(600 + GE)
(Brian, Doug, Jane, Peg, Randy)
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: Through Faith we are Free
The “world” of Aleron’s Rest was not what I expected. An immense gas giant orbiting a dying red star was bleeding mass into the void through a combination of reduced solar gravitation and increased solar winds. The inhabited colony world itself was the largest and outermost moon of the gas giant, now gliding just above the expanding vapors of its parent world. Other moons, some showing signs of habitation, now traversed the murky storm, wracked by ion-storms and other difficulties. While the moon of Aleron’s Rest itself seemed reasonably safe, and indeed, still possessing a full degree of Imperial technological capability, the deeper moons were a more difficult matter to read with the augur arrays of the Void Star.
We were hailed by vox-caster with surprising alacrity considering the Void Star’s silent running, and I left initial negotiations to Acolyte Hiberna. It would appear that the planetary Governor, named Tal, was most eager to see representatives of the Imperium. Voice-pattern analysis indicated a great degree of stress, and an urgent need for relief of some problem he was unwilling to discuss via vox-caster. Epsilon Cell took a shuttle to the capitol city of the moon while I took up a more cautious, distant orbit.
It would appear that the citizens of Aleron’s Rest have thoroughly internalized the Imperial position that their ancestors were worthy of extermination but for acts of brave rebellion against their xenos masters. For this, they were given this moon, to live out their lives in service to the Empire, segregated lest the taint of the Yu’Vath spread. It would appear that when the warp storms arose some seven centuries ago, the star changed, expanding, dulling, and that this resulted in the expansion and mass-bleed of the gas giant. The planet is immense, and will not lose sufficient mass to threaten the colony for some centuries yet, but the people of Aleron’s Rest saw this as a sign that a time of testing was upon them. Sudden lack of Imperial tithe ships, as well as the black ships of the Inquisition, confirmed that they were in for an isolation, and they bolstered their faith.
It would appear that the Licenian Regency’s ships did make landfall here every fifty years or so. The people of Aleron’s Rest, having dutifully stockpiled their owed Imperial tithes, handed them over without complaint to the Regent’s people, and as such, was left alone and in peace.
Governor Tal made great pains to impress upon Epsilon Cell the piety and sense of Imperial duty possessed by the people of the moon, who have sought now for two millenia to be worthy of full Imperial citizenship. Once he stressed this, however, he revealed the source of his concern. It would appear that about seven months ago, at a time coinciding with the waning once more of the warp storms, a strange cult began to suddenly rise within the communities of the various moons of the planet. This cult is not characterized by any particular belief or creed, but rather has all the hallmarks of mind control or possession. People began having strange dreams filled with enigmatic whispers, none of which could be remembered upon waking. Suddenly, and without apparent reason, people began acting in murderous, concerted ways against their fellow citizens. Epsilon Cell, with the full cooperation of the colony government, began an investigation that appeared, at first, to be similar to the sort of thing the Slaugth were up to on Ymir-3, but as time went on, became increasingly bizarre.
I will append the full report when next I see you in person. For now, I will sum up their findings garnered via interrogation of captured “Whisperers” and exhaustive records analysis. The frequency of these dreams varies widely person to person, and there is somewhat of a correlation between dream frequency and the likelihood of full conversion. Once converted, the “Whisperer” retains all of their former knowledge and even personality, but suddenly bears the utter conviction that any non-Whisperer needs to be slain. They do not act mindlessly, nor compulsively, feeding the growing paranoia in the colony that anyone, at any time, could be a Whisperer merely biding his or her time. The main colony moon of Aleron’s Rest, which bears by far the majority of the population, is teetering on the edge of paranoia-induced anarchy held barely in check by the governor, who to all appearances is actually quite competent at his job.
The plague started, it would appear, deep within the clouds of escaping mass at a promethium refinery known as Installation-23. At first it appeared to be acts of sabotage by criminals or malcontents. The PDF was sent in, the rebellion pacified, only to flare up again once the PDF had left. Soon, the PDF themselves started manifesting saboteurs and murderers. Contact was ultimately lost with the Installation as similar uprisings were reported from the Mechanicus moon known as Cog, and the first stirrings of such uprisings on Aleron’s Rest itself. Patterns in the data indicate a single intelligence controlling the dreams and causing the subversion of these otherwise pious citizens. Acolyte Promethea discerned a very subtle disturbance in the warp around individuals having one of the dreams, and I developed theoretical frameworks around both known warp-using xenos, and daemonic activity.
Ultimately, however, Epsilon Cell realized that their investigation must bring them into the storm to one of the more infested moons. They selected the moon of Silence, a airless rock holding a religious monastery dedicated to enshrining Imperial saints in the form of exquisite statuary. After that, they may go on to Cog, an icy moon with underground greenhouse installations dedicated, apparently, to the work of a Magos Biologis. Their plans after that I cannot speculate without further data. I will not be able to contact them once they penetrate the outer layers of the storm, and so I will continue to monitor conditions on Aleron’s Rest, and aim the Void Star’s augur arrays deep into the planet below.
An interesting detail: Apparently Lady-Captain Elizabeth Starling made a visit to Aleron’s Rest some two months after the warp storms abated. This coincides with Lady-Captain Callista Flamel’s initial forays, reports from which alerted the Lord-Sector that the storms had abated. Our endeavors against the Council of Nine resulted in contact with the Starling siblings, and her presence at this moon, her exploration of events at the very start of these strange uprisings, and her subsequent silence about them is of intriguing concern.
Supplemental Datafeed: Bastian Attilan
a visual of an oblong rocky planetoid with a force-bubble dome, blue and green gasses wash over it as ion lightning plays around the shuttle. The shuttle penetrates the dome to reveal a large tower built of stone, with elaborate carvings of massive Imperial saints gracing the four sides. All around the tower is an elaborate stone garden holding hundreds of broken cast-off statues of notable Imperial saints. There is no sign of life.
The shuttle touches down. The camera has a low-to-the-ground angle, the members of Epsilon Cell loom large on all sides. They cautious walk through the empty garden of broken statues. Suddenly, a black-purple energy erupts from the ground, crackling between the statues, which lumber to life and attack. Epsilon Cell fights bravely, but is herded by the press of stone to the closed door of the tower, which Dido pushes open in terror. The rest follow, closing the door upon the statues without.
A glow-globe lights the first floor. The entire bottom floor of the tower is the living quarters, kitchens, communal dining areas, and store rooms. It is full of corpses. Epsilon Cell moves amongst the corpses, investigating them. Data recording reflects the medical conclusion that they all stopped where they were, sat down, and died of thirst.
A stone staircase leads up into the tower. Upon reaching the second floor, data feed indicates a massive library. Fifteen foot tall shelves stacked with books and scrolls with corridors narrow enough for only one to walk. Dido’s eyes light up. She finds an index, and determines that this library is full of two-thousand years of scholarship into Imperial saints, their iconography, their rites, their appearances. She takes a book on Saint Aleron from the shelf. It is blank. Another book is also blank, as is the next scroll. After some frenzies checking, about 75% of the books appear to have somehow been erased. As Dido checks the books, Promethea tilts her head as if hearing something. She indicates the approach of something that resonates with her psychic abilities. Suddenly the shelves fall away from the Acolytes opening a space and something horrific emerges from the stacks.
It is a crystalline orb, a meter across, with smaller crystals in orbit around it. The whole construct crackles with a black-purple energy which pulses and reaches for the acolytes. Dido appears to recognize the construct and a look of horror and panic causes her to turn specifically to Bastian, as if he is in particular danger, and yell “run Bastian!”