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To Plunder The Stars Themselves, Episode 2

Iron Gods PBP

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#1
Lysimachus

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"To Plunder the Stars Themselves"


Episode 1: The Rivals


T
he Solios Nebula. A wild, desolate array of dying stars and near endless asteroid fields. Bordered by no less than seven Sectors in three different Segmenta, but claimed by none. A galactic backwater, cursed with unstable warp routes and few resources.

A haven for those cast from the Emperor's light.

In recent centuries, the Nebula has become the home of a dark legend, Talek Varn, and his reavers, the Iron Gods. Astartes, those who should be the greatest of Humanity's defenders, led by a tyrant and turned against their former charges. Terrifying monsters that plunder and pillage worlds and vessels around the edges of their domain. Few would now willingly enter the Solios Nebula, risking the pirate Lord's wrath.

But there are still those who do come, for like inevitably calls to like.

Outcasts and freaks, ignored, shunned or even persecuted by the vast Imperium. Captains and crews of warp-faring vessels, seeking a life of freedom and adventure from the grim realities of Mankind's existence. Even once proud Astartes warriors, somehow failed or fallen in their duty to the Golden Throne.

Warriors like you. Each of you has travelled here, some with intent and purpose, others drifting like flotsam and jetsam caught in an eddying current. However you came to be here, you each have stood before the mighty gates of the Crag, the Iron Gods asteroid fortress. You have each come before their cruel master and revealed to him alone the secrets of your former lives. Your histories, your glories and your shames. You have bowed down before him and sworn the oaths of fealty and obedience he demanded of you. Now the day has come that you must pay what you promised. Talek Varn has called you again to his presence.

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Your power armour had been taken from you, supposedly part of the tribute you owed, but now it has been returned. It is not as it was. The badges, colours and honours of your former Chapters have been carelessly obliterated, scoured away and replaced with mismatched greys and a few, seemingly randomly chosen sections of deep, bloody red. Icons of the Imperium itself, double-headed eagles and winged skulls, have been left in place but brutally defaced, a deliberate statement of rebellion and anarchy. As you armour yourselves, some of you would admit to finding this troubling. Others claim indifference.

Any weapons you brought with you into the Solios Nebula still have not yet been returned.

You gather, as instructed, in the Crag's Auditorium, a vast amphitheatre carved into the inner rock of the asteroid. It is a dark, echoing space of gradually descending stone steps in a wide semi-circle. Down at the centre of these many levels is a raised platform with a podium, surrounded by lumens and accessed by dark portals on either side of the chamber. The Auditorium could hold every single Astartes under Talek Varn's authority and several thousands of his mortal thralls besides, but at this moment there are only six.

Seven. On the platform, beside the podium, a seventh Marine stands at ease. He is armoured as you are, in grey and red plate of unidentifiable provenance. Unlike yours however, his armour is covered in trinkets and talismans, furs and long, wicked looking teeth. His face is tanned and weathered, his hair and short beard a peppery grey, and something golden glitters in one ear. You all recognize him as Ghoran, Talek Varn's utterly loyal Master Sergeant and second-in-command. He has a reputation as a highly skilled if less than honourable fighter, especially with the powered fist that encases his left arm.

Ghoran does not stand on ceremony, but instead offers you a simple comradely nod. Then he speaks, his rough voice a match for his worn features.

"Well lads, you're all here," he grins. "He'll join us in a moment and we can get started. In the meantime, feel free to get to know each other a bit."


***


GM: Welcome to the Solios Nebula!

This is now your opportunity to introduce your characters to each other. Or at least to make mental judgements about each other based on what you can see. The physical descriptions in the character thread may give you a few ideas or hints about who your new squadmates are. (Bear in mind that everyone has their armour and any personal items back now, but no-one has their weapons yet.)

Alternatively, you might want to introduce your own character by means of flashbacks, or thinking back and wondering how you ended up in this Emperor-forsaken hole, etc etc. You're free to share as much or as little of your story as you wish, though you have already learned it is wise to be cautious around strangers. And of course, you cannot even be certain that anything you are told by the others is actually the truth…

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#2
A.T.

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A fortress at the intersection of three sectors, that it was cast to the corners of each and not claimed as the heart of a larger domain spoke to the banal conservatism to which the Imperium was prone. Varn had seen value where others had seen only risk, as he had seen the value in the librarians power to bridge the void of space - a rare gift even amongst his brothers that was equal parts realised and wasted in this exile.

 

The suspicion of his new benefactor was to be expected, with honesty in its openness and deference in its restraint. Odysseus was a weapon unto himself left unchained here unlike the cells and null fields that no doubt would await him at the hands of his once sworn allies, even his armour now returned scant untouched... not that the artificers of the rogue trader he travelled with had any more success in erasing the legacies of the Ghoul Stars.

 

The others gathered here seemed ill at ease standing apart as to best watch the others, only the apothecary moved freely amongst them. A band of killers, it would seem that Varn wished someone dead.


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#3
Beren

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Svelk is still wearing his helm, as usual. These summons have instilled a sense of anticipation in him, a chance to fulfil his purpose again, perhaps. To give blood in tribute to the void. Unease also. Ghoram's words trouble him.

 

...get to know each other...

 

The phrase is jarring. You either know someone or you don't. You can ignore someone, kill someone, or fight back to back with someone. He is ill accustomed to there being space in between. Regardless, he considers the others present. His head twists, locking gaze with each of them in turn. Several bear scars that tell of past battles. Two seem to wear the same make of armour as himself, though in a less... reassembled state. He considers the three that do not. One of them wears a cowl above his head, Svelk doesn't recognise the armour. Two others carry helmets that taper towards the front...

 

...had to salvage the sensor systems from what was left of a Corvus pattern helmet.

 

Corvus?

 

The one that looks like it could take your eye out.

 

One has a collection of tokens dangling from his belt that involuntarily brings to mind the shrines that littered the dead-holds. The other still possesses what Svelk vaguely recognises as the accoutrements of an Apothecary...

 

...​pressurisation confirmed. Now get the panel off, the void has taken enough of your blood for today....

 

Svelk drags his mind back into the present. It does not occur to him to utter his name.


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#4
Black Cohort

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Decimus may have stood beside the other renegades, but by his body language it was clear he didn't stand with them.  At one edge of the group, his body is turned slightly so that he can keep the rest of them in sight.

 

His helmet is mag-locked to his belt, exposing his close cropped hair and rugged face.  Once he had assessed the others, he seemed to lose focus and stare off into nothing.  You can almost see old images flashing before his eyes.  His left hand strays to a carved piece of bone hanging from his belt.  It looks to be some kind of animal, though it has been touched so many times that much of its detail has been lost.


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#5
Mazer Rackham

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Not the first time at the Crag, but the first time pacing through it with some semblance of freedom, refusing to duck into doors when invited through them by smiling killers.  A good way to be stabbed in the back, out of sight.  Orphiel visited enough prisons to know how it worked, and he wasn't going to forget he was in the enemy territory, even if it was covered by a veneer of rough honour.  At least the Accord was intact, the agreement between the respective...institutions at play here.

 

His eyes flicked up and down the gallery of rogues to his left, appraising them behind cold azure lenses.  He stood stock still, watching, while another of their number troubled with a fetish of some sort, betraying the need for the comfort of the familiar perhaps.  Another stood upright, shoulders back - an officer of the Chapter he came from maybe.  And there another, looking like he was sizing them all up, maybe to steal their boots.

 

Oh, the irony of it.

 

Renegades, free of the yoke, freed from responsibilities they called a burden, only to hide here in a...Rock.  A poor jest, fitting for this motley bunch.

 

Orphiel's cowl remained pulled up, drawn over his helm, leaving the chisel snout of his defaced Mk IV Plate as the sole betrayal of what lay beneath.  More irony, another joke.  Given as a reward, the suit was stark to begin with, a lot of its embellishments obliterated before it even came hence. Not that it mattered, it was mostly concealed beneath the robe, and the rough treatment it endured did not dampen the ardour of the killing machine protecting his flesh.

 

He waited in the silence, perfectly comfortable in it.


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He may say that what he wants is to win the war...

...But what he really wants, is for the enemy to die.

 

My new non-40K book about railguns and powered armour is available now: The Ares Gambit.

My grimdark non-40k book about maniacs with jetpacks and assault rifles is also still around: Children of The Glyph.


#6
Necronaut

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The silence was pregnant, and Ghoran looked on expectantly at the assembled battle-brothers. Vesalius was unsure what to make of the motley crew assembled in the amphitheatre, the mismatched grays of their suits of armor contrasted with their mismatched complexions, at least those who had doffed their helms.

He thought back to when he had first encountered Varn's reavers aboard that misbegotten bulk transport ship, headed for Watch Station Azurea. Exiled by his brothers for the crime of curiosity, for his hunger for knowledge, for his brilliance. Sentenced to rot away in the halls of the Deathwatch, censured and forgotten.

+++

"Contact," called the first mate. "Unidentified craft inbound!"

"Pirates," the captain hissed. "Battle stations!"

They had dropped from the warp to rendezvous with a refueling platform, but none was to be found in their vicinity. The boarding craft rocketed across the gulf of space and slammed into the side of the lumbering transport ship. Vesalius silently withdrew from the bridge and retrieved his bolter, prepared to bleed these pirates out slowly, and from the shadows as was his way.

The melta charges from the pirate craft fired and rocked the transport a second time. The reports of bolter fire drifted up from the lower decks.

Well equipped pirates -- traitor Astartes?

Vesalius steeled himself, and prepared to repel the invaders. He quickly withdrew from his cell sand made his way to the enginarium, knowing they would attempt to take control of that key location. If he was to go down fighting, he would do it on his terms. Upon reaching the enginarium, he climbed into a concealed position and slipped into the shadows, his second home.

It wasn't long before three, hulking figures clad in grey power armor breached the heavy doors. Vesalius whispered the words, "Prey sense," and trained his bolter on the lead figure. If these were traitor marines, they certainly did not appear to venerate the dark pantheon, owing to the lack of eight-pointed stars, or even the typical spikes and horns that most of the filth used to adorn their armor. He sneered at them from afar but held his fire, watching and waiting in the darkness.

The apothecary shadowed them for a time, still holding his fire. The trio quickly reached their goal, and mercilessly gunned down the crew who resisted them. The enginseer on duty, a cowardly man from what Vesalius has observed, prostrated himself before the Astartes and begged for mercy. To his surprise, the trio laughed amongst themselves and ordered the tech priest onto his feet and to do as they bade. The man bowed and scurried off ahead of the marines, quickly working to disable the ship's engines. The trio divided themselves up and one was left to stand guard over the enginarium, the other two departing with haste to the other parts of the ship. Now was the time. He would have to act quickly to incapacitate his target. Bolter fire would draw the others back.

Vesalius holstered the bolter and drew his combat knife.

You'll bleed out slowly and quietly down here, traitor.

He dove from the rafters like a falcon, slamming into his prey with brutal, crushing force. The traitor never saw what hit him. In a single motion, Vesalius had pinned his target, ripped off the marine's helm and pressed the edge of his blade to his captive’s throat.

+You may die slowly or quickly, traitor. The decision is in your hands. Who are you and what do you want with this ship?+

Struggling under Vesalius’s armored mass, the grey-clad marine gasped for breath and wheezed, “By Terra you’re a sneaky bastard!”

By Terra?!

“You’re the one master sent us to find! He’s here, lads!”

+I will not become a pawn to the dark powers, traitor! Your compatriots are too far away to hear you -- I am going to bleed you slowly until I learn what I want, do you understand?+

The prone marine laughed, “There’s no need for that, apothecary. And I am no traitor, not to Terra at least. My squad and I are here to liberate you from your bondage at the hands of the Deathwatch. My master, Talek Varn, has grand designs for you, I’m sure.”

+++

Vesalius sized up his new -- Comrades? Compatriots? Fellow ne’er-do-wells? -- acquaintances, one at a time, before adopting his bedside manner, “Greetings. You may call me Vesalius. As you have likely guessed, I am an apothecary by trade, and I suspect each of you will have the distinct pleasure of being under my care in the future. You can rest assured that you will be in the most capable hands in the sector, unlike that butcher that our new master has been employing to-date.”

Whoever you cut-throats and worse are, you shall not fear death under my watch. Not without reason.

Edited by Necronaut, 08 May 2021 - 09:19 PM.

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#7
Ancient_Sobek

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The sound of running feet echoed off the walls of the alley. Fitz could feel his heart pounding in his chest. Whether from adrenaline or outright fear, the throbbing made his head ache. He barged into some mutie scum as he desperately looked for an escape from the thing hunting him. The figure cursed him in some low-hive slang he didn’t understand. 

 

Ahead he saw that the Alley branched off. He flung himself down the left hand path. He was so close. He could just make out the lights of the of the Arbites precinct ahead of him. Running to the enforcers with a wrap sheet like his was not the smartest move, but at least he would be alive. He was sure Jimmy Numbers could grease a few palms and get him out later when the coast was clear. 

 

He didn’t even register the pain as a bolt round tore his right leg off at the knee. When he slammed into the pavement he knew something wasn’t right. He screamed in agony and grabbed at his mangled leg, trying to staunch the flow of blood. His vision swam as he was yanked off the pavement and slammed up against the wall of the alley.

 

He looked down the arm of the giant holding him aloft, his eyes taking in the menace of the figure. The lenses of its helmet seemed to glow red, like the eyes of some terrible beast from his nightmares. A voice crackled from the figure’s vox.

 

++Why do you bastards always run?++ The figure growled.

 

“P-p-p-please d-d-don’t” he squealed. The hand at his throat squeezed tighter,  urging off his feeble pleading.

 

++Quiet. I’m looking for someone and you are going to tell me where they are.++ 

 

The giant pulled a small hololith from a pouch and held it in front of Fitz’s face. An image appeared before his eyes, the figure rotated slowly before him. The face was obscured, but it didn’t matter. The stylized “I” that hung from the chain around their neck was all the features he needed.

 

“P-please” he begged, “I haven’t seen ‘em!”

 

The giant pulled a silenced bolt pistol from his holster and pressed it against Fitz’s head. He could here the creak of the gauntlet as its finger tightened against the trigger.

 

“Wait, wait, wait” he squealed, “I ain’t seen ‘em, but I know someone who might know where they are!!”

 

++Talk++

 

———————-

 

Kai punched the coordinates the man had given him into his navcom as his gunship streaked past the towers of the hive below. As he entered the final number the route to the Solios Nebula appeared on his way finder. As soon as he heard the name Talek Varn, he knew where to go. Emperor save him from Pirate Kings and fools. 

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>

 

Before him lounged the petty tyrant of this backwater. The bulk of his terminator armor filled the throne upon which he sat. A self-satisfied smirk spread across his face.

 

“Back again I see. Still on that damned fool crusade of yours?” He asked as he sipped from the chalice in his hand. “You are going to get yourself killed, and for what? Petty revenge? Such a waste of your talents.”

 

Kai ignored the jibes and brought forth the hololith. ++I am told you know where to find this person++ 

 

Talek Varn’s eyes flicked over the image and back to the astartes standing before him. “Perhaps, but why should I tell you?” 

 

Kai pulled the grenade from his belt and yanked the pin free, his hand gripped the handle keeping it from detonating. Varn’s second-in-command, Ghoran, started forward, his powerfist sparking to life. Varn placed a hand on his champion’s arm to stay him as he roared with laughter.

 

“You always where a bold one Traveller.” He said as he leaned forward. “As I said, I may have the information you seek. But information isn’t free, how will you compensate me for this knowledge? I know you don’t have anything of value beyond the armor you wear, and that rust heap you arrived in. However, I have a solution for you, a proposition if you will. I am putting together a team of scoundrels to take care of a problem for me. Lend me your talents for awhile and I will give you the information you seek.”

 

Kai looked from the burly champion and his powerfist to the pirate king. He had no love for the pirate scum, but he was stuck without that information. 

 

++Fine++ he said as he turned to leave. Tossing the grenade to the champion as he walk from the room. 

 

Ghoran, watched the grenade land in his hand as the arming handle spun out of sight. He started as the grenade gave a pop, and occluding smoke began pouring from it. Ghoran cursed and threw the grenade to the floor as Varn roared with laughter.

 

>>>>>>>>>>

 

Kai, looked at the others gathered in the amphitheater. A small team, so a surgical strike seemed likely. The one called “Vesalius” introduced himself as an apothecary. A sawbones was always a welcome addition to a team, especially when you were expecting trouble. He could also make out a psyker in the group. It had been awhile since he had worked with a witchbreed, but they could be handy when faced with a problem a bolter couldn’t fix.

 

The others were an unknown,he hoped they were more talented than the typical pirate dregs. He had know idea what the mission would entail, but it would go smoother with a competent crew. He just hoped his quarry didn’t escape while he took this unwelcome detour.


Edited by Ancient_Sobek, 12 May 2021 - 01:49 AM.

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#8
Mazer Rackham

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Orphiel remained still as Vesalius introduced himself, smiling under the helm.

 

Silence had triumphed once more.  It was always the same.

 

Some became one with the shadows, watching from the dark at those they determined prey or ally, others preferring to bawl and cow their victims through bluster or threats, but no weapon, no lever, no lure was ever as effective as silence.

 

It was perfect.

 

And when it broke, as it did now, the torrent of information was golden.

 

I am one of you, not one of them.  I distance myself from the colours I wear.  I am a professional.

 

Orphiel's smile widened.  What was it the Surgeons said?  "This won't hurt a bit".

 

Such lies.


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He may say that what he wants is to win the war...

...But what he really wants, is for the enemy to die.

 

My new non-40K book about railguns and powered armour is available now: The Ares Gambit.

My grimdark non-40k book about maniacs with jetpacks and assault rifles is also still around: Children of The Glyph.


#9
Black Cohort

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Decimus seemed surprised that one of them would speak so openly with what are effectively strangers.  Perhaps that one was defective?  He doubted that any of the others had been rejected by the Imperium as he had. 

 

He practically grunted.  "Decimus, devestator."  It seemed like he had to cut himself off, perhaps from automatically stating his squad and company?


Edited by Black Cohort, 08 May 2021 - 07:02 PM.

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#10
Lysimachus

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From the portal to the right of the podium, there is a jarring noise, the rhythmic, heavy thump of something big approaching at a steady, somehow majestic pace. As it increases in volume, its source drawing ever nearer, any stilted conversion between you falters and dies. The whine and hiss of powered servos and pistons becomes audible, and then a truly monstrous figure emerges from the shadows. Further introductions will have to wait.

Talek Varn is a giant, even by Astartes standards, clad in Tactical Dreadnought Armour that seems to have been amalgamated from a multitude of suits and patterns and rebuilt to accommodate the tyrant's huge frame. Despite this imposing bulk, he moves with the confident grace of an apex predator. His weapons are equally impressive, a viciously curved power axe and a massive power fist mounted with some form of combi-bolter. They remind you, uncomfortably, of your own unarmed state.

Varn's features are patrician, his nose aquiline, his eyes intelligent yet as cold as the void itself. As he looks around the Auditorium, each of you finds your gene-hanced bodies' threat responses activating involuntarily, raising your heart rates and flooding your systems with adrenaline. Although you have each met with him at least once before, you are suddenly aware again that here is a foe that could personally end any - or perhaps even all - of you with frightening ease. After a pause that seems an eternity, he speaks, his voice a deep, gravelly rumble that reverberates in the air around you.

"It is time. I have given you a home, a brotherhood, a purpose. In return you have offered me your allegiance. Now comes your opportunity to prove to me the truth of those words."

He turns and gestures casually towards Ghoran with the hooked axe. The Sergeant nods and turns to the controls at the podium. After a moment, a flickering hololithic display bursts into life, sending pale red light out across the Auditorium. Gradually it forms into a discernible pattern, a stellar map showing the outlines of the Solios Nebula. Though tiny when compared with the galaxy-spanning Imperium, it is still covers an almost impossibly vast area of space comprised of hundreds of star systems. The map closes in, focusing on a relatively small tendril of the Nebula that juts out towards the galactic southwest.

"That is the Arotil Salient. It forms a break between the Arotil Sector to the north and the Kharidys Sector to the south. Main warp routes travel around the Salient, but ocassionally a Captain attempts to take his vessel across directly through the Nebula without paying proper tribute. If my fleet catches them doing so, they are dealt with. Firmly."

Varn smiles coldly.

"But I have learned something recently from wiser, more loyal travellers in my realm. At some point in the last solar year a few... enterprising… souls have set up a trading post and toll station somewhere along this route. Without my permission." The tyrant's voice drops even lower, to an angry growl. "Such disrespect cannot be allowed."

He pauses, then continues, utterly calm once more.

"You will take transport aboard one of my ships, go to the Arotil Salient and find whatever hole they are operating out of. Uncover these 'traders' and any vessels making use of their facility. Perhaps, after a suitable punishment for their audaciousness, they might be allowed to pay the debt of tithes they have accrued and become part of my Protectorate. If they will not...you will crush them."

Varn looks at each of you in turn.

"Your former lives are ended. You are no longer scions of your Chapters, your Primarchs, or the Imperium. Do not waste time pining for what was. We are your brethren now. You are Iron Gods. Serve me well and I will bring you power and glory beyond your imagining.

You must learn to trust one another... or at least to fight together. Brother Ghoran will take you to the Armoury, where you can provision yourselves for the task ahead." He grins for a moment with icy amusement. "We have little, but what we have is shared by all. You must also select a squad leader. Vote. Cast auguries. Fight. I care not who leads among you, or how you choose. But when you have chosen, send him back to me for final instructions and assignment to a ship."

Without another word, the pirate Lord turns away and disappears through the portal from which he entered. As the sheer weight of his presence fades, Ghoran lets out a grunt, steps forward and waves for you all to follow.

"Come on then, lads, you heard 'im. Let's get you set up."


***


I'll pause briefly here, so you can post any impressions you have, whether from being in Talek Varn's presence again, your thoughts about his words or the task he has assigned to you, or your initial thoughts about squad leadership, etc, etc. Then we'll move on to the Armoury!
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#11
Beren

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Svelk's head twisted again, this time to fix upon the Apothecary as he introduced himself. The surgeon was confident in his abilities. Arrogant? Perhaps, perhaps not. Confident in his station too. Station? Rank? There would be that, now, wouldn't there. They would answer to Ghoran, and above him to Talek Varn himself. At least it was simpler than what the Imperium offered.

Another spoke, and Svelk's head shifted again. Decimus. Devestator? Rank again. Heavy weapons wielder. Would that slow them down if it came to it? This one was more reticent than the Apothecary, than Vesalius, but said as much with two words as the other had with sixty three.

They would need to know each other's names, wouldn't they?

He made a gesture of openness with his arm, drawing attention to him the moment before he spoke.

"I am Svelk. I get in fast, I get out fast, and I leaves corpses in between. Sometimes explosives too, depending on the target."

---

As Tarek Varn spoke, Svelk felt his anticipation rise. The adrenaline that shot through his body at Varn's presence maintained itself at the prospect of bloodletting to come. Their target was possibly void-based. Psychological destabilisation, or outright extermination, were both things he was familiar with.

He remained focused on these facts as Varn continued to speak. Power? Glory? Purpose? He had purpose enough in using his skills, in the acts of combat. Varn had offered him opportunities to see himself fulfilled, and now he was delivering.

Brotherhood?

Had he taken that for granted, before they went their separate ways?

Varn spoke of scarce supplies. Svelk suspected he had made do with worse.

Squad leader? His head sweeps across the others present once again. How can they choose a leader if they do not know of each other. Or is that why they need one?

Edited by Beren, 08 May 2021 - 07:26 PM.

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#12
Mazer Rackham

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Varn made his speech and left.  It matched the private audience given, albeit that one had a little more flair and a few, choice, extra words.  The process had started, the grinding down of barriers, the erosion of self that began the formation of a team.

 

It was vital - absolutely vital, that a sense of self was retained.  A tool did not care who used it, or what it was used for, it was still the tool.

 

Even if it went in a belt or box along with several others that made the work easier, and Ghoran took over, indicating their tools of war would be returned.

 

Orphiel mused on the other speakers.  Did they even know what secrets fell from their lips?  Perhaps the Devastator, Decimus did.  Words given by rote, chewed off at the root to show he wasn't totally unthinking.  He was causing Orphiel uncertainty, which was novel and welcome.  It was easy to fall into the trap of preconceived ideas.  And the latter of their team to speak, a Sabre-rattler by any other name.

 

The cant of speech was odd.  I leaves corpses in my wake.

 

A limited amount of contact maybe, a background of quiet, even isolation forcing them to talk to themselves?  He'd seen it before.  Solitary confinement did that.  Or underdevelopment.  Damned irony, and reinforcement of the axioms to which Orphiel held.

 

Now they wanted a leader.

 

His eyes moved behind the helm, tracking the tunnel by which Varn had quit the auditorium.  The Pirate Lord could go hang, if he thought Orphiel was walking that plank.


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He may say that what he wants is to win the war...

...But what he really wants, is for the enemy to die.

 

My new non-40K book about railguns and powered armour is available now: The Ares Gambit.

My grimdark non-40k book about maniacs with jetpacks and assault rifles is also still around: Children of The Glyph.


#13
Black Cohort

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Decimus was, by Astartes standards, unversed in the intricacies of void and boarding actions.  It was not a specialty his chapter had focused on.  That still meant he was a god amongst men compared to most mortals in the planing and certainly execution of such tasks.  His mind began to cycle through phases, tasks and wargear.  Should he keep his standard heavy bolter or trade it for something else.  A heavy flamer might be useful in the tight corridors.  And a chainsword for when things got personal.  More information was required to make a proper assessment.

 

"Do we know anything more about these traders?  Should we expect more than Naval Armsmen equivalents?" Decimus seemed more focused now that there was a mission.


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#14
Necronaut

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This lot were even more taciturn than his former brothers. And ill at ease.

Subjects did not respond as desired or expected to my bedside manner. And likely with good reason. A more observational approach will be required going forward. Perhaps I shall moderate my verbosity to be more in keeping with the preferred temperament of this grouping...

+++

The presence of Talek Varn was electric, and though he had enjoyed a private audience with the pirate lord before, whom he had found to be cerebral and engaging, a learned man, his charisma was no less deniable again in the large, empty cavern. It was little wonder how this man had become the lord of this desolate realm.

A squad leader? From amongst this lot?

Vesalius turned his thoughts to the punishments his new master demanded of his transgressors. Though Varn had said but a few words, Vesalius had read volumes into just what was required.

Edited by Necronaut, 10 May 2021 - 09:49 PM.

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#15
Lysimachus

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Ghoran looks back over his shoulder as he leads you out from the Auditorium through the roughly gouged tunnels that form the Crag's corridors. His eyes narrow thoughtfully at Decimus' words.

"Good question. Truth is we don't know much yet. We've cleared out a fair few packs of interlopers over the years, all shapes and sizes. These boys…? Rumours say these boys might be packing some real punch. Human troops. Renegades and mutants. Maybe xenos auxiliaries." He shrugs. "Could be anything. Right now, I'd stay flexible. Ah, here we are!"

You have arrived at the Iron Gods Armoury. Another chamber carved directly into the rock of the asteroid, but the entrance to it has been heavily reinforced. A thick plasteel bulkhead seals off access and picters watch all approaches. Two Iron Gods, seemingly trusted veterans by virtue of the fact that they are well armed, stand guard.

One of them, a dark, full-bearded warrior wearing a tabard formed of mail links and shouldering a heavy chainaxe nods respectfully to Ghoran. Then, after casting a suspicious eye over all of you, he steps aside and waves at one of the picters. After a moment, the heavy doors in the bulkhead grind noisily backwards to allow you to enter.

The Armoury is at the same time both light and dark. Illumination is provided and areas of deep shadow are created by spot-lumens mounted in various places around the walls. Dozens of rows of racking contain weapons, tools and ammunition. To some of you it seems a treasure trove of destruction. To others, it feels deeply unimpressive compared to the wealth of killing potential held by the Armoriums of your own Chapter. A casual glance across the racks suggests that most of the weapons here are of standard type and manufacture, well made but simple tools of death. More than a few racks are empty, revealing the truth of Talek Varn's earlier words and the difficulties of life as a renegade. Your lives.

Your attention is drawn to a long, steel trestle along one wall, spotlighted by several lumens. Multiple weapons, of widely varying type and pattern, have been laid out in six clearly separated sections. You eyes move across the trestle, taking in the different groups, until they stop on one set in particular.

Your weapons.

Trusted friends - certainly more so than any person here - that were taken from you when you arrived at the Iron Gods stronghold. For some of you it has been many weeks since you saw them, and you have feared that you might never do so again.

Ghoran grunts irritably.

"Blood and thunder," he growls softly. "Told you you'd get them back when the time came! The Armour-serfs have taken good care." He grins suddenly. "Aaah, I can't blame you, I'd want to check my kit over with my own eyes too! But once you're done, work out what else you think you might need and we'll see what we can do?"


Here is a opportunity to describe your personal weaponry, to express your feelings on having it returned, or perhaps to judge other team members for their choices!

After that, we move on to the Requisition Phase. As mentioned, the Iron Gods don't have the wealth of resources that the Deathwatch do, and Varn will not share the best of what he does have with unproven troops. Therefore, your Req for this Episode will be 15 per player. As usual, you can choose to combine your Req as a squad (for a total of 90) to purchase more expensive items. Remember your Infamy Rating is Initiated and you must follow the rules for Requisition and maximum carrying in the OOC Character creation posts. Again, feel free to include IC narratives of petitioning Ghoran for any kit you want!

Finally, you need to select a squad leader. As in DW, this doesn't have any real effect narratively or in terms of deciding what you will choose to do (with the very unlikely exception of breaking a 3v3 player deadlock!), but it may have a 'crunch' effect on things like Cohesion and ability to use Squad modes.
(I will say, with the benefit of seeing all the character sheets, there is an obvious choice that will almost double your Cohesion pool compared to the next 'best' choice, but it's up to you whether you care about that side of things?)
Anyway, this is an opportunity narratively to put forward your arguments for your choice, whether that is someone else or yourself! When you have made a decision, that Marine will be referred back to Varn for final instructions while the rest of the squad gather in the hangar bay.

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#16
Mazer Rackham

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They knew their weapons, Orphiel would give them that.  What scraps were here were well maintained, and even though it was basic, the armaments were comforting, dependable.  There was nothing wrong with bolt shells.  The humble bolter was a formidable weapon, an instrument of destruction that wreaked havoc across a hundred-thousand worlds and whose roar echoed for millennia.

 

Speaking of roaring...he stepped up to the bench where his preferred weapons lay.  His eyes could see nothing amiss, and moved on to the large block of metal that was his storm bolter, Argo.  He drew the bulky weapon to him, and holding the sling swivels, fitted the long strap which would secure the brute to his torso, so he could let it hang loose when he wanted his hands free.  It lay against his breast now, bolt locked to the rear, chamber open to the light, allowing him to see through the barrel and confirm the weapons was empty.

 

His hands were free - so he filled them.  The pistols, Charybdis and Scylla, were holstered, the dark brown leather waxed and polished.  He slipped the thick leather belt, complete with pouches for ammunition and grenades, around his waist, fixing the holsters in place by the magnetic plates within.  He was careful to align them with slits along the robe so that it would fall and hang properly, yet not impede the draw of his weapons.

 

Finally, he slid his combat knife onto the small of his back, favouring his right hand.  He reached for it, testing the pull.

 

Too tight.

 

He searched for a small tub of leather wax, a dab, rubbed onto the blade each side at the top, then slid home.  Pulled out, in again.  Smooth.  The maglocks would hold it in place.

 

Orphiel hadn't uttered a word, but this was a large demonstration, if the others were paying attention.  This was the one thing he couldn't control, some secrets just had to be laid bare.  His smile blossomed again, fitting his frag and krak grenades into his pouches, fingers filling magazines by rote, as Ghoran described rebels, mutants and aliens.

 

Perhaps Photon Flash Grenades would be useful.


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He may say that what he wants is to win the war...

...But what he really wants, is for the enemy to die.

 

My new non-40K book about railguns and powered armour is available now: The Ares Gambit.

My grimdark non-40k book about maniacs with jetpacks and assault rifles is also still around: Children of The Glyph.


#17
A.T.

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As ever a wake in the warp trailed Varns movements, shrouded by his fate as few men were. Odysseus did not doubt that he could best the others here in a contest of raw power for neither armour nor weapon offered true defense against the warp but something about Varn made him question.

 

He moved as Ghoran did, ensuring that he did not linger at the back. Though the role of leader was not one with which he was accustomed nor inclined in a place like this it would not do to fall too far in status. As the proclaimed devastator broached the subject it occurred that there might be no formal instruction here but a test of initiative, and he stood back to address Ghoran while the others reached for their weapons, "this station, does Varn wish it taken or scattered to the void?".


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#18
Beren

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Svelk strode towards his equipment without hesitation. His knife and bolt pistol he gives a cursory inspection. Still functional. He spends more time on the jump-pack they gave him. He's seen it before, used it too, but that doesn't mean he trusts it. Ghoran had berated him about how they wouldn't let him walk about their void-station with a temperamental explosive strapped to his back, and yet it's still hard to place faith in something he didn't see reconstructed in front of his own eyes.

 

Next the grenades. He counts each one out, checking their type, before mag-locking them to his armour.

 

Finally, the axe-rake.

 

It's based of what might be recognised as a labourer's tool, or occasionally a weapon. This one is larger though, the right size of an astartes, and reinforced so it won't break as easily. It's not fancy, but it's useful. It doesn't need ammunition or fuel either.

 

Svelk grasps its haft, lifting it, checking the balance. He inspects both the axe-head and the hook-billed pick on the other side. Still in good condition. With his gear in place, he turns to Ghoran. 

 

"What explosives do you have available?"


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#19
Lysimachus

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Ghoran smiles at Odysseus in a comradely manner.

"Well mate, I wouldn't presume to speak for the boss, but as you can see, we're in no position to be wasteful. I think you can appreciate that, yes? If we have to take them down, then that's all fine and good, but if we can do it without burning their house to dust and ashes, even better. We could certainly do with an outpost where we could watch the southern approaches."

Svelk steps away from the trestle and asks after explosives. Ghoran's smile widens.

"Now you're talking, lad! Let's see…," he walks over to one of the heavy racks, "we've got standard tube charges, detonator cores, fyceline putty… hell, if you know what you're doing, I might even be able to scrounge up a melta bomb or two?"
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#20
Black Cohort

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"You wouldn't happen to have a set of breaching shears lying around somewhere would you?  In case the current leadership there proves reluctant to see the merits of serving the Iron Gods."


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#21
Lysimachus

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"Shears?" Ghoran frowns thoughtfully. "Aye, that's not a bad idea, mate. I think Verrix left some here somewhere... poor old sod took a plasma blast at point blank range, not like he needs them any more... give me a minute... there you go!"

#22
Necronaut

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Vesalius watched the others for a time before approaching the workbench where his armaments had been laid out with care. The robed battle-brother seemed to have a peculiar fixation with his weaponry, bordering on the obsessive. Vesalius made a mental note to maintain careful observation of that one; such mania could prove a liability if left unmonitored.

Combat knife. Bolt Pistol. Bolter.

Mercifully they had seen fit to leave his narthecium, reductor and customized diagnostor helm in his care. Presumably there were no others who could make use of such precious equipment, nor was there any apparent need to confiscate them. Vesalius had been extremely reluctant to part with his weapons.

The one hefting some sort of chain-axe had, a little too seriously, asked Ghoran about explosives.

Is some sort of instability a requirement for recruitment into the Iron Gods?

He returned to his own kit, recalling his "enhanced interrogation" methods which he had perfected and codified prior to his exile. He tested the sharpness of his knife. Razor sharp. Good. A tool of both pain and fear.

"Ghoran, a chainsword if it pleases you?"
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#23
Beren

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"Melta bombs?"

 

Perhaps for the first time since arriving, Svelk chuckles to himself, rolling his shoulders back as he does so.

 

"It's been a while, but if they hit as hard as I remember I certainly wouldn't say no."


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#24
Black Cohort

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"Make that two chainswords Sgt."  The devastator said as he checked over most of his gear quickly and his heavy bolter in great detail.  "Sometimes they don't give you time to lay into them with one of these beauties and you have to get personal."


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#25
Lysimachus

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Ghoran nods. "True enough! Blades are on the rack over there, there are a few to choose from so I'll let you find something that suits you?"





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