Write-up 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 landing party squeeze themselves into the confined interior of the Fury Interceptor. At the head of the compartment is one of Gnophics’ red cloaked tech priests, demonstrating the workings of the new magnet void rounds utilising one of the auto guns. “Hiss… As you can see the magnet means that it is affixed, the machine spirit of the magazine and the clip are inseparable except when you press the holy release mechanism.” The priest presses the button. Nothing happens, there is a pause. “Hiss…, except when you press the holy release mechanism.” He repeats, pressing the stud again, with the same result. “Hiss…, the release mechanism.” The priest presses the stud a third time, but to no avail. “The holy….” A mechanical arm extends from under the tech priests robes, griping the magazine, it gives it a firm pull, and it finally comes free. “.. Simply releases in accordance with the purity of the Omnissiah, as I have just demonstrated.” With that demonstration over the priest moves down the compartment, handing out one of the ritually prepared weapons, to each member of the group.
As the craft lifts off, the group are aware of the fact that Altius is missing. Only moments before they had each received a hurried and anxious sending from the absent astropath, explaining that he had to go into solitary meditation. He told them that there was incoming impurities that he had to protect himself from; any attempt to contact him on the radio is met with static.
As the interceptor makes its final approach, the pilot’s voice comes over the vox-system. “Anyone planning on going down there, had better suit up now. If this thing touches down it won’t get airborne again, you will have to prepare to make the drop from around ten meters.”
The group are helped into their void-suits by the tech priest. The suits are tight, constricting around the chest, leaving them feeling ponderous. As they breathe in, there is a slight roaring sound from the mouth piece, the air passing down into their lungs feels warm, and there is warmth radiating from specific points around their body.
As they prepare from the jump Seneschal Marcus’ voice brakes across the vox-channel. “Captain, the ship is in place and ready to start the bombardment of the xenos. Is there any last word for the crew, anything to record before we send the xenos back to whatever hell they come from?”
“We are about to obliterate the xenos. In the name of the emperor, let’s nuke those sons of bitches.” There is a brief moment of contemplation before Marcus answers. “Very eloquent, I think I felt a tear, just the one. Okay people, you heard the Lord Captain, let’s turn that thing to rubble.”
As the Fury swoops low over the surface of the ice planet, the crafts rear door opens, allowing the frigid air to enter. “This is it, may the Emperor go with you.” With the pilots words ringing in their ears the group make the drop. As he leaps, Victris is caught by a stray up gust of icy wind, sending the poor unfortunate navigator tumbling to his doom, impacting full length, bouncing and rolling before finally coming to a halt. Meanwhile Gnophics makes a heavy, if safe landing and Admiral Winter manages to land, roll and come up in an elegant ready pose. As his head clears Victris becomes aware of the fact that he may have broken several ribs, pain courses through his chest with every inward breath, threatening to send him slipping back into unconsciousness. The security team drop to the ground, making the whole process look easy.
As the group gather their wits, they look around taking in their surroundings. They stand on sheets of ancient ice, layer upon layer, laid down over millennia. All around them, as far as the eye can see, there are pillars of crystalline ice resembling a petrified forest. Snow and ice billow in the air, bringing visibility down to as little as one meter. Using their vox they pull the team together, before heading off in search of shelter.
With the aid of his void-suit’s heat sensors, Gnophics guides the explorers to a crystalline structure that appears to be some sort of shelter. As they study it, Winter realises that the structure looks a lot like Eldar in origin, after a brief discussion with Gnophics, who confirms that she could be right, they search for an entrance. After a time Gnophics becomes aware of an almost musical sound, emanating from the crystalline mass as the wind whistles around the structure. Gnophics tunes into the sound, issuing a sound at the same frequency from his vox-box, Gnophics tries to activate any opening. But the feedback is too much, and Gnophics shuts his vox-box down. As the sound dies away one of the security team steeps up. “This thing doesn’t look too strong, we could probably blast our way in.” And before anyone can stop him he opens fire, the mag-rounds bounce and ricochet of the things surface. Suddenly the security officer stops firing, there is a gasp as another member of the security team spots a tear in the man’s void-suit. Seconds later he slumps to the ground, his body shattering as it impacts with the frozen ground.
Seeing this, Victris glances down at the alien weapon slung at his waist. Swinging it up he takes aim at the crystalline structure. Pulling the trigger, Victris sends shard after shard hammering into the barrier in front of him. The crystal shards impact with a ringing tone. As the ammo runs out the tone gets louder and higher in pitch, until with a click the gun runs dry. Suddenly all is quiet, to quiet. It takes the group a moment to realise that they have been momentarily deafened by the sound.
With their hearing slowly returning, they make their cautious way down into the darkened heart of the planet. Deeper and deeper the travel, the temperature slowly rising, their suits now register that they are able to cope with the current air temperature.
“Contact! Bodies. Three, partially frozen.”
The crew head over to the location of the contact, at their feet, they can see three alien bodies in various states of decay. At least one of them seems to be showing signs of having died not from cold, but from disease.
As they continue on Victris’ manservant pipes up. “Sir, I think I have located the minerals you are looking for.” He says showing his master a long-range auspex. “I have some knowledge of these things, from the time before you liberated me. The deposit is one hundred and seventy meters directly below us. The odd thing is natural deposits don’t appear like this. My guess is they have already been mined.” “Really! Well that was very kind of whoever it was; it will make things easier for us.” All of a sudden they are visited by a swathe of visions from their astropath. The visions show how the bombardment of the verdant planet is progressing; mountains flattened; lance batteries dry up lakes and change the shape of continents. As quickly as the visions come, they fade away again.
As they return to the real world, Gnophics has an almost, no defiantly heretical thought. May be I can figure out how to use some of this tech. After some thought Gnophics comes to understand that the alien tech is as much about aesthetic, as it is functionality. Calming his mind he lets instinct take over, and finally manages to bring up a holo-pic showing the layout of the area. On inspection they soon realise that the levels below them are all packed solid with ice, all bar one tunnel. It looks like they have no choice but to go down that way, even though it feels like they are being lead into the jaws of the underworld. And so with weapons drawn they party head further down into the bowls of the alien structure.
After nearly an hour of travel, often through difficult to traverse areas, they start to notice that the air temperature is starting to drop again. As they travel they see body parts and armour clad figures poking out of the ice all are showing signs of disease. Suddenly between one step and the next Victris is suddenly overcome with a wave of heat, so strong he is bathed in sweat in an instant, the heat wave seems to be coming from just around the next corner. Sagging, his gentlemen’s gentlemen just catching him before he slumps to the floor, Victris feels that something is flaying back layer after layer of his soul.
As they cautiously advance the air seems to be getting thicker, the very cold making it hard to move forward. Victris quietly voices his concerns about what is ahead of them, before taking the lead, closely followed by the Lord Captain Admiral Winter and his manservant. Passing around the corner, they find themselves in a huge chamber. Although the feeble light cast by the servo-skull does not pass far into the space, they get the feeling that it is miles across, and there is something out in the vastness reflecting the light back at them.
Ahead of them is a bonelike railing, as they step up to it they realise that the chamber is in fact a massive sphere. As Gnophics step to the railing, closely followed by his servo-skull, the light is caught by gem stones imbedded in the walls of the chamber. Slowly, as more and more gems pick up the light, a red glow starts to spread throughout the huge space before them. The air is cooling rapidly, their void-suits, start flashing up warnings that they will breach in five minutes, then three minutes. As the air temperature drops, so does their chances of survival.
And then they see it!
Unable to fully take in what it is they are seeing. Primal nature takes over and one after the other they turn and flee. The last two members of the security team instantly go insane, one of them bringing his auto gun to head, pulls the trigger. The second starts clawing at his face plate trying to gouge out his own eyes, only to breach his suit, his frozen corpse shattering as it slumps to the floor. Leaving a shaken but still functioning Victris to face the abomination alone. Standing in the centre of the chamber is a figure, twice human size, encased in frozen fire, blood oozing from its every pore. A nightmare in blue-green beauty, is this the source of the intense cold that envelopes this entire system.
Lifting his gun, with shaking hands, into the ready position, victris looses a full clip of ammo into the chamber. But in his panicked state the shots all go wild, hitting nothing but the walls of the chamber. Fighting the urge to flee, Victris approaches the figure. Pulling one of his grenades, Victris lobes it at the thing, and ducks into cover. After a moment, instead of the thunder of exploding ordinance, there is a faint fizz. Backing away, Victris endeavours to contact his missing crewmates. As he finally manages to raise Gnophics and Winter, who are at last starting to calm down, he gets the feeling that the thing is now aware of him. Heat courses through his body, his heart rate speeds up exponentially, his eyes feel like they are pulsing out of his skull.
On the other end of the Vox-channel, the rest of the group hear a scream and the line goes dead. Steeling herself, Winter sprints back into the chamber. As she enters she finds Victris all but hanging from the wall by his shattered knee, the leg of his void-suit slowly filling with his rapidly cooling blood.
The massive entities presence bears down on her with the weight of a mountain. Ignoring it as best she can, Winter sets about chipping out a section of the ice wall with her power sabre. After a few wild, but none effective swings, Victris’ own body weight and gravity take over, and his unconscious body slump to the floor. Grabbing him by the shoulders the navigator’s manservant drags him from the chamber, leaving the Lord Captain on her own with the creature. With the xenos entity’s will crashing, wave after wave over her psyche, the oh so courageous Lord Captain turns and flees the chamber.
As the crewmembers finally regroup, they receive another sending from their astropath. The images spinning past their minds eye show Lylith reporting that one of the squads on the one inhabited planet has gone silent, getting n the vox she informs the Boadicea’s Wrath that she is going to personally investigate.
As the images fade, Winter gathers up the surviving members of the landing party, and they make their way back to the surface, calling the Fury Interceptor for extraction. As they finally make it back out onto the windswept surface they can see the Fury swooping in low, the troop ramp at the rear drops open and burning lines are dropped over the lip. Reach out to tentatively grasp the lines they realise that they are barely warm to the touch. Once connected the lines haul them back into the relative safety and warmth of the troop bay.
With a roar of vectoring engines, the craft makes for the expanse of space, breaking free of the planets frigid atmosphere. As the engines quiet and the ship making haste for their mother ship they start to pick up signals from the battle field once more, things seem to be going a well a can be expected. Raising Seneschal Marcus on the vox, Winter informs him of incoming casualties, asking him to have everything ready on their arrival.