Down the Creep
A few days after calling for help, the marine detachment was reinforced by troops from the infamous Venus Guardians, who arrived three companies strong in a huge dropship. The area covered by the creep had grown considerably and now had a radius of some 350 ft. Extensive tunnels were found under the creep .
A plan of attack was quickly worked out (though Adrian Lucas did not seem to happy with it). Five acid torpedoes were launched and burrowed through the creep, to deliver a mist of luminescent and transparent acid all over the area. While the Xerg where melting away, four different assault groups of half a company each went down into the creep, with the last company in reserve.
Even before the attack was launched, seismic sensors showed increased activity in the hive, as if they had some premonition of the attack. But the initial assault went well, and the Venus Guardians penetrated down to a depth of 100 ft., encountering only sporadic resistance. At this point, the marines discovered that the people they were here to save were still alive and being moved deeper into the hive. Adrian Lucas ordered an immediate rescue, but due to the limit on endure elements spells available, only five men could be sent.
Meanwhile, the Venus Guardians were running into trouble. Xerg were coming out from sealed-off sections of the hive, attacking even as the acid started chewing into them. And the tunnels were found to stretch much farther down than anticipated. The embedded ISPD Liaison ordered the reserve company to attack what was suspected of being the main hatchery of the hive.
The marine detachment could benefit from intelligence gathered by the Venus Guardians and avoid dangerous areas, but met some resistance on their way into the bowels of the hive. Cpl Lilow Arrowfoot discovered a crystal embedded in the creep wall, that upon later examination turned out to be a Power Component. Once down there they discovered the first of what turned out to be a series of aliens termed Overlords, who were evidently capable of extra-dimensional travel. One of these overlords was seen to disappear carrying the civilian Erion Hawkwood. Close by, the remains of Nathaniel Smith and Thordrek Smith were found as well, apparently having been consumed quite recently.
In the fight for the lower levels, new Xerg appeared who exploded into a shower of acid when slain and who were themselves immune to acid.
On retrospect, it appears obvious that the xerg were well-informed of the coming assault. The hive had been deepened from a maximum depth of 60 ft. to a new depth of 150 ft. in the hours prior to the attack, and several pockets of resistance had been built up by raising walls of creep. It is also evident that they evolved during the fight, breeding xerglings capable of withstanding the acid mist of the Venus Guardians. As several xerg escaped, including overlords carrying an unknown number of aliens, the situation is still seen as highly dangerous.
Embedded in the creep of the xerg hive were several Power Components of different types. It was known that Xergal 4 had power components, but these are widely dispersed and hard to harvest. It appears that the xerg have an affinity for Power Components and are able to gather and harvest them in some way.
The fighting grew very heavy, especially in the lower levels of the hive. Because of the narrow tunnels and the limited availability of magical protection, the situation became quite dangerous, though no actual casualties occurred. All participating personnel were awarded the Lyre of Venus by the Venus Guardians. As mandated by marine protocol, this automatically qualifies for a marine commendation. Investigation is pending on whether any xerg remain on Xergal 4, and if so this might be officially dubbed a campaign, qualifying all personel present for a campaign ribbon. This descision is still pending.