Saturday, 8 August 2020

Rogue Trader Season 3: The Ties That Bound Us, Part 1: Incursion

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. Protein shake advocate. The last of his line, and currently searching for the one thing that obscene wealth cannot easily procure, nor his now prodigious strength wrest from the world by force: Love.
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A Magos Explorator-biologist, chymist, and practicing genetor, and most definitely the heart of the command staff. The Lord-Captain's wingwoman in his ongoing romantic forays.
Archaius "Boosto" Wash - A sector-renowned pilot of anything with wheels, wings, or a gellar field, and peerless swordsman. Often seen approaching the speed of sound, by virtue of his jetpack, but soon may be heralded by bombardment from a multi-melta.
Sebastian LaMarck - Rarely heard or seen, but his presence certainly felt, our Spymaster and reigning king of Human Resources and Administration. By him, every command given by the Lord-Captain is magnified.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Unsurpassed willpower and aspiring champion of markswomanship, despite the obvious handicap of being blind. Three time recipient of the Death's Door award. Notorious advocate of psychic power pissing matches, more machine than woman at this point, and endowed with wings. Also your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

Wash awakens in the sickbay, alone. He's fully dressed, and his weapons are not far away. The lighting is a ruddy red, emergency lighting. Power's out.

Wash makes to leave, and spots a bolted-shut casket, labelled "Magos' Genetic Experiments, Do Not Open". Wash strongly considers opening it, but his concience finally convinces him to leave it be, and exit the bay.

More red lights means no power; he wants to go check out the Genitorium. The rail car isn't running, so it's a walk.

Meanwhile, in the Enginarium, the rest of the command crew comes to; the engines are silent, and the place is abandoned. I conclude that things are bad, but not so bad -- the engine is here, and I'm not exploding like the explosive canary I would be if I were naked in the warp, so it's not totally FUBAR.

I scan for minds; I have a range of 1km, out of the ship's total 1.5km length, and I'm picking up exactly four souls, and they're all familiar. One is me. One is very close to me, and surprisingly strong, one of them is weakly psychic and also very close. I'll figure that out later. For now, we need to regroup with the fourth mind, heading for the Generatorium.

Meanwhile, Wash is walking along; he's passing through habs. He feels inclined to check one out; it opens easy enough, and it's... spartan, but there. He moves onto the Generatorium, and makes his way in. It's quite deserted.

In the drive-core room, he sees a bundle of red robes and metal. It sure is magos-heavy. He drags it out, and from the namebadge, it's Nox.

As he's sorting through the body, and failing to salvage a flashlight, we finally get there, after having climbed up way too many flights of stairs. We catch each other up, and I finally bother to check for the Gellar Field; I cannot hear it, and I start whispering to talk.

The Magos checks Nox's body; he got fucked up. Something with claws that could slice steel.

We manage to reboot the generator, bringing it up from 10% to... more. We can't crank it any higher, there's problems. But we're able to bring more things online, like the Gellar Field.

We take the lift up to the field generator; it's... scuffed. Whatever happened to Nox, happened to the walls of this elevator.

The chPiety is as deserted as the rest of the ship. As we're looking for the ignition rune, something emerges from hiding.

It's androgynous, and moves sinuously; it has one boob, and not center-aligned. It's horrifying. The magos, the Lord-Captain, and I are stricken by fear; I get 2 insanity points and pass out. The magos gets four, and starts vomiting uncontrollably. The Lord-Captain manages to pass out in a dignified way.

Wash, unfazed by the Daemon, gives the Daemonette "the business" with his multi-melta. (At which point, our DM realizes that he never should have let him have it.)

We come to and stop vomiting respectively, slightly hot from the backwash of the Melta. The Gellar Fields are back up, and things might just be okay now.

Then we took the tram up to the command deck; as we hit the last rail junction, we come to a halt; the line's been shredded up ahead.

We get off the tram and take the stairs; we reach the observation deck, and find a horripilating sight; dozens of Kevins, slain where they stood; all of them in clusters, obviously defensive wounds as they covered someone's escape. Leading all the way to Sebastian's room.

We enter his room. Or, at least, we try to -- we anticipated traps after the last time someone tried to enter his room and ransack his things without permission. It's quite the trap; his chPietys are entirely gone, and we just step into hard vacuum.

Fortunately, those of us who don't need to breathe (Wash, thanks to the power armor, and Abigail, who is more machine than woman) have the reflexes to catch those of us who do, and pull us back in the door and reseal it.

We circle up to the next floor, the meeting room, and it's glass floor; Sebastian's quarters are totally gone. A big giant silver chain hangs limply in space; it's got a gigantic silver fish hook on it, and from it hangs the iced-over body of Sebastian.

The bridge. We need to get to the bridge.

It's more of the same when we get there; dead Kevins, all in defense. Wash vaguely knows all of them. Wash leans over a terminal and rattles some keys. To no effect.

We hear the metallic ping of something being flicked up and down. A coin, from the upper deck of the bridge. We hustle up there, and who we see sitting in the command throne is a woman, reclining in a slinky dress. The coin-like sound is coming from a ring that she's flicking.

"Hey hun," she says, looking at Wash.

Wash knows who this is, but is extremely skeptical that she is who she is. Judging by the talk, she's his ex-wife, Piety. I barely keep up with the check-and-response, but it's clear she shakes out. Which is disturbing, since the read I'm also getting is that she, and Wash's entire home planet, Descent, was obliterated.

And I thought I had skeletons in my closet.

Wash asks us to step out of the command deck for five minutes. Piety insists that we do not. I insist that we will. It feels like an alien psyche knocks into mine, and I'm knocked back a step.

Wash makes a counteroffer; if she gives him five minutes alone with her, he'll kill us himself.

We tentatively roll with it; the Magos stays behind, but me and the Lord-Captain step out for a moment.

And Wash attempts a sacrifice play by blowing out the void-glass of the bridge, and venting atmos. Piety does not like it.

The Lord-Captain demands that I undo the breaking of the glass; I gladly comply, and stretch my now impressive Psy Rating VI to Psy Rating IX (Effective Willpower: 120), trying to grab all the glass and pull it back into the window. Unfortunately, fortune is not with me, and it feels like my telekinesis hits a mirror, giving me backlash for 12 damage.

The Lord-Captain calls for a voidsuit.

Meanwhile, Piety transforms; no longer human, an outright daemon. Wash can barely fend her off as they exchange banter and roll through Wash's more recent past.

"A space marine? How gauche." - Piety

"I'm pretty sure he's ambidextrous." - Wash

The Magos, not having much success with riddling Piety with the now considerable amount of firepower she has bolted to her, faces the true power of a daemon of the warp, who ignores all her metal and armor, and slices her clean in half with a wicked talon for a fingernail.

The Lord-Captain is suited up by now; I grab an Oz tank and let him into the bridge, closing the door after him because I can't wear a voidsuit anymore.

I try to hijack the Magos' upper torso with Dominate... but as we incidentally discussed earlier, the Magos is entirely immune to the effects of psychic control. So I settle for telekinetically gripping Piety for 20 damage; it's a godlike manifestation of my power, but I, too, underestimate the strength of a Daemon in it's element -- unnatural strength and agility. Even eleven degrees of success can't hold it down.

And then the toll of the fight hits me back, and straight out of time. (4 insanity)

Meanwhile, the Lord-Captain concieves his master plan; he sits the Command Throne, and the ship springs to life at his word.

Piety screeches as she stretches to infinity, and laments how nearly total her control over Wash was as she's torn away.

Once we're all back in the Real, we all regroup on Wash, who is now in a concious state.

The Magos gives it to Wash straight. He's got brain damage. And not just any brain damage; neural decay. If we'd let it go on any further, the decay would eventually take basically everything. A horrible way to go. But, since the Magos got de-rezzed first, she had time to perform some surgery on Wash; she's patched some of the damage with a MIU and a neural compensator.

In short... well, it's not a fix. But it'll buy Wash time that he really doesn't have.

As we contemplate Wash's immediate future, we get signal -- a transmission from the Mechanicus.

Long story short: our presence is demanded ASAP, and the Mechanicus are calling in the Lord Captain's marker, threatening to have his Warrant revoked.

Coordinates are attached and decoded, but Wash already knows where they point to - Descent. Wash's homeworld.

The journey takes us about a month of real-time, as we pass by Port Wander. With Wash out of action, it falls to the Captain to pilot his ship. Poor Wash feels the ship groaning as it hits what can only be described as a "sick drift" through an asteroid field; the crew are wailing in despair, and our resident death cult is hyping things up for "The End".

And so the Absolute Ambition emerges back into realspace backwards, but intact. Waiting for us over the planet is the Monitor-class Mechanicus ship, Thule's Last Theorem. Named for Magos Paracelsius Thule, a controversial figure in the Explorator fleets, and depending on who you ask, absolutely bug-fuck insane.

The ship hails us, and the owner comes on screen. Skull-faced. Arch-Magos Skekris.

That Asshole.

Next up: Descent.

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