View Full Version : The Ragged Edge - Dark Heresy [IC]
(OOC thread here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=10525021#post10525021))
++TRICORN ARCHIVE: Report Index 1745 Gamma-K++
++CASE CUSTODIAN: Inquisitor Al Subaai, Ordo Xenos++
++THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Excuses Are The Refuge Of The Weak++
The Gilded Ark freighter has returned from the Scrivener’s Star, and with it, my acolytes of Cell Lambda. I have met them here on Solomon, intercepting the Ark’s course in advance of the agreed rendezvous: delegations from the Adeptus Mechanicus have already made precisely clear the import of the events on Prol VII. Inquisitor Renfield of the Ordo Hereticus, and Inquisitor Sinon of the Ordo Malleus have agreed to meet me in the Court chambers here to discuss these matters further, in the light of the recent conclave on Scintilla. I can only hope my old allies can shed some light on this darkness.
My acolytes’ report raises a hundred questions for each that it answers. Most disturbingly, it has transpired that one of their number – the Naval Provost Heironymous Bosc – has been infected by the madness of the Warp, perhaps ever since he entered my service. Though lacking the resolve to execute him themselves at the scene, his companions did their duty by the Emperor, and reported his treachery to me.
One way or another, perhaps knowing his fellow Acolytes too well, Bosc anticipated that he would be condemned. Attempting to escape the quarters in which the cell had been billeted, he killed two members of the Storm Trooper kill-team requisitioned to subdue him before he was brought down, manifesting the very warp-born corruption that his comrades had reported on Prol VII. We had hoped to take him alive, so that Inquisitor Sinon might extract answers from whatever parasite has taken residence in his soul on her arrival: that objective proved impossible. In the end, my own bolt pistol was the instrument of his destruction.
I have replenished their team’s losses with acolytes who I know I can trust. In the wake of the events on Prol VII, all my influence is required to keep the Administratum and the Mechanicus – particularly the Mechanicus, whose involvement in this I am certain goes deeper than they care to let on – at arm’s length. Nonetheless, no time can be lost in pursuing the leads gathered on Prol VII: as such, I am dispatching them to the planet of Abandoned Hope, to investigate the site of the last known operation of Inquisitor Pallas Leonid. According to the survivors of the Prol operation, Leonid was mentioned repeatedly by the heretics encountered in the Vault: a member of my own Ordo, the records of his life are extensive.
Abandoned Hope has been deserted for over a century. Hopefully this assignment will give the acolytes a chance to recover themselves – and keep them clear of the politics surrounding this case.
The Emperor Protects.
The Ragged Edge
Faith Without Deeds Is Worthless
Fillian’s Rest. Paradise world of the Josian Reach, once the bright and gleaming hope of the Scintillan Bureau of Colonies. Now, as before, a deserted wilderness, left to keep turning around its blazing giant of a star - in silence.
Somehow avoiding the greedy eyes of Administratum Logistors for most of the history of the Calixis Sector, in M41.874 the Pilgrim-class vessel Salvation had blundered across the planet during an unplanned exit from the Warp. The settlers found a verdant world, already brimming with life – aside from excessive levels of atmospheric oxygen, perfect for colonisation. Under the leadership of their captain, Jonah Fillian, they set about claiming their new world for humanity.
The fate of the settlers is poorly understood, and still more poorly recorded. Voidsmen tell tales of the Rogue Trader’s crew who landed on Fillian’s Rest fifteen years after the establishment of the settlement – how they found the doors of the houses hanging open, food left on the table as if in mid-meal that had clearly been mouldering for months. Some bodies were found with marks of violence on them, but nowhere near enough to account for the population of the settlement. No distress call was ever received, no log or journal surviving to shed light on the events that had led up to the settlers’ vanishing act. It was as if the forests had swallowed them whole.
The Administratum struck the world from its records, declaring it forbidden, pending further investigation. Among the people of the Josian Reach, it took on a new name – Abandoned Hope.
The hand of the Imperium of Mankind had not been felt on Abandoned Hope for nigh on a hundred and ten years. That was about to change.
The slender church-steeple silhouette of the Battlefleet Calixis corvette Instigator hung motionlessly in orbit, like an insect frozen in amber. Below it, the blue-green sphere of Abandoned Hope loomed, its curvature stretching the horizons of the eye. Whorls of white cloud stretched over rich blue seas like lacework, verdant green continents girdled by a belt of scorched equatorial desert. To the hive-born eyes of Sergeant Red of the Guytogan Rifles, it was one of the most alien things he had ever seen.
His stripes had arrived not long after Bosc’s death, the Inquisitor apparently having put in word with regimental command that the guardsman had proved himself as worthy of promotion as he could have on the front lines. A sergeant without a squad, unless you counted the other acolytes who stood beside him.
There had been time enough to get to know the new arrivals since their departure from Solomon, during the corvette’s sojourn in the Warp - the time seemed to have passed as in a dream, the soldier’s memory condensing weeks of trackless voyaging into a few moments’ recollection. Nevertheless, there was no ignoring the fact that two new faces stood among them, two more old squad-mates fallen by the wayside.
Behind them, the gates to the observation deck pulled open with a harsh hydraulic hiss. Lieutenant Milon – their liaison with Commander Agrippa of the Instigator – stepped through, hands held smartly behind his back.
“Gentlemen,” he said. He nodded to Nova. “Lady. The captain has asked me to inform you that your transport is ready.”
2011-03-10, 02:20 PM
One of the new faces belonged to a grim man with hard eyes, standing dressed in a reinforced greatcoat at the window next to Red. His eyes wandered over the surface of the planet, searching for the slightest sign of gleaming metal towers or human construction. Finding none he turned away to face Red. Though he hadn't spoken to the guardsman much, he had watched him run drills in the hall assigned to them for such purposes. Whatever else he may have been, the guardsman was a good shot, and Tychon Urbanus could respect that.
"I don't like it," Tychon decided, turning the rest of the way from the window. "There's something off about this place. Where, exactly, are we going to be landing down there?"
“Orbital scans indicate that the landing pad in Pilgrim’s Haven is still relatively clear,” said the Lieutenant. “Ought to be able to set you down there, and then it’s no more than half a local day’s walk to the site of the old investigation.”
Milon looked out of the observation port at the gleaming expanse below.
“Southern hemisphere, although to be honest I couldn’t point it out.” He cracked a smile. “You’d have to ask one of the cartography boys about that sort of thing.”
2011-03-10, 03:12 PM
Red frowned as he gazed down at the lush, verdant planet.
"This is going to be... disorientating." he murmured, not in fact caring what any of the ship's crew thought of the little outburst. If anybody snickered, he could force them to head dirtside. As far as he was aware, void-born, like Hive-born, rarely left their cozy little confines of Man, the Emperor and Technology.
"Haven't seen a place so devoid of Mankind's touch since I was on the lines. Even then, well, there were barracks. Motor pools. Pillboxes."
He looked over at his assembled cell. Of the four others, Jericus had officially become the only other one who had been there since the beginning of this investigation, all the others having been killed, detained, captured or executed. He high attrition rate of his cell had grown to chafe at Red's shoulders, right underneath where the crisp new Sargent's stripes were located. It was all, however it happened, his fault.
Red wasn't a fan of his men dieing on him. Never was.
Ever since Bosc's departure he had withdrawn from the new members of the cell, trying not to interact with them much. The personnel files he recieved stated that the one in the big coat went by Tychon Urbanus, and he was Metallican, while the woman was called by "Nova". He had caught Tychon studying his form during his daily martial duties, and Nova...
Well, Nova had something off about her, like she wasn't quite right in the head. The way she walked, ate, and moved during training drills seemed to be less a product of a lifetime of Service to the Emperor and more like a servitor going through its motions.
Sargent Red broke from his reverie and turned to face their liaison.
"I assume, Lieutenant, we'll be allowed to requisition some soylens verdenes before we go dirtside? I'd be surprised if anybody in my squad has ever hunted game bigger than a sump rat, and it would be particularly bad for us to succumb to hunger, as opposed to the Emperor's enemies. And, since we're looking at that coin, any scans indicate where there might be some vehicles we can commander? I don't fancy having to walk among those xenoforms. I'm no Catachan."
"Oh, absolutely. Anything you need in the line of provisions, we can send along to the quartermaster for." He paused. "As for vehicles - well, the Lighter'll stay planetside until you return, but as far as we can tell, the roads the settlers cut haven't been traversible for decades. Thick vegetation, you understand. Don't think you could drive through that with much short of a battle tank."
He smiled, trying to lighten the mood.
"Don't worry, Sergeant. I'm sure you and your team will be more than capable of handling the local wildlife." He looked back at the planet below. "It's not a death world, after all."
2011-03-10, 03:28 PM
Red bit his tongue for a moment to consider his next sentence.
"Officially. I'm told it was originally classified Paradise World before the colonists up and vanished. If you're a predator, looking pretty lures in the prey."
2011-03-10, 03:58 PM
Jericus stared at the scrap of solyent in his hand, slowly twisting it round in intricate patterns as he focused on it, eyes as cold and emotionless as a bionic targeting system. He serenely broke from his reverie and turned to look at the owl perched on the chair next to him. Silent, he offered the scrap to the owl.
The owl stayed, unmoving, watching him with its giant eyes, one a glass lens, one an clouded orb.
Jericus shifted, keeping his gaze on the owl's feathered form while holding the morsel in front of him.
The owl looked on, unblinking.
"Oh, right. You don't eat."
The owl blinked, three eyelids sliding over the one natural eye, and the bionic dilating.
Jericus wasn't sure what he thought of the fresh blood. On one hand, more warm bodies in the way of incoming fire was undoubtedly a good thing, but on the other hand, given the fates of some of the previous members of their little cell, you could never be too careful. For all Jericus knew, there could be another daemon waiting to manifest in the dark heart of his new comrades. The other problem was that if they stayed around for too long Jericus might build up a rapport, or even a camaraderie with one of them, if he wasn't careful. Burning your way through a vault of proscribed knowledge, cutting a path through heretics, technology, and tech heretics with someone did lead to a certain amount of... attachment.
And then there was the fact that the enemies of all things good and holy had had the gall to flee to a out-country omnissiah-damned backwater techless dump, and one squirming with undomesticated organics as well. Jericus's role in the Mechanicus was clearly related this thinks that went clank, when you opened them up, not squish. You'd need a Magos Biologis for that.
Jericus absent-mindedly ate the scrap, and walked over to the Lieutenant.
"Could we get anything bigger communications-wise? We're going to have trouble contacting the lighter if we get too far away, using only combeads."
Jericus looked to Red, waiting for a confirmation of his supreme foresight and planning.
"We're loading a long range vox onto the lighter. You should be able to reach us with that, unless you choose to go caving." He glanced at the owl a little uncomfortably. "If that fails, though, there's always the lighter's hailer, too."
2011-03-10, 06:36 PM
Nova seemed disinterested in the conversation, nodding when Milon introduced himself but otherwise seeming to not pay attention to the others. Though her focus appeared to be on the world below, in reality the assassin was taking a moment to set things straight in her mind. She mentally ran through the briefing materials they had been given, what records the Inquisitor had shown her on her new comrades, what she had picked up by observing the other acolytes during day to day activities, anything that might be important to remember.
The presence of the two gunmen was reassuring; the number of times Nova had been saved by comrades at range were already growing too rapidly to count. The fact that Red was somewhat distant during the voyage didn't bother her much, as she knew she had been accused of the same by her fellow acolytes in other cells. Her interest had been piqued by the presence of a techpriest and a psyker, though; the Inquisition hadn't seen fit to give her much knowledge of them upon her re-awakening, and Nova was always curious to learn more about such odd beings.
Nova turned as Jericus approached, observing the owl with some curiosity before speaking for the first time that morning. "I would suggest stocking the Lighter with a surplus of food, water, and ammunition. Best to be overprepared and find nothing than to find ourselves out of contact and supplies on an uninhabited world," she says, her voice calm and cold; not monotone, but somewhat distant. "And would I be able to procure a shotgun or longarm?" she asks Milon. "I would prefer something with a bit more power; I expect my usual sidearm to be underwhelming should we encounter any fauna larger than a man." She pats the stub automatic she carries, now holstered at her right hip rather than the small of her back; the lack of discretion needed for this mission means Nova is wearing all of her gear openly, the tabard and cloak normally covering her weapons stowed inside her pack.
"I think your comrades here have that covered," said the Lieutenant, politely but firmly. "You'll have the vox. If there's anything really dangerous down there, the Instigator will be standing by to assist."
2011-03-10, 06:56 PM
A ghost of a wry smile crosses Nova's face at Milon's reply. "I guess we will have to leave the big ones to the two of you, then," she says to Red and Tychon, a very slight warmth to her tone and the ghost of a smile still showing. Knowing that she'd been her usual distant self, Nova's curious how the others might react to a little banter before the mission begins in full.
2011-03-10, 07:07 PM
Red suppressed the urge to have a laugh at the woman's expense.
"Longarms we have aplenty, Nova." he said, careful to keep the laugh out of his voice. "And if you find a better marksmen in this sub-sector than me, I'd like to know. This ol' girl has saved all of us more than once." Red gave the barrel of the heavily-modified Sollex-pattern lasgun an affectionate pat.
"In case that doesn't make you comfortable, our good Techpriest is quite a fair shot, himself, and Ignace tells me he doesn't miss when he pulls the trigger, though I've yet to verify that. When it gets deadly, you'll be begging us to stop shooting everything before you can get a piece." Red jerked a thumb at the other newcomer. "And I've been told he's Metallican."
Red turned back to the Liaison. "So, that's food, water and communications - Good thinking, Jer - taken care of. I have only two more questions: One: Who's our pilot? And Two: When's drop?""
"Inquisitor Al-Subaai specified that we bring along the pilot from your, um, previous missions." The lieutenant blinked - he was clearly trying to hide the affront of the suggestion that the Instigator's own personnel were not good enough. "Apparently, he specifically requested to come along. The shuttle should be ready by now: it'll just take us thirty minutes or so to load it with the supplies you've requested." He nodded courteously to Red. "So, whenever you're ready, Sergeant."
2011-03-10, 08:23 PM
"Technically I said that I don't hit what I don't mean to, not that I don't miss. I prefer to be in a position where I don't have to shoot. And if I do, my lightning generally does me better." Ignace said, looking up from fiddling with his Blessed Icon of the Golden Throne. The past month or so saw his control over the warp increase in leaps and bounds compared to the slow trickle of progress he had made in his previous 57 years in life. While he wasn't particularly happy with how much more active he was than previous, perhaps it wasn't so bad.
2011-03-10, 11:15 PM
Tychon nodded. "I'm Metallican, all right. And I'm betting that at mid ranges I could give you a run for your money as far as accuracy goes." The hiver ran a hand over his pistol's grip again, still resolutely refusing to smile. "With any luck, we won't need to be shooting at much. Carelessness gets you dead, though. I'm going to grab a few supplies before we hit the dirt. See you all in half an hour."
With that, Tychon turned around and strode out of the observation post, his reinforced boots ringing on the deck.
2011-03-11, 10:33 AM
Red nodded as Tychon left the ob deck.
"He has the right idea. Get your pre-mission rituals over with and meet at the hanger in thirty standard. If you've nothing better to do, I expect you to be going there now to oversee and join the loading work-party. It's your lives on the line, you're going to put your backs into ensuring they don't fall of it."
With that, Red saluted the LT.
"Emperor Protects, Milon" he intoned before making his way to make sure the cargo-loading went smoothly and their pilot got all the help necessary for pre-flight checks.
2011-03-11, 11:24 AM
Jericus eyes moved to the autogun at his side. These martial men and their obsession with marksmanship as an art form were missing the point.
Targeting algorithms and sheer volume of lead were the way to go.
Reassured, Jericus moped off.
OOC: Jericus isn't a bad shot himself. He's somewhat less squishy than the rest of the acolytes, and can pour out a reasonable amount of firepower in one turn, but everyone seems to forget about him.
By the time the Acolytes had made their way to the Instigator’s small craft hangar, the last of their provisions were being loaded into the Arvus’ boxy belly. Jericus was carrying a largish box of bandages that he had secured from the ship’s medicae bay under one arm, the silent, black-feathered owl on his shoulder looking dispassionately around at the busy scene below.
Their pilot was leaning against the side of the lighter, seemingly taking a quick smoke before departure: as he saw them approach, he straightened up.
“Hello again, chaps,” he said. He paused. “And chapettes,” he added, nodding to Nova. “These the new faces? Don’t think I’ve seen you before.”
Turning around, he hauled open the lighter’s passenger hatch, the angled metal plate pulling back with a loud, metallic rattle.
“Got one space up front in the co-pilot’s seat, if any of you want to watch the ride from the cockpit. Otherwise, strap yourselves in. We should have clearance for the void bay doors five minutes ago.”
Flashing a white-toothed smile, he stepped up into the lighter, opening the hatch to the cockpit and clambering into his seat with a monkey-like agility.
2011-03-11, 01:57 PM
"Be fine in the back, thanks." Tychon stomped up the ramp and picked a seat to strap himself into, ensuring his effects were secure before settling back. "Expect we'll see enough of this place from the ground without seeing it from the air, too."
2011-03-11, 02:18 PM
"I'll take co-pilot." Red offered, climbing in the front of the ship with their friendly pilot and manning his controls. "Don't want my pilot skills getting too rusty, wanna remember what a cockpit feels like."
2011-03-11, 02:25 PM
Following Tychon into the Lighter, Nova secures her gear and straps into a passenger's seat. "It has been some time since I was on a world with so much natural terrain. A welcome change from traipsing around hives, I think."
2011-03-11, 02:41 PM
Edit: There was dialogue here but for some reason disappeared. Jericus was being whiny about nature. I'll replace it when I'm at a keyboard.
His dogmatic and xenophobic tendencies fufilled for now, Jericus bundled his box of bandages under his seat and strapped himself in, allowing his owl to aloofly hop from his shoulder to a chair, where it immediate turned away from him and started staring out the window. Jericus was relieved. Having an owl on your shoulder was all very imposing and unerving to others, but the weight of it was starting to take its toll, and Jericus began massaging the back of his neck in an effort to banish the pain.
2011-03-11, 03:22 PM
"I'd prefer a hive, myself." Tychon had taken to staring pointedly at the owl. He had read the briefing, of course, but he wanted to confirm the owl's origin for himself. "Who's your friend, Engineseer?"
2011-03-11, 05:09 PM
"She, or uh, he is a prime example of the glorious machinations of the omnissiah. That is to say it's an augmented owl I rescued from the library, which was truly a bountiful haven of the aforementioned glorious machinations. Only they were trying to kill us. So we rescued them, I , uh, would have rescued something bigger, but we only had so much space. It's called... ah, Minerva. Yes. Minerva."
Jericus realised what had been bugging him about the man.
"You don't happen to have a less obtrusive belt buckle, do you? It shouldn't be a problem where we're going, but it is a bit of a risk." said the red robed, heavily armed techpriest.
As the acolytes strapped themselves in, the warning chimes began to sound in the hangar outside: the Battlefleet voidsmen thronging the bay quickly made their exit, bulkheads hissing shut to seal in their precious air. Amber lights began to spin and flash overhead, heavy machinery rumbling the warship’s adamantium guts.
With a tooth-rattling rumble, the void bay doors began to draw open, Abandoned Hope looming bright and huge against the black void of space beyond. Pulling padded headphones down over his ears, the pilot gestured for them to do the same, the electronic communication system allowing them to be heard over the scream of the lighter’s engines powering up. A swelling acceleration caught them as the lighter lifted clear, engines burning low to avoid damaging its dock – then, with a blue-white flare of fuel, it blasted forwards, tumbling out of the Instigator’s gaping stomach into the endless void beyond.
Strapped into the co-pilot’s seat, Red watched the planet grow larger, trying to suppress his instinctive fear at the sight – there was vertigo, and then there was this. Behind them, the majestic outline of the corvette was dwindling fast, shrinking to a speck as the little Arvus banked towards its final destination.
They hit atmosphere, and the rattling started anew as ripples of orange heat rippled over the lighter’s squared-off nose. The pilot’s hands flicked over the controls with a dexterity born of years of professionalism, sensor readouts lighting up: flying terrestrial, there were many of them that Red had never seen used before. Far, far below, the equatorial desert raced by in a hurtling, cloudless expanse of orange and brown, the white clouds and green forests of the southern hemisphere looming ahead.
For all that it was new and exciting, Red felt a certain weariness creeping over him as they sped towards the planet’s surface. For all that the lighter’s speed was impressive, the planet was only creeping closer: for the first time, the guardsman was getting a real idea of planetary scale. And though he was a hiver born and bred, Guytoga had at least had a day, and a night – the uniformly-lit shift cycles on the Instigator’s voyage here had taken their toll. Looking back over his shoulder, he saw the others were much of the same feeling: Nova’s head seemed to be nodding a little, the new recruit occasionally looking up sharply as if denying to herself that she had been dozing off.
Below them, gleaming white cloud banks were coming gradually closer. Watching the white blanket spread out to envelop him, Red found his thoughts drifting away.
Red woke with a start as he felt the Arvus shudder – looking round, he felt a sudden trepidation as he saw the pilot slumped at the controls, shoulders rising and falling as if in a deep sleep. Outside the cockpit, the world was a mass of mist, the lighter still plummeting through the cloud-banks at orbital speeds.
Red’s heartbeat quickened as the sea of vapour began to clear. Through the dissipating mist, a carpet of vegetation was looming into view, growing closer by the moment...
OOC: You came on at just the right time, Crown - you're not timesplit at all.
2011-03-11, 08:36 PM
Red sprung into action as quickly as he could, quickly thumbing the co-pilots emergency control override switch and pulling back on the control stick as hard as possible in an attempt to make the lighter achieve level flight once more.
"Sound off if you're alive!" he yelled into the comms system perched on his head. "I knew this place was a trap."
The pilot remained insensible: as Red hauled back on the control stick, the Arvus’ nose dragged up, retro-thrusters firing. If they had fired earlier, they might have made a difference, but the canopy was already looming large below: this close beneath the cloud level, it had to be some kind of vast volcanic plateau beneath them, ferny treetops sloping inwards through wreaths of mist.
The lighter shuddered as its stubby wings strained against the rushing air, scorched traceries of fire licking around their edges: the increased lift was slowing their descent, but not enough.
On the starboard side, just within reach, a ragged clearing was visible through the cycads, a vivid green sward amidst the tangled forest. He might not have control over the lighter’s speed, but Red still had steering: there was a choice between a flat landing, or taking a chance on using the trees as brakes...
2011-03-11, 09:10 PM
Red angled for the clearing, trying to coax the nose up just a little bit more as he did so. If the Arvus was going to be rattled by the shock of a crash landing, the rear hatch would take the most damage, after all, his squad as up towards the front.
"Brace for crash landing!" he yelled - no, screamed - frantically into the headset before chanting the Litany of the Dropship in as strong a voice as he could manage and attempting to make the upcoming crash landing less fatal.
2011-03-12, 01:42 PM
"Bloody frakking warp." Tychon reached up, holding tightly to his hat and thankful for the crash webbing strapping him into the shaking lighter. It seemed he didn't have a different belt buckle, as he hadn't changed it when Jericus requested he do so. Or, if he did, perhaps it was back on the ship. "What's with our intrepid pilot?"
As the shaking increased, and the craft neared the ground, the gunslinger frowned thoughtfully. "I should have brought more ammo."
2011-03-12, 07:42 PM
The shuddering of the Lighter and the yelling over the comms rattles Nova awake. "Acolyte Nova here, I'm alert," she replies into the comms on reflex. The assassin looks to her comrades, visually checking on each in turn.
Hearing Tychon's comment, Nova chuckles a moment despite the situation. "That's why I carry blades; you never have to reload them."
The Arvus shook violently as it clipped the top of a towering cycad, a cloud of shredded leaves and wood chippings obscuring Red’s view – then, with a deceleration that struck the acolytes like a battle cannon, it struck the ground, a black plume of earth and water spraying up to blanket the world in darkness...
The control panel leapt up towards him, the last few milliseconds of his life speeding towards him – with a jolt, Red sat bolt upright in his seat, eyes blinking blearily open.
Around him, the gothic serenity of the Instigator’s bridge held silence, Commander Agrippa and his staff standing on the quarterdeck podium behind as they went about their tasks. As the memory of the nightmare faded, he became aware of what had taken his dream in such a dark direction – the ship was shuddering, occasional jolts transmitting through the supports of the chair he had been seated in.
“Sorry about that,” came a friendly voice – looking up, Red saw Lieutenant Milon’s smiling face. “Just powering up for Warp exit. Nothing to be concerned about.”
“++WARP DRIVE AT MAXIMUM RESON GRADIENT++” came the voice of the ship’s Mechanicus overseer over the comms, echoing through the vaulted spaces of the bridge. “++PREPARING FOR MATERIUM RE-ENTRY IN TWENTY STANDARD SECONDS++”
The Instigator. He was on board the Instigator, and their journey was almost over. Abandoned Hope lay ahead. He shook his head, hoping that the dream was not an omen of things to come... or that the Commander had seen him dozing. He had had more than one dubious look from the Navy officers on the journey here, although Milon seemed amicable enough.
As the darkness cleared, Jericus’ eyes blinked slowly open: looking down, he saw the glimmering optics of his owl looking back at him, the construct evidently having survived the crash. As for himself, he seemed to be in one place... thank the Omnissiah for well-designed crash restraints.
The cabin of the Arvus was filled with acrid smoke: releasing himself from his restraints and staggering to his feet, the Tech-Priest stumbled forward to get a look at the cockpit. The front of the lighter had crumpled like a pulp-board box, but Red seemed to be breathing, albeit shallowly. The others, too, were unconscious, their faces blackened with smoke. Ignace had clearly struck his head against something during the crash, the unconscious psyker’s right temple bearing a squarish streak of blood.
The engines weren’t burning – the source of the smoke was a small electrical fire in the shattered control panel. It looked like it would burn itself out. All in all, fairly good for a crash-landing: Red’s piloting skills had probably saved their lives.
Clambering up the tilted floor of the cabin, he found the hatch that was not buried against solid earth: managing to haul open the buckled lock, he shielded his eyes against the sudden rush of light as it swung open. A wave of clean, humid air followed the fierce sun, carrying the chirping of insects and the rustle of leaves with it.
Abandoned Hope. They had arrived.
The lighter hit the ground, and Tychon saw the bulkhead wall looming up towards his face...
...He awoke with a start, nearly cracking his skull on the light fitting that hung low over his cramped bunk. Blinking, he looked around: slowly, he realised where he was, in his billet aboard the Instigator.
A nightmare. As his memories flooded back, he realised it had to have been a nightmare – they were still in Warp transit, four days out from their destination at Lieutenant Milon’s last estimation. The walls of his quarters were trembling slightly: as he sat up in the narrow bunk, they gave a more violent tremor. Perhaps that was the cause of the dream?
Someone was knocking at the door, a polite, repeated stroke of three resonating against the flat metal. They were waiting for him to let them in.
The lighter struck the surface, and Nova felt herself being wrenched out of her seat, the wall of the cabin rushing to meet here: there was impact, and then blackness.
An eternity of nothingness passed, and she opened her eyes. The inside of the Arvus was dark, black as pitch: nothing else inside it was moving.
Struggling free of her restraints, she checked herself over. Nothing broken, Emperor be praised. The lighter was tilted at an angle of almost forty-five degrees: scrambling monkey-like over the debris, she reached the hatch, pulling it open.
A flood of blinding sunlight lanced into the interior of the crashed shuttle, making the assassin wince to shield her eyes. With it came the heat, a dry, parching heat that washed across the skin. There was no sound except the quiet moan of a low wind, and the slow whup, whup of the lighter’s solitary surviving engine, powering down.
In the sunlight, she looked back towards the interior of the cabin: the others were motionless, struck unconscious or worse by the force of the impact. Something was wrong. Turning back to the hatch, she gripped it by the edges and it lifted herself shoulder-high out to see their surroundings.
The lighter was buried in a rutted skid-track of fine sand at least a hundred metres along. Looking around, Nova’s eyes widened as she took in her surroundings. There was not a tree to be seen - just dunes of scorched sand stretching away into infinity in every direction under the blazing sun. The breathless wind stirred dusty ghosts from their sharp ridges, gossamer whorls of airborne grains dancing along the dune-tops.
She had been nodding off on the descent... could the forest have been a dream? The crash was obviously real enough... but then something like that would have a way of penetrating even the deepest sleep.
Ignace awoke, and every part of his body was in pain.
The interior of the lighter was dark, and somewhere something was burning. Struggling out of his restraints, he dropped to the floor. He seemed to be in one piece, at least.
The others weren’t stirring, rendered unconscious or worse by the crash – he couldn’t make it out through the dark. Struggling to the hatch, he pulled it open, trying to shed some light upon the scene.
Sunlight filled the cabin, and with it came a wash of warm, wet air, carrying the chirping of a numberless chorus of insects. Peering out of the hatch like a ferret peering out of a hole, the psyker saw where they had ‘landed’ – Red’s green sward was not a clearing, but a swamp, blanketed with a thick carpet of vivid green algae. Mats of fallen cycads floated half-submerged in the mire, the lighter itself buried halfway to the top in a rut of stinking mud, itself slowly filling with water. Bloated bubbles wobbled up from below the surface beneath them, the swamp still settling from its sudden disturbance...
OOC: Just a note, for those who might not have caught it in the first OOC post: it's important that you don't read each other's spoilers. Thank you.
2011-03-13, 02:39 PM
Jericus ducked back into the hatchway, letting "Minerva" hop onto his hand, and raising his arm in the air, clicking a prompt to take flight, so to determine basics of the surrounding area and whether any local wildlife had decided to investigate the crash. That done, with a slightly macabre he set about putting his new-found medicae skills to good use. He, to the best he could in the confines of the shuttle, moved his unconscious comardes into the recovery position and, that done, set about bandaging Ignace's head wound with the supplies from the box.
Medicae Check to bandage Ignace
Int 40 -10 Oh god there's mud and animals and I long to be back in the hive.
[roll0] Judging by Dh that probably means Jer accidentally ripped Ignace's head in half with a bandage, but bandaging wounds is fairly easy.
2011-03-13, 02:48 PM
Red shook the cobwebs out of his head. They were about to break Warp, the LT said, look out over the planet...
What was he doing on the bridge? That's odd.
"Maximum What Gradient? Everything is sat*, right?" he half-slurred out, trying to make sure he didn't sound as weary as he felt, having just awoken.
"Is the rest of my team assembled yet, or should I get to doing that now?"
*Sat - ADJ - Modern Military slang, shorthand for "Satisfactory".
2011-03-13, 06:28 PM
"What...? Gimme a moment!" Pulling himself up out of bed, Tychon checks to make sure his guns are all where he left them. Then he pulls on his hat, glancing towards the door as it settles down over his head. Four days out from the planet. The planet he had crashed on in his dream.
"This is gonna be a fun day..." Muttering to himself, the Gunslinger went to get the door.
OOC: The spoilers, they taunt me!
2011-03-14, 12:49 AM
Nova continued to stare at the surrounding terrain for a moment more, unsure of what to think at her predicament. Then her programmed instincts took control, and she checked for her dagger and pistol. Keeping a weapon in hand, Nova reflexively moved toward her comrades, keeping her movements slow and cautious. By the Throne, none of this makes sense. Was there even any mention of a desert in the briefings? the assassin thinks as she checks on the condition of the other acolytes and the pilot, trying to think back to the various data files the cell had gone over on the trip. All the while, Nova keeps a weapon in hand and her senses alert for any danger.
2011-03-14, 05:59 AM
"Wonderful. We landed in the swamp. Who knows what's living under there." Ignace muttered to himself as he cast one last glance around outside before turning back to the inside of the lander. Digging around in his pack he pulled out his photovisor and jammed it over his eyes so he could see better. About to check his companions over for injury he realized that he could kill two birds with one stone. Muttering to himself and playing his hands over his blessed icon, Ignace pulled down the power of the warp to sense the life-forces of anything within roughly fifty meters of himself. If any of his companions hadn't survived the crash then he wouldn't detect them and he wouldn't have to waste any time on them. And he could hopefully detect the presence of any large animals nearby as well.
Repeating an Invocation test until it passes. I'll roll a few here, just to get an idea of how much time was spent on it. Then I'll use the Sense Presence power.
[roll0] vs 60
[roll1] vs 60
[roll2] vs 60
[roll3] vs 60
[roll4] vs 60
[roll5] vs 60
[roll6] vs 60
[roll7] vs 7
Edit: Two tests were needed, then, and that's enough to get out to 70m, assuming nothing interferes with my power.
”Oh, we’ll have to reach planetfall by material propulsion,” said Milon. “It’ll be a few hours yet. Don’t worry about them.” He was having to raise his voice over a loudening whine that seemed to resonate through the walls of the hull. “Everything’s perfectly normal!”
Over the ship’s comms, the plainsong refrain of the Prayer for Safe Passage was underscoring the tech-priest’s harsh tones.
The floor beneath Red’s feet began to tremble violently. Flickers of Saint Elmo’s fire danced over the metal instrumentation of the bridge, the Fleet officers holding their positions with steely composure: then, with an indescribable wrench, the ship jumped forwards as one body. For the briefest of moments, Red felt as if he was being wrung through a mangle, a twisting sensation slithering through his nervous system – then, slowly, the serenity of the bridge returned.
“++IMMATERIUM EXITED++” grated the announcement. “++PRAISE HIM++”
“Restore visual feed,” came Commander Agrippa’s stern voice from above. At the far end of the chapel-like bridge, blast shutters began to retract, a black, endless starscape yawning beyond.
The officers had begun to talk among themselves, the tension of the manoeuvre dissipating swiftly. They looked up as the comm-system crackled again, the engine-priest’s voice returning.
“++COMMANDER++” came the harsh report. “++BREACH DIAGNOSTICS SHOW MINOR GELLAR FIELD FLUCTUATION UPON OUR EXIT++”
The talking died down, and then rose up again, a series of brisk orders being passed among the officers on deck. Milon sighed.
The owl took wing, flapping away into the humid air. Bandaging Ignace’s head as best he could, Jericus managed to pull his fellow acolytes out of their restraints. The pilot, too, seemed to have survived. What level of concussion or brain damage they might have sustained, of course, he could only guess.
As he finished hauling the too-heavy lump that Red called his body out of the copilot’s seat, the owl alighted on the rim of the hatch, head swivelling silently to look back at him. There was a tinny click from inside its skull, and the bionic lens projected its report onto the buckled cabin wall.
Nothing seemed to be nosing around the lighter as yet: by the looks of things, their shuttle had made quite a mess of its involuntary runway. Squinting at the flickering aerial shot, Jericus realised he was looking at buildings – or the remains of buildings, overgrown by heinous quantities of vegetation. By the looks of things, they hadn’t been properly maintained in a very long time.
Depressing the aperture control, Tychon watched as the door ratcheted open: Lieutenant Milon was standing on the other side, hands held neatly behind his back.
“Good morning,” he said. “I’ve been sent to ask if you’d like to come to the observation deck. Officer Gibbet would like a word.”
Officer Gibbet… that was the chief of the disciplinary staff on board the Instigator, if Tychon remembered rightly. Naval discipline oughtn’t apply to him, but he couldn’t help but wonder whether he was in trouble.
One by one, she checked the others, straining her eyes to see where the sunlight did not reach: the shuttle’s nose was buried in a sand dune of its own making, no light reaching the fractured armourglass of the cockpit through its rutted burial mound of sand.
The pilot was dead, his neck broken by the force of the impact. The others still seemed to be breathing, although in the copilot’s seat, Sergeant Red had been bloodied by the crash. Each of them was completely unconscious.
Was there even any mention of a desert in the briefings?
Assessed as fertile (class A) by Administratum surveyors, excepting equatorial desert belt
Far, far below, the equatorial desert raced by in a hurtling, cloudless expanse of orange and brown, the white clouds and green forests of the southern hemisphere looming ahead.
Five dim life-signs inside the shuttle, besides his own. It looked like they’d all made it through, although apparently none of them had had the decency to remain conscious. Turning his attention outside, he would have shielded his eyes if it would have made any difference: the forested swamp was a galaxy of tiny sparks, wriggling and crawling and chirping in every direction. Over to the right, a glittering dragonfly – it was a dragonfly, or something near enough – swooped across the algal pool, its wingspan easily the breadth of the psyker’s own outstretched arms.
The vivid blue insect seemed to be the largest thing around. It was showing no interest in the crashed lighter, perching instead on a rotten stump as its compound eyes watched the emerald mire. Others of its kind were flitting through the ferns further away, hoving through the smaller denizens of the air like sharks through a school of fish. As Ignace watched, one of the eagle-sized insects descended on a fat, buzzing beetle the size of his fist, smashing it out of the air and sailing away with its prize clutched in its segmented legs.
2011-03-14, 07:10 AM
"Morning, Milon." Tychon pulled his coat off the hook by the door and threw it over himself, slipping his prized pistols into his belt. "What's Gibbet want with me?"
Glancing around to make sure he hadn't forgotten anything, Tychon adjusted his hat one last time and stepped out through the door.
2011-03-14, 10:32 AM
Red leapt to his feet and snatched his Death Light into a ready position.
"That's not good news." he said, pointing to the nearest vox-speaker the ship's Techpriest's voice emanated from.
"Now it's very important that I have my team with me., It's also very important that everything important gets barricaded. Request the assistance of a kill-team - or whatever you Navy-types have - to recover my men and bring them here."
2011-03-14, 11:01 AM
With immediate needs taken care of, Jericus donned his respirator to inspect the cabin and cargo of the shuttle to see if any vox equipment remained undamaged. While their landing had presumably not gone unnoticed by the Instigator, Jericus imagined that from that far up all crashes looked the same.
2011-03-14, 11:38 AM
Realizing she likely has no way of rousing her comrades for the time being, Nova descends into the cockpit. Looking around, she tries to figure out where the communications system would be, though lacking technical knowledge or Jericus assisting, Nova wouldn't be surprised if the system were broken. If I can't get hold of the Instigator then I'll need to try and revive the others, if that's even possible. Perhaps if I can find a map, I can figure out where we are...
If the comms system proves untenable, the assassin will move on to gathering any useful supplies in the crashed Lighter, specifically looking for survival supplies and any maps the team would have brought.
((OOC: I should have used ctrl+f and looked for 'desert' rather than skimming the posts again. Can't believe I missed two different references for it. :smalltongue:))
“There’s a... well, a disciplinary matter among the crew. Officer Gibbet thought you and your friends might be interested in lending us your expertise. The others seem rather preoccupied, though.” Milon nodded to Tychon. “You should feel free to decline – you’re our passenger, after all. Gibbet seemed to feel that you in particular might be able to render considerable assistance.”
Milon raised a calming hand.
“Relax, sergeant. If there was a Warp breach, we wouldn’t be this calm.” He sighed. “Just a wobble. Doesn’t mean we don’t have to inspect the whole damned ship now, though. But that’s what we junior officers are for.”
He turned back to Red.
“You’d be welcome to come along with my team, if it’ll put your mind at ease. I can send word for your friends.”
The cockpit control panel had been shattered like an egg by the concussive force of their crash landing: looking at the tangled electronics beneath the ruptured metal, Nova was fairly certain of her inability to repair it.
Scrambling back through the cabin, she opened their supply hold, digging through the tech-priest’s rather pessimistically excessive stock of bandages and pulling out the long-range vox they had been issued with. The assassin looked at the dials with a sinking sensation... she had little idea how to operate it, either.
OOC: Among your supplies are five compasses and a map. Unfortunately, the map was of your intended DZ, in the forests. There’s also enough food and water for six people for three days, thanks to Nova’s suggestion of overstocking provisions.
The cockpit’s communicator was shot to hell: rummaging in the supplies they had brought with them, however, Jericus managed to dig out the long-range vox they had been promised.
Setting it down on the nearest thing approximating a flat surface that he could find inside the tilted wreckage, he fiddled with the controls, setting it to the Instigator’s frequency. There was something wrong: no matter how he adjusted it, all he was getting was interference.
2011-03-14, 06:47 PM
"Alright. Long as it ain't me in trouble..." Tychon shrugged, and started walking towards the observation deck. "Let's go. I'll see what I can do when we get there."
2011-03-14, 09:49 PM
"Giant insects. That probably means there are even bigger things in here. Joy." Ignace muttered to himself as he closed the hatch once again. No sense drawing more attention to themselves than they had to, and he could see even without the light provided. Now he set to work on figuring out the condition of the others. He knew they were alive, but nothing else.
2011-03-14, 10:14 PM
"I've had... incidents with... individuals who were... affected by such fluctuations." Red explained slowly. "Nobody got off the ship with their souls intact."
With that, Red composed himself and nodded to the Lieutenant.
"I'd much appreciate sweeping alongside your time, and would likewise appreciate linking up with mine if possible. I trust nobody more than the tech-priest we have with us."
Red grinned and made a show of checking the charge pack on his weapon, even though he knew it was full.
"Let's do the Emperor's work."
2011-03-15, 01:44 AM
Nova sighs, setting the vox aside carefully before turning her attention back to survival supplies. Perhaps I can make use of these... Taking up a canteen, she proceeds to use a bit of water splashed over the eyes of her comrades in an attempt to rouse them, though she isn't expecting much. Should Nova's expectations be met and none of the others awaken, the assassin returns to the vox and attempts to carefully manipulate the various buttons and knobs in hopes of getting something to happen. The thought of being trapped on an uninhabited planet with limited supplies and no aid is not appealing.
Though the entire time, Nova feels there is something very surreal about the situation...
2011-03-15, 03:35 PM
With what seemed the immediate problems taken care of, Jericus grabbed a canteen from the supplies in the shuttle and sat up on the hull of the shuttle next to the hatch, autogun across his lap, keeping an eye on both his surroundings and his companions in the shuttle. He dispatched Minerva to take a closer look at some of the closer buildings, although it was instructed to prioritise stealth and safety above all else.
On his friends from Prol and the new recruits, Ignace could see no external signs of injury, though they were as limp and motionless as test dummies. The pilot, however, was stirring, and Ignace could see why – a jagged chunk of shrapnel from the crash had driven itself into the man’s shoulder, blood seeping through his Battlefleet uniform...
The observation deck was a vaulted cathedral of latticed crystal, reinforced and shielded against the madness that swirled outside the Gellar Field. The muted light of the Warp cast swirling patterns of colour over the circular floor, fiery hues of pink and blue playing over a mosaic of the Emperor locked in battle with the Serpent of Chaos.
Officer Gibbet was waiting, the flickering light casting a long shadow from his uniformed figure. As Tychon and the Lieutenant entered, he turned to face them, giving a respectful salute.
The man looked to be in his mid-forties, although he could well have been older: two sharp scars criss-crossed a deeply-lined, angular face, traces of iron-grey stubble following the line of his jaw.
“Mr Urbanus,” he said, striding forwards and extending one gloved hand. “Glad you could come.”
Steely blue eyes met Tychon’s.
“I’ve been given to understand you’ve had some experience with gangs.”
It wasn’t long before the squads were assembling: a cramped lift lowered Red to where Milon’s own search party were gathered, five men in Provost’s uniforms turning their heads to look as the acolyte stepped through the brushed steel door.
“Sergeant!” said Milon, looking up with a smile. “Glad you could make it.” Red thought he detected an undercurrent to the man’s tone. For the first time, he really noticed how young Milon was. That was what he was hearing – the relief of a green cadet given an experienced sergeant to accompany him.
“Your weapon there might be a little... high-powered for interior use on board the Instigator.” Picking up a hefty-looking shotgun from a rack on his right, Milon proffered it to him. Red recognised it immediately as an Ironclaw - the same as the others were holding, the same as Heironymous had used to use. “These are designed for shipboard use. I trust you won’t mind? We’ve got lockers here if you want to store the las somewhere safe.” He rapped his knuckles against one of the lockers in question, as if to prove they were real.
Tongue protruding slightly from the side of his mouth, the young Lieutenant began to check his own weapon.
“I’m afraid it’s a quartet of negatives from your friends. Enginseer Flange has apparently found something terribly fascinating in our plasma drive, and Mr Ignace claims he’d much rather stay safe in his quarters. I’m not sure if the other two gave reasons.” He looked back up at Red. “Still up for tagging along?”
The water failed to awaken any of the others – wherever their minds had wandered, if they were still thinking at all, they were lost deep inside their own heads. The vox offered little more: turning the dials as systematically as she could, all Nova could get was interference.
Outside, the breeze blew trailing ribbons of sand from the dune-tops, a light dusting of the fine grains rattling against the side of the lighter. Their crash site was in the centre of what looked like a natural basin of the dunes, sharp-sided mounds of sand giving shelter against the wind. Hopefully, as the day progressed, their shade would also stop the Arvus from becoming an oven. One could only hope.
Sitting on the outside of the shuttle, it wasn’t hard for the Tech-Priest to get a look himself: the Arvus seemed to have flattened the last remnants of a mouldering flakboard pre-fab, the crumbled remains of a wall scattered across the clearing by the cooling wreck. Others were clustered all around, overgrown and crumbling away, but still distinguishable from their surroundings. Rising out of the ferny treetops nearby, the rusted skeleton of a water tower was visible, marking the extent of the dead village beyond the screen of vegetable life that cloaked it.
Minerva returned with a rustle of wings, the optical pict-projector clicking into life once more. Scanning the images carefully, Jericus thought he distinguished some recognisable structures amidst the chaos of greenery: here, three rockcrete housings that indicated at least the corpses of field plasma generators, and there, the derelict outlines of civilian haulage vehicles. In the centre of the settlement, three long, shed-like structures seemed to dominate the layout. Panes of soiled and shattered glass made up the majority of their walls and roofs, the three units joined by a more solid structure on one side. They looked a lot like greenhouses.
2011-03-15, 05:38 PM
"Some," Tychon admitted, taking Gibbet's hand and meeting the hard eyes with his own. "It was more a cult than a gang, though I don't think anyone guessed that at first. Their leader ended up on the wrong end of my guns." His expression went darker as he remembered the events leading up to that confrontation, but then he shook his head to banish the thoughts.
"What can I do for you, Officer?"
2011-03-15, 06:08 PM
Red smiled his most polite smile. The rest of his arms were safe inside his berth, but he wandered nowhere without his las.
"I'd sooner part with my right arm than this old girl." The Sergant replied easily. "Regulations prohibit me from not being able to present it at a moment's notice. I'll keep her slung at arms, if you don't mind."
2011-03-16, 11:14 AM
Frowning, Nova sat down and thought for a few moments, trying to come up with her next move. There isn't much else I can do in here. Time to explore our surroundings. Gathering a compass, two containers of water, and her white cloak, Nova climbed out of the Lighter. Pulling up her hood to block out the sun, the assassin took a moment to look around before taking out the compass and heading to the northern edge of the basin. Although not expecting to see anything useful, Nova felt it was still better to inspect the local area from a higher vantage than to sit and do nothing.
The fine sand shifted under each footstep. Slithers of desert dust scattered down behind Nova as she trudged her way up the steep incline of the northward dunes, the blazing sun beating down on her shoulders. Reaching the top, she surveyed the scene before her.
Arid dunes rolled away like a waterless ocean, a still, empty beauty in their sharp patterns of light and shade. Beads of sweat already forming on her eyelids, Nova narrowed her eyes against the glare, searching for any sign of life in the tractless expanse. There was nothing. Right to the horizon, a barren immensity of nothing.
Stirring in the back of her mind, a memory came to her – from the institution, the place where she had been remade. It was one of the Low Gothic hymns the childrens’ choir had used to sing, a simple, sorrowful plainsong refrain.
You have to walk a lonely desert,
You have to walk it all alone.
There is no one to walk it for you...
The song had been about faith. Everything at the institution had been about faith, when you got down to it. They were big on faith, in the Emperor’s service.
Turning to look south, Nova saw the desert rolling on – and beyond it, fringing the southern horizon with the cruellest glimmer of hope, a curved cap of white clouds. Squinting as hard as she could, she thought she made out black shapes shimmering through the haze of heat, so very far away. Mountains, perhaps, or cliffs.
Something else caught Nova’s attention, nearer to hand. Lowering her gaze, she focused on the movement, perhaps two or three of the great sand-drifts’ separation to the south. As she watched her eyes widened. It was a figure, a tiny, human figure, toiling on foot up the side of the dune towards the distant clouds. A trail of footprints stretched behind them, dwarfed like the tracks of an ant by the rolling slopes of sand: if they had noticed the crash, they were paying it no heed.
“I think we can trust you to be careful,” he said, a trifle nervously. Turning to the men under his command, he made a gesturing introduction. “Sergeant Red, these are Provosts Pullings, Kobb, Garrow, Jones and Flyte.”
The man Flyte touched his forehead in respect to Red, shouldering his own shotgun.
“Pleasure to be working with you, sir,” he said, in a brisk, military tone. “Should just be a routine inspection.”
“Do you know what zone we’ve been given, Pullings?” asked Milon, double-checking the last of his own preparations.
“Gundeck Honoria, sir,” said Pullings, smartly. He looked round at Red. “We all ready to descend?”
"What can I do for you, Officer?"
“There’s been trouble among the ratings,” said Gibbet, plainly. “Men going missing, others fighting. There’s always some attrition on any voyage, but recently, it’s been getting worse. What’s more, some of them claim the Deepholders are to blame. In all my time in the Battlefleet, I’ve never heard of bilge-scum organising themselves in such a fashion, but there’s a first time for everything.”
The man’s voice seemed to naturally be a brisk bark, more suited to an official reprimand than a conversation.
“On a ship this small, my Provosts are too recognisable. We were wondering if we could convince one of our esteemed guests – yourself particularly – to investigate on our behalf.”
2011-03-17, 03:04 PM
Red returned the enthusiastic Provost's salute. He was probably pulling for a promotion sometime soon, that or he was greener than Scavver's Moss.
"Gundeck Honoria." Red repeated carefully, in order to stow the information in his mind a little better.
"Flyte, if you could do me a favour and set my microbead to the squad frequency, I'd be appreciative. I'd also appreciate it if I was given a frequency to switch to should I need to notify higher command about what's happening." the Sargent said, counting on the provost's enthusiasm to make sure the job got done to specifications.
"And while we go below, would somebody please fill me in on the gundeck in question? I'm a Hiver and most of my shipboard time has been in training chapels, galleys and berthing. Literally any information will be helpful."
Red checked the minimal sights on his Ironclaw as he spoke. It was little more than a rounded protrusion from the front of the barrel, but them again, it was a shotgun. If you were actually aiming with such a weapon, you were better off switching to something with actual range. Still, everything seemed to be in order. If he needed a reload it was doubtless that he could pull a freshly-loaded weapon from one of the many lockers lining the ship's passageways, and if worse came to worse, well, there was always the Sollex and its bayonet.
"I've worked with a Provost in the past, he was an excellent fighter who saved my life on many occasions. I fully expect you to do the organization you're both a part of proud performing as impeccably as he did.
Now let's go find and kill us any warp-spawn on the gundeck."
2011-03-17, 04:07 PM
"This...this is going to hurt." Ignace said as he began another chant over his blessed icon.
Carefully removing the shrapnel from the pilot's shoulder. Then repeating an invocation test until it succeeds, then using Seal Wounds. In the event of Overbleed, I'll target Red with the healing as well.
[roll0] vs 60
[roll1] vs 60
[roll2] vs 60
[roll3] vs 60
[roll4] vs 60
2011-03-17, 05:51 PM
After a moment's contemplation, Tychon nodded. "Alright. I'll see what I can do."
"Just tell me where to start."
2011-03-18, 12:05 AM
Nova took a moment to look back at the Lighter, considering her options. There is little I can do for the rest of the team at the moment, and should they wake while I'm gone, they will have supplies and the vox. If the Emperor is with me, I can get information from that wanderer.
Turning back toward the figure in the distance, Nova uses the compass to figure out the wanderer's heading from the Lighter, and sets off down the dunes. Wary of getting lost, she carefully checks back to get an eye for any noticeable features about the Arvus' crash site as she hikes, trying to maintain sight on the crash. At the very least Nova attempts to maintain a steady compass heading should she need to rely on the instrument to get back. Knowing that I need to head back north to find the Lighter means little if I'm off by even a few degrees...
The shrapnel came out with an unpleasant sound – the pilot jolted upright with a scream of pain, blood soaking into his uniform from the liberated wound as his eyes slammed open. He stared in mute shock as the gash closed under Ignace’s touch.
Blinking heavily, he looked up at the psyker.
“We seem... we seem to have crashed,” he said, weakly, after a long pause. “…Terribly sorry about that, old boy.”
Flyte obliged, adjusting the comm-bead with a quick, professional motion of his hands.
“Gundeck Honoria’s part of our main starboard weapons battery,” said Kobb. “Eight of Battlefleet Calixis’ heavy guns, in eight sections, and the gun-crews’ quarters and munition stores behind them.”
“Alright, men,” said Milon, doing his best to sound authoritative as the heavy lift to the ship’s spine docked with their chamber. “You know the drill by now. Teams of two. Pullings and Flyte, you go with Sergeant Red, show him the way. Kobb, you’re with me, Garrow and Jones, you’re the third team. We go through the sections quickly and thoroughly and we’ll be done before the planet’s even in sight.”
The lift doors hissed open, and the Lieutenant turned to Red.
“The lower-deck ratings have something of a… culture of their own,” he said, disapprovingly. “I’d like to drop you down there and let you make investigations. Ask around their gathering-places, learn where these supposed disappearances have occurred… follow up any leads you can. We can give you a communications channel to our officers upstairs, and you can report back on what you find as you find it.” He paused. “Although in some situations, you might want to keep that from public attention.”
He glanced over his shoulder.
“I have a pair of Naval Provosts standing by to take you below as soon as you’re ready. Are there any preparations you’d like to make?”
Half-walking, half-sliding down the side of the dune, Nova set off after the distant figure, hurrying to catch up: whoever it was, they were walking at a quick pace. Too quick, in this heat.
In the valleys between the drifts of sand, Nova couldn’t see her quarry – each time she crested a ridge, she was a little nearer, the walker’s silhouette drawing closer with each exhausting climb. Scrambling over the next hillock of sand, Nova squinted to resolve the details of the mysterious person’s appearance.
It was a woman, no older than Nova. Slim and trim, her fair skin had been burnt red by the sun. A tangle of black hair, matted with sweat, fell around her shoulders: she was clothed in little more than a few rags, evidently the vestiges of heavier clothing that the desert heat had forced her to discard. She walked with bare feet and a tall stick, made from some piece of wood that had been bleached white and dry by the sun.
She either hadn’t seen her pursuer, or didn’t care. Walking as if she had pistons in her legs, she strode determinedly onwards towards the south. It was easy to see that her pace was not sustainable: by the weight she placed on the stick, Nova had the suspicion she was already flagging.
Sitting on the hull of the lighter, Enginseer Flange surveyed his kingdom. He didn’t think much of it. Perhaps there were still some blessed machines inside the crumbling walls of the settlement, but for the most part, it was far too green.
The forest was shrouded with wreaths of mist. As he sat there, one rolled placidly in front of the sun, softening its glare for a moment. Frowning, Jericus thought he heard a noise like an electrical engine from behind him, growing louder – turning, he ducked as something bright and glittering swooped from the air, diving at Minerva. The cyber-owl fluttered to one side, avoiding being snatched by the tips of her feathers: Jericus watched as the glittering dragonfly darted away on buzzing wings, its body at least as long as his arm. Clearly Minerva had looked like a tasty treat.
In the trees, the insects chirruped, and overhead, the mist drifted lazily through the sky. Far, far too green.
2011-03-18, 05:51 PM
"I think I have everything here." Tychon indicated the various pistols he was carrying, as well as his coat and hat. "Let's get going. This sort of thing should be taken care of as quickly as possible, before it has a chance to spiral out of control."
"Give me the details on how to contact command, and I'll get right to work."
2011-03-19, 07:20 AM
Red gave a quick, single click over his commbead to confirm that he was, indeed, ready to get this show on the road.
With a rattling thunk from overhead, the lift began to descend, juddering down into the heart of the ship. Alongside Red, the Provosts performed some last-minute checks on their weapons, seeming calm and composed. This was evidently a drill they had performed more than once before.
Reaching their destination, the bulkhead doors clacked open, admitting them into a long, straight corridor. The ceiling a few inches above head-height for Red, it was lit by a long succession of bright strip-lamps, dwindling away with perspective along the great, ruler-straight length of the ship’s starboard flank. Puncturing the walls at long, long intervals were heavy blast doors, wide enough for five men to walk through abreast.
“Alright,” said Milon, stepping out. “Stay in comms contact, everyone. A methodical sweep.” He turned to Red. “Sergeant, your group will be starting with battery three. Good luck.”
Pullings and Flyte led the way as the search team dispersed: heading down the echoing corridor to the doors marked with a great copperplate “3”, they turned the wheels of the heavy locks, their authorisation glimmering green on the authorisation control.
On the other side, another low-ceilinged corridor yawned. Reinforced doors led off to either side: set into the wall on the left, a simple shrine to one of the Calixian saints sat in a square-cornered alcove, several good-luck tokens hanging from his neck. The bulkhead walls themselves were scored with the sign of the Aquila, one sharp-angled wing of the Imperial Eagle stretching from here to the far end of the passage.
Another door hissed open, and Pullings stepped through it into the dingy chamber beyond.
“Rise and shine!” the Provost roared, striking the butt of his Ironclaw against the metal wall. “On your feet, you layabouts, ready for inspection!”
There were two dozen men in the cramped quarters of Battery Three – some looked over the edge of grubby hammocks slung near ceiling-height as the Provosts entered, others looking up from a battered card-table where they had been sitting. Red thought he saw the glint of chips being swept out of sight: the man who had done it, a lean, white-haired voidsman with a lined, stubbly face, seemed to look straight back at him, cloudy blue eyes fixing on Red with a peculiar interest.
“Alright, men, on your feet,” said Flyte, gesturing emphatically for the gunners to rise. “Cutter, who’s on duty?”
“The new lads, sir,” said the white-haired veteran, rising to his feet with a slow salute. “Thought we’d break ‘em in easy, on this run.”
“Rouse them out,” snapped Flyte in reply. “Quickly now.”
Cutter tapped one of the men beside him on the arm, muttering something in a quieter voice. His friend – a broad-shouldered rating, with arms like the boughs of some tattooed tree – nodded, and headed back towards where these ‘new lads’ were presumably keeping watch.
“Surprise inspection, officers?” said Cutter, mildly. “Haven’t had one of those in a while.”
Gibbet reached into his coat pocket, producing a slim microbead with Battlefleet insignia glinting on the pin.
“This is it,” he said. “We’ll be listening.” Extending a hand for Tychon to shake, he nodded. “Very glad to have your assistance, sir. Whenever you’re ready, my men are waiting for you at the dorsal relay.”
2011-03-19, 06:03 PM
"Welcome." Tychon took the officer's hand in a firm grip. "I'll get started immediately."
Slipping the microbead into one of his own pockets, the gunslinger headed for his next destination. The dorsal relay.
2011-03-20, 01:47 AM
Pushing aside the little voice in her head that was saying Something's not right here..., Nova continued onward. As she caught up to the wanderer, Nova attempted to catch the woman's attention with a shrill whistle while keeping a hand near her stub auto, just in case.
2011-03-20, 11:16 AM
Red walked to the grey-hard voidsmen and snapped a crisp salute. "G'morin'." He intoned easily, putting a cold edge of profesionalisim into his voice. "Name an' Rank, please?"
Even as he spoke, Red's eyes scanned the rating's uniform, paying particular attention to any weapons he may be carrying.
2011-03-20, 05:24 PM
"Yes, well, is the ship in any condition to fly anywhere? I don't think we're in any condition to continue the mission as is."
“Charon Cutter,” said the voidsman, standing up straight. He was unarmed, like the others: Red didn’t know much of battlefleet uniforms, but there were certainly no officers among this bunch.
“Not sure I recognise your uniform, sir,” said the white-haired man, his tone still level and friendly. “What’s a man like yourself doing hanging about with the Provosts?”
As Gibbet had said, two men in the uniforms of Provosts were waiting for him at the dorsal relay, where one of the lift shafts that communicated through the sandwiched iron decks of the ship stood ready. Stepping inside, he nodded to the men, who nodded in return. One of them punched the descent rune, and their rattling journey into the bowels of the Instigator commenced.
“Rating who made the latest report goes by the name of Herrion, though they don’t want to be named,” said one of the Provosts, a burly man who looked as if he was bursting out of his uniform. “Engine crew. But you can probably start with anyone on the same shift.”
“That’s shift seventeen,” said his companion, a leaner man with a thin, knife-like face.
“Shift seventeen,” echoed the first man. “Good luck to you, sir.”
The lift took some time to reach the bottom of its descent: when it did, it stopped with a trembling thud, its heavy doors grinding open.
Outside, a dark, metal-walled atrium opened out, the interface of what seemed like a dozen different corridors – mostly running longitudinally along the direction of the ship’s spine. Heavily reinforced ducts ran over the ceiling and walls, neon lights here and there providing relief from the gloom: there was none of the vaulted elegance of the observation deck here, only rude angles of utilitarian metal. From a vent high in one wall, steam vented periodically, the white flutter of vapour contributing somewhat to the atmosphere of humid furnace-heat that seemed to permeate this deck.
Somewhere overhead, a buzzing klaxon sounded, almost painful to the ears.
“++SEVENTH SHIFT ROTATION COMMENCING FOR CONDUIT BETA++” blared a harsh, metallic voice. “++POSTULATE: HARD WORK CONQUERS ALL++”
With a loud rumble of mechanisms, some of the bulkhead gates pulled open, and a flood of grimy bodies in the uniforms of Battlefleet ratings entered the hall. There were two currents: one of weary-looking souls, their faces smeared with soot, and another of cleaner-looking personnel, although here cleanliness was very much a relative term. The one stream’s entrance was the other’s exit, and vice versa.
The pilot looked around at the smashed interior of the lighter with a slow, blinking gaze.
“No,” he said, slowly. “No, I don’t think the old bird is going anywhere in a hurry.” Gingerly moving his shoulder, he winced in anticipation of pain – but Ignace’s healing had been remarkably effective. “What happened?”
As Ignace made to reply, he sensed something moving close to the lighter. Hearing a quick, skittering sound, he looked round to see its source.
A glistening black bug had crawled up out of the swamp, and was now poised on the lip of the cabin’s hatch. About the size of a shipboard rat, a pair of flexible, whip-like legs searched in front of it, groping over the lighter’s floor. Curled in front of its mouthparts were a pair of what could only be described as jaws on arms, a pair of chitinous rat-traps studded with irregular spikes.
The skittering feelers had swept round towards Jericus’ feet – with an air about it like a dog sniffing at a bone, the great black cockroach came scuttling hungrily closer to the unconscious tech-priest, spiked arms unhinging by the merest fraction of a degree…
The walking woman resolutely ignored Nova’s whistle. There was no way she could not have heard it, not in this silent waste, but still she kept forging resolutely southward, refusing to turn her head.
As Nova watched, the walker missed her footing – slipping in the loose sand, she collapsed against the steep flank of the dune she was scaling, the stick falling from her hand. She didn’t appear to be getting back up.
Sitting on the lighter, Jericus swung his heels in the air, watching the treetops sway gently underneath the shadow of the rusted water-tower. They hadn’t been kidding when they said this place was deserted. Well, except for the bugs.
A fat beetle, easily the size of Jericus’ fist, alighted on the hull of the Arvus alongside him, tucking away its wings beneath its glossy shell with a fluttering buzz. Minerva turned to watch it with one dispassionate mechanical eye as it began bumbling its way across the scorched metal surface.
Suddenly, rising from the direction of the settlement, there was a keening scream. It didn’t sound like a noise that any arthropod could make… but it didn’t sound human, either.
2011-03-21, 09:50 PM
Tychon stepped off the lift, taking in the surroundings. The corridor was tiny and cramped, yes, but he was a hiver. The hot, humid confines of the Instigator reminded the gunslinger all too well of Gunmetal City.
"Just like home..." He muttered to himself, leaning against the nearest wall and watching as the ratings began filing through. Picking a likely looking one, Tychon pulled him aside.
"Shift seventeen. Where can I find them?"
2011-03-22, 12:49 AM
Wary of the situation, Nova drew her katar and slowly approached the fallen wanderer. Upon reaching her, the assassin tried to roll the woman over, not bothering to make any more noise as Nova was convinced the wanderer was too far gone to hear her anyway. She was hoping that, perhaps with a bit of water, the woman might recover enough to tell Nova something, anything, about the area.
2011-03-22, 01:51 AM
Swearing under his breath, Ignace threw wide his connection to the Warp. He needed power, and he needed it now. He didn't know what this thing was, how tough it was, or how much damage it could cause. But waiting to find out might get the team killed. He just hoped that lightning worked as well on giant bugs as it did on smaller ones.
Manifesting Bio-Lightning, targeting the bug.
[roll0] vs 14
For ever 10 points over 14 it takes an additional bolt.
White lightning arced across the cramped cabin – the creature gave a shriek like a whistling kettle, and popped. Smoking yellow ichor splattered the walls, Jericus catching the worst of it. The unconscious Tech-Priest didn’t seem to mind.
Just a scavenger, perhaps, sniffing about for its next meal. Ignace could sense other dull sparks of life scuttling about in the swamp outside, too many to count – while to most the fallen vessel was just a new addition to the scenery, more than a few had a certain purpose to their movements, converging on the crash with an investigative air…
The man he had stopped blinked hard, clearly not expecting to be interrupted in the middle of his trudging routine.
“Shift seventeen?” he grunted. “They’re on rotation in the hot galley.” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder, towards a large door secured by a wheel-lock. “Have fun.”
Shouldering past him, the rating continued on his way.
The woman did not spring up as Nova approached - it seemed as if her collapse was genuine. Rolling her over, the assassin looked down on cracked, parched lips and a sunburnt face… heat stroke, or dehydration, or both. Emperor knew the stranger didn’t seem to be carrying any supplies.
Looking down at her, Nova blinked, trying to shake the feeling in the back of her mind – that she had seen this woman somewhere before. She could not recognise a single detail that identified her, but somehow she seemed familiar. It was like meeting an old friend and not being able to recall their name.
A splash of water over the woman’s reddened face made her shift and mumble: she greedily swallowed as much as Nova poured between her lips to drink. Coherent conversation seemed beyond her, however – without the water’s touch, she lapsed back into near-motionlessness, eyes gently closed against the desert’s glare.
The animal shriek did not come again – presumably whatever little natural drama had caused it had played out. Sitting on the flank of the lighter, Jericus was left alone with his thoughts.
Hours passed, the time seeming indistinct with nothing but the rustle of the trees and the chirruping of the native fauna for company. Shrouds of mist shifted over the face of the sun, periods of bright sunlight broken by periodic swathes of shadow. As the bright star climbed higher in the sky, Jericus thought he felt the wind rising – the leaves of the ferny cycad trees were stirring, undulating softly with the strengthening breeze.
Holding up a finger, he gauged the wind’s direction: it was blowing from the south. With it were coming darker clouds, visible over the treetops – from the dark veil of grey they dragged beneath them, it looked like a heavy squall was coming in.
2011-03-23, 09:16 AM
"Thank you." Pushing his way through the press of bodies, Tychon turned the heavy wheel securing the door. He expected the hot galley was named that for a reason, and suddenly regretted bringing his heavy coat. Once he had the door open, the gunslinger shut it behind him.
He should find Herrion, but going right for the rating he was after could be suspicious. Lead to unwanted questions. So the first order of business was...
"You," he said, pointing at the nearest shift worker. "I need to talk to you for a minute."
2011-03-23, 09:51 AM
Jericus retreated back into the shell of the lighter, unwilling to let himself be soaked by the impending storm. Filled with a nagging feeling he should have done it earlier, he checked over his comrades, just to make sure none of them were dead or foaming at the mouth or similar. That done, he took out his dataslate and began rereading the mission briefing to pass the time.
2011-03-23, 02:19 PM
"This is not good, not good at all. More things are coming. We need to get out of here, now. Any ideas?" Ignace asked the pilot as he tried his hardest to wake the others. Shaking them, lightly slapping them, the works.
2011-03-23, 03:53 PM
"Sharp eye, Cutter, except that's Sargent, not Sir." Red commented evenly to the man's observation, taking half a moment to tap his stripes.
"I'm in charge of a small squad attached to your fine vessel. The provosts invited me along on this inspection, for all I know, they wanted to impress upon me how sharp the crew is. I thought it would be wise to accept. Always good to know the men you're serving with."
He gestured first to the man's thighs and then his sleeves. "Is it battlefleet protocol to walk about unarmed?" he asked, injecting a curious tone to his voice, "Inspection for us ground-pounders means a weapon inspection as well. The Departmento Munitorum has issued you a weapon, no? Oh, and roll up your sleeves for me, please."
On the other side of the door was a sheer, vertical shaft, barely wider than a broom-cupboard: iron rungs were bolted onto the near wall beneath Tychon’s feet, descending steeply into the bluish gloom below.
His long coat dangling behind him, Tychon made the arduous descent, his arms aching when his feet finally touched solid deck. The atmosphere down here was hot and stale, sweat already soaking into his shirt – there was a metallic tang to the recirculated air, like a furnace or a foundry.
The reason was clear enough. In front of him, the hot galley stretched away into the blue-lit dark – a long, high hall, its length was swallowed in darkness before Tychon could make out a far end. Running longitudinally through the middle of the galley, a great metal spine joined the deck to the ceiling, tapering walls of plate metal sloping outwards from the centre. Heavily-insulated pipes branched out from it at a hundred regular intervals, stuck to the walls like steel leeches: spindly and minute by comparison, a spider’s-web of ladders and gantries crawled over their surface, the silhouetted figures of Battlefleet ratings going about their work.
Through blackened gratings in the central structure, a fiery light shone, blue-hot and pulsing. Stencilled on the conduit’s sooty flank were black letters, higher than Tychon was tall.
PLASMA CONDUIT BETA
From somewhere on one of the higher walkways, a piercing whistle sounded out.
“STAND BY TO OPEN STERNWARD VALVE!” came the bosun’s shout. Voidsmen flocked to their stations, rough hands grasping valve wheels beneath the gleaming furnace-grilles. At least four score crewmen were stacking up behind what looked like an inactive section, ready to heave it into place on vertical bearings that looked like they could have borne the weight of a battle-tank.
"You," he said, pointing at the nearest shift worker. "I need to talk to you for a minute."
The worker barely spared Tychon a second glance – shouldering past him, he hurried on his way, heading for the work-gang that was forming under the great cylinder lock. Shift Seventeen certainly looked like a busy bunch at the moment.
The others would not wake. Blinking heavily, the pilot looked around the cabin at the sleepers.
“We might not have come down… too far from the landing-strip,” he said. “You’ve got maps, haven’t you? Maybe if we can get our bearings, we can get to Pilgrim’s Haven.” He blinked again, stifling a yawn. “Have you tried to raise our friends in orbit?”
Cutter gave a wry smile.
“You’d be Guard, then, master sergeant?” The others laughed a little as the old voidsman began to roll up his sleeves. On the scarred skin of his right forearm was a complex tattoo in faded blue ink, reminiscent almost of a circuit-board. “If you want to do a weapons inspection on this deck, you’re goin’ to need a coghead. Munitorum gave us one big gun to share.”
He gestured over his shoulder with his thumb, towards a heavy pair of atmos-sealable blast doors.
“Cannon’s through there. If you want to check the boardin’ box, that’s out in the corridor.”
As he spoke, the hydraulics of the gunnery bay door wheezed into life: the big man Cutter had sent away reappeared, a trio of pale-looking crewmen tagging along behind him.
“This ain’t a weapons inspection,” said Cutter, matter-of-factly. “We just made breach. The field’s been on the flutter again, hasn’t it?”
“Well deduced, Mr Cutter,” said Pullings, sternly. “So, you know the drill. Line up, quickly now!”
The voidsmen fell into line, mostly standing a little less than ramrod-straight. Reaching into the pocket of his uniform, Pullings produced a slim black Imperial prayerbook while Flyte walked to the end of the line.
“Immortal Emperor, who art on Terra...”
As Pullings read aloud, the gunners recited the words along with him. Flyte advanced slowly along the line, looking closely at the crewmen’s faces and eyes.
“Protect your flock from the alien,
O Keeper of the Light,
Guide our darkened path with Your radiance...”
Stopping in front of one of the gunners, Flyte produced a pocket lens, examining the man’s pupil under magnification.
“We are your warriors and your servants,
We stand free from the blindness of hear,
Free from vainglory, hypocrisy and deceits...”
Seemingly satisfied, Flyte lowered the lens and moved on to the next in line.
“But captive to hatred, malice and anger...”
The inspection passed Cutter, the white-haired veteran and the burly giant next to him reciting the prayer like dutiful servants.
“To the filth, the alien, the heretic.
By Thy agony and Thy bloody sweat,
By Thy golden throne and Thy death,
By Thy destruction and rebirth as god of Men,
Keep and strengthen us, we who fight for Thee.”
The prayerbook clapped shut. Flyte looked round at Pullings, and nodded.
“Clear,” he said.
As the gunners relaxed from standing to attention, the comm-bead crackled.
“Garrow, this is Garrow,” came the urgent message. “Incident in battery two. Require assistance!”
Sealing himself into the darkness of the shuttle cabin, Jericus tried to get comfortable in the humid darkness as the rain began to patter against the outside of the hull. The green glow of his dataslate’s letters was the brightest light in the interior gloom, the rainfall slowly growing to a steady, drumming downpour.
Leafing idly through the briefing, Jericus stopped at the maps they had been given: the resolution seemed rather higher than he remembered. Toggling the zoom, he picked out their location. Pilgrim’s Haven grew to fill the metal-rimmed screen.
The map dated back to the initial settlement, depicting a settlement untouched by the ravages of time. One thing caught his eye, however – perhaps a couple of kilometres beyond the perimeter of the town through the surrounding forest was the landing strip, their planned landing site. It was connected – or at least, at the time, it had been connected – by a narrow track through the trees, perhaps intended for vehicular transit... but most importantly, on the control tower beside the pilgrims’ hangar, a communications dish was marked.
If anything would have the power to reach the Instigator, it would be that.
2011-03-24, 05:56 PM
Frowning to himself, Tychon walked towards the cluster of crewmen standing by the valve. The furnace heat of the place bothered him less than it might bother other men, and he had a mission to complete.
"You're all busy, I can see." He told the knot of ratings, standing behind them in the least scorched looking place he could find nearby. "But I need answers. There has been an increase in the number of accidents, and missing ratings. I'm trying to find out where they've all gone."
2011-03-25, 02:29 PM
Disturbed by the odd feeling of familiarity, Nova knelt over the fallen woman to block the sun and began giving her more water.
"Wake up! By the Throne, I can't have the one other sign of life in this forsaken place die on me just as I find you!"
2011-03-25, 02:51 PM
"I didn't get a chance to. I only just managed to regain consciousness myself." Ignace said as he decided to act on the pilot's suggestion. "This is Ignace Erriphias, trying to reach the Salvation. Salvation, please respond."
2011-03-25, 08:24 PM
"We trust these guys to go with us armed, I assume?" Red asked his charges.
"More guns on the firing line is... usually a good thing."
The woman mumbled something weakly, but more was beyond her: heatstroke had evidently done its work. She closed her eyes, chest rising and falling steadily as she lay still in the sand.
On the horizon, the white cloud banks hung distant and still, mocking Nova with their far-off shadows. The sun beat down on the back of her neck: one thing was certain, she could not stay here for long.
As Tychon started speaking, the bosun looked sharply down at him.
“Civilian below!” he shouted. “Clear him out!”
Burly arms grabbed Tychon by the elbows, propelling him away from where the crew were working. The whistle shrilled again, eighty pairs of arms heaving together – with a rattle of chains, the great cylindrical section swung into place, voidsmen clambering over its surface like spiders as they heaved the great connector locks shut. At the level of the deck, sooty-faced crew scrambled out of the arc of the conduit to avoid being crushed by its ponderous weight.
The ratings standing by the control wheels began to spin them as fast as they could. In the new section, the blue furnace-light blazed up, burning brightly from behind the grilled panels in its side. The walls trembled, a deep bass tremor shuddering up though Tychon’s feet to rattle his teeth as the conduit’s internal furnace roared into equilibrium.
The whistle blew again. Slouching away from their stations, divisions of the ship’s crew began to trudge towards the cage-lifts that stood at the far side of the dark galley.
One of the overseers slid down a black iron ladder from the gantry overhead, catching Tychon by the arm.
“Don’t know what you think you’re doin’ down here, son, but you’re a danger to yourself an’ others if you think you can distract crew at work.” He gave him a forceful shove in the direction of the lifts. “Get yourself above-decks.”
Pullings nodded quickly. “Mr Cutter! With us. Boarding protocols!”
The old gunner gave a sharp salute. “You heard ‘im, lads!” he shouted to his crewmates. As one, the gun-crew turned and hurried towards the corridor, taking boarding-pikes and battered old shotguns from the boarding lockers.
“Battery two,” said Flyte, leading the way. “This way!”
The pounding feet of their followers echoed through the corridor, heading back towards the second battery: another pair of blast-doors hissed open, revealing another grubby gunner’s barracks beyond.
In the centre of the steel-plated floor, Garrow and Jones were crouched over a thrashing figure, trying to hold him still. It was a dusky-skinned man in a battlefleet uniform, his eyes rolled up into his head. A string of saliva danced at the edge of his mouth as his head whipped from side to side, his whole body spasming violently against the cold metal of the deck. Circled around them, the battery’s voidsmen were watching in apprehension, their eyes rising in surprise as Red’s team appeared.
There was only white noise on the other end of the vox-connection: some kind of interference was blocking the signal.
It was a muted sound, resonating through the walls of the cabin – the sound of a great bubble of air breaching the surface of the swamp directly beneath them. Slowly, the lighter slanted backwards, settling perhaps a foot deeper into the mire before it stabilised again. Looking round to the hatch to make sure the foul water was not yet leaking in, Jericus could see the tips of a pair of black feeler-legs stroking along the scorched metal edge...
2011-03-27, 08:47 PM
"I think that I'm conducting an important investigation," Tychon told the overseer. "If I can't talk to them while they're at work, why don't you tell me when their shift ends and I'll talk to them then?"
2011-03-27, 10:01 PM
Sighing, Nova sat back on her haunches for a moment while considering her next move. I don't have any medicae training or supplies here; she's going to die, so it's best to move on. If I go back to the Lighter, there's nothing I can really do for the others unless they wake on their own, and if they do so they can likely track me down or call for help with the vox.
The acolyte looked toward the south, considering the clouds and the potential for water and cover. Best be off, then. Perhaps I can find something useful, something I can use to signal help or that I can bring back to the Lighter. Saying a prayer over the fallen woman, Nova retrieved the fallen walking stick and set off toward the clouds, checking her bearings often via compass on the slim hope she'd need to return to the Lighter.
2011-03-28, 06:52 AM
Red rushed forward, Shotgun already at the ready, to the pinned man, and placed one heavy Guard-issue boot on his chest, bringing the Ironclaw around to point directly at the spasmic rating's face.
He sub-vocalised into the commbead, "I need a SITREP* and an answer as to why this man's soul hasn't been purged, yet."
SITREP = Shorthand, for "Situation Report", IE "What the frak is going on here?"
The desert stretched out in an empty, infinite expanse. The view would shift and change at the crest of each dune, the horizon hiding itself behind the undulating hills of sand: the sun beat down on Nova’s shoulders, her shirt soon clinging to her back with sweat.
It was not long before the basin in which the lighter had crashed was well out of sight behind her, the assassin trusting to the compass to guide her through the featureless ocean of sand. As the baleful orb of the sun sank towards the horizon, Nova slithered down the flank of another dune, thirst and fatigue gnawing incessantly at her mind: in the shadow of the great hummock, she began to struggle up the next. At least it was getting a litter cooler.
At the top of the dune, a black, waxy-shelled beetle about the size of her thumbnail was sitting, its abdomen raised towards the sinking sun. It was the first sign of native life she had seen. As she hauled herself onto the ridge, it sensed the shifting of the sand beneath it and took wing, buzzing away into the emptiness on blurred, stubby wings.
Allowing herself to rest for a moment on the dune-top, Nova gazed out southward, in the direction the insect had flown. The distant mountains seemed no closer, still mocking her with their white umbrella of cloud – but far closer, on the flat desert plain beneath them, a mirror-like lake glimmered like quicksilver in the sun. The black silhouettes of strange rock formations floated above it... they seemed to be suspended in midair, floating as effortlessly as grav-platforms over the waveless water.
OOC: Nova takes 2 levels of fatigue from her day’s march.
The bosun jerked a thumb over his shoulder towards the division who were trooping into the cage-lifts.
“That lot’re being rotated off. Go fraternise with them, and get off my deck.”
Garrow and Jones looked up at Red.
“New recruit, Sergeant. Some of ‘em take badly to their first trip. It don’t mean he’s Touched. Yet.”
Behind them, the doors hissed open again – Milon came hurrying through, the Lieutenant pushing his way through the crowd with an urgent air.
“Damn,” he muttered to himself. “Have we got sedatives?”
None of the Provosts seemed to. Stepping forward, Cutter saluted to Red and the Lieutentant.
“Permission to ‘ave a go at calming him down, sirs?”
2011-03-28, 03:46 PM
"You have exactly Thirty-five seconds, Cutter. I just spent three of them talking."
The man spasmed as Cutter approached, babbling in broken, archaic-sounding Low Gothic. Red could make out the words...
“Away! He follows me! Through the sharp hawthorn, the cold wind...”
Jones and Garrow held him down, preventing him from doing himself an injury. Cutter leant over him, the old voidsman’s blue eyes glittering in his darkened face.
“You alright, lad?” he said, softly. “It’s all ship-shape this side. You’re among friends.”
“See, see him smile!” cried the man on the floor, trying to raise a hand to point. Garrow held him down. “He leers at me! Bring him not closer!” His babbling intensified. “Through fire and through flame, and over ford and whirlpool e’er bog and quagmire, the foul fiend that hath laid knives under his pillow...”
Looking round at Red, Cutter shrugged – and then struck the raving crewman sharply over the side of the head with the cudgel he had taken from the boarder’s locker. The dusky-skinned man fell instantly into unconsciousness, a trickle of saliva drooling from the corner of his mouth.
“Seen it happen before, sir,” Cutter said. “Gaur here, he’s fresh off the press-gang from Dusk. It’s always the superstitious types what take it the worst."
The white-haired voidsman straightened up.
“Leave him be ‘til we’re well free of the jump-point, and he’ll be right as rotas, I promise you.”
Beside him, Garrow and Jones straightened up too, their captive evidently not about to try anything. They saluted the lieutenant – then Jones frowned.
“Sir?” he asked.
“Yes, Jones?” replied Milon.
“Where’s Kobb, sir?”
“Why he was –“
The young lieutenant looked over his shoulder, and stopped. The fifth Provost was nowhere to be seen.
2011-03-28, 04:11 PM
"I want him in irons when he wakes up." the Guytogan offered as a compromise. "And a man on him to explain what the going-on is. Can I trust one of your men to handle it until we have a Provost free?" Red asked the old Gunner, using his best "I'm in still in charge, but I'll listen to Experience" voice before turning to the provosts fretting over Kobb.
"LT. He was your man, and therefore your back to watch. Best be getting with the explaining."
"I want him in irons when he wakes up." the Guytogan offered as a compromise. "And a man on him to explain what the going-on is. Can I trust one of your men to handle it until we have a Provost free?"
"LT. He was your man, and therefore your back to watch. Best be getting with the explaining."
Milon seemed a little taken aback.
"I... I don't know. We were checking battery one, everything seemed ship-shape. I was checking the guncrew, Kobb was inspecting the munitions lift." He looked around. "He should have heard the call."
2011-03-28, 07:26 PM
"Okay, we need to get out of here, and I don't think that just stepping into the swamp is a good idea." Ignace said as he focused on frying the source of the feelers.
Manifesting Bio-Lightning, targeting the bug.
[roll0] vs 14
For ever 10 points over 14 it takes an additional bolt.
2011-03-28, 09:08 PM
"Yes sir." Feeling it best to be polite, Tychon stomped off after the ratings. Once he reached them, he remained silent until the door to the hot galley had clanged shut behind them. Then, he spoke.
"So," said the Gunslinger. "Anyone here feel like answering a few questions?"
2011-03-29, 01:40 AM
The weather abated, Jericus picked up his autorifle and climbed out of the lighter, leaving Minerva to watch over his comrades. He made his way towards the greenhouse, hoping to learn a little more about their impromptu landing zone.
The crackling arc struck its target. For the briefest of moments, a high-pitched insect squeal cut the air – then there was a fluid-sounding pop, and the last three joints of a spindly black leg bounced off the cabin wall.
Blinking at the creature’s demise, the pilot stifled a yawn.
“Well... with luck, we might not have come down too far from Pilgrim’s Haven. If we could determine our location, we might be able to make it to the old settlement.” He peered out into the swamp, the tangled mats of floating cycad trunks and other driftwood draped in clinging green blankets of algae. “How deep do you think it is? We might be able to wade, climb a tree or something to get our bearings.”
He glanced back at the others.
“Getting them out of here might be a bit tricky, though.”
He yawned again. “I tell you something,” he said, blinking heavily. “I could do without this... bloody heat.”
The press in the cage-lift was as tight as on the most crowded hive transit line: the other sweaty souls crammed into the narrow space looked round at him with weary eyes.
“Who’s asking?” grunted the nearest, as the lift began to rattle heavily upwards.
Sliding down the hull of the Arvus, Jericus thudded down feet-first onto the soft, loamy soil. The rainstorm had done its work, and the earth went squelch beneath his weight, brown water seeping up over the toes of his boots.
Leaving Minerva to keep guard, he pulled the hatch shut again, scanning his surroundings with caution. Thick white mist rolled and drifted between the treetops, diffusing the bright sunlight into an omnipresent glare. The squall had left the forest as wet as a steam condenser – water beaded from the leaves of the great cycads, the steady drip of droplets falling onto the thicket of verdant undergrowth that covered the soil in their shadow. The chirruping of insect life chirped through the mist and the dripping water, an iridescent beetle buzzing through the humid fog to vanish into the haze.
The buildings of Pilgrim’s Haven loomed up like motionless sentinels through their mist, their crumbled walls veiny with vines. Advancing into the silent settlement, Jericus observed the peculiarities of their construction: they were equal parts peeling flakboard and rusted metal, large sections of the least time-ravaged buildings looking as if they had been constructed from void-ship salvage. Even the all-pervading ferns seemed to have a hard time finding a purchase on sheet metal, although from the triangular rivulets of rust that ran down the structures’ sides, the damp climate was clearly taking a heavy toll.
Crossing the tumble-down remains of what looked like it had been a schoolroom or chapel on his left, Jericus wandered into what he guessed had been the main street. The greenhouses were the largest buildings in the whole place, fronted by a solid section much like the other habs. A large pair of metal doors hung ajar in the steel and flak-board facade, revealing little more than shadows within: it would be easy enough, however, to take another entrance. The glass walls of the actual units, by now clouded and stained with twenty different colours of moss, were cracked and broken in a dozen different places, the vegetation of Abandoned Hope long ago having forced its way inside.
There had once been a keypad lock on the greenhouse doors, when there had been people to ensure they remained shut. Peering at the little letterbox screen, Jericus realised it still displayed the faintest traces of numerical characters. The systems within evidently still had a few last drops of power...
2011-03-29, 09:19 AM
"My name's Tychon. I'm investigating the increase of accidents and dissapearances amongst the ratings. I'd like to hear what all of you may know, if anything, about those." It was an honest enough answer, though with a few omissions.
The gungslinger wasn't about to tell them why he was asking them particularly, or who had put him up to it.
2011-03-29, 10:43 AM
Nova stood awestruck for a moment at the sight of the odd lake and floating rocks. I may be going mad...
Ultimately pressured by the heat and her general lack of supplies, Nova made her way down the dunes and approached the lake carefully, on the lookout for anything else suspicious in the area.
2011-03-29, 10:49 AM
His curiosity piqued, Jericus left the security panel and proceeded on past the greenhouses to the generators. Their machine spirits would have to be truly stoic to continue running all this time. Another sign of the superiority of the machine over the frailties of flesh, Jericus supposed.
There was a downhill gradient towards the lake: slipping down the side of the high dune in a rolling cascade of sand, Nova stumbled in the direction of the shimmering water. The shade on the other side of the ridge was blessedly cool, the sun already casting long shadows as it sunk towards the horizon.
The lake was not far. As she drew closer, however, it seemed to pull back. Still pushing on towards it, Nova tried to increase her pace as the mirror-like pool receded into the distance faster than she could follow, changing shape as it did. Her heart sinking, she saw the floating rocks resolve themselves into mesas with their feet firmly on the ground as the ‘water’ shimmered back from around them... now she could see why no trees grew around the water’s edge. A mirage, fast-fading in the setting sun even as her changing point of view made it seem to withdraw.
In front of her, the desert stretched out, lonely and vast and dry. The rocks, at least, were real, slanting fingers of reddish stone pushing up out of the dunes: the desert wind had sand-blasted them into strange, smooth shapes, their bases cracked with dark recesses. In the noon-day heat, they would have seemed like a blessing... now, they just seemed like a taunt.
Walking past the side of the greenhouse complex, Jericus observed that the interiors of the glasshouses were so overgrown with greenery that it was practically impossible to see inside. The flora of Abandoned Hope clearly liked the hothouse conditions within just as much as good honest Administratum-approved crops.
Walking past the rusted water-tower – a precarious-looking structure if he’d ever seen one – he found the generators. They were STC-pattern Boltzmann stacks, their rockcrete casings by now green with ferns and creepers. Most of the cabling had succumbed to the environment, and stimulated fission had clearly ceased a long time ago – putting his hand to the weathered surface, however, Jericus discovered that one of them was still ever-so-slightly warm to the touch.
There was a quiet murmuring in response to Tychon’s announcement, no-one seeming to address him directly. With a rattling clank, the cage-lift docked: interlocking doors pulled apart, and the mob of ratings spilled out into the cramped quarters beyond. It reminded Tychon more than a little of the Underhive – narrow corridors led away in a tiered tangle of tarnished right-angles, atmos vents gusting their warm vapour in fluttering white flags through the sweaty murk.
As the crowd began to disperse, Tychon found one of them staying by his side. She was a small, stocky woman with a sooty face and a frayed, sleeveless uniform jumpsuit.
“Subtle, aren’t you?” she said, simply. “You want to talk, I can talk. Mess hall’s just down there.”
2011-03-29, 04:09 PM
Jericus went over the generator, examining it for a way to bring it to full capacity, or at least the highest level of power that would be safe given its current condition.
Common Lore: Tech (50)
2011-03-29, 06:14 PM
"I'm Metallican," he said, as if that explained everything. "Faster to cut right to the point."
Following her to the mess hall, Tychon sat down, sliding easily into a seat. "So, what can you tell me?"
2011-03-30, 04:41 AM
Red gestured to the surrounding voidsmen. "Well, then, Cutter, I leave our guest in your capable hands. The rest of us had better be getting to battery one to search for our wayward Provost. Could you send a notification to the brig or whoever needs to be made aware of such things, Lieutenant?"
2011-03-30, 12:02 PM
Too tired to care anymore, Nova trudged down to the standing stones and looked for a recess large enough to sit in and block out any wind the night might bring. Thank the Emperor I brought my cloak. It will be cold enough even with it...
Nova settled back against the rock and slept, hoping rest would remove some of the weariness from her hike.
There were two crevices in the largest of the rock formations that might admit a human frame. In front of the second there was a steep-sided conical depression in the sand, looking as if it would be rather difficult to climb out of once one had slid down it – skirting around its edge, Nova crawled her way into the first, watching the sun edge down over the hostile horizon.
There was a gentle, flickering buzz, and a black speck winged its way lazily over the dimming scene: a tiny beetle, of the same kind as the one she had seen sunning itself on the dune. Landing inside Nova’s shelter, the little insect seemed to pay her no heed, folding its translucent wings carefully inside its shell and ambling into the narrowest recesses of the cave.
It was growing cold. Wrapping herself tightly in her cloak, Nova drifted off to sleep.
When Nova woke, it was pitch black. The blazing heat of the day had dissipated completely, an icy chill instead seeping into her very bones – but it was something else that drew her attention.
From behind her, where she had left her pack, she could hear the sound of the water canteens clinking. Someone, or something, was rummaging through her supplies...
The thermal conduits might still be functioning, but closer examination showed the moderator mechanism on all three reactors was corroded beyond repair. Short of a cargo-hold’s worth of replacement parts, Jericus had little chance of restoring it to anything near full functionality.
”Yessah,” said Cutter, pulling off another lazy salute. Milon cleared his throat and nodded, pressing his comm-bead and mumbling the message down the line.
The other Provosts followed quickly, black boots pounding the metal floor of the gundeck corridor again. The crew of Battery One looked rather surprised to see them again: Milon practically ignored them, leading the way directly to the doors of the munitions lift.
The doors slid smoothly open at the lieutenant’s authorisation. Beyond, a cramped, dimly-lit chamber contained the heavy chain winches that raised the macrobattery shells up from the magazine below, a cylindrical port in the starboard wall providing direct transport for the munitions to the cannon. Two of the great shells were standing there already raised in readiness, each of them almost twice as tall as Red himself. The rails on which they had to be loaded took up most of the space in the bay, the whole place a tangle of dark machinery.
“I don’t see him,” said Garrow, cautiously stepping over the threshold. “Kobb?”
OOC: Can I get an Awareness test for Red, please?
“Not here,” said the grimy-faced woman. “Somewhere louder.”
The mess hall was something of a misnomer... or perhaps a euphemism for what appeared to be a speakeasy, growing like a barnacle on the Instigator’s sooty insides. Inside, ratings sat around in a fug of their own exhaustion, nursing what their void-bound wages could afford in rough tin cups.
Taking a seat on a stool that was sturdily bolted to the grubby deck, she took a mug of something that smelt as much like shuttle fuel as it did alcohol, the ‘barman’ looking expectantly at Tychon. When the weary-looking man had shuffled away, she turned to the Metallican.
“’s like you say. People going missing. Just us Stokers, people as won’t be missed. The Snatchers take you from your bunk in the middle of the off-shift, and no-one sees ‘em do it.”
She took a sharp swig.
“Some people say it’s the Ghils, down in the black holds. Even say they found evidence. Hull-sucker’s ‘ve never been that bold, though. What I say, is there’s nasty rumours goin’ about. Rumours that if you’ve got a mind to, and the scratch for it, you might be able to have a say in who goes missin’ next. Settle your grudges, that kind of thing.” She blinked flatly at Tychon. “Not that the brass give a damn. Two weeks of waitin’, and they don’t even send the proper Provosts.”
2011-03-30, 09:03 PM
Nodding thoughtfully, Tychon scratched his chin. "There's a thought. Don't suppose anyone knows who the Snatchers are, for sure. Might have a look around, see what I can find. Who is it says you can say who goes missing?"
An idea was beginning to form in the gunslinger's head. It wasn't a pleasant one. "Before I do that, though, reckon I ought to check out the darkholders. Crawling around in old tunnels, that's nothing new to me."
2011-03-31, 12:36 PM
Moving as quickly as she could, Nova pulled out her dagger and turned toward her pack, relying on her contacts to get even a hint of what was happening in the pitch black crevice. I can't afford to lose those supplies. Best hope you're not edible, thief.
I'm going to roll with Nova having her photo contacts. I picked them up specifically because she could keep them on her at all times, so it wouldn't make sense for them to be left behind. All of her other gear not mentioned in the OOC post would be left behind; I can't think of a good reason she'd have a weapons harness or grapnel for her desert trek. :smalltongue:
2011-03-31, 01:40 PM
"It's deep enough that the ship is sinking deeper. That could just be the one spot we're in, or it could be the entire swamp is this deep. Still, we can't just stay here. Let's see if we can rig up anything to carry them with." Ignace said, casting his eyes around, searching for anything usable as a sling or similar.
”Who is it says you can say who goes missing?"
The woman took a quick glance at their surroundings, checking they were not being eavesdropped upon.
“There’s an old hand in our shift, goes by the name of Enoch. I’ve heard people talking to him.”
Rolling over to face the movement, Nova saw a human silhouette highlighted in her photo-contacts. Female, and bedraggled – as the assassin turned to face her, the intruder’s head whipped round, lunging for the walking stick that rested on the sandy rock between them...
The initiative is yours. Unless you'd like one, I won't bother with a combat map here - you're only a couple of metres from each other.
The swamp was cluttered with floating driftwood, the rotting trunks of fallen cycads bobbing beneath shrouds of clinging green algae. With the right tools, it would be easy enough to lash a few together into a floating stretcher, or even a raft.
Clipping on his lamp-pack, Red swept the chamber – the bright beam caught nothing, the place seeming empty but for them. As the torch swept back, Garrow gave a stifled exclamation – looking up, Red saw what had caught his eye.
Kobb was above them. Dangling like a carcass in a meat locker, the Provost was caught in the chains of the munitions pulley. The powerful mechanisms had sheared flesh and skin with a horrid strength – even Red found it hard not to look away. One thing was certain: Provost Kobb was dead.
2011-03-31, 06:42 PM
"Alright. Thank you." Tychon considered what she had told him for a moment, and nodded. "If there's nothing else you have to tell me, I might go looking for him."
2011-04-01, 06:18 PM
Thinking quickly, Nova decided she didn't want to kill her assailant, at least not yet. Not wanting the woman to get her hands on a weapon, Nova hurled herself at her opponent, attempting to knock her to the ground and hopefully subdue her.
Half action: Knockdown attempt
Opposed strength check: [roll0] vs. Nova's 33 strength.
If Nova succeeds, the target is knocked down, and if Nova succeeds with two or more degrees of success, the target takes a level of fatigue. If the target wins by two or more degrees of success, Nova gets knocked down.
So long as Nova doesn't get knocked down:
Half action: Standard attack to start a grapple
Weapon skill test: [roll1] vs. Nova's 38 weapon skill (+10 if the knockdown works)
If it succeeds, the target can use her reaction to make an agility test to avoid the grapple. Otherwise, a grapple ensues.
I didn't include any fatigue penalties in Nova's above rolls as I don't know how many she'd (still) have after sleeping in a crevice in the cold, but even if she's fatigued she'd attempt the knockdown and grapple.
EDIT: Well that may have worked out better than expected.
2011-04-01, 06:47 PM
"Provost Flyte, kindly lock down this battery. Only you four and myself are to be allowed freedom. LT Milon is to be considered as a suspect." Red ordered as calmly as he could, swallowing the bile sneaking up into his mouth.
"Provost Garrow, please assist me in figuring out how to bring the body down here."
"We're about to play the single best game of Cultist* ever."
*Cultist = Exactly Like Werewolf/Mafia, but this is 40k, so it's called Cultist.
2011-04-02, 06:17 AM
Jericus walked back to the main greenhouse entrance and inspected the entrance panel for any alarm system or similar consequence. One could never be too careful.
Tech Use 50
Jericus could see no sign of any functional alarm system. The door was already hanging ajar, and it was difficult to believe that anything so delicate could have survived this long untriggered.
The woman yelped as Nova cannoned into her - hitting the ground rolling, she span out of the path of the assassin's grasping hands. Grains of sand flying out from behind her, she sprang back to her feet with a cat-like agility, skittering backwards out of the reach of the katar. Framed in the cavern's entrance, she crouched in a tensed combat stance, wild eyes glinting in a silhouetted frame of tangled hair...
Opposed strength: [roll0] - knockdown works
Agility to avoid grapple: [roll1] - grapple evaded
The intruder takes a Stand action, and attempts an Acrobatics test to Disengage as a Half Action (roll in OOC - passed)
The woman shrugged. “You do what you think is best, mister.” She looked Tychon up and down. “Might want to come up with a cover-story better than ‘I’m investigating you’, though.”
Milon looked round with an expression of shock. The Provosts seemed similarly surprised.
“Belay that!” said the young lieutenant. He turned to Red. “What are you talking about, man? This is my command!”
2011-04-02, 08:51 AM
"Since you asked, Lieutenant, I'm thinking we have no idea how Kobb died, cannot yet rule out homicide, and furthermore, cannot yet rule out anybody who was in the battery, including yourself. At the absolute least, your fireteam discipline is criminally negligent and lacking. The purpose of going with a team is so that this,"
Red pointed to the corpse of Provost Kobb suspended above them
"Doesn't happen. You know the authority I hold, Milon. Don't make me exercise it. And kindly disarm yourself."
2011-04-02, 08:58 AM
"When I said 'look for' I didn't mean 'talk to.'" Tychon grins, evidently quite pleased with the idea of skulking about and spying on people to see what they might be up to. "First, though, I should have a look at the billets those people vanished from. If there's anything left there to turn up, I want to find it. Point me in the right direction?"
”Our billets are all through these corridors,” said the woman. “One of the last to go missing was young Gaur, down in section seven. You could have a look there.”
Milon blinked at the quickfire accusations.
“Well, but see here – I mean, by that logic you should be holding the entire gun-crew at gunpoint.” He paused. “You’re saying that in the... what, two or three minutes between reaching the battery and receiving the call just now, I overpowered Mr Kobb and... strung him up like this?”
The young man evidently didn’t like to look too directly at the dangling corpse.
“Sergeant, Mr Kobb is... was... a powerfully-built man. And much as I hate to admit it, I’d think I’m somewhat scrawny myself.” Milon glanced around at the other Provosts for support. “Do you really think I could have overpowered him without alerting the crew outside?”
2011-04-02, 09:12 AM
"I'll try that. Just tell me how to find it." Rising from the table, Tychon waited just long enough to recieve directions, then made for section seven.
Once he had arrived, he would decide what to do next. Gaur's billet would need to be searched, of course. What he found would determine his next course of action.
2011-04-02, 09:15 AM
"I knew a man once who happened to be unfortunate enough his ship's Geller field breached. He walked around with some Warp... thing piggybacking on his soul. When the ... thing decided to come out, there was no stopping it. It was stronger, faster, and more horrifying than anything I've seen. The man himself? Tall, wiry, didn't look well built. And even when it was 100% him, the man was a marvelous swordsman." Red reasoned through a sneer.
"That, and, well, you're assuming a different timetable than I am and guns," Red pointed to Milon's Ironclaw "Are excellent equalizers."
OOC: Ready an action to draw and fire on Milon if she brings the Ironclaw up to ready-fire position.
2011-04-02, 09:20 AM
Jericus grinned and kicked the door open, waiting on the threshold of the building and shining his lamp pack round the inside of whatever lay on the inside.
The door swung open with a creak of fatigued metal. Stepping inside, Jericus swept the beam of the lamp-pack left and right over the interior.
Something about the size of a chicken, with far too many long, long legs, scuttled out of the harsh light of the beam, seeking shelter in a danker corner of the old building. It had been hiding under a rusted control panel, the metal desk hooked up to the walls and floor with knotted tangles of cabling and pipes from which the outer layers had long since been eaten away.
The atrium was big, although the ceiling was not particularly high. Shining the lamp-pack around, Jericus saw another control panel, a single dim light guttering faintly on its readout. A metal work-surface, streaked with corrosion, went around the inside walls, a couple of overturned stools now practically anchored to the floor by intruding weeds. Water was dripping somewhere, and the walls themselves were stained with inverted triangles of rust washed down by the omnipresent moisture.
There were three doors leading towards the greenhouse units themselves. They looked as if they had once been pressure-sealed, but the rubber of the seals had long since perished. Each of them stood closed, opened by heavy wheel-turned locks.
Milon raised his hands.
“Well, then,” he said. “Why don’t we, ah, take the poor man down. I think it’s in all our interests to work out how he died... and it’s hardly respectful, to leave him hanging there.”
”Take a left out the door, and head down the corridor marked hash-seven. You’ll find it easy enough,” said the woman, not rising from her stool. “Good luck to you, mister.”
Section seven was, true to her word, easy enough to find. Heading down the corridor, Tychon hauled back a pressure-locked door and stepped inside.
The billet deck was a close, dank space, made humid and hot by human respiration. It was quiet in here, the rhythmic, metallic creaking of the ship’s hull audible through the stillness: bolted to steel stanchions all around him, iron-framed bunks creaked along with the ship, some of them occupied by slumbering bodies. In the dayless, nightless void, it was always night-shift for somebody. The Imperial Navy believed in efficiency.
There had to be over a hundred men’s bunks crammed into this narrow space, penned in like battery hens. Picking his way between the sleepers, Tychon could see names stencilled on the metal posts that supported them, each one just a surname and a number. Searching between the rows, he looked for the name of Gaur.
He found it in a stack of three towards the far right corner of the dormitory deck. Someone was asleep on the bunk above; the bunk below was empty. Gaur’s own grey cot was obviously vacant, its coarse, colourless bedclothes sitting in a neatly-folded pile at the foot of the yellowfoam mattress. There was a little tin chest bolted to one end for personal effects – the same as all the others – but it was locked.
2011-04-02, 09:55 AM
Jericus moved to investigate the control panel, trying to seem if it offered any information about what was behind the three doors.
Both control panels had long since lost the power to function properly. The one nearest the entrance was completely dead – moving over to the second, Jericus examined the faint light that still flickered on its surface.
It was a data-codex, plugged into what looked like an audio readout of some kind. It had once had a paper label, but an organic substance like parchment had no chance of surviving in these conditions – all that was left were a few crumbled scraps.
The panel itself barely had the power to do more than acknowledge that the device was present: it wouldn’t take much, however, to give it the juice to play whatever recording was locked inside the codex.
2011-04-02, 10:05 AM
Jericus clicked his knuckles and plugged himself in, giving the cogitator a brief jolt of power and waiting to see the result.
Toughness 35 to avoid fatigue
Electricity sparked from the tech-priest’s fingers, flowing into the blessed machine beneath his touch: with a quiet, sputtering whine, green lights winked into life, a watch-sized spider dashing away in alarm as the illuminating rows chased it off the control panel.
On the screen beside the data-codex, a menu crackled fuzzily into life, distorted somewhat by a blurry crack that snaked through the thick glass from its top-right corner. Squinting to discern the glowing green characters, Jericus saw they were selectable date-stamps, signifying log entries or something of the kind. The most recent were marked M41.887.
2011-04-02, 06:40 PM
The bunk told him nothing. It was folded already, which meant someone had already been through to tidy it up. The key to the box was likely gone. Gaur would have had it on his person when he was removed. Muttering to himself, Tychon set about picking the lock.
2011-04-02, 06:44 PM
"Alright. I'm going to try and get enough debris to make a raft. Stay here, and keep trying to raise the ship." Ignace said, slipping into the swamp and holding his breath, just in case it was deep enough that he couldn't stand.
2011-04-03, 12:47 AM
Attempting to keep her opponent off balance, Nova sheathed her katar for safety's sake and hurled herself at the other woman again, still hoping her foe could be subdued rather than killed. After all, it's hard to question a dead target.
Sheathed katar as a ready action (free thanks to quick draw; that talent just seems so useful the more I play DH).
Full action: charge and grapple.
Weapon skill test: [roll0] vs. WS 58 (38 base, +20 for Berserk Charge)
2011-04-03, 11:18 AM
"That was part of the plan, LT, if you recall. I see you're also yet to disarm. I suggest you fix that." Red replied, letting his anger bleed through. "Flyte, Garrow, please do as I requested earlier."
Handing his firearm to Pullings, Milon began unbuckling his sword-belt.
“You must know this is ridiculous, Sergeant,” he said, levelly. “You were asked if you wished to accompany our investigation as a courtesy. I will make representations to the Captain –“
Trying to avoid the crossfire of stares between the Sergeant and the Lieutenant, the Provosts went about their business, Flyte stepping out onto the deck outside as Garrow looked for a way to work the chain-winch. He depressed a large, scuffed metal button, and Kobb’s corpse came rattling down.
Arthropods skittered away from the rutted slew of mud the lighter had thrown up as Ignace lowered himself out of the shuttle’s hatch. His boots broke the stagnant surface with a splash, and he immediately sank armpit-deep in the opaque green water – beneath his feet, he could feel the bottom, a sucking quicksand of soupy silt.
Wading was near-impossible: he tried instead to swim, splashing his way over to the nearest of the floating debris that seemed like it might not come apart in his hands. Reaching the floating cycad-trunk, he threw his arms over it, causing it to roll in the water. White, twelve-legged woodlice the size of large mice scurried from under the scales of its bark as he disturbed them, abandoning ship and plopping down into the water like tumbling lemmings. Watching them scull away, Ignace saw the largest of the crawling creatures vanish suddenly beneath the surface. A bubble or two drifted up from where it had been, followed by a dismembered drift of segmented legs.
Moving as quickly as he could, he half-pushed, half-dragged the floating log back towards the shuttle before striking out for another. He had managed to gather three substantial pieces of driftwood before he heard the sucking, bubbling noise from behind him. Looking round, he saw the Arvus sinking deeper into the mud, the pilot’s pale face looking urgently out at him as mucky water began to trickle into the cabin...
The lock of the tin chest was a simple affair: it sprang open under Tychon’s attentions. Inside, there was not much of note: a carved shard of what looked like ivory rested at the top, worked with scrimshaw letters in what looked like some primitive form of Low Gothic. Beneath it were a couple of faded and folded Battlefleet fatigues, and an empty metal flask inscribed with the scratchy letters H.G.
The intruder ducked back out of Nova's path with a whip-like movement, striking back with the edge of her hand. Nova evaded the blow, leaping back from the swift kick that followed it. The woman's technique was rough, but alarmingly good...
Evading grapple: [roll0] - evaded
(You should feel free to roll this for NPCs along with your attack rolls).
2011-04-03, 06:27 PM
"And, despite the intent of the invitation, I am a member of the investigation and will conduct said investigation to the fullest extent I am capable." Red said as he leveled his steeliest glare.
When Kobb's corpse began descending, Red broke eye contact to spare it a look, trying to eyeball the cause of death would be difficult, especially from this angle and distance after the chains had bit into the flesh, but it wouldn't do to be too busy hurling accusations to actually do his job.
"Any further arguments against my credentials or attempts to undermine the investigation can be directed to the business end of this lovely shotgun you have lent me.
Must I remind you once again who my masters are?"
2011-04-03, 06:28 PM
Grudgingly impressed by her opponent's skills, Nova threw a quick series of punches in an attempt to wear down her foe.
Swift attack, unarmed strikes.
Attack 1: [roll0] vs. 38 Ws
Enemy dodge roll: [roll1]
Damage roll: [roll2]
Attack 2: [roll3] vs. 38 WS
Enemy dodge roll: [roll4]
Damage roll: [roll5]
2011-04-03, 09:59 PM
Ignoring the fatigues, Tychon turned the piece of ivory over in his hands. He couldn't read the letters on it, but it was the most unusual thing in the chest. Pocketing it, the gunslinger resolved to find someone who would be able to make it out. After a moment's thought, he left everything else in the box, closing the lid again carefully. After a quick double check of the bed to ensure he hadn't missed something, and there really was nothing to find, he made his way back towards the mess hall.
It was time to look for Enoch.
Milon and the Provosts exchanged a glance: Red got the feeling that the naval security officers weren’t too convinced. Nonetheless, nothing more was said.
Kobb’s body was bloody and torn – the wounds he had sustained from the chains could easily have caused death by blood loss alone. His uniform was tattered and ripped, as if it had been rolled through a bale of needles. From the look of things, though, death had come first by way of a broken neck.
Throwing herself out of the path of Nova's attack, the stranger replied in kind. Nova had to duck and weave to avoid the ferocious flurry of blows, the woman fighting back with a kind of feral fury in her eyes.
By the dim moonlight that reached past the lip of the cave, Nova was fairly sure she could recognise her by now - it was the woman she had left for dead, back on the dunes by the crash site. Again, the haunting feeling of familiarity tugged at her memory: it didn't have long to take hold, however, another lightning-fast blow blurring towards her through the dark...
Another Swift Attack in return.
[roll0] - missed (she jams her fist? :smalltongue:)
[roll3] - hit
[roll4] - dodged
Some of the ratings gave Tychon an odd look when he asked after Enoch – perhaps it was the man he was asking for, or perhaps it was his non-uniform clothes making him a stranger in the underdecks. Either way, he eventually found the man he was looking for, suspended by a precarious-looking harness from the roof of one of the cramped corridors. He was working on some kind of fixture in the ceiling, re-tightening a bolt with a big iron spanner: warm, stale water vapour leaked from the pipe in which it sat, bathing both Tychon and the voidsman in a pale, fluttering pall of mist.
Hearing Tychon approach, he looked down. Enoch’s face was broad and wrinkled like a toad’s: white sideburns framed a wide, flabby-lipped mouth, missing two front teeth on his upper jaw. His gnarled, hands were almost as big as his face, calloused fingers speaking of a lifetime’s hard work: below his right knee, something that was little more than a stumpy cylinder of metal served as a prosthetic leg.
“What can I do you for, mishter?” he called down, seeing Tychon looking up at him. He tugged on a pulley, and the harness dropped him back to the deck with a quiet metallic zzzzip, human foot and metal peg-leg striking the plating with a simultaneous clang. “You don’t look like a shtoker, if you don’t mind my shaying.”
2011-04-04, 10:37 AM
Jericus selected the entry three down from the latest and started reading.
OOC: I may not be able to respond to posts over the next three days.
2011-04-04, 08:02 PM
Irritated at the way the fight was going, Nova feinted a strike at her opponent's gut and followed with a kick, hoping to throw her foe off and actually connect with a blow for once.
Half action: Feint.
Nova's WS: [roll0] vs. 38
Other woman's opposed WS roll: [roll1]
If Nova wins, her opponent can't dodge/parry Nova's next attack.
Standard unarmed attack:
To-hit: [roll2] vs. 38
EDIT: Well, I get the feeling that did no damage, but at least a successful unarmed strike gives fatigue.
2011-04-05, 01:45 AM
"Don't just stand there, get the others out here!" Ignace cried as he ducked back into the lighter, grabbing Red and dragging the man out of the hatch. Doing his best not to drown the other man or himself, he hoisted the unconscious guardsman onto one of the logs he had managed to gather.
2011-04-05, 09:58 AM
"No sir, not a stoker. Just a man." Smiling in what he hoped was a disarming way, Tychon considered his next words. "Tell me, do you know much about what goes on down here? I'm looking for a few old friends, you see, heard they'd been assigned to this ship as ratings. Since I found myself travelling aboard, I thought I'd look them up."
Nova's attack caught the stranger off-guard, landing a solid kick to the inside of her right leg. The woman fell back against the wall of the cave mouth under the blow. As Nova closed the distance, the intruder kicked out with her left, her bare foot driving hard into the assassin's stomach. Nova felt the air being driven out of her, stumbling away with a winded gasp...
The woman takes a level of fatigue from your hit, and makes an All-Out Attack to compensate.
Looks to me like two wounds to the body, and a level of fatigue for Nova. Note that she's regenerated what she lost the previous day by resting, so she's only at one level at present.
”Aye, ‘sh that sho?” said Enoch, his face a deadpan mask. “Well, I reckon you’ve come t’ the right man. Been a voidshman of the Inshtigator man and boy, I have, and there’s precioush few down here ain’t known to me.”
He raised his tufty white eyebrows. “Who’d it be that you’re lookin’ for?”
Pitching in with a will, the pilot began clumsily unbuckling Jericus from his seat as Ignace returned for Nova. In the far corner of the Arvus’ cabin, Jericus’ cyber-owl seemed to have been disturbed by the sudden influx of water, hopping out of the dark with an irritable whir of augmetic servos.
The pilot’s movements seemed somewhat sluggish: perhaps he was still affected by the after-effects of his wound. Nonetheless, they managed to haul their comrades out of the crashed shuttle, slinging their unconscious forms over the floating logs that Ignace had fetched. As Tychon was manhandled out of the hatch, the mud beneath the lighter gave a bubbling gurgle, fat, wobbling bubbles rising to the surface. The swamp gave a silty belch and the battered craft began to slide down into the mire, stagnant water pouring into the cabin like a waterfall as the hatch sank out of sight. It stopped with its turbines just breaking the surface, a strangely sorrowful spectacle.
The cyber-owl settled on Jericus’ unconscious back with a flutter of dark feathers, augmented eyes turning to focus silently on Ignace. On the muddy islands around them, the high cycad trees swayed gently in the breeze, their ferny crowns breaking the ragged shrouds of mist that hung over the swamp: on a floating piece of driftwood not too far off, one of the spindly-legged scavengers darted out of sight, just a pair of thread-like feelers still waving above its mouldering cover.
The screen buzzed weakly into life – as the image cleared, Jericus found himself looking down at the grainy face of a woman, speaking directly to a camera. She looked to be in her late forties, her face made up of sharp, clean lines, and she spoke with an educated tone – where her accent was from, Jericus couldn’t place.
“...an unfortunate accident today,” the recording began. “As I thought, they’re exhibiting... extreme predatory instincts. Raukov was badly hurt, and now the council are questioning the whole programme.” She rubbed her eyes with her hands. “No doubt they’ll want us to turn the space back over to vat-grown agriculture. Never mind actual research...”
She cut herself off, assuming a more formal tone.
“Observation. We had to kill the one that attacked Raukov: on its death, the others all displayed extremely heightened aggression. Cutter said the corpse smelt rank; we should test the filtration units to see if there is a pheromonal component to this behaviour.”
From somewhere off-camera, a voice was calling.
“Log entry ends,” she said, quickly, and the screen clicked off.
2011-04-05, 10:52 AM
Drudging through his recent memory, Tychon gave two names he had noticed on the ends of the billets, stenciled there like Gaur's had been. These two he didn't care about, he just needed names to pad out his request.
"Oh," He said at the end, almost as an afterthought, "And Gaur, of course. Younger man."
"Gaur?" said Enoch, looking up sharply. "Ain't you heard? Poor lad went misshin', not too long ago." He shook his head. "Blackholders got 'im. Shome shay."
2011-04-05, 12:18 PM
"No sir, I didn't. I only made the connection about the ship this morning, and had only just come down from above." Tychon shook his head. "I had been hoping to speak with him again. You say the, ah, 'blackholders' got him?"
2011-04-05, 01:07 PM
Despite the pain and lack of breath causd by her foe's attack, Nova wasted no time trying to capitalize on the opening the other woman had given her.
Full action: Swift attack
Unarmed strike 1: [roll0] vs. 28 WS (38 -10 for fatigue)
Unarmed strike 2: [roll2] vs. 28 WS
No chance for her to dodge either due to all out attack.
EDIT: Spending a fate point to re-roll the first attack; rolling in the OOC thread.
EDIT the second: Still failed. :smallyuk:
...And promptly realised just how much the hit had thrown her off.
Enoch nodded. “The blackholdersh, the Ghils, call ‘em what you wantsh.” He paused. “Leasht, that’sh the word in the shcuttlebutt. Terrible tragic, but it happens, eh? Ain’t a force in the wide world that can shtop Fate puttin’ its mark on a man, and that’sh a copper-bottomed fact.”
Catching Nova's leg in mid-kick, the intruder threw her savagely to the ground, the assassin hitting the cavern floor in a slew of sand. Trying to regain her feet, she went down hard as the young woman cannoned into her, using all her weight as her weapon: rolling over and over over the dusty rocks, she felt the stranger's hands reaching for her throat.
All-Out Attack, going for a grapple.
[roll0] - hit
[roll1] - grappled!
2011-04-06, 01:48 PM
With a bit of luck and strength born of desperation, Nova threw off her foe and sprang to her feet before delivering another series of strikes. If this doesn't work, the blades are coming out...
Unarmed Strike 1: [roll0] vs. 28
Enemy Dodge: [roll1]
Unarmed Strike 2: [roll3] vs. 28
Enemy Dodge: [roll4]
Nova's final blow connected solidly, bloodying her opponent's nose and smashing the woman's head backwards. Stumbling back against the mouth of the cave, she lashed out with a flurry of wild blows, fighting like a wildcat in a corner.
You've done 2 wounds and inflicted another level of fatigue - and I've realised just now that I dropped the ball with her earlier hit against Nova. I deducted armour but not TB - Nova should be at full wounds. Many apologies!
Anyway, have a Swift Attack.
Two bad misses.
2011-04-06, 03:30 PM
Hoping to take down the other woman before luck turned against her, Nova attempted to counter the incoming blows with more strikes of her own.
S'alright, at this point it's more a battle of 'who can stack fatigue the fastest'. :smallbiggrin:
Two more unarmed strikes:
Strike 1: vs. 28
Enemy dodge: [roll]1d100
Strike 1: [roll2] vs. 28
Enemy dodge: [roll]1d100
EDIT: Aaaaaannnddd I screwed up the end tags on the dodge rolls. Rolling the dodge vs. the second attack in OOC.
2011-04-06, 07:01 PM
"You've got that right." Tychon set his jaw in a look of determination. "What do they blackholders do?"
”Horrible thingsh, mishter. Wouldn’t like to shurmishe. Wouldn’t like to con-jechure. Emperor knowsh, there’sh little enough to eat down there.”
He leaned against the bulkhead wall.
“I wouldn’t wish that on my worsht enemy,” he said. There was the slightest of pauses. “Not unlesh he’d done shomethin’ really worth hatin’ ‘im for.”
OOC: Not sure about how to work your OOC questions in here.
Breathing heavily, the woman broke off, backing up into the cold night. Her tangled hair hung down in front of her face, matted with sweat. Her whole body was still tensed, ready to pounce.
“Thief!” she spat, between two sucking gulps of air...
Disengage, back towards the cave entrance.
2011-04-07, 08:20 AM
"I see..." The gunslinger's expression darkened further, as he considered the implications. The next words out of his mouth were a pair of questions, designed to figure out both where to look next, and what any other possibilities might be. "Where are the darkholders? Have you heard anything else that might explain Gaur vanishing?"
OOC: doesn't matter anymore. I have put them here now. With adjustments!
2011-04-07, 10:35 AM
Red waited patiently until the corpse made it to the deckplates before carefully extricating the mutilated body of Provost Kobb from the chains.
"Broken neck, looks like." Red said matter-of-factly and seemingly to himself.
Then, with a sudden flash of realization, the Guardsmen scanned the room, searching for the Provost's unattended Ironclaw.
The shotgun lay unattended on the ground, its muzzle half-concealed behind one of the shell carriages.
“Whoever done this, they must have had a powerful strength,” said Jones, quietly. He looked around with a fearful wariness. “Here... you don’t think they might still be here?” He glanced between Milon and Red. “Hiding, like.”
Enoch looked askance at Tychon.
“You ain’t a reg’lar traveller, then, mishter?” he said. “The black holdsh ish the part of the ship what no-one ushesh no more. The bilgesh, down below.” He tugged on his harness. “Mosht every ship ‘ash got ‘em. And mosht every ship ‘ash trogsh, livin’ down in the dark below. Thingsh like that... acc-u-mulate.”
His matey demeanour seemed to have cooled a bit. “If that’sh all you were sheekin’ me out for, I’ve got thish ‘ere vent to fix. Always nishe to meet a passhenger, shir, but musht be gettin’ back to me duty.”
2011-04-07, 04:40 PM
Jericus selected the next timestamp, hoping the logs would provide some information about what disappeared the locals.
2011-04-07, 04:45 PM
"Technique could have been used to supplement strength, but..." Red started, before biting his lip and nodding slightly.
"As for if the killer is still here, we can't assume anything other than the killer is dangerous. Stay frosty, as they say in the Rifles."
After that short observation, Red walked across the room to police the fallen provost's weapon, and inspected the deckplates for any spent casings before methodically ejecting each shell loaded in the weapon, counting off each in his head as he did so.
2011-04-07, 06:23 PM
"Well, this is wonderful. No map, few supplies, no way of contacting the ship. Any ideas?"
The screen crackled again, and the woman’s face reappeared.
“The decision is in,” she said, morosely. “All the specimens to be euthanised, as dangers to the community.”
She muttered something under her breath.
“The Councilmen are already on their way, and the expeditionaries with them.” She produced a covered clipboard of tattered-looking notes, flipping it open. “Herein follow my final observations. Point one: the pheromone alarm signal.”
From somewhere behind her, there was a sound of breaking glass, a sudden bark of gunfire, and a curtailed scream. The woman leapt to her feet, knocking over the stool on which she was sitting as she turned to face the direction of the noise: the vid-log fizzed and snapped off.
”We need to get our bearings,” said the pilot, slurring his words slightly. “If we can get above this mist... we ought to be able to see the plateau at least. And the old settlement shouldn’t be too far away.”
Holding himself above water with his arms slung over Ignace’s makeshift raft, he blinked hard. Somewhere out over the swamp, something went plish.
“Is it just me... or is this humidity making you feel tired as well?”
There were no signs that the Ironclaw had been fired. Clearing, Milon stepped forwards.
“Well, there’s nowhere else they could have gone. I say we start questioning the gunners. That is, unless you’d rather start with me,” he said, with a tone somewhere between chagrin and annoyance.
“That’s not... quite true, sir,” said Garrow, slowly. Milon looked around at him.
“What do you mean?”
“They could have got out.”
Slowly, Red and the others’ eyes followed Garrow’s. The provost was looking at the munitions lift itself, descending into darkness far below as it plunged down into the magazine. The hatch doors were locked open.
“We’re seein’ the empty shell cage up here,” said the Provost quietly, “but when one goes up, the other goes down...”
2011-04-07, 07:35 PM
"Thank you for your help, sir." Tychon wondered at the change in the man's personality. "I'll let you get back to work."
As he walked away, he stopped around the nearest corner and leaned on the wall, thinking to himself.
And thank you very much for not answering my other question, Enoch.
The Blackholders would need investigating, but for now he may as well hang around, see if the fellow did anything suspicious.
2011-04-07, 09:55 PM
"Not really." Ignace said, beginning the long hard slog forwards, dragging the others behind him. He didn't know where dry land would be, so he decided to go in the direction the lighter had been pointing at.
2011-04-08, 08:17 AM
Jericus played the most recent of the recordings, glancing back over shoulder to make sure the three doors were still definitely closed.
The last recording started with a crackle and blurt of static: as the interference cleared, he saw a man’s face, quite different from the woman who had come before. For one thing, it was streaked with blood and grime.
“This is Councilman Jerrall, and this message is for anyone who finds it, if we don’t make it through,” he said, breathing heavily. “We’ve managed to fight our way in here, but it’s only a matter of time before they break through. The more of them you kill, the angrier they get.”
He looked over his shoulder. There were people moving about in the back field, rendered blurry by the old, cracked screen: some of them clearly had guns.
“The cages... failed. They can jump like fleas.” He swallowed. “We didn’t know that. They got the doctor, and none of us know how to operate her damned machines. Antigonus is going to make a run for the landing strip, and we’re giving him a copy of these tapes to take to Fillianstown. Marcus thinks they’re already in the trees, but it’s the only hope we have.”
He paused again.
“The supply plane can’t carry us all, so the rest of us are staying here,” he said, quietly. “They’ve secreted... some kind of structure in unit two. We don’t know what it is, but the expeditionaries think we might have enough bullets to reach it. It’s better than waiting for them to break in.”
He looked around at a sound of muffled voices from off-screen.
“We’re the only ones left. If anyone finds this, please – warn the other settlements. Before it’s too late.” The speaker coughed. “Goodbye.”
Looking round, Jericus found his eyes drawn inexorably to the greenhouse doors. Over each one of them, faded numbers had been stencilled... one, two and three.
The swamp seemed to stretch out in all directions – there were ‘dry’ banks of mud that rose above the water level, on which the cycads grew, but they were only islands in the marsh. Shreds of fog rolled between their trunks, giving the whole place a ghostly air.
Pushing the raft along, they propelled themselves through the soupy water. The pilot seemed almost as much of a dead weight as a help, although he was clearly trying: his movements were slow and sluggish, and growing more so. Jericus’ owl just perched on Jericus’ back, watching their struggles with a mechanical indifference. All around, the insects chirped, their voices filling the air with shrill, inhuman noise.
“Say,” panted the pilot, draping his weight over the raft to rest for a moment. “That tree there, or... fern, or whatever it damn well is.” He pointed to one of the towering cycads that stood proud of the marsh water. “I’m fairly sure it’s the tallest around here. You much of a climber?” He looked round at Ignace. “We might be able to get a proper heading, from up there.”
Tychon could hear Enoch working for a while, until his work was done – then, with a zip and rattle of metal, the man let himself down, undoing his harness and squirreling it away into its bag. Superstitiously knocking the plating of the wall with his knuckles, the old voidsman sloped away in the opposite direction, echoing footsteps receding down the hallway...
2011-04-08, 12:11 PM
Jericus decided that, logically, whatever killed the colonists wouldn't still be behind door two. And that any of whatever they were would be investigating the far more interesting shuttle. Still. There was probably somewhere safer to sit. He attempted to download the remaining recordings onto his dataslate, and made his way out towards the water tower.
2011-04-08, 01:34 PM
Red reloaded the Ironclaw he had emptied and presented it to the lieutenant.
"Your partner was taken by surprise. I can only hope you're more vigilant next time." he delivered, holding Milon's eyes with his most serious gaze.
"If the bay is secured from exit, we're all going up topside, if not, well, I'm taking volunteers to hunt up there with me. Everybody else can stay here and question the ratings." Red commanded briskly, without pausing between orations. "No less than two guns, in either direction. Combat Zone discipline."
2011-04-08, 05:01 PM
While thankful for the momentary breather, Nova was sure the woman was going to try and charge her again. Heading off that issue, she drew her pistol and pointed it at the woman.
"You're rather spry for someone who was dying of heatstroke this afternoon. If all you want is your staff back, you can have it. Otherwise, get out."
Quick draw of the stub pistol, delayed action to fire a shot if she attacks Nova.
The woman’s eyes fixed on the pistol. She swallowed thirstily.
“You’ve got water,” she said. “I want it.”
Milon took the gun, nodding to Red. “First sensible thing you’ve said.”
He looked over his shoulder. “The men here passed the prayer test. I think we can leave them safely. Garrow, seal the battery entrance.”
The Provost strode over to the wall, flipping open a panel and punching in an authorisation code. A symbol blinked on a letterbox screen, and Milon stepped over, producing a slim brass key. The dock in the keypad accepted it: from the direction they had come, there was a heavy pneumatic slam of blast doors.
“Ready when you are, Sergeant.”
OOC: Can you tell me how combat zone discipline works so that I don’t make any mistakes in updating for the NPCs?
The jolt of power Jericus had given the system was already fading: he managed to extract the data before it gave up the ghost, stashing his dataslate away under his robes.
Outside, the water tower stood behind the back left corner of the greenhouses. It was remarkable that it was still standing, the metal struts that supported it by now practically rusted through. The water it had contained had long since eaten its way through the bottom, stalactites of rust hanging from the underside of the lofty drum: up one side of the corroded edifice, a precarious-looking ladder ascended vertically to a walkway around the container, perhaps five metres above the tops of the highest cycads of the forest.
From Jericus’ right, among the moss-crusted hothouses, there was a rustle of vegetation and a quiet chink – the chime of glass striking glass.
2011-04-08, 06:22 PM
Nova frowned. "I gave you water earlier today; now there's not much left. Certainly not enough for both of us."
The stranger’s eyes were not on Nova’s face. She was tracking the movements of the pistol’s barrel with the intent stare of a viper waiting to strike. Nova had the feeling that if it weren’t for the firearm, she might already be under attack again.
“You took my stick,” she said, simply. There was something strange about her voice – Nova felt as if she should recognise it, but she could not place the memory at all. Still watching the gun, the intruder took a step backwards from the cave entrance, circling to the left.
2011-04-08, 07:10 PM
Though thrown off a bit by the odd feelings of recognition, a bemused look crossed Nova's face at the other woman's accusations. "And if you had had anything else worthwhile I would have taken it too. It is only rarely that the dying get back up and demand the return of their possessions."
Still maintaining a delay action.
2011-04-09, 06:02 AM
Jericus pulled his grapnel launcher from his side, and fired it at the top of the water tower.
2011-04-09, 07:33 AM
Doing his level best to remain unnoticed, Tychon rounded the corner again, walking along after the voidsman at an unhurried pace. His hands remained stuck in his coat pockets, the gunslinger managing to look completely disinterested in where he was going.
The grapnel fired with a puff of pressurised gas. Its hook arced up into the air, catching over the rail of the rusted walkway high above. A firm tug showed that the grapnel’s grip was secure.
Detaching himself from the shadows, Tychon hurried after his quarry as nonchalantly as he could. It was a challenge to keep up with the voidsman without being seen: Enoch seemed to know every in and out of the underdecks, clambering through narrow hatches and down vertical ladders like a monkey. More than once, Tychon lost his way completely, finding it again only by the man’s habit of rapping his knuckles on the bulkheads as he passed them. More than once, Tychon suspected the old fellow had seen him.
Enoch seemed to be heading into narrower and narrower spaces, the corridors of the Instigator’s gut through which they were walking increasingly run-down and cramped. Having seen Enoch turn a corner up ahead, Tychon heard a loud metallic clang from out of sight. Approaching cautiously, he saw that the voidsman had vanished: set in the floor around the sharp bend in the corridor was a large circular manhole, opened by a rusty wheel. Yellow and black hazard markings were traced around its perimeter, and on the wheel itself, a heavy locking mechanism had been clamped in place.
It was now unlocked.
”I was just resting,” replied the woman, like a sulking child. “I’m not a weakling.”
She licked her cracked lips.
“So what are you going to do?” she asked, hoarsely. “Kill me?”
There was a disturbing edge of excitement to her voice.
2011-04-10, 08:20 AM
"Not much of a climber, but I don't need to be." Ignace said, pressing a single foot against the tree and pushing on it. Assuming the tree didn't try to fall over, he began to mutter under his breath, channeling a power.
Using Wall Walk to climb the tree.
[roll0] vs 8
2011-04-10, 09:14 AM
"All right, Enoch..." Loosening the holster clips on Judge and Jury, Tychon carefully stepped over to the large manhole, peering around for anyone who might be watching. "Let's see what you're hiding."
Doing his best once again to avoid noise, the gunslinger levered up the cover and narrowed his eyes to inspect whatever dark hole it concealed.
2011-04-10, 09:20 AM
Jericus pulled himself up, using the cable to support his weight as he climbed towards a better vantage point and somewhere presumably safer than the greenhouse. Even if they could jump like fleas, it had to be better than being fixated on a screen scant meters away from what presumably finished off the colonists.
2011-04-10, 06:26 PM
Red gave a quick, silent nod, face set grim and shouldering the shotgun.
"I'll take point, unless there are objections."
2011-04-11, 12:23 AM
Nova looked thoughtful for a moment, though her gun didn't waver from her target. "Well, since I have you around... how about answering some questions? Like, 'Who are you? How did you get here? And what kind of weak, stupid person thinks laying in the sun to rest is a good idea?'
Still delaying an action, just in case she attacks.
Milon nodded to Jones, and the Provost threw a heavy knife-switch that started the automated pulley going with a rattle of chains. As the mechanism began dredging up the shell-lift from the depths, the lieutenant turned back to Red.
“I’m going to have to ask that you disarm your las-weapon, sergeant. Macrocannon shells are pretty durable things, but it doesn’t pay to take chances with the ship’s magazine.” He looked to the others. “That goes for the rest of you too, if you’re carrying anything other than an Ironclaw. Shock batons forward.”
As the grapnel took his full weight, the railing on which it was caught bent through about twenty degrees with a sharp groan of rusted iron. Stopping, Jericus watched and waited – the rail didn’t bend any further, however, and the tech-priest raised himself carefully to the top. He tried not to put any additional strain on the rail as he clambered over it and onto the decrepit platform on the other side. One side of the water-tower’s drum had given way completely, a rust-rimmed gash in the metal cylinder leading into a dark, empty cavern within.
Below him, the forest stretched away in all directions, an impenetrable carpet of green from horizon to misty horizon. To the north, he could see a rocky plateau breaking the canopy of the endless jungle, its limestone flanks catching the sun – and away to the east, much closer to and just nosing above the tree-tops, the skeletal remains of what looked like an air control tower. A weather-beaten satellite dish with several missing panels was still standing at the top of the distant structure, craned up towards the sky. It stood perhaps three kilometres out from the settlement, waiting faithfully for a signal that would never come.
The pilot watched in mute wonder as Ignace walked straight up the scaly trunk of the towering cycad. The man quickly shrank beneath him, the psyker doing his best not to look down: rising into the ferny canopy, he lost sight of the ground, climbing towards the very summit.
Pushing aside one great green veil of a leaf, he made to keep climbing – and stopped. As green as the leaves, and clustered so densely over the surface of the cycad’s upper reaches that for a moment he had taken them as part of the plant, there were creatures – insects as large as terriers, with bloated tear-drop abdomens and spindly, clutching legs. Their antennae rotated gently from side to side as they shuffled amongst each other, legs rubbing knee to knee: one turned a triangular head with small, wide-set eyes towards him as it sensed him approach, staring with the docile imbecility of a farm animal.
They had unnervingly long, sharp proboscises. As Ignace watched, one of them stabbed its mouthparts deep into the flesh of the cycad, beginning to suck sap from its host with a great sucking, pumping noise. To get past them, he would either have to clear a path or tread them underfoot...
The stranger looked at her long and hard – Nova could see her bristle at her barb about ‘weak, stupid people’.
“Give me back my stick,” she said, very quietly. “Give me back my stick, and I’ll tell you.”
The manhole swung open with an echoing clang. Peering down to see what lay beneath, Tychon saw a cylindrical shaft descending into darkness. Studded along its sheer side was vertical row of steel rungs – a ladder.
The shaft was black as night: Tychon could not make out the bottom, nor any sign of Enoch...
2011-04-11, 11:13 AM
Sighing inwardly, and checking to make sure his lamp pack was in his pocket, Tychon swung himself over the edge of the hole and on to the ladder, making his way down slowly and testing each foothold to ensure he didn't fall in the dark. As he descended, he listened carefully for any sign of where Enoch might be.
2011-04-11, 04:11 PM
Red wordlessly complied with the LT's request by ejecting the power pack from his lasgun and sliding it smoothly into one of his ammo pouches.
2011-04-11, 11:58 PM
An amused grin appeared on Nova's face. "Yes, I'm going to hand a melee weapon to the deranged, dehydrated psychotic that I'm holding at gunpoint. That will end well."
But that odd feeling of familiarity was still in the back of her mind, so...
"But I can be merciful: Tell me who you are, where you came from, and where you're heading, and I'll let you have your staff back. And maybe even some water if you're being honest."
The woman stared back at Nova in sullen silence. There were a few, long seconds of quiet.
“Aevon,” she said, at last. “My name’s Aevon.” She paused again. “I came from the north, and I’m going south. There’s water there.”
With a rattling thunk, the shell-lift rose into view. Drawing matt-black shock sticks, the Provosts stepped onto it, Milon and Red following after.
“Lower away,” said the lieutenant. Jones threw the switch again, and the lift began to descend.
It had not been designed with human comforts in mind. The lights of the munitions chamber receding behind them, they descended into blackness, riveted metal rushing past them on all sides. There was a rattle of steel that rose to a roar as the counterweight lift rose past them, its jangling ascent dying away again as they left it behind.
After what seemed far too long, the light returned: Red blinked as their headlong descent slowed, the shell-lift rattling out into an open bay. Before them stretched a dingy hall easier larger than any space he had seen on Guytoga – it reminded him of the Vault on Prol, though the ceiling did not soar to such impossible heights as it had done in the Library.
Rows upon rows of shells stood like regimented forests of metal, each as large as a battle-tank. The dim lighting cast shadows of red and amber from their killing curves, throwing into sharp relief the elaborate scrollwork that worked around the edges of their explosive caps. Conveyor belts that looked as if they might have been hacked together from Baneblade tracks wound between the towering aisles, loading mechanisms standing still and silent as the great chains that hung from the ceiling swung slowly with the movement of the ship. The dark rows of munitions extended beyond the limit of vision to the left and right. In all that vast space, not a soul seemed to stir: the only sound was the long, slow creaking of the hull, and their own breathing.
“Pullings and Flyte, with Sergeant Red. Garrow and Jones, with me,” said Milon, quietly. He stepped off the lift. “Remember, shock-sticks first, ironclaws only in an emergency. We all remember the wreck of the Cowl.”
He turned to Red.
“If you would take the left-hand side, Sergeant, we’ll take the right.”
Lowering onto the ladder, Tychon climbed down, down, down into the dark. The dim light of the manhole shrunk to a point overhead, silent shadows swallowing him whole. Inching down through the blind darkness, he could hear the dripping of water and the slow creak of the hull, its long, moaning echoes rumbling through the thick plating on the very edge of hearing.
As he neared the bottom, he became aware of a faint light – faint, but brighter than that speck of corridor lighting that still remained overhead. It was green and sickly, and swayed slowly – putting his boots down on a solid deck-plate, he turned to look at it.
He was in a cramped hold, pipes and vents weaving over his head in a rusted confusion of metalwork. Stacked to the low ceiling to the right of the ladder were corroded ration-barrels – although ‘stacked’ was probably the wrong word, as they lay in more of a tumbled heap, most of them seeming to have rusted through or been broken open long ago. A ship’s rat watched him from the top of its corroded castle, dragging a thorny, pustule-bubbled tail behind it.
To the left, a black tunnel led away into the dark, drowned in shadows so dark that Tychon could barely see the walls. It was from the end of the tunnel that the light was emanating – swaying from a mount in the ceiling, what looked like a lantern swung to and fro at the farthest reach of vision, shedding light from what looked like a ball of luminescent mould. It looked like there was another chamber beyond the tunnel: straining his eyes, Tychon thought he could make out what looked like a skinny, seated figure, directly beneath the swaying lantern. If the man knew he was there, he gave no sign of it, his silhouetted back to the gunslinger...
2011-04-12, 09:54 AM
Seeing the light, Tychon held off on activating his lamp pack. He may need it for later, and he didn't want to alert the seated figure. Instead, he drew Executioner, the silencer screwed in place on the weapon's barrel his insurance against detection. It wouldn't do much to muffle the report if he fired, but it was certainly better than nothing. Creeping along down the hallway, Tychon attempted to get a better look at whoever it was sitting there.
2011-04-12, 09:59 AM
Red swept the lamp-pack's beam all over his assigned aisle to include the overhead, hands clutching the Ironclaw firmly.
"Nothing to do but go forth," Red commented to nobody in particular as he proceeded to do so.
2011-04-12, 11:52 PM
Nova backed toward her gear slowly, the gun still on Aevon, and retrieved the staff. My training says I should kill her; after all, this planet is off limits and she's a threat to me. On the other hand, perhaps I can get something more out of her first. And if she attacks me, well, a staff doesn't stop bullets.
"'The north' is rather generic. Where from, exactly? And where did you learn to fight like that?" Nova asked as she casually tossed the staff to the other woman one handed, keeping the pistol trained as best as she could.
Still maintaining a delayed action.
2011-04-13, 02:56 AM
Gritting his teeth, Ignace continued walking forwards. His only real method of dealing with the creatures would attract far too much attention. And possibly destroy the tree.
Gritting his teeth, Ignace put his best foot forwards, looking straight up and trying to ignore the pop, squish of insects underfoot. The great aphids shuffled out of his path, but they were packed as close as commuters on a hive transit, and the crackling sounds of breaking chitin continued under the psyker’s steps.
Yellow, glue-like ichor still adhering to the bottom of his boots, Ignace reached the top of the tree, pulling himself up through swaying fronds to the cycad’s crown. Pushing the curving green boughs aside, he looked out over the forest canopy.
Sure enough, he was above the level of the mist – he could see the great veils of vapour lifting from the carpet of vegetation beneath him, rising to mingle with the low clouds like the silvery reflections of a burning oil-field. In every direction, a mass of verdant greenery stretched away into the clouds, the terrain seeming to rise on a gentle, curved incline to the south-east.
In one place, the endless forest was broken: to the north, a rocky plateau soared clear of the canopy, its crumbled limestone cliffs catching the sun with brilliant, rosy reflections. Squinting his eyes to focus on it, Ignace caught sight of something else: a dark shape just visible above the tangle of the trees, it was the rusted skeleton of a water tower. It didn’t look too far off – perhaps an hour’s march, if you could keep your bearing.
He found his eyes being drawn back to the plateau. Winding up through its rocky flanks, he thought he could make out the traces of a path, leading up to the thin fuzz of green that clung to the clifftops.
He blinked sharply. A feeling of weariness was stealing over him, subtle but swift... and somewhere beneath his conscious mind, his psyker’s sixth sense was twitching uncomfortably. There was something wrong about this place, something treacherous – and it was emanating from those distant cliffs.
The seated figure didn’t stir as Tychon approached. The fungus lantern was the only source of light in the dark hold, and it was placed such as to put the seated man in silhouette: details were difficult to discern.
Approaching as close as he could be sure of remaining concealed, Tychon stopped a few yards short of where the tunnel opened out into the lantern room. To come any closer would be to step into the light...
Spreading out through the darkness, the two security teams headed in their opposite directions, Milon’s group quickly vanishing into the red-lit gloom. Keeping careful track of his own teammates, Red led the way through the aisles of shells, watching every shadow for any sign of movement. For now, the magazine seemed silent, the only sound the echoes of their own footsteps.
They had penetrated perhaps a hundred yards from the lift when it happened: a sudden thump shook the walls, followed by the grinding of immense gears, heavy machinery roaring into life. Looking around, Red saw the nearest of the great conveyor belts judder into life, its black surface slithering into motion as the wheels beneath it began to turn with deep rumbles of metal. By the sounds echoing around the magazine, the others were stirring as well.
Pullings tried to say something, but his voice was drowned under the growling of the machines. The Provosts gathered close to Red, stopping their advance as their eyes warily searched the darkness around them.
Rising out of the dark, a new sound punctuated the tooth-shaking rumble of the conveyors. It was a piercing, human scream – and it came from the direction Milon and his team had departed in.
”Why should I tell you?” retorted Aevon with a sullen snap. “You’d only forget.”
Catching her staff, she took a step back towards the entrance of the cave. Seeing the pistol still trained on her, she seemed to relent a little.
“We crashed,” she mumbled, one bare foot playing in the dust – the sand seemed deeper there, the bare rock of the cavern no longer visible. She reached down to touch it with her fingers. “Our ship came down in the desert, and –“
With a sudden movement, she seized a handful of sand, flinging it towards Nova’s face. Turning on one foot, she sprang with lightning agility out into the open night, trying to put the solid rock of the cavern mouth between herself and Nova’s bullets.
OOC: Feel free to take your readied action.
Making himself as comfortable as he could, Jericus took a seat on the rusted walkway, looking down over the settlement. Overhead, the blazing sun tracked its way across the sky, its light beginning to redden as it sank towards the horizon. Eagle-sized dragonflies flitted across the scene of the settlement below, seeming to increase in numbers as the day faded to dusk. Perched on the rusty rail, Minerva watched them come and go: if it weren’t for the fact that the animal had been purged of the capacity for feeling, Jericus could have sworn she looked wary of the great insects.
There was a shattered hole in the glass roof of the central greenhouse. As Jericus watched, one of the dragonflies alighted on its edge, looking down into the misty interior like an osprey watching a river.
With a sudden flutter of diaphanous wings, the dragonfly swooped, disappearing behind the crusted glass. There was a second’s silence, and then a keening, insectile scream echoed out over the deserted settlement, like a whistling kettle. The other dragonflies took wing, flitting away from the source of the sound: the one that had swooped did not re-emerge.
From Jericus’ right, there was a quiet whir of focussing rings as Minerva turned her head slowly to look at him – then back to the scene below.
2011-04-13, 07:16 AM
Jericus sighted down his autorifle at the hole, waiting to see if any further response was elicited from what dwelt within the greenhouse. "Now", he thought, "where can I get hold of some promethium"
2011-04-13, 07:25 AM
Standing on the outside of the lit room, as he was, Tychon did his best to inspect what he could see of the room from his current position. Once he was reasonably sure there was no one else immediately nearby, he glanced over his shoulder to ensure he hadn't been followed, and then looked over at the seated figure again.
Then, he stepped into the room.
If nothing happens: "Excuse me. You there."
2011-04-14, 12:44 AM
Not at all surprised by the turn of events, though somewhat thrown off yet again by the other woman's odd comments, Nova snapped off a shot before moving after the retreating Aevon, drawing her sword as she went.
Taking a shot with the stub:
Ballistic skill: [roll0] vs. 34 (34 base, -10 fatigue, assuming +10 for short range).
Enemy dodge: [roll1]
Damage: [roll2] Pen 0 Impact
If Nova's combat turn is up, she'll quick draw her bastard sword and charge; otherwise, ignore the following.
If Nova's full turn is up:
Charge attack: [roll3] vs. 58 (38 base, +20 Berserk Charge, +10 Best quality weapon, -10 fatigue)
Enemy dodge: [roll4]
Damage: [roll5] Pen 2 Rending
The silenced stub pistol snapped out, its muffled sound echoing between the rocky walls. Aevon saw the shot coming, twitching out of the bullet's path with a preternatural speed: Nova drew her sword in one fluid movement and charged after her, tumbling out into the cold desert night
Staff in hand, Aevon span to face her attacker, eluding the first powerful strike of Nova's sword. Hefting the sun-bleached length of wood, the woman whirled into the offensive with a feral yell, attacking with a reckless, bloodthirsty abandon.
The stub-pistol shot is dodged, the bastard sword misses.
Swift Attack: the staff counts as a club.
[roll0] - hit
[roll1] - dodged
[roll3] - missed
Nova repulsed her ferocious assault, the wild woman darting back out of the bastard sword's reach to ready her next attack. A momentary look of surprise crossed her face, and then it fell - dropping down a good six feet in one sudden movement, almost out of sight. She had stepped against the lip of the strange, conical depression Nova had noticed in the sand outside the cavern, and even now the ground she had been standing on was rolling down its steep side in a tiny, dusty avalanche.
Slewing to a halt halfway down, Aevon held still, one side coated in dust - the sandy walls of the hollow were loose, and inclined at such an angle that to disturb them with the force of climbing might send you sliding further down. Advancing carefully to the edge, Nova looked down at her: Aevon looked back up, her sun-burnt face darkening with anger as she realised how totally she was at the assassin's mercy.
At the very bottom of the pit, a patch of sand moved. Nova's eyes widened as she saw a thorny, segmented leg scrabble up from below, feeling blindly around - a pair of long, sabre-like mandibles were following it, their gape easily wide enough to shear a man in half. Clinging to the sand-trap's side, Aevon was still glaring defiantly up at her, ignorant of the creature that was stirring below...
Nothing further stirred beneath the roof of the greenhouse. The drained reactors, the rusted vehicles, the mouldering chapel – the whole settlement was still and silent, its quiet broken only by the chirping of insects in the forest beyond.
Glancing over his shoulder, Tychon tightened his grip on the gun, and stepped over the threshold.
"Excuse me," he said. "You there?"
He placed one hand on the man's shoulder - and recoiled as he felt the clammy, cold touch of rotten skin beneath his palm. The man in the chair slumped forwards out of his seat, revealing the emaciated, skull-like face of a long-dead corpse, a long, trailing wisp of beard still clinging to its bony chin.
Tychon stepped back - there was a sudden rush of feet from behind him, and he felt rough hands seize him, a heavy weight slamming into him from one side. He struggled, but ham-sized hands pinned his arms to his sides, others piling in to add their weight to the crush. They had been waiting behind the corners of the corridor exit, lurking in the shadows - three of them at least, and they stank. Writhing in their grip, he tried to catch a glimpse of his ambushers - but they pinned him to the floor, the animal reek of their proximity filling his nostrils.
"Thought you wash a rum one, mishter," came the echoing voice of Enoch - the voice was growing nearer, although Tychon could not lift his head to see. "You ought to know better'n go pryin' about where you're not wanted."
OOC: To give an account of the rolls: the first one was Concealment for these guys, the rolls in the OOC are them rushing you with a grapple. Thanks to the Surprise bonus and the outnumbering bonus that first roll is a hit, and the other two just assist. So, you are currently grappled by one guy, with two assisting him for the purposes of his tests.
2011-04-14, 08:34 AM
"Me, sir? I was looking for my friend. You suggested the darkholders might have taken him, where else was I supposed to look?" Tychon didn't struggle, for the moment. They had the upper hand right now and the gunslinger knew it, but that could change in a heartbeat and it looked like Enoch was calling the shots, for the moment. Instead he bided his time, waiting for just the right moment.
"'Courshe you wash," said Enoch. "Old friend like that, 'courshe you'd go lookin' for him. Shay, maybe we can shearch him out for you." The heavy hands kept Tychon pinned to the ground. "What colour did you shay hish hair wash?"
2011-04-14, 09:00 AM
"Back when I knew him, it was brown," Tychon guessed. "Haven't seen him for a while, though. Maybe he changed it. If it helps identify him, he was always carrying that flask of his around. The monogrammed one, though I reckon he scratched them letters on himself."
Enoch's voice came a little lower, approaching the level of his ear.
"You really have no idea where you are, do you?" said the voidsman, softly. He chuckled to himself. "Funny thing, you should shay hish hair wash brown. Our Mr Gaur wash from Dushk, if I remember rightly. Them Dushk-worldersh, all got black hair."
Whoever was holding Tychon down gave his arm a savage twist, pulling it up behind his back.
"Take 'ish gunsh," said Enoch, taking on a commanding tone. "I ain't takin' 'im anywhere armed."
OOC: Just a break in case you want to do anything at this juncture.
2011-04-14, 09:15 AM
"You ain't takin' me anywhere at all." With a sudden burst of effort, Tychon made to throw off his attackers and clamber to his feet. If he could just get to the tunnel, where they'd be limited in their ability to come at him, he stood a chance.
Whoever was holding him down was strong. He felt thick arms slam him to the deck, squashing his face against the corroded plating: someone else's thieving fingers were running over his body, snatching away his precious guns.
"Eashy there, Mishter Noshy," said Enoch. "Don't want to 'ave to 'urt you now, do we."
There was a hungry-sounding growl from somewhere very close behind Tychon's ear...
2011-04-14, 09:23 AM
"Sure you don't. Bastard." Despite his words, Tychon made no further attempts to escape. For now. He would need to wait and see what he could manage later.
2011-04-14, 10:03 AM
Red whipped to face the screams.
"Well, that's either our prey, a trap, or the good Lieutenant really doesn't like rats. Unless what you have to say is more important, Pullings, I recommend we proceed to double-time it over there." the Guardsmen said, slinging the shotgun and bringing his lasgun at arms as he spoke, cheerfully snapping in a power pack.
2011-04-14, 02:40 PM
Reacting quickly, Nova moved near the edge of the pit and kneeled down, being careful to get as solid a perch as she could. "Hold up your staff and I'll use it as leverage to help you climb out," she said, keeping her voice low. "Attempt to pull me in or anything similarly stupid, I'll let go and leave you to your new friend without even the mercy of a slug to the forehead."
Basically, going to try and help Aevon climb out of the pit before the ant lion wannabe becomes too active. If she tries to pull Nova in or anything stupid, Nova's going to let go and back off.
And a preliminary strength check for helping her out (assuming that's what I'd need to make:
[roll0] vs. 23 (base 33, -10 for fatigue)
EDIT: For the sake of not dramatically failing, I'm going to spend a fate point and re-roll that in OOC.
At 2/4 fate now.
At Nova’s words, Aevon looked slowly over her shoulder. The creature’s head lifted slowly out of the pit below her, spiny black bristles clogged with sand: two tiny black eyes stared back up at the human in the trap, mantrap jaws snapping like a pair of industrial shears.
Twisting round, Aevon held out the staff as far as she could - Nova caught hold of the end, trying to step back from the edge of the pit before heaving with all her strength. Aevon came a few staggering steps up the side of the hollow before the sloping wall cascaded away beneath her – suddenly bearing all of the woman’s weight, Nova found the staff wrenched from her hands, Aevon slithering back past her initial position and sliding to a halt perhaps a metre lower than before. She froze in place, not daring to move a muscle for fear of triggering another sand-slide.
The grox-sized arthropod strained its crook-backed neck, its prey still out of reach – for a moment, it seemed to concertina in on itself, then it flicked its jaws forwards, throwing a spray of sand towards the trapped woman. Aevon screwed her eyes shut against the hail of silica – it pattered against the side of the pit, drizzling back down towards the centre in thin veils of rolling grains. The tactic was clear – a lucky blast of sand could destabilise the sand she was resting on, and send her sliding down into the creature’s jaws.
Moving with glacial slowness, Aevon turned, and began to try and climb up the treacherous slope, testing her weight against each handhold before she dared to pull herself up...
Here are the mechanics of this challenge:
The wall of the pit is seven metres from top to bottom.
Aevon is currently three metres down from the top.
She can make Climb tests to scale the wall, as per the climbing rules in the rulebook – a successful Climb test moves her 2m up.
With the help of the staff, Nova can try to help pull her up if she is within 2m of the top. Each degree of success on a simple Strength Test pulls Aevon another metre towards the top.
Each degree of failure on either Aevon climbing or Nova assisting corresponds to the pit wall giving way and Aevon slithering 1m back down.
The Myrmeleon can flick sand once per turn, causing Aevon to have to take an Ag test to keep her footing. Failure corresponds to sliding down a number of metres equal to her degrees of failure.
With that in mind, Aevon tries to climb up:
And the Myrmeleon sprays sand: [roll1]
Aevon climbs 2m up, then slides 5m down, meaning she is 1m above the Myrmeleon's jaws...
Crawling up the side of the pit, Aevon began to make slow but steady progress, seeming remarkably light on her feet. Turning its head after her, the beast at the bottom flung another cloud of sand her way - this time, it worked, the wall beneath her dissolving in a soft, slithering avalanche. Digging her fingers into the side, Aevon clung on for dear life as she slid back down towards the waiting jaws, coming to a halt with the thing's mandibles snapping inches below the level of her toes - looking up to Nova, she fixed her with pleading eyes.
"The sword," she shouted. "Throw me the sword!"
”Sergeant!” cried Pullings, urgently. He stopped Red before he could go too far.
“The Lieutenant meant it, Sergeant,” he said, gabbling. “I can’t let you fire that in the magazine. Ironclaws only.” He looked fearfully into Red’s eyes. “You understand, a high-powered weapon like that... if you breach a shell-casing, you’d gut the Instigator’s starboard side.”
Flyte nodded vigorously in assent. “Also,” he said, with a certain emphasis, “vapourise us three. And the Lieutenant’s team.”
The gun thief stood up, taking Tychon’s precious pistols away with him.
“Very nishe, mishter. Very nishe craftshmanship.” His face still pressed to the deck, Tychon heard the clanking stump, stump of Enoch’s peg-leg circle round behind him, and felt Executioner’s familiar muzzle press lightly against the back of his skull.
“My friendsh here are goin’ to walk you somewhere. Now, are you goin’ to make trouble, mishter? ‘Cosh it sheemed jusht now like maybe you wash one for makin’ trouble.”
2011-04-14, 07:36 PM
"I ain't stupid, if that's what you're askin'. I know what that gun can do. more'n my life's worth to make trouble when you got it where you can't miss." At least now Tychon knew who was going to be holding the weapons. Enoch oughtn't be that hard to overpower, if he could only get the man alone.
2011-04-14, 07:51 PM
This is what I meant when I told the others I wanted a bigger gun for this mission!
"Here!" Nova said as she flipped the blade around and tossed toward Aevon, hilt first so the other woman had a better chance of catching it and hopefully far enough back that it wouldn't impact the side of the pit above her.
Realizing she couldn't help much from her current position, Nova moved a few meters around the edge of the pit and fired at the creature, hoping to distract it with her pistol.
Dropping the sword to Aevon, moving a half action around the side of the pit, and (if I still have an action to take, depending on what dropping something counts as) shooting a single shot at the beast.
Ballistic test: [roll0] vs. 34 (34 base, -10 fatigue, +10 short range) + whatever size modifier this thing might have.
Damage: [roll1] Pen 0 Impact
EDIT: Is it just me, or can I get great damage rolls but poor to-hit rolls?
2011-04-15, 01:29 AM
Shaking his head to clear it, Ignace fixed the location of the wrongness in his mind as he began to walk down the tree once more, doing his best not to step on too many of the insects. It was fairly obvious that the cause of their problems could be found on that plateau, and that was where they needed to go.
2011-04-15, 08:44 AM
"The trick is to not miss and end up hitting the shells." Red replied sulkily as freed the bayonet, slung the rifle, and tapped on his commbead.
"We heard screams. SITREP." he ordered curtly through the connection, free hand drawing the shotgun so he could replace the lamp pack with the cruel, monomolecular point.
”It’s Garrow!” crackled Jones’ voice in reply, sounding agitated in the extreme. “We’ve lost sight of him!”
Crunch, crunch. It was like walking on boiled sweets, if boiled sweets were full of yellow viscera.
Walking down the trunk of the tree, Ignace stepped forwards onto the ground, watching the world turn itself the right way up again. Looking round to where they had beached the stretcher-raft, he felt his heart sink as he caught sight of the pilot – the man had sunk down against the trunk of the great cycad, his eyes closed as if slipping away into a deep sleep.
The sense of unease he had felt in the treetops returned – and with it, the weariness, washing over him like an ocean wave. His eyelids felt heavy, a warm fuzz enveloping his brain – but his psyker’s senses were screaming, screaming that something was wrong...
OOC: Please take a WP test or gain a level of fatigue.
Daring to raise her hand from the sandy wall, Aevon snatched at the sword as it sailed through the air - she missed by a hand's breadth, the blade burying itself in the side of the pit beside her. Reaching over as quickly as she could, she seized a hold of the hilt - beneath her, the monster heaved up another sudden spray of sand, turning the wall of the hollow beneath her into a sliding morass. Digging in her heels to slow her descent, the woman only succeeded in raising a plume of dust behind her - raising the sword over the head, she hurtled down towards the waiting jaws with a wild cry...
Aevon makes an Easy Ag test to catch the sword: [roll0] - failed, thanks to fatigue.
If she catches it:
Aevon jumps down onto the Myrmeleon. I can’t seem to find rules for diving charges in the DH book (fairly sure they exist in WFRP), so I guess I’ll just count this as a charge.
The Myrmeleon attacks in reply:
If she doesn’t catch it:
Aevon spends a Half Action to pick up the fallen sword, then holds in place.
The Myrmeleon throws sand: [roll6] - looks like Aevon is sliding all the way down.
Enoch grunted. “Bag ‘im,” Tychon heard the toothless voidsman say – the next thing he knew, a foul-smelling sack had been jammed over his head, cutting out what little light the lumen-mould lantern was shedding.
Clammy hands hauled him to his feet. Spinning him roughly round to point him in the direction they wished to go, they began to push him down an unseen corridor.
OOC: Just pausing to check I can move you on from this point – or will Tychon try anything?
2011-04-15, 10:42 AM
Nova shot three more times in rapid succession, hoping to at least hurt the beast before Aevon reached the bottom of the pit.
Full round: Semi-auto fire with the stub auto.
Ballistic skill test: [roll0] vs. 44 (34 base, -10 fatigue, +10 short range, +10 semi-auto fire)
Damage 1: [roll1] Pen 0 Impact
Damage 2: [roll2] Pen 0 Impact
Damage 3: [roll3] Pen 0 Impact
2011-04-16, 06:59 PM
"Emperor on Earth, Provost!" Red cursed as he methodically slid the bayonet into place, "We're en route to your position, and any intel on the target would be appreciated."
Nova’s shots stippled the sand around the surfacing monster, barely seeming to trouble it – putting her weight onto her feet to accelerate her slide, Aevon came slewing down into the bottom of the pit, sword held high.
Swift attack from Aevon.
[roll0] - hit
[roll1] - 3 wounds
[roll2] - miss
Retaliatory attack from the Myrmeleon:
[roll4] - missed (just)
[roll6] (and you say you're good at rolling damage on misses :smalltongue:)
The scythe-like jaws swung wide - speeding down towards them, Aevon delivered a kick that threw the creature's head back, its scissoring mandibles snapping over her head as she went cannoning into it. Nova's borrowed sword stabbed out, piercing its mottled carapace with a distinct crack - the wound only seemed to make the creature angry, sand spilling from its bloated back as it scrabbled round to snap at Aevon again...
A sharp shove set Tychon staggered forwards – guarded by his rough-handed captors, he stumbled blindly through curling corridors, winding deeper into the black guts of the ship. The stale smell of age-marinated filth seemed to permeate the air, untreated by even the most rudimentary atmos-cyclers: it smelt of tin and ozone, the occasional waft of something more fetid and organic reaching Tychon’s nostrils.
When they had dragged him as deep into their labyrinth as they saw fit, they stopped: Tychon felt their hands jam him down onto a metal stool, jagged nails ripping the bag from his head. He was in a dark, empty space, as black as a grox’s gullet – a single, conical shaft of pale light shone horizontally from a porthole in the wall of the hold, piercing the blackness at shoulder-height. The darkness outside its beam was completely impenetrable, groaning with the slow creaking of the ship. Tychon could feel the decking was wet beneath his boots, and could hear the slow drip, drip of water somewhere nearby.
Clang, clang, clang. Someone was hammering on the metal wall, close by. There was the clank of a manual hatch, and soft footsteps approached, stopping out of sight behind the bright shaft of light.
“That you, yer honour?” came Enoch’s voice, from the same direction that the clanging clamour had come. The old voidsman sounded almost nervous. “Caught this one shpyin’ on me up above. Pokin’ around about the dishappeared ladsh, followed me down the port’ole.”
There was a long silence.
“’E ‘ad gunsh, yer honour.”
“You have searched him, then?”
The voice that replied was smooth, cultured – Tychon felt his heart quicken as he heard it, tones that had been seared into his memory striking their familiar chords.
“We took ‘ish weaponsh.”
“But he may have a wire,” replied the voice, calmly. “Search him again.”
He’s dead, asserted some part of Tychon’s brain, clinging to what it thought it knew. The Prophet is dead...
”I didn’t see it!” came the shout down the line. “I... I just heard him scream... and now he’s gone!”
Racing back through the aisles of shells, Red ducked under a rolling conveyor, Pullings and Flyte close behind him. Boots hammering the deck, they found Jones quickly enough – from their right, they heard Milon give a shout, yelling for them to come quick.
Turning one more corner around a colossal macro-shell, the four of them stumbled to a halt beside the Lieutenant. There in front of them, one of the conveyor belts had shuddered to a halt, heavy ordnance twitching on its back as it ground its gears in vain – and there, protruding from amidst the interlocking complexity of square-toothed wheels that moved the great belt, was a human hand, locked in a desperate claw at the end of a reaching arm. Blood was pooling beneath the belt, seeping down from where the rest of Provost Garrow lay trapped between the gears: even as they watched, the powerful mechanisms were breaking their temporary obstruction down, rumbling slowly back into motion as they crushed the mangled ribbon of a man between their adamantium teeth...
2011-04-16, 08:03 PM
Not yet willing to slide down and charge the beast with only her katar, Nova continued trying to wound it with her pistol.
Full action: Semi-auto burst
Ballistic roll: [roll0] vs. 44 (34 base, -10 fatigue, +10 short range, +10 semi-auto). By the way, do I get a bonus against this thing due to its size?
Damage 1: [roll1] Pen 0 Impact
Damage 2: [roll2] Pen 0 Impact
Damage 3: [roll3] Pen 0 Impact
EDIT: I'm going to jam my pistol at this rate. :smallyuk:
EDIT the second: Aaaannnd I'm down to one bullet left in the current clip. (two three shot bursts at it, a single shot each at it and Aevon). To suicide charge or not to suicide charge...
2011-04-16, 08:03 PM
"Prophet Malicarus," Tychon whispered, unable to hide his shock and disbelief. He had died. Tychon had seen him die. But he was here. Here, on the ship. It was impossible.
It had happened.
All thoughts of trying to intimidate Enoch into letting him go vanished in an instant. The Inquisition might have threatened the old Voidsman, but that had never stopped the Prophet before. Right now, his only hope was that they wouldn't find the commbead, hidden away in one of his coat's inner pockets. He had never mentioned it to anyone in the holds, and for that he was thankful.
can't imagine their search skill is too high. The guns were in the open, but the commbead at least is tucked away. Here's a test to see how much Tychon sucked at hiding it, if you require one. [roll0]
Basik skill at half agility. So that's two degrees of failure, I think. They could still fail to find it, if I'm lucky.
2011-04-16, 08:31 PM
Red rushed forward to the provost's body, intent on pulling it free of the great, adamantium gears before they mutilated the corpse.
There was no way to save him, but there was no need for him to just be crushed there.
And besides, he hadn't determined cause of death, yet. Whatever they were hunting it was fast, strong and hard to see. Red needed to know if it had claws.
It didn’t take much of a pull. In a single heave, Red pulled Garrow’s hand free. The gears of the conveyor had chewed through it at the elbow: Red stumbled back, holding a severed forearm in a grotesque handshake.
In front of them, the great wheels continued to grind Garrow’s corpse to paste, swiftly ratcheting back up to their operating speed. A human body was little more than grit in the gears.
OOC: Take a WP test or gain 1d5 Insanity Points for seeing how paté is made.
Aevon was too closely entangled with the thrashing creature for Nova to get a clean shot - the bullets bit into the sand in little puffs of dust.
At the base of the pit, Aevon tumbled out of the path of the scissoring jaws, leaping up with a wild light in her eyes - leaping like a dancer, she flanked the monstrous insect, the blade in her hands lashing out to chop into one of its spindly legs. The beast keened as the tip of its leg was sliced in half, a sickly-coloured ichor drizzling from the wound: Aevon kept up the attack, driving home with a frightening ferocity.
OOC: Sorry, I meant to mention before: the Myrmeleon is Hulking (+10).
Aevon Swift Attacks again:
[roll0] - hit
[roll1] - 8 wounds.
[roll2] - miss (with fatigue)
And the Myrmeleon responds:
[roll4] - miss
Through the dark, Tychon could glimpse the shapes of the things that now pawed over his clothes - they were hunched and emaciated, smelling overpoweringly of cold, rank sweat. Their bony, grasping fingers failed to find the comm-bead, however... thank the Emperor for small blessings.
"Tychon Urbanus," came the voice from the shadows. "A long way from Gunmetal, don't you think?"
2011-04-16, 10:27 PM
Not willing to waste time reloading, Nova drew her punching dagger and took the plunge, sliding down the slope and charging the abomination blade first.
Going for a charge action with standard attack.
Weapon skill roll: [roll0] vs. 68 (38 base, -10 fatigue, +10 best quality, +20 berserk charge, +10 hulking target)
Damage roll: [roll1] (forgot that you're supposed to roll a d10 for d5 damage weapons so you can check for RF).
Damage: 8, Pen 4, Rending
2011-04-17, 08:15 AM
"You died," Tychon told the voice. "I watched you die." Did this mean he was dead, too? Was this the Emperor's final test for him? Tychon recalled the dream that had brought him here, how Milon had dismissed the possibility of asking the other acolytes for help. Maybe they had been luckier than him, and had survived. This all felt so real, but then the dream had, too.
That was the way, with dreams.
"Why did you come back, Malicarus?"
2011-04-17, 10:32 AM
Sighing, Ignace shook off the wave of exhaustion that threatened to overtake him. Making sure that the pilot was safely aboard the 'raft' with the others he began to move again, slower now that he didn't have any help.
Twilight descended, creeping in from one horizon with remarkable speed after the sun had crawled its red, bloated way below the treeline. The true darkness of night was hot on its heels – the insects in the forest below did not have the decency to stop chirping, however, the perpetual chorus permuting in pitch and rhythm as new shifts of arthropods took their place in the unseen orchestra.
Rising to the north, Abandoned Hope’s fat, white moon dragged itself up into the night sky, shedding a silvery gleam over the derelict rooftops of the settlement. Something like a ragged scrap of parchment spiralled lazily up from the trees below, alighting on the rusted rail in front of the tech-priest: it was a whitish moth, easily the size of a large book. Dark compound eyes stared uncomprehendingly at Jericus and Minerva, its spiral proboscis curling and uncurling uncertainly. Minerva watched it with a mechanical intensity, some relic of predatory instinct perhaps still lingering in the owl’s lobotomised brain.
Out to the north, in the lee of the plateau, a gentle wind was stirring. Feeling the breeze ruffle his hair, Jericus turned to look: he frowned as he saw foggy clouds billowing up out of the canopy, seeming to multiply by the minute. They had an organic, yellowish tinge that Jericus was not entirely comfortable with – and they were approaching fast, rising up through the ferny canopy of the cycad forest below.
Standing up, he shielded his nose and mouth as the first cloud-front enveloped them – it had a damp, fungal smell, grainy particles of spores, or pollen, or something biological accumulating in the tech-priest’s clothes and clinging to his hair. Visibility in the vegetable mist was almost as bad as a Forge World smog – he could make out Minerva only by the glassy glint of the owl’s cybernetic eyes, the moth that had perched on the rail taking wing and fluttering away before the cloud.
Minerva flapped up to take the moth’s place on the rail. She rotated her head through ninety degrees to stare straight into Jericus’ eyes through the rising miasma – then, without warning, the cyber-owl spread her wings and dropped, swooping down to vanish into the rollers of yellow fog below...
Leaping down into the pit, Nova landed on the hulking larva’s back, landing with a cat-like grace – the katar in her hand stabbed down in to the joint between its head and its stubby thorax, the creature thrashing to throw her off with a keening scream. Aevon gave a fierce grin, throwing herself forwards into the attack. Despite the way the sliding sand tried to drag her down, the woman’s movements were almost balletic, Nova’s sword catching the moonlight as it whirled and twisted through the air...
Aevon Swift Attacks.
[roll0] - hit
[roll1] - +8 critical to the legs (arms, legs, they're all the same for this bugger as far as I'm concerned). Results in the OOC thread.
The Myrmeleon responds, still going for Aevon: [roll4]
The blade struck home with a crackle of shearing chitin - the thing screamed again as a cluster of spindly legs were sheared from its left side, crashing sideways into the sand. Nova hit the ground rolling as she was thrown from its back - rising to turn and face the beast again, she saw Aevon hacking and hacking at the thrashing monster, viscous ichor spraying from each impact as the sword did its butchering work.
Soon enough, the insect stopped struggling. Aevon stood over it, breathing heavily with the sword still in her hand - she was splashed from head to foot with the thing's thin, yellow blood, its corpse already beginning to reek to high heaven. Looking down at her hands, Nova realised she was too. Who would have thought the great bug to have so much blood in it?
OOC: I think having eviscerated an alien monster in hand to hand combat at the bottom of a sandy pit is a little reminiscent of Dark Eldar arenas, don't you? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doWOdB1d0mghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doWOdB1d0mg)
”You saw me die?” asked the voice from the shadows. “I think your eyes must have been playing tricks on you, Mr Urbanus. I assure you, I am very much alive.”
A black-gloved hand extended into the pale beam of light that pierced the hold. One of the men standing behind went scuttling forwards, holding out Judge like a tribute to a prince – by the light’s sickly gleam, Tychon got his first good look at his captors. The man was hunched over like an ape, what might once have been clothes hanging in tattered, soiled rags around his stooped frame. His skin was a ghostly, clammy white, and bony-knuckled vertebrae stood out along his bowed back. The fingers that held Tychon’s precious pistol were elongated and spatulate, like the hands of some forest primate – and the face that looked upon it was a ghoulish mirror of a man’s, two saucer-like eyes of pure black glimmering like dark water in their sunken sockets.
A gloved hand reached into the light and took the gun, turning it over as if it was being inspected. With a smooth motion, the pistol was drawn back into the dark, vanishing out of sight. The tribute-bearer scuttled back into the shadows.
“You saw me shot, Mr Urbanus, but I represent more than flesh and blood. It takes one bullet to murder a man, but it takes a great many more to slay a movement. And there are not enough bullets in the galaxy to kill an idea.”
His voice lowered to a soft, lulling tone.
“It’s the same idea that brought you here, isn’t it? Vengeance. You lost everything, and your vengeance was denied. What is left but for you to inflict your retribution on others, however indirectly you hold them responsible?”
The things in the dark snuffled behind him.
“It’s a poor substitute for the real thing, Mr Urbanus. Trust in the word of an expert.”
As Ignace hauled the pilot up from where he had fallen, the man twitched, mumbling in his sleep – eyes fluttered between being open and closed at the movement, the man clearly still clinging to the edge of wakefulness.
Whatever the influence from the plateau was, it was clearly too much for the man’s blunt mind: he tried to speak, but it sounded as if his mouth was stuffed with felt. Shaking his head, Ignace tried to sling the pilot over his shoulder – the man’s eyes flickered open for the merest of moments, then widened to the size of saucers as he saw something over the psyker’s back.
“S...” he said, struggling to form the words. “Cen...”
Ignace paused. The man was clearly agitated about something.
Turning, Ignace saw what the pilot was looking at. A pair of questing antennae, each longer than the psyker was tall, were coiling up from behind the fallen trunk of an immense cycad – slowly, the head that bore them crawled into view, simple pit eyes set above two crimson, chitinous fangs. Behind it was a conveyor-belt of legs, stretching back in a great slithering chain.
It was a centipede. But it was a centipede that looked as if it could swallow a grox.
OOC: Fear check, please. The Scolopendromorph is Fear 2.
2011-04-17, 08:04 PM
"I was never in this for vengeance, Malicarus." Tychon watched his pistol being handed over with a sinking feeling in his heart. That gun was his, he had made it, and he had killed with it. Nobody else should be handling the weapon. Least of all the man who started this whole thing.
"Maybe at first, with you. You took everything I had. Everything but my life, an' you almost took that. But I ain't the sort to just lay down and die, am I?" Tychon looked over at the shaft of light, suppressing a shudder at the shape of the things around him.
"I'm in it for justice. Mebbe you don't think there's a difference, but that's because you're a damned heretic." The gunslinger realized he was being reckless, that he was really in no position to be arguing this, but something about the man got his blood up. He had broken Tychon's family, and here he was none the worse for wear, talking in that damnably smooth voice of his.
"So if you ain't afraid of dying, why don't you just give me back those guns of mine and we'll see how many movements I can slay."
2011-04-17, 09:01 PM
The scene shifted for a moment: the pit seemed wider, the sand darkened to crimson, and the remains of the beast appeared not as an insectoid abomination but as a red skinned quadruped with strange, bladed limbs growing out of its shoulders, its name dredged up from locked parts of her memory. Khymera...Odd, smokey ichor leaked from it as a nearby crowd roared in a tongue that seemed alien, yet still somehow familiar. Shadowy humanoid figures appeared in her peripheral vision for but a moment as the scene faded back to apparent reality.
Nova stood stunned, mind reeling from the vision and unable to take in what was happening around her.
And a WP test to see if she snaps out of it next round: [roll0] vs. 30 (40 base, -10 fatigue)
EDIT: And forgot my insanity roll. Will add in the OOC thread.
2011-04-19, 08:19 AM
The Sergeant stumbled backwards, staring at the dismembered arm in his hand. Another one. Another one he failed to save. This little death, one more anonymous life given in service to the Emperor, even amongst all the horrors of War and Genestealer-infested tunnels, Deamonic manifestations and insane, homicidal cogiator-servitors, this was the drop of water than broke the dam.
Red dropped the arm blankly and the hand gripping it snaked up to grab the bolter shell dangling around his neck. The bolter shell from Scintilla, with its litanies on it. Protection, Invulnerability, Accuracy, there were prayers he had neglected up until now.
In it's slightly mangled form, his mind refused to summon up proper Gothic and instead his words tumbled out in the mutilated dialect of the Guytogan underhives.
"Mother." he began, more addressing the figure he never knew than a cry out for her, shortly before launching into the Prayer for a Fallen Comrade he had heard at that one Officer's funeral he had been forced to go to.
It was a lengthy one, and one Red didn't even know he had buried in his memory.
The prayer concluded, and his kissed the bolter shell.
"Slick." he continued, unabated. That was the name - as far as he knew, of the first man he had killed, so very, very long ago. It got him into his gang in the underhives, it filled his belly, just that little bit that he needed to survive. And until now, Red had felt no remorse for the act.
The prayer again, and the kiss to the shell.
And so, he would continue, a name of a Man he had killed or seen killed, the Prayer for the Fallen, and the kiss, all the while, his fingers running over the litanies he carved on that shell himself.
It was a long list.
This was going to take a while, and there were going to be a lot of "Anonymous Guardsmen."
Minerva did not return. The settlement was quickly obscured by the waves of yellow spores, Jericus’ world contracting to a few fuzzy feet as the water tower was swallowed into the heart of the rolling, moonlit clouds.
The spores were coming thicker and faster – Jericus found himself coughing in convulsive bouts just to keep his airways clear. From the hidden forest below, new sounds were rising – animal yelps and shrieks, and sudden, trembling rustles of vegetation. Through it all, though, he thought he could hear a sound that seemed out of place. It was an electronic crackle, muffled and distant to the edge of being inaudible – but it was coming from the direction of the lighter.
Drifting up over the racket of the forest, Jericus thought he heard the faintest shred of a human voice...
”Justice, revenge – splitting hairs, Mr Urbanus. Was it justice that spurred you into action when those you loved were taken, when others had been vanishing all around you long before? Was it justice that put a gun in your hand and a fire under your heart? Was it justice that drove you down into the dark to kill or be killed?”
The Prophet’s voice lowered.
“If you could take your vengeance now, wouldn’t you do it? Who would pull the trigger, hm? Tychon Urbanus, the man who loved and lost, or a hollow puppet of the law?”
He raised his voice again.
“Revenge is a kind of wild justice, the kind man’s nature runs to. The blood of humanity runs hot with it. Homo sapiens is a misnomer. We should have been Homo cruentus, and been honest with ourselves.”
The men – if you could call them men – behind Tychon were shifting and shuffling, seeming to grow impatient with the unseen speaker’s words.
“Still, what does it matter now? You took your revenge. Wasn’t it glorious? Wasn’t it cleansing?” He paused. “Or perhaps you’d rather it had been by your own hand. But that’s not why you’re here now. Stalking innocent voidsmen isn’t your style, Mr Urbanus. Tell us yourself, who sent you down here.”
”Emperor on Terra,” muttered Milon, blanching as he covered his mouth and looked away from the grisly object Red had pulled free. The Provosts seemed similarly affected, backing away – they looked uncertainly at the Sergeant as he began to recite his trembling litany.
“Maybe... maybe it was an accident,” began Flyte, slowly.
“Then who turned on the machines?” snapped Jones. “Someone’s down here with us!”
He pushed past Red and Pullings, his Ironclaw coming to his hands. “COME OUT!” he shouted, at the top of his voice. “COME OUT WHERE WE CAN SEE YOU!”
...can see you...
The metallic echoes of the shout died slowly away. Trying to reassert his authority, Milon straightened up and stepped forwards.
“If... if there is someone down here, they must have used the conveyor controls,” he said, as decisively as he could manage. “We form one group, and we go there now.” He looked across at Red, clearly a little unnerved by the guardsman’s behaviour. “Sergeant?”
The Khymera’s bony jaws hinged open, swinging impossibly wide as a black, barbed tongue the length of Nova’s arm snaked from its gullet. Flayed claws spreading wide, it leapt, cannoning into Nova in a cannonball of dripping muscle. She felt it worrying her, shaking her body back and forth...
She was being shaken by the shoulders. Blinking, she focused her eyes on Aevon’s ichor-spattered face: the woman was shaking her.
“You awake?” she said, seeing Nova looking back at her. She seemed unsurprised by Nova’s sudden fugue. “One of us needs to give the other a boost to get out of here. I volunteer you.”
2011-04-20, 09:21 AM
"Think your friends here are gettin' a bit restless." Tychon glanced over his shoulder, knowing full well he wouldn't see much of anything.
"Maybe I saw what was happening here and decided to take a look. I don't hunt the innocent, you're right about that, but then none of us down here is innocent, are we? I'll tell you one thing. I wasn't on this ship for you. Didn't even know you were down here."
"I had my revenge. Now, I'm jus' trying to make sure nobody else needs to have some of their own. I don't think your own motives are anywhere near so noble as mine, little as mine may be." The gunslinger really was nervous, for all his big words. His weapons were gone, and he needed to get them back. Somehow. "What is it you're trying to do down here, anyways?"
2011-04-20, 09:31 AM
Jericus slipped the sling of his autorifle over his shoulder and carefully made his way back down the water tower before giving the cable of the harness a sharp pull, and packing it away again. He pulled his respirator back over his face, for whatever good it would do, and with perhaps slightly less caution than was sensible he made his way back to the lighter, hoping that the vox's machine spirit had revived from its slumber, or something else helpful and not at all dangerous.
2011-04-20, 03:27 PM
Red shot Milon the closest he could come to a comforting look, still fiddling with the bolter shell about his neck and muttering his impossibly long litany.
He did, however, spare a moment to stroke the but trigger guard of the Ironclaw in his hand meaningfully and broke his gaze to glare at the great, creaking gears, lust for murder in his eyes.
2011-04-20, 09:50 PM
Taking a moment to clear her thoughts, Nova shook her head. "My supplies are still up there, and as much as I'm happy to go our seperate ways once we're out of this pit, I'm not going to leave you alone with my stuff. Boost me out, then I'll help pull you out."
2011-04-22, 08:14 PM
Ignace froze at what he saw, and very nearly soiled himself in the process. This bug was big enough to swallow him whole, most likely. And if he didn't act quickly, it would. Raising a hand he frantically recited the mental incantation that allowed him to become a living incarnation of death.
[roll0] vs 14
The mud around Ignace’s feet bubbled and belched as he drew the power of the Empyrean to him, a noxious stench permeating the air. Bright sparks danced over his fingers – with a crackling electrical roar, twin arcs of white lightning tore the air, earthing themselves on the monster’s dark red carapace.
The creature gave a keening shriek, lifting its flattened head into the air as the electrical arcs played over its thick exoskeleton – the whip-like antennae writhed through the air, trailing motes of fire behind them. As the blazing after-images cleared, however, Ignace realised the monster was still standing. Worse, it seemed practically unharmed.
The curved fangs slung below its mouth flexed and clicked. A hundred legs undulating in perfect synchronisation, it surged forwards over the fallen cycad, seeming to grow and grow as its long body slithered over the rotting trunk. The way it could distribute its weight let it navigate the mats of rotted vegetation that bridged the swamp with a disconcerting lightness – and now it was coming straight for Ignace.
OOC: The bio-lightning does 4 wounds total. The Scolopendromorph is 24m away: it will take 3 rounds to reach you, since it can’t Run over the swamp.
The wind-borne spores were thinner towards the ground, shielded by the trees: they still cut visibility drastically, rolling between the derelict buildings in misty clouds of fungal yellow. Buckling on his respirator, Jericus took a deep breath of filtered air.
From down here, it was difficult for him to get his bearings. Navigating by the shadowy bulk of the greenhouse complex, he turned back towards the crash site. Passing the ruins of the chapel and the abandoned flatbed truck that mouldered in front of it, he pushed his way through a thicket of undergrowth that grew between two of the tumble-down hab blocks, dusting his hands against his robes to free them of the yellowish, powdery residue that seemed to cling to every surface in the wake of the fog.
Disentangling himself from the clinging vegetation, he looked up as he saw a light through the mist. Minerva was perched on the crumbling wall to his right, one augmetic eye gleaming down at him: spreading her wings, the owl dropped silently back onto his shoulder. The animal shrieks in the forest seemed to have quietened for now, although the chirp, chirp of a thousand crickets still croaked through the night air.
Ahead, the lighter lay in the wreckage of the hab it had levelled, the billows of yellow particulates rolling over its scorched and buckled hull. The clearing around it was still – and from inside the hatch, Jericus could hear the muffled sounds of the vox.
Somewhere on the edge of the clearing, a cluster of ferns rustled and trembled – then suddenly fell still.
”Not here for me. So confident of that, Mr Urbanus?” came the voice from the dark. “Sometimes the why is a very different question from the how. How little in this world is as it seems?”
"What is it you're trying to do down here, anyways?"
“Something new. Something different. The last will be first, and the first will be last. Unfortunately, you won’t be around to see it.”
The Prophet’s tone of voice changed, addressing Tychon’s captors. “Don’t waste ammunition. We’ll need it. Take him below, and jettison him.”
“B... below?” asked Enoch. He sounded uncomfortable. “D... do I have to go?”
“But of course,” replied the Prophet smoothly. “To ensure it is done properly.”
For one moment, the unseen presence turned his attention back to Tychon.
“I think I’ll be keeping this pistol, if you don’t mind. As a keepsake.” Clammy fingers seized Tychon’s arms, hauling him to his feet. “Goodbye, Mr Urbanus.”
”Stay close, everyone,” said Milon, leading the way. “Weapons ready, and stay clear of the mechanisms. If we’re dealing with a lunatic, we don’t want to give him another chance.”
Sweeping every direction as they crept slowly around, they turned down through the dark rows of ordnance, their footsteps echoing against the steel deck. Coming around a corner in the direction Milon was leading, they saw a narrow aisle leading away towards the great tangle of machinery that powered the conveyor at its far end. In the wall of the magazine halfway down, a square atmos grille spilled a sinking cloud of white vapour over the walkway; to the left of the path, high-explosive hull-breachers stood in lethal rows, each one a solemn monument to the destructive power of the Imperial Navy.
“Jones, cover the rear,” said Milon, taking the lead. They advanced up the cramped corridor in as tight a formation as they could achieve, sweeping for any sign of a threat. They could see no sign of life – but as they entered the spill of mist from the vent, its humid billows cut their visibility down to almost nothing. Milon led the way, his Ironclaw held ready before him.
Almost immediately as the lieutenant moved out of sight, there was a terrible scream – his scream, the young officer’s terrified voice echoing from the metal walls like the blast of a cathedral organ...
Aevon held silence for a few seconds before seeming to make up her mine.
“Fine,” she said. “But I keep the sword. That way, you can’t just leave me down here.”
She turned to look over her shoulder at the corpse of the creature that had tried to eat her. “We ought to find a way to pull that thing up after us. Must be meat inside the shell.” She licked her parched lips. “Water, too.”
OOC: If you agree to Aevon’s condition, feel free to write yourself being boosted out of the pit without another post-and-reply.
2011-04-23, 09:02 AM
"I do mind, but I doubt you care. Men like you have no honour."
Tychon glared as best he could in the direction of the unseen presence, but there wasn't a whole lot he could do. Turning to Enoch, he smiled. "You've landed yourself in a right mess, Enoch. Good luck staying alive." From his tone of voice, it was quite clear how likely the gunslinger thought that was.
2011-04-24, 08:49 AM
Jericus swept his autorifle round to cover the ferns wile backing towards the shuttle, pulling himself back into the hatch to check on the vox, leaving Minerva outside the shuttle.
2011-04-24, 05:21 PM
Agreeing to Aevon's compromise with a simple nod, Nova trudged to the side of the pit, and with a few minutes exertion and help from the other woman, she once again found herself standing at its outer edge. "I doubt we could drag that thing up here, but you could use the sword to carve it up and bring anything useful up with you." The assassin took a moment to reload her pistol, placing the single-round magazine into a pouch before holstering the weapon. "Whenever you're ready, start climbing and we'll try to use your staff to aid in pulling you out," Nova said as she knelt next to the pit, trying not to wretch on the stench rising from within it.
2011-04-25, 07:18 AM
Years of hard-won and blood-born reflexes kicked in as Red's Ironclaw snapped to his shoulder with an astounding alarcity. He wasn't going to add another name to the Litany. In the same motion, Red stepped through the wall of wet steam and peppered the bottom of the corridor with a shotgun blast, aiming for where Milon's feet should be, working on the assumption the LT was lifted off the deckplates.
2011-04-25, 07:35 PM
Ignace threw up his hands to repeat his attack. He had to kill this thing before it reached his unconscious allies.
Sludgy mud oozing around his boots, the psyker stepped back, raising his hands to the enormous creature again. Once again, lightning flared from his fingertips, scoring across the monster’s ruddy carapace – but the hammer-blows of electrical energy seemed to bother it little more than gnat-bites, it rows of crawling legs bearing it closer still...
OOC: First bolt does 6 wounds, second is soaked completely.
The Ironclaw’s blast rang out harsh and loud in the metallic confines of the magazine, shotgun pellets shrieking from the floor plating. If the Armsman had been hoping to hear a howl of pain, however, he was disappointed – the only sounds that answered the firearm’s roar were the fearful cries of the Provosts. Mingling with their voices was a metallic crash – somewhere through the spilling fog on Red’s right, the vent cover had fallen to the deck...
Aevon set to with a will, using the sword to slice stubby, segmented legs from the creature’s corpse and pitching them up out of the pit with all her strength. A series of determined strokes succeeded in separating the great invertebrate’s head from its thorax, the ichor-stained woman gripping it by one curving mandible to carry up out of the conical hollow.
Gripping one end of the staff, Nova put her back into heaving Aevon up. Slithering up the last few feet to the lip of the trap, Aevon fell flat onto the sand beyond, still carrying the predator’s head with her. Breathing heavily, she sat up, looking round at the open desert around her with a look of fierce triumph in her eyes.
“Well,” she said, between breaths. She turned her head to look up Nova, and grinned a toothy grin. “You’re not a complete waste of oxygen, after all.”
Backing towards the lighter, Jericus reached behind him for the hatch release. The hatch slid back with a screeching metallic rattle: from within, the sounds of the vox were clearer now, whoever was on the other end of the line practically shouting. Unfortunately, they were still having to compete with unholy amounts of static.
“Hel ... –ubaai, come in. Inst... espatching reinf...”
On the edge of the clearing, the bushes rustled again. Tightening his grip on the autorifle, Jericus watched through the yellow billows as the source of the disturbance rustled into view.
At first, it looked like another insect, ridged segments of carapace catching the moonlight with a glistening of chitin. Then, with a sick lurch in the pit of his stomach, he saw the two yellow, animal eyes beneath the exoskeletal ridge, and the needle-toothed, almost reptilian jaws beneath those. The anatomy of the bulbous head, the purplish hide were different, but so very similar to the nightmares he had witnessed in the tunnels beneath Sector 963.
The foul-smelling bag descended over Tychon’s head once again, and he was shoved forwards into reeking, dripping corridors, the troglodytes of the Black Holds gripping him tightly in their clutches. Turning left, right, he was spun and turned until he barely knew up from down – the only constant was the steady thunk, thunk of Enoch’s metal peg-leg beside him.
After what seemed an age, the bag was ripped from his head. He found himself standing in a cramped and dark compartment, the bulkheads of its walls stained and streaked with corrosion: in the centre of the floor was a raised, circular hatch, large enough that a man might have to stretch to touch both sides at once if he laid across it. Beneath the hatch was a bottomless, stagnant-smelling blackness – bolted onto the lip of the abyss, a rusty-looking crane perched precariously on the edge, a manually-operated pulley lift descending into its maw.
One of the Ghilliam – a clammy, pale-skinned brute with the bone structure of a bag of potatoes and eyes like a newt – swayed over to the pulley, muscles moving like pigs in oil as he hauled the rusty iron bucket that served as the passenger compartment into place. Stumping forwards, Enoch undid a small catch, pulling open a gate in its side with a harsh creak of metal and turning the Carnodon’s barrel on Tychon.
2011-04-26, 02:42 PM
The Guardsmen didn't pause in his Litany, the Dead needed to be honoured. In one smooth, effortless motion, the Ironclaw shifted to his off-hand while the "Fury"-class assault laspistol snapped up in his right, leveled at the vent opening. Red clicked the fire selector to full-automatic and squeezed the trigger, sending a fullisade of red lasbolts through the fog and into the now-open vent, hoping to score a hit of some sort or inflict some damage on whatever was there.
In case you want a roll:
46 Base Score + 20 full auto +30 or +10 for range (Distance to the vent isn't clear, short range is 10m)
So, either a 96 or a 56.
Fury lasbolts do 1d10+2 Damage, and there's five in a full-auto salvo.
After rolling that 22, that's FOUR OR SIX degrees of success. Fury if Anything is Indeed Hit Roll will be in the OOC, just so you can remain mysterious and stuff.
2011-04-26, 02:47 PM
Jericus carefully picked his way over to the vox, doing his best to avoid any debris or comrades that might make a noise if stepped on.
Trying to shout down a weak and unclear vox line without alerting the unholy abomination in the bushes was going to be problem. Maybe if he had someone else to keep watch... He closed the hatch. Better safe than sorry.
He quickly went through the motions of trying to rouse his teammates, giving each one a quick shake before turning to the vox.
What was that phonetic alphabet guardmen used when they were trying to communicate in conditions such as these? Maybe they had a little more use than Jericus gave them credit for. Jericus turned to the vox and attempted to convey just what had gone wrong so far, and boost it if possible, using his internal power if necessary.
"Team incapacitated. Tyranids present."
That ought to get the message across. Jericus repeats the message, inter-dispersed with prayers, threats and compliments to the machine spirit of the vox until the message is received, a comrade wakes up or an insectoid horror bursts through the hatch and shreds him.
2011-04-26, 09:39 PM
What did he promise you, Enoch? What is it he offered you to make you betray your ship and crewmates?" Tychon hesitated only briefly at the small iron conveyance. Enoch would probably shoot him, whatever his orders to the contrary, and he couldn't fight all the Ghilliam and the voidsman with just a pair of boots. Climbing in, he continued to speak.
"You don't know him, really. What he's capable of. Do you?"
2011-04-28, 02:00 PM
Sitting patiently while Aevon butchered the beast's corpse, Nova's thoughts turned back to the episode she had had while in the pit. Throne knows that wasn't normal. This whole misadventure has been nothing but one odd occurrence after the other. She looked down into the pit as the Aevon came to the edge. Well, one set of answers at a time. This particular lead is one that can talk. The memories can wait until I'm safe. Nova thought as she helped pull the other woman out of the pit.
Nova grinned slightly at Aevon's comment. "And it appears that the water I gave you this afternoon wasn't wasted, either." Nova sat back for a moment, enjoying the cool air after her exertion fighting both the monster and Aevon, before voicing what was on her mind. "So, earlier you were telling me about how you came to be here, right after telling me I'd just forget it. How you were on a ship that crashed in the desert. Care to tell the rest of that story?
2011-04-29, 01:07 PM
This...this wasn't working well. But it was all he had, so he had to keep trying. Stumbling backwards, he shot more lightning.
Move backwards, fry bug.
Scrambling back through the stinking mire, Ignace tried not to slip in the sucking mud. The end of his sleeves were smouldering from the electrical discharges. Nonetheless, he raised his hands again, channelling power towards the oncoming beast. White lightning crackled along his arms, sparking in the sticky air. As the energies accumulated, he felt a curling snarl in the air, the forces of the Empyrean distorting around him...
Maggot-like sparks crawled over his pistol, and the weapons of his comatose comrades. Sensing impending catastrophe, the psyker unleashed the power at his fingertips, actinic arcs crackling across the swamp. They tore clouds of steam from charring cycad-trunks, boiling mud beneath their dancing touch, but the immense predator snaked through their blazing cage unharmed, venomous fangs yawning wide.
The pilot was staggering to his feet, clutching at his head. He moved like a drunken man, blinking heavily as if weights were attached to his eyelids. Still, he fumbled at his belt, drawing his Navy-issue laspistol and levelling it at the segmented monster slithering its way towards them. There was a paltry click as the gun refused to fire: the pilot pulled the trigger twice more before throwing the jammed weapon aside with a strangled wail of terror, turning and staggering waist-deep into the water of the swamp as he tried to escape...
OOC: The Scolopendromorph began the turn 16m away, and since Ignace scored no overbleed, the Bio-Lightning was out of range. You also picked up Tech Scorn by way of Psychic Phenomena: all the party’s weapons are now jammed.
The Scolopendromorph advances another 8m, while Ignace moves 3m back: it is now 11m away.
None of the others would stir. Grabbing the vox, Jericus hissed its message into its receiver. Whether the Instigator heard him was impossible to tell – all that came down the line in reply was static.
The beast in the bushes turned its long skull from left to right, yellow eyes sweeping the clearing. Jericus crouched below the level of the hatch, hoping and praying it had not seen him – slowly, it rose up on its haunches, raising its body upright to almost the height of a man. It was only then that Jericus saw its forelimbs, folded under its bony chest like the wings of a bird. Each one ended in a long, curved scythe-blade of bone, easily the length of a sword.
Throwing back its head, the Xenos beast gave voice to a series of high-pitched, gulping cries. Jericus frowned, trying to discern their purpose – then felt his heart quicken as he heard the skittering sounds of running feet on the leaf litter of the clearing behind him, closing fast from the other side of the crash...
”Shut it!” snapped Enoch. “Don’t... don’t you try any of that, mishter.”
He gestured with the gun, and two of the three Ghilliam – thinner than the one standing by the winch, hunched, wide-eyed ghouls – scuttled into the lift alongside Tychon. One gripped him by his arms, pinning them to his sides once again: the second, Tychon noticed, had his other pistol, and was pointing it rather eagerly in his direction.
Stumping forwards, Enoch gestured to the big brute at the winch. “Lower away!”
With a rattle of chains, the bucket-lift sank into the stagnant darkness. The black shadows swallowed them whole: sinking down into the bottomless depths, Tychon could scarcely have seen his hand in front of his face...
OOC: Pausing here because I’m guessing you will have more to say on the long ride down.
”Nope,” said Aevon, flippantly. “You care to start a fire? I’m figuring this thing probably isn’t too healthy uncooked.”
The red lasbolts scythed blindly into the fog that rolled from the vent. Echoing from somewhere in its metallic confines, there was a keening, high-pitched shriek... but as the echoes faded, there was still no sign of the lieutenant.
2011-04-30, 04:07 AM
Jericus popped up, head and autorifle just clear of the hatch and fired a shot at the first tyranid. He was going to get flanked whatever happened, so he might as well deal with the problem in front of him.
Aim and Fire
BS 43 + 10 Aim +10 RDS
2011-04-30, 07:24 AM
Red's prayers gained a measure of strength and speed as he holstered the laspistol. The borrowed Ironclaw was suddenly at arms again, and the slide was racked, expelling the spent shell casing from earlier to the deck plates and putting a fresh, ready round in the chamber.
Still letting the prayers and litanies tumble, apparently no longer aware of his comrades on the other side of the steam, the Guardsmen moved through the steam, letting the shotgun lead the way and placed the muzzle of the deadly weapon inside the fog-spewing vent before pulling the trigger a second time
You want rolls?
2011-04-30, 09:32 AM
At least now it was only three to one, but Tychon hoped to change that. The gunslinger watched the light recede above them, glad that two out of his three guns were down here rather than up there.
"Why not? Are you afraid of what I might say?"
He gave Enoch a moment to reflect on that statement, and continued. "I am going to tell you a story. My story. I am going to tell you exactly what sort of man you have chosen to follow, and what sort of man you have here on this lift. Your station on this ship. It is important, but little noticed, correct? So was mine. Once. I was from Gunmetal, and I worked in the factories. People began to go missing, as they did on this ship not so long ago. My wife was among those taken." As the gunslinger's thoughts returned to her, he stopped speaking. Enoch might not understand what he had gone through. How that one event had shaped the rest of his life. Tychon told him that next. He told the old voidsman about his wife, and about what he used to do for his living, before he left Scintilla. Periodically he had to stop to recall some other detail, something else to add to the tale.
His expression wavered in the darkness. Tychon had no idea if Enoch could see any better than he could down here, though he suspected the two Ghilliam could. "The gun your friend here is holding was built, by my own hands, for the purpose of hunting down those responsible for taking her. I found them."
"Your prophet up there, he was the leader of a cult. They captured and sacrificed innocent lives to their foul god. The men he had following him then, they were gangers. Hive scum. They were violent, desperate men. I'd wager he promised them salvation and power, to rise above their station. Is that what he offered you?" Again, the gunslinger glared through the darkness. "I found him, I fought him, and he damn near killed me, but I survived to watch him die, or so I thought."
"And now, he is back. Back to test me again. The Emperor tests us all, of course. No doubt the prophet was sent as a test for all of you, as well. That ain't the point I'm making here, though. There are people who know I'm down here, and will notice if I go missing. I told your prophet I didn't know he were here, and that was true. But now I know, and now you got a choice to make."
"On the one hand, you got the prophet. A man who takes because he can, and who don't care nothing for gunning down them as get in his way. One who kills honest hardworking folk only to further his own ends. He's a hard, cruel sort and no mistake about it, he's planning something horrible for everyone here on this ship. You're letting him. Helping him, even. Why? I honestly got no idea."
"On the other hand..." Tychon looked down at the metal bottom of the lift, invisible through the all-pervading darkness belowdecks. "You got me. A man who was much like you, once. One who ended up here with you an' your friends just because he didn't want to stay quiet. Who worked, and fought, and struggled to try and avenge the one thing he loved in his life. Who went on to try an' bring about justice when it was needed."
"Which of those two d'you think you ought to be murderin'?"
2011-05-01, 11:02 PM
Nova cocked an eyebrow. "Unless you're up for donating your staff to the cause, or have slow burning combustibles hidden in your rags, we are somewhat lacking in the supplies to make fire," she replied in tone dripping with sarcasm. "And as you now have your staff back and the abomination is dead, care to return my blade?" Nova asked sweetly, her posture and a slight edge to her voice making it clear that a lack of compliance would end badly for Aevon.
2011-05-02, 11:03 PM
This wasn't working. His lightning barely phased the thing. He had two options that he could see. First, he could try to kill the thing, stand to the last. Second, he could cut and run. Given that the first option would likely get him and the others killed, and the second would most likely see him out of this alive, it was a no brainer. Hopefully he'd be able to forgive himself one day. "Sorry!" He cried out, and began to run as fast as he could away from the monster.
The shot clipped the creature’s carapace. Recoiling from the impact, the Tyranid gave a keening shriek – then, its yellow eyes fixed directly on Jericus.
They can leap like fleas.
And it did. Powerful hindlegs propelled the Xenos predator out of the undergrowth like a shot from a battle cannon, crossing the clearing in three leaping bounds. Jericus raised his autogun again, but it was already too close – scythe-like limbs swinging up, the beast came bounding into the open hatch, a speeding bullet of teeth and claws...
OOC: Jericus was standing 19m away.
Unfortunately, the Hormagaunt has a soak of 6, and a charge range of 30m.
[roll2] (Pen 3)
That looks to me like a hit to the left arm, dealing 7 wounds. Do you want to fortune point the dodge?
Combat map: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v700/LordChilipepa/NidsAreBackInTown.png
The shotgun roared down the throat of the vent, sending a scything hail of pellets into the mist. All that rewarded Red this time, however, was the echoing rattle of metal striking metal, the shotgun’s blast serving only to scar the steel walls of the shaft. Whatever had been there was gone...
”I told you to shut up,” snapped Enoch, jamming the Carnodon’s barrel under Tychon’s jaw. “So shut up!”
“What does it think it is,” said one of the Ghilliam who held him. The slender ghoul had a thin, shivering voice. “Preacher-yes? Lector-yes?”
“Over the side!” yelped the other, excitedly. “Over the side!”
“Hive shcum,” spat Enoch, hawking a gob of phlegm over the side of their descending bucket into the yawning chasm below. “You think you know anythin’ about ush, out here? You think jushtishe, or fairnesh, or any of that vent-crap, meansh anythin’ out there, with a boshun’sh rope to rip yer shouldersh, an’ a hundred billion milesh o’ void between yershelf and free air?”
The hand-cannon’s barrel pressed hard against Tychon’s adam’s apple.
“There’sh only one law out here. Who’sh shtandin’ on the top, an’ who they’re treadin’ on. Your friend wantsh to turn it upshide down, and shpeakin’ ash a shtoker, I’m pretty near the cursed bottom right now. Might be nishe to shee the top. Sho no more of yer fanshy wordsh, mishter, or we’ll shling yer body out with a bullet ash company.”
Finally, the bucket-lift touched down on solid deck. They seemed to be sitting at the bottom of a vast, cylindrical storage container: the floor here was coated in the putrid sediment of its long-drained contents, a strong chemical smell wafting from banks of gritty sludge that encircled puddles of acrid-smelling oil. Here and there, slime-slathered nozzles and ports, easily the size of a ground car, pierced the concealed floor, pushing up through its coating of waste like great, rusting barnacles.
One of the Ghilliam undid the latch on the door, and went skittering over to the nearest of the hatches like a great white crab, beginning to spin a corroded wheel-lock open. The other still gripping Tychon’s arms, Enoch stumped back and gestured with the barrel of his stolen gun, holding his other hand over his mouth and nose.
“Get out,” he said, the words muffled by his fingers.
Aevon looked up at Nova reluctantly, like a child being asked to give up a favourite toy.
“’f I give it back,” she said, sulkily, “how’d I know you won’t shoot me?” She gripped the sword a little more tightly. “Isn’t fair for you to have both blades.”
Turning, Ignace ran. His boots splashed through clinging mud, hurtling waist-deep through algal pools as the clicking, rattling scuttle of countless legs grew louder behind him. The pilot’s screams reached a hysterical crescendo before coming to an abrupt halt, the sound of the Xenos monster’s scuttling becoming wilder and more disordered for the briefest of moments. By the time the silence had fallen, Ignace had left them behind, a solitary, mud-streaked figure sprinting into the shadows of the scaly trees.
It was difficult for him to tell how long he was running. The veils of mist that drifted through the ferny canopy of the cycad forest distorted the bright sun into a deceptive, side-stepping glare, where the dense vegetation did not block it out completely. The psyker ran through glittering beams of light and under dripping loops of vines, leaping clean over a cat-sized spider that bared the fangs in its swollen jaws at his approach. There was no path to follow, no direction that was clear to see, just acres of unfriendly jungle stretching away in every direction. At last, however, he satisfied even his imagination that the clicking sounds behind him had truly stopped.
The feeling of mental fatigue was pressing down on him again, smothering his senses like a warm blanket – from here, he could not see the plateau, the mighty trees rising up all around him to make him feel like a mouse in a cage. In the verdant undergrowth, crickets chirped. He had left the others behind. He was alone.
2011-05-03, 11:53 AM
OOC: That is one nice map. I'll keep hold of the fate point for now: save it for something Jer actually has a chance of passing.
Jericus staggered backwards, as much as was possible in the confines of the shuttle. Throwing caution to the wind he flipped the selector on his autorifle to full auto and fired a long burst of lead into the chest of the monstrosity. Ricochets were preferable to disembowelment.
BS 43 +30 Point Blank Range +20 Full Auto
2011-05-03, 12:03 PM
"You would hate Gunmetal," Tychon told Enoch. He said no more, not with the handcannon in his face like it was, but he was thinking it. The voidsman didn't understand, obviously.
As for himself, the gunslinger had little choice but to go along.
2011-05-03, 01:28 PM
With a furious roar, Red retracted the borrowed shotgun from the vent and racked another shell into place before returning to the provosts.
"Vents." was all he said before returning to his tumbling Litany.
2011-05-04, 05:02 PM
Nova eyes narrowed. "As it stands, I'm uninjured, not suffering from heat stroke or dehydration, and am wearing body armor capable of stopping any attack you can make, even with that blade. The only thing stopping me from shooting you is that I do not have any reason to. That blade, however, is important to me, and I will have it back now. If you're worried about lacking a blade, you can have my dagger. It's similarly well made, but I don't have any attachment to it."
Nova drew the katar and flipped it around, holding out the knuckleduster style hilt to Aevon. Her other hand lay at her side, ready to draw her stub auto if the other woman became hostile.
2011-05-05, 02:37 AM
Sighing, Ignace took a good long look around him before deciding on a course of action. He'd left all of his companions to die, but that didn't mean he was safe. He needed to find a way off this rock and fast, or the entire mission would be a complete failure, instead of simply mostly a failure. Focusing, he began to call upon the powers of the warp for concealment and the ability to walk straight up one of the trees, like he had done previously.
Invoking Chameleon, then Wall Walk, then walking up the nearest tree.
[roll0] vs 7
[roll1] vs 8
Feeling the claw’s razor edge rip into the flesh of his arm, Jericus let rip with a rattling roar of automatic fire. The Tyranid beast was physically hurled back by the torrent of bullets, chunks exploding out of its carapace – holding down the trigger, the tech-priest braced himself against the recoil, the autogun tracking left to shatter the creature’s bladed arm out of its socket in a whickering spray of chitinous shrapnel. With a keening scream, it crumpled into the mud, purplish ichor pumping out of the fatal wound.
From behind the shuttle, Jericus could hear the skittering scuttling of claws, coming closer. Still trying to staunch the bleeding from his arm, he turned to look towards the rear of the shuttle – then, the sounds seemed to change direction, becoming quieter as they were muffled by the interceding bulk of the Arvus itself...
OOC: By the rules, you can’t actually make a missile attack while engaged in combat, unless you’re using a pistol. Considering how long you’ve had to wait for this update, however, I think I’ll just take your actions as-is for this round; just remember it in future. Sorry for not mentioning this earlier, things have been a little rushed for me lately.
Shooting in combat is something I remember now that I wanted to come up with some coherent house rules for at the end of KIP. I think I’ll ask what people think about it OOC, actually – for the remainder of this combat, however, assume we’re staying RAW.
No map this round, since there are no enemies actually in sight of Jericus.
Stringy muscles standing out along his pale arms, the first of the Ghilliam heaved at the hatch he was standing over. The great circular cover swung upward with a reverberating groan of fatigued metal, the other bearing their lumen-mould lantern closer to its yawning mouth. Despite the sickly light, the space beneath was black as pitch.
Swinging himself up to perch on the lip of the hatch, the lantern-bearer turned to look back at Tychon. Grinning a wide, lipless grin full of thin yellow teeth, the corpse-white ghoul swung himself over the side, dropping into the blackness below in a brief flutter of soiled rags.
His own pistol prodding him in the back, Tychon followed after, finding himself in a cramped, circular pipe, low enough to put a crick in his neck as he crouched beneath the corroded ceiling. Stinking sludge coated the cylindrical walls, crusted with the sediments of centuries: at the edge of the wan circle of lantern-light, Tychon thought he saw dark shapes scuttle away.
“Get movin’” growled Enoch, descending behind him. The second Ghilliam – the one with Tychon’s second gun – echoed his words in a tittering, high-pitched whisper, slithering down to form the rear-guard of their procession.
The pipe seemed as full of twists and knots as a tangled net, crossing with other pipes in a hundred places – some wide enough to admit a transit train, others so narrow that a child would have trouble squeezing between their walls. Running ahead of him on splayed, web-toed feet, the Ghilliam with the lantern led the way with a sinister sure-footedness, ducking down dark passage after dark passage until Tychon was even more lost than he had been before – the only impression he could discern was that they were going down. More than once, he felt sure they passed sections he had seen before, from different angles - it seemed that their route was full of circuitous detours. He was hardly in a position to complain – every sludgy, stinking step of the way, he could feel the presence of his pistols behind him.
After what seemed an eternity in the crushing dark, Tychon caught the glimmer of something new ahead. Recessed into the rusted wall of the pipe was a curved metal door: strung over the top of it were a collection of rotten bones, interspersed with gleaming scraps of ration cans and old electronics connectors. A toothless skull leered down from the centre of the decaying cluster of trinkets, its cranium etched with scratches that aped a Mechanicus circuit-board.
The second Ghilliam pushed forwards, flattening Tychon against the wall in order to squeeze past. Bony hands hauled the door open – on the other side, the harsh flicker of arc lighting broke the gloom. Tychon could not see past the hunched creatures ahead of him, but there was something odd about the pipe here. Compressed into the narrow metal tube, he realised what it was – he had no real sense of which way was down. His arms and legs, pressed up against the surfaces of the pipe, were keeping him anchored in one place, but the familiar pull of the Instigator’s artificial gravity had ebbed away.
The first of the Ghilliam clung spider-like to the edges of the door – then, with a twitch of spindly limbs, threw himself through. On the other side and about twenty metres down was a great, hangar-like landing bay, age-old detritus drifting in weightless eddies through its stale air: Tychon felt his heart beat faster as he saw the huge, heavy-duty airlocks at its far end.
“You next,” growled Enoch, nudging him in the small of the back with the Carnodon’s barrel. The second Ghilliam grabbed Tychon by the wrist, pulling him towards the edge of the door as he prepared for the jump...
”Vents?” said Flyte, his voice thrumming with nerves. “What - the lieutenant!”
He tried to step towards the vent, but Pullings pulled him back.
“Stay clear of the fog!” he shouted. “Back! All of us, out!”
The provosts were clearly on the edge of panic. As he stepped back to stand beside Red, Jones whirled around with a start, levelling his shotgun at the silent forest of colossal shells behind them.
“Did you hear that?” he said, eyes wide with fear. “Did you hear it?”
OOC: WP test please.
”Fine,” said Aevon, grudgingly. Her face fixed in an unbecoming sulk, she handed over the sword, snatching at the katar as soon as it was offered. Skittering away from Nova in a sideways, crab-wise fashion, she picked up the first of the monster’s severed legs and began to prise open the bristly shell with the dagger’s edge.
“You ought to dump the armour, you know,” she said. “It’ll wear you out, make you sweat more. ‘s still a long way to go. Besides, it doesn’t suit you.”
The creature’s carapace split with a sharp crack, revealing the white, semi-translucent muscle within. Aevon tucked in with a will, ripping at the jelly-like meat with her teeth like a feral-worlder at a feast.
“Makesh you look fat,” she added, through a mouthful of watery flesh.
There were dragonflies roosting in the high leaves of the tallest cycads, each as long as Ignace’s arm. They took off Ignace approached, insect brains disconcerted by the psyker’s disregard for gravity.
Reaching the crown of the tree, Ignace found the plateau, taking his bearings as best he could. As he caught sight of the great rock formation, he felt the strange sensation of weariness wash over him once again, stronger than before.
Test WP against one level of fatigue, please.
Fighting the urge to close his leaden eyelids, Ignace turned away – then gave a start as a soft voice spoke out, right behind him.
“Leaving your friends to die. How’s that going to look on your report, Ignace?”
Whirling round, he saw the source of the voice. Perched on one green bough behind him was an impossible figure, a figure that could not have been there before. It was a woman, tall and graceful, dressed in a clean shift of pale, greyish blue. The cycad’s branch bore her as if she weighed no more than one of the dragonflies, sitting with her knees up in front of her and her hands crossed in front of them. Her black hair was cut in the humble, cropped fashion of the Ecclesiarchy, and her eyes were covered with a white linen blindfold. Most remarkable, however, were the wings – huge, swan-like wings that sprouted from behind her shoulderblades, furled behind her in great curtains of white feathers.
As angels went, she would not have looked out of place carved in stone over an Imperial chapel.
2011-05-05, 08:27 AM
"If you say so." The gunslinger allowed himself to be pulled towards the hatch.
"Do you want to know who sent me, Enoch? Why I was on this ship?" He had asked the question just as the Ghilliam jumped, on purpose. If Enoch wanted an answer, he was going to have to follow.
2011-05-05, 10:47 AM
"Quite poorly, I should think. But given that the alternative would have allowed for no such report, I think they'll just have to cope." Assuming that Ignace could forgive himself of what he did, of course.
2011-05-05, 10:50 AM
OOC: Oops. I apologise for that: I knew there was something I'd forgotten.
Jericus dropped to one knee, grabbed the box of bandages and opened it.
Looking blankly in the direction the Provost was looking, Red strained to see what it was that had caught his attention – then, he heard it too. It was the slightest of sounds, a slippery slithering in the walls. Trying to pinpoint its location, he turned left and right, the sound resonating through thick metal: the other two Navy men seemed oblivious to it.
Out of the corner of his eye, Red suddenly thought he saw something – movement, a long, slender shape dropping from somewhere up high. It was there for the merest moment and then it was gone, vanishing into the regimented ranks of silent ordnance.
”I ain’t talkin’ to you, mishter,” called Enoch in reply. Pushing off from the edge of the pipe, the second Ghilliam pulled Tychon down after him. The sensation of weightlessness increased, the two of them sailing through the recycled air with a stately constant velocity.
Feet thudded against the plating of the hull, and then they were rebounding, drifting up towards the opposite wall. A dead ship’s rat brushed Tychon’s shoulder, turning slowly in mid-air: as the wall loomed before them, the Ghilliam reached out with blistered hands and feet, latching on like a monkey to the riveted finger-holds in the side of the hold.
Clamped to the floor in the centre of the great derelict space was an old Arvus lighter, by now a solid mass of corrosion. The glass of its cockpit was filthy and cracked, a splintered spider’s web of fissures working their way through the toughened viewscreen: growing in the dirt that had accumulated there was a solitary, puny-looking plant, straining up with two lonely leaves towards the arc lights high overhead. Fragments of rubbish drifted aimlessly through the air, pebbles of broken glass gleaming through drifts of swirling dust.
Wedging himself in the opening to the pipe high above – or was it below? – Enoch was fiddling with the metal stump of his peg-leg, fitting it with some kind of horseshoe-like device. Finishing whatever he was doing, he pushed himself over and propelled himself down, hitting the deck with a reverberating clang – unlike the Ghilliam, however, he stuck there, the magnetic boot sticking him to the floor. The two ghoulish darkholders watched with their saucer-like eyes, clinging to the walls with an eerie agility.
Stumping his way over to them with great difficulty, Enoch motioned with the pistol to the Ghilliam holding Tychon.
“Keep a hold of ‘im,” he said. “You,” he added, motioning to the other, “with me. Let’sh get thish done with.”
He was clearly uncomfortable with being down here. The Ghilliam he had gestured to scuttled up and around him, making towards the set of controls the old voidsman was painstakingly heading for.
”Forgiving ourselves is not what’s important,” said the angel. It seemed like she had heard Ignace’s own thoughts. “It’s the Emperor’s forgiveness that matters. Through deeds in His service.”
She turned her blindfolded face out to the right, as if looking towards the plateau. Staring at her, Ignace noticed that she was slightly translucent – he could see the fronds of the cycad through her skin, like one image superimposed on another.
“So, Ignace Erriphias. Where to from here?”
Scrabbling through the detritus of the shuttle cabin, Jericus seized upon the box of bandages. Opening the lid, he straightened up – then froze as he heard a sudden, loud crack of armourglass from the direction of the cockpit...
2011-05-05, 01:49 PM
Jericus dropped the lid and turned to face the cabin, hoping to get a burst in before the creature made its way through the cabin windows.
Half action draw weapon/ half action aim.
2011-05-05, 11:01 PM
Nova chuckled at Aevon as she stepped back into the cave to retrieve her gear. "Yes, the few millimeters thick, skin-tight mesh armor makes me look fat," she replied, once again dripping with sarcasm. She did consider the other woman's first point, though. If the armor ends up trapping heat or making travel harder, I can always remove it and store it in my pack.
Plopping down not far from Aevon, Nova took a few moments to check over what little water she had left, mentally cataloguing all of her other gear as well. "I'll trade you half the water for some of that, though I'd suggest against drinking it all immediately."
Hoping to resume her rest now that the rude interruptions were over, Nova sat back against her pack and did her best to relax without falling asleep. No need to give her an excuse to steal my gear. To keep her mind somewhat occupied, and thus awake, Nova tried to dredge up what she knew of survival in desert environments, especially any way to find water. Afterall, the Inquisition had put forth the effort to put such knowledge into her head, she may as well utilize it.
Survival test to see if Nova knows anything useful about desert survival (survival is a basic skill for the Mind Cleansed)
[roll0] vs. 17 (34 base Int, cut in half for untrained)
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