In general, overthrowing a planet results in many inconvenient questions that people would like answered immediately. There are few things that could delay that pesky “Why are you now our leader” questions, but fortunately an attack by Eldar Warp Spiders provides the perfect distraction from those pesky questions. The aftermath of the conference room was covered in heavily charred Eldar remains from Arch-Militant Caine’s plasma cannon, and another Eldar corpse’s shadow burnt into the wall from Navigator Maturinus’s baleful warp eye.
Pausing only to request his finest powdered wig to cover up his grenade-sculpted mullet, Planetary Governor Lord-Captain Rogue Trader Jequin Hos turned questions about the Eldar attack into a request for a debriefing following the latest battle against the Orks. Dressing his wounds at the war table was a symbol not lost on either Commander Reynolds or Captain Locke, but the distraction it afforded did give the Dynasty valuable time to implement the next step of their planetary coup: Psychic Brainwashing.
Astropath Eckhart wasted no time following the Eldar attack to head back to the brig of the In Purgatio Lumen to begin rewriting General Remi Dante’s mind to change his belief of the last few days from instituting a planetary overthrow of Governor Belkan Kapak and instituting martial law to overthrowing an inept Governor and instituting a temporary placeholder until firm leadership could be discussed. Though surprisingly strong-willed, he was no match for Eckhart’s vast psychic powers, and the rewriting of his synapses went flawlessly.
By that time Captain Hos had fully illuminated the circumstances of the battle and had begun a vague meandering into his adventuers on Grace when the newly awakened Dante entered the room, and between his testimony and the obscura-slurred corroboration from Governor Kapak, enough legitimacy was placed on to Rogue Trader Hos’s overthrow that further discussion was tabled until the end of the invasion. Commander Reynolds and Captain Locke both seemed reluctantly convinced, while Rogue Trader Blitz seemed deeply amused by the whole circumstances. Rogue Trader Orleans however seemed to be barely suppressing fury, and quickly quit the Bulwark following the conclusion of the meeting.
Dispatching General Dante to continue overseeing ground defenses, Captain Hos and Navigator Maturinus adjourned with Captain Locke to review the Astrographic data. The mapping of the outer reaches of the system was proceeding slowly but steadily, but so far only 20% of it had been mapped and the Orkish base that was presumably out there had still not been found. Speculating that the mysterious gas giant in the outer system would be the likely sourec of the attacks, the pair pooled their knowledge of stellar phenomena in an attempt to predict its location given the available data, but were forced to conclude that based on the sightings so far it was indeed impossible to predict its location. Further analysis of possible locations for the Orkish base was interrupted by the sudden arrival of Explorator Artifex Felicis, finally back from being incommunicado following his incident with Magos Hadron Shard.
Fortunately before he could explain his absence, Astropath Eckhart explained how he had already informed everyone that the Explorator was dealing with the Mechanicum after the death of Magos Shard, a lie to which the Explorator handily caught on. The Explorator asked for some privacy to explain the situation to the new Planetary Governor, a request which everyone but Astropath Eckhart was happy to grant. The given explanation for the Explorator’s absence was that he was researching precedent following the unfortunate probably justified murder of an Adeptus Mechanicus Magos and how to continue smooth operations of the forge, followed by a long in-system transit from the In Obscurum Veritas during the battle. Astropath’s Eckhart’s psychic probing verified this information – failing to find any indication of his encounter with Farseer Anaris. Though Felicis seemed to have more he wanted to tell the Captain, he ultimately decided to stay silent… while Duke Morrow purred quietly in the lap of the Rogue Trader.
The next item on the list of “things to do” involved securing the allegiance of the Adeptus Mechanicus forces on Damaris, as following the death of their Magos there was no guarantee that they would continue to support the war endeavour fully. Explorator Felicis invited the entire Hos Dynasty Inner Council to the Mechanicus shrine, whereupon they were met by a company of Skitarii and a senior Tech-Priest in operation of the facility. Sitting for a formal meeting, the Tech-Priest insincerely apologized for the rogue actions of Magos Shard, and provided the new Planetary Governor accepted that he had performed all of these actions independently – and perhaps back that up with Magos-Commodore Trannarch – then the full support of the Adeptus Mechanicus would be maintained and there would be no further need for anyone to be punished for Tek-Heresy. Though Explorator Felicis was disappointed that he wasn’t now appointed Magos following his assassination, the compromise was accepted.
Felicis’s desire to ingratiate himself to the Mechanicus did not pass unnoticed however, and he was asked to undertake vital maintenance and duties required by the AdMech, which could normally be taken care of, but due to the confusion caused by someone murdering their leader, things were in a bit of a confusion. Never one to pass up an attempt to curry favour, Captain Hos gratefully accepted these missions! Their first stop was at a nearby Levy bunker, where one of their underground rail networks had mysteriously stopped working. While Maturinus and Caine remained above to check the security of the perimeter and gague recruit status, the remainder of the Inner Council moved down to inspect the railline. As Felicis began his maintenance, Farseer Anaris continuously reminded him that he had to leave, immediately – without providing an explanation why. Finally giving in, Felicis declared that this task was beneath him, and the Dynasty made to quit the station. On their way up, a railcar arrived unexpectedly, and Captain Hos ordered a nearby trooper to investigate it.
In the midst of the Trooper’s examination though, the rail car suddenly and violently burst into flame, immolating the unlucky soldier and sending the Inner Council and the Honour Guard to the walls. Half of the Honour Guard were caught in the edge of the explosion, being badly burned while Explorator Felicis, Astropath Eckhart and Captain Hos managed to survive without incident. Navigator Maturinus swiftly reacted to the incident, commanding the bunker with expertise into a rapid reaction, and prevented any further loss of life from the explosion. The party was unclear on what caused this, but they did not stick around for further examination, choosing instead to head to the southern pole of the planet to examine why one of the communication arrays of the planet had recently gone dark.
Bringing with them a contingent of Tech-Priests and the Fighting Tenth platoon, the Dynasty made to secure the dark installation. Initially encountering no signs of life, when pursuing an errant noise deeper into the facility, Arch-Militant Caine boldly charged towards the source, only to find himself running into a horde of Orkish Kommandoes. As the rest of the troops closed in, the Kommandoes attempted to drug the Explorers with a vile hallucinogen, but the Fighting Tenth grew up in the slums of a hive world, and the other Explorers were either too mechanical or too cautious to have entered the room and escaped unharmed – apart from Navigator Maturinus who proceeded to violently assault the walls of the room to combat the Orks he saw coming out of it. Realising that their ambush failed, the Kommandoes retreated to the upper levels of the communications facility, clearly expecting the Explorers to give chase.
They were on the verge of doing so, when Farseer Anaris again communicated with the Explorator, urging caution and directing a smaller contingent of the troops into the basement of the facility, while the rest would take an alternate route to the upper levels. The upper-levels ambush initially seemed lost when Navigator Maturinus ordered a volley of grenades to precede his charge, alerting the Orks to his presence and causing a mob of almost two dozen Orks to charge the Navigator, who patiently awaited their range. When the Orks were almost upon them, he turned the full baleful gaze of his Warp Eye upon the Orks, reducing them to ash in a matter of moments. Only one Ork had not participated in the charge, and it made its way to the roof of the facility, hotly pursued by the Explorers.
After a tense maze through communication relays and power conduits, the Dynasty finally tracked down the last Kommando, who gloated that this would be their end, dramatically flourishing and pressing a remote detonator… that failed to do anything. Explorator Felicis voxed that he had found and disarmed a powerful Orkish explosive in the basement, and frustrated the Kommando jumped off the roof of the building, and ran for the horizon swearing revenge. Having made enough enemies, Captain Hos, Astropath Eckhart, Navigator Maturinus, the Honour Guard and the Fighting Tenth all lined up on the roof and proceeded to mow down the fleeing Ork, cutting short his promises of vengeance. Their victory was shortlived however, as unexpectedly a beam of dark energy shot down from above, blasting Eckhart from behind and nearly slaying the Astropath where he stood.
A quartet of Eldar had been observing the Dynasty this whole time, and took it upon themselves to strike in an unexpected moment. Captain Hos identified these as belonging to the Shadow Spectres, and despite their clear air superiority and powerful weapons, the Eldar were unable to do more than bring down members of the Fighting Tenth, as concentrated fire managed to down three of the four, before the last one retreated. Not wishing to stay in this facility any longer, the surviving members of the Tenth would protect the Tech-Priests while the Inner Council and the Honour Guard would leave to rest and discuss their next move. Unfortunately as they departed, their troubles were not yet over as a few minutes after taking off, they detected Eldar fighters inbound, and no Imperial reinforcements in range to assist them…
It was really turning out to be a tiring day.