A Stab in the Dark (Closed FT; ATTN Xis/Alversia)
The Eldar had been undertaking many raids and small scale missions as they had begun to focus their attention on the outside galaxy instead of empire building. They had been dealing with the various Ork groups about them, several alien nations and some Necron tomb worlds. The Eldar had been very busy in the past months, and things were only going to get busier with the schedule Taldeer had set for her mini-empire. She had gone to hit a world that had been the source of the altered Necron signal, and was not going to be back in time to conduct a vital raid on an unknown world. The reason was simple; Taldeer, while going ahead and beginning a campaign to wipe out the Necrons at the source, wanted to know if she could find any data on the signal and what it had been altered. So, in her absence, she had tasked another Farseer who had been trained under her during the centuries of building and had sent her in her stead. Farseer Naeril was not a amateur but nor was she as wise and experienced as Taldeer. Knowing that in the present conflicts, she couldn't risk such Eldar, Taldeer had sent her on this simple mission.
Stealthed Eldar ships had been sent into the system and Rangers deployed from Webways to scout out the cities and military forces of the planet. This planet had traces of the altered signal and it was apparent that here they would find a Necron database of some kind to tell them what was going on with this new signal. However, what they didn't know was that the Necrons had visited this planet in ages past and had left their mark there. In the wars after their sleep, their marker had been damaged and destroyed, so it only gave out a garbled signal. So it was that a raid was undertaken on the wrong target but would lead the destinies of not just the Eldar but of the Xiscapian Empire and the Alversian nation clashing together.....
Naeril was not stupid; the reports indicated a single ship in orbit and few defenses in the system. While it was nothing of note, she wanted them distracted or at least too busy to deal with any situation on the ground. So a small Eldar strike fleet was assembled to assist her forces in raiding this planet. The Rangers sent ahead had indicated a sizable but manageable force protecting the planet. Her tactics were easily dictated by this situation. She would take a good portion of her forces and have them assault a point at the only city on this colony. This would draw in many of the defending garrison. Then, she would stage other, smaller attacks at different locations with other squads to draw out the remaining defenders and keep them distracted. Then she would enter the research facility in the city, with a small but elite guard and extract the information needed. Once she had the data, she could pull off all her forces, bombard the city to discourage pursuit and then retreat into the Webway before they could organize a scouting force. All in all, typical strategy for her people and she knew that these...."Alversians" as they had seen from captured transmissions, knew nothing of the Eldar.
So it was as she exited the Webway gate some distance from the city, she had already given her orders and her grand play began. The Old Ones, and later the Eldar, had placed many Webway gates throughout the galaxy, and it seemed that had happened in this galaxy as well. As she had prepared for this raid, she had her Rangers escort and protect the teams of Bonesingers she sent in to construct additional Webways to allow her greater movement and deployment of her raid forces. They had been built with an Eldar holofield and stealth field, to keep them hidden from sensors. So it was that her forces began to deploy, out of sight of the sensors and waited her signal to being. However, she had to wait for the signal from the commander of the space strike force, Veralion.
The Alversian Heavy Cruiser protecting this system would soon begin to detect strange ruptures in space, seemingly fitting in with FTL methods. However, energies were fluctuating and refusing to fit in with most data. As it pondered this conundrum, space ripped apart with great roiling, energies and eighteen ships would appear from the Warp.Veralion commanded this force, from his Shadow-class Cruiser, the Whisper of Truth, along with two Aurora-class and two Solaris-class Light Cruisers, and their protecting swarm of four Arconite-class, three Hellbore-class, Hemlock-class, and Nightshade-class Escorts. Veralion sat in his command chair, watching as the Alversian ship sat stunned at the sight of an alien fleet and the fact that their ships had sails built into them. He smirked; Mon-Keigh were always shocked when they saw true power.
"Have all ships activate holo-fields and power to weapons. All ships attack."
With those orders in place, the Eldar fleet shot into action. The ten escorts sent to engage the enemy ship shot towards them at speeds ships should not be able to reach, even for their small size. The Arconites were in a protective formation around the Hemlocks, blasting any fighters or missiles that came their way with their advanced laser batteries, as the Hemlocks, who were giant Pulsar Lances with a hull and holofield, began to fire on the single ship. Several bright blue beams sliced out towards the ship in question and began the process of beating down its shields to reach its hull. The entire group kept moving, doing almost a constant circle as they fired, and then moved to make another pass. The Arconites also added their fire at the enemy ship when they could, helping in its intended destruction. The three Nightshade escorts flitted in and out of the fleet, torpedoing the Heavy Cruiser. They, too, focused on the single ship, seeking to bring it down with greater ease. The Darkstar fighters did as Veralion commanded, splitting into two forces. Half of it split off and raced to engage the fighters, who were already getting engaged by the Arconites and then were slammed by fighters who also moved incredibly fast and began blasting with their laser cannons. The other half took escort position as they moved with the Eagle Bombers to hit the cruiser. With the bombers anti-capital sonic bombs, they were perfect for breaking through shielding and destroying ships with ease.
As the ship began to find itself under heavy Eldar attack, the other five ships, including the Whisper of Truth, began to rush towards the planet as well, readying their weapons and launching long range salvos of torpedoes. The Heavy Cruiser would have a hard time fighting back, since the Eldar used holofields on their ships and their torpedoes. These holofields served the purpose of shields in that they used advanced sensor scrambling and jamming devices that made their ships or torpedoes seem larger than they were, or in a position they were not. This constantly shifted, making it hard to get a decent lock on them. The Alversian ship would have their work cut out for them.
However, as this was going on, Naeril had her forces move. From the Webways she had established, six groups were established. A large force of over 200 Eldar were sent to hit a military base in the city and push inward. This forced consisted of Howling Banshee's, Dark Reapers, Fire Dragons, and Black Guardians, assisted by Prism Tanks, Vypers and the Shining Spears in their jetbikes. The defending forces of the city would detect a large force moving in at high speed. A sonic boom sounded as several Wave Serpents descended into the base, and began to blast the base about them with Bright Lances, perfect for destroying vehicles and buildings, as their anti-infantry Shuriken Catapults blasted at any infantry in sight. These razor-sharp bits of metal were fired from gravitic accelerators and were perfect for slicing apart infantry. The Black Guardians rushed out and took cover behind anything they could find, flinging plasma grenades to disorient the enemy and began firing their own Shuriken rifles. The Dark Reapers also set up behind cover and aimed their Reaper Launchers at the enemy and began firing. These weapons were even more deadly, since they fired a stream of armor-piercing missiles designed to take down heavy infantry. To make things worse for the garrison, the Fire Dragons had deployed and began to lay waste to anything in range. Heavy infantry, vehicles, and buildings, all were destroyed by their Fusion guns. Finally, the Howling Banshees had rushed the remaining soldiers, letting loose screams from their helmets. These helmets took their screams and fed them through psycho-sonic amplifiers, turning them into psychic screams that would strike at their very minds, stunning them so the Banshee's could swarm in and slaughter them. Then the Vypers, Jetbikes and Prism Tanks descended into the city, hunting any military forces caught outside of the base and began to attack them. The Vypers were incredibly quick and they boasted not only twin-linked Shuriken Catapults but also a rocket launcher, enabling them to destroy vehicles and defensive positions, along with the Shining Spears who flitted in and out of combat, coming close to blast away with their Laser Lances and then running out, only to come back again. Finally, the Prism Tanks had the powerful Prism Cannon, capable of turning even the most powerful vehicle into a holed wreck.
Similar attacks were faced by five other, smaller locations in the city, but on a much smaller scale, with only about sixty soldiers each. As the Alversian defense forces began to scramble to counter these attacks, Naeril made sure she had her reserve forces, the Warp Spiders, in place, and then took her honor guard, a group of Warlocks and some Striking Scorpions, and began to move out, stealthily making their way into the city as battles raged. She was confident that these Mon-Keigh would be unable to repel or even make progress against her forces until she had already gained what she needed.
Two months ago...
A high-pitched, ear-reaving scream rent the night as a fiery shape tumbled though the darkness, a small ship (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Image:Sepboardcra.jpg) encased in atmospheric burn bringing light to the dark side of the yet-unnamed planet like an unwelcome second star. Altona, as it would be dubbed by the still-distant Alversian expeditionary force, was a vast red desert world, only relieved by swaths of humid, steaming jungle that hugged the surface in patches like a green fungus. It was in one of these forests that the out-of-control-craft, weaving drunkenly, crashed, bouncing and rolling though the trees and underbrush, simultaneously crushing and burning anything that lay in its path and sending up waves of dirt and destroyed plant life. When it finally came to a stop, over a mile away from the landing site, it was clearly evident that it would never fly again: One of the latching spikes had been bent on impact, two others broken off somewhere in the atmosphere, and the fourth had stabbed though a large tree and was anchoring the vessel in an awkward backwards position, the cockpit on the "top" several yards in the air above the ground, facing the starry sky. Behind it lay a testament to its passage, a long jagged tear though the jungle where trees had been knocked down and fires were slowly hissing out of existence in the moist climate.
For several minutes nothing moved, save for the flickering flames and a small plume of smoke that rose steadily upward from the trashed ship. Then, at last, the cockpit opened, and a cloaked figure (http://www.furaffinity.net/view/1284179/) dropped lithely to the ground, robes billowing around it. The thing hit the ground and rolled, coming out into a crotch, head immediately up and swiveling, searching for threats. When none were revealed the person stood but did not relax, maintaining a defensive posture. It turned and appeared to look at the wreckage of what had once been a working starship, then turned and moved silently away though the forest, wraithlike, vanished into the warm gloom.
The memories persisted at the back of her head, beating like the mindless butting of an animal against a locked door. She recalled, for a moment, what had occurred.
There was a cage, a cage of glass and fluid and darkness, and then there had been space and air and light, and she had been so weak, and it had all been so confusing. They had thought themselves to be her masters, simply because they had created her, and sought to use her for their own ends, unfathomable were their desires, with their controlled thoughts and canned words with which they tried to bring her into their fold. She had rebelled, not because she had had any of the 'morals' that entrapped other sapients, but simply because she had felt a persisting wrongness about the situation, as if she was back in the vat, back in the darkness and the oblivion. She had tried to walk away, tried to get out, but they wouldn't let her, so she killed them all. She remembered now, the way she had killed one fleeing man by ripping the arm from one of the guards, sucking the meat from the bone, and throwing the limb at the back of the runner, impaling him out though his chest with his heart cupped in the bloody, bony fingers. She hadn't taken any joy in it, but there had been no sadness, no fear, no regret or guilt, just something that had to be done.
She had stolen one of their ships and wandered for a time, never meeting another living being, until she found the ships. They'd been fighting, who and why she didn't know, but upon one she'd found another man who proclaimed himself her master, and she went with him. For a while she felt fine, but days went by and she became weary of the training, restless, knowing that she'd learned all she could from this twisted man with his drone-like servants in the corrupt capital of that dark world. His own code dictated that she kill him, so when the time was upon them, when the warships fell from the sky and the soldiers came, she set out to do as the law commanded. Alas, he resisted, and in the ensuing battle she left the world for good, abandoning the human and his servants forever.
Her craft had been damaged as she'd left, and she had barely been able to make it to this planet. She shook her head and berated herself for her absent-minded manner; now was the time to focus on the present, not the past. From the quick sweeps she'd conducted on approach she knew that there were no settlements here, or if there were, they were well hidden. It seemed that she was alone once again, with nothing more than the clothes on her back, the lightsaber on her belt, and the dull throb of questions in her head. She had so many: Who was she, really? The man had called her Darth Erravvi, and she kept that name, dropping the Darth; she was no longer a servant. But that was only what she was called, it did not describe her. Why was she here? The others had told her the purpose of her construction was for the glory of the State, but she knew that was wrong, she knew she had a higher calling than the mere aspirations of a nation. Furthermore, what was this universe that was coming at her constantly, though her eyes and ears and nose and mouth and fur, that followed her in motion and oblivion? Why was it here?
Someone had to have answers.
The next morning dawned cool, like all desert mornings, and Erravvi instinctively knew that it would grow hotter later, over a hundred nominal temperature measuring units. She stood on the mesa where she had slept for the duration of the darkness, robes pulled tight around her, and looked out over the canyon, in a state of potential energy. Where to from here? She had the whole world spread out before her, but she did not know where to go.
Something would come in time.
It always did.
They are close.
She could sense them, even before the Alversians could, sharp, angular minds speeding towards her like asteroid-sized daggers gliding with unstoppable power on collision course with a planet. She opened her eyes, glancing around the military barracks. When the Alversians had found her she had been doing quite well for herself, with a hut, open fire, food, shade and a nearby stream to wash in. The trappings of 'modern' life weren't so bad, either, but these people were strange, with firmly set ideals and convictions about the way people and the universe worked. She had read all their books, on science, on history, on art and war, and on the lives of made-up people with stories to tell. She hadn't spoken much with any of those who now lived here, on Altona, who seemed to regard her with a mixture of curiosity and bemusement, harking back to some race or another who apparently looked like her. She wondered greatly about these, what had they been called, Xiscapians. Perhaps they knew the answers...?
In any case, she rather like the Alversians. They were friendly, unassuming, mostly quiet, and didn't bother her much, leaving her to her own devices when she wished it and accommodating her when she desired contact with other sapients. The only one she supposed she could really call a friend was the man before her, Major Mosley, commander of the military units here. He seemed very wise, not, perhaps, in the way that others were intelligent or quick-thinking, but though experience. Being only two and a half months old, Erravvi knew that nearly every person she had encountered thus far was much, much older than she, but she had quickly found that there was no uniform pattern to age: The foolish and the wise, the unintelligent and the gifted, the lax and the hardworking, the evil and the good, inhabited all tiers.
Major. She contacted him, stepping into the room. The only people who had ever heard Erravvi actually speak were now dead, and all others made sense of her thoughts from her telepathy. No one knew if this was because she was mute, or merely unwilling to vocalize; her face was usually deadpan, always inscrutable, and she did not invite prying. We are under attack. This statement became unnecessary in the next instant as the boom of weapons fire began to sound, and still Erravvi stood stoically. She had not fought another being since she had attempted to end the life of her previous master, but she would enter combat if it meant preserving the lives and materials of her new friends. She had no sense of duty or of attachment, but she did not wish to see her reserve of knowledge and sapient contact be destroyed in a holocaust of fire.
The Colony of Altona was not an old colony, nor was it anything resembling a profitable nor prestigious colony. It was a new colony. The worst kind there was. Old Colonies were safe, they were secure, they were areas that had endured and so, by logical means, it was a safe place to be. New areas of habitation were not safe, they were not secure and they certainly weren't well known. Altona had been established by a small group of Alversians, only two thousand people called it their home and of those, five hundred had had no choice. They had been Soldiers, summoned to this desolate rock by the Army, ordered to protect the Scientists who hoped to study this world, to try and dig its secrets, secrets long kept safe by the master that was time. Now it was time to see what Altona had to offer.
There were rumours of course. There were always rumours when such expeditions were undertaken, the results of overactive imaginations of people who dared to hope their wildest dreams would come true. Different people would look at different sources and come back with a different answer. Some people swore that the planet had once belonged to the Veelic Empire, a small race who now lived peacefully and in reclusion on Alversia but spoke of a mighty Empire that had stretched further than anyone could dare believe. These were the people who dreamed of finding armour, or the hilt of the infamous Veelic lightsabre, so many times more elegant and streamlined than anything a Jedi could come up with. These people harked back to the Chronicles of Ardic, who claimed to have come across a Veelic Colony in the same general area as Altona itself. The story spoke of a vast, gleaming silver city, as far as the eye could see, broken only by the turquoise oceans that curled and wrapped around these cities like large, aquatic snakes. He spoke of a second layer of cities beyond that, just outside of orbit, a floating landscape that housed thousands of ships and millions of Veela, he had been so enthusiastic in his description that those who had read his story could not help but be entranced. Yes, the might Defensive Station that orbited Illesia City was vast indeed, but being able to stroll through the atmosphere, drinks in hand, had sparked so many active minds into frenzy that this had to be the planet. They lived in hope.
Others read the Stories of Darius and believed that what they were actually stumbling across was an old Aluminan Colony, Alversia’s oldest Ally. These theory was for those amongst the Scientists and Historians whose hearts melted at conspiracies. The Alumina were an imposing race, both in their physical presence and their demeanour. They were brusque, rude, cold, sometimes arrogant but, most importantly, they were mysterious. The demand that one ignore intrigue only increases the curiosity in said subject and the Alumina were a favourite conversation topic amongst many in Alversia’s intellectual circles. They felt that the Alumina should be examined further, that any chance to find out the truth behind the rumours of a once powerful Empire and to begin to unravel the web of mysteries they had tangled around their entire civilisation. These Romantics hoped to become Keepers of a great trove of secrets on their oldest Allies, to learn something revolutionary that would be divulged only on their deathbeds.
Of course, both camps were really just wistful thinking, attempts by the Scientists to rationalise their decisions to leave the comfort and security of their homes and families for an unknown land, where the dangers were just another mystery. It was hard for couples of separate, parents to hug their children goodbye and pray that their new destination possessed no dangers that would prevent them from seeing those youthful faces again. They had stepped upon the shuttles waiting to take them into space, to their convoy of transport ships, accompanied by the only vessel to carry any significant weaponry, the Heavy Cruiser Sammie Gerrard. They had departed to the planet, knowing only through maps what to expect of the planet and it’s weather.
What they found was a desert, an endless expanse of red dust, punctured only by the odd ravine, cliff or dip that may have once contained water. The air was barely breathable, consisting mostly of nitrogen with only half the required oxygen. The Engineers who had performed the initial survey had required oxygen tanks to stay on the surface for great lengths of time and to begin the initial work on the colony. The ground work had been done relatively quickly. A good position on the surface was located and mapped with extensive sensor sweeps several hundred miles below the surface as well as the surface itself. Once this was complete, the Sammie Gerrard had used it’s phasers from space to cut into the sand/rock combination, burrowing deep down to create a tunnel for the Phase Drills of the Engineer teams to complete the work. They were creating bunkers, complete with extensive defences and multiple failsafe systems to last several months if need be. Many would see this as pointless, but one ship was not enough to repel even a half-hearted attack and so the population needed to be safe in such an event until further reinforcements could be brought. The Bunkers were impenetrable, using the same defences as the Alversian Banking system, only with more lethal defences. At the same time, a shielding system was established around the site, along with an FTLi generator to ensure that no reinforcements could be brought to the Raiders, no matter the outcome in space or on the ground.
Once the back-up procedures were complete, the ground was sufficiently flattened and levelled off and the power station was completed, the other trappings of civilisation were erected, houses were finished and, finally, the Historians and Scientists could move in. A permanent ‘containment shield’ was placed around the city, permitting people to come and go as they pleased but not allowing the recycled oxygen to escape into the atmosphere. Once the Residents had moved in, the Transports and Engineers returned to Alversia, leaving the Sammie Gerrard the only vessel in orbit.
At first, the Historians made good progress, digging up numerous ruins from an unknown culture but evidently as old as any they had ever seen, if not older. Some artefacts were excavated, examined, catalogued, bagged and sent off to Alversia for further analysis, for the material defied the knowledge of those immediately available to the scene. However, while these alone would have made the trip worthwhile, the jewel in the crown had to be their discovery of Erravvi.
It had been a team of Historians who had found her, a team going deep into the jungle, following what was obviously an ancient pathway of some kind. The path had brought them to a clearing and in that clearing they had found the Kitsune. Panic had followed, the Army had been called and their advice was to wait until a team could arrive. However, one of the team got curious, he approached the Kitsune, arms raised to show he meant no harm. The female had looked at him curiously, asking, telepathically, who he was and what he was doing. By the time the Platoon of fifty men had arrived, led by none other than the commander of the garrison, Major Moseley, it seemed that the female had nothing more than questions to give.
That was two months ago. In that time, the Alversians had been more than willing to share all they had with the Xiscapian, though classifying her as such seemed to bring more confusion. Sadly, there had been no Xiscapians amongst the Residents and no one had thought to bring anything of note about Alversia’s closest Ally. However, they were more than happy to provide her with a room in their city and all the information they had possessed. She had proved reclusive, quiet, reserved, but displaying an insatiable taste for knowledge that the Alversians found difficult to quench. When in her more sociable moods, she had joined Major Moseley for long conversations on Alversia and the ideals that it followed. When the Major was otherwise engaged or unavailable, she spent her time with Doctor Lewis, one of the more prominent historians, talking with him as he examined the artefacts and talking to him about Alversia’s own love of discovery and what had dragged them all the way out here in the quest of knowledge.
“Captain! Multiple contacts approaching!” The Operations Officer reported in shock. He was young, a mere Lieutenant, who had expected this posting to be an easy one, where there would be no enemy attacks and certainly nothing to this level. For the moment though, his fear and anxiety was replaced by the cold front of training, all the stages he would need to get through this moment were replaying in his head. The Heavy Cruiser had detected hints of something going on before, like the blowing of leaves in the wind, but nothing that suggested this.
“How many?” The Captain asked, turning to look at his younger Officer. Unlike the Lieutenant, Captain Nemo was experienced and battle hardened. He had dreaded such an event and now such an event was occurring. He knew more than most the procedure that had to be enacted. What his ship had seen, the colony would have seen and even now it would be evacuated, civilians marshalled into shelters away from the battle, while the garrison moved to counter the attack. However, the Alversian warship was the one in the precarious position. The Colony had its defences, the ship had to rely only on itself.
“Sir, I’m detecting multiple attacks from all positions! Incoming!” he almost yelled it as the ship shook violent, weaponry striking the shields of the vessel, rocking those within. Nemo kept his balance admirably and looked over at the Tactical Officer, greyed eyebrows raised in curiosity.
The Lieutenant Commander, a hard faced woman responded quickly and efficiently,
“Shields are holding at 93%” She stated calmly.
Nemo nodded, old, tired face crinkled in a frown, the enemy were circling his vessel like vultures. He was already moving to retreat, the vessel preparing for transwarp as soon as possible, for the moment though, the ship’s weapons returned fire with everything they had. The heavy lasers blasted against the shields of the enemy attackers, the few remote fighters in space were quickly destroyed, their pilots transferring to other craft in preparation for another launch after sending in against the attacking ships.
However, in these situations, the most powerful weapon available to the Alversians were the multiple phaser arrays lined along the hull. At the moment, these were projecting powerful beams of charged energy at the attacks, hitting with perfect regularity, the multiple beams remaining on the target for several seconds before another beam could hit them. The Sammie Gerrard was in retreat.
Surface City, Altona
Indeed, the first thing that had been done was the FTLi field had been activated, expanding several lightyears in all directions, permitting only the Alversian transwarp system to function naturally. These action had been followed by the activation of the shield defence systems, too late to prevent several hundred attackers coming through but enough to keep them from being reinforced. The Garrison had acted quickly and already the Residents were sealed safe in the bunkers, only the five hundred men of the garrison and Erravvi, who it seemed was not going to retreat into the bunker with the others and was permitted to stay.
The attackers descended, emitting some kind of primal screaming that was blocked by the anti-telepathic properties of the military helmet. However, the military barracks was almost completely empty. Only a few soldiers were cut down by the immediate attack. They fell quickly, only a few shots being fired before they were killed. But something was wrong, there should have been more Alversians than this in the garrison, less than a dozen detected, though the two dozen tanks seemed normal enough. Trying to scan the planet would not help in any way, the shield had been flooded with charged particles that crackled every now and then, disrupting any attempts to scan the city while the charged electrons severely limited the ability of telepaths to concentrate on their gifts, making even the smallest act difficult. As soon as the Attackers had landed however, the barracks exploded, not the explosion of a few mines but a total explosion that obliterated the barracks, throwing debris in all directions, clattering against the shield with terrible force. What was left was only a smoking crater in the ground.
Suddenly, from the deserted buildings and from behind abandoned vehicles, shots started to cough out, sounding more like a small cannon exploding in the quiet streets. The troops were spread throughout the city, ambushing the attackers as soon as they landed on the ground, suspecting little from the ruined buildings and certainly not in the strength. The barracks were abandoned, being designed only as living quarters. The speeder bikes unable to crash through the walls and the majority of attackers being vulnerable in the open streets.
Moseley knelt beside Erravvi, rifle in hand, kicking back into his shoulder with every shot. The shots came quickly, for the Alversians were trained extensively in marksmanship, able to hit a moving target in the head from a thousand meters away. In the close streets, it was easy to inflict maximum damage and in rapid fashion, more like automatic fire than the controlled shots of a calm and trained Soldier. Grenades were thrown into the masses that had gathered, adding to the chaos. He did not speak, for the young female would understand the urgency of the problem at hand.
The Eldar battle in space continued, as one-sided as it was. The Eldar fleet outnumbered several times over and was currently smashing the ship with everything they had. Torpedoes and lasers slammed into the ship’s shields in concentrated salvoes, focusing on specific parts of the shield to try and bring it down. The groups of escorts continued to hammer the ship, with the Arconites moving in to hammer the ship. The Hemlocks moved to get behind the ship, where its engines were, and proceed to bombard it to try and slow it down, as well as have less weapons aimed at them due to the proximity of the engines. The beam weapons of the enemy cruiser slashed out with great regularity, but had a difficult time hitting due to the speed of the vessels and the holofields, which would make the targeting systems have an incredibly hard time locking onto their vessels. Still, some got through, and some ships shuddered under the hits. Veralion raised an eyebrow; this race was quite powerful, to be able to stand up to their weapons like this and survive. “Intensify bombing and escort attack runs. Focus your fire on a single point in the shield. They will most likely reinforce that area of the shield. While they do so, we shall open up with our Pulsar Lances and hit other parts of the shield. If they do not reinforce, we will break through at the initial point. Either way, we win.”
The ships did as he commanded, and began to focus their fire on one point on the ship, the left flank to be precise. Laser fire, single Pulsar Lances from the Hemlocks, and the torpedoes all began to fire onto one point, as the escorts and bombers began to run past, doing runs on that single point. The five cruisers who had been advancing this entire time swiftly moved into range and opened up with beams of intense blue light, which smacked into another area of the ship, focusing on the engine area. These beams were designed to lay low capital ships and had been the bane of many powerful ships. Veralion smiled as they fired; it was only a matter of time until they brought down this ship. He noticed a report come in about the FTLi field, but he dismissed it. It wasn’t as if it mattered. They could easily outrun any ships these Mon-Keigh could throw at them, and be outside the range of this FTLi. He also watched the planetary shield come up and chuckled again. As if that could stop them, but he let it go. His job was to engage and destroy this ship. And that is what he would do.
On the ground, the Eldar found out quickly that the enemy garrison hadn’t been in the barracks and thus only a few had died. All equipment, weapons, ammo, etc had been destroyed before the forces had moved on. As the raid continued, they soon encountered the Alversians who fired at the Spears as they rushed their lines, but walls prevented their full potential and so they retreated quickly, blasting away before weapons fire could catch up and falling back as another reserve. The Eldar, seeing the fortified positions of the Alversians quickly broke into squads, following their Exarchs and began to configure a new battle plan. Several casualties were taken as the Alversians managed to pick off their soldiers as they retreated from the main battle plan. They broke up into squads and began to initiate a fierce urban battle with the Alversians. The Dark Reapers, with their advanced sensors and powerful launchers, were perfect for urban warfare and began to pick out enemy soldiers and blasting them with a hail of miniature armor-piercing rockets, while the Ranger squads that had scouted out the planet began the slow but effective process of sniping out enemy troops. The Howling Banshees remained out of sight, their psychic screams not working to some field, and the Striking Scorpions used their advanced stealth abilities to start sneaking about the city, going from building to building, ambushing and attacking enemy squads in hand to hand combat, their specialty. The Dire Avengers alongside the Guardians were the main force, battling it out from cover and buildings, and the Fire Dragons waited for the chance to begin demolishing the walls. Weapons fire, explosions, and screams filled the city as the raid turned into a full out gun battle. Exarch Rakanis of the Dire Avengers stood in a building, focused on his communication with Farseer Naeril, heavily encrypted and scrambled. They could not send normal telepathic messages due to the shield, but although an inconvenience, the Eldar had other ways of communicating and many of their abilities came from the Warp itself, not their own minds.
"Rakanis, you say they have holed themselves up and forced you to go into a slow-moving urban battle?"
He nodded. "Yes, Farseer. We have adapted to it, as we have been taught and are working to push them out of the city. They still don't know destroying them is not our objective."
"Good, see to it that it remains that way. We will need some more time to infiltrate this planets research facility. Due to the attack, its nigh deserted, with all the forces pulled off to deal with you or evacuated to avoid the attack. I shall not be long."
He nodded. "As you wish, Farseer." Then he terminated that channel and switched to a new one. "Vyper, Falcon Grav Tanks, and Prism Tanks, focus your fire on those buildings. I want them reduced to rubble." As fire lanced out from the positions of the Eldar, the incredibly fast moving Eldar vehicles launched out, blasting down into the streets next to buildings, a sonic boom sounding as they landed, and began to fire. Anti-infantry shuriken fire swept the buildings and streets as they unloaded and the Vypers launched their missiles at the buildings, sending in rockets to explode and cause great rents in the concrete. The Prism Tanks focused their Prism Cannons and fired, with weapons designed to melt entire inches of the toughest ceramite and metal alloys used in tanks and hardened fortification. These beams blasted into the buildings, seeking to bring them down. And like the space battle above, they fired, rushed back and then came back again, unloaded, and repeated over and over again. The Eldar pushed hard against the Alversian lines, keeping suppressive fire up on them as Scorpion teams hunted them squad by squad and the vehicles decimated their buildings.
But even as this continued, Naeril and her Warlock escort forced open the doors to the research facility and began to enter, seeking the source of the signal they had been tracking. Soon enough, they would get what they sought and then could leave this mudball of a planet. Naeril grimaced; dealing with Mon-Keigh such as this was so beneath her, but she was only doing this to aid Taldeer and the Eldar. Gripping her Witchblade, she continued on, moving down the halls of the abandoned research facility.
Erravvi was glancing around, as if following invisible objects though the air, eyes bright and alert. There are psychics here. She had already shrugged off the mind-tearing screams of the forward soldiers, but she could sense the communication being used, and though she could not know exactly what was being said, she could guess at the intent. Obviously the Alversians were not as well-prepared for a psychic assault as they thought. She could sense the forward and back motions of troop movements, the agonized calls of the wounded and the dying, and-
In an instant Erravvi brought her arms up, weaving them in complex motions, a light blue glow surrounding her hands and flickering in her eyes. She stretched out her influence, seizing the incoming missiles which were on a trajectory to the building, and shoved them away, sending them tumbling back towards their senders. In the next motion she activated her lightsaber with a hiss, something she had only done here when training alone, the crimson blade making shadows dance on the walls.
Major. She turned towards the Alversian, blade in hand. They are heading for the research facility; whatever they're after, it's there. I need you to deploy a squad with me to stop them, if they're willing to kill to get it it can't be anything good.
"Shields down to 70%!"
The call came from the Tactical Officer as the Sammie Gerrard shuddered again under yet more fire from the attacking Eldar. Captain Nemo stood in the centre of his bridge, hands clasped behind his back, taking each strike as it came to his bridge. He was calm, watching on the viewscreen as the attacking fighters shot past, shields flaring in anger as they were struck by the blue phaser beams all along the Heavy Cruiser’s hull. However, he noticed, despite the rapid fire of the phaser beams a large number of them were shooting wide of the attackers. He frowned at the visual results or lack thereof. He turned to his Tactical Officer, frowning lightly in question.
The Tactical Officer saw him and saw what he was asking. In response, he looked down to his console, bringing up the required information needed. However, while he was doing that, an alarm went off and the view on the screen snapped to the rear of the ship, just above the engines, that showed the Ships pounding away on the shields on the stern, trying to take out the engines, the phaser array above them replying in anger, firing two or three beams upon them in a rapid fashion. Nemo sighed, he could not repel so many attacks on his vessel. He knew that he should break the Point Defence Beams into play, they were similar to the phasers, except they were designed to destroy missiles and, in a pinch, destroy fighters as well. He supposed that they could add their fire to the Anti-Fighter turrets and the phaser arrays if he could solve the problem of hitting the damned things in the first place.
“Lieutenant, why are my weapons not hitting their ships?” He asked, waiting for the answer from the Alversian who was looking for the solution to that very problem. It was only a couple of moments before he had an answer, though by the time he answered, the ship had shaken twice again,
“Our shields are down to 68% Captain,” The Officer reported, “and it seems they are moving too fast, our targeting sensors cannot get a lock.”
“Can you compensate?” Nemo asked, shifting as the floor beneath his feet shuddered again under more impacts.
“Attempting Sir,” The Tactical Officer replied, “Sir, several Cruisers are approaching us from astern, they are targeting our engines,” Another great judder, “Shields down to 59% Our targeting sensors should be registering more hits now.”
Nemo looked at him and sighed, yes, he now had more potent weapons at his disposal but the addition of the Cruisers now made this a fight he could not win.
“Sir, they are targeting a specific point in our shields, the energy is being dispersed.”
Nemo shook his head and looked at his Flight Officer, directly in front and below him, “We’ve done all we can here Lieutenant, jump to Transwarp, Factor Seven”
With that, the Alversian Heavy Cruiser flashed with green and vanished into Transwarp, leaving the Garrison on the planet’s surface to fight alone for a while, until they could gather reinforcements to chase these raiders from Orbit. The Sammie Gerrard was gone.
On the ground, the Alversians continued to resist the advancing Eldar Forces, taking cover from the variety of missiles and rifle fire and coming out to fire when they were reloading or relocating. A number of Alversians were cut down, either by the fire from the Eldars, their supporting Armour or the Scorpions who were attempting to sneak up on them. However, the Alversians soon adapted their tactics, leaving one man from every five man squad to watch for the Scorpions sneaking up behind them. As soon as they decloaked to attack, they were blasted away by the Alversian rifles on Setting 4, the Shotgun setting. This was a development of the Setting 3 anti-tank shot, except that it was unstable and as soon as it left the gun barrel, it exploded into deadly shards that could melt through the thickest armour at close range. The Alversians who found their houses had been stormed, hid behind corners or in other nooks and crannies, waiting until the Squad was close before jumping out and firing, having the ability to cut down the entire squad if they were unlucky, even if they were not, then a grenade would do the same job. The Tanks that shot forwards and backwards were met with the anti-tank rounds as well as the Missiles from the Heavy Troopers who hid in the rubble and waited until the Tanks either advanced or retreated, firing at point-blank range were possible. As is often the case in Urban warfare, the lines became distorted. They merged and they broke as some houses were occupied, others were held and counter-attacks were launched. The Alversians dropped mines in the houses that they abandoned, hiding in discreet or hard to reach places, allowing their Attackers to come deep into the building before it exploded, sometimes blowing the entire room out. The Snipers were counter-sniped as Alversians saw themselves under attack. At the same time, the Missile Troopers who were firing the anti-Infantry rockets were also sniped, Alversians hitting them with rifles from certain windows before withdrawing. The Army was holding it’s ground.
Moseley looked to Erravvi in surprise, ducking out of the way as her deflect missiles exploded, “I’m sorry Erravvi, but I have barely enough Soldiers as it is to hold the line. If there’s something there, then I guess they’ll have to take it,” He sighed in frustration, “If you want to go then please be careful.” He said it maternally, for he had grown something of a soft spot for her. He didn’t want her to come to harm.
I will be careful. She replied blandly, and stuck out her hand. The motion was so rigid and mechanical and so unexpected Moseley didn't react for a moment, but when he finally shook the hand of that strange creature she inclined her head. It has been good, learning from you and your people, Major Moseley. I hope I will have the opportunity to benefit from you again. She turned and, without a backward glance, dashed out of the building, low to the ground, blade out and deflect fire as she made for the structures across the street. It wasn't until later that Moseley would realize that this was a goodbye...or as close as Erravvi would ever get.
Crossing the small city by leaps and bounds, Erravvi ignored most of the fighting, stopping only to divert or destroy the occasional missile or intervene on behalf of pinned down or ambushed Alversian troops. She made good time, and in mere minutes she had entered the research facility. It was deserted; the scientists that had been working here had fled some time ago, going with the other civilians into the protected areas, safe from the fighting, leaving behind only dark, echoing halls and offline equipment. The darkness didn't bother Erravvi, she could see fine in the gloom, and in any case it might help her get the drop on the soldiers when they entered, seeking whatever it was they had come to steal, like barbarian raiders. Her saber deactivated but in hand, she stalked though the dim corridors, alert and listening, and at the edge of her senses she could detect...people. They were here, and Erravvi had not shielded herself from their probing minds, thinking she had arrived first.
Did they know she was here?
Would the hunter become the hunted?