Faith and Betrayal
Lover in the Ice
A newly forged cell of Inquisitor Sand’s Acolytes, designated as Raptor Cell (consisting of a hulking brute named Jak, a Guardsman named Jez, a Navigator named Godwin, an assassin named Rylak, a Missionary named Silvain, and a Cleric named Lupus), is dispatched under the command of Interrogator Quint to the cold death world of Karrik to secure a breach in one Inquisitor Sand’s secret Sand Boxes (secret non-descript storage facilities that Sand has scattered throughout the sector that are used to store low-threat level items of potential Inquisition interest). The breach was alarmed days after an apocalyptic ice storm stuck the mining town of Erenvor; the Sand Box’s location was located on the town outskirts at a rental storage facility. With the extreme blizzard conditions knocking out power and other vital utility infrastructure to the town, Inquisitor Sand’s on-site Sand Box custodian, a mid-level Administratum official named Severn Williams (codename: Zookeeper) was slow to respond but did confirm that the Box had indeed been breached when a power pole outside the facility fell into the storage yard and crushed open several storage units, including the Sand Box.
With Quint monitoring the Cell’s progress from Karrik’s orbiting Pearl Moon, Raptor Cell makes planetfall and links up with their driver, a Planetary Defense Force (PDF) soldier named Frig Armod. Plowing through still snow-packed roads with their tracked vehicle, the team observes the devastating aftermath of the blizzard- streets are blocked, buildings have been caved in from the weight of the snow and ice and temperatures are still below zero.
Armod takes the team to the town’s power utility building where they find the place packed with Imperial citizens seeking shelter in one of the town’s few buildings with power and heat while overwhelmed Administratum staff work hard getting the utilities back on. The team is able to locate Zookeeper, who works as an accountant and mid-level supervisor, and he briefs them on the status of the town and the status of the Sand Box.
With 87% of the town’s power gird and accompany utilities down, there are limited places in the city still with heat. Relief shelters are scattered throughout the town and crews of human and Ogryns work day and night to restore power and clear the roads. Williams confirms that he made it only to the gate of the storage facility where he observed the Sand Box from afar crushed open by a power pole that had toppled in the blizzard.
Raptor Cell makes arrangements with Williams to use one of the Administratum’s unused conference rooms as a base of operations to set-up their communications cogitator and to be used as a site to inventory the contents of the Sand Box once they are retrieved. Williams provides the Cell with key card access the conference room and then leaves off-site to handle a work order.
Proceeding to the Sand Box, the Cell finds that indeed the Box has been breached open with a man-sized opening in the corner created by a fallen power pole. Spreading out to survey the scene and surrounding area, the team becomes alarmed to find evidence that someone has been inside of the Box and possibly tampered with its contents. Rylak observes two broken security cameras and is able to access blurry video surveillance footage showing that at least one person arrived at the facility and proceeded in the direction of the Sand Box after the alarm went off. Gathering the contents of the Sand Box (twenty metal banker boxes), the Cell loads them onto their vehicle and goes back to the power utility building.
After arriving, the team begins inventory and finds a variety of strange and seemingly mundane items, such as a creepy porcelain doll, a live exotic bird and a variety of documents. Some of the items are soggy and appear to have been exposed to the elements and the Cell starts to suspect that someone has gone through some of the boxes. One by one, each box’s contents are confirmed, via a message by Quint, to be secure with the exception of one- a box containing several legal pads with Low Gothic handwritten drafts of a novel, an open ammo can and a letter to someone named Cornelius Vogel. Quint notifies the Cell that they have forty-eight hours to locate and contain the breach before he orders more devastating containment measures.
Further investigation of the box’s contents show that Vogel was a one-time famous author that died before he was able to publish another piece of literature. The contents of the box include several drafts of a novel that Vogel was working on called Ultimera- End of the Road that describes a horrific trip to the swamp world of Strank where Vogel and his friend Pastuer visit a traveling town called Ultimera, which follows behind a grand public works project that is attempting to blaze a road through the harsh swamp environment and connect several towns. The trip starts off as a party with alcohol, drugs and sex in abundance, but turns deadly when a unit of the PDF arrives at Ultimera and starts to kill some of the party goers who are displaying sexual reactions to violence. Vogel and the survivors are evacuated by the PDF during a firefight with unseen forces and on the boat ride back, Pastuer attacks one of the soldiers before he is killed. Vogel cuts off something alive from Pastuer’s body and places it in an ammo can. Vogel then returns to civilization and spends the rest of his life attempting to write down his experiences into a story.
The Cell soon suspects that Williams may be involved in the Sand Box’s security breach because he has not returned to work since their initial contact. With the hours counting down, they investigate his office and find disturbing signs, such as excessive amounts of pornographic material on his cogitator. They are also able to briefly get a hold of Williams via vox before he abruptly cuts off communications. With concern growing, the Cell loads up the Sand Box’s contents in their truck and goes to Williams’ residence…
VOICE (1) [QUINT]: Sufal, what is the status?
VOICE (2) [SUFAL]: Sir, the only item discovered to be missing from the Sand Box is the Chaos artifact from the author, Cornelius Vogel’s, ill-fated trip to Strank. The team is making progress…
VOICE (1) [QUINT]: What are they not telling me? Is the vector contained? What is the exposure level?
VOICE (2) [SUFAL]: Zookeeper was located and terminated…a daemon was located and terminated along with several citizens that were exposed at an extended care facility turned into a makeshift relief shelter. The Cell has…
VOICE (1) [QUINT]: Was there any trace left at the care facility? Are we clean?
VOICE (2) [SUFAL]: The Cell reported termination of several that were exposed…I noted others fleeing the containment area…unknown the extent of what they saw or understand of the incident. Perhaps, they see the event as just some citizens whose minds have broken due to the stress of the blizzard…perhaps they…
VOICE (1) [QUINT]: That is a chance that we cannot take. We protect those who cannot protect themselves by shielding them from knowing what exists. Exposure to the unexplained only creates curiosity and unchecked curiosity leads to humanity’s destruction. Not to mention the fact that our master would not approve of others using the combined rantings of several citizens to launch an investigation into this affair and expose his activities to further scrutiny.
VOICE (2) [SUFALL]: Understood sir…
VOICE (1) [QUINT]: At least tell me that the vector has been contained.
VOICE (2) [SUFAL]: The Cell has just entered the mine to eliminate the last known infected and any others that have been contaminated due to exposure. They are following a lead that two infected females are attending a social gathering at the mine. I was able to locate and transport the Cell to the area of interest.
VOICE (1) [QUINT]: Send me the coordinates of this mine, as well as those of the care facility. We must be sure the containment is thorough. The witnesses at the care facility…they are still present?
VOICE (2) [SUFAL]: Last I checked, they were still present debriefing local Enforcers.
VOICE (1) [QUINT]: Good…keep both locations monitored as best you can. I am taking no chances on the containment breach. Seppuku Protocols are being enacted…
VOICE (2) [SUFAL]: The Marauder bombers?
VOICE (1) [QUINT]: Not thorough enough…I don’t want to take any chances. We’ll use Hadrian’s hacker program on the planet’s orbital defense laser battery. A horrific cogitator glitch will be easier to explain than a misplaced bombing run.
VOICE (2) [SUFAL]: What about the Cell?
VOICE (1) [QUINT]: Maintain safe distance from the mine…Should any of them survive and crawl from the rubble, we will deem them worthy of further employment, and perhaps this will send them a message about the importance of our work and the need to be as thorough as possible.
VOICE (2) [SUFAL]: Sir, I understand.
- GM’s Note: This mission was modified for Dark Heresy from Caleb Stokes’ Call of Cthulhu: Delta Green adventure “Lover in the Ice." Listen to his great actual play session with his friends at RPPR. It can be found here.