Rogue Trader - The Koronus Expanse

The Blood Captain
What Once Was

Whilst the team is pinned down by all the ordinance from the Blood Bullets Vulgrim steeled himself and ran through the gunfire to Mordechai’s position. Vulgrim then rushed to the bottom of one of the watch towers, attempting to get an angle of the gunner installations.

Mordechai focuses his mind and using his lately perfected telekinetic powers to forcefully grab one of the snipers on the tower and hold him tightly. The other sniper beside Mordechai’s victim stumbled back in terror causing him to fall from the gangway down next to Vulgrim. Mordechai then threw the ensnared sniper off of the tower to follow his fellow gang member.

Meanwhile one of the other Blood Bullets had snuck up on the wall next to the remaining team members. He was spotted by Kuurahn’s Servo Skull seconds before it was sniped out of the sky by one of the remaining snipers. Kuurahn managed to warn the warrior’s around him about the nearby gang member, but not in enough time to prevent himself and the Servitor from being next to the incoming grenade.

As the blast goes off Callidon almost effortlessly puts a bullet through one of the sniper’s skulls. The only remaining sniper in the towers is the one that took out Kuurahn’s servo skull.

Vulgrim and Octavius take their chances and run through the gun fire of the blood bullets, Vulgrim attacking the fallen but otherwise unbound sniper, Octavius running to the position of the grenade-throwing gang member. Vulgrim punches a hole through the chest of the sniper with his hellgun and Octavius toasts the grenader with his flamer.

Unfortunately as the grenader attempted to put out the flames licking his body the grenades inside of his vest ignited, setting them all off at once. Octavius was luckily just outside of the blast radius but was soon covered in a thick smog from the gang member’s smoke grenades.

Mordechai, having brought the sniper to the ground, used his psychic abilities to firmly squeeze the life out of the sniper, crushing him into a bloody pile.

Finally, with the way clear of Blood Bullets, Vulgrim charged the stubber positions, getting close enough to encircle them, staying out of their firing arc.

Mordechai covered Vulgrim by grappling with the final sniper on the 2nd watch tower. However the sniper suddenly broke free of Mordechai’s power. However, seeing the tide of battle the sniper attempted to run from the tower as Kuurahn and the Saltu warriors gave chase.

Mordechai used more of their power in order to shoot the fleeing sniper with psychic energy, killing them and pushing them off of the tower. Kuurahn then descended upon the corpse, carefully beheading the sniper in order to craft a new servo skull from the remains of the person who destroyed the last one.

In the stillness after the battle the team took stock of their situation. Callidon was able to see that there were a number of people inhabiting the central watch tower of the facility and there were new objects in the vehicle field behind it that were not there when the team arrived. Gang members were also spotted in and around all the vehicles on the field, tinkering with them and dismantling some.

Callidon cautions von Burga to stay behind with some of the Saltu warriors with Flaminis and the rest coming with them to investigate the tower.

After searing through the metal door to the interior of the facility the team hurry up to the top of the control tower. As they approach they begin to hear the sound of the gang from their position on the staircase.

However they are also heard by the leader of the Blood Bullets Tolica Neta and are invited to join them at the top of the tower. From there the team can see that their staff and a number of facility personnel have been captured.

Finally, as Tolica begins to talk with the team, she identifies Callidon as being either a Benetek or a Lokistri.

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Too Many Guns
What Once Was

Whilst the Saltu grieve the team begin to investigate the corpses of their attackers. Kuurahn borrows Vulgrim‘s Blue-Bladed Knife in order to carefully extract the cranial implant from one of the assassins. Meanwhile Mordechai analyses the assassin’s body gloves and hand areas.

The team discover that the assassins are literally stitched into their gear and unable to talk due to their mouths being sewn shut. Their gear is made such that it prevents body heat from escaping and actively camouflages the wearer such that they do not show up auspex devices.

In addition the bodies of the assassins suggest that these people have been altered in such a way to improve their speed and dexterity.

Finally their cranial implants allowed the assassins to receive external instructions and signals directly to their minds. It also removed their thoughts, feelings of pain and emotions which put the team in mind of the conditioned elite guards they encounter at Ritammeron’s mansion during the investigation of Mersini Lokinnox. Kuurahn takes the extracted implant with him for further study.

During this time Callidon converses with Manfred von Burga, allowing the Saltu to complete their burial rites before leaving their temple sanctuary. However, Callidon also orders the Servitor to take with it one of the corpses of the assassins and for Vulgrim to prioritize the survival of their team over von Burga’s group.

The team leaves the temple under the cover of darkness and makes their way back towards Astraeus in an attempt to smuggle von Burga and themselves out of the colony.

During their travels Mordechai notifies Felix about von Burga and the assassins. In turn Felix explains to the group that the Halo Barge has been returned to them by Commodore Viri Fortissimi but that the Imperial Navy’s ships have moved in to form a blockade above Astraeus. This is due to a sudden uprising and unrest at Astraeus’ starport.

Assuming that the group stirring up trouble is the Blood Bullets the team plan to ask around the outskirts of Astraeus for news of strange shipments and advantages against the Bullets.

Unfortunately in the unnatural stillness and emptiness of the slums of Astraeus, Vulgrim stumbles and upturns a metal bucket – ringing into the night. No assailants jump out of the shadows at the team. However Vulgrim’s stealth is put to shame by the apparently newly oiled Servitor, that silently slides through the streets.

At 2:30 am the team formulate a plan of attack against the heavily armoured starport. Caution is thrown aside and the team instead rely on the element of surprise.

Vulgrim kicks off the action by throwing a blind grenade into the faces of the external guards to the complex. In the ensuing fire fight the team manages to break through the main barriers and into the loading area of the starport, dispatching three gang members in their wake.

However they are met with a barrage of fire from two gang members using heavy stubber weaponry. The team is stuck at the entrance to the starport, pinned under the suppressing fire of the Bullets from both the ground and the guard towers. How will they force their way through and take control of the starport?

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Attack From Thin Air
What Once Was

The team quickly finish off the last of the snipers and prepare themselves to face the new incoming group.

Octavius and Kuurahn are able to get eyes on the group and are able to discern that they aren’t Blood Bullets. Whilst Octavius attempted to determine the group’s faction the team spread out to intercept the group. Vulgrim snuck around and flanked the group whilst Octavius greeted the warriors as they approached. However Octavius’ greeting only put the warriors on end.

As the group met the team they called out asking whether Mordechai was with them. Mordechai and Callidon realizes that these warriors are the grown up versions of the jungle youths that the team saved in The Terror of the Xenos and Mordechai subsequently switched bodies with. However one of the youths is missing from the group.

After talking with the group they leave with them in order to follow them to their base of operations.

During their transit time Callidon explained the background between the team, the youths, Manfred von Burga and Senisa.

After two hours the team arrived at a hidden ancient temple deep within the newly grown jungle. Within the temple the team were reunited with their now exiled benefactor von Burga. von Burga explained the progressive erosion of his influence over Ritammeron and his eventual removal by Lord Nathaniel Burne.

von Burga explained that instead of going quietly into retirement (expecting it to end with his assassination) he decided to hide himself and his remaining followers within the boundaries of Astraeus, the last place on Ritammeron that Lord Burne has little legal power over.

However with von Burga’s departure Lord Burne has fully taken control of Ritammeron, the planet, the city and its external colonies / facilities. Whilst Lord Burne cannot control Astraeus he has choked its growth and prosperity as much as possible, turning it into a lawless, destitute colony.

von Burga also introduced the grown man who was once body-swapped with Mordechai, as Flaminis. Flaminis seems to have awakened to, or developed, a small amount of physic abilities thanks to his encounter with Mordechai. Flaminis has become the leader of the remaining warriors, known as the Saltu, and has been using his abilities to keep them and von Burga safe over their years of exile.

Unfortunately for the group Kuurahn makes a number of tactless comments about the Saltu, putting them ill at ease. However Kuurahn soon set about fixing up Callidon’s Servitor whilst von Burga explained the situation.

In the end von Burga suggested that Lord Burne is most likely linked to the Circle of Knives, in particular Mersini Lokinnox as he has an axe to grind with von Burga and the team. He also suggested that the team leave Astraeus as soon as possible to get themselves clear of Lord Burne, with the potential for lancing Ritammeron city on the way out to cleanse Ritammeron of his destructive and exploitative nature.

Meanwhile Mordechai sends a message back to The Stalwart Venturer telling them to hold tight, don’t let people onto the ship and not to trust Lord Burne. He also tells them to keep an eye on the spaceport and to contact them if Ritammeron attempts to hail the ship.

At that moment, from thin air, the team, von Burga and the Saltu came under attack. Their attackers were assassins specially equiped in order to render themselves almost invisible to the naked eye and sensors. The assassins attacked, intent on killing the team and the Saltu and reaching von Burga.

In the fight that followed Mordechai used his psychic powers in order to terrify some of the assassins. Two of the assassins began screaming and were helpless against both Mordechai and Vulgrim.

The fight developed into a cat and mouse game, the assassins coming out of the air to attack and then disappearing again just as quickly.

One of the Saltu warriors, noticing an incoming attack on Mordechai stepped in front of him and began an exceptional dual against the assassin, parrying the blow, attacking back, being parried by the assassin themselves culminating in the destruction of the Saltu warrior’s weaponry.

Meanwhile Vulgrim violently rendered the leg from another assassin using his whip.

Throughout the encounter Kuurahn desperately searched for traces of the assassins using his internal sensors, but to no avail.

Mordechai finally hears the running of the final assassin heading directly towards von Burga and takes a swipe with his sword, cutting only through the air.

Finally Callidon puts down the final assassin, just outside of the range of Octavius’ flame thrower as the missionary attempted to smoke the attackers out.

In the end the four assassins were taken care of. However one of the Saltu was killed in their initial attack. Whilst the Saltu begin to grieve for their fallen member Callidon begins to talk to von Burga about the attackers whilst Mordechai and Kuurahn begin to peel back the layers surrounding the assassins to discover their true nature.

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15 Years Late
What Once Was

The team hurried attempted to hail the military ships surrounding Ritammeron. Eventually they were able to make contact with the commander of the fleet of ships Commodore Viri Fortissimi.

Callidon asked for leave to make port at Ritammeron but the commodore was initially unwilling to let The Stalwart Venturer through and into the planet. She said that the Stalwart Venturer was presumed lost in the warp or void after disappearing in The Charnel Stars.

However Octavius was able to persuade the commodore to believe them, vouching for the team as the true masters of the Stalwart Venturer.

The commodore left them in order to communicate with the governor of Ritammeron, Lord Burne, with regards to the landing of the ship. She returned to tell the crew that instead of passage to Ritammeron the Stalwart Venturer had been given leave to dock at Astraeus. Mordechai was able to discern that the commodore was not happy about sending the Stalwart Venturer into Astraeus.

Callidon, once the navy ships stood down, asked the commodore for the current year. The team discovered that it had been 15 years since they left the Kirtin Research Facility.

Mordechai was asked by Callidon to try to send a message to Godwinne in order to put the team back in contact with Benetek resources. Mordechai sent the following message out towards Footfall in the hopes it would be received by Godwinne.

_To Godwinne / Benetek Family

Stalwart Venturer back from Charnel Stars.
Time has passed in our absence.
Please get in contact._

The message was sent using encryption with Callidon’s code word “Ozymandias”.

After receiving the leave to move to Astraeus Callidon talked to the crew over the vox. He told them that if any of them were intending to desert or otherwise were not intending on staying faithful to the ship, that they should board the halo barge for separate transportation down to the planet. Callidon was able to convince a great number of the crew to leave this way under the guise of a peaceful parting of ways. However, unbeknownst to the crew, Callidon worked together with the Commodore to pick up the halo barge in transit, arresting the leaving crew as traitors. The crew that left and the halo barge was taken away by the navy for processing.

The Stalwart Venturer is now running very low on crew members both from their excursion into the Charnel Stars and the loss of a halo barge’s worth of crew. It its primarily staffed with military personnel. Few of these left the ship thanks to the rapport Vulgrim had managed to seed in the military personnel, particularly with the rescue of Major Steve Harker.

Meanwhile, Felix has been trying to make direct contact with Lord Burne, but has so far been unsuccessful.

As the team docked at Astraeus they set out with an away team in order to scout the area for reputable shipwrights and crew. Lanni was denied the chance to come along with the team. Kuurahn, whilst leaving with the away team, left his gun behind intentionally.

As the away team began to explore Astraeus they quickly found that outside of the aging starport the colony was a crime-riddled slum. As they travelled down the roads the team noticed the looks and stares that they were causing throughout the colony.

As the roads gave way to dirt tracks through the ramshackle buildings the team came across a number of people barring their passage on the street. Octavius and Vulgrim, perhaps too intent on their surroundings, failed to notice the gang signs and symbols on their clothing. These signals did not pass by Kuurahn and Callidon however.

As the gang members of “The Blood Bullets” started to close in on the group Mordechai made the first move, terrifying the nearest gang member who passed out onto the muddy ground. After kicking away the gang member’s shotgun the fight truly got underway.

One of the gang members through smoke grenades in an attempt to confuse the team and give their members time to run and set up their weaponry. Vulgrim, however, was having none of it and unloaded heavy ordinance into the slum, toppling walls and turning buildings into swiss cheese. Meanwhile the servitor began to dispatch, painfully, the gang members within it’s reach.

At that point, shots began to zip through the area. The team discovered that they were surrounded with snipers on the rooftops of the slums. Octavius was badly wounded by one of the snipers but Kuurahn and Callidon were able to drag him into a nearby house in order to get him out of the line of fire and patch up the missionary.

Meanwhile, Vulgrim was going toe-to-toe with the grenade throwing gang member, deftly jumping out of the way of grenades. Mordechai and the serivtor were also unharmed by the grenades and made to track down the snipers for the team to destroy.

In holy vengeance for being shot, Octavius burned a sniper alive on their rooftop. Meanwhile Vulgrim, whilst managing to remain unharmed as the grenades rained down around him, jammed weapon after weapon in his ceaseless attempt to kill the grenade-wielding gang member.

Callidon took down another sniper whilst Octavius helped out Vulgrim by burning another gang member that was attempting to flank the team.

Whilst the gang members are decreasing they have sent for help. Kuurahn, using his auspex device has noticed a group of people heading swiftly towards their position. Can the team finish up with these snipers before the new group arrives?

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The Triumphant Return
What Once Was

Vulgrim was the first to come around on the bridge of The Stalwart Venturer. After assessing the situation he went directly to Felix to protect him. Whilst the rest of the crew and mutineers were unconscious he shackled the leader of the mutineers and began to dispatch the rest of the hostiles.

Mordechai was the next to awaken. He was quickly able to determine that the Veil had indeed dissipated violently. Mordechai quickly formed a psychic link with Venhoa in order to check on both his status and that of the eggs.

Eventually everyone on the bridge awakened.

Felix is found to be alive, although badly injured from his time in the hands of the mutineers. He is taken to his chambers for rest and is out of commission for two weeks as Heneil provided him around the clock care.

In the mean time Callidon took over command of the Venturer at the wishes of Felix. He immediately ordered Vulgrim to take care of bringing the ship back under control and to take the remaining mutineers to the Venturer’s brig.

After subjugating the mutineer’s leader Octavius asked Callidon what he intended to do with the mutineers. Octavius impressed upon Callidon the need for the proper “procedures” to be taken in order to save the souls of the mutineers. After a brief but tense dispute Callidon relented and handled over the possession of the mutineers to Octavius for questioning and absolution.

During this altercation Mordechai, seeing through the warp, witnesses the overrunning of the Mant sanctuaries by the corrupted Mant and the death of the Mant race.

During the first few days after the Veil’s collapse Kuurahn and Lanni bonded whilst attempting to fix damage throughout the Venturer. Octavius and Kuurahn were also invited to Callidon’s tower. Callidon offered both of them permanent positions on the ship as crew members. Kuurahn and Octavious both eagerly accepted, one for the almost unlimited money and resources, the other for the people he would be able to reach.

As Kuurahn leaves the tower (and is ambushed by Lanni) Callidon asked Octavius to stay behind offering Octavius some alcohol, which he accepted.

Callidon divulged to Octavius his worries about his increasing corruption and asked for his advice on its removal. Octavius was not able to give Callidon any promises except that he would help guide Callidon towards its removal if possible. Such a task is not easy or short to accomplish he warned Callidon however.

As a last bit of housekeeping before setting off to the Kirtin Research Facility, Callidon ordered the Mant eggs to be taken into the trophy room on the Venturer. Through some subterfuge the crew managed to secret away the eggs without attracting too much attention from the crew. The crew all know that something was moved into the trophy room, but they don’t know what, except that it came from the Mant world.

As the team begin to move out towards Kirtin they are able to survey the changes to the Charnel Stars. The destruction of the Veil has carved a clear pathway through the otherwise impenetrable walls of the Charnel Stars’ warp storms, giving unprecedented access to the systems beyond. Knowing this the team leaves the system, with much the Venturer’s crew wishing never to return.

Unfortunately the trials of the Venturer’s crew were not over. Upon arriving in Kirtin the facility is found to have no power and does not respond to their communications. Callidon sent an away team down to the facility in the hopes of contacting Lanni’s father Bo’en.

Upon Lanni’s inspection of the outside of the facility it is discovered that the conduits to the power generator were cut. Cautiously, the team opened the bulkhead doors. A series of desiccated corpses that were against the door fell out in front of the team.

Vulgrim forcibly prevented Lanni from running into the facility until he finished inspecting the corpses. He easily deduces that they are researchers from the facility and that their state of decay in an oxygen-free environment would take many years…

After reporting back to Callidon that most of the researchers seem to be dead Kuurahn scans the facility thoroughly, picking up no signals of any kind. Considering the situation Callidon sends Mordechai and additional troops to support the away team.

Vulgrim however, isn’t worried about whether anything is alive in the facility, but how long they have been away from it in time.

The away team makes it to the central research area of the facility. They find there more dead researchers… and the body of Bo’en. As Lanni collapsed by her father, Kuurahn searched the re-activated computer systems for logs and audio files.

The logs confirm Vulgrim’s suspicions, the Venturer was logged as missing 5 years prior to the facility being cut off and the researchers killed. However the team have no idea how long it has been since the facility was taken still.

Kuurahn then played an audio file taken on the day of Bo’en death. Bo’en is heard to be making a log to the computer. Since Lanni and the Venturer’s disappearance Bo’en has seemingly been turning all of the facility’s capabilities to penetrating the Veil in the hopes of finding Lanni. Bo’en is cut off however by the invasion of the facility by a military group lead by an unnamed leader. After the leader of the group threatens to shut down the facility Bo’en is murdered after refusing to leave the facility.

The leader of the facility then proceeded to leave the researchers inside the facility and then cut the power, allowing the researchers to suffocate and the facility to die.

As the group leaves the facility Kuurahn downloads all the log and data he can from the facility’s computer and Lanni, eventuallly, leaves, taking Bo’en’s chainsword with her and letting the power to the facility go out again.

After returning to the Venturer the crew set up a planet searching program within the ship’s sensory arrays in order to passively search for a planet that fits the Mant’s criteria for life. The crew also attempted to contact the Hand of the Emperor in order to regroup with the ship and ascertain the amount of time that had passed since entering the Veil.

However, no answer is received from the Hand. Callidon makes the call to not tell the crew that time has moved on at least 5 years since they were last at Kirtin. Instead he focuses on calming the crew, in which he is successful.

The Venturer began to set off for Ritammeron in order to restock both the ship and the crew. During the trip Octavious looked after the crew bringing them reassurance after their terrible ordeal and Kuurahn began to get used to the ship.

Vulgrim offered to train Lanni in swordsmanship in order to weld her father’s chainsword. Both Vulgrim and Lanni showed themselves to be equal matches, Lanni’s surprisingly honed raw talent matched well with the experience and training of Vulgrim. Throughout the journey Lanni has been training with both practice and the chainsword without breaks.

Mordechai spent the journey painting only being faintly aware that he is painting images of the Veil and that the Mant and their way of thinking is manifest in strange, almost xenos artwork.

On one dark night on the ship Callidon goes to Octavius in the Venturer’s cells where he has set up an office of his own. Octavius uses the 6 remaining mutineers to teach Callidon some of the finer points of being a missionary. Whilst the prisoners don’t last long, they are at least instructive to Callidon.

Octavius then allows Callidon to take the lead with the leader of the muntineers. The session takes hours. At length, the leader gives in. However Callidon intentionally makes his death truly gruesome, for which he is admonished by Octavius.

At last the team arrive in Ritammeron. They are greeted by a planet surrounded by heavily armed military grade ships in orbit around the planet. The ships turn towards the Venturer as soon as it exits the warp.

Perhaps Ritammeron is not as safe as it has been once before.

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The Veil Falls
Behind the Veil

After the team dispatched the Veil Bringer in the depths of the Veil facility the team set about their task of turning off the Veil.

Whilst Callidon and Octavius guarded the elevator to the surface, Vulgrim and Venhoa constructed a make-shift bridge using the leg of the dead Veil Bringer. Shifting the leg over the warp plasma channels that had eaten through the floor, the rest of the team managed to finally reach the Veil’s core.

The core, like a giant altar, warp storm conduit and control panel combined, was researched ponderously by Kuurahn for a number of hours until he was able to identify their options to shut it down. Kuurahn and the team decide to trigger the destruction of the Veil’s core and power source with the help of a remote timing device.

Whilst Callidon predicted the time the team would require to make it back to the Stalwart Venturer to be about 3 hours, Kuurahn secretly set the timer instead to 4 hours. Or at least attempted to…

Meanwhile Mordechai used his psychic powers to make contact with the surface team with the gun-cutter. After ensuring that the surface was safe the team left the Veil’s underground facility, joined with the gun-cutter team and proceeded to fly straight towards The Stalwart Venturer.

On route to the Venturer the team repeatedly attempted to hail the ship or Felix. Their attempts were unsuccessful by both technological and psychic means. The team began to fear the worst for the crew of the Venturer and Felix.

In addition, the ship’s Gellar field had been seemingly disabled. With the field disabled the corruption and madness of the Veil would be having a greater effect on the crew, and there would be no protection on the ship should the Veil fall.

Mordechai was, however, able to contact a loyal officer on the Venturer with a psychic link. Major Steve Harker was able to report the situation on the Venturer to the team. In the days since their last contact with the team the crew of the Venturer had continued to degrade in loyalty and sanity, leading to a mutiny on the ship.

Across the Venturer a number of disorganised groups, running amok on the ship, killing and maiming at random and attacking people on sight. Another group, seemingly more rational, though just as desperate, had attacked the bridge itself and taken control of the ship.

Major Harker was unable to confirm the situation of Felix but was able to direct the team to his group’s location on the ship for relief.

The team piloted their crafts into the waiting vehicle bay of the Venturer. Once inside the ordinance of the gun-cutter made short work of the few mutineers still present in the bay.

Leaving the Mant, eggs and away team behind to protect and fully secure the vehicle bay the team made for the elevators. Their path to the bridge was blocked and disabled taking them through the voidsmen quarters instead. Since they were in the vicinity the team attempted to rescue Major Harker’s group, dispatching individual foes along the way.

The team attempted to talk down the mutineers in the bridge of the ship through the internal communications but were unable to make contact.

As the team closed in on Major Harker’s position they found them under siege by a larger group of half-crazed crew members. The attackers seemed to be blindly attacking anyone in sight and harvesting the fallen for weapons to defend themselves with, including grenades.

As the first of the attackers charged at them the team easily and quickly dispatched the crew member, exploding the grenades on their body, fortunately away from themselves.

These suicidal crew members attempted to rush the team but were all slain without the team taking damage. The last of these attacks put the team in danger, but Callidon and Vulgrim were able to pacify the attacker before more explosions could ring out.

After saving Major Harker he and his group joined the team as an escort to the bridge, swiftly weaving their way through the battleground-like corridors of the Venturer.

On their approach to the bridge Kuurahn was able to determine a number of bio signatures present on the bridge. The team split into two, with Major Harker’s group taking the left entrance, the players to the right as they burst into the room.

As they entered the bridge they were able to see the group of mutineers surrounding the face down form of Felix, surrounded by the corpses of the loyal crew members who had attempted to defend the bridge from their attacks.

After killing one of the mutineers Octavius and Callidon managed to calm down the two groups long enough to attempt to parlay with the mutineers. Callidon bartered with the group’s leader attempting to secure the ship and Felix’s life in return for the safety of the mutineers and their release from the ship when next at port.

Unfortunately the leader of the mutineers caught wind of Callidon’s lies about their freedom and made to shoot Felix.

At that moment the Veil fell sending waves of corrupting warp energy, psychic forces and shudders through the void.

The team has been rendered unconscious under the strain of the Veil’s collapse. Who will awake first? What will become of Felix and the mutineers? Is their imprisonment in the Veil finally over?

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The Veil
Behind the Veil

After clearing the skies of the corrupted Many-Lived, the team flew their Aquila Lander and Gun Cutter directly to the ruined Mant city in search of the Veil’s power source. Using the directions provided to them by the Mant they were successful in finding a relatively safe area to land nearby to the coordinates.

After searching for almost four hours Kuurahn finally managed to come across the entrance to the Veil’s facility – a large metal elevator leading deep into the crust of the planet.

Callidon and Vulgrim ordered 10 of the 14 soldiers still with the team to stay behind on the surface, with orders to take off in the ships at the first sign of hostility on the surface and then to defend the area from the ships.

As the rest of the team descended into the belly of the planet they were able to pick out a number of clusters of corrupted Mant secreted throughout the rock and crust. Clearly, without the Mant’s help, the team would have been ambushed by the corrupted Mant many times within the city.

The elevator came to a halt at the bottom of a large shaft, first natural and then worked. The facility, whilst clearly Xenos, was of a functional nature, sheet metal and little decoration. The initial landing area of the elevator was dirty and filled with twisted scrap metal from machinery last used millennia ago.

The elevator room had a large sealed metal door leading north. The only other exit was a gateway to the south which then split into passages to the east and the west. Whilst examining the door Kuurahn was able to discern that it could be opened, but not from this area in the facility.

The team decided to travel east, following the corroded piping containing a strange thick liquid substance that seemed to carry a great amount of warp energy within it.

As the team followed the passage east, they came across similar looking moss to the patches found in the Mant’s sanctuary. However the team realised that the moss was corrupted and no longer safe. Octavius attempted to clear the moss from the floor of the passage, but was unsuccessful due to its low flammability.

Upon opening the door at the end of the passage the team came across another group of corrupted Mant. This time the corrupted Mant seem to have been cursed to become ethereal creatures that could phase in and out of the world around them. Fortunately this did not stop the team from destroying two of the wraith-like creatures and driving off the remaining Mant.

At the very end of the passageway the team found a control panel that was still operable. Kurrahn was able to interface with the panel and access various information about the facility, the output from the Veil and access the security network in order to open the large metal door in the elevator room. Unfortunately this revealed a second door that would need to be breached as well.

Kurrahn stayed behind at the terminal for around 20 minutes to absorb as much of the facility’s information and technology as possible.

The rest of the team left Kurrahn there and then headed through the western passage, noticing the degradation of the facility’s structure as they moved through it. As they came to the end of the tunnel they found another terminal, however the floor of the room was overrun by the same warp energy fluid found throughout the facility.

The team decided to use Callidon’s Servitor and Venhoa to transfer as much thick scrap metal as they could find from the passageway to the room in order to form a bridge over the fluid, taking about an hour and a half to do so. Kuurahn successfully managed to open the second door in the elevator room before the fluid melted and disintegrated the scrap metal covering the floor.

The team headed back into the elevator room and proceeded cautiously into the core of the Veil.

The core was a hemispherical room of massive size. A large mechanical installation, surrounded by a strong aura and warp energy lightning was centred in room. From it a number of wide corroded warp energy pipes and gutters spilled across the room.

Mordechai and Venhoa were then spoken to by the guardian of the Veil, the Veil Bringer. The guardian, seemingly corrupted but still with some degree of thought asked the team to take down the Veil, whilst it was unable to do anything but defend it.

The mighty form of the Veil Bringer shocked Venhoa, Vulgrim and the Crew Military to their core but it was only a moment before the team rallied against the enormous threat. The team assailed the monster with bullets, managing to take down one of its arms as the Servitor drew its attention.

As the beast called forth a number of Mant wraiths to assist it, the Servitor dismembered a number of the Veil Bringer’s legs with its melta. As the creature flinched and wheeled in agony Vulgrim took the opportunity to jump onto the creature and gun it down at point blank range, laying into the carapace of the Veil Bringer.

The Veil Bringer stumbled and crashed to the floor, dead. The wraiths disappeared into the air of the chamber. The way to the Veil’s core is open.

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Gun-cutters are Hard to Fly
Behind the Veil

After the team rested and reformed they tentatively approached the underground lake that they traversed on their way into the sanctuary. Kuurahn was able to smoke out the corrupted Mant guardian by electrifying the water and after a short battle the creature was put down.

Towards the back of the party Venhoa watched the destruction of what had been once a friend. Seeing the distress beneath the Mant guardian’s impassive features, Mordechai consoled Venhoa for a few moments by taking his hand.

Meanwhile Kuurahn and Callidon hatched a plan to guide the servitor through the lake safely. Kuurahn flew his servo-skull above the lake, guiding the mechanical death-machine to the other side.

The team then began the watery crossing themselves. In order to get across the group swam, except for Octavius, who instead was ordered to get up upon Venhoa’s shoulders – regardless for his distaste for the Xenos.

Once clear of the water the team began to hear voices from further down the tunnel. During the time that the team were in the sanctuary the small away team of the Stalwart Venturer had managed to clear away enough of the fallen debris to allow access out of the caves.

Whilst the tunnel was still unstable the team managed to pass unhindered and did not trigger another full cave in of the tunnel.

After reaching the away team they were escorted back to the planet’s surface, but not before warning the crew about the Mant and finding out that, according to the away team that the explorers had been gone seemingly for a whole day, rather than the hours the explorer’s experienced.

There was more shock once the team exited the mountain and rejoined with the gun-cutter and aquila lander. After stowing away the eggs and Mant on the gun-cutter, Callidon tried to contact the Stalwart Venturer. A ragged sounding Felix answered and told the team that they had been in orbit for over a week whilst the team had been on the planet’s surface.

Worse yet, their additional time in the system, coupled with their increased exposure to the Veil whilst in the void, has resulted in a dramatic shift in the crew’s morale, health and sanity. Whilst there hasn’t been a mutiny on board the ship yet, Felix feels like it will only be a matter of time before the crew, driven mad by fear or the Veil, turns on itself.

Callidon then explained that their team knew of a way to get the Venturer out of this mess thanks to a deal struck with the surviving Xenos of the planet. Whilst Felix seemed taken aback by this he admitted that getting them out of the Veil was their primary concern at that point.

As Callidon was beginning to get into more detail about their excursion Kuurahn managed to detect incoming hostiles heading towards their ships, which were beginning to fly up towards the Venturer to dock. Thanks to their early detection of the threat the team were able to scramble a defence as four Corrupted Many-Lived flew straight towards them.

The ensuing battled turned nasty as the Many-Lived attempted to latch onto and destroy the larger gun-cutter, forcing it into a nose dive towards the planet’s surface, the crew unable to pull the craft out of its descent.

Fortunately the aquila lander was able to maneuver behind the gun-cutter, covering its rear from the Mant’s attacks.

Eventually the Mant were blown out of the sky and the gun-cutter regained its lift. The team briefly discussed their original plan to board the Venturer before flying to the ruined Mant city and the main power source of the Veil. The team decided to instead fly directly to the city ruins, eggs in tow, in order to deal with the Veil as quickly as possible, and hope that the crew the Venturer and Felix remain sane enough to leave it.

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Bargains, Mind Traps and Eggs
Behind the Veil

The negotiation between the team and Most-Lived continued. As the terms began to be laid out the Most-Lived told the team that they created the Veil in order to protect their race from “The Great Eater”, a force so terrible to the Mant that it is difficult for them to describe, even to Mordechai. What little they were able to show Mordechai was a vision of a planet overrun by shadows, shadows with eyes. From the shadows came Mant bodies seemingly puppeteered by the shadow and creatures made of nothing but shadow come to life.

The terms of the Mant bargain were explained thus:

  1. The team will provide safe transportation for a set of Mant eggs from their Sanctuary to the Stalwart Venturer.
  2. The team will provide protection for the eggs from both their crew and external threats until a suitable, uninhabited planet is found for the eggs.
  3. The team will transport the eggs safely onto the planet’s surface and ensure that the eggs hatch unmolested.
  4. The team will then depart the planet and only return at the behest of the new Mant civilization.
  5. The team are required to protect the Mant and their new homeworld from attackers until the Mant can defend themselves.
  6. A representative of the team is required to take on a mind trap in order to keep the team to their word.

In return the team gain the following information:

  • Any desired information on the current Mant and their homeworld.
  • Directions to and the way to dispell the Veil
  • Access to the Mant’s sanctuary and resources on this planet as needed.
  • Upon completion of their task, access to the new Mant as potential allies and trading partners for technology and other goods with an instant good reputation with them as their saviour.
  • Removal of the mind trap once deemed appropriate by the new Mant

After the team accepted these terms Mordechai offered to undergo the mind trap. Once completed the Most-Lived explained that the Mant created not only the Veil but also the entire system that the Veil surrounds. The planets in the system are placed such that they work together in order to keep the Veil stable. The planet that the crew are current on is the main power source and centre of the Veil system.

However, over the millennia, the mechanisms or alignment of the planets shifted imperceptibly and caused the corrupting influence of the warp to exit the Veil itself and slowly flood the system beneath it.

Once the Mant realised that they were becoming corrupted they fled into the Sanctuaries on the planet that prevented the corruption of the warp from touching the remnants of their race. That prevention however was not permanent and the corruption is travelling further and further into the Sanctuaries with each passing decade.

There is only one safe way to dispel the Veil, at its main power source. The main power source lies towards the centre of the planet and its entrance is within the ruined city of the Mant. The team must go and find this entrance, travel to the power source and shut it down. They will require great knowledge of the Mant and technology in order to stop the power source.

Once the Veil is dispelled the barriers over the Sanctuaries will also dissipate, leading to the likely extermination of the Mant as the Corrupted are drawn to their strong psychic presences like moths to a flame. That is why the Mant require eggs (which have only limited psychic signals) to be taken to the Stalwart Venturer first.

After receiving this information from the Many-Lived the team, and the Mant, began to make preparations to leave the Sanctuary the way the team entered – braving the swarming corrupted Mant again.

As the team left the main chamber the Many-Lived broadcasted the plan to all the Mant in the Sanctuary and advised the team that both the Veil and warp storms of any kind can have strange affects on the flow of time.

Finally the team set off through the tunnels of the outer sanctuary again, this time with a train of egg containers and three Mant warriors to support them.

The team opted to go out of the Sanctuary the way they entered. Whilst the size of the egg containers made it difficult to move fast down the corridors the team and Venhoa eventually made it through the winding passages.

However during this passage the corrupted swarms came in to attack them again. Two of the Mant Warriors used themselves as a distraction to bide time for the team to get through. Even with this distraction the team had to face many of the little insects ambushing them from the ceiling and walls. Fortunately the insects were ineffective and were easily dispatched or fought back.

However in the final moments of their trek through the passages one single insect managed to leap onto the face of Octavius – the team’s most critically damaged member. In a cold and calculated motion Callidon shot the insect off of Octavius face without harming him.

At the same time Vulgrim unleashed a torrent of bullets against the swarm of insects following the team, killing them all.

With the eggs undamaged, and the insects currently gone, the team has briefly stopped at the exit to the outer sanctuary, catching their breath before facing their traversal of the underground lake and, hopefully, passage back to the surface of the planet.

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Venhoa and The Mant
Behind the Veil

After escaping the swarms of small, vicious insects the team began to take stock of their surrounding and patch themselves up.

The room they found themselves in was well lit and completely covered in the moss growing throughout the tunnels of the underground facility.

As the team settled they attempted to communicate to the large insectoid creature that had helped them carry Octavius to safety. However due to the mental and physical differences between humans and this Xenos race, communication proved too difficult.

After offering the team some of the moss from the wall as food, the insect warrior and Mordechai agreed to perform a psychic rite to allow them to communicate. Mordechai and the warrior opened their minds to each other and exchanged information about each other’s races and experiences.

Meanwhile the rest of the team explored the small area and found another large metal door blocking their path. Whilst unable to pass the team did conclude that there was some degree of open space behind the door.

Once Mordechai and the insect warrior completed the rite they were finally able to communicate with each other successfully. The Xenos warrior introduced himself as Venhoa, a member of The Mant.

Venhoa proceeded to ask the team about the outside of the facility and whether they had come across others like himself. In turn the team asked Venhoa briefly about himself but pressed more about what force or voice had brought the team into the warp storm. Venhoa, however, was not forthcoming with answers saying that it was not his place to talk about it.

Eventually Venhoa led the team deeper into the mountain, past the large metal door. Beyond the door the tunnel lead deeper and deeper down into the mountain and eventually let out into a large underground cavern. Built up from the cavern’s bottom and down from its ceiling stood a large city structure.

As the team came closer it became clear that the city, or Sanctuary, was inhabited. Once the team reached an inner courtyard to the Sanctuary, Venhoa called forth its inhabitants. Hundreds of Mant of all types came to the courtyard, standing there, unnaturally still and silent.

Venhoa instructed a Mant that he would like to bring the team to the Most-Lived of the Sanctuary and whilst he and the team waited to be summoned Venhoa explained more about the Mant. Throughout these exchanges Venhoa was displaying clearly human behaviour and mannerisms.

Eventually the team was brought up and up through the city to the highest areas near the ceiling of the cavern. There, in a small but ornate chamber, the team met with the Many-Lived, communicating to the team directly through Venhoa’s mind. At times the presence of the Many-Lived had strange effects on the mind and behaviour of Mordechai. However he managed to keep his composure.

The Many-Lived seemed powerful and wise, if somewhat unconcerned with the team’s presences in the sanctuary. They acknowledged that the team had managed to reach their sanctuary and offered them leave to remain indefinitely to escape the corruption outside.

However they did ask the team about their means of arriving on the planet and their passage through what they termed “The Veil”. When the team was not forthcoming the Many-Lived turned to dismiss them from the chamber.

At that time the last of the Many-Lived approached the team and spoke to them, introducing itself as the Most-Lived of the Mant. The Most-Lived was more direct with the team and explained, in exchange for information about their spacecraft, that it was the Mant who created the warp storm or Veil in order to hide their race from a threat, tens of thousands of years ago. Over the millennia something within the Veil had caused the corruption of their world and race to occur, forcing them to seal themselves within their sanctuary.

However, with the appearance of the team and Venhoa, and the onset of the corruption further inside the mountain it seems that the Most-Lived is willing to make a deal with the team. They will show the team how to disband the Veil under the condition that the team take some of the Mant with them to another world.

But the details of the bargain are yet to be set. How will the team negotiate with an entire Xenos race? Especially when they are only “One-Lived”…

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