Situation: Roughly a month ago, a joint warband comprised of Acolytes from the Ordos Hereticus and Malleus were sent to Bharius to investigate the cause behind the self-destruction of the planet’s most recent batch of penal legionnaires. Three weeks after their arrival, with no further communication, the Archatine Synod requested confirmation of a Quarantine order from the two Inquisitors in question. The Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor has written off his Acolytes and is unwilling to go against a Quarantine order; Inquisitor Nuhren would much prefer to understand the situation before dooming the planet and removing a useful resource from the sector. However he cannot be seen to be actively working against a Quarantine order (especially one technically made in his name) and as such has requested the warband to infiltrate the blockade, investigate the situation and make the call as to whether the quarantine is necessary.
Equipment: The warband has been given a personal vessel, kitted out for stealth and speed, piloted by a made-for-purpose servitor. It is not Warp-capable and has no weaponry. It does, however, have external scanners and life-support systems. In addition, the warband has been given the following:
- 1 x Psyk-Out Grenade
- 2 x Psychotroke Grenade
- 5 x Filtration plugs
- 5 x Rebreathers
- 5 x Respirator/gas masks
- 5 x Survival suits
- 5 x De-Tox doses
- 1 x Vox-caster
Objective Primus: Determine the cause for the apparent Quarantine order and whether it should be maintained, revoked, or upgraded to Exterminatus. Do NOT be identified as members of the Ordo Malleus and do NOT be found to be ignoring the Quarantine order by the Archatine Synod warship. (Note: Sevens, that means the drooling servitor husk stays on the Third Requiem. – Severan)
Objective Secundus-Alpha: Find out what happened to the joint warband. Rescue or euthanise any survivors as necessary.
Objective Secundus-Beta: Complete the warband’s original mission if possible. Find out why the penal legionnaires were so unwilling to leave Bharius that they killed themselves and deal with the source accordingly.
Left to the warband to determine on an as-occurs basis. UPDATED: Get samples of the wood treatments and the mysterious fire-pool underneath the processing plant, to determine whether the Quarantine should be upheld or not.
- As a penal colony, off-world communications from Bharius are very limited. Outside of your vox-caster (which in itself has been tuned to communicate only with the Third Requiem and your Servitor-piloted ship), the only communications array is in the main overseer’s compound.
- Bharius’ atmosphere is not in and of itself toxic. Unfortunately, any plant that produces Bharric wood (i.e. most of them) is. Respirators and filtration plugs will defend against the airborne spores but will do very little against sap to the skin or ingested matter.
- Update from Tor: I’ve managed to turn up some information about the penal system on Bharius. Unlike traditional penal colonies, due to the toxicity of Bharric wood and the harshness of the environment, Bharius wardens take a far more relaxed approach to guarding their prisoners than on other planets. The prisoners are mostly self-sustaining and seem to follow their routines out of a lack of other options. Of course, the guards step in with lethal force now and then, but for the most part they don’t have to. The prisoners operate on a twelve-six-six shift basis, with twelve hours spent on either harvesting or manufacturing, six on sleep and six on either compound maintenance or shipment preparation. Survival equipment is handed out on an as-needed basis, which seems to keep the majority of prisoners in line with a minimum of fuss, as poor behaviour is “rewarded” with either poor-quality gear or losing gear altogether.
The warband successfully made it past the orbiting warship and suffered no problems approaching the planet. A flyby was performed; no immediate threats were identified and the warband obtained the three major compounds at the colony (the Overseer’s compound, the prisoner’s main compound and the processing plant for Bharric wood). Reading from the atmosphere revealed a higher-than-normal quantity of plant matter and fungal spores but nothing immediately lethal. The group had their servitor pilot drop them off at the docks before “parking” in a safe place outside the immediate area. There was one other ship in the docks which they identified as most likely belonging to the prior warbands. At this point, they realised they were being watched – this turned out to be prisoner #774827 “Jax”. He told them briefly about the “loonies” in the processing plant before Sevens
blabbed about Exterminatus inadvertently scared him and Mennu was forced to wipe his memory of the conversation; upon snapping back to reality with no memory of the conversation or anything else and facing a well-armed group of offworlders, Jax fled. The group then investigated the other ship which had some superficial damage to the outside. Sevens determined that it had been non-naturally drained of power some weeks prior. Footsteps heralded the arrival of a group of Overseers; Sevens and Mennu managed to conceal themselves in the loading ramp of the ship while Xandra, Yuri and Arda did not. The group seemed to be superficially trustworthy (Note: By “superficially” I believe Severan means “at the business end of a hand cannon”. – Tor). They seemed to believe that the warband had been sent to help them take back control of their old compound which had been “invaded” and taken over by the group who came down three weeks ago, and did not seem to be aware of the Quarantine. All questions about the situation on the planet were played off as being standard prisoner problems. Upon reaching the compound, Sevens stealthily sent an encrypted broadcast over commbead alerting any nearby Inquisitorial agents to their arrival; on the fourth floor, a light began to flash. At first it seemed the Overseers would accompany the warband into the compound but Yuri, through a combination of fast talking and mind fuckery (Note: Tor, we have been over this. – Severan) (Note: What else do you call it? – Tor) psychic strength convinced them to remain outside. The jury-rigged traps inside were no match for Sevens’ technological mind and the warband managed to reach the fourth floor unscathed, where they made contact with the two surviving Acolytes. Negotiations were tense (Note: For future reference, no matter how appropriate the description, calling the person behind a barricaded door “reprehensible” and “less than human” is not the way to gain entry. – Severan) (Note: …have you MET Char? That’s how you say ‘hello’ to that soulless fucker. – Tor) before Sevens mentioned the Quarantine, at which point they were allowed into the room, where the badly-injured Azariel was exceedingly grateful for the non-Char company. As Sevens dealt with his injuries he explained briefly what had happened; namely, the warband had discovered the mysterious pool of fire below the processing plant and the effect it had on the prisoners and overseers, but had been betrayed by several members of their own number and forced to flee. Discovering their ship to be drained of power they made for the compound. By the time they made it to the communications array there were only a few of them left. Their Tech-Priest set about calling for help; unfortunately, he too had been corrupted, and instead set the Quarantine message and locked the system before Char blew his head off. Unable to leave and unable to overcome the security, the remaining Acolytes hunkered down in the hope of eventual backup, their numbers dwindling to two over the intervening weeks. Sevens quite happily dismembered tore apart recovered the implants from the dead Tech-Priest as he investigated for any physical signs of corruption – he quickly discovered that the fungal spores in the blood reacted violently when introduced to De-Tox. This was used to confirm that Char and Azariel were clear of any corruption (Note: Dammit, Sevens, couldn’t you have lied about Char’s? – Tor). A few more Overseers had arrived outside by this point and, deciding that it would be too risky to let the corrupted men escort them to the processing plant, the warband elected to deal with them here. Mennu forced two of their number to attack their allies, Arda frenzied and began tearing them apart with gusto, Xandra and Sevens blew the two flamer fuel tanks to smithereens (covering most of the area and more than a few of the Overseers in liquid fire) and Yuri joined Arda in battle before manipulating the fire to scorch the few unburned members. Both Char and Azariel were quite impressed at the speed and efficiency at which the warband turned the area into a mess of blood and fire dispatched their opponents (Note: Oh come on, Severan – Arda literally turned one guy into a pool of blood! – Tor). At this point, while Sevens attempted to break the security on the communications array, the group were approached by a band of prisoners (including Jax). While communication was at first very confusing – for the prisoners, that is – they were soon sweet-talked into aiding the warband in an attack on the processing plant, with Sevens in particular spinning tales of how they’d be seen as “heroes of the Imperium” and definitely not killed for seeing things they shouldn’t have “earn their freedom”. As even with the help of the sane prisoners the group were still heavily outnumbered, Sevens elected to attempt to re-rig the Psychotroke grenades to spray De-Tox instead, on the grounds that the De-Tox would do far more damage to the spore-infested opposition. After a dodgy start (Note: “OH EMPEROR THE SNAKE-WORM”… I wish I’d been there to see it. – Tor) (Note: Is fortunate Sevens had set aside weapons. Also fortunate Sevens is not trained to punch and has good armour. But yes, was certainly worth being present to witness. – Yuri), the group then had two De-Tox grenades and a psychically-contained ball of Psychotroke gas in addition to two “Sevens Specials” – box bombs filled with frag and krak grenades and shards of Bharric wood. As the prisoners milled in the jungle, led by Azariel and the unwilling the press-ganged the threatened with being deemed heretical if he didn’t Char, the warband called back their ship and made their way to the roof of the processing plant. The gas was released, the bombs were dropped, followed by the De-Tox grenades and the first floor of the processing plant quickly devolved into a hellish, hallucinatory blood-boiling warzone. Then the sane prisoners charged. Things did not improve. The warband quickly and efficiently rappelled into the mess to get the treatment samples before heading down to the lower level, where they found a smaller group of corrupted prisoners, overseers and a once-Acolyte around a pool of blue-green fire. Mennu performed his usual party trick once again succeeded in turning the heretics against each other and battle was joined. A solid shot from Xandra sent one tumbling back into the pool; Arda, in her frenzied rage, began tearing heads from bodies with abandon and managed to send two flying back into the pool as well. Another shot from Xandra sent a third individual head into the pool and a flaming body running across the area. Yuri joined Arda in the melee while Sevens moved up to take shots with his plasma pistol. After one of his blows was deflected by seemingly nothing Yuri realised that they were dealing with some manner of Tzeentchian cultists. For a brief moment it seemed that they would win the battle handily but evidently Tzeentch was pleased by the “offerings” in the pool and something large began to coalesce beneath the surface. Shouting prayers to the Emperor, Sevens wrapped his Psych-Out grenade in his Aquila and hurled it into the pool, warping and twisting the flames further but it was not enough to prevent a Flamer rising from the surface, freezing Xandra in her tracks. A call was sent up to Char demanding his presence in the lower level immediately as the acolytes prepared to sell their lives to contain the monstrosity. Sevens was very nearly taken down by the beast’s foul warpfire; Yuri, dosed up on Slaught and fearless in the presence of Tzeentch’s creation, dodged the flames and charged beside Arda to personally attack the beast. Battle was bloody and swift, living fire clashing with blade and flesh and mind in the subterranean lair. Just as it seemed the daemon would be dispersed a Horror appeared, causing Mennu to collapse, Sevens to freeze solid and Xandra to lose her mind collapse into shrieking laughter. Fortunately the Emperor was with them and not only were Sevens and Xandra able to reign themselves in in time to help their comrades dispatch the monstrosities but Char appeared just in time to draw Arda’s frenzy-induced wrath away from the rest of the warband. With the destruction of the daemons the pool settled, at least a little, though it would clearly need further cleansing to be deemed safe. The group collected the spoils of war and made for the surface where the surviving prisoners – and Acolytes – greeted them, having managed to take control of the main floor. Contact was established with Varl who, after hearing the tale and being disappointed at Char’s survival (Note: Abomination or not, that thing is still an Acolyte and you should… oh, who am I kidding. Even our Inquisitor didn’t bother hiding his annoyance. – Severan) ordered the Acolytes to leave the Quarantine communication in place for now and bring the surviving Legionnaires back to the Third Requiem to join the lower ranks of the Ordo Malleus.
Objective Primus Status: COMPLETED. Quarantine order had been invoked by a corrupted Tech-Priest with no authority from anyone listed. Varl is taking the appropriate steps to revoke the order and the warband were not identified.
Objective Secundus-Alpha Status: COMPLETED. Vast majority of the joint warband had either been corrupted or killed, with only two survivors – Char the pariah of the Ordo Malleus and Azariel the priest of the Ordo Hereticus. Both were successfully rescued
to everyone’s dismay
Objective Secundus-Beta Status: COMPLETED. Unwillingness to leave Bharius was determined to be caused by the effects of burning Bharric wood in Tzeentchian warpfire; much of the colony had fallen to the addictive nature of the smoke produced. The warpfire pool was quieted and measures are being taken to still it permanently.
Objective Tertius Status: REVOKED. Samples were taken of the treatment pools but upon the nature of the fire-pool being discovered, deemed unnecessary.
- All Acolytes who formed part of the warband for this mission have gained Peer (Bharius Legionnaires).
MISSION STATUS: SUCCESSFUL.