Main Group: Aboard Horizon's Pride

"Aye; the lad claims that the enginseer went berserk and tried to kill him after reporting about a malfunctioning servitor." Eldgrim said, looking at Artemis' wounds. "I take it you've already patched those up?"

The lenses of Artemis's hawk-shaped helmet stared coldly at Eldgrim. The wounds are nothing, brother.

Brigadier Heth glances between the Space Marines, then clears his throat gently. "If you'll follow me, my Lords, I'll take you to the Genetor."

As Heth leads the kill-team through the corridors, he introduces himself in passing to Artemis and Camael. "I've been appointed Ambassador-Martial to Aurum, my Lords, so I'll be joining you planetside once we reach it. As I told your companions, I can't say how pleased I am that the Deathwatch has taken an interest in the planet. It's been an intractable mess for ever since rediscovery. . ." Heth is a slight man, short of stature even by normal human standards, but the ribbons and medals adorning his uniform tell of a deadly and valorous career at odds with his appearance. He wears chainsword and laspistol on his hips. The grips of both weapons carry the shine of great use.

Down in the bowels of the ship the team goes on and on. The cherub and leaf motif that Lan seems to favor gives way by bits and pieces of Mechanicus iconography; cogs and springs, lightning bolts, and the skull-and-cog. Even on the ships, the Cult flaunts its personal sovereignty, legacy of the ancient compact between the God-Emperor and the Martian Priesthood.

Lan leads you to a door emblazoned with the double helix in beaten bronze. It shivers open to a wide chamber, vaulted ceilings strung with long cables and hoses. The hoses flow into canisters of bubbling fluid.

"Astartes," a voice booms, thundering from every direction. "It is a rare honor to meet one of Mankind's most fabled genetic creations in the flesh, so it were. And I suppose I'm pleased to see you too, Brigadier Heth. To what do I owe he honor?"

"Hiding again," Heth mutters. "I swear, nothing worse than a tech-priest with a sense of humor."

Camael nods respectfully to the diminutive man. An officer was an officer, regardless of size. "It is an honor and a pleasure to assist your Crusade, Brigadier. He on Terra is the Emperor of all Mankind, not only those who have had the fortune to be born within the Imperium."

Upon reaching the chamber of the Genetor, the Blood Drinker stops short, his irritation with the disembodied voice immediate. He leaves any response to his squad leader or the Apothecary.

Thank you, Brigadier. I am Artemis Marr. I yearn to find what is behind the attacks from the servitors as quickly as possible, so that we can get to our mission. Artemis replied to Heth's introduction.

Artemis followed the team as they walked towards the Genetor's quarters, sullen in his own thoughts.

The booming disembodied voice did not bother Artemis, but he decided to let Androcles initiate the conversation with the hidden tech priest.

Artemis stared out into the shadows of strange workshop,

Awareness Test
Perception is 42.
Hieghtened Senses give me a +20 (+10 for hearing and sight)
Corvus armor helmet gives me +30 (+15 to hearing and sight)
i need a 92 to locate. of course, if the genetor is actually hiding/concealing himself it would be an opposed test, i assume.
awareness, searching for the tech priest:
Dice Roll:
d100 Results: 16 (Total successes = 8)

7 degrees of success
looking and listening for the Genetor.

Brother Androcles

The mysteries of the Mars Priesthood continued to confound Androcles, despite his experience with the Chapter's Tech-Marines and the thousands of Chapter serfs back on Macragge and throughout the Ultramarines fleet who prayed to the Emperor in his form as the Machine-God. Personally, Androcles had managed to make it through his lifetime of battle with no disfiguring injuries that would have required augmetics to remedy. Other than the gene miracle that had transformed him into a space marine, he was very nearly human. So he found it hard to understand those that willingly sacrificed their flesh in their worship of the Machine. They were sometimes as alien to him in thought and speech as some of the xenos he'd killed.

Androcles banished the worrisome thoughts from his mind, reminding himself that the Genetor, in spite of his "humor" was on their side. He shifted his helmet to the crook of his other arm and banged his gauntleted hand against his ancient breastplate in greeting. "Genetor Chambers, I am Sergeant Androcles and these are my brothers from the Deathwatch. We have come seeking your assistance in the investigation into the death of Engineseer Kreth. We were led to believe that you and your people may be able to tell us more about the matter. Please, reveal yourself so that we may speak." his deep, commanding voice rolled through the room.

"That, again?"

From somwhere above the snarl of wires and hoses, a long arm descends, cradling a robed shaped in its clawed digits. Genetor Chambers' gingerly steps onto the floor, and at a tap the massive mechadendrite retratcts back into the ceiling. "The replication chamber temperature control unit needed calibrating," he states matter-of-factly, as if the meaning of the jargon is self evident.

"Enginseer Kreth was a useful servant of the Machine God, but an unimaginative one. For him it was all cogs and sprockets; he never moved beyond the simplest rituals every tech-priest learns as a novice. He had no appreciation for the higher mysteries of science. A wasted existence, if you ask me, but we all must play our parts, I suppose."

He glances at the kill-team, mechanical eyes whirring as they focus on each member's face.

"Yes, Kreth was killed by some crewman. Captain Lan came to me to render judgment, but though I am of a high rank in the Priesthood I do not wield high justice. That is for a Magos on one of the Forge Worlds. No doubt the guilty party will be sentenced to perpetual service to the Cult as a servitor. What more is there to say?" He jerks his head to the side, alerted by some hidden signal, and walks to one of the ovoid chambers along the wall. He begins examining the attached data slate.

"Remarkable, simply remarkable!" he says. "Tissue samples from the Aurum population show incredible purity. Not a hint of mutation or corruption at the genetic level. I daresay they will make fine additions to the Imperial Guard. . .and perhaps one day recruits for your Astartes chapters, My Lords." He chuckles. "Though I confess even one as learned in the mysteries of the helices as I knows little about the intricacies by which mortal men are made Marines."

Artemis contemplated Genator Chambers's words. To have lasted this long in isolation from the Imperium without some sort of genetic mutation is remarkable. It may have something to do with the strange theorized energy field emitted from the Decavane crystals, according to the mission data slate Artemis read when briefed by Watch Captain BloodAxe.

The Apothecary shook his head, as he almost forgot the task at hand. Finding information on the Aurumites would not help the immediate task at hand. If there are more attacks against the Kill-team or if more
chaos as pandemic like state, not the nefarious powers of the warp
chaos erupts by the servitors, knowledge of the planet would be useless, especially if they never reach planet side. Artemis sighed.

Genetor Chambers, Apothecary Marr began with a melechonic tone under his bird shaped helmet. While, i would love nothing more than to join you in unraveling the mysteries of the genetic structure of the natives of Aurum, you do not know the gravity of the situation. In the last one hour, several servitors, in coordinated unison, had attacked Astartes on different parts of this ship. I believe this is not a simple case of malfunction on the part of servitors but deliberate sabotage against our mission to Aurum. I intend to conduct an autopsy, under your permission, or at least your supervision, on the corpse of Enginseer Kreth. If any clues can be acertained from the corpse, on who is behind the attacks by the servitors, it is imperative that we do so immediately, or endanger our mission to Aurum.

"That is a highly irregular request, Apothecary," Chambers says. "But if you feel it necessary, what remains of the Enginseer is yours to examine. Though there was little flesh left even while Kreth still lived. Of course, I must be there to observe any autopsy. Not that I do not trust you, my Lord, but certain niceties must be observed with the remains of those from the Priesthood. You understand, I'm sure."

He clasps his mechanical hands, a strangely penitent gesture. "No doubt Brigadier Heth has told you all that I am a myopic academic, an ivory tower geneticist more concerned with peering at my data results than anything else. And he's right. But If, as you say, there is a danger on our mission to Aurum, well, I must help in any way that I can. If I go to the Omnissiah before we discovering the key to this anomalous purity on Aurum, some other Genetor will steal my thunder. Like that insufferable bore Bellagio. . ." He trails off into perturbed muttering.

"Anyways, my Lords, my work here can wait for a time. Apothecary, I have already dispatched initiates to retrieve Enginseer Kreth's components and flesh from storage. It will be prepared for our perusal momentarily. Is there any other way that I may assist, Astartes?"

Chambers leads the team deeper into the Mechanicus section of the ship, and into a wide hall. The floor here is laid out with man-sized slabs, most of them unoccupied but a few containing inert forms of Tech-Priests. Other priests hover over their comrades, chanting and lighting sticks of incense as they repair and refit.

A priest in enginseer's robes glances up at the newcomers. Staccato burts of static pummel your ears. Chambers waves a dismissive hand at the priest. "They are here with my leave, Dravis. Apparently there is some suspicion about one of your enginseers. You would not want to impede an investigation when there is the possiblity of Taint aboard, would you?"

The priest called Dravis nods. "Certainly not, Genetor. Kreth's remains are laid out for inspection." Dravis bows, backs away, finds something to busy himself.

"Idiot," Chambers mutters. "This way, my lords."

What's left of Kreth is scattered on a slab. It is apparent that Kreth was largely machine. His skeleton is metallic, though charred and twisted in places from the intense heat of the spent atomic fuel. One half of the skull has melted and then solidified, like wax. Bits of cooked flesh cling to to the endoskeleton here and there. A mangled mechadendrite lays alongside him, the coupling where it once attached to Kreth's back bent and broken.

"As you can see, not much left," Chambers says. "The mechanical parts are slated for recycling on a Forge World. As for the organics, they'll be incinerated in a crematorium.


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