Annals: Dead Stars


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DATE/STAMP: 5945815.M41
Population: None - Mara V (also known simply as "Mara") is classified Dead World, and the whole system declared off-limits to legitimate Imperial traffic by Inquisitorial Edict.
Inqusitorial access available ONLY by special writ of Conclave (see ordnance lamda-extremis-9)
Formerly: Arbites Penal Colony: 743.M41-788.M41: pop approx 32,000, 78% Casualties/planet abandoned
Formerly: Independant Mining Settlements Circa 960.M40-191.M41: population unknown, lost without trace
Tithe Grade: None
Geography/Demography: Mara V is an ice-world not capable of sustaining Terran life forms with artificial assistance due to the extreme cold and the atmosphere. During the planet's day cylce, high levels of surgace radiation owing to solar wind bombardment are likewise inimical to long-term survival on the planetary surface. The majority of the planet's surface is covered by the permament glaciations up to a depth og several kilometers in some areas. Ambient temperature seldom rises sufficiently to allow water to exist in a gaseous state other than by cryomagna irruption. The only structures evident are those of the former penal colony; the primary installation (Station M-Alpha) was constructed atop an ice plateau in the planet's geologically stable equatorial zone and remains largely intact. The status of thirty-plus mining rigs and prospector bases located elsewhere on Mara's surface that were also abandoned during the world's desertion remains largely unknown.
Governmental Type: None, but the Mara system is still nominally held as a protectorate of the Calixis Sector Adeptus Arbites.
Planetary Governor: Lapsed/None Current. Title formerly held by the office of the First Keeper (the highest ranking penitentiary marshal)
Adeptus Presence: None
Military: Trade/Economy/Addendum. Former penal colony designated as Ice Station Mara has been abandoned for more than fifty years owing to {SEALED/DELETED}. During the period of its operation the station's inmates conducted mining and prospecting operations for valuable trace metallic elements and high-pressure formed crystal strata in direct tithe to the subsector government. Under direct Arbites oversight, deep core excavations based upon ancient tunnel systems and cave networks extant sub-surface. Passage to the Mara system is forbidden. Due to the nature of the moral threat perceived to long-term residents in the system, no close blockade is maintained; a distance patrol piquet is maintained at regular intervals. No legitimate Imperial commerce or shipping takes place on or around Mara. Renegade or outlaw traffic to the system is rare but not unknown.
The Mara system is qualified as a Class Mu danger to shipping/navigation in the region.
Thought For The Day: Fates worse than death are the just reward of the curious.


SUBJECT: Compiled report on the activity of Solomon Haarlock on planet designate Mara - Calyx Expanse
DATE OF ENTRY: 7646.734.M36

Initial reports from ou agents hidden within the close circle of Rogue Trader Solomon Haarlock report that the fifth planet of the star system within the unexplored Calyx Expanse (see attached co-ordinates) indicates traces of structures constructed sub-surface of planetoid; constructions first believed to be natural by-products of (now extinct) volcanism. However, investigation and alter discoveries proved this to be false. The origin of these constructions is unknown, but our agents relay the opinion of Haarlock's Savant Magister that they predate not only the Imperium, but in all liklihood organice life in this part of the galaxy. These structures, combined with the radiation from the system's violent and anomalous sun and very unusual crystallin minerla deposits, have a profound and unpredictable effect on the fabric of Realspace in the locale of the planet; not only creating fissures through which the energies of the Warp can seep unassisted, but also on localised space-time. A recent expedition into the largest discovered cave system deep below the surface of of the planet has acessed the largest and most unusual structure to date. Haarlock himself is reported to have completed the last stage of this descent accompanied only by his trusted Navigator Hilas-Set Nostromo.
On his return, Haarlock seemed very shaken by his experiences (which, given his character, is an extremely noteworthy event) and the navigator Nostromo was violently distressed as if overcome by fear. Both talked to Haarlock's secret inner circle of seeing the threshold of a 'twisted labyrinth of possibility'; a 'Blind Tesseract' as it was put by Nostromo, altho other details I have been unable to ascertain. Haarlock committed his observations, and those of Nostromo, to his personal ciphered journals in one of his encrypted 'Grey Psalters' and banned all talk of the structures beneath the planet before ordering an immediate full withdraw from the system. As a final note, it is worth mentioning the the name Haarlock has given to the new system in his charts is 'Mara', originating in this case from one of the ancient Terran root-tongues of which he is so fond, meaning I believe, 'hell' or 'daemon' or 'evil dream'…

++Note: Inquisitor Ark Ashtyn's analysis of incident reports form the Reality Incursion of 743.M41 links the epicentre of the disturbances to an area of new expansion in the station's genetoria complex sub-levels. The area of the plateau they occupy may well tally with Haarlock's discoveries millenia before++


Rosette; vox-log registered Dante H. Cyprus, Interrogator – recovered subvocal account, recorded 34-34 -815M41

Day 11, 20:21 adjusted We drop into realspace at a ship-breaking yard in the Unbeholden Reaches, far to spinward of the Imperial Realm. Here we take first sight of ‘the Ark’, secutor-class monitor-cruiser and flagship on the Arkaidos Dynasty. It’s captain, Leonardo Arkaidos has generously accepted our charter deep into forbidden space. I get the feeling he is somewhat unhinged; he becomes excited and chatty at the prosect of imminent danger. Among our ship-mates are Sergeants Childres and Makreedy and their Maccabian Jannisaries, and Inquisitor Ignatius Xarn of the Ordo Xenos. He is sent by the shadowy Silas Marr to supervise this unusual deployment. He is somewhat ill-regarded by other Inquisitors, but famously ruthless in his pursuit of his mission.

Day 13, 11:55 adjusted I have had an encounter with the ships’ rather extraordinary Navigator Superior. Hades Vulcanov continuously breaks into my room, apparently in order to superficially re-arrange my belongings. I very quickly deduced that he has been lonely since the resignation of his friend Tiberius, so I make my best effort to share tea with him as often as business permits. To my delight, the Captain joined us on occasion, and I found them both to be worldly men of good character. My colleagues make ready to enter Mara’s atmosphere, and I consult widely among the library for information on the Psychneuin. After this research, I hurriedly arrange for blessed armour and ammunition to be obtained on the Cadre’s behalf.

Day 27, 03:21 adjusted Arrival. The upper atmosphere is awash with the fire of battle, as two or three fleets clash over Haarlock’s bounty. I mark at least one corporate detachment and one private military, but quickly lose track as 'the Ark' enters the fray. The Cadre offers such aid to the crew as we are able, as the Captain and Hades perform a near-suicidal warp-skim into the atmosphere of the planet. We make for the hangar in the company of our guards and attachés; as we reach the door our battle-psyker succumbs to a spontaneous warp-sickness. He begins to sweat blood and speaks with an eerie tone. His words were lost in the roar of engines and wind, but the look on his face will remain with all of us.The Ark is consumed in a firey maelstrom that fills the heavens with fearful, hungry light. Our lander is hit by RPG fire, and we crash in the hostile Maran landscape, losing 4 of our number on impact. Mara is an ugly, windblown hellhole that delights in tormenting living beings. It is colder than the void out there. We trudge through a howling snowstorm head-to foot in vulcanised rubber, finally sighting the grey smudge of the facility walls and bulwarks after several hours of effort. I make a slow progress by army-crawling through a hailstorm of sniper’s bullets, as my comrades seize control of the uppermost floors in a tense exchange of fire. We interrogate the lone survivor of the facility’s defenders, a mercenary hired by the Aramanthine Syndicate, devious Cold-Traders and grave-robbers. We lock him in the shuttle and press on into the prison complex.

Day 27, 06:01 adjusted We’ve been inside for only a matter of hours, yet the character of Mara becomes more readily apparent with each passing moment. Indeed, I am less and less sure that time flows properly in this place. The victims of Psychneuin infestation lay scattered about, frozen in agony or slumped in suicide. Some are decayed, others unnervingly fresh, and I grow ever surer that Mara’s proximity to the Warp skein has corrupted the passage of time. Lord Militant Angevin’s personal Astropath once recorded a systemic temporal anomaly in play amid the Calixian Stars – it is my belief that the source of the time-slip is Mara. Somewhere in the mines below, we may find the answer to one of the systems’ most perplexing mysteries.

Day 27, 06:08 adjusted) We are not alone. The Malleus are here ahead of us, though we cannot make contact. Neither Marr, nor Golspire nor Xarn were informed of this; there will be hell to pay if the Collegium are behind it. Whatever they did, it went wrong; the human wreckage of a botched teleport and the decapitated victim of a blade remain as testament to the brutality of that faction.

Relevant find
Male, mid-sixties, scholarly inclinations – ink stained hands, Schola Hexia class-ring. A dux Scholar Occultist, from his registration index. The code-work in his journal is difficult. Even if they’re not Inquisition, they undoubtedly enjoy access to black-ops level encryptions. It will take me some time to decipher. Inner hem of robes retain ash-stains – likely an Iocanthan by habit, but Malfian by birth – unusual olive complexion stained to blueish/grey by prolonged (and recent) cryo-sleep. Probably made the jump directly here - [ref; OMCT possible weaknesses - disorientation from cryo-sleep/ excessive euphoria from suppressants]. Some primary muscle deterioration, and pock mark from anti-cryo-sickness injection. The body retains a static charge, suggesting that this [probable] botched teleport took place no more than 2 hours ago. Wound is scalpel-clean, no bruising, no arterial fusing evident. Non-powered blade then, sword probable. Nevertheless, little to no clotting evident, suggests severe Protein S and C deficiencies, likely caused by Imadazine (the first half of a binary mind-wiping agent and hypnotic-aid). As if that weren’t enough - the tags have been removed from his clothing. A silly practice; tags rarely reveal anything about their owners, and only the Inquisition is pedantic enough to insist on it. An old voider trick for identifying ‘spooks’.

I have no idea what they did with the head; Firenze informs me that it may have been taken as a trophy. He suspects the presence of another Moritat. A Reaper. Deeply concerning suggestion.

Day 27, 06:09 adjusted Another key find; the Pilgrims of Hayte have arrived. Our Astropath attaché accidentally triggered one of their idiosyncratic warp-traps when she performed a psyniscience of the cargo-bay. A Gelthian Dybuck Render materialised at the end of the room during my forensic analysis. It is among the most common of their play-things, used to great effect against diviners who scry too closely to their affairs. Unfortunately I was deeply distracted and did not get a chance to see it manifest. Our two fine swordsmen dealt with it expediently; we have made space down the hall to break for a short meal and rest-stops. Soon, we will move deeper into the facility.

Rosette Black Box Recordings cont; Interrogator Dante H. Cyprus M.D, Special Legate Investigator

Day 27, 09: 22 adjusted We have just had our first real confrontation with their facility's denizens. We were latecomers to a firefight held between the two floors of the prison complex's refectory. The Amaranthine Syndicate's attack dogs held the upper floor against the Pilgrims of Hayte - as red-robed and rabid as I remember them. Having read the incident reports of the Psychneuin outbreaks in great detail, I felt sure that spilling of blood would be inadvisable. The warrior-acolytes put together a strategy which I quickly endorsed, and we burst into the open chamber. The Secutor filled the ground floor with hallucinatory gas, as the Janissaries laid down suppressive fire. A few of the Pilgrims began to succumb, but the insidious influence of Mara could not be denied. Seized by an uncontrollable bloodlust, Alastare, Firenze and Nathaniel began to frenziedly butcher the cultists. To my confusion, the mercenaries abandoned their fight with the Pilgrims and turned every weapon against Dragos. Coming under sniper fire, the Centurius and Janissaries responded with lethal force. Keenly aware of the building pressure on the Warp-Skein, I raced upstairs to avert the bloodbath. With some ugly decryption work, I was able to activate the chamber's prisoner-suppression system, sealing the room and knocking the remainder of our enemies out cold. My comrades emerged from the kill-trance bloodsoaked and shaken, but none have suffered lasting psychological damage. As the Primus and I interrogated the mercenary leader, the esteemed Secutor began wiring the room in which we held the prisoners.

- The Syndicate is led by a "Miss Book" who is using a grey-skinned tome to navigate the halls of the complex. I suspect that she is one of these mysterious "Principals," running the company from the shadows. A unique target for capture! She is accompanied by a fanatically loyal void-mercenary commander named Aedric.
- Their numbers are between 50 and 30 (though somewhat diminished now) and they carry all manner of strange xenos weapons and devices with them. Indeed, we witnessed them using a number of unconventional firearms during their defeat here.
- Miss Book has directed her combat teams to keep a lookout for a black stone talisman. This is most perplexing, unless the Tesseract is not a place as we suspect but rather an artifact of some kind. More data needed.

Satisfied with the day's catch, I restrain the surviving mercenaries and begin to drag them out of the room. I daresay our plan to seal them in with the bombs was evident to the Pilgrims, who became increasingly hysterical. Their screams reached a crescendo, Alastare and Silinus shouted something and we were suddenly up to our elbows in Dybuk Renders. I narrowly avoid decapitation, but the swords and blessed bullets of my comrades deal with the intruders expediently. Keen to avoid any further encounters, we remotely seal the room and detonate the charges. I hope that the walls will be enough to contain the consequent phenomena. I leave the unconscious Amaranthines bound in a nearby corridor. Though they are deviants and enemies to the Inquisition, they are not of a level with the Pilgrims. Perhaps they will avoid the attention of Mara's horrors and escape, if it is the Emperor's will. But I doubt it.

Day 27, 09:44 adjusted The Panopticon. A vast chamber used to surveil the entire facility. Based on my analysis, we are now nearly half-way through our descent to the Tesseract. My allies are becoming jumpy and skittish, hearing phantom sounds and catching glimpses of nightmares at the corner of their vision. Some imagine old foes stalking the halls. Firenze secures the descent-cage with some creative rope-work . Dragos and I are concerned that the servitors manning the station have been corrupted - they shudder and twitch even when disconnection from the power-core. As we mean to return this way, we have little choice but to leave them intact.

Day 27, 010:?? adjusted Benhamin Nostromo, Navigator to Erasmus Haarlock awaits us in the dark at the bottom of the well. How he yet lives is anyone's guess. He claims to be a guide, the only means of reaching the Blind Teseract through the tangled and impossible halls of Mara. I am disturbed at the thought of treading a path left by Haarlock for his worshippers. I offer Nostromo food, which he takes, but does not eat. I feel he has begun to reflect the nature of the timestream here, fragmented, existing now, in the future and past simultaneously. No wonder he has gone insane.

**Day 27, 00:00 error ** I fear that we are no longer fully in the material realm. The corridors bend back on themselves, doors disappear or lead to nowhere. We enter a chamber and then walk right back out, only to find the room we came from utterly changed. We find Arbite officer Bronte wandering the halls, the tragic imprint of a long dead soul. He crumbles to dust as he follows us out of his little pocket dimension. We lose another Janissary to the creeping dread, aged into senility by a temporal cough. The rites are hastily performed, as his face withers to leering skull. Our chronos are useless. I dread to think of the time that has passed on the outside world. Might we not be the same as Bronte, oblivious to our own deaths, trapped for eternity in this hellish, fragmenting timestream? Even if we reach the Tesseract today, what is to suggest that we will not emerge into a world in which Haarlock has returned decades since? Or even that enemies yet unborn, and coming to Mara a thousand years from now should not reach it first? I sense that the others have begun to dwell on this, and I do my best to re-direct their focus. I can think of little else.

Day 109, 00:00 error We rescue the heretek who was aiding the Syndicate from a room full of fallen rubble. He is surprised at our mercy, and happily confirms all of our suspicions about Miss Book and her coterie of protectors. It now seems certain she must be very close to invulnerable. I conclude that she has either committed to a daemonic pact, or obtained some other means of immortality through the Cold Trade. I mentally review my notes on the Halo Devices.

Day 16, error/error Dragos has taken a dislike to our latest recruit. He killed the heretek with a shotgun blast to the base of the skull, claiming the right and jurisdiction of the Mechanicus to handle blasphemers. I have no doubt he is lying, beginning to suspect that the killing frenzy displayed by the Cadre up above may yet linger in their minds. I quietly speak to the Templar Calix. It may be that he and I, with our tempered minds, may come to be the last two sane among our party. I found a body today, a freshly dead mercenary. Two bone dice were in his mouth. I know that it is impossible for Ruarc to be here, for he would never risk his skin on a mission as risky as this one. I worry that perhaps he is taunting me, beaming a psychic message or dream from the safety of a Scintillan telepath's parlour. No doubt he will relish in declaring me dead.

Day 1066, error/error The Collegium is here. They've sent Herrod, or what's left of him. We had made our way down to the Genetorium level, when a wide open chamber appeared before us, hung with empty environmental suits. His retinue closed around us in an ambush, and Herrod demanded that we hand over any data we had collected. Now 'Lord Inquisitor', apparently, Herrod was once the sector's most renowned swordsman. On the nine occasions that he officially sponsored one of his Acolytes to full Inquisitorial rank, he famously presented them with a lathe-blade modeled after his own. I note that his unnamed assassin bears one such, marking him as Herrod's chosen successor as Swordmaster. I am deeply suspicious, as Herrod is known to have disappeared in the Koronus Expanse nearly 70 years ago while in combat with the Vile Savants. There is also a question of authority, as we act on the direction of two Inquisitors ordinary and by the remit of Lord Inquisitor Marr. I am quite certain however, that refusing his order will result in violence. We were unprepared and caught at a disadvantage. In order to diffuse the situation, I hand the Herrod-Thing a meaningless dossier on Mara and take my leave. As we go, Dragos informs me that the Inquisitor carries a fragment of the Voice in the Earth. With this information, the matter is settled.

Possession of the Shard proves that Herrod was involved with the Sinophian Revolt. He may even be behind the Kill Cell that murdered so many of Golspire's acolytes. I daresay he and Amahzzi conspired together to kidnap the Mirrors, sabotaging the Celesian'sengines so as to fall into Mechanicus space. As every fragment of the mirror was turned over to Lord Inquisitor Marr's Interrogator for delivery, I can only conclude that he has killed, or at the very least stolen from an Inquisitor of superior pedigree.

As soon as we are clear, the Cadre agrees that on our next meeting, we will move to destroy Herrod. We agree on the code-word 'Valkerie" and press on towards the Tesseract.

For use in the future prosecution of Herrod and his allies, I record herein my observations of his Cadre.

Subject 1) Herrod - 7 ft, approx 500 kg. Heavily armed, cybernetically resurrected monstrosity. Lathe Sabre, 2 torso mounted non-standard energy weapons. Known Alpha Grade combatant. Recommend engagement by Templar Primus; unlikely anything less than Force Weapons will kill him.

Subject 2) "Mister Red"; Carries modified hell-pistols in quick-draw holsters. Backpack powersource regulation pattern issued to Magistorum enforcers on Scintilla, jury-rigged to supply dual weapons = technical expertise, criminal background. Obviously a gunslinger (wears no gloves) habitual slinking gait - but manicured fingernails? Noble birth, or affectation thereof. I'd guess at "gunrake;" lately of the Sheriff's regulators from the crew-cut. Summary; Son of defunct noble house, turned to brawling and criminality, caught and repurposed by the lawmen of Gunmetal, only recently joined Inquisition. Recommend engagement by Moritat Reaper; agility a better defense than armor against that kind of penetrative weapon.

Subject 3) "Miss Blue"; armored body-glove, modified Long-Las. Slouches; Unused to authority, self-aware. Bright pink hair-dye; Dispossessed youth with need to express individuality - Undoubtedly a hiver. Scars on neck and hands; frequent knife fighter, somewhat skilled, but tutored in Imperial standard gun-drill, prefers the rifle, clings to it somewhat possessively. Possibly a good target for myself, along with the Janissaries. She should be pinned with suppressive fire and hit with grenades.

Subject 4) "Mister Green" ; Vat muscled, heavily tattooed, identifiably former Guardsman. Employs flak cannon. Evidence of cerebral scarring, suggests hormonal adjustment surgery. Greeninsh bruise-blooms on skin, common to non-lethal mould spore infections on high-humidity worlds. Frothing mouth, heaving breath, vacant expression; symptoms of combat-drug abuse… An attack dog if ever i've seen one. Conscripted underhive ganger and addict from Volg, sent into penal legion for assaulting an officer, attempts to desert the regiment (registration tattoo on interior of right arm). Recruited, mind-wiped, surgically modified and deployed by the Collegium. Ghastly. Recommend engagement by the Secutor. Flak Cannons have high stopping power but are poor weapons against armored targets.

Subject 5) "Mister Black"; all-enclosing black cameleo-armour suit, dual swords. Fluid motion, acrobatic skill, intense aura of 'wrongness'. Evidently a Null. Very little evidence to go on, save to say that his swords were forged in the Lathes, to be sure, and use a unique internal power-source. No cult sigils, deeply unusual - likely mindwiped of strong outside allegiances. Probably not a moritat; stands perfectly still rather than pacing as Firenze and his kin are wont to do. Recommend engagement by Nathaniel; priority for elimination with speed, at range, and with sure accuracy.

Rosette Black Box Recordings cont; Interrogator Dante H. Cyprus M.D, Special Legate Investigator( (SESSION 3)

Day -3, error/error We turned back the way we came, following our own footprints through the frost, but have seen neither hide nor hair of the reprobate Inquisitor Lord or his cadre. Given his girth and average speed, that suggests to me that our timelines have splintered away from each other for now.

Day B, error/error I cannot think of it as luck, but some conspiracy of fortune had us run across the headquarters of the Pilgrims of Hayte on Mara. We battled upwards in winding concentric circles, as their blasphemous campsite sprawled across several levels of genetorium accessway. Having mastered the rage of earlier conflicts, my comrades took to hurling their opponents off the gantries and into the distant pits below; I offered such help as I was able, knocking out the lights, dropping sections of walkway heavy with foes or locking different doors to channel them into killing-zones. At the summit, gorging himself on the radiation from the genetorum, we found their malignant Prophet, the infamous Ghast Priestkiller. He unleashed these horrific energies against the Cadre, hurling us back against walls or tumbling backwards down the stairs. He stood at the centre of a swirling inferno of power. I felt sure that we would be consumed, erased alongside the entire facility, but Mara has a will of it's own. As Priestkiller raised his arm to hurl a hellish bolt, I heard a wet crack as he coughed up pink mist. Blood began to flow from his nose and his body was wracked with seizure; how could he know that his daemonic patrons would be powerless to stop his infestation by the mindless psychneuin? Those who worship Chaos so rarely comprehend that the Warp is as rent by factionalism as the Materium. Insane with agony, he lost control of the spell and was snuffed out in an instant by the torrent of power.

Day 11, error/error As we hurried on, the Cadre examined the artifacts found at the the campsite. I am aware that 'the Widower' is a creature of legend, an insane construct created by Haarlock to haunt his domains in his absence. It was partially destroyed by one of the Acolytes assigned to the Quaddis Concern, it's severed and still-conscious face locked within a null-glass. Though I have researched the matter extensively, this being resists ordinary analysis or classification; I suspect, though I have no means of confirming, that the Widower was once Morgan Haarlock, elder brother to Erasmus, entombed in that nightmarish, immortal form. His anima, or 'soul' was drained and stored in an obsidian stone by Erasmus, a 'fragment of the stars my master murdered in pursuit of his goal' according to Nostromo. I recognize this object as the Keystone of the Quaddis Clockwork Court, the 'black amulet' for which Miss Book has searched. Though I recall distinctly that both 'the face' and 'the heart' were turned over to the Tricorn after the incident in 816, they had somehow found their way into the possession of the Pilgrims. I consider this to be further evidence of a systemic conspiracy within the Ordos themselves. My suspicions of Herrod and his benefactors grow; could the Tenebrae Collegium be mixed up with the Pilgrims? It is deeply troubling to me that we must defer consideration of this matter in favor of our more immediate problems.

Day ?, error/error Valtar disappears for several minutes, and there is a scramble to try to locate him. To our relief, he emerges from the dark some time later, exhausted apparently, but no less alive. As with many of the others he keeps his thoughts strictly to himself, though I note that he, like Dragos, bears strange wounds which he tries to conceal. After many hours of walking, we find an immense cavern, the lowest reaches of the human mineworks. Finally, I lay eyes upon the cyclopean works of the pre-imperial civilization that must have existed on Mara millennia ago. As the other set up a rest-stop, I ferret about the ruins, recording plenty of material for my next monogram. Regrettably, I foresee that it will be declassified for publication, owing to the content. Deep in the ruins, I run across a mobile control station, littered with bizarre mechanical workings. I summon Dragos and Nostromo, and together we examine and partially deconstruct the device. After only an hour, we are seized by the realization that this device collects data in 4 dimensions, has no powersource, nor indeed any right to function in the first place. I am deeply shaken, stunned at the implications and possibilities of such a machine. It may be the most advanced surveillance system in the galaxy, observing distant worlds as well as futures simultaneously. Alastare recognizes Dusk, Solomon, Quaddis, as well as unknowable places in the Koronus Reach. Dragos, already interfaced with the construct, is overwhelmed by the torrent of fact and offlines to preserve his databanks. He retains his sanity, but is clearly damaged by the reboot. Wary of further trouble, we press onwards.

Day ?, error/error The Psychneuin are hounding us. We stumble through another time bubble, thinking at first that we escaped without harm. It is clear to me now though, that the incubation period of several of their malignant larvae was being accelerated. Astropath Solanus had been long been infected, but only then exhibited severe enough symptoms to raise my suspicions. How insidious are these creatures! Even those so familiar with psykers as this Cadre could scarcely separate her symptoms from the ordinary byproduct of warp-manipulation. In the end, I took a long-overdue decision. The Tempar insisted on performing the mercy-ritual, but we were already too late. 6 fully matured Psychneiun burst from her brainpan as the Templar made his cut, and the Cadre scattered into the dark; we knew we were not equipped to face such a threat. We battle through inky-black tunnels, harassed by the shrieking lesser-daemons that dwelled there before finally finding a place to rest. We barricade ourselves within an ore-storage area, hoping to find a few hours of peace before the hunt resumes for the elusive Miss Book.

Rosette Black Box Account fragment; Lord Inquisitor Herrod, Ordo Hereticus, Tenebrae Collegium Magnate (SESSION 4)

+External Access Drive Detected; Scanning …
+Authorisation Code Rejected; activating countermeasures …
+Noospheric Virus detected; 'Autochtherian Boreworm'
+Source identified; Secutor 655, designation 'Dragos 1'
+Countermeasures deactivated …
+External Access Drive Detected; Error/Error
+Access Granted; Welcome Interrogator Cyprus
<rewinding> … <play>

ENTRY 61 Warning! Temporal Raditation at 45%.
Mara has taught us to abstain from taking rest. Thankfully the Cadre have been hardened by longer deployments than this. Darkly reports that Wrex's team is making progress. Already they possessed a guide of their own, and my loyal assassin reports that they have wrested the Keystone from Priestkiller's corpse. Darkly's Pariac nature allows him to move largely unimpeded by this planet's trickery; somehow, the Interrogator and his companions enjoy the same advantage. Their Jannisary escort has been sorely depleted, but time merely ripples at their passage. As for us, we have been mired in this glitching timestream for many hours. Each room we enter is the same as the last. On each occasion we lose more time. I have begun to suspect that the Beast in the Glass has been leading us astray. It wants desperately for us to fail. I dare not slip any further behind. I shall open no more doors at the Beast's instruction. At the last, I direct Darkly to cease his surveillence and bring the Acolytes to me.

Interrogator Cypus is clearly bristling at this ignoble summons. He masks it well beneath a cavalier attitude, but I perceive the calculating mind behind the ruse. I arrange Darkly, Silon and Alianna in an ambush formation. I keep Junt and Valentine at my flanks. It is not that I mistrust him, but I have only incomplete files on his retinue. The murderer, the monster and the felon - strange companions for a scholar-detective to keep. The monk remains a mystery. Overall an unpredictible mix, and I have not lived so long by taking chances. The Beast gibbers in my pocket as they approach. It urges me, desperately, to banish it home. Perplexing behaviour for a Daemon. It fears Haarlock the most, but it holds no small terror of this band as well. Perhaps it really can see their futures.

Our negotiations are terse. For a moment, I feel sure that the young Acolytes will attack us. I cannot afford for even one of my Cadre to be wounded, so I entertain their offer of alliance. Doubtless together we will overwhelm the Syndicate guarding the book, but I wonder what will become of our alliance thereafter. Powerful they may be, useful, undoubtedly and uncommonly lucky; these Acolytes are nevertheless strangers to the Tenebrae Collegium. For their knowledge of the Star, one way or another, they must die.

It was my belief that this group enjoyed some manner of immunity to this planet's malignant effects; that is clearly not the case. As we walk, each of them appear to hold whole conversations with themselves, muttering, murmuring and even laughing beneath their breaths. The Beast, luckily, has been silent all this time, else it might have aggravated their delicate conditions. Their scouts, Firenze and Bullock, return from a patrol bearing serious injuries. It is quite evident that they have inflicted these upon each other, yet neither makes mention nor explanation of the affair. The swordsman whispers to the Doctor as his wounds are tended; "we cannot trust Nathaniel". Indeed not; as we emerge from the cave complex, I hear the Daemon weeping, though whether in joy or dismay I cannot guess. The gunslinger gives me a look of such deranged, feral triumph that I resolve to take the advice myself. Unsettling though this insanity is, I issue a subvocal caution to the Cadre, warning them against taking action on the matter. If these Acolytes self-annihilte we only stand to gain at little cost.

We have found the Syndicate. We stumble into an ambush, but their patrolmen flee in the face of our numbers. Amid the wreckae, we find more signs of Mara's mad witchery; the cooling corpses of Dr Cyprus and Valar Firenze. The Doctor and the Assassin appear to take it as a matter of course. Either they are utterly mad, or were prepared for what they would find. I grow ever more wary of our erstwhile allies. They plunder their own fallen bodies and press on in pursuit of their goal.

We are engaged in battle with the Syndicate. Arianna and I are pinned down by heavy-weapon fire and victory is slipping from our grasp. The terrible truth of this organisation is revealed; no mere Cold-Traders, but fanatical slaves of the Xenos species 'Slaugth'. Junt and Valentine are dead. I hold to hope that Darkly may yet live, but Silon vanished in the vicious melee. Golspire's Acolytes are still alive, but they cannot survive Miss Book. By the God Emperor, a warrior-caste Slaugth! It has depleted it's disintegrator in battle with us, but it is still near-invulnerable. Force weapons cannot touch it, nor blessed rounds. I see that it's Thrall, Captain Andrik has already disabled the Interrogator and his Secutor. Their Psyker is downed with Pariah-shock. I know what I must do. I do not have much time.

Interrogator Cyprus. I have no doubt that you will recover this account upon my death. You should know that I am not sorry for the way I have comported myself in in this affair. You and your comrades constituted a clear threat to my own agenda and were duly dealt with in accordance with Ordos procedure. I had not come to know or respect you. Now, of course, the circumstances have changed. I ask that you bear witness to my final account. I go to my death, confident that you and your worthy warrior-cadre will carry on the mission we face on Mara.

This account shall constitute my last will and testament, executed herein by my own authority as Lord Inquisitor, charged to Argus, my Savant and faithful friend. The full text of my directions for the distribution of my estate may be found in a sealed datatomb at my office on Iocanthos. Argus; the passcode is Mia's birthdate. For now though, it is my only wish that this missive be conveyed to Lord Anton Zerbe of the Tyrantine Cabal, my esteemed mentor and Ordo Master.

My Lord Zerbe; This mission has indeed been the most important of my career. The evidence, which by now you should already possess, demonstrates that Haarlock is a greater threat to the system, more powerful even than the Brotherhood or the Logicians. I do not hesitate to suggest that the Tyrant Star itself may be his play-thing. Regrettably, I cannot continue to pursue this investigation in the name of the Ordos. We are faced here with a Slaugth Destroyer, invulnerable to our every effort, save my last measure which we have discussed. I hereby convey my charge, marked by the seal of the Inquisition, to Dr Dante Cyprus, Legate Investigator and Interrogator to Wrex Golspire, by the light of the Golden Throne. I accordingly suspend any and all orders pertaining to Interrogator Cyprus and his accomplices, including kill or capture missives issued under my own authority. By writ of my office, I declare the work of his Cadre to be Holy in the eyes of the Tenebrae Collegium, the Ordo Hereticus and the Tyrantine Cabal. No effort shall be turned, by the agents of the College, to the obstruction of his investigation of Haarlock's Legacy, save in it's safe completion and by the order of a superior authority than mine. So do i declare. May the God Emperor see it so.

Lord Inquisitor Herrod ceased broadcasting life-signs while on Mara V, at approximately 23:59 2565 815M41. Due to local signal interference, as well as Tricorn cogitation registers listing him as pursuing an investigation in the Koronus Expanse, notice of this event did not reach ranking Ordos officers for 9 days. The report's veracity was never confirmed. Disruption caused by riots at the time resulted in the de-commisioning of the facility which recorded his death; Herrod remains on the register of active Lord Inquisitors of the Ordos Calix.

Rosette Black Box Recordings cont; Interrogator Dante H. Cyprus M.D, Special Legate Investigator (SESSION 5)

Day ? error/error: We're running now, leaving behind the crater that was Herrod-Book; in the end, unstoppable force met immovable object and both were obliterated in a searing, purplish column of flame. The old scientific conundrum is resolved, I suppose. As the last remaining Inquisitorial authority on this planet, I have assumed command of his surviving associates. Alianna and Darkly I feel sure that Silon survives also - I caught sight of a dark, spindly form lumbering in an adjacent corridor just now. Having listened to the Inquisitor's postrema ratio I know we were right about all of them. He has, however, redeemed himself somewhat by saving our lives. Perhaps I shall have to abstain from besmirching his reputation as I had planned. By his actions, I now possess a guide, a map and an auger. The Tesseract is close, in both time and space, so the race, at last, is well and truly on.

Day ? error/error: Ghast Priestkiller is still alive! I saw the monster explode, yet there he comes, shrieking and ranting like the daemon we first mistook him for. He is right on our heels, a smouldering ruin of his former self yet bringing all the thousand devils of hell along with him. Bottled by these narrow tunnels, his minions have been unable to overtake us, but we dare not slow our progress. By the God Emperor – this job does involve rather a lot of running.

Day ? error/error: We are on our own again. The Janissaries have disobeyed my order to retreat, standing staunchly in the face of the unliving tide that pursues us. So close to the Tesseract and our final objective, Makreedy and Childres, those brave and faithful soldiers, turned to face the darkness for the sake of the mission. They disappeared in a blaze of muzzle-flare, the Benedictum Macharius upon their lips. Alianna and Darkly are missing too. What death they will find in these haunted tunnels I daren’t speculate, but they have acquitted themselves loyally and will be named in the Roll for reading to the Bell of Lost Souls. Their sacrifice gave us time to seal a blast-door behind us, locking out the Daemons and making our way into the Tesseract anteroom.

Day ? error/error: This really is a most peculiar chamber. A bridgeway with only one entry and no exit, machined walls and a bottomless chasm below. Nostromo pointed to the darkness and called it a door. I am concerned that he has finally snapped. If he has been an agent of Haarlock all along, having us unwittingly suicide into some hellish abyss seems exactly the kind of deranged irony he would arrange. I lower Firenze into the pit in a harness, but we haven’t enough rope to reach the bottom. Even our flares disappear into sightless depths before burning out. ‘Death is just another doorway,’ as Haarlock’s infamous ancestor was fond of saying, but that is little comfort to those walk that path. I am frankly stumped; here, surely, is the ‘door to darkness’ through which Haarlock passed, but what help will we be to the Sector if we have to die in order to follow him. I of course consider my own life to be small sacrifice in comparison to the larger interests of Humanity’s Imperium, but here the sacrifice seems to have little connectivity to the success of the mission. Is ‘death’ the door? Is Haarlock dead? Is the mission over? Dragos resolves the situation for me by unceremoniously leaping off the bridge. We all share a moment of shocked surprise, scramble to grab our gear and then leap after him. Whatever our other foibles, we are a loyal bunch. It is a shocking display of resolve that I hope never to have to repeat, literally a ‘leap of faith’ into the Warp’s own darkness. I am falling now, falling for so long and I fear that this may be my final recording. If it should be so, a document setting my affairs in order may be found within this device’s secure data-log. deus imperator liberat aut praeconem eligit nos in caelum.

TELEPATHIC RECORDING Well, were still alive. The recording device on my Rosette has been fried by some sort of time-shock. I’ve had Dragos and Alistare modify it to recognize telepathic triggers. It will hopefully pick up most of my surface thoughts … Imperfect but it will have to do.

That idiot Cromwell has blundered in here somehow. How tiresome. This device… semi-sentient –(Iron daughter?) – answers my question with maddening riddles. We must follow Haarlock to his final destination and slam the door shut that he may never return.

First doorHaarlocks ship during bloodline wars. Female assassin kills his wife and daughter. We are shadows here, ghosts. Neither haarlock nor we can change anything in the past. We chase his shadow into another door.

2nd door; Sinophia Magna, the future? 20 years after our ‘deaths’ – damn, I knew it. Several stars are missing from the night sky. The populace desecrates imperial symbols, give blood sacrifice to unknown ‘masters’. Their symbol is that of the Hereticus Tenebrae. Happen upon a mad preacher who tells us that Haarlock is loose in the Sector. Meet and battle Ignatius Xarn, mad, corrupted and possessed by Chaos. He vomits daemons onto the Martyrs’ Bridge and we fight for our lives.

3rd door; We are not ourselves, but another Inquisitorial team, hot on the trail of a young Victus Cromwell in Landunder City. Inquisitor Karkalla’s plan is frankly suicide but we haven’t the authority to change it. We blunder into an unimaginative trap, but manage to engage Cromwell in combat. I have come prepared with EMPs – to my shock, they are ineffective. His body is biological, so this is the past, not the future! We defeat and maim him, but a female Inquisitor steps in to prevent his execution. I know it is his fate to be recruited to the Ordos. My old foe, Ruarc Stone is behind this. But what has it to do with Haarlock? Throne, I need a cup of tea.

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