[April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#71 » Apr 02 2017 10:19

Meanwhile, at the North Pillar, even with a weakened force, the Ar'cea were defending the structure with a tenacity that had so far rebuffed the initial Tau attacks.

Shas'ui Tash'shi had long abandoned the the Devilfish that had brought them here, its hull shattered by searing bright lances. He had gathered the four surviving fire warriors and continued the advance through forest terrain, as the Shas'vre in local command had made it in no uncertain terms that the pillar had to be destroyed at all costs. As he reached an outcrop of rock and watched the 'vre's crisis suit team hovering behind the treeline to his left, presumably waiting to launch another attack on the Ar'cea, there was a warning shout by a Sniper Drone Spotter located in the backstop position: "Enemy! From above!"

Tash'shi saw the crisis suits swivel around on their jets, their sensor packed heads angling upwards, scanning for this new threat. Lasblaster beams stabbed down on them, one of them connecting explosively, sending a crisis suit crashing downwards into the dirt. He saw the Shas'vre's battlesuit, the one with the large white antenna, skipping backwards on two gouts of flame, returning fire with missiles and ion blasts. If Tash'shi had been out of cover, without the canopy partially blocking his view, he would have seen a terrifyingly beautiful scene - a swarm of Ar'cea with outstretched wings descending down from the skies, weapons blazing.

The sniper drone teams attempted to track and engage the Ar'cea, but the acute elevation required and the swiftly moving targets made it impossible for them to get a solid lock. Several rail rifle shots whizzed by into empty space.

"Target priority Swooping Hawks," Tash'shi heard the Shas'vre's order, and he hurriedly repeated it to his squad, motioning for them to spread out.

"Every warrior to a firing position! Take down the flying Ar'cea!" he shouted, racing to the nearest opening and raising his pulse rifle upwards, triggering it on full automatic fire at the winged forms swarming through the skies.

Tash'shi noticed the crashed Shas'ui's suit pick itself up jerkily from the ground, its right arm gone, sheared from shoulder joint. But the plasma rifle on its left arm was upraised, pulsing rapidly, burning one of the swooping hawks into a crisp in mid-air as it tried to get a shot in at the damaged crisis suit.

Another took a direct hit from the Shas'vre's cyclic ion blaster, and the Ar'cea flyer spun out of control, its delicate flight systems fried by the weapon's energy pulse. It veered erratically and crashed at terminal velocity into the side of the rocky outcrop with a sickening crunch.

Between Tash'shi's squad and the crisis suits, the Tau put up an impressive show of anti-air firepower. Tash'shi managed to clip one on the wing with a lucky shot, sending it tumbling to the ground where the Shas'vre finished it off with a missile. A fourth was eviscerated by focused pulse rifle fire as it came a bit too close to their positions.

But it was not enough, there were too many of them, too many to take down. The remainder drew their power swords and primed their leg mounted grenade launchers for a devastating assault on the Tau below. Tash'shi watched transfixed, the wings a riot of blurred colours as they began their attack dive, avoiding the energy blasts from the fire warriors and crisis suits. Things seemed to move in slow motion for Tash'shi. Pulse rifle rounds floating lazily upwards at the Hawks, each and every one of them a near miss… A shouted command for the squad to prepare for close assault… The Ar'cea swooped down on them…

… and were promptly blotted out of the sky by a barrage of smart missiles that had intersected their dive path from an oblique angle.

"Broadside team here, who needs a little fire support?" a voice came over the cadre channel. Tash'shi recognized it as that of Shas'ui J'kaara, the veteran battlesuit pilot whose exploits included the single shot kill of a Necron Monolith. Tash'shi heard a cheer go up from his fire warriors, and he allowed himself a grim smile.

But the danger was far from over. The Swooping hawk exarch had seemingly survived the attack with little the worse for wear, and now sped towards the Shas'vre on wings of vibrating plates like an angel of retribution. It activated its slender, curved powered sword, all the while blasting away at the Shas'vre with the shuriken pistol in its other hand.

Fortunately the Shas'vre was no slouch in the dogfighting department, and the decorated war hero started jinking his crisis suit around erratically, evading most of the shots aimed at him, while those that hit did nothing more than just shatter harmlessly against its armour. The cyclic ion blaster attached to the left arm spat rapid fire death at the Exarch, but the Ar'cea avoided them with contemptuous ease, gracefully corkscrewing through the air as if it had lived among the air currents all its life.

The exhaust from the Shas'vre's thrusters drew a dizzying pattern of contrails in the air as both combatants danced around each other in the air, scrabbling for every ounce and every bit of advantage they could find, looking for that one opportunity, that one weakness in the enemy that could win the battle for them.

In terms of agility, the more nimble Exarch had the advantage, cartwheeling in mid air like a gymnast, its powered weapon repeatedly coming close to landing a telling blow on the Shas'vre. But several times the iridium hardened gauntlet armour of the battlesuit parried the blazing sword, turning it away from the more vulnerable or critical parts.

What the suit lacked in speed and maneuverability, it made up for it with superior servo-assisted strength and general durability. While the battlesuit could well afford a few cuts and dents in its armoured shell, the same could not be said of the Exarch. A single solid hit by one of the suit's massive fists would be very much unforgiving, if not immediately fatal.

It was no surprise then that they started employing tactics that suited their strengths as the battle dragged on. The Shas'vre was deployed in a defensive stance, battlesuit arms and legs bent and covering the torso and head, always rotating the front torso towards the Exarch, biding his time and always waiting for the killer Mont'ka moment where it could strike with all the strength and power behind its mechanical muscles and heavy weaponry.

The Exarch on the other hand was constantly moving, never allowing the Shas'vre a chance to land a blow. Its wings whipped it around in a frenzy of attacks, chipping away continuously at the battlesuit's formidable defences, embodying the fighting style of "death by a thousand cuts" while its sleeve mounted forceshield projectors turned away any lucky shots from the crisis suit's weapons.

In the end the deciding factor was neither the skill nor cunning of either combatant. It was a minor battle damage sustained by the Exarch's wings in the earlier smart missile attack. In normal flight, this would have hardly been a cause for concern. But in a tight spiraling battle between two evenly matched opponents, the ever so slight slowdown in the speed of a turn, of a feint, or of a dodge was the difference between a successful or failed attack and evasion.

It happened when the Exarch stretched itself for a blinding sequence of slashes and cuts at the Shas'vre, hoping to smash through an exposed gap or weaker section of armour. To Tash'shi it seemed at that moment that the Shas'vre was enveloped by a solid shell of energy as the faster Ar'cea orbited the slower battlesuit several times, going for the kill.

Then the Shas'vre struck back. The Exarch pulled away a fraction too late, and the armoured fist smashed into its body with resounding force, too powerful for the forceshield to nullify, its generator collapsing on itself as it failed to dissipate the kinetic energy. The Exarch was hurled backwards, a split moment out of control, and the Shas'vre instantly rippled off a trio of missiles, the ensuing explosion rattling even the Shas'vre who was strapped in tightly in the cockpit of the crisis suit.

Even as the burning body parts of the Exarch clattered onto the ground, Tash'shi ordered his squad to advance. A single squad of Ar'cea jump infantry had held off their attack long enough, and they were running out of time. Up ahead the pillar was already starting to glow.
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#72 » Apr 02 2017 11:04

Colony YK-7: Somewhere, maybe kinda sort of in the general area of the southern pillar?

‘Yep, yep they did it alright. We sure did. The south-west pillar is no more. Yep, they done it alright…’ thought Bob as he sang.


We dig up diamonds by the score,
A thousand rubies, sometimes more,
But we don't know what we dig 'em for,
We dig dig dig a-dig dig.
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho…



Presently Bob found himself upside down, or right side up, or ass backwards; but he just wasn’t sure which. Being without power inside his model 1936 Binford 40,000 Advanced Tactical Jump Dreadnought Terminator Battlesuit; he couldn’t see a damn thing of what was going on outside. Where were Bronco, Jim, Slim, Phred or the new guy Durango? Hell, Bob didn’t know where he was! Before they fired on the south pillar, all five of them had retracted the legs on their battlesuits. Deciding that the anti-grav motors would allow them the quickest get away. And the battlesuits being essentially round in shape, where like beach balls bobbing on the ocean, only they were bobbing when a tsunami hit.

The shock wave had sent all five of them flying who knows where.

Right now Bob’s battlesuit could be inside a 3,000 degree fireball, or on the bottom of a lake, or seven kilometers away and stuffed in between a rock cliff and a tree. Beside having no idea of determining where he was; worse yet Bob couldn’t get out. The interior capsule of the battlesuit floated on a maglev field, so as to allow ultra fast rotation of the exterior weapon bearing hull. And since the power had gone out, the hatch which should be above and in front of him, was somewhere else. Was it below and to the right? Or above and to the left? Again Bob had no way of telling.

Waiting for what seemed like hours, Bob had by now sung every song he learned as a young dwarf; and almost everyone he had learned as an adult. He even went through the Skasquats’ entire repertoire of songs.
But this wasn’t getting him anywhere, where ever that happened to be. So he started in singing again.


Yippie yi ooh,
Yippie yi yay,
Ghost riders in the sky.
Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat…


However Bob still wondered, ‘Where had it all gone wrong? Was it when the team agreed to join the Jhi’nanii cadre? Was it even before that even, when they agreed to go Shas'O'T'au'la's plan to send them down to the planet? Certainly joining the “Freaks and Geeks” Vior’los cadre had been a contributing factor. What with their unique blend of violence, perversion, insanity, and eccentricity. But then again, they weren’t bad folks, when you got to know them…’


As I walked out in the streets of Laredo,
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I saw a young cowboy, all dressed in white linen,
Dressed in white linen, as cold as the clay…



‘...And they really had been a fun bunch, once the team got planetside anyways! Blowing up webportals, surprising unsuspecting Guardians or Aspect Warriors, and then stomping the hell out of them. Bob personally had gun downed an entire Aspect shrine worth of Howling Banshees; and Bronco had vaporised a whole squadron of Shinning Spears. So no, that wasn’t it?

“Whoa there big fella!” Didn’t the salesman at the Binford dealership say something about not crossing the energy beams of the Binford 40,000 Micro Über Death Ray Cannon? Something about…causing…wait what was it again? A catastrophic collapse of the time space continuum…in combination with a thermonuclear denotation…and a shift in the transdimentional warp vortex…Ah, hell now Bob couldn’t remember what was the squat salesman had told him…Oh, well like the their ancestor The Tool Man had always said, “Real men don’t need instructions!”’


Bob started to sing again,
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho,
It's home from work we go,
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho…



***
Last edited by TauMan on Apr 04 2017 01:21, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#73 » Apr 02 2017 11:27

The shockwave from the cataclysm rushed over the rocky outcrop, sweeping Tyrioq's robes around him with the rage of a typhoon. Just west of where he stood was now blinding light and roaring fire. Trees bent back reeling from the onslaught, and dust chocked the skies. Then in an instant it was over, and the southern pillar was no more.

One pillar's loss was acceptable to the Farseer, but two most certainly were not. Now only one remained, and though it was all that was necessary to trap the orbital in Vaul's Torment, there would be no redundancy should it fail. Things were now growing dire. The webway network was patchy, and far too many of his warriors had died. The Eldar had always known how dangerous these Tau could be, and Tyrioq had thought he had gathered a mighty enough host to stop them. The force he had brought to the world would have been enough to bring an entire sector of the Mon-Keigh imperium to its knees or hurl back one of the Great Enemy's infernal crusades single-handedly, yet here he was, with his army in shambles.

With the paths to victory growing ever fewer, he decided to turn to his ultimate contingency. Even if the orbital could not be trapped he could at least end the existence of these Tau on the surface, which still held the greatest threat for the future. But first he would need to regroup his forces. The time had come to employ one of the more impressive feats his bonesingers had prepared. Tyrioq walked down from the outcrop to his hidden command camp, and approached a control terminal at its centre. His fingers danced over the runes of its holographic interface, then ushered a single command.

Relocation Matrix, initiate.

At once the towering pillar in the west, the last one standing, vanished in blast of multi-coloured brilliance. In an instant it had re-materialised hundreds of miles away, completely unscathed and still glowing with energy. It was joined by much of the other remaining Eldar infrastructure, including the entire second airbase, over the displaced ruins of where the first airbase once stood. The entire Eldar web of death they had weaved on the planet's surface was now concentrated in this shattered land of grim, charred craters and thick obsidian glass. Several small bands of Eldar were already here, scouring the area for any intact spirit stones that might have remained after the orbital attack. Now he called every last remaining Eldar warrior to this place, and they began to pour out of the relocated webway portals. Though only a fraction of their starting strength, there were still more than enough strike forces to eliminate the Tau... if they fought well. After all, Fate had decreed that the Eldar would stand victorious upon this day. Surely they must win.

Tyrioq nodded in satisfaction as he surveyed the apocalyptic landscape. It was a fitting place for death.

Augmented by his seer council, the Farseer reached into the heavens and cast a mighty shield of psychic force above the area. The skies crackled with power and the firmament shimmered where the field ran through it. No amount of firepower would breach it while Tyrioq still drew breath. His enemies would have to come to him through the ground now.
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#74 » Apr 02 2017 11:51

To all the comrades still in the field! It is almost midnight in the mid-western USA, and I have to go to bed! :sad:
Keep up the good fight, and anyone who wants to can take temporary command of the Shas'Vior'los'ar'tol
So until tomorrow.
Good night and good luck!

The TauMan
:fear:
Last edited by TauMan on Apr 03 2017 06:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#75 » Apr 02 2017 11:59

"All friendly units, this is Da'Anuk. We've just detected a massive energy spike in the south-east, over where the Ar'cea base used to be. I don't know how, but it looks like they've teleported the western pillar over there along with most of their remaining infrastructure. Concealment activity is now minimum, but the Kor are reporting that there's a massive energy field overhead, and they won't be able to get much in the way or orbital strikes through it. It seems to me like they're getting ready for a last stand. I say we stage a Mont'ka on it and push these aliens off our planet for good."

The cadre now raced south-east at top speed. they were already closing on the Ar'cea airbase's ruins when they noticed the teleport. It defied belief that they would be able to shift something like that in an instant, but Da'Anuk had seen stranger things in his lifetime. Regardless, it looked like Hunter Cadre Da'Anuk would be amongst the first there.

The signs of life began to grow sparser as they neared the site. Eventually not even lichens covered the bare tortured earth, and soon they were gliding across a dark grey and black wasteland of dust, glass and pulverised earth. At the epicentre of the devastation lay the Ar'cea, in a sprawling fortress that shined out with silver brilliance against the charred surroundings. The skies above were dark with crackling, malignant purple energy upon which clouds seemed to condense into hanging droplets of water and dirty smears of dust.

No other friendly support had arrived yet, but Hunter Cadre Da'Anuk would not need it. Now was the time to strike back.

Stopping a short distance away from the fortress perimeter, the Stingray heavy missile gunships attached to the cadre touched down behind broken fingers of seared rock, aimed their turrets towards the heavens, and let loose a full barrage. hunter missiles, submunition missiles, seeker and destroyer rockets rained down on the perimeter by the dozen. Thermobarric seeker missiles streaked into strong points, spilling out thick clouds that boiled into spectacular blasts that shattered wraithbone and alien alloy and crushed any Ar'cea unfortunate enough to be in the blast within their own armour. Closing the distance, the hammerheads began to pound the enemy with railgun fire and ion beams, and under this cover the devilfish powered into the breach to disgorge their cargo of Firewarriors onto the silver alien pavement, battlesuits landing with a series of crashes behind them.

The final battle had begun...
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#76 » Apr 03 2017 01:04

The Northern pillar had gone down under a concentrated assault from Tigershark ax-1-0 heavy railguns.

After the protective screening from the Ar’cea warlocks had been eliminated and the shield generator disabled by pathfinders and their EMP grenades, the flyers from the famed Titan Hunter Cadre had formed up an attack using simultaneous approach vectors from all points of the compass. That diluted the remaining defences and while several went down to desperate attacks from crimson Ar’cea fighters, the majority punched through unscathed.

Hypervelocity rounds pounded the pillar like a sledgehammer demolishing a rock statue, dismantling it bit by bit, shearing, burning off chunks of exotic material with every hit until the structure could no longer hold the pent up energy inside, which it finally disgorged in a titanic explosion.

*****
No rest for the Greater Good, Tash’shi thought to himself as the remnants of the task force were now being picked up by landing Mantas, to be redeployed to the final assault on the remaining Pillar. The Southern one had been taken out by the Kor’vattra, according to the latest reports. Already the foremost cadre in the area was starting their attack…
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#77 » Apr 03 2017 01:55

Monomolecular shurikens and plasma pulse bursts zipped through the air in all directions as the Tau pushed deeper into the complex. The Eldar had produced what could almost be described as a small city, a vast collection of gleaming jewel-studded pyramids, perfectly rounded domes and slender elegant spires between which ran an intricate labyrinth of pathways on the silver alien pavement. Pristine structures freshly relocated stood amongst burnt-out skeletal ruins of the old bombarded facility. The ashen skies began to darken with the fading sun.

Firewarrior teams swept through the fortress, pressing on towards the centre. Some were still mounted, travelling in their devilfish to a target before piling out to unleash a torrent of pulse fire at close range. For others, their transports lay burning on the pavement, and they advanced on foot, leapfrogging from cover to cover up the pathways. Behind them Cal'Ka'Eoro had formed up the cadre's static elements into a formidable firebase to secure their rear and keep the breach open. Every so often an infantry leader would pause to level his markerlight, bringing a seeker missile screaming down the pathways at a target of opportunity. Hammerheads fought a lethal game of cat-and-mouse with Falcons and Fire Prisms as the grav-tanks stalked each other amongst the buildings. Every so often a series of flashes from unseen burst cannons marked out where the stealth teams were clashing with lurking Striking Scorpions in the shadows. Ol'Ta led her squadron in chasing Vypers down the pathways, tearing them apart in iridescent fireballs with fusion blaster fire whenever they managed to get close. The cadre's riptide and crisis teams jumped from hot-spot to hot-spot, lending their firepower wherever needed.

At once a squad of Ar'cea in bulky suits of armour materialised behind Da'Anuk and his bodyguards in a corona of lightning. Ko'Ta'Kir swerved back to intercept as their leader levelled a sinister rifle at the Shas'O's back. A barely-visible line of mono-filament wire lanced out and struck the Shas'vre in her battlesuit's shoulder, dislocating it with a cascade of sparks as it unfurled into a twisted spiral. In response green team gunned the entire squad down in a hail of plasma bolts, fusion blasts and ion beams. The damage shoulder joint held firm, but could no longer move freely.

Da'Anuk was starting to worry. The Ar'cea they had encountered were fighting fanatically, but what was even more unsettling was that they seemed to only be the same black and bone marked troops as the ones they fought on the plains en route to the starport. From studying reports Da'Anuk was aware that there were likely at least two other Ar'cea formations on the planet's surface, but they currently seemed unaccounted for. He had a chilling feeling that the Ar'cea they were facing now were simply the lure in a Kau'yon.

More Tau forces were making their way to the Ar'cea fortress, and should start arriving soon. His cadre just needed to hold on until they did...

****


Clad in full dire ebony rune armour and a matching ghosthelm, with radiant singing spear in his hand, Tyrioq walked steadily towards the sounds of strife and battle with his seer council by his side. All about him Black Guardians and skimmers poured towards the breach like warp spiders around a foreign psychic presence. Support weapons were slid to the battle along their floating grav-repulsors, and war walkers prowled ahead like hungry predators. Above him, he could see the stars watching on with baited breath.

This was the moment, this was his destiny. Every fate and outcome brought him here, to this place, to this time.

"Why do you fight on?" he asked, as much to the Tau as anyone else, his words echoing through the psychic plane and the mind as much as they were carried across the air, "Surely you must know that this is where your path ends. Destiny is certain. The final verdict of Fate has been laid down. You cannot oppose it, any more than you can oppose the passage of time.

The ending has already been written, I have seen it. Your stars will burn, and your hero shall wither and die. My master Eldrad, greatest among our kind, shall awaken the last great hope of the Eldar and the worlds of the Mon-Keigh shall be drowned in darkness. From their ashes shall arise new lords, new heroes, new realms. All that you hold dear shall be swept aside and forgotten, while the glory of the Eldar is forged anew in the storm and the fire of the Rhana Dandra, and we shall rise into a shining age of kings. This is the way it must be, for this is the destiny that awaits us all. Fate cannot be denied.

Lay down your arms, and accept what is inevitable. What more do you fight for besides your own trivial survival? Hope? Duty? They are illusions foolish ones, as unreal as the holographic phantasms and concealment matrices that shield us from your gaze. Could it be for compassion for those you cherish? Their survival is no more relevant than your worthless existence. There is no way you can win. Even if you slaughter us all, you will be doomed by the future we will unleash.

So why then, do you fight us? Why do you persist?"
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#78 » Apr 03 2017 03:32

"proceed to last pillar? will do. Drake out."

The orca pilot had obviously gotten the message too, and now Drake felt the orca tilting forwards and the hum of the reactor increasing in volume.
"T'ahhh... Drake?"
"Yes?" It was one of the medic staff.
"Gray has woken up and insisted on getting to the fight.
"Oh... Goddamit!" Blasted woman! She should be resting!
"Sorry sir, there was nothing we could do to stop her."
A new voice patched in.
"She was summoned to settlement four. There I equipped her with the same suit you have, along with a new set of fun toys." It was O'vesa.
"Shas'ui?" Drake adressed the medic.
"Yes?"
"Thanks for informing me."

The orca dropped, and the hatch slid open. Drake made sure he had his weapons ready, and then flung himself towards the alien fortress. He dropped from on high, stealth field activating as he fell. He activated the jump-pack. His downward motion was arrested, and he swept through the breach made for the original assault.
"Drake of Covert Ops team 24-c here. Need a hand?"
He grinned.

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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#79 » Apr 03 2017 03:48

An ivory dome exploded from multiple impacts, sending shards of debris hurtling through the air. The Tau were making progress, but the fight had clearly not gone out of the Ar'cea, and they pressed at every angle, probing for weaknesses in the Tau positions and then fading back out of harm's way before too much firepower could be focused on them. Lines became tangled as buildings switched hands multiple times, one side rushing to occupy them as another left to attack elsewhere, or being forced to return and face new occupants after clearing them the first time.

But the Tau were unmistakably advancing.

An orca passing overhead brought the first of the Tau reinforcements, two Gue'vessa in bedecked in advanced prototype technology. It wasn't much of a follow-up wave, and it perhaps wasn't quite what Da'Anuck was looking for to bolster his advance, but he would take what he could get. The Tau opened a channel over the comm-net.

"Covert Ops team 24-c, this is Shas'O'T'au Kais'Ka'Eoro'Da'Anuk. It's great to see you here, we could use all the help we can get. The Ar'cea are still charging up that pillar in the centre of the compound, and we need it taken down before it can reach full power. If you can infiltrate your way towards it and knock it down it'd be a great help."
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#80 » Apr 03 2017 04:02

I rolled, my armoured form revealing itself to the tau attackers as I ran to the forefront of the fighting.
Skimmers swooped through the air, and twisting, curving catwalks rose above the fighting. A strike team was bunkered down behind a wrecked devilfish, pulse fire rending the air as the cyan flashes lit the pathway. Up ahead I saw several squads of Ar'cea nestled behind a corner, and I sent a fusillade of rail-rifle sabbots their way as I ran to cover the pinned team.

I decided to reactivate my stealth field, and I was again invisible. I crawled forwards, wary of low-flying projectiles from both sides. Several forms shifted in the darkness to one side, and I fired my rail-weapon, sabbots again shooting forth with their distinctive whip-crack to send Ar'cea to their death.

I had grabbed another lance when I stopped at settlement four, and now I deactivated my stealth and jumped, high above to land crashing on the squad round the corner. Helmets shattered and alien died as I swept my weapon back and forth, causing the few Ar'cea left to run in terror. A stealth flicker caught my attention, and a wave of pulse fire swept over the survivors. An advanced set of body armour uncloaked, revealing Gray.

Why did she have to come, Why? She should be resting


We sprinted for the archway, but only got to a crater in the silver pathway before stumbling and falling, a booming voice filling both our heads and ears. "why do you fight on? Surely you...." The voice continued, weaving an image of desolation and death. Why am I still fighting?
Gray must have seen something in my face. "Drake?" That familiar voice asked in my ear.

"Drake, snap out of it. Think, what are you fighting for? What do you want to save, to protect? What do you fight for?"
I wanted to answer, but in the middle of a battlefield was not the time. You. For you, for the enclaves, for squad 24-c, for Teren, for Kant... For you.

I snapped out of my reverie.
"Recloak, Gray. we have to infiltrate towards the pillar."
"Ok."

We moved, our stealth fields protecting us as we moved towards the pillars. I still had that one extra-powerful charge left, and Gray had a whole belt-full of fusion charges. Slowly, quietly, we moved towards the pillar.

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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#81 » Apr 03 2017 04:14

We continued our stealthy advance, and before long we were running past Ar'cea reinforcements movin towards the front line. There was no help now. We were truly on our own. we only communicated via comms, and every so often we would send word back to O'Da'Anuk, informing him of our progress.

The pillar loomed ever closer, and soon we passed the source of the voices in our heads, a group of leaders and nobles that proceeded at a fast pace towards the main tau incursion. Soon after we passed the one remaining wraithgate, and the reinforcements arriving there. We were almost there. The pillar loomed in front of us, and our few fusion charges seemed woefully inadequate to fell the mighty colossus that was our objective.

"Drake to O'Da'Anuk, We have reached the pillar. Please advise on what to do. Both me and Gray are equipped with markerlights and we have a few melta charges. There are few guards." Gray patched in.
"Also be advised there is a group of leaders of some sort heading towards your position."
Drake took charge again.
"We await your orders."

Spoiler!
I am going to sleep for now, so anyone who wants to can take control of the two gue'vesa. Tau'va, goodnight, and good luck.

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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#82 » Apr 03 2017 05:14

Da'Anuk stepped along the rubble-chocked pathway, crushing debris under the armoured hooves of his battlesuit. Ahead was a team of Firewarriors, pinned down by a torrent of micro-missile fire from dark armoured Ar'cea on a catwalk above. He activated the command and control node on the battlesuit's jetpack hardpoint, transmitting a direct feed to his bodyguards. The following salvo of missiles from them blew apart the delicate catwalk, sending the Ar'cea tumbling downwards. While they were in disarray the three battlesuits gunned them down with a volley of plasma bolts.

It was getting darker now, and though he could not see for sure Da'Anuk assumed it would be nightfall shortly. None of this felt right at all. So much of the Ar'cea's fighting seemed like a delaying measure, something to hold the Tau in place. And most of the friendly forces still had yet to arrive. Were they delayed? Had they been ambushed and wiped out in transit?

Still, Ko'Ta'Kir was right before, however bad things seemed now, they had been through worse. What was needed now was to focus on the job at hand. His forces would clear out the Ar'cea one way or another if they had to.

The Ar'cea's words sounded as clearly in the Tau commander's mind as anywhere else. He thought over them for a while, and from a certain point of view he was right - after all, what was the Greater Good but the collective will, which governed all those following it?

But then he thought about how he saw the Tau'va, what it meant to him. And he knew that that whatever destiny the Tau might have, it would not be dictated to them by aliens who massacred colonies without provocation. He opened a channel to all global Tau forces.

"All friendly forces, this is Da'Anuk," he began, "It might have occurred to you that our enemy is sure of what will come in the future. It might seem that the whole universe is on rails, irrevocably sliding down towards a pre-determined path.

Ask any Shas why they fight and they will give you the same answer - the Tau'va. And if you ask that same Shas what the Tau'va is they will give you the same answer - that it's exactly that, the Greater Good, what's best for everyone. Not just a privileged few, not just one species, not just the majority, but everyone. No exceptions made.

But when you ask that Shas what they see the Greater Good as, then things get interesting. Some see it as a powerful empire dominating the stars. Some see it as a world where there are no longer any problems. Others might even tell you it is when all give up their will to the collective whole. Let me tell you how I see it.

I see freedom. Not freedom from choice, but the freedom to choose. I see the Tau'va as people, as civilised species, as individuals from all corners coming together and working out how to get the best from everyone, for everyone. Because the truth is, we are all different - whether you are a dedicated proud commander in the Empire's armies, or a fiercely independent warlord of the Enclaves, whether you are calm and patient or bold and headstrong, whether you are an intrepid Kor or an inventive Fio, whether you are Tau or Gue'la or Kroot or Vespid or Nicassar or any other one of a thousand different species that lives and thrives across the east of the galaxy, we are all unique. And as we are all unique so too are our paths towards the Tau'va unique as well, as we come together to bring all of our own unique strengths and talents in harmony for the Greater Good. And because they are all unique to us, only we can truly find our way along them.

So if having the freedom to choose one's path along the Tau'va is against the edicts of your gods and prophecies, then I will fight them as I will any other enemy of the Tau Empire, because everyone deserves to have those choices.

Why then do I fight? I fight so that they can choose."

Da'Anuk switched over to a secure channel and patched through to the Gue'vessa infiltration team. "Drake this Da'Anuk. Commence demolition of the alien pillar."
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#83 » Apr 03 2017 05:30

"Enemy approaching!" the Fire Warrior beside Tash’shi shouted, the actinic flashes and supersonic crack of his pulse rifle fire mingling with the eerie whistling sound of shuriken weapons that were showering their positions with lethal monomolecular discs.

A Shas'la behind him screamed as one of the rounds penetrated his thigh armour and detonated, ripping off the entire appendage in a grisly bloom of blood, flesh and bone. Another suddenly slumped forward, headless, cleanly burned away by a superheated stream of plasma.

The steady torrent of return fire from the Tau infantry squad tore up the terrain around the Ar’cea, forcing them back by their sheer intensity. The lithe forms of the Eldar rangers could be seen dashing backwards, quickly and deftly picking their way up the steep crater walls as if they were merely walking on flat ground.

They had arrived at the Western edge of the crater via Manta just moments back, the large dropship stopping just long enough for the troops to disembark before hurrying back to the starport to ferry the next group of Tau reinforcements. There were too many weapons in the Ar’cea arsenal that could actually hurt the Mantas to have them loiter on the frontlines, even if they could reasonably act as a fire platform if needed.

"La’rua, advance by teams!" Tash’shi bellowed, breaking out at a run for the next piece of cover, encouraging the remaining members of his fire-team to do the same. But they had made no more than a few yards progress when a storm of murderous fire fell upon them, churning up the ground around them. Tash’shi threw himself to the ground, barely avoiding the fusillade that, to his horror, sliced apart the torso of the warrior to his left.

This was turning to be a bloody, full frontal charge more commonly seen in the Gue’la way of war and attrition rather than that of the Shas, he thought as he crawled forward amidst the chaos of battle. But the Shas’ar’tol had assured that there was a plan behind all this. They were to be the protective and if necessary, sacrificial shield for the next force that had been dropped in several manta lengths to their rear.

For the Tau surmised, if the heaviest firepower of the Kor’vattra was currently being held back by the shield, the simplest solution was to bring that firepower into the shield. And at this time there was only one ground based platform which could mount the standard starship rail cannon array – the KX-139 Ta’unar Supremacy Battlesuit.

Now one of these colossi stomped forward on the path cleared with the blood of the Tau skimmer squadrons that had pushed forward in a crescent shape around it to deal with potential threats, while Riptides shadowed its flanks, counter fire defence systems and interceptor arrays scanning and covering each approach arc, ready to step into the line of fire with their nova boosted shields.

At the very least, even if it failed, this would draw the attention of the defenders and hopefully make it possible for other forces to strike the killing blow.
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#84 » Apr 03 2017 05:48

Tyrioq felt the steady rhythm through the ground long before its shape appeared in the distance. He needed neither sight nor touch to know of the lumbering monstrosity's presence, for now the battle was proceeded exactly as he had foreseen it. The Tau might turn from one strand to the other in their desperate bid for survival, but there was no way to escape the fate that intertwined them all. Even now he already knew the exact location the Ta'unar was approaching from, right down to the colour of the ground beneath its feet, all from his scrying foresight.

As predicted, the Tau had brought forth one of their largest weapons to bear. Now it was time for the Eldar to respond in kind. "Farseer," said one of his seer council, "They have deployed a titan."

"I know, I saw they would," Tyrioq replied, "Let us return the gesture ten-fold. Turn loose the Warlock."

The main wraithgate rippled and dilated, and from its swirling portal emerged, towering over the structures of the fortress, was a Warlock titan. As large as a Phantom class, its sleek round control pod was pitch black save for the band of spirit stone which blazed with crimson radiance in the darkness. Rising from it's back like angelic wings were an array of power vanes, and at it's arms were an eldritch psychic lance and immense power fist. The entire gargantuan construct thrummed and pulsed with the unimaginable power coursing through its wraithbone core.

As it advanced to the front pulse bursts, missiles and hypersonic projectiles seemed to unerringly miss any targets around it. Even ion beams seemed to bend away from the Eldar nearby. At the same time, where it strode every Eldar shot found its mark, every Eldar blow struck turned fatal.

With a graceful speed that defied it's colossal size, the Warlock titan marched towards the Ta'unar...
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#85 » Apr 03 2017 02:41

"...commence demolition of the pillar."
I switched to Gray's channel.
"We start the demolition now. Follow me."
We set off over the open ground, confident in our stealth fields. We reached the pillar.

We started placing charges, my super-charge on one corner and the rest spread out. This is where it got dangerous. In order to place the charges we had to uncloak, but we did not know if there were guards hidden in the shadows. We continued to set up, charges placed then primed with a twist of the casing. We placed them roughly five metres up, jumping to place them. This would ensure we got the machinery inside.

The last of the charges set, we raced away, recloaking as we sprinted, stealty only when we got several hundred metres away. I opened a channel. "O'Da'Anuk, this is Drake. All charges set. Standing by for the detonation order. In case we are taken out, the activation channel is 223-109. Awaiting your order."

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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#86 » Apr 03 2017 05:35

Colony YK-7: Somewhere, probably in the general vicinity of the southern pillar. Best guess anyway?

Bob the Builder
Can we fix it?
Bob the Builder
Yes, we can!
Hey!
Time to get busy, such a lot to do
Building and fixing till it's good as new
Bob and the gang have so much fun
Working together, they get the job done...


Bob stopped singing long enough to feel the vibrations coming through the bulkhead of the model 1936 Binford 40,000 A.T.J.D.T. Battlesuit. Then there was nothing. Bob waited for what seemed like minutes, but was really a hour.

Nothing. So he resumed singing.

Can we build it? Yeah!
Can we fix it? Yeah!
Bob the Builder
Can we fix it?


But wait there is was again, and Bob could feel an almost imperceptible jerky motion, accompanied by a scraping sound coming from the hull.

Then nothing again.

Bob the Builder
Can we fix it?
Bob the Builder
Yes, we can!


Suddenly the console lit up and the interior lights came on. And a voice spoke into this ear, 'Bob can you hear me? We're right outside trying to get your right side up. Can you hear me Bob?'

'Hot damn! Is that you Phred?'

'Yes, it's me. Bronco and Slim have jury rigged a power source to the battlesuit. Can you initiate gyroscopic hull alignment?'

'Sure thing there sweetheart! Anything for my favourite cybernetic life form. Here goes.'

The result was less than stellar, a low whine and the inner-hull began its grandmotherly stroll to realign with the outer hatch. And bored at the slow progress of the realignment, Bob now sang at the top of his lungs.

BOB THE BUILDER
CAN WE FIX IT?
BOB THE BUILDER
YES, WE CAN!
YEAH!


'Bob, stop singing. I can't concentrate!' said Phred in Bob's ear.

'BOB THE BUILDER, CAN WE....Whoa there cyber babe! You're an arcology network, so you concentration can't be disturbed by anything.'

'Don't call me babe Roboute! I can still be irritated by your singing. Why do you think I never attend any of your concerts? And I only joined the band because you asked me to.'


'You know Phred that really hurts. It really does.'

The hulls lined up and the both hatches opened, and Bob felt a rush of fresh air blow into the battlesuit. But the best part was seeing Jim's mohawk, and Bronco's dreadlocks. Then the smell of wood fire and hot coffee hit Bob, and he gave them a big smile.

'We t'ought we lost yuh mon!' shouted Bronco, as he and Jim pulled him out of the A.T.J.D.T. Battlesuit.

Outside of the battlesuit Bob could see it was entangled with an Eldar Wraith Lord. And like a bowling ball making a strike, it had scattered a squad of Wraith Guard as well. Looking around, he could see a parked black Devilfish, alongside which a campfire was going. Durango and Slim waved to him, and so Bob and his rescuers joined them around the fire. The evening sky was turning from blue to purple to red; and the first stars were starting to appear.

Durango handed Bob a steaming cup of hot coffee, 'Hey vato check it out. Got supper all ready for ya! None of that Tau ready-to-eat-meals, but real food. Got a big pot of chili verde, corn tortillas..and I even have some pork carnitas cooking!'

"Whooee, guess we're eating good tonight boys!'

'Sorry, Bob but all of our A.T.J.D.T. Battlesuits are out of commission. We will not be rejoining the fight anytime soon,' said Slim ladling Bob out a big bowl of chili verde.

'Oh, hell Slim. I think we done enough for the A.T.T. Orbital this here tau'cyr! What do think boys?'

'HEEEEYAAAAH!' they all shouted in return.

'Alright then boys let's eat.'

Then as the whole team dug into their chili verde and corn tortillas, Bob turned to Phred and said, 'Okay, since y'all don't like my singing Phred. Why don't you grab a guitar and serenade us with your lovely cybernetic voice?'

'Will do Bob. How about the Red River Valley?"

'Sounds fine by me Phred.'

Phred picked up Bob's twelve string began singing, but then Bronco joined in on the harmonica.

From this valley they say you are going,
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile,
For they say you are taking the sunshine
Which has brightened our pathways a while.

Come and sit by my side if you love me;
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
But remember the Red River Valley,
And the girl that has loved you so true...


The Red River Valley

*****
Last edited by TauMan on Apr 04 2017 01:04, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#87 » Apr 03 2017 05:49

"Detonate." The order came over the comms.

Drake pressed the activation trigger.
The fusion charges activated in a riotous explosion, chunks of wraithbone scything outwards as the pillar's base disintegrated. The noise was unbearable, and even at a distance Drake instinctively clutched the sides of his head in pain. A pop sounded as something burst. Then he could here nothing. "Audio muting activated." Thank the tau'va.

The shock wave rolled outwards, pulverising the buildings and throwing Drake and Gray outwards. His head hit a corner, and his vision swam with stars and went black.

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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#88 » Apr 03 2017 06:03

The Warlock Titan bounded across the wasteland to its target, the Tau superheavy walker before it dwarfed by its massive statuesque stature. Inside the titan, immersed in the flowing energy that radiated from its wraithbone core, the steersman in his meditative trance was confronted with a vision - the Ta'unar turning and leveling its heavy railgun array at him, mass-induced targeting systems driving the hypersonic projectile straight at the command pod he now resided in. Breaking from his foresight, the steersman looked out through the titan's sensors to see the squat Tau walker with its heavy railgun trained straight at where he rested.

This would not be. With a single thought the steersman brought the Warlock Titan into a weaving turn, while simultaneously bending the fated space-time of the shot's trajectory away to where it could do no harm. The hypersonic shell struck only the titan's shimmering holofield, passing straight through and smashing into a slender spire in the fortress behind.

Now the Warlock Titan struck, loosing a blast from its psychic lance. The violet flare of arcane energy surged from the long jewel-encrusted lance and washed over the Ta'unar with horrifying force. Armour plates twisted and buckled, literally recoiling from the force as if out of fear before falling away in tears of liquid metal and strange twisted shapes. icy bolts crackled around the walker as its barrier shield struggled against the eldritch onslaught, straining to blunt the worst of its destruction. Inside their machine the Ta'unar's crew screamed in hideous pain. Azure blood began to run from one crewmember's nasal slit, while it dripped from around the eyes of another. The third banged his head against his control panel and against the sides of the cockpit in a desperate bid to stop the ghastly screeching and terrible crushing sensation inside his skull. And then just like a storm the wave of psychic energy passed over the walker, leaving it damaged but still standing.

Now the Warlock Titan closed the distance to the Ta'unar in full and a terrible clash of giants began. As the Eldar titan lunged forward the Tau walker fired its fusion cascades point blank. At such close distances no amount of psychic trickery would avoid the searing fusion blasts, and the titan recoiled as they struck its lower torso section in an eruption of cool-coloured flame and energy discharges. In response the Warlock Titan raised its power fist and swung down at the Ta'unar, ripping off the shoulder-mounted weapons in one massive swipe. The Ta'unar fired again with its fusion cascades, this time hitting the titan's elegant rear wings where they met the shoulder. In a spectacular pair of detonations they fell to earth, leaving sparking, crackling mechanical wounds where they had been. But the Warlock struck the final blow, bringing its power fist down and smashing apart the Ta'unar's central control centre in a maelstrom of sparks and fire. The stricken Tau walker stumbled back, wobbled for a few ominous moments, then fell to earth with a thunderous crash.

But now the Warlock Titan stood exposed, its holofield generators destroyed. And now it was vulnerable...

Far away on the edge of the wasteland the tracer missile carriers had arrived, and wasted no time in setting up. As the massive skimmers touched down on the surface, their enormous square engine pods swung forward to their storage position, allowing the immense silos behind them to be raised to launch position. From within the central command vehicle, the battery commander could easily see on his displays the most immediate threat, and immediately gave the order to prepare to fire. The superheavy warheads would be able to finish off the Ar'cea titan, but they needed someone to guide them in...

"All units within vicinity of the Ar'cea titan," the battery commander said over the comm-net to any nearby unit with a markerlight, "This is tracer missile battery R-12. We have a full compliment of tracer missiles primed and ready to launch, but we need a positive targeting fix. Light the target Shas'la!"

****


Now the Enclave Tau had finally arrived at the battle, and they poured through their own two breaches on either side of the one made by Hunter Cadre Da'Anuk, shoring up the flanks of the Empire Tau and moving outward to sweep the compound clean, fighting with all the fury of their hot-blooded icon.

Da'Anuk and his bodyguards dropped down into a space between two buildings, evading a volley of plasma bolts loosed from a trio of slender Ar'cea combat walkers just up ahead. As the war walkers advanced past their hiding place the battlesuits emerged behind them and blew them apart with ion and missile fire.

"This is Da'Anuk, detonation order is a go, bring that pillar down!"

For a few moments there was silence. Then a series of brilliant explosions rippled up the towering device. It stood, riddled with craters and holes, for what seemed like an eternity. Then crackling eldritch energy began to spill out from the ruptures, sending monstrous lightning arcing out in all directions. The Gue'vessa were hardened veterans from their service in both the Tau and Gue'la militaries. They knew when to duck and cover, and quickly took shelter in an abandoned crystal pyramid.

The energy washed over the final pillar, consuming it in a raging corona of violent purples. The alien structure was ripped apart by the uncontrollable force, which seemed to fold in on itself until it was barely the size of a pinprick. Then it burst forth, rocketing towards the sky in a spectacular plume of energy.

Nothing remained where the pillar had once been.

****


Tyrioq watched with anguish as the final pillar imploded in the vortex. He sensed the tortured pain of the spirits inside the crippled Warlock Titan, and his heard screamed in sorrow. The pillars were now gone, there would be no Vaul's Torment for the Tau orbital above. But not all was yet lost. If he could simply slay the Tau already on the planet, his true targets. then victory would still belong to the Eldar.

The Farseer reached out with his mind, probing the pillar's final resting place for the perpetrators. At last he found them, sensing their presence coming towards the main battle after having escaped the blast. Even now they had recovered from unconsciousness and were coming up the same way they had come, no doubt seeking to hunt down the Eldar at the rear of the fray. They were hidden from mortal vision by impressively creative concealment technologies - for a younger race at least - but their minds could not hide from his Witch-Sight. The Farseer sensed something horrifyingly familiar about one of him, something he had not felt since-

Yes, it could only be him, the Mon-Keigh who had dared to meddle with the arcane forces of the beyond, and threatened the webway directly. Tyrioq seethed with rage knowing that he still yet lived. The Farseer did not recognise his companion, but there was nonetheless a strange connection that he could feel running between them... almost as if... No, surely it could not be! What could these primitive beasts possibly know of affection and adoration, they who still huddled by fire in ragged skins when the Eldar explored all the utter exhilarating heights of blissful entwinement, all the burning golden joys of knowing that one was apart of something greater, together with another who matched so seamlessly with them it was impossible to discern where one ended and the other began. What would these feral creatures know of the longing to be united upon every level and plane with the one their very soul reached out to embrace?

Still, the pattern was unmistakable, and in his yearning for retribution Tyrioq devised a most fitting punishment for this Mon-Keigh's crimes. He would see for himself now whether these animals were truly capable of devotion. The Farseer began to focus on the second Mon-Keigh, the one called 'Grey'.

War was fought on many levels, and in many theatres, but perhaps the most dangerous and violent battles of all were fought somewhere so small and intimate that it was invisible to the mundane eye. And now it was this place that the battle came to as Tyrioq waged Mind War upon the female Mon-Keigh. She stumbled and fell screaming, blood dripping from her nose and weeping from here eyes as capillary walls began to collapse under his terrible psychic invasion. Her will was strong, and she resisted with all the inner force she could spare for the mental duel, but it was a losing battle against the might of an Eldar Farseer. He could have ended her life here and now, squeezing the energy from the nerves in her primitive dull brain like juice from a fruit, but he wanted the other Mon-Keigh to suffer. He wanted him to feel hope that he might save this one he cared about, just as Tyrioq had hoped to triumph with the Pillars of Vaul, only snatching that chance away at the last minute. So he turned his attentions elsewhere, leaving only enough focus on the Mon-Keigh female to continue pressing down upon her feeble mind.

Now the battle was truly joined, and Tyrioq and his seers laid about the Tau all around them with the full arcane might of Ulthwe. Destructor blasts scoured Tau from their hiding places, psychic guidance drew forth death for even more as they led the fire of the Eldar around them to perfect precision. Powers of concealment and fortune protected them from retaliation as they continued the slaughter, slashing and hacking with their witchblades and leaving Tau bodies wherever they struck, smoke billowing from within their armour. A hammerhead appeared near them, its long railgun tracking some distant target. Tyrioq loosed his singing spear at the beast with an elegant throw, and the blade cleaved through the air before striking the skimmer in the side, punching straight through one engine and out of the other before twisting in the air and returning to its master while the grav-tank fell and burned. And in his heart Tyrioq knew that these were the final fated moments.

ELDAR! PROPHECY COMES TO PASS!
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