700 + GM
From the Archives of Archibald Fanning, Vanem Umbrae
Lady Captain Elizabeth Starling informed the Inquisitor and her Agents that the meet had been arranged. The Inquisitor’s agents took great precautions. Among the unusual characteristics of their Logician-modified ship were emergency decompression lockers in every bulkhead containing enough vac-suits for every member of the crew. It seemed an extravagant waste of space and resources, considering vac-suits are harder to get than new crewmembers, but in this instance the heretical quirks of the Logician cult were of benefit. Magos Attilan arranged for a potent narcotic gas to be released into the life-sustainers at need as a precaution against teleportarium boarding actions, with their own crew rendered immune through vac-suit use. They feared that Garvus Slynt would opt to simply take the Azure Rose by force rather than proceed with any planned negotiations.
They arrived in an obscure system filled with asteroids and other rubble. The wildcat miners and pirates lurking amidst the rocks did not bother the Inquisitor nor the Starling dynasty vessel accompanying them. Ultimately, Garvus Slynt’s flagship, along with three raider-class vessels, arrived in the system. Both sides scanned each other, and it became clear that Slynt’s ship was thoroughly augmented and upgraded, although his companion vessels were fairly ordinary. The modifications Magos Attilan had made to the deep-void augur arrays were able to detect the presence of Slaugth-tech energy signatures somewhere in the heart of Slynt’s vessel.
Lady Captain Starling invited negotiators from both sides to her own ship to discuss the transaction over dinner. Inquisitor Promethea, along with her trusted agents, and her acolyte Cormorant Tybaltus, acting as their figurehead “pirate captain”, took a shuttle to Starling’s vessel, opting to conceal the capabilities of their ship’s teleportarium. They left their remaining acolytes aboard the Azure Rose to arrange the release of the toxic gas, and to stand ready for treachery.
Slynt’s vessel also sent a shuttle, and both sides met for dinner. It became immediately apparent that Slynt was not himself present. He chose to negotiate via an underling dressed much as Tybaltus was, in ostentatious “pirate” garb. This negotiator, Lyle Gray, sat across from Tybaltus while the Inquisitor, in her role as thuggish bodyguard, and the remaining Agents, made the acquaintance of their counterparts. Gray had in his company a tech-priest dripping with obvious xeno-tech upgrades, a navigator of House Visscher, an adept of few words, and three low-class if murderously skillful thugs.
Dinner concluded and the two “pirate captains” withdrew to discuss the sale while the Inquisitor and her Agents learned what they could from their counterparts. Tybaltus managed to bargain all three of Slynt’s accompanying raiders as the price for the Azure Rose and both parties departed in their shuttles.
The Inquisitor and her agents briefly debated their course of action, recognizing that the process of investigation and transfer of command of four ships would take days. They realized that they would get back to their ship before Gray and his companions would get back to Slynt’s ship, and if they hurried, they could use their teleportarium to take the bridge, capture Slynt, and perhaps return before his capable retainers could come to his aid.
They grabbed a squad of ten crew, who had been trained by Davos in the use of the Logician combat armor and splinter rifles, and made this plan a reality.
They surprised Slynt on the bridge of his vessel. Magos Attilan’s attendant cybernetic creatures effectively sealed the bridge preventing a flood of reinforcements while his combat servitor charged Slynt himself. Sister Castita, utilizing the vox-caster implanted into her servo-skull, implored the bridge crew to stand down in the name of the emperor. So powerful was her command, that all complied except for the tech priests and the servitors working the bridge stations. These were handled with fire and combat hounds from Magos Attilan. Davos and the Inquisitor herself assaulted Slynt, who proved most adept at avoiding blows. He was able to give a command to initiate Protocol Omega 573, which caused the Slaugth technology in the heart of his vessel to translate the entire ship somewhere… else. In this place, the Inquisitor, and Temple Vanus Assassin Dido, found their psychic powers utterly negated, as if such concepts could not exist.
Slynt informed the Inquisitor that if she ever wished to return to the galaxy of man again, she would stand down and leave him alive. She informed him, conversely, that he should seriously consider how badly he might want to live. Looking into the eyes of a member of the Emperor’s Holy Inquisition, and seeing no fear of death, and great murderous intent, he capitulated, surrendering himself to her. At this point, the sealed door to the bridge simply… melted… and a Slaugth entered in the full might of his power. A gesture from his strange sceptre liquified three of the squad they brought, while his merest touch nearly did the same to Magos Attilan. Concentrated fire from Guardsman Davos, the Magos’ servitors, and even Dido ultimately slew the beast, although Magos Attilan’s valuable combat servitor was destroyed in the process.
They then, with their prisoner, made their way through the ship, haunted by the screams of the dying at the hands of stalking slaugth. They managed to avoid their hunters and made it to the Enginarium, where Magos Attilan was able to deactivate the slaugth device. Upon returning to our galaxy, they all, with their prisoner, returned via teleportarium to their ship.
In their absence, the Inquisitor’s acolytes were able to prevent Slynt’s allied ships from starting any trouble. Upon the Inquisitor’s return, they were able to convince Slynt to cause his people to stand down and depart the system. The three raiders he brought did so at his instruction. The Inquisitor caused the shuttle containing Lyle Gray and his companions to be brought aboard, and then instructed Lady Captain Starling to destroy the dozens of escape shuttles being used by the crew of Slynt’s ship, doubtless fleeing the horrors of the slaugth. Both ships then fired upon Slynt’s vessel, disabling it, and sent it on a trajectory into the system’s star, destroying it utterly.
The interrogations then began.
Slynt was entirely cooperative. He gave up details of the pirate empire he was building on behalf of the Amaranthine syndicate, including his growing network of spies and agents that had infiltrated all manner of Imperial organizations, mostly with an eye toward aiding pirates in avoiding capture. His branch of the industry was in “growth” mode, as he sought to bring more and more pirate activity under his aegis and influence. The device on his ship was a means by which slaugth could intrude on our reality, and was the method by which “the Director” conveyed his orders. In addition to a vast array of data on the structure and activities of his branch of the Syndicate, Slynt revealed the location of the Director: a secret base beneath the surface of the planet Exterminatus 88837222020, known as “the Big Gray.” This world had been virus-bombed during the Angevin Crusade by order of the Inquisition, and is now notable only as a place for naval fleets to practice planetary bombardment. It would appear that the base remains well hidden, and that the slaugth technology on Slynt’s ship was installed from one of the seemingly derelict stations in orbit.
Interrogation of the other agents revealed lesser variations on the theme. Lyle Gray knew he worked for Slynt and the Syndicate, but was unaware of alien influence. The House Visscher Navigator seemed similarly unaware of the slaugth. The xeno-here-tek had helped install the slaugth device into the ship, and had incorporated one of their disintegration rods into his mechadendrites, but otherwise had little direct interaction, but a great deal of technical and theoretical knowledge of their dimension of origin and technology.
The silent adept, however, proved more curious. On a hunch, the Inquisitor asked Slynt about the possibility of possession or corruption. Assassin Dido recalled, of course, the strange behavior on Ymir-3 that had caused them to speculate that the slaugth could somehow corrupt or control minds. Slynt passed all medical examinations they could think of, including attempts to psychically purify his body. Slynt himself was convinced that his slaugth masters kept tabs on him through covert spies and agents that riddled the Syndicate as direct eyes and ears.
The silent adept proved to be one such agent. Under medical examination, it was discovered that he had a single maggot burrowed into his forebrain. His original knowledge and personality was maintained as a sort of… illusion, a mirage of self, but the man’s soul had been consumed and a dark intelligence guided his flesh like a puppet.
Upon being exposed, the maggot secreted necrotic fluids, and dissolved, ultimately evaporating back to whatever realm it came from. The Inquisitor and Magos Attilan worked to develop means to detect such agents, realizing that the slaugth now know that THEY know about the existence of such agents, and anticipating a counter-attack to silence them from spreading that knowledge among humanity.
The Inquisitor and her Agents then handed all of Slynt’s knowledge over to Lady-Captain Starling, enabling her to seize control of his pirate empire. They then prepared to plan the next stage of their covert war against the Slaugth.