The Death Race

A hard-fought victory for the agents of House Haarlock had yielded them ownership of an ancient and powerful warship that once belonged to the mighty Erasmus Haarlock, and the undoing of another plot by the Roh Dynasty. Upon their return to the Tempest Raven to report to the other members of the operation on stand-by revealed that during the excursion, the would-be Captain Komali was abducted by an old foe. Inquisitor Silas Marr, the only adversary yet to best the members of the Haarlock.

In the Captain's quarters a formal note was left explaining that if we were to reclaim the heir to the house, we would have to perform a task for the Inquisitor; to enter ourselves into a death-race hosted by what appeared to be a Chaos cult. Though Marr may have actually been doing us a favour by disposing us of the Captain, he must have anticipated this by also threatening to have our Warrant of Trade voided by decree of the High-Lords. With that, we made for a set of coordinates provided in the note to the site of this race.

Upon arriving at port, our ship and the majority of our personal belongings were held as collateral and as an entry fee by port officials on behalf of the racing guild. By no means were we the only competitors. Several other Rogue Traders, and even Dark Eldar and Stryxis had entered to win. The note had made it clear that for us to succeed in our dubious task we would have to ensure that a certain competitor won first place in the end. At least fate made it easy for us by allowing the racers to actively sabotage and kill one another. Before the race even began we set about our honourless work. Li-Tal surreptitiously planted explosives on one racer's ship, and Remi executed another from the shadows. (Lol). 

Before much more damage could be done, the race was to commence, and all racers were to assume their starting positions. Their appeared to be no real limitations on how many vehicles and teams we could enter in the race, so we elected two. Soren and Devil took to Soren's personal Dark Eldar jet-bike, and the rest would ride on a heavy land speeder to cause as much destruction as possible.

When the starting gun fired, Li-Tal's explosives detonated and a another racer's vehicle stayed put. Remi piloted with all of his skill to outmaneuvre the others and the various hazards of the course, including a massive war-beast. Krawkin Feckward made an appearance, employing a Necron (somehow) and using a dropship. Heavy fire from the Haarlock land speeder and launching Akathin directly onto Krawkin's ship swiftly ensured its annihilation. Devil and Soren laid claim to a pair of Dark Eldar women who attempted some underhanded tricks to take them out. 

In the end, the racer whom Silas Marr favoured was victorious, and received a rather shitty prize of having his soul infused with a car forged by the Chaos cult. House Haarlock had its Warrant of Trade reinstated, and the adventures continue.

The Spoils Left Behind by the Deathwatch

The tech adepts of House Haarlock worked diligently for some time to restore the ancient vessel to working order, but only enough could be done to reactivate its base functions. Grand Cruiser-class voidships are not easy to operate with a skeleton crew. After as much could be done to get the ship moving, we found several cases bearing similar design-work to the Bloodlock Bolts found earlier. These cases were smaller, but there were several of them arrayed on the lower platform from where the Deathwatch sergeant vanished.

The team gathered around to determine the next course of action. Most resolved to open them, using five keys recovered from the battles previously. Devil chose to open the first, and upon doing so, a small mutant leapt forth. Before he could react, the creature clawed at his face in some ravenous stupor. Devil tried as he might to free himself while Akathin attempted to swing a few at his head in some comedic effort to help. His massive axe was too large to strike such a nimble target, but Soren was able to finish the job while barely missing Devil's face. His ruined form carried a large backpack full of high-tech weaponry, probably looted from the ship, the Roh dynasty, or both.

The next crate contains another small creature, this time some sort of robotic drone that also was carrying a large backpack. This one set about taking Akathin, who had a tough time trying to reach it before it stood on his shoulder and taunted the group, shortly before combined weapons fire from Li-Tal and Nil obliterated it. More wargear spilled from the drone's backpack.

A third box contained another small mutant that attempted to loot the party, but impatience and irritation amongst everyone made short work of it as quickly as their weapons did. With more wargear acquired from these drones and mutants, the group became more interested in the spoils uncovered. Devil's curiosity overcame his better judgment and he opened yet another crate. Whatever the Deathwatch had done, they managed to imprison 8 minor Khornate daemons within one of the boxes, and everyone had realized their foolishness. Devil, Remy, and Soren fought at close range while Nil threw one of the Phosphex bombs into the mix. A massive discharge of ancient and volatile corrosive gas exploded, making short work of the weakened daemons, and nearly killing Devil himself.

Our knowledge of Phosphex is rather limited, however, and the lingering nature of this proscribed chemical weapon is most inconvenient. We shall have to devise a suitable means of venting the gas cloud into the void before it can cause any serious damage to the ship. Devil managed to escape any serious injury, thanks to his eldritch resilience.

With one key remaining, the party opened one last crate. The contents appeared to be the strangest yet, as a doppelganger in the likeness of Akathin revealed itself before being promptly annihilated by the combined efforts of the original Akathin and Devil, himself.

Four crates remain, but their locks are accessed by other keys. Perhaps we will find them in time.


Techmaster's Log: Post 0005

The fighting done, and the ship under Haarlock control, the agents began to investigate a collection of items scattered around the command platform on the bridge.

Numerous items of curious nature were found as they gathered. Remy, German, and Li-Tal set about activating the ship's core functions to get the ship up to working order. Long-dead plasma reactors on massive ships can take a considerable amount of time to heat up again, but once that was done, the group assembled around a bevy of curious trinkets.

Among the items found on the bridge were two Bloodlock Bolts bearing Deathwatch iconography. Soren's quick thinking suggested that perhaps the Deathwatch sergeant who teleported away may have had access, and found the space marine's blood on the floor from when Soren fired upon him. Using a clean piece from the bandages of his injuries sustained from the masked man, he gathered enough to open the two chests. 

1.) The first Bloodlock Bolt contained:

Two Phosphex Bombs, and a strange handgun fabricated from bones and ligaments. The exact nature of the firearm is yet unknown, but it does not appear to bear any daemonic resonance.

2.) The second Bloodlock Bolt contained:

A single golden token of technological design, of apparent, considerable worth.

3.) Assorted Roh codebooks were found, but among the more common red cases were another golden case, two olive green cases, and a cobalt blue case. The green ones, upon quick analysis seem to be based on associations with other private organisations within the Imperium and potentially beyond. The cobalt blue case specifically mentioned the Winterscale dynasty of Rogue Traders, which can't mean anything good for us.

4.) A small collection of ancient scrolls were found bearing seals and signatures from past members of House Haarlock and a familiar psychic signature worthy of further investigation.

5.) A larger steel book containing an immaculate hand-written letter bearing the Collector's seal and written in fine, shimmering ink. The letter itself mentions the Collector's quest to acquire some sort of exotic weapon to be assembled from pieces scattered across the void, and that one of which is possibly located within a vault on board this very ship.

Storming the Bridge

With the necessary arrangements made, and a bargain struck. It was decided that Soren, Remy, Devil, German, and Li-Tal would take the bridge, and secure the ship for House Haarlock. They set off the board the lift up to the control centre, where the last bastion of resistance would be found and crush it.

Upon entering the room, they found a familiar enemy in the command chair. The nano-machine abomination from earlier was found leading yet more Alpha Legion Chaos Marines. Devil and Soren charged headlong into close-combat with four Alpha Legion Astartes, where Soren had used his incredible agility to evade boltgun fire, and Devil was able to make use of his famous inferno pistol. 

Unforunately for Soren, however, he tempted fate by making an off-hand comment about the ineffectiveness of human weaponry. He would quickly be humbled when his own "superior" xenos guns would constantly fail to kill opponents who were helpless to defend themselves. Devil was able to draw the attention of a Chaos Marine whom was a little too eager to fight in melee by shooting him in the dick with his inferno pistol (ouch), and using his ruined armour as cover.

Other Chaos Marines would exchange long-range fire with Remy, German, and Li-Tal before German caught two bolt shells to the upper torso, nearly killing him and causing catastrophic damage. This affront to the agents of House Haarlock sent Li-Tal into a gun-frenzy where he would use all of his bionic might to land headshot after headshot with his beam rifle, killing one marine and severely injuring another. This bought time for Soren and Devil to move up and begin thinning the Chaos ranks.

Remy would also inflict serious injury upon the enemy by distracting the nano-marine long enough to draw his attention away from the others who were closing the gap. Doing so made us aware of another firefight happening on the other side of the bridge. Soren sent a volley of splinter rounds into the nano-marine, causing significant damage after Remy's persistent firing made it clear that single shot-type weaponry was proving ineffective against a formless entity.

Devil attempted to get the drop on the nano-marine by leaping up onto the command platform, but narrowly missed. Still, he managed to cling to the edge and pull himself up, firing his inferno pistol into the machine enemy and ending it once and for all. The strange machine collapsed onto the floor in a mound of obsidian metallic dust.

After that, all that remained was to investigate the gunfire on the other side. Two more Alpha Legionnaires and a lone Deathwatch Astartes had been exchanging fire for some time, with the Deathwatch marine pinned on a forward control pulpit. The two Chaos marines were swiftly overwhelmed by Soren and Devil with Remy providing long-range fire support. German and Li-Tal pushed forward to reinforce Soren and Devil.

With the Alpha Legion defeated, the agents of the house gathered to address the Deathwatch marine who stepped out from cover and tossed an object towards us before attempting to teleport away using a personal teleporter. As he did so, we identified what must have been the missing halo device from the pendant Nil had found in the reactor cooling chambre. Soren attempted to halt his escape, emptying what remained of his splinter cannon into the marine's back, inflicting serious damage, but not enough to disable his teleporter functions. 

The marine ultimately escaped to an unknown destination, but the ship was finally secured, and House Haarlock was reunited with the ancient warship.


Meeting a Long-Time Adversary

Securing the daughter of Roh Fernandez now complete, the agents of House Haarlock enact the next phase of their plan to leverage control of the ship by contacting the head of the Roh dynasty personally. Li-Tal had recovered more codebooks, one of which (golden) contained communication codes for personal contact to Roh family members.

Li-Tal hailed the rival Rogue Trader using one of the captured encoder devices, which presented visual feed, but communications had to be made through text only. They are first met with a woman, whom identified herself as the Lady of the Roh dynasty. When presented with her unconscious daughter on the vid screen, she became visibly enraged and began threatening the lot of us, though Devil seemed to find her quite attractive, the bastard.

Soon the vid feed cut out and was later re-established with the head of the house appearing himself. Roh Fernandez and the agents of House Haarlock met for the first time, and after many encounters, the Rogue Trader was clearly displeased with our meddling. A heated eschange followed as Seneschal Devil, Soren, and Remy discussed the terms of our agreement with Roh. In exchange for his daughter's safety, we would gain complete control of the ancient grand cruiser and safe passage from the Barrows. Roh Fernandez begrudgingly agreed to our demands, but his confidence betrayed his intent. We know he will attempt to have us killed eventually. Men like him are too proud to be fucked with.

After the arrangements were made, we came under sudden attack from a masked figure, slim and fast, he struck at several of the Haarlock crew before we could react. Devil was struck first, a small, pen-sized device similar in design to the nano-machines encounter with the Alpha Legion from earlier was plunged into his chest. German caught an explosive device magnetically attached to his hauberk, and Li-Tal was kicked backwards into Nil, who suffered superficial damage to her augmetic arm.

Soren attempted a counter-attack, but had underestimated this new foe, and nearly found himself disemboweled. His alien physique lent itself well to his recovery, and he had avoided death, however. It would be Akathin who brought our enemy low…… by sitting on him. Using his superior size and weight, he grappled the masked figure and pinned him to the ground with his great girth. Fortunate that it happened before any more damage could be done to our agents.

Devil managed to pry the device from his chest, Soren was able to stabilize his injuries, and Li-Tal and German suffered no extensive damage themselves. Their injuries accounted for, and the enemy subdued, the Haarlock team was definitely ready to have words with the masked figure. Nil crushed his leg with the weight of the captured battlemech, Akathin tore his helmet off, and only the Emperor knows what Soren was doing. With his helmet removed, the figure was revealed to be a man whom had undergone extensive surgery and augmentation. Li-Tal was able to interface with cranial augmetics, but not without some difficulty. He found out that this man was remade to become the perfect bodyguard, most likely for Roh Princepsa.

He was without eyelids, lips, and his skin was pale as polished ivory. His augmetics were of consummate quality, as was his weaponry. He was unceremoniously stripped of all of his equipment, and after a short time, his augmentations had apparently shut down and the man had entered into a sort of machine-hibernation.

This creature will have to be very carefully watched.

The Ambush

After a long journey through the ship, we came to learn more about its construction. It seems that Erasmus Haarlock had commissioned the ship to be built, as shown by elaborate design-work inlaid all throughout the ship. Eventually we made it to the reactor core, where we were met with massive vault doors. The labour engine was able to open them, revealing the largest gathering of Roh soldiers yet encountered.

We kept to our plan of infiltration as we drew closer to the enemy, and we see that more mercenaries are present. The Roh commander was neglecting their agreement, it seemed, as they were arguing with him and his men over payment. The labour engine passed by and toward the other end of the room, passed a pair of heavy bolter turrets and a light mech. Remy thought it would be good to stir up more frustration by mentioning to Devil that the gunmen were not actually going to be paid, but carefully enough to be close to one of them.

Unfortunately, Remy picked a bad time for his fucking voice to crack, as he loudly announced it to everyone within fifty feet. Nil decided to jump out of her crate to throw a Krak grenade. This grenade, which exploded amidst the gunmen, caused such havoc, that…fuck. the resulting explosion caused a chain-reaction of all explosives carried by the grouped mercenaries, utterly destroying all of them, and incapacitating the commander, Roh Princepsa, and almost every roh soldier in the area. A brief firefight followed as the Haarlock agents mopped up the remains.

Nil took it upon herself to board and commandeer the enemy mech with German's aid. Devil, Remy, Soren, and Li-Tal took cover away from ground-zero to pick off the stragglers one at a time. One soldier tried to rush our heroes in cover, but German landed a perfect shot from his archeotech pistol, exploding the soldier's head. Meanwhile, Nil had successfully vaulted on top of the mech and punched straight through the armoured canopy, instantly killing the pilot. Li-Tal remotely overwrote the security protocols and gave Nil full access to the mech.

Soren used the discord to his advantage to rush in and capture Roh Princepsa, securing our objective. Nil, now with full control, advanced on the enemy position, and Tessera used her psionic power to disable the heavy bolter turrets and eliminate a few more soldiers. Devil rushed into melee combat to finish off what was left. One soldier attempted to fire on Remy, but missed his mark. Remy fired back, but missed as well. Li-Tal took aim at said soldier, and blew his head off with a well-placed shot from his beam rifle, causing the decapitated man's body to spasm and run into another Roh agent and ignite him.

After the fury, Nil finished off the last few soldiers with the mech's on-board weaponry, and the ambush was a success. Now, the agents of Haarlock have what they need to leverage control of this ancient vessel from the Roh dynasty, and stake their claim on the galaxy.

Friend or Foe?

The traitor Astartes were defeated, but not without some effort, and Tessera's random appearance only compounded the unpredictability of the operation. Everyone displayed a lot of restraint to not shoot Tessera right then and there for her past transgressions and supposed allegiance with the powers of Chaos, which her convenient appearance doesn't help to dissuade. Nevertheless, she explained that she was under a sorcerous spell, and was ultimately loyal to House Haarlock.

It was revealed that during warp-travel to the Barrows, Tessera was secretly released by Nil, a revelation that doesn't sit well with the rest of us. While no one actually believes her, except for Nil, she will be given a small chance to prove her loyalty. Should she fail, then she will be swiftly eliminated. Perhaps the only reason she was allowed to live was because we need all the help we can get.

To travel deeper into the ship would require more subtlety, however, and after some deliberation, it was decided that some of the team will impersonate Roh agents, and the others will conceal themselves in crates carried by a newly operational labour engine. Nil, Tessera, Akathin, and German hid onboard the labour engine, while Remy, Li-Tal, and Soren disguised as soldiers. Devil, the most capable negotiator, wore the sergeant's armour.

Our plan: Find the Roh commander and capture or eliminate him, and capture Roh Princepsa to use as leverage in claiming the Grand Cruiser.

Traveling further into the maintenance conduits and up a freight lift brought us to another Roh garrison. Upon exiting the lift we found yet another strange discovery. The Roh soldiers were investigating four large, and heavily armoured corpses that were revealed to be Deathwatch marines. Their presence here is most concerning as no xenos were supposedly encountered. Devil used his considerable skills to manipulate the Roh soldiers to let us pass, but not before we secured a few of the Deathwatch marines' weapons.

We secured a pair of Deathwatch boltguns, and a plasma gun. These count as Good-Craftsmanship Astartes versions of their respective weapons with built-in omni-scopes.


Infiltrating the Ancient Grand Cruiser Cont'd

Forced to engage the Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines with no feasible escape route, the veterans of House Haarlock take it upon themselves to protect their investment and eliminate the traitors. Almost immediately a firefight broke out between them and us. Devil took a blast to the chest which sent him across the room, though he was able to avoid serious injury, thanks to his energy shield. Remy and Soren took up firing positions at a distance to protect the labour engine. Numerous shots fired from traitor astartes bolters prevented some from engaging in close-combat, except for Akathin, who didn't care. He took it upon himself to brave boltgun fire and break suppression.

Even Chaos Marines weren't capable of facing an Ork death-machine in melee, and one-by-one they were eliminated. German used this distraction to the advantage by securing the encoder device, and the codebook. Loss of these items would have been a tragic waste. Nil also used Akathin's distraction to her advantage and charged into close-combat as well.

With the traitors facing powerful adversaries up close, the rest of the team closed in for support. Their aspiring champion was not what he seemed, unfortunately, and a fatal headshot from _____ revealed that he was some sort of machine impersonating an Alpha Legionnaire. His weapon was inconspicuous enough, but this raises so many more questions we can't answer. The abomination almost killed Nil, who foolishly attempted to fight it in close-combat, as well as Akathin. Both took heavy damage from the anomalous blade it wielded.

More concentrated fire from the rest of the fireteam forced the machine to retreat, but not before a warp Warp portal opened and Tessera stepped through.

Infiltrating the Ancient Grand Cruiser

Fortunately for House Haarlock, the swift elimination of the guards means that we have the element of surprise, and nearby was a lift granting access to the ship proper. Ascending the lift revealed another squad of Roh soldiers accompanied by a Tech-Adept who was tending to a labour engine. This indicates that the Roh garrison does not have full control of the ship, but have managed to establish a temporary power network to restore some key functions. 

Quick reconnaissance showed that the squad had become somewhat laxed as a result of tedious labour and no movement, making it easy for our infiltrators to eliminate them quickly. Devil and Remy don the armour of the Roh soldiers to assess their strength and perhaps to draw a couple of soldiers away to further weaken their position. Nil posed as a prisoner, to help lure them into the ambush. Two soldiers are drawn back to the elevator where Gale and Li-Tal silently eliminate them using a sword and knife respectively.

With two guards eliminated, enough remained to be assassinated from range via simultaneous quick-shots. Unfortunately, the tech-adept was critically damaged (and beyond repair) by a not-so-well-placed shot to the head with Remy's firepike. Any information contained within his cranial cogitators was certainly lost along with any internal backups which may have been short-circuited.

The labour engine was secured safely, however, along with a substantial collection of unusual items. Among the items found were three more Haarlock-marked T-bills, no less than two archeotech weapon components, assorted medical supplies, and esoteric munitions. We also recovered one of the Roh encoding machines, and a codebook. This can grant us all of the access we need to steal the ship out from under the enemy.

During the brief combat, two soldiers ventured off and returned with alpha Legion traitor astartes. This revelation is most unfortunate, and reveals to us that Chaos is operating in the Barrows as well. The presence of two traitor legions in Haarlock endeavours is troubling, but must be dealt with regardless. We have beaten the Night Lords in combat, we can defeat the Alpha Legion and their cultists as well.

Returning to the Barrows

The ambush broken, and all assailants defeated, House Haarlock agents prepare to return to the ship to get Lyra immediate medical attention. The gunmen were well-prepared for the firefight, and had gained at least limited control of the surrounding area, locking down blast doors and disabling the local alarm system. This ensured that port security forces would not have been able to react in time.

It took a little ingenuity, but Gale, and Remy were successful in managing to hack the door controls, until a voice interrupted our private vox channel. An Imperial scout battlemech descended from above, piloted by a spoiled girl who declared herself to be the daughter of Roh Fernandez, himself. Given her spoiled personality, it is likely she operates without his knowledge, and Soren tossed a plasma grenade at a weak point in the mech's armour very nearly disabled it. If she truly was who she claimed to be, then her capture would have given us leverage over a superior rogue trader house.

Returning to the ship, we made for the Barrows as indicated by the intel provided by the Collector, and during Warp-transit we made all necessary preparations. Li-Tal prepared wargear for Nil, Dante, and Gale. An archeotech grav-belt, two tech-holsters, and an ornate hell-pistol. Such items should prove useful for the fighting to come.

The navigator brought us from Warp-transit just outside the outer reaches of the graveyard itself, and into the perilous void we went. Careful piloting by the helm and rapid augury scans helped to traverse the constantly shifting wrecks and debris moving in all directions, and adequate time to analyse scans revealed that the Barrows are made up of multiple "rings" of wreckage surrounding a singularity of unknown properties.

Further augury scans reveal the derelict grand cruiser was found exactly where the Collector said. House Roh, however, had already been here, and had established a blockade around its location. Approaching the derelict, even on passive sensors would be an impossibility with so many ships. Our small chances were made even smaller when Nil attempted to hail the Roh ships, immediately alerting them to our presence, though the vox was cut off before our true identity was compromised. One of the smaller ships, a frigate, began its approach to investigate. Gale and Lyra used all of their skill and experience to conceal the Tempest Raven in the shadow of a larger wreck.

We very nearly had to shut down all systems, if not for a well-timed decoy launch, that managed to lure the frigate far enough away. With the Roh scout disposed of, we maneuvred as close to the grand cruiser as was feasible. A hasty and foolhardy jettison of a small team of operatives was the only option to avoid detection, and the grand cruiser was successfully boarded with the only sentries eliminated by the very momentum used to carry us onboard.

How best to secure a grand cruiser surrounded by enemy ships with a handful of agents…


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