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 In the Halls of the Machine God

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Phlegm

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Number of posts : 749
Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: In the Halls of the Machine God   Tue 18 Apr - 14:00:44

In the Halls of the Machine God
A healing session opened proceedings as has become frighteningly traditional, the loyal medbot hauling several of us, most notably Toma Babel back from the precipice that is the other side. My makeup needed some serious touching up I can tell you, but Andal remains resolutely resistant to my charms however much touching up I invite him to do.

The Emperor’s grace has preserved us for another day and we huddled at the tower top amid the wrecked servitors, regaining strength for our trip into the oven. Unwin spent the time at his books presumably not working on recipes for cooked comrades but his occasional cackles and, (possibly my imagination?) flashes of madness in his eyes did not bode well.

We returned to the kitchen and using the instructions that we had discovered in the study operated the hidden trapdoor which revealed an elevator platform. To the accompaniment of bland soft mechanical muzak we descended to the secret laboratory of Gustavus. Standard mad scientist paraphernalia littered the area.

Behind a false wall we found several mutant experiments where a deranged mind had decided that grafting feet to replace hands and the construction of a human centipede were worthwhile endeavours. Unwin took the sight badly and shrank away into a dark corner mumbling incoherently. Just another day at the office.

Two corpses stitched together to form grotesque conjoined twins completed an ensemble of horrors and ever the cautious types, we plugged the skull(s) of each abomination, however long dead they appeared. On the floor, an inlaid design of a stylized crescent moon seemed unduly disturbing and we discovered a well, sealed by a slab that hid the rotting bodies packed into it.

Then, as if by magic as they used to say on Mr Benn, Gustavus appeared. However instead of a friendly word from Ray Brooks and a tip of his bowler hat, he appeared to be experiencing significant anger management issues and he launched into an unprovoked attack after Pickaxe attempted unsuccessfully to engage him in conversation.
In support, a number of the corpses in the well stirred and began hauling themselves out of the water to attack. The whole incident had a terrifying effect on us all; I fired, but my accurate shot just passed through the apparition’s semi ethereal body. No way was I going anywhere near it either. Toma froze altogether and even Unwin seemed shocked.

Ghouls grabbed for Toma and I and I failed to dodge the icy clawed hand. Gustavus attacked Pickaxe and several other shots from my comrades also passed through the ghostly form. Three ghouls were on Toma as two tackled me, then we heard the gentle melodies of mediocrity again as Gertrude waved goodbye to us from the safety of the elevator. What a bitch!

Toma was in serious trouble now as the curse of the orange dice struck again. Two ghouls struck his unarmoured head in quick succession and with a great spurt of arterial blood his head flew some metres away, rolling under the lift platform. As his life force faded Toma’s last sight was of his own headless body staggering like a chicken around the room before collapsing in a heap.

The ghouls now all leapt to the aid of their master and Pickaxe found himself outnumbered six to one. I at last managed to shoot a ghoul having given up on Mr Transparent but my shot zinged harmlessly off its armour. Suddenly the lift was coming back, no doubt a pang of conscience having troubled my fellow assassin and she returned guns blazing. I do hope that Toma’s lifeforce had by now fled to the next realm as if not he now had the final indignity of his head being squashed to jelly by the descending lift that sent his brains shooting out in all directions with a satisfying splurt.

At last I got a good shot in on a ghoul, seriously wounding it and Andal killed two more with point blank bolter shots. I overcome my fear of Gustavus and piled in with Gertrude and Unwin to attack, only to see him dodge Edwina (as I have christened my power sword). Gertrude though scored a deft hit that turns out to be a killing stroke and Gustavus and his undead horde are no more. He signs off slightly worryingly with ‘And now you see that death means nothing to the really great.’ Hmm, sounds a bit too like ‘If you strike me down Darth I will only become more powerful’ if you ask me, but no one is.

He does cough up the last third of the cog clock key though, so that’s got to be good news right? Another healing session follows after the medbot fails to even attempt anything on Toma. We reverently strip his body of anything useful. Gertrude explains how she had gone to find something to burn Gustavus with, unsuccessfully and Andal seems convinced. Unwin just has a faraway stare and only I am left to vent righteous anger at her undoubted cowardice.

Andal comes up with a plan: I am short of ammo (and non-blood/ brain-stained clothing) and he has been lamenting his lack of foresight in bringing flamer weapons and I don’t know, say twenty or thirty heavily armed space marines. He will return to the city and pick up fresh supplies and equipment for everyone before we try the key and face whatever perils it will bring.

However after a short time he returns with Gertrude who was seeing him off. He looks flustered and upset, and slightly feathery. Later whilst I was pretending to sleep I heard Andal and Gertrude talking about what had happened: Apparently when he got in the car he spotted a hooded figure in the mirror behind him and leapt from the vehicle.

When he tried again the car exploded with black feathers and he again glimpsed the apparition. When Gertrude tried she was sealed in the car which was wreathed in pink flames before she sprang sadly sprang clear uninjured. Is her real name Penelope Pitstop I wonder? Someone does not want us to leave it appears. Is it Gustavus or someone, or something else?

The good news is that Andal gets my power sword working*, so Edwina will be a formidable weapon now. The tech priest gives Unwin and I no proper explanation as to why he has changed his mind about the aborted shopping trip, just gives us some ‘I thought it unwise to be away for two days’ crap. Good to see he trusts us, mind you I’m not at all sure I would trust Unwin, he is definitely a changed man.**

*Not a euphemism (sadly) he cannibalised power packs from the auto surgeon unit alright?
**To be fair Kev was playing him in Toby’s absence now that he had no Toma to worry about


We assembled the key and it triggered another trapdoor with a ladder descending into the dark, which seemed to be just fine with Unwin, who now winces painfully whenever light is near. Pickaxe has by skilful planning/ blind luck brought a climbing harness in his equipment which he now puts to good use.

As we descend we can hear the rumble of machinery and we emerge onto a network of catwalks, well-guarded with handrails and secure looking mesh, but of course this is just to lure us in. The catwalks allow access to several rooms on far walls and carry the walker safely above the huge whirring cogs that generate the noise below. The symbol of the Astro Mechanicus is prominent and Pickaxe must be feeling right at home.

A helpful map, although almost illegible now suggests an armoury, generator room and operator quarters lie at the end of each branch of the in no way perilous walkways. There is also a room that contains six servitors bearing light and one conveniently forms up to escort each of us, much to the displeasure of Unwin who cowers from the light. Another room lies somewhere down below, accessible only when the machine is at rest. What it is doing still churning on after all this time is anyone’s guess.

We head left to the armoury and recover some weapons and ammo, excellent news for my depleted laser pistols. There are even shells for the huge cannon above here and some consecrated ammunition which would have been handy in our previous encounter…. The place seems to be called ‘Pax Macaria’. There are also some heavy protective overalls, useless rations and some rebreathers, one of which I take.

The generator room has an unpleasant, one might almost say daemonic aura and we shun it accordingly. That leaves the room on the right, moderati quarters where we find a resplendent corpse in a highly decorated Imperial Navy officer uniform. The corpse has a good quality bolter immediately commandeered by Pickaxe and a vox which we play. It is the last log of Taren Hecate, real name Barbarous Xanitoff. He spent ten years here apparently spying on the other Hecates. Seems they were all crew of a rogue trader as discussed in the bedroom note where I acquired Edwina from the astropath corpse.

Our late friend was working for an inquisitor and he had been masquerading as a nobleman, succeeding in near bankrupting the family however, he had lost the black sepulchre. He refers to temptation offered by a daemon and says the black sepulchre is shown on the princeps maps. The log entry ends with the cheery sound of his suicide.

Adjacent to the quarters we find a medical bay with an excellent autosurgeon that specialises in re attaching heads. Oops. Anyway, moving on, to open the last door we need to engage the fuel rods in the generator room There are only three sets of radiation suits so I opt out and stand well back. Sure enough as soon as we get going with the process lowering the shield to put the fuel rods into the control console a number of pink daemons appear and attack.

I leg it to the armoury the others to the quarters, Gertrude oddly remains where she is and is the main target of the first volley of fireballs that damage the catwalk but not her. Andal throws a grenade unsuccessfully and Gertrude flees to join them. I meanwhile have been ordered to the control panel at the entrance to turn off the machine, but when I get there it looks extremely complicated and after a few random tries I abandon the attempt and head back to the armoury.

Another grenade attack, another failure but these daemons seem pretty poor with their psychic attacks as they keep getting perils, though unfortunately they are immune to the effects. Pickaxe now runs to the control panel that I have left and is struggling with it as there is a sudden great rush of psychic energy from one of the daemons on the damaged catwalk…This can’t be good.

15.4.17

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