Dark Pursuits

Warband's Third Mission: A warband bloodied. A warband unbound.

If you are reading this then you have acquired and decrypted a dataslate intended for an Inquisitor, the dangers of which, if they are not already apparent to you, are incredibly dire.

What follows is a report entry for an extended Inquisitorial mission on the planet of Desoleum in the Askellon Sector.

Updated Mission brief: Continue investigation into proliferation and trade of xenos or archeo technology by Trade Sable. Source of newest lead located at the scene of a gunfight in a warehouse of Desoleum’s lower hive. Safety of population at risk is an auxilliary concern to the discovery and extraction of technology, as well as the destruction of any further dispersal of the material in question, and cleansing of all associated with it. Investigations direct attention to smuggler caste operating offworld.

Need for anonymity by acolytes: High, assume roles as cartel members.

ADDENDUM: Portions of this report are corroborated recounts sourced from others, not recounts by the author themselves.

Report begins during ash wastes crossing to Port Gyre.

Vel awakens, manacled and chained at the back of the same transport vehicle, surrounded by the same group of smugglers. Her legs are severely wounded and bandaged with little care out of material from an armoured bodyglove. While awake, lying prone and frequently shaken by the bumpy ride, Vel overhears a vox conversation between the smuggler leader and an unknown authority, possibly very distant given the static. During the conversation the smuggler leader is identified as “Hresk”, reports the assault upon the smuggler camp, mentions the recipient of this report by name as a known and anticipated element and describes Vel’s alive capture and delivery as highly valuable.

Vel is then subjected to facial and body branding, as well as the removal of the trigger finger on her right hand. Any further torture is interrupted as Stav and Lox begin to near the vehicle, successfully following its tracks and closing the distance. One of the smugglers, armed with Vel’s sniper rifle, aims towards the bike-mounted acolytes. Lox spots the darting, shaking gleam of the red dot laser sight early and instructs Stav to jink immediately. A shot impacts with the ash behind them, missing them narrowly.

Brooking no insult, Lox carefully unslings the missile launcher from Stav, and despite no prior experience with weapons of its kind, braces the launcher on Stav’s shoulder and lets her rage do the shooting. Miraculously, her fury beats out inexperience and unsteady terrain at speed, the missile hitting the unsteady earth beside the truck’s rear right tire, propelling the vehicle onto its side, destroying the wheel structure entirely. Bodies, crates and other sundries scatter through the air as the truck comes to tbe ground.

Pulling their bike up, Lox and Stav check the fallen nearby, questioning the survivors and sparing them to a dry, miserable fate, wounded in the desert. Approaching the back of the truck, a plasma blast warns the acolytes back, and at Lox’s autogun point and Stav’s sword and shield, they wait for the firer to emerge.

The smuggler leader, shaken but seemingly uninjured, carries Vel out by her hair as a human shield, her legs dragging lamely in the ash while he points a plasma pistol at the acolytes. While Lox and the leader bicker through the stalemate, Stav hears movement on the other side of the truck, turning to quickly intercept more smugglers, dodging another warning shot from the leader. Then the fight begins in earnest.

Lox narrowly dodges another plasma blast, firing a burst of suppressing fire, intentionally spraying far wide of Vel and her captor. The effect is still the same as the smuggler leader drops Vel and ducks away for cover. Stav closes into melee with two smugglers, each armed with shock mauls, whose skills rival his own.

Donning both quality armour and Lox’s prized rosarius, the leader refuses to be harmed by Lox and Vel’s collective gunfire, closing with Lox and swinging a chain sword furiously. Even devastating bursts from Lox’s inferno pistol merely dissipates upon the shield. Fortunately a lucky shot from Vel collects with a weak point in the shield, overloading it. This chance at victory only redoubles their foe’s efforts, and Lox is grievously wounded while Vel is just incapacitated, suggesting Vel is needed by the smugglers for something of import.

After a long and vicious skirmish, Stav finally fells the second smuggler, before racing around the the other side of the fallen vehicle to assist his fellow acolytes. The warband is reunited moments too late, as a vicious plasma blast brings Vox low, before a sweeping chain sword swing removes her right arm. As if posessed by the will of her Emperor, Lox spits through the agony, watching with little mercy as Vel and Stav together bring the blood soaked smuggler leader to his end.

In the aftermath, Vel and Stav have their injuries treated well, Vel’s restraints are removed, most of the warband’s equipment is found within the upturned truck along with some extras and the crushed body of Zax Holthane (to Vel’s mixed satisfation of justice). Lox’s wounds, needing greater steadiness than the bike will allow, is strapped to a dropped plasteel plate from the truck, and tied behind as the warband continue on to Port Gyre.

Their arrival at the port is fairly routine given the return of their identification as acolytes, and a clumsy search for landing pad Omicron 7-2A succeeds. Approaching the freight craft waiting there, the pilot next to it takes barely a moment’s glance of their apparent disguise as two smugglers and a slave, that he was expecting anyway. He hurries them on to the craft before preparing its departure from Desoleum’s atmosphere.

Vel’s notes are scribbled in the margins of a ledger of names, of which Zax Holthane had been recently crossed off. Her handwriting seems unaffected by the recent loss of a digit.

- Well, Hresk had a 9 out of 10 shot of being right. He just got unlucky. Guess his man didn’t notice the way my custom grip and bolt were designed.

- More scars, more stories. Every one a reminder that they can take me but they can never break me.

- Once again, I submit that I am far less without my equipment. I will never take it for granted.

- Whatever happened to that young tech priest?

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