Thursday, 19 March 2009
From the desk of Inquisitor Attilus Titus...
I was quite pleased with my Acolytes tonight. They were able to turn a series of mass sacrificial rituals resulting in the creation of a daemonhost with a horde of bloodletters and a charnel daemon against the backdrop of a planetary extinction into much more manageable global devestation and riotting.
A space hulk in orbit around the planet (three ships rammed into an asteroid that were having their tech reclaimed) was being dropped onto a major city on a densely-populated planet (a hair away from a hiveworld). Upon this Hulk ritual sacrifices were being made using Sinophian bore-worms, the blood and gore from the sacrifices dripping onto a throne of skulls amassed from years of ritual combat, where it was slowly forming the charnel daemon. Meanwhile, in a hollowed-out chamber in the asteroid itself, more ritual combat was taking place in an attempt to draw forth bloodletters.
In the city beneath the falling space hulk, a captured Inquistional psyker was being routinely beaten and tortured while across the planet her lover and comrade, a feral warrior, was being forced into a bloodthirsty rage through a mixture of being made to watch her punishment via a video-link and a ruthless cocktail of combat drugs, being prepped to become a daemonhost all the while.
I was surprised that the acolytes even attempted to halt the space hulk's descent, but stirring words from the cleric and inspiring determination from the feral Guardsman spurred them on, and they boarded their small ship and gunned it towards the plummeting hulk.
Having stormed the working docks of one of the ships rammed into the asteroid, the acolytes quickly decided that their best course of action was damage limitation. By blowing up the individual ships in the hulk, they would be able to break it apart quite considerably. While there would still be global devastation as the debris fell, it would still be more better than the rituals being completed and killing the planet and perhaps more besides.
A handful of surviving security personnel were roused by the cleric, who had them fortify the dock to make sure their ship was still there when their grim work was done. Thankfully the first of the three ships was mostly deserted beyond a few bored cultists being left as guards. They were dealt with swiftly, and the first ship was soon rigged to explode. At this point the group split into two groups in order to deal with the remaining two faster.
The first group, the feral guardsman and a noble-born assassin, loaded a maintenance vehicle's trailer with all the explosives they would to destroy one of the ships (and their two gun servitors), while the other group, the cleric and a void-born dreg, decided to go for more of a precision strike, using the third ship's own engines and reactors to destroy it. The groups parted ways at this point. The first group were to deal with the ship where the ritual combat was taking place, while the second would deal with the ship dedicated to sacrifices.
Making good time through the space hulk, the first group quickly noticed a thundering sound echoing through the corridors and ventilation. The guardsman, quite familiar with wild beasts, said that the rhythm was quite similar to that of a charging quadruped, though he knew not how one so clearing large and heavy would come to be aboard a space hulk. Reasoning was forgotten when a bloodletter mounted upon a juggernaut burst through a bulkhead behind them, before turning and charging their trailer. Clearly the cultists had met with more success than anticipated.
On the other end of the hulk, things were not going much smoother. The cleric and dreg had found the location of the ship's sub-warp engines, and unfortunately the sacrificial ritual as well. What looked like an egg-timer with the bottom half cut out had been erected in front of the machinery. Beneath it lay the skull throne, a quivering mass of gore and organs writhing in it's seat in a vain attempt to pull together into some sort of form. Sacrifices were thrown to the bore-worms in the top half of the "egg-timer", and the resulting mess was slowly adding to the charnel daemon's form. A plan was formed; the dreg would try and disrupt the ritual from a duct above, with a handful of incendiary grenades, while the cleric would rig the engines to explode from further back in the chamber.
Meanwhile, the other two acolytes steeled themselves as the relentless juggernaut closed the distance between them, trampling the trailer's rear in the process, but not before the guardsman had softened it up a bit with a krakk grenade. The bloodletter leapt from it's mount, making short work of the two gun servitors before advancing on the assassin. His twin laspistols barely affected the daemon, though the guardsman had a little more success by letting rip with his autogun. From the edge of the assassin's field of vision, he noticed the guardsman's melta sliding down the now-sloped trailer, past the bloodletter and towards the juggernaut...
While this was going on, an incendiary grenade was dropped deftly into the top of the egg-timer, putting an end to the charnel ritual. Or so the dreg thought, as he drew attention away from his comrade at the other end of the chamber. He tossed his second two grenades at the cultists in attendance, sending them most of the way to a fitting demise. I am sorry to say that at this point the unfortunate dreg had expended his supply of incendiaries, and was forced to use frag grenades. The result was messy, and the remains of a dozen exploding cultists splattered against the throne of skulls. It must always be remembered that Khorne cares not whose blood it is, as long as it is spilled. Having accidentally completed the ritual through his indiscriminate bombing, the dreg watched in horror as the charnel daemon was finally able to pull itself together. He was temporarily driven mad by the very sight of it, his vision flooded with visions of the dead he had left behind.
The assassin barrelled through the legs of the bloodletter, quickly retrieving the melta and turning it on the foul daemon's back. The guardsman bravely stepped closer to the abomination, and aided in it's demise by emptying the autogun's clip into it. Their resolve bolstered by overcoming it, the acolytes turned to the juggernaut. Their unified assault destroyed it utterly, leaving a ruined and melted wreck. Of course, the trailer's rear had still been destroyed. There was now no way to transport the mass of explosives further into the ship. There was now no option but to rig them to explode there. It was done, and the acolytes turned about and headed back to their ship.
The Cleric was watching in horror as the charnel daemon, it's form as fluid as the blood and offal that made it up, clambered up the giant engine to reach him. He prayed to the Emperor to guide his hand as he tossed his last satchel charge at the beast. He doubted it would be stopped by this, but at the very least it's advance could be slowed. His aim was true and his timing perfect, blasting the warpspawn off the engine. These precious seconds allowed the cleric to dive to safety in an air duct, before setting off the rest of the charges, setting off a chain reaction which soon began to bring the ship down about his head. But he kept his wits about it and retrieved his whimpering comrade before retreating to their ship.
The dreg came to shortly before the two groups converged in the first ship, but was still understandable quite shaken. Credit must be given where credit due though. Despite him not possessing the intestinal fortitude or unshakable faith of his fellows, he was nevertheless able to safely pilot the ship out of the hulk. And when they reached what they judged to be a safe distance, the remaining two ships were detonated, shattering the plummeting hulk. Though the resulting rain of debris would no doubt cause the deaths of thousands, perhaps millions, there was no doubt that it was better than the alternative.
All that was left was to recover the two acolytes they had been sent to the planet to find and retrieve. The psyker, though gravely injured from the beatings and torture, was saved. Her lover, however, was unable to be saved. Though the ritual was never completed, all the preparations for him to be used as a daemonhost had been finished. It was far too dangerous to let him live now, though the woman he left behind as he was given the Emperor's mercy was comforted somewhat by the cleric assuring her that it was better for him to die this way than to have his soul destroyed by becoming a daemonhost. She still could watch though, as he was given peace through the cleric's holy flames...
...then Chris figured it would be a fucking AWESOME idea to go and guilt the planet's large tech-priest brotherhood into giving them shiny gubbins. Given that the acolytes had saved the planet they were on, and subsequently all their precious secrets, they couldn't really refuse. Least of all when they said they'd go and track down the Heretek responsible for all that shit in the first place for them. Roll on next week's planet of barbarians, my boys've got power fists and man-portable lascannons now!