- Echo was revealed to be a hybrid and left aboard the ship to heal
- The rest of the Explorers made their way to the ice-asteroid containing the hull of the Righteous Path
- Ambushed in a chasm by grenades!
- height differences aren’t an issue if you melt the walls
- OH GOD WHERE DID THAT DECKPLATE COME FROM
- Karak is a strongman!
- Into the ship! it’s dark and scary!
- Bugger, the treasure holds are locked up. To the bridge!
- Thale abuses his bolter again to take out a servitor!
- Lady Ash has dozens of kineblades!
- Exploding servitors right next to you isn’t the best idea ;_;
- Karak feels no flame! Onward to victory!
- Lady Ash dislikes flame
- Servitors are pretty lousy in combat
- Everyone’s dead, time to unlock the doors- SHIP COMBAT IMMINENT
- Echo the Hybrid is pretty lousy at directing ship actions!
- Hadarak wastes his time blasting asteroids into ash
- Ship combat time!
- Hadarak tries to steal the ship
- Oh dear everything has gone wrong
- Team Fel is blasting off again!
- The Fell Hand is ours!
+++Intercepted Astropathic Transmission from: Impiety’s Penalty
+++Location: Magoros, Koronus Expanse+++
+++Destination: DATA CORRUPT+++
+++Author: DATA CORRUPT+++
+++Thought for the Day: The Emperor commands; We act+++
Upon returning to the Impiety’s Penalty, attempts were made to heal Echo’s grievous wounds incurred in the battle; encountering unexpected difficulties with standard medical rituals, Magos Aesteban began a series of diagnostic scans. After only a short time, Echo’s darkest secret was revealed; he had been corrupted by the taint of a Tyranid genestealer in his time aboard the hulk of the Penitent Cathedra. Left aboard the vessel waiting for healing under guard, the rest of the Explorers made their way to the Righteous Path.
Finding the hulk’s docking bays to be encased in a near-solid shell of ship debris and ice, they set down in a guncutter, landing it in a clearing near a large rent in the ice, which promised to be the best way inside. Proceeding through a large chasm in the ice, it was only a short while before Fel’s minions made their presence known, lobbing frag grenades over the ridge. Titus’ battle-hardened senses left him among the only to react, quickly leaping up into the air to kick one of the grenades away; a slight miscalculation of his strength led to it bouncing off Karak’s helm before tearing a hole in the wall, threatening to start an avalanche. This gave Thale an idea, using his inferno pistol to melt the ridge below some of the soldiers; they lost their footing and fell to their deaths from a height of over twenty metres.
Attempting a similar feat on the other side of the chasm by Argustus had drastic results, his plasma pistol overheated and freed a colossal deckplate from its icy prison which threatened to crush all the explorers; while everyone else dodged out of the way, Karak merely shrugged, set his shoulders and caught the metal in his paw-like hands and tossed it to one side.
With all the ambushers dead, the Explorers moved on to the treasure-filled hulk, finding it a hollow shell of its once-grand majesty; its hull stripped bare of ornamentation, mighty flanks riddled with holes and scars. Most terrible of all the damage was a colossal rent halfway down the hull where the ship was almost split in two, exposed hull-bracing giving it the appearance of a giant’s corpse picked clean by scavengers.
Making their way inside the wreck, they found the lower decks to be a mess of twisted corridors and ruptured bulkheads; oppressive, silent and chill as the void outside. After only a short while they came across an active bulkhead, apparently a direct line to the core of the ship itself, and the treasures locked within. Magos Aesteban’s scans revealed that the doors could be overridden from the bridge. Rather than return to their ship for heavy cutting equipment, they elected to proceed to the command chamber and lay claim to the ship’s riches from there.
Following Aesteban’s instinctive knowledge of ship design, the group made best speed to the bridge, where they were confronted by the surprising revelation that they were not alone aboard ship. Unlike the rest of the ship which remained caked in thick dust, footsteps were clearly visible leading directly inside, with a sluggish breeze of ancient and stale air stirring it up. Silently ushering the others to stay back, Thale crept in to take stock of the situation. Lady Ash had once more made an appearance to thwart their efforts, utilising a team of servitors to reactivate the ship’s systems! Once more deciding sniping to be the better part of valour, he attempted to dismember the closest servitor’s head, a bulky creature fitted with a large autocannon and drum backpack. Each shot punctured flesh, but served only to attract the creature’s attention towards the airlock he was hiding within. Another desperate shot severed its head cleanly off, causing its augmetics to seize up and drop it to the ground with a clatter that attracted the attention of all the others in the room, including the female psyker. As the others rushed in to back up Thale and remove the threats, she flung her cloak back and psychically activated the dozens of kineblades sewn into the material. Flickering and spinning around each of the Explorers, they failed to find flesh but served to keep them occupied while Ash’s servitors moved in closer.
A lucky shot from Aesteban’s bolt-pistol tore through the promethium lines of one servitor, immolating it instantly. The sudden burst of flame flash-fried its organic brain, causing it to run straight past the combatants and into a wall, where it collapsed and burned ever fiercer. Unfortunately, the servitor’s wild movements had covered Karak in promethium as well, setting his armour ablaze; his unnatural frame prevented any damage, but still spurred his wrath to greater levels as his metal armour began to melt and warp around him. Charging forward into combat with the rogue psyker, he was heard to let out a bestial roar of fury as her robes caught alight from the sheer heat of his blazing body, forcing her to both try and block his attacks and put out the quickly-spreading flame.
Left to itself in one corner, one of the larger combat servitors had spent several moments spooling up its autocannon, advanced logis cogitators calculating bullet trajectories and recoil factors. All this in mind, it triggered the activation rune and opened fire upon the whole group with the vast majority of shots impacting Thale’s shield, overloading it almost instantly and causing the dim light of the bridge to be illuminated by a small sun as it flared up, blinding everyone in the room. Slumping to the ground and uttering a stream of sharp-syllabled curses, he nevertheless managed another shot that shattered the offending servitor’s targeting array while the rest of the Explorers finished off the now-helpless man-machine hybrids.
With Lady Ash knocked unconscious and the servitors dead, Argustus issued the order to complete the unlocking of the treasure vaults. Meanwhile in high orbit the Penalty had come under sudden fire from an unknown source. Roused from the medicombs as the most senior crewmember aboard, Echo was placed in the unenviable position of command under fire. Quick demands for a source of the incoming fire determined it to be the Fell Hand, Hadarak Fel’s flagship. Unsure of his ability to command the ship alone, Echo issued a summons to the crew aboard the Righteous Path, exhorting them to return quickly and save the ship.
Fel, out of apparent pique wasted his advantage by blasting smokescreens between the two ships, reducing the thick clusters of asteroids to a cloud-cover of dust and auger-fouling debris. Upon the return of the Rogue Trader to his vessel, they quickly made ready, blasting forward to within a single VU and opening up with a broadside that knocked down Hadarak’s shields in one fell swoop. Incensed by this sudden difference in the course of the combat, Fel fired mooring chains into the Penalty, locking the two ships into a violent embrace. This was to prove Fel’s undoing as Argustus proved to be the superior leader, his men defending their home with a fury surely matched only by the mighty Astartes. First repelling boarders then leading a combat raid of his own, the Penalty’s leader cut such a swathe through the enemy ship’s population that a riot broke out within barely an hour, most of the ship’s surviving crew turning on their masters and ceding control of the ship to the Clawface Dynasty.
Hadarak Fel’s death was not confirmed.
+++Message continues in cipher+++
+++71.278% decrypted, total anticipated decryption: 72.3333333%
+++As suspected, the C<indecipherable> concerns are moot at this point, but further analysis will of course be required.