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.