Cognars World

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As it tried to make its way back to dust the Orpheus was caught in the pull of the Abyss. Its engines were pushed to the maximum and still failed to make much progress against the forces acting against it. After 2 months the ship had only made about ¼ of the trip and the stress was starting to show on both the ship and its crew. Tristan was found in her cabin overdosed on some alien drug and lapsed into a coma. Sigfried and Kaltos took temporary command of the ship.

Eventually disaster struck and one of the Geller field projector covering a lower crew quarters failed and the area was exposed to the warp for a short time before a secondary system cut in. The blessings on the hull held and prevented any warp entities from entering the ship, however, the shock drove several hundred of the crew insane and they had to be put down. As this occurred the ship suddenly hit a clear patch of the Warp and its overstressed engines catapulted it onwards out of control. An emergency real-space transit was actioned and the damaged ship appeared at the edge of an unexplored solar system.

The area of the ship effected by the warp was cleared and although there was no obvious taint the area still seemed subtly wrong, Cain attempted to cleanse the area while the ship was being repaired but was unsuccessful. While repairs were undertaken a cursory examination of the area was undertaken showing that the old red sun held three planets and a thick asteroid belt. Two of the planets were gas giants but the third was a rocky planet sum what smaller than earth but within the star's habitable zone. The ship moved closer to investigate.

The planet turned out to not only be habitable but supported life, surveys showed that the planet contained earth descended life and thus had been terraformed by humans at some point in the past. There was also signs of an atomic war tens of thousands of years ago. There was no sign of sentient life or the remains of any cities though. Finally the ship located wreckage orbiting the planet. This wreckage was found to be from an imperial ship identified as one belonging to a Rogue trader known as Cassius the Cursed who had disappeared 400 years earlier. Cassius had claimed to have located a planet rich in ancient technology with which he hoped to reclaim his dynasties previous status before he disappeared forever. The ship appeared to have been attacked by energy weapons although the final reason for the ships destruction was unknown.

Redoubling their efforts the ship located an area rich in metallic deposits in a rain forest area near the equator of the planet. A shuttle was sent down with a small landing party including Siegfried, Kaltos and Cain. Mia was left in charge of the ship. As the area was over flown a small primitive village was sighted and the shuttle landed at the nearest large clearing a few miles from the village.

The party set out into the jungle, after a few hours Kaltos discovered that their were being followed and once the party stopped them were approached by a small group of human natives armed with spears. The natives did not seem fearful of the crew although there were curious about them. Cain identified the language the natives were using as a highly accented version of High Gothic and limited communication was achieved. The natives invited the crew to their village for food and lead them though the jungle.

The crew arrived to find the village mostly deserted but after a short while about a hundred natives turned up carrying empty baskets. When asked where they had been the crew was told that the village had been carrying out a ceremony to Corgon the tribes god, Cain knowing the only god was the Emperor balked at this but held his tongue. The crew joined in with the native feast and camped near the village.

In the morning the natives started to carry baskets of fruit into the jungle and the crew followed. The passed through an avenue of strange statues upon which were runes which Kaltos recognized as symbols of the machine cult. The party came to a small clearing dominated by a large stone head, while the crew watched on the mouth of the head opened and the natives started to pour fruit into it, Kaltos took this opportunity to have his servo skull slip into the head. Once the food had all been offered to the head the natives seemed to receive some sort of telepathic message from their God that he was pleased with them and they returned to their village to hunt and gather.

Cain talked with the village leader about their god. The leader explained that the planet had once had many gods and many tribes but the tribes had gone to war with the gods except for this one. The tribes and the gods were all destroyed leaving only this tribe and Corgon. Upon hearing this Kaltos thought this linked to the ancient legends of the Iron men. Cain began to explain to the village about the god emperor, although they immediately seemed interested in what he had to say their attention quickly wained while Siegfried gained more attention by helping with the hunt and providing strong alcohol.

In the evening the tribe returned to the stone head to feed their god again. This time Corgon did not seem to be pleased which confused the villagers. Kaltos's servo skull returned to him and its files showed a passageway within the head, however, the skull lacked files for over 6 of the hours it spent within the head and appeared to have been interfered with. Kaltos also discovered that a machine curse had been laid upon him and it was routing through his memory and transmitting what it was finding to an unknown receiver. Although he tried he was unable to locate or stop the program.

While ritual took place flashes were seen in the sky and contact was lost with the Orpheus temporarily. When communications were re-established it was found that the ship had been attacked by a fleet of small ships which had originally attacked by ramming the Orpheus and then by the use of an unknown plasma weapon. Most of the attacks were stopped by the shields but some had gotten though and had caused minor damage to the ship. That night Cain continued to preach to the natives with little success.

The next day the natives appeared to receive a message from Corgon who ordered the crew to leave the village. Kaltos attempted to communicate with the entity but it appeared to take control of his servo skull and it entered the head. Then Kaltos and Siegfried attempted to follow the villagers restrained them.

The party decided to leave and the villagers gave Siegfried the carcase of a local beast as a leaving present. Examination showed that the creature had an implant in its head. When the shuttle tried to leave strange lightning leapt from the planet and almost destroyed it although Siegfried avoided serious damage. In orbit the party found that the Orpheus was once more under attack by more of the unknown craft. This time the plasma weapons seemed able to penetrate the ships shield and the damage caused before they were destroyed were more extensive. Sensors showed that a third and even larger wave was incoming from the asteroid belt.

The Adeptus Mechanicus priests among the crew investigated the curse on Kaltos and eventually broke the cypher it used to communicate with Corgon on the planet allowing them to talk to the entity. At the same time it was discovered that planet was criss-crossed with a number of low level communications in this code which appeared to be a status report by a large number of devices.

Corgon demanded that the crew leave, die or join him. He claimed to have a brother in the asteroid field that he could not communicate with but who would kill them, presumably the source of the attacking craft. The crew attempted to negotiate with Corgon without success and ended up leaving a small party of volunteers on the planet along with supplies as an offering to the entity.

The Orpheus then headed into the asteroid field to look for Corgon's brother. They avoided the third wave of attackers but detected a fourth wave defending a unusual structure. Several asteroids had been held together by cables in a web formation and creatures were crawling on each asteroid mining from it. The crew decided not to risk an attack and headed back out away from the system to allow access to the warp. During the journey it was discovered that all of the landing party had been infected with a type of nanite that appeared to be building some form of device in their brains. The party underwent surgery to remove the device and shut down the nanites. Everything went well for Kaltos and Cain but Siegfried was left in a coma, some of the crew were less lucky and were left dead or brain-damaged. Two of the infected individuals were quarantined and the 'infection' was left to run its course. There was no apparent external effect of the implant and the officers decided to place the infected individuals in status pending further investigation.

The ship eventually got far enough from the star to make the transition to the warp and found that the area there were in was a long but thin area that seemed to be free of the Abyss's effect making it a safe route through the area, a valuable addition to their star charts.