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In Segmentum Solar, near the galactic core a warp storm of unbelievable power and volatility has been raging for an estimated 100,000 years. Any ship that has dared to try and enter the solar systems boundary has been destroyed instantly. It does not matter how powerful a ships shields are or the strength of its Astrominicum, all have perished. Yet for all its sheer power, it is limited to a single solar system and the Emperium of Man has thus quarantined the system.
The system is known by many names from many different races; the Eldar call it the Wailing Wall, the Tau have named it the Shroud but its most common name is as it is known by humanity – the Fortress.
On 726.M42 the Astopaths on Terra sensed a strange calling in the warp and were able to divine the source as coming from the Fortress system. One ship, the ‘Tempest’, was immediately dispatched to investigate and what they found was truly startling. When the first message arrived on Terra from Captain Sion it was only one sentence.
THE FORTESS WALL IS DOWN.
Captain Sion ordered the Tempest to enter the system cautiously and scans revealed a single terrestrial body orbiting a normal yellow sun. The planet was G class and scans indicated a thriving ecosystem. No one on the Tempest could understand why a warp storm of such power did not seem to have affected the planet in any way. It was only when they reached orbit that they made their most important discovery.
The planet, now named the Keep by Captain Sion, was surrounded by a translucent golden energy shield. The shield seemed totally impervious and Captain Sion surmised that this is what had protected the planet. He had never seen such powerful shielding technology before. He quickly dispatched a second report to Terra because not only was the warp storm gone but the shield was flickering on and off.
Due to the immense power emanating it was possible for the Tempests scanners to determine that the power was localised to a precise point on the planet and a single artifact was producing that power.
When the report reached Terra, the High Lords of Terra were immediately summoned because the technology had been seen before but only on two previous occasions. The High Lords knew what had been discovered, it was another ‘Old Ones’ world.
The Old Ones were the first race to exist at the beginning of time and they had the power to cross universes in a single step. They created the ancient Eldar race and the vile Necrons will stop at nothing to destroy anything associated with them. The two previous worlds still had their shields working perfectly and no one had ever been able to set foot on those planets.
Back at the Keep on the Tempest, Captain Sion was receiving reports from his bridge crew of multiple ships entering the system. At first they were simply small scout craft and the Tempest was able to destroy them with ease but Captain Sion noticed that the ships originated from many different parts of the galaxy and from many different races. Something on the Keep was summoning them all.
Eventually Captain Sion knew that a ship would escape him and report to its home world and they would send a mighty fleet. He knew that no other race could be allowed to claim the world and whatever alien technologies lie within. He dispatched his conclusions to Terra with a request for reinforcements. He would stay and fight off everyone else for as long as he could.
When a mighty Armada from Terra arrived it was too late to save the Tempest but their death was not in vain. By destroying scout ship after scout ship they had managed to delay the arrival of all other races space fleets. The tempest was lost with all hands as it was pulverised by the long range weapons of a Tau Battle cruiser.
Admiral Genza stood on the flag bridge of the Terran Armada’s mightiest battleship, the ‘Emperor’s Faithful’. Beside him stood the Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Lord Abraham Kendo and both had witnessed the final fate of the Tempest and both were praying for guidance from the Emperor.
The Admiral spoke first. “There are at least 15 known races with a battle fleet equal to our own my Lord”. He let a frown cross his face, “and at least 3 time’s that many smaller fleets, all sitting on the systems fringes”.
“And yet none of them dare to head towards the planet?” His face was calm but it hid a very concerned mind. “Why do they not attack? There are Tau and Necrons side by side and those are just a few million kilometers from an Eldar fleet. I can even sense the foul taint of Chaos out there somewhere.”
The Admiral nodded “Even the Orks are behaving themselves.” Something from the planet was calling to all those whom had a connection to the Warp. “They do not attack my Lord because no one wants to weaken themselves in a space battle that would mean they are not strong enough to capture the planet.”
“We must be patient and pray for the Emperor’s wisdom”, spoke Inquisitor Kendo, “Prayers shall serve as our guide.”
At that moment a new fleet entered the system and alert bells blared throughout the Terran Armada, this was a fleet like no other in the galaxy. A race that was immeasurably ancient and implacable. Mankind had only defeated it through a tactic of Genocidius Extremis, burning entire worlds and civilizations to halt their onslaught. Everyone knew that the victory was only a temporary respite.
The Great Devourer had also been summoned by whatever was on the planet Keep. This great organism, this monstrous entity, men know as the Tyranid race. The Tyranids did not stop to survey the tactical situation; they simply started firing at any ship in range and ploughed ahead, straight for the planet.
The Tyranids had destroyed a quarter of the Ork force before any other race had started to react. Admiral Genza was one of the first to recognise the implications of this massive turn of events. “All ships full speed, concentrate on the largest vessels. All alien ships are a target”. When Admiral Genza shouted orders, he spoke clearly and in a clipped precise tone. “I want all drop ships and pods launched immediately once they are in range!”
“What about the planetary shield?” asked Inquisitor Kendo “How will our troops get past it?”
“The shield is flickering, they will have to go through when it flickers off and pray that their timing is accurate”, replied Admiral Genza. “The fleet will then pull back to a defensive position and wait until word comes from whatever forces make it to the ground and report that they are in control of the artifact”.