Xenos, Xenos, Xenos!

It is our destiny to rule the universe, just as it is the destiny of the Xeno to pave our way!
— Evocation to the Immortal Emperor

The acolytes sent a report via astropath, detailing what they have learned of the Righteous Path, including the coordinates received from Dray, and also leave information for Inquisitor Rathbone's team on board the Misericord. They negotiate an agreement with Seneschal Vril Estigos for first rights on the vessel itself, and for the Inquisition to pay for any damages to the Sabre. The Seneschal mentions that if the coordinates from Dray allow it, the Sabre will be stopping at Footfall in the Koronus Expanse for some trading, and will also have to drop from Warp space a few times to recalculate jump coordinates.

Estigos also hands necklaces with aquila pendants to everyone, advising them never to take them off, even for a moment, while they are on board or they will be targeted by the security systems. The acolytes, along with Baronet Rieksdag and Junior Purser Darl, get their gear and board the Rogue Trader Sabre. They are taken to the staff area of the ship — only the Seneschal and the Captain himself can move from staff quarters to bridge and back. The navigator and the astropath stay on the bridge, and the three staff members stay on the crew side.

The staff includes only three people: first is a lightly augmented Adeptus Mechanicus techpriest, Aleph 859, a registered Explorator in charge of maintenance, engineering, and exploration. Next is a woman in Ecclesiarchy robes, Sister Skent Talkos, the ship's diplomat and ecclesiarchical representative, as well as medic. Finally, Void Master Kerris Gorman, a quiet type smoking an IO stick, who handles ship sensors, weaponry, etc. Estigos himself handles cargo, payment, repairs, etc.

Word is that the Fell Hand already left a few hours ago… The coordinates turn out to be in the star system of Magoros in the Winter's Scales of the Koronus Expanse, and not too far from Footfall. The Captain would like to stop by Footfall to resupply, recalculate, and because he suspects Hadrek Fell will also stop there. The acolytes agree, deferring to the Captain's expertise. Thus, the first stop will be at Battlefield, followed by Footfall, then Magoros.

A couple of days into the voyage, Estigos announces that a warp vortex has developed; waiting for it to dissipate would take days, but to go through may cause some harm to the ship. The acolytes prefer to push on and through the warp vortex, but the experience is not a pleasant one. No damage to the ship is immediately found.

As they emerge into normal space near the pirate haven of Battlefield, the astropath announces that they are receiving a distress signal from a pilgrim vessel being attacked by pirates. The acolytes agree that they should go render assistance — although of course it could be a false distress signal… Sister Talkos is happy to get their support.

They reach the scene of the embush, where two spike-encrusted Dark Eldar ship have waylaid the pilgrim vessel and started boarding it. Sister Talkos is taking a boarding torpedo to retaliate, and the acolytes volunteer to help her. When they crash through their target and set foot on the pilgrim vessel, they find a group of pilgrims arranged in the shape of an aquila, and all have been flayed.

The group is surprised by a group of Dark Eldar and their shuriken catapult attack. Junior Purser Darl goes down in a spray of blood, and Aenid and Calpurnia are grazed. Rollando opens up with his lasgun in response, mowing down an enemy. Calpurnia follows suit with similar success. But the Eldar shoot again, and the Baronet is badly wounded. Again, Rollando fires a couple of times and downs another enemy before the rest run away.

Sister Talkos quickly provides first aid to the (grievously) wounded and stabilizes them. (Uses the bennie from the servo-skull in the process.) The group heads for the umbilical connecting the pilgrim vessel to an Eldar ship, hoping to cut it off. A dozen enemy are guarding the target, amusing themselves by torturing a few pilgrims; Aenid and Calpurnia sneak in and take out a couple of Eldar in the back ranks, and Rollando snipes at a third, grazing him.

Sister Talkos charges into the melee, wielding a force sword and obliterating one more Eldar. The hated xenos charge back, activating power fists; one shatters Aenid's armour! Rollando picks out his previous target and finishes him off. Aenid draws her shotgun and blows another one away. Another hit from Sister Talkos slices one enemy in two. Rollando shoots another one into oblivion, and Calpurnia, drawing her lasgun, shoots and grazes an Eldar at close range. Sister Talkos gets another one, as Rollando and her are trying to outdo one another for kills. Bang! Rollando catches up on the body count.

Calpurnia grazes one again, Rollando blows up one of Sister Talkos' opponent; Calpurnia is lightly hit by a power fist, and Sister Talkos finishes off Calpurnia's opponent. Rollando finishes off the last one, ending ahead by one count.

But even though they now have control of the area, the acolytes and their allies now have a problem: the boarders blew the hatch when they connected their umbilical. Can Calpurnia rig a demo charge and a timer, or will someone have to stay and destroy the connection manually, at the cost of their life?


Yes! Calpurnia manages to rig a charge and a timer so they can have time to retreat behind the sealed bulkheads. The Sabre blows the Eldar ships into retreat. After the battle, Aleph 859 examines the pilgrim ship and reveals that the warp engines are damaged beyond repair; they can leave the pilgrims on board and hope that they will be picked up by another ship, or they can spend a couple of days reconfiguring life support on the Sabre to take on more passengers. Of course, the acolytes agree that the pilgrims must be taken aboard, even at the cost of another delay — who knows what warp travel will do to travel time anyway!

Aleph 859 strips the pilgrim ship of anything useful and reconfigures the Sabre's life support systems. The ship then heads to Footfall, where they hear that Hadrek Fell just left at about the time they arrived in-system. They drop off the pilgrims then travel another couple of weeks to the Magoros System, which used to be part of a xenos empire, the Egaran Empire. The star is a quasar called the Flickering Eye; the planets are Magoros Minor, a small rocky world, Magoros Prime, which contains ruins of the Egaran Empire, Magoros Secundus, a sub-zero jungle, and the Halo Shards, an asteroid belt. The scans reveal no signals in-between the flickers of the quasar.

The acolytes opt to do a sensor pass around each planet, starting with Magoros Secundus, to look for vessels in orbit or signs of a major crash. Sure enough, the sensors pick up a faint signal going from Magoros Secundus to Magoros Prime, and find signs of a crash on the planet, as well as ruins. They will need to wear vacuum suits and investigate the sub-zero jungles; Aleph 859 and Kerris Gorman accompany the group, along with Baronet Rieksdag. Purser Darl is still healing.

The crash has cleared a large swath of jungle, ploughing into ground and scattering huge. It's hard to identify anything, but it looks like a mix of technologies. Aleph 859 sends a team of servitors around, and eventually comes to the conclusion that this was probably several vessels together — a space hulk; he finds Ork glyphs on the hull. But it looks a bit small for a space hulk — it may only be part of one.

The signal is coming not from the crash site but from Egaran ruins. From the air in the lander, the view reveals that Egaran buildings were built as mazes. They land near to point of origin of the signal in the center of a maze section and find a large glowing crystal that turns out to be beaming energy to Magoros Prime.

They decide to leave and go check Magoros Prime next. There are more energy spikes detected in the vicinity of the target of the signal from Magoros Secundus. Bad dust storms make it impossible to detect any sign of a potential crash.

Magoros Minor is a cinder world, but shows signs of a lander-sign crash on the surface. They can only explore the area between flares of the Flickering Eye. A cautious approach and examination shows that this was an old Aquila lander. Aleph and Gorman examine the interior of the lander; one light on the dashboard is still working — the log of the lander. It belonged to the Rogue Trader Starweaver and the lander was studying the star for the Adeptus Mechanicus.

They salvage the cogitator and take it to the Sabre. One earlier entry is of interest: survey of Magoros Prime suggests that some of the ruins were of a telescope keeping track of all the celestial bodies in the Magoros system, the Star Mirror. Calpurnia suggests that this apparatus might have picked up signs of the Righteous Path.

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