Tiberius Dynasty

The Cogs of Fate
And a not so empty ship

The Officers stood in silence for a few dozen seconds to let the image seep into their minds. Was it a trickery of the eyes, could it be the Processional itself, did it bend reality somehow…? So many questions aching to be answered. But the situation demanded a more refined approach. Apparently there were now two Echo Notches and Two Aheron Tiberiuses standing in the same space. The strange new Echo was distrusting and careful and he raised his melta when he saw that Emiel had pulled his gun at them. But luckily the other Echo tried to diffuse the conflict by urging his double to reconsider and asking Emiel politely to lower the weapon first.

The two Echos exchanged a quick succession of binary words, and concluded that one of them is surely a copy, while Aheron could be a clone of himself, grown from a specimen left at any point during his crazy dismemberment adventures and battles. As this was the most logical deduction, they could proceed with deciding what to do next. Echo from the Spiridon turned to the newly acquainted Aheron and asked if he was hungry and thirsty. He got no reply from the feeble crazed man cowering behind the new Echo. His protective explorator said it is a good suggestion and so they proceeded to the mess hall, where all the personnel except for the officers was ordered to leave the room. Servitors brought the food and beverage.

>>> for the purposes of my brain not exploding in the remaining text the newly met Echo and Aheron will be called Echo Prime and Aheron Prime (this is what Echo Prime referred to him by, hence the naming) <<<

Everyone sat down and Echo Prime coerced Aheron Prime to sit. Echo concluded that Aheron Prime was apprehensive and Aheron would have to lead by example and start eating first. But that wasn’t it. Even as Emiel and Aheron started to dine, Aheron Prime was still sort of lost and tried to wave his hands hoping that the other Aheron was just a mirror image. Aheron returned a wave and then gently touched his hand. This was a mistake, for it triggered a response from Aheron Prime, and sooner than all 4 present officers could act – Aheron Prime drew his gun and fired towards Aheron’s forehead. To everyone’s relief, the gun wasn’t even loaded. Echo Prime then suggested they restrain him somehow. He wasn’t going to eat on his own, or interact properly with anyone. They agreed it is the smartest thing to do and took Aheron Prime into a secluded empty room, where they restrained him to a bed and sedated him so he wouldn’t hurt himself when they put him on IV. Then the Echos conversed privately in binary, to conclude that Aheron Prime, as Echo Prime called him, had deteriorated greatly due to the prolonged exposure to life in the ship graveyard, reduced to nothing but pray for the Hollow Men and Wraiths. The once great Rogue Trader was suffering from the lack of food, water, sleep, warmth and social interaction. He had obviously died and regenerated back to life many times, which had left some irreversible damage. Echo Prime insisted that there are ways in which a psyker could use his abilities to help Aheron Prime, lead him back to sanity, make him find his wits again, but they had no such person on Spiridon.

Both Echos agreed the approximate calculation of 160 years in the processional is correct, and Echo noticed many of Echo Prime’s facilities and cogitators were heavily damaged, entire databanks missing and corrupted, bionic parts modified in borderline heretical ways due to sheer survival needs with whatever tech he could find as he scavenged through the ships. It was difficult to observe such a product of ill fate, even for one of as heavily modified as Echo, and though he could not let out a tear for his other self and Aheron Prime, he still felt it – the disturbing reality, the evil that nature itself had brought upon those two.

From what Echo Prime could gather of his fragmented memories, he left the Satyricon with Aheron Prime, somewhere around 50 or 60 years ago. He claimed there were some crew members left at that time but couldn’t remember how many and in what state of mind. He also claimed Wraiths were very common in this place, apparitions, like aethereal beings, echoes of people living or dead. He was distrusting toward Echo and the rest of the crew because 17 years ago a similar meeting with Echo occurred. But instead of a copy or a clone, it was just wraiths which had lured Echo Prime and Aheron Prime into a trap and in the process Aheron Prime was decapitated.

Now the damage to his psyche was even more evident. Echo could only speculate how much pain this must have caused to Echo Prime and Aheron Prime. It was very logical for them to be distrusting, so he decided to give them time and privacy. He said to his double he would do anything in his power to help them, and underlined that they had come into the Processional to save the Satyricon. Echo Prime said this was what he wanted as well, along with repairs and new weapons, since his old melta and storm bolter were very unreliable and out of ammo. The melta was actually converted to use the energy of Echo Prime’s potentia coil to shoot – quite a heretical thing to make. Echo agreed and asked from Kompost to get someone to bring Echo Prime a reliable weapon and ammo for it. Then they locked off an area surrounding the room Aheron Prime was hospitalized in and left them in peace.

They focused on the mission. They devised a plan to scan for the big black ooze thing that chased them before they hid inside the planet Blight. Then if it was not there, they would sneak above the debris ring towards the location of the Satyricon, and send a small flier to board the ship. The mission would rely on a group of tech priests and Echo to get into the enginarium of the Satyricon and power up the gellar fields. While Spiridon would tow the grand cruiser using grav hooks, the tech priests would maintain the Gellar fields with prayer to enable getting out of the processional safely.
To their surprise, when they came close to the Satyricon and scanned it, it was not a dead powered-down uninhabited ship they were expecting. On the contrary – almost all sectors of the ship had power. Vitae systems were operational and they could easily expect a living population on board. The attempts to hail the ship’s crew were unsuccessful, because Satyricon’s auger arrays were destroyed.

Echo, Aheron, Emiel, Kompost, a congregation of techpriests and 4 storm troopers, boarded a guncutter and set off towards Satyricon’s lighter bay. Aheron noticed something peculiar as they departed – there were no stars in the Processional – only black endless void everywhere above and below. The giant glowing black mass in the middle and the ship graveyard spiraling towards it were completely alone for light years. The thought chilled his bones and he just muttered “There are no stars”. Luckily the black creature was nowhere to be found. Alas they would not waste any time, for it could appear at any moment. Echo brought a vox caster so they could let the crew of the Spiridon know when the time was right to start the extraction of the grand cruiser.

As they approached the lighter bay they noticed that it was damaged and depressurized, littered with debris and destroyed crafts, but the pilot succeeded in finding a good place to land the guncutter. Everyone was to stick together because hollow men seemed to prey on lone human subjects. Echo was leading the way. They decided against going into the cargo bay since their destination was the enginarium and then the bridge, so they went up towards the manufactorum.

Echo went first towards the door connecting to the hallway. He hacked the airlock and avoided a decompression accident thanks to his superior tech skills. The others followed. On the other side of the airlock the air smelled normal and the temperature was mild. They scanned for hazardous fumes and, upon seeing the all clear, proceeded towards the enginarium. Suddenly they noticed there were tiny footsteps shuffling down the hall. The small figure started yelling “alert! alert!” and was trying to get into a hole in the wall. Aheron and Echo immediately had the same idea to chase down the thing. But unfortunately as they dashed towards it they trampled each other over and fell onto the floor, allowing Emiel to take one called shot to the creature’s leg, dismembering it instantly. It fell screaming to the ground. To Aheron and Echo’s horror – it was just a child. Echo quickly tightened a girdle around its leg stump to stop the bleeding and administered some sedative. The child finally fell asleep.

Emiel’s eyes were cold and he didn’t say anything to defend himself. He was just staring at the poor thing in Echo’s arms. Seeing this, the Explorator concluded Emiel might need comforting “It could just as easily have been a gretchin. You did nothing wrong.” These words didn’t have much effect on Emiel, so Echo continued “We’ll head straight for the medbay, it’s on our way. I’ll probably be able to reattach its leg there.” The plan sounded legitimate to everyone so they proceeded towards the rear of the ship, where the medbay was.

Unfortunately they soon came upon a dent in the hallway and part of it was flooded with coolant fluid. The delicate ears of Emiel and Aheron proved lifesaving for they heard a faint electrical sound in the distance and deduced there must be a loose cable somewhere further down the hall. Echo sent out his servoskull to scout out the hallway. The skull spotted the wire which was hanging from the ripped open ceiling and touching the water, electrocuting the entire flooding. The servoskull also noticed approaching silhouettes that were speaking a weird dialect of low gothic – as if it was mixed with high gothic in a devolving kind of way. This was hard for Echo to understand but Aheron and Emiel had no such difficulty. Echo quickly hid the servoskull by driving it next to some ornaments on the wall, but unfortunately it made a clanky sound because of the swift movement. The soldiers, wearing old tattered Tiberius uniforms, heard it and one of them approached to search where it came from. He tried to reach the servoskull by holding onto the power line and trying not to step into the water. Echo decided to break the hiding in order not to let the man electrocute himself and he started speaking through the servoskull’s vox caster. They negotiated a peaceful meeting and removed the power cord so that Aheron and the others could join them on the other side of the flooded hallway.

Echo presented himself as the former explorator general of the vessel Satyricon on which they were all standing currently and demanded to speak to their leader. They agreed to take the newcomers to their headquarters to see Astrid, who was apparently the captain up on the bridge. The soldiers were convinced by some charming words from Aheron and Emiel and also they advised against going to the medbay since it was plagued by disease and numerous corpses. They took the most direct corridors to the Bridge. On the way they saw a group of “The Silents” pass by. Everyone held their breath so that the Silents wouldn’t hear them.

Later as they were passing by the melodium, there was an eerie organ melody coming from the loud-hailers on the walls. They stopped for a moment and the Officers murmured something like “Oh not this again” and covered their ears. Everything would have been just fine had the Arch Militant not reacted strangely to this sound and started shooting at the closest man – Aheron. Before anyone could turn around, he had taken of one of Aheron’s arms and horribly wounded the other. Echo quickly ordered the Storm troopers to grab him and jumped to put Aheron’s arms in a vice before he bleeds to death. Luckily the Rogue Trader could feel no pain and it made things really easy and also very weird in the eyes of the officers and tech prests. The next moment Kompost was on the ground with one sotm trooper holding down each of his limbs and he twitched and yelled until he came to. They dismissed it as the effect of the melody and Aheron was quick to forgive his employee, so that they may get on with the mission.

When they were finally brought into the officers’ quarters they saw that they were actually well guarded by people murmuring in the same low/high gothic hybrid. On the bridge, a woman of clean appearance and almost noble stature, except for the old uniform, greeted them. All around were people praying incorrectly to the machine spirit and randomly pressing buttons on the consoles, which caused Echo Notch to cringe a bit.

Astrid spoke in the same hybrid tongue elegantly and asked who the visitors were. Echo explained they come in peace and they wanted to save the ship and take it out of this hell in which it was stranded. Aheron presented himself as the former captain Rogue Trader Aheron Tiberius, commander of this grand cruiser. Astrid was intrigued by the notion but claimed that they were just a mere legend, implying that the people were not even sure this was a ship, but maybe instead it was a planet or something like that. But she spoke of ancient teachings about men that would come, lead by Earon Tibiri who would save them all. She asked if may it be him the one the legends speak of, in her own strange dialect. To that Aheron said yes and asked if they knew how to operate the ship’s bridge. It was obvious from what she replied and from the previous notice of people praying incorrectly that the knowledge of conducting the ship was long diluted and lost to the generations of people who lived and died here in the previous 160 years. Astrid also said that there was doubt that the visitors might be wraiths, here to lead them into a trap or otherwise cause them harm.

Echo decided to take charge and demonstrate his knowledge which no mere wraith could possess. In proving that he was indeed a holy servant of the Omnissiah, sent here through his grace to save this holy vessel, he would win Astrid’s trust. So he demanded that the people stop abusing the consoles and proceeded to pray to the machine spirit himself in a proper way. Afterwards he performed the sacred rite of turning up the lumen globes and illuminating the bridge, after which he turned on the pictviewers to display a layout of the grand cruiser and also opened up the void shutters. He explained that the ship looked like the image on the pictos and that the view outside the windows was a giant ship graveyard which they had to leave as soon as possible in order to survive. Astrid and her underlings were convinced. They had never seen such a display of knowledge and power. So they concluded they had to help the visitors get what they want.

Echo demanded they take them down to the enginarium to power up the gellar fields for the departure, but Astrid argued that the enginarium was occupied by a group called “The Cogs” which didn’t let anyone in there and only occasionally sent expeditions out to repair the vitae systems. Echo assured her he would reach an agreement with this group and asked whether they were tech priests. But Astrid’s “officers” couldn’t answer that question since they had never seen those people properly. Nevertheless they set out on an expedition towards the enginarium.

Upon reaching the massive door brandishing a cog of the machine god they were told to stop by several servoskulls guarding the door and two big storm bolters were pointed at the group. Echo notch demanded an audience with the Cog’s leader and said that he was the former explorator general of this ship. The servo skulls replied just “access denied”. The cogs apparently dismissed the visitors as wraiths, but Echo was determined to prove that he is not one of those. He proclaimed he wouldn’t leave until they believed he was real. Echo said he can prove he’s been inside the enginarium many times and that he is in fact who he claims to be. The servoskulls demanded that he then recite The 8 Mysteries and The 8 Warnings of Deus Mechanicus. He obliged without flinching, reciting them with great pride.

Upon completion of the last word the large cogs started turning and the door swung open. At first they would only permit Echo and the tech priests but Echo explained who the others are and everyone eventually came in. Astrid went back to the bridge with her officers. The visitors were taken through the great hallways of the enginarium, by the plasma drives filling the air with crackling static. At the end there rose a familiar cathedral, the brain of the enginarium, filled with control panels and machinations. Inside was a slender silhouette of a tech priest, a female one. And as she turned around Echo’s mind was overwhelmed with joy – it was Ericaah. Deep down he knew she would survive, he knew she had the mental and physical hardiness to withstand the test of time.

She immediately asked how he survived and is it really him. He decided to be honest but tried to put off the difficult explanations until a later time, urging Ericaah to aid in getting the Satyricon out of the Processional. And Ericaah agreed of course but couldn’t let go of the fact that this Echo obviously had no knowledge of some details the real Echo would definitely know, and she demanded an explanation. They spoke privately, interfacing with each other and she confirmed that he definitely wasn’t Echo Notch. Until then Echo had this ray of hope that maybe the other Echo was the copy, which would explain his machine-like behavior and lack of emotion and semblance to a servitor. But Ericaah had almost quelled that hope, since now he felt first hand that maybe his memories of her could be someone else’s memories. But what had made the other Echo, the real Echo, so damaged? Why he left the Satyricon – was it to try and get some help? Or did the people rebel against Aheron and force them to leave..? Did Aheron go mad upon entering the processional? What misery made the magnificent explorator deteriorate to a robotic automatron. How did he justify letting all his blessed bionics be in such poor maintenance? How did he justify resorting to heretical ways? Was Aheron really more valuable to him than his own calling?

His chain of thought was quick but it still took some time and Ericaah noticed this. He asked her some key information about the ship, what did the Silent Ones guard in the cargo by, what other fractions were there, who were the Dabblers, how did they maintain order and repairs..? He complimented Ericaah on keeping the enginarium pristine and asked where the tech priests, who were all heavily modified, come from. Ericaah said that Echo had done this himself before leaving, he modified every one tech priest and organised them. He left careful instructions and foretold his own return that would save them. Alas the entire population broke down into gangs and the dabblers took the front of the ship, they were most likely unsanctioned psychers. In the cargo hold there was the cryostasis chambers they picked up at the space station in the Unbeholden Reaches. Inside, who knows what was slumbering, but they could observe and try to find out through the pictfeeds that the old Echo (Prime) had rerouted to be able to observe the entire ship from the enginarium.
When Echo mentioned the incident caused by the melodium and how the Arch Militant almost killed their Rogue Tader when he lost control, Ericaah said that the melody is used to case away the wraiths.

She then showed him the stasis pod they had right there in the cathedral – it was Besse. She went to sleep shortly after they ended up in this cursed place, almost 156 years ago. Echo was rejoiced once again and his hands touched the glass, resting his bionic eye on her slender visage for a few moments. Ericaah asked if she should be woken up now, but he replied that he would love nothing more than that, but he wanted nothing that would slow their mission. There would be time after they were safe and out of the Processional. Ericaah agreed. What Echo did not tell her is that he had a more disturbing concern in his mind – he wasn’t sure he had the right to wake her, what if he wasn’t the one she was waiting for? What if she’d see that he was an imposter? These were all very heavy emotional things that had to be done later, when he saw the other Echo and made some kind of proper research on which one is what.

Therefore everything was set in motion. Ericaah would have the tech priests pray when Echo gives her the signal. The gellar fields would hopefully protect both ships. Aheron, Echo and the others joined The Officers on the bridge and closed the shutters, so that the visions of the warp don’t irradiate the people. They made contact with the Spiridon to let them know they could fire the grav hooks and start the tow. Everyone prayed that the horrible black creature doesn’t notice them leaving.

The next few hours went by in prayer and intense hopefulness as everyone was at the edge of their seat. The hulls of the great Satyricon moaned and bent in pain as it moved for the first time in more than a century. Finally, they managed to pull through the warp gate and got back into the Koronus space. Upon seeing all the stars in the sky, Aheron released a comforting sight, for he knew there was real hope now. A huge endeavor had been completed successfully.

What ensued was all around congratulations. They decided to make a hole in a sealed part of the navigator’s tower just above the bridge for easy access to the Satyricon. Everyone except for Echo Notch left the Satyricon. Aheron and Emiel went to converse with Maxwell Kind and his brother, to try and devise the best course of action now that they had the Satyricon, and needed to deal with the savages on board and also repair ship components.

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I am the law
The corrupt agents of the Emperor

Maxwell and Acheron were presiding a meeting of their close associates, in order to come up with a good and foolproof plan to save the ship and if possible the crew of the Spiridon. Acheron was to negotiate with the bounty hunter Vor Bien, and he would demand that if Bien wanted his help in doing the job as cleanly as possible he had to give Acheron something in return. Unless Acheron could keep the ship after the ordeal, there was no interest for him to aid the agent of the Imperium since otherwise he would have to wait for the long and tengled ways of buireaucracy to get the ship back, possibly in 7 or 8 hundred years. And he needs the ship now, today.

Vor Bien found that it was a reasonable condition, and indeed he didn’t even count on getting the ship in one piece since he would certainly have had to resort to blasting it with macrocannons to destroy the cooped up “traitors”. So he agreed, but this was just his amen, and they would have to take it up with the Marshall who was here to witness that the Imperial law get executed.

The reason why Acheron could make it possible to execute the people on Spiridon “gently” was that when the message was sent out that Acheron indeed was alive and coming to get them, the commander of the Spiridon, La Roix de Crisua was overjoyed and welcomed him with open arms. They devised a plan to talk the Marshall into pressganging the “traitors” instead of killing them. And a plan in case the marshal proves to be difficult to convince. In that case they would have to trick La Roix into killing most of the crew by venting them into space and then the company would have to do the dirty job of executing La Roix and his closest underlings. Echo also warned that La Roix probably had no way of surviving for 160 years and that he was most likely a grand grand son of the La Roix that was Acheron’s friend, and depending on the stories he heard about Acheron he would either adore him like an ancient legend or despise him for abandoning his grand grand father to his doom.

There was also mention of killing off the marshal although that would result in retribution from the bounty hunter Vor Bien and his armada.

They decided to Let La Roix know they were on their way and a crew of Acheron, Emil and Echo departed in a guncutter. They first docked Victor Vor Bien’s ship – the Wayblade, where they were received by the marshal himself. He was quite the sight, in beautiful ornate power armor with a storm bolter maglocked on one side and a meltagun on the other. He wasted not a second and commanded the three heroes to follow him. He went straight to his own jet black guncutter, paying almost no attention to their pleas for negotiation. A squad of his personal guard boarded the guncutter with our heroes.

They were quickly on their way into the asteroid field to board the Spiridon. Acheron opened up the conversation quite clumsily, despite all the planning and careful consulting. He tried to pull some gibberish statement of a section of the Imperial law by which the Traitoris Excomunicatis could be granted pardon upon executing their traitorous comrades and renouncing their deeds. To this the marshal responded only with a stern gaze and he probably barely resisted the urge to obliterate the blatherer on the spot. The marshal just demanded that everyone sits down as the guncutter was on its way to a bumpy ride.

The three heroes were despairing and exchanging some resentful looks with eachother, until Emil finally gathered up the courage to engage the marshal in conversation again. He first asked the marshal’s name, and upon getting only his first name realized whom he was talking to. The marshal Verlic Reving was a member of a very greedy and corrupt family of arbites who would do anything to get prestige and wealth, as long as it remained legal in the Imperial records, or in other words no trace of their heretical doings was to survive. Emil saw a great opportunity and quickly stepped up to it by the use of his delicate diplomatic skills. He managed to inveigle the marshal into sparing everything, the ship and the crew, in return for a ridiculously large amount of Throne gelts and a promise of future business as well as giving the marshal’s family a whole planet in the Tiberius colonies to govern.

The rest was just pretense, they arrived among the scared and tormented crew of the Spiridon, calmed La Roix and familiarized him with the situation in private, locked all of the crew in their rooms and vented the ship, also turning off the vitae systems for a short period. This was of course just a ruse that would make the bounty hunter Vor Bien believe that the traitoris excomunicatis have been dealt with. Shortly upon this the marshal demanded a contract to be written and signed by the Tiberius and left with his entourage.

They waited for some time to let Maxwell know, until the bountyhunter left the system with his armada. Then they continued on with their plans of repairing Spiridon and sorting out the crew. Rogue trader Kind agreed to follow Acheron and his crew to help them recover their Grand cruiser Satyricon from the processional of the damned. During the remaining few days of ship repairs, Echo and Emil oversaw the registration and branding of the elite Spiridon crew.

They were quite an experienced crew, that was fourth generation voidborn specialized in space faring and raiding. And they were loyal to Acheron thanks to La Roix, who survived all this time, aging a mere 20 years due to spending most of Acheron’s absence in cryosleep. The original captain, Žark Lequoice, former pirate whom Acheron had defeated and employed back in the year 40 986 remained the captain for a really long time, and his children were succeeding him on the captain position. For a time all was well and they continued to realize trade in the name of the Tiberius family, until they had some really bad luck and started getting into trouble due to Acheron’s prolonged absence.

The current captain was named Diana Carrelson, Žark’s great-great-granddaughter, a stern but young looking woman with a questionable augmented eye and a bionic leg. She told Echo some information about the lineage of the ship’s captains and their past doings. Her predecessor’s name was Cody Yates. They often had to seek refuge on Hindrance, a heretical world usually frequented by pirates, traitors and here-techs. The master of communications on the ship was a lad named Leeland Cummings.

As soon as the ship was fully repaired they departed to resupply and head for the Processional. Echo thought it was too early for this expedition but he also knew they were hunted and that going back to Footfall would probably result in Casaballica agents or other treasure diggers capturing Acheron for the key he got imprinted with. They would also probably get into trouble if they went to get Avarice, the stranded ship Kompost came from. They also needed to include Vexia Tokarev, daughter of cold trader Vladimir Daufis Tokarev IV in the endeavor of getting that Dauntless class cruiser. But first they had to figure out a way how to get to her directly and avoid the Casaballica commission. Luckily Echo recalled that Vladimir was the man with whom they used to trade Eldar artifacts back in the old days, so it was possible that they could appeal to him as a profitable venture, and maybe play the ambitious side of him which secretly wants to overtake the leadership of Casaballica from the sinister baroness Agnes II Nataly Orfelian.

Unfortunately all this left our heroes with no choice but to deal with retrieving the Spyridon and Warrant of Trade first. And it proved to be a difficult task. For as soon as their warp travel was over they came upon a humongous warp gate, bright and sinister, with no hint of what lay on the other side. It was too early to go fetch the Eldar Akanaska to gain his help with the Processional, so they decided to scout it out on their own. Maxwell Kind refused to follow and decided to wait for them before the gate.

They bravely set course for the gate. Reality bent around them and quickly they entered a strange and eerie space with many ship corpses and asteroids floating and crashing in an endless procession towards a large glowing black hole that was in the middle. There were also two planets in the vicinity, closer of which was, Blight, a hollow planet. Everyone was silent and dumbfounded by the sight and the pulsing screech of the scanners filled the air. Rhythmic pulsing tone growing louder and louder. Acheron took the steering wheel and drove the ship towards Satyricon which was just barely visible from all the debris. Then Echo saw something. Something awfully familiar – there were creatures on the ships, moving, floating from one wreckage to the other and visible from afar, they had to be gargantuan. Then a flash of total recall hit him – the Hollow men. He remembered seeing them before, when he was previously here, or so he thought. But unfortunately, he couldn’t tell if they were dangerous, or if they were just scavengers, struggling to survive, living off of the giant ship corpses.

But the legend says, no one comes back from the Processional, and they would soon find out why. For in the next moment the scanner started sounding a different pulse, as if there was a large mass pursuing the Spiridon. Acheron decided to look at the pict feeds to see what it was, Echo averted his eyes as on the screens appeared a black tentacled mass filled with sharp inhuman teeth and eyes. The thing was of epic proportion and had it caught up with the ship it would have completely engulfed it. Luckily Acheron realized he could outrun it and hide the small transport ship in the hollow planet. But intruders were detected too, on the outer hull which they were trying to breach. It was the Hollow men. Kompost quickly took initiative and started commanding all the guns to shoot at the targets. Emil was dealing with the sudden drop of crew morale, while Echo ran personally to confront the Hollow ones in the bowels of the ship and try to protect the vital ship components. He came upon a depressurized hallway where he found two of the creatures digging their way through hulls and hulls to get deeper. He quickly started shooting at them but to his horror the two intruders charged him so he had to parry their attacks with his trusty Omnissian Power Axe. Unfortunately one dazzling blow to the head put him to sleep and he woke up only to find that the creatures were missing. His cogitators had reset for a second and it was enough time for them to disappear. The last blow the oozing black mass was able to bestow upon the poor Spiridon went straight towards its Gellar fields and obliterated them. They were trapped inside the hollow planet, they could not leave this place without the gellar fields, and the enemy was certainly too powerful.

While they were despairing and figuring out their options, a proximity alarm went on and a guncutter appeared on the scanners. They quickly rushed down to the docking bay to see what this was. As the guncutter doors opened out came a single tech priest with a delayed comment “Error, this does not compute”. Behind him appeared a tormented and gray-haired version of Acheron Tiberius.

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Rats in the maze

Having not much choice in the matter, Aheron and the crew decided to split ways with Leerus and the other humans. They explained to him that they would try to hunt down the monster and get to the center of the maze where they could find a way to reset the maze and maybe enable the civilians to flee when the maze is reset. But as they started walking their separate ways, the mercenaries discovered something in the dark hallway – a corpse, horribly mangled. Emil stayed back with Zepha and the Eldar, while Kompost and Echo ran towards the newly discovered horror. They decided to incinerate the corpse, for the purpose of keeping the peace among the workers. Unfortunately, a slithering sole Rak’gol warrior used this opportunity to attack the separated three individuals.

Emil bravely started shooting at it, and so did the Eldar. Upon hearing the shuriken fire, Echo and Kompost quickly realized what was going on and started sprinting back to aid their colleagues. But the distance was quite great and in mere seconds, the fight was over before Kompost even managed to fire a few rounds. The Rak’gol was no match for the swift Eldar and Emil’s excellent adrenaline-fueled Hellpistol gunslinging. Unfortunately the sprinting and 0 recharge chances took their toll on Echo’s energy levels. He was operating at 50% capacity.

They pressed on deeper into the maze, leaving the civilians behind. The monsters lair soon appeared in a particular crook of the hallway, but there was no sign of it’s denizen. This sent the crew’s minds into grim thoughts – maybe it went to kill the humans… but the Eldar insisted on going further. Her presumable care for the lives of others was just a guise, she never cared for the creatures but cared only for the self-sacrificing quality in the potential business associates. Echo frowned upon such logic but understood that the double standards were due to the fact that it is only natural for the Eldar to care little of “lesser” races.

She successfully guided the crew into the center and at the end of the hallway there laid a chamber of amphitheatral structure. In the middle, below their gaze shone a small pedestal upon which a box of strange material nested quietly. Stillness and silence echoed throughout the room, and Aheron mouthed “This is it? Have we arrived?”

The Eldar responded affirmatively, and proceeded to take the box, but before she got the chance, the monster lounged at her from an unbeholden angle and slammed her into the stone bleachers. It was obvious that this was a devastating blow and that she would not last long as a big puddle of xeno blood started to form below her and trickle down towards the center of the amphitheater. Fearing for their own fate now that they lost the Eldar’s support the crew panicked and started shooting at the colossus. The sight was quite too much for Kompost and he fainted on the bleachers. Acheron stood sternly as is usual for him and drew both his pistols aiming directly into the thing. Echo tried to destroy the monster firing his Meltagun twice at pointblank range, but to no avail – it regenerated its melted leg and head as if some demonic force was driving it. But he noticed that there was a strange spear-like mass lodged in its chest, pulsating. In fact they all noticed this, and just as Echo had tried to pry the thing from he monster’s heart with his mechadendrite, Aheron barked “Save her!” so Echo charged along the bleachers to get to the Eldar warrior before it’s too late. Unfortunately the beast reacted quickly and slashed Echo’s mechanic tube-like entrails as he was passing by it, leaving a slippery oily mess behind him.

Fortunately, Emil reacted quickly and took aim at the monster’s weak spot, which was soon proven to be the secret to its defeat. It fell to the ground with a loud screech and never moved again. During those short moments, Echo had to stop his sacred ungents bleeding out, and quickly proceed to stop the Eldar’s bleeding too. But her anatomy was too strange and he wasn’t successful. Not even Emil could find any semblance of a medkit or anything that could be used to help this being. So unfortunately she passed away. Echo decided to haul her body in case her companions appeared so that the company doesn’t seem like uncaring bastards in Eldar eyes.

Acheron decided he would claim the box that the Eldar warrior failed to claim and as everyone took a step back – he reached out his hands and grabbed the box. For a moment there was silence in the room, and an eerie expectation in the air. But Acheron heard a question in his mind “What is your name?” To which he responded “Acheron Tiberius”.

He asked for the voice “Who am I speaking to?” but got no answer… The box was simple with no visible opening or latch. Echo scanned it but to no avail. They had no idea what to make of it. But then, Acheron heard a voice again, this time a different voice, like an Eldar voice. And so it was, a companion of the fallen one, as they would soon find out, Acheron was contacted by the leader of the Crows, an Eldar treasure hunter band. The Eldar insisted they proceed to the nexus point and use the key to reset the maze and exit it in the process. But no one knew how to find the exit so he decided to possess Acheron and lead the crew. At the site he gave our heros the combination and suggested running fast after the key is turned properly. It was obvious that the civilians had no chance of survival at this point.

A fer minutes later the heroes were running through an ever increasingly moving maze, gigantic walls opening and closing, sliding all over the place. To make things worse, the Rak’gol were following them and one of them decided to grab a hold of Echo while he was running. This is where the Arch Militant Kompost saved the day and thanks to his quick reaction managed to fell the Rak’gol with one decisive and well calculated fatal shot to the chest. Everyone managed to dash out of the closing gates of the maze out into an unknown snowy landscape. They took a deep breath and soon saw an approaching Eldar Bomber ship getting very close. It came to a halt and hovered above the ravine. On the cargo door stood a tall armored figure – Akanasha the Crow who Stalks. He asked what had become of Badab Ra – and was infuriated to see her dead body carried by Echo Notch. He took the body and asked about the box in a rusty low gothic tongue. Emil explained the deal that they had struck with Badab Ra earlier – transportation, in return for this box. So he motioned them all to enter the ship.

Inside there was a long discussion where our heros manage to explain that it wasn’t them who killed Badab Ra, and Akanasha believed this upon seeing the fatal scratch marks on her body. He extracted the information about the eldar star map from Acheron, and said that this had to be turned over to them. He also explained to Emil the nature of the box – that it is a part of an ancient Eldar treasure hunt, and that it was forbidden tofollow it since meany ELdar have died trying in the past. Acheron suggested that they – the humans, do the hunting for the Eldar, and in return, they would share the knowledge and the ELdar would help them get their ship Satiricon back from the Processional of the Damned.
Akanasha agreed to this deal. He also agreed to transport the heroes via the Webway to the last known location of their other ship – the Spyridon.

This was their only hope since Maxwell Kind left the system with his ship almost as soon as he had left the crew on the planet surface.

When they exited the Webway and scanned the system, there was several ships in it, one Dauntless class light cruiser and two Raiders, as well as Maxwell Kind’s ship – the Argo Maleus, and the damaged transport ship Spyridon which was hiding in the nearby asteroid field. Unfotunately the Eldar Bobmber ship was not supplied with any warp shields and it could not take the heroes to the Spyridon because between it and them there was a thin bubble of Empyrean (Warp) that would surely cause grave exposure to everyone in the vessel and most certainly destroy the fragile Badab Ra’s soulstone now residing in Akanasha’s possession.

Akanasha had to send a psychic memory of Acheron speaking to try and contact any of the ships, and hope that they aren’t bounty hunters or assassins, since Acheron’s name was now very famous. Akanasha explained that once Acheron had grabbed the box and said his name – he became the next temporary key in the treasure hunt and that the location of the box glowed brighter now in the minds of all Psykers and Astropaths than the Astronomicon itself. Unfortunately it was the only way to transport the humans through the Empyrean bubble.

The Call was answered by Victor Vor Bien from the Dauntless class light Cruiser, and Maxwell Kind from the Raider ship “Argus Maleus”, both offering transportation. Emil recalled that Victor Vor Bien was an ex Imperial Guard general who once performed a great service deffending a Rogue Trader’s planet succesfully from invasion and therefore was granted a great treasure and an armada by that Rogue Trader. From taht point he went on to retire as one of the most honest bountyhunters in the Imperium. His cruiser was his home and he enjoyed hunting down traitors and heretics.

Normally they decided that a secret message had to be sent this time and Akanasha strained very hard to transfer it correctly since it was their coordinates in the secret Tiberius tongue. A message from Maxwell arriver – ETA 4 days.

During the wait the heroes got friendly with the Eldar and Echo even made a primitive kind of Eldar – Low Gothic lexicon, to help them in their future exploits. They found out that the Eldar keep time in a different way and made comparative measurements to make a conversion formula from Eldar time to Imperial time. The generous Crows even decided to share their food and water reserve with the humans. But the humans would have to give some food back upon being handed over to Maxwell Kind. Also a deal was srtuck with Akanasha at that time that they would meet in the Unbeholden Reaches in 6 months, to take on the joint endeavor of getting back the Satiricon.

The Kinds, Maxwell and his brother greeted the Tiberius and decided it was time for a second chance. So they sat down to talk and try to get to know each other. Maxwell was first off set aback by Acheron’s blatant cooperation with the Eldar but Emil and Acheron managed to explain to him that the Eldar may be the gentlest of the xeno and this band – the Crows especially, and that many riches would come from doing business with them. Maxwell was convinced. He even agreed to strike a business deal with Acheron, do trade together and follow him in some of his endeavors wherever he may deem it profitable.

The next item on the itinerary was the bountyhunter and his armada. Something had to be done before they could get back to repairing and taking Spiridon.

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We are not alone
Tiny footsteps in the darkness

Immediately Echo Notch got into an open conflict with the Overseer, about whether they should send someone back outside to fetch supplies for the people and send a distress signal to the ship that was hopefully still in orbit. The Overseer said that he had turned on the emergency SOS broadcast on the Voxcaster previous to vacating his headquarters, but Echo didn’t know if he was to trust this due to the previous find of the biomass in this man’s head, and the worker’s claims of it being a brain parasite.

The Rak’gol invasion had successfully been halted by the storm bolters on the Rhino and Predator’s grenades, but this didn’t mean they weren’t waiting for one wrong step from the humans to continue their attack. Finally the Overseer gave in and sent out a couple of workers to try and see if the coast was clear. One of the men got all the way to the hubs and started bringing some food but then all of a sudden contact was lost, and everyone decided to stop further expeditions. Due to the worker’s impeded intellect, the latch on the rhino was left open on the outside so Echo was forced to weld the other door to the vehicle shut so that the Rak’gol could not come in through it. And thus they abandoned the rhino and the entrance hoping that on some other side they could find a warmer corner or exit from the maze. This was ludicrous and typical stressed out humans grabbing onto a straw in Echo’s opinion but he agreed to help find a way through the maze. A small expedition of our four heroes and Adept Zepha set out to search on the right side of the maze, while the Overseer, Captain Bren and the mercenaries went the other way. The civilians stayed back with the Predator and the storm troopers at the entrance. Echo told Corporal Quentin to stay calm and guard the people. He’d leave the empty bolt shells from the predator as breadcrumbs in the maze and try to return as soon as they found a decent place for the people to hide.

Carefully studying the maze, Echo deduced that it bent and overlapped in impossible ways. It’s walls were also made from some unfamiliar metal, stronger than Aheron’s sword – which he had to find out in the hard way. But the weirdest feeling was the feeling of constantly being watched and followed. Then they ran into a dead end that was just perfectly un-drafty that the people could hurdle up there for the time being. When they tried to call this in they found out the their microbeads were out of range. So they went back on foot. In the hallway they found a strange footprint, elongated and almost humanoid like. A long and slender figure appeared in the hallway in front of them. Emil and Aheron found that it looked quite a bit like an Eldar while Echo was still contemplating the footprint. They decided not to raise their guns but instead call the creature to negotiations.

It was a she and she admitted to have been following the group since they landed on this site. She mocked their attempts and warned them they have no idea what they have tread upon. She said that even now as they speak her team was on their way to slay their civilians back at the entrance, which was good since they had almost discovered the vault of treasures she was planning to crack open and plunder in the name of the Eldar. After making this claim she disappeared and Echo urged the group to decide quickly which they would choose – to try and save the civilians who may already be dead or try to get to the vault first. His analysis showed that considering Aheron’s current debt to the Casaballica he had only one choice – to get whatever in in the vault at all costs, so he voted for the Vault. But Emil quickly protested and voted for the civilians, because he didn’t want the storm troopers to get killed in their absence. Zepha shyly added her vote to save the civilians, while Aheron and Kompost just stood there and couldn’t make a choice. Their judgement was split between the two, and nothing Echo Notch said was gonna make them decide. Finally Emil took the initiative and ran back towards the entrance. Everyone followed.

They arrived just in time to witness the horrible carnage of the other expedition by some kind of monster that indeed was roaming the maze. Luckily the predator had discouraged it from attacking the civilians and the stormtroopers, and Overseer Leerus had escaped the creature by a hairbreadth. The Eldar was lying. She had just wanted to test Aheron and his posse, which she soon admitted. They agreed to cooperate an kill the monster of the maze together. They had a theory that it was a horribly mutated human who had at some point gotten lost in the maze. An experiment of some kind, something that they found out was not strange in a city made by the Yu’vath race, such as this one. A warp experiment.

The Eldar didn’t want the civilians and soldiers to see her so she kept to the back of the procession. Emil talked to her for she seemed to only listen to his opinion and disregard all those who decided not to help the civilians when she was testing them. Aheron tried to strike a deal with her to get off the planet and share the contents of the vault but she only agreed to take his closest employees and him off in the Eldar ship, and wouldn’t have any mention of sharing the treasure in the vault. She said that she had the key thet resets the maze, and that they had to tell the people to be quick and run if they wanted to survive, but that only 9 “mankeeys” could come with her – Aheron, Emil, Zepha, Echo, Kompost and the 4 stormtroopers.

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Cold Trade is Cold
And the weather is cold too

There was at this point no hope of finding a ship on their own, mainly because it was hard to perform such a purchase with the Tibirius’ dwindling Profit factor and without a presentable warrant of trade, let alone where would they find a whole new crew to operate the ship or supplies for the crew. So our heroes agreed the only way was to ask the baroness for a ship.

She suggested they perform a Cold Trade for her, no questions asked, in return for ship parts which they could use to repair Spyridon. They agreed of course and soon boarded a Raider class ship called “Argus Maleus”, whose captain of particularly friendly demeanor introduced himself as Maxwell Kind and asked only that they remain in the guest quarters during the trip. During a social occasion which Maxwell had tried to use to get to know his passengers a little better, Aheron shied away from telling his last name to the captain, for fear of the recent purge Echo had informed him of. This was, soon did they find out, a grand mistake, for the captain took offense and decided he would just coldly execute his transportation task.

They arrived to a cold unwelcoming planet whose name and location they were not told. They had only a letter from the baroness’ hand giving them authority to investigate the excavating operation on the planet surface, lead by Overseer Leerus. They began questioning the Overseer only to find that he is not happy to see them meddle in his affairs, but agreed upon cooperating, to get the excavation going as soon as possible. The local Tech Priest Clistus prooved a sad and lowly excuse for a member of the Mechanicus, as he was neither efficient nor useful in Echo’s judgment. But he did, however, reluctantly agree to issue the storm troopers, Kompost and Emil several environmental suits as well as a Rhino that they could use to go about the site, thanks to Echo’s imposing and logical pleas.

The site consisted of a small xeno-artifact storage, a few living hubs, a garage and several dig sites. The largest site was in the middle, and the whole place was surrounded by walls with watch towers and turrets. On the western side there was a very tall wall of, what they later found out was the Aegerean origin, and it hat a huge gate in the middle. The Overseer called this thing “the Maze City” and admitted only after many persuasion attempts that he had the mercenaries explore the maze. He claimed they barely survived ant that the maze itself was horrifying and haunted by some creature. The soldiers who went inside had returned traumatized and so further expeditions were banned. Aheron and his associates decided it was best they spoke with the leading xeno archaeologist on site, Adept Zepha next.

She was down in one of the dig sites and as they were approaching, she clumsily tried to hide an item she was studying. Upon realizing that she had to trust them, mainly due to Emil’s smooth-talking and stealthy retrieval of the crystal she tried to hide, she had no choice but to tell them of the harsh conditions the workers had been put in by the Foreman Reinar Geldt and the Overseer. She claimed they were getting killed due to some curse brought on by the crystals. She also claimed there was no medic on site to take care of the workers and that the soldiers were forcing them to labor long shifts despite the fact that their findings have been very insignificant and the site’s obvious barrenness. It was clear to the heroes that the crystals could be quite a lucrative export and that the baroness would be satisfied with this find, but that would mean they had to stab Zepha in the back whom they had promised to look into the matter and try to get the workers off the dig site.

She said that if they talked to the workers when the soldiers are not around they would confirm this themselves, the curse, the maltreatment, and also that the Overseer has some kind of parasite in his mind. Upon further inspection of the site they found a strange bionic part carried by a servitor, which at first Emil had thought to be of orcish origin, but soon Echo found that this bionic was much worse. It was a recently severed part of a member of the Rak’gol – a merciless warp obsessed race of murdering abominations.

They decided to look into it further and went to question some workers, only to find, thorugh a series of secret messages and meetings that there was a group of workers who claimed the Overseer did indeed have a parasite in his mind that makes him cruel to the workers, and that their water was being poisoned. Echo had deemed all these theories as pure paranoia and conspiracy theory among those who are lowest in the command chain in this unfortunate environment. Further he proved his claim by analyzing the water – which was not poisoned. So with no proof of anything unusual going on except the xeno archaeologist deliberately sabotaging the excavation and the Rak’gol piece – they were determined to confront the Overseer and execute a careful expedition into the maze.

They talked him into this and as they were wrapping up their exploration, horrible shrieks and gunshots were heard from the north-east wall. It was an invasion of Rak’gol at their doorstep. Kompost took it upon himself to organize the soldiers and try to hold the wall as long as possible, while Echo rallied the tech priests to get the war machines up and running, just in time for everyone to escape into the maze and block the way with a Rhino and a Predator tank. There were great casualties among the workers and soldiers but all the officers and higher ups managed to survive. Echo Notch used the opportunity to heal the prominent characters among whom was the Overseer Leerus. It became obvious that he did have some sort of foreign biological mass on his brain, but further investigation was needed, and Echo though it was not the right time for that. They were holed up in a strange and unfamiliar hallway of gigantic proportions, with no food, supplies or any heat source. It was imperative that they act before the populace starts dying out due to all these conditions.

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Roaming the Footfall
Finding a ship in a stack of hay

Aheron and Echo, followed by their newly acquired keeper – Emil, decided to check upon their family’s office in the Footfall administratum sector, but found it in ruin. Some records of trade they found dating 20 years prior, but as they soon found out asking around the clerk was killed only recently. They arranged for a cleaning crew and hired a new clerk to maintain their future trade from the reestablished office. Emil exhibited great financial and negotiative skills during these ventures so Aheron and Echo agreed that upon establishing their family again Emil would become their Senechal.

Echo decided to data mine the common records for any useful information from the past 160 years, and as Emil and Aheron were gathering information in their own way in the local bar, Echo found out that there had been a “purge” of all Tiberius family members and associates in the last 100 years. He also found out, what may have been a cause or consequence of the purge, that a certain “Black Crusade” had come to pass in which there was mention of Wolfaz Stormson, the apostate space marine they had known, who may have been the leader. There are supposedly Remnants of “The Shattered Faith”, Wulfaz’s organisation, scattered across the Koronus even to the present day. Dark and forbidden knowledge indeed. Knowing this, Echo took all precautions he could to leave no trace of his data mining.

Also he came across an ad for a ship that is currently on sale – the Hesrou class Transport “Lividity” – put up by a certain Vetoxia Rim. Emil knew there was something wrong with this deal so they proceeded cautiously to meet with Vetoxia at the arranged location in the Footfall garbage quarter. They paid a homeless fellow to bestow some information about Vetoxia and the ship and to act as a guide. Thanks to this wise decision they were spared a kidnapping and maybe unfavorable battle since Vetoxia was a sly person with shady deals often tied to dissapearances and ransom cases.

Desperate for a ship they decided they would use an astropath’s services to contact their ship Spyridon and whoever may be its current captain. But the services of Dahook the Astropath couldn’t come cheap and Emil had to jump through some hoops to arrange a future trade with him to satisfy his bloodthirsty arena with the promise of 600 fresh slaves. Dahook was offering that they step into the arena themselves but Echo advised Acheron not to expose himself in such a way. Namely because of the Tiberius purge that came to pass. There was obviously forces that wanted his name stricken from the tomes of history.

As the message from their ship returned it was not a good one – the Spyridon was dead in the water in an asteroid field, hiding from bounty hunters, in a system near the Kain’s abyss. The crew was hurt, starving and desperate. The ship’s engine had been damaged so they couldn’t go anywhere unless Aheron came with appropriate parts and men to repair it. So they got the information that a Dauntles class cruiser “Avarice” was stranded near the Siren star, and some survivors were recently surfacing all over Footfall. Maybe this was their way to get a new ship, if some survivors had any valuable information.

One such survivor was in the custody of Vexia, daughter of Vladimir Tokarev IV – an employee of the Casaballica commission. So careful negotiations ensued and Aheron and Emil managed to talk the girl into surrendering him to them to their mutual benefit as they were essentially working for the same boss. This man’s name is Vidas Kompost, an ex high militant officer, from a far away Fortress world. He was happy to be out of slaver’s chains and in good company and agreed to perform the duties of an Arch Militant when this profession was explained to him by Aheron. They also hired 4 storm troopers for the Arch Militant to command. Corporal Quentin and Privates Davos, ? and ?.

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The Damnation
Aftermath of the Processional of the Damned

Instead of relishing in their defeat of the infamous captain Corda, Aheron sways his crew into proceeding with the mission that eventually cost him his warrant of trade, ship, riches, crew and family – The Astrarium Koronus.

What exists in the records of this unfortunate turmoil is that in the months leading up to the mission, Echo had developed a way to backup his psyche into an AI chip hidden in his trusty companion servo scull C14n63dd1n. He had done this at the expense of a portion of his memory – during the time of the rite of transference, he could only operate on a servitor-like basis and thus was not able to stop the warp-incited idea that had taken root in Aheron’s power hungry mind. Um Nama, although prooven to be a great war aid, had become a great enemy of the crew’s safety. Fueling the idea of plunging the precious Satyricon Grand Cruiser into the Processional of the Damned, Aheron briefly lost his mind and along with it all of the memories of what became of his crew. Short episodes of roaming the ship in desperation and drug-like frenzy, feverishly sweating and spinning into a maddening spiral of doom still flash before his eyes, but no useful information comes from it yet. No clues or hints of where Um Nama Narayan and her assistant Saab went, what became of Lien Ryn and Duncan, did Flyol Corpos die in a clash with the mysterious warp-bordering sea of despair that is the Processional… Occasional words of prayer from the Missionary and other denisens… and blackness…

When he finally regained his wits , he was in a hospital bed, overlooking a familiar space station, with a great big golden statue of the Emperor in the middle. He deduced he was now in the Footfall, rescued by some fortunate mgickal means of the Emperor – or something else.

On the neighboring bed was Aheron’s oldest and most faithful companion Echo Notch, stripped of his robes and attached to external medicae cogitators to monitor his status. Aheron soon got up on his feet and approached his friend, and for a brief moment they relished in the fact that they were both alive and aware of their surroundings, although unsure yet if the hospital was just a guise for a prison of some sort. They celebrated with a hug and a pat on the back, and in the short exchange of words admitted either of them had no recollection of the unfortunate events leading up to their current position.

Then a well dressed – clean-shaven slender man with long dreadlocks entered the room and introduced himself as Emil Regis Rohellec Terzieff-Godefroy, an employee of baroness Agnes II Nataly Orfelian of the Casaballica Comission. He explained that the Casabalica agents had pulled Aheron and Echo from the derelict Grand Cruiser’s bowels, thus saving their lives, but established that it is now the year 41163, and that they have been lost for roughly 170 years. The Baroness was very venerable and thus highly intrigued by Aheron’s longevity so Emil took the survivors to have an audience with her. On the way there they also met the baroness’ daughter Ann Hester Nora Orfelian, a charming woman of youthful appearance.

They were offered a simple deal, in exchange for their lives – they would work for the baroness from now on, under strict surveillance of Casaballica’s people. The woman openly asked Aheron about his secret and threatened to dissect him if he refuses to speak, but he managed to slither away from her grasp using confusing words and ramblings as he usually does when pressed for information he wishes not to share. This was a chance to redeem their sins and get back on their feet, which they eagerly took. But first they needed a ship.

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The Pilgrimage
Exploring the potential new homebase

Written by Echo Notch
On the way to the Reaches.

The Crew had come victorious out of the short Ork war on Barsuvian, the forge world. Duncan and Echo managed to pack Aheron’s “corpse” from the pile of other fallen soldiers and orks into an Arvus lighter, and Sarge piloted them back onto the Satyricon. Lien shortly followed with the remaining troops and her trophy warboss’s Power Claw and warboss head. Duncan set Aheron’s broken legs and they smuggled him into the secret refrigeration compartment of his quarters. They knew it was just a matter of hours before he rises from his “death” state for the third time.

They started to approach the Tech-Priests’ orbiting station, to negotiate the repairs they need. But along the way they found that a vessel had docked in their hangar demanding their attention. The new guests were greeted by Lien and Duncan accompanied by many soldiers and the Astropath Flyol Corpos. Since Aheron had only recently awoken and was unable to walk, he observed the arrival from his quarters over a pict feed where he was comfortably set in a wheelchair and guarded by Echo Notch. Out of the new Arvus flier came a short tan armed woman in flight officer’s fatigues and a slim tall figure in a black robe, wearing a mirror mask on their face. They introduced themselves as Um Nama Narayan, a female navigator working for the highest bidder and her assistant Saab. They had been involved in spearheading the attack on the ork fleet but their ship and crew had been lost to a perilous tactic that no one could foresee the orks using – they detonated one of their own ships and wiped out the defending fleet. They were allowed to stay under watch and would come to see the Fabricator General with Aheron if they so desired. Soon enough Aheron found that Um might prove to be a better navigator than “The Screamer” as they so aptly named their current one, and so he offered her a contract.

They were all welcomed in the AdMech station and allowed an audience with the Fabrcator General. For their help they were each offered free equipment and ship parts. They even agreed to fabricate the borderline heretical auto-loader macrocannons, Zayithian pattern, but demanded they surrender the blueprints and not share the design with anyone. Echo petitioned the Fabricator to upgrade Satyricon’s essential components as this could only be done on a well-equipped Forge World. The Fabricator General warned Echo and the Crew that it is not uncommon for such a ship as the Repulsive Grand Cruiser to fall to chaos as they are all very susceptible to the warp. If such a thing would come to pass, they would be obliged to destroy it, at the cost of their lives. Echo also asked for a permission to pull data out of the AdMech librarium for his personal research. They then humbly surrendered the Dreadnaugt they had been hauling from the far reaches of Koronus.

After extensive ship repairs, upgrades, acquisitions and implantation, they continued on their way to address the issue of their new bountiful system in the Unbeholden Reaches. The Spyridon, their background endeavor ship had reported seeing plenty pirate ships just before they turned their tail and fled from exploring the system. Aheron and the others knew they would have a battle on their hands, they just couldn’t have divined the scale of it.

Um Nama asked for a peculiar ship component from the Fabricator General, the Astrarium Koronus, but instead only received the precise location of the thing. It was in the Outer see of The Processional of the Damned, a place she had accidentally visited before and knew firsthand of its perils. They could only wonder how she knew of the existence of such an ancient Archeotech device and especially how it came to be lodged in that cursed place.

Thankfully, she plotted an excellent course towards the Unbeholden Reaches, but continued to petition the other officers to drop by the Processional to get the Astrarium, to witch they all voted nay except for the captain, who upon hearing that there would be abandoned eldar crafts in the region thought he could at the same time use the strange obelisk device he found many years ago on the then wreckaged Irae Juste. The device would arguably provide a map of unknown treasures if used on an eldar vessel’s bridge properly. Also combining that knowledge with the Astrarium Koronus would definitely deem profitable, but the dangers of the Processional were just too great. So the officers voted to explore this venture after liberating their bountiful system from the foul pirates.

During their warp journey they had a mishap which caused many of the crew to go about madly, rampagng, killing eachother. The missionary whom they had previously persuaded to come along with them instead of remaining in the Winterscale realm, made good use of his chanting and Emperor gospel and managed to calm the minds of the crew somewhat. Thankfully Aheron had acquisitioned an Autotemple and this had proven to be a good investment because many of the crewmen needed guidance and prayer after the crazy things they saw during the warp jump.

Upon arrival to their yet unnamed system the Navigator noticed a derelict space station orbited by several transport vessels, the dauntless light cruiser Ex Infernis, and a Lunar Class Cruiser The Queen Chorda’s Revenge. They remembered previously encountering Ex Infernis and how they thought their talk of a scary grand cruiser of the captain Chorda were mere empty threats. From their current point of view it seemed like the threats did have merit and were faced with a very difficult decision.

The officers called a meeting to try to decide what action they should take. First, a silent infiltration mission was suggested that would disable the cruiser so that they could battle just the other ships, but it would have to be executed by the officers themselves and it would be extremely dangerous and leave them vulnerable for the other pirate ships in the following battle. So a crazy idea had been thrown onto the table named after its proposer – The Um-Na-Maneuver.

The navigator would attempt something unspeakable, she would jump the ship through the void for a relatively short distance within the system, namely from their current position to the direct position between the Chorda’s cruiser and the station to make use of their new Power Ram, the pride of the Satyricon. This would become the ship’s most famous maneuver… if it succeeded of course. Careful planing was necessary to pull it off and every crewman and officer would have to do their part in the grand attempt to quickly and bravely surprise and annihilate the pirates in this system. It was so out of this world that it had to work! And the officers soon all agreed to go with that plan.

Everything was set in motion, everyone was on their posts. The navigator had taken every precaution to prevent damage to herself and used the Screamer as her scapegoat for the awful thing of the immaterium that would scratch alongside the hull of their ship, hungrily wanting to punish them for such an outrageous attempt at unsolicited warp abuse.

Echo had given the Satyricon’s Machine Spirit maximal aid to enhance its maneuverability. Acheron was behind the wheel, using all his force and several assistants to keep the attack straightly aimed at the Chorda’s cruiser center, for maximum ramming damage. Lien made sure to shoot the torpedoes and other glorious weaponry they acquired on Barsuvian from the second they exited the warp on the pirate’s side. Duncan was commanding the hit and run vessels and triaging the wounded. The horror in Chorda’s eyes must have been awesome at the moment that a gigantic warp rip opened right next to his prized vessel, from which the angry face of the Satyricon came spreading pain and destruction. The attack was a maddening experience and a grand success. In only a single hour our heroes had disintegrated the Lunar class cruiser and disabled the engines of the fleeing dauntless class light cruiser as well. The little transport vehicles were allowed to flee chased by the menacing message in Um Nama’s disturbing voice “Begone from here! And never return!!!”

Unfortunately during the few moments the Satyricon was plunged into the warp the gellar fields couldn’t take the strain and the crew was heavily irradiated by the maddening things that cannot be named. Thus many died, even the officers suffered great deteriorating of their psyches. Duncan even started to mutate as the corruption of the vile seeped into his muscles, permanently enlarging their tissue and strengthening them.

Gates of Hell, Log from Xavier Chorda

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To Forge Anew
My first Ground War

On their way to the forge-world when they jumped into the void to rest for a bit, while scanning they noticed a distresses call, as good guys that they are decision was made to go closer and see who is fighting. As it turns out it was an administratum’s ship that was attacked by some pirates in a light cruiser with lots of guns. So the plan was forged, ramming, hit and run tactic and hailing the enemy so they break their morale and surprisingly it worked. After the fight the pirates went cold and Aheron’s ship helped with repairs on the administratum’s ship so that both can go on. The meeting was arranged between to ships and the administratum explained that they are on their way to meet the rulers of this sector, and asked if Aheron could take a missionary and his entourage because their destination was closer to Aheron’s, of course they accepted. The missionary was an old man, totally different thanMia, and when he came on board they departed for the forge world. The trip took for the worse, the travel felt like they traveled for weeks, months and perhaps even years, but they managed to come out of the warp mostly unharmed. Arriving at the forge world in hopes of upgrading their ship, getting rid of the cargo and improving their gear, the crew of Satyricon was greeted by the Tech-priests and informed that the planet was under the attack of the Orks. The scan revealed one Ork ship in orbit, just out of range of the stations defenses. The officers agreed that Echo Notch and Lien Ryn will go down to the planet and help with the ground fighting, while Aheron andDuncan will stay in the ship and help with the communication, coordination and will keep an eye out for the Orks ship. Lien’s troops landed first and she started sweeping the grounds, while Echos troops landed not far from hers and started their attack as well. After a while the Orks came into melee and Liens troops started to lose, but with the help of Echo who ambushed the Orks, they managed to push them back towards their Warboss. Meanwhile captain Aheron came to the planet as well and took control of PDF forces, but was unfortunately ambushed and surrounded by enemy himself. Duncan managed to locate the warboss’s location and came down to the planet to help with the assassination of the boss. A hub base was put at the town square and was made to be HQ for the rest of the mission. Suffering some losses, Aheron managed to push through the Ork forces and came to the HQ but he was late for Duncan, Echo and Lien were already gone to face the boss. They managed to coordinate that Aheron will attack at dawn and distract the bulk of the Ork forces; meanwhile the rest will try to kill the warboss. Traveling through the sewers and without a sleep for a day, it was decided that they will rest for a bit. At Echos watch a gretchin came and almost raised the alarm, but was killed before he could do that. Coming to the building that was behind bosses tent they hid, Duncan and scouts on the roof, Echo in the basement and Lien at the door and waited for the attack to commence. When it started and the warboos came out with his bodyguards Duncan took the shot and the bodyguards went strait to his location while Echo and Lien started fighting the boss. Meanwhile Aheron was bored with only fighting the Orks and wanted to fight the boss, so he took a ship and went to stratosphere so he could avoid air defenses and land right at the boss’s tent. But his plan failed because the flyer was shot and lost control, he failed to activate his gav-chute and hit the ground from a 300 meter fall. Praying to the emperor he managed to only break his legs and passed out from exhaustion. After exchanging a couple of blows Lien noticed something in the sky rushing towards the location where she was fighting the boss, she managed to escape the impact location of the flyer that came from nowhere and it killed the boss on the spot, pushing him to the building. Orks have lost their leader and the killing was easier now, the three officers came to HQ only to find out that the flyer was under Aherons command. Echo and Duncan went to search for him while Lien stayed to command the troops, for she was pissed at Acheron for leaving his inexperienced troops to fight Orks while he went to kill the boss.

- Battle Log-
Lien’s Journal Entry

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Dry Dock

After the nice chitchat with the inquisition, Aheron and Duncan headed back for their pirate vessel for a trip home. The bridge of the Hezroth class raider was the most uncomfortable place to be, due to the new quirky navigator, whoms vocal chords were over stained during the warp jump.
Screaming atop of his lungs from the horrifying abominations floating through the warp, and the constant strain of navigating the ship.
After several days of constant cacophony, two headaches and twenty seven pain suppressant pills later they have arrived at their destination.
They were hailed by the former Irae Juste and the Emperors Will. After a lot of planning and talk with Alaric, the former benefactor of the wayward young Aheron, has departed in the upmost queer way. He has done so after Aheron mentioned the fate of their brother Geberic. Whom was expunged from historical records of the Imperium.

Left to their own they rushed to footfalls and port wander gearing as much as they could and burning profit factor in the process.

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