RIFAIEN

Requisition for Defence Counterattack

With the Alpha Legion routed, the strike team staged their counterattack against the stragglers, eventually catching up to their commander and the remainder of his forces already under attack from the A.I.'s drones. The agents of House Haarlock took up positions at the Northern end of the room, where they joined the attack. 

The firefight quickly took off as the Alpha Legion rained fire down upon the strike team. Nil attempted to curb their fire by attempting to kill as many of the Alpha Legion gunmen as she could, eliminating some. No matter how many died, there seemed to be plenty more. Remy and Soren opened fire with their heavy weapons, causing damage and killing a few more cultists, but Alpha Legion Chaos space marine armour had given proof to their weaponry.

Li-Tal took a direct hit to his right arm from one the Alpha Legion snipers, and the rest of the group used grenades to try and weaken the enemy. One Alpha Legionnaire became ambitious and foolishly rushed Akathin, only to be cut down a moment later. Akathin then assailed the massed cultists as Li-Tal laid into them with consistent auto rifle fire. Devil had engaged the enemy in a frenzied melee, taking heavy damage in the process, but managing to dish out plenty in turn. He took several fatal hits from snipers, and one from an Alpha Legionnaire's power sword, but survived through his own unnatural means.

Meanwhile, Remy and the Alpha Legion captain traded blows with ranged weaponry. Firepike and combi-bolter roared as the two inflicted ever-more grievous injury upon one another. During the fight, the captain drew a crystalline object from one of his armour-borne compartments and had forced it into one of his many wounds. Li-Tal had determined that the object was similar to that which had been stolen from the vault onboard the Tempest Raven, but was thinner and a darker hue. Soon the Captain had grown in power and regenerated much of his injuries. Remy himself had caught two bolt-shells to the face, surviving by the grace of the void itself.

Akathin continued to tear through the mobs with frightening efficiency, causing many to simply end their own lives out of fear, or retreat, only to be cut down by what remained of the Alpha Legion. German concentrated on the snipers, and with the cultists under control, Li-Tal soon joined him. Unlike the cultists, however, the snipers were much more heavily armoured, and targeted fire to the head had proven ineffective. Li-Tal and German soon changed tactics and went for their arms in effort to disable them. This had proven much more effective, and the snipers were quickly removed from the firefight.

Lyra continued to provide long-range fire support for the group, targeting Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines as they engaged the few remaining androids, which suffered from seemingly endless weapon jams. Eventually the enemy was weakened enough that an advance was possible. Remy had successfully blinded the Alpha Legion captain with a well-placed shot to the head from his firepike. He quickly charged forth with the prototype plasma shotgun and with a point-blank blast, blew the captain apart. In his dying breath he muttered "You know not what you've done." As if to warn us of something.

The Captain's demise caused all stragglers to collapse, dead as well. The pristine quality Heresy-era gear soon faded to a much more degraded state, as if millennia had passed in seconds. There was little salvage among the remains, a few Tigrus-pattern boltguns and two suits of Mk.IV 'Maximus' pattern power armour.

The A.I. kept to his end of the agreement and brought us with him to his destination where three other void stations had converged to open a Warp portal. Anomalous reading quickly followed, and a massive ship of Imperial design had come forth from the portal. A brief communique from someone unknown thanked us for our assistance, before the ship departed through a swift Warp-transition. Li-Tal was able to identify the ship as a vaunted Gloriana-class battleship, though it's iconography and other markings were indecipherable. The A.I. supplied us with the necessary protocols and encoding information to fully reactivate the grand cruiser.

There is much to discuss…

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Requisition for Defence Wave II

Holding the line against the first wave was a challenge, but the strike team managed to fend off their assailants with minimal consequence. Ammunition was still abundant, and the suppressive capabilities of the turrets and determination had proven sufficient once again.

The battle wasn't yet complete, however, as the Chaos forces were preparing for another attack. The AI informed us that the enemy was advancing on our position once more, but that their advance was better coordinated. Two groups of enemy troops converged on our position, and soon we knew why the enemy's tactics had improved. Alpha Legionnaires had taken command of the disparate hordes of Chaos cultists. Most of the enemy efforts were to engage us at range, and their concentrated fore was much more difficult to handle than before.

The Alpha Legion marines, themselves appeared to mostly keep out of hte fighting, but the space marine attacking from the South entry soon found himself toe-to-toe with Akathin, and was quickly outmatched. Stink-bombs and foul breath lambasted the enemy, and after a short time, routed successfully.

Devil and Remy fought on the Eastern end, eliminating as many of their numbers as possible, but not without sustaining heavy damage themselves. Soren ambushed with a couple of well-placed grenades to soften the enemy, but before long he was discovered and fired upon.

Both groups employed specialists with long-rifles to provide fire support, Li-Tal had nearly managed to kill the Southern sniper with a single precision shot from his beam rifle, allowing Akathin to move into melee range.

The sheer numbers of enemy forces attacking had caused one of the defencive turrets to jam, and the other (which had taken a hail of enemy fire) had jammed from internal damage. German had taken some fire and was forced to stay in cover to conduct repairs. He and Li-Tal would attempt to repair/un-jam the turrets to keep them firing. Should they have been lost, our position would likely have been overrun.

The cultists attacking from the Southern side were quickly eliminated after Akathin killed the Alpha Legionnaire guiding them. Some attempted to retreat, but by then it was too late, and they too, were cut down.

In the wake of the second assault, some wargear was salvaged, including a Tigrus-pattern boltgun and a suit of very well-maintained Mk. IV 'Maximus' pattern power armour. Both of which would make fitting additions to Li-Tal's collection, or perhaps to be used as barter with the Deathwatch from the grand cruiser?

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Requisition for Defence Wave I

With the provided coordinates to the AI's stronghold, we found ourselves in his service once more. Damage to the void station had left much of the defences inoperable, necessitating an alliance. The A.I. requires us to prevent the House Roh from gaining access to his technology, and we must undermine their operations however we can.

Upon boarding the station thanks to excellent piloting by Remy and Lyra, we soon found ourselves face-to-face with more of the telltale androids that had given us so much trouble during our second-most recent adventure. Devil, Lyra, Akathin, Remy, Soren, Li-Tal, and German were selected for the strike team. The rest of the crew would remain on stand-by. The drone had escorted us deeper into the station where we found many dead soldiers who had been equipped for boarding and heavy close-quarters combat.

We found ourselves in a thoroughfare leading to areas of the station of some importance to the A.I., and here he instructed us to mount a defence. Some prefabricated barriers and assorted ammunition were just about all he could provide us, though some backup could be provided at the expense of prolonging the defencive operation.

The room was full of debris from previous conflict, and three entrances converged on our position, creating a challenge for us. Akathin used the debris scattered about to create a makeshift blockade at the Western entrance. The barriers were established into a two-tier system, providing us with two firing lines for more effective concentrated fire. Two auto-turrets from the House armoury were brought on board to bolster our defences. 

Li-Tal thought that the upcoming battle would be a fine opportunity to test a prototype he had been working on. After the grand cruiser was secure, a document was found (____ Missive) that detailed incomplete designs for a modified plasma weapon. Unfortunately the design required exotic metals that House Haarlock does not presently have access to. Li-Tal gave the prototype plasma weapon to Remy for field testing. The controller for the auto-turrets was given to Soren, and were set up to the rear of the barriers.

With their defences established, and the enemy on its way, the strike team prepared themselves. Soon after, the A.I. reported boarders from several docking ports. Several squads of Chaos cultists assailed our position and a short but bloody firefight ensued. Steady fire from everyone kept the cultists at bay, as did Soren's control of the turrets. Akathin charged the cultists at the Southern entrance, engaging them in a brutal melee and belching a noxious fume that must have been a ripe one, because it had over 40 men vomiting uncontrollably. Remy fired upon cultists at the Eastern entrance, placing a shot with his firepike that over-penetrated 4 cultists in a spectacular display of light and gore.

The barriers held against the hail of auto-rifle fire from the cultists, and the defences held as long as the enemy pressed their attack. Eventually, the combined fire from the strike team, and Akathin's brutality in melee forced what was left of them to retreat – for now.

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A Familiar Voice Returns

After retreating from the Activation Station and making for port via the Warp, the agents of House Haarlock reconvened in the war room to discuss their next course of action. En route to Footfall the Tempest Raven mysteriously and suddenly exited Immaterial Space. Navigator Lyra reported that the presence of the Immaterium had diminished to the point of nothingness. Stranded in Void, we were then contacted by a familiar personality – the rogue AI from the Barrows.

He stipulated his need of our services in opposition of the Roh dynasty, whose own operations were a threat to the AI's plans. He proceeded to tell us that he was working on a network of void platforms which would enable him to circumvent the Great Rift (Cicatrix Maledictum). He offered some incentives to us, agreeing to aid in our restoration of the ancient grand cruiser, and to help absolve us of any wrongdoing to the Deathwatch and their operations within the Barrows.

Li-Tal notes that some additional components from the cogitator core were missing, and that they only could have been removed by someone with intimate knowledge of the grand cruiser's design.

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Within the Activation Station

Once the agents rendezvoused with the captain, he informed us that the Roh dynasty was likely involved with shady dealings that included many dubious parties. This may have been a effort on their part to undo House Haarlock, a plot exacerbated by Silas Marr's presence. We would need to act swiftly to unveil as much as we could without detection. Komali had already familiarized himself with much of hte facility, which made infiltrating the more restricted levels much easier than anticipated.

Once inside, we noticed several individuals who were likely high-profile members of these organisations. A Tech-Adept named Gloria Messis identified herself as in league with Roh Fernandez, but also had ties to Calligos Winterscale was a key player in this unsanctioned organ trafficking business. She was found conversing with a man she called Gobain Pastoras. After spying on them for a few moments, it was revealed that he was either the head of this operation, or a major financial backer. Some of their purveyors were confirmed to be Stryxis traders, likely bringing flesh-product to be harvested.

Unfortunately, we would be discovered by some of the many armed personnel patrolling the area. A heated firefight soon followed, and some House agents found themselves separated from the others. Gloria Messis herself engaged us in close-combat, severely wounding Remy. She was flanked by a pair of personal guard which made efforts to reach Remy very difficult with their well-coordinated cover fire. Despite this, Li-Tal and German were able to force her to withdraw with their own cover fire. Devil consolidated our slow advance by plunging into the melee himself, causing havoc among the less-disciplined soldiers. Komali, on the other hand, was not so successful. He attempted to seize gloury for himself and rushed into a melee which nearly killed him.

The raw chaos that had consumed the lower levels of the station drew the attention of yet more security forces, and Tessera stepped in to keep them at bay long enough for the rest of us to push in, save the captain, and acquire any more information on their operations as we could. Gobain attempted to flee, as well, but not before taking a hit from one of Soren's grenades – a reminder of the price one pays for interfering with House Haarlock. 

Before we could reach Gobain Pastoras, however, one of his guards in mobile armour showed up and prevented any effort of subdue him. The magnitude of their financial resources was felt as the guard opened fire on us with storm bolters, rare but deadly weapons. The combined fire from Soren, German, and Li-Tal were unable to scratch the armour. Devil was able to flank it and strike the leg joints to disable it. Tessera moved in shortly after to aid in neutralising the threat. When the fighting was done, we had learned more of this plot to undo House Haarlock, and build a highly lucrative business upon our ashes, but it came at a cost. Our enemies most likely know of our presence, and will probably act accordingly. 

Our work is far from finished.

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Silas Marr's Ultimatum

A great deal of resources have been going into the restoration and reactivation of the ancient grand cruiser yet unidentified, but an old adversary reappears to irritate us once again. Our absentee captain has once more been abducted by the enemy, this time Silas Marr, a dubious inquisitor, is responsible. He also threatens to have our Warrant of Trade revoked in the event that we refuse to perform some task for him. Either this is a bluff, or he has friends in high places. Either way, we decide to investigate, if only to retrieve our captain. Logic dictates that Marr has enough evidence to excommunicate us anyway, so we press on.

Silas Marr supplied us with coordinates to find a void station of familiar provenance and to go there to unveil happenings that involve the Roh dynasty's dealings with other organisations. Upon our arrival, we find the Activation Station, a void fortress that once belonged to some old comrades turned enemies. Infiltration wasn't entirely necessary with the identification codes Marr gave us, but we planned to bring a few more agents and a lot of wargear with us that would never have made it through any checkpoints. That was, until Devil used his unparalleled negotiation skills to deceive the sentries.

We elected to have Akathin remain aboard the shuttle to prevent any unnecessary searches and to preserve our only real means of escape. Soren, Remy, Tessera, Devil, German, and Li-Tal learned that the station was now commanded by an organisation calling itself the "Reapportion Seditiosus" has dealings with a rogue sect of the Mechanicum and the Inquisition. Their combined efforts in what appears to be organ trafficking could be a highly lucrative (and highly illegal) business prospect in a world at war.

The agents attempt to blend in with off-duty personnel to gain access to deeper sections of the void station, and upon doing so, rendezvous with Komali in the nearby infirmary.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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