The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #181
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Heidric shrugs, 'Perhaps not a distraction that would be guaranteed to work. We could always try attacking something in the Koronus Passage and see if it draws any of the system ships from Port Wander. Though if we can't manage to sneak past them it does rather ruin the element of surprise.'

    'Or we rely on the Inquisition to let us through. I have the odd code of the Ordos that might encourage the Navy to look the other way. The Imperium can be surprisingly easy to manipulate if you have the right authority. Though there's always the possibility that it might attract unwanted attention even if it works.'

  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Amon Ram suggests, "Sneaking is likely best, if possible. I doubt our one vessel could fend off the Navy alone."

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    "It might be the best chance, though. I'm not sure what de Torvega's plan was. I think he expected more time to make it." Drake looked up at Amon. "Don't suppose there's anything you could do? Some sort of sorcerous trickery?"

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    I'll advance here, if Inquisitorial Codes is the plan you want to go with.
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Amon looks back down at the man. "Nothing that would affect something the size of this vessel."

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    'Well we could always ask the Warp for assistance. But it does rather impose a price for that even if you know how to ask for it. I'm game though if anyone has any concrete suggestions.'

  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    "Seems not. We'll try your trick with the codes."

    The Writhing Doom took several days to reach the thirteenth station of passage, and several more from there creeping through the Koronus Passage, skirting the edges of warp storms and keeping away from the flickering images of other ships that filled the route. At last they broke through into Calixis, dropping from Warp near the edge of the system. Port Wander loomed in the distance, a thousand spires mounting a thousand guns, dozens of ships at dock. Navy patrols followed carefully plotted routes around the station, powerful augurs sweeping space, looking for anything that might break free from Koronus.

    It was a bastion, a fortress of the Corpse-Emperor's might, and breaking it would take more power than they presently had at their disposal. Getting past would, hopefully, be possible with Heidric's code phrases.

    "Unknown vessel!" The hail came from one of the patrols, a pair of Sword-class frigates. "You're not on our arrival log. State your registration and business."
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  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Having been content to let his more capable subordinates take the ship this far, Elisanth saw no reason to stop delegating yet. Lounging in the command throne, he looked to Heidric and Zahariel.

    "Seeing as we will most likely need to talk ourselves out of this debacle, you two seem to be our best faces to the Imperium. As far as I am aware, the Dark Angels are still en large loyal to the Throne, and an apparent Inquisition agent is unlikely to make them want to look too closely for their own sakes. I hope you can bluff as well as you fight."

  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Heidric has spent the last few days exploring the Doom. There was always a chance that some of what he saw might come in useful, and he wanted to make sure he had every possible route off the ship memorised in case of emergencies.

    'Attentive aren't they. You would like to think that the Navy would have more important things to do with it's ships.' He'll gesture at one of the bridge crew, 'Audio communications only I think. Just in case someone recognises what our current Captain actually is. If this doesn't work we can always have Zahariel loom over someone in person.'

    Heidric adopts a more serious tone as he answers the vox, 'Attention patrolling Sword. We were in the Expanse on urgent Ordo business. We carry personnel that require assessment by the proper authorities on Scintilla. Trust in the Throne that you are better off not knowing the details. If you need to check my bona fides, please pass these code phrases to your superiors.' He will rattle off a chain of Ordo Malleus code phrases that were lately stolen by Heidric's own superiors. To anyone with the right clearance, the code phrases would claim that the Doom was enroute from the site of a major warp incursion in the fringes of the Koronus Expanse. In Heidric's experience, no one liked to get in the Ordo Malleus' way when it was working.

    Spoiler: ooc
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    Whispers of the Warp (opposed test vs. Wp. 46)
    (1d100)[83]
    If I need Fate to reroll
    (1d100)[77]

    Will roll Deceive in the ooc


  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    "Codes recieved. Hold while we run them past command." The vox cut out, the two Swords floating ominoulsy in the void. They had drawn within weapons range, but they hadn't started shooting yet, which was a good sign. It took several minutes, likely of curious back-and-forth between the captains and their commanders in the port. It would have been interesting, to be a fly on the wall when the Navy found out who those codes belonged to.

    The response came back as the two Navy vessels turned, reversing course back to their normal patrol path. "Orders confirmed. Ordo business. We'll not trouble you further, sirs."

    Down in the engine room, the wrights stoked the engines. The Doom built up speed, doing its best impression of "urgent business" as it put as much distance as possible between itself and the guns of Port Wander. Sooner or later, the Navy would find out that Heidric's codes had been stolen. Best to be long gone by the time that happened.
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  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Heidric lets out the breath he'd been holding. 'I'm so glad that worked.' To the bridge crew, 'You might want to find a clean identity for your ship if you ever come back this way. Those codes tend to be less valid the more you use them.'

  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Now that the situation with the Imperial Navy was bypassed, Amon Ram heads off to the Captain's quarters to dig for any information he might be able to find about where they were headed and the problems that might be ahead of them. Using the memories of both the Captain and the after-Captain, he looks in the most likely spots that the information might be hidden or noted.

  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Leaving the crew to their duties, Elisanth left the bridge and descended into the lower decks, searching for something to hunt. There had to be some horror that he could hunt and adorn his new command throne with its pelt.

  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Paline stayed holed up in the shuttle for an extra few hours, munching away at one of the not-quite-expired ration packs she picked up at some point in the past. Once it was obvious that she wasn't going to be burning anything she rolled out, literally, and made her way to the crew quarters. She muttered "Best to let them handle the bridge...let's see what the crew has to offer..." without realizing she left her bead on the entire time.

    The next couple days were spent getting to know the other humans; who ran which gangs, what each section was responsible for, where the fuel was kept, and most importantly who would need to be purged if there was ever a mutiny against those that opted to take over the bridge. She slummed with the crew, to the point that she barely registered the plan happening with those in charge, and gravitated towards those more likely to pillage or courier than those responsible for appeasing the machine spirits.
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  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Heidric

    Heidric found the ship's astropath, an ancient, wizened man with a blue lacquered plate bolted over the top half of his face. The plate wasn't quite featureless; it was devoid of any decoration or adornment, but it wasn't quite flat. The surface was lightly contoured, creating areas of light and shadow that gave the distinct impression of eyes. Eyes that followed you around the room, looking directly at wherver you happened to be standing.

    The old man relayed Heidric's message without question and then sat, muttering and waiting. It would take some time for Heidric's superiors to recieve it, and likely more still for them to dig up anything on the Observatory. There was no guarantee he would hear back at all, but at least the message shouldn't be specific enough to draw unwanted attention.

    Paline

    The crew seemed disinclined to talk much. They were a quiet, surly group, Paline quickly discovered, and not much for small talk. By process of elimination she discovered who brewed the best rotgut swill, and managed to coax basic directions out of a few off-duty cargo workers. Anything beyond that seemed to be proprietary information, and in the crew's esteemed opinion, she did not need to know. She guessed that a fairly significant number had been loyal to De Torvega, but that loyalty had been predominanlty based off of getting them back out of the Vortex, and away from Wynd's mad quest for scraps of knowledge.

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    You can try another relavent skill, if you want more.


    Elisanth

    Elisanth descended into the guts of the ship, prowling the rotting lightless corridors for hours at a time. There were plenty of mutant dregs around, and small skiterring things that vanished at his approach, scurrying for the cover of ducting and ventwork. He found some signs of larger creatures, and once happened across a nest of gloomhaunts, but was unable to locate anything worthy of his skill. The larger predators of the Doom seemed happy to stay away from him, while the smaller were hardly worthy of his skill.

    Amon

    The omnophagia was not perfect. Rather than a direct recollection of the subject's memories, one usually recieved a set of fragmented images and emotions, people, places, things that the person had been thinking of prior to their death. Things that were important to them. Armed with two such sets of stolen memory, the sorcerer approached the Captain's quarters. It was likely what he sought would be found within.

    The cabin was a mess, a transitional state at odds with the old Captain's memories of it. De Torvega had tossed the place when he took over, looking for the same information Amon came seeking now. It was a combination work and living space, with stone tile floors. Shelves lined the walls, filled with scrolls, charts, hundreds of books and maps and papers. It smelled of incense, a small burner still smouldering on the huge desk. Some dark wood, polished to a fine sheen, the top surfaced with green leather. An old brass lantern, refitted to hold a lumen-globe, hung from a stand next to the desk, casting light across the jumble of papers sitting on top of it. The drawers contained the ship's log, a box of stubber ammunition, navigational instruments, and another box filled with wax cylinders. A phonograph for playing the cylinders sat on a small table in one corner, next to a wardrobe filled with fine clothing.

    Systematically, Amon went through the papers, sifting and cataloguing as he went. In the lowest drawer, he found a brass hourglass. The fine grains of sand trickled from the top to the bottom, counting the seconds as he worked. The captain had a few books, and many more notes, on Janus II. Some of it was reproduced in his journal, but much was not. The jungles were quite hostile, it appeared; one of the books was a sort of bestiary, a detailed encyclopedia of all the hostile flora and fauna to be found on the world. It wasn't a death world, but many of the plants and animals were toxic, and there were a number of large predators. Nothing so dangerous as the Psychneuein of Prospero, of course, but people had been known to simply vanish into the jungles. It was astonishing how much of the planet was still unexplored, really. All exploration needed to be conducted by land, due to a strong magnetic field and interference from the trees, which contained higher than average trace metals, making traditional augure surveys unreliable.

    He also found a dossier covering the largest city on Janus II, which also served as the capital. Rioplaya sprawled along several kilometers of oceanfront, a narrow band of civilization between the jungle and the sea. Most of the nearby land had been reclaimed and converted to farming, and the city boasted large fisheries along the western half of the shore. The spaceport was far to the west, where the beaches turned into rocky outcroppings of land, and the governor's palace and garden district dominated the eastern part of the city. A river ran down from the mountains and through the city, and construction was slowly spreading up into the valley, pushing the jungle back as it did so. Captain Wynd believed that the observatory was somewhere in the mountains near Rioplaya.

    Finally, Amon located a hidden compartment, behind a shelf holding a small model of the Doom and other decorative knick-knacks. It contained a safe, the code to which was fresh in De Torvega's mind after he changed it, and which held the Key. A small cylinder of silvery metal, engraved with thousands of fine grooves all across its surface, elaborate angular designs that resembled nothing so much as the mythical labyrinth. It felt light in his hand, yet this was what at least two men had now died for.
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  15. - Top - End - #195
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Paline hummed a hymn to herself after the bout of disinterest and she thought about what she could do next. Ultimately it was a shock she got the directions and she opted to not test her luck any more with direct conversation. Instead she’d focus on being a fly on the wall, but first…
    She made her way back up to the bridge through barely used hallways and through hatches she recognized as ones the gangs didn’t often use. A few times she disappeared from view only to pop up on another floor in case she managed to actually upset people with her new face. Ultimately, though, she had one goal and that was to return to the group she was with before she slummed it a bit. Once more in the presence of those that actually took over the ship she offered a half-hearted salute.

    Her voice was quiet but not overly so, just enough to not disturb those around her, as she said ”Lovely ship this is. A lot better than my last, that’s for sure. Managed to learn a bit about the crew if you all care.”
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  16. - Top - End - #196
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    Heidric felt obliged to keep in touch with his superiors every now and then. If he didn't they tended to be upset with him.

    You couldn't always tell with psykers so, after trying to look the Astropath directly in his faceplate for any reaction he'll ask 'Are you aware they're doing that? If that's how you see I have to wonder what I look like to you.' If it was some trick of the warp then that was a different conversation altogether.

    Later he is distracted enough not to notice Paline's approach. He can't quite avoid looking startled for a moment. 'Well it would be nice to know that the crew isn't idiotic enough to be plotting against us. It would be inconvenient to have to kill more of them.'

  17. - Top - End - #197
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    With a shrug Paline mumbled "They probably won't. They liked the last captain for getting them out of the Vortex and they aren't a fan of this wild chase for scraps of knowledge. One of you more talking types could probably convince them in the importance of the mission, it's kind of a miracle I got that much out of them."
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  18. - Top - End - #198
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    Zahariel had been quiet so far. He commandeered a small officer's cabin and turned it into his personal cell, spending much of his time in meditation. If not, he roamed the ship, familiarizing himself with its layout. He made sure to attend the meetings on the bridge, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. He wasn't much of a talker, but he listened to all that went on.

    Zahariel turns to Paline as she speaks. Anything else? It's always good to know about the crew on one's vessel. Perhaps I should see to their military forces. I shall supervise their training and preparations. He leaves to find the commander of the marines.

  19. - Top - End - #199
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    First Officer Drake was more than happy to assist Zahariel in rounding up the ship's fighting men. Those of them that weren't currently needed on duty, at least. Their commander turned out to be a stringly little whipcord of a woman, her fiery red hair pulled back into a large topknot. Zahariel couldn't tell how old she was for certain; not too old, but her face carried a few lines and scars of battle. She wore a black uniform with red accents, a long-sleeved affair with a high collar that hid the entirety of her body. Her gloves and boots were fine brown leather, stained by use, and at her waist she carried a brutal snub-nosed pistol. Her primary weapon, though, was a large two-handed boarding axe she carried slung over her shoulder. It had a head of blackened adamantine, honed to a razor edge on both sides, and looked as though it could cut a man clean in half.

    She bowed stiffly to Zahariel when he entered the barracks, her men drawn up in rows behind her. There were fewer than might be expected for a ship of this size, but they seemed at least to have kept their uniforms and equipment in good order.

    "Noble lord. You honour us with your presence."
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  20. - Top - End - #200
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    To Paline, 'But I like wild chases for scraps of knowledge. Perhaps Captain Wynd and I would have gotten on.'

    'I'm not one for inspiring people. I'm told I come across as insincere. I could try pretending that finding the Observatory would be very profitable for all of us. For all I know that might actually be true.' An idea occurs to him, 'I suppose I could go looking for whoever happens to be powerful on the lower decks. That sort of person can be useful to know.'

    Afterwards he will go looking for the sort of person who could obtain things for the crew on the quiet. If they weren't powerful themselves they might know those who were.

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    Commerce to know where those sort of people might do business on a ship
    vs. Int 42
    (1d100)[38]

    Or if it's more appropriate Inquiry to ask around
    vs. Fel 34 (-20 basic)
    (1d100)[67]


  21. - Top - End - #201
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    After studying through the various papers, documents and journals that he finds in the captain's quarters, Amon also regroups with the others.

    "Our destination, Janus II, looks like a lovely planet for a vacation; and by that, I mean it looks like a ****hole.
    I found a number of books on the subject in the Captain's quarters. Seems it is classified as a Death World, with all sorts of hostile fauna and flora. As a result, much of the planet remains unexplored and due to a strong magnetic field and heavy foliage, all exploration will have to happen on the ground. Seems the planet is also high on various metals that make augur survey unlikely."


    He then pulls a small booklet out of one of the pockets on his power armor's belt and taps it.

    "The capital, Rioplaya, is along the oceanfront with large swathes of land dedicated to farming. The governor's palace is near the spaceport. Seems ex-Captain Wynd believed the Observatory to be somewhere in the mountains near Rioplaya, so I guess we should start there."

  22. - Top - End - #202
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    Eliphas stormed back onto the bridge, an expression of rage etched onto his usually benign features, and slammed his fist into the back of his throne.

    "NOTHING! Why is there nothing on this misbegotten ship worth my skill!"

    He sat down heavily, massaging his temple, his eyes closed, and responded to Amon's report.

    "You are right, Amon, my loyal left hand. Helm, do as he says."

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    Paline shook her head and said ”Nothing too important. I ain’t one for talking either but I’ll head towards where they’re likely to drink and see if they let loose anything else.” She shrugged at mention of the death trap they’re heading towards and added ”Scraps of knowledge and wild chases work for us but I don’t blame ‘em. Volunteers can be bribed with riches but your average crewmate probably won’t want to risk deadly fauna for a few thrones extra.”
    She tapped her commbead and disappeared into the ship once more, meandering her way to that spot she was told about to get some good rotgut. She got a tankard to nurse and settled into an out of the way area. Like a spider in the corner she made herself unremarkable and out of sight, listening for what the crew said when they were properly drunk.
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  24. - Top - End - #204
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    Zahariel nods politely at the woman. I am Brother-Sergeant Zahariel of the First Legion. You are the commander here? I am here to see to the combat training of the troops. Zahariel spends several days working on combat drills with the crew. Nothing helpful against Astartes, but enough to make them threats to other mortals.

    He rejoins the command crew. He looks over at Elisanth first. You seem vexed, Brother. Fear not. I am sure a Death World will provide for more suitable prey. Speaking of the matter, what is our plan for landing? I doubt they will welcome us with open arms if we do not dissemble convincingly.

  25. - Top - End - #205
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    'That does rather depend on whether they have the defences to prevent us landing whenever we feel like it. If that turns out to be the case I'm sure I'll think of something.'

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    Zahariel

    "Sword Marshal Cieli Farrel. I'm interested to see what you have to show us." Even with the formalities over, she didn't relax much. She did prove to be an able student, however, and before too long she and the men had his tactics and combat drills running smoothly. There were a few bumps at the start, as soldiers rotated on and off duty, bringing in men that he had yet to teach. Many of the soldiers were awed, hardly believing they were recieving instruction from an Astartes.

    Heidric and Paline

    Two different approaches were needed, clearly, to crack the tight-lipped nut of a crew they were dealing with. Heidric went searching for centers of commerce, underdeck trading markets and places where the wealthy - such as they were, on a ship like this - might congregate. He found the markets easily enough, wandering through them and picking out who was armed, and who was dangerous. Trade in the bowels of the ship was myopic, fed by the shells of bivalves that grew in the hydroponic tanks, carved chips of shell used as currency in the absense of metal coinage. There were few weapons, the ones that were there probably lifted from ship's stores, or stolen from old armouries. The most powerful group was probably the Chem Sharks, who seemed to have a finger in just about every pie, especially what passed for an illicit drugs market. They'd set up shop in a disused fuel depot, and didn't let outsiders in.

    Paline learned the same thing, sitting in a quiet corner and drinking while listening. After a while of saying nothing, the crew seemed to forget she was there, and she overheard a good handful of interesting tidbits. Some of it was about the Chem Sharks, but she also picked up on rumours being passed down about the ship's new Captain. Some of the crew had apparently spotted Elisanth roaming the underdecks looking for something to kill. They seemed legitimately afraid of the space marine, which was wise, and more than once she caught wind of moaning that while Wynd was mad, and De Torvega intimidating, Elisanth was probably insane. There were some large and terrifying beasties in the ship's forgotten spaces, and even THEY had stayed away from Elisanth - clearly he was a force to be reckoned with. For now, it seemed, fear was likely to keep the crew in line.

    Spoiler: Heidric Only
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    During this time of investigation, Heidric recieved a coded message back from his superiors. They advised him that the Observatory was suspected to be real, but had never been found. The journal Wynd had used was not the only source of information, however; searching the Inquisitorial archives had produced a few more scraps of information, references hidden in other texts. It was supposed to be ancient, going back to the dark age of technology or further. The Key was meant to fit into some kind of control console buried at the Observatory's heart, which would allow whoever held the key to operate the "great mechanisms". It was also apparently required even to gain access to the Observatory itself. Nobody had ever seen the guardians, but everyone who wrote of the place agreed they existed. There was a considerable amount of speculation on the subject, with some suggesting Iron Men, and others some sort of slumbering Xenos monsters.


    All

    Slowly but surely, skirting the edges of occupied systems, the Writhing Doom made its way across Calixis. The route to Janus II was a long one, but despite some disconcerting rumblings when the warp drives were active, the ship seemed inclined to hold together. They made it most of the way there without incident. In the middle of the final jump, however, dewarp alarms sounded suddenly. The bridge was filled with the sound of klaxons, spinning red emergency lights casting a pall over the command throne. With a horrible wrenching that the crew felt in their gut more than heard, the ship dropped back into realspace.
    I do LP's sometimes! I'm currently on hiatus for college purposes.

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  27. - Top - End - #207
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2017

    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Heidric will head over to the fuel deport to see what the Chem Sharks security was like. He's not making any attempt to be stealthy or disguise himself. There was every chance that a human who came on to the ship with three Astartes might be viewed as less important anyway.

    If she doesn't show up first he will call Paline. 'I've found some people that might be worth talking to. However it would be foolish to go in without telling anyone first. Come along if you wish.'

    Later

    Heidric holds onto a console to stay standing. 'That's probably a bad sign. Someone ask the Navigator what's going on.'

  28. - Top - End - #208
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Gunhaven's Avatar

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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Paline was, if anything, predictable. She gathered up a few days worth of rations, a bag of cheap booze, and made her way to the Chem Sharks headquarters. On the way there she sent over the groups comm ”Seems you made an impression, Captain Elisanth. Crew fears you, beasties below fear you, and I’m sure the man on the golden throne fears you.”
    Once she was close she reorganized her scattering of gear and pulled her cloak over her head. Nice and slow would win this race and she was under no rush to be somewhere in the open, instead seeing what nooks and krannies she could get herself into to overhear further tidbits. She didn’t really have a plan to leave the area until there was a call for new loot and hoped she timed her supplies right. When Heidric called she quietly replied ”Sure hope you mean the Chem Sharks. Heard about them, figured I’d try and sneak in and hear what they say. I’ve so far been…” and she rattled off the directions she’s gone down and what was where so far.

    When the alarms blared she stirred once more and moved to another place, leaving behind licked clean ration packages and water bags. Worst case it’d lead to her capture, best case it’d attract some vermin for the group to deal with and she could offer her aid in fixing the self-caused problems. It was some concern, sure, but she was also fairly certain that if the warp wanted to claim her there wouldn’t be much she could do.
    Spoiler: Stealth?
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    Synskin adds +10, Chameleoline Cloak adds +20 when standing still, and I got all the time to move only when people sleep.
    (1d100)[67] vs 72? (Agility 42, Stealth Known)
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  29. - Top - End - #209
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2017

    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunhaven View Post
    When Heidric called she quietly replied ”Sure hope you mean the Chem Sharks. Heard about them, figured I’d try and sneak in and hear what they say. I’ve so far been…” and she rattled off the directions she’s gone down and what was where so far.
    'They're the ones.' Good to see they were on the same page. 'If the alternative is introducing them to Elisanth perhaps they would be willing to work for us.' He will give his location.

    After a decent interval to give Paline time if she wished to get into position he will go and introduce himself to whoever seemed to be guarding the Chem Sharks hideout. 'Excuse me. I came onboard with the current Captain and I would like to speak with whoever is in charge here.'

  30. - Top - End - #210
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Elisanth was bored. Being captain of a ship was not as entertaining as he remembered it being. With the pitiful medical supplies that the crew had, he couldn't even get himself into a decent stim-induced fugue to pass the time.

    Despite this, he smiled as Paline made her report over the vox.

    "He most certainly does, my little pyromaniac. He certainly does."

    He jerked upright in his throne as the ship abruptly exited the warp.

    "First Officer. What has happened, and where are we? I need answers!"

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