+++++++++++++++from the Data Slate of Euphrati Salamis+++++++++++++++
I pause to catch my breath, sheltering against the next Hab-block over, in the narrow roadway between Hab-blocks, and check over the Auto-Stub and clips I swept up from the false Warden’s corpse before scampering away. They are all in working order. I change to a fresh clip and follow the manual’s steps to familiarise myself with an unfamiliar weapon. Garvel, who is swifter than I, seems not to have bothered picking anything up. I ask him to check the door to the Hab-Block.
Elsa Dita and Arlas catch us up by the time Garvel has judged the doorway safe of impediments and inconvenient witnesses. Arlas has picked up one of the Stub-carbines, and Elsa is – for no reason I can quite understand though she makes an effort to explain – sweating under the weight of a heavy vest. When she dons it, she will look a little more like one of us, I suppose. I gently reprove her for her impetuous actions, then ask her to run to the Workers’ Union to pass on the message to Cord Luntz that the time for a diversion has suddenly arisen.
“Complete this mission successfully, Elsa, and you will earn the right to be addressed as Sister, and no longer as Little Sister,” I encourage. Heartened by my demonstration of confidence, Elsa dashes off while we others work our way around to the Almshouse and locate the service entrance that Luntz claimed his pass-key would open.
Elsa finds us again not too long after Luntz’ diversion begins. An ongoing skirmish between Luntz’ shotgun-wielding thugs and the heretical cult’s false Wardens is keeping attention well away from us. I reiterate the need to keep each other fully aware of movements and ammunition, and Garvel opens the door.
We search the storehouse that lies beyond, lock the rear door, and consider waiting for dark there. But ongoing noise as of a scullery from beyond the next door decides us in favour of attempting a ruse.
I assume the bearing of a minor civil functionary, ready my Auspex while Arlas readies his Stub-carbine, and sweep into the scullery, asserting that we are conducting an inspection. Sadly, the three men beyond are not simple scullions or servitors of the Almshouse, but fully-armed cultists!
There is no surprise because Euphrati has announced an inspection and the three cultists have had a chance to react (by trying to draw weapons).
- Dita (ready with stub revolver)
- Cultist 1 (robed, trying to draw Auto-stub)
- Euphrati (withdrawing and exchanging Auspex for Auto-stub)
- Cultist 2 (armored, trying to draw Auto-stub)
- Garvel (ready with shotgun)
- Arlas (ready with Stub-carbine)
- Elsa (ready with Autogun)
- Cultist 3 (armored, trying to draw Auto-stub)
Round 1: Dita shoots C1 in the left leg [13, breaks leg, d5 stun rounds, 1 level fatigue] while C2 misses Dita as his gun snags trying to draw it. Garvel decides to concentrate on C3 and shoots him in the body; but his armor protects him from any damage. Arlas lines C3 up as well and his auto fire slams into both legs, one shot getting through armor for a light wound. Finally Elsa also concentrates on C3 and finishes emptying her previous clip into his body and Righteous Fury blows through [21 total] knocking him down and out.
Round 2: Dita shoots C1 again, breaking a rib, continuing his stun and another level of fatigue. Euphrati returns from cover but with all her team lining the scullery shooting, there is no clear shot so she aims instead. C2 selects semi-auto and his shots catch Dita twice, body and leg. Dita burns a FP to avoid the body wound [d5 burns off all damage her armor and toughness let through] but has taken 6 wound points to leg. Garvel blasts C2 [Righteous Fury, 19 all up] in the left leg, removing most of the leg and killing him. Arlas shoots C1 for 7 points and the excess fatigue achieves a noisy screaming death.
We loot the bodies: I am more interested in evidence than weaponry as I have a plentiful supply. I do confiscate the robed cultist’s vox unit and pass keys, one an unusual type that may open some private entrances. He also had a combat knife with a mono-edge and a silenced Auto-pistol. The others had Auto-stubs.
Garvel locks the front door. The noise of shooting seems to have convinced even the most indigent alms petitioners to leave. We seem to be alone with a refectory, an abandoned chapel, a broad, well-appointed but run-down lobby, an elevator and an ornate flight of stairs, both leading up. Arlas notes a long mirror in the refectory that does not fit the age of the rest of the area. Having broken it open, we see without surpise that it contained a concealed portable cogitator. I order it bagged up. Garvel carries it.
Using the elevator as a diversion, Arlas leads Elsa and Garvel up the stair while Dita and I follow at a more prudent distance. The second floor of the Almshouse must originally have been scholars’ quarters but is now largely disused save for a couple of partitioned hab areas. A well-appointed study delights me: here, a number of possibly-incriminating data slates and documents are confiscated, along with a matriculator.
A side-exit from the main corridor leads to a landing and upward. Elsa Arlas and Garvel explore this area as I complete my confiscation. The landing opens – by means of the private pass-key – onto a large laboratory, where an Insane Perversion of Science tends bubbling beakers and vats. We hear the screams begin. In spite of Dita’s wound she hastens toward the scene. I make a mental note to erase previously-recorded doubts as to her faith, and follow.
The Insane Perversion of Science (IPS, AKA Homunculus1) causes a Willpower test with a penalty of 10 to Willpower.
- Arlas: [FP to re-roll] 03 on Willpower, no problem!
- Garvel: Frozen by terror (but permitted to re-roll each round), d5 Insanity points.
- Elsa: Faints, out for d5 rounds, d5 Insanity points.
The IPS puts down its lab equipment and heads for a piece of equipment that looks like an arborist’s branch-lopper.
- Garvel (if he snaps out of his funk),
- Elsa (should she recover).
Round 1: Arlas sets his Stub-carbine to full auto, hits IPS once, but it dodges! IPS presses a control and the “lopper” becomes a chain-scythe! It sweeps it towards Arlas but merely manages to obliterate a row of beakers.
Dita is one round away. Euphrati is two rounds away.
Round 2: Arlas’ gun jams. Garvel snaps out of his funk, his shotgun blasts the IPS’ left leg for 12 [8 Wounds]. Enraged the IPS sweeps his chain-scythe at Garvel, Garvel dodges.
Round 3: Arlas drops his Stub-carbine in favor of his shotgun, shoots and catches the IPS with a spread-shot [12 body 11 head] and the IPS has its brains sprayed all over Garvel and Elsa.
I take samples of the body: my Auspex hums and whines as various augmetics and fluids are transferred to sample tubes. Nothing else in the laboratory seems to attract its interest.
We do not bother with the elevator-distraction now. It seems as though the doors and walls of the Almshouse are solid enough that our actions have gone undetected. Again, Elsa Arlas and Garvel are advance guard as we move up to the third floor.
Two medical wards bracket the elevator and stair foyer, each screened off by rubberised slat curtains. Overhead, lights flicker erratically as though some major power drain were in action. Opposite the elevator a strong, blank armored door protects the cult.
Throne protect me, I shall never forget what I find when I investigate the wards. Eight of twenty gurneys are occupied by the remains of cult experimentation, and a shelf above each holds fresh organs and fluids. In a corner I find a survivor of a recent operation. He appears to have had the same heretical, obscene interference that poor Saul Arbast had. I signal Dita, who executes the wretch. I note for his next of kin to be located and informed once he is identified. There is no doubt in my mind that the cult is using the cogitators for a simple screening selection. Healthy victims are chosen, perhaps drugged, then removed here for these obscene experiments. I finish noting this and rejoin the others, who are waiting on Garvel to pronounce on the armored door.
It is icy cold. We ready our weapons, though Garvel does not have a full load for his looted Auto-stub. The private pass-key opens it, and we see – Emperor protect us! We see:
A large well-lit chamber, featuring an open lift-shaft, a rack of large canisters high on the right wall, the walls lined with machinery. Eight of the same hulking red-eyed figures that attacked us are lying upright on the right wall, attached to the canisters above them.
Opposite us, a victim is spread on an operating table, and at work on him is a very tall robed cult figure. It is made the more distorted by the bulge of what at first glance appears some type of augmetic device, sitting over its shoulder. This must the The Churgeon, the leader of the heretical cult. Behind her, another Insane Perversion of Science is tending a tank in which another example of the heretical graft technology extracted from Arbast’s body is floating. Similar, but much larger!
- Garvel is OK.
- Dita and Euphrati: “Back-off” – cannot advance on the cult figure, -10 to all check skills, 1 Insanity Point.
- Arlas: “Panic” – runs until a new check gives an “OK” result. Further checks -10 Will.
- Elsa: Faints again. Another d5 Insanity Points.
- IPS2 AKA Iggy (nothing in hands)
- Euphrati (Auto-stub)
- Garvel (Auto-stub)
- Dita (Stub revolver)
- The Churgeon (?)
Round 1: IPS2/Iggy moves, grabs up its chain-scythe, starts it up and readies. It is quite some distance away. Euphrati lines him up and hits twice [4 and 7 damage after armor and toughness]. He is still in the fight but badly hurt. Garvel hits the Churgeon [body for 10] – it seems not badly bothered. Dita aims. The Churgeon glides back, various implements readying themselves like tentacles: but her “hump” detaches itself and rushes Garvel! It is a heretical scalpel-wielding Construct. [With very high initiative!] It glitters with polished metal and gem facets. A lens-faced skull seems to be its controlling node.
Round 2: The Construct enters melee with Garvel, attacking twice and hitting his right leg. [Garvel uses FP to reduce the Wound 8 to 3.] Iggy weaves across the room toward the melee. Euphrati keeps moving slightly to keep Iggy in line of sight and again hits him twice, this time breaking his left leg and removing his right arm. He falls dead. Garvel backs off out of combat and empties the remaining rounds at the Construct, only scoring once. [12-8 hardness=4.] Dita also shoots the Construct but her shot bounces. The Churgeon shrieks and a thin las-blast from one of her dendrites strikes Dita, doing no great damage. [But Dita is running out of Wounds – she will soon be running through Fatigue levels!] The Churgeon moves to a control panel. Lights begin to flicker around the red-eyed creatures.
Round 3: The Construct closes with Garvel again, again hitting once [12 in right leg, FP reduces it by 5] and Garvel is down to his last 2 Wound Points, and is stunned for the round. Euphrati drops her auto-stub next to Dita and draws her auto-pistol, moving to avoid line of sight on the Churgeon and line up the canisters. Dita sweeps the auto-stub up and empties its last three rounds at the Construct, all hits bouncing off. While she still has her revolver, Dita decides to draw her shotgun next. The Churgeon, having set things in motion, circles around by the canisters and shoots back at Euphrati, but the las-shot is so bad she merely pierces the canister right in front of her.
Round 4: The Construct hits once more, chopping all Garvel’s right toes off [rending crit; d5 fatigue, loses use of foot]. Total 0 Wounds, 1 fatigue level. Euphrati sprays the canisters on full auto, gas sprays out and the red-eyed creatures do not stir. Garvel staggers back on one foot, shoots the Construct with his shotgun, achieving a spread [an extra two success levels] but in total only 2 damage to an arm. Dita uses her shotgun and also achieves a spread, each of which achieves Righteous Fury. [16 and 17 body and limb respectively]. There is a brief scream and it explodes! Blood rather than the expected machine-oil sprays out, covering those nearest. The Churgeon retreats to another bank of machinery and begins operating it.
Round 5: Euphrati fires right down the length of the chamber, hitting the Churgeon for double Righteous Fury [22 in right leg] and she dies in screaming agony.
The Emperor Protects! I am pleased to be able to complete this report in person. For a time it seemed as though my report might have been posthumous.
Arlas stopped running once I voxed him with the news. He returned to report that Luntz’ thugs had taken the upper hand and the false Wardens were on the run. Elsa revived and contributed to gathering up various materials. I believe my submission on her behaviour is fair. Fainting twice in the presence of evil suggests that her talents are not for the front line.
We bring in the Adeptus Arbites to restore order. Luntz has taken over the area and a new Warden force will be needed, but that is not our concern. The cult has been rooted out and our invigilator O. Sand offers a few calm words of praise.