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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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This is the start of the story of a bunch of acolyte techpriests who had the gross misfortune to be assigned from their previous posts to a miniature space hulk, and then be charged with keeping it flying. Omnissiah help them.

Imagine, if you will, being crammed into a shuttle with fifty other assorted tech-priests and sundry tech-people. You’ve been told that you’re being transferred, by order of the Magos Juris, from the life you’ve known for the past several years - possibly your whole life - to another ship, because that ship’s Tech-Priesthood had fucked up royally, to the point of just barely avoiding being declared heretics, tech-heretics (and yes, in this case the distinction is important,) and/or traitors.

Everyone else has been told the same thing. You know absolutely none of these people, you don’t know where you’re going, but you've been given a dataslate containing a short and frankly, confusing briefing which contains the phrase "Obey the small notes" repeated three times. Then the rumors begin to reach you. The rumors that the ship is cursed, haunted, unlucky, a rusting space hulk which happened to mostly fly where humans told it to go.

Now imagine that, sometime during this clusterfuck, you were issued a flak vest, a laspistol, and a lascarbine. That’s right, you. Not a Mechanicus Armsman, not a Skitarii or a Crimson Guardsman. The tech-priest acolyte, charged to repair machines whilst chanting the appropriate rites of repair. You were issued body armor and two weapons.

Bewildered and bearing your newly-issued arsenal, you dock, and are ushered into a small bay through an airlock. A threadbare tapestry of the Cog Mechanicus hangs on the far wall, and you start to mill around, taking in the appalling state of repair of the landing bay. A hundred tech-priests, and assorted oddballs milling around the rustiest, most wretched looking assembly bay you have ever seen.

Welcome to the Occurrence Border.
oh boy here we go
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So there we were, disembarked onto the worst ship. We were five, though we hadn’t gotten to know one another yet, and four of us stood out in a crowd of tech-priests:

Devi 'Blue' Solaria, Blue is a Voidborn teenager with brilliantly blue hair the color of glass cleaner. She looks nothing at all like a techpriest so much as a girl in a robe; in fact, she wants to be nothing but a girl in a robe; without the robe. Initiated into the Adeptus Mechanicus as a Factor of the Lathes, despite being nowhere near Calixis, so even naked, most people couldn’t tell she was a Techpriest.

Galforth: Galforth Ascher, Licensed Cyber-Mastiff Handler. A swole techpriest with a big robotic dog, designated A715-F but named ‘Friender’ by his handler.

Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov, a Lathesmaster from Calixis Sector, he’s been bounced from ship to ship after leaving the Lathes, now he's here. Not actually a Techpriest, Ivan is the guy proper Techpriests rudely yell for when they don’t want to get greasy and don’t have any acolytes on hand to boss around. His hobbies include speaking in an incomprehensible accent, referring to people as comrade, suffering from an abundance of semi-common sense, carrying a combat shield and giant mallet wherever he goes, and vodka.

Slick: Properly ‘Tauron McGreaser’, Slick is a techpriest of an agri-world stripe, and if you need anything at all related to agriculture fixed, or told to you (as long as it’s not related to scholastic lore,) Slick’s your man. His robes incorporate an 11.54 gallon hat, long leather duster, and chaps, and he has mismatched pistols holstered on his belt. Surprisingly sociable for a techpriest, Slick is fond of lho sticks.

Trebor: A standard Mechanicus-issued Technographer, Trebor has no problems whatsoever fitting into any arbitrary crowd of cogboys. His most remarkable features are the Feedback Screech he can generate from his vox, a backpack overflowing with clanking spare parts, and Voidborn origin.
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Yes, there we were; a cogboy’s cogboy, a cogboy with a cyberdog, a cowboy cogboy, a not-a-cogboy, and a cogless coglass. Ivan pretty much summed up the Occurrence Border without even uttering a word, as he looked around the wretched bay, took a bottle of alcohol from his overstuffed duffel bag, and took a long draw, before a ship engineer noticed him hanging around in the crowd of cogboys and waved for him to come do some Real Work while the red-robes ponced about.

While Ivan went off to deal Real Work, the cogboys were called to order by the man who walked into the bay; another cogboy’s cogboy, standard issue, he ponced and introduced the group to the ship, without in any way attempting to sugar-coat it:

"By the grace of the Omnissiah, you are sent here to do His will. By now you have surely noted this vessel's heinous state of disrepair; remedying this will be the primary task to which most of you will be assigned. I am Enginseer Gelfried; you will be reporting to me for the time being."

At this, the four interesting techpriests in the group of fifty had very different reactions; the coglass’s pretty white dataslate appeared in her hands and she started taking notes about who was whom. Slick, displaying a complete lack of formality, greeted Gelfried with - not making this up - a hearty “Howdy! McGreaser here, but call me Slick,” as if he were one-on-one with him on a farm, instead of receiving an auditorium briefing in a rusting ship, much to the startlement of everyone in his general vicinity and earning himself a bewildered look from Gelfried. Galforth followed Slick’s example in introducing himself, while Trebor literally and figuratively kept his head down, only speaking up in the traditional Omnissian greeting which echoed through the bay.
Yep. My fellow Cogboys-in-crime pressured me into posting this now. I'll do my damnedest to stay awake and get it posted.

This one clocks in at 42 posts.
The best part is I just managed to finish reading the latest chapter of AGP. But by all means, carry on. I'm assuming this is a spinoff campaign not involved with the glorious bastards of the AGP?
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The assembled then lined up and shuffled forward for their assignments, and the group of three oddballs and Trebor were given a dataslate with their instructions: familiarization with the ship? Meet the new bosses of the Mechanicum aboard the ship? Incense burning and prayers on something mundane?

Nope. No time for anything like that, this is the Occurrence Border, things are Going Wrong. A genetorium on the lower decks, in a section of the ship people seldom went to but was otherwise not considered more dangerous than usual, had been delivering a lowered power output than expected. The group - who happened to be the next four in line - was detailed to move out and investigate, and advised to move in a group. Thanking Gelfried, the four slipped away, and paused in a corridor to greet one another, sync up their combeads, then puzzled over their map for a while.

Only two of the group had any experience navigating on voidships, and while the map they were provided seemed to defy several important laws of physics, let alone laws of shipbuilding, the Voidborn were able to follow the map to their designated job site. This route, though circuitous and confusing, led them to their destination - and did so through the compartment in which they rejoined Ivan.

Imagine it: four techpriests, in their first hour on their new posting, have been, instead of sent to cabins, sent to work. They’re given a map of the ship that requires two Voidborn spending a noticeable amount of time puzzling over it just to figure out how to follow a marked route. The phrase “Obey the small notes” has been hammered into their heads in the briefing. The ship is in such a state of Omnissiah-defying disrepair that if it weren’t for the signs of active habitation by humans, they’d be justified in believing they’d boarded a Space Hulk.

And their path leads them right through a long chamber, not marked on the map. When they enter this chamber, they stop. And stare.
Yep. This starts just after the end of "Xeno-Tech Heresy," actually, not even quite at the end, because the OB is still in realspace.

We thought it would be funny to play an all-cogboy party aboard the OB, and a hero (or an hero, we're not sure yet,) stepped up to GM this glorious trainwreck. We wrote to Shoggy to ask for informatus on the OB, thus was born the 1d4chan page on the OB, and, well, here we are.
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A dozen internal combustion engines - yes, gas powered motors, like you’d see in any light wheeled ground vehicle - have been bolted to the floor of this chamber, three of them running. For what purpose they are installed is not clear, but that is not what gets their attention the most: the remains of a junked servitor lie in the room, next to which is the short Lathesmaster who ducked out on their welcome-aboard speech, bleeding from one arm, wielding a combat shield constructed with great care out of scrap, and some kind of a giant hammer.

The four newbie techpriests stopped in their tracks, and took a few moments to just stand and stare. In a few hours’ time, this wouldn’t phase any of them, but right now, it was an astonishment to four cherry-intact tech-acolytes, so new that none of them had yet had the common sense part of their brains replaced with the Mechanicus-Issue Box of Screws yet.
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Let us cast our attention back in time a bit. Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov was pulled out of the briefing by a ship engineer who speaks in an entirely different weird accent, and put to work. He’s told to go to the Engine Room, which turns out to have been more literal than he realized, and fix an engine which wasn’t working properly.

Dutifully, grumpily, and alcoholically, Ivan does as instructed, without even getting to put down his overstuffed duffel bag. As he gets to work, a Servitor attempts to sneak up on him. As even an inebriated Zoviet Lathesmaster leaning over the guts of a malfunctional internal combustion engine, with three more running noisily in the room, couldn’t fail to notice a servitor attempting to sneak up on him, Ivan whirls around in time to see a servitor wielding an improvised shock maul approaching him, its eyes glowing with baleful light.

Now, newbie techpriests might have lost their cool at this. Not Ivan. Ivan is Zoviet Stronk, he is from the Core Ivanov. He has seen hereteks, he has seen possessed servitors. He knows how to deal with this kind of shit; form a shield wall, front rank fights with their hammers, back rank throw molotovs.

Unfortunately, Ivan is all alone, so he just raises his shield and advances. The Servitor smacks him up good, but in the end Ivan knocks the daemon right out of it, and then knocks it apart (enthusiastically) for good measure, then goes back to wrenching on the broken engine. And this is how the four newbie techpriests find Ivan: Bleeding rather a bit, with scattered bits of a servitor behind him in a pile.

Slick decreed that Ivan must have had a rip-snortin’ time, and greeted him with a big old agri-world howdy.
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After Ivan landed and calmed down (four newbie techpriests are a lot more stealthy than a servitor, even when they’re not trying to be and it is,) the two groups swapped their goals. Ivan rather dryly noted that the possessed servitor gave him “leetle bit uff trouble” in getting the “enjinz” started. He offered to go with them to help with their task, if they could wait while he finished his own.

After Ivan refused all suggestions that he should go get medical treatment - he was bleeding quite badly from a wound on his arm, there was a sparking hole in his stomach, and there were still little patches of flame on his coat that were in the process of dying out - the group of newbie techpriests, being not-assholes, mucked in to help.

Blue’s first instinct was to call for backup; however, they had failed to get Gelfried’s commcode. She searched the room for a data-port, comm terminal, or anything which she could use to place a call or find the appropriate commcode, but was completely unable to locate any such thing. Then she searched for little sticky notes or plaques, but again her total unfamiliarity with the Occurrence Border stymied her.

The menfolk had better luck, as they were mucking in directly, mopping up spilled oil and the like. After they examined the engine and determined they needed spark plugs, Blue located some on the shelves in the corner of the room, with the aid of her very nice glowlamp, and after cleaning them off carefully with some paper towels, turned them over to Ivan, who promptly got the engine working again.

The group then went through the entire room, testing each engine carefully, then ensuring that the only running engines were the three which had been when they got there, deciding that “better leave it alone if we don’t know what it does” is the best option.
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Moving on, with the now somewhat-injured lathesmaster and his shield at the fore, the group found that their path led into the next room, and then took a 90 degree turn straight down. The room they were in was a perfect cube, honeycombed with tunnels and vents on the walls, with an open shaft in the ceiling... And a manhole cover in the floor a full two meters across and solid steel.

After Ivan dragged the cover away, the group squatted at the edge, being careful to lean back, and peered down into the darkness below, so far that all of their glow-lamps combined couldn’t illuminate the bottom. They were looking down a lift shaft which now had ladders instead of lifts, and according to their map, it went down fifteen decks.

Blue stayed at the top to illuminate the ladders from above, since she had the best lantern. Eventually she had the idea to tie a cable to her lamp, set it to area mode instead of spotlight, and lower it down the shaft along with everyone, but although this idea was received positively by the group, she had no such cable on hand. Eventually Ivan reached the bottom, and illuminated the ladder from below for the others.

This left them with a slight problem, as Blue was climbing down without light, but here she proved, finally, that she was in fact a techpriestess of some stripe or another, rather than just a blue-haired teenager in a stolen robe, lighting up a glittering pattern of lights in her face and palms, lighting the way well enough for her to find the next rungs at least.

Amazingly, none of the group were fatigued after the long, long climb down, but they now found themselves in the bowels of the ship; only one tunnel leading from where they were was illuminated, and that wasn’t the one they were assigned to take.
So there we were, four techpriests on a mission from Gelfried, staring into the gloom, without arguably our best combat asset, Galforth’s hound. It was actually kind of unnerving, especially since there was already one possessed servitor; are any pair of glowy lights you see in the distance just the maintenance lights on some junction box, or the eyes of a servitor about to try and sandblast your face off?

Then Ivan heard something. Something scrabbling around, something alive, something small, and not clunking around like a servitor. His hammer and shield materialized in his hands, and seeing the diminutive Zoviet Lathemaster ready himself caused Galforth to unsling his long-las. Surprisingly, Blue reacted similarly, pulling an entire lascarbine out from under her robes; a nondescript green weapon with a folding stock, she readied it and shouldered the weapon, holding its foregrip and her light in the same hand.

With three of the group warily eyeing the tunnels and brandishing weapons, Trebor, who thought this was all silliness, and Slick finally pulled out their own pistols.

Thus, with the jumpy reflexes of rookie guardsmen and people who grew up in places of varying degrees of roughness, the four nervously debated their options; press on with the mission, or go back and try to get a squad of disposable meatshields - I mean, Armsmen. Going back was determined to be not an option, and making a call out of the tunnel proved to be impossible, even on Blue’s Ark Mechanicus-issued commbead.
mhmh i seeeee
The group moved on, grumpily bemoaning the lack of lights which didn’t require a hand to operate, with Ivan in the front followed by Slick with a lantern and his pistol, Galforth and his long-las in the middle, and Trebor and Blue bringing up the rear, Trebor navigating and thinking that the group was being unnecessarily paranoid while Blue walked backwards, aiming her torch and lascarbine into the gloom behind.

The group kept their eyes open for a functional terminal, comm-tap, or something they could use to get a call through, whilst swapping details of what sort of tech interface ports they were equipped to tap into. Eventually, they found a box on a wall, covered in strange glyphs. It had a handset on the front, with what was obviously a speaker and microphone in it, but the ten buttons on the front and the archaeo-language glyphs on all the sides stymied all of their best efforts to work out how to use it. It was obviously archaeotech communications gear, but none of them could determine the functions of the strange device. Deciding that “poke it and see what happens” was not a desirable way to work out the function of anything on the Occurrence Border, they moved on, after Slick gave the box a smack, causing its side to crack and the handset to fall down. We decided to just believe that wouldn’t hurt anything and move on.
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As the group moved on, Galforth heard something - something with claws, skittering around in the dark, ahead of them... And behind. Something small, but probably menacing. Although the rear and vanguard members of the group endorsed the second proposal of the plan to beat a retreat and return with reinforcements, Trebor, Slick and Galforth insisted that they could handle whatever they found down here, and so the group pressed on.

Slick fired a few laspistol shots down the corridor, to light it up and maybe scare off some critters, and one of his shots hit something that fountained sparks. An instant after that, a freaking scythe popped out of the wall, trying to slice through Blue, Trebor and Galforth.

Through some kind of minor miracle, both Blue and Trebor managed to dodge the scythe, but the ancient booby trap thunked good into Galforth, slicing his ribs up through his robe and flak vest. As the group swore and looked around, they wondered; who in their right mind would put at rap down here, and why had it gone so long without being triggered? Without really discussing it much, Galforth, Slick and Trebor reached the conclusion the trap needed to be disassembled, and did so with quiet efficiency, while Ivan watched the front and Blue watched the rear.

The trap rended down into its components; a hydraulic extender and a scythe. We didn’t question the provenance of a scythe on the Occurrence Border. We were less than two hours into our first task on the ship, and we’d already seen so much that random manual farming implements built into a trap that was quite possibly older than all of us put together was only mildly confusing. After all, it was only about two dozen meters up the corridor from an actual archaeotech communications device, which if anyone asked, was cracked when we found it.
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Slick and Trebor brought the scythe and hydraulic components along, for reasons nobody could fully explain besides a vague notion they shouldn’t just be left in the unlit corridor, and possibly something about sanctifying them for the service of the Omnissiah. So, basically, we were looting it. Some base instincts transcend species, after all.

Pressing on, we grumbled about the report we were going to have to write, and how long it had been since we’d eaten, and the skittering things in the dark which were starting to become worse than worrying; worrying and annoying. We venomously threatened to weld the manhole cover shut, as well as a great many other things, and pressed on, down the unlit corridor, hammer and shield leading the way.

The tunnel - and it couldn’t be called a corridor, not with the claustrophobic lack of light - curved and forked oddly, having a steep ramp up and then immediately going back down, but at the end of a few minutes’ moseying, we saw light at the end of a tunnel, and while an oncoming cargo tram would have been only slightly unexpected, the light was blue and unmoving. It had to be the light of a plasma generator. Our journey was approaching a middle.
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So no shit, there we were, a cowboy cogboy, a cogboy’s cogboy, a cogboy mastiff handler without his mastiff, a cogless coglass, and an underinebriated Zoviet lathesmaster, soft-stepping into the genetorium like a squad of nervous rookie Guardsmen sent on a recon patrol through sewers of an abandoned Hive.

The Genetorium wasn’t actually the light at the end of our tunnel, it was an exit to the side of it, and walking in, we took stock. Oddly for techpriests, the actual technology was the last thing we looked for; unnerved by the walk, we looked for the exits first. We were in a large room; behind us was the tunnel we had exited from, a gaping maw of a tube; ahead of us was a normal-sized doorway without any kind of a door in it. To our right were two doorways with actual sliding doors in them; the one nearest to us was ajar, while the other was fully shut. Lastly, on the left wall was the generator itself, a plasma generator mounted in a huge pipe mounted into or as part of the wall. We couldn’t tell if the mounting was improvised or if it had been intentionally installed that way, but it looked as solid as anything on the ship.

The standard-issue technographer went to inspect the generator’s readouts, while the rest of us inspected other things; Ivan simply stood guard, as his experiences previously led him to believe that techpriests got mad if a non-techpriest showed any sign of real technological proficiency. Blue inspected the door which was ajar, but it was devoid of sticky notes or plaques. The light of the genetorium suggested the squared outline of something inside, perhaps a table or workbench, but Blue had a sufficiently bad feeling about everything that she didn’t inspect it herself. Already on edge, she stepped back, covering the door with her lascarbine, reporting her findings.
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Possibly the jumpiest member of the group was covering the door to the possible workroom, and was in the middle of suggesting that if anyone had a flare or chemical glowstick, they could throw one in to get a better look at the strange room, when Galforth, for reasons unknown even to the Emperor, decided to fire into the deck of the genetorium.

To be clear, Galforth didn’t panic; he wasn’t startled by a feral felid winding its way between his legs unseen, his finger didn’t reflex-curl on the trigger because a glob of icy-cold rustwater fell down the back of his neck, he didn’t lose it because of Warpy shenanigans. He chose, in a moment of inexplicable tactical retardation, to sling his longlas, unholster his pistol, and discharge it repeatedly into the floor.

Needless to say, having someone popping off behind you, suddenly and inexplicably, startles even the most steely-nerved Guardsmen. These were not steely-nerved Guardsmen. Trebor swore, Slick’s lho stick fell from his mouth, Ivan stared at Galforth as he realized that these were defective red-robes, and began to very politely chew him out.

Blue panicked, snapped her carbine to her shoulder, sighted down the weapon, and shot the darkness in the workroom. Worryingly, albeit perhaps predictably, the darkness screeched back as flashes of red light cast stark strobes into the room.
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The moment became chaotic: Blue first feeling chagrined, going to screaming for everyone to get their guns up as Ivan was progressing patiently through his well-memorized “talk the crazy persons into putting down the guns” speech. Galforth, embarrassedly, was in the process of actually holstering the offending pistol, as Ivan finally processed the screeching coming from the machine room as organic in nature, and asked for those with guns to keep firing into the room.

Something within the machine room skittered around. Slick drew a much larger pistol, some kind of beefy, terribly-large looking projectile revolver and aimed down the iron sights at the door, but lacking a target, hesitated in what to do. Ivan started shouting for everyone to back away from the door.

Galforth, possessed by the same temporary tactical retardation that led him to discharge his pistol repeatedly into the floor, tactically advanced to the far side of the door, despite Ivan shouting at him to stay back and despite him not being able to see in the dark. Predictably, he was immediately jumped by three things, two of which began to maul his legs and chest, and a third of which actually leapt upon him and clambered over his right arm, savaging it from behind.
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If it had been happening to someone we didn’t like, it would have been comical. The things were light, about hip-high when standing up as high as they could; avian-like critters covered in blue feathers, with long, thin legs and necks, savage, beaked heads, and nasty talons on their arms and legs.

They were, however, attacking someone we did like, or at least someone we didn’t actively dislike, and thus we wanted to help. Ivan took a running leap to attempt to cross the distance between himself and Galforth, while Galforth flailed and panic-fired his pistol to utterly no effect. Then Trebor decided to let out a feedback screech.

Imagine, if you will, being in the middle of a sudden brawl with what you hope are merely xenos birdlizards infesting the bowels of a voidship. The member of your team who seems to be in the biggest hurry to explore the afterlife has walked headfirst into a trap, everyone is aiming weapons in his general vicinity hoping to get off a good shot at one of the critters chewing on him... And then someone behind you decides that the very best thing he can do is generate the sound of nails on a chalkboard, as filtered through a microphone wired up with rusty iron wire to a loudhailer in a bad state of disrepair, at the kind of volume usually associated with being on the wrong side of a macrocannon bombardment.

Needless to say, it didn’t go over very well with any of us, which is to say it made damn near all of us swear and instinctively clutch for our ears. The only upshot was that two of the birds fared no better, left dazed and reeling by the screech. But one of them had made its save; thankfully, so had Ivan. Not so thankfully, Ivan, our melee expect, was behind our shooty expert and our non-combat social engineseeress.
Slick’s finger twitched on the trigger, firing a 12 gauge shotgun shell out of his incredibly oversized revolver. Oh, it found its target alright, gibbing the critter harassing Galforth’s arm, which was the good news. The bad news was that 12 gauge buckshot is, by definition, meant for hunting large game, not critters the size of a large landfowl, for which 12 gauge birdshot would have been more appropriate.

The buckshot blast removed the critter from Galforth’s arm rightly enough, then proceeded to remove Galforth’s arm at the elbow, causing it to explode in a shower of bone fragments. Simultaneously, Blue’s finger twitched on her trigger, and miraculously her lascarbine shot, through the falling Galforth’s legs, blew apart the critter that had been biting and slashing at them.

Galforth hit the deck, unconscious and in critical condition, with one irate, hopefully-xenos bird atop his chest, which let out an angry shriek and charged, wobbling back and forth from the feedback screech, towards Devi and Slick.
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Fortunately, however, the stubby little man let out another herculean, drunken shout in something approximating Russo-Gothic, and leapt between Slick and Blue as the critter was reaching them, smashing it to the deck with his percussion hammer, with such impactful force that the beastie’s arm was removed.

In the ensuing moment of calm, two more critter heads appeared in the door to the darkened workroom, but Blue heard scritching from another direction. Not in front, but she couldn’t tell from where. Her first instinct was that someone was attempting to be a clever girl, and she spun around to cover the rear, as Trebor finally did something quite unambiguously useful, and removed one the doorway-critters’ heads in a convocation of fiery death from his laspistol, making a neat shot under Slick’s elbow as the other charged at us. The critter did not survive.

We had started to feel somewhat confident; our only hurt so far had been self-inflicted, more or less, and the critters were wary of showing themselves, because we seemed to be dropping them fairly accurately.
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Our confidence was bolstered when the last critter we could see finally darted out from its room, skitter-sprinting towards Slick, only to get one of its claws jammed in a deckplate crack, sending it flipping ass over teakettle, less “charging into melee” and more “flopping into melee.” Sadly for us, it regained its footing in a flash, but happily, was unable to launch an attack more effective than snapping towards the space Slick was already in the process of vacating.

The difference between competence and staggering incompetence, however, is often a matter of sheer dumb luck, and anyone who says the Emperor doesn’t play dice with the universe should be purged as a heretic. Blue heroically - read, idiotically - stepped up to precisely three meters distance, lining up the perfect sweet shot on the critter, and squeezing the trigger on her lascarbine. It even discharged beautifully, a clear, crystalline red beam that would have turned the beastie into a doughnut, had it not executed a perfectly flawless sidestep at the last second.

This left it completely vulnerable to a righteous hammering, but perhaps Ivan had had too much, or not enough vodka, for he brought his hammer down on the floor. As if to add insulting injury to our failure, Trebor took another snap-shot, hitting the bird in the head, but his laspistol misfired for minimal damage, doing little more than dazing the bird. Our confidence was thus shattered, as three of us doing our damndest had failed utterly to kill one enraged turkey-sized xenos bird.
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Things went from bad to worse, however, as four more of the critters dropped into the melee, literally. Trebor started shouting warnings, Ivan got his shield up in time, and battle was properly joined.

So there we were, a cogless coglass who had been optimized for social interactions, wielding a lascarbine in melee, a cowboy cogboy with a shotgun pistol that had already nearly killed one of his friends, and an underinebriated Zoviet Lathesmaster who couldn’t seem to hit a turkey with a hammer. Thankfully, the critters’ initial wave of slashing assaults went as poorly as our efforts to kill the now-dazed critter which was still behind us

Even more thankfully, however, Slick snapped off another shot with his shotgun pistol. It did to two of the little shits like it did to one of their broodmates and to Galforth, blasting two of them into a shower of gore - which, rather unfortunately, splashed over all of our faces and robes, leaving us blind.

In short, we were stuck deep in a clusterfuck, especially since both critters had somehow managed to avoid getting any blood in their eyes. Their shitty luck (and Trebor’s deadeye aim,) however, held out, with Trebor finishing the one he’d dazed with another shot, while Blue, evaluating her options, swore as viciously as only an upset teenager with mashed xenos bird in her mouth can swear, fending off blows that never came with her lascarbine instead of attempting to retreat or shoot into the melee whilst blind.

Some critters might have fled such a mess; not persistent predators such as these. The remaining two both attacked Ivan, but thankfully found his shield and his heavy outfit too tough to bite through.

Eventually, after another gore-shower courtesy of Ivan’s hammer and a third deadeye shot in a row from Trebor, the xenos birds were overcome.
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Miraculously, we got Galforth back on his feet, thanks to an improvised stump-bandage and a swig of vodka, though he was a little perturbed by missing arm, as one is wont to be. Blue put the vodka to its alternate purpose, using it to wash her mouth out, and was left coughing by the strength of it, to the bemusement of those who had more experience drinking alcohol than her.

Finally we were able to investigate the room, and after a comfortingly quiet breach-and-clear with Ivan in the lead, we found it to be full of xenos bird nests, devoid of eggs. Otherwise, a lot of torn-up stuff to make the nests with - oh, and a mostly-intact, if dark, cogitator array.

Blue and Galforth settled in to examine the cogitator array while the others fanned out, looking for the source of the fault with the genetorum. The other room had what looked like cooling set-ups to cool pipes leading from the generator, while the doorless doorway led to a nice-looking hallway. Ivan determined that there was power flowing through a conduit leading out into the nice-looking hall as well, but we had no obvious, glaring, smoking gun to point at for the lack of expected power flow. Thus, we were forced to begin the Rites of Troubleshooting.
Stripped of the ritualistic elements (which are Mechanicus secrets, although other organizations with their own formalized versions undoubtedly have their own rituals,) the Rites of Troubleshooting are surprisingly simple, abstracted goal-oriented objective-realization tools. Which is to say, they’re ways to think that you don’t need to be a nerd to understand that help you get shit done.

Step 1: Restate the overall objective; you know, in case someone has missed it, or been operating under a misapprehension.
Step 2: Ask if anyone has any objections; someone may be privy to information not known to the initiator of troubleshooting, information like “Ol’ Bill already fixed that yesterday,” or “that whole compartment is rigged to explode.”
Step 3: Break the objective down into the steps required to achieve it.
Step 4: Ask if anyone has any objections; someone may know a better/alternate way to do something, or even raise points about steps which are missing, or are unnecessary.
Step 5: Identify the step which should be completed next.
Step 6: Ask for objections...
Step 7: Execute on the task identified in Step 5 until complete.
Step 8: Go to Step 5, follow subsequent steps until objective has been achieved or objections are raised.

It sounds complicated, wordy and managerial, but once you’ve got it down, it’s easier done than said. Every functional organization, from a squad of Guardsmen to an Arbites Precinct to the command staff of a vessel, use this procedure in some form or another, often without formal understanding of what they’re doing. It can be as baroque and complicated as a formal meeting of Mechanicus Magos where each step takes an hour just to begin, as members debate and restate the obvious, or as informal as a squad of soldiers drawing battle plans in the sand with sticks around a campfire, taking one another’s expertise and understanding into consideration.
In our case, our objective was “get power from the generator (which we found) to where it was supposed to go (which was unknown to us, and not entirely relevant.)” The first step on the agenda was “Identify why the generator’s power isn’t getting to its destination.” Subsequent steps were impossible to discern until we knew the answer to that question.

So we began to investigate. Every conduit leading out of the genetorium (which is fancy speak for “room where the generator lives,”) seemed to be carrying power, and the generator’s read-outs were showing that it was operating at normal capacity. It stood to reason, then, that some anomalous situation between the genetorium and the output of the conduits was responsible; perhaps an off-the-books power shunt had been installed, either an undocumented repair or an illicit installation, or perhaps a conduit had been interrupted.

There was also the issue of the cogitator array. Though Blue and Galforth had failed to activate it, it seemed to be connected to the generator, and might yield valuable troubleshooting information. So while most of the group went to poke into the room with the fans and cooling setup, Trebor poked at the cogitator array.
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Crap, I forgot the image.

Is anyone... You know, reading this? Or liking it? Or... Anything?
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The room, when first entered, looked more or less empty; the far wall had three large metal cubes, topped with grates under which large fan assemblies had been installed. Conduits led from the direction of the generator, passed into the cubes, and then down through the deck; we presumed they were a cooling system of some sort. Two of the three fans were idle, coated with dust, while one was spinning lazily.

We speculated that a lack of cooling might be responsible, but had no reason to think it was certain to be the case. However, we did also find four xenos eggs in nests tucked between the metal boxes. Blue proposed that these should be taken and shown to someone knowledgeable, while Slick, relying on his agri-world background, took the more-immediately-practical steps of testing the eggs for warmth, and holding them up to a bright lantern to check their development. One might not have even been fertilized, three were developing but nowhere near mature.

It was also determined that the xenos birds had almost certainly been responsible for eating the sticky notes we’d been told to rely upon, as we found them used to construct parts of these nests. The eggs were retained, as a potential source of protein and to show to someone later, and we continued to diagnose the room, while Trebor wandered off back to the cogitator room, ruminating that the fans might be cogitator-controlled. He then simply plugged into the cogitators, ran the basic rites of awakening, and the cogitators sprang to life, to the absolute exasperation of Blue, who had done exactly that without result.
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As Blue was expressing her exasperation, Trebor suggested she had failed to venerate the Omnissiah quite enough, and ran diagnostics on the cogitators. There were four screens; one duplicated the read-out that was on the generator itself, the next related to fans, showing that they were operating at 15% without any issues. The third screen was a jackpot, showing that a gauge of power flow forward of the genetorium was only receiving 30% of what it should, with the shortfall being that it was missing the entirety of our troubled generator’s output.

The fourth screen was completely garbled, however, and Trebor attempted to diagnose its output through his data connection to the cogitator. This proved to be a spectacularly bad choice, as he got a headful of corrupted code for his troubles, and spent a few moments gibbering and bzzzting, throwing human error codes, and Blue carefully unplugged him from the cogitator array.

Blue speculated that the cogitator array - which for some inexplicable reason was only operating on 70% of its desired power input - might be malfunctioning because of the lowered power input, while Trebor, ever the Cogboy’s Cogboy, blamed corruption of the unfaithful who had been operating it. Blue felt it was more likely to be xenos birds running around on the consoles, but everyone generally agreed that following the conduit fore and discovering the nature of the power anomaly was more important than getting stuck on a side-issue at the moment. The group proceeded to the nicer corridor, and moved forward, Blue again taking the rear-guard, and insisting on closing each door they passed.

Not too far from the genetorium, the group came upon a corner, which was well-lit from an overhead lamp around the bend. As the group approached, Ivan held his arm up, declaring that he heard breathink from around the bend.
Probably quite a few, but they most likely don't want to interrupt.
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In a stunning example of why applying the steps of troubleshooting to situations is more involved - and more team-oriented when you’re not working alone - than simply shooting at trouble, Slick approached the corner, stuck his shotgun pistol out the other side, aiming at around kneecapping height - or center-mass on the birdies - and let fire a blast of buckshot.

Birds screeched, Ivan railed about how his plan had been to form a shield wall of one, and ran around the corner to put his shield between Slick and birds. Galforth rushed forward to help Ivan, looking wildly in every direction, while Blue, having an attack of pattern recognition, aimed her lascarbine at the ceiling, and Trebor aimed up with her.

They saw two birdthings peeking out at them, utterly silently, from holes in the ceiling; their ambush spoiled, the two burdthings turned to dart into whatever forgotten crawlspace they had been lurking in, as Trebor, Blue and Galforth fired at them.

All missed their snap-shots, but one of our shots went through the hole, scorching between the two burdthings and giving them cause to reconsider their choice of ambush venue. Their screeches echoed through the tunnels.

Around the bend, however, Ivan and Slick were staring at the distinct lack of burds, but at what was likely the cause of the problems; a deactivated combat servitor, heavily damaged, with a sword for an arm and its fleshy bits pecked more or less clean off, was slumped on the wall, next to an enormous, foot-long chunk of conduit that had been hewn out of the wall; seriously, cables were dangling from inside one end of it, sparking when they touched one another or the wall.

It was pretty obviously A Big Problem. Hopefully THE Problem, but we’d only know if it was the only problem once we’d fixed it.
Fortunately, Mechanicus acolytes are known for carrying lots and lots of spare parts on them, with a very schroedinger like habit of packing exactly what was needed. Between the group, everybody had plenty of cables and heavy-duty metal to patch the pipe. As the group consensus was to finish it and go home rather than come back with armsmen, the group set about working on examining the problem, uneasily given that the ceiling was swiss-cheesed with holes the burds could leap out of.

Well, I say the group set about examining the problem, but first, Ivan set about turning the combat servitor from a deactivated, heavily damaged combat servitor into a former combat servitor/pile of debris, with his percussion mallet. Given that he’d already been attacked by a servitor possessed by malevolent forces once already, none of the tech acolytes chose to raise any complaint against this course of action, deciding it was wholly sensible, given the circumstances.

Applying the Rites of Troubleshooting, we determined that this problem was likely to constitute the only remaining step in achieving our larger objective, and set about troubleshooting the broken conduit.

Objective: Repair conduit.
Step 1: Shut off power flow.
Objection: We haven’t found any kind of circuit breaker.
Step 1: Locate circuit breaker to shut off power.
Step 2: Shut off power.
Step 3: Splice cables.
Step 4: Weld new conduit section in place.
Step 5: Restore power.

Sounds complicated, but it’s not. We went back to cogitating over the matter of the cogitators, thinking that they might have been helpful. Trebor pointed out that interfacing with it tended to fry people’s heads, to which Blue reminded him it was perfectly possible to use a cogitator without directly interfacing. However, the cogitator itself had basically nothing in the way of external controls; primarily just means to scroll the screen outputs, as it was a display unit.
Fair enough. I wonder if I'm using too many pictures which are insanely heavy on the chiaroscuro.

Then again, it felt genuinely claustrophibic when were playing around down in those tunnels, unnerving and worrying. Not bad GMan', considering it's an IRC game.
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Eventually, we decided to go look down the other end of the corridor, when a thought occurred to Blue, who spun around quickly, asking “Who’s watching behind us?” This proved to be trouble, as she startled the burdthing which had, in absolute silence, snuck into the group, and had its head in her robe pockets, pilfering.

The burd shrieked the shriek of an angry animal. Blue shrieked the shriek of a startled teenager. The burd slashed her leg and ran off down the corridor. Blue shouted invective and opened fire with her laspistol at the retreating critter, missing entirely; Trebor and Slick, however, did not miss, both of them nailing it as it beat feat around the corner. Ivan hopped into the corner with a shout, to find the critter lying still & steaming on the deck plating.

A few minutes were taken, Trebor relieving Blue of some of her supply of paper towels to apply first aid to her scratched thigh, noting the oddly complete lack of augmentations under her robes but not commenting on it. The group then returned to the genetorium, and began poking around; Blue, Ivan and Galforth began poking at the cogitator, while Slick and Trebor searched the room high and low for any switches, circuit breakers, or similar. Eventually, a breakthrough was made at the cogitator, and Blue figured out what the gobbeldygook screen was displaying; a list of the area defenses, specifically:

2 servo-turrets, offline and flagged for maintenance (Past-due for 300 years)
1 Combat Servitor, offline, reporting final destruction as of a few minutes ago.
1 Gun servitor, inactive and ready to be activated
1 Combat Servitor, unaccounted for.

As Blue was ruminating that the controls for the security units must be elsewhere, tracing the power diagram map on the third screen, a flash of the blindingly obvious hit virtually everyone at the same time; they hadn’t checked the aft end of the nicer corridor. After a few moments’ swearing, the group moved out again.
There are always lurkers. Your story is always going to be read.
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There were only two portals down the aft end of that corridor, very near to the way we had been. One was an improvised chain-link door, through which we saw advanced cogitators that had actual controls, as well as an utter rat’s nest of pipes and cables. To the right was a stout metal door. We opted to examine the metal door first. It was a simple room, bare save for its few contents; a skeleton in the corner with an optic augmentation, and four levers set in the floor by the wall. Each one had a sticky note on it, and never have so many been so happy to see such simple things. There was also a note on the wall, which read 'push/pull levers ALL THE WAY. Excepting fan control'

The levers were marked, in order: 'Broken, don't bother;' 'genetorium flow;' 'fans - shift as needed, disregarding note on wall;' and 'NO."

Ivan decided to punctuate that last note by positioning himself with hammer and shield in front of it, and a ‘No’ look on his face, with hammer raised. Slick jokingly mimed pulling on the hammer, while Blue suggested it might be interesting to watch what happens when the No lever was pulled; by someone else. Over a pict monitor. From another ship.

Trebor and Galforth busied themselves recycling the augmented eye, while Ivan threatened Slick with head lumps if he touched the hammer, and Blue quipped about it being impolite to touch a man’s hammer without permission, and that the cowboy shouldn’t need the teenaged girl to tell him that.

After some vaguely innuendo-riffic banter, we finally [P]ulled the Lever and went back to the end of the corridor, taking pains to shut the door before we went, lest a burd eat the notes. That the light was out was a good sign, but Ivan still checked the current with his omnitool - it was dead.
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Well, that was us, then, huddled together in the light of our lanterns, with a traditional Ark Mechanicus project-completion-labor acolyte-morale-uplifting-song playing on Blue’s dataslate, as Slick and Galforth watched the corridors, and the rest of us huddled around the problem, elaborately braiding cables together to get the power from point A to point B, splicing the conduits together like true professionals, and smoothly doing so whilst inserting and welding in a new section of ceramic-lined conduit.


We felt like badasses for a bit; we’d done such a bang-up job that it was practically a textbook repair; quality work, that.

Our badass feeling dissipated when Ivan noted that the burd that had attempted to pick Blue’s pocket was gone; removed, not pecked apart messily, as if by its fellows. It had either been moved more or less whole, or snapped up in one bite. We took a moment pondering the implication of that, and the fact that the combat servitor would probably not have been able to hew a foot-long gap out of a power conduit with a rusty sword, and decided to do our best to emulate the Emperor’s swiftness in getting the hell out of the area.

The lever room was thoroughly unmolested, and we restored flow, then shut the doors. Moving back through the genetorium, we noted that the corpses we had left earlier were now missing, and decided to get the fuck out of there. If that hadn’t solved the problem, we could come back later. With a squad of Armsmen and heavy weapons. As soon as we stepped into the big, circular tunnel, however, three burds skittered out of the light, deeper into the unexplored parts of the tunnel.
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GTFO having been declared, we had two options: Back the way we came, or running into the unknown. We unanimously chose the first, deeming the second to be an option having risen from pits of tactical retardation the likes of which spawn ideas such as tactically advancing to the unlit far side of an unsecure door.

So we legged it down the tunnel with as much hustle as Ivan’s stubby legs could manage. By the time we passed the archaeotech communications device, the tunnel behind us was filled with screeches, and Ivan slung his shield and hammer, taking the running time to convert one of his bottles of vodka into a molotov cocktail. The situation is dire when a Zoviet Lathesmaster uses his drinking vodka for a firebomb, and this situation was dire indeed.

We made it to the ladders, with the shrill shrieks and cries of “WOK WOK!” getting closer, and we realized we had a problem: Galforth was missing a forearm, but he had a length of chain. Blue very quickly wrapped it around his chest, securing it under his arms, and then realized something quite troubling: all of the teamies best suited to climbing a ladder and carrying Galforth, especially if he should slip, were busy spraying suppressing fire down the tunnel.

Blue succumbed to a fit of tactical retardation of her own, and wrapped the other end of the chain around her own waist, nevermind the fact that her beanpole build gave her practically nothing in the way of hips whatsoever, and with a cry of "Come on! Hurry up, onto the ladders!" she lead the vertical retreat, with Trebor going next, then Slick, on the second ladder. Ivan was the last to climb, with two legs and one arm on the third ladder, he hurled his molotov as the cries of “WOK WOK!” got within hurling distance, then began to scale the third ladder.
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At least Ivan’s very, very well-timed molotov cocktail very thoroughly cooked a bit over half of oncoming pack of burds, leaving them shrieking and flailing as they were purged by flaming Zoviet Vodka. Sadly, the remaining less-than-half of the pack demonstrated parkour skills to put a gymnast to shame, skittering along the walls, over things left in the tunnel, or jumping from corpse to corpse of their fellows, charging at Ivan. Only three of them managed to reach him and snap at him; only one made the hit, and thankfully Ivan’s boots were made of sturdier material than their little beaks.

So no shit, there we were, freehand climbing up 15 decks, with a pack of very upset xenos birds chirping, screeching, and WOK WOKing below us. For some insane reason, the two of us built like tugboats and bodily intact were going up alone, while the only member of the group built like a sleek pleasure yacht was performing tugboat duty, lifting for herself and half of Galforth, shining like a beacon in the dark from every centimeter of exposed skin with radiant light, lit up by glittering lines thanks to effort and strain. It was not an easy climb for any of us, fueled as it was by overdriven potentia coils dumping energy into our bodies, adrenaline, and the desire to not wind up a splatter on the deck below feeding the WOK-WOKing crowd of burds.

None of us except Ivan came out of it particularly in good shape. Galforth nearly slipped a few times, and Blue, in particular, was very nearly passed out by the time she reached the top of the hole, practically begging for a landing to stop and rest on. Fortunately, she made it to the top in time for Ivan, who - along with everyone else - had made much better time, to bodily lift her and Galforth free.
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Those of us who were exhausted spent a few glorious minutes’ time enjoying the simple luxury of being able to lay prone on a reasonably clean, well-lit floor, while Ivan, who was somewhat confused by this whole “taking a breather when fatigued” thing, moved the giant manhole cover back into place.

After taking a few moments to cover her face, poorly concealing the fact that she was sobbing and having a weep, Blue summed up pretty much the opinion of every sane man, woman and other aboard the Occurrence Border, declaring “fuck this ship.” Galforth, who was sitting armlessly on the deck, stroking his robotic dog with his still-extant hand, agreed, concurring “I want to get off this wild ride.”

Ivan’s response to this blatant display of stressed-out humanity was to pass the vodka to Blue and tell her to suck it down and then suck it up. Everyone else had a good laugh when a swig of Soviet Vodka sent the inexperienced drinker into a coughing fit, and passed the bottle around, though eyeing Ivan a little wearily after he suggested that they either put on the big boy robes and suck it up, or volunteer to be servitors.

Thus it was time to return to whence they had come. We had a map, and the advantage of having traversed the distance before, but the distinct disadvantage that both of our voidborn members - IE, the ones who were actually able to attempt navigation at all - were extremely fatigued and not cogitating too clearly.

Then it came to light that the map we were working on had absolutely nothing marked down, except for the red line we had traversed on the way down. Attempting any other path would be a rousing game of “guess how many xenos are behind Door #3.” So we attempted to navigate back.
Of course we failed to navigate our way back, that’s what happens when novice pathfinders who are dead on their feet from exhaustion and exertion are leading the way. But we weren’t prepared for how hard we failed. We passed through the engine room with only a slight uneasy feeling of having overlooked something important,

Blue took point; she was the only person capable of attempting navigation whilst holding both a dataslate and a weapon at the same time. Being capable of attempting, however, is not the same thing as being actually capable of the task, and Blue confidently took a wrong turn in a confusing junction, leading on headfirst into the unknown. Since the group were navigating in an entirely unfamiliar ship, which had already proven itself to have more than the usual share of shitty ship issues, only Galforth discerned that there was something ‘off’ about the corridors we were traversing, but wasn’t certain enough of exactly what to make a positive determination to suggest we backtrack.

Before Galforth could make up his mind to suggest the group pause and get their bearings, his ears pricked up, hearing a faint laughter behind them. Blue also caught it, but she was more concerned with the way she was detecting a chromatic variance on the three side doors; the one nearest to them was glowing a sickly green, the one in the middle purplish, and the farthest one orange. The glow was extremely faint, but despite being fatigue-addled, she picked up on it.

A combination of fatigue, unaccustomed stress, a first exposure to genuine mortal peril, and that inexplicable sense that tells someone it is TIME TO GO gripped Blue’s heart, and she snapped her carbine to shoulder, declaring “We have to get out of here, right the Emperor-loving NOW!”
The Coglass’s instinct was to backtrack, and she fell into her original role of rear-guard, spitting out instructions; ordering everyone weapons-up, not to go near the doors, and to keep their guns trained on them. Slick, she wanted leading the way back with his shotgun.

Whether it was fatigue preventing anyone from asking questions like “who put you in charge,” or a sense that when someone suddenly goes full-on paranoia mode it’s best to assume they’ve seen something you haven’t, the group followed her instructions, and it was a good thing (for most of us,) that we did.

Slick drew up his shotgun pistol, as the laughter behind us became so loud that it could be heard from everyone. The cowboy, to his credit, aimed and challenged the source of the eerie sound, and the rest of the cogboys, to their credit, kept their weapons trained on the eerie doors, while Friender’s robotic hackles rose and he started emitting a mechanical growl. Ivan, on the other hand, following his “seen it all before” mentality, attempted to rally the group by shouting “Do not panic! Be as maschine!”

Slick found himself staring at a roughly humanoid figure, clad in some kind of tattered robes, with pincer-tipped arms. It raised its head, and under its cowl, the cowboy found himself staring into the face of the Warp.
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In a way, it was fortunate. If any member of the group could have been deemed the most stable, the members of the group probably would have voted for the no-nonsense, lho-stick-smoking cowboy cogboy.

When the oldest, probably the most stable and wisest member of the team let out a blood-curdling scream and took to his spurred heels in wild panic down the corridor, the rest of the group took that to mean that GTFO had been declared again. We took to our heels (and robotic paws,) following Blue’s call of “Change of plans; LEG IT!” and Galforth’s order to “IGNOREIGNOREIGNORE,” and fueled by fresh, untapped reserves of adrenaline, we ran like the daemons of the warp were after us, because in this case that was literally true.

The daemon must have though this was funny as hell, because its laughter boomed after us, changing eerily in pitch in ways no unaugmented human voice could possibly do; Slick lead the pack, in the full-on grips of terror, and the rest of us pounded deck plates to keep up with him, potentia coils whining, whirring, or overvolting, most of the group sweating like pigs while Blue shone like a beacon.

Eventually, the laughter faded, and a spell after that, our frenzied, panicked flight reduced to a jog, then we slowed down to catch our breath. Ivan summarized the encounter, saying “Zo. I take it dot vos not a friendly tink hyu zaw?”

(Animated image, BTW.)
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Slick, once he came to a stop, stood in place, stooped over, panting, ritualistically tapping the top of his pistol’s barrel to his forehead, trying and failing to articulate what he had seen, concluded “let’s not be here any more.”

Blue voiced the possibility that, in the chaotic melee that had ensued when the Explorator Fleet plowed headfirst into a Heretek fleet, possibly one of the Heretek ships had managed to pass itself off as a loyalist vessel and the group had mistakenly been sent to board it. If not for the fact that we could hear what was ostensibly human industry and voices (albeit in the far-off distance,) she would have declared it absolute fact instead of merely speculation.

Nobody found this funny, not even Blue, and we decided to move forward before making the decision to abandon ship. Thankfully, our bad luck appeared to have been spent after that, and after moving three corridors forward, we came upon a room that may have, once, been a hangar, but was now clearly a workroom, full of workbenches and tools, with several dozen men and women in non-Mechanicus industrial browns and yellows, many of which were displaying clearly Imperial iconography.

Only Galforth was even slightly disappointed to see “civvies,” the rest of us were positively elated, especially since they were all armed. Blue and Ivan took point, after the first engineer to see us declared that everyone could come out of cover, as we were only the Mechanicus, nothing to be frightened of.

Ivan, for his part, immediately declared these to be “my pipple,” and approached the man approaching them, bottle of vodka in hand, greeting him warmly, and then Blue fumblingly explained what had happened.
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That was us; a pack of greenhorn tech-acolytes. We’d been clawed up by xenos burds, removed one of our own arms with a friendly fire “incident,” run, gotten lost, and gotten chased for kilometers by some laughing daemon thing, with a nearly-faint teenager swaying on her feet and trying to explain this all to a hearty man who called himself Mortimer and said he kept a few dozen mugs in line.

Mortimer smiled sympathetically at us, and said “That’s the ol’ Oh-Bee for ya.” To which Blue responded “This is *normal* here? Eff em Ell.” Nobody else got that, but Slick stepped up to explain that we were looking for our boss, and medbay, in no particular order. Inexplicably, the mention of medbay turned Mortimer slightly pale, but we told him we were working for Enginseer Gelfried, he told us that we were looking for a set of compartments not far from where we’d boarded the ship, and introduced us to two armsmen he’d detailed to lead us back, while he programmed a map into Blue’s nice dataslate, and the rest of us speculated on how typical this was.

Blue hoped that this was a particularly shitty day; Ivan offered a ten-throne wager this was a good day. Galforth got in on that action, while Blue quietly said “I may hate you now,” and the experienced OB crew bemusedly ignored us, going about their business.

Eventually, Mortimer returned Blue’s dataslate, explaining that he’d programmed what should have been a safe route, though he’d had to program in a detour around Lavoratorium 46B, which had had another Nurgling incident.

Ivan commented, "...hy love that before 'Nurgling incident', hyu put 'another'. Dis is Foundry Ishimura all offer again,” and Blue decided "On the Ark Mechanicus, any nurglings at all would be a shipwide scandal. Here, it seems to be a routine maintenance issue; I want a bigger gun. I want a bigger gun for my everybody. And a Power Hammer and Storm Shield for Ivan."
Mortimer found this funny; the Occurrence Border being a ship about as far removed from an Ark Mechanicus as one could get without actually being a full-on Space Hulk, but he agreed that “It’s hard to go wrong with more gun.” Galforth lamented that it was too late to change his bet to one AGAINST this being a good day, while Ivan, however, reacted unexpectedly.

Ivan was not handling Blue’s stress-coping mechanism of copious bitching terribly well, and told her to can it. Incredulously, she asked if he was actually arguing against being better-armed, to which he annoyedly replied that "To say dot de Omnissiah has put us in a situation vhere ve are not fit for purpose as ordained by de most holy Mechanicus and to demand tools vhich are unnecessary to solve de problem is heresy. I vood like a hammer, but it is de purview of de Mechanicus - or de Armsmen - or good luck - or de Omnissiah - dot ve receive better hardware."

To say that stress was causing some friction in the group would be like saying that a lack of oil caused friction in a motor. Ivan was used to working alongside only other Lathesmasters, rough people who were treated like absolute shit and had unceasing labor without any vocal complaint (at least around the red-robes) demanded of them. While most of the rest of us weren’t unused to arduous working conditions, we found a workplace which was literally infested with daemons and xenos to be beyond any reasonable definition of arduous, and Blue pointed out that she had been literally augmented not for labor but for social interaction. Galforth requested that he be allowed to bitch in peace, as he was currently missing an arm and could do little more.

Ivan found these arguments rather unconvincing, snarking back to Galforth that “Hyu can put on big boy pents, remember hyu has vun good arm still, and two vorkink legs. Hup hup hup!"
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We were reaching a boiling point of being about to dissolve into petty squabbling, recriminations and possibly brandishing weapons at one another, when Mortimer stepped in; pointing out that our superiors weren’t in range to hear our bitching, and he’d located some lads to take us home. We swallowed whatever snappy comments we were about to make, thanked him profusely, and then moved on to the two Armsmen, lasgun-carrying men with lho sticks. Blue thanked them, in turn, and the one in the lead chuckled, began to say that we should thank them when we arrived in one piece.

His buddy cut him off with an elbow to the ribs, half-way through the word ‘piece,’ gesturing at Galforth’s wrapped and bandaged stump, and the first man corrected himself to “no more pieces than we’re in now.”

Only Blue found this funny, but she had the good sense to cover her face and make like she was facepalming and wracked with a few quiet sobs, while the rest of us stared at the chagrined Armsman, except Galforth, who was tired of having the stump called attention to, and gestured to Friender, noting “the less you mention it, the less my friend here tries to bite your dicks off.”

We all spent the rest of the trip studiously ignoring the stump, and moved on, heading for the area where our boarding group had been setting up shop.
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The trip was mostly event-free, save for one point where one of the armsmen darted ahead, crouching and peering ‘round a corner, then darting back, declaring “Nurglings. Detour time.”

Ivan, typically, hefted his hammer and shield and declared that it should be no trouble, despite the fact that he was still leaking from earlier. The Armsman then clarified that he was speaking of plural dozens of nurglings, and even Ivan agreed it was time to make this somebody else’s problem. He just did not have enough vodka for that kind of shit.

After quite a long journey on foot, traversing down rusty, slimy, and gravitically queer corridors, we finally found ourselves trudging up to the landing bay we’d arrived at, most of us on the brink of collapse. Fifteen minutes later, we finally arrived at the new engineseer quarters. Ivan thanked the duo by giving them a bottle of his precious vodka, and we headed in to find Gelfried.

He looked approximately as busy as we had been, but as it was likely all of his work had been administratorial in nature rather than spending his time being chased by literal daemons, we weren’t very thrilled when his only response to our report that we’d repaired the fault we found, and had oh by the way been attacked by daemons and xenos, was “good job, here’s your quarters, you’ll get your next assignment shortly.”

Ivan asked if he’d be bunking with us, or should find his own spot. Blue gave him a mild glare, and said that she wouldn’t object to him bunking with them, IF he stopped threatening them with bodily harm every time they voiced some complaint. Ivan pointed out that what he was doing was MENACINK, not THREATENINK.

We could have debated the finer points of Gothic for a while, but Blue was already opening the door to our cabin, saying that we should get those who were intact to bed and Galforth and Ivan to medbay, when a wave of chemicals hit us.
The room we beheld was quite long; it had a row of bunk beds on the near wall, four high and two tall, save that the nearer bunk to the door was missing the lower bunk. There were even mattresses on them! Granted, one of the bunks was missing a mattress, and one of the mattresses had a massive, rust-red stain, but the entire room smelled of acrid cleaning chemicals.

There was one man in the middle, studiously cleaning, in a green robe with yellow cog fringing on the edges, embroidered crosses at the hems of his collars, and the great Cog Mechanicus on the back. An acolyte Biologis, apparently, and presumably our sixth ranger, who had missed all the fun of our first day on the OB.

Lucky bastard. He pointed out that Galforth’s stump hadn’t been properly cauterized, while Ivan summed up our opinions by climbing to the nearest high bunk and falling asleep.

Well, it had been a long day. The rest of us decided introductions took a lower priority, and sought some combination of rest and/or medical attention, while Blue decided her first priority was getting her robes laundered, and her second was zoning out as close to unconsciousness as one could get without actually passing out in the shower, thereby multitasking the objectives of washing off the xenos blood and getting some rest.
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Bollocks, I forgot the image to that one. Jacobin's player even suggested it, IIRC!

Anyway, that was our first story arc, our Welcome Aboard. It took us a full month, to get from boarding the OB to finally being able to hit the sack.

We may all be Jaded inside of three hours.
that was bretty good, op
i liked it
*Polite Clapping*
Good Show!

Heh. Thank you, I'm glad that some people DID enjoy it, after all!

We had a hell of a wild ride. But my god, SOOOOOOO much failure. It's basically impossible for Techpriests, especially newbie ones, to be able to do things like search for clues, or spot ambushes. We didn't find ANYTHING we actually Searched for; no sticky notes, comm-terminals, nothin'.

Ah well. We're getting better, at least.
I got it archived:
>Techpriests only get Dodge at Rank 4 and Search on Rank 6 on one path without being a Mastiff Handler
>Techpriests get Awareness NEVER without being a Mastiff Handler, and the current one's still getting over his episode of TACTICAL RETARDATION the likes of which are known only to the Vindicare Temple.
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Many peoples!
Good read, went by amazingly fast though, which is prob why no one commented, busy readin and all that.
Heh. Thanks for being kind enough to say so.

Colin actually assembled what he called the Occurrence Border Survivor table of Elite Advances available to everyone who survives their first mission on the ol' Oh-Bee.

It consists of:
Jaded 200
Paranoia 200
Awareness 100
Armour of Contempt 300
Exotic Weapon Training (Choose One) 200
Exotic Weapon Training (Choose One) 200
Dodge 100
Parry 100

Seems pretty reasonable to me. I think we may all come out of this Jaded. I'm thinking of taking Armour of Contempt for my stupidly-good-willpowered techpriest, too.
>the first thing they looked for was the exit.

They learn fast.
Fucking glorious. I hope i'll be there to read the next episode. I don't doubt it will happen sometime soon.
Good read, 7.75/10. I'll be looking forward to the next cogbro story time.
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Bump for being actual OC.
>Slick decreed that Ivan must have had a rip-snortin’ time, and greeted him with a big old agri-world howdy.
I like Slick.
Their dynamic is gonna be a fun oddity.

>Cogpoke CowPriest Slick and his six-shooter
>Galforth, master of TACTICAL RETARDATION and owner of caustic humor
>Ivan the Ever-Optimistic Vodka Enthusiast
>Blue the Hapless Cogless Coglass
>Trebor the Generic
>Nubcakes the Hypochondriac Okay, I do know his name, it's just gonna be a detail for whenever next time is
From impression, I would rate them
>Slick: bretty gud, fun sounding take on the techpriest role
>Galforth: Perfectly reasonable, not too well characterized yet, apparently retarded(?) (Caustic humor was a little lacking in the story, but I imagine the exact lines were a pain to remember/look up.)
>Ivan: I like the role, and am annoyed by the Russian charicature
>Trebor: I suspect that being stuck on the OB will prevent anyone from remaining generic. Just a hunch.
>Nubcakes: Sooon...
Our GM was even asking, "What are you, Techpriests, or Guardsmen," when upon getting down to the dark tunnels, the first thing we did was unholster weapons and lights, and the second thing we did was establish a marching order and that Blue was marching backwards, watching for things creeping up on us.
We're hoping to retrofit lamps to our shoulders and weapons, too.

We finished the last session (with us finally being able to catch some sack time,) on Friday, so, prolly not anytime super-soon.

It's hard not to like Slick!
Slick even arranged to drop some of the standard Technographer stuff for Agri-world Techpriest stuff, so he has Wrangle. He was idly talking about raising Burds and training them into our own attack chickens.
They would be pretty handy against the least of those Daemonids...

Ivan's player saw my "Molotov-Pattern Incindiary Grenade" poster and practically fell in love. Yeah, this group is pretty funny. Five complete weirdos and Trebor.

And yeah, Blue's an interesting character running on MAXIMUM SNOWFLAKE OVERDRIVE, in that she's basically a Shadowrun 4e post-cyberpunk early-transhuman character in 40K; it never actually got shown off in our first adventure, because she's wearing a flak vest under her robes, but instead of some big power generator hunchback, she ha a cylon-spine with crystaline turbine generators for a potentia coil, so when she's over-volting and under stress, her back glows.
Of course, she has basically nothing in the way of standard Techpriest tricks, being a Factor, so she's basically compensating as hard as she can by falling back on her pre-Mechanicus upbringing junior-militia stuff.

(She does have a few interesting, if rather non-combative Mechanicus tricks, though, in that her entire body is covered in electoo-inducers, and she can support most forms of Ad-Mek data plugins.)

Well, it was either Russian or Scots, given Lathesmasters are basically not!dorfs.
Awh, we all love him! Even when he's MENACINK us.

I think the story goes that his Core was descended, culturally, from one of those places settled by Space Russians.

By the way, fun fact I discovered when looking up that phrase to put on that poster?
"Do Svidaniya" is basically a FRIENDLY farewell, roughly translating to "until we meet again!" But I suspect that in that way, it can be used as an unfriendly farewell, in the manner of "I'll see you in Hell!"

He's as close to being a Squat as you can be without ACTUALLY being a Squat.
Awesome story, definetely liked it. Hopefully, I can manage to catch the next one as well (am not on /tg/ as much as I would like).

Three things: 1) it might be a good idea to advertise it next time Shoggy posts (I would guess that most who enjoy Shoggys work would enjoy this). 2) You're overusing the phrase "... there we were ..." a wee bit (to the point where even I noticed it). 3) Why oh why did you post this just as I needed to go to sleep?!
1: Well, it was in the works during the last AGP thread, but I didn't have the images ready. Also, I was busy reading the AGP instead of working on this.
2: I'll try to mix it up a bit, especially with "... that was us, ..." but on the other hand, Shoggy tends to use "No shit, there we were ..." a lot, too, and the AGP is by far the biggest inspiration for all of this.
3: Because my fellow Cogbros absolutely INSISTED I post it when I had all 42 images ready, instead of waiting for another day. Sorry!
This was a good read, looking forward to more.
>. He was idly talking about raising Burds and training them into our own attack chickens.
That sounds like an incredibly Occurrence Border thing to do.
Xeno-Biological Heresy instead of Xeno-Tech Heresy?
There's no genegineering or biological manipulation. Just good old fashioned training. Like you'd do with alien flora and fauna on any planet Mankind colonized.
They're krootoid critters, though, that's gotta be heretical somehow, I'd reckon.
>3: Because my fellow Cogbros absolutely INSISTED I post it when I had all 42 images ready, instead of waiting for another day. Sorry!
I had some edits to make; ah well. Next time.
If I could get Skype to stop not working on my phone I could've chimed in.
Aw shucks.

Here's hoping your second mission is as interesting. Hopefully it won't take a month to finish playing.
Thus is the way of text games, in my experience. I don't mind it.
I'm noting it with the two games I run, but my GMs seem to have practice speeding things along. I don't mind them running long either, but I expect the next one will be less circuitous.

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