Sacrilege

Knowledge is power – hide it well!
— Evocation to the Immortal Emperor

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Lt. Hernandez determines that his best course of action is to step on the Aquila, but to utter a prayer to the Emperor while so doing. The shadowy nobles watching him take this as an ironic utterance and induct him into their ranks. He learns that there is a cabal of nobles who are clandestinely supplying vast amounts of labor, both from within their entourages, and from individuals shanghaied from their respective worlds, for the digs on Ysai Ydumi, and who are receiving payment for this labour and for the sale of ilicit Xenos artifacts that come from it. Hernandez is offered a spot in the cabal, but that he will have to give up one or two members of his entourage to "buy in" to the franchise. He learns that the leader of the cabal is known as "the Shadow", and chooses the nickname "the Fox" for himself.

After he reports in the acolytes begin searching the pleasure domes of the stations, looking for other members of the cabal. After several days of searching Hernandez spots one - Sir Evander Philus (of the Sibellus Philus family). To learn more about his dealings, the acolytes plan to kidnap a low-level functionary. The plan nearly goes awry when Xanthia is almost overwhelmed by her psychic powers (rolled a "1") but the outburst of energy still fells the target, and she is carried off for interrogation. Her name is Lyra and she is a 2nd tier collator for the seneschal of Sir Evander. She is initially terrified that the acolytes have come to "make her disappear", but eventually the party learns from her that Sir Evander has been coming to Ysai Ydumi for over 20 years, and has been leaving people for that entire time, gaining a stipend which he uses to pay for his excursions to the pleasure world.

After stashing Lyra in the freight area of the station, Cadet Jamadar suggests that there may be an Adeptus Mechanicus tie in to the criminal activities, and that they should investigate the Adeptus Mechanicus areas of the station. The task proves daunting, as security is very tight and the area is protected by the Skittarii Tech Guard, but Trooper Fraal and Sanctionite Xanthia manage to sneak in. After wandering for a time amid the technological marvels of the Machine God - many of which seem to be focused on study of the strange, glowing stones from the planet's surface - the pair manages to catch a Tech Priest and a noble in conversation while servitors load forbidden xenos artifacts into crates labeled "agricultural supplies". In the background, the xenos craft that the acolytes arrived aboard is being readied for shipping. Xanthia puts forth the idea of taking psychic control of the craft but Fraal demurs, remembering how the insidious xenos machine spirit had attempted to devour her soul when last she encountered it. Instead the pair make their way back to the rest of the acolytes in the freight area of the station, which they stake out.

After several days of watching, they spot the crates of agricultural supplies being stacked in the freight area, along with xenos craft. Two days later, however, the Adeptus Mechanicus begins hurriedly moving freight back into their area of the station. Narthax appears and demands a debriefing. After receiving the acolytes' information, Narthax orders Trooper Fraal and Sanctionite Xanthia to take possession of the xenos craft, while Commissar Cadet Jamadar and Teniente Alferez Hernandez return to the nobles section of the station to try to apprehend as many of the conspirators as possible. As the latter enter the noble areas, they catch sight of an Imperial Strike Frigate hanging in space between the station and the planet. The winged fist of the Adeptus Arbites is displayed proudly on the prow.

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