(500 + GE)
(Julie, Kevin, Matt, Ree, Tyson)
Personal Cipher Engaged
Subject: A Warp Infestation
Cipher-Lock: Sister Minerva de Liire – Ordo Famulous
Thought for the Day: “The Emperor’s Light Protects the Pious, Burns the Unclean”
If there is anything that reminds one of the gibbering power and madness that we immerse ourselves in whenever we enter the Immaterium, it is a Gellar field fluctuation.
Shortly after we entered the Warp to return to Port Echo, I decided that it would be diplomatic to host a formal dinner for the benefit of our three passengers, and to see what secrets or tensions might reveal themselves by placing the representative of the Consul in the same room as two citizens of the Regency. Cousin Roland was kind enough to offer the use of his formal dining room within his suites, and so most of the senior staff and trusted retainers gathered. Uncle Svenya’s servants were in top form, preparing dishes to delight the palate. Cousin Roland was being fashionably late while the rest of us gathered and began initial conversations. Suddenly, there was a distinctive mechanical wailing, for but a mere few moments, that represented a momentary fluctuation in the Gellar field that protects all of us from the seething peril of the Immaterium. Almost immediately thereafter, we all heard the sound of a woman screaming, and the thumping and crashing of some conflict from the Lord-Captain’s quarters upstairs.
Blades appeared seemingly from nowhere in Uncle Svenya’s hands as he and Armsmaster Steihr Mandis departed in some haste to the Captain’s succor. I took a few moments to manage the outcry of the assembled guests. Elder Soros, the Consul’s Praetorian representative, swore upon his honor to see to the safety and survival of all guests, even those of the Regency. Cousin Via asked the “Arch” Ecclesiarch (who has wisely since moderated his title somewhat) to lead the others in prayer. Navigator Primaris Soteris asked her own guest, Robar Calyx, to use his own talents to protect the noncombatants. Thereupon, I, Sister Via, Sister Bast, Navigator Primaris Soteris, and Astropath Darrius, followed upon the heels of the two already departed to determine what was the matter.
We arrived in the Captain’s study and receiving room which had been torn apart, furniture smashed. Two of the Captain’s personal guard were crumpled, broken messes upon the floor, and the Captain’s lovely housekeeper Melaine, bloodied and traumatized, was in the midst of explaining to Uncle Svenya what she had seen. Armsmaster Mandis was nowhere to be seen, having presumably continued a pursuit. The blubbering housekeeper was in the midst of describing how our Lord-Captain, Cousin Roland de Carvajal, had become possessed by something daemonic, and had come at her, attacking her with a clear intent to ravish. When his guards and personal butler, Rab Piran, attempted to dissuade him, he crushed the guards, abducted Piran, and fled his chambers. I was preparing to immediately see to the security of the bridge and the survival of the ship when Astropath Darrius pulled a laspistol with the clear intent to shoot Ms. Melaine Jacinda.
Uncle Svenya moved with nearly blinding speed to distance himself from the woman I am informed was his lover before Darrius could fire. Also, in that split moment before he pulled the trigger, Melaine’s pleading to Svenya transformed into daemonic compulsion as her body warped and twisted, rocking all present with the terrifying aura of a manifested daemon. Suddenly Darrius’ motivation became clear as his first shot struck home.
The combat against the daemonic manifestation was swift and sudden, Svenya demonstrating particular martial capability while the pure faith of Sister Via manifested to burn the creature, who radiated unholy allure, tempting the flesh of all present, male or female. The creature that had been Melaine was defeated, as Armsmaster Mandis re-entered the room. I realized that should a possessed Lord-Captain achieve the bridge, we were all as good as dead, and so I took Sister Bast with me to secure that location and deal with any other incursions that may have happened on the ship while the rest sought to track down the errant Lord-Captain.
As I was arriving at the bridge, the ship was rocked by an explosion. Bridge instruments revealed that plasma conduits for the starboard macrobatteries had exploded, apparently due to sabotage. There were demonic infestations appearing all over the ship, often wearing the faces and bodies of trusted loved ones before striking. My hands were quite full managing response teams, organizing the resolve of the crew to root out the tainted and corrupted, and seek to isolate and destroy them. During this process, Carto-Artifex Chiara Soteris reported that her Navigator Primaris had suggested via micro-bead that she plot a course to the closest inhabited world in case some damage was done to the Gellar field or the Warp engines. Apparently Cousin Roland had headed into the depths of the Enginarium, slaughtering servitors and Tech-Priests alike with unnatural strength.
I could not waste too much time in fretting, however, as I had a hundred-thousand souls to look after. In time, however, Enginseer Prime Graylock reported that Lord-Captain Roland’s party had been cornered in the Warp Drive chamber and that the demonic presences had been expunged. She reported that Roland had, apparently, not been possessed, but rather it was Rab Piran and two of Roland’s hounds that had hosted daemons. Roland had merely been the victim of daemonic domination. Whatever the daemon within poor Piran had intended, the interference of the party that tracked him down put an end to it. Much relieved, I dedicated my entire attention to cleaning up the remaining minor daemonic incursions.
It took about a day for matters aboard the ship to stabilize. It would have taken longer if not for the quick action of the Astropathic Choir who joined their minds and cast a soothing balm of calm and resolve over the ship, enabling them to more effectively counter the terror of an encounter with even the most minor daemonling. Once things were calm, I felt it important to demonstrate to our passengers and our crew that we were not deterred, and I resumed the interrupted formal dinner which went off quite well, notwithstanding the occasional haunted look or ginger, wounded movement.
Uncle Svenya’s organization amongst the crew, coupled with Sister Via’s own efforts in organizing the ecclesiastical services thereof, have all been mobilized in sweeping the crewmembers of any suspicion of taint. Blood ran upon the deck plating as our hidden blades of the Emperor did their bloody work. I have every confidence that soon our ship will be effectively cleansed on this momentary and, thank the Emperor, fairly minor incursion. Cousin Roland, of course, having had a most-traumatic experience, has spent the last day in his chambers recovering.
My heart goes out to Uncle Svenya. He lost a lover to daemonic possession, as well as a trusted employee. Even though he strikes me as the sort of… practical man who would use children as food tasters, even the hardest man can feel pain for the loss of a loved one. I thought to offer my services as a discreet, listening ear, but it would appear that he has sought the company of Armsmaster Mandis to drown his sorrows in a more… typically masculine way. The rest of those who hunted Cousin Roland and his daemonic escort down have been withdrawn since the incident, which is only to be expected considering the no doubt soul-shattering experience of doing battle with the daemonic. Only Sister Via seems more invigorated even than before. I can only presume she had her faith in the Emperor well and truly confirmed.
End Cipher Lock