Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader: Series 6: From the Ashes of the Bismarck, The Vengeance of Saint Drusus rises.
The exhilaration of finally sending the ex lord captain floating into the cold void of space wears off as the realities of the situation sinks back in. Xanatov nearly collapses to the ground as the painkillers wear off, and an icy silence returns between Aviner and Sente, who has rejected the Omnisiah who failed her. Beyond them a questing crew look to plunder what they believe, not entirely wrongly, to be a space hulk.
Pained, Xanatov returns to the communication system, hailing the vessel attempting to board them. He finds the ship to be owned by a Chartered trader Linessa Colbolt, Cobolt demands to know who she is talking to, to which the reply comes, Lord Captain Xanatov, Rogue Trader Of The Vengeance of Saint Drusus. And with that Xanatov usurps not only the ship, but its very identity, the broken craft is renamed, but will it be reborn? Not believing the warnings of danger upon the craft Linessa Colbolt refuses to half the boarding party.
Aviner turns to the task, from the bridge he manages to contact several of the combat servitors left upon the ship, he arranges for these to stage a fake attack upon the Boarders, which Gabriel and Sente can “save” them from. As he investigates he finds they are already being set upon by the possessed dead, so little extra incentive is needed.
Meanwhile Aviner attends to the new Captains injuries, however the recent horrors have left him somewhat unhinged and the brutal administrations leaves the captain somewhat worse for wear, but with an immaculately constructed Bionic arm, oh and missing one ear.
The plan to stop the boarding party is a success, but Gabrial and Sente take it upon themselves to interrogate the captives, leaving but one alive. Reports come back of worrying news, during Sentes interrogations, odd warp like disturbances were reported around the chamber, and when looking to investigate, the room showed a grisly vista of what had happened to its occupant. The daemon was gone from Sente, but it seems the influence has not.
Initial investigation of the area seems bleak. The area is a ship graveyard with hundreds, or thousands of crafts lost here, their engines stilled by some unknown force. From the depths of space a Martek the Just pipes out tales of heretical egalitarianism and tolerance of mutants. Deeper still comes odd messages of the one called “The King”. The craft boarding belongs to a nearby trading craft known as Penance Of Iocances, this craft alone in the space appears to not be immediately heretical. Further out is a strange alien planet, from which crystalline crafts seem to swarm, and finally a message, found only by the Tech Priest, comes encrypted in tech lingua Magus Heinrich Koestler says “Abandon all hope, all he who enter here”
During this time Aviner confronts Sente about the incidents during the interrogation, speaking that it seems not of the Emperor but of the warp and Chaos. Enraged at this Sente howls insults at him. Before he leaves, Aviner speaks saying he failed her once, by not granting her the emperors mercy when the daemon held her, and for that he was wrong – he then simply states “don’t fall, hate me if you must, but don’t fall”
With the one remaining hostage, Xanatov arranges a meeting between himself and the captain of Penance Of Iocances A terse truce involving no firearms on either side is shortly negotiated, and takes even less time to be ignored as Sente and Gabriel are stationed on the outside of the gun cutter, ready to place charges on the oppositions ship, in case things go wrong.
Upon the craft, the negotiations are started in the midst of a mix of anachronistic environment. Whilst Xanatov applies what leverage he can, Aviner becames very aware that the charter captain seemed not only long absent from the imperium but also very unaware of the nature of tech priests. On Xanatovs suggestion Aviner takes advantage of this fact promising to be able to free the craft from being trapped here with the wondrous technology of the lost ages he held. Xanatov pushes the negotiations upon this, but Linessa Colbolt is a hard negotiator – knowing that the Vengence Of Saint Drusus is a near wreck she can afford to be . In the end a deal is stuck – She would work alongside him as an equal part of his Rogue Trader dynasty, and in return she would provide crew and material for the recovery of the ruined vessel.
As negotiations ends Aviners hand flies up and electricity sparks from it to a servitor in the midst of the negotiations. As the servitor collapses in a charred wreck everyone sees the now ruined bomb in its midst. Realising someone wishes them both dead, the deal is quickly concluded. However Xanatov suggests that Sente be set upon the crew to ensure that none of them where a traitor. Despite Aviners protestations the interrogations start, and each subject came out looking worse for wear, until on the final interrogation a chill fills the air, and warp energy flows. Bursting into the room they are confronted by warp energy flickering from an unconscious Sente as her subject lies bleeding.
Fearing the worst Aviner rushes forward, only to realise that the subject is marked with a the taint of chaos, and mutation. Looking to Sente the truth finally dawns, the daemons possession had awoken latent psychic abilities. Sorrowful at having mistrusted her, Aviner carries her limp form carefully to safety.
Seeing the evidence of a traitor in her midst, Linessa Colbolt turns to Xanatov and asks what should be done. Looking at the mutation on the creature, Gabrial replys with a cold voice “what we do to all mutants” and burns the creature where it lies.
They return to the craft to find Sente awoken and, with the truth out, Aviner and Sente work the first small steps towards reconciliation. Over the next weeks a plan is hatched. To hide the alliance, the new crew is to be brought in under the cover of a supposed invasion. During which time the “invaders” are, in fact, repairing the ship and preparing it for its escape. Meanwhile probes are sent to investigate the strange signals sent from the mysterious Magus. Recovering from the exertion in the sick bay, Xanatov is approached by an unknown figure, who seems willing to join the crew, Xanatov seems intrigued by this possibly new spymaster – Especially when all attempts to investigate him come back a blank.
When the ship is near ready Xanatov and crew fake a retreat from the ship, running supposedly from Colbolts invasion, into the arms of Martek the Just. Hopefully, with this ruse they will have enough time to find out a way out of this deathtrap.
Upon landing the crew are bombarded with propaganda on the great Martek the Just and faced by a group of starved figures, their faces warped into permanent grins, who demand they came unarmed. Hiding the weapons upon the guncutter, Xanatov Sente and Aviner disembark. As they are lead through the streets they see massive poverty and starvation, the entire populace mutilated with the same warped smiles. The one well fed individual leading them takes full advantage of his position to punish and humiliate them as he drives them to their meeting with Martek.
Led finally through into an opulent hall, the crew find themselves faced with the grotesque form of Martek, as he gorges himself upon a feast of wonders denied to those starving under his rule. His madness filled eyes roamed the characters insisting they bow before him, When Xantov refuses he is shot in the leg, and troops set towards Aviner with lethal intent. As tensions rise, the scene is interrupted by a tornado of splinters and debris as an explosion tear out from beneath the table.
Guards pour in to protect their liege, but seeing the food strewn on the ground most of the starving guards set upon it in a feeding frenzy. Martek himself stood unharmed, a power field shimmering in the air around him and his advisers, but turns upon his security captain, demanding him to be taken away. The orders are quickly followed, pulling the screaming figure into the dark. Marteks personal guard set upon the starving soldiers, killing them for daring to take the broken scraps.
Angry Aviner and Xanatov move, stepping just inside the power field, where it provides no protection to Martek. Recognising the threat Martek blusteres angrily that they could not kill him, revealing a strange alien artefact on his chest, the same kind that kept Sigmund alive in unholy immortality. As Xanatov presses his advantage a momentary sanity returned to Martek, he quickly explains that the artefact is controlling him, and that all touched by the crystal monsters are brought here. He could keep control under the insanity but only just, if his form died one more time then even that would be gone.
Realising that to kill him would loose an even worse danger, the crew turn to leave. But not before Martek reveals a gem that made the visit to the forsaken planet worthwhile. Hidden in Marteks technological treasure trove is something that he could not use himself because of the aliens control, something capable of destroying the alien planet.
Hidden within is the planet destroyer that is a Vortex Torpedo.