Dark days have begun for the small Imperial planet of Phaeton. Across the world city after city has fallen to the grasp of Chaos. One of the final places to fall was the capital city of Brunel, which was named after one of the greatest heroes of the planet. The people of the city fought valiantly in his name and for the Emperor. However, the choke hold of Chaos finally eroded at the city's defenses and the town collapsed. Rebels holding out in a remote mountain range east of the city sent a distress call in hopes of some aid but by the time the call was intercepted by the Pride of Macragge and it made transit to the system 1 year had passed. One small tactical squad was dispatched from the cruiser to the planet's surface to discover the extent of the planet's fall to Chaos. They quickly found themselves in a perilous situation with no chance of extaction and had to stay planetside til a planetary siege took place. One of their battle brothers had fallen in the fighting and had to be left behind as they tried to get out of the city and link up with the resistance. In a midnight run an Aquila shuttle was dispatched from the battle cruiser to drop off a container of medical supplies to the beleagured defenders and recover the remains of the battle brother who had fallen. If his geneseed fell into the hands of the enemy it would be a shame to the 3rd Company to which he belonged.
Everything was quiet as the small Aquila ship descended carrying the container of medial supplies. It swiftly covered the distance to the rendezvous point where the resistance claimed the hero’s body was. Along the way the pilot spotted in the middle of the road a sacrificial altar and then further ahead the fallen marine's body. He knew something was terribly wrong with no one guarding the body and awaiting the pick up. As the pilot pulled up attempting to abort the mission his shuttle was blown out of the sky by a barrage of heavy autocannon fire.
With the covert operation failed the Ultramarine Company Master knew there was no time to waste and sent a call out to all Imperial units in the sector.
Several units responded. The valiant Grey Knights had been in pursuit of a Chaos Daemon Prince dedicated to Nurgle and had tracked him to Phaeton. Their arrival took place 2 days after the Ultramarines call for assistance. The Sisters of Battle had also been in the sector and stopped their envoy exchange with the eldar. They asked for their help to join the battle at hand before departing. The Eldar agreed to help having their own agenda that only they knew.
The decision was made to hit the main capital city of Brunel. The Ultramarines wished to recover their fallen brother if possible and both the Grey Knights and Ultramarines wished to put a stop to whatever ritual the Chaos forces planned. Emperor willing, they would stop the ritual and kill the Daemon Prince whom they believed was the mastermind of everything happening on the planet. If that happened they would effectively cut off the head of the Chaos forces. Planetfall was made in the early dawn.
The Ultramarines were able to clear a landing zone near the altar and dropped all troops in using their Thunderhawk gunships. The Grey Knights plunged their forces thru the planet's atmosphere using their drop pods but unknown to them the archenemy had a disruptor beacon within the city and forced the Grey Knights into a landing not of their choosing. The Adeptus Sororitas held most of their forces in reserve having sworn to retreive the fallen marines body. The Eldar also held most of their forces in reserve committing only one of their Super Heavy grav tanks known as a Scorpion amongst the Imperial forces and one of their Fire Prisms also.
It was quickly discovered by the Imperials and Eldar though that this was not a fight just against the tainted forces of the Archenemy. It was also a fight that would involve the despicable Dark Eldar and the hated Tyranids. Why the Tyranids and Dark Eldar were fighting alongside the forces of Chaos can only be guessed at. With the Dark Eldar it can only be surmised that they were hunting for more slaves and saw the carnage taking place on the planet as an opportunity to gain them. With the Tyranid they probably only wished to gain as much biomass as possible. The idea that the Hive Mind would communicate with anyone and work with any race towards a common goal was hard to believe.
The Imperial forces quickly moved into action. Both the Eldar and the Grey Knights were able to call on their ships in orbit to bring down orbital bombardments. The Eldar using their farseers to conjure up an Eldritch Storm of epic intensity and the Grey Knights using their gun batteries on their cruiser in orbit. Any further fire by ground forces was temporarily delayed though thru some dark magic conjured up by the Dark Eldar. They projected a veil of darkness across the battlefield that obscured both vision and even electronic sensors. The Imperials and Eldar were effectively blind during the opening stage of the battle. They were able to slaughter lesser Tyranids by the score and take out both their disruptor beacon and one of their vaunted Defilers in the initial bombardment. The Ultramarines who were the first to see major action bore the brunt of the enemies counter attack but were able to hold the line despite facing no less than 5 of the Archenemies Woe Machines (Baneblades and Shadowswords predominantly). The Dark Eldar concentrated their efforts on the Eldar as one might expect. They attempted to breach the vaunted Scorpion's shields but most of their strikes from their dark lances were shrugged off. One managed to breach shields and armor alike and caused some internal damage. Inaccurate artillery fire from the enemies Basilisks also struck it and and caused further structural damage but it managed to survive nontheless. The enemies artillery killed numerous Tyranids in the attempt of which I am sure they cared not.
In the second phase of the battle the Archenemy took the initiative and struck out all across their line. All of their force was predominantly brought to bear on the Ultramarines and Grey Knights who had just made planetfall. Fire was intense into the lines but Imperial forces held. Terminators from the Ultramarines First Company moved into action in the center of the line attempting to seize the vile altar and put a stop to the enemies plans. The Grey Knights moved onto the aid station in an attempt to help secure the medical supplies and wounded in that area. Unfortunately that was also where the brunt of the dark eldar struck perhaps hoping to seize as many slaves as possible amongst the wounded. They also continued to strike out at the Scorpion the Eldar had brought into action but were unable to bring it down. This was when the Sisters of Battle and the Eldar made a concentrated effort to strike into the enemies flank. Seraphim and Eldar Fire Dragons alike worked in unison to bring down one of the Archenemies Baneblades and one of their Leman Russes along with a host of Tyranids from the fire of a element of Warp Spiders. Things were tenuous all up and down the line of the Imperials. Elements were on or near all objectives. The Grey Knights in the final stages of that days fight were only able to hold the dark eldar in check. Their line did not fold but the dark eldar jumped onto the medical station in strength and were holding it when nightfall fell. The valiant charge of the Ultramarines in the center of the line managed to take out a Shadowsword but the resulting catastrophic explosion nearly wiped out the Terminators in the process and the enemies counter strike finished off those that were left. The Daemon Prince the Grey Knights had intended to destroy survived the days battle and even managed to kill one of the Ultramarines dreadnoughts and squads with one of the dreaded Vortex grenades. The only highlight for the day was the valiant efforts of the Adeptus Sororitas and the Eldar on the flank. They were able to secure the body and genetic material of the marine that had fallen there. As that was the vital objective of the engagement the Imperials were able to secure a draw for the days battle. The lines on both sides were held and more violence would be seen in the days ahead.