Late in the year 996.M41, the previously peaceful world of Kentack VII was the site of a bitter struggle between three mighty forces. What began as a straightforward compliance action by the Black Templars Adeptus Astartes, was turned on its head by the sudden arrival of the Eldar of Cairas Mythar. The Xenos intervention signalled that the world of Kentack VII was of great strategic importance, and would ultimately be a place of death and suffering for all concerned...
The Kentack system was located in Segmentum Tempestus, around 9 months rimward warp travel of the Segmentum Capital at Bakka. Although consisting of 11 desolate planets, an early Imperial exploratory team singled out Kentack VII as suitable for human habitation, and the world had remained under imperial control for tens of thousands of years. Despite having no natural water deposits and a barren landscape, Kentack VII’s mineral wealth ensured the construction of a plethora of mining colonies and even a few scattered Hive Cities, whose hard pressed inhabitants refined the rocks harvested out on the plains.
By M41, generations of industrial activity had resulted in a thick smog that enveloped the planet, leaving it a dim and depressing place to exist, as well as hampering air travel to and from the surface. Continuing regardless, the mining operations became of such importance that a Space Dock was constructed on one of Kentack VII’s moons, along with orbital defences, and a permanent Imperial Guard presence was installed on the planet. Ultimately the planet paid its tithes to the God-Emperor and thus remained a largely uneventful little place. This was until Victor Quinn assumed the role of Planetary Governor.
As head of the wealthiest mining family, Victor Quinn assumed the role of Planetary Governor upon the death of the previous incumbent. For the first 20 years of his reign, life on the planet continued much as it had for thousands of years. However, at some point the ruling class of Kentack were gradually and quietly converted to a cult known as the Followers of the Farther. Initially portrayed as another branch of the Imperial Creed, the few Ecclesiarchical priests on the planet paid it little mind; until it was too late.
At the beginning of 995.M41 warp storms began to trouble much of Segmentum Tempestus, and the guiding light of the Astronomican waxed and waned. On Kentack, contact with the Imperium became intermittent and unreliable. As if foreseeing these events, Quinn and the Followers of the Farther initiated plans to break away from Imperial control and a successful covert campaign saw the agents of the Adptus Arbites and Adptus Administratum quietly removed and eliminated. However, to take total control Quinn still needed to ensure the loyalty of the population of Kentack and, perhaps more crucially, the Praetorian 5th, who were the Imperial Guard regiment stationed on the planet at that time.
Taking to the public address system on the eve of New Year 996.M41, Quinn announced to the population that a great shadow was about to fall over the galaxy. Fabricating a false tale of an Imperium in ruins, Quinn convinced the people that the Followers of the Farther where the true incarnation of the Imperial Church and that the Emperor had in fact sent the current series of Warp Storms to protect Kentack from strife. Fantastically, the velvet tipped words of the governor were convincing enough to even persuade the Officers and Commissars of the Praetorian 5th, who moved man Kentack’s defences. With the Planet under his complete control Quinn and the Followers began to work toward other, darker, ends.
However, unfortunately for Quinn, the cessation of exports from Kentack did not go unnoticed. Segmentum Command at Bakka learned of Quinn’s Heresy. Coincidentally a battle group of Black Templars were less than a months travel from Kentack, assembling to undertake a new crusade. Asked to re-establish the Pax Imperialis, the Templars took to their Strike Cruisers within days and entered the warp.
Upon arrival in the Kentack system, the Templars quickly launched an unforgiving assault on the planets main airfield, catching the Praetorian garrison completely off guard. Finding themselves under attack, the Praetorians resisted with maximum force, but the Marines quickly gained a foothold. In response Quinn quickly began to mobilise his forces, and war was afoot. However, even as the initial assault was happening, Alien forces were arriving, and would proceed to make the situation much, much more complicated.
Under the direction of Farseer Idranel, the Eldar of Cairas Mythar used the commotion of the Templar assault to gain a control of the small orbital station of Saint Octia’s dock. It was crucial to the Eldar that this planet be theirs as soon as possible, for they knew the true nature of the Followers of the Farther, and the horrors they were seeking to aid. They knew that the Great Devourer was coming.
Barely a year before, the Seer Council of Cairas Mythar had foreseen that imminent arrival of Hive Fleet Leviathan, which would tear into Segmentum Tempestus by the end of 997.M41. They had seen that the Followers in fact formed a small part of the vanguard of this invasion and that the ‘Farther’ to which they referred was no less that a Genestealer Patriarch, who had infiltrated Kentack generations ago. Indeed Quinn himself was descended from this hideous creature, and was a powerful Hybrid Magus in his own right. This was the reason that his words were able to overpower the minds of population of Kentack and the Commissars and Officers of the Praetorian 5th. In a story repeated on several of the most isolated worlds in Tempestus, the Followers were to ensure that Kentack would fall to the Tyranid fleets without a shot being fired, gifting them crucial recourses with which to jump-start their invasion.
But the reason that the Eldar chose to intervene on Kentack was deeper still. They knew the planet by another name entirely, that of Chen’lack. Ancient beyond reckoning, Chen’lack was a bastion world of the old Eldar Empire, designed to guard the fringes of Eldar space from its enemies. To this end the planet had been heavily reconstructed by the bonesingers of old, and at its heart lay an Engine of Vual, one of immense power. Forgotten after the Eldar fall, and revealed to the Seers of Cairas Mythar, Idranel knew that if they could secure it then his forces could set a trap for at least some of the approaching Hive Fleet. Whether it would be enough to blunt the invasion or not, he could not discern, but he knew they had to try…
Colour Sergeant Williams slammed home another magazine and returned the lasgun to his shoulder, which was already bruised from an hour of rifle firing. The small garrison of Airfield Primus had done its best to hold on against the black clad monsters, but it was clear that their time was almost up. Hope had been lost the moment Lieutenant Wilkins’ fire-support team had been brutally ripped apart by bolter fire and chainswords. Without those Autocannons there wasn’t much the rest of the Praetorians could do against the ceramite armoured Black Templars.
With that thought Williams faltered, for the second time during the battle. Black Templars? But they were Astartes of the Emperor, why were they massacring loyal Imperial soldiers? He quickly remembered the words of the great Quinn, his revelation that the Imperium was tearing itself apart with civil war, but it suddenly just didn’t feel right. Why was this happening?
As he looked around him however his doubts quickly faded. As he saw 2nd Platoon engage the enemy, saw Lewick’s Squad cut down by a single Astartes, saw Commissar Thorn fend off three Marines single-handed, he decided only loyal soldiers of the Emperor could die with such heroism. The enemy must be traitors. And, as he was decapitated by a Chainsowrd he never saw coming, Colour Sergeant Williams was convinced that what he was doing was right...