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.
After 129 days, by ship's clock (1 month for us) we arrive at our destination -- a vast, shimmering, ring of wraithbone, far larger than our ship. The space within shimmers gently. I feel that the skeins of fate are twisted and woven through the center of the superstructure.
The Lord-Captain doesn't hesitate to order the ship through the middle. As we get closer, I feel my wraithbone sword resonating slightly, like a speaker with power but no sound.
As we pass through, reality seems to snap somehow, and we're suddenly somewhere else. As we passed through, for a moment, Wash saw something massive on auspex.
We're looking at a colossal ship's graveyard, far larger than anything we've ever seen, forming a ring around a singularity. A cloud of dead ships that could contain not just one, but hundreds of space hulks. The Lord-Captain orders battle stations, and we approach cautiously.
Vox channels are dead static, save for barely perceptible whispering. I can't hear anything in particular psychically, just residues of those skeins of fate leading to a nexus of some sort. Auspex, after a knock, can detect an eldar structure in the ring, on a much shallower orbit. It shows up surprisingly clearly. Distressingly so, given all the debris in the way. As we approach, the temperature seems to drop, frost spidering across the voidglass on the bridge.
Sebastian knows what this is -- the procession of the damned, Kronus expanse myth. Many have looked for it, and a good amount never returned.
Scanning the nearest vessels, the causes of destruction are varied, and almost impossible to make out -- crashing into each other has torn them to shreds. But before that, they might not have taken any structural damage...
The Lord-Captain orders Wash to shoot the black hole. We don't really see where it goes, but the captain is satisfied.
We take the time to tell Ke'van about the black hole, and why we're here. He understands the pursuit of profit by merchants.
Wash takes the helm to guide us through the debris field, and we take only the slightest of strikes to our voidshields, avoiding any real impacts. It takes us two days, but we do get clear of the cloud.
As we do, we start picking up movement amongst the debris on auspex. Terrifyingly close, as far as space warfare goes, too. They don't respond to vox hails on all frequencies, nor psychic commands to halt. I tell Wash to start shooting while they're not too close for macrocannons. He blows some away, but some still make it through the voidshields, moving slowly enough, and split up like a cluster missile of an attempted boarding party.
We get a blurry pict of someone or something in what looks like modified voidsuits. If they're STC-pattern, they're a pattern nobody knows.
I stay on the bridge to coordinate (also because I can't go spacewalking) while everyone else goes and prepares to space-walk. The lord-captain kits up in a voidsuit, magboots, and space-hat to clean up the boarders personally.
As they prepare, we lose our main auspex antenna. The Captain is accompanied by a score of his best Kevins. The Magos prepares to join him, and brings her third-best enginseer, Techpriest Almarax along.
"Brainless husks don't have a place in space."
"And yet, here you are, with your command crew."
Wash is making for the gun cutter; he gets the tech team's 4IC Callius.
The hull party finally makes eye contact with the boarders; indeed, they're humanoids, and their space suits are anonymous, black voids all that are visible in the voidsuit visors, and armor made of scavenged bulkhead plates. The Lord-Captain screeches, and with terrifying zero-G expertise, cartwheels forward with two chainaxes to start butchering the invaders.
Between this, and Wash's air support with the cutter, the invaders are decimated. One less-immediate death reveals the suit is... empty.
As we get closer to the nexus, we're hailed on vox by desperate souls. Descendants of deck crew for Wrath Umboldts, they claim to be, around 35 in number. They've survived by scavenging since then. The Lord-Captain gives them permission, and an ancient, battered cargo-lighter approaches.
What emerges are voidborn with their hands in the air; they're carrying a diverse variety of wargear. The lord-captain orders them quarantined while they get a medical checkup, and a hot meal and a cot.
We speak with them and educate them as best as we can. They would like to serve until Footfall, the land of their ancestors, which we agree to, although if they want to remain with the ship afterwards, we won't say no. They are now the Scots. They're keen to get shot of this place, before the Hollow Men return, or the Carrion, other survivors of Wrath, show up.
We get closer to the nexus, it looks like a giant, multi-level wraithbone gazebo, worn and chipped but still strong. We get close, and I have to suit up to go to it -- I borrow the Magos' old voidsuit, designed for a hunchback, and go check it out.
I take point, and reach the main platform first. I get a fantastic view of the black hole, and the debris rings. There are even planets here, but so close to the event horizon. I grab mental and physical picts of the star map. We take a poll on it, and decide not to explore.
To destroy the Dread Gazebo, we decide to put the thrusters from the Scots' cargo lighter on it, and boost it into the black hole.
As we set to depart, we get auspex. There's like, six raider ships -- shitty ones -- pursuing us. The Carrion. And there's a much larger ship below us. Rogue Trader Lady Sun Lee.
The Lord-Captain banters with her and offers her a deal -- the map data for getting hte raiders off our back. She declines, and so we wish her luck in catching the Dread Gazebo.
With shields set to max and Wash's skills, we boost through the rings in a scant 6 hours. We exit via the gate, and leave it alone.
We survived the Procession of the Damned.