Dark Heresy - Wisdom is the beginning of fear.

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Dark Heresy - Wisdom is the beginning of fear.

Unread postby Jak Snide » Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:02 pm

The Calixis Sector: lying within the Segmentum Obscurus, on the Northern edge of the known galaxy, represents a considerable portion of the territories conquered by the Imperial hero Lord Militant Angevin more than one thousand years ago. It is far from the million strong armies and mighty battlefleets of the Imperium and often has to rely on local forces to counter any threats that rise to defy Mankind.

The capitol planet of the sector, located in the South of the Golgenna Reach, is the hive world of Scintilla. A temperate planet with extensive equatorial deserts, it is home to some of the most astonishing sights in the sector, such as the Lucid Palace and Cathedral of Illumination. The most dominant features of Scintilla, and by far the most important, are the twin hives Sibellus and Tarsus. The former is an immense, eight-thousand kilometer wide bulk which dominates the lowlands and the coastal plains of the Northern temperate landmass. Where it's enormous, multi-layered skirts touch the coast itself - in a five hundred kilometer wide belt - they spill out over the black granite cliffs like shelves or glacial ridges.

The hive is an extraordinary conglomeration of architectural forms. Countless generations have added their own embellishments and every available surface is crammed with gargoyles, frescoes, columns and mosaics. The hive spire is a jumble of glittering wonders while the middle hive - and even the decrepit, half forgotten underhive, is composed of long-fallen statues and temples to wealth and power. The teeming masses of the middle hive live in rickety tenements built inside the shells of the great mansions and basilicas, trudging to work each day through avenues formed by fallen statues.

This place, home to billions, is where you find yourself. After being singled out and inducted into the service of the Inquisition things have not been quite as you imagined. Removed from your past life, you have been tested and measured, questioned and interrogated. You have been subjected to a few lectures given in darkened rooms and far from the public eye, the nature of which left you sick to your stomach. You have been bombarded with seemingly endless streams of codes and ciphers given to you to memorize and destroy. Despite all this, though, you have been left mostly to your own devices. Lodging under a false name in a reasonably anonymous hab-block in the middle hive, you have bided your time for weeks, waiting for your first commandment from Inquisitor Skane.

Yesterday, though, the call to duty came. A blank-eyed courier has delivered to you a note from your master, featuring one of the many ciphers now memorised. The message was simple perfunctory; a time, a date and a location. The instruction to expect company and come prepared is signed off with a single epithet - "The Emperor Protects."

You make your way through the bustling, faceless masses of the Administratum quarter to the designated location: an unmarked service elevator platform. Set in the rear of a vast and imposing building, it is covered in bas-reliefs of skulls, half draped urns and other symbols of death and crowned by an immense statue of a weeping saint. It appears you are expected; the wizened face of the platform's inbuilt servitor studies you and pronounces "Pass" as you climb on board. As the note implied, you were not the only person called here this day.

(The group arrives individually at this elevator which, besides them, is deserted. Introduce yourselves and provide a description of your character for all to see.)

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Unread postby Capntastic » Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:53 am

Standing head and shoulders (literally more than figuratively) above the typical working folk, 'working' folk, junkies, deadheads, and other assorted flavors of scum was Mikolas. His shaggy black hair and coarse beard bobbed about as he made his way towards the appointed spot. Emperor help the poor scribes with heart conditions seeing him emerge from an alleyway into the Administratum Quarter proper. He stepped over obstacles gingerly, and did his best to take in all the sights he could as he made his way about in the 'big city'. As if his enourmous stature didn't draw enough eyes, he wore a long, coarse jacket dyed in a simple but visually exciting red and black checked pattern. And if that wasn't enough to make you give this fellow room to breathe as he stomped towards his goal, he had a a variety of well used weapons about him.

Slung over his shoulder was a lasgun. This wasn't one of the sleek plasteel models with adjustable stock and fancy scopes and such, pumped out by the millions only to end up in idle hands- oh no, this had personality. This little gem was hewn from cast iron, with each modification lovingly rigged into place by rough but knowledgeable hands. The stock and pistol grip were fashioned out of solid hardwood, sanded and bolted into place. The bayonet was also machined into place under the barrel, with barbed wire tied around it, looping tightly along the extension to within an inch of the stabby bit itself. And aside from myriad dings and scratches, there was nary a spot of rust on it all.

But the lasgun was only visible from his side; were someone to be wary of him from the front, they'd have to direct their eyes at the instrument which hung from his belt by a hook. It was an arm lengthed piece of steel, clearly salvaged from industrial machinery- full of rivets and such as it was. But this bat wasn't left to rest on its own virtues as a method of blunt persuasion- it'd been adorned with barbed wire as well.

But aside from his weaponry and general appearance, he did not have the look of a hardened warrior. His smile, sans a few teeth, was flashing about constantly. Especially towards the servitor, as he stepped into the elevator full of so much imagery which spelled out death.

"Sure thing!"

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Unread postby Kelne » Mon Feb 11, 2008 5:40 am

The man was a study in contrasts. White skin and hair against a black robe. Every inch of him was impeccably groomed, with the cut of the robe suggesting a man of the lower middle class. An intricately carved hardwood staff clashed with this impression, however. He seemed to have no need of it to assist in his walking, so its presence was something of a mystery. Only the eyes lent any colour to him, these being of a startling green.

Despite his purposeful stride, one might gain the impression that his mind was elsewhere, as evidenced by a constant stream of muttering. It would be easy for a person to decide there was something... off about Cryvus.

The muttering seemed to trail off as he entered the elevator, the final phrase being "The willows must scuttle carefully," possibly directed at the servitor, possibly not. He seemed unbothered by the looming individual to his side, though his eyes swept across Mikolas once, as if fixing his position in the world.

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Mon Feb 11, 2008 6:43 am

Young Gunner entered next, quietly. He didn't appear particularly impressive; Ergonomic Guard Flak armor, half a dozen different weapons both modern and old, short cut hair and a clean shaven face. His look wasn't that of a battle hardened soldier; More like some dumb agri-world kid that had just been conscripted. He stood silent, waiting for everyone to get in and get under way.

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Unread postby Justice Augustus » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:06 am

Xerxes steps from the crowd as easily as a fish swims through water, barely touching any of the hundreds of souls shuffling to their daily chores. He wears a drab dark grey cloak over the clearly recognisable uniform of the Adeptus Arbites, with only the small eye slits and mouth hole giving away any indication to the personality of the man inside. Those who look see cold, glaring eyes that seem to dart towards each shadow in quick succession and an emotionless expression on his mouth.

There are more clues as to who this man is on his outfit than his face, with the occasional half-scrubbed orangey-red stain suggesting that he has seen the odd riot, and the well maintained nature of both his pump=action shotgun that he keeps in his hands, only slightly pointed towards the ground, and his standard-issue Arbites baton (a 2 and a half foot metal pole with a vertically aligned cylindrical metal weight on the business end) speaking far more words than he does himself.

As he steps in the elevator, he makes no attempt to hide the fact that he is making a mental note of each person's weaponry, glaring at each item for a couple of seconds, before briefly scanning their faces. He then takes up his position on the side of the platform, next to the servitor.

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Unread postby Shinigori V2 » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:42 am

Already at the lift was a man in green. Green baret, green armor, but..Dark skin. He raised a brow at the others as they approached, intrigued. Though his dark glasses hid his eyes, one could almost feel his peircing gaze on them. Turning his attention back to the elevator, he humphed, crossing his arms.

The man himself was about six feet tall, with dark skin, and a black goatee. His armor was that of a guardsman, at his side was a laspistol, and a lasgun crossed with a shotgun on his back. He was well built, probably the kind to work out a couple times a week, at least. But for the most part, he seemed..Calm, and collected. Good traits for a soldier.
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Unread postby NamagomiMk0 » Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:05 pm

For all the hustle about, it wouldn't be a surprise that Crisis' silence would go unnoticed; even once out of a crowd, he continued to move in nothing but utter and complete silence--both in regards to his actual movements, and everything else about him; speech, breathing, everything. In a sense, the man was quiet defined...

Who stepped forward was a medium-height person, gaunt and lean in build. What was there was clad in a jet-black bodyglove and a dark gray, less-than-pristine flak vest, having and needing little else for clothing and wear aside from a dark gray, relatively thick-looking cloak... If nothing else, he appeared to have little need to keep up appearances--if evidenced by the array of what looked like belts tied around his chest, waist, and legs, holding various things; a very simple combat knife, an equally plain, relatively thin and short sword, a small laspistol with a compact chargepack, more than a few clips fit for some sort of rifle...

And possibly more notable than the getup was what he carried in the way of gear; the rifle he had slung over his back looked like a device designed for anything -but- sport. The whole gun looked to be at least five feet long, to start. Constructed completely out of some sort of metal, it seemed, this gun held a visage that seemed to scream 'deadly'--the gun sported a bullpup configuration, the large clip hanging downward from the very back of the rifle. The exterior plating, grip, and other parts look as if they had had metal filed, carved, or simply cut from them; for ergonomic purposes in the case of the grip, underbody, and cocking lever, and to cut down on unnecessary mass and weight everywhere else. A single triangular scope--of identical design and construction--perched atop the implement of destruction, running along its top length as if it were perfectly matched with the rest of the armament. The majority of the gun's length, however, was concentrated in the barrel; the massive cylinder hidden within a large shroud that extended downward to meet with the rest of the weapon. This barrel had multiple grooves that extended all the way through the shroud; it could be presumed that, if anything, these were well below where the actual barrel sat, further given away by the fact that a device resembling a silencer--only once again modeled to mesh with the gun in question--had been affixed to the end of the weapon. All of this had come together to create a precise surgical tool of death; there was no Exterminator attachment, no melee implement. Those sorts of things were unnecessary to the owner of the weapon...

As for the person itself, Crisis' facial features could be best described as...androgynous. His features were gaunt, yet smooth; soft, yet hard. He could be described as being impossible to determine the gender of from the face alone. Furthermore, framed by fairly long, wavy auburn hair, it was almost impossible to tell if he were a guy and a girl, and would look relatively attractive...were it not for the almost-inhuman, grey-tinged skin color and grey eyes that gave his identity away as a Voidborn, in a state that looked less than empathetic toward the rest of the people present; the lives of the common man were not his typical concern in his mind...and yet tinged with a hint of insanity, as if they had seen something that was not meant to be.

As he entered, his stride seemed calculated, as if he was intentionally moving in perfect silence, his breath inaudible by comparison. And when greeted by the servitor, he did not give any verbal reply in kind, merely responding with a nod before he continued up toward the elevator where the others waited...

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Unread postby Capntastic » Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:59 am

Mik raised a meaty paw in greeting as the elevator filled, scooting back against the wall furthest the entrance. His eyes darted about, taking in the gear and general appearance of those filing in. Xavier, Jules and Gunner get particular attention. He nodded knowingly, flashing a broken grin and a wink as he gave his shoulder a hard knock with aforementioned meaty fist. As if the gesture wasn't clear enough, he rolled up his jacket sleeve, revealing a bit of his own armor.

"Haw! You fella's remind me of my old posse back home. ...But what's a nice gal like yourself doing with such a ferocious piece?"

He turned his tombstone smile at Crisis. And flashed another wink.

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Unread postby NamagomiMk0 » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:34 pm

Crisis, in response, merely turned away from the large, particularly loud man, little more than a slight smirk forming on his face. He held out his hand in a straightforward "do not come closer" gesture, before returning to a typical, relatively relaxed (for someone wearing a flak vest and carrying around various killing implements) position...

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:48 pm

A few moments after Crisis had lowered his arm the servitor emitted a single chime and the platform begins to descend, a large metal hatchway closing above the strangers with a thunderous boom. The elevator continues downwards for some time, minutes passing as it descends through maintenance levels, deep into the bowels of the district. When the machine finally comes to a stop the six find themselves deposited at the end of a wide grey corridor, which smells slightly of chemical disinfectant and is lit by pale lumen globes in the shape of cherubs holding torches. This illumination only extends a short way in front of the group but, as they disembark and step forward, more globes flicker into life, with others extinguishing behind them as they advance down the passage.

A few minutes later the group find themselves nearing the end of the tunnel and in front of an armored metal door. As they get closer it unseals and unlocks with a hiss of pressurized air, opening with a loud grinding of heavy gears. The room beyond has a jumble of rusty metal crates, most branded with unintelligible symbols, stacked against one wall, while a hospital gurney, complete with restraint straps, has been left toppled over against another wall. The most striking feature, however, is a wide mirror that fills the upper half of the wall across from them. As they step into the room it slowly clears to transparency, revealing a glittering steel chamber beyond. Inside is a tall, thin faced figure wearing white medicae robes with a red leather coat draped rather incongruously over his shoulder. Behind him, covered by a mottled grey sheet, is what looks like a body raised upright for inspection. A pair of white enamel skulls hover above them, encrusted with a variety of brass instruments and long hypo needles.

(Crisis, Cryvus, Gunner, Xerxes:
Spoiler:
The man's leather coat conceals armored plates in its construction and that bulge under his arm can only be a gun of some sort.


Cryvus:
Spoiler:
There's a small, stylised raven and scroll insignia on his robes. You recognise this as the mark of the Heraireia Lexis, a distinguished and famous order of scholars.
)

The man beckons the newcomers over to the glass with a gloved hand and, once they are close enough and, after a rattle of static, a voice emanates from a small grill set in the ceiling as he leans forward to inspect the group.

"Greetings, Acolytes. I am Medicae-Interrogator Sand and you are the new blood, are you not? Worthy additions to our holy war? We shall see, though far be it from me to doubt the judgement of my better, eh?" He straightens his posture before continuing, gaze turning away as he does. "Well, to the matter at hand. I represent Inquisitor Skane who, I understand, you all have had the distinct honor of meeting personally. She has called you here to assist in the investigation of a matter of interest that has recently and unexpectedly come to light."

He pauses for a moment, before a look of realisation crosses his face. "Oh, yes, for your information, you are now in the depths of the Templum Mori, the house of the dead where the Lords Prefecta Mortem hold court and the fallen and the lost of the great city are named and counted. It will not surprise you then to know that we are here to view a corpse, especially if your oculars are functioning acceptably. I doubt it will be your first, but it is, shall we say, quite singular!"

Sand turns suddenly, pulling aside the grey sheet to reveal a dissected and eviscerated body of an adult human.

"Now if you will kindly attend and pay heed, I will take questions afterwards." His voice becomes monotone as he speaks "The body has been positively identified as that of one Saul Arbest, male, 23 years of age, hive worker, unskilled laborer certified. Formerly of the Tantalus Indenture, registered habitation: chamber 6/23 stack 7-17, Coscarla Division, Southern zone, Hive Sibelius." With growing interest, he continues, "Subject found dead on the mid-hive transit rail three days ago as the car returned to the main depot. Preliminary examination suggested death by drug overdose. Post mortem performed by the biologis forsenic, however, revealed certain anomies that necessitated our involvement."

He pauses, one of the white servo skulls displaying a jar containing ten centimeter long whitish cord of waving glassy tendrils, still in motion, still alive.

"The cause of death was in fact total systemic failure brought on by tissue rejection of an implanted synthetic graft organ. Said organ destroyed his central nervous system while attempting to overcome the immune response. In short, this," he gestures to the tissue sample, "crushed the life out of him from the inside out. What's it for? Unknown, but my opinion would be, in a word, 'control' - neural and synaptic overload, perhaps worse."

"There were other grafts and surgery of a less singular kind also;" the servo skulls now fetching more organs in glass jars to display to the acolytes, "one lung replaced by a concealed storage cavity, possibly for use as a courier. Also, one optic nerve removed, skin flayed from his stomach, I've no idea why. His system's amash with alchemic traces, clotting agents, panimmune and the like. The surgery was expert, but by the lesions and tissue stress, I doubt any care was given to whether it was painless or not. In fact, by the damage to the vocal cords, my guess was the he probably screamed as long as he was able to."

Another pause, letting those below contemplate the fate of this man for a moment.

"But this little monster," he says slowly, "is what concerns us. Oh, you don't need to know the gene-lore or the Omnissiah edict, just that this is not only illegal, but forbidden. It is heresy. Merely tampering with this kind of dark tech," his voice now taking on a hint of disgust at last, "is enough to warrant a death sentence from the Holy Ordos, the Arbites or the Mechanicus. And I'm sure that you , as well as I, am wondering how a rare and vile thing ended up wrapped around the spine of some anonymous hab-prole from the dusty end of the stacks. Well, Inquisitor Skane would like you to find out."

"Arbest has no prior criminal record, he was rendered invalid by indenture, laid off if you will, some sixty days ago and was reporting missing thirty-two days ago by his sister, one Lili Arbest, resident of the same hab-stack. More than enough time to get himself into all sorts of trouble, I'm sure you'll agree. These grafts are no more than eight or ten days old at most. We have nothing else on him."

He pauses again but, before any questions can be raised, he turns to face the group, head inclined downwards and stares straight at them.

"This is to be a shadow investigation. No open official involvement and no notification of the local authorities, and no one knows he's here either. Coscarla's down hive, so a covert approach will draw far less attention than a boot through the door," his eyes flicking to the hulking Mikolas for a moment, "and be far less likely to kill any leads on our heretic."

"Find out why and were if you can, better yet, find out how. Best of all, find out who is responsible." He straightens, making an observance with his right hand. "Go with the grace of the God-Emperor, oh and additional samples would be a blessing if you can procure them."

Sand, at last, falls silent, leaving the acolytes with room to get a word in.

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Unread postby Kelne » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:50 am

Cryvus observed the presentation dispassionately. It was lamentable that this man had fallen so far from the Emperor's grace as to involve himself with people who would do this to him, but in death he served, as he no longer could in life. By his death, he would bring the wrath of the Emperor's Inquisition down upon those who would so corrupt His people with forbidden tech.

It still felt strange to Cryvus to count himself as an agent of the Inquisition, nor did he believe that he would ever become complacent in his role. Complacency was the harbinger of laziness, and such a vice had no place in the heart of a true servant of the Emperor.

For now, he committed the details of the unfortunate Saul Arbest's gruesome end to memory. He already had one thought as to how to unveil the heretics responsible, but as with many initial impulses, it seemed to him flawed. Best to arrive at a course of action after reflection and study.

For now, what little information they had on Arbest was key. And there was one source of information they would do well to investigate. Locating the sister ought to be simplicity in itself, and an unworthy subject to waste the Adept's valuable time with. So Cryvus simply bowed his head in a gesture of respect and waited a few moments to see if the others had any questions of their own.

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Unread postby Justice Augustus » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:20 am

Another junkie dead. This aint gonna be anything more than an advanced version of the investigations I used to do back home. "Other than the sister, there are no known contacts? How about his prior job?"

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:49 am

"There was nothing unusual about his redundancy." Sand produces a data slate from within his robes, thumbing a couple of runes before continuing. "The Tantalus Combine has been in decline recently, ever since it engaged in hostile competition with the Skaelen-Har Hegemony. I imagine Arbest was not the only worker to find himself made superfluous by downsized operations. The Coscarla Division was previously under the Combine's sway, though I imagine it still has a few hundred workers in the district. Some ground work there might turn up a few leads."

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Unread postby Justice Augustus » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:48 pm

Xerxes nods, still refusing to break his neutral expression. "Only one mo' question then. Have there been any other reports of illegal body mod jobs out there at all? A list of those suspected of illegal surgery in the area would also be helpful."

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:46 pm

"None. This is the first indication we've had that something is awry downhive."

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Unread postby NamagomiMk0 » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:16 pm

Crisis, on the other hand, merely looks as if he's looking at the weird white...moving...tentacle...tendril...implant monster xenos thing as if, well, there's something significant about it that it would need to be looked at--though without moving from his current position, to note.

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Unread postby Capntastic » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:19 pm

Mik refrained from returning Crisis's offer of a handshake. If she was trying to play herself off as demure or hard to get, then he'd be better off keeping his attention on the important task at hand, as well as enjoying the elevator ride.

The passage's cherubs were a delight, his grin increased a tiny bit each time he saw one light up or deactivate. But now, there seemed to be an important fellow in the partitioned off chamber speaking to them.

He gave a hard listen. When the jar was revealed, he leaned forward to get a better look. Odd looking critter indeed. Though a lot of Sand's lingo was above him, he felt he understood what this tiny thing was up to, and why it was important. He glanced around, seeing if any of other acolytes seemed to understand better than him, and then nodded. It's easy to see how he got a beard so long, considering how much he pulled at it while focusing. He did stop to grin when Sand looked directly at him.

"Anyone else with one of those critters in 'em is gonna have scars-a-plenty, right? Or is there a better way to tell? ...And what're they called again?"

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:42 pm

"Presumably, yes. No attempt was made to conceal the surgery, save for the clothing that covered the incisions. As for a name, well, I'll be sure to let you know when we decide on one."

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Unread postby Shinigori V2 » Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:33 pm

The dark skinned man just continued to stand at attention. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Unread postby Capntastic » Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:31 pm

"An' if we see someone with these scars, we ought'a bring 'em in alive, right?
An' if we can't, we should bring the body in for you guys to deal with? ...The critter ain't gonna try to burrow out or anything, is it?"

He smoothed an errant tangle of hair away from his face as he glowered at the living implant.

"I just wanna be sure we're in line with, uh, proper procedure an' all."

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:08 pm

The sort of plain looking conscript just continued to stand quietly. While his eyes didn't exactly roll in his head as the medicae fellow talked, he didn't particularly have the light of understanding on his face either. He glanced at Xerxes once when he asked his question; Atleast that fellow SOUNDED like he understood what was going on...

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Unread postby NamagomiMk0 » Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:22 pm

In response to the large man's statements, Crisis faced him, tapping a foot hard on the floor in an attempt to get attention, before shaking his head, pointing to his eyes, then to nowhere in particular--before slitting an invisible man's throat with an invisible knife right in front of him--wasting little motion in any form of excess before returning to his standing position...

Well, they may not be truly existing, nor truly invisible, but that would hopefully get the point across that he felt was necessary...

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:09 pm

Sand watched Crisis' gestures before answering.

"I assure you, the graft is incapable of burrowing out and latching onto a new body. Anyway, if you manage to retrieve a living host then yes, do bring them here. I would prefer that you refrain from causing a scene when doing so, which may be a considerably difficult task if the unfortunate is fully under control of the vile thing. As for any deceased? A tissue sample will suffice. Which reminds me."

Sand gestures towards the stack of boxes against one of the walls.

"If you would open the aquilla marked container designated VII-XI you will find a bio-sample kit. The auspex inside is tuned to detect anomalous material within human tissue up to a range of a meter or so." The man looked over to Xerxes. "It's a simple tool; just press the green rune while reciting the litany of activation and the machine spirit should awaken. There's a few sample tubes and a mono scalpel as well, I'm not expecting deft surgery, but try not to hack at it like an undercooked grox steak and get it into one of them, eh?"

"You'll also find a few tools, some identification that marks you as bonded agents for the Coblast Assay, passes for the Coscarla Division and, most importantly, some suitably shabby looking overcoats which will prevent you from sticking out like sore thumbs."

Whoever goes to inspect the crate finds just what Sand said, and the group goes about dividing up their new gear.

(Each of you now has the following:
-Coscarla Pass Token (size of a thick coin, allows legal passage into the Coscarla Division along with free passage on the mid-hive transit rail).
-Coblast Assay Cognomen (encrypted metal punch card, marks them as what Sand said they do).
-Hand Vox (Cheap and battered looking personal communication devices, all tuned to the same private encrypted channel. They are suitably robust and simple that those unfamiliar with such things can be quickly brought up to speed by the other acolytes).
-Low Hiver's Overcoat (Voluminous, somewhat tattered and a rather bland shade of grey, these coats fit over whatever clothes and armour you might be wearing, and conceivably conceal a pistol).
-Chem Lamp (a small portable lamp that uses a chemical reaction to provide light. Illuminates a 3m radius and will probably last several hours of use.

On top of all this, the group as a whole also receives
-A worn looking data-slate which carries a copy of the information received in their briefing, directions to and information about Coscarla along with a map of the place. Xerxes is the only one who knows how to use this, and memorises the 5 key input that Sand announces to him as he looks over it. Accessing it without using the key will result in the machine spirit wiping the memory core.
-A Bio-Sample Kit, pretty much as Sand described it.
-120 thrones in assorted coins and notes)


Sand goes on to explain that their identification is totally legitimate and will mark them as hired guns, couriers, traces manhunters mercenaries and other specialists int he employ of the Coblast Assay, a somewhat dubious mercantile operation specialising in tech salvage. With those and their overcoats their cover should be an easy sell. He seems eager for them to get on their way now, telling them that he'll expect their report "in a few days, no more." He also stressed that the group should familiarise themselves with their new comrades, given how they will be relying on each other from now on.


A fair bit of time later...

The journey to Coscarla is a long one, taking several hours by transit rail, especially given the sudden throngs of people that swarm into the carriages as they clock out for the day. The group finds itself given a little berth, though, armed heavily as they are. They are frequently accosted by suspicious Magistratum enforcers, dull-eyed servitors and unctuous looking officials, all of them demanding identification and quickly being satisfied. Crisis, Cryvus and Mikalus also find themselves the subject of a fair number of stares and suspicious glances, standing out as they do from the hive population.

As the group moves further down-hive the carriages they journey in become more ill-maintained, as do their surroundings. Open spaces and relatively clean air is replaced with a stale and slightly chemical scent, and the architectural splendors give way to collapsed glories of ages past and the black voids of deserted space between them. Alone in a single car now, the group rattles along it's rail towards Coscarla. Those with a chrono will note it's getting late in the day, though the lack of open sky makes it impossible to distinguish evening from midday. A vista of vacant and decayed buildings in a worse state than any of them have seen before streak by, stretching ahead and beyond sight.

(Now would be a good time for the group to make introductions and familiarise themselves with each other. Their surroundings are looking substantially grimmer than they were a few hours ago, and suspicious of what they might find don't rest easy on the minds of the acolytes.)

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Unread postby Justice Augustus » Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:39 pm

Xerxes has removed all the Arbites insignias from his armour, and had left his helmet behind as well to avoid drawing attention to himself on this covert operation. Anyone who knew the Arbites, however, would probably still recognise what standard issue flak armour and a shotgun meant. In a pouch securley strapped to his belt was nestled the bio-sample kit, something Xerxes was not looking forward to using. He had never been good at being...delicate...and the device looked slightly fragile to him. He brushed one of his shortish dreadlocks off his face and checks the carriage to make sure the group is alone. When he is satisfied that they won't be overheard he says in a calm voice: "A'ight, let's sound off. Call me Xerxes, formerly of the Arbs." He then nods to the person beside him to continue the trend.

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:58 pm

Gunner sat for most of the ride, peering out the window opposite of his seat. He'd quietly shucked his helmet and had it stored before they left, and it felt nice to be out of it for a while. The coats they'd been provided with weren't half bad, either. However, now that they were alone, the silence was just a bit too awkward for him to really be comfortable. They all looked plenty tough, and not just as combatants; Most of them were either tall and intimidating figures or sort of creepy and alien. In addition, most of them had been quiet, and almost standoffish since they'd all met up. He especially got those feelings from Jules and Crisis. Still, Mik was a constant reminder that their hostile appearances didn't necessarily speak to their demeanor, and he hadn't been talkative so far himself.

He was thinking about trying to strike up a conversation when Xerxes did them all the favor of doing it instead. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad. Maybe the hostility was all in his mind.

"Gunner, Ground Patrol from Planet Nydus-4."

It was technically true: No one needed to know precisely WHERE he patrolled the planet. The planet he named isn't likely familiar to anyone present.

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Unread postby NamagomiMk0 » Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:39 pm

Crisis had quickly donned the coat given to him by the superior--while free mobility is a benefit, it wasn't worth being too conspicuous-looking. Sure, they were heavily armed and otherwise well-equipped; the shotguns, lasguns, and big-ass rifle had proven that, amongst other things, and the compact laspistol and a couple of clips that Crisis himself had found a new home in the coat's pockets...if only temporarily. He looked with interest; this seemed like a near-infinite fully-closed labyrinth of concrete, steel, and what have you...not too unfamiliar when one thinks about it...

Noting that it was his turn to introduce himself, Crisis looked at the window behind him--from the underhive, it had appeared that there was very little in the way of maintenance present; everything had a degree of uncleanliness to it; while he showed some slight discomfort with this, there was a degree of benefit to it...the windows were noticeably grimy.

With his left index finger, he carved into the nasty window-coating, standing up away from his seat once he was done to reveal a single word he had left; he had attempted to make it large enough to be seen from the others' positions:

'Crisis'

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Unread postby Capntastic » Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:46 am

Mik too suited up in the coat; slipping it on over his jacket, and stowing his new goodies in the pockets. His lasgun and a sawed off shotgun were strapped over his shoulder. He also produced from inside his jacket a flak helmet that seemed nearly a size too small for his bushy head and latched it, via a hook, onto his belt.

After aquainting himself with the trainsrail- testing if the handrails could support him doing a chinup, and jumping to see if inertia would fling him around, he settled into testing out his newly acquired equipment. While standing at the far end of the carriage, he jammed a rune on the handvox and whispered to it.

"Hey, machine spirit guy? You in there? Would you do Mikolas here a big favor and lemme try this out real quick?"

Everyone else's handvox burst to life with static as the machine spirit's comrades came out to play. They were kind enough to transmit the tail end of Mik's 'lintany' - "-olas here a big favor and lemme try this out real quick?"

Pleased that the machine spirits seemed to favor him this day, he continued broadcasting.

"Hey, it likes me!....I'm Mikolas; but most everyone back home called me Mik. Uh...back home was Verum, if you heard of it."


He glanced around to see if anyone showed recognition of the half-forsaken sandy wasteworld.

"Now...How we gonna split that coin we got so far?"

He grinned, waving to the rest of the carriage with the hand holding the handvox.

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Unread postby Shinigori V2 » Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:57 pm

The dark skinned man looked up, removing his reflective dark glasses and cleaning them with a spare bit of cloth. His eyes wandered up to where Crisis decided to carve his name into the wall, and sneered.

"Crisis? Shee-it, if I had a kid looked like you, I'd think it was a bit of a crisis m'damn self."

He scratched his beard, looking over there others.

A bumpkin, a moron, an oddly named..Thing..Yes, things were looking dire. Probably why they assigned him here.

"Julius Silvarian, Ultramar. Y'all need t' git ya asses togetha now, cuz half o' this shit ain't gonna fly, you dig?"
Hey there! Can I give you a hand?

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Unread postby Justice Augustus » Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:00 pm

Xerxes leans at a slight angle, standing and supporting himself with one hand on a handrail. He fixes his eyes on Julius, mentally adjusting his view of the man. His face finally forms an expression, one eyebrow ever so slightly rising slowly and incredulously. Despite the insult that could have been directed at him, although he suspects he knows who Julius is really addressing, he says nothing, instead he waits to see what the others' reactions are, slipping his hand into the folds of his cloak to check that his shotgun hasn't shifted out of reach.

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:11 pm

The moment of silence following was punctuated by a single squeak. Those looking to the source found the last of them writing on the dirty glass of the carriage as well, though his handwriting loops about oddly, proving hard to read. He stops, noticing the scrutiny of the others and turns to regard them, lowering a single dirty finger from the grime. A gaunt and pale fellow, though not quite as disturbing in his appearance as Crisis. He mentions his name to them, "Cryvus," before being drowned out by a deafening and drawn out screech as the transit rail slows before shuddering to a stop.

(Crisis:
Spoiler:
The writing spells out "The guardians are at the gate."
)

The doors of the carriage open and the group step out onto a wide, raised platform devoid of passengers save for a single huddled figure dressed in rags, who quickly bundles themselves onboard, flashing a pass to the door mechanism and takes up a seat as far from the six of them as possible. A moment later a dull, crackling servitor intones "Coscarla Southern Railhead. Passengers to Coscarla to disembark. This conveyance will depart in...". The rest is replaced with a howl of static.

The city that greets them is one buried and partially abandoned, shrouded in darkness beneath a steel sky. It is a cold and empty looking place, whole tenements and hab-stacks blackened by fire, or stare silently with a hundred vacant, smashed-window eyes while ancient and seemingly purposeless columns and arches of black granite soar high into the darkness above. The street lamps along the main throughfares flicker and cast a pale twilight, the machine spirit responsible for powering them clearly an unruly beast. The skyline to the south is a criss-cross of overhead rail lines of the mass transit system they just disembarked. Periodically a distant thunder washes over the district, which Xerxes recognises as part of the hive's vast air processing network doing it's duty.

The people of the city can be seen moving through the patches of light, rushing silently to their destinations with collars turned up and heads firmly down. The only sign of reasonable activity is across the square in front of them; a ragged sprawl of stands, stalls and open-air cook shops. Xerxes manages to bring up a map of the area, sporting several labels decipherable to those familiar with written word. Most of note is the area marked red: the old hab of Saul's sister, and his last recorded residence.

Coscarla stretches out before them, those with a chrono noting that about four hours remain before the night cycle begins.

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Unread postby Capntastic » Sat Feb 16, 2008 1:41 pm

As soon as the stalls came into view, and the aroma of whatever foods they held hit him, Mik began ambling towards the ersatz-market.

"S'why we ought've split the cash earlier. I put forth that we... gather information over here, hey?"

He stopped his march to food to turn to the group, hand resting on the hilt of his wicked bat.

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Sat Feb 16, 2008 5:40 pm

Gunner pulled a face. He couldn't be quite certain, but he thought he saw rats being roasted on spits over there. He hadn't been hungry to begin with, and had no interest in going over there.

"I don't think there's much we can learn while shopping..."

Beyond what sound a rat makes when you bite into it... Eugh.

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Unread postby Capntastic » Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:11 pm

"Well hey," Mik paused, scratching his beard. "it'll help us get a sens'a the area an' all that stuff. Might be risks we're not all aware of. Like Sand said; 'covered approach'."

And thus he resumed tromping towards the market.

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:40 pm

As Mik walked towards the market he cast a glance at the statue to his left. A fifty foot tall stone figure sporting wings and garbed in robes, the imposing sculpture was lacking a head and most of the detail had been eroded away over the ages.

As he drew closer to the jumble of stalls he managed to pick out a wailing voice over the noise of a hundred people conducting business. Looking for it's source he managed to spot a woman alternating between crying out something and talking at those who passed her by, the latter averting their gaze and moving on swiftly. He also thought he smelt roasting meat coming from one of those cook-shops.

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Unread postby Kelne » Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:44 pm

Cryvus was feeling rather hungry himself. It had been a long ride down to the lower hive, and as long as one person was eating anyway, there was no sense in going hungry while the group was stalled. Thus, he fell in with Mikolas.

Roasted rat didn't bother him in the least. Indeed, rat was a good source of protein in places where keeping larger animals simply wasn't practical. And wherever you went in the Imperium, you were guarranteed to find rats. So long as it was well cooked, Cryvus would eat it and enjoy it.

His head turned at the stream of words emanating from the woman, and Cryvus tried to get a sense of the flow of it all.

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Unread postby Capntastic » Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:47 pm

Mik seemed pleased someone had joined him in his little market-wading. At first he seemed content to glance around and take in the sights, but the woman who was being forcefully ignored by most folk snagged his attention long enough to approach and stare down at her, trying to figure exactly what her problem was.

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:01 am

Mik and Cryvus, the others casually advancing towards the statue at the center of the square, alter their course and move towards the woman among the stalls. She looks to be somewhere in her 40s, though the poor conditions here may have taken a toll on her as well.

(Cryvus:
Spoiler:
You make out a few words. Something about a child.
)

Before they can get close, though, she is approached by two men. They wear dark green uniforms with a flak vest donned on top, short pattern autoguns swinging gently in front of them from shoulder straps. One of them starts to have words with woman, though this does little to quiet her initially. It's not until one of them brandishes a metal baton at her does she start to back down.

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Unread postby Kelne » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:20 am

Cryvus was torn. On the one hand, he was about the Emperor's work; work that should not be delayed on account of one woman's plight. However sad, there was no doubt that it was one acted out thousands of times in a day, in this hive alone. On the other hand, it was possible that the Emperor had directed them to this woman for a reason. His hand was subtle, and seldom seen by His servants.

For the moment, he worked his way closer, intent upon seeing how things played out at the least.

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Unread postby Capntastic » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:27 am

Picking up on Cryvus inching closer, Mik did him one better and moved quick to get close enough to give the two flakmen a hi-five, if he wished.

"What's up here, guys?"

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:31 am

The man not threatening the woman; head clean shaven and square jawed, turned to Mik, his expression cold.

"Enforcer business...citizen."

He looked the hulk of a man over, casting an eye towards Cryvus as well.

"What might you be doing here, anyway? You don't look local to me."

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