Embarked on the Horizon’s Pride for Aurum. Our mission is to investigate suspected xenos activity including several mysterious deaths, and encourage Aurum to join the Imperium willingly.
I met my new Battle-Brothers soon after embarking – all new members of the Deathwatch, like myself. First impressions:
Hrolfgar, Rune Priest of the Space Wolves, and Thorhammer, Long Fang ditto. Rather loud (especially Hrolfgar) and somewhat given to friendly fire (ESPECIALLY HROLFGAR). Not unlike my previous experience with Space Wolves.
Thoughts: from previous experience, unlikely to be a problem at the tactical level as long as I plan accordingly. If the Wolves want to make themselves into a big noisy shiny distraction, that just makes my job easier. May need careful handling at the strategic level.
Sarlock, Techmarine of the Iron Hands. Don’t know this one well yet.
Ogur Takha, Apothecary of the White Scars. Seems all right for a White Scar.
Krak’atoa, Tactical Marine of the Salamanders. Was rather expecting one of the Space Wolves to insist on leadership (please Emperor, no) but to my surprise, Krak’atoa talked his way into the position. Haven’t worked with Salamanders, but penchant for setting things on fire could play to my advantage (cf comments on Hrolfgar and Thorhammer above). Leadership style remains to be seen. If he can convince two Space Wolves to take orders, he may have something.
Our host aboard the Horizon’s Pride offered us the use of the state-rooms. The others accepted, but there’s still too much of the hive-world in me to be comfortable sleeping in such a place. At my request, he provided me with simpler accommodation in the brig. Nice and dark – and let’s face it, if we see any action shipboard, it’ll probably be in the poky dark spaces, it usually is. So worth becoming familiar with them.
While there, got talking to a prisoner, ship’s Second Engineer. He told me his story: he’d noticed something unusual about the ship’s servitors and mentioned this to First Engineer, who attacked him. He killed the man in self-defence, but couldn’t convince security officers of this.
I found this story credible enough to go and warn my brothers in the sparring room, only to find they’d just been attacked by four servitors – apparently programmed by the First Engineer in anticipation of our arrival. They did no serious harm (although Hrolfgar almost killed Ogur in the fight) and at my request, the Second Engineer was freed afterwards. Although we enquired, we were unable to find information about the First Engineer’s possible motivation – chaos or xenos influence? Who knows? But a reminder not to be complacent even in ‘friendly’ territory.
We landed on Aurum and proceeded towards the city with Brigadier Heth, the Ambassador-Militant. The approach to the city is a cliffside path; it’s wide, but the drop at the side is steep. It was crowded with traffic in both directions, and as we passed a group of large lizard-beasts, they panicked and attacked us. I would have preferred to subdue them without deaths – they are no doubt valuable to their owners, and our mission is to make an ally – but we were unable to do so, and we ended up killing all of them. Their handler was trampled to death before we could complete this, and the Ambassador was almost pushed over the edge. I attempted to grab him with my jump-pack, but updrafts threw me off, and Krak’atoa recovered him instead.
Note 1: are there better options here? A few stun grenades might have stopped the beasts temporarily, but I doubt their mood would have improved when they recovered. How effective are sleep grenades?
Note 2: why did they spook? Is this just a reaction to Astartes (or to the Rune-Priest in particular?) or something more?
Note 3: previous emissaries described by the locals as “not a man”. Obvious interpretation is a cultural assessment, but could it perhaps refer to something else? Planet’s ecosystem is unusual – is it possible that the ‘humans’ here have diverged in some way, and hence a real human appears alien, both to locals and to their livestock? Will recommend this to Ogur for investigation – perhaps we should find an opportunity to examine the locals in more detail.
Proceeded to Imperial quarters, where we found an elderly emissary of the Imperial faith in confrontation with the locals.