Plague comes

Session 15

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 15

Gnothics arrives at his sanctum. Sitting quietly he come to the realisation something that rings a bell? – UP LIFT! – Something stirs deep in his distant memory, something from research undertaken during his training. Up lift was associated with an experiment from the dark age of technology, something to do with adding artificial intelligence to animals. The current ruling on the matter is that any of these heretical abominations must be destroyed, where ever they are found. Gnothics ponders this new insight, mulling over the possibility of isolating the entity and keeping it as some sort of pet. A most heretical thought.

 

Once more the starbreaker lance fires, targeting the xenos avatar of ice at the heart of the ice planet. As it shatters the ships cognitor banks start to spit out auger reports, that show the planets crust melting at an exorbitant rate. The Eldar, obliviously receiving the same information, turn tail and make best possible speed out of the system. As the aliens retreat, a cheer erupts throughout the Boadicea’s Wrath. There is much back slapping and hand shaking.

 

Altius quietly leaves the celebrations and heads to his chambers, only to find Seneschal Marcus waiting for him. “Been paying attention have you?” He asks. Altius gives him a quizzical look. In response Marcus continues. “What do you know about those standing for the post of arch-ecclesiarch?” “About as much as anyone else, I suppose.” Marcus leans forward in a conspiratorial manor. “Do you know that Deacon Dionysus had a fall earlier? The official standing is that it was an accident, but I think it was a rigged gangway!” Altius just stares at him, waiting for the hammer blow. “If you could use your, um… sanctioned skills, to look into it I would be most grateful. Oh, and while you’re about it, I would enjoy knowing what is going on in the head of our esteemed navigator.” “It’s not that easy, but I will see what I can do.” Marcus gives the Astropath a stern look. “The emperor gives the righteous strength. Are you saying your faith is not strong enough?” Altius looks around, as if checking for assailants, before answering. “No. No it’s more a case of how strong the other person’s faith is.” The seneschal lets a wicked smile run across his lips. “That is what I wish to find out. Enjoy your rest.” And with that Marcus turns and walks away, leaving a troubled Altius to enter his chambers.

 

After giving it some thought, Gnothics decides the best thing he can do is quarantine the main cognitor core from the rest of the ship. Heading out of his sanctum, he gathers his priests around him. As he outlines his plan to sever the link between the cognitors and the ship, a worried hubbub runs through the gathering, but like good little ants, they scurry off and set about their assigned tasks. Watching them work Gnothics spots a junior tech priest about to jack into the system, seemingly to start some ritual to ease the pain a severing. Rushing over, the engineseer grabs the man’s hand. “No, do not connect with it.” “But… Um, my lord engineseer, it is required.” Gnothics leans in close. “I said no, we need to keep ourselves separate from the entity that has taken control of the ships cognitor core.” “En…” The man swallows before continuing. “Entity?” “Yes entity, I have already told you more than you should know. Now get on with it.”

 

All across the Boadicea’s Wrath the crew notice that the constant hum and vibrations of the engines have ceased. The air recycling units slowly wind down, and the air barely whispering from the units. As activity aboard ship comes to a halt Altius, in his sanctum, is disturbed by his white noise emitters and lights failing. As he tries, unsuccessfully, to raise the bridge there is a knock on the door. Answering it, he finds a heavily augmented tech priest carrying a long handled chain axe waiting on the other side. “Hello, what can I do for you?” in response the priest takes a step forwards, followed by another. Seeing the heavyweight cyborg bearing down on him, Altius back out of the way. The red cloaked figure enters the room, binary squealing from its vox-box. Turning to Altius it utters two words. “Plague comes.” Before the things chain axe flares noisily to life. Seeing that he is about to be attacked, Altius pulls his stub pistol, firing a burst of shot into its chest at point blank. As the rounds bounce harmlessly off the things armoured augmetics, the tech priest knocks the astropath to the floor and swinging its axe in a mighty overhead strike, plants the axe blade in Altius’ side, pinning him to the floor. The last thing he sees before agonising darkness takes him, is the priest desperately trying to extract the axe from the floor plates and make the killing blow.

 

A call goes out on the com-net, that Altius has been attacked. Hearing this, Victris rushes to the astropath’s chambers to find Albina and her combat squad working to free an unconscious Altius from his impalement. Across the room the Navigator spots the headless remains of the tech priest.

 

It would seem that by the emperor’s divine intervention, the embedded axe blade has stopped Altius from bleeding out. There is no sign of any medicea staff, so Albina mixes a field cocktail of tranquilisers and stim, before injecting it into Altius’ neck. With a horrific inhalation the astropath sits bolt upright. “Plague comes! What the throne? A throning tech priest attacked me. Agh… there’s a chain axe imbedded in my side. Oh throne, what the throne is happening? Someone please tell me what the throne is happening?” Albina crouches down beside Altius and slaps him hard across the face. “Now calm down, or I will slap you again. Victris has some questions for you.” “Throne, throne. Oh throne.” SLAP. As Altius quietens Albina turns to Victris. “Okay navigator, he’s all yours.” Victris steps forward to stand over Altius. “So what happened? Think carefully now.” The astropath looks bleary eyed up at Victris. “The lights went out.” “And then what.” Altius groggily tries to think. “There was a knock on the door.” “And then?” “Opened it, and there was a throning tech priest. Oh throne, throne. A throning tech priest.” Victris grips ALtius’ shoulder. “Think now, and then what happened?” “I let him in.” Victris tries taking a different tack. “You said something about plague?” “Yes. Yes, that was the last thing he said before he attacked me. It was the only thing he said.” “What exactly did he say?” Altius thinks for a moment. “Plague… Comes, and then he attacked me.”

 

As they ponder the question of the tech priest and his strange words, Lyliths angry voice erupts out of the suddenly crackling vox unit. “When I find that throning engineseer, I am going to thank him for fixing this thing. Then I am going to kill him. Two of his throning priests just tried to slot me.” Albina steps over to the vox-unit and hits the actuation stud. “It’s go to hear your voice. Are you hurt?” “No. just throning pissed off.” “Good, we have the same thing here. Unfortunately Altius was not so lucky.” Victris steps up beside her. “Did they say anything?” “Just something about plague, or some such throning kack.”

 

Elsewhere a cyber cherubim approaches Gnothics. “Identify, Gnothics?” It says its digitized voice emanating from the chest mounted vox-box. “Yes. Yes I am Gnothics, get on with it.” “Gnothics getonwithit, confirmed.” Next a more human voice comes out of its vox. “Greeting engineseer Gnothics, this is Arch Deacon Tygerian. I have heard about what happened to Deacon Dionysus and,” A faint knocking can be heard in the back ground. “Bare with me it seems I have a visitor… Hello I understand that you are the current host of Baptist John. It would be nice to meet him, as we both serve the same master…. What… Why… Wait…” Suddenly the vox is filled with the sound of gun fire, by the sounds of things it is a chain gun on full auto. As the gun fire dies down, the cherubs digitized voice cuts back in. “Message received and recorded, heading to recipient.

 

As Gnothics mulls this over Altius, Victris and Albina along with her squad arrive. “Greetings Gnothics, it’s good that you have a lot of the ship up and running again.” Says Victris, without preamble. “Yes, well up and running. You remember I said I was dealing with a problem, well that’s the problem. I have not authorised any repairs.” What do you mean?” “I think it has something to do with the entity that has taken over the ship.” Victris gives the tech priest a quizzical look, but with a shrug besides to come back to that particular piece of information at a later time. “Does the phrase ‘plague comes’ mean anything to you?” “Oh throne.” Victris gives him a hard look. “I’ll take that to mean yes. Did you also know that your priests are going around killing people?” For a moment Gnothics looks surprised, but quickly regains his composure. “It has something to do with the source of the information about the hive world.” “Care to elaborate on that?” “Not right now, I need to focus on stopping this thing.” With that Gnothics gives some thought to how he can identify any corrupted tech priests, as it is obvious to him that the entity has subverted some of them. Opening a connection to all in his cabal, he requests that they each accept an update to their operating protocols.

 

Sending out a binary burst to all who agree, he loads it with an unsanctioned code, in an attempt to identify faithful priests and shut down corrupted ones. Around about half in the room start to shake and their movements become jerky or seem not to go through any change at all, the other halves bionic eyes slowly turn from red to blue. Gnothics turns back to his colleagues.”Okay, that should help. Blue eyes good, jerky movement and red eyes bad.” As one the corrupted tech priests turn as one, as speak in a single voice. “Plague comes.”

 

All hell breaks out across the Boadicea’s Wrath as small pockets of corrupted tech priest’s start murdering their way through the ship compliment. Steadily the crew by force of numbers, assisted in part by Gnothics’ virus, starts to turn the tide. As the attacking priest’s numbers start to dwindle, Victris and Albina lead groups of security personnel in locking down recaptured areas of the ship, doing their best to curtail the enemy’s movements. Eventually they push through to the armoured command bridge of antiquity; the crewmembers on duty have been gutted, their bodies littering the room.

 

As they enter Gnothics makes his way to the closest cognitor unit. Plugging in, he dives into the system, and locating the small packet of code the entity has embedded in the bridges core operating system, destroys it. Slowly Gnothics moves from system to system, purging the entities code where ever he finds it.

 

After hours of close quarters combat, going room to room the crew finally retake the ship. But dealing with the entity is a long drawn out process, of removing or quarantining corrupted code, throughout the ships systems.

 

The crew set about clearing the ship of the dead, funeral pyres burn and the air is filled with the sounds of softly murmured prayers. On the bridge a low ranking ensign sits at the augur. “Sir!” the man shouts addressing the room in general, hoping that one of the senior officers will respond. Victris turns to the man. “What is it?” “Um Sir, there were living beings on the verdant planet, weren’t there? You know like animals, insects and the like.” “Yes, why?” The man points at the screen. “Well there is nothing left alive down there now.” As Victris leans over the man’s shoulder to get a better look at the augur screen, the faint yellowy lines and swirls that represent the planet below, slowly start to merge, forming just two words.

PLAGUE COMES.

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