Rogue Trader: S2 E 15: Everything Old is Bullet Ridden Again.
Not all that happened at Footfall has been spoken of, of the time before the Xenos filth struck, a time a year ago. Amongst the shadowed doom that haunts the Calexis sector a figure walks who has survived beyond all odds, A Navigator known as Lucius Merrick, friend of Estiban Yasha, walks anonymous amongst the crowd, hat down and coat drawn, just another face, relatively safe amongst the masses.
The past still burns him, of dangers hidden, and this strange land shows sights of a liege with mechanical form and lust filled human eyes, of life shanked short for a handful of thrones. In this world he must be cautious. He has followed rumours that a representative of a young, yet dour Rogue Trader has been spending time in this poverty ridden starving area. A disreputable gambler amongst a land of ner do wells.
From the darkened corners of the gambling den Lucius watches the brightly coloured rogue known as Pandareos waste his Lord Captains fortune in extravagant displays whilst whispering scurrilous come ons to the women of the crowd, seemingly unaware of the sharp shivs and concealed weapons of the cliental. His stake out is interrupted by a note placed in from of him by a blank eyes young woman. Reading it he finds an invitation to a gladiatorial combat and to discuss mutually beneficial business signed by a MM Sayonay.
Looking back to the scene he finds the Void Master sprawled on the floor, an angry Narco ganger with filed teeth and white eyes gibbering angrily at him. Fumbling for his bolt pistol Pandareos falls into his usual patter “Are filed teeth in at the moment or something, I never can keep track? Wait, am I hitting on your girl, oh in that case well” he pauses with an evil grin “well it sucks to be you doesn’t it?” Pulling himself up he continues “Lets let the girl decide, loser walks away like a man, what do you say, I ended up having to kill here last week and I hate repeating myself?” Somehow this fails to pacify the ganger who leaps forwards ready to impale the impudent void born.
A moment later the headless body sags to the floor as Pandareos lights a lode stick on the burning stump and puts away his bolt pistol. A gang about to step to aid their friend decide discretion is the better part of valour. To his amusement he finds the woman still interested in his advances and steps out into the night, depositing some loose change at an old mans feet. Once the room is empty the old man speaks over vox “Lord Captain, its Blake – no my lord its exactly as you predicted. We will find another way to find our steersman”.
Days later Lucius approaches the meeting place, a gladiatorial arena know as the slaughter pit, hat in hand and watching for danger. His eyes flicker across the obscene displays of wealth amongst the criminal families, and finally lie upon Sayonays palanquin, high in the noble boxes, surrounded by pale women in porcelain face masks. Also he takes in the brightly coloured Void Born arranging a gambling book on the coming fight amongst the roaring crowd.
Cherubim rise above the arena carrying images of the liege and trumpets roar. The Leige stands addressing the crowd “Ladies, Gentlemen and other gender indeterminate individuals, I aim to become knowing of every one of you, for I am your ruler, and a long to shower you all with my opulent splendour. I give you the gift of a ripped open heart pumping blood into the arena. I give you the champion Spartus the destroyer. This has shed more human blood than even Horus himself and to face him – the champion of lady Sayonay herself Mistress de Bataille”
In the arena stands a gene enhanced woman, a pair of heavily serrated chain axes in her hands, and bodyguards by her side looking deep into the tunnel from where her opponent shall come. A bestial roar echoes from the tunnel. A seven foot fall beast of snarling maw and beady red eyes, all tusks and fangs with skin of mottled green lumbers forth “Which one of you gits wants to get smashed first” it rumbles. Bataille spits “Which one of you will die getting me the head of this xenos filth” seeing no answer she adds “Fine this is a job for a woman” and charges the Xenos beast.
The Ork beast feints a wild blow, before committing to a vicious blow to her head, sending her tumbling back to the floor. Storming into her petrified bodyguards it tears them limb from limb. It takes a severed head beteen its jaws and crunches down hard “uh, tastes like umie. Bored. Get me something proper to fight”
In response a tech engine of eye tearing dimensions lifts from the floor, enclosed in blasphemous runes to the ruinous powers. “Behold the extermination engine” booms out to the crowd. Blood drips from the eyes of the watching fools as their eyes race upon the machines hallucinatory colours. “nee pretty, like pointy ear pansy. Wonder how easy it is to break it” The ork says.
Nervous now the Navigator double checks that his pistol is at the ready before his eyes return to Saynay. A burning sensation clutches his chest and his warp sight begs to open as it feels unnatural energies rippling from her.
Deep in the crowd Pandareos recognises Saynay for the first time and pales. With a nervous shudder he grabs his assistant in betting. “I’m going out for a moment, don’t steal my money or ill hunt down and kill your family, you, and destroy the part of the planet your on.”. Shaking he sprints out from the area, away from the apparition he has just seen.
Lucius lets loose the power of his third eye. Before him the ladies secrets are lay bare, the scars of the warp, the thing that looks from behind her with disquieting madness. The spiritual essence of the woman around her leeched from their forms. The being of pure evil he looks upon. Something watches over her, old as time itself, fed on madness and lust. Threads of fate tie her to the red and yellow clad one who flees the arena. Her alliances are visible, ones to work with her but still speak the emperors name. She serves no such thing, she serves nothing a sane person should know.
Realising the danger Lucuis turns to follow Pandareos out but is halted by a firm hand laid upon his arm. . “Am I to understand my lord, that you are looking for gainful employment?” Godwin asks. “that would depend on what was involved ”he replies. ”We are looking for good navigators to lead us through the Kronus expanse and do the emperors work”. Thinking, Lucius responds “I would be intrigued to hear what the lord captain has to say”. Rising Xanatov on the coms Godwin explains the situation and explains he wishes to meet in person. “how presumptuous” Xanatov exclaims. “I think it shows spirit and initiative” Godwin adds. Interrupting Lucius says “I think we should continue the conversation elsewhere, we should get out of here now”. None disagree with their newly recruited navigator
Present Day: The Jungle Planet at War
A war moves slowly above the planet. Bastille and Scourge’s threats to bomb the landing party from orbit have been faced down by a collections of Rogue Traders. The once flamboyant Saint Druses floats, now Spartan and authoritarian in form. From his new home Lucius has decided to accompany his Lord Captain to the ground of the war torn planet. His is the eyes that see the true danger, the ancient magic that threatens to engulf the area in a localised warp storm. Even his third eye is partially blinded by the forces at bay here. Knowing what is at stake he steps to the teleportarium and sees the light, and then the dark and then the Lord Captain lying on broken earth.
Xanatov pulls himself from the ground, the war spirits of his armour demanding blood as they howl to life. Twenty meters above Warlocks stand upon a platform, shimmering in and out of reality as they continue their treacherous ritual. Balefire lapping around the structure on which they stand. With a roar they charge, Xanatov, Lucius, Stern and his men, intent on climbing this dread fortress and cleansing the filth within.
With a gesture the Warlocks surround themselves in a halo of runic light, wafer thin blades of singing terror drawn in their alien hands. As Xanatov and his Navigator crest the top of their climb they leap forwards ready to repel the invaders to their sanctum, screaming to tear the soul as they do. “Witness the bladesong Mon Key” reverberates inside Xanatovs mind as he faces these indomitable foes.
Xanatovs chain blade intercepts the deadly blade, but at the cost of its own existence as it shatters before the power the assaults it. Smashing the promethean tank of the ruined hilt Xanatov tosses it at his foe, igniting it with a blast from his inferno pistol. The respite is short as the Eldar flicks backwards, the flame extinguishing as quick as it started.
Lucius holds fast, ducking between the xenos flickering blade, respond with shot after shot of point blank bolt pistol fire. The explosive shells tear at the Eldar, but its unnatural armour grants it respite from its deserved death. On the ground, the Imperial Guard scream as ribbons of light erupt within them, tearing and burning them where they stand. To nigh the last man they are butchered by the monster that dances between them. Be it by boiling blood or severed skull, all die by the xenos hand.
With his troops falling, Xanatov and Lucius stand alone against the coming storm. Lucius time and time again slips away from the creatures blows. Kicking hard at the creatures sternum he fires once more driving the creature back, but still it comes, weakened but deadly. Xanatov dives to the side as the blade comes down once more, inches from his skin. Placing the blade behind it the warlock taunts Xanatov, daring him to attack “I told you Xanatov that I would take your head on this world”.
With a growl Xanato cuts off his urge to leap forwards and strangle the beast, pulling his pistol at the last moment ready to engulf the creature in its flames once more. It is too slow as effortlessly the Warlock tosses the weapon to one side, sweeping a deep gash through his armour. As if by fate the Eldar facing Lucius simultaneously swing its blade in a deadly ark, tearing through the Navigators leg and dropping him to burning on the ground.
Time slows as the last moments become shorter and shorter. Dropping to one knee, Xanatov swings free the sun rifle from its moorings, unleashing its unholy destruction upon the Eldar above Lucius, atomising its form. Through the dust of its fallen comrade another screams in outrage and vengeance, lifting the Lord Captain high as its warlock blade bites deep through his chest, tossing him back, scarred and barely alive. Their suffering is joy for the Warlocks, soon the mon keys souls will be taken for their pride.
The blade song is drowned out by roaring of engines. Hovering above the battleground the Player looks down from the cockpit of the Fury Interceptor “Bad time esse?”. The Eldar stand in shock as Marchessa drags Xanatovs wounded form on board. The Eldars doom is delyed however as Pandaroes and the Player bicker over controls of the craft “But esse, my broken heart?” The player complains “I said you could use the void torpedos, now let me show you how to really fly” Pandaroes laughs as he slides into play.
Looking up to the sky, Lucius mutters from hoarse lungs “Smoke them”. Seizing a lodestick between his teeth the Void Master answers, letting loose the full fury of the lascannon batteries into the charging Xenos filth. The air burns as the Warlocks are torn by the immense energies unleashed upon then, the Interceptor sweeping back and forth until none stand against it. With them dead the storm breaks and the scene above revealed.
Basteel faced badly against the alliance, breaking and running to try and find safer territory, but Sun Li tracks his moves, blocking his escape. It is she who negotiates the victory, and that Basteel must surrender personally to Lord Captain Xanatov with an apology for his impudence.
The battle spent, the alliances troops are dropping towards the planet, soon its secrets will be open to all. Lucius works quickly, the markings in the temple are a stellar chart, not just in time but through fate itself. The dread pearl however has been scorched from the map by wounds eons old. There is enough though, this will lead the way to where they will be able to find the rest of the co-ordinates they need. Six co-ordinates psychically linked to the dread pearl. This memorised, Xanatov gives the order “Lucius, are you done? Then Pandareos – flatten this place, we shall give no clue to those who follow us”. Sucking on a lode stick, smoke billowing from his wounded chest Xanatov speaks “The emperor won’t let me die”. Only in death does duty end” the Player commiserates. Xanatov smiles “Seems my job isn’t finished yet”
The crew dragged back on board, and with the troop carriers close behind they prepare to return to the void once more. But before they do, the craft turns back once more, the Player at its helm. The sacred rites of activation are completed and the Emperors fury is loosed, void missile tear loose embedding deep into the structure before shattering it with a deafening explosion. “I’m the best boss ever” Pandareos declares. “I thought Lord Captain was the boss?” The Player says. “No, he’s my boss, I’m your boss. Chain of command, I’m sure someone told me that” Pandareos answer. Shaking is head the player says with a wink “For my close friend you sure have got an authoritarian streak esse”.
As they return to the Saint Druses they know that the must leave quietly, for they have angered many this day. Tomorrow however lies profit, alliance and betrayal once more. The dread pearl awaits and all its dangers. For a Rogue Trader there can be no finer existence.