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Silence. The vaults of the Novus Ordo are calm, placid, quiet, the refiltered atmosphere so still that airborne dust just hangs there, as if trapped in amber.
Most ships of the Imperium, even those of the Adeptus Astartes, tend to be full of life, veritable city-states in their own right with intricate class hierarchies, millennia-old rituals, and a constant buzz of activity and life (not all of it human) pervading every deck. Save for the most gregarious Salamanders and Marines Errant, of course, the Space Marines seldom fraternise with their physical, spiritual, and mental lessers - even if you had the inclination, there's so little in common that you'd have nothing to talk about - but it's comforting to know that they're there, even if it's only a throwback to the time before you lost your humanity in exchange for the blood of angels. You don't like to be alone.
You are alone, though. There are - at an extremely generous estimate - around three hundred other sapient souls aboard this vessel, but they tend to keep themselves to themselves, working away behind closed doors and in hermetically sealed cubicles. Vestigial corridors, mess rooms, barracks and dormitories riddle the ship, but they too are deserted, silent, and tomb-like. The Novus Ordo may be among the best and most advanced ships in the Deathwatch's fleet, with ancient and highly advanced automation and servitor-control systems that skirt the edge of tech-heresy, but there's something distinctly unpleasant and sepulchral about being aboard it.
You spend a week, then two weeks, trapped in the prison of this tranquil little ship. You spar and train with the other members of this ad hoc Kill Team, finding each other's natural combat rhythms so that you'll be able to fight together as an effective unit when the time comes to do what Astartes always are called to do. You receive no summons; auto-voxed voices politely request that you stay in your quarters when you try to leave. Gently rebuffed, you spend more time sharpening blades, disassembling and reassembling bolters, and debating the various merits of names for your Kill Team. Aeon? Eternity? Ζternity? When your suit votes finally do chirp, summoning you to the bridge, it's a welcome reprieve.
The bridge, like the rest of the ship, is largely empty, but at least there are people here - the high-ranking crew all seem to have gravitated to the Ordo's nerve centre. Captain Jerok de Saul, wearing a sable-trimmed naval uniform several sizes too large for him, bustles around the command and control centre, gently tapping in commands to fixed cogitator banks and murmuring soothing words of encouragement to the cocooned servitor-brains that are shouldering the bulk of the work of running the ship. The helmsman Kavant Ire - himself quickly approaching a similar state of total interface with the ship's systems - seems to be having a heated argument with the Master of Ordnance, one Garran Skiniker, and the Astropath Transcendent, Myra Khilankha. Enginseer Prime, the Adept Ushia Mellano, is idly tinkering with some of the gear surrounding the Navigator's throne, but (as the two Techmarines will quickly recognise) it has the distinct look of make-work, and her bionic eyes gleam with excitement at the sight of the Astartes.
Sitting above it all is your Watch Captain, the faintly eccentric Volem Pecos, formerly of the Lone Stars chapter. She sits in the ship's command throne, toying with a revolving-barrel melta pistol of unusual design, a distracted look in her eye. And then - without seeming to have traversed the intervening space between her hip and her hand - the pistol is drawn, levelled, drawing a bead on the centre of each of your helmets. Melta weapons are notoriously short ranged, and it's unlikely she could hit you from across the bridge, but it's still a pretty alarming experience to be staring down the blunt tip of an inferno pistol, especially while on a pressurised ship.
She slides off the chair, and approaches you, stowing the pistol with a similarly lightning-fast gesture.
'M'apologies to y'all for keeping' ya waiting' - this damn ship, this damn mission, there's a lot to be getting' on with an' ah've been remiss in seein' to the most important members of the crew - yisselves.'
A few centuries' service with the Deathwatch has barely knocked the edges off the traditional Lone Stars drawl. It's recognisably Low Gothic, but the extremely heavy accent has been frustrating box operators across the Jericho Reach for hundreds of years. In a curiously archaic gesture, she offers a hand - clad in massive Mk. III warplate - to each of you to shake.
'You've seen the reports, see what brought us lightin' aht in this rig - ah don't know there's much more ah can tell. Ansar-Saussure's an old colleague a'mine, Achilus Crusade veteran, lately of the Ordo Chronos - seemed kinda a magnet fer trouble. Ordinarily, ah'd send a smaller scout team, or tell 'em to just laugh it off, if one of the In-qui-sition came demanding Deathwatch reinforcement, actin' as if they own us, but Marian's got a peculiar knack for finding' herself in the middle of things. Is there some kinda universal narrative importance attached to her, is she the protagonist a some kinda warp-narrative? P'raps. All ah know's that ah've bailed her out of attacks by Umbra, 'crontyr, daemoniac uprisin's - seems like every time she and that acolyte crew o'hers head out on an investigation, somethin' terrible happens an' she stumbles across a whole new slumberin' alien race. So, if she's sayin' that there's some kinda giant monster pursuin' her through the warp to a dig site - well yeah, ah'm gonna give 'er benefit of the doubt and go on a monster-killin' spree. Y'all seemed fairly decent at that line o'work from y'personnel records, and it weren't like you were doing nothing but sitting around doin' nothin', so ah thought ah'd bring you along fer the ride. We'll have time to resupply of Ansar-Saussure's own ship - she's usually got a ton of useful Astartes-sized gear aboard, though don't ask her where she got it - and the rest of the crew here oughta be able to help handle the conflict space-side.'
Pecos turns to the miscellaneous crew millin' about on her deck.
There are a few desultory noises of approval, but it seems to satisfy her. The Watch Commander either doesn't run a very tight ship, or runs it so well that she doesn't feel she needs to.
'Yehp, that's the crew. Ah'm sure they'd like to talk to y'all later - Khilankha and Mellano in particular each said they'd got somethin' to talk to you abaht, But - in the complete and total absence of a mission plan - tell me a little about yisselves. Ah've read y'all's personnel files, naturally - but they don't really give me a sense of the spirit that moves ya. You've trained together a little, ah hear - are ya combat-capable together yet?'
Forgemaster Shao took the Captain's offered hand firmly, with her augmentic right arm providing a tight grip. Stepping back, she bowed her black helmed head slightly. the best indication she could give of being glad to see Captain Pecos. The voyage thus far had been vexing for Dasin, being given precious little direction or precise assignment, not helped by the circumstances that'd come before it. Still, her new-found colleagues had been a help, and to finally have some personal contact with their superior was further relief.
At the question, the Rime Drake stepped forward, glancing behind her to the rest of the team before speaking, clearly and definitively. "We're ready, Captain. We are an unorthodox team, but that can be a strength as much as a weakness and we know each other now. Given the briefing of this mission, I feel we are well prepared for whatever is on the horizon."
It wasn't a lie: Dasin had been encouraged during their training thus far, but she knew well enough that no amount of training was equal to field action. Things can always change. And can always go wrong; especially when your briefing had very little in the way of actual information.
Seen the reports, any hints on what's terrorizing Ansar-Saussur? Forbidden Lore: Xenos (1d100) TN 78
Last edited by Major Kiaslu : 03-23-2013 at 10:55 AM.
The Storm Warden librarian, standing in his old Mark IV Maximus Power Armour, its history very mysterious, as is typical for the Storm Wardens, raises an eyebrow, yet remains silent and doesn't move an inch.
Still, the Watch-Captain hears him loud and clear. His own accent, if telepathic communication can be said to have such, is strong, aye, but his dialect is almost non-existent, replaced by well-spoken, formal High Gothic.
"I assume that this is a test of... character, Watch-Captain. Regardless, I recommend that Forgemaster Shao leads our cell, if you shan't be doing so personally."
This was not a question, a simple statement of opinion. He had been called for a reason. His own presence, as well as the presence of two Tech-marines, and a scholar from the Blood Ravens (that could be a problem), gave an approximate 84% chance of there being Necron involvement in the mission, taking into consideration the involvement of an Inquisitor with Ordo Chronos affiliations.
Watch-Captain Pecos' involvement increased the likelihood too: She had served in the Deathwatch since long before the Achilus Crusade had even been a twinkle in the late Warmaster's eye. The Black Shield was an unknown at present, of course, so could not be taken into account in such an analysis.
Long-Range Telepathy cannot cause Psychic Phenomenon, so assuming success.
The black-clad Marine, after offering the Watch-Captain the traditional Aquila greeting, listens to Pecos in silence; his face hidden behind the inscrutable, beaked-snout of his blessed Power Armour, betraying no reaction to her words.
"We stand ready to serve, Watch-Captain, and before us the enemies of Man shall fall," he says in calm, passionless voice - his tone carefully modulated to avoid betraying a hint of an accent.
Antarael flexes the bonds of his armour. On his left wrist the intricate, and unusually patterned Narthecium flexes and whirs. It will be good to be out in the field again, after so great a period of inactivity; to once more spill the blood of those who would see the Imperium in flames.
Amazing Banshee avatar by Strawberries. Many, many thanks.
The slight build up of warp energies with the particular signature of telepathy was clear as any text on a page. Flexing his mental might, Codicer Thracian taps into the communication, listening but unable to respond. He merely nods, glad that he was not being nominated.
On the surface the Blood Raven is quite thin for an Astartes, his Corvus armour cleary modified to better fit his small frame. The blood red chapter Pauldron is enameled is exquisite glossy ruby red that contrasts to the extreme with the matte black of the Deathwatch. His force staff is topped by an egale shape. Maybe that of the Aquila yet maybe that of his own chapter. Aether energies crackle between the two wings, showing that the staff is powered up even now. The other Librarian can tell Thracian is using it as a focus and has no intention of making use of it as a tool of war, at least not now.
"I am Codicer Thracian my Lady." The Blood Raven bows at the waist in an esoteric gesture of some long forgotten culture of man. "We shall be ready only when we have assembled enough knowledge to inform our plan of action." he says in a voice clearly asking for the full mission briefing.
Psynisience to attempt to eavesdrop on the telepathy (1d100) vs 69
The faint whir of machinery emanates from Courras as he looks over the Watch-Captain, garnering different measures and relative levels of strength and dexterity, as well as assessing any weaknesses she may be hiding. Low Gothic. Thick Accent. Possible impediment to information gathering and requisitions. Low importance.
Tentative link to instability. Drawing a melta onboard a ship. Possibility of a ruptured bulkhead from that distance... 23.68%. Medium importance.
As Pecos extends her hand to Courras, so does he reach out with his own - a finely detailed bionic hand made of sturdy materials and glistening steel, a stark contrast to his pitch black armor. After a firm shake he gives an almost imperceptible nod.
"Techmarine Courras, Watch-Captain. The team has been training excellently, and my expectations are being succeeded. The Xenos shall fall beneath our boots." he clearly states in his own voice, a proud warrior's spirit beneath it, one of his few remaining capacities untouched by machine.
Andrew's eyes dart to the side when Thracian listens in on his message. He stops communicating with the Watch-Captain, sending only a silent message to the other Librarian,
"Eavesdropping is considered rude where I come from, Brother. Respect my privacy from now on, lest I believe that one has darker motives."
That was uncalled for, on the Blood Raven's part, but Andrew considers it positive that he did so. It revealed something of his fellow Librarian's character, and what sort of thing he was willing to do to satisfy his curiosity.
He ends the psychic conversation, if it could be called such, before allowing Thracian to speak. All that needed to be said had been said.
'Heh, y'all sure are an unorthodox team - but since when are the Counter-Xenos Militants meant to be orthodox! Haw haw haw, but don't worry a thang about it. Ah've tuned in on a few of the picter-feeds of y'all drillin', and that all seemed fine. Was more worryin' abaht the circumstances under which you were plucked from the Watch Station, and given precious little no information as to what was goin' on. Sure, ah know precious little more than you do [GM's note: -40 scrutiny check here.], but ah jes wanted to make sure y'all weren't harbourin' any doubts or concerns that might affect the mission. Ah won't be accompanyin' y'all dirt side, at least not at first, so ah need to make sure you're all OK with that. An' you want the Forgemaster here ter coordinate the rest of y'all? Well, seems like you got that settled. Ah'll have maps of Antael sent over to yer quarters shortly, but that'll probably be after we enter the warp. Which should be, oh,'
She cocks her head, summoning up diagnostic and navigational data into her HUD.
'Ah'd say about three hours or so. Until then, well, ah guess it's more free time fer y'all. Sorry again we're lightin' out in pursuit of a foe we know next to nothin' about, but sometime's them's the breaks. There were a couple of things ah wanted to follow up on, though - ah yes, Mellano and Khilankha -'
Either they've already read her intent, or order really is breaking down on this ship - two of the ship's crew have detached themselves from the human contingents and have been converging on the Astartes. One - Enginseer Mellano - has been sidling up towards Courras for a couple of minutes now, and takes the break in conversation to present herself to him, daintily raising her robes a fraction. The Techmarine catches a flash of articulated plas-steel ankle - about a dozen articulated brass ankles, in fact. The Enginseer isn't as heavily augmetic as the Iron Hand, but what blessed bionics she does possess are well-made, functional, and radically extensive.
'M'lord, welcome to the Novus Ordo! While we have been host to many Astartes in our time, 'tis the first time that we have been so honoured to have a Son of the Gorgon among our midst, and you do us a great honour with your presence alone!'
Three pairs of eyes - Pecos', the Void Master's, and the Chief Gunner's - roll simultaneously.
'I have been watching . Our personal supplies aboard this vessel are very limited, almost nothing really, but I thought - I thought that it'd be correct and proper to offer a small token of gratitude and thanks for your ongoing service to all of humanity.'
With a snake-like mechadendrite, she reaches inside her cassock and withdraws a single gilt bolt shell, perfectly chambered for the Techmarine's bolter. It seems heavy in her mechadendrite claw, and she has to visibly brace a few of her legs to keep upright while offering it to him, a strange shy little gesture.
'I could only make the one, but I though - I thought maybe you'd like it. It'll work - just as well as a normal bolt - I hope - but it's got a tiny micro-cogitator to guide it to its target, and help you smite the enemies of the Omnissiah-Emperor no matter how much cover they hide behind. And I was wondering' - she sidles up a little closer - 'since that'd displace one bolt from your own magazine - if you take it, of course - if I could possibly -' it's amazing that someone who's 60% cybernetic by body mass can blush, but Mellano manages it somehow - 'take care of the spare for you? I'd give it back intact, I promise, it's just that I've always wanted to study Astartes weaponry in the metal, and so rarely have the chance. He didn't only make Astartes stronger, he made you cleverer and wiser too, and I'd love so much to see that firsthand ...'
As this happens, Pecos continues to converse with the rest of the Kill Team, Dasin, and the two Librarians in particular.
'Listen y'all. Ah got a couple of requests to make of you as we go. Thracian, Andrew - yer both psykers, pretty good ones if ah hear right. Ah'd just like you to keep your psychic senses open while we're warpside. Not fully open, y'understand, not enough to hurt or let the madness in, but just - stay aware, y'know? As we're getting close to the Antael system, ah don't want to rear-end this thing, whatever it is. Obviously putting the Navigator or Astropath at risk in the warp is suicide, but ah'm guessing you two can handle yisselves, correct? Augmented post-human physiology and psychology, and all that. Y'don't have to, but it'd be a great help if you could stay alert. Dasin - d'you think you could have a quick check round the rest of the bridge staff, help triple-check our jump prep? Ah know you're not the only techmarine here, but somehow ah reckon well, you might be the more personable type.'
While this discussion is taking place, Antarael feels a faint presence by his side. It's the astropath, Myra Khilankha - she looks up with the hollow pits of her eyes (that, even vacant, still seem to be tired and heavy-lidded), and inclines her head.
'Master Space Marine? If I may, I would like to converse on an extremely urgent matter. Master Space Marine, sir - ?' She indicates a particularly empty spot on the largely empty bridge where they can talk without being overheard. Space Marines may have superhuman hearing, but Astropaths can be superhumanly quiet-spoken when they want to be. She walks a few steps, then turns back to the Black Shield, patiently waiting for him to follow.
Based on the very limited data available to you ('big', 'blocks out the warp', 'malign intent'), some sort of Xenos-related Space Hulk seems likely to you, although it could be any number of things, Xenos or Malefic. Something on the order of a Tyranid Hive Ship or Craftworld could have that kind of effect.
Inquisitor Ansar-Saussure was a member of the Ordo Chronos, though she broke away from them before they all managed to partially erase themselves from history. While all members of the minor Ordo were interested in time, Ansar-Saussure is known for her decidedly weird theories about causality and 'narratives' - before being inducted as an acolyte, she was a popular writer, of all things. Her research has always focused around systems of counterfactual prognostication and future-telling - a kind of machine-enabled brute-force counterpart to the kind of more precise scrying and witchery that the Eldar are known to practice. Esoteric stuff, but there are supporters of this sort of thinking among the Grand Inquisitor's staff on Terra, and have been for a long time. This would fit with what you know about Watch Commander Pecos - her Chapter has a decided reputation for going off on self-indulgent research-crusades in pursuit of Throne-knows-what in some heretic library world. Pecos herself has made more than one trip back to the Throne World in her service at Erioch, for highly private reasons - though in two hundred years, it's not unheard of - and does lead a lot of highly private solo operations aboard vessels like the Ordo. If you squint, though, it'd definitely be possible to imagine a conspiracy there, but it's nothing damning (the very blandness of the evidence might give you cause for concern, however). As to your kill-team, it's not unusual for senior Watch Captains to just grab the first few marines they see on leave at the Watch Fortress when forming a Kill Team at short notice; that might go some of the way towards explaining what led her to put together such a weirdly focused Kill Team. Or might not.
As to the world of Antael - you'd better believe that it's in the Outer Reach, which should make Andrew's ears prick up. The Inquisition and Deathwatch are just about beginning to work out an effective protocol for identifying what a Necron Tombworld is, at this point - there have been enough disastrous encounters with Canoptek constructs on worlds with little-to-no life and mysterious cyclopean obelisks that they know what they're doing at this point, and know to steer clear unless they can deploy overwhelming force against the planet. Antael wasn't one of those planets - it has a thin but breathable atmosphere, and once had living things of one sort or another on it. That it had potential archaeological sites on it is known, but they were very very old, and not considered an immediate Deathwatch priority, but handed off to a number of private concerns and minor Adepta. Andrew served on a couple of missions with someone who'd been there, who described it as 'quaint', which, coming from a Space Marine, says a lot.
Using a very cut-down version of the rules from the Navis Primer, I'm going to say that you can try to use Psyniscience to eavesdrop on telepathic conversations. You'd need a good few Degrees of Success to get even a vague emotional impression, and still more to properly understand the other's message. You can tell that they're talking - or that Andrew is talking and Pecos is cautiously listening, but not much more with that roll.
Pecos' handshake on the Iron Hand's bionic hand is sharp, precis, but not very firm. Weakness-wise, you would guess that while she is fast - almost at the limits of Astartes physiology as far as proprioception and hand-eye coordination is concerned - she's only middling in terms of sustained strength. The fact that her sidearm is very much a close-quarters weapon would support that conclusion.
Last edited by TERRORGOAT : 03-23-2013 at 08:12 PM.
Codicer Thracian smiles broadly at telepathic scolding from Brother Andrew but makes no other reply.
"I shall keep my sense attuned and guarded. May I do so on the bridge captain? Any indication of danger will need to be known immediately after all. And yes, 'I' can handle the Etherium." He stares at Andrew for a brief moment.
"Captain Pecos, if you are will, I wish to read your Tarot for the coming mission."
Thracian gestures for the Captain to sit in her command chair.
He graciously inclines his in in assent to the Astropath's request, and follows her to the secluded section of the deck. As he follows her, he studies her intently, the augmented auto senses of his helmet running up reams of data on the tired frame of the Astropath. He also takes a moment to reflect on her heated discussion with Helmsman and Master of Ordnance - could that be related to her request?
"How may I serve, Lady Astropath?" Antarael asks, as the burning red eyes of his helm turn towards her.
Amazing Banshee avatar by Strawberries. Many, many thanks.
Courras watches the Enginseer introduce herself, taking a simple gesture into an elaborate ceremony. While his face is an unreadable mask of metal, he simply stands there and allows her to talk.
Once she finishes, he gives a nod, picking up the modified bolter round and giving it a thorough inspection with a trained eye.
Tech-use: (1d100) vs 73
Satisfied with it, he places it in one of his ammo pouches and withdraws a singular bolter round, placing it directly in her hands. "My thanks to you, Enginseer. This will return intact, for if it misfires when I need it, scant little will protect you."
The Astropath bustles over to the port gunnery command console, which, in this time of blissful peace, is unoccupied. She turns, fixing you with a frightened but resolute gaze, holds a staring match with your helmet lenses, then breaks down in a garbled flow of whispered words.
'Master Space Marine - I don't know how to say this, and I would like to assure you that whatever happens, I am soul-bound to the Emperor, and will carry out my duties regardless. With that in mind, I'd like you to turn this ship around. Your kind - I'm sorry to be blunt - brings a curse to this vessel, and I've seen our deaths written upon the warp. I've cast every tarot I can, I've gazed into the warp, I've carried out prognosticatory automatic writing - everything comes up skulls. I've told the others, I've told the Watch Commander, but you've seen a little of Pecos, she just laughs it off. I don't know what to do, and I'll die for the Emperor if that's what's necessary, but you've brought something aboard with you or brought something after you and I'm scared, is all - the future's all closed off ...
Her voice chokes off, and she looks back up at you - the strength returning to her lifeless eyes. She certainly is scared, but it's hard to tell of what - of the consequences for speaking out? Of you? Of what she says is following you?
Pecos quirks an eyebrow at the tone of hostility between the two librarians, and ratchets the other eyebrow an inch at the Blood Raven's offer.
'Uh, no offence, pardner, but Lone Stars hardly ... ah, damn it, ah'll give it a go then. Ah'm guessin' that you'd be usin' some kinda psych-trick to make the Tarot meaningful - or are yer just leave it up to th'Emperor?'
She sits down heavily in the command throne, drawing a narrow portable table betwen them.
'Shoot. How's this work then? Do ah draw, or do you?'
The Codicier, a little confused and wary as to his instructions to watch the warp, makes his way over to the Navigator's cubicle, where he can hear the his of steam and the gurgling of what can only be a bath, with something very loud splashing about within.
Originally Posted by bluntpencil
Scrutiny check (-forty?!) TN 5, TN 35 if to detect a falsehood or untruth from the Captain...
She is not telling the truth, at least, not the whole truth.
Originally Posted by bluntpencil
Edit: Basically, Andrew figures that this must be standard fare for a Navigator, but is actually somewhat beyond his experience. That being said, if the Warp currents are expected to be dangerous, he will station himself at the Navigator's tower in order to protect the Navigator and the vessel.
With such a good result, Andrew would note that it's certainly true that the Navigator is primarily responsible for navigating treacherous warp currents, they are only (quasi-) human, and are somewhat fragile creatures - Ansar-Saussure herself noted that whatever it was that was following her ship in the warp was enough to practically burn out her own Navigator. Although not very well-attuned to the currents of the warp, some combination of gene-engineering, the lingering blessing of the Primarchs, and the weight of a few hundred kilograms of warp-earthing power armour means that if it's just roy
Besides, when it comes down to it, you're expendable - the loss of a single Space Marine would be mourned, but the loss of a navigator would doom the entire ship.
Last edited by TERRORGOAT : 03-24-2013 at 09:56 PM.
Mellano is not deterred one bit the the tech-marine's dire warnings, and clasps the bolt round like a talisman, before stowing it in a little pouch in her robes, and bowing nervously.
It's difficult to assess exactly what the bolt Courras has been offered is. It's not Astartes-issue, even if it'd fit his weapon, and on closer inspection appears to have been sintered together out of high-grade scrap. The sloshing sounds like it might be promethium or some sort of volatile fyceline mix, which will splash all over the target and begin to burn when the casing inevitably shatters on impact, and fails to penetrate its target. The techmarine remembers something about the phrase 'MOABite weaponry' - tales of its horrifying - and massively proscribed - effects in early post-Great Crusade conflicts, but without firing it, you'd need to ask your resident Forgemaster to have a better idea of what it does.
What is clear is that you've just been handed a rather dangerous bit of improvised technology, cooked up on a workbench in imitation of Astartes standards rather than stamped out from an STC, but one that looks, to all intents and purposes, undeniably effective. Even though the Enginseer can't read your expression, she seems proud, and more than just a little shy, that one of her far-off heroes has just accepted this somewhat dubious gift.
'M'lord - many thanks - you wouldn't credit how much it means to me -'
The Forgemaster blinked, first at the Librarians' strange, seemingly senseless interaction, and then at the Captain's recommendation of her taking command duties for the Kill Team. She hadn't expected that. Techmarines didn't tend to hold such positions. But then again, neither did Librarians or the Apothicarium. Someone had to take it up for the kill-team, and she technically had some experience. She bowed. "My honour, Captain."
Then, Pecos started asking for their assistance. Perhaps that was simply her way, but the request to the Librarians made Dasin worry a little. She was no expert on the Warp, but even she knew the power of the Hadex Anomaly. Navigating in this area should be hard to start with, though perhaps things might be simpler for the Librarians. They hadn't seemed too bad thus far, by the norms of their kind.
And she had also been asked to help. Dasin hadn't been able to resist a mild grin at the word personable: hardly Brother Courras' fault, but there was some truth to that. The Techmarine smiled to herself; placing two hands to her helmet and de-sealing it, bringing it down beneath her shoulder, and revealing her face properly: from faint blue eyes, to scar, to hair. It helped a little to show yourself in these situations, and this'd let her use her MIU more directly rather than working through the armour.
She nodded once to the two Librarians. "I'll attend to the preparations, Captain. Brothers, Emperor's Grace be with you." That said, she walked over towards the first of the consoles, withdrawing her MIU jack as she did so, smiling politely to its attendant worker as she placed her helmet down beside his device before connecting herself to it in order to commune with the Machine Spirits more directly. Frowning for just a second, Dasin reached behind herself to withdraw her silver axe, holding the haft almost at the head and shifting through the controls, looking for her reconfiguration icon....
(1d100) Tech Use, TN 78 base, 88 with either the Omnissian Axe or MIU being used, 98 if both are applicable.
(1d100) Command, TN 55, to try and win some confidence from the bridge crew whilst doing so.
Her Imperial Ponyness courtesy of Akrim.elf
Andrew continues to speak, telepathically, to the Captain,
"You know more of the mission than you claim, Watch-Captain. I would not wish to say so verbally, lest I appear insubordinate, but I must say that the withholding of any intelligence could have a negative effect on the mission's chance of success... especially considering what I believe this Kill-Team may be up against."
As he does so, however, he also speaks audibly to those nearby. His voice is well-spoken, but bears a strange accent and, to be brutally honest, sounds somewhat cold and distant.
"I shall converse with our Navigator about how best to approach this, and offer my assistance, should it prove necessary."
He then walks away, with the intent of visiting the Navigator, maintaining the telepathic link with the Captain, should she wish to reply to him.
Slowly, the armoured giant descends to one knee so that he may meet the Astropath's eyes.
"Lady Astropath, there is no greater honour than to die in the service on the Emperor," he says, as she stares into burning lenses tinted with the blood of a thousand men. "But there is also no greater regret than to die with your duty undone. Lady, I swear this to you in the name of the Emperor and the Primarch whose blood I bear, yet whose name I am unworthy of uttering; You will not die this day.
I am no seer, Lady Astropath, so my oath to you is borne of flesh and of steel. So long as I have strength to stand against the foes of the Emperor, you shall be safe,"
Antarael falls silent, awaiting her response. In his eyes, however, the fires of war burn bright and far-off battle fields run red with blood.
Amazing Banshee avatar by Strawberries. Many, many thanks.
The Astropath seems to have expected some sort of fight - some sort of reprimand, against which she could rally her own righteousness against the Marine. After all, while the Astartes may be grandchildren of His blood, she's been blinded by His light, and it's not entirely clear who holds the greater spiritual status as a result - she may have just been about to pull holy rank on him. But with Antarael's calming, oddly human gestures, this fight goes out of her, and she slumps. Her anger and mistrust was like a wave, building strength and vigour as it approached the target of its wrath, but in dashing itself against Antarael, it dissipated into nothingness.
'Your words are comforting, Master Space Marine - I suppose there's a first time for everything. It's strange knowing that you suffer like we do, that you, as beings of honour manifest, could clear-sightedly register honour and dishonour, and speak to me in such a way.'
The tide ebbs. As it does so, far out, another wave begins to build.
'And I thank you for your offer of protection. But as you said, you aren't a seer. Flesh and blood and steel can only do so much against an ending foreseen in the warp - at best, they can stave it off for a time. If a bridge over a deep ravine collapses, no amount of hope will carry you across without falling. If we carry on, we will all die. I've seen it. And I just feel so guilty that I've seen it, and yet, here we still go, your Rime Drake comrade tuning up the warp engines, your Blood Raven prognosticating the way ahead, and Pecos leading us all towards the storm. There may be no greater regret than to die with our duty undone, to run from the callings of our Master, but isn't senseless waste of His weapons and warriors just as bad? Is it better to have died gloriously in the Emperor's name, accomplishing nothing, or is it more holy to ignobly live another day, to carry on His great work?'
The Rime Drakes are ever the last into the fray - watchful, careful, and calculating, they tend to stay back, taking in everything without leaping into the literal or figurative fray as soon as possible. It's serve Forgemaster Dasin Shao well so far in battle, and it's serving her well now. Soemthing odd is going on here with the Librarians, and with the warp, and with this whole damn mission, and by standing back, she seems to have begun to put together the beginnings of a coherent map out of the problems at hand.
Thoughts of human-Astartes interaction circulating in her mind, . Communion with the Novus Ordo's linked arrays of Machine Spirits is a deeply unpleasant and oppressive feeling, and sparks instinctual biological reactions in Dasin of being surrounded by a horde of weapon-brandishing enemies closing in from every direction. She could get used to it, but having to deal with so many servitor-minds on top of the benthic intelligences of the ship's primary systems is a difficult experience. That said, Dasin can play around on the surface of the machine interface, skimming power from point-to-point in order to increase efficiency; in the half hour that she spends joining her mind to engine spirits and the lares and penates of the shipwide power grid, she manages to boost usable engine capacity from 88% of fuel consumed to 89.5% of fuel consumed, which is a pretty significant improvement, all things considered. She also creates a set of master-level access credentials and downloads them into her axe, allowing her to gain system and diagnostic data almost entirely at will in future.
While the metal of the bridge may have yielded readily to her touch, and she may have corralled the machine spirits of its systems with great ease, the same's not true of the bridge crew. For all that this is a Space Marine ship, the non-Astartes crew certainly don't seem to like Space Marines all that much, the Watch Commander not included, and while not openly insolent, they certainly make their opinions known. Garran Skiniker, the Arms Master, seems to make a point of following a few consoles behind Dasin, checking and re-checking all of her work and tweaking her weapon and system calibrations (they're obviously changes for changes' sake, rather than anything substantive), while the still-living dismembered cybernetic body of the helmsman tracks her disapprovingly from his command throne. Clearly, they've taken a dislike for the Deathwatch Marine who's just strolled into their place of work and started fixing up the place, and every smile she gives them only seems to make it worse. Maybe 'personable' isn't the right approach, or maybe it'll take just as much Astartes tradecraft to fix a recalcitrant crew as a recalcitrant engine.
Pecos breaks her discussion with Thracian to transfix Andrew with a blank, unreadable stare.
'Y'seem to believe an awful lot of things, Codicier Lamont, more than yer own mouth seems capable of voicing. Let me put it this way, that way y'might understand it. The Inquisitor is working on some extremely dangerous, potentially extremely important projects, and while it'd be the greatest shame if they got destroyed or damaged, it'd be similarly bad it people just started knowin' all about them, kinda, because someone had blabbed.
'It's above your pay grade, and,' her face softens into a sheepish grin, 'it's kinda above mine, too, and I only know about it because I stumbled into it while assisting the Inquisitor. Suffice to say that sure, withholdin' the information may well hurt your chances of success, but I'm balancing risk here - given that even Ansar-Saussure knows precious little about what she's working with, tellin' you will have a certain chance of helpin' y'all's mission, but would also have a possible chance of damaging the broader safety and security of the project. No need tellin' you about it, savin' the site even, if we have to abandon it and shell the place from orbit just to stop everyone else from getting' to it.'
As Andrew walks off, she's deep in thought for a second, then calls out.
'What you believe this Kill Team may be up against? Elaborate, f'you'd be so kind. You've got my attention. You'd see this as a 'cron matter, I suspect?'
Just spotted your post - need to go to bed now, but I'll have a reply to you some time tomorrow during the day!
The Librarian rolls his eyes when the Captain speaks to him. He did make an effort not to be insubordinate, and did try to keep his realisation of her dishonesty a secret for trust purposes.
Regardless, he speaks out now, vocally and clearly. His speech is formal, yet still bears a strong Sacris accent. His tone is that of a university lecturer who is only bothering to teach because it allows him to conduct his esoteric research.
"Possibly, although they may be involved indirectly.
The presence of... something dangerous, and possibly daemonic, acting in the Warp would imply a third, non-Necron party.
The age of the archaeological sites could imply direct Necron involvement, or the involvement of a contemporary civilisation. The involvement of a contemporary actor would, of course, imply indirect Necron involvement. That would make the archaeological sites somewhat similar to those found on Rheelas; an example of the ruins of a rival Xenos culture annihilated by those that have slept in the Jericho Reach for sixty million years.
Considering the Lady Inquisitor's writings, even those prior to her ascension to the post, her interest in technological chronomancy, as well as her focus on certain narratives... and of course, a number of other factors... bring the percentage chance of the involvement of the Necrons to approximately 84%, based on my current knowledge."
Andrew nods his head slightly, before adding a little extra telepathically,
"Of course, Captain, I must admit the possibility that my suspicions may simply be wishful thinking on my part, considering my own personal distaste for the Necron species. However, the percentage chance of that is almost negligible, and was taken into account in my analysis."
It appears that, in spite of being a Deathwatch Marine for a very long time, with many secrets and hidden motivations, the Storm Warden appears to maintain his Chapter's reputation for being somewhat confrontational and almost argumentative.
If the Captain dismisses him, he will see about speaking to the Navigator, but he is more than willing to stay and discuss the matter more.
Seemingly taking the fresh wave of anger in his stride, Antarael continues speaking slowly and patiently to the Astropath - even as the first bubbles of anger stir within him.
"If what you say is true, Lady Astropath, that there is some foe before us that is capable of defeating even the Deathwatch, then our duty is to uncover the nature of this threat - even if it costs us our lives. We are the Adeptus Astartes, the chosen of the Emperor, in whose veins courses the blood of angels; if, for the sake of the Imperium, we are called on to die then we shall do so gladly. Will you stand beside us, Lady Astropath, and take a place of honour at the Emperor's Right Hand?"
He pauses for a moment in contemplation.
"Your questions, Lady, are certainly worthy of consideration but in this case the answer is clear; we are called upon to defend the Imperium with our lives, to face the foes of mankind so that others shall not fall before them,"
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The situation was growing rapidly less pleasent to Forgemaster Shao. The machine-spirits of the ship seemed to loom in the shadows even after her communion had ceased, and the duo in charge of the ship's systems seemed to follow her into the material, seemingly just as hostile as the machines around them. And that was just her problems, the Librarian issue seemed to be getting worse.
Dasin continued to work on the systems, ignoring the glares briefly as she spoke, offering her own thoughts into the conversation of what they were up against. "Personally, my first suspicion would by Tyranids, brother. Wouldn't a Hive Fleet also cast a ripple effect in the warp? The 'shadow', if I recall correctly."
"Regardless, Captain, if you choose to withhold information from us, you realize that it will reduce our odds of retrieving the Inquisitor alive?" The Techmarine held up an armoured palm behind her, her own expression calmly downcast. "Not a threat, merely an observation. In an unknown situation, with an untried killteam, what on a regular mission would be a minor handicap could grow more significant. I dislike the idea of surrendering any advantage if it's within our power to use it."
Could Dasin use her connection to the ship's cogitators to access files? Say, cargo logs of past times Novus Ordo's made this trip, any incident reports ect?
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Last edited by Major Kiaslu : 03-26-2013 at 07:36 PM.
"Tyranids would be a distinct possibility, you are correct, Forgemaster. However, I believe that had a Tyranid shadow been present, the Captain would not have received the Inquisitor's astropathic request for aid.
Therefore, the odds appear to be in favour of something which dwells in the Empyrean, which therefore makes Daemonic interference reasonably likely.
So, the Tyranid hypothesis does have merit, and may in fact be correct, but it is markedly less likely than the Enemy Beyond."
Andrew's scholarly tone remains as the discussion continues. He doesn't wish to argue over matters of secrecy and confidentiality, thinking it somewhat pointless and, indeed, beyond his remit in his current advisory capacity.
So, instead, he focuses on the points laid out regarding potential threats. Tyranids were possible, but less likely than Daemons. Of course, there was the possibility of both, but that was an outside chance. He wouldn't bet on it.
"Perhaps the Emperor's Tarot will reveal whom we shall face."
'M'lord - though it was the Omnissiah-Emperor's will, of course, his hand pulling the strings and imparting His blessed light of inspiration, the purified and rarefied ores from his forges and foundries making it from a dream into a reality -' her voice drops to a nearly inaudible whisper, nearly drowned out by the static on her vox-emitter unit. 'I made it.'
She hunches her shoulders in a mix of ecstatic pride and cowering fear of being killed right there on the spot.
'The Watch Commander regularly keeps the Ordo away from dock for years at a time, and seldom pays attention to the logistics of any weaponry on the sub-megaton level. She still expects us to keep her armed, though, and so well, I've watched, observed, tried to mimic what I've seen of Astartes arms and equipment. Just as the Emperor's genewrought helices exalt his Sons and Daughters into divinity, so too do the arms and armour he made for them serve as a ladder that all servants of Humanity may climb after him - though I am but a humbled servant of the Omnissiah, I sometimes feel that His grace passes through me, and how can I but follow?'
Mellano's worked herself up into something of a pious froth over this past little speech. She throws herself upon the Iron Hand, despite him being nearly half her height again, her hands stopping themselves just inches from his warplate, not daring to touch them.
'Forgive me if I've done wrong, m'lord - I don't want to be prideful or hubristic, and I only wish to help the Emperor and those who serve him. I observed, I used what faculties the Emperor gave me, I replicated. I can continue working in such a fashion, lord - of all the Astartes, the Children of the Gorgon might be the most likely to accept such a gift for what it is, I hope '
Again, the anger at being rebuffed, at not having anything to be angry about; and again, the calm that follows it.
'You mean you'd really do that? You'd die just for the sake of dying for the Emperor, without even dying for any strategic or military purpose, if circumstances called you to do so?'
She shrugs, resting her head on one shoulder, and regarding the Black Shield quizzically.
'Wow wow. Ever since I was born, I have been working with Astartes, guiding their ships, sending their missives, intercepting and reading the communications of their foes. Lone Stars, Deathwatch, Ultramarines, Space Goats - and to this day, I don't understand your kind, Master Space Marine. But I suppose that's the point - you're the Adeptus Astartes, the Chosen of the Emperor, his Right Hand, and so on - you're not meant to be understood. Turning away from reasonable survival in face of a likely death is sort of your stock in trade, is it not? Or is that just your personal approach?' Myra shakes her head, and straightens up, trying to effect a more martial bearing. 'Well, I suppose I have little choice, do I?'
She smiles wanly.
'I go where this ship goes, and if it goes straight to hell, I'll follow you there. I'll stand with you, though I'd hardly be the best fighter, what with ' She gestures to her eyes. 'I apologise that I cannot raise your eloquence and faith in our cause, but I'll do what I can.'
Dasin and Andrew
Andrew's practiced recitation and delivery is clear and to the point, oozing chalk-dust and musty book-smell. It's straight, to the point, and immaculately well-cited, dropping discursive footnotes that you could trace back to a dozen Dead Cabal archives, if you wanted to, and if you could even find them. Pecos is impressed.
'Eighty four percent, huh? That's pretty damn likely. Ties in, eh, kinda closely with timeline, too - ah don't know a tremendous amount about the exact historical period of Ansar-Saussure's work, but she did mention somethin' sixty, seventy million years old in her letter. An' ah admit that technological chronomancy, narrative timelahns, and the like sure is suggestive.
The fact that they're warp-borne implies no Necrons, though - Daemons, sure, could be. Ah like the ahdea of Tyranids, though - well, ah say 'like' - the way Marian talked about some kinda bad presence in the warp sure sounds like the bugs, I'll credit that. Though as the good Codicier says, they'd have stopped her message from gettin' out entire. Hmm, ah guess we'll jes' have to find out when we get there, then. Good to keep our options open - although ah certainly wouldn't be amiss to another augury for the Kill Team, if we're gonna have one already. Bring out the cards, or the psychic dice, or whatever!'
She turns to Dasin as the Forgemaster continues to work, twisting on the Captain's chair and eliciting several soft metallic groans from its more rigid structural elements.
'Aw shucks, Forgemaster. You're puttin' me on the spot here. It's politics, is what ah'm sayin'. We're Astartes, and ultimately we live and die to serve the will of the Emperor as handed down to us by all kahnds of intermediaries. They've got all kahnds of priorities, that sooner or later, it's our duty to perform, ugly, dishonourable, ineffective, whatever. Grunts - even angelic grunts - don't get the full picture, save that whatever is out there is worth keepin' secret, accordin' to some bigwig with a ruby =][= symbol. If we go in, die, they send another Kill Team, that's the type of deal it is. Ah'll tell ya this about what's down there on Antael. It's not a weapon, for a start. If mah guess is correct - an' ah'm good at guessin' - it's somethin' to do with whatever caused the Necrons to go into hibernation all across the galaxy. Some tech, an archive, a particularly interestin' story - whatever. Now, d'y'see where this is goin'? Anyone who's anyone who knew about it would want to get their grubby mitts on it. Necrons, Eldar, Daemons, renegade Space Marines, "loyalist" Space Marines, Throne, could just be a crapton of Orks - but the fact that they're comin' in in somethin' that blots out the warp for systems around it and kills navigators dead makes me worried, even though ah don't have a clue regardin' specifics. Let's see if the Emperor has any ideas. Andrew?'
You can, and you'd find that someone aboard the ship scrupulously wipes the journey logs on a somewhat regular basis. Your access can give a few things though - whoever it is does a lot of travelling with few stops to gather supplies (they can't delete records of stops at Watch Fortress Erioch, at least), and doesn't limit themselves to the Jericho Reach at all. Fragmentary evidence of a resupply mission near the Eye of Terra is tantalising, but not enough to base any outright conclusions on. Hmm, weren't there some ships bearing Necron descriptions there ?
Andrew only just successfully manages to avoid the urge to wince when the Captain mentions so-called loyalist Space Marines. He knows that there is very good reason to be suspicious of the excessively curious Blood Ravens, but he doesn't push the point.
The Captain likely knew already, so he doesn't see the need to sow discord within the Kill-Team.
"Assuming that my Blood Raven counterpart agrees, we should perform two readings of the Emperor's Tarot.
The first, for the Watch-Captain, will be performed by Codicier Thracian, most likely using standardised lines of Aetheric enquiry, although I am willing to accept that he may wish to use traditions adopted and practised by his own Chapter.
The second reading, for the Forgemaster, as our Kill-Team leader, will be performed by myself, and shall follow on from that which Codicier Thracian learns from the first reading."
Dasin nodded slowly, intrigued by the answer the Watch Captain had provided. It seemed highly supposatory, but then again, the specifics of the device weren't as important as the abstracts: the who, the how, the level of power. She bowed her head, politely, "That's exceedingly fair, Captain. I appreciate your difficulties here, and you've given us all tactical information you could. No one should order a member of the Astartes to breach confidence or honour if it can be avoided."
She nods to Codicer Lamont, grinning a merely slightly uncertian smile towards the somewhat strange Librarian. "Brother, I fear I don't know much of the Librarium, but I will trust your judgement and the Captain's on the question of the Tarot. That said, please retrieve me when you're ready for the second reading. Communing with the ship's machine spirit can be... distracting." That said, the Rime Drake turned back towards her prior task, resuming the interface once again
Cross referencing gathered data with Dasin's knowledge of the Inquisition and missions past. Anything revealed? Modification to the cargo bay that suggest perticular types of dangerous cargo, stops or routes that suggest some of their potential end-targets?
Ciphers, Inquisition (1d100) vs TN 68
Forbidden Lore, Inquisition (1d100) vs TN 68
Forbidden Lore, Xenos (1d100) vs TN 78
Tech Use, to continue to optimize stuff whilst internally working on the records (1d100) vs TN 98
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Last edited by Major Kiaslu : 03-27-2013 at 10:39 PM.
His eyes flicker back and forth over the Enginseer before finally settling, staring back directly into hers. Perhaps I underestimated this one.
"You made it, well and truly? The workmanship isn't perfect, but however, with time and practice, and if this truly is the blessings of the Omnissiah..." His voice trails off, as if lost in thought for a moment.
"You have received a blessed gift, Enginseer Mellano. It does seem the Omnissiah in all His holy wisdom has given you your own gift. I want you to keep this work up, if, of course, you are allowed. I may even know some who may wish to help this gift flourish..."
The Techmarine seems genuine and sincere, obviously quite impressed that something such as the Enginseer has been able to manufacture what could prove to be such a deadly weapon. If he could only nudge her forward and give her a proper place to work, she could very well be a boon to the Kill-Team, and perhaps the Imperium as a whole if she could remake these bullets.
"Assuming that my Blood Raven counterpart agrees, we should perform two readings of the Emperor's Tarot.
"Agreed. Captain Pelos, If you would be so kind as to sit in your command chair.
Codicer Thracian holds his staff in both hands and raps it hard upon the deck then brings it to shoulder height. It rests in his upturned palms, both ends sparking with warp energies. He closes his eyes and reaches out, opening a conduit, imagining a hole so small that not even a hair may poke through. Yet through the hole will come limitless energy without fear of something more sinister forcing its way past.
(1d100) vs 83 WP SUCCESS - +1 to PsyRating of Fettered Power
His eyes snap open, charged with Aetherium. He holds the active staff upright once more with one hand, taking the captain's with his other.
Now, Captain, empty your mind of all though of command and responsibility upon this hallowed vessel.
Good. Now, focus upon the conflicts to come, the mission to which our team has been tasked. Hold those thoughts and do not waver.
In his own mind Brother Thracian holds the thought What challenges lurk for Captain Pelos upon this mission? Will she join us in battle?
Augury @ Fettered Level - Psyrating = 4
Focus Power Test (1d100) vs 92 (62 + 30(PRx5)) SUCCESS!
The giant slowly rises, with a whirring of servos until he once more towers above the Astropath. He stares down the length of his helm's beak-like snout at her.
"In the end, Lady Astropath, all die for the Emperor. Death is not to be striven for; but it is not to be feared, either. We must have faith that our sacrifices are in the name of a greater plan that we do not see,"
The dull glow of the helm's eyeslits seems to intensify; almost transfixing Myra with the harshness of the light.
"Do not fear to question, Lady Astropath, but beware that the answers do not lead you from the light of the Throne. For the Imperium to survive another day, there is no price too great to pay. Always remember that, Lady; the Imperium of Man is greater than all our lives, dreams and ambitions,"
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Has anybody else been having site difficulties? I've been getting a ton of database errors today.
The Astropath looks up at Antarael, with wide, blank eyes.
'Of course not - I won't be led from the Throne, I've seen it for the Emperor's sake - I was just worrying - just worrying we weren't serving it well enough! But oh, I'm doing it again, aren't I? Questioning, fussing, over-complicating matters.'
She shrugs, guiltily.
'Very well, Master Space Marine, you've convinced me. I shall try not to worry about the future - I shall have faith in His greatness, as well as knowledge of it. I will believe in the all-encompassing peer of the Master of Mankind, as well as know it, and in doing so, I'll know how to conquer my fears and give my life in the name of the Throne, if I must. I still believe I will die - we'll all die - in the next day or so, as through the gifts He gave me, He has shown me - but if I must die, I'll go down fighting with tooth and nail, if I have to, for the Emperor.'
A long silence ensues.
'Thank you, Black Shield. It's been a long time since I spoke to a Confessor, but it seems that one of the Emperor's grandchildren does just as well, if not better. If I may, I shall spread your words to my fellow astropaths in the Choir - they've been spooked enough by my dark mutterings already so far, so if I spread the good news that I've seen the light and am content to die in the Emperor's service, that will cheer them up. A little.'
It looks like the Astropath is just about to silently mouth a farewell and absent herself from the room, when her head snaps round, her eyes locking on the command throne, where Thracian was conducting his augury. She blanches, in awe as much as in shock, and she begins mumbling a devotional prayer and performing the Aquila.
The tech-priest can barely contain her excitement. She's retrieved the bolt round that Courras gave her from her robes, and is rolling it back and forth between her fingers with the regularity that implies something a bit systematic and analytical than mere idle tinkering. The same movement, over and over - something's clearly ticking away in the back of Mellano's mind.
'The Omnissiah-Emperor gives me no gifts, only lets His gifts work through me - all the perfections in that bolt shell are his, all the imperfections are mine. If it's pleasing to you, m'lord, and helps you to kill a whole lot of Xenos, then I will of course put myself at the disposal of both you and any others in your Kill Team and Chapter, insofar as it does not interfere with essential ship-maintenance duties. If there is any armoury work I can perform, I'd be happy to assist you - you need only ask. Other than that, I thank you, and again bid you welcome aboard the Novus Ordo.
She gives another strange arachnid curtsey, and scuttles backward a few steps without turning around, then pauses for a moment.
'If it's not too much of a request - and I admit that it verges on hubristic for me to suggest as much - but I would be extremely interested in taking a look at something more fundamental than bullets - weapons. I don't dare practice using your own blessed equipment, but would highly appreciate the chance to examine and contemplate any firearms or close-combat weapons you might find on your assignment, and not need yourself. Naturally, only Imperial ones, of course -'
Her face colours again.
'- but if there was anything like that that you found, I would greatly appreciate it, and would hopefully be able to do something with it that helped you.'
Andrew and Dasin
The Watch Commander nods frustratedly at both Astartes. There's clearly more she'd like to be able to say, but the many, many, oaths and strictures holding her back are just as evident.
'Again, apologies, comrades - if there was more ah could give up, ah assure you y'all'd have it. Ah tell you what, though - if and when we do pick the Inquisitor up, ah'll have a chat with her and see if she'll give y'all a few tidbits of information. Can't promise anythin', but if you're interested, she'd sure appreciate a kill-team she felt she trusted enough to boss about - it'd be a weight off my shoulders, that's fer sure, but ah don't know if you'd like it too after the first few months.
'As to the readin' - sure, sure. Ah don't know what the procedure is fer' the augury is, not precisely, but y'reckon you can work off what Thracian gets in order to refine yer own procedure? Sure, that sounds like a mighty fine idea to me!'
Forbidden lore (Xenos) on the subject of what caused the Necrontyr to go into their current hibernation: it's not completely surprising that Andrew doesn't know a great deal about the subject, since, among Imperial scholars who are still in possession of their faculties, no-one knows about it. Andrew's pretty sure that current scholarly consensus is that it wasn't the early Eldar that caused this hibernation period, though - the timing's wrong, and besides a few raiding parties, there aren't any settled Eldar civilisations in the entire Reach. It's very possible that what Andrew does know might combine interestingly with some of the knowledge of other members of his Kill Team
Forbidden lore (Astartes) on the subject of who Pecos might be referring too - BZZT, insufficient data to narrow down the precise reference. Blood Ravens would certainly want to grab some sort of secret lore or arcane weapon; Sons of Medusa might well want to grab some sort of time-manipulating device from under the nose of the Iron Hands; Lone Stars themselves have an unhealthy fascination with hidden weapons of mass destruction; even Ultramarines and their Successors have been seizing and secreting weapons caches all over the Imperium of late. What this does imply, though, is that high-ranking Deathwatch officers harbour serious doubts about the intentions of wide portions of the Adeptus Astartes, which is fairly interesting.
Such a good Forbidden Lore result will also recall the fact that Lone Stars marines like Pecos use the word 'loyalist' with a particular edge to it - to them, the word carries connotations of ostentatious and self-aggrandising demonstrations of loyalty to the Imperium. Chapters that went all-out to show to the world how good and noble they are tend to get on badly with the Lone Stars, who see themselves as plain-dealin' and sure-shootin' (which is, of course its own form of self-aggrandisement, but don't tell them that). Contained in that dismissal of 'loyalists' is, therefore, a veiled and possibly subliminal reference to which Chapters in the Jericho Reach it might be a good idea to keep an eye on.
Ciphers - the deciphering attempt fails, as Pecos appears to have been using her own Chapter's runes rather than Inquisitional ones. Dasin's infused knowledge of basic cryptographic principles lets her learn a little of what the Novus Ordo may have been up to. The pattern of lots of small regular transmissions out followed by a single colossal burst of a few exabytes of data - suggests that the Novus Ordo was carrying out a monitoring mission (lots of small 'check-in' communications followed by a big report), but nothing very specific.
Forbidden lore (Inquisition/Xenos) - Dasin isn't particularly familiar with the events surrounding the 13th Black Crusade and the Eye of Terror - she knows that the Inquisition has a heavy presence there, but her Grey Knight cousins keep a very tight lock on activity over there, and Deathwatch involvement tends not to be welcome. She does remember that there were a number of briefing papers regarding Necron activity in the closing stages of the Crusade, though, that were circulated at recent Watch Station Erioch convocations. These focused primarily on the Xenos race's military capabilities (for the first time, Imperial Strategii had the opportunity to gather a large amount of data on Necron space combat, in particular), as well as speculation about what the Necrons wanted (specifically, why they seemed willing to ally themselves temporarily with Imperial and Eldar forces to attack Abaddon's own fleets). The Novus Ordo seems to have visited a lot of the same places mentioned in that report, albeit with a focus on worlds where Necrons were believed to have sequestered themselves, rather than battlefields, as far as you can tell from the train of deleted data.
Tech-use - the ongoing attempts to optimise the system's fuel usage ekes out a further .2% efficiency, at the cost of dimming the lights across the vessel by a fraction invisible even to Astartes eyes. The ship is very well maintained and well-tuned, and even though Dasin - an eminently practical and technically minded Astartes Forgemaster - can't really improve it any further, just play around with resources on a zero sum level. It does, however, make her confident that she could probably do the same on another vessel - she's effectively read 'Imperial Navy Shipboard Power Redistribution for Dummies', and although it's highly unauthorised stuff, it's not all that tough to do if you get the knack[/b].
Thracian, after a little bustling, manages to cajole Pecos to sit back in the chair properly, rather than just lounging around with her legs slung over one of the arm-rests, and begins his divination. The invocation begins well, despite the poor condition of the warp (which is heavy with the psychic equivalent of the rain-pregnant green-purple clouds that gather before the thunder), the Codicier siphoning off just enough empyrean power to fuel his prognosticatory senses. It rolls into his body like a slug of cold fresh water, filling him with power, life, and energy. This isn't the corrupt, reeking energy of daemons, but the bright pure light of the Unknown Primarch coursing through him, kept easily in check. He instructs the Watch Captain to clear her mind - she adopts a slightly over-serious expression in reply, but locks eye-contact with him - and the augury begins.
As Thracian opens his mind to the warp, and releases his stored charge of power, everything goes black.
He's kneeling in a cathedral.
At least, that's how it seems at first. The oppressively heavy air, though devoid of echoes, still has that distinctive cavernous quality that suggests either sanctity or complete isolation and solitude. The floor against his bare feet and knees - somewhere, he seems to have swapped his power armour for a monastic robe - is eternity-worn, etched by a fractal pattern of hundreds of thousands of micro-meteorite impacts, and feels just a little bit gritty, like unfinished ceramite. A droplet of hot wax drops down from above, scalding Thracian's skin for just a second, and he looks up. A ragged ocean of light fills the havens - a cosmos of chandeliers, great pendulous sconces and narrow wrought-iron candelabra fill the empty space above him. Some are so close he could nearly touch them, and some are so far away that they are almost invisible, their random patterns [a check against infused knowledge might be interesting here - half Int, perhaps] blending into faint veins and nebulae of light. In this gloom, though, they aren't nearly enough to illuminate the limits of this space, though, and he can barely see his own hands in front of his face. All is quiet, all is still, all is dark.
That's not to say he's alone, though. Giants surround him in this cavernous empty space, keeping a silent vigil over the empty space in which he stands. The darkness makes it hard to identify precisely what they are, but their silhouettes are shaded in a faint charcoal against the blackness of the void beyond. Some look like ships, with the bold outlines and unmistakeable jutting prows of Imperial vessels - others seem more organic or mineral, asteroids and chunks of planetary crust rivet apart by their now-cooled tectonic fires. They hang there in space, colossal in themselves but rendered small by the unimaginable distances between them and the Codicier. He stands there, awestruck by the sheer scale of the place, finding it somehow meaningful
He's not alone. Something moved behind him, in the darkness, and Thracian whirls, force staff clasped in a defensive two-handed grip. It's got close, too close, and he can't believe he let himself be blindsided by this, by this thing. Odd. He quirks an eyebrow, eyes refocusing on what he'd felt sure was a leaping Genestealer or Ork Kommando, some horror dredged from his memory and brought into the real world to attack him now. But it's nothing of the kind - not some foul Xenos, or some monster stalking after him to kill him, but a door. Or maybe, a door frame - freestanding, some thirty foot high, its shape mirrors the arched profile that Thracian's seen across a hundred Imperial Gothic basilicas and temples. Closer examination reveals that it seems to be made out of heavily bruised flesh, which, when combined with its mysterious appearance (it certainly wasn't there earlier), and the fact that it doesn't appear to have an actual door in it, only heightens Thracian's confusion. He lowers his staff, reaches out with one bare hand into the space where the door should be, into empty space - and then his hand snags on thin air. And as he does, all of his confusion, all of his horror vanishes. A slow, warm smile spreads across his face, as he knows what's on the other side of the psychic meat-gate; the ancient warp-creature whose eyes he is suddenly seeing through knows exactly what's going on, and what it will have to do. Warplight spills out around the bloody door-frame as it grips the void, and, like a curtain, pulls it back -
'- Olvolos? Thracian Olvolos? Y'okay? Yer kinda spaced out for a minute there, brother. Did somethin' happen during the augury? Is it always like this for you?'
Pecos has leapt up, and the other Astartes (I presume) are staring at him. Astropath Khilankha is making the sign of the throne, over and over again, though it's not clear if it's in wonder at Thracian's psychic skill, or at some snatched glimpse of what he saw.
Realising that something has gone wrong, as this wasn't typical of a Tarot reading, Andrew focuses his mind and attempts to gauge how this has affected Thracian. Unfortunately, the twists and turns of fate, swirling around the other psyker's aetheric vision, make his reading unclear.
He does not yet draw his sword, but he is ready to act, in case something has assailed the other Marine.
Casting Reading, unfettered. TN 85
After a moment, he notices the Astropath's reaction, and communicates with her telepathically, attempting to find out what they are facing.
"What did you see? Show me."