Faith and Betrayal

"Dead Stars"- Burning Heavens

“There are dark pitted corners of our universe that have bred the most unfathomable horrors and blasphemies that would burn and blind the sanest man. Fortunately sanity has never been a prerequisite of membership in the Holy Ordos.”

-Inquisitor Silas Marr

After their battle with daemons of Khorne on the planet of Tranch, Inquisitor Sand and his Acolytes found themselves in the hospitality of the Ordo Malleus at a secret base called the “First Cloister” debriefing Malleus officials on the daemonic incursion and undergoing screenings for Chaos-taint. Found to be within acceptable parameters, Inquisitor Sand and his Acolytes are released with the thanks of the Ordo Malleus for their victorious actions against the Chaos forces and are gifted with Sanctified weapons from the Ordo Malleus armory.

Returning home, the party has a few months to recuperate and carry out some of their more mundane Inquisitorial duties before their master summons them to accompany him to Scintilla by order of Lord Inquisitor Caidin. Reporting to the Inquisition headquarters of the Tricorn, the party again meets the shadowy Inquisitor Marr and learns that Marr has again used his official connections to take charge of Sand’s Acolytes to further explore the Erasmus haarlock matt bradbury 2 2
Haarlock Legacy. Marr’s research shows that activity around Haarlock holdings throughout the sector, and beyond, started up approximately three years ago, after being dormant for several hundred years since the infamous Rogue Trader’s disappearance. This sudden activity started when the Acolytes of Red Cell conducted their investigation on the planet of Sinophia and confronted a daemon in a tower-like structure called Haarlock’s Folly. Using extensive divination and further research into prophecy, Marr believes that this recent activity means that Eramus Haarlock is returning and that doom for the Calixis Sector and Humanity will follow.

Marr does not believe that the Acolytes’ past involvement with elements of the Haarlock Legacy to be mere coincidences and believes that the destinies of Red Cell and the Haarlock Legacy are somehow intertwined, which makes them the ideal candidates to proceed with the next step of the investigation- locating the Blind Tesseract. The Blind Tesseract is a device believed to somehow be related to the door that Erasmus Haarlock disappeared through hundreds of years ago and Marr’s research has located the Blind Tesseract deep in the subterranean caverns located below the abandoned Adeptus Arbites prison on the forbidden planet of Mara. Abandoned for hundreds of years, Mara is avoided due to its history as a place of death. It is rumored to be a place where the border between the Warp and reality is thin and Warp predators prey on those who walk the planet’s surface. Believed to be such a dangerous place, by order of the Inquisition, there is a standing Quarantine Zone around the planet that is enforced by the Imperial Navy.

The potential threat of the Rogue Trader’s return is too important to ignore and Marr has convinced Lord Inquisitor Caidin to reactivate Red Cell and grant Mir the Lord Inquisitor’s personal Sigil of Question to investigate the matter. Marr has also secured the use of one of Battlefleet Calixis’ fastest ships, the Sigillite’s Word, to transport the team to Mara with haste and Marr has also requisitioned a unit of elite Maccabean Janissaries to accompany them on the planet’s surface. Additionally, Marr is providing two of his own Acolytes to accompany Red Cell- an elderly Astropath named Kessa Silinus and a Battle-Psyker named Calium Samiel. Marr believes that this additional manpower will be needed because he suspects other factions, including an Inquisition Faction called the Tyrantine Cabal, are interested in acquiring the Blind Tesseract and the technology of the Haarlocks to further their own agendas.
Ship
Taking with them the Keystone from the Steel Clock, the team makes haste to Mara. The journey takes four days of Warp travel and when the Sigillite’s Word transitions from Warp space near the planet of Mara it finds itself in the middle of a large free-for-all space battle between the Battlefleet Calixis Security Monitors enforcing the Quarantine Zone and several ships of unknown allegiance. A shock comes to all when Eramus Haarlock’s personal ship, the Spear of Destiny, appears from nowhere and begins wrecking destruction on all sides. Braving the traffic of intertwining ships and the massive exchange of ship to ship bombardment, the Sigillite’s Word is able to punch through close enough to get the Acolytes’ guncutter in range to make planet fall, but the maneuver would be a costly one as the ship takes a massive pounding in the process resulting in its destruction as the Acolyte’s launch. Calium doesn’t make it to the guncutter in time as he is seeming possessed seconds away from getting aboard and burns in the dying ship’s fires after giving the Acolytes’ a cryptic message about Haarlock’s return.

Soon after entering Mara’s atmosphere, the Acolytes’ guncutter is targeted and shot down by an unknown force and Mir manages to gain control of the craft and save everyone from death by crash landing on the ice and snow-covered surface. Recovering in the ruins of their wrecked transport, Red Cell and their two squads of Maccabean Janissaries start taking hostile fire. Due to the blizzard-like conditions hampering their efforts to locate their attackers, the majority of Red Cell becomes pinned down and seeks shelter in the wreck of their guncutter while outside several of the Janissaries are wounded and killed while forming up to advance in the direction of the enemy, which Sgt. Childres is able to locate three-hundred meters away taking cover in the ramparts of the wall that surrounds the abandoned Arbites Prison Complex. Fearless in the face of the imminent danger, Astropath Kessa uses her psychic power to inspire the Acolytes in the guncutter with the divine light of the Emperor and they join the rest of their party and the Janissaries in a mad dash to close distance with the enemy.

With only the cover of the blizzard to protect them, the dash to the Complex proves to be a costly endeavor as nearly everyone is wounded to some degree and several Janissaries are killed. Quint activates his heretical-tech grav-flux harness and is able to sprint far ahead of the group and ascends the prison wall to bring the fight to the enemy. Despite dispatching a couple of foes, Quint is quickly overwhelmed in melee and knocked unconscious. His surviving comrades are eventually able to reach the complex and assault the wall where they are able to kill all of their attackers, except one that they take prisoner.

An interrogation of the prisoner reveals that their attackers are mercenaries hired by two merchants from the Amaranthine Syndicate who are seeking a valuable tech device that is deep under the Mara Complex. Part of the group accompanied the merchants into the complex while the rest remained to guard the merchants’ lander, which is parked on one of the complex’s landing pads, and to dispatch any other competing forces approaching the complex. Satisfied with the prisoner’s answers, Lysandros delivers the Emperor’s judgment.

  • GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from Fantasy Flight’s “Dead Stars” book by Alan Bligh and John French. It can be found here:

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