Entry 1: Ilse in Captivity
[Author: Anders A]
Where: Crimson Fists battleship Red Dawn, high orbit, Cerberus XIII
When: The day after the conquest of outpost Eizariya
What: Prisoner Interrogation Ilse Herzog, former generalkommissar of Death Korps Expedition Fleet located at CXIII.
The hydraulic doors of the prison cell 16-K opened and the light trickled in from the hololights in the corridor outside. The ship rumbled and the hum of the warp reactor resonated as usual in the ship's huge steel structure. A familiar and comforting feeling for some.
Suddenly the doorway was covered by a shadow. Heavy steps came towards her and the lights was blocked by a huge man, or Adeptus Astartes to be more accurate.
"Holy Terra, I never get used to how fucking huge they are," Ilse thought for herself. The Emperor's first leaned forward and she could see that he was not wearing his armor, but rather some kind of ceremonial, but simple cloth robe. "Commissioner General ... what have you done? You haven’t been very careful with you choice of allies" said a deep voice. Ilse looked up at the dark silhouette of a hood, almost haloed with back light. "No, that certainly seems to be the case," she said with an ounce of bitterness in her voice. She had seen the betrayal and the future of humanity the Empire would bring, but in the vicinity of this titan of a man she felt a nagging doubt in the back of the head. What if The Great Teacher hadn’t been correct? Suddenly it felt like she fell headlong into her own consciousness and tremendous guilt welled up within her. What had she done? She had betrayed the Emperor, but above all her troops who were still on Cerberus XIII. They were probably on their way to the temple by now.
"You can still repent. It may not save your life, that is for higher authorities to decide, but your battalion can still be saved. They are still not completely tainted". The voice came from inside her head. The astartes in front of her was obviously a psyker. "Hell ..." she thought quickly. "You were deeply involved in the plans of the enemy and can tell more about the temple for us. Perhaps you can convince your own troops of the enemy's deceitful ways, "sounded the voice again". A chance to exonerate yourself. All you need to do is to point out the temple and the fortifications that surround it. I will also need you on the planet, to show up for your Krieg battalion. Your fate may already be sealed but it could work in your favor", the voice said.
The astartes did the aquila sign and left the room. Ilse fell down on her bunk and sank into deep thought. Her battalion, temple, fortifications. She knew everything. How could she save herself and the men? At the same time she felt the lure from the other side of reality that promised grandeur if the blood was allowed to flow freely.
(GM:s note: Spending 1 XP and Ilse accompany Crimson Fists down to CXIII for the hunt for the Great Teacher and the temple. Spend no XP and Ilses fate is unclear.)
Entry 2: Kommissar in free fall
Twice more the astartes came and interrogated her. She did not understood if he was satisfied with their terse conversation, or if he's already stolen her knowledge through his mental abilities. Maybe he was just trying to get her to confess. Or maybe he just toyed with her. Ilse knew how these people worked, she was forged in the imperial doctrine.
It had been her who indoctrinated others, she knew the full range of arguments and emotions that you could use in order to force a confession. Maybe that was why she could stand outside and watch the Empire, the Emperor and his legions from another point of view - to see the cracks that spread in the imperial monolith.
That was why she was not dazzled by the Teacher's wisdom and twisted insights. It was important to keep a cool head and not fall into sentimentality or other weakness. To save the Empire it must be done, what must be done. As it had always been.
The third time he came, she had prepared a folder, waiting on the table.
"Chain of Command, terrain, fortifications, storage depots, troop types and support lines. All I can remember of it anyway. "
His voice - his physical voice - rumbled in reply: "I am sure it's all in there. I'm coming to take you to the shuttle. "
Did that meant that she had been manipulated to reveal what she knew? Or that he could read her mind like an open book?
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Iljse rested his forehead against the cold wall beside the safety seat. Her head spun.
How much do they know anyway? Have they already killed my battallion? Is the plan that I should face the consequences of my actions as some kind of warning? Ilse buttoned up the stiff coat and straightened her cap. The medals was in dissaray....there.
She inspected his reflection in the window.
Astartes, or fallen Astartes. The Teacher or the librarian. Were they even aware of how much firepower she controlled down on the planet's surface? This was her move, no matter how much they thought they held all the strings.
(Paid 1XP to have Ilse left in play)
Thus spoke the Teacher after the Arrival of the Strangers
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2. And so it was, that after people had gathered outside Rimmun, the Great Teacher met the people and spoke to them. He stepped out of his armor and, dressed only in a humble robe, he walked among them as he spoke to them, with his grizzled head bared beneath the stars.
3. 'My brothers. My children and acolytes. The time has come. The servants of the False God have found us. We have known that it would happen sooner or later. But we have enjoyed many years of freedom and peace, when we have been able to live and to learn. And we still have our freedom, and the time has come to learn from war!'
4. 'We have a great task in front of us! The Hounds of the False One are here, and their blood has already been spilled upon the earth of our world! We met them, and your brothers and sisters fought well! They stood with us, and met our enemies with courage, despite the fear that lived in our hearts, as it does in all that live. And, despite the fact that our enemies say they do not know fear, it is what rule them! Fear of what they do not understand. Fear of those who are not like them. Fear of change!'
5. 'They have come to our world. We know them. Those who walk with blood on their hands. Those who tear men's flesh with her teeth. The Dark Angels of the False God. They all fear us. They fear and hate our freedom, and the change we found in each other. For nothing that is healthy is eternally the same. Not even the dead are immutable. Their spirits travel to the other side, where they are both eternal and fleeting, forever changing. And their bodies go back to nature and become part of the world again. And all this is good.'
6. 'They are those who say that our enemies are invulnerable, that they cannot be defeated. But it is not true! We pulled back now, it is true, but their cold blood stains the sand at Eizariya! They are also those who say that me and my brothers, the Messengers of the Gods and the Bearers of Truth, cannot be defeated. But it is also not true, because nothing is eternal except the beauty of the spirit on the other side! We need your strength, your will, your vitality! I have given you the truth! I have given you the way! We have led you to the path of freedom! Together we shall walk the path of victory! '
7. So spoke the teacher, and the people rejoiced. And he went among them, and gave his blessings to the faithful, for the battles that awaited them.