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.

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