The unofficial Sciscitatio Joint Task Force have been pursuing an investigation of dangerous warp-tainted xenos artifacts in the Solomon System of the Markayn Marches. Such an item had cost the life of a noble, Lans Guljian, who had obtained it from a dangerous midhive gang known as the Babyfaces. The Cell, after having delivered some of the Emperor’s justice, had obtained through interrogation the name of their source. Zax Holthane was a purveyor of offworld goods for a trading house called the Trade Sable, and operated out of an area located in the lowest levels of the midhive known as Three Stakes’ Rest.
This level of Hive Gloriana, as they’d been warned, was essentially the Underhive masquerading as the Midhive. The acolytes had successfully avoided any unwanted dangerous entanglements getting there through the canny navigating of Karpath Rommulus, his Guardsman basic training coming in handy. However, now deep in the thick of their destination, dealing with the lawless refuse of the vast Hive above was unavoidable.
The Cell tangled with a group Acolyte Arion believed to be a group of gangers of the “Deathskin” ilk. They were huge males in essentially loincloths, their skin covered in what Acolyte Intios identified as a lard of some kind. They weren’t too fast, but they swung huge mallets that looked like they could pulverize in a single blow. There was evidence there that they were cannibals. It looked like they had set up shop in a few rooms of the area & didn’t take well to the Acolytes visit. The superior armor & armaments of the Emperor’s soldiers proved victorious, but not before Odessa had some ribs caved in by one of the giant clubs.
The Cell came across some crates that appeared to be rerouted shipments. Much was already removed, but there was some ammunition, Ecclesiarchal holy oil & various food stuffs.
The acolytes found a large abandoned manufactorum. It had a structurally unstable look to it & they found it to be full of rusted equipment & machinery of all shapes and sizes. Crates, chests and lockers were there…most of them empty, but showing signs of recent use. Acolytes Odessa & Karpath were assigned to guard the large entrance the Cell had used, making sure that none escaped, while Acolytes Arion & Intios explored the huge warehouse. They had made their way through perhaps half of it when a shot rang out & a ballistic round struck near Intios. Lighting was low here; their optics allowed them to see reasonably, but the cavernous darkness of this old manufactorum made it hard to know where precisely the shot had come from. Arion & Intios determined the attacker was above on some catwalks that criss-crossed the area. Another shot came their way & both acolytes sprinted for the nearest stairs they could see that would get them up there.
The assassin’s speed was on full display as Arion, in a blur, was suddenly running at full speed on the catwalk thirty meters above. Intios followed behind and took a shooting position at the top of the steep metal stairs. The second sniper on a neighboring catwalk targeted Intios, but the shot hit the scaffolding. The Cell’s assassin is quite difficult to target, especially when at full speed. However, this sniper Arion was charging kept his cool and put a round on target…Arion was badly bloodied, but did not fall. He stepped to the side, knowing that Intios was behind him, waiting for his view of the target to clear. Intios’ shot goes wide & Arion completes his fifty meter charge, striking down the sniper foe with his sharp hungry blade.
But alas, the second sniper had repositioned himself where the catwalks connect and, like Intios, was waiting for a clear shot. When Arion struck down the sniper’s comrade, the sight did indeed clear & he fired…badly disfiguring the swordsman’s leg, bone jutting out and blood erupting like a fountain over the catwalk all around. Arion collapsed to the ground, involuntarily yelled out & clutched his wrecked limb…instinctively trying to stop the gushing red liquid escaping from his body.
Through the Cell’s circuit, Intios called for Karpath to rush to the catwalk’s stairs on the opposite side of the massive chamber. Odessa dashed across the nearby open expanse and took the cover of some crates still very near the entrance the Cell had come in. She strained to see up in the darkness but couldn’t manage to see the action, while still being able to ensure none escaped through the door. Intios & the sniper exchanged errant shots, while Karpath raced to a flanking position – the ex-Guardsman noting how unstable the stairs were. Soon Karpath & Intios had the sniper targeted from both directions. Karpath hit the scaffolding near his target. The already old, rusty platform gave way when the las bolt hit, sending a few meters of it – and the sniper – plunging to the darkness below.
Another foe opened fire on Karpath from a neighboring catwalk, putting an autogun round in Karpath’s midsection; but his armor blunted its penetration & the injury was a flesh wound. Karpath returned fire, the accurate lasbolt setting his doomed opponent aflame.