The Herejia IncidentTweet to @Brainlessmunkey
REPORT DATE: 3 634 935.M41
ISSUING AUTHORITY: Inquisitor Farnsworth, Ordo Hereticus
AFFECTED WORLD: HEREJIA, CLASS ETA
After the events on Manufactora, Ordo Ineptus began sifting through the dataslates and intelligence collected from the Mago’s office. After two days, the only clue they found was an increase in the number of slaves being requisitioned from a neighboring planet, Herejia. According to records held by the Administratum, these souls, selected in the Emperor’s holy name, were to be turned into servitors. Production was scheduled to skyrocket over the last 3 months, but the investigation revealed no increase in output.
To this end, the crew traveled to Herejia, losing only two days in the warp, and landed in Hive Haarken on the 10th level’s ship yard. The crew didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, so they began to look for a ship on the slave requisition forms: the Pequod and her captain Ahab. Ishmael located the ship within moments, and deferred first contact to Tony. Talking to the captain, Tony was able to determine that Ahab had been delivering the slaves to a representative of Magos Trynbilt on Herejia. When pressed, Ahab admitted it was unusual to hand the trade off to a third party, but the contact had the correct paperwork for the Imperium. Combined with the fact it saved on the Pequod’s fuel cost, he didn’t press the matter.
Additionally, he said that every requisition form was submitted to and approved by the local Administratum office, so everything appeared legitimate. With this in mind, the group spent 6 hours traveling up to the Administratum office, and thanks to Gob’s flattery, they were able to get a copy of the requisition form for the next slave shipment. The requisition form was nearly twenty feet long and mostly nonsense to the predominantly illiterate squad; however, they were able to determine that the exchange would go down on the 4th level in a rarely used shipyard.
The gang found a room for the night in the middle of the hive. After a quick rest, they continued down to check out the shipyard. As expected, it was abandoned- save a scattering of individuals scavenging for things to sell. The group talked to one of these scavengers, and learned the ships normally use the middle two landing pads. Additionally, the territory was now being shared with a group known as “The Truth.” The scavenger found the group mostly harmless, but tended to steer clear of their religious doctrines.
This lead Ordo Ineptus to seek a tracking device to locate where the slaves were being dropped off. Luckily, a second-hand shop was nearby. The friendly shopkeeper sold them an old tracker and some adhesive, but lacked the demolition charges Tony was after. With their shopping complete, they returned to their hotel to prepare their equipment- time predominantly spent rigging an old grappling gun into a mechanism that would fire the tracker.
The next day, the group returned early in the morning to hide among the abandoned crates on the launch pad. Tony and Ishmael patiently hid in several crates, and Jakes and Gob trained their sights on the area. For the next few hours, they waited in silence, until two shuttles landed. A strange group of men wearing unusual pendants emerged from one craft, and began exchanging payment for slaves with Ahab. As their business concluded, and the ships began to part, Tony lined up the shot with the grappling hook. The shot landed perfectly; however, when Tony tried to pull the tether free, he lost his footing and was ripped towards the edge of the dock.
Ishmael quickly drew his knife to cut the line to save him, but swung too greedily and narrowly avoided severing his ally’s femoral artery. Shocked, Tony dropped the grappling hook and skidded to a stop near the ledge. Within moments, Jakes was able to bend the Warp and knit Tony’s flesh back together. A few apologies were made, and the gang tracked the shuttle to the second level of the hive in an abandoned warehouse district.
Ishmael whipped out his magnoculars, and watched a group of people enter one of the warehouses. He discerned they used the pendants as proof of their membership. After activating the thermal spectrum scanner, Ishmael detected an unsettling number of heat sources in the warehouse. Gob suggested they acquire a few pendants for themselves to sneak in, and driving down the road until they found someone willing to take them to a church service that would “enlighten them to the truth”.
The four followed his directions to the church and were greeted by an all too nice man at the door. The church appeared to be bombed out and heated only by burning trash in oil drums, but appeared to be structurally sound. At this moment, they were formally welcomed to the Church of the Truth. Inside, a huddled mass in tattered clothes listened to a sermon emanating from a man standing behind a strange altar with a man strapped to it.
As the group made their way inside the church, they heard words of enlightenment through pain. “The truth of reality,” as he said, “is life is nothing but suffering. To truly understand the truth, one must experience the worst suffering possible and find freedom in it.” He also said that soon the planet would learn the truth, through the teachings of the Traveler. A lesson that would spread across the world like a wildfire. At the height of the ceremony, he swung a blade down and cut the heart free from his sacrifice.
While the cultists began to rise to receive their blessings, the gang spread out. Tony, unaware that Ishmael was attempting to signal the party to fan out, pulled out a lasgun and let the shooting began. The two men at the front of the church began manifesting fireballs, while the group starting to pelt them with small arms fire. Ishmael used a grenade to blow up a majority of the cultists, and Tony was able to kneecap the preacher. When the firefight died down, Ishmael began to interrogate the strange man, who told him that the truth would be revealed to the world and the Traveler would continue his march to oblivion. His hand slid down his side as he threatened Ishmael, “You will be able to see the truth a little more quickly.” The heretic drew his pistol and shot at Ishmael, who managed to dodge the shot and knock the gun from his hand. Not liking this much, Ishmael got out his brass knuckles and began to take his stress out until his foe’s head was just a lump of broken bones and viscera.
Continuing their investigation, Jakes used his powers to rip the recent memories from one of the Chaos psykers. He learned the man had been a dormant psyker until a red giant touched him and expanded his mind. Jakes saw a world wreathed in flame, and visions of a mind stretching out into the stars.
The group grabbed the pendants they needed, used the rags from the cultists to create disguises. From there, they went back to the warehouse and were given entry with no questions asked. Tony took the initiative, and asked the door guard where they could find their next orders. He pretended to have just finished sweeping a ship for any tails or trackers, and was looking for something more interesting to do. They were pointed to a large, rusted ladder with bowed rungs- as if they had been bent under tremendous weight. The guard informed them they could speak to the Traveler directly.
As they went up, they got a full view of the rust bucket of a warehouse. The group found an enormous open space sparsely filled with crates labeled “Meat Substitute: Human Grade” and large prison pens filled with hundreds of people bound with penal legion collars around their necks. A contingent of guards meandered around, and at least four more psykers kept watch over then pens. They eventually encountered a pair of guards watching over a door. After a moment of scrutiny, they contacted their boss and instructed them to wait a moment for the Traveler to arrive. Roughly one moment later, a giant comes out from the door; 3 meters tall and covered in red spiked power armor. The metal is carved with strange symbols that make their eyes itch and brains scramble. Jakes faints immediately. Gob begins sobbing, rocking back and forth, and scratching at his face. Tony takes a half step back in fear, but is otherwise unfazed. Ishmael can’t bring himself to look at the giant, and stares at the floor.
The Traveler tells the group that they should begin collecting more sacrifices before the ceremony begins and tells them to be on their way. He reminds them they had better arrive on time tomorrow if they wish to see the glory of the truth, and witness the maw of Chaos devouring Herejia whole. The agent of Chaos peers Ordo Ineptus over, and is pleased they are awed by his power and wisdom. The two sane men grab their two broken compatriots and drag them away. They eventually regain their senses, and make it back outside and to the car. In that moment, they bond through the shared experience of a small mental breakdown.
They decide to call this in immediately. Ishmael, whipping in and out of the Hive’s traffic, drives them to the Lexicanum in record time. Jakes sprints in, and sends a message back to the Emperor’s Holy Inquisition with their findings. His mind, still reeling from the sights of Chaos, sends immense ripples out, through the astropathic choir. As he regains consciousness, he sees the remnants of their bodies still bound to their stations. He quickly vomits and hurries back to his companions. While waiting on a response, they return to their hotel and suffer a nightmare laden rest.
They return the next morning, and the recently hired astropaths have detected an encrypted message for Jakes. They learn a backup detachment is on the way, and a few hours later an Imperial strike team picks them up from the 10th floor spaceport. During the flight, Gob asks if the fire team had encountered the legions of Chaos before. The lieutenant has personally killed a Chaos marine before, but lost six of his original twelve men in the process. Ordo Ineptus collectively shivers, and spends the rest of the flight in contemplative silence.
The team uses their ‘credentials’ to enter the warehouse again, and, when greeted, Gob and Ishmael rip the man in half with silenced gunfire. Following their instincts, the squads fan out. Jakes and Tony take the high ground, while Ishmael and Gob dart between the crates to the right. From their elevated position, the pair begin to line their sights up on the Traveler; however, they are quickly forced to improvise after the ‘elite’ strike force knocks over a crate while getting into position.
At this point, all of the Emperor’s fury rang out in a hurricane of bullets. The Traveler leapt down from the second floor, and began stoically walking through the gunfire. Tony and Jakes convinced him to some cover with a few well-aimed potshots, and he began to charge into the fray. In each holding pen, psykers began throwing out fireballs, attempting to kill as many sacrifices as they could. The team realized they must be attempting to start their profaned ritual early, and the snipers quickly changed their targets. The cultists traded fire with the strike team while Ishmael flanked on the right.
Eventually, the cultists charged into melee range and began to wail on the soldiers; however, the hardened veterans did not break. That is until the Traveler joined the fray. One of the soldiers deflected a blow from his roaring chainsword- only to be bisected a moment later. The soldiers held their ground, attempting to fight back while the rest of the squad peppered the Chaos Space Marine with lasfire. Gob eventually found an opening, and throw a fire bomb at the marine. The agent of Chaos was immediately wreathed in flame, but the marine fought on.
Simultaneously, Tony and Jakes managed to maim the psykers well enough that a rather strong slave was able to beat the heretic’s face to a bloody pulp. The pair continued to pick off cultists, but unfortunately they weren’t quick enough to save the strike team they had travelled with. The Traveler and the sole surviving cultist then turned their sights upward. Jakes and Tony made a last-ditch effort to fell the giant, and, if it weren’t for the beast’s incredible speed, they would have succeeded. The Traveler lined up a shot and fired his bolt pistol at Tony. The boltshell tore though a crate and a solid steel barrier along the catwalk, and it ripped Tony in half. The round also struck the ammunition and grenades he had been hoarding, causing them to explode.
The upper catwalk and Jakes were ripped apart in an 8 meter wide storm of fire and steel. Both men, vaporized by the expanding fireball, were now free to return their bodies and souls to the Emperor. The Traveler, pleased with his kill, turned his attention to Gob and charged forward with his chainsword arcing through the air. Remembering his fallen comrades, Gob and Ishmael dug their heels into the ground and stood firm against the force of Chaos. They unleashed a stream of automatic fire, that ripped several fuel lines apart on the Space Marine’s armor. The leaking gas met the flames of the earlier firebomb, and burned the heretic alive. The gunfire died out, and they were the last free men alive in the warehouse- the small crackling of flame the only noise breaking the silence.