So I've come to something of a standstill on the Entombed storyline, and I think the reason is I'm not entirely sure where I want to go next. So, in order to give myself a bit of much-needed direction (and in order to give you, my teeny tiny cabal of followersm a bit of a sneak peak regarding what's coming) I've decided to try to do some kind of outline of what I'll be doing from now until the end of the book. I'm going to break it down by storyline in the hopes that I can figure out what all the characters need to do, then decide where each chapter is going to go in a bigger timeline.
Scout Squad Arete:
Scouts arrive in advance of the main force. They arrive in a stealth Thunderhawk, do some recon, take down a Tau scouting party and interrogate the leader.
Once the main party arrives, Squad Arete is assigned a new task: infiltrate deep behind Tau lines, locate the enemy's headquarters, and discover if there are any ethereals present. If so, capture or terminate.
The Scouts take their stealth Thunderhawk to the village of Dorn's Rest, nestled in the mountainous lands south and east of Nobilis. They find it occupied by Tau. A fight ensues. The Scouts prevail and assemble disguises from the armour and weapons of the fallen.
An overland journey, aided by a commandeered Devilfish transport. A Tau checkpoint. Some quick thinking helps them escape unhindered... or maybe they get in another fight. Tough to say. Depends on how smart I'm feeling when I write this section - it may end up with *ZAP* "Boring conversation anyway."
The vehicle is disabled somehow - maybe it is damaged during an altercation, maybe the pilot nails a tree, or maybe it simply gives out due to the Scouts' lack of familiarity with alien technology. Either way, they are forced to hoof it through the woods. They come upon a grisly site - a concentration camp of humans who are being served up a la carte to hungry Kroot. The Scouts and the Kroot engage in woodland battle shenanigans.
Perhaps the disguises get ruined. Perhaps the Kroot sound an alarm. Somehow, the hunt is on for the Scouts. Whether the Tau know that they are Space Marines, or whether they think it is a human resistance element is still up for grabs.
The Scouts stumble upon the location of HQ completely by accident. Shit gets real.
Crusade-Captain Aleksos and the armoured column:
This chapter is already written - Aleksos teleports from the Cruiser to the surface and fights a minor skirmish.
He and Vercingetorix cross paths - maybe have the chapter before V's be Aleksos at the meeting, or overseeing the offloading of manpower and materiel?
The armoured column mounts up. Some skirmishes, but mostly all's quiet. Then, an ambush in the mountain passes! Lasers and cannons and railguns, oh my!
An avalanche, blizzard, rockslide, or some combination of those, interrupts the fight. Both sides are scattered and disoriented. Aleksos must regroup his forces and smash the Tau before they can do the same to him.
The Spear of the Lightbringer is damaged in battle with the Tau ships. Orbital support grows scarce. Communications are disrupted. Aleksos and his retinue find themselves smack in the middle of a convergence of Tau troops. Do or die, fellas.
Vercingetorix: Since this guy is going to be the main focus of the story, he should have the most chapters and the most details. We already know what he's doing for the first ten thousand words, so let's move beyond that part.
Coordinating defenses is important, but not particularly fun to read about. Minimize the details on that one. Get to the fighting.
Mass mobilization of Tau units. Airborne strikes from pirahnas and tetra squadrons. Mantis bombing runs. Hammerhead bombardment. PDF retaliates with AA defenses and what remains of their artillery support. The city has some defenses still in place, but many take some time to get working, or don't work at all. The city is evacuated; refugees are sent northwards.
Fall back to first defensive stations. Tau enter the city gates, are met with booby traps, tripwires, improvised bombs, collapsing buildings. They retreat beyond the city walls. Turns out the first wave of attackers was Gue'Vesa auxiliaries. Now everybody's mad.
Vercingetorix smash! I ought to be able to do that for a few chapters without much problem. Maybe have them switch out his arms before the serious fighting gets under way... or maybe let him keep his signature armament.
Much of these chapters will be about the fight in the city, so rather than focus on a specific plot progression, I'm going to think about what parts of the city will be best to stage fights in and center around those. So...
A park of some kind. This would be brutal, close-quarters fight. With little to no cover to hide behind, the heavily armoured elements on each side would clash. Battlesuits, Space Marines, and Big V.
The bridges. The main thoroughfares across the water are wide open. When the Tau make it halfway through the city, they will encounter the bridges. The assault will grind to a halt, and the Space Marines will destroy them rather than allow the Tau to take them.
The precinct fortress. This is the most heavily defended fortification in the city. The Tau would have a hard time getting in, so they would have to attack with battlesuits and aerial drops. The Arbites will fight to the last man - even the clerical staff will take up arms to defend the fortress.
The governor's mansion. I think this one should go down early. The governor is clearly ineffective, and defending him is low on the list of priorities.
The Gates. This will be early on in the Battle for Nobilis, obviously. A ranged slugfest between the big guns. This is another chance to have Vercingetorix play strategy rather than frontline commander.