Epilogue Mission 1

Acolytes in attendance: Trooper Gaius
Technographer Thaddius
Novice Jael
Archivist Octus
Novice Exantius

The five of us assembled on command of His Grace Lord Inquisitor Cornelius Masters of the Ordo Hereticus (please refer to case report TG01204), in a run down habitation block in Precinct #43017. Also present were a number of the Lord Inquisitor’s permanent staff, namely one “Marius” and one “Talus” occupations unknown, and a death cultist assassin name “Galia”..

Upon assembling, we preceded to hab’ unit 42625 in said precinct whereupon we were accosted by locals bearing clearly illegal weaponry. We were forced to protect ourselves using eventually deadly force, as was ratified by His Grace. I myself discharged five shells (see attached documentation), while Talus suffered a fatal throat wound. Within the unit we discovered evidence of a narcotics production facility, including one laboratory technician servitor.

Further inspection of our assailants revealed a number of spiderlike tattoos (later found to denote membership in the “Steel Spider” gang). We also discovered some stolen Arbitrator supply cases (marked precinct #43017) and a safe, hastily concealed behind a bookcase. The latter contained a number of low quality slug pistols, a packet of unidentified purple crystals (presumed at the time to be a narcotic, but shown to be radically different to the chemicals being produced in the facility in question) and 127 Thrones in small denominations.

Finally, one of the gang members was in possession of a key (numbered habitation block 97480 in the same precinct) and we found a heavy ledger in a rough cipher on one of the tables whilst Thaddius recovered the memory banks from the servitor.

All the above evidence was duly submitted at the nearest precinct fortress, to Centurion Min Davide of the #43015th, along with a request to “clamp down” upon Steel Spider activity. The purple crystals were identified as a newly emerged narcotic, known on the street as “Dust”. The drug appears similar in effect to the known compound “Spook” in that it temporarily stimulates latent psychic tendencies but to a far greater and more fatal effect. (whilst of unknown origin, this trooper is of the opinion that a similar agent might be of limited success in revealing those to carry the heretical genetic flaw known to cause psychic abilities, thus to aid their rightful extermination) The habitation key we retained for subsequent investigation.

The five of us continued investigation without the Lord Inquisitor and his retinue, themselves having left us at the original habitation unit upon combat ceasing. We made our way to habitation block 97480, and found it to be a four-story ruin in a run down neighbourhood, of greatly degenerate inhabitation.

Upon entering the premises we were greeted by a foul smell of corruption, and air of abandonment. Noise from above indicated human presence so we continued to investigate. The first floor contained nought but the fetid remains of near sub-human infestation, and one cadaver in a state of advanced decomposition. Cause of death remains unknown due to the age of the individual, but reasonable assumption places blame upon the single cranial wound – small and circular, and apparent complete removal of the brain.

The next (2nd) floor contained one mail individual in a state of confusion and surrounded by the paraphernalia of myriad narcotic abuse. He continued to roll around the floor amidst the wreckage, attempting to eat the furniture that dotted the room, even as we attempted to question him. Further investigation required that we restrained him in the standard manner. “Dust” and it’s abuse were in great evidence.

Another room on the same floor, in a similar state of disrepair, contained a second male individual in a lesser state of pharmaceutically induced mindlessness. Upon our hailing him, he preceded to manifest a psychic ability (in this case the production of a ball of fire), only for his head to explode in a most alarming manner.

The final floor contained a third individual in a similar chemically addled state, this time of the feminine persuasion. She greeted us cordially and presented no threat, so we attempted to gain some information. She was less than forthcoming with useful data to further our investigations, but she did repeat a number of phrases or slogans that were transcribed for the sake of completeness, namely:

“Little bird speaks the lies of the enemies”
“Traitor among you will bring death”
“Ten legions cannot turn back a tide”
“The hidden one hides in plain site”
“The pillars of Zothrian open on Hector’s last candlemas”
“Do not destroy the black stone, cut it’s throat to starve it’s heart”

It was at this point that we took her into custody, and as we made to leave, she turned to me and hissed almost lucidly; “Trust the boy!” This she said only once, and in such a way as to suggest it was advice rather than garbled imperial doctrine. Subsequent tests revealed her to be of latent psychic ability – so her ramblings may well prove useful, though my soul writhes in distaste even as I think this. I pray to the Holy Emperor that she finds forgiveness on his sacred black ships.

As we made to leave once more, we were met by Centurion Princeps Prior Decimus Aucineus Facilus, of the 3rd and 4th division, who was accompanied by an entire Cohort of Arbitrators. Apparently similar lines of inquiry had led them to the same place as us, however cooperation was less than forthcoming. We were thankfully allowed to leave with our prisoner in custody, and returned to Inquisitorial Headquarters to report to Lord Masters.

Upon arriving at the holy Inquisitorial Headquarters we reported our findings to Lord Masters, then preceded to analyse the ledger and servitor memories recovered from the initial altercation. The ledger was very poorly kept and attracted many sighs of frustration from Octus – see attached document for full analysis. The only entries worth mentioning here being some very large payments made recently to an individual referred to only as “L”.

The servitor’s visual memory required more in depth analysis, thus we elected to split the contents into full days between us and watch them for any useful leads. Much of the footage consisted of mundane activity as the servitor performed it’s day to day tasks, and the various comings and goings common to a wretched hive of scum and villainy such as this. There were however, a few minutes worth of footage that made the entire project worthwhile, as we were treated to a full recording of a meeting between the Steel Spider’s apparent leader, and their “Dust” supplier – the mysterious “L”.

“L” turned out to be a tall man with a veritable main of spiked blond hair, a multitude of chains and Lion motif tattoos, the very image of a successful underworld trader. He is seen in the footage (see attached vid module, evidence code #402-AG-37) to supply the Steel Spiders with a large quantity of the drug “Dust”, in exchange for a similarly large amount of cash. The footage allowed for an image of sufficient quantity to be recorded, and an identikit produced (see attached) thus to ascertain the identity of this mysterious character.

There we would have put the vid-caster away and filed the footage permanently, had it not been for a chance observation by our Tech Priest. Thaddius paid special attention to the timestamp progression as we viewed the footage of the meeting and noticed that there was a steady sequence of missing images and time “jumps” throughout the meeting. Though the video was of no particular quality, he noticed a definite pattern in the errors, correlating with the position of the servitor’s attention – namely whenever the creature was looking toward the door of the room – the very door that we ourselves had entered by!

His curiosity piqued enormously, Thaddius insisted on slowing the imagery to the greatest extent possible, scrutinizing each frame intensely. His initial pattern held out, namely each time the servitor looked towards the door, the timestamp would jump a second or two and he would again by looking further into the room. Half cursing the servitor’s in built lack of interest, Thaddius categorically proved that some external agency was preventing the vid from being recorded when pointing in the direction of the door. The pattern was too predictable to be random, and put Thaddius in mind of certain heretical phenomena whereby warlocks had been able to disrupt the machine spirits in some surveillance equipment, thus rendering themselves invisible to cameras. Utilising the depths of his expertise, he managed to obtain an image reflected in the buckle of one gang member’s belt, of the doorway that had thus far eluded us.

His endeavours produced only one meaningful frame, one murky image of a heavily robed arm extending a fraction beyond the end of the doorway, the green swathed hand revealing only a single ring. See image attached.

Following this minor revelation, we paid a visit to Lord Masters’ private physician, Medicus. There we were delighted to discover that Talus had survived his wounds and now spoke with a pleasing mechanical lilt.

We asked Medicus about the body found with the cranial injury in hab block 97480, he was able to inform us that he was aware of at least four other victims of the same type. His research showed the entire brainstem and spinal column to have been removed, apparently intact – merely absent. He was of the opinion that the injuries showed signs of energistic methods, that being the work of some unsanctioned psyker or other wretch. We made firm to investigate this phenomenon further.

The next obvious line of inquiry was the identity of the elusive “L”. Comparing data with regional Arbites intelligence revealed him to be a relatively well known character in the Ostian underworld, known locally as Leonidas. His occupation appeared to be one of information brokering, a classic fixer, or “middleman” sort of scum, of the type we have plenty of dealings with. Though many case files made reference to this character, none supplied any firm evidence as such, until now he seemed to have escaped scrutiny. Also of note was a pattern emerging among the cases referred to, that of all his known contacts having died or been put into custody in the last thirty six hours, the majority of the latter having been slated for terminal chastening. Alone among his contemporaries was one “Maksim”, a low profile mechanic and petty criminal apparently still at large. We determined to interrogate this individual, and obtained warrant for his apprehension, a simple matter given his existing criminal record.

His place of work trivially available, we preceded there at once – the fourteenth Ostian South West spaceport. There we soon learned that not only was Maksim blithely going about his business with no knowledge of the fate that awaited Leonidas’ cohorts, but the traitor Leonidas himself was present, preparing his private ship to escape the planet unpunished.

We of course detained Leonidas and some cronies, and dispatched some illegal weapon servitors he had foolishly trusted with his security. I myself was forced to use non lethal force (see attached weapon discharge form #423) in order to defend myself. The ship was of course impounded and submitted to the Lord Inquisitor for further analysis and rightful disposal.

Also obtained in the fracas were the following items of evidence, all duly submitted for analysis. Item, one dataslate, heavily encrypted. Item, one enormous pile of the narcotic “Dust”.

Epilogue Mission 1

The Naevus Heresy ricardo