Accompanied by the psychic-induced death of a nearby Deathwatch Librarian, the Omega Vault at Watch Fortress Erioch has opened to reveal several items of interest- a data-slate of pre-Heresy design containing information about the planet of Jove’s Descent (and the ancient but now extinct race of Xenos that inhabited the planet called the Ghanathaar) and a prophecy of an unspecified doom to befall, a strange crystal that appears to be a data-storage device that is accessible by using psychic powers and six shoulder shields of pre-Horus Heresy date that are made to be affixed to the left shoulder pauldron of power armor. More interesting is the fact that each of these shields bears a different Space Marine Chapter symbol (including some that did not exist pre-Heresy)- the Space Wolves, Alpha Scars, Black Templar, Ultramarines, and Dark Angels, and more strange, one bears the symbol of the Adeptus Sororitas.
The Deathwatch Command is vex by this incident, but deems that investigation of the matter is a high priority. Investigative theory immediately points to Kill-Team Kronus, which is the only known Kill-Team to have a Sister of Battle in service and whose make-up, with the exception of the Dark Angels shield, matches the Chapter symbols of the shields exactly. Coincidently, the opening of the Vault occurred at the same time that a newly inducted Deathwatch Space Marine from the Dark Angels Chapter, Brother Dante, arrived on station to begin his Vigil. Command does not believe that these are all mere coincidences and orders that Brother Dante be assigned to Kill-Team Kronus and the team be dispatched to the planet of Jove’s Descent to further investigate the significance of the shields and the prophecy.
Watch Captain Avincus is tasked with command of the operation and orders Kill-Team Kronus to arm and depart for Jove’s Descent via the Deathwatch frigate the Thunder’s Word. In addition, Master Apothecary Thann of Watch Commander Mordigael’s personal staff wants the Kill-team to field test toxin coated anti-Tyranid ammunition made from the research conducted by Magos Vyakai. The team selects Brother G’heirnat as the team leader for this mission (his fourth mission as Kill-team leader).
The long journey through Tyranid-infested space takes a little over a month and upon arrival at Jove’s Descent, the Deathwatch finds a pitched space battle taking place between Tyranid ships and unidentified human ships of unknown allegiance. Also of interest, the augurs of the Thunder’s Word show that there is a large human settlement on the planet that the Imperium has no record of. The Thunder’s Word is quickly engulfed in the battle but is able to insert the Kill-team planet side via Drop Pod before moving to a safe location. The Kill-team makes a hard landing in the jungle-covered surface of Jove’s Descent and heads toward the human settlement.
Upon arrival at the settlement, they find it under the cover of a large spore cloud and being besieged by flying Tyranid forces. The Kill-team can make out the shapes of gargoyles and winged-warrior Shrikes as well as a massive Harridan. With no fear, they decide to attack the Xenos and break cover from the jungle to close the distance to the enemy. The Kill-team and Tyranid forces clash and Brother Angelos is nearly killed after being struck by a massive bio-plasma blast. Another massive plasma blast from the Harridan wounds Brother Aoner but the Harridan’s shooting is devastating but inaccurate and most of the blasts miss the Kill-team. The kill-team continues to pour fire into the Harridan and while there are a few exceptional shots, the majority of the damage suffered from the Harridan is from the experimental geo-phage toxin coated bolter rounds. The influx of toxin begins to overload the massive beast’s body and eventually its body is too poisoned to go on. With its internal organs in failure, the Harridan plummets downward with an earth-shaking crash.
During the battle, Brother Aoner unleashes a powerful psychic blast into a horde of Gargoyles. Many of the winged creatures die to the psychic energies but the manifestation of the power has a deadly side effect when it pulls a Daemon Prince into reality. Brother Aoner has heard of this Daemon Prince, a traitorous Captain from the Black Legion known as Vargash the Great (who is known to plague the Jericho Reach from his cruiser hidden in the Hadex Anomaly). Bent on Aoner’s destruction for this inconvenience, Vargash charges Aoner- his massive form bowling the smaller Space Marine over. Brother Aoner begins to fight for survival as some of his Battle-Brother’s rush to his aid. Brothers G’heirnat and Dante are too late to stop Vargash from opening up Aoner’s chest with a massive Chaos Sword, but they attempt to spill as much of the Daemon Prince’s blood before he returns to his Warp gate, the object of his inconvenience dead. While the martial prowess of the Prince is too skilled for Brother Dante, Brother G’heirnat uses his hatred of all things Chaos to explode into a fury of blows. Hammering away at the daemon’s defenses, G’heirnat sheds some of Vargash’s unholy blood before the Daemon disappears in the Warp gate.
Aoner was severely wounded, but he is still alive and Brother G’heirnat heals him enough to continue their mission, the Kill-team makes their way into the human settlement and finds that their presence is not welcomed. One of the settlers, a man named Ivan, addresses the Kill-team despite the hostile looks he receives from his comrades and he leads the Kill-team to the settlement’s leader, a man named Surantes. During their meeting with Surantes, the Kill-team learns that Surantes works for a larger Cold Trade organization that sells relics excavated from ancient Xenos sites on Jove’s Descent. He also explains that if it not for the smugglers’ fleet and planet side operation, Jove’s Descent would have long been in the control of the Tyranids. Brother Vectis discusses limited portions of their mission in order to obtain helpful information from Surantes and an agreement is reached between the forces that Surantes will tell the Kill-team about the location of some recent strange occurrences at a dig site called the “Winding Catacombs” in exchange for a level of discretion about their operation.
Entering the catacombs, the Kill-team finds themselves in an unnatural and alien tunnel system. The tunnels are made of a strange bone-like dense material and Brother Aoner senses a high level of psychic power in the catacombs. Evidence of the Cold Trade smugglers’ excavation operation is present and the Kill team passes by the workers and guards without issue due to Surantes’ orders. They eventually make their way deep to a part of the ruins that the smugglers have sealed off with a heavy door and entering this new section, the Kill-Team finds it untouched by the smugglers and filled with a strong psychic energy that threatens to break their minds. Their mysterious relic shields begin to glow with an eerie light, seemingly to protect them from this energy.
This section of the catacombs shows little evidence of excavation and the Kill-team eventually reaches an elaborate Xenos burial chamber- its walls and ceilings covered in alien relief carvings. The corpse of a Xenos creature (a bipedal crab-like humanoid) dressed in rich attire lies dead just outside a massive coffin located in the center of the room. Entering the room causes this figure to animate and with the assistance of similar crab-like apparitions, the Xenos creature attacks. The Kill-team finds that their foes’ attacks bypass their power armor and the fighting becomes fierce as the majority of the Kill-team joins up to assault the main Xenos creature which eventually falls from the sustained onslaught and vanishes, but not before gifting the Kill-team a vision of a fortified Imperial planet with a massive crevice in the surface of the earth at the foot of Hive city and below this a strange portal to the warp. The meaning of this vision is unclear and the Kill-team returns to Surantes.
Prior to their meeting with Surantes, the Kill-team meet up with Ivan and learn that he is an undercover agent of the Ordo Malleus and that he needs the Kill-team to extract him becomes his mission has been placed in jeopardy with the Kill-team’s arrival. The Kill-team agrees to take Ivan off-planet with them but not before terminating Surantes. Killing the crime lord causes his men to go on alert and in order to escape, the Kill-team and Surantes must assault the heavily guarded star port to steal a shuttle. The resistance by Surantes men starts off fierce but the Kill-team is able to route the starport’s defenders and secure a shuttle to make their escape.
- GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from the adventure of the same name by Dan Shook. It can be found here: