Feth! Flaming Throne! Warp consume it all! What a fething situation I’ve landed in this time. A right big pile pile of sherk. All I had intended was to lay low for a bit and escape the notice of that fething gak-headed Lorasian, Papirius. Why did Aedessa sanction that attack? She knew von Schwaben was down here… We had no choice but to obliterate them. Emperor help me if my cover is blown… Things were going so well for a while. I thought I might have finally kicked the Lorasian’s off my trail.
But wait. Nobody but von Schwaben and the Can Opener knew I was here. Nobody who really knows me, that is. Aedessa couldn’t have seen me slip away. Could she have? No, I’m far too careful, and besides, Papirius wouldn’t have sent a mere score of half-trained kids to rein me in. No, my cover isn’t blown, at least not yet. But I’m going to have to work to finesse my way out of this.
First thing first. The surviving prisoners are the only ones who’ve seen me openly oppose the Inquisition. If word of that gets out, all is lost. But how to silence them? I suppose they could all meet with an untimely accident. A mining laser malfunction in the aftermath of the battle… No. Their deaths would be far too conspicuous. Better to gain their trust and loyalty. Yes: if I’m careful I might yet be able to convince them that my service to the Borers is a convenient espionage cover for the Inquisition!
In the confusion that followed the skirmish, before anyone could do a proper head count, I convinced von Schwaben that I should interrogate the prisoners. I dismissed the Borers who had been assigned as guards
- convincing them to leave their post was easy; victor’s euphoria had clearly addled their brains. Besides, they weren’t trained soldiers. If we end up leading these dwarves - if von Swchaben ends up taking charge - we’ll have to take care to inculcate them with a proper sense of military duty.
I entered the “room” where the prisoners were bound. After surveying the sorry lot, I asked after the driver of the vehicle that nearly flattened me. Fething driver. The boys quick to point out the culprit. I kneed him in the stomach, winding him. Served him right, for almost killing me. After that little display (an outburst of emotion, really, but it probably served to intimidate them further), I asked if any of them knew who I was. They exchanged wide-eyed glances, until one
- Private Timius I later learned - spoke up. “You’re a leader of the Borer resistance!” He gulped, surprised at the sound of his own voice. Surprised he managed the courage to speak at all. I noticed the kid wore prayer beads around his neck. Excellent.
In dramatic Acolyte fashion, which is to say, with very little emotion, I informed the lot of them that I was an Acolyte in the service of Inquisitor Hadrius. A hush fell over the room. I appealed to their sense of duty, and to young Timius’ sense of worship. I told them that my services required me to assume a position among the Borers for the purpose of espionage, and that I might, from time to time, require their aid to carry out my mission. In return for their services, whenever I should call upon them, I promised that I would free whomever among them helped me. They assured me that they would patiently await the call of duty, and that they would protect my identity with their lives.
Well, so much for that. Now to solidify my identity as an Acolyte… I freed Private Timius and entrusted him with a message that he was to personally deliver to Sister Aedessa Jorens, informing her in part of my “mission”, and that I required a supply drop that would include long-range vox technology for communications purposes. All that was left to do was wait and… and pray, I guess.
This might actually work out well. I’m walking a razor thin edge, but I might be able to feed information about Borer activities to the Inquisition, and simultaneously about the Inquisition to the Borers in true double agent fashion. The only problem is, I don’t know which side I’m really fighting for… Neither I guess. Both sides are full of fething gakheads. But maybe Papirius will find himself captured as a prisoner in this war. And I his captor. Hmmmm, yes, THAT would be a stroke of good fortune.
In any case, after finding suitable civilian clothing for Timius and stowing him away in a transport vessel ultimately destined for Inquisitorial territory, I rejoined von Schwaben. A lady who identified herself as VJ Shores arrived at the station in a Rover and hurriedly entered the station, presumably to meet with VJ Granite. While she was inside, I helped myself to some of the albums inside her vehicle. I also took some maps and a nice watch. I had a feeling we’d be going somewhere. Might as well drive with music. And it’s always good to know where I might be going. Plus, marking the passage of time could help me if I need to find my way back. At least, that’s how I justified my theft after-the-fact.
As it turned out, I was right. We were in store for yet another adventure. So we made to depart, but Ramirez informed us that he would not be accompanying us. He said something about our vigilante vendetta and that he planned to seek asylum with the Ad Mec. If I had the choice, I’d probably join him. But the planet is probably crawling with Lorasians… I’m probably safer with the Borers for now.
So, we parted ways. Von Schwaben and I drove after VJ Shore. Turns out we drove for a few hours, well out into the dark side of the planet. This was deep Borer territory. We came upon a large Borer mining structure, which we learned was called “The Crawler”. Thousands upon thousands of Borers gathered were gathered there. Apparently we were being shepherded to a meeting of Borer faction leaders… As I see it, this could either go very well, or very poorly. Either von Scwhaben will be heralded as a hero and savior, or convicted for inciting rebellion and war. I decided it was best to dissociate myself from him for the time being. Enter Likios the scholar. Thankfully I had a pair of spectacles in my odds and ends. I proceeded to play the roll of an unobtrusive and perhaps mentally unstable scholar with a supreme research interest in the Borer species. What else was I to do? Throwing my lot in with von Schwaben could be suicide, and there was no way to escape now. Sometimes hiding in plain site is the only option.
Outside the crawler, we met several Borer faction leaders, including Rena Stov of the Hillfolk, a large brute with a red scar who went by the name of Riker, Warlord Thom Krieg of the Kriegs, and a few others. None gave me a second glance, though von Schwaben tried several times to introduce me as Waylon Quin. Fool man! Surely he knows the danger of throwing that name about. Then again, he’s racked up quite a number of imperial crimes himself, so perhaps he doesn’t give it any thought. At least not when he’s inebriated. In any case, I simply gave a blank stare and rambled on about nothing whenever he introduced me, after correcting him that my name was in fact Likios. It had the desired effect: I was immediately dismissed as a harmless fool.
We were shepherded deep into the crawler structure, down an makeshift crane elevator operated by Crane Master Dawl, and into a large meeting room. There we waited in silence as various other Borers made their way in. Among those who joined us were Mining Chief Isaac Marr
- he didn’t notice me, as I did not take a seat at the table but rather hid among the Borer entourages that lined the walls of the room - as well as Renor Sarg, King of the Table mountain, with his Gyokai adviser whose name we did not learn, a merchant called Piet Somms, and Jake Fowl, a runner for the Glacier Rats. Once everyone was settled, the meeting began.
There was much discussion; everyone inquired after von Schwaben’s antics at the vox station. There seemed to be a divide in the room as to whether he was a friend or foe. I let the squabbling continue for a while, and then shed my disguise. Assuming the role of Yorious, whom Isaac Marr would remember from the relay station, I engaged the Borer leaders in discussion. I spewed a bunch of drivel about rebellion and war, about freedom and rights, and generally supported von Schwaben in his vigilante agenda. In the end, we spurred the Borers to action. War was at hand! Ferth.
As we stood to leave the room, I noticed two specks a distance away. They appeared to be men, but I couldn’t make them out. I alerted the room of their presence; the Gyokai adviser produced a telescope and informed us that the men wielded sniper rifles. That was all that von Schwaben needed; he bounded from the room and hastened across the catwalk towards the crane elevators, shouting at the Borer leaders to remain hidden in the safety of the room. I guess he intended to engage them! Shores, Riker, and I left the room to follow him. Our movement alerted the snipers, who paused a moment to see if anyone else would leave the room, and then proceeded to pack up their equipment. When I reached the crane, I demanded to be allowed to take the wheel; now was the time for haste, as surely those snipers would have seen me. I glanced over at the other elevator. Von Schwaben had kicked the platform into motion: it swung like a pendulum, but both Riker and Shore managed to leap aboard without incident.
Having commandeered the crane, I started in pursuit of the would-be assailants. The crane was of off-world make: it had a hidden sixth gear for extra speed. The enemy must have been startled at how quickly we gave chase, since they began fumbling as they hurried to start their vehicle’s engine. They managed to start moving, but despite clearly superior vehicular speed, we started to gain. Meanwhile, von Schwaben and Riker reached the top of the elevator and moved to cut the vehicle off. They braced themselves against the oncoming vehicle; it appeared as though they intended to face off against the assailants in a game of Nyxian chicken. Idiots!
Thankfully, I didn’t have to watch them get flattened. Those snipers might have seen my face: escape was not an option. The elevator platform attached to the crane I drove swung forward like a great pendulum, having lurched into motion when I started driving. I pulled out my melta gun and took aim at the cables that held the platform: just after the platform reached its equilibrium position at the bottom of a forward swing, I fired. The cables melted under the heat of the blast and the platform sailed through the sky to crash into the assailant’s vehicle, causing the driver to lose control. They didn’t have a chance to avoid von Swchaben’s power sword, nor Riker’s massive hammer. Those two swung at the vehicle with such force that it deformed into a spherical ball of steel and simultaneously burst into flames. With uncanny precision, they swatted the fireball down onto a mining conveyor in the valley below.
Safe to say those two won’t live to blow my cover. Safe for now…