Duel on Dust

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The Orpheus once again returned to Dust in order to be repaired and to be resupplied with both equipment and crew. The other rogue trader craft previously orbiting the planet had left while they were away and they found that the journey from Griotex's world which to them had been 2 months had been 5 to the rest of the universe and thus they were overdue their supply run to the Mechanicus research base. Deciding to repair their ship before attempting their run the ship docked with the orbital ship yard above Dust. The crew were given permission to take shore leave but were warned of the Genestealer cult on the planet.

Oscar the Seneschshal left for the planet and using his contacts arranged to recruit many of the planets criminal gangs into the military forces of the Orpheus while Kain used his personal charisma to draw new staff from the planet in the name of the Emperor.

One group of off-duty personnel including the psyker Weki and Orayn a security guard found their way to a drinking establishment called the Heretics Head to enjoy a few drinks. The bar had a gambling den attached to it and the two of them more or less managed to break even. After a few hours Orayn noticed that a small group of robed figures appeared to be following them. He kept and eye on them until the main event at the bar started, a fight had been arranged between two alien creatures called Grixx. Two competitors were brought forward one a battle scared giant of its species and the other a smaller more energetic newcomer. Frenzied betting took place with Orayn placing a small bet on the older favourite and Weki putting most of his wages on the newcomer. The fight was long and vicious with both animals badly injured but eventually the younger animal won out crushing its enemy with its long jaws. Thus Weki came away with more money than he normally saw in several months.

Meanwhile Tristan decided to one again attempt the drinking contest at the Drunken Grox. Once again she was unsuccessful collapsing after only having finished about half the required amount. This time she was prepared and brought a team of medics with her so she quickly recovered.

At the same time a fight broke out in the Heretics Head between two gunnery teams from the Orpheus who both accused the other of cheating in the Grixx fight. Violence was held off for a few minutes until Orayn decided to step in and 'get the party started', a brawl commenced during which time Orayn lost sight of the Robed figures. The fighting eventually died down as the call went up that the watch had been called. Weki and Orayn deciding discretion was the better form of valor headed out into the streets and went deeper into the city. Weki decided to spend his winning on 'something that would make the world shiny' and started on a drink and drugs fuelled bender.

The cocktail of chemicals in his blood stream had a strange effect on the Psyker, he started to see small homunculus attached to the necks of various people he passed, these creatures seems to have tentacles running from themselves into the sky and linking to a huge maggot like creature floating over the cathedral in the city. As Weki wandered the city in a daze Orayn noticed that the cloaked figures were once again following them. The pair decided to try to hide in an alleyway but their pursuers spotted them and followed. The figures were revealed to be members of the despised cult, a short fight started and Weki fled into the city while Orayn held off their attacker helped by one of the cults guns turning out to be defective and blowing its owners hand off. Weki quickly found held and a squad of troops from the Orpheus quickly disposed of the cult members. Weki and Orayn returned to their ship to report on their findings.

Upon hearing of the cults activities Tristan decided to confront the ruler of dust Lord Governess Katrina Alastair with the details of the Genestealer infestation on the planet. With her Tristan took a squad of her guards, Kaltros, Orayn and Weki. The Governess's mansion was the second largest building in the city after the cathedral and had within in an aura of faded opulence. The Governess took court in a large chamber that used holograms and other illusions to make it seem as if the court was in a pleasant outside area. The Governess a rather faded woman appearing in her late middle age sat on a high throne surrounded by the naked, oiled, eunuch guard and welcomed Tristan to her planet. Tristan bore her a present of a cup made from the skull of a genestealer, which she accepted with poorly hidden disdain and started to tell her of the cult on the planet. The ruler refused to accept the reality of the situation even when Kaltros provided the evidence from the Orpheus. As Weki scanned the court he discovered that one of the guards and several of the nobles were infected by the cult, when he pointed this out to Tristan she decided to prove her point by 'outing' one of the infected nobles. Unfortunately the noble selected was the crown prince of the planet and took her accusation that he was tainted by an alien as an insult and challenged her to a duel. It was agreed that the fight would be undertaken in an area outside the city dome and using mono-sword and shield tomorrow morning.

During the day most of the Orpheus's crew were evacuated from the planet as the planets defences were fully activated as the allegations of alien corruption was taken by the people of the planet to be at attempt to take over the planet by the Rogue Trader. The PDF were mobilized and the planetary defence batteries activated and trained on the Orpheus.

On the morning of the duel the ships officers and their guards along with the nobles of the planet met at the duelling grounds a designated circle in the tundra outside the city. Tristan had originally decided to give herself and edge using a potent combat drug but realized that the low oxygen level of planet might mean that the drug would cause her to become exhausted too quickly, instead she took a less powerful drug to speed her reactions. Weki noticed that the crown prince was resonating with powerful energies from the Genestealer cult and tried to warn Tristan but the fight had already started. The two combatants seemed evenly matched for a time but after a few seconds Tristan's limbs grew leaden as her opponent used his psychic powers on her. Undaunted she fought on but was unable to breach her opponents defences and soon took a deep wound to her torso from her opponents sword. In his triumph the prince dropped his powers on her and she leapt forward with renewed vigour, however, she was still unable to penetrate her opponents defences and was driven to the ground by a mightily blow which cut a great chunk out of her chest and left her bleeding and dazed on the ground. The prince raised his weapon to deliver the final blow when suddenly Kaltros's sensors warned him of a large flying craft approaching very quickly.

To everybodies astonishment, a guncutter strafed the area with its guns killing many from both the Orpheus and Dust. As the craft zoomed over the duelling ground four figures in carapace armour leapt from the craft, their fall cushioned by jump packs. The figures opened fire on the Prince with Hellfire guns blowing large holes in his chest. The crowd could only look on amazed as the troops quickly disarmed Tristan and rendered her unconscious before returning to their craft as it flew overhead again. Thanks to his machine mind Kaltros managed to regain his senses in time to turn his own powerful laser weapon on the attackers killing one, and forcing another to dive for cover preventing him from being picked up by his craft. As the gun cutter headed away from the planet the surviving natives retreated to their city taking the events to be an attack by the crew of the Orpheus they ordered their defences to open fire while Kaltros ordered Oscar to launch fighters to follow the cutter and bombers to take out the planets defences.

Meanwhile Weki used his powers to keep the surviving attacker from regaining his senses while Kain and Orayn subdued him. A quick examination showed him to be a naval storm trooper and Kain removed the poison capsule he no doubt intended to use in the event of capture. The planetary defence lasers got off a few shots before they were silenced by the Orpheus's bombers and the shots did no serious damage to the mighty ship. The Crew quickly evacuated to the ship before the local PDF could reach them and the Orpheus took off at full speed after the Gun Cutter and Tristan. The pursuit lasted a week as the smaller craft headed to the outskirts of the system at full burn with the Orpheus just behind it, as it seemed that the craft could run no longer a naval frigate translated into real space in its path and picked up the smaller craft. The ship then fled back to the warp as quickly as it could leaving the Orpheus without its Captain...