Mutants of the Hard Vaults

I conjure thee anew
by the Holy and Indivisible Name of Omnissiah
I exhort you
that none move from thy appointed stations
Be thou regenerate, cleansed, and purified,
Hear ye, and be ye ready,
through which may I conduct unto the desired end
those things which I ardently wish
Suscitatio quod pulse.
— Rite of Re-Activation of the Adeptus Mechanicus

That night, Baron Ulbrexis guides the acolytes outside the mine and through an area where tailings are stockpiled. All three of the planet's moons are up, but two have time to set before three misshapen figures wrapped in dark robes and cowls emerge from piles of rubble. They approach and bow; one greets the acolytes in a surprisingly pleasant and clear voice.

Calpurnia tells them they are investigating the Broken Chains and have heard that at least some them have had a falling out with the mutants of the Hard Vaults. They cower when she shows them her signet ring. Their leader says his name is Olion. Calpurnia glances at Baron Ulbrexis, who looks surprised and nods slightly. She introduces him as well, and the mutants prostrate themselves again.

They say that Assod Morir, who had been believed dead, returned about five years ago with new powers. He also had found some sort of help off-world; rumours say that some time last year, he had some falling out with his off-world backers. Morir is now preaching a strange cult of the Great Mutant Unconscious that supposedly helps mutants coordinate attacks throughout the Galaxy. Calpurnia asks what the Broken Chains are trying to accomplish with their attacks on the Harrow Mine, but Olion says he is baffled by their strategy. Some portions of the mines have been cut off to form havens for the rebels.

The Hard Vaults mutants get some information from their spies on upcoming attacks. They say the Broken Chains intend to strike at Hazael's Cross, an intersection of many tunnels about an hour from the surface, within the next three days. This would cut off five mine shafts and disrupt an ore sorting facility.

Morir is the only one who seems to have the rock-shaping power; Throgel is extremely strong and resistant, and impervious to flame; and Raze is a pyrokinetic psyker. They tend to use Morir's ability to approach the tunnels, blowing the final thin wall at the last minute and attacking from all sides. Then Morir uses his power to collapse the mine tunnels.

They discuss the news and possible strategies for a moment; then Sanctus Machina that the servo-skull has spotted someone spying on them with magnoculars – Captain Movern Hernandez in his stained-glass armour. They decide to lead him on a little tour of the tailings piles while Aenid sneaks up on him. When it stops being funny, they head back to Precinct 14.

They discuss how to use the intelligence they obtained, and plan to slip in among the miners in preparation for the attacks. Sanctus Machina is asked to try producing some explosives, and Calpurnia decides to have the rest of the team look for more of the abandoned equipment of the Adeptus Mechanicus from the previous rebellion, hoping some of it can be fixed and used to tunnel.

When Sanctus Machina goes to see the blacksmith, he founds him hung from the rafters and the shop burned around him. The temperature regulator has been smashed to bits. A weeping peasant says members of the Queen's Scourges did this to punish the blacksmith for having unauthorized technology. Sanctus Machina vows to kill those responsible for this blasphemy.


Meanwhile, Baron Ulbrexis guides the rest of the group down in the tunnel to a burrowing machine which seems to be in fairly good condition. They return with Sanctus Machina, who examines it and recognizes it as a modified version of a burrowing transport called a Termite and used by the Imperial Guard, which can carry an entire squad and a pilot. He blesses it and coaxes it to work but he is not certain whether the fractious machine spirit is settled enough to work for long.

They decide to bring the Termite under the main cavern of Hazael's Cross, ready to tunnel up. The Queen's Scourges will be deployed out and around the cavern, and the Arbites will be posted at the main entrance, ready to come at the first sign of trouble. When Olion contacts the acolytes again, he volunteers to bring some of his forces; they will don aquilae to be recognized in battle. Finally, Baron Ulbrexis insists that he wants to be present and have another shot at Assod Morir. Calpurnia says she will be happy to stand side by side with him.

Sanctus Machina positions the Termite as agreed, and spends his time soothing the troubled machine spirit. While they wait, Calpurnia asks the Baron Ulbrexis about Olion who, it turns out, used to be one of his lieutenants. He says, impossible as it may sound, Olion was a loyal and honest follower of the Emperor who believes that humans and mutants can live together in a mutually beneficial relationship on Sepheris Secundus.

The vox unit crackles to life. They hear Rotlan's voice and the sound of weapons firing in the background. “They're here! They're…” Then silence.

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