Rogue Trader S2 EP6: Countdown and Consequences (Part 1 Of 2)
Pandareos, Gabriel and Xanatov take the first step on the long walk back to their vessel, many tunnelled miles through Footfall stand between them and safety. Water seeps down the inside of the hollowed out asteroid, slipping down the statues faces as if they were weeping and falling upon Frags dead form, hoisted upon Pandareos back.
Gabriel breaks the silence, speaking over secure coms “The gunfire will have alerted the predators in this place, there should be looters here already, we need to find a place to hole up before they get here. Taking point, he feels eyes watching him from the darkness. There’s less than a day until the foretelling, and he needs to get his Lord Captain back before that day runs out.
Cackles and shouts from the darkness have dogged their journey so far. Whispered warnings, or threats come from the darkness “It’s not long now”. Picking up the pace, the small group comes into a wide carved out plaza, the remnants of well meant attempt at urban renewal. The ruined fountains filled with refuse and bodies, and remnants of upturned blazing crawlers show how well that worked. The flickering flames illuminate not just the party’s wary expression, but nauseating graffiti icons to the ruinous powers.
Distracted by such, only Xanatov notices the half dozen figures, crouched just outside of the fire light. Automatically his power armour’s war spirits spring to life, sacred war displays showing their every detail, their blood running high, ready to attack.
Without thinking, his bolter leaps to readiness, a deadly spray engulfs four of the figures, the exploding charges tearing apart their rib cages and decimating their flesh into a fine mist. With vox roars of rage the remaining to burst out into the open as Pandareos bolt pistol fire soars over their heads. Their gore slick chain axes and the layer of leather made from human flesh stitched into their skin mark them as members of the Blood Skinner gang. The time to identify them is also the last moments of their life as Gabriel steps between the two, impaling one in the chest then embedding the Power Sword in the second, leaving it their until the energy rips the ganger apart in a blaze of fire. With contempt Gabriel spits in the burning remains before starting again on the long walk.
The Vengeance of Saint Druses was unusually quiet, with only the dull roar of plasma drivers and omnipresent binary chatter to form a welcoming background hum as Aviner worked contentedly to tame the Teleportarium, its young and obstinate machine spirit was wild and wilful.
This soothing reverie was soon interrupted as the ships herald brings contact from a representative of the self proclaimed liege of Footfall. Aviners help is requested regarding a sensitive matter. Unperturbed Aviner replied that he would attend to it when he has a spare gap in his schedule. The representatives voice turns harsh as he explains that this was not a request. The Liege has become intertwined with one of his cybernetically enhanced playthings and Aviner will resolve it. With a sigh Aviner replies that he will check the situation and see if he is free, then cuts off the communiqué to get confirmation from Xanatov that the group is still well. A jubilant Sente joins Aviner, and after playful banter and a now armoured gauntlet slap of his behind, is enthused to be heading down to the planet where she may have the opportunity to empty a clip in someone, for “all work and no play makes Sente a psycho girlfriend”.
As they prepare to leave Aviner and Sentes banter is interrupted by another message, which Aviner wearily answers. The response identifies the caller as Colonel Stern of the Imperial Guard who had brought the men for Gabriel. Aviner apologises, but explains Gabriel is engaged in his preferred pastime. “What, drinking and whoring?” comes the reply. “I will have to update the order of my list of his preferred pastimes” notes Aviner. A guffaw of laughter greets the remark “I like your sense of humour” says Stern, to Aviners confusion.
Warning klaxons breaks the conversation as gravity anomalies tear across the ship, the last thing heard before an EMP burst from the bowels of the ship silence the machine spirits is a voice in the background intoning “This strikes me as Xenos trickery Brother Captain, prepare the drop pods”
Deep in cargo hold 6.4.Gamma the long still Eldar web way roars to life sending a psychic backwash that destroys the minds of its unfortunate guards. Into the now silent room inhuman graceful figures walk with malicious intent.
Attempting to block the chamber by dropping bulkheads, Aviner sends his servo skull rushing through the quiet corridors to the Tech Priests with orders to get power back online immediately.
Far away Victrix feels the invaders as they violate the crafts sanctity, hollow creatures that dance in blind spots of her psychic vision, waves of sadistic joy radiating from them. Her empty eye sockets trying to scrunch shut against the experience, Victrix rushes with fortuitous purpose through the darkened craft, sending her mind out to match with Sentes. Xenos minds weave their way into the link, broadcasting hints of the horrors they wish to inflict, only to be met with worse than they could imagine as Sente gives them a brief glimpse of the time she faced whilst possessed.
Victrix calls the group together along with Father Caustic and Cannon Innocent as she reveals the Holy warriors of the Emperors vengeance are coming, black armoured giants that are human cathedrals to war. They speak “The emperor has passed his judgement on Xenos, we are here to pass his verdict – extermination, to them and all who deal with them”
The ships saviour from the Xenos, and destruction for dealing with Xenos technology comes in one form,
The Adeptus Astartes are coming, the Emperors Vengeance,
The Space Marines.