Throughout the last century, the ash wastes of Neville Secundus have bared witness to one of the bloodiest conflicts in the Ultima Segmentum's history. A once bountiful forest world, Neville Secundus was first discovered by the Adeptus Mechanicus explorator vessel "Divine Reach" some time during the 32nd Millenium. The tech priests on board detected vast underground reservoirs of promethium and the planet was earmarked for imperial colonisation. 9000 years later, Neville Secundus is a barren and lifeless world save for the fifty billion imperial souls who toil in the Mining Colonies and Hive cities on it's surface. The holy promethium extracted from underneath the planets crust is processed and exported to the war efforts in the surrounding systems, supplying His Holy armies across the segmentum.
In M41.205 an Imperial listening station orbiting the outer planet "Walthall" detected several xenos ships entering the system and the cruiser "Furious" and her three escorts were dispatched to investigate. When the battle group arrived at the outer reaches of the system they were immediately attacked by the alien vessels. The battle was a disaster for the imperials, both escorts being promptly destroyed and the "Furious" crippled and left drifting in the void. However the sacrifice was not in vain and the astropaths onboard the cruiser were able to send a single communication back to Neville Secundus. The Tau were invading.
Such was the importance of the world, that when word reached the segmentum high command of an impending Tau invasion, seven Regiments of the Imperial Guard were mustered and dispatched with all haste to defend the system from the xenos. The Tau coalition had landed in the southern hemisphere, laying siege to the Hive Cities "Crewe" and "Stans Hope" and capturing the Mining Colonies in the region. The Neville Secundus PDF quickly mobilised against the Tau invaders, however the imperial counter assault soon turned into a retreat in the face of such fierce aggression and three more of the world's Hive Cities were surrendered to the Tau. When the Imperial reinforcements arrived at the planet fourteen weeks later, they found Neville Secundus a blazing battleground with the remaining PDF forces dug in and fighting for their lives against a technologically and numerically superior foe.
The Tau now held over half of the planet and most of the vital mining complexes were either in ruins or in Tau hands. Imperial High Command had deployed the Imperial reinforcements across the remaining Hive Cities and Mining complexes in the northern hemisphere. The Neville Secundus PDF were tasked with holding the hive city "Red Ish" at all costs. Having suffered horrendous losses during the early stages of the invasion, the remaining companies of the Neville Secundus PDF, lead by Commander Swires set about their mission with a grim determination and eagerly awaited the next Tau offensive for a chance to avenge their comrades.
Both forces now faced a long and bloody war for control of the planet. Over the next couple of months the battle swayed in both directions. During the battle for The "Fred Perry" Space port, a regiment of abhuman Ogryns led by the grizzled Captain Murphy were massacred during a night raid by two hundred Tau Crisis suits. The port was subsequently lost, and vital supplies destined for the few remaining Imperial hive cities were lost. Three times did the Hunter Cadres of the Tau attempt to wrestle control of "Red Ish", and three times did Commander Swires lead his men in a counter attack to defend the city.
Things looked bleak for the embattled Imperial defenders, but things were about to get a lot worse. As the battle raged on the planets surface, so was it raging in the depths of space. The Imperial Navy had tried several times to blockade the system and prevent further Tau reinforcements from landing on the planet, and it was to this end that a task force led by the battleship "His Will" were engaging Tau vessels attempting to enter the system near Walthall. As was typical with this war, both sides gave no quarter and the fighting was fierce with both fleets suffering severe losses. Her drives badly damaged and her hull marked and ruptured from the onslaught of the Tau broadsides, "His Will" attempted to disengage, from the battle. As the behemoth began to turn, her exposed flank was suddenly set afire by scores of explosions, engulfing several of the smaller escorts unlucky enough to be caught in the blast radius. On the bridge of the great ship, multiple red runes began flashing on many of the lectern panels arrayed before the tech adepts and navy officers, sirens began blazing overhead as the ship lurched under further impacts. The holoviews and datapicts showed multiple explosions ripping through both the Imperial and Tau formations and even more red runes lit up. A fleet wide disengage order was issued to all Imperial vessels, and immediately the fleet began to retreat in the face of such disaster. A great flash of light, followed by a thundering noise ripped across the battlefield. At first it seemed to the remaining Imperials that the treacherous xenos had claimed yet another kill, but when word reached Officers on the bridge of "His Will" that the Tau's main battleship had been destroyed it became clear that both forces were under attack from a new aggressor.
Imperial records tell us that both Imperial and Tau fleets came under sudden attack from an Ork scouting fleet, led by the now infamous Guznik Dorkzilla aboard his flagship "Da Killiest". In typical Orky fashion, the green skins immediately aimed their crude vessels at the biggest, most heavily armed enemy ships they could see, reaping destruction and a heavy toll on both Imperial and Tau forces. In the face of this onslaught, a temporary ceasefire fell upon the engaged Tau and Imperial fleets. An uneasy but necessary alliance formed between the old enemies and both sides rallied to defend themselves against the ork menace, hoping to buy enough time to send word back to Neville Secundus of this new development. Although both fleets were subsequently annihilated, their noble sacrifice had allowed a Tau escort to successfully break away from the battle, and it was this ship that brought the dark news to the Tau leaders on the planet's surface.
It was the Tau leader Shas'o Mik'Edavi who first approached the Imperial leaders with an offer of peace. Shas'o Mik'Edavi had been leading the Tau coalition in it's siege of "Red Ish" for the past three months. A fierce and adept warrior, and veteran of numerous campaigns against the green skins, Shas'o Mik'Edavi had a great hatred for the Orks. Upon hearing the news of the impending Ork invasion, Shas'o Mik'Edavi decreed that for the Greater Good, this world must not be allowed to fall into Ork hands. The Tau forces arrayed against "Red Ish" were ordered to stand down, and messages were sent to the Imperial Commanders within the city, requesting an immediate ceasefire and a chance to meet with Imperial High Command to discuss an alliance against the Ork armies.
By this time the Imperial High Command were well aware of the initial Ork attack, and reports were coming in that this was no small raiding party but the leading tendrils of a massive Ork Waaaagh. It quickly became apparent that without further reinforcements, Neville Secundus would soon be overrun with Greenskin filth, the combined might of the Imperial armies in the sector would not be enough to repel the Orks. It was the now famous Commander Swires who spoke first of an Imperial - Tau alliance and who managed to convince Lord Stockporticus of the willingness of the Tau armies to join forces with the Imperial defenders and repel the Ork invaders. Were it not for the respect and popularity the great Commander had earned with civilian and Imperial leaders alike throughout the course of the campaign, Swires may well have been burnt a heretic. So it was an alliance, although fleeting, was struck between the two foes and fighting ceased almost immediately across the entire planet, buying enough time for Tau and Imperial forces alike to be resupplied and redeployed. Although an animosity and hatred for one another still lingered beneath the surface, the armies of the Imperial Guard and Tau put aside their differences for the time being, and begin the arduous task of fortifying their defences in preparation for the Ork invasion.
It was on the twelfth night after the initial Ork attack at Walthall that the forerunners of the Ork Waaagh arrived in orbit around Neville Secundus. A brutal and devastating battle was fought in the space around the planet, with many Imperial crews commending their souls to the Emperor as they sacrificed their own lives and that of their ships with the futile goal to reduce Ork numbers and buy the defenders on the planet’s surface vital time to prepare their defences. But it was all in vain and against such vast numbers the Imperials and Tau alike were quickly forced to disengage and retreat to the outer regions of the system. And so it was, with the vast number of space hulks and Roks casting a great shadow down over them, the defenders on the surface of the planet stood alone to face the green tide that was soon to descend upon Neville Secundus.