DH3.07: Arbiters

 

+++++++++++++++++From the data slate of Quintilla Mola+++++++++++++++++

Equipping themselves with local Arbite gear

Our triumphant and swift penetration of the command centre no doubt led to the swift collapse of local opposition. In our wake, a more thorough search has opened Arbiter Precinct 98’s lockers.

This becomes relevant a fortnight after the last report filed. Lieutenant Zolokov, who survived the fierce fire-fight, needs to know what means we have decided on.

Indeed the fortnight has not been wasted updating training manuals! We – or I should say I – have amassed a small amount of information about House Drashkon, which seems the key to the false Drusus. This nouveau-riche and heretic House, which worships Mars Mechanicus if anything, has made its wealth through unswerving Augmetick sales. They are secure in the Hive, and we will need a disguise that covers Zarkov, myself and Grimm.

Jahr is still recovering, and from what little Zolokov lets drop, it seems he “blames us” for advancing without him: he may sign on with the Canopus Guard and send Vaarak his resignation. (Or, I warn Vaarak, they may report him dead in combat and give him another guard’s papers.) If that be so, then it is no loss: any Acolyte that places comradeship above service to the Throne does not deserve service.

So the disguise that we agree with Zolokov is the excellent Arbite armour and everyday clothing stored in the lockers, along with IDs, local Data Slates and standard Arbite police weapons: combat shotgun, shock maul and clear-plas riot shield. A bandage around the jaw covers Zarkov’s obvious differences. We can strip the tags off, and paint over the Rhino’s service sign: and enter the Hive as disaffected Arbiters.

“So for us to succeed in the mission, we will need to lie” – Mola

“OK” – Grimm

“Yes” – Zarkov

“Just make sure we are all telling the same lies” – Mola

+++++++++++++++++the Arbiters for this session+++++++++++++++++

Grimm, an actual Arbiter, standing well over 6’ and with jaw and shoulders to match

Mola, a willowy 5’10, and has managed to avoid death in melee, that one time

Zarkov, a creepy 6’ something though his normal posture suggests otherwise, with no strength to speak of and has one of those creepy breather masks on his face

+++++++++++++++++and now back to the session+++++++++++++++++

And some Augmetick doodads and a Baldrick

Zolokov commits to Zarkov’s keeping a small case found in the command centre: it contains two sets of Augmetick eyes. Each is a work of dark craft and will fetch a fortune in the “right” quarters.

“Corporal Sank found the way to open the case. He has skills that are… useful in scavenging and adapting local resources” – Zolokov

“Luvly boy. We need someone like him. We’ll take him” – Grimm

“Err… an honour to serve the Throne…” – Sank, possible a distant descendant of Bdr Beaumont

“Fall in then you ‘orrible shower” – Grimm, immediately morphing into a Sar’Major

The Acolytes penetrate the Fenksworld Hive

We are delayed a little at the Hive entrance, and for a few seconds I fear the plan will collapse before we begin. But then Grimm shoves his head up out of the Rhino and grumbles something in Arbiter slang about watches and shifts and changes, and the Hive guards let us roll in.

[Deceive gets a real workout this session. Mola actually has the skill but it’s not her night for those rolls. Instead Grimm rolls an 06 on unskilled Deceive, which is one raise on his feeble Fellowship, and gets the team into the Hive.]

“I’m taking us downwards, where less scrutiny and more villainy can be found” – Mola

Inside, we see more patrols than this level of a Hive would warrant – though lacking professionalism. Grimm’s guess is that many of the Arbiters we can see, as we roll downward seeking a place of subterfuge, are makeshift locals pressed into service. They probably know the law less well than his cursory study of the data slate has prepared his knowledge.

“So you do read then” – Mola, sceptically

“I’m not some weird barbarian, of course I can read. I just don’t, as a matter of sound policy since all reading leads to impure thoughts.” – Grimm

“Pah! You speak as though heresy leaps off a page like a contagion!” – Mola

“And it doesn’t?” – Grimm, sarcastically

“I’m living proof of that!” – Mola, stifling a corrupted titter

 

And gather information

The Rhino at last finds a home in an abandoned warehouse, large enough to make any level of interrogation feasible. Though of course, we don’t have to use Grimm’s normal approach to witnesses. All we need is a more or less corrupt middleman or fixer, who would like to make a profit off the sale of Augmeticks. The money, or the presence of such a treasure, should enable us to make contact with Drashkon.

Once secure, Grimm and I, as a pair of foot-patrolling Arbiters, get the layout of the vicinity. The fanactic followers of the false Saint can be seen everywhere, running the Hive. They are even willing to challenge us! But between us, we handle the threat.

[Mola uses Fellowship/Deceive while Grimm resorts to trusty old Intimidate! – We didn’t roleplay this which would have been boring for Zarkov’s player. But it does set the pattern of good cop: bad cop.]

Grimm’s plan is to arrest someone, bring them to our base, and shake them down. A local cantina holds a likely target: a woman peddling information or the like to a couple of ne’er do wells. Grimm sends the latter two packing and we escort this woman away to answer some questions.

[Mola gets 6 raises on Perception to spot a good place and target.]

 

And an ally?

But we do not need to work on Thebe – for so she is known – for long. Something in my manner – probably my burning love for service in Emperor’s name – tells her she can trust me. Soon, she has agreed to work for us and receive money and a way out of here, rather than a bullet.

[Quite a few rolls here – Grimm has Scrutiny which is handy, but Mola turns on the Charm (another skill she owns) and with a reroll gains Thebe’s attachment. The GM manfully avoids yet another yuri situation, though he does comment on this being a bit of a theme for Mola.]

Grimm sends Thebe away to begin the transaction – after punching her very hard in the face, with his Arbiter gauntlet.

“She got taken away for interrogation by Arbiters – it had to look convincing!” – Grimm

“You’re so mean!” – Mola, displaying some actual emotion

“Hey, I numbed her up first, and gave her two painkillers for when it wears off” – Zarkov, blasé as usual about meat getting spoiled.

[It is actually Thebe that hands the team the inside dirt on Drashkon, but I’ve given the intel to Mola earlier on because it didn’t make sense that 2 weeks of Scholar research turns up zilch.]

 

They enter House Drashkon

The day comes when we are sent an invitation to enter the House. We have examined the outside from a respectful distance by then of course. So far as we know, the Lord is away and we are to meet the Major-domo, Balthazar. So, Augmeticks distributed, we roll up to the gate.

[I won’t go into the ‘distribute and hide the Augmeticks’ because it will distract. It afforded me the opportunity for a little innocent humour which had Grimm’s player walking away to recover from and disrupted the game for a few minutes. Let’s just say, we have the Augmeticks hidden, OK?]

Grimm dismounts and speaks to the Guard (and enormous full combat Servitor) at the gate, and we are allowed in. On foot, which is a tiny bit frightening.

And soon find some leads they lack the skills to develop

Balthazar descends from the mezzanine of the great entry hall and greets us graciously. Very graciously, considering he must know we are least either mendicants or thieves, and probably both. He offers us accommodation, but says any deal must await the Lord Drashkon. We take rooms in an upper floor.

After some light and permissible exploration, Zarkov offers the Mechanicus temple to our attention, and as a second option, the “parlour” where Lord Drashkon reads and passes the time. Both have certain indications of secret panels and possible heretical altars.

But the temple’s secret panel is warded by a cogitator, which requires the correct incantation be punched into its code. And the parlour has a pict-stealer warding a hinged section of the drinks cabinet. We retire to think and prioritise our efforts.

[By this time we have blown all our fate points on rerolls and it seems a good idea not to try without.]

+++++++++++++++++data slate paused+++++++++++++++++

So the session was called a little early, but good timing since I had a long drive the next morning. The highlight was – setting aside the jokes about hiding Augmeticks – getting an ally for the plan to more or less work, without needing to use our Baldrick. We still have Sank (aforesaid Baldrick) with us, because we are well aware we lack a Scum for snooping and picking locks etc. But we would rather blunder around and more or less get it right on our own, than have the GM step in with an NPC.

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