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Siege of Atlantia Campaign. Narrative write-up.

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Scoundrel13

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Siege of Atlantia Campaign. Narrative write-up.

PostFri Jul 29, 2016 6:20 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm currently running an escalation tree campaign for the Siege of Atlantia, adapted from an existing campaign pack. We have PHR, Resistance and two UCM players as RECONQUEST forces, against Shaltari and three Scourge players as the forces of the OCCUPATION.

As a bit of fun, I decided to write our first week's games (capturing/ retrieving resistance scouts) up into a narrative summary. The following is based on a true story...

As a disclaimer, this in no way thoroughly researched in terms of proper fluff background etc, so please take it as the light-hearted, slightly fluffy piece it is intended to be. It also accidentally turns into a slice of more standard narrative at the end, I just found a lone Siren dicing through hordes of Scourge warriors really fun to write about. :) Even better, that actually happened in one of the games.

Please enjoy, but if you don't, no hard feelings.

For many weeks the finest Resistance scouts, aided by advanced elements of Praetorian elites, had been carrying out the dangerous task of assessing and mapping Scourge dispositions and tactical deployments. Though risky, this information would be invaluable in the days to come when combined UCM and Resistance forces would begin their assault on Atlantia in earnest.

The scouts awaited extraction anxiously in scattered, ruined buildings across the outskirts of the city; though they had taken all possible precautions to avoid detection, a few of their number had not reported in at the agreed time- it had to be assumed that they had been captured by Scourge forces, and that the details of the extraction due that evening might well have been compromised.

Responsibility for this opening move of the Siege of Atlantia fell to Air Marshall JJ and General Hector, working in concert with allied Resistance elements under the dubious leadership of a local fanatic known only as Duke Dave of Wako. UCM forces were ordered to advance, and the air was soon filled with the roar of Condors and Ravens speeding off to collect their vital cargo, alongside the deeper, grumbling rumble of the battered Resistance Lifthawks.
Soon after dust-off, UCM reconnaissance received the news that they had feared; Scourge forces were on the move, travelling quickly to intercept and resist attempts to retrieve the scouts quietly. While only a small portion of the overall forces seemed to be responding to the UCM/ Resistance thrust, many dangerous and feared units were present, including the terrifying Screamer monster, whose psychic wailing could reduce a man to gibbering pool of jelly.

As the light of day began to fade over the ruins of southern Atlantia, contact was made at 7pm local time. The scouts popped green signal flares and hunkered down, hoping that they would be reached by their own forces first rather than finding themselves captured and tortured by the Scourge.

Duke Dave and his brave band of bold Resistance fighters advanced to reach the scouts on the easternmost edges of the city. Sighting the signal flares, the Duke ordered his transports down, disgorging tank squadrons of powerful Hannibals to rumble through the city streets, engines echoing loudly from the abandoned structures. The Duke himself followed closely behind, shouting orders with gusto from the top of his huge Alexander heavy tank.

The Resistance fighters clutched triggers in sweaty fingers, expecting at any moment to once again do bloody battle with their hated oppressors, the Scourge. Still the Duke advanced, almost upon the scouts, but his forces met no enemy… was this some kind of trap? Reports began to filter in from Lifthawk pilots of destroyed Scourge skimmers littering the streets, and even of a huge Desolator command vehicle laying half crushed under a collapsed car parking structure. Somebody had already been here… and defeated the forces sent to resist them…

Suddenly, the air was thick with lasers, explosions and the distinctive high-pitched thrumming of anti-gravity generators. Resistance forces reeled back in disarray, the comms frantic as they tried to adjust their positions and fight back against their speedy and unseen foe. A Shaltari ambush! Roaring in fury, the Duke rallied his men, recklessly throwing his anti-aircraft elements forward to destroy the fragile Shaltari teleport gates. Under a barrage of fire, several daring Resistance fighters managed to reach a few scouts trapped in a central apartment block, but found themselves hemmed in by precise and deadly sniper fire. Seeing no choice but to dash across the open, the fighters steeled themselves and sprinted across the road… but the Shaltari had vanished. As quickly as they had initially struck, the entire force disengaged and retreated swiftly from the battlefield, leaving behind the confused but elated Resistance force. Shaking his head in disbelief, Duke Dave ordered the extraction of the remaining scouts.

Later intelligence reports give some insight into why the Shaltari may have abandoned the field so suddenly. It appears that the Warchief Krissa had allowed his son to accompany him to battle, in order to prove his worth as a true warrior. A lucky Lifthawk missile had struck the Warchief’s skimmer, injuring his son. Distraught at the thought of losing his son, Krissa ordered a full retreat of his forces.

On the southern edge of the city, Air Marshall JJ soon found himself assailed by well-supported Scourge forces. Eschewing the usual Kodiak command vehicle, the Marshall piloted his own personal Eagle gunship, with which he reaped a heavy toll on Scourge ground elements. It warmed the Marshall’s heart to see so many of the hated parasites burned to a crisp by his own hand, but the longer the skirmish went on, the more he felt it had begun to spiral out of his control.

His Legionnaires succeeded in extracting one group of Scouts from an old industrial warehouse, but elsewhere the aggressive Scourge tactics began to take their toll. Empty transports suicide-bombed his lines, crushing Sabre and Rapier tanks, which though built to shrug off all but the heaviest of ordnance, could not withstand a large air transport deliberately smashing into them. More and more scouts were spirited away to a terrible fate by the eerily silent Scourge warriors, and when several squads of Legionnaires launched a desperate counter-attack to try and reach the scouts, they were driven back in confusion by the arrival of the sinister Screamer, which assaulted them physically and mentally, shredding their nerves and will to fight while tearing them limb from bloody limb with its huge claws.

Cursing and punching the controls of his Eagle gunship, the Air Marshall ordered the withdrawal. Rescuing a few scouts was better than none, but it galled him to abandon so many men to a terrible, torturous fate at the hands of the Scourge.
Despite these losses, UCM forces further to the west under the command of General Hector fared far better, establishing overlapping fire-lanes and anti-aircraft superiority with the professionalism and speed of a veteran regiment. Scourge forces frantically pushed forward, recklessly assaulting into the teeth of the UCM firepower, but to no avail. Almost all of the scouts were recovered safely, and particular credit for this must go to the heroics of the Legionnaires soldiers who fought in the central skyscraper. Often overlooked in battles between powerful tanks, walkers, skimmers and artillery, several of General Hector’s rank-and-file found themselves in a hellish situation; facing down the dreaded Destroyer shock troops in the tight confines of abandoned office corridors. These behemoths stand over 10ft tall and wield large gatling guns that one would usually expect to see mounted on light tanks. Regardless, the Legionnaires steeled themselves and plunged into the combat, yelling personal war-cries or simply fighting on in grim silence. The host-monsters roared and tore into the men, ripping them limb from limb or mowing them down with screaming bursts of tracer fire. Though casualties were terrible, the Legionnaires worked as a team, flanking the Destroyers where they could, tossing grenades and doing their best to find weak points in the strange, segmented armour that the beasts wore. The close quarters brawl was finished by an anonymous sergeant, who leapt suicidally onto the back of the last Destroyer standing, and while bracing himself by holding tight to its helmet, unloaded his rifle on full-auto into the gap at the monster’s neck, before plunging a grenade into the fleshy red crater his bullets had burrowed.

The gore-spattered men ushered the scouts out into waiting transports, heartened to see the remaining Scourge forces in full retreat. But the General was not so sanguine; long-range scanners had detected an equally large Scourge swarm approaching from the factory complexes to the west in what seemed to be a large-scale flanking manoeuver. Anxious to protect the scouts he had rescued, General Hector issued orders for a withdrawal; battered and bloodied, his retrieval forces had achieved its objectives, and any remaining scouts further to the west were about to become unfortunate collateral losses.

It was at this moment that new signatures were detected as well; a strong scouting force of PHR appeared to be taking up defensive positions among the ruins in opposition to the Scourge. Ever wary of their post-human cousins, the General ordered his forces to observe but only return fire if first fired upon. In the past months, PHR forces on the planet had sometimes openly destroyed UCM forces, and sometimes worked warily alongside them to combat a common threat. Still, thought the General, he could never, ever trust them, even if they seemed to be moving to secure his flank at that very moment.

From his Zeus-pattern command walker, Grand Vizier Will watched as the wearied UCM forces retreated to the east. Though the White Sphere had made it clear (through its own, inscrutable divination) that the Scourge were to be opposed in Atlantia, he yearned to let his forces off the leash and tear into his unevolved cousins, educating them through fire and blood. But not this day. If the White Sphere had instructed him so, then it must be for the greater good of the PHR.
The Grand Vizier and his strike force fought tenaciously as the Scourge advanced, Ares/ Phobos walker teams working in tandem to annihilate both ground and air threats, while elite Sirens seemed to blur between buildings and across rooftops, such was their speed and agility. Despite their efforts, the Scourge forces penetrated his defensive line in many places, blowing gaping holes in his magnificent walkers with fearsome plasma weaponry. Worst of all was the ominous Desolator, which floated serenely between the buildings, unleashing its devastating focused storm weaponry to collapse structures onto any PHR soldiers who were unlucky enough to be sheltering there.

A single Siren, lone survivor of her squad, physically carried the babbling scout over her shoulder as she sprinted through dusty corridors, over piles of rubble and under sagging ceilings. She trusted in her agility and enhanced senses, but the sheer volume of firepower which seemed to be directed her way was overwhelming. A wall exploded to her left, showering arcing gobbets of plasma through the air. Without breaking stride, she flipped the scout onto her opposite shoulder and pirouetted under one gobbet passing at head height, followed by a leap over another sizzling yellow mass which would have blown out both of her knees. Though she had done her best to protect him from the blast, the scout had not fared quite so well; passing plasma had seared through his shoulder, and he was wailing in what the Siren supposed was an agitated way. She rolled her eyes. The White Sphere had better be right about needing these primitive human scouts.

More walls ahead of her blew in, scattering more dust and rubble over the floor. This time they were followed up by a squad of Scourge warriors swinging through the breach, multiple insectoid eyes glittering as plasma carbines swung up to aim at her. The Siren sighed. Ten, she could handle, but…

A pounding of feet on the stairwell behind her was less than encouraging. Twenty was going to be a push.

“Well then,” she whispered, “at least let me put this down first…”

Faster than the eye could follow, she flipped the scout onto a nearby rubble pile, drew her pistols and leapt to the attack. Plasma burned through the air around her as she closed the distance, pushing her augmented legs to the limit. A vague blur, she closed the fifteen metres in a single second, during which she was able to put three bullets from her autosensing magnums into three separate warriors, all head-shots which shattered the glowing central eye of their enclosed helmets. In close now, she dropped her left-hand magnum and drew her slim, adamantium short-sword. Not part of standard Siren-issue, but she felt it had proved its worth in several engagements previously. Besides, there was something satisfyingly visceral in employing her gymnastic aptitude to carve bloody, intricate murder. She thrust out to her left, spearing a warrior through the torso, while blind-firing her magnum into the chest of another to her right. She continued the momentum of her blade to spin and duck, quickly rising again to neatly decapitate a warrior who was trying to ram his rifle into her face. Though parasite-possessed, she was sure the fading glow of the helmet’s eye-lenses conveyed surprise. The duck took her under two plasma rounds which flew on to burst among the warriors pouring out of the stairwell.

The three head-shot Scourge hit the floor simultaneously.

She continued to dodge, a spinning blur of blade and pistol, but the noose of Scourge warriors was beginning to tighten. They were heedless of hitting each other, and relentlessly poured automatic fire towards her. Witty observations fell away in the simple need to survive. Thrust left, jump, shoot forwards, roll, pirouette, swipe low, double-shot behind, roll forward, lean right, reverse blade, punch behind, fire left, spin away, duck. How many were left? Nine, ten? A stone rolled under her booted heel, throwing her balance for a moment. There was a glare of plasma, and her left arm simply disappeared at the elbow, atomised into carbon vapour swirling in the air. She let the momentum of the terrible blow spin her around and sliced through a warrior with her blade, carving through armour, clothing, third rib, lung, stomach, intestines, pelvis, clothing, then armour again. A small part of her mind probed the wound, even as she continued to survive. She couldn’t feel the pain yet, the nano-machines in her blood blocking her pain receptors until a more convenient time. Not that there would be one. Ha, one last witty observation. Her balance also felt off, and it was affecting her movements, as was demonstrated by another plasma round searing close to her thigh, scorching and bubbling the skin.

One last effort. Eight left? Two more warriors fell to her spinning blows, before she took another round. More fatal this time, she registered in a distant way. It was too much to handle even for her advanced body, and lightning pain sawed through her. She no longer had a stomach, just a sizzling hole and a sense of wrongness. She began to fall, legs curiously unresponsive for the first time in her life, but in those long seconds, she spitefully launched her sword spinning through the air, a flicker of silver, to impale two warriors against the far wall with a blood-slick crunch.

And thump. Floor. Her last moments were of satisfaction, as she stared blearily up at a dusty overhead lighting bar. The life of a Siren did not involve retirement. This was only ever going to be her end, and as last stands go, it had been enough. Dark shapes moved around the edge of her vision. There were flashes of light, a sense of heat, then nothing.

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