game using Shadow War rules for combat with GM
Last Call on Luceron.
The sun shown down on the dead world of Luceron like a baleful eye. Uglug sniffed the air above the landing pad which smelled vaugely like the thing the sky gods used to try to keep their star sailers clean then squinted. Maybe not so dead after all. Somewhere in the vast, dusty distance shapes moved. He grunted a few gothic words and pointed.
Col. Helstrom scanned where the feral was pointing though his magnocular. Something was moving out there, big, coming stealthy but fast. Still, it shouldn't matter. They were at least 3 klicks out, and the shuttle was ETA five minutes. Then it was farewell to Luceron and good riddance. What could be looted had been, and that treasure bought with blood was stowed in the Princess of Orion's hold. His unit and the three Ferals were the last of the away teams on the surface. A mechanicum Arc was inbound to reclaim the planetary husk now that Hive Fleet Scaith had departed. The Princess was already boosting outsystem, but their shuttle was fast enough to overtake comfortably before the Cogs arrived. He'd wanted to take one last look through Facility 231 for data that might shed more light on the mystery of the mechanicus schism, but it had been futile. He puffed his cigar and cursed the thin atmosphere that so tainted the flavor. At least the nids hadn't taken ALL the air. Hard to smoke in a vac suit.
The shuttle appeared, a dot at first, growing steadily larger on a pillar of fire until touching down next to the wrecked sky shield. A hatch swung down and the pilot stepped out. He jerked a thumb behind him. "Vee go, yoss? Ju vant for I chek de
bags or sumfin?"
A grinding interrupted this as a hatch, thought long deactivated opened on the skyshield. A platform raised up through it, revealing a group so out of place the band of hardened killers on the platform stood open mouthed and did not even reach for their weapons.
"I am Governess Kirklin. These are my wards, the children of the late planetary governor Aurelious. Somehow we have been overlooked in the evacuation and have spent a considerable time in the spaceport emergency bunker. We will, of course, be leaving with you."
The Ferals were the first to recover.
"Dog go too?"
"Yes, the dog goes too."
"Dog is good eating."
"I wouldn't know."
The Pilot broke in: "I dostn care oo Ju iz. Dere iz only eight slings on de
Shootle. Ju ain't goin."
The governess fixed him with a gimlet eye. "Unless I miss my guess, that man's patches and gear" she gestured at Trinkman, "indicate that he is a qualified orbital pilot. That makes you superfluous, thereby increasing the available "slings" by one."
A babble of conversation broke out with feral world math and orbital mechanics being bandied about in a lively manner, such as the possibility that one could cling to the outside of the shuttle and "breath through a long tube". The pilot drew his laspistol and stepped back into the hatch shouting. Hellstrom felt the need to take control of the situation, so he drew his plasma pistol and shot him. The pilot lurched back through the hatch, burning but still alive thanks to his heavy pressure suit and the hatch slammed shut. Muffled cursing followed as the shuttle powered up.
The governess frowned. "Unfortunate. I recommend you move your men back Guardsman. Up against the pad edge and cover your heads children."
Helstromm's sixth sense tickled. "Witchcraft!"
"Hardly". The governess produced a remote. "I really recommend you bring that fellow back this way." She gestured at the feral who was menacing the shuttle piping with his magic sky sword.
"Now wait a..."
"No." She pressed the button. The adjacent pad went up, taking the shuttle with it. To Helstrom's veteran eye, it looked to have been competently mined. The blast was less potent in the thin air, but none the less sent the feral flying, only his high gee physique saving him from serious injury.
"Madam!" said Helstrom testily "I have considerable experience escaping from doomed worlds, and one lesson I have learned is that personnel are a resource that should never be expended lightly!"
"I would submit, Guardsman, that Luceron is "Post Doomed", however your point is well taken. Sadly, I could not wager the fate of my charges on the altruism of your people."
"I take it then that you have a contingency?"
"I do. There is a ship some forty Kiloms north of here. You will escort us to it. It is capable of lifting a least a hundred. We will, however, require transport." She peered out over the horizon. "You would know better than I, but that appears to be the smoke of a burning vehicle. And while a burning vehicle is clearly unsuitable, there may be others."
Dust swirled as the group looked gloomily at each other. One of the feral worlders was dead, his body slumped behind a rusted rhino. The governess was speaking quietly to the children.
"Now we shall see the funeral rites of their people. Won't that be interesting? Maybe they will sing as they send his spirit on."
Apparently the funeral rites of the Feral World consisted of taking everything of any possible value from the corpse before moving on. If the children were disappointed they didn't show it, staring vapidly as their nursemaid made odd gawping noises. The prize item was the Camobear Pelt cloak, slowly darkening as it lay in the shadow of the Rhino as the two surviving heavy worlders threw bones for it.
"What were those things?"
"Beats me soldier" said Helstrom. "They looked a lot like Barnabus and his crew of scavengers though. Always fancied themselves piratical."
"If Barnabus was made of green mist...."
Uglug stuck his head out of the Rhino. "Barabus, yes, yes. We fight him at big metal treasure place, but everybody run away. He no get away this time. Is here. Bad Sky Magic!"
Whoever had caught Barnabus hadn't given him a quick death. One messy sacrifice in the vehicle for each phatasm they'd faced in the desperate melee when the ghosts came swirling out of the Rhino.
They had approached the three rhinos with caution. Only the center one was burning, though the others were damaged. Caught by surprise they'd fought hard, but the misty shapes were not easily damaged, yet their swords cut readily enough.
A few minutes later, Trinkman had more bad news - the rhinos had been drained of fuel. It seemed Luceron would have the last laugh after all.
Uglug was unfazed. "No Prometheum? Maybe ask fisherman!" He pointed towards a shimmering patch at the base of nearby low, bleached hills.
"What do in pond?"
"Catch Crawlies. You like?" The thing on the stilts produced a wriggling creature from a bag. It was an immature tyranid ripper. More swam in the murky water. The stilts were metal, and still scared by the nashings of teeth. "You jump me, you sorry. Only me safe here."
"We need PRO-ME-THEUM. You see? Firewater. Go Juice. Guzzoline."
"Who boom Rhino?"
"Azure Slayer. Him up in hills, have cannon. Good Ambush."
It has been a good ambush. The attackers had been in two parties, one of which had laid up in the low hills, the other attacking at close range. They'd tracked the first rhino in the line, blown the second, and massacred the third when the passengers disembarked. They'd left nothing behind but spent brass and bolter holes.
Sadly, I've lost the mojo to write this up line by line, though I think I-walker has an after action report, so in summary:
Our heroes managed to get one Rhino going using their flamer fuel. The sound of... ...bagpipes? drifted over the the thin air and they were approached by lunatic dancers and musicians who offered to take them to "The provider".
They drove to a deserted city.
It was full of rats.
The Rats fled abruptly just BEFORE they let off a few rounds to panic them. Suddenly Venomthropes attacked, lunging through the windows!
Some characters got pretty banged up and breathed spores (-1 Toughness), but somehow no one went out of action permanently.
They met the provider, who turned out to be a strange little munitorium servitor thingy....
Unfortunately, being "Provided for" required you to send some of your people through a menacing dark doorway. Our heroes didn't like the look of that, and figured they'd try to get the fuel they needed by guile. They made a deal with the overseer of the mutant labor gang, he tased all his workers, they grabbed the barrel and ran for it.
They drove out onto the plane of glass left behind by an orbital strike, pursued by sail skiffs and the enraged "Provider" with his refractor field.
Various mayhem ensued involving flaming prometheum slicks, vehicle boarding, and the Governess doing something awful to the Overseer to make him give up the bomb he'd be using as insurance.
Unable to shake their Tyranid warrior pursuers, they fled up into the hills while sending Helstrom towards the ship using a jet pack and leaving behind a boobytrapped rhino. Wondering how they were being tracked, the servitor had been ordered to make a full scan, but it turned up only Helstrom's gall stone. The warriors ran them to ground at the compound of two strange old Koots, Burticus and Ern, who had ridden out the invasion in the remote hills. The fight was desperate as the Prime led the warriors into their position.
The feral warriors decided to throw the grenade they'd found in the Eldar Ruins back during Episode 6. It was a Vortex Grenade! Much death and destruction ensued.
Helstromm reached the ship, but a figure detached itself from the rocks, looked him over, reached some decision, and fell back without a shootout. Was this the "Azure Slayer?" What had his plan been and why did it change?
Still the last humans to escape Luceron blasted off on a pillar of flame minutes later.