Regicide- Mission Log


Seated in the war-room aboard the Fury Untold a scene unfolds under the glow of a hololith. In the room are the determined faces of Cell Alloy, as well as the ever-present Interrogator King and Inquisitor Grendel.
It is a static-laden feed clearly recovered from an optical bionic, the timestamp indicating it as being almost a year old. The image bobs and weaves in time with the hurried and low stance of its one-time owner as they traverse vaunted corridors of resplendent design and scale mighty walls engraven with reliefs of saints and heroes.
"Ossuar" comments Grendel. "A shrine world in the Thule sub-sector near Hulee V. Malik and her entourage were tracked here at the start of M41.818."
The feed continues, the owner of which was currently slinking their way through a narrow ventilation chute. Dozens of readouts flash across the screen almost too fast for the eye to see: heart rate, blood pressure, target analysis, glanding levels, atmospheric pressure. Suddenly the feed halts, and for a moment it appears to have frozen, but soon it becomes clear that the owner is simply remaining perfectly still. The heart-rate plummets, as does the respiratory pressure. High-yield audio sensors pick up the sounds of voices somewhere below the feed, but they are almost too muffled to make out.
"It is done" speaks one voice, a woman's, commanding, authoritative. It is a statement, not a question.
"It is done" confirms another, this time in a monotone blurt typical of the mechanicus.
A brief pause, the feed's timestamp trickling along as the seconds pass.
The woman's voice, again. "Cavallo? What is it?"
The next voice is a horror to behold, like the vocal chords have been burned and shredded too many times, reminiscent a grumbling tank engine.
"We're not alone…"
The feed suddenly shifts as the owner tumbles from their hiding place, their heart rate spiking into the high 300s in an instant. A wailing shriek smothers the audio feed and bright light floods the war-room. The next few moments are flashes, momentary glimpses of digitally torn video as the owner moves faster than the frames can keep up. Up flashes the image of a hulking mass of armour and blades before it is suddenly cut down by the flashing jab of a needle-laden gauntlet. A robed tech-priest enters the frame, concealed weapons sprouting from his outstretched hands before a vicious chop of a powered machete rends open his torso. Soon it is just the woman, tall, regal, an oddly unafraid. In one hand she clutches a chainsword, in the other a finely wrought bolter. In a flash the owner of the feed is upon her, blades and claws shredding her sword into fragments and plunging into her flesh. The feed becomes a red-ruin of carnage the likes of which remind you of the Stalker of Kalto. In nano-seconds the woman is nothing more than butcher's meat wrapped in shredded clothing. The feed owner eliminate over 200 others on their way to this moment, but never with such animalistic ferocity.
The feed jerks suddenly, and the blood-pressure readouts drop and a swathe of painkillers switch to "Active". The feed shifts perspective, looking down to the owner's torso where a long, thin blade protrudes from its chest. The feed is sent tumbling, the next few moments impossible to follow as the image spirals and clatters. It takes you a few moments to realise what the feed is showing, until it is recognisable it as a pair of disembodied legs pumping bright red arterial blood across the floor. The feed moves erratically, the owner's arms dragging it with surprising speed towards a set of armoured boots.
"Just die, creature!" spits the hideous voice heard before.
The feed jerks once more, and the EKG readout flatlines. Suddenly the feed is filled with angry red code as the glanding levels spike into overload. The feed begins to shake violently, and the mechanicus voice weakly spurts out a binaric command. The feed ends in a flash of white, followed by a the red-tinged phrase "FEED LOST"…

Cell Alloy returns to the Fury Untold after a short absence, their Interrogator Castus welcoming them back with a dossier outlining their next mission. Almost a year earlier an assassin sent by the Holy Inquisition had slain the rogue Inquisitor Malik, ending her heretical workings on the order of Lord Inquisitor Witch-Hunter Spiron Hark. Malik's primary crime took place before her death, as when she was operating under the name 'Genevieve Sesselie' she fought against Lord Inquisitor Hark's forces as part of the Vaxian Heresy, a massive civil war between factions in the Inquisition. Although Malik was slain, her warband of acolytes escaped and are believed to still be operating within Askellon. Their goal is unknown, but Inquisitor Grendel imparts on the Interrogator that whatever their intentions they must be stopped. Aboard the Fury Untold the Cell prepares for what is essentially a wet-work assignment. Gallach loads his weapons, eager to once again be taking the lives of heretics, while the tech-adept Gnaritas consumes the documentation on each of the members of the heretical warband and begins to analyse it for coincidences or links.

Malik's warband are believed to have separated across the expanse in pursuit of her final orders, her most loyal assets continuing her work beyond her death. The leader of this rogue cell seems to be a man named 'Dama', an ex-interrogator with prestigious psychic power. As Malik's second hand he has knowledge of the inner workings of the Inquisition. 'Margrave' and 'Cavallo' are heavily augmented with heretical implants, Margrave a tech-adept heretek and Cavallo and bionically enhanced assassin. Little information is known about Malik's assassin 'Gaja' but for his skill with a sniper rifle and stealth. The newest member of the heretical cell is 'Pion', a newly welcomed member of Malik's cell who had shown promise to himself once hold the rank of Inquisitor one day. Pion had been recently spotted at Port Lokhart at the edge of the system, and would be the starting point for Cell Alloy. The location of the others were only rumours and the Cell pours through their evidence packet in an attempt to locate the heretical agents.

[ Data Packet ]

Part 1: The Grey Man

Entry 1.1: Port of Call

[Planning aboard the Fury Untold]

A whole section of the Hub had been assigned to the acolytes, a mess of equipment and data-slates stacked over the many holographic displays. Planetary data rotated alongside holographic images of the planets themselves, lists of vessels docked in high orbit at a half dozen different stations. Grendel and King had left some hours earlier, and the familiar vibrations of warp travel had soon filled the 'Fury Untold'. Now only Alloy Cell filled the room, and Gnaritas and Gallach watched as Castus placed a very strange object on the wall. He had gone to the vaults of the 'Fury' to find it, a long obsolete piece of tech he used during his time as a junior Adeptus Arbites officer.
A wooden frame contained a piece of soft wood, now hung ceremoniously by Castus on the wall using a piece of white string. Five pictures were planted upon the board with sharp metal pins, one for each of the Cell's targets. It sat above them on the wall as they continued planning, a clear and present reminder of their goal as the 'Fury Untold' burned it's way towards Port Lokhart…

[The hunt begins]
The Fury Untold enters the warp and begins its journey towards Port Lokhart, the location of the first of the slain Inquisitor Malik's forces. Her acolyte codename 'Pion' had been spotted at the port some month earlier by an Inquisitorial contact. The warp journey to Enkidu takes only a few days, and during this time the acolytes pour over the information in the librarium about Port Lokhart. Analysing trade reports and provisioning manifests Gnaritas notes that the port is almost entirely dependent on Rogue Traders and Chartist Captains to survive, with the Navy spreading it's forces thin guarding the trailing borders of the sector. The current power on the Port is the House Serena, a powerful and ancient rogue trader house that explores beyond the sector. With most of the naval forces in the area assigned to the blockade over Hulee V the Port is only lightly occupied. Stopping at the forest world of Enkidu for a day the Fury soon breaches into the warp again towards Port Lokhart, it's crew pushing the ship to it's extremes at Captain Drake's order.

Travelling again the Cell sets to preparing their covers for entering Port Lokhart. Castus organises an Arbites warrant for the Port, a legal document allowing the Arbitrator 'Lothor Kanto' to investigate crimes against imperials on the station. Gallach organises transit papers under the name 'Ensign Lym' as a member of the Fury Untold's crew while Gnaritas simply slightly alters his data-identification to read as 'Adept Idun-0'. Gallach refits his naval coat to bear the markings of Port Lokhart, and Castus retrieves a dozen doses of tranq from the medicae bay as a means of subduing their target. The week in transit to Port Lokhart ends up being an over calculation, the ship's navigator Wilhelm von Trusst plying the warp with skill and causing the Fury Untold to arrive at Port Lokhart after 5 days, 12 days earlier than his modest predictions. The Port itself is a massive iron coloured ring that surrounds a small planetoid. Of unknown origin it had been occupied by the Imperial Navy for centuries and Adeptus Mechanicus personnel researching it's inner corridors. Boarding an arvus lander the Cell fly towards the ring, landing at Dock 67 and lodging papers with a hungover chief petty officer. He logs their visit and hands them a visitor pass, valid for 72 hours.

The clock ticking on their investigation the Cell spreads out into the Port. Gnaritas meets with the Adeptus Mechanicus contingent, maintaining his cover as a Fury Untold tech-adept here looking for rare parts. Tech-Priest Volka has none of the parts Gnaritas is pretending to acquire, and Gnaritas soon gains permission to do tech repairs and refits while he is on the Port. Castus goes directly to the Administratum, speaking to it's head official and having the arrival of 'Lothor Kanto' formally lodged. Striding aboard the station in full red and black carapace armour he looks every inch the image of an Adeptus Arbite, his newly changed face reflecting this with a stern square jawed expression. Meanwhile Gallach visits Dock 32, the location where Pion was recently spotted arriving at the Port. The dock is terribly guarded, with a game of cards keeping the deck crew so occupied they don't even notice Gallach accessing one of their terminals. He tracks Pion's arrival on the given date, determining that he arrived on the chartist ship Phobetor under the false name 'Vester Fans'. The ship had departed a week later without him on it, as he had applied and been accepted to work as a civilian contractor on the Port.

The Port is a mess of cramped corridors and wide streets, not dissimilar to the average Imperial hive, and as the time hits 0700 sidereal the artificial lighting is amplified as the day begins. But for all of it's importance the streets and passageways of Port Lokhart seem empty, almost all of the ships usually docked here currently blockading Hulee V and only essential personnel remaining behind to monitor the station. Castus launches straight into his investigations as the day begins, travelling by short-range mag rail to the Office of Naval Enforcement, a sub-organisation of Naval Security that deals with men and women stationed on bases such as this. At the Enforcement office he speaks to the officer in charge, Commander Albin, and is allocated a desk with access to the files on non-Naval crimes that had taken place aboard the station. As the Port had not seen an Arbites envoy for some time there are hundreds of data-slates and other documents, and Castus removes his helmet, orders a cup of kaf and begins to sort through the case files. Meanwhile Gallach had donned his civilian attire and was attending the Longshoreman, a local drinking hole for the lowlifes that inhabit the station. He finds out little, but befriends a few of the locals with fake stories of cowardice and dereliction of duties.

Gnaritas uses his repair remit to visit the station where janitorial servitors are repaired and docked. Moving within his accesses a cogitator, attempting to track the work of Vester Fans. Pion had maintained this alias, enlisting as a manual labourer and currently working in the edges of the station as part of a large clean up crew. Gnaritas places a work order for Pion to go to favourable location and contacts the Cell, reuniting with them in hiding near the work base of the labourer division. Attempting to spot Pion, the group struggles as a hundred odd workers return to the base and clock out at once, many wearing respirators or with dust-hoods obscuring their features. Realising they would not spot Pion amongst the crowd the Cell sets a plan in motion for the following day, the second of their 72 allocated hours on the Port. Gnaritas and Castus return to the Naval Enforcement office, sorting through the remaining data and finding an unsolved case that suits Castus' purpose while Gallach returns to the Longshoreman, trading a days drinking rations with a disgruntled rating for his shift guarding the labourers the following morning.

The next morning the Cell rises early and move to their positions. In Port Lokhart naval attire Gallach takes his shift as a guard for the labourers, purchasing a truncheon and moving with the men out of the station-proper and into the "dark zones" of the Port. Castus arrives in full Arbites attire, speaking to the Chief in charge of the work order and presenting him with his remit of investigation. It seems that a month earlier one of the workers had been strangled to death. The Navy had passed off the murder without investigation but as the man was an ex-administratum adept this gave Castus all the authority he needed to investigate the case. He organises with the Chief to accompany the work force to the dark zone, getting the names of those in the force and organising to interview the men individually over the day. Pion's false name, Vester Fans, is among those working today, and as the labour group moves out of the Port's well lit streets Cell Alloy prepare to close the net around the heretical acolyte.

Entry 1.2: Echoes of Vaxi

[Pandora's End]

Feigning weariness appropriate for the labour conditions he worked under, the Custodian trudged into the Civil-Servant Offices with hundreds of others garbed as he was - dreary grey overalls, heavy boots of vulcanized rubber, a cell-powered rotary mop, and a barely functioning rebreather clogged with space-dust. He wasn't tired of course, even a solid 12 hour shift of endless scrubbing would barely raise his heart-rate above resting, but appearances must be kept.
Swiping through his credentials, the terminal chimed indicating a new task had been assigned to him. Odd, given that the standing orders were to dedicate all works to completing the renovations to the dark-zone.
"Hey. Daniels! Did you get a works-order today for some shuck-job at the O.N.E.?" he called out to a colleague.
"Nah, mon. Jus' da dam dahk'zon, eh? Zee ya at da Mop & Bucke' for a drin' eh?"
Waving nonchalantly to Daniels, the Custodian pursed his lips and considered the irregularity. Was it happenstance? Or malicious… No. No cause for alarm just yet, but nevertheless he must be more careful. The task must be seen through to its conclusion. He owed them that much…

Moving out into the Dark Zone the custodial staff begin their work cleaning up the yet-uninhabited areas of Port Lokhart. Back in the Port Gnaritas clashes with a technical clerk who had his work order for Pion added to the end of his work cue, rather than the start of it. Meanwhile under the name 'Arbitrator Lothar' Castus begins interrogating the workers in the custodial area, getting the name and residence of each worker under the illusion of finding the murderer of the man strangled a week earlier, Mr. Whatts. Finding some evidence a gang might be involved in the murder Castus also undercovers a ring of Adminstratum personnel giving out additional rations and equipment before finally the time comes to interview 'Vester Fans', the alias given by Pion upon entering the Port. While Gallach stays to watch Pion Castus and Gnaritas search Vester Fans' given address, finding it to be a false lead as the room belongs to another man. As the days work ends Gallach finds that Vester had left his post, tracking him out into the Dark before his track becomes too hard for even Gallach's augmented eyes to follow.

Their target gone to ground the Cell settles in to find what his goal on the Port was. Gnaritas gains access to the Administratum records and finds Vester's home address, and with the use of a multi-key the Cell are soon within his actual address. Turning over the room they soon find a hidden compartment and within the remnants of a small fire. The metal container had been set alight recently, it's contents now charred and scorched. They find a few scraps of paper containing the phrases "fear of Immaterium" and "safe room" while Gnaritas retrieves a mostly destroyed data-slate. Leaving the room how they find it the Acolytes retreat to their safe house, and using his internal reservoir Gnaritas manages to repower the data-slate. Mostly corrupted he does manage to find the words "Bishop", "Stygies" and "Lucidity". In vox contact with the adepts aboard the Fury Untold the Cell investigates the meanings of these phrases. Bishop refers to a regicide piece, possibly a code-phrase meant to refer to an individual by Malik's cell. The Stygies Cluster is a group of stars within Askellon, while Lucidity is the name of a chartist vessel that operates within the aforementioned Stygies Cluster.

Gnaritas returns to the Fury Untold to complete more research in the vast librarium, while Gallach and Castus track down one of Vester's associates, a man named Daniel. Taking Daniel from a bar the pair interrogate the worker, but he seems to know nothing about the man he believes to be his friend. Posing his murder as a gang killing the pair leave Daniels in an alleyway, meeting back with Gnaritas who had compiled two massive dossiers. The first is on Pion, who it turns out is a member of family dating back to Vaxi. It seems that his family had been killed alongside 30 million other civilians by a naval officer named Commodore MacCrae. Pion was descendent from a line of Vaxian pilots, and Gnaritas had uncovered the fact that the Inquisition had eight slightly different DNA records on file for Pion. It seemed that Pion was a name used by either different operatives, all serving Malik. The second dossier relates to MacCrae, who had been rewarded for his work on Vaxi with a plush administrative job at none other than Port Lokhart. He had been lauded for both his retaking of Port Lokart from secessionists and his slaughter of civilians on Vaxi and had resided here ever since in the rank of Rear-Admiral.

The other murders undertaken by Malik's cell had all been against those who had gone beyond the rules of war to decimate the population of Vaxi, a profile that Rear-Admiral MacCrae well and truly met. Castus attempts to meet with MacCrae, rebuffed at first before he drops the name Vaxi and is allowed access. MacCrae is a short and overweight man, his nobility and life of leisure giving him an odorous sense of self worth. He doesn't believe Castus' warnings at first, but eventually the weight of evidence convinces him that an attempt on his life is in motion. He notes that his security on the station is impenetrable, as he only leaves his quarters in the case of a warp storm. It so happens that a storm is set to occur in twelve days and MacCrae has a long standing plan to retreat to his ship, Pandora's End and stay safe within his personal safe room. Remembering the notes from Pion's quarters the Cell realises this is the location of the assassination attempt, Pion avoiding the Admiral's usual heavy security to hit him in the relative safety of his own ship.

Believing themselves to know their enemies plans the Cell puts plans in motion to catch the assassins in a trap of their own. Imbedding Castus and Gallach in MacCrae's personal bodyguards the group organises for the Astropaths and Navigators of Port Lokhart to push the announcement of the warp storm sooner, forcing the Pions to act if they wanted to catch the Admiral in his safe room. With the announcement shutters and lowered across the Port and naval personnel retreat to the relative safety of the gellar fielded ships in dock. The Admiral retreats to Pandora's End, protected by the Cell and four personal guards. Aboard his decedent and opulent ship the Cell arrives at a massive adamantine door inscribed with arcane runes, the Admirals "safe room" none other than an archeotech artefact. As the klaxons still sound from the false warp storm Castus and Gallach move into the room with MacCrae, the dark of the room cancelling their senses and leaving them in pure darkness. Minutes pass as the pair wait with the Admiral, while outside Gnaritas stands among the other guards. His recording units running his data-processes make a computation that flashes red in his heads up display. The other guards have a 98% DNA match to each other.

Gnaritas retreats from the chamber, locking it behind him and beginning to find a way to flood the area with a gas that would knock out the four Pions arrayed before the safe room. Meanwhile the door to the safe room opens, and Castus, Gallach and the Admiral appear out of the darkness. The other guards are arranged around them, long bone coloured pistols pointed at the group as they speak. Four similar voices say the same thing as they raise their strange xenos pistols: "For Vaxi". Castus goes down first, throwing his body in front of the Admiral and being hit by three electrified darts. The pulse of energy overloads his senses and he can only lie still and watch as Gallach ducks the dart intended for him. Drawing his pistol Gallach guns down two of the men, while the other two put a dart into both him and the Admiral. From outside Gnaritas can only watch as the remaining Pions draw small blades and plunge them into the neck of the helpless Admiral. Moving to leave the pair are surprised to find the doors locked and unable to break Gnaritas' system lock they simple look at each other, nod, and slit their own throats.

Entry 1.3: Eight Assassins

[Within Port Lokhart]

Something was awry. Something was wrong. Pion the Custodian had not been seen for two whole days - whatever the reason it was enough to send him into deep hiding. Furthermore the immaterium tsunami had struck quicker than anticipated, forcing us into action early. The plan was hastily advanced. We hate it when our hands are forced. Even now Pions the Protectors and Pions the Ratings should be completing their assignment. If Pion the Custodian could not be located by the time the task was done he would be left behind. He knew the risks. They all knew the risks. They would not let them down. No matter the cost. But for now we must ride out the storm and await confirmation.

[Baiting the 'Pions']
As the four of the Pions lie dead Gnaritas rushes back to his friends aid, administering an antidote to the fast acting paralytic venom in their blood streams. The group quickly formulates a plan, bundling the Rear-Admiral's body into the safe room as Castus alters his face to match the Admirals. Nearly a foot too tall, he hunches as Gnaritas administers false injuries to his legs and torso. Meanwhile Gallach stages the bodies of the Pions and the slain Naval Security troops. Soon it appeared that the four Pion's had been gunned done or cut apart by the naval officers and Gnaritas places a permenant lock upon the safe room to dissuade any curious guards. And with that the Cell moves out of the room, Gallach moving ahead as a limping Castus pretends to be the wounded Rear-Admiral. They are spotted by a number of patrols and minor officers, but Gallach's knowledge of naval procedure and Castus' expert acting manage to convince those they pass. An alert is soon put out on the Pandora's End, an assassination attempt on the Admiral reported to have failed. Leaving the Pandora the group returns to the Rear-Admiral's own quarters aboard Port Lokhart, locked doors opened by his gaudy command baton.

Back within the safety of the Rear-Admiral's private quarters the Cell sets to baiting out the remaining Pions. An announcement is sent out to claim the Admiral's survival and Castus assumes the role of an injured but still arrogant Admiral. The staff in the HQ are sent to the Office of Naval Enforcement to be vetted one at a time, a good distraction at the least and possibly even another net with which to catch the Pions. Meanwhile the Cell sets up in the Rear-Admiral's office, Gallach advising Castus on naval procedure and Gnaritas retrofitting the Admiral's personal medical suite to be able to scan for DNA. One by one the Cell allow the Pions openings with which to attack. Food servitors, guards returning to duty and a personal doctor who is fooled by Gnaritas' false injuries on Castus. But the Pions do not strike and after a few days the Cell decides to allow more of an opening. Requests had been coming in for meetings with the Rear-Admiral and Castus decides to host a dinner for the Port's upper echelons to lure out any would-be attackers.

With most of the naval officers away at Hulee V the invitation list is short. From the navy there would be Captain Casper of the Albacore and Captain Marcin of the Silver Spear, as well as Commander Albin, the head of the Office of Naval Enforcement. Civilian guests would include the Head Astropath on station, Gerard of the Navis Nobilte and Dr Cominksi the station head-physician. The group dine on the finest food from across the sector, and Castus plays the part of the Rear-Admiral flawlessly. Gallach scans the faces of those present, but despite Castus' attempts to incite anger those present react normally to prompting. Intending to encourage another attack Castus reveals that one of the assassins was captured and is being interrogated, hoping that the men present would leak this information back to the Pions. The dinner is a success by social standards, but the assassins do not strike. The guests gone Gnaritas collects the cutlery of those present, running through his makeshift DNA tester and finding that one present had a 97% match to the blood of Urial Severa. Captain Casper was a Pion.

The next morning Castus invites Captain Casper to attend him on official business, lacing the amasec with tranq and embiding a glanding agent to ignore the effects himself. The captain arrives as ordered, and after some jostling is encouraged to drink. Spying from the Admiral's safe room Gallach and Gnaritas scrutinise him for any sign of treachery, and as he stumbles slightly from the effects of the tranq they notice a bulge in his coat that could only be a concealed weapon. Rushing from the hidden room they fall upon the man even as he draws his xenos pistol. With truncheons they lay into him, Gnaritas grabbing him from behind as Gallach and Castus pummel him until his eyes roll back into his head and he passes out. In the struggle he manages to pierce Castus' throat with his blade, his cry of "for Vaxi" muffled by Gnaritas' hands. Moments later Castus begins to bleed from the eyes as the blade causes blood vessels to clot in his brain, but Gnaritas' expert medical skills save the Interrogator from the murderous attack. Seconds had passed since the attack and outside the guards stand unaware as the unconscious Captain Casper is bundled back to the sound proof safe room.

Casper is interrogated for a day, revealing himself to indeed by a Pion. He refers to himself as "Pion the Captain" and reveals that three Pions remain on the station. One, 'The Custodian', has gone into hiding while the other two are performing their own tasks that he is not aware of. Under the careful interrogation of Castus he eventually gives up that one of his allies, 'Bishop' is heading towards a "world of mud and rain and madness". Realising this to be the world of Temperance the group discerns that 'Bishop' is going there to assassinate another member of the war on Vaxi. The Cell is torn. On the one hand there were still three Pions free on Port Lokhart, but the warp storm was approaching and if the investigation wasn't completed in ten days the Fury Untold could be becalmed here for a month or more. Castus is eager to stay and finish the job here, while Gnaritas logically suggests the primary objective of the mission was more important that the success of this secondary one. Eventually the Cell voxes the Fury Untold, giving Interrogator Castus' decision.

Half a day later an arvus lighter from the Fury Untold departs, while another unregistered lander arrives at the Rear-Admiral's private docks. Aboard are five figures, the pilot Corvath leading a group of naval trained Fury armsmen to reinforce Castus and help find the remaining Pions. The departing arvus holds Gallach and Gnaritas as well as the Pion still held prisoner. Gallach and Gnaritas were to continue the mission to Temperance to hunt down this 'Bishop'. Meanwhile Castus would remain behind with his reinforcements to hunt down the remaining Pions, interrogating them and sending any information he finds to the Fury Untold. He would also use his place as Rear-Admiral to set up Inquisitorial agents in positions of power on Port Lokhart and make the transition to a new commander of the Port as smooth as possible. The Fury Untold burns away from Port Lokhart as the warp storm swells on the horizon, slipping into the warp to continue the hunt without the Cell's leader.

M41.819 Rear-Admiral MacRae of Port Lokhart is brought up on charges of ineffective command and corruption of the highest degree and sentenced to exile. His replacement, Rear-Admiral Vantchev, is a decorated hero of the Spinward front and considered a consummate tactician with few peers.

Part 2: The Ghost

Entry 2.1: Cell Medusa

[The Fury Untold plies the void]

Gallach approached the cell, as he had for the twenty days before. The excrutiator drone hovered above him, waiting to unleash it's painful array of torture tools. The Pion sat on the floor before him, hands and feet bound by heavy iron chains and his white naval uniform long since drenched through with blood. Grendel could have plucked the information from the man's mind in an hour, but he wanted Gallach to practice his craft. And so day after day after day the man was beaten, cut and burned, hours of torture for what little information he had.
And every day when Gallach left the Pion smiled, for he knew that the pawn was most useful when it was sacrificed.

[A new target]
As the Fury Untold enters the warp towards Ossuar, it's first stop on the fifty day journey to Temperance, Inquisitor Grendel sets about reforming his investigation into the heretical agents of Inquisitor Malik. His first order of business is promoting Gallach to the rank of Interrogator. A rank he had previously refused Gallach now saw the need as well as seeing himself of more worthy of the position. He undergoes the psychic conditioning and training needed for the position, his rosette created and his mind psychically probed. During this event Grendel uncovers the psychic conditioning put in by Gallach's once-ally Gavriel. Gallach had tracked down Gavriel after the events on Desoleum but had had his mind wiped by the psyker in the process. Finding this out Grendel reveals to Gallach that Gavriel was to be part of his new Cell, but Gallach requests the information be re-hidden. The pair argue for a spell but Grendel eventually cedes to Gallach's wishes, reforming the block on his memory.

During the journey to Ossuar, as Gallach undergoes his indoctrination, Gnaritas plies the libraries of the Fury Untold for information on the remaining members of Malik's warband. Researching Gaja he finds that the man had lived on Vaxi before the war and had fought a private war against Imperial personnel, in particular those of the Adeptus Arbites. His alias, the "white death" had been considered killed during the conflict. Cavallo bore the scars of vaxi as well, her body heavily burned when the forces of Zariel Horst smashed their way into the hive she was helping to defend. Piece by piece Gnaritas' research makes sense of the previous murders, and gives hints at those to come. Many, like Dama, lost their families at the hands of the Imperial soldiers, slaughtered as so many were in the purges. He had already gotten his revenge on the Gnshal Oblitia Dragoons through the murder of General Vole. Margrave's history on the other hand doesn't seem to relate to Vaxi, the defining event for the tech priest betrayal by a major navigator family. But all involve trauma at the hands of Imperial personnel. Malik's story is even harder to uncover, lost documents linking her back to a group of assassins who worked directly for the Heretical Lord Romanov during the Vaxian Atrocity barely surviving the purge. Data-slate after data-slate are filled by Gnaritas with the stories of Malik's cell, and the core elements start to paint a picture of what drove these men and women to heresy.

Arriving at Ossuar a meeting is arranged aboard the Fury Untold. In this meeting Gallach is formally promoted to Interrogator while Gnaritas is given command of a seperate group to head an investigation on behalf of Inquisitor Sabela. Leading a group of armsmen and tech personnel Gnaritas departs on urgent business, switching ships with a simple heartfelt goodbye to Gallach of "our mission compatibility was within acceptable perimeters". His allies gone Gallach sets about recruiting his new Cell, designated 'Cell Medusa' after the ship on which the new-Interrogator once served. He sifts through Inquisitor Grendel's agents, looking for men he trusts to fight alongside. With so many allies dead and Coldo still indentured on Burrard II he picks two active agents to join him. Meanwhile the Fury Untold continues on from Ossuar, heading towards Temperance guided by the expert hand of the navigator Wilhelm von Trusst. They pass the hive planet of Orinoca and stop to resupply before forging onwards to Juno, riding the processional warp route with dozens of other ships.

At Juno the ship stops to pick up the first of Medusa's new cell members. Davrus Octavius looked very different to the last time Gallach had seen him, pierced by the plague sword of a daemon in the depths of the Amber Spyglass. His body had been burned, but enough pure cells remained to be returned to his family. Unwilling to lose the knowledge and experience Davrus provided to the family the Octavius nobility donated a preposterous amount of Inquisitor Sabela to rebuild their favoured son. Years of biological and bionic replacement took place as Sabela and her expert surgeons and tech-adepts rebuilt Davrus literally from the ground up. He greets Gallach as an old friend, his still-golden eyes shining with targeting data. As an assassin Davrus was without peer in Sabela's agents, and the resurrection process had removed his ability to harness his once-potent psychic powers. The second new cell member was another old friend, but Gavriel Zane's journey back to the Imperium was very different to Davrus'. He was captured after escaping on Desoleum, sent by Inquisitor Grendel to Terra to be sanctioned and sacrificed to the Emperor. He survived the process and returned as an astropath, his psychic powers enhanced and his faith in the Emperor renewed. Grendel allowed him back into service and he had been in-action on Temperance ever since.

During the journey to Temperance Gallach plies his new trade on the captured Pion. Days of interrogation are fruitless, Pion tortured to near-death and helped back to health over and over. Eventually after twenty days he breaks, revealing that the 'Bishop' at Temperance is the sniper Gaja. He also reveals that each acolyte of Malik's was given an individual mission, all based around the assassination of someone involved in the Vaxian Atrocity. Margrave had been sent to "murder a man who can see truth in a storm of chaos. where the Imperium ends and Askellon begins, on a world where the privileged bicker and fight over scraps of yesteryear" while Cavallo was instructed by Malik to "murder a family which deals without faces, where the cyclopean blue eye of a goddess shines upon the wicked and the deceitful". Of Dama's mission Pion is unsure, but reveals that his callsign is 'Queen'. After days more of torture the Pion is broken, eager to find his death. Gallach gives it to him, his first execution as an Interrogator a bolt round to the head of the captive.

Twenty seven days after leaving Port Lokhart, far less than the fifty predicted, the Fury Untold comes into orbit above Temperance. Temperance was once seen as a viable agricultural land, but near constant storms and rain led to years of ill treatment of it's populace. This led to all out revolt only put down when the Adeptus Arbites arrived and wrestled back control of the planet. This is a control they had not relinquished, the primary city of Bastion a fortress of Adeptus Arbites and their locally sourced deputies. The other city, Beacon, is in control of the other faction on the world, the Sons of Temperance. A near-heretical Imperial cult the Sons rose during Temperance's time of strife and have managed to survive despite the Arbites heavy presence. It is this group that Gavriel had been investigating on planet. The planet is ruled by the Twelve, a group of Arbites who commanded the original twelve legions of troops who landed to pacify the planet. Based on Gaja's history the Cell deduces it is one of the Twelve that the sniper intends to kill, but which they are unsure. The Fury sits in high anchor above the rain swept planet as the newly formed Cell Medusa plan their investigations on Temperance.

Entry 2.2: Fist Full of Thrones

[Approaching the city of Bastion]

With each step, the Hunter grew ever thankful for his pain-deadened nerves lost so many years ago. The sun had baked the ground into a hard-packed clay, completely unforgiving to any who dared tread the surface during the hot summer months. Rains wouldn't be due for another week at best, at which time the entire plain would be covered in a flash flood several meters deep. The Hunter had to be sure he was in position by then, so hefting the case twice again as large as he was he trudged onwards into the shimmering horizon…

[Landing on Temperance]
In orbit above Temperance Octavius' substantial contact network returns a data-packet on the Legion of Twelve, the Arbites who control Temperance. They dwell within the Tower of Conviction in the city of Bastion, only seven of the original twelve still living. The names Dewitt, Klerk, Van Heel, Marike, Vigis, Daalen and Bulle are recorded as the surviving Twelve members. The Fury Untold scans the nearby ships and finds that the Lucidity was already in system. Assuming Gaja would have already deployed to the surface the Cell prepares to make landfall, making contact with their man on the ground and scanning the area outside of Bastion for a safe place to set down. Gallach's gun-cutter burns through Temperance's atmosphere and down towards Bastion in the dead of night, the pilot cutting engines and drifting to avoid any Bastion orbital scanning. Dropping Octavius from high altitude the assassin clears a nearby cave of local wildlife and Gallach sets down the cutter. As the cell auxiliaries begin to set up camp and cook a meal a figure approaches the entrance to the cave.

Gavriel and Gallach grasp arms as they are reunited, both markedly changed from the last time they had fought together on Desoleum. The sentiment does not last long and soon the Cell are planning their entrance into Bastion. They would enter the city in disguise as farm workers, complete with flame weapons and IDents produced by Gavriel. On Bastion it is illegal to carry weapons, but every man is allocated a promethium ration to help fight mind-mould, a fearsome spore that infects the brain with lethal results. Gavriel and Gallach would speak to the locals and try to ascertain who among the Twelve might be Gaja's target. Octavius would try to track the assassin's landfall from the Lucidity. Bastion is a glorified shanty town, the massive black tower in its centre the only real sign of the Imperium. A wall stands around the city, an attempt for fortify it long ago, and buildings are built on stilts to avoid the common flooding. Moving among the other rag-clad beggars Gavriel and Gallach speak to the locals about the Twelve. They find that all Twelve were thought to have fought in some long ago far off war, but get no more specific information to help narrow down Gaja's target. Meanwhile at the spaceport Octavius finds no effective comms hubs for him to hack into, and meets the cell at the end of the day frustrated.

At the 'Shanty Teahouse' the cell make plans to infiltrate the Tower of Conviction to gather information on the Twelve. Realising that with his skills at stealth and ballistic prowess they would never be able to track down Gaja they decide to find out what they can about his target to narrow down the avenues of attack. Stowing their illegal weapons Gavriel and Gallach head towards the tower, the massive black steel tower visible from anywhere in the city. Gavriel psychically alters his features to look like Gallach and soon the "Givens brothers" enter the Tower of Conviction. Led downstairs the pair are given Deputy uniforms and begin their training. Meanwhile Octavius enters two floors down, shimmying through vents to reach an abandoned tech station in the tower basement. Hacking into a cogitator Octavius copies across a list of shuttles landing from the Lucidity and the passengers registered as arriving on Temperance from the ship. During their training Gavriel and Gallach attempt to talk to their fellow deputies about the Twelve, but find most are too fearful to help. It seems that the Twelve are the only Arbites on Temperance, the other law enforcement a 200,000 strong force of Deputies.

Leaving the Tower of Conviction Octavius stows aboard a shuttle painted midnight blue. Hiding out among the cargo he soon finds himself aboard Lucidity, high in anchor above Temperance. Dodging patrols he hacks into a system cogitator, narrowing down his searches at lightning speed as he copies passenger manifests and landing data to his internal cogitator. Sneaking onto another lander he discovers that Lucidity is dealing illegal alcohol to the population of Temperance, witnessing the bribing of a dock official as he leaves the space port and returns to the gun-cutter. Nestled within the cutter he cross references names from the Lucidity manifests against those from the Tower, running computations that reveal that one man that boarded from the mining world of Pellenne had not logged into the Bastion system. No records existed of this 'Erna Hienrats' but Octavius seemed sure this was the alias Gaja had arrived under three days earlier. Meanwhile at the Tower Gavriel and Gallach are undergoing their final tests to be made deputies. Captured citizens are to be burned alive, their drill-master Sheriff Dayputy grinning sickly through the whole event. Gavriel is reluctant and watches in shock as Gallach burns the men with glee.

Now officially deputies Gallach and Gavriel ask around the Tower of Conviction about the Twelve. It seems that all Twelve did indeed serve of Vaxi, their organisation responsible for infiltrating groups of Vaxian refugees and leading them into traps. Inquiring in the Tower three names come up again and again. Lord Proctor Vigis, Intelligencer Van Heel and Proctor Daalen. The next morning as Octavius finalises his research Gavriel and Gallach go on their first patrol, shocked to find that the deputies seem to be little more than jumped up thugs. Their squad leader, Senior Deputy Dihk, beats beggars and steals drugs from drug addicts to sell or use himself. He grabs thrones from the alms trays of the beggars for his own pocket and forces the other deputies to do the same. The void between Gavriel and Gallach seems to widen during a raid on an obscura den, as Gavriel witnesses his old friend viciously gunning down local drug dealers. When Gallach begins to burn the remaining obscura Dihk grows angry, having intended to sell the drugs to line his own pocket. Giving a false apology Gallach voxes Octavius.

Entering a nearby drug den the fourth deputy in the group is struck from behind by Gallach as Octavius leaps from hiding and tackles Deputy Dihk to the ground. His criminality assured Gallach had determined Dihk to be a valuable source of information. Octavius administers a near lethal dose of obscura to the other deputy, putting him in a deep sleep, while Gallach draws his knife and begins to interrogate Deputy Dihk. Under the blade Dihk reveals that Lord Proctor Vigis had indeed been on Vaxi, with corroborating stories about her involvement in torture and executions there being whispered by others in the Twelve. She had suffered her injuries there and was now a recluse, barely leaving her floor of the Tower of the Conviction. Her right hand man was Intelligencer Van Heel. A torturing and spymaster of the highest order, Van Heel kept order in Bastion through a network of spies and assassins. The final potential target is Proctor Daalen, a large man known for his public raids against heretics. Daalen was a suppression squad leader before joining the Twelve and continued this work, often leaving the Tower of Conviction to raid potential heretics within Bastion. Daalen had been missing for some weeks. The interrogation complete Octavius gives the captured deputies a lethal dose of obscura and Gallach starts a fire in the run down hovel. Before the building is consumed however another patrol of deputies arrives, dragging the scorched bodies from the flames. The cell had not found Gaja, but with such tempting targets as the three responsible for torturing his family they were sure he would strike out against the Twelve eventually.

Entry 2.3: A Few Thrones More

[Mega-Grox ply Temperance's deserts]

Gerrit nudged the smoking body with the toe of his steel-capped boot, sniffing derisively at the offending smell of burning cloth and flesh. Filthy savages - they weren't worth the promethium, but messages must be made loud and clear: duster-scum have no place on Temperance. Assured the raider was expired, the Deputy hunched down and began rifling through the corpse's pockets, his face breaking into a rotten-toothed smile as his questing fingers brushed a handful of thrones still warm from the embrace of flames which had consumed their previous owner. Stuffing his ill-gotten gains into his jacket, Gerrit stood and surveyed the site of carnage surrounding him. Elsewhere Deputies looted and scavenged from the dead just as he had done. It was a good attack - clean, catching the Dusters by surprise. Looking towards the hulking steel prize still splattered with raider-blood, Gerrit grinned again. It was a good day's hunting indeed.

[Travelling across Temperance]
Octavius vacates the scene with Deputy Dihk's IDent badge just as a second deputy patrol arrives. He makes his way to the Tower of Conviction, gaining access via a poorly guarded vehicle bay and easily sourcing a set of deputy's garb. Now dressed as a deputy he uses Dihk's IDent to gain access to the upper floors. He discovers that the first 25 floors are deputy run, armouries and accomodation for the thousands of armed men. Above 25 the Tower of Conviction houses the Imperial presence on the planet. Adminstratum Adepts type at massive cogitators on floors of data-looms while on other levels the Ecclesiarchy and Adeptus Mechanicus hold sway over their own personal fortresses. Infiltrating a group in the Adminstratum floor Octavius easily hacks into the main cogitator bank. Once in he discovers that the Proctor's disappearance is known by the Tower, and that investigations into him had led to the Sons of Temperance. The Sons of Temperance were the semi-Imperial cult that run the second major city of Temperance; Beacon. He gathers information on Sons of Temperance movements within the city of Bastion before trying to go higher into the Tower. Leaping between moving elevators he uses his magnetic grip and unnatural agility to ride elevators to the top of the Tower. There he finds an opulent area heavily guarded and is forced to retreat back to the lower levels.

Meanwhile Gallach and Gavriel had been escorted back to the Tower of Conviction. They are confined to quarters and soon visited by Abitrator Marike. One of the Legion of Twelve, the Arbitrator investigates all internal deputy matters. He soon grows frustrated, Gallach and Gavriel successfully skirting his questioning. He orders them locked in and the pair soon realise this internal investigation was not going to simply blow over. They vox Octavius, still in the tower incognito as 'Deputy Dihk' and hatch a plan to escape. Approaching the doorway to the barracks Octavius strikes, knocking out both of the guards with expert blows from his borrowed truncheon. Soon the pair are tied to the steel beds and the Cell leave through the front door of the Tower of Conviction. Hurrying away from the tower they collect their possessions from Gavriel's bolt-hole, changing into local attire as Gallach goes to purchase some beasts of burden for travel. A pair of leathery grox-breed called mukali are bought at a good price and soon the Cell are riding out of Bastion into the scorching wastes of Temperance.

Making their way out of Bastion the group rides towards the hidden gun-cutter, shawls wrapped around their faces to keep off the painful heat. After a short distance the group realises they are being tailed, Octavius dropping behind to observe three heavily armed figures on their own mukali following at a distance. The Cell splits as Gallach leads one of the men away. Turning a corner the tailing man is stops as he notices Gallach's shotgun pointed straight at him. Without a word the man reaches to draw his pistol. Hearing a boom echoing down the gully from Gallach's gun the other men rush towards Gavriel on the back of their mukali. Drawing two pistols Gavriel drops to a knee and hammers both men off their mounts with precision groupings. The men wear local duster coats and carry heavy pistols, not the usual modded autorifles of the dust wasters. One of the survivors is interrogated by Gallach, revealing with his last breaths that the men work for Intelligencer Van Heel. They had been tailing the group since Bastion, looking for a time to strike. Collecting the bodies the Cell rides towards the gun-cutter, riding their mukali aboard and instructing Ensign Patrick to begin the pre-flight sequence.

The cutter lands near Beacon just before dawn the following day and the Cell are soon once again mounted on their mukali. Beacon was the first proper Imperial settlement on the planet, ordered streets and tall Imperial structures sitting next to a salt lake. In the centre of the city stands a massive golden cathedral to the Emperor. However during the event known as the 'Long Night' the faith of the people failed, turning to a figure known as "the Saviour" and titling themselves the Sons of Temperance. They ran the city now and had only a temporary peace with the inhabitants of Bastion. Riding through the city's golden plated gates the Cell spreads out to talk to the locals, inquiring about the missing Proctor. The locals are polite but ultimately know nothing about the missing Proctor. Octavius visits the temple at the centre of the city, discovering that Beacon is run by a commune of a thousand priests of the Sons of Temperance. Amidst the priests he hears talk of the 'Queen Devil', referring to the Lord Proctor of Bastion. The priests speak of worship free of the Ecclesiarchy and the Imperium and soon Octavius leaves, the heresies of the Sons not his current concern. Agreeing amongst themselves that after the present matter they would return to Beacon with fire and steel the Cell mounts up and rides out of the 'golden city'.

Their leads in Beacon drying up Gallach puts into play his backup plan. The Cell load up their mukali with weapons and provisions and go to a nearby watering hole. The hope was to attract some local dust wasters, trading weapons and supplies with them for information about Gaja or the missing Proctor. Sitting by the camp fire the group soon attract attention. Not from a dust waster raider group but a single man. Martyrn is a man with skin as black as tar who approaches with a sign of peace. He shares the fire and rations with the Cell and trades a heavy pistol and some promethium for information. The Proctor was last seen committing a raid on Thirdstone, the cursed third city of Temperance. He had arrived there weeks ago but had not left as far as Martyrn was aware. Thanking him for his information the Cell rides back to the cutter, where the auxiliaries had just finished burying the bodies of Van Heel's hounds.

A thousand miles away sits the ruin of Thirdstone. Built to be the new capital of Temperance it fell overnight as it's entire population vanished without a trace. Since they time it had been forbidden to travel there. Riding through it's gates the Cell sees quickly what that law had achieved. Drunkards and drug addicts line the streets, with obscura dens openly selling their wares away from the eyes of the law. Every man carries a weapon and gunfire is a near-constant background noise alongside laughter and screaming. Gavriel is particularly uncomfortable, reporting that the entire city has a massive psychic aura. Taking directions from a local rough the Cell makes their way to the centre of the city where a hulking glass cathedral still stands. Intended to be the jewel of the planet it's lights are now dimmed, barely illuminating the glass structure. Moving inside the group soon find what they are looking for. The Proctor hangs from heavy chains, his head removed and his body mutilated by whoever took his life. As they pull down the man for identification a voice rings out from behind them. An oily looking man in fine clothes leads a group of two dozen gang members, each armed with a ramshackle collection of stub weapons. The man introduces himself as Aldert, demanding that the Cell present their weapons and thrones as payment for leaving. With a sigh Gallach raises his rifle, putting a heavy calibre round cleanly through Aldert's arm. All hell breaks loose as bullets ping off ancient glass and firebombs explode amongst the ganger ranks. An hour later the Cell leaves Thirdstone, the body of the Arbitrator hauled over their Mukali.

Entry 2.4: Bad Day at Red Rock

['Red Rock' gully]

The slim barkeep was rubbing the sooty rag against he steel counter as the Skulker approached, a futile effort to clean the surface barely helped by the regular wads of spit he added to the rag. The Skulker ordered a drink, slipping the bartender a sum nearly five times the cost of the drink in a loose collection of thrones and newly minted beacon coins. The skulker merely nodded towards a group in the corner of the dusty room and the bartender started speaking, this wasn't the first time a gang skulker had used 'the thrice cursed' bar as a source of information.
"Newbies, came in pretty 'eavy night before last."
The bartender's augmented voice whispered away as the Skulker observed the newcomers for himself. In the corner two of them sat away from the crowds, nursing glasses of Thirdstone's finest whiskey. One leant against the crumbling wall, lho in hand as his eyes dart across the crowd. A worn shotgun leans next to him, the filed down markings of Bastion Deputies still visible. The other man drinks heavily but shows no effects of the strong liquor. He is handsome and sits with an acrobats grace despite his heavy clothing. The third man has joined another table. Buying a round of drinks he slips seamlessly into their midst, sharing stories about Thirdstone with the ease of a practiced con man. All three wear worn dusters meant for men other than them.
"…as I was saying they had a run in with Aldert's lot up at the Light'ouse. Killed two dozen men I 'ear, all with flames. Way I see it-"
The Skulker interrupted, speaking at last in a low rasping voice: "Two dozen you say? Now that is curious…"

[A gunfight]
Tests aboard the cutter reveal the body to indeed be that of Proctor Daalen, beheaded about five days ago by the blades of a chainsword. Another lead cut off the Cell heads back into Thirdstone to see if Gaja made his way through here when arriving at the planet. They saunter into the Mopping Servitor, a run-down bar named for the long since mad servitor who furiously mops the same square metre of floor in the corner of the bar. The Cell spreads out, buying drinks for locals and sharing lho sticks as they probe them for information. No landers had come to Thirdstone in living memory, and those that might land outside of town were not recorded in any concrete way. The Barkeep reports seeing no ships bearing the colours of the Lucidity and no-one matching the description of Gaja. After half a day of searching the Cell leaves corrupted Thirdstone behind, returning to the gun-cutter. With no landings taking place in Beacon or Thirdstone they decide to return to Bastion and try to track Gaja's progress from the city.

Putting down in gully some miles from Bastion the Cell mount up on their mukali, loading their mounts with boxes of weapons with the intention of trading with the raiders that live outside of the city's walls. Sure enough riding along at dusk the group are approached. The gang of 'dust wasters' approach, dark skin covered in ritual tattoos and leather armour covered in fetishes. Their leader, a hulking woman named Evalyn, talks to Gallach over promises of trade. She has information about Gaja, her people having spotted him some days back, but agrees to give it over only if the Cell helps her. It seems that the deputies had raided their camp a day past and stolen over a liquid tonne of promethium. Without that tanker her people would soon be overrun by mind mould and Evalyn is desperate to have it returned. If the Cell would help her people return the tanker she would give them the information they seek.

The deputies are returning to Bastion at a crawl, the massive tanker pulled by a stripped down Hectin as the twenty strong group walks their way back to the safety of the city. As they travel through the flats they are exposed, and the Cell soon makes a plan to ambush them with the help of Evalyn and her wasters. The ambush would take place at Red Rock, a local landmark. The plan was relatively simple: Gallach would set up with his rifle and disable the first vehicle and as the deputies attempt to repair it Evalyn's riders would rush down upon the group and kill them. Gavriel and Octavius would infiltrate the area earlier and place themselves in a position to rush from the other side once the riders attack. Setting up under a dusty cloak Gallach looks through his scope as the patrol approaches. Two hectin autocarriages ride at the fore, one stripped down for speed and the other a heavy unit towing the massive yellow promethium canister. Senior Deputies ride in the vehicles with long rifles while alongside them walk deputies with shotguns and flame weapons, accompanied by massive desert hunting dogs. As the patrol enters the kill-zone Gallach takes his shot.

The lead hectin slews to a sudden halt with a resounding bang as a bullet rips through a tire and into the axle. The deputies stop to repair it, spreading out to take a chance to piss or have a smoke as the autocarriage is repaired. Two wander off into a nearby cave to relieve themselves and Gallach instructs Gavriel and Octavius to silently take them out. One falls as Octavius' hidden blade punctures his heart while the other goes down to a silenced bullet to the head. He twitches as he dies, his finger tightening on the trigger as his shotgun goes off with a resounding boom. The echoing shot rouses the deputies to action and their trained hounds rush towards the sound. Gallach begins to fire from his hidden position, a round going cleanly through a flame pack and engulfing a group of deputies in flames. The men hurry to take cover behind the vehicles and those with rifles begin to return fire. As Gallach voxes Evalyn to begin her assault the pack of hounds reach Gavriel and Octavius. Firing into the pack Gavriel is pulled down by a pair of the beasts, rotting teeth biting deeply into his flesh. He fires his pistols and kills the beasts as Octavius kills the rest with his hidden blade. Meanwhile deputies blood stains the sand as Gallach takes the scalps of any foolish enough to poke their heads above their armoured vehicles, but is pinned by return fire from the rifles of the senior deputies. A bullet grazes his head, sending him reeling in a burst of blood as the deputies begin to move up with shotguns to finish the wounded target.

As the deputies move to finish off Gallach Octavius appears from the cave behind them. In his hands sits one of the deputies own flamers and as they turn to look at him he unleashes. Groups scatter for cover as burning promethium covers the hectin, setting deputies alight. Screams soon fill the air as burning men scramble to the put themselves out. The second hectin moves to flee, decoupling itself from the trailer, but is soon destroyed as a bullet from Gallach ignites its heavy flamer ammo pack. A few deputies keep their nerve as the flames whip around them, turning their shotguns upon Octavius. A half dozen blasting shots rip into the assassin, blasting him off his feet as the shrapnel blasts into him. The perpetrators are slain by bullets from Gallach and as the remaining deputies turn to flee Evalyn arrives. Her riders whoop and holler as they fire stub rifles into the air. Taking aim they quickly gun down the remaining deputies and begin to strap the promethium canister trailer to their mukali. After ensuring that Gavriel and Octavius still breath Gallach angrily turns to Evalyn, berating the lateness of her attack. She is unabashed, having shed no blood for her prize. She gives Gallach the information he requires and her men drag the promethium off away from Red Rock.

Ensign Patrick brings the gun-cutter to Red Rock to evacuate Gavriel and Octavius, and Dr Ocano performs emergency surgery to stem their internal bleed. Back aboard the Fury Untold Gavriel and Gallach recuperate and let their wounds heal as Octavius spends days under the knife of ship-surgeon Chevar. His life is ultimately saved but his leg and arm have to be replaced by bionics. Wracked with guilt Gallach purchases one of the bionics while the Octavius family trust covers the other and under Dr Ocano's expert guidance Octavius is soon up and about. Returning to Temperance four days after they left the Cell picks up the trail of Gaja. It seems he had indeed landed in Bastion, leaving it heading towards Beacon some week earlier. It was here that Evalyn's dust wasters had spotted him, sending a group to shake him down for supplies. The bodies of those men sit here still, killed by bolt pistol blasts at point blank range. The shells were gone but by the skill and brutality of the marksmanship Gallach determines this to indeed by the work of Gaja. The Cell mount their mukali and head out, Gallach following his gut to find their prey.

Entry 2.5: True Grit

[The Temperance Ghost Crab]

It seemed like weeks that they walked, months even, but it was days. The long slow trudge through the deserts and rocks of Temperance as the last sun before the wet season burned overhead. Gallach was a blood hound on the trail, bionic eyes scanning ahead and barely saying a word. They rode their mukali through the night, guided by his dark vision, and through the day. They rested in caves and gullies and on the sand itself if no shelter could be found. And they walked ever onwards, following a trail they hoped beyond hope would lead to their prey…

[Finding Gaja]
The Cell walks through the dusty flats of Temperance led only by Gallach's hunter's instinct. They trek across the deserts and dust flats for days on end. Dust dogs follow the party for hours at a time, tracking the mukali that bear them but unwilling to attack the stronger group. The group sleeps during the hottest part of the day, Davrus waking regularly. Despite the work of the Adeptus Mechanicus on his mind he still gets flashes of the day of his death. A T'au Battlesuit, the deaths of his allies and a rotting corpse given form by the powers of the Warp. A green-yellow blade thrust deep into his chest and utter agony. His memories from the day had been wiped, his data cleansed on the event and yet as he sleeps he sees his own death again and again. He doesn't tell Gallach or Gavriel of what plagues him, and the three continue their walk.

Nearly a week after setting out the mukali stop and begin to whimper. Days of monotony had not dulled the instincts of the Cell and dismounting Gallach draws his shotgun and begins to scan the area on his auspex. With a burst of sand and rocks from the ground beneath his feet bursts forth a creature. The size of a battle tank, it's chitinous form is many limbed and sharp clawed. It is those claws that rip Gallach's mukali cleanly in two in a spray of purple-grey blood. Gavriel reacts first, drawing his two naval boarding pistols and unleashing on the beast. Flechette rounds bounce off the armour of the beast, a few drawing blood as they find soft flesh. Gallach's shotgun blasts have less luck, bouncing off the armour as their flaming rounds fail to deter the beasts attack. As it reels from Gavriel's shots Davrus clambers up a nearby rocky outcrop and leaps onto its back. Drawing a blade he cuts off a piece of chitin, gripping with one hand as the creature shakes to try and dislodge him. Pushing a firebomb into the creatures flesh he flips over to the head of the beast just as it explodes. Screeching in pain and still troubled by Gavriel's shots the sand-crab writhes around as Davrus' bionic arms reach down and crush its stalk eyes.

Blinded and horribly wounded the beast attempts to flee. Burrowing down into the ground it lumbers along tunnels below the sands, Davrus still clinging to its back. Gavriel reaches out his mind, taking control over the beasts impulses and bringing it back to the surface. As it surfaces Davrus leaps forth and Gavriel's twin pistols rip into the soft tissue of the beasts face. Finally it falls, brain utterly pulped. The Cell leaves the beast where it falls, remounting their mukali and continuing on the trail of Gaja. It is a few days of following tracks before they find another sign of Gaja. In a series of rocky hills some six kilometres from the main road between the cities of Bastion and Beacon Gallach finds lubricating oil smudged on a rock. Someone had assembled a weapon here only a few hours ago. Sure that this was the final destination of Gaja on his trek across Temperance the Cell spread out on the back of their mukali to search the area.

It takes only twenty minutes for the first shot to ring out. Gallach's mukali goes down, it's brain blown out by a high impact round. Scrambling he grabs his pack and crawls behind a rock. Hearing the shot Gavriel and Davrus spur their mounts to ride towards it. Davrus reaches the area first and a second shot rings out. Taking him with a glancing blow he is knocked off his mount at full speed, spinning and falling onto the soft sand. His mount flees and Gavriel continues his ride towards where the sniper hides. Davrus leaps up from his wounds and begins to run towards the sniper's perch. As he does Gallach reappears, his sniper rifle taking bead on where the shot came from. The unseen sniper takes aim at Gallach and the pair exchange shots amidst the bronze rocks. Any bullet would kill their target but both men are expert killers. Gaja soon turns his fire to Davrus, who is nearing his position. After ducking a pair of shots one of the heavy calibre bullets hits Davrus cleanly in the arm. His bionic is smashed to pieces, ripping from his arm in a shower of oil and gears. But the distraction had worked, even as Davrus is flung backwards a second shot rings out.

Gavriel reaches the snipers perch not long after. What natural eyes cannot see his psychic senses detect. Nearly invisible Gaja lies dying. Gavriel reaches out, touching the dying man on his temples and reaching into his mind. An ancient and worn mind resists for a few seconds before Gavriel's immense psychic presence rips his defences asunder and plunders his secrets. Gaja is dead by the time Davrus and Gallach reach him, given a clean and peaceful death in the end at Gavriel's mercy. He had learned little in the end but confirmed the location of Carvallo at Port Aquila. Gaja's effects given little more information, his rifle a monstrosity a engineering that fires hand sized rounds. Davrus' pain stims had kicked in and he stands with one arm still missing. Gaja looks ancient and worn out when his camoflage is removed. Little more than an old man who should have rejoined the Emperor long ago.

In his mind Gavriel had discovered that his target was indeed Lord Proctor Vigis. She had tortured and tormented his family on Vaxi and he had come here to take revenge. The Lord Proctor was due to drive down the road between Bastion and Beacon the following day. She was meeting with the Bishop of Beacon, the head of the Sons of Temperance. The Sons were a cult that operated within the Imperial Creed but had long been considered borderline heretical by the Inquisition. Gavriel had come to Temperance originally to investigate the Sons of Temperance. The Lord Proctor and Bishop were set to meet on the road between Beacon and Bastion to set into place a peace treaty. Gavriel suggests to Gallach that a treaty with a borderline heretical organisation would violate the sanctity of Imperial rule on Temperance. And so a day later as the armoured black rhino of the Adeptus Arbites and the gaudy tracked vehicle of the Bishop meet in the middle of the road. A shot rings out, and the many chinned Bishop goes down in a burst of blood. Gunfire erupts as the Bishop's guards and Arbites draw weapons. And rifle slung over his shoulder Gallach begins to walk back to the gun-cutter.

M41.819 The world of Temperance is thrown into chaos and disorder after the assassination of the Arch-Bishop at the hands of the Legion of Twelve. Millions of ferocious acolytes hurl themselves at the city of Bastion with no care for the casualties suffered, possessed by an inhuman and unwavering zeal.

Part 3: The Living Weapon

Entry 3.1: Blood in the Water

[The Fury Untold Medicae Bay]

Sitting in one of the 'Fury Untold's large dining chambers Cell Medusa enjoyed a lunch despite the dark corridors outside. The ship was adjusting to Port Aquila's solar cycle and Drake had adjusted everything but his diet. The food was rich and steaming as always and the wine the deep red of blood.
But they had not come here for pleasantries, as much as Davrus enjoyed talking secrets with Drake. The reason for their visit had just entered. Drake's personal adept carrying a hefty tome and golden rimmed data-slates. He places them on the table one by one.
"Research as requested. The Combine".
The first data-slate is placed on the table.
"The Faceless Trade".
A sealed slate blips red, waiting for Drake's access code.
"The Pale League".
A second sealed slate atop the first.
"And Port Aquila".
The massive book is placed beside the slates with a thump. Drake gestures towards them with his glass of wine and the Cell pull the dossiers towards themselves.

[The next target]
Slinking back to the cutter Gallach rejoins the group with only a nod to Gavriel. Taking the helm he slings the cutter out of atmosphere and back to the Fury Untold's landing bays. It is a few days before she is ready to cast off and the Cell spend this time entering the appropriate paperwork for the completion of their ground mission on Temperance. Inquisitor Grendel makes no comment on the assassination on the surface even as reports begin to flood in. Lord Proctor Vigis had redeclared martial law on the whole of Temperance, a largely symbolic gesture. The Sons of Temperance were holding mass self-flagellations in the streets of Beacon and had sworn vengeance against the people of Bastion for the death of their Bishop and holy officers. As the first storm clouds brewed and begin to spit water down on the cracked rocks of Bastion a less literal cloud settled over the accursed planet.

The Fury Untold meanwhile had cast off to its next location. From the interrogations of Pion and Gaja the Cell had determined the location of their next target. Cavallo had been a soldier in the war on Vaxi but had long since been turned into a living weapon by the machinations of Margrave. She is utterly deadly, a mix of machine, flesh and heresy that Inquisitor Malik would set loose against her foes. But Malik is dead now and Cavallo's next target had been determined to be a member of the Faceless Trade. The Faceless Traders deal in forbidden and heretical xenos artefacts, finding them in the Koronus Expanse or within Askellon itself and selling them on the black market. All the Cell knows about the target is that they are a member of the Faceless Trade who operates out of Port Aquila, the so-called Pale League, so it is to there that they now must travel.

The Fury Untold would be travelling nearly across the sector to reach the Port. Stopping first at Vanth where Gavriel and Gallach had first served Grendel nearly five years ago. The ship would then stop at Cel, home of much of the agriculture in the system after the corruption of Kalto. Desoleum, still under martial law after the boneweed infestation years earlier would be the final stop before the Fury arrived at Port Aquila. It seemed fitting that the now Interrogator Gallach would travel back to the locations of his first successful missions. But this sentiment did not enter the minds of Cell Medusa aboard the Fury Untold as they plotted the route. Given the chance for a more tumultuous warp journey they take the advice of Navigator von Trusst and ply the safer routes.

During the journey Cell Medusa begins to recover from their mission on Temperance. Davrus spends his days in the medicae bay. Data-slate always by his side his bionics are integrated properly and repaired. He keeps up to date with events across the sector, sorting through reports even as his wounds heal. Gavriel visits on occasion, preferring to spend most of his time in meditation or practicing in the range. He speaks little to those outside the Cell and always wears a simple white cloth across where his eyes once were. Gallach pours over Grendel's personal library, researching forbidden topics his new rank grants him access to. Across the ship adepts and acolytes work on the Cell's behalf. The Longshot taken from Gaja is slowly and carefully unlocked for use while Captain Drake himself compiles reports on Port Aquila to help Medusa once they arrive. Only a carefully encoded message from Castus breaks the Cell from their tasks. Still at Port Lockhart he had tracked down and killed another of the Pions with the help of Acolyte Harrison.

The data-packets from Drake reveal more information about the Port but give few clues about Carvallo's target. The Combine rules Port Aquila, a communal system of taxation and governance that oversees all legal trade in the Port. The Combine operates out of the Atticus Compound, a xenos orb that arrived in the system during the Ork attack centuries past. The illegal trade in the system takes place in the Fyceline Flotilla. This is where the scum of Port Aquila hide away from the Combine, dealing in illegal and heretical goods far from the Imperium's eyes. The Imperium itself has little presence in the Port. They have a few capital ships and patrol destroyers but rarely send them out of their star-fort the Pride of Askellon. The Port is well and truly run by the Combine. The Cell pours over the information and decides that their first task when arriving at the Port would be to research the chartist captains and Rogue Trader houses to find out which had links to Vaxi. If the pattern holds Carvallo would be here to assassinate someone who had particularly brutal dealings during the purging.

And so in the forty odd days to Port Aquila the Cell settles in to plan and prepare. Davrus interfaces with Gaja massive rifle and unlocks the arcane machine spirit. He re-locks it for Gallach and the Interrogator spends days in concentration and prayer bonding with the weapon. When not communing with the weapon Gallach runs close quarters training against the ship's master at arms or Davrus himself. He practices with blade, fist and staff in a rigorous daily routine. Meanwhile Gavriel interfaces with the ship's Astropathic choir and hones his skills. Freshly sanctioned he joins the choir for daily activities and fine tunes his own Astropathic abilities. As the ship passes through the warp closer to Aquila the Cell begins to plan for their insertion. The arvus is stripped down to imitate a smugglers vessel and Gallach formulates an alias as a disgraced Port Lokhart officer.

Entry 3.2: On the Scent

Approaching the Fyceline Flotilla

In one of the hundreds of meeting rooms within Hisoi Castle the representatives from Captain Drake wined and dined the emissaries of House Kagome. Gallach and Gavriel let the seneschal do the talking, their psychically altered appearances hiding their involvement in the dealings. They had no real interest in the minerals being organised for transit and sat in silence listening through astropathic connection to the thoughts of Davrus far above.
A brief flash of adrenaline lit up Davrus' system as he backflipped off the moving elevator and into the air vent. Wriggling down the freezing cold vent he moves onwards towards the chambers of Lady Kagome herself…

[Finding the target]
The Fury Untold breaks warp far outside the realms of Port Aquila and moves in at sublight speed. From afar the Port looks like a bramble bush. Like an impossible tangle of asteroids, ships and void chains it sits around a massive blue star that burns with an unsustainable brightness. The Fury Untold announces itself to the automated Imperial message and docks while the Cell leave aboard their smugglers arvus towards the Fyceline Flotilla. The Flotilla is a loose collection of asteroids and ruined ships where the scum of Port Aquila hide from the Combine. Flying into the Flotilla the Cell are shaken down by a lowly ship captain by the name of Dean who demands they turn over their goods. Gallach lies to the captain and he leaves with only a small collection of lesser weapons. Finally with the grinding of landing gears the arvus docks at the hub of the Flotilla and the Cell descend the gangplank into its wretched depths.

The meet was to take place at 'Sikora's Den', a repurposed halo lander that served as a bar for the inhabitants of the Flotilla. The contact was Ambrose, a figure whose dark cloak barely disguises his xenos nature. Speaking through strange scaled lips Ambrose agrees to the terms of trade, weapons for information, and agrees to meet the Cell later that afternoon in the depths of the Flotilla. Returning to the arvus the group retrieves a box of xenos artefacts to trade with Ambrose, carefully selected from the Fury Untold vaults. Moving through dark and horrible corridors the Cell carry the crate to the meeting point, an engine furnace room which radiates stifling heat. In the room they find not only Ambrose but a half dozen of the muscular lizard-like creatures. Ambrose inspects the goods, a dozen xenos rifles taken from the T'au hunting mercenaries on Kalto, and turns over a data-slate of information. Gallach had asked him for information about chartist captains involved in both the Vaxian War and the trade of illegal xenos goods. Flipping through the data-slate he finds that most of the legal traders in Port Aquila are also involved in the Faceless Trade in one way or another. Among the list are three who were involved in vaxi. Intent on hiding their true identities the three are referred to as 'The Dragon', 'The Blue Jay' and 'The Lion'. Satisfied with a deal well done and refusing the xenos offerings of food and hot oil the Cell makes their way out of the depths of the Flotilla and back to the arvus.

Davrus stays behind on the Flotilla to find Captain Dean on Gallach's order. Sneaking aboard his ship he sabotages the guidance systems. The upstart Captain wouldn't be grifting travellers again any time soon. Meanwhile aboard the Fury Untold Gallach and the Archivist pour through the ship's archives and Drake's personal notes on the inhabitants of Port Aquila. Soon they decipher the alias' given by Ambrose. 'The Dragon' refers to House Kagome, 'The Blue Jay' to House Serena and 'The Lion' to House Rosh. All three names refer to Rogue Trader houses, nobles given warrants of trades to explore and conquer beyond the realms of the Imperium. And groups whose power exceeds that of many Inquisitors. House Serena the Cell had encountered briefly at Port Lokhart and House Kagome are only located here at Port Aquila. House Rosh the Cell had encountered during their mission on Vanth, with the now long-dead Thrane butchering their Warmaster on that world with his chainsword. Tapping into the Inquisitorial records the Cell finds that Houses Rosh and Serena have accounts and histories detailing their involvement in Vaxi. Of House Kagome nothing can be found. It was a minor chartist house in that region and then after the war it had been granted a warrant and was fabulously wealthy. Since the other members of Malik's warband had been targeting those who had betrayed Lord Romanov at Vaxi this sudden wealth and power stunk of a secret treachery by House Kagome.

It seemed clear that Kagome were the intended target and so the Cell begins putting into place a plan to infiltrate their base of operations in Port Aquila. The House has a fortress-asteroid within the Port called Hisoi Castle which contains the tens of thousands of soldiers, clerks and workers on Kagome's payroll. Carved directly into an asteroid Hosoi resembles an ancient feudal castle in all but its massive size. The Castle is protected by a jalacos class light cruiser The Shinto and a patrol fleet of destroyers. Force is not an option, so the Cell organises a meeting under the guise of a trade deal between Captain Drake and House Kagome. In the rich attire of House Drake traders Gallach, Gavriel and one of Drake's seneschals board Hisoi Castle. Passing soldiers wearing the green dragon of house Kagome they enter a trading room, steel walls gilded with gold and ivory inlays. Throwing out his mind Gavriel touches upon the minds of those nearby. The guards he skims quickly, finding today's pass-codes before moving on the emissary sitting across from them. Lord Karachi is little more than a jumped up seneschal and knows little of House Kagome's dark past. Unable to find the information he needed Gavriel gives a psychic prompt to Davrus.

Standing outside disguised as a common guard Davrus receives the psychic prompt and steps into a gilded elevator. He waits a few floors as travellers leave before he is finally alone. Stripping off his guards uniform he drops it down a chute and slips on his camoline suit. Taken from Gaja weeks before it shimmers and takes on the appearance of the area around it. Riding the elevator to its highest floor Davrus clambers atop it and leaps gracefully into a nearby air vent. Fumes and particles filtered by his in-built respirator he shuffles and slides upwards, climbing through freezing cold vents as he goes higher and higher into the Castle. Finally he reaches an exit protected by a laser mesh. Checking his floor plans he deactivates the mesh and steps out into Lady Kagome's private quarters. Still a shimmering ghost he looks around for records or a private cogitator stack when he happens upon the Warrant of Trade for House Kagome. Deciphering the formal high gothic he sends a telepathic message down the link to Gavriel and turns to leave the room. Standing near the vent he entered from are two identical and unremarkable men. In their hands they hold long single edged swords that drip with a dark venom. Still a blur of movement Davrus rushes forward to attack.

Far below Gavriel receives Davrus' message: "Warrant of Trade granted two years after Vaxi by Lord Inquisitor Hark for loyalty and dutiful conduct. Carvallo's target confirmed to by Lady Kagome". Moments later his link with Davrus is severed violently. He staggers from the recoil as nearby Gallach gives out a grunt of pain. The last feelings down the connection had been unpleasant and painfully clear. Poison, pain and then death. Davrus had fallen. Unable to do anything in their current disguises Gallach and Gavriel wait for the meeting to be over and return to the Fury Untold. Gallach implores Grendel to announce himself to House Kagome and have Davrus' body returned but Grendel refuses to leave the shadows. With Kagome now confirmed as Carvallo's target the Cell reviews what they know about Carvallo. An assassin by trade she is known for her brutal and public kills. She was a blunt instrument of terror first and foremost. With this in mind they determine that the attack on Kagome would take place in fourteen days time when the Rogue Trader travelled to meet with the Combine in a ten-yearly oath ceremony. Carvallo will come at Kagome publically, hard and fast. The Cell intended to be there to meet her with equally blunt force. But first there was a data-stack within Davrus' bionic brain that needed to be recovered for the Inquisition.

Davrus Octavius, rebuilt at great expense. Overcome by the toxic blades of the Kagome guardians he falls alone in Castle Hisoi.

Entry 3.3: Trading Faces

The Atticus Compound

The man walked the dark brass corridors of the Adeptus Arbites precinct as if he belonged there. His black coat was unadorned but neatly kept. Fine augmetic eyes almost hide the scars and worries of a face that had seen too much while an exquisite bionic arm only just peeks its gold and brass trimmed black adamantium from beneath the naval-cut clothing.
Striding up to the Arbitrator at the desk Gallach gives no name and offers no identification, trusting that fear and secrecy would carry his authority.
The armoured man looks up from his vellum bound book as he speaks in a monotone grizzle, "by whose authority do you approach the Adeptus Arbites?"
Gallach replies in a near whisper. "By the authority of the Holy Ordos.
The Arbitrator frowns beneath his mirror visor before waving the man in. He was not one to question the will of the Inquisition.

Captain Drake makes approaches to House Kagome on the Cells behalf in an attempt to purchase back the remains of Davrus. Drake pretends Davrus was an operative of his and with half the large sum paid for by House Octavius his body is due to be returned. In the meantime Cell Medusa is undermanned after Davrus' death. Gallach calls on a long-time ally of the Cell from aboard the Fury Untold. Lazarus Hayl had served under Inquisitor Grendel and had transferred to Inquisitor Sabela's death after his masters murder. An expert in the study of daemonology, Haly is a psyker of noteworthy power and a deeply zealous man. He and Gallach shared a fervour for hunting down and eradicating heresy and he is glad to be called upon to serve. It is fourteen days before the Combine is due to meet and the Cell gets to work at once planning entry to the Atticus Compound where the meeting takes place.

The Cell gathers to plan for their entry into the Compound and eventually Gavriel comes up with an idea. The Cell would find a lesser chartist captain who is due to attend the Compound. Getting the Adeptus Arbites to seize the ship Gavriel would impersonate the captain and use their invitation to get aboard the Compound. Gallach and Hayl stay aboard the ship in the Fury's vast library doing research about the hundreds of chartist captains in the port. Meanwhile Gavriel travels back to the Flycine Flotilla and spends his days asking around the bars and obscura dens of the Port. Comparing the word on the street to the records of the Fury the Cell eventually singles out the perfect target. Estar Lannick is a chartist captain of little strength, a single sloop the Normandy to her name. And most importantly she currently has an outstanding warrant from the Port's Arbites contingent.

Hayl and Gavriel stay aboard the Fury to research Captain Lannick, learning her mannerism and history, while Gallach travels alone to visit the Adeptus Arbites. The gun-cutter soars across the Port and docks at the Pride of Askellon, the naval space-fort that guards the edge of the system. Walking through the empty corridors he strides towards the Arbites precinct. Through the brass halls and past the flayed skins of pirates he meets with the Proctor Simek. The Proctor agrees to give Gallach the use of his men, Gallach's mention of the Holy Ordos enough to commandeer three boarding vessels. He returns to the Fury and rejoins the Cell in making preparations. Arbites uniforms are prepared and the a trace is put on the Normandy to inform Gallach and the Arbites when it begins travelling towards the Compound.

Ten days later a message comes through and the Cell gears up. As the Thorn burns towards the Compound the three pinnaces full of Arbites attach themselves to the outer hull and begin cutting through. An announcement is broadcast through the ship and the Arbites board. They spread out, apprehending the crew and preparing them for questioning. The Cell leads a squad towards the ship's bridge, intent on capturing Captain Lannick. When they arrive they find the bridge sealed closed, the most criminal elements of the crew hiding within. The Arbites blast the doors open and a gunfight erupts. The blasting shotguns of the Arbites cut down the crew within while Gavriel dashes forward and blows them apart with his bolt pistol. With the bridge seized the Cell apprehends Captain Lannick.

Hours later the Normandy repowers its engines and soars towards the Compound. Arriving a lander is launched with Captain Lannick aboard. Leaving their hiding places Gallach and Hayl gun down Lannick's guards. The Captain herself has long since been taking by the Adeptus Arbites, Gavriel taking her place. His psychic abilities allowed him to shape his flesh to a perfect facsimile of the Captain and with Gallach and Hayl now dressed as her bodyguards the three make their way aboard the Compound. The Atticus Compound is a massive orb of unknown providence that arrived at the system during an Ork attack centuries earlier. It is now used as the base of operations for the Combine and the location for the reaffirmation of oaths every ten years. Getting aboard with Lannick's pass Gavriel meets with ship captains in service to House Kagome. Using his female wiles he convinces the Captain to take him to the Kagome swearing in ceremony.

Kagome are celebrating their signing of the Combine with a day long play detailing the history of the house. Hundreds sit in the ornate theatre while the nobles of House Kagome view from gaudy booths high above. Taking their place among the viewers the Cell watches as the play begins. The history of the house is shown with great exaggeration, the early days as a chartist house leading up to the war of Vaxi. The war is not named but dozens die upon the state as the actors kill for their craft. But watching the bloodshed something seems to be wrong. The Patriarch of House Kagome slaughters his way through the enemy troops, but the actors seem surprised. This was not part of the script. As Gallach and Hayl stand up the massive form of the Patriarch launches forwards. His robes fall off revealing a massive metal creature within. Standing two times the size of a man the mechanical monster lunges forward into the audience, cutting down watches with a massive blade sword. A beam of lightning blasts up into where House Kagome were sitting, leaving a seared mess of the private box. Gallach reacts instantly, pulling his bolter to his shoulder and unleashing a hail of exploding shells. Enraged the metal beast rushes forward unleashing a beam of lightning from its gun-arm. The beam leaps towards Gallach before exploding in a blinding light. Hayl stands next to him holding an Aquila aloft, the holy light protecting them from the beasts attack. They prepare themselves as the metal monster rushes towards them…

Entry 3.4: Relentless

The Shinto, Flagship of House Kagome

The explosive decompression pulled dozens of crew and officers into the void before the metal shutters slammed down, the shards of glass and steel ripping through others as splashing their blood across the deck plating.
As the shutters close another massive figure appears on the deck. Standing twice the height of a man, Carvallo had come to finish what she started…

[Blunting Carvallo's attack]
As the beast rushes forwards Gavriel clambers up the stairs and runs to the Kagome booth. Within he sees no sign of the Lady but instead a tall armoured figure holding a large glaive. The figure wears odd segmented armour in an antique style. Another figure wearing this armour appears below holding a massive maul. As the machine creature lumbers towards Gallach and Hayl the armoured man charges towards it from behind. Hayl raises his Aquila and sends forth a beam of blinding light that blasts into the machine. The energy blasts into the side of the beast, burning off debris and spurting oil and blood over the floor. Gallach continues his bolter fire but the machine continues lumbering forwards killing the panicking crowd indiscriminately as it does. It's lightning cannon cuts down fleeing traders as its black blade lashes out to kill those foolish enough to come close.

As hell breaks loose below Gavriel arrives at the Kagome booth three levels up. There he finds a tall lithe woman in plate armour and no sign of Lady Kagome. Reaching into her mind and stealing her thoughts Gavriel finds out that Lady Kagome is safe. Unaware of her location he voxes the Cell who still battle Carvallo below. Intercepting the message Carvallo turns from the fight and begins to flee. Massive iron legs smash marble tiles as she thunders away, pursued by a dogged Gallach still firing his bolter. Ducking through backstage areas Gallach follows Carvallo ever step of the way until she engages her stealth drive. Functionally invisible she evades even the advanced sensor systems of Gallach's bionic eyes. Returning to the theatre he finds the Cell and Lady Kagome's bodyguards long gone. After Carvallo left the Kagome guards keyed in a phrase into the strange servitors that guide visitors through the maze of the Atticus Compound. The servitors are massive centaurs made of a strange bronze-like metal left on the Compound when the Orks abandoned it centuries earlier.

Gavriel locks onto the Kagome guards psychic signatures and begins to track them through the maze. He and Hayl follow for almost an hour through the winding stone hallways before eventually the trail ends at a private dock. A berthing kept and maintained by House Kagome it is swarming with guards wearing the dragon sigil of that house. Meanwhile Gallach had arrived at the outskirts of the maze and blended back in with the inhabitants of the Atticus Compound. Panic was starting to spread across the station and he sends a coded message back to the Fury Untold warning them of the events that have transpired. Rushing across the station he arrives at the Kagome private berthing but finds Gavriel and Hayl long gone. Gavriel had manipulated a pair of house guards into coming towards them and Hayl dropped the pair with silenced shots to the back of the head. Minutes later the pair emerge from their hiding spot, now fully equipped as House Kagome guards. Boarding a halo barge they make their way onto the Shinto, flagship of the Kagome Fleet.

Meanwhile back on the dock Gallach receives a psychic message from Gavriel informing him of their plan to board the ship, certain that Carvallo would try again to kill Lady Kagome. It is at this moment that Gallach's heat sensors detect movement on the empty dock. A massive mechanical signature moves up to the edge of the dock and leaps out into space towards the Shinto. Rushing after her Gallach reaches the edge of the dock, where a void shield keeps the cold harshness of space away with a shimmer of light. Sealing his pressurised void suit and saying a prayer to the Emperor he leaps out into the void. In utter silence he drifts for minutes towards the massive golden form of the Shinto. Reaching vox range Gallach contacts Gavriel and he and Hayl rush to open an airlock on the ship's outer hull to allow the Interrogator access. Now aboard the ship Gallach secures a ratings uniform and tool belt and the Cell moves unquestioned through the bustling hallways of the ship.

As the ship's engines power up and it begins to burn away from the Atticus Compound the Cell gains access to the bridge. Here dozens of officers and guards stand around cogitator stations making the appropriate adjustments for the massive ship's trajectory. In a massive throne sits Kagome, her chiselled jaw and jet black hair making for a striking woman in her middle years. Around her stand her bodyguards. Two are familiar, one a tall woman with a glaive and one a massive man with a maul, and wear the strange segmented plate armour witnessed aboard the Compound. The third wears no armour and stands even here with his hand on a long curved sword at his waist. His grey hair is worn in a warriors top-knot and he wears long flowing robes. As they take up positions in the bridge the Cell begin to scan the area for threats. Amongst the dozens of crew and officers none seem to have noticed the red light beeping on a strange metal object on the forward viewing glass. Noticing it far too late Gavriel gives out a cry of alarm before with a massive boom all hell breaks loose. Explosive decompression blows air and crew outwards as the front viewing ports shatter into dust. Officers are flung out into the void while others are ripped to shreds by exploding glassteel. And by the time the emergency shutters are lowered another figure stands on the bridge.

Carvallo is a three metre monster of steel and brass and begins firing her lightning cannon even as she lands. Crew are burst like overripe melons as her lightning rips through them while Kagome's bodyguards rush forwards. The three fight like lions, blades darting back and forth with expert precision. But the lathe-forged armour of Carvallo's combat chassis is too much. A few blows cut through her but with every strike of her black blade one of the bodyguards falls. First the armoured man in a flurry of hacking blows then the swordsman, every attack but the one that killed him parried with expert skill. And all the while the house guards fire their weapons, hot-shot las rounds bouncing off Carvallo's armour. Lady Kagome tries to rush forwards to fight but is puppetted by Gavriel and sent to the corner of the room to hide. Finally as the bodyguards fall the Cell rush forward. Picking up Kagome's plasma pistol Gavriel sends a bolt of energy that burns through her kneecap and sends her reeling. He slides away from her swinging blade as the plasma pistol begins to overload. Meanwhile Hayl steps forward and holds his Aquila aloft. He calls upon the Emperor to cleanse the soul of Carvallo, ridding her of her sins in a firey explosion of holy energy. White light eminates from within the mechanical monster as her very flesh and soul are burned away by Hayl's holy light. Finally with a sickening burning smell she falls to the ground, all of her armour and bionics unable to save her from the light of the Emperor.

Entry 3.5: Honour Among Thieves

Aboard the Pride of Askellon Starfort

Aboard the bridge of the 'Caraphel' the officers of the Rogue Trader House Dempt listen as scattered reports flood through the vox. In berth at the Atticus Compound the five Dempt sons had listened in fear as reports of a massive mechanical monster had filtered through. Reports of death and mayhem at the Kagome theatre, reports of firefights within the halls of the Compound. They had anxiously awaited news of their father, the Lord Dempt. Each anxiously waiting to know where they were in line for the Dempt Warrant of Trade.
Finally the call came through…and gunshots echoed across the bridge of the 'Caraphel'.

[Recovery and Fallout]
Carvallo's body bubbles and burns, ripping a hole in the deck plating as her acidic blood drips through the reinforced steel. Her body is beyond recovery and Gallach inputs the code to allow the Kagome guards outside onto the bridge. As medical teams rush into the burning bridge and secure the bloodied form of Lady Kagome the Cell slinks out. The Lady is carried away on a grav-gurney with her remaining bodyguard close on her heels. Still dressed as Kagome guards and ratings the Cell walk through the gilded halls of the Shinto. Amidst the panic of the attack they are ignored and easily reach the landing bays. Commandeering a landing vehicle they return to the Atticus Compound where they are retrieved by a lander from the Fury Untold.

Back aboard the Fury the Cell debrief with Inquisitor Grendel. With no evidence recovered from Carvallo the events of Port Aquila seemed to be coming to a close. After the slaughter in the Kagome theatre all hell breaks loose on the Compound. The ships of dead captains are seized by those still with the men to hold them while lesser captains begin to fight among themselves for the spoils. Gunfire rings through the halls and panicking men and women who flee into the maze are cut down by beasts far more fearsome than man. Gallach travels to the Pride of Askellon to thank Proctor Simek for his fine work. The two share an amasec in the gilded Arbites facilities before Gallach leaves. Captain Lannick is interrogated and executed by Simek's men, another casuality in the hunt for Carvallo.

The attempt on Rogue Trader Kagome's life resulted in the death of over 400 chartist captains and other merchants, dozens of houses were impacted. A power vacuum in Port Aquila quickly manifests. Stocks go spoiled and shipment dates are missed, sapping the power of the Combine with each passing cycle. Without half the contracts still unsigned and so many dead the consensus that kept the Combine strong is broken and captains soon beyond trading without their purview. Traders ask the price they want and deals go on for months without regulation. Rogue Trader houses with strong holdings at Port Aquila step in, with Houses Kagome, Serena and Rosh taking the lead. Within a year the power of the Combine is stripped and a new council of oligarchs takes over. But Cell Medusa and the Fury Untold are long gone by then.

M41.819 After the attempt on Rogue Trader Kagome’s life resulted in the death of over 400 chartist captains and other merchants, a power vacuum in Port Aquila rapidly manifests. Stocks go spoiled and shipment dates are missed, sapping the money and power of the Combine with each passing cycle. The Rogue Trader Houses; Kagome, Surena, and Rosh ensure the Combine is hampered and delayed at every turn, speeding the decline of the once-powerful trading magnate.

Part 4: The Architect

Entry 4.1: Deep Breath

[Navigator Von Trusst guides the Fury Untold from his command throne]

Gloved finger on the trigger of the stub auto Hayl squeezed a couple of shots off down range. Deep within the holds of the 'Fury' the sound of the shot echoed through the vast chamber. Pulling the target towards himself Hayl let out a sigh. Outer rim.
This whole procedure was ridiculous but the Interrogator had insisted that everyone in his warband achieve at least middling marksmanship and close combat scores. Hayl had been here for nearly a day and it was beginning to erk him.
With a quick glance to see if anyone was around he lets out a micro-burst of psychic energy. As one the dozen paper targets in this area are engulfed with a flame that burns so quickly it barely registers. The paper targets but ash on the ground Hayl stows his pistol. He could try again tomorrow, it was to be a long journey after all.

[A New Target]
The Cell's next location is a mystery still to them. With the destruction of Carvallo's body the journey to Port Aquila had given them little new evidence. Reviewing the interrogation footage from the Pion captured on Port Lokhart the Cell gets to work deciphering the cryptic phrase given to Margrave by Inquisitor Malik: "Murder a man who can see truth in a storm of chaos. where the Imperium ends and Askellon begins, on a world where the privileged bicker and fight over scraps of yesteryear". Research on Margrave reveals him to be a talented Tech Adept who fell in with Inquisitor Malik after Vaxi. Little is known about him but as the mind behind the construction of Gaja's weapon and the tech-beast that is Carvallo he is clearly no stranger to heretical and esoteric technology. The interrogation of Gaja had informed them that Margrave preferred to stay in the shadows, using pawns or traps to destroy his enemies. Discussions with the ship's Rune-Priest Armello reveals little more about Margrave or as Armello knows him, 'Ventium'. Ventium was a heretek of some renown within the Adeptus Mechanicus who specialised in revitalising damaged or dead flesh. He was a biologis primarily and his experiments with the human and alien form were both groundbreaking and deeply worrying. He confirms Ventium's penchant for traps and warns the Cell that wherever they find the heretek he will be expecting them.

But their target data is useless unless the Cell discovers where Margrave's target dwells. The Cell spends days in the Fury Untold library picking over the records of Askellon to try and track down the next location. Pouring over ancient vellum tomes and bronze data-slates they review the history of the sector. Gallach leads proceedings, accessing the forbidden vaults of the Fury and speaking to Captain Drake and his aids to get anecdotal evidence about the sector. Eventually the location is narrowed down to the Rubicon Subsector. Worlds are discounted one by one; Rhodin IV, Vouxis Prime and Gregorn all discounted in favour of the more appropriate Terminus. A once powerful world the nobles of Terminus fight over the scraps of their empires. And for hundreds of years the Terminus sector was the first that travellers to Askellon would arrive in. With their destination sealed the Fury Untold drifts to the edge of the Port Aquila system and plunges once more into the warp.

The comment about a "man who can see truth in a storm of chaos" leads the Cell to believe the next target is a navigator, the unique mutants granted the ability to see the warp and guide the faithful through it. They visit the navigator Wilhelm von Trusst aboard the Fury Untold to consult him on any navigator families involved in the war on Vaxi. Von Trusst isn't aware of any houses that fought in the war but his research leads him to one of the fabled 'Shrouded Houses'. These are Navigator houses whose history is hidden, often due to past misdeeds they would rather forget. Within Terminus only House Ursa are shrouded. Operating among the fallen nobles and crumbling palaces of the system House Ursa are no doubt Margrave's target, but who within their shadowy organisation Von Trusst cannot say.

The journey to Terminus is a predicted 84 tumultuous days through the warp. Travelling back to Desoleum the ship would resupply before dropping out of the warp at the edge of the Core Theta system. Unable to leave the ship or dock due to the Adeptus Mechanicus laws the Fury would wait at high anchor for a few days before plunging back into the maelstrom. Juno, the sector capital, bustles with trade and commerce even in these troubled times. A new tithe fleet of soldiers sits at anchor here, the transport Ironbelly ready to take them to the war against the orks at the sectors rim. The Fury powers onwards, the navigator Wilhelm von Trusst truly showing his skill as he cuts days off the journey. Travelling along near-unchartered routes the Fury arrives at Snope's World. Sending landers down to the angular mineral palaces and habs of this world Drake refills his crew, lost to the wear and tear of a warp journey. The Fury dwells at Snope's World for near a week, resupplying and repairing before the long haul to Terminus. Finally ready the ship plunges back into the chaos and forges onwards. Stopping only in the void to get their bearings the ship sails for weeks without seeing another soul before finally it arrives at the edge of the Terminus system.

Aboard the Cell make their usual preparations. Gavriel spends most of his time in the ship's astropathic tower, preparing and enhancing his psychic abilities. Gallach runs training drills and acquires anti-tech grenades to use against Margrave, researching his enemy every night in the Fury's vast library. Hayl runs through a combat training routine, refining his ability to weaponise his holy psychic powers. There is an air of anticipation in the Hub. With most of the Acolyte teams assigned elsewhere the few that remain know the importance of their task. The hunt had been long and bloody but it was nearing it's end. Margrave would fall and with his death Dama would be revealed. The last of Inquisitor Malik's lackeys would be cleansed from Askellon. Old wounds are healed and daily prayers are attended in the Fury's new rebuilt cathedral. Cell Medusa had no idea what awaited them in Terminus, but they would be ready.

Entry 4.2: Before the Storm

[Blacksky Observatory]

The snow and wind whipped against the view-ports of the cutter as it soared through the mountains of Terminus Exo. Gallach's expert hands were at the helm, his mind hard-wired into the cutter's machine spirit and guiding it by touch through the perilous storm.
As lightning cracks outside the windows the cutter buckles on another torrent. The powerful warship is thrown around by the fearsome storm but manages to stay true.
Some hours ahead of the storm atop a crumbling mountainside sits the squat black steel and stone tower known as Blacksky Observatory. As the cutter danced through the snowstorm the Observatory waited patiently. Those within had already waited for some time for their pursuers to arrive…

The Terminus system was once one of the crown jewels of the Askellon sector. Travellers arriving in system would stop in the prosperous system to trade and organise travel deeper into Askellon. Nearly 100 years before the Fury would arrive at Terminus a great war broke out in Askellon and the Imperial forces at Terminus were drawn away to fight at far away Vaxi. The nobles of Terminus Prime took this as an opportunity to strike. Elaborate coups fell away as houses met in open war, assassinations and bloodshed covering the entire planet. After nearly a decade the noble houses fled Terminus Prime altogether, resettling on the previously minor world of Goldad. Goldad was renamed Terminus Prime and the now war-torn world that was once the system capital was renamed Terminus Secundus. In the past century the nobles of Terminus have continued to wage a bloody war on Terminus Secundus. Proxy battles fought between noble houses claim millions of lives each year and the once fine world is now a collection of fortified bases and muddy minefields. It is from this hell-hole that notorious killers like Coldo Valentin are spawned. Meanwhile as the war wages on Secundus the wealth of Terminus Prime begins to falter. Travellers cease stopping in the system and the noble houses waste away their wealth on an endless and pointless war.

The Fury Untold breaks warp at the edge of the system and starts burning towards Terminus Prime. Gallach meets with Captain Drake and gives him a list of security requests aboard, the warnings about the capricious nature of their target ringing in his ears. Margrave is known for traps and sabotage and Gallach intended to make sure the Fury would not fall foul of anything while in system. The ship docks at high anchor above Terminus Prime alongside a dozen other ships. Most are dilapidated or no longer warp-worthy, stuck in holding pattern above a world dying the slow decline of economic irrelevance. Taking the gun-cutter down the Cell are surprised to find they are not hailed or checked upon entry, although they are charged a ridiculous berthing fee. Landing at House Maesterfud Gavriel soon determines that all the Navigator houses live together up-river in their own settlement. Taking off the gun-cutter is soon flying through the smog filled skies of Terminus Prime again. They land at large settlement dominated by a centre dark steel tower showing the eye of the Navis Nobilite. A meeting with House Tarpay is arranged and Cell Medusa attend the head of the house Nobilite Otsy the following day.

Otsy is an obese navigator in a grav-throne that strains under his enormous weight. He is disappointed to find the group are not interested in making a deal with him but with Gavriel's honeyed promises of future work for his navigators he reveals the location of House Ursa. Having lost their money nearly 3 years ago House Ursa slowly declined until within the last year their final assets were sold off. All them minor navigators left the system while the Nobilite, Judicale, fled to Terminus Exo. Exo was once a garden world for the nobles of Terminus, a place where they built holiday manses among the trees and mountains and competed with their neighbours for signs of wealth. Ending the meeting Otsy the Cell re-board the cutter and leave Terminus Prime. Sending a message to Grendel aboard the Fury Untold the gun-cutter begins the void flight to Terminus Exo. A day later they arrive, soaring through the artificially clear skies of Exo towards the verdant world beneath. The House Ursa manse on the world is a tower in the mountains called Blacksky Observatory. Buckling through a storm the cutter approaches the massive black tower, sitting on the side of a frosty mountain.

The Blacksky landing bay is already occupied when the gun-cutter sets down its immense weight. Spreading out on the frozen steel bay the Cell investigate the other landers. One is a House Ursa arvus, long abandoned and expertly sabotaged to make sure it never flies again. The other is an aquila lander bearing the colours of the Terminus Watchdogs Imperial Guard regiment. Stripped out to fit something massive and mechanical inside it too has been sabotaged. Returning to the cutter the Cell loads up, assuming the worst. Boltguns are racked and carapace armour taken from within the cutter's vaults. Loaded for battle the Cell moves through the broken outer doors of the Blacksky and into the observatory proper. Glow-lamps are held aloft, revealing long dark steel corridors covered in ice. Moving inwards the Cell find no signs of life and even less of any kind of power. Stopping at a utility elevator Hayl powers the dilapidated lifter with the creative use of the battery from a grav-chute. Piling into the elevator the Cell presses the button for basement 3, the only floor which appears to still have power.

As the doors open far below the Cell move off into the frosty base level. Massive pistons sit in the roof, kept for balancing the gargantuan structure above. Detecting life on his auspex Gallach moves ahead, following the sound of bare feet on cold steel until he finds a hunched and weeping figure. Hayl approaches the man, easing him psychically and managing to give him some food. The man is thin and grey haired, weak from months of malnutrition and holding a bloody wound on his forehead. Hayl speaks to the man, who soon reveals his identity as Judicale, the Nobilte of House Ursa. He speaks of a "daemon" that stalked the halls, torturing him. He refuses aid and rambles about this daemon who had apparently experimented on him over the past few months. It soon becomes clear that Margrave was here and had been for some time. Gallach draws his pistol as a voice rings out over a vox-caster far above. "Hounds of the Inquisition….welcome".

Margrave mocks the Cell as Gallach hefts Judicale over his shoulder and begins to move to the exit. With a clicking the pistons in the roof push downwards, cutting off the Cell and filling the room. Moving forward through the piston-maze the Cell double-time it back towards the elevator. Dilapidated servitors rush towards the party, skin grey and thin. Bolt pistol shots Gallach blow back the servitors, while twinned naval pistols rip into the remaining flesh with Gavriel's expert skill on display. Hayl blows servitors apart with bursts of psychic flames, melting steel and flesh. Dozens of the servitors are slain as the Cell rushes through the piston-maze. The numbers of the creatures grows, their servo-claws and las-cutters kept at range by the skill of the acolytes. Finally however one of the servitors gets close, a burst of laser fire ripping up Hayl's leg with a sizzle of flesh. The heavy duty laser, intended to cut rock, makes a mess of his leg and he soon falls to the ground in agony. Gavriel puts him to sleep with his psychic powers and hefts him over his shoulder. Smashing aside the remaining servitors the Cell pushes back into the elevator, pushing the button for basement 2 and reloading their weapons as the doors close.

Entry 4.3: Margrave's Game

[Within Blacksky]

The mechanical voice rings out over the vox caster built into the ceiling, a feedback screech punctuating the sinister laughter that begins Margrave's announcement.
"I have a little game for you. Yes, yes. It'll be fun. I've spent some time devising it."
A wall slides open to reveal three strange looking weapons, blades and lashes of the Heretek's own devising.
"Take the weapons in front of you. Use anything else: you die. Try to escape: you die. Judicale comes to harm: you die".
The Cell move forward to pick up the items as the sound of metal scraping approach from all sides.
"Oh I forgot to mention…you aren't the only team in the game."

[Escaping Blacksky]
As the elevator moves upwards Margrave's voice rings out again, his sinister laugh reverberating around the metal box. He explains that he's set up a series of tests for the Acolytes, traps he calls his "little game". The elevator opens at basement 2, previously the area where the menials and serfs under House Ursa's rule lived. A wall slides open to reveal a cache of weapons as Margrave explains that any use of ballistic weapons was strictly forbidden and would be punishable by death. There is another team on this level intent on killing Judicale and the Cell was to protect him using only melee weapons. A vampiric lash, a crystalline trident and a pair of psych-latent claws are provided to the Cell and they quickly arm themselves as metallic footsteps approach.

The remnants of the House Ursa menials approach, bodies horribly disfigured and servitorised by Margrave. Walking on six metallic spider legs vox casters cry out in pain as the minds of the men and women try to stop themselves. The Cell moves quickly, securing Judicale in an abandoned hab area and preparing themselves for battle. As the first spider-servitor scuttles forward Hayl lunges with his spear, the blue stone piercing the chest of the beast. He watches in horror as the crystals spread across the servitor, eating away and flesh and leaving, in only seconds, an empty husk on the ground. As another servitor scuttles upwards Gallach strikes out with his lash, tangling the legs of the creature before stepping forward and slitting its throat with his knife. Two more creatures burst through a nearby wall and rush towards Gavriel. Reaching out with his mind Gavriel takes control of the two servitors and soon the mechanical beasts rip each other to pieces in a flurry of steel and blood.

Moving back into the gilded elevator the Cell are soon deposited on the next floor, the generatorum. A massive plasma generator dominates this room, wires and glowing orbs discharging crackling lightning. At the edge of the generatorum sits a hard-wired device which Gallach identifies as a military grade atomic. The voice of Margrave rings out again over the vox speaker: “Tick tock acolytes”. Gavriel rushes to a nearby cogitator and hastily reads the instructions left by Margrave while Gallach and Hayl move to the device itself. Hayl begins to decipher antique runes and translates back to Gavriel, furiously tapping away on the cogitator. Meanwhile Gallach draws his knife and carefully cuts wires in the depths of the machine. Reading quickly from the cogitator Gavriel guides the others through several processes before with a satisfactory hum the nuclear device depowers. Margrave continues to mock the Cell as they board the elevator and move upwards.

The next floor are the nobles quarters, where the highborn members of House Ursa might once have lived. Arriving in a ballroom the Cell are instructed to each take one of the three doors before them. Through a door with a knife and fork etched in gold Gallach finds a dozen servitors in a facsimile of a dining room. The voice of Margrave rings out and instructs Gallach that he has been poisoned and that one of the women sitting across from him has the antidote. Gallach scrutinizes the women and tries to logically establish which it is using Margrave’s maddening clues. Eventually he grows frustrated and draws his bolt pistol before Gavriel speaks directly into his mind. Identifying the woman with Gavriel’s help Gallach drinks some of her blood, curing himself of the poison and passing Margrave’s demented task. Earlier in a room with two faces on the door Gavriel had walked into servitors imitating a grand theatre. The actor on stage poses a riddle that Gavriel easily solves, walking back out of the theatre in time to save Gallach from Margrave’s trap. Meanwhile in the room with a quill and parchment on the door Hayl joins a facsimile of a university lecture hall. The lecture-servitor poses a question about warp travel that he has to solve. Hayl gets to work on his paper and data-slate but no amount of calculations can find the result. Finally, after nearly an hour, he uses block of wood and manages to solve the puzzle.

Moving upwards Cell Medusa move out into the noble quarters, where myriad of hallways lead to dozens of rooms. Margrave informs them that behind six of the doors are parts of a code to leave the area but behind other doors are “other things”. The Cell spread out to frantically open doors. Behind many of the doors are traps, spore releasers or haywire fields that batter and bruise the party as they search. Behind more are servitors, combat builds that lash out with power claws at any who get too close. Quick trigger fingers soon deal with most of the servitors and with the six part code the Cell exit the chamber.

Moving upwards again via a private elevator the acolytes appear in a pristine white laboratory. It is here that the experiments of House Ursa took place but for some time now this was the plaything of another mind. Margrave doesn’t speak here and in eerie silence the Cell moves onwards. At the end of the laboratory the Cell find Margrave’s strange project. A half dozen white figures float in tanks of red liquid that give off a fell glow. Looking closer they recoil as they realise each bears the face of the Navigator Judicale. Already panicked and looking at his clones the Judicale with the group faints dead away. Walking slowly forward the voice of Margrave rings out again: “It was not enough to kill him once. I have tortured his clones for months now. He had to die 1000 times to repay his betrayal”. With his last poison filled word a hissing fills the room and the tanks release their inhabitants. As cold mist fills the room six purple eyes glow.

Imperial tacticians have long theorized about the weaponising of a Navigator’s eye. Able to see directly into the warp it is dangerous beyond imagining and few are mad enough to attempt to use this power offensively. Margrave is one such madman. The clone navigators move forward through the mist, weak bodies recovering from a short life in stasis. Gallach moves before the group, hoisting his underslung flame thrower and burning a pair of the navigators alive. As their screams fill the room their fellow opens his central eye. Gallach’s augmentic eyes crack and burn as he looks deeply into the warp. Staggering backwards he falls to the ground writhing in pain. As Gallach burns the creatures Gavriel darts forward, plasma pistol and bolter sending off dashes of death that cut down more of the faux-navigators. Meanwhile Hayl summons his psychic powers, unleashing a wave of flame that burns the rest of the navigators alive. But something far above interferes, Hayl’s normally contained power overloading and sending everyone in the room upwards. Smashing down with great force Gavriel comes down directly on one of the broken vats, his leg sliced deeply by the sharpened glass. As Hayl sears the wound closed the Cell pick up an unconscious Judicale and move onwards through a bio-sealed door ahead.

Taking a last set of adamantine steps upwards the Cell arrives at the peak of Blacksky Observatory. A massive dome of black glass powers a telescope that looks up at the sky, used by the navigators to map the warp through some profane technology. A bizarre archeotech machine sits before the telescope. Plugged into the machine sits a thin and tired looking Judicale. His consciousness had been transferred into each of his clones by Margrave so the torturous past few months had all occurred to him. Next to him sits his tormenter. Thin and red robed Margrave looks very little the threat that he had seemed throughout the Observatory. Hayl analyses the machine and comes to a worrying conclusion. If Margrave was to die the machine would detonate, destroying the entire facility. If he was removed the same would occur. There seems only one option, the Cell must enter Margrave’s consciousness nexus and confront him directly.

Two men face each other in an abandoned street. Dust blows past, a ball of local spiked vegetation drifting along on the breeze, unaware of the events taking place around it. The two men are perfectly still, each with a hand inches above a holstered heavy barrelled pistol. Beneath respirators, a necessity in the sands of Hrax, the two men frown. They had both come to the world with support, one with hired mercenaries and the other psyc-enslaved criminals. They were long dead now, put in the ground days ago as the two groups clashed beneath the baking sun. And now the two men face each other. As fast as the eye can see the man wearing a worn and tattered naval coat goes for his pistol, while his duster coat clad opponent draws from his cloak a small black object. Gallach fires first and Gavriel goes down in a burst of blood. Two men face each other on an abandoned street. This time Gavriel pulls first, Gallach going down. Two men face each other on abandoned street. Both men take a bullet. Sometimes Gavriel mind controls and erases Gallach’s memory. Other times Gallach shoots himself rather than live with the betrayal. Once even the men refuse to fight each other. Over and over again the pair face each other across the street. Eventually they start to realise what is happening, this is not reality. Finally with a burst of psychic energy Gavriel returns Gallach’s memories. Gavriel’s betrayal on Desoleum. Gallach’s hunt and the first encounter they had here. Where Gavriel wiped Gallach’s memories. The pair argue for a time before eventually, reluctantly, Gallach forgives Gavriel for his crimes. As the two graps hands the street fades away…

In steel room without ornamentation a green skull mocks the pair. Margrave, in his consciousness nexus, laughs at their petty human concerns. Realising the rules of reality don’t apply Gallach tries to manifest weapons but even the holiest blade is turned away by Margrave’s mind. Finally Gavriel realises the weakest part of Margrave here is his mind. He manifests a meeting with Navigator Judicale, the point at which Margrave was betrayed. He manifests a young Margrave being scolded by his Forgemaster. The destruction of the Explorator fleet at the hands of the Inquisition, the loss of Margrave’s research. The small box of possessions presented to the Inqusition. All that remains of Margrave’s research. And with a blip the skull disappears, a single flashing light replacing it. Outside of the mind-machine Hayl manages to pull his fellows out, Gallach and Gavriel exhausted from the ordeal. From the machine itself he also produces a small memory impulse drive, the last remnants of Margrave’s once vast intelligence.

Entry 4.4: Picking Bones

[Crews from the Fury Untold pillage the Observatory]

Armsman Calico lugged his shotgun over his shoulder as he took one side of the sealed box in front of him. Marked as important and welded shut he thought no more of it as he and Anders carried the box out of the building and out into the frosty air beyond. Loading it aboard the halo barge like a dozen of its ilk the pair moved back inside the Observatory to continue the work.
The crew of the 'Fury Untold' had been at Blacksky Observatory for nearly a week, sweeping the area of hostiles and ferrying supplies back up to the surface. Calico had little idea who dictated the proceedings, Captain Drake stayed aboard the ship in high orbit. The Navigator had come down for a time, the closest to excited as Calico could imagine him as he loaded hundreds of data-slates and maps onto his personal aquila lander.
Lieutenant Gall was the only officer Calico had seen on the world and he seemed to boss the tech adepts and armsmen about alike. Gall was a newcomer to the 'Fury' and Calico didn't recognise his scarred and bionic face. But this was above Armsman Calico's paygrade, so he picked up another box and continued his work.

[Cleaning Up]
A vox call to the Fury Untold brings a promise of reinforcements as the Cell moves outwards and rejoin the gun-cutter. It is a tense day of waiting aboard the cutter, landed at the bottom of the mountains on full alert. Gavriel has his leg tended to, the shattered remains amputated by Dr Ocano in the cutter’s medical bay. A prosthetic is attached and Gavriel is beginning to recover when the Fury finally arrives. Coming at full speed from Terminus Prime the ship docks at high anchor and sends a flight wing down on Gallach’s request. Armed aquilas fly over the Blacksky Observatory while halo barges filled with Captain Drake’s Armsmen land and begin to sweep the area for hostiles. Soon the carmine armoured squads sweep through frozen and long abandoned halls. Gunfights break out as they slay the last servitors in the facility, wandering aimlessly without Margrave’s direction.

Returning to the Fury Untold the Cell have little time for rest. Gallach leads teams down to the Observatory to collect any evidence pertaining to Margrave, sealing it in void-tight boxes and delivering it back to the Fury. Navigator Von Trusst oversees a team that strips the last of House Ursa’s warp maps and equipment. A sizable gain, he grins from ear to ear as he secures thousands of thrones worth of future contracts for House von Trusst. Meanwhile Hayl leads teams of tech adepts from the ship in searching and cataloguing Margrave’s creations. Many machines are destroyed on sight, their dangerous or esoteric technology too dangerous even for the Inquisition. But many dozens of other inventions, bio samples and artefacts are returned to the Fury. Evidence is recovered of Margrave's research into the heretical drug known as 'spook', said to enhance the psychic abilities of the imbiber. The Heretek boosted the chemical to near unfathomable heights, able to make non-psykers capable of harnessing the warp! His heretical research is catalogued and stored in the dark-vaults of the Fury Untold, the discoveries from Blacksky fuelling research in the Inquisition for years to come.

With the Observatory looted sufficiently the Fury begins making its way out of the system once again. During the long real-space journey past Terminus Prime and out to a safe warp distance Cell Medusa sets to interrogating the remnant of Margrave. A cogitator and two data-looms are hooked in by Rune Priest Armello and the data-packet that contains Margrave’s mind is inserted. Almost at once it begins to attack the system, throwing up kill-codes and scrap machine spirit to attempt to break free. Hayl works ruthlessly, deciphering codes and breaking ciphers on the fly as Margrave throws them at him. Adepts hover around assisting where they can while Gallach and Gavriel can do little to help. Eventually Hayl slumps back in his seat and the cogitator goes silent. He had what information he could glean from Margrave’s consciousness.

Imperial records note the destruction of the Chartist House Meng at the hands of Inquisition but little information about Dama exists between this event and his joining Malik’s warband. The data from Margrave fills this void. After the destruction of his family at the hands of the Gnshal Oblitia Dragoons Dama escaped to the world of Aventine. Living among the feudal tribes below the cities there Dama was picked up by a Black Ship and sanctioned. Dama now seeks his familial ship, the Horizon Frontier. Seized by the Dragoons it had been renamed Iron Drake and now sat in orbit above the deadly world of Gregorn. According to Margrave’s well hidden data it was at Gregorn that Dama intended to board the Drake, staying aboard until it returned to the Dragoon home world of Gnshal Oblitia. Once in orbit Dama intended to overload the ship’s warp drive. He would die in the process but create a warp event in orbit above his enemies world that would cripple the world with violent warp anomalies for years to come.

Gregorn is a feral world by designation but has long been considered by the inhabitants of Askellon as a death world, a world where nature itself seems to be intent on slaying anyone who steps foot on it. Primitive human tribes do battle on its surface among the massive jungles that cover the surface. Tectonic upheaval and the subsequent volcanic activity make life hard for those on Gregorn. This difficultly is only enhanced by the mega fauna that hunt on the surface. Carnadons and other massive and vicious beasts roam Gregorn, some the size of battle titans. The human tribes scratch out a measly existence, assisted by the Imperium only when they send down mining parties or logging servitors. The only attempt at the settlement on the planet is the Iron Keep, the Imperial stronghold populated primarily be locals and the odd biologis intent on studying the mega fauna. A massive crater is all that breaks up the jungle continents, a remnant of an impact long past. Around the crater live feral orks. In recent years these orks have fallen in with orks of the Red Axe Clan, led by the infamous Kaptin Genral Kakkbad. For work to begin on Gregorn’s surface these orks will need to be eradicated. Several Imperial Guard regiments sit in orbit above Gregorn for this purpose, sending down assault parties sporadically. The Gnshal Oblitia Dragoons, aboard the Iron Drake are one such group.

Gregorn is a short warp journey from Terminus Prime and the Fury Untold dips once more back into the maelstrom. The journey was to be a short one, the Fury still loaded with supplies from Terminus. The only stop would be the Vouxis system, where on Vouxis prime great hives spread outwards to cover entire continents. Unable to build upwards due to atmospheric toxins the massive Imperial cities cover most of the world, supported by a vast mag-rail network. Stopping only to resupply on crew and provisions the Fury powers onwards. With Navigator Von Trusst’s practiced hand they make their way towards Gregorn as preparations are made aboard for the final hunt. The Cell are given specific anti-psyker training from Hayl while Inquisitor Grendel provides them with witch hunting tools to track down their quarry. hexegrammically warded suits of carapace armour are provided for the cell, holy wards inscribed by priests on Ossuar. A null rod and stasis cage are also provided, although Gallach laughs off the idea of taking Dama alive. Soon the Fury arrives at Gregorn and the final hunt for Malik’s prodigal witch begins.

M41.819 The once-powerful Navigator Clan of Ursa is brought low by 100 years of economic stagnation. Unofficially, the entire contents of their vast research laboratory was picked clean by agents of the Inquisition, unearthing the incredible secrets of the Pandemonium.

Part 5: The Witch

Preparing to leave high-anchor above the green world of Terminus Exo, Inquisitor Grendel calls you to the Situation Room. Arrayed around the black-steel table, you listen intently as Grendel relays a most important missive.
“Congratulations again, Acolytes, for the capture of Margrave. We’ve learned much from his trapped consciousness, and in due time he will be turned over to the appropriate parties in the Adeptus Mechanicus. That however, is not the reason for why I summoned you here. Miss King – if you would please?”
Interrogator King keys a command code into the waiting cogitator, bringing the room’s hololith to life and casting you all in a deep luminescent glow. Rendered before you in harsh, static green is an armour-clad man-mountain, his slab-like face deeply scarred by eons of conflict.
“Inquisitor Grendel – it pleased me greatly to receive your communiqué regarding the capture of the Heretek Margrave. It is my understanding that the location of the heretical former-protégé of Malik will soon be made available to your cell. When you locate that warp-spawned creature, Dama, it is my wish that he not be harmed beyond the means required in his capture. You are to deliver him untouched, unsullied and unspoken to the attached co-ordinates where I shall dispatch of him myself. You have your orders, Inquisitor.”
The hololith flickers out, prompting Grendel to speak.
“Let it be said that the Lord-Inquisitor is an idiosyncratic man, and is certainly unafraid of becoming personally involved in affairs which take his interest. Nonetheless, he is not one to be disobeyed. When you find Dama, you must capture him alive. Being a powerful telekine this may prove difficult, so to aid you I’ve authorised the use of potent anti-psyker equipment. Speak to Rune-priest Armello – he will inform you further of the items in question.”
With a soft chuckle Grendel reads the coordinates which Hark issued.
“We are to deliver Dama to Vaxi – I guess Hark has a sense of humour after all, even if it is a tad trite and lacking in subtlety.”

Entry 5.1: Out of the Shadows

[The mega-forests of Gregorn]

In the armoury of the Hub the acolytes of Cell Medusa prepare for their mission on Gregorn. They each wear a suit of carmine carapace armour, ritually inscribed with wards of protection against the psychic and unclean. Gavriel wears his duster over the top, the butts of a half-dozen pistols sticking out from beneath his coat. Hayl reluctantly gives up his hat and coat. Armed only with his aquila and a book of rituals he is still perhaps the most dangerous of the three. And his helmet off Gallach whistles as he loads specialised bolt rounds into his boltgun.
As each Deathwatch crafted virus round is loaded into his gun Gallach says a small prayer of loading, a grin on his face. Hayl approaches him with a question: "you seem cheerful Interrogator?".
Looking up from his work a smile still on his face Gallach replies.
"Killing Xenos, hunting rogue psykers? This is the God Emperor's truest work friend".

[Hunting Dama]
Arriving at the edge of the Gregorn system the Fury begins to make its way past the uninhabited outer planets of the system and is immediately hailed by four different ships asking their business. With Drake spinning a lie about trade with the locals the Fury Untold soon pulls into orbit above Gregorn, sharing the sky with four other ships. Dama's target, the Iron Drake, is a monstrous ship. An ambition-class cruiser it still bears the black steel and gold filigree installed by Dama's family centuries ago. Bristling with weapons it is truly the powerhouse of the system. Two other Imperial Guard regiments are active on Gregorn, the Terminus Watchdogs and the Vouxis Ivory Knights. Both of these regiments are in system aboard designated Navy ships, the Imperial Guard not allowed to technically run void capable vessels. The Watchdogs are set up aboard the lunar-class cruiser the Sword of Avowal while the heavy infantry of the Vouxis Ivory Knights had been assigned to the Herald of Dawn, a dominator-class cruiser. Sitting a little away from the rest is the Taghmata Omnissiah, an Adeptus Mechanicus ship bearing a legion of Skitarii. The Adeptus Mechanicus have their own mission on Gregorn, deploying the Rhodin IV Cherno-Alhpa Skitarii Legion at seemingly randomly assigned targets. These are true warships, making the private destroyer Fury Untold look like a child's toy in comparison.

Wary of Margrave's research into psykers the Cell visits the Fury's chief Astropath, Maria Coolridge, to ask a favour. Gavriel takes the lead, his knowledge of Astropathic abilities growing with his nightly tutoring from Coolridge. Gallach had decided to ignore the affair and in this instance it payed dividends. Coolridge had detected hundreds of signatures on Gregorn that she believes to be Orkish psykers, with very few scattered weak signatures of human psykers. Within the would-be capital of Iron Keep she senses a strange negative area. Knowing that Margrave's chemicals can make one's psychic powers impossible to detect Medusa Cell decide to start there. They gear up to go down to Gregorn's surface and soon two rag covered beggars and a chainmail clad warrior walk through the front door of the Iron Keep. A prefab Imperial structure, the Iron Keep is a remnant from when Gregorn was ruled by the mythical Knightly Orders of Titans. The humans here live among the massive structures and worship the old knights as gods, a practice considered by the Ecclesiarchy to be 'borderline heretical'. Gavriel infiltrates the Keep itself and finds that the negative presence is none other than an untouchable, one rare of the psychic blanks. Knowing this is an asset beyond value Gallach has Gavriel orchestrate his escape, convincing him that he is better off serving the Emperor than dying here.

With the null, Ludek, secure back aboard the Fury Untold Gallach meets with Inquisitor Grendel. In a cold rage Grendel berates Gallach for not focussing on the mission, his late nights scrying for the Patternari taking their toll. As Medusa sit awkwardly outside the room Gallach slams the door and strides out. The Cell board the gun-cutter and make their way over to the Iron Drake. They load up their anti-psyker weapons and take the Burrard Hazard Response Team as backup. Announcing themselves as Inquisitorial personnel they are welcomed by an honour guard of Imperial Navy and Imperial Guard soldiers. Gavriel, Gallach and Hayl are three indistinguishable figures in matching carmine carapace armour and take efforts to maintain this mystery. Mind linked by Gavriel they speak at random, often taking over each other's conversations halfway through. Lord-Captain Rozsi, a powerfully built naval officer, allows the Cell use of her cabin to start their investigation. Their investigations would centre on the actions of the Gnshal Oblitia Dragoons, Dama's target, and their commanding officer Colonel Virag does what he can to assist them. A missive from the Astropath Coolridge finds them as they settle into the office. Maria had sensed a powerful psychic presence aboard the ship for a moment before it vanished. Dama was aboard, now the Cell just had to find him.

Days of investigations aboard the Iron Drake follow before the Cell gets even a whisper of Dama. The Dragoons run patrols and assaults down on the world, with dozens if not hundreds of landers returning to the Drake every day. Gallach checks flight manifests and reports of encounters with psykers on the world but turns up nothing. Hayl walks the halls near the warp drives, guessing the Dama would have chosen this area to hide out. Meanwhile Gavriel puts his Arbitrator training to good work and looks into all the accidentally deaths aboard the ship in the past month. Sifting through dozens of case files and bodies he eventually finds an anomaly. A man who looks the splitting image of Dama, dead two weeks after a suspicious fall from a gantry way. The man's name was Dewie and he was a safety chain engineer. His work crew are separated and interrogated, a process that takes a full day. One of the men reports having seen Dewie since that day lurking around the place where he died and with his suspicions confirmed Gavriel organises to inspect Dewie's bunk. Within there is no sign of the man but Gallach's auspex pings with a power source behind a seemingly solid plasteel sheet. Crawling into the man-hole behind Gallach comes upon a hideout. A small bed sits alongside possessions and a strange black device attached to a motion sensor. As Gallach explores the hideout Hayl hears a noise from behind the party, turning in time to see a man running down the corridor away from them. A man matching the pict caps of Dama.

Hayl sets off in pursuits down the ornate black and gold hallways of the Iron Drake. Dama manages to slip away, darting down side corridors and putting his intimate knowledge of the ship to good use. Tracking him Hayl determines he intends to make his way to an escape pod and arrives just as the now armed Dama leaps into an escape pod. In a moment of haste Hayl leaps into a pod as well and the pods soar down towards the verdant surface of Gregorn. As the twin comets split the skies above Gregorn Gavriel and Gallach sprint into the waiting gun-cutter and take off, soaring down out of the Drake's belly holds and down towards the planet. Breaking atmosphere and heading towards the transponder beacons from the escape pods the gun-cutter swoops over the massive trees of Gregorn's forests. Pulling himself out of his pod Hayl runs towards the smoke of Dama's pod, finding it crashed a kilometre away from a massive Ork encampment. As massive psychic energy is unleashed ahead of him the air defences of the camp awaken to take down the interloping gun-cutter. Twirling between the much faster Ork ships Gallach takes the brunt of their fire on the heavy armour of the cutter. Easily out piloting the Ork gunships the autocannons of the gun-cutter spit as the Ork fighters are destroyed. Setting down where Hayl waits below the cutter takes off to get to a safe distance while the Acolytes continue onwards.

The Ork camp is bloody beyond anything the Cell had seen. Orks had been impaled on sharp posts and even ripped to pieces by a massive display of psychic power. An Ork walker stands tipped up, it's own rotating blade used to puncture it's hull. Walking through the horrifying display the psykers in the group are nearly sick from the pure amount of psychic energy present here and following the unmistakeable scent they continue through the remains of the Ork camp towards Dama. They find him beyond in a forest glade. Here the feral orks had set up standing stones carved with crude glyphs. Dama holds two of the Ork psykers hostage now, telekenetically grasping them for an unknown purpose. Drawing their weapons the Cell find their rounds bouncing off the shield shimmering around Dama. In the centre of the circle sits a strange Ork machine to which Dama hurriedly plugs the Ork psykers. Rushing forwards the Cell halt as they hear a thumping coming from the forest around them. A half dozen beasts the size of battle tanks rush out from the undergrowth, massive herbivores with barbed tusks that charge towards the Cell with reckless abandon. Hayl faces down the beasts, burning through ones brain with a burst of psychic energy before the second cuts into him with a goring charge. Gavriel, meanwhile, casts out his mind and forces the beasts to rush towards Dama. Knocking over the standing stones his shield takes hit after massive hit until with a burst of energy his shield bursts. The backwash burns out the simple minds of the beasts and leaves Dama and the Ork psykers reeling. It is only the null rod and the hexegrammicly warded armour of the Cell that leaves them unharmed.

Putting swift bolt rounds into the heads of the Orks the Cell moves forward to secure Dama, strapping the null rod across his back and manacling him to the debilitating device. As the cutter arrives he is carried into the cell, tied up and gagged as Enginseer Nevena prepares the stasis pod. Gallach moves to enter the Cell and Gavriel stops him, sensing his intent. He reminds Gallach that Lord Inquisitor Hark ordered Dama delivered without interrogation. Gallach points out how suspicious that is and Gavriel simple tells him that he will report it if Gallach breaks Hark's wishes. Gallach walks into the Cell and asks Dama simply why Hark wants him silenced. What Dama reveals undermines everything the Inquisition reports about the Vaxian Atrocity. It seemed that before the war on Vaxi there had been a civil war amongst the Inquisition. Lord Romanov, the perpetrator of the Vaxian Secession, was simply raising an army to defend against the rogue Inquisition forces. Dama now locked in the stasis pod Gallach ponders what this means as the cutter soars out over Gregorn's massive trees. Soon, however, his concentration is broken by a frenzied call on the vox caster: "All Imperial forces this is the Herald of Dawn. We have warp signatures detected…Oh God Emperor, it's Kakkabad. The Orks have returned!'

Entry 5.2: Home Ground Advantage

[Ork boarders storm the Fury Untold]

Punching across the chaos of naval battle, the gun-cutter makes a beeline for the 'Fury'. It arrives as she is locked in a vicious series of broadsides, dwarfed by a colossal and ugly mass of steel which could only be the ‘Eadbiter. Its prow has been forged in the shape of a massive Ork maw bristling with adamantium teeth, concealing megalithic batteries of lance weaponry. Heavy munitions and laser pulses arc between the two ships, reflecting off of crackling void shields or tearing away chunks of reinforced armour. Suddenly, the 'Fury’s' shield flicker and wink out in a splash of energy. Waiting Ork gun boats and ram-craft scream from the ‘Eadbiter’s launch bays, slamming into the Fury’s unprotected flanks…

[Defending the Fury]
The sky above Gregorn is lit up by ship-to-ship fire as the fleet of General Captain Kakkabad arrives in system. A dozen of so close range warp bow wakes sizzle off the shields of the Imperial ships in orbit as the Ork fleet arrives. The majority of the Ork fleet smashes into the Imperial line, while the flagship 'Eadbiter' burns past them all towards the lightly armoured Fury Untold. The blackness of space is lit up as lances and macrocannon fire light up the void between the ships, flight wings and megabolter batteries engaging as each side probes the weaknesses of the other. The Orks outnumber the Imperial forces nearly 3-to-1 but the ships on guard above Gregorn are all cruiser class vessels, one of the most powerful voidships available to the Imperial Navy. The majority of the Ork charge breaks over the Herald of Dawn and Sword of Avowal, a half dozen destroyer sized ships and two ork Kroozers trading fire with them around one of Gregorn's moons. A wing of frigate sized Ork ships smash into the Iron Drake. Nearly half the ships are destroyed before they make contact, the massive guns of the cruiser blasting them out of the sky. But the rest ram home, bursting the Drake's void shields and pouring boarding parties into her narrow corridors. Colonel Virag and the Dragoons respond with extreme prejudice, chainswords and Ork choppas clashing in the Drake's ornate hallways. The Taghmata Omnissiah takes advantage of her long range weapons and stays out of the fray. As the Imperial ship's circle around to broadside the Ork vessels the Taghmata unleashes long range lance weapons that split Ork ship's in two. As the gun recharges fighter wings of servitor drones defend the Taghmata from counter attacks. Meanwhile the Ork flagship 'Eadbiter burns onwards towards the Fury Untold.

As the voidshields of the Fury are popped by Ork weaponry the 'Eadbiter sends boarding crews across to take the vessel. Aboard the gun-cutter Cell Medusa soar towards the Fury, dwarfed by the Ork 'Kroozer' looming over it. Making for the nearest landing bay, the cutter nimble dart around the cascading walls of turret fire. Finding the bay deserted the cutter lands, all personnel currently engaged in fending off the Ork boarders. Now within range the ship vox crackles to life. On the Inquisitorial channel a plea from Drake goes out: "Any acolytes please head to deck 35B. We have boarding craft and my men in that area are not responding. Time to pay me back in blood". Interrupted the voice of Grendel rings over Gallach's private channel: "Belay that. You are to take the prisoner to the Inquisitorial levels for securement. He is our top priority. Leave the Fury to protect herself". As the cutter sets down in the abandoned landing bay a third message appears on the cutter's vox readout. It is from the navigator, Von Trusst and is a security alert. Ork forces had boarded the bridge and were killing navigators. Faced with a choice the acolytes gear up aboard the cutter.

Gavriel and Hayl are take one half of the Hazard Response Team to the Hub on Grendel's orders. Still in stasis, they would take Dama to be secured in the Inquisitorial wing of the Fury. Fighting their way through sporadic Ork raiding parties and passing scattered groups of Fury armsmen they make their to the Hub. The gene-coded doors are blasted open as they arrive, two lesser acolytes lying blasted apart at the doorway where they made their stand. Within the armoury they find the perpetrators. A massive Ork in powered armour rifles through the weapons and armour of the armoury while a dozen smaller Orks blast at the void-sealed vault at the back of the armoury. Without hesitation the acolytes attack. Gavriel guns down two of the Orks with expert head shots while a molten beam from Hayl rips through the massive Ork's armour and destroys one of his strange weapons. The HRT move forward pumping shotguns and blasting another two Orks off their feet. Enraged the Orks respond. Looted Imperial weapons are blasted back, sending the Imperials into cover as the Ork Mek charges up a strange energy weapon on his arm. In an instant the HRT are burned to ash as a blue arc of electricity leaves the Ork's gun. The remaining Orks roar in glee as their master gains the upper hand. Reeling, Hayl lashes out with psychic flames and burns the Orks with a massive plume of flame. This blast overloads the Ork Mek's shield and as he staggers from the fallout Gavriel puts two plasma blasts through his helmet.

Meanwhile Gallach takes the rest of the HRT as well as Doc to the main Ork boarding point, intending to back up the troops that Captain Drake sent there to plug the hole. Fighting through smaller rooms of Ork boys they arrive at the main breach. A small ship of Orks had launched directly into the side of the Fury, smashing in and butchering the defenders beyond as they swarmed out. These Orks are no average troops but so-called 'Freebooters', private mercenaries paid by Captain Kakkabad to serve him. Ankle deep in blood and gore in the corridors surrounding the insertion point Gallach and the HRT engage the Orks. Shotguns blast off Ork armour as the Freebooters move forward, cutting down the HRT with powered cutlasses. A few of the Orks fall before the the HRT are forced to fall back, covering fire from a heavy stubber keeping the Orks back. Meanwhile Gallach flanks the Freebooters, toxin rounds from the Deathwatch doing their work against the hated Xenos. Fighting their way back the HRT are cornered, Doc standing behind them and shooting off expertly aimed shots from his trusty las carbine. Just outside of the Ork boarding ship a firefight erupts, shotgun and las rounds trading fire with poorly constructed Ork pistols. One Ork pulls from his pack a strange stick shaped grenade and lobs it at the group, bouncing twice and landing next to an abandoned HRT flamer. With a cacophonous boom the room erupts in flames. The flamer tank explodes, killing the HRT and setting off their ammunition and grenades. This in turn chains back through the dead Orks and armsmen to the Ork ship. Ducking behind a ship armour plate Gallach can only watch as the HRT, the Orks and Doc are consumed in a massive expanding fireball. The boarding action had been halted at some cost.

With the breach secured the Imperial forces aboard the Fury Untold begin to drive the Orks back, butchering them as they flee and driving them back to their shoddy boarding craft. The Cell would later learn that Captain Drake defeated the 'Loot'enant' leading the raid in a duel, cutting the head off the attack. With the boarding action resisted the 'Eadbiter begins to take fire from the Fury again, assisted by the Sword of Avowal, the Imperial ships having driven off the smaller Ork vessels. Hammered from both sides the 'Eadbiter retreats to the edge of the system, jumping into the warp with the remaining Ork ships. A half dozen hulled Ork ships sit in orbit above Gregorn while the Imperial ships all sit scarred but alive. Returning to the landing bay Gallach finds the gun-cutter surrounded by Ork bodies. The back of the ship lies blasted off its hinges, Ork bodies within. Everything from the armoury is gone, looted by the Orks, and the bodies of the Enginseer and pilot Patrick lie where they fell. With the Orks gone the Fury recovers from the attack. In the destruction of the armoury both Rune-Priest Armello and his assistants were killed, while the Navigator Von Trusst was slaughtered and eaten by an Ork Weird-Boy. The losses to the ship's armsmen are great and mass void-funerals are held over the following days. The Inquisitorial servants who fell are given private funerals and the navigator sends a message to Inquisitor Sabela to inform her of the losses.

But the work of the Emperor's Servants is never done, and the Fury soon returns to work. Running on a skeleton crew the Fury limps to the edge of the system, void repairs patching the holes in the hull made by the Ork attack. With the secretive coordinates to the world of Vaxi inserted in the ship's nav computers the Fury prepares to deliver Dama to the Lord Inquisitor. Von Trusst's apprentice, Miklos Ferrom, stands ready to take up his masters work. Begrudgingly, and without fanfare nor tradition, the Fury pulls away from the Gregorn system. Klaxons sound, announcing the intention to breach the warp and make for Vaxi, a world unknown to common starcharts. With a grand shudder of protesting steel and adamantium, like the bellowing groans of a wounded beast, the Fury plunges into the sea of souls. It is a mournful journey of just over fifty days to the edge of the Rubicon subsector and aboard the ship prayers are held to raise crew morale. One night the three acolytes of Cell Medusa each have a strange dream.

Gallach dreams of Interrogator Dama, his body wrapped in chains of warding as he stands beneath a mighty podium, atop which is a giant clad in gold. The giant’s voice booms in condemnation, the words unclear but the intent crystal. Dama’s lips are moving, mumbling something inaudible. Moving closer, reaching for a fragment of sound, Gallach catches the mumbled words as they tumble from his cracked lips.
“The King is coming. God-Emperor save them. The King is coming”
Suddenly, the giant cries out in pain, his flesh sagging and bloating like a drowned pig. He dissolves in his armour, the soft sludge flowing down the podium, washing Gallach away in a flood of viscera. As he is carried away in the revolting tide, he catch a final glimpse of Dama, a wave of the putrid surge washing over him. In his place is not the small, lithe and dark-haired man of memory. Standing firm in the deluge of flesh and meat is a tall, regal woman, her long, brown hair tied back in a warrior’s knot. She is clad in attire befitting an Inquisitor – calf-high boots inlaid with silver, lightly armoured breaches, a chestplate of black carapace, and a long, merlot-coloured coat with cheek-high collars bearing the sigil of the Inquisition. Turning to watch Gallach drift away, a rock in the tide, her cooling voice pierces his psyche.
“The King is coming, Gallach. Save them. The King is coming”

Gavriel stands in a busy thoroughfare, the masses of people hurrying around him about their days with nary a care beyond where to place their next footstep. He is bumped, shoved – soon the pack is surging, screaming, crushing. Gavriel strive to catch a glimpse of what has caused the stampede, seeing only a wave of emerald light growing in the distance. His mind’s eye draws back from the scene, past people, past buildings, past hives, past clouds – into the cold, dark of the void. From here he watch as the little world is engulfed in a sea of coruscating green – leaving it barren and scorched, home only to the final, dying screams of the inhabitants and their charred skeletons. Above the dead-world are a clutch of dark shapes, observing the death of billions as dispassionately as one might watch a hive of ants crushed underfoot.

Deep in mediation and reflection, Hayl strain to find your place of contemplation and peace while subject to the tumultuous roil of warp travel. After some time he find his concord, his mind swimming to uncharted regions, his soul formed of spectral nothing. Soon he is joined by another soulform, a wasting and weak thing barely manifest. Where this soulform came from he cannot know, for within the safety of the Gellar field none should be able to breach his mindscape. In flashes of shimmering light and emotion, it speaks to Hayl.
“Seek the Angel of Thule – Find the King. Fear the King”

Waking in front of Dama's cell the agents share their dreams, ruminating on what they could mean. After this Gallach spends his days between in the ship cathedral and the ship bay, repairing the heavily damaged gun-cutter. Hayl secures himself in the library, researching the 'Angel of Thule' from his dream. He learns that Thule was an Adeptus Mechanicus saint and had the Thule subsystem in Askellon named after him. Gavriel meditates with Grendel on what he learned, spending his nights with the Astropath Coolridge. Finally after an unpleasant journey the Fury Untold arrives in orbit above the forbidden world of Vaxi.

Entry 5.3: The Lord Inquisitor

[The burned world of Vaxi]

In the void above Vaxi the 'Fury Untold' prepares for a lander from the Lord Inquisitor's ship. Clad entirely in gold and emblazoned with the red “I” of the Inquisitiion it vents plumes of vapour as it touches down on the cold steel deckplates, it’s forward ramp whispering open. First comes a clutch of cherub and seraphim, grotesque servitors borne aloft by micro-gravity thrusters bearing incense, tomes and music-boxes blaring the Benediction of His Light. Following them is a formation of twelve soldiers, faces concealed by plumed helms, clad in resplendent gold carapace armour, each toting a chainsword on one hip and hand-flamer on the other. Behind the solders come a score of petitioners, flagellants and supplicants – near-nude and bound in cages of iron about their faces and bodies. Finally, a trio of delegates stride down the ramp, draped in violet finery and holding two-handed sceptres of incredible design. When these figures too reach the decks, the supplicants and caged ones fall to their knees in the form of a human stairway, allowing the violet-clad men to stand upon a plinth of flagellated flesh, head and shoulders above the rest. As a single voice, they speak.
“We are the emissaries of his Lord Inquisitor Witch-Hunter Spiron Hark"

[Arriving at Vaxi]
Breaking warp at the ragged edges of the system the Fury begins the long, slow journey towards the blackened rock that is Vaxi. Almost immediately the proximity alarms of the ship begin to ring. Uncountable hulled ships sit from the edge of the system all the way to the planet, hundreds if not thousands of ships lost long ago in the battles that went on here. Ancient Rogue Traders, Chartists, Navy and Inquisitorial vessels destroyed and written out of history by Lord Inquisitor Spiron Hark. A day later the Fury arrives at Vaxi, finding only a single vessel sitting in low orbit. The Avenger-class Grand Cruiser is easily twenty times the size of the Fury. His Divine Retribution is Lord Inquisitor Hark's personal vessel and is every inch the Inquisitorial vessel. Chased in brilliant gold save for the massive red 'I' on the armoured prow it has dozens of landers ferry between it and the planets surface. Pulling into range the dwarfed Fury sends the appropriate vox codes and soon a golden halo lander pulls into the ship's docking bay. Met by an honour guard of Fury armsmen and all of Grendel's personnel in dress-best the ship disgorges its cargo. Dozens of Inquisitional guards are followed by slaves and servants beyond count, priests swinging incense and servitors holding banners. But behind them walks not Hark but three of his emissaries. Inquisitor Grendel and Cell Medusa are summoned to the world below, where Lord Hark will pass judgement on the witch Dama.

Breaking atmosphere, the gun-cutter is greeted by a world of scorched blackness. Even the mountains themselves are warped and twisted by some intense heat a century ago, freezing them in a still-life facsimile of cresting ocean waves. Close on the trail of the gilded lander, the ships arc over a melted-mountaintop to find the ruins of a once-grand palace. The sky above is crowded with shuttles, beneath which awaits a newly-constructed temple. The Lord Inquisitor was building this temple as a place to hold trial, the ultimate show of Inquisitorial power. Boarding a grav train with the captured Dama the Cell accompanies Grendel to a squat prefab structure not far away. Here they move through armoured and defended corridors to a small room splashed with blood. Putting Dama into a torture device shaped like the Imperial Aquila the Cell leaves, boarding the grav-train back to the temple. Taking rooms they say their farewells to Inquisitor Grendel, who is due to meet with the Lord Inquisitor shortly. Grendel leaves not long after, taking a private lander back up to the Fury Untold, while the Cell remains in the temple awaiting their meeting with the Lord Inquisitor. The temple is massive, basalt columns chased with gold depicting battles between Imperial saints and the heretical witches of the arch-enemy. Over the next few days the Cell settles in to a routine of contemplation and prayer, occasionally seeing the black carapace armoured forms of the Gnshal Oblitia Dragoons who serve as Hark's personal bodyguards. His agents are also at work, masked figures who sneer at the psykers Hayl and Gavriel.

Some days later Cell Medusa return to the dungeon. They are greeted by a beast of a man in glittering silver plate armour and a woman in red and black with two power swords on her back. Led deeper they pass another honour guard of Dragoons before standing before Hark himself. A towering giant of a man, ornamented in powered armour resplendent in shimmering gold, Hark stands easily over eight feet tall, and is as broad of shoulder as any two men combined. Turning, Hark’s face breaks into a welcoming smile, his scarred and twisted skin protesting the sudden change of expression. His face is caked in blood, as are his hands and the front of his armour. Behind him is a grossly stunted creature, its legs replaced with clicking mechanical appendages, and a maddening array of electrodes and devices plugged into its skull. Hayl and Gavriel find their minds dulled by this creature, it's null effect cutting them off from their psychic abilities. Grendel greets the party with joy, gesturing at the hanging form of Dama and making comments about the innate corruption of psykers. Dama attempts to escape but is easily beaten down, his blood splashing once again over Hark's face as he laughs. With the simple uttering of "the trial begins tomorrow" Hark dismisses the acolytes, going back to his bloody work.

Returning to the Temple the Cell settle in again before Gallach is summoned by Hark's personal confessor, a blue robed man wearing a golden mask depicting a bird of prey. Gallach preys with Hark for a time before the giant breaks open a bottle of the finest amasec thrones can buy and the pair begin to talk. Hark offers Gallach a spot in his warband, not simply as an acolyte but as it's head. A promotion to Inquisitor should be betray Grendel's secrets and hunt down his old cellmates. Gallach considers the offer, knowing Hark's unflinching stance but also the power this new position would grant him. As a sign of his new position Hark offers Gallach an ornate storm bolter belonging to his last apprentice. Hark grows frustrated with Gallach's unwillingness to accept straight away and dismisses him, promising him that once justice was done to Dama in the morning it would be meted out to "all others who truck with the unclean". Deeply troubled, Gallach returns to his quarters.

Earlier in the evening Gavriel is awaken as a black armoured hand opens the door to their quarters. A half dozen Dragoons, knives drawn and snarls on their bare faces, enter the room in which he and Hayl sleep. As the men slink forward Gavriel reaches out and takes control of their minds, forcing the men to walk to the window and throw out their weapons. Disarmed he reaches further into their minds, only to find a mental wall on each that throws him back. As the men recover one lunges towards Hayl with fingers outstretched. Wrapping his hands around Hayl's throat he wakes up in a panic, reaching for his aquila feverishly. Suddenly a blossom of fire fills the room, burning the Dragoons where they stand. The would-be assassins are dead, but the Cell doubt Hark will listen to their explanation. Knowing his hatred of psykers they decide to leave. Climbing down the side of the temple they sneak back to the gun-cutter, Gavriel taking hold of the controls and flying back to the Fury Untold in high orbit. Down below Gallach is held at gunpoint by the Dragoons but producing his rosette takes command of the investigation, berating the men for disrespecting his rank. He tells Hark the investigation will wait until after the trial of Dama in the morning.

Seated in the grand temple, sparsely populated given the remoteness of Vaxi, accompanied only by those of significant note to attend such an event, Gallach waits upon the pleasure of Hark. His pict recorder streams footage directly to Grendel and Cell Medusa aboard the Fury Untold, the pair having agreed to sit out the trail given recent unpleasantness. With a resounding bang the great doors of the temple swing inwards, heralding the arrival of the accused. Attended to by the delegation party and Hark’s personal retainers, Dama hangs suspended from the excruciator, his body bound by scrolls and chains of warding. Ahead of the psyker flies the cherubs, depositing holy oils and herbs upon the procession. Dama is led up to a small plinth, the excruciator restrained to the basalt rocks by heavy locks and shackles, at which the delegation takes their place in the waiting pews. High above is a mighty podium, suited only to the form of a true giant. Appearing from an unseen alcove comes such a giant. Hark, resplendent in his full regalia, lords above those below. He begins his trial, declaring that he had judged Dama in absentia and declared him guilty. Perhaps as some last plow Dama bids Gallach to speak on his behalf, but the Interrogators report is no less damning. Finally as Hark prepares to cast judgement he coughs. A small cough that silences the room. Suddenly, Hark’s face contorts in a twisted snarl, his words catching in his throat. The giant clutches the ledge of his podium, his form heaving and hunched in agony. With an animalistic howl so removed from that of a man he drops to his knees with a crash of adamantium. The assembled watch in horror as his flesh droops, hanging and tearing like wet paper, exposing red tissue and muscle underneath. In what must be minutes of unbridled agony, the giant man is reduced to a puddle of steaming flesh and rotting organs, leaking from the joints of his golden armour. Throughout it all rings the laughter of Dama.

Aids rush to the side of the Lord Inquisitor, Dragoons taking up a guard around him as his personal medics attempt to slough his rotted flesh back inside his armour. In the meanwhile Dama stops laughing, grimacing in pain. Like Hark his flesh is distorting, stretching, morphing. Bones creak and crack as they lengthen and swell – his hair changing shade and growing as long as he is tall. The excruciator straps break under the pressure of change, Dama’s form slumping forwards to the cold basalt ground. The accused seems ignored in the chaos that takes over the Temple. Moving closer, Gallach stands above a twisted transformation halfway between forms, but unmistakably closer to an image the Cell have studied for nearly a solar year. Malik. She coughs weakly, lungs full of liquid. “It’s over. The tyrant is dead. God-Emperor it hurts. Just like you said it would.” Feebly lifting her head, she addresses Gallach directly.“The King is coming. Fear the King. The Coward approaches.”


Carrying Malik's body away as the chaos of the Lord Inquisitor's death takes over the Temple Gallach calls down the cutter for pick up. Reporting to Grendel directly on what happen the Fury begins making for the systems edge, unwilling to be present for the storm that would result after Hark's demise. Aboard the Fury Grendel and Cell Medusa watch the footage of the Lord Inquisitor's death again and again trying to establish what killed him. As the ship breaks out of the ship graveyard at the edge of the system an answer would come from the ship's morgue.

The autopsy on the form of Dama/Malik would reveal a strange chemical compound in his system, matching only the notes recovered from Margrave's research. 'Shifter' is a xenos compound that allows the user to take on the form of another for a short period of time. It requires the DNA of the other target and appears to be a biproduct derived from that used by Imperial Assassins. Dama, at least as long as the party had known him, was Malik. The original Dama had died long ago. In her research Chevar uncovers another strange side effect of Shifter. If someone has contact with it without administering the DNA correctly they suffer total biodegredation, melting from the inside out. It seemed that the Lord Inquisitor's contact with Malik's blood would be his own undoing.

The Fury powers through the warp towards Juno, the investigation into the Patternari taking shape. Knowing Malik's connection to the Patternari Cell Medusa begin to believe their visions on the way to Vaxi were prophetic, Gallach's having occurred in the temple itself. As such as the Fury Untold arrives in orbit above Juno the Cell prepare to follow the few leads they have: the so-called 'Angel of Thule' and a weapon powerful enough to wipe out entire cities with green energy.

Grendel sits on a gilded chair as his three Interrogators approach. It had been years since they had all been together, but the hunt that was to come needed all his pieces in play. The chamber is furnished with tapestries of imperial victories, hiding the cogitator banks that usually draw figures here. The three groups approach, boots clacking against the deck in the silent chamber as the Interrogators and their acolytes step forward.

Interrogator King stepped forward first, clad in a dress split to reveal a body glove of spun adamantium. She is, as always, unarmed and accompanied by a small group of acolytes from Cell Raptor. Agents Wolffe and Mercutio stand at the fore, with two masked figures bearing matching swords standing perfectly still behind them. A man bearing the armour of the Burrard PDF stands behind them, uncomfortable without his custom long-las.

Interrogator Castus steps forward next. His enforcer carapace armour is polished to a perfect sheen and the rosette on his chest proudly displays his rank. A massive power maul stands on his back and a shock maul on his hip. Behind him are arrayed Cell Alloy; the criminal pilot Corvath and an Adeptus Arbites bearing the sigil of Port Lokart standing behind their leader.

Finally, Interrogator Gallach steps up with Cell Medusa. Wearing a gilded breastplate over his black naval coat he bears an ornate power sword and a gilded blue bolt pistol. His unadorned coat bears a small stylised I on the lapel. Behind him approach Gavriel and Hayl. The former wears his worn duster, the tops of four different pistols visible under his coat. Hayl wears simple robes beneath his wide brimmed hat, his eyes dark from nights of research.

As his Interrogators and their acolytes approach Inquisitor Grendel stands and addresses them…

M41.819 A Tumultuous Time: Known only to a select few, the year of 819 in the 41st millennium was filled with chaos the like of which Askellon had rarely seen. The year drew to a close with the assassination of the Lord Inquisitor of the sector, Witch-Hunter Spiron Hark, by a rogue Inquisitor on the run from justice. The sudden death of the face of the Inquisition resulted in a swell of heretical behaviour from all corners, plunging the sector into a new era of uncertainty.


Persons of Note

Cells Alloy and Medusa:

  • Interrogator Castus: A noble born Adeptus Arbites who excels at infiltration and deception. Raynard Castus was trained in an elite Scholar Progenium on Juno and was recruited to the Inquisition by Inquisitor Sabela before being given the rank of Interrogator and being allocated to serve Inquisitor Grendel.
  • Gallach: Ex-Imperial Navy pilot who returned to Askellon after the loss of his wing in the Koronus Expanse. A skilled pilot and soldier, he is passionate about the removal of chaos corruption from Imperial space whatever the cost. The veteran of the Cell, Gallach handles the equipment and planning for the cell and is willing to face whatever odds necessary to complete the mission.
  • Gnaritas Seculis: Ex-Adeptus Mechanicus tech-adept and xenos expert. More machine than man, Gnaritas is seized by an insatiable desire for knowledge and had served aboard the Fury Untold as Inquisitor Sabela's personal sage in all things xenos. During the Kalto investigations he was assigned to Inquisitor Grendel and after his success in that mission was assigned permanently to the newly formed Alloy Cell.
  • Davrus Octavius: After his death at the hands of the servants of chaos Davrus was assumed destroyed, his body burned and his name written on a wall of fallen agents. But the Octavius family had put too much into Davrus, and for a sizeable fund he was cybernetically resurrected by Inquisitor Sabela. He was reborn as a technologically enhanced assassin.
  • Gavriel Zane: After his disappearance during the mission to Desoleum Gavriel was captured by Inquisitor Grendel's agents and sent to Terra to undertake sanctioning. He returned to serve Grendel once again, his eyes gone but his aim improved. His psychic powers remain, but now a strong drive to prove himself worthy has him using them for the Inquisition.
  • Lazarus Hayl: An ex-acolyte of the deceased Inquisitor Fallon, Hayl specialises in daemonology and the study of the arcane. A zealous man of powerful psychic ability he sees it as his duty to burn heretics wherever he sees them.
  • Cell Auxiliaries: Now tasked with conducting their own missions Alloy Cell have been given the ability to employ their own manpower.
    • Dr. Porter Ocano: Once a member of the Hulee 223rd "Headsmen" regiment, Dr. Ocano retired to serve as a medic in Spire 6 of Kapex Hive on Hulee V. He aided the acolytes during their mission there, and during the destruction of Spire 6 he was saved by the Cell.
    • Ensign Patrick: A pilot from the Fury Untold, Olm Patrick serves as a co-pilot to Gallach and mans the vehicles when the Cell are on mission.
    • Adept Nevena: A tech-adept serving Sabella who was requisitioned by Gallach to maintain his gun-cutter.

Inquisitorial Persona:

  • Inquisitor Grendel: The Inquisitor in charge of Cell Alloy, a mysterious and powerful man who has only recently arrived in the Askellon Sector. Grendel is reclusive, doing most of his work through his Agent Interrogator King and his Acolyte Cells.
  • Inquisitor Sabela: A heavily bionic Inquisitor who owns the Fury Untold Destroyer. Once a pupil of Inquisitor Fallon, she has joined forces with Inquisitor Grendel in his investigations. A member of the Ordos Xenos, her research has focused on the mythological Necrontyr.
  • Interrogator King: Noblewoman who rose to prominence in the assets of Inquisitor Grendel after betraying her family's potentially heretical business dealings. Transferred to Askellon alongside Grendel as one of his only Interrogators. Currently runs Cell Raptor, a newly reformed part of Grendel's warband.

Priority Targets:

  • 'Dama': Ex-Interrogator of Malik and her star pupil. His psychic power is immense and his loyalty to Malik even more so. With her death he is the assumed leader of her heretical followers.
  • 'Margrave': A tech-adept turned Heretek in service to Malik for many years. A talented armourer and biologis, his skills keep the rest of the Warband alive and increase their combat skills.
  • 'Cavallo': Tech-Assassin rebuilt by Margrave to be the ultimate killer. The specifics of her bionics are unknown and possibly xenos in origin.
  • 'Gajah': An ex-guardsmen sniper who served as Malik's most subtle instrument of death. Little is known about him and his records in the Desoleum Imperial Guard have been wiped.
  • 'Pion': The newest member of Malik's warband, Pion was being trained to serve as Dama's interrogator when he ascended to the rank of Inquisitor. His skills are unknown but his location has been pinpointed by Inquisitorial informants.

Dramatis Persona:

  • Inquisitor 'Malik': A heretical member of the Ordos Malleus, Malik's old Warband are the key targets in the mission. It is believed they are carrying on her final orders after her assassination by the Holy Ordos in M41.818.
  • Lord Inquisitor Witch-Hunter Spiron Hark: A physically massive man whose zealotry has dominated the Inquisition in Askellon for centuries. The instigator of the purging at Vaxi he is as ruthless as he is utterly utterly powerful.


  • 'The Fury Untold': A crew of elite sailors man the Fury Untold, with an unnaturally large military contingent for a ship that is, by all outer appearances, a simple trading vessel.
    • Captain Drake: Captain of the Fury Untold, Drake is paid well for his service to Inquisitor Sabela and his ship is a convenient cover for Inquisitorial agents travelling across the sector.
    • Nikrov: Master-at-arms aboard the Fury Untold, Nikrov is head of security and is one of the few aboard aware of the ship's Inquisitorial passengers.
    • Wilhelm von Trusst: Navigator aboard the Fury Untold, from the minor navigator house Von Trusst who are primarily based within the Koronus Expanse.
  • Port Lokhart Naval Personnel: Most within the Imperial Navy consider the Port a terrible assignment, where men are forced when they are being removed from the promotion track. And with the recent redeployment of Lokhart vessels to Hulee V the quality of staff at the port has only dropped.
    • Commander Albin: The head of the Office of Naval Enforcement
    • Rear-Admiral MacCrae: A naval veteran and man in charge of Port Lokhart, Corrin MacCrae is a man known for his decadence. Commands the Strike-Frigate Pandora's End.
    • Captain Casper: Of the vessel Albacore.
  • Bastion Law Enforcement:
    • The Legion of Twelve: A group of 12 Arbite officers who served together on Vaxi before settling on Temperance.
    • Lord Proctor Vigis: Head of the Legion of Twelve and would-be governor of Temperance.
    • Proctor Daalen: Man of action, most often seen leading a raid into the slums of Bastion.
    • Intelligencer Van Heel: Spymaster and interrogator for Vigis, said to enjoy his work a little too much.
    • Sheriff Duputy: Head of the Deputies within the Tower of Conviction.
    • Arbitrator Marike: Lowest ranking member of the Legion of Twelve, Marike handles the network of deputies that patrol Bastion.
  • Port Aquila Dignitaries:
    • Ambrose: A xenos information broker operating out of the Flotilla.
    • Lady Mitsuko Kagome: Head of the Rogue Trader House Kagome. Once a chartist captain her rise to wealth and influence has been swift and remarkable.
    • Captain Lannick: A chartist captain and trader. Owner of the Normandy and known dealer in illegal xenos artefacts.
  • Terminus Nobility:
    • Navis Nobilite Otsy: An obese navigator and head of the Tarpay Navigator House on Terminus Prime.
    • Navis Nobilite Judicale: Head of the shadowy House Ursa and potential target for Margrave.
  • Warlords of Gregorn:
    • Colonel Virag: Officer in charge of the ground forces on the Iron Drake. A squat, stocky man weathered by war and utterly loyal to the Gnshal Olibita Dragoons.
    • Lord-Captain Rozsi: A tall, powerfully built woman with harsh features. Naval officer in charge of the Iron Drake.


  • 'The Fury Untold': An Iconoclast Destroyer requisitioned by Inquisitor Sabela to serve as her personal transport. It is captained by a man named Drake, who uses his Inquisitorial stipend to support a good trading practice.
  • Port Lokhart: An Imperial Navy outpost set within an ancient structure of xenos design. Although run by the Navy, it is a hive for traders and ships of all kinds.
    • Docks: A hundred dockyards line the outside of the Port, and thousands of ships come and go around the clock.
    • Office of Naval Enforcement: Internal security responsible for the Port and it's personnel.
    • The Dark Zone: Areas outside of the established zones of the Port.
    • 'Pandora's End': Rear-Admiral MacCrae's personal vessel, an ornate ship docked at Port Lokhart for nearly a century.
  • Temperance: A muddy and unpleasant world now occupied by the Adeptus Arbites and a cult known as the Sons of Temperance.
    • Bastion: Defacto capital and Adeptus strong-point of the world.
      • Tower of Conviction: Nearly half a kilometre in height, the Fortress Precinct of the Arbites can be seen from anywhere in Bastion, a constant reminder of the never-ending watch of the Imperium.
    • Beacon: Originally founded to be the new capital, Beacon was quickly lost to the silvered tongues of the Sons of Temperance and remains in their power still.
    • Thirdstone: The third and final attempt to establish Imperial Law on Temperance, every single inhabitant of Thirdstone mysteriously disappeared overnight shortly over its founding. Now considered a cursed place.
    • The Flats: Vast expanses of hard-baked earth dotted by towering mesas and plunging canyons which cover Temperance's surface - the only place for outlaws and recidivists.
  • Port Aquila: Less of a port than a series of barely connected asteroids, this has long been a den of traders and pirates. Currently it is run by the Combine, a massive mercantile organisation.
    • The Atticus Compound: A massive xenos structure out of which the Combine runs Port Aquila.
    • 'The Pride of Askellon': A star-fort that is an empty symbol of Imperial presence in the system.
    • Fyceline Flotilla: A ramshackle collection of asteroids and ships where the scum of Aquila hide.
    • Hisoi Castle: Home of the Rogue Trader House Kagome, this is a massive castle in an archaic style carved out of the rocks of an asteroid itself.
    • 'The Shinto': Flagship of the Kagome fleet. An opulent cruiser of Calyxis design.
  • Terminus: A once-prosperous system of fabulous wealth, now nothing more than a collection of beggar-worlds fighting over the scraps of yesteryear.
    • Terminus Prime: Formerly the second world of Terminus, the newly crowned Terminus Prime claimed its name from the now war-torn and dilapidated Terminus Secundus. Home to most of the scrappy remnants of trading and mercantile houses of a bygone era.
    • Terminus Secundus: A war-engulfed nightmare, a machine whose fuel is blood and bodies and bullets, the once-beautiful and envied world of Terminus Prime is nought but a crater-pocked hell-hole where the proxy-armies of the fallen trading houses fight in a never-ending war for which the reason has been long since forgotten.
    • Terminus Exo: A paradise world overgrown with nature after its abandonment several decades ago. One-time marble palaces and extravagant manses are now home to wild life and flora, as well as a few remaining nobles who cannot seem to accept that their time is over.
  • Gregorn: A feral-world of tribalistic natives and marauding Orks which the Imperium would rather forget existed. Currently under pacification by the Gnshal Oblitia Dragoons and their Cruiser, the Iron Drake.
    • 'The Iron Drake': An Ambition-Class Cruiser once belonging to the Chartist House of Meng, now refitted for warfare by the Gnshal Oblitia Dragoons.
    • The Iron Keep: A remnant from when Gregorn was occupied by the Imperium, the Iron Keep is now a local citadel and defensive location against the fauna and xenos on the world.
  • Vaxi: Long abandoned after the war that took place there, Vaxi is now a world of seared plains and glass mountains.
    • 'His Divine Retribution': A Grand Cruiser bearing the sigil of the Inquisition. Lord Inquisitor Hark's personal warship, it's arrival puts fear in the hearts of all who behold it.
    • Hark's Temple: A massive edifice to the Emperor, built here to show Hark's power.
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