Errant Traders

Session Eight: Too many factions!

- Meeting with Kate Blanchett goes smoothly, shows off secret treasure cube
- Offers her key to cube if we acquire the other two
- Using Echo’s Mind Probe information, scientist leads us to church
- On the way, broken stairs, ninja roped down
- Spoke to Priest-man, got directed to Radclip by him.
- Directed to bar by Englaussie salesman. Radclip inside with “butchers”
- Radclip about to get into shootout. Karak roars to catch attention
- Thale fumbles stun grenade but stuns most/whole of room
- Group takes Radclip’s special gun and key, then leaves before bloodbath
- Moves on to Gundecks to find Mechanicussy group’s place
- Find Marxist folks rioting against hideout
- Slip through with clever Bender quotes, Thale swoons Blondie
- Negotiate deal with Leader of Mechanicussy group, 100 servitors for key
- Return to Kate Blanchett, sleep the night off
- Ceremony next day, three keys added to cube device
- Keypad exposed, recorded projection plays
- Priest-man starts a fight, hits Argustus for reasonable damage
- Ceremonial crew slaughtered by Karak
- Priest-man subdued by Thale and Echo
- Fight over, data accessed, promised to be spread umongst the people
- Hidden inside data is fragment of something important, I don’t know, shit

((((((( MORE LATER BITCHES )))))))

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Session Seven: Scaffolding and other difficult terrain

The following recordings are of relevant conversations between involved parties pertaining both directly and indirectly to the nature of the Captaincy of one Argustus Clawface. This material is presented wholly and unaltered, for use as evidence for or against the continued possession of the Clawface warrant of trade by Argustus Clawface, and through this his representation as head of the Clawface household and measurement of honor in lieu of more distant relatives.

Piece 1, Recorded conversation between two lower crewmen of the Frigate-class vessel, Impiety’s Penalty, tasked with janitorial duties. The following is heavily translated from Underdeck tongue:
Artho (Crewman 1): “Sweet Sanguinius’ Cider, how did I land a job like this?”
Bron (Crewman 2): “Quiet your ungrateful whinging. You think you’ve got it bad – you haven’t heard about the poor soul that was dragged out of here before we arrived.”
Artho, skeptical tone: “He can’t have had it much worse than this.”
Bron, arrogant sneer: “You see that darkened spot on the floor over there?”
Artho, fearful tone: “That blackened mark that looks like a symbol of Khor… Emperor protect us.”
Bron, “Indeed. That mark on the floor was actually carved into the slab not long ago, charred and filled with coagulated ichor. Naturally some sod would have to fill the blasphemous mark with plasteel before further heresy strikes.”
Artho, nervous tone: “I hope it’s blessed soon. So what happened to this sod?”
Bron: “He got the job done, though it took hours longer than anticipated. He’d already eaten three of his fingers when security finally checked on him. Spitting blood and profanities, his mind clearly beyond the Emperor’s grace.”
Brief pause.
Artho: “Guess that explains all the blood around.”
Bron, scoffs: “Not even half of it. They still haven’t found all the pieces of those caught in this incursion.”
Second pause.
Artho: “… and the rivers of vomit.”
Bron, between laughter: “Ha, no. Wrong again Arth. That cocktail of regurgitate you’re currently mopping up came from none other than our good Captain.”
Artho, gasp of disbelief: “Lord Clawface? All this from him? It keeps going down the corridors!”
Bron, continued snickering: “It’s true. I heard it from the medic that tried to treat him. Apparently he took one look at the floor over there and started streaming this mess.”
Artho, desperate tone: “Well no doubt that’s more to do with his valiant conflict against those vile demons. Or perhaps something happened on the Tabernacle.”
Bron: “Not what I heard. After clearing most of the base of those haywire servitors, Lord Clawface ordered three thousand of our fellow crewmen to stay behind along with a thousand security. That’s why Vorgen’s not here helping us.”
Artho: “… I did wonder.”
Bron: “Then the Captain decided we needed repairs and had a course charted to Footfall. And you know the rest.”
Artho: “Well… I know that the gellar field let some demons in, but I don’t really know what happened after that.”
Bron: “Oh, right. As soon as the reports were made Lord Clawface and his lieutenants came straight down here. Before they even saw their quarry though, our Lord Captain and his faithful pilot were stricken with abject fear, the mere sound of approaching death staying their wrath. Before any action could be taken, Seneschal Thale and Commander Karak were beset by the agile demons. Thale was able to elude his foe’s blows by sheer luck, but Karak bore the brunt of some decent strikes. He returned one not with his fabled chainaxe but with the shield on his arm. Apparently even the most innocuous thing is deadly in the hands of Karak the Lizard-Beast. Meanwhile Thale attempted to dispatch his aggressor with a retaliatory blast from his personal Inferno Pistol.”
Artho, loud gasp: “Surely none could survive such a close shot from ‘Daemon’s Breath’!”
Bron, correcting tone: “Ah, but it did. Filled with terror from the tremendous blast of the weapon, the demon abandoned his conflict with Thale and joined the melee against Karak. It was about this time that our Captain and his pilot finally overcame their startled state, but were unable to make a clear shot past their allies. Master Echo of the Choir Telepathica stepped in to strike with his staff, though the attack was almost fruitless, especially compared to the swift retribution of Commander Karak. Against his sure blows the demons were no match.”
Artho, awed tone: “I wish I’d seen all that.”
Bron, returning laughter: “I wish I’d seen Lord Clawface emptying his stomach at the sight around the corner.”
Artho, worried tone: “Yeah, well, I bet he wasn’t the only one of the group to be so terrified.”
(Addendum: No evidence has been found to corroborate this assumption.)

Brief summary of Acqusitions at Footfall station, compiled by ship accountant Thale:
Full Ship Repair – Estimated cost to Warrant value: High
Full Ship Crew Complement – Estimated cost to Warrant value: Low
Full Ship Supply Complement – Estimated cost to Warrant value: Negligible/None
Personal items as follows:
- Best MIU links for Argustus and Titus
- Power Armour Repair for Echo



Piece 2, occuring after naming of Aestaban Sawyer as Captain of Frigate-class vessel Fell Hand and Argustus Clawface’s decision to pursue lead on long lost Olympus-class vessel Niveus Astrum. Recorded conversation between a number of citizens of unofficial colony Niveus Astrum. Slight translation from broad low Gothic accent, current dialect:
Boy (Citizen 1): “Father, tell me again of the arrival of the travellers from the stars.”
Father (Citizen 2), chuckling: “Of course M’boy. Well, as Arcpenny tells it, they arrived by small craft, braving entry through the dangerous atmosphere and sky of our world. He tried to contact them on a number of frequencies, but for many long minutes he received no reply. Finally the leader of their party, and Captain of the lead ship orbiting our world, replied to the broadcasts. As any of us would, Arcpenny immediately started begging questions about the universe and all manner of things. The leader was polite and apparently amazed at our craft-turned-colony. Fortunately he managed to get Arcpenny to guide their craft to a safe landing position. This exchange was monitored by Chatelaine Quess who sent Master-Sergeant Bount and his guards to escort the visitors to the command cathedra. Bount’s greeting was well met, but before they could begin to head to the bridge, there was a loud explosion. As Rebels began to attack their position, Arcpenny took shelter and commited to memory all that he observed.
Boy, excited and inquisitive: “And what happened?!”
Father: “Well, despite not knowing anything of our affairs, the visitors made the right choice and assisted the guard against the violent rebels-“
Older Son (Citizen 3): “Hang on! I heard the moment the Rebels arrived, one of their number fled the battle, swinging to the rafters above!”
Father, disapproving: “Whoever told you this neglected to mention that from that position the visitor fired upon the Rebels with accuracy and cunning. But anyway… the battle commenced not far from where the visitors landed their craft, so they were still high amongst the scaffolding of the shuttle bay. And without hesitation, the visitor’s leader and the lean, quick-eyed explorer next to him began to fire upon the Rebels. Arcpenny didn’t get to see it, but the tall one clad head to toe in runic armour lifted his helmet and roared at the rebels, causing three of them to freeze in terror. The visitor with pale eyes and the bright staff seemed, to Arcpenny, utterly distracted, much like our Witchmouths when they are at The Sending. The visitor in the rafters sniped down upon the Rebels, hitting – but not killing – one of them. The lean explorer finished the job, though the few Rebels still able to retaliate did kill one of our guard. His roar now passed, the big visitor leapt from the scaffolding they were on, aiming to land on one of the petrified Rebels below. His hefty frame and wicked weapon cleft the misguided man in two, but the sheer weight of the fall shattered the struts beneath the lower platform, causing it to slowly collapse. With almost all attention turned to this sight, one of the two remaining Rebels flung an improvised grenade into the visitors’ midst. Arcpenny’s awe at the big visitor’s leap was doubled as he watched the seemingly absent Astropath catch the falling grenade before returning it in an identical arc, not even bothering to look where he was throwing, as if his aim was guided by fate or good fortune. These displays proved too much for the last Rebel who, even wounded, attempted a hasty retreat. The visitors’ leader, thinking fast, flung a heavy suspension chain down to his hulking comrade, who grasped it just as the floor beneath his feet finally fell away. While the brave warrior was being rescued, the canny visitor in the rafters managed to clip the fleeing Rebel, causing him to collapse into a nearby tunnel, gasping. While the guard were awed by the visitors’ leader and the group’s courage, the Pale-Eyed One departed to give the last Rebel a dignified end. They were then to be taken to see the Chatelaine and I have not yet heard more…”

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Session Four: The Inadvisability of Raiding Grace

Summary:

  • A further attempt at acquiring a new crew for the Fell Hand thwarted by a lack of wealth
  • Aesteban retrieved the cortical stacks of the dead techpriest, gaining data relating to the location of a long-lost Ramiles-class star fort in the God-Emperor’s Scourge, a massive roiling warp storm to the galactic southwest of Footfall
  • Curiosity piqued by rumours of a planet known as Grace in the nearby area
  • Suddenly, Ork Raiders!
  • Impiety’s Penalty fights off three ships!
  • She got shot up pretty bad though :(
  • Onward, to the Tabernacle of Angevin’s Wrath!
  • A signal from the station attempts to take over the ship’s augers!
  • Time for some overwhelming force! Guardsmen, investigate that station!
  • Massive servitor butchers 50 men!
  • To the bridge!
  • A cadaverous figure draped in red robes hauls himself out of the command throne, augmetic eyes blazing white-hot!
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SessionThree

Summary:

  • Aesteban moved into the Fell Hand, refusing to explain his actions
  • The crew limped the Hand back to Footfall, to make repairs and acquire a replacement crew
  • Successful bar-room investigation revealed that the bulk of a small raider’s critical crew had been incarcerated in the station’s jails for the unforgivable crime of being moneyless in a trade city
  • Attempts at coercing the local Arbites into releasing the crew into the ownership after a recent string of acquisition attempts overstrained the group’s profit, leading only to a promise that their sentence would be delayed for several months
  • Meanwhile, Echo had been searching for synthetic muscle grafts to improve his survivability in combat for at least a while
  • Unfortunately for him, he attracted the attentions of another
  • A day later, his absence was finally noticed
  • Thale’s spies knew where he went
  • To the butcher’s lane!
  • Big plasteel door is big!
  • Small vent is small!
  • Thale is malleable and snakelike!
  • Thale explores the area and encounters a whirling fan of servo-skull death!
  • HaHA, explosions!
  • Servitors don’t think collapsing vents are worth noticing
  • Loud noises make Karaak mad! When he’s mad, things break!
  • The door collapses under karak’s mighty foot!
  • Servitors vs explorers!
  • Explore the facility! Find echo!
  • Whole lotta nothin’, boss
  • Oh god why is this corridor booby-trapped
  • Thale’s shield is not immune to point-blank autogun fire
  • Neither is his body!
  • Blam blam! Autoguns can’t shoot without targeting optics!
  • Titus attempts to throw a grenade again, with the expected results!
  • OH GOD THERE IS SO MUCH FIRE
  • Karak hate fire!
  • Everything will burn, including oil!
  • To the corridor of death!
  • Karak needs no dodge, he shall merely walk through the hail of bullets!
  • Well, frak. How do we open the door?
  • Karak attempts the kiss of life
  • Psychically dominated techpriests still don’t like it when their charges attempt to escape!
  • That’s a pretty rifle!
  • That’s a pretty big hole in the servitor!
  • ~Fin

Eesh. This one could be tricky to write.

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Hadarak Fel or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Boarding Parties

Summary:

  • 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.+
+++MESSAGE ENDS+++

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Once More Into The Maw!

+++Intercepted Astropathic Transmission from: Impiety’s Penalty+++
+++Location: Magoros, Koronus Expanse+++
+++Destination: DATA CORRUPT+++
+++Author: DATA CORRUPT+++
+++Thought for the Day: The Emperor Abides.+

The Impiety’s Penalty docked at Port Wander for routine resupply and repairs to the main docking bay; damage sustained during the recovery of Arch-Militant Karak {{Trace: Transgen, Firax, Tenesaile }} necessitated putting in at a port traditionally avoided by the Dynasty’s fleet. Intercepted missives to the Penalty included one addressed directly to Lord-Captain Argustus Clawface from one Orbest Drey {{Trace: Emperor’s Testament}} requesting an audience within the Court of the Dead, to which the Captain agreed.


Making contact with Drey amongst the teeming masses of Port Wander’s trade district, the Explorers were initially offput by Drey’s tattered void-suit, pungent aroma of amasec and tendency to scratch himself. These concerns were put to the side when Drey uttered the rites of service, proffering an elegant wooden chest which popped open at the touch of Argustus’ fingertips. Orbest then revealed how it came into his possession, explaining that he had been a deck officer aboard the Emperor’s Testament, a vessel that had belonged to Free Captain Vos Karlorn and part of the Clawface Dynasty’s fleet in the days of Argustus’ great-grandfather.

During a violent Warp storm, their vessel was blown far off course, coming to rest in a strange and uncharted system. The ship’s Astropath reported a faint message, a cry for help from a lost Imperial vessel. Tracking the salvation beacon proved that the message was in fact tens of thousands of years old belong to the fabled treasure ship the Righteous Path.


Having little interest in legends and fables, the Explorers pressed Drey for more concrete details; Drey continued with his own story; Karlorn, as a loyal member of the dynasty, chose not to pursue the treasure ship then and there, instead returning to Port Wander to make contact with the Rogue Trader. Months passed with no sign of his return, so Karlorn vowed to return to the Expanse and find him. Drey was entrusted with the map, to keep it safe until he returned. Karlorn’s vessel was never heard from again. Since that time, Drey had done his best to fulfil his duty, awaiting the return of his patron to the Port.


At this point, Magos Aesteban’s augmetic sensors registered a rapidly-approaching object from above, and raised his boltgun in time to fire off a single shot at the psyber-eagle that had swooped down to grab the memnolith from Argustus’ hands. Trailing smoke, the creature was able only to travel a few metres before dropping the stone and flapping away with a metallic screech of frustration. Thale and Titus called out to the others, spotting a loose ring of a dozen soldiers closing around them, while Echo registered a psychic burst from the raven’s frame indicating a powerful psyker had managed to read the stone.


In the ensuing fire-fight, civilian casualties (retrieved from Adeptus Arbites logs) were placed at 23 as both parties fired with little regard, with weaponry ranging from bolters, large-caliber shotguns to hand flamers, while structural damage reached over three million thrones, a bridge and several carts bearing foodstuffs for beasts of burden were set alight. Arch-militant Karak was noticed to remove his helmet several times during the fight, letting out a roar that cowed onlookers and combatants alike. After barely twenty seconds of fighting, two-thirds of the soldiers had been slain, another two were babbling wrecks curled into the foetal position at Karak’s feet while the last two were doing their best to flee through the crowd. The Adeptus Arbites appeared at this point, and a short exchange between the Rogue Trader and one Sergeant Takar ensued. Audio was not available, though Tarak was noticed to salute and issue his squad to clean up the battlefield.


Back aboard ship, the memnolith was given to Navigator Viril, who identified it as an image of the Magoros system, one of the socalled ‘Founding Worlds’ of the Koronus Expanse. Pausing only to acquire a supply of photo-contacts from elsewhere on the Port, the Penalty quickly set forth through the Maw. The Frigate Fell Hand was noticed to depart the port shortly before them. Upon reaching the shard halo marking the boundary between the Maw itself and the Void, Navigator Viril requested an audience with Argustus, pleading that one of the Maw’s colossal warp storms was just leaving the only safe path through, and would make piloting difficult for both navigator and pilot. Argustus refused to be slowed down, giving the order to advance at full speed. With urgent voxes between Navigator and pilot, the Penalty made it through the storm with barely a flicker of her Gellar Field, Emperor’s Light be blessed.


After several days in the Warp, the Impiety’s Penalty dropped out of Warp in the Battleground, halfway point between Port Wander and Footfall. Astropath Echo detected the echo of a salvation beacon coming from the pilgrim ship Penitent Traveller. Scans determined that its augurs and main drive had both been damaged. The crew elected to get closer and attempt a rescue of any survivors; their efforts were stymied by a sudden burst of energy coming from the ship; scans by Titus identified it as a leech mine, cobbled together from xeno technology and thrusters from the debris in the area. At the same time, their shields were rocked by macrocannon shells as a pair of frigates came out of silent running and began firing on them. The combat that ensued left one of the attacker’s vessels crippled with another attempting to flee while Argustus was rescued from a failed boarding attempt gone horribly wrong, his guncutter’s engines failed and in an uncontrolled flight directly for the largest asteroid in the field.


A salvage crew sent aboard the Penitent Traveller made contact with the surviving crew, who pledged to serve Argustus if the pilgrims were taken to Footfall to continue their journey. Argustus agreed, though made no intimations of when this debt would be discharged. Censured at the time lost with this trap, he spurred the crew forward to Magoros directly, sailing right past the free port of Footfall.


Another few days passed in the Warp, until their vessel finally erupted into the Magoros system. Scans revealed it to be of little immediate worth; a shard halo surrounding the nominal border of the system, a single habitable world with a moon and a small planetoid scorched black by the periodic flashes of hard radiation emanating from the dying star.


Electing to begin their search on the largest planet, a quick scan exposed vast alien ruins covering much of the surface, which Titus determined as belonging to the long-dead Egarian Dominion. The largest alien city had a large crystalline structure in the middle, emanating pulses of energy detectable even from orbit. Flying down in one of the remaining guncutters, they quickly found that it would be impossible to land close to the tower, finding the ionised air fouling their sensors and inducing odd errors in the machine spirit of the mighty ship.


Landing several kilometres away, the Explorers heard a faint, chilling echo on the wind as it whistled through the abandoned city; that of an Ork waaaaagh. Forewarned, they proceeded through the alleyways and empty chambers, constantly on the lookout for orks. Their caution was rewarded when they emerged into a vast colosseum, at the centre of which was a firefight between a female figure hurling blasts of psychic fire at the orks surrounding her and several soldiers wearing the same armour as those who had attacked them back on Port Wander. The mercenary Thale attempted to get revenge for this slight on his employer, firing off a pair of shots from his bolter at the psyker, though both went wide and bounced harmlessly off orkoid armour-plate. Deciding discretion was the better part of valour, the rest of the Explorers edged around the conflict, ducking under a low wall ringing the fighting pit. Upon reaching the tower, the Explorers heard an even louder Ork yell; assuming that the psyker and her guards had been slain, they hurried into the tower, hopefully to find some clue to the treasure they were seeking.


As each passed over the threshold of the door, they found themselves immersed in white light, incoherent flashes of solar events, ship battles and alien faces assaulting their senses. Karak and Thale found no difficulty focusing their wills, gaining a precise view of a moment in the past; tumbling from a rent in the void, the treasure-laden Righteous Path was observed to crash into a cluster of asteroids out among the Shard Halo. Moving time back to the present, they saw the craft waiting there still, frozen and waiting beneath the ice, though even as they watched, they detected the arrival of small ships flitting around the icy behemoth, lascutters boring holes into the glacial container.


Furious at the potential of losing their loot, the Explorers quickly ran out of the tower, straight into the wild yelling and roars of a group of orks. Showing no fear, Echo was among the first into combat; ancient shock-staff whirling madly above his head. Unfortunately for him, bravery is no substitute for armour, two brutal slashes from an ork choppa cleaving straight through the astropath’s power armour. The other Explorers took a ranged approach to the problem, laying down a withering hail of fire while Magos Aesteban’s servoskull prepared a trap with bomb-spray. After several minutes of fighting the horde was finally repelled, allowing the Magos to attend to Echo’s grievous wounds, which revealed an oddness to Echo’s form which eluded Aesteban’s efforts at identification…


Returning to the bridge of the Impiety’s Penalty, the Explorers made best possible speed back to the Shard Halo, there to retrieve the treasure of the Righteous Path.


+++Message continues in cipher+++
+++03.234278% decrypted, total anticipated decryption: 03.4326%+
+++Surveillance will cont<indecipherable>ew current signs of C<remaining>+++
+++MESSAGE ENDS+++

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