Shadow of the God-Emperor

Adventure Log I
The Story So Far

When Last We Met…

;;;;; Cell Omega-Four-Lambda (the PC’s cell) was tasked with finding, acquiring, securing and holding a new safehouse for a different cell in Lehrer’s coterie. They made some changes and additions to a warehouse in the industrial district. Complications: a local ‘protector’ showed up and attempted to extort money from Mallean, O4L’s hive lead. A fight ensued in which the cell emerged victorius. (Silly mobster — don’t you know not to bring a chainsword to a gunfight?)

;;;;; Derex, spotted early by the bad guys, later vowed to learn how to hide better. Eisen got a little excited and managed to miss his first shot (Against a surprised opponent. With a red-dot shotgun. From behind). Blitz was wounded in the leg; he brought a mono axe to a swordfight. Blitz did manage to take the head off the punk gangster before the little guy really figured out what was going on. Mallean showed some proficiency with Medicae when he stopped poor Blitz from bleeding to death (Omnissiah-damned organic parts!). The cell found out what Weyland carries in his bag – an Enforcer helmet. He almost got a shot off. Lady Rin managed to miss the whole thing.

;;;;; The other cell showed up and established themselves as genuine. They started getting comfortable, and their lead Acolyte showed some grudging approval for the setup. He seemed to know Weyland. Mallean told him that there might be mob/gang trouble, and told him about the fight. O4L packed up and left.

;;;;; Throne Agent Novaak had some good things to say about the cell’s performance ( +1 Influence ), and let them rest, train, and recuperate (especially Blitz) for a few weeks. In that time, they practiced the codes that Novaak had given them (hand signals, code words and phrases, challenge and response). ( Basic Skill: Cyphers (Acolyte)(Int), Basic Skill: Secret Language (Acolyte)(Int) )

;;;;; The next mission: to find and terminate with extreme predjudice the buyers, suppliers, users, and couriers of a drug called Idyll (a red-brown powder, the excretions of some xeno thing). Termination might be delayed if the heretical drug-scum were to have information on more of his/her compatriots or superiors.

;;;;; Information from Novaak revealed that the drug was already on-planet and in this hive. A shipment of 100 kilos had been traced to a known small-time criminal, an underhiver who changed residences frequently. O4L had to act quickly to catch him. Novaak gave them an underhive address and sent them off.

;;;;; The cell observed the hab for a little while, then moved in when the door was found to be unlocked. They found themselves inside a three-hab, packed tightly with cargo crates from a dozen ships, multiple cameras, and four servitors, salvaged and repurposed for combat, all “dead,” their electronic parts strangely corroded. Mallean was able to access the recordings from the cameras. The cell watched as the dealer sold someone a brick of drugs. The buyer left. A strange figure, cloaked, all pustules and sick eyes, appeared. He (?) let himself in, then glared at a camera. The recording ended abruptly. Time markings indicated that this all happened within the last 60 minutes.

;;;;; In the bedroom, light from a score of candles showed an open crate full of bags of a red-brown powder, as well as a dead body matching the pictures of the dealer. His recently-dead corpse seemed strangely decayed and bloated. His throat had been slashed a number of times, though an autopistol was still in a holster on his belt. His swollen belly bulged strangely, and his face was covered with small pustules, vaguely reminiscent of the cloaked figure’s face.

;;;;; A cursory investigation of the crate showed that some of the 100-kilo Idyll shipment was missing. Derex heard something move in the shadows. Suddenly, the corpse burst open, and a plague of insects poured out, a carpet of black and green. Four larger versions (canid-sized) of the bugs leaped out of hiding places and attacked. The swarm moved toward the closest Acolyte. Time to make some Fear checks, and some rolls for Surprise

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Adventure Log II
Bugsbugsbugs!!!

When Last We Met…

;;;;; "Already cramped living quarters have been rendered even more claustrophobic. Dozens of two meter tall, purple or gunmetal blue cargo crates have been haphazardly arranged throughout the room, breaking the open spaces into cramped aisles. The serial codes have been scraped off, but occasional vessel stamps are still visible, revealing them to be the property of Imperial freighters. Long, motionless, black tendrils wind across the floor around the crates and sometimes between or beneath the pallets: power cables from some unseen, coughing motor. Overhead wait the unblinking eyes of pict recorders.

;;;;; The air here is rife with the stink of dried sink traps, the heavy reek of distant sewage backups, and the ozone exhalations of poorly maintained electrical equipment. The crates, sometimes stacked to the ceiling, sometimes not, offer plentiful places of concealment, and every blind corner silently promises danger. Shadows dance from as yet unseen lights, but at the moment there is no certainty as to whether these are simply the flickers of open flames or the promise of hostile scum readying to receive unexpected guests.

;;;;; What’s left of the scum once called Prim Venkateswaran awaits you, lounging in an open, half empty crate. His glassy eyes take no particular note of you. Prim has not been dead long, judging by the sounds and stink of gasses still escaping from his corpse. Prim was butchered, his throat opened by several savage cuts. His forehead, nose and the flesh around his eyes are a mess of pustules. Though the cheeks on his face are gaunt, Prim’s belly fairly bulges around his gun belt, swollen like a sausage. An autopistol is holstered at his side, untouched. The blood on the floor is not quite clear and normal, but is flecked with greenish-black globules, like burned spice seeds.

;;;;; Suddenly, Prim’s body seizes, heaving up as though trying to rise to his lifeless feet. The head lolls awkwardly backward, revealing the spine in the corpse’s throat, and waves of decay-stink roll off him, bathing you in unclean vapors. With the tearing of a dozen separate sheets of parchment being simultaneously shredded, his body comes apart. The boils on his face open like flowers and his swollen belly bursts, releasing streams of crawling vermin. Swarming insectile creatures, each as wide as a thumb’s tip, scamper free, dragging ribbons of flesh with them. Their bodies are predominantly green, though speckled with dull red spots. Then, the globules in Prim’s bloody trail reveal hidden legs and scamper to creeping life, as well."

;;;;; The cell was attacked by insects both large and small. No one was surprised, but several members of the cell lost their cool (backing away, running away, fainting dead away, and uncontrollable vomiting). After this unpleasantness, they found that the bugs were very hard to damage.

;;;;; A fight ensued in which most of the party were chewed up pretty badly. The bugs were finally defeated with the return of Lady Rin. That, and Weyland started using explosive slugs in his automatic shotgun.

;;;;; The cell took a moment to catch their breath. Mallean checked over each wounded Acolyte, and found that they were not as badly damaged as was previously thought. (Anyone severely wounded may burn a Fate point to roll for damage that they didn’t take.) Most of the cell’s ammunition was gone, though Blitz still had his incendiary grenades.

;;;;; Searching quickly, they found the stash of Idyll (missing a few kilos from the shipment), and a few keys of Obscura. Beneath Prim’s pillow was a hand-sewn dolly in poor condition: an effigy of a young girl, with large brown eyes and a grime crusted macaroni mouth. The stitchwork was poor, and stuffing bulged through gaping holes along the doll’s throat and sides.

;;;;; A cache in the wall held an attaché case containing 5000 Thrones and a dog-eared sheaf of papers sewn into a crude notebook. Within these pages were a catalog of customers. The last entry in this book was

;;;;; 10 kils Gland, dispatched to K, 1200 Terrac, 5000th.

;;;;; It’s only a matter of time before someone investigates the gunfire — what now?

NOTES:
;;;;; One of you has a pict-recorder, and may take pictures/video of anything you feel is worth recording. Make a note of who has it, and what info you are recording.

;;;;; Some Skills and Talents the party might consider working on include:
;;;;; ;;;;; Awareness
;;;;; ;;;;; Dodge
;;;;; ;;;;; Search
;;;;; ;;;;; Hardy – Always count as Lightly Wounded, healing much faster
;;;;; ;;;;; Rapid Response – test Ag to negate Surprise
;;;;; ;;;;; Sound Constitution – adds one Wound
;;;;; ;;;;; Step Aside – gain one additional Dodge per round
;;;;; ;;;;; Swift Attack – attack twice with a Full Action
;;;;; ;;;;; True Grit – reduce the Critical Damage you take
;;;;; ;;;;; Unshakeable Faith – re-roll failed Fear tests

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Advenure Log III
Dead Man Bloating

Lady Rin and Derex headed back to the staging area to pick up more ammunition and anything else the cell thought they might need. They regrouped at a dive bar near the drug-dealer’s hab.

Using the pictures taken from the drug dealer’s video setup, the cell was able to determine that the courier headed deeper into the hive. Following the trail, they came upon a half-empty bag of Idyll (aka Gland) floating in the effluent (yuk) of four anthill habs. It was recovered. A stealthy trip into the alleyway found several gangers bickering over the body of the courier (identified by his clothing, as he had been shot in the face).

Dex and Mallean asked a few friendly questions of Sabina Carlando, the leader of the gang. (Quite good-looking in a hard, tough-grrl way.) She was surly, and the others sneering, but the group got the following information:

1) They don’t know the courier.
2) They don’t know the diseased-looking guy who met up with him.
3) The courier called the sick guy “Gabney” or “Gagme” or something similar.
4) The two men quarrelled, and the sick guy shot the courier in the belly. He interrogated the poor guy, laughed at him, then shot him in the face.
5) He took several packages off the body, then left.
6) The gang had been observing from the fire escape, and was about to come down to check things out, when Giuseppe — a local loser — ran out, looted the body, then ran off. He found something on the corpse that Sick Boy had missed. The gang knows that Giuseppe has been trying to score something big, to try to get out of the underhive.
7) One ganger let slip that Giuseppe was probably headed to ‘the Float.’
8) Questions were asked. The Floating Sub-Markets are grey/black markets where just about anything can be had for a price. Directions were obtained, and a good description of Giuseppe.

Looting the courier’s body (less than 45 minutes dead, it looked and smelled terrible), the cell found a full name and address. “Kensington. 1200 Terraceton Suites.” The corpse also had ID: Goplan Srinivasan. It was starting to show signs of boils and bulging, however, so Weyland dragged the corpse behind a massive dumpster and Blitz tucked an incendiary into its shirt.

The cell headed over to the current Float location, an underground confluence of heat-exchangers. Very hot and sweaty, with a side order of toxic fumes and low-level radiation. The auction was happening on the (aptly-named) Hot Spot. The cell split up to shop and to see if they could find Giuseppe.

Derex was closest to the Hot Spot when Giuseppe jumped out to sell a brick of Idyll. Dex got his attention, and tried to buy the drugs from him (obtaining them with a minimum of fuss). The deal was all but made when a local mob-type showed up. He told Dex that he was taking Giuseppe, the drugs, and the money. Dex took exception to that, and signalled Weyland (who was standing behind the boss). Triple-tap from the combat shotgun, point-blank. Laser sight. (Rolled reeeeaaaally low.) Pulped the guy’s arm, back, and head. He flew past Dex and the fight was on.

The Float crowd screamed and ran. Giuseppe grabbed the money and the drugs and bailed. Mallean pursued. The rest of the cell engaged the bullyboys that the boss had with him. They had chain axes. Did you know you can parry a chain axe with a sword? Ask Lady Rin. Did you know that it really hurts if you whack yourself in the knee with a chainaxe? Ask her opponent. Mallean had a very hard time putting Giuseppe on the ground. Not so with the rest of the gang — they kicked a little ass on the enforcers. Did you know that you get a bonus to attack in hand-to-hand if you double-team an opponent? Now you do.

Afterward, they recovered chain axes and ID for the muscle and for the boss. Eduardo Simion. According to Giuseppe (last name, Orne), Simion was a really big fish in the Float. He also had the Ultimate Holdout Pistol: a bolt derringer. Dex got all foamy about it, and no one had the heart to take it away from him.

Giuseppe was a weaselly, whining, don’t-kill-me kind of guy. He was also very agreeable. Giuseppe overheard Goplan and Gagne’s argument over the destination for the remaining Idyll: Terraceton Suites. Also, it was to be delivered to someone called Kensington. He heard Goplan refer to the killer by the name Gagne. Giuseppe describes the killer as ugly, perhaps even diseased. He was encouraged to take the cell to Terraceton Suites. He had somewhere else to be, a pressing engagement… but a gun in the face made him see the light.

Dex also found a ‘clicker’ for a groundcar on one of the bodyguards. He spent the better part of an hour looking for it before giving up in disgust. Maybe later.

Arriving at 1200 Terraceton Suites (a semi-posh address on the border between mid- and low-hive), the cell was braced by the (heavily-armed) doormen. (Blood and brains on your face will have that effect.) A quick conversation including the words “Simion” and “Kensington” got the door held for them. They were advised to head for the 12th floor.

Mallean had an insight — deliveries come in the rear. The cell headed to the back door, where they found two more (heavily-armed) doormen and a clerk. Pointed questions to the nervous trio gathered this: the Gabney guy had been here, freaked them all out, gone upstairs, and returned in about 30 minutes with a trio of scantily-clad young women. They left. That was about 20 minutes ago. These folks had no idea where Gagme went.

Upstairs in the lift. The door opened on the 12th floor and a waft of scented smoke rolled in. Smelled like lots of drugs. The search was on for Kennsington. To the left, lots of open doors. Dark, people moving, grunting and moaning inside. A rill of blood coming out of one doorway had Mallean switch on the lights. He wished he hadn’t. Pairs and small groups were ‘engaged in activities.’ They all looked totally drugged-out, moving like machines or puppets. They were all making a bit rough — biting, cutting, bruising, etc. No one seemed to be aware that the cell was there. No one stopped what they were doing.

Heading to the right, the cell finally found the grand ballroom, where Very Bad Things were happening. The least-disturbing thing that was going on was people tearing off strips of their own flesh and chewing holes in their cheeks. Much worse was happening. Lots of laughing and giggling, crying and wailing. Still, no one noticed the group. Double doors to the next room, closed.

Master bedroom. A young nobleman tied down to the massive bed, a nearly-nude woman crying on the floor at the foot. Half a dozen empty bricks of Idyll dotted the room. The young man bore a single cut along the base of his abdomen, and his belly was swollen.

Though in direst agony, the young man was not drugged, so when the cell entered, he begged them for aid. He offered anything and everything he could — including the Kensington Family fortunes — for their help. He even offered information.

What Kensington knew:
Liam Kensington was the man to request the Idyll, to pay for its shipment to the world. He wanted it as a means to experience unbridled pleasure. He knows he is a debased man, and though he repents often, he cannot help himself. He is a victim to desire.

Kensington was surprised when a stranger arrived as courier. Not because Kensington recognized him, but because Esthe did. She even called him by his full name. Durante Gagne.

Kensington asked if Gagne would like to remain behind to partake of the Idyll. Gagne demurred, and Kensington was glad (since the man looked pretty sick). However, once the Idyll had made its rounds, and the Badness filled all the gathered guests, Gagne reappeared. He rendered Kensington mystically immobile, and then bound him.

Then, Gagne sat alongside him, humming in time to the harpsichord, until such time as the music became absurd. Kensington tried to reason and then to threaten, but Gagne remained beyond these.

Eventually, Gagne tired of wasting time. He cut Kensington’s gut and stuffed him like a prized fowl with squirming larvae. He then claimed a quartet of drugged girls (Esthe, Katriona, and the Pashook twins, Kensington’s favorite lovers), and led them out.

Minutes after they had gone, Katriona returned and collapsed at the foot of Kensington’s bed weeping and repeating “Where are we going?” No matter how Kensington called for her to help him, she remained unresponsive.

Gag, scream, blort! Kensington exploded into another swarm of the creepy-crawlies. Eisen and Mallean dragged the girl out of the room. Shotguns boomed, big hammers smashed, swords sliced, and so on. The swarm repeatedly attacked Lady Rin, but she was able to Dodge. The cell killed all the bugs without too much trouble. Weyland kicked all the remains into a corner and torched them.

Guiseppe went a little nuts. “What the frack was that? Who the frack are you?” Then he gasped and pointed behind the group. Everyone whipped around to face a new peril, and Guiseppe ran off. Totally fooled all of you. He found the stairs and got a good head start on Dex. Curses, foiled again.

Dex came back and tried to calm the girl, to get her to answer some questions. Katriona kept repeating “Where are we going,” then finally wailed, “But the Imperial Arms is closed! It’s closed! Where are we going?”

Cell Omega-Four-Lambda now has the following: 200-ish drugged-out heretical ecstatics. A dead nobleman burning in a corner. A weeping, shaking young woman. A name: Durante Gagne. Another: the Imperial Arms.

Now what?

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Adventure Log IV
Okay, now what...?

The Acolytes gathered IDs and evidence on the debauchery that had been going down in the hotel. They now have several dozen possible heretics to persecute. Details, details.

They decided to follow up on the Durante Gagne name. Putting the data into the system, a man by that name popped up on the Administratum payroll. A quick visit to his address gleaned the following:

The front door of Durante Gagne’s quarters was locked, but gaining entry was no problem for the Acolytes.

Gagne’s quarters were a trio of rooms: a living space, a sleeping space, and a claustrophobic bathroom, all choked with seventh-hand possessions. A water stained scrivener’s desk and a cracked dining table dominated the front room. A tattered sitting sack leaking tiny styrene balls and half a dozen broken chairs made up this room’s available seating. Across from the main door, a loudly humming refrigeration unit and pantry cabinets barely contained bulging canned goods or perishable food supplies. The bedroom was barely large enough to hold a pallet covered with rumpled bedding and a dresser whose drawers overflowed with so many wadded up garments that the drawers could not be properly closed… A closet revealed itself to be a narrow toilet and shower stall, all breeding grounds for the blackest mold. Nothing was new or particularly well tended, but for a pair of Administratum uniforms, which hung over the kitchenette sink, their hangers hooked to the rusty corner of the wall mounted, refuse incinerator.

Amongst the pallet’s soiled bedding, the Acolytes found several still picts of attractive women, obviously taken without their knowledge. One wore an Administratum uniform from the same department as Gagne (Esthe LaGrans). The others featured a pair of gorgeous, dark-skinned twins on some noble’s arms (Sabine and Natla Pashook). The noble’s face has been gouged out (and replaced with Gagne’s own), but there is a crest ring still visible on a hand slung low over one woman’s waist that identified the wearer as belonging to the Kensington family.

In a pile of crumbled parchment was a singular note “Get 300 Thrones? Meet Goplan,” and a scrawled address.

In the incinerator chute was a page of ancient parchment written in blood displaying a partial ritual of some sort.

The toilet’s medicine cabinet held pharmaceuticals aplenty, including Cimitidine tablets, acyclovir gels, and zilactin paste: treatment drugs for herpes simplex delta-delta. There is no known cure for “HerSy-double delt”, though its outbreaks can be controlled through multiple medications (until such time as natural resistances develop).

On to the next:

The Imperial Arms dance hall was rather well designed and appointed in its time. Unfortunately, the location was not enough of a draw, so it finally shut its doors, one standard month ago.

The dance hall has two levels: a cathedral like main floor, and a cramped and dank dungeon-like sublevel. The Acolytes gain entry to the main floor, hearing two people’s screams from below.

They smelled the place long before they reached it — the lingering stink of rotting corpses filled the hallways of the lower levels. A lone woman’s terrified shrieks rebounded off the walls of the place, seemingly thickening the air itself, and amongst them the cell heard the ponderous sounds of a lone voice chanting.

The downstairs room was circular, its floors cast in obsidian, and its walls featured newly installed steel rings. From these hung manacles, each attached to a body — six corpses, ranging from several days rotten to murdered only a moment earlier. Only one prisoner remained alive, drugged blind yet squirming and screaming, eyes wide and locked upon her tormentor. He was a hunched figure; his gore splashed skin home to dozens of clusters of sores, lesions, and inflamed papules. He was a walking disease, sweating pus and weeping a wholly unidentifiable ichor. The twisty knife in his fist was designed for inflicting as much pain as possible before it finished its work.

The acolytes confronted the disgusting creature before he could finish off the bound woman. He turned a leprous and baleful gaze upon them, and started to laugh. Several demon-ticks sprang from the shadows, assaulting the cell. In the ensuing fight, someone managed to mortally wound Gagne. As he died, his hands holding in his diseased intestines, Gagne started to laugh.

The corpses began to twitch as though receiving electric shocks. The manacles clattered like macabre bells as wrists and ankles tugged within the steel loops. The corpses were all sweating, and their sweat was a phosphorescent, sickly green jelly. This stuff flowed from them, pooled around them and slowly spread across the floor.

From a clotted sump of congealed corpse fluid, up sprang a terrifying creature. With a gigantic, cataracted eye, and a single curved horn on its forehead, this thing was only man-like in the loosest sense. It attacked the tired acolytes, scoring hit after hit before being felled by a series of shots and melee attacks.

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