Dark Heresy: Online 45

“That is acceptable. We appreciate your assistance.” Lazerus says as he dons his own suit.

“Curtis, button up and get us moving. ” Lazerus orders.

The team climbs into the Dakar, accompanied by Zaphon and Hercutio. Hercutio stows his overly bulky customized metlagun in the weapons rack near the hatch.

Lucius continues his communion with his own spiraling streams of thought.

Curtis slips into the driver’s seat and engages the engines. She turns to Lucius and speaks softly, “Thanks you, Priest of the machine.”

Zaphon moves in close to Curtis and begins giving her instructions on the location of the vehicle shed and the best way to reach it.

The Dakar growls and rolls out of the hangar. The storm outside is raging acidic wind and abrading grit scour the paint from the Dakar’s hull plates.

Curtis deftly pilots the big transport through the total visual black out using only the radar and the words of Zaphon.

The doors of the vehicle shed appear out of the hissing gloom only a meter or two in front of the windscreen. Curtis halts the machine.

Zaphon requests the vox mic and Curtis obliges.

“Motor store one. This is Zaphod, please respond. We are at the gate. Please respond.”

The vox crackles with storm born static and then the voice of Horatio replies, “Zaphon, all is well, we are loading now. Please stand by.”

“Roger that, Horatio.”

Moments pass as the storm continues. Rocking the Dakar gently like a babe in arms.

A figure walks out of the storm and into the beams of the Dakar stab light. Man shaped it is a brunt skeleton cluttered with rusted bionics, flesh stripped away by the caustic winds. It’s arms are gone and it stumbles against the wind and bumps into the Dakar. Biting at the hull plates with broken teeth, it’s eyes glowing with a sickly green light.

Suddenly the great gate of the Imperial Motor Store splits down the middle in a ten meter tall line, and begins to rumble open. Bright white light, like the Emperor’s glory shine out of the ever widening seam.

AS the door opens four massive ore crawlers, five meters tall and mounted on a dozen, meter thick aracnoid legs. The heavy industrial vehicle tower over the Dakar. Each has a crew cabin large enough for eight miners in full gear. The cabins are forward mounted and lit up from inside, the crew visible making preparations inside. The body of each crawler is made up of three segments, each a covered ore hopper. Hazard light begin to flash along the sides of the vehicles and with great lethargic steps the massive machines move forward out of the motor store like mammoth insects waking from ages long slumber.

Curtis reverses the Dakar out of the way of the advancing crawlers. The skeletal wretch tips forward as the Dakar hull pulls away. It lays writhing in the orange sand until the giant blunt tip of a crawler legs comes down, punching it into the dust.

The four great crawlers move off to the northeast, yellow hazards flashing, pistoning legs throwing up clouds of toxic ash. Curtis does her thing and the Dakar falls in behind them.

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Dark Heresy: Online 44

Lucious suits up and returns to the transport. He interfaces with the machine spirit and plots the course over land to the outpost. He the relaxes his mind and ponders the complexities of the scrap codes messages and the forbidden knowledge and power it taunts him with. He keeps his hand tightly on the black key in his pocket, it’s surface registers an increased temperature as he muses.

Curtis asks the man whom she just spoke to, “Shall you accompany us?”

The man looks at her with devotion. “Sister I shall go where the Emperor wills me.”
Curtis then looks to the rest of the assembled men and says “I know the Emperor works through you all, and it brightens my heart that so many faithful wish to take this path with us but I must ask, whom among you having faith in the Emperor… beloved by all… believes they can add the most to the group’s combat effectiveness?”

“We can only take two Horatio, send your two best with the best equipment you can give them.” Lazerus says.

“We have our own vehicles. Ore Crawlers. They are in a hangar on the north side of the space port.” Horatio replies.

“They have not been used for a long time but they are serviceable, this our diligence in the Emperor’s service guarantees.” He makes the sign of the Aquila, his eyes shining with zeal.”

He gestures to two of the men. “Zaphon, Hercutio, you ride with the saviours and guide them to the vehicle shed. The others and I will move through the space port and meet you there. Is this acceptable?” The old man looks to Lazerus hopefully.

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Dark Heresy: Online 43

Curtis removes her hand from the man’s chin and wipes the tear away. She whispers to him, “There, there… the emperor truly protects, and when things come to fruition you will see you have served a purpose on this world for him, and that his will was done as he saw fit.”

“Lucious, can you shut the reactor back down?” Lazerus asks.

“If you can do that, it should make our fight inside the outpost much easier. The Mag-Train is almost certainly a trap and the overland route would give us more options for entry once we get there.” Lazerus continues.

“What is your opinion on the matter Lucious?” Lazerus asks.

Lucious looks over to Lazerus.

“The entire system has been corrupted and I am unable to dissengage the reactor, it looks like a destruction of the main reactor is all we can hope for to shut down this monstrosity. I have seen this handy work before in our mission, this abomination’s grasp is quite impressive.” Lucious looks back at his notes to see if he missed anything he could compare with his past experiences with the scrap code. Half paying attention he mentions “I would also recommend the vehicle’s route seeing how infected the systems around the area are with scrap code.”

“Alright, I guess that was a little much to hope for. Curtis, get the vehicle warmed up. Lucious, make sure she has the navigation data she needs. Everybody else, in the back.” Lazerus barks.

Stig climbs into the transport and mans his usual turret position. The witches pull on their suits and climb back into the Dakar with out a word. The rest of the tea suits up and follows.

“Thank you for your cooperation Horatio. If you or any of your men would like to accompany us they would be greatly appreciated.” Lazerus says to Horatio before boarding the transport himself.

“Of course, certainly. We will all accompany you. This is the Emperor’s will.” Horatio says excitedly. He and his group suit up and stand expectantly at attention.

There is only room in the Dakar for two additional personnel.

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Dark Heresy: Online 42

 

Curtis puts her scarred hand to the chin of the blond crewman and raises it up. “Do not look down, for the Emperor will not let his faithful suffer for longer than they can stand. We all do our part in order to enact his will.”

The crew man stares at her wide eyed, a single tear slips down his cheek.

Lucius stomps past them.

A long thin cable snakes from Lucius’ crimson hood and slips into a port on the cogitator with a barely audible click. The tech priest’s body freezes in place and the lights flicker around the room and then grow very dim. The banks of logic engines begin to hum with a high pitched whine and lights and dials come to life.

Everyone else stands silently waiting.

Inside the virtual data stores of the mine complex super system, Lucius begins his search. He skims through thousands of report nodes and status points.

The information comes to him in hundreds of fragments. The half machine priest assembles the bits efficiently into a basic report.

As he follows the trail of data into the electronic storage banks of Outpost #12 he is suddenly struck with an overwhelming sense of deja vu. He stops to recheck the digital enviroment and realizes in a microsecond he is surrounded by scrap code. The same twisted scripts he has encountered all along this mission. It spirals around his mind calling to him and seeking a way into his mind. Dark tendrils of corrupt data needling into his enhanced nervous system. Lucius snaps his mind closed and withdraws quickly, leaving the scrap code howling his name in a matrix of hot white light.

The lights return to normal levels as Lucius withdraws his cable from the machine.

His report is a sharp monotone from his vox speaker.

“The reactor was activated by an unknown from the control node in the #12 outpost. This was an illegal intrusion perpetrated by a blunt force security data ram. In this case corrupted scrap codes, obviously the work of the same villains we have been pursuing. The outpost was mothballed and then mine closed as Horatio has indicated. The enemies have broken in and hijacked the systems there. The outpost has been brought up to full operations status and is drawing considerable power from the reactivated grid. There is a magnetic train which connects this space port with the outpost, for the expedient shipment of  Serriex Ore. There is also a beacon trail which can be followed overland by an all terrain personnel vehicle. The Mag-train being the faster of the two choices.”

As Lucius recounts the information, the others loiter about impatiently. Horatio nods along with Lucius’s words. The psykers huddle together whispering from inside their hoods.

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Dark Heresy: Online 41

 

“I’m afraid we are not that team. But we are here to put a stop to what’s been going on.” Lazerus says to Horatio.

“Lucious, figure out what we need to do to deactivate the reactor. After we get that done we can go and purge mine #12” Lazerus continues.

Lucious addresses Horatio. “May I review the information stored on these cogitators to determine the cause of the reactors timely start and make a determination based on the evidence there? I will require power be diverted to the main cogitator for this purpose.”

Kron and Sila move closer to the group.

Horatio gestures to the cogitator banks. “Do what thou wilt, Brother Brokenheart. But be warned. We have limited power and the power we do have is spent on illumination and security. If you do divert the power. Do it quickly, lest the beast find their way inside.”

Curtis moves towards the huddle of survivors. They shuffle about nervously as she approaches.

“How have you survived this long?” The guardswoman asks.

One of the men, a gaunt squire with a scruff of blond beard looks at her wide eyed. “Well ma’am, we have been diligent in our faith. It is the Emperor who has preserved us from the darkness.” He makes the sign of the Aquila and then look down at his shoes.

Stig loiters around looking at all of the strange instrument displays. He has little comprehension of the discussion at hand.

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