Situation: After a brief bout of shore leave at Port Ausprey, Varl caught wind of a situation on Johainas’ra that demanded investigating. A suspected heretical cult recently blew up a major thoroughfare and was stopping all attempts at repair at the site, without making any demands of the monarchy. Rather than divert a unit of Mounted Cavalry to solve the problem, Varl instead decided to send the warband to investigate – and himself, for he heard great things of Herica while on Port Ausprey, and was keen to see the warband in action.
Equipment: Standard equipment, with additional:
- 3 x Glow-globes
- 5 x Clip/Drop harnesses
- 2 x Grapnel and Line
Objective Primus: Determine the motivation and cause for the group’s formation and its recent attacks. Enable the locals to make the necessary repairs.
Objective Secundus: Destroy the group if necessary, and solve any underlying issues that may require said resolution.
Left to the warband to determine on an as-occurs basis. Try some herica. Ride an Ichgor. Tip a Verrack. Actually, don’t do that last one; they’ve got enough repairs already. – Varl
- Johainas’ra is a pretty primitive place, guys; very loyal, but very low-tech. Just keep clear of the wild Ichgor – those things eat rock when they’re not eating meat and can easily tear a man apart. Also try not to stand downhill of a Verrack, because if it rolls up, you’re gonna get crushed. Also don’t smoke or bring fire near Verrack dung. It can explode. Besides that, it’s a lovely hole in the ground, and do try to bring back some Herica for us back here – it’s meant to taste pretty good in the right hands. – Tor
The warband made planetfall quite easily and opted to take an Ichgor-drawn wagon to the Capitol. Upon arrival, their appearance caused a bit of a stir amongst the locals, but they were quickly shepherded into the Under-Palace before anything got out of hand. There they met with the Under-King Alistair IV, who explained that the “cult” (for lack of a better term) had yet to make any demands or indeed contact anyone outside their group at all, seeming to be content to remain a destructive nuisance without pushing for any resolution. Inquisitor Nuhren seemed content to allow the warband to handle the talking; he only stepped in towards the end of the conversation, where it was decided that he would remain with the Under-King to handle
propaganda calming the populace and eating Herica organising the military while the warband handled the physical investigations, to the extent of Yuri being granted caretakership of his Rosette for the mission. Much to Sevens’ dismay, all the records available were of the ink and paper variety (Note: Tradition is no excuse for being outdated! Why, I could have gotten the same results in an eighth of the time had the records been computerised! It’s almost heretical! – Sevens) (Note: …I’m pretty sure they feel exactly the opposite. – Tor). However, after a bit of assistance from local lackey Karin, the warband discovered that all of the identified heretics had one thing in common: they had all spent time at a new development known as the Shattering Pits. The group elected to first visit the site of the attacks before heading out to the Pits. In the interest of time, they chose to ride Ichgor directly instead of a wagon, and promptly discovered why wagons are better redecorated the underground in various hues of green (Note: Despite initial misgivings, riding Ichgor is really not too bad once used to it. Kind of like being back on ship when gravity malfunctions. Except with more chittering. Think others perhaps not so convinced. – Yuri) (Note: I am formally petitioning the Inquisitor for a team Chimera for future excursions to low-tech planets. Or a car. Or jetbikes. Anything but bugs. – Sevens) made excellent time out to the thoroughfare where repairs were underway. They were informed by the local overseer that the insurrectionists had been making attacks on and off every few days or so and seemed to aim most of their destructive efforts at the repairs in the centre of the area. The last attack was several days ago so, with the idea of taking prisoners for questioning, Praenta took her servo-skull for walkies and set it to broadcast motivational propaganda to the workers. After getting over the creepiness of being yelled at by a floating skull adjusting to the new method of influence the workers redoubled their efforts; this was promptly rewarded (Note: I’m not really sure that’s the best way to describe it… – Severan) with a cultist attack. At first it seemed a fairly standard, if one-sided battle (Note: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: don’t bring a hammer to a gunfight. Or a rackscum pistol to a gunfight. Those idiots did more damage to themselves with those “guns” than to us. – Sevens), especially once Arda frenzied and began tearing into the heretics. Yuri, however, caught sight of one of the heretics apparently using sonar to call into a hole, and despite psychically pushing him to his death (Note: Have noticed that others seem to avoid standing near edges in my presence now. Is appreciated. – Yuri) a feral Ichgor was summoned. Fortunately, Arda was still frenzied and had already created a pool of blood around herself during combat, so despite a full-speed charge by the beast she successfully dispatched it (Note: She also snapped out of her battle fury without needing to chase anyone down and murder them first. Colour me impressed. – Xandra). Praenta saw to the surrender of the remaining three heretics and after a few hours’ worth of torture interrogation and vivisections autopsies vivisections and autopsies the warband established that the heretics had been physically altered as well as mentally altered: minor changes, all up, but enough to provide the heretics with limited sonar capabilities, improved agility and pseudo-compound eyes. Sevens, with his technical knowledge, managed to fine-tune the party auspex to the frequency apparently used by the heretics; however, this did very little to change their captive’s behaviour, even when coupled with a stummer to remove all undue influence. At this point it was determined that the next port of call should be the Shattering Pits and after a quick stop back at the Capitol the warband headed out once more. At the Pits, the warband split up to make inquiries, and quickly established that nothing really seemed too far out of the ordinary there. There were a number of complaints about strange headaches and people hearing the odd strange whisper but no obvious heretical behaviour and no record of any obvious heretical behaviour. After thoroughly investigating (Note: I believe that’s the first time I can ever accurately use that phrase to describe this warband’s actions. No threats, no deaths, no mutilations, no pretending to be a hive gang… – Severan) the locals and the area, the warband decided to investigate the area that had the heaviest concentration of “strange whisper” incidents – deep below the refuse pits. Once sufficiently deep enough Sevens picked up a sonar reading on the same frequency that the heretics seemed to operate on and the warband (muffling their movements with a maxed stummer to prevent any influence) followed the signals to what quickly proved to be Precursor ruins – several tunnels and rooms, still pristine after Emperor-knows-how-long left untouched. Fortunately, Sevens proved knowledgeable enough in Precursor symbology (Note: And had enough hands, with his mechadendrites. – Tor) to unlock the doors and gain access to the ruins. The first room was mostly empty and contained three other doors. The first route that Sevens led the party down led to what proved to be some kind of armoury and the party collected three very strange heretical devices (Note: I intend to run tests on these devices before surrendering them to our Inquisitor’s care. They should prove most interesting. – Sevens) (Note: I would like it recorded that Sevens’ first idea was to trade them for power armour. A fine idea, truth be told, except that there are more of us than strange objects to trade. – Mennu). They were promptly stuffed in a backpack with the stummer neutralised and stored for further investigation. The second doorway led to the apparent source of the strange sonar signals – a strange, semi-transparent multi-faceted solid prism – as well as a pair of wild Ichgor that attacked the party. The party dealt with them very handily (Note: I keep telling you, don’t shoot the ones I single out; they will HELP us if you leave them alive for a little while. – Mennu) (Note: Both went down before they got anywhere near us. We didn’t really need the help that time. – Xandra) and, after neutralising the object with the stummer, returned to the surface. They made contact with Varl over vox and, after giving him an update on their findings, headed back to the Capitol. Unfortunately when they arrived it was to find an almost-riotous mob at the gates of the Under-Palace and it was only with a timely intervention by Praenta that the mob was dispersed. As it turned out, while they were travelling back, the heretics had attacked the main repair site in great numbers with hordes of feral ichgor, driving the work crews off the site and preventing any outside access. The local military had set up blocks in the surrounding tunnels but had had no success in getting any closer than about a kilometre away from the main repair site. After a somewhat tenuous start (Note: Read that as “Sevens insulted the Under-King and nearly caused a planetary-scale diplomatic incident before someone stepped in”. – Xandra), Mennu offered to use his powers for good and remotely scry the site. He then proceeded to completely nullify any salvaged good will by requesting a bowl of blood to scry with (Note: I keep telling you, it’s a completely viable scrying base and there was NOTHING wrong with that request. Go look at the manuscripts on the ship! – Mennu) (Note: Technically, is true. Considering the primitive nature of the planet, however, would very strongly recommend asking for water in future, “weaker” as it may be. Also consider yourself very fortunate Arda only found out about your “defilement of the Shrine” once you had left for the ichgor pens. – Yuri). A compromise was eventually found in a bowl of ichgor ichor and Mennu was left alone with his toys to investigate as best he could while the rest of the team discussed what could be causing such behaviour in the heretics if they’d nullified the object causing the mutations. Mennu discovered that the heretics had found another set of Precursor ruins below the thoroughfare and seemed to be peacefully guarding a large black shrine of some kind. The group decided that the best way to solve the problem would be to have the local military “distract” the heretics (and their ichgor) while the team stealthily infiltrated the complex and neutralised whatever was controlling them. Arda, not being particularly stealthy, elected to remain with the military to oversee the distraction efforts (Note: “distraction” in this case refers to a bunch of oversized centipedes being made to scream endlessly. Just in case you were starting to miss fieldwork, Severan. – Tor). Despite the potential for failure the warband were apparently successful in entering unseen and, after parking stabling their borrowed ichgor near the entrance to the complex, stealthily made their way to the shrine room that Mennu had scryed upon. The two guards at the door were dealt with before they even knew anyone else was present and Sevens used his earlier Precursor experience to easily gain access to the room. Inside was the strange pillar Mennu had described… and nothing else. As the warband approached the pillar, however, a strange voice began speaking in what Sevens recognised as audible Precursor tongue, ordering them to cease their approach and turn back. As this was clearly the order of a heretic, the warband continued moving forwards, and a recessed door opened at the back of the room. The voice then said that if they did not turn back, countermeasures would be activated. As that was even more clearly the order of a heretic the group continued to press forwards and was promptly proven correct as a Precursor security golem monstrosity automation (Note: Oh come on, you said it was equal bits metal, flesh and stone! That’s definitely monstrous! – Tor) (Note: It had clearly been inactive for millennia and acted according to a clearly defined set of directives. ‘Automation’ is the precise definition. – Sevens) stepped forwards to defend the area. It was slow but strong and wielded powerful Precursor-era weaponry; Sevens was stunned by a hammer-like blow and lost one of his legs at the knee in a matter of moments. It took the combined efforts of the rest of the team to distract the monstrosity long enough for Yuri to channel his powers and call upon the Warp to burn it from its core outwards. Unfortunately, it was at this point that it became apparent that their ingress hadn’t been as stealthy as they suspected and a number of heretics – as well as two ichgor – charged into the fray. Yuri dealt the death-blow to the automation and heroically shoulder-charged it to prevent it crushing the senseless Sevens under its bulk before turning to deal with the ichgor assaulting Mennu, who had been distracted in using his mental powers to terrify the ichgor that charged a nearly-frozen Xandra at the back of the room and suffered a crushed kneecap as a result. The two psykers had just got the first ichgor down when the second ichgor – clearly feeling braver after having fled the room once – returned for a second shot at Xandra. Leaving Yuri and Praenta to deal with the heretics, Mennu once again turned his terrifying powers on the beast to disgusting hilarious sickening incredible effect, scaring it so much that it lost all composure and vomited ceaselessly… all over Xandra (Note: NEVER. DO. THAT. AGAIN. – Xandra) (Note: …someone recorded that, right? Right? – Mennu). With their most powerful fighters incapacitated, Praenta successfully intimidated the few remaining heretics into fleeing, and the group quickly turned their attentions to their injured comrades. Once the worst of their injuries were triaged (thanks to Yuri), Sevens was able to “open” the shrine to reveal another sonar-based artefact that – according to the jury-rigged auspex – was the source of the strange signals. The group quickly neutralised the relic and made their way back to the surface where they found the remaining heretics being horrifyingly burned alive, terrifying the local military for generations to come granted the Emperor’s Mercy by Arda. No further rebellions have been recorded and the threat has been deemed dealt with.
Objective Primus Status: COMPLETED. Motivation was due to the influence of Precursor relics rather than anything political; removal and nullification of the relics seems to have quelled the incursion.
Objective Secundus Status: COMPLETED. Incursion successfully dealt with, heretics destroyed, and relics returned to the Third Requiem for further study and possible offloading to the Ordo Xenos. King Alistair was advised to import sonar sensors to locate and eliminate any other Precursor relics as well as killing any afflicted citizens. He seems to have taken this advice on board.
Objective Tertius Status: COMPLETED. Several Ichgor ridden and a decent bit of Herica eaten. No Verracks were tipped but a decent load of Herica was brought back to the Third Requiem instead.
MISSION STATUS: SUCCESSFUL.