Saturday, 10 August 2019

Inquisition Team 13: The Origin

The Inquisition of Karnath: In the years following the war, the power of the Inquisition was readily tapped with the power of Gold. The King has seen fit to change this, and the Inqusition is now short of reliable inquisitors.

Inquisitorial Team Thirteen is:

Cage - Tall, imposing, and denser than the dark alloy the warforged is made of. Has trouble opening doors unassisted. Best classified as a monk. Your narrator!
Lars Ceny - An elven rogue drawn to the Inquisition by the lure of mostly-legal gold.
Severn - A walking enigma of a wizard; arguably the most normal member of the team.

We are Karrnathian Inquisitors. Or so we'd like to say; we were actually just assistants to one. Unfortunately, we picked a bad time to be employed in the Karnathian Inquisition -- while bribery was rampant, we didn't get to taste any of it. However, being too new to possibly be worth bribing, we also escaped the mass purge that followed.

Lars Ceny, Cage and Severn -- a team now known as Group 13 -- were summoned by Superior Glockta. Glockta is a war veteran, who was a prisoner of war and looks it.

DM: "He walks with a limp."
Severn: "A limp what?"

We're tasked with investigating who or what has been killing the King's Men in the town of Bastion. We need to go out, find him, get a testimony and witness, and 
Bring it back to Glockta. Our contact is Brother Longstep.

We're given 20 G for expenses.

We travel out to Bastion at the break of dawn, and arrive around noon. After orientating ourselves, we start looking for Brother Longstep. We start with the inn. It's certified by the dragonmarked houses, so at least it's something. It's staffed by two halflings, Brian and his wife, who are happy to point us to Brother Longstep (In the "big house"), and rent us two inn rooms for 1 S each.

We knock on the door, and are greeted by the quietest, and slowest old man ever. He's glad to let us in and (eventually) introduce us to Longstep. We're introduced to a squat, fat halfling who is spittling fat and goose as he eats with one greasy hand, and dictates something to his assistant gnome.

He introduces himself. He offers a greasy handshake, which Lars gladly, and firmly, takes. Lars licks his hand afterwards, which elicits a reflexive heave from myself, despite not having a stomach. He wants to know who we are, exactly, and why we're here. We announce that we're the inquisition, and he's pleased we came so quick -- it's only been 3 days. We get his account of things -- peasants have been dying, and while one or two could simply be attributed to them forgetting they need to eat, three is too much, and four is absolutely unacceptable, it cuts into taxes too much.

Ella Gnomey, his aide, has more specific information, a list of who died, where they lived and their families, and more information. The victims were all found in the woods, which are known to be somewhat unsafe, given the lack of town guards, and they were otherwise perfectly healthy, if a little worse for wear due to being left outside. I acquire a copy of the list.

Some of the corpses have been taken to the nearby Garrison Ford for recycling in necromancy, but the others were too decayed to be of use and so were just buried.

We start with Karl. Outside his house, there is a pig. Lars thinks it bears a resemblance to an orc; if he is, he easily resists my questioning:

"Are you an orc?"

With inconclusive results, we add him to the list of suspects. If all else fails, we can nominate him as the culprit, only for him to fling himself into a fire on the way back.

We talk to Karl's family; he was a good lad, he ate his vegetables, did the fields. He was young and full of energy. He was likable, and could have had his pick of wives, but was waiting for The One. In short, he had no enemies; he simply walked out one night, and never came back. He begins to tear up, and I comfort him with a rythmic pat on the shoulder. Pat. Pat.

We head back to the inn for the night and grab drinks; another two silver for drinks. The innkeep asks after Longstep; we inform that he's probably not hungry. Brian remarks that nobody's seen Longstep for a while, but he has a juicy rumor for us -- after Longstep's wife died, he seems to have gotten a little woman-crazy, and was seen with a female wizard. Hot like a fireball with legs that went all the way up, here and gone two days later. Longstep didn't talk about it, and hasn't been seen much since. The innkeep loves his wife, but just between him and us, wouldn't mind getting that hot wizard's address. I promises to deliver if at all possible, and this earns me a drink on the house. Which I drink.

The inn begins to empty as people go to bed. We are now in "Prime Sneaking Hours", and Lars sneaks out to go loiter around Longstep's house. Aside from a desire to to break in, nothing of note, so we go to bed; I am sharing a room with Lars, but at Lars' insistence, have to stand in the corner and face the wall.

As I stand in my corner, I hear rattling and movement from Servern's room. I go to investigate, and tell him he should be sleeping. I find him at the window, with an incredibly attractive woman on the other side... the bat wings and horns on the succubus probably help her stay afloat outside our second-floor window. She sees me, and vanishes as I reach out a hand:

"Wait. I need to know your address."

The succubus wanted Servern to go outside. Probably a bad idea. I remind him to remain pure of thought.

The next morning, nobody has been succed. We need to find the Succubus' summoner; we contemplate luring the succubus with bait comprised of Lars and a copper dreadful or other erotic literature concocted by myself, to defeat it directly; but us attempting to fight the actual succubus head-on will go poorly, as we have no non-magical weapons.

Lars has a hunch -- Ella Gnomey might be our suspect. We go pay her another visit. The butler's showing us in, and Servern detects magic as we go; there is a *shitload* of magical items, including a painting, and a table with abjuration on it. Even the Butler is magical.

We get Ella alone, and inquire about Brother Longstride's new squeeze. That's a weird one; Longstride's ex-wife died a couple of months ago, a wizard named Jerad showed up, and after he left, the new girlfriend showed up. Coincidentally, the Butler, despite being old, is not old, but new -- he has only been here for a month or so.

We ask her to show us around the victims' houses. She loudly proclaims that she cannot, but she will show us on the map the best way to get to each of the houses. In the marks she leaves on the map, Lars realizes she's slipped us a message on our map: Check The Basement.

We head back to the inn and outline our theories: Ella is innocent, the magic she's surrounded by is natural to her dragon mark. But the butler... he's surrounded by a thick old illusion spell. He's either responsible, or knows something.

Night falls, and we set out to Longstride's mansion basement.

We descend, and find lights on in the basement. We all peek around the corner. There's a circle there, with a man split open in the middle; his guts are everywhere, but we sure as hell see that heart still pumping. He's not young, rather old; could be the "old" butler.

Whoever he is, we're pretty sure there's nobody home. His life sustains the magic circle; killing him will probably break the circle, and free the succubus to do whatever she pleases.

We're in agreement of ending the battery's life. I reveal my true function; a poisoner with a built-in poisoning kit, I puff poison over him to do the job, and Lars physically breaks the circle.

Almost instantly, we hear breaking glass above, and the sound of a fat halfling being succ'd to death. We sneak upstairs and take a peek. The succubus is hunched over Longstride and is literally sucking him dry. Her horns are definitely longer than when we last saw them, and Longstride is looking a little withered.

She finishes the job, rips his head off and not noticing us, jumps out the window. There is a potential problem in having a succubus on the loose in general, but she'll probably go home rather than hang around and terrorize the town. Either way, out of scope for our team, and so Not Our Problem.

We go find Ella Gnomey; she's curled up on her bed, stricken with terror, but we manage to convince her everything's okay. Turns out she didn't actually know much, just that she wasn't to go into the basement. This is fine -- according to paperwork we fill out, she is a credible witness who saw everything. We recommend that she continues to stay out, as well as out of the Lord's chambers, and hire a good cleaning team.

Severn and Lars also designate most of the magical items in the house for recovery; they need to be scanned for "Demonic taint".

Some days later, we're back at home, and we finish our report. We have Exceeded Expectations on this case, pleasing an unknown number of superiors, and our reward is a promotion; there is one Inquisitor position officially available, and if anyone asks, two of us are mere adepts, but we will be collectively appointed this position.

We are now collectively Inquisitor Thirteen. How unexpected.

Addendum: According to out-of-game knowledge, the succubus was indeed under specific orders; don't harm Longstride, and obey his every order. However, he had no malicious intent; he simply did not specify any orders regarding the citizenry, nor did he connect their deaths with his succubus, so she was free to feed on the men of the village at will. In short, a bunch of people died because a fat, thirsty thot of a halfling wanted a demon girlfriend.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Legend of the Five Rings, Episode 2

Legend of the Five Rings: Set in a location which is startingly similar to feudal Japan, a bunch of weebs play at samurai.

Legend of the Five Rings is bought to you by:

Ken - Mantis Clan face and master of words. A ladies man trying to save himself for one particular woman; the duality of man embodied.
Togashi Chiho - Dragon clan monk of the Togashi order; filled with Wisdom. Required to check her fists in as lethal weapons.
Mirumoto Same - Dragon clan duellist; according to him, the best in the land, the trouble is not killing everyone in his way. A distant relative of the Jade throne, and also your narrator!
Yogo Asuka - Scorpion Clan Shugenja.

Before we all arrived: Yogo Asuka of the Scorpion Clan was seconded to the Crab Shugenja, Suzune. The Crag Shugenja are uncommonly forthcoming with their mystic skills -- all the better to arm people with knowledge to fight yoma, we suppose.

She was witness to the arrival of the Mantis delegation and the Dragon delegation, and sized us up.

She's awoken in the early morning by Suzune; there's been an incident. The murder.

The Crane are flipping out, slinging accusations, and calling for the Mantis delegation to just commit seppuku (if those gaijin even know how)

Asuka calms them down, informing that it's unbecoming to sling accusations before any testimony is laid. They accept this chastisment gracefully.

Ken leans into Nogomi, reckons it's time to leave and do a headcount of the crew. Nozomi announces the Mantis to be blameless, and that they will retire.

As they're about to go, there are footsteps; Shingen and his yojimbo arrive, heavy of tread as they are large in stature. He's livid, and asks Ken if the Mantis did it, to which Ken (eventually) directly says no.

Shingen calls us all to the conference hall immediately.

We all traipse back into the dining room; no food this time, just business. It's 7am.

In short, it's not good for the Mantis clan so far; it all seems to be against them. Ken admits the blade used looks like a mantis blade, certainly.

Crane Daidoji's assistant, Doji, testifies -- in the early morning, two hours prior, he saw someone in Mantis robes vanish around a corner.

Ken challenges this; was he sure he saw someone in Mantis colors, at that hour of the morning?

I think about the murder scene; I was looking for blood splatter, but on second thought, there wasn't that much, and the whole scene was odd.

The aide explains it with his lantern, but Ken continues to cast doubt on it; he insults the aide, offering him spectacles. Everyone tries to conceal their humor.

I want to tell Ken that I believe he didn't kill Daidoji, but there was no need to prove it by killing a man right here and now.

For context, while Mantis and Dragon both wear green and yellow / gold, Mantis is primarily green with gold trim, and Dragon is primarily yellow with green trim.

The aide continues to be insulted, and demands a duel to satisfy his honor. Asuka tries to calm him down, but to no avail.

Ken lacks a daisho, but accepts anyway, opting to duel with just a wakizashi.

The Cranes ask Crab Shingen permission to use the courtyard for the duel, and he agrees; we all traipse back out.

I comment that Daidoji's not even cold yet, and here we are, spilling even more blood. It's too early for this shit.

Asuka slips away with Shizune to go examine Daidoji's corpse.

Meanwhile, everyone's prepping for the duel.

Kakita moves first with a lightning fast strike; Ken's almost caught by it, and drops his wakizashi, only to pull a flaming katana out of thin air and slashes at Kakita with it.

The Mantis delegation's seen this party trick before, but everyone else sure hasn't.

Unfortunately, the stress of summoning it has left Ken off-balance, and Kakita has his opening. He darts past Ken, and whirls; a thin slice glides up across Ken's chest.

A single drop of Ken's blood pools at the tip of Kakita's blade and falls to the ground; he is the winner.

I begrudgingly applaud his victory. Show-off.

At the murder scene, Shizune breaks taboos and rolls Daidoji's corpse over; there's an amateurish cut on the neck, likely the cause of the bleeding... and the wound on the back hardly bled at all. Odds are good the knife was planted post-mortem.

Also, the blood's super dry -- certainly not just two hours old, probably from after dinner the night before. So there's definitely a setup somewhere.

They go find the guard on duty at the gate last night, and Asuka inquires as to who he might have seen last night.

The guard obviously saw Daidoji and Doji come in. A few aides, but otherwise nobody of note.

There is the servant's door, but... only servants would use it!

Asuka sees fit to question the servants; with some difficulty, between all the kowtowing, but they claim they've not seen anyone, at least. Nor did they hear any signs of a struggle.

After the duel, an apology has been meted out. Ken asks if I'd have won the duel; I declare that I would have. But on a related note, is the Mantis clan missing anyone?

Ken confirms that they are indeed missing one man -- he is not a dishonorable assassin, however. I counter -- he may have been mugged for his clothes and weapon, and framed.

Shingen calls us back to the conference hall, but I'd really rather not. I ask my lord for leave to go investigate the missing Mantis Man.

In the hall, Shizune and Asuka report their findings. This clears anyone who has external witnesses after dinner, which would be Ken, Chiho and I.

Unfortunately, the same is not the same of anyone else in the Mantis clan. Ken is to return to their lodgings with the rest of them, and report to the hall again in half an hour to team up with us.

The Mantis clan returns to their lodgings, and find a very sheepish Daigo wearing a kimono that's clearly not his. He can explain everything. His room was ransacked, his robes and knife were stolen.

Ken asks what exactly he was doing last night. Or rather, who. Daigo whispers his answer.

Yasuke Shingen's daughter.

He regroups, and gives us the short version -- the missing man has been found, and definitely didn't commit the murder, although his things were stolen.

Asuka wants to question Kakita. I hail a nearby servant, and ask him where "the effeminate man with a sword" is. Kakita was walking out of the castle a few minutes ago, so we go track down Kakita -- Kakita Isamu.

We question his whereabouts; he didn't see or do much, simply noted that a missive had been delivered to Daidoji prior, and he retired to his room next to Daidoji's. He's not a deep sleeper, and a warrior to boot; I'd expect that even here in Rokugan, a fight on the other side of the wall would be noted. So there definitely wasn't a fight.

Asuka and Kakita speculate as to the content of the missive; matters of commerce, he didn't really note it.

Anyway, the list of suspects is getting narrower; someone whom Daidoji was familiar with, and so didn't struggle against them. Sounds like Doji to me, but character testimony says he's 100% loyal, so we need a bit more than a wild guess.

I vote to search Doji's room. It's not exactly honorable, but to borrow more wisdom from Togashi-Dono: "If a Bear shits in the woods, and nobody is around to see it, did it happen?"

Doji's room is on the other side of Daidoji's room, and we head there.

I knock gently on the wooden frame of the door. "Excuse me, housekeeping des~"

There's no response, so we head on in.

Asuka searches for secret compartments; she doesn't find any, but she does find a bloodstain by the futon. We look at it further, and find the pillow is thicker than usual -- it contains a bloodstained green-and-gold robe!

We convene and sort out the chain of events. After the show at dinner, Daidoji returned to his room to prepare a letter. But Doji saw that, and felt that the Crane shouldn't compromise; so he left, and stole from poor Mantis Daigo to acquire a mantis robe and knife; he approached Daidoji, and killed him with a cut to the neck. The murder committed, he planted the knife, and stowed the robes in his own room for future use to park the bus.

It's unlikely he was set up -- whoever hid the robe did so in his pillow, but if Doji ever went to sleep, he'd notice it immediately.

We take the evidence to Shingen; everyone else lays out the story, with Shizune backing them up; meanwhile, I fetch Doji, on the pretense that we need him to visually identify the culprit. I bring him to the room, accompanied by Kakita, and show him a mirror with the bloodied green and gold robe. He demands to know the meaning of this.

Shingen informs him that the truth is out -- he should confess. But he continues to deny it, demanding to leave. I ask permission to cut him down if he runs, and am granted it.

We further pressure him to confess, but he resists. Ken-san needles him, and he breaks down -- "I WOULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT IF YOU HADN'T FOUND-"

Kakita can't believe what he's hearing. Shingen tells the Crane to get out by sundown, and stay gone. Doji tries to run, and I let him... but Kakita doesn't, and takes his head.

Kakita falls to his knees, and begs forgiveness and permission to kill himself. Shingen denies his request and tells him to get the fuck out.

At dinner, we celebrate the new trade deal. Our lords get sealed letters during dinner; they all look at us and tuck the folded letters away. Mysterious.

After dinner, our respective lords inform us that we've been summoned; we're lead to a shrine. Only we are to continue; our lords remain at the threshold.

We advance further; in the main building is a lantern, and we see the silhouette of someone reclining.

Our guide, Miho, carefully slides the door open. Inside, garbed in huge, sumptuous and lavish robes, embroidered with Chrysanthemums and bamboo shoots... one of the three royal families, the Seppun! I hit the deck, as does Togashi. Asuka's still figuring it out, and I pull Ken down quickly.

She bids us to rise, addressing me as "Cousin".

"I am Seppun Yumiko. And I have a job for you."

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Legend of the Five Rings, Episode 1

Legend of the Five Rings: Set in a location which is startingly similar to feudal Japan, a bunch of weebs play at samurai.

Legend of the Five Rings is bought to you by:

Ken - Mantis Clan face and master of words. A ladies man trying to save himself for one particular woman; the duality of man embodied.
Togashi Chiho - Dragon clan monk of the Togashi order; filled with Wisdom. Required to check her fists in as lethal weapons.
Mirumoto Same - Dragon clan duellist; according to him, the best in the land, the trouble is not killing everyone in his way. A distant relative of the Jade throne, and also your narrator!
Yogo Asuka - Scorpion Clan Shugenja.

The sun rises once again on Rokugan, and our journey begins.

 Arashi no Seifuku (Kura) "Ken" has been sailing down to the Estate; his captain was similarly invited to the Black Crane Estates. The ship's making it's way up the river when Ken decides to banter with the navigator, Daigo. Captain Nogomi, AKA "The Typhoon" tells them to knock it off, and gets Ken up to the bow for a talk. She talks about Lord Yasuke having given in to some of their more... diplomatic... overtures. She reckons it's a matter of jade, which is weird because Crab gets first dibs on jade, so what could the problem be? Probably pricing -- Crane's jacked up prices, so there's room for undercutting.

Mind on business, Ken wants to know if Yasuke's got any daughters -- he's got one, just about to come of age. People who have his ear are few and far between, mostly related to his bodyguard, who is a large man, as Crab Clanners are wont to be.  The matter of money -- Mantis has room to undercut the Crane by ~30%, but obviously undercutting as little as possible is preferred. Competition is Daidoji Eisaku, a little man of nasty words once a fan goes up.

When the ship docks, they're boarded by an unusual sight -- Crab Shugenja, who scan the ship and it's crew. Once they're satisfied, everyone disembarks. Nogomi rounds up the delegation, and leads them in -- at the gate, they are again checked with jade. There's a one-armed shugenja, an older lady, who seems to be accompanied by a young Scorpion clan shugenja, who is doing her best to not stand out -- a tough ask since she's the only one not wearing face paint.

The one-armed shugenja is Suzune -- she's in charge of security around here. She welcomes the delegation, and guides them in; the castle itself radiates a sense of aesthetic function; it looks good, but it's also clearly used by people, and not just a decorative building. She invites them to get comfortable, before dinner, where business will be conducted.

The Scorpion accompanying her was Yogo, who is apprenticing under her.

Meanwhile the Dragons have taken a boat down from the City of Lies, after travelling there by foot. Yasuke Shingen has invited us (me and Togashi Chiho) down from the Dragon Lands to the Black Crane Estates, in the Crab Lands. He is, as far as we know, held in high regard and is an Important Person. In our care is Agasha Renzo, Dragon Clan Diplomat and second son of the lord Agasha, who is very young, and very chatty.

Lord Togashi himself sent Chiho down, which is unusual -- it's rare for one to leave the monastery, and yet here's a monk, and part of the security delegation, no less.

Kaiyo is wearing functional and tidy, but clearly-patchworked robes. He's carrying three swords -- the standard daisho at the hip in Dragon colors, and one katana across his back; the one across the back clearly sees much less use, and is in a black scabbard with a very light green hilt.

Chiho gets to talking with Renzo, and learns that he's not actually much of a shugenja. Indeed, he is not one at all; he's never heard the "call of the Kami", despite his father's legendary proficiency. So this delegation is an important deal for him, a sign that his family places faith in him.

"Some men are skilled with a sword over words, and some... uh, don't." - Chihiro Wisdom #42

Renzo and Chiho get to gossiping about Same, speculating about him. He's quite probably an insult to Renzo's father of some sort.

Meanwhile I'm trying not to hurl, I get seasick easily.

Several months prior, I and Suzaku-San were summoned before Lord Mirumoto. We're in full kowtow, and I'm sweating for fear of the reason why.

I've recently passed genpuku, and in fantastic fashion. I had unfortuantely wagered on coming third.

Mirumoto asks if I can engage in honorable combat. I say "As much as combat can be honorable." He gives me a look. "I mean, yes, Mirumoto-Sama."

It irritates Mirumoto, but he's been tasked to send a samurai to escort Agasha-san's son. He's loath to send a well-regarded one after the last Topaz Championship. So he's got me in mind.

Sensei assents to sending me. I agree also, and escape the room with relief; I was sure he'd find out about the gambling.

I'm given a pony (the runtiest kind) and sent on my way with no delay.

In the present, the trip passes with little incident; Renzo gets to know me a little better, and suggests there could be a spot in the next Topaz Championship for a job well done. I aim to please. I reveal that I'm more materially-minded, than spiritually; that's a concern for other samurai to worry about.

Renzo advises us to be polite; we're here to make a deal with the Crab, and it could be very profitable. We're greeted by shugenja at the dock; on our way up to the castle, I spot a few places that might be gambling dens.

We're greeted at the gate by security, as usual, and tested again with jade. I try not to look at the missing arm.

As we're shown to the room, the Security Shugenja informs me about the missing arm; lost to something on the other side of the wall, and paid for in full, "you can still see the jade from the wall today".

Like the Mantis, we've got some time before dinner, to which I am permitted to wear my full daisho. I stash the third sword in my room, though, and do my job, keeping an eye on Renzo while we wait.

We're fetched for dinner by servants. The Yasuke family's in full force.

Sitting at the head of the table is a large guy, and the guy next to him is even larger still. The head is introduced as Yasuke Shingen-Sama, Damiyo of the Yasuke family. We bow (deeply) and take our seats.

Following us is the Mantis Clan delegation:

- A real tough-looking lady; scars, muscles, and the whole nine yards.
- Some skeevy-looking crab guy
- The most handsome man I've ever seen.

We begin dinner, and business, just the two of us; the handsome Mantis asks where the Crane are. Yasuke-dono says that the Crane don't really need to be a part of this particular talk.

The business is indeed about Jade -- Crab needs it, and by imperial mandate, they get it. They pay the Dragon clan with no questions, and the price is fair, but there is the matter of transport, and until now, that's been Crane Clan business. But of late, the price has not been right, and so they are open to other overtures... like the Mantis clan's.

Mantis lays out their plan. It looks like a 25% savings on whatever the Mantis is doing.

We're interrupted by a thousand and one apologies; he's Crane clan, and his master has incredibly urgent business. Yasuke gives them permission to enter, and an incredibly angry little man storms in, followed by a samurai bodyguard. The angry little man, Daidoji Azka is, somewhat understandably, upset at being cut out. He says he's got half a mind to challenge to a duel, and that gets the attention of the bodyguards in the world.

Mantis asks Chihiro for some wisdom in this trying time.

"Wisdom is easy. You simply think of something unwise to say, and then don't say it." - Chihiro Wisdom #43

After blustering, Crane declares that he'll be back tomorrow with a counteroffer that'll blow the Mantis out of the water, and storms off.

It's reasonably clear that the Crane and the Mantis are being pitted against each other.

After dinner, we have baths, and strategize a little. Renzo expects the Crane to make the first overture, but it's actually Mantis, and they want to see Chihiro first? Renzo tasks me to watch over her.

It's Ken-san, and he'd like to take us out for tea. We get to a nice upper-mid class joint, and after some tea, he lays out the plan. He wants Chihiro to pick a fight with the Crane, and trigger a duel; I would champion it, and win, ideally rendering the Crane duelist out of action and stopping them from initiating another duel with the Mantis.

In exchange, we'd get better deals on food shipments if the deal goes through.

We thank him for the offer, and say we'll think about it.

We go back to Renzo, and he kiboshes the plan -- it has no real benefit for us despite the risk.

The next morning, we're woken up suddenly, someone Crane has been killed, and we need to see it.

The Crane Clan ambassador has been slain, and the murder weapon looks like a tanto, done in green and gold.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Necessary Evil (2017-2018)

I was in charge of running a campaign of Necessary Evil for the group, with the gang eventually becoming:

Marshal Lawless - Old western hero turned undead, turned supervillain. (Featured: Episode 0)
Warhead - A hulking, butt-ugly mountain of a man who glows faintly. Occasionally mutters to himself about lizard people and a hollow earth. (Featured: Full Season)
Wattlad - A young, cocky brit with a confident swagger. And electrical powers. Notorious bleach huffer and dealer, thief of kids tricycles, and unfortunately the butt of a lot of jokes (Featured: Full Season)
Artemis - A mercenary for hire with god-awful luck, a phobia of wet footwear, a deep and abiding love for birds, and a jetpack. (Featured: Full Season; the mercenary formerly known as Roux)
Torment - Missing an arm, but otherwise pretty normal -- almost like an accountant. Also really into the slap and tickle. He eventually regained his arm with the help of The Futurist. (Featured: Full Season)
The Futurist - An atlantean mad scientist with a wife and child, Evany. (Featured: Episode 1-12; retired to explore Atlantis with his daughter.)
Spedro - The world's fastest latino actor; under the impression that he was in heroic company.. (Featured: Episode 12-14)
Triton - An atlantean with a monkey tail. (Guest Star: Episode 3)

For those unfamiliar, Necessary Evil is a Savage Worlds campaign where supervillains (or unpopular heroes) are the last line of resistance against alien invaders named the V'Sori.

Necesssary Evil began airing in early October 2017, and ended in 2018. A full list of episodes for Season One of Necessary Evil:

00: A Necessary Team
01: Jail Break
02: The Underground Irregulars
03: Captain Clone's Legacy (Two-part special)
04: A Necessary Christmas Special
05: A Necessary Radiant Quest
06: The First Family
07: The Hanged Man
08: Crossbreeds
09: Blood Money
10: Raiders of the Lost Temple
11: Turncoat
12: Daddy, I Shrunk the Villains (Alternate name: In The Garden of Dr. Devolution)
13: Omega Strikes Back
14: A Necessary Showdown
14, pt 2: Necessary Heroes

Highlights that I managed to record:

"His nipples look like Spurdo"

"I'm fine. My syphilis isn't acting up today." - Warhead, 2017

"Oh baby, a tumor" - Wattlad

Between episodes one and two, the team was:

- Warhead has been aggressively and actively maintaining a 500m proximity to hospitals
- The Futurist has been looking afer his family
- Wattlad has been selling the "drugs" obtained from the prison camp (bleach)
- Artemis has been aggressively dabbing on top of rooftops
- Torment has been cashing in on the dole for having only one arm, and driving his Reliant Robin

The team also decided on a name at this time: The Best That Could Be Expected Given The Circumstances (Team TBTCBEGTC) -- or Team Buckets.

In the labs of Colonel Clone, they encountered clones of:

The Speedster -- world renowned actor Bukkake Splish'n'Splash, AKA Mr Dart.
The Stretch -- World renowned actor Jeff Goldblum, AKA The Rubber.

They also had to fight approximately twenty seven assorted clones, all defective and special in their own ways, including:

  • Naked martial-arts master Captain Clone
  • 4 90's Leisure Suit Captain Clones
  • Jeff Goldblum in a sentai pose
  • Four captain clones in womens' bikinis. (Luckily, their mutation is a perpetual mosaic over their groins, making this adventure safe for a Christian manga.)
  • Four Captain Clones painted to look like the wall
  • Captain Clone stuck to the ceiling
  • Four Captain Clones in stars-and-stripes spandex, driving Mazingolfer Z.
They also found a clone of Torment from before he lost his arm, or as he knew himself, Dr Egon Payne. And unlike the others, he was not an evil clone. Alas, he was killed as he tried to leave the lab by a homeless man -- it seems fate will not permit two to live.

Warhead's signature move for the episode was the Cancer Dropkick -- proof of his evil villainy, he stole this move from Captain Cancer, who is certainly not him by another name.

Synopsis: Necessary Evil: A Necessary Christmas

It's Christmas in Star City, and there's a certain something missing... supervillains all throughout the world, in this holiday season, feel a sense of loss.

Normally, everyone would be competing at the black market to buy laser death rays to shoot down Santa, or stealing uranium for very small ICBMs disguised as chrismas trees in an exciting, but ultimately futile attempt to ruin Christmas for everyone... but at the end of the day, there's not really any challenge or fun in it if there's no heroes to oppose you, is there?

Sure, there's the V'Sori, but they care more about the fact that you've got a WMD, rather than that you're going to ruin a holiday for millions -- it's just not the same. And with no Alpha Force, or Champion, it seems like those dastardly plots of yesteryear will never make a return...

Or will they? Dr. Destruction thinks it's time to send the world a message, that the V'Sori haven't won. And the best way to do that is to have a traditional Megalomaniacal Holiday Scheme, and show those alien bastards that they're so inferior, they don't rate the top of the priority list, even now.

For this purpose, somewhere in Star City, another Omega cell will carry out a traditional Holiday Scheme. And on this, the night before Christmas, it will be up to Team Bucket to become The Champion and the Alpha Force, and ruin it in the nick of time.

What's that in the air? Smells like... Christmas.

This episode guest-starred Gorilla Nod, half-gorilla, half-scorpion mutant mastermind, and his revolver-toting Chimpanzee henchmen. Team Buckets adopted the following roles:

Warhead as The Champion -- 'nuff said.
Wattlad as Giant -- Like Cyclops, but taller, and has goggles instead of a visor
Triton as Lionsgate -- He could climb things, and was reasonably fast.
Torment as Halcyon -- With the power of violent flashbacks to yesteryear
The Futurist as Night-Man -- All allegations of rape are unfounded and without evidence. Known for his trademark gadget collection, the "Swell Belt".
Artemis as Fidel Casto -- "God Bless Cuba, Even Though God is a Captialist Construct, I love Communism"

Dr Destruction was a little disappointed that nobody wanted to be The Aquarian.

Wattlad: "I think when he put on the mask, he stopped being the Futurist, and became something else."

Futurist: "Where is-" *clears throat* "WHERE IS THE BANANA"

It's noted that at this time, Warhead gave Gorilla Nod cancer. This was not part of the script.

Synopsis: A Necessary Radiant Quest

There's a settlement in danger, and it needs Team Buckets' help. And by Settlement, I mean the First Bank of Star City, and the danger is that they have too much money.

This episode guest-starred The Futurist's daughter, Evany, and an excessive amount of Friendship delivered in .357 caliber.

This episode also guest-starred Al Capone; this would be the last time that Al Capone would be seen as the world remembered him. Some time after this, he would discover Japan and anime culture, becoming Neko Al Capone. (Nya, see?)

The First Family guest-starred Michael Wilson as the President of the Great United States of America.

"You could tie a grenade to a pidgeon!"
"It'll be like Jihad, but for birds"

A biography was planned by Michael Wilson: "From Lounge Suites to Metal Wolf: One Man's Rise to the Presidency"

The team further descended into villainy by counterfeiting IMI's Desert Eagles; Artemis acquired dual Desert Pidgeons.

The Sardine: An E-list supervillain with the powers of smelling rather bad and Wedging.

Willy the Fish proved to be like the father that none of Team Buckets ever had; alas, he sacrificed himself so that they could escape the ambush. This lit a furious fire in the hearts of the team, who could not move on until they had taken revenge.

The Incredible Sulk, a man capable of throwing great tantrums at the drop of a hat

Parallax, the man who was in two, equidistant, never-converging points at once.

The party discussed rogues galleries:

Warhead was Villain of the Week, and has personally had his ass beat by the Champion before.
Wattlad has bumped heads with The Man, Charles Worthington, the Super-Gentleman Spy.
Torment was responsible for killing The Pope. All of them. Even Pontif3x, the Cyberpope.

Jeremiah, The Amish Avenger. "I've never seen a man do so much with a two-by-four."

In Daddy, I Shrunk the Villains:

  • The method of insertion after being shrunk was an incredibly fat, greasy pidgeon named Wide Tony
  • Dr. Devolution's buried lab was guarded by terrifyingly large ants; ants whose sole job was to devour and accumulate trace elements of gold, which they yielded after death, and grew in size when the party unshrank themselves; it yielded an unexpected ten million dollars, a hundredth of which was surprisingly used to start a soup kitchen.

The Necessary Showdown guest starred:

Solid Clone - One of the last "Sons of Captain Clone".
Neko Al Capone
Gorilla Nod & the Comrade Chimps (formerly the Revolver Chimpalots) - Nod went into remission just in time to throw down. The chimps are still looking for Fidel Castro.
Power Armor President Michael Wilson
Wide Tony the Pidgeon - Somehow still larger than everyone else, despite Team Buckets no longer being shrunk.
Warhead's Tank - looted back in Episode 0, and kept in storage for some three years.
Liquid Clone

And finally, the team received help in their fight against the Cyber-Overmind from someone wearing what looks like Dr Destruction's power armor in pink. As the overmind fell, the power-armored individual reveals themselves to be... Pink Pony Princess, AKA Eveny, the Futurist's daughter? She was sent back in time from 12 years in the future, because the world has descended into chaos thanks to a power vaccum; without Dr Destruction, The Champion, any of the Alpha Team, or even the V'sori, what's left of Omega, as well as new "heroes" and "villains" have emerged to take Earth for their own.

The team walked into the V'Sori sunset to find a space ship.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Kevins of the Wild 2: Adventures in Warpland

The Kevins are once more gathered together -- with the exception of Psy and Fixy kevin -- in the ship's cathedral, following the adventure to the Dread Pearl.

Bishop Kevin is presiding, and leads the crew in a eulogy for Wheely Kevin. The casket is empty save for a chair and a pair of pants.

He allows us a moment of silence before shouting "NEXT!" and the next casket is dragged in.

57 services later, Leftenant Kevin takes the team aside to give the good news: The Kevins have this thing called "Shore Leave", now. Also, after months of extensive testing ("Kevins within Kevins within Kevins, within Kevins. Affirm." "Affirm." "What's it like to be paid?" "Unknown.") I, Fixy Kevin, am finally out of the brig.

Shore Leave appears to have been granted en masse -- the dock is filled with Kevins, and the pubs creak collectively in fear. The locals flow out, and the Kevins flow in.

As promised, Lieutenant Kevin buys us the first round, and toasts Wheely Kevin. Whom I knew from Technical College. I put him in the wheelchair during the exam for my degree, sure, but I liked to think we were close.

Our clique (Me, Healy Kevin, Smarty Kevin, and Grizzly Kevin) are talking about intoxicating substances (Amasec, that water from Vaporious) when Sleazy Kevin takes this opportunity to show up to peddle his shitty cocaine.

"Heck off, sleazy kevin, we don't want your crap cocaine around here," Healy Kevin says.

"Nah, this is new stuff," he promises. He presents some interesting-looking lho sticks. "These are better than any obscura."

Grizzled Kevin wants to buy the drugs, but he's got no money, so he distracts Sleazy Kevin and then punches him clean out. He steals every drug he's got, and starts handing out the fancy sticks, a green, crystalline substance wrapped in gold foil.

Not strong enough to resist peer pressure, I light up first. And I hear screaming for a moment before I black out.

I wake up with everyone else in a place that definitely isn't the bar. We're sprawled on the floor in the middle of a forest -- everything is ridiculously green, and the trees are dense.

The sky overhead is a brused color. We're definitely not on Footfall.

Fighty Kevin asks Grizzled Kevin to climb a tree. But he doesn't climb trees, he pushes them over. And to prove it, he does so, with a splintering of wood. And a squelch sound?

We check it out carefully. I approach with staff in hand. It's a swamp. Or a mire.

As we're peering at it through bloodshot eyes, something long and thin picks me, Healy and Fighty Kevin up off the ground!

Grizzly Kevin slaps the vines, dealing some damage.

Smarty Kevin tries to negotiate with the vines. He promises them women later for freedom now, but nothing. It seems like these are harder to buy than the Incel board.

Healy Kevin tries to wriggle free. She doesn't.

I apply leverage to the vines with my staff, and I free myself, readying my lasgun.

Fighty Kevin gets out, and pulls out his monospear.

The vines react; the one that has Healy Kevin strangles. The one that had me shoots a cloud of spores at me from a flower. It misses, but another one gets Fighty Kevin good, and breathing is hard.

Grizzly Kevin keeps working at the vines holding Healy Kevin.

Slighted by the vines, Smarty Kevin opens fire on the vines -- it's like High Scholum all over again. The vines recoil in pain.

Healy Kevin frees themselves, and draws their flamer.

I land a shot on the vines as well, getting a scream from the plant.

Fighty Kevin, struggling to breathe, nonetheless manages to plunge his spear into the heart of the plant and kills it.

The plants spray more spores at Healy Kevin. Grizzly Kevin slaps them around some more.

Healy Kevin, now free and armed, burns their flower monster.

Fighty Kevin stabs mine and finishes it off.

As combat ends, Healy Kevin administers antidote to themselves and Fighty Kevin.

As we examine the plants (smell like meat, and look like rotting flesh), there's the sound of walking feet. And as we watch, the forest seems to move to part for a figure.

A feminine figure, rather pointy and to some of the party, familiar -- she looks a lot like the statue salvaged from the Dread Pearl?

We introduce ourselves. Her name is Isha. She has a husband, "Very Busy Man".

She greets us warmly, and apologizes for not reaching us sooner. She invites us to "come along", and we do so, taking advantage of her ability to part the forest.

We eventually reach a small cottage; the outside appears to be dripping slime, but it looks to be in good condition, a thatched cottage with chairs outside and a kettle on a fire. Isha takes a seat and invites us to do the same.

She recaps how we got here. She knows where Footfall is, mentioning some of "her people" who occasionally speak to her from there. The way she speaks of it, we're nowhere near the Halo stars, it sounds like.

We are in the Garden -- here, she and her husband grow flowers. She grows the brighter colors, in contrast to her husband's preferred blues and blacks.

Then the ground shakes as immense footsteps approach. Trees don't part for this one. He swims into view -- an immense, bloated creature wearing a hat and tie, a greater daemon of Nurgle, guts hanging out and corpulent.

He shrinks down to a more reasonable size, and Isha plants a small kiss on his cheek. We politely introduce ourselves to this monstrous, but clearly pleasant creature with a very jolly voice, "Very Busy Man".  He corrects me on the name -- Nurgle. But most people call him Grandfather or Pappy.

We speak with him. Long story short, we are indeed in the warp. And we are in so much danger. But he's nice enough. He saw Psy Kevin, he passed through briefly. Nurgle sent him on, although he's not sure what happened after that. A darn shame. He's willing to send us along after him, if needed.

We snap a commemorative photo for Aquilagram. We all take a point of insanity... and tag @WinterYork. We'll have to wait until we get Astropath signal to upload it, though.

Nurgle has some opinions of the other gods.
Khorne is nice enough, provide you catch him on a nice day. The problem is, he hasn't had a nice day in about 12 billion years.
Slaanesh... best not to go there. But Healy Kevin can just... do whatever.

Anyway. Nurgle makes a door appear out of some trees.

Before we leave, Nurgle has a letter for us. It's addressed to Hadarak Fel... If we get the chance, we should say hi to the Eldar for Isha.

He gives us a gold tooth for the trouble, and bids us farewell.

I open the door, and I'm no longer in the Garden. Ashen fields surround us. "God damnit," Smarty Kevin says. "We're in New Jersey."

Ahead of us, we can see a figure sitting in the ashes. As we get closer, we realize he's huge. Huger than Grizzled Kevin, even. Clearly a space marine, his armor is ashen white and his pauldrons blue.

He greets us with a slow, heavy voice. He tells us that we are... here. Very helpful. Here is not a safe place for mortals to be wandering. He speaks slow and ponderously, devoid of emotion.

He will guide us out. He brushes ashes off the ground, and picks up two very familiar chain axes... remarkable craftsmanship. Made for unification.

I ask him what his name is. Akaios, he thinks. It's been a while. He turns to the horizon, and starts walking -- slowly -- so we can follow. He suspects we're not from his time. I mention we're from M41, and he confirms he's from M30.

He's depressed as hell. He needs to leave, but he can't; he and his brothers are damned. It's a very somber walk.

As we walk, we approach structures, mountains and citadels in the distance. There's another figure in the distance, hunched and without power armor. We're being watched.

Healy Kevin waves and bids it hello, and all we get back is a laugh. A laugh I've heard before. A laugh I don't like one bit.

It's my Ex. A bloodletter. I ask to borrow one of Akaios' axes. He agrees, and gives me a now-familiar axe -- Wrack.

Grizzly Kevin puts his hand on my shoulder, and passes me a literal fistful of leaves. I chow down and suddenly, I feel like a bear. I bellow a challenge at this bear-like bloodletter, and challenge it to a fight.

I proceed to have the coolest duel of my life, burying the borrowed chainaxe in it just as it punches me out cold.

I find myself adrift in a sea of stars.

"Dude! Dude! Wake up!" I open my eyes with an unsticking feeling to see a flaming skull leering over me. I'm sitting in the sidecar of what appears to be a daemonically posessed motorcycle. A space marine with a flaming skull for a head drives it.

I took bear leaves, and apparently I know how to fucking party. Doomrider is his name, and Astral Projecting is apparently what I'm doing. He'd be glad to give me a ride back to my physical body.

"Wake up!"

I open my eyes again. For a moment there, I was cool. Then they avert their eyes from mine again. I'm surrounded by the other Kevins and Akaios. I sit up, and for a moment, I see Doomrider, before he vanishes into a portal.

I confirm that I won the fight, and return the axe to Akaios. To my surprise, he returns the axe to me, and Ruin to Healy Kevin.

He dusts off the ground to reveal skulls -- 88 of them. He asks us to remember him, remember the War Hounds as what they were, and not what they became. I tell him I only see a loyal War Hound, and I'll never forget Akaios of the War Hounds.

We rematerialize in a realm of purple, gold, and silk. Soft music flows. There's a large bed, silk drapes on the walls, mood lighting and incense in the air... and an ork? The ork is confused, unarmed, and just wants a fight.

A tantalizing voice calls from beyond a series of veils. "The Ork, I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting visitors."

It's Healy-Kevin's time-share god.

Slaanesh materializes a bag of cocaine for Grizzly Kevin, and he buries his face in it, becoming Polar Kevin for a time.

We stay and chat for a while, but it's eventually time to go. The exit door leads to a long corridor.

There are two doors -- one with a symbol like a meteor, and one labelled in Gothic, "Armageddon". The ork wants a fight, so I guess we'll head out through Armageddon?

The Ork smells the air that blows through, and is thrilled. He smells a fight. He's going to take it, and make great the name Gazgul Mad Urak Thrakka.

Whoops. Oh well, we make an exit through the other door.

We find ourselves in a mirror maze. Healy-Kevin seems to have a knack for navigating it, though, so we follow his lead.

We find ourselves in a central, eight-pointed star at the center of the maze. And sitting on a glass bench in the middle, with no pants and no wheelchair... Wheely Kevin.

He's not who he used to be. But he still has that same shit-eating grin, and I Remember why I didn't feel that sorry about  putting him in the chair to start with.

We talk a while. But talk runs thin, and we want out. Or we never wanted out. Or we've always wanted out. And the way out is through the Blue Horrors that are now surrounding us.

Only holy weapons or a psyker will save us here, and we have none. But we do have bear leaves.

"Well, are you going to eat the bear leaves or not? For the Emperor."

Standing atop the walls of the Infinite Maze, dressed in a long cloak, carrying a bolt pistol, a makeshift staff, and a ridiculously wide hat -- Psy Kevin. He jumps down, and with a strike of his staff, keeps the blue horrors at bay.

We chow down on the bear leaves, and...

We come to, and catch up with psy-kevin. It's been... a while. He's seen a lot.

But for now, two errands.

First, we return to the ashen wasteland. Istvaan V. We find a cave, and inside, white helmets stacked neatly; we leave the power axes there to be found some millenia later, and eventually, pass into the hands of our captain, and all is right with the world.

The next errand is a stop at Groks' Pizza, we're on a pizza run, apparently -- although with warp travel and time being optional, not on any particular schedule.

We find ourselves in a smoky room, the smoke in 9 primary colors. We catch a lungful of plaid on the way in.

"Pizza's still warm," Psy-Kevin announces.

The smoke parts to reveal quite an array of players. The Deceiver. The Eldar Laughing God. Tzzentch. And the Emperor himself. It's a strange game, Paradox Poker, and the stakes are... odd.

The Emperor thanks us for the delivery, and decides to grant us each a boon.

Grizzly Kevin asks for and gets gold-laced cocaine.
Smarty Kevin asks for and gets forgiveness for Akaios of the War Hounds.
I ask for and get an STC.
Healy Kevin asks for and gets freedom from Slaanesh.

The Emperor opens a door, and there's a gold surfboard. He takes us back to Footfall... the long way around. As we pull up outside the bar, I have one last question, hopefully a freebie.

"Are we before or after we left?"
"Poorly worded question. That's my fault, I accept it."

Saturday, 10 November 2018

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse: The Crew Strikes It Big

Rogue Trader: A quest for profit in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium. But dying in mediocrity and misery is for poor people and losers, and a Rogue Trader's retinue is anything but.

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse is bought to you by:

Lord-Captain van Hohenheim - Rogue Trader. Hero. The last of his line. Possibly insane, although a holiday has done much to soothe his agitated mind. Questionable epicurean delights have left him unreasonably muscled.
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A Magos Explorator-Chymist who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull. Ever since doing warp-eel shots, she seems more insightful somehow.
Archaius "Boosto" Wash - A gunnery sergeant with a now less-irritating artificial voicebox and a jetpack. We are all amazed by his apparently-infinite agility, and his recent ability to just shrug off pain.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue. Spymaster and king of Human Resources. One hell of a butler, even when he's on autopilot.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Notorious advocate of psychic power pissing matches, and freshly endowed with wings, somehow. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

We make planetfall as fast as possible, and land with more vim and vigor than we ought to.

The natives greet us warmly, again, but they have another in their midst, bearing news of the Creator; dressed in green, she descended from the heavens.

The Lord-Captain convinces them to let me see in their mind who it was. I recognize her immediately.


We try to convince everyone to get on our boat. People are getting more and more distressed. They can't fathom what's going on.

A lance battery strikes on the horizon. The shockwave hits a few seconds later, and everyone freaks. Wash spins up the engines.

A second lance hits a structure; the oceans part, and we see a giant, eldritch creature.

It is, as expected, the Eldar. They're back, and they'd rather seal this place to the Warp again than let it fall to us. They have resummoned the storm. "Quit this place now, or die here!"

All over the planet, thousands of heavy steps resound.

We vox the rest of our Alliance.

"There's a giant Eldar on the planet. Do you want to help me kill it? This is my planet. I already peed on it."

The others would love to, but they're busy getting out of dodge.

Near us, we hear footsteps, and two Wraithguards stomp out of the forest.

One of them opens fire on the tribals -- one is clipped, and vanishes in a puff of ozone. He reappears a moment later... inside a tree. Ew.

The Magos boards the cutter.

The Lord-Captain steps forth, brandishes his axes, and his cape billowing in the growing storm, shouts "To me!" at the Wraithguards.

I grudgingly board the cutter for now.

Wash takes off, and shreds one of the Wraithguards to pieces with the autoguns.

I focus my powers, and reach out to MIND CRUSH the Eldar Witch in their little circle. I land it, and give them a nasty surprise, although all electronics short out for a moment, and we plunge out of the sky for a moment. As I do, the Wraithguards hitch a little.

The Magos wipes out the other.

More Wraithguard emerge from the forest; the Lord-Captain parries a punch for one, and his axes cut deep gouges into them. His axe cuts deep into the neck of one, and there's a sickening crack, and the Lord-Captain feels immensely satisfied.

I unbuckle myself, cast aside my robes, and reveal the Priest King outfit. I bail out of the cutter, and take wing towards the circle.

Overhead, I see the cutter whoosh past, pull up over the circle, and out the back falls the Magos, going for a divebomb.

The Lord-Captain continues to bully the Wraithguard with his axes, carving them up and giving hope to the tribals.

The Magos closes in, but before she can goomba stomp the Farseer, the Farseer looks up, and without even trying, stops her falling. Then throws the Magos into the ground. Hard. It looks like it hurts. Her servo-skulls catch the impact from three different angles.

More Wraithguards emerge from the water; Wash strafing runs the ones coming out of the water.

I finally get to the dais, and point at the Farseer. We approach each other menacingly, and I try to crush their head again. I do some damage, and we hear unsettling truths.

The Farseer lashes back, and I feel my head haemmorage. And all my grenades go off, catching both of us cleanly. We're both thrown clean off the tower; the Farseer into the forest, and myself to the beach.

Wash gives chase to the Farseer to confirm the kill -- but finds two eldar snipers trying to escape with her body, and one more blocking his path. They flee at superhuman speeds; still not fast enough to escape Wash, but they manage to avoid his blade long enough to escape through a webway portal.

With the storm closing in, we call it quits; we're short on vengeance, and I've had my face blasted clean off, but we're burdened with wealth, and we've all survived our Adventure, etching our names into the history of the galaxy.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse: The Crew Goes Fishing

Rogue Trader: A quest for profit in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium. But dying in mediocrity and misery is for poor people and losers, and a Rogue Trader's retinue is anything but.

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse is bought to you by:

Lord-Captain van Hohenheim - Rogue Trader. Hero. The last of his line. Possibly insane, although a holiday has done much to soothe his agitated mind. Questionable epicurean delights have left him unreasonably muscled.
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A Magos Explorator-Chymist who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull. Ever since doing warp-eel shots, she seems more insightful somehow.
Archaius "Boosto" Wash - A gunnery sergeant with a now less-irritating artificial voicebox and a jetpack. We are all amazed by his apparently-infinite agility, and his recent ability to just shrug off pain.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue. Spymaster and king of Human Resources. One hell of a butler, even when he's on autopilot.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Notorious advocate of psychic power pissing matches, and freshly endowed with wings, somehow. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

The Lord-Captain commands the crew to go fetch the gemstones out of the water. He proclaims that they will be "Handsomely Rewarded".

Not very convincing, but the Lord-Captain doubles-down -- after we cash this in, they'll have enough to buy a transport shuttle. (Between them? He doesn't specify.) This wins them over, and the last one into the water has to clean the Lord-Captain's bathroom.

While they work, I take wing, and aside from a chance to properly stretch my wings, I do wonder about what lies further out; the deeper the water, the bigger the gemstones seem to be. But back on shore, further down the shore from our position, I can see wooden tents and huts of a ramshackle nature. I immediately phone it in.

The Lord-Captain dispatches Wash and the Scots to go check it out; Wash arrives to find it deserted, but there's a firepit which has seen use in the last week or so, and definite signs of life in the past.

Whoever or whatever it is, they were cutting down trees; and most importantly, they were using some sort of metal edge on the axe -- unusual for this planet of nature and wraithbone. Humanoid footprints in the sand, and more than one kind.

The Lord-Captain sends us into the forest to go look for whoever lives here.

The Lord-Captain also takes the time to plant his flag with the Hohenheim family crest: Two mastiffs flanking a single throne gelt, and an all-seeing eye in the center.

As I'm circling the forest, I realize I might have lost someone. I get the Scots to sound off - One through Four sound off, then Six. We've lost Five. I tell Six, the closest, to go find him, and group with him. I pop a flare.

We find Scot #5, he's definitely dead. A hole in the head does that. He died at a temple of pale stone. There are more statues here, some sort of xenos eldar.

The rest of the command crew shows up, following the flare. The magos does a proper post-mortem. Died with his hand on his radio, facing the temple. Whatever it was, it left a jagged hole -- no sniper's bullet.

I inch closer to the temple, and take a peek inside. Ruined chambers, three of them. Most have alcoves and statues on pedestals. In one of the rooms, we see six statues, and two empty plinths.

Wash tries to cut the weapon off one of the statues, and has a real hard time of it -- even with the power field on his sword, it's just bouncing off.

The Lord-Captain is concerned about where the statues went -- there's clear marks where they would stand, but no tracks of them departing the statue.

Plasma doesn't fare much better against the statues.

I ping for life to do another headcount. I don't get much, in here. Wash radios for a headcount.

This time, Nine isnt' responding. He never made it to Rendezvous. I take half the remaining scots to go look for what I assume is his going to be his body.

Wash checks the next chamber out. Four statues, four empty. One of the empty spaces was occupied by a statue, now broken. No secret doors, though. The last chamber has just one statue, and seven empty pedestals.

Hidden on / in one of the plinths is some sort of strange hollow tube. He can't ascertain it's function, and he doesn't have a mouth to blow it with, so he puts it... into his jetpack's exhaust. It doesn't play off any notes.

The Lord-Captain and the Magos arrive just in time to see Wash roast his hand.

The three keep blowing it and inserting fingers into it, but aren't making much progress. The Lord-Captain throws it to the Scots to figure out.

"Nah, nah, you're doing it wrong"
"You gotta work the shaft"
"Use your lips! More tongue!"

The Lord-Captain decides to slap all the statues. It oddly just makes him sad and depressed.

Meanwhile, we find Scot 9, on the beach. This time, he was killed from behind. I radio it in, and we regroup at the temple.

The trip is uneventful, but we phone in to see where the Kevins are at. They're all accounted for, except Wheelchair Kevin, who turned out to not be nearly as buoyant as expected.

As I return, I learn of the "flute" and want to give it a go. I get an impression off the flute: "Intruders". All the other wraithbone I've touched today -- the sword, and now the statues, just make me sad.

The Lord-Captain wants to go hunt Eldar. I psychically scan for life at increased range, and... I find a super-strong psyker, and they're right in the middle of our group. We should make for the ship with all haste.

On our way to the ship, I check again for psykers. All birds and animals for half a kilometer run. The psyker's power has now been greatly diminished, but he still appears to be hiding amongst us!

We get back to the ship, and take off to scan for Eldar using the Auspex. Nothing inland, but we pick up a sail. The boat is crewed by two tanned humans. One of them dives into the ocean the moment we get near. The Lord-Captain has Wash bring the cutter in close, and he jumps out.

He sticks the landing, but the canoe immediately capsizes under his size and weight. It turns out swimming is not his forte, especially when he's bedecked in finery, and carrying two chain axes. He winds up ducking the one fisherman left as they try to right the canoe.

We throw down a line and pull them both up. The fisherman is terrified; he seems to respond to Low Gothic, but he doesn't quite speak it. The Captain skips the foreplay and has me dig into his mind.

His name is Gavin. Not insane. Excellent physical condition. Terrified as all-get-out.

No corruption. Understandably confused. He lives on the island his buddy is swimming to. He has been unfaithful with his fishing buddy's wife. Dude.

The Lord-Captain wants us to go after the other fisherman. As we get close, we see the tribe emerging to meet us. Wash lands the gun cutter in a friendly manner.

We're approached by inhabitants of the village; they call themselves The Santarchs, they believe this place to be their Paradise, and they believe this is their reward for a life of hardship; should they perish, they simply reincarnate. The leader claims to be 300 years old in his current incarnation.

This knowledge comes from their writings -- an incredibly-battered book named the Sola Fidae. It predates the Imperial Creed, and makes no mention of the Emperor -- analogous to the old ideology of Bhuddism.

We get a vox -- the other Rogue Traders are making their way through the warp. We warn the others.

"We can't very well fit the entire planet into our holds."
"Not with that attitude, you can't."

They seem to be content with splitting the bounty of the planet further. We get what we've got so far to our ship.

Fel hails us to banter. He insults me and says no amount of Rejuvenat can fix me. I'm wounded.

We race back down to the surface. Aside from looting as much as we can, we're going to save that village.

In orbit:

Raider: Chains of Dusk (Feckward)
Transport: Grace of Sopho (Charlabelle)
Transport: The Danse Macabre (LeFrancois)
Frigate: Fel Hand
Frigate: The Absolute Ambition
Lt. Cruiser: Hammer of Truth (Scourge)
Lt. Cruiser: The Nihontu (Sun Lee) + 3 Raider Escorts
Cruiser: The Ordained Destiny (Blitz)
Cruiser: The Colossus (Bastille)

The Plan: Grab as much gems as we can, save the village and take them aboard. While Fel is sending down multiple landers, send the Scots to hijack one. We empty out the gems and replace the cargo with murder servitors, and fly it up to infiltrate the Fel Hand.

Once in, we scuttle or cripple the ship, steal one of the shipments of gems returned, and take the lander to our ship.

If not destroyed, we declare beef with Fel (like anyone didn't know we had it) and destroy him, stranding him on the planet.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse: The Crew Experiences Wash's Wild Ride

Rogue Trader: A quest for profit in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium. But dying in mediocrity and misery is for poor people and losers, and a Rogue Trader's retinue is anything but.

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse is bought to you by:

Lord-Captain van Hohenheim - Rogue Trader. Hero. The last of his line. Possibly insane, although a holiday has done much to soothe his agitated mind. Questionable epicurean delights have left him unreasonably muscled.
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A Magos Explorator-Chymist who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull. Ever since doing warp-eel shots, she seems more insightful somehow.
Archaius "Boosto" Wash - A gunnery sergeant with a now less-irritating artificial voicebox and a jetpack. We are all amazed by his apparently-infinite agility, and his recent ability to just shrug off pain.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue. Spymaster and king of Human Resources. One hell of a butler, even when he's on autopilot.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Notorious advocate of psychic power pissing matches, and freshly endowed with wings, somehow. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

We're on our way to the Dread Pearl. It takes a couple of weeks, there's a lotta chop in the warp.

On the way, I get my second cybereye installed; I now have two eyes lensed with eldar gemstones, one red and one blue.

The Navigator buzzes us directly. There's a Warp Storm right where the planet should be. We can't get close enough for subluminal speeds, so we're parking up just one jump away.

I check our voicemail. One message for the Magos, and four for the Lord Captain.

Lady Sun-Lee sends a flowery response of supicion, but acceptance.

Blitz would like a drink, and is glad to meet us there.

So would LeFrancois, but we never really invited him for a drink, so...

Charlabelle sends a missive similar to Lady Sun-Lee's, but far more informal.

It's a party!

Through the front Vistaports of the ship, we can see the warp storm, and deep inside, the Dread Pearl, our deeply-sought prize. At the center, a path of calm appears! I sense the warp storm will sufficiently abate within the day for us to actually make an approach.

The Magos and the Lord-Captain both try the Augers; looking for knife-eared fucks, but we pick up long-range contact, ships arriving. I detect psykers, our guests have arrived. They accept the invite and make for us with all due haste. (Like, actual haste.)

Before they arrive, I do question the Lord-Captain's goal in inviting them. A four-way alliance over what results from the Pearl might be the only way out, if we misjudged Sun-Lee's strength.

Sun-Lee arrives, on the condition that she can bring ~15 Armsmen. LeFrancois shows up on his lonesome. Charlabelle shows up with birdlike mercenary bodygyards - Kroot, and five of them. Blitz has a plus-one.

They're escorted to the dining room where we're waiting for them. They get drinks, satisfy themselves it's not poisoned, and we make introductions. Wash and LeFrancois get less respect than the rest of us.

Sun-Lee gets to it. A gambler, a charter captain, and a broke bitch. This is the company the Lord-Captain keeps?

The Lord-Captain tries his charm and botches it. Sun-Lee remains unconvinced and threatens to walk.

The Lord-Captain warns that she walks, and she'll not just fight xenos from the front, but every other rogue trader from behind. A five-way split stands to benefit even Sun-Lee. Slightly more than a fifth for most of us.

LeFrancois objects, but is made to sit the fuck down.

Charlabelle is in, as is Blitz.

Sun-Lee wants to think about it.

In the meantime, we gamble against Blitz for a bit. He's cleaning us out, his luck is extradordinary. And I am certain he is not using psychic powers to cheat.

Meanwhile, Wash goes up to the bridge to check the Auspex out of paranoia. New contacts, here any moment now. Time's up for Lady Sun-Lee. Time to shit or get out of the alliance.

She's in. The warp storm has abated enough for an extremely risque passage.

We'll take the chance. All are escorted back to their ships; they're going to follow us in.

I look at the storm. I see dozens of twisted faces, some human, some xenos, and all writhing in pain.

A lot of things have been said of Wash in the last few years. Many of them conflicting. But sometimes, he seems to reveal his true self -- he is truly one of the greatest pilots in the imperium, and he takes us straight into the warp storm. The ship bucks, rocks, and feels like it's tearing itself apart. I see and hear voices. People are praying like fuck.

Wash is doing this all manually. Analog. No MIU. My knuckles are white as I hold onto the guardrail.

The Lord-Captain makes a rousing speech.

Wash: "If you look out the port viewports, you will see the God-Emperor protecting us. If you look out the starboard viewports, you will see the God-Emperor protecting us."

The Magos gets a hard PING on the auspex; a ship is headed straight for us. Wash hauls the wheel around, and we just barely scrape past it.

We make it through, and emerge into the eye of the storm. The bridge is dead silent as we recover from what we've just done. We get Vox from Blitz.

Blitz: "I've never seen anything like that before in my life. And I've seen some shit."
Hohenheim: "I, too, am also at half-mast."

Outside the storm, our unallied rivals arrive, and begin fighting each other. Time to make hay while the getting is good.

We gear up for landing on the Dread Pearl, an Eldar "Maiden" world. I load up with a shot of spook / geist.

Getting closer, the planet is everything  you could want in a planet. I psychically scan for eldar. I get the faintest of echoes, tainted by an underlying bitterness, but otherwise nothing.

We touch down with the Scots -- the other five landers spread out and scout. As we touch down, we feel a sense of peace as we step onto the pure sand of the new planet.  The sky is brilliant and azure, and the air truly fresh.

The Lord-Captain steps on something hard and sharp -- a brilliant orange gem. Worth a lot to nobles. Wash confirms it's of Eldar construction. I can tell it's weakly psychic, a lot like the gemstones in my cybereyes.

The Lord-Captain finds some sort eldar rune / psy-focus and tosses it to me. Some sort of charm. I pocket it.

We check out the forest beyond the beach. Strange white cubes. Definitely crafted, not natural.

Something moves, and I spot it; I snatch for it with my TK, but get nothing but air.

The Scots fan out to look for it, but find some sort of overgrown structure in a clearing. A statue. An eldar female, or a very beautiful eldar man.

I still feel at unease. Something is here.

I search for it.

I find it wedged into the vegetation at the foot of the statue. I pick it up, and hold it up. Everyone sees a sword, much like

I see a fantastic blade, with the edge that is blurry and indistinct. I feel a connection with the world around me, and a deep sorrow. This is a Witchblade. (Best craftsmanship power sword, penetration 0)

Wash throws a fruit at me. I try to slice it, but I whiff.

I expand my area of awareness with the sword. I can sense something nearby, like it's been following us while I was looking for the sword. The Lord-Captain doubles back, circling around, and finds it -- a small, blue, cat-like creature. He Disney Princesses the fuck out of it, pets it, and puts it on his shoulder without any problems.

The captain returns to us -- he has now made a friend.

"Captain, you need to see this, on the beach"

We hasten to the beach. We find gemstones, in the deeper part of the shallows. Hundreds, thousands.

"Captain, we're going to be rich!" a Kevin reports.

"Yes, I am."

Saturday, 13 October 2018

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse: The Crew Takes A Side

Rogue Trader: A quest for profit in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium. But dying in mediocrity and misery is for poor people and losers, and a Rogue Trader's retinue is anything but.

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse is bought to you by:

Lord-Captain van Hohenheim - Rogue Trader. Hero. The last of his line. Possibly insane, although a holiday has done much to soothe his agitated mind. Questionable epicurean delights have left him unreasonably muscled.
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A Magos Explorator-Chymist who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull. Ever since doing warp-eel shots, she seems more insightful somehow.
Archaius "Boosto" Wash - A gunnery sergeant with a now less-irritating artificial voicebox and a jetpack. We are all amazed by his apparently-infinite agility, and his recent ability to just shrug off pain.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue. Spymaster and king of Human Resources. One hell of a butler, even when he's on autopilot.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Notorious advocate of psychic power pissing matches, and freshly endowed with wings, somehow. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

We head down to the planet to meet with the winning landship, the Indestructible.

We touch down in one of the front hangars, amidst a flurry of dust gliders also returning from patrols. Wing hardpoints seem to be empty, but they still have a few bombs and such.

We can feel a low rumble similar to that of a starship as we step onto the deck. We're met by a passel of dusty, grubby engineers, who salute us.

They're to escort us to the Elder Tactician, and they make a brisk pace; the landship is of similar scale to our ship. But much dustier, and devoid of Kevins.

We arrive at the Elder's quarters, and it's well-appointed for a planet like this. Three fairly old men are waiting for us. We're free to take a seat, and do so.

None of them are Greaves, which is surprising. They introduce themselves. Praeston Mero, Magnus

We are asked, and confirm, that we are merchants. The Lord-Captain confirms this, and expresses interest in the Macrocannons.

They'd like to talk more, but they can't actually make or give us any due to a scarcity of resources. The last time they made one was 75 years ago, easily.

But before we get to business, drinks! We bought a choice of amasec, or the... water from the desert planet.

They wave a metal wand over the water and it shows green, so they're happy to drink -- but are curious as to why we aren't partaking. We clarify that we bought it along just as an option, the Lord-Captain is... well, alcoholic. He's not been sober as long as I've known him, 6 years. They accept this and move on.

Long story short, they're agreeable to our offers of materials and transit off this blasted hellhole, although they cannot guarantee a copy of the gun or landship schematics. They need time to talk it over.

We stop by the Engine Order to see how tight-lipped they are. As it turns out, extremely so. It's like dealing with particularly taciturn Adeptus Mechanicus, gear iconography and all. They don't give us an inch and tell us to go away.

We consider what color robes astropaths usually wear. Apparently a common portrayal is green, but it doesn't really bring out my eyes, so I wear beige / tan.

DM: "Your what?"
Me: "My eyes."
DM: "Your what?"
*remembers I have no organic eyes*

We retreat to our gun cutter for a bit.

We flag down a mechanic. He's okay with taking us to the Gun Masters. He's a little patronizing to the Magos when he describes what macrocannons are -- we might not be familiar with them, as our ship is relatively small.

Wash: "She might need a diagram. Do you have any crayons?"
Mechanic: "We melted them down to extend the corpse starch a long time ago..."
Me: "Ah, the US Marine MRE diet."

"What are those floating things? They look like... skulls."
"They're servo skulls. They're skulls that... servo."

We arrive at the gun battery, and meet Bador Hovik. We make small talk before I casually drop the codeword mid-conversation. He invites us to step into his office.

We're made an offer. A decomissioned macrocannon now, in exchange for full control of the ship. A coup for a gun.

We go to have a think on it, and meet up with the Elder Tacticians one last time to get their take. Graves is now present, and he and the Lord-Captain talk shop.

The Lord-Captain offers four things: Transport off the planet. Resources. Technology. Aid from above. Of them, Graves bites on the resources and tech.

In return, they're willing to make us macrocannons -- can't do it fast, but they'll do it.

The Lord-Captain makes the call and accepts the deal with the Elders. Now that we're committed, we dob in Bador and hand over a (redacted) version of the data we pulled from the dead admech as proof of his collaboration.

"Gentlemen... We got another one."

We throw in a Speaky Kevin, and for our trouble, get the decomissioned macrocannon. It's taped to the underside of our gun cutter.

The contract is signed, and we snap a pict of the event. There's a party and celebration as we ship down a goodwill shipment of food and water.

On the way out, Wash accidentally dragged the cannon along the ground of the hangar.

We successfully established trade relations with Zaith -- time to go claim the Dread Pearl. We make some phonecalls.

We contact Lady Sun-Lee, and cordially invite her to join us at the Dread Pearl, awaiting her RSVP.

We holla at Blitz, and invite him to drinks and the Dread Pearl.

We also invite Charlabelle and Francois, although we doubt they're going to accept.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse: The Crew plays Battleships

Rogue Trader: A quest for profit in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium. But dying in mediocrity and misery is for poor people and losers, and a Rogue Trader's retinue is anything but.

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse is bought to you by:

Lord-Captain van Hohenheim - Rogue Trader. Hero. The last of his line. Possibly insane, although a holiday has done much to soothe his agitated mind. Questionable epicurean delights have left him unreasonably muscled.
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A Magos Explorator-Chymist who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull. Ever since doing warp-eel shots, she seems more insightful somehow.
Archaius "Boosto" Wash - A gunnery sergeant with a now less-irritating artificial voicebox and a jetpack. We are all amazed by his apparently-infinite agility, and his recent ability to just shrug off pain.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue. Spymaster and king of Human Resources. One hell of a butler, even when he's on autopilot.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Notorious advocate of psychic power pissing matches, and freshly endowed with wings, somehow. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

We recap our competition for the pearl.

Jean LeFrancois -- Charter Captain who thinks he's people. How adorable. Not just a little vain. Pilots a transport.
Hadarak Fel -- Seasoned explorer, a cunning trader, world exploiter, and absolute asshole. A fop.
Madam Charlabelle -- Fairly young Rogue Trader, inheritor of a dynasty on hard times, House Armalan. Keeps up appearances, though. Carries a weird, alien-looking tube on her forearm, a Harlequin's Kiss. Pilots a transport.
Jeremiah Blitz -- A scoundrel, gambler. Rumor says he won his Warrant of Trade in a game of chance from a Sector Lord. Rocking a cruiser.
Lord Admiral Bastille -- Infamous in the Imperial Navy. House Bastille is old as balls. Wasn't the oldest, but due to a freak accident, suddenly skyrocketed up his family dynasty to inheritance. Cruiser class ship.
Lady Sun Lee -- House Ma'kao, holdings all over the show. She provides food to Scintilla. Legendary duelist, and doesn't think too highly of us by now.  Cruiser.
Janko Scourge -- Psychopath. Slave trader. Egotistical. Ship of unknown marque.
Crawkin Feckward -- Another slaver. Very solid rumors that he's involved in the cold trade.

We head to Zaith! It takes a few weeks.

We get there, and it looks like shit. A dead-ass looking world. Auspex shows no life, and a wee bit of radiation. Looks like we just missed the party.

Our destination lies at the bottom of a ravine -- it would have been underwater, until the ocean boiled away.

We prepare for the trip -- we bring rope this time, and voidsuits. Whatever air is left, it's probably preferable to not breathe.

As we get closer, we notice two huge ships. The size of ours, easily, but landbound, travelling across the wastes. Marques from the Dark Age of Technology, they've got macrocannons and are void-shielded. Developed around the same time as titan legions, way back.

They are heading straight towards each other, and seem to be spoiling for a fight -- not right next to where we're going, but kind of close for comfort. I hail them psychically with no response.

The Lord-Captain hails by vox. The Indestructible responds first. Senior Tactician Graves speaking.

Wash has me prepare the ship to fire on one of these land cruisers.

The Lord-Captain establishes that the Indestructible is indeed spoiling for a fight, and wants no help from off-worlders. There's about half an hour until they fight. The problem is that where they will be shooting is roughly where we wanna be. And they're using macrocannons.

We don't have time for a leisurely explore -- only one of us (me) needs to see it. I grab a servo skull to record everything (Aquilagram celebrity, Winter York!) and jump out at low altitude to fly into the ravine.

We're immediately warned to stay away from the shuttle -- it's the subject of their fight. Wash backs off with the gun cutter, but they don't call us out on me jumping out, so I guess I don't matter to them, or they couldn't see me. I get down there.

"It's dark down here," I remark, being blind.

Gliding along at mid-height, I spot the Nexus easily. Looks just like the rest. I scan it with practiced ease.

We get another transmission from the Indestructible. They're getting close to range. He's not inclined to shoot us, but he can't say the same of the Bulwark.

The shuttle is suspected to contain a member of the Mechanicus, whom the Indestructible had exiled on pain of death -- and he had supposedly departed properly.

The Indestructible wants the shuttle itself, and any information of use in it. And if that Mechanicus is alive, he'd better not be.

I tear the damaged  bulkhead door open, and inside is trashed. Everything's wrecked, and has been on fire. Bits of tech everywhere, slag and flesh that used to be servitors.

The tech priest is dead, long-since gone. His hand is welded to the side of his head. I frisk him, and find a strange chip in his head. The Magos identifies it as a Data Arc, and Important. The rest of him is toast, and trash.

I burst out of the shuttle just as the two landcruisers are starting to pull up and broadside, giving each other the business and deploying ground troops to take the Shuttle. Wash brings the cutter down low so I can get in.

As we start to pull away, we tickle the Bulwark with our macrocannons, and knock out it's shields. The Indestructible is gobsmacked, and appreciates our assistance. We're invited onboard, but the Lord-Captain thinks it might be a cool idea for the Magos to hang back on this one, seeing as they disagreed so violently with her colleague.

If she's going to hang back, she wants full video coverage. I agree.

"Cinematography is my passion," I declare.

We scan the data arc before we do anything else. The Tech Priest (anonymous) was to travel via Light of Truth to Zaith.

Bador Hovik was their contact, X2V, and the Gun Masters. Was not to contact with Elder Tacticians. Trade of certain tech for their Macrocannons was their objective, but under no circumstances are Melta weapons to be introduced, or they'll certainly trash the Macrocannons.

The Mechanicus was part of a rebel element, not working in sync with the Mechanicus as a collective.