Rogue Trader: Intermission 11: Pandaroes’ Four
(AKA spot the number of characters stolen from pop culture. This takes place during https://gamingtales.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/rogue-trader-s2-ep-26-wait-they-have-space-marines-too-we%E2%80%99re-screwed/)
“Watch those hands mate, I haven’t got so much as a drink out of ya yet, so don’t get frisky”
The slab of mutated muscle that had been patting down Pandareos grunted, less than amused by his attempt at banter. The drooling mutated beast turned to its master “They’re both clean”. The man he addressed, a toned muscled man in a sharp cut suit nodded “Then we can begin”. “Hey ese, of course I’m clean. I would not disappoint the ladies with anything but my best. Its my vato here that needs some lessons in how to clean up” as he finished speaking the enigmatic man known as the Player smiled and picked his guitar case up once more. The brightly attired void born known as Pandareos frowned, slugging back a cocktail of oscura and amsec. “We’re looking to recruit, and The Player here tells me you’re a man of reckless tastes who would stick it in mud if ya thought it would wriggle. Thought we would get along”.
The besuited man smiled, in this dark cavernous room his smile shone like that of a shark. Footfall was home to many like him, the madmen, the murderers and the desperate. This dank hole was his home. “My good man, please do not insult me. I have standards. I like my chosen for nocturnal pleasure to be able to consent”. A thin pale figure shuffling in the corner caught Pandareos gaze. A barely clad wretch, chained to the wall. Half starved and watching with broken eyes. Seeing Pandareos gaze shift, the besuited man turned “Ah yes, I see you noticed tonight entertainment”. Pandareos voice turned hard “Thought you liked em consenting” The man laughed” My dear, I like them able to consent. Them giving that consent is entirely optional, and preferably absent”. He paused at the sound of a guitar case hinges spilling open. “You wish to play a dirge maybe? You are too soft my good man” He turned, flashing that grin once more, the grin of the predator in its element.
The grin turned to see the gaping empty bore of a bolt pistol pressed against it, Pandareos lazy grin behind it. On the ground the open guitar case spilled its cargo of weapons to the ground. The Player casually finished his lick on the guitar before picking up an autopistol and pressing it to the mutated guards neck.
“You know its lucky for you really” Pandareos said “This whole scene reminds me of a happy memory”
Gazing down the cavernous bore, the besuited man gulped. In the darkness he could see the gleam of the explosive shell racked into the breech “Well, a happy memory. We should drink to that”
Taking another swig from his amsec Pandareos laughed, echoing across the rooms “Aye, I’ll drink to that.” Rising the bottle in a toast Pandareos continued “To the first day I saw the stars. Oh and the day I kicked the hell out of a moron like you. Course difference is, he was fun broken. He was worth something to see alive and ruined.”
“You on the other hand, bore me”
The Player wiped a damp cloth down his face as he walked down the corridors of Footfall. Even here the crowd parted to let through the two bloodsoaked figures “Hey ese, next time you think something less explosive may be better? I just cleaned these clothes”. Pandareos picked at fragments of broken skull bone that had embedded in his bright yellow and red trenchcoat. “I always forget how explosive bolter shells are. I swear one of his teeth is stuck up my nose. Besides it was your lead mate. Can’t believe you suggested a guy like that for my crew”. The Player shrugged as he played ”I remember Rix Alpha 6, at least my mistake wasn’t that bad ese”. Pandareos laughed “You are going to remind me of that forever aren’t ya, ah well who’s next up?” “Her names “Onna” The Player replied.
Sat at one of the many dive bars of footfall Pandaroes watched the target. A bedraggled woman, unkempt black hair that nigh covered her features, and a long black jacket covering her body as she sat at the table, still and silent. “Well, I like the coat, but apart from that you have got to be kidding me. First shipquake hits and she would snap in two” said Pandareos. The void master took another mouthful of white void smoke, rolling backwards on the chair and blinking repeatedly . His pupils contracting as the drug floats through his system. The Player looked concerned at his intoxicated friend “Hey ese, you trying to kill yourself with that stuff?”. Adding a lit lho stick to his mouth and inhaling deeply Pandareos frowned once more ”Saynays still loose, seems she can’t mess with my brain as easily when I’m wrecked. Means I’ve got a shot at taking her down”. The Players expression did not lighten “She worth it? You took a shot already. Any debt to Frag and Marchessa, surely you’ve paid in that”. Pandareos head snapped up, a fire of madness in his eyes even through the white void in his system ”We gotta play, that’s the way it goes. We play ‘cos thats the game, until one or the other falls”. Breaking off from the conversation he pulled himself from the seat and strode over to Onnas table. With as much of a collapse as a sit the Void Master Pandareos slid over on the chair opposite her “Hey, I’m Pandareos”.
The woman Onna stared silently back from under her dirty unwashed hair. “So I hear you can shoot, fly, fight?”. At each of Pandareos questions she nods mutely. “Really? Come on be serious girl. This ain’t no cake walk ya feel me? We need people who can pull their weight”. Exasperated at the lack of a response, Pandareos lent back. “Come on girl, work with me, chance to see the void, to be free, to meet interesting people, and rob them blind. Just talk to me here”. “Maybe she doesn’t want to talk to you, maybe she want’s a real man” came a voice from behind him. Pandareoes looked over to see a tattooed man in greasy overalls, most likely a cargo hauler, as was his three mates cheering him on from the bar. “Aight, listen mate, this is business. Tell you what, you and your mates go find us a real man, and she can talk to him when I’m done. Now piss off”. “Piss off yourself” came the reply. The cargo worker barged past Pandareos “So what say I get you a drink girl”.” Time seemed to slow, Pandareos saw Onna’s features curl in rage as the cargo worker planted his meaty hand down on her shoulder, and gave what he must have mistaken for a winning smile “I got a lot of money to spend you know”. Time resumed with a snap as Onna locked the man’s arm, Swinging her elbow down into his arm, bringing the broken end of his bone tearing out through his skin with a skin crawling crunch. By the time the man’s friends had reached her, she had her fingers deep in his eye sockets. The Player smiled “I told you ese” ——————————————————————————————————————-
Pandareos scraped a milky egg like substance from his cheek, dragging a clear trail through his blood covered face. “Huh”. “What you got there, ese?” The Player asked. “Not entirely sure. Think it may have been the third guys eyeball”. Around them three men lay still, their organs trailing across the ground and walls. The fourth whimpered in a foetal position as Onna lay heavy booted kick after kick into his collapsing ribs The bar patrons kept their eyes to their drinks, studiously ignoring the body parts that had fallen into them during the brawl. Finally done with her four assailants, she returned to the blood drenched Pandareos table and sat again in front of him. “So, you said you could fly as well?” Pandareos said. Onna nodded. “Well, if ya want in your hired”. Pandareos paused mid offer of handshake, slowly brought his hand back, spat heavily on it and slapped it on the table. Onna nodded, spat on her hand and slapped it down on the place where Pandareos hand had been. “We got a deal then, I’ll tell the guards to let ye on board the ship”.
After cleaning up once more Pandareos rejoined the Player on the streets again “Good choice mate, pity she’s such a blabber mouth. Could barely get a word in edgewise. Who we got up next?”. As he talked he tossed a handful of change to a beggar on the corner. “Her name is Alala, this one ese, she is special. Her face is like the sun, her trigger finger, ese she could send a man to heaven and back”. Pandareos smiled “Aight, but we aint recruiting for pleasures sake. Well, not only for pleasures sake. What skills she got”. “Not many people chattering ese. They say the inquisition locked her records after she did a favour for them. A terminal favour of someone high up from what I hear. Rumour says she did deniable work on an officer who was hiding out in a Death World after. She likes to play at a distance ese.” Pandareos looked at his friend “Hold on, how the hell did you find this out? That’s serious leg work” The Player played another riff “Hey ese, I’m not just a pretty face”.
As the two set off for the next target, the beggar shifted speaking sub vocally into a device “Lord Captain, please answer.” Quiet followed “Very well, then please at least listen, the information I planted seems to have paid off. Pandareos is investigating the agent I recommended.” Silence continued again, cutting the communication channel a pale and haggard Blake rose. He did not have time enough to follow, he could but hope Pandareos did not ruin this recruitment. Not only was she a skilled agent, evidence suggested a strong dedication to Saint Drusus. If recruited, it would be likely she would be the only member of Pandareos entourage with a higher loyalty to Xanatov that to the mercurial Pandareos.
“Aight, she knows how to pick a hard spot to track ‘er at least” Pandareos muttered. The domed arches hummed as he spoke. Alala knelt in prayer in one of the alcoves of this twisted holy room, and if the slight telltale bulge was any clue she was carrying at least two pistols under her reinforced jacket. All simple non descript clothing, Pandareos noted, hard to follow in a chase, nothing to grab hold of in a scuffle.
The most telling aspect of this room, and the one that gave Pandareos such grief, was the acoustics. The room was a mess of echo inducing architecture , noise bafflers and sound carrying vents. Anyone who had not spent weeks studying its intricacies may not realise they were being shouted out by someone right behind them, or if someone miles away was intruding on their every word. “and she is quite the looker, I’ll give ya that Player”. Pandareos was fairly sure he had picked one of the null zones, but The Player was being uncharacteristically quite, just in case. “Rights, lets have the dog see the hare”
As she finished her prayers, a drusian prayer of vengeance Alala, turned to the brightly adorned man behind her. Pandareos flashed his best smile “Aight, I just wanted to.”. She raised her finger to her lips “Shh, I heard you before, I think I know what you want.” Her hips swayed as she stood, and she flashed a seductive wink “Not out here though, follow me”. Pandareos flashed a smile, the day was looking up already.
Pandareos’ face impacted the wall hard, and he could not help but wonder exactly how many people could hear the sound of his shoulder being wrenched up, nigh out of his socket. “Right. Talk” Alala said “Who are you and why have your goons been following me?” From directly behind his ear, Pandareos could hear the sound of the safety being clicked off, and the barrel of the pistol teased along the edge of his skull. “Mwww,gr.uuh” Pandareos grunted into the stone. “Oh for pities sake”. Digging her fingers painfully into the gap in his shoulder blades she swung him around, planting the pistol to his forehead “Right now talk”
“Maybe not” Pandareos grinned “We got a better balance of power now”.. I Don’t think so” Alala said “I have the gun you have noth…” she paused as Pandareos tapped his drawn bolt pistol to the underside of her chin “That’s impossible. How fast are you?”. “Oh thanks” Pandareos replied ”You just know everybody is going to hear that bit out of context, and my reputation will be ruined. Throaning odd acoustics. So, we going to talk?”
“I’m in need of some crew, you came highly recommended. Ya want in?” Alala’s face stayed studiously neutral as she answered “That aquilla on your neck, is that your blood on it”. Pandareos laughed “some mine, some the poor bastard who tried to take it off me” Alala did not move her pistol from Pandareos skull. “And who do you work for?”. “A Rogue Trader. Ya may know him, Xanatov. Great sense of humour”. Finally Alalas face showed surprised “The chosen of Drusus? It would be an honour to serve, for emperor and throne . But why would such a fine man send such inept goons after me”. “Hey! I still have a gun to your head you know”. “No not you, you arrogant man, that short thug who has been following me all morning”. Pandareos frowned “Hey we just turned up ten minutes ago.” Pandareos paused “this goon, he wouldn’t happen to have a scar on the right side of his face would he, broken third tooth, absolutely no bulge where his crotch should be” Alala nodded “he is one of yours then”. “Nope” Pandareos replied “Just he’s got a pistol to the back of your head”. Alala’s eyes flicked to the man stepping out of the shadows “Throning acoustics” “tell me about it”.
The thug giggled through a ruined jaw, his gun pointing to Alala. “Looks like extra pay for me.he he. Two targets for one. The master will be so proud. Yes so proud. Heh heh”. Pandareos frowned ”You are throaning kidding me, put the gun down before I end you”. The thug giggled again “With what? you move the gun from her head and I wi…” the thug paused as he realised Pandareos other bolt pistol had mysteriously appeared in his hand, resting in the thugs eye socket “How throaning fast are you”. Pandareos sighed “Again, people are going to hear that out of context. Listen, Alala, love, any chance you can move two steps to the right would you”. The thug shrieked” Stay still. Still. You will not move”. “Why would you want me to move in front of him anyway?” Alala asked “Unless…Oh you bastard, do you realise how hard it is getting brain out of this hair” Not understanding the Thug screeched again” Silence”. “Not as hard as it is to get bone shards out of trenchcoat I’ll tell you that” Pandareos turned his best smile to the Thug “Aight, listen mate at this range one of us drop the hammer, all three die. How about we all take five steps backwards, then shoot. Best man stands” and I don’t get blood and brain matter on my face again he mentally added.
The thug thought for a moment and nodded. It was at that moment The Player stepped to the rescue, weapon in hand. Half a second later the thug’s finger tightened on the pistol trigger. Then…
“I was only trying to help ese. And that Alala, she still signed up”. The Player said as a gore showered Pandareos stared down the barrel of his bolt pistol. “I can see brain matter in there. In the Emperors bolt pistol, sacred weapon to purge the throaning xenos, tucked behind the shell, there is brain matter. Ahm fairly sure the tin man doesn’t have a rite for getting that out” Pandareos said. “Erm, ese, should you be staring down the barrel if the shells still in there?” The Player asked “Hasn’t killed me yet, besides, there’s bit of bone that’s locked the eject barrel, can’t get the throaning thing out”.
The vox crackled” Void master Pandareos, Void Master Pandareos are you there”. “aight, speaking”. We have a lady here, says she works for you, black coat, and hair, called Onna”.. “Aye, she works for me, let her in”. “No problem, The guards just going to pat her down now” came the guards reply “WAIT. Do not pat her down, do not” Pandareos shouted, as the vox suddenly filled with the screams of a man violently loosing his vision. Breaking into a full sprint back towards the ship, covered in gore and blood Pandareos laughed the laugher of the happily mad. Wonder how he was going to explain this one to the Lord Captain.