Keep Your Enemies Closer – Part 1

A second attempt at turning a pen and paper campaign into first person narrative. This time, however, I can do it on a week-by-week basis as opposed to all at once. Hooray! (saying that, I’m two weeks behind and have the third session coming up tomorrow)

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I sit in my jail cell alone. The air is damp, the atmosphere reeks of hopelessness. I clutch my Uplifting Primer tightly and close my eyes. Emperor give me strength. I sit alone in my cell, surrounded by criminals, heretics and traitors with only my Uplifting Primer and faith in Him to comfort me, waiting for my turn to confess my false sins and fabricated lies. When an innocent is interrogated, no truths will be settled on. I cannot blame them though. I do not blame them. I was brought in by the Inquisition, after all. My pleas of innocence in this matter will fall on deaf ears. I ask myself, who would I trust? The Inquisition or a Guardswoman from a regiment that nobody knows who is accused of being a traitor? An alleged traitor, or members of an order who answer to the Emperor himself? I know who I would trust in their shoes, and unfortunately it leaves me out to dry.

I hear the sound of footsteps down the corridor. I try to get a good view of what is going on. I hear one of the guards arguing with a pair of prisoners a cell or two down the hall. He is a new recruit, judging by his voice. I merely sigh and continue to read through my Uplifting Primer, though I continue to overhear part of the conversation which causes me to giggle slightly as I read. First time I have laughed in a while.

“Hey, you,” comes a voice from outside my cell. I look up to see the guard looking in on me. I stand up, straightening my fatigues a little.

“Yes, officer?” I answer politely, taking a step closer to the bars, but keeping my distance as to avoid random beatings.

“We have an offer if you’re willing to hear it,” he continues. I keep my finger in the page I was at in my Primer and raise my eyebrow.

“Of course,” I reply, keeping my demeanour constant. This restraining collar clouds my vision, leaving me unable to see what he wants so that I may formulate an adequate response.

“Do you wish freedom?” he asks, his arms folded.

“Who doesn’t?” I respond rhetorically.

“Do you wish to serve the Emperor?” he continues. I wonder if this guy is for real, but I do not need my gifted vision to see that this will not continue to be all wonderful.

“Of course. My life is to serve our Emperor,” I answer, still trying to look as harmless as possible. At this point, I am not even lying.

“Then you agree to let us take you to the Inquisition’s Black Ships?” he inquires, a grin now on his face. I sigh and shake my head.

“The Black Ships are designated for psykers. I would serve no purpose by going there,” I reply with a frown, shaking my head as I sit back on my bed. The guard also frowns.

“When your turn comes you’ll wish you just accepted our generous offer.” He walks off again. The Black Ships? Generous? The ignorance of these guards astounds me. I sit back down on my bed and continue reading my Primer for a while before I hear an explosion somewhere, feeling the vibrations reverberate through the walls and bars of my cell. I stand up from my bed again and rush to the front of my cell to try and understand what is going on. There is panic everywhere as inmates start to notice water flowing in, the level rising at a slow but steady pace. The same people who were arguing with a guard seem to be debating something again, though I am unable to make out the exact words over the cacophony of panic that has taken root over the prison. After a brief discussion, the guard lets them out of their cell, before coming over to mine and opening the door. Early interrogation? Or the Inquisition do not want their precious captives being drowned too early.

I follow the arbite alongside a scrawny looking man and a robed individual seems to blather at the guard, pointless words spilling from his mouth. I look around and notice one thing: there are no other guards watching us. This psychic inhibitor has clouded my vision, but perhaps… I deem it is worth a try. I reach out to his shotgun with my mind. I feel the textures of the grip, the holster, the cold metallic edges. This clouds my vision, but not my mental prowess. Wonderful. I look at the ground, a sombre look on my face as I move the shotgun slowly, but surely, out of the holster, getting it to fall almost literally into the scrawny, grey haired man’s hands. He takes control of the shotgun and I wait for him to pull the trigger, point blank into the guard’s back. I wait. I wait. He is hesitating. I am about to grab the gun from him before he pulls the trigger with a dull click. The gun jams.

“Excuse me. I think you dropped this,” the man uttered, I grimace and start to think about how else I could escape from this situation, but the man smacks the arbite with the butt of the rifle. He hits the floor hard and I immediately go over and grab the laspistol from his belt.

“Get his key and hide the body,” I hastily say, looking up at the other two who seem to be exchanging some brief words and passing the shotgun between the themselves. We take the keys from his belt and decide to quickly set about freeing the prisoners, if only for a distraction to aid our escape, before dragging the arbite’s unconscious body to a now unoccupied cell and one of them kills him as I ensure to stop the blood from flowing too much. Nothing leads you to a dead body like a blood trail. We briefly exchange names before going on our way; the robed man is a tech priest named Mott and the grey-haired one, Sigmar Soman, some military family aristocrat. I should be more phased. We just murdered one of the God-Emperor’s servants for no just reason. For no real reason, come to think of it. I mutter a quiet prayer under my breath, out of earshot of the others. I do not know what they are in here for, so I naturally do not trust them.  We continue along, following signs that we believe lead us to an armoury. I do hope that my equipment is still here. Us Kyrallians do not have the privilege of great forge worlds and manufactorums, our equipment is important; perhaps even sacred to us. Mott fiddles with the locks, though he seems unable to open the lock before Sigmar eventually steps forwards, taking the keycard we lifted from the guard before and sliding it neatly into a slot on the door. Mott and I exchange mildly embarrassed expressions before we all head in. Sure enough, the room is an armoury and we all set about arming ourselves. I manage to locate my flak armour and weaponry, ditching the guard’s laspistol and grabbing my own, along with my lasgun. I quickly slip into my flak armour, standard Imperial Guard uniform, and attach my webbing, ensuring all of my medical gear is still present. It feels good to be back in my armour, though I notice the other two seem to take a micro-bead each as well. Primitive though it may be, I also take one and fix it over my ear before I slip my fully sealed helmet over my head. Back in the regiment, we communicated psychically, not using easy to intercept electronics. I will acquiesce to the wishes of these two for now, if only to aid in the disguise. Sigmar now wielded a fancy looking boltgun, an equally fancy chainsword and an officer’s breastplate, though it had been largely defaced.

We continue to head upwards, pandemonium now spread across the lower levels. We dispatch another, more senior looking guard with a volley of fire, though it is mainly Sigmar’s boltgun that tears into the poor, unsuspecting man. I mutter another prayer to the Emperor as we repeat the process of taking his keycard and some more keys that we use to unlock even more cells. We eventually reach another room that appears to contain a large metal detector guarding some boxes. I remove all of my metallic items, as Sigmar seems to hesitate again, and step through the detector; it is obvious that the tech priest could not remove all metal objects from his person as Sigmar or myself, and I would rather we did not trigger unnecessary security systems. I quickly browse the boxes and shut down all the security features in the room before gesturing at the others to enter as I pick up all of my metallic equipment once more. One box contained what appeared to be tech priest mechadendrites, units and keys that I can only imagine fit devices like the collar around my neck. I rifle through the box as Mott seems to re-attach parts of himself, giving out disturbingly pleasured sighs. No matter, my task is to find the key that fits my collar. I try three before one clicks into place and the collar falls off. A breath a sigh of relief. It is as if a veil has been lifted from before my eyes and I can see clearly once more. I immediately cast my gaze to the immediate future and tell Mott that the last crate is not worth bothering about. Truth be told, it is because of what I foresee. A gory end at the hands of a servitor wielding a chainsword. I grimace slightly and make my way to the door, it is never easy to cast one’s gaze into the future and see their own potential demise. I am about to reach the door, just as Mott opens up the last crate and a servitor pops out, chainswords whirring. I take a further step away from it, aim my lasgun and crack off a single shot. If the others had listened to me and not opened the box, we would not be in this situation, caught in a small room with a servitor that wants to acquaint its chainswords with our torsos. I am locked into this course now, so I just have to make sure that it does not cleave me in two. Sigmar half draws his own, rather elaborate looking chainsword, though the servitor charges straight at him. He tries to dodge its swing, though the chainsword connects, cutting through his equally elaborate carapace armour and tears into his flesh. He lets out cry and seems to just lose it, swinging his chainsword at the servitor with frightening force, carving a great gash into the man-machine. Mott seems to be watching the servitor quite closely before running towards it with a shock maul, making unintelligible noises at it. I am unable to hide my surprise when it seems to stand down and stop attacking. I take another few steps back before I send a wave of telekinetic force at the servitor’s leg, causing it to fall over amidst the chaos as Sigmar’s second swing goes over its head. Mott now takes a position over the servitor and Sigmar looks at him like he is an enemy. He is about to swing his chainsword down upon the tech priest before I call out to him, verbally and mentally. His mind is weak, full of exploitable clauses and I focus on making my spoken words sound sweet to his ears.

“Calm down! I’m a medic and that wound needs tending to. I can’t help you if you’re swinging around like that,” I call out to him, running over as I take out my medi-kit. Breathing hard, he lowers his chainsword and lets me tend to his wounds. I make sure there are no infections and bandage him up as Mott tends to the servitor. It was just a cover up though. I notice out of the corner of my eye that we have attracted quite some attention. Hordes of bedraggled prisoners seem to be looking in on us, so I wave and walk up to them. Mott and Sigmar start arguing once again, this time over Sigmar owing the servitor an apology.

“Can I help you?” I ask the nearest prisoner. We exchange a few words, though it is mostly pointless. That is, until he mentions two scary men. I look behind me, identifying one of them being Sigmar, but I do not know of a second, so I ask about it as Mott proudly strolls out of the room with his new ‘child’ as he calls it.

“And there was this figure in armour. About eight feet tall. I saw it running.” My expression behind my helmet drops instantly. The description matches that of a member of the Adeptus Astartes, the Emperor’s chosen, the Space Marines; though I do not know why a loyalist Space Marine would be running around a prison like this one by himself. I have never seen a member of the traitorous Astartes, having only fought with cultists and daemonic allies in the past, though the description would fit them as well, I imagine. Could the forces of Chaos be working on this planet? I shudder at the thought.

“What colour was his armour?” I hazard, though no one could answer. This situation just became a lot more complex. At that point, Mott strides up to where I was standing.

“Pass round the spare weapons. Who has combat experience?” A few people raise their hands and we worked to arm and armour as many of the combat capable inmates as possible before heading to the top and the exit to the surface. I thought that I would be more excited to see the open sky, but the sight of a red sky and eerily calm waters was unnerving; not to mention the fact that we were sinking with no life-boats remaining. Sigmar clambers to the top of the nearby watchtower, though the prison-ship rocked suddenly, despite the complete absence of winds. Mott inquires as to why the boat rocked, to which one of the locals responds that there is a large creature called the Leviathan that lived in the bottomless waters of the world. Primitive folk-tales or truth, we have no time to give it thought. Our ship was sinking and we needed to reach land soon.

Mott, his servo skull and I set about finding the controls to the ship and, once we had found them, begun piloting the sinking behemoth. The controls are surprisingly similar to those of the scout sentinels that I had piloted with the regiment and Mott seemed to get his side under control with equal efficiency. We rather quickly make it to another settlement, with Sigmar standing amidst all of our apparently trained Imperial soldiers. Not much more intimidation was needed than that for the locals to let us in, though they did not have much space to offer us. When we mention the God-Emperor, the town mayor seems clueless. My expression drops again, though luckily I am wearing a fully face concealing helmet. Mott decides that our band needs a name and, having all met on the Magellan frigate, comes upon the name ‘The Brotherhood of the Magellan’. I cough with a grin and we decide on the ‘Magellanites’ though I do not plan on keeping with this merry band of traitors and heretics to the end. Speaking of which, I need to cast my gaze to the future, to try and ascertain who this wandering Chaos Space Marine could be and how best to avoid him.

Emperor be my light in the darkness.

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