Fields of Gold - Mission Log

Prologue

I sat patiently in the waiting offices located in the upper spires of the Pellucid Tower admiring the baroque yet dignified furnishings surrounding me while the two Inquisitors spoke in private. Given my position relative to the meeting at hand I should have been able to hear at least muffled or hushed discussion, but hearing only the persistent scurry of activity in the corridors beyond I concluded that the room was stummed to prevent eavesdroppers like myself. Inquisitor Grendel had conducted innumerable meetings with Inquisitor Sabela since the events on Burrard II - some I had been privy to, but most had I not. Whatever deals were being wheeled by the canny Grendel would no doubt be revealed to me in good time.
I stood to my feet as with an oiled creek of silvered hinges the doors to the meeting room swung inward and Inquisitor Sabela stepped forth, her merlot-coloured robes brushing the polished marble floors as her finely-crafted mechandendrites whirled about her figure.
"Interrogator King" she intoned, nodding respectfully in my direction.
"Inquisitor Sabela" I returned, bowing slightly, hoping she did no think the action too fawning or fey.
Her face an unreadable mask, the robed Inquisitor strode away with singular purpose as the voice of Inquisitor Grendel bade me to enter the chambers. The room in which I found Grendel was as opulent as any in the Pellucid Tower, and I could not help but remember the previous meeting with the Inquisitor in rooms of equal opulence…
"This is no trick of the mind, Miss King. I assure you" smirked Grendel as he prepared a pair of drinking chalices. "Cigarillo?" he offered, presenting a slender wooden case of richly-fragent lho-sticks.
"Thank you, but I'll just take the drink, sir. Were my thoughts that obvious? I had hoped my training in resisting your gifts had improved my abilities by now"
"Oh that thought was not gleaned by any gift, Miss King. Merely deduction based on prior knowledge" offered Grendel, passing to me a finely-stemmed glass brimming with bubbling diamond-coloured liquid.
Taking the offered drink, I placed myself in the high-backed chair across from the Inquisitor, the same seat Sabela had taken before I. Grendel chose to remain on his feet, pacing as he spoke at length of his dealings with the local Inquisitor.
"I must offer my sincere thanks to you and yours, Miss King. They performed excellently in their most recent assignment - believe me when I say that the rewards we will share are great indeed. As a token of my thanks, I ask that you deliver to them a case of these devilishly moreish cigarillos from the artisans of Ossur, as well as half a dozen bottles of Champogne from my private collection."
"You are far too generous, sir. Duty is its own reward, but I am sure the cell will appreciate the fine gifts you offer"
"In addition, I wish to meet with the cell, Miss King. I think it's high time they got a closer look at their employer. Do you agree?" asked Grendel through a barely contained smile.

"Y… Yes. Of course, sir." I stammer out. "I'm certain they will be rightly honoured to meet with you. Shall I direct them to these offices or..?"
It was a rare act of generosity indeed - for all the time I have served under Grendel he has only ever met with a single cell prior, preferring of course to act through his Interrogators.
"No, not here, Miss King. While the offices are lavishly appointed, I feel that the meeting should take place somewhere more auspicious, more grand shall we say" as he spoke the Inquisitor waved his hand across the glass table before him, illuminating a holographic display of immense proportions.
"By the Throne…" I exclaimed. "This was the reward for aiding Inquisitor Sabela?"
"Indeed, Miss King. Expect our investigations to accelerate one hundred fold - with the God-Emperor as my witness we will see an end to them and theirs. I did not cross all the way from Calixis just to let him escape divine judgement" promised Grendel, all mirth devoid from his steely-grey eyes…


Part 1: Seeds of Heresy


Entry 1.1: Guns and Grain

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[The "Golden Fields" of Kalto]

Sitting within their wing of the Hub the acolytes of Cell Raptor leant over a table heavy with dossiers, paper and glowing data-slates. Agent reports, history summaries on Kalto, documents detailing important persons and a heavy data-slate holding their mission briefing from King were scattered across the table, all but blocking the hologram of Kalto that would normally rotate in blue above the centre of the table.
Entering, Interrogator King tosses four data-packets down on the table.
"Mr. Erog for Gallach, mercenary and smuggler. For Silens Pokt Garan, a feudal warrior who works as a bodyguard. And for you Davrus a trader who works for Drake, himself a cover for a member of the Faceless Trade on Desoleum."
King leaves the room once again and Cell Raptor get back to work, adding the names and details of their cover to their already formulating plans.
"Cover within a cover Davrus?" questions Gallach, "Do you think that's necessary?"
Davrus smiles as he pulls the two data-packets towards himself across the table.
"Can't hurt."

[The Cell settles in on Kalto]
The acolytes of Cell Raptor board a shuttle from the surface of Juno that takes them up into the stars towards the voidship the Fury Untold. Purchased by Inquisitor Sabela years past to help her movement across the sector the Cell was boarding as part of Inquisitor Grendel's contingent, the two Inquisitors joining forces in an investigation the Cell had not yet been informed of. Gallach returns after an absence, his new bionic leg polished chrome, and spends the trip informing a diligently listening Silens about the history and capabilities of the vessel their shuttle burns towards. Davrus Octavius stands with the pilot, leaning heavily on his adamantine cane. Once aboard the cell find their possessions already stashed on the large deck allocated by the ship's Captain to the Inquisitorial assets aboard. They see the familiar faces of other agents of Grendel's before being given a tour of the ship by the Fury's head of security. The following morning a meeting with the captain, Drake. A middle aged man with a roguish charm Drake is from a line of free captains that dates back to ancient Askellon, and he is more than happy with the additional coin that Inquisitorial service makes him. As the rest of the crew are unaware of the Inquisitions presence the Cell keep to themselves during the journey to Kalto, leaving only a week into the journey to dine with their previously unseen master, Inquisitor Grendel.

An unassuming man with a neatly trimmed beard Grendel surrounds himself with opulence, even his simple grey robes worked by the finest tailors and adorned with polished pearl. He doesn't spend long speaking to the group, simply introducing himself and helping them to put together the pieces in the larger works he is conducting in the sector. The artefact retrieved on Vanth, the diamond found on Desoleum and the amulet believed to be in the possession of the Skin Moulder heretic are all parts of a group of gems called the "Arleen Diamonds". These gems are believed to be of ancient Xenos make and capable of transmitting voices at great distances. Grendel informs the group of his belief that one of the diamonds is on Kalto and his wishes to possess this item. With briefing complete the group retires to the Hub and receives their mission dossier. They are to land on Kalto and determine the source and leadership of a group of rebels and antagonists known as the "Harvestmen". Of particular interest is their leader, a man known as "The Goat" and determining whether they have any off-world influences or financiers. A secondary objective is to discover where The Surgeon obtained the Boneweed she used on Desoleum. They spend days in the Hub discussing their plans, securing cover identities from Interrogator King and researching Kalto and its history. Finally as the Fury Untold breaks warp outside of Kalto the group moves to the arvus lighter allocated to them and departs their new home.

The Arvus lighter lands on Metothine Gate, the massive space station orbiting the planet Kalto where most of her governance takes place. Davrus' effort in creating covers pays off, with the party easily gaining access to the planet and their weapons smuggled through with only a few thrones changing hands. Aboard the dense streets of the Gate things are tense, some civil unrest evident even in the main streets of the space station. The Cell meets with Torren, their agent of contact aboard the Gate and an Adept for one of the many mercantile houses that occupy Kalto. They stow much of their gear in his offices, rented under Drake's name, before Silens and Gallach take the Arvus down to the surface. They meet the second contact Agent Resnovich in a burnt out granary, hearing his ground report on the Harvestmen and noting his pure physicality. Meanwhile up on the Gate Davrus meets with a number of grain merchants eager to sell their wares to Drake aboard the Fury Untold. As well as maintaining his cover Davrus manages to make a few deals on behalf of Drake and spends the next few days acclimating himself to the movers and shakers of Metothine Gate.

Down on Kalto Silens and Gallach put Silens' plan into motion. Distributing small weapons to lower level Harvestmen fanatics they retire to the countryside in the Arvus and to await on ensuing chaos. The las weapons cause some commotion, their wielders attacking Compliancers and causing massive damage to one of the Kalto Skarebs. A few days later out beyond Hamlet 4816 the Arvus is approached by a group of unassuming men. Led by the stories of an armour-clad woman on a hexocycle and a man distributing weapons the Harvestmen had come as expected. An initial meeting is tense, but the following night Davrus meets with the men, flanked by the Cell. He organises to sell a crate of laspistols with the Harvestman leader, but is unable to secure a meeting with 'the Goat'. In return for the pistols Davrus secures a crate of Boneweed, discovering one of the sources of the potent herb that could have been used by the Surgeon to corrupt Desoleum. Their original meeting is interrupted by a heavily armed and armoured Compliancer raid, but Davrus' cover stories hold and the Compliancers leave the Cell alone on future visits to the surface. Finally a deal is made between Davrus and the leader of the Harvestmen, a crate of Boneweed delivered and the identity of one of the Harvestmen leaders determined.

The Cell contacts Sergeant Feropont, the leader of the earlier Compliancer raid with the intentions of making a deal. Having identified the leader of this group of Harvestmen they had sought Agent Resnovich's local knowledge in identifying the man. A small sum of Gelt secures Feropont's assistance and the following night the Harvestman Maksimov is picked up by the local Compliancers. Meeting in an overgrown maize field the Cell is handed a hooded Maksimov by Sergeant Feropont's men. Gallach interrogates the man seemingly at random while Davrus reads his mind. He sees that Maksimov does not know the location of the Goat, but sees a vision of his meeting with strange mechanical beasts ridden by ochre robed men with heavy augmentations. Erasing Maksimov's memory of the Cell Davrus passes the man back to Feropont, as well as a heavy sack of golden thrones. Driven by Maksimov's memory the Cell decides to put more effort into investigating the Adeptus Mechanicus' apparent silence on Kalto over the last six months. They send a sample of Boneweed back to the Fury to be compared to the samples taken on Desoleum and board the Arvus to attempt contact with the Adeptus Mechanicus forge on Kalto, Paellus Forge.

Deep in the mountains the Cell find Paellus Forge still fully functioning, pumping out tonnes of dark smoke and fully powered. However as predicted the Adeptus Mechanicus facility fails to respond to hails and the group are forced to land the Arvus down a ravine beyond the Forge. Approaching on foot the Cell hail the Forge again, even going as far as to pose as sellers of Boneweed to try and engage their interest. Disappointed the Cell returns to Metothine Gate, only to find it thrown into chaos in their absence. It seems the final grain stores on Kalto had been infected with Boneweed, the last chance to meet the tithe gone and the stocks of most of the mercantile houses entirely destroyed. The hand of the Harvestmen seems evident in this corruption, and the Cell rushes to return to their safehouse. There is mayhem in the streets, with looting and random acts of violence as the inhabitants of the Gate lose entire fortunes overnight. Many of the mercantile groups leave entirely, and redundant workers take their owed wages in the form of stolen property. Gallach provides Torren with a las-carbine from Desoleum to protect himself as looters run rabid outside the safe-house offices. A day later Davrus is forced to venture out to meet with a potential client for his grain-trader cover. At Winoc Interstellar he is surprised to find the offices looted and his contact a would-be assassin who lunges at him with a crackling power blade. Barely dodging the deadly weapon Davrus manages to smash the man back against the wall with a blow of telekinetic energy. Standing over the body Davrus inspects the bionics and implanted weapons that clearly indicate the mans allegiance. The Adeptus Mechanicus had just tried to kill him.


Entry 1.2: Hunters/Hunted

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[Battle above the Governor's Palace]

Adrift in his data-feed-gel, the Praefactor grimaced as the latest reports were downloaded into his cerebral implants. At these rates the tithe could never be met, nor even salvaged for at least a decade. This would not do. This would not do at all.
A simple thought-spike activated the waiting vocaliser unit mounted over what remained of the old man's mouth, a second spike set the unit to recording.
"Citizens of Kalto. This is the Praefactor Adept…"

[The conflict escalates]
Gallach meets with Gwilherm, a hunting enthusiast and noble from the Frasez group of merchants. The pair had met earlier in the mission on the surface of Kalto, and Gallach calls upon Gwilherm's skill as a hunter to help him track down the Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii operating on the surface of Kalto. Flying down in Gwilherm's aquila lander the pair begin their hunt outside the hamlet 4816, tracking the servitorised mounts commonly used on Kalto. Gallach's tracking skills come to the fore with the help of a viper-hound he had only recently captured and tamed, and the pair talk as they trudge through the seemingly endless golden fields of Kalto. Eventually they come upon their quarry. The two Skitarii wear the ochre robes of Paellus Forge and lie dead in a clearing of crumpled grain. Killed by high-calibre rounds Gallach doesn't recognise and non-powered blades of cellular sharpness it is clear these Mechanicus soldiers were slain by an elite group of extremely well equipped killers. Taking a broken prototype weapon and some radiation grenades from the slain Skitarii Gallach tracks the killers to a clearing not far away where a lander had touched down. Knowing very little about this apparent extra party muddying proceedings he returns to the Gate where the rest of Raptor waits for him.

With Gallach's hunt on the surface digging up only more questions the Cell decides to attempt an infiltration of the suspiciously silent Paellus Forge. With the help of the Stockman they find a Harvester on its way to the Forge to be repaired and through a daring plan involving a low fly-by on the Arvus and some creative driving from the servitor pilot A55 they manage to get aboard the harvester Skareb. Hacking into the Skareb they wait for several hours as it crawls through the mountains towards the Forge, eventually arriving at Paellus. Exiting they pass the massive automated repair system, thousands of servo-hands stripping and replacing parts of the harvesters at blinding pace. Slinking through the quiet forge it is not long before the Cell are accosted by a squad of yellow robed Skitarii bearing hot-shot lasguns. Surrendering themselves they are interrogated by a hulking mechanical Magos, who questions their invasion of the Forge. Davrus' lies hold up however, and to everyone's surprise the Cell are released back into the mountains around the Forge. Far from another fruitless endeavour however, the Magos lets slip to Silens that the Admech are aware of their Skitarii outrider squads being slain. Bruised and exhausted from their time in confinement the Cell returns to the hidden Arvus and fly back to the Metothine Gate.

Back at the Metothine Gate the Cell settles in for a rest, only to be told by Torren that the normally silent Praefactor has announced he will be broadcasting a message within the hour. Gathered around the vox screen the Cell sit in horror as the Praefactor rambles about the weakness and corruption of the Governor of Kalto, revealing a deep hatred for the man and announcing that on behalf of the Imperium a bounty is now placed upon the head of the Governor. One million thrones for the men who kill Governor von Maunx. Leaping into action the Cell hail King of the vox, the frantic Interrogator warning them that the death of the Governor would destabilize the region beyond what they could accept. Chaos breaks out once again on the Gate as the numerous mercenaries, mercantile houses and corrupt Compliancers rush to the Governors palace to claim the reward. Dozens of ships fly towards the palace in the first half an hour, most shot down by anti-air turrets or explode against the palaces many voidshields. By the time the Cell Raptor flier appears the battle is in full swing, mercenary gunships and private fliers darting and ducking around the heavy turret fire that emits from the Governor's palace. Gallach darts through the fire in the Arvus with prestigious skill, pulling the Arvus in to land at a service entry occupied by only two other shuttles. Retrieving their assault weapons from the Arvus' hidden compartments the cell don respirators to cover their faces and head into the already burning Governor's palace.

The palace is opulent to the extreme, marble floors and gilded golden aquilas in almost every room they pass through. Dead guards bearing the sigil of House von Maunx and servitor servants lie dead on the ground, their blood pooling on the exquisite floors where they were slain. Reaching the Governor's hallway via the servants entry the Cell comes across a group of heavily armed guards from the Kataproc Merchant House trying to cut their way through a set of massive steel doors with heavy revving chain-axes. Near-defeaned by the noise the Cell slinks into the pillared hall with ease, announcing their presence as Silens brutally beheads a pair of rearguard soldiers. Bearing bodygloves in white and bronze the Kataproc mercenaries are not amateurs, and spring back into action. Silens dances between them, cutting them down with her power sword held in two hands, while Gallach lays down a hail of bolter fire that blows them to pieces. Gathering to return fire the survivors are gunned down as from the main entrance a group of Compliancers in full riot gear burst into the hallway. Bearing riot shotguns and shields the Compliancers level their weapons at Davrus. As Silens duels a pair of chainsword wielding mercantile guards glanded for strength and speed Davrus and Gallach face off against the Compliancers. A grenade scatters the group, while in their moment of panic Davrus extends his will and dominates the remaining men. Pointing their weapons at their fellows the Compliancers annihilate themselves in a spray of bullets.

Hacking through the Governors security they find the man himself cowering in his quarters, aiming at the door with a compact and ornate boltgun. Calming his mind psychically Davrus convinces the Governor the Cell will not harm him, and he agrees to be escorted out of the palace. Fighting past more groups of mercenaries and Compliancers the cell makes their way back to the lander, flying away even as more landers swarm in to claim the now absent prize. The Governor is turned over to Grendel aboard the Fury Untold and the Cell spends a comfortable night in the med-bay aboard the ship, recovering from their wounds. Aboard the Gate the Praefactor's forces take control of most of the main facilities, sending the Governors forces into a full retreat. Most of the Compliancers now serve the Praefactor, their pockets lined with bribes and promises that had them turn on their master. The Governors palace was gutted by fire, but no word had yet come on the fate of the Governor. Returning to the mission a day later the Cell flies back down to Kalto, reminded of the true function of their vox unit as a means by which they could intercept and decode covert messages. Camped outside Hamlet 4816 the group wades through the massive vox traffic, eventually in the middle of the night coming across a strange message repeated again and again. "The attack on the spaceport is ready".

The flight time from Hamlet 4816 to the spaceport takes several hours, and Cell Raptor spends this time making frantic vox calls to Interrogator King aboard the Fury Untold to warn her of the imminent attack. Flying over a seeding field some hours out of Kalto Silens notices something strange. Twelve of the seeder Skarebs are moving at double their normal pace, hurtling towards the spaceport. Thinking of the damage these massive machines could do to the city Gallach pulls the Arvus over the closest seeder and Davrus and Silens rappel down onto the moving vehicle. Using Gallach's data-slate Davrus hacks his way through the outer doors of the seeder and within find the mangled remains of a dead servitor. At the controls is a Harvestman, hands gripped to a jury rigged driving gear. Silens moves silently behind the man and breaks his neck, taking his seat and pulling the seeder to a controlled stop. It is a hectic few hours that follow the first seeder insertion as the Cell flies between the massive machines in an attempt to halt their potentially devastating progress. The increasingly tired cell move from seeder to seeder, dropping in and killing the driver on each one before moving on to the next. An exhausting process, the mission nearly strikes disaster a number of times as Davrus falls from his rappel and nearly lands in the engine mount of a seeder. Later a driver manages to turn around at the wrong time and empties an autopistol clip that Silens only just avoids. Finally as the final seeder breaks to within eyesight of the sprawling spaceport the Cell kills the last Harvestmen hijacker. The remaining Compliancers of the spaceport line its walls with anti-vehicle weapons in an attempt to destroy the harvesters, but find only a slow moving seeder that stops well before making contact with the spaceport. Few even notice the arvus lighter that flies away from the seeder a mile before it stops.


Entry 1.3: Foreign Influence

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[The crash site]

Yakob's skin was burned, scorched, charred and soot-stained. Any body hair he may have had was long since singed away leaving naught by the acrid smell of burning proteins. In his thick and calloused hands he held the fire-rod, dispensing trickling spurts of ignited promethium across the dead and harvested stalks of edmur grain which stood 3 times the height of any man. Alongside him were hundreds of other Burners, setting the lands alight in preparation for the seeding. They were all engulfed by thick, grey smoke - a choking miasma of cancerous air that impinged vision and breathing in equal measure. So all things considered, Yakob could be forgiven for walking face-first into the object. From his new position arse-down on the scorched earth, the Burner looked up at what had so suddenly halted his work.
"St… Stocksman!" he shouted. "I've… I've found something"

[The Cell discover outsiders on Kalto]
After a night of well earned rest on the Metothine Gate the cell separates once again to perform their holy duties. Davrus returns to the Fury Untold, his political savvy useful to Grendel as he constructs a plan of action for putting Governor von Maunx back into the public eye. Meanwhile Silens and Gallach continue without the psyker, taking the arvus back to the surface of Kalto and meeting with the Stockman. Darting through the chemical rains of the seeding season the arvus flies down to the continent upon which sits the burned out wreck of the Granary safehouse, wracked by the flames of the burning season. The Stockman's workers had discovered a strange object in the burning fields, a machine of some sort made of black steel. Gallach identifies the vehicle as a drop pod of non-standard make, landed several weeks ago and holding some very advanced technology. Calling in a barge from the Fury Untold to lift the drop pod out of where it landed they find no trace of the individual that had arrived on Kalto in the pod and soon Gnaritas Seculis of the Fury takes possession of the pod. Silens and the Stockman go to the nearby hamlet, but the occupants of Hamlet 6018 have no memory of a stranger arriving during that time frame.

Still down on Kalto Silens and Gallach scan near the Loradon mountains, the apparently hiding place of the Harvestmen and home of Paellus Forge. They intercept a number of complex encoded messages and unable to crack the cyphers themselves send the messages up to the Fury to be deciphered by Grendel's sages. Mere minutes after their message is sent the auspex pings as another flier comes upon them hard and fast. Las fire whips near the Arvus as a fast moving fighter lashes out at the lander from behind. At the helm Silens pulls the arvus into a sharp dive, pulling the shuttle into a nearby cave below the treeline. The pair can only wait in the shuttle and watch as their aggressor flies overhead. A strange half-moon shaped ship packs a trio of lascannons and is utterly foreign to anything Gallach has seen in all his years of flying. After a few passes the ship flies away and the pair are able to exit the cave. Cycling up the arvus to leave a series of echoing booms come down the canyon, gunfire from not far away. Leaving the arvus Silens and Gallach arm themselves and make their way towards the sounds, fresh snow crunching underfoot as they make their way along the rocky canyon. Edging around a rocky outcrop the pair come across quite a sight. On the ground are a dead patrol from Forge Paellus, a dunestrider and two skitarii laid out and bleeding from numerous wounds. Atop them are strange grey skinned creatures wearing leather rags and carrying long metallic rifles. The creatures appear to be utterly engrossed in the act of eating what little flesh the skitarii have, biting off chunks with their massive curved beaks.

Padding further towards the strange creatures Silens pulls from her pack a hard metal sphere, a grenade taken from the biologis on Desoleum and filled with hallucinogenic gases. Donning her respirator she tosses the grenade amongst the feasting creatures and watches as the clear shimmering gas fills their simple minds with visions and distorted realities. Some of the creatures simply cease up, staring into the distance or shaking uncontrollably. Others flee, while a few fly into a furious rage and begin lashing out around them. Before many of them can react however Silens is amongst them, powersword in one hand and power-stake in the other, lashing out all around her. The creatures react with military discipline, fighting back with the gleaming blades attached to their long rifles. Some swing those rifles around and fire at Gallach, who returns fire with a submachine gun full of anti-personnel rounds that rips the beasts to shred. But Cell Raptor soon realise they have underestimated these creatures. Moving with unnatural speed the beasts are pure sinew and muscle beneath their grey skin and soon Silens and Gallach have many wounds from vicious attacks or well placed shots. Finally the last of the creatures are killed and the canyon falls silent once again. Confused at what Xenos are doing on Kalto the pair drag all of the bodies back to the arvus, as well as those of the dead skitarii. Hull full of corpses and Xenos weaponry the arvus leaves Kalto and makes its way back to the Fury Untold.

Back on the Fury Silens and Gallach lodge full combat reports and turn the evidence over to Interrogator King. The Xenos bodies are autopsied by Mistress Chevar of the medical bay with the tech adept Gnaritas Seculis present to attempt to identify the creatures. They establish that the creatures are Xenos mercenaries, but cannot determine who hired the creatures or what exact species they come from. Chevar conducts gene samples and finds the creatures to have an enhanced metabolism but limited cognitive capabilities, far less than would be required to construct the weapons they carried. The weapons are analysed in the armoury, determining them to be high calibre solid projectile weapons unable to inflict the wounds found on the other dead Adeptus Mechanicus forces on the planet. They also possessed some strange plasma rounds that seem to aid the flight of the bullet within them, but even the Rune-Priest is unaware of how this could be possible. While here Cell Raptor also receives a report on the data they intercepted from within the mountains, finding it to be a dialect of Low Gothic from the Jericho Reach, far beyond even the Koronus Expanse. What is says is unknown, but the adepts continue to attempt to crack the code. Stumped by all the new information presented to them Gallach and Silens visit the chapel, where Gallach makes an oath before the Emperor that he would kill the Goat, who he sees as responsible for all the atrocities on Kalto. Meeting with Interrogator King she suggests the group head back to the Laradon mountains, noting that whenever they do they seem to find something out about events on Kalto. To help combat the enemy flier she provides an armoured aquila lander, complete with stub-nosed autocannon for protection.

Back in the mountains the following day the aquila scans for hidden messages amongst the icey peaks and rocky canyons. After a few hours however, the unknown fighter finds them. Hit by a glancing lascannon round the aquila goes into a tailspin, Gallach only just managing to pull up before the ship hits the rocky ground below. Trailing smoke the aquila is hamstrung, and turns to confront her attacker. They see the half-moon shaped ship coming up fast, all three lascannons booming as the ship makes an attack run against the inferior aquila. Gallach uses all of his skill to evade the superior vessel, twisting and turning in the sky at breakneck speeds and weaving among the rocky cliffs of the Loradon mountains. He outflies the enemy pilot again and again, getting the drop on the pursuing ship and wracking it with autocannon fire. But the enemy ship is heavily armoured and even the massive AP rounds bounce off its heavy armour. Here and there a lucky hit throws up sparks and smoke as it breaks through the armour, but the vehicle keeps on coming, spitting lascannon fire at the aquila as Gallach grows exhausted from the pure effort of keeping the ship airborne. Eventually their luck turns, a stray round in the autocannon jamming and the aquila's only form of defence falling quiet. Silens rushes to the back of the ship, attempting to unjam the weapon that she has no functional ability to operate. Trying time and again to dislodge the wayward bullet Gallach puts the ship into a downward dive to avoid the hail of las fire. Barely pulling up before the trees below the gutsy aquila finally fails, a single las round ripping through the right wing and sending the ship plummeting to the ground below in a ball of smoke and fire.

Gallach drags Silens out of the smoking wreck as the pursuing ship opens up with its underslung autocannons, filling the snowy hillside with bursts of fire. In a nearby cave Gallach tends to Silens' wounds, stimming her awake but unable to set her half dozen broken ribs. Knowing the enemy will soon be landing troops to search for them Gallach sets up his remaining grenades as traps for the incoming enemies. It is not long before the auspex chimes and four targets approach the cave. Two are robed in the red and white of Adeptus Mechanicus, wielding long barrelled brass rifles. The other two are hulking creatures, bronze armoured with arms ending in sharp blades. The enemies flood the cave with radiation Silens and Gallach steel themselves for what they imagine will be their last stand. Fully emptying her hand flamer upon the attackers Silens rushes forward with her powersword held in two hands. Gallach's traps batter the bronze armoured servitors, but the creatures get to their feet with little more than cosmetic damage. Dripping blood and with broken ribs Silens is the Emperor's wrath incarnate, laying about her with her powersword in two hands. She cuts one of the enemies cleanly in two as they struggle with the flames engulfing them, trading blows with the kill-servitors again and again as power blade clashes with forged razor sharp claws. Finally, pierced by two dozen wounds and her white robes stained red with her own blood, Silens falls, clutching the aquila around her neck as her eyes glaze over. Gallach, still trading shots with the surviving Admech forces draws a second pistol and flies into a rage, driving back the enemies with a hail of bullets and falling back further into the cave.

The Honoured Dead:
Silens Iras the pure. Maiden of the Emperor and warrior of peerless skill, who died fighting in the Emperor's name.


Entry 1.4: Angels of the Emperor

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[Coldo arrives on the Fury Untold]

Corvath tapped at the auspex screen, trying in vain to bring back the flickering light representing the Aquila Lander recently allotted to Raptor Cell.
"Nothing. She's downed, Interrogator. Going off of Hawk's last communications I'd say they were shot down somewhere over the Loradon Mountains."
King pursed her lips. The situation was dire. Her two best combat assets were MIA, possibly KIA. Davrus alone couldn't mount a rescue, and the Fury's resources were tied up trying to keep the peace on the Metothine Gate.
"Interrogator?" queried Corvath. "We've got a hard return on the auger - something's just broke warp. It looks military. I'd hazard a guess it's a scout-sloop. Bringing you the telemetry data now."
King's enhanced eyes scanned the flow of information reeling off of the cogitator as quick as any tech-priest, catching a flicker of data which stood out glaringly from the rest - the ship's origin.
Relaxing into a wry smile, King spoke aloud.
"Everything is under control, Corvath. Hail them immediately. Our prayers have been answered."

[Allies Old and New]
The Adeptus Mechanicus forces identify themselves as being of Core Theta, and demand Gallach surrenders. He refuses, citing their many attacks on the group when his enemies try to deny culpability. Eventually the Mechanicus forces leave, robbing him of both his vengeance and his chance to go down guns blazing. Finding Silens' body missing he returns to the lander, a vox caster waiting for him with a code to contact the Magos of the Core Theta forces if he needs. Gallach repairs Silens' veloxicycle, damaged in the crash, and begins to make the long drive out of the mountains. With the contents of the crashed aquila lashed to the back Gallach makes his way through the snow mountains, sending a vox to the Metothine Gate to inform Davrus of a location to pick him up. Later that night he approaches a makeshift camp at the foot of a shale hill and is captured by two dozen heavily armed Harvestmen. He is beating during the night, but the fists of rebels are no match for the interrogation resisting techniques of the Inquisition. The next morning the leader of the Harvestmen walks towards Gallach with his pistol drawn before with a resounding boom he simply ceases to exist in an explosion of blood, bone and flesh.

High on the hill overheard Coldo Valentin stands with his autocannon still smoking. The Harvestmen camp becomes a hive of activity, rebels grabbing rifles and scythes from the ground as Coldo opens up fully. The camp is hosed by the cannons large calibre rounds, men blown to pieces as rounds cut through their torsos or blow limbs cleanly off. Those that attempt to hide find themselves flung back into the field of fire by Davrus' telekinesis or gunned down by Gallach, who fires his compact hold-out pistol with his hands still tied behind his back. In panic one of the Harvestmen activates one of the heavy lifter sentinels that dot the camp, the massive bipedal vehicle lurching forward guided by its slaved-servitor pilot. With its lifting claw clamping down in anticipation the vehicle lumbers towards Coldo, but with a grin he pulls his autocannon around and lays down an undeniable fire down upon the vehicle. Falling forwards it explodes, Coldo only just rolling out of the way.

Coldo and Gallach greet warmly after time apart, looking around the camp. It appears to be filled with ingredients for making explosives and with the careful use of promethium Gallach sets up the gunfight to look like an accident involving the explosive materials. As Gallach follows some tracks that lead away from the camp he and Davrus catch up with Coldo, learning of his time with the Burrard PDF and his arrival in system via a naval scout-sloop the day previous. The group follows the tracks that lead away from the camp and further into the mountains, travelling in the hectin autocarriage along rocky gorges and shale hillsides. They eventually arrive at a clearing where a half dozen other vehicles are parked and spot a group of thirty Harvestmen waiting next to an iron bunker door. Watching for a period of time from the shadows the Cell notices the figures being let through the gates, spotting a series of turrets that guard the bunker from intruders from the outside. A heated discussion breaks out, with Coldo suggesting a frontal assault and Davrus advising caution. Eventually the group decides to come back with more forces, and drive back to the waiting arvus many hours away.

Back on the Gate Davrus and Coldo meet with the Adeptus Mechanicus of Core Theta, spinning a lie about his involvement in a trade-agreement between noble houses and receiving reparations for the destruction of the aqulia and death of Silens. On the Fury Silens' possessions are returned to the Cell assets and her body, returned by the Admech forces, given unto the flames in the Soritas tradition. The reparations for her death are donated towards rebuilding the chapel aboard the Fury, while her power weapons and holy armour are interred in the chapel shrine itself. Talking to Interrogator King the Cell acquires the assistance of the Reinforcer and the Oathbreaker, who had fought alongside them on Desoleum and served as Agents to King. Heavily armed and reinforced the Cell makes their way back down to Kalto to assault the bunker. The silence of the clearing is broken as the arvus pulls down in front of the bunker door and as expected the defensive turrets activate. Suddenly rocky walls slide back to reveal gun-servitors that unleash hundreds of heavy bolter rounds upon the arvus. Most blast off the hull or bounce into the clearings rocky walls but a few manage to get under the armour, blowing away armour plates as they detonate within the hull of the arvus. Suddenly shots ring out from the far side of the clearing. The Oathbreaker fires hot shot rounds that rip two of the servitors into mush, while Coldo opens up with his autocannon and blasts away the other servitor turrets. Their path now cleared Gallach sets a det-pack to the metal door and with a massive echoing explosion the Cell gains access to the bunker beneath the Loradon mountains.

The doors blown off their hinges Cell Raptor and their allies rush into the bunker, but expecting to assault guns blazing they instead find the tunnels beyond abandoned. The old bunker tunnels go on for miles, the Cell soon becoming lost beneath the flashing red emergency lights. After several hours of travel Davrus reports that he has sensed a large soul nearby, one truly bound to the Emperor or some other non-earthly power. Gallach and the Oathbreaker double back, setting a trap for their pursuer. Soon enough a hulking figure walks into view, a humanoid in black powered armour that holds a massive chainsword in one hand and a boltgun in the other. Moving with impossible silence for one so large the man stalks after the party, stopping as he passes Gallach's hiding spot to lift his head and listen. The man turns and points his bolter directly at where Gallach and the Oathbreaker hide, demanding they reveal themselves and surrender their weapons. Smashing the pair to the ground Gallach resists the mans questions while the rest of the Cell gets into position further up the tunnel, eventually revealing himself to be a servant of the Emperor. He refuses further questions until the hulking man drops a term almost casually into the conversation. "Astartes". The holiest of the Emperor's warriors, the Adeptus Astartes are godly in their closeness to him. Known as the Angels of Death, they serve him wholly and are said to have been made of his own flesh. As the Cell falls to the ground in deference the Astartes reveals himself to be Brother Albrecht of the Deathwatch, a faction of the Astartes who works alongside the Inquisition to take down Xenos threats across the Imperium. Totally open with Brother Albrecht Davrus moves forward and tells the Astartes much, from their mission here to the means by which to contact their master, Inquisitor Grendel. For his part Brother Albrecht warns the group not to return to the tunnels, and re-boarding the arvus the Cell returns to the Fury to report directly to Grendel what had happened.

Days of negotiation follow after the Cell returns to the Fury Untold, Inquisitor Grendel contacting the Astartes himself through psychic means. Coldo is returned to his service aboard the scout-sloop, his mind wiped of the interaction with the Astartes. The Oathbreaker and Reinforcer are also wiped of the event, left on high alert to serve Cell Raptor in the future on Kalto. Days after the encounter the Emperor's finest in the tunnels beneath Kalto the Astartes arrive at the Fury Untold to meet with the forces of the Inquisition. In a hulking and hideous flier painted black and heavily armed the Astartes arrives in an empty hanger bay of the Fury, walking out carrying his weapons and scanning the deck as if expecting trouble. He is accompanied by a wounded Astartes in a medi-throne, his legs missing. Formal introductions are made, with the Acolytes of Grendel and Sabela bowing to the chosen of the Emperor. With the landing bay silent as the grave the wounded Astartes tells the Inquisitor his tale. His name is Brother Edmund, the leader of the Deathwatch Kill-Team 4843. His team served in a part of far off space called Jericho Reach, where his squad engaged battle with a group of xenos known as the "T'au". A ship containing the T'au had flown through a warp-portal from the Reach and arrived in Askellon. Kill-Team 4843 has pursued them, but two of their members had been slain. Brother Edmund asks the Inquisition for help in his mission and the Cell Raptor of course agrees.


Part 2: Final Harvest


Entry 2.1: Deep Cover

Hamlets.png
[Hamlet 2608]

The girl winced in pain at the sudden brightness assaulting her eyes, bringing them to tears. The darkness of the tunnels had been so complete and naught but red emergency lighting had graced her vision for uncountable days in the winding maze of melta-cut rock. Stepping into a wide, flat valley, the girl surveyed the carnage around her. Dozens of pock-marks scarred the sheer cliff-face from whence she exited, and hundreds of brass large-caliber shells dotted the rocky ground at her feet. The slack bodies of viciously executed servitors hung loosely in their housings, unable to escape the torrential rain of fire which had slain them. The girl gave a wordless moan of hurt, dropping to her knees and clutching her swollen belly, her breath in ragged gasps. Girding herself against further discomfort, the girl pulled her half-rotted overcoat tighter against herself and struggled to her feet, trudging onwards - to where she did not know, but surely it must be better than from whence she had come.

[Infiltrating the Harvestmen]
The Deathwatch Kill-Team ask the acolytes to stay on station, able to support them if needed and Grendel agrees to serve them where necessary. Information would be shared by the two groups, but Cell Raptor would continue to operate on its own when not summoned to serve the Astartes. Gallach prepares a dossier on the T'au, a race he had learned about after a member of his crew defaced a copy of the Imperial Primer with information about their doctrine, an anti-imperial sentiment known as the 'Greater Good'. Back on task Davrus and Gallach decide to head back to Kalto to deal with the Goat once and for all, understanding now that his corrupt teachings are informed by the foul xenos T'au. Heading to the Granary Safehouse Davrus and Gallach attempt to track down the Goat, contacting the Stockman to re-start their investigations. He directs them to Hamlet 2608, the source of the Goat's last broadcast and hotbed of Harvestmen activity. Wearing Kaltian garb and armed only with a stolen Kalto rifle the pair even look the part, Davrus using his psychic powers to manipulate his own appearance into that of a stocky man of Kalto with passing resemblance to Gallach. Purchasing a broken auto-cycle the pair are dropped on Kalto just outside the Compliancer cordon of Hamlet 2608 and prepare to infiltrate the outpost.

On a rusted old auto-cycle 'Alexei' and 'Vasily' ride towards Hamlet 2608, blasting past the Compliancer cordon as the armoured vehicles struggle to match the speed of the bike. The Harvestmen at the gates of 2608 let the pair through, Resnovich's disguises and Davrus' fledgling biomantic powers making the himself and Gallach look every inch the Kalto agricultural workers. The Hamlet is entirely in Harvestmen hands, their adepts and Compliancers seized weeks before by Kroot working for the T'au. Looking around Davrus and Gallach find out that most people came here by word of mouth, the data-slates holding messages from the Goat being distributed widely across Kalto. Settling in the pair are assigned work to do for the Harvestmen, Davrus sorting grain and Gallach repairing vehicles for an upcoming assault. The pair are frustrated by the need-to-know basis on which the Harvestmen operate and set a plan in motion to rise up the ranks of the rebellion and gain access to greater intelligence. Davrus manages to frame one of his fellow workers as an Imperial spy, gaining access to the leader of the settlement Nikolas and earning his trust as the false-traitor is hanged. Through this he finds out that 2608 provides food and weapons for a Harvestmen base further into the mountains and convinces Nikolas that they need to warn that base about the possible leak of information. Boarding a ramshackle vehicle Gallach and Davrus join Nikolas as he heads into the Loradon mountains along with a group of other new members who need to be blooded.

Pushing through the Compliancer cordon the swift armoured hectin drives up into the mountains, heading for the hidden Harvestmen base. Arriving at the valley Davrus and Gallach are surprised to see hundreds of Harvestmen, heavily armed with Kalto autorifles and even a few heavy bolters ripped from enemy vehicles. Attempting to look around they find that trust is lacking even among those in the brotherhood of the Harvestmen. Having warned his superiors Nikolas gets back in the hectin and they leave the base, Gallach and Davrus having found none of the evidence they had come here to find. Back out of the mountains Gallach falsifies a vehicle break down and the Harvestmen in the car pile out into the cornfields. Davrus reaches out with his mind and takes control of a number of the men, having them declare themselves for the Emperor and attempt to kill Nikolas. Fighting off the men Gallach and Davrus manage to save Nikolas and worried that the men have given up the mountain base location Nikolas orders them to drive once again back to the hidden base. Those at the hidden base are outraged at the betrayal and interrogate Davrus, Gallach and Nikolas for many hours. Tortured and interrogated Gallach and Davrus stick to their stories, the needles and blades of the Harvestmen no match for the Inquisitional interrogation they had been trained to resist. Their loyalty confirmed Gallach sneaks away and sends a coded vox message to Gnaritas aboard the Fury Untold, instructing him of the coordinates of the hidden mountain base and urging him to forward these to the Compliancer in charge of the 2600 Hamlets.

Back at Hamlet 2608 'Alexei' and 'Vasily' are given greater influence over the preparations for the next Harvestmen attack, but still denied access to any technology or information that would let them know about the Harvestmen movements at large. The next day the Hamlet forces are primed to attack the Compliancer cordon, a dozen armoured vehicles lined up and trundling towards their lines. It is now that the Compliancer counter-attack begins, a half-dozen armoured aquila landers zooming overhead towards the mountain camp, its location revealed by Cell Raptor some days before. Breaking off from the attack Gallach burns the Hectin towards the mountains, while the Harvestmen in the back of the vehicle become angry and confused by the change of plans. They open up at close range, bullets ripping into Davrus and pinging around the metal compartment. Many are hit by their own bullets while the rest are pushed from the car by Davrus with a burst of psychic energy, crashing into the ground beneath the vehicle with a sickening crunch. The now bullet ridden vehicle makes its way up to the mountain base, arriving as a pitched battle was already underway. The Compliancers have set up a barricade within the valley and trade shots with the Harvestmen, while the aquila landers strafe the Harvestman position with their autocannons. Sprinting over to one of the heavy bolter turrets Gallach jumps on the vehicle and swings it around to face one of the fliers. With a series of echoing thumps the heavy bolter rounds rip one of the ships engines to shreds and the aquila spins into the assembled Compliancers. The rest of the fliers pull off and retreat, now accompanied by an arvus lander painted in the colours of the Adeptus Administratum.

Gallach is lauded as a hero by the surviving Harvestmen, meeting with their heavily augmented leader Pyotr and being formally inducted into the Harvestmen, along with his 'brother', a less welcomed Davrus. The following day the pair are summoned to meet with the Goat, the heroes of the attack given this rare privilege. It is many days march into the mountains before the group arrives at the entrance to a cave, unremarkable and unlit. Waiting for a few hours a dozen of the grey skinned Kroot emerge from the tunnels beyond, the xenos-mercenaries hired by the T'au that Silens and Gallach had fought previously. The Kroot lead the group through unmappable tunnels beneath the Loradon mountains before the arrive at a small candle-lit cave filled with a small table and a number of seated men. Among the older Kalto workers is the Goat, his curved mechanical horns and back-aligned legs perfectly fitting the data-packet the Cell had received on him. He waves the other men away and greets Davrus and Gallach warmly. He congratulates and thanks them, welcoming them to the Harvestmen and explaining their greater purpose. The Harvestmen intend to shake off the shackles of the Imperium and work the lands of their own accord, growing food only for themselves and their new "benefactors". The Goat gestures to the back of the room where a small figure stands in heavy robes, blue alien skin only just visible in the shroud. The Harvestmen would grow grain for the benefactors, the T'au, in return for their protection and support. Gallach and Davrus, fully intending to sell their lives dearly in killing the Goat realise at last how little power the man has. A puppet for the T'au, his death would only strengthen the rebellion. Torn by indecision, they are taken back to the mountain camp, Pyotr grinning ear to ear at the honour of meeting his saviour, the Goat.

Back in the mountain camp Davrus sneaks into Pyotr's tent and reads his mind while he sleeps. He discovers that the last attack was a success, the painted arvus having landed on the Praefactor's space station and infected it with boneweed. The Palace had since gone quiet. He also discovers that the Adeptus Mechanicus of Paellus Forge had recently reopened their gates after seven months in the dark, releasing a wave of skarebs loaded with what they are describing as a grain seed that is totally resistant to boneweed. This seems to have made Pyotr and even the Goat very angry, Pyotr's mind containing the idea that this was very much a betrayal. Leaving the tent Gallach and Davrus have a heated discussion about their future on Kalto. They had successfully infiltrated the Harvestmen, but gone deeper than either of them had ever hoped. They had killed Compliancers, loyal citizens, in order to gain Pyotr's trust and accidentally helped an attack on the Praefactor's Palace take place. Gallach describes the Compliancers as corrupt, but both men know they had sinned greatly in pursuit of the Emperor's justice. Determining those suffered so far had been "acceptable losses" for the larger mission the pair remain imbedded in the Harvestmen forces. Days later on patrol they encounter the Core Theta ship that had shot down Silens and Gallach weeks earlier. It was a smouldering wreck, those within dead and massive footprints all over the combat site. Recognising those of a T'au armoured battlesuit Gallach doesn't feel the joy he thought he would at the destruction of the forces of Core Theta, but rather a growing dread that the T'au forces on Kalto were too many and too well armed to be extracted short of destroying the population of the planet. Returning to the mountain camp Cell Raptor prepare a report to send to Interrogator King.


Entry 2.2: Priority Target

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[The Loradon Mountains]

With a final swig Janus knocked back the dregs in his glass of amasec. A good vintage - 18 years aged on Thaur. He'd always promised himself he'd crack the bottle once Winoc Interstellar share price broke the ten-thousand thrones a piece mark. Fat chance of that ever happening now. Who'd have predicted such a stable commodity as grain could be brought to its knees by a few barely literate farm-hands with scythes and fertilizer bombs? Placing the empty glass down on the Vanth-wood desk he'd purchased after his father had officially placed the company in his hands, Janus picked up another object - plasteel and surprisingly light. Janus squeezed his hand, the device's power cells humming to life, and with a resigned sigh placed the device to his temple, the cool barrel pressing into his flesh.
A squawk on his personal inter-vox. A momentary distraction from the inevitable. What was the harm in hearing what was waiting to be said? Listening with growing intensity, the plasteel object clattered to the floor, forgotten in a moment as excitement gripped Janus. The Forge. It had opened. New grain? Resistant-strains? Twelve times the yield-rate? Early-bird discounts? In a flash Janus was at his cogitator, siphoning the last dwindling credits of Winoc Interstellar into Paellus' accounts. With a whispered prayer to the Emperor, Janus leaned back into his grox-hide chair, a fresh glass of 18-year Thaur amasec in his hand. Winoc Interstellar might break that mark yet.

[Capturing the Goat]
Breaking into the comms tent of the hidden Harvestmen mountain base Gallach sends a coded message to King aboard the Fury Untold, informing her of confirmed T'au presence on the world and their influence over the Goat. Message sent Davrus and Gallach decide to maintain their cover, going about their business for two days before Davrus is contacted in his dreams. He dreams of a opulent palace in which he and Grendel sit. Gone are the disguises and peasant clothing, the pair share a fine amasec. The two psykers communicate through the dream, their minds psychically linked over thousands of kilometres of distance by Inquisitor Grendel's will. Grendel informs Davrus that he has ordered the Governor to requisition a force of Imperial Guard from the nearby world of Terminus Prime and that the forces should be arriving within the month to pacify the rebellion. He then orders Davrus to capture the Goat by any means necessary, knowing once the Imperial Guard arrive all evidence will inevitably be burned away in the fires of war. Grendel informs Davrus that if the Goat can be captured Brother Albrecht of the Deathwatch has agreed to help retrieve him. All Davrus need do is send out a psychic signal once the Goat is captured and Brother Albrecht will come to their aid.

Back in their tent the following morning Gallach and Davrus put a plan into motion to capture the Goat. They agree that they will need to get access to him again, but that even if they could do so in their current state they would be no match for his Kroot bodyguards. To this end Gallach organises a visit to the base armoury, intending to steal some higher powered weapons for the attack. Grendel had promised the assistance of Brother Albrecht should Davrus be able to get a message off to him and so spends the day in meditation to focus his mind for the task. Under the pretense of modifying some weapons Gallach gains access to the armoury, finding a belt of stun and choke grenades. He also finds a stolen bolt pistol under lock and key. Unfortunately in the process of taking it he is spotted and forced to draw his silenced pistol and kill his minder. Hiding the event by rigging an explosion Gallach finds himself under suspicion by Pyotr, and his favour within the camp is diminished. It is such that on the following day when the Harvestmen are launching an attack Davrus and Gallach find themselves at the front, riding in a scout vehicle.

Surrounded by heavily armoured ram vehicles the ramshackle scout car zooms towards the Compliancer emplacements. The mission is to smash the enemy lines and steal what weapons and ammunition they can, but Davrus and Gallach knew the alternate goal was for Pyotr to have them killed. They storm towards the emplacement, easily dodge heavy stubber fire and coming into gun range. Just as the car pulls up Gallach takes a bullet across the temple and stunned and reeling his bullets go wide. Confident, the Compliancers return fire with their autoguns, wracking the vehicle with bullets and sending Davrus diving for cover. Firing on full auto the Compliancers move in before by some miracle their weapons begin to jam. Poorly built and unserviced for many weeks the Kalto rifles cannot stand the strain of firing on full auto and one by one begin to jam. As the Compliancers rush to react Davrus leaps behind the wheel of the vehicle and runs a pair of them down, crunching their armoured forms beneath the heavy wheels. Gallach jumps on the cars heavy stubber and although unable to hit a target suppresses those who remain. Eventually the Compliancers flee and the Cell loads their weapons cache into the back of the car.

Back at the mountain base Pyotr is impressed that the pair survived and seems to have regained some trust in them. Gallach is medicated for his head wound while Davrus takes a plan to Pyotr. Noticing that the Compliancer morale was low Davrus suggests the Harvestmen running a propaganda campaign against them, tricking them into giving up their weapons. Pyotr agrees, but says he has to take the idea to the Goat before enacting it. A day later Davrus and Gallach find themselves in the caves of the Loradon mountains once again, led by the Kroot to meet with the Goat and his T'au benefactor. But this time they are prepared. Led into the cave Gallach pulls from his coat a stun and choke grenade, the blinding flash of the first leaving the Goat reeling while he breaths in the exhausting fumes of the choke grenade. The T'au falls to the ground quickly in a fit of coughing while the Goat staggers around in the smoke. The Kroot react instantly leaping upon Pyort, Davrus and Gallach alike. A confused Pyotr is cut down instantly by the blades of one creature, while Gallach only just manages to dodge a searing shot from a Kroot rifle. Pulling out his stolen bolt pistol Gallach blasts away at the Kroot, destroying them in chunks of grey skin and blue blood. Manacling the Goat and the T'au Davrus sends off the psychic signal to Grendel on the Fury Untold high above.

Setting up a cordon Gallach holds off a few more Kroot who come to investigate the noise while the Cell waits with baited breath for their saviour. After 5 minutes or so Brother Albrecht arrives, the cavern shaking as his drop pod burns its way through the mountains and arrives with pin point accuracy on the point where Davrus sent the signal. Stepping from the drop pod is the massive armoured form of Brother Albrecht, heft a pair of kit bags that he tosses to each acolyte. Their gear contained within Davrus and Gallach armour up, the former speaking loudly about his relief at putting his fine nobles attire on after so many days in rags. And with that the group are off through the mountain tunnels, the unconscious Goat and T'au strapped to a grav-gurney brought by Albrecht in his drop pod. The Astartes lumbers ahead of the group, Davrus and Gallach finding only the broken forms of Kroot and Harvestmen in his wake. Dozens of the men and xenos die at Albrecht's hands before the group breaks out into a large clearing amidst the snow mountains. It is here that the evac will take place and the group sets up to guard the four entrances to the valley. And soon after their arrival their enemies come. Swarms of Harvestmen run out of the mountain passes, firing rifles or charging with farming tools to rescue their leader. Harvestmen are blown apart by bolt rounds from Gallach or smashed to pulp by Albrecht's bare hands, while others turn and shoot their allies, minds taken by Davrus' powers. The Harvestmen are vastly outmatched until with a lucky shot a hail of bullets rips through Gallach's arm, severing it and dropping his bolter to the ground.

Sensing weakness the Kroot attack, not through the tunnels but by leaping down the mountains themselves, hollering and whooping as they close in on their prey. It is now that Brother Albrecht draws his weapons, bringing his mighty bolter to bear on the foul Xenos. Davrus draws his full power and unleashes a wave of golden tinted white energy that burns the creatures to ash, immolating the Harvestmen who move up emboldened by the arrival of the Kroot. Even Gallach rejoins the fray, picking up the bolter from his severed hand and firing it one handed as he screams in pain and rage. Brother Albrecht slings his bolter and charges towards the creatures with his massive chainsword in two hands, cutting down dozens of Kroot but still barely unable to stem the tide until finally, blissfully, help arrives. The massive thunderhawk gunship barely fits into the valley, but it lowers into the icy ravine with heavy bolter turrets firing in all directions. A massive cannon shot crumbles an entire entrance while the slaved-servitors make mounds of corpses with their explosive rounds. Boarding the lander Davrus and Gallach collapse against the decking, the Goat and T'au secured and the bullets of the Harvestmen pinging uselessly against the armoured flier. Breaking atmosphere the lander makes for the Fury Untold, where Brother Albrecht tells them he is ready to call upon their services.


Entry 2.3: Beneath the Forge

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[The train beneath Paellus Forge]

In a Cell Raptor headquarters aboard the 'Fury Untold' the two remaining members of Cell Raptor prepare for the assault on Forge Paellus. Gallach loads specialised rounds into his holy bolter, while Davrus reads and re-reads Inquisitor Sabela's dossier on the T'au. The empty bunks of Silens and Coldo are jarring in the quiet before deployment and Gallach's new bionic arm twitches as a painful reminder of the price of the mission on Kalto.
The doors eases open with a hiss and three figures enter. Gnaritas stands tall in his red robes and carmine carapace armour, holding the ornate matte-black grenade launcher he had acquired from the Inquisitional armoury. Behind him stand the Reinforcer, power maul crackling, and the Oathbreaker, his long las slung.
As Interrogator King enters the three Cell members step forward, clad in the carmine carapace armour of the 'Fury Untold'. She looks over them, fully armed and armoured and set to battle with foul Xenos on the earth of Kalto. They knew what they needed to do, she had not come for a briefing. She had come to say one thing:
"Good hunting".

[Infiltrating Forge Paellus]
Recuperating aboard the Fury Untold Cell Raptor is informed they will be mobilising the following day to assist Brother Albrecht in destroying the T'au presence on Kalto once and for all. The T'au are believed to be located in Paellus Forge, the Adeptus Mechanicus outpost on the surface of Kalto. The Cell are to infiltrate the Forge and confirm the T'au presence, at which point they will call for Brother Albrecht and assault the T'au position. To aid them in this endeavour Inquisitor Sabela gives them the aid of her acolyte Gnaritas Seculis, member of the Adeptus Mechanicus and Xenos expert who can assist not only in the Forge layout and security but with his knowledge of the T'au. The cell gathers around an outline of the Forge to make their plan, discussing the need to access the Forges core-cogitator to find the T'au's location within the mountains. The Cell will deploy from low atmosphere from the Arvus lander, using grav-chutes to land on the top of the Forge and make their way down. Gnaritas will guide them through the Forge and access the core-cogitator. For their mission Inquisitor Grendel opens up the Fury armoury, each acolyte equipping themselves with a suit of carmine carapace armour and taking numerous weapons and wargear from the ship's supplies.

Even as the Cell prepares to leave the Fury the interrogation of the Goat and the T'au get underway, the first few hours revealing that the Goat was aware of Davrus and Gallach's true identities as Inquisitional agents and chose to let them infiltrate the Harvestmen regardless. This knowledge weighing heavily on their minds the Cell load up and leave the Fury Untold. Fully armed and armoured Cell Raptor board the Arvus and make their way down to Kalto. The Arvus flies high over the Paellus Forge and Cell Raptor prepare themselves at the back of the vehicle. The light turns green and the figures throw themselves out into the air above the Forge. Gallach activates his grav-chute and expertly guides himself down to the Forge, guiding in the others to land next to a heat stack near the top of the Forge. Davrus lands like a seasoned drop-trooper alongside Gnaritas, who activates his internal anti-grav and lands softly in a glow of blue energy. On top of the windswept Forge the group waits next to the heat stacks, watching superheated air burst out at seemingly random intervals. Gnaritas makes calculations and determines the pattern of the steam and the Cell descends into the Forge itself.

Crawling through the pipes of the Forge the Cell moves deeper into the Adeptus Mechanicus facility. They move onwards, guided towards the Central Cogitator, a massive spherical room filled with data-units and access points. Gnaritas hacks into the cogitator directly, stopping the alarms the Cell had triggered on entry and gaining access to the facilities full information network. He sorts through the facility information and finds one area that has energy output but is unlabelled within the Admech systems. Establishing that as the T'au base of operations the Cell moves out towards it, deeper into the Forge. On their way there they trigger some defensive servitors, subdual servitors that lunge towards Davrus with pincers clicking. Davrus seizes them both with his mind, telekinesis struggling to hold the servitors. Gnaritas moves forward and interfaces directly with the servitors, battling their internal processes and powering them down. Removing their processing units physically the servitors power down and the Cell moves downwards into the depths of the Forge.

A disused and abandoned grav-train station lies beneath the Forge. Gallach spots tracks in the dust while Gnaritas activates the train. The grav-train runs deep under the Loradon mountains away from Paellus Forge, eventually arriving at a well lit area filled with crates and lifting equipment. Further into the facility Skitarii in the ochre robes of Forge Paellus overlook servitors and Harvestmen loading crates into larger storage containers. Strangely armoured figures also walk among them, ceramic plated armour concealing with blue skinned xenos faces. The T'au hold long rifles the same orange colour as their armour and are followed by strange floating drones. Retreating down the hallway the Cell quietly argues about their next course of action. Gallach suggests summoning the Deathwatch and killing the xenos, while Gnaritas suggests sneaking past the group and finding the main xenos force further along the tracks. Davrus stops the discussion, deciding the Cell will blast through the xenos and Skitarii to reach the next train. Loading up the group is surprised to see one of the T'au drones. It beeps as it scans them, blue light running up and down their armoured bodies. Zooming back down the corridor the drone brushes off silenced fire from Gallach's pistol and flies back away from the Cell.

Elemental of surprise ruined the Cell rushes out into the open area towards the waiting train. The T'au open fire with their rifles, blue energy slinging towards the dashing Acolytes. The blasts splash off Davrus and Gnaritas' defensive fields, while bolts burn through Gallach's armour and send him reeling. The Skitarii seem shocked by Gnaritas' presence, their rifles unwilling to target a tech-priest and shots going wide. A heavy firefight beaks out as the Cell dashes from cover to cover across the area, returning fire as the T'au and Skitarii close in on them. The robes Skitarii move forward with rifles raised, followed by the armoured xenos. The Cell comes under heavy fire, saved only by a blind grenade thrown by Gnaritas. Davrus reaches out with his mind and some of the T'au turn and fire upon their fellows, a firefight that leaves one T'au dead and gives the Cell enough cover to make their way across the room to the armoured train. Gallach turns and guns down a pair of drones with his bolter while Gnaritas activates the train, the Cell eventually roaring away from the station as bolts of energy dash after it from the Skitarii and T'au rifles.

As the grav-train flows down the tracks the Cell recuperate from the firefight and search the crates onboard. Most are filled with seeds and grain and Gnaritas takes a chemical breakdown of a few sealed packs. He finds most are xenos seeds, brought to Kalto to grow to supply for the T'au. Some are made for humans however, and within these Gnaritas finds more interesting results. The grain is intended to sterilize those who eat it, a tactic Gallach is familiar with the T'au using to stop human populations from continuing on planets they acquire. Suddenly the grav-train lurches to a halt, leaving the rails as a blast rips through the front of the train and sends it crashing into the stone wall. Gallach is thrown around as he patrols the train, ribs breaking as he is smashed around the metal train. The Cell continues on foot, finding evidence of the explosion that derailed the train. Moving further up the train tunnel the Cell moves on foot through the long dark tunnel. Behind them is a screeching roar and they double time it down the tunnel towards the light revealed at the end of it. Outside the train tunnel is a much larger T'au force. Skitarii and T'au milling around, loading crates onto freighters that are preparing to leave. Kroot patrol the exterior of the makeshift landing bay and above a massive armoured form hovers. A T'au in massive orange armour floats above the area, watching over the packaging with drones flying by its side scanning those below. Realising they were out of their league Davrus reaches into his cloak and brings out the homing beacon given to him by the Deathwatch. Activating the device Cell Raptor draw their weapons and move towards their enemies…


Entry 2.4: Ordo Xenos

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[Brother Albrecht battles the T'au]

Gallach returns from his scouting mission and Davrus' face furrows as he hears the report. Two dozen Skitarii, a dozen T'au warriors, drones, Kroot and a mighty battlesuit. They had pressed the teleport homer and the Deathwatch would come. But in the meantime the Cell would attack, delaying the T'au objectives as best they could until the Deathwatch arrived.
As the three Cell members prepare to attack the overwhelming force Davrus goes to Gallach, who holds his broken ribs with one armoured gauntlet and his bolter with the other.
Davrus' words are soft as he kneels next to his friend. "You are in no state for this Gallach. There's no shame in sitting this one out, until the Deathwatch arrive at least".
Pulling off his helmet Gallach's broken lips form a smile, blood dripping from his broken nose and perforated eye socket. He spits a wad of blood before speaking:
"Respectfully sir, I would rather die with a gun in my hand than sit this one out".
Grinning and putting his armoured helmet back on Davrus pulls Gallach to his feet, the pilot donning his own helmet and racking his boltgun.
His voice now crackling over the micro-beads Davrus speaks again: "As I expected. Cell Raptor, move out. Emperor Protects."

[Fighting the T'au forces on Kalto]
Rushing forwards the acolytes of Cell Raptor dash into cover, Gallach pulling forth a grenade given to Davrus by the Inquisitor. He lobs it forward, watching in shock as a wave of fire bursts outwards from the thermo-nuclear device. T'au shield drones take most of the damage, darting in front of their masters with utter loyalty, while across the area boxes of grain and bottles of promethium burst into flames. As the explosion settles the Kroot rush forward, their enhanced senses smelling out the hiding acolytes as they rush forward howling for blood. The Kroot charge is met with fire, Gnaritas' grenade launcher spitting frag grenades that blow great chunks out their lines while Gallach fires expert bursts with his bolter. Where they are hit the Kroot rot away to the bone, the deadly toxins of the Deathwatch doing their work on the foul xenos. Using the distraction the T'au take up firing positions, their rifles spitting blue pulse energy that sends the acolytes ducking to cover. Behind them the Skitarii take up arms, firing their las rifles and sending forth an armoured sentinel.

Suddenly the air is filled with the smell of ozone and the landing pads surrounded by crackling energy. Finally with an echoing boom the teleportation beacon does it's work; the Deathwatch had arrived. Brother Albrecht steps forth from the smoke, his bolter cracking and T'au dying with every bolt. Behind him stand the Reinforcer and the Oathbreaker, reinforcements from the Fury Untold arriving with Brother Albrecht via teleportation. The reinforcements take up arms immediately, the Oathbreaker firing off shots from his hot-shot long-las that smash through T'au helmets and drones alike. The Reinforcer shouts a challenge to his foes and in a fog of rage rushes forward, smashing down a T'au with his power maul and taking close range pulse rounds on his combat shield.

As the tables turn the Skitarii turn to leave, boarding their landing craft and taking off with only a few T'au onboard. Davrus reaches up into the sky and lashes out with his mind, controlling the T'au within. On the ground the few remaining Kroot hammer Gnaritas, blades bouncing off his refractor field in a burst of sparks and bursts of light. Gallach trades shots with the remaining T'au, while Brother Albrecht rushes towards the Skitarii Dunestrider. His chainsword cuts deeply into the creature, cutting off its leg and pulling the screaming Skitarii off to have their metal skull crushed by his boot. All the while Davrus concentrates on his puppets aboard the Adeptus Mechanicus lander. And as they gun down the slave-pilot the freighter begins to tip and soar back down towards the landing pad. In an blossom of fire and dirt the lander makes contact with the ground, throwing up stone and steel as the massive ship hits the earth at pace. The remaining T'au are crushed by the ship, while the Reinforcer only just manages to throw his shield up in time to block the wave of fire that emanates after the ship's reactor explodes.

The T'au slain, Albrecht voxes for the arvus to retrieve the assault team. But even as the Cell moves to secure the area a roar comes from the tunnel. Rushing from the darkness come hundreds of Kalto agri-workers. Weilding scythes and improvised weapons they rush towards those before them, their eyes tainted a strange blue tinge and filled with mindless fury. The Cell fights a brutal retreat, Albrecht and Gallach pouring bolt fire on the rushing horde as the Oathbreaker puts las fire into the mass. Many workers fall, but even more rush forward. The remaining Skitarii lash out with a heavy flamer, holding off the horde for scant moments before their overwhelming weight pulls them down. Gnaritas smashes them with frag grenades and Davrus falls back to the landing pad, protected by an injured Reinforcer.

At the landing pad the arvus finally arrives, Corvath waving over the Cell to board as the horde gets closer. But suddenly the horde falls quiet, turning to look behind them. From the cave rushes a pair of strange creatures. Covered in blue chitin, the beasts run on muscled legs, with two long hands ending in razor sharp claws themselves. Their red flesh is pure muscle and the agri-workers quake in fear at their presence. Albrecht's battle cries suddenly fall quiet as he steps off the back of the Arvus and closes the base. The two creatures lumber forwards as Albrecht holds his chainsword in two hands and chants a battle cry of the Black Templars. Gallach tries to stay, stopped from opening the back gate only by Davrus pulling him away from the controls. As they plead with Albrecht to get aboard the ship the Deathwatch simply says one thing before turning off his vox channel: "This foe is beyond any of you. Go." The arvus takes off, leaving Brother Albrecht facing off against a horde of agri-workers and two strange unknown xenos.

Back in the Fury Untold Inquisitor Grendel himself briefs the Cell as they recuperate in the med bay. It seems the T'au captured days earlier alongside the Goat had finally talked, Inquisitor Sabela breaking the T'au language barrier and the flesh-smiths of Grendel breaking the T'au's will. The T'au forces on the planet are identified, while their passage to Kalto explained. The Amber Spyglass is a merchant voidship, a chartist trader that had entered the area some months ago. The T'au had revealed this as the T'au base of operations in the region, and scans of the Amber Spyglass had revealed a foreign power source in its holds. The Spyglass was in the process of fleeing the system and the Fury Untold was moving to intercept. As the Fury burns towards the Spyglass a team assembles in the Hub to plan the assault. Inquisitor Grendel leads the discussion, joined by Inquisitor Sabela and Captain Drake of the Fury. The master-of-arms of the ship also joins the discussion, Nikrov standing alongside Brother Edmund of the Deathwatch, still in his grav med-chair. As the Fury comes into range of the Amber Spyglass it opens up with its long dormant weapons, hammering the enemy ship with fire and bursting their voidshields. Their passage secure, the assault teams of the Inquisition leave the Fury Untold and attach to the Amber Spyglass.


Part 3: Rotten Yield


Entry 3.1: The 'Amber Spyglass'

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[Planning aboard the Fury Untold]

The creature moved with unnatural speed, it's red and blue flesh gleaming as the drain-water dripped off it. It dashed past, dodging las and bolt fire and reaching the Cell within seconds. Reaching its first target it buried its claws deep, pulling them out and removing the target's arm with a sickening crunch of blood and bone.
The Cell staggers backwards in shock as the foul xenos turns and leaps towards its next prey. Deep within the bowels of the 'Amber Spyglass' the members of Cell Raptor fights for their lives…

[Aboard an enemy vessel]
The assault craft burn through the outer hull of the Amber Spyglass as the forces of the Inquisition deploy into its metallic corridors. Red team is led by master-at-arms Nikrov, taking a group of armsmen to the ship's warp engines to stop the ship from making an emergency jump. Led by Inquisitor Sabela, Green Team heads to the ship's bridge, intending to capture those onboard and keep them from fighting back. Blue Team is the Cell Raptor insertion, Davrus, Gnaritas, Gallach and the reinforcements moving through the corridors towards the hold, where the xenos energy signature was detected. Following Gallach's knowledge of space vessels and Gnaritas' genius at engineering the group manages to get most of the way through the ship towards the hold without incident, slaying the odd rating as the Reinforcer moves ahead of the group and bludgeons those in his way with his power maul.

The Cell moves down sparking, shattered corridors, the vessel shuddering under the bombardment of the Fury Untold's guns. In the massive hold of the ship the Cell finds the source of the xenos power signal, shocked by what they see. A massive T'au ship is landed in the hull, it's armour the same orange plated colour as the T'au infantry. Voxing in to the command the Cell moves forward, approaching the massive T'au ship. Approaching the landing bay Gnaritas interfaces with the xenos command system, using his knowledge of the T'au language to hack into the xenos cogitators and open the doors to the ship. As soon as the Cell enters the xenos ship they realise something is wrong. Dozens of T'au bodies have been ripped to shreds by clawed hands. Others seem to have been bludgeoned by Harvestmen who lie dead next to the T'au, covered in pulse burns. Harvestmen killed by T'au and T'au killed by Harvestmen are accompanied by dozens more clawed bodies on the bridge, where a squad of T'au elites lie dead surrounding the controls to the ship. Powering down the ship Gnaritas finds a nav-beacon set by the T'au elites and the Cell leave the xenos ship to track the nav-beacon further into the Amber Spyglass.

In the bowels of the Amber Spyglass Cell Raptor find the source of the beacon. As sump-fluids drip down from above the Cell wades into a murky room in which a figure huddles. Clearly the source of the beacon the T'au cowers in the corner of the room, his blue skin visible where it juts out from his once fine robes. Gallach moves to engage, throwing a stun grenade and manacling the xenos. Even as he does so death enters the room from behind. With unnatural speed the blue and red creature moves across the room, it's four razor sharp claws lunging towards flesh. Named a 'Stalker' by Inquisitor Sabela, the Cell knew of the creatures. But that did very little to protect them. The Reinforcer is hit first, his arm ripped cleanly off by a pair of razor sharp claws. He brushes through the pain, picking up his power maul with his other hand and slamming at the creature. He manages to block one or two more blows, even landing a half dozen on the creature itself in cracks of powered impacts. But finally the swiftness of the creature overcomes him, the four claws literally ripping him limb from limb and scattering his bloody remains across the room.

All of this happens in scant seconds, and by the time the Cell leaps to react the Reinforcer is dead. The Oathbreaker goes down next, claws ripping off his helm and cutting into his face. Leaping towards the red robed figure the 'Stalker' lashes out at Gnaritas again and again, ducking his grenades as it closes the distance. Dozens of blows overcharge the refractor field before a final blow gets through, ripping into his chest and sending him reeling into the water, blood soaking across the room. Gallach stumbles back, riddled with fear and shots going wide as panic fills his eyes. Only Davrus remains, the psyker drawing deeply on his psychic energy and unleashing on the 'Stalker'. A blast of white-gold energy lashes the xenos, blasting off armoured plates and throwing green blood into the water. But the creature is not dead, lunging forwards and stabbing into Davrus' shoulder with its massive claws. Staggering backwards, Davrus pulls even deeper on his powers and with a single hand unleashes his full might. Blinding light surges from Davrus' hand, white-gold lightning that arcs across the room and smashes into the 'Stalker'. Wracked with energy the xenos staggers and convulses before finally exploding into bloody globlets as Davrus' psychic energy utterly annihilates it.

The party gathers around Davrus, the manacled T'au still blubbering onto his robes. They stop to reload their weapons and catch their breath, but are interrupted by the sound of jet engines and rippling water. Into the room zooms at T'au battlesuit, the orange armour held aloft by powerful engines and an array of weapons levelled at the party. From within the suit the T'au pilot speaks in broken low gothic, promising the safe passage of the Cell should they release the 'Ethereal' to him. Recognising the name as that of a holy T'au leader Gallach refuses in the most basic way, putting a bolt shell through the Ethereal's head at close range. The battle-suit reels in shock as Davrus unleashes his psychic energy, blasting apart his accompanying drones and sending him backwards in a burst of energy. Enraged the suit responds, a hail of micro-missiles blasting into the far wall of the room. Gnaritas and Gallach manage to dodge aside, but the Oathbreaker is caught in the blast and turned into a bloody mist by a dozen explosions. Gallach takes a pulse round to the chest that sends him flying, while Gnaritas is sent to cover by another salvo. Suddenly the air of the room fills with sparks as a massive armoured shape teleports directly into the area. Brother Albrecht is an impressive form, even with an arm obviously lost during his battle on the planet below. He charges the T'au, slashing deeply with his chainsword and painting the room with blue blood. But the T'au darts away, engines taking him high above and far out of Albrecht's reach. But not Gnaritas'. A special armour piercing Krak grenade blows the battlesuit cleanly out of the sky, smashing down into the water below as systems fail and the engines cut out. Unwilling to surrender the T'au detonates his own power pack, a blossom of pulse energy arching across the room and washing over all present.

Even as the T'au battlesuit self destructs Davrus falls to his knees in the murky water. With a shudder his eyes roll back into his head and the whole room drops in temperature. With a gasp there is a release of pressure and behind Davrus a hideous creature appears. Looking up Davrus speaks, "I couldn't hold him any longer", as the plague ridden daemon draws a rusted sword and plunges it through his chest. Rot spreads from the wound, decaying Davrus' flesh, bones and immaculate clothing alike. Brother Albrecht rushes towards the creature, but the daemon dissapears in a puff of acidic smoke before the Astartes can reach it. In a gravelling and deep tone words ring out in the flooded bowels of the Amber Spyglass: "Putrifex sends his regards!". As the ship is seized by the forces of the Inquisition, Cell Raptor gathers around the rotten corpse of Davrus and looks at the xenos slain by them. It seemed an unfair bargain.

The Honoured Dead:
Davrus Octavius, favoured and noble son of the Emperor. Forced to pull deeply from the warp the followers of Putrifex finally caught up with him.


Entry 3.2: Kalto Burns

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[Governor von Maux at the trial of 'the Goat']

"I saw - he showed me what was to come. May the Emperor forgive my heresies" Last words of the heretic Eskarne Jasso

[Aftermath]
In the weeks following the Terminus Prime 5th regiment is deployed to the surface of Kalto, tasked with pacifying the Harvestmen and bringing the planet back under Imperial control. Thousands of the grey armoured infantry are deployed to the Metothine Gate and the surface below, supported by those few Compliancers that remained loyal to the Governor. Gallach imbeds himself in the regiment, nicknamed the 'Watchdogs', and assists in battles across the surface of Kalto. The Terminus regiment kill many Harvestmen and generally cause the Kaltoese trouble, burning whole Hamlets that they suspect to be heretical. They clear the surface in short time, but find themselves fighting an entrenched enemy within the Loradon mountains. Fighting a stubborn enemy with guerrilla tactics and facing Adeptus Mechanicus kill-patrols that fight for jurisdiction over the area. Gallach soon leaves the Terminus 'Watchdogs' under interesting circumstances, rejoining the Agent Raynard Castus on the Gate to finalise his transition to Cell Raptor.

After the death of their kill team at the hands of the T'au Core Theta sends reinforcements, and soon after the arrival of the transport Adamantine Faith brings with it a swathe of new Adeptus Mechanicus reinforcements. Gnaritas finds himself assigned to Core-Theta by the Inquisition, serving as the Inquisitions envoy to the Core-Theta forces. Serving as a xenos expert, Gnaritas was involved in deciphering T'au communications and identifying xenos artefacts recovered from the Amber Spyglass. Most are destroyed by the puritanical Core-Theta, but Gnaritas manages to secret many more away to return to his mistress, Inquisitor Sabela, or to keep for his own personal study. The clean up complete Paellus Forge is seized by Core-Theta. All radical elements are sent back to Core-Theta for interrogation and the Forge will be run with the iron hand of the Adeptus Mechanicus for years to come.

As Davrus is incinerated in the psy-sealed chambers of the Fury Untold Inquisitor Grendel struggles to find a replacement for his most promising acolyte. Davrus' worldly possessions are ritually cleansed by the ship daemonologist Lazarus Hayl while his remains are returned to his family. Grendel offers to rebuild Cell Raptor around Gallach, offering the pilot the rank of Interrogator, a sizeable promotion. Gallach refuses, not considering himself worthy of the rank. With his acolytes pool diminished Grendel turns to Inquisitor Sabela, recruiting one of her most promising Interrogators: Arbitrator Raynard Castus. Castus takes over the paperwork of the case, working alongside Interrogator King to sort through the mess of Kalto and come out with the facts. He works within the Adeptus Arbites deployed to the planet, working from behind the scenes to feed information to the Inquisition and stop anything untoward being discovered by the Arbites. He takes particular lead in the purging of Hamlet 9021, an area suspected to be infected by xenos taint. Mass interrogations are held on the planet, while aboard the Fury Untold the command crew of the Amber Spyglass and the captured T'au are interrogated to near death by the Inquisition's skilled flesh-smiths. The T'au aboard are dissected by Gnaritas after their deaths, while their equipment is secreted away into the holds of the Fury Untold. Of the crew of the Spyglass most were captured, including the infamous heretical xenos Cold Trader Ikram Ahmed. Under the knife he reveals the names of many fellow traders, and investigations for years to come are prompted by his screamed confessions.

With interrogations and evidence piling up Castus and Inquisitor Grendel start to get an idea of the true matter of Kalto. The T'au had captured the xenos specimens known as 'Stalkers' in the Eastern Fringe of the Imperium, transporting them to the Askellon sector through a mysterious warp portal that even the Inquisition knew little about. Pursued by the Deathwatch the T'au vessel was damaged, and took refuge at the edge of the system. It was here that it encountered the Amber Spyglass, the Ethereal convincing it's captain Eskarne Jasso to help the xenos reach a planet where they could resupply and repair their ship. Convinced by the mysterious Arleen Diamond she wore as an earring Jasso agreed and brought the T'au ship to Kalto aboard the Amber Spyglass. There they made contact with the 'Guilty Thorn', an Adeptus Mechanicus radical faction functioning deep below Paellus Forge. This clandestine facility had long been interested in genetic modification, and agreed to modify the Kalto grain to make it edible for T'au at a price. Their Magos, Imrus Orban, made a deal with the T'au for several specimens of pure-strain 'Stalkers'. His internal cogitator reveals his intention to betray the T'au, using the 'Stalkers' to destroy their ship and studying the effects of the creatures to attempt to harness their formidable powers.

The Harvestmen, most damaging of the organisations corrupting Kalto, turned out to be simply an effective distraction. Trying to hide their cover activities on the planet from the Inquisition the T'au influenced Mikhail Zorich into taking up the mantle of 'the Goat' and leading the rebellion. Under the promise of being delivered from under the yoke of the Imperium he waged a terrorist campaign that took many lives, not the least of which that of Praefactor Torintane. After the infection of his palace the station was destroyed by the macro-batteries of the Terminus transport Watchdog 5, lest the infection spread. The Goat was ultimately a patsy for the T'au, they never intended to honour their agreement with him and ultimately would have left Kalto a sterile wasteland, it's people taken as slaves to be used for manual labour by the T'au forces on the Eastern Fringe. Nevertheless the Goat has a public and lengthy trial overseen by Governor von Maux, reinstated a hero as he is let back into the spotlight by Inquisitor Grendel. Von Maux runs the trial personally, and after a month declares the Goat a heretic and has him burned alive on the surface of Kalto. Like most of his family, the Goat's ashes rejoined the soil of his home.

Cell Raptor had stopped the machinations of both the T'au and the Guilty Thorn, purging the Paellus Forge and putting the T'au forces on the Amber Spyglass to the torch. It had cost them dearly, two loyal and veteran acolytes falling in the line of duty. And despite their efforts the heresies of Kalto had still shaken Askellon to it's core. Dozens of worlds suffer from famine due to the food shortages, and food riots break out on numerous civilised worlds. Kalto's tithe rating is permanently downgraded, which in an ironic turn gives the agri-workers of Kalto the reprieve from all-day work that the Goat had fought so hard for. Six months after the events on the Amber Spyglass Cell Raptor reforms aboard the Fury Untold, meeting with Grendel in his private quarters to receive their next mission.

M41.817 Through a joint effort of Arbites, Ministorum, and Militarum forces, Kalto is brought into the fold once more. A full army of Terminus Prime 'Watchdogs' and the Dictator-Class Cruiser Herald of Retribution are permanently stationed on the surface and in the void respectively, leaving the once peaceful Kalto with the largest standing military in the Rubicon Sub-sector.

Epilogue

The Inquisitor was standing at his finely-carved desk, fists bunched and pressed into the dark wood, his head bowed. He was stripped to his undershirt and his suspenders hung loosely by his sides. Arrayed across the great table was a motley collection of items ranging between dossiers, dataslates and at least half a dozen empty bottles of amasec. Taking center stage were a clutch of transparent stasis boxes, each containing a shimmering violet diamond of varying size and cut. The most recent additions to our collection - an earring worn by the traitorous Chartist-Captain Jasso, and a sub-dermal implant carried by The Goat in one of his innumerable injuries. I realised with sudden shock that the Inquisitor had not registered my presence in his office, so distracted as he was by his workings. With a subtle motion I scuffed my boot across the adamantium decking, making as if I had only just stepped into the room. Like a bird of prey the Inquisitor's head snapped up, his eyes narrowed and bloodshot. It was uncharacteristic to see the Inquisitor exhibit any signs of distress, yet the creases of stress running across his unguarded face clearly showed a man under great pains. His typically refined appearance was haggard and unwashed - it must have been days since he last ate.
"Sir?" I enquired, "I have your weekly appraisal here to discuss, if you are ready?"
In a flash the Inquisitor softened his face, taking on the typical wry smile and twinkling eyes with which he could disarm anybody not versed in his methods.
"Of course, Miss King. Of course. Please, take a seat. Just push whatever is on that chair onto the floor - I'll get to it later"
Doing as asked I took the seat across from Grendel and produced my dataslate.
"Raptor Cell have completed their post-operative care and psychological evaluations, sir. Gnaritas is mostly unmoved by what occurred, but I fear Gallach's mind has taken a rather significant turn. He blames himself for the loss of Davrus, along with the deaths of Thrane and Silens previously. He has been reassured that he acted completely within his capabilities, but regardless he has taken to training like a man possessed - he has even requested to be embedded in the Terminus Prime regiment so he can better hone his combat abilities. I wanted your thoughts before such an act was authorised."
Leaning back in his chair the Inquisitor steeped his fingers under his chin, a look of concentration playing across his features.
"Hmm, yes. I can read him now, clear as day. His resolve is unquestionable, but the toll of his duties is increasing evermore. I myself am no true soldier, but I have spent time in the minds of many who were. It is not uncommon for them to take solace in training or regimentation - creature comforts for those of that ilk. I feel it is the right path, to allow him time in the regiment - his request is granted."
"I'm certain he will be most grateful, sir. There is one other matter I wish to discuss however…"
With a wave of his hand the Inquisitor alighted a hololith beneath the desk, sending up a pair of grainy images - one of a uniquely appointed man, the other of a curiously bisected square glyph.
"The Rogue?"
"The Rogue, sir. You had promised the cell would be informed of our true mission after the events on Kalto had been resolved. They need to feel a part of the inner circle - to carry with them a measure of trust. I think that time is now, sir."
We both sat in silence for a moment, surveying the strange artefacts arrayed before us - the cause of so much misery and pain, and yet more to come. The ones behind everything - the Hereticus Tenebrae, Haarlock's Legacy, Burrard, Desoleum, Kalto. Every one a heresy of he highest magnitude.
"Very well, Miss King. Assemble the cell. It is time they entered the fold."


Appendices

Persons of Note

The Cell:

  • 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.
  • Davrus Octavius: Born to a noble house of divining information brokers, Davrus and his family have been under scrutiny by the Inquisition for decades making his candidacy as an Acolyte an obvious choice. After the departure of Gavriel he stepped up to become the leader of Raptor Cell.
  • Lt. 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.
  • Silens Iras: From the feudal world of Hrax, Silens was once under the tutelage of the Adeptus Soritas before falling in with the Inquisition. A null, she wears the plate amour of an ancient Soritas and wields her sanctified swords with prestigious skill.
  • Gnaritas Seculis: Ex-Adeptus Mechanicus tect-adept and xenos expert. More machine than man, Gnaritas is seized by an insatiable desire for knowledge and serves aboard the Fury Untold as Inquisitor Sabela's personal sage in all things xenos.

Inquisitorial Persona:

  • Inquisitor Grendel: The Inquisitor in charge of Cell Raptor, 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 augmented 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.
  • Activated Assets: In emergency situations certain assets that live throughout Askellon are able to be activated by Inquisitorial agents.
    • Coldo: Former Naval Spetznaz from wartorn Terminus, specialises in brutal close-quarter tactics and understated humour. Has recently developed a taste for heavy weapons. Was once a member of Cell Raptor before he left to work with the Burrard Penitent Legion regiment.
    • The Oathbreaker: Once a member of the Desoleum Involute Cadre Imperial Guard regiment the man known as the 'Oathbreaker' is a trusted mercenary ally of Cell Raptor. Guarded about his past, none can question his skill with the worn scoped long-las he carries.
    • The Reinforcer: An ex-Arbite who was cast out for excessive brutality towards suspects, the 'Reinforcer' is known for only turning up when the pay is good and the situation dire. He wields a power maul and suppression shield taken from his Arbite days.
  • Deathwatch Kill Team 4843: Hot on the trail of the T'au who escaped their righteous fury, a Deathwatch Strike-vessel crewed by the two surviving members of Killteam 4843 have pursued their targets to the void of Kalto. Recent events have produced an alliance of sorts between the Kill-Team and Raptor Cell.
    • Brother Albrecht: Zealous and quick to fury, Albrecht hails from the Black Templars Chapter, and is one possessed of a most terrible rage at the loss of two of his Deathwatch brothers.
    • Brother Edmund: Pragmatic and taciturn, Edmund bears the hallmarks of the Storm Wardens Chapter. In their previous encounter with the Tau he was grievously injured by pulse weaponry, rendering him without legs and confined to the strike vessel.

Dramatis Persona:

  • 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.
  • Praefactor Torintane: The Imperial representative on the planet who exists within a healing-tank in his palace, with most of his work being formed by servitors that do his will. He has refused to give up power, even after his remit on Kalto has ended.
  • Governor von Maunx: The technical leader of Kalto, his power doesn't extend far. He spends most of his time wining and dining chartist captains and other nobles, making whatever deals line his pockets.
  • Agent Torren: A learned acolyte of Inquisitor Sabela's who serves aboard the Metothine Gate space station above Kalto. Serves as an Adept for one of the many mercantile guilds based on the Gate.
  • Agent Resnovich: A lifetime farmer who lives on the surface of Kalto and serves the Inquisition. He is a brutally strong man and protects his Hamlet with violence if necessary.
  • Gwilherm: Partner in the Fransez Group merchants and passionate hunter. Often travels to the surface to hunt atop his dune-strider.

Organisations

  • The Harvestmen: An anti-production revolutionary movement rising to power in recent years on the agri-world of Kalto.
    • 'The Goat': Leader of the Harvestmen. An agriculturalist who has lost much and blames his loss on the Imperium.
    • Maksimov: Harvestmen leader based out of Hamlet 4816.
    • Nikolas: The head of the Harvestmen at Hamlet 2608.
    • Pyotr: Leader of the Harvestmen assault base in the Loradon mountains. A heavily augmented associate of the Goat.
  • The Compliancers: Agents of planetary law on Kalto based off Metothine Gate. They are charged with administering the laws of the Governor and Imperium at large, often taking individual interpretations of the law in doing so. Brutal and undoubtably corrupt.
    • Sergeant Feropont: A compliancer squad leader based on Kalto who leads armoured raids. Does his work mostly around Hamlets 4815-4820.
  • Metothine Merchant Guilds:
    • Korintin Merchantile Company: The KMC were once a major player on Metothine, but in recent years have lost stock and standing on Kalto. Deal mainly in grain and maize from the planets surface.
    • Winoc Interstellar: A small time grain merchant company whose holdings have been particularly damaged by the Harvestmen.
    • House Kataproc Mercantile: Large mercantile noble house that focuses on training maize and servitorised workers.
  • The Adeptus Mechanicus: One of the many claiming factions on Kalto, the Admech forces on the planet are mainly centred within their base at Forge Paellus.
    • Forge Paellus: Dressed in Ocre robes this faction is largely isolationist, sending only selected patrols out into the grain fields.
    • Core Theta Kill Team: A group of Admech assassins from off-world who travel in a strange heavily armoured flier. They have been known to kill forces from Forge Paellus and attack outsiders on sight.

Locations

  • Juno: The sector capital and seat of ancient power in the Askellon sector. It is a planet of lime green oceans and glittering towering hive spires.
  • 'The Fury Untold': An Iconoclast Destroyer requestioned 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.
  • Kalto: A "bread-basket" world that supplies most of the Sub-Sector with its food, Kalto has a complicated and often violent history. Even now power is unstable on the planet and relationships tense.
    • Metothine Gate: Space station in geosync above the surface of Kalto where most of the governance of the planet takes place.
    • Praefactor Bascilica: The satellite fortress-residence of the mad Praefactor Torintane - a black and bronze edifice to the grip of the Adeptus Administratum.
    • Paellus Forge: A massive fortified structure buried beneath the crumbling remains of an abandoned pre-Imperial city, and which now serves as the mechanical heart of Adeptus Mechanicus activity on Kalto.
    • Production Hamlets: Uncountable towers of gothic design reaching hundreds of meters into the sky dot the fields of Kalto, each one tasked with the seeding, harvesting, and burning of strictly allotted plots of land.
    • Governor's Palace: An Imperial building in the centre of the Metothine Gate where Governor von Maunx lives in luxury.
    • The Loradon Mountains: The location of the Paellus Forge and the suspect hive of Harvestman activity on Kalto. Thousands of kilometres of snowy mountains and rocky valleys.
  • The Safe Houses: Property owned by Captain Drake of the Fury Untold that serves as safe houses for agents serving Inquisitors Sabela and Grendel.
    • The Offices: Offices in Metothine gate occupied by Adept Torren. Meeting the minimal security standards, these offices are rented in Drake's name and serve more as an investigation centre.
    • The Granary: A bunker built beneath a burned out and destroyed granary on the surface of Kalto, this is the staging post of Agent Resnovich.
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