From the moment the mission to Zantine began, misfortune seemed to plague the Acolytes. Their landing craft became targeted by hostile surface-to-air missiles moments after entering the planet’s atmosphere. Who had tipped the heretics off to their incursion remains a mystery. However, thanks to the skills of a nameless pilot blessed by the grace of the God-Emperor himself, they managed a crash landing in a relatively harmless patch of earth. Unfortunately, both the ship and brave aviator suffered irreparable damage. The Acolyte team gathered what equipment and belongings they could before venturing to the nearest population center.
Cursory investigation was more than enough to tell something was rotten on this planet. Decadence stained every street corner, brothels and casinos threatened to outnumber the hab buildings, and all signs of the Emperor’s glory had been removed from sight. Their investigation showed the taint of the Ruinous Powers ran ever deeper. Churches were burned to the ground, and Administratum counting houses had been looted. They were unable to locate even the lowliest servant of the Emperor, much less any sign of the Inquisitor they had come in search of. No further proof was required. After locating an Astropath, they quickly forced him to send out the coded signal for Exterminatus. He was gifted with a death only slightly less unpleasant than that due to befall every other creature on the forsaken world.
Their own extraction became the final obstacle to overcome. The team located the nearest spaceport and, over the course of several weeks, moved in secret towards it. After arriving no more than a city block from the site, Siinter took it upon himself to develop the most logical plan to secure transport. It was decided that they would need a fast ship, a distraction to obtain it, and a pilot to operate it. Perhaps he was too caught up with his calculations, but when Sebastian offered to find a pilot he dismissed him with a “Yes, yes…go ahead. Dealing with people is what you’re good at.” The rattled priest had done just about all he could to hold back the torrent of hate until now. He had tired of hiding in the face of these blasphemous heretics and marched into the streets proudly displaying his Ecclesiastical regalia. It was no surprise that the first man to approach him quickly ran in the other direction screaming at the top of his lungs. Mir had noticed the flawed judgment of the self-righteous holy man and decided to follow him, but it was too late. A crowd of angry citizens quickly formed in response to the fevered cries.
Sebastian used the opportunity to blather a stream of hateful denouncements at the mob, condemning their carnal ways and momentarily confusing them. Having seen that the situation was about to spiral out of control, Vindex committed to the distraction early, firing a single armor-piercing round at a parked promethium tanker. The explosion issued forth an angry torrent of flame, which then sent the crowd into a panic. As the crowd surged away from the carnage, Mir gathered up the still-raving Sebastian and ushered him towards the space port.
Meanwhile, the tech priest had already advanced inside, attempting to find a security panel to access. This lead to him being quickly discovered by a pair of guards who questioned why he was not seeking shelter elsewhere. A bit of analytical smoke and mirrors was all it took to frustrate the simpletons into leaving him be. Unfortunately, this is approximately the time Mir drug Sebastian into the entrance way. The officer there reacted as you might expect and ordered them to hit the floor. Mir thought this to be a foolish request, deftly manipulating his psychic forces to boil the traitor’s blood within his body. The ensuing commotion drew the other guards on duty quickly in their direction.
A massive firefight ensued in the middle of the spaceport terminal. Mir and Sebastian sought cover from the onslaught of automatic weapons fire, while Vindex and Siinter maneuvered to support them. The assassin used the excess distraction to set himself up in a concealed position. From the shadows he struck out, treating the head of each guard as if it were a ripe melon on the firing range. Siinter unloaded his firearm at the unsuspecting men that had bothered him moments before, but they weathered his sneak attack. The tech priest was nearly turned to a fine meat paste by their counter barrage.
Vindex continued to avoid detection, silently removing their foes one by one. Mir became gravely wounded, but their underestimation of him put the situation in his favor. Clueless to his unnatural healing abilities, the guards pressed into close combat range. The psyker lashed out at them with unbridled fury, even taking the arm of one heretical peon. Alas, his valorous effort was to no avail. The remaining forces of the enemy regrouped and cut him down with concentrated fire.
Injured and out-gunned, Sebastian was forced to lure the attackers away from his fallen comrades. He ducked from pillar to pillar, taking pot shots to distract his foes from locating Vindex’s superior position. Despite the odds, the remaining traitors were steadily relieved of their lives by a few well-placed shots. Once the area was secure, Vindex and Sebastian gathered up their injured and ran out onto the tarmac. It was there they spotted the abandoned Gun Cutter that was to be their salvation.
A barely conscious Siinter was set to work soothing the machine’s spirit, and before too long, he managed to activate the craft’s auto-pilot. Vindex wasted little time in using the on-board weapons to obliterate the flight tower and secured their escape. The first salvo of virus bombs from the Imperial Fleet rushed past their vessel moments after take-off. Siinter’s mechanical manipulations were all that kept them alive as the ship dodged the lances of light aiming to ignite the planet below. Although, perhaps there had been a higher power guiding their path from the beginning?
MVP: Vindex (+300 xp)
LVP: Dorn (-100000000 Internets)
Valuable Lesson Learned: DM should provide more cover in firefights!