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To Plunder The Stars Themselves, Episode 2

Iron Gods PBP

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#76
Mazer Rackham

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Orphiel made his way across the deck, although his gait was unhurried.  He approached where the lasguns were arrayed, laid down haphazardly, almost as much as the Crag's stock armoury.  The lack of order aside, he could discern nothing wrong with the weapons, bar a few bumps and dings.  He could almost hear the used-weapons trader passing it off as character.  The idling was deliberate, so he could absorb what was being said, yet he declined to be drawn into it.

 

He made sure to give the other Marines room and stood level with them so not to concern them with live weapon discharge.

 

He took aim at a crate some 60 metres away.

Spoiler

 

+They definitely need getting used to.  Perhaps I have fat fingers?+ he smiled under the helm.

 

He tightened the stock into his shoulder guard, clamping the pauldron over it.

Spoiler

 

He marched a few metres closer, realising he was overcompensating for the lack of bulk in the frame of the weapon.

Spoiler

 

+Better.+


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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.


#77
Beren

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Svelk grasps one of the lasguns, adjusting his grip and posture to better compensate for the weapon's minature size. He remains silent, ignoring Decimus and Vesalius' philosophising about the faults of the Imperium. He raises the weapon, taking his time to aim and sight each shot before letting it fly at his chosen target.

 

Spoiler

 

Of the three shots he takes, only the second goes wide, albeit by a considerable margin. Acceptable, given the weapons unsuitability to Astartes physiology.

 

+Weight of fire. That's usually how it works. That, and not everything in the galaxy is as difficult to kill as us. Giving mortals bolters... well, it would be like using a krak grenade to kill a rat. Wasteful.+

 

He pauses, and turns towards the Devestator Marine.

 

+If you truly lack void-experience, Decimus, then I'd advisor you keep your repair sealant handy. Damage that would normally be an inconvenience...+

 

Here he gestures with the lasgun to the scorch marks where it hit the wall.

 

+...can become a great deal more dangerous.+


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#78
Lysimachus

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It has been several days of fruitless searching. Achard's Navigator skillfully brought the Dagger Thrust to the start of the realspace section of the twisted route through the Arotil Salient, but what has followed has felt like a tedious waste of time. As you move forward at what seems a gasteropodan pace, long range auguries have tried to pick up signs of a base or other ships, with no success so far. With little else to focus on, you have redoubled your efforts in squad training.

But on the fourth day, you are requested to assemble on the bridge. When you have all arrived, Achard, caught between relief and smug pleasure, gestures to the augur stations.

"We have picked up readings that indicate a ship approaching our position at sub-warp speed. Tentatively identified as the Bounteous Lady, a vessel of the Segmentum Tempestus Merchant Fleet out of Bakka… though of course renegades commonly falsify their idents," Achard smiles, "just as we have done. In six hours, when we intercept them, we will find out."

***

Between time spent travelling to the Salient and then starting your search, you have now been together for the best part of a week, training and learning each other's skills and habits. Maybe you feel you now know these men well enough to work with them... or maybe, as the saying goes, familiarity has bred only contempt? Also, how do you feel about Achard's news? Is the Kill-Team, in your opinion, ready for battle? If there is anything else you need to do to be ready... now is the time.

***
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#79
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"I guess it is time for any final preparations?  There was talk that at least this first time we should hearken back to ancient, more noble days and take an oath of moment, binding us together in common cause as brothers in arms.  As fits our new station it seems right to swear to bring glory to our new master," he pauses drawing his combat blade.  "Such an oath is only fitting on my homeworld if sworn in blood, for the oathing must cost something in it's making."


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#80
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#81
Mazer Rackham

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[PLACEHOLDER FOR KAI'S RESPONSE]

 

Spoiler

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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.


#82
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Odysseus arrived on the bridge as asked, pleased that there would be a true test of his abilities. The sparring of the others held no interest to him and psychic energies were not to be used for mere demonstration particularly within the warp.

 

It remained to be seen whether the rest would appreciate the benefits of his power. Kai had been reserved, keeping his options open, a luxury now ending.


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#83
Necronaut

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+++ Placeholder +++

Vesalius says his oath, albeit grudgingly, not one for superstition. Makes the pact in blood as Decimus has done.

#84
Beren

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Blood. There is little more valuable. The void swallows it with ease. Maybe that's the point. Something of value must be committed to the pact.

 

It is not something that Svelk entirely understands. If someone says something, they wither mean it or they don't. The medium in which it is said does not alter that. Still...

 

Like Orphiel, he unlocks his gauntlet and scrapes his combat knife against his skin.

 

+++Here we prove ourselves. To Varn, to the Iron Gods, to each other.+++


Edited by Beren, 24 May 2021 - 02:51 PM.


#85
Lysimachus

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With oaths sworn, you wait for the call to battle in the shuttle hangar, beside one of the Dagger's two Shark assault boats. Your weapons, armour and equipment have been checked and rechecked. Captain Achard has, albeit grudgingly, allowed you vox access to shipwide command channels, and a portable hololith has also been set up so you can see what is transpiring in the black around you.

***

The two vessels approach on a cautious, wide bearing, coming just close enough for short-range auguries to confirm that the other ship actually is what its transponders proclaim. The Bounteous Lady is proven just as its idents say, a wallowing, bloated Vagabond-class merchantman.

The Dagger Thrust, of course, is not.

Almost immediately the trader veers away, trying to run and hide, for although the Vagabond carries easily twice the overall mass of the Sword, it is sorely lacking in both armour and firepower. Unfortunately for its attempt at evasion, it also cannot hope to match the frigate's speed and maneuverability. As the Dagger continues to close, Captain Achard attempts to hail them, ordering them to stand down and prepare to be boarded. The response is a gruff, enraged shout:

"Emperor damn you, leave us be, you filthy heretics! We have already paid your vile friend's unrighteous toll not two days past! We have nothing left for you to steal but our lives, but I swear that if you try to take them they will cost you dearly!"

The vox signal is cut off, then the few gun batteries spaced along the Lady's broad back begin to fire.

***
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#86
Mazer Rackham

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Orphiel pulled his equipment into favoured position before completing the last ritual.

 

He found what he was looking for in a stand-pipe, most likely used for decontamination duties or basic firefighting.  With his equipment holstered and his hands free, he took a moment to draw his cowl up around his head, the folds falling into place to give his autosenses room to spot threats.  Finally he strode to the stand-pipe and turned it on, to allow a trickle of water to run into his cupped palms.  He tipped the liquid over each of hands, splashing them, revelling in the cooling sensation of even this fouled water against the skin of his warplate.

 

+Innocens ego sum a sanguine eorum,+ he whispered through the vox, making his own oath.

 

He dried his hands on the robe collected about his waist, the plasfibre wicking away the remaining drops, before allowing them to fall to the deck.

 

His ablutions performed, Orphiel tapped all pouches to make sure they were closed and tight, that his magazines were locked fast into his weapons.

 

So readied, he stood upright and awaited the call to embark upon the Shark assault boat.


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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.


#87
Beren

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In the time since the squad had assembled in the shuttlebay, Svelk has seemingly receded into himself, remaining quiet and barely moving since adopting a ready stance near the Sharks they are due to board.

 

Wait and hold steady, until the very moment action is required.

 

Regardless, he has to supress a touch of irritation as he sees Orphiel... washing his hands? Such things are not quite so scarce among the Iron Gods.


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#88
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Odysseus considered the words of their target, "if they truly have nothing to give then perhaps we can force dissent amongst the ranks, make it clear to them that they might buy their lives with compliance. Sooth the bite of their pride with the certainty of their defeat."

 

The ship must be brought to heel but the assault must be controlled. He looked across his allies and wondered which might fall to the pursuit of slaughter over success.


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#89
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"Would it not make sense to storm their bridge?  Certainly at that point they will trade the information we seek for their lives?"


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#90
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Svelk speaks quietly, still motionless.

 

+++In this instance, the Bridge should be our primary target, tough what we do on the way there... Sounds to me like there's been a little misunderstanding on their part. If we can get the to stop panicking for a minute, perhaps we can make it clear that they have been deceived, and that the responsible parties will be... appropriately handled.+++

 

He inclines his head ever so slightly in the general vicinity of the rest of the group.

 

+++They mentioned paying the Iron God's toll two days past. I'd imagine that our shipmaster can confirm that we don't have a toll station here, which means that our true target... may have been falsely claiming to operate under our master's aegis. Such claims would give them leverage, and protection against retribution from all quarter but one.+++

 

His helm returns to its former position.

 

+++I can't say I much expertise in assuaging mortals or convincing them to stand down. If they don't... well, their datalogs should provide what we need.+++


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#91
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The apothecary mulled the words of his squad-mates before speaking, +I agree with Svelk: their datalogs should suffice for our needs. Their captain will help us of his own accord, or be made to see the error of his ways.+

Edited by Necronaut, 22 May 2021 - 10:10 PM.

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#92
Lysimachus

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Achard's response to the Lady firing on his ship is both immediate and uncompromising, with no interest in making further attempts at parley.  With precision that a surgeon such as Vesalius would appreciate, his first pass targets the merchantman's gun turrets, destroying any shred of hope they might have held of driving the Sword away. Then he carefully fires upon the other ship's sub-warp engines, leaving it drifting helplessly, like a ripe piece of fruit ready to be plucked.

Whatever you might have hoped, it now seems unavoidable that blood will be spilled this day.

By this time, Kill-Team Cutlass have boarded their transport. Your goal is on the vessel's bridge, for the Captain's angry words give proof that he has interacted with and perhaps even knows the location of the brigands who are your true target. Whether you can take this information from the ship's datalogs or must wring it directly from the Captain himself matters not, as long as you get it.

The Shark-pattern assault boat is little more than a long, squared off tube of plasteel and ceramite, mounted with powerful thrusters at one end and a set of magnetic clamps interspersed with brutal melta breaching charges at the other. It lacks the advanced systems and redundancies of an Astartes boarding craft, but it should serve. The majority of the harnesses, designed to hold naval troops during transport and far too small for your massive frames, have been torn out. You stand in single file, magbooted to the deck, waiting for the thud of contact against the Bounteous Lady's starboard flank. Achard's pilots have calculated that the crossing between ships will take one minute and forty-two seconds. As always in such situations, those seconds feel like hours.

***

#93
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Decimus holds a strap above his head with 1 hand, while the other rubs the bit of bone hanging from his belt and warn smooth by use.  He is muttering something below his breath in the language of his homeworld.


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#94
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Vesalius checked the diagnostic feeds from his squad-mates for what must have been the twentieth time. As the assault boat cleared the Dagger's hangar and began to accelerate towards its prey, he noted the adrenaline-responses from his fellows. The time for killing would be soon. He had not wet his blade in quite some time. One minute, forty-five seconds to contact.

Being one with more of a predilection for ambushing his targets, he had not particularly approved of how their captain had almost casually closed the distance with The Bounteous Lady, though the precision work of the Dagger's weapon crews was something to marvel at.

We'll clean up his mess; why did that bloated fool not set up for a proper ambush of the merchant vessel?!

Adrenaline levels climbing, heart rates elevated. The sense of anticipation within the assault boat was almost electric. The Astartes tensed and relaxed their muscles, ready and willing for the blood-letting to come. Vesalius inspected the bulkhead shears again. Less than thirty seconds to contact.

He grinned to himself under his helm. The crew of The Bounteous Lady were going to help them, alive or dead.

Edited by Necronaut, 23 May 2021 - 01:54 PM.

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#95
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"They will secure the bridge, but a feint towards the reactor or life support might dissuade them. If the defenders are dispersed it will become more difficult to slow our progress with bulkheads without isolating their own forces"

 

Of all the vessels to encounter a merchant ship was perhaps the most favourable. Were this a warship the bulkheads and tenebrous maze of automated defenses could take days to navigate, but space for such things would be given over to cargo and crewing efficiency here.


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#96
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Edit: moved post down to fit with narrative.

#97
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In the sparse time since his arrival aboard the Dagger Thrust Brynjarr had not had the chance to meet the Astartes he would be serving alongside for this mission. Talek Varn had given him no details aside from the team leader’s name, Kai the Traveller, nor had the Tyrant reveled why he wanted him to join this band of unproven on their mission.

 

When the likelihood of boarding action had arisen a ship serf had escorted him to the boarding craft, a retrofitted vessel that to his eyes was barley void worthy. Positioning himself near the breaching doors he awaited the arrivals of the others.

 

Less than thirty seconds later they came, less as a unit and more a scattered collection of rabble. In the cramp condition of shuttle Brynjarr could not get a good look at them. He would have to trust that they were not incompetent, this would be a trial by fire, and Brynjarr did not like it.

 

Clicking through the vox channel until his HUD registered the squads signal he spoke.

 

+++I understand from Talek Varn that Kai the Traveller is your leader, make yourself known, for time is short. +++

 

As the shuttle left the hanger of the Dagger Thrust, Brynjarr picked up his breacher shield, checked his gear, adjusting the bandolier with his grenades and finally firmly holding his bolter at the ready awaited the commencement of the breach.

 

 

 

 

 

Imitative roll: 7 + AG4 = 11


Edited by Trokair, 24 May 2021 - 11:57 AM.

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#98
Lysimachus

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Kai turns to look down his beaked helm at Brynjarr, hand resting on the hilt of his odd sword.

"That would be me." He replies coldly, looking around the squad. "Truth is, none of us like this sudden change... but there's nothing to be done about it now. We're just going to have to get on with it and hope that Varn knows what he's doing."

He seems about to say more, but it is time to board.

***

A bone-rattling thump as the boat makes contact and the magnetic clamps lock on. The breaching charges fire with a loud hiss of superheated air. It takes less than a minute for them to scald their way through the thick hide of the merchantman. Outside the assault hatch you hear a ringing, echoing clang as a large, rectangular section of hull falls suddenly inwards onto some part of the ship's deck. Half a second later, sensors having confirmed a good seal, the boarding ramp begins to crank open. Already the Kill-Team is moving.

You emerge into a large, long chamber, dimly lit and filled with a multitude of pods, containers and crates. Good. Your intended point of ingress was one of the ship's cargo holds and it seems Achard's pilots have done their job well. Through black wisps of smoke rising from the still-molten edges of the fallen hull section, you can see a set of heavy plasteel bulkhead doors at either end of the hold. You also immediately notice that you are not alone.

Rising shakily from the deck all around the hold are a unit of mortal men, barely more than a score in all. Naval Ratings, by their uniforms and the heavy black shotguns most of them carry. Their leader, a deck officer of some sort, takes a deep breath to steady himself and draws the pistol and blade hanging at his waist.


+++NARRATIVE TIME ENDS+++


+++STRUCTURED TIME BEGINS+++



Please roll for your Initiatives.

[ ] Brynjarr | AG4+7 = 11
[ ] Decimus | AG3+D10 = ?
[ ] Kai | AG4+D10 = ?
[ ] Odysseus | AG5+D10 = ?
[ ] Svelk | AG4+D10 = ?
[ ] Vesalius | AG6+D10 = ?
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#99
Black Cohort

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Initiative Roll 4 + 3 = 7


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#100
Beren

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Trust was something of an exaggeration of what Svelk had felt for Orphiel, but at the very least he felt he had garnered a modicum of respect in their time sparring together.

 

Now apparently it was a stranger standing at the forefront of their attack, or at least more a stranger than the rest of the kill team. Svelk couldn't make out the newcomer's profile in the assault boat, but he hoped that the other astartes was well prepared.

 

Kai had a point. What was done was done.

 

---

 

The boarding ramp falls, and Svelk is striding into the cargo chamber. He can make out the new Astartes now, and for a second his misgivings are restrained. That's void armour, sure enough. Another one of the close-quarters bolt-guns too. Maybe he knows what he's doing after all. Though Svelk wouldn't choose to use something as cumbersome as a boarding shield.

 

All this is taken in within a moment, as are the twenty mortals ready to receive them. Shotguns. No urgent requirement of ammunition expenditure needed. He lets the axe-rake slide into his hand.

 

They haven't engaged. Yet.

 

D10=9

AG4+9= Initiative 13


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