Betwix Hell and a Hard Point!

Session 3

Written by Jason (jymmijamz)

Game – Rogue Trader

(Run by) GM – Chris

Altius (Astropath Transcendent) – Jason (jymmijamz)

Victris (Navigator) – Will

Admiral Winter (Lord Captain) – Tanya

Gnothics Sexxophin (Explorator Tech Priest) – NightUlf (Darren)

Chapter 3

The Boadicea’s Wrath, Gnothics Sexxophin stands contemplating the future of the small moon the ship’s currently hiding behind. The first person to set foot on its ancient deck plates in many decades. Given the task of overseeing its retro fitting at the head of a hoard of red cloaked tech priests. The only other person seen roaming its gothic halls and passages is his long time patron Avinor, the engineseer prime of the Vengeance of Saint Drusus. During his time studying on Mars Gnothics had become aware of an unwelcome eye taking an interest in his studies, only to slowly turn away. He later found out that it was Avinor, who taking an interest in his works and brought him along out into space. Asking around the young tech priest gained a mixed impression of Avinor. Some say he is a hero who brought back a standard construction template for the teleportarium, or a tech heretic, only tolerated because he is out here on the fringes of the expanse. Spending his time roaming the kilometres of passages communing with the machine spirit of the craft the mysterious red cloaked figure has become aware of the ship vengeful heart, already there have been several accounts of tech priests burnt to a crisp whilst cleaning and anointing the weapon housings, the barrels superheating as they cycle up ready for firing. It had been all he could do to keep the craft from accidentally discharging it’s weapons, the bloodlust is so great the cadre of tech priests on board must keep it calm at all times.

With his work nearly complete, he finds himself standing alone or as alone as he can be with thousands of souls now streaming aboard. Turning away from the view of the soon to be extinct moon he feels discomfort and no little anger well within him at the sight of so many uninitiated cluttering up and defiling his beautifully consecrated machine.

Twenty four hours to go, before the ship is revealed to its new captain, Gnothics is approaches by the Engineseer Avinor. This man, although he can no longer truly be called a man. Dressed not in the power armour he usually inhabits, but in plain flak armour, the deck plates still flex under his mechanical weight.

“You’re requested assistance from Mars will be arriving shortly, as will your new Rouge Trader.” there is binary static from his vox-caster as he speaks. “Soon you will go to an area of the expanse, barred to our ship by trade agreements. You may find there secrets, xenos items, and lost archaeotech that I will never see. I envy you that.”

Dry washing his hands, the younger tech priest furtively looks around before leaning close to Avinor.

“Interesting tech, most intriguing, must study and investigate.”

Avinor nods. “Such words are shunned by our brothers, they view then as heresy.” Avinor looks down at his chuckling subordinate. “They do not understand the logic, we seek to reclaim the construction templates of the past, and without doubt the archaeotech age of technology that we preserve was the greatest. No xeno can better it, but that means that everything they use we once had access to.” Nodding his head, the tech priest shows his understanding of Avinors logic. “By studying these week imitations we can find clues to our lost templates, our lost heritage and maybe we can be one step closer to the Omnissiah. We risk everything to bring this back; we are martyrs to logic, to the faith of the machine.” Looking the tech priest over, Avinor wishes him luck and with a warning to keep faith strong in his heart advises that they end their line of conversation as his augmented senses have picked up the sounds of someone approaching.

Pandarious rounds the corner, lighting lho-stick as he spots the pair ahead of him. “Okay so which of you tin men am I taking down to the asteroid for a shopping trip.” Avinor gazes at him for a moment before indicating his companion. “This is my prodigy; you will treat him with the same respect you would show me.” Panderious blows a smoke ring before replying. “I just did tin man.”

A few arduous hours later, after spending his time trying to block out the inane chatter of the other members of Panderious’ crew Gnothics finds himself on Footfall. Making his way to the designated tech stall he finds the scribetyne arm he is there for. Agreeing to the price the tech priest is ushered into a holy info tomb, the sound of powering crystals and the information within resonates with him as they sever the weak flesh of his arm and replace it with the omnisire blessed machine arm. A feeling of completeness washes over him as he watches the new arm being attached, the sight of wires and metal being grafted to bone, arteries and nerves, brings a light of joyous fervour to his eyes.

Time is then spent searching the market stalls for navigation maps of the area the ship will be entering. Until suddenly his credit flow is cut off and the acquisition order for a Fury Interceptor flashes across his over eye visual readout.

A few hours later aboard the Vengeance of Saint Drusus! Admiral Winter and her crew mates hurry along a corridor fleeing the sound of violent battle in the great hall, all around them crew members run in blind panic. The vox channels are full with the screams of the dying and the sounds of rending flesh fills the air. Altius slumps against one of Victris’ attendants jabbering about the warp, strange words spill from his lips as his eyes start to frost over. A hoary frost pursues them down the corridor, turning everything it touches into an icy remnant of a bygone age.

Dragging the reluctant crew member with them the group set off into the heart of the ship, trying to find their way back to the Avinor’s tech domain. As the desperate group make their cautious way down the corridor, turning a corner they spot an injured man clawing his way along the decking toward them. Half his face is missing, his chest a ragged mess, intestines trailing behind him. As he reaches out toward the group a bullet explodes his skull, brain matter and skull fragments paint the wall. Ahead of them they start to hear organised gun fire, they recognise it as the sound of auto-fire. Switching her power sword to her left hand Admiral winter draws her plasma pistol and advances towards the corner. Pausing at the junction they can hear the sounds of movement and voices. Estimating there to be approximately six people, Admiral Winter peaks around the corner. The corridor is blocked by a wall of metal shields set up as a hard-point, there are several chaos warriors manning the blockade covering the corridor in both directions. Rounding the corner Winter opens up with her plasma pistol at full auto, super heated blasts fire up the corridor smacking into the shields knocking a couple over. Alerted to their presents the enemy opens up with their auto guns, a hail of lead hits the walls and decking around the Lord Captain. Seeing his captain in trouble Victris leaps around the corner and attempts to lift his bandana, the moment he steps out of cover he is greeted by a withering wall of fire. As Victris dives to one side he manages to get his bandana off his head revealing his third eye, seeing this, the two Chaos minions scream and claw at their faces as their eye start to boil and burst. Seconds later they collapse, their lifeless bodies slumped over the shields they were using for cover. The air is suddenly filled with even more lead as the remaining enemy warriors react to the deaths of their friends. Pulling his bandana back down, Victris ducks back around the corner and out of the line of fire. Suddenly are two resounding blasts, which rocks the corridor and metal shards patter of the walls and ceiling as two frag grenades explode mid-way between the two factions. Taking the opportunity Admiral Winter bounds around the corner, screaming curses and calling forth the name of the Emperor. Leaping the shields she falls upon the cowering cultists swinging her sword, seeing her coming they scuttle backwards on their behinds and her swing go wide. With her momentarily off balance the cultists open fire, lead flies around her. A solid impact knocks her back a step as an auto-round slams into her breast plate, there is definitely some heavy bruising and quite possibly a cracked rib or two. As the enemy tries to back away to get some space to manoeuvre, Admiral Winter closes on them and with a flourish of her sword takes the legs out from under one of her assailants, rotating she plunges her sword through the man’s chest. Seeing this, one of them utters a curse in their diabolical language and flees back up the corridor away from his doomed comrades. As the haze of combat clears the Lord Captain Admiral Winter stands amid the ruined remains of five Chaos soldiers, hands on hips, breathing deeply she briefly surveys their handiwork. Looking up at her group, none of which seem to have avoided injury to some degree or another, she indicates the now clear corridor. “Maybe we should get moving.”

On his return to the Boadicea’s Wrath Gnothics Sexxophin receives orders to head out. As the ship coasts into open space, appearing from behind the moon the guns suddenly cycle into ready mode and before anyone can react they fire. The small moon now to the rear of the ship detonates in a shower of radiance and rock fragments. Seeing this, the young tech priest feels a surge of pleasure, and places his hands against the cold metal of the ships panelling sharing the moment with the ships machine spirit. Suddenly the long range vox panel spark into life. “Requesting assistance invaders on craft, respected priest our teleportarium is lock on you. Could you come to the viss… hiss. viss.” Looking around the bridge the tech priests instructs his brother to bring the ship to a full stop and hold position. The priests bow to him as a servitor with a quill and parchment notes down his instructions in hieroglyphs, these glyphs start to appear on screens all over the ship relaying his orders to the relevant sections of the craft as suddenly he is gone.

An eternity or moments later he is back, standing in the hallowed chamber of the teleportarium. The system is powering down and standing before him is a red cloaked tech priest, a hole through his abdomen, looking like it has been torn or bitten open. The priest’s rib cage is open and the machinery beneath has been violated, blood and oil pour out and he can smell the holy unguents evaporating into the warm incense filled air. Almost immediately his vox bead is filled with chatter, screams fill the air and there is the sound of a knife being drawn through flesh and scraping off bone. The newly arrived tech priest’s servo skull hovers forward scanning the room, it can detect no weapons fire in the area. Suddenly the skull drops from the air barely catching its self before it smashes into the decking, quickly shutting down areas of its cognitive function, it reboots and moves back to where its master awaits. Curious the Gnothics accesses the servo skulls functions trying to ascertain what could have gone wrong, working his way through the reams of data he find the last scan results. This is not right, these results are impossible! Suddenly he is struck by a terrifying realisation, and severs his connection with reckless haste. The warp has touched this most hallowed of temples.

Sending his servo skull ahead of him Gnothics heads out of the teleportarium, the skull sends grainy black and white back images of what it sees in the corridor. Turning to move away from the door the skull is confronted with the sight of a body pinned to the wall, its skin flay from the body. Up ahead there is a scene of total carnage, crew members being systematically slaughtered by a large group of invaders. In their midst is a entity that spreads out over the fallen crewmembers, whenever it touches a corpse the body is absorbed, the entity seems to be covered in writhing faces and whenever a body is hoovered up a new face appears silently screaming in the most abject terror. The servo skull suddenly shuts down and drops to the decking, the last image it captured, still frozen in its memory. The grainy image appears to show a group of glass containers filled with liquid, bobbing around in the fluid are a mass of semi active corpses. The corpses are battering themselves against the sides of the containers; wires and machinery protrude from their flesh. That must be the servitor bays! Their machine spirits must have been partially activated before the tech priests were cut down. Looking at the image he realises that he recognises the holy amalgam of dead flesh, machine and weaponry. Those are murder servitors! Looking around him Gnothics heads for the closest terminal in the hope of activating the servitors. Calling upon the Omnissiah the tech priest goes through the designated rituals off activation, as the ritual comes to an end he unleashes a burst of binary that roughly translates into ‘Unleash the dogs of war.’ The grainy image from the servo skull now show fluid cascading from the canisters as the front panels start to open, the servitors becoming more active as every moment passes. The shifting entity sweeps over one of the servitors before it can step out of its canister, there is the sound of rending metal and a binary squeal almost a scream as it is torn apart. Meanwhile the other servitors are stepping down from their canisters, weapons cycling up to speed. Within moments the chamber is filled with the deafening roar of gunfire, brain processes slowing the tech priest’s augmetics reduce his audio capacity to stop him from being deafened. A minute later the guns cycle back down, the only sound now are the clatter of spent shells, each the size of a man’s fist. Looking around the room the walls are painted with blood, of the warp creature there is no sign. Further back down the corridor the servo skull rises back into the air and drift into the room to join its master once more. The murder servitors start to spread throughout the ship, and where ever they pass the sound of their holy prayer of destruction rises.

Suddenly a mechanised voice comes through on the squad channel of Victris’s vox-bead, it seems to be testing its function. Tapping his bead to send he asks. “Hello, who is on this channel?” “Ah so it is real, no echo. This is Gnothics of the Tech Priests. And you are?” “I am Victris Nescon, the navigator of the Boadicea’s Wrath.” Suddenly another voice cuts across the chatter. “This is your lord captain Admiral Winter of Boadicea’s Wrath, a pleasure to hear from you.” “Introductions will have to come later I think.” Gnothics’s replies, as another scream echoes down the corridors. The scream ends abruptly in a wet gurgle as if someone had been ripped in twain. With a shudder Victris taps his Vox-bead again. “The situation is that we are trying to make our way to the engineseer’s domain, in an attempt to start the Gellar field. We hope this will stop the incursions. Where are you?” There is a brief pause before Gnothics’s voice returns. “Give me a moment; I will get back to you on that.” Heading on along the corridor Victris sees a bulkhead door ripped open from the inside, nearly a foot of steel rent like paper, inside the room is darkness. Looking cautiously in, he can see in the slash of murky light spilling in from the corridor, combat training servitor smashed to pieces. Some of which have been perversely adapted with strange boxes, gears and bulky weaponry strapped to them. Looking back, Victris sees the near comatose Altius’ hand snap up and point at the doorway. “The warp has breached through there. I can feel it the servants, the children of the warp have been born.” he utters before falling almost silent once again. Looking back into the room, Victris can just about to make out a shape slithering over the pipes in the gloom. He is not sure he really wants to know what is in there. As he tries to get a better view, Victris can feel his third eye trying to seal its self shut. Tapping his vox-bead Victris broadcasts a warning to the rest to the ship, telling them of the location of the warp breach. Gnothics takes this opportunity to make contact, advising his crewmates that his is having trouble locating a route through to them. Meanwhile Victris start to hear a sibilant hissing on his vox channel, the urge to chew the flesh off of his own fingers starts to wash over him. Horrified he starts to back away from the door, which is now frosting over, a hoary frost is starting to seep out into the corridor. An almighty bellow emanates from above as a heavy weight impacts on the deck plates. The corridor is suddenly plunged into darkness and the glow tubes shatter around them. In the darkness they can just about make out a hulking form rampaging towards them, howling and gnashing it’s mighty jaws. As the red emergency lights flicker into life they can see a massive green creature, all but filling the corridor, chewing on something between its mighty tusks. The entity in the training room has seems to  have fled, and this monster, this diabolical entity steps towards the nigh terrified group. Frigid air bursts from its nostrils as it snorts, it spits the chewed remains from its mouth. “Puny thing. Not fun at all, all squishy like.” looking the group over it cocks its head to one side. “You squishy to?” it asks. It looms over the group, it is pure flesh and muscle, twice their size. Victris, shoring up is nerve, looks at the thing. “Compared to you, I would say yes.” The thing lets out a bellow that the group take a moment to realise is laughter, as the sound washes back down the corridor, it turns back to Victris. “Where’s good scrap?” “Between me and the metal man’s place.” Victris replies, with some trepidation. “Not fun, just machines smashed them already.” Someone shouts down through the beck plates above. “Boss, boss. Kaptain boyz not around, why don’t we just shank these ones?” There is a moment’s pause and movement can be heard over head. “We could shank these hummies!” Looking up the group can make out the shape of a tiny green creature with a sharp knife hanging from the ceiling above them. “Come on boss I want this one’s eye.” “Not worth it, puny things don’t look like they can fight.” the thing bends down to look at the group. “Where’s the bright man?” it asks. Victris shares a look with the rest of the group “Bright man?” “Bright man, bright coat, owe him, break him.” The thing smiles at its own perceived humour, the sight is most disconcerting for out beleaguered cohorts. “The bright coat. You want to kill Avinor?” The thing shakes its massive head. “No, not Avinor the other one.” The creature nods. “I see, we need to get to the engineseers now. To turn on the Gellar field.” The thing shrugs. Victris is thinking hard now. “So we can keep the ship safe, then we can get you to some decent  scrap.” The massive thing snorts again. “Safe. Pah, where did these squishy things come from?” “They came from the warp.” Victris says hoping beyond hope that they will come through this in one piece, and not a chewed one at that. The thing smiles again and the group shuffle back a little. “Their sending more?” It asks. “They don’t want us to get to the engineseer, I am pretty sure of that.” Turning away the thing start to stomp down the corridor. “Maybe no one will notice if I start playing with gubbin’s now?” The creature heads of in the direction a Avinor’s domain, where ever it goes there is the sound of crew and invader fleeing in terror. Following in its wake, the crew pass easily down corridor after corridor, the only signs of anyone having been there is the occasional mangled body or severed limb. Before long they find themselves at the thresh hold of the engineseer’s realm. Spores sprout from the floor, footstep shaped impressions, the thing has been down here. They notice a hole in the wall where something has been wrenched out of it, and discarded ammo shells on the floor.

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