The Maiden Voyage

Acolyte Report: Viridium Delta
For the Eyes of Lord Inquisitor Chandrasekhar

Per your command, my team has been investigating traffickers in the so-called “cold trade” of xenos artifacts. Having established covers for ourselves as mid-level distributors of personal weapons in certain ports of the Calixis Sector, we happened across several noteworthy items in one smuggler’s inventory. We arranged for Navy interdiction, and when the survivors had been taken into custody we were able to examine these items at length.

One weapon in particular is a most curious device: a sort of magnetic beam of very exotic design. Tech-Priest Corax analyzed this device at length, and has concluded that it matches no known human technology, though he states that its construction is “most certainly by human hands.” We do not know if it represents some heretofore undiscovered STC, hoarded in secret, or it if is based on xenos technology. Corax argues strongly for the latter, citing the lack of any related weapons technologies in known Imperial history. The weapon bears no markings from any known Forge World, though it does have several basic pictographs common to Imperial weapons, and an unidentified device etched into the housing: a cog, wreathed in stylized flames.

Further interrogation of the surviving smugglers gave us a few hints as to its origin, which have led us here to Port Wander to conduct further inquiries. Such devices are said to originate from a Rogue Trader who operates in the Koronus Expanse, one Enock Septimatus. This name comes up in several records preceding the Great Invasion of eleven years ago; though they refer to a Tech-Priest Explorator, associated with House van Owen. It is unclear when his Warrant was issued, and under what circumstances. He also is the namesake of the Septimatus plasma guns, which are now notorious—and extremely valuable—in this sector.

The research we have done suggests that Captain Septimatus maintains a small, very mobile presence; he controls no planets, maintains no known terrestrial facilities. But he is said to be a manufacturer of various exotic devices and weapons. Corax suggests that he may be using converted transports as mobile manufactorums, or maintaining isolated outposts on asteroids or orbital stations. I also suspect he may be maintaining contacts with factions within the Adeptus Mechanicus who dabble in heretical technologies, though we have no evidence for such assertions. He has a reputation for paranoia and ruthlessness: he avoids the sort of flamboyant public appearances that many Rogue Traders cultivate.

Other rumors circulate as well, though I give them no weight: that he is in fact a xeno in disguise; that he stole an entire battleship from a noble House; that he killed a Living Saint in single combat; or that he lives in a void-station hidden within the Warp. We hear many such ludicrous tales about those mysterious Rogue Traders who operate beyond the Maw.

This avenue of investigation, however, is now a dead end. The broad protections of a Warrant of Trade, never mind the unexplored depths of the Koronus Expanse, leave this particular individual beyond our reach. But perhaps my Lord may find this report useful in illuminating other such records to which we Angelae are not privy.

I remain your most obedient servant,

Arbitrator Corwin du Ponte

Ave Imperator

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Confidential Archive C
Thumbs Up on AdepTube

>FILE AED22.vii BLOCK 16 DEVICE “Calpurnia”

>>>LINGUA OCCULTUS MECHANICUM
>>>KEYBIT 7168 . . . . . VERIFY
>>>SOMATIC KEY . . . . . . VERIFY

>PLAYBACK

If these recordings are ever reviewed by another, they will no doubt be taken as evidence of my utter derangement from reality, rather than evidence of deliberate heresy. Not that such fine distinctions are of any interest to the Inquisition or its lackeys.

My familiarity with the design and function of this xenos architecture eventually becomes tiresome. There is nothing of our descent into the core of the Necron tomb-ship that needs further description, save the use of a teleportation gate rather than a lift, and the total lack of opposition. We emerged into the all-too-familiar expanse of the spherical, metal core; and I set about arranging an emitter array (in vain hope that it would have any effect) and placing the scuttling atomics which had once been on the Unrelenting Fury . I lacked the time and expertise to prepare any complex detonating mechanism; the existing timers had been deactivated at 45 seconds, and merely awaited the command to resume their countdown.

As we set the charges, some sort of huge, blasphemous figure rose from the core just past the ‘horizon’ of the core. I know not what it was; merely that it was a xeno, it wielded a gargantuan scythe, and with every sweep it raised more Necron warriors against us. Having set the charges, I attempted with great difficulty to target a portal back to Mars, rather than incinerating ourselves along with the tomb ship. Performing calculations of interplanetary position in one’s mind is no easy feat; and I know not whether it was my familiarity with the place, or some intrinsic connection between it and the ship, but the resulting portal took us directly to the vault on Mars containing the fallen Arch-Magos.

Beyond the exit of this chamber, we found a barricade of Imperial Guard, with my old friend the Inquisitor in command. He demanded to know how we had arrived, and what I knew of the xenos. After I had briefed him on the sacrifices already made to defeat the xenos invasion, he of course demanded I perform the rest of his tasks for him as well: investigating whatever it was that lay beneath Mars and drew the Necrons thus.

With no alternative but to comply, we descended the lift within the chamber, the Inquisitor realizing to his dismay that he was sharing our journey. At the bottom of this shaft we were actually suprised to find a tunnel in the natural rock strata, floored with primitive flagstones. We descended, passing a series of shrines ancient beyond all knowing, bearing the icons of primitive, forgotten idols. This tunnel finally opened—kilometers beneath the surface of Mars—into a sunlit chamber, with a ring of rough stones. Astropath Haden declared that we had, in fact, somehow passed into the Warp itself, despite the lack of vile deamons clawing forth to defile us. Overhead, the cavern opened into a pastoral landscape.

We traveled to a mountain. We met an archaic Knight. He said he was bound to slay a Dragon. We followed him, and fought that Dragon, and killed it. Then we returned. As we left we passed the same Knight, seemingly about to repeat this process in bizarre, ritualistic fashion. I can offer no coherent explanation for these events, and will not try. The only proof of these events is Haden’s eyes, which were restored to health by the touch of this Knight. This will of course cause him no end of difficulty in the future.

We returned to the surface, and before exiting the chamber I killed the damned Inquisitor as I should have long ago. I have had enough with playing the selfless, sacrificial dog to him or anyone else; and if my death is the consequence, so be it. We exited the cavern—sealing the Inquisitor in the impenetrable xenos chamber with the Arch-Magos—to find the xenos forces attacking in full force. We lent such firepower as we had to the defense of the Guardsmen’s position; but as their commander called a missile strike on our position we retreated once again to the vault, in hopes of being saved from the blast.

Hours later we emerged to a chamber filled with inactive Necron warriors. We carved our way out onto the barren surface of Mars, surrounded by legions of these inert troops. Astropath Haden initiated contact with a civilian vessel—a Rogue Trader’s merchant ship—and negotiated a price for our rescue. But before his lighter could descend to us, the wrath of the dead Inquisitor revealed itself: a dropship of his Astartes dogs, to avenge their toad of a master.

Captain Strasser was the first casualty, a sniper’s shot shattering his skull. We took cover from the Astartes fire, and I used the one remaining resource I possessed to preserve myself. With the powers of the artifact I began reviving the Necron forces around us, commanding them to attack the Astartes and cover our retreat. One of them I hurriedly re-shaped into a rough facsimile of myself, with mechadendrites and power axe, and draped him in my own robes before sending him out with the attack. Raising more and more warriors and monoliths to fight the witless Astartes thugs, we remaining survivors managed to flee the site, taking cover in shallow craters as the orbital bombardment from their ship scorched the sands. We fled through the ensuing cloud of wind-driven sand, and made rendezvous with the lighter and its skittish pilot.

The rest of our travels I need not relate. I survive, and thrive in my fashion, despite those that would kill me. I explore, discover, and build, and suffer none to stand against me.

Enock Septimatus
Rogue Trader
The Burning Spite

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Mission Briefing: DRAGONBANE

CODED: OCCULTUS ALPHA

MISSION BRIEFING: OPERATION DRAGONBANE

CMMDR: MARCUS AURUM =I=

Strained as our relations with the Mechanicus occasionally are, separatist movements are decidedly rare, occurring primarily on fringe worlds and backwaters that have little contact with the larger empire. Certainly none have been recorded on Mars since the Horus Heresy at least. That one so large and well-organized would spring up on the eve of battle seems to have been no accident. Xeno collusion and influence is suspected to have been a motivating factor.

We will be striking at the leadership of this rebellion in an attempt to cut it off at the head, we cannot afford to be fighting a battle on two fronts when our true foe arrives. The trouble is finding them. The cabal of renegade techpriests has gone far underground, hoping to wait out the battle until their alien allies can arrive to support them. I will need someone unofficial, someone skilled at rooting out and finding people in the dark and unsavory corners that lurk in the bowels of every world. I had thought that ASSET 7 would be able to help me in this matter, but after his encounter with the late Arch Magos his face is being broadcast over every vidscreen in the system as a symbol of loyalty to the Imperium.

I have thus approached some friends of his, men who can help me without attracting attention. I cannot afford to consult or inform ASSET 7 , as he would certainly attempt to stop me. I cannot kill him yet, he is too valuable. The merchant will have to be the face man, I don’t trust the other to talk. The pilot has been augmented enough that he could pass for a low-ranking adept, and I suspect we will need his skill to quickly get out of danger in any case. My own face is too well-known in this sector to participate directly, I will have to trust the merchant not to give us away.

Once the separatist leaders have been identified, an Astartes kill-team will be dispatched to dispose of them and recover any xenos artifacts that they may be carrying. Hopefully this mission will conclude before the main enemy fleet arrives.

Ave Imperator

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Confidential Archive B
The Splinter That Pierces Your Eye

FILE G96LD4.vii BLOCK 1723 DEVICE “Calpurnia”
>>>LINGUA OCCULTUS MECHANICUM
>>>KEYBIT 7168 . . . . . VERIFY
>>>SOMATIC KEY . . . . . . VERIFY
PLAYBACK

Thus, what comes of serving the Imperium.

Mars burns, the untimely death of the Arch-Magos having triggered a civil war between Imperial loyalists and independence-minded separatists. The Guard and Navy have subjugated this untimely revolt, but every loss on either side counts against our continued existence.

The assassin Isic proposed the shockingly useful scheme of converting plasma mines to function as constant electromagnetic emitters to counter the Necron metal. I spent all free hours of the next several days overseeing the refit of as many such mines as possible. Having made all feasible preparations, we awaited the arrival of the enemy. The Necron fleet heralded itself with some form of blanketing effect that neutralized psyker-based communications, electromagnetic signals, and screened the light of Sol. The first wave of ships to approach us turned out to be ephemeral ghosts, decoying hundreds of ships among the main fleet to a useless death. Brushing past, we met the actual advance elements of their fleet, and engaged.

The ad-hoc flotilla assigned to the Unrelenting Fury consisted of other Rogue Trader vessels: the cruisers Endeavor and Crane, the mine-laying freighter Kingfisher, and the raider Windfall. The details of their accomplishments and fates are unknown to me; regardless, each fought with courage and skill, and all shared the eventual fate of the Fury. We decided on a separate attack plan from the main body of the fleet; we would hold back from engaging the line of battle, seeking out the command vessel of the xenos fleet and attacking it directly. One of the cruisers was lost penetrating the xenos escorts, but the remainder of the flotilla passed through with minimal damage. XO Drell earns his pay and then some, may he live to spend it.

With close-range fire we seemed to disable the xenos flagship’s offensive capability, which had laid waste to hundreds of ships at a blast. The Necrons responded with attack drones and boarders. Their scarabs descended upon and devoured each remaining ship like a terrestrial insect plague; and they opened portals into the very bowels of our ship. The familiar and hated form of a commander led their assault, with staff and orb; and I once again had to subject myself to the touch of a Resurrection Sphere to prevent their revivification. With Confessor Mortichiai and Astropath Haden assaulting the warriors, the attack was repulsed in time. The portals remained open; and sending servitors through caused them to emerge beyond communications range, which would indicate that these portals led not to the interior of the command ship, but some distant Tomb World.

With yet more reinforcements soon to arrive through the portals, and the scarabs devouring the hull of our ship, we had no resort but to sacrifice the Unrelenting Fury, ramming the weakened section of the tomb ship. The results are now apparent about me. We have breached the xenos ship, but the Fury is shattered and broken. The warp engine, at least, has been shut down breaching, though that leaves us with only a few emergency systems functioning. I have been taking stock of available resources, and attempting to contact the other officers. Life-sign trackers for Void-master Decanus and Captain Strasser are unresponsive; we must assume they are dead. I shall make for the storage bay where the van Owens’ damned scuttling charges lie, and take them to the core of this enemy ship.

The Astropath has contacted several surviving officers, who are attempting rendezvous. I have my arms; I have Calpurnia and Heironymus at my side; and I have work yet to do.

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Maintenance Log Supplement 016
I've Had Enough of Your Disingenuous Assertions

Inquisitor found his survival of the Tomb World most suspicious; naturally, assumed corruption in those responsible for his deliverance. Enginseer Prime taken into Deathwatch custody upon reaching the surface. Relieved of equipment & mechadendrites, and dumped into brig.

Dispatched Calpurnia to Confessor Mordechiai once detainment was obvious. If nothing else, hoped data about xenos menace might find better use than in some Inquisition vault. Inquisitor likely noted the significance of her presence; perhaps hoping for such opportunities as eventually developed. Confessor and Master-at-Arms briefly questioned en route to Hammer Of Redemption; Confessor’s incipient canonization seems to offer him some protection from reprisals. Living saints prove quite useful to know.

First visitor to brig was Brother Palladius. Previously well aware of artifact’s influence, he soon betrayed unhealthy interest in further xenos contact. Demanded to know current location of artifact; explained his intent to use xenos military or technology to elevate Mars to independent sovereignty. Another corrupted lunatic, rationalizing his heresies with false selflessness. Palladius so far gone as to implicate himself in front of a fully augmented Tech-Priest. Transmitted vid-data of conversation to Calpurnia, & in turn to Confessor.

Inquisitor received news of Palladius’ corruption with little surprise; previous history of tech-heresy lent credence to accusations. Further planning interrupted by Palladius’ activity; signals indicated activation of numerous necron lifeforms on board.

Deathwatch force on board quite capable of dealing with necron incursion, despite Palladius’ use of xenos reconstruction device to reinforce his losses. With heretek properly & thoroughly executed, Hammer Of Redemption laid course for Port Wander with large supply of xenos fragments.

Inquisitor received data on xenos fleet’s vector with great distress. Course & velocity such to bring them to Terra system within months; much faster than travel through Warp would allow us to follow. Inquisitor has some alternate scheme, involving Eldar assistance with some form of interstellar travel technology they possess. No doubt their price for such favors will be exorbitant; can only hope it falls to the likes of Inquisitor to pay it.

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Confidential Archive A
If You Can't Do Something Smart...

>FILE 3E90B.vii BLOCK 294 DEVICE “Calpurnia”

>>>LINGUA OCCULTUS MECHANICUM
>>>KEYBIT 7168 . . . . . VERIFY
>>>SOMATIC KEY . . . . . . VERIFY

>PLAYBACK

Why I should feel compelled to create any record of these thoughts, and the events which precede them, I consider one of the lingering and contemptible mysteries of the flesh. As an archive can serve only to invalidate my works; as a confession, it can only send me to the purging furnaces.

That Inquisitor and his lackey Palladius revealed their scheme for exploiting the artifact once away on their damned ship, Hammer Of Redemption. No logic or sane half-measures to their methods; merely take hold, brother Enock, and let the xenos witchery into your mind, and tell us what you see. As my future was bound to this expedition in more ways than one, I had no logical alternative. The ineffable workings of this artifact took effect; and with what seemed only a few minutes’ meditation I found my mind orienting with uncanny specificity toward a particular planet.

The details of the ensuing travel need not be recounted; no doubt several different authoritative reports are even now being buried in the shrouded archives of the Inquisition. Nor must I describe our planetfall or the difficulties in our travel, as I guided them toward the source of whatever signal I was experiencing through the artifact. Of those experienced with this item’s history, it should be no surprise at all that it led to another slumbering tomb-world, another series of xenos tunnels and galleries.

Not wishing to unleash yet another xenos armada upon the sector, we explored with caution, seeking such artifacts as might be useful for destructive tests. The signal led us to the same great vault as we had seen before, its familiar hexagonal cells set into the floor. We found the same icon-marked cell; and as I trod upon it the section illuminated, and opened up to reveal the familiar form inside. Yet instead of attacking, it initiated communication with a piercing signal that saturated my receptors. It spoke only a few words, and those were simple demands for activation. Some spark of curiosity led me to question the entity in return, inquiring of its goals. It responded merely with “war” and “harvest”; and finding me uncooperative it redoubled the fury of its signal, rousing itself to strike at us. A dozen weapons blasted the thing to pieces where it stood.

From there the signal led no further; yet the interface had left me with some sense of the tomb-world’s depths, of the great vaults laying further below. I mentioned the possibility of descending deeper, and the Inquisitor concurred. After some further exploration—finding much of strange and alien shape, yet no specific use to us—we found ourselves upon an elevator platform which began to descend, uncontrolled, with ever-increasing speed, until it was hurtling coreward at near-terminal velocity.

I could feel the approach of our destination, long before it came into sight. At what we knew must be the planet’s center we found a great spherical hollow, with a metallic orb of perhaps a kilometer’s diameter lying at its center. The core itself responded to our presence, resonating with the artifact I bore, seeming to echo with our footsteps. Seemingly marooned in this place, no strategy occurred to us that would allow our escape or otherwise assist the war against these xenos. At length I began to assemble an improvised electromagnetic emitter from the focusing arrays and power supplies of our weaponry, in hopes of using the field effects so recently discovered to somehow disrupt or destroy this core. Results were inconclusive: the core retracted, and its surface became fluid, our Astartes escort sinking into the metallic matter beneath us.

The Inquisitor had been carrying the staff-weapon dropped by the destroyed necron; and about this time he asked Confessor Mordechiai to take it from him. I suspect he felt the sort of radiating signals which the artifact emitted, and grew uneasy at their possible influence. My monitoring of the officers’ vox communications indicated increasing stress; and in what they took for secure channels they debated shooting those among us they distrusted. Arguments ensued, and in a momentary and ill-conceived scuffle between Capt. Strasser and his Confessor, the two of them toppled over into the surface of the core, taking the xenos staff-weapon with them.

I know not whether it was the influence of the artifact that directed me; in that instant the thought struck me that allowing the necron leader’s weapon to make contact with the core could somehow cause the activation of the great vaults. As the staff fell, I reached out my hand, and with a pulse of ferric summons, caused it to spring into my grip. At that instant, my perception of time slowed, the world seeming frozen around me.

With both artifact and staff at hand, the xenos signal to which I had subjected myself, which had been nonverbal and nearly imperceptible thus far, grew into some sort of duplessence, as though I had data-linked with some fearsomely powerful Machine Spirit. In that moment I knew the full nature of this world, and all things in it; and understood what it was offering me even as the xenos metals began encasing my form. A new body, the full power of this tomb-world’s armies at my command, and a single all-consuming purpose. I could not say I was not greatly tempted.

I rejected this offer. Not from faith, for concern for the brotherhood of Man, or even the principles of the Omnissiah. But the jealous anger that burns in my heart became the glimmer of a beacon. Power I seek, destruction of my enemies is among my goals; but I would do these things in my own name, from within this squabbling and vile fellowship of Man. They shall know, one day, that Enock Septimatus is the author of their sorrows; not some nameless xenos overlord. I rejected godhood for the slender hope of becoming Explorator-Magos.

And even as this offertory was taken from me, I retained some connection with the tomb-world we stood within. Control enough to summon a lift back to the surface, and to extract large samples of the alloy as easily as a child might take a handful of sand. I knew all that was within that place, and I know what the xenos intend to do, and when. Their fleet is bound for Holy Mars and Terra even now. But to share this knowledge may damn me in the eyes of those it would save, just as the necroderm which still clings to all the mechanical systems of my body.

If you should say, ‘How shall we persecute him?’—
Since the root of the matter is found in me,
Be afraid of the sword for yourselves;
For wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
That you may know there is a judgment.

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Maintenance Log Supplement 015

Nothing to report.

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Maintenance Log Supplement 014
Balls Out, Chrome-Plated

Approached by Sully with further business venture: wishes to use Osprey for his trading purposes. Considered with no small trepidation; Sully scarcely trustworthy, & ship a nearly priceless resource, difficult to reclaim if need be. Consulted with Strasser on terms of arrangement; will proceed to Osprey first to install extensive surveillance & security measures.

Pursuant to this goal, set out for Footfall. Osprey remained unmolested in secure orbit. While on station, two events of note captured by sensors. First: unusual readings led to artifact of likely xenos construction, loose in Footfall debris field. Inert material, resembling fragment of bulkhead or hull plating. Background emissions match metals of Necron construction. Surprisingly, spectroscopic profile very close to that of pre-Imperium human alloys found in Liu Bu, Styxis-pattern plasma guns, et al. Began experiments on artifact based on known attributes of archeotech metal, hoping to induce fluid state, or similar structural weakness.

Raider-class vessel observed entering debris cloud of Footfall; previous experience indicates its use as rendezvous. XO Drell entered debris field to investigate, came upon heavy freighter & Havoc-class raider. Drell proceeded to [REDACTED]

Damage to freighter indicated pirate attack from raider; engines disabled & escape pods being launched. Raider attempted to flee from engagement; destroyed by fire from Unrelenting Fury. Cargo of freighter too bulky & low in value to make salvage claims worthwhile; left system after minimal recovery operations.

Further experimentation with xenos metals finally fruitful: proper electromagnetic signal introduces molecular instability, producing a number of anomalous and inexplicable reactions—most usefully, a noted vulnerability to lasbolt fire.

Met at Ouroboros by light cruiser of Ecclesiarchy. Representative in-system to christen First Ouroboros Regiment with Imperial Eagle; most perturbed to find 1st had not returned from Reptar system (or that regiment had engaged xenos without implicit sanction of Eagle in first place. Representative seemed disinclined to discuss matter further, to our relief. Did express interest in meeting with Confessor Mordechiai; & soon found ourselves hosting this Confessor Julius. Social meeting seemed quite satisfactory; gifted Confessor with first-run “Septimatus” plasma pistol. Beyond currying favor, hope that such gifts may spread interest in the product among individuals able to pay luxury prices for such weapons.

With potential for new anti-Necron weapons development, took passenger transport to Port Wander in hopes of renegotiating terms of service tithe to Battlefleet Calixus. Naval officers displeased with production rate of plasma rifles; with some justification, regardless of limitations on resource supply. Proposed to produce more effective weapons based on new technology in place of plasma rifles. Admiralty seemed amenable; no doubt they welcome any project that may counteract xenos advantages in ships & weapons. Provided with shipyard facilities to produce refitted Sunsear batteries; development proceeds apace.

Soon exhausted meager supply of xenos fragments recovered from Ouroboros with necessary tests. Sent discreet inquiry for any other such artifacts as may be available. Request led to most unexpected meeting with Inquisition & brother Tech-Priest [REDACTED]. Much paranoid speculation of cerebral corruption from contact with Necron artifacts; as one expects from office of Inquisition. Rather than proposing imprisonment or purge, however, Inquisitor mandated our assistance with recovery of xenos artifacts using artifact from [REDACTED]. Soon escorted to Inquisition vessel Hammer of Redemption; presence of Deathwatch Space Marines entirely un-comforting.

Should it be possible, let this cup pass from me;
Nevertheless, not as I would, but as the Omnissiah wills.

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Maintenance Log Supplement 013
I Feel a Deep-Seated Hunger for Increased Velocity

Personally attended to cleansing by explosives and fire of previous Navigator’s spire complex. Also called upon to disarm “security measures” in former Master-at-Arms Vorn’s quarters.

After reneging on his business deal with black-marketeer “Sully,” Capt. Strasser had elected to return to scene & picked up Sully from lifeboat pod. Unsure as to motivations; perhaps merely for amusement purposes. Apparently returned stolen artifact to Sully as ill-considered measure of good faith. Sully contacted Enginseer Prime with proposals regarding distribution & sale of weapons under production at Ouroboros. Transparently deceptive; however, elected to test waters with a modest selection of product; need for income perhaps muddying good judgment. Perhaps Sully will prove surprisingly competent & profitable. If not, will hunt him down & destroy utterly. Whatever amusement Strasser gets from such gamesmanship, I do not share it.

Salvaged alloys & techniques for casting them proved most effective in construction projects. Prototypes most satisfactory; full production commencing apace.

= = = BEGIN LINGUA OCCULTUS ENCRYPTION = = =

Production for Imperial Guard, pursuit to obligations under the Warrant, hampers further expansion due to lack of profit margin. Redirecting 8-10% of output to more lucrative markets.

= = = END LINGUA OCCULTUS ENCRYPTION = = =

Projected demand for Imperial contracts exceeds available material stockpiles. Only known source of needed alloys remains station AZN-D2. Must prepare plans to retake station from the Warp, despite difficulties & grave dangers therein, or abandon venture entirely.

Capt. Strasser has acquired certain specialists deemed necessary aboard ship. One mercenary & assassin, styled Isic, hired to succeed the late Vorn as Master-at-Arms. Also hired freelance ship’s master, Roland Drell, to serve as executive officer. Content so long as both prove competent. It seems Isic previously infiltrated Unrelenting Fury pursuing bounty on Mr. Vorn. That death accomplished by another’s hand, approached Enginseer Prime with request for proof of Vorn’s death. Ensconcement of Vorn in servo-skull left surplus maxillary, which sufficed for proof of death. The man continues to serve in death as he did in life.

Isic pursued further contract on Lucien’s Breath—heretic leader of some death cult. Promise of further shareholder value justified full cooperation. Probe of data-vaults on orbital facility revealed a number of literal bolt-holes in mines of Lucien’s Breath; Isic narrowed possibilities to one complex. Hired local guides, & infiltrated tunnels with a modest escort including Confessor Mordechiai. Hazards of confined spaces limited personal assistance; regardless, mission was carried out without difficulty—though medical intervention was necessary to prevent target’s expiry from self-inflicted knife wounds. As posters of the bounty, Ecclesiarchy certain to inflict much slower demise.

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Maintenance Log Supplement 012
Your Suspicions Can Bite My Chromed Butt-Plate

Further scanning of dreadnaught Iowa revealed it to be a bisected wreck, with only the aft portion present in hangar. Hull showed extensive signs of combat damage; ship presumed to have been destroyed in combat and returned to drydock for salvage & reclamation. Engines completely destroyed, but dorsal siege cannon appeared to be intact. Began process of dismantling & diagramming siege weapon. Project expected to take 4-6 weeks, began further analysis of station in meantime.

Communication with Isembard revealed expected roadblock re: heat emissions vs tolerances of available material. Alloys used in artifact weapons necessary for efficient operation of high-output plasma arrays. No chance of miraculously rediscovering metallurgical engineering of said alloys; second-best option remained, of harvesting scrap alloy from facility in hopes of re-forging or machining it. Extreme resistance of these alloys made such large-scale operations untenable, to say nothing of difficulty in machine-tooling. Began searching presumed scrapping/smelting facilities for useful information.

Required translation assistance with pre-Gothic cogitator terminals; most unsatisfactory. Necessitated locating & re-activating station’s generators; which in turn required extensive plasma re-fueling. In interests of security, near-emptied Unrelenting Fury’s fuel supply into station, then moved ship off-station & contacted freelance tanker for “assistance.” Vessel arrived promptly; informed captain that _Fury_’s fuel shortage was result of onboard insurrection & sabotage.

Such mundane chores complete, reactivated AZN-D2’s powerplant. Reactivation allowed experimentation with station’s salvage controls; which immediately began breaking down Iowa into scrap fragments. Loathe to lose the entirety of the artifact, considered attempting to shut down the process; but was interrupted by more worrisome phenomena. Station was possessed of functioning engines, & was accelerating. Consulted Navigator as to possible destinations of station, & was informed that course intersected with Holy Terra’s current interstellar vector. This discussion interrupted in turn by AZN-D2 entering Warp.

Entrapped officers & crew on station began establishing defensive perimeter. Proceeded to station’s sole surviving Gellar field generator, wishing to stabilize its fluctuating output. Progress blocked by torrent of raw Warp energies emanating for engine room. Retreated to fortified bridge of station, with Master-at-Arms Vorn & trooper escort. Isolated crewmen began exhibiting signs of corruption & mutation; orders to shoot on sight issued.

Navigator Sithis & Confessor Mortichiai separated enroute to bridge, for unknown reasons. Mortichiai soon arrived at perimeter; Sithis & his combat-servitor escort out of contact. Can be assumed by subsequent observation that Sithis succumbed to daemonic corruption soon thereafter. Suspect previous corruption due to certain artifacts in Navigator’s possession. Perhaps assisted by Sithis, daemonic creatures invaded station & prepared to assault bastion. Gellar field generator destroyed by unknown forces; presence of ship’s Confessor alone providing protection from Warp influence.

Visions, heretical messages, and assault by mutants & daemons commenced. Bastion hard-pressed, with survival unlikely. Salvation at last in form of Unrelenting Fury, having by some means tracked AZN-D2 through warp. Attempted to make contact through heavy interference, while holding for evacuation despite heavy losses.

Sithis himself breached hull & attacked officers in bastion, visibly mutated & wielding daemonic weapon. Despite combined fire, he drove his attacks home, delivering blows to Mortichiai & Vorn. Mortally wounded, Vorn activated several grenades & hurled himself upon the enemy, martyring himself to destroy the heretic witch.

Contacting Unrelenting Fury at last, withdrew through hull breaches as a massive daemon—resembling that seen at Reptar-4—emerged through bulkheads of station itself. Evacuated to Thunderhawk through open void, pursued by daemons scarcely fazed by weapons-fire & macrocannon volleys. Left AZN-D2 to its Warp-cursed fate, fleeing with such treasure as we managed to acquire.

Cursed be the witch! Damn all psykers! And Omnissiah preserve us from fool Inquisitors who bring them upon us!

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