And so the mission starts: Episode Four of The Space Crusade "A Quick in and Out!" What could go wrong?
Mission Transcript: Blood Angels Insertion Phase
[Sgt: Hammer] "Mission Control, confirm Blood Angels are down and bridgehead established. Preliminary scan complete .. residual alien traces detected behind bulkhead Z05, attack formation SPEAR OF DESTINY, Sergeant to the head .. door blown, I see it! Humanoid eliminated. Troopers form defensive perimeter to assess situation. Groc, Rookies! Don't cluster. I said no clustering, this Zone is still HOT! Spread out!
The Blood Angels landing triggers an immediate counterattack by a half squad of Chaos Space Marines that (in fairness) manages to "get lucky" and target a cluster missile in the tight confines of a corridor. The damage effect of "three hits" exceeds the protective armour of two and takes out all the Blood Angel Troopers within the blast zone, "Gulp" (see below, Chaos never has it so good, thirty victory points to Chaos and it's still turn one!):
Seen from the killer's perspective, the Chaos Space Marine Heavy Weapon Drone (Note: Those of "keen sight" [GW modelling aficionados] may detect I am 'filling in' for the official figures (of Space Marines) with Tau ones, as I had the latter "close to hand and painted"). The Drone has "Line of Sight" (LOS) after moving out from its hidden position (see below, the Space Marine's mission already seems to be in jeopardy [ED: I can say with glee being the Chaos Commander]):
Mission Transcript: The Imperial Fist Insertion Phase
[Sgt Doom] "Fists down! All quiet. Repeat, All quiet. Scan reveals partial trace scan but all distant and receding. Troopers for m perimeter defence. Code: Epsilon. Caution, Accessing situation. Sounds of heavy incoming fire coming from Red-2. Repeat "bridgehead in sector Yellow-2 achieved! Praise to the Emperor" [Transmission End]
The Imperil Fist sector is strangely quiet (Sarge I don't like it [Ed: My eldest son was sitting in for the regular until he arrived so I wasn't trying to kill him fast]), most of the Chaos blips seem to be moving "away" from the incursion, regrouping? Then out of a concealed passageway a grotesque humanoid Chaos creature (a nominal orc) sprung out at a surprised Space Marine Trooper and engaged him in Hand-2-Hand combat (see below, middle right, [Ed: OK I wasn't going to be easy on him]):
Mission Transcript: The Imperial Fist Mission Post Insertion Update Data Burst
[Sgt Doom] "Trooper down! Trooper Down! Where did that THING come from? Form Perimeter defence. Mutual zones of fire, repeat no one gets isolated!" [Transmission Ends]
The Chaos "hit and run" tactics seem to be working better than could have been suspected (lucky dice [Ed: Slight pang of remorse, but no much as that is another 10 points]). The Imperial Fists hit back by dispatching a Gretchin/Necron (delete as applicable) servo droid but then all returns to "quiet" (see below):
Meanwhile in the Ultra Marine sector (Note: Nice decals) the Space Marines fan out and deploy. Again everything seems to be avoiding contact. The Space Marines are drawn forwards. All three half-tactical squads are separated from one another (giving no mutual support). The Ultra Marine Commander also forgot about his equipment card that could be used to reveal the identity of three random blips (Ed: To be fair so had I, but by now he should have been a veteran, it can be tough in the Corp). Then three of those random blips revealed themselves. Just a Dreadnought and two Kiler Androids.
Mission Transcript: The Ultra Marines Mission Post Insertion Update Data Burst#1
[Sgt Tosh] "Negate that. Landing Zone active, the big one is coming my way with two side-kicks in toe. Priming Mega Bomb, I'm gonna settle this thing Hand-2-Hand" [Transmission Ends]
Multiple things happen in quick succession. A Gretchin throws a fragmentation grenade that bounces off the two Space Marines playing "tail end Charlie" spooking them. The Hand-2-Hand combat goes very badly for Sgt Tosh and he disengages with a single hit point left. A killer Android tries to follow up but is cut in two by the Ultra Marines infamous Power Chain Sword [Ed: Cannot have it all my own (Chaos) way].
Mission Transcript: The Ultra Marines Mission Post Insertion Update Data Burst#2
[Sgt Tosh] "Situation BLUE! Repeat situation BLUE. Initiating Medi-Pack Heal [Ed: Back to full hit points, damn]. No more Mega Bombs left but I'm going back in [Ed: Ooops Chaos may not get those good combat rolls a second time]" [Transmission Ends]
To the stunned horror of the gathered Space Marine Commanders (all Chapters) the Hand-2-Hand is almost an exact duplicate of the first one. Despite a "Double Attack" Order by the Ultra Marines the dice of Chaos laugh at the upstart Space Marines threat. The "Double Attack" becomes just a way of hurting Sgt Tosh twice. Grimacing Tosh again retires to the relatively safe bulkhead (with a single hit point again), only to then hear the piecing scream of two Ultra Marines dying with the sound of "Genestealer!" in his internal com unit. [Ed: Another fifteen points to Chaos, I have no fear of being turned into "chaotic primordial soup" for a bad performance now! In fact if I hold onto this lead I will be promoted and win the campaign. Careful, pride comes before a fall!]. The only "blot" on this turn is when I attempt to annihilate the last remaining Ultra Marine Troopers my "humanoids" are stopped in their tracks (see below, so are the unflattering whims of Chaos):
The Blood Angel Commander is surrounded and taking hits, though killing anything that dares to come within range of his sword arm. Still there are two Chaos Marines Heavy Weapons making his life hard, a hoard of green things in the distance and a Killer Android moving up close. Not looking good. Bad news comes from the Imperial Fists sector as they lose another trooper [Ed: Another five victory points]. There is no way out for the Space Marines. The tactical half-units are too battered to fight their way to give mutual support without being isolated from their docking claw exit points. The Blood Angel Commander will have to tough it out (see below):
Incoming Mother-Ship Transmission:
[Commander Beal] Event-21 Recall [Transmission Ends]
"Event-21" is triggered (as the finite time duration of the game we set expires, people have things to do and families to go back home to). The Blood Angels and Ultra Marines have cannily kept "blind grenades" which mean a clean escape. The Imperial Fists briefly tinker with the concept of taking a few more Chaos with them but the thought of a Genestealer on the prowl, at least two androids and an undamaged Dreadnought soon change their minds.
So ends the "Space Crusade" in Sector "Olaf-Gamma-5" as Chaos begins its rightful place or rather reign in this small part of the mega-universe. The Space Marine Fleet hastily disengages (I am sure the Inquisition will have something to say about this debacle) in disgrace while the Chaos Commander is raised to the glory and status of being a Hero of Chaos, which on the downside means he gets assimilated with some strange Chaos creature that resembles a giant squid (but gets brilliant telepathic powers, that send him completely insane) .. his mother would definitely not recognise him now, she thought the tattoo was bad enough.
Next stop ... a few summer nights in the pub discussing tactics ... and then Frost Grave in the autumn when the nights draw in. Thanks for the memories gents!