Mission Briefing

Ref: INQ/045678449/B1
Author: Inquisitor Astrid Skane
Subject: Mission Briefing
Location: Segmentum Obscurus
Sector: Calixis (Scintillan sub)
Tithe Grade: Exactus Median
Notes: ref-Ghostfire Pollen

Ignorance is a blessing not to be disdained by the wise.

MISSION I

Mission Details: The Inquisition offices on Scintilla have been formally issued with a request for assistance from the settlement of Stern Hope on Iocanthos. The report, while vague, suggests suspicious disturbances, possibly psychic, occurring in the area of a new cathedral raised to honour St. Drusus. The cathedral lies at the heart of a remote outpost and it's successful completion will do much to further the Imperial faith on this troubled world, a laudable goal and one which the Holy Ordos shares.

You will proceed to the planet Iocanthos in the company of Senior Inquisitorial Quaesitor Aristarchus, and assist him in investigating the incidents and ensuring that the consecration of the cathedral goes as planned. Your principal tasks are to gather data about the phenomena encountered and, where needed, to eliminate any threats that you find. For the duration of the mission, Aristarchus has the honor of command over you in my name. Assist him and afford him the same loyalty as you would me, in the name of the God-Emperor.

Passage has been arranged on the trade-hauler Brazen Sky for immediate departure for Iocanthos. Use the time of transit to acquaint yourselves with Aristarchus, and him with you, that you may better preform your duties upon your arrival.
Landing close to the site is impractical due to it's geographical location. Instead you will make planetfall at Port Suffering (Iocanthos' primary Imperial outpost). Travel arrangements have been made for your journey to Stern Hope.

Addendum 1: The Cathedral Mission
Missionary-Abbot Orland Skae successfully petitioned for the first Iocanthan cathedral to be built in the settlement of Stern Hope two years ago, and since then reports indicate that he has gathered a sizeable congregation of native converts and worthy offworld pilgrims to his cause. Skae himself, a very distant scion of Scintillan nobility, has managed to garner both offworld donations and considerable local support for his mission, so far succeeding where others have failed.

Addendum 2: Reported Phenomena
As the cathedral structure has neared completion, unusual phenomena have been evidenced both at the site and in the surrounding area. These include strange lights in the hills, animal attacks, missing persons, an upsurge in accidents and unexplained deaths. These incidents have culminated recently in more serious and obviously unnatural events such as manifestations of phantom sounds, walls weeping blood, telekinetic disturbances, and other such phantasmagoria.

Addendum 3: Planetary Briefing
Society: Iocanthos is an anarchic pseudo-feudal society, where all power relationships are based on violence or its threat. A war-torn and brutal world, the control of the planet ests with various warlord and clan factions that compete to harvest or steal the planet's only tithed material, Ghostfire pollen, in order to turn it over to the Imperium in exchange for supplies. The most powerful warlord is currently King Vervai Skull who is currently recognized as Iocanthos's de facto planetary governor. Iocanthos boasts a single fortified Administatum-controlled spaceport settlement, Port Suffering, where the tithe is collected and trans-shipped.

Founding: Iocanthos was taken by General (Saint) Drusus's 2nd Army group during the first great crusades through the sector. As the planet lacked any significant technology, Drusus's forces defeated the indigenous people, known as the Ashleen, in a single bloody week of fighting. Drusus later remarked in his memoirs that the only memorable aspect of the planet was the vast fields of wild flowers which resembled "shimmering fields of rippling explosions, caught in that fleeting moment between beauty and destruction". As ever, the general was perceptive, as the Ghostfire would become central to the planet's future.

Additional Notes: In times past, Iocanthos served as a penal dumping ground for undesirables that the Scintillan authorities, for various reasons, didn't wish to execute or expatriate further afield. Such exiles were given minimal supplies and allowed to thrive or fail without further interference. The population is a mixture of their descendants and the native Ashleen.

Ref - Ghostfire Pollen: Iocanthos's sole tithe. It is a powerful psychoactive substance used as the base for a considerable number of combat drugs used by the Imperial Guard's penal legions throughout the Segmentum Obscurus.
Past Inquisitorial Involvement: to the average Iocanthan the Inquisition is merely another half-legendary power from beyond their world, and while there are records of several Inquisitorial missions to Iocanthos in the past, they are all classified beyond your clearance rating. I have reviewed them and judge none to be currently relevant to your mission.
The planet historically registers a slightly higher per capita level of psyker birth, but not significantly so.
The Sisters of the Abbey of the Dawn, an Adeptus Sororitas facility located on Iocanthos, regularly reports any heretical activity to the Conclave. The Abbey is off-limits to outsiders.

MISSION II

Mission Details: following the completion of your mission on Iocanthos you will await the arrival of the Chartist vessel Misericord. You will book passage aboard that vessel for Sepheris Secundus, Because the vessel follows a predetermined course, passage to Sepheris Secundus should take approximately 8 months. During your time aboard, under the supervision of Quaesitor Aristarchus, you will conduct clandestine monitoring of the Misericord, seeking signs of heresy, apostacy, and influence of the dark powers. Your exact duties during this time will be determined by Quaesitor Aristarchus, and will be explained to you following his meeting with personnel currently aboard the vessel.

The vessel's first stop following departure from Iocanthos will be Scintilla. There you will be contacted by Logician Narthax and debriefed. Additional instructions may be given to you at that time.

Addendum 1: The Mission
This is a routine surveillance and investigation mission. For various reasons, detailed below, the Misericord is kept under frequent surveillance by the Holy Ordos.

Addendum 2: Reported Phenomena
No known unusual phenomena are reported at this time. However, updates on this matter will be made available to you at Aristarchus's discretion, following your arrival on the vessel.

Addendum 3: Location Briefing
Society: The Misericord is a Chartist trading vessel which has been plying the trade routes of the Calixis Sector for over 1,000 years. As per its charter it travels the route between Scintilla/Sepheris Secundus/Iocanthos. One complete circuit takes approximately one sidereal year, with the vessel in orbit around each world for approximately three months while cargo is loaded and unloaded, and trade is negotiated.

The Misericord functions as an almost entirely closed caste society, with each caste responsible for one or more of the ship's functions. Each caste has unique and convoluted rules of dress, behavior, and etiquette and it is rare for outsiders to be inducted into any caste.

Additional Notes: Travelers aboard the Misericord stay in the Beyonder's Hostelry, a section of the ship designated for non-crew members and served by the caste of the Minions of Stewardship.

It is well known in the folklore of the sector that the Misericord is a harbinger of bad luck, an ill-fated vessel which brings with it a curse upon any planet it orbits. It is considered by the general populous to be bad luck to marry, give birth, or embark on a major venture while the vessel is docked in the system. Thusfar no investigations by the Holy Ordos have linked such occurrences to the Misericord, but notable incidents have included loss of power to the mid-hive sections of Hive Sibellus (resulting in the death of approximately 7,000), a plague on Iocanthos which resulted in loss of over 25% of the Ghostfire harvest, a peasant revolt on Sepheris Secundus, and the unsolved "children's plague" on all three planets, in which it is estimated that over 10,000 children simply disappeared over the course of 8 years, always while the Misericord was in dock.

It is known that the Adeptus Ministorum also maintains clandestine watch on the Misericord, but the operations of the Ecclesiarchy are distinct and separate from those of the Holy Ordos. If you encounter agents of the Ecclesiarchy while aboard, do not share information on your mission without the permission of Aristarchus.

Past Inquisitorial Involvement: the Holy Ordos have maintained frequent watch on the Misericord for the last 127 years, and there is usually at least one team aboard the vessel clandestinely at any given time. Over the years several minor heresies have been discovered and rooted out on board the vessel - primarily errors in approved Imperial doctrine brought about by the isolated nature of the population. There have also been some cells of mutants discovered aboard and exterminated. The vast majority of the vessel's crew is void born, and therefore more subject to mutation than normal.

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