Western fringe of the galaxy, 20 parsecs from the Holocaust system
The Imperial agri-world of Prandus lay covered in a writhing grey mass of metal as a swarm of effigies broke it down into it's base elements and began to convert it into more raw material to add to the massive fleet that hung overhead. A colossal assembly of ships stretched for entire parsecs, releasing a deafening amount of electronic communications chatter that blotted out both electronic and tachyon based communications which had proven debilitating to those that had relied on such methods for interstellar communications, though the psyker using Symaarians were unaffected. It mattered not, the poorly defended agri-world fell in a matter of hours, it's defenders being swept aside like matchsticks before an overwhelming tusnami of metal.
Entire sectors had been lost to the oncoming machines, overwhelmed and drowned in this tide of death. What could they have done? The fleet was of a scale almost never seen before in the entire galaxy. So vast it was, that their advance around the star Prandus orbited completely blocked out the star, smothering virtually every last bit of it's light. Upon one of the largest of the ships, an enormous metallic sea-scorpion shaped vessel with enormous crackling, flexing tendrils and a huge series of tentacles behind it, seeming to push it through space despite the seeming lack of engines, a vast assembly of machines stood in waiting, chanting out one mantra as the protectorate fleet dashed off into quantum space, advancing at superluminal velocities to the world of Holocaust.
"THE PROTECTORATE IS SUPREME! ALL HAIL THE PROTECTORATE! THE PROTECTORATE IS SUPREME! ALL HAIL THE PROTECTORATE!" They chanted again and again, the chatter of billions of voices deafening all others as a menagerie of machines of all shapes and sizes milled about, getting into their deployment positions. Even if they had not spoken, the simple noise of their movement alone would have been deafening, for such was their number.
Soon, an distinctively shaped exterminator with two large servo arms emerging from it's back and prominent upper body buttresses serenely glided into the assembly, rotating it's head and eyestalk to face the assembly. "WE ARE ON THE VER-GE OF TO-TAL CON-QUEST. THIS GA-LA-XY WAS FEE-BLE IN IT'S ATT-EMPTS TO RE-SIST US." The fleetmaster reported with a booming, monotoned voice, one that sounded as if it was attempting to choke back it's unimaginable loathing for all things. "IN MERE MIN-UTES WE WILL BE U-PON THE SY-MAAR-IAN WORLD OF HO-LO-CAUST. THIS WILL BE THIS GA-LA-XIES LAST STAND AGAINST HAR-VES-TER FLEET CI-THON! LET THEM TREM-BLE BE-FORE US! LET THEM KNOW THAT RES-IS-TANCE AGAINST THE AR-MIES OF THE I-CON IS FU-TILE!" The Supreme Fleetmaster boomed, to the echoed cheers of the protectorate armies milling about in the command vessel.
"FROM HERE WE SHALL GO ON TO CON-SUME EV-ERY WORLD IN THIS MIS-ER-A-BLE GA-LA-XY. AND THE O-THER FLEETS SHALL KNOW THAT IT WAS CI-THON THAT LAID LOW THE MIL-KY WAY! THIS...FORGE WOR-LD THAT WE SHALL ASS-AULT WILL BE WELL DEF-EN-DED...BUT NOT IM-PEN-E-TRA-BLE TO US! FOR THESE SY-MAA-RI-ANS CAN-NOT HOPE TO STAND AGA-INST THE TRUE-EST SER-VANTS OF THE I-CON! ALL HAIL THE I-CON! BLE-SSED BE HIS NAME!" Fleetmaster cithon boomed, prompting the rest of the assembly to repeat the last two sentences in a maddening mantra. For thousands of light years around, all tachyon receivers received that mantra, blared again and again in the voice of a legion, of an infinite army.
Finally, the first elements of the protectorate fleet began to drop out of quantum space at the outskirts of the holocaust system in a vast metal swarm that left ripples in the very fabric of space due to the sheer number of ships dropping into real space all at once. It would be akin to dropping a thousand stones on a trampoline of all different kinds of shapes and sizes all in rapid succession and never ceasing, never stopping, never faltering, not even for a moment. Fleetmaster Cithon rotated it body to face forward on his bridge controls where itwas wirelessly linked to the entirety of his fleet. "CON-TACT THESE WEAK BE-INGS OF FLESH. GIVE THEM THE U-SUAL MES-SAGE. TELL THEM THAT THE END HAS COME FOR THEIR PIT-I-FUL IM-PER-IUM." It commanded in a metallic snarl that echoed through the ship.
As it had done with every world before, the Protectorate Fleet broadcast one message, and one message only to the world it targeted. A message that chanted out one simple word, one word that communicated every intricacy of their intentions, every last detail of what they had planned for everything they met, a message that in it's own way, was more terrifying than the typical long-winded and pompous speeches given by most interstellar conquerors. It was just one word, chanted in a million voices by a number of mouths that outnumbered the very stars themselves. "EX-TER-MIN-ATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE!" The message blared out in every frequency the protectorate was capable of using.
A message that only grew louder and more insistent with each new ship that dropped into real space. For those on the world of holocaust, it would look as if an entire region of space had turned into a single gold and red mass with piercing blue lights, a mass of ships that had amassed in numbers beyond counting. But the Protectorate's flair for the dramatics had cost them any hope of the element of surprise, by now the Symaarian Imperium had an idea of what they were facing, and it had been no secret that the fleet was converging on the Holocaust system, giving the Imperium time to prepare. Preparations that were soon to be put into use.
A fleet several parsecs across soon manifested itself into real space, primarily made up of smaller escort vessels that were slaved to the commands of the massive capital ships, having learned that the inhabitants of the galaxy had experience in fleet combat with the Tyranids who used lagrely similar tactics in space, the Protectorate had taken greater measures to use it's lesser vessels as shields for it's much more important capitol ships, who themselves guarded the titanic behemoth transports that would vomit forth the main core of their armies, though by all means, each and every vessel had it's own contingent of soldiers.
The protectorate fleet immediately began to sweep the area for mines as it began to power it's way through the comet fields of the system, making it's implacable approach to the main planets in as brutal and unsubtle a fashion as only harvester fleet Cithon could manage. A vast collection of metal gathered in clusters so thick that even a blind gunner would be able to hit something ten times out of ten with the most inaccurate weapon on his ship. This allowed for the best possible interceptor screens for the transports and capitol ships, as there would always be a vessel in position to intercept a shot, though by all means a sufficiently heavy barrage would be able to penetrate through the screen.
If there could be said to be a weakness in the incoming fleet, it's that while it's ships were incredibly numerous and well armed, only the largest of command ships and transports and those vessels built for no other purpose than to serve as "meatshields" for the above two categories had durability comparable to vessels of a similar size used by other factions. Some would call this a callous disregard for the existences of their fleet, the Protectorate considered to be the most prudent usage of it's resources possible.