Saturday 12 May 2018

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse: The Crew settles a Union Dispute

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 travelling through the warp and making what seems to be good time.

We take the time to review our management policies, and recap our actual positions on the ship and how we manage it.

The Lord-Captain is the Rogue Trader. 'Nuff said. Discipline is enforced through the Chain of Kevins.

Wash, technically "Master of the Guns", reports that the lance and macrocannon crews are getting along well since the whole Space Juliet episode.

I am technically the ship's radio.

(Head) Magos Abigail runs weekly meetings with her Tech Priests for status updates. But Enginseer Nox is absent this week. She asks where he is, and one of her tech priests shifts uncomfortably.

He's been in the plasma conduits all week, apparently. Literally has not been seen since last week's meeting. Abigail heads to the stern of the ship to go take a closer look. And finds that the bulkheads to the area are all sealed... and none of her priests would have any particular call to do so.

None of the command staff know anything about it; I can't feel anything particularly weird going on in there, but someone's cut all the cameras. Aside from that, and the bulkhead being manually locked, there's nothing going on systems-wise.

The team gathers at the bulkhead, save for myself; as I can no longer wear my power armor or a voidsuit, I'd rather not be killed by a lack of air. I support the team from one airlock away.

The Magos knocks on the bulkhead with a mechadendrite, to no effect. She's considering hacking it, but before she does, she sends a servo skull through the air vents.

The place seems deserted. Further exploration reveals graffiti of a benign ("Crooker was here") and personally hurtful ("Fuck the lord-captain") nature.

There are bodies. A man wearing rank. A Crew-Chief Kevin, according to Wash. A dab hand with a chainsword, too, so the fact that he was cut to death and no longer has his chainsword is telling.

The Magos cracks the door open, and I rejoin the party; I'll put on a breathing mask if I have to.

We find the bodies. Only dead a few hours, very fresh. Wounds on the back and front of the Crew Chief Kevin. Small arms wounds to the back, and a wicked chain weapon slash across his chest. The other bodies surrounding him were uniformed, direct underlings. Loyal to the end.

A vox unit's been tossed on top of the Kevin's body. The Lord-Captain does his best Adama impression and speaks into it. "This is your commander!"

It crackles. A voice issues forth. "Ah. Yeh. We were wondering when we'd get this call. Did you like the gift we left you?"

We did not.

They don't care. We're going to listen anyway because we have one of our tech priests. This is a mutiny -- I disagree, they haven't really come for the command bridge, it's more an insurrection -- and they want to go back to Footfall immediately. There's "laws of the void", and this far out of the Imperium... there's lots of them, and they feel poorly about being mistreated. The Lord-Captain puts him on hold for a hot minute.

The Lord-Captain polls us for our thoughts. Nox, while individually not worth such an effort on his own, is part of the Mechanicus, who supported the Van Hohenheim Warrant of Trade, so we really can't abandon him.

We demand to speak with Nox to ensure he is, in fact, still alive. He is, and he technalinguas with the Magos to authenticate; I suggest she asks Nox where he is, and he manages to tell us before they tell him to speak Gothic. I inquire as to his vitality, and he is alive, so I lie and say we're turning this boat around.

In reality, we're going to gas them with CO and raid to secure Nox. Wash has the bridge crew pull a 360 to make it seem like we're acceding to their request. The Lord Captain has us do better. The magos begins piping the CO, and I scout a path with my powers.

We're ready, we throw the switch on a sealed bulkhead, and gas the fuckers.

We breach and go in. We pass the radio that the Lord Captain cast aside, and he picks it up again. "I'm coming for you, Suzy."

As we move in, we start spotting people, clawing at their throats, gasping. I taunt them. The Captain disposes of them.

There's one guy with enough strength to start aiming at us. Wash boosts forward and knocks the gun out of his hand. On the next deck, a man with a power sword tries to come at the Captain; I Compel him to drop it, and he stops an inch from the Captain. I then punch him in the face.

There's two more with gasmasks and swords; The Magos takes a shot with her new big plasma, and misses, but as they turn around from watching it shoot between them, the Lord-Captain is already there, looming large and aiming for ankle with his chainaxes.

He walks on.

A red blur races up the stairs towards him; he punches for throat, and feels metal. Enginseer Nox has managed to make his escape amongst the gas. He thanks us and tells us there's about eight, but only a few who have masks.

We approach the ringleader and his last stand. The Lord Captain displays supreme reflexes and dodges a shotgun blast from around the corner. He mercifully gives them one last chance to surrender. They decline, and seal their fates. They did it to themselves.

Wash boosts in and engages the ringleader at the very rear, twenty metres away. The Lord-Captain engages the monosworders at the front. I compel two of the four shotgunners to shoot their allies, although only one of them can actually hit his target. The ringleader swipes at Wash, and the Lord-Captain is assailed by two guys with swords, and none of them can actually hit their target.

The surviving shotgunners are reloading or taking a shot at the Lord-Captain and miss; he declares that the next person to shoot his ship will be murdered harder.

The Magos uses her ferric lure to snatch a shotgun and crush it with her mechadendrite. It looks badass.

Wash's sword bites deep into the ringleader's thigh, but doesn't kill him. He holds on for a hot moment.

The Lord-Captain butchers his opponents; there is so much blood, anyone wanting to run in the area needs to pass an agility check or eat ass.

I make the last two armed shotgunners engage in a contest of who can shoot the other first. They're awful and can't actually hit each other. Why did we hire these people?

The unarmed shotgunner loses his shit and tries to run. He slips on the blood and eats shit, freaking out in fear.

Abigail steals another shotgun and crushes it.

The Lord-Captain advances on the last shotgunner, and asks him where Suzy is. His boss. He fear fully points to the ringleader and says "Crooker's right there!"

I make him shoot his last sensate friend as a reward. He does it, and drops to his knees, staring at his hands.

There's no standing opposition left.


We get servitors and Kevins in to arrest the lot. There's about thirty mutineers. We give a short speech about how if they have problems, they should use their WORDS. We clarify where we're going. If they're afraid of the darkness, remember: the light of the emperor shines wherever we are. If they forget, we are forced to do things like this.

We summarily execute them cleanly, and flush Crooker out the airlock mid-warp in a clown outfit, and discipline reigns supreme.

The Magos bumps reports up to twice weekly.

We near the end of our voyage to the dread pearl. Spirits are higher, and we're filled with a sense of excitement. We gather on the ship for the exit, and prepare battlestations.

We emerge, and the view isn't quite right. We're supposed to see a warpstorm. A pearl. We see calm space, and a small star system. We're in the right place, but.... no dread pearl?

Wash hits the augers. It's a star system with a small, insignificant yellow star. A planet with unlivable atmos. And ships travelling in a ragged convoy towards the warp out point. We hail them, and they don't quite respond conventionally. Stryxis, they call themselves, and they want to parlay. We agree, and they want us to join them on their ship; they'll send a shuttle. Everyone agrees to go.

The pilot of their shuttle is covered in all sorts of tribal trinkets, little bones. He bows to us and welcomes us in, but says nothing.

The ship's condition is poor when we arrive; lights are dim and flickering. What we can see, the ship is made from mismatched materials, and covered in all sorts of fetishes and trinkets. The floor is covered in litter, and it stinks.

A strixis emerges from the darkness, wearing a long cloak and hood. All we can see is is a snout, a lot like a dog snout, but hairless. We get the sensation of eyes, watching us, and it speaks in accented Gothic, wishing to actually aid us, and speak to our leader.

The Lord Captain responds, introduces himself. The Stryxis is wanting to trade; they'll take any sort of valuable. The Lord-Captain gives up a hip flask, and it's accepted. Wash wants a pulse pistol in exchange, but we're far from the "blue ones" , so no dice. But they do have a fine weapon from the "hated ones", and go fetch it.

Information-wise, the planet has been here a while. Nothing else is here, and it's covered in things which do not walk on two legs. Hated ones.

They come back, it's a shuriken pistol.

We haggle our charms for various things.

The Lord-Captain's charm is a monocle. He's contemplating swapping it for muscle grafts, but declines.

I swap the first coin I ever earned for a new, average-quality cybereye, with a zoom function.

Wash swaps his charm for a flechette cannon. He tries his rebreather for a recoil glove, but they don't have any.

As we're finishing our trades, a siren goes off, and the Stryxis react with fear. We get vox; contact at extreme range. I feel for familiar minds... and it's the eldar we were fighting on the way out here.