To: Prelate Chrydriik Guillurus, Macrotechnia Technographica Determinus
From: SubCadre Commander Uriel Vare
Re: Caluphel Reemergence Hyper Strategy, Research Directory
Date: 2 160 941.M41
Please find attached a newly recovered document from the original Caluphel landing. This is a transcript of a vidlog from a member of the security attachment assigned to the colonists.
I hesitate to remind you, as you assuredly know, soldiers from this era were drawn from the ancient Imperial Army, precursor to the Foundational Legions and the blessed Improvement Cycles for His Sons that would enable the success of the Unification Wars. However, this vidlog is important as it describes the first elements that would categorize Caluphel as a death world. There are hints as to the coming catastrophe as well.
Additional background material is again on W.rMTD.x12v465 in your personal terminal node.
In the Emperor’s name.
Personal Log, 0.1.21, 2735 estimated.
Platoon Sergeant Tamlynne Jen
- So the colonist says to me, “Impressive ain’t it? And I don’t say anything, cause after a dozen of these landings all of this is old news. But I know what he’s saying, right?”
- 21 days after landing and Saint Scythia is already moved from DropZ to Forward Airbase to Fortified and now approaching Terminal size. They land massive dropships of various configurations. Some deconstruct with modules forming building complexes, others drop nanofactories for power generation or growing the crete runways and roads. Other ships simply land in position, dig their base and are used as functional spaces and towers as-is. 21 days and a rocky shelf along the horizon line of the habitable zone is now a metal and concrete fortress.
- CO is pissed as usual.
- “This is where they drop? Right here?” I don’t say nothing ’cause I know a roll when I hear one. He points to the west, sunward. “Nothing but desert, hardpack and then volcanic flows that way. This here may be rock…” (he kicks at the tarmac like it didn’t just grow there four days ago) “…but you got a river splitting north and south of us and then swamp to the east.” He spits. “Rutting swamp is where they drop us.”
- But I understand why we based here, and Cop gets it as well. Nothing going to come at us from sunside, and the river dries out as it flows from the east and splits around the base. Great natural defenses to start. Great place right here. But the swamp is going to be an issue. First off, who knows what sort of disease are breeding in there? Second, we’re going to spend the next two months shuttling colonists over the damn thing so they can start breaking ground on the fertile plains beyond. Right on we’re moving our civvies away from safety and we’ve only been on planet for three weeks.
- Cop finishes swearing and thinks a moment.
- “Jen, I’m pulling your squad out of babysitting this coming rotation. I need you on roadbuilding.”
- “Fuck that, Cop,” I say. “That’s the shit detail. Put Beta on it.”
- “Cut it out Jen,” he says. “Top priority now is those engineers building the road linking us to the settlements. I want it built, secured and the vegetation beat back 10 meters on each side as a barrier.” He held up a hand. “Priority number one, and I’m putting my best on it.”
- I give him hell about what we’ve been through together. “You’re putting your number two on watching a bunch of grounders build a road? Piss on that.”
- “Stand down Sergeant. You heard about the fire at the Transformer 14 last night?”
- “Yeah, I heard about it. One of the standalone fission generators set on the western limits caught fire. Some sort of damage from landing.”
- He says, “That’s the press. The fire. Real story is that we recorded discrete magnetic fields right before and after. They came from and headed back to that rutting swamp before and after the explosion.”
- So it’s people, I say. Colonists sabotaging their own, I say.
- “No, Jen. These sigs are off the charts. No way that was human. Energy signatures are like nothing we’ve seen.”
- Dammit Copper, Dammit…
- “Jen,” he says, losing his temper. “Will you pull your head out of your ass for a minute? You hearing me? What do you think is going on here?! Think for a minute!”
- I do. This landing is like all the ones before. So we’ve got hostiles. That happens. And then I look around Scythia. The dropships, the fortifications, the gun emplacements. The Company. No, no, strike that. There’s more than our company here. I’m looking at hundreds of soldiers. Definitely a Battalion, but maybe even the full Regiment. Well over 2,000 soldiers.
- “How many colonists did we land, Jen?”
- “Last I heard, it was 500 families, plus specialists and infrastructure. Maybe 2,000 civies total.” I shook my head. “One to one ratio? Why they send all this firepower, Captain? What aren’t they telling us?”
- He turned and stood by me looking west…at the swamp, the grassland and in the distance the ice-capped mountains.
- “I don’t know Sergeant,” he said quietly. “But I don’t like it.”