Skulls, minds and body parts

Session 11

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)

Chapter 11

Victris lay close to death after his encounter with the entity on the ice planet. Aboard the Fury Interceptor the group do what they can to keep him alive. Sometime later, hours that feel like days, they arrive, battered and bruised, back aboard the Boadicea’s Wrath to a hero’s welcome. As they disembark they are met by Lylith, after a cursory salute she delivers her report. “Glad to see you Captain, I am pleased to report we have one prisoner.” Albina steps up behind her with a crisp salute, for the Lord Captain. “We found no sign of any other surviving xenos. They must have departed using some of their heretical alien technology.” She glances at Lylith before continuing. “They seem to have left the wounded one behind, although it cost us almost one hundred men bringing it in.” Winter returns their Salutes. “Never the less, you must be commended on your effort.”

 

Whilst this is all going on, Gnophics quietly slips out of the loading bay, as quietly as a heavyweight Tech Priest can anyway.

 

Altius’ meditation continues to be disturbed by feelings of love. Shutting out the feelings, Altius turns his attention to the ice world, feeling once more burning, fiery eyes turn to meet his gaze. As he tries to turn his mind away, returning to reality, he becomes aware that the palm of his hand is bleeding. A pool of blood starts to form, marring his meditation mat. Getting shakily to his feet, he goes off in search of a medi-kit. As he staunches the flow of blood, Altius is informed that the Captain has returned. Has it really been that long? He thinks before heading down to the loading bay, his hand wrapped in a reddened swath of bandages.

 

As Altius arrives, he finds the Lord Captain discussing the questioning of an Eldar prisoner. Slipping into the crowd, he quietly observes the goings on, his mind still preoccupied by his last meditative encounter.

 

Meanwhile, in the medicae bay, Victris come around in a lot of pain. Opening his eyes, he finds himself staring up into a bank of spot lights. Blinking moisture from his watering eyes, Victris looks around. Off to one side he can hear the two Tech Priests discussing the removal of his arms. My arm? My arms are fine; it’s my legs they need to heal. “Um, excuse me! It’s not my arms you need to worry about, it’s my legs.” The voices stop briefly; there is a hiss of servos and the rustle of movement, the face of a tech priest hove’s into view. “The patient is awake. I think more anaesthetic is needed.” With that the priest pulls a hypodermic auto syringe out of his cloak, and injects the contents into his own arm. “Ah, that’s much better.” The tech priest turns his augmented, if somewhat unfocused, eye’s back to Victris. “Now what were you saying?” “My legs, you need to do something about my legs!”

 

“Your arms and your legs, we can manage that.” Comes the red cloaked priest’s reply. The flat emotionless voice, that emanates from his vox-box seeming to carry a note of satisfaction. This revelation sends Victris into a state of shear panic. “No no, not both. Oh just let me get out of here.” The supine navigator pleads, struggling to rise from the cold metal of the operating table. “Are you saying that you know more than a sanctified healer?” No. I just want to get out of here with my arms still attached.” The priest turns away, there is a quick burst of binary and a nearby cognitor bank spits out a sheet of paper. Tearing a sheet from the machine, the healer turns back to victris, waving it under his nose. “Sign this then!” “What is it?” Victris asks, lifting his head, trying to get a better view of the document. “It’s a waver alleviating us of your care.” “Okay. Okay, give it to me.” Snatching the document, Victris makes his mark, and as soon as he is freed of his restraints, hobbles out of the room, grabbing a bottle of amnsec on the way out.

 

Meanwhile, Gnophics heads into his sanctum. All seems to be as he left it. Checking the data from his pic-recorder, he notices that the time stamp is going backwards. Examining the image is of no help, as there seems to be nothing happening. Turning to his log, he reaches for a cyber-quill. Looking down at the open page, he realises that a fresh entry has been made. The words burnt into the page, they read. PLAGUE COMES.

 

In the bowls of the ship, Winter confronts the imprisoned Eldar. It blooded, battered body hanging, chained to the wall. “Mon’kay!” It coughs and spits, foul xenos blood splatters to the deck. Lylith steps up to the thing and back hands the creature, rocking its head. “That’s Lord Captain monkey to you.” The Eldar looks from Lylith to Winter. “Do you have a name for your pet Mon’kay?” “She is not my pet, but I only have a little control over her. Now tell me what you were doing on the planet?” The alien just stares at her. Lylith steps in close to the xenos, and pressing her knife to the things little finger, applies sudden, savage pressure and its finger drop to the deck plates. With a shrill scream the once stoic alien passes out. Lylith retrieves an auto-syringe and injects a cloudy fluid in to the prisoner’s neck. With a sudden sucking breath, the Eldar stiffens, its eyes opening wide as it comes sharply awake.

 

“Now answer the Captains question.” Lylith whispers in its ear. Winter addresses the filthy xenos once again. “There is something on that planet we need.” A light of understanding blossoms in the things bulging eyes. “You are after the minerals!” It exclaims. “Well they are for the taking, you just have to mine them.” Winter takes a frustrated breath. “It’s not that easy. The planet is frozen solid.” The Eldar gives a slight smile. “Yes I know. The plague was coming, so we called upon an avatar of ice to slow it down.” The Lord Captain pauses for a moment to take in this new information. “So how do we deal with it?” The smirking prisoner briefly thinks about the question, before giving a low chuckle. “As far as I know the only way to deal with it is to destroy it.”

 

On leaving the impromptu torture chamber, Winter finds Gnophics on his way back from a trip to the med-bay. After a brief discussion they decide to call all the top flight crew members to a crisis meeting.

 

Once all the relevant people are present Winter kicks thing off, by checking how Victris is doing. He gives a cursory response, his speech slurred by the effects of half a bottle of Amnsec. Before Winter can admonish him Marcus buts in. “I don’t want to stop you playing mother, but may I remind you that we are still in the red.” “Yes, I am getting to that.” She pauses to look around the gathering. “We had a chat with the xenos, and it turns out that the planet was frozen to stop a plague!” Lylith looks up from where she is cleaning her gun, seated off to one side of the gathering. “Will it kill more than ten percent of the crew?” She asks. “I don’t know, the creature did not seem to know a great deal about it.” She looks around the gather faces, catching the eye of each crewmember in turn. “Does anyone else know anymore?” Markus clears his throat. “I should hope not, if anyone knows more than that filthy beast they will most likely be a heretic.” With this utterance, there is an audible click as Altius snaps his jaw shut.

 

Victris stands. “This might just be the Amnsec talking, but couldn’t we just fly the Fury down there and blast the thing to smithereens?” Marcus looks askance at him. “Not a bad idea. Do we have a pilot skilful enough for the job?” After a moments consideration Victris raises his hand. “Well I still have a hand!” He says, waving the offending appendage under Marcus’ nose. “Sit down man.” Marcus snaps. Dropping heavily into his seat Victris looks dejected. Marcus glares at the drunken navigator before turning back to the room in general. “Anybody have any ideas?” After some debate Victris tentatively puts forward a plan to contain the minerals on one of the Landers in case it is contaminated. “Whilst the idea is a good one, may I suggest that we lance the site from space. Then collect the items and quarantine them back in orbit.” “Yes, that’s about the crux of things.” Slurs Victris. Leaning back in his seat, he looks very pleased with himself.

 

Winter gets to her feet. “Right, we have a plan. Let’s get on with it.” And with that she leaves the room, leaving the others to hammer out the finer details.

 

Over the next couple of days they make their plans and preparations. During this time Gnophics is approached by his two subordinates. “Lord Engineseer. You remember the power drain we spoke about a few days ago?” Gnophics looks the pair of Tech Priest over, trying hard to hide his rising fear. “Yes I remember that trifling incident.” The two red cloaked technicians look at each other. “Well it’s started again. We have made some checks and the drain is originating on the hive world.” A tremor runs through Gnophics, which he tries to hide with a shrug. “Really, the hive world? Okay give me your report, so I can go over it.” The two underlings look chest fallen, they glance again at each other before handing the data slate over. “Right, well here it is. But you will come to the same conclusion as us.”

 

Gnophics returns to his sanctum, mulling over the report. As he enters he notices that the skulls mouth is open again, revealing the smaller, bird-like skull inside. “Greatings. What game are you playing?” He asks. “Hiss… Hiss… Statement, Axium. Plague comes? Confirm yes or no.” “Yes.” “Hiss… Statement. Hive world… Hiss… Hiss… Is plague on hive world? Confirm yes or no.” Gnophics thinks for a moment. “Unsure. Um, no. What will happen if the plague was released onto the ice world?” “Hiss… Hiss… Hive world, self-contained… Hiss…” Gnophics pauses for a moment, unsure how to phrase his next question. “Do you need sustenance to survive?” “Hiss… No!” “Then why the increased power drain.” “Hiss… Hiss… Attention gained, objective complete. Hiss… Successful. Hiss…” “What are you?” “Not enough power.” “So the planet is safe from the plague?” Haven available, use. Hiss… Hiss… Confirm, ignore?” With that the skull goes quiet and the mouth closes.

Gnophics spends some time mulling over the resent information, before heading off to find Altius.

 

Gnophics knocks on Altius’ chamber door. Getting no reply he enters, finding Altius in quiet contemplation, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings. Gnophics raps hard on the door frame. As Altius’ eyes snap open, Gnophics steps forward to tower over the Astropath. “Do you know anything about the ice world you haven’t told us?” Altius looks up at The Engineseer. “I only picked up panicked sending’s from the rapidly dwindling populace whilst we were on the planet. But if you leave me in peace I will try a general sweep of the planet, to see if I can get anything new.”

 

After Gnophics leaves, Altius settles back down and sends his mind back down to the ice world. But can pick up nothing but ghosts of old messages. The planet is as it appears, a dead world. Returning to reality, Altius steps over to his cabins vox-panel and contacts Gnophics, telling him of his findings. “Are you sure?” Comes Gnophics’ static filled reply. “Do I tell you your job?” Altius snaps back. “No, but do I need to tell you yours?” With those words resounding around the room, Altius snaps the vox off, with enough force to rock the vox-unit.

 

Moments later Gnophics and Victris turn up at Altius’ door. As a metallic rapping interrupts his meditation once again, Altius sighs, and climbing to his feet, opens the door.

 

After Victris dismisses his man servant, Gnophics confides in those present, that he has come to be in procession of knowledge that the plague was coming. That the same source believes that the area where they found the void suits on the hive planet is a sanctuary from the plague. After a long heated debate it is agreed to put the bombing on hold. Gnophics scrambles for the vox, as the countdown reaches the last quarter of a minute. Scrabbling to get the thing working properly, after Altius’ earlier rough treatment, Gnophics finally finds the right channel. “Stop the countdown, repeat do not bomb the planet.” The countdown continues 10… 9… 8… “Countdown paused.” Comes a voice over the vox. Looking over at the cabins cognitor bank, the three crew-members see a red seven flashing on the screen. There is a collective release of breath.

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