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 The Wanderer Returns

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Phlegm

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Number of posts : 747
Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: The Wanderer Returns   Mon 8 Aug - 17:59:58

The Wanderer Returns
We were considering our position when Killbrakker reported intercepted radio chatter indicating that our heroic sergeant had got himself into a firefight, apparently an all human affair. We decided despite his key skill being bigotry that we would move to pick him up so that he could share in the heroic exploits that were surely an inevitable consequence of our new acquisition.

As we approached orbital insertion Killbakker’s sensors picked up a force of Hasturians moving to engage the humans. I began signalling the sarge warning him of our approach but no doubt his signal was being jammed as all channels were crawling with static. Then the Hasturians began to fall back, and a huge enemy cruiser was heading for our position, not because it had detected us, but because we had taken a position directly above our missing man.

Even Skank/ Kingbollok could work out what this meant although I did briefly consider a wind up saying that the creatures were famous for venting their primary toilet systems over their enemies as part of an ancient warrior tradition. We hurtled planetwards in our stealth shuttle as Killbrakker moved the Dauntless to a safer Hasturian Heavy cruiser free orbit.

We reached a position where we had locked on the Shafai just as the orbital bombardment commenced, blasting our beloved NCO several hundred metres with its second ranging shot. We swept in and disembarked under fire and pulled his body into the ship before dusting off rapidly as the whole area behind us changed into a superheated ball of expanding gas leaving a crater of such enormity that the GM was completely unable to gauge its size.*

*Any dimension over aprox 12’ completely defeats his sense of scale. Frankly it could have been anything from a hundred yards to ten miles across: We’ll never know.

Medical drones took on the task of resuscitating the seriously injured Omar and it was clear that even the pre tech healing arts would require more than two aspirin and a lot of bed rest. Whilst our former leader recovered we had time to do many, many things as Commandant Lassard of our old marine academy used to say: Lots of arguments with Omar for one thing, who seemed less than happy that we were all listed as KIA and therefore would not be drawing any pay any time soon.

He also seemed to have severe if undiagnosed Captain Kirk syndrome, continually baiting and provoking our friendly AI as if trying to make if go all HAL 9000 on us. We also studied the crew quarters to which we were now granted access, and consulted the records about the former crew whose corpses, lovingly preserved by Killbrakker still irritatingly cluttered our cargo bay.

The crew quarters contained various treasures including a highly illegal looking bio gun that Napa appropriated, diagnostic mirrors and various artefacts ranging from ceremonial swords to translation devices. We also found quite a bit of useful heavy duty equipment during a thorough inventory of the cargo bay.

Shafai at last reluctantly seemed to accept that we were now ex-army, as long as we used our new found powers to aid in the war against the Hasturi. This translated into a direct ‘let’s end the war with a decisive gesture’ strategy: Kill the Hasturi Queen. Ok then, what could go wrong?

A revelation meanwhile: Skank AKA Killbollok has discovered that she is the daughter of the ship’s long dead first officer. Killbrakker revealed that when the crew had fallen ill, his mother, who had also designed and built Killbrakker, had shot the uninfected child away from the ship to safety. Her real name is Ash* Gundish. Well to me this is clearly another indication that the saints work in mysterious ways and watch over us all at all times, but despite my best efforts the crew remain stubbornly heathen, especially Shafai.

*Ash? Wasn’t that the bad guy in Alien? Not a good omen

We jump to the Hasturi system relying on our stealth technology to get us close but with no real plan. On arrival the system is full of, surprise surprise, Hasturi shipping. Who’d have thought it? More surprising, there has been recent combat, clearly a human force had taken a beating.* As has the exchange station. It has taken a lot of damage and there are no human life signs. Looks like we ran a close second in this particular fight, sadly no silver medals are available for second place in such engagements.

*An assessment based on the tiny bits of dust that once constituted an impressive battle fleet Killbakka assured us.

A new plan is hatched: if the Exchange station has been destroyed by the Hasturi, proof would unite all the human factions against them. This would bring in the many human factions currently not at war with our feathered friends. Slightly worrying: Killbrakker’s assessment indicates that the Hasturi have only committed a third of their forces to the war do date, and don’t seem to be doing too badly despite the preaching of that well known devout Human supremacist, Sergeant Omar Shafai.

So we decide to dock and board the station, to find and record evidence in the hope that we find material that incriminates the Hasturi. If it turns out the other way around, hopefully some incriminating data can be manufactured, so with any luck what the saints call a win win.

Well the word docking turns out to be somewhat generous, still a couple of dinks on the bodywork just adds character right? At our second attempt we manage to secure to the damaged station and board, suited up, my motion sensor to the fore to prevent any little surprises. We head towards station security, our readings showing promising results, Ash hacking her way through locked doors.

We ascend a shaft several levels and Ash is almost grabbed by something as we leave but there’s nothing to be seen. We enter the security control centre and I shoot a security drone with my pistol. They don’t call me dead eye Ablethwaite for nothing.* We begin to download footage that handily shows that in fact the Hasturians were the clear aggressors.

*In fact they don’t call me that at all, for anything

Suddenly there is a warning on coms from Killbrakker – many life forms appearing and Ash is hurled down the corridor. Some sort of stealthed opponent is attacking us – the warning about the queen’s honour guard comes back to us – you won’t see what is killing you. After a difficult struggle in which we all take wounds if only from its deafening death scream, Shafai nearly falls through the deck – acid for blood -sound familiar? – as he tried an unnecessary coup de grace with his (now melted) monoblade. We’re on borrowed time we’re pretty sure these guys have a sophisticated avian communication system,* so more will be en route.

*Apparently they tweet

These were clearly fearsome opponents, you won’t believe where some of them had spikes, and whoops here come three more. This group picked out by my motion detector had a psyker with them who stopped a couple of us fighting temporarily during the combat. Fortunately they weren’t doing much damage and we despatched all three quite quickly although with my adrenal suppression pump in overdrive I didn’t really care and time seemed to be running quite slowly.

Our new super dupa rifles were doing quite well if we managed to hit, but had an alarming tendency to run out of ammo. Killbrakker could not aid us much; even when we ordered him to vent the oxygen as a tactic he could not largely because of our own hacks and damage to the station. He did send us a route back though with minimal opposition.

Minimal opposition turned out to be five more Hasturi, fortunately not elites and we wasted a few grenades blowing them up before returning to the ship past a pile of smouldering Hasturi bodies, evidence of a difference of opinion between them and our AI as to their right to board the Dauntless. By the saints as I always say you can get your point across quite well enough with a kind word, and a kind word and a gun works even better, but clearly a kind word and an automatic defence system wielded by a pitiless AI never fails.

So we have our evidence, just remains for us to return from the dead, unite humanity bringing them into a terrible meat grinding war against an implacable foe whose resources are at the very least similar to ours, whilst avoiding execution for possession of illegal technology. To be sure our names will be remembered if we can achieve it, but the question is, remembered by who and as what?

6.8.16
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