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[RT] The Silent Architect (IC)


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+ The RPG Nook Presents +

+ A Rogue Trader RPG Campaign +

 

+ THE SILENT ARCHITECT +

'What profiteth a man who, with the world in his coffers, loseth also his soul?'

- The Ancient Sages

 

 

Damocles Hive Primus

Noon (Zulu local)

Six months after the Damocles Incident

++++++++++++

 

The scene is set.

 

A private docking bay juts out over the plunging spear of Damocles Hive outer shell. The kilometres plunge away, as the figures on the landing pad, a giant oval disc, encircled with gold and landing lights in red and green receive the trio from within. They stand back, cloaks and expensive silken clothes billowing in the hot, dry wind soaring up the tower. The fug of poisoned clouds tears in the gust, revealing the miles and miles of barren desert below - pocked and dotted with the still-glowing nuclear fire of two destroyed hives and an orbital strike. Blistering radiation makes the air shimmer blue, ionising it into three strange pillars of azure light, which the locals without a bent toward literacy call 'The Pillars of Heaven'. They are not wrong in some respects, the blue cuts a pleasant, remarkably pretty relief against the unrelenting desert.

 

A sliver of silver light descends, the sun glinting off a hull, the ship falling towards the shimmering spire thrust into the tortured skies. It closes with this comparatively tiny sliver of metal perilously clinging to the building. Jet turbines flare, powering the craft closer. It is light, agile. Unlike the bulky Guncutters used as personal craft, this is somewhat avian, and beaked with the head of a golden Imperial Aquila. This sleek bird's advanced-tech wings slope and sweep as it closes, making final approach, and the pilot, whoever they are brings it down with a flourish and flare, landing square and perfect in the centre of the pad.

 

The ship is scored black from re-entry, obviously dropping from off-world, the rich blue, red and purple livery marred unequally.

 

Ten minutes later, the deep chest forming the cargo bay opens, sloping down with a ramp, which gives the impression the metal bird is disgorging something stuck within it's throat. Four figures emerge, at the head a tall man, dressed in a frock coat and striped breeches, a fur pelisse flaps in the breeze as the tails of his coat snaps. Gripping his weapons, his face has the air of a man who brooks little insult, indeed his single human eye sweeps the landing platform and spots the three figures awaiting him, and his baleful, augmetic eye lances an angry pink light into this strange palette of fate.

 

He stops at the foot of the ramp, attended by a powerful man in a masterwork of carapace and voidsuit, another who clings to a tall stave topped with the sign of the Imperial Adeptus Telepatheca, and a woman who seems like she would be at home behind a gunsight.

 

The tall man, wearing the clasp of explorer, is then obviously a Captain of Marque.

 

His first words upon this world, his first words of greeting fall over the landing pad as if there were not one-hundred feet between him, and his target.

 

'Fabian Von Cassal! You are the son of gutter-whore mother, and a beast-herding father. You the offspring of Grox and Felid-spawn, with the charms of neither! I spit on your honour, your family and piss on your grave!'

 

Silence reigns as the first man, in his Imperial Navy uniform, of a Flag-Lieutenant no less, visibly turns purple. Without a word, he turns to his 'second', another Imperial Navy Officer, and begins doffing hat, cloak and tunic. In shirtsleeves, he marches into a large space between the doors to to hive, and the ship. He stands there, angry but shivering, as the Captain likewise hands his gaudy garments. A case is produced, and duelling pistols drawn. Then men turn and take ten steps before turning and firing the ancient laslocks.

 

Fabian Von Cassal is shot through before he even pulls the trigger, cored right through with a heart-shot. He slowly burns from the heated beam, until his party extinguishes him.

 

Dressing again, the Captain approaches the doors to the hive, checking a pocket-chrono. He is in the perfect spot therefore, when the lift reaches the docking bay deck, and disgorges Kerr Restal, Reynard De Carebas, and the Hospitaller Petrus Kovac.

 

With them, is a tall, handsome woman of dark hair, draped in a simple cloak, but heavy across her shoulders with authority.

 

'Lady Viceroy,' the Captain bows over her proffered hand. He ignores the Inquisitorial Seal in her palm. 'Your information and assistance were impeccable. What pray, do you wish in return?'

 

'Lord Iago De Wiart. May I present these Holy Pilgrims, who may serve on your ship.'

 

'As spies, my lady?'

 

'As explorers, my Lord. And there is something I want. Something hidden.'

 

'And what is this?'

 

'The Silent Architect.'

 

++++++++++

 

+ Players may post at will +

 

Edited by Mazer Rackham
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Reynard:

 

Reynard let out a quiet, almost imperceptible sigh as the lift doors closed and they started to rise heavenwards.

 

It was a shame Grace had decided not to come with him. He had truly wanted to be the one to show her what a tree actually looked like. They'd had a lot of fun over the last few months - a lot - but he understood her reasons for staying. Damocles was her home, and recent events had created a power vacuum that twisted and swirled from Hive Primus’ lowest sump right up into the tip of the Spire itself. An enterprising girl with a little knowledge, and the wisdom of where and how to apply it, could do very well for herself. He grinned suddenly. Apparently Falk had been promoted to Proctor, but his Arbitrators didn't stand a chance against ‘Drexler’.

 

The Inquisitrix, Viceroy, stood silently a few paces away. An even more dangerous woman. She had arranged passage for him on the Rogue Trader's ship, which she suggested was heading out in the same direction that De Grassi had apparently taken. Supposedly this largesse was just a courtesy, a way of saying thank you. Supposedly she didn't care any more where he went, or what he did now. “Your debt is paid, your service to the Most Holy Inquisition is complete,” as Vigilance had put it.

 

Reynard didn't believe that for a minute.

 

He might have accepted it from Locke. Reynard had respected the old man, liked him, maybe even trusted him. But Viceroy had claimed her superior was already gone from Damocles. Retirement - a reward given for his centuries of service. Something about the way she'd said it, the controlled lack of emotion in her voice, felt like she was lying. For a moment, he had almost wondered if she'd done something to harm the old man… but that made no sense? Locke was a damned hero, to this world and the Imperium! Did anyone ever get to retire from the Inquisition, though? Reynard didn't think so. He had no doubt that eventually they'd want to use him again, to throw him headlong into another nightmare scenario of murderous monsters, daemons and almost certain death.

 

Hands in pockets, he smiled innocently at Viceroy whenever she looked his way.

 

:cuss: me if I'll make it easy for you, my Lady.

 

He'd take her offered ticket out into the black, find De Grassi, give him Magda's cure, and wish the pair of exiled nobles every blessing the Emperor could bestow. It was a penance owed for Reynard's error, and would be a promise to Aldario Senior fulfilled. Two debts paid in full.

 

Then he planned to get the hell off of De Wiart's boat. While he was happy enough to see Restal and Kovac, the fact they were also being put aboard made it obvious that the bloody Inquisitrix had an ulterior motive for them all being here. No thanks. Simple enough to find other ships. First, one going in whatever direction this ‘Star Chylde’ wasn't, but eventually one headed towards Cal Ferrina.

 

And then, finally, he could go home and do what needed to be done.

 

 

***

 

 

Reynard recognised the corpse on the deck - having finagled a brief meeting with the Von Cassals during his investigations into how De Grassi had gotten offworld and where he might have been going - but he ignored it. Fabian Von Cassal had not been particularly helpful, and seemed to be a fairly typical example of the kind of nobility Reynard despised. As far as he could see, the man's death wasn't any great loss to Humanity.

 

Instead, he stood silently, offering a respectful nod and a courteous smile when De Wiart looked over. He was happy to play nice with this Trader and his officers. The Viscount looked like he might even be good for the occasional hand of cards? However, he would wait until Viceroy had said her piece and was gone. No point in saying anything that might give her even a hint of his intentions...

 

 


 

Edited by Lysimachus
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Malvolio

 

The story of this world echoed loud into the void long before they had arrived, whispers at first of something in the shadows and a scratching in the immaterium as countless eyes turned and ears perked to listen to a challenge given and received. The myriad accursed entities of the warp had circled towards this world like carrion eaters and twisted the etherics with their gnawing.

 

And then had come a single clarion call, praise in the Emperors name that rebuked the shadows. It had been a rare and holy thing and a call that no mortal could answer, not even the great might of a starship. He had led his choir in prayer soon answered. Bardas, Reynard, Scourge, Falke, Restal, Nicios, the writhing curses of the unclean screamed impotently across the aether would find no shelter amongst the vultures it had failed.

 

Truly the Emperor protects. Those so damned were added to the rolls of honour, all too rare a light in these testing times and in the vastness of the Imperium but in single spark amidst the maelstrom and yet... the augers continued to point to this world, Damocles, its story not told in full, and it was not long until the call to service came.

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Restal:

 

Six months had passed... 

 

Time had flown by. He'd chased some Bounties. Used up his Fast Return ticket and checked up on Kathago, who had a new range.

 

He'd traded in his pair of Las-Carbines and upgraded his Hand Canons with shot selectors to triple their ammunition capacity. They had taken a bit more range and portage work, but he was finally happy. 

 

He'd thought about the Gang of Marks and the pact. 

 

He'd just stepped out of the shadows and he was in the lift with Lady Viceroy and they then exited and met the Rogue Trader and his Retinue. 

 

He looked across at them and shared a knowing grin with the woman. 

 

 

On the day I went away, goodbye was all I had to say... 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Machine God
Always leave on a song
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Castinius

 

Castinius eased the gun-cutter down with precision. He quickly ran through the post-flight checklist and then exited the cockpit to join his lord's party. His steel and navy blue void armor was polished and impeccable as always, the power saber and bolt pistol holster at his side equally well-cared for. Everything proper and according to procedure. 

 

The duel, if you could call it that, was over soon. Castinius smiled slightly from his second position as Lord de Wiart placed a single shot into the chest of the fool. As if a Rogue Trader would lose to such a simpleton. Casitinus' thoughts were caustic and bitter- anger towards those that insulted his lord making him rise to violence, but the duel was settled without need of any further bloodshed.

 

Then came the true purpose of the meeting- the Inquisitor. She was what he expected, slightly mysterious and giving off a dangerous aura. Her companions, and apparently his new crew-mates, were...of mixed fare. Clearly not of naval stock or career, though one did look to have the cast of a void-born. The Inquisitor mentioned wanting something, the "Silent Architech". A person, a place, or an item? Hopefully they would know more soon, so that their path through the stars could be charted and the voyage begin.

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Malvolio

 

"A spiritu dominatus. Domine, libra nos. A morte perpetua. Domine, libra nos. Ave, Imperator. Domine, libra nos." Malvolio uttered softly, not wishing to overstep his place while here. The Emperors grace had touched this world and the presence of those he had seen in his visions was both auspicious and a sign of trials to come for the Inquisition walked in the darkness and if they sought this 'Architect' then in darkess it would be found.

 

 

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The Landing Platform:

 

Viceroy examines the Rogue Trader's crew as De Wiart recovers from the greeting. She exchanged glances with her immediate entourage and reaches carefully into a pouch slung across her torso, passing two scrolls to the Captain.

 

'Your Writ of Claim, my Lord, and a Codicil to your Letter of Marque.'

 

Suspicion flashes across De Wiart's mask of civility, before it hardens. 'You wouldn't seek to tether me, my Lady?'

 

'No, Lord Iago. It merely grants you further privilege.'

 

'Ah! The Inquisition is wise and beneficent! However, a data package with my...instructions for this treasure hunt would be beneficial.'

 

Viceroy's glimmer of amusement is real. Diving into the bag again, she withdraws a silver-chased box, which is obviously a datavault. Thrice-blessed and shielded from augurs and probing, she hands it to the Rogue Trader, who in turn gestures for someone to take it.

 

She bows, and withdraws without further word, her long cloak swirling about her hardened athletic form as she gains the lift and disappears with a smirk, leaving the crew and the members of her old cell to each other's company. Lord De Wiart's attention is taken by the Imperial Navy personnel attending to their fallen officer.

 

'This is not the end, pirate,' Cassal's Second advises. 'We'll hang you yet.'

 

De Wiart chooses disdain as his reply, sharing a knowing glance with deBrae, before addressing his new complement. 'And who do we have here?'

 

The wind snaps and roars across the platform, quickly stealing the scent of burned corpse and las-burn stink.

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Reynard:

 

With Viceroy gone, Reynard took his hands out from his pockets, stepped forward and executed a courtly bow. Then he held his right hand out for the Rogue Trader to shake if he wished.

 

The slightly reflective sheen of the limb still took Reynard by surprise, a little. A mirror match in size and shape to his flesh and blood left hand, but crafted in blackened steel, tastefully inlaid with subtle swirls of dark bronze. Stronger and tougher, and yet at the same time even more dexterous than his own hand had been. However, the greatest improvement - and the reason that Reynard had even considered going through the… process… of implantation at all - was the total removal of the bloody Inquisition's mark of ownership!

 

I told them I wasn't a damn grox to be branded!

 

He hadn't trusted Vigilance when the cunning old Acolyte had insisted the electoo had been deactivated, either. What was ‘inactive’ could be ‘re-activated’. It was another string they had left tied around him, that one day he was sure they would pull on to draw him back into their orbit. Well, that string at least was cut.

 

Grace had known a man, a man who owed her several favours. A tech-adept. An artificer. An artist. That was exactly what Reynard had wanted. Almost as soon as the idea had come to him, he'd known that if he was going to take such an extreme step, it needed to be done right. It had taken several months to be measured, fitted and adjusted, but the artificer had done stunning work.

 

Was it madness? An insane thing to have done? Reynard had moments where he did wonder… but then he thought back to the many horrors he had endured over the course of his time on Damocles. Surely, avoiding seeing anything like that ever again made it easily worth the cost… Didn't it...?

 

He dismissed the distracting thought and gave De Wiart his best affable grin.

 

“Reynard De Carabas Von Graen at your service, sir. I am most grateful for your providing me with passage.”


 

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OOC: (I'm going to assume one of the RT PC's takes the Datavault).

 

The Landing Pad:

 

De Wiart looks pleasantly surprised by the old custom, and his lean, but powerful hand gamely grips and pumps Reynard's. You can feel the calloused skin there, whatever life this man has led, and however much opulence he currently carries, there is hardness in his past.

 

'A pleasure indeed, Von Graen. I'm sure you have many tales which you cannot tell us.'

 

He looks at Raynard and the others, shrewdly. He is calculating perhaps, whether you are known to each other, or pretending not, gauging what he's dealing with.

 

'I regret you will not find many human crew to listen anyway - however, fear not, they are all loyal,' he says. It isn't a threat, nor is it a reassurance, but advice couched in the common double-speak staining the distrust of the Inquisition bestowing its favours.

 

Given the pedigree of your chaperone, he would be a fool to be cavalier until he is sure of you.

 

He gives his seer companion the smallest nod.

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Malvolio

 

At De Wiarts signal the astropath stepped forward to take the box and concealed it beneath his armoured robes. It barely registered in his eyeless sight, a faded shape silhouetted against the rogue traders hand by the wards placed upon it.

 

He offered a nod and the sign of the aquila to those before him as he stepped back once more, pleased to see that their trails had not left no sign of true taint about them, nor the taint of the witch. "Blessed be him and his servants, sons of Damocles".

 

Psyniscience 35 vs 41 - pass

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Sola

 

Damocles, a world still on fire from two dead hives, what had the Captain heard to bring them here, now.  The opportunity to duel a Naval Aristo hardly seemed worth it. She had not heard the full story either, so whether the oposition was an incompetent nepotism swaddled  lout was up for debate, fore if he was not then she might find herself stranded again.

 

Glancing across the Sparrowhawk’s cabin at the pilots copula gave here little. Master deBrae was focused, and anyhow she suspected where he stood on such things, his enthusiasm for retrospective orders was known enough amongst crew.   

 

The ‘path always unnerved her a little, and pious though he was, his gift was not one for a sound soul. If he knew anything he did not say, as was his way, and if he did it be as likely in psalm and scripture as in clarity.

 

The Captain himself was as composed as ever, to the outside world at least, and this far from his bridge and state rooms he might as well already be amongst the crowds below.

 

The slight shake as they entered the upper atmosphere told her that it would not be long now. If the air was thick enough to buffet them, then the flight from the parking orbit, unusually remote compared to customs elsewhere, was more than four fifths done.

 

Indeed, the vox crackle exchange as they approached the spire spilled from the pilot copula, confirming flight plan and clearance no doubt, again. Sticklers for protocol. She briefly wondered if the zeal of the civilian void and atmosphere control authority was newfound in recent events, or if it was a sign of a cultural imperative and they would all be like this.

 

---

 

The one pleasant thing up here on the platform was the view, stealing glances across the landscape  while the duel proceeded she nether the less remained alert, just in case.

 

Ah, the real business, the Inquisition no less, an authority to be feared, and yet so remote that this may well be the first time she ever had to share air with one. What trouble had the captain gotten them into now?  

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Kerr Restal:

 

'And who do we have here?' the Rogue Trader, De Wiart enquired.

 

The Weasel presented himself once again as his Von Graen persona. He even offered a handshake which was reciprocated in turn by De Wiart.

 

They were addressed oddly by the Astropath, which rankled somewhat.

 

 

"Son of Damocles, Nay!" Kerr Restal stated, as he gave a quick bow to De Wiart.

 

"Kerr Restal - Man's Voyage, Arch Militant."

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Machine God
typo
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Petrus

 

The heavy doors of the Templum of Saint Iacinda swung open and two of the silent brothers ushered him in. He wore his mendicant robes once again, his meagre collection of belongings rattling along in his traveler’s pack. The monks brought him to the abbot, a kindly old man who looked upon him with sad, tired eyes, seeing the exhaustion in the face of the younger man, and the haunted gray eyes which had seen things which men were not meant to see.

 

He slept fitfully, waking most nights in a cold sweat, his heart beating out of his chest. The inhuman voice from beyond the veil of reality grated at him in his dreams, and the abyssal, all-devouring maw leered at him when his eyes closed, giving him little respite. A burning sensation over his heart reminded him of how he had been marked, branded even, by forces beyond his kem. 

 

Weeks turned to months, and the memories eventually started to recede, though never fade entirely. The new normalcy of life as a novitiate, and its accompanying duties, consumed him in time and he gladly lost himself in the reverie of Him on Terra. 

 

+++

 

In a large stone chamber lit only by candlelight and the baleful glare of a servo-skull, he knelt before the High Priest of Damocles and offered his vows to the Ecclesiarchy, his new masters, swearing his life and his blade to their service. They invested in him the authority to carry the Word of the God-Emperor abroad, to convert the heathen and smite the forsaken. They provided him with new tools of war and healing, and he was surprised to find his old suit of flak-and-chain had been restored to, or perhaps beyond, its former glory, joined by his heater shield and a matching folded white tabard, both adorned with a crusader's crucifix. He was also furnished with a new helm as befit a freshly minted knight, a steel sallet reinforced with flak, less harsh and brutish than the face of Scourge. He bowed his head and accepted these gifts without question, for there were none to ask.

 

+++

 

He found himself posted aboard transport ships for the next few months shepherding the faithful on their pilgrimages throughout the sub-sector. It was mostly dull, albeit fulfilling work, though on one occasion they had to repel pirates and it was with no small amount of satisfaction that he found cause to put his new chainsword and flamer to work rendering the heretical scum down into their base components, as if only after they had been ground apart or reduced to cooling cinders that they might beg forgiveness at the base of the Throne for a life ill-spent.

 

Upon his return to Damocles after his latest sojourn, he was surprised to find the Lady Viceroy awaiting his arrival. Her dread purpose was immediately obvious to him, and he followed her without question, for what good implement would question the Hand of God which wielded it?

 

+++

 

The lift ride up-hive was largely endured in silence once pleasantries were exchanged with his old comrades-in-arms, those who had supped with him at the cup of a war without mercy or end. Reynard, he noticed, sported a new augmetic hand, upon which he neither commented nor raised any questions. It was not his business as to what had transpired, whether the prosthetic was to repair a wound at the hands of the more unsavory elements that infested the hive, or to recover from a misguided attempt at severing all ties with the Inquisition. The poor, deluded fool.

 

Restal was much unchanged from how he had left him when they parted ways: half-mad but armed to the teeth and a pleasant enough a traveling companion in his own way.

 

All the same he was pleased to see them both hale and hearty.

 

+++

 

They were deposited with little fanfare or ceremony at the apex of a private docking spire, high in the world's atmosphere. The tableau laid before them was the immediate aftermath of some manner of honor duel, and Petrus cocked an eyebrow behind his steel visor at the charring remains of one of the Von Cassel clan, judging by the smouldering heraldry. He turned his gaze toward the master of the vessel upon which he was to embark now, a Lord de Wiart from Lady Viceroy’s brief description, a rogueish space-farer who skirted the fine line between nobleman and reiver.

 

Seeing his companions introduce themselves, he doffed his sallet, exposing his short-cropped graying hair and a neatly trimmed beard. The neural-interface ports implanted into the flesh on the side of his head stood stark, the naked steel reflecting the dim lighting of the hangar. His sunken, dark-ringed eyes contained an odd world-weary mirth that his old companions will have noticed and perhaps thought out of place, for this was a new man standing before them. Gone was the grim, steel-faced flagellant they had met many months prior, and in his place stood a man redeemed of his prior misdeeds, with a renewed vigour undergirded by a deepened faith in the Throne. 

 

Remembering his manners, Petrus executed a stiff, if courtly, bow before the expectant rogue trader, one hand kept on the hilt of the chainsword at his hip, the other making half of the Aquila across his chest.

 

“Petrus Kovac, Knight of the Order of Saint Iacinda, at thy service, my lord.”

Edited by Necronaut
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Malvolio:

Spoiler

Your senses may not be able to detect that within the device, but the hand of the loyal and true servants which have touched it is there. Barring the immediate souls around you, there is no trace of taint or other hidden presence abroad this place - excepting the petty corruptions of course - the lingering psychic traces sting the aether with holy expectorant, as you sensed before. These new souls are battered, but whole.

 

The Landing Pad:

De Wiart offers bows and nods of greeting to the others, now so introduced.

 

'Splendid, splendid, always good to meet adventurous folk,' he says, idly stroking his short beard. He's obviously playing courtesy for time, as he shoots the seer another quick, sidelong glance, but seeing no immediate untoward reaction he clears his throat. 'Where are my manners? Allow me to introduce my companions.'

 

GM OOC: Here he introduces the RT Characters. Sola, Malvolio and deBrae can add whatever they please to embellish this. Once complete, he says the following:

 

'Well, dallying here breeds no profit! Mister deBrae! Take us off this perch!'

 

He sweeps back toward the gunship-lander, passing through his entourage with the confidence you will all follow.

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Malvolio

 

Introduced as Choir-master Telepathica Malvolio, the staff he carries is perhaps the only outward similarity with the last astropath the newcomers had encountered - Lady Gwynne.

 

True appearance and figure are both hidden beneath some form of light void-suit, and that itself mostly concealed by robes that shimmer black-purple in the light like spilt oil. Despite the nature of his words he carries no symbols of the ecclesiarchy, nor any weapon save for a ceremonial-looking blade at his belt.

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Reynard:

 

Having greeted De Wiart's officers with cordial nods and a few quiet words, Reynard followed the Trader up the ramp into the shuttle. The craft, with its flaring, variable wing design and avian head, reminded him of an Aquila Lander, though of course substantially bigger. It also reminded him of the Voivode, but lighter and more agile, if less well armoured.

 

He grimaced, suddenly remembering the way Helene had thrown Locke's gunship around the Arbites’ hangar like a child's toy. Extra armour had meant nothing there. Reynard nodded thoughtfully to himself as he sat in one of the seats in the hold and locked the safety restraints around his body. De Wiart and his pilots had the right idea. There would always be someone stronger, strong enough to tear you in two, so danger was always better dodged than endured.


 

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Kerr Restal:

 

De Wiart introduced his retinue. He noted names, designations and followed his companions onto the sleek shuttle back to the Up!

 

He noted Reynard's new hand, a handy tool.

 

 

"I bet that's worth at least a Thousand Thrones!" he chuckled to himself.

 

 

 

 

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Sola

 

“Scholar Sola, Mistress of Carronade.” Anastasia introduced herself curtly, if these where to be passengers rather than crew and comrades then it would be best to keep a cordial distance.

 

She let the newcomers go past and board Sparrowhawk ahead of her, giving her another chance to study them, and perhaps a few seconds longer of air other than the recycled repetition that passed for lungstuff. Lastly she put on her helmet once more as the shuttles atmospheric and void seals engaged behind her.

 

 

In the moments before the engines started up for takeoff, while deBrae was still settling into the pilot copula she addressed the newcomers.

 

“Any of you Landlubbers know how to keep you skin if the Darkman comes calling for a kiss?”

Edited by Trokair
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Castinius

 

With a last look at the dead man and his compatriot, Castinius turns and moves quickly to the Sparrowhawk's cockpit. Settling into his pilot coach, he deftly manipulates the gun-cutter's controls. The landing ramp and door secure, refueling and bracing lines detach, and the craft's engines burn as it lifts from the deck. As he maneuvers, Castinius keeps a careful eye on the vox-sensor and runs the nose-mounted autocannon's loader feeds. His helm's vox connection with the side gunners is clear and crisp. 

 

+++Star Chylde this is Sparrowhawk. Incoming to you, same returning party, three additional guests. Scan is clear, ETA 30 minutes.+++

 

Time to return home and then find out what this new hunt will bring. Fortune or famine?

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LOCSIT: Damocles, High Orbit

IDENT: Rogue Trader Vessel - Starchylde.

 

As the Sparrowhawk clears the atmosphere, the world below slowly twists and shimmers. It is perhaps not the first time you have seen the curve or brilliance of the world, but it is certainly the first opportunity to see this hemisphere completely. What was once only a ball of dirt is marred with the long strings of magrail tubes, abruptly terminating in the massive craters despoiling the otherwise smooth surface. A long trench is blazed into that sand, and those who know can point out the deep craters and hell-black soot which mark the dubious caress of the Inquisition's scalpel.

 

In a thousand years maybe, the truth of it will be forgotten, the horrific threats struck into oblivion by the desperation of mankind.

 

Still, perhaps it is for the best such things are forgotten and left behind - and why not? The world still stands as proof of the Emperor's providence (and a few lasbolts).

 

Above this convex tableau, is the haunt of altogether different dangers. The thin needles of Imperial Navy warships grow in size and threat. Several thousands of kilometres away, the geosynchronous orbit over the Hive Primus, and the need to pass astronautically close to them gives a hint to their lumbering power, brutal flying maces of the Imperium's martial power.

 

In contrast is the small flotilla of civilian vessels clustering around a large vessel which appears to have been partially cannibalised. A huge Mechanicum Mass Conveyor transport now sprouts several offshoots, decks expanded and bulging outwards, many of them fuel bowsers for small craft or replenishment depots for the larger vessels plying the Damocles Cluster.

 

Intra-flight craft zip and buzz around silently in the vacuum of hard dark, a flash of thrusters, then gone.

 

As the Conveyor looms, it fills the viewports of Sparrowhawk, deBrae keeping the flight close and smooth, the wings pitching in mockery of the real avian form the ship is based on. You can feel the pull of gravity from the massive ship, beginning to understand perhaps, the ebb and flow of the void, or the sting of nostalgia after being adrift of it so long.

 

Tapping into the comms traffic reveals all manner of callsigns calling vectors, speeds, and return docking instructions. When Sparrowhawk finally clears the huge vessel, the guncutter rotates to starboard, levelling up. The Rogue Trader has retired to the quarters at the back of the ship, but this seems to be perfectly normal to his crew, who pay his proclivities no mind. Pitching up, the guncutter makes your stomachs lurch - perhaps reminding you of other sharp-manoeuvring pilots - and there, through the front armaglass windows, is a ship moored and connected by umbilicals, which matches in colour and configuration diversity the ship you're hurtling towards it in.

 

GM OOC: for descriptions, see the OOC post by AT, with thanks).

 

The Starchylde.

 

Closing with the ship, the portside flight bay blast door cranks open slowly, a sliver of golden light winking open in welcome. deBrae takes the 'Hawk in, slows as he hits the hermetic barrier, and deftly parks the bird-ship on the designated platform with a practiced, harmonious clamour of landing gear. Maglocks bite with harsh hammer thump.

 

Capture.

 

As the engines cool, De Wiart appears, face reddened. He strides down the companionway and is first out of the ramp, having to duck as the beak disgorges him, regurgitating the following crew onto the flight deck. A uniformed officer is there to greet you.

 

 

'Perkins! Wonderful timing,' De Wiart banters.

 

Perkins bows in an elaborate, courtly manner. 'Your Grace.'

 

'Take our guests to the executive suites and-' He is cut off by a harsh klaxon.

 

Worried looks are exchanged between the pilots and service crew on the flight deck. Men and women suddenly begin running, servitors increase trundling pace. In the middle of all this, De Wiart calmly stands there, pouting, his moustache tips flickering.

 

'The bridge I think,' he announces, 'the tour can wait.'

 

Edited by Mazer Rackham
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Kerr Restal:

 

They travelled back to the Up, yet he took a last glance back at the mudball.

 

At Damocles. 

 

He took in the damage to the Hive's and noted the smaller Lance strike at the target that had brought the Aberration to the world. Where they had recovered the Hammer. 

 

He thought about his Companion, he that had stayed behind to conduct his Holy task. 

 

He remembered the Khamsin Brotherhood and their hospitality. 

 

He then turned back to the Up and watched all of the myriad craft. 

 

He knew that he was home, even though he would never board Man's Voyage ever again. The Space Hulk had translated, a slave to its mass and the fickle caress of the Warp. 

 

He stepped off of the Sparrowhawk and onto the deck of The Starchylde, with purpose in his step. 

 

"Bar-dass!" 

 

 

 

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