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 Aquila Lander touches down, the loading bay of Boadicea’s Wrath is a hive of activity, as the group disembark they are met by Seneschal Marcus. “Well, Lord Captain, it’s been an interesting time, don’t you think?” Winter, fighting back her anger, can barely stop from shouting. “Interesting is one way of putting it, if you choose to call it that.” Marcus flashes her a half smile. “I rather not call it anything, but it is what it is. Right now we have an issue, with the faithful. They blame you for the pater’s death, saying if you had gone with him he would not be dead.” Admiral Winter snarls at this news. “That up to them, I do not remember forcing him to go down there.” She replies, with barely contained fury. At that moment Lylith speaks up. “There is an old saying where I come from ‘You can’t askew heresy with facts, faith needs none’ so do you wish me to take some of the boys down, and thin the crew a little?” No, no I think we will need the manpower.” Says Winter after a little consideration.
After a brief discussion regarding the next course of action, it is decided that the Lord Captain, Lylith and Marcus will address the crew, trying to calm the situation. While she is doing this, the rest the group prepare to head down to the ice world.
As they go about the preparations it is suggested that if they could retrieve the ecclesiarches body they could give him a full burial and hopefully placate the crew. A heated debate brakes out. Gnophics and Lylith champion bombing from space, whilst Victris and Altius favour retrieval. Winter agrees that retrieval is probably the best option, and tasks Lylith with crowd control and Albina to lead the landing party.
As Albina sets about making preparations for the trip, Victris slinks off to the cargo bay to warn his followers. “Aye, they will need to find a new leader and a lot can happen, even in lock down.” Says a gruff cargo surf, his identity obscured by the thick funk of incense smoke. The room is heavy with shadows and flickering lights, making it hard to distinguish male from female. Victris tries to calm their fervour, not wanting a killing spree.
As the message falls on deaf ears, Victris strikes out with his staff, knocking a surf into a rill of molten metal. As the man’s screams die way, Victris notices that surf teams are closing in, homemade knives drawn. Suddenly Victris is aware that he may have gone too far, as they no longer look at him with their usual reverence. As three burly surfs make a grab for him, Victris draws his hell pistol and opens fire at point blank range. As the guns report echoes off into the distant chamber, the room stills. Apart from the moans of the wounded, all is quiet. “So do you understand what I’m saying now?” Victris says, in a malevolent whisper, as he holsters his pistol.
From the front of the room, in waves to the back, the surfs kneel and bow their heads to Victris. One crewman moves over and slits the throats of the rebels, before kneeling himself. Victris turns and walks away.
As the power struggle evolves elsewhere, Gnophics heads down to his sanctuary. On entry he finds things have changed. There are now four crystal protrusions embedded in the wall, equidistant around the room. He can feel the skull watching him, but it remains silent. Moving over to a pic-corder he had set up before heading down to the hive world, he finds the data-crystal is nearly full, although it should have a couple of day worth of space left.
Gnophics heads out of the room, and plugging the crystal into a cognitor bank, he activates it. The image displayed shows nothing moving in the room, Gnophics decides to fast-forward it; suddenly the screen goes blank for about five minutes. Having finishes checking through the rest of the recording, Gnophics rewinds and double checks the blank. Curiously the date stamp appears to be a couple of days before he even set up the pic-corder. Flicking some switches and adjusting some dials Gnophics cues up the recording ready to run it through several layers of filters. As he starts it running frame by frame, Gnophics can already see that the image is made up a layer on layer of recordings, making the whole appear black. With the turn of a dial, Gnophics bring the recording up to speed. Suddenly he finds himself coming around on the floor. The last thing he can remember the sight of a headless figure standing behind the skull. Even though it had no head, Gnophics could swear that it looked up at him, their eyes locking and then, blackness.
Climbing to his feet, Gnophics realises that the stasis field surrounding his inner sanctum is turned off. Rushing into the chamber, he greeted by the fading afterimage of a figure, dressed similarly to a tech priest in his robes. With a flicker the stasis field comes back on. There is no change evident in the room.
Lord Captain Winter, along with Lylith and Seneschal Marcus tour the ship, showing their faces and mollifying the crew, with word of the prospect of cleansing the planet of the heretics that killed the Pater. With parting word of caution to Lylith, the group along with their security detail and an extra pilot to return the second Aquila Lander, head planet side, using the primary Lander and the Fury Interceptor for air cover.
As they head down to the planet, Albina looks across the crew compartment. “Lord Captain, may I speak candidly?” “Yes” comes Winter’s reply through the gloom of the cabins interior. There is a brief pause before Albina starts to speak. “Lylith, your chief militant is a good fighter, but she is not quite right in the head. When it comes to tactics it may be better to look to some of your sub-commanders.” “What do you mean?” The Lord Captain asks quietly. Albina pauses again, as if considering her next word carefully. “She was raised through the ranks by those of the forlorn hope. In fact she is of the same thinking. She led breach after breach, until one day she led a charge against a chitinous, four armed race of zenox. After they were finally forced back, she was found barely clinging to life. She is followed because she is brave, but she is also foolhardy. She believes that achievements are measured by survival.” “Okay I will bare that in mind.” Come Winters thoughtful reply.
Just before they land the voice of the Furies pilot comes across the vox channel. “Roger, roger old chap. The weathers fine down here, the LZ is clear. Counting three villages, and some fifty possible heretics. Do you wish them cleansed?” “Okay proceed!” Winter replies, and suddenly the vox is filled with the sound of missiles being launched, followed by the solid crump of impact. “Lander one, confirm villages cleansed. Counting three more. Do you wish them cleansed as well?” “Yes, but don’t hit the body.” Says Victris, with a glance at the Lord Captain for confirmation. “Roger that, don’t hit the body.”
Fire and death rain from the sky. The Lander touches down, and the group disembark. Around them is a peaceful forest, peaceful that is if not for the sounds of rapid fire las blasts and the scream of the Furies engines as it vectors in the distance for another pass. Taking in their surroundings the party head off towards the distant clearing and the Ecclesiarches body.
As they make their way through the tranquil forest a men suddenly bursts out from the undergrowth, as the group come to a cautious halt and the security detail raise their weapons, is becomes clear that he is missing an arm, the stump of which is cauterised with classic las burns. Taking his hell pistol from one of his servants, Victis approaches the man, as the man stumbles to his knees. “Daemons, daemons fell from the sky!” Lifting his bandana Victris scans the area, but finds no sign of warp activity. Pulling his bandana back down over his third eye, Victris presses his pistol to the man’s head. “Liar!” he says and pulls the trigger, exploding the man’s head. Giving the corpse a wide birth they move on, and finally reach the clearing.
Situated just off centre of the clearing is the crucifies remains of the Pater, his skin removed by flensing is piled neatly at his feet. Gnophics notices that the body is held on the banner pole with wire so thin it is almost of a nano thickness. This is beyond anything this planet can produce, Omnissiah, it’s beyond anything we have! He muses. At that moment there is the roar of more missile impacts. “Lander one, that’s the last village. We just need to land and dispose of the stragglers. “No, just round them up and bring them here. They should witness this.” Victris replies.
A few minutes later a line a chained locals is ushered into the clearing. On seeing the crucified body the locals shy away, with mutters of. “The monsters, the monsters return.” As they start the funeral Victris starts to feel eyes on the back of his neck, looking around he can see nothing but trees. There is a ping, and Gnophics is aware of something landing at his feet. Looking down he watches as a crystal of great complexity melts into the ground. Franticly looking around, Gnophics dashes for cover. As he does so he spots another crystal flying through the air from the tree line, a split second before Altius’ combat helmet shatters and he crashes to the ground. All hell breaks loose as everyone runs for cover. Crystalline shards fill the air flying from the tree line all around them. Meanwhile Altius finaly staggers to his feet and seeks cover behind some of the detritus littering the area around the Aquila banner pole.
Victris darts for the dubious cover of the tree line, as taunts in halting low gothic fill the air around him.
As he reaches the trees, a tall slender figure drops behind him, wearing tight fitting armour, completely covering it from head to toe. As the creature lands, it swings at him with an impossibly thin blade forcing Victris to roll to the side. “Dance for me Mon’kay, dance pretty for me.” It taunts. Scrabbling to his feet, Victris let loose a volley of hell rounds from his pistol, all but melting his assailants head.
As the rest of the group, take their lead from Victris and rush for cover in amongst the tree, another voice calls out. “You are not wanted here Mon’kay. This is not your place to rape Mon’kay. You are the talons of the plague bringer.” As the sound of the voice fades away an expanding net of ultra fine filaments explodes in their midst, injuring several security personnel and killing a couple of the cowering locals. Meanwhile there is a hurried voice over the vox. “Approaching Fury, will be destroying tree line soon.” It is the voice of the Furies pilot, who had snuck away in the confusion of the initial contact.
Winter orders the survivors out of the trees, and into cover under the Aquila. “Leave this section Mon’kay, or your crimes will find you out.” The next moment the group are force to go to ground, as with a scream of jets the Fury releases hell on the tree line. When finally all is quiet, the group lift their heads, and look around at the devastation the interceptor had wrought. All that is left of the tree line for meters all around is a ruined landscape of shattered tree stumps and churned earth.