Rogue Trader - The Koronus Expanse

Surprise Melta Cannon!
What Once Was

The team, along with Commodore Viri Fortissimi, meet with Tolica Neta, each of them giving the other a calculating look.

The team leave Tolica with the blood bullets to hold down the starport and the outskirts of the city, as they approach the mansion in speeders.

The mansion is under heavy guard, all of them seemingly the mind-altered elite guards.

The team and the navy are let into the mansion and brought into the conservatory for a audience with Lord Nathaniel Burne. Lord Burne is seemingly at ease with the group. However Mordechai is able to discern that he is harbouring a deep hatred for the team and him in particular.

Callidon and Kuurahn both make the connection, after hearing Lord Burne’s voice, that Lord Burne was the voice on the recording from the Kirtin Research Facility where Bo’en was killed, making Lord Burne Lanni’s target for revenge.

Callidon and Lord Burne engaged each other in banter, resulting with Callidon standing directly in front of Lord Burne. As Lord Burne threatens to kill the group Callidon releases his Lidless Stare. The Lidless Stare takes the top half of Lord Burne’s head off.

However, Lord Burne was unfazed. He stood and from his chest a melta cannon appeared and fires a shot that fortunately missed the team, but destroyed the entrance to the conservatory.

Kuurahn decides to hack into Callidon’s Servitor in order to direct it himself. In doing so he broke through a security level in its system and discovered that the servitor, more than any other servitor Kuurahn has interfaced with, is incredibly murderous and mostly was created from the remains of an insane human.

Meanwhile the team attempt to rouse the Commodore, who has become unresponsive to her surroundings.

In order to incapacitate Lord Burne, Mordechai psychically grabs him. Whilst unable to move Lord Burne is still able to fire his melta which hits Callidon – or rather his forceshield. However the shield overloads and explodes blinding almost everyone in the room.

In his blindness Octavius Perie uses his flamer on both one of Lord Burne’s guard and Vulgrim. Fortunately Vulgrim braces himself and remains undamaged through the flames.

Callidon bravely jumps beneath a bench for cover.

Kuurahn uses his logis implant to overclock himself and the servitor and the two of them begin to lay into the guards.

Mordechai throws Lord Burne across the room in an effort to prevent him from shooting his melta at the team.

Finally, Kuurahn is shot and loses control of his arm. The team are still in the thick of it all.

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A Minimal Amount of Bloodshed
What Once Was

After gaining entry to the starport the team drew up their vehicle to the main building whilst Vulgrim and Octavius looked the area over for problems. Seeing that the starport was mainly staffed by labourers and only a few guards the team began to look for a secondary entrance.

Vulgrim was able to successfully recon the area whilst remaining concealed finding a smaller unguarded entrance to the facility, though it required a keycard to enter. Vulgrim then grabbed a worker leaving the building, silents his cries for help before snapping their neck and hiding the body, obtaining the keycard the team required.

The team then threw blind grenades towards the crowded and guarded main entrance as a distraction to allow the team to sneak through into the building through the side door along with the Blood Bullets.

The team emerged onto a gangway above the main warehouse area of the facility, out of sight of the guards and labourers. Kuurahn successfully hacked an access portal, discovering information about security measures, arrivals and departures and the directions to both the control room and the communication array.

Vulgrim took the team safely and stealthy through the facility avoiding all the administrators and guards, allowing the team to reach the control room without getting into trouble.

The team quickly dispatches the guards with Vulgrim and Octavius taking point.

Unable to get into the control room with the same keycard Kuurahn hacks the security mechanism to grant them access.

The team successfully capture the starport with a minimum amount of bloodshed and damage. They immediately get in contact with Commodore Viri Fortissimi describing the current situation and enlisting her help in getting the team into the mansion.

Whilst waiting for the Commodore to arrive the team receive a request for a status update from the mansion whilst Octavius handled expertly to prevent suspicion.

The Commodore arrives and the team prepares to leave in order to join with Tolica and make their way to the mansion.

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Trailers and Disguises
What Once Was

The frenzied fight continued between the team and the group of guards. The team savagely fought back against them. Mordechai lopped off the leg of an attacker in one swipe whilst Callidon was able to utterly destroy the torso of another. Whilst Octavius was forced to quickly reload his weaponry, Vulgrim stole the limbs from his opponent. Finally, with Callidon pinning down the guards and Tolica exploding the transport craft the fight was over. The team were victorious.

Whilst Octavius set about rousing Kuurahn Mordechai investigated the trailers. The trailers are empty containers ready to be filled with the product of the hamlet. After Tolica brought in the rest of the Blood Bullets to occupy the village the team hatched a plan.

The team would move on via a reasonable indirect route towards Ritammeron city. They coerced one of the villagers into becoming their guide along the trails. The guide, Ethelbert, was given over to the team by the villagers, at Ethelbert’s protest. The team, after loading up the remains of the gun drones into the trailers, set out for the city.

During the drive Ethelbert was able to correctly show the team the best routes to take to avoid detection, leading to a safe drive. During the drive Kuurahn manages to salvage the parts from the gun drone, putting together a new single drone from the remains. Whilst the team at large recover over the course of their trip, Kuurahn refuses the offer of healing from Octavius.

As the team approach the city they continue the stages of their plan. The Blood Bullets place their main forces next to the bridge between Ritammeron city and the starport in order to block any forces coming from the city as they take control of the port. A small number of Bullets and the team, hidden in the trailers, then approached the starport in an attempt to take it over stealthily and bring in Commodore Viri Fortissimi to back them up when confronting Lord Burne.

Vulgrim, dressed in elite guard uniform was successfully able to bluff through the guards at the starport gates. As the guards began their inspection of the contents of the trailer they were roughly grabbed and killed by Mordechai, Callidon and Servitor inside the trailer, other disguised members of the Bullets jumping out to take their places.

During the scramble with the guards Callidon’s face is briefly revealed to the team for the first time in a while. His face is white skinned, almost translucent. His hair is all gone and he looks incredibly fatigued.

As the team reacts to this change in Callidon, the trailers drive through into the starport, utterly undetected by the guards.

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One Village, Two Skirmishes
What Once Was

As the Blood Bullets caught up to the team Callidon ordered Kuurahn onto a stretcher and the team back to the start of the tunnel. As Octavius patched up the team Kuurahn woke up and the team explained their encounter to him.

Over the next 1/2 hour whilst the tunnel was fully excavated Kuurahn took the time to walk around the Blood Bullet’s camp. Meanwhile Callidon and Mordechai took the time to check for psychic entities and warp anomalies in the tunnel to be sure that the creature that attacked them was not part of a larger group. Kuurahn, after looking at Tolica Neta‘s mech suit joined Callidon and Mordechai at the tunnel’s edge and checked the rock for fractures or points of collapse. After the team was certain that the tunnel was safe from both physical and warp-based dangers the Blood Bullet’s convoy was ordered into the tunnel.

In the 2 hour journey to the other side the team rests.

Upon exiting the tunnel Callidon confirmed their expected exit matched their current location. Callidon, Octavius and Mordechai notice that there are lights in the distance, a settlement. Callidon also manages to spy something flying over the village.

The team settled down to camp for the night leaving Tolica to organize the Blood Bullets’ patrols and camp.

During the night however, Octavius attempted to speed up Kuurahn’s and Vulgrim’s healing, almost killing Kuurahn and wounding Vulgrim even more. It was a miracle that Kuurahn survived.

Callidon also sought out Tolica and asked her a number of questions about the Expanse since they entered the warp storm. Tolica reported that there had been a sharp increase in lawlessness throughout the Expanse that was stretching the navy and planetary police to the breaking point. Some of the far-flung colonies in the Expanse had been lost to piracy or unknown means in both the Accursed Demesne and Unbeholden Regions. Even within the most strongly held areas of the Expanse criminality and pirate attacks were on the rise.

In the morning the team planned out how to move on towards Ritammeron city. They could either attempt to avoid the settlement or make a point of going through it. In the end the team decided to send a small party to investigate the settlement without being seen. The team and Tolica drove down towards the village.

After getting closer to the village Vulgrim and Mordechai took the lead and stealthed their way to the walls of the buildings. The two were covered by Tolica and her sniper rifle, particularly trained on Mordechai.

Vulgrim makes excellent use of his camouflage coat and Mordechai managed to remaining perfectly stealthy as well. The two were able to confirm that the machines hovering above the village were gun drones. The village was a simple circular common surrounded by large buildings and storage facilities. There were about 50 people. Mordechai notices that the storage buildings are full and surmises that the village will likely be receiving a transportation convoy from Ritammeron shortly to take the produce to the city.

Vulgrim and Mordechai then headed back to the team to plan their next move. The team decided to encircle the village with the mech-suit and on-foot team, taking out the gun drones and hopefully damaging the village as little as possible.

At noon the attack begun. Mordechai was able to easily Force Bolt one of the gun drones out of the air. Vulgrim took down the second with the team receiving minimal damage.

However, turning back to the road Tolica and Callidon notice the Ritammeron convoy on its way. On command Vulgrim immediately went into crowd control mode, intimidating the populace into submissions and forcing them back into their homes.

The team then lay in way for the convoy to arrive, intending to take possession of it to make getting into Ritammeron easier.

The convoy arrived in the village unaware of what awaits them, the team catches them completely by surprise. Mordechai, attempted to disable the driver and passenger of the transport vehicle but was unable to stop them sending off a short message. The team don’t know what information was sent.

The guards sprung into defending themselves, one sub-group running to surround the source of the gunfire and running directly into the south team, Mordechai, Vulgrim and Kuurahn, who gunned them down point blank. Mordechai, Vulgrim and Callidon are able to recognise the guards as the same mentally conditioned guards that followed Mersini.

The north team of Octavius and Callidon are pinned by the guards under a furious assault. Callidon attempted to distract the guards by pushing an unfortunate village peasant out of the building into the crossfire. The villager scrambled to get back into the dubious safety of the building. However, the villager had given Callidon enough time to prepare his Lidless stare that decimated the troops firing on his position and exploding the unfortunate villager.

The south team however were pressured by the guards in their small area. With nowhere to go Kuurahn was taken out by a guard. Octavius by some miracle was able to stablize him but the fight rages on without either side having a clear advantage.

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The Tunnel of Madness
What Once Was

After discovering the tunnel leading from the underground Saltu cavern, Vulgrim quickly investigated the fissure and the cave before reporting back to Callidon. The tunnel is blocked by rock at its entrance but quickly widens enough to be able to drive the speeders and other vehicles down it in one direction.

Kuurahn took the time to examine the structural integrity of the tunnel and the surrounding rock strata and found it to be favourable and unlikely to collapse.

With the go ahead from the team Tolica orders The Blood Bullets to begin the excavation of the entrance to the cave working down towards the cavern below.

Meanwhile Callidon described the team’s previous run-in with the Terrorax in this very clearing to Kuurahn and Octavius. Callidon puts the team on their guard in case this new tunnel could be a source for the predator.

The team then left Tolica and her crew to their excavation and entered the tunnel to explore it further.

After walking for some time Callidon, Vulgrim and Flaminis begin to get a feeling of being watched. Mordechai and Callidon are able to confirm a warp disturbance ahead of them within the tunnel. Callidon drew upon his knowledge of the warp and daemons but was until to determine the exact cause. His efforts to use Cloud in the Warp were botched and instead was only able to track the disturbance as it became closer, it’s strength filling the tunnel.

Suddenly Mordechai was struck blind, unable to see with his psychic abilities. Unable to find a cause for this sudden onset of blindness the team continued on as Mordechai seemed otherwise unharmed.

However it was not long before strange misfortunes began to happen to the team, centered on Kuurahn. Rocks fell from the roof, nests of bugs erupted upon Kuurahn. His injuries were seemingly minor and quickly healed by Octavius. Regardless the team began to turn back….

…leading them straight into a dead end.

Kuurahn suddenly and inexplicably was rent across his torso by a sudden change in the rock formations that simply were not there before. He dropped as if unconscious.

At this point Mordechai attempted to move away from Vulgrim, who was guiding him, immediately tripping over a body on the ground. Feeling the body with his hands Mordechai discovered that it was the body of one of the Saltu warriors, apparently alive but unmoving. That same Saltu warrior was supposedly standing in a different place in the tunnel. This, combined with the sudden gnashing sounds Mordechai can hear within the tunnel he comes to the realisation that what he is sensing, hearing and seeing is correct, and the others are within some illusion.

The creature that created this illusion seemed to notice Mordechai’s movement and began to attack him. Mordechai was able to get a hit on the creature, catching sight of it truly in the dark, dissipating the illusion for everyone.

The tunnel was pitch black but within the darkness the team were able to witness the daemonic creature that had been manipulating them. The Saltu were frozen in fear, some inherited horror of this creature that their ancestors must have trapped in the tunnel.

The creature then began to attack the group for survival. It took control of Vulgrim, bending his tactical prowess to its will in order to attack Mordechai, the only team member to withstand its illusion.

The team as a whole opened fire upon the creature, their bullets not seeming to hurt the creature’s strange and horrific mass.

Mordechai, showing surprising tenacity, dodged gracefully through all of Vulgrim’s attacks. Truly, the God Emperor was at Mordechai’s side as Vulgrim’s gun jammed giving Mordechai the time he needed to well up enough psychic power to crush the daemon and remove its hold over Vulgrim and the tunnel.

With the daemon vanquished and the Blood Bullets almost finished excavating the team can return their sight back to escaping Astraeus and eventually rejoining with The Stalwart Venturer.

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The Clouds Gather
What Once Was

As Callidon continued to parlay with Tolica Neta, the leader of the Blood Bullets, it became increasingly evident that the two groups could gain more through cooperation, than through conflict. Callidon skillfully read Tolica’s feelings towards Astraeus, Manfred von Burga and Lord Nathaniel Burne.

In the end this culminated in the reasonably peaceful release of the Blood Bullet’s hostages and the return of the Aquila Lander to the team. The lander, along with a number of other vehicles in the starport’s vehicle bay and air field had been cannibalised by the Blood Bullets to outfit their own vehicles and Tolica’s mech suit.

Whilst assessing the structural integrity of the lander, Kuurahn attempted to get a better look at the mech suit’s design. Unfortunately in the bustle of the air field he was not able to get a good look at it, nor was able to approach it without being seen by the Bullets.

The Aquila Lander itself remains functional, but with a moderate amount of its armour removed and placed on the other vehicles and mech suit instead.

Whilst Blur explained the Blood Bullet’s take over of the starport to Octavius, Callidon reported in with Felix. Following this, believing that their electronic communications with The Stalwart Venturer were most likely being listened to, Callidon had Mordechai transmit a more detailed message to Felix psychically. This message contained all the relevant information about the team’s current situation, the Blood Bullets and a request to ask for the blockade to be taken down now that the starport was under their control.

During Callidon’s discussions with Tolica she stated that she would be in a position to provide Blood Bullet members as new crew members to the Venturer. To this Octavius suggested that perhaps it might be prudent to rename the Blood Bullets to something more friendly, making Tolica laugh. Tolica and the team in general get on well together, Vulgrim in particular bonding with her on their shared excitement at the prospect of hunting down pirates.

Meanwhile Callidon contacts Commodore Viri Fortissimi in an effort to remove the blockade on Astraeous. After more than half and hour of radio silence Mordechai intercepts an interstellar message emanating from Ritammeron. Whilst Mordechai was unable to discern the full contents of the message, or its target, he was able to deduce that the message was about the team, in particular of their being in Astraeous.

Almost as soon as Mordechai intercepts the communication a large host of craft join the blockade including a number of ships in orbit and the atmosphere between the team and the Venturer.

The team’s efforts to contact the Commodore only result in rebuffs. Tolica isn’t surprised by the turn of events, stating that the Commodore, whilst an officer in the Imperial Navy is currently on assignment under the control of Lord Burne. It is likely that the blockade and the increase in its size comes as a direct order from him, rather than the Commodore acting alone.

As Tolica explains this the team manage to disguise von Burga and sneak him to the lander without alerting Tolica or the Blood Bullet’s to his presence.

Seeing the blockade strengthened the team retired to the lander in order to plan. The team decide that if flying out of the mountain-surrounded colony would be suicide, the only way to escape would be to go under the mountain range. The Saltu and Flaminis discuss this and realise that the cave they hid within during the Terrorax attack was most likely an ancient Saltu shrine, potentially with a blocked off tunnel to the outside.

As the team prepare to leave Mordechai spots a gang member with a power sword, an unusual weapon for a gang member to have. Mordechai exploits his psychic powers in order to convince the gang member to hand it over freely to him. Tolica however spots what Mordechai has done. Tolica does not intervene but makes it very clear that she is extremely displeased with Mordechai and will be watching him incredibly closely with hostile eyes.

Eventually the Blood Bullets and the team exit in a convoy through the jungle to the cave the team rescued Senisa and the Saltu from. On the way, Tolica makes a point to be behind Mordechai and keep him within sight at all times.

At around noon the team arrive at the clearing and begin searching for the entrance to the underground shrine. Kuurahn finds the passageway and leads the team downwards.

As Flaminis inspects the cave he accesses his mild psychic abilities through a Saltu ritual in order to divine the entrance to the passageway. The team break down the walls in the direction he indicated, discovering a thick layer of stone leading to a worked stone tunnel.

As the Blood Bullets begin to widen the entrance to the shrine and the gap into the tunnel Flaminis reads a disconcerting Saltu message written on the inside of the walls:

“Beware and caution trespassers.
We, the Saltu, have contained these tunnels,
through suffering and pain.
Let those who enter be warned,
there is only madness and darkness here.”

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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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