Party Status: Zarkov, Mola, Jahr, Grimm and Franz have now acquired the McGuffin – a circular plaque bearing a Tech Priest sigil – and have opened the Sanatorium Wing of the Haemetite Cathedral. Mutant, zombie-like survivors have been dealt with. Franz has only 4 wound points remaining (short of prolonged recovery, nothing further can be done for him) and all others are fine. Loot has been piled into their truck for rapid retreat.
+++++++++++++++++From the data slate of Quintilla Mola+++++++++++++++++
We shake back out into search formation, check our nasal plugs and eye protection is in place, and reload clips where required. I am running low on loose reloads for my stub-auto and decide to use the remainder of loose ammo in it, switching my man-stoppers back out to my trusty old revolver. I also retrieve my frag grenade from Franz. By that time, the others are long ready. It is time to search the Sanatorium. Franz, who is still in poor shape, remains last along with Bobby the medispex.
Though most of the cells are open, one with a fresh water barrel supplied by run-off from the outside, two are barricaded. Zarkov’s probe reveals their walls are daubed with rant such as “Koronath promises… planets aligned… 7th planet… days too long to count.” We make only a cursory search at this point, for the passage ends in a metal door. As we examine it, I catch [Awareness], as though from far behind us in the Cathedral, an enraged scream.
Grimm and Jahr kick the iron door in [Str], revealing a moldering dismal surgery, no doubt where Koronath wreaked his hideous experiments. So it proves. I find some of his lab notes [Search]. Among them, Koronath describes a secret compartment in his Librarium where heretical texts are hidden.
Leaving, we persuade the barricaded doors open, using a krak grenade at one point [Costing a Reroll on Demolition for Zarkov]. Nothing useful is found. A more detailed search of the other cells uncovers a crude cache [Search]. Among less interesting items is a collection of drawings featuring the feathered being, a sketch of a conjunction of the 7th and 9th planets, and a word scrawled under that, which neither I nor Zarkov can make out.
We return to the Librarium – wary of whatever screamed – where I narrate where to locate the secret compartment. Irritably, the lads pry it open, revealing a small scriptorium and lecterns, holding three grimoires. I select one that seems to relate to the heavens, but to my alarm and disgust [fail WP on reroll, 2 Insanity points] I see a blur of images that quickly pass, and the tome disintegrates! [Fail Tough, invaded by 5 Corruption points!] Zarkov looks over a brown grimoire that means nothing to him, [WP success] shrugs and leaves it. Jahr detaches the two intact times from their lecterns with his axe and we bundle them into a cloak ready for transport.
Grimm returns from loading them into the truck with his long-arm. For we have agreed: it is time to test what happens when the sigil is inserted into its socket.
There is an audible whine, and an elevator shaft opens in the clock housing. No elevator, or at least none working. Prudently, we have brought plenty of rope, and Jahr fetches it and the tools. Securing one end, Franz clambers down swiftly, not trusting the ancient iron rungs. He reports all safe and we clamber down after him – save for Grimm, who loses his grip [Fails Climb at +40! on Reroll!] and plummets into a chilly, slimy pool of run-off water at the bottom of the shaft.
As Grimm wipes his weapons off, we examine a door or tunnel-hatch at the shaft side. After some trying [Zarkov fails security] Jahr and Grimm use the crowbar to “persuade” it open. [Jahr fails Str, the plot requires it to be opened so GM declares it done with 1 level fatigue.]
Beyond, a room that is illuminated eerily by a number of skull-servitors. They still obey commands, and I arrange them as a line of marching-lights into the tunnel that stretches beyond. It is circular, suggesting a storm-water drain rather than access-way. After following it a short way, Jahr locates a circular door in one side. Zarkov examines it briefly, but as Jahr and Grimm send the floating lights further ahead, it grinds half-open! Zarkov probes through, and reports that he has found High Gothic words in a large chamber. They read: “Pax Macharia.”
We enter and explore what appears to be a large chamber filled with large mechanical gears, navigated by means of metal walkways. Almost immediately, I note [Awareness] the presence of a chamber below the walkway we are on. Zarkov locates [Tech Use, Awareness] a junction-box of some sort, and with it, a faded map. Though barely legible he spells out the legend and we determine what the various rooms off this chamber are likely to be. We explore them in order beginning with the one I noticed, the Core.
Here, the desiccated body of the astrogator or Princeps (as Zarkov advises me [Adeptus Lore reroll]) in its central command chair has been preserved by the chill of the room. I bow to the body, which has remained loyal to its duty through unnumbered years. Data slabs are arrayed in banks all around. We search for any other information, and again Zarkov locates [1/2 Perception] a cache the crew has left. This confirms his theory, he announces with a metallic note of triumph: we are standing in the control center of the Titan, Pax Macharia! It would seem likely that some unknown threat caused the Adeptus Mechanicus to hide the Pax Macharia on this headland, after which the Cathedral was built over it, perhaps to add to its camouflage.
More prosaically, the cache contains a number of injectors, a medikit, a laz-pistol with red-dot sight, four “hot-shot” packs, and a flask of something Jahr pronounces to be booze.
This has padded walls and wood-beam floor. It’s suited to giant guns. Jahr is dragged reluctantly out of it.
This large circular room is dominated by a roughly cylindrical furnace of some kind, and a disturbing growth that smacks of the Warp, running across the furnace and floor. A door is located opposite. We search, without stepping on the growth and I find [1/2 Perception] an Interface. Zarkov, who has found a withered Servitor in a compartment, links to the Interface and tells us that a Shield must be raised from the furnace and fuel rods inserted. That sounds like a good way to die pointlessly, we reply.
A number of cramped chambers fitted up for Adeptus types. Phrases from Holy scripture are still legible. A headless corpse (surprisingly well preserved) holds a bolt-pistol and vox unit.
We listen to the last words of Barabus Zanatov. He came here looking for a priest. He explains a cipher and the Black Sepulcher, and warns of the God-Eater.
Double doors lead out. Zarkov refers back to his record of the map and tells us it leads to the Medicae Chamber.
Grimm takes Zanatov’s bolt-pistol with its seven rounds, and I explore [1/2 Perception] the Medicae lab briefly, finding it in good shape. I give Zarkov the three further injectors I have found.
We return to the Generatorium with mattresses from the quarters, lay them over the growth, and open the door on the other side. It contains a working, large-screen cogitator, and maps. I roll the maps up and Zarkov activates the cogitator and memorizes the holy commands that will activate the furnace. I hear him muttering something about “thrice shall ye count… four is too much… five is right out.” Beware, Zarkov, you dabble in ancient heresy at peril of your soul!
[There’s now a group discussion. The railroad tracks are pretty shiny in the direction of “activate the Generator” but we have doubts as to the risks and worth. The GM asks us for Int checks in order to enforce a decision. Mola gets ½ Int and is told that we should indeed activate the Generator.]
Faced with the presence of Warp, we decide to use the furnace to burn it away. We hide in the Gear Room outside while Zarkov uses the Interface to command the Servitor and move the Shield. The Shield slowly rises, tearing its way out of the Warp tissue, revealing a Console and the spent fuel rods. Out of the warp come gibbering creatures!
Battle layout: The Generatorium is a circular room with two doors, opposite one another. The “Furnace” and Shield take up a considerable part of the room, leaving a crescent-shaped battle area between the doors and the Interface. The Servitor is not in line of fire. Four demons, humanoid but with chaotic features such as mouthed tentacles have appeared and are grouped in a semi-circle around Zarkov, who stands about 6m from the exit door, at one wall. The other characters may not automatically fire through the open doorway as it must be assumed they were not pointing guns at Zarkov.
Round 1: Grimm readies his bolt pistol and aims. Mola pops the pin from her frag grenade and flips it in. It bounces off the shoulder of a demon [4 levels of inaccuracy] and away, but catches three in its blast [13 damage to each of the three – the random direction actually improved its coverage!] Jahr opens up on semi-auto but the demon he targets evades the shots.
Two demons use claw attacks, two use range attacks by producing pinkish plasma bolts. All target Zarkov. One bolt corrodes a section of wall, the other evaporates harmlessly; one clawing demon misses Zarkov and the other connects but Zarkov’s sturdy cloak resists its [primitive] claws.
Franz begins [Fail Acrobatics] sliding past Grimm and Mola into the chamber. Zarkov flees – the two demons he was adjacent to miss him – he is safe outside!
Round 2: Grimm’s aimed shot strikes the nearest demon in the head searing part of its face off [12 damage, Rk3 explosive crit, 2 levels fatigue]. Mola swings up her stub-auto with dum-dum rounds and snap-shoots, but misses. Jahr drops his autogun, quick-draws his axe, and charges the nearest, taking its head off [14 = Rk 10 crit]. It melts back to the Warp.
The remaining melee demon closes with Jahr, its claws making no impression on his Guard armor. The plasma-bolt demons summon fire again, but miss.
“I light my farts at parties too!” – Jahr
Franz rolls in, lifts his autogun and snap-shoots into combat, [RF – 21 to body, Rk10 impact crit] tearing the demon’s rib-cage out and sending it flying back to the bolt-firing demons. It begins melting back to the Warp. Zarkov draws his laz-gun and snap-shoots past Mola and Grimm, missing.
Round 3: Grimm steps in to get line of sight on the remaining wounded demon, snap-shoots, and catches it in the head! [12, Rk2 explosive crit, blind and deaf, 2 levels fatigue.] Mola aims and fires at that one, catching its arm [4 levels fatigue, stunned] and its plasma-bolt goes wild, doing no damage. Jahr charges across to the unwounded demon, his axe tearing its arm off [13 points initially then 26 points RF as it steps back] and it begins melting away. Franz aims at the stunned demon, hitting it solidly in its body [Rk7 impact crit] yet somehow it remains upright. Zarkov moves back into the chamber, and his laz-gun burns the creature to ash.
Now, we check damage – none are hurt – and assess the chamber. The demon bolts do not seem to have struck any vital element. The Servitor, which had faithfully observed its sacred rituals during the combat, has completed inserting three fuel rods. Already, the Warp tissue is burning away. We exit the chamber, congratulating ourselves: our purge has been successful! Then, even as we lift our voices in words of praise to the Emperor, a deeper rumbling is heard beneath us. Zarkov swings back to glare into the chamber. The Servitor has inserted a fourth rod.