With an Eldar attack force closing in on them, and reinforcements from Damaris more than twenty minutes out, the Explorers found themselves in quite the pickle. Explorator Artifex Felicis headed to the engine room to overcharge the engines, and preserve their distance over the Eldar fighters as much as he could, while interrogating Farseer Anaris as to the origin of the Eldar following them. The Farseer identified them as members of Craftworld Kaelor, but couldn’t specify any further as to their role.
Uncertain if they could outrun their pursuer, Rogue Trader Jequin Hos once again opened communication with their pursuers, and was somewhat surprised to receive a response from the Eldar, entreating them to land and giving their word to have an open and honest discussion under a flag of truce. Though Arch-Militant Caine and Navigator Maturinus both advised against this, Explorator Felicis and Astropath Eckhart both supported the idea – the latter if only to get the Eldar close enough to kill.
Flanked by his remaining Honour Guard and all members of the Inner Council – barring Navigator Maturinus who elected to remain on the Guncutter and aim the heavy bolters at the Eldar – the Dynasty finally met their enemies. Autarch Quai Hon’os of Craftworld Kaelor cordially greeted the explorers, and politely asked whether or not they would allow themselves to be killed in order to end this pursuit. Unsurprisingly, this offer was refused, especially since they had no idea why they had to die at the hands of the Eldar in the first place.
The Autarch was all-too-happy to explain that the mighty Farseers of their Craftworld had identified this group as ones that will be responsible for determining the fate of their Craftworld, and unwilling to allow humans to decide their fate, the Eldar decided to eliminate this potential threat before it had a chance. Although Astropath Eckhart furiously proclaimed that this was most likely going to result in a self-fulfilling prophecy, the Autarch was uncaring to his objections, saying that the destiny had been foretold if the Eldar did nothing, and that their efforts were an attempt to end this conflict. As the Dynasty were unwilling to die, and Damaris reinforcements were coming, the Eldar departed to consult with their Farseer to see if the foretold destiny had at all changed. Before leaving though, the Autarch left his expertly-crafted sword for the Rogue Trader, and a promise that he would be returning to collect it.
With the long day of ambushes over, the Dynasty was finally able to consult the information retrieved from the communication outpost, that appeared to have pinpointed the location of the Orkish Rok production facility. With this being their best shot to cripple the Orkish invasion, the Dynasty decided to take the In Purgatio Lumen, the In Purgatio Veritas and the Emperor’s Bounty, as well as Captain Locke and herLight Cruiser and a number of the Damaris Defense Force Raiders and destroy the facility once and for all.
A few of the Raiders were left behind to guard Damaris in case of another Ork attack, along with Rogue Traders Orleans and Blitz and their respective vessels. The Captain was also inspired to leave Orkifex under the guard of the Hufflepuffs on their captured Ork Kroozer and its working Teleporter. His plan was to open the attack by teleporting the Ork bomb retrieved from the Communications array, and hopefully badly disrupt the Ork vessels, sowing confusing before the initial attack.
The journey to the outer edge of Damaris was made mostly silently, with the Dynasty in quiet contemplation and plotting their next move. The idea was once they identified the facility, they would move in as a group in Silent Running, then coordinate the teleported bomb attack which would hopefully throw the Orks off balance, and then strike with one massive blow to attempt to destroy the Orks in one fell swoop.
Luck was with the Dynasty, for not only did they detect the Facility where it was supposed to be, but only one Ork attack ship was in the immediate area, along with the Battlekroozer that everyone predicted would be there. The initial plan went beyond the Captain’s dream, with the Ork teleportation bomb destroying the facility outright, dragging it into the depths of the gas giant. The battle against the Orkish vessels was not a resounding victory, with the relentless armour of the Orkish Battlekroozer shrugging off most of its fire, and dealing intense damage to both the Veritas and the Lumen, though the remainder of the fleet handled the Orkish Frigate, and could probably have destroyed the Battlekroozer, except that it and the Lumen were within spitting distance of each other, and one good broadside would destroy either.
Fortunately the Warboss, as with every Ork before, hated that Captain Hos had been relentlessly taunting him that only Hos was qualified to be the true Warboss, and challenged him to board his vessel and face him in single combat. Hoping to demoralize the entire Orkish fleet, as well as preserve his flagship, the Rogue Trader set off to duel a Warboss, armed with the force field from Explorator Felicis, the Archeotech armour from Navigator Maturinus, the guard shield from Astropath Eckhart, the Dire Sword from the Eldar Autarch and the spitting defiance of Arch-Militant Caine, the Lord-Captain made to challenge yet another Warboss.
Led by the Orks to the bridge of the Battlekroozer, the Dynasty found themselves at a stylized Ork head as an entrance to the bridge, guarded by the Orkish Weirdboy who had earlier escaped them, and said that the challenger lay at the other side of the door. Alerted to his previous encounter with the Kommandos, the Captain realised that the Warboss planned to ambush him from behind, and pretend to fall into the trap, only to immediately turn his plasma pistol and deliver a devastating blow to the torso of the Warboss as he attempted to burst through to attack him. With the Ork wheeling, Captain Hos turned his Dire Sword on the Ork to finish the fight in one fell swoop… only to find it shatter on him when it touched the Ork flesh.
Cursing Eldar forever, the captain found himself on the defensive from the Warboss’s renewed assault, but refused to yield. Blocking his attacks with Eckhart’s shield, he bought enough time for his plasma pistol to twice more strike home, which finally brought the Warboss to his knees, and then to the ground fallen. With their leader fallen, and the other Orkish reinforcements still having yet to arrive, the Orks on the Battlekroozer fell prey to Hos’s charm, and the Orks pledged their loyalty to the Dynasty – just as the gas giant collapsed into a Webway portal, and an Eldar fleet emerged to battle the beleaguered Imperial forces.
Completely outnumbered, the Dynasty could not escape the void ship, as the Guncutters they took over had been destroyed through sabotage. They attempted to access the Orkish teleportarium, but Farseer Anaris chose this moment to reveal himself to everyone else, informing them that if they remained on the Battlekroozer, they would go undetected by the Eldar, and that he could use the Teleportarium once to evacuate a few personnel they deemed “important” to hide here, leaving the rest of the fleet to be massacred. Though they were outnumbered, and chances for victory seemed impossible, the Dynasty eventually decided to fight the Eldar, to their dying breath.
Teleporting to the Emperor’s Bounty – as it was the least damaged of their vessels, the Dynasty found Captain Janrak Spargan openly challenging the Eldar claiming to be the Rogue Trader, and daring them to come after him – a speech that the real Jequin Hos appreciated, but gave the Eldar one last chance to surrender lest there was more bloodshed. Feeling that this speech was not the fire-rouser that was intended, Navigator Maturinus and Arch-Militant Caine urged him to be a little more passionate, at which point he gave a rousing speech to all forces, and prepared to lead them into battle.
The first blow in the renewed battle came from neither Eldar nor Imperial forces, but from Kap’n Chaintusk and Da Ship Eata firing a massive Nova Cannon in response to the real Rogue Trader’s request, devastating a number of the lightly armoured Eldar vessels. The Eldar all immediately focused on the Emperor’s Bounty, abandoning their positions and making to destroy the Explorers, dealing significant damage with their salvos, as the Veritas and the Lumen were out of position and too damaged to assist. Fortunately, Captain Locke and the SDF were able to deal with a few of the Eldar, and Farseer Anaris arrived with his own Void Cruiser to further assist.
With the Bounty crippled and the Eldar fleet on the brink of collapse, their flagship made one final run at the Explorers to attempt to drag them down together, only to be caught by the void torpedoes of Leopold Phipps and the Under Wry Beginnings who had also been manoeuvering into position to assist the Rogue Trader. With the three unexpected reinforcements, what seemed like a certain Eldar victory collapsed, and their fleet was entirely wiped out. The Hos Dynasty forces had been nigh-crippled, but they survived, and had wiped out both Xenos invaders to the Damaris system.
The invasion had ended. The Hos Dynasty stood triumphant.