Judgement of the Righteous

Traitors in our Midst

83.817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Karlack XXIIVVI

Kal’Vex Bulwark

The Kill Team pulled in to land at the Malvon Bulwark aboard the commandeered Valkyrie troop carrier. Their plan was to walk forth, enter the base, and seize control in a bloodless coup. Commander Isiaah had other plans, and as was later discovered through interrogating survivors had instructed his men that Traitor Astartes had killed an Inquisitor in Citadel Primaris, had wiped out a neighboring bulwark, and now set their sights on Malvon. The base opened fire, and in a vulgar burst of firepower the autocannons that defended the facility obliterated the Valkyrie. The Team moved out, approaching the base, using Eizen’s powers of the warp to prevent the cannons from blowing them to pieces. It was then that three Sentinel walkers emerged from the southern vehicle depot and opened fire. Lascannons blasted out and multilasers spun and spat hot death towards the Loyalists. Orthorn, in a rare display of self-sacrifice, charged the Sentinels to draw fire from Eizen in order than he continue to keep the massive defense cannons disabled. In the end the Deathwatch was victorious, though grave wounds had been received. Orthorn shouted at the structure, giving them a final chance to surrender to the Inquisition, the alternative of course being death. As it turns out, there was some sort of internal struggle over the correct course of action, and the guardsman fought each other. Only three survived, and all of them were in shock. It was discovered that the Commander had fled the station, tracks led north into the thick, rebel infested jungle. The brothers took up position to defend the bulwark rather than pursue the traitor, given that his power of authority and capability to disrupt PDF and Guard activity on Karlack had been taken from him.

The Kill team left Malvon several hours later, in the late evening, after being relieved by a contingent of PDF troopers. They departed for Kal’Vex, where the auger arrays were. As the sun finally gave up the last of its light, the new Valkyrie penetrated the western edge of the storm wall that beset the island. Battered but undamaged, the pilot skillfully landed on the pad. It was only a short time before the team was introduced to “The Guest” which after questioning was assumed to be what was left of Inquisitor Zaer Vincent. He was disheveled, withered, sunburnt, and malnourished. His mind was broken in some way, he spoke mostly in riddles, truly revealing only that the Dark Brothers of the Astartes went to the sunken city, that it was further to the east of their position, and to get inside of it they needed a map and a key. Vincent was under the distinct impression he had already given the team the Key.

It was decided that when the storm broke, the Kill Team would depart for the Kal’Dir bulwark, and see if this cache of xenos artifacts might help them in their journey. In the interim, they instructed the Kal’Vex commander to pull the logs on the position of Vincent’s rescue, and to pull local data mapped and discovered in the eastern region of the island. They were also prepared to take local oceanographic data and recordings back to the Kal’Tran bulwark where the oceanographic research facility was located. The locals were also asked for access to the augers, and it was explained, with embarrassment, that the Kal’Vex bulwark was woefully underfunded- PDF was being pulled into the Guard forces for deployment into the Crusade, and primary defense systems were consuming the budget and supply chains for goods. It was all the local team could do to even keep the station lights on, and the augers had been partially scavenged for parts.

The team received 500xp, bringing the base total to 34,050.

Key points of fact in the investigation:

  • The Kal’Tran Bulwark is home to an oceanographic research facility, and was the base of origin for the Cathurian, a powerful deep sea submersible. The submersible was captured by heretics but recovered by the Kill Team.
  • The Malvon Bulwark was home to the primary defense grid coordination arrays, where the southern regions communication and strategy was coordinated. Commander Isiaah Falhn was in charge of the station, and was revealed to be a traitor and ousted.
  • The Kal’Vex Bulwark was home to the region’s most powerful auger arrays, which had been stripped of parts in order to keep the bulwark functional at a base level (power, sump pumps, etc.). A man believed to be Inquisitor Vincent (or at least one of his Acolytes) was discovered here, a victim of a ‘shipwreck.’
  • The Kal’Dir Bulwark is home to some sort of xenos cache, of what nature is not known. Since Lieutenant Tirion (the stations senior surviving officer) made that broadcast to Citadel Primaris, vox communication with the Bulwark has ceased. It is believed that the bulwark is under regular assault from the local Reborn cultists, though it is possible the bulwark fell to their attacks.
  • On Ilvaris, from the Kal’Tran Bulwark, was found one xenos rifle of unknown origin and design (though the effects are known, it blasts open armor and flesh), one elaborate blade of xenos manufacture, a needle pistol (human sized) with several doses of virulent toxin, and a data key. Received from him was also a journal with a list of names (which were the traitors loyal to the Reborn cult within the PDF) and an encryption key to decode some device (which he indicated was the data key)
  • Three Dreadclaws were discovered on the Kal’Tran island, two of them equipped to carry a squad of marines each, one of them equipped to carry either supplies or a dreadnought.
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The Cathurian II

82.817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Karlack XXIIVVI

* Malvon Bulwark*

The Kill Team continued their investigation of the pods, finding that two of the pods could fit a squad of up to 10 marines, and one could either fit a dreadnought or a large amount of supplies. After some discussion, the team decided it was most likely that supplies were here, as it was unlikely a Dreadnought would be of much use on an Imperial World like this for an infiltration mission.

Ilvaris asked Brother Daedalus if he was to be spared, and Daedalus responded that he was a bit of an experiment, and he was hoping that Ilvaris would prove that in this galaxy people could in fact change for the better. In response, Ilvaris handed Daedalus a journal of sorts that contained the names of 20-30 traitors within the ranks of the local PDF and stationed Imperial Guard. He also pointed out that the submarine was arriving.

The team moved quickly into the thick cover of the jungle and set up an ambush, waiting for the enemy to emerge from the submersible where they could then be gunned down. After sitting on the surface for a few minutes, the submersible thought otherwise and began to resubmerge. The Battle Brothers leapt into action and began racing for the watercraft.

Erik arrived first, and attempted to open the hatch but succeeded only in bending it. The others arrived shortly thereafter, and Daedalus dismantled the exterior locking mechanism- the hatch opened with a hiss and the submarine stopped its descent. Brother Erik leapt in, spotted an enemy techpriest. He was quickly joined by his fellows, all of whom began to fire on the techpreists. It was then the Chaos touched Astartes revealed himself, with a blast from his multi-melta that wounded nearly everyone in the group. The techpriests were finished farily quickly, but several rounds were exchanged, and blood was spilled on both sides before the Heretic was dispatched.

A search of the submarine found that the servitor who was controlling it had its memory banks wiped clean, as well as all of the datalogs and nav points in the submarine’s cogitators- they were erased by someone who understood encryption and data integrity. In addition, they later found the high gain vox onboard had the logging system removed and safety protocols bypassed – whomever was using the vox didn’t want anyone to know who or what they had been talking to.

With the submarine captured, the group turned their attention to the list of traitors. They returned to the main Kal’Tran base and reported back to General Iacton the list of names. The General said he and his troops could contend with most of them, but there was a traitor named Captain Isiaah Falhn who was in charge of the Malvon bulwark. A good portion of the southern islands have their defense managed and coordinated through that bulwark, and it would take an excess of ten hours for the PDF and Guard to mount a proper offensive to remove him from power. In the meantime, if Malvon has caught wind of what’s going on he could disrupt communications and coordination, sending the southern region into chaos.

The Kill Team agrees to assist with removing the Captain, and requisition the operational Valkyrie from the local PDF at Kal’Tran and fly west to Malvon.

They are greeted with a challenge, and instruct the pilot to first tell the radio operators that they are there on private business with the Captain. This request is denied, and they resort to using Inquisitorial bypass codes. They are given an approach vector and priority clearance, and the Valkyrie moves towards the island base.

400xp was given out. Eizen and Josiah get 250 for being awake half the time, and they do get a bonus 5 xp for not throwing up on anything I own or am responsible for. Thomas, Orthorn, and Daedalus all get 400. Brother Erik gets 400 + a bonus 50 for (reliably) being the least distracted and disruptive guy at the table.

Base XP total is 33,550

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The Cathurian

82.817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Karlack XXIIVVI

*Kal’Tran Bulwark*

The Battle Brothers first headed to the Kal’Tran Bulwark, interested in securing the Cathurian, a deep sea research submersible. They knew that in order to access the city beneath the sea they would need some sort of vessel to get them there.

Their meeting with Docktender Orvel was an odd one, with many questions pointed directly at the previous Docktender’s sexual exploits. It was revealed that a PDF Officer within their own ranks disabled the security protocols and took the Cathurian for himself. By the time the base staff realized that the sub was heading to sea, it was too late to do anything about it. The Brothers were shocked to hear that the security protocols on a research station, guarding a submarine that is used for deep sea research and was not equipped with weapons or other infiltration equipment wasn’t guarded by Vermillion level security protocols. Orvel did not understand why a submersible would need to be treated like an Inquisitorial relic, and explained steps had been taken to try to increase security on the base. Orvel did not have a firm idea as to why the Reborn Cultists on the island would wish to take a large submersible that couldn’t shoot.

Orvel indicated the cultists on the Island stuck to the coast, and from the PDF reports their largest grouping is likely on the eastern harbor area of the island. The team wasted little time taking the ornithopter to the area. It appeared to be a serene beach with on activity, and the team ordered the ornithopter to the water to start scanning for the submersible. It was not long before a krak missile erupted from the jungle foliage and took out the flyer. Brother Erik pulled both the pilot and the co-pilot to safety, pushing them out of the craft as it sank, and those wearing power armor went with it. Brother Orthorn struggled with the idea that he, as an astartes, he should be strong enough to swim with 160kg of armor more than a guard in carapace, but he too sank to the floor of the bay with his comrades.

The team moved towards where the missle was seen from and emerged from the clear blue waters. A brief firefight erupted, and was nearly as quickly ended, but not before green bolts of electrified energy arced across the harbor. The team moved into the cover of the trees and advanced, tactically, towards the source of the new weapons. It was not long before they encountered several units of rebels, armed with a variety of weapons. The overwhelming firepower of the Astartes quickly turned the hordes of heretics into red vapor, but not before the Marines took some wounds from the enemy. Some of the weapons they used were clearly of xenos origin- long sleek rifles tipped with axe blades, with a thickly walled glass or glassteel chamber running down the length of the barrel, arcing inside with a brilliant green energy of some kind.

One enemy, Feynir Surbrite, coughing blood, survived. Begging for his life he told the Astartes his story, of growing up in the Charon stars and having to fight for his very existence day to day. He wound up with the Alpha Legion, used by them to stir up the Reborn Cultist activity on Karlack and organize them into a force that could disrupt Imperial organization on the planet. He knew little of what the cult actually worshiped, but Rize, his Alpha Legion master, seemed to have suspicions. Rize joined up with some group from Samech, which Feynir is not familiar with, after which became nearly obsessed with discovering sites and artifacts from the aliens that used to live on the planet. Rize knew Inquisitor Vincent knew something about the aliens, and lured him down to the islands to interrogate. Eventually the Inquisitor gave in, but what happened after that Feynir isn’t certain of, just that Rize instructed him to get the submersible.

Brother Thomas recalled that on Aurum, they found a carcass of a techpriest left to rust bearing the insignia of the Apostate Magi of Samech.

Brother Deadalus then began to search the dreadclaws, of which there were three. Each pod has enough room for 10 Astartes in standard PA, 5 in Terminator Armor, or 1 Dreadnaught.

Containd within Feynir’s tent (also known as Ilvaris) was an expertly crafted dagger of some kind of xenos origin, a needle pistol with vials of poison, a thick, spiked gauntlet, and a Data Crystal containing some sort of data on it yet to be investigated. The team also noticed the inside of the box lid is scarred by oxidation- it seems to have once displayed some sort of etched marking that has been purposely burned away.

Total XP at this point is in the neighborhood of 33,150. Everyone should also have a minimum of 40, closer to 45-49, renown, bringing them to the Distinguished (3rd) rank of Renown.

[SUPPLEMENTALXXVM S37 Planetary summary]: Also known as ‘the iron pit’ by the debased human renegades that travel there to trade and barter, Samech was once an Imperial Forge world, an outpost of the Adeptus Mechanicus within the Jericho Sector, famed for the skill of its tech-adepts and the quality of the cogitator systems produced there. During the slow fall of the Jericho Sector into barbarity and isolation, Samech maintained its power and independence far longer than any of the other worlds of the sector core. Watch Fortress Erioch maintained communications with Samech for more than two hundred years after Varrus fell. As the centuries wore on, however, the Magos of Samech grew increasingly insular and paranoid. Ever beset by xenos raiders, warring former allies, and human renegades, Samech began firing on any vessel that entered their system. Samech’s true infamy came to light in 325.M40, when a Mechanicus Explorator flotilla managed to battle its way through the warp storms shrouding the Jericho Reach to re-contact Samech and was lured into close orbit and blasted to atoms. This act of treachery would lead the Cult Mechanicus to declare the Forge world Apostate under a penalty of death—a penalty that has yet to be carried out.

Matters no doubt worsened when the Hadex Anomaly first erupted and swallowed Samech. Scattered intelligence gathered by the Deathwatch painted the Magi of Samech as increasingly corrupt, embracing forbidden technological blasphemies and trading weapons, and even warp drives, to debased renegades and consorting with the vilest forms of xenos without favour or distinction. Some reports claimed that the Magi were raising up altars to the Dark Gods to consecrate their nightmarish works.

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Zaer's Footsteps

82.817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Karlack XXIIVVI

To: Watch Commander Mordigael
From: Brother Techmarine Rydal
RE: Implementation of Security Protocol 227-V

Watch Commander,
As you requested I, along with Codicer Peterious, have looked into the missing reports that were originally revealed by Inquisitor Kellar. The work performed was either that of a well-schooled thief or a foolish but curious interloper.

From what we can gather the missing data centered around two Kill Teams. The first, operating under the command of Brother Captain Ephraim. The second operated under the command of Brother Captain Orian. Understanding precisely what information these reports contained is likely possible but would involve interviewing and re-debriefing the Kill Team member. At this time we are operating under the assumption that we should not alert any other residents of Erioch to our current investigation.

We have some data on Ephraim’s Kill Team and their current assignment however, and the summary follows:

  • The team uncovered a large Xenos artifact on Castobel, and managed to activate it. Local reports indicate a large scale seismic event, followed by a thick dark cloud of an unknown substance that reached into the sky. Across Castobel, the relentless assault of the Tyranids slacked. Shortly thereafter Astropathic communication was restored.
  • Local reports indicate the site was destroyed by the seismic activity.
  • The Kill Team was quickly evacuated, no accurate accounting of damage to the Hive Fleet could be performed, but Castobel was able to receive much needed reinforcement.
  • We currently have two additional Missions being planned for Castobel in the very near future as a result to local intelligence that has been gathered. If we cannot achieve victory on Castobel, the sacrifice of the world may buy enough time and resources to reach a broader victory in the region.
  • The team was subsequently dispatched to Karlack to assist Inquisitor Quist with investigating the disappearance of Inquisitor Zaer Vincent
  • By personal order of Inquisitor Quist an unusually large amount of requisition was made available to the Kill Team
  • Inquisitor Quist came under the effects of a type of neurotoxin and is being held in the infirmary in Citadel Primaris
  • The Kill Team discovered some sort of xenos ruins or artifacts inside of the ruins of an Imperial Temple, underneath the Cenotaph of Achillus
  • The Kill Team made contact with a local cult in the ruins, killing all local members. Two young boys were found in in one of the exit buildings to the underground complex, and were handed over to the Ecclesiarchy
  • The Team requisitioned an ornithopter and headed south to the Kal Bulwarks – Reports indicate they have contacted the deep sea research facility at the Kal’Tran Bulwark.

To prevent future incidents such as this, we have implemented Protocol 227-V. All data terminals have been modified. First we have reworked the access software and hardware to require an affirmative response from our logging system before dispensing information. The logging system itself can only be accessed via standard data access terminals as well as a single maintenance terminal on the data store itself. That terminal is physically secured, and as per your orders only Brother Modor of the Keepers. Second, we have enabled the tamper detection units on each of the data terminals- should any of them be opened or any non-standard power readings be detected, the station will lockdown and alert the Keepers.

Codicer Peterious believes that that protocol should suffice in keeping our data secure. However I am still concerned and seek to enable Protocol 227-N. Use of OTP security will ensure that each time someone accesses one of our terminals we can ensure the data is encrypted, and we can ensure we have logged, physically, the use of the terminal. I request your permission to implement Protocol 227-N.

Yours in service, The Emperor Protects
Brother Rydal

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One Step at a Time

252.817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Castobel Sector XXIIVVI

* Hive Cressos *

The Kill Team moved out quickly, finding a way to the roof of the Hab Block. From it, they had a decent view of the Eastern portion of the Hive complex. Burned out and ruined buildings spread out to the north and south along the Curtain Wall of Cressos. Living artillery shells rained down on the inside of the hive, punching holes in roofs and starting small fires. To the north it could be seen Heirodules were advancing on the Eastern Gate Complex.

Knowing that the simple weaponry that the Kill Team possessed would not be enough to topple one of these monstrosities, the team set to work trying to find an alternate method. A plan was hatched that would take the kill team underneath the beasts into the belly of the manufactories. There demo charges would be placed and detonate the manufactory itself.
With the swarm focused on tearing the hive apart, there was little in the way of resistance upon entering the undercity, though there was a small firefight once inside the facility. That would complicate the escape.

Thomas and Orthorn were halfway through setting the charges when the tidal wave of Tyranids burst down the staircases into the storage facility. Heavy bolter chattered, psychic energy flared, and power axe flashed. The swarm was relentless, pouring hundreds of chitin armored creatures into the hole in what felt like a never ending stream. The Emperor’s Finest, as expected, prevailed, and left a carpet of corpses around them. The walls and floor slick in a layer of tyranid vital fluid. They did not emerge unscathed however, their armor and flesh punctured in numerous places.

The team moved out to a safe distance and detonated their demo-charges; it had the desired effect, and a 4 square block area of the manufactory district outside Cressos erupted in a column of fire that for a moment appeared as a second sun. Disoriented, the Tyranid forces pulled back to regroup, giving the team time to enter the embattled city.

After getting local information (and after watching the now-awake Scythia stare at the pylon), it was decided that the team would head to the Main Spire to speak with General Dickson, and head south to investigate the pylon with the hopes of activating the shield wall. The General, while busy, saw the Marines and explained to them the dire situation; both southern gates had been breached. The Tyranids were forcing their way down the gate highways and the only thing keeping the breach from spreading was the clever construction of the gate houses, which provided excellent defensive positions. These defenses however were low on ammunition and morale, and would certainly fall if they were not reinforced in some way.

The team made it to the pylon, which appeared as xenotech covered in a steel shroud, and forced their way in. Once inside, a hundred or so meters down, the team was faced with a kilometer wide intricate base of some kind that rose into the ceiling. Brother Thomas gazed in wonder, and told his companions that it would take him hours, maybe days, to decipher the xenotech and get it running again. Scythia, in her near catatonic state, was brought into the room as well, and while she had a glimmer of recognition in her cold eyes, did not seem to respond or otherwise activate the device.

Knowing that the hive was in imminent danger, and might not have hours to survive, the team decided to postpone the investigation of the shield pylon and head south to where twin Lance Batteries were located; the batteries had been installed a year prior and were put in place to help defend against such an assault, but news from the people on the ground indicated that the cannons didn’t fire a single shot, and it was suspected that infected humans were responsible.

The Kill Team made it to the Basilica, where they tried to get information from a local priest knowing that the local Guard units on the gatehouses themselves were likely to be engaged in direct combat. He informed the team (after being scanned by the Apothecary) that he knew there were tunnels that were used to ferry men and equipment to and from the cannon emplacements that had been shut up after the siege had begun. That was their destination.
Inside the administration house next to the square of marshals was a basement. Inside the basement was a boarded up and welded barricade leading into the tunnel system. The local Sergeant informed the Marines that they had been assigned to this station to prevent entry by the Tryanids, that the Guard had been forced back down the tunnel. They were unaware of any local (Hive Side) power conduits, and after some scans from Thomas it was determined that the power lines running into the tunnel were in fact intact. It was suspected that further down the line some of them might have been damaged in the retreat.

The Kill team crossed through the barricade and had it sealed behind them. They left with the local guard unit a frequency to check for their return.

400xp was given for Friday the 20th. 350xp was given for Friday the 27th.
Brian and Pete get 75 bonus xp for playing. mike gets 50 bonus XP.

New Base XP is 29,153.

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Into the Fire

252.817.M41 – Jericho Reach – Castobel Sector XXIIVVI

* Outer Regions of Hive Cressos *

The Kill team was briefed, and felt as prepared as they could for their insertion into the fires of Castobel. As they prepared to depart, Chaplain Strome bid the Brothers farewell, awarding them each with a Purity Seal from the vaults of the Watch Fortress Chapel- a blessing of sorts, and a reminder of those words immortal and truthful words: The Emperor Protects.

The journey to Castobel was quiet, the crew was nonexistent save for less than a dozen servitors and one navigator. The fate of the vessel was largely a forgone conclusion. Most of the team spent time practicing their arts and tending to their rituals. Brother Eizen took care of the young Scythia, working with her over many sessions to do what he could to help her contain her powers. Though not a trained teacher or blessed with the authority to sanction a psyker, he used memories of his own lessons to try to help. Despite despising her existence, Eizen showed her remarkable courtesy and respect. Through the trip, the closer to Castobel the team got, the more strange the visions Eizen received in his sleep- twisted landscapes, dark creatures, and the familiar clawing at the back of his mind of the Shadow in the Warp- if Scythia encountered these, she kept them to herself and her drawings grew no stranger because of it.

Once in system, the team boarded their drop pods and descended into the warzone. It took little time for the Swarm to recognize the danger of the drop pod- only Space Marines braved those devices, and this Swarm had encountered plenty of Marines. Harpies, Shrikes, and Gargoyles attacked the pods, tearing off vital parts of the stabilizers and engines. The pod spun into a dive and impacted, somewhere off course, sideways into a hab block of some kind. The drop pod, while not completely crushed, was significantly damaged in the fall. Scythia was alive in her specialized cocoon, but unconscious. Daedalus had been impaled on a piece of the hab structure that penetrated the drop pod. Most of the others in the team were injured but overall in good health. The same could not be said for their gear- bolt shells and grenades were heated in crushed during the crash, wrecking much of their spare supply and damaging several pieces of gear- including the cartograph. The equipment was salvageable, and Brother Thomas felt sure that he could put things back into working order given enough time.

Time, however, was not something the team had at the moment. Something was smashing into one of the walls nearby- something big. The team moved as quick as they could, Castiel moved out with Daedalus over his shoulders, Eizen carrying Scythia along. They moved up one floor when they heard the Swarm coming. Readying their weapons, they moved the injured into a side room- a drab living space for one of the Hive’s workers, fitted quite simply with a bed, small desk, cooking area, and toilet. The Swarm spilled around the corner of the corridor- an army of Termagants, armed with their Fleshborers. A million Borer Beetles flew through the air, fighting and clawing to get inside the Kill Team’s Power Armor. The team responded with a ferocious line of fire.

It was then four of the Shrikes landed above- Brother Erik wasted no time and began to engage them, one by one. There was little in way of backup for Erik, the rest of the team was doing their best to keep the seemingly endless wave of Gaunts at arm’s reach. Hellfire rounds melted away their natural carapace, Metal Storm rounds detonated like grenades in the hallway, standard bolt shells ripped the beasts apart from the inside out. Brother Erik dropped one of the Warriors and headed for another; its companions grew wise to his attempt and redirected their fire on him. The Swarm still dove towards the main body of the Kill Team. As it drew close, Brother Eizen raised his Force Dome again, and Brother Orthorn stepped forth and blazed the horde with a precision blast of holy fire. The Tyranids had engaged the Marines with a small force, but were unprepared for the tenacity of a Deathwatch Kill team nor their specialized weaponry and training. The last of the Shrikes fled to regroup with its unholy companions- the team opened up and hit it; the final blast was from Erik’s plasma pistol. Smoke pouring from its wound it spiraled out of sight.

Castiel moved in to seal the wounds of his companions as quickly as possible before the team moved out again- the pounding below was still going on, it was uncertain how long before the creature there broke through the walls and gained entry into the structure.

400xp was given. 10 extra was given to Eizen for not being a total distraction. 25 were given to Brother Erik for being the least disruptive. Total base XP is 28,403.

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Keys of the Unsanctioned

235.817.M41 – Jericho Reach – XXIIVVI

* Watch Fortress Erioch *

Immediately following the last death rasp of the Heretics on the platform, Brother Castiel started work mending the wounds of his comrades. Brothers Orthorn and Eizen began shoving the mangled corpses of their victims down into the control center below, shouting challenges and warnings to those that would oppose the Empire. Brother Thomas set to work attempting to gain control of the pilot servitor, the previous Hero of the Margin Crusades, Uriah. After Thomas ordered Uriah to set a course for Scintilla, the team cautiously left, following the last instructions of Áinfean. They crowded into an escape shuttle and launched themselves into space. It was a fairly routine pickup.

It was not long after the return to Honored of Starlight that Brother Deadalus revealed to Orthorn and Eizen his concern about the visions he had been experienceing. He worried that the clarity of the visions, and their link to the Jerhico reach posed a possible source of information regarding activities there. Orthorn and Eizen also worried that the mere knowledge of the activities in the Reach by an Unsanctioned Psyker was also worth exploring.

The team quickly re-deployed to Port Avarice and hastily made their way to Xanthia’s club. There was a skirmish in front of the club- the Von Asters Militia had deployed several men and re-commissioned Sentinel Walkers to the club, and they were standing in front as guardians. The team advanced under heavy fire. Brother Thomas, who normally stays out of the line of fire, was targeted and hit by a burst of anti-vehicle fire that caught him off guard, nearly knocking the wind from his mechanized lungs. Brother Erik on the other hand, who was used to continual cuts, scratches, and las burns, advanced without complaint into the mass of men; perhaps his flight from combat in the previous encounter was truly the touch of The Carnivore. With missiles, meltas, and boltgun the war machines were immobilized or set alight. The crowd of men, though defiant against the Astartes, died to a man. The Kill Team quickly entered the club and found Xanthia and her companions. A deal was struck- to the discomfort of Eizen and Erik- that the remainder of Xanthia’s ‘guild’ would be transported to Foulspar nearby, and she would allow them to take Scythia into their protection. Xanthia also made Brother Orthorn give her his word, seeming to know that a while a word can be broken, to do so for an Astartes of the Ultramarines would be an anathema.

The team honored their end of the bargain and deposited the psykers in the Koronous Expanse, then returned by way of the Warp Gate to Jericho.

After debrifing and extensive medical scans, the Astartes were cleared for duty. Brother Castiel made a request into Captain Ephraim that he be permitted to pay back the brothers who rescued him rather than return immediately to Scintilla. Ephraim agreed to send the request to the Tricorn, and in the meantime placed Castiel in the ranks of the others’ Kill Team.

Two more meetings of the group were held- one was largely disciplinary in nature. Captain Ephraim chastised Castiel for his actions, that hurling sarcasm and slights at a temperamental Astartes was simply aggravating the situation. He also chastised Brother Erik for his in-field violence towards a fellow of the Deathwatch, and made it clear that under his command, he viewed challenges of that level of violence as a waste of the Emperor’s resources and would not stand for it.

The second meeting of the group was an unusual proposition from the Captain. After reviewing the information gathered from the previous mission to the Segmentum Obscurus, it seemed that the psyker that had been in contact with Deadalus was showing something to do with the planet of Castobel.

Castobel is a battered Hive world. The planet is ruled by a noble-born class that had remained loyal to the Imperium through the Age of Shadow despite being cut off from the rest of the Empire. The council of nobles was known as the Aquilan Pluracy, and kept the planet safe from xenos raiders and heretics. The Crusade forces were welcomed on their return, and the planet quickly was placed in a position where its weapons, provisions, and troops were an invaluable resource for the ongoing war.

The planet has once again lost contact with the Empire, only this time the cause was not warp storms, but the Shadow in the Warp created by the advancing fleet from Hive Fleet Dagon.
Castobel has a few things going in its favor against the Tyranid; mainly that the planet is barren, wind-scoured, and largely lifeless. There is little biomass to fuel the enemy forces. However other worlds within the Reach can and do fuel the fleet, and without some sort of intervention it is possible the world will fall.

There are six primary hives on Castobel, two have fallen. The first, Trimalov, was lost in a valiant defense. The defense of that hive is what earned Ortarna Lokk his name within the Crusade forces. He was named Lord Castellan, and given complete military control on Castobel. The second Hive, Tyralos, was destroyed in atomic fire. The public story is that the Hive sacrificed itself as it collapsed, denying the enemy of the biomass inside. The truth to that story is Lord Castellan Ortarna Lokk ordered a team of storm troopers to set off a chain reaction in the hive’s plasma reactors, destroying both the hive and a huge piece of the swarm. It is the Lokk family crest that was seen in one of Daedalus’ visions.

The Captain revealed the current situation to the Kill Team, and asked if they felt a mission to the planet was in order. Some of the Astartes showed trepidation, a near sense of defeat before even deploying on a mission of near suicidal order. What good would a handful of Deathwatch Marines do to a world being consumed by a Tyranid fleet. Such is the power of the Great Devourer, that even His most stalwart warriors have been known to balk at the idea of fighting the beasts. After deliberation, the team agrees to the mission, and the Watch Fortress begins preparations to send the Astartes to see how they can aid this embattled world.

500xp was awarded, total base xp is 28,003. 4 Renown was awarded for the action on Peleus. 6 Renown was awarded for the action on the Carnivore. Brother Erik should reduce his renown reward by 1 for his actions attacking and wounding a marine in the field, as well as abandoning a team member in combat.

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Best Served Cold

235.817.M41 – Koronus Expanse – The Cauldron XXIIVVI

* The Carnivore*

The team moved out with Áinfean, who led them along a long twisting path to the Trophy Room. It was here they could see the bodies of Castiel’s Kill Team, at least two Inquisitors, a sniper, and an Imperial Agent of some kind. In addition to skills of dark eldar, xenos weapons, books and documents of unknown origin, and other animal heads and corpses.

Brother Erik smelled man sweat in this room, the team prepared for combat. As they filtered through the room, the trap was sprung- teams of fighters opened fire with lasguns and autoguns, pinning part of the team halfway across the room. Eizen attempted to defend them by creating a dome of energy around them, helping to deflect the volley of fire. Erik became stuck behind a bit of cover- hard rounds and energy slapped the cover around him, making it impossible to break position.

Brother Josiah opened up with his own weapon, showering the heretics with holy bolter fire. Orthorn and Daedalus added their weapons to the attack as well. It was not long before the rear doors to the chamber opened, three Chaos Marines entered the fight. Eizen thought quickly, and let the energy dome fall, concentrating on disabling the machine spirit of one of the Traitors suits of power armor. Josiah turned his full attention at the enemy and fired a long burst directly into his chest. The marine fell to his knees, and Josiah continued to pump bolt rounds into him until his suit exploded. The other Chaos fiend got off several shots, but was hit repeatedly by Orthorn and struck in the eye by Daedalus. The final Marine, helpless in his disabled armor, was finished off.

It was not long after the combat wound down to a close. The team sealed the doors and gathered up the trophies into the center of the room to set them alight. Some of the team recovered items, notably Constantine taking the weapons and armor from the sniper. The Inquisitor was missing his rosette, and had no real items of value on them. Castiel pulled his old companions from their chambers and carefully removed their progenoids, storing them in the sealed containers attached to his narthecium. Áinfean found his equipment and rearmed and armored himself.

The group moved onward, towards the bridge, and were briefed on the layout by Áinfean. Brother Deadalus, Constantine, and Áinfean would head through the vent system and distract them while the others charged the front gate.

The plan commenced, and the team burst into the bridge. They immediately began to take fire from the heavy weapons, but again shielded by the power of the warp, many of the bolt rounds, las shots, and autocannon rounds dented and dinged armor but did not penetrate flesh. The team moved to the foreword chamber, where even more weapon teams were waiting for them. Quick work was made of them as furious firing and psy powers were unleashed on them. At this point the rearguard team had opened fire to create confusion. Áinfean tossed two blind grenades into the fray, sowing confusion and misdirection.

Brother Erik ignited his jump jets, but the confined spaces of the bridge caused him to go off course. He landed on the upper platform, near Deadalus. It was at this moment the power armor clad enemies emerged from the smoke cloud. Erik quickly ignited his thrusters again, fearing the wrath the Heron Mask would inflict on him. Deadalus was left alone to face the Heron Mask and his minions. Fearing that alone Deadalus would fall, Constantine revealed himself and helped to engage the Heretics.

The rest of the Kill Team rushed forward into the thick obscuring smoke. Áinfean emerged from the smoke and engaged one of the heretics. At this point, Erik again engaged his jets and landed back on the other side of the smoke, but the enemy had moved from their last position and there was nothing to swing at. Brother Orthorn emerged from the smoke and shouted for Codex Attack Pattern Gamma-3-6, and the Marines within reach charged furiously into hand to hand. Brother Erik swung his axe and sword again and again, but most of the attacks were converted to harmless light from the power of the Mask’s Conversion Field. The team stabbed and cut and shot and their opponents. A psy blade cut deep into Daedalus, penetrating his flesh and cutting into his organs. As the team was nearing victory, the powerful psyker erupted in an unholy conflagration, consuming the flesh of all around him. The force of the blast stunned most of those around him, and sent Daedalus down onto the deck. Orthorn took the opportunity of distraction to fire a single melta blast into the deamon worshipper’s chest. The field did not engage. The melta blast incinerated him from the inside, and he collapsed to the ground as well.

With the smoke still hanging thick in the air, Castiel moved forward to aid his companions, using his narthecium to great effect once again- in sharp contrast to he and his boltguns performance in the last few encounters.

Áinfean stood, faced Orthorn, and spoke. “Thank you. I think you will find that heading out down the hall and taking the second right will see you to safety.” Quick as a flash the being opened a gate into the webway directly in front of him. The portal was not transparent, and was too large for Orthorn to shoot around. By the time the gate vanished, and having completed his portion of the bargain, the Dark Eldar had vanished. Flushed, Brother Erik muttered a curse against the foul xenos.

500 xp was awarded, the total is 27,503.

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Belly of the Beast

235.817.M41 – Koronus Expanse – The Cauldron XXIIVVI

* Port Avarice*

Jacobi was discovered, returning from von Aster’s guild halls. Constantine warned the team that things on the station were being locked down, and Von Aster’s men were out in force. The Kill Team took to the service tunnels and weaved their way to the docks. With most of them in the cover of the shadows, Brother Orthorn spoke with the guards, and convinced them to ‘grant’ him audience with Jacobi. He appeared, and Quist then showed herself in order to play her part in things- displaying the Rosette and stating the team’s intent (to speak with the Empire on his behalf), the man, nervous, decided compliance was preferable to combat with an Inquisitor and her 7 foot tall guards.

The orbs were secured by Quist, and the team started to regroup, heading towards the Von Asters Werehouses. They found the main gate open, stuck somehow. In a lightning quick advance the Marines peppered the standing guards with bolt and grenade, killing them. The mechanics looked up in surprise but offered no resistance. Advancing with a classic but effective leap frog technique, the team found the central vault. A mass of guards had taken cover on the stairs, and the team engaged them in a firefight. Using teamwork, the Kill Team continued to advance relentlessly, opening fire and throwing grenades, all the while protected by Eizen’s crackling blue energy field.

Once inside, the team quickly found the stasis chamber at the heart, holding what appeared to be a Blood Angel. Nearby was his equipment, aside from the narthecium and white helmet of the apothecary, his armor was jet black and bore the shoulder heraldry of the Deathwatch. Freed, he briefly described to his new brothers that he was on board a ship departing a planet after a successful mission when his transport was ambushed. Rather than guard against the pirate, his Kill Team went on the offensive, boarding the pirate frigate.

Sensing the enemy closing in, the Kill Team grabbed up the Brother and his gear and fled. Before leaving, the new Marine joked about needing help with his gear, suggesting the “Space Wolf” carry it. In response, Brother Erik let loose a hammer blow to Castiel’s chest, cracking ribs and bruising organs. With a brief aspiration of blood, Castiel composed himself. The team shifted, surprised by this outburst of unrestrained aggression on a fellow Marine. Both troopers brushed off the exchange and headed out. Thomas accessed the local pict viewers, and was able to steer the team down hallways where enemy troopers were not present.

At that point they received a message from Noches, which was abruptly cut off. The Marines decided to head back to his aid, feeling that his loyalty to them and the Empire in such an evil place deserved the reward of their assistance. They returned to Janices’, the bar Noches owned. The team burst into the lower portion of the bar and immediately contronted the armed men inside. Erik received a blow to the body followed up with a burst from an infernus pistol before felling the man that carried it. Brother Thomas rushed in to engage the other men, smashing their brains to pieces with his servo arm. Castiel entered the scene and used his narthecium to seal the wounds on Brother Erik’s body. Noches thanked them for their assistance, and indicated with the current state of affairs he could not conscionably leave his employees behind. The team, without hesitation, agreed to bring them aboard. Quickly they all departed for the Honored of Starlight.

From there they formed a plan to board the Carnivore- they commandeered three shuttles, dispatching two of them with the soldiers of the Starlight, and one containing the Kill Team. The two distractions docked with the enemy ship, followed quickly by the Marines.
They entered near the brig, and found Castiel’s ‘friend.’ During the negotiation with the xenos, again Castiel made an off color remark about Space Wolves. And again Erik took the bait. Reaching out with a mighty blow he swung hard at Casteil- this time the Angel was quicker, and ducked out of the way. This exchange was met with raised weapons from the rest of the Kill Team. Orthorn shouted a warning, that if he should try such an assault in the middle of a mission again, Erik would be the one on the receiving end of an assault. What had gotten into their brother? Had he smelled some sort of corruption in the Blood angel? Was Erik under some sort of influence? Were Erik’s animal instincts simply getting the best of him?

After deliberating, the Marines decided to take the Dark Eldar up on his offer. He gave his name, Áinfean El Kath’Cael, and stepped out of his cage. He asked the Marines for a blade to perform a ritual that would keep the Mask from detecting them. Most of the Astartes balked at such an idea, arming their treacherous companion, though Castiel offered up his combat knife. The Dark Eldar cut his hand open and drew a complicated sigil on the floor- looking on it hurt the brain behind the eyes, it was most likely a symbol of the archenemy. With their ward in tow, the team began to head out.

500 xp was awarded, the total is 27,003.

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A Working Plan

235.817.M41 – Koronus Expanse – The Cauldron XXIIVVI

* Port Avarice*

The team discussed their options at length, and decided to head back to Xnathia at the Hand and accept her proposition. Orthorn negotiated somewhat, and asked for more information on the Carnivore in exchange.

The team scouted the Lady Pens, and to their dismay there was truly a single entrance and exit large enough for Astartes to fit through. A plan was hatched to use smoke grenades in the ventilation system in order to sound the fire alarm, then in the confusion escort Scarlet to ‘safety.’ During the scouting, Daedalus had a vision so intense it dropped him to one knee. The description and sketch he made sounded like a Tyranid of some kind- Tyranids are unknown in this edge of the Galaxy, they are concentrated on the Eastern Fringes. Before they depart, Xanthia give them two pictures that she felt would be important to them.

They detailed the maw of some great creature, with three animals inside the mouth. The next picture was of a vault, blood spilling underneath, and the face of a daemon obscured by darkness in the corner. Brother Thomas looks at them and draws a connection between the three beings- all are representative of Astartes chapters. The bleeding angel that of the Blood Angels, the dragon that of the Salamanders, and the bird that of the Ravenguard.

Daedalus is the point man, and pays for a visit with Scarlet. He tries to avoid her touch but it is useless, and he experiences a handful of other visions while he is in her chamber, including a vision that matches pictures they had received earlier. He explains to her through touch/sign language that they’re going to ‘rescue’ her.

The smoke goes off, and the alarms sound. Security guards begin to move the ladies out of the area in a somewhat orderly fashion, and but they move to Scarlet (the most valueable one in the hall) to open her door. As the door slides open the pair rush out and into another room. From there Deadalus retrieves his weapon. One of the soldiers spots the pair heading into the room, but they are able to use their chameloline cloaks to slip past them as Thomas remotely disables the lights, then after the two reach the top floor, the elevator.

On the main floor, the guards have approached, told ahead of time that someone is heading out with their prize whore. The main doors begin to close, but Thomas, in a rare display of technical competence, reverses the door and starts to open it again. As Daedalus and Scarlet emerge, one of them is spotted, and a soldier raises his heavy weapon to dispatch him. Eizen summons the warp and freezes all three suits of power armor, they are unable to pull the trigger. A plasma bolt discharges and strikes Deadalus in the arm, boiling his skin and melting muscle. Brother Erik charges the group, attempting to appear scared and unintimidating, but can’t pull off the stunt given his size, bulk, and gear. While the PA’d troopers still find their armor and weapons useless, the men above open fire with their pistols. Melta, bolt, and plasma rounds smack out from the upper landing into the Marine, boiling his blood and vaporizing large chunks of flesh off of his body. While he does not close well enough to truly enter into combat and dispatch the warriors, he effectively draws their fire from Scarlet and Daedalus. Daedalus breaks and runs at such speed that he has to drag Scarlet along- tossing her under the gate he struggles under it. Brother Orthorn opens fire with his Godwyn, spraying cover fire into the soldiers posisiotn, forcing most of them to duck and try to take cover. At this point the other Marines inside break position and race out of the building, heading into the dark station that has now entered its night cycle.

Daedalus takes Scarlet aside, separate from the group, and questions her. The team realizes something is odd with his return radio calls, and begin to suspect the Dark Angel is up to something. He questions her about what she sees, what she knows, and whether or not she trusts the Umbral Hand. The woman is intimidated, and though apparently she does not trust Daedalus, knows she has little to negotiate with. She speaks of the mark of the Blood Angels, and tells Daedalus the visions started only a day or two before.

After the discussion, the pair final reach the rendezvous point, the safe house, just as the cleaning cycle begins. She is deposited in her house and the team retreats into the relative darkness, meeting back up at the Hand to claim their reward.

What is revealed is Jacobi Dellesium is a front man, a buyer, for a Rogue Trader of some kind. The name they’ve not discerned yet and the Hand avoided more direct questioning techniques so as not to undermine whatever it is the Astartes were planning. He purchased the orbs for a great sum of money, and the intent was that this Rogue Trader, who had lost his Writ of Trade, would finally have something of such value he could turn it over to the Imperium to regain his Warrant and honor. Jacobi was planning on hitting up the Lady Pens one last time before departing late that day or the next morning, as they are said to have xenos slave girls there.

The information on the Carnivore is the salesman of the orbs most definitely came from that ship. His name was not known, and he spoke to no one but Jacobi. It would appear the exchange was pre-set, and the sale was not one of fencing the goods but a direct sale. The Carnivore, as Thomas had discovered, had a new captain- Hektor Grallion. Her crew was approximately 22,000, with an armed soldier core of about 2,200. It is also rumored that the ship possesses beasts, xenos or otherwise. It is thought they are bought or created form the relationship that the Carnivore has with the Beast Houses. Xanthia also reveals that most of the people on the station want little to do with the Carnivore. It has a dark reputation and most people, herself included, wish it were not at their station.

There is also a man, known as “Knife’s Edge” or simply “Edge” is searching the station for a buyer of a xenos warrior, a trade of some kind. He was last looking to approach the Von Asters, though it seems he will turn to the Redemptionists if that does not pan out. This man also came from the Carnivore.

The group asked Constantine to go find Jacobi and watch him, the group was going to head to the man’s ship and wait for him there. After dealing with Jacobi, the team had decided they wanted to investigate the Vault within the storage docks at the Von Asters estate.

500 xp was awarded, I think the total is now 26,503

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