Well its been a few weeks so here are two updates rolled into one, session 27 was pretty free form and then a lot of levelling while session 28 involved a lot of shopping and talk time so the update might seem a bit thin despite so much being covered.
THE SEARCH FOR VICTORY
Session 27 & 28: Calixis Sector, Scintilla Sub, Hive Tarsus, Scintilla 167.799.M41 to 169.799.M41
The trek back through the cluttered and crushed hallways of the “Overhive” took two more days of careful moving and hiding out when they crossed the paths of abhuman and mutant scum. The Acolytes fled with the data-crystal not even stopping to inform the lost worshippers that they had completed their mission, they simply had Hack access some of the Forges reluctant Machine Spirit and retrieve a schematic showing them the most direct way out of the facility before negotiating their way back down to the inverted levels of Hive Tarsus.
Battered, bloodied and in some cases suffering extreme blood loss the group managed to return to the site of the temporary Imperial Guard outpost where they had acquired their guide almost a week before. Under the watchful gaze of a Autocannon emplacement the group sent forth Sister Trauma to identify herself and secure aid in the form of a transport.
The armoured car gave the group the first chance to relax in some time and most let themselves go to fatigue on the ride through the hive and back to the Mansion commandeered by Inquisitor Abidan. It was a surprise for those awake enough to think when the villa stood empty, its security seals still alive and functioning but with no sign of the Inquisitor. To tired to question those events the group turned in.
The following day the acolytes gathered to access their situation, they where apparently alone. The house showed no sign of the Inquisitor. The cogitation stations and portable data-stacks refused to give up any information requiring a higher degree of knowledge to operate than even the Tech-priest Hack possessed. With the Data Crystal in hand the group pondered their options. It seemed clear that Abidans failure to return meant he may still be in danger or worse, perhaps lost in the “Overhive” possibly captured by the warp-skeleton. Needing further information the group agreed to follow Hack and Gaius as they reported in to the Arbitrator Fortress, perhaps Marshal Blac would have some answers and at the very least the Fortress would have better Medicae facilities than the rough first aid the group had currently received.
Unfortunately the Marshal had little to offer, he knew of no significant cult or heretical activity nor had he seen the Inquisitor. Again the acolytes discussed their options, while most where on the mend, Sister Narla was still gravely injured and under constant care in the Fortresses Infirmary along with Gaius and Hack who would be returning to their official duties, the rest quickly considered the possibility of taking several castigator squads of Arbites and proceeding on a rescue mission into the “Overhive” but Marshal Blac soon pulled the plug from that idea informing the group that he could no authorise such an expedition seeing as how the Acolytes had no proof one way or the other on the Inquisitors status and location.
Hope for official support stymied the group left the Fortress to plan. If they could not gain support from the Adepta they would simply do it themselves. With Nari-Ann in tow Arl ventured back up into the “low hive” in search of some soldiers-of-fortune, soon locating a group called Habib’s Hellraizers a small group with specialities in sapping and demolitions, something the acolytes considered a must have skill given the semi-collapsed passageways of their previous expedition. The negotiations concluded with ten men signed to a contract (after having received a retainer) and awaiting the word to begin while the Ex-guardsmen returned to the Mansion to report in on their success.
With the beginnings of a plan in hand the group reequipped and rearmed themselves, las-packs for the looted Hellguns where recharged, bullets where bought in bulk from the myriad markets of Tarsus along with staples such as ration packs, climbing gear and even a few grenades. Satisfied that all was nearing readiness for the venture a stray though lodged in Arl’s mind. While they were preparing to go to Abidan’s rescue there was n unanswered question. The acolytes had gone into the “Overhive” with an Inquisiotrs knowledge to retrieve the Data-crystal, why had a group of mercenaries been on the same mission?
The thought quickly displaced the preparations for the rescue, perhaps finding out who was hunting for the same item as the Inquisitor was a better use of their time. While Arl went out to tell Habib and his men to stand down for a few days the rest of the Acolytes began to dredge up what information they could think of about the 122nd Malfi Irregulars
Free Agent 005
(Vedros Anima est mea!)
Its been a while since the last session of this campaign, we where distracted by playing Death Angel last time. This session really didnt take much time, I started out by doing so research into the background of the noble houses for Gaius and Nari-ann, seeing as I have three Nobles in this game and three vendetta's to look after I figure I really should get on with bringing them in sooner than later.
THE SEARCH FOR VICTORY
Session 29: Calixis Sector, Scintilla Sub, Hive Tarsus, Scintilla 169.799.M41 to 175.799.M41
It had taken a week for Arl to locate Habib and his mercenary group, for injuries to heal from the previous adventure in the "Overhive" and fresh supplies to be gathered but now the plan was on hold in light of new information.
Despite the refusal of Marshal Blac to assign Arbitrators to hunting through the warrens of the “Overhive” for the groups missing Inquisitor he was not completely unsupportive of the acolytes. Seeing as they had already spent time working alongside of each other the Marshal dispatched Tech-Priest Hack and Enforcer Bolter to aide the acolytes as best they could, marking them as on detached duties for the interim. The pair arrived, orders in hand at the Acolytes base of operations within the outskirts of the Noble district in the company of Sister Tzarine who while still injured was no longer completely out of action.
After some discussion with the new allies the acolytes determined that they had two courses of action, the first, go to one of the local PDF outposts within Tarsus and still active enforcing the post-riot curfew and see if they had any knowledge of the 122nd Malfi Irrregulars. Secondly look into official Administratum and Munitorum documentation and see what was there on the same subject.
The group decided to split up, Arl and Nari-ann being ex-Imperial Guardsmen would try to talk to the soldiers while Hack and Gaius would proceed to the Munitorum facility within Tarsus’s mid-hive levels. After a little more discussion and clarification the plan was altered, rather than proceed to any PDF base and start nosing about they would take a more subtle approach and simply head to a local bar that catered to off duty soldiers and ask their questions there. With plans settled the groups split up. While Hack and Gaius moved off on their own Arl and Nari-ann where joined by Sisters Bles and Tzarine who believed they may be able to persuade any sinners to confess whatever knowledge they might possess.
The bar in particular was called the MRE, situated a half dozen blocks from the nearest PDF encampment it was close enough for the soldiers to quickly return to duty while being far enough away to avoid the ire of Command. The bar was mostly a converted warehouse with a long bar running along a single wall with a few requisitioned and repurposed objects as table and chairs on the bottom level where the general infantry gathered and a more orderly and high quality layout located on a open space second floor for the low ranking officers.
The Sisters of Battle could do little but sneer at the assembly of semi-drunken soldiers rambling about the dive especially when Bles was mistaken for a different type of “Sister” one of more negotiable affections, though the pair managed to keep their ire in check.
Arl moved about the room doing his best to listen in on conversations while Nari-ann parked herself at a rowdy table and began spending money on drinks as quickly as she could. Little information was to be found about the bar even with alcohol loosening lips and as the hours dragged on Arl and then Narla left the MRE to see what information the others had collected.
While Nari-ann rifled through the pockets of a number of drunk guardsmen she had been drinking with Sister Bles had managed to find some interesting information from an overly friendly officer. It seemed that the Malfi Irregulars who had been manning a watch-station close to the border between the low-hive and the Over-hive had suddenly an inexplicably been redeployed off the planet. The entire force had shipped out within two days in an impressive logistical effort. Rumour said that the unit had been re-tasked by the Imperial Guard to other duties.
While Trauma berated Nari-ann for looting drunken soldiers of their dog-tags, Hack and Gaius had managed to negotiate entry into the Munitorum archives. The process had taken several hours of busy paperwork but finally they had managed to secure access to an information cogitator. The ornate terminal sat outside a viewing window through which the pair could see servitors moving about in an artificial void amid massive data-looms. Dismissing the hovering clerks the pair began what limited research they could with Hack operating the cogitator while Gaius suggested search queries.
Within the hour the pair was joined by Narla and Arl who where able to offer some insight into possible information requests thanks to their knowledge of military organisation. Finally after five hours of toiling the group had some information. According to local records there was no Munitorum listing for the 122nd Malfi Irregulars as an Imperial Guard detachment instead they wee listed as a detachment of the Malfi Planetary Defence force.
The Malfi PDF was organised by local tithing, specifically, all units of guards where raised by the planets various noble houses and assigned a duty on Malfi. In the case of the Irregulars they where supplied, raised and equipped from the household guard of House Syreen. A search on that house showed little overt activity within the general records available to the acolytes behind a six hundred year old news report claiming House Syreen was in the running for planetary governor of Malfi back when their was some discussion of moving the Sector capital.
Back at their residence the groups gathered to compare notes. It seemed that the Malfi Irregulars might only be posing as Imperial Guard units, perhaps at the bidding of House Syreen. That would make their presence on Scintilla and within Hive Tarsus illegal and their expedition into the “Overhive” suspect at best.
Once more the group discussed their options. They could still go searching for the Inquisitor within the “Overhive” though the chances of finding him safely where slim, they could also pursue the Malfi connection by themselves, if someone had sent the Irregulars to appropriate the data-crystal that Abidan was also interested in then most likely there would be something of interest to the Inquisition going on. Finally they could take what they had discovered back to Marshal Blac, perhaps he might have an opinion.
It was soon decided that options two and three where not mutually exclusive so using the vox-relay in the mansion and private codes provided by Marshal Blac they called the arbitrator and offered up the information they had gathered. The Marshal agreed that the Malfi connection could use some further investigation if the Irregulars where indeed pretending to be Imperial Guard forces then that fell within the auspice of the Arbitrators authority. Marshal Blac proposed to send a group of Arbite Investigators to delve into the information more thoroughly while the Acolytes would journey to Malfi. Blac would send an astropathic communiqué to his equal on Malfi with any information uncovered and would provide the group with identification for the local branch, while it would not give them any true authority it would help establish some sort of credentials.
Free Agent 005
(Vedros Anima est mea!)
I'm not a big fan of splitting the party but this session involved a lot of solo interaction and turned out not to bad. I'm also slowly getting my players to think for themselves rather than just someone making a single idea and then everyone trying to test on things for the same reason, but its difficult going.
THE SEARCH FOR VICTORY
Session 30: Calixis Sector, Scintilla Sub, Hive Tarsus, Scintilla 175.799.M41
A trip to Malfi without the support of Inquisitor Abidan was going to cost the acolytes dearly, simply getting from Scintilla to the Malfi Sub would require passage via a warp capable vessel and one that could make the journey in a reasonable length of time. Luckily for the acolytes they had an inside line. Ashram was able to learn that an ally of his parents family called the Mersearch Combine had a vessel that made the run between the two worlds on a regular basis and after some influence peddling learned that the factors for the Blessed Remembrance where currently trading for supplies at hive Tarsus.
Armed with a new objective the acolytes left the safe-house and headed up to the Goldenhand, the massive trading complex at the heart of hive Tarsus’ mid-levels. As the acolytes approached one of the many entries into the area they where struck by a wall of noise generated from the thousands of screaming traders, vox-cast trade statistics and the constant background hum of Imperial hymns and catechisms.
The previous visit by the acolytes to this portion of Hive Tarsus had only been to one of the most remote corners where the Administratum and Munitorum ruled with an iron grip and kept things far more civil, here on the general trading floors people milled about endlessly shouting for attention, buying and selling goods and services of endless description and otherwise manipulating much of the Calixis sectors wealth.
For a moment the acolytes stood on the edge of the market place dazzled by the sights and sounds before Narla plunged into the crowd and was swiftly engulfed expecting the rest of her companions to simply follow along. Seeing the Sister vanish so quickly and apparently at random the rest of the group agreed that should they become separated they would return to their current location in an hour and wait for the rest.
The plan was an excellent idea as the acolytes tried to press their way through the area, it didn’t take long for the crowds to spilt them up. All around the group they could see small groups of armed guards escorting trade factors or wealthy nobles while servitors trundled by bearing trade goods or data storage units. Over head servo-skulls and cherubs flittered on errands hunting via spoor trace or scanning the crowd with augmetic eyes seeking out targets to deliver messages and missives to.
The surging press of humanity pushed at Narla who kept trying to spot some form of sign that would point her in the direction of the trading houses that dealt with extra-solar trade, while the Sororitas couldn’t see any she soon spotted another sign being held aloft by a pair of servo-skulls. Twisting her way free of the crowd Narla stood within a small area of calm, a Merchant called Culsi had set up a small shop where he rented out hunter-servo-skulls. Each of the Mechanicum blessed servitors could be programmed to find anything located within the Goldenhand and after some quick negotiations Culsi agreed to assist the Sororitas for a later payment as part of his civic duty to the Ecclesiarchy. Thanking the merchant for his beneficence NArla instructed on of the Servo-skulls on the identity of her quarry as best she could given the second hand description the acolytes had learned from Ashrams contacts. With a zigzagging movement the skull flew off with Narla close behind.
Arl and Trauma managed to stick together in the dense crowd by staying close to the wall of the cavernous trading floors, after an attempt to find some sort of guide had resulted in Kit having her purse lifted and loosing almost fifty thrones the pair managed to get some general information on their targets location from several of the local vendors though most simply brushed aside their questions once it became clear they where not looking to trade.
While the guardsmen inquired with the locals Gaius found himself drawn away from the main group of acolytes and into a section of the Goldenhand set slightly apart from the rest, the atmosphere of the area was quieter as adepts and factors moved around small semi-private areas, in hushed tones men and woman discussed business ventures and after overhearing some of the sums of money being discussed Gaius trusted he was in the right place to find a contact with the Mersearch Combine. After a few quick inquires the Enforcer was directed to the end of a queue kept under close watch by armed guards. A quick word with one of the guards assured Gaius that he had located the place where one could arrange for off-world transportation.
As Gaius waited his turn in line the arbitrator chatted with his neighbours only to learn that the queues true purpose all those lining up where seeking employment with starship crews as ratings or indentured servants hoping to start a new life away from Scintilla and whatever pasts haunted them. Suddenly the presence of the overly armed guards made sense, the line was not for booking passage but rather for signing on to a ships crew and the guards made sure that no one had any second thoughts.
The rest of the acolytes managed to remain near to each other, following the lead of Technographer Hack the group searched the local area to find a servitor so that he could access any pre-programmed data highlighting what areas of the Goldenhand were used to conduct what trade. It didn’t take long for the inexperienced Tech-Adept to question a servitor and download a portion of its machine-spirit into his data-slate acquiring the data they needed.
The servo-skull continued to lead Narla through the crowds of the Goldenhand until it hovered before an access point leading out of the area. With a slight feeling of apprehension the Sororitas followed along in the machines wake silently wishing that she was dressed in her full battle-gear and carrying her heavier weapons rather than the drag habit of her order as the passageway she walked down grew darker and more poorly maintained.
A scrape of a boot behind her cause Narla to look over her shoulder where a man dressed in outlandishly riotous clothing stepped from a small access hatch, at his side he held a curled whip, near his other hand was a stub revolver sitting in its holster. A chuckle from before Narla brought her attention back towards the darker are of the tunnel into which the servo-skull vanished. A brutish man with hawklike features and a bald head strode towards Narla stopping a dozen meters away from her holding a glo-stick that shed a pale blue light.
As the men gloated over how rare it was for a member of the ecclesiarchy to be presented to them as a gift from Culsi, Narla reached into her cassock and drew out her Autopistol levelling it at the man before her and snarling out a threat, thumbing the safety off on her weapon. Humorous superiority quickly stilled and the thug raised his hands slowly, at this range the autopistol was likely to cut him in half, slowly the big man apologised claiming he was only speaking in jest.
Carefully Narla moved past the men back the way she came keeping the pistol trained on the pair until she was out of the corridor and back in the crowd of traders. Despite the urge to kill the two muggers for their heretical actions Narla was only one woman alone and under-armed, not wishing to press her luck further the Sister moved off towards where she had parted from her companions.
The line grew shorter in front of Gaius and he could see a desk where a dozen savants carefully recorded the names and other vital data of those men and women looking to join a new career. Not willing to be torn from his new role as an Acolyte for the Inquisition, Gaius took a chance, with a deceptive cry at the nearest guard the Enforcer slipped from the line and raced from the area. For several minutes the armsmen followed but once the Arbite reached the milling horde of the open trade areas his pursuers fell away.
Stopping to catch his breath after the sudden sprint Gaius looked about for several of the landmarks he had noted on his wanderings, though the line was not what he had been looking for the general area seemed the most likely point to find people related to the Mersearch Combine and he would have to guide his companions back once he had returned to them.
It took almost three hours for the Acolytes to all gather at their rendezvous point. Nari-ann and Arl had been the quickest arriving so early that they ventured out again to partake of some local produce in a nearby taphouse. Hack and Co had turned up a little over an hour after they had departed with Narla storming out of the crowd soon after and Gaius arriving last having covered so much ground. With a quick comparison of notes the group agreed they had a place to search and set off again with Gaius in the lead.
Free Agent 005
(Vedros Anima est mea!)
“For all those who came in late...” - Lee Falk
This report will be my final update to this thread for 2010, I am on holidays for a while but new entries
should start appearing by February. Anyway on with the show...
THE SEARCH FOR VICTORY
Session 31: Calixis Sector, The Wrap, en-route to Malfi onboard the Blessed Remembrance
A young bursar by the name of Leonard guided the Acolytes to their mid-decks quarters. After their
search of the Goldenhand for transport they had met with a factor from the Merseack-Combine.
Following some swift negotiations Ashram had used his families influence with the Combine to secure
passage for the next vessel heading for Malfi. Two days later and after a deposit of several hundred
Thrones the group was steaming out of Scintilla’s orbit and heading for the jump point into the empyrean
beyond the gravity well of the system.
The journey to Malfi was slated to take three weeks, a week each climbing out of Scintilla and in to Malfi
with a week in transit, the forecasts from the Combines navigators reporting the route to Malfi stable and
free from any immaterial-storms.
The trip away from Scintilla introduced the Acolytes to a number of other passengers, they were given
the run of several mid decks ranging from deck 10 to deck 15 with those above and below out of bounds
and any other places where guards where on post such an Engineerium and the lateral cargo holds.
Within those bounds were housed the higher class of passengers, minor nobles, important factotums
and other members of the Imperium’s wealthy elite who could not afford to simply commandeer a vessel
in its entirety or simple use a personal transport.
A day after translation into the warp Sister Bles wandered the corridors following one of the scheduled
meal times, there was little to do aboard the Blessed Remembrance and while prayer and fasting would
normally fill the sisters time she found simply walking to be more restive. Sister Bles was about to begin
another circuit of the hallways surrounding the Acolytes rooms when a door opened and a man and a
woman fairly fell into the corridor.
Both where clearly some people of import given the quality of their clothing, the woman had her temper
up lecturing the man at finger point. Bles quickly saw to the center of the argument, apparently one of
the couples servants had vanished and the woman expected the girl was involved with the man. Before
Sister Bles could intervene as a moderator the woman landed a hefty slap against the man and stalked
Half way through their trip Gaius found himself wandering the groups assigned decks when a sudden
scream of terror echoed down the ships passageways. Setting off at a sprint the Arbitrator quickly
arrived at the source of the shrill cry to see a noblewoman sitting pressed up against a wall pointing
fearfully at a short corridor branching off to the side.
Gaius raced forward and looked where the woman pointed, the corridor was barely 10 meters long and
dead-ended at a sealed Bulkhead. Moving carefully the Enforcer searched the area, wishing that the
ships protocol had not called for all passengers to turn over their weapons for the duration of the
voyage. The area revealed nothing and the Arbitrator returned his attention to the screaming woman
who resisted his efforts to calm. It didn't take long for a small crowd to gather and for several members
of the ships security complement to arrive and perform a quick assessment of the scene before calling
for some trauma specialists to take the woman to Sick-bay.
Though Sister Bles had been content to simply walk the hallways SIster Narla had enjoyed a more
productive time during the voyage. After consulting with their steward the Sister was allowed to look in
on the medicae staff of the ship, hoping to offer her meagre talents as aide and in turn to broaden her
knowledge of medicines and chymystry.
Narla was on duty when the hysterical lady was brought into the medicae facility. One of the facilities
attendants quickly ordered a servitor to administer a does of sedatives and the woman's raving quickly
subsided. For several minutes ships security tried to question the woman but all she could say was
something had sprang out of the dark corridor and seized her husband dragging him away suddenly.
The following day another incident occurred as Nari-ann wandered about the guardswoman had been ill
at ease without her weaponry and had taken to fashioning a crude shiv out of a dinner utensil. Finally
feeling a little less unarmed the woman found herself on the edge of a small gathering. A little way
ahead a trio of security personal stood keeping the onlookers back while a pair of medics tended to a
barely conscious man. Above the group a portion of the ceiling hung open where an access panel to a
service conduit was positioned. After a quick word with some of the onlookers Nari-ann learned that the
man had apparently been seen in the company of a young woman at dinner who now seemed to have
Something was clearly happening on board the Blessed Remembrance and the Acolytes soon found
themselves asking questions. It quickly became apparent that all three incidents had occurred within
the lowest of the decks they had access to and all within a hundred meters of one of the guarded
access-ways to the low-berths where the vessel housed thousands of pilgrims.
While the group had previously been informed that they were not allowed access to the low-berths
Novice Arn was able to talk his was through the restriction. If the faithful of the God-Emperor were
traveling the paths of Saint Drusus then as a priest of the ecclesiarchy it was within his right to tend to
the needful flock.
The ploy seemed to work and soon the group were asking question amid the thronging horde of
penitents, postulants and pilgrims. The mysteries of the mid-decks were not unique to that area, in fact
they seemed even more prevalent, many people had been reported missing almost one an hour,
enough to cause many to become suspicious.
Trailing after rumor and half glimpsed activities the acolytes found themselves in the lowest decks of the
star ship where the well maintained hallways and holds for the pilgrims turned into waste-recyc and
infrastructure areas. Amid a towering stack of water renewal systems the group made a grisly
The tattooed elder screamed furious hate at those before his ramshackle tabernacle, several dozen
men stood in rapt attention. Off to the side of the congregation five men with lasguns stood over almost
fifty men and women, most wearing homespun robes while a few where clearly nobility dressed in the
latest Scintillan fashions.
As the acolytes watched a pair of men turned away from the screaming preacher and grabbed a woman
from the covering mass, despite her struggles they dragged the girl over to a massive series of gears
turning one of the massive water aerators. With a callous disregard the pair threw the woman onto the
giant gears where she was dragged screaming into their crushing motions lubricating them with her
Both Arn and Hack were enraged by the corruption of their respective faiths and the group retreated to
plan. If some form of cult was sacrificing people to the machine they needed to be put down, but that
would require either help from the shipboard security forces or access to the acolytes own weapons.
The group quickly decided that they would be far better off dealing with the threat themselves rather
than trust others who might be in on the activities.
To accomplish their plan the group first approached their bursar Leonard and after an unsuccessful
attempt to convince the young man that the Acolytes where better equipped to deal with the problem.
Unfortunately the steward was loathe to let armed guests and promised to have some of the ships
personnel look into the matter and to even take it up with the First Officer after the Acolytes tried to
impress upon the young man the heresy of the situation.
With their first attempt to gain aide a failure the group moved to plan be. Nari-ann moved as a
distraction making a brush-by pass on one of the guards stationed near the arms locker holding the
groups equipment. The man screamed out as the guardswoman’s make-shift shiv sliced into his leg, his
agonized scream drawing off the other men-at-arms attention long enough for Hack to get past them
and disable the lockers security-protocol retrieving some of the groups armaments.
Feeling more relaxed once in the possession of their equipment the group bullied their way back down
to the lower decks with Arn leading holy-warhammer at the ready. From a small walkway less than five
meters above the deck the Acolytes could see that the heretical slaughter had not abated. With
righteous anger Arn hurled a catechism of hate down on those gathered below while his companions
spread out around the room selecting targets of opportunity.
The righteous cry from Arn drew the attention of the men below who turned to gaze at the intruder.
Arn’s heretical compatriot screamed a hysterical order to his men who raised their weapons and
sprayed fire in the priests direction. Despite the fuselage of las fire Arn stood unharmed and with a
wave from his hammer his companions began their slaughter.
All told the battle was one sided, the Acolytes held superior positions with Arl, Nari-ann, Hack and
Trauma Bles firing down from on high while Narla and Gaius moved to close range where they made
good use of their shotguns. Finally Arn leapt of his perch and charged into the enemies line slaying the
leader and crushing the heretics morale.
Two days later the Blessed Remembrance broke the warp and steamed for the orbit of Malfi, there was
no sign of any further cult activity aboard the vessel and the news of the Acolytes rescue had spread far
enough through the trip to attract some attention from the vessels command staff though the group tried
their best to continue maintaining as low a profile as possible.
Free Agent 005
(Vedros Anima est mea!)
"For all those who came in late..." - Lee Falk
Hi all, on March 3 my family was struck with a tragedy, my Mum passed away in an accident.
Since then I have moved home to help take care of things, unfortunately my home is quite a hike from my regular haunt and as a result it will be some time before I will be back to running any games for this campaign or my others.
Thank you to everyone who has been keeping up with these Diaries, I hope to get back to them someday.
Free Agent 005
(Vedros Anima est mea!)
"For all those who came in late…" - Lee Falke
Hi all, its been a very busy 18 months and pretty much 2 years since I last ran this campaign, but after juggling some things and pushing some others I am getting back into running my campaign. With the amount of time between this and my last post I figure it is time to begin a new chapter and a new session count. So far we have had 1 short session as people become re-familiar with their characters and while some will probably be fading away (the players have moved on) I will be bringing in a new player in Session 2.
THE SEARCH FOR VICTORY
Chapter Two: By Tooth and Nail
Session 1: Calixis Sector, Malfi, Starport to Hab-Block 401-15-A “Hern’s Hab” 229.799.M41
Crewmen scurried around the Blessed Remembrance as cogitators clicked over calculations. A week-long trip covering hundreds of light years had taken a total of 52 days to complete planet-time according to the communications from the Malfi orbital controls.
To the hail of thanks from the pilgrims they had saved from certain immortal doom the acolytes gathered their gear and disembarked via a much more private shuttle than the massive and rickety bulk transfer-vehicles that the nearly 250,000 penitents would take.
A blanket of dark grey storm clouds and belting rain obscured any view the Acolytes might have had as they descended to the planet-side dockyards. Safely enclosed within a strangely underpopulated hanger they proceeded from their transport and into the long line of passengers slowly worming its way through customs checkpoints staffed by local enforcers who clearly were fleecing the new arrivals for whatever bribes they could.
The Acolytes had spent what little time they had aboard the Remembrance preparing themselves for the ordeal ahead either through personally refining their fighting styles and checking over equipment or even beseeching the ship’s crew for assistance as did Enginseer Hack currently bedecked in the most unobtrusive Mechnicum robes rather than displaying his newest badge of approval, granted by the Remembrance’s Enginseer Prime following the standard 36.45 hour qualification trials.
The rest were similarly down-dressed, though some more than others. The group’s limited experience with running their own investigations left them a little directionless as they closed on the transfer point.
Just as they began to worry if their over-abundance of arms and equipment would somehow either cost them more than they could afford or attract undue attention a thin tanned woman in a rumpled grey overcoat pushed through the cordon of enforcers flashing her identity.
The newcomer passed her gaze of the queue and settled on Sister Tzarine. Striding over she identified herself in High Gothic as Giovanna Arico, the black armoured body-glove beneath the rain-coat clearly that worn by Arbitrators when not clad in full carapace.
The woman surreptitiously teased the appropriate pass-phases given to the group back on Scintilla by Marshal Blac from them using the more formal language of the Imperium to provide an additional level of protection from any eaves droppers. Cutting any questions short she marched the group out of the starport and into a waiting grav-transport, their luggage stowed into a second smaller servitor controlled vehicle to tail them.
Ensconced in the rear of the armoured car Giovanna answered what questions she could explaining how almost everything on Malfi was the property of the decaying noble houses and that with the decline of the planet so to had the resources of the Arbites. Similarly this slow decay of the planets society combined with a decreasing population as various imperial tithes were leveled but never offset had led to a perpetual abandoned feeling all throughout the hive. Despite the massive eight four-layer highway the group traveled and the previous sprawling dock the traffic was light and the crowds obviously thin.
Arl questioned her as to their destination when it became apparent they were not heading for the primary Precinct Fortress. With the location under constant surveillance the detective had instead elected to house the group within one of the more run-down Hab’s of the hive, a little four room apartment with enough beds to keep the group comfortable but with little to distinguish it as a place agents of the Inquisition might be discovered at.
As the grav-car sped through the driving acid rainstorm lashing the area the group could glimpse the Solar hive that would in the morning become their new hunting ground. Massive hab-blocks reached skyward making the divide between the rain forest, which had regrown quickly once the planets industry had ground to a near halt, and the city abundantly clear as organic trees reaching towards the elevated highway suddenly gave way to towering man-made edifices of steel and glass, the sky-scrapers packed close together but sprawling for endless miles ahead.
Soon after the grav-car took an off-ramp doubling back around beneath the highway to wind through various lesser arterial streets and roads, what little grey daylight existed strobed as the car passed through the ravines cast by the looming buildings.
Finally at ground level the Acolytes and their contact arrived at their apartment and with a warming from Giovanna not to wander to far the detective bid the group a pleasant evening, promising to return on the morning to begin their investigation into House Syreen.
Free Agent 005
(Vedros Anima est mea!)
THE SEARCH FOR VICTORY
Chapter 2: By Tooth and Nail
Session 2: Calixis Sector, Malfian Subsector, Malfi, Hive Malfi, District 216, 230.799.M41
Heeding the caution from Giovanna, the Acolytes stayed close to home that night, at Arl’s urging, Sister Tzarine stayed in the Safe-House while he went looking for some more discrete clothes than the bright red robes of Enginseer Hack and the Sororitas’ emblazoned cassock. With the tech-priest and assassin in tow they headed out down to the lower floors of “Hern’s Hab” which were given over to the local sustenance market.
While Arl went in search of clothing, Ashram kept a practised eye out for suitable munitions for his weaponry. The events on the Blessed Rembrance and earlier on Hive Tarsus had reduced his stockpile of special rounds.
Alas the limited market could only offer the more common calibres of ammunition, though they had that in copious quantity. Hours wore by as Hack made a diligent search of the market after a purveyor indicated he had just sold a working Auspex to a client. In a similar lack of progress to Ashram the robed tech-adept walked around in circles, returning back to their temporary quarters during the small hours of the morning having discovered the item he had been chasing was not an auspex but a Chrono. To top the evenng of shopping off by the time Arl finally located some suitable clothing someone or ones had managed to make off with the majority of his cash, his rural senses not detecting the skilled hands pilfering his wealth throughout the evening.
Giovanna barged into the small 4 room complex early the nex morning a Arbites summary-dossier in her hads. House Syreen was a major stake-holder in the Hive as well as several smaller holdings in nearby star-systems and a number of ancestral pacts with several Rogue Trader dynasty’s, their primary tithe for which the Arbites concerned themselves was the manufacture of a particularly powerful matriculation-engine for use in Cogitator cores, specifically those for deciphering complex equations and ciphers.
Still clad in her rumpled grey overcoat and black bodysuit the Arbite explained how the House very carefully made sure to keep an iron grp on the technology loaned to them from the Mechanicum and made doubly sure to meet all the required tithes and taxes levelled by the greater Imperium. In short their was little out of place in te Arbitrators files, nothing to warrant a bigger investigation.
Still even with the official word, Giovanna knew of a man to speak to about any underhanded dealings the House might have and the group set out in the womans armoured town-car, keeping to the under-streets and tertiary roadways, not bothing to deal with the congestion of the Hives main roads.
Two hours later the group parked at a small satellite prescient manned by a dozen Arbites and walked the last 10 minutes through the border of House Syreen’s territory and into the chaos of a massive open air distribution hub.
People and vehicles where everywhere, along with loading servitors and buzzing servo-skulls while midst the crowd units of guardsmen from house Syreen patrolled and Arl kept an eye out, hoping to spot a unit badge of some kind while Giovanna lead them through the milling activity.
Their brisk journey ended at a point of relative calm in the organised chaos. As previously agreed Giovanna approached a bear of a man seated behind a trestle table dotted with scrolls of paper and plates of food, around him workers circled moving crates onto the back of mass-haulers or unloading them in turn. It didn’t take much to notice that for every crate packed another came off in short order, the cycle clearly just for show.
Giovanna’s conversation with the seated man was quick and familiar, with a feeling that the stevedore wished he could lay his hands on the buxom official in a less than professional manner while the Arbitrator kept him at arms distance. For a few moments the conversation seemed about to break into violence as the Investigator unleashed a powerful open handed slap at the man staggering him before he grunted in laughter and returned to his seat rubbing his jaw.
The man was called Nader Al-Effendi one of the primary stevedores of the distribution-hub and a well-known informant with significant criminal ties. The type whom made sure they never broke the laws of the Imperium but was more than happy to ignore any local authority. He had answers for the group, explaining that House Syreen and the Malfi 122nd irregulars were definately up to something. The license they held was for a STC data-pattern something normally protected by the Mechanicum in person rather than simply leased for such public use.
Nader went on informing the group that while all the surrounding area was controlled by the Household troops and sponsored PDF units of House Syreen, they kept the 122nd close to home, guarding a single large manufactorum. The troops and their officers where carefully screened and well paid to be unfortunately nigh-incorruptible to Nader’s earthly ways.
The recidivist went on to describe how unlike many of Malfi’s houses they had somehow managed to retain a shred of their former power, mostly through close ties to several Rogue Traders and the high quality goods they produced. When Arl asked if the house might have any ruinous connections the fat man scoffed at the notion saying that while Malfi was commonly known as such a corrupt place, he did not believe in man needing to blame the supernatural for the state of the planets decay.
Begging for a few minutes to confer with his companions Arl assessed what they knew. In their possession, back on Scintilla, were two data-crystals each containing a third of a star-chart. One recovered from a house slaughtered to the last man by apparent psychic means, the other recovered from a long abandoned Mechanicus facility were they had encountered the false Imperial Guard imposters of the Malfi 122nd. It was still unclear what was happening with House Syreen’s involvement, but it was possible that there were links between the House and the Cult of the Skull.
The Acolytes agreed they needed to meet the information broker known to Nader, who could in turn get them access to the well-guarded manufactorum of House Syreen. The payment requiered the Acolytes to deal with some opposition to Naders activities, another group like his was making too many waves in the local area and his business worked best when everyone was convinced to ignore their presence, just like the roving patrols which Nader made a point of waving outlandishly toward. Too many times this new organisation had been heavy handed in making sure the members of their guild stayed in line or that they weren’t bothered. On top of all this they were not even local to the area, having moved in from off-world. Nader of course could have the problem settled on his own, but he did not want the action to be traced back to him and he had been considering his options when the Acolytes arrived to offer him a perfect solution.
Their meeting concluded Nader offered once more for Giovanna to quit working for the Emperor and to join him before informing the Acolytes to return home, he would send a guide the next day to show them where this troublesome guild operated.
Free Agent 005
(Vedros Anima est mea!)
THE SEARCH FOR VICTORY
Chapter 2: By Tooth and Nail
Session 3 + 4: Calixis Sector, Malfian Subsector, Malfi, Hive Malfi, Refinery Complex Excetur-1Y, 231.799.M41
Nader’s contact was to meet with the acolytes in the middle of a busy market place sprawling between three Hab-Conglomerates outside of the Manufactorum into which the group would soon descend. The guild-masters description combined with additional Pict recordings provided by Giovanna narrowed down the search to a single man, lounging just outside of a small confectionary shop.
Arl, standing a head above the clustered mob of humanity, drew the rest of the teams attention and directed them closer just as the retort of a powerful weapon discharge set the crowd screaming, men and women pushing their way to safety, the epicentre of the attack a small circle of space, Nader’s man, faceless from a close range shotgun blast, lay slumped against the shops front window, his assailant trying to rush their way through the panicked crowd.
The Acolytes gave chase as best they could shoving people out of the way, not willing to loose someone they assumed related to the Gang-war they were attempting to stop, all except Ashram who clambered free of the throng up onto the pedestal holding aloft a representation of the Emperor. Working methodically the assassin set up his hunting rifle and sighting down the barrel. He fired once hoping for a disabling hit but was forced to concede as the crowd perpetually spoiled his aim for another attempt.
The young pimple-faced youth soon disappeared and the Acolytes returned to their dead contact, the local scavengers already eying off his clothes and boots. A quick check revealed little to identify the man or those he was supposed to lead the acolytes too. After a quick discussion the group agreed to pursue the only lead they had, a rather general heading from the fleeing assailant. Once they forced themselves through the press of humanity and out into the quieter stretches of the Conglomerate the group soon detected another following their trail.
While Ashram pulled a “Cheshire Cat” routine, the rest prepared to confront the tail as he boldly stepped into the light. Dressed as an outlandish fop the green-eyed man gave the assembled Acolytes a slight bow and introduced himself, claiming that for a modest sum, he would gladly lead them to their quarry as he knew whom the man represented.
The modest fee of course was insanely outrageous, 100 thrones which made Arl choke in disbelief as Ashram slipped back into the alley and turned over the money with little a thought. An hour later the guide was threading his way through low, conduit lined corridors of Refinery Complex Excetur-1Y Hive Malfi’s one and only in-city Promethium-Works.
The air stank of fumes and the guide cautioned the group about discharging weapons with a reassuring pat of the knife strapped to his waist. After pressing deeper into the Manufactorum’s labyrinthine hallways it was clear that some investigation would need to occur. At several points the group had bypassed clusters of workers, usually in groups of six, five worked and an armed lookout, demonstrating the local crime-hangs control of the facility.
Arl suggested if they were to accomplish their task without open warfare they would need to track down the leaders of the controlling gang. With the assent of their guide Arl acting as hired muscle simply walked up to one of the various foremen scattered around the complex and demanded an interview with the local recruiter.
It didn’t take much more negotiation than the group’s guide cutting down the youth with the shotgun while he reached from a pointed length of steel on the ground and the foreman known as Jeorge was congratulating the pair on their new job and talking about introducing them to a man named Kal Araya who was the groups second in command and previously the head of volatile bottling.
Kal had the look of hard working man dressed as he was in stained work-clothes, were clearly out of place against the backdrop of a busy secretary and accounting office near the bottom of the refineries primary bottling floors.
Kal expounded upon the introduction from his friend, he and the people working at the refinery had taken control of the facility for themselves when their controlling house Kristiansen had fallen silent three months before. Now they held the facility not for furthering the wealth of any nobles but so that the “simple man” could once again take control of their destiny and work to make a living solely for themselves. This had in turn forced Kal to proactively protect much of the interests of the Refineries workers by hiring armed guards and equipping the work crews to defend themselves.
Kal took his leave and moved back out into the primary bottling-room to speak with one of the other foreman desperately begging for his attention leaving the pair to mull over their situation just as all hell broke loose.
Ashram whispered into his micro-bead. He had been on watch keeping an eye on the rest of the Acolytes olt-hole in the refinery was groups of armed professionals infiltrated the complex. They moved with a precision the Assassin had witnessed before but could not place, dressed in dark blue flak armour and carrying modernized crossbows so as not to risk accidently igniting the atmosphere of the Promethium Works, they swept through the sporadic response aimed at stopping them.
When the first group broke out onto the elevated gantry running around the upper level of the bottling room Kal called out a warning, a attempting to summon resistance. Arl took his opportunity racing in to support Kal as deadly quarrels lanced through the air smashing through workbenches and skewering those to slow to take cover. For a few moments Kal stood his ground before the ex-Guardsman convinced the worker to quit the room and see to his leader’s safety in person.
Kal agreed indicating that the group’s chief was deep below monitoring the underground promethium extraction devices. Arl looked around quickly seeing no sign of his guide before sprinting after Kal into the next room and then through a hatch followed closely by a pair of the attackers. They raced down passageways and ducked through a blast door slamming it closed in their wake before entering a service elevator, Kal yanking on the descent leaver to activate the counterweights.
In another part of the refinery Ashram unleashed precise shots with his hunting rifle at a small group of the armour assailants attempting to attack Sister Narla and Enginseer Hack, holed up in a small dormitory. Their choice to use firearms kept the attackers pinned down despite the fue filled air igniting at several points leaving Ashram and Narla lightly scorched. Bullets and a blazing las-shot gave way to close quarters combat before the Acolytes managed to wear the last opponent down and they breathed a sigh of relief.
The lift rattle down through the bedrock of the promethium factory, as quietly as possible Arl manoeuvred himself into position behind Kal.
The Dusk born savage raised the pommel of his sword and struck a viscious blow aimed at the back of the foreman’s head…
Free Agent 005
(Vedros Anima est mea!)
HI all, sorry for the lack of updates, its good to see that some people are still reading this. Here's a long post summarizing whats happened over the past three play-sessions. Enjoy!
THE SEARCH FOR VICTORY
Chapter Two: By Tooth and Nail
Session 5, 6 & 7: Calixis Sector, Malfi, Hive Malfi, Refinery Complex Excetur-1Y to Sector 139-A:Level -4 231.799.M41
The elevator rattled to a halt at the bottom of the shaft and Arl cautiously stepped out sheathing his blade, there was no sign of hostiles. The struggle against the foreman had been short, his first strike not been delivered cleanly but a second and third blow had put the man down. Arl had then stooped the lift and dumped out his body at a small maintenance level.
Now the ex-guardsman stood inside an airlock donning a set of protective chemical warfare clothing, using his familiarity with Guard procedures to make do in the absence of more skilled guidance. Once attired he stepped into an airlock dominating the passageway stretching away from the elevator and stepped out into a tunnel complex swirling with aerosolized promethium once the cycle completed.
Proceeding ahead Arl kept alert choosing passages at random and following what little crude signage he could see. Up ahead the corridor bent suddenly and a shadow loomed against the wall. Flattening back in a poor attempt to hide Arl watched as a pair of servitors slowly manoeuvred past. The barely human height machine-men equipped with several tool arms posed no threat as they disappeared back the way Arl had come. Wondering where they were going the Dusk Worlder kept pace behind them until they turned down a corridor leading past another large airlock.
Cautiously Arl entered the second facility and quietly divested himself of the rugged environment suit, with sword at the ready he waited till the all-green lights winked on over the internal door before stepping into the dark beyond.
Hack, Narla and Ashram spoke in conference with their guide who reported how Arl had been chasing one of the foremen into an old elevator as the black-clad infiltrators had arrived. The quartet agreed that they needed to regroup and hopefully Arl had found something that might lead them to the personal ultimately in charge so they could continue with their true mission on Malfi.
With Asharam in the lead the Acolytes carefully picked their way down through the sporadic fighting to the main manufacturing level and then into the same elevator that Arl had previously used with only a minimum of swift and silent killing. Hack got the elevator moving and they followed the same path that Arl had a little less than an hour before. Once at the bottom and fearing pursuit from above Ashram ordered Hack to disable the lifter but the Tech-priest replied that any such attempt might only serve to strand them at the base of the “well”.
In intimation of their companion the group donned protective gear at the first airlock and followed the hasty marks left by their companion, scarped crudely into mine walls.
It didn’t take long for the Acolytes to locate the second facility. Hack noted the extensive cabling lining the walls leading to the second airlock and surmised that the location was probably the chief extraction facility, or at the least a place for mine workers to use rather than returning to the surface for what weary breaks they were assigned.
In short order the Acolytes removed their gear and used what little time they had while the airlock finished cycling air to prep for whatever awaited them in the corridor beyond, as Narla stepped into the area beyond Ashram cried out a warning as the safety of a Heavy Stubber was released.
A slap to the face brought Arl around and he could taste the hessian sack over his head, there were three voices in the room, two men and one woman. A fact he confirmed with his eyes as he blinked away tears, the concealing hood torn from his head carelessly. The man closest to him was a large brute who cracked his knuckles in delight looking at the bound guardsman. The woman learned over a table examining his equipment. Whomever she was, she was clearly a professional clad in full carapace plating, her short brown hair curled close to her scalp and her eyes expertly appraised his confiscated weapons, testing balance and hair-triggers in precise order, she was also the most heavily armed with a chainsword sheathed across her back and a Stub Automatic positioned low on her hip.
The final man looked appraisingly at Arl from beyond the first. This one was much older and looked tired despite the glimmer of something hopeful in his eyes. His work-vest and slightly better fitting outfit identified the man as someone of importance able to wear more than just hand me down work-wear.
Arl spoke up to this man’s questions identifying himself as a newcomer to the facility, one sent down to alert the Facility Chief that the structure above was under attack. From here Arl wove a story of how he had witnessed Foreman Kal being cruelly shot and imparting the Chief location with his last breath.
The chief looked concerned at the news of the attack above while the large thug scoffed with a grunt. From the armoured woman there was little response. In response to his companion’s unspoken assessment of Arl’s story the older man thanked Arl for the news and reported that he had been aware of the attack. For a moment Arl panicked wondering if his murder had been witnessed but the man continued thanking him for his efforts before properly introducing himself as Elias George the leader of the facility and his crews best hope for a brighter future in the Imperium.
Arl listened in horror as Elias suggested that the ways of the Imperium where not those of the Emperor and that mankind could have more freedom than what it was allowed, the choice of what job to have or perform even. For a moment as the conversation continued Arl began to relax before a warning tone rang out of a speaker in the corner of the room. Elias looked darkly at his thuggish companion before stepping out of the room and into the corridor beyond, snatching up a large communications-receiver from a port near the door.
Using the open door to access what lay beyond the room Arl could see a long corridor, similar to the one he had witnessed right before being captured. At the far end stood a blast hatch which the guardsman hoped might lead to freedom. Elias walked back into the room and signalled to the armed woman who quickly nodded and exited the area heading down the corridor. The chief then turned to the other name and instructed him to learn what he could from their captive before leaving as well, shutting the rooms door behind him.
Arl looked up and grinned as the thug drew back his fist.
Light flooded the length of the corridor, it was nearly forty meters long, at the far end just inside of a blast door was a small stack of sandbags, behind the sandbags worked two men, the first making sure he had a firm seat while the second checked an ammunition feed. Individually two men in overalls might not represent a threat to the Acolytes but the squad suppression weapon they maintained was an entirely different creature.
Hack shouted in alarm and dived back into the airlock hoping that the rim of the hatchway would provide much needed cover while Ashram and Narla dashed forward aiming for a point a little over half way down the corridor. As the heavy weapon barked in fury they each shoved themselves into tiny maintenance alcoves. Bullets raked the walls and an interface-control unit exploded in the alcove Ashram cowered within.
The Hospitaler and the Assassin glanced at each other. Ashram motioned upwards to where several conduits hung suspended from the ceiling. Making a gesture about crawling along them, Narla raised her weapon and fired covering shots back towards the emplaced Stubber while the Assassin reacted.
Not quite used to taking fire, the worker assigned to loading the heavy weapon cringed and ducked for cover. Seizing the moment Narla rushed forward throwing herself to the floor beneath the traverse of the weapon while Ashram shinnied along the overhead pipes.
The gunner cursed and yelled at his companion who drew a sidearm and shot down over the wall of sandbags forcing Narla to roll aside from the bullets, spinning on her back the Sororitas fired her shotgun the blast taking the head off the gunner but in her fury she had neglected her rites of firing angles and Ashram hurriedly curled up into a ball to avoid the ricochets lashing the pipes he was crawling along, the action causing him to lose his balance momentarily, though he recovered enough to turn the fall into a graceful landing face to face with the loader.
Before the assassin could take out the unfortunate man cleanly the blast door opened and chainsword roared through the opening. Ashram ducked the swipe as a woman followed the weapon through the door. Narla levered herself up from the floor only to face the muzzle of a Stub Automatic pointed at her chest.
The Hospitalers carapace breastplate turned aside the shot and a brutal melee broke out as the newcomer engaged both the Assassin and the Sister in a whirling twisting fighting style of sword and gun.
Arl brushed his hands together as he spat out a loose tooth. The chair he had been bound too was a twisted ruin discarded on the broken form of the thug. Gathering his gear and checking his weapons the ex-guardsman sprinted from captivity, hustling down the long corridor toward the only other exit.
Consoles dangled from the ceiling of the room into which Arl peaked, the circular chamber easily half the length of the corridor he had just rushed down or more in diameter, its space dominated by three concentric rings of computation machines with a forth ring lining the wall. The console-monitors depicted numerous pict-thieves spread throughout the mining works and the facility above. Over by the center console with his back towards Arl worked Elias who nervously looked towards another hatch on the far side of the room.
Glancing about Arl counted eight exits including his own, each spaced around the large central area. Slowly the guardsman lifted his weapon, he thumbed the safety off, sighted down the barrel, and breathed out to relax before taking a shot at the unaware man whose back was facing him.
Whether a poor shot or by divine providence Elias turned at the last moment and the shot blew apart the console he worked out sending the old man scurrying for cover. Arl in turn dashed into the room, briefly sticking his head out of cover only to pull it back as the roar of a large calibre pistol echoed in the enclosed space.
The pair exchanged fire as they threw themselves around the room hunting for cover, Arl cursed his luck with his lasgun and discarded the weapon in favour of his sword while the Mining Chief drew a long knife and levelled a vicious stab at the Duskman’s guts.
The woman in the armour looked briefly away from her combatants and took a glancing shot as a reward, a scream had echoed from the central room behind her. With a deft flourish she holstered her sidearm and retrieved a grenade with a single smooth action before dropping the explosive at her feet as she leapt backwards through the hatchway. Ashram and Narla raced away as the metal sphere bounced and rolled along the floor, sighing in relief as the grenade only emitted a blanket of choking smoke.
Cautiously the pair waited for the fumes to disappear before they moved to check on their companion, during the fight Hack had attempted to intervene only to be clubbed down by the woman in short order. Dazed the tech-priest mumbled to Ashram who looked confused until the group realized the airlock back where there had come, had sealed as was now cycling back to read once more.
Dragging the barely mobile Tech-priest into the room beyond Ashram and Narla looked across the control facility at Arl who was lowering his weapon, while the woman named Ashely frustratingly shook her head at her dead employer lying on the ground. Ashram quickly appraised Arl of the situation with the airlock and Ashely rushed to the door slamming the hatch shut after lobbing a second grenade into the corridor. The bounty hunter gestured to the injured Tech-priest and demanded if he was capable of manually controlling a lift as she knew of an alternate route out.
Narla assured the woman that the Tech-priest would pull up with a little chemical help as Ashram handed over a vial of Stimm and a hastily alliance was forged. Ashely pointed to one of the other exits from the room and with the help of Ashram and Narla pinned down their pursuers, each taking turns to race down the length of the hallway, identical to the other two and into yet another round room, this one filled with the discarded odds and ends of decades of workers coming through the facility as well as a large freight elevator, apparently in need of serious repair. The group struggled aboard the elevator as their pursuers closed inflicting injuries to Ashley and Hack before the Tech-priest managed to get the ancient device functioning, its systems groaning into life.
The ancient freight-lifter rose slowly upward, its path a halting journey as the tech-priest manually triggered the release of various emergency hatches sealing the shaft above. At the top was an abandoned and sealed warehouse. Huge containers lay in the loading area along with a large cargo-hauler, the massive vehicle silently awaiting an operative that may have not have come over 300 years before or so Narla theorized from the few remaining crates of goods left in the area.
Arl set the group moving into cover as he heard the approach of someone whispering down a vox-link and the group dashed across the warehouse for a massive rolled door and smaller exit. Both seemed locked and while Hack reported he may be able to repower the roller door and its comatose machine-spirit Arl looked at the large tracked Cargo-hauler and grinned.
Investigator Quintus of the Adeptus Arbites stood on the roof of a twenty-five story building overlooking the sprawling refinery complex within the heart of his city. He grimaced bitterly as the sounds of the gathering behind him reached his ears. Judge Huges sat with Sallid Magenisum a Rogue Trader and provider of the small but opulent pavilion that they reclined beneath. Five other Arbites also waited on the roof, one looking out from each angle of the building and two on guard within the pavilion itself, though the two closest to their superior seemed more concerned with partaking of the Rogue Traders largess.
Concentrating on his work and trying not to dwell on who he had rubbed to get saddled with such demeaning work this time the Arbitrator reviewed the brief of his mission. The Promethium facilities tithe quota had fallen to an unacceptable level following the take-over and destruction of House Kristiansen by House Syreen. Already involved in several larger acquisitions Syreen had “requested” their allies in the Magenisum Dynasty who had a vessel in orbit to retake the facility on their behalf.
More laughter cause Quintus’ jaw to clench tighter, Magenisum would effectively control an Imperial facility under their charter and from the sounds of the negotiations behind him the Emperors Quota might be in some doubt.
Before Quintus could even consider making sure the Emperor’s laws were still respected amid the rampant corruption of the Malfian Arbites a warehouse door on the bottom street level of the refinery he was observing shattered outward as a massive cargo-hauler ripped apart the door, its caterpillar treads pulling over the rubble as easy as a tank’s would.
The Investigator called out an alert to his companions who closed to witness the vehicles escape. Judge Huges enraged that something might be disrupting his work turned to Quintus and order him with making sure no interruptions to the Emperor’s tax was to be tolerated.
Dashing from the roof Quintus called for reinforcements, a pair of Enforcers on riot-bikes would be dispatched and a Rhino used to carry him and the other Arbites along with the Judge was assigned to his direct control. As Quintus climbed onto the Arbites transport-carrier the chase was on.
Arl, Ashram, Narla and Hack abandoned the cargo-hauler bidding farewell to Ashely who took off at a fast pace, not wanting to trust their shaky alliance a moment longer than necessary. As the group moved away and into the under-streets, levels of Malfi’s solar-hive which where only illuminated during specific portions of the day thanks to the skyways overhead, the group was soon forced to stop as Hack revealed several severe injuries to this biological components.
While Narla did her best to patch him up and give the Tech-Priest another dose of Stimm, Ashram caught sight of a man on a nearby rooftop observing them. Reporting it to the group the assassin unslung her hunting rifle in preparation for something going down only to hear the blare of a loud-hailer from the distant figures armour demanding that they stand-fast and await judgement at the hands of the Adeptus Arbites.
For a moment the group considered doing just that, trusting that Giovanna would be able to help sort out any misunderstanding of jurisdiction, until Ashram looked sheepishly down at the bloody jacket she held and its gruesome contents, the severed head of the former Miner Chief, taken as proof for Nadar Al-Effendi.
Cursing their luck the group broke into a mad dash as a second Arbitrator dashed around the corner at the far end of the street and a loud rumble signalled the arrival of the Enforcers’ tank-transport.
Sprinting down the open alley between a pair of towering buildings Arl and Narla separated from Ashram, leaving the killer with the severed head, trusting that he would have an easier time if they split up. Within moments Ashram was sqeezing into a small space between a pair of buildings and silently making his way apart from his fellows.
Trying to raise as much attention to themselves as possible Arl and Narla raced for safety in the sub-levels backstreets. They rounded a corner into a maze of pipes and ventilation tubes, hastily avoiding the determined pursuit of Quintus and his allies. Narla cried out as foot slipped on a damp pipe, the s=accident nearly spraining her ankle. Hoping to slow his pursuers Arl tested several of the conduits hoping to find something loose he could topple in their path but there was nothing easy at hand.
Onwards they fled, moving through a busy intersection and down an empty mall until they were within sight of a packed bazaar, the myriad stalls and vendors attracting a huge riotous crowd filled with colour. Feeling their pursuers closing Arl forced his way through the crowd while Narla tried her best to blend in to the surroundings.
Ordering the Enforcer after the Sororitas, Quintus continued after Arl, sprinting through the bazaar to witness the Dusk-born climbing into the back of a servitor-powered rickshaw, before the ex-guardsman could finish waving farewell to his pursuer as the carriage pulled away down the road, Quintus was hastily yelling into his vox-link. Within seconds the power transmission to the sector was interrupted and Arl cried out as the Rickshaw wobbled and toppled over, the long metal rod connecting it to the overhead power-lines falling sideways with a clang, the suddenly unpowered vehicle spilling him into a small stand of good belonging to the Cab’badge Company.
Up the guardsman leapt, sprinting across the darkened street just ahead of pursuit, spotting an access to the storm water system beneath the street Arl levered aside the worn grate and dropped into the tunnels below the street, rushing thorough the enclosed space as Quintis again yelled into his uplink, this time the Mechanicus representative for the sector unsure of following his orders to reroute the city’s water systems.
Arl grinned brightly as he turned a corner hoping to get a few streets away from his pursuer before heading topside before his ears caught the sound of oncoming water. In a rush he headed for the nearest exist and as the water completely flooded the tunnel he heaved aside another grate and stumbled into the street panting for breath.
Closing his eyes for just a second the guardsman frowned as the loud echo of a riotbike engine growled up to him. Opening his eyes he found himself nose-to-shotgun with an Enforcer.
Free Agent 005
(Vedros Anima est mea!)