House Gilliam: to Carve an Empire from Ashes

The Foundations are laid on Illisk
Another Obstacle

///Ship’s Log Gormenghast Lord Captain///

Calendar: 7479XXXM41 +++ERROR SYS FRAG+++

Nones: Bombardment began on ***CLASSIFIED***. This was the first time that the Stygies Pattern Bombardment cannons were put to use as an orbital barrage against a planet, and they performed well. Despite this and the deployment of our most senior bomber squadron, the alien energy proved intractable and I am forced to return to the world.

Vespers: In conjunction with the Omnissiac Congregator Amos and the Thulian contingent I have begun exploration and the extraction of goods from ***CLASSIFIED***. The men we recruited seem to be happy to be doing their jobs. Sgt. Thellum has done a good job of coordinating the camps. The alien beam of, I don’t know what else to call it, negative warp energy continues to flow unabated, despite early efforts by myself and the command staff. Commander Aubrey is looking very unwell, like Mr. Rhann was earlier, something here, on this planet is affecting them. Commander Aubrey had an uncharacteristic outburst and moment of panic, which won’t subside. I will have Dr. Torque look at him when there is time.

Beneath the surface lie a plethora of strange xenos tunnels, with circuitry sculpted into the masonry. Their doors are made of solid stone, shaped like apertures or sphincters, but show no evidence of electrical or even mechanical engineering. How they allow egress and ingress is a mystery. The materials used in construction cannot currently be identified.

The alien energy forms one continuous line in the middle of the tunnel. It is utterly black and horrific, but in his choleric disposition Captain Aubrey fired upon the beam with a plasma weapon. The energy seemed completely unaffected, but triggered Commander Aubrey’s hysteria, although I believe the root cause to be something else. His aspect was one which I have not seen in him before.

Vespers (addendum): We are turning back. Mechanicus calculations show that the line of negative warp energy is at point eight percent. More alarmingly, the cave-in behind us caused by Mr. Rhann is only acting as a dam, not a blockade, of that energy. Soon the dam will be overwhelmed and we are right in its path. Somehow, Commander Aubrey’s ramblings predicted this. How did he know this before we obtained the data?

Compline: After entering yet another tunnel near the northwestern side of the city, eighteen of the natives have approached us, heavily armed and wearing advanced power armour, similar to that of the Astartes. How did a civilization that doesn’t even possess the rudiments of space travel construct such marvels of engineering? That is not the apex of their incongruity: one of my Tech-Priests has informed me each individual has numerous advanced augmetics and reports are conflicting as to whether they are some form of debased human or xenos.

As they requested, we have withdrawn from a room with a sort of control edifice and another aperture that we passed on the way in. They have a strong military formation, they must be used to fighting, even out here in the bleak fringes of the Expanse. Mr. Rhann is under their “fold”, so they have let him proceed to negotiate for us. We are outgunned, and they are not immediately hostile, so we will wait.

Compline (addendum): They are human, God-Emperor forgive me. Some form of weird, abstruse abhuman that I have never seen before. And what Mr. Deacon has told me is worse. When he returned in one of their ground shuttles, we used that conveyance to have a confidential discussion and I was able to see them up close. In their debased Low Gothic, they are called the Mennonites. There is a time limit on this world, and I must make my command crew and allies aware of the doom of this planet. Somehow, at Deacon’s urging, the natives have turned off that awful beam of anti-warp.

Midnight: The Enginseer Prime has cleared out ***CLASSIFIED*** Tritarii and brought it up to working condition. Both the Warp Guide and Commander Aubrey have inspected the Naval vessel the Timely Retaliation and found it in a suitable composure. I will include Cpt. A124o5uXXX +++ERROR SYS FRAG+++ and Magos Q99 in the debriefing. I have set a pace for our researchers and explorers that will triple our output, because our stay here is limited. The crew is well trained and takes my instructions smoothly, but I will never let them know the reason for our haste.

At the officers’ meeting Magos Q99 left in disgust, barely avoiding storming out, with his last words straining to maintain composure and etiquette. He is the most most emotional of any Tech-Magos I have ever met, which ironically suits him as his position of leadership puts him into diplomatic contact with other factions and powers. He foolishly believes we can fight the thing, or more likely his wounded Mechanicus pride will not let him scamper away to hide after so recently bending the knee to another unstoppable force; he is painfully aware that he would lose everything he has ever worked for if he left. I cannot say that I would feel differently if the Gormenghast or the dynasty were in similar peril. Father Aldric Castiel is another victim of overweening pride and rigid dogma. I think that he believes that we could fight Orks blindfolded and naked if we happened to be praying at the same time. He sees no other course than to stay and fight. Thankfully the rest of the command crew agrees that if we could not harm the apparatus of anti-void energy, then we stand no chance against whatever it summons.

I nearly had to have Enginseer Jackson forcibly removed from the meeting before he took himself to medbay. The injuries he sustained were much worse than I was led to believe and they seemed to have caused another one of his breaks with reality. They seem to be getting worse; he was completely unhinged, babbling nonsense and greatly concerning all parties present over his health. Worse, the once stolid Commander Aubrey began to confirm and elaborate upon Mr. Rhann’s briefing with information from dreams and visions. Horrified, I considered removing him from office and placing him in medical, except that the prophetic visions he has described so far have been entirely accurate. What have I brought upon my crew?

Midnight (addendum): I am to meet with the leader of the natives to see if anything can be done. The Alif, I believe that is his title. They perhaps hold some from of protection from this thing that waits halfway across the galaxy, or at the other end of it, in the void between stars. It annihilates their enemies. The damned traitor Astartes have brought this upon us with their delving into secret knowledge with no thought for consequences. They sought some form of power from the massive native crystals built into the control edifices, but what they are is a beacon, a lighthouse of anti-warp on the shores of this benighted planet that the natives burn to bring forth their master. According to Mr. Rhann, their history shows a million strong force of Imperials striving to bring this planet to the Imperium, only to become twisted and debased at the whim of this thing. Its method of attack is unknown, but the outcome is well documented, may the God-Emperor preserve us.

It destroys its enemies by transforming them into the Mennonites.

\\\End Ship Log\\\

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