Leaving the rest of the Crystal Council to their meetings, Captain Hos decided to return to his vessel to interrogate Mathieu Riek, the only surviving Warden. He recovered his senses once he was brought on board, and denied any knowledge of having been possessed, or even that such a thing should be possible. He also believed that his charge was dead as the psychic link that bonded them was no longer functional, and it took a lot of convincing from the Lord-Captain to sway him to the truth of their words. Insisting that it was essential to understand what was going on, and to determine if the intrusion by Astropath Eckhart earlier had merely triggered one of his Wards or not, Eckhart once again scanned the Warden. Though the Wards in his mind were powerful, Eckhart did manage to overcome them and confirmed that whatever was in his mind before was not the same experience as now. As the would-be assassin before him, Riek did indeed have no memory of his actions over the last few days.
Based on the information provided by Speaker Hermiod Tal, Eckhart focused his investigations in Riek’s mind to the period when the Imperial Envoy had visited the outpost. Though the timing was suspicious, ultimately no proof was found that he had acted wrongly. Despite the current absence of evidence, the timing of the Envoy’s visit corresponded roughly with the onset of the riots, and given that they now knew he sent an Astropathic message before disappearing to Silence, it was resolved that if the Hos Dynasty found him, they would have some pointed questions to ask him.
Eckhart suggested that Riek was now fit to return to his job of guarding the surviving astropaths on board the Citadel of Psykers, but was overruled by Captain Hos, Navigator Maturinus and Riek himself, who all felt that if they were unclear as to how his mind had been compromised, he shouldn’t be placed in a position of any sort of authority. When Artifex Felicis was consulted from his position working on the Svard Defense Force Frigates, he suggested that if there was no remaining signs of any sort of mental activity that perhaps Xenos technology was involved, and he should be thoroughly examined for any signs of physical tampering.
Unfortunately for the Dynasty, most of the senior Tech-Priests on board the In Purgatio Lumen were with the Explorator performing repairs, so the most senior Medicae tech was called in to perform the scan. Although initially finding nothing, at Eckhart’s urging he continued to scan Riek’s brain multiple times but still found no sign of any sort of tampering. Frustrated, the data was forwarded to Felicis, who after careful examination found evidence of small cranial inside of the brain, indicating there may have been some sort of device in there. The only Xenos races known to use technology like this was the Stryxis, who were discounted as this did not match their usual method of operation. However there was one other piece of Xenostech recovered that produced warp-like effects without any overt warp energy traces afterwards… the strange device haunting their Navigator.
Fearful that Maturinus may have been compromised as well, he too was thoroughly examined but thankfully no trace of that unusual technology was detected. Although initially they suspected that the Imperium might be stoking tensions to force Svard to join the Imperium, the crew was now at least partially convinced there was an outside force interfering in the Sector. The Lord-Captain decided that the next order of business would be to head to Cog, the last Moon to lose contact with Svard. Zacharya Caine proposed that he be left along with Saira Nelken and a mix of Hos Dynasty and Svard PDF troopers to take one of the rennovated System frigates to Exclusion in an attempt to restore that world, as the atmosphere in Cog precluded a large expeditionary force being sent anyway.
After a long day, the Lord-Captain retired for some much needed sleep, but discovered that his Gyrinx was behaving oddly, as if on edge and depressed. Eckhart and Maturinus both scanned the strange Xenos creature and although there was nothing wrong with it they could detect, they both came to the conclusion that the same sort of “off” feeling with Psyniscience was like when they tried to perform scanning on the Emperor’s Bounty with its slightly active Gellar field. Felicis was still finishing up repairs, so Tech-Priest Syros Yurth was forced to try to diagnose this issue. Although he was correct that the Gellar Field was not currently active, attempts to power it up were unsuccessful leading him to theorize that an integration between the Gellar Field and Void Shields may have occurred resulting in a low-level continuous Gellar Field, but the Lumen had no such device and he had no way of knowing how it could be installed so quickly. Although briefly considering some sort of Orkish Modification, the crew decided instead to set off in search of the Jokaero who had vanished earlier.
The Gellar Field was a more localised component aboard the vessel, and between Yurth’s monitoring of power conduits and the Captain’s knowledge of his own ship, they were quickly able to pinpoint likely locations and find the Xenos creature. Confirming that the changes were indeed the result of the Jokaero modifying their ship, Yurth was sputtering with rage and demanding they tear down the ship to fix things, but was ordered by both Captain and First Officer to wait for the Explorator to deal with things. Believing that the Jokaero instinctively reacted to the warp threat inside of the system, the Captain praised the creature on its work, who in turn said or communicated nothing. Seeing an opportunity, Captain Hos suggested that maybe the Augur Array could be upgraded next by the creature? After some cajoling and diagram showing, the point may have been made and the Jokaero knuckled off through the ship to perform his next mysterious project.
After finally getting some sleep, in the morning it was decided that the trip to Cog was urgent, and Explorator Felicis was recalled, leaving repairs in the hands of Ravion Tayber. The trip to the Tech-Priest’s world was reasonably uneventful, but was punctuated by the Captain, First Officer and Explorator taking the time to try to learn to ride the Dark Eldar Jetbikes that they had previously looted. The experiment was mostly successful, with only one near-fatality by the Rogue Trader when he discovered that the Dark Eldar jetbikes don’t seem to like to slow down once you start accelerating.
Arriving in orbit around Cog, the Lumen received a hail from Magos Zinoviev Tevla, informing the captain that the Labourers on the world had risen up in revolt and they were pinned inside of their own structures. The atmosphere on Cog had long become untenable to unprotected humans, but the Magos did manage to transmit landing coordinates where if a strike force could reach, they would be able to coordinate and hopefully take back the Mechanicus facility. Before more information could be acquired however, the Vox tower was destroyed and the ship lost contact with the Magos.
Seeing no recourse, the captain gave the order for the crew to prepare to land, and retake the moon from whatever madness has claimed the workforce…