Act II: Extinction Burst

Tarsak’s astropaths look to the heavens.
For the first time in centuries, this does not drive them mad.
The Warp abates…

But the Warp is not quite done with Tarsak IV, and reaches out in one final attempt to retain its grip on the planet. Heretical Astartes have plagued the planet for the last solar cycle, appearing time and again despite attempts by Imperial Forces to persecute and expel these interlopers. It would seem their dark rituals have come to fruition, and on the very night that realspace stars became visible for the first time in an over century, the oceans erupted. Whatever foul sorceries have been enacted on Tarsak IV have planted a seed of the Warp deep in the planet’s oceans, causing the seas to engulf the oceanic platforms connecting the Northern and Southern continents. In a matter of hours, the oceanic platforms were devoid of all human life. Tens of thousands of workers fled, died in the tidal waves that swept across the platforms or suffered an even worse fate as the touch of the empyrean turned them into Warp-tainted monstrosities.

The Warp storms around the Tarsak system may be clearing, but the Warp now has a firm grip on the oceans of Tarsak IV. Nonetheless, our Salvation now lies within reach: the Astropathic Choirs sing into the void day and night, so surely it will not be long until the Imperium hears our plea and brings the Emperor's full fury against our foes...

2 weeks have passed since the calamity that devastated the artificial land bridge between the continents, and the oceans have now settled down to a simmering froth. The loss of the oceanic platform industries, which provided food, fuel and power to the citizens of Tarsak IV, not to mention the stores of munitions and industrial supplies kept on the platforms, has prompted planet-wide rationing of all resources. In an attempt to recover vital assets, small teams of specialists have been deployed onto the oceanic platforms. With no indication of how long the waters will remain in their current relatively calm state, teams will have to act fast to secure whatever they can! Danger is everywhere, be it from corroded platforms, volatile machinery or the gigantic chaos-warped creatures of the sea that now use the platforms as their hunting grounds…

Act II of our narrative setting will focus on a number of specific regions on Tarsak IV, with mini-campaigns and event days exploring the pivotal moments as the Warp recedes and ultimately determining the state of Tarsak IV at the start of Act III.

Act I: Tarsak Awakens

The Greenskins have been purged, the Necrons Slumber and the Warpstorm is receeding. Augur arrays are triangulating the landing sites of the T’au trespassers as we speak, while Imperial Kill Teams stand ready to move out and thwart their plans. By the time the Warp Storms have dissipated enough for us to get a signal out to the nearest Imperial Battlefleet, the T’au ground forces will have been purged. The arrival of reinforcements will herald a great purge of the Necrons beneath the surface, so training has intensified in preparation for the impending war. When the rest of the Imperium arrives, they will not find that we have been idle during our isolation.



Welcome to Tarsak IV

A century ago you would have been hard pressed to find a single ship in the Imperium that had not passed through the Tarsak system during its long service to the God Emperor. Any fleet travelling spinwards around the galactic core would have been able to find reason to stop here, whether for repairs, resupply or to collect or drop off military personnel awaiting redeployment. Tarsak IV’s orbital ring boasts enough dry docks to repair a full battlefleet, and Tarsak IV’s industrial centres fall short of Forge World status not due to lack of productivity or dedication to the Omnissiah, but because they cover only half of the planet’s surface. Most of the other half is dedicated to military installations, which at any one time might have been home to military units from thousands of different worlds. Tarsak IV’s military installations provide facilities for training, medical rehabilitation and rearming of military detachments of all sizes. Entire complexes are dedicated to providing barracks for the men and women from every military arm of the Imperium, awaiting redeployment upon one of the battle barges or troop transports that frequented our skies.

But alas, their wait continues, for Tarsak IV fell from grace when the storm swept into our system. For 97 years our Astropaths have peered into the Warp in search of the Astronomicon, to be greeted only by the reflected horrors of the Immaterium and the foul entities that lurk there. The last starship captain lost patience over 3 decades ago and dove into the maelstrom in hopes of finding a safe path out of the hellscape that peers menacingly in on the Tarsak system. All attempts to ascertain the fate of the hundreds of ships that have left the system since the warp storm began have been fruitless, save the occasional warp-infested wreck that the Empyrean spits back out towards our home.

But in recent months, the Astropaths have reported a lull in the horrors that the Warp spews forth when they open their minds to search for the light of the God Emperor. While our faith has never dwindled, this is the first time in nearly a hundred years that we dare to believe we might reestablish contact with the rest of mankind. We can only hope that in the brief century we have been gone, no one has forgotten about us and our contributions to the Imperium…

Click on each faction to expand their backstory information...

The Green Tide

Like most of the segmentum, the Tarsak system has been plagued by greenskins for the past 3 millennia. Numerous wars have been fought over the centuries, which have seen significant portions of Tarsak IV’s infrastructure brought to ruin and rebuilt on multiple occasions. Learning from the consequences of past Waaghs, the 4 great space elevators that service Tarsak IV’s orbital ring have been transforming into veritable fortresses to ensure that the orbital installations are never threatened by any Ork uprising again. Unfortunately, during the early years of the warp storms the urgency of preserving an Imperial way of life in the face of our newfound isolation took priority over maintaining a vigilant watch over the greenskin threat. This short-sightedness resulted in a greenskin resurgence on Tarsak IV’s 3rd moon, and in the second decade of our isolation the Orks invaded once more. An entire continent was decimated within a year, and much of Tarsak’s standing army was destroyed. Were it not for the presence of a small number of the Emperor’s Angels trapped in the Tarsak system, the entire planet may have been overrun. With an orbital elevator on the verge of being captured, the planetary governor ordered its destruction. This event marked the start of the decline of Tarsak’s orbital facilities, as over a third of the orbital ring was left without power and quickly abandoned. Eventually the area around the elevator was cleared of the greenskin threat, and the southern continent was gradually reclaimed but never resettled. It remains an industrial wasteland to this day.

Having deposed the previous planetary governor for his lack of foresight, the new planetary governor sought the aid of the Adeptus Astartes in keeping a constant watch on the forests of Tarsak’s 3rd moon and the wastelands of Tarsak’s southern continent. None took to this task with greater fervour than a company of Salamanders, who continued to purge these wastelands with fire for decades to come, adamant that not a single spore would escape their vigilant wrath.

Alas, the greenskin menace is nigh impossible to eliminate entirely, and half a century later it reared its ugly head again, rising from beneath our own cities. Whilst the Sons of Vulkan had been most diligent in their duties, they were unaware of a series of underground tunnels deep beneath the wastelands, records of which were lost centuries ago when the ruins of a past war were built over. Few of the Salamanders survived the rising green hordes, and to this day a single squad is all that remains of the company. The Ork uprising was rapid and well organised, a humbling reminder that these foul greenskins are masters of cunning as well as brute force. Within hours they had taken control of an orbital elevator and surged into the orbital ring. The planetary governor was quick to follow in his predecessor's footsteps, ordering the destruction of both the elevator and significant sections of the orbital ring in order to halt the spreading greenskin threat in its track. This was followed by broadside after broadside into the now free floating sections of the ring and elevator by the few remaining warships in orbit, ensuring that any surviving Orks were exposed to explosive munitions, hard vacuum, or both. On the ground the war waged for 4 years. Attritional losses meant that Imperial tactics on Tarsak IV were changing. The Tarsak system had always relied on its substantial standing forces of temporarily barracked elite forces, but with these dwindling it was time to turn to conscription, with the remaining (and aged) veterans taking to training the young conscripts. With most elite units reduced to less than company strength, their focus turned to the precise application of force in order to guide and control the Ork’s Waagh. With careful reconnaissance, misdirection and elimination of key leaders, Ork forces were corralled into the territory of rival Warbosses. Eventually, when the Orks were at their weakest (and after liberal orbital bombardment) the remaining Adeptus Astartes launched a coordinated strike with the support of newly conscripted infantry, destroying the greenskin threat once more.

The constant vigil against greenskin spores continues to this day, but yesterday’s loss of contact with Cadian Incinerator Squad 257 has left the new Planetary Governor on edge…

The Necron Dynasty

With so little known about the ancient threat we call the Necron, it is difficult to know how long they will remain dormant.

We are not certain what caused the reactivation of their crypts deep beneath the ruined southern continent, other than that the Orks growing there 30 years ago seem to have gained access to them. The presence of the upper half of a decrepit Necron warrior dragging itself around amongst the corpses of slain greenskins was quite a surprise to the Incinerator Squad that discovered it. Tarsak IV’s remaining Deathwatch contingent was dispatched immediately to investigate. They located the entrance to a Necron labyrinth and what they found was a terrifying omen of a war yet to come.

Clearly Tarsak IV had once been an outpost of some ancient Necron Dynasty, their catacombs stretching for miles in every direction and housing row upon row of powered down Necrons forms. The extent of the threat was estimated at 100,000 mechanical abominations of every imaginable shape and size. But more worryingly, the tombs appeared to be reactivating themselves. With the tombs too deep for an orbital bombardment and Tarsak IV’s armed forces in no position to fight another war from within, there was no way to excise the Necron threat. Instead the Deathwatch teams opted to enact an ambitious plan based on past experiences with the Necrons: taking care not to disturb the catacombs beyond deactivating any animated Necrons, they set about sabotaging key power transfer nodes. With so little known about the nature of Necron technology, it is not known whether this has permanently deactivated the tomb or simply delayed the reanimation process.

If the God Emperor wills it, the warp storm will have dissipated well before the Necrons awaken from their slumber and the might of the Imperium will bring His wrath down upon them.

The Realm of Chaos

For the last century, Tarsak IV has been beset by the denizens of the Empyrean. Daemonic incursions are commonplace, with the small contingent of Grey Knights left behind on Tarsak IV finding themselves in constant demand. Most incursions are involuntary manifestations by nascent psykers, whose first exploratory glimpses into the warp are also their last. But there have also been more sinister intrusions by denizens of the Warp, namely the vile traitors of millennia past who have aligned themselves with Chaos. Several chaos cults have been discovered since the storms began, led or instigated by Space Marines of the traitorous legions who sided with Horus. While these cults have been destroyed with all due malice, the warp storm seems to provide their leaders the ability to disappear into the Immaterium at will, making them a constant thorn in our side. We can but hope that their continual reappearances on Tarsak IV are not part of some grand scheme on behalf of their nefarious gods.

T'au

When the ship was first detected it was assumed to be a damaged Imperial vessel returning from an abortive attempt to navigate the warp storms plaguing the sector. The unusual auspex signature was attributed to plasma fires from a ship in distress, but when no response was forthcoming a frigate was dispatched to investigate. The intentions of the approaching vessel was made clear when the frigate’s explosive destruction lit up the auspex displays. Over the course of a week the unknown vessel drifted ever closer, but with only 3 of our recently constructed frigates remaining we could do little but wait for the vessel to declare its intent. The vessel was soon identified as a T’au warship, heavily damaged and very much out of place so near the galactic core. We can only assume that it was caught in the warp storms which have plagued the sector and flung into proximity of the Tarsak system. This does suggest that the warp storms paralysing the Tarsak system extend much further than previously thought, but the alternative proposal that T’au dominance has extended all the way to the galactic core over the last century is clearly heretical.

Having limped into the system the T’au ship adopted a distant orbit around Tarsak IV, constantly shadowed by our frigates. In the normal course of events our ships would be no match for such a large vessel, but with their ship having sustained heavy damage we suspect they are as uncertain of the outcome of such a battle as we are. The macro batteries on the active portions of the orbital ring are certainly enough to deter their vessel from entering a closer orbit, and so for months the T’au vessel has orbited Tarsak IV doing little more than scan the planet.

4 days ago the T’au vessel accelerated toward Tarsak IV, making a carefully choreographed flyby of the planet which avoided the active sections of the orbital ring as dozens of smaller vessels issued forth from its docking bays. A handful of these landing craft were intercepted by the frigates, but most disappeared from auspex as they made planetfall or docked with the damaged orbital ring. Hundreds of enemy agents with unknown intent are now active all across the southern continent and orbital ring, while hypothesises about their true intent run rampant. Are they searching for materials to repair their crippled ship? Or will they attempt to access our communications network in order to call in the rest of their fleet? Perhaps they underestimate our Imperial zeal and think that they can convert us into a congregation of believers in their “greater good” philosophy?

The only certainty is that we will mercilessly purge these trespassers from Imperial soil, one squad at a time. With the warp storm dissipating day-by-day it will not be long before our astropaths can call in Imperial warships to obliterate their ship, which has returned to its position in distant orbit of Tarsak IV.

Aeldari

The Aeldari have been but a fleeting presence on Tarsak IV for millennia. While their more sadistic cousins seem motivated by little more than slaughter and sowing chaos, the Asuryani are far more enigmatic. There does not appear to be any trigger or regularity to their appearances in the Tarsak system, but when they appear they strike with such fervent purpose that it is difficult to believe that their actions are random. In the occasional verbal exchanges that have occurred over the millennia they have always spoken in riddles about great prophecies, redemption and the end of days - the usual heretical nonsense!

It is clear that Tarsak IV is home to a webway portal, but all attempts to find it have failed. Over the last century the Aeldari’s sporadic raids have become a low priority compared to other more ominous events, even though such appearances are more frequent than ever.

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