With the defeat of the Slaugth, the Dynasty’s power and reputation had been solidified, and the Inquisition was reluctantly forced to retract its investigation and audit of the Dynasty’s finances, gradually returning them to their full strength. Staying at Port Wander to complete installation of their new archeotech plasma drive aboard the In Purgatio Lumen, Captain Hos was instrumental – as well as public – in restoring order following the insurgency caused by the Ventan Iron Hounds. Before departing for his burgeoning empire, he instructed Sarvus to remain behind and attempt to claim as much of the Iron Hounds’ finances as possible, especially paying attention to the cryo-stasis sister of Aspyce Chorda that they had handed over all those years ago.
Although Astropath Eckhart was concerned by the single unaccounted for Slaugth, neither he nor Maturinus could detect whether or not this creature had stowed away on board the Lumen, but the crew was left on high alert for any unexplained disappearances. Upon return to Svard, a tour of the Hos Dynasty worlds was proposed in order to remind everyone that they were back and in charge. Their first stop was the newly settled (to them) world of Bannack, an Agri-World designed to feed their burgeoning empire.
One easy, well-charted warp journey later, the Lumen arrived in orbit and then announced their presence, intending to deliberately delay as long as possible their arrival so that there would be less time to sweep things under the rug. Fortunately even panicked, the Dynasty was greeted with a hastily-arranged but well performed rendition of Men of Hos, and Governor Vandisse was eagerly, if not happily, on hand to tour the outskirts of the world.
Suspicions were raised as to the possibility of smuggling and embezzlement, and after the initial tour and dinner Captain Hos personally oversaw the investigation into the records of the planet’s production schedules, aided by the Adminstratum representative Quiana Fenoff. It was clear there was some sort of malfeasance going on, but any further investigation was curtailed by a sudden outbreak of sickness among most of the planet, including Eckhart and Maturinus. The hive was quickly put into lockdown, and a quarantine was initiated.
Quickly suspecting poisoning, the Captain ordered his own troops and food brought in from above, although understanding that none who entered could be allowed to leave before the crisis was finished. The Ship’s Priest Atticus Kern, as well as the local preacher Marcellus Freelon tended to the wounded and put those out of their pain as best they could. Despite their best efforts though, a cure could not be synthesized or determined, and people gradually succumbed to the illness – starting with the Governor himself.
The time for mourning was brief though, as the bodies that fell soon rose up again to feast on the living. This was not as terrifying as first thought though, as their decayed and dessicated bodies were unable to penetrate the thick armour of the Adventurers. Their deaths seemed to fuel some sort of bizarre ritual, as much stronger and horrific creatures rose up from their decaying remains, which Atticus identified as belonging to the Chaos God Nurgle. These newly risen daemons were no match for the powers of Navigator Maturinus, who easily banished them back to the warp with contemptuous ease.
Now declaring the city lost, the captain evacuated his crew, as well as Priest Marcellus who showed no signs of the worst of the plague, and ordered an orbital bombardment of the city. Administator Fenoff agreed with the wisdom in this, and triggered the emergency safeguard instituted by Magos Isabella Stein – a chemical and explosive sterilization of the city before the lance fire obliterated the area.
Unwilling to trust that the situation was cleansed, the Captain ordered a return to the area to verify personally all threats were gone – a wise decision as in the midst of the hunt a new figure rose up, clad in the armour of the Death Bastards, but radiatin g astrong and malicious psychic presence. A spreader of disease, this creature single-handedly incapacitated most of the platoons, and nearly single-handedly killed the Explorers before barely being banished back into the Warp through their firepower. Sadly the fight claimed the life of Priest Freelon, so there were no survivors of the main city of Bannack.
Despite the massive loss of life, the plague was nonetheless halted and the bulk of the planet appeared unharmed. The crew of the Lumen proceeded up to the orbital station for decontamination, and once they were cleared of further contamination by the plague, reflected on their losses and prepared to move on with their now tainted victory tour…