Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Dark Heresy: 01/11/2013 - Violence Inherent In The System

So last time our group was seen fleeing from the scene of their crime as sirens filled the cold morning air of Seattle after triggering a mass city fire…

I’m sorry, wrong game.

Our group was last seen fleeing from the scene of a mass slaughter, the smell of burning meat and fallen masonry filling the dank night air and the fires of a partially destroyed apartment complex lighting their way.

Having taken out all of those opposing them, the Inquisitorial Acolytes dragged the remaining mook with them, found out he knew nothing, and Guilliman killed him. Their only useful contact had been taken out in the explosion from the lascannon blast meaning ‘Ard Dave was the only potential lead we had to follow beyond the man in the Arbites cells. Being a hardened criminal and this being a Hive City, it was not going to be easy to properly get him to open up to us. Especially as we had attachments to the local police which we had done little to nothing to disguise. With Cromwell insisting that “Let’s not assign blame to anyone by his lascannon” and Guilliman trying to remember where we were going, the group eventually stumbled upon our destination. It turned out we had been right as the hab-block we approached was guarded by two men with shotguns with who knew how many inside.

Taking the diplomatic route, Bardason opened up with his helmet’s in-built megaphone announcing “’ARD DAVE! COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR!” which seemed to only produce reactions of confusion. This only got worse once Guilliman and Cromwell got involved, with the criminals taking neither seriously. After several minutes of this the group only managed to actually achieve any kind of progress once Bardason made it clear they wanted to speak. It turned out this was a good move later on given by what they found. Also something not made too easy thanks to Cromwell yelling “I have a lascannon and I’m not afraid to use it!”

After going to check that Dave actually wanted to speak to the nutjob in full armour who was demanding his surrender a minute ago, Bardason was allowed inside. Making sure to leave his com-link open and with Guilliman informing him that “If you need us cause an explosion” he advanced inside without the majority of his weapons. As the other two stood in the rain psyking out the guards (Guilliman mostly, by blending into the surroundings and using various psychic powers) the Guardsman was led through the hab-block. The interior consisted mostly of armed people among the civillians, with the way up to Dave’s room heavily guarded. Things only became obviously worse once inside, where a good eight or nine people stood in wait, ready to kill him if he proved to be hostile.

Sitting on a moth-eaten couch was ‘Ard Dave himself, heavy set and quite obviously criminal in nature. Despite showing obvious distrust for the man dressed in stormtrooper armour in front of him, he was at least curious enough to want to know what had led them to him. Thinking quickly, Bardason used a few details they had pieced together from the scene of the crime to put a slight spin on things to make him talkative. Speaking about the murder scene, Bardason claimed to be another element involved and that a murder weapon with Dave’s fingerprints had been clearly left at the scene. Managing to convince him he’d been set up, as we’d found that weapon elsewhere, he promptly spilled the beans.

Dave and his goons had been hired by someone high up. Wearing a mask to disguise his face, despite an obvious scent of incense and good quality robes there was nothing truly distinguishable about their employer.  Still, with several thousand thrones being offered up front they were not about to start asking question, and were offered none in return. Dave, their employer and fifteen others had entered the factory earlier than the other group, dressed in crimson robes and armed with knives. Approaching the inspectors, they had gotten close enough to initiate a mass killing off all involved with the employer insisting the “Sororitas bitch” be left to him alone. Holding her down for their employer, the thugs had allowed the man to beat her senseless then kill the sister in a frenzy, utterly defacing her.

From outside, Cromwell got a call from the precinct stating that they were certain that the flesh beneath the Sororitas’ fingernails were from her killer. In addition to this, it seemed extremely likely that the amulet had belonged to him as well thanks to traces found on it. It now meant we were one step along with an accomplice found and evidence suggesting murder.

As Bardason was escorted back outside, the trio regrouped and confirmed their knowledge. However, there was one thing they all agreed upon. They had just found a hired thug involved in the torture and then killing of a member of a holy order, along with the slaughter of several others. They were not about to leave without incident.

After first their first option of calling in a full Inquisitorial strike force or Arbites gun-cutter was deemed impossible, preventing them taking on everyone inside the building, they opted to instead take a stealthy approach. As Dwr’ called them up to deliver some good news, but was cut off as they instead asked her to meet them outside a certain hab-block for a violent arrest.

Arriving in a squad car twenty minutes later, having the sense of park just out of sight of the goons we explained our plan: Take out the guards at the door stealthily, hurry up to Dave’s room, grab him and escape. Bardason would take point as he knew the exact room and general layout with potential ambush points. Bare in mind this was plan B following having Cromwell lascannon the side of Dave’s room, us grapple up, grab him and then escape. Something we only avoided when we realised we didn’t have rope for once.

With Cromwell and Dwr taking out the two guards on the exterior thanks to headshots from silenced weapons, Guilliman and Bardason sneaked up with blades drawn. Several guards were just inside the building, but unfortunately one had heard the slumping of bodies over the rain. Heading towards the door, he stuck his head out, spotted Guilliman, then got a knife in his throat by Bardason for his troubles.

This unfortunately led to the other trio of guards in the room suddenly being suspicious of why their comrade had issued a wet gurgle, then been dragged out the front door by someone. Before they could take a step towards the pair of Inquisitorial agents, Dwr promptly revealed she had brought an anti-material rifle with her. With the others signalling where about they were standing, she fired and took out a large chunk of the wall and everything behind it. The two heavily muscled men were promptly turned into high speed smears which had been struck by a fist sized round. Apparently thunder rolled through the city from the rain at the exact moment the bullet struck, preventing it being noticed.

Look it’s 40K, physics and common sense both take a day off at least once a week.

The last one didn’t live long enough to cry out, with Guilliman sprinting through and shoving a force weapon through the man’s cranium. Fifteen seconds and six men dead, no alarm raised and, as we looked inside, most of the hab-block closing up for the night. Not a bad start.

Rushing ahead as fast as we could, the warband sprinted up several flights of dilapidated stairs until we reached Dave’s room. After waiting a few seconds for Cromwell, who had not realised all of us were supposed to be storming the place, the tech-priest unravelled the arcane technological mysteries of the door handle and we sprinted inside. Just within, stark naked and atop a woman, was a very shocked looking Dave. After the woman screamed and ran after Cromwell began to pull up a chair, the tech priest shoved them man onto the ground and silenced him. A good thing too, as Bardason promptly informed him he was under arrest by the Emperor’s Hallowed Inquisition for murder, prompting a muffled scream of fear and rage.

Knocking Dave out and with the woman gone, it was obviously only a matter of time before someone raised the alarm. With Dwr slinging the unconscious criminal over one massive shoulder, the group sprinted towards the entrance with all haste. Not fast enough it seems,  as one thug opened up a door just ahead of them going to check on their boss. His statement of “I’ll go check on-” promptly turned into “HOLY SHIT!” as he saw the group of heavily armed figures running towards him. Before he could get off a proper warning, Guilliman slashed his throat on the way past and Bardason followed it up with an arrow nailing him to the door.

With sounds of guns being loaded and masses of activity coming from outside, the group sprinted to the squad car, Bardason pausing just long enough to yell “AVE IMPERATOR YER BASTARDS!” before they left. Piling inside they raced away, not hitting the breaks until they were within the safety of the precinct’s reinforced walls. Handing over Dave to shove inside a cell, we got back on track somewhat:
Bardason – “Sorry about that, Dwr, what did you learn from the interrogation?”
Dwr – “… You people are fucking insane, you know that?”

Managing to calm down, she outlined what the man had revealed during her interrogation: He had been drunk but had heard the sounds of screams and a scuffle within the factory. Amid the screams had been cries of “Heretic!” and “Burn in hell!” with a group of red robed men storming out the building a minute later. The man leading them wearing a vastly more ornate outfit than those behind him.

With the church under heavy suspicion, Guilliman suggested we return to the Cathedral of Thunder, much to the glee of Cromwell. The tech priest had been desperate to break inside the office of the archbishop, convinced that he was behind everything thanks to his timely disappearance. He was also not someone to be dissuaded from such an objective.

Now the dead of night, the group managed to blather their way inside with Guilliman and Dwr distracting everyone while Bardason and Cromwell sneaked upstairs. Managing to sneak up the second level, Guilliman went off to speak with Thaddeus in the archives, effectively in command of the church following the archbishop’s absence. Dwr meanwhile started distracting everyone else by some superhuman effort, keeping them all at the front door.

Just as they reached the landing, Cromwell’s loud clanking unfortunately attracted the attention of one priest on duty. Questioning what he was doing up there, Bardason managed to sneak past and head for the door hoping Cromwell could be trusted to keep him busy. He did, but not in the way we needed. Regarding the man as not showing the necessary respect for a Magos, Cromwell stomach punched him in the hopes of knocking him out. Several more punches finally took him down, but not before it drew the attention of several servitors, forcing him to head back downstairs to avoid them. A lucky roll kept them following, leading to the robots chasing Cromwell through the streets Scooby Doo style, before he finally managed to lose them in a sweat shop.

Failing to force the lock several times, leading to yet another elderly priest investigating what was going on, Bardason eventually broke the door down before shoving it back in place. By some miracle this led to him going undetected, allowing him to examine the room. Finding evidence of DNA on the decidedly un-priestly cigar and ash tray on the man’s desk, plus a whip used for ritualistic flagellation, meant they had enough to compare with the skin samples. More importantly, a quick search of the archbishop’s desk soon revealed several letters from Fane Douru. All were angry with the change of shipments with threats of consequences if the Ecclesiarchy, but seemed slightly odd in some ways. Several were the exact same letter but with minor spelling and typographical differences, as if they had been copied. Shoving all of them into their backpack, he crept out once again.

As Cromwell returned to the church, he was promptly dwarmed by priests asking for his assistance. Apparently they had found an unconscious member of their order slumped against the floor meaning the church had intruders. Tomfoolery ensued. They were soon joined by Bardason who announced “Oh-no! Someone has broken into the bishop’s office!”

In the archives, Guilliman managed to make considerably more progress. Citing his beliefs that Archbishop Halmn had turned traitor, thanks in no small part to the mounting evidence, Thaddeus agreed to hear them out.

Managing to leave the church a short time later, the group split up with Cromwell and Guilliman returning to analyse their finds, while Bardason and Dwr followed up another possible lead they should follow. Namely the Sororitas themselves given the frenzied nature of the attack. As Guilliman prepared to arrange their findings to put forwards a case to the Inquisitor and other officials, Cromwell performed DNA analysis upon what had been discovered in the archbishop’s room. As it was being analysed, he soon also realised that the letters were definitely attempts at forgeries to match Douru’s handwriting.

Arriving at a small Sororitas clinic in one of the better parts of town, he spoke of the killing but they were ultimately unable to cite specific enemies of their order beyond general heretics. What they could do however, was lead us to a scholar who knew of their history and potentially the amulet they had uncovered. Heading over to the House of the Emperor’s Smoking Gun (did you really expect anything else by this point?) they were introduced to the scholar. After nervously confirming he would not be charged with heresy for his knowledge, he began to provide some very helpful information. The amulet in question was a pre-Thorian symbol dating back to the ages of the Vandire heresy in M36. Belonging specifically to the Church of the Savior Emperor, they were known to venerate him in blood sacrifices and lavish rituals, the exact like which were outlawed by Sebastian Thor. The Aquila, to the order, was intended to represent the God-Emperor being king of the universe. Furthermore this badge of office was intended to allow his priests to freely impose their will upon all around them. Naturally, being so close to Vandire, any surviving faction would have hatred for any member of the Adeptus Sororitas.

This was more than enough for Bardason to recall the Temple Tendency, a group Inquisitor Van Graff had mentioned in passing but had enough similar information to suggest it was likely them they were facing. Just as this was finished, Cromwell’s analysis came to a close with an exact match between the DNA on the whip and under the Sororitas’ fingernails.

With proof of his involvement, an accomplice who had confessed to his involvement in their cells, a motive for his actions and proof of attempting to frame Douru, we were done. The Archbishop was our target and our task was now to take him down. One call to the Inquisitor later and the group was heading with all speed to the Cathedral of Illumination in Hive Tarsus.

It was now our job to bring him in, alive if possible. A near physical impossibility for our group.

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