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Deathwatch: Sons of Jericho IC

Game Master Rookseye

For untold centuries the Deathwatch have stood vigil over the Jericho Reach. Now, the disparate Astartes of Kill-team Umbra must vanquish a threat and unravel a mystery which portends to place the entirety of the Achilus Crusade in jeopardy.


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Dark Archive

Male Human Warhammer 40K GM

"They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give themselves to me. Like clay, I shall mold them, and in the furnace of war forge them. They will be of iron will and steely muscle. In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns will they be armed. They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them. They will have tactics, strategies, and machines such that no foe can best them in battle. They are my bulwark against the Terror. They are the Defenders of Humanity."

"They are my Space Marines and they shall know no fear."

~ Prelude, The Codex Asartes [Apocrypha of Skaros]

Please Read Before Posting:
This is the Deathwatch: Sons of Jericho In Character thread. The game is currently full. This post is a place-holder until play begins. To those interested in the game, please do not post here, but instead refer yourself to the Deathwatch: Sons of Jericho OOC thread, as lurkers or potential alternates are always welcome. To my players, play will begin soon, and will commence after I submit the second post here. The Emperor Protects!


Planetfall
241.817.M41
High orbit over Tantalus, interior of Thunder's Word drop pod, Trebuchet, twenty-seven seconds post-launch

You descend on wings of fire to the tormented earth of a dying world.

Within the thunderous, claustrophobic hold of your drop pod, the assault on your senses and the agonies of the crushing G-force exerted on your body would kill an ordinary man, while outside the armored ceramite burns like a falling star. But you are no ordinary men who endure this fiery trial...you are Space Marines, the Emperor's chosen Angels of Death.

Within your mind, you recall the mission briefing, replaying it with perfect clarity...


240.817.M41, seventeen hours earlier...
Watch Station Erioch, Briefing Sanctum Umbra

Inquisitor Quist raises her intense gaze from the dataslate she was reading from, the piercing red pin-point of her augmentic eye passing over each of you, always probing, always vigilant. Pushing the dataslate aside with her pale-blue, Voidborn hand, it scrapes across a wide, octagonal briefing table already half-buried in unfurled scrolls and tall stacks of progress reports from the ongoing fighting against Hive Fleet Dagon in the Castobel system. Her briefing has been terse and to the point, and her manner direct, an obvious sign that she has interacted with the Adeptus Astartes on many occasions before. You go over the details of the mission in your mind, referencing the dataslate provided to you with the planetary datafax on Tantalus, and the cartographic overlay of the drop-site, a promethium refinery in the northern subarctic zone, known as Pyroclast-Gamma-9.

She speaks quickly and efficiently, her clipped, lightly-accented shipborn voice bolstered by the iron will that has carried her to the rank of Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos.

"We were most fortunate that the Thunder's Word was in dock for resupply. Given the urgency of this deployment, there is no better vessel in the Imperium to convey you into the midst of the Castobel warzone. Battle-Brother Pellas prepares her for departure even as we speak."

Sensing your resolve and eagerness to begin the baptismal mission of Kill-team Umbra, Inquisitor Quist stands fully upright and looks you all over once more.

"I can see that you are ready. Do you have any final questions?"


The Omega Vault wrote:

240.817.M41, seventeen hours earlier...

Watch Station Erioch, Briefing Sanctum Umbra

Eli leafs casually through his data-slate, as he reaches the end he flips furtively back through the pages, as if something is missing.

"The Magos, does he possess any distinguishing features?"

It would be rude to just come out and say that all tech-priests look alike, even if they do...

His next question is:

"The Datacore, does it possess any distinguishing features?"

Datacores, like tech-priests, tend to look similar.


240.817.M41, seventeen hours earlier...
Watch Station Erioch, Briefing Sanctum Umbra

Inquisitor Quist turns to regard Battle-Brother Syne, looking up at the towering Astartes, her lone eyebrow arching, perhaps surprised that this question did not originate from the expected quarter, the tech-marine, Brother Emeric. She begins her answer even before the last word leaves Eli's lips.

"Unfortunately, we are unable to furnish you a pict of the Magos at this time."

"Magos Biologis Zardos Vyakai was part of a small contingent of his Adepta studying local life on Tantalus during the initial arrival of elements of Hive Fleet Dagon. Stranded on the world, he and the Genetors serving under his auspices bravely seized the opportunity to study and document the bio-forms and attack patterns of the vanguard organisms that attacked or infiltrated the major population centers. Just prior to the loss of communications with Tantalus, we received a transmission that indicated he was in flight, via shuttle, from the planetary capital of Nova Cruxis to the northern polar cap, his implanted datacore filled with the compiled research."

"The Magos is near the end of his metamorphosis of the corpus, and has shed much of his 'inferior flesh' to further his apotheosis as a disciple of the Omnissiah. In truth, he is now more machine than man. The datacore in question is a fist-sized, encrypted storage cogitator capable of holding the contents of several data-looms. It our expectation that is will be securely placed upon his person, perhaps sequestered in a concealed augmetic cavity or chained to his cyber mantle. The Magos knows better than anyone the importance of the intelligence he carries, and I assure you it will be on his person, unless, that is, he has met his demise."


Black Templar Techmarine

My weapons are prepared, armor sanctified, litanies recited. The last 12 hours in chapel I dwelt upon a psalm from the Breviarium Extirpatus.

Psalm:

In thee, Emperor, I put my trust
Let me never be put to confusion by the Enemy

Keep me steadfast, a rock, a house of defense
Guide me into battle, lead me for thy name’s sake

Whoso dwelleth under the defence of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Golden Throne

Deliver me from the snare of the witch
From the pestilence of the abhorrent
From the wiles of the xenos

So that I may slaughter the Foe in Your name

As I listen to the Inquisitor the mission is clear: retrieve the Datacore and save the Magos. So why will the tug in my gut not go away? One phrase from the mission briefing: “...expendable to mission parameters.”

A quick cogitation reveals approximately 70,310,450 civilians are now dead on Tantalus. My thoughts drift back to Dacite… So long ago yet still vivid.

“Forgive my temerity, Inquisitor, but can nothing be done for the faithful left on Tantalus?”


Male Space Marine Devastator Rank 1

The Prayers to our weapons made, the readings from the codex said, I am eager to face the enemies of mankind again for the Emperor. I listen to the Inquisitor and think this world is facing Exterminus. Brother Emeric is worried about citizens, when he should be thinking about the 5 hrs. we have to complete the mission.

"Brother Emeric, remember, we have 5 hrs to complete our objectives. That is enough time being diligent and not worrying about side issues. Keep your focus on the objectives and the success of the mission is ours."


240.817.M41, seventeen hours earlier...
Watch Station Erioch, Briefing Sanctum Umbra

An ambiguous, sphinx-like smile crosses the lips of Inquisitor Quist at Brother Emeric's words and Brother Quintus' rejoinder.

"A space marine begging pardon for being bold? I truthfully believed myself jaded to what surprises the galaxy yet held for me."

Her smile is gone, as quick as it came, and the inquisitor returns to her coldly methodical manner of speaking.

"Nothing. The populace of Tantalus are beyond any salvation save what they shall receive when they are welcomed into the peaceful oblivion awaiting all loyal servants of the Emperor. Even now, fleet resources are being diverted to deny the world's biomass to the Devourer. The struggle for the remainder of the Castobel system has reached a tipping point and every recourse must be considered to thwart the advance of Hive Splinter Fleet Dagon if the remainder of the crusade forces mounting a defense there are to have any chance of survival. This timeline factors into the exigency of your departure."


Hrothgar looks at Emeric and declares, "The slain shall be avenged, brother and the valiant shall live forever, so say the sagas at least."

Then with a playful grin on his face, Hrothgar asks the inquisitor, "Tell me, inquisitor, what is the explosive potential of that promethium refinery?"

He then runs his hand through his long blond hair, thus presenting the hilt of his chainsword out behind one shoulder.

Hrothgar casts a glance at the librarian, wondering if he has already divined his intentions.


Dark Angel Librarian

My face covered by the cowl of my robes I listen to the Inquisitor quietly as I go over the mission notes in my head. Working over every minute detail that may give us success in our mission. Asking questions that may not have been covered.

Not liking the idea that the Emperors loyal subjects are to be abandoned to the Xenos threat. I have to remind myself of the greater duty. That obtaining the Magos, or the information he has gathered could save countless lives.

Looking around at my new battle brothers I have no doubt each of us will sell our lives dearly to do the Emperors work. I look forward to seeing how we all compliment each other. Though looking at Brother Hrothgar I am weary that Chapter Feuds, and Ego's may be our undoing. Emperor guide our hand, and purpose so it does not stray down the path of vanity.


Hrothgar bears his fangs and stifles a laugh, as he sees the knowing glance from the librarian. Hrothgar sniffs the air as he tries to get the scent of his battle brothers and the inquisitor. May come in handy in the future....


Perception 1d100 ⇒ 31


Black Templar Techmarine
Brother Quintus wrote:
"Brother Emeric, remember, we have 5 hrs to complete our objectives. That is enough time being diligent and not worrying about side issues. Keep your focus on the objectives and the success of the mission is ours."

I bristle at the Ultramarines words, wondering how --*cogitation*-- 70,311,050 lives can be a "side issue." Yet he is right. None of us want the people of Tantalus as fodder for the xenos blight. The mission is what matters.

I place a fist over my chest, "Yes, team leader, focus is the watch-word. I hear and obey."

Brother Hrothgar wrote:
"Hrothgar looks at Emeric and declares, "The slain shall be avenged, brother and the valiant shall live forever, so say the sagas at least."

Turning to the Space Wolf I note his feral bearing and friendly countenance. More than once during our training I observed his surprising... irreverence.

"Brother Hrothgar I take comfort in your words. These xenos will taste the Emperor's fury."


240.817.M41, seventeen hours earlier...
Watch Station Erioch, Briefing Sanctum Umbra

Hrothgar's Perception test is successful

Brother Hrothgar breathes deeply of the air, his keen senses piercing even the strident smell of incense burning in the black iron braziers that line the circumference of the room. They all have their scents, and the legacy of Russ in his veins allows him to remember them all.

Brother Hrothgar wrote:


Then with a playful grin on his face, Hrothgar asks the inquisitor, "Tell me, inquisitor, what is the explosive potential of that promethium refinery?"

Inquisitor Quist fixes a stern eye on Brother Hrothgar, her knowledge of his dossier and previous, impertinent interactions with her mistress obviously fresh in her mind.

"Do what you must, but recover the datacore intact at all costs."

"Remember, too, the refinery will be but a flickering candle compared to what is to come. Time will be of the essence, so take care that you are not present when the true conflagration ignites."


"Russ and the Allfather bear witness. It shall be done, inquisitor." Hrothgar declares boldly as he thumps his chest. He then looks at his battle brothers, "So swear we all."

Ok, someone administer the Oath of the Moment.


Male Storm warden Tactical Marine

"The Magos, when he is stranded what would be his choice as to where he would go? With his training and all. Would he go to the closet shelter or would he head to a more secure location? The Magos does he have any military training or more knowledge then bugs?" I lean forward eager for the answers and chance to figure out if we have a chance in hell of extracting him whole.

I turn toward Brother Quintus "These bugs how intelligent are they, would they understand what value our Magos has with him or are they just wanting to take whats left of his flesh and convert it to others of its like? What can we expect of their movements, will they just horde or will they fight individually. What can we expect from them?"


Male Space Marine Devastator Rank 1

How much do I know about the tyrranids?


We each have Forbidden Lore (Xenos) as a trained skill.

Forbidden Lore (Xenos) 49 : 1d100=11


Brother Quintus wrote:
How much do I know about the tyranids?

You know a great deal, Quintus, as you have fought against Hive Fleet Behemoth with the Ultramarines prior to secondment to the Deathwatch. As his chapter, The Storm Wardens, is based in the Calixis Sector on the opposite side of the Imperium, far to the galactic west, Brother Caledonii, though knowledgeable of them from his Deathwatch hypno-indoctrination, has never actually fought against the Tyranid. Consider yourself somewhat of an expert on the subject if you want to edify him further.


Caledonii wrote:

"The Magos, when he is stranded what would be his choice as to where he would go? With his training and all. Would he go to the closest shelter or would he head to a more secure location? The Magos, does he have any military training or more knowledge of the bugs?"

I lean forward eager for the answers and chance to figure out if we have a chance in hell of extracting him whole.

Inquisitor Quist regards the Storm Warden with an even countenance, easily transitioning from alluding to the orbital purging of a world to a discussion on the particulars of Magos Vyakai's likely tactics.

"Magos Biologis Vyakai is more than capable of defending himself, and his specialized training in the study of xeno-forms lends a greater probability that he will be able to survive in a situation such as this one. Still, even the Tyranid harbinger organisms are an implacable foe, and it will be only a matter of time before all life is hunted down and exterminated at the refinery site. In all likelihood, he would not shelter in place at the crash site, but instead look for a defensible area in the facility to await rescue."

Anyone with Tactics [Defensive Doctrine] skill can make a Routine [+20] skill test (Or Easy [+30] for Brother Emeric, as he understands the mindset of the Adeptus Mechanicus better than most) to gauge the best defensible position for the Magos, given your existing knowledge of the Pyroclast-Gamma 9 refinery.


Eli Syne wrote:

We each have Forbidden Lore (Xenos) as a trained skill.

Forbidden Lore (Xenos) 49 : 1d100=11

Success, by three degrees.

Brother Syne, although by no means as knowledgeable as Brother Quintus on the subject of the Tyranid, the latter having far more practical experience, recalls from his hypno-indoctrination and subsequent studies that the vanguard of the invading host likely will already be present in the vicinity of the refinery, drawn by the light, sounds, and activity of biomass in the otherwise barren subarctic wastes. These Tyranid would likely come in the form of smaller, harbinger organisms, born of mycetic spores that would have drifted some distance from the primary invasion points. Just the same, given the psychic hive-mind of the insidious creatures, and their overwhelming success in the assault on the equatorial population centers, larger organisms would not follow far behind.


Black Templar Techmarine
The Omega Vault wrote:
Anyone with Tactics [Defensive Doctrine] skill can make a Routine [+20] skill test (Or Easy [+30] for Brother Emeric, as he understands the mindset of the Adeptus Mechanicus better than most) to gauge the best defensible position for the Magos, given your existing knowledge of the Pyroclast-Gamma 9 refinery.

I consider the Storm Warden's questions. What protocol would the Magos follow? Would he go to ground, ride out the xenos storm, and hope for relief? What sort of beacon or transmissions might he emit? Might he transmit some sort of electromagnetic pulse or noospheric data stream that I could register either with my internal auspex or cranial circuitry? Recalling the orbital pict of the refinery, where would the Magos likely go?

I have defensive doctrine as a trained skill (45)+ easy (30) =75.

1d100 ⇒ 77

*sigh*

Apparently Brother Quintus is right and I am distracted. I have guesses but nothing definite. I am in need of penance.


Male Space Marine Devastator Rank 1

The creatures I psychicly connected, a hive mind. They work as a unit, which makes them extremely dangerous. We can beat them in battle. It will take us fighting at our best as a unit.


Dark Angel Librarian
The Omega Vault wrote:

Anyone with Tactics [Defensive Doctrine] skill can make a Routine [+20] skill test (Or Easy [+30] for Brother Emeric, as he understands the mindset of the Adeptus Mechanicus better than most) to gauge the best defensible position for the Magos, given your existing knowledge of the Pyroclast-Gamma 9 refinery.

Tactics: Defensive Doctrine (1d100=18)


Lyriel Vex wrote:


Tactics: Defensive Doctrine (1d100=18)

Success by two degrees.

Brother Vex senses that Brother Emeric's uncertainty is brought on by something more, some personal distraction, and he is content to let it remain so, reigning in his empathetic powers so that the Black Templar's private thoughts remain his own. Just the same, he is grateful that his psychic abilities are beginning to attune themselves to the members of the Kill-team.

Considering the geography of the Pyroclast-Gamma-9 facility, Brother Vex allows his intuition, sound tactical expertise, and his insights about the logic-driven tendencies of the tech-priests he has encountered in his time to factor into his decision.

The Security Bunker: High ground, a fortified perimeter, and the likelihood of multiple secure bulkheads.


Dark Angel Librarian

My features still shadowed by the hood of my robes I consider the question hanging in the air. Satisfied that I can give a concise answer I clear my voice before I speak. Without raising my eyes to anyone my words spring forth to remove any ambiguity.

"Magos Vyakai in surviving such a crash would most likely egress to the Security Bunker based on his training as it gives him several tactical advantages. It is on higher ground, has a fortified perimeter, and should possess multiple secure bulkheads. The close proximity of the Communications Uplink would also be invaluable for the Magos to coordinate any rescue operation that would lead to his evacuation from the planet."

"Realize this likelihood is only dependent on the Magos being in control of his own faculties. If he is unconscious, or gravely injured; where he is the ward of others then he could be anywhere in the facility."

"What is the transport capacity of the modified Thunderhawk for retrieval?"

I wait in silence for the others response.


Sepheren finally breaks his silence. "Given the current level of tyranid activity, there is a good chance the facility will be under attack. We may have to cut our way through."

Tactics(Assault), what's the best way to attack an enemy force attacking this bunker?(41 before modifiers) 1d100 ⇒ 78


Black Templar Techmarine
Lyriel Vex wrote:
"Magos Vyakai in surviving such a crash would most likely egress to the Security Bunker based on his training as it gives him several tactical advantages. It is on higher ground, has a fortified perimeter, and should possess multiple secure bulkheads. The close proximity of the Communications Uplink would also be invaluable for the Magos to coordinate any rescue operation that would lead to his evacuation from the planet."

I find the librarian's analysis stunningly accurate. Cogitation of several scenario subroutines confirm the likelihood of his hypothesis. Shame, shame that I failed to arrive at this conclusion myself.

Lyriel Vex wrote:
"What is the transport capacity of the modified Thunderhawk for retrieval?"

Peculiar question. Unless it was motivated by...

Who are these Dark Angels? First Brother Eli and now Lyriel displaying such acuity in matters tactical and Mechanicus. If they fight as well as they think then they are staunch battle-brothers indeed!

"Brother Lyriel, your tactical reasoning is completely sound. I concur with your adroit predictions regarding the Magos."


Lyriel Vex wrote:

"What is the transport capacity of the modified Thunderhawk for retrieval?"

Brother Emeric finds his curiosity mirrored for a split second in Inquisitor Quist's face. Apparently he was not the only one intrigued by the mysterious Dark Angels.

"The gunship has been extensively modified for covert insertions and supporting Deathwatch operations. Its normal compliment of thirty space marines and their equipment has been reduced to twenty. I trust this will be more than adequate for the purposes of the extraction, Brother Vex?"


Brother Sepheren wrote:

Sepheren finally breaks his silence. "Given the current level of tyranid activity, there is a good chance the facility will be under attack. We may have to cut our way through."

Tactics(Assault), what's the best way to attack an enemy force attacking this bunker?(41 before modifiers) 1d100

Tactics (Assault) skill test unsuccessful, but assessment on what you are facing on the ground is spot on.

Inquisitor Quist turns to the Apothecary, who has been largely silent until this point.

"Brother Sepheren is correct. There is a high probability that there will be considerable vanguard organisms present in and around the complex. All signs point to the command and control capabilities of the Munitorium overseers failing in many of the promethium refineries across the subarctic zone in the ensuing panic of the Tyranid invasion. I expect nothing less at Pyroclast-Gamma-9.


"This being a rescue mission, we must keep the xenos from discovering us as long as we can. A pack of hungry predators will smell a drop of blood in an ocean if you take my meaning."


Dark Angel Librarian
The Omega Vault wrote:


"The gunship has been extensively modified for covert insertions and supporting Deathwatch operations. Its normal compliment of thirty space marines and their equipment has been reduced to twenty. I trust this will be more than adequate for the purposes of the extraction, Brother Vex?"

"Yes Inquisitor, quite adequate. Just considering other variables."

My hooded form gesturing to the Space Wolf.

"The predators will come when they see the reentry fires light up our drop pod against the sky as it descends. As any moth is attracted to the flame. Aggression, not stealth will be our ally in our task."


Brother Hrothgar wrote:
"This being a rescue mission, we must keep the xenos from discovering us as long as we can. A pack of hungry predators will smell a drop of blood in an ocean if you take my meaning."

Inquisitor Quist regards Brother Hrothgar again, nodding to acknowledge what he says is correct.

"It will serve no purpose to draw undue attention to yourselves. As confident as I am in your abilities to mete out the Emperor's vengeance on his enemies, it would be counterproductive to the goals of the mission if you perished while vainly trying to avenge a world that has already fallen. The numerical strength of the Tyranid vanguard organisms in the vicinity cannot be accurately quantified at this juncture, but they are likely to be numerous. As Brother Hrothgar and Brother Vex state, once aware of your presence they are as a ravening horde, and fixate on their prey."

Glad someone mentioned stealth. Brother Eli, please attempt Routine [+20] Tactics (Recon/Stealth) skill test.


The Omega Vault wrote:
Glad someone mentioned stealth. Brother Eli, please attempt Routine [+20] Tactics (Recon/Stealth) skill test.

Tactics (Recon/Stealth) 49 + 20 = 69 : 1d100=30

"Then we should make every effort to keep our presence unknown"


Black Templar Techmarine

"Inquisitor, the tech-savants have shared with me that Deathwatch drop-pods are modified. Their machine-spirits incorporate archeotech stealth technology, do they not? My understanding is that space units will not detect us. What of ground units? Will they still see a flare?"


Male Space Marine Devastator Rank 1
Lyriel Vex wrote:
The Omega Vault wrote:


"The gunship has been extensively modified for covert insertions and supporting Deathwatch operations. Its normal compliment of thirty space marines and their equipment has been reduced to twenty. I trust this will be more than adequate for the purposes of the extraction, Brother Vex?"

"Yes Inquisitor, quite adequate. Just considering other variables."

My hooded form gesturing to the Space Wolf.

"The predators will come when they see the reentry fires light up our drop pod against the sky as it descends. As any moth is attracted to the flame. Aggression, not stealth will be our ally in our task."

"I agree, we are going to be fighting from the moment we disembark. We will have to be aggressive in our tactics to break away to perform our mission."


Eli Syne wrote:
The Omega Vault wrote:
Glad someone mentioned stealth. Brother Eli, please attempt Routine [+20] Tactics (Recon/Stealth) skill test.

Tactics (Recon/Stealth) 49 + 20 = 69 : 1d100=30

"Then we should make every effort to keep our presence unknown"

Tactics (Recon/Stealth) successful by three degrees. Brother Eli analyzes the existing structures and topography detailed on the cartograph provided for Psyroclast-Gamma-9 and begins formulating insertion stratagems by which the Kill-team can use the terrain and prevalent environmental conditions to maintain stealth.

This success will translate into a flat +10 bonus to Concealment and Silent Move skill tests for the duration of the mission as long as Brother Eli is present to advise the squad.


Brother Emeric wrote:
"Inquisitor, the tech-savants have shared with me that Deathwatch drop-pods are modified. Their machine-spirits incorporate archeotech stealth technology, do they not? My understanding is that space units will not detect us. What of ground units? Will they still see a flare?"

Inquisitor Quist nods in assent, but appears dubious.

"The drop-pods of the Thunder's Word and the modified Thunderhawk that will be extracting your Kill-team are extensively modified for covert operations, but the majority of their archeotech systems are configured for baffling active detection by the conventional countermeasures of the enemies of mankind---those who use technical means to probe. There is no certainty that the biological analogues employed by the Tyranid will be fooled in the same manner."

"As to the drop-pod, you know far better than I from personal experience that there is no way to truly hide a drop-pod during orbital deployment. The mechanisms in place will allow it to go relatively undetected during descent from high orbit, but upon entry into the atmosphere, it will be visible and audible for a considerable distance, a radius measured in kilometers. The seismic event of impact also will likely be easier to detect for the hive-mind organisms as opposed to conventional forces. Brother Quintus has the right of it; once you debark and are detected, you will be facing a most pernicious foe."

"In short, these vehicles possess some of the most advanced Machine Spirits for rendering stealth, but we have only conjecture and debate among the tech-adepts as to how effective they will be against this manner of adversary."


Is there a clear reason why we are being inserted by drop-pod rather than by Thunderhawk? It seems to me that the latter would be stealthier under the circumstances, and has the added advantage of not destroying an extremely valuable piece of archeotech. This was probably explained off-screen, but is it wasn't Eli will certainly ask about it.


Eli Syne wrote:
Is there a clear reason why we are being inserted by drop-pod rather than by Thunderhawk? It seems to me that the latter would be stealthier under the circumstances, and has the added advantage of not destroying an extremely valuable piece of archeotech. This was probably explained off-screen, but is it wasn't Eli will certainly ask about it.

Looking back, I don't think this was mentioned in either the briefing on the wiki or with Inquisitor Quist so far. The rationale is twofold (at least according to the adventure text):

The Tyranid hive ships encircling the moon's upper atmosphere and low orbit are destroying any spacecraft that draw too near, and the weather anomalies and ensuing maelstrom caused by the Tyranid spores devouring the moon's atmosphere are making a Thunderhawk flight a very risky proposition. A high orbit drop by the much faster Trebuchet, however, is expected to pierce the orbital defenses and quickly get the Kill-team planetside. Although the sacrifice of the drop-pod is great, it has been deemed a worthy exchange for just an opportunity at what the datacore contains. The aim during the extraction is to lock on to Kill-team Umbra's homing beacon, get the Thunder's Word as close as possible to Tantalus, have it attack and occupy the elements of the Hive-Fleet, launch the Thunderhawk, and hopefully get everyone off-world alive following the harrying action in orbit.

Ellipsis:
(GM peeks over virtual GM screen) I wondered about this myself, Ellipsis, and I came away with the notion that the mission's author may have just thought blasting on to the moon via drop pod at 12,000 km/h was a much cooler intro than being ferried by Thunderhawk. The rationale is there, but does leave some plot holes to ponder (GM concludes peek).


Hrothgar takes the Oath of the Astartes in preparation for the mission.


Lyriel Vex wrote:
The Omega Vault wrote:


"The gunship has been extensively modified for covert insertions and supporting Deathwatch operations. Its normal compliment of thirty space marines and their equipment has been reduced to twenty. I trust this will be more than adequate for the purposes of the extraction, Brother Vex?"

"Yes Inquisitor, quite adequate. Just considering other variables."

My hooded form gesturing to the Space Wolf.

"The predators will come when they see the reentry fires light up our drop pod against the sky as it descends. As any moth is attracted to the flame. Aggression, not stealth will be our ally in our task."

"Bah! The predators will have their slimy claws full with an entire planet to devour. We should slip by them I think in the chaos."

Hrothgar combs back an out of place forelock.

"That is, if we do not draw too much attention to ourselves."


Male Space Marine Devastator Rank 1
Brother Hrothgar wrote:
Hrothgar takes the Oath of the Astartes in preparation for the mission.

You mean the oath of the Weapon.


Male Storm warden Tactical Marine

After being contemplative I state is a sure voice. "We will need to have our drop zone relative to the bunker or the vehicle depot. Do we have a designated drop point or can we secure one now?"


"I agree that we need to set our drop site near the search area. This being a rescue mission with a literal deadline, we need to spend less time hiking to the search area as much as possible, so we have more time to do the search."


Watch Station Erioch, Briefing Sanctum Umbra
240.817.M41, seventeen hours earlier...

Caledonii wrote:
After being contemplative I state is a sure voice. "We will need to have our drop zone relative to the bunker or the vehicle depot. Do we have a designated drop point or can we secure one now?"
Brother Hrothgar wrote:

"I agree that we need to set our drop site near the search area. This being a rescue mission with a literal deadline, we need to spend less time hiking to the search area as much as possible, so we have more time to do the search."

"The drop-zone your Kill-team designates will be adhered to as much as circumstances dictate upon the Thunder's Word arriving in high orbit over Tantalus. I would concur that a localized drop on the periphery of the Pyroclast-Gamma-9 complex would be best when factoring in the time constraints imposed on the mission."

She looks around the dimly lit, incense-shrouded briefing sanctum a final time, taking the measure of each Battle-Brother in attendance with her stern gaze. There is no question that she is in many ways a reflection of her mistress; uncompromising, efficient, and utterly ruthless when the need arises. In essence, the perfect instrument for directing the Emperor's wrathful avengers against the stain of the Xenos.

"Forge-Master Greyweaver awaits you in the Armory for the requisition of wargear. Upon completion of your outfitting the Thunder's Word will be ready for departure. Words alone cannot convey the importance of this mission. It is paramount that the datacore is recovered intact."

With that, Inquisitor Quist dismisses you with a final benediction.

"The Emperor Protects."


Planetfall

High orbit over Tantalus, interior of Thunder's Word drop pod, Trebuchet, forty-one seconds post-launch
241.817.M41

With a tremendous shudder the drop pod enters the atmosphere of a doomed planet. The world below is Tantalus, a resource moon on the edge of the Castobel system, a system around which the jaws of the Great Devourer are tightening shut. Your minds focus on the goal of the mission, and you recall the last broadcast from the world's surface, a repetition of the message you heard in the briefing, picked up by the orbital satellites before they went dark, heard again by your Kill-team just minutes ago as you stood on the bridge of the Gladius class frigate---an icy, harsh voice barking from the vox-net through howling static:

<<<"Attention Deathwatch vessel Thunder's Word. This is Magos Biologis Zardos Vyakai. My conveyance has been fatally damaged and forced to crash-land en-route to the rendezvous zone. I survive, the datacore survives. I require immediate extraction from this location. The swarm approaches, crash site unsafe, I will seek shelter nearby until your arrival. The datacore must survive and be retrieved. Location Encarta follows. I will set this message to repeat as long as the anima endures. Message ends.>>>

The voice cut off and was followed by a rapid chatter of sacred binary code, before beginning again:

Brother Emeric, you make a Challenging Speak Language [Techna-lingua] test to ascertain what is encoded in the binary chatter.

<<<"The swarm, five hours and counting, five hours until the whole area is swept clear of life under an unholy tide of fang, venom, and claw. Five hours. Five hours and counting.">>>

The retro-thrusters hammer into you like a blow from an enraged god, slowing your descent just enough so that the ancient craft will not be destroyed on impact.

Brother Quintus, the final say is yours. Based on the previous discussions where will the landing zone be?


Black Templar Techmarine
The Omega Vault wrote:

The voice cut off and was followed by a rapid chatter of sacred binary code, before beginning again:

Brother Emeric, you make a Challenging Speak Language [Techna-lingua] test to ascertain what is encoded in the binary chatter.

I listen to the burst of code, and send it coursing through my cranial circuitry. Undoubtedly the Magos sent additional data before his communication was cut. Omnissiah, aid me. Processing...

Speak Techna-Lingua (45) 1d100 ⇒ 54


Male Space Marine Devastator Rank 1

We will land as close to the bunker as possible.


Brother Emeric wrote:


I listen to the burst of code, and send it coursing through my cranial circuitry. Undoubtedly the Magos sent additional data before his communication was cut. Omnissiah, aid me. Processing...

Speak Techna-Lingua (45) d100

Speak Language [Techna-Ligua] test failed, by less than one degree.

Brother Emeric's mind races, trying to to process the impossibly fast harmonics of the binary modulation format as it fades in and out over the vox-speakers, themselves increasingly interrupted by interference and static.

Despite his entreaties to the Omnissiah, he cannot comprehend the content of the signal, only the tone.

The harsh growl of the binary chatter sounds almost pained to the techmarine.

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