HI all, sorry for the lack of updates, its good to see that some people are still reading this. Here's a long post summarizing whats happened over the past three play-sessions. Enjoy!
THE SEARCH FOR VICTORY
Chapter Two: By Tooth and Nail
Session 5, 6 & 7: Calixis Sector, Malfi, Hive Malfi, Refinery Complex Excetur-1Y to Sector 139-A:Level -4 231.799.M41
The elevator rattled to a halt at the bottom of the shaft and Arl cautiously stepped out sheathing his blade, there was no sign of hostiles. The struggle against the foreman had been short, his first strike not been delivered cleanly but a second and third blow had put the man down. Arl had then stooped the lift and dumped out his body at a small maintenance level.
Now the ex-guardsman stood inside an airlock donning a set of protective chemical warfare clothing, using his familiarity with Guard procedures to make do in the absence of more skilled guidance. Once attired he stepped into an airlock dominating the passageway stretching away from the elevator and stepped out into a tunnel complex swirling with aerosolized promethium once the cycle completed.
Proceeding ahead Arl kept alert choosing passages at random and following what little crude signage he could see. Up ahead the corridor bent suddenly and a shadow loomed against the wall. Flattening back in a poor attempt to hide Arl watched as a pair of servitors slowly manoeuvred past. The barely human height machine-men equipped with several tool arms posed no threat as they disappeared back the way Arl had come. Wondering where they were going the Dusk Worlder kept pace behind them until they turned down a corridor leading past another large airlock.
Cautiously Arl entered the second facility and quietly divested himself of the rugged environment suit, with sword at the ready he waited till the all-green lights winked on over the internal door before stepping into the dark beyond.
Hack, Narla and Ashram spoke in conference with their guide who reported how Arl had been chasing one of the foremen into an old elevator as the black-clad infiltrators had arrived. The quartet agreed that they needed to regroup and hopefully Arl had found something that might lead them to the personal ultimately in charge so they could continue with their true mission on Malfi.
With Asharam in the lead the Acolytes carefully picked their way down through the sporadic fighting to the main manufacturing level and then into the same elevator that Arl had previously used with only a minimum of swift and silent killing. Hack got the elevator moving and they followed the same path that Arl had a little less than an hour before. Once at the bottom and fearing pursuit from above Ashram ordered Hack to disable the lifter but the Tech-priest replied that any such attempt might only serve to strand them at the base of the “well”.
In intimation of their companion the group donned protective gear at the first airlock and followed the hasty marks left by their companion, scarped crudely into mine walls.
It didn’t take long for the Acolytes to locate the second facility. Hack noted the extensive cabling lining the walls leading to the second airlock and surmised that the location was probably the chief extraction facility, or at the least a place for mine workers to use rather than returning to the surface for what weary breaks they were assigned.
In short order the Acolytes removed their gear and used what little time they had while the airlock finished cycling air to prep for whatever awaited them in the corridor beyond, as Narla stepped into the area beyond Ashram cried out a warning as the safety of a Heavy Stubber was released.
A slap to the face brought Arl around and he could taste the hessian sack over his head, there were three voices in the room, two men and one woman. A fact he confirmed with his eyes as he blinked away tears, the concealing hood torn from his head carelessly. The man closest to him was a large brute who cracked his knuckles in delight looking at the bound guardsman. The woman learned over a table examining his equipment. Whomever she was, she was clearly a professional clad in full carapace plating, her short brown hair curled close to her scalp and her eyes expertly appraised his confiscated weapons, testing balance and hair-triggers in precise order, she was also the most heavily armed with a chainsword sheathed across her back and a Stub Automatic positioned low on her hip.
The final man looked appraisingly at Arl from beyond the first. This one was much older and looked tired despite the glimmer of something hopeful in his eyes. His work-vest and slightly better fitting outfit identified the man as someone of importance able to wear more than just hand me down work-wear.
Arl spoke up to this man’s questions identifying himself as a newcomer to the facility, one sent down to alert the Facility Chief that the structure above was under attack. From here Arl wove a story of how he had witnessed Foreman Kal being cruelly shot and imparting the Chief location with his last breath.
The chief looked concerned at the news of the attack above while the large thug scoffed with a grunt. From the armoured woman there was little response. In response to his companion’s unspoken assessment of Arl’s story the older man thanked Arl for the news and reported that he had been aware of the attack. For a moment Arl panicked wondering if his murder had been witnessed but the man continued thanking him for his efforts before properly introducing himself as Elias George the leader of the facility and his crews best hope for a brighter future in the Imperium.
Arl listened in horror as Elias suggested that the ways of the Imperium where not those of the Emperor and that mankind could have more freedom than what it was allowed, the choice of what job to have or perform even. For a moment as the conversation continued Arl began to relax before a warning tone rang out of a speaker in the corner of the room. Elias looked darkly at his thuggish companion before stepping out of the room and into the corridor beyond, snatching up a large communications-receiver from a port near the door.
Using the open door to access what lay beyond the room Arl could see a long corridor, similar to the one he had witnessed right before being captured. At the far end stood a blast hatch which the guardsman hoped might lead to freedom. Elias walked back into the room and signalled to the armed woman who quickly nodded and exited the area heading down the corridor. The chief then turned to the other name and instructed him to learn what he could from their captive before leaving as well, shutting the rooms door behind him.
Arl looked up and grinned as the thug drew back his fist.
Light flooded the length of the corridor, it was nearly forty meters long, at the far end just inside of a blast door was a small stack of sandbags, behind the sandbags worked two men, the first making sure he had a firm seat while the second checked an ammunition feed. Individually two men in overalls might not represent a threat to the Acolytes but the squad suppression weapon they maintained was an entirely different creature.
Hack shouted in alarm and dived back into the airlock hoping that the rim of the hatchway would provide much needed cover while Ashram and Narla dashed forward aiming for a point a little over half way down the corridor. As the heavy weapon barked in fury they each shoved themselves into tiny maintenance alcoves. Bullets raked the walls and an interface-control unit exploded in the alcove Ashram cowered within.
The Hospitaler and the Assassin glanced at each other. Ashram motioned upwards to where several conduits hung suspended from the ceiling. Making a gesture about crawling along them, Narla raised her weapon and fired covering shots back towards the emplaced Stubber while the Assassin reacted.
Not quite used to taking fire, the worker assigned to loading the heavy weapon cringed and ducked for cover. Seizing the moment Narla rushed forward throwing herself to the floor beneath the traverse of the weapon while Ashram shinnied along the overhead pipes.
The gunner cursed and yelled at his companion who drew a sidearm and shot down over the wall of sandbags forcing Narla to roll aside from the bullets, spinning on her back the Sororitas fired her shotgun the blast taking the head off the gunner but in her fury she had neglected her rites of firing angles and Ashram hurriedly curled up into a ball to avoid the ricochets lashing the pipes he was crawling along, the action causing him to lose his balance momentarily, though he recovered enough to turn the fall into a graceful landing face to face with the loader.
Before the assassin could take out the unfortunate man cleanly the blast door opened and chainsword roared through the opening. Ashram ducked the swipe as a woman followed the weapon through the door. Narla levered herself up from the floor only to face the muzzle of a Stub Automatic pointed at her chest.
The Hospitalers carapace breastplate turned aside the shot and a brutal melee broke out as the newcomer engaged both the Assassin and the Sister in a whirling twisting fighting style of sword and gun.
Arl brushed his hands together as he spat out a loose tooth. The chair he had been bound too was a twisted ruin discarded on the broken form of the thug. Gathering his gear and checking his weapons the ex-guardsman sprinted from captivity, hustling down the long corridor toward the only other exit.
Consoles dangled from the ceiling of the room into which Arl peaked, the circular chamber easily half the length of the corridor he had just rushed down or more in diameter, its space dominated by three concentric rings of computation machines with a forth ring lining the wall. The console-monitors depicted numerous pict-thieves spread throughout the mining works and the facility above. Over by the center console with his back towards Arl worked Elias who nervously looked towards another hatch on the far side of the room.
Glancing about Arl counted eight exits including his own, each spaced around the large central area. Slowly the guardsman lifted his weapon, he thumbed the safety off, sighted down the barrel, and breathed out to relax before taking a shot at the unaware man whose back was facing him.
Whether a poor shot or by divine providence Elias turned at the last moment and the shot blew apart the console he worked out sending the old man scurrying for cover. Arl in turn dashed into the room, briefly sticking his head out of cover only to pull it back as the roar of a large calibre pistol echoed in the enclosed space.
The pair exchanged fire as they threw themselves around the room hunting for cover, Arl cursed his luck with his lasgun and discarded the weapon in favour of his sword while the Mining Chief drew a long knife and levelled a vicious stab at the Duskman’s guts.
The woman in the armour looked briefly away from her combatants and took a glancing shot as a reward, a scream had echoed from the central room behind her. With a deft flourish she holstered her sidearm and retrieved a grenade with a single smooth action before dropping the explosive at her feet as she leapt backwards through the hatchway. Ashram and Narla raced away as the metal sphere bounced and rolled along the floor, sighing in relief as the grenade only emitted a blanket of choking smoke.
Cautiously the pair waited for the fumes to disappear before they moved to check on their companion, during the fight Hack had attempted to intervene only to be clubbed down by the woman in short order. Dazed the tech-priest mumbled to Ashram who looked confused until the group realized the airlock back where there had come, had sealed as was now cycling back to read once more.
Dragging the barely mobile Tech-priest into the room beyond Ashram and Narla looked across the control facility at Arl who was lowering his weapon, while the woman named Ashely frustratingly shook her head at her dead employer lying on the ground. Ashram quickly appraised Arl of the situation with the airlock and Ashely rushed to the door slamming the hatch shut after lobbing a second grenade into the corridor. The bounty hunter gestured to the injured Tech-priest and demanded if he was capable of manually controlling a lift as she knew of an alternate route out.
Narla assured the woman that the Tech-priest would pull up with a little chemical help as Ashram handed over a vial of Stimm and a hastily alliance was forged. Ashely pointed to one of the other exits from the room and with the help of Ashram and Narla pinned down their pursuers, each taking turns to race down the length of the hallway, identical to the other two and into yet another round room, this one filled with the discarded odds and ends of decades of workers coming through the facility as well as a large freight elevator, apparently in need of serious repair. The group struggled aboard the elevator as their pursuers closed inflicting injuries to Ashley and Hack before the Tech-priest managed to get the ancient device functioning, its systems groaning into life.
The ancient freight-lifter rose slowly upward, its path a halting journey as the tech-priest manually triggered the release of various emergency hatches sealing the shaft above. At the top was an abandoned and sealed warehouse. Huge containers lay in the loading area along with a large cargo-hauler, the massive vehicle silently awaiting an operative that may have not have come over 300 years before or so Narla theorized from the few remaining crates of goods left in the area.
Arl set the group moving into cover as he heard the approach of someone whispering down a vox-link and the group dashed across the warehouse for a massive rolled door and smaller exit. Both seemed locked and while Hack reported he may be able to repower the roller door and its comatose machine-spirit Arl looked at the large tracked Cargo-hauler and grinned.
Investigator Quintus of the Adeptus Arbites stood on the roof of a twenty-five story building overlooking the sprawling refinery complex within the heart of his city. He grimaced bitterly as the sounds of the gathering behind him reached his ears. Judge Huges sat with Sallid Magenisum a Rogue Trader and provider of the small but opulent pavilion that they reclined beneath. Five other Arbites also waited on the roof, one looking out from each angle of the building and two on guard within the pavilion itself, though the two closest to their superior seemed more concerned with partaking of the Rogue Traders largess.
Concentrating on his work and trying not to dwell on who he had rubbed to get saddled with such demeaning work this time the Arbitrator reviewed the brief of his mission. The Promethium facilities tithe quota had fallen to an unacceptable level following the take-over and destruction of House Kristiansen by House Syreen. Already involved in several larger acquisitions Syreen had “requested” their allies in the Magenisum Dynasty who had a vessel in orbit to retake the facility on their behalf.
More laughter cause Quintus’ jaw to clench tighter, Magenisum would effectively control an Imperial facility under their charter and from the sounds of the negotiations behind him the Emperors Quota might be in some doubt.
Before Quintus could even consider making sure the Emperor’s laws were still respected amid the rampant corruption of the Malfian Arbites a warehouse door on the bottom street level of the refinery he was observing shattered outward as a massive cargo-hauler ripped apart the door, its caterpillar treads pulling over the rubble as easy as a tank’s would.
The Investigator called out an alert to his companions who closed to witness the vehicles escape. Judge Huges enraged that something might be disrupting his work turned to Quintus and order him with making sure no interruptions to the Emperor’s tax was to be tolerated.
Dashing from the roof Quintus called for reinforcements, a pair of Enforcers on riot-bikes would be dispatched and a Rhino used to carry him and the other Arbites along with the Judge was assigned to his direct control. As Quintus climbed onto the Arbites transport-carrier the chase was on.
Arl, Ashram, Narla and Hack abandoned the cargo-hauler bidding farewell to Ashely who took off at a fast pace, not wanting to trust their shaky alliance a moment longer than necessary. As the group moved away and into the under-streets, levels of Malfi’s solar-hive which where only illuminated during specific portions of the day thanks to the skyways overhead, the group was soon forced to stop as Hack revealed several severe injuries to this biological components.
While Narla did her best to patch him up and give the Tech-Priest another dose of Stimm, Ashram caught sight of a man on a nearby rooftop observing them. Reporting it to the group the assassin unslung her hunting rifle in preparation for something going down only to hear the blare of a loud-hailer from the distant figures armour demanding that they stand-fast and await judgement at the hands of the Adeptus Arbites.
For a moment the group considered doing just that, trusting that Giovanna would be able to help sort out any misunderstanding of jurisdiction, until Ashram looked sheepishly down at the bloody jacket she held and its gruesome contents, the severed head of the former Miner Chief, taken as proof for Nadar Al-Effendi.
Cursing their luck the group broke into a mad dash as a second Arbitrator dashed around the corner at the far end of the street and a loud rumble signalled the arrival of the Enforcers’ tank-transport.
Sprinting down the open alley between a pair of towering buildings Arl and Narla separated from Ashram, leaving the killer with the severed head, trusting that he would have an easier time if they split up. Within moments Ashram was sqeezing into a small space between a pair of buildings and silently making his way apart from his fellows.
Trying to raise as much attention to themselves as possible Arl and Narla raced for safety in the sub-levels backstreets. They rounded a corner into a maze of pipes and ventilation tubes, hastily avoiding the determined pursuit of Quintus and his allies. Narla cried out as foot slipped on a damp pipe, the s=accident nearly spraining her ankle. Hoping to slow his pursuers Arl tested several of the conduits hoping to find something loose he could topple in their path but there was nothing easy at hand.
Onwards they fled, moving through a busy intersection and down an empty mall until they were within sight of a packed bazaar, the myriad stalls and vendors attracting a huge riotous crowd filled with colour. Feeling their pursuers closing Arl forced his way through the crowd while Narla tried her best to blend in to the surroundings.
Ordering the Enforcer after the Sororitas, Quintus continued after Arl, sprinting through the bazaar to witness the Dusk-born climbing into the back of a servitor-powered rickshaw, before the ex-guardsman could finish waving farewell to his pursuer as the carriage pulled away down the road, Quintus was hastily yelling into his vox-link. Within seconds the power transmission to the sector was interrupted and Arl cried out as the Rickshaw wobbled and toppled over, the long metal rod connecting it to the overhead power-lines falling sideways with a clang, the suddenly unpowered vehicle spilling him into a small stand of good belonging to the Cab’badge Company.
Up the guardsman leapt, sprinting across the darkened street just ahead of pursuit, spotting an access to the storm water system beneath the street Arl levered aside the worn grate and dropped into the tunnels below the street, rushing thorough the enclosed space as Quintis again yelled into his uplink, this time the Mechanicus representative for the sector unsure of following his orders to reroute the city’s water systems.
Arl grinned brightly as he turned a corner hoping to get a few streets away from his pursuer before heading topside before his ears caught the sound of oncoming water. In a rush he headed for the nearest exist and as the water completely flooded the tunnel he heaved aside another grate and stumbled into the street panting for breath.
Closing his eyes for just a second the guardsman frowned as the loud echo of a riotbike engine growled up to him. Opening his eyes he found himself nose-to-shotgun with an Enforcer.