- As told by Corwyn Nilius, Astropath Transcendent
I was still in a daze from learning that Kyla, the lovely astropath whom I've been sharing my quarters with, is pregnant when suddenly the big Ork Meganob that Tarron Damos lets roam onboard our ship stops by. He tells me, as best he can in broken Low Gothic, that he has something important to tell me and it's hush-hush.
I humor him, and he asks me to recall when we encountered a giant demonic-looking worm creature on the feral world (see previous log). He believes, though I'm not sure why, that it has swallowed a Rogue Trader whole. And also that said Rogue Trader was carrying the very best armor and weapons, as well as his Warrant of Trade. No Rogue Trader would be so daft as to actually carry his Warrant of Trade on himself, least of all to a dangerous feral world, but I nod patiently. The Ork is planning a hunting trip, and he wants the Warrant of Trade but we're free to take anything else. I explain to him that even if the Warrant of Trade was still with the Rogue Trader, in the acidic gut of the worm creature, that an Ork wouldn't be able to make use of it.
He ignores me, and asks if I'm in. At this point I'm more curious than anything else, so I cautiously agree. With me are the arch-militant Liander, our Voids-Man Nathan, the brain-in-a-jar Velnoth, the missionary Samson, and our new navigator O'hann. We head to the hangar, borrow a guncutter ship and a bomber, and I pilot us over to the Ork Kroozer (with Nathan piloting his bomber).
Oh, did I mention the Ork Kroozer? Apparently the Ork in Tarron's employ has been busy. He had his green-skins pry an Ork capital ship out of a passing Space Hulk, and has been busy retrofitting it. Anyhow, we board the Ork Kroozer and my first thought is that this ship is a dump. Both figuratively and literally. Admittedly it was only recently that it was pulled out of a Space Hulk, but still. And does it seem like there are a lot more green-skins than before?
I start having second-thoughts about this, and ask the Ork Meganob if I can see the ship's Gellar Field generator. If we're going to be travelling via warp-transit then I want to make sure the crew isn't going to be mass-possessed by demons. He leads me down to the engine room and shows me the warp drive. It's a huge massive thing, seemingly a re-purposed Imperial warp drive broken into sections then put back together in the wrong order, and I make absolutely no sense of it. I'm not a tech-priest though, and I know this ship has done warp travel, so I guess it must work... somehow.
I ask again about the Gellar Field, and he waves vaguely along the wall. All I see are a bunch of pipes with various tribal markings on it, a big fierce WAAAGH! banner, some metallic totems, and some painted glyphs. All lit up and powered by some cables. At this point I know I'm in trouble, and tell the Ork Meganob thanks but that I really need to return to the Argenteus Cornix. I get back as far as the hangar when I start hearing "'Ere we go, 'Ere we go, 'Ere we go" as a repeated chant, from every single ork on the entire ship. The hangar bays close, and the Ork Meganob tells me that it's too late now, they're about to warp.
As soon as we translate to warp-space I can feel something isn't right, like a flicker across my mind. Both myself and Liander, the arch-militant psyker, reach out via Psyniscience and detect that there is a demonic entity onboard the ship. No, make that 2 demonic entities, one of which is in our ship's bridge! We immediately head to the bridge, with the missionary Samson and the navigator in tow, and as we barge in we see the Ork Meganob with the brain-in-a-jar Velnoth on his back.
That's actually not that unusual of a sight, as it's not uncommon for Velnoth to travel on other crew members. He is just a small brain with some mechanical legs attached to his jar, after all. But what's surprising is that Velnoth is the source of the demonic presence. It all kind of makes sense though. He freely uses rogue psyker powers (such as Aetheric Appendage), and for as long as I've known him he's never used Astral Telepathy, despite the fact that he's our Choir-Master. I was beginning to suspect that he can't use Astral Telepathy anymore because he's no longer Soul-Bound to the God Emperor.
As this dawns on me, I realize the predicament that we're all possibly in. If Velnoth is a corrupted psyker, then he could easily Puppet Master the Ork Meganob on whose back he's currently attached to. I have no desire to be trapped on an Ork ship with hundreds (or more?) of green-skins reporting to a possessed Ork warboss. Since nothing outward has happened thus far it stands to reason that this will have to wait till we're back with Tarron Damos, our Rogue Trader.
I turn to the arch-militant Liander and the missionary Samson and say there must have been a mistake. I hope they can see through my words, and realize the situation that we're in, but Liander is confused and Samson is having none of it. He loudly denounces Velnoth as unclean and that he must be purged. Velnoth protests his innocence, and gives an excuse that maybe the warp is acting oddly. But Liander and I know the truth, and apparently Samson isn't convinced.
"This isn't the time or place", I advise Samson quietly.
It's a tense situation, but I see that eventually Samson understands. He tells Velnoth this isn't over, and we head away to deal with the other immediate threat: the second demonic presence onboard the ship.
We head down deep into the inner bowels of the Ork Kroozer, where the gretchin are forced to live. With us are 50 green-skins and an Ork Nob that was loaned to us. We're able to zero in on the foul presence thanks to Psyniscience, so we soon end up at a small maintenance hallway, completely dark, from which a terrified gretchin emerges screaming.
I take one of the green-skins and place him in front of him, and tell him to go in. He advances without fear, then suddenly vanishes. I'm able to see, just briefly, that it was snatched away by terrible claws. The Ork Nob asks if we need light, to which I answer yes. He takes his gun and shoots the ceiling ahead of us. "That usually works", he explains weakly, then tries again. This time it does work, and the area is bathed in light (I swear I'll never understand ork technology).
We see a thick red mist ahead, a mixture of blood-red aggression and yet somehow oozing curves. Samson our missionary yells out "It's a servant of both Khorne and Slaanesh!". Sensing my confusion Liander says "Think of an assassin hooker berserker". Clearly both Liander and Samson know way more about this than I do, so I just nod. The Ork Nob instructs the green-skin to line up, even making room for Samson to fit in the firing line (they seem really organized for orks!), and they open up on the ghastly creature.
But just as they open up the red mist darts upwards, into a ventilation pipe. "Silly boy, you know better than that" a female voice says sensuously. "Dammit", exclaims Liander. It's as if Liander is already familiar with this creature.
"Come out and be purged" yells Samson. The orks unleash their gunfire at the ventilation pipe, and we hear a ghastly high-pitched scream as thin red mist falls out all around us. I take this opportunity to quickly back-pedal out of the room and use Chorus of the Righteous on Samson and Liander. The God-Emperor is with me, and I can tell that the two of them are really inspired by the Chorus infusing them.
Samson meanwhile starts chanting to the God-Emperor, waving incense around at the end of a chain, and I swear with the incense burning away the mist it's almost like there is a bubble of protective light surrounding him. Liander meanwhile instructs the Ork Nob to form his orks, and himself, into a ring so that their backs are protected.