40K Rogue Trader: S2 EP18: The Emperors Representatives
As civil war breaks out below, Lucius is in a very different danger. Sat amidst the findings from the planet, his third eye plots the connections of fate and time. Time, it’s all about the dates somehow. Psychic residue remains upon the charts, Elder plots are visible in thin and confusing snapshots. With such eldritch machinations afoot it is almost easy to overlook the threats in the room with him.
Something moves in the warp, a slave to hunger and lust, watching furtively. A thin line of power compels it with the black sorcery that binds it. Careful not to give away that he is aware of its presence Lucius ascertains that it is attempting to spy on the stellar maps. Moving the star maps softly out of its sight he is momentarily overtaken by a vision. A bloated corpse of a master ridden with flies. A woman of jet black eyes and filed teeth laughing manically, a gore spattered figure, with a porcelain mask concealing his features. The vision fades as does the creature spying upon him. Lucius knows this is just the tip of some twisted puzzle that worms its way through fate. With renewed purpose he seeks his mentor Estiban to find purpose in these tidings.
He finds Estiban hunched over a rail looking down into one of the ships’ cavernous pits. As he senses the presence behind him he straightens and greets the unseen Lucius “How are you my boy?”. ”As well as can be expected” comes the ever measured reply. “Godwin was right, the engine seer has been surprising adroit in negotiation” Estiban continues “I would miss going down myself, though I prefer a planet with a beach under my feet”. ”I prefer not to be on a world near large things going boom” Lucius answers. ”Sharp survival instinct my boy” Estiban smiles. With pleasantries out of the way Lucius explains about what has just occurred. “We should alert the Lord Captain” Estiban agrees.
The lord captain Xanatov is on the bridge when Lucius steps in “I have news. We may have a problem or at least a following” he says before explaining once more of the warp intrusion. ”I wonder who would arrange for such a thing to occur” Xanatov muses before the porcelain face description suddenly clicks in his mind. As his fingers curl up into a tight ball Xanatov hisses “hmm, is there no end to his heresy. That bastard. Well without tracking him down and killing him slowly and painfully I can’t think of anything to do” After a moment pause he muses “I suppose these warp creatures are immune to trickery and subterfuge? Because if they are not, we could make efforts to put its attention elsewhere, maybe to our benefit. Of course it must be destroyed, but maybe not now”. “I am not in a place to understand the mind of such creatures, and I would not wish to” Lucius says. “Ignorance is an effective shield.” Xanatov acknowledges before continuing “This would be a dangerous gambit. Would it be possible?.” “I see no reason why we could not attempt it, I do not think it knew we had seen it. So how do we go about double bluffing a warp beast?”. On hearing that Xanatov sighs ”I was hoping you would tell me, I deal with things of this world”
The debate is interrupted by roaring gunfire echoing over the vox. Godwin Blake’s voice speaks over the noise ”My lord, I have inconvenient news, negotiates have devolved – we appear to be in a coup de tat. The leader has numerous enemies who are trying to overthrow him. We have been assisting, the Elder tactician is man we can do business, the rebel deals with arch heretic Paracelus. If we assist we may get a footfall on the planet for regime change.”
Xanatov turns to the waiting Gabriel and says “We are about to have some fun”. Gabriel answers “Again? I thought we already had some this week.” The deadpan expression breaks “I am ready as long as its regulation fun”. As Gabriel heads to the teleportarium Xanatov voxes High Provost. Provost answers, sat stripped to the waist before symbols of the emperor, body parts strewn around his body. “Are you free to join us on an excursion down below” Xanatov asks. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen the stars above, his gaze upon us”.Provost pauses “I’m a man of peace lord captain”. “Yes I can see that” comes Xanatovs dry reply
Waiting for the teleportarium to activate, Lucius is understandably nervous about the thought of heading through the warp so shortly after warp creatures have shown their interest in them already. There is not much time to worry before the warp energies cast them towards the civil war that waits.
On the Landship below Aviner tends to the injured. The wounded are now dragged back into the room as Pandareos plays with the endless tide that rushes into the corridor to match guns with him. Once the wounded are dealt with Aviner starts his journey towards the Landships’ enginarium to take control. The cramped corridors and familiar sounds are soothing as he walks alone through the craft. The relaxing journey is often interrupted by bullets pinging from his form as rebels find him. Each time the wonders of the machine spirits drag the guns from the assailants into his awaiting hands. As the rebels flee from the seemingly indestructible figure Aviner looks down at the worn and battered gun and speaks to them “Care better for your weapons”.
Amidst piles of dead bodies Pandareos smiles at a still living figures broken form “Tell your friends, Pandareos is here”. Around him red lights and sparking energy blowing out the electronics of the ship as the teleportarium brings reinforcements. Seeing the Lord Captain, Pandareos throws a mock salute. Xanatov looks around the corridor and mutters “Pandareos, are you bringing them here?”
With purpose Xanatov strides to the mass huddled around the corner, bringing the lethal sunrifle up and ready. As grenades, heavy stubbers and a mass of small arms open up, pattering off Xanatov force field and power armour he sights down his Xenos weapon.
Lucius looks over as Pandareos pushes money into his hand “ 50 says he has a kneecap taken out by the end of this” the void born says with a smile. The Xenos rays burn all adversaries to dust and Xanatov speak to the now empty corridor ”I’ve brought the emperors illuminating light you heathens” Turning to the rest he quips “its safe now. Oh and Pandareos, you lost the bet”. “The situation isn’t over yet” Pandareos replies.
As if to prove the point, Lucius head snaps up to the sound of a breeching charge readying. With quick reflexes he drags Pandareos to the ground as a deafening explosion fills the room. Caught point blank Gabriel is lost in a wave of plasma. As the boiling mass dispels the ruined form of Gabriel crashes into the wall screaming in agony.
Following the blast a riddle of shot cannon fire echoes out, the rebels reinvigorated by their victory so far. Again Eldar power fields flare, interjected between the crew and the deadly rounds. “You have half a second to run away” Xanatov says in response before releasing the fury of the sun rifle once more. Pandareos and Lucius fire pours into the gap, breaking the attackers will to fight and sending them screaming into the darkness once more
Looking at the wounded Gabriel, Xanatov see’s his friends wounded flesh slowly knitting together again. “You going to be alright sitting this one out for a bit?” Xanatov asks. His concern is interrupted by a status update from godwin Blake “We have secured the bridge, but have no inkling of location of Badda Hovick. He is probably at the gunnery deck”. The remaining three stride back once more to their goal as Pandareos adds “It’s still not over for the purpose of the bet”
In front of the Enginarium it seems that the fighting has been particularly furious. Before Aviners eyes lies torn remnants of engine orderlies and black robes figures. There are obvious sighs of explosive weapon detonations and decompressions. Before vast adamantine doors stand two figures not entirely dissimilar from gun servitors, corpses piled high before their destructive capabilities.
Robes billowing behind Aviner strides towards them, sending a techna lingua greeting identifying himself as kin to the machines and not a target. Before the doors he motions his hands in the holy rites commanding them to open. Despite their strange ways, the spirits still recognise the faithful and part before him.
The Enginarium lies open, lacking in the holy symbols of the Omnisiah and without purity seals but the Plasma generators are unmistakable. It is like coming home.
Outside the Indomitable’s assault continues, hurling salvo upon salve of vehicle sized shells into the Indestructible. The Indestructible’s void shield spatter out in arcing bolts of energy. Miles above the Vengeance of Saint Druses responds by lowering itself and raining fire down on the planet. As the dust settles from the destruction showered upon the planet the crew realises that they have missed completely and merely shattered mountains in their wake. Warning Klaxons active, a ship has broken from silent running nearby. Sire Parcifal, taking advantage of the lead crew absence swoops in on the Saint Druses.
Back in the Landship the crew finally near the gun decks, all they need to do is hunt and kill Hovick and the deal with the Landship is sealed in blood. Massive weapons of immense rate of fire line the decks. “Can we get those?” is asked “Aight but your telling the tin man” laughs Pandareos. Pandareos wounds a running traitor “Remember, I’m Pandareos ya hear”. A bullet from Xanatovs gun executes the unlucky traitor. Xanatov moves, wounding another traitor of his own “I’m Xanatov” he says. Petty arguments break out between the two over who gets left alive with which story.
As the two argue a screaming maniac runs towards them, chainsword and bolt pistol in hand. It is Badda Hovick himself. Lucius rises his bolt pistols and unleashes two rounds into his centre of mass, exploding his torso in a shower of gore. With a quick motion Lucius blows the smoke off the end of the pistol and re-holsters it.
Xanatov and Pandareos break from their arguing to look at the smoking corpse “Oh, huh, right then, that’s making money done, now lets find a whore ” Pandareos shrugs, walking away as Lucius and Xanatov loot the corpse. Suddenly Pandareos swears loudly and presses money into Lucius hand. Smiling Xanatov gloats “You lost the bet”
In the enginarium the power roars back to life, the Void fields fuelled once more, burning with nigh unimaginable intensity. Turning to the watching crowd of proto tech priests Aviner intones . “I will tell you the correct rites later, for now do what I ask and do not question and we will survive”. Cellia bows and shouts to the orderlies” The mysteries that you witness here, must go further”. “She is learning” Aviner thinks pleased.
With the conflict resolved, driving off the Indomitable is just a matter of time, and once that is done it turns its power to driving Parcifal’s ship back into hiding. Graves meets with the crew greeting them warmly and offers his hand to Lucius “Due to your help you’ve put down something that could have cost everyone in the landship their lives. I open this nation to you all, to the ranks of our citizenship” turning to all of the Rogue Traders retinue he continues “I know that your calling is to wander the stars, my calling is endless war and I will win this war. While you are out there, know that here you have a home and friends. Any service that we can give you we will. We are like brothers, we are family. I pledge our support to you in all your endeavours. Thank you for showing us that there are still men of honour amongst the stars”.
That said he turns once more to trade “We will allow you the schematics and patterns we have for the macro batteries. We can trade it with your world for food supplies, arms, or even troops if you can ask your emperor for permission. I would like to pledge an oath to your emperor in person. Is he on your ship?”
Xanatov shakes his head ” We have a lot in common, war is our perpetual future too. The emperor is a private person, he does not accept personal visits. I am empowered to speak in his name, outside his space”. Looking inquisitively Graves asks “How many systems do you have, I have heard rumours of half a dozen?” he says with awe. A muffled sound from behind them indicates Pandareos desperately trying to conceal his laughter. “The Imperium has over a billon worlds” Xanatov answers.
Graves looks amazed “You come to us, you save our lives, show courage and honour and you bring us news that mankind is more than a distance legacy. I cannot begin to know this magnificence. With your help we will conqueror this world, end the war and subjugate the people. We will pledge this world to your emperor.”
In the days that follows they are as good as their word, retro fitting their pattern of macro cannons to the ship and aiding in replenishing the Vessels lost crew. A thousand trained soldiers, two thousand bold recruits and three thousand press ganged penal legionnaires all find their new home on the Saint Druses.
It seems Paracelsus is not here, he left a year ago to go deeper into the Heathen stars. Aviner sets up a small detachment from the Cult of Solex to hunt for trace of their adversary whilst the Saint Druses returns to Footfall
It is time to try and auction false hopes to Rogue Traders. What war will follow?