Valdane's Chronicles

Standing in the Shadow - Part 7

Sifting through the rubble

The acolytes recover from the firefight and pillage their adversaries corpses for weapons, ammunition, and any other usable goods. Among the bodies, the acolytes recover a sacred item – an incredibly ancient and powerful plasma pistol.

With the camp secured, they begin to search the surviving structures for clues about the smugglers’ operations.

Almost immediately, the acolytes find what appears to be a converted cargo trailer. There’s one door in and bars over a few windows lining the walls. It appears that the smugglers have constructed a small, crude prison. Inside, steel bars divide the trailer into two cells with a small walkway from where a jailer can open the gates or slip food in. One of the cells is occupied. A shattered figure with tell-tale red robes and cybernetics lays under one of the trailers’ damaged walls, clearly wrecked during the heavy fighting. A single support girder pierces his torso, pinning him to the cell’s floor. The figure is obviously wounded, perhaps fatally.

The acolytes return to the smugglers’ vehicle bay, attempting to find some tools to either remove the bars, or rip open the damage wall. Parked dangerously close to the ruptured promethium tanks are three Veloxic bikes – ruggedized and armed for the smugglers’ dangerous wasteland journeys.

Uziel, Tybs, and Amador mount the bikes, driving them back to the trailer-prison. Attaching large chains to the shattered wall, they attempt to pull away parts of the damaged structure to gain access to the Tech Priest’s cell. With a well-coordinated effort, they manage to make a hole large enough to climb through. Unfortunately, they have caused slightly more damage to the pinned Mechanicum priest.

Scrambling, the acolytes stabilize the figure’s shattered body and leaking life-support systems. Barely gaining consciousness, the priest focuses his gave on Amador. Sensing that his flesh is weak and that his life may be coming to an end, he recounts his tale in a burst of binaric cant.

His name is Iyathson, an Askellian Tech Priest of a portion of the Cult Mechanicus known as the Quaerostori. The Quaerostory regularly undergo pilgrimages, seeking out stolen or misplaced technology in order to return it to the protection of the Omnissiah. Has been a prisoner in this camp for almost three months.

While following a trail of omens, Iyathson was captured by the smugglers. He tells Amador that he was attempting to locate a single relic, the Occulus Ignis. He refuses to share any details about the
ancient item with the acolytes, save
that the extant pattern for the
device on Core Theta became
irreparably corrupted a mere two
centuries ago. He had hoped to
find a surviving example of
the sacred device somewhere
in the Wastes.

However, thanks to his gifts from the Omnissiah, namely his bionic eyesight and hearing, Iyathson states that he has seen and heard a great deal of things within the camp.

First, the smugglers are members of the “Trade Sable”, an organization based on Desoleum but that seemingly spans across the Askellian Sector. The smugglers are collaborating with an off-world group they refer to as “the Inheritors.” The Sable Traders do not trust the Inheritors, but have some sort of mutually beneficial business arrangement.

Additionally, the Inheritors clearly represent a cult of some type, but Iyathson does not know what the object of their worship is. Lastly, a group of Inheritors departed the camp only a few hours before the acolytes’ arrival and before a convoy of smugglers left into the wastes.

Besides the prison, the acolytes also find a secured building that appears to be an office of some sort. Inside, the building is also a small sleeping chamber, as well as a massive vox-set, a desk, and several trunks and cabinets containing papers, cargo manifests, contracts, false shipping documents and identification, and other sundry documents. Upon the desk sits a small, portable cogitator.

After interfacing with the devices’ machine spirit, Amador finds that the cogitator contains several documents pertaining to a recent “shipment”, including a message confirming that the smugglers have secured passage on a ship from Port Gyre, and the estimated departure date – today. The smugglers are to board at platform Omicron 7-2A. It also notes that a previous group of Inheritors have already departed for Port Gyre.

Scattered throughout the documents are multiple references to the Inheritors, with context indicating them either as customers or as partners in operations. Several messages discuss working with the Inheritors to attack other stores of “merchandise.”

Among these effects the acolytes also find a pict recorder with vid-caps of the exterior of the warehouse where the dead cultists and smugglers were found in the underhive, as well as pictures of several other structures within Desoleum Prime. Some of the images show robed figures coming or going, carrying chests or packages.

The acolytes also find a series of correspondences between two of the smugglers. One of the writers seems to be of a slightly lower rank and he laments the difficulties in working alongside the Inheritors. He complains of the constant chanting, and of much nausea and illness amongst his men, which he blames directly on the Inheritors’ activities.

In the office, the acolytes also open a locked chest, containing all kinds of materiel and tools clearly of Mechanicus origin. Believing these to be Iyathson’s seized gear, Amador takes them for safe keeping. Among them is a data slate containing all kinds of research, templates, and diagrams.

The acolytes decide that there is simply too much on the line with too little time to act. They attempt to call in reinforcements. Amador communes with the machine spirit contained within the office’s military-grade vox set and sends a transmission to the Reliant Dawn. After a lengthy, encrypted status report, the acolytes are told to wait two hours for the next transmission. They are unsure that Iyathson will survive that time.

They request an immediate medical evacuation for Iyathson, rapid transit to Port Gyre, and for an advance team to head off anyone attempting to leave Gyre platform Omicron 7-2A.

All that’s left is for the acolytes to await orders and to secure the last of the camp’s remaining structures – the black and bone building untouched among dozens of smoldering ruins. According to Uziel’s auspex, four life signs are still contained within.

The acolytes ready their weapons and prepare to purge the suspected heretics with extreme prejudice.



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