Raid Into Icenholm

"There's no turning back… Triumph or oblivion."
— Ramus Macabee, Commander of the Warlord Titan Imperius Dictatio of the Adeptus Mechanicus

Inquisitor Skane has with her several important officers, including from the Adeptus Arbites and Penal Legions. She calls the meeting to a start; several mines have been lost to mutant rebels, and several more are fighting. Altogether, about half the mines on the planet are threatened; the wave of mine attacks radiated from the Harrow Mine. There is no traffic or communications coming out of Icenholm, but also no explosions. She asks all present for ideas and options.

Options discussed are a full-scale Exterminatus; calling the Fleet for surgical strikes; and investigating the Harrow Mine or Icenholm. The consensus is to send a party to investigate the situation in Icenholm and see if the Queen's Scourges can be mobilized to assist.

Icenholm is supported inside the centre of caldera with six titanic chains, and in case of alert like this, protected by its void shield. There are six big fortresses where the chains link to Icenholm, on alert should be fully manned by a company of Queens Scourges with weapons and auguries. The fortresses need to be scaled or penetrated. Inside the city, all the baronies and noble families have their own compounds, but they are only equipped with low-tech weapons. The Queen's palace forms the centre of the defence network and control. Once there, the options are to negotiate with whoever is in charge, or knock out the turbo laser and void shield protecting the City to allow a strike.

Inquisitor Skane ask the acolytes how much support they want and offers Penal Legion troops. They get Sergeant Gorth, fifteen legionnaires, for which Aenid holds the remote detonator, and five human bombs. In addition, Proctor Rotlan offers to accompany them as well.

A shuttle drops off the intrusion team to make the crossing along one of the chain. Only one human bomb loses his footing along the crossing. Once inside the void shield, they have to decide whether to scale the outside the fortress or try to sneak through. They decide to use stealth, and make their cautious way through the fortress past the company of Queen's Scourges. Aenid, who has the best sense of stealth combat, leads the group. The guards seem to be on edge but bored, and are not so hard to avoid; once in the streets of Icenholm, the acolytes overhear a couple of penal troopers brag that they could have gotten themselves a couple of ears…

The acolytes discuss their approach, and pick a side gate of the palace. They find five guards at the gate. Calpurnia shows her Inquisition signet ring and orders the guards to let them through and accompany them. She detaches a couple of penal troopers to guard the gate.

Sanctus Machina goes to a terminal and pulls up schematics of the palace. He notes to locations of the defence fortress, floors 25 to 30 of the palace, where the royal barge, the barracks of the Queen's Scourges, and the controls of the turbo laser and void shield are located; as well as the Throne Room and nearby areas marked “Restricted.” He identifies a discreet route to get to the latter. Finally, he checks the comm traffic and hears chatter to the effect that an Eldar ship seems to be in orbit or approaching, and this alert is in response to the news.

Calpurnia questions the guards she drafted. They say that Colonel Tharg is in charge, as commander of the Queen's Scourges, seconded by Major Karlson who is in charge of palace security. In the last few days, reports came that Eldar pirates were on their way to Sephiris Secundus, the Scourges were mobilized to defend Icenholm, and the Void Shield went up.

The acolytes and their group start making their way toward the 25th floor where the Throne Room is. There are many Queen's Scourges posted, commanded by Capitan Verdugo – and Rollando notices that the door to the Throne Room is barred from the outside… Calpurnia asks him about any other access to the room, and he remembers some dumbwaiters.

Rollando takes the group to the kitchens one floor below, and he and Calpurnia get into it first. They get out on the next floor into a preparation room, currently unoccupied. They listen and hear no action, so Rollando quietly opens the door and sees a banquet room, adjacent to the Throne Room proper. They wait for the rest of the group, then go check the rest of the area. They find another door leading to the Throne Room, also barred from the outside, but not guarded. Rollando and Sanctus Machina can hear the sounds of whirring machinery and equipment, muffled by the wooden door.

They quietly open the door. It is pitch dark inside, but the moment they open the door, the red beams of half a dozen lasers swivel and lock onto the doorway. Three penal troopers are killed on the spot by hotshot lasguns on full auto. Return shots from Calpurnia and Rollando damage some of the laser sentries. Aenid orders one of the human bombs to run in and detonate himself, causing more sparks, explosions, and sounds of shattering. All the laser temporarily go out. Sanctus Machina makes his way into the room and locates a door terminal to raise the lights.

Inside, they see the Throne of Ice, now severely damaged by an explosion. On it is a sprawled, withered body dressed in robes of office of the queen, shot to pieces. On the floor are scattered cyborgs which Sanctus, at least, recognizes as Skitarii tech guards of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Three of them are getting back up… A hail of bullets from the penal troopers sends one back down. One of the remaining Skitarii kills one of the human bombs, and the other grazes Sanctus Machina. Sanctus responds by appealing to calm in binary, and they respond. Aenid starts moving towards the main doors down the carpet aisle; for the moment, she hears no one coming. Two more of the Skitarii get up again.

Sanctus asks the Skitarii to stop shooting. They are programmed to guard the perimeter of the room, so he tries to override their instructions. One of them wounds Rollando, another Aenid. A bang and clatter sounds at the main door as the bar is lifted. Sanctus manages to shut down one of the Skitarii and Rollando shoots down another, leaving two. Aenid pulls her shotgun, kicks the main doors open into the Scourges' faces, and yells: “Halt! In the name of the Inquisition!” The Scourges freeze in their tracks.

The Penal Legion troopers shoot another Skitarii, and Calpurnia damages another. One more gets up, so two are still standing. Rollando puts down again the one that just stood. Aenid demands who is the Scourges' commander, and when they point to Verdugo, she blows his head off. The others immediately surrender and rally around Aenid. From the prep room come the sounds of more arrivals, but none are in sight yet. Sanctus once more tries to hack into the remaining Skitarii, but in vain. The Skitarii retaliates by trying to fry Sanctus Machina's brain! But the Penal Legion blows this last Skitarii away. Rotlan and Calpurnia turn to cover the prep room door.


From the baquet room door bursts a young woman, yelling: “In the name of Queen Lachryma the Fourth, surrender!” Rollando recognizes her outfit as that of a Princess of the Blood, probably Princess Lachryma V.

From the main doors behind the Queen's Scourges come the sound of more Skitarii tech guards…

Note: See Ashitaro (a.k.a. Imperia)'s fantastic cosplay creation on her deviantART and websites.

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