"We’re already combing the traffic control records" Vinzand chipped in. "But with thousands of shuttle flights a day, it won’t be easy to track. Let alone the previous landings."
"Perhaps it came from one of the raiders, lurking in the outer system."
"If there was a Chaos ship here already we would have detected it when we dropped out of warp. And our pickets would have intercepted anything emerging into realspace once we got here that wasn’t in one of the shipping lanes."
- the planet's star port receives "thousands" of shuttle flights a day. Which probably is mostly traffic given the comments about 'visitations' by people.
Zyvan also notes that if a Chaos ship was already in the system or near the planet they'd have detected it when they had dropped out of Warp (on the edge of the system.) This tends to confirm the implications in other books (like Sabbat MartyR) that the Imperium DOES have some sort of FTL sensor system at least ofr passively detecting the warp. Unless he was talkigna bout astropaths and navigators, which is also possible.
A three-dimensional image of the planet appeared, with hundreds of green dots indicating the presence of the PDF forces arrayed in its defence.
After a moment of studying the coldside I was able to find Glacier Peak and the reassuring amber rune which marked the presence of my own regiment, although the handful of similar icons making up the rest of our expeditionary force were all but lost in the rash of PDF locations.
We dont know what the 'hundreds' of dots represent, but it strongly suggests PDF regiments, and although we dont quite know their size it givesa n idea of the Imperial forces onplanet.
"How long before the reinforcements arrive?"
"Five to eighteen days, according to the last message we received."
"And that was three days ago."
"I was under the impression that you received updates on their deployment every
"But our astropaths have been unable to get through to the rest of the fleet."
The warp travel for Cain's force was a month, and weeks have passed up to this point, suggesting 2-3 months for the transit over whatever distance, and in current conditions. 24 hours (communications loop) between Zyvan and the main force, which suggests the astropathic signals are at least 60-90x faster than the warp transit.
Zyavan sighed. "Five dropships, five regiments. I'm attaching one to each. That way at least one company can be ready to deploy in a matter of moments. With a bit of luck they can ferry Guard reinforcements in to wherever they're needed, and return to the stating area for another load. He looked at me, thinking he could read my reaction in my face, and shrugged. "I know, Ciaphas. It’s a messy option, but it’s the best we can do."
It would leave the lucky company in question out on a limb, of course, but a formation that size ought to be able to take care of itself until the second or third run arrived.
Zyvan's prepartions for the invasion. Again demonstrating he's vastly more intelligent than the people involved in taros, VRaks, etc. He knows something about 'mobility' and making the most of your resources, for one thing. Using the drop ships is a fantastic idea, as they can get your best troops into places you need them far faster than anything else they have. What's more, Zyvan's comment suggests its more a stopgap solution, suggesting they'd normally do it in some other (and less messy) manner. Again, at least as far as Zyvan's leadership and military doctrine goes, mobility is always important and to be considered.
Emeli was reclining on the bed, half out of the green silk gown which so closely matched her eyes...
Unlike the reality, however, the ugly crater of the laspistol wound was already clearly visible, punched through her torso, where I’d broken the spell she’d placed on my mind by the most desperate and direct method I could.
Suggesting quite a sizable hole, straight through her body. Probably more than a few cm, which suggests 5-10 kj at least, and if its bigger definitely in the tens of kj range. Which is from Cain's pistol.
Of course, this being a dream, that DOES assume Cain remembers events correctly - we never got much in the way of specifics in that short story when he shot Emeli
The catchphrase of Arbitrator Foreboding, a popular holo-character of the lime, who battled criminals, heretics and mutants with relish and a very big gun.
Another holo character in the vein of 'Attack Run'. 40K version of detective dramas or 'cop shows' I guess.
...citizens of Skitterfall setting off to work as though the day was perfectly normal and their entire world wasn’t about to be ravaged by a fleet of Chaos marauders. But then I suppose that’s a part of what makes the Imperium what it is: the indomitable spirit of even its most humble citizens. Or their incredible stupidity, which amounts to more or less the same thing half the time.
Cain is perhaps being overly cynical here. It’s a common human reaction to cling to the familiar in times of uncertainty, and many of the Adumbrians no doubt found slicking to their regular routines a source of reassurance.
CAin/Amberley dual comment here about the nature of humanity and Imperium. Its not exactly your 'typical' grimdark, but I like it precsiely because its different. Cain combines optimism with cyncism, and Amberley qualifies that with her Inquisitor's analytical rationality. Its that touch of 'reality' - of a reaction that people can relate to and understand, that makes the scene vivid for me. I can't imagine what its like to be attacked by monsters or psychic invaders or whatever, but I could imagine being afraid and uncertain and taking comfort in routine to distract myself from thoughts and feelings that would drive me crazy otherwise, and that measure of empathy, even imperfect, adds to my suspension of disbelief far better than RAR SKULLS AND HUGE ATTRITION STATISTICS. Vivid imagery and description works better than simply telling the audience, every time.
...an arbitrator in full body armour behind a desk pointing a riot gun in my direction.
...staring down a gun barrel I could have comfortably fitted my thumb inside.
She put the clumsy weapon down and did something to a keypad on the desk. She must have had a comm-bead inside her helmet, because she nodded at something I couldn’t hear..
Arbitrator gear. Comm bead in helmet, full body armor, and a very large bore shotgun. If we take CAin's statement at face value, the size of the ammo the riot gun uses is quite big (bigger than a bolt round, perhaps?)
I downloaded the list of names, dates and locations he’d given us to the hololith in the conference suite..
Dataslates downloading information int hololith for others to access again.
Zyvan smiled, sure he could read my real thoughts. "But you’d rather hang on here and see what the raids turn up, eh? After all, if it wasn’t for you we wouldn’t even have these leads."
I sometimes wonder if Zyvan only pretends to be fooled by Cain, or if Cain only thinks he's fooling Zyvan. The two come to know each other very well, and Zyvan (what with him taking a personal interest in Cain's career) and the fact he's a clever man witha gift for diplomacy, means he could quite easily figure Cain out the same way Amberley did. As to why he'd humour Cain? Well, for one thing he genuinely seems to like the man, and another - his reputation and his value as a morale and psychological instrument have proven invaluable to the guy. Besides, as Amberely has noted, Cain's own flaws tend to be exaggerated anyhow.
..I found myself rattling down a city boulevard in the back of the Salamander, half a dozen Chimeras behind me and my comm-bead full of excited chatter from PDF troopers..
The PDF forces have at least some Chimeras.
She also had a very good lawyer and connections to several members of the Council of Claimants, which meant that so far the Arbites had been unable to accumulate sufficient evidence for an arrest.
Suspected criminal, and they have lawyers (that the Arbites cannot just intimidate or overwhelm) on Adumbria.
The PDF troopers wouldn’t be equipped with personal comm-beads, like the Guardsmen. Cain was used to fighting alongside (or more likely behind if he could contrive it), but each squad would have included a specialist carrying a portable vox unit.
Its a common occurance in Cain novels, reflecting perhaps the fact the eastern fringe is a backwater, but its not neccesarily universal. we know of a number of PDFs in the FFG material that have low grade comm beads, for example.
A ratling gardener was staring at us and the deep furrows across what had obviously once been a lovingly-tended lawn, with an expression of stupefied astonishment even more pronounced than was usual for his kind. As his eyes fell on Jurgen he started visibly and fled.
"Mister Spavin!" he cried as he went. "Mister Spavin! The doom’s come upon us at last"
I suspect this is another one of those 'references' Mitchell throws in, but I simply don't recognize it.
Page 178 -
Without warning, one of the Chimaeras ahead lurched to a halt, the red flare of explosive detonation standing out starkly in teh perpetual twilight, and panicked troopers began bailing out. A couple fell, caught by the blizzard of stubber fire.
Chimaeras, or at least the ones deployed by PDFs, do not seem to be able to stand up to a single missile hit from a man portable missile launcher (probably a krak missile, or maybe a melta missile.)
"All squads advance by fire and movement."
A common infantry tactic, where half the squad lays down covering fire while the other half advances, then the first group of troopers provides covering fire for the rest to catch up.
PDF troop tactics of fire and movement. Cain approves, which suggests the Guard in Zyvan's neck of the woods employs them too.
"Madame Sejwek," I said, savouring the flicker of uncertainty which rose in her eyes, almost losing my aim from the surge of anger which left my hand shaking from its force. Fortunately my augmetic fingers were immune to such an emotional reaction and kept the muzzle of my laspistol centred firmly on her forehead. "Impersonating an inquisitor is a capital offence."
She just had time to look even more startled before I pulled the trigger, and her warp-tainted brain erupted from the back of her skull to ruin a wall hanging which had evidently been chosen for its subject matter rather than its aesthetic qualities.
Chaos sorceress impersonates Amberley (someone Cain has affections for), hence his comment. Cain always has the best one-liners before he shoots someone, especially Slaaneshi sorceresses.
In any case, blowing out the back of her head is at least single digit kj.
Dimarco looked at him with the expression of an ecclesiarch who has just heard one of the congregation fart loudly in the middle of the benediction (something you get used to attending services accompanied by Jurgen.)
Which may seem surprising, given the cavalier attitude Cain usually expresses towards the pious and matters of faith. However, attendance at certain services would have been part of his commissarial duties, and therefore unavoidable; having his aide accompany him on these occasions would normally be a matter of protocol.
The quote alone was hilarious just for the mental image. THat Cain would be subjected to that in reality due to his duties even moreso. The poor bastard.
"The warp currents around Adumbria are strong, but predictable. Usually."
"They normally form a complex but stable vortex, centred on the planet itself. This, in part, accounts for the system’s position as a major trading port."
"It seems to be something to do with the orbital dynamics," Maiden said dryly.
"The fact that the world is rotationally locked sets up a resonance in the warp, which bends the currents."
"Something of an oversimplification," the astropath said, her voice surprisingly young.
"But unless you can feel them directly, it’s the closest you’re likely to get."
A bit on the warp currents and the role they play in interstellar trade. Stable currents can both permit rapid and reliable warp passage (even for civilian vessels, as the currents pushing along the gellar field can be more efficient than the hsip pushing itself along) but it shows that interesting way in which certain realspace phenomena can seeminlgy influence warp activity. I suspect it has to do more with the 'mystical' nature of planetary or orbital alignments and the nature of symbolism and geometry having an impact on the warp more than anything... or rather its just a variation of human thought and meaning having an indirect effect on the warp somehow, rather than the planet or its orbit literally affecting shit (which is in another dimension normally. The only possible connection is through people, unless this planet itself was tainted or bound to the warp in some way. Then again given how it seems to be special to Emeli, maybe it is.)
"Three times since we got here. Big, sudden shifts. Which, in case you haven’t been paying attention, is something which definitely shouldn’t be happening."
Three major warp shifts in currents, in a matter of months, is unusual. Which says something about Warp weather in this region of space, at least. When it comes to 'stable' routes there is a certain amount of long term predictability even if warp storms are an issue.
"the big question is what. If they really are responsible for this, we’re dealing with a level of power far greater than any mortal psyker could possibly wield."
"...could they have raised some kind of warp entity with sufficient power to affect the currents?
"There are daemons strong enough to do that."
Daemons exist that can alter or effect (in a short term, over periodof months) even stable warp currents. This gives Chaos a certain advnatage in warp travel if they can gain allies, since daemonic asisstance can smooth or speed up warp journeys (especially if groups work together) or hamper/impede their enemies. Such large scale activity has often been seen in black crusades (13th Black cRusade, Gothic War) and was instrumental in the Horus herey (both in assisting Horus' allies and hampering the loyalists.)
Of course what Daemons can do, the Emperor, and Imperial analogues can do also. Indeed, similar feats have been ascribed ot the Emperor and his purported 'agents' like Sebastian Thor.
To fully appreciate their courage and that of their squadron commander Horatio Bugler...
As most readers have no doubt guessed, this is an early incident in the long and glorious career of Fleet Admiral Bugler. Unlike General Sulla, however, he has yet to produce his own account of it, or anything else for that matter, for which we should probably be thankful.
HORATIO HORNBLOWER OF THE 41ST MILLENIUM.
I love it.
From Flashing Blades! The Falchion‐class frigates in action by Leander Kasmides, 126.M42
126 years into the 42nd millenium now
An interesting encounter occurred during the attempted invasion of Adumbria, a minor trading world on the fringes of the Damocles Gulf, by traitor forces in 937.M41.
Damocles gulf region again.
Two Falchions had been left on picket duty in the outer system when the main invasion fleet emerged from the warp.
..both all but untried at this time, having been attached to a task force sent to the Kastafore system a few months before directly from the shipyards at Voss. There they saw little action, having been relegated to extended patrol duties in lightly‐contested regions; probably because, as a relatively new class of vessel, the fleet commanders had little idea of their capabilities, preferring to rely on the more familiar Sword‐class ships at their disposal.
Voss is way in Segmentum Ultima, meaning we're talking literally being sent 70,000 LY away. It seems they were sent a 'few months' before which suggests 2-3 months maybe, and certainly less than a year, implying a 'hundreds of thousands' of c speed. Possibly as much as half a million c, although evne then thats assuming straight-line travel.
'relatively new' is aumsing since it was something like 700 years old by that time
..two of the enemy ships were positively identified as Infidel‐class raiders; the very design which was stolen by traitors from the shipyards at Monsk, and the attempted reconstruction of which had resulted in the development of the incomparable Falchion class.
..as it was that epic confrontation would have to wait a little longer, until the Sabatine incident some seven months and over a hundred parsecs away.
I'll comment on this as it reinforces the Infidel is probably a frigate class design rather than destroyer, hinting that frigates can be built (Even by Chaos) within a few years or less. That the Falchion was a replacement also reinforces that.
"Enemy fleet inbound, ETA around three days from now."
- the Chaos fleet had shortly ago emerged from warp and required three days to reach the planet. Not much different from my calcs at the start of the book really.
I hadn’t envied Zyvan the call on that one. I didn't really understand the problem, naval tactics not being the kind of thing I generally paid attention to, but the main thrust of it seemed to be that the traitors had split their forcees. In the kind of warfare I was familiar with, which was all about taking or holding ground, that would have been a fatal mistake, but it seemed things were different on a system-wide scale. Apparently it takes spacecraft so long to get anywhere that once they're drawn out of position they'll never get back to it in any reasonable time frame, so the sort of mobile reserves we generally relied on to bolster a sagging line wouldn't be an option.
Cain comments on space vs ground warfare tactics, which is interesting not only for both the differences in combat implied as well as differences in roles, but also how Zyvan fits into it. One of the things this does make me wonder about is whether officers at higher than the regimental level (Colonel and better) have a different/better appreciation of tactics and warfare than individual naval or Guard officers do, given they have to consider, integrate, and understand so many disparate forces. It would seem to require a certain flexibility of thought - at least to manage it effectively.
It’s extremely unusual for senior officers to be on first name terms with their commissars, another indication of Cain’s remarkable rapport with the regiment he was attached to.
I suppose that depends on where oyu stand. We've seen commissars in other novels (Wrath of Iron, Dark Apostle, etc.) who seem to be on good terms with the officers they are assigned to, even friendships, much as Kain has with the 597th. A sort of informal familiarity (at least at the highest echelons) seems to be a positive sign as far as an effective officer/Commissar reliationship goes.
Page 232 -
For the first and last time in Adumbrian history, the coldside was wanly illuminated by the death throes of the traitors’ transport vessel..
It eventually impacted on the hotside, about a hundred kilometres from the nominal boundary of the shadow zone, gouging a crater a little over three kilometres in diameter,
Large, Civilian transport makes a 3 km wide crater on impact Assuming it travels at 10 km/s and makes a hemispherical crater in rock (~5 megatons) we're talking maybe half a million tons or so. Probably should be an order of magnitude estimate more than anything, as its hard to measure efficiencies and such and it may be a controlled descent. If it strikes at 'only' 2 km/s for example it could be a 10 million ton freighter, for example.
"One contact down. No, three," the auspex operator reported. "One two kilometres to the south, another in the north-eastern suburbs."
"We can see it," a new voice I recognised as one of the platoon commanders from fourth company chimed in. "First and third squads moving in to contain them."
"Contact three down in the town centre," the auspex operator continued.
"Fifth company, encircle and eliminate," Kasteen ordered, while another platoon from fourth moved up to support their comrades in the suburbs.
Benefits of Auspex to the 597th in locating and hunting down enemy forces. We know that the command chimeras at least have their own sensor and comms equipment, and are probably as equally capable as the auspex operator at the HQ (whatever form that takes), or they can relay information from the HQ to the command chimeras. Or perhaps both. either way the HQ aupsex, if not the command chimeras, have an auspex range of perhaps 12 km (if thats what one-two kilometres means, since if it was 1.2 km they'd have added that point...)
..the three sentinel squadrons were designed for just such a task and would get to the shuttle which had grounded to the south far quicker than any other units we had.
Again, implying they are considerably faster than Chimaeras, at least in snow.
..the snow around me began puffing into vapour under the impetus of multiple las bolt impacts.
more lasbolt snow vaporizations. Same calcs as before
"If they made it any easier they'd be on our side," Jurgen said, triggering his melta for the third or fourth time and bringing down what seemed like most of a squad. The snow around them was littered with steaming chunks of meat where their predecessors had fared little better.
Melta killing/exploding 'most of a squad' call it more than 5 but less than 10, exploding them should take 4-8 MJ apiece (400 j per sq cm 4th degree' flay' burns) thats 20-80 MJ per blast.
If we assume 'steaming' chunks of meat means they're at/near boiling point or therea boutes (100-200 kj per kg) and we assume a 60-70 kg body on average (300-700 kg) thats between 30 and 140 MJ. Seems to be broadly consistent in that regard, at least Double digit MJ per melta blast.
"Blood for the Blood God!" A red-uniformed trooper came screaming out of the endless night at me, his old-fashioned autogun held across his chest like a pole arm, apparently intent on using the wickedly-serrated bayonet clipped to its barrel.
"Harriers for the cup!" I riposted, shooting him in the face. His head liquefied under the impact of the las bolt and he fell heavily to the snow at my feet.
Cain gets a snappy comeback to a Khornate this time, and its one of the best comebacks yet in the book. Also he melts the head, which I take to mean he either burnt it or just is using hyperbole to say he destroyed it. If we go 3rd degree burns over most of the face (15x15) it might be 11 kj, but it might be easier just to say 'single digit kj' at least for his trusty laspistol.
A reference to a scrumball team in the subsector league (who were knocked out in the semifinals that year, incidentally).
Cain's reference to the harriers. There are inter-subesector sports teams, rpobably another means of keeping the plebes pacified and making the wealthy rich
"Big red thing, five rounds rapid fire!" Dyzun ordered, remarkably calmly under the circumstances, and the troopers snapped out of their astonishment to comply. But the twisted parody of a Marine was fast, at least as agile as one of the true heroes he aped, and leapt aside, avoiding most of it.
As ill luck would have it, his leap carried him over the heads of most of the troopers, to land almost at my feet.
..the whining chain blades triggered my duellist’s reflexes and I parried the blow with my own gently-humming chainsword without a second’s hesitation.
Not that I had any serious hope of besting him in a prolonged fight, of course; my unaugmented muscles would tire quickly, even without the strength-sapping cold, and his already superhuman endurance would be boosted by the power armour he wore. But if I could keep him pinned long enough for the troopers with me to line up a good shot and somehow disengage before they took it...
..slashing down again with his cumbersome weapon. This time I deflected it so that it struck his own leg, raising another shower of golden sparks..
Cain exchanges a few blows (and more taunts) with a World Eater... the Lamenters of the Chaos Space Marines. The 'big red thing', which leaps several metres into the air to dodge a couple squads worth of lasfire, and then promptly gets vaped by Jurgen. Its worth noting that while Cain can BRIEFLY duel a Marine (and I mean very briefly, as in two blows) he has no chance otherwise, although Khronates aren't known for their skill ro finesse. Indeed Cain probably relied more on avoidance and deflection thana ctual blocking, although it speaks to Cain's luck and exceptional nature even so.
He never completed the motion. THe actinic light of Jurgen's melta stabbed the darkness, vaporizing the middle of his chest, and he stumbled, dropping slowly to his knees. I scrambled hurriedly to my feet, having no desire to be crushed to death under all that falling metal, and holstered my weapon.
If its literal we might be looking at hundreds or thousands of megajoules, but if his chest had been literally vaped he'd fall apart too so... Either way meltas are overkill against CSM.
...no less than a battleship, moved ahead of the merchant vessels for the first time and opened up with the full awesome power of its forward batteries. Both surviving destroyers were crippled before they could even come within the range of their own guns, one being reduced to little more than a cloud of drifting debris by the first salvo.
The Spiteful was salvaged the following year and returned to service in 948, eventually meeting its end in a rather more heroic manner: this was the vessel which rammed the battleship Agonising Death at the blockade of Garomar in 999.M41, destroying it completely along with itself, and saving the lives of an estimated eighty thousand Chilians in the refugee fleet it was escorting.
- Amberley makes mention of a destroyer "reduced to a drifting hulk" and abandoned being salvaged and repaired before returning to service. Speaks to durability and salvagability even of escorts. Also destroyer ramming battleship will destroy said vessel.
The lance batteries aboard the terrifying behemoth licked out once, destroying the bridge of the Virago and crippling the engines of the Escapade, which was soon left too far behind to continue the fight.
- a single salvo from the lance batteries of a large Battleship (probably 6-7 km range, maybe slightly bigger) penetrated the shields and inflicted damage on a pair of frigates (Falchion-class - bridge damage to one and engine damage to another).
Fit for duty was stretching it a bit, he'd taken a las bolt to the chest and was damn lucky the flak armour under his greatcoat had absorbed most of the impact, but there was nothing they could do for him now except wait for him to recover naturally and for the ribs to knit back together.
We dont know the strength or type of las shot, but again Valhallan flak in the cain novels seems less protective than the flak greatcoats in Ice Guard. whats more this injury seems to be more mechanical than thermal, as it damages bones.
Of course it seems to be the flexible 'cloth' flak, which is always less protective than the rigid plates
Captain Kelton had been unlucky enough to run straight into a group of heretics armed with rocket launchers, and a couple had penetrated the hull armour of her command Chimera with inevitable results.
This was far from ideal and a striking example of why taking AFVs into a cityfight against infantry is one hell of a risk.
Armoured Fighting Vehicles, a generic term used by the Guard to refer to anything from a Salamander to a Baneblade.
Krak missile penetrates chimera armour, AFVs defined, and their dangers in close combat.
We still had a couple of hundred warm bodies in third company, and being Guard troopers first and foremost they could shoot as well as anyone, but the thought of relying on a motley collection of cooks, medicae orderlies and the regimental band to protect our hides from a frothing swarm of homicidal lunatics wasn’t exactly comforting. (Though it was marginally more so than the idea of the enginseers being issued with lasguns and shown which end to point forwards; being cogboys they could tell you every detail of how they worked, but couldn’t hit the side of a starship if they were standing in one of the cargo holds.)
Cain defines the 597ths 'rear echlon' troops, basically the other elements of the regiment not dedicated purelty as frontline troops (including the logistics and medical branch.) They can still fight, though. The techpriest bit is interesting given Only War (and more than a few other novels like Cadian blood) specify that enginseers are rather more militantly inclined (and equipped in such a fashion) than Cain suggests. Whether this is a peculiarity of Cain's regiment, or just an inidcation of its level of technological sophistication (and hence need for more extensive support) we don't know.
"Contacts closing, fifty kilometres out," the auspex operator droned, her voice as emotionless as a serivtor. "Descending rapidly. Forty three kilometers and closing.
HQ auspex range.
Assuming our rear echelon troopers were up to the job, which they most certainly should be. And if push came to shove we still had a company of front-line combat troops in reserve.
Again the aformentioned troops (orderlies, cooks, band etc.) are the 'rear echelon' troops, makign a distinction between different 'qualities' of trooper.
She indicated the main hololith, where contact icons were springing up all over the planet.
From what I could see, bitter fighting was beginning to erupt in nearly every population centre and the PDF were being hard pressed throughout the shadow zone, even where they were being supported by the Kastaforeans. It was credits to carrots that Zyvan would be calling his mobile reserves into action any time now..
Mobile reserves being the shuttles he assigned to each regiment earlier, but this basically agian shows the 597th's Hololiths giving Cain and the rest an idea of what the planet as a whole is enduring (EG they're getting data feeds from all ove rthe planet, its eems.)
What we really needed was some serious firepower, but the sentinels had all been deployed with the ambushers out at the hab dome, so the best we could muster was small-arms and a few man-portable heavy weapons. Unfortunately, the number of people on the base capable of using the heavy stuff, apart from the specialists in second company who had been strapped into their crash webbing aboard the dropship since the first alert, were few and far between.
Another drawback of the 'rear echelon' troops, they lack much in the way of heavy weapons and mainly get by with small arms, and lack the training to use them (effectively.)
I tried to find some more of the defenders on my comm-bead, but none of them had tactical communications kit, so it was a futile gesture; in the end I had to make do with voxing the command centre and letting them know what was going on.
The 597th's rear echelon forces don't seem to use comm beads. I guess they only give them to the frontline troops.
"Very good, sir." Jurgen squeezed the trigger, aiming for the thinner armour of the flank, and the idiots who'd attacked it in the first place cheered wildly (At least, the ones who weren't thrashing around in the snow bleeding to death did). The blast of superheated plasma punched through the side skirts, shredding the tracks, and the metal leviathan slewed to a halt, its engine screaming.
Jurgen taking down HEretic Russ. 'plasma blast' is odd, but probably refers to the effect of the melta on the air rather than actually being a plasma weapon. Shreds the trascks but no serious damage otherwise.
Jurgen couldn't fire again with those idiots blocking his shot, and if the traitors managed to get a shell off at this range they'd hit the orbital transport for sure. I tried to picture the size of the ensuing explosion if they managed to penetrate its hull armour, and failed; all I was sure of was that there'd be precious little of the compound left, and I'd be a small cloud of drifting vapour.
Effect of battle cannon shot going off inside shuttle. HArd to calc (or ascribe the effects to one particular cause) but its nasty. Considering that shuttles before (even civilian) were highly resistant to lascannon fire that tells you something about battle cannon shells.
Furthermore, there were the merchant ships to consider, a little over a thousand of them at this point, all helpless against the predator closing in on them.
Adumbria, recall is a major trading hub for the eastern fringe, and that gives us an idea of how many merhcnat vessels such a region routinely attracts.
..I checked the dispositions of the platoons under me in the tactical display of the company command Chimera, finding the routine comfortingly familiar. Indeed, were it not for the extra datafeeds and vox links surrounding me, I could almost have fancied myself back in command of my old platoon.
Compny levle Chimeras in the 597th have tactical displays giving the dispostiions of the platoons under its command, including datafeeds (from those other troops.) It is implied that Platoon level command vehicles have similar setups (including the datafeeds.)
..for a moment or two I did little more than catch my breath, slumping to the cold metal floor of the cargo bay as the surge of skyward acceleration continued. I had precious little time to reflect on it, however, since my comm-bead was full of voices demanding to know what in the warp was going on.
"We’re aboard the dropship," I told Kasteen as quickly as I could, conscious that my short-range personal vox wouldn’t be able to stay in contact with her for very long.
Cain and Kasteen exchange a few more sentences, but the implied range is probably close to half a km or so range - we're talking a good 5-10 seconds of convo at least, prboably at least a 100 m/s or more travel speed. several km seems more likely.
...I had to retune my comm-bead to use the ship’s vox as a relay instead of the rapidly-receding set in the regimental HQ.
Cain has to retune his comm bead to use the shipboard vox to boost his bead signal rather than regimental HQ vox.
The dropships were designed to carry a full company, which in some regiments can mean six platoons instead of the five the 597th habitually fielded, at least during my time with them, and our platoons normally consisted of five squads instead of the six theoretically allowed for by the SO&E).
- Cain notes that in some regiments a full company can mean as many as six platoons (instead of the five platoons of five squads each the VAlhallans usually have) and that the drop ship was designed with this in mind. Which means that the transports had even more capacity than even I initially assumed
Slate of Organisation and Equipment, a slightly archaic term still in use by the 597th to refer to their personnel disposition. The so-called "ghost squads" could be filled in by fresh recruits when the regiment returned to Valhalla to replenish its numbers, or should sufficient inductees be found, an entire new company added to the roster. In practice, most commanders would prefer to have the new men dispersed among experienced platoons where they could learn from the veterans by example. It's by no means unusual for Imperial Guard companies to consist of fewer platoons, and the platoons of fewer squads, than their theoretical full complement; indeed, it was only the administrative error alluded to earlier which kept the 597th at a relatively steady number of soldiers despite their combat losses. .
SO&E (antohr word for TO&E) described, more elaboration on recruitment to fill out the Vallhallans ranks, and the variability of organization depending on number of recruits - eg the number of platoons could grow or shrink depending on circumstnaces (the 'ghost squads' in other words.)
"Can you transfer the maritime datafiles?" I asked, sprinting back into the passenger compartment and snatching a slate from a startled Detoi. Fortunately, young Kolbe wasn’t too busy splatting heretics to transmit the information, and it began to scroll across the screen with startling rapidity.
- Cain requests that the local praetor/PDF forces transmit certain info files to his data-slate, indicative of the ability of such devices to share/receive information with one another (obviously it has some sort of vox uplink, something alluded to in some Gaunt's Ghost's novels.) I suppose its possible that he had the data transferred to teh dropship and then downloaded it into the slate - although no mention was made of such, it is withint he capabilities of such slates.
"Our immediate priority has to be the defence of the capital. I’m bringing in you, the Tallarn and the Kastaforean rapid reaction companies, and dispatching a tank squadron from the 425th Armoured. If you can deploy behind the invaders and cut them off we can put an end to this."
More of Zyvan's tactics during the battle.
"They’re floating manufactoria, which scoop up mineral deposits from the floor of the ocean and process them on the spot. Apparently they can do that here because the seas are so shallow."
The imperial Navy also has commissars attached to it, though in lesser numbers than the Guard..
Naval commissars. We saw Kyogen in the BFG novels as an example of such.
...and seeing off a bunch of loony berserkers too carried away with bloodlust to use sensible tactics or even fire their guns half the time was little more than a sideshow.
Khornate vs IG tactics. Or at least tactics Cain and the Valhallans are used to
The World Eater leading the assault on Skitterfall appears to have been killed with gratifying thoroughness by an anti-tank squad from one of the Kastaforean regiments. (Two krak missiles and a lascannon not having left an awful lot to identify for sure)
Overkill to take down CSM.
The dredger was vast, filling the whole of the pane..
It loomed out of the sea ahead of us like a stranded hab block, fully a couple of kilometres from stem to stern, about half that wide and several hundred metres in height. And that, I suddenly realised, would just be the part above the waterline, there would be almost as much of the thing below the surface too.
Mineral dredger again. Once more the scale of oceangoing or industrial vessels the Imperium uses is truly astonishing. Thats millions of tons (or more) simply for one purpose.
..Detoi engrossed in a set of schematics he’d managed to pull up from the files in his data-slate.
Or, more likely, had had transmitted from somewhere. The plans of the dredgers would have been readily available to anyone with an appropriate security clearance.
- Again Amberley mentions that Cain could have had important information (this time the schematics of the dredger) transmitted to his data slate from another location.
At ranges almost too great for the mind to grasp, combat was eventually joined, ravening energies of barely conceivable power reaching out to strike at the Imperial vessels in orbit.
The Indestructible was to live up to her glorious name., however, despite the grievous wounds she suffered from that first strike, retaliating with her dorsal lance battery which alone could match the range of the formidable firepower unleashed by the Chaotic vessel. It was a heroic gesture, but seemed to some observers to be futile, since it was far less powerful than the shots she'd received, but if nothing else it served to goad the battleship into reckless action, increasing its speed in an attempt to close and decide the matter. To the astonishment of all, ,however, the Indestructible reversed her engines, giving ground and retreating slowly in the face of the aggressor.
Implied range of lance weaponry outperforming weapons batteries (and perhaps even torpedoes)
The feeble armament of a cargo ship would normally be no threat at all to such a mighty engine of destruction, but now it was surrounded by nearly a thousand of them, which, instead of attempting to flee as the murderous cowards aboard the battleship would no doubt have expected, began to swarm towards them, bringing their puny defensive batteries to bear as they did so.
Though its powerful weapons lashed out again and again, swatting one or two at a time, it could never hope to make much difference to so mighty a host, and once the Indestructible had returned to the fray, crippling its engines, the end was inevitable.
- a thousand merchant ships' defensive batteries were enough to assist a battle cruiser in destroying an enemy battleship. The battleship, in return could onyl destroy a couple transports at a time with a single weapon's volley. Even merchant ships can be dangeorus in the right circumstances
For the World Eaters to have mounted a successful deep strike by teleporter through the bulk of the entire planet would have been a remarkable feat to say the least; we can only speculate about how many attempts this would have taken, and how many would have ended up entombed in the core of Adumbria or drowned in the sea surrounding the dredger before this particular squad made it through. Or perhaps the distortion of the warp currents initiated by their enemies were what made it possible.
Its possible (but dangerous) to teleport through a planet, implying a teleporter range of tens of thousands of km easily... but there's dangers involved (either due to the intervening mass, hinting that this isn't 'warp based' teleporting) or because of accuracy issues. It may also only be possible due to the unusual conditions around the planet and by the warp craft being performed.
The troopers with me, Valhallans and Tallarns alike, followed suit, and the front of the giant’s armour rang like a foundry with the impact of scores of las bolts. Nevertheless, on he came..
- "scores" of las-bolts from around twenty las-weapons (two las-pistols) impact the front armor of a Chaos Space Marine and barely damage it. Given we know 'dozens' in the Dark Apostle novels can down a CSM, it may either speak to variances in Power armor protection, the bloodrage of the Khornate, or that range (or coordination of fire) are vital in killing a CSM with lasguns.
Spying a rent in the ceremite armour, made by a krak grenade if I was any judge, I rammed the humming blade deep into the gouge, feeling to my intense relief the whirring teeth bite home on sinew and bone.
- Cain shoves his chainsword into a "rent" in the CSM's armour made by what he estimates to be a krak grenade. Said grenade would have made a hole at least several inches (2-4 depending on how wide you believe chianswords to be) in diameter were the chainsword be able to get in. Either way krak grenade in this case wasn't a guarntee to kill a Khornate either.
The sheer weight of numbers ranged against them seemed to be telling, ,there must have been over a hundred of the cultists still on their feet, and at leat half as many again already wallowing in their own blood.
Size of the enemy forces ranged against the remaining CSMs.
Their victory over the tainted Marines should have been assured, their numbers telling against even so doughty a foe, and no doubt had they been Guardsmen or PDF troopers they would have prevailed without taking a tenth of the casualties they had.
However, these were civilians, not warriors, and barmy to boot
- Cain notes that unlike the Slaaneshi cultists, who take over 100-150 casualties from fighting the remaining three World Eaters, a trained, disciplined Imperial Guard of equal number could have taken them out with a tenth of the casualties. Again speaks to what is needed to take down CSM,s at least in a genreous way.
Jurgen's melta ripped a ragged hole through their lines, vaporising flesh and bone, to leave a narrow corridor of flash-burned victims writhing and screaming on either side where the air around the superheated plasma burst had scorched and seared them, and the rest of us opened up on the survivors to widen it.
Melta leaves flash burns but vaporizes a bunch of people... again at least double/triple digit MJ, probably more with flash burns.
..Revik went down, blood leaking from a jagged rent in his torso armour, and Vorhees and Drere picked him up by an arm each, barely breaking stride as they did so. They even kept firing, although aiming their lasguns one-handed didn’t do a hell of a lot for their accuracy.
Magot, who was ripping Revik’s body armour away in an attempt to find his wound and stem the bleeding.
Lasfire again, flak armour is less 'stopping' damage here as it is mitigating it, although in this case it doesnt even seem to do that.
Also firing a lasgun one handed reduces accuracy.
"Luckily it was a las-bolt." As I've had occasion to be grateful for myself more than once, they tend to cauterise the wounds they make, cutting down the amount of bleeding considerably. A solid round will leave a hole you can bleed to death from frighteningly fast.
The aforementioned Valhallan guardsman hit in the torso, lasguns clearly are not 'total' cauteirzation, but they do so enough to reduce risks of bleeding out.
Several of the cultists close to us began to shiver, ululating in ecstasy, the flesh of their bodies flowing together like melting wax.
Fully twice the height of a man, with limbs inhumanly lithe, a body curved and rounded in a manner indisputably feminine, yet for all that both hideous and attractive in a manner utterly inhuman.
. This is interesting from the perspective in that it hints that daemons do not "create" matter out of thin air, but rather manipualte/shape existing matter to suit their own purposes (much like the metal-demon from "First and Only".) This makes sense from a Conservation of mass/energy perspective as well as a psyker/warp perspective - Daemons by their nature are not supposed to be able to retain their form/shape in the Materium for any length of time unless they are bound into someone or something (IE a Daemonhost). Presuambly the same woudl be any sort of 'pseudo-matter' they could create or conjure. Thus it behoove sthem to create or otherwise acquire a physical form from materium "matter".
ʹThen the prophet spoke: saying ʹFrak this, for my faith is a shield proof against your blandishments!ʹ
- Alem Mahat, The Book of Cain, Chapter IV, Verse XXI1
The thought that there’s a fringe sect on Tallarn which reveres him as a prophet of the Emperor, and a physical conduit of His Divine Will, is a truly terrifying one. Nevertheless, in my more whimsical moments I must confess that I do find the idea somewhat appealing, if only for the fact that he would have been so utterly appalled at the idea if he’d ever found out about it.
Mahat was one of the Tallarns with Cain and had grown to be in awe of him, especially witnessing him take down a CSM (or seem to.) So much so, he goes on to found a subcult devoted to Saint Cain on Tallarn. As Amberley notes, its amusing simply for the way Cain would react to it, and the idea of Cain as a saint, but you have to admit it has some merit to it - I mean the guy is lucky as fuck and seems to be in the right place at the right time more often than not. Hero of the Imperium, and all that.
I didn’t expect a couple of lasguns to make much difference, to be honest, but Jurgen’s melta might just be enough to hurt it, and if we could do enough damage to disrupt its physical presence here it would be drawn back into the warp.
- Cain notes that a "couple lasguns" won't hurt the daemon, but Jurgen's melta might. He also notes that if they can disrupt its physical presence here (IE the body) it would be drawn back into the warp.) Again disrupt the physical body is the key to banishing the daemon.
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The other [World Eater] she picked up and threw against the wall, which deformed into a dent the depth of my forearm under the impact, leaving the corpse to bounce randomly and fall to the metal floor beneath with a sound like somebody dropping an armful of buckets (crushing a couple of her own cultists in the process, but I don't suppose she was too bothered about that.)[/quote]
Indication fo daemon prince (or princess's) strength. Consideirng the CSM must weigh half a ton or more that's impressive.
"You're opening a warp portal"..
"No, silly. I'm making the whole planet into a portal. Half in and half out of the warp, where my firends can come and go as they please and we can shape reality as we see fit."
Earlier the daemon mentions having "absorbed enough energy" from her minions to "break the barrier between the realms for good". Which leads Cain to the conclusion about the warp portal, and gives us an idea of the levels of sacrifice and ritual needed, at least for this particular case.
..apparently unphased by the detonation of the las bolt, which did nothing beyond marring the pale flesh of her skin.
The blemish disappeared, fading into invisibility in the space of a heartbeat.
I fired again, and this time the las bolt left a real wound, a faint pockmark which leaked some ichorous fluid. I nudged Jurgen’s arm, urging him forward. We had to stay close to her.
More wounds [Tallarn lasfire] began to open across that pale and sensuous skin.
A bright, actinic flash seared through my closed eyelids, leaving dancing afterimages on my retina, I blinked my vision clear and found the daemon reeling, a hole punched clear through its torso. Any mortal creature would surely have found such a wound instantly fatal, but Emeli simply staggered...
He [Jurgen] stumbled into the daemon’s leg, and it screeched as though he was white hot, leaping away with an expression I can only describe as terror on its face.
That was all the opening I needed. I fired the melta again, blowing a chunk of its head away.
And it staggered, its entire body erupting in spatters of ichor. The crackle of lasguns echoed around the chamber, deafening me and drowning out even the shrieking of the doomed warp entity. For a moment it writhed, tormented, unable to decide where to go, then it vanished with a thunderclap of imploding air. Dazed, I stared around the room, finding it packed with Valhallan uniforms.
Punishment daemon princess endures before finally being banished. Jurgen is rather key here, as his aura seems to prevent her from healing (or at least, knitting her substance back together.) Without him, one imagines banishing the daemoness would have been much more difficult, melta or no melta.
Also not only can Jurgen nullify psychic and daemonic effects, his touch is actually harmful/painful to such beings, like holy water ot a vampire.
...Zyvan graciously allowed the Commissariat to convene the tribunal in his headquarters on Adumbria once the warp currents had stabilised enough to put the astropaths back to work, and a brisk exchange of signal traffic had established that no one could be bothered making the trip out from the subsector office on Corania for what everyone involved seemed to think was an open and shut case.
Which implies both long range (Tens of LY) and fairly rapid transit times for such communications.