The Invasion of Astruim XI

Orks_horde_vs_titus

The Invasion of Astruim XI

Deep in the far flung vastness of outer space there sat a small isolated planet of Astruim XI. This once peaceful planet had lived for uncounted eons in solitude and tranquillity, that is, until the Empire discovered a vast quantity of Sedicium Chlormine ore hidden deep beneath the surface of the planet.

Now, all of the natural fauna and flora on the planet had been wiped out by the toxic gases caused during the intensive mining operation, leaving the planet’s surface as only a seething barren desert landscape, with billowing sandstorms erupting frequently and sometimes lasting for weeks at a time.

The only life remaining on the once bountiful planet was the mega-city mining operation of Obedience, located on the western side of the planet. A constant ferry of freight vessels flew back and forth into deep space, carrying away the processed ore to the Imperial Super-freighter, which orbited the planet like a second moon.

The miners of Obedience worked day and night to harvest the precious ore, under the ever-watchful eyes of the Imperial forces who guarded them. A heavily armed force of Space Marines and Imperial Guards watched over the mega-city like a mother-bird protecting her chicks.

Reports had been coming in for some time now of a superstorm. It was creeping across the planet, getting ever closer. From deep space, the storm looked like a vast dirty red cloud, and it left devastation in its wake, Probes and reconnaissance vehicles had been sent out to assess the threat of the dust storm, but none had reported back.

To make matters worse, the mega-city of Obedience had been infested of late with constant probing attacks by small groups of Orks. Most of the outlying watchtowers had been destroyed during these raids. Small bands of Ork Kommandos had infiltrated the Imperial city and created havoc, only to disappear back into the shadows whenever a force of Space Marines was called out to apprehend them.

After three days and nights of probing, the guards on the outer defensive walls where jittery with nerves and shooting at every shadow they saw. Sleep-deprived and bone weary, they were beginning to hallucinate from the stress, but the Imperial forces was stretched too thin, and no one had come to replace them.

Dawn was approaching on the fourth day, and the superstorm was scheduled to hit the megacity soon. Last minute preparations were in full swing as the twin suns peeked over the horizon.

As the suns rose, a soft humming sound could be heard. It grew louder with each passing minute, and the guards in the watchtowers strained to see what was causing the noise. They peered into the bright sunlight until spots appeared in their vision. The sunspots grew in size and no matter how much they blinked, they would not disappear.

Flying low over the landscape, so low that they had not triggered any of the Imperial radar systems, they finally realised the cause of the humming sound. The guards watched in horror as their worst nightmares came to life. Flying toward the megacity at breakneck speed, they saw the forefront of the invading Ork invasion. Hundreds of Ork Fighta Jets, Dakka Jets, and Burna-Bombas peppered the morning skyline, leaving a dark, greasy cloud of exhaust fumes in their wake. The humming became a roar as they passed over the outer perimeter.

“May-day, May-day, we’re under atta….” Switching on the warning klaxons, the field commander screamed into his microphone, before his HQ erupted into flames.

Overhead, the Boss of the Fighta squadron, Kalanz One-Tusk chuckled and released the last of his boom-bombs before pressing the switch on his control stick and letting the sweet sound of his Twin-linked Dakka-gunz erupt. Switching on the comms system he had stolen from an Imperial jet fighter, he roared his battle cry as loud as he could and banked his jet into a tight arc. His platoon eagerly followed their homicidal commander, letting loose their own guns as they streaked across the city. Their mission was to take out the landing strip and stop the Imperial forces from getting airborne.

The sky filled with molten lead and deadly laser fire as the ground forces countered with a ferocity borne of desperation.

It was then that the Ork Kommandos hidden throughout the megacity struck, taking out all of the localised communications systems in one swift, cleverly-planned and surprisingly successful assault.

All across the mega-city, small explosions detonated and Comms towers and satellite dishes came crashing down into the dirt. The assured voice of HQ fell silent in the earpieces of the Imperial Forces, leaving a building panic in its wake.

The ground began to tremble and shake like a minor earthquake as the superstorm crested the horizon, and much too late, the Imperial Forces learned the true threat that they now faced. The storm was not a freak of nature as they had anticipated. It was a massive hoard of invading Orks, the likes of which had never been known before.

As the Orks crested the sandy horizon and began their charge, the Imperial Guards on the watchtowers could see the ramshackle war machines of the green-skin horde in all their chaotic madness. So unlike the sleek uniform beauty of the Imperial war machinery, the ramshackle Ork vehicles raced down the hill towards the mega-city, with loose bits of rusty metal occasionally falling off as they bounced along.

At the forefront on the invading army were the Warbikers, a vast hoard of alien lunatics racing along with black clouds of smoke spewing from their exhaust pipes. They started firing their Dakkaguns long before they came within range of the watchtowers, while roaring war cries and waving crude weapons above their heads.

Behind the bikes came Trukks, with a platoon of Ork-boyz packed into each one. Intermingled with the trukks could be seen the occasional Warbuggy or Wartrakks, all bristling with firepower and spewing out toxic fumes.

To the rear of them, came the slower Battlewagons, filled with Nobz in ‘eavy armour and even some of the dread Meganobz in mega armour. Hovering above the invading hoard were a multitude of Deffkoptas, buzzing like a swarm of angry hornets.

The Imperial forces fought bravely, using their superior lascannons and boltguns with military precision and the experience on long hours of training, but the invaders were unstoppable. They attacked the walls of the megacity like a tsunami, crashing through the steel walls and surging onward into the heart of the city and the harvested ore that lay there.

Finally, three enormous steel monstrosities crested the horizon. These gargants were the fabled Ork Stompas; huge war machines that looked like gigantic robots. They blocked out the rising sun as they approached the city walls, and obliterated everything in their path, Orks and Imperials alike. Their rusty steel hulks groaned and squealed in protest as they moved, shaking the ground beneath their metal. Multiple high-powered Big Gunz erupted mountains of shells and huge blasts of liquid fire onto the defenders, flattening the Space Marine tanks as if they were bugs.

The defensive line creaked and finally gave way as panic overcame years of discipline.

Far overhead, on the Imperial Super-freighter, the Supreme Commander choked and seethed with impotent rage. He was helpless to stop the invasion. Failure hung heavily upon his shoulders. He knew that in the coming days he would pay the ultimate price for his failure. The Empire did not tolerate weakness, and his days were surely numbered.

Hoping to salvage something from the situation, he ordered his crew to prepare the ship’s ‘Starburster’ laser cannon. It took some time to prepare, and even longer to charge the megatons of atomic power needed to power the enormous laser, but three hours later his sub-commander announced, “We have reached one hundred per cent charge, sir. We are all clear to fire.”

Taking one last look in his monitor and the ruins of his once magnificent mining city, the Supreme Commander nodded and pressed the small red button at the top of his console. “Initiate Firing Protocol.”

“Initiate Firing Protocol,” repeated his second in command, looking pale as he too presses a red button on his own console. “Count down has begun. Starburster to commence in five … four … three … two … one. Starburster is hot! I repeat Starburster is hot!”

“Fire!”

“Confirm, sir?” His second asked, following protocol to the letter, despite his own reservations.

“I repeat, fire the damned missile.”

“Thank you sir. Starburster is fired.”

All the lights in the Imperial Super-freighter flickered and went out as the craft shuddered and recoiled. An immense flash of white light, so bright that it would burn out the retina of anyone looking at it, erupted from the heart of the battleship like the flash of an atomic mega-bomb, and in the blink of an eye the planet of Astruim XI became nothing more than a smouldering heap of molten rock.

The Empire would quickly seek to erase all records of the planet’s existence, burning all traces from its memory banks. Even the crew would have their minds reprogrammed to negate any residual memory of the events that had passed this morning. Nothing could tarnish the reputation of the Empire or its invulnerability.
Taking one last look in his monitor and the ruins of his once magnificent mining city, the Supreme Commander nodded and pressed the small red button at the top of  his console. “Initiate Firing Protocol.”
“Initiate Firing Protocol,” repeated his second in command, looking pale as he too presses a red button on his own console. “Count down has begun. Starburster to commence in five … four … three … two … one. Starburster is hot! I repeat Starburster is hot!”
“Fire!”
“Confirm, sir?” His second asked, following protocol to the letter, despite his own reservations.
“I repeat, fire the damned missile.”
“Thank you sir. Starburster is fired.”
All the lights in the Imperial Super-freighter flickered and went out as the craft shuddered and recoiled. An immense flash of white light, so bright that it would burn out the retina of anyone looking at it, erupted from the heart of the battleship like the flash of an atomic mega-bomb, and in the blink of an eye the planet of Astruim XI became nothing more than a smouldering heap of molten rock.
The Empire would quickly seek to erase all records of the planet’s existence, burning all traces from its memory banks. Even the crew would have their minds reprogrammed to negate any residual memory of the events that had passed this morning. Nothing could tarnish the reputation of the Empire or its invulnerability.

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