Judgement of the Righteous

Friends in Need

XXIIVV – 817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Peleus XXIIVVI.232

**** Isla Fortis ****

In the fighting in the Lodge, most of the elite had survived. Only Lan had fallen- Guardsmen rushed in to give him aid, and Orthorne radioed the Aspirance for additional assistance. It turned out the Trader turned Diplomat had been bitten. His medicae onboard the Horizon’s Pride could detect the presence of Xenos infection, but he had no surgeons competent enough to perform an attempt at removing the Parasite. Doctors of this skill were on Erioch, but Lan asked to be taken to Peleus, where the Inquisitorial compound should have surgeons of such capacity, and the Agents there were by and large under the direction of Inquisitor Quist, who had a less…hard line view on how to solve problems such as Genestealer Infections.

The Marines did not take much time to rest, instead their Techmarine set forth re-examining his notes and images collected at the mining site, desperate to decode who was responsible for violating the treaty between the Empire and the Aurum people. It was subtle, but once he saw it, Thomas cursed himself for missing it before; within the pile of tubes and robes believed to have once been a tech priest was a medallion- one that belonged to the Apostate Magi of Samech- a Forge World largely consumed by the Hadex Anomoaly in the center of the Jericho Reach.

The team suggested to the Calee, who agreed, to quarantine those closest to the exposure until they could be checked for infection. This included all the guards around Grensvayl, and the workers in the Promethium pits. Commanding the pits was Kyrus, the man the team suspected of helping aid the ‘Stealers.

With the expectations set, the plan of scanning those most at risk of infection and keeping a close Inquisitorial eye on the planet seemed to the be best course of action.

Aboard the Horizon’s Pride, with Lan in Stasis, they headed for Peleus. Once on planet they secured Lan in surgery, and began looking for Inquisitor Quist, who had said she would meet the team on King’s Island, the location of the primary Imperial base on world. The team contacted the Guard assets responsible for monitoring the island and discovered that Quist’s team had failed to check in for the last four days. Nervously, Trooper Vargas tried to explain that he didn’t dare put his nose in Inquisitorial affairs- likely for fear of having it cut off. The team, ever patient, got the information they needed from the vox man and immediately requisitioned a flyer to take them to Isla Fortis, a kite shaped, 1,400km square island north and east of Kings’ Island. The island was classified Infestus Modica, with known carnivorous plants and hostile animal species, as well as aggressive plant growth. The Island contained a large temple structure- Invisible from orbit, the structure was discovered during one of the original Ordo Malleus investigations of the planet.

An Imperial Valkyrie deposited them nearby where the temple site was thought to be and moved to the southern tip of the Island- remaining on station but out of the way of the violent weather system that was passing over the island.

They began moving towards the temple through the thick jungle- rain poured down on them, but it seemed the most violent parts of the storm had already passed by. It was not long before the team encountered some of the islands local denizens- green and blue scaled reptilian creatures; they walked on two large muscular legs, with smaller forearms that nonetheless bore large slashing claws, and a mouth full of razor edged teeth. They rushed the group, and the group rushed them. The din of battle easily outmatched the sound of pouring rain, turning the relative calm of the jungle into a frightening swirling mass of destruction.

The creatures fled, deciding the armored creatures invading their land were not suitable for food, and slipped into the jungle almost as quietly as they had come on the scene.

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The Feast

XXIIVV – 817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Aurum XXIIVVI.220

**** Grensvayl ****

The Deathwatch Marines last building to search was some kind of lodge. The team set up a defensive line facing out, unsure if all of the Tyranids had been dealt with. Once the door had been cut through with Orthorn’s chain-bayonet, he moved into the structure. He was met by 3 Aurun warriors, survivors from the last war party. They revealed that Kyrus led the party, went into the orchard where they were ambushed. Kyrus wandered off, leaving his brothers to die at the hands of the beasts. These three had shored up inside the lodge, blockading themselves in waiting for death to take them.

After another grid pattern search of the township, the Kill Team declared the town secure and departed, taking the survivors with them. Haydal, the captain of the fire perimeter, was awestruck with the fact the marines survived- their wounds and dented armor proof they encountered the ‘malisectors’ and lived to tell of it. He instinctively took a position second to that of the Kill Team’s authority, and conceded to all of their instructions- to keep the fire perimeter and keep watch on all members of his company.

The ride back to Haighstand was largely uneventful, and they were quickly routed to the Caele’s manse again. The man looked weary, forcing a smile at the ‘hero’s’ return. He conceded to their wishes, offering up one final way out for his people- to tell the Empire the planet is infected beyond saving, and that they should steer clear of it. He indicated his people would gladly lay their lives down and be exterminated before the onslaught of the Tyranids, a better end as opposed to suffering under the yoke of an agri world’s future. The Kill Team told him there was no glory in death to genestealers, that they would turn his society inside out- there would be no stand up fights, only death and ruin. Rylus conceded and agreed to help integrate Aurum with the Empire.

One last request was made, and that was for the team to participate in a ceremony, a feast in their honor. The population of Haighstand was ecstatic, if humbled. The visitors from the Eagle had come down and aided them, destroying the beasts where they had failed. The feast was started, and the Kill Team enjoyed fresh the bounty of the world, and some even participated in local games of chance.

The Brood Lord, thought killed at Grensvayl, had other plans. He and his remaining genestealers rushed into the building in a frenzy, slashing and killing the local population. The Kill Team leapt into action, unafraid of the fact that the enemy came forth in such numbers. The Brothers were not without allies, as each Aurun in the room leapt up with their blades. Eizen and Thomas rushed towards the mighty Lord, in an attempt to slay it and demoralize its minions. Orthorn began his push as well, the swirling melee causing him to forget his training; Genestealers are far more than animals, and they typical strategy of destroying the synapse creature has little impact on their behavior or combat prowess.

Thomas and Eizen struck again and again at the brood lord, its thick carapace deflecting much of the energy of their blows, and his body resisted the effects of even the hits that penetrated his flesh. The beast was the patriarch of the Genestealers on this world, and his prowess and abilities reflected that. It slashed at Eizen, tearing at his flesh; while the Librarian could not shrug off the injuries, his Haemastamen and Larraman’s organs kicked into high gear, keeping him from collapsing with pain and pouring his blood onto the floor of the lodge. The beast slashed at Thomas, shattering the bones in his left arm and tearing chunks out of his flesh, piercing through his power armor and his mechanical body. Thomas’ power sword flickered and pierced the creature in his chest, Eizen slashed into the monster and could feel the cold presence of the shadow of the warp extending into his mind as he let forth a burst of psychic energy through the blade of his sword. Blood was erupting from the creature, it stumbled on a mangled stump of a leg, and Orthorn took aim with his lascannon and fired the final killing shot. The beast was vaporized in a puff of light and gore.

Heavy bolter fire could be heard chattering as [REDACTED; ORDER XIVV 7ZΩ] opened fire on the stealers. Orthorn saw him swinging his heavy weapon around and shouted a warning to Akedre and Heth to pull back. Unengaged, the Tyranids presented a clear profile- the kraken rounds easily penetrated their carapace, and the explosive rockets tore the creatures apart from the inside out.

The hall fell quiet- there were no sounds of the dying, the fight was so brutal you were simply alive, or dead. Not missing a beat, the kill team organized and took up firing positions. Two stood guard at the entry door, and a heavy bolter took up position to cover the windows, where some of the creatures had infiltrated. The Emperor willing, that was the last of them.
Most of Aurum’s elite had survived the encounter, however Lan had fallen to an as yet unknown injury. Over 25 Genestealers entered the room and none yet lived. At least 60 Aurun warriors fell to their fangs and claws, and another 10 Imperial Guardsman lay dead.

500xp was awarded, the total is somewhere around 23,603.

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Grensvayl

XXIIVV – 817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Aurum XXIIVVI.220

****Grensvayl****

Through the smoke the team carefully progressed into the town, placing their hand to hand experts in a front line, keeping Josiah and his heavy bolter accompanied by Oathorn and his lascannon in the rearguard. Movement was seen to the right. The team rotated their formation and moved in to investigate. They scanned about, the trees and thick smoke blocking their vision. The team did not see the attack coming, genestealers descended out of the trees like lightning, slashing with their long sharp claws, rending flesh and armor alike. The team responded with fury, and the parasites were cut to pieces in short order, but not before leaving the team wounded and winded.

The group progressed through the town, moving from building to building, clearing each in turn. A handful of ‘infected’ Aurans were encountered, and a small number of additional stealers. The combats were swift and deadly, and for many of the Kill team they began to see and understand just where the reputation of these monsters came from. Injured but alive, it was not too long before the Kill Team discovered a cave entrance in one of the cliff faces- at one time it was obscured, hidden from sight, but now with the steady rain of burning pitch the opening was quite obvious.

Inside the cave was an expansive mining operation. One chamber held the steely remains of a tech priest of some kind, another held mining equipment, broken dataslates, and carefully illustrated parchment. It also contained a stasis tube, the kind used in transporting dangerous subjects. The largest chamber contained what appeared to be infected Aurans and an opening to a vast mining chamber. Thousands of pounds of Decavein crystals had been mined form here- probably over the span of years, all under the nose of the local Imperials in Haighstand as well as the Aurans that lived in the township.

600xp was given, bringing the base total to 23,103.

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The Great Hunt

XXIIVV – 817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Aurum XXIIVVI.218

****The Divested Hunt****

The Kill team landed on Aurum to a luke warm welcome. They wasted little time and asked to meet with the Caele right away. Caele Rylus Darkskourge agreed to meet with them, and spoke to them in a large circular chamber- it may be used for meetings or feast, the true purpose isn’t fully known. Rylus spoke with the team and indicated he custom prohibited him from allowing them to pass outside of the walls of Haighstand unless they passed the local challenge known as the Divested Hunt. It is a challenge wherein a warrior hunts down and slays a local beast, one of the Diabladons. The team flippantly agreed, and planned to head out in the morning.

In the meantime, they met with the caretaker of the local mission, the Word of Faith. Father Marcus, a rotund balding man- a perfect stereotype of a preacher- is preaching to local youths, who spit challenges at him, asking him why a blading fat man would preach the word of faith of such a noble warrior as the Emperor. The appearance of the Kill team silences the onlookers, and they slowly wander off, Marcus invites the men in and tells them what he knows of Sister Rachael’s death. Rachael was a determined woman. She suspected a daemon was responsible for the deaths and disappearances that were plaguing the local community. She would disappear for days at a time sometimes, and Father Marcus doesn’t know how far outside of the walls she ventured, but it was definitely in violation of the Caele’s rules. Despite that, he doesn’t believe a local would kill her and cover it up to make it look like a suicide- they would address it directly. He also knows that she saw flames north of the city at night, and was saw caravans of men heading that direction. The last time he saw her alive she was planning on heading north to follow the next caravan. No personal effects or evidence was found in the Mission.

The team rested that night and headed out on the Divested Hunt the next morning. Rhylus’ second, Alkedre, describes the hunt and the rules to the team, and helps to ensure that they follow the rules. The team entered the great canyons weapon and armorless. They select their weapons inside the canyon of the local craft, and begin their hunt. The group first encountered a large clearing filled with Theratryx guarding their nests. Attempting to sneak across nearly succeeded, but Josiah fumbled halfway across the clearing, slipping on a rocky outcrop. The herd charged, racing to defend the perceived attack on their young. The kill team reacted swiftly – despite the primitive weapons they devastated the animals, sending them running. As the herd broke and fled the team struck them from behind, attempting to ensure they could not regroup and attack again.

From the clearing the team winded through the narrow passages and tunnels until they came to the reaving canyons. The crevasse was a deep red wound in the landscape, with magma seeping through vents to the surface. The air was hot and filled with sulfur, but blessed by their mucranoids the Marines had little to worry about. Once in the canyon tracking the beast was not a difficult task- the footprints lead to a narrow ledge on one of the cliff faces, an entrance to a shallow cave.

The team moved up, ready to attack, but the Diabladon smelled them coming and was ready for the attack. Brother Erik charged into the fray, unafraid of the massive jaws and teeth of the beast. Brother Josiah fired his bow and charged in as well, followed by his companions. The beast was a skilled killer, but it had not faced the genetically enhanced likes of the Astartes. The team weaved and dodged, blocking its claws and dodging its teeth. They landed blow after blow, cutting into the massive creature’s flesh. One blow of its arm managed to catch Thomas off guard, the blood encrusted claws slicing deep into the marine’s flesh; his enhanced immune system the only thing keeping the vile concoction of blood and bacteria from poising him.

Blow after blow after blow, eventually Josiah ripped one of the creatures legs off with a hammer blow, sending out a gout of blood and gore across the cave.

The team sawed off the head and returned to Haighstand victors. Rhylus met with the team and told them of the threat that faced his world. The nearby orchard town of Grensvayl has come under siege. Several years ago the town began to reduce its shipments to Haighstand until a few years ago the shipments stopped altogether. Rhylus sent out a war party to investigate. Only a handful of warriors returned, and spoke of 6 armed beasts and cruel looking beast man hybrids. They dubbed the creatures ‘mallisectors,’ that sound very much like Genestealers.

The Kill team traveled to the town, which lay at the end of a dead end canyon to the west. The canyon entrance had been walled in with rubble. The orchards to the east offered the easiest egress into town, being not a full cliff but a very steep incline. The team armed up, and leaped over the ten meter wide perimeter of fire. The town was covered in soot and ash, and an eerie quiet settled over the town, the loudest sound is the burning of promethium down the cliff faces. Smoke hangs like fog, limiting clear visibility to mere meters. It is here the team seeks to cleanse the world of its blight.

500xp was given, bringing the base total to 22,503.

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Desparate Times
Aurum01

XXIIVV – 817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Erioch System XXIIVVI.204

****Watch Fortress Erioch****

The team returned to the watch fortress and met with Brother Captain Ephriam, debriefing him and completing their after action reports. Once again the Marines were placed in the strange cavernous expanse of the Fortress. Large enough to hold the better part of a Chapter of Marines, the Fortress, aside from serfs and servitors, houses only a few score of the Astartes. Probably the strangest part for most is the lack of routine- there is no sergeant or captain to tell the soldiers how to spend their day, each is left to his own devices. To some Marines this feels heretical, as idle hands are the Dark Power’s plaything.

It is only a few days before Ephriam calls the team to a meeting room- a small dining hall with a heavy ornate table, enough chairs for a dozen or so men. The Captain dines with the team, and explains to them that he has chosen them for a special mission; the team has shown him on a regular basis that they put the lives and wellbeing of the citizens and servants of the Empire above their own. The team has shown that they still remember the mission of the Astartes, to be the warriors and the protectors of mankind, but to do so with honor and humility.

The mission involves heading to the Feral world of Aurum, located on the Coreward side of the Orpheus Salient, the Rimward most front of the Achillus Crusade. The planet is quite a valuable prize for the Imperium. For the length of the crusade so far, the local population- a warrior culture of disparate tribes, let through a chieftan of chieftans known as the “Caele” Rhyus Darkscourge- has proven quite resistant to the diplomatic gestures of the Empire of Man. The Crusade is in a tight spot, in that they could dispatch a force of the Guard to take the planet by force and subjugate its people, however the Crusade is spread thin across three fronts, men and machines still mostly come through the Warp gate from Segmentum Obscrus. To be able to win the local population willingly, the warriors could be folded into the crusade effort, and the planet could be used to help feed and supply the crusade effort.

In addition, over the past several years there have been a rash of disappearances, all that is left are skeletons picked clean of meat and blood. The skeletons have marks in their arms and rib cages, whatever killed them cut through flesh and bone.

It was the last disappearance that truly caused a stir in the Crusade Leadership. A Hospitaller, Sister Rayachel, was found dead in the mission, her own dagger in her chest. The locals dismiss the other disappearances as death by local wildlife (which is a possibility), but the death of the Sister as a result of her weak spirit. There is a concern that Aurum hides a xenos threat, and the locals are either concealing it or part of it.

Diaz Lan, a Rogue Trader and head of the Lan Dynasty, the Crusade’s diplomat to the Deathwatch, has come to Erioch to appeal for their aid. He hopes that they can both identify and deal with the potential Xenos threat, and serve as a diplomat to the Aurun people.

Contact was first made with Aurum back in 787, the Aurum people rebuff most of the Empire’s advances, and force the adepts off world in 789. Two years later, a Captain Laurel Mattheos of the Imperial Navy landed on Aurum and forced contact with its people, who were surprisingly receptive of his landing. Diaz Lan picked up where the Captain left off when he was killed in action. Lan worked hard for several years to let the Empire move beyond Haistand, their capital, but doesn’t make much progress. When he agreed to participate in their local games, he was critically injured by the local wildlife and was taken offworld for treatment. When he returned to resume negotiations, he was informed he was not a man, and the locals refused to deal with him. This is when the Empire turned to ask for help from the Deathwatch.

500xp was given, bringing the base total to 21,603.

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The Green Tide Approaches
Aaviko04

XXIIVV – 817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Aavikko System XXIIVVI.142 – XXIIVVI.180

**** Vagrant Ship Nova Nascita, Aavikko Orbit, Thunder’s Word****

The kill team gathered their forces in the flight bay of the Nova Nascita. Using tried and true tactics they took up positions around the chamber. Josiah went high, putting the room in the sights of his heavy bolter, specifically the door into the flight hangar. Brother Oathorn stood by him, as did Brother Altus, the Apothecary. Brothers Eizen an Deacon took their places on a building rooftop overlooking the doors. Brother Erik was the bait.

It did not take long before he found the greenskins, letting lose a frag grenade was all it took to stir them into a frenzy and convincing them to give chase. The horde of orks was substantial, consisting of numerous specialty mobs from rokkit launchers to an armored Nob in Mega Armor. Brother Erik burst into the room, followed closely by the xenos host, and his comrades waited just a moment before opening fire.

Their trap was triggered- a horde poured through the doorway opening fire on the tanks of fuel that Brother Thomas had placed there. The fireball roared out in all directions, killing all the orks that had entered the room, leaving burning crates, corpses, and metal fragments littered across the entry way. This did little however to stop the swarm of beasts as they poured into the room over their dead comrades. Bolter fire rained down as autogun fire and rockets fired back. The Orks moved in unison into the room, their two Nobs behind them using their associates as armor.

Using the buildings for cover, the nobs navigated the room attempting to close in on the central structure where Oathorn, Altus, and Josiah were. Oathorn fired his Lascannon into the group, aiming for the Mega Armored Nob, who juked and weaved with a grace unsettling for his size. The unrelenting hail of weapons fire disrupted and destroyed most of the Orks, leaving a scant few behind, including the Nobs. Erik, Thomas, and Eizen began to run towards the remaining greenskins, closing the distance. Erik rushed ahead, slamming down next to one of the Nobs, and they exchanged furious blows. The Nob scored a direct hit, crushing Erik’s left arm, but the blow was countered with a swift swipe of a power axe, slamming into his skull, the heat of the power field burst the skull apart and lit the body on fire. The Ork, headless and screaming, went running off.

After a failed attempt at ambushing the Mega Armored Nob, the beast started screaming to the Marines to come out and fight him hand to hand. The group briefly debated what to do, and Oathron strapped his melta charge to the back wall of the control tower, blasting a gaping chunk out of the rockrete. The nob fired into the hole, and was met with a volley of heavy bolter fire. Many of the rockets scraped off his armor, though the explosive impact sent him toppling over. Stunned, the Nob began to get to his feet, but not before Oathorn finally scored a lascannon shot to his leg. The searing heat of the anti-vehicle weapon blew the leg off, disintegrating it, and ignited the flesh, blood, and steel of the nob, killing him instantly. Oathorn descended to the body, stood over it, and ripped off the creature’s power klaw.
The team regrouped and re-boarded the Thunderhawk, descending down to the planet where the source of the distress signal was coming from. Using stealth as opposed to a frontal assault, the team scoured the plateau behind and above the old Imperial Facility, where they found a hidden back entrance. Inside, it was not long before the team met up with the remaining crew, secured them, and returned to the Thunderhawk and the Nova Nascita.

Over the next several weeks, the Ork ship continued to move from one Imperial Facility on Aavikko looking for lootable supplies and equipment. Thunder’s Word appeared in system and quickly paired up in orbit with the Nascita. After a quick debrief they realized the importance of the find that the Kill Team had made. The Astropaths aboard Thunder’s Word sent a message back to Erich, where two warships were dispatched to the system. Over the next two weeks, the kill team, servitors from the Word, and the last survivors of the Seduction all helped move some of the most important equipment off of the Nascita and onto the Deathwatch warship- the DNA Library. Upon arrival, the two additional Inquisitorial Warships began the slow process of towing the Nascita back to Erioch in realspace. Thunder’s Word left the system, after deploying a lance strike at the location of the Ork raiding party on Aavvikko, transporting the team back to Erioch for a full debrif.

There was concern from the Watch regarding the Orks- it has close to four mellenia since the last sighting of the Orks in the Reach, back in M37 when the Freeboota Star-Killa ravaged Aurum, Castobel, and Alphos. The Omega Vault has not stirred, but word of the possible incursions has been sent out to the Watch Stations to keep a weather eye out for any sign or hint of the Ork.

7 renown and 550xp was awarded, bringing the total XP up to 21,103.

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Aaviko03

XXIIVV – 817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Aavikko System XXIIVVI.142

**** Vagrant Ship Nova Nascita ****

Brother Oathorn and Brother Erik had no further issues securing the void suit for Laurence and getting him aboard the Thunderhawk. The team, as a unit, destroyed the magnetic arms in the foundry and progressed aft towards the engine room. It was here that they discovered the reactor core; a towering room ringed with walkways fitted with cogitaton systems and monitoring devices. In the depths, Brother Josiah could see (aided by his magnoculars) a writhing sea of living creatures, their heat signatures visible through the dense fog that filled the bottom of the chamber.

After a discussion, the team decided to pull back to a defensive position and draw (what was assumed to be) the creatures to them. The kill team dropped grenades into the chamber below and quickly withdrew and formed firing ranks. The sound of the creatures was eerie as it echoed through the chamber, and the team set their weapons up, waiting for the beasts to show themselves.

It was Brother Josiah that opened fire first, waiting until the hallway was partially filled, and the Metal Storm rounds from his heavy bolter exploded in mid-air and sent white hot shrapnel into his victims. Scores fell to his withering fire as the rest of the team joined in. A burst of mighty blue green flame summoned from the warp burst forth from Eizen’s hands, setting many of them alight, only to be followed by the conventional prometheim fueled flamer causing skin to melt and eyes to burst under the intense heat. The volley of fire was incredible, and the creatures were exposed to the true might of the Emperor’s Finest.

They rallied for a final charge and spilled into the hallway- flame and bolter fire seared flesh and shredded bodies, but the enemy clambered over their fallen comrades in a frenzied attempt to reach their foe. They finally closed into range for hand to hand combat, and slashed and bit at their opponents. Again they proved no match for the might of the Astartes, and swaths of them were cut down as if they were no more than wheat suffering under a farmers scythe. Josiah was freed from his attackers, and he immediately picked up his Heavy Bolter and opened fire, spitting several more explosive rounds into the crowd.

Relative quiet fell- the team rushed to the balcony to peer into the chamber, and all that could be seen were a few pockets of heat scurrying into the dark not unlike cockroaches when someone turned on a light. The team decended into the chamber and Brother Thomas set to work, summoning the might of the team and the Emperor, he managed to reset the power supply and reestablish power through- presumably- the whole of the ship.

It was at that time the team got an urgent call from Brother Altus, the Apothecary, from the Thunderhawk. He had boarded the Nova Nascita with Anna and Laurence. Anna had recovered some of her memory and revealed the ship contained a “Seed Room” of sorts, containing DNA samples of countless species of plants and animals from Earth, or Terra, from ancient times. She and Altus both believed that this chamber needed to be defended at all costs. In addition, the Thunderhawk had detected the presence of a craft (that had been hiding on the opposite side of the planet) engaging with the rear of the Nova Nascita. The pilots are likely to be boarding the ship soon. The Kill Team met up with the Apothecary and his human companions, and Altus set to work patching the Battle Brothers up as best he could in the field. Laurence then directed them down a service shaft into some sort of hangar bay, describing it as a possible place they could set up a defensive position. Altus seems to have some sort of plan in mind, but he has yet to express what it is to the Kill Team.

550xp was awarded, bringing the base total to 20,553.

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The Lost Ship
Aaviko02

XXIIVV – 817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Aavikko System XXIIVVI.141

**** Vagrant Ship Nova Nascita ****

The kill team cautiously linked up with one of the Nova Nascita’s upper airlocks, attaching at the same point the scout ship for the Heavenly Seduction had moored. All that was left of the scout ship was a tattered umbilical; what happened to the ship is not known, it was either ripped off or left in quite a rush. The deck was towards the top of the Nascita, and was without power or gravity. The mag boots on the Astartes Armor kept the team anchored to the floor. Helmets on and weapons ready, they boarded the vessel.

Based on auspex readings from Brother Thomas, it could be determined that the ship had an atmosphere inside, but the concentration of Carbon Dioxide and plastic and steel outgasses was quite high. It was likely this deck had been without circulating air for some time. The dark winding corridors revealed the vessel was designed for humans, but for what purpose no one knew. There were librariums, weapon ranges, even a restaurant; it was here that the Battle Brothers encountered their first inhabitants. The creatures leapt at them from behind a counter, swinging primitive looking weapons with a surprisingly sharp edge to them. The servitor claw of the Techmarine and the power axe of the Assault Marine quickly dispatched the beasts without incident; their skin was blue in color, they were roughly humanoid in shape, wearing tattered rags that appeared to have been stitched together into makeshift armor. Their faces were extended with dog or apelike snouts, with deep grooves and ridges across the top much like that of a baboon. Their pale gums sported elongated, fanged teeth- probably not a threat to ceramite and steel, but designed for cutting flesh and meat.
Shortly after the brief encounter, the team came across voices- human voices- in what appeared to be a security room. Ever the diplomat, Brother Oathorn entered the room and removed his helmet in an attempt to show whomever these people were that the Marines were also of the same ancestry. The masked figures wore tattered clothing and rebreathers of some kind, and carried strange weaponry. Through the use of Thomas’ elucidator the team was able to roughly stich together their language.

The two humans, Diego and Anna, had been awake for a short time- awakened from some sort of cryo sleep or suspended animation. They were at a loss to know what year it was, what year they were from, or really what planet they originated from. Most of what they could convey consisted of fighting these creatures and hiding from them. They had fled to this deck because, to them, it appeared that the creatures were fewer in number in this direction.
Oathorn suggested, and the team agreed, that the two humans were likely from an earlier time and should be kept as safe as possible. The team transported them back to the Thunderhawk to be guarded by their brothers on board. The apothecary started to do a full medical workup as soon as the refugees were aboard.

After depositing their human cargo, the kill team descended lower into the ship. Passing through a room that housed several cryo pods of some kind- all without power- and other ancient service rooms. The team entered a large room that appeared to be some sort of bazaar or market. Splitting up, Oatheorn and Josia took the Aft side of the room, while Thomas, Erik, and Eizen took the center. It wasn’t long before a massive swarm of the blue creatures came spilling out of the dark- their weapons flashing in the light, some steel, some plastic, bone or wood, all sharp as razors. The room filled itself with the acrid smoke of combat, the heavy bolter clacked and spat death into the oncoming swarm, the rocket fumes swirling up to the ceiling, splitting bodies in half and sending bone fragments through the air at such speed they were nearly as deadly as the original shell. The slower, methodical clack of the boltgun firing precise bursts into the crowd, separated limb from body and disintegrated brain matter. The other three brothers met the swarm head on, hand to hand, and the swirling melee began. The chainsword whirred while the power axe cut cleanly through armor, flesh, and bone as if it were wheat. The servo arm crushed its victims- most of them not dying outright, but most creatures in the known universe cannot service a crushed pelvis, ribcage, or skull for long. The power sword of the librarian scorched the enemy, burning with white hot energy so ferocious the creatures skin split and burnt. Before long the battle was over. The Marines looked to their wounds; while their armor was marred, there were no lasting injuries to report.

The team reloaded and continued to explore the craft. Before long the managed across a manufactorum of sorts. There were presses and molds, all firing, though none of them contained any actual parts. The conveyers whirred, empty but active. The team progressed cautiously, keeping weapons at the ready, waiting for another swarm of the creatures to emerge. Around the corner, into a large central bay, was a crane and several strange arms. In the center of the bay was a man, chained tightly, hanging from the ceiling. Rescue was the unanimous course of action the team wanted to take, though to the war tempered experience of the Astartes this set up was obviously an ambush. Josiah and Oathorn again took up firing positions to cover the hallway, while Eizen, Erik, and Thomas began the walk down the hallway, cautiously hugging the walls. At the end of the passage was a furnace, and around another corner was some sort of automated assembly line, with robotic arms executing pre-programed movements, firing welders into the air, not knowing the steel they were to be welding was not in place. The team took up positions as Erik stepped towards the man to unbind him. It was at that moment the trap was sprung- the arms came to life, electromagnets of some kind, and pulled the marines and their bound prisoner onto the magnetic plates. It was Eizen alone with his catlike reflexes that was able to tumble out of the effective range of the magnets. Thinking quickly, he summoned his warp powers and cursed the machine spirit of one of the magnets. The magnetic field was too great however and the brothers (and prisoner) simply migrated to another magnet. Oathorn from the aft side again opened fire with his lascannon, seconded by Josiah and his kraken rounds. The arm split and broke apart. Erik had been set free, and was being tugged into the arm where Thomas and the prisoner were; he fired his jump pack, opening the thrusters as wide as they would go, and flew into a safe zone. Eizen concentrated again, cursing the third and final arm. Thomas, thinking quickly of his charge and not of himself, twisted his body and utilized his servo arm to break the man’s fall. Bruised, the two stood up, and the team backed out of the corridor.

Again using a combination of Oathorn’s silver tongue and Thomas’ elucidator decoding they were able to converse with the man. He had been awake for a much longer than the other two the team encountered. He recalled being from a planet called Earth- Thomas postulated that Earth was simply an ancient term for Terra- the two were synonyms in some circumstances. The ship was somewhere in the neighborhood of 23,000 years old. The man was from the Dark Age of Technology, the ship was a colony ship scheduled to head out of Earth’s star system in an attempt to colonize other worlds. It was long overdue. He was originally part of the janitorial team, and had awoken to find the ship in shambles, infested with these blue creatures. He postulated that they were mutants, for no aliens would’ve hijacked a ship like that – aliens were unlikely to even exist. He knew several passages through the ship, but mostly service tunnels, where a Marine would have to squeeze through, and those with ammo packs would have to drag them behind. It also turned out the man was related to the other two survivors- there was a group of five of them that got split up in an attack. Diego, Anna, and Carl split off one way, and he and Matthew split off another. He was trying to find Anna again for she was part of the science crew and he believed that if he could help her recover her memory she might be able to help solve the question regarding the origin of these creatures. He stumbled across this factory, where he and Matthew were captured. Matthew was presumably eaten, and he was set as bait for others.

After a brief discussion, it was decided that Oathorn and Erik would head back to the Thunderhawk with the man and secure him in a safe place, and they would continue on in an attempt to reach the engine room. Shortly after leaving, the remaining team heard screams and shouts down the hallway. They readied themselves for the oncoming assault. The angels of death did not have to wait long, around the corner poured a massed assault of these blue creatures, over one hundred of them poured down the corridor screaming incomprehensible cries of battle. They were met head on with another layer of bolter fire, the one inch diameter rockets screamed into their midsts and blew them to pieces. Eizen again reached into the warp and let burst forth from him a cone of blue-green fire, the psychic energy setting the creatures alight. The swarm ran on, climbing over their dead brethren as if they were rubble in a doorway. It was not long before the assault crashed against the marines, spilling around them, forcing them again to face their enemy hand to hand. The great melee lasted less than a minute, bolt pistol rounds, servo arms, and warp powers sundered the mass into a writing pile of dying enemies. The emperor’s work had been done.

Meanwhile, as Oathorn and Erik returned from securing their third survivor, two creatures dropped from the pipes, penning the two in. These were larger than the others, leaner, with taught muscles that looked almost as though they were worn on the outside of their skin. They unleashed an assault with what appeared to be farm implements. Brother Erik was caught off balance, barely getting his weapons to bear before the beast he faced unleashed a fury of blows, crashing down on any exposed body part. The creature pressed on unrelenting, smashing and slicing away. Erik attempted to counter attack to no avail, the enemy had him cornered. With a howl of defiance, Brother Erik finally managed to land a blow, catching his opponent off guard. At the same time, Oathorn wrestled with his opponent, firing from his bolt pistol again and again into the creature. With one blessed shot he caught the creature in the chest, sending him sprawling backwards, gasping for breath. Siezing the opportunity for uninterrupted aim, Oathorn unleashed a volley of shells into the head and torso of the vile thing, sending a gout of blood and flesh across the walls. At this point Erik had his combatant on the defensive, slashing again and again with power axe and chain sword. His final blow cut the thing across the middle, the energy field on his axe so hot it caused the skin to blister and the fat to boil. Screaming in agony, the creature tried to regain its balance but left itself open to another, final swing that brought it the death it so dearly deserved. Again the deck was quiet.

525xp was awarded for the last two weeks, for a total of 1050. This brings the base total to 20,003.

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Vagrants
Aavikko01

XXIIVV – 817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Aavikko System XXIIVVI.140

**** The Heavenly Seduction/Aavikko Close Orbit ****

The kill team arrived in the Aavikko (AHH-vee-ko) star system in response to a distress call from the Heavenly Seduction. There had been two Imperial warships deployed, but the garbled description of unknown xenos drew in the attention of the deathwatch.

The team was told they would be supplied with a Thunderhawk, it’s pilot, and an Apothecary, but that Thunder’s Word had to get the Magos back to the fleet. It would be 2-4 weeks until the ship could return to retrieve the team.

After their exploits on Pyroclast-Gamma-9, the team (specifically Brother Erik) was trusted with additional advanced weaponry. The team set about choosing their load out carefully, pooling their resources to make the team as potent as possible.

The Battle Brothers first boarded the Heavenly Seduction. The ship was heavily damaged, the rear portion blasted out in what the team assumed to be a reactor overload. Aside from a few malfunctioning servitors, there is little resistance aboard, the crew dead from lethal doses of radiation emitted from the reactor. They find the first mate, his log, and recover as many data cores as they can carry from the bridge. The decision is made to allow the Seduction to continue its collision course with Aavikko, allowing it and the machine spirits aboard it to be cleansed by fire.

The Thunderhawk retrieved the team and maneuvered back to the primary target of their search, which the elucidator brought by Brother Thomas revealed, was named the Nova Nascita. Power fluctuates wildly through the ship, some areas being fully powered one moment only to be plunged into darkness the next. The ship lies in a low orbit around the planet Aavikko, using its own power to correct its orbit and prevent it from decaying, indicating that something or someone aboard is keeping the ship afloat.

What is inside the craft is yet to be seen.

500xp was awarded, bringing the base total to 19,003.

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Escape from Pyroclast-Gamma-9
Tantalus02

XXIIVV – 817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Canis Salient/Baraban XXIIVVI.133

**** Tantalus, Southern Polar Region – Pyroclast-Gamma-9 ****

Brother Thomas and Brother Erik maneuvered down the mag-lev line heading towards the control station, with Commissar and men in tow. The team reached the end of the line which appeared to have been demolished using Imperial- or at least human- methods. Brother Erik leapt across onto the center’s roof while Thomas provided cover from the elevated position. The guardsman moved down to ground level and took up position.

Inside, after a brief scuffle with a security servitor, it appeared that the convict labor of the facility was out and about, and some of them ended their bid for escape in this hangar. With Halis’ assistance, the team navigated the interior hallways of the facility to the central control room, where Brother Thomas used the station augers to locate the Magos. The team found him heavily wounded, operating on emergency machine protocols, but he was alive and his data core intact.

Briefly the two Marines though of their extraction, and debated whether or not to take the wounded Magos or just his datacore, but decided that the man had earned himself at least the honor of trying to make it out on his own. The two marines assisted the man and the group headed out towards the rendezvous point at the radio mast. On their way, they radioed to the other portion of the kill team to meet them at the point.

Once there, Thomas immediately began work to send the signal, then started work on defenses. The team made their ad hoc emplacement just outside the doors to the radio mast. The swarm approached, and as the team was ready to engage them at long range the beast arrive. A winged Hive Tyrant descended on demonic wings, holding itself aloft. The team saw its approach and immediately and fearlessly began their assault. The Commissar rallied his squad who opened fire on the beast, and the Marines bit into its chitin with power claw and chainsword alike. Its scything talons rended armor and flesh alike, sending half of the guard squad to their deaths, and tearing open the marine’s armor as though it were little more than a ration tin. Brother Erik, ribs broken, would’ve drowned in his own blood had he not been blessed with the genes of his Emperor, and he did not give in, slashing again and again at the enormous beast. Thomas’ arm was cut so deep he lost his grip on his sword, but that did not slow his assault- his servo arm slammed into the creatures chest with such force it ruptured its internal organs and caused it to vomit a vicious shower of reddish green blood into the sky, finally collapsing in death.
Still clutching a piece of the armored torso, Thomas and the others boarded the Thunderhawk and were spirited away to Thunder’s Word.

500xp was awarded. Erik and Thomas received an additional 100xp. 2 Renown was Awarded for the successful completion of the Primary and Secondary objective, which was doubled to 4 due to the brothers singing the oath of glory. 18,503 is the base xp.

Both Erik and Thomas received an additional point of renown for going helmetless for the whole mission, and an additional point for putting the guardsmen’s life ahead of their own, for saving the Magos, and for besting the Hive Tyrant in hand to hand combat.

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