Attention Guardsman! Our roving reporter, Officer Derych, is still alive. You are permitted a small period of private celebration at your Commissar‘s discretion. Despite empyric storms on Vanitor, we have managed to receive another dispatch of his war diaries:
“Greetings Guardsmen! I’ve recently made planetfall on Vanitor, a beautiful mountainous planet that was, until recently, home to the Konor Astropathic Relay. Unfortunately, the relay has fallen into enemy hands, with several terrible consequences, ranging from reliance on the vox-net to a widening, screaming empyric storm that, to their credit, the Guardsmen stationed here are very, very good at ignoring! Were it not for the constant nasal haemorrhaging, I would hardly notice it was there myself, and I’ve found that humming The Litany of Duty is more than sufficient to keep out any whispering.
Due to empyric interference preventing both teleportation and aerial deployment, and the difficult terrain making use of Chimera transports impractical, we’ve been able to really stretch our legs on several exhilarating hikes. It’s been a great chance for the Guard to test their physical limits – did you know, for example, it’s perfectly possible to run up an almost sheer hill even when carrying a full field kit? All you need is a nearby member of the Heretic Astartes to make a tactical retrograde advance away from.* Simple!
My only complaint would be the weather – it’s impossible to work out how to dress here. When the empyric storm is calm, it snows incessantly, while during more unstable periods there are all manner of unusual meteorological phenomena, including, on one memorable occasion, a rain of seemingly sentient fire. Thankfully, we managed to repel this with a few waves of conscripts, and since then we’ve seen far less of these so-called “horrors” – although they’ve been replaced with a bizarre and diverse selection of strangely mutated xenos entities.
Despite the constant warfare, the planet is in surprisingly bucolic condition. We’ve not had a chance to get close to the so-called “festering gush” – some kind of localised warp anomaly – but from a distance, it appears to be a great and ever-growing garden, with trees, flowers and other natural features many hive-born Guardsmen have only seen in pict-captures. We’ve sent a couple of patrols in, but they are yet to return, and only reply on the vox to inform us of how wonderful it is, telling wild tales of great and friendly beasts and capering giggling cherubs.** While they’ve been fairly insistent about us joining them, our Commissar has assured us that we’ll have plenty of chances to enjoy some R&R following the cessation of the campaign.
We’re in sight of the Konorian Relay. While I’ve not been able to look at it directly – doing so results in some mildly uncomfortable symptoms for Guardsmen*** – I am assured that it’s a magnificent example of the Neobaroque Imperial style. We’ve been asked to fill in our requisite psychic self-assessment forms, and all troops who score highly are being assigned to the first wave in order to clear the minefields ahead of the relay. The principle is simple – any latent precognitive abilities should allow a Guardsman to pinpoint any buried explosives, and should they fail – well, that’s one less potential witch to worry about!
Sounds excellent, Guardsman! We’ll have Officer Derych’s next dispatch ready as soon as we retake the relay. In the meantime, all news bulletins are to be replaced with a 24-hour repeating broadcast of the announcement of Imperial victory in the Second War of Armageddon – mentally substitute all mentions of “Armageddon” for “the Konor System” and “Orks” for “the Archenemy”.
* Note that if you flee, you will be executed, regardless of the impressiveness of your escape route.
** Any Guardsman found in possession of any ‘xenos’ will be executed. Some of them may well appear to the untrained eye as “harmless”, but the beasts that prey on mankind have many guises. There is no excuse for harbouring servants of the Archenemy.
*** In order of severity: headaches, visions, loss of consciousness, total termination of all life functions, [item redacted], [item redacted] and [item redacted].