600 + GM
(Brian, Jane, Peg, Doug)
From the Archives of Archibald Fanning, Vanem Umbrae
Upon capturing Garvus Slynt and transferring his criminal empire to Lady Captain Elizabeth Starling, whilst sending astropathic communication to Callidon Rees and their allies on Ichabarr for swift action against the other two thirds of the Amaranthine organization in the sector, Inquisitor Promethea and her agents were left with an unfortunate question of timing.
Although they had no evidence that slaugth mind-control maggots had any particular capacity to communicate across interstellar distances, the Inquisitor and her agents had to assume such a thing in order to effectively strategize their assault on Exterminatus 88837222020, a.k.a. “The Big Grey”, the planet where the slaugth “Director” of the syndicate could be found. According to their navigator, the Big Grey was an estimated two weeks by warp travel away, while Ichabarr was, the vagaries of the warp permitting, more than two months away.
The concern was this: that the slaugth, being extrusions from some other dimension or reality, can readily pack up and depart in advance of any potential assault. The agents carefully analyzed their memories of anything that may have been said in the presence of the worm-infested adept, and came to the conclusion that, under the assumption that the slaugth know everything it knew, that they may be concerned that a “certain group” knew so much about them, but nothing gave them away as actually inquisition. The adept himself saw little except the inside of a shuttle while the Inquisitor took Slynt’s ship.
The crux of the debate was whether or not to attempt storming the slaugth stronghold alone, or whether to requisition the aid of the Deathwatch. Although they came to another means by which the Deathwatch could be alerted that was only about a month away, conversation with Elizabeth Starling saw a new plan hatched.
There was a chance that the slaugth would assume that the whole fall of Slynt was a treacherous plan orchestrated by Starling, seeking to claim Slynt’s place within the Syndicate, not as a betrayal. The possibility existed that if the Inquisitor and the Lady Captain made best time to the Big Grey, they could contact agents of the slaugth on the derelict orbiting station and convince them that this was just a mundane power-grab, no need for concern, no need to retreat to their own dimension. Should this deceit succeed, the Inquisitor would have the three or more months necessary to return to Ichabarr, report to the Inquisition, requisition the Deathwatch, and return to the Big Gray.
They put this plan in motion, the Inquisitor and her agents taking on the roles of hired mercenaries in the entourage of Lady Captain Starling. They went aboard the derelict station that the Director uses for meetings with his managers and other high-level covert action. It became clear that the squatters living there were all infected by slaugth cranial maggots, used as a combination of cover and security. They met with one of these men, who spoke for the Director. Starling engaged in her deceit, but the Director wished a more concrete demonstration of her loyalty, demanding that she use one of the slaugth disintegration rods on Inquisitor Promethea.
Things very nearly went to combat, but the quick, distracting speech of Dido, supported by the false reactions of Davos and Promethea themselves, laid the groundwork for the lie that they were just mercenaries, and killing any number of them would prove nothing. Magos Attilan covertly mentioned to the Lady Captain that perhaps offering to sever her own arm would be a suitable replacement.
Much can be said for the steely resolve of those who would be Rogue Traders. Lady Captain Starling stared down the agent of the Director, returned his rod, drew her power rapier, and cut off her own left hand.
This appeared to surprise the man, but after a moment, he recognized her gesture and much to everyone’s surprise even returned her hand. He gave to her all the top-level Amaranthine Syndicate “goals and missions” as well as pertinent data she would need to run Slynt’s operations, and they all retreated to their ship.
Magos Attilan and Inquisitor Promethea arranged to re-attach the Lady Captain’s hand. They did a covert orbit around the Big Grey utilizing the scanning methods pioneered by Magos Attilan, discovering a deep facility of enormous size veritably reeking with slaugth energy emissions. It was deep enough as to be safe from the casual bombardment the planet regularly receives, dug deep into the porous rock of the planet. They left Lady Captain Starling to run the Amaranthine Syndicate’s pirate operations as a placatory cover while they all returned to Ichabarr to gather their forces.
Fortunately, the Inquisition gets the best navigators, and they made good time to Ichabarr where Inquisitor Promethea reported on her efforts and successes. During their journey, Callidon Rees and his cell of acolytes had successfully taken down his cousin Cordelia Rees and the Cold Trade Emporium on Rashan, doing it in such a fashion to leave the local noble houses in a state of fractious warfare sufficient to keep any such network from arising again anytime soon. Inquisitor Purusha had, meanwhile, arranged the arrest of Lyza Blue and the syndicate’s legitimate mercantile operations out of Ichabarr, and had a number of them in cells awaiting further interrogation at Inquisitor Promethea’s convenience.
After a discussion with the Lord-Inquisitor for the Ordo Xenos, Inquisitor Promethea was given command of two Deathwatch squads of the Adeptus Arbites, led by Legionnaire Corvus of the Silver Ravens. They gathered to discuss tactical assault. Magos Attilan got mining equipment for insertion into the natural tunnels that riddle the Big Grey. Two squads of space marines are certainly effective in close-quarters, and the children of the Emperor arranged for weaponry to suit the battlefield. Magos Attilan, calling upon the resources of the entire group, also requisitioned a tarantula heavy weapons platform and a lascannon.
The plan was to use the twenty beacons for their advanced teleportarium to transport them all, plus the Deathwatch, plus the heavy weapon platform, into the slaugth tunnels, using the mining equipment for retreat or to open deadfalls as necessary, and lay waste to the slaugth as swiftly and surgically as possible before they retreat back to their realm. The goal was not extermination, as that was unrealistic. The goal was the destruction of their technological capacity to extrude themselves into our reality in that location, necessitating long and difficult movement of agents and materiel to rebuild.
Now, with a plan of action, Inquisitor Purusha pulled Inquisitor Promethea aside and revealed the existence of a secretive faction within the Inquisition, along with an offer to join. Lady Purusha told Promethea of the existence of the Vanem Umbrae, an organization that strives for cross-disciplinary information exchange amongst the three Ordos in fighting subtle threats to the Imperium, threats that may not be what they immediately appear to be. Having members of the Malleus, Xenos, and Hereticus sharing information makes it far more likely that threats will be accurately identified and that tools are available to fight them. Inquisitor Promethea joined, and came to the Vanem Umbrae vaults where she once again met me. She left in my care the technological specifications that Magos Attilan used to detect slaugth emissions against future need, as well as some interesting reports involving the autopsy of a heretek performed by Magos Attilan.
I’ll take a brief moment to discuss this matter. Slynt had in his entourage a tech-priest who had integrated all manner of xenos technology into his physical form. In addition to a slaugth disintegration rod, a stryxis ghostlight riftle, an odd piece of children-of-thorns tech in the form of a black mirror with a thorned frame, this heretek had installed a strange cylinder that, when made transparent, revealed a yu’vath crystal hanging in suspension. Assassin Dido interrogated the crystal utilizing her own unique methods and certain additional information about the yu’vath were revealed, namely that they are somehow completely incapable of perceiving the slaugth, even memories of the slaugth. It was known that the heretek helped install the slaugth device on Slynt’s ship, and that the yu’vath crystal was invading the heretek’s mind, yet the crystal had a strange blind spot where anything slaugth related existed. This added weight to the hypothesis that the slaugth had, either naturally or artificially, adapted to exist as parasites within the yu’vath slave empire.
Needless to say, the sentient crystal was destroyed, and the other parts of the heretek catalogued and shipped to the Great Mechanism.
Armed with knowledge, and with two squads of Deathwatch, Inquisitor Promethea and her Throne Agents set forth once more to the Big Grey to finish off the Amaranthine Syndicate in this sector, and their slaugth masters.