Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mission Report (A6): Interrogators and Interrogations

This is the narrative of Althea's 6th mission in a Dark Heresy campaign put on by one of the boys from Hogtown 40k (Toronto).  Part one is here.  I think it's pretty exciting. I hope you do too.  Please let me know if you have any feedback, constructive or otherwise.

As a player, I think I have a sense where the story is heading, but my character obviously doesn't know what I know (as a 40k nerd with 20+ years in the hobby compared to an ignorant pilot in the 41st millenium). I tried to ask leading questions to confirm whether my suspicions are true in a way that would give my character my knowledge while still being "realistic", but it didn't quite work.


Althea was still riding high when they landed. Her excitement from piloting their escape was overwhelming and (mostly) drowning out any guilt around Hippolyta, Ceres and Armand being in chains. Not that she owed them much, but she had given her word…

Her mood was barely dampened when their weapons were confiscated and they were sent to separate rooms. She only took pause when she realized that her room (which had a plasteel table, two chairs and a one way mirror covering an entire wall) was probably more appropriately labelled a cell. Still, Althea wasn't too worried - her confidence in her ability to talk herself out of almost anything buoying her.

Her mood only started to change as this new gentleman, Interrogator Corchoran, berated her.

“Why did it take you so long to come to the Master with your information? You had your vox, didn’t you?”

This Interrogator did not look… interesting – not the type of person she would ever socialize with. His tall form was clad all in black and his bald head was balanced with thick side burns, a goatee and small circular spectacles. A silver Inquisitorial emblem on his chest was his only attempt at colour, but even a small Inquisition ‘I’ spoke louder than words. He seemed humourless, a soul stripped of all trappings of humour or delight.

“Interrogator, I don’t believe that’s fair.” Althea protested. “We can’t come running to the Vox, I mean, our Lord, with every little rumour we hear. We had to check it out.”

“By your own account, you’ve had this information for days!”

“We submitted the request for a meeting days ago. We judged that the information would be incomplete without the others’ testimony and we knew they wouldn’t speak over the vox.”

“What if you were killed, or lost in the Face? We would have been blind without that information!”

“Well we weren’t killed.”

“You’d be dead if your xenos-loving allies hadn’t rescued you.”

“We survived.”

“Something of that importance should have been communicated first!”

“If you want us to understand the immediate importance of every scrap of information,” Althea was almost yelling now. “Then you and the master need to do a better job of communicating with us instead of keeping us in the dark.”

He blinked at her. “True.”

She knew she had pushed her luck. Her cutting temper sometimes got the best of her. He may not have humour, but at least he doesn’t seem to have much of an ego either.

Might as well cut to the chase. “So, are we in trouble? Where are the others?”

“In similar rooms. They’re fine.” He hadn’t answered her first question. Either the answer was no and he didn’t want to admit it, or he didn’t know. Better not rub it in. She switched tacks.

“You came here first?”

“Yes, reports indicated that you are the closest thing your group has to as a leader.” He stated matter-of-factly.

Althea had known that the others had a tendency to defer to her, but it was different to hear her new boss (which this guy must be...) admit it. She felt an even stronger sense of duty to her team. Someone had to look out for them - these cutting bastards certainly weren’t.

“Can you tell me what’s going on?”

“The Face has gone quiet. It’s been very disconcerting. But not too quite – it’s as if someone has been trying to hide something. The tithe quota has still been met.”

“What now then?”

“This planet will soon be again in the control of loyal Imperial servants. Not xenos sympathizers. This entire sector needs the tech and the resources that are harvested here. We need to take back the Spire. Take back the Sunguard outposts. One by one, the Emperor’s will shall be done.”

Althea nodded. It made sense if your viewpoint was that all xenos were only a hair’s breadth better than a heretic. She had hoped that they could work together. Her father's voice echoed in her ears: "A fool and an optimist are different sides of the same cred-chip."

“What about the prisoners? Have you spoken with them yet?”

“I have not begun any interrogations yet, no. But my men advise me that Hippolyta is a psyker. And she has tattoos only found on eldar thralls. This is not good company to keep.”

“A psyker? Are you sure?”

“Very. I’m not surprised you wouldn’t have picked it up. She appears to have a subtle command. Likely as a result of eldar influence.”

“I would like to come with you when you interrogate her. She knows me better and I may be able to get more information out of her.” And I'd like to apologize to her. And, if we’re going to find a solution where nobody dies, I think I’m going to have to be involved.

Corchoran nodded. He turned and started to go.

At that moment, Althea remembered why she was here to begin with. Not because she had saved her friends from the Sunguard, or because she had cleaned out a xenos cult, but why she hadn’t just run when she received the vox message in the first place.

“Interrogator, one more thing. The Inquisitor mentioned the vid-tape of my father. It was one transgression. Surely I’ve done enough to earn the right to destroy it now. You can’t condemn a man for one minor misstep.”

“Your father? One minor misstep?!? He was a flesh trader and a heretic of the worst sort. You’ll have to take this up with the Inquisitor.”

Rage washed over Althea and her blood started to boil. I’ve certainly done enough. These cutting bastards feed me lies. They’re going to string me out until I waste. Corchoran turned and left the room. Althea looked down and noticed that she was clenched her fists so tightly that her circulation was starting to cut off. She took a few deep breathes and then followed him.

They will either give me what I want or I will take it from them.


Althea followed the Interrogator down the hall. “How about the others? Lazo? Doc? Gus?”

“They’re fine. They’re still in their rooms, but I just want to have a quick talk with them before we send them to their new quarters.”

“Will we go do that now?”

He shot her a don’t-try-me look. “No. We will talk to Hippolyta, and then you will go to your new quarters and I will speak with them.”

As they walked down the hallway, she saw her friends in rooms that were identical to the one she had been in. I must be looking through the one-way mirror.

They approached the room with Hippolyta in it. Althea turned to Corchoran, “You have safeguards against her psychic powers?”

He nodded and reached for the door.

“Corchoran, wait.” He stopped. “Before we go in - how is the other one? With the stomach sword wound?”

“She’ll live.” He pushed open the door and entered the room. Althea followed him in.

Hippolyta looked up and tracked their movement with her eyes.

“Hippolyta, I’m glad you survived the ride here.” Althea said, with genuine warmth. “I wanted to let you know that Ceres seems to be doing fine.”

Hippolyta nodded in acknowledgement.

Althea realized that it was guilt that she had been feeling as a pit in her stomach. She felt responsible that Hippolyta was here and that Ceres had been stabbed. She didn’t owe them anything, but she had promised that the Inquisitor would listen and he didn’t seem to be doing that yet.

“I wanted to let you know that I’m still optimistic that our people may work together to fight the coming storm.”

Hippolyta paused a moment before responding. “I’m sure our acquaintance will be brief.”

Okay, I'll try the direct approach. “Hippolyta, I want to apologize," Althea said. "I never meant for things to end up like this.”

Hippolyta looked at her, as if looking into her soul. “I accept.” She said after a pause.

As Althea pulled out a chair, Hippolyta added, “Others may seek a different type of apology.”

Althea nodded her head in acknowledgement, “I know you speak only for yourself in this.”

Corchoran cleared his throat. “We have questions.”

“You may ask.”

“What are you doing here on Pickman?”

“I am enthralled to the Watcher and his clan. Duty compelled me to come. I have only been here a few weeks.”

“What is happening here? What are you preparing for?”

Hippolyta laughed without humour. “This is but one bit of chaff before a whirlwind. Soon the gates will be opened.”

“What do you mean?”

“Gate, path, river. All of these things are apt comparisons. A river to the stars.”

This is going nowhere. She looked at Corchoran. He nodded to her.

“Where were you before this?

“On a world you know as Coelia.”

Althea looked at Corchoran. “A notorious crimeworld,” he said.

“And before that?”

Hippolyta looked afresh at Althea, as if to measure whether she deserved the answer. “On many worlds across these so-called Ghoul stars. Your people are being turned. Not necessarily against you, but away. Away from Rhidhol.”

Corchoran interjected, “Rhidol is an Exodite world.” Althea nodded. She had heard something about the Eldar a long time ago – that they had worlds; worlds that they protected.

Althea tried a different tact. “Have you always been enthralled?”

“I was born on an island in the darkness of the Riasiaesch. I became the Speaker for my people, bearing the third eye. Being so chosen, I was taught the lesser wraith calls and learned to hide from dragons.”

Althea could see Hippolyta beaming with pride and understood what she was. A xenos vassal. She has left her humanity behind.

“Are you not worried about leaving your people? Dying?”

“My life is nothing if not done in service. These are the shattered ruins of the war in heaven. It is all about us, this ruin, even now. Can your dim mind fathom this? I mean that not as an insult but a statement – you barely shine. Compared to the Watcher … the watcher is a blazing lamp. The lamp that lights the way for us.”

“Lamp by which what is seen?”

“He is a being of pure radiance.” Hippolyta appeared to drift away on a memory. After a moment, she comes crashing back to reality. She fixes Althea with a piercing stare and a grin. “When the Devourer comes, it will be a rude awakening… I have told you, it is here now, but soon it will be everywhere. First, all of your reluctance will be swallowed. Then, this world.”

“How is the watcher planning to resist the devourer?”

“I dare you to go search in the vastness of this world. It is not for me to tell you what you may find.”

These answers are getting less and less useful. “Will Pickman survive?”

“Not as you know it.” And here Hippolyta’s face split wide with a crafty smile.

Althea looked at Corchoran and shrugged.

He started moving towards the door. “I think we have what we need for now. Let’s leave her to her thoughts.”

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