial forces sallied forth to delay their attacks, including even his Canoptek Reanimator sacrificing itself to slow down the vanguard of the approaching force. The armored warriors fought well and with what he presumed they would describe as “heroism”. But their defenses and protection meant that they moved slowly. As long as he fed their jetbike unit things to distract them and whittle them down, he would have time for the search.
Ranged fire from the ornate monkey-form warriors’ weapons wrought terrible losses amongst his Flayed Ones in particular, downing all but one of the unit. However, one was still enough. Say what you wanted about the curse that held them in their thrall, but the one upside was that their scent for organics–at least those with proper “meat” to them–was ideal. It tracked the movements of the scout group of humans, and indicated to the Immortals where they were hiding: in a bolt-hole of a trenchworks.
A few were killed in the extraction, but the Immortals finally hauled up one poor Imperial scout–a trembling human who likely used his field glasses far more than the crude light-emitting sidearm he carried. Sebekh approached, and realized just what an inconvenience this meat-form was going to be. He couldn’t just translate away and take this one along for proper interrogation, and yet the warriors seeking to rescue him were coming in strong force and slicing through everything he sent to stop them.
“This needs to be quick, and I need to buy more time,” he thought. Sebekh ordered his Warriors into delaying actions. All he needed to do was keep the monkey-forms at bay long enough. The main group of warriors surged around the leader of the foes, and the combat ground on and on. The leader was close, had teleported in, and could only watch amidst his destroying of the Warriors while Sebekh issued a set of mindshackle scarabs onto the skin of the scout. As the burrowed in the man started screeching and screaming, as the skin on his forehead and temples writhed as the scarabs made their way into his very thoughts.
Again, Sebekh deployed the Nightbringer shard, this time to delay and confound the enemy with its strange permanence. Eventually it was smashed down by their forces, their blades finally taking their toll. The leader of the mutant monkey-forms continued to fight on, and Warden Nesos had withdrawn the Warriors to use their gauss reapers on him rather than continue the fight. Which was the window the warrior needed to attack Sebekh himself. The leader was lightning-fast despite his bulk, and Sebekh quickly realized he was outmatched in melee. “I guess I watch this one from afar,” he said, and recalled himself to the Tomb Ship while slaving his consciousness over-ride to the Doom Scythe so he could keep viewing the assault. The monkey-form leader seemed to do much the same with his own teleportation matrix that must be embedded in his armor, as a fusillade of tesla fire from the Immortals found weak points in his armor thanks to sheer volume.
At the end there were two lone warriors of the ornate monkey-form mutants left, suffering the fire of his forces while they stood back to back and slowly advanced. The had reached the edge of the trench, and could see only the remnants of the man they were seeking to rescue as he lay at the feet of the Immortals. His eyes were blank, glassy, and his jaw moved slowly as if he was speaking. Small bulbs on his head would bubble up where a scarab moved from one vantage point on his mind to another, crawling between skull and skin. With a final squealing screech, the last of his mind was well and truly stripped. Sebekh reviewed what had been obtained: only things of interest to the monkey-forms. Not a bit about his beacon. “Bah,” he said aloud. “Initiate full recall. Let the last of the monkey-forms have their rescue.” His forces began phasing out, all except the mindshackle scarabs themselves. They had nothing more to recover from the man’s broken mind, but Sebekh instructed them to stay. To become even more visible on his skin, and start causing pain. The ornately-armored monkey-forms would find their prize to be in very poor state, and no doubt need to carry out their xenophobic judgment on their own ally and subject of their rescue, thanks to the presence of the scarabs. “A little gift from me to you,” Sebekh said to the air, as if the monkey-form leader was there with him. “Enjoy.”
Finished up the Nightbringer C’tan shard. This isn’t the original Games Workshop model, but a resin model from Creature Caster (called their Death Elemental). I think it makes an amazing alternative Nightbringer model. Really pleased with how it turned out, and I like the way it’s got hints of the Necron color scheme in the metal portions and weapon.
A reverse view to show the portal it’s emerging from is below. This does a good job too of making it feel like a shard: just a piece of the entity of cosmic power.
I also finished up 10 Warriors with Gauss Reapers, these are the ones that get ported around in the Ghost Ark. Good to have more models finished to round out options for the force.
In all some good painting progress. I’m still behind pace on hitting the goal (today is exactly 70 days into the year, so at a PL-per-day pace I would be at 70. But such is, and I’m still really pleased with the project.
Painting Challenge 2022 Progress
Warhammer 40k Necrons 2022 Power Level Painted: 39/365
Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 53/365