Fatum Tyrannus

180.815.M41, Sophano Prime
Arrival at the House of Dust and Ash
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Major Auction Items

A Book Unbound
A leather folio filled with loose parchment pages.

Bloody Seal
A gilt seal, the width of a human palm, showing the symbol of the Aquila clasping keys in its claws. The seal is still stained with dried blood.

Silver Key
A large and ornate key made of tarnished silver, inscribed with archaic human symbols.

Greyskin Hymnal
A battered but sizeable prayer book of archaic style and design, bound in unidentifiable grey skin. The book is displayed open for all to read.

A Shattered Pauldron
An Adeptus Astartes shoulder plate, torn and badly damaged. It is crimson in color with the symbol of a black, fanged skull on it. Marked: “Origin Unknown”.

A Xenoflesh Mask
A vile looking hood-like mask of withered grey-green flesh, featureless but for a wide circular, lamprey-like mouth. Marked: “Xenotype Unknown”

An Onyx Statue
This statue is a beautifully carved stone statue of a three-eyed, bat-winged felid creature, around a meter tall. At the statue’s neck is a strange gorget of what appears to be tarnished copper.

An Unknown Portrait
This item is a somewhat disturbing, blurred looking portrait, about half a meter square, encased in a solid block of crystal. Etched in azure lettering at the bottom, in High Gothic, is the phrase “The Mirror of my Blood.”

A Primitive Doll in a Glass Jar
A small rag and stick doll, trapped in a dusty, cork stopped bell jar. The air within the jar seems somewhat smoky and looking at the stitched eyes of the doll makes you feel uneasy.

The Gilded Widow
A life-size automaton formed from gold and encrusted with agates and rubies, dressed in an archaic gown of crimson and purple silks. The automaton has an open compartment in its chest, revealing an intricate clockwork mechanism of staggering complexity. The figure is seated on a high-backed throne with an inbuilt table set before the figure, all carved with geometric and occult symbols. The gilded figure’s head rests on its chest, and in its right hand it holds a ruby chalice, whilst in its left hand is an ivory set of the Emperor’s Tarot in a silvered slip-case. The label reads “The Most Sacred and Wondrous Oracular Device, Known to Men as the Gilded Widow.”

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Lesser Auction Items

LESSER AUCTION ITEMS
1. A Statuette from “An Unknown Maker” This statue is of a small unknown many armed squidlike creature
2. Shuriken Pistol
3. A Painting of Various Suns and other Stars from “An Unknown Maker” This painting is a tribute to the Black Sun
4. A Portrait of Soloman Sophano
5. A Portrait of an Unknown Sophano Lady
6. Lot of Books, Fair Condition (#1)
7. Lot of Books, Fair Condition (#2)
8. Lot of Books, Fair Condition (#3)
9. Lot of Books, Fair Condition (#4)
10. Lot of Books, Fair Condition (#5)
11. A Damaged Portrait of an Unknown Person
12. Shuriken Ammunition (Lot of 5)
13. A Complex Grandfather Clock The clockwork on this is far too complex for its own good
14. Wrist Chronometer #1 One of many different wristwatches
15. Wrist Chronometer #2 One of many different wristwatches
16. Wrist Chronometer #3 One of many different wristwatches
17. A Knife Made Of Glass This knife of xenos design seems to have been crafted from a single piece of crystal.
18. A Ruby encrusted Silver Lho Stick Container
19. A Finely Made Red Cloak
20. Infra-Red Goggles
21. Suit of Xeno-Mesh Armor (Arms, Body, Legs 4, 2 kg)
22. Star Charts of the Calixis Sector (Lot #1)
23. Star Charts of the Calixis Sector (Lot #2
24. A Bedroom Set of Unknown Material Similar in color to Shuriken Pistol
25. Best Quality Flak Vest (Body AP 4, 2.5Kg)
26. Best Quality Fur Coak
27. Carapace Chest Plate of Xenos Design (Body 6 AP)
28. Exquisite Archaic Dinner Service
29. White Jade Washbasin
30. White Jade Set of Combs
31. Archaic Laspistol of Xenos Manufacture
32. Archaic Wardrobe of Sophano Himself
33. Various Good Quality Clothing (Male) Lot #1
34. Various Good Quality Clothing (Male) Lot #2
35. Various Good Quality Clothing (Male) Lot #3
36. Various Good Quality Clothing (Female) Lot #1
37. Various Good Quality Clothing (Female) Lot #2
38. Miniature Model of an unknown Starship
39. An ornate silver cane with an ivory head

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179.815.M41, Sophano Prime, Morning
Raiders!

Bones,Dorn,Gallus,Titus

Cleaning Up

With Arko’s corpse safely disposed of over the side of the Grav Train Overland Express, there is still a small matter of a very messy cabin next to the room of the Acolytes. As the mess is cleaned up, there is a tension in the air. The fat abbot has to know that we had something to do with the disappearance of his follower. Will he strike? We will need to be on guard. Just then heavy footsteps and raised voices start to echo in the hallway just outside the room.

Steward Grist: “… and this time make sure that you actually clean it all up.”

2nd Voice: (pleadingly) “But Mr. Grist, I DID clean it all up!”

Steward Grist: “Well then you missed a spot … like the WHOLE EMPEROR LOVING FLOOR!”

A sign of relief passes over the Acolytes as the danger of intrusion upon the cleanup passes without incident. The only disturbance the rest of the night are heavy footsteps going in the opposite direction a few hours later.

A Chilling Breakfast

After waking up, it’s time to break fast with luxury food in the dining car. On the way to Breakfast, some of the crewmembers are nonchalantly setting up heavy stubbers on the railings facing both directions. When asked, they calmly state that it’s just a precausion. This is beyond the patrols from Hive Victoriana, but Wreckers surely won’t be out this far, as there is far too little traffic for them to find targets.

Dorn, in particular, is amazed to spend an entire months wages on one meal. Notably absent from breakfast, however, is Lord Benj Gilbert and his scribe Whent. After eating, Bones and Gallus head to Lord Gilberts car to check on him. Blood is coming out from under his door, and when opened the sight inside is enough to made Bones turn white. Inside is what is most likely one man, Lord Gilbert, with his chest cavity splayed open and guts layed out in a gruesome pattern. Without much investigation, the door is shut and the pair return to the others, wondering what happened to Whent and what exactly was cleaned up the night before.

An Old Wreck

As Bones and Gallus return to Dorn and Titus, the Overland Express nears the hulk of an old gigantic mining machine of the type that scraped off the outer layer of Sophano Prime in the early days of the settlement of the Calixis Sector. The wrecked machine sticks halfway out of the sickly colored silt, with rusted metal and bare girders a silent testament to it’s age.

As the Express nears the hulk, a large decrepit Grav Train emerges from behind it, belching thick black smoke from it’s patched together engine cars. Although it’s in much worse condition than the Overland Express, it’s much bigger and significantly faster. One of the crewmen sums the situation up nicely.

Crewman: “It’s too big to take down before she gets close. It looks like we’re earning our pay the hard way this morning boys!”

And indeed the Wrecker Grav Train does catch up the Express, firing grappling hooks and boarding planks, the first waves come over the sides screaming with murder in their eyes, wielding brutal looking axes. There’s no mistaking what they want.

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178.815.M41-2, Sophano Prime, Evening
Murder on the Overland Express

Bones, Titus, Cortez

An Oath Fulfilled

The body of Quill lies in a heap on the floor of Lord Gilbert’s room as crewmembers of the Express arrive on the scene. After surveying the damage to the Express from the shootout, they quickly deal with the mess and get on about their business. Quill corpse is unceremoniously dumped over the railing into the chartruse silt 50 meters below.

Shortly after adjourning back to their room to discuss some names found on a data slate recovered from Quill’s body, the door is burst open by Vymer, who has returned with a combat shotgun.

Vymer: “I gots to thinking to myself, there’s no way I’m doin’ what gots to be done with yous guys alive.”

Vymer unleashes a hail of lead from his shotgun, nearly taking down Bones and Titus in one burst, then is forced to fall backwards out of the room by the pressing sword strokes from the Moritat assassin. He manages to dodge the blows and is bringing his gun up for another blast when Cortez wraps him up with his tendrils. “Let go of me, you son of a…” are his last words before cold steel spills his life’s blood onto the floor of the Express.

Vymer’s Sworn Oath to the Blood Guild of Malfi has been kept.

A quick search of Vymer and Quill’s accomodations reveals that they did indeed have a contract from the Blood Guild in their posession. The crew of the Express, amazingly, are even less helpful than earlier. No damage, no problem.

Murder on the Overland Express

What better way to deal with almost getting blasted by a shotgun and killed then to drown yourself in alcohol, so off to the dining car for a round of drinks and a bite to eat.

Besides Octavia Nile, her bodyguards, and a couple of crewmen taking their meal, the cars are fairly empty. In the lounge car, Abbot Tamas’s believer Arko is working on a bottle of Gorsk White. The acolytes try to get information out of him, but in the end wind up paying for a number of bottles as he gives them roundabout answers and generally dodges any lines of inquiry while getting rip roaring drunk.

Eventually he passes out and the Acolytes kindly offer to take him back to his room. Instead they take him back to another room and interrogate him. Things don’t go so well, and no information is gained except for an odd comment he makes just before Titus kills him.

Arko: “F@#$ Y%$ and your bloody Corpse Emperor!” (spit)

Abbot Tamas of Shale can be heard storming through the car looking for him, heading towards the lounge car. His body is quickly dumped over the side railing of the car before Tamas returns asking questions about his missing follower. They lie about not knowing where he is and having returned him to his car, and Tamas leaves in that direction. You can tell by the look in his eyes that he is skeptical of the story.

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178.815.M41, Sophano Prime, Morning

Bones, Cortez, Gallus

A Talk with Lorelii Dekanta

The Grav Car speeds away from the odd meeting with Karkalla and quickly finds an arterial roadway heading toward the governmental precinct of the city of Stokeland. Shouts and shots can be heard from the side streets and the ever present Hisswick County Enforcers are out in numbers that you didn’t know were capable. From in between the buildings looking in the direction the crowd outside the station fled you can see that they have increased in number by a great deal and are no longer running. This is going to be a long night for House Sophano on the Stokeland plateau.

The Acolytes are alone in the car with Explicator Dekanta, who informs them that she is taking them to an Electoran Guard Air Facility where a semi-orbital transport will take them to Hive Victoriana, the capital city of Sophano Prime. There they will be placed into the service of Inquisitor Marr and Explicator Dekanta will take over the assignment of investigating the Beast House on Sophano Prime. The matter has some urgency to it, and is with the full consent of Inquisitor al-Subaai.

Lorelii Dekanta offers to decrypt one of the data slates remaining from the Heretek lab, that Karkalla left behind. The one (#3) that Cortez gives her turn out to be a reference that grants an ability to use the advanced skill Forbidden Lore (Mechanicum). Lorelii also gives a few insights into Inquisitor Marr himself.

Lorelii Dekanta: “It is somewhat unusual for a request such as this to be made outside an Inquisitor’s circle of allies, let alone outside his Ordo. Marr’s repulationo is a mysterious one, and he is definately not one of al-Subaai’s allies. He seemed to already be aware of your presence and requested your aid specifically. Hasty arrangements were make to accomodate his request. Be on your guard, he has a sinister reputation and many are the Inquisitors that glance over their shoulders fearfully when they speak his name. He has been in the Chancellery Court on Solomon for as long as anyone can remember and it’s odd to find him here.”

The Planetary Administration Building

The first hour of the flight passes rapidly as the semi-orbital atmospheric transport craft goes up into low orbit then reenters, reaching Hive Victoriana. Once in the Hive, the flight speed decreases greatly as the craft passes between the smog and dust filled filled twilight skies, passing between the soaring jagged black metal architecture and the scourted gunmetal colored blade like peaks of its spires. After 30 minutes or so of this maneuvering, the craft sets down on a platform before a vast, hulking building of amazing proportions. It’s sheer, black volcanic basalt sides sit nearly a kilometer in width, stretching upwards into great towers that resemble gargantuan industrial smokestacks and would easily be mistaken for them if not for the few windows and lights hinting at activity within. The tops of the stacks, illuminated only by the sickly green of focused stab-lights, extend upwards into a mirky polluted fog. A monstrous mechanical amalgamation of gears and clockwork marks the 13 hour cycles of Sophano Prime, and also serves as the only ornamentation of the Planetary Administration building. As you exit the craft, the last rings of the impossibly large bell tolls its thirteenth ring, signaling the beginning of another cycle of night. The craft leaves the platform almost as soon as you depart taking Explicator Lorelii Dekanta with it.

Without much effort the Acolytes are able to find the entrace to the Planetary Administration building. A gated and heavily guarded Portico is manned by numerous Adepts and PDF troopers, who are insistent upon removing and individually tagging each and every weapon in your possession, keeping them for the duration of your stay within the hallowed confines of the Planetary Administration. The inside of the building is a labyrinthine tangle of cold, dim chambers, stairways, courtrooms, halls and archives all leading into a vast echoing central chamber. A crush of hundreds if not thousands of black robed clerks, somber advocates, flashy guilder representatives, exquisitely dressed nobles, hovering servo skulls and scurrying menials all conduct their business under the watchful eye of carapace armored guards with iron portcullis style helmets. Supplicants, claimants and petitioners of all origins and stations can be found waiting, walking, arguing and forming lines for various purposes, adding the only bits of liveliness to the drab, solemn environment.

A grey faced, silent clerk wearing black robes approaches you from out of the throng of people. With a simple “My master is expecting you.” He leads you away on an intolerably slow and meandering journey through mazes of hallways and staircases leading ever upwards. Finally you arrive on a particularly dilapidated and almost abandoned mezzanine level high up in the shadows of the great chamber. You are led to a non-descript and battered looking door with a small brass plate labeled “XIII”.

The door opens automatically, and you are ushered into a dark and dusty room, furnished in black wood and stacked from floor to ceiling with crack-spine books, roll upon roll of parchment, and heaps of yellowing documents. A feeble fire gutters in a hearth in one corner, and grimy glow-lamps set in recesses in the walls shed flickering light. A second grey-faced clerk appears soundlessly from a side door bearing a tarnished looking silver tray on which are piled wax-sealed parchment envelopes. He offers one to each of you before soundlessly retreating again.

A large set of doors concealed within one bookcase wall swings open and a hunched figure is brought in, carried in a dark sedan chair by two servitors and accompanied by a tall young woman in a heavy stiff backed dress with a gauzy mantle.

The sedan chair is lowered before you, and the servitors detach their carrying rigs and stand passively against the wall. The seated figure is that of a withered elderly man with long thinning hair and a narrow sharp face. He is wearing several layers of threadbare soiled clothing and a moth eaten fur shawl covers his shoulders. He is overcome by a fit of hacking coughs and has blood dabbed from his mouth afterward by the woman. Silently he examines you with intense amber eyes that seem to shine with a feverish light before addressing you in a bitter, rasping voice.

“I am Silas Marr,” he says, pointing at the letters in your hands, “and it would seem that you… are mine.”

Silas Marr: “I called upon your assistance because an unexpected matter has arisen, the action that al-Subaai spoke of in the writ. My own acolytes whom I would normally trust to carry this out have been delayed by the planet wide disruption of lifter traffic due to storms and earthquakes. Your arrival in the area has been fortuitous to say the least. The auction is to be held at a place called the House of Dust and Ash, a great crematoria and tomb complex set on an island some 900 kilometers from the southern edge of the hive, over the Cinemire Sea. The island is exempted from many laws by ancient right and from prying eyes by its isolation, and so a perfect place for renegades to gather.

I require you to undertake this task for me. You will be my agents at the auction, gathering intelligence about those who attend it, discerning their desires and true nature. See what rats are drawn to the stench of Sophano’s carrion feast. Unless you discover a heretic whose destruction warrants breaking your cover or a threat too dire to ignore, you need to nothing else but be my eyes and ears.

I will not mislead you, it is to a carnasaur infested pit to which i send you, and there may be those in attendance who would do you harm simply because you might be a rival. Indeed, such people would kill you if they knew your true allegiance. So I trust to your skill and judgment. You have not failed al-Subaai in the past, and I trust you will offer me the same measure of worth… Do this for me and you will find me a grateful master, however temporary, and such debts I do not forget…”

Inquisitor Marr provides the following materiels to the Acolytes:

  • Identity Documents
  • An Auction Invitation
  • Respirators
  • Corrosion and Abrasion Resistant Vapor Cloaks
  • A Medi-Pack
  • Formal clothes for the Auction
  • A number of additional changes of clothes
  • A data slate detailing numerous wanted heretics suspected to be in the sub-sector
  • One Thousand Thrones each in petty cash
  • A Credit Block drawn on the Chancellery Bank on Solomon valid for one million Thrones only accessed by code form a Chancellery authentication engine, such as the ones used at the auction.

All this gear and the Acolytes weapons have been delivered to a speeder that is waiting to take them to the Grav Train station, where the Overland Express has been chartered to take them and others to the auction by the Sophano Estate. Time is of the essense and the Acolytes should leave within the hour.

Other information provided by Silas Marr:

  • The House of Dust and Ash is a giant Crematoria run by a quasi-religiour order known as the Sorrowful Guild. It is exempt from Sophano Prime’s usual Feudal government system. Being interred or cremated there is a great privledge and many of the planets Elites and Nobility use their facilities.
  • Erasmus Sophano was an infamous Rogue Trader, the last of his line, that disappeared over a century ago and is presumed dead.
  • Tonias Sophano’s father’s original family name was Faud, before he married into the powerful Sophano family and changed his name. His wife died early in their marriage and they had no children together. Tonias is a product of a later marriage.
  • Marr has a man on the inside, Mayweather, who has done a cursory look over the items and says they are of no great threat, althrough some are proscribed and contraband. The Acolytes should take a particular interest in seeminly innocuous written matter as the Sophanos loved ciphers and trickery.
  • The Acolytes are expected to watch those that attend the Auction and take notes.

The Silt Sea of Cinemire
The hours of the darkened night pass slowly in the servitor controlled speeder car as it takes you to the outskirts of Hive Victoriana. Globules of sand from a great upper atmospheric dervish mixed with corrosive pollutants hisses as it splatters on the resistant glass of the carriage and the air scrubbers work to remove the acrid tang and fine dust from the air. Dawn is rapidly approaching as the speeder touches down on the landing pad of the air dock. A dusty yellow haze of light is starting to creep across the horizon, illuminating the boxy shapes of the Grav Trains waiting by their elevated boarding platforms. The rolling sickly chartreuse dunes of the silt sea stretch out southward. The wind blowing from the sea is heavy with acrid vapor, and you can see twisted masses of corroded metal and the upper floors of decayed buildings jutting out from the dunes like the bones of titanic skeletons. The Overland Express is easily located and you can see that the crew is already preparing to depart with the dawn.

The Overland Express is a medium sized Grav Train, 10 cars long with each car roughly 13 meters long and 6 meters wide. It looks somewhat like a tarnished, gunmetal colored caterpillar with dual hornlike thrusters trailing backwards from the top corners of the engine car, an iris- like control dome on the command car and a cluster of arc lamps at the front. Two ridges of hair like lightning conduit spines run the length of the train along its back. The 3rd through 6th cars each have observation decks leading out onto open air balconies on either side of them. The last four cars are functional for carrying cargo or passengers but are otherwise not noteworthy. As you board you are welcomed by a man with hard eyes in brown coveralls you introduces himself as Captain Shadrack. He directs you to a single cabin with several bunks which has been assigned to you. Aside from the cabin and observation areas, he informs you that the first and last two cars of the Express are off-limits for the duration of the journey over the Cinemire Sea.

The three observation cars seem impossibly spacious, with high ceilings and wide windows fitted with retractable brass shutters on either side. Armored doors to either wide of each car lead to the train’s open balcony platforms. They are furnished with a number of chairs, tables, couches and a small bar area along with numerous railings, hand loops and strategically placed padding in case of dust storms. The decorations are not lavish, but an attempt has been made to cover the bare metal with whitewash and murals depicting the Angevin Crusade. Two crew members are present, guarding the entrance to the command car and serving drinks at the bar.

The Cinemire Sea over which the Overland Express travels is a constantly shifting mass of yellow green silt dunes, pierced by the occasional broken mining machine, grav train, and the wreckage of past mineral exploitation. Captain Shadrack warns you that the silt is impossible to stay on top of as well as highly corrosive and toxic. An unprotected human in it would last a few agonized seconds at best, not even having time to die of axphyxiation. The sand appears devoid of life expect for the occasional signs that something is moving just underneath the surface.

The Acolytes are assigned a Cabin in the car with an Observation deck, where Cortez immediately begins working on decrypting the data slates acquired from the Heretek’s laboratory. Bones and Gallus make their way through the rest of the car towards the Observation, Meal and Lounge cars.

The Observation Car

The only occupants of the Observation Car when you enter are a morbidly obese Ministorum Priest in opulent attire and his small retinue of four disheveled and somewhat feral looking “believers”. He is moving around the car with large sweeping movements preaching loudly to his small flock (seated around the edges of the car) about being chosen to return with the Holy Artifact and how blessed be they in the congregation that gave the generous donations so that he might be able to retrieve it. He pauses to catch his breath, wiping the blotchy skin of his brow with a soiled looking kerchief before putting it back into his sweat stained robe with his fat, writhing meat worm fingers. A stick thin “believer” with scabbed and bandaged hands notices you enter the car.

Arko: “What are you looking at chump?”

The Fat Priest flies into a rage before quickly regaining his composure.

Abbot Tamas: “ARKO!! HOLD YOUR TONGUE!! IF YOU RUIN THIS TRIP I’LL … Please, Brother Arko, be civil with the other esteemed guests. AND STAY OUT OF TROUBLE!! “

Arko: “Yes, Abbot Tamas.”

The Meal Car

Six crewmen of the Overland Express are breaking their fast when you enter the Meal Car. They are wasting very little time with pleasantries, eating a dish of potato cakes in synthesucrose. Outside, on the observation platform of the Meal Car are two middle aged, large but nondescript well armed men in rugged clothes. They are leaning slightly against the railing, and watching what is going on inside.

The Lounge Car

Two crewmembers are behind the bar of the lounge car, one cleaning glasses and wiping the table, and the other a bald potbellied paunchy man with a handcannon strapped to his side stocking bottles of amasec and wine. A well dressed late middle aged man sitting on a couch with a young assistant looks up at you from his glass of red wine as you enter, then goes back to examining a dataslate with his assistant. An attractive young woman in formal business attire is seated at the bar. She has two bodyguards in flak armor at her flanks and a hooded, robed Adept at her side. She looks up at you as you enter the car, smiles at you and gestures for you to come join her at the bar.

Octavia Nile: “Ah, more fellow auctioneers! Please, come sit and join me! Let me buy you a round of Grosh-Blue!”

Nahun Grist: “With an ass like that and 5 Thrones, anytime. “

Soon after entering the late middle aged man, who is recognized by Bones from somewhere, approaches the bar and orders another drink.

Benj Gilbert: “Ah, good sire, might I trouble you for another glass of this fine Cyrus-Red?”

Nahun Grist: “Yep. That’ll be 5 Thrones. “

Much small talk is had with Octavia Nile and her Adept before Bones and Gallus decide to get a table near to the late middle aged man and hear what he is talking about. Gallus recognizes the man as Benj Gilbert from the Sophano Gazetteer, and Bones quickly comes to the realization that this man and his scribe are talking about Rogue Traders like excited scholum progeny, going over notes and referencing stories and stats about them in an excited, giddy manner. [Brian described it accurately as being like preparing for a fantasy baseball draft]

Late Morning Bruch

As the day goes on and the sun approaches its daily zenith, a twingy bell signals the beginning of meal service. All guests are welcome and invited to join Captain Shadrack in the Meal Car for formal dining, complete with appetizers of fried giant water bugs, a first course of delectable vex worm larvae, a second course of a beautifully marbled Grox steak, and for desert nothing but the finest pickled hag fish. A smorgastboard of delicacies and fine imported food, all for the low price of 40 Thrones.

As the meal goes on, the two rough men, Vymer and Quill, order Amasec. Benj Gilbert, Whent his scribe and Bones each drink Cyrus Red. Steward Grist is serving another round of drinks when Benj declines the Cyrus Red, stating that he has already had enough to drink and needs to keep his composure in order to complete his studies this afternoon. Whent is about to take the drink instead when Bones snaps it up (expecting it to be poisoned) then makes an excuse to take it with him, along with his desert, back to the room where he hopes Cortez can analyze it. Cortez has requsted food be brought back to him.

Along the way, Bones and Gallus run into Vymer and Quill in the Cabin car, and Bones is able to detect a mint of a Malfi accent on them. He isn’t very subtle, however, and they most likely are able to detect the same hint in his speech.

A talk with Lord Gilbert

After the meal, Lord Gilbert and When retire to his cabin in the 7th car in order to continue their studies and preparation for the Auction. After delivering the meal and wine to Cortez, Bones and Gallus go to talk to Lord Gilbert, thinking to safeguard him from an expected assassination. Whent is sent to retrieve another bottle of wine to drink in the afternoon. He seems scared of everything and is a recent employee of Lord Gilberts, making Bones and Gallus suspect him. Gallus goes with him to the Lounge car to retrieve the drink.

While gone, Quill returns to Lord Gilberts Cabin and requests that somebody with some interrogation skills accompany him, it seems that the fat priests servant Arko has been causing problems and he needs to try to get some information out of him. Bones is extremely suspicous, and steadfastly refuses to go with Quill. He does not want to leave Lord Gilbert alone, nor does he want to go alone. Quill leaves disappointed.

Bones begins telling Lord Gilbert how he suspects that he is in danger on this trip, shocking Lord Gilbert when once again the door to Gilbert’s Cabin is opened. Vymer and Quill are within it before anyone can do something about it.

Vymer and Quill revealed

Quill begins the conversation with Bones’s real name, carefully concealed so far on the trip.

Quill: “Hello Attilus. It’s a shame that you didn’t come along nice and quiet like, now you’ve gone and gotten Lord Gilbert involved in your mess. Quite a shame really.”

Vymer and Quill are Malfian Bloodsworn, ruthless Bounty Hunters that will stop at nothing to get their prey. A shootout enesues, Quill emptying his Hand Cannon and Combat Shotgun while Vymer clubs Lord Gilbert with a Shock Maul. Bones is saved by unloading with his precious disc gun ammunition, eventually cutting Quill to ribbons. When Cortez, Whent and Gallus appear to reinforce Bones, Vymer draws a couple grenades, using a photon-flash and his shield visor to blind everyone and make his escape.

Vymer: “If you come looking for me I’ll be waiting for you! You hear me!”

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177.815.M41-5, Sophano Prime, Evening
Chase Through the Subway

Bones, Cortez, Gallus

Escape Through the Maintenance Shaft

The journey through the cramped spaces of the subway maintenance tunnels is neither quick nor easy, especially while managing to carry a gravely wounded Cortez. Each cracking sound of boots on permacrete brings with it memories of the Maw Flukes, each hiss of air the heavy breath of Saber Wolves, and each sharp mechanical clack an echo of solid projectile gunfire. As you pass under and beyond the subway station that you entered from and the distance away from the Arena Station increases without additional sign of pursuit, haste slowly gives way to caution and you begin searching for a safe place to get back up into the main line tunnels. Once in the main tunnel lines, progress is speedier and before long the next subway station is reached.

Oddly enough, there aren’t any travelers in this station at all. Unusual at any time of day as a continual change of shifts requires an almost constant rotation of labor resources. Anxious to get back up onto the surface streets and away from the expected Sophano pursuers, the choice is made to brave an exit from this station.

Entering The Subway Station

A cacophony of voices becomes louder and more chaotic as you ascend the long flight of stairs to the surface. Dozens of people yelling and combining to chant slogans demanding water rations are interrupted by authoritative responses issuing commands to disperse. Titus slowly peers over the top of the stairwell into the lobby of the station entrance.

“What do you see, Titus?” whispers Dorn, following closely behind aiding Cortez.

Titus: “The three entrances to the station, ahead and to each side, are both bolted with heavy gauge steel crossbars. There are three civilians looking out the windows at whatever the disturbance going on outside is, mainly to the right, and two additional transit security officers observing with them. They’re not wearing Sophano uniforms, they appear to be municipal. Behind me are the ticket windows and a pair of doorways, one to each side. I don’t see anyone from where I’m at, but with me at such a low angle I can’t guarantee there aren’t people back from the ticket windows or ducking down behind them. With all the noise and their backs to me I could probably take the ones I see all out without alerting anyone outside, but anyone in the office looking into the lobby would see me for sure. What do you want to do?”

Bones gets an idea of how the situation can be resolved without resorting to bloodshed. He takes off his Sophano Enforcer Flak coat and gives his Autogun to Cortez then plays off the fact that he is wounded and covered with some blood from the fights of the day. He ascends the stairway, announcing his presence to the Municipal Enforcers there.

Bones: “Is it safe to come up? Is there rioting here too?”

The Enforcers are startled by the appearance of someone from the supposedly secure station bottom and draw their pistols, while the civilian subway ticket takers flee into the safety of their office.

Municipal Enforcer #1: “Freeze! Where did you come from? Hands in the Air! Get up against the wall! Now!”

Bones: “Hey look, I don’t want any trouble, I just wanted to see if it’s safe here.”

Municpal Enforcer #2: “Do you have any friends down there? How many more of there are you? Dammit!”

Municpal Enforcer #3: (moving to push Bones up against the wall) “I said get up against the wall! I’m not kidding!”

Bones: (moving back toward the stairs) “Hey look, I don’t want any trouble, I’m just going to leave the way I came.”

The nervous Municipal Enforcers then fire at Bones, who draws his Autopistol and opens up a full auto burst, only to hear the distinct ‘clack’ of a misfired round jamming in the barrel.

Bones: “Son of a …”

The Municipal Enforcers sense their opportunity, one moves in and easily knocks the pistol out of Bones’ hand while the other one knocks his head into the premacrete floor, stunning him. Before they have a chance to complete the detainment of their suspect, however, Gallus blurs himself with Distort Vision and rushes up the stairs, opening fire on them from behind with his laser pistol, taking one of them down with a solid shot to the chest. Cortez, following closely behind Gallus, takes a moment to see where the other cop has gone before taking him down with a laser shot to his arm.

A Tense Situation

A large crowd of at least a few hundred workers has gathered on the street outside the station. They are carrying all kinds of simple weapons such as boards, pipes. Wrenches and whatever else they could get their hands on. For the most part they are wearing industrial coveralls and other types of heavy duty protective clothing that would be worn by those in hazardous working conditions. Mixed in amongst them are others wearing disheveled rags who must be the conscripted residents from the Hisswick Projects.

An intersection just outside the station to the northeast is occupied by Enforcers wearing House Sophano uniforms. There are at least a dozen of them spread out behind and to both sides of a ground car parked in the middle of the roadway. The ground car is a Scarab model, a Quad wheeled version built for speed and power, with strong armor, sirens, loud hailers, weapons pods and a turret with twin heavy stubbers on top. An officer is standing in the Scarab’s top hatch in the turret, with his torso outside of the vehicle. He is holding the receiver of the hailer in order to project his voice over the throng of angry protestors.

Officer: “This is an illegal gathering. You are ordered to disperse immediately and return to your shift supervisors until such time as your water rations are received and distributed. Failure to comply with this order will be punished with maximum prejudice. Repeat, you must disperse immediately!”

Gallus, Bones and Cortez rush to the doorway of the Subway Station that is closest to the crowd of angry workers, trying to get a better look at what’s going on. Gallus scans them, looking for signs of any instigators.

Gallus: “There’s someone moving the front of the crowd with a flamer, he’s almost at the Patrol Scarab!”

A burst of flames erupts from the crowd, engulfing the Scarab in an inferno of Promethium. The Officer who was inside is instantly cooked, his dying screams punctuated by gunfire as the surviving Enforcers unleash a hailstorm of return fire. A fireball, likely the promethium tank of a flamer, explodes from the middle of the crowd as it turns and flees in terror. The Enforcers break ranks and chase down the street after the fleeing protestors, leaving the charred, bleeding and bullet ridden bodies of dozens behind them in the middle of the street. You can hear the gunfire continuing as the Enforcer Patrol follows the fleeing protestors.

Cortez: “Let us leave this place, quickly. The doors and crossbars are locked. Check the Enforcer for keys.”

The keys are quickly found and doors unlocked, but before the Acolytes can escape the sirens of a rapidly approaching Scarab are heard rounding a hearby corner.

Another Scarab Arrives

Another Scarab Patrol cruiser rounds the corner of the next block and drives down the street in your direction. Going around the burning wreck in the intersection, it continues in the direction of the fleeing protestors … then abruptly stops just as it was about to pass you. Doors of the cruiser open and 4 House Sophano troopers exit, quickly taking up positions facing the station. You can tell there are others still inside the Scarab, but can’t quite make them out or their exact numbers due to the tinted glass. A hailer distored male voice comes from within:

Hailer distorted Male Voice: “The signal is coming from that building. Two of you go check it out and see if they’re inside. You other two, head around the side and check out the back door. Keep that turret gun on the building at all times.”

As the Sophano Troopers circle the building, a budding realization is happing inside.

Gallus: “Signal? What are they talking about?”

Bones: “Cortez, do you have the stuff we took from the Heretek’s lab?”

Cortez: “I have already begun the process of checking the items. It appears that the cogitator has a tracking device built into it’s circuitry. I recommend that we dispose of it immediately.”

Gallus: “Give it to me, I’ll throw it in the trash!”

As the Acolytes flee down the stairs back into the subway station, the doors of the Subway Station are blown apart by the Heavy Stubber in the turret of the Scarab.

Subway Ticket Taker #1: (From the Ticket Office in the Subway) “They went down the stairs into the Subway!”

Sophano Trooper #1: “Thanks! They went this way!”

A Chase In the Subway

The Acolytes reach the bottom of the long flight of stairs down into the station first. Bones, reunited with his Autogun, stops at the bottom and goes full auto with suppressive fire up the stairs. The troopers quickly take the best cover they can and go back up to the top, where they take cover. Cortez, followed by Gallus and Bones, then take off down the Subway tunnel to the north, hoping to head up to the La Montaine Escarpment and maybe find shelter with the LMEs.

[GM: This part was done with the Pursuit rules from the Inquisitor’s Handbook]

The chase is on. Cortez is up front, with Gallus and Bones quickly behind, chased by the four troopers. Two troopers are quickly dropped from the chase as they go the wrong way in the station. Cortez pulls further ahead, and is almost away cleanly before a section of piping impedes his progress. Another Trooper falls behind, out of the chase. Gallus and Bones pull ahead of Cortez as the last of the following Troopers closes in rapidly upon them. Gallus gets away cleanly, followed shortly by Bones, but just as Cortez has almost joined them, he is caught.

As Bones and Gallus circle back to help their comrade, the Sophano Trooper yells something on his vox as he begins laying down suppressing fire, forcing the Acolytes to take cover below the walkway on the Subway tracks. The suppressing fire continues until a second, third, and forth Trooper catches up to the fight. Gunfire whizzes back and forth, Gallus is able to stem the tide of the Trooper advance by making them Spasm, falling to the ground and firing wildly. Luckily, two misfires jam the Autoguns of the Sophanos, forcing them to switch to Stub Automatic sidearms. Cortez, regaining his wits, fights off one in a hand to hand fight. Bones, snapping off shots from behind the cover hits another one with the Disc Pistol he recieved from Ronal Gaithe, then Gallus finishes him off with a Laser shot to the chest.

Just as the fight seems won and the Trooper assault is losing it’s momentum Stanton Minita sprints into the fight. Moving at an amazingly fast speed he joins in quickly, attacking Gallus as a surviving Trooper yells “Psyker!” and points at him. As Cortez finishes the fight with the Troopers, the battle with Minita begins.

Gallus resorts to Distort Vision, but Minita uses his amazingly acute hearing to find him. His runic blade lands a cruel blow to Gallus, sapping vitality with a cold that cuts to the very soul. Bones opens up with point blank full automatic fire of his disc pistol, finding the mark with two discs before Minita switching his focus. Bones dodges one blow but then is hit with another chillingly sharp cut. The God-Emperor shines upon him, though, and grants him the health to avoid a potentially critical injury, then shines on him again as he just misses a strike that surely would have laid him low. Another full burst of discs bites into Minita, who falls, to one knee, blood spuring from wounds and leaving the ground around him slick. But he is not finished, not defeated, and could kill Bones with one well placed strike.

This Fight is Over

Just when Minita is almost defeated the sound of dozens of booted feet come echoing down the subway tunnel. Sophano Enforcers, Sophano Troopers and a few Municipal Enforcers are now only a hundred meters or so away. It appears that victory may be a Phyrric one, but then a distored female voice interrupts from the Subway Hailer system.

Distorted Female Voice: “By order of the Elector, this fight is over. “

Minita is visibly angry, shaking with rage as he puts his hand to his ear and talks to someone over his personnal vox.

Stanton Minita: “Under whose authorization? This is an affair of Hisswick County and the Elector has no business getting involved! … Yes … Are you certain? … Dammit! ”

Minita, with a perturbed and frustrated look on his face, order the attack to stop, then contines raging at the Sophano Squads around him.

Stanton Minita: “Well, you heard her! Get them out of here and to the surface! Watch them the whole way and if they give you any excuse you drop ’em. Understand? Then get your squads over to the power stations and try to make yourselves useful. Maybe you’ll do better against the rabble there than you were able to do here. Move it you worthless Emperor forsaken curs or I’ll kill you myself! … Somebody pick up these bodies and get them out of my sight. If they live, send them to the mines! Do it! MOVE!”

The Acolytes head back up to the surface. After a brief moment on the surface a female voice is heard over the team’s encrypted vox beads. They are easily able to recognize it and place it. This is the voice of Lorelii Dekanta, a senior Explicator in the service of their Master al-Subaai.

Lorelii Dekanta: “Gather yourselves and get out here. Make certain you bring everything you took from the heretic tech-priest with you. “

Explicator Lorelii Dekanta

A luxurious armored limousine is parked outside the Subway. The door opens and you are able to hear the first bits of an ongoing conversation, which seems to be getting a bit heated. Black Grox Hide seats line both walls of the long vehicle, easily holding enough seating for those already in side as well as you. A striking and serious looking woman in her middle age, that you instantly recognize as Explicator Lorelii Dekanta, a senior aide to your master, Inquisitor al-Subaai, is speaking with a powerfully built man with a stern expression and jet black hair. He is wearing carapace armor that has a stylized Inquisitorial “I” in its center, backed by gilded lettering spelling out the word “PIETY”. The conversation continues as you enter the vehicle and find seats.

Inquisitor Karkalla (angrily laughing): “You have got to be kidding me, this group of malcontents!? If not for a bit of luck with that earthquake they would have been dinner for the Faudi Faker’s new acquisitions! And what’s with this ‘Elector’ nonsense anyways, you know that you’re playing directly into that schemer Gaithe’s hand.”

Lorelii Dekanta: “Nevertheless we share the same Master, and yes, I am aware how this looks and what the ramifications will be.”

Karkalla: “Well if the Righteous one’s pets don’t have that information from the Heretek, then a lot of time and effort has been spent for no good reason. “

Lorelii: “Are you certain that these documents you desire will be able to lead you to Vulpa?”

Karkalla: “No, but considering the circumstances we find ourselves in I find myself with limited recourse.”

Lorelii looks towards you with a look of genuine concern.

Lorelii: “I need you to show the Inquisitor any data or documents you took from Sophano’s tech priest. I will also need you to give him whatever he asks for. “

[Inquisitor Karkalla looks over the materials and takes the documents written in Acolyte]

Karkalla: “Yes, I think that the information contained within this just might be enough to salvage some of the effort we have made here. Thank you Lorelii. It was good to see you again, though I am sorry to hear you are still working with al-Subaai.”

Lorelii: “You may be seeing more of me in the immediate future. But that can wait until later. If you’ll excuse me, I have other business with my compatriots that I must take care of.”

Karkalla: “Of course. Drop me off where we met up and I will find my own way from there. “

View
177.815.M41-4, Sophano Prime, Evening
The Arena Underfloor

Bones, Cortez, Dorn, Gallus, Titus

The Doorway

Just inside the doorway fromm the maintenance tunnel is a hallway opening out to the left and with another doorway straight ahead. The security on doors ran into so far doesn’t seem to be a problem, as once again the security is easily defeated.

Equipment Room

The next doorway leads into an equipment room that currently stands mostly empty. A spot for a Lascutter and Autohammer are empty, most likely for the ones in use up above repairing the Arena. A workman is in the room, but Bones is able to take him prisoner without incident or noise. Scared out of his mind, he doesn’t know much about how many there are in the underfloor, just that it’s mostly workment and enforcers. He says that a door on the far side of the Equipment room leads to the Medicae Lab.

Medicae Lab

The electronic security to the Medicae Lab is countered, and Dorn once again leads the way into the Lab. Evidence of vile experiments on man and beast alike is present in the lab. Smelly cadavers lie on gurneys around the room. Jars of odd looking creatures or parts thereof line the walls and shelves. Biotech heresy obviously happened frequently in this room.

There are two workmen in the lab, but these do not seem to be quite as compliant. They begin taking some of the strange jars off the shelves and throw them at the Acolytes as they enter the room. Each one only has a chance to throw one before they are both gunned down rather silently by Las fire.

It seems the noise from the breaking glass has attracted some attention, however, as double doors to the far end of the lab open up revealing what looks to be a tech priest in dirty robes. There is a hint that they used to be red, but now they have been stained by so much gore and filth that they are brown or black and disgusting.

Heretek: “I thought I told you to be careful not to break any of the… ah … I see that we have visitors. Welcome, brother! Let me personally welcome you!”

The heretical tech priest shows a terrible set of claws on his right hand. They thrum with energy as he brings them out and lunges at Bones, who is nearest to him.

After a quick fight the Heretek is laid low, but the group has left thoughts of silence and caution behind them as Bones opens up with a new Autogun given to him by Lord Ronal. Switching to heavy ammunition, he is also able to penetrate the armored torsos of a couple Servitors the priest had working for him. As he falls to the ground, he lets out a last bit of laughgter.

While the fight with the Heretek is happening, Gallus executes the workman taken prisoner earlier.

Heretek: “I hope you enjoy my pets! HA Ha ha h…”

As he collapses to the ground, something he was carrying breaks and a cloud of gas quickly disperses throughout the Heretek’s and Medicae Labs.

What The … !!

Vore weapon

The pair of spiky sausage sized creatures that fell out of the jars thrown by the workmen earlier quickly come to life and leap at Dorn and Titus. The things are vile, heretical things the squirm around looking for an opening, any opening, where they might be able to find the flesh of their intended victims.

Bones looks at the creatures, and starts laughing hysterically. The look in his eyes is detached and somewhat vacant as his starts firing random bursts at anyone or anything in his line of fire. The first burst, armed with heavy rounds, hits Cortez square in the chest, hurting him badly. Dorn starts beating on him with his fists, shouting at him to stop.

The second burst catches a group of House Sophano Enforcers just entering the room full on, quickly despatching three of the four. The forth one takes off running instantly.

The One Who Got Away

Titus takes off after the Enforcer who was fleeing back in the direction of the tunnel the party came from, only he takes off a nearby hallway and up a flight of stairs.

Secrets In The Lab

Bones, having recovered from his momentary madness searches the Lab of the Heretek, followed by Cortez who does the same after searching the fallen Heretek.

The following gear is found suring the search:

From the Heretek Lab:

  1. Dataslate #1 (Encrypted)
  2. Dataslate #2 (Encrypted)
  3. Dataslate #3 (Encrypted)
  4. Dataslate #4 (Encrypted)
  5. Miniaturized Cogitator
  6. Small Interesting Looking Unknown Device

From the Heretek:

  1. Xenotech Claws
  2. 2x Syringes filled with unknown chemical
  3. 1x Vial filled with unknown chemical
  4. Dataslate #5 (Unencrypted) (Written in Secret Tongue (Acolyte))
  5. Scroll (Written in Secret Tongue (Acolyte))
  6. Small Mechanical Device

From the Medicae Lab:

  1. 1x Vore Weapon (not activated)

They Brought an Ogryn

From the stairs where the Enforcer escapes, heavy footsteps are heard, followed by a massive humanoid, an Ogryn, dressed in heavy leather aprins, splattered with mud and gore from untold duties performed in other bowels in the Arena. It seems like he will not be the only one coming, either. It’s time to leave.

Escape Into the Tunnel

As the party escapes back into the tunnel they came from, the Ogryn is unable to follow. A man who followed him down, however, has an idea.

Unknown Man: “Get the Maw-Flukes, Quick!”

Sabre wolf

The party runs and runs down the maintenance tunnel from which they came, but eventually they see that Sabre Wolves have been released into it behind them and are quickly catching up. With no way of outrunning them, they decide to take a stand at one of the access hatches along the way. Bones immediately starts climbing the ladder to see if the hatch up above is locked or not while the first Sabre Wolf charges into Dorn, who once again is standing firm at the front of the action.

Titus quickly joins in with Dorn in dealing with the Sabre Wolf as another one charges up into the fray. The fight is going well, two Sabre Wolves are not a match for the Acolytes, when a new opponent emerges from the rockcrete next to Gallus, who is standing behind Titus and Dorn. It’s a horrible creature, like a large bug with a tough armored hide, razar sharp mandibles, and tons of short legs for locomotion. The creatures bites at Gallus, piercing his armor and stunning him for a moment with his Paralyzing Bite. Bones and Cortez fire at the newly arrived beast, but their shots bounce harmlessly off it’s thick armored hide.

Maw fluke

Dorn: “Oh great, just what we didn’t need, Maw Flukes! I ran into these things once in the underhives of Tranch, their bellies are unarmored, shoot them there!”

But as he says that another one bursts out of the Rockcrete by Cortez. The paralyzing fluids drip from it’s mandibles. Things are not looking good. Small wounds from the various actions of the day are starting to get to Dorn, who is on the verge of being heavily wounded. Cortez is still hurting from the wounds suffered from Bones’ crazy shooting spree, and Titus and Bones are lightly wounded themselves. If the bite of these things could quickly turn this fight into a last stand. Bones, up on his ladder by the locked access hatch, reaches into his jacket and pulls out the pistol given to them by Lord Ronal.

Bones: “I think this qualifies as a sticky situation.”

He pulls the trigger of the odd looking weapon, disks shooting out of it and cutting through the armored hide of the Maw Fluke hovering over Gallus. The tide turns. Dorn and Titus finish off the Sabre Wolves. Thefirst Maw Fluke is killed. Gallus shakes off the effects of Paralyzation, and uses his Psychic powers to make the remaining Maw Fluke flee. It is only then that the group looks over and sees Cortez bleeding out on the ground. One of the Maw Flukes must have delivered a near fatal bite.

Picking up Cortez and helping him along, the group makes its way towards where they came into the tunnels, when the Maw Fluke attacks again! They are obviously going to need to kill this thing, as it will not leave them alone. Outnumbered, with 4 people shooting at it’s soft underbelly, it is quickly dispatched.

The Acolytes have made it to the safety of the station, and above it, the streets of the Industrial Zone.

View
177.815.M41-3, Sophano Prime, Evening
The Arena
Bones, Cortez, Dorn, Gallus, Titus

Down the Hatch

The ladder descends at least 5 meters before opening up into a maintenance tunnel. Piping, cabling and machinery thrum and hiss to the sides, top and bottom. The tunnel is only as tall as a person and barely wide enough for two standard sized people to squeeze by each other with difficulty. Landings of the access hatches seem to be the only exception to this, with enough space to have two people comfortably pass each other, a higher ceiling, and obviously space above as the ladder ascends. More ladder landings are spaced about every 50 meters apart. Dim red emergency lights and LEDs of system status panels blink in time to the machine spirits they are attuned to. The tunnel continues to the north towards the industrial zone and south towards the Arena station.

The Body

After travelling through the maintenance tunnel for a good distance you see something lying on the ground in front of you, just past the next access hatch.

Gallus offers to use his psychic powers to see if there are any life forms up ahead, but after the incident in the Arena, no one is anxious to try that again and the idea is quickly put to rest. Instead, Dorn is sent ahead to check out the body and see if everything is all right. As he moves to get a closer look at the body, it becomes apparanet that the unfortunate victim is one of the VIPs that didn’t make it out of the Arena, and he didn’t make it out. Even more troubling is a realization that his head is missing. As Dorn moves into the more open space of the access hatch, he is surprised as something wraps itself around his head!

Dorn is being suffocated! Autopistol fire rings out from Bones, Gallus and Cortez try to shoot the thing wrapping itself around his head as it trys to chew it’s way through his helmet. The thing has an extremely tight grip, and fiercely resists being removed from Dorn. Finally, the thing is killed and released from him.

Looking up, the hatch above is actually open. Everyone agrees that it would be good for Gallus to check and see if there is any life up above. He shimmies up the ladder and looks out into a rubble strewn passageway.

A Gloomy Passage

Gloomhaunt

The passage that the hatch opens into is very dark and damaged. Both of the subway tunnel support pillars directly to the sides of this hatch have survived the earthquake, and there is a fairly sizable section of tunnel that hasn’t collapsed running at least 10 meters in each direction. Much of the ferrocrete and tile mosaic ceiling has fallen to the ground below, leaving the ceiling an uneven surface filled with craters. Broken pipes drip various types of liquid from above, which form multicolored pools on the ground. Some rodents lie dead in various states of decomposition by the liquids. Masonry, Lektrick, Cloth and other types of materials can also be seen hanging from the broken parts of the ceiling. Bits of chains, manacles and rusted metal cages tell you that this section of tunnel used to store those unlucky souls unwillingly participating in the spectacle of the Arena, meaning you must be very close to the Arena itself. Rubble is piled at both ends of the tunnel, but you can’t tell if it’s passable or not without closer inspection. There are a few large piles of rubble, one of which goes all the way to the ceiling, but some others only go up three quarters of the way. One pile of rubble in particular could definitely be climbed over with a bit of effort.

Sounds of voices can be heard over one of the piles of rubble. It seems that the Arena is very close indeed. Gallus uses his psychic powers and is easily able to detect life on the cieling of the passage.

As the party climbs up into the Arena, Gloomhaunts start dropping from the cieling onto their heads. Dorn, Cortez and Bones are targeted first, with Cortez taking the worst of it. Dorn is able to kill the Gloomhaunt that was on his head, but then is grabbed by the one that was on Cortez after he is able to get it off of him. Dorn continues to push ahead and is accosted by a couple other Gloomhaunts on the way to the rubble pile that seems to be the best bet for climing out of the passageway.

Dorn’s helmet almost certainly saves him from being chomped to death by the Gloomhaunts, but even so the ammount of gunfire that he takes to his head while trying to get them off starts to annoy him.

“Dammit Bones, will you stop shooting me!”

Eveyone knows, however, that if it wasn’t for Dorn’s guard helmet it wouldn’t have been a laughing matter. Once during the fight, Bones stumbles into the Toxis liquid that has dripped from the cieling and feels slightly weakened by it.

At the rubble pile, a few attempts to climb it by Dorn and Titus are not very successful, but Gallus is able to easily climb up using psychic powers that allow him to easily walk up extremely steep surfaces.

You manage to scale the pile of rubble and get a glimpse of Arena Station lying beyond. There is one more pile of rubble to get over before you can get into the station. A headless corpse is lying just over the crest of the first pile that you are on. The corpse is a house Sophano Enforcer who has very recently been killed.

The Arena Main Floor

The Arena Station has suffered badly since you last saw it. Huge chucks of ferrocrete have fallen from the cracked ceiling and walls onto the stands and floor of the Arena. Broken pipes dripping viscous liquid, shattered conduits, pieces of sharp rusted steel reinforcement and masses of tangled wires jut out from dozens of the newly formed cracks, craters and fallen chunks. Clear, green and orange liquid are spilling over the Arena Station stands and floors in some places going down cracks and pooling in others. The top of the Central Dais where the Lion Mask Emceed the Beast fight has been crushed by several of the larger fallen pieces, leaving piles of rubble scattered around its base.

Small crews of brown uniformed workmen are surveying the damage at various points of the Arena. Two teams on the floor, one with a Las cutter and another with an autohammer are breaking up the chunks of debris into more manageable bits while others are occupied either picking up the pieces or carting them out the south end of the floor past a pair of House Sophano Enforcers. East of the Central Dais is a cluster of more House Sophano Enforcers surrounding what appear to be a work foreman and a person in a fancy coat. The man in the fancy coat is gesturing forcefully and shouting at the foreman.

Stanton Minita: “He wants this place back in operational condition in fifteen cycles. I don’t care how many you need to bring in here from the projects to get it done just make sure that it happens unless you want to get a real good look at the action after it’s finished.”

The Acolytes decide that there is too much firepower on the Arena floor and after watching for awhile it becomes evident that the troops and Minita are sticking around. They head back down into the passage and back down into the tunnels. A short distance past the hatch they went up there is a locked metal door at the end off the maintenance tunnel.

They Are Watching

Having learned from the past experience where they approached without having used Gallus to detect life signs, the group changes it’s approach and has him to it again … with unexpected results. Daemonic voices can be heard for an area of dozens of meters around Gallus. Titus in particular is affected by their attention…

Let the crys of pain be crystalized into hardened steel daggers cut across their throat. Feel the kiss of life on the cold blade, and let the blood quench thy thirst. They are but a flock of sheep to be culled for cruel rapture.

He shrinks down onto the floor for a moment, pondering who knows what thoughts before rejoining.

This lock too, is quickly opened.

View
177.815.M41-2, Sophano Prime, Morning
Back to the Arena

Bones, Cortez, Dorn, Gallus, Titus

Home Base

Lord Ronal kindly offers the services of an unmarked armored squad car to get the group where they need to go. The first stop is back to the Spaceport Hotel to drop off some equipment and check for any messages that may have arrived from Inquisitor al-Subaai. The rooms are in order, equipment is stowed, no messages are found, and quickly the next stop is the Hisswick Industrial Zone.

Around Town

It becomes obvious as the Squad Car travels from one end of the Stokeland Plateau to the other then down to the Industrial Zone that it wasn’t just the Spaceport and the Arena that were damaged. Many buildings around the city have been damaged to various degrees, with stonework, bricks and other pieces off debris littering the streets. City maintenance crews are out in full force performing clean up duties as well as, very unusually from what you’ve seen in your brief time in Stokeland, many work crews that are obviously being pulled from the poorer sections of the city. Groups of people that are usually separated from the main areas of the city are out in large numbers adding the strength of their muscles to the clean up effort, and with them the police state feel is even greater as squad cars, County Enforcers , Electoran and even some signs of Imperial Guard or PDF forces.

News reports gathered from various outlets are talking nonstop about the Earthquake disaster, wondering what this means for the geological stability of the Plateau. Fearful headlines ask the question of if this means that the Plateau is going to collapse into the slag surrounding it. troublingly, the official news outlets are mentioning nothing about it whatsoever, excepting the occasional brief update on clean up efforts and positive structural pronouncements. Things are not the same as they have been, and people are obviously worried. This does not happen regularly.

Hisswick Industrial Zone

The Industrial Zone is filled with activity. Hisswick Enforcers are everywhere, watching over untold numbers of workers pulled from the Projects by the South slope. Maintenance crews are everywhere assessing the damage to important buildings and irreplacable power stations. People who live their entire lives in a hovel on the slopes of Hisswick are out of the camps where they are usually concentrated and amongst areas of town they would never hope to see otherwise.

The Squad Car takes the Acolytes through most of the Zone and lets them out near the entrace to the Subway system that the final exit onto the streets was from.

Street Level Subway Entrance

The street entrance to the Subway Station has been closed to the public. Two Sophano Enforcers armed with pistols are lazily hanging out on the pavement by the main doorway, exchanging small talk and smoking Lho sticks. One of them drops a butt on the dirt just off the walkway and grinds it into the dusty burnt orange soil. A ground vehicle, seemingly equipped for construction and building maintenance is parked near them just off the roadway, blocking their line of sight towards the center of the industrial zone. A hauntingly familiar howl punctuates the stillness, causing both of them to stand up straight for a moment.

ENFORCER #1:”Did you hear that?”

ENFORCER #2: “Sounded a ways off to me.”

ENFORCER #1: “Yeah… yeah, you might be right. It’s probably nothing. Joniah sure picked a helluva day to turn up unfit for duty. “

ENFORCER #2:”I heard him vovmiting when we left the barracks this morning. I think he’s getting worse.“

ENFORCER #1: “The meds from the medicae doesn’t seem to be helping anyone.”

The group sneaks up to the maintenance vehicle and hatches a plan to sneak in without resorting to violence. Bones is still wearing a Sophano Enforcer style jacket, and others put on the work garb from the truck. They approach the Enforcers standing watch in front of the station and are able to convince them that they are here with a Tech Priest to see to the machine spirits of the machines in the station. Bones, being a former Arbitrator, is very convincing, so much so in fact that the Enforcers let him know that they might have problems with the Servitor, and if they do the passphrase is “Lion’s Pride”.

Subway Station

Dim lighting illuminates the cracked tiles and exposed ferrocrete of the lobby just inside the subway entrance. The stairs leading down into the dim depths of the station are chipped and worn in too many places to count, showing centuries of use by citizens going to or from their destination. The guardrails are neglected, with paint peeling and flecking off in places, allowing the metal underneath to rust into a color not unlike the ground of the surface of the Stokeland Plateau that you just left.

The first flight of stairs opens up at the bottom into a small landing. Flights of stairs on either side of the platform go down to the main platform of the station, and another flight goes up to a small footbridge that passes over the two sets of subway tracks. Another pair of flights of stairs identical to the ones that lead down to the station platform on the near side are on the far side of the footbridge. Small sandwich board signs at the top of both sets of stairs leading down to the platform read: “Station Closed for Maintenance”.

Fresh crimson stains on the ferrocrete are all that’s left of those that perished to the escaping augmetic xenos called “The Beast”. Pock marks of las and solid projectile fire mixed with the deep gouges of claw marks bear silent witness to the fighting that took place such a short time ago.

Workmen are busy cleaning up damaged and stained portions of the Station and a Gun Servitor is guarding the entrace to the tunnels that lead to the Arena in the abandoned station. Armed with the pass phrase, they Acolytes make it past without incident.

Tunnel Security Door

The Subway Tunnel’s Security door that you came through on your way out is large, heavy, and steel. Large dusty faded words “Authorized Personnel Only” are partially covered with a new sign in bold red letters that says “DANGER Tunnel Collapse”. A heavy chain with a large lock on it is obviously meant to prevent passage.

The lock is easily opened and the Acolytes continue through.

The other side of the security door is just as dark, dank, and dirty as you remembered it. It appears that the tunnel you took on the way out has been completely blocked off about 20 meters in by rubble, but whether it is due to crumbling from the earthquake’s after effects or on purpose is hard to tell. Either way, you certainly aren’t going to waltz back in the same way you came out. After a brief search you find a sealed metal hatch about 10 meters inside the door.

The hatch is found locked, but it too is easily unlocked.

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