XP Earned – 200
Enemies slain – 1 Haarlock Neural Clone, 8 Commandos
Clues Collected – Titus’ vision, Eye over the Galaxy Tattoo
We open with Inquisitor Scythia briefing the team on the current state of the Faustus’ Acolytes. While she can’t quite collect full dossiers yet, she does have some initial information.
Praetus Vorenus was slain several years ago in an ambush by cultists. He had been promoted to Interrogator and was investigating a new cult in Scintilla when he was gunned down. The perpetrators were never identified.
Titus Metallus began exhibiting signs of dementia and schizophrenia, claiming that someone was attempting to kill his past. He was placed in the Scintilla Psyker Asylum for study and treatment under heavy guard.
Centum Mannus has become an expert in xeno-archaeology and medicine, and is leading a team of Mechanicum explorators on the planet Hesperus II in search of archaeotech.
Cutter Tybalt disappeared from service several years ago and is rumored to be a mercenary for hire.
Lord Chauncey has become head of the Hyperion Shipping Cabal, a company with 12 bulk freighters, and numerous intra-system transports. The HSC is a front for the Inquisition and is used to ferry supplies, teams and Inquisitors to various locations.
Inquisitor Scythia orders the team to investigate Titus, as he is on Scintilla and the easiest to access. Their instructions are simple. Interrogate TItus by any means necessary and collect evidence as to whom Haarlock has possessed or turned to evil.
The team arrives at the SPA and are greeted by Dr. Herman Ostmann, the physician in charge of the ward. After relieving the Acolytes of most of their weaponry, he informs the team that TItus is kept in stasis, and should he be outside of stasis, he would have less than 1 month to live at his current rate of cerebral degeneration.
Numerous guards, and untouchable commissars patrol the hallways of the Asylum, ready to intervene if a psyker somehow breaches containment.
When they see Titus, they see that he is weakened by years of inactivity. When roused by the Acolytes he struggles to concentrate, but when he is asked directly about his former team and Haarlock, he emits a burst of psychic energy and the team is transported into his mind!
The Acolytes wake to find themselves in front of an English manor home, like that of Downton Abbey. While the mansion is magnificent it is clearly falling apart and in decline. When they knock on the door, a man in a Butler costume appears who introduces himself as Praetus Vorenus. They are led inside where Cutter Tybalt and Lord Chauncey are discussing issues of commerce while sipping on fine port and brandy. A gilded servitor offers the Acolytes drinks. Outside the sun seem perpetually stuck right at sunset.
The team warily begins speaking to the other “guests” and they realize that they are in Titus’ mind as it is dying. In an adjacent room, the Drawing Room, they see that a dinner table is set for Titus and his old team, but all the seats save one lay empty and the invitations to his teammates are unopened. Outside the sun has set, and Titus’ body lays dead. The Acolytes come to the conclusion that this must reflect Titus attempts to call out to this team for help and represents a dark future.
Back in the main room, Titus arrives, escorted by Centum Mannus. His body is weak and emaciated, and his gaze confused at best. When pressed on his memories, he cannot remember anything and the guests attempt to console him.
The Acolytes split up and begin investigating the various rooms again in the hopes of reawakening Titus’ mind. Owen Pearson examines a nearby cloak room and finds Titus old cloak and armor, while Charlie’s character, a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy explores the upstairs Library.
The library seems to contain Titus’ memories, but is guarded by his greatest fear that has been allowed to roam unchecked, that of the Tyranid menace and the oppressive power of the Hive Mind. With Titus’ fear uncontrolled the Acolytes cannot recover Titus’ memories.
Back downstairs, the Acolytes do their best Gandalf impression and shove the “guests” aside and put Titus in his old armor and cloak. As they do so, the guests disappear and the gilded servitor turns into Haarlock!
Haarlock introduces himself as a neural clone meant to watch over Titus to ensure he never gets his memories back, but also to act as a canary in a coal mine to catch anyone coming after Haarlock. He informs the Acolytes that the real Haarlock has been informed and that a kill team is on its way. When Owen Pearson attempts to break the connection between the neural clone and the real Haarlock he is exposed to the raw madness of the Tyrant Star.
However, in all the chaos of the moment, Titus old Eldar pendant falls from his armor. It glows with pure light and the Haarlock clone is clearly disturbed by it. The Acolytes give the pendant to Titus, who then seems to recover his faculties. As the pendant glows brighter, a painting of Titus on the wall, which featured him in his prime also begins to glow, and Titus’ Force Glaive manifests itself. Titus picks up the blade and slays both Haarlock and the Tyranid monstrosity, freeing his mind and also subduing his fear.
He then relates what he knows to the Acolytes in the form of a vision. During the Faustus’ team’s attempt to take down Haarlock, they were not able to sufficiently destroy the portal that would have allowed Haarlock to leave the Tyrant Star. Instead they could only destroy it’s ability to manifest physically. Haarlock was able to manifest spiritually and with a single wave of his hand he knocked out all the Acolytes save Titus. In addition to knocking them out he also altered their memories to believe that they had destroyed him utterly.
Titus’ powerful mind was able to resist, and so Haarlock was forced to use the full power of the Tyrant Star to subdue him. This was able to alter Titus’ memories but also left him psychologically damaged, which is what resulted in his admission to the Asylum. However before Titus passed out from the assault, he saw Haarlock’s spiritual form hover over Lord Chauncey…
With the vision ended the Acolytes return to the real world where they hear numerous gunshots and cries of bloody murder. Mostly unarmed, the Acolytes are saved by some quick thinking and intelligent counter-tactics. Pikey had smuggled in an autopistol and begins taking shots at the attackers, while Silon’s inbuilt weaponry begins making short work of the commandos. Owen Pearson takes control of one of the commando’s minds and uses it to display the location of the other commandos, allowing the Acolytes to plan their escape with care. Later, Silon overloads the com systems of the commandos with a burst of shrieking static, disabling several commandos momentarily and allowing the rest of the Acolytes to overpower them, recover their gear and escape. Before they leave the notice that the commandos all have a tattoo of an eye over an image of the galaxy on their cheeks.
They return to their safehouse and awaiting them are the full dossiers of Praetus, Lord Chauncey, Centum and Cutter, with orders to investigate, each of them and determine who is Haarlock.