Saturday 21 July 2018

It's Always Heretical in the Kronus Expanse: The Crew Finds Religion

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 excused from the presence of the Priest King -- and not discreetly followed by the guards. Looks like we have some nannies.

Our intel on the missionaries tells us they have a place out in the desert. With that in mind, we head back to the gun cutter -- but we're parked out in the desert, and we've not really communicated this to the guards, and they watch us march off into the desert with mild confusion.

It takes a few passes, but we eventually find the shoddily-built, but very well camoflauged stone buildings, and touch down outside them in the gun cutter. We're greeted by a small group of men in dirty ministorum robes -- we introduce ourselves, and the leader of the group is Andreas.

We catch up on the situation; turns out that none of the Priest Kings are particularly agreeable to the light of the Emperor. Ansai was actually their pick to be most agreeable, and they sent the late Brother Consas to try and convince him.

We invite Andreas into the guncutter for a refreshment of water (that stuff the Captain cuts his whiskey with) and catch up.

There's eight priest-kings on the planet -- Andreas confesses that truthfully, they weren't even supposed to come here -- they actually meant to go to Winterscale's realm, but a warp storm's knocked them considerably off course. They don't want to leave, though -- their arrival here was clearly the work of the Emperor, and it's up to them to save them. We agree that it's probably the Emperor's will that we showed up, too.

The Lord-Captain has a plan -- show off the power of the emperor, and demand that Ansai capitulate.

For guidance, we are lent the services of one of his few remaining Ministorum, and one of the natives, Abid.

Andreas excuses himself to return to the flock, and we set our plan into motion.

We return to the city, doing a low pass of the city to get people's attention. We march the two missionaries out at "gunpoint" (smoke grenade loaded launcher) to try and draw forth Ansai. Wash remains in the gun cutter to man the laser designator, and holds position above the city plaza.

As we wait for the crowd to gather, we mull over the Priest-Kings. Priest-Queen Winter. I like the sound of that.

Abid speaks up: "You are of the priest caste? You can call forth the water?"

We decide we should look into that before killing Ansai.

The Lord-Captain orates, proclaiming the power of the Emperor. Ansai takes the bait, emerging from the temple, livid. We invite him to watch as we obliterate the temple on the mountain. Wash targets the mountain.

A lance of red fire streaks down, and there's a gap before a distant explosion. The crowd begins to scream. And in an impressive show of power, he silences them with a mere wave of his hand.

The Lord-Captain motions for me to do my thing; I reach out to Ansai's mind and start picking through it. I quickly confirm that he is, in fact, livid. I'm not subtle about it, and he quickly identifes me as being inside his head. He motions for everyone to attack.

And that means everyone, bodyguards and civilians alike. They rush us as a swarm. The lord-captain makes a bee-line for Ansai, and Wash, displaying impressive gun control, obliterates only the bodyguards standing between Ansai and the Captain.

I keep digging into his mind. Distinct fears that he's going to actually die, of all things.

I see his memory of him calling forth the water; he stands at the font, and holding his arms aloft, chants to the spirits of the planet for water, as the first men once did.

The Lord-Captain makes mincemeat of anything that gets in his way. Including one of Ansai's legs.

Despite the pain, and ongoing conversation with Ansai, he actually has enough going on to boot me out of his head!

Still, too little, too late -- the Lord-Captain headbutts Ansai unconcious.

The moment we KO Ansai, everyone suddenly stops moving, like puppets with cut strings.

The fight is over. We drag Ansai to a high position, and declare that he's been defeated by the might of the Emperor, and leave the Ecclesiarchy to preach to the crowd.

Meanwhile, we staunch Ansai's bleeding. I try again and pick up where I left off. Pivotal moment of his life: Outworlders came down and ruined his perfect life. But no matter how much I dig, I'm just getting more of the same -- if he's running a con, he doesn't know it.

I send for more priest robes, and go check out the well outside. I try and imitate what I saw in his memories, doing the gestures and chants. Nothing happens. Or at least, I don't feel it.

I grab some breathing gear, and decide to go down the well. There's not a lot to say, it's a well, and there's no clearly mechanical means by which the water is being pumped in. I can't climb out on my own though, so it takes a bit of help from the Magos to get me out.

It's 2am, and as we're snoozing in the Gun Cutter, Wash wakes up with a sudden sense of dread.

He wakes me up, and gets me to check for psychic energy. I've got nothing, but Wash sensing something has me worried. I shuffle outside in my sleeping shirt ("Psykers do it") and slippers.

The Magos wakes up with the commotion, but can't feel anything out of place.

We wake up the Lord-Captain with an open bottle of amasec, slowly moving it out of his reach so he has to wake up to get it. Wearing his catachanian quail slippers, he shuffles about.

We go outside, and there's nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing on auspex. Everyone seems to be where they should, psychically.

Wash stumbles outside, and looks up at the moon, which looks normal to us. But his face is filled with terror, and he collapses.

I fondle his neck to wake him up, and ask if he's okay.

Wash: "Lord-Captain, any particular objections to blowing up the moon?"

The Lord-Captain has no particular objections, and goes back to bed.

Morning comes. The Lord-Captain is up at the brink of dawn on reflex, as usual, and so am I, wearing my priest robes again. I approach the well, and try again one more time to summon the water.

Nothing. There is no water.

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