M40.938 â 3rd of April
Segmentum Solar âAlexandreos
Capitol City – Alexandreos Primus
Hello there Dear Readers, today I come to you not from my most humble abode aboard the Fury of the Emperor but from the capitol city of the Civilised world know as Alexandreos, imaginatively named Alexandreos Primus. I will give a noosphere cookie to anyone who can guess what the second city founded on the planet was called. You shouldn’t need to look it up to claim the cookie, just spend a minute thinking.
You might be wondering why exactly I’m writing this from anywhere other than our mighty steed of the Imperium. Well, I can’t say exactly other than to say we got an unexpected holiday which didn’t involve a bolter to the back of the head! It may have also, and not lay any blame, be the fault of someone assigned to the engine compartment. Someone who is closely linked to certain kinds of activity of dubious non-heretical standing and a mistake made when watching over certain parts of the ship.
Luckily however, while I am unable to confirm or deny exactly what special person did what to the ship. I can write a thinly veiled story piece about those involved and hide it behind slightly changed names, a slight skewing of events and a leaf out of an old article about something involving the life time of radioactive substances and the number three and we’re all good to go on the slander front! And I can begin our lovely story session once again.
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
The Warp, if you don’t know AN – And if you don’t know, you shouldn’t be reading this. Instead seek out the nearest commissar and ask him to administer section 831-JN-Kappa of the military code, is the immaterial counterpart of the Material realm that we inhabit. We can access it in several different ways, from the works of the Psyker such as myself. To the mighty and powerful engines of our Fleet. Allowing the ship to bestride the universe faster than mere light would allow otherwise. Normally they have two modes. Working fine, without hiccup or “Gentlemen, it’s time to use our Cyanide Bolters”. There’s no real median point.
So, coming out of the warp in a bit of rush and not getting my soul consumed by the various forces of Chaos was a surprise. A pleasant one! I hasten to add. I would not want anyone to think that I wanted to have my face consumed by some random daemon. Or that I hypothetically wouldn’t mind getting motorboated to death by a Slanneshi daemon. No. Not at all! Ever.
I am a loyalist Psyker, and it’s important to remember that.
Coming out of the warp unexpectedly however did leave us in something of a bind. A normal jump can leave you thousands of AUs away from where you were meant to pop out. Or even worse, somehow turning up before you’d even set out or so far into the future that Anna might just see those Sister of Battle figures that she’s been bugging me about have been released.
It is with a deep sigh, a quick marking within the book I was reading and a hasty collection of my equipment and staff that I find myself rushing to find out where, when, why we are. And how in the darkness of space did this happen? Knowing our luck, Cool probably screwed something up again.
“You may have noticed that we are currently in the middle of nowhere.” Sighs the Lord Inquisitor, looking unsurprised and yet somewhat annoyed with the situation. “I will grant you all three guesses as to why we are stuck in the middle of nowhere, spend them wisely”. It takes all of five seconds for everyone to start pointing at Cool. Our Head Engineseer and all round nutcase.
“That was a bit slow, but you are all essentially correct. Well done, we will be providing a regulation issue biscuit at the end of the ration rotation for your quick guessing.” the boss says as e continues to placidly stare at Cool. “Cool, you broke it, you explain what went wrong.” The Inquisitor asks, moving behind the magos in question and kicking him from his seat.
“Hello everyone, your friendly neighbourhood chief enginseer and magos lewdinacus here. We may have had an instability in the normal functioning of our warp drive. This might have been causing us enough concern that we’d rather leave the warp early than risk not being able to get out of the warp at all.” elaborated the magos, the use of his vox speaker taking a slight but noticeable distortion to each word. “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad, I mean, it’s not like we’re trapped in the warp.” responds Jason. Asking the question that everyone appears to be considering.
“That’s only the good news, the bad news is that we were a wee bit insulting of the machine spirit when we were pulling us out of the Warp. So we may have pulled some of it through a minor bleed. Luckily, we still have our gellar field which is running at seventy eight percent which should keep us safe until we can fix up the engine and get out of here.” continues the unlucky magos. Before he can continue however, the ship shudders and the lights start to flicker. Distant screaming fills the corridors.
“That’ll teach me to open my vox, that would be the gellar field fluctuating. We need a Psyker to go down and help guide it a bit and to keep us from having our mechadendrites ripped out and used as xylophone sticks.” It was at this point that everyone studiously avoided looking at the giant red elephant in the room. The silence was stretched out for an indeterminate period of time as no-one spoke.
“‘Mag’, can you do us the favour of guiding the gellar field before we all see what a Slanneshi deamon’s favourite colour is?” says the Inquisitor, as he waves a hand at the airlock in question. Reading the request for what it was, less a request and more a judgement from the Emperor himself. The giant red man headed off to the Engineering deck, with haste in his step. ‘Perhaps’, Gman thought, ‘he was concerned for our fates or, and this was the far more likely case, concerned what the daemons would do to his library and his/it’s keeper. Maria.’
“What do Daemons do with books anyway?” enquires Gman aloud. Drawing confused looks from his sitting companions.
“Putting that aside,” responds the magos, drawing our attention back to the matters at hand. “An important tool is needed to recalibrate the warp drive. However, someone may have chucked it down a rubbish recycle port at some point. Questioning why exactly we would need such a tool. This means it has fallen down to the bottom of the ship, to the decks that we do not ever go to.”
He gives a shifty look, it is quite obvious who this person who may have thrown the tool down the shaft may have been.
“We need a team, we can only spare about five bodies to venture down to the lowest decks of the ship to pick up the tool. You’ll have support from some the anti-boarding troops we keep on hand but we can’t give you many of them or potentially any of them. They have other uses.” continues the Inquisitor, as everyone nods. It is commonly held that the anti-boarding troops make for the best corpse starch rations.
They may also be good at fighting, if that matters.
“And before you ask, yes the limit is five. No, this is isn’t because we were playing a game of Rouge Trader last night. I assure you” elaborates the boss. Trying to look pious and failing miserably. “We’ll need as many people as we can get to keep things as daemon free as possible. And it’ll take about five of us to carry the object back to the upper decks.” The assembled crew shifts slightly at this, the lower decks are around two thousand three hundred and seventy nine imperial feet downwards. Or about four standard kilometres downward. And none of us want to climb that while carrying massive precious relics.
The boss continues on blithely, not caring or noticing our discomfort. “So five able bodies it is. Well, three. I have to go, because I have the access codes. And Cool needs to come along because he was the one who through the calibrator away and left us in this state. So decide amongst yourselves whose coming along, and whose doing the tango with the Daemon hordes.”
One game of rock, paper, power sword later …………..
“Sir, why is she here? Why isn’t she in her prison like she normally is?” Gman asks, looking concernedly at the only remaining female in the dinning compartment. The compartment in question was a lot quieter now that the majority of the Inquisitors retinue had gone off to help defend the ship against the occasional daemon infestation. It is perhaps better left unsaid what the compartment looked like after their departure, but the wreckage would take three holy containers of blessed promethium, three cleaning servitors and a priest to properly inhabit it again.
“She’s coming because she lost, also Cool wants her along for some reason.” replies the Inquisitor as he cleans his guns. The Inquisitor favours a laspistol over the more traditional bolt or plasma pistol. It’s reliability proving itself over many campaigns and cold coffee incidents. “And besides, it’s not like we don’t need someone to make a heroic sacrifice along the way, why not let it be smol?” he continues.
“Still, sir, are you sure? I mean, she’s not exactly ……….. combat trained.” questions Gman, looking over his own set of weapons. He tends to favour a stun baton, along with his Psyker staff. Front line combat is not his forte but rarely do daemons, and semi-trained tiny sisters of battle give you much choice. “I mean, at least Iron is a combat medic, with lots of experience and Cool is sixty percent metal. All she has is a fierce look and an adorable demeanour. Not exactly combat material.”
It was at this point that Smol and Iron’s argument reached a fever-pitch and a slender fist clocked Iron in the jaw. Sending him flying towards the wall. A loud thunk is heard, signifying his graceful exit from conciousness and into the waiting arms of sleep.
“As I was trying to tell you, before you interrupted me. She is, what do they call them in those role playing games we play now? Ah right yes, the tank.” smugly responds the Inquisitor. He moves over to the communal whiteboard, resplendent in abuse, breakfast orders and to-do lists. Someone had also played a few games of rock, paper, scissors. Such scribbles are not long for the world however, as he gleefully erases them all to begin his presentation.
“Gentlemen, and smol,” he starts, ignoring the soft growl coming from said person, “we are going down to the bowels of the ship in order to pick up a tool that hasn’t been seen around for nearly three millennia. We’re lucky in that we can skip the majority of the decks that we might have to walk along because we have managed to fix the lifts.”
It is at this point that he begins to draw a series of diagrams upon the board, detailing the various different lifts and decks that are possible routes.”However, no one lift goes all the way down to the bottommost deck, and so we will have to make at least three lift changes. Our intelligence is limited on these sections, given that we don’t use them or interact with them outside the occasional nerve gas cleaning. We’re going in blind, with few troops and in territory which hasn’t seen a human presence, we think anyway, for close to two millennia.”
“I think this is going to be FUN” rasps out smol, smiling a butchers smile as she looks on the drawings.
Everyone else just starts inching away from her.
Lifts within the forty first millennium do not have what one would call, “Standard Safety Procedures” such as weight limits, speed limits, automatic breaks or indeed, any sense that they should stop before they reach their intended destination. They do however have one supreme advantage, they are fast.
“Oh for the love of the emperor, when will this stop.” screamed out Iron. Screaming, in this case, was necessary as the lift in question was accelerating fast enough for it to create a humongous rattle. Another thing that these lifts are not known for is stealth. “A minute, give or take fifteen seconds” replied back Cool. As he says this Gman peaks over his shoulder and notices that there are several meters heading towards the red, and other that have already been in the red for several minutes.
“Cool, why are there so many red meters on your cogitator?” he yells, attempting to stand up amongst the chop of the lift.
“Ah, no reason. But, for the sake of argument. How would you feel about a sudden emergency stop? There’s no rush in answering, it’s just a theoretical question.” rushes out cool, sweating out some sort of oil lubricant as more of the monitors move into the red.
“You know what cool, you do you. I’m going to go over here and look at some walls” whispers out Gman as he inches away from the cyborg.
One harrowing lift ride later
“Cool, you don’t get to drive next time.” coughs the Inquisitor, stumbling out of the smoking remains of the lift that was used to descend downward to the bowels of the ship. “In fact, if I see you next to a piece of equipment, without me looking over your shoulder again, I’ll have you shot.” Cool is nonplussed by this threat, not fearing any bullet or lasblast that the Inquisitor has on him. However, the Inquisitor is shrewd, and followed the threat up with a stronger one “And no flopping, for a whole fortnight”.
That caused the errant roboman to respond.
“I’ll be good, Lord Inquisitor Sir.” he mumbles meekly
“Very good, now lets dig out the others and be off.” confirms the Inquisitor, looking for any signs of living people within the remains of the lift. The digging took over an hour, and involved much swearing and promises to use mechadendrites in ways that the STC would not approve of, but eventually three more human….ish people were dug from the wreckage.
“Inky, when do we get to smash?” whines Smol. The whine effectiveness was undercut slightly by the rather large number of oil smudges running up and down her armour, as well as the wisps of smoke rising from her backpack. While many others might question what it was that was causing such an issue, with some thinking perhaps some form of electronic gear had broken, or others believing that it was a broken smoke grenade. It was, in actual fact, a small supply of chewable reptile confectionery items which had begun to burn due to the devastation within the lift shaft.
It is said that her scream broke three shrines to the emperor that day, but that is a story for another time.
“Not now, she-witch. There’s no-one to smash aside from us. And I need my meat……….. I mean my trusted and friendly companions on this trip as unharmed as possible. So, if you can contain your murderous insanity for a few minutes that’d be grand.” snipes the Inquisitor back, looking down into the corridor that the lift deposited them into. “Now if we’re all done taking an impromptu nap, let’s get on. We’ve got at least a kilometre to travel before we get to the next lift.”
And so, after much grumbling about horrible Inquisitors and lazy acolytes. The group marched onwards towards the lift.
Rumours state, on some of the oldest ships of the Imperium, that there live communities which have long since lost contact with the outside world. They live their own weird lives, subsisting most often on each-other and whatever they can salvage. In another time, observing and researching such cultures would provide a researcher with a wonderful amount of expository information about the evolution and speciation of the homo sapien race.
However, at present, our party found themselves under heavy fire.
“Where the fuck did they get combi-boltors from?!?!” screams Iron, ducking behind a broken structural column. Bullets screamed overhead as the attackers screamed out insults in heavily broken low Gothic. The insults, while rather broken, went along the lines of “Your mother was a Gyrinx and your father smells of Caba Nuts.”
“I don’t care where they got the fucking combi-bolters, someone just fucking break them before we get killed.” roars out Gman, hiding behind a rapidly disintegrating piece of rockcrete. Peaking his head out the side of his cover, he attempts to get off a blast of warp lightning at the gun nest hoping to catch the bolters shredding his cover, but while it does kill several of the insane ex-crewmen it fails to tackle the more pressing issue.
“It didn’t work, Smol, reese’s pieces!” voxes out the Inquisitor, seeing the hail of bullets continue after the blast of lightning. His own laspistol totally for inadequate for dealing with the enemies at such a range and with such cover, but in the style of guardsman everywhere, he keeps on firing at the emplacement in the hope that they don’t manage to hit something really important, like his Tanna collection.
“SMOL SMASH” yells out our semi-insane Eversor assassin. Weaving through the storm of high explosive rounds, she dodges increasingly erratic and frenzied bursts of fire, all aimed to take down the failed Eversor. All for naught however, as she bursts through their firing line and begins the bloody work of an imperially sanctioned maniac. Limbs, organs and blood began flying everywhere.
“Smol, bag of dicks.” mutters the Inquisitor, pulling himself up from the ruined wreckage of what used to be a quick deploy workshop bench. With the trigger word uttered, the Eversor among our midst settled down from her blood rage and returns to her normal state of merely being rather ticked off. Slowly, and with evident caution, everyone else joins him in standing up to look at the remains left after the fire-fight.
Not that there was much left, just the remnants of people who’d never heard the end to the joke “What do you call an inquisitor with an Eversor assassin to hand?”. “So, does anyone want to hazard a guess as to who exactly attacked us? There hasn’t been any crew on these decks in centuries.” someone wonders aloud. Off to one side, Iron flips over one of the less mangled corpses onto his back.
As the resident medic, our Iron Priest keeps a series of medical devices to hand to treat various coffee burns, armour wedgies and bullet wounds. They also help at identifying bodies after they’ve been turned into so much soylent ingredient. “This guy is a fresh corpse, can’t be more than eighteen standard years old. Annnnnnnnnnnd he’s a cannibal. Well, that explains why they attacked us.” he announces. Everyone is half listening, going over the other corpses to see what filthy lucre they might have on them.
The looting might have gone on for some time, as we acquired a number of long and short ranged bolter based weaponry from the corpses. With only the occasional admonishment of “Smol, for the love of the emperor, stop finger painting with his lower intestines. We have no idea where’s he’s been!” and the inevitable response of “But innnnnnnnky, I’m so bored!”. But, as with all good things, it came to an end when we began hearing drums. Drums in the deep.
Drum and Base to be exact.
“I think,” Gman asks rhetorically, “That this group was not alone down here.”, quick nods are the response as everyone begins to pack up and make ready what meagre defence could be made of the destruction left by the last skirmish. Columns on the verge of collapse were broken down for use as ablative armour, bodies were placed down to hide improvised mines and smol was sent hiding up in the rafters to do her best “WRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY” on command.
“You know,” says Cool, almost conversationally as he attempts to buy us some more time by closing some of the doors, “I really wasn’t expecting to be threatened by a horde of cannibalistic voidsmen hell bent on consuming our flesh. I mean, I’d sure hate to be one you meatbags right about now.” His mechandendrites stop fiddling with the local controls as a bunch of bulkheads slam shut, greatly reducing the drum and base fuelled hollering from the oncoming storm.
“Cool, shut up.” laconically responds the Inquisitor, going over the salvaged combi-bolter once more.
“A……………..”, a succession of booms, each one closer than the last, halts Cool before he can continue. “Well, there goes three of the five doors between us and them. And I’m not entirely certain they don’t have more. Shall we run to the lift before we get our floppers blown out from under us?” he continues, fiddling around further with his console display.
“No, we can handle a small horde now that we’ve got a somewhat defensible position.” returns Iron, lining up the sights on his own looted boltrifle. “So long as they don’t have a squad of heavy beefy boys, we should be fine.” he continues. Fate, being the cruel cruel woman that she is, couldn’t take such a challenge laying down. No sooner said than done, the last two doors were broken through by a tidal wave mutated monsters.
Closer to Ogryn than a standard human, they were covered in slabs of armour. Wielding makeshift, yet brutal axes, and holding a metal sheet as a low tech shield from weapon fire and melee strike. And as if to convince us of the insanity of our position, they began flat out sprinting towards us.
“Actually, Cool, you may have been onto something there. Cool’s up front, lead us to our destination,” bullets start whizzing overhead, adding an extra bit of punctuation, “Leg it!” he orders. This wasn’t as chaotic as it appeared, we’d littered our path with improvised explosive devices both hidden and visible. And the path we took led them straight into them.
But then again, none of us really wanted to tangle with a bunch of ogryn looking monsters while the objective was left incomplete. The salvo of bullets tracking us only added an extra incentive to hurry. Two lefts, three rights and far more straights than anyone would feel comfortable with given the speed they were following the group with. But thanks to the sciencymagic of remote hacking, and the liberal application of explosives, we were able to get away.
It would only be when they were at the lift that the Inquisitor began to realise he’d forgotten something.
“Hey, where is smol?”
Somewhere far far away
“Oh I do love to be beside the seaside, oh I do love to be beside the sea” she hums contentedly. As she spins amongst the gore of her latest kills, skipping onwards to find her prey. Upon spotting the next group, she screams out “SMOL SMASH” and begins to systematically disintegrate the latest group unfortunate enough to fall into her sights.
“Wasn’t I meant to be doing something? ………………..”
One harrowing descent into the depths later
“We have lost Smol, Destroyer of my Food Budget. A shame. Let us all take a moment to mourn.” A quick beat passes before the Inquisitor decides to continue. “Well, we shouldn’t mourn too much. We have a job to do after all.” Walking away from the lift, this one in a much better condition than the last, one might have noticed that there was a considerable bounce to his step, as if he was happy to be rid of the libab…….., Eversor Assassin.
An uncomfortable silence filtered over everyone as we marched towards the last set of lifts. Considering the fate of their companion among the hungry navigators.
“We are currently on the broken waste recycling level” mentioned cool, breaking the monotony of boots against deck plating. “We’re not quite sure why this deck was abandoned, given that it has some STC tech that makes the normal recyclers nearly three hundred more efficient. All that was in the log of the old Magos was a single word. Can’t remember what the word was now.”
A few moments pass, as the party navigates a particularly tricky broken airlock, requiring the use of a few melta charges in order to fully slag a path through to the main processing plant on the deck. Where upon everyone present just stops and stares onwards at the sight before them.
“Ah, that’s what the words were, crystalmaze”.
But while the words would remain a mystery to those present, excepting a specific being several thousand light years away, what was before them was not. What once was a glorious monument to humanities abilities to turn even their waste into something useful was instead turned into a swimming pool. A swimming pool filled with a greenish looking slime giving off a faint amount of light, and a rather larger amount of radiation. Fuel lines moved the slime from this location to that, while release valves provided a steady stream to refill the many various makeshift containers.
In short, it had been turned into the scene of a game show, a rather deadly game show.
“It looks like a shrine to nurgle, without the festering rot or daemons eating our faces.” the Inquisitor said dazedly. “How are we going to get across? The lift is just over there”. Pointing across to a hidden alcove just behind the gigantic tanks of noxious fluid. “To make things worse, I don’t see any way to get there, outside of crossing this room.”
“This one may have a solution, Sir.” responds Cool. “The pistons, and transportation belts operate in a set pattern. We merely have to wait and analyse the pattern and we should be able to hop our way across to reach the other side. A bit of time, and the Omnissiah will grant us the knowledge to get to our goals.”.
A small moment passes before the Inquisitor asks, “How long will that take?”
Cool doesn’t respond right away, instead he searched through his backpack for a few seconds before revealing what looked like a black coloured ball. “With a quick shake, I shall determine the will of the Omnissiah.” And shook it he did, with great vigour and strength, using each and every mechadendrite, for several long minutes.
When he stopped, something had appeared upon the surface of the black ball, “Ah, it says outcome uncertain, try again later. The Omnissiah wishes for us to wait.”
After many long hours of watching the kinetic interplay of pistons, pumps, fluids, ramps, gases and servo arms. We had it. The pattern boiled down to up two separate ladders, down two different ladders to get over the wall, a left, a right, another left, another right waiting until the beta platform rotated around, and then using the alpha platform to get most of the way.
Cool found said pattern infinitely amusing for some reason, but he never elaborated, claiming that some mysteries were to remain a part of the Adaptus Mechanicus. This left us only fifty meters away from the platform that would lead us to the lift. The platform in question was also on a set path, which meant it was less a test of our ability to jump, which to be fair is dubious anyway given the amount of armour and weapons we regularly carry, and more a test of timing.
Or, in this case, an excuse to show physics who is in charge. Because when you have a Psyker, you get to tell those pesky things to sit down and shut the hell up. As Gman was so delightfully explaining. “So, what you are saying is that you are willing to nullify gravity a bit, so that we can make the jump to the platform?” asks Iron, his face concerned with the thought of trusting warp magics to ensure that he did not make a close and personal relationship with the glowing green slime below.
“Yes, I can lower the gravity of a local section of space which should improve your jump time. This should easily let us get to the lift. Though, I’d ask for the lightest folks to go first. Who knows how much weight I can take away, eh?” he smiles, happy at the prospect of using his powers in such a fashion. None of the others share his delight, but seeing no other option other than attempting to find another path, they agree to the plan and begin aleaping onto the platform.
As he was the lightest, the Inquisitor went first. He may have thrown up when he hit the pocket of reduced gravity. We may have also chosen to ignore such an event. Next went Iron, who went more ass over teakettle when he found himself suddenly several tens of kilos lighter, several words of profanity such as “Emperor Damn it” and “When does it stop spinning!” may have also been uttered.
Throughout it all, Gman stood holding his staff out. Chanting arcane words as carmine/purple light gathered swirling around him. Cool would be the most challenging. Given that he is heavy enough to classified as a small sized personal transport. Unnoticed to Gman however, is that prior to making their jumps, the Inquisitor and the Iron priest had taken Cool to one side and gently persuaded him to leave some of his items behind. To make life easier.
So while Gman readied himself to indulge in some Mechboy Tossing, a stream of oily tears leaked from Cools face, as he looked on forlornly at his pile of toasters for various occasions, including one for “Surviving something that should have killed me” and “Didn’t kill the meatbags today”. Thankfully, his face was heavily obscured by his hood, so all the party would have noticed, had they chosen to look, would have been that the yellow/orange of his eyes was slightly browner than normal.
“Get ready Cool, it’s nearly time for you to jump” shouted the Inquisitor, looking as the platform he inhabited moved closer to where the sad Mechanicus Magos was. With one more look at the Robotic equivalent of a horror show, he leapt with all his mechanic might. A steel missile aimed directly for the platform upon which the rest of his companions inhabited.
While the man of many toasters was doing this jump however, Gman was struggling to enforce his will upon the materium. The light around him flickered, the shade deepening into a red so dark it was black. The staff in his hands, a gift from his occasional tutor, “Mag” was vibrating and shaking painfully within his grip as he steadied the Magos making an in-depth study into the principles of flight first hand.
Just as the Metalhead, in more ways than one, made it, his staff slipped out of his hands the lightshow that had been surrounding him dissipated. No warp horror followed his deluge of power. Gman had collapsed however, showing just how badly the event had taxed him. Unable to move, and barely able to speak, he used a vox unit to broadcast a message to his compatriots, “I’m spent, I won’t be able to catch up to you for at least an hour or two, and we’re on a deadline. Go ahead without me”
Being cold blooded by profession, if not by inclination, the Inquisitor gave a small nod to his Primaris Psyker and made his move towards the Lift. Torn between staying and awaiting the recovery of their companion, and their duty to their Lord, the other two dithered for a few minutes. This dithering ended abruptly as the Inquisitor gave them a stern look, forged from the finest traditions of “People who can murder your entire family while you ask for more” and the remainder of the squad made a hasty retreat towards the Inquisitors position.
The final journey down was remarkably quiet.
The final deck, the location of the calibration tool, was old. One of the oldest parts of the ship and one of the first to be abandoned. Nothing in the logs explicitly says why, none of the chief enginseers of past or present have ever put tentacle down to codex slate, none of the former captains, not even in the darkest most hidden places, ever inform you as to why you don’t go down to sigma deck.
It certainly wasn’t because the lifts did not work. For our gang of intrepid adventurers, minus a madman and rage fairy, this was outside the norm of the current operation. “You know, this lift is in fine condition.” says Cool, trying to break the silence that had claimed the lift since it had began it’s journey down. “Indeed, one would even suspect that it’s been seeing some regular maintenance over the years. I mean this console over here looks fresh and new”.
The console did indeed look new, the outer casing was free from the corrosion, dust and grim that normally gathered on a disused console device. It shone slightly, clear evidence of someone haven given it a polish, something that even active use consoles didn’t see in day to day operation. Imperial Credo 24211: If you can spend time polishing, you can spend it doing something effective.
“Yes, I did see that. What do you suppose it means?” responds the Inquisitor. He was standing upward, facing the door to the lift. He hadn’t moved a muscle since the lift ride had began and he certainly didn’t move one now, despite him being able to vocalise a response to the question. Were you to ask him how he was able to do that, all he’d be able to respond with would be “Inquisition”.
“I have a feeling we’ll find out, won’t we?” answers the Iron Priest, settling the question for the moment.
Hours pass and the lift descends further and further towards it’s destination. While the inside of the lift was clean and new, the shaft itself had not seen a repair and refit cycle in many centuries, leaving the top speed slow in order to avoid over stressing components far beyond their operational ranges. Silence ruled the compartment until a loud bang roared out, signifying the arrival at the destination. A repeating message begins to play,
“Warning, hard vacuum on deck. Sigma deck has sustained a complete loss of atmospheric pressure. Human habitation is not advised. I repeat, hard vacuum ……….”, drones the deck warden cogitator. For good reason, the entirety of the deck beyond is vacuum. No pressure, no air, no life. An entire deck, without visible damage, empty of anything that could pose a threat.
“Well, that can’t be allowed to continue, it’s not like we brought full pressure suits with us. Cool, pressurise the deck if you can, we don’t need much, just enough to ensure that our organs stay on the inside.” commands the Inquisitor, waiting patiently for his command to be executed. While none of the decks past a certain point are to be trusted, he had previously mentioned, it was a given that they would at least be inhabitable so long as there was no major external damage.
Or, more succinctly, the choice to reduce the atmospheric pressure and associated gases down to zero was deliberate.
“Okay, sir, the atmosphere is being increased. It’s mostly going to be nitrogen, there was very little oxygen left in the tanks, so wear your re-breathers as we go along. I’ve also informed the machine spirit that it should prioritise our path to the objective. So we should be able to leave now and begin our journey again.” reports cool.
“Pressure Normalising, Pressure Normalising, Pressure Normalising” sounded out the Cogitator. Light swirls of dust formed in the room as the atmosphere returned, spinning round and round as the fans whirred to life. Long forgotten pieces of paper drift gently in the breeze as the brittle remnants of a pot of petunias moves fitfully within their erstwhile coffin.
“The pressure has returned to acceptable conditions. Please have a nice day” informs the Cogitator, opening the doors of the lift as it does so. Cold, quiet but no longer deadly. “Alright gang, lets move.” motioned the Inquisitor, hefting his pack of inquisitorial goodies and marching onwards towards the cargo hold.
The other two, the Iron Priest and the Magos, quickly followed behind him. Treading quickly in the tomb like corridors of the long abandoned deck. Even machine men can feel, and the eerie, creepy sensation running down his servo motors convinced him that it was time to go.
It was easy to reach the actual cargo hold/converted rubbish chute, given that it comprised the majority of Sigma deck. Finding the item within the deck however would prove to be more difficult. Years of rubbish, and actual cargo items, are strewn across the whole area. Broken servitors, left over meals, the remnants of long discarded data slates are all present within the giant mountain of rubbish that fills the hold.
“So, do we know what the item actually looks like?” asks Iron, his eyes are fixed on the far depths of the hold, his sight even enhanced by bionics cannot penetrate the dark gloom nor it’s vast distance. “Yes, actually, we do. It should be the only item down here giving off any sort of heat or energy. Once we get to within five hundred meters or so of the device, we should pick it up.” responds Cool, fishing out some strange device from his bag.
“I think it’s over there, it shouldn’t take us”, he pauses as he looks down at his device, performing some arcane incantation over it, “much longer than an hour to get there. This time, the man with the metal hands takes control, leading the party onwards to salvation.
“Okay, I get that’s the thing but why is it up on a plinth like that? It’s not that special, is it?” inquisits the Inquisitor. “No, not really. The item is a throne a dozen on any hive world worth it’s name. It’s just we ran out of spares ages ago.” confirms the cyborg in red.
Said cyborg is moving closer and closer to the device, one would almost suspect that he moved with giddy haste. Excited at the thought of getting the item back and into the hands of the Mechanicus forces within the ship.
“If it was on a plinth, then that means someone must be down here to have placed it on said plinth. I mean, it even has lighting surrounding it.” queries the iron priest.Â Surrounding the plinth is a series of different lights, all angled as to present the good side of the device no matter what direction one might be facing it in. Perfectly designed to ensure that as few shadows as possible exist to spoil the enjoyment of the device.
“Well yes, but it’s not like we have a choice. We need the device in order for our warp drive to function properly. So there’s nothing for it but to ‘acquire’ the device and see what happens.” and no sooner had cool said it, than it had been done. Replaced with what looked like a black ball of some description.
Playing card games against someone who has mechadendrites is always a losing proposition, they have more sleeves than you do.
Soon, a deep deep rumble started. Like an engine warming up, softly at first before growing into a full bodied shake the earth rumble. Parts of the rubbish, piles that had not been disturbed in centuries, began to shift and move. The alterations to the giant rubbish mound began to collapse the fragile supports of some items, causing further crashes to sound out as old relics and useless junk alike began to break.
“Soooooooooo, anyone know what’s going on?” asked the man with iron hands. “Because it looks like something is surfacing from the great rubbish sea.”. “Yeah, it’s been that sort of day hasn’t it?” someone said with resignation. The rubbish continue to move and shift, taking new forms and founding new mountains and plateaus. Old artefacts, relics that would make even the most battle hardened kleptomaniac weep in joy before acquiring everything that wasn’t nailed down, began to surface.
Bodies emerged, relics and refuse streaming down from their iron grey form as they took their full, imposing height. Towering above all save Iron, they were impressive. Intimidating. Terrifying. And all too familiar. “We’re totally boned.” escaped the words from the Inquisitors mouth, almost inaudible above the the clanging and clashing of metal breaking against metal.
“There seem to be quite a lot of them, we should role for initiative.” voxes the many armed one, the audible cacophony now completely preventing any unassisted noise from passing between them. “No, you idiot, we’re not going to attack them. We’re going to RUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!” screams the man with the plan.
Intent on turning his voice into action, he jumps onto nearby flat sheet of metal and begins to surf it down the massive metal mountain slowly crumbling down around them. Intent on not becoming Pariah food, or being on the receiving end of a flayed one haircut, the others follow him quickly. Cool, having a bit more sense than many would credit him with picks up a sheet of metal capable of supporting his bulk and begins to use his metal arms as makeshift ski pole.
Iron, not wanting to be left out, decides to jump onto Cool’s back using him as a robot piggyback. As they rushed towards the lift door, the attendant Necronswho had, at one point just prior to Cool’s impromptu lesson in robot husbandry, made no moves to stop them from running.
It would later be speculated, after many bottles of local booze, that the reason they had stopped was the sight of a space marine riding a techpriest had so startled them that it caused them to freeze up. The more reasonable voices pointed out that it was probably the slumber within unsuitable conditions which had caused that. But with more of the same mentioned booze within them, such protests went unheeded.
Never the less, our party made their escape quite quickly making it to lift door before being intercepted by the now fully awoken and madder than a khornite berserker, Necrons. With little time to get their weapons out, and lacking the requisite anti-tank weapons needed to take down Necrons, our party decided they could make best use of their time with a prayer to their chosen deity.
“Oh great toaster in the sky, forgive me for I have sinned ……..”
“Oh Emperor, what did I ever do to deserve this? Oh, right, Horus ………….”
“Fuck you father, Fuck yo ……………..”
Before the execution blows could be struck however the lift doors opened. Faster than a red rocket surrounded by orks, and followed byÂ a shadow of darkest night and purest bone white, out slammed several large streamers of warp lightning into the chassis of the surrounding Necron forces. Those that escaped the fusillade of warp energies were cut down with sharp powerful claws and got to witness the contents of their torso’s first hand.
Failing to fade away, the remnants of what had been a strong ambushing force laid before our party, reunited at last with their missing comrades. “Hey Inky, did you miss us?” smugged Gman. His firm, wide grin established quite clearly he knew what he had done. The Inquisitorresponded with a smirk, one promising pain and suffering if he said one word about the events before said Psyker.
“Don’t just stand there, get us up and out of here fast.” snarled the Inquisitor, pushing himself off the decking. Quickly, almost as if they had a legion of very angry kill bots on the heels of their feet, the rest of the party rushed to the now open lift. Slamming the button to go to the uppermost deck that this lift reached, the entire party who had fled from the techno-zombies began to take deep calming breaths.
“So,” asked the Inquisitor, gasping for air, “Where did you find her?”.
“I followed the trail of corpses and the indecently placed bodies”
“You couldn’t have just left her there to have her fun?”
“No, where would have been the fun in that?”
“I really hate you”
Several hours later
“YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT WE DID WHAT WITH THE TOOL?” screamed the Inquisitor, as we began to flow back in the warp once more. “We threw it back down the rubbish pit, sir.” responded the young techpriest, confused at the reaction from the commander of his ship. “YES, I HEARD THAT, BUT WHY DID YOU THROW IT BACK DOWN THERE AFTER ALL THE WORK WE DID TO GET IT?” ranted the Inquisitor.
“Because we were told to?” squeaks out the young adept techpriest, getting ever more concerned by the reaction of his superior. “YES, I GOT THAT, BUT WHY DID HE THROW THE DEVICE AWAY?” rages out the Inquisitor. It’s quite clear that he’s becoming ever more angry and annoyed by the answers he’s getting, causing the young adept to flesh out the reasons in a bit more detail. “He said, and I quote ‘This thing is out of lewds now, we have no further use for it'” whispers the adept, hoping that it will calm the Inquisitor and allow him back to work.
“Did he use the word, ‘lewds’, adept?” asks the Inquisitor, his previous rage replaced with something far more terrifying. Tranquillity. “Yes sir, he did.” replies the adept, not quite getting why he should be more concerned with the sudden quiet from the Lord Inquisitor.
“Tell me, Adept, do you know where the head Magos is currently right now?” asks the Inquisitor, smiling cheerily.
“I believe he’s on Beta deck, sir, near the armoury.” replies the adept.
“Thank you, Adept. I shall inquire about a promotion for you.” he says happily, moving towards the deck lifts once more.
“But sir, there’s only one person above me. The Magos Cool” questions the adept, confused as to where the promotion would come from.
“I know Adept, I know.”,Â a loud blast comes screaming from the Inquisitor, followed by smoke and the burning smell of deckplate. Clearly the inquisitor had detonated something fairly potent. “Would it be too much trouble to borrow some of the melta charges you keep for cleaning up metal? No reason I need them in particular, I just have some metal I need to clear up” he sings out, giving off a dark and cold aura to all around him.
“Third door on the left” answers the Adept.