An Interview with the Marshal
Opening off the control room are several private chambers and offices for the senior Adeptus Arbites officers—including Constantine, who has his own set of rooms. Up a brief spiral stair are the offices of Marshal Skarmen, housed in what appears to have been formerly an observatory, judging by the rich web of astronomical and astropathic imagery contained in the murals that cover the walls of the circular chamber. At the centre of the office sits a large, battered steel desk obviously salvaged from elsewhere. Apart from a single chair, a gun rack, and a large Imperial flag placed on the wall, the room is otherwise empty.
His recent posting to Sinophia Magna as Precinct Marshal and nominal head of the Adeptus Arbites on the planet occurred after his predecessor’s death in the Empty Men incident. It should have been considered an honourable promotion, were it not for Sinophia’s status as an outcast backwater and dumping ground for unwanted members of the Adepta. Despite the ignominy of his posting, the galling disregard the Sinophians hold his office, the ingrained criminality of the planet’s society, and the endless petty machinations, slights, and indignities heaped upon the Adeptus Arbites by the local authorities, Precinct Marshal Skarmen has for more than a year persevered and attended to his duties with care and diligence.
Seated behind a veritable mountain of files, folders, forms and dataslates is an imposing and distinguished figure whose grey hair and beard does not hide the fit, muscled form beneath his uniform. His manner is firm and commanding, appearing as a no-nonsense, tough, reasonable, and pious veteran of service to the Golden Throne. He answers your questions, but offers little opinion on the forces behind the murders apart from his concern that the Acolytes, as servants of the Ordos, are better placed to ultimately judge the matter. Warns breach of protocol by scanning everything in the room was met with an irritated glance, and a brusque end to the interview.
Death of a Salesman
In the case of Legate Dole, there are rumours that he was not slain by the scum of the 13th district. No, some say that he arranged for the disappearance of one of his debtors. To make an example. His demise might have been an act of revenge for his ruthless business conduct.
Legate Senh’Ar Dole is lying in the Folly’s morgue, but his scribes and clerks are still present in the Turning Hand. They do not know what to do and wait for astropathic reply to a request to their trade house for further instructions. It is learned that since Senh-Ar did not arranged for a delegate to take over in case of his death, his business and assets is locked in legal affairs by the government. A state of affairs which is silently met by the nobles of Sinophia, since about half of them was in debt to him and now have bought themselves some time. His grieving and now utterly impoverished wife denies any “murder contracts”, as does his scribes. However, she does know that the debtor did offer up a priceless diadem as security for the unpaid debt, a splendid affair of glittering jewels and sparkling silver. The diadem is later found to be missing from the list of impounded items kept by the enforcers.
The Enforcer General
Xiabius Khan is the Enforcer General in charge of the Sanctum Enforcers, Sinophia’s infamous and brutal local law enforcement agency. He is a former off-world bounty hunter who plied his trade across the Malfian Subsector for three decades and has now manoeuvred himself into a position as the pet monster of the dissolute Sinophian nobility. As Enforcer General, Khan reports directly to the Quorum and the Judiciary—who imbues him with his authority and finances him and the Sanctum Enforcers. The sole concern of Khan’s masters is the maintenance of their power and position, a desire that grows all the more keen with every step that Sinophia takes into ruin. As a result, Khan is given license to indulge any viciousness or personal avarice he pleases as long as he keeps the rotting elite in power. Khan is a ruthless and sinister individual who has built an organisation of cruel, sadistic men and women beneath him and wields them like a weapon.
Chief amongst the monsters who serve Xiabius Khan are the Mandato; a secret police force made up of torturers, assassins, and worse who report to Khan personally. With members of the nobility being brutally murdered, Khan has become personally convinced that the Undertow are sending him a message to stop him from trying to muscle in on their territory. He is in no mood to give in to their pressure, but at the same time is torn between his fears: that should he not smash the Undertow, he will be removed by the Quorum and cast to his many enemies, or that his fears of the wrath of the Undertow roused against him are indeed true.
Although the interview started out badly, with direct threats from Castus not kindly received, matters progress for the better and in the end his disposition is turned from suspicion and hostility to one of friendly cooperation. This is aided by the arrival of one of his staff, having just returned from a raid on a warehouse in Sector V where a Wanted poster depicting Havelas, Castus and Brutus is found. The enemy of my enemy, etc. With a common enemy, Khan is happy to accept any aid you can provide in reducing the Undertows influence on Sinophia.
After a brutal ambush on the return journey to the Folly, Havelas and Castus decide to seek refuge with Khan for the night, and stay up late drinking fine amasec and swapping war stories, comparing weapons and medals and tall tales of close shaves and fine escapes.
Death in the Clockwork Court
Summoned to meet the Judiciary and the Quorom in the Grand Basilica of the Judiciary, the Acolytes are dressed in their finest and arrive in a stately cruiser. As the Acolytes arrive they are met at the outer halls of the Clockwork Court and delayed by the guards, who display some private confusion about their appearance. Minutes later, Marshal Skarmen walks out from within, arguing loudly with an elderly and hawkish court official.
Skarmen points at the Acolytes and shouts: “You doddering idiot, they are the honoured agents of the Throne I have come here to meet!”
The usher gasps. “The Founder save us, who then have I let into the Court?”
Then, all hell breaks loose.
Lights flicker, die, and then pulse back on at half strength as explosions rumble throughout the building and smoke billows out of the passageway to the inner Court. The Sanctum guards panic and generally get in the way. Skarmen shouts, “With me! Protect the Judiciary!” and disappears into the smoke. Several of the Risen are playing havoc, killing at random and hurling grenades in an effort to cause as much carnage and confusion as possible. Meanwhile, thanks to sabotage devices planted in the Court’s power relays and the psychic static produced by the Risen, the mechanical Clockwork servants have gone haywire. No help is coming for the short term, and all communications and scanner systems have been cut off.
The Acolytes follow Marshal Skarmen, and soon run into one of the perpetrators, a man dressed much like the Acolytes themselves. At point blank range he (almost) surprises the Acolytes by shooting Brutus in the head. As combat is engaged, Brutus is shocked to see that his enemy is not an arbitrator at all: The Risen are heavy swathed in black bandages and dark green rain cloaks, hidden beneath a psychic illusion that makes them look like Inquisitorial Acolytes from more than half a metre away; a closer look disturbs the psychic veil, allowing the viewer to glimpse the true features of the Risen as if through a heat haze.
(GMs retcon note: Yes, I know I said 3m. So I made boo boo. So sue me!)
As you put this monstrosity down, he spontaneously immolates due to some incendiary device strapped to his side. Several more such monsters are encountered, and in their state of light armament they cause grievous wounds on our heroes, but the Emperors servants persevere and reach the Judiciary at last. But too late, he and his retinue have been killed. Their bodies are found in a private chamber nearby, each killed with a single las-round to the head without a single shot being fired in return—facts from which the Acolytes can deduce what they will.
Towards the end of the battle, Skarmen reappears, smoking bolt pistol in his hand, bruised and bloody from a wound to the head. He approaches the Acolytes, and nods back into the doorway from which he cam, stating "Killed one of the damned things”. A burning corpse is lying in the corridor he indicated.
Thus ends part I.
Some memorable moments:
Warn scanning the entire Haarlocks Folly with his augers and sensors, because he is convinced the place is “Very Bad”. Warn may now select Paranoia as an Elite Advance for 300XP.
Havelas catching RPG projectiles and going “all Neo on their asses” by stopping all the bullets.
Castus deciding to keep an assailant alive for questioning by “just wingclipping him”, then proceeding to shoot his entire leg off at the knee.
Brutus trying to throw a grenade past Warn, who is blocking the doorway. The grenade hitting Warn, and bouncing back down the stairs to Brutus.
Warn getting a meltabomb stuck to his metallic ass, then trying to dodge down the stairs. He hits Brutus, and they both tumble down the stairs until they hit the landing and the bomb goes off. The bomb takes out the stairs, and the fall down to the floor below. They both survive! The building is on fire and Warn needs medical attention before he bleeds to death. He makes a new door on the third floor with his plasma pistol, and jumps out, floating to the ground while jetting blood and oil everywhere.
Castus placing a carefully aimed dual-shot with his bolt pistols right into Brutus arm, tearing it off at the shoulder. Friendly Fire FTW!