Dark Heresy@Miks

Hive Daedalus: Welcome to the Machine
or, 'The Daemonhost Incident'

MISSION PARAMETERS

Code Name: None given. “A distraction. Fuck, I don’t know.” – Varl Nuhren
Location: Daedalus
Warband: Raevan “Leman” Dumag, Arda Erioch, Xandra Noctine, Severan “Scholar” Ortanno, Uriah “Yuri” Zarkov

Situation: Transcribed from recorded message. Speaker: Inquisitor Varl Nuhren “Right, listen up. I’m diverting you lot to a hive world – Hive Daedalus, on Daedalus. Delightful little place with all the standard problems. Normally wouldn’t bother but lately a bunch of nobles have gone missing. By lately, I mean over the last two weeks. By missing, I mean a couple have turned up again but, well, the only reason the Arbites recognised ‘em was cos a couple hadn’t torn off their faces yet. Good thing you lot are in the system, aye? All the missing are young ‘uns, all stupid enough to venture into the Upper Hive before vanishing. Latest is one Magdalena Sudener, kid of a mid-level Apex jerkoff. Servants said she was known to buy trinkets from some Upper Hive merchant named Henroth Volmann – said she was going to buy summat from him the day she went missing. Find her. Alive would be good. Figuring out why a bunch of the little brats have disappeared would be nice too. Try not to piss off the princesses in the Apex too much, aye?”

Equipment:

  • No special equipment granted. Regular supplies (combat vests, rations, single vox-caster, microbeads, single auspex) approved.

Objective Primus: Find Magdalena Sudener.

Objective Secundus: Discover the cause behind the string of disappearances and deal with it appropriately.

Objective Tertius: Left to the warband to determine on an as-occurs basis. UPDATED: Hunt down the Twisted Man and the One Who Speaks below Rykk Voidport.

NOTES

  • The nobility are not aware of the string of disappearances, only of their own immediate losses, and are not aware of the resultant deaths. Please attempt to avoid inciting panic amongst the Apex natives. They don’t deal well with that kind of thing. – Severan Ortanno

MISSION REPORT

from the records of Severan Ortanno

The warband went to Apex to talk with Sudener’s father for any possible information and to investigate her room for further leads. Certain people were less than helpful, resulting in the Lord suffering a minor nervous breakdown (Note – Raevan, saying you are the “Chief Arbiter” generally only works if you are indeed the Chief Arbiter and not very obviously an off-worlder. Just for future reference. – Severan). The warband then went to interrogate Henroth Volmann, who cried like a little girl very helpfully informed us that yes, he had seen Magdalena, and that the last he saw of her she was in a Mid-Hive cantina known as the Falling Light, in the company of a group of Cloudboys called the Babyfaces. Upon threatening him with [REDACTED] (Note: By the Emperor, do not piss off Arda if you want to sleep that night. – Severan) further questioning he also offered that the Babyfaces had also been seen in the company of several other of the missing people and made mention of a group called the Children of the Dark. At this point he began babbling and gibbering and was sent back to the Precinct Fortress with the Arbites for execution further questioning and safe holding. The Babyfaces were less than helpful and were dispatched summarily, their leader being captured for further questioning. He confirmed that they had taken Magdalena and some of the others to a lower level of the Hive called the Undertow and received payment from the Children of the Dark for leaving them there for the Twisted Man and the One Who Speaks – alive and unharmed. Upon making the mistake of blaspheming the Emperor in Arda’s earshot, unfortunately, he was then summarily executed. In the Undertow we found no trace of Magdalena but ran into a small ambush; investigating the bodies and the surrounding area led the warband to look below Rykk Voidport for the Twisted Man, the One Who Speaks and the rest of the Children of the Dark. Careful investigation led us to walking in on what appeared to be a summoning or binding ritual in progress. The warband was in the process of summarily cleaning house when one of the witches present self-immolated, releasing the daemonhost, and I regret to say I was overcome by its terrible power for a while. The next thing I recall was being shuttled back to our dropship and being thanked by the Arbites. I have henceforth elected to take up a more scholarly position on the Third Requiem and have resigned from active field duty.

Addendum from Uriah Zarkov: Daemonhost was released. I was unaffected. Severan fainted, nearly died. Raevan ran away crying like small child. Xandra shocked, frozen for short while. Arda not move for while, think frozen, so I begin to shoot lightning at daemonhost while Xandra shoot with gun. Xandra take solid hit, very bloody. I think perhaps we die. Then Arda start frothing at mouth and charge daemonhost. Thought Arda would die. Arda instead bisected daemonhost in single blow. Went to congratulate her. Still frothing. Tried to bisect Xandra and myself. Took a while to calm down again. Requesting non-lethal method of incapacitation for future missions. Collected Raevan (still gibbering) and Severan (very pale), identified ex-daemonhost as Magdalena Sudener. Informed Arbites that Lord Sudener’s daughter was dead, left them to tell him. Arbites very happy for dead daemonhost and destroyed cult.

Objective Primus Status: COMPLETED. Magdalena Sudener located. Was used as a daemonhost body. Unable to be returned alive or intact.

Objective Secundus Status: COMPLETED. Disappearances traced to Children of the Dark, a heretical cult using the victims to attempt to re-bind a daemonhost.

Objective Tertius Status: COMPLETED. Twisted Man was determined to be a daemonhost whose old physical form was failing; the One Who Speaks was the leader of the Children of the Dark and the one leading the ritual. Both confirmed dead.

MISSION STATUS: SUCCESSFUL.

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Hunting on Hrax
The Tombworld

MISSION PARAMETERS

Code Name: Knifestorm
Location: Hrax
Warband: Lax Davros, Raevan “Leman” Dumag, Arda Erioch, Xandra Noctine, Harlon Stone, Uriah “Yuri” Zarkov

Situation: Being the breeding ground of the famed Hrax Bloodknives, ordinarily the natives need no help keeping their local crazies under control. Lately, however, there’s been a surge in unsanctioned psykers from both sides, and rumour has it the High Warlord is struggling to control the situation. The warband has been tasked with investigating how well he has the situation under control and acting accordingly.

Equipment:

  • 5 x Standard field kits
  • 1 x long-range auspex
  • 1 x magnoculars
  • 1 x dataslate

Objective Primus: Ascertain whether High Warlord Talvrak is as in control as he claims to be. If he is, you will return to the Third Revelation and leave him be. If not, you will assist as best you can.

Objective Secundus: Ascertain whether the rise in unsanctioned psykers has a root cause and if so, stamp it out.

Objective Tertius: Left to the warband to determine on an as-occurs basis. UPDATED: Follow the maps left by the Skreiga into the tunnels under the Golden Bastia and prevent them from attaining their goal, whatever it may be. Find and kill the Eldar guiding them if possible. If their goal is a relic, retrieve it or destroy it as necessary.

NOTES

  • Hrax is a Feral World and very low-tech. Your group vox is effectively the only connection to the Third Revelation available.
  • You have been assigned an Assassin, Lax Davros, for part of the mission. He is on loan from the Ordo Xenos and will assist where possible until recalled by his Inquisitor. “Just point him at things you want dead and don’t worry too much about it.” – Varl

MISSION REPORT

Upon landing, the warband made themselves known to Talvrak and proceeded to negotiate with him. Tales of their exploits were… received… with the net result being that Talvrak tasked them with hunting down an escaped Furimancer (Note: local slang for unsanctioned psyker from the Skreiga tribes – Skreiga are the warp-loving, not-Emperor-worshipping lunatics. – Severan) and the Black Ship-ready psykers he took with him. Investigating the location the Furimancer escaped from yielded very few clues. Upon dealing with the overly-friendly Kran, Xandra was able to procure them a map to the last known location of the escapees as well as several Vornae for the group for travel. After a few day’s travel they encountered a rearguard ambush, which was summarily defeated (Note: swords and crossbows may be fearsome locally, but they lack a certain something against heavy stubbers. Not that Lax appeared to notice. The phrase “whirlwind of death” has never seemed more appropriate. – Raevan). A small group of symbols were found that, upon consultation with Severan in orbit, were deemed to refer to a location in a ruined and supposedly abandoned Bastia. The warband successfully tracked down the group over the next few days and found a small tribe of Furimancers and Skreiga warriors training for what appeared to be an ambush. (Note: if nothing else, this should serve as excellent example why psykers must be sanctioned. One Furimancer exploded under his own power and another created a localised rain of blood (not his own, until Davros got to him). – Yuri) After destroying the group and discovering the leader wielding a sword far beyond their primitive level of technology they investigated further and discovered a trio of Eldar complaining about the loss of their “tools”. Battle was briefly held before the three vanished into the Webway. Investigating the area revealed plans for an ambush on the Bastia of Golden Light which would serve as a distraction for several strike teams to attack something underneath the Bastia and the warband hastily returned; unfortunately they took several wrong turns in their rush and arrived back during the main thrust of the attack (Note: I apologise for the blood-oozing cliff face incident. – Yuri) (Note: that was YOU? No wonder the Vornae got shitty with us. – Xandra). After making their way in they spoke to Talvrak about what lay beneath the city. As it turned out the Bastia was built over a system of caves that intertwine with the labyrinthine halls of the space hulk that formed the basis of the Bastia; the space hulk’s old engine was in the deepest recesses, although how and why the Skreiga know about that was a mystery in its own right. He directed them to investigate while his men held off the surface assault. They were provided a tunnel rat to guide them (Tor) and headed off. They successfully found and killed the Eldar and several Skreiga, to Tor’s apparent horror; they then found a further system of tunnels that were not natural in the slightest. Unfortunately investigating these tunnels awoke the slumbering Necron Tomb at the heart of the world. The warband elected to beat a hasty retreat after barely defeating one of the metal warriors (locking the rest in behind them) and, Tor in tow due to seeing too much and being less-than-conscious enough to protest, left Hrax to the Deathwatch. (Note: Tor was offered a choice between assisting my research or being airlocked. He is a most helpful apprentice, if a little overly enamoured of Harlon. – Severan)

Objective Primus Status: COMPLETED. Determined that Talvrak did not have a full handle on the situation and assisted in destroying an escaped psyker.

Objective Secundus Status: COMPLETED. Eldar were found on the planet and seemed to be meddling with the Skreiga for their own nefarious ends. All seen were killed. Problem deemed solved permanently owing to completion of Objective Tertius.

Objective Tertius Status: COMPLETED. Eldar found, Eldar killed. Tunnels were investigated. Goal was determined to be awakening the Necron Tombs; regrettably the warband were unable to prevent the awakening of the Tomb and only narrowly escaped alive, sealing the doors behind them. Deathwatch have been contacted and are taking control of the situation.

MISSION STATUS: SUCCESSFUL.

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Rescue on Ro'Sha V
The hunt for the horrific immortality-granting ball

MISSION PARAMETERS

Code Name: Babysitting Hide and Go Seek Bloodball (Note: sigh. – Severan)
Location: Ro’Sha V
Warband: Raevan “Leman” Dumag, Arda Erioch, Xandra Noctine, Harlon “Gunny” Stone, Uriah “Yuri” Zarkov

Situation: Originally, the warband were diverted to Ro’Sha V to support an Ordo Xenos warband in the service of an “old friend” of Varl’s. The Xenos warband had been sent to hunt down a serial killer who seemed to have access to unnatural power and/or technology. Not being particularly useful combat-based, they requested backup, and following the warband’s recent successes on Daedalus and Hrax the team were volunteered. While waiting for the arrival of the warband, the Ordo Xenos team located and executed the killer, but are still attempting to track down the relic.

UPDATE, four days before arrival at Ro’Sha V: transcribed message. Speaker: Inquisitor Varl Nuhren. “Well, good new and bad news. The good news is that the other team managed to confirm there was only one guy behind all the crazy shit going on – not a cult – and they caught him, and he’s talkative, so they’re cleaning up his shit now. The bad news is there’s some kind of Xenos relic involved and they don’t exactly know where it is. The really bad news is that roughly three days ago a Freeboota appeared in-system and gunned straight for Ro’sha V… specifically, Avernum, which is now a warzone. The really, really bad news is that the Astartes that are normally in-system given Ro’Sha’s history… ah, got diverted to Hrax to hold the fort until the Deathwatch arrived. So we’ve got no backup for another three weeks. But, look on the bright side – no Necrons! Or Daemons! Just greenskins. So, uh, your mission’s been updated a bit: find the other team, get the relic, get out. If you can kill a couple of the bastards on the way out, go for it, but try not to die doing so; good Acolytes are hard to find. I’ve sent through the last known coordinates of the other team. You’ll be dropped in as close as possible. Varl out.”

Equipment:

  • No special equipment granted. Standard field packs issued.

Objective Primus: Assist the Ordo Xenos team to find the relic. Find and rescue the Ordo Xenos team from their position in the middle of Avernum.

Objective Secundus: Complete the original mission and find the missing relic. On orders from the Xenos team, recover rather than destroy.

Objective Tertius: Left to the warband to determine on an as-occurs basis. UPDATED: Recover the relic before Skullsplitta does.

NOTES

  • Avoid combat with greenskins where possible. Orks are not intelligent but they are good at combat, as the Ordo Xenos team can attest.
  • The Ordo Xenos team is not at full strength. As such, they will probably be unable to reliably assist you in the field, but should be able to share all information they have so far gathered.
  • The Ordo Xenos team is comprised of five members: Magnus Partheos (a cleric of the Adeptus Mechanicus), Enoch Gavernus (scholar of the Adeptus Administratum), Cutter Yarl (a tracker from the Adeptus Arbites), Azarch Tyruss (a Chirugeon of the Adeptus Administratum) and the assassin Lax Davros, who assisted you on Hrax.

MISSION REPORT

Planetfall was successfully made. Ordo Xenos team found; Davros, Gavernus and Yarl all badly injured. Informed that out of four possible locations for the relic, two had been cleared, with two still remaining to be investigated. Partheos opted to be a dickhead (Note: professionalism is important, Tor. – Severan) (Note: I thought you said to be as accurate as possible? – Tor) remain with his colleagues to bolster their spirits while Tyruss offered to accompany the warband given his knowledge of the area and the target. Greenskins easily avoided until reaching the outer gate of Avernum; a short and bloody battle was held. Tyruss very helpful in healing injuries. First location found and cleared. Overheard greenskins “discussing” the situation and it became apparent that the Freeboota leading the assault (a four-armed, two-headed monstrosity calling itself Skullsplitta) had somehow got wind of the relic and wanted it for himself. Thankfully beat the greenskins to the second location. Second location was found to be filled with multiple disembodied humans and impossibly still-living flesh that screamed endlessly despite its lack of a mouth and tried to attack anyone who entered the building. Relic found; upon removal flesh thankfully fell silent. Tyruss confirmed it was the relic in question and warband proceeded to extraction point. Skullsplitta appeared in pursuit with a horde of greenskins. In an attempt to distract them, Raevan threw a hallucinogenic grenade; unfortunately he missed, and hit himself and Tyruss instead (Note: Raevan has been requested to no longer carry hallucinogenic grenades. Or frag grenades. Just grenades in general, really. I have it on good authority his attempts to fly were pretty entertaining once the immediate life-or-death situation had been dealt with, though. – Tor). Harlon and Yuri collaborated to trick the greenskins into believing Harlon had the relic and, as the remains of the warband fled down the street, Harlon heroically foolishly HEROICALLY LIKE A HERO (Note: I can do this all day. HEROICALLY. – Tor) sacrificed himself to blow up the street and all nearby greenskins. The warband managed to make it to the shuttle, where the rest of the Ordo Xenos team had already arrived, and lifted off just in time to see a very bloodied Skullsplitta charging through the ruins… unable to do anything to prevent them from leaving with the relic.

Objective Primus Status: COMPLETE. All five members of the Ordo Xenos warband were successfully retrieved (Note: unfortunately alive in the case of Partheos, although Yuri gave him an excellent ass-reaming as they left. Frakking bastard. Saying that Harlon was an idiot for giving his life to save them… – Tor).

Objective Secundus Status: COMPLETE. Relic (apparently Dark Eldar in nature) was found and turned over to the Ordo Xenos Inquisitor.

Objective Tertius Status: COMPLETE. Skullsplitta last seen roaring furiously at the leaving shuttle, which carried the relic.

MISSION STATUS: SUCCESSFUL.

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Hive Daedalus, Part Deux
I'm not saying it's genestealers, but...

MISSION PARAMETERS

Code Name: Underworld
Location: Daedalus
Warband: Freya Edhildr, Xandra Noctine, Icharus “Sevens” Rex, Uriah “Yuri” Zarkov. Arda Erioch dispatched to hunt down Raevan Dumag, who went missing upon arriving at the Precinct Fortress.

Situation: Hive Daedalus is having problems again, and this time it’s a little bigger than a few people going missing. The Underhive is in revolt. Ordinarily this would be something easily dealt with by the local Arbites but recently the gangs in question have fundamentally changed their tactics. Not only are they now taking (and releasing) prisoners, but the three largest gangs appear to be working together – or at the very least not interfering. This has meant the revolt has become far bloodier than usual and the Arbites are losing ground. Faced with an enemy they can’t understand and with limited intel, the Chief Arbitrator has requested Varl return the warband to the Hive in the hopes they will repeat their prior success. The Arbites can handle the lion’s share of the work but they need the head of the hydra removed first and they are simply not equipped to handle this kind of mission.

Equipment:

  • No specialised equipment granted for this mission.

Objective Primus: Obliterate the command structure of the major gangs.

Objective Secundus: Discover why the gangs are working together in the first place, and if possible, try to arrange it so that such a collusion is unlikely to ever happen again.

Objective Tertius: Left to the warband to determine on an as-occurs basis. UPDATED: Destroy the Genestealer Patriarch by any means necessary. Sevens has indicated that this should send the cult into a tailspin but the patriarch must go.

NOTES

  • You have been given the names and contact details of two Arbites informants: a weapons smuggler/black marketeer known as Shanna and a gang infiltrator with the callsign Far Cry.
  • See Underhive Gangs for a comprehensive overview of the major gang opposition.

MISSION REPORT

Warband made planetfall and were given an thorough overview of the situation from the Chief Arbitrator (Note: he has a name, you know. – Severan) (Note: Chief Arby? – Tor). At this point, Raevan strangely went missing; upon learning that the majority of the mission would be taking place in the Underhive and would require dealing with gangs, Arda opted to stay above and track him down, with newcomer Freya joining the team to make up numbers. The warband then made contact with the first informant. They ascertained that the leaders of the gangs were never seen outside the Underhive. The decision was made to go undercover and infiltrate the gangs as a gang themselves. To this end, the warband styled themselves “The Unexpected” (Note: I see our Inquisitor’s naming skills have had an influence… sigh. – Severan) and set up shop by obliterating an Underhive Cloudboy gang called the High Rollers. Sevens took a prisoner, lobotomised the prisoner and sent him back to the Third Requiem to be turned into a Servitor (Note: oh Emperor, THAT was what was in that box? – Tor) (Note: be grateful Sevens was not with the warband when you were brought on board, or you might have suffered a similar fate. Sevens is… enthusiastic… about his servitors. – Severan). Warband was approached by members of the Lost Templars; warband was also approached by second informant, callsign Far Cry. The Lost Templars contacts offered an in with their gang if the warband would collect a package from an Underhive bar for them. Far Cry instead offered an in with the Black Riders if they delivered the package to him instead. As the Black Riders had been determined to be ostensibly in charge, the warband opted to deliver the package (guns, drugs, and other weaponry) to Far Cry instead, which (after stealing a number of bikes and murdering a number of Cloudboys) they successfully managed. (Note: it pains me to note how effective the warband was at acting like a hive gang. I am unsure if this is reflective more of our organisation’s recruitment style, training style or the warband in question. – Severan) The Black Riders then tasked them with kidnapping three people from the Mid-Hive: the day and night manager and head janitor of the Workhouse, the Mid-Hive’s largest hab-motel and living area. After conferring with the Arbites to ensure minimal opposition presence (Note: yes, Sevens, also after you created a very impressive truck from the carcasses of the four bikes… sigh. – Severan), the warband created a diversion and successfully kidnapped the targets with minimal fuss. They were then taken to meet the leaders, being instructed by Far Cry to paint a certain symbol on their vehicle to minimise interaction from other gang memebrs. At this point the connection to the Genestealers was discovered. Sevens created a makeshift bomb in a first aid kit (Note: I suppose it’s not like he was going to use it for much else… – Tor) and the leaders were summarily killed at the meeting, along with Far Cry who had been corrupted by the cult. Yuri was able to track the psychic signature of the patriarch to an area further down. Freya sacrificed herself to spike a melta bomb onto the foul xenos’ head (Note: while I disapprove of the sacrifice of a good Acolyte, I will admit it was the best course of action to minimise losses. She will be remembered. – Severan) (Note: just say it, boss. It was BADASS. – Tor) and with assistance from the Arbites, the cult was eradicated.

Objective Primus Status: COMPLETED. Gang leaders of the Black Riders, Broken Cogs and Lost Templars confirmed dead. Patriarchal Genestealer confirmed dead. Adeptus Arbites cleaning scene.

Objective Secundus Status: COMPLETED. Collusion was due to nascent Genestealer cult. Collusion deemed unlikely to occur again given destruction of Genestealer and associated cult.

Objective Tertius Status: COMPLETED. Patriarchal Genestealer confirmed pulped thanks to Freya’s sacrifice.

NOTES

  • All surviving Acolytes who took part in the High Rollers debacle now have Enemy (Cloudboy Gangs). (Note: DAMMIT SEVENS, BEING KNOWN FOR DISTURBING ACTS OF VIOLENCE IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF – Severan) (Note: …can I request that Sevens be banned from grenades too? – Tor)

MISSION STATUS: SUCCESSFUL.

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Whatever Happened on Bharius?
Nothing good, most likely

MISSION PARAMETERS

Code Name: Skyfall
Location: Bharius
Warband: Arda Erioch, Mennu, Xandra Noctine, Icharus “Sevens” Rex, Uriah “Yuri” Zarkov

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.

Objective Tertius: 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.

NOTES

  • 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.

MISSION REPORT

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.

NOTES

  • All Acolytes who formed part of the warband for this mission have gained Peer (Bharius Legionnaires).

MISSION STATUS: SUCCESSFUL.

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Therapy
Sevens' Diary, Entry 1.

#pict feed begins: interior of a ship, a laboratory – a man in black stands in front of a workbench, the figure speaks#

Hmmm, much better, now where was I? Ah yes: my relationship with the Adeptus Mechanicus. Well. there isn’t one as far as I am concerned. They are backwards, uninspired and very much without a sense of craftsmanship or flare. Oh what was that?

#the figure turns to someone off screen#

Yes exactly! The Mechanicus have moved far away from the Emperor’s wish for mankind. The God-Emperor was truly the greatest mind and look at what he did with his ingenuity? The Astartes, Warp Technology, the Golden Throne. Wondrous pieces of technology that the mechanicus would rather we never understood, all the while the enemies of mankind draw nearer and nearer. Some of the Xenos races have truly amazing technology: The Tau Empire, the Eldar. Even the Orks are kind of brilliant in their mindless ways. Since my induction into Inquisitor Nuhren’s warband I have had more opportunities to engage with more Xenos tech. Indeed the living metal they encountered on Hrax seemed most amazing. It is such a shame that it is now a hell world.

#the robed figure pauses, looking to the character off screen again#

Oh quit your complaining. We do the Emperor’s work, and soon you will too. You were wasting your life in the Hive and accomplishing nothing of note. Now I am making you better, holier. Putting you to work with a divine purpose.

Ahh, it’s finished.

#the robed figure lifts a cybernetic head implant, evidently what he had been working on#

Now be quiet, or this will hurt. A lot.

#the robed figure walks over to the other person in the room: a drooling figure strapped into a chair, with half of his head missing. The figure is strapped to life support technology and is missing its lower jaw. It is not conscious, let alone capable of speaking#

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Interlude: On the Road to Elysium
Daemons and Chaos and Warp, oh my!

MISSION PARAMETERS

Code Name: “You’re counting THAT as a mission? Fine… uh, Warp [CENSORED].” – Varl
Location: The Third Requiem
Warband: Arda Erioch, Mennu, Sevens, Uriah ‘Yuri’ Zarkov, Xandra Noctine

Situation: After being stuck in orbit around Bharius while the Deathwatch and the Ecclesiarchy cleanse the planet in preparation for the lifting of the Quarantine, Inquisitor Nuhren jumped at the chance accepted a request to escort two prison ships to Elysium. During the warp voyage, the Gellar fields briefly failed, and a full-blown warp incursion occurred.

Equipment: Normal gear, everything on-board.

Objective Primus: Kill the daemons.

Objective Secundus: Fix the Gellar Field generator.

NOTES

  • Severan questioned the purpose of writing a mission report for what is apparently, and I quote, “a routine occurrence around here”. I pointed out that writing the report meant that I didn’t have to assist in cleaning up the room full of fleshy, boil-ridden walls and the warped bodies of the armsmen. He then decided to assist, to ensure my first proper report was done correctly. – Tor

MISSION REPORT

The Acolytes were called to the aft of the ship after the Gellar Field in the foresection failed. Several rooms had been taken to the warp and returned turned to flesh and filled with daemons – specifically, daemonettes of Slaanesh and a Herald of Tzeentch. After a bloody and heaving titillating quivering (Note: These are DAEMONS, Tor, not whores. Six breasts does not mean six times the fun. – Severan) visceral combat, the daemonettes fell, followed by the Herald, and the Acolytes managed to restart the Gellar Field with minimal extra casualties.

Objective Primus Status: COMPLETED. Daemons were killed in spectacular fashion, and the ship is being cleansed from their taint.

Objective Secundus Status: COMPLETED. Sevens managed to get the generator restarted with no real problems, to the chagrin of the Enginseer in that quarter. Said Enginseer’s head shortly exploded and he was… dealt with… by Sevens.

MISSION STATUS: SUCCESSFUL.

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Tales of the Past I
The Lost and the Fallen

As regaled to the Acolytes by Inquisitor Varl Nuhren, while cleaning up the mess caused by the warp incursion en route to Elysium

“Yeah, like I said, this shit reminds me of back on Rynn II. I ever tell you lot about that? No? Right, then; keep on working and I’ll share a bit of history with you.

Can’t remember if I told you or not, but you know Istvarnach? Inquisitor Lord Istvarnach, hero of the sector, fire-and-brimstone preacher of the Ordo Hereticus and killed in action ‘bout forty years back? Yeah, he was my Inquisitor back when I was an Acolyte like you. Anyway, I’d been working for him a good few years or so when a group of us got set on a mission to track down and destroy some relic – little thing called the Orb of the Lost. We’d tracked it through a couple of cults, saved a couple of planets, the usual, until finally we tracked it down to Rynn II. Now, you lot know Rynn II as being full of daemons and shit, but back then it was just a normal, everyday hive planet. Little smaller than Daedalus but just as fucked up.

Hn? The Orb? Eh, some Precursor or xenos artifact that brought people back from the dead. Useful, except it brought ‘em back all mind-linked together and… well… how can I put it? Y’know when the tech-priests keep a servitor’s old face skin in place but replace everything underneath with metal, and it’s all weird and wrong when you look at it? Think that, but without the metal. Just fuckin’ off.

Like I said, we’d followed the trail of this thing to a cult in the absolute underbelly of the main hive – that is, Verity, Jacques, Roth, Angela, me and a couple others I don’t rightly remember anymore. We were a helluva band. Between them, Verity and Jacques put out enough fire and psychoticness to put the fear of the Emperor into Chaos itself; Roth was our gunman and a better shot I’ve never seen. Fuckin’ silent as anything but he’d put a bullet through a half-inch hole from miles away quick as blinking. Angela was the brains of the group – she’d done most of the research and investigation, partly because that was what she did best and partly because a couple months back she’d lost her long-term partner in a mission gone bad. Me, well, you’ve seen what I do. I talk to people and kill shit.

Anyway; we made planetfall no problem and got down to the Underhive pretty handily. Istvarnach never really believed in subtlety so we had full clearance to show off our authority – let me tell you, that shit comes in damn handy when dealing with folks unwilling to talk to you. Something about fates worse than death just brings out the helpfulness in people. We got directions to the group’s main hub easy enough and got about halfway down when we started seeing weird shit.

Now, when I say weird shit, think back to Bharius a couple weeks back – pools of liquid that doesn’t look right, fire where there shouldn’t be, yeah? Kinda like that, except less of it. We found pools of toxic sludge that had been infused with Warp energies somehow and a bunch of mutated corpses. Well, to be fair, most of ‘em weren’t corpses when we arrived, but same difference, right? Fuckers stayed clear until Jacques started burning the pools and giving sermons to nothing – let me tell you right now, don’t fuckin’ work with clerics unless they’re the vow of silence types; fuckers will never shut up when they need to – and then they charged.

Course, since they only had shitting little swords and laspistols, most of ‘em didn’t even get in range before they ate shit. Couple ran through the pools and fucked ‘emselves up before they even got to us – one didn’t go so bad, looked like he’d just got vat-grown guns installed in his arms, but the other fucker’s eyes got big enough they almost fell out of the sockets. Fuckin’ hilarious. Verity got a real good firestorm off by Jacques, too, stopped the blast not even an inch before it would’ve singed his robes. Another lesson for you: don’t ever fucking piss off pyrokines. They’re all insane at the best of times and even in fireproof armour you look pretty fuckin’ flammable to them.

Anyway, we cleared up pretty easily, and then we got faced with a pair of passages. I took a bunch of guys and went off down one corridor while Verity, Jacques, Roth and Angela took the other. I thought I’d got a pretty good deal of it – found a nice little nest of heretics, stomped them out for not even a scratch in return – but then I backtracked to catch up with the others and, well, hadn’t they hit the fuckin’ motherlode.

Verity told me what had happened later. Turns out, a bit further down their corridor, they found the main shrine of the whole damn cult. Just to get in they had to cut through two solid metres of rockcrete; inside there were three free-standing altars covered in stupid chaos crap, then at the back there was a massive pool of pure warpfire around a huge shrine to none other that fuckin’ Tzeentch himself. The cult had gone from your standard heretical loonies to Tzeentch-loving heretical loonies with a massive sweet spot for the Orb. Lucky for us they believed in keeping their relics on the shrine… except, well, there were three pretty similar-looking spheres on the shrine, and none of the four of ’em were keen on sticking around to destroy them any longer than necessary.

See, according to Angela, destroying those things in a way that’d render them unusable would take a minimum of half an hour with a fuckload of super-hot fire and at least one extremely religious nutcase. They had the fire and the nutcase no problems but figured that trying to destroy the things in that shrine would be even harder than usual. On top of that, they knew that only one was actually the Orb they were after, and they weren’t keen on wasting a couple of hours destroying all three – not while the cult was still active. The solution they hit on was to have Verity telekinetically grab the right Orb and walk it out while Jacques got started on the chanting. Lucky for them, Angela had done her studies and knew which of the three was the correct one.

Unlucky for us all, the stupid bitch wanted it for herself to bring back her lover-boy, so she told them the wrong Orb and started chanting.

By the time Jacques realised what was going on it was too late; they tried knocking her into the warpfire but evidently she’d been dealing with Chaos for some time prior as all that resulted in doing was fusing her with a Lord of Change, and pitting the other three against what was effectively an unbound daemonhost with no backup.

I’d like to say it was a victory for us, but I couldn’t rightly say that. The first thing the bitch did was summon up a horde of Horrors and it only got worse from there. Roth got a few good rounds off but was psychically crushed in short order. Verity managed to take out most of the Horrors with one good flamestorm and Jacques managed some solid hits on what used to be Angela, but they could tell it wasn’t going to be enough. Desperate times called for desperate measures. So, with Jacques preaching at full volume and surrounded by gouts of fire, Verity unleashed her most powerful assault at the daemon. Jacques vanished in the flames, then vanished again with a flash of a golden aquila; the Horrors around him were burned to ashes. But the daemon itself was still up – charred and broken, clearly weakened, but still up.

And that was about the point I came on the scene.

Not even a second after I arrived Angela – or as I should properly call the fucker now, the Scribe of the Lost – vanished back to the warp, discarding her old body to burn in the warpfire. Jacques reappeared a few seconds later in another flash of golden light, singed to almost a crisp but miraculously – unfortunately – still alive. A clear act of the God-Emperor, as he told us endlessly on the trip back to the surface. We almost gave Roth up for dead – I told him that he needed real armour and his stupid stealth suit would be the death of him one day – but someone spotted him on top of what used to be the door, where he’d been sniping from, and the Chirugeons patched him up pretty well. A couple inches shorter than he used to be, yeah, but still deadly as all hell.

Hm? Now? Shit, haven’t you been listening when I tell you who you’re working with? Verity’s Lax’s boss – an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos, and a helluva lot calmer than she used to be. Still just as fuckin’ dangerous though. Jacques I know you’ve heard of; he’s Jacques d’Florienne, still Ordo Hereticus, and took up the void that Istvarnach left when he died. Yeah, yeah, I see you nodding – he’s damn hard to miss. Roth, shit, nobody really knows. Well – that’s a lie. Roth clearly knows. He’s still kicking, or was a couple of years ago, but damned if I know where he’s at these days… he wasn’t really enough of a people person to take up a Rosette.

We ever run into Angela again? Fuck, did we ever. Story for another time though. Last I knew, she’s still going, or was about a decade ago – she’s been pretty damn quiet if she’s still around.

So, yeah, to cut a long story short: don’t trust your allies when you’ve got your back turned to ‘em at a cultist shrine, and burn every last bit of fuckin’ Chaos you see, otherwise your adepts turn into daemonhosts and you get reamed out by your Inquisitor for not completing your mission properly."

Varl pauses, scratches his chin, and eyes off the still-biological walls.

“Keep up the good work, you lot.”

He turns on his heel and walks off towards the bridge.

It’s another twelve hours before the last of the warpflesh is gone.

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Where The Light Don't Shine
Down Down, Deep Underground

MISSION PARAMETERS

Code Name: Dug Too Deep
Location: Johainas’ra
Warband: Arda Erioch, Icharus ‘Sevens’ Rex, Mennu, Praenta Lanette, Uriah ‘Yuri’ Zarkov, Xandra Noctine

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.

Objective Tertius: 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

NOTES

  • 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

MISSION REPORT

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.

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Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Efficiently Inefficient, or Something Like That

MISSION PARAMETERS

Code Name: Gears of War
Location: Lotus Alpha, Cerix Magnus
Warband: Interrogator Zarkov, Sister Arda Erioch, Draco, Icharus ‘Sevens’ Rex, Mennu, Praenta Lanette, Xandra Noctine

Situation: After the warband’s visit to Johainas’ra, they found themselves running relatively low on supplies and – given their proximity to the Forge World of Cerix Magnus – elected to stock up while things were easy to come by. Unfortunately, what should have been an easy shopping trip was cut short when several critical items (namely ammunition) were in fact effectively out of stock, with their contacts claiming a shortage at the Forge World was to blame. Varl gave the warband leave to investigate.

Equipment:

  • No specialised equipment granted for this mission. (Note: It wasn’t meant to be a mission; it was meant to be a shopping trip. – Sevens)

Objective Primus: Determine the reason for the lack of availability on what should be easily obtainable gear. Obtain additional ammunition and gear as required.

Objective Secundus: Left to the warband to determine on an as-occurs basis. UPDATED: Determine the cause of the significant efficiency drop and either fix the problem or alert someone who can.

Objective Tertius: Left to the warband to determine on an as-occurs basis. UPDATED: Find the root cause of the Khornate cult and wipe it out. Determine how far up the chain of command the heresy goes. Actually attend the meeting with Auron.

NOTES

  • Cerix Magnus is the primary manufactorum for most Imperial-issue gear in the sector. I’ve compiled a list of critical notes here and arranged a meeting with Magos-Metallurgicus Auron for you. Please do keep in mind that Cerix Magnus is a Mechanicus world above all else. (Note: What are you suggesting? – Sevens) (Note: That perhaps you should be a little more subtle about the Aquila where your Cogs should be. – Severan)

MISSION REPORT

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Objective Primus Status: COMPLETED. Lack of availability was determined to be caused by a heretical Khornate cult funnelling supplies and products away from standard production lines. Upon resolving the issue, ammunition and gear was obtained.

Objective Secundus Status: COMPLETED. Efficiency drop was determined to be a combination of the Security team cooking the books falsifying data (Note: “Cooking the books”? What kind of expression is that? – Severan) (Note: Look, back home I dealt with actual paper scrolls and ink. You wanted something falsified, you shoved it an oven and wrote a new one. Y’know… cooking it. – Tor) and flow-on effects from not only the underlying Khornate heresy but a stolen missing transport platform (Note: Sevens, please tell me you can rig that thing to work anywhere. I didn’t know how much I needed it until now. – Xandra). Magos-Metallurgicus Auron was informed of the situation and is working with the Inquisition to rectify the problem.

Objective Tertius Status: COMPLETED. Root cause was determined to be the Security branch, led by Magos Leutus and Magos Parnux; Magos-Metallurgicus Auron was determined to be negligent rather than heretical and is remaining at his post to assist the Inquisitorial-led efforts to restore Cerix Magnus to its non-heretical and efficient state.

MISSION STATUS: SUCCESSFUL

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