Rogue Trader: Story 1: The Gathering
Our tale opens on Xanatov, stood upon one of the millions of colonised worlds of the Empire: The city is close to riot, food held from a starving populace, a child beaten to death in the street for daring to ask why the Xeno are to be hated. Xanatov moves imperceptible through these ways looking for his target, as marked by his mentor the bishop of Xothos. This figure is to be only one of many he has disposed of over the recent months, hidden as accidents and calamities.
As he comes closer the situation reaches fever pitch, with the populace rising up against the brutal Adeptus Arbites police force. The Arbites respond characteristically with heavy auto weapons fire. Desperate to not be mown down Xanatov joins in putting down the rebellion and executing the rebels: having gained the approval of the force he moves unbothered into the sewers unseen, where he comes upon his target in the middle of some sort of commerce. With deadly precision he strikes down all but one of who he finds with long las, and the last one is killed in a desperate struggle with a short range inferno pistol blast, leaving none to tell the tale of what occurred here.
Returning he find the Bishop pleased, the Bishop then arranges for him to move on to his next task. It seems with a recent “accidental” death, a Sigmund has become the next in line for succession of a Rogue Trader dynasty, and it is Xanatovs responsibility to deliver to him the sacred warrant of trade.
On another Planet deep below the Forge Worlds of the Adeptus Mechanicus walks Aviner and Sente. In the data vaults of forbidden tech data they find violated machine spirits and ruined data, the purity seals broken and someone or something has moved deep into the vaults of unholy secrets. Freeing the lost machine spirits with the sacred melta bombs they proceed deep into the vault, accompanied by servitors and acolytes. As they spy movement ahead everyone except Aviner suddenly freezes as a stasis field encompasses them.
Heretically infected acolytes, servo skulls and servitors swarm out upon Aviner, who moves through the swath of gunfire to try and restrain the infected individuals. As he does so a servo skull connects in trying to overwrite his mind with darkest heretek concepts. Nearly lost, Aviner plunges his power axe into the nearby power crystal unleashing their energy through him and purging the infection before collapsing burnt and battered.
Miles above Sigmund walks as part of the Adeptus legions, giant knight attack robots walking alongside through the machine chapels. Hundred of red robed tech priests are massed, and complements are heaped upon Sigmund for his dedication to battle in the name of the Omnissiah. The celebrations are cut short by an unexpected burst of gunfire, as the Knight turns and unleashes its devastating weaponry upon the assembled. The horrible realisation spreads quickly – they have become infected by heretek.
In the heavens above Xanatov approaches in the startship bearing Sigmunds charter, when the infection reaches even here, the crafts life support collapsing and weapons turning upon each other. The Bishop send Xanatov out through the wildly unstable teleporter into the depths of the void, sending him to the surface to find Rogue Trader Sigmund and the tech priest Aviner.
Deep below Sente and Aviner move alone to the next violated sanctum, alone as the only two who could traverse the hard vacuum that protected the next layer of forbidden data. Advancing they find the final vault open, as their eyes lay glimpse to the blasphemous shifting unnatural geometry within they shudder at the horror, trying desperately to look away before their minds crack. The protective fields have been dropped and the abomination is infecting the whole planet now with its ruinous tainted code.
Prepared Aviner barks off binary chatter reactivates the stasis field, sealing the abomination off. From behind the frozen entity a female tech priest emerges from the ruins, speaking the utter heresy of egalitarian distribution of the knowledge of technology to all, and to free the information from the control of the priest hood. Worn down and enraged Aviner struggles with the Heretic throwing her into the Stasis field to trap her, however she is caught half out of the field and sputters to a painful death as half her self is frozen in time.
In the silence that follows a figure steps from where he has just materialised in the darkness and places an inferno pistol to Aviners head, and thus Aviner and Xanatov first meet.
On the surface, destruction reigns as the infected servitors and knights wreck havoc upon the assembled. As the Tech priests go through the lengthy blessed motions of the Reaver battle titans activation sequence, Sigmund heroically charges the massive knight climbing up upon it, and rallying the troops to fight back. Whilst the troops surge again at this sight, Sigmund is cast from the Knight and is smashed a broken form upon the ground for his bravery.
After a brief disagreement below the ground , Aviner and Xanatov establish that Aviner is who Xanatov is searching for and the three teleport to the surface to aid those caught in the fighting. Seeing the injured Sigmund, Xanatov runs out to assist him but is mistaken for an enemy and gunned down by the heavy bolters of an attack servitor.
Meanwhile Aviner overrides the security blast doors setting up a safe area for Sigmund whilst this is occurring. Realising that the Knight will be able to attack the Reaver Titan before it is ready, he unifies with the machine spirit of the consoles and opens the massive blast doors behind the Knight, causing it to turn to face an expected new attacker, and thus it is delayed just long enough for the Titan to activate, sending a burst of mechanical religious euphoria over the battle field before it unleashes its rage upon the heretek.
As the tide turns, Aviner intercedes to recover Sigmund and Xanatov to the safety of the protective bays he has opened and watches as the vile Heretek are purged from the land. The group has finally gathered, battered though it may be.