hive fleet was fresh and undamaged: hundredsof large bio-ships made up its vanguard withtheir smaller companions staying to the sidesand rear. Calgar desperately sought an edge toexploit against this new foe. The other fleet hadonly been defeated because it was surprisedand weakened; this new fleet was too strong tofight. The defences of Macragge were hoursaway, damaged by the ongoing Tyranid assaultbut still operational. The only other defensivepoint was the ringed gas-giant Circe, whichthey could reach within the hour.Calgar headed back to Macragge. Lord AdmiralRath declared that too many of his ships wouldbe caught before they reached that planet andturned away toward Circe. As the ponderousships of the Tempestus fleet swung their prowstowards roiling Circe and its treacherous ringsof rocks and dust the hive fleet smoothlydivided itself. The greater part of the alien shipspursued the Imperial vessels towards the gasgiant and its shining rings. The remainderdogged the Ultramar fleet with such numbersthat to turn back would be suicidal. Amidst therings of Circe the Imperial fleet turned at bay,their engines holding them at a dead halt abovebands of storm that reached about the giant'scircumference. The Tyranid ships swept forwardin a wave which filled the monitors and gunsights with targets. Laser salvos and plasmabeams struck down the bio-ships by tens andthen hundreds but the hive fleet ground forwardregardless of loss. Vessels of both sides felltowards Circe's hungry pull as they were hit,tumbling down to be smashed apart in the stonyrings or to send flares of incandescent gas jetting into space as they burned amidst cloudsbelow.One by one the Imperial vessels were grappledand overrun or torn apart by the hail of shotsfrom a dozen foes. The rings flared with thebright flashes of Imperial ships dying in fierywreaths of plasma. The skies above Circe werefilled with the detritus of war, charred fragmentsof ships and bio-ships merging together to formnew rings of steel, blood and bone. At the heightof the battle only a fraction of the Imperialwarships remained operational, amongst themthe scarred bulk of the
. Givinghis remaining ships a final order to scatter LordAdmiral Rath swung the mighty capital shipabout and thrust forward into the heart of thehive fleet. Roaring forward on its many tails of white fire the
ripped through thebio-ships with its jagged ram, weapons blastingfrom every gun port and turret, the enemy soclose that the shot and detonation of its fusioncannon were simultaneous. For a brief instantthe
kept the horde back with theblaze of its weapons before the Tyranids sweptin like a tide of bone and flesh to cover it withtheir numbers.
A black globe crackled and flared into existenceover the spot. Real space rippled visibly andthen shuddered back before the groaning warpdrives of the
as it hurled itself into the warp. Reality contorted under the strain:mass and warp energy collided in a cataclysmicimplosion of black light and impossible sound.All of the closest Tyranid ships were draggedinto the Astra's displacement and were lost withit. Those further away were smashed in theswirling storm of dust, rocks and other detritusswept into the ship's wake. Great flares of incandescent gas gouted up from Circe toincinerate the handful of surviving ships thatremained in a holocaust of flame. The
disappeared into the warp never to be seenagain. Only a dozen other ships of the proudTempestus fleet survived the battle of Circe.These limped away towards Macragge, thoughthe battle for the Ultramarines' homeworldwould be long over by the time they arrived.
STARSHIP DEFENSES FOR THEADEPTUS MECHANICUS OF BAKKA
Fleet Defense Turret
A particular Bakka innovation is the fleet defenseturret, developed from the remarkably effective systemof low-orbit defenses used to protect the Bakka forgeworld. Though exceedingly complex, the Mechanicusof Bakka found a way to incorporate this on starshipsas a long-range turret that can be used to protect othernearby vessels, and within a few millennia it couldoccasionally be found on Mechanicus vesselsthroughout the Imperium. Two turrets on a ship areexchanged for fleet defense turrets capable of protecting itself or any one other vessel within 15cmeach ordnance phase, adding +2 to the turret strengthof the ship it is defending (this does not alter bomberattack rolls when used to defend another vessel). These
otherwise work exactly as normal turrets do in all other
respects. When used with Battlefleet Bakka, AdeptusMechanicus capital ships may take the Fleet DefenseTurrets refit for +5 points instead of rolling for itrandomly on the Mechanicus Gifts table.
Battlefleet Bakka warships need to be well equippedwith turrets because of the relative lack of fighterdefenses, but Fleet Defense Turrets are too complex tobe serviced by ratings of the Imperial Navy. A simplersolution was devised for the warships of BattlefleetBakka- any capital ship of Battlefleet Bakka can add+1 turret to its profile for +5 points. This upgrade doesnot count against refits ships can take normally.Reserve vessels may not be given this upgrade, but anyvessels from the Battlefleet Bakka fleet list used asreserves in other fleets may take it with them.