The Bastion system is relatively Sol-like in its composition. Rocky inner planets give way to two marginally-habitable planets, with two gas giants keeping lonely watch significantly further out. The former of the two habitable worlds, formally Bastion III, is commonly simply known as Bastion, or Bastion Prime and swarms with activity both on the surface and in low orbit. The loyal servants of the Adeptus Mechanicus do not mind the heat, and are happy to use the high levels of tectonic activity to power their great forges. For all other visitors, after short exposure, the icy peaks and serene lodges of Bastion IV, known as Bastion's Rest, provide a welcome contrast and relief. Bastion V once had a thick, rocky ring, but this has been substantially mined out in order to provide heavy metals, iridium and osmium, for the Forge World.
As the sensor images, blurry through the remnants of Bastion V's ring, resolved, a cold chill ran down Admiral Appolinaris' spine.
"Yeomen: secure the bridge. No admittance to personnel with clearance below Praetorianus. Chaplain: I need three teams of liturgists up here, at the double. Prayers and psalms, in shifts, unceasing, until we break contact. Comms: priority hail to all ships."
"This is Admiral Appolinaris to all Captains. With immediate effect, you are to lock down your bridges, and switch to maximum encryption for all communications. Sensors indicate ships of the Ruinous Powers ahead - assume that they will use treachery and deceit as weapons, just as effectively as their guns. Look to the safety both of your ships, and your souls. Additionally, all bridge crew and all sensor operators are to report for mandatory prayer and debriefing at the High Chapel on Damaris no later than one week after this engagement. That should allow for any warp complications. Failure to attend will be considered evidence of heresy."
There were too many untried crews in the fleet after the run-in with the Tau raiders recently. However, he had to trust that their basic training would be enough. "All ships, to your stations. Fight with honour, fight smart, but most of all, shoot straight. And may the Emperor bless and protect us all."
A good game (for me!) against Matt's Chaos fleet today. We played a Fleet Engagement, and despite my slightly more spread out deployment, I was able to keep my forces relatively well co-ordinated and concentrated. It was a very aggressive game, with both sides using Lock On a lot, and not Bracing. However, it was only of medium lethality, with bomber strikes from both sides failing to do much damage. At various points, there were some significant shots - under concentrated lance fire, my AdMech cruiser exploded relatively early, but the reactor breach luckily didn't damage my Overlord Battlecruiser; a lucky Nova Cannon shot plus lances took out 3 out of 4 escorts from one squadron in a turn. But probably the clincher was the torpedo hit which caused a Bulkhead Collapse on his flagship, for an extra +5 damage. Instant critical. Although the fighter wave which had to go in first to clear out the CAP probably died to a man, their sacrifice will not be forgotten.
After 6 turns played, and with both of us running out of blast markers to track the level of devastation being wrought, Matt chose to disengage and save his forces. He suffered no ships destroyed, but several crippled; I had lost my AdMech Lunar and one Dictator - although the latter had been hulked and so was presumably recovered by the Imperium.
Post Game Wash-up:
Bastion system held by Battlegroup Appolinaris
Adm Appolinaris gained 7 renown from the battle, having completed a Vendetta, but failing to properly evaluate the experimental mods to the AdMech Lunar. This takes him to a total of 14, and he now has Ld 9 and 2 re-rolls.
The Patience of the Mechanicus survived (first time my flagship has done so!) and passed a check to improve to Ld 7
The Durandal improves to Ld 7
The Sword Frigates improve to Ld 7
The Diadem was crippled, but can't go below Ld 6
At Renown 14, I had 6 points of Repairing. Damage to the Patience, Valiant and Formidable is repaired; Diadem is missing a game for depth repairs. One Sword (Wasp) was lost; at 3/5 they are still viable however so are not yet being pulled out of the line.
The Hephaestus and Furious were destroyed; their suspiciously similar substitutes Anvil of Mars and Fulminant will begin on Ld 6. I will roll for the Anvil's Mechanicus Gift when it is first deployed.
I was successful in both of my Appeals; I am requesting as Reinforcement an Emperor Class Battleship to help hold as important a system as Bastion; the Patience also gained as a Refit Improved Fire Control, giving it +1 Leadership to "Lock On" orders.