Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Rogue Trader One-on-One: Part Eight: Battle Brother Baby Puncher

The Astartes' hand tightened its vice-like grip on the Tech-Priest's throat. Claudia could even hear the metal of his augmetics bending under the pressure.

With a few threats of violence and a large gun pointed straight at his face, she convinced the recently-awakened Space Marine to drop the Tech-Priest. Finally, he introduced himself as Wilhelm, of The Emperor's War Dogs. He swore fealty to the God-Emperor of Mankind, and only wised to find out who they were, and why they were on this ship.

(The crew gained a whole new level of respect and fear of the Lord-Captain at that point - there were few people stupid enough to threaten a Space Marine, and even fewer who were successful).

The Lord-Captain explained how they found the ship, and began questioning both Wilhelm and the others about their purpose and reasons for being on the ship. Turns out, the ship belonged to an Inquisitor - the people in stasis were his retinue (or at least, what was left of it), and the smashed stasis-tube with the dessicated corpse inside belonged to the Inquisitor - so there's a pretty good chance that was him in there.

There seemed to be some chronological anomalies in their timelines: as an example, the Hive Ganger was picked up 50 years previous, though both the Noble (200 years previous) and the Tech-Priest (300 years previous) remember him being present when they were recruited. They seemed reluctant to talk about their work with the Inquisitor, unkeen to make too many enemies - especially not with the Inquisition.

As they brought everyone up to speed with the time and date, Claudia discovered that Wilhelm had been recruited a lot longer ago than the others - somewhere in the region of 10,000 years ago, though he only claims to have served with the Inquisitor for a few years. Understandably shocked by the current date, Wilhelm asks the fate of his Chapter - and Claudia had to admit ignorance. She reassured him that they would trawl the library when they returned to her ship, in an effort to help him. She carefully avoids mentioning The Horus Heresey (which he seemed blissfully unaware of).

Over the next couple of hours, Wilhelm assisted the crew in navigating the ancient ship - and also managed to teach a fewof the men how to operate the weapons systems and other controls (which were surprisingly user-friendly, even to the techno-tarded Imperials). A point of interest (and unrelenting fear) for the Claudia was the ship's AI Core - seemingly deactivated. As the approached it, the corridors around it seemed to become somewhat more organic, if still clearly metal. Inside, the ship's main cogitator sat - a sphere, perfectly smooth and featureless at one point, with huge ropey tendrils of oddly organic-looking metal reaching out from it. It was covered with the cold blue glow of a stasis field - Wilhelm conjectured that the Core had perhaps malfunctioned, hence their being stranded and (rather worryingly) the deaths of the rest of the crew. The stasis field was left in place, mainly out of fear as to what would happen should it fall.

Finally getting the ship operational, the Lord-Captain took the survivors over to her ship, for further profiling and testing for Warp taint or Xenos meddling. During this time, she allowed Wilhelm access to both her quarters and her library, until arrangements could be made for him. She organised her men to set aside a room for him, as well as begin production of reinforced furniture to cope with the Astartes' bulk. Returning several hours later, she found her office wrecked, table flipped, her drinks cabinet empty, and one of her larger books (on the descent and succesorship of the different Astartes Chapters) sitting open on a page about the Horus Heresy - revealing the fate of the War Dogs.

They were renowned for their great martial prowess, and close-combat skills - but they were famous for their Rage. A great, powerful emotion, the War Dogs inherited their temper from their Primarch, Angron. And, during The Heresey, they sided with him as he worked with Horus - becoming The World Eaters, most famed of all Khornate Legions.

As if reading her thoughts, her vox chimed - Wilhelm was causing trouble in Aleph-Five, one of the seedier residential housing districts of the ship. He had already killed several people, bare-handed, and was aiming to do some more damage. The ship's Enforcers (led by an ex-Arbite) were closing on his position as they spoke.

To quote a great man, shit had just got real.

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