40K Trials of Tobias: Session 5
I awaken. Memories return to me instantly and I stand up. I'm somewhere underground.
My vision is keen and the darkness holds no mystery for me. I look down at my body; I'm stripped of my armor and my bionic arms are cuffed. Immediately I know what to do; I carefully drip a single gob of acid-saliva onto the shackles and they melt away quickly. I do the same to the cage holding me and I step forth quickly. I look down again; I'm wearing nothing but rags that are ill-fitting for my hulking, muscular form. Bulwark and my pistol are nowhere to be seen. I dare not call on the powers of the Warp without my psychic hood to protect me.
An almost inquisitive, bubbling noise reaches my ears and I glance up. Somehow a cultist got past my awareness. I feel deaf and blind without my othersense. "Wotcha in here for, freak?" he spits. I don't even allow him to speak further; I unleash more of my acidic spit at him but there's some kind of force field between us and the hissing acid dissipates. He chuckles. "Bad move. Nope, that won't work." Accursed heretic. I lunge and am blasted back by an invisible wall of force. "So wotcha here for?" he asks again. "To kill you, and all of your kind," I finally say. I'm still on the same planet most likely. I can still continue my mission if I can escape. I focus my eyes further and I see the capsule that the Guardsman had been carrying, set in the heretic's belt. And an old backpack...
"They told me to feed ya," he says snidely. He presses a button and I sense a gap forming in the force wall between us. I wait with half-lidded eyes, seemingly inert. He reaches in with a plate of slop in his hands, and I take my chance. I seize his arms and yank hard, nearly ripping them from their sockets, slamming him face-first into the shield wall. His face splits like an overripe fruit and I hurl his battered body aside. Of all things, the 'food' on the plate is what saves me; it's liquid enough to slip into the rivets in the control panel and short-circuit them. The force field fades beneath my touch and I sprint out quickly, finishing the heretic off with a stomp as I go. snatching up the container. Alarms blare. ++INITIATING LOCKDOWN.++ ++INITIATING LOCKDOWN.++ ++ALERT. ALERT. INITIATING LOCKDOWN.++
Tentacles and tendrils reach out of this walls--this place is tainted. No time to worry about if I have been as well by proximity--I must find my wargear if I am to have any chance of surviving against the Astartes that are surely in this place. I roll under a bulkhead just before it slams down and I finally reach a catwalk overlooking what was once a maintenance hangar, but now is full of shambling, mutated cultists. There's a ladder ahead--maybe that leads to back above ground! I clamber up it quickly, some of the steps ripping off the frame from my muscled bulk. Finally I squeeze through a hatch and I stand in the top of a girdered tower overlooking a hauntingly barren cavern. I search here for my wargear but fail to find it, or anything, other than what appears to be an ancient, untainted conversion field emitter. I strap it to my chest; at least I have some form of protection now. A yell comes from below. They've found me and lights flicker red in the cavern now.
Autogun and lasfire flashes up at me repeatedly. I'm grazed twice but not injured in any way worth mentioning. Like steadily downpouring rain, a torrent of weapons fire begins to grow in the space between the distant cavern floor and me, and I can't even fire back. I feel naked, not for the first or last time, without my armor and weapons.
I spot a few levers in the corner. It's only a matter of time before I'm overwhelmed, so I take a look. I pull a few and the tower rumbles. I seem to have activated a mining structure of some sort. The tower rotates--it's a crane. A slow smile spreads ferally across my features as I get an idea. I pull a few more levers and a release catch, and ton after ton of ore is dropped down below from on high. Crunching noises fill the air, along with death-screams of legions of heretics.
My work here is done. I slide down the rusted ladder, back onto the catwalk, and move on.
A laugh echoes through the cavern and I snarl, recognizing the form of a Chaos Sorcerer. The same one, perhaps, that captured me. I sprint forward, hoping against hope that the power field generator I found would protect me. Bolt fire whizzes towards me but is turned aside by the conversion field in a flash of blue light. I duck and roll behind a crate as bolt fire flies wildly, then emerge and rush the Sorcerer, who seems to be armed with a force sword. I must press the attack--I hurl myself at him, spitting acid at him as I go. He ducks it--and his head slams right into my raised kneecap, bashing him in the face and giving him a bloody nose. I shove him backwards, but he draws his sword and ignites it quickly. He doesn't seem much affected by my blow and has quickly recovered. His sword slips past the conversion field and wounds me, but I continue fighting. With a cry of pain and rage I strike again, and he evades my blow once again; however, the slashes of his sword glance off the conversion field I wear. Another time the conversion field foils his efforts as I spit a gobbet of acid, which he again dodges.
I can't hold my own much longer. My hand scrounges the table behind me for a weapon and I blindly seize a vial that lays there. Without thinking, I hurl it in the sorcerer's face, where it shatters. Immediately he shudders, going still, but then laughs as warp energies gather around him, and his shadow grows...his form contorts and convulses, and soon he is grown to immense size, towering over me, his armor mutated and twisted even more. He's become a hybrid of man, daemon, and machine...almost like an Obliterator.
I fall back towards the sealed bulkhead I entered through, as a guttural laugh fills the room. the monstrous being approaching me ponderously, twin assault cannons appearing in place of one hand, a massive chainaxe appearing on the other. Neither Obliterator nor Mutilator. What could this monstrosity possibly be? Some new heresy, a new blasphemy committed by the Traitor Legions? No time to worry about that now. I'm down to my acid-spit, my bionic fists, and the sealed capsule that the Guardsman had carried.
I move quickly--I will have to, very quickly indeed if I am to survive--and roll out of the way of a burst of assault cannon fire, spitting acid as I rise, blinding the creature. I pound at the beast with my metal fists--ineffectually. He swings the chainaxe and I duck the swing quickly--and, murmuring a prayer to the Emperor, smash the container open against his face.;
A ratcheting sound grates on my nerves and I instinctively hurl myself backwards, dropping the canister at the beast's feet. He shrieks in agony as ethereal chains shoot out of the opened canister and surround him, pinning him in place and burning his flesh with eldritch runes. An anti-psyker weapon of some kind! I don't have time to wonder how it fell into the hands of a Guardsman, but a memory flies back to me...a memory of the Munitorum working in concert with the Mechanicus, and issuing the Astra Militarum with some kind of 'witch-eater' device. That must be what I'm seeing now. The Guardsman must've taken it off an officer or veteran or such.
The beast is pinned now, roaring frustration--and easy prey. I spit a gobbet of acid, but it's unnecessary--he's already dying from the very touch of the chains, lethal to Warp taint...and psykers like me. I step around him carefully and explore the rest of the room as he draws his last shuddering breath. A cryo-container is there on a shelf and I snatch it up, placing it in a fold of my ragged clothing, knowing that if it contains a virus or somesuch, I must reach the surface before it thaws. It may even be the same substance that turned the Sorceror into a machine-daemon...As such, I will handle it with care.
I must find my armor before I leave this place. And, hopefully, the rest of my wargear will be with it.
In the back of the room, in a crate, I find my battle-plate, as well as a map to an armory. I head there, retrieve Bulwark and my pistol, finding them uncorrupted, thank the Emperor, and I connect the arrays of my psychic hood to the back of my skull, feeling my Warp-born powers return to me.
The path to the surface is clear, and when I reach it, I find a Stormraven gunship waiting for me. "Brother-Lexicanum?" one of the crew voxes to me in disbelief. "'tis I," I answer with a faint smile. "We had thought you dead," he broadcasts. "It is good fortune to see you again."
"Not fortune, but the will of the Emperor," I say as the gunship lands and I climb aboard. However, when I'm aboard, a pair of brothers in Terminator armor seize my arms and pin them in their powerful grips. "Release me!" I demand, but they make no move to do so. "You have been exposed to the taint of Chaos, brother," one of them hisses in a baritone, the other saying nothing, but nodding in agreement. "Upon your return to the fleet in orbit you will be tested for corruption, and await the Emperor's judgement."
I relax. "Very well." It is unnecessary in this case, but it is according to protocol, and the will of the Emperor.
The Stormraven flies off into the ashen skies, leaving a blasted wasteland of a planet behind.

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