Into that Vast Expanse

Collateral Damage session 7

The light of the Emperor returns to Jeroboam

Collecting the remaining nuclear warheads on Kaph, Kavik made plans to detonate the fragments of the Wanderer and cleanse the system of its unholy presence. A warhead would need to be delivered directly to the fragments, and the delivery would be a suicide mission. Kavik and Lilyth agreed that the best man to undertake the task would be the pilot who previously flew surveyed the shattered planetoid.

Lilyth and Thunderwrath prepared the man to give his life for the Emperor by reminding him of the glory of service. Meanwhile, Kavik and Victrix decided that Herodion should learn the responsibility of ordering a man to his death. Hero carried out the task with some reluctance.

The fragments of the Wanderer appeared to react to the threat by forming themselves into a shield around a large asteroid at their core, which glowed with some unholy power. The pilot carried out his duties well and delivered the nuclear payload to the center of the mass, while Triox performed rites to ensure that the detonation signal would transmit correctly. All fragments of the planetoid were consumed in the blast.

Satisfied that the threat had been neutralized, Kavik turned his attention to the survey teams that had been scouting the garden world Jeroboam in the inner system. The Macutian colonists had begun moving there aboard the captured transport Gilded Hook and identified several potential spots for landing and colonization. Kavik picked one in a fertile valley at the base of a large volcano, intending to harness the volcano for geothermic power and impress the native primitive human population.

Triox acquired several of the humans for vivisection and examination, finding them of comparable genetic stock to the population of the doomed moons of Ozymandias. These humans had more hardiness and genetic adaptability than the others, though.

The group led a survey of a large impact crater on the opposite side of the planet, where they discovered signs of human involvement. A path was carved to down the side of the crater wall, and the center of the crater floor was scorched with fire and burns. Scattered in the cracks of the rocks were carved ivory tokens and totems of apparent religious significance.

Triox determined that the metals lining the impact crater were valuable, so Kavik ordered that excavations be started and that the materials be brought to the new colony on the other side of the planet, to be worked into a massive statue that would stand atop the volcano as a testament to the Emperor’s power. Hero began to draw it in his sketchbook.

Growing irritable at the lack of action, Victrix demanded a hunt of the native wildlife. She found satisfaction in fighting the drop bears of the equatorial forest, a vicious catlike species. Wrestling several of them hand-to-hand improved her mood, as well as her stocks of rations.

The session closed with a cliffhanger as one of the guards at the edge of the newly fabricated colony town reported that a native was requesting audience with the “greatest warrior”—speaking rough but understandable Low Gothic.

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