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 disembark from the gun cutter, and return to our ship to prepare for battle stations.
Wash gets an update on what the Eldar are doing. Turns out they're heading in-system to the one habitable planet. They're ignoring us. The Lord-Captain orders us to intercept, but as I predict, there's no way we're catching those filthy xenos in a stern chase, and they quickly leave our auger range.
The Lord-Captain wants to slingshot around the planet and use that momentum to ram the eldar ship...? The bridge crew is unsure how to respond to this, and spend the time instead looking at the planet in question; a small, verdant planet; small icecaps, tundra, dotted with seas, and gentle belts of water vapor. A pleasant-enough looking place.
At the very least, the captain is confident that when they park up, we can just shoot them out of orbit. And he knows they'll stay in orbit because they can't take an eldar craft down to the surface, and he knows that because the Imperium can't. That's solid logic.
We get a bit closer as we discuss the issue, although it's slow going, and rescan for the ship. No ship, but we're picking up wraithbone, the remnants of buildings in approximately 100 sq.km of space. We put the ship into orbit.
Before we get too into this, I posit that we might not actually have found the dread pearl, but Wash thinks otherwise, seeing as these Eldar were harassing us when we left, and that makes quite a coincidence.
The Lord-Captain isn't so keen on going down to this filthy xeno planet. Counterargument - if we claim it, it's not a filthy xeno planet anymore. We'll have to come back to it later if this planet's any good.
We're getting nothing on augers; psychically, I'm getting nothing but background noise, so could be literally anything. The Lord-Captain muses about melting the icecaps to turn the green planet blue while we keep pinging.
We give up, and go down to the planet, leaving instructions behind to hail us ASAP if anything ship-like shows up on auspex. Weather was clear when we went in, but chop rapidly sets in, and clouds begin phasing in and out, weather all over the show. Wash wrangles the controls well enough, though, and sets us down without killing us, around 20km out from the biggest readings. Bit of repair work needed, but only about an hours' work. Only carved a furrow in the dirt a kilometer long. We exit.
We're in a verdant fern forest, teeming with insect life and strange calls. There's a buzzing sound. It gets louder, deeper... from the other side of the gun cutter. Then there's a massive thunk as some gigantic, aquila lander-sized insect like a giant hornet, and stabs it with his stinger. It seems like it's looking for food.
"That's not food," the Lord-Captain says condescendingly. It hears him, and he points at the Magos. "Do better!"
Wash lets two absolutely sizzling shots with his plasma pistol off at the wasp, but all he does is piss it off. It surges towards him and tries to get him good.
Then the Magos cuts loose with her plasma cannon and melts a crater in the shell of the wasp. Then I follow up with an absolutely stunning krak grenade shot straight into it for gross damage. I've made a Friend today.
The Lord-Captain revs up his axes, and goes for the stinger. He digs in, but it pulls away from him. The Wasp would try to kill me, but the Lord-Captain is closer. It grazes him, and doesn't poison him (The Lord-Captain has amasec for blood) but it does grapple him.
The Magos blasts it with the plasma cannon, and I focus my mind, whipping up winds around me as I declare "Let my Lord-Captain go!" and try to crush the wasp with my mind.
The Lord-Captain is struggling, but having no luck against the barb. Wash tries to free him.
The Magos passes her cannon to her mechadendrite, and draws her bolter. The bolter bounces off. My next grenade digs in a little, but is definitely less spectacular.
The lord-captain is still doing what he can. Wash is feinting and trying to cut him free, still.
The Magos runs for the gun-cutter -- there's turrets she could be commandeering! I give the wasp another stinger of a grenade, and it stumbles.
The Lord-Captain frees himself from the stinger, against all odds, and tears himself free! Wash still can't seem to penetrate it's thick hide.
The Magos opens up with the twin-linked heavy bolters from the turret, heavy rounds bouncing off the shell and penetrating indiscriminately. The monster sways, and topples over, finally slain.
The Lord-Captain would like a nap, being skewered by a wasp has worn him out.The Magos wants the head of the wasp as a trophy. The Lord-Captain says no, it stinks. I propose that we leave it outside until it's time to go, and then duct-tape it to the roof-rack on the way out.
For now, we need to find that broken city of wraithbone. The Magos sends out servo skulls, and finds some rubble; I take to the air, and looking in that direction, I can see ruins. Wash figures out a path, and we start walking.
It's twenty kilometers, a bit of a walk. But eventually, we start finding intact bits of building, and find a clearing. A large temple rises from the earth, and partway up the gargantuan structure is a platform, ringed with wraithbone structures. A deep feeling of insignificance overwhelms us.
The vox goes off. Ships have been jumping into the system over the last hour. It looks like we beat everyone else here. We make the plan; the ambition will fly away from the planet for a day, then return, passing by the planet to pick us up and then escape. The gun cutter is to wait, camoflagued, until we're done with the temple, or until the two days is up, to rendez-vous with the ship.
As we step through the gate of the temple, there's a rumbling, and we feel something wash over us; a gale of psychic energy, vibrating our bones. The Lord-Captain and Wash black out. The Magos and I remain awake. Above us, the platform begins to shimmer and sparkle with power. Ghostly forms appear, six eldar warlocks. As one, they raise their hands, and the energies spiral up into the sky. The temple shakes, shifts. Something is dreadfully wrong.
We must stop them.
Wash boosts halfway up to the platform, which is 20m above. Magos Abigail clambers her way up the wall, as does the Lord-Captain. I fly up to the platform, seeing the six humanoids standing atop it. Wearing strange helmets, they're phasing in and out, and with them, the platform itself flickers, awash with witchfire.
We all climb and fly up. Abigail takes a shot, and her bolter round vanishes the moment it hits the fire. The plasma shot from our Lord-Captain fares much the same.
Hovering in the air, I focus all my power, and try to play pool with the enemy wizards. I blink, and everything changes. The Magos is suddenly on the ground, bleeding out, and there's dead eldar everywhere. What the fuck happened?
The surviving eldar spray shuriken pistols at Wash and miss. Wash charges to join the Lord-Captain in finishing off an eldar that already looks like he's taken the wrong end of a chain axe vertically. The Lord-Captain finishes him off, and charges to engage another warlock, bloodlust in his eyes.
I have learned nothing, and push my power to crush an eldar skull. Unfortunately, power rubberbands back into me, and knocks me out of the sky, to land on my head. I'm out cold, and the rest of the fight is nothing but a distant haze.
The fight ends in our favor, and we regroup. The Magos' body is registering a very faint pulse. Above her body, a servo skull bears printout of a transcript of her last words:
+++ I want one of those sweet ass witchblades +++
The temple is stable once more, no longer phasing in and out. The top of the tower is covered with what looks like a star map -- rendered unreadable by damage in the past, but unmistakably related somehow to other planets in the Kronus Expanse.
We call the guncutter, and load the Magos on, to the distraught of the Enginseer. Once we're all done, we render the tower destroyed and unreadable. Eat shit, Fel.
We make sure to take a human-sized chunk of wraithbone as cargo, and make our way to the far side of the planet to camp out until the Ambition is ready to make it's return. We see a couple of lighters touch down over the next day or so. One spirals out of the air and eats shit.
At the appointed time, we return to orbit, and catch the Ambition as it does a fly-by, and get out.
As we leave, LeFrancois hails us -- "Leaving so soon?"
I lie and say between the Eldar that harassed us on the way in and everyone else being in our way, it ain't worth it. It's a loss. I'm an abysmal liar, but he seems to accept it, and suggests we'll have to renegotiate the next time we meet. And then he hangs up on me. Dick.
The Lord-Captain places a call to our old friend Jeremiah Blitz, and kindly forewarns him of the inclement weather, unreasonable wildlife, and trashed tower. In exchange, we just want him to take any opportunity to mess with Fel whenever possible, and distrust LeFrancois. The Lord-Captain shows off his sketch of Blitz, which is competent, and bids him good luck as we peace out.
We have a remarkable race ahead of us, and potential for considerable profit.
The Magos claims one of the 5 salvaged witchblades for her own; as do I. I claim one of the 8 shiny gems they were holding for my new cybereye to bling it out.
There are 5 helmets, 4 robes and 1 shredded robe; one helmet goes on the Magos' servo skull.
The Lord-Captain takes a full set of robe, helmet, shuriken pistol and witchblade for his trophy room.