… Aheron picked up the loudhailer and spoke to the masses. He urged them to stop this senseless violence and focus their attention on their new leader, The Notch, who had proven himself in the eyes of the brutish savages by slaying their previous leader Rahzeark in a heartstopping duel, hanging from winches over an endless pit.
Surprisingly the masses quieted down and paid attention. Only several more wet thuds could be heard way in the back, as the screeching unnatural voice of the heavily mutated Rogue Trader transmitted over the loudhailers, captivating the vast audience and pulling them out of their frenzy.
It was problematic to decide what to do with the mutants and where to go next. The heroes were in disarray, leaderless and could reach no consensus until their Arch Militant slammed his foot down and said: “The hell is wrong with you lot?! We will do as we did before, send these creatures to the underdecks to deal with that problem and we will continue in an orderly fashion – clearing the Mess Hall next and moving on to the Astropathic Choir chambers.”
Echo cleverly remarked that an awful peril might lie in those chambers. Their former Astropath that still plagued these halls might reside there. He was of course talking about Flayl Kern. “We should leave this for when we can hire some psykers to assist in taming Kern” suggested Echo, which no one disputed and so they proceeded towards the Mess Hall where strange sacrifices were offered to unknown creatures. Something they could not pick up over the observance shrines.
As they arrived in the great hall they were welcomed by eerie silence. After some careful exploring of the blood trail that led to the third floor, the men immediately spotted some occult ritualistic sacrificial circle. Regis concluded that it was some kind of evolved ritual of superstitious sailors’ offering to the strange fates of the void in order to let them set sail once more. The reason why this had to be done by ancient sailors had been lost, perpetuated only as a tradition by the new generations devoid of sanity, let alone reason or education.
As they lingered debating the circle of swords, they heard shots fired from up above. Something very fast-moving and humanoid was reported by the soldiers, who claimed to have landed several shots but no blood or any trace was left behind. It had escaped through the vent.
In order to lure the creature, the officers concluded that they needed live bait. Ideas became orders and two members of the royal guard went back to the holding pens where the supermutants had previously kept their “food” down in the barracks, and dragged out one female clan member from the crew quarters that was not yet eaten. There were several people there but those who resisted capture had to be put down, since the extraction of a single “food” unit was impossible with that many of them down there. Around two dozen people were gunned down by Quentin and Coolbreeze on Kompast’s order, after which they captured the only remaining prisoner that had a good sense to keep her head down. She was dragged off by the two stormtroopers doing their duty, kicking and swearing in an unknown tongue at them. Unfortunately they passed right by Scylla who watched all of this in shock while Aheron was blathering at her. The woman was soon bound inside the occult circle made of eight power swords protruding from the floor and left with their power fields jury-rigged to the auxiliary power supply of the messhall generators to make an eerie glow. Her swearing became screaming after 10 or so minutes of dreadful solitude as the officers and the two members of the royal guard hid in order to ambush the creatures that they were hunting.
After a dozen minutes of the victims kicking and screaming the hiltless unpowered sword that she was bound to started to give way and to be pulled out of the ground, to which Kompast reacted and gassed the girl with one of the crowd suppression grenades. She quickly passed out and there was silence once more, although not for long. The chairs and tables began to screech as they were pushed aside by something moving through the hall. As it was to show its ugly head, something attacked Emil and Kompast from all sides. They managed to hide the Explorator so well behind the bar that none of the creatures spotted him, so he quickly charged, breaking the wooden furnishings before him to save his fellow men. The abominations were metalline in visage and skin, with many strange protrusions as if tools and weapons were integrated into their bodies. They grabbed Emil and Kompast’s weapons and quickly started eating them. The stormtroopers were helpful in gunning them down while Kompast demonstrated his skill with the secondary weapon of his choice – the greatsword. The creatures were very slow and stupid, and almost destroyed themselves by attempring to chew on Emil’s melta canister. Echo was quick enough to stop the one creature that was actually fast and went for the woman set up as bait. To his horror, it lounged at him in an attempt to devour his mechanical respirator unit but he managed to dodge it several times. The combat was resolved without any casualties. One of the creatures escaped back into the vents, which Scylla noticed and almost gunned down with a single shot.
The officers agreed that they needed to capture this creature and not let it roam around destroying parts of the ship. So Scilla was chosen to call Maxwell and ask him to lend 300 shock batons to her people, and thanks to her sweet charm the favor was granted. Even though she was in half a mind about it, she was just too proud to beg, but listened to the advice that would seem that all were as of one mind about. Even the soldiers nodded when Scylla looked at them, silently ushered by Aheron behind Scyllas back.
As they got back to the bridge of the Grand Cruiser, a walk that took more than half an hour, they found several crates of provisions and about three hundred shock mauls, two heavy bolters and five or six plasma guns lying on the gound recently delivered by Maxwell’s men. The soldiers started unpacking everything and putting it to good use. They sent some people with these weapons to capture the thing and put it in a cage.
As the rest went to relax after a fight, Echo devoted his time on fixing the Lathe Pattern Power sword. That was the one not powered up in the circle of swords. It was a heretical thing, combining a power field with a Lathe pattern sword, as light as a feather but deadly even to other non-power weapons. But as per usual Acheron managed to talk him into repairing this weapon for him. He even had his previous power sword grip redy for Echo to install.
In several hours after the men have relaxed and rested they wanted to move out, but instead Emiel, the Dynasties seneschal summoned all the officers to the Strategic Intelligence room, commonly referred to as the War Room. He then brought to everyone’s attention that the morale of the men o Spiridon was getting dangerously low. It’s been two months now since the men were in anything but dark waters of this unknown region of space and they were getting frustrated and angry. To make matters worse there were talks of mutiny. Something that he and Scylla were qualified to take care of, which they insisted on rather heavily. Aheron found it rather suspicious. He had even previously insisted on Echo surveiling the two of them but Echo refused, as he did now when Acheron tried to secretly communicate with him in this meeting via a dataslate. It was obvious that Scilla took offense to this blatant secrecy. Because of this, Acheron had them tracked and their movements reported only to him. Since Echo did not want to do that for him he found someone who will. Soon after Sigismund joined the meeting with the news from the Melodium – the cleansing was a success.
Emiel and Scylla decided against Aherons whims to go and take care of the brewing mutiny onboard Spiridon. After this meeting Acheron, Echo, Kompast and Sigismund ordered the arming of the men with the serious weaponry they got from Maxwell and left for the Cargo hold. They warned Sigismund that it was possible that a really fierse xeno was dormant among some men who call themselves “the Silent ones”. They also mentioned that they possibly had another stasis chamber in there with a slumbering Inquisitor they found at the same abandoned space station as the xeno. Sigismund was furious that they haven let the man out of stasis immediately after discovery. Somehow they managed to agree that they would first try to negotiate with the silent ones, and not go in guns blazing. But it wasn’t of any use since once they entered the cargo hold they immediately noticed that something was amiss. Strange markings were worked into the walls and an eerie green glow was coming from the far side of the huge hall. In the middle of the room stood eight crystalline pillars and by each of the pillars stood one cowled figure, each of their faces gray and scarred, their lips moving in unison. Words forming from their lips, more hisses then sounds, their attention focused on a crouching figure in the middle of the obelisks.
Unfortunately they soon found out that the figures’ chanting was the only thing keeping the xeno at bay. After they had dispatched them a huge creature skeletal machine rose from its crouching stance, his visage truly terrible to behold. He held out his hand and started summoning something from a levitating crystal as the room grew colder and colder.
After emptying several volleys, of gunfire the officers realized that its power field is way too strong to pierce it by ranged weapons alone. They’d have to get in close. Seeing the true terror that is the Necron Lord, Echo’s cortex implant quickly calculate that the only way to raise their chances of survival from 5% to 50% was for him to immediately go towards the controls for emergency decompression, to try and vent out everything within the cargo hold. The process required complex incantations and ritualistic gestures and he suffered from inefficiency to cover all the stations at once, so the it took longer than ususal. Quentin and Coolbreeze were petrified with fear upon seeing the Necron and couldn’t help themselves but flee the room. The fight had an unfavorable outcome as two of the officers were gravely wounded. Father Sigismund suffered a wound he may not recover from and Kompast lost an eye and a good bit of his face. Thanks to his incompetence in disarming the Necron Lord, being disarmed himself instead, Acheron survived the brutal attack that downed two of his mates. He returned with a vengeance and fury to unleash upon the dark creature. His attacks were unhindered by the strange seismic device that shook the air around the Necron, stopping several of his previous blows, but the newfound zeal and fury pummeled the creature so hard that its reanimation protocol ceased to function.
Upon realizing that the creature is down, Echo managed to abort the decompression procedure and rushed to stabilize the two fallen comrades while Acheron was picking through the Necron’s parts. It seemed as though a morbid curiosity had been boiling inside him, his head glowing with desire upon noticing the Necron Lord’s scythe-like weapon.
As soon as he finishedstabilizing Sigismund and Kompast, Echo turned his attention towards the xeno, and since he had recalled that these creatures use nanobots and scarabs to repair themselves he reasoned that the only logical choice was to immediately blow it out of the airlock. Acheron started protesting and begging the Explorator not to do so. He made insane claims that he didn’t want the creature to cause misery to somebody else who may find it floating around in the void, but Echo knew him too well and realized he was willing to forego everyone’s safety just to have a chance of profiting from the creature’s corpse. When the Necron was gone, Echo ordered the men to carry the wounded carefully back into the autotemple, as well as the remaining stasis pod containing the supposed inquisitor. Acheron just sulked around and went away with them, leaving the bloodied and gory aftermath of their battle to be cleaned at some other time.