Mission Log

Entry 1: Bandits on the Horizon

A dirty drop pod slowly descended on to the surface of the planet Iocanthos. Four individuals were confined inside the falling metal box. A tech priest named Worner, who was idly making conversation with a seemingly unarmed medic named Jace. Although the tech priest seemed to be fully absorbed in his conversation, an optical mechadendrite protruded from behind his head and seemed to be examining the other passengers. The other two passengers seemed happy to be left alone, one, a sniper as evidenced by the large rifle strapped to his back, named Koch Fort, and a guardsman named Aku Nedon. Koch was observing the descent through a window whilst Aku, apparently unaware of everyone else, oiled and polished a long chain.

As the pod started to decelerate, Aku gave one last loving look to his chain, before looping it and carefully attaching it to his belt. He stood abruptly and said “we should be landing soon, does anyone know what our instructions are from there?” Worner tore himself away from his conversation with Jace and reviewed a datapad; “it seems we’re to meet up with a local named Kak Tuz on arrival, he’ll lead us to the main town of Port Suffering and we take instruction from there”. Everyone in the pod stood up as they made their landing and exited.

Aku pulled a pair of magnoculars from within his pack and started to survey the surroundings. “There’s someone over there”. They all looked as a strange man who appeared to be wearing a run down coat over enforcer armour came into view. Strapped to his hips were an assortment of weapons, which he fingered idly as he approached, and atop his head was a wide brimmed hat.

“Howdy” greeted the strangely garmented man, “name's Kak Tuz, I think you’re the group I was meant to help to the town, shouldn’t be more than a few days walk, make the journey 2 or 3 times a year meself…”. Kak rambled on for a few more minutes, it seemed he liked the sound of his own voice, and as he rambled on the group noticed the slight glazing over of his eyes. Finally, after several minutes, Worner interrupted what had turned into an anecdote about saving his cactus farm from bandits, “shall we get started then, I’m sure we can hear more about your impressive antics on the move”. Kak did not seem taken aback by this interruption and said “follow me” before heading off and continuing with his story as if he had been uninterrupted. The day wore on by late afternoon they could see a small town in the distance, Kak informed them that this was a small farming outpost and that they might be able to buy a room for the night for more comfort than just camping in the desert. The group agreed but as they grew closer it became apparent that this town had been sacked not long ago. The houses and church were in ruin, and on closer inspection everything inside the houses had been either broken or stolen.

They were regrouping when they heard an exclamation of excitement from Worner in one of the houses. Rushing over they found that he had found an armoured ground vehicle. The thing was in disrepair and missing a roof, but Worner explained to the group that there was enough fuel to get her going and he could fix it by dawn. Happy with the idea of not having to spend the next few days walking but instead cruising in style, they all decided to call it a day. They slept in different houses in case any travellers came through the town whilst they were sleeping.

It was during Koch’s watch that they arrived, a group of around ten bandits, the leader immediately identified by Koch as the large man giving out orders and hefted a mean looking chainaxe on his shoulder. Koch signalled down to Worner from his position atop the roof of the two storey building to stop working and check out the situation. Koch stood up from his hidden position and addressed the bandits in hopes to diffuse the potential gunfight before it started. “Greetings, we mean you no harm and have merely taken up lodgings in this abandoned town for the night, leave now and you will be unharmed” Koch shouted to the bandits below. The bandit leader looked up at Koch with derision, “fuck your elegant words, and fuck you, we’ll leave once we’ve taken everything you have”. “So be it”, said a disgruntled Koch. As he lowered himself back to the ground and took aim at the leader, he resolved to keep his location a secret in all future encounters. He fired a well-aimed shot at the leader which took him in the knee, he grunted in pain and was dragged behind cover before Koch could fire again. The bandit grunts returned fire at Koch. The commotion roused the other travellers. Aku was the first to act, initially startled by the gunfire, he smiled to himself as he un-looped the chain from his side and started to swing it, eager to join the fray. He sighted a bandit with a club as he ran for the building atop which Koch lay and ran into combat with him.

Jace roused himself to see the group of bandits in front of him, currently unaware of his position. He pulled a pistol from his hip and fired upon the closest bandit, wounding him. The bandit swung round and fired a useless shot that went wide; Jace took careful aim and put him out of his misery with his second shot. He stood silently and drew an enormous syringe from inside his jacket which seemed to be topped with a small gas cylinder for aggressive injection. He loaded it with a vial filled with clear liquid, and stalked the unaware bandit in front of him.

Kak threw himself to the floor of the first story of the building he was napping in, he pulled one of his pistols and started firing into the group of bandits, killing one and wounding another. The club bandit stuck in combat with Aku was reeling from the flurry of blows that came from his experienced opponent. He tried vainly to counterattack what appeared to be a miss by Aku, but it was a clever ruse, as the bandit triumphantly swung around Jace to strike him from behind, Aku whirled and stabbed the bandit through, killing him instantly.

Meanwhile from the other house, Kak was trying to lay down suppressing fire as the bandits shot at Koch. Kak managed to take down another as he saw Koch take a bullet to the side, as Kak watched from the lower floor of the house, a flaming jerry can of petrol was flung through a window, bursting open almost in the centre of the shooting bandits. Two instantly caught on fire, while one managed to dodge away from the flames, only to be shot down by Kak. Koch with an opening took aim and shot another bandit, whilst he repositioned his rifle he watched as the bandit leader and two grunts ran across to the building he was in. He took careful aim and shot down one of the grunts as the other one flung himself through the lower window where the jerry had originated. Unfortunately Worner was ready waiting for just such an occurrence as he struck him down and with a commanding tone told him to lay down his weapons, and he might be spared. The sheer force of his tone caused the bandit to pause, and when Worner did not faulter, the grunt lay down his weapons and sat on the ground crying silently.

The leader ran up the stairs to engage Koch, still unaware of this impending threat. As he materalised in the opening to the roof, Koch sprang to his feet, and from behind his back drew a wicked looking knife. The leader charged with his chain axe but before he had time to swing Koch sprang out of the way and drew the knife across the bandit three times drawing blood, as the chief staggered Koch took his opportunity and grappled with the chief to hopefully push him off the edge.

Unbeknownst to him one of the final bandits took careful aim at Koch as he prepared to push the leader off the roof. As the bandit’s finger curled against the trigger he felt the light touch of what could have been an insect landing on his neck, and then the gas cylinder on Jace’s syringe activated, painfully injecting poison into the bandit’s veins. The bandit opened his mouth as if to cry out as he went a deathly pale, veins popping up on his face and arms, blood streamed from his nose and eyes. He was dead before he had time to scream.

Back on the roof top Koch managed to manoeuvre the leader to the edge of the roof, and from there tipped him over where he fell eight meters and landed with a crunch onto his head. Koch peered down at him, slowly bent to pick up his rifle, took careful aim, and shot the leader clean between the eyes.

Down below on the ground floor Worner questioned the last living grunt. It seemed that this group raided the town a while ago, which Kak pointed out was not uncommon, bandits were rife outside the main city. Having extracted the requisite information, Worner pulled a pistol from his robes, and shot the final grunt dead. He told the group that he should still be able to get the vehicle up and running by sun up so they should get some rest. The group agreed and returned to their sleeping positions. On his way back to his sleeping mat, Aku pulled a knife from a bandit’s belt and whispered to himself “yes this will do” as he absent mindedly stroked the chain by his side. Kak returned to his position, removing his helmet and replacing his wide brimmed hat, which he pulled over his eyes. Jace returned to the base of the water tower where his mat lay and was quickly lulled back to sleep by the sounds of production coming from the house where Worner continued his work on the vehicle.

Entry 2: Trouble in Town

As the new day bloomed, Worner had completed his work on the vehicle and the party eagerly boarded the vehicle. Aku took the wheel since he was the only one in the party able to drive. The trip into Port Suffering was uneventful and they arrived just after midday. As they pulled slowly into the vehicle holding facility, Kak yelled “C’mon impress me this whole drive has been mo’ boring than watching spines grow out of a cactus!” The group exchanged glances, surprised by this outburst; unfortunately that sentiment was not shared by Aku who seemed also to have been bored by the long straight drive. He floored the car and built up speed in the small confine of the parking compound, he concentrated on a free spot and all at once pulled hard on a lever by his leg whilst simultaneously swinging the wheel. Kak hooted and took off his hat to swing it whilst the rest of the party looked on in horror as the heavy armoured vehicle slid sideways. There was a heavy groan followed by a metallic snap as car hit the end wall still going a considerable speed. Luckily everyone had managed to hold on to something and no one was harmed. Worner dismounted and checked below the vehicle, he reemerged to inform the party that it would take a couple of hours to fix the vehicle. The anger in his eyes was apparent, but Aku was already deep in conversation with Kak who seemed to be congratulating Aku on his skill.

Once the vehicle had been fixed they went in to town and headed straight for the main precinct. They were told that it was too late in the day for a meeting and they would have to wait until the next day. They retreated back and found a comfortable tavern, the Smokey Metal and discussed the next day’s plans. Worner seemed displeased at the setback, and turned to look at the others only to see Kak dancing on a table with surprising skill as Aku and Jace clapped on merrily, seemingly unaware of the dirty looks they were getting from not only Worner, but quite a few of the other patrons.

In the morning they returned to the precinct and were greeted this time by its commanding officer. He informed them that they would be investigating the murder of the late Suffering Marshal Zarath. They were herded into a transport and taken to an alley, in what appeared to be the poorer part of town. The inspector left the party to examine the alleyway. Jace derobed the man and started to do a medical analysis while Aku looked on eagerly, Worner and Kak surveyed the area and Koch rushed off to examine what he suspected was a trace of blood. Kak noticed two large holes in the wall which seemed to have been made by a shotgun blast, the only thing that Jace and Aku could tell from the body was that he had strange burn marks around his nose, eyes and mouth. Aku informed the group that he had seen this before, and that it was a cause of pure energy being blasted into a body. Worner, on examining the clothes emerged with a small wad of cards; containing keys, identification, and money cards.

As the group were sharing their findings Aku silently alerted the group to a small urchin boy who had been watching the entire proceedings. He informed the group that he would capture the boy for questioning. He swung suddenly pulling a grappling hook from his belt and threw it towards the boy. Luckily for the urchin the nasty hook stuck in the wall, and with that he turned tail and ran, with Koch quick in pursuit. As he followed though the urchin obviously had a good knowledge of the streets and quickly disappeared much to Koch’s dismay.

He returned to the group to tell them of his failure, but with the clue that the urchin had a blue tinge to his eyes. They concluded that it must have been the effects of some drug. Koch and Kak decided to spend a while hidden in the alley to see if the urchin returned. The others opted to return to town to try and find information about the drug while Worner went to investigate Zarath’s home.

Aku knew where a lot of information could be found, so headed straight for the local brothel. Jace decided to question some of the local shop keeps. He wandered idly into an arms store and asked a few questions about a drug that would give the eyes a blue tinge. The shop keep looked Jace up and down slowly and sneered at him, “I have no information for you, you have 5 seconds to leave my store before I make you.” Jace seemed unperturbed by the obvious threat from the arms dealer, “No, you have 5 seconds to leave” he responded. A boom shook the shop as the shotgun concealed beneath the counter went off and slammed into Jace’s chest. His armour softened the blow and despite the blood that oozed from his chest the only sign he gave that he had felt the shot was a slight frown. As the shop keep fumbled to reload his gun Jace calmly pulled another vial of poison from his jacket, loaded it into his syringe and approached the man, jamming it into his neck. The shop keep crumpled to the ground. Jace saw officers approaching, probably alerted by the noise of the blast, he pushed the shop keep out of sight and took up post behind the counter. The guards entered and asked Jace “where’s Gunther?” Jace responded “Gunther’s not in today, I am in charge and someone just came in trying to rob the place, the escaped out the back so if you want to get your petty thief I would recommend going after him.” The guards looked Jace up and down, pausing on the obvious wound on his chest, “Fred, Bob, you go round the back and see if you can find this thief, I’d like to question this man.” Jace was just handing over his identification when Fred and Bob returned halfway through their report of finding no one out the back they stopped, noticing Gunther dead on the floor behind the counter. “I think you’d better come with us” uttered the chief after assessing the dead Gunther, and a hood was shoved over Jace’s head and he was forced into a squad vehicle.

Worner was having more success with his attempt as he let himself into the late Zarath’s home. Perusing slowly, he noticed a picture on the mantle of Zarath with a man in front of a bar whose name was visible. On further inspection of the small apartment, it seemed that Zarath kept a tidy home, and there was nothing else of use there. He returned to the Smoky Metal to await the others. Koch and Kak were the first to return reporting that no one had frequented the alleyway since they had departed. Next to arrive was Aku, who had adopted a strange gait, he informed the party that the drug used by the urchin was called Flame and was not widely used and therefore hard to get a hold of. Last to return was Jace, the bar turned quiet as he entered and everyone watched as he limped over to the rest of the party. He had obviously been beaten and was still slowly bleeding from the wound on his chest. He informed the party that he would rather not talk about it, and that he had no information to share about the drug. Worner then told the group what he had found out about Zarath’s friend and the bar, they were discussing their next course of action when they were interrupted by the owner of the bar. “I think you’d all best be leaving, otherwise you might not wake up tomorrow” he growled at them. The party bristled at the threat rising quickly but were silenced by Jace “I agree, let’s just leave this place”. The rest of the group quickly pieced together what must have passed with Jace and quickly left the place under the watchful eye of the owner.

With nothing else to do they decided to go and investigate the bar in the photo. On arrival they all split off, Aku and Jace approached a group of scantily clad women, Kak and Koch went to join a group of burly looking men all taking part in some form of drinking ritual and Worner took up place at the bar to survey the place. After ordering a drink Worner sighted the man who was in the photo and approached the man offering him a drink. The man accepted and they began to talk, as it turned out this man was a friend of the late Zarath and although he knew of his passing he had no information as to what he was involved in. As Worner plied him with drinks the man eventually gave up the location of the hunting cabin he shared with Zarath. Worner thanked him sincerely and raised a glass to the memory of Zarath. The amount of drink the man had downed that night and the recentness of his friend’s death suddenly seemed to overcome him as he broke down in silent sobs throwing himself over Worner who looked slightly uncomfortable.

Kak and Aku were unable to uncover any new information at the bar and decided to call it a night. Koch and Jace decided to try and find out more information about the drug in question by following their two separate parties wherever they went for the night. Both returned in the morning looking worse for wear, Koch especially seemed to have scratch marks around his eyes. They informed the group that they had no new information to share, after which they decided the best course of action would then be to investigate the hunting cabin.

They retrieved their vehicle from the compound and made the daylong journey up to the cabin. On arrival the cabin looked deserted, the broke in and started to look around. Kak headed straight for the weapons cabinet, and broke it open to find a powerful looking sniper rifle, as he discussed its abilities with Koch, Worner informed the group that he had found a strange crack in the book case. Jace took the wad of cards that belonged to Zarath and started trying them in the slot. As he drew the third one through there was a small thunk, and the book case started to lower revealing a sunken bunker. On investigation of this extra room they found four flowers and a petal from each on the main table each with its own label. Insert color of flowers and names here

They took all of them, and returned to the cabin. They discussed the implications of their findings long into the night, until finally they all succumbed to sleep, leaving a tired Koch to take watch. In the morning as they were preparing to depart, Jace noticed a red dot move up Worner’s body and halt on his forehead, he ran at Worner yelling “DUCK!” Worner looked up with a grin and responded “where?” before Jace slammed into him tackling him to the ground as a las round punched into the wall behind where Worner had been standing….

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