Only In Death Does Duty End

Cabdrivers and cult leaders.

Having secured the headquarters of Brechter, the intrepid acoyltes secured the information they’d require for a proper hunt of the cult. Although the building seemed empty, Havelock remained on watch.

I used my power of the warp to infec…heal Havelock of his tender wounded flesh, a result of his haste and perhaps…incompetence? At any rate, on departing we secured the entrance to the facility with improvised explosives, to protect Havelock as he remained on guard.

After disposing of the physical evidence, having captured the likeness of all involved upon Zak’s pict recorder the group minus Havelock depared the area, walking for some time before encountering a battered broken cab. Suspicious the party laid a verbal trap in the form of a guided deliberate heretical conversation referencing classified information, but the cabby did not seem to be an agent of the enemy. Debarking near the central senate building, the group filtered through the market, confirming that they were not being followed, ambushed or assaulting before entering the chapel of St Thrysus the untiring…

What lays beyond, the group do not know…only that something, someone is watching, and somewhere, Enri remains.

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Episode 14
Traps & Tribulations!

The party prudently regrouped in the face of overwhelming opposition. Then they got in a cab and left that area of the city, headed for the Inquisition safehouse in the Ministorum district.

Arriving there, Havelock went ahead, tripping traps with his inexpert fumbling, lacking as he did the relevant skills to disarm them properly. It was only through sheer luck that this lack of heed did not cause alarms to go off and the party to be horribly slain. Instead, he managed to penetrate into the safehouse, which had seen better days. Entrance into the secure portion was barred by a door. Rezrel and Zak picked the lock with shotgun and boot.

Finally, the Techpriest was allowed to do some actual work, and using a data spindle found inside the safehouse, he retrieved this information, without which the acolytes would surely have been doomed…

307904 – 13 new arrivals at chemical works. Must identify organisation and leader. Prioritise data capture with long-lense pict.

383904 – Drone-planted vid-source working perfectly. Scenes of initiation ceremony captured. Definitely proscribed cult activity. Identification needed.

411904 – Data available suggest cult be preliminarily identified as Pilgrims of Hayte sub-cell. Location of leader (known as False Prophet) vital for complete eradication. Suggested same to HQ, was agreed.

432904 – Vid-sources in chemical plant have been rendered non-functional. Tomas has been gone for two days now. Compromise is suspected. Operations to be sealed and secured prior to security assessment, as per protocol SQ902j.










Some images were stored along with the records. I will not describe them here.

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Episode 13
Encounter at Kasthor!

The team is graced with a new member.

The impression he gives is of a flighty man, prone to wandering off if he is not minded like a child. While Havelock entertained himself by chatting up locals unconnected to the investigation, the techpriest Maza Blaska successfully found his lost teammates, whereupon they (minus the wayward Havelock) investigated the former offices of the cell that had dropped out of communication.

The area was sealed off by official investigation, but nevertheless, our principal actors gained entry. But before any useful clues could be found, disaster nearly overtook our acolytes! It was only by quick wit and quicker fit that they were able to vacate the premises before they were seen by Enri, who has appeared for unknown reasons.

Though of course, it must be admitted that we possess no proof that we were NOT seen by the Bird in Gold…

Why is he here? To suppose that his presence is mere coincidence is folly, of course, and now the investigation must turn to these most pressing questions – what connection does Enri have to the corruption spreading across the entire planet, and how can our Acolytes possibly hope to survive another encounter?

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Hell to Pay

.begin: document
.coding: ClxStd “StegSix”
.priority: rubyThree
.date: 937904.M41
.path: CLX002703-CLX474508-CLX600402

########################################

+ From: Inquisitor Hekate
+ To: cellThrysus

+ Congratulations again on successfully foiling the Metallican hereteks’ scheme to kidnap a number of experienced weaponsmiths. By doing so you prevented their knowledge and skills from falling into the hands of those inimical to the Imperium. Recruiting a local to assist was unorthodox, but his addition to the cell has been approved on a probationary basis.

+ An observation and analysis cell operating in Kasthor, the principal city of Yvaigne, has missed its last three scheduled astropathic check-ins. Protocol requires an immediate on-site examination of the cell (coded as Brechter) and its personnel and records.

+ Therefore you are to proceed to Yvaigne aboard the rogue trader vessel “Piety is its Own Reward” using the lander “Saint Angefel”. Upon arrival you are to head directly to their base of operations and investigate Brechter with a view to understanding the cause of their communications lapse.

+ In the event that Brechter was compromised you are to contain and eliminate any breach of the Holy Ordos’ security. Local planetary forces are not to be informed of your presence – Brechter believed both local enforcement and the PDF to be infiltrated. Should back-up be necessary there is an Arbites keep in Kasthor. This should be considered a final resort.

+ Additional: their final report said that Brechter had located and was investigating a cultist grouping operating within the outer habs of Kasthor. Long-range pict- and vox-captures suggest that these were members of a proscribed cult. The cell Alpha recommended that a purge be postponed pending further surveillance aimed at obtaining more data as to the cult’s identity and that of any leader(s) it may have.

+ A datagram of Kasthor has been included with this message.

+ The Emperor protects.

.signed: Inquisitor Inya Hekate
.auth: sigmaSix-alphaTen

########################################

Thought for the day: Even a man who has nothing can still offer his life.

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Episode 12
There and back again, or how we almost died to beings greater than we could ever imagine.

Gravity swelled. You don’t think of such a thing, usually. “Gravity is a constant”, they say. A permanent, a postulate presence upon the stars. Like the god empereror, they say. Peons, Neophytes, nobodies. A constant. Pah. When sudden movement and acceleration amongst the stars hits you in the middle of a battle against a mad Magos, formerly of the tech priests, shielded by an impenetrable forcefield and aided by minions of the most deadly order throws off your aim…Well. Fuck constants. Gravity swelled as the chamber shifted, detached, launched. As 4 heavily ‘armed’ servitors rose from the very ground Maza struck out at the Magos. Light blinded. Fury fired. Damage. Nil. The bright white searing of his hellgun splashed simply aside against an energy field of immense strength. Confusion reigned for a second, bullets flew. Zak reloaded. A servitor went down and comprehension struck. 5 great machines circled the Techpriest sarcophagus. 5 great machines, or as I like to think of it…5 additional targets.

We went to work then, Maza, Zak and I. The magos roared and he flailed, but his targets were nimble and quick. Dodging this way and that, going to work on his protective technology. The servitors fulfilling their function fired furiously upon the acolytes. I took a hit, minor, the pain a focus. Another servitor went down beneath the hail of my hecuter and the might of my mind. Zak gutted a third and set the fourth on fire. As Maza and I finished off the great machines the last servitor charged me, striking forcefully at me. I absorbed the blow, mostly. The fire however was not within my control. The stench of seared flesh and cotton filled the air as the platform descended, relatively speaking.

Until, near the end, as the last machine burnt into history, the magos in his fury lashed out with his mecandrites, striking myself and the last servitor to the floor. Zak and Maza once again proved adept at agile defence, leaping over the massive arms to strike once more, fatally at the Magos.

VICTORY WAS OURS! The heretic remained, defeated, dead.

“Thank you”. A grind, a click. An echo of a ghost of a noise. Then from everywhere, “Thank you.” The Cephalophore awoke, fully, intimately. Chalice itself disintegrated as the Xeno took full control of the vessel, full control that we enabled…having slain the only one resisting it’s power.

It spoke to us then of it. It’s goal, it’s intentions. Secure in the belief that it posed no threat to man, it’s destination far beyond the imperium a decision was made. A negotiation, and whilst some..bargains were made or attempted the platform itself was relocated towards Iota.

An immense being, that. Doubts fill my mind. Perhaps I think we should of retreated, called in assistance. Perhaps, I think. The grey knights. but the dead is done, the heretics were slain and whilst, I think…whilst I consider the choices they made I wonder if I would of done the same in their shoes. The deaths of 15,000 citizens of His lay at their feet, at their command. They deserved death, execution. But were we the people to do so? I know not.

I believed the inquistion was about saving mankind. I know of the horror of the warp. I know what lies, beyond the veil. This is why I am Malleus, this is why I am.

But we saved nothing except the essence of revenge…

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Episode 11
Curses on thee, tongue of evil, cursed be thy life forever

The portal was damaged by hellgun-fire, but not enough to permit entry.

Maza Blaska found a heavily-laden cart, and ran it into the obstruction at full speed, creating an entry hole, but suffered an injury in the process. The psyker assisted.

The party came across the Magos behind the atrocity. Maza sang the Rite of Excommunication, severing the heretek’s connection to the holy order. It remains only to deliver the Omnissiah’s Final Admonition.

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Episode 10
On the road to destruction.

Crossroads have a way of compounding the matter. Of course we knew that heretics could be around every corner. We knew this. Oh yes. We stalked, we swept through the corridors of Chalice as avenging wrathful spirits of His might itself. After observing the great titan at length, we pushed on to the crossroads beyond, the projection room behind us. Destruction. Respite. Cerebration.

As lucky directions go the road to destruction was peaceful and uneventful. A Great Cacophony of noise erupted from behind the standard doorway beyond us. Taking positions we entered, gunbarrels levelled at….holy warp. Machines, great, fearsome machinations of work. To discern their purpose would be to discern heresy, unpalatable, immense, interminable.

We were not alone. Thunmfph. Thumgph. Flesh against stone or metal, the sound of ruin and madness. Thumpfh. To the side of the door a bundle of robes rocked chaotically. Madness I can understand. My light blinded me, once, but darkness robs your sight just as well. Whilst the others covered me I approached the form, I spoke to it, I spoke of safety, of sanity, of sanctuary, salvation. We conversed for a time and it told us of it all, that broken priest. A cephalophore, it said, although such a term seems incongrious, unknown to me. HIdden, locked away inside the asteroid. Cut apart, freed. Theur magos, master fought it, but the cephalophore took control of the priests here. Of all, here. It pushed them into great heresies, Maza could not understand his ruin. He cannot understand me, either. The cephalophore exhibits some kind of tecnologically retarding field. All here decays.

It seems, seemed to me that the priest spoke of the cephalophore being contained within the workers of chalice, now…repurposed in great storage vaults. I confess, this insanity is beyond me. It spoke of the hall of eyes rimward. Back the way we came, yet the Magos was spirewards so we pressed on. Obtaining a gurney we took the shattered machineman with us, a minor spell of healing eased his pain. He was dying but he would do so in mercy.

We headed then, Cerebration our target. The journey once more uneventful but the doorway before us…massive, immovable, locked. Dotcode unintelligible to even Maza scrawled fury and chaos across its surface. I might not know the language but I know insanity, and it spoke to me. Beyond that door lay answers, or death. Duty in both.

We prepared, and Maza fired, and we steeled ourself with His might as we prepared to breach the sanctum of either the enemy, or the last defence of our ally.

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Episode 9
Shotguns with incendiary rounds cannot be set to stun.

The party quickly and prudently ended most of the abominations pretending to be techpriests. When only one was left, a decision was made that he should be captured and interrogated.

Zak fired an expert shot, neatly severing the last fleeing heretek’s arm from his body. Unfortunately, it was discovered that being dismembered made him particularly resistant to all practical forms of interrogation, as he was now dead.

Objects acquired at the scene:


  • one Servitor cerebral control unit
  • several picts taken on-site by Zak
  • one Heretek head, neck cauterized

While Zak maintained a trail of pict documentation, she and Maza returned to Biosculpture, leaving Rezrel behind to do undocumented things to the corpses.

Looking with fresh eyes, they discovered a most curious device intended to check the integrity of servitor cerebral control units, which itself had another device attached to it intended to check the integrity of the first device. I will share my theories on this configuration later in this document.

Additionally, there was a window. Outside, we saw…
…ah, my fingers hesitate. It is not to be called a titan, of course, and yet it is hard to resist the sacrilegious impulse to name a work of such scale and ambition as the great Walkers of the Omnissiah are named. Indeed, the most shocking thing about it is its scale – the whole of the length of Chalice, one arm of the massive Tithe Station Iota, has been hollowed out to fit this thing inside. Indeed, it is most likely the interior of the arm was itself recycled and now forms its body, alongside whatever tissues were deemed to be of use from the unlucky working population.

We’ve come to a crossroads.

Personal suspicions

There is, in this place, an entropic aberration. The desperation with which still functional components were sought, the care taken to make sure the equipment was not corrupt, the very recursiveness of the act itself, the sorry state of the unbrother’s innards (I cannot believe that even a heretek would allow his most precious implants to degrade to such a level voluntarily) all point toward a massively, unspeakably increased rate of corrosion being a factor in this environment.

What could cause such a thing, which may perhaps itself be defined as nothing less than hate for all things perfect and mechanical?

Moreover, who would seek to construct even an imitation of a titan in such a place?

Unless…I shall end this report here. Frightening thoughts assail me. For if the great giant being born here is itself the dark actor whose hand corrupts and decays, I have not the vocabulary to express how bad that would be.

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Episode 8
What happens in horrific cult dens of heresy and stuff stays in horrific cult dens...and stuff.

If I believed in a transcendental being with the furious wrath of a thousand suns1, I would have prayed to him as we walked down the strangely accommodating carpeted corridor. Of course I don’t believe, I know and my knowledge spread before me in two glorious beings of death, Hecuter and handcannon the third. I bet the priest thinks it’s silly that I name my guns2, what does he know about the elegance of firepower? He knows nothing of the fire3, of the righteous, of the glory of the Emperor. I have seen him, you know. I have gazed upon his throne upon my sanctioning and I knew then what must be done.

Death to the heretic, the xeno, the mutant.

So we followed, the decaying servitor led us down corridor after corridor. Shortly, another data “storage” room was discovered, a separate servitor entered and began working on the consoles embedded in the bone pillar. Fire. Fury. They protect only so far. The screams pierced my body, my mind, but not my faith, nor my companions, and with the aid of Zak and Maza we ascertained a direction forward, and comport to do so. We left the room, following the first servitor once more to Biosculpture and Recovery.

What lay before us is not a scene I readily repeat4. For my sanity though I must5. Veins. Arteries. Blood vessels. These were the design of the place, twisted and manufactured in some hideous face of machine. Lining the walls, the carpet itself dried out capillaries, remnants of souls locked away in Gamma theta whatever the heretical fuck. Fire. Fury. A man. A thing. A victim lay upon a bed, an altar. Zak saw red. She moved. Mercy in her violence. His suffering ended instantly, I drew my blade and lay a mantra of respect upon his body as we triggered an alert. The report of the gun, perhaps? The mans death. Knowledge struck us then, Maza6 and I. We slipped backwards from sanity, sliding. Fear gripped us and whilst I know this cowardice shames us, to hide from it is to be ashamed. Zak…Zak was the best of us then. A techpriest7 in crimson robes and a face full of metal and heretical ideas stormed across us, demanding explanation, demanding to know what had become of his most promising subject, why had it become. In my fear I shot. I missed, mostly. A graze, Zak ended him. The best of us.

Time stretched then, in that room. Seconds passed slowly and in the haze of battle we pressed on. Answers lay here, lay behind us. Exploration, observation, spywork and inquisition. Fire and fury pressed on.

Down the way the priest had come we came to a much larger room, a hub of some sort. Inside many servitors worked on machines around the circular room. In the middle a projection of an immense warmachine, a titan8 of old lay, seemingly in a state of repair . Perhaps a progress report of kind and at the other end, 3 more of the priests. A quick setup of tactics and I slid in quiet and seamless into position, ready for ambush. Unfortunately as Zak and Maza moved they9 tripped something cutting off the projection. Two of the priests moved in to investigate whilst the third went to work on some unseen machine. Zak and Maza took cover, both their bodies and their senses shielded.

Heretics know much of the way of fear. They work it, they mould it, shape it to their dark design and their perversion of purpose. They know it…but they do not know of me. I strode then before them, I ripped from them bravery, courage. I left them knowing only me and the fury of the emperor behind me to see. One stumbled but steadied, stalwart in fear. The other I took time. Time enough for Maza.

Our priest is a humble man. Not a soldier. Not a warrior. Not a champion of the emperors light against the darkness10. He is but a man, but he is just. He is pure and he rose to meet them, the most vile and cursed techpriests11 I have ever laid eyes on…and he cleansed his will upon them, the d’kalu12 hellgun roaring between him and the unstunned man. There was fire, light, then darkness for a time…then a stench. As my eyes adjusted where stood two men stood one quivering child and death. Maza struck and the Omnissiah blessed him for he struck well.

I write this now in the heat of battle. Zak fires, the last man standing is hit, injured. Time for me stands still. We must continue, we must fight. We must kill and cleanse in his name.

But a nagging thought remains…why?13

annotations follow…

1 Frequently this entity is referred to as “the Emperor of Mankind”.

2 Merely presumptuous. What does the psyker know of the nature of the machine spirit? To suggest that a gun might not have a name is heretical, to name one yourself only arrogant.

3 The cleansing properties of fire may be exaggerated in popular mythology. Purification comes from exposure to a high-energy state, for it reflects the glorious power of the Omnissiah’s spiritual reactor, but fire itself is energetically inefficient for such a purposes, although, when the target of purification is of weak and treasonous flesh, fire may suffice.

4 Yet I sense he is about to.

5 Please note: I called it.

6 Please note: All actions, deeds and works wrought by beings here euphemistically termed “techpriests” by the well-meaning yet ill-informed author of this text are considered ANTI-CONFORMITATUS EXTREMIS according to sections #0-#86614 of the Abbreviated Codex of Standard Practices (External Distribution Ed.) of the Adeptus Mechanicum. The Adeptus Mechanicum does not sanction unauthorized modification of Standard Technological Practice. The methods in which the human body may be reused for industrial and computational purposes have been established for several deca-millenia, and to alter them is forbidden unto all.

7 CALL IT NOT BY THAT HALLOWED NAME. ABSOLUTE RENUNCIATION. CAST OUT INTO THE DARK. FOUL TWISTERS OF TECHNOLOGY AGAINST THE MEN AND WOMEN IT WAS CREATED TO SERVE.

8 It remains to be seen if the construct depicted is worthy of that illustrious name. One must take the very greatest of care when naming a device, for name implies purpose, and the purpose of the holy Titan is the Omnissiah’s work.

9 I am blameless.

10 Please note, a mis-characterization. The Omnissiah, praise His Body Of Works, is the very Light Most Precious and most worthy of protecting. What deed is there that could be more righteous than to preach the correct and safe use of the Omnissiah’s Bounty?

11 UNBROTHERS. UNPRIESTS. ADEPTUS ANTI-MECHANICUM!

12 The D’laku Hellgun is an abbreviation for the “D’laku Crusade pattern Hellgun” which was popularized through its use by several elite units in that conflict.

13 Because they turn foul what should be fairest.

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Episode 7
Maza reports: We can pack up and go home!

Imagine! All that concern and fretting, all for naught.

We were worried that something bad might be lurking in the darkness of the abandoned space station arm(it is), but it turns out our fears were unfounded(they aren’t). We requisitioned a void-pod, informing the guards that the qualified team of pilot and techpriest needed Rezrel along for a Basic Visual Inspection, which may be conducted by an untrained Mark I Eyeball, which happily Rezrel did happen to have two of in his skull(And a few more in his pocket).

Upon arriving at the Chalice arm of the station, which took almost an hour of spaceflight and during which Rezrel napped instead of actually performing the BVI, we found that the landing quay door was locked and would stay that way, there being nobody at the traffic controls. So we ventured through the Atmosfield port instead, usually reserved for asteroid intake.

The interior was freezing cold and the door was frozen shut with atmospheric moisture, but a (“)skilled(”) application of las-fire soon sorted out the problem. Thus, we gained access to the interior of the abandoned and quite well lit arm.

Nothing much interesting occurred inside. We found a pair of servitors carting more servitors, the latter inoperational. Inquiries made by Maza revealed that a group of unknown techpriests had only recently removed the cortical cybernetics from these units, for reasons equally mysterious. The group resolved to find out more, and Maza instructed the servitor to guide the group to the Biosculpting Theatre where the unidentified techpriests had last been seen.

Also, the psyker has been acting strangely lately. He threw a strange fit about some sort of pillar which nobody but he was allowed to look at(constructed from the polished smooth thigh bones of thousands of people, an active data node in which the essences of the arms inhabitants and workers had been…relocated). Well, he is Uninitiated(Sublimely suited in the realm of the horrific to save the sanity of those less able to manage), after all. Such people often act in irrational(messianic) ways.

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