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)
The group starts to gather in the cathedral like cargo bay, awaiting them is one of the ships two Aquila landers. Through the crafts front plaxi glass viewing screen they can make out the pilot strapped into his pilots couch. Beside him is the ships servitor, its corpse flesh hard wired into the craft itself via a clutch of cables and flexible pipes carrying vital fluids and neuroimpulses, the once living pilot fully at one with his ship.
As they make their way across the bay there is a heavy oppressive chill in the air, their breaths mist and wreath around their heads. Lylith is waiting, leaning nonchalantly against one of the landers passenger bay door struts, loading a shot gun with slow methodical purpose. Before slotting the rounds in to the guns breach, each one is anointed and the sign of the Aquila scratched in to its surface.
As Gnophics draws closer, he realises that the rounds are a variant on a type of bolter round known as a machine slayer, but their ionic pulse is also very good at killing tech priests. With a shudder Gnophics looks away. Spotting the reaction, Lylith smiles at him, but the smile never reaches her eyes. As she finishes loading her shotgun, Lylith steps forward and greets the group. “I have asked Albina to join us. I’ve worked with her before; she’s a little highly strung but is dependable in a tight spot.” Almost on cue the cargo bay bulkhead opens and a woman, dressed in combat gear, covered with a dark greatcoat, enters. Half her face is a mass of old scarring; one eye has no lid, just a metal patch to pull down to protect it. Following in her wake is a small five man security team.
Just as they are preparing to board the lander seneschal Markus’ voice comes over the ship vox system. “Just thought you should know the Pieter has taken the other lander, and is on his way down to the inhabited world.” With a curse Admiral Winter activates her personal vox. “Who authorised that?” she all but shouts. After a brief pause Markus answers. “It’s not so much about authorisation, but more the fact that no one wanted to shoot the head of the Ecclesiarchy.” Victris hides a smirk behind his hand. “And that is what it would take.” Winter flashes him a disgruntled look. “Okay, we need to get down to the hive. I’ll deal with this on our return.”
The lander lifts off, as it passes through the cargo bays void shield the cabins temperature starts to drop rapidly. The closer they get to the cluster of planets the lower the temperature gets. As his mechanical mechanisms start to freeze over, Gnophics’ internal thermometer registers -10 and still dropping. Pulling an oil can from his tool pouch he starts to anoint the struggling units with sanctified oil, the small crew compartment soon fills with the scent of the holy unction.
Having finished his ministrations Gnophics releases the safety belt of his flight couch and moves over to the lord captain and informs her of the problem, before asking permission to investigate. With her ascent he rises and head over to a nearby cognitor unit, stepping past Albina, as his heavy tread passes she looks up. “Revered Lord Engineseer, I understand you may survive any impact. But if something of your mass starts flying around in here, you could seriously injure several of my men. Now please strap yourself back in.” Looking over at the cognitor bank Gnophics identifies the correct rune panel. Activating his servo-skull, he sends it to the panel with instructions to investigate the source of the chill, and straps himself in just as the servitor pilot announces that the craft is coming in for a landing.
Moments later the crew bay door drops open with a hiss of released gasses, and the combat squad storms out to form a perimeter. Once she is happy that there is no imminent threat, Albina sends half of the security detail in to the breach before them. There follows several minutes of vox reports. “Clear… Corridor is clear… entrance clear… Looks like weapons fire here, looks old… Signs of plasma damage, whatever did this had some powerful shit.”
As it becomes clear that they are currently alone, the group nervously strap on their grav-shoots, and with a quick prayer to the Emperor, take a leap of faith into the darkness. Gnophics is a few moments behind them, as he hangs back to request that the ships machine spirits run complete systems diagnostic while they are gone.
As they land, discarding their grav-shoots and spread out surveying their surroundings, Gnophics’ vox-bead crackles and a now familiar voice breaks through the static. “I AM WAITING… hiss, hiss… I AM WAITING… hiss… I AM WAITING… hiss… hiss…”
Albina looks around. “Oh well one direction is as good as any other, we might as well move out.” Captain Winter assesses their options, before turning back to the taller woman. “Okay, lead on.” “Right you are. One, two, on me!” Meanwhile Gnophics and Victris are having an animated discussion as to their options, the teams vox channel come to life. “Front secured. Are any of you coming or what?” With that Albina picks a route at random and sets off, heading along random corridors until they reach a sealed bulkhead. Scratches and the remains of broken finger nails can be seen embedded in the sealed door. Looking around they can make out, through a breach in the floor, the odd ancient bone washed up out of the soupy liquid passing below.
After a brief debate it is decided to try and blow the doors. As an overly cheerful Lylith starts to attach a melta bomb to the door, Gnophics’ vox hisses again. “I AM WAITING.” Getting a fix onto the signal Gnophics mutters quietly into his mike. “Where?” “Hiss… Hiss… DOOR CAN OPEN… hiss… NEED, ATTATCH COMMUNICATOR… hiss…” On hearing this Gnophics wanders over to the happily whistling Lylith. “Do you mind if I have a look at the door… um, just to double check that it is not more than it seems?” Throwing a sloppy salute she backs off. “Eye eye captain.”
After checking, Gnophics can find no way of opening the door. As he steps back his vox hisses in his ear again. “TRADE AGREAD?… hiss… hiss…”
“TRADE… hiss…hiss… COMMUNICATOR, BOOST SIGNAL LATER… hiss…hiss… DOORS WILL OPEN.” After thinking the offer over Gnophics agrees to the trade. “WARNING!… hiss… hiss… FAILURE TO COMPLY WILL BE CATASTROPHIC… hiss.” With that the doors open sliding back on suddenly freed gears.
Behind the doors are approximately 15 bodies, they appear to be trying to claw their way out, their now mummified remains showing all the signs of explosive decompression, empty eye sockets still bear the signs of extreme pressure damage. As Gnophics steps into the room, Victris hesitates in the entrance. “Um, is it my imagination or are we stepping into an air-lock?” he asks, his trepidation evident in his voice. “Yes, I think we are.” Comes Gnophics’ reply. “Well what do you think will happen if the other door opens into the void?” Gnophics turns back towards Victris, who is still holding firm to the bulkhead. “Enlightenment.” He replies, with a hint of glee resonating through his normally emotionless vox-box generated voice. With a disparaging shrug, Victris finally steps into the room. Following him in one of his slaves clears his throat. “Should I close the door sire?” Doing his best to hide the grimace that suddenly flashes across his face, he turns and gives the exit one lest lingering look. “Yes, I think maybe you should.”
As the door slams shut with finality, the group subconsciously holds their breath. There is a hiss of released pressure as the inner door opens. When they do not find themselves suddenly in a vacuum, there is a collective sigh. The group, still giggly with relief, steps through the doorway into what appears to be a merchantarium. Littering the wide isles, between the booths, are dozens of bodies. Spent bolter rounds are distributed in wide arcs around and between the ruined bodies. “There was one hell of a fire fight here.” One of the security officers musses, as they cautiously make their way out into the carnage.
“Right, we should be able to access a cognitor unit here. With it I can find the location of the void suits we have come here for.” Gnophics announces, glancing around the high ceilinged room. After a brief search they find several rune panels and congitor stations, but no power. Without a word Gnophics sets out to find the closest power source. The rest of the team exchange glances, until Admiral Winter signals that they should follow him. They set off after Gnophics, who seems to be following a set route, and finally, after going down a further five levels, they come across a power relay. There are fire axes embedded in its surface and bodies encircling it.
Victris runs over to the relay, and lifting his bandana, starts to can it with his third eye, trying to discern if there is any warp activity around the area. Meanwhile Gnophics’ vox-bead crackles into life again. “Hiss… NOW IS THE PLACE… hiss… NOW IS THE TIME… hiss… hiss… BOOST SIGNAL NOW… hiss… hiss…. Hiss…” His curiosity piqued, Gnophics set about building a booster from items littering the work stations around the room. His strange activity draws the attention of Victris. Unsure what his esteemed colleague is up to, but getting a bad feeling about it, Victris focuses his psyche onto the device. Suddenly a shiver runs down his spine, and Victris’ mind snaps back to the present. Something is not right, something terrible is coming, but Victris just can’t put a finger on what.
As the mystery is played out, Altius strolls slowly around the room, trying to pick up any lingering psychic imprints. Lifting his totem to his lips he clears him mind, and lets it roam free. Very quickly Altius starts to pick up panicked sending’s, they seemed to be calling out for help as they started to suffocate, it all happened very quickly. As the last weak plead for assistance fades away, Altius’ mind snaps back to reality. “I would appear that any survivors of the initial attack may have been suffocated. Either the air was pumped out or the void of space was allowed some how to enter the area.” He announces to the room in general.
As his word echo around the room, Gnophics finishes his tinkering and. “his… hiss… TRADE COMPLETE… hiss…” Scanning the area Gnophics can find no sign that anything has changed, no large power surge, no signals emanating from their immediate vicinity. But there are signs of some active power conduits, where before there was none. Gnophics shrug his augmented shoulders and sets off following the conduit. Sharing another wry look the group set off in pursuit. Eventually they come to a closed and locked trap door set into the stone surface of the floor, the conduits pass beyond the doorway, but there is no sign of any way to power it. Gnophics looks to Albina. “Do you think you could open this?” a wide grin spreads across Albina face as she steps forward, stroking her previously unused melta bomb. “Is it time for my lovely?” she asks. Albina examines the door more closely. “I don’t think so, this door doesn’t appear to stop a power sword.” She says with a telling look at the good captains power falchion. Winter follows her eyes, looking down at her own hip she spies her ancient power weapon. Stepping up to the door she pulls the sword, presses the actuation stud and slams it into the locking mechanism.
The door drops away, revealing bank after bank of archaeo-data crystals. Stepping past the Lord Captain, Gnophics activates his servo-skull and it in amongst the data banks looking for threats. Swooping around the room the skull finally comes to rest, hovering before a treasure. Filling the image feed from the skull, Gnophics can make around a dozen void suits. There is a quick debate in which Admiral Winter decides to head back to the surface, to prepare the landing site whilst the rest of the team retrieve the suit.
As soon as Winter is out of sight Victris jumps down into the room and heads, with eager hands, toward the archaeo treasure. As his hand brush the suits material, Altius is suddenly overcome with a vision, his mind is filled with fuzzy out of focus images. The images are so unclear that he cannot understand their meaning, but feeling he gets from them is quite clear. Something is not right, the search has been too easy, and it’s as if they have been lead to this point. Altius leans down, sticking his head through the opening. “Um, guys, I think we should leave those, something is not right.” He calls out to his plundering colleagues. With a shudder he continues. “This was too easy; I have a very bad feeling about this.” “Bad feeling?” Victris calls back. “What do you mean by bad feeling? As in warp taint or just a normal bad feeling?” Thinking back to the vision, Altius shudders again. “Don’t know I just have a really bad feeling about this.”
Ignoring his warning they gather up the void suits and head back to the Lander.
As they make their way back to Boadicea’s Wrath, seneschal Marcus’ voice cuts across the crafts vox. “Captain, there has been a development.” He says, with a hint of uncertainty evident in his voice. “What sort of development?” Admiral Winter asks. “Um, I have some pic-steals you may or may not wish to see.” There is a brief pause before Marcus replies. “What sort of Pic’s?” Winter asks, growing more frustrated by the moment. “I’ll let you decide, let’s just say they come from the only inhabited planet in the system.” “Shit! Okay let’s have them.” Winter shouts, slamming her fist against the metal wall of the troop bay.
Moving over to a nearby cognitor unit Winter hits the actuation stud, and the images start to scroll across the screen. The grainy images start from space, showing the curving edge of the planets horizon, before slowly zooming in on the surface. Finally the images sweep into a clearing, in the centre of which are the ravaged remains of the Ecclesiarch. His gutted and flensed body crucified on his own Aquila banner pole.