Big Game V – Chapter Forty Four: Roundhammer

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Niers walked onto the bridge of Thor’s Gaze to witness a blood soaked shouting match.

“What in the Emperor’s name is going on?” He bellowed above the fray.  Several seconds passed before anyone answered.

“Sir…” a redheaded ensign that Niers instantly hated replied “… we were receiving a transmission from a ship from Battlegroup Chelan saying that they were nearly here to provide us with reinforcements and… well…” the ensign gestured towards a pile of gore that had probably once been their Astropath.  Niers grimaced.  “At that time, sensors indicated a massive amount of Warp activity…”

“Son, speak plainly or shut up.  What has happened here?” Niers interrupted.  Instead of speaking, the ensign sat at one of the consoles, tapped out a sequence, and brought the exterior views onto the main screen.  The sky pulsed with an unhealthy magenta light, and swirled with eddies and distortions.

“God Emperor preserve our souls…” Captain Kromby whispered aloud.  Such was the silence of the bridge that his prayer echoed.  He was answered only by the dripping of the Astropath’s blood.  Minutes passed before Niers snapped out of shock

“Kromby, get me tactical analyses from all task forces, and request updates from all Astartes groups.  If we’re stuck here, we need to hang on for as long as possible.”

“Sir, we’re receiving a message for Admiral Niers, from Atrus of the Azure Flames.  Text only.” Someone said.

“Put it through to my ready room.” Niers answered.  Niers spun on his heel and returned to his chair.  He pulled up the message and decoded it.  The message was short.  It gave a description of the magnitude of the Warp Storm, which once again enveloped the entire Chasma Spica.  It also claimed that the key to the Warp Storm was on Iperin, and that only a full-on assault could end the storm and free the Imperial forces.  If Atrus was right, and the Archemeny could control Warp Storms of this magnitude then all possible force had to be directed against them.  He opened a channel to the bridge.

“Kromby, once we have a new Astropath in place, send a message to all Imperial forces in the sector.  Message begins: Roundhammer.  Message ends.  Do not repeat.”

“Aye sir, Roundhammer, I shall send it immed…” Niers cut him off and buried his face in his hands.  A massive offensive against Iperin Prime now would be costly, but there was no other option.  This was not the Gothic War; they had no place to re-supply.  They must win, now, or be crushed utterly.

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