Friday, 8 November 2013

Dark Heresy: 24/10/2013 - Bad Cop, Mad Cop Routine

Continuing where we left off last time, the band of acolytes were still examining the crime scene. As a few explored the back alley outside, Bardason had clambered up the ladder to an upper gantry over the crime scene. His hope was to see something they might have missed otherwise. It was also at this point, as GM Von Diego mentioned difficulty seeing thanks to darkness, that Bardason was wearing his full Stormtrooper armour including the helmet. It seems he had forgotten to ask what characters were carrying with them each day, despite this biting him in the arse during Shadowrun.

Anyway, besides a few flecks of blood against the gantry Bardason could see a vague pattern of footprints leading outside from the murder scene. Unfortunately, thanks to weather and exterior conditions, these had been worn away upon reaching outside. As the Guardsman took a few blood scrapings, Guilliman made a psiniscience test to pick up more but gained little beyond a general direction.

After a bit more poking about outside, and Cromwell almost getting his leg chomped off thanks to insulting a cyber mastiff, we had our heading. Guilliman had done his mental work on the amulet he had uncovered, giving him a vague heading via psychic powers while the feint blood trail remained. With the trail growing stale and Guilliman only able to sense a vague direction we split the group -  Bardason and Dwr went stalking after the blood trail, while Guilliman and Cromwell went to harass whoever was linked to the amulet.

It went better than expected. No more than a single magazine of bullets was expended in the following investigations, and only two innocent bystanders were harmed. A new record for our lot.

Following the psychic trail, the psyker and tech priest were eventually led to the Temple of Thunder. One of the bigger Ecclesiarchy institutions within the hive, the core of the Imperial Creed there no less, this would be an interesting meeting. Entering an ornate hall filled with lesser under-priests, with a few older ranked members bearing very similar icons to the one they had found, this would not be an easy task. This was made all the harder when Guilliman announced they were representatives of the Inquisition, starting a major panic among the priests.

Eventually managing to get some semblance of order, if one enforced by a mixture of fear and dread at the new arrivals, the priest receiving visitors asked the obvious question:

"How can we serve you?"

Cromwell, being an agent of the Mechanicus, promptly responded with this little gem:
"On your knees!"

"Of course lord!"

It's not often we get moments of real roleplaying in these sessions, but bits like this make it entirely worth it. 

Speaking with the kneeling priest, Guilliman explained the situation and tried to get the place locked down. This went with about the degree of success you'd expect considering the lack of Inquisitiorial troopers at the scene. Instead, they asked to be led to the head of the temple: Archbishop Halmn.

Led into the spiritual leader's office/throne-room, Guilliman proceeded to give a deep bow and Cromwell a curtsy. Despite this nonsense the Archbishop proved to be quite accommodating, explaining the problem in hunting down the specific owner of their amulet. Over two-hundred lesser priests alone carried icons such as this one, and the Temple had a significant stockpile of such items. Many had lost amulets or taken out more than one in recent years, meaning any records could potentially be inaccurate. Beyond the outdated iconography, Halmn could see little which was individually unique about the specific one to help identify it.

The duo were instead shown to Archivist Thaddeus, an aging priest stuck around the molding tomes of books and cogitators. Unable to help them recognise it either, beyond comparing it with his own icon, they were left to root through records to pick out anything of interest. Those who had taken out amulets matching any descriptions similar to the one they had found, the potential time of its make, anything they could use to pin down info for the crime scene.

Finding little at his end, Cromwell was only able to pick off a list of names from the cogitators as he looked up requisitions records. Something to work with but nothing solid to pin down, none the less he took away a list of the names anyway. Guilliman meanwhile was able to find out that no Imperial symbol like the one they had found recorded from any creed in the last few thousand years. Only chatting with Thaddeus again did he learn that enthroned eagles had been forbidden, and having one with a crown such as this was something of an unspoken taboo. They would need to head to Tarsus to find out more, and that was time the group simply did not have. 

Speaking to Thaddeus about Cromwell's list, the two soon learnt that many of the priests were either out of contact or would be ruled out. Two had left for a missionary on that day, another six were recorded as only having taken one. Of those, two were in the temple, two were away on business to hive Tarsus and another was in a medicae facility. Investigating those present in the building, among them the underpriest Markus who had greeted them, yielded not a single shred of information over the following hours. During that time the Archbishop himself had left for Tarsus, meaning he was out of contact. 

Making another psychic scan revealed little, besides one odd detail. The strong feeling he had previously had which had led them there was now non-existent, as if the person linked to it was now out of the city.

Bardason and Dwr's efforts meanwhile had led them to a largely derelict hab block not too far from the scene of the crime. Largely empty and run down, the arbites tried to learn anything about it from the nearby cogitator. Several failed tech use rolls later had left the machine in a smoking mess, meaning we were going to get little out of it. Discussing their options led them to going in room by room questioning. The second choice following room by room shooting until they found someone related to the crime. 

Hammering on the nearest door only elicited obscene responses and demands to leave. Intimidation tests did little to convince them that they were arbites representatives, leading to Bardason kicking in the door. They really wanted to get their damn answers. What they got was bullets.

A shotgun blast struck Bardason square in the chest, failing to breach his armour, only to see a cowering man hiding behind a sofa. Things were shifted from "bad" to "bloody terrible" as Bardason decided the best way to defuse the situation was with weapons grade drugs. Pulling out an injector arrow, he shot the man in the arm causing him to see giant pink elephants coming through the walls. Shooting in every direction imaginable, the man promptly clipped his wife and had to be restrained by Dwr. Restrained by body-slamming and handcuffs to be specific. 

Stemming the the bleeding of the woman's bullet wounds, Bardason conducted their interrogation. Once she had some pain removing drugs, of the non madness kind, along with bandages she proved to be quite sociable. Explaining that several mysterious men had rented out a room at the other end of the corridor for several days and then left, they had been about during the murder. What they had noticed was that several of these men had been dressed in red robes, like those of a priesthood. With the silence from upstairs likely heralding an armed investigation into the gunshots, the two promptly decided to investigate this room while they had time. Exiting the small apartment they had invaded, Bardason left a couple of hundred thrones as compensation of a sort.

Breaking into the room, which has obviously been disused for some time, it didn't take long to pick out a few items of interest left behind. The mastiff immediately took interest in one corner of the place, causing Dwr to haul out a pair of robes. One leaking of blood, the other of a mixture of incense and gunpowder. While Bardason managed to find a bloodstained knife, ten thrones and a picture of a man's wife the place was otherwise abandoned. The duo were unfortunately unable to give it a proper look as they heard movement from upstairs. Heavily armed sounding moment which suggested they should run. And leg it they did, without looking back.

The warband eventually regrouped at the Arbites Precinct, which was ever a flurry of activity. Still interested in the antics of "Dave", Cromwell listened in on a few of the ongoing conversations while learning a few distinct bits of info:
A seeker had been hired to find a missing Imperial  Amulet.
If Takara got the contract then the Mechanicus would likely profane the weapons produced.
Finally, that "The sermons of Archbishop Halmn are supposed to be brilliant!"

Add a mildly cockney accent to that last one.

Hearsay and heresy aside, we compared notes and personal suspicions. Those at the Temple analysed the robes we had retrieved, confirming that they were ones low ranking priests would wear but are otherwise not notable. A quick psiniscience test by our resident psyker with the obscene cranial tattoo soon revealed that one had been worn by an exceptionally violent man. The other by someone who felt oddly familiar...

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