The atmosphere crackled with an unnatural electrical storm far below, as the nearby monitoring station received its first clear transmission in weeks, “This is First Captain Darnath Lysander of the Imperial Fists, responding to a distress signal from Sanctus Fraternus.” The relief of the station’s crew was palpable; they had not known if their signals had penetrated the Cicatrix Maledictum, or if they had indeed been acknowledged at all.
On the surface of the planet, daemonic incursions had been heralded by violent, debilitating warp storms. The planetary defense forces were initially successful in containing this supernatural threat, but were soon overwhelmed when cults devoted to unspeakable deities, who had been gaining strength in secret, rose out of the sprawling hive-crypts at this critical moment. Some would say the call for aid went out too late, this once sacred planet was now a charnel house devoted to the chaos gods.
Surface batteries and entire hive cities fell to these renegade forces. An enshrined Reaver class titan, the Pride of Mars, was even coaxed into service through dark and gruesome rituals, bent to the will of the forces of Chaos. Cultists and mutants clawed their way through the twisting catacombs and shrines by the thousands, using the labyrinthine passages to gain access to the deepest, most sacred levels of the great mausoleum spires. It was brutally fitting, then, that when these wretched insurgents breached the great cathedral dedicated to honor the Imperial Fists’ defense of Terra with their captured god-machine, that the battle barge Storm of Wrath appeared in orbit.
“Begin preparations for planetary assault,” Lysander commanded. “And assemble my Titanhammer squad.”